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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Winning Ugly

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The wild, wacky, and wonderful world of College Football!

Is Derrick Henry running away with the Heisman?
Is Derrick Henry running away with the Heisman?
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 presents an interesting challenge for the College Football Playoff Committee. Tonight we will find out how much style points ("how you won") count in their rankings. Although there were only a few upsets, many of the top teams had ugly and/or lethargic wins.

The second CFP Top 15:

  1. Clemson - Close win over 3-7 Syracuse.
  2. Alabama - Big win over #17 Miss State.
  3. Ohio State - Blah win over 5-5 Illinois.
  4. Notre Dame - Listless win over a 3-7 Wake Forest.
  5. Iowa - 5-point victory over 4-6 Minnesota.
  6. Baylor - Lost to Okie at home.
  7. Stanford - Lost to 3-loss unranked Oregon at home.
  8. Oklahoma State - eked by 3-7 Iowa State by 4 points.
  9. LSU - Lost to 4-loss Arky at home.
  10. Utah - Upset by Arizona in double overtime.
  11. Florida - Ugly win over 3-7 South Carolina.
  12. Oklahoma - Upset #6 Baylor.
  13. Michigan State - Sleepwalking win over 2-8 Maryland.
  14. Michigan - Sloppy win over 4-6 Indiana in double overtime.
  15. TCU - Barely beat winless Kansas.

If you don't think this whole CFP thing is centered around ESPN, know that the release of the Committee's third rankings is put off two and a half hours this week to 8:30pm/9:30pm so that they can sandwich it in between the Duke-Kentucky and Kansas-Michigan State basketball games. My prediction of the CFP Top 4:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame

Yep, unchanged. I don't think Bama leapfrogs Clemson because the CFPC does not want to hear the noise about a one-loss team being ahead of two undefeated teams. But then again, the CFPC has been pretty unpredictable in their short history.

mythbusters logo

Alabama 31 Mississippi State 6

For the second week in a row, the Crimson Tide defense smothered a Heisman hopeful. Dak Prescott finished with 300 passing yards but completed only 22 of 43 passes, was sacked a career high nine times, had a paltry 14 yards rushing on 26 attempts, threw only his second pick of the season, and could not generate a touchdown. Dak had a raw QB rating of 16.7! Derrick Henry again topped 200 yards rushing and scored a touchdown for the 15th straight game. The Tide had only 13 first down but did not need too many as they scored on plays of 69, 60, 74 and 65 yards.

Arkansas 31 LSU 14

Bama done broke another team! The Tigers came out flat and the Hogs capitalized. Alex Collins and Kody Walker combined for 229 rushing yards and two TDs. Leonard Fournette again came under the century mark, rushing 19 times for 91 yards and one score. In the first half, LSU found some success throwing the ball to Fournette but did not target him again until the fourth quarter when the score was 31-14.

Oregon 38 Stanford 36

After ruining the Ducks' 2012 and 2013 seasons, it seems appropriate that the Cardinal have their playoff hopes dashed by Oregon this season. Oregon is starting to look like the team most people thought they would be this season. The Trees had 506 yards to 436 and was a phenomenal 12 of 17 on 3rd down efficiency with 32 first downs to 18 by the Quack Attack. So, how'd they lose? Stanford QB Kevin Hogan inexplicably lost two fumbles on snaps in the fourth quarter, plus a first half INT.

Arizona 37 Utah 30 (2OT)

It was only a matter of time before the overachieving Utes took their second loss. Who knew it would be so late after midnight? After exchanging field goals in the first extra frame, backup 'Zona quarterback Jerrard Randall completed his only pass of the night on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nate Phillips on the first play of the second overtime. Randall was playing in place of injured Anu Solomon. After the Utes were unable to answer, the upset was secured.

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LOOKING A BIT SCARY

Oklahoma 44 Baylor 34

The Sooners are set up to run roughshod over the hopes of their fellow Big 12 members. Baker Mayfield passed for 270 yards and 3 TDs, while Samaje Perine ran for 166 and 2 scores. Oklahoma has won five in a row since a loss to Texas and are the favorite to win the conference.

