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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Sleepwalkers

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

Dead man walking...
Dead man walking...
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This past Saturday was dubbed "Cupcake Saturday". Many teams did not respect their "cupcake" opponents and came out flat. However, it did not result in any Michigan-Appy State Chaos. Instead, we were left with a whole lot of Hermoine.

slow clap

Alabama 31 Chattanooga 3 - The Crimson Tide was not immune to the flat game. Let's hope they got that out of their system. But a win is a win and for Nick Saban, it was win # 207.

Ohio State 17 Michigan State 16 - The Buckeyes had another flat game. Fortunately for them, MSU's Mark Dantonio made some highly questionable calls down the stretch. Late in the fourth quarter, Sparty found great success running the ball with LJ Scott. He carried the ball on 8 consecutive plays for 56 yards and a score on the drive. Then, Dantonio opted to try and take a one point lead on a two-point conversion. You may think it a bold move but they chose a pass play and it failed miserably as the passing game had all afternoon. MSU receivers accounted for 6 catches for 36 yards receiving. He followed that gem up with a squib on the ensuing kickoff giving OSU the ball at the 37! The Buckeyes were not very good this day but they were better than Dantonio's decision-making.

Michigan 20 Indiana 10 - Without quarterback Wilton Speight, the Wolverines compiled 59 yards on 7 of 16 passing. Lucky for them, they were playing Indiana who gained 64 rushing yards.

Clemson 35 Wake Forest 13 - The Tigers jumped out to a 28-0 lead and put it in cruise control.
Washington 44 Arizona State 18 - This wasn't as close as the score looks. The Sun Devils put up 15 on the Huskies back-ups late in the game.
Wisconsin 49 Purdue 20 - The Badgers scored 35 points in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the first half to put this one on ice early.
Penn State 39 Rutgers 0 - Honk if you have shut out Rutgers! A big score for PSU but it was 9-0 at the half.
Auburn 55 Alabama A&M 0 - Aubie beat up on a bad FCS team. Bravo. Jeremy Johnson did not win the Heisman but had a decent day passing 14/19-147-1-0.
Tennessee 63 Missouri 37 - In what was likely CBS's lowest rated game of the year, the Vols held a 5-point lead in the fourth quarter before Mizzou broke down.
Texas A&M 23 Texas San Antonio 10 - Myles Garrett artificially padded his stats with 4.5 sacks, more than doubling his previous total of four. Not a great game for the Aggies against a 5-win non-P5 team.
Georgia 35 Louisiana Lafayette 21 - Remember Anthony Jennings? The former LSU QB was leading passer in this game with 189 yards and had 96 yards rushing for 3 TDs. He also had 3 INTs and 0 passing TDs. Thanks for the memories, AJ. The leading rusher was also a Ragin' Cajun. This was an ugly win for UGA who was outgained 465 to 400.
South Carolina 44 Western Carolina 31 - SC somehow found their way to six wins but it wasn't easy. The 2-9 Catamounts hung with the Gamecocks most of the day, scoring in every quarter.
Kentucky 49 Austin Peay 13 - Mark Stoops had the audacity and disrespect for his opponent to start many back-ups including QB and RB, and found himself in a 13-0 second quarter hole against the winless FCS Governors. Once the starters were put into the game, UK took over. Lesson learned, Marky?

CHAOS LEFTOVERS

Houston 36 Louisville 10 - Chaos from Nov. 12 spilled over into Thursday as the Cougars took previously fifth ranked Cardinals to woodshed and whooped them good. Lamar Jackson was dreadful passing 20-43, 211 yards, 1 TD, and rushing 25 times for 33 yards and a lost fumble. The Cards lost three fumbles on the night and had 15 penalties for 114 yards.

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Florida 16 LSU 10 - On LSU's first visit inside the Gators ten yard line, they scored a TD. On the next four trips to the same area, they fumbled, kicked a field goal and lost the ball on downs TWICE. Any hope that Coach O had of keeping this gig in Red Stick was stopped at the one yard line. It is too bad because Orgeron would have been a bust hire and now the Tigers will probably get Jimbo Fisher and Lane Kiffin will go to FSU. Discuss.

Arkansas 58 Mississippi State 42 - Arky and Bully combined for 1,194 yards of offense and 52 first downs. MSU's Nick Fitzgerald had 328 passing, 131 rushing and accounted for 6 TDs. Arky's Rawleigh Williams ran 16 times for 205 and 4 TDs of his own.

