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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: ELIMINATION ROUND

Bama rolls while two national powers go down.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama
“She likes football and cigars? Put a ring on her!” ~ Brad Nessler (Too late!)
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

(See if you can find the hidden theme in this past week’s docket of games.)

There was no Chaos. There was little drama. There were not many close games at all and very few worth watching. It was so bad that Fox was showing TCU-Kansas - in prime time! Who made that choice? The Jayhawks gained 21 TOTAL yards against the Horned Frogs. Yeah, someone got fired over that.

However, there were a pair of games that helped clear the playoff picture in resounding fashion. The outcome of these games caused two teams to be...


Notre Dame 49 Southern Cal 14 - Minkah Fitzpatrick's high school teammate Brandon Wimbush jumped all over the Trojans early. The junior QB, passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more. The Irish relied heavily on the running game. Wimbush was only 9 of 19 passing for 120 yards but ran for 106 on 14 carries. Teammate Josh Adams had 191 yards on 19 rushes and 3 TDs.

Fir the Men of Troy, Sam Darnold fumbled (7 fumbles in the last 4 games, 6 lost) on the first play of their first possession leading to ND’s first score. After a “five-and-out” on their next possession, Southern Cal allowed the Irish to drive the field and punch in touchdown number two. A muffed punt and a Darnold interception led to two more Notre Dame scores and just like that, the Trojans were in a 28-0 halftime deficit and the game was basically over.

The Trojans culled just 76 rushing yards averaging 2.5 ypc. Ronald Jones “led” the team with 32 yards in 12 carries (theme hint).

Penn State 42 Michigan 13 - The Wolverines heralded defense did not look so great on Saturday night, yielding 506 yards via 282 passing and 224 rushing. Saquon Barkley picked up 108 yards and 2 TD on the ground to go with 53 receiving and another score. The Michigan running game could not get going, managing only 103 yards on 42 carries for 2.5 ypc average (hmm, another clue). Only -3 rushing yards were pinned on QB John O’Korn. If Michigan cannot put a running game together, there is no way they can lean on O’Korn - or injured starter Wilton Speight for that matter - to win ball games.

Michigan is staring 8-4 square in the face and a possibility of their restless coach moving on yet again (Chicago Bears?).

PSU gets over their first big hurdle but it doesn’t get easier with back-to-back road games at Ohio State and Michigan State. There is no doubt that the N-Lions play better at home.


Five SEC teams had the week off.

Alabama 45 Tennessee 7 - I believe the graphic above says it all. The Crimson Tide played their back-up quarterback and fourth thru sixth team running backs most of the second half. It is highly unlikely that Butch Jones returns after this season. I assume UT is just waiting for the season to end, so the buyout is a few million dollars less.

Auburn 52 Arkansas 20 - I’m gonna miss making fun of Bert. Bret Bielema is likely also out on his can after the season. This ass-whupping occurred on the Hogs home field in front of 70,000 disgruntled fans. Aubie’s Kamryn Pettway rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Kerryon Johnson added 63 yards and a scorec. The Tigers totaled 345 rushing yards for the game. Jarrett Stidham did not find the end zone but did throw a pick. WR Ryan Davis connected with Darius Slayton for 62-yard trick-play touchdown.

A few bright spots for Arky were David Williams rushing 14 times for 86 yards, and a 100-yard kickoff return by De'Vion Warren. LB Dre Greenlaw had 9 solo tackels and 4 assists.

Mississippi State 45 Kentucky 7 - Hmm, that is a familiar score...

It’s either feast or famine with MSU. Despite being 5-2, the closest point spread they have had all year was 25 points. They have blown out five opponents while being routed twice themselves (UGA, Aub).

Nick Fitzgerald did his usually pass (155 yds, TD) and run (115 yds, 2 TD) thing, but it was the defense that was the star. UK crossed midfield on only three drives the entire game.

Kentucky QB Stephen Johnson had a poor game completing only 46% of his passes and throwing a pair of picks, one returned 84 yards for six points. The Wildcats ground game put together only 115 yards, 7-18 for Benny Snell (get it now?).

