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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: The Wait Begins

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The waiting is the hardest part/Every day you see one more card/You take it on faith, you take it to the heart/The waiting is the hardest part - Tom Petty

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The College Football Bowel season is under way. Not to be confused with actual bowl games, "bowel" games are the off-brand cheap imitations made in some third world sweat shop and shipped to the United States trying to be passed off as a quality product.

So let's get this over with:

The CAMELLIA BOWL Stinks
Appalachian State 31 Ohio 29 - App State gets their first big boy post-season win in only their second season in FBS after entering the fourth quarter down 24-7. Attendance: 21,395. The Mountaineers finish 11-2 but their only regular season win over a team with a winning record was Georgia Southern.
The Do we really need a second game in NEW ORLEANS BOWL?
Louisiana Tech 47 Arkansas State 28 - Remember Jeff Driskel? Arky State will after he blistered them for 458 yards passing and 3 TDs. LT's Kenneth Dixon had 215 yards from scrimmage and scored four times to become the NCAA's career touchdowns leader (72 rushing, 15 receiving). Attendance: 32,847. Both teams finish 9-4.
The When you think of college football you think NEW MEXICO BOWL
Arizona 45 New Mexico 37 - Wow, RichRod. Congrats for barely beating the Lobos. Why his name comes up in coaching job openings every year is beyond me. Attendance: 30,289. Both teams finish 7-6. Bleh.
The Nothing can CURE me from watching this dreck BOWL
San Jose State 27 Georgia State 16 - The poster child for the diminishing value and ridiculous amounts of bowel games was on display in the first of THREE post-season games to be played in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando this post-season. The two teams combined to gain 517 yards versus 611 punting yards. Attendance: 18,536. Hilariously and sadly, both teams end the season with losing records of 6-7.
The All things considered, I'd rather be sitting on a MIAMI BEACH somewhere sipping a cold drink than be at this BOWL
Western Kentucky 45 South Florida 35 - As an audition for NFL scouts, WKU's Brandon Doughty threw for 461 yards and three touchdowns, giving the Hilltoppers their first 12-win season since 1973.

IMHO:

Okay, one last #TooManyBowlGames rant. I get that some of you love college football so much that you will watch almost any two teams play rather than spend time with your loved ones or clean out the garage. I get that these silly bowel games are just fodder to fill up the ESPN broadcast schedule. Maybe a few more hotel rooms in beautiful downtown Albuquerque get filled and maybe the Monkey Town Denny's sells a few more Grand Slam breakfasts, but bowl games are supposed to be a reward for a good season.

Many of the less successful programs now use bowl appearances as a recruiting tool and fans use it for bragging rights, devaluing the concept. Take Troy for instance. They have been playing FBS football since 2001 and have already been to five bowl games. Virginia, who has been fielding a team since 1890, did not play in their fifth bowl game until 1991. The result is you have people talking boasting about their team going to a bowl game in (fill in the blank) consecutive years or something like "4 out of the last 6 years!", like it is an achievement nobody else has done.

80 FBS teams out of 128 can say that they went to a bowl in 2015. That is 62.5%, almost two-thirds. Of those 80 bowl-bounders, only 65 finished the regular season with a winning record.

15 teams finished at 7-5. Of those teams, only Penn State did not claim a victory over an FCS school to get to seven Ws. That leaves us with 51 teams with winning records over FBS opponents.

I realize this is not going to change unless the powers-that-be all stand up together and do something, but I can't see that happening. It is utterly ridiculous to have 5-7 teams in bowl games. Even 6-6 seems far-fetched. Call me crazy or old-fashioned or whatevs but I don't think 7-5 teams should get a post-season bid, especially with cupcake wins padding the record.

tiny football

Among these counterfeit post-season exhibitions, was one intriguing crazy game.

LAS VEGAS BOWL:

Utah 35 BYU 28

Maybe it was the shocking announcement that longtime Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall was headed for Virginia (Really? Virginia? The University of Virginia? The one in Charlottesville?) and still allowed to coach the bowl game (!?!?!). Or maybe it was all the pregame smack talk that went on between the two interstate rivals, but the turnover bug bit BYU early and hard. The Cougars turned the ball over on their first five possessions including two pick-sixes on tipped balls, and found themselves in a 35-0 first quarter hole. A valiant comeback and a strong defensive effort was not enough as the Utes were able to hold on for the W.

