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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Travelling Riverside Blues

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While Alabama rested, others met their fate.

Bethune Cookman v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

But your thoughts will soon be wandering the way they always do/
When you’re ridin’ sixteen hours and there’s nothin’ left to do/
And you don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through.

~Bob Seger

The road was not kind this past weekend. Eight ranked teams fell on the road to unranked teams.

Oklahoma State 38, #6 Texas 35
Cal 12, #15 Washington 10
Mississippi State 28, #16 Texas A&M 13
Arizona 44, #19 Oregon 15
Northwestern 31, #20 Wisconsin 17
Houston 57, #21 South Florida 36
Syracuse 51, #22 NC State 41
Georgia Southern 34, #25 Appalachian State 14

The more this seasons rolls along, the more clear it is that there are a whole lotta mediocre teams out there; teams that can be unbeatable machines one week and cupcakes the next. Seven new teams join the AP top 25 this week. At some point during the season, 47 different programs have found themselves snuggled into the AP Top 25 rankings including teams such as Appalachian State, Arizona State, Boston College, BYU, Cal, Cincinnati, Duke, Fresno, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Utah State, and Virginia.

#WLOCP

I’d say neither side of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party are being very sporting about this outcome. lol

Georgia 36 Florida 17 - The Bulldogs snapped the Gators 5-game win streak with a resounding win in Jacksonville. UGA running back D’Andre Swift (12-104, TD) FINALLY broke out of his slumber and delivered on the promise he showed last season with his first above-100 yard effort of his fledgling career. Thanks to the running of Swift and Elijah Holyfield (20-71), Jake Fromm was able to find some receivers in one-on-one coverage. The x-factor on the other side was the inability of UF’s Feleipe Franks (13/21 105, 1 TD, 1 INT, lost fumble) to get the passing game going. Three turnovers by the Gatas’ O did not help.

But the most @important@ story here is that UGA backup quarterback freshman sensation Justin Fields got dressed up all pretty and did not see a single play against Florida. He has thrown just one pass outside of Sanford Stadium this season, not playing more than 21 snaps in any outing to date. Fields would be foolish to stick around Athens and become the new DJ Shockley (redshirt and then sat behind David Greene for three years, pro career never really went anywhere).

ESS-EE-SEE

Oops!

Mississippi State 28 Texas A&M 13 - Nick Fitzgerald had a rebound game passing for 241 yards and two touchdowns and running for two more scores to lead the Bullies over the Aggies. TAMU had 293 total yards with only 61 coming on the ground. MSU’s defense had a big night sacking Aggies QB Kellen Mond three times, having 11 QB hurries, 7 passes defensed, and a pick.

Kentucky 15 Missouri 14 - This was an ugly game. Mizzou took a 14-3 halftime lead. For the second half, the two teams traded punts on 9 consecutive possessions. It looked like the upset was on until the Wildcats ran a fourth quarter punt back for a score making it 14-9 (missed two-pointer). The listless Kentucky offense finally put together a drive on the game’s final possession of 8 plays, 81 yards, covering the final 1:24. The Tigers were flagged for an iffy pass interference call and given one more play with 0:00 on the clock. With the second life, UK found the end zone and the win. For the second straight week, UK wins a squeaker against the dregs of the SEC East. This does not bode well for their game with UGA.

South Carolina 27 Tennessee 24 - The Vols blew a big chance at taking a step forward. UT led most of the way peaking with a 21-9 lead in the third. A late third quarter touchdown and two-point conversion tied the game 24-24 and put momentum squarely in SC’s corner. Rocky Top put together a 5:15 dive of 12 plays and 40 yards but found themselves stopped on downs at the Gamecocks 35. SC ate almost four minutes of their own and connected on a 25 yard field goal. Tennessee had one last drive that took WAY too much time and again lost the ball on downs.

Vanderbilt 45 Arkansas 31 - Five yards separated these two teams in total yardage with Arky compiling a 447-442 advantage. Two interceptions in the Razorbacks own territory were converted into Vandy touchdowns and basically the outcome of the game.

NATIONAL

This guy’s got it all figured out.
These guys? Not so much.

Clemson 59 Florida State 10 - It was scary what the Tigers did to the ‘Noles. This was domination from beginning to end. FSU was outgained 524-247 including negative-21 rushing yards. CU had 25 first downs to 14 by FSU.