Vanderbilt 38 Ole Miss 17 - Credit the Vandy coaching staff for it took one game's worth of film to figure out Shea Patterson. The Ole Miss QB had no Manziel magic this time as the 'Dores All-American candidate LB Zach Cunningham shadowed the freshman all game long and did not allow any big plays. Vandy's Ralph Webb ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Ole Miss went up 10-0 but allowed VU to score the next 31 points.

SEC BOWL PROJECTIONS:

In: Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina.

For all the marbles: Ole Miss needs to beat MSU in Oxford in the Egg Bowl.

It's possible: Vandy needs to defeat Tennessee at home.

Dead: Mizzou, Mississippi State.

circling the drain

CIRCLING THE DRAIN

Kansas State 42 Baylor 21 - After starting 6-0, it's four losses in a row for America's most hated CFB program. The Bears threw three INTs and lost a fumble. K-State scored all their points on the ground with RB Alex Barnes accounting for four TDs. What is a running team doing in the Big 12?!

Virginia Tech 34 Notre Dame 31 - The Hokies rallied from ten points down in the fourth quarter to hand the Irish their seventh loss and bowl elimination. Playing in South Bend on Senior Day, Notre Dame had more total yards and no turnovers to VaTech's two, but committed ten penalties for 78 yards. ND also went three and out on three of their last four drives. This was the first meeting between the Hokies and Irish.

Oklahoma State 31 TCU 6 - What has happened to the Horned Frogs? They were 11-2 a year ago and 12-1 the year before that. Now at 5-5, they will have to win @ Texas or home vs. Kansas State.

THE TEXAS QUAGMIRE

Kansas 24 Texas 21 (OT) - This was an inexcusable loss for the Longhorns. Coming into this game, the Jayhawks had won 13 games over the last seven seasons and 1-9 in the 2016 campaign. Even a rebuilding Texas team (even a rebuilding Texas TECH team) should never lose this kind of game.

Up 21-18 with under four minutes to play, Texas RB D'Onta Foreman fumbled at the Kansas 13 after a nice drive that had started on their own 23. KU gave up the ball on downs on their own 38, again setting the 'Horns up for a chance to put the game on ice. However, they could only move the ball 8 yards and gave it right back on downs. The 'Hawks drove the field and kicked a tying field goal with 7 ticks remaining on the clock. On the second play of overtime, Texas QB Shane Buechele threw a poor ball that was easily picked off. Kansas kicked a 25-yarder and the celebration was on. But not for Charlie Strong.

Everyone except for Strong seems to know that it is the end of the line for him in Austin. It was a bad match to begin with. But he sure gave it a good effort. Strong cleaned house, getting rid of a lot of the troublemakers. He recruited very well bringing in guys like freshman QB Buechele and former three-star turned national leading rusher Foreman, who despite their late game mistakes in this game are solid players. He just could not put the wins together. Last season, his team upset eventual playoff team Oklahoma but then inexplicably lost to Iowa State two weeks later.

Strong is a good coach and a good guy. And that is probably his downfall. To coach at Texas, you have to have a bit of @$$hole in you. Austin is riddled with meddlesome rich billionaire alumni who want their fingers in every pie. The head football coach at Texas needs to be a a Type A personality on steroids who is going to stand up to them and tell them to #@%& off every now and then. Strong will rebound. He will get another P5 job, but it will likely be a step down from the historically elite.

As for the future punching bag in Austin, don't be so quick to assume it will be Houston's Tom Herman. QB Greg Ward is a senior and it might be time to jump ship. But before he signs on the dotted line, LSU and potentially Oregon will have a say. Texas can match and beat any offer out there but is the aggravation worth it?

