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Random Thoughts: All the Pieces Falling Into Place

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NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama
It appears Jaylen Key likes it in the SEC.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As you have seen by now, the College Football Playoff Final 4 have been announced.

  1. Michigan
  2. Washington
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama

As the top seed, the Wolverines have been allowed to pick between the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl for their semifinal match. They have chosen to face the Crimson Tide in Pasadena rather than in Nawlins. UW heads to the Big Easy to lose to the Longhorns.

After the top four, the rankings don’t really matter, but putting FSU ahead of Georgia is ludicrous. If you want to see my rankings and feelings on the ‘Noles, scan on down.

P5 CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

SEC Championship: Alabama Crimson Tide 27 Georgia Bulldogs 24 - It sounds like coachspeak but no words rang truer than Nick Saban saying it was a “team win” for the Tide. No one Bama player really stood out as the game changer. So many different players did their jobs and overcame the doubters and the Dawgs to win another trophy. Jalen Milroe was the game’s MVP, but it truly was a team effort.

The big brag on Carson Beck was that he had a quick release. Not so against the Tide. He had a tough time finding open receivers and when he did, they did not get too many YAC. The Bulldogs OL had a tougher time holding back the unrelenting tide of pass rushers. Alabama sacked the UGA QB only twice, but the swarming defense had him running for his life all game long. He had at least three errant passes that should have been intercepted by Bama but were dropped. Malachi Moore and Caleb Downs made Brock Bowers day a living hell. The Bulldogs running game never got anything going. On paper, this looked like a close match. But after Alabama scored their first touchdown, it felt like the momentum was all theirs.

Pac-12 Championship: Washington 34 Oregon 31 - It wasn’t the prettiest of games. The anticipated face-off between Bo Nix and Michael Penix was supplanted by the performance of Huskies running back Dillon Johnson who ran for 152 yards and two touchdown. People keep doubting the Huskies and they just keep winning. (Ima doubt them one more time btw)

Big 12 Championship: Texas 49 Oklahoma State 21- The Cowboys needed a fast start if they were going to have any prayer of hanging with the Longhorns. They did just the opposite. After a three and out by the OSU, a short punt and a catch interference call gave Texas the ball at the Okie Lite 39 yard line before UT had even played a snap of offense. Texas converted touchdowns on their first four possessions to go up 28-7 and the game was basically over from that point.

Big Ten Championship: Michigan 26 Iowa 0 - What a joke of a game this one was. Predictably, walking punchline Iowa could not get anything done on offense. They tallied 149 total yards and SEVEN first downs. Michigan was not much better (213, 12) but got some field position breaks on three Hawkeyes fumbles and three turnover-on-downs. Iowa punted 7 times, UM 6. Had the B1G done away with divisions this year, the Wolvies would have had a rematch with Ohio State.

ACC Championship: Florida State 16 Louisville 6 - The Falcons-Jets game on Sunday was more entertaining than this abysmal display. Both quarterbacks were sub .500 in pass completions. FSU had 55 passing yards. Both teams punted NINE times each. The ACC officials made some questionable calls and non-calls that benefited the ‘Noles.

NON-P5

American Athletic Championship: SMU 26 Tulane 14- The Mustangs upset the NY6-minded Green Wave with back-up quarterback Kevin Jennings making his first career start. SMU’s regular starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury in the final week of the regular season, making way for the redshirt freshman to make his debut. The score doesn’t show it, but this was a dominating effort by the Pony Express in New Orleans. Tulane was held to 31 rushing yards and 12 first downs.

SMU joins the ACC next season. Will Mustangs coach Rhett Lashlee get poached before then or is he willing to wait it out for a chance at playing lame ass ACC teams and make a CFP or two?

Sun Belt Championship: Troy 49 Appalachian State 23 - The Trojans outscored Appy 28-7 in the fourth quarter.

MAC Championship: Miami (Ohio) 23 Toledo 14 - The Red Hawks got revenge on the Rockets for their only conference loss of the season. The defeat of Toledo knocked them out of any prayer of the NY6 slot. Both teams are now 11-2.

C-USA Championship: Liberty 49 New Mexico State 35 - The Flames success runs through QB Kaidon Salter. Once upon a time, he was a 4-star recruit who signed with Tennessee. However, he twice got into off-field trouble before the team even got to fall camp in his first season. Salter was one of at least four Tennessee players arrested in March of 2021 on drug charges following an alleged assault and burglary at an on-campus residence hall. Three months later, he and a fellow freshman player were pulled over by police and would be hit with marijuana possession charges. That was enough to have him dismissed from the program, but it was just hunky-dory for then-head coach Hugh Freeze at Libby. Anyway... it was a tight first half that had the game tied after 30 minutes of play. The Flamers scored two touchdowns on their first two series of the second half and NMSU could never quite catch up. Salt-boy had 319 passing and 165 yards rushing. Hopefully, he turns pro or transfers.

MWC Championship: Boise 44 UNLV 20 - The Smurfs have made a remarkable turnaround since firing their coach Andy Avalos. On November 12, Boise was sitting 5-5 when they sent him packing. Defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season and reeled off three straight resounding wins and a MWC crown.

FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN OF THE WEEK

Everyone was scoring on Okie Lite. Even a 6’ 4”, 362 lbs. defensive lineman.

TROLL OF THE WEEK

MEDIA TROLL OF THE WEEK

Well... maybe McAfee isn’t so bad after all. lol

CONFERENCE FAN BASE OF THE WEEK

HOW I WILL REMEMBER BO NIX TO MY GRANDKIDS

JT DANIELS MEMORIAL AWARD

If McCloud goes through with this transfer, it will be his fourth school. He started his career at piss-poor USF where he played in 20 games over two seasons. He then transferred to Arizona and rode the pine behind some meat bag named Will Plummer and did not even play in 2022. He transferred to JMU this past off-season and became the Sun Belt POY this season.

SO UNLIKABLE

Why would anyone want to play for this childish egomaniac? Just let your players have some fun. Jeez.

He also did the immature thing at the trophy presentation by - in all seriousness - giving the Big Ten commissioner the silent treatment. Tony Petitti was forced to hand the trophy to a player.

CLASS MOVE OF THE WEEK

We saw Nick Saban do this with Landon Dickerson a few years ago. I suppose there is something to being in Saban’s coaching tree.

MOST DESERVED BOOING OF THE WEEK

Goodbye, CBS. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

SECOND MOST DESERVED BOOING OF THE WEEK

At the B12CG trophy presentation, Texas fans fervidly and justifiably booed Big XII commissioner Brett Yormark so loudly that you could not even hear his voice with a microphone. Even Steve Sarkisian trying to quiet the crowd would not placate the UT fans. They then broke into a chant of “SEC! SEC! SEC!”

You may recall that earlier this year, Yormark made unprofessional and petty remarks about Texas and Oklahoma including openly rooting for Texas Tech to “take care of business against the Longhorns while UT was still a member of the conference with a whole season to play.

“THE AUDIBLE GASP”

Daniel Moore is busy at work.

TANTRUM OF THE WEEK (NON-FERENTZ CATEGORY)

Troy coach Jon Sumrall was not pleased with a missed facemask call. He’s still mad about the Iron Bowl.

911 ON SPEED DIAL

AI WRITER OF THE WEEK

Sports Illustrated must have scheduled this back in September to auto-publish and forgot about it.

STATS OF THE WEEK

  • Alabama has won 17 straight games in Atlanta.
  • SMU has 11 wins for the first time since 1982 (11-0-1). If the ‘Stangs win their bowl game, they’ll have 12 wins for the first time since 1935 (12-1)
  • The Florida Gators went 6-7 in 2021 and 2022. They finished 5-7 this season. UF has not had three consecutive losing campaigns since 1945-47 (when Sam Hartman was in kindergarten).

GAMEDAY SIGN OF THE WEEK DIMENTIA

Poor old Corso. Picking UGA. So sad.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESI

Once again, College GameDay is covering an Alabama game. Once again, the guest picker was some random stand-up comedian. This time it was Theo Von, who is from Louisiana and has no ties to either school or states involved in the SECCG. Not too many people realize that Super Bowl halftime show performers do not get paid for their performances. Usually, they have a new album and tour coming up and they use the venue to promote themselves. What do you bet something like that is going on with GameDay and these comedians? Von lives in Nashville just like the last guy. I’d be willing to say that they probably have the same agent/management. Oh by the way, Von DOES has a tour starting soon and tickets are available.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • New Mexico State (10-4) has a challenging bowl match-up with Fresno.
  • Tulane (11-2) was SO close to a NY6 birth. More on that below.
  • Jamey Chadwell (43-6 over the last four seasons)

COUSINS

  • Troy (11-2) - What a season for the Trojans. After losses to K-State and JMU to begin the season, they reeled off ten straight wins en route to a Sun Belt Championship. Coach Jon Sumrall, a Huntsville (Grissom) native, is a hot name in coaching circles. For a moment when it looked like TAMU would hire away Mark Stoops, Sumrall was a rumored name to return to his UK alma mater. Troy is a 7 point favorite over Duke in the Birmingham Bowl.
  • South Alabama (6-6) - The Jags face Eastern Michigan (also 6-6) in Mobile as a ...WOW... 16 point dog (???).
  • Jacksonville State (8-4) - The Gamecocks (-3) meet up with Louisiana Lafayette in Nawlins.

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Air Force (8-4) - The Falcons play James Madison (-3) in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Army (5-6) vs Navy (5-6) 2pm/3pm CBS - I guess I missed the memo that neither of these teams will play in a bowl game in 2023. The only info I could find was from a Virginia Tech message board from 2005 that said it is “because the game is played the week after Conference Championship Weekend and the bowl selections are finalized on the Sunday of Conference Championship Weekend. If Army or Navy wants to be bowl eligible, then both teams MUST have 6 wins going into the game. Both schools knew the price when they decided to move the game to its current weekend.” Huh. Another stupid rule from the NCAA. Whoda guessed it? If the NCAA had an ounce of creativity, they probably could have given them a waiver and put the winner in the Detroit Bowl instead of 5-7 Minnesota. Talk about intrigue!
boxers

ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION

Eliminated: All non-P5s, Notre Dame, Clemson, Duke, UNC, Boston College, Louisville, Miami-FL, NC State, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, Houston, Iowa State, K-State, Kansas, West Virginia, BYU, Cincinnati, Center Florida, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Rutgers, Sparty, Maryland, Minnie, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Penn State, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, Stanford, Cal, Southern Cal, Oregon State, Utah, UCLA, Wazzu, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Mizz, LSU, Missy State, Arky, Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M, Mizzou, Ole Miss NEW: Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia, FSU (LOL, whiney ass b*tches!)

