I don’t know how anything can top the ending of last night’s Egg Bowl. I’m not even going to pretend that this weekend will give us something as nutty as what Ole Miss accomplished: converting a wide-open 4th and 24, running nine plays from inside the 10, connecting for a game-tying touchdown...and then...well, you know:
This Egg Bowl ending was INSANE— ESPN (@espn) November 29, 2019
Ole Miss scored with 4 seconds left and had a chance to tie the game with the PAT.
After a flag for the excessive celebration moved the PAT back, the kicker missed wide right and Mississippi State held on to win the Egg Bowl 21-20. pic.twitter.com/z4U7c8JukQ
If you’ve not seen the Russian announcer version, it is even funnier. Hug a Bulldog fan the next time you see one. This game, dubbed “Piss & Miss,” just gave Alabama another victory over a bowl-bound opponent. #BlessedSOS
The rest of rivalry week begins in earnest today. So, here is your Black Friday slate, and all times are God’s Right and Proper Central Standard:
Black Friday CFB schedule
|#24 Virginia Tech at Virginia
|Texas Tech at Texas
|Bowling Green at Buffalo
|Kent State at Eastern Michigan
|Miami (OH) at Ball State
|Toledo at Central Michigan
|#17 Iowa at Nebraska
|Missouri at Arkansas
|#19 Cincinnati at #18 Memphis
|#20 Boise State at Colorado State
|Washington State at Washington
|West Virginia at TCU
|Arkansas State at South Alabama
|#25 Appalachian State at Troy
|South Florida at UCF
Let’s be honest, you’re going to watch as many of these as you can. But, here are some worth staying on the sofa for:
No. 19 Cincinnati (+10.5) at No. 18 Memphis: Like Baylor-Oklahoma, this game is going to be a preview of next week’s AAC Championship, and it’ll be a barn-burner to boot. The AAC’s No. 1 and 2 defenses face its No. 1 and 3 offenses. The Bearcats are already in — they’re 7-0 in the conference and have a two-game lead on UCF in the East. The crowded West is where it gets dicier. Memphis and Navy are tied at one loss apiece, with Memphis holding the tiebreaker. A win, and Memphis is in and gets homefield advantage. A loss, and then the Tigers are sitting at home rooting for Houston to upset the Middies. If Navy takes care of business following a Tigers loss, they travel to Cincinnati for the conference title. And, a Cincy win of any stripe gives the Bearcats the homefield for the AACCG. This should be a great game.
Texas Tech (+8.5) at Texas: Did you know that UT is 6-5? No, the other UT — the one paying Tom Herman $7m a year. If you want some points, then this derpfest should be right up your alley. The Big 12’s 2nd and 4th best passing attacks face the two worst passing defenses in the conference — yes, worse than Oklahoma. The 4-7 rebuilding Red Raiders won’t be making a bowl this year, but this is their version of the Super Bowl — this is the one they circle on their calendar every year, and it means a lot more to TTU than the ‘Horns. For Tom Herman, a home win is absolutely required: a win puts the Longhorns in the Cheez-it Bowl (LOL), while a 6-6 season send UT to something called a “Servpro First Responder Bowl” in Houston. Both are awful placements, but you have to see what kind of swag a Servpro Bowl provides. So, admit it: You’re rooting for Tech now, aren’t you?
The Battle for the Bathtub Meth: Missouri (-12.5) at Arkansas: The NCAA did something I never thought possible: made me feel sorry for Mizzou. After self-reporting one tutor, followed by unprecedented cooperation, the NCAA handed down truly draconian penalties on the school which resulted in sanctions across several sports and a post-season ban for MU football. Then, the NCAA decided to jerk the Tigers around for a solid year before deciding their appeal. That appeal was denied just 48 hours before Thanksgiving. Good job, Indianapolis. That means that the 5-6 Tigers will not be playing for a bowl bid against their border rival today. Instead they will be playing on the road for...absolutely nothing.
On the other side of the ledger, the hapless Hogs are playing for 2020. Seriously. I’ve got nothing. It’s senior day, so that’ll help. But this coaching staff is gone. Chad Morris is already gone. The recruiting class is evaporating. The transfer portal is about to be stocked with Piggies. And the Razorbacks are facing a second consecutive winless SEC season. You want to say that they’re playing for pride. But, recall, this is the team that got destroyed by Western Kentucky and San Jose State. So, pride really isn’t a thing in Fayetteville at the mo.
The one thing we can count on today is the improbable. Arkansas games have historically given us some truly bizarre stuff. And, against a Mizzou team that is so bad on the road that it got wholloped by Vandy, the chances of the improbable skyrocket. Throw in two under-the-radar dirty teams and a decent amount of interstate hate, and this is going to be one you shouldn’t miss...
...either that or one team no-shows and loses by five touchdowns. And I honestly don’t know which.
