I could have started all three words with the letter K but thought better of it.
OK, the coaching carousel has hit maximum insanity. I do not remember a time when there have been this many head coach openings in college football. But that’s not even the craziest part. Let’s go over what happened over the past week:
Illinois – The Illini drop the interim tag from Bill Cubit’s title and give him the permanent head coaching job.
Iowa State – After looking at Willie Fritz from Georgia Southern, the Cyclones decide to hire Matt Campbell from Toledo.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies make a great hire in Justin Fuente out of Memphis. Bud Foster to stay on as defensive coordinator.
Tulane – Curtis Johnson fired after a 3-9 season.
Hawaii – They go ahead and hire Nevada OC Nick Rolovich to be their next head coach. Rolovich is a former Hawaii QB and OC.
Rutgers – Head coach Kyle Flood and Athletic Director Julie Hermann out after a complete debacle of a season.
Georgia – Amazingly, Mark Richt is fired. I think their expectations are way too high in Athens (the Saban Effect).
Maryland – Rumour has come out that Michigan DC D.J. Durkin is a lock to be the next Terps head coach and that he will sign on today.
Memphis – They have wasted no time as it sounds like an offer has been put out to Missouri DC Barry Odom.
USC – The Trojans have reached out to Philadelphia Eagles HC Chip Kelly and are awaiting his response.
Virginia – Mike London resigns, probably days (or hours) before he would have been fired anyway.
Then comes the craziness at LSU. First off, rumours start coming out earlier last week that Les Miles would be let go as coach after the season was over. Then, at a boosters dinner, Miles supposedly mentions that the Texas A&M game will probably be his last as HC. By the time Saturday afternoon arrived, it was thought it was a done deal that Miles was out. Les has an interview with Maria Taylor of ESPN saying he never said what he reportedly said at that boosters dinner but never said he wasn’t done at LSU. LSU ends up winning the game on what basically becomes Les Miles Appreciation Night. Les is carried most of the way off the field and then LSU AD Joe Alleva says that Miles is still their head coach. Wild stuff even for the Year of the Coaching Change.
Ok now that we are done with what’s happening with the endangered species known as the long-term college football head coach, let’s look at what else happened over these past few days:
Boomer Goes the Dynamite! Wow. The Sooners laid the smackdown on Oklahoma State. They clinched the Big XII title and effectively clinched their spot in the College Football Playoff, becoming the first team to do so. The trio of Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine, and Sterling Shepard are easily the hottest offensive trio in the game right now and will be dangerous in the CFP.
Closer than they wanted. The Iron Bowl was a lot closer than Alabama wanted it to be. They won and that’s all that is important as they go on to the SEC Championship now against Florida. Also, Derrick Henry basically solidified the Heisman (we think) with his performance running the rock.
Closer than they wanted Part II. Clemson seemed to allow a very tough South Carolina team to stay in the game longer than they should have. In the end they won. Didn’t matter how they did it since if they won there and win the ACC Title, they are in the CFP no questions asked.
Closer than they wanted Part III. Iowa didn’t blow Nebraska away like many thought they would. I had Nebraska as my upset pick and thought, at the very least, the Huskers would keep it close and they did. Iowa has the Big Ten Championship coming up for a shot at the College Football Playoff.
Yeah, not even close. Michigan State made a bit of a statement by destroying Penn State in every facet of the game. They are looking very good going to Indy this Saturday.
Now that’s some football weather! You could have said that for a lot of games this week but the Baylor-TCU game was played in absolutely awful conditions. To top it off, they went to overtime where TCU killed any CFP hopes for Baylor. Saying all that, Baylor has the inside track on the Big XII’s Sugar Bowl spot as long as they beat Texas this Saturday.
And the Group of Five spot goes to…Well no one knows yet but we do know this: it’s down to two teams. Houston, after beating Navy and Temple, after beating UConn, will face each other for the first ever AAC Championship and the Group of Five spot in either the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl. If the Cougs are victorious, chances are it’s the Fiesta. If the Owls win, they will probably go to the Peach.
One of the best games of the year. Notre Dame-Stanford lived up to the hype of a top-10 matchup. Eight lead changes and it came down to the final minute. The Irish scored a TD with 30 seconds left and then Stanford was able to get into position for a FG and made it with no time left to win the game on The Farm. The Irish will probably still get a New Year’s Six spot and so will Stanford, unless there are upsets of teams above them; in that case the Cardinal may sneak into the CFP.
The Game was The Joke. Ohio State dominated Michigan and frustrated the Fighting Harbaughs. By early in the second quarter it was pretty evident that the Wolverines probably wouldn’t win this game. And they didn’t. Their NYS shot is gone whereas tOSU waits to see what happens above them.
Alright, let’s look at what I have right now for the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six:
|Cotton Bowl||Alabama||Michigan State|
|Rose Bowl||Ohio State||Stanford|
|Peach Bowl||Florida State||Notre Dame|
It is now cut and dry. Oklahoma is pretty much in. The Big Ten Champion is in. If Clemson wins they are in. If Alabama wins they are in. That