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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: ACC Shines, Big 12 Flops

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The ACC took center stage while the Big 12 looked mighty rusty.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Iowa State
Laffy takes down the #23 Cyclones.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

I haven’t seen any of the national sports sites do a “Winners & Losers” rumination on the 2020 college football season as of yet. The “Losers” so far are pretty cut and dry. The top “Winner” would have to be ACC Commissioner John Swofford. The 71-year old UNC graduate has quietly held the position of leader of the conference since 1997. In his career, he has made no larger statement than his bold decision to have the ACC play out the college football season in a ten conference + one OOC game format.

It all began when the Big Ten released a new conference only schedule in mid-July. The MAC dropped the axe on their football season about a week later, swiftly followed by the MWC. The B1G then made a rash poorly thought-out choice to cancel ALL fall sports on August 11. As scripted, the Pac-12 mimicked their daddies. Those two Power-5 Conferences and several national sports reporters then assumed the other three P-5s would follow suit with “dominos” in motion. However, the days continued to tick off the calendar with no announcements. All eyes were turned to the SEC but Swofford got impatient waiting and was the first to announce his league would play football this fall. The announcement of a ten conference plus one OOC game conference got him off the hook for disturbing annual SEC-ACC battles (Clem-SC, UK-Ville, FSU-Fla, Ga Tech-UGA). Swofford firmly smashed the ball into SEC commissioner Greg Sankey’s court. The cherry on top is that he got Notre Dame to join in on the fun. Tip of the hat to the wily old commish.

This past weekend was a great showcase for the ACC. The Big 12 began play as well, but things did not go quite as smooth for them.

ACC

Notre Dame 27 Duke 13 - Future NFL clipboard carriers Ian Book and Chase Brice faced off and neither looked great. A risky but successful fake punt by the Irish from their own 21 sparked Notre Dame for the go-ahead touchdown on a 96-yard scoring drive.

North Carolina 31 Syracuse 6 - After months of hype, UNC QB Sam Howell looked a bit rusty with a two interceptions. It was the Tar Heels defense that was the star holding the Orange to 202 total yards and denying them the end zone.

Georgia Tech 16 Florida State 13 - The Yeller Jackets kicker had his three kicks blocked - two short field goal attempts and a PAT. He made his final attempt and that was the difference in the game. FSU is still a mess. The ‘Noles converted only 6 or 17 third downs and were outgained by 150 yards. Announced attendance was 17,538 but it looked like much more.

Clemson 37 Wake Forest 13 - The Exalted Church of Divine Daboness had their way with the Demon Deacons. All but three of Wake’s point came against the scrubs who played the entire fourth quarter. Some RBR folks think Trevor Lawrence will not succeed in the NFL. Ask “why?” in comments below and you might get some interesting answers.

Miami 31 UAB 14 - High expectations for Houston QB transfer D’Eriq King simmered after he had trouble getting the ‘Canes going against the Dragons. His numbers were okay but nobody will be touting him for Heisman anytime soon. Yes, it was a 17 point win but it was not that convincing.

Pitt 55 Austin Peay 0 - You don’t really need a recap, do you?

Louisville 35 WKU 21 - see above.

BIG FLOP 12

La-Laf 31 Iowa State 14 - The Ragin’ Cajuns ran back a punt and a kickoff for scores, but this was no fluke. ULL was clearly the better team on Saturday. ISU QB Brock Purdy was his usual inconsistent self: 16/35, 145 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. This guy gets so much love and I don’t know why.

Arkansas State 35 K-State 31 - Red Wolves WR Jonathan Adams had some phenomenal catches (8 catches, 99 yards, 3 TDs), including the game-winner with 38 seconds remaining as ASU outlasted the Wildcats.

Coastal Carolina 38 Kansas 23 - Les Miles continues to tarnish his legacy with this poor effort and lend further proof that he won his LSU National Championship thanks to what Nick Saban left behind in BR.

Texas Tech 35 Houston Baptist 33 - The Red Raiders slid by a little private Christian school (2,632 undergraduates in 2019) that got throttled by North Texas by 26 points the week before. Not a good look for the double-T or the league. The FCS Huskies started football in 2013. Texas Tech... 1925.