Notre Dame 44 Navy 22 - The Irish went up 27-0 at halftime and kinda put it in cruise control allowing Navy chip away at the lead and keep it a two score lead until midway through the fourth quarter when the Middies turned the ball over on their last two possessions of the game.

Oklahoma State 38 Texas 35 - By now you have seen the “Meltdown”. Even with QB Sam Ehlinger returning from a shoulder injury suffered during the previous game, the Longhorns were sluggish (5 three-&-outs, 7 punts) and sloppy (11 penalties) against a poor Cowboys team that was coming off consecutive losses to Iowa State and K-State. Okie Lite was up 24-7 in the blink of an eye and 31-14 by halftime. The ‘Horns drew within three points with a fourth quarter touchdown but OSU scored right back to make it a ten point game. Texas had one more touchdown in them with 1:46 left but it was too little too late.

Oklahoma 51 Kansas State 14 - The Sooners toyed with K-State racking up 702 yards while yielding a mere 245 to the Wildcats. Okie scored on every possession except the last two which were a punt by the back-up offense and a kneel down.

Washington State 41 Stanford 38 - Wazzu has wriggled their way into some conversations with their win at Palo Alto. Gardner Minshew was 40-50, 438 yards, 3 TD and at one point completed 19 straight to hand the Trees their third loss of the season and second straight at home. The Cougars need some help to get into the big boy conversations.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

Wisky and Washington both took loss number three but are not mathematically out of their respective conference title chases. However, neither have a prayer of making the playoff. PSU too has a slim chance to win their division.

  • 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

  • Louisville - The Cardinals (2-6) are absolute rubbish. Their 56-35 drubbing at the hands of Wake Forest make them the only ACC team without a conference win. Up next is a 45-point loss to Clemson and elimination from bowl consideration.
  • Arkansas State (4-4) - The Red Wolves were upset by ULL 47-43. They must win two of their final four games to get to a bowl: S. Ala, @ Coastal Carolina, ULM, @Texas St.
  • La-Laf - The Ragin’ Cajuns (4-4) have a good shot at going to a bowl as well with a remaining schedule of @Troy, Ga State, USA, @ULM.
  • Citadel (Nov 17) - The Fightin’ Cupcakes (2-5) lost to Furman.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • FAU! (3-5) - The honeymoon is over for Kiffin in Boca Raton as his punchless Owls fell to La Tech 21-13. They now head to FIU (6-2, 4-0) and another certain loss.
  • Hawaii (6-4) - The Rainbow Warriors lost their third straight falling to Fresno 50-20. Hawaii faces yet another tough test when Utah State (7-1) comes to the Islands.

COUSINS

  • Troy (6-2) - The Jags had some nice moments but the Trojans were just too much for USA 38-17. Up next: ULL.
  • South Alabama (2-6) ^^^ USA now travels to Arky State.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER WHO IS ALWAYS EATING BUT NOT PITCHING IN

UAB (7-1) - The Blazers recorded their third shutout of the season beating winless UTEP 19-0. Another lame team, UTSA (3-5), comes a-callin’ that should make them 8-1. [BTW, UAB had an announced attendance of 28,014 for the previous weekend’s homecoming win over North Texas At Legion Field. It’s good to see things are back to money-burning normal.]

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (6-2) - The Black Knights became bowl eligible for the third straight season with a 37-22 win over Eastern Michigan. Kudos to Coach Jeff Monken. Next is Air Force.
  • Navy (2-6) The Midshipmen lost to Notre Dame 44-22 in a game played San Diego, CA. Next they are at Cincinnati which is probably another loss and bowl elimination.
  • Air Force (3-5) - The Falcons put up a good fight but Boise’s Brett Rypien threw for five touchdowns in a 48-38 win for the Smurfs. AFA has @Army, New Mex, @Wyo, ColoState remaining to get three wins.
boxers

ELIMINATED

NEWLY ELIMINATED:
Florida - Taking a second SEC loss knocks them out a chance for a trip to Atlanta.
Texas - A loss to mediocre Okie Lite sends the Longhorns to the Alamo Bowl.

