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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Nonpartisan Chaos

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A tough one to swallow.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn
Defensive back Hootie Jones is helped off the field during the fourth quarter against Auburn.
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

For the writers and talking heads of college football, this past week’s Chaos was a boon for business. For Alabama and Miami, not so much. It was Rivalry Week and no team was immune to the Chaos.

THURSDAY CHAOS (KINDA)

Ole Miss 31 Mississippi State 28 - Have you ever seen those click-bait articles that say something like “One Player Each SEC School Cannot Live Without”? Guess who the Bullies’ one player is. Only six minutes into the game, Nick Fitzgerald took an awkward tackle and bent his right ankle in a way ankles are not supposed to be bent. With him out of the game, MSU struggled to get the offense going under true freshman Keytaon Thompson.

The Rebs built a 24-6 lead behind the running of Jordan Wilkins (14-110, 2TD) and the dynamic pass-catching of AJ Brown (6-167, TD). Thompson finally started to get things clicking for MSU late in the game but it was not enough.

The Bulldogs’ loss hurts the Crimson Tide’s resume, making it a “kinda” Chaos.

FRIDAY CHAOS

Pitt 24 Miami 14 - Well, it’s ABOUT time! Miami got to a 10-0 record by scoring on long YOLO passes and they were not able to do that against the Panthers. Kudos to Pitt's Pat Narduzzi for recognizing that and scheming against it. The ‘Canes gained only 187 passing yards (58 of which came after they were down 24-7) and a scant 45 on the ground. They were 4 of 15 on third down and punted a whopping 10 times!

SATURDAY CHAOS

Auburn 26 Alabama 14 - This is a hard one for Tide fans to swallow but the Tigers played a better game. They executed a better game while Alabama made several “unforced errors” in all three phases of the game. This is not a great Auburn team but it is a very good one who has everything clicking at the right time. I have respect for that team but their fans sure showed the kind of class of people they have.

SEC vs ACC

Georgia 38 Georgia Tech 7 - UGA got back on track, outrushing the triple option 247 to 188.

Louisville 44 Kentucky 17 - Lamar Jackson had his way with the ‘Cats as attention quickly moves to the hard court. Only 56,186 tickets were sold to the game at the Stadium Formerly Known As Commonwealth Stadium (capacity 67,606).

Florida State 38 Florida 22 - The Gators went out with a whimper. FSU scored on a pick-six and a scoop & score.

Clemson 34 South Carolina 10 - Kudos to Will Muschamp for the turnaround season in Columbia but this game shows how far they have to go. The Gamecocks were held to 207 total yards and ten first downs. They were flagged nine times to two for the Tigers. Hmmm...

GRAB BAG

Ohio State 31 Michigan 20 - Up north, they arrogantly call this “The Game” but it wasn’t much of one. Despite anOSU playing without injured QB J.T. Barrett for much of the second half, the Wolverines could not get anything going on either side of the ball.

Oklahoma 59 West Virginia 31 - If you had the punishment of Baker Mayfield for his crotch-grabbing hissy-fit at one whole series, then you are a winner. Back-up QB Kyler Murray ran for 66 yards on the first play of the game and Rodney Anderson scored from 4 yards out on the next play. Next series, the enfant terrible Mayfield was quickly inserted into the game. As a reward for Murray, he was given first choice of on any spot on the bench he wanted until the score was 59-24.

UCF 49 South Florida 42 - USF led 34-28 entering the fourth quarter but gave up three touchdowns followed by a fumble at midfield with 39 seconds.

The Knights clinched a perfect 11-0 regular season but never rescheduled the cancelled hurricane game with Georgia Tech. Not finding a way to get that game played diminishes any whiny complaint they may have towards playoff inclusion. UCF cancelled games with the Yellow Jackets and Maine. They found a way to add Austin Peay on Oct. 28 but nothing else. The GT game could have been moved to Atlanta. They had a return trip already planned for 2020 that could have easily been swapped locations in three years.

LOL

Vanderbilt 42 Tennessee 24 - The Vols finish 0-8 in the conference for the first winless SEC record EVER! The Vols have not had as few as 4 total wins since 1977. The overall record of 4-8 (33.3%) is their worst winning percentage since they were 1-6 in 1909.