The others were cupcake games, not worth mentioning.

Doesn’t Corso know Kiffin done gone?

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD KIRK HERBSTREIT CHRIS PAUL

Chris Paul was the guest picker and predicted the Louisiana upset. However, he also picked Charlotte and his alma mater Wake.

Playoff predictions:

  • DESI - In the semifinal playoffs, Alabama over Oklahoma; Clemson beats Cincinnati. Bama beats Clemson for the championship.
  • POLLOCK - Alabama tops Oklahoma; Clemson takes care of UGA. Bama wins it all.
  • CORSO - Alabama defeats Notre Dame; Clemson and Oklahoma are in the other semi. Bama wins the NC but the poor ol’ guy doesn’t say who they beat in the final.
  • HERBIE - Clemson over Florida; Bama over Texas. Clemson over Alabama in the final.

MY PICKS

  • Alabama over Oklahoma, Clemson manhandles Florida. Crimson Tide wins Championship #18. CLARIFICATION - It may be stupid pretzel logic but I think Bama beats UGA in the regular season. If the Dawgs make it to Atlanta, Bama beats them again and Florida may leapfrog into the playoff. I just can’t see Georgia making the CFP with two losses to Bama. In addition, it’s hard to imagine the second best in the ACC or B12 beating out the 2nd best in the SEC. Who is your fourth team?

THE NAME GAME

Bryce Young, Chase Young and Chase Brice walk into a bar...

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • Arkansas State (1-1) - The Red Wolves get a big upset. Layne Hatcher connected with Giles Amos for a 8-yard touchdown pass.
  • LaLaLaffy! (1-0) - Our old friend Billy Napier gets a big road win against a ranked team.

COUSINS

  • Troy (0-0) - The Trojans kickoff the season against MTSU on Sept 19.
  • South Alabama (1-1) - Tulane took their first lead with 3:18 remaining and held on to ruin the Jags christening of their new stadium 27-24. USA blew a 24-6 lead. Up next is UAB on Thursday, Sept. 24. [SIDE NOTE: Tulane re-upped 60-year old head coach Willie Fritz through 2026 season after the game.]
  • Calera, AL native Cornelious Brown has been named starting QB for Georgia State. He is a redshirt freshman.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER WHO EATS PEANUT BUTTER OUT OF THE JAR WITH HIS FINGER

UAB (1-1) - The Blazers fell to Miami-FL 31-14. Birmingham U’s next game is Sept. 24 at South Alabama.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (2-0) - The Black Knights continues to steamroll. Army outgained ULM 465 to 200 and collected 24 first downs to the Fightin’ Monroes 9. Don’t be surprised if the Cadets sneak their way into the back end of the Top 25.
  • Navy (0-1) - After losing to BYU on the opening Saturday, the Middies had the weekend off to regroup in preparation for a resilient Tulane team (Sept. 19). Hopefully, the coaches let these guys hit someone in practice.
  • Air Force (11-2 in 2019) - If a couple of B1G teams get their seasons going and need opponents, could the Falcons be a possible foe? Navy (Oct. 3) and Army (Nov. 7).
boxers

ELIMINATED

I really didn’t think we’d be eliminating this many teams this early in the season. But the good ol’ Big 12 had our backs:

  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Iowa State
  • Texas Tech
  • Duke
  • Wake Forest
  • Syracuse
  • FSU
  • BYU - That schedule is awful and only 8 games.

ELIMINATION, ENDANGERED:

  • The entire B1G
  • The PAC
  • Vandy
  • Arky
  • Ole Miss
  • Georgia Tech - yep, still endangered
  • Missouri
  • Boston College

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

  • ACC - Clemson, Notre Dame, maybe North Carolina if they wake up.
  • SEC - Alabama, Fla, UGA, Aub, LSU, Texas A&M.
  • Big 12 - Oklahoma, maybe Tejas or Oklahoma Lite.
  • Big Ten - Ohio State if these B1G bozos can get their heads out of their arses.
  • PAC-12 - Oregon if they they get going, maybe So Cal as a dark horse.
  • Indies

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

The AP Poll has finally excludes the opt out B1G and PAC teams. Eight SEC teams are ranked.

