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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Coaching Snafus Galore

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Some questionable calls by seasoned coaches land their teams on the losing end.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State
There is so much to dislike in this picture.
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State 27 Penn State 26

Sorry SEC fans but it was the Big Ten that took center stage on Saturday. Ohio State and Penn State played a classic match that ended in a string of head-scratchers by the Litany Nylons head coach James Franklin.

Penn State blew a 26-14 lead with eight minutes left to play. There were many bungles in this game but the one that will be most remembered is the draw play on 4th and 5 just over midfield with a timeout in Franklin’s pocket.

This genius play was brainstormed after the two teams had both called a timeout. PSU quarterback Trace McSorley had been on a roll both running and throwing and Franklin made the perplexing call to take the ball out of his QB’s hands and give it to Miles Sanders who had 43 yards on 16 carries on the night.

And Franklin wasn’t done once the game was over. He had to be held back by two State Troopers from going after a college kid who really wasn’t being all that rude.

And into the press room... In a rambling post-game presser, Franklin tried to throw some of his players under the bus. He never once took the blame for lousy playcalling. He went on to say that PSU was a “great team” but not an “elite” one. lol

No, coach Franklin. You have a good team, maybe a very good team. But not a great team. Great teams win at home and win championships, whether it be conference or National. You’ve done neither and won’t this year either. This loss will linger for a long time.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State 28 Louisville 24

Has Bobby Petrino been falling off motorcycles again? The Cards led 24-21 with the ball, 1st and ten at Florida State’s 21-yard-line with 2 minutes left to play. The ‘Noles have two timeouts remaining. You don’t have to be in your 14th year as a FBS coach to know what to do. Run the ball three times and kick a field goal if you reach fourth down, right? That is a firm “no” from Bobby Petrino.

He dialed up this jewel - a pass play on first down - that was promptly intercepted, and the Seminoles went 81 yards in five plays for the game-winning score. Baffling.

Clemson 27 Syracuse 23

This was a big goof by both coaches. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney totally bungled the demotion of former starting quarterback Kelly Bryant and was left with only two scholarship signal callers - both freshmen.

(sorry to toot my own horn but I am so seldom spot on. lulz)

Dabo’s golden boy got snockered and the Tigers had to rely on newly minted back-up Chase Brice to be just good enough. He was that: 7/13, 83 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT. This should have been a big fat L but I guess Dino Babers had run out of halftime speeches. Despite leading 16-7 at halftime and Sunshine counting stars, the Orange could not put the game away. Even when they were up 23-13 with less than 13 minutes left, the ‘Cuse let a guy who was fifth string back in January drive the field on them twice to win the game.

NATIONAL

Oklahoma 66 Baylor 33 - Another high-scoring game for the Sooners but that defense... yuck! The Okie D is giving up 405.2 yards per game to FAU!, UCLA, Iowa State, Army, and Baylor. They might just lose this weekend.
Notre Dame 38 Stanford 17 - Ian Book has been a breath of fresh air after the stank of Brandon Wimbush over the last year and a half. The junior finished 24 of 33 passing for 278 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 47 yards rushing. Bryce Love was again underwhelming (73 yards on 17 carries, 39 on one carry) for Stanford and once again limped to the locker room before the game ended. Probably shoulda gone pro.
West Virginia 42 Texas Tech 34 - Will Grier threw for 370 yards with three touchdowns, but was held scoreless in the second half. Leading 35-10 at the half, the Mountaineer sat by and watched the Red Raiders score the next 17 points to pull within 8. It was 51-yard interception return for a score by WVU with 3 minutes to go that saved their hides.
Michigan 20 Northwestern 17 - The Wildcats led this game 17-0 but allowed the Wolverines to come back and take the lead with 4 minutes to go. Michy QB Shea Patterson managed only 196 yards passing against the one-win ‘Cats. It was his third game out of five of sub-200 yards in passing. His highest total is 237 against SMU.
Texas 19 Kansas State 14 - The ‘Horns keep on winning. If not for an emotion-driven win by Maryland, Texas would be among the rare unbeaten.
Virginia Tech 31 Duke 14 - We should’ve seen this coming: a good team humiliated by Old Dominion snaps back to hand Duke their first loss.