LSU 40 Ole Miss 24 - This was the Derrius Guice show, co-starring Darrel Williams. Guice ran for 276 and a TD with Williams adding 103 (enough hints yet?). Fortunately for LSU, all quarterback Danny Etling had to do was turn around and handoff.

Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson was injured in the second quarter and replaced by Hawaii native Jordan Ta'amu (back-up Hawaiian QB can’t be bad, right?). The juco transfer looked good completing 7 of 11 for 78 yards and running three times for 20. In his only meaningful action of the day, he led the Rebels on a drive of 10 plays and 66 yards resulting in a field goal to close out the half at 13-6. In a baffling second half move, Interim coach Matt Luke put Patterson came back in and left him despite a noticeable limp and poor play (10 of 23, 116 yds, 0 TD, 3 INT). Not until the final possession with the score 40-16 did Ma’anu re0enter the game. At that point, he again led the Rebs to a scoring drive, this one of 9 plays, 66 yards resulting in a touchdown. As it turns out, Patterson was playing on a torn PCL (see the Sick Report below). Why Luke did not play Ma’anu sooner in the second half is a head-scratcher.

Missouri 68 Idaho 21 - Mizzou would be a kick-ass FCS team.


Wisconsin 38 Maryland 13 - They ain’t played nobody, PAWWWWL! The Teprs are down to their third quarterback due to injuries, and to be honest, that is when the losing began for UM. Wisky outgained the Turtles 440 to 268.

Miami 27 Syracuse 19 - There was no way the ‘Cuse was beating two teams in a row like that. It was probably easy for Mark Richt to turn on the Clemson-Syracuse tape to prep his team and get their minds right. Last week’s hero for Syracuse, Eric Dungey, was absolutely dreadful completing only 13 of 41 passes and four completions to guys in green - all in the first half. Despite this, the Orange were only down 13-3 at halftime. It was a 20-19 Hurricanes advantage deep into the fourth quarter when Travis Homer ran 33 yards for a TD. Syracuse gave the ball over on downs and Miami ran out the clock. Another skin-of-their-teeth win for the ‘U’.

Oklahoma State 13 Texas 10 (OT) - Despite all the stats leaning heavily towards Okie State (428 yds to 283, 26 first downs to 13, 2 penalties to 8, time of possession), this game was locked up at 10 each at the end of regulation. OSU kicked a field goal in the first overtime. On 3rd and 4 at Cowboys’ 6 yard line, Texas freshman QB Sam Ehlinger scrambled to the left under heavy pressure. Nobody was open. All he needed to do was throw the ball away so his team could kick the tying field goal. However, he sent a floater pass into the front corner of the end zone to the ghost of Jordan Shipley and it was easily picked off to seal the game.
For the game, the OSU offense punted 9 times, lost a fumble, and missed a field goal. Texas punted 11 times and had the one interception. Ugh.
The Cowboys dropped one place in the AP rankings.

Oklahoma 42 Kansas State 35 – Another Struggle Win for the Soonies. I believe they have taken the lead in that category from Michigan.
K-State led this one 21-7 in the second quarter but you knew that wouldn't last. The Sooners came back to take a late lead but KSU tied it at 35-35 with 2:35 to go. That was enough time for Baker Mayfield to lead a drive of 11 plays and 76 yards for the clinching TD at the 0:07 mark.
The Sooners dropped one place in the AP rankings.


The ESPN blabbermouth picked Stanford, Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami, and Okie State to win their conferences. One down, one dying, three to go.

  • Okie State - A mistake by the Tejas frosh QB saves them for another week. Don’t believe that OSU is going to last. Their next three are @ #22 WVU, vs #10 OKLA, and @ #25 ISU.
  • Georgia - We may have to wait til December, unless they eat the rat poison.
  • Wisconsin - We may have to wait til December. They still ain’t played nobody, PAWWWWWWL.
  • Miami - keeps winning but can it last? After a warm-up game versus UNC, they play Va Tech and Notre Dame. Remember due to the real hurricanes, they have to play ten games in a row, potentially 11 if they make it to the ACC Championship Game, without a bye week.
tiny football


The Crimson Tide foes.

