OK maybe not the real game of the century. Back in the 1900s there were approximately 27 of them. We don’t do shit like that in this century. Saying all that, the Irish-Noles game two nights ago lived up to the hype if you ask me. That is what a Top 5 game is supposed to look like. We’ve been lucky the past little while. Iron Bowl last year, now this. Auburn-Mississippi State wasn’t a classic but Dak Prescott might have just won the Heisman with that performance. And by the way, about the Notre Dame-Florida State game:
- This game put Jameis Winston back in the Heisman race. He will have to run roughshod over the next few opponents to gain some traction or hope both Prescott and Mariota blow gaskets at some point along the way, and;
- That was a pretty blatant offensive PI penalty at the end. It would have been one thing if it was just one of the receivers…then it’s a judgment call. But when TWO receivers do the same damn thing it becomes obvious. Too bad because I was kind of hoping for some CFP chaos and an Irish win would have done just that.
Other highlights and notes and things and stuff and crap from the past weekend:
- Utah is still sneaking its way up the Pac-12 South ladder. They are one or two wins away from putting themselves as the front-runner to go to Santa Clara in December.
- Does the Big XII not want a representative in the CFP semis? It sure seems to look that way now. It’s basically up to Kansas State to run the table unless Baylor can pick itself up after their upset at the hands of West Virginia and destroy teams the rest of the way (including Oklahoma). Speaking of Kansas State…
- Impressive win over Oklahoma (thanks to some junior high school kicking ability from a guy who is known for being an excellent kicker…talk about a confidence killer). However, Jake Waters is not a Heisman trophy candidate. Can we please stop talking about him like he is? He’s good, but he’s not THAT good.
- Never, ever piss off Nick Saban. That’s the lesson I learned this past weekend. Who else learned that lesson? Texas A&M. That was painful to watch (so I stuck to highlights…and even they were painful to watch as well).
- Is it Michigan State wanting to be like Ohio State or vice versa? Exact 56-17 scores for both teams in conference play. Kind of eerie.
- No Gurley? No problem. Georgia is making their case for the SEC East crown (at the very least). They play this way they could start getting some College Football Playoff Semi-Final talk.
- Amazingly enough, one of the best games of the week? Cal taking UCLA to the limit. I thought they were going to pull it out (which would have given Utah even more of a chance to win the division). If this game didn’t show there is more parity this season than ever before then I don’t know what does.
- UMass won again! Is the MAC not liking the decision of UMass leaving after 2015 now? Probably they still don’t care.
- Marshall is quietly moving along, winning all their games on their ridiculously easy schedule. I still say the only team left that has a shot of taking their CFP spot is East Carolina, and the Pirates have to run the table. Problem is, we may get a blowout depending on who the Herd gets to play (in probably the Fiesta Bowl).
- So we have four unbeaten teams left (Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida State, Marshall). The Egg Bowl means that we can only have a maximum of three at the end of the regular season. On the other end of the spectrum, now that Idaho and Kent State got their first wins, SMU is the only winless team left. The rest of their schedule is not exactly daunting (Memphis, at Tulsa, USF, at UCF, Houston, at Connecticut) but considering how horrible the Mustangs have been, they may struggle to win a game. Their best shots, unfortunately, are on the road against Tulsa and UConn. What a fall from grace. Then again, this reminds me of SMU from 1989 until the mid-2000’s so it’s like a blast from the past.
We have to say this is one of the craziest seasons since, oh say, 2007 when the people who created the BCS wanted to crawl under a rock to escape scrutiny and criticism. The Committee won’t have it any easier. They’re now down a man (hope Archie gets through his health issues) and could have a clusterfuck of a situation staring them straight in the face. Picking the four semi-final participants is going to be tough enough; picking the rest of the New Year’s Six participants will be a shitshow I’m sure. I haven’t checked my predictions from the start of the season but I’m sure they’re all garbage by now and mean nothing. But there are still some surprises and disappointments from this college football season.