Other: Alabama, Texas, Washington, Michigan

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

Odds to win the 2023 National Championship:

  1. Michigan +800 to +750 to +700 to +475 to +400 to +340 to +280 to +225 to +240 to +220 to +210 to +185 (bet $100 to win $185)
  2. Alabama +600 to +550 to +2500 to +4000 to +4000 to +2500 to +2000 to +1400 to +900 to +650 to +200
  3. Texas +2200 to +1000 to +800 to +750 to +1800 to +2200 to +1600 to +1500 to +2000 to +260
  4. Washington to +1500 to +1200 to +800 to +1200 to +1400 to +1100 to +1300 to +750
  • Georgia +220 to+240 to +230 to +300 to +260 to +280 to +275 to +240 to +260 to +240 OFF
  • Ohio State +700 to +750 to +900 +1200 to +1000 to +800 to +750 to +900 to +800 to +700 to +750 to +700 to +800 OFF
  • Oregon to +1600 to +1400 to +2500 to +3000 to +1400 to +1000 to +850 OFF
  • FSU +2000 to +1100 +1000 drop to +1200 to +800 to +900 to +800 to +700 to +600 to +600 to +950 OFF

CONFERENCE RUNDOWN

  • ACC - The Florida State fans are BIG mad. But so are a lot of other fanbases - and I say this with all sincerity - it’s cuz they jealous.
  • Big 12 - Texas looks strong, but they are not without flaws.
  • Big Ten - Has Michigan played a team the likes of Alabama or Texas this season?
  • PAC-12 - Washington, my goodness. If it wasn’t for Alabama, the Huskies might be the feel good story of the year. People keep doubting them and they keep pulling through. They BARELY win a whole lotta games, but they do win them.
  • SEC - This Alabama win over Georgia is much bigger than just one season. Over the last 31 games, UGA has gone 28-0 against every team not named Alabama and 1-2 against the Crimson Tide. That one win over Bama was the 2021 National Championship Game. In light of Georgia’s banged up wide receivers, they must secretly fret as they lay alone in bed at night that maybe, just maybe, the Bulldogs won that game because Bama was without their top two receivers (and two corners, second and third team RBs, etc., etc.). They still have that trophy but the doubts have to creep in that they may not be the top dog they think they are. The 2021 NC win snapped a seven-game losing streak that the Bulldogs had to the Tide. Now, they are 1-8 vs Bama since 2008. Perhaps it isn’t a power shift. Perhaps it never even left 35401.
  • Indies - Notre Dame
  • Non-Power 5

SEC VS ACC

A big talking point for the crybabies is that it was a “down year for the SEC” and that head-to-head the ACC beat the SEC 6 games to 4. If first place FSU had beaten first place Alabama and second place Lousiville had beaten Georgia, and on down the line, I’d have to agree. That is not what happened. If you rank both conferences by record with head-to-head tiebreakers, it looks like the following:

1 Florida St. 1 Alabama
2 Louisville 2 Georgia
3 NC State T-3 Missouri
T-4 Georgia Tech T-3 Ole Miss
T-4 Virginia Tech 5 LSU
6 Clemson 6 Tennessee
7 North Carolina 7 Texas A&M
8 Duke 8 Kentucky
9 Miami (FL) 9 Auburn
10 Boston College 10 Florida
11 Syracuse 11 South Carolina
T-12 Virginia 12 Mississippi St.
T-12 Pitt 13 Arkansas
14 Wake Forest 14 Vanderbilt


Then, we look at these head-to-head match-ups that they think are so important:

DATE OUTCOME ACC RES SEC
Sept. 2 UNC over South Carolina ** 31-17 7 beat 11
Sept. 2 Tennessee over Virginia ** 49-13 T-12 lost to 6
Sept. 2 Florida State over LSU ** 45-24 1 beat 5
Sept. 9 Miami (FL)* over Texas A&M 48-33 9 beat 7
Sept. 9 Wake Forest* over Vanderbilt 36-20 14 beat 14
Sept. 16 Ole Miss* over Georgia Tech 48-23 T-4 lost to T-3
Nov 25 Georgia over Georgia Tech* 31-23 T-4 lost to 2
Nov 25 Clemson over South Carolina* 16-7 6 beat 11
Nov 25 Florida State over Florida* 24-15 1 beat 10
Nov 25 Kentucky over Louisville* 38-31 2 lost to 8

* Home team
** Neutral

Do any of those ACC Ws rock your world? The only ACC victory that came from a lower placed team was Miami (FL) over Texas A&M and that one was in Miami. Of these other wins, South Carolina (twice), Florida, and Vandy are not going to a bowl game. The final one was FSU over LSU which is nice, but again, it is the top ACC team over the fifth best SEC team.