  • FSU (2-4) The ‘Noles have fallen apart without QB Deondre Francois and you have to wonder if Jimbo Fisher has lost this team and the fans. A Louisville field goal with 5 seconds remaining allow the Cardinals to continue their delusion a little longer.
  • Colorado State (5-2) These non-con wins are starting to looking better than the one above! The Rams win at New Mexico 27-24. Next: Air Force.
  • Fresno (5-2) After a 1-11 season last year, the Bulldogs may be the best turnaround story of the year. FSUw dominated a good San Diego State team 27-3. They take a two game lead in the MWC, West division.
  • Mercer (4-4) lost to Furman.


  • San Diego State (6-2) The Aztecs lost to Fresno. Rashaad Penny was held to 73 yards and no scores.
  • Memphis (6-1) - This must be KILLING Tennessee fans. Not only are the Vols circling the drain, but the quarterback who they let get away is looking really good at Memphis. Riley Ferguson threw for 471 yards, winning at Houston 42-38. Ferguson signed with the Vols in 2013 but was stuck behind Joshua Dobbs (DIDJA NO HE WUZ AN AIRYSPACE INJINEER??!?!). Ferguson went to juco and then transferred to Memphis last year. The Tigers might just be the best football team in the state of Tennessee.


  • Troy (5-2) gets back on track with a 34-10 win over Georgia State. One more win and they get to play a bowl game in New Mexico or Detroit or somewhere else disgusting.
  • South Alabama (3-4) defeat La-Monroe 33-23. The Jags have two wins in a row. Of their final five opponents, only Arkansas State (4-2) has a winning record.


UAB - Was there Rat Poison in Birmingham? The Blazers came into this past week feeling pretty good at 4-2 (2-1 C-USA). A trip to 0-7 Charlotte flipped the field on those feelings. UAB blew a 17-0 lead allowing the 49ers to tie it up and take the game to overtime. After giving up 7 in the first OT, the Charlotte, perhaps the worst team in FBS, scored and went for a two-point conversion and won their first game of the season. UAB is 0-3 on the road, 4-0 at home.



  • Navy (5-2) The Midshipmen put up a good fight but fell to #20 UCF 31-21. Temple is next on the slate.
  • Army (6-2) - The Black Knights beat Temple in overtime, gaining bowl eligibility for the second year in a row. They have a bye week to prep for Air Force.
  • Air Force (3-4) - The Falcons held off Nevada 45-42. Up Next: at Colorado State.


NEW: Southern Cal, Michigan

All non-Power 5 teams.

Arizona State
Boston College
Florida State
Georgia Tech
Iowa State
Kansas State
Michigan State
Mississippi State
North Carolina
Oregon State
South Carolina
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
West Virginia

AND... Ole Miss


The first College Football Playoff Rankings will be issued on Nick Saban’s birthday, Tuesday, October 31. Selection Day will be Sunday, December 3.

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

  • ACC - Miami still leads the ACC but Clemson is far from out of the chase. NC State is on the cusp.
  • Big Ten - Michigan is out. Penn State and Ohio State play Saturday. Sparty can still be a havoc wreaker. In the B1G West, go ahead and engrave the trophy for Wisky.
  • Big 12 - TCU leads the conference standings with Okie and Okie State right on their heels, as November looms large. Having a Conference Championship Game might actually backfire for the Big 12.
  • PAC-12 - It looks like the flag carrier for this conference will be the winner of the Washington-Wazzu game. But it won’t be so easy with both schools having Stanford left on their schedules in November and then the Conference Championship Game. Odds are that opponent will be Southern Cal.
  • SEC - Everything seems to be pointing towards an Alabama clash with UGA in December. If both teams go 12-0, they could both get in the playoff regardless of who wins the SEC Championship Game.
  • Indies - Notre Dame is back! But for how long? The Irish will need to keep winning. That means NC State, Wake, at Miami, Navy, at Stanford. Get through that gauntlet and it would be difficult to keep them out of the playoff.

Six P5 teams remain undefeated: Alabama 8-0, Georgia 7-0, Penn State 7-0, TCU 6-0, Wisconsin 7-0, Miami 6-0. After eight weeks, only ten P5 teams have one loss.


North Carolina, what happened? I know they lost Mitch Trubisky to the NFL but how does a team go from ACC title contender to 1-7? Baylor is understandably 0-7. BYU has joined the 7-loss party as well.

