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Random Thoughts: And Then There Were Two

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It’s down to two teams for the championship.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One - Alabama v Notre Dame
The Leprechaun Leap over 6’0½” Nick McCloud.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The semifinals of the College Football Playoff had one expected result and one unexpected result. One more to play.

The Leprechaun Leap over 6’0½” Nick McCloud.

This is the moment this game was OVAH!

Rose/Jerry Bowl - CFP Semifinal Alabama 31 Notre Dame 14 - It was another dominating win for this amazing Crimson Tide team. Truth be told, Nick Saban probably could’ve scored another three or more touchdowns. But nobody cares about scores or polls or public perception at this point. The reasons for not pouring it on and shortening the game are many. Preventing possible injuries, not giving the next opponent more game film to watch, creating potential “revenge” games for the future (see below) are just a few. Plus, Saban likes Brian Kelly.

Sugar Bowl - CFP Semifinal Ohio State 49 Clemson 28 - You saw it: a total an absolute beatdown. That said, you have to wonder where the Buckeyes heads are at right now and where they will be on Jan 11. They were SO pumped for this game with last year’s loss still fresh in their minds and Dabo’s faux pas of ranking anOSU at #11 in the Coaches Poll. After a big emotional win, how do they hit reset against a team that none of them have a history against? You know Nick Saban is not going to give them any bulletin board material.

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma 55 Florida 20 - The Gators were without their top receivers Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney, and Trevon Grimes who quit on their so-called “family”. Sophomore receiver Jacob Copeland didn’t make the trip after he tested positive. Even still, offenses are usually only as good as the quarterback. In this instance, the signal caller was not very good at all. None of that can excuse how poorly this team was prepared and how uninspired the team played. Heisman finalists Kyle Trask (16/28, 158 yds, 0 TD, 3 INT) threw interceptions on his first three possessions, one of which was returned for a touchdown and another that was picked in the other end zone basically ending any possible feel-good comeback. You may be able to blame it on familiarity with receivers but not three straight possessions. Trask was so bad he was sent to the bench in favor of the atrocious Emery Jones.

No excuses. No moral victories. 8-4. Dan Mullen mismanaged the month of December and is fully responsible for the three-game slide to end the season. #NeverMullen

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Georgia 24 Cincinnati 21 - This bowl season has exposed a lot of inexperienced head coaches at non-P5s and their bungles. None more so than UC’s Luke Fickell. Fresh off a disappointing playoff exclusion, the Bearcats had something to prove and basically had the game won and a 10-0 T-shirt national championship awaiting them. With UGA out of timeouts and Cincy up 21-19, they faced a 3rd & 2 at their own 40. At this point, Fickell chose to pass the ball instead of a run. Not only was the pass incomplete, but it was a low percentage throw downfield into traffic and stopped the clock at 1:34. A rush attempt would have put the time securely under a minute to play and maybe even achieve a game-ending first down. Even a sack would’ve been better. Instead, UC punted and UGA put together a drive to get into position for the game-winning 53-yard field goal with 3 ticks left. The Dawgs (8-2) got a safety on the last play of the game. Cincy blew a 21-10 fourth quarter lead.

A close-up.

Orange Bowl: Texas A&M 41 North Carolina 27 - This was a tight back and forth affair until the Aggies scored late and UNC could not answer. It was tied at 27-all, when freshman Devon Achane broke a 76-yard run for a seven point TAMU lead. With 2:42 remaining, the Tar Heels tried to convert on 4th & 1 on their own 34 and failed. The Aggs punched in another score to seal the win.

Death, taxes, and...

Citrus Bowl: Northwestern 35 Auburn 19 - A fitting end to the Gustavo era saw Auburn slog around the field. The War Tigers (6-5) amassed 61 rushing yards and converted 2 for 13 third downs. In nine games, 35 points was the second most Northwestern scored all season.

Armed Forces Bowl: Mississippi State 28 Tulsa 26 - What should have been a happy ending to a sour MSU (4-7) season went completely rogue when the two teams with no history resorted to pathetic childish thuggery. Lost in the nonsense was the progression of Clanga Clang freshman QB Will Rogers and the improved defense.

