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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: College Football Is Back!

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12 FBS teams got their feet wet in Week 0.

Arkansas State v Memphis
Memphis and Arkansas State whet fans’ appetites for college football.
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

They said it couldn’t be done.

Despite the best efforts of propaganda by Pete Thamel, Stewart Mandel, and whack-job Dan Wolken college football is getting played this fall.

The Big Ten Presidents pushed their puppet Kevin Warren into cancelling the B1G football season with full assurance that the dominoes would fall their way. It must have been a shock when 1) the SEC, Big XII, and ACC did not follow the Leaders and Legends of the B1G with their smug “we-care-about-the-students” decision, and 2) the tidal wave of anger and disgust from their fanbase. Now the bigwigs of the Big Ten are scrambling to hide their deceptions and find a compromise that will placate the fans. The leading bright ideas put forth by these misguided souls are starting at Thanksgiving (Minnesota in winter) or having spring football (ain’t happening). LOL. Good luck with all that...

For now, we have this:

OPT OUT

It will be an abbreviated or lost season for some. For those going forward, most teams are playing between 10 and 12 regular season games:

  • SEC - 10 games, conference only
  • ACC (incl. Notre Dame) - 10 conference games plus one OOC
  • Big 12 - 9 conference games plus one OOC
  • Big Ten - Opt Out
  • Pac-12 - Whatever the B1G tells them to do
  • MAC - Opt Out
  • MWC - Opt Out
  • Sun Belt - 8 conference games with an option for each member to add as many as four OOC (not all programs have been able to fill their dance cards)
  • C-USA - 7 conference games plus as many as four OOC (UTEP has 12 games, while Rice has only 8)
  • BYU (Ind.) - Only 8 games, so far
  • Army (Ind.) remarkably found 12 games
  • Liberty (Ind.) - 10 games (three vs. ACC teams)
  • New Mexico State (Ind.) - Opt Out
  • UConn and UMass - have no business being in FBS to begin with

[Trivia Time: Up through the 1969 seasons, college football played ten regular season games. 1970 brought an expansion to 11.]

A NOVEL IDEA

Instead of dropping the gavel and saying “NO FOOTBALL”, the FCS Ohio Valley Conference basically said there would be no OVC football but if you wanna go schedule some non-conference games on your own, go for it! Imagine if the Big Ten had possessed that open mindedness. As a result, three teams are having some semblance of a season: Jacksonville State (4 games including FSU), Austin Peay (3 games including Pitt and Cincy), and Eastern Kentucky (8 games including a home & home with Central Arkansas - love it!).

PLAYERS

Quite a few players have opted out but not as many as you may think. Some have legitimate reasons and some are scared. But then there are those who see little use in returning for another season and still others who probably getting beat out at their positions.

I dunno. Opening night jitters?

UNDEFEATED!... FOR NOW

SMU 31 Texas State 24 - TxSt made it a close game.
Army 42 Middle Tennessee 0 - Oh, the humanity.
Memphis 37 Arkansas State 24 - ASU hung around but two QB systems do not work.
Marshall 59 Eastern Kentucky 0 - meh
North Texas 57 Houston Baptist 31 - yuck

BYU 55 Navy 3 - Some outsiders have criticized Nick Saban for full-contact practices in the past. He insists that his process leads to success on Saturdays. The best scientists in the world could not conjure up a better case study to prove that theory than this BYU-Navy carnage. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo chose to have what basically amounts to walk-thrus leading up to this game while the Coogs went full-contact in practices. The results speak for themselves. BYU ran the ball down the Midshipmen’s throats and built a insurmountable 31-0 halftime lead. The Mormons outgained the Sailors 580 to 149 with a 28 to 7 first down advantage. BYU plays Army in two weeks. ʘ.ʘ

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD KIRK HERBSTREIT

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

You know what would be hilarious? If Alabama beats Georgia three times (regular season, SECCG, Playoff) this season.

  • Alabama dumps Oklahoma, Clemson manhandles Florida. Crimson Tide wins Championship #18.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

Let’s hear your nominees!

  • Nebraska (n/a) - If somehow the Big Ten gets going, I’m kinda thinking the Cornhuskers might be worthy of our casual conditional love. Ohio State is getting all the credit but it’s Nebraska who has been rattling cages and kicking down doors. From the Governor and Senators to the players and their families, they haven’t for a moment sat by and kowtowed to Warren and the eggheads at Northwestern, Michigan, etc. who think what is good for Chicago is good for Lincoln.
  • Arkansas State (0-1) - Former Tide QB Layne Hatcher (13-20-166-0-0) and TE Giles Amos (3 rec, 21 yds) play for the Red Wolves.