Texas Tech 23 Texas 23 - Just as everyone is starting to get all excited about the Longhorns, they go out and lay a big egg on Senior Day in Austin. Texas led 23-13 in the fourth quarter until the Red Raiders stormed back with two passing touchdowns. In that same time frame, UT had two three-and-outs and threw a pair of interceptions.

THE DESMOND HOWARD JINX

One more week and Desi looks like a genius or a dope.

  • Georgia - The Dawgs dominated Georgia Tech. Now it’s Aubie in the SECCG in ATL.
  • Wisconsin - The Badgers obliterated a pathetic Minnesota team who suffered back-to-back 30+ point shutouts. Next up is the B1GCG vs. anOSU in Indianapolis.
  • Miami - The ‘Canes fell to Pitt. Clemson is a nine point favorite.
  • Stanford is actually still in the running to win their conference when they face Southern Cal this Saturday in Santa Clara. But who would’ve figured the PAC-12 North champ would have 3 losses?
tiny football

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

All of a sudden the records of Crimson Tide OOC foes draws great scrutiny:

  • FSU (5-6) trampled the Gators. Next is a make-up game with UL-Monroe with the hopes of the elusive win #6.
  • Colorado State (7-5) The Rams dismantled San Jose Cuervo State 42-14. Michael Gallup is #4 in FBS in receiving yards with 1,345.
  • Fresno (9-3) - The Bulldogs upset #23 Boise 28-17 and wins the division. Oddly enough, this will be a double-header with the two teams playing again on Dec 2 for the MWC Championship. Unfortunately, they have to play on that idiotic blue field in Smurfville. GO DOGS!
  • Mercer (5-6) Season over.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • San Diego State (10-2) Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Rashaad Penny rushes for 200+ and the Aztecs win big 35-10. Penny finishes the regular season with the most rushing yards in the FBS at 2,027 yards, to go with 19 rushing TDs and two receiving scores.
  • Memphis (10-1) destroyed ECU 70-13. They face UCF for the AAC crown.
  • Elon (8-4) lost a heart-breaker to Furman 28-27 on a blocked an extra point in the fourth quarter. Congrats to former Bama assistant Curt Cignetti for a great season leading the Phoenix.

COUSINS

  • Troy (9-2) The Trojans walloped Texas State 62-9. They play Arkansas State (9-2) for the Sun Belt Championship. If it isn’t already, Troy coach Neal Brown’s name should be circulating among the P5 head coach openings. He is 19-5 over the last two seasons.
  • South Alabama (4-7) Jags coach Joey Jones will take his final bow as head coach of USA on Saturday in - of all places - Las Cruces, New Mexico against the 5-6 New Mexico State Aggies. BTW, Jones has the 15th most receiving yards (1,386) in Crimson Tide history and is tied for ninth in TDs with 13.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (8-4) beat UTEP 28-7. I have respect for Blazers head coach Bill Clark who coached the team in 2014 and stuck around for two “off-seasons” and returned for a successful reboot season and a bowl birth.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Navy (6-5) lost to Houston 24-14. It was tied at 14 apiece heading into the final frame before the Coogs D took over holding the Midshipmen to 50 second half rushing yards.
  • Army (8-3) - The Black Knights did not play. Army-Navy December 9th.
  • Air Force (5-7) - The Falcons beat Utah State 38-35. That is a wrap on their season.
boxers

ELIMINATED

NEW: none. Almost Miami, but not quite yet.

All non-Power 5 teams.

Arizona
Arizona State
Arkansas
Auburn
Baylor
Boston College
BYU
Cal
Colorado
Duke
Florida
Florida State
Georgia Tech
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Kentucky
Louisville
LSU
Maryland
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Mississippi State
Mizzou
NC State
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma State
Oregon
Oregon State
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
South Carolina
Southern Cal
Stanford
Syracuse
TCU
Tennessee
Tejas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
UCLA
Utah
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Washington
Washington State
Wake Forest
West Virginia

AND... Ole Miss

THE CONTENDERS

The weekly rankings from the College Football Playoff Committee will be shown tonight on ESPN at 6pm CT/7pm ET.
“When is College Football Playoff Selection Day?” Sunday, December 3, 11am/noon ESPN.