SEC:

Georgia 20 Auburn 13 - (I GOT THE SCORE THIS WEEK!) Football is a funny game. One punt return for a touchdown can mean the difference between feeling good or bad about your program. UGA (97 yards passing) and Aubie (62 yds) were equally bad on this day with three of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC on display. Had the Bulldogs' Isaiah McKenzie called for a fair catch instead of the 53-yarder he returned for the decisive score, we could be hearing how Auburn is "turning it around."
Florida 24 South Carolina 14 - The Gators are having a magical season but they are cutting it awfully close. After going up 17-0 entering the fourth quarter, Florida gave the Gamecocks some hope giving up two passing scores. The Gators were able to put the game away on a Kelvin Taylor 53-yard run to the one that he punched in on the next play. Florida QB Treon Harris continues to be just good enough, passing 19 of 33 for 256 with two interceptions and a touchdown that should've been picked.
Vanderbilt 21 Kentucky 17 - The Commodores kept their slim bowl hopes alive with two goal-line stands and a pair of interceptions by safety Oren Burks. Both team stand at 4-6 but are ahead of Mizzou and SC in the SEC East standings.
Missouri 20 BYU 16 - Mizzou may have just saved their season. Pinkel should retire for health reasons more often! It certainly inspired his Tigers to play their most spirited game since they beat South Carolina six weeks ago.

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GRAB BAG

Florida State 34 NC State 17 - Barring an injury to Sean Maguire, Everett Golson's college career might be over. The Notre Dame transfer was highly ineffective being yanked in the second quarter after throwing his second interception with the 'Noles trailing 17-7. Maguire (18-28, 231 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT) rallied the team with 27 unanswered points.
Washington State 31 UCLA 27 - Wazzu WR Gabe Marks made a diving catch for a 21-yard touchdown pass from Luke Falk with 3 seconds to play to take a big road win. This score came moments after the Bruins QB Josh Rosen had just scored on a 37-yard scramble in what they thought was the winning touchdown at the 1:08 mark. Mike Leach continues to rally his Cougars as they raise their record to 7-3 (5-2).
Navy 55 SMU 14 - QB Keenan Reynolds breaks the career touchdown rushing record in a win over SMU and pads the record by three more. He now stands at 81 with three games and a bowl remaining.
Houston 35 Memphis 34 - In one of the day's most entertaining games, the Tigers went up 34-14 until back-up Houston QB Kyle Postma led three fourth quarter scoring drives to secure their undefeated season.
North Carolina 59 Miami (FL) 21 - The Tar Heels continue to get stronger as the 'Canes circle the drain.
Pittsburgh 31 Duke 13 – That Miami hangover spilled over into a second weekend as the Blue Devils were outscored 21-3 in the second half.

West Virginia 38 Texas 20 – Get OVER it! The 'Horns are 40-34 since losing to Alabama in the 2009-10 BCS Championship. Rumors swirl that Charlie Strong might be eying the Miami job. Can you blame him?
Nebraska 31 Rutgers 14 - The Cornhuskers have a (two game) winning streak! After a week off, they await a visit from Iowa on the day after Thanksgiving. Win that one and they go to a bowl. Lose and the season ends on a sour note.
Texas Tech 59 Kansas State 44 - If K-State cares one lick about football, they will politely ask "living legend" Bill Snyder to retire. They are 3-6.
Georgia Southern 45 Troy 10 – It looks like the Eagles (7-2) will be going to a bowl game in their first year of eligibility. They should have moved up to FBS years ago.
New Mexico 31 Boise State 24 – One of the weekend's biggest stunners happened well after midnight as the unheralded Lobos took down the Smurfs on their stupid blue field. Former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie has New Mexico at 6-4!

cupcake

Nomnomnom (Photo by CB969 - RBR Sports)

Tennessee 24 North Texas 0 - Only 24 points against one of the worst teams in FBS? Some bookies in Vegas are smiling ear to ear.
Texas A&M 41 W Carolina 17 - If the Aggies played the Catamounts and nobody saw the game, does it make a noise? Despite another iffy outing by Kyler Murray (22-39, 191 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT), the freshman saw most of the action. Former starter Kyle Allen saw his first action since Oct. 24 and was good (6-6, 88 yds, TD, 0 INT). The other QB did not play. I really have no idea what Kevin Sumlin is doing. Does he?
Ohio State 28 Illinois 3 - J.T. Barrett was back from his one-game suspension, but did not do too much. This was the Ezekiel Elliott Show as he dashed for 181 yards & 2 TDs on 27 carries.
Clemson 37 Syracuse 27 - The nation's #1 team struggled to put away the 3-7 Orange. The Tigers had two fumbles and a Deshaun Watson interception.
Notre Dame 28 Wake Forest 7 - Is there an echo in here? The Irish sleepwalked their way to a home win over the woeful Demon Deacons (3-7). Wake had 23 first downs to 15 for the Fighting Irish, 340 yards to 282 yards in total offense and had the ball for 11:36 longer than Notre Dame but could not win the stat that counts the most.
Oklahoma State 35 Iowa State 31 - And to round it out, the Cowboys had to rally from a 31-21 deficit against the 3-7 Cyclones to keep their season... ahem... perfect.
Michigan 48 Indiana 41 It took two overtimes for the Wolverines to take down 4-win Indy.
Iowa 40 Minnesota 35 - It's only a matter of time...

~~~~~

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Wisconsin (8-2) had the weekend off.
Middle Tennessee (5-5) beat FAU! 24-17. They could make a bowl game if they can get past North Texas (1-9) and Texas-San Antonio (2-8). 6-6 is no guarantee for a mid-major.
Louisiana Monroe (1-9) loses to Arkansas State 59-21 and fire head coach Todd Berry.
Charleston Southern (9-1) edged Liberty 31-24.
Georgia (7-3) beats Auburn.
Tennessee (6-4) becomes bowl eligible after shutout of North Texas. Mizzou and Vandy remain.