1 Clemson (60)
2 Alabama
3 Oklahoma
4 Georgia
5 Florida
6 LSU (1)
7 Notre Dame
8 Auburn
9 Texas
10 Texas A&M
11 Oklahoma State
12 North Carolina
13 Cincinnati
14 UCF 1
5 Tennessee
16 Memphis
17 Miami
18 Louisville 19 Louisiana
20 Virginia Tech
21 BYU
22 Army
23 Appalachian State
23 Kentucky
25 Pittsburgh

STAT OF THE DAY

  • In two games, South Alabama wide receiver Jalen Tolbert has 12 receptions, 269 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Clemson back-up quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was 2 for 3 passing for 16 yards in limited play. He was a high school rival of Tide freshman signal caller Bryce Young.
  • K-State RB Deuce Vaughn is listed at 5’5” (probably measured with his cleats on). Even that might be a stretch. This is a guy Dee Hart would look down at and say “that dude is short!”

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to the Asterisk. Talk among the national sports writers has turned to the champion of this season having an asterisk beside it. RBR had this discussion months ago. Now that it is clearer who is playing and what the schedules are, the answer to that notion has to be “no asterisk”. In KK’s opinion, a ten game SEC schedule is much more difficult than the regular 8 + 4 OCC. And besides, the only opt-out team that might make the CFP is Ohio State.

As a follow up to last week’s electronic whistles, officials have been instructed to aim their whistles at the action to cut down on incidental late hits. The refs are indeed wearing masks when they are several dozen feet away from the action. The funny thing is, they have often been seen lowering their masks when they are a few inches apart to discuss something.

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

CLARIFICATION: This section is not who deserves to win. It is who the slobbering press and other voters will callously crush on.

  1. Trevor Lawrence (QB, ECDD, Jr.) - Did you hear that high-pitched squeal Saturday night? That was hundreds of Heisman voters watching Sunshine pick apart a typically horrible ACC secondary. Expect much more of that this fall.
  2. Justin Fields (QB, an Ohio State, Jr.) - If only ...
  3. A token running back - Travis Etienne of Clemson was good, not great (17-102-1 TD), Najee Harris of Alabama and Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State have not played.
  4. A token defensive player.

WHO SHOULD WIN

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

  1. Get back to me when the SEC starts up.
Louisiana Monroe v Army
Army quarterback Christian Anderson briefly left the ULM football game with an injury but should be okay.
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

THE SICK REPORT

  • K-State safety Wayne Jones left the field on a cart after a neck injury late in the game. Coach Chris Klieman expressed optimism in his outlook following the game: “He was moving his extremities, which I was really pleased with when I was out there,” Klieman said. “I don’t quite know where all the injury was, but they were more concerned with his head, neck and back. But he had feeling in his hands, feeling in his toes and feet.”

The culprit of this fire? A dumpster. The jokes write themselves.

DRAMA

  • Starting Oklahoma DT Jalen Redmond was removed from Oklahoma’s roster last week with no word on an opt-out. Redmond was arrested and charged with DUI in August. He led the Sooners in sacks (6.5) in 2019.
  • According to the Tulsa World: “A kickoff press box count of OU players in uniform numbered 69, well shy of the 119 players listed on the Sooners’ roster for the game.” The Sooners host Kansas State in two weeks.
  • The Sooners defeated cupcake Missouri State (1-10 in 2019) on Saturday. Do you remember who Mizz Lite hired as head coach?
  • West Virginia played without 11 players on Saturday. Sorry fearmongers. Nobody caught any big bad germs. The suspensions were due to breaking team rules. If I had to guess, I’d say these guys probably broke bubble protocols. Their absence was hardly noticeable as the Mountaineers obliterated li’l ol’ Eastern Kentucky 56-10.
  • Tired of waiting on the Big Ten to do something, former 5-star and All-American OL Wyatt Davis of Ohio State has opted out and declared for NFL Draft.
  • Tired of waiting on the PAC-12 to do something, former 5-star and potential All-American OL Walker Little of Stanford has opted out and declared for NFL Draft.
  • Also opting out is Ohio State corner Shaun Wade whose father Randy Wade had been the vocal leader about the Big Ten starting the season. The fourth year player was projected to be a starter at outside corner.
  • If I was the AD of Looziana Lafayette, I would be putting together a search committee for the next head football coach. Billy Napier will be a hot commodity for Power 5s.
  • Why didn’t the chickens cross the road? Because Urban Meyer was waiting to mow them down with his ‘95 Chevy Impala.
  • Reports of a 2.4 magnitude earthquake in East Tennessee two weeks ago turned out to be false. It was just Fat F*** Phil Fulmer falling down the stairs again.
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