ROLL TIDE

ALABAMA 56 LaLaf 14

Crimson Tide freshman Jaylen Waddle returned a punt for a touchdown and caught two scoring passes, including a 94-yarder. Alabama tallied 608 yards.

Alabama now has five non-offensive touchdowns on the season:

  • vs. Louisville Josh Jacobs 77 yard kickoff return.
  • vs. Louisville Shyheim Carter 45 yard interception return.
  • vs. Arkansas State Saivion Smith 38 yard interception return.
  • vs. Ole Miss Xavier McKinney 30 yard interception return.
  • vs. ULL Jaylen Waddle 63 yard punt return

ESS-EE-SEE

(Alabama fans, you may not want to play the below video)

Georgia 38 Tennessee 12 - You know it’s your day when things like the above and below happen for your team. Georgia had four fumbles - two by Jake Fromm - but recovered them all, one for a score. By all rights, this should have been a 77-0 win but UGA was a little sluggish. After the Dawgs led 24-0 in the third, the Vols scored two touchdowns and for some odd reason went for two-point conversions that failed in what could’ve been a 10 point game. The Bulldogs finally woke up and scored the final 14 points.

Every time you start feeling sorry for Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols, remember who their AD is.

LSU 45 Ole Miss 16 - Joe Burrow finally had one of his better games, passing 18/25 for 292 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INT. He added 96 rushing yards on 9 carries.
Auburn 24 Southern Miss 13 - A long day got longer when these two were delayed three hours due to lightning. Auburn failed to gain 100 yards rushing in consecutive games for the first time since 2012. The Tigers have lost several O-linemen to injury (see the Sick Report below). They are fortunate to hit a lull in their schedule (@MSU, Tenn, @OM).
Kentucky 24 South Carolina 10 - I guess we are going to have to start taking UK seriously! Benny Snell ran for 99 yards and a touchdown. SC had 4 turnovers and missed a 38 yd field goal. Both teams were penalized 11 times in a chippy game.
Florida 13 Mississippi State 6 - I am starting to think that Joe is in over his Moorhead. MSU managed only 98 passing yards, 104 rushing, and converted only 2 of 12 third downs. The Gators had the only turnover of the game (an INT) and 11 penalties. The UF defense was stellar but the offense needs work.
Texas A&M 24 Arkansas 17 - Aggie Jashaun Corbin returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD. TAMU added another touchdown on their next possession and kinda put it in cruise control from there. With Devwah Whaley on the shelf (see the Sick Report below), Arky had 55 yards rushing and 193 through the air.
Vanderbilt 31 Tennessee State 27 - The ‘Dores were actually losing this one in the 4th quarter by the score of 27-24 before pulling out the win. How is this the same team that almost won in South Bend?

SALT IN THE WOUND

Purdue 42 Nebraska 28 - The Cornhuskers are now 0-4. Scott Frost is trying the bad-cop approach.
East Carolina 37 Old Dominion 35 - VaTech, are you paying attention?

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

Herbie and I had PSU but whoda thunk James Franklin would have screwed up so royally against Coach Coverup? Tell me Tide fans, do any of these teams scare you?

  • DESI - Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington. Mich over WVU; Bama over UW; Mich over Bama.
  • CORSO - Georgia, Clemson, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington. Clemson over UW; Wisky over UGA; Wisky over Clemson.
  • HERBIE - Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over UW; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.

MY PICKS

  • Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over Okie; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

The Tide’s OOC opponents offered no help this past week. Start rooting for Texas A&M.