FCS PLAYOFFS:

North Dakota State 33 Richmond 7 - It should be no surprise that the Bison advance to their fifth straight FCS title game after outgaining the Spiders 418 to 209. The only sour spot for NDSU was missed field goals of 36 and 44 yards, plus an extra point attempt. NDSU claims 12 national championships including the last four straight (1965, 1968, 1969, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Division I-AA and the playoff format was formed for football in 1978.

Jacksonville State 62 Sam Houston State 10 - This season's best team nicknamed the Gamecocks bodyslammed the Bearkats by running the ball down their throats (61-360 yards, 6 TDs) and playing stifling defense (259 total yards allowed). Sound familiar? JSU's only defeat on the season was a glorious 27-20 overtime loss at Auburn back in
September.

These two winners will face off on January 9, 2016.

~~~~~

ELIMINATED:

EVERYONE except ALABAMA, Michigan State, Clemson, and Oklahoma.

boxers

THE CONTENDERS

Alabama opened as an 8.5 point favorite over Michigan State. Depending where you look, it has inched up to 9.5 and even 10 points at the MGM Mirage.

The Clemson-Oklahoma game is running a little closer with the Sooners holding a 3.5 point edge according to Las Vegas.

~~~~~

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  • No real injuries to report for Alabama. Wide receiver Raheem Falkins was seen catching passes in a black no-contact jersey. He has missed the whole season while rehabbing from surgery to a leg fracture suffered this past summer. He is a true junior and has yet to catch a pass as a member of the Tide.
  • Atlanta police discovered "approximately seven rolled marijuana cigarettes" in a room at the Grand Hyatt that was connected with Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche. While attempting to flee the scene, the defensive tackle fell out of a window and sustained some injuries. He was arrested for marijuana possession. Since the incident, the junior has been suspended for the Sugar Bowl and almost immediately made his intentions known that he will enter the 2016 NFL Draft. An interesting side note on this case is that the price for a Saturday night December stay in the Atlanta five-star hotel probably starts in the $500 range and goes up from there. Who paid for that?
  • In a bit of a surprise move, Florida quarterback Will Grier has announced that he will transfer out of the Swamp. The former starter was suspended for a full calendar year for testing positive for PEDs. By all accounts, the idea was all Grier's and not the staff or administration. Regardless of where he lands, the redshirt freshman cannot compete under NCAA rules until Oct. 12, 2016. The transfer eligibility rules are a bit murky for him at this point but if he stay in the FBS, he likely won't see the field until mid-October of 2017. A very poor choice. #LifeLessons
  • Oddly enough, vagabond QB Luke Del Rio may be in contention to start for the Gators in 2016.
  • Former media darling Kevin Sumlin might be in big trouble in College Station. Reports have surfaced that Texas A&M is looking into buying the fourth year coach out. He is currently 36–15 (SEC 17–15) at TAMU and has not seen double-digit wins since going 11–2 in 2012. His catastrophic mishandling of quarterbacks the past two seasons have been front and center. Former starter Kenny Hill transferred to TCU after being replaced by then-freshman Kyle Allen last season. Allen was replaced by true frosh Kyler Murray this season. Both Allen and Murray have announced they too are transferring.
  • Interestingly, Texas has reportedly said they are not interested in Murray. Might baseball be in his future?
  • Former failed UGA QB experiment Faton Bauta will reunite with his former offensive coordinator Mike Bobo at Colorado State.
  • New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has hired two offensive assistants in Pitt offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Cheney has had recent stops at Arkansas and Tennessee.
  • One of the requirements to be the head coach of BYU is that the candidate be Mormon. The highest profile LDS coach out there is Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. The administration was interested in him but not his triple option. The alternative is former four year starting Cougars fullback Kalani Sitake who served as DC for Oregon State this past season. Before that, he spent ten season as an assistant at Utah under Kyle Whittingham. He was born in Tonga and attended Kirkwood HS in St. Louis, Mo. (His wife's name is Timberly Friddle Sitake. Say that three times fast.)
  • All of the FBS head coaching openings have been filled before Christmas. Could anyone else see the door after bowl season ends? Might the NFL lure someone away?

