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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: So Long 2019

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College Football Bowl Games, Phase 1

Arkansas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We are roughly halfway through bowl season with many of the big (non-playoff) games still to come.

SEMIFINALS

PEACH BOWL: LSU 63 Oklahoma 28 - This one was over the moment the CFP Committee announced the playoff match-ups. The Bayou Bengals toyed with the Sooners like a cat with a cornered mouse. In the blink of an eye, the score was 21-7. Our ol’ friend Jalen Hurts did not have a good outing, completing only 15 of 31 passes with no TDs and a pick. He had 43 rushing yards on 14 attempts (3.1 ypc), but did score twice.

FIESTA BOWL: Clemson & SEC REFS 29 Ohio State 23 - Poor officiating and some unlucky breaks doomed the Buckeyes. However, they also shot themselves in the foot with the inability to score touchdowns in the red zone (three times in the first half, two of which were inside the 5 yard line) instead settling for field goals. Slamming the door on anOSU’s title hopes was a miscommunication between Justin Fields and a receiver who zigged when he shoulda zagged that resulted in an easy interception in the end zone with 37 ticks to go.

SEC

ORANGE BOWL: Florida 36 Virginia 28 - The Gators came into this game averaging 120.25 rushing yards per game, good for 119th in the nation. On the first rushing play of the night, Lamical Perine took a handoff 61 yds for the first score of the night. Perine finished with 138 rushing yards and two TDs plus a third score receiving. UVa QB Bryce Perkins pulled some rabbits out of his hat to keep it close but the Wahoos simply didn’t have the firepower to keep up.

TEXAS BOWL: Texas A&M 24 Oklahoma State 21 - Aggies QB Kellen Mond is like playing golf. You hit a bunch of crappy shots that make you curse and slam your club to the ground but then you get that one amazing shot that makes you go “wow”. Mond had just enough wows to outweigh the @#$%’s for TAMU to reach 8-5 for their first win against a ranked team this season.

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Louisville 38 Mississippi State 21 - It was already going to be a long night when news surfaced that the Bullies would be without freshman QB Garrett Shrader (fighting with teammate) and CB Cameron Dantzler (declared for the NFL and skipping). Then center Darryl Williams was injured during warm-ups and All-SEC RB Kylin Hill went down on the first play from scrimmage. With Tommy Stevens at the helm, there was not much to clanga-clang about. After trailing 14-10 at the half, the Cards reeled off 31 unanswered points.

FIRST RESPONDER BOWL: Western Kentucky 23 Western Michigan 20 - The battle of Westerns had one of the more wackier finishes. Tied at 20, WKU attempted a Hail Mary at the end of regulation that was knocked down, but WMU was flagged for 12 men on the field. That gave the Hilltoppers one untimed down. A walk-on freshman kicker who had missed from 26 earlier in the game nailed a 52-yarder for the win. He was 16 of 27 on field goals up to that point in the season. College kickers, amirite?

LOL

INDEPENDENCE BOWL: La Tech 14 Miami 0 - The ‘Canes were shutout by a C-USA team that did not even win their division. The ‘U’ played all three of their quarterbacks and they all three stunk up the joint. The ‘Canes are the only team to get skunked so far this post-season. Miami HC Manny Ramirez officially fired OC Dan Enos after the game, though it was well-circulated before the game that the two parties would part ways. Bullet dodged.

SEE YOU SEPTEMBER

HOLIDAY BOWL: Iowa 49 Southern Cal 24 - A tight game turned to garbage after Trojans QB Kedon Slovis (or is it Sedon Klovis?) was knocked out of the game. Matt Fink, who famously defeated Utah (not that the CFP Committee seemed to notice), could not get the Southern Cal offense going and Iowa outscored them 21-0 from that point on. After averaging 23.8 ppg, the Hawkeyes went nuts producing their highest point total for a game all season. The Trojans probably regret prematurely announcing the return of head coach Clay Helton.

OTHER STUFF

MILITARY BOWL: North Carolina 55 Temple 13 - Sam Howell is a name to file away for later. The freshman QB had a dominating effort in a rout over the Owls. UNC was 11 of 14 on third down and outgained Temple 534-272.

PINSTRIPE BOWL: Michigan State 27 Wake Forest 21 - It seemed for sure Mark Dantonio would be forced out after another lackluster Sparty season (7-6). Yet, he will be back for another season. Perhaps this news spurred his team to one of their more spirited wins of the year. QB Brian Lewerke has been pretty awful all year but put up 327 yards on a decent WF team (8-5).

ORLANDO BOWL: Notre Dame 33 Iowa State 9 - Who set this game up? The Cyclones (7-6) had no business playing the Irish (11-2).

COTTON BOWL: Penn State 53 Memphis 39 - This game was a clinic on how NOT to tackle. I have never seen such piss-poor defenses from two double-digit win teams. Both teams had over 25 first downs and more than 529 total yards, but PSU was better able to convert them into points.