NON-POWER 5 QUAGIMRE

We saw this coming, right? It is absolutely ridiculous that a non-Power 5 should get an automatic inclusion into the New Year’s 6 Bowl games. Next year and going forward, they will get an auto-bid no matter how much of trash they are. This year, the highest ranked non-P5 turned out to be Liberty (13-0) despite the fact that they had a pillowy soft schedule.

  • Tulane (11-2) - The Green Wave had some cajones and scheduled Ole Miss... and lost. They then met defeat to SMU (11-2) in the AACCG. The Mustangs traveled to Oklahoma and TCU, but lost both games.
  • Toledo (11-2), MAC - The Rockets fell to Illinois (5-7) in Week 1 then dropped the MACCG.
  • Troy (11-2), Sun Belt - The Trojans’ losses came to JMU and K-State.
  • No team in the Mountain West had less than 4 defeats.
  • That leaves us with Liberty (13-0) of C-USA. The Flames ran the table but had a garbage schedule. Libby gets the NY6 bid despite not playing any Power-5 teams. What a great message the CFP is sending to the non-P5s: schedule soft.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Had the BCS formula been the decider in the final 4, this is how things would have been laid out:

  1. Michigan
  2. Washington
  3. Alabama
  4. Florida State
  5. Texas
  6. Georgia

Hmm. So Bama would still be in. But let’s talk about poor woe is me Florida State.

SEMINULL & VOID

The big mantra for the Seminoles is that “an undefeated ACC champion should count for something”. But what they don’t want to admit is that being the champ of the ACC does not carry that much cachet. What does it say that FSU’s best win is against the fifth best SEC team? It just proves the point that Alabama had a tougher row to hoe than the ‘Noles did. Consider the fact that 6-6 Georgia Tech and 6-6 Virginia Tech finished tied for fourth in the league. Only seven of the 14 teams finished above .500 in 2023.

They also want to talk about beating Louisville - “a 10-2 team!” The Cardinals had one of the weakest schedules in FBS this year. Their only halfway decent win was over a mediocre Notre Dame team at home. The ‘Ville lost to 9-loss Pitt as well as a home game to rival Kentucky. If you are into transitive victories, Alabama beat that same Wildcats team in Lexington by 28.

NC State took awhile but right now, they are the hottest team in the conference. FSU is fortunate that they did not have to face them last Saturday.

Next is the issue of Jordan Travis. Should a team be punished because they lost their star quarterback? Well, yes, but maybe not immediately. Give that team a chance to prove themselves without him. If FSU had had a Tua Tagovialoa waiting in the wings, then they should not be penalized. Florida State had three opportunities with two quarterbacks to flex their muscle in the last three games and really did not impress.

I’m not saying any of this as a Gump. These are honest unbiased observations.

Below is a list of teams I think would handily beat Florida State on a neutral field in December:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Michigan
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Ohio State
  • Texas
  • LSU

Other teams that would have a good shot to defeat FSU as they are now include NC State, Clemson, Penn State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona.

All of this silly FSU talk will evaporate once UGA destroys the Seminoles on the Orange Bowl.

THE HATE IS REAL

Alabama has been winning so much for so long that many people were rejoicing when the Tide fell to Texas back in September. It was a celebration of the latest “End of the Dynasty”. Nick Saban was washed up and the Crimson Tide’s run was over. But then Bama hung around and clawed their way back to the top. And many of them resented that their feelings were wrong.

In the national media, there is a new generation of journalists across the spectrum of news who cannot put their personal and often biased beliefs aside to report facts. Sports journalism is no exception. The AP voters put out their latest irrelevant poll:

  1. Michigan
  2. Washington
  3. Texas
  4. Florida State
  5. Alabama
  6. Georgia
  7. Ohio State
  8. Oregon

Two voters unbelievably put Alabama at number 6. They are Random dude #1 Ron Counts from the Idaho Statesman and Rando dude #2 Scott Springer from the Cincinnati Enquirer. RD1 put FSU at 3, Ohio State at 4, and Texas at 5. RD2 has UGA at 3 (!), followed by FSU and Texas. 36 of the 65 voters had Bama at 5. Thank the good lord that these bozos don’t decided anything anymore.

CB’s POLL

Based on how they are playing now and who are the “best”:

  1. Texas
  2. Alabama
  3. Washington
  4. Georgia
  5. Michigan
  6. Oregon
  7. Ohio State
  8. Ole Miss

* By all means, please give us your Top 4, or 8 or 10 or... in the Comments section.

LET’S GO BOWLING!

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to CBS if they think they are taking the iconic SEC on CBS theme music to the Big Ten next year.

There will not be much to miss about their broadcasts except that music. It has been used by the network since the 1987 season, but it came to represent the SEC after the network signed television contracts with the conference to be the exclusive national television home of their in-conference schedules in 1996.

When that song came on, a rush of excitement would run through bodies across the South. You just knew something big was about to happen. When then they raised the audio of the roar of the crowd, the goose bumps of the viewers at home were a-popping. Reports say the music will not convey to ESPN.

It would be a shame to hear this music open for Big Ten games in the future. Army-Navy is okay to use it but the Rust Belters need to find their own dang iconic theme music.

HEISMAN HYPE

In case you missed it, the Heisman finalists were announced Monday night. Since all the ballots are in and counted, no more bets can be made.