  • Louisville - The Cardinals (2-3) imploded against FSU. They next host Georgia Tech.
  • Arkansas State (3-2) - The Red Wolves gave up a late touchdown on a 47-yard reverse play with 19 seconds to play to lose to Georgia Southern 28-21. Next is App State (3-1).
  • La-Laf - The Ragin’ Cajuns (1-3) now face the equally bad Texas State.
  • Citadel (Nov 17) - The Fightin’ Cupcakes (1-3) lost to Towson 44-27.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • FAU! (2-3) - The Owls blew an 18 point lead and lost to MTSU 25-24. The Blue Raiders QB ran for a touchdown with 38 seconds to play and converted the 2-point conversion for a gutsy win. We may have to unadopt Kiffin’s sand castle of a team.
  • Hawaii (5-1) The Rainbow Warriors won a wild five overtime thriller over San Jose State 44-41. After matching touchdowns in the first OT, both teams missed field goals in the next two extra frames and both connected in OT number four. On the fifth try, Hawaii made their field goal while SJSU missed. The Warriors go for bowl eligibility against Wyoming (2-3) on Saturday.

COUSINS

  • Troy (4-1) - The Trojans dumped Coastal Carolina 45-21. Up next is Georgia State (2-3) on Thursday night.
  • South Alabama (1-4) - The Jags were destroyed by App State 52-7. It was the second straight game USA gave up 52 points and third game this season to give up over 50. Their record will soon be 1-5 when they travel to Georgia Southern (3-1) whose only loss is to Clemson.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (3-1) - The Blazers beat Charlotte 28-7. Next, LaTech (3-1).

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (3-2) - The Black Knights handed Buffalo their first loss to the tune of 42-13. The Cadets now have a bye week.
  • Navy (2-2) The Midshipmen had this past weekend off to prep for Air Force.
  • Air Force (1-3) - The Falcons lost to Nevada 28-25.
boxers

ELIMINATED

Only 11 Power 5 teams remain unbeaten. 23 have one loss.

NEW:
Duke - It was fun while it lasted. Now on to basketball.
Mississippi State - They are not who we thought they were.
South Carolina - Not only a second loss but a second double-digit loss.
Utah - The Utes are 55-38 (59.1%) since joining the PAC-12.

All non-Power 5 teams.
Ole Miss
Tennessee
Texas A&M
Arkansas
Arizona
Arizona State
Baylor
Boston College
BYU
Cal
FSU
Georgia Tech
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Iowa State
Kansas State
Kansas
Louisville
Maryland
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Oklahoma State
Oregon State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
Southern Cal
Syracuse
TCU
Texas Tech
UCLA
Vandy
Wake Forest
Virginia
Virginia Tech

ENDANGERED

The following are still in the running but have a slim margin for error.

Clemson - You might find this one controversial but if the Tigers drop a single game in the lame ACC, they very well could be out of the running for a playoff spot.
Auburn
Florida
Miami
Michigan
Michigan State
Mississippi State
Mizzou
Oregon
Penn State - NEW!
Stanford - NEW!
Texas
Washington
Washington State
Wisconsin

THE CONTENDERS

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

The situation is still a bit murky. Could this be the season a 2-loss team gets in?

  • ACC - Clemson is the only candidate and they are looking a little weak in the knees.
  • Big Ten - Ohio State takes the lead with the sole unblemished record in the league. Michigan, Wisky, PSU and Michigan State are on hanging on for dear life.
  • Big 12 - It’s still a two-horse race between Okie and WVU, although Texas is hanging around.
  • PAC-12 - Colorado is the last remaining undefeated team in the PAC. Stanford loses but is still barely in the hunt. Washington is still hanging around.
  • SEC - It’s mostly Alabama, UGA, LSU and... Kentucky? Aubie & Fla are still milling around.
  • Indies - Notre Dame keeps winning. Their once-daunting schedule doesn’t look so difficult now.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

The SEC have 6 ranked teams and three in the top 5: #1 Ala, #2 UGA, #5 LSU, #8 Aub, #13 UK, #22 Fla. Here is my half-ass as-of-now ranking:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Clemson

LET’S GO BOWLING

The bowl game played in the 49ers stadium that was formerly known as the Foster Farms Bowl is now the Redbox Bowl. Ima stick to calling it the San Francisco Emerald Diamond Walnut Kraft Fight Hunger Foster Farms Bowl just to avoid confusion.