All non-Power 5 teams.
Ole Miss
Arkansas
Arizona
Arizona State
Auburn
Baylor
Boston College
BYU
Cal
Colorado
Duke
FSU
Georgia Tech
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Iowa State
Kansas State
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisville
Maryland
Miami
Michigan State
Minnesota
Mississippi State
Mizzou
NC State
Nebraska
North Carolina
Northwestern
Oklahoma State
Oregon
Oregon State
Penn State
Pitt
Purdue
Rutgers
Southern Cal
Stanford
Syracuse
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas A&M
TCU
Texas Tech
UCLA
Utah
Vandy
Wake Forest
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wisconsin
Washington
West Virginia

ENDANGERED

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

Clemson
Georgia
LSU
Michigan
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Washington State

THE CONTENDERS

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

The first of five weekly CFP rankings will be released tonight Tuesday, Oct. 30th at 6pm CT/7pm ET aired on ESPN. You can probably guess who will be on top. Clemson likely grads the No. 2 spot. As for the rest... who knows?

  • ACC - Clemson is cruising.
  • Big Ten - It could all come down to the Ohio State-Michigan game on Thanksgiving weekend. Northwestern (5-3, 5-1) might actually win the West Division.
  • Big 12 - It’s down to one-loss Okie and WVU but the Mountaineers’ loss is an ugly one. Texas is done-fer.
  • PAC-12 - Whoda thunk the hopes of the PAC rest on Wazzu (7-1). Even if they win out, they need a bunch of chaos in other conferences.
  • SEC - Alabama is the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference. Either UGA or Kentucky will be eliminated this weekend. LSU will meet their fate on Saturday. Florida is a goner.
  • Indies - Notre Dame remaining schedule: @NW, FSU, Syra, @SoCal.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Alabama now has all 60 first place votes in the AP poll. The Southeastern Conference has 7 ranked teams:

#1 Ala
#4 LSU
#6 UGA
#11 UK
#13 Fla
#21 MSU
#25 TAMU (dropped nine positions)

Here is my half-ass as-of-now ranking:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan
  5. Notre Dame/Georgia

LET’S GO BOWLING

38 teams are now bowl eligible for the 40 bowl slots. 13 teams, including Arkansas and Rutgers, already have 7 or more losses and will not go bowling this season. UTEP is the only winless FBS team.

STATS OF THE DAY

  • Georgia Tech defeated Virginia Tech 49-28 while throwing one pass for the entire game. It was incomplete. The Yeller Jackets had 465 rushing yards on 78 attempts and 7 touchdowns. Time of possession was GT 42:18 to VT 17:42.
  • The Gator Bowl has an official capacity of 67,246. For the UF-UGA Cocktail Party, they were able to cram in 84,463.

REAL RANDOM THOUGHT

It’s funny how ESPN does not want to give Alabama credit for anything. A few weeks ago, they were all talking about how Miami invented the sideline turnover prop last season and how everyone is copying them with belts and other things when it was the Tide who first introduced the “Ball Out Belt” two seasons prior to the “Turnover Chain”.

Now this past weekend, Clemson’s anal-attentive defensive tackle Christian Wilkins scored a touchdown as a running back against hapless FSU and the Four-Letter-Network acts like it is the first time that big guys have appeared in the backfield. Have they already forgotten Da’Ron Payne’s touchdown against these very same Clemson Tigers just nine months ago? The Tide has been using D-linemen in the backfield for years, going back at least to Terrence Cody ten years ago.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Arkansas. What a terrible excuse for an SEC team. You can tell by their play that they have some good athletes. It’s the coaching and development that really sucks. If I was AD at Arky, I would dump this disaster of a hire in Chad Morris right now and make another run at KK’s hubby Gustavo Malzahn. It make perfect sense. Aubie doesn’t want him anymore and KK and her honey want to go back to Home Sweet Home Arkansas. And if they win double-digit games every five years and make bowl games every year, the fan base would be over the moon. [Yes, there is a substantial amount of money involved, but these days nothing should surprise you anymore.]

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. This year, that love may last.

Favorites (in no particular order)-

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama Soph.) - The Tide sensation had a week off to prep for LSU.