COUSINS

  • Troy (0-0) - The Trojans had a rough first season (5-7) under new coach Chip Lindsey after three straight seasons of double-digit wins with Neal Brown. They have 12 games on the docket for this fall beginning with MTSU on Sept 19.
  • South Alabama (1-0) - The Jags had an encouraging opening weekend as they trounced Southern Miss on their home field 32-21. One more win and USA matches their total from a year ago. They have 11 games scheduled.
  • Alas Poor Ladd-Peebles - South Alabama has left the stadium they have called home since their birth into college football in 2008 for a new stadium called Hancock Whitney Stadium - which apparently is named after a bank focused along I-10. They have absconded with the Senior Bowl as well. I must confess, it looks kinda cool. Ladd-Peebs will continue to host high school games.

[Trivia Time II: With the exceptions of 1960 and 1962, the Crimson Tide played one game per year in the Mobile stadium from 1948 to 1968. Auburn and Southern Miss hosted some games there as well back in them olden days.]

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER WHO EATS YOUR LEFTOVER PIZZA THAT YOU LEFT IN THE FRIDGE TO HELP WITH YOUR HANGOVER

UAB (1-0) - The Blazers beat FCS Central Arkansas but it was a little closer than you might have expected at 45-35. The official attendance was listed as 12,716 which was only 5,600 less than their 2019 Senior Day home finale against La Tech. They have 11 games including Miami-FL this Thursday. This is the last season for the Dragons in the Old Grey Lady as they move to a new stadium near the BJCC in 2021.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

Some good, some bad, some sad.

  • Army (5-8 in 2019) - The Black Knights (1-0) ran poor Middle Tennessee ragged with 340 rushing yards on 62 attempts while converting 13 of 15 third downs and 1 of 1 fourth downs with 0 punts in a 42-0 romp. The defense wasn’t bad either holding MTSU to 184 total yards and scoring on a pick-6. ULM is next.
  • Navy (11-2 in 2019) - The Midshipmen (0-1) were ill-prepared for the onslaught wrought by BYU. Navy tries to pick up the pieces against Tulane in two weeks. Suggestion: maybe hit someone during practice?
  • Air Force (11-2 in 2019) - The MWC canceled the season on the Falcons which is so disappointing and unfortunate since the program looked to have turned a corner from mediocrity to a serious challenger to Boise’s tyranny over the conference. However, AFA has been allowed to keep alive their historic rivalries with Navy (Oct. 3) and Army (Nov. 7). A two-game schedule is odd, but totally on brand for 2020.
boxers

ELIMINATED

The 2020 college football season will be one like none other. For the first time in the short history of the playoff, we could easily see a team with two losses participating. There is also a chance that Desmond Howard is not as crazy as we think and a non-Power 5 like Cincy makes the Final Four. I would hate to be on the CFP committee trying to decipher who are the best four with no common opponents, etc.

If you believe sports reporters (they are not giving us much reason to do so as of late), a few movements are in motion for the B1G and PAC to get off their high horses and start their seasons in October. It is a month away and still doable.

With so many factors in play, it will be the most unpredictable college football season ever - and I AM LOVING IT!

That said, let’s do some preseason ELIMINATION, ENDANGERED

  • The entire B1G
  • The PAC
  • Vandy
  • Arky
  • Ole Miss
  • Duke
  • Kansas
  • Georgia Tech
  • Missouri
  • Wake Forest
  • Boston College
  • Syracuse
  • BYU - Unfortunately for BYU, their rebuilt schedule will not lead to a playoff spot. Gone are Utah, Michigan State, AzSt, Minnesota, Missouri, Boise State and Stanford. In their places are 8 games with Army and Houston looking like the toughest competition.

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

  • ACC - Clemson of course is the favorite. Notre Dame and North Carolina could make some noise but they will have to beat those orange and purple guys.
  • Big Ten - Pretending that they start in October, Ohio State is far and away the favorite. Penn State is second. Minnesota could be the plucky underdog. Wisconsin will fold as they always do. Michigan will be down.
  • Big 12 - Oklahoma should be on top again. Some think Texas will finaly be “back”. Oklahoma State could make some noise.
  • PAC-12 - Even if they get going, it is a weak bunch. Oregon would be an also-ran if they played in the SEC.
  • SEC - We could see two out of the ESS-EE-SEE in the playoff. Three is probably not going to happen because there will be too many losses. Alabama, Fla, UGA, Aub, LSU, and some folks are high on Texas A&M.
  • Indies - N/A.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

If you believe the AP Poll*, seven SEC teams are ranked. Alabama fans who detest rat poison have to be happy with these standings.