~~~~~

ELIMINATED:

All non-Power 5 teams (Notre Dame is still alive).
LSU*
STANFORD*
TCU*
UTAH
Arizona
Arizona State
Arkansas
Auburn
Boise
Boston College
Byu
Colorado
Duke
Florida*
Florida State
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Kentucky
Louisville
Ole Miss
Maryland
Miami-Fl
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi State
Mizzou
Navy
NC State
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Oregon
Oregon State
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
South Carolina
Southern Cal
Syracuse
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Ucla
Vandy
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
Washington
Wazzu
West Virginia
Wisconsin

* 2007 and all that.

boxers

THE CONTENDERS

Below is a theorized breakdown of teams that could make it into the playoff:

  • ACC (0 or 1) - Clemson has Wake, @SCar, and the ACCCG (UNC?) standing in their way.
  • Big Ten (1 or 2) - After ten exhibition games, Ohio State's regular season finally gets under way. Iowa (10-0) should destroy Purdue but watch out for Nebraska. Could there be an upset a-brewin' in Lincoln?

Big Ten Nov 21 15

  • Big 12 (0 or 1) - Two B12 team down, two to go. Although Oklahoma already has one loss, their schedule and margins of victory helps them stay in the hunt.

  • PAC-12 (1 or 2 or 0?) - Utah (8-2) and Stanford (8-2) both lost. They most likely will be shutout of the playoff.
  • SEC (1 or 2) - It all comes down to Alabama and Florida. The Gators still have to get by FSU for a chance. LSU is probably done for.
  • Notre Dame (9-1) - BC will give the Irish a scare for a couple of quarters and then ND can move on to thinking about Stanford (Nov. 28).

Back To The Two-Loss Theory

There are only four P5 teams that remain unbeaten: Clemson, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, and Iowa.
Eight teams have one loss: Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Notre Dame, Michigan State.
Most of these teams have to play each other.

  • The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes will most likely face each other in the B1GCG with the loser dropping out. One-loss Michigan State plays OSU.
  • Alabama and Florida appear to be on a collision course.
  • Clemson still has South Carolina and a surging one -loss UNC is looking like their championship foe.
  • Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU have a round-robin of death going on.