Gator Bowl: Kentucky 23 NC State 21 - The Wildcats defense picked off three passes and held the Wolfpack to 50 rushing yards. Meanwhile, UK grounded out 281 yards to offset their godawful passing attack. It was the third consecutive bowl victory for Kentucky (5-6).

Outback Bowl: Ole Miss 26 Indiana 20 - Matt Corral threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns. OM entered the fourth quarter up 20-6 and allowed the Hoosiers to tie it up on a pair of 80 yard drives that ate up a total of 12:25. The Rebs had one more drive in them that resulted in a touchdown but missed the extra point. The defense stymied IU’s final drive attempt on downs. The win leaves Ole Miss at 5-5 on the season. Indy is 6-2.

Fiesta Bowl: Iowa State 34 Oregon 17 - The Ducks (4-3) never should have been in this bowl.

Alamo Bowl: Texas 55 Colorado 23 - Sam Ehlinger was not BAAAA-AAACK for the second half after a mystery shoulder injury knocked him out of the game. The Longhorns (7-3) did not really miss him as his back-up Casey Thompson tallied four touchdowns passes on eight completions and did a great job of handing the ball off to Bijan Robinson (10 carries, 138 yds) as the ‘Horns rolled up 638 yards of offense. Texas racked up 38 second half points on the hapless Colorado defense to cruise to their seventh win. Karl Dorrell has the Buffys (4-2) moving in the right direction but in a normal season, this probably would have been a 7-5 team.

You have to love a bowl sponsor that likes to have fun.

Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State 37 Miami 34 - The Hurricanes also lost their starting quarterback in the first half when D’Eriq King went down with a knee injury. Former starter N’Kosi Perry came in and rallied the ‘Canes from a big hole that they had dug for themselves. The Cowpokes jumped out to a 21-0 lead but watched as Miami scored the next 19 points. Perry had a crucial fumble in the second half that kept them a possession behind OSU, denying them the complete comeback.

DESI

Mac Jones was the subject of the final Tom Rinaldi segment on ESPN’s GameDay.

LOL OF THE WEEK

The Badgers beat Wake Forest in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl 42-28 and promptly dropped the trophy smashing it to bits. I’d call it butter fingers but maybe it was ... mayo . fingers . ?

SALT IN THE WOUND

A reporter forgot to unmute and said what we are all thinking.

RIDICULOUS TARGETING

Stephen A. Smith said exactly what I have been saying all season.

GEORGE COSTANZA NAME OF THE WEEK

Ohio State DB Sevyn Banks.

HARRY BELAFONTE NAME OF THE WEEK

Vanderbilt DE Dayo Odeyingbo.

STAT OF THE DAY

  • Former Alabama running back Jerome Ford had 8 carries for 97 yards for Cincinnati. However, 79 came on one run. Without that run, Cincy totaled 20 yards on the ground.
  • UGA totaled 45 rushing yards on 24 attempts for a meek 1.9 ypc.
  • Former Alabama wide receiver TJ Simmons had 4 receptions for 56 yards and 2 TDs for West Virginia. The two scores represent half of his season scoring total.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

Army wins the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

  • Army (9-3) - The Black Knights blew a 21-10 lead, falling to West Virginia 24-21 in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Air Force (3-3)
  • Navy (3-7)
boxers

LET’S GO BOWLING

SEC 6-2 - all opponents were ranked in the Top 25.
Big XII 5-0
Sun Belt 4-1
Big Ten 3-1
MAC 2-0
MWC 2-1
AAC 1-5
Pac-12 0-2
ACC 0-6 - OUCH!
C-USA 0-6
Independents 2-1

SEC BOWLING

I’m not complaining or making excuses for anyone but it is interesting how several of the SEC teams were pitted against opponents who on paper were perceived as much better.

  • #8 Cincinnati vs #9 Georgia - Undefeated top non-P5 team against the 4th best (at the time bowl match-ups were decided) SEC team. UGA 24, CIN 21
  • #14 Northwestern vs Auburn - B1G runner-up versus an unranked team in shambles who just fired their head coach. NW 35, AUB 19
  • #11 Indiana vs Ole Miss - Ranked almost-beat-Ohio State and second best B1G team faced the 4-5 Rebels who were fifth in the SEC West. OM 26, IU 20
  • #23 NC State vs Kentucky - Ranked 8-win team versus 4-6 basketball school. UK 23, NCSU 21
  • #24 Tulsa vs Mississippi State - Ranked team versus 3-7 rebuild. MSU 28, TULSA 26

I guess being an SEC team really does mean more.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to Cincinnati truthers. All the whining and crying that Cincy who sHOuLdA BeEn iN teH PlAyoFf and they lose to a far-from-great Georgia team with at least 8 starters missing.