1 Clemson
2 Ohio State*
3 Alabama
4 Georgia
5 Oklahoma
6 LSU (pre player opt outs)
7 Penn State*
8 Florida
9 Oregon*
10 Notre Dame
11 Auburn
12 Wisconsin*
13 Texas A&M
25 Tennessee

* Includes opt out B1G and PAC teams.

LET’S GO BOWLING

Believe it or not, they are going to try and get every single bowl game played if they can. And thank the Lord, cuz I gots to have my Duke’s Mayo Bowl! Those bowls linked to the B1G, PAC, MAC and MWC may have to wait and see what those jackasses do, or they could pick through the scraps of the rest of the schools who play a fall season.

Interestingly, the Rose Bowl is once again a semifinal location of the CFP and as you can see above, it is full steam ahead for the Playoff. Hilariously, some PAC fans still believe that bowl is reserved for them and their daddies in the midwest.

If most of these bowl games are indeed played, there could be some sub-.500 teams participating. Can you imagine 4-6 Tennessee vs 5-6 Virginia in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl? Riveting.

Playoff:

  • Rose Bowl CFP Semifinal Jan 1, 2021, Pasadena, CA
  • Sugar Bowl CFP Semifinal Jan 1, 2021, New Orleans, LA
  • Championship Jan 11, 2021, Miami, FL

Also of note:

  • The poorly-attended Redbox Bowl held in crappy-ass Santa Clara has been kicked to the curb.
  • Three new bowls have planned to debut during the 2020-21 bowl season: Myrtle Beach Bowl (Coastal Carolina’s stadium, actually in Conway, SC), Fenway Bowl (Red Sox stadium), and LA Bowl (the stadium shared by the Rams & Chargers). None of these bowls involve SEC teams.

STAT OF THE DAY

  • As of post, 76 teams plan on playing a college football season. 53 have opted out. Air Force will play two games. Though the number of bowl games that organizers will stage is unclear, the original plan was for 43.
  • As the starting running back for Southern Miss, Frank Gore Jr. gained 33 yards against South Alabama. Suddenly, I feel really old.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to the dog whistles... oops, KK means the electronic whistles. Have you seen these things? You may have, because you sure cannot hear them. If you have been watching the early games on TV, you cannot hear the referees blow these electronic whistles unless it is absolutely silent in the stadium. An ESPN sideline reporter told her colleagues in the booth she could not hear them except for occasionally through the live feed through her earpiece. Already there have been a few instances of plays being blown dead and some players not hearing these quiet whistles and getting shots on opponents to no fault of their own. Just wait until there are games of bigger stature with louder fans. KK is still waiting to hear back from the CDC regarding the total number of recorded cases of C19 spread from someone blowing a normal whistle. She will wear a mask but she won’t hold her breath.

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, Clem’s son, Jr.) - FINALLY, the national press can come to completion and crown their shiny babyboy with the trophy.
  2. Justin Fields (QB, an Ohio State, Jr.) - If by some miracle, they start in October he will be runner-up. If not, don’t for one second be surprised if he gets plenty of votes because many of these voters are d-bags with agendas.
  3. A token running back - Travis Etienne of Clemson, Najee Harris of Alabama or Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State. No RB will win but they will invite one to NYC so they can say “it’s not just a quarterback award!” [Trivia Time III: Of the three non-quarterbacks to take home the Heisman in this century, two are Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015). The third was Reggie Bush (So Cal, 2005) who had to forfeit his trophy due to being a scoundrel. Could there be a three-peat for the Tide?]
  4. Sam Howell (QB, North Carolina, Soph.) could get some votes as he beats up on porous ACC defenses.

WHO SHOULD WIN

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

  1. Someone from the SEC due to the crazy difficult schedule of playing SEC foes week in and week out.

Dark Horse:

  • Jaylen Waddle (WR/KR, Alabama, Jr.) - At the risk of sounding like a homer, the Crimson Tide junior could make a run at the Heisman. He has a great opportunity to put up big receiving numbers this season. And if he can run back some kicks for scores in some big moments, he could catch the eyes and hearts of America in a really weird year.