There are plenty of defeats coming the way of these teams. The possibility of a two-loss team getting into the playoff is still a possibility.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to the Pac-12. At the beginning of the season, they bragged that they had the nation's toughest conference. Congratulations. Your trophy is in the mail.

~~~~~

Sad_face_medium

  • Alabama's Kenyan Drake (broken arm) will miss the rest of the regular season and a potential SECCG. There is a chance he could return for bowl season. Minkah Fitzpatrick is day to day. He could miss the Charleston Southern game for precautionary reasons. Sophomore Tony Brown played well in his place.
  • Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson was carted off field against Alabama with an apparent neck injury. Coach Dan Mullen, who is typically tight-lipped regarding injuries, would not share any details other than to say he is "going to be fine." It is believed the junior will miss the rest of the regular season but should recover with no lingering problems.
  • Trevone Boykin exited TCU's game against Kansas before the second quarter after suffering a right ankle injury and did not return. Boykin and star wide receiver Josh Doctson (wrist) are questionable for the Oklahoma game.
  • Michigan State QB Connor Cook left the Maryland game with apparent shoulder injury on his throwing arm. If he cannot go, it's another lucky break for Ohio State.
  • Baylor freshman QB Jarrett Stidham is moving a little slow Monday with his bruised back, but he'll be okay to play Oklahoma State this weekend.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • South Alabama (5-4) defeated Louisiana Lafayette 32-25 and kept their bowl hopes alive. Once again, the hero was Xavier Johnson who rumbled for 118 yards on 23 carries, scoring twice.  E.J. May made a late interception to set up Johnson's go-ahead 16-yard touchdown run with 3:32 left to seal the game. Up next is another must win in Atlanta against woeful Georgia State (3-6).
  • Toledo (8-1) beat Central Michigan 28-23. Phillip Ely: 23-39, 322 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT.
  • GO NAVY! (8-1) beats up on SMU (see above).
  • Memphis (8-2) lost to Houston (see above).

tiny football

STAT OF THE DAY

Temple is 0-10 in the state of Florida since 1938.

LET'S GO BOWLING!

62 teams are bowl eligible for 80 slots. 36 teams are eliminated from bowl eligibility with seven or more losses including South Carolina and Georgia Tech, both at 3-7. Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas, and Nebraska are one loss away from elimination. Kansas almost blew their chance at a triple "Golden Sombrero". UCF shares the Tom Seaver Award with the Jayhawks for this week.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of one year, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

[I didn't think I had to explain this section, but the Mark Ingram comment above is a little tongue-in-cheek Gumpism. The categories below are based on how I think the voters (which include the likes of Lou Holtz and Erin Andrews) will vote and who I think should win. Who actually wins is not always who deserves it. Thank you for your time. Carry on.]

  • Who Will Win - Derrick Henry is gaining some big time traction with back-to-back 200 yard games against ranked teams. As long as Clemson keeps winning, voters will assume QB Deshaun Watson is worthy. TCU's Trevone Boykin got hurt. Stanford lost but RB Christian McCaffrey will still get some second/third place votes. Leonard Fournette was okay but not spectacular in defeat.
  • Who Should Win - Henry was the star of the day and definitely a finalist. If he can keep this up, Bama might get their second trophy.

Black_white_tv_salesman_medium

If it's a Tuesday or a Wednesday, there must be some MACtion on TV. Two games each night.
There are two non-MAC games on Thursday and Friday, but no Power 5 teams involved

Saturday, November 21, 2015

SEC (games will be on SECN and the SECN Alt channel. Check local listings):

FAU! at Florida 11am/12pm, SECN - A warmup for the FSU game.
The Citadel at South Carolina 11am/12pm, SECN Alt - A warmup for Clemson.

LSU at Ole Miss 2:30pm/3:30pm, CBS- Two teams desperate for a win.
Idaho at Auburn 3pm/4pm, SECN Alt - Aubie hoping to get bowl eligible.

Mississippi State at Arkansas 6pm/7pm, ESPN ESPN - Can the Bullies shake their Bama hangover?
Georgia Southern at Georgia 6pm/7pm, ESPNU ESPNU- Upset alert?
Tennessee at Missouri 6:15pm/7:15pm, ESPN2 - Vols need to be careful here.
Texas A&M at Vanderbilt 6:30pm/7:30pm, SECN - TAMU takes only their second trip out of state.
Charlotte at Kentucky 6:30pm/7:30pm, SECN Alt - The 49ers (2-8) are in their third season in existence.

NATIONAL GAMES OF INTEREST:

North Carolina at Virginia Tech 11am/12pm, ESPNESPN - VaTech needs one more win to reach a bowl game.
Memphis at Temple 11am/12pm, ESPNUESPNU- Still a good game but not near the implications.
Purdue at Iowa 11am/12pm, ESPN2 - When will the Hawkeyes trip up? Prolly in 2 weeks.
Michigan at Penn State 11am/12pm, ABCABC- This game is important to the future of PSU.
Boston College at Notre Dame 6:30/7:30, NBC – Played at Fenway Park, Boston, MA.

DURING COMMERCIALS (slim pickings):

Northwestern at Wisconsin 2:30pm/3:30pm, BTN - Wisky helping the Tide's SOS.
Chattanooga
at Florida State 2pm/3pm - FSU back on espn3 again?
Wake Forest at Clemson 2:30pm/3:30pm, ESPN2 - Tune up for the SC game.
Michigan State at Ohio State 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABCABC- Can Sparty ruin the Buckeyes year?

ELIMINATION GAMES:

* Baylor at Oklahoma State 6:30/7:30, FOX FOX wordmark.svg – Points, points, and more points!
* TCU at Oklahoma 7pm/8pm ABCABC– Someone is gonna be real sad real soon.

CAN'T SLEEP?

Colorado at Washington State 9:45pm/10:45pm, ESPN2 - Wazzu is much improved.
San Jose at Hawaii 10pm/11pm Alohavision - For masochists only.

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

Charleston Southern at ALABAMA 3pm/4pm, SECNwith Dave Neal, Matt Stinchcomb, Kayce Smith.

#RollTide!