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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Bowl Season Begins

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One unlucky Power Five Conference starts out 0-1. Can you guess which one?

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State v Arizona State Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

peWelcome to a special Monday Edition of “Random Thoughts”. Due to apathy from the Arizona State fanbase, there will be no Meltdown. Wednesday is the Early Signing Period for the Class of 2019 which will have an abundance of Gump-filled coverage.

Bowl season is upon us. Five games were played on Saturday followed by games every night/day this week.

LAS VEGAS BOWL

Fresno State 31 Arizona State 20 - Oh my. Here we go again for the PAC-12. These two teams were knotted at 17-17 at half and it had truly been an evenly-matched game to that point. ASU led 20-17 in the third when a Fresno running back went 68 yards and took the wind out of the sails of the Sun Devils. At 7-6, Herm Edwards did much better in Tempe than most thought he would this year, yours truly included. However, he needs to teach his young fellas to not let one slip-up blow their whole mindset. Psychology did this team in. And now the pressure is on the rest of the PAC-12.

CAMELLIA BOWL

Georgia Southern 23 Eastern Michigan 21 - EMU scored a touchdown with three and half to play to take their first lead of the day. GSU looked dead in the water after some sloppy plays left them with 4th and 10 at their own 41 and a buck 41 to play. That’s when the men in green made the mistake of rushing three against a running quarterback. If you can see the Tweet above, you see the remarkable 29 yard run that put his team in field goal range. That basically ended the game because unlike some kickers, GSU’s Tyler Bass is money. Seriously, y’all. Bama needs to talk this guy into grad transferring.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Appalachian State 45 Middle Tennessee 13 - Even without their head coach Scott Satterfield who left for Louisville, App State dominated a pretty good MTSU team. At 11-2, Appy might find themselves ranked at the end of the season.

CURE BOWL

Tulane 41 ULL 24 - The Green Wave scored three first quarter touchdowns for an early lead. ULL fought back to trail by only 3 early in the fourth quarter, but had nothing left as Tulane scored TDs on their final two possessions. It is the first bowl win for the Green Wave since 2002.

NEW MEXICO BOWL

Utah State 52 North Texas 13 - This game was a mismatch from the beginning. I assume these two teams were selected due to geographic distance to lovely downtown Albuquerque (insert dated ‘Breaking Bad’ joke here; pause for laughter). The Mean Green were 9-3 coming in but did not really have any good wins (no, beating Arky doesn’t count this year). USU won ten straight book ended by single-digit road losses to ranked teams, Sparty and the Smurfs. It’s no surprise that the Aggies rolled up 556 yards in a big win.

LAME MAN WOLKEN

Last week Dan Wolken was hemming and hawing about some horse manure as per usual. I called him on it and I was not even being rude or trolling. Below was his response. Seriously, Dan. Find a new line of work.

THE WACKY WORLD OF CFB PROGNOSTICATORS

The easiest thing in the world is to make predictions when nobody will remember them months later. I am glad I kept track. lol

  • DESI - Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington. Mich over WVU; Bama over UW; Mich over Bama. To be clear, Mr. Howard predicted Michigan to win it all.
  • CORSO - Georgia, Clemson, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington. Clemson over UW; Wisky over UGA; Wisky over Clemson. No Alabama anywhere.
  • 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 (2-10) - Petrino out. Satterfield in (see Coaching Carousel below).
  • Arkansas State (8-4) - The Red Wolves will face Nevada in the Arizona Bowl, Dec 29.
  • La-Laf (7-7) - ULL had a better season than most expected. Billy Napier’s Ragin’ Cajuns won the Sun Belt West and reached a bowl game in his rookie season.
  • Citadel - (5-6) season over.
  • BONUS: Bama cross-over Mizzou (8-4) heads to the Liberty Bowl against Okie Lite, Dec 31.
  • Also heading to bowl games: Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and Georgia.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • FAU! (5-7) - Lane Kiffin gets to work on his sun tan.
  • Hawaii (8-5) - The Rainbow Warriors will play in the... wait for it... HAWAII BOWL! They will face Louisiana Tech (7-5), Dec 22.

COUSINS

  • Troy (9-3) - The Trojans will face a tough Buffalo team in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, AL. Dollar General? Ugh, I don’t want to see those swag bag.
  • South Alabama (3-9) - The Jags look ahead to baseball season or Mardi Gras or Spring Break or something...

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (10-3) - The Blazers head to the Lane Kiffin Boca Raton Bowl to face MAC Champs Northern Illinois (8-5) Tuesday night.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

A big year for Army but disappointing ones for Navy and Air Force.