THE SICK ACL REPORT

  • Lost in all the news of Jamie Newman opting out at UGA without playing a down is that JT Daniels hasn’t been medically cleared as of yet. The former starting Southern Cal QB suffered an ACL tear in the Trojans’ 2019 season-opener against Fresno State and has not played since. After a scrimmage against Arky, the Dawgs host Auburn on Oct. 3.
  • Georgia sophomore wide receiver Dominick Blaylock has retorn his ACL and will need surgery. He tore his ACL in the same knee in last year’s SEC Championship against LSU and had surgery on it December. Ya think maybe he came back too soon?
  • Texas A&M WR Camron Buckley will miss 2020 season with knee injury.
  • Clemson tight end Luke Price will miss the season after tearing his ACL in fall practice.
  • South Carolina freshman running back MarShawn Lloyd, the program’s top offensive recruit in this year’s class, will miss the 2020 season the school announced Thursday. Can you guess why? Yep, tore an ACL.
  • FSU has lost UCLA grad transfer tight end Jordan Wilson to injury.
  • Penn State projected starting cornerback Donovan Johnson will not play in 2020 due to an injury he suffered earlier in the summer.

DRAMA

  • @Meh, no real drama going on...@
  • Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson is out after one game, a 32-21 defeat on their home field to lowly South Alabama. Word has it, he had long-standing differences with the university administration. The 51-year old had winning seasons in each of his previous four seasons at USM and was never below .500 in C-USA play. If he wants to work, a P5 team will snap him up as an analyst in a heartbeat.
  • The CDC has asked Urban Meyer to stop wearing a mask because it is bad PR for the movement.
  • Fat F*** Phil Fulmer is practicing social distancing from vegetables but not his fork.
Black and White TV

EYEBALLS

TV ratings reports claim that the Austin Peay-Central Arkansas FCS Kickoff, the first college football game of the season, averaged a 0.33 rating and 501,000 viewers on ESPN. I am a bit skeptical on those numbers, but it did have some out-of-the-ordinary competition. Also airing in that time slot were the Daytona 500, MLB, and playoffs for the NHL and NBA which are usually done by now.

THIS WEEK

First, the good news: Joe Tessitore is back calling CFB games.

Now, the bad news: Booger McFarland came with him.

More good news: Former Alabama, Saints, and Panthers defensive back and all-around good guy Roman Harper has joined the SEC Network.

Bad news: Paul Finebaum is graduating to a bigger role with the ESPN, while Marcus Spears sadly moves to NFL coverage.

Power 5 football starts this weekend with the ACC and the B12 kicking off, which makes me wonder if the SEC was a smidge overcautious. ;)

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

Thursday, September 10

UAB at Miami 7pm/8pm, ACCN - Srsly, ACC? The only game of the day and you can’t get it on a national network?

Friday, September 11

SMU at TCU 8pm/9pm FS1 - Game postponed because an “outbreak among players and support staff at TCU” even though cases have drastically dropped in the last few days.

Saturday, September 12

Syracuse at North Carolina 11am/noon ACCN - Several wonks think UNC can win 9 or even 10 games this year.
ULL at Iowa State 11am/noon ESPN - Can Billy Napier keep the good times rolling for ULLaf?
La Tech at Baylor 11am/noon FOX
ULM at Army 12:30/1:30 CBSSN - Be all that you can be!
Duke at Notre Dame 1:30/2:30 NBC - This is gonna be ugly.
Georgia Tech at Florida State 2:30/3:30 ABC - This is gonna be sloppy.
Arkansas State at Kansas State 2:30/3:30 FS1 - If you missed them, check out former Tide players QB Layne Hatcher and TE Giles Amos for Arky State.
Missouri State at Oklahoma 6pm/7pm Pay-Per-View? - Spencer Rattler finally makes his real debut. Too bad nobody will see it.
Clemson at Wake Forest 6:30/7:30 ABC - bleh
UTEP at Texas 7pm/8pm Longhorn Network - yerg
Western Kentucky at Louisville 7pm/8pm ACCN

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 24 248 65 -
8 Mack Brown 30 245 123 -3
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -10
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -12

MACK and SABAN vs. OZ and LAVELL

With the unexpected return of Mack Brown to the sidelines, Nick Saban has some competition of all-time D1 wins. 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.

Both coaches could catch Tom Osborne this season. Saban has LaVell Edwards in his sights.

UNC has a predicted win total of 7.5. It may sound crazy but remember they have 10 ACC games plus Charlotte, and don’t play Auburn as originally scheduled or Clemson. They have at the very least 6 easy wins.

vs Syracuse - W
vs Charlotte - W
at Boston College - W
vs Virginia Tech
at Florida State
vs NC State - W
at Virginia
at Duke - W
vs Wake Forest - W
vs Notre Dame
at Miami

#ALABAMA

Still... the waiting game.

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

Can Georgia Tech beat Florida State?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    No way.
    (72 votes)
  • 26%
    Not sure.
    (92 votes)
  • 52%
    Yes, FSU is still a mess.
    (179 votes)
343 votes total Vote Now