Keep An Eye On:
No. 17 Iowa (-5.5) at Nebraska: The Battle of I80. There is a lot of genuine ill-regard between the two schools, states, and programs, even though they were separated by conference affiliation for over a century (And, honestly, having lived both places, the cultural divide along I-29 is pretty vast — Except for that weird Dutch corner of Northwest Iowa that we won’t talk about. Shudder.) Nubber leads the all-time series 29-17-1. But, since the Cornhuskers joined the Big 10, Iowa has had the upper hand, posting a 5-3 record. It’s been kind of a crapshoot for UNL after Bo Pelini was fired. Three meetings have been within a touchdown and three have been blowout losses. So, this could be a close one or a beatdown. If nothing else, be thankful you’re not in the stands — this game will be played in wintry mix (a/k/a cold-ass rain with intermittent sleet and a flurry here and there.)
Central Michigan (-9) vs. Toledo: Call me a sentimental softie, but Coach Mac rebuilt Colorado State. He rebuilt Florida. And now he’s rebuilt Central Michigan. He inherited a team that went winless last year in the conference. And now, 352 days after his hiring, Central Michigan can clench their division with a win and play for a MAC championship. Abrasive. Arrogant. Stubborn. Jimmy Mac is many things. But, if you recall, he’s also the only assistant Nick Saban let openly argue with him about Xs and Os — and that tells you he’s also a helluva coach...as if his track record didn’t. Fire up Chips.
The Apple Cup...I guess? 6-5 Washington vs. 6-5 Washington State (+7) This is about as closely matched as the two teams have been in a while...and that’s not a compliment. The once-mighty UW homefield has evaporated, where the Doogs are just .500 at home in conference play this season. The Coogs (as usual) are winless on the road in P12 play. Wazzu has the P12’s best offense and its second-worst defense. Washington has the P12’s third-best defense and its second-worst defense. Even worse: Kirby Smart was probably right about Jacob Eason. Woof.
So, something has to give, but you don’t think it will be particularly entertaining when it does. Just a gross, gross game all the way around. Remember: This Washington team is what the CFP Committee called a good win for Utah.
No. 23 Virginia Tech at Virginia:
When you think of the ACC, you think of a really talented team here and there, and then what? (Aside from a b-list cast of coaches, I mean.)
You know exactly what you’re envisioning, and don’t lie: Boring-ass basketball schools with boring-ass teams playing boring-ass games on Thursday nights. And for what? The right to have a boring-ass 7-5 season and play in some poorly-attended boring-ass December bowl game. And those are the quality teams — often, it’s much worse.
To sum up ACC football in two words: Aggressively mediocre.
Today’s Cavaliers — Hokies matchup personifies the ACC in every respect. It is the id of that aggressive mediocrity. And it begins, as with most failures of the ACC, with the coaches:
Justin Fuente: 33-18 (64% — the 7-5 of coaching records)
Bronco Mendenhall: 123-68 (64% — also the 7-5 of coaching records)
You can’t make up something that on-brand if you tried.
What about the game itself? Well, it’s going to bore you, that’s for sure.
Defense is the MO for both of these squads, but they don’t even particularly stand out there — 33rd and 38th in defense. The two do have fairly good rushing defense, so that is a bright spot. But they vacillate between the meh-ish secondary of UVA (39th) to the hair-on-fire, piss-poor play of the Hokies (89th).
And the results of the offensive schemes could not be more diametrically opposed to what the two coaches want to do if they tried: Virginia Tech wants to throw out of a power spread (think pre-Air Raid Mizzou), but is just 89th in Fuente’s limp horizontal scheme. The Hokies’ offense instead must rely on their running game — where they are an aggressively mediocre 56th.
Virginia’s OC Anea wants to be a power-running Air Raid team (think Leach’s offense at Tech), but they are just 118th in rushing offense. Instead, the Hoos must rely on passing. Yet, they can’t even get that right. The Cavs are an aggressively mediocre 48th in passing.
Both teams score near 30. Both teams give up about 22-23 points a game. Both teams are 2-3 on the road. Both teams are 6-2 in conference play with gross losses and ugly wins. Both are on 3-game winning streaks. Both are a deceptive 8-3. And the “winner” of this will be in the Top 25 based on record alone, earning the right to give Clemson a win over a ranked team next week.
This is the darkest timeline.
Some games are unwatchable filth because they’re caricatures of the sport. At those games, we just laugh. And some games are unwatchable filth because they’re plain unwatchable wastes of talent. And those are the ones that irritate us the most, particularly when there’s no institutional or financial excuse for aggressive mediocrity from otherwise-great schools smack-dab in the middle of a cadre of talent.
This one falls into that latter category, and it’s shame. The bad blood in this rivalry is real, the culture clash is palpable...and the game deserves so much better than what we will see today.
Commonwealth Cup, thy name is ACC.
Today’s best rivalry game will be:
This poll is closed
Mizzou — Arkansas
Va. Tech — UVA
Iowa — Nubber
TTU — Texas