alabama helmet

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

  • Southern Cal - The Trojans (8-3, 7-2) keep rolling with a 36-14 dusting of their cross-town rivals UCLA. A Colorado loss to Utah gives the Men of Troy the PAC 12 - South crown.
  • WKU - The Hilltoppers (8-3, 6-1) had a bye week. They lead the C-USA East. A win at Marshall (3-7) on Saturday or an Old Dominion loss clinches it for WKU.
  • Chattanooga - The Mocs (8-3) earned an at-large spot in the FCS Playoff.  They will face Weber State Nov 26 at 1pm/2pm espn3.
  • Kent State (3-8) lost to Bowling Green (3-8). They end the misery on Friday vs Northern Illinois (4-7).

~~~~~

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • Jacksonville State - The Gamecocks were rewarded with the #3 seed and get a first round bye in the FCS Playoff. Jax will host the winner of Youngstown State and Samford on Dec. 3 at 1pm/2pm (espn3).
  • South Alabama (5-5) predictably beat Presbyterian 31-7. The Jags will have to win at Idaho (6-4) this Saturday or defeat New Mexico State (3-7) at home on Dec. 3 to be invited to play in a bowl game.
  • Wyoming (8-3, 6-1) handed San Diego State (9-2) only their second loss of the season holding the nation's #1 rusher Donnel Pumphrey to 76 yards and 0 TDs. Brian Hill countered with 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cowboys coach Craig Bohl is a name to keep an eye on. He is the guy who built North Dakota State into a powerhouse, winning three straight FCS NCs. Now he has Wyoming poised to win a MWC Division title.
  • Colorado (9-2, 7-1) snapped Wazzu's 8 game winning streak 38-24. QB Sefo Liufau has had a remarkable season. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffaloes won FIVE conference games from 2011-2015. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre is another one to watch. Up next: Utah.
  • North Texas forgotten quarterback Alec Morris was back and led the Mean Green (5-6) to an upset win over Southern Miss 29-23. He was 14 for 29 for 267 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. A win at UTEP (3-8) will extend their season one more game into December.

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

RS-Patriot

Army, Navy, and Air Force are all bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. It is only the second ever time that all three service academies will go to a bowl game.

  • Air Force (8-3) shot down San Jose State 41-38 on a 22 yard TD pass with 32 ticks to go. It was one of three completions for the Falcons on the day. Wishbone QB Arion Worthman had 215 rushing yards and two TDs on the ground. Up next: Boise.
  • Army (6-5) destroyed poor little FCS Morgan State (2-8) by the score of 60-3. The Black Knights outgained the Bears 561 to 124. Army-Navy is Dec. 10 2pm/3pm CBS.
  • Navy (8-2, 6-1) torpedoed East Carolina 66-31. The Middies galloped for 480 rushing yards. Only SMU and Army stand in the way of a 10-win season.

ELIMINATED FOR REALSIES THIS TIME*:

All non P5 teams, Louisville, West Virginny.

* crazier things

boxers

THE CONTENDERS

A way WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

  • ACC - Clemson stands alone but still has some peril ahead.
  • Big Ten - Michigan and Ohio State face off this Saturday. There is no guarantee that the Committee takes both of them... or either! Wisconsin waits in the wings.
  • Big 12 - Ugh, the Oklahoma (9-2) talk is gaining momentum. Maybe Oklahoma State can put that silliness to rest this Saturday. West Virginia is toast.
  • PAC-12 - Washington's path to the playoff looks a little clearer but they need to win out. Utah's loss to Oregon did not help the Huskies resume.
  • SEC - Alabama.
  • Notre Dame

The CFP Committee release their fourth rankings of the season on Tuesday evening. Alabama should stay at number one. It is a bit nebulous after that.

My seedings of the Top Four + 2 are as follows:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin

Call me crazy but I was unimpressed with both Michigan and Ohio State.

What does your top 4 look like?

THE PENN STATE ENIGMA

Can we talk about Penn State for a moment? Who exactly have they beaten that warrants a #8 ranking? The answer is a win over Ohio State at home on a flukey blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. That is it.

They are 9-2 but lost to unranked Pitt and went down to #3 Michigan to the tune of 49-10. Outside of Ohio State, the only team they have beaten that has spent any time in the rankings this season was Iowa who was ranked in the teens until they lost to North Dakota State in Week 3.

PSU's other seven wins are all unranked foes who have not even sniffed the Top 25: Kent State, Temple, Minny, Maryland, Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers.

~~~~~

Kristi_malzahn_says_shut_up_medium

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to Louisville. Bobby Petrino whined to the media about how his team ain't gittin' no 'spect and it rolled over to his players who Tweeted about how they ain't gittin' no 'spect. Nice focus. This is terrible leadership from the motorcycle enthusiast. Maybe he needs to spend a few years as an assistant at Saban Academy so he can learn how to act.

