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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Winning Ugly, Losing Uglier

No real upsets but the season is wearing on everyone.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Georgia
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There was a theme this weekend and it was winning ugly and losing uglier. There were no upsets in the Top ten but the wins were not much to look at.



The Crimson Tide was not immune to the ugliness. Missy State just seems to have that effect on their opponents. The Alabama offense was not its usual spectacular self. There were too many sieves in the offensive line that allowed Bullies through the line to take hits on Tua Tagovailoa. He was sacked four times, threw an awful interception, and fumbled an exchange with Damien Harris.

Conversely, the performance by the Bama defense was again a thing of beauty. MSU had only SIX first downs for the game. They were 1-13 on third down conversions and 0-2 on fourth down. QB Nick Fitzgerald had a career low game of -23 yards rushing on 14 carries. It was his only negative output in four seasons in StarkVegas.

It was the first time Alabama has shutout back-to-back SEC opponents since 1980. I am sure there is some kinda thing about shutting out ranked SEC teams in consecutive games too but I am too lazy to look it up.

Special teams were pretty good with Joseph Bulovas connecting on all extra points and a 49-yard field goal. Ale Kaho recovered MSU’s first fumble of the year on a muffed punt. Mike Bernier had a punt downed at the one.

After the game, there was a bit of a dust-up between the two teams. Some observers think it had to do with low shots taken at Tua’s knee, but there was a good deal of jawing going on during this game.

No non-offensive touchdowns or safeties for Alabama this week:

  • 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
  • vs. Arkansas Shyheim Carter 44 yard interception return.
  • vs. Mizzou Drew Lock sacked by Quinnen Williams in the end zone for a safety.
  • vs. Tennessee Keller Chryst downed in the end zone for a safety.


Georgia 27 Auburn 10 - And the Gus Bus goes back down the hill. Aubie actually led this one in the second 10-6 but that was all they could muster. UGA’s D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield ran the Tigers ragged combining for 279 yards.

LSU 24 Arkansas 17 - LSU had the luxury of playing the dreadful Hawgs after their humiliation at the hands of Alabama, but it could have been a disaster. The Tigers were up 24-3 entering the fourth quarter and started to set their sights on Texas A&M. Arky scored the next 14 but LSU was able to ground out the last 5:27 over 9 plays.

Tennessee 24 Kentucky 7 - Hangover City, Population UK. After getting smacked in the jaw by UGA, the Wildcats came out flat and uninspired and paid the price. Kentucky managed only 77 yards rushing and 185 through the air.

Florida 35 South Carolina 31 - The SC offense came into this game fired up and jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the first two possessions. Unfortunately, the defense could not stop UF from answering. After building a 31-14 lead, the Gamecocks fell cold and made terrible Gators QB Feleipe Franks look like Danny Wuerffel.

Missouri 33 Vanderbilt 28 - The Commodores let a 29-18 lead dwindle away to Drew Lock & Company.

Texas A&M 38 Ole Miss 24 - Stop me if you’ve heard this one: OM led 21-14 but fell apart.


Notre Dame 42 Florida State 13 - Even without QB Ian Book, the Irish had no problem with the moribund ‘Noles. FSU needs to beat both BC and Florida to get to six wins. They probably lose both.
Oklahoma 48 Oklahoma State 47 - When WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen went for the winning two-point conversion against Texas two weeks ago, not only did he beat Texas, but he beat Okie State as well. The Cowpokes head coach Mike Gundy saw that move and the glory that entailed and tried to duplicate it against the Sooners but came up short.
Washington State 31 Colorado 7 - Wazzu caught the Buffs at a good time. Colorado began the season 5-0 but have now lost five straight with division leader Utah and @Cal to go. The Cougars had 26 first downs and 477 yards of offense in an easy win.
West Virginia 47 TCU 10 - Will Grier threw three touchdown passes as the Mountaineers dominated a feeble TCU team who may have trouble getting to 6-6. The Frogs are at Baylor and home vs Okie Lite.
Ohio State 26 Michigan State 6 - This game was 7-6 in the third when Sparty found themselves 4th & 10 on their own 1 yard line. This is when Mark Dantonio chose to take an intentional safety instead of punting out of their own end zone. To me that signifies surrender. It’s not the kind of thing that builds confidence in a team. The Buckeyes would score the next 19 points. MSU had bad field position all day. Their first five drives after halftime began from their own 5, 6, 3, 1 and 2-yard line.
Texas 41 Texas Tech 34 - Another shootout at the UT Corral. The Longhorns led 34-17. The Red Raiders scored 24 fourth quarter points and tied the game at 34-34. UT QB Sam Ehlinger led a 7 play 75 yard drive to clinch the win with 28 ticks remaining on the clock.
Northwestern 14 Iowa 10 - Another B1G @classic@. 7 punts for each team, 2 turnovers each, 1 missed field goal each. Ugh.
Iowa State 28 Baylor 14 - Brock Purdy will not be redshirting! The true frosh sensation has reeled off five straight wins since entering the lineup. Considering they started the season 1-3, you hafta wonder what coulda been...
Wake Forest 27 NC State 23 - Wanna know how weak the ACC is? NCSU was thought to be the second best team.