STATS OF THE DAY

  • South Carolina has just four plays of 30 or more yards this year - tied for 122nd in FBS.
  • Michigan-Northwestern was a throwback to them olden days. Neither teams had a turnover and combined for only 578 yards of offense on 53 pass attempts and 77 rushes.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Alabama students. Saturday had to be one of the most sparse attended games by the students of the Saban era. The rest of the stadium filled out pretty well but the empty seats in the Greek AND non-Greek sections was pathetic and embarrassing. (KK hopes you realize that you are going to lose the block seating.)

Now, KK knows you are rolling your eyes and coming up with lame excuses of it being too hot (84 degrees) or too early (do you not have classes earlier than noon?) or scheduling a cupcake opponent but boo-frickin-hoo. They need to learn to appreciate what is going on at the Capstone. If they don’t know the difference, go ask someone who attended UA when the head coach was named “Mike”. This run is not going to last forever. For Pete’s sake, at least show up for the first half. You owe Saban that much. Now KK will brace herself for the whiny responses in comments.

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Often times voters fall in love with someone way too early. Later in the season, we’ll bring you “Who Will Win” and “Who Should Win”. But for now, let’s just look at them for how they present themselves.

Who Will Win Candidates (in no particular order)-

  • Dwayne Haskins (QB thatOSU Soph.) was 22-39, 270 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT against Penn State. He struggled at times and coulda shoulda woulda lost if not for Franklin’s foul-ups. Also, there is that stigma of Urban and all his coverups and lies.
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama Soph.) - I hasten to say perfection but Tua is pretty close. He was 8 for 8 passing for 128 yards and 2 TDs in a blowout win. He also ran twice for 12 yards and was not sacked. Every possession he led resulted in a touchdown.

Also-

  • Will Grier (QB West Virginia Sr.) - 27-41, 370 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT against Texas Tech. Good numbers but he isn’t really exciting anyone outside of West Virginia.
  • Kyler Murray (QB Oklahoma Jr.) - 17 of 21 passing for 432 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT, with 10 rushes for 45 yards and a TD. Great numbers but it was Baylor. He’ll be in the spotlight this week.
  • Benny Snell is getting some love but he is at Kentucky. Saturday he ran 28 for 99, but a 3.5 ypc average.

Meh-

  • Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin Soph.)
  • Bryce Love (RB Stanford Sr.)
  • Ed Oliver (DT Houston Jr.)

Who Should Win -

  • Tua is playing on another level. It is all too easy for him.
Iowa State v TCU
TCU QB Shawn Robinson leaves the game after being injured in the fourth quarter against the Iowa State. He is questionable against Texas Tech.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