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  • Nick Saban said on Monday of OL Cam Robinson and Korren Kirven: "Those guys are better than expected." Both missed practice on Monday but are expected to be back on Tuesday. CamRob has made 40 consecutive starts at left tackle at the Capstone.
  • It sounds like the absence of WR ArDarius Stewart from the UTC game was not due to injury, more of a doghouse sort of thing. Saban: "If he does what he's supposed to do, he'll be fine in this game."
  • RB Bo Scarbrough could have played against Chattanooga but was held out to let him heal up for more important games down the stretch.
  • Auburn sat RB Kamryn Pettway, starting quarterback Sean White, H-back Chandler Cox and running back/receiver Stanton Truitt against Alabama A&M. Their Iron Bowl statuses are unknown as of yet but knowing Gustavo's fifth grade mind games, expect to see all of them play on Saturday.
  • Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight remains "day-to-day" with a shoulder injury, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines are diminished without him.
  • Leonard Fournette (ankle) is seriously doubtful Thursday vs. Texas A&M. Reports are that he was supposed to sit out against Florida but begged his way onto the field after a pre-game scuffle with the Gators. I hope it was worth those 40 yards.
  • I know this is shocking news but the Georgia State Panthers fired football coach Trent Miles, one of the worst and most baffling hires in recent CFB history. The braintrust at the Concrete Campus stole this guy away from Indiana State where he was 20-36 on in 5 seasons for the FCS Sycamores. He was 9–38 in four seasons at GSU.
  • A few eyebrows were raised this week when Oklahoma DL Charles Walker left the Sooners to prepare for the NFL. Walker, a redshirt junior, is projected to go somewhere on Day 2 of the NFL Draft (Rounds 2 and 3). He had a breakout season last year with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss from the DT position. However, he hasn’t played this season since suffering a concussion on Oct. 1. The Oklahoman reported that it was at least his third concussion of his college career. It stinks for Okie but I guess I can't blame the guy. Now if it had been a perfectly healthy player, I would have an issue. Whatchu think?

tiny football

STAT OF THE DAY

55-year-old SC State player Joe Thomas Sr. carried the ball four times for -1 yards against Savannah State making him the oldest player to participate in NCAA Division I College Football.

KEY & PEELE PLAYER NAME OF THE WEEK

Arizona State WR N'Keal Harry.

LET'S GO BOWLING!

  • Not counting the Championship Game in Tampa, there are 39 bowl games this 2016-17 season.
  • 65 FBS teams now have six or more wins, enough to fill 32 bowl games. An additional 17 teams have a chance to compete for spots in bowl games. We might get stuck with some losing record teams getting in again - TBD.
  • 46 teams have seven or more losses including Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, and Michigan State.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of TWO YEARS, 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 - The talk is all over the place. So many candidates are being bandied around that this may be the most unpredictable Heisman in many years. Lamar Jackson had an absolutely awful game in the Thursday spotlight but is probably still the favorite by default. Jabril Peppers didn't do much against li'l ol' Indiana. Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook has been getting some love. However, the last WR to win it was Desmond Howard way back in 1991, and he got it because of his kick returns. Westbrook has only a handful of returns.
  • Who Should Win - Lamar was dreadful passing 20-43, 211 yards, 1 TD, and rushing 25 for 33 yards and a lost fumble. He has accounted for two TDs running or passing in the last two games. You would think that he would drop from consideration but nobody else is stepping up to claim it. I say give it to the Alabama defense!

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It's RIVALRY WEEKEND! Thursday kicks off the final regular season games for all conferences who have joined us in the 21st century.

Times are CT/ET.

Tuesday, November 22

MAC teams vs MAC teams primetime, sports channel

Wednesday, November 23

No games

Thursday, November 24

LSU at Texas A&M 6:30/7:30 ESPN ESPN - A tough five day turnaround for LSU.

Friday, November 25

I won't list all 14 games, highlights only:

NC State at North Carolina 11am/noon ESPN ESPN
Arkansas at Missouri 1:30pm/2:30pm CBSThey are calling this "The Battle Line Rivalry". The two teams have only played 7 times, twice since Mizz joined the SEC.
Washington at Washington State 2:30pm/3:30pm FOXFOX wordmark.svg - The Apple Cup! Winner takes the Pac 12 - North.
Boise at Air Force 2:30pm/3:30pm CBSSN
TCU at Texas 2:30pm/3:30pm FS1 - A disappointing season for both of these programs.
Nebraska at Iowa 2:30pm/3:30pm ABCABC- This game has become a Thanksgiving tradition for some reason.
Toledo at Western Michigan 4pm/5pm ESPNUESPNU - The last hurdle to a perfect regular season for WMU.
Arizona State at Arizona 8:30pm/9:30pm ESPN ESPN - RichRod's last stand?