  • Army (10-2) - The Black Knights defeated Navy 17-10 in another hard-hitting classic. The Cadets achieved the program’s first ever ten win season in 2017. They can top that win total with a win over Houston on Saturday.
  • Navy (3-10) - Ken Niumatalolo has led the Middies to ten bowl games in eleven seasons prior to this year. This is by far their worst record under him.
  • Air Force (5-7) - Troy Calhoun finished his 12th season as coach of the Falcons. It was his first time with back-to-back losing regular seasons, both 5-7. His teams went to bowls in nine of his first ten seasons but have missed the last two. He gets a pass for now but another losing season might put him on the hot seat.
boxers

THE CONTENDERS FINALISTS

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

The final four:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Notre Dame
  4. Oklahoma

CONFERENCE SCOREBOARD

  • ACC - (0-0) Bowl Eligible (11): Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech.
  • Big Ten - (0-0) Bowl Eligible (9): Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota.
  • Big 12 - (0-0) Bowl Eligible (7): Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa State, TCU.
  • PAC-12 - (0-1) Bowl Eligible (7): Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Stanford, Utah, Washington, Washington State.
  • SEC - (0-0) Bowl Eligible (11): see below.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

The Southeastern Conference has 8 teams ranked in the CFP rankings. That is almost a third of the Top 25:

#1 Alabama
#5 UGA
#10 Fla
#11 LSU
#14 UK
#18 MSU
#19 TAMU
#22 Mizzou
(Aubie, not ranked)

My half-ass as-of-now ranking (not CFP picks):

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

LET’S GO BOWLING

Eleven SEC teams will be participating in a bowl game this winter. All but Florida and UK are favored to win.

  1. Alabama 13-0 - CFP: ORANGE BOWL, Miami, FL vs Oklahoma (Ala -14)
  2. Georgia 12-1 - NY6: SUGAR BOWL, New Orleans, LA vs Texas (UGA -13)
  3. LSU 9-3 - NY6: FIESTA BOWL, Glendale, AZ vs UCF (LSU -7½)
  4. Florida 9-3 - NY6: PEACH BOWL, Atlanta, GA vs Michigan (UM -7½)
  5. Kentucky 9-3 - CITRUS BOWL, Orlando, FL vs Penn State (PSU -6½)
  6. Missouri 8-4 - LIBERTY BOWL, Memphis, TN, Oklahoma State (Mizz -8)
  7. Mississippi State 8-4 - OUTBACK BOWL, Tampa, FL vs Iowa (MSU -7)
  8. Texas A&M 8-4 - GATOR BOWL, Jacksonville, FL vs NC State (TAMU -6)
  9. Auburn 7-5 - MUSIC CITY BOWL, Nashville, TN vs Purdue (Aub -3½)
  10. South Carolina 7-5 - BELK BOWL, Charlotte, NC vs Virginia (SC -5)
  11. Vanderbilt 6-6 - TEXAS BOWL, Houston, TX vs Baylor (VU -4½)
  12. Tennessee 5-7 - Sittin at home. Eat poop, FFPF.
  13. Ole Miss 5-7 - Nyet.
  14. Arkansas 2-10 - Sad.

STATS OF THE WEEK

  • Kentucky’s Benny Snell is already the program’s leader is scoring rushing touchdowns with 46, yet has no receiving touchdowns in three seasons.
  • Georgia Southern closed out the 2018 season with just five turnovers, all fumbles, for a mark that is now the fewest in FBS history. Of course they are a triple option team that attempted only 117 passes on the year, third lowest among FBS. For comparison, Alabama attempted 374 which is close to the median value. Washington State led FBS with 628 pass attempts.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to West Virginia quarterback Will Grier for sitting out the bowl game. Almost any other position player, a team can get over. Quarterback is different (unless you’ve got a spare Jalen :wink:). LSU will be okay without cornerback Greedy Williams. Houston will be fine without defensive tackle Ed Oliver. But West Virginia without the guy who took 99% of the offensive snaps on the seasons??? That is so wrong. Mountaineers back-up signal caller Jack Allison is 6 of 10 on the season. Scratch that. He is 6 of 10 for his college career! KK knows the argument that is coming: Look out for yo-self. Why risk injury in a “game that doesn’t matter.” Do you think this game doesn’t matter to seniors WRs Gary Jennings and David Sills who made Grier look so good this year? What about the other seniors who worked so hard for four or five years? Then there is the 115 or so teammates who busted their backside all year. The coaches, the staff, the waterboys, the cheerleaders, the band, the students who stood in freezing cold stands of Morgantown, WV and yelled their heads off for him? They care. But, yeah. You do what is best for you, Grier.