  1. QB Jayden Daniels (4th FULL YR with RS, LSU) +1100 to +3000 to +2200 +1800 to +2500 to +3500 to +1400 to +340 to +400 to OFF THE BOOKS to +380 pre-announcement to -1200
  2. QB Michael Penix (6th YR, started college in 2018, Washington) from +1600 to +900 to +550 to +400 to +380 to +200 to -140 to +320 to +280 to +140 to +300 pre-announcement to +900
  3. QB Bo Nix (5th FULL YR, never redshirted, Oregon) +1000 to +900 to +600 to +2000 to +1600 to +600 to +210 to +120 pre-announcement to +1500
  4. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (3rd YR, anOhio State) +2000 to +1600 to +1200 to +1800 to +450 pre-announcement to +20000 - It is ridiculous to include this guy. They just wanted someone who is not a quarterback and half of these voters probably know his daddy. He’s not even the best WR. I put him behind Luther Burden and Malik Nabers.
  • QB Jalen Milroe (3rd YR, Bama) +12000 to +10000 to +9000 to +5000 to +8000 to +5000 to +4500 pre-announcement to +10000 - Should have been there.

Below are the preseason odds posted on the Random Thoughts 2023 College Football Preview from Aug 23, 2023:

  1. QB Caleb Williams (JR, Southern Cal) +450
  2. QB Jayden Daniels (RS-JR, LSU) +1100
  3. QB Quinn Ewers (Texas) +1300
  4. QB Jordan Travis (FSU), QB Cade Klubnik (Clemson), QB Carson Beck (UGA) all +1400.
  5. Drake Maye (UNC), QB Michael Penix (Washington), QB Sam Hartman (Notre Dame), and QB Bo Nix (Oregon) +1600 each.

THE SICK REPORT

  • Fresno coach Jeff Tedford has stepped away from the program due to health issues. The 62-year old has had three double-digit win seasons in five years at Fresno and has won all three bowl games his Bulldogs have played in. This year’s squad is 8-4 having lost their final three games. After the 2019, he stepped down at Fresno because of heart issues, only to return to after the 2021 season when Kalen DeBoer scooted up the coast to UW. He has a plan to return sometime after the bowl game, but we’ll see what Mrs. Tedford has to say about that.
  • Ainias Smith won’t play in Texas A&M’s bowl game due to breaking his finger against LSU. He hopes to return in time to play in the Senior Bowl.

R.I.P.

THE FINAL SHUT UP, GARY EVAH!! The SEC on CBS is no more. The Championship Game was the last broadcast of SEC football by the “Eye” as the ESPN moneybags and much better production value take over next year. Long-time annoying troll color commentator Gary Danielson and usually level-headed Brad Nessler were exceptionally obnoxious and exasperatingly ignorant of the rules of the game. I suppose it was a Gary’s final middle finger to the TV viewers at home. In recent years, he has tried to make himself into this guy who everyone loves to hate and says the things we “don’t want to hear”. But that was not true. He was truly awful, often mistaken, and nobody loved hating him.

In classic CBS style, they repeatedly cut away from shots of the game to show the Top 8 graphic that filled the screen instead of maybe focusing on substitutions (??). Another classic old penchant of theirs was to show graphics of what had happened in past seasons, as if it had any bearing on that day’s game. And then there was the constant cut-aways to fans in the stands, very often the same groups over and over. In addition, sometimes they showed too many replays, sometimes they did not show any at all.

Gary was truly an idiot and a detriment to listening to the game. But it was also the production and poor directional decisions.

If you are feeling sentimental or sadomasochist, Gary and his misfit crew will still be around calling games in the Big Ten next year. I am sure those fan bases will enjoy that.

Team Appearances Wins Losses Win Pct.
Alabama 128 90 38 0.703
Florida 110 72 38 0.655
Georgia 95 59 36 0.621
LSU 82 45 37 0.549
Tennessee 77 32 45 0.416
Auburn 61 26 35 0.426
Arkansas 47 14 33 0.298
Ole Miss 27 8 19 0.296
South Carolina 24 5 19 0.208
Texas A&M 19 7 12 0.368
Kentucky 17 1 16 0.059
Mississippi State 14 5 9 0.357
Missouri 14 7 7 0.500
Vanderbilt 7 1 6 0.143

(Source: Wikipedia)

R.I.P. PAC-12 After Dark.
  • Also dead is the PAC-12 as we know it. Will they reunite somewhere down the line? Who knows? Weirder things have and are happening.

DRAMA

  • A dead longhorn cow was found on the lawn of something called Farmhouse Fraternity on The Oklahoma State campus on Friday, the day before the Cowboys would play Texas in the Big 12 championship game. According to the campus newspaper, the carcass had an expletive carved into its side and the stomach was cut open. Evidence was collected and said to have been delicious.
  • The Mountain West Conference has agreed to a scheduling agreement with The Oregon State and Washington State that will have each of their football teams play a game against either the Beavers or Cougars next season. It’s been nice knowing ya, Wazzu, Beavs.
  • Oregon State RB Damien Martinez was arrested for DUII which stands for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. He will not be participating in the Beavers’ bowl game. The sophomore is the team’s leading rusher with 1,185 yards and 9 TDs.
  • Former Southern Cal, UGA, West Virginia, Rice QB JT Daniels is medically retiring from football after suffering multiple concussions and being advised to retire by his doctors. Fortunately for him, Medicare is taking care of most his bills.
  • Dabo Swinney is hiring former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke as OL coach and Chris Rumph as DE coach. Rumph, who was a Bama defensive line coach (2011–2013) is taking over for Lemanski Hall, a former Tide linebacker and Dabo teammate, who was let go last week. Both of these hires will be making north of $1M a year... TO COACH OL!! Parents: if you have any kids with the slightest interest in football, steer them towards coaching asap.