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

Wisconsin (12-0) is the sole undefeated team. Only five P5 teams have one loss: Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Miami.

WIN, YOU’RE IN:

  • ACC - The winner of Clemson-Miami is in.
  • Big Ten - Wisky: win you’re in. Some flapping gums seem to think Ohio State might slide in with a win in the B1GCG despite being saddled with a humiliating losses to Oklahoma and 5-loss Iowa.
  • Big 12 - Okie: win you’re in. If TCU wins the B12CG, then things get crazy.
  • PAC-12 - Southern Cal will probably need to beat Stanford convincingly and then hope for loads of Chaos. Stanford is not getting in with 3 losses.
  • SEC - Here is where it gets tricky. The winner of the SECCG is undeniably in. If Aubie wins coupled with upsets in the other championship games, there is a possibility Alabama gets in. Aubie is not getting in if they lose.
  • Indies LOLNope

BAMA CHAOS TO CHEER FOR

  • ACC - Both Clemson and Miami have one loss. Probably no rooting interest here.
  • Big Ten - Wisky ran the schedule, but it is a SUCH a lame-o schedule. A loss to Ohio State should knock them out of the playoff. But then you’ll hear the blahblahblah about anOSU getting a nod. I would think Alabama having only one loss to #4 outweighs the Buckeyes two losses, one of which was an ugly 55-24 loss to Iowa.
  • SEC - Because of the above statement, and I know this isn’t easy to swallow, you have to root for Auburn to eliminate UGA because it helps the Tide’s resume. But it’s a win-win for Tide fans. If UGA loses, Bama is probably in. If Aubie loses, then HAHAHAHAHA!
  • Big 12 - TCU.
  • PAC-12 - Stanford - just to be safe.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Don’t expect the CFP Committee to release a rationale ranking tonight. No way does Miami deserve to be in the Top 6. Ohio State was blown out just 3 weeks ago by Iowa. Here are my half-ass cop-out choices:

  1. Oklahoma - The Sooners lost to Iowa State but at least it was a close loss and on the road.
  2. Clemson - The Tigers lost to Syracuse. Don’t give me this injured QB BS. They lost to 4-8 Syracuse!
  3. Wisconsin - You gotta hand it to da Badjuhs. They took care of business.
  4. Auburn
  5. Alabama
  6. Georgia

LET’S GO BOWLING

The SEC has nine teams with seven or more wins. The other five (Fla, Tenn, Ark, Vandy, OM) do not qualify for a bowl.

Three FBS teams are about to be really sad. 80 teams now have six or more wins to fill 78 bowl slots with FSU (5-6) having one more game against ULM. Lazy ass Georgia Tech (5-6) had a game with UCF cancelled due to weather. If they had gotten off their backsides and found a replacement cupcake game, they might be going bowling as well.

Army was the first to secure a bowl birth accepting an invitation from the Armed Forces Bowl back on Oct. 21 when they were 6-2. However, you have to wonder, now at 8-3 and potentially 9-3, if they accepted the bid a little too soon when a more lucrative bowl could’ve been out there for them.

THE TRIPLE GOLDEN SOMBRERO - WINNER!

UTEP does it! An imperfect 0-12 after a loss to UAB. Uncongratulations, Miners!

Rice, Oregon State, Kansas, Charlotte, and Karmatized Baylor all finished at 1-11.

HAWT TAEKS OF THE WEEK

The classless firing of Bret Bielema as he walked off the field, coupled with the other shoe dropping on Kevin Sumlin, brings the SEC Coaching victims list to five. The SEC Coaching Carousel began spinning late Saturday and almost spun off its axle.