Michigan 42 Fudd-Rutgers 7 - The Wolverines beat up on a crappy team (1-9), like they should.

Clemson 27 Boston College 7 - It was so adorable when GameDay went to Boston and Desmond Howard and BC grad Chris O’Donnell picked the Screaming Eagles to upset Clemson. Preseason RB darling AJ Dillon was held to 39 yards on 16 carries. BC had 113 total yards.


No real movement in this department. Amazingly, the Huskies still have a path to the Rose Bowl if they win out.

  • 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.


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


  • Louisville (2-8) - At some point, you really have to wonder if there is something to this Bama curse. After being decimated by the Tide in Week 1, the Cards have gone straight down the tubes. You knew they would have a set-back with Lamar Jackson’s departure but this is a ridiculously bad team. Bobby Petrino packs up his sacks of money on his Harley and rides off into the sunset.
  • Arkansas State (6-4) - The Red Wolves are bowl eligible after a 44-16 romp over Coastal Carolina. ULM and @Texas St round out the schedule.
  • La-Laf (5-5) - The Ragin’ Cajuns defeat Ga State 36-22 and could get win #6 if they beat USA this weekend. @ULM is their final game.
  • Citadel - The Fightin’ Cupcakes (4-5) have won two in a row!
  • BONUS: It wasn’t easy but Mizzou won again. They have a real shot at 8 wins with @Tennessee and Arky left to play.


  • FAU! (5-5) - The Owls ran past WKU 34-15. Two more games to get the ever-elusive win #6: @NTex and Charlotte.
  • Hawaii (6-5) - The Rainbow Warriors had a bye week. Next is a plane ride to UNLV (2-7, 0-5) and hopefully an end to a four-game losing streak.


  • Troy (8-2) - The Trojans downed Georgia Southern and remain undefeated in Sun Belt play. They should beat Texas State before a final week showdown with App State.
  • South Alabama (2-8) The Jags lost to ULM 38-10.


UAB (9-1) - The Blazers survive Southern Miss in OT 26-23. They are C-USA West Champs and find themselves ranked #25 in the Coaches Poll. For the record, UAB had a LAME announced attendance of 25,618. Next is a trip to Texas A&M and a dose of reality.



  • Army (8-2) - The Black Knights buried Lafayette 31-13. Colgate and Navy remaining to play.
  • Air Force (4-6) - The Falcons handle New Mexico 42-24. They must win @Wyo and home vs ColoState to get to a bowl.
  • Navy (2-8) The Midshipmen made UCF work for it but eventually fell 35-24. Tulsa, @Tulane, Army remain.



All non-Power 5 teams.
Ole Miss
Arizona State
Boston College
Georgia Tech
Iowa State
Kansas State
Michigan State
Mississippi State
NC State
North Carolina
Oklahoma State
Oregon State
Penn State
Southern Cal
South Carolina
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Wake Forest
Virginia Tech
West Virginia


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

Notre Dame - One loss will eliminate them.
Ohio State - Very close to being out of it.
Washington State


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

The third of five weekly CFP rankings will be released tonight Tuesday, Nov. 13th at 6pm CT/7pm ET aired on ESPN.