IN THE QUITTER HOLE

  • To nobody’s surprise, reserve Bama QB Tyler Buchner has entered the TP/QH. The real surprise is that he is trading in football for lacrosse. He was a high school All-American in the sport and had originally committed to Michigan in LAX before his football recruiting stock began to rise.
  • Texas A&M NT Walter Nolen and WR Evan Stewart are in the portal and might be targets for Alabama. The former 5-stars were part of that infamous 2022 #1 overall recruiting class that has since shattered into pieces. Both have two full seasons of eligibility left to play.
  • Ohio State starting QB Kyle McCord wants out of Columbus. He really was not all that great, but rumors have it that anOSU was already in the market for a replacement. He has one full year remaining.
  • On that subject, QB Cam Ward spent two seasons at Washington State before he realized he could do better. He arrived in Pullman after two seasons at FCS Incarnate Word under now-North Texas head coach Eric Morris followed by another under now-Texas State head coach G. J. Kinne. He ha$ reportedly $hown $trong intere$t in Ohio $tate with 1 bonu$ year left.
  • Fairhope, AL native/Duke quarterback Leonard Riley (or is it Riley Leonard?) is out. Notre Dame is already the favorite. He has one full season remaining.
  • Oklahoma QB/senior citizen Dillon Gabriel (or is it Gabriel Dillon?) is onto his third team. I’m not sure the old man can do much better than the Sooners. Which makes me wonder: are there guys out there entering the TP just so they can renegotiate for more money at their present school? More likely, Gabriel is scared to face SEC defenses next year who will eviscerate his NFL scouting grade, 1 bonus year left.
  • Former Bama turned Tennessee DB Brandon Turnage, 1 bonus year left.
  • Clempson/Oregon State QB DJ Uiagaleilelei, 1 bonus year left.
  • Clanga Clang QB Will Rogers, 1 bonus year left.
  • K-State QB Will Howard, 1 bonus year left.
  • Back-up UGA QB Brock Vandagriff, two years of eligibility remaining. Kentucky is an early favorite.
  • Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, 1 bonus year left.
  • Miami-FL QB Tyler Van Dyke, 1 full year plus 1 bonus year.
  • QB Max Johnson is transferring to North Carolina from Texas A&M. He started his career at LSU. 1 full year plus 1 bonus year.
  • Colorado starting left tackle Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan and starting center Van Wells announced their intentions to enter the transfer portal. The Buffs offensive line was already bad enough but now they are losing their best two. GCL has potentially two more seasons. Wells is a true sophomore.

IS THIS WHAT WE WANT FOOTBALL TO BE?

Nick Saban was not referring to what has become free agency in college football but it is most apt to the current situation. Teams like Vanderbilt cannot hope to dig themselves out of a hole if their best players are just going to keep “upgrading” to the next tier of FBS. The Commodores are losing their top three leading receivers in senior Will Sheppard (47 rec, 684 yds, 8 TD), sophomore receiver Jayden McGowan (987 all-purpose yds), and freshman WR London Humphreys (22-439, 4 TD). It’s a tough situation for teams like Vandy who take a chance on a lower rated guy, cultivate him, and then he splits for a sexier location. Young players these days are not patient enough to work through some bad seasons with hopes of sunnier days ahead. Loyalty is low on the priority list. They want to be in the bright lights, win more than they lose, perhaps catch the eye of an NFL scout, and maybe make more money while they are at it.

PEACE OUT

So Cal QB Caleb Williams will sit out the Holiday Bowl. It’s probably a good idea with his draft stock plummeting and the defensive minded Louisville as the opponent.

DECLARED FOR THE NFL DRAFT

  • Former 5-star recruit/Heisman hopeful/media darling/Oklahoma castoff/SCar QB Spencer Rattler.
  • Clemson defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro
  • Florida C Kingsley Eguakun
  • Ohio State running back Miyan Williams

FK YEAH!!!

  • Utah State reserve quarterback Levi Williams will not return for his senior season in 2024, intending to apply for Navy SEAL training following the Aggies’ upcoming bowl game. HOOYAH!