Eight SEC teams have a record of 5-2 or better. Florida at 3-3 has an uphill battle to get to win number six (UGA, @Miz, @SC, UAB, FSU). If they had just found a way to relocate or reschedule their hurricane-cancelled game with Northern Colorado, the road would be a little smoother.

28 teams now have six or more wins. 50 bowl slots remain to be filled.

Kristi Malzahn

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to Jim Harbaugh. We haven't heard much from him lately.


  • 804 yards of offense and 37 first downs for Lane Kiffin's FAU! team. The Owls did not punt and scored on their first 11 possessions in a resounding 69-31 win over North Texas. The only time they failed to score was when they gave it over on downs in the twelfth possession and when they took a knee on their thirteenth. They move to 4-3.
  • Maybe Henry Ruggs III should be called Henry Ruggs VI: 5 catches, 5 touchdowns.
Gump 4 Heisman


With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Last year was yet another exhibit of the voters falling in love with someone way too early. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

Quick question: Can you guess which Ohio State quarterback received the most Heisman votes in a given year? Was it Braxton Miller? J.T. Barrett maybe? Perhaps Terrelle Pryor? By some oddity was it Cardale Jones? Could it be someone like Kirk Herbstreit or Mike Tomczak from back in the day? Does it shock you to know that the answer is Troy Smith? I was looking up the list of Heisman winners for the last Senior to win the trophy (it was Smith in 2006) when I saw his name. I honestly could not remember him or anything he did in his career. That is how stupid this trophy can be. Not only that, but he received the second highest percentage of votes of all time after Reggie Bush's vacated win with 91.63% of the vote. Bush had 91.77% the year before.

Who Will Win -

  • Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State) I seriously want to punch some of these members of the national media in the throat. Again, they are madly in love with this guy and won’t change their minds unless he absolutely tanks. I’m not saying he isn’t worthy. I am just asking for these voters to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend to make up their minds.
  • Bryce Love (RB Stanford) Better stats but he is on a 5-2 team. Again, this award is not about skill. It is about hype and highlights.
  • Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) He is still a little too erratic and hotheaded.
  • Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville) returning winner clause.

Who Should Win -
The difference between Barkley and Love versus Alabama’s Damien Harris is that for the former two, it is them or nothing. The Crimson Tide has five legitimate starting running backs plus a QB who can run. For Penn State and Stanford, there is no back-up that could replace them. Bama’s fourth team RB Najee Harris has more rushing yards than the second highest rusher on either of those two teams. Also take into consideration that Bo Scarbrough has been called on in most goal line situations this year. If not for this strategy, Damien could easily have another five or so scores on his resume. Like most Bama players, Harris came to Tuscaloosa to win championships over winning the Heisman. But you have to wonder if he had gone to another school if he might have 1,000+ yards and 16 or more touchdowns right about now.

Want a new stat? How about Harris scoring a touchdown every 8.7 touches? Love scores every 12.6. Barkley is last at 13.5.

Damien Harris 81 697 8.6 10 6 46 7.7 0 743 8.5 10
Saquon Barkley 117 757 6.5 8 32 448 14.0 3 1205 8.1 11
Bryce Love 135 1387 10.3 11 4 19 4.8 0 1406 10.1 11

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Boise State
Wyoming Cowboys defensive tackle Conner Cain.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports


  • No Alabama injuries to report! Roll Tide!
  • Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson will miss rest of season with a torn PCL.
  • Tennessee OG Jack Jones, who did not play against Bama, has announced he will retire from football due to neck injury.
  • Arkansas RB Chase Hayden is expected to miss significant amount of time with a foot or ankle injury. Bert ain’t sayin’ which.
  • It’s a rich family tradition. Miami Hurricanes TE Michael Irvin Jr. has been suspended indefinitely. Richt ain’t sayin’ why.
  • Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger has entered concussion protocol.
  • Michigan State running back L.J. Scott was arrested last week for license infraction for seventh time in two years. Mom and dad: get your backsides down to East Lansing and take his car away! He started against Indiana and is not expected to be suspended any time soon.
  • To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was fired with cause last Wednesday. Jurich hired Rick Pitino as well as the degenerate Bobby Petrino.
  • Nebraska hired Washington State AD Bill Moos for the same job in Lincoln. Many expect that this move signals the end of Mike Riley (former Bama player under Bear Bryant) as the Cornhuskers’ football coach after three seasons. However, it should be noted that Riley previously coached Oregon State for 14 seasons. It is fair to say that Moos and Riley have probably crossed paths a few times. In a recent Random Thoughts I mentioned UCF coach Scott Frost as “The Next Big Thing”. He was a star quarterback at Nebraska back in the Tom Osborne (1995–1997) heyday and could be a prime candidate should Riley get the boot. I wonder if Riley would take an analyst job back in T-town...
  • Georgia Southern has seen enough of Tyson Summers, giving the 37 year old rookie coach the boot after a season and a half and a 5–13 record. He was 0-6 this season including a loss to FCS New Hampshire (win a free year’s subscription to RBR if you can name their mascot or team colors!). It’s a little odd what’s going on down there. The last two head coaches who preceded Summers left for what are basically lateral moves: Jeff Monken to Army and Willie Fritz to Tulane. My guess is it’s a money issue. Or a lack of money issue.
  • In other news, James Franklin can go pound sand.
Black and White TV

Unka Verne may be gone but it’s the same ol’ CBS. Any break in the action and they were off to five minutes of commercials. So annoying.

Below are just the highlights for games this weekend. If you want to know the game time of Austin Peay-UCF, you should probably look elsewhere.

Thursday, Oct 26:

South Alabama at Georgia State 6:30/7:30 ESPNU - The Jags need to start beating the teams they are supposed to beat.
Stanford at Oregon State 8pm/9pm ESPN - A chance to check out Bryce Love.

Friday, Oct 27:

Tulane at Memphis 7pm/8pm CBSSN - The Tigers should cruise, unless they eat the rat poison.
Florida State at Boston College 7pm/8pm ESPN - Two teams going in opposite directions.
Tulsa at SMU 8pm/9pm ESPN2 - Pass.

Saturday, Oct 28:


Arkansas at Ole Miss 11am/noon SECN - A battle to stay out of the SEC West cellar.
Georgia at Florida 2:30/3:30 CBS – They can keep politically correctly renaming this game all they want but it will always be the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party! Florida is kinda the forgotten team in the SEC but if they win this one, they will be remembered.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina 3pm/4pm SECN - Watch the poison, SC.
Missouri at UConn 5:30/6:30 CBSSN - If Mizzou loses this game, they might as well turn in their SEC credentials.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M 6:15/7:15 ESPN - Still not sure what to think of either of these teams. This game should tell us.
Tennessee at Kentucky 6:30/7:30 SECN - How will UT respond?

* Alabama, LSU, and Auburn have the week off.


Oklahoma State at West Virginia 11am/noon ABC - Could this be the end of the road for the Cowpokes?
Penn State at Ohio State 2:30/3:30 FOX - PSU fans were chanting “We Want Bama!” Getting a little ahead of yourselves, aren’t you? Ya think OSU will use this to their advantage?
NC State at Notre Dame 2:30/3:30 NBC - Bradley Chubb and the Wolfpack defense (6th in the nation vs the run) may present a new challenge for the Irish: forcing Brandon Wimbush to pass.
Georgia Tech at Clemson 7pm/8pm ABC - The Tigers had a week off to get over their loss to Syracuse and for Kelly Bryant to heal. How will they respond?


Southern Cal at Arizona State 9:45/10:45 ESPN - Will the Trojans have a letdown? The Sun Devils are coming off upsets of Washington and Utah.
San Diego State at Hawaii 10:15/11:15 ESPN2 - SDSU need to snap a two-game losing streak.


BYE WEEK - Saturday, October 28, 2017

ALABAMA rests up for a big game against an improved and inspired LSU.

Peace and blessings to you all!



Which Saturday game will garner the most of your attention in the 2:30/3:30 block?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Penn State at Ohio State on FOX
    (308 votes)
  • 5%
    NC State at Notre Dame on NBC
    (29 votes)
  • 24%
    Georgia at Florida CBS
    (137 votes)
  • 15%
    None of the above. I have a wedding, yard work, family time, studying, vacation.
    (85 votes)
559 votes total Vote Now