Also of note, Grier is currently graded as a second round pick. Do you think a great showing in a bowl game might help improve his position?

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is still basically a hype award.

Favorites (in no particular order)-

See, this is exactly why I tend to trod all over this silly award. It’s voted on by a bunch of easily-influenced troglodytes with short-attentions spans and sore-loser media members with agendas. The reasons Tua should have won over the baseball player have already been laid out before us all, so we don’t need to rehash this travesty too much.

The voters needed a “Heisman moment”? Well, how about this one among many for a starter?

Some may say I am too Gumped up and rooting against a future opponent. However two years ago, I openly campaigned for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson who in similar fashion was beaten out by a less deserving quarterback, Lamar Jackson, because the latter jumped over a 5’10” Syracuse defensive back. I still stand by my choices. Watson should’ve won in 2016 and Tua should’ve won this year. Time will tell who has the better NFL careers. (For the record, I had Baker Mayfield last year) But congratulations to Charlie Ward Jr. for becoming the first Ewok to win the award.

BOOOO! ON U of A MARKETING

A good share of the blame for Tua’s defeat in the Heisman lays on the University of Alabama Athletic Department. It is their JOB to be Gumps. Yet there was very little in the way of campaigning (Twitter, Facebook, emails to members of the FWAA) for ANY of the post-season awards. Honestly, I believe that Jerry Jeudy may have eked out his win of the Biletnikoff Award due to the tireless efforts of @BonnieLatino - who does not work for the University - to win the Fan Vote. Jeudy may have won anyway but she made sure folks did not forget to vote, which is a lot more than U of A did.

If I had a vote:

  • Tua had the best overall body of work and played against much harder competition.

THE SICK REPORT

  • Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is practicing.
  • The status of Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis is still TBD.
  • Lincoln Riley said last Wednesday that the unspecified injury to Marquise Brown did not require surgery and he’s optimistic that Brown would play in the College Football Playoff semifinal game.

DRAMA

  • The nation’s No. 2 overall recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux committed to Oregon and I am not the least bit broken-hearted. Alabama already has six defensive end commits and this guy has a bit of an ego. Must’ve been all those purty uniforms he’ll get to wear (half kidding).
  • UCLA linebacker Jaelan Phillips has left the team and is unlikely to return. 247Sports Composite rankings had him as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017 but he has not lived up to such high praise. He appeared in just four games as a sophomore, posting 20 tackles with one sack, while battling a number of injuries.
  • UPDATE: The No. 23 recruit from the Class of 2017, former 5-star DT Aubrey Solomon, is also transferring. The south Georgia product surprised many observers by opting to attend Michigan. He will have to sit out a year at his next destination if he chooses an FBS school.
  • Kentucky running back Benny Snell has declared for NFL draft. In a shocking display of selflessness, he will stand shoulder to shoulder with his teammates and play in the team’s bowl game. Snell needs 107 yards to become the all-time leading rusher at UK.
  • Urban Meyer celebrated his retirement by pouring scalding hot chocolate and figgy pudding on Christmas carolers from the roof of his house.
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COACHING CAROUSEL

It has been a very unusual year for coaching changes. Many head coaches were given reprieves from the chopping block. Of the 22 FBS schools making coaching changes, only eight are among the Power 5. Of those eight, three were retirements (Paul Johnson, Bill Snyder, Urban Meyer).