  • ACC - Clemson will cakewalk thru Duke, SCar, SECCG (most likely Pitt).
  • Big Ten - Michigan faces Indiana and then the big one at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are at Maryland before hosting Michy. Northwestern (6-4, 6-1) clinches the B1G West even if they lose their final two (@Minn, ILL).
  • Big 12 - Okie and WVU look like they are on a collision course for a double-header that could very well knock both of them out of the playoff. LOL!
  • PAC-12 - Wazzu (9-1). The little engine that could keeps chugging along. They host Arizona and then UW on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
  • SEC - Alabama is the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference. They will face one-loss UGA in the SEC Championship Game.
  • Indies - Notre Dame is 10-0 with Syracuse and @SoCal to go. BTW, last week on “College Football Live” Mark Herzlich said it is possible that the Irish do not get in the playoff despite an undefeated record and Desmond Howard agreed with him.


The Southeastern Conference has 6 teams ranked in the AP Poll:

#1 Alabama
#5 UGA
#10 LSU (leapfrogged by Wazzu)
#15 Fla (up from #19)
#20 UK (dropped 8 spots)
#25 MSU (down 7, yet BC fell only 5)
(Aubie not ranked)

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

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


Point differential numbers for each of the top 10 teams in last week’s rankings after Saturday. They’ve all played 10 games so far.

  1. Alabama +359
  2. Clemson +330
  3. Notre Dame +158
  4. Michigan +243
  5. Georgia +212
  6. Oklahoma +192
  7. West Virginia +180
  8. Washington State +155
  9. Ohio State +186
  10. LSU +100


65 teams are now bowl eligible for the 80 bowl slots. 30 teams have 7 or more losses and will not go bowling this season. That leaves a Battle Royale for the remaining 34 still in the running for 6 wins. (Liberty is in a transitional year and not eligible.)

Nine SEC teams have 6 or more victories. South Carolina should join them Saturday when they face Chattanooga. The Vols will need to get by Mizzou or @Vandy. The ‘Dores have to win out vs OM and UT.


  • Oklahoma’s 48-47 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday was the fifth time the Sooners have won a game in which they allowed at least 45 points over the last three seasons.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Kirby Smart who learned a lot under Nick Saban but he sure never learned about winning with class. He faked a field goal up 27-10 on Auburn with 3:20 to play. The Bulldogs missed it but, still, it’s running up the score for no reason and bad sportsmanship. KK knows what some of you all are thinking: “it’s Awbern. Who cares. fAU!” The thing is, Kirby is a Saban disciple and you’d expect better from him. It’s like watching your son be mean to his girlfriend or sassing back to a teacher or something.


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)-

The Tide QB still leads.

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama Soph.) - Against a big-time defensive line and an unforgiving sore knee, Tua had okay numbers through three quarters (14-21, 164 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). Are the voters getting bored with him? Remember, this award is not always about merit. Mostly it is about who makes eyeballs bug out.
  • Kyler Murray (QB Oklahoma Jr.) - And on that note, the guy who is making their hearts race is this diminutive twinkle-toed quarterback who has the great fortune of facing Big 12 teams almost every Saturday. The hearts of the media go all a-flutter when this adorable little guy scoots around the way he does. His numbers weren’t mind blowing (21-29, 349 yds, 1 TD, 14 rush, 66 yds) but still pretty good.


  • Will Grier (QB West Virginia Sr.) - Such short memories... Grier has had some stinkers such as the 3 INTs vs Kansas and 100 passing yards and a loss to Iowa State. AND THOSE WERE JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO! But all of a sudden, he is a media darling.
  • Dwayne Haskins (QB thatOSU RS Soph.) a whole lotta meh going on here (24-39, 227 yds, 1 TD, -11 rushing yards).
  • Quinnen Williams (DL Alabama RS Soph.) - Most worthy defender of votes. 4 solos, 2 asst, sack, 2 TFL.