BONUS KK: Speaking of quitters, they say they are not playing in order to prepare for the draft. What better way to do so than to get some more live reps in a real game???

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS - MAYBE A THIRD YEAR - 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.

I guess we know who JFF voted for.

The voting ended after the conference championship games, so bowl performances don’t factor in. Below is how I think they finish.

  1. DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama, Sr.) - A WR winning the Hypesman is on brand for 2020. He had SO many “Heisman moments”, too many to count.
  2. Mac Jones (QB, Bama, R-Jr.) - The Tide quarterback will likely be second. His QB rating is 203.0 which is 6.6 points higher than the next highest of 196.4.
  3. Trevor Lawrence (QB, Dabo Cult, Jr.) - The fanboys still gushed over Sunnyboy even though he was far from the best quarterback much less the best player this season. Too bad they didn’t vote until after the bowl games. He is now 13th in QB Rating at 169.2.
  4. Kyle Trask (QB, Jorts U., Sr.) - If voting had concluded AFTER the Cotton Bowl, he would have been around sixth and Najee would be in here. Maybe second or third!

The winner will be announced during a virtual event starting at 6pm/7pm on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 on the four letter.

WHO SHOULD WIN

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

It was a tough decision. Mac Jones has been the glue that holds this offense and team together but DeVonta Smith has been SO good. He is just so smooth and makes everything look so easy. His hands are like glue. If I had a vote, it would go to DeVonta.

THE SICK REPORT

  • Malachi Moore was a surprise scratch for the Notre Dame game due to an undisclosed injury. He is “day-to-day” according to Nick Saban. “He injured himself a little bit in the Florida game. He was able to practice on and off, but it’s the type of injury that exercise aggravates it, so he wasn’t able to go today (against Notre Dame).” Fellow true freshman Brian Branch took his place and played quite well.
  • Alabama running backs coach Charles Huff was not with Alabama in Texas. No reason was given but you can probably guess. He will be with the team for the Championship Game. Analyst Alex Mortensen (son of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen) was elevated in his stead for the Rose/Jerry Bowl.
  • Alabama great and WWII veteran Don Salls passed away at the age of 101. He won a national championship with the Tide in 1941 as a fullback and linebacker before earning a Purple Heart after fighting in France. He was sent home with the rank of Captain and served as the head football coach at Jacksonville State from 1946 to 1952 and from 1954 to 1964. Roll Tide, Don.

QUITTERS

  • UGA quitters Monty Rice, Ben Cleveland, Tre McKitty, Mark Webb, and Eric Stokes skipped out on their bowl game. Because, ya know, they are ALL gonna get picked in the first round.
  • Infamous shoe-thrower Marco Wilson quit on the Gators because, ya know, NFL GMs just love them some dumbasses.
  • Elijah Moore quitting on Ole Miss should’ve been a surprise to absolutely nobody. Because, ya know, NFL GMs just love them some diva WRs.
  • UNC linebacker Chazz Surratt and RB Javonte Williams.

NOT QUITTING

  • The Citrus Bowl gave Aubie and NW players $400 Amazon gift cards along with a watch and a backpack.
  • Oregon and Iowa State Fiesta Bowl participants all received a PlayStation 5.
  • The UGA-Cincy Peach Bowl included a gift suite, a $390 Mastercard gift card, a Fossil watch and a commemorative football.
  • Even the Cheez-It Bowl stepped up and handed out a $400 Amazon gift card, a watch, and a backpack to go with a gift suite for Miami and Okie Lite.
  • The Alamo Bowl (Texas and Colo.) had a gift suite. $515 Amazon gift card, mini-helmet, and a team panoramic photo.
  • Alabama and Notre Dame players had a gift suite, Fossil watch, Ogio backpack and a New Era 9Fifty snapback adjustable hat. Gee, thanks granddaddy of them all.