NFL

It was a pretty good Sunday for a few former Bama players:

  • AJ McCarron's first professional start equated to a Bengals 24-14 victory over the 49ers and a playoff berth. He was 15 of 21 for 192 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions.
  • Amari Cooper caught six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns but his Raiders lost to the Packers 30-20. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in this his rookie season. With two games to play, Cooper is 140 yards out of the tenth spot for receiving yards in a season in franchise history. He already holds the Raiders' rookie record.
  • Julio Jones hauled in nine catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons win over the Jaguars. He is the NFL's leader in catches with 118 and second in yards with 1,544. Julio and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown are the only two players with more than 100 grabs. They are also the only two with over 1,400 yards.

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to all these young'n quarterbacks transferring all over the place. Show a little patience, kids!

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of two years, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award.

  • Who Will Win - Derrick Henry!
  • Who Should Win - Derrick Henry!!!

It wasn't really all that close. Outside of the top 5, I cannot understand why anyone else got a first place vote.

Player School First Place Second Place Third Place Total
Derrick Henry Alabama 378 277 144 1,832
Christian McCaffrey Stanford 290 246 177 1,539
Deshaun Watson Clemson 148 240 241 1,165
Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 34 55 122 334
Keenan Reynolds Navy 20 17 86 180
Leonard Fournette LSU 10 25 30 110
Dalvin Cook Florida State 7 18 22 79
Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State 5 7 28 57
Connor Cook Michigan State 2 3 1 13
Trevone Boykin TCU 1 3 4 13

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Tuesday, December 22
POTATO BOWL
Akron vs Utah State 2:30pm/3:30pm, ESPNESPN Smurfville, Boise, ID - It's supposed to be 36° at kickoff. Enjoy!
BOCA RATON BOWL
Temple vs Toledo 6pm/7pm, ESPNESPN FAU! Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL - Phillip Ely's last collegiate game. Teams will be staying at the lovely Del Boca Vista

Wednesday, December 23
POINSETTIA BOWL
Boise State vs Northern Illinois 3:30pm, 4:30pm, ESPNESPN Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA - meh.
GODADDY BOWL
Georgia Southern vs Bowling Green 7pm/8pm, ESPNESPN Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL - Both teams had pretty good years.

Thursday, December 24
POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL
Middle Tennessee vs Western Michigan 11am/12pm, ESPNESPN Nassau - Have you ever eaten at Popeye's? Never again...
HAWAII BOWL
San Diego State vs Cincinnati 7pm/8pm, ESPNESPN Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI - Wish I was there, so I could leave at halftime and hit the beach.

Saturday, December 26
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
UConn vs Marshall 10am/11am, ESPNESPN Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg, FL - Worst stadium ever.
SUN BOWL
Miami (FL) vs Washington State 1pm/2pm, CBS Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX - Unka Verne & Gary D!
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
Washington vs Southern Miss 1:20pm/2:20pm, ESPNESPN The original Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX - Bounce back year for USM.
PINSTRIPE BOWL
Indiana vs Duke 2:30pm/3:30pm, ABCABCYankee Stadium, New York, NY - Why is ABC showing this game?
INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Tulsa vs Virginia Tech 4:45pm/5:45pm, ESPNESPN Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA - Frank Beamer's final curtain.
FOSTER FARMS BOWL
UCLA vs Nebraska 8:15pm/9:15pm, ESPNESPN The 49ers' Stadium, Santa Clara, CA - The 5-7 Huskers. Booo!

Monday, December 28
MILITARY BOWL
Pitt vs Navy 1:30pm/2:30pm, ESPNESPN Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD - Go Navy!
QUICK LANE BOWL
Central Michigan vs Minnesota 4pm/5pm, ESPN2 Ford Field, Detroit, MI - Turrible.

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

Michigan State vs. ALABAMA Thursday, December 31, 7pm/8pm, ESPN ESPN Arlington, Texas

Merry Christmas & #RollTide!