  • Florida FIRED: Jim McElwain -> HIRED: Dan Mullen from Missy State. It’s very strange that McElwain’s name has not come up anywhere. I think Oregon State would be perfect for him, but maybe he wants a year off. Alabama could use a good analyst...
  • Tennessee FIRED: Butch Jones-> HIRED: UNHIRED: Greg Schiano - a truly baffling and terrible choice went south almost as soon as it was leaked out and the deal fell through after a hailstorm of social media criticism. Tennessee fans claimed it was Schiano’s connection to the Sandusky case when he was an assistant at PSU but that sounds like a bunch of horse poop. That is like blaming the Head Chef on the Titanic for the ship hitting the iceberg. Expect an expensive payoff for him to go away. If not, there may be a lawsuit or two. It is yet another embarrassing chapter and back to the drawing board for RockyFlop.
  • Arkansas FIRED: Bret Bielema -> HIRED: Nobody yet. After winning the Iron Bowl, Arky can forget fantasies of grabbing Gustavo. The names of Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Washington State’s Mike Leach, Memphis HC Mike Norvell, and Clemson OC Brent Venables are popping up on Hoggy radars.
  • Texas A&M FIRED: Kevin Sumlin -> HIRED: Jimbo Fisher? IMHO it is a done deal, but Jimbo still has one more regular season game to coach (see TV schedule at the bottom) and he wants that sixth win so he doesn’t have a losing season on his record. His ego won’t allow it.
  • Ole Miss FIRED: Hugh Freeze -> HIRED: Matt Luke. Timing is everything. The Rebs had hoped to hear their penalties by early October, so they could make a plan. However, the NCAA is sure taking their sweet time. With no word on the fate of the program, OM is stuck in limbo. No big name is going to take this job until the penalties are handed down. Luke was named permanent head coach on Sunday.
  • Clanga-Clang replacement? With Mullen finally escaping his also-ran life in Starkville, the Bullies have the major task of convincing someone of Mullen’s level to replace him. There have been whispers that MSU may approach Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt.

OFF THE MARKET

Anyone still looking for a good coach can forget Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. He agreed to a new six-year contract worth $22.5M. His annual salary will increase from $2.1M to $3.5M. Can you believe that? A $1.4M raise for going 7-5. You will probably soon see the Iowa State Board of Regents members at traffic lights collecting money to pay for this.

Kristi Malzahn

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to Dan Mullen for keeping NickyFitz late into games all season and not getting more snaps for his back-up QB Keytaon Thompson. Despite blowout wins over Louisiana Tech (36 points), Kentucky (38), LSU (30), Texas A&M (21), and BYU (25), plus blowout losses to Auburn (loss by 39) and Georgia (28), the true freshman attempted only 12 passes in that stretch.

This is nothing new for Mullen. Fitzgerald himself had only 14 pass attempts during his frosh year behind Dak Prescott despite several lopsided scores for MSU. Enjoy, Gators!

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE

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".

Who Will Win -

  • Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) Despite his immaturity, he’ll probably get the most votes.
  • Bryce Love (RB Stanford) finished second in yards behind Rashaad Penny but never really wowed anyone and not much versatility beyond rushing.
  • Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State) He is the top NFL prospect at running back and could go in the top 5. However, he had only four games with 100+ yards rushing.
  • Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville) He had a good year stat-wise against a soft schedule. His team lost four games before November, squashing any hope he had a repeat.

Who Should Win - Dunno.

BTW, Damien Harris finished fifth in the nation in yards per carry at 8.2, second behind Love among P5 running backs.

RIDLEY

Alabama WR Calvin Ridley has caught at least three passes in every game this season. He has recorded a reception in all 42 of his games with the Crimson Tide.

SNUB

Five finalists for 2017 Broyles Award, which honors college football’s top assistant coaches, were announced. Not on the list was Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt which is absolutely ridiculous. The Tide was #1 in scoring defense (11.5 ppg) and #2 in total defense (257.8 ypg).

