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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: College Football Playoff and Bowl Games

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The top 4 was easy to vote on. The rest of the CFP Poll was a bit perplexing.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Memphis
The Big Beer Tap is up for grabs.
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

[Note: Meltdown has wrapped for the season. You will have to deal with CB969’s snark today.]

Championship weekend went off pretty much like everyone outside of delusional Georgia and Utah fans thought it would.

The weekend was punctuated with a slap in the face to a team you may be familiar with.

You know it’s going to be a long day when the opposing QB does this.

SEC: LSU 37 Georgia 10 - This game was pretty much over by the end of the first quarter with the Tigers building an insurmountable 14-0 lead. It was clear the inept Dawgs offense was not going to be able to catch up, much less surpass LSU on the scoreboard. Forget the excuses of Lawrence Cager being injured and George “Streetfighter” Pickens being suspended for the first half. This UGA offense sucks and it has most of the season. Jake Fromm was an atrocious 20 of 42 for 225 yards, 1 TD, and 2 interceptions, and likely found himself returning to Athens for his senior year rather than testing the NFL waters. Georgia had 61 yards rushing. But, yeah, rank them #5...

LSU amassed 481 total yards with You-Know-Who completing 28 of 38 for 349 yards and 4 TD.

ABC deserves an Emmy in cinematography for the way they skillfully aired this game while cropping out all the empty seats.

SEE, WE TOLD YOU

PAC-12: Oregon 37 Utah 15 - The Utes with a healthy Zack Moss finally faced a team with a pulse and guess what happened. They got boat-raced by three touchdowns. Oregon’s CJ Verdell gained 208 yards on the ground and scored three TDs. Justin Herbert was not great (14-26, 193 yds, 1 TD), missing several easy targets. But it was good enough against this overrated bunch from the Beehive State.

B12: Oklahoma 30 Baylor 23 OT - These two once again played a tight game with the Sooners coming out on top. The Bears lost starting quarterback Charlie Brewer in the second quarter following a big hit. Gerry Bohanon came in and threw a TD pass but then went downhill fast completing only 4 of 15 passes. Matt Rhule then turned to freshman Jacob Zeno who almost saved the day, completing an 81 yard touchdown pass on his first attempt and only fourth attempt of the year. But in the end, the Baylor OL could not contain the blitzing Oklahoma rush who held BU to -10 yards in their only overtime possession.

Jalen Hurts was again just okay (17-24, 287 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 23 rush, 38 yds, lost fumble, sacked 3 times). He will have to do much better if he has any hopes of delaying Lincoln Riley’s (rumored) departure for the Dallas Cowboys.

B1G: Ohio State 34 Wisconsin 21 - Wisky put a big ol’ scare in anOSU, building a 21-7 halftime lead. Justin Fields looked a little frazzled which included a second quarter lost fumble. However, he came back in the second half to complete three touchdown passes to put the Badgers away. The Buckeyes leaned heavily on J.K. Dobbins who, as the only ball carrier other than Fields, had 172 yards on 33 carries.

The Ohio State defense shut Wisconsin down in the second half and cruised to the B1G title.

THE LITTLE GUYS

SUN BELT: Appalachian State 45 UL-Lafayette 38 - Appy took charge on their home field pretty early on, scoring 21 in the first quarter and taking a 35-14 lead in teh second quarter. But they let ULL hang around and score a pair of late touchdowns that may have just knocked them out of the NY6 slot held for one non-Power-5 team. But it’s not like the committee watched this game or anything...

C-USA: FAU! 49 UAB 6 - Lane Kiffin opened up the playbook and jumped out to a 28-3 lead before the Dragons knew what hit them. The Owls outgained Bham U 585 to 223. Kiffin capped his third season in Boca with a second double-digit win season and C-USA crown before leaving the sunshine coast of boat parties and girls in bikinis for ... Oxford, Mississippi.

AAC: Memphis 29 Cincinnati 24 - These two met in Memphis in the final game of the regular season a week before with the Tigers coming out on top by 10. This time is was slightly closer. The game went back-and-forth with eight lead changes before Cincy was stopped at the Memphis 26 yard line with 26 ticks to go.