Can someone explain to me the love affair with Booger McFarland as an analyst? He seems like a nice guy but he shares no real insights and he tries too hard to come up with silly little catchphrases.

THIS WEEK

If you want to get in one last summer vacation, this would be the weekend to do it. There is an absolutely godawful slate of games this weekend.

(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest. If you REALLY need to know about the big Abilene Christian-UTEP showdown, you can find the details here.)

Friday, September 18

Houston at Memphis 6:30/7:30 ESPN - Postponed

Campbell at Coastal Carolina 6:30/7:30 ESPN

Saturday, September 19

Tulsa at Oklahoma State 11am/noon ESPN
Austin Peay at Cincinnati 11am/noon ESPN+
ULL at Georgia State 11am/noon ESPN2
Syracuse at Pitt 11am/noon ACC
Liberty at WKU 11am/noon ESPNU
Navy at Tulane 11am/noon ABC
Boston College at Duke 11am/noon FOX SPORTS SOUTH/ESPN3
Houston at Baylor 11am/noon FOX - replacing Memphis and La Tech respectively.
Appalachian State at Marshall 12:30/1:30 CBSSN
South Florida at Notre Dame 1:30/2:30 USA
Charlotte at North Carolina 2:30/3:30 FOX SPORTS SOUTH/ESPN3
UCF at Georgia Tech 2:30/3:30 ABC
FAU! at Georgia Southern 2:30/3:30 ESPN
The Citadel at Clemson 3pm/4pm ACC
Troy at Middle Tennessee 3pm/4pm ESPN2
SMU at North Texas 5pm/6pm CBSSN
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State 6pm/7pm ESPN+
Texas State at UL Monroe 6:30/7:30 ESPNU
Miami at Louisville 6:30/7:30 ABC
Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss 6:30/7:30 ESPN2
Wake Forest at NC State 7pm/8pm ACC

Last week’s Poll:

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 161
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 98
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 75
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 71
5 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 9
6 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 7
7 Nick Saban 25 248 65 -
8 Mack Brown 31 246 123 -2
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -10
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -12

MACK and SABAN vs. OZ and LAVELL

With Alabama idle, Mack Brown picked up a win on Nick Saban.

[For those of you new to RBR Random Thoughts, we count all on-field wins in Division I-A, aka FBS. So, before you go screaming about Frank Beamer, 42 of his wins came at Murray State. Brown had six victories in one season with Appalachian State when they were still in what was known at I-AA (FCS today). In addition, we don’t recognize NCAA sanctioned forfeits. If you won on the field, it counts in our books.]

#ALABAMA

Tick... tick... tick...

GAME 1: Saturday, September 26, 2020

Alabama at Mizzou

Faurot Field, Columbia, MO ~ 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT, ESPN

  • Announcers: TBA.
  • Eli Gold on Alabama Radio.
  • Alabama is 4-2 all-time against the Tigers. The Tide have won 4 straight in the series.
  • Vegas has been very apprehensive when setting lines this year, but Bama will probably be favored by at least three touchdowns.

#RollTide

POLL

Poll

Can Oklahoma go undefeated in the regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Oh, yeah. That is Cupcake City.
    (208 votes)
  • 23%
    That stretch of @ISU, Tejas, @TCU will give them at least one loss.
    (89 votes)
  • 20%
    No way, the "O" stands for Overrated.
    (77 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now