BLACK MONDAY

With the regular season coming to an end, many NFL teams dropped the axe on their coaching staffs on Monday. The Browns, Giants, Panthers, Redskins, (and maybe TBA the Cowboys) have openings at the top on down. In addition to head coaching changes, many hot seat coaches who kept their jobs will be looking to shift blame change personnel. This might be the time we start hearing LSU mastermind Joe Brady’s name bandied about. Also Crazy ol’ Jerry might finally back up the Brink’s truck to Lincoln Riley’s house in Norman, Oklahoma.

  • Ian Rapoport reported that Ravens DC Don “Wink” Martindale is emerging as a top candidate on the coaching carousel, and his top choice of OC would be Brady.
  • Rumors have been flying around a marriage between the Giants and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. This one is a bit odd to me. He does not seem like an NFL head coach type but it’s the Giants. Ya know, the team that hung onto Eli Manning way too long and let Landon Collins walk when they had trade offers? Rhule has a big buyout that New York would have to shoulder.
  • All FBS head coaching vacancies have been filled (for now). However, Southern Cal, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon, Miami, Minnesota, and Boston College are among the many teams looking to hire coordinators.
  • EDITORIAL: Joe Moorhead has pretty much ruined everything that Dan Mullen built in Starkville. When your star quarterback is getting in fights with teammates during bowl practice, that is a sign that things are not going so well for your team. MSU finishes 6-7 and fifth in the SEC West. Year 3 might be make or break for him.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

  • DESI - “LSU winning big over Oklahoma.” “Clemson has too many horses... Tigers in a close one.”
  • CORSO - “LSU wins but closer than the experts think.” “Gimme Brutus, Ohio State”
  • HERBIE - “LSU closer than people think.” Called the OSU-Clem game and could not pick.

MY PICKS

  • LSU 54-39; Ohio State 38-37

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 on Jan. 4.
  • Western Carolina (3-9)

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • UL-Laf (10-3) - The Ragin’ Napiers will play MAC-Champs Miami (OH) in the Ladd-Peebles Mobile Bowl on Jan. 6. I am a little surprised Coach Billy has not moved up the coaching ladder.
  • Hawaii (10-5) - We may never again see a team finish with a record such as this until the NCAA expands the playoffs to 64 teams in the Year 2048. The Rainbow Warriors playing at home conquered fellow Pacific Islander-heavy BYU (7-6) in the Hawaii Bowl 38-34.

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 (9-5) - The Blazers led 14-10 at the half but Appalachian State (13-1) scored three third quarter touchdowns to put this one away 31-17 in the New Orleans Bowl.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE OUR TROOPS

All in all, a highly successful campaign for two of our service academies, and a wait-til-next-year for one.

  • Air Force (11-2) - The Falcons took home the highly coveted CHEEZ-IT Bowl Trophy with a 31-21 victory over Washington State. The highlight of the game was a 3-yard AFA touchdown run on 4th and goal that ended in a horrific collision that basically iced the win with 3:50 to play. It is the first 11-win season in school history and should result in a spot in the final national rankings.
  • Navy (10-2) - The Midshipmen take on Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Army (5-8) - That is one ugly record. No bowl.
boxers

LET’S GO BOWLING

P5 Bowl Records so far:

  • ACC: 4-3
  • B1G: 3-2
  • B12: 0-3
  • PAC: 2-2
  • SEC: 3-1

SEC BOWLS

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

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

We are going to follow the AP Poll since the agenda-driven College Football Playoff Poll is clearly flawed and unreliable.

  • LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Auburn are all ranked in the top 10. All will be ranked somewhere when the final poll is released.
  • TAMU (8-5) beat Oklahoma State (8-5) who was No. 25. Will the Aggies take their place?

STATS OF THE DAY

  • Overlooked for much of the season, UNC’s Sam Howell finished the season with 3,641 passing yards (12th most in the nation, 5th among P5 QBs), 38 TDs (4th most) and only 7 INTs. Just a true freshman, Howell could turn around the fortunes in Chapel Hill.
  • Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool upped his draft stock with seven catches and 146 bruising yards running over and around Iowa State defenders. At 6’ 4”, 229 lbs, he is big enough to play tight end. Claypool finishes his senior campaign with 1,037 yards on 66 receptions, and 13 scores.
  • Miami-FL and La Tech both punted nine times, tying the Independence Bowl single-game record.

WTF CALL OF THE DAY

James Franklin does NOT like being surprised.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to SEC officiating crew who once again bungled an important high-profile game. This group of Keystone Kops who called the Fiesta Bowl is the same group that screwed up the Iron Bowl. The frightening thing is, when it comes down to the three playoff games, each Power-5 conference sends their best crew to officiate and this is what the SEC sends? Somebody tell me, pray tell, how SEC Head of Officials Steve Shaw was promoted to National Coordinator of Football Officials?

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.