If I had a vote:

  • Tua
NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Arkansas
Kristian Fulton is not feeling so chipper.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports


  • Nick Saban injury report: “Jalen’s day-to-day, and he’s definitely getting better. Tua is OK. He’s definitely going to be able to practice.” No word on Deonte Brown or Najee Harris.
  • Coach O told the press LSU starting DB Kristian Fulton will “be out for a while.”
  • Michigan starting cornerback Lavert Hill is in concussion protocol. There is little chance he plays this week.
  • Notre Dame QB Ian Book is expected to be back as the starter for the Irish’s game with Syracuse.
  • Former Bama QB Blake Barnett did not suit up for South Florida’s game against Cincinnati. The Bulls have lost three straight after starting 7-0.
  • Utah RB Zack Moss reportedly injured a knee while climbing into bed and is likely done for the year. He reaggravated an existing injury. The junior had 1,092 rushing yards on the season and 11 TDs.
  • Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook is back in a second concussion protocol. I’d be shocked if he played again before bowl season.


  • Louisville fired Bobby Petrino three days after the Thursday’s nationally televised embarrassing 54-23 loss to Syracuse. According to reports, he was not allowed to return to his office at the U of L football complex to talk to his coaches and players or collect items from his office. He can dab those tears with the $14 million buyout he will get for the remaining years on his contract.
  • The first date between Kansas and Les Miles went swimmingly. Pray to the football gods that this marriage goes through. We need that wackjob out of TV commercials and on the sideline somewhere.
  • Georgia has agreed to a home-and-home series with Clemson in 2029-2030 and Texas in 2028-2029. Deposits are being accepted for flying car parking passes.
  • After finally wrestling the Gators starting QB role away from Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask was carted off the practice field last week and he is done for the year. Feeding off the doubts and deserved boos, shushing his home crowd after touchdowns on two occasions, Franks had a big game on Saturday. The punchline is that as soon as they start cheering him again, he will go back to sucking. Florida will romp over Idaho and FSU and find themselves in NYE6 bowl against UCF who will beat the Gators by 20.
  • Urban Meyer celebrated his team’s win by removing parking tickets from all the car windshields around town and clogging the toilets at a nearby church with them.
Black and White TV


Mississippi State-Alabama drew a 3.4 ratings on CBS, winning its time slot.


(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest. If you REALLY need to know about the VMI-Old Dominion game, you can find the details here.)

Tuesday, Nov 13:

Western Michigan at Ball State 6pm/7pm ESPN2 - harumph

Wednesday, Nov 14:

Buffalo at Ohio 6pm/7pm ESPN2 - The Bulls are getting a little cocky with their 9-1 record.
Miami (OH) at Northern Illinois 7pm/8pm ESPNU - ew

Thursday, Nov 15:

Toledo at Kent State 5pm/6pm CBSSN - bleh
Tulane at Houston 7pm/8pm ESPN - Hmm, what can we call our team that sounds as awesome as ‘Crimson Tide’? Green Wave? Eh. Whatever. Let’s get some beignets.
FAU! at North Texas 8:30/9:30 CBSSN - Kiffin needs a win to go bowling.

Friday, Nov 16:

Memphis at SMU 8pm/9pm ESPN2 - meh
Boise at New Meixco 8pm/9pm CBSSN - yuck

Saturday, Nov 17:


NBA: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports


Ugh. An awful slate of games. It’s okay to get married this weekend if you must.

Middle Tennessee at Kentucky 11am/noon SECN Alt - UK needs to get their heads right. This is the third SEC game for MTSU (Vandy, UGA).
Idaho at Florida 11am/noon ESPNU - Four years ago, these two had a game terminated amid lightning storms. They are just now getting the game made up. Unfortunately, Jeff Driskel does not have any eligibility left.
Arkansas at Mississippi State 11am/noon ESPN - The Bullies D gonna be pisst.
Missouri at Tennessee 2:30/3:30 CBS - Sadly, this is the best SEC game of the week.
UMass at Georgia 3pm/4pm SECN - Justin Fields might actually get to throw a pass or two!!!
Liberty at Auburn 3pm/4pm SECN Alt - Wow, who is the Holy Lord going to root for in this one?
UAB at Texas A&M 6pm/7pm ESPN2 - A real test to see if Jimbo has complete control of this team (i.e. respecting the opponent).
Rice at LSU 6:30/7:30 ESPNU - The Owls (1-10) are the WORST team in FBS. Their one win was a 3-pointer against Prairie View in Week 1.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt 6:30/7:30 SECN - Two teams coming off blown lead losses.
Chattanooga at South Carolina 6:30/7:30 SECN - No reason to think SC doesn’t get win number six. It’s a good thing because Clemson is next.


