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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Playoffs!

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

Playoff Bound!
Playoff Bound!
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The College Football Playoff Committee's final rankings were announced and it came out the way most expected. At the top is Clemson, followed by Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma.

The first two teams out (aka: the other two of the New Year’s Six, NY6) are #5 Iowa and #6 Stanford. They will meet in the Rose Bowl. For the bowl matchup highlights (playoffs, SEC, others of interest only), check the schedule here.

I have to admit, this committee thing has really gotten it right for the two years they have been in existence. I am not just saying that as a Gump. They clearly dissect every team and every game. I hope that enthusiasm can continue for years to come.

THE PLAYOFF:

Bowl Date Location Matchup Prediction
Cotton Bowl Classic
12/31/15 Arlington, Texas Semifinal #2 Alabama vs. #3 Michigan State
Orange Bowl 12/31/15 Miami, Fla. Semifinal #1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma
Championship Bowl 01/11/16 Glendale, Ariz. Winners TBD

ELIMINATED:

Alabama 29 Florida 15

The Crimson Tide stuck with what has worked all season long: strong defense and running Derrick Henry. The Heisman Trophy finalist had 189 rushing yards, nine more than the Gators were able to tabulate in total offense. Florida was 0-11 in third down conversions and had 7 first downs.

Clemson UNC bad offside call

Clemson 45 North Carolina 37

Many of the wagging tongues were calling this one the "best game of the night". Translation: bad defense, lotsa scoring. The Tigers piled up 608 yards and 33 first downs. Despite only 382 yards of their own and two turnovers, the Tar Heels hung in there long enough to have a chance at the upset. And then the officials took over. With 1:13 to go, down by 8, UNC appeared to recover the onside kick, but were called for being offside. As you can see above and as replays showed, there were no baby blue jerseys across the 35 yard line when the kick was made. North Carolina attempted another onside kick and this time Clemson recovered and ran out the clock. This play is not reviewable but you can bet your beer money it will be next season.

Michigan State 16 Iowa 13

A game of stifling defenses and exchange of field goals was broken up when Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard connected with Tevaun Smith for an 85 yard touchdown pass. After the two teams exchanged punts, the Spartans went on a 22 plays, 82 yards drive that ended with L.J. Scott's bulldozer run from one yard out. The drive ate up 9:04 leaving Iowa with 27 seconds.

tiny football

GRAB BAG

Stanford 41 Southern Cal 22 - The Trees fed Christian McCaffrey all night (36 touches compared to 24 for the rest of the team) and he turned out 207 on the ground and 105 on catches, scoring twice. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan attempted only 12 passes connecting on 9 with 4 tosses going to McCaffrey.
Houston 24 Temple 13 - The Owls turned the ball over on their first two possessions, allowing Houston to jump out to a 17-0 lead. They did not look back from there en route to the AAC Championship.
Texas 23 Baylor 17 - With Baylor down to a fourth quarterback because of yet another injury, the Bears lost their Sugar Bowl chance after falling to the Longhorns (5-7) in their regular-season finale.
Bowling Green 34 N. Illinois 17 - The Falcons win the MAC despite 13 penalties for 110 yards. The Huskies turned the ball over five times to BGSU's two. MAC football, y'all.
WKU 48 Southern Miss 28 - Brandon Doughty threw 34-52, 410 yds, 3 TD, INT to win the Conference USA Championship. The Golden Eagles had four turnovers.
San Diego State 27 Air Force 24 - Them there Aztecs win the MWC and Boise was nowhere to be found.

~~~~~

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

The Crimson Tide finished with the second best strength of schedule behind Oklahoma. Bama was 9-1 vs. the Football Power Index (FPI) Top 32.

FPI

Wisconsin FPI rank: 26; FPI Game Score: 94
Middle Tennessee FPI rank: 78; FPI Game Score: 79
Ole Miss FPI rank: 5; FPI Game Score: 47
Louisiana Monroe FPI rank: 118; FPI Game Score: 63
Georgia FPI rank: 19; FPI Game Score: 97
Arkansas FPI rank: 16; FPI Game Score: 91
Texas A&M FPI rank: 23; FPI Game Score: 97
Tennessee FPI rank: 11; FPI Game Score: 94
LSU FPI rank: 13; FPI Game Score: 95
Mississippi State FPI rank: 22; FPI Game Score: 97
Charleston Southern FPI rank: --; FPI Game Score: 72
Auburn FPI rank: 32; FPI Game Score: 93
Florida FPI rank: 24; FPI Game Score: 94
Michigan State FPI rank: 14; FPI Game Score: TBD

Of the 12 FBS teams that Alabama played, only La-Monroe will not be going to a bowl game. FCS Charleston-Southern is 10-2 and are currently in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

~~~~~

ELIMINATED:

All non-Power 5 teams.
IOWA
Arizona
Arizona State
Arkansas
Auburn
Baylor
Boise
Boston College
Brigham Young
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
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oregon
Oregon State
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
South Carolina
Southern Cal
Stanford
Syracuse
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Christian
Texas Tech
Ucla
Utah
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 made it into the playoff:

  • ACC (1) - Clemson
  • Big Ten (1) - Michigan State

B1G finals 2015

  • Big 12 (1) - Oklahoma

b12 final 2015

  • PAC-12 (0) - Stanford
  • SEC (1) - Alabama
  • Notre Dame (0)

