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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Thinning the Herd

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

Celebration Kicker-style.
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It's about to get REAL interesting up in here for the College Football Playoff Committee. Only two unbeatens remain but the two strongest-looking teams, Alabama and Oklahoma, both have one loss. How much does the CFPC value an unblemished record over how they look right now? If Bama and Clemson run the table, they are in. The next two spots are less certain.

There are likely only 12 teams alive for the 4 team playoff. From the third CFP Top 14:

  1. Clemson - W - Still undefeated, but SC and UNC to play.
  2. Alabama - W- Will need to beat Auburn and Florida.
  3. Ohio State - L - Not out of it but they no longer control their destiny.
  4. Notre Dame - UW - Need to beat Stanford and look good doing it. May need others to lose otherwise.
  5. Iowa - W - Still undefeated, but it's only a matter of time. Right?
  6. Oklahoma State - L - A home loss to Baylor may be too much to overcome. Okie is next.
  7. Oklahoma - W - Playing really well. Need to beat Okie State.
  8. Florida - UW - Barely eked by FAU. If they can beat FSU and the SECCG, they will get consideration.
  9. Michigan State - W - The new favorite in the Big 10.
  10. Baylor - W - Need to win at TCU and vs. Texas and cross their fingers.
  11. Stanford - Likely playing spoiler.
  12. Michigan - W - Loooongshot.
  13. Utah - Suffered a third loss.
  14. Florida State - The CFPC is not taking an ACC team that did not win their division.
  15. LSU - Three losses.
  16. Navy - Ain't gonna happen.
  17. North Carolina - Playing really well but a BIG underdog. Will need to beat NC State and Clemson and pray a lot.
  18. TCU - a two loss Big 12 team is not getting in.

(UW = Ugly Win)

The Committee's fourth rankings are moved back to the regular time of 6:00pm/7:00pm. My prediction of the CFP Top 4:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Michigan State
  4. Oklahoma

Notre Dame's weak win over BC hurt their shine.

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Remember this? ESPN GameDay Preseason Predictions:


Kirk Herbstreit Desmond Howard Lee Corso
Champ Ohio State Stanford LSU
Runner-up LSU TCU Oregon
Semi Arizona State Texas A&M Baylor
Semi Oklahoma Michigan State Ohio State

Michigan State 17 Ohio State 14

Although, the Spartans needed a 41-yard field goal as time expired to upset the Buckeyes, it felt like MSU would take this game. The defending national champs accumulated a total of 132 TOTAL yards (46 passing, 86 rushing) and 5 first downs. MSU had 294 and 17. With QB Connor Cook not playing (shoulder), Sparty coach Mark Dantonio turned to back-up Tyler O'Connor who responded with a solid yet unspectacular game.

OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott had 12 carries for a season-low 33 rush yards and after the game he whined to reporters that he was "disappointed in the playcalling" and "disappointed by lack of effort from coaches." He went on to complain that the coaches did not go back to running plays despite his suggestions to coaches to do so. Bro, you had a 2.75 yards per carry. Of course Ubrz will not discipline him in any way.

Oddly, Urban Meyer turned his back during the winning field goal attempt. He did not even watch it. Not great leadership there.

Future NFL bust Cardale Jones, who did not play, tweeted out "Last time walking down them steps and into The Shoe, wish the results were different tho". He is a junior.

Baylor 45 Oklahoma State 35

In typical Big 12 fashion, this game started with fireworks as the Bears took a 14 point lead on their first two possessions only to have the Cowboys tie it up. But Baylor scored the next 24 and OSU could not recover. Another back-up quarterback, Chris Johnson, found success on the big stage as the Bears sophomore threw two touchdown passes on only 5 completions and ran for a score. Starter Jarrett Stidham took several hard hits in the first half and did not return.

Oklahoma 30 TCU 29

The Sooners led 30-13 entering the fourth quarter behind the rushing of Samaje Perine (26-188, TD) but the Horned Frogs stormed back with a field goal and two touchdowns. Their final score came with 51 seconds remaining and the season on the line. TCU coach Gary Patterson made a bold if not rash decision to attempt a 2-point conversion and go for the win but were turned away. [EDITORIAL: I get that Patterson felt like momentum was on their side and it was. But why not kick the 1 and take that big mo into overtime?] The Frogs were without offensive stars Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson. The loss is their second of the season and likely sends them to the Citrus Bowl.

Ole Miss 38 LSU 17

The free fall for LSU continues as the Tigers lose their third in a row. Just a few weeks ago, the Bayou Bengals were #2 and now they look to be firing Les Miles. Ole Miss jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter, leaving the Tigers deflated. Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns. LSU was penalized 13 times for 95 yards, had three turnovers and fumbled four times, including twice on one series.