MWC: Boise 31 Hawaii 10 - Smurf Village is a tough place to win.

MAC: Miami (OH) 26 Central Michigan 21 - This one was a pretty tight game with M-OH kicker Sam Sloman booting fourth quarter field goals of 33, 48, and 42 yards. Forget it. He’s a senior.

OTHER STUFF

ACC PRACTICE GAME: Clemson 62 Virginia 17

COACHING CAROUSEL

  • Memphis coach Mike Norvell has agreed to a deal to become Florida State’s coach. He was 38-15 (24-8) in four seasons with the Tigers but 0-3 in bowl games. Norvell, 38, is now the third-youngest* coach of a Power 5 school, after 36-year-old Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma (who may be spending more time in JerryWorld in the near future).
  • Mizzou is set on hiring Appalachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz. He led his team to a 12-1 record and a Sun Belt title in his first and only season as head coach at Appy. It’s a risky move for an SEC school to hire such a young guy who has coached one season with Scott Satterfield’s recruits. *Drinky is now the youngest P5 head coach by five months over Riley.
  • Arkansas ain’t got time for no 36-year olds! They hired Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach. (Pause for laughter) It’s another blunderific hire for Arky. This first-time head coach is 58 years old - just what you need to pump energy back into a dying patient. How old is this guy? The year he was born, Bear Bryant won his first National Championship. With this move, the other members of the SEC West are automatically guaranteed a win in 2020.
Joey Freshwater in Oxford? What could go wrong?
  • Lane Kiffin has agreed to take over the RebelAckbarBlackSharkManBearPigs in Oxford. The first likely thought is how Kiffin will do once matched up against Nick Saban every year. But perhaps a more intriguing matchup might just be Kiffin vs Ed Orgeron at LSU. Remember Coach O was his DL coach at Tennessee (2009) and Southern Cal (2010–2013).
  • It happened! Clay “Don’t Call Me Todd” Helton will return to Southern Cal for another season and guess who their first game is against. Yep, the Alabama Crimson Tide and potentially freshman QB Bryce Young who flipped from them. The game will be played Saturday Sep. 5, 2020 in JerryWorld.
  • It is unclear why it took so long but Mike Bobo was finally axed from Colorado State on Wednesday. Some believe the administration wanted to keep the former UGA QB and OC, but the villagers gathered their torches and pitchforks, and were about to storm the castle. Bobo was 7-17 over the last two seasons. Bama analyst/car washer Butch Jones has emerged as a strong candidate to replace him.
  • USF is finalizing a deal to hire Clemson co-OC Jeff Scott as its new head coach. Good job, people! Now let’s find Brent Venables a new job!

CASHING IN

  • Fearing a poaching of their head coach (reportedly met with Florida State ”powerbrokers”), Penn State gave James Franklin an expensive 6-year extension. The deal guarantees him $34.7 million through 2022 and will average $5.78 million per year. That number makes him the eleventh highest paid coach in college football.
  • Flushed with artificial success of a 8-4 season, Indiana followed PSU’s lead by giving some guy named Tom Allen a new a new SEVEN-year, $27.3 million contract that will average of $3.9 million annually - more than doubling his salary. Of the eight Hoosiers’ wins this season, none came against teams with winning records which included some of the worst teams in P5: UConn, Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern, Purdue. He went 5-7 in each of his previous two seasons in Bloomington. Mark my words: IU will rue the day they gave this guy such silly money.
  • Wazzu head nutjob Mike Leach seems to be a candidate to change jobs every year. It was a good move by the Coogs to lock him down through 2024 at $4 million a year. These two are made for each other and should never part ways.
  • Iowa State extended Matt Campbell through 2025. Smart move.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

The results are in. NOBODY picked LSU to win the SEC. Everyone had Clemson winning the All Cupcake Conference. Desi was the only one to pick the Ducks in the PAC, but he missed on anOSU in the B1G that the rest of us had. Corso and I are the sole pickers of Okie winning the B12.

Bold represents endangered. Bold and strikethrough are eliminated. Bold strikethrough and italicized had subpar seasons. Asterisk (*) represents conference champ.