KOACHES KORNER

  • Indiana has hired James Madison’s Curt Cignetti as head coach. The Dukes were 11-1 this season, their second in FBS. Previous to that, he won the FCS championship with JMU in 2019 and made the semifinals the next two campaigns. Cignetti is another branch off the Nick Saban coaching tree having served as WR coach for the Crimson Tide from 2007 to 2010 before taking the head job at D-II IUP. Indy is a tough place to win as well as recruit and keep those players who sign with the Hoosiers. He will still coach James Madison through their bowl game.
  • Houston has nabbed Tulane’s Willie Fritz as their next head coach. He is definitely an upgrade from permanent bag hair day Dana Holgorsen.
  • Syracuse hired Georgia DB coach Fran Brown, though I am not entirely sure why.
  • ABANDON SHIP! San Diego State hired Colorado offensive coordinator Sean Lewis. The 37-year old is an up and comer in the coaching ranks. He headed up Kent State from 2018–2022 before joining Deion Sanders in Boulder for a year. Defensive end/edge coach Nick Williams is leaving Colorado to join the staff at Syracuse. He was also the Buffs primary recruiter and had landed 3 of their top 4 commits for this 2024 class. Things are starting to fall apart for Prime in the Rockies.
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
  • Sam Pittman has brought the prodigal son Bobby Petrino back to Arkansas as OC. The former disgraced Hogs coach was fired from Arky in 2012 when his dalliance with a female staffer was exposed following a motorcycle wreck with the young lady on the back of his hog. He then hilariously showed up at a press conference in a dorky looking neck brace. After a year off, he led Western Kentucky to a 8-4 season before splitting for Louisville. A second stint with the Cardinals was okay, but the guy had Lamar Jackson as quarterback and couldn’t win the ACC and was 1-3 in bowl game. He spent three mediocre years with Missouri State before becoming Jimbo Fisher’s OC at Texas A&M last season. It’s going be a media circus when Pittman gets fired next fall and Petrino takes over.
  • After 18 seasons, Middle Tennessee fired longtime coach Rick Stockstill following the Blue Raiders’ latest campaign that resulted in a 4-8 record. He was 113-111 in his time in Murfreesboro.
  • Oregon State promoted defensive coordinator Trent Bray, a former Beavers linebacker, to head coach. I think I have seen this movie before. It does not end well.
  • While it’s unclear why it took a whole extra week to decide about Ken Wilson, Nevada finally decided to move on from the head coach. He had produced consecutive 2-10 seasons. He has already been replaced by Texas co-DC Jeff Choate who was previously head coach at Montana State (2016-19) where he turned the program around and got the Bobcats to the FCS Semifinals in 2019. He also turned the fortunes of the Texas defense. The Longhorns D allowed an average of 17.5 ppg this season, good for 13th best in the nation and by far tops in the B12.
  • Urban Meyer has said he turned down participating in the next Bachelor show. When asked for comment, the producers of the reality show said “WHO?
  • The Citrus Bowl is concerned they may not get enough fans to come to the Tenn-Iowa game. Thus, they have invited Fat F*** Phil Fulmer to make the stadium look more crowded than it is.
Black and White TV

TEEVEE

The Iron Bowl averaged a 5.3 rating and 10.37 million viewers on CBS, peaking with 17.38 million viewers.

Birmingham turned in a 53.7 rating and 76 share for the game, meaning that more than three-quarters of homes with televisions turned on were watching the game in the average minute.

THIS WEEK

Only one game this week. I suppose it’s okay to get married this weekend, but COME ON!

Army vs Navy 2pm/3pm CBS - Played in Foxborough, MA

Below are all the Bowl Games:

Saturday, Dec. 16

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Georgia Southern vs Ohio 10am/11am ESPN

New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs ULL 1:15pm/2:15pm ESPN

Guacamole Bowl: Miami-OH vs App State 2:30pm/3:30pm ABC

New Mexico Bowl: NMSU vs Fresno 4:45pm/5:45pm ESPN

LA Bowl: UCLA vs Boise 7:30pm ABC

Independence Bowl: Cal vs Texas Tech 8:15pm/9:15pm ESPN

Monday, Dec. 18

Charlotte Bowl: WKU vs Old Dominion 1:30pm/2:30pm ESPN

Tuesday, Dec. 19

Frisco Bowl: UTSA vs Marshall 8pm/9pm ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 21

Boca Raton Bowl: USF vs Syarcuse 6pm/7pm/8pm ESPN

Friday, Dec. 22

Gasparilla Bowl: Georgia Tech vs Center Florida 5:30pm/6:30pm ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl: Troy vs Duke 11am/Noon ABC

Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State vs Northern Illinois 11am/Noon ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl: JMU vs Air Force 2:30pm/3:30pm ABC

Potato Bowl: Georgia State vs Utah State 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPN

Mobile Bowl: South Alabama vs Eastern Michigan 6pm/7pm ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Northwestern 6:30pm/7:30pm ABC

Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs San Jose CanYouSee State 9:30pm/10:30pm ESPN

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Detroit Bowl: Bowling Green vs Minnesota 1pm/2pm ESPN

First Responder Bowl: Texas State vs Rice 4:30pm/5:30pm ESPN

Phoenix Bowl: Kansas vs UNLV 8pm/9pm ESPN

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Tulane 1pm/2pm ESPN

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: UNC vs West Virginia 4:30pm/5:30pm ESPN

Holiday Bowl: Louisville vs Southern Cal 6pm/7pm/8pm FOX

Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State 8pm/9pm ESPN

Thursday, Dec. 28

Fenway Bowl: SMU vs Boston College 10am/11am ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs Miami-FL 1:15pm/2:15pm ESPN