Saturday, November 26

SEC:

Georgia Tech at Georgia 11am/noon SECN- I get the feeling UGA will be in for a loooong day.
Kentucky at Louisville 11am/noon ESPNESPN - Will the Cards be angry or feeling sorry for themselves?
Mississippi State at Ole Miss 2:30pm/3:30pm SECN-  The Egg Bowl is running the same time as Iron Bowl? Iron smashes egg!
South Carolina at Clemson 6:30pm/7:30pm ESPNESPN - The Tigers should house the Cock-a-doodle-doos.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt 6:30pm/7:30pm SECN-  The 'Dores are too inconsistent to play two good games in a row.
Florida at Florida State 7pm/8pm ABCABC- Which Gators team will show up? How important is it to them to beat FSU?

DURING COMMERCIALS:

Michigan at Ohio State 11am/noon ABCABC- FINALLY!
Notre Dame at Southern Cal 2:30pm/3:30pm ABCABC- So Cal should send the Irish to 4-8.
Navy at SMU 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPNUESPNU- GO NAVY!
South Alabama at Idaho 2:30pm/3:30pm espn3 - USA needs one more win to get to 6 wins. That might be a tall order on the road against the 6-4 Vandals.
Troy at Texas State 3pm/4pm espn3 - We don't talk a lot about Troy - maybe because they are down there by that West Georgia school - but they have put together a nice little 8-2 season with an excellent shot at 11-2. 36-year old head coach Neal Brown is another one to keep an eye on.
Utah at Colorado 6:30/7:30 FOXFOX wordmark.svg - Beat the Utes and the Buffs clinch their first Pac-12 South title. Lose and it's So Cal's crown.

RIVALRY WEEK NUGGETS:

Rivalry Week is a lot more fun than most bowl games that just match up random teams. In many cases, you can throw the records out the window as programs are fighting for state pride and 364 days of bragging to their neighbor/co-worker/stupid loud-mouthed brother-in-law.

Kansas at Kansas State 11am/noon FS1 - The Battle of the Wheat Fields.
Rutgers at Maryland 11am/noon ESPNews - The Battle of the Mid-Atlantic.
Purdue at Indiana 11am/noon ESPNU - The Battle of the Hooiser State.
Illinois at Northwestern 11am/noon BTN - The Battle of Chicago.
UCF at South Florida 11am/noon CBSSN - The Battle of the rest of Florida.
Virginia at Virginia Tech 11am/noon ESPN2 - The Battle of Lovers .
San Jose State at Fresno State 2:30pm/3:30pm CBSSN - The Battle of mid-California.
Oregon at Oregon State 3pm/4pm PAC12 - The Battle of Nikeville.
Nevada at UNLV 3pm/4pm espn3 - The Battle of Sin City .
North Texas at UTEP 3pm/4pm ? - The Battle of the rest of Texas.
UCLA at Cal 6pm/7pm ESPN2 - The Battle of the rest of California.

CAN'T SLEEP?

Wyoming at New Mexico 9:15/10:15 ESPN2 - The Cowboys (8-3) and Lobos (7-4) both have one of their best teams in decades. Wyoming is 2-3 on the road this season. Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie heads up UNM.
Utah State at BYU 9:15/10:15 ESPNUESPNU- Mormons vs Mormons Lite. This could get ugly.
UMass at Hawai'i 10:59/11:59 Alohavision - That's a nice little recruiting tool: "Come to UMass and get a free trip to Hawaii!"

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA

#IRONBOWL2016 Awbren at ALABAMA 2:30pm/3:30pm CBSVerneGary Verne Ross; ABC = Always Be Crimson. For the Tigers, it'll be a set of steak knives.

23 Bama seniors will be honored before Saturday's game. They've posted a 48-5 record.

We aren't done with Unka Verne yet. The 2016 SEC Football Championship will be played December 3, 2016 in Bryant-Denny East in Atlanta, Georgia at 3pm/4pm, airing on CBS

#RollTide!