  • DESI - 1. Georgia (SEC Champs), 2. Clemson (ACC Champs*), 3. Oregon (PAC Champs*), 4. Wisconsin (B1G Champs); Iowa State (B12 Champs); Clemson over Georgia in the CFP final.
    One Playoff participant picked correctly; Two conference champs right.
  • CORSO - 1. Alabama (SEC Champs), 2. Clemson (ACC Champs*), 3. Utah (PAC Champs), 4. Ohio State (B1G Champs*); Oklahoma (B12 Champs); Alabama over Utah .
    Two playoff; Two conference champs.
  • HERBIE - 1. Alabama (SEC Champs), 2. Clemson (ACC Champs*), 3. Ohio State (B1G Champs*), 4. Texas (B12 Champs); Washington (PAC Champs); Alabama over Clemson.
    Two playoff; Two conference champs.

MY PICKS

  • 1. Clemson (ACC Champs*), 2. Alabama (SEC Champs) 3. Ohio State (B1G Champs*), 4. Georgia; Oklahoma (B12 Champs*); Washington (PAC Champs); Alabama over Georgia.
    Two playoff; Three conference champs.

Admittedly, I did not do so great with my picks. However, I was right up there or better than these ESPN “experts” who get paid a boatload of money.

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

  • Duke (5-7)
  • New Mexico State (2-10)
  • Southern Miss (7-5) - The Screaming Eagles will play Tulane in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.
  • Western Carolina (3-9)

BONUS: Tennessee (7-5) will face Indiana in the Gator Bowl. LSU, Aub, TAMU and MSU also have bowl games (see LET’S GO BOWLING below).

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • UL-Laf (10-3) - The Ragin’ Napiers will play MAC-Champs Miami (OH) in the Ladd-Peebles Mobile Bowl. I am a little surprised Coach Billy has not moved up the ladder.
  • Hawaii (9-5) - The Rainbow Warriors stay home to host fellow Pacific Islander-heavy BYU in the Hawaii Bowl.

COUSINS

  • Troy (5-7)
  • South ALLLLLLLLLLabama (2-10, 1-7) - If you are an alum or even a passing fan of the Jags, you will let USA AD Joel Erdmann know what you think of this awful head coach.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER WHO JUST PLAIN SUCKS

UAB (9-3) - The Blazers got stomped in the C-USA title by FAU! They will play Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE OUR TROOPS

Up next is the game that needs no nickname.

  • Navy (9-2) - The Midshipmen go to the Liberty Bowl to meet Kansas State. But first things first: it’s the Army-Navy game this Saturday.
  • Army (5-7) - The Black Knights head to Philadelphia for Army-Navy, but no bowl game for them.
  • Air Force (10-2) - The Falcons will face the Pirate and Wazzu in the world-renowned Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix.
boxers

CONTENDERS

Who ya got?

  1. LSU - Not good for Bama recruiting if they win.
  2. Ohio State - Yamn Dankees and the loudmouthed B1G.
  3. Clemson - It is time this program goes back to being a 3-loss team.
  4. Oklahoma - Ain’t gonna happen.

NEWLY ELIMINATED:

  • Utah
  • Baylor
  • Georgia

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

The College Football Playoff Committee had a pretty easy time ranking the final four. Once again, they got it right. It was 5 through 25 that was pretty f’ed up. This could have been a real mess had Oregon not exposed Utah for the frauds that they are. Good team? Yes. Top 6? Hell no. Here is how the CFPC saw it versus the AP writers who probably actually watch all the games:

LET’S GO BOWLING

  • I made a tiny error. Yes, there are 40 bowls but one of them is the Celebration Bowl that invites the two best HBCU (FCS) teams. So in reality, there are 39 FBS bowl games; 78 spots.
  • Every team with at least a 6-6 record will go to a bowl except Toledo who is odd man out and Mizzou who is on probation.