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn
At what cost?
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

THE SICK REPORT

  • Alabama safety Hootie Jones suffered a partial MCL tear. It is unknown at this time how long he might be out. He is fourth on the team with 53 tackles and has two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore Deionte Thompson would likely replace Jones if he cannot go.
  • Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson injured his shoulder in the Iron Bowl but is probable Saturday vs. Georgia. LB Chandler Wooten (undisclosed) and RB JaTarvious Whitlow (ankle) are questionable.
  • MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald had ankle surgery on Friday. He will not be back in time for a bowl but should be back for spring camp.
  • Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett got a little booboo when he got bumped by a cameraman on the sideline. Urban Meyer puffed out his chest and demanded a full investigation. This guy... Get over yourself.
  • Miami loses their second-leading receiver tight end Christopher Herndon for the season with a knee injury. He had 40 catches for 477 yards and 4 TD.
  • TCU safety Nick Orr will miss the first half of the B12CG for a targeting suspension. He is third on the team in tackles and has two interceptions.
  • James Franklin has been awful quiet back in also-ran land.
  • Another muted coach, Jim Harbaugh, led his Wolverines to FOURTH in the Big Ten - East and the SIXTH best B1G record. Ya think Aubrey Solomon is having a good time?
Black and White TV

Friday night’s Texas Tech-Texas game was drowned in the ratings by some 50+ year old cartoons. Despite the dramatic upset by the Red Raiders, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (5.68 million viewers) and something called DreamWorks Trolls Holiday (5.19) on NBC left the FOX Game of the Week (3.59) in the dust for the 7 CT/8 ET o’clock hour. In addition, the game was beat by Frosty the Snowman (3.95) on CBS but finished just ahead of ABC’s airing of Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (3.36).

For some reason that I am to apathetic to look up, the 12-team Sun Belt Conference does not have a championship game. So, they extend their regular season into this coming Saturday up against a bunch of P5 CGs. If for whatever reason you want those game times, click yourself right here.

Friday, Dec 1:

PACCG, Santa Clara

Southern Cal vs Stanford 7pm/8pm ESPN - The Trojans beat the Cardinal 42-24 back in September but rematches can be tricky. Since then, Keller Chryst has been supplanted at QB by K.J. Costello.

Saturday, Dec 2:

SAD PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO GET BOWL ELIGIBLE

Louisiana Monroe at Florida State 11am/noon ACC Network (Check your local MyTV) - I have a special disdain for teams that make no attempt to reschedule or move games cancelled due to weather. It is unfair to the players and fans of both schools. Had the Seminoles’ season not crashed and burned, they would not have bothered. But then Stan Wilcox looked at the remaining schedule and rang up UL-Monroe with the hopes of grabbing win #6. I like that he did it, but he should have done it anyway.

C-USACG, Boca

North Texas at FAU! 11am/noon ESPN2 - If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Kiffin Bros & Barnum-Bailey attack.

B12CG, Arlington

Oklahoma vs TCU 11:30/12:30 FOX - Another rematch. Okie slammed the Frogs 38-20 on Nov. 11. Expect more of the same.

SECCG, Atlanta

Georgia vs Auburn 3pm/4pm CBS - One more rematch has the Tigers looking to duplicate their 40-17 win over UGA but this time it is not on Lee County soil.

ACCCG, Charlotte

Miami vs Clemson 7pm/8pm ESPN - The Tigers should win this one.

B1GCG, Indianapolis

Ohio State vs Wisconsin 7pm/8pm FOX - Wisky is the last undefeated team. A playoff spot is on the line.

basketball

Sunday Dec 3:

HOOPS: UCF vs ALABAMA 1pm/2pm ESPNU - Even if you are not a fan of bouncey-ball, any real Alabama fan needs to pay attention to this Crimson Tide basketball team. This is a once in a generation (lifetime?) team that you will be telling your kids/grandkids about someday. Collin Sexton will only be at the Capstone for one season before he moves on to the riches of the NBA. Don’t miss out on the chance to say “I remember when he was at Alabama and dropped 35 on Duke in the National Championship game.”

Bryant navy

NEXT WEEK

Army vs. Navy 2pm/3pm CBS

#ALABAMA

Peace and blessings to you all!

#RollTide!

Poll

Can you bring yourself to root for Auburn?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Yes, if it means Alabama gets in the playoffs.
    (167 votes)
  • 46%
    No, fAU.
    (159 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (see my insighful thoughts in the Comments section).
    (14 votes)
340 votes total Vote Now