Leonard Fournette had a 108 yards but the yards came on 25 carries and he was denied the end zone. For the second straight game, LSU was forced to go to the passing game and failed again. Brandon Harris added two more interceptions to a total of four, all of which have come in the three straight losses. Harris has taken every single snap under center for the Tigers this season.

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SEC:

Mississippi State 51 Arkansas 50 - This game started as an SEC affair and ended up as a Big 12 matchup. The conference's best two QBs were on display as MSU's Dak Prescott passed for a career-high 501 yards and five touchdown, and rushed for two more scores. The Bullies were down 42-31 entering the fourth quarter but scored 20 points to take the lead. Arkansas' Brandon Allen (406 yards, seven touchdown passes) had one last drive in him and took the Razorbacks to the MSU 12 yard line. A 29-yard field goal would've meant five straight wins for Arkansas but linebacker Beniquez Brown broke through the line and blocked the kick preserving the win.
Tight end Hunter Henry caught 7 balls for 129 and 2 scores for the Hogs [BTW, Bama recruited this kid hard but he elected to stay in his home state].
Texas A&M 25 Vanderbilt 0 - Many of the talking heads outright picked Vandy to win this game. Really? Kevin Sumlin finally came to his senses and put Kyle Allen back in charge of the quarterbacking duties. The sophomore rewarded his coach with 336 passing yards and a TD. The Aggies had trouble finding the end zone against the tough Commodores defense but Allen moved the ball (486 total yards), protected the ball (0 turnovers), and put the team in position to kick 6 field goals. Tra Carson added 126 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
TAMU DC John Chavis finally earned a paycheck holding the atrocious Vandy offense to 125 on the ground, 23 through the air, and 10 first downs.

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GRAB BAG

Stanford 35 Cal 22 -  Christian McCaffrey galloped for 192 yards on 29 carries. Cardinal QB Kevin Hogan only passed 7 for 12 for 96 yards, diminishing the chances of creating a turnover. Yeah, I went there.
Michigan 28 Penn State 16 - The Wolverines outgained PSU 343 to 207. Jake Rudock threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns. The Nittany Lions' Christian Hackenberg completed only 13 of 31 passes.
Navy 44 Tulsa 21 - The Midshipmen are 9-1 for the first time since 1963 when a guy named Roger Staubach was at the helm.
Northwestern 13 Wisconsin 7 - The Badgers were twice victimized by replay rulings with under 30 seconds to play. An apparent TD catch was ruled down at the one, followed by a scoring reception to Jazz Peavy that was inexplicably overturned as incomplete after a video review. You be the judge.
Oregon 48 Southern Cal 28 - Too little too late for the Ducks. I would hate to play this 8-3 team in a bowl game.
Notre Dame 19 Boston College 16 - The sluggish Irish led the entire way but did not look like a top four team against a tough BC defense. Notre Dame survives 5 turnovers and 4 for 15 3rd down efficiency for their tenth win on the season.
UConn 20 Houston 17 - The last of the mid-majors has fallen.

BITTERSWEET

Tennessee 19 Missouri 8  and  North Carolina 30 Virginia Tech 27 (OT) - The seniors hoped to send the winningest coaches in the histories of Mizzou and VaTech programs out with wins in their final home appearances but it was not to be. The Volunteers pretty much dominated Gary Pinkel's Tigers until they gave up a fourth quarter TD to make it look closer than it was. Frank Beamer's Hokies fared a little better taking the one-loss Tar Heels into overtime in a back and forth affair. Both coaches were carried off the field by the players despite their defeats. Both teams at 5-6 have one more shot at extending the regular season into bowl season.

LOSING STREAKS

Temple 31 Memphis 12 - Once the toast of the town, the Tigers have lost three straight.
UCLA 17 Utah 9 - The Utes have lost their last two in very winnable games.
Virginia 42 Duke 34 - The Blue Devils have now gone down in defeat four straight times, their third since the heartbreak against Miami.
West Virginia 49 Kansas 0 - Zero is an appropriate score for the only Power 5 team without a win this season.

cupcake

Nomnomnom (Photo by CB969 - RBR Sports)

Alabama 56 Charleston Southern 6 - The Tide came ready to play and laid some wood.
Auburn 56 Idaho 34 - Coming into this game, the Vandals had the second worse defense in FBS. Now they are up to 118 (out of 128). The Tigers became bowl eligible by giving up 34 points. To Idaho. Ladies and Gentlemen, Coach Boom. Jeremy Johnson went the distance with Sean White on the IR, which basically means Auburn has no other QBs to turn to.
Clemson 33 Wake Forest 13 - Deshaun Watson was 24 of 35 for 343 yards and 3 TDs but also threw a pair of picks. Tigers teammates produced a third interception and lost a fumble.
Iowa 40 Purdue 20 - It was only a 20-13 third quarter lead for Iowa until finally pulling away. The Hawkeyes gained only 18 more yards than PU (405 to 387).
Florida State 52 Chattanooga 13 - The 'Noles took a quarter to get going but you know how this was going to turn out, right? FSU outgained the Mocs 428 to 273.
Kentucky 58 Charlotte 10 - The 'Cats ended a 5-game losing streak under snowy skies. Jojo Kemp and Stanley "Boom" Williams both went for over 140 on the ground.