Pop-Tarts Bowl: NC State vs K-State 4:45pm/5:45pm ESPN

Alamo Bowl: Arizona vs Oklahoma 8:15pm/9:15pm ESPN

Friday, Dec. 29

Gator Bowl: Clemson vs Kentucky 11am/Noon ESPN

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs Notre Dame 1pm/2pm CBS

Liberty Bowl: Memphis vs Iowa State 2:30pm/3:30pm ESPN

Cotton Bowl: Mizzou vs Ohio State 7pm/8pm ESPN

Saturday, Dec. 30

Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs Penn State 11am/Noon ESPN

Music City Bowl: Auburn vs Maryland 1pm/2pm ABC

Orange Bowl: Georgia vs Florida State Red Asses 3pm/4pm ESPN

Arizona Bowl: Toledo vs Wyoming 3:30pm/4:30pm Barstool - Say what?

Monday, Jan. 1

Tampa Bowl: Wisconsin vs LSU 11am/Noon ESPN2

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs Tenneesee Noon/1pm ABC

Fiesta Bowl: Liberty vs Oregon Noon/1pm ESPN

CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl: Alabama vs Michigan 4pm/5pm ESPN

CFP Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl: Texas vs Washington 7:45pm/8:45pm ESPN

Monday, Jan. 8

CFP National Championship Game in Houston 6:30pm/7:30pm ESPN

SABAN vs. POP & BEAR

Nick Saban reaches 12 wins for the 14th time in his career including once with LSU. It is his 11th SEC Championship trophy with two coming while stationed in Baton Rouge. Alabama has won 8 of the last 12 conference titles.

Below is a count of career FBS/Division I-A win totals for coaches.

For those of you new to RBR Random Thoughts, we count all on-field wins at the FBS/Division I-A level. So, before you go squawking about Frank Beamer, 42 of his wins came at Murray State. Mack Brown had six victories in one season with Appalachian State when they were still in what was known at I-AA (FCS today). Brian Kelly won 118 games with something called Grand Valley State. So, let’s stop talking about his win record with such reverence. In addition, we don’t recognize NCAA sanctioned forfeits. If you won on the field, it counts in our books.

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Ahead/Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 112
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 49
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 26
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 22
5 Nick Saban 27 297 70 -
6 Mack Brown 33 276 143 -21
7 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 -40
8 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 -42
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -59
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -61


Not that long ago, Mack Brown was actually ahead of Saban on this list. Now, he is 21 games behind and counting. At best, it would probably take Brown lasting two and a half seasons longer than the G.O.A.T. just to catch up.

#ALABAMA

  • For you young-uns, Jeremiah Castille was a badass defensive back for the Tide back in the 80s. He would go on to play six NFL season and later sire sons Tim and Simeon Castille, who also played for Bama in the mid-2000s and later in the NFL.
  • After the game, Nick Saban said that Kool-Aid McKinistry had suffered a concussion. It must have not been too severe as he was seen on the stage celebrating with his teammates. Since the Crimson Tide will not be playing for several weeks, Kool-Aid should be back in his starting role at outside corner.
  • Trey Amos played really well in McKinistry’s absense, recording two pass break-ups. Amos has one more bonus season of eligiblity remaining and did not participate in Alabama’s Senior Day a few weeks ago. These facts lead to believe that he will be back next year and likely man one of the cornerback spots with Kool-Aid and Terrion Arnold likely off to the NFL.
  • OT JC Latham, OG Tyler Booker, LB Dallas Turner, PK Will Reichard, and CB Kool-Aid McKinstry were named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press. QB Jalen Milroe, DL Justin Eboigbe, LB Chris Braswell, CB Terrion Arnold and S Caleb Downs earned second-team recognition (there are only two teams). Downs was also named the AP’s SEC Newcomer of the Year.
  • Jayden Daniels is the AP offensive player of the year. Mississippi State LB Nathaniel Watson is the DPOY, and Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz was picked as SEC coach of the year. WHAT.EVER.

GAME 14: Monday, January 1, 2024 - ROSE BOWL, CFP SEMIFINAL

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) vs Michigan Wolverines (13-0)

Pasadena, CA ~ 4:00pm/5:00pm ESPN

  • The Wolverines have had controversy on top of controversy this season. Fortunately for them, they have had a cakewalk schedule with only games against Penn State and Ohio State being of any concern. UM was destroying every team in their path until the cheating scandal broke. Then near the end of the season all of a sudden for some reason, the games got a little closer.
  • Alabama is 3-2 all-time against Michigan. Nick Saban at Bama is 2-0 versus the Wolvies - the 35-16 Citrus Bowl beatdown at the end of the 2019 season and a similar 41-14 thumping in the 2012 JerryWorld Kickoff game.
  • The weather forecast is probably too far out to predict, but it should be mid 60s by kickoff.
  • TV Announcers have not been announced. They will likely be Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.
  • Chris Stewart will likely be play-by-play lead on Alabama Radio.
  • Michigan opened as a 2 point favorite but it’s now down to 1.5. The Over/Under is around 46.

Poll

If LSU played FSU in Mobile on December 30, who would win.

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    LSU big.
    (650 votes)
  • 25%
    LSU in a close one.
    (229 votes)
  • 1%
    FSU in a close one.
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    FSU big.
    (5 votes)
901 votes total Vote Now