THE SICK REPORT

  • Jonah Williams sprained an ankle in the ULL game. Nick Saban stated that the left tackle will not practice Monday, but maybe Tuesday, and will be back Wednesday for sure. Personally, it would not break my heart if Williams sat out the Arkansas game.
  • Saban noted that Terrell Lewis is “making really good progress in his rehab and what he can do.” He was recently seen running on a zero-gravity treadmill.
  • Arkansas running back Devwah Whaley suffered a concussion against Auburn two Saturdays ago. He did not play this past weekend and is questionable for the Bama game. Tight end Jeremy Patton was seen on crutches with his left foot in a boot after the Texas A&M game.
  • Clemson coach Dabo Swinney seemed optimistic about Trevor Lawrence, but has yet to make a decision on his status for Saturday’s game with Wake Forest. It was thought the true freshman had a concussion but for now, they are calling it a “neck strain”. Dabo gonna git dat boy killt.
  • Auburn leading rusher JaTarvious Whitlow suffered what appeared to be a left shoulder injury. He is questionable. Both of Auburn’s starting tackles, Prince Tega Wanogho and Jack Driscoll, were helped to the locker room in the second half of their game with USM.
  • Notre Dame starting left guard Alex Bars is lost for the season with knee injury.
  • Just when things were going so well for Kentucky then they lose left tackle Naasir Watkins (knee).
  • Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman was taken out of Saturday’s game against West Virginia, and treated at a local hospital over the weekend where he still resides after suffering a partially collapsed lung. Holy Cow! We sometimes forget how hard these guys hit. Our thoughts are with him as he recovers.
  • South Carolina sophomore wide receiver OrTre Smith will have season-ending knee surgery. In two games this season, Smith’s caught three passes for 25 yards. As a freshman, he finished with 30 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Penn State senior RB Mark Allen suffered a season-ending injury the week before their game with Ohio State. He was the Lions’ 2nd back after starter Miles Sanders.

DRAMA

  • Urban Meyer celebrated his team’s win by stealing all the left shoes from a local orphanage while the kids slept.
  • Suspended head coach D.J. Durkin is pretty much done at Maryland.
  • Frank Beamer is getting a statue at Virginia Tech for winning 66% of his games, 3 Big East titles, 4 ACC titles, 0 National Championships, and a 11-12 bowl record in twenty-nine seasons as head coach of the Hokies. He is a good coach but hardly worth a statue.
  • Penn State freshman OT Rasheed Walker is facing misdemeanor theft charges after stealing another student’s bike on campus. Good thing the other student didn’t have any Skittles.
  • A report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the NCAA will cite Baylor for lack of control.

THE FOUR FRESHMEN

With Kelly Bryant hitting the road, Clemson was left with four quarterbacks on the roster: two who were recruited and signed scholarships, one who was a preferred walk-on and given a scholarship, and another who is a walk-on. All of them are freshmen.

  1. Trevor Lawrence - Former 5-star true freshman, 5 games played, 1 start.
  2. Chase Brice - Former 4-star redshirt freshman, 4 games played, relieved Lawrence.
  3. Ben Batson - Former 2-star true freshman preferred walk-on, moved from safety to quarterback for depth this offseason and earned a scholarship, has been sidelined with a broken finger for most of the season. 0 games.
  4. Patrick McClure - Former 2-star true freshman preferred walk-on, joined team Aug 1st. 0 Games.

The funny thing is, three other experienced QBs have left the Tigers since last season ended in January:

  • Jan. 19, 2018: Redshirt freshman quarterback Zerrick Cooper, who was co-back-up last season, announces he will transfer from Clemson. The former 4-star ended up at Jacksonville State (2-1) where he is the starter. He played in seven games last year for the Tigers.
  • Jan. 22, 2018: Graduate quarterback Tucker Israel, who was fourth on the Tigers’ depth chart, announces he will transfer from Clemson. The former 3-star did not sign anywhere and is assumed done with football.
  • May 21, 2018: Redshirt freshman Hunter Johnson, last year’s co-back-up, transfers to Northwestern where he must sit a year. A former highly-touted 5-star, he committed to Clemson way back in Dec. 2015 when he flipped from Tennessee. He too played in seven games last year for the Tigers.
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

Ohio State-Penn State dominated the airwaves. Birmingham was the eighth highest ranked market for this game with 10.7 rating - higher than both Atlanta and Philadelphia.

THIS WEEK

(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest. If you need to know about the Eastern Michigan-Western Michigan game, you can find the details here.)