Also-

  • Kyler Murray (QB Oklahoma Jr.) again had boffo passing numbers (19-24, 352 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT) in a blowout win over K-State. He ran 5 times for 46 yards and another score. But did anyone watch this game? He is looking more and more like a finalist.
  • Dwayne Haskins (QB thatOSU RS Soph.) - The Buckeyes had the week off.

No Way-

  • Will Grier (QB West Virginia Sr.)
  • Benny Snell (RB Kentucky Jr.)
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin Soph.)
  • Ed Oliver (DT Houston Jr.)

If I had a vote:

  • Tua
Clemson v Florida State
Deondre Francois on the ground is an all too familiar sight in Tallahassee.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

THE SICK REPORT

  • Nick Saban had nothing bad to report. He was pleased with how the team spent the bye week. QB Jalen Hurts is “day-to-day” and is practicing this week. More will be known by the end of the week. Reports on Tua are that he is 100% and was seen during the media period at Monday’s practice throwing from his knees for the first time since the knee injury.
  • Tennessee left tackle Trey Smith was hospitalized due to a bout with blood clots in his lungs. It is his second visit to the hospital and could be career-threatening. Smith was the #14 overall player of the 2017 recruiting class and had started all 19 games during his UT career before missing this past weekend against South Carolina.
  • There is rampant speculation that Michigan DL Rashan Gary could be out for the season. He has not played for the Wolverines in the month of October while dealing with a shoulder injury. Some observers/trolls say he is holding out for his future pro prospects but it sounds like the injury is a legitimate concern. Teammates say Gary is frustrated over not being able to play. [Maybe this should be in the DRAMA section.]
  • Oregon QB Justin Herbert and WR Dillon Mitchell have both been put into concussion protocol following loss to Arizona. Fortunately for the Dux, they host UCLA this Saturday and should be able to squeak by.
  • God bless poor FSU QB Deondre Francois. That guy has taken more shots than Bonnie & Clyde. He exited the game late in the fourth after a shot to the head.

DRAMA

This can’t be good...

  • Hue Jackson was fired from the Cleveland Browns and already folks are trying to link Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley to the job. He claims no interest in the job. Don’t be surprised if a certain lying wife-beater enabler from right down the road becomes a candidate.
  • Southern Cal OL coach Neil Callaway has been relieved of his duties. He was OL coach at Alabama 1997-2000 and head coach at UAB from 2007-2011. Speaking of crazy Alabama conspiracies in the news this week, you may recall the rumor that Jimbo Fisher was to be hired at UAB but supposedly the almighty hand of U of A put the kibosh on it and Callaway was hired.
  • You may have heard about true freshman quarterback Brock Purdy ascension to the starting spot and three straight wins for Iowa State. The guy he replaced, redshirt sophomore Zeb Noland, has decided to quit on his team and transfer. This kind of story drives me crazy. Why don’t you stick it out and win back your starting spot? What if Purdy gets hurt? What if opposing coaches get enough tape on Purdy and figure him out. Get off my lawn and all that but these kids today, all they want is instant gratification. Good luck at Weber State.
  • Iowa suspended cornerbacks Matt Hankins and Trey Creamer who were cited for disorderly conduct early Sunday morning. They will be barred from all football activities during suspension and won’t travel to Purdue. This is not great timing with the Hawkeyes fighting for a spot in the B1G game.
  • Oregon State freshman DB DeShon Wilson was arrested on charge of assaulting his girlfriend. The incident occurred sometime before officers responded to a 911 call at 4:05 a.m. Sunday. You’re drunk. Go to bed. Nothing good can happen at 4:05 a.m. on a Sunday.
  • Former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, received a three-year protection order against her ex-husband. IMHO, he got off really light. Now let’s never speak of this dirtbag ever again.
  • Urban Meyer spent his off-week teaching schoolchildren the fine art of jaywalking. “Green means ‘go’. Red means ‘GO OHIO STATE!’ ”
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

According to CBS, the Georgia-Florida game was the highest-rated afternoon college football game on any network this season.

THIS WEEK

(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest. If you need to know about the Alcorn State-New Mexico State game, you can find the details here.)

It’s that time of year when the MAC takes over your airwaves. Tell your significant others to DVR Dancing With the Bachelor Housewives because you’ve got some bad football to watch every night this week.