It's comical to hear the minority yelping for an expanded playoff. The season plays itself out like one already.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to the Big Ten: Iowa for their first loss of the season and Ohio State who dropped to #7 behind Stanford.

~~~~~

Sad_face_medium

  • Alabama freshman sensation Calvin Ridley was shaken up during the SECCG on two consecutive plays but will not miss any practice time. Despite breaking his arm three weeks ago, Kenyan Drake saw extended playing time against Florida getting seven touches for 30 yards.
  • Ryan Kelly has been named one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy given to the best center in college football.
  • Three of four playoff head coaches were named as Eddie Robinson Award finalists. Can you guess who they left off? I'll give you a hint: his initials are "Nick Saban". It's amazing how little respect he is getting after being left for dead back in September. #TheDynastyIsOver
  • Kirby Smart has been named as one of five finalists for the Broyles Award for top assistant. You may recall Lane Kiffin was a finalists last year. Also named, Gene Chizik (North Carolina DC), Kendal Briles (Baylor OC), Brent Venables (Clemson DC), and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma OC).
  • It should be no surprise to hear that Bama wide receiver Chris Black plans to grad-transfer. He has had a disappointing career at the Capstone after being ranked as the nation's No. 4 receiver in the class of 2012 - ahead of the likes of Amari Cooper (Raiders) and Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma).
  • UGA QB Faton Bauta, who had a high-profile disastrous start against Florida, has decided to grad-transfer from Bulldogs. He has never been arrested so Auburn and Louisville are probably out.
  • Mark Richt did not take long to find a new landing spot returning to his alma mater Miami (FL) where his was the back-up QB to Jim Kelly. Reports say that he will make up to $4 million a year, a number that could make Richt the second-highest paid coach in the ACC behind Florida State's Jimbo Fisher,
  • Maybe the oddest hire of the week was the Gamecocks pick-up of Will Muschamp. Insiders are saying that Athletics Director Ray Tanner had set his hopes on Kirby Smart and then panicked when the UGA job opened up, usurping Smart. Tanner, who has been on the job since July 2012 after spending 16 successful seasons as head coach of the University's baseball program winning two College World Series Championships in 2010 and 2011, may be on the hot seat if this hire does not work out.
  • Bronco Mendenhall made the surprise lateral move of the week leaving BYU behind for the University of Virginia. As a devout Mormon and a native Utahan, many figured the 49-year old would stay in Provo for the rest of his career. His roots are deep in BYU with his father and brother both playing for the Cougars. His wife is from Missoula, MT and they have three sons (Cutter, 15; Breaker, 13; and Raeder, 12). Reports indicate he will make $3.25 million per year at UVa. All eleven of his Cougars teams played in a bowl game. He was 99–42.
  • Missouri is following a lazy trend of hiring from within going with 39-year old DC Barry Odom who played for the Tigers in the 1990s. He has never been a head coach outside of two years at a high school from 2001 to 2002.
  • The CEO and founder of Under Armor did not get his way as Maryland opted for 37-year old D.J. Durkin who served this past season as the DC for Michigan. Before that, he was Muschamp's DC at Florida and coached the Gators to a Birmingham Bowl win over East Carolina, his only HC experience.
  • One hire to keep your eye on is Oregon OC Scott Frost who has taken the UCF job. Frost quarterbacked Stanford before transferring to Nebraska and leading the 'Huskers to a share of the 1997 National Championship. After carrying a clipboard in the NFL for four seasons, he got into coaching, oddly enough, on the defensive side for Northern Iowa. Chip Kelly hired him to coach wide receivers until he was promoted to OC under Mark Helfrich. I like this move for him as well as for the Knights.

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • South Alabama (5-7) lost to App State (10-2) by the score of 34-27.
  • Toledo (9-2) gets the joy of playing Temple in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl. I am not optimistic for their chances.
  • GO NAVY! is already slated for the Military Bowl against Pitt but first they play Army on Saturday.
  • Memphis (9-3) plays Auburn in Birmingham! This should be fun.

stadium

#TooManyBowls!

Lost is the shuffle of the championship games was lowly Georgia State upsetting Georgia Southern (8-4), meaning the Panthers finish with their first non-losing season ever (6-6) and reach their first bowl (the Cure Bowl vs. San Jose St). Ga Southern lost 1,540 yard/16 TD rusher Matt Breida to a torn muscle above the ankle early in the game.

Underdog Kansas State also won (24-23 over WVU) to reach six wins. Therefore, only three 5-7 teams will be needed to fill out the ridiculous number of bowls. Saying your team went to a bowl game is officially not impressive.

flat

The 5-7 Three:

  1. Foster Farms Bowl: UCLA vs. Nebraska
  2. Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
  3. Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs San Jose State

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 - There was a lot of Derrick Henry hate going around ESPN on Sunday. It is so sad that so many in the press are impressionable bandwagon jumping dolts. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey are the other finalists with Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield left out. In the end, it feels like Henry will eke it out.
  • Who Should Win - Derrick Henry.

The ESPN-poisoned Heisman show will begin 7pm/8pm on Saturday, December 12. Expect the announcement to come about 50 minutes later.

Black_white_tv_salesman_medium

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Army vs. Navy 3pm/4pm, CBSPhiladelphia, PA - Another opportunity to listen to the unique stylings of Unka Verne and Gary D with Allie LaForce.

FCS Quarterfinals:

Friday, December 11:
Richmond vs. Illinois State 6:30pm/7:30pm espn3 Hancock Stadium, Normal, IL
Charleston Southern vs. Jacksonville State 7pm/8pm ESPN2 Burgess-Snow Field, Jacksonville, AL

Saturday, December 12:
Northern Iowa vs. North Dakota State 11am/noon ESPN ESPN Fargodome, Fargo, ND
Colgate vs. Sam Houston State 7pm/8pm espn3 Bowers Stadium, Huntsville, TX

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

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

#RollTide!