Mississippi State – An obvious one. No one figured Dan Mullen’s crew would crack through the SEC West glass ceiling. Kind of like the James Franklin Vanderbilt teams; always a threat but never good enough to string together a long series of wins. Then again, Franklin never had a Heisman hopeful on his squad. It really is Dak Prescott’s Heisman to lose at this point but he still has a rough road before he can claim the trophy (and put the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff Semis).
TCU – Many wondered if TCU would ever have what it takes to play with the big boys in the Big XII. No one thought they’d be in the basement but most thought this was a solid middle-of-the-road team. Gary Patterson has his crew playing good defense and even better offense to everyone’s surprise. All they have left now is to beat Kansas State and it puts the entire conference into mass chaos and assures no one will be in the CFP.
Arizona – RichRod, RichRod, RichRod. Never say that name in Ann Arbor but I’m sure there are more than a few Wolverines alumni wishing he was still coaching at the Big House. He has taken a Wildcats team to heights they haven’t seen since the days of the Desert Swarm defense. Yes they have had to scratch and claw their way to 5-1 but you can’t count them out in any of their remaining games. Would 11-1 and a Pac-12 title be enough to get into the CFP? We may find out the answer to that question.
West Virginia – Drunk Uncle Dana (or is it Red Bull-fueled Dana?) has his Mountaineers playing damn good ball. The opening game against Bama has turned out to be no fluke as they have leapt over Texas and Texas Tech in the Big XII pecking order and are hoping to continue that rise. Clint Trickett has been lights out at QB so don’t be surprised if they do what TCU is also doing and cause insanity in the Midwest.
Honourable mention: Utah, Minnesota, Colorado State
Texas – Yes we knew this year would be a tough one for the Horns, but I figured they’d win at least 7 if not 8 or 9 games. That still could happen, but at 3-4 they are in a heap of trouble. If Charlie Strong can’t get this turned around, Longhorn fans and alumni will be calling for his head.
Vanderbilt – So is Derek Mason one of the worst head coaching hires in the past decade? You’d have to believe so since this team is awful. If it wasn’t for their schedule, they could have been 0-7 by now. I understand they lost Jordan Mathews and a bunch of important cogs but it’s not like James Franklin left the cupboard bare. Yet another example of a guy who was an excellent coordinator but just doesn’t have what it takes to be the head man.
Texas Tech – Kute Kliff’s Red Raiders have been shockingly average this season. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing if you weren’t in a Power Five conference. You could make the argument that the only team worse than them in the Big XII is Kansas and even then the Jayhawks have shown sparks in a couple of their games ever since the S.S. Weis hit an iceberg. See, good looks and chiseled features don’t always help you out.
North Carolina – This is a bit perplexing. I figured Larry Fedora would have his team in contention throughout the season. Yeah, they may fall short but they wouldn’t be like last year’s team that had to scramble to make a bowl game. Instead, they are almost exactly like last year’s team and will have to scramble to make a bowl game. Yes their start wasn’t nearly as bad as last season’s but the schedule the rest of the way won’t do them any favours. They have to win at least three of their final five and you can make a case of them losing them all. Disappointment may be an understatement for this crew.
Michigan – Did I save the best (or worst) for last? Yes. This has been an utterly disastrous season in Ann Arbor and I am surprised they are waiting on canning Brady Hoke. Much like the Tar Heels, I don’t see how they can win three of their last five considering the schedule they will be facing. So how much will they offer Jon Gruden in the off-season? Too much? I’m sure of it.
Honourable mention: SMU, Navy, Cincinnati
Later this week (Wednesday), I will have the college football schedule up. Thursday is NFL schedule time with a morning treat (sort of) of a London game at 9 in the morning. Church-goers should be ecstatic. Just a reminder that tomorrow night is another Fun Belt special as Arkansas State goes to face Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns in the de facto Sun Belt Championship game (and only because Georgia Southern isn’t eligible for the conference title). The game can be seen on TSN5 at 8:00.