Tuesday, Oct 30:

Kent State at Bowling Green 7pm/8pm ESPNU - MACula!
Miami (OH) at Buffalo 7pm/8pm ESPN2 - Scream, MACula, Scream!

Wednesday, Oct 31:

Ball State at Toledo 6:30/7:30 ESPN2 - MACula Meets Frankenstein!

Thursday, Nov 1:

Northern Illinois at Akron 6pm/7pm - Abbott and Costello Meet MACula!
Ohio at Western Michigan 6pm/7pm - Die, MACula, Die!
Temple at UCF 6:30/7:30 ESPN - AACula!

Friday, Nov 2:

Pitt at Virginia 6:30/7:30 ESPN2 - Somehow UVa has found themselves ranked #23. How long til they screw that up? I am thinking 60 minutes.
Western Kentucky at Middle Tennessee 7pm/8pm CBSSN - The Directional Bowl.
Colorado at Arizona 9:30/10:30 FS1 - meh

Saturday, Nov 3:

SEC:

Vandy and Arky have the weekend off. I know you’re brokenhearted.

Texas A&M at Auburn 11am/noon ESPN - Two teams that need a win to salvage respectability.
South Carolina at Ole Miss 11am/noon SECN - Forecast calls for lotsa points.
Georgia at Kentucky 2:30/3:30 CBS - The winner of this game clinches the SEC East crown.
Missouri at Florida 3pm/4pm SECN - Will the Gatas be hung over?
Charlotte at Tennessee 3pm/4pm SECN Alt - This is where we see if the culture change for the Volgarities has kicked in yet. If they win by less than 20, the answer is ‘no’.
La Tech at Mississippi State 6:30/7:30 SECN - The Bullies should win but it won’t be a walk in the park. LT has won three straight and stand at 6-2.

NATIONAL:

Air Force at Army 11am/noon CBSSN - Round two of the Commander-In-Chief Trophy.
West Virginia at Texas 2:30/3:30 FOX - ELIMINATION GAME!
Penn State at Michigan 2:45/3:45 ESPN - ELIMINATION GAME!
Oklahoma at Texas Tech 7pm/8pm ABC - This could get interesting. It’s worth a look during commercials.

SAWING LOGS

Southern Cal at Oregon State 9pm/10pm FS1 - The Trojans are 1-3 on the road but the Beavers are awful.
BYU at Boise 9:15/10:15 PM ESPN2 - These two do not like each other and games have gotten ugly in the past.
San Diego State at New Mexico 9:15/10:15 PM ESPNU - Rocky Long (70–31 in 8 seasons at SDSU) is the best coach you have never heard of.
Fresno at UNLV 9:30/10:30 CBSSN - Jeff Tedford has got things going on at Fresno.
Cal at Washington State 9:45/10:45 ESPN - When is that second shoe gonna drop for Wazzu?
Utah State at Hawaii 10:59/11:59 Alohavision - Aloha Ahiahi

#ALABAMA

Hale Hentges is up for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award. The award is designed exclusively for NCAA Division I senior student-athletes who excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. You can vote for him multiple times here. He should win it just based on that fantastic pompadour alone.

No News Is Good News

The best Crimson Tide news of the weekend was that there was no Crimson Tide news. Nobody got goofy out at the strip at 3am or decided a pick-up basketball game would be a good way to relax.

Nick Saban now has 231 FBS/I-A victories creeping up on ol’ Bo.
(For clarification, this list is FBS/I-A wins only. No wins while coaching at FCS/I-AA or lower level schools are included.)

GAME 9, Saturday, November 3, 2018, 7:00pm/8:00pm

ALABAMA at LSU

CBS - Announcers: Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson with Jamie Erdahl on the sidelines.
Bama favored by 14 with an over/under of 53½.

(Game 10, Nov. 10: Mississippi State at ALABAMA 2:30/3:30 CBS - Ugh. Back-to-back weekends of Gary.)

#RollTide

Poll

Who wins Texas A&M at Auburn and Georgia at Kentucky (sorry, no meteorites in the vicinity)?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    TAMU and UGA
    (268 votes)
  • 15%
    TAMU and UK
    (72 votes)
  • 24%
    Aubie and UGA
    (113 votes)
  • 2%
    Aubie and UK
    (10 votes)
463 votes total Vote Now