CUPCAKE STRUGGLES

There is something to be said for NOT playing the little schools from your own state. Three exhibits below:

Florida 20 FAU! 14 (OT) - The Gators escaped catastrophe with the defense stopping the 2-win Owls in overtime on downs. Treon Harris was awful as always: 8-17, 122 yds, 2 TD, INT, fumble recovered for a score. Kelvin Taylor had 105 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.
Georgia 23 Georgia Southern 17 (OT) - UGA defended the triple option okay (53-233, 1 TD given up) but it was the offense that once again was dreadful. Sony Michel had 132 of the team's 130 rushing yards. The Eagles converted a scoop-and-score to take a 14-7 lead. A GSU muffed punt led to the Dawgs tying the game at the half. UGA clamped down in OT holding the Eagles scoreless. Michel ran 25 yards on the first play of their half of the extra frame to end the game.
The Citadel 23 South Carolina 22 - See this is why Spurrier quit in the middle of the season. Unprepared, unmotivated, and unsuccessful. SC had only 72 yards rushing while giving up 350. Pharoh Cooper was the one bright spot with 11 catches for 191 yards and a TD. The Gamecocks appeared to salvage the game on a miracle 94-yard fourth down touchdown to Pharoh Cooper with 44 seconds left. But the officials called a false start, saying all the Gamecocks weren't set. Replays have mysteriously found their way into the front pocket of Ray Lewis' white suit.

~~~~~

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Wisconsin (8-3) lost to Northwestern 13-7.
Middle Tennessee (6-5) becomes bowl eligible after stomping North Texas 41-7. Texas-San Antonio is next.
Louisiana Monroe (1-10) sinks to a new low, losing to lowly Texas State.
Georgia (8-3) needed OT to dispatch of pesky Georgia Southern.
Tennessee (7-4) sent Mizzou packing. Vandy remains.

~~~~~

ELIMINATED:

All non-Power 5 teams (Notre Dame is still alive).
TCU
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
Lsu
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
Stanford*
Syracuse
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Ucla
Utah
Vandy
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
Washington
Wazzu
West Virginia
Wisconsin

* 2007 and all that.

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THE CONTENDERS

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

  • ACC (0 or 1) - Clemson has a trip to SCar, and the ACCCG (UNC?) standing in their way.
  • Big Ten (1 or 2) - After ten exhibition games, Ohio State finally showed their true colors. Iowa (11-0) has to get by Nebraska on Friday. Michigan State is the leader for the B1GCG crown.

B1G

  • Big 12 (0 or 1) - All teams have at least one loss. Oklahoma looks the strongest of the bunch. It will come down to "Bedlam" but still no guarantee of any team from the B12 getting in. TCU is done for.