2018-19 FBS Coaching Changes

School 2018 Coach Status Replacement Snark
Akron Terry Bowden Fired Tom Arth Who?
Appalachian State Scott Satterfield Louisville Eli Drinkwitz Who?
Bowling Green Mike Jinks Fired Scot Loeffler Gene Chizik's Aubie OC in 2012: 3-9
Central Michigan John Bonamego Fired Jim McElwain Former Bama OC
Charlotte Brad Lambert Fired Will Healy Who? Only 33 Years old. 13–21Austin Peay
Colorado Mike MacIntyre Fired Mel Tucker Former Bama and UGA asst
East Carolina Scottie Montgomery Fired Mike Houston 37-6 in three seasons at James Madison
Georgia Tech Paul Johnson Retired Geoff Collins Former Temple coach
Kansas David Beaty Fired Les Miles LOL! This is gonna be fun!
Kansas State Bill Snyder Retired Chris Klieman Won 3 FCS NC's at N Dak State
Liberty Turner Gill Retired Hugh Freeze He's BACK, baby!
Louisville Bobby Petrino Fired Scott Satterfield Excellent hire (see below)
Maryland DJ Durkin Fired Mike Locksley Former Bama OC
North Carolina Larry Fedora Fired Mack Brown 67-year old nostalgia piece
Ohio State Urban Meyer Retired Ryan Day Kicked upstairs from OC
Temple Geoff Collins Georgia Tech Manny Diaz Respected DC
Texas State Everett Withers Fired Jake Spavital 33-year old whipper-snapper was OC at WVU
Texas Tech Kliff Kingsbury Fired Matt Wells Utah State head coach
Umass Mark Whipple Fired Walt Bell Who?
Utah State Matt Wells Texas Tech Gary Andersen Wisky wash out returns to USU
Western Kentucky Mike Sanford Fired Tyson Helton Clay Helton brother was Tenn's OC in 2018
  • Alabama OC Mike Locksley heading to Maryland and Jim McElwain taking over at CMU add to the burgeoning Saban coaching tree. You could arguably add Mel Tucker to that concept.
  • While many of the new hires were young first-time head coaches, the two of the bigger gigs went to senior citizens who had been out of the coaching game for a few years, Miles (2016) and Mack (2013).
  • Perhaps the best new hire of the year goes to Louisville for picking up Scott Satterfield. The former Appalachian State quarterback was 51-24 at this alma mater as they transitioned to FBS and 40-11 in the last four seasons. The Mountaineers have won three straight bowl games under Satterfiled and a fifth bowl victory without him

STAY OF EXECUTION

  • Chris Ash was retained by Rutgers despite going 1-11 this season. He is 7-29 after three seasons in New Jersey.
  • Lovie Smith returns to Illinois for a fifth season despite a record of 9–27 (4–23 in the B1G). Nine wins in FOUR YEARS! He must have compromising pictures of the President and AD.
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

Did you watch the hour-long Heisman torture along with 2.9 million other suckers? Shame on you. You should joined 4.08 million others watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

As a side note, the 2018 MLS Cup on FOX drew a 0.5 rating and 1.33 million viewers. That’s soccer for you unaware.

THIS WEEK

WALL-TO-WALL FOOTBALL

Tuesday, Dec 18

JOEY FRESHWATER BOWL
UAB vs Northern Illinois 6pm/7pm ESPN - Birmingham U’s third ever bowl appearance. They are 0-2 in such games.

Wednesday, Dec 19

FRISCO BOWL
San Diego State vs Ohio 7pm/8pm ESPN - Imagine trying to convince someone from San Diego to go to godforsaken Frisco, Texas for a midweek game in December.

Thursday, Dec 20

GASPARILLA BOWL
Marshall vs South Florida 7pm/8pm ESPN - QB Blake Barnett remains day-to-day after suffering lower-leg injuries in USF’s Nov. 17 loss at Temple and missing the regular season finale against UCF. No word on where Blakey will transfer to next.

Friday, Dec 21

BAHAMAS BOWL
Florida Intl vs Toledo 11:30am/12:30pm ESPN - Don’t care.

POTATO BOWL
Western Michigan vs BYU 3pm/4pm ESPN - Congrats on a mediocre season! Your reward is a game in Boise on a frigid stupid blue field.

Saturday, Dec 22

BIRMINGHAM BOWL
Memphis vs Wake Forest 11am/noon ESPN - Worth a look.

FCS CHAMPIONSHIP
North Dakota State vs Eastern Washington 11am/noon ESPN2 - The usual suspects.

ARMED FORCES BOWL
Houston vs Army 2:30/3:30 ESPN - Can Army get historic win number 11?

MOBILE BOWL
Buffalo vs Troy 6pm/7pm ESPN - Neal Brown still stuck in Troy.

HAWAII BOWL
Hawaii vs Louisiana Tech 9:30/10:30 ESPN - Aloha.

#ALABAMA

Nick Saban has tied Lou Holtz in career I-A wins and has done so in ten less seasons.
(For clarification, this list is FBS/I-A wins only. No wins while coaching at FCS/I-AA or lower level schools are included.)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

GAME 14, Saturday, December 29, 2018, 7:00pm/8:00pm

ORANGE BOWL: Oklahoma vs ALABAMA

ESPN - Announcers Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Laura Rutledge
Alabama is still listed as a 14 point favorite with an over/under of 80½.

Game 15 - Stay Tuned!

#RollTide

Poll

Who will last longer at his new gig?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Les Miles at Kansas
    (392 votes)
  • 15%
    Mack Brown at North Carolina
    (94 votes)
  • 19%
    Hugh Freeze at Liberty
    (114 votes)
600 votes total Vote Now