Thursday, Oct 4:

Georgia State at Troy 6:30/7:30 ESPNU - Neal Brown works on his resume.
Tulsa at Houston 7pm/8pm ESPN

Friday, Oct 5:

Georgia Tech at Louisville 6pm/7pm ESPN - bleh
MTSU at Marshall 6:30/7:30 CBSSN - yuck
Utah State at BYU 8pm/9pm ESPN2 - ugh

Saturday, Oct 6:

SEC:

Missouri at South Carolina 11am/noon SECN - SC’s season is in the crapper but they can spoil Mizzou’s.
LSU at Florida 2:30/3:30 CBS - A pivotal game for both.
UL Monroe at Ole Miss 3pm/4pm SECN - The Rebs are struggling.
Kentucky at Texas A&M 6pm/7pm ESPN - Can UK really go into College Station and upset the Aggies? Vegas doesn’t think so, making TAMU a 6 point favorite.
Vanderbilt at Georgia 6:30/7:30 SECN - UGA will stomp VU into tiny little pieces.
Auburn at Mississippi State 6:30/7:30 ESPN2 - Clanga’s season is circling the drain. Lately, they wait to play Bama before this happens.

NATIONAL:

Texas vs Oklahoma 11am/noon FOX - It’s the Red River Shootout from the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX.
Maryland at Michigan 11am/noon ABC - Which Terps team will show up? Jekyll or Hyde?
Clemson at Wake Forest 2:30/3:30 ESPN - Trap game? Will Sunshine be back?
Florida State at Miami 2:30/3:30 ABC - Miami is still in this thing.
Nebraska at Wisconsin 6:30/7:30 BTN - Will the Huskers ever get a win?
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech 7pm/8pm ABC - Despite the loss to ODU, the Hokies could still upset the Irish.

NARCOLEPTICS ONLY

Cal at Arizona 9pm/10pm FS1
Utah at Stanford 9:30/10:30 ESPN
Colorado State at San Jose State 9:30/10:30 CBSSN
Fresno at Nevada 9:30/10:30 ESPNU
Wyoming at Hawaii 10:59/11:59 Alohavision

#ALABAMA

Five games have come and gone and six freshmen have participated in all games and will not redshirt. They are Patrick Surtain (started), Jaylen Waddle, Ale Kaho, Eyabi Anoma, Jaylen Moody (had the big block in the above punt return), and Josh Jobe. Juco transfers Saivion Smith and Tevita Musika participated in their fifth game as well. Punter Skyler DeLong did not get an opportunity to participate and is still at four games. Also at four is running back Jerome Ford who played Saturday against ULL (3 carries, 33 yards) but did not see the field versus Texas A&M.

Eddie Smith made his Crimson Tide debut on kickoffs and at safety. DL Stephon Wynn made his second appearance. Walk-on junior tight end Giles Amos and senior DB D.J. Lewis also saw playing time. I believe it was on a kickoff or kickoff return late in the game.

Saban has tied the Ol’ Ball Coach at 228 FBS/I-A victories.
(For clarification, this list is FBS/I-A wins only. No wins while coaching at FCS/I-AA or lower level schools are included.)
Saban is now 14-0 against former assistants. He’ll get a chance to make it 15-0 on TSIO.

GAME 6 - Saturday, October 6, 2018, 11am/Noon

ALABAMA at Arkansas

ESPN - Announcers: Dave Pasch and Greg McElroy with Tom Luginbill on the sidelines.
Bama favored by -34½.

(Game 7, Oct. 13: Mizzou at Alabama 6pm/7pm ESPN)

#RollTide

Poll

Who among the following is most likely to get a loss in the regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Notre Dame (@VaT, @NW, @SoCal)
    (58 votes)
  • 7%
    Ohio State (@MichSt, @MD, Mich)
    (47 votes)
  • 19%
    Clemson (@Wake, NCSt, @BC, SC)
    (125 votes)
  • 42%
    Oklahoma (Tex, @TCU, OkSt, @WVU)
    (272 votes)
  • 21%
    Georgia (@LSU, Fla, @UK, Aub)
    (141 votes)
643 votes total Vote Now