SEC BOWLS

  • CFP Semifinal, Peach Bowl: LSU vs Oklahoma
  • Sugar Bowl: UGA vs Baylor
  • Citrus Bowl: Alabama vs Michigan
  • Orange Bowl: Florida vs Virginia
  • Belk Bowl: Kentucky vs Virginia Tech
  • Music City Bowl Mississippi State vs Louisville
  • Outback Bowl: Auburn vs Minnesota
  • Gator Bowl: Tennessee vs Indiana
  • Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State

STATS OF THE DAY

  • Justin Fields has been responsible for 50 touchdowns (40 passing, 10 rushing) this season. Why Kirby Smart never allowed him to legitimately challenge Jake Fromm for the starting role is mind boggling.
  • UGA kicker Rodrigo Blankenship connected on one of three field goal tries in the SECCG. He missed his first attempt of the season from under 40 yards at 37 yards. You may recall, he missed a 30-yarder against Alabama in last year’s SECCG.
  • It’s been 14,221 days since UGA last won a national championship. John Lennon was shot a few weeks earlier, Jimmy Carter was on his way out as President, and Herschel Walker (now 57) was a baby-faced freshman.

WTF CALL OF THE DAY

  • CMU coach Jim McElwain called for a fake punt on 4th & 6 at the Chippewas own 19. It didn’t work.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to CFP Committee Chair Rob Mullens for his jumbled explanation of Bama’s tumble in their polls that seemed to perplex even the ESPN crew.

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 and refuse to REALLY look at what a player has accomplished.

WHO WILL WIN

The four finalists have been announced. This is how they will finish:

  1. LSU QB Joe Burrow
  2. Ohio State QB Justin Fields
  3. Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts
  4. Ohio State DL Chase Young (eye roll)

WHO SHOULD WIN

CLARIFICATION: This section IS for who deserves to win it.

  • Burrow - ESPN is going to put on a big show of this one, but realistically there should be no other player invited to New York. Actually, that would be perfect. He could reenact his famous movie “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Runner-Ups

Can we talk about running backs for a moment? Many people say that the Heisman is a “Quarterback Award”. In all honesty, quarterback is the hardest position to play and often times the most vital to a team’s success. When a running back wins the Heisman, it is usually when they took their team on their shoulders and carried them to a championship. The last two running backs to win the Heisman just happen to be Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram and they certainly filled that criteria. The same could be said for Reggie Bush, Ricky Williams, Herschel Walker and the like.

This year, no such running back exists.

  • Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) has come a long way since his days on “Home Improvement” and will probably make a fine NFL running back. However, he disappeared in their biggest game of the year, gaining a season low 52 yards (2.6 ypc) and denied the end zone in a season crushing 38-7 loss to Ohio State.
  • J.K. Dobbins (anOSU) has had a big breakout year but has profited from sharing a backfield with QB Justin Fields.
  • Travis Etienne (Clemson) - Same story as Dobbins here, having a QB who is a bigger threat. Also, ACC defenses, amirite? Don’t get me wrong. He is a good back. However, he doesn’t take the punishment that a running back does in the SEC or B1G.
  • If I had a vote:
  1. Burrow
  2. Justin Fields
  3. Tua Tagovailoa - yeah, I went there.

THE SICK REPORT

  • No new reports of Tide players injuries, but there is talk of some of them sitting out the Citrus Bowl which disappoints me. I know what you are going to say, so save it for Twitter.
  • Alabama freshman DB Scooby Carter has reportedly withdrawn his name from the transfer portal. This could effect recruiting as it was thought that Bama might try to add one more cornerback to the Class of 2020. [Recruiting update article coming Wednesday.]

DRAMA

  • Remember last week when Tennessee WR Jauan Jennings stepped on a Vandy bro’s face? The SEC suspended him for first half of Vols’ bowl game. Should’ve been the whole game.
  • Remember former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood who Gustav cast aside in favor of Nix? He is transferring to Kentucky. It’s kind of an odd choice since former starter Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith are all expected back next season. If somehow he beats out all these guys, UK travels to Aubie on Oct. 3, 2020. This year’s fill-in starter Lynn Bowden has been reading his own press clippings and decided to enter the draft. Round 5 at best.
  • Former South Carolina starting quarterback Jake Bentley is heading to Utah as grad-transfer.
  • Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford (age 58) is expected to step down due to health reasons. He went 26-14 in three seasons. He was 82-57 in 11 seasons at Cal prior to moving to Fresno.
  • When recently asked “who peed in your Corn Flakes?”, Urban Meyer protested “I WAS NOWHERE NEAR THAT ORPHANAGE! AND YOU CAN’T PROVE IT ANYWAY!”
  • Fat F*** Phil Fulmer is really pisst off. He thought Toys for Tots meant he would get All-You-Can-Eat tater tots in exchange for a toy.
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

(Only one FBS games this week. If you REALLY need to know about the FCS playoffs, you can find the details here.)