B12 Nov 21 15

  • PAC-12 (1 or 0?) - Stanford (9-2) is the last team standing but they are an extreme chaos-enduced longshot. Notre Dame pays a visit on Saturday. It is most likely the P12 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. Bama has to beat Auburn and then Fla.
  • Notre Dame (10-1) - BC's tough defense did the Irish no favors. They may need a convincing win over Stanford.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to the Urban Meyer.

~~~~~

Sad_face_medium

  • Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) and OT Dominick Jackson (ankle) did not dress out for the game with Charleston Southern but were back at practice. ICYMI, redshirt junior Korren Kirven started in Jackson's place with Brandon Greene getting snaps as well. Kenyan Drake is still out but back doing drills. Reserve LB and special teams player Keith Holcombe was banged up but should be back this week.
  • Notre Dame starting cornerback KeiVarae Russell will miss six to eight weeks with a right tibia fracture. He is their best defensive back.
  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to play this week after a hit to the head Saturday.
  • Michigan State senior quarterback Connor Cook is "close" to being able to return for Saturday's game against Penn State, according to MSU coach Mark Dantonio.
  • TCU’s Trevone Boykin (ankle) and Baylor’s Jarrett Stidham (ankle, hand) are questionable for their showdown.
  • Iowa State fires coach Paul Rhoads after six straight losing seasons. What took so long?
  • Syracuse cans Scott Shafer after an eight-game losing streak. He was 13–23, 6–17 for the 'Cuse in three seasons.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • South Alabama (5-5) lost to Georgia State 24-10. A disappointing loss seeing how their last two games will be against Sun Belt leaders Georgia Southern and App State. They will be big underdogs in both games.
  • Toledo (9-1) beat Bowling Green 44-28. Phillip Ely: 16-24, 208 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT.
  • GO NAVY! defeated Tulsa 44-21. Twelve Midshipmen had carries in this game.
  • Memphis (8-3) lost to Temple 31-12.

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STAT OF THE DAY

LET'S GO BOWLING!

71 teams are bowl eligible for 80 slots. 39 teams are eliminated from bowl eligibility with seven or more losses, leaving only 18 teams to fill the last 9 slots. There is talk that 5-7 team(s) may be needed to fill out the bowl allotment (SMH). Kansas and UCF are still alive for the triple "Golden Sombrero".

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".

  • Who Will Win - Derrick Henry appears to be the leader but a little reminder that there are A LOT of idiots out there. Matt Leinart said that Henry had a "subpar game." Others have said that there have been no "Heisman moments" which apparently is part of the criteria. I guess general all-around excellence means nothing. Also, the talking heads seem to think that a quarterback HAS to be in the running. There are none that really stand out this year so of course they focus on the #1 team. Clemson is #1 so their QB MUST be awesome! Deshaun Watson will get votes. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey is still putting up numbers and will get some second/third place love. Baker Mayfield is getting some talk but where has he been all season? Ezekiel Elliott's whining and bad MSU game probably killed his chances. I don't think any wide receiver is going to win, so just stop.
  • Who Should Win - Henry is unstoppable and consistent. If he keeps it up, the trophy should be his.

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IT"S RIVALRY SATURDAY!

Some silly irrelevant MACtion on Tuesday night with some disappointing fare on Thanksgiving. I guess CFB has yielded the day to the juggernaut that is the NFL.

Thursday, November 24, 2015

Texas Tech at Texas 7:30pm, FS1FSR-4cBluetxt-color-hi-res.png- Could this be Charlie Strong's swan song in Austin?
South Florida at UCF 7:30pm, ESPNESPN - Unbelievable how UCF has gone from 12-1 to this dreck in 2 years.

Friday, November 24, 2015

Navy at Houston 11am/12pm, ABCABC– Should be a fun game.
Miami (FL) at Pitt 11am/12pm, ESPN2 – Watch while eating turkey sandwich leftovers, nap, wake up in time for ...
Missouri at Arkansas 1:30pm/ 2:30pm, CBS– Amazingly, this is only the second time these two neighboring state schools have met in the last 7 years.
Iowa
at Nebraska 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABCABC– "Your corn sucks!" / "No, YOUR corn sucks!"
Oregon State at Oregon 2:30pm/3:30pm, FS1FSR-4cBluetxt-color-hi-res.png– This is gonna get ugly.
Washington State at Washington 2:30pm/3:30pm, FOX FOX wordmark.svg – Wazzu has won one Apple Cup in the last 6 meetings. Is Mike Leach angling for a new job?
Baylor at  TCU 6:30pm/7:30pm, ESPNESPN - They call it "The Revivalry". Not sure why but Baylor leads, 52–51–7. The Frogs can play the spoiler role.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

SEC:

Georgia at Georgia Tech 11am/12pm, ESPN2 - Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate!
Louisville at Kentucky 11am/12pm, SECN- UK needs to win to get to 6 wins.
Clemson at South Carolina 11am/12pm, ESPNESPN - The Palmetto Bowl is gonna be a slaughter.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee 3pm/4pm, SECN- The Vols better take this game seriously.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State 6:15pm/7:15pm, ESPN2 - The Egg Bowl could go either way. Go Bullies!
Florida State at Florida 6:30pm/7:30pm, ESPNESPN - Can the Gators get back on track?
Texas A&M at LSU 6:30pm/7:30pm, SECN- The futures of Miles and Sumlin might be at stake.

ELIMINATION GAMES:

Ohio State at Michigan 11am/12pm, ABCABC-  Is there mutiny on the S.S. Urbz?
Notre Dame at Stanford 6:30pm/7:30pm, FOXFOX wordmark.svg - Can the Trees play spoiler?
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 7pm/8pm, ABCABC- One word: BEDLAM!

DURING COMMERCIALS:

North Carolina at NC State 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABC or ESPN2ABC - Check out UNC QB Marquise Williams.
Penn State at Michigan State 2:30pm/3:30pm, ESPN - Will Sparty have a letdown?
Wisconsin at Minnesota 2:30pm/3:30pm, BTN - SOS points for Bama?
UCLA at Southern Cal 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABC or ESPN2ABC - Remember when this game meant something?

CAN'T SLEEP?

La-Monroe at Hawaii 10pm/11pm Alohavision - Possibly the worst game of the year. Three wins between them.

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

ALABAMA at Auburn 2:30pm/3:30pm, CBS Yep, once again Bama fans are plagued by their team's success: Unka Verne and Gary D with Allie LaForce.

#RollTide!