JUNIORS LEAVING FOR THE NFL

  • Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz never quite lived up to the hype. He finishes his three -year career with 1,433 receiving yards and 6 TDs.
  • Southern Cal WR Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of six Trojans leaving South Central L.A. early for the bright lights of NFL practice squads.
  • BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
  • 50th rated QBR Stanford quarterback Davis Mills for some reason.

KOACHES KORNER

  • Three weeks after getting the dreaded “vote of confidence”, Urban Meyer Golden Boy protege Tom Herman has been kicked to the curb in Texas. A big win in the Alamo Bowl was not enough to save his sinking ship. The final nail in the coffin most likely came on Signing Day when the ‘Horns signed only one recruit out of the top 25 in-state prospects - the same number as Cal and SMU. Herman finishes his stay in Austin at 32–18 (B12: 22–13) with four straight bowl wins in as many seasons and no B12 titles. UT will owes him $15 million and another $9 million for the staff.
  • Reports immediately surfaced that Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian would tak his place.
  • Just moments before the kickoff of the Outback Bowl and shortly after news broke on Herman, Ole Miss announced a new contract for Lane Kiffin. Hmm... Ya think maybe someone’s agent was leveraging the Texas job (real or conjured) to get more money for his client after a 4-5 season?
  • Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will not be retained by Brian Harsin. AU signed Steele to an extension before this season making him the nation’s highest-paid assistant. He is owed $2.5 million per year through the through 2022 season.
  • Boise has been dragging their heels on filling the coaching vacancy since they also have a new AD to hire. A random Baylor associate AD is expected to be hired this week. Whoever the new coach is, it won’t be Kellen Moore.
  • Bruce Feldman Tweeted: “There is optimism inside Michigan that Jim Harbaugh’s new deal will get wrapped up soon with an extension thru 2026.” Insane.
  • Urban Meyer’s New Year Resolution is to go to more hospitals and tell more people they are dying.
  • Fat F*** Phil Fulmer’s blood type is Aunt Jemima Syrup.

Black and White TV

TEEVEE

CBS aired the Arizona Bowl between Ball State and San Jose Cuervo State which had all the intrigue of drying paint. The most notable aspect was the absence of Gary Danielson and how extremely enjoyable it was to listen to Brad Nessler with fill-in Rick Neuheisel. There were actual moments during the game in which nobody said ANYTHING! Imagine that.

THIS WEEK

Uno mas.

Monday, January 11, 2021

ALABAMA vs anOSU 7pm/8pm ESPN

LOOKING AHEAD (but not looking ahead)

Senior Bowl is Saturday, January 30.

SABAN vs. POP and BEAR

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 149
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 86
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 63
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 59
5 Nick Saban 25 260 65 -
6 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 -3
7 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 -5
8 Mack Brown 31 253 127 -7
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -22
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -24

Nick Saban adds another W to the stack. Ol’ Mack keeps dropping further behind.

[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 squawking 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

  • Mac Jones was named the 2020 SEC Scholar-Athlete Player of the Year.
  • Will Anderson and Malachi Moore made the CBS/247sports True Freshman All-American team.
  • As an interesting side note and preview to spring position battles, the second team offensive line in pre-game drills consisted of Javion Cohen, Tommy Brown, Darrian Dalcourt, Kendall Randolph, and Damieon George.
  • Najee Harris’s Leprachaun Leap was the longest run of his Alabama career at 53 yards.
  • DeMarcco Hellams, who is FINALLY getting some serious PT, led the Tide with 12 tackles, including six solo stops and a sack against the Irish.

Is it just me...?

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, ORANGE BOWL: Monday, January 11, 2021

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) vs Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0)

Miami, FL ~ 7pm CT /8pm ET ESPN

  • Announcers: Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit with Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi on the sidelines.
  • Eli Gold on Alabama Radio.
  • Alabama is 3-1 all-time against the Buckeyes. The two teams last met January 1, 2015 in the in the college football playoff. Time for some revenge.
  • The line on this game is around Bama -8. Over/Under is 75½.

Poll

2020 Cincinnati?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Shoulda been in the CFP!
    (76 votes)
  • 51%
    Really good but not top 4.
    (456 votes)
  • 40%
    Weak schedule, overrated.
    (357 votes)
889 votes total Vote Now