To nobody’s surprise, Joe Burrow took home the trophy. Here is how they finished:

Rk Player School Class Pos 1st 2nd 3rd Tot
1 Joe Burrow LSU SR QB 841 41 3 2608
2 Jalen Hurts Oklahoma SR QB 12 231 264 762
3 Justin Fields Ohio State SO QB 6 271 187 747
4 Chase Young Ohio State JR DE 20 205 173 643
5 Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin JR RB 6 44 83 189
6 J.K. Dobbins Ohio State JR RB 2 36 36 114
7 Trevor Lawrence Clemson SO QB 3 25 29 88
8 Chuba Hubbard Oklahoma State SO RB 0 11 46 68
9 Travis Etienne Clemson JR RB 0 7 11 25
10 Tua Tagovailoa Alabama JR QB 1 4 13 24

It is so backwards that this and other national awards still hand out their trophies in early December with the finalists undoubtedly having at least one more game to play. If they had waited until January, voting certainly would have gone different.

Hurts, Fields, and Young (1 solo, 1 asst, 1 QBH) did not have good games. Young will be a top NFL pick but he had no business being in the top 5.

I will belabor this point one last time: it is disgraceful that Tua did not finish higher. For ten games, he was neck-and-neck with Burrow for most outstanding player. He misses the last two games - one against an FCS cupcake - and suddenly his performance is null and void? Might I remind everyone that Chase Young also missed two games this season (NCAA violation) and all he has to do is rush the passer.

DRAMA

  • Georgia Tech 4-star signee Bryce Gowdy died Monday after being hit by freight train. Broward County (FL) Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death. Gowdy attended the same high school as Bama WR Jerry Jeudy, Deerfield Beach High School.
  • Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins declared for NFL draft on Monday. It is going to be a crowded one for running backs.
  • Also leaving is Jalen Hurts’s favorite target, Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb.
  • Most Alabama fans may have been cheering for anOSU against Clemson. Late in the game, there was a shot of Urban Meyer with his legs spread and hands on his knees clearly looking vested in the outcome of the game. You just know that had the Buckeyes gone on to win it all, this self-centered human turd would have paraded his ego around in front of cameras, taking as much credit as the slobbering media would lap onto him. Here is to the hope that everything that black-hearted jerk built in Columbus comes crumbling to the ground.
  • This week, Buffalo Wild Wings reported one million pounds of chicken wings were eaten. And that was just at ’”Fat F*** Phil Fulmer’s house... *ba dum tss*
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

Ohio State vs. Clemson drew 21.2 Million viewers. LSU-Oklahoma game generated 17.2 Million.

(If you are not interested in any of the upcoming bowl games and would rather watch soccer, then you can go here.)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
BELK: Virginia Tech vs Kentucky 11am/noon ESPN
SUN: Florida State vs Arizona State 1pm/2pm CBS - AHHH GARY!
LIBERTY: Navy vs Kansas State 2:45/3:45 ESPN - GO NAVY!
ARIZONA: Wyoming vs Georgia State 3:30/4:30 CBSS
ALAMO: Utah vs Texas 6:30/7:30 ESPN

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
OUTBACK: Minnesota vs Auburn noon/1pm ESPN - On at the same time as Bama-UM. Good luck with that.
ROSE: Oregon vs Wisconsin 4pm/5pm ESPN - Wisky last won here on January 1, 2000.
SUGAR: Georgia vs Baylor 7:45/8:45 pm ESPN - Will Matt Rhule be distracted?

Thursday, January 2, 2020
BIRMINGHAM: Boston College vs Cincinnati 2pm/3pm ESPN
GATOR: Indiana vs Tennessee 6pm/7pm ESPN

Friday, January 3, 2020
POTATO: Ohio vs Nevada 2:30/3:30 pm ESPN

Saturday, January 4, 2020
ARMED FORCES: Southern Miss vs Tulane 10:30am/11:30 am ESPN

Monday, January 6, 2020
MOBILE: ULL vs Miami (Ohio) 6:30/7:30 pm ESPN

#ALABAMA

  • Nick Saban said on Monday the NFL grades they got back had just one Alabama player in the top 15. That one player, Saban said, “is not going to play in the (Citrus Bowl) game because he is injured.” He was most certainly talking about Tua Tagovailoa. “We had nine (juniors) evaluated by the NFL draft advisory committee. Some of those guys had first-round grades.”
  • You have probably already heard by now but injured middle linebacker Dylan Moses announced he will return to Alabama next season. The preseason All-American missed the entire 2019 campaign after suffering a torn ACL during fall practice. Saban on Moses returning in 2020: “I think the big thing with Dylan was he wanted to be a part of the team. He wanted to be a leader on the team and come back and play well for Alabama.”
  • You have to wonder what dominoes this might set off for the return of others. As of now, it is unknown which Tide players will leave early for the NFL, though many believe Najee Harris, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jedrick Wills will be among them, but that could change at a moment’s notice. RBR will keep you updated.

GAME 13: CITRUS BOWL, Orlando, FL

Alabama vs Michigan

Noon/1pm ABC

Announcers: Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy and Tom Luginbill.

#RollTide

Poll

How important is this Citrus Bowl for Alabama?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Of course you want to win but it’s just a footnote.
    (93 votes)
  • 77%
    Very important as a stepping stone to next season.
    (340 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (see my astute thoughts in Comments)
    (7 votes)
440 votes total Vote Now