Saturday, December 14

Army vs Navy 2:00pm/3:00pm CBS (Eagles Stadium, Philly) - Always a treat.

#ALABAMA

  • Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon Davis and Jared Mayden have accepted invitations to play in the 2020‏ Senior Bowl which takes place Saturday, January 25 in Mobile, AL.
  • Eli Gold will be presented the Chris Schenkel Award for 2019. It recognizes broadcasters with long careers on the air with direct ties to a specific school. Gold is entering his 31st season calling Crimson Tide football games on its radio network. The award will be officially presented Tuesday evening at the 62nd National Football Foundation’s annual awards dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.
RANK NAME YEARS WINS LOSSES BEHIND
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 162
2 Bobby Bowden 44 346 123 99
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 76
4 Pop Warner 49 311 114 64
5 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 10
6 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 8
7 Nick Saban 24 247 65 -
8 Mack Brown 30 244 123 -3
9 Frank Beamer 29 238 121 -9
10 Lou Holtz 33 236 112 -11

SABAN DISCIPLES

The concept of a “coaching tree” is a subjective one. How much credit does a coach deserve when one of his former assistants becomes a head coach? Would he have succeeded anyway? In many cases, that might be up for debate. In the case of Nick Saban, the evidence is too overwhelming that he makes a difference. Just ask Kiffin who name-dropped his former boss on several occasions in Oxford on Tuesday.

It has been well documented that Saban has found a knack for finding troubled head coaches and giving them second chances. Most of them have been heartwarming stories of redemption. Others are former Bama assistants who have learned the way of The ProcessⓇ and gone on to implement their version of it.

Of the ten conference championship games this weekend, five of them involved a former Saban Alabama assistant.

FAU! - Lane Kiffin, disgraced and downtrodden after being fired on an airport tarmac, became the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator (2014–2016) and got his swagger back. He led perennial doormat FAU to C-USA titles in two out of three seasons, and now takes over at Ole Miss.

Oregon - Mario Cristobal was head coach at FIU from 2007–2012. A head coach cannot get much lower than being fired from downtrodden program such as this. Saban recognizing a good coach when he sees one, quickly scooped him up to coach the offensive line (2013–2016). Cristobal’s Ducks won the PAC-12 and head to the Rose Bowl.

Central Michigan - Saban pretty much plucked Jim McElwain out of obscurity from being Fresno State’s offensive coordinator and hired him to guide the Alabama offense into the spread (2008–2011). This season, McElwain produced one of the most remarkable program turnarounds of the year. In 2018, the Chippewas went 1-11 and fired their coach. In his first season with CMU, McElwain led his team to a 8 wins and the MAC West title.

Georgia - Although Kirby Smart has altered his version of The ProcessⓇ in Athens, there is no doubt that he owes much of his success to his years learning under Saban (2004-2005, 2007-2015). His Dawgs have won three straight SEC East titles and one SEC title outright.

UL-Lafayette - While Billy Napier cut his teeth under Tommy Bowden (2006–2008) and Dabo Swinney (2006–2008) at Clemson, he really grew up under Saban (2011, 2013-2016). At age 38, he was handed the reins to ULL and has captured the Sun Belt West in both his seasons.

A few others in the Saban coaching tree did not have great success this year (Mike Locksley at Maryland for example) while others are improving (Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee). Yet five division winners is pretty remarkable.

GAME 13: CITRUS BOWL

Alabama vs Michigan

#RollTide

Poll

Will you be going to the Citrus Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Yes, I wouldn’t miss it.
    (22 votes)
  • 16%
    Maybe, still contemplating.
    (69 votes)
  • 78%
    Not this time.
    (340 votes)
431 votes total Vote Now