Syracuse at Notre Dame 1:30/2:30 NBC - Someone will be exposed as the frauds that they are.
West Virginia at Oklahoma State 2:30/3:30 ABC - Will WVU be caught looking ahead to that other Okie team?
Southern Cal at UCLA 3:30 PM FOX - Once upon a time, this was a huge game. Go ask grandaddy. We’ll wait.
Indiana at Michigan 3pm/4pm FS1 - The Wolverines continue their march to the playoff.
Duke at Clemson 6pm/7pm ESPN - The Blue Devils might hang... for a quarter or so.
Iowa State at Texas 7pm/8pm LONGHORN - A good chance to check out ‘Clones QB Brock Purdy.


New Mexico State at BYU 9:15/10:15 ESPN2 - If BYU ever wants to be relevant again, they need to get over this who gotta-be-Mormon-to-coach-here thing.
Arizona at Washington State 9:30/10:30 ESPN - The Wildcats are still in the running for the Pac-12 South.
Arizona State at Oregon 9:30/10:30 PAC12 - The Sun Devils are still in the running for the Pac-12 South.
San Diego State at Fresno 9:30/10:30 CBSSN
UNLV at Hawaii 10pm/11pm The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a Network



It’s Cupcake Week for the Crimson Tide as well. This means we will likely see several if not all true freshmen. Of course, Jaylen Waddle, Patrick Surtain, Saivion Smith, and Ale Kaho have played in all games this year. Jaylen Moody, Josh Jobe, Eyabi Anoma, Skyler DeLong, and Tevita Musika all surpassed 4 games of participation.

The staff have some interesting decisions to make regarding the rest of the true freshmen. DB Eddie Smith and RB Jerome Ford have both played in four games. Do you burn their shirts against Citadel? I would think they save them. DL Stephon Wynn and center Emil Ekiyor have played in three. Do you play them Saturday and take the risk that you won’t need them for the post-season run? Probably.

Linebacker Cameron Latu has played in two games and should see playing time. Wide receivers Slade Bolden and Xavier Williams have played in one game.

Christian Barmore, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Michael Parker, Layne Hatcher, Jarez Parks, and Tommy Brown have not played this season.

At 233 FBS/I-A victories, Nick Saban is one behind Bo Schembechler.
In twelve seasons, Saban has won 15% of Alabama’s 930 all-time wins.
(For clarification, this list is FBS/I-A wins only. No wins while coaching at FCS/I-AA or lower level schools are included. We at Random Thoughts Inc. do not recognize the NCAA-forced forfeits for players selling textbooks while so many others get off scot-free.)

GAME 11, Saturday, November 17, 2018, 11:00am/12 noon

The Citadel at ALABAMA

SECN - Yes, it’s an early-ass game and we get the economy-size announcers but at least it isn’t Gary... for now. Announcers: Dave Neal and DJ Shockley with someone named Dawn Davenport on the sidelines. I bet she’s blonde.
Alabama Radio or Tune in radio app, Alabama Crimson Tide Network.
Due to some player availability uncertainty, there are not too many lines on Bama just yet. A few books have them as a 51½ point favorite with an over/under of 60½.

Game 12, Nov. 24: Auburn at ALABAMA 2:30/3:30 CBS
Game 13, Dec. 1: SEC Championship - ALABAMA vs. Georgia 3:00/4:00 CBS


POLL: Many watchers assume Jeff Brohm will up and leave Purdue for his hometown and alma mater Cardinals. However, he has built the bedrock of a decent team in West Lafayette and Louisville is a dumpster fire. In addition, the Big Ten dishes out higher revenue than the ACC does - $7-12 million more. That said, what would you do?


Should Brohm leave Purdue for Louisville?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    No, way. Money talks and that place is toxic.
    (169 votes)
  • 39%
    Not just yet. The job will probably be available again in three years.
    (181 votes)
  • 9%
    Yes, Purdue isn’t going to do anything for him in Year 3 and beyond.
    (45 votes)
  • 14%
    Yes, when Mama calls, you gotta answer.
    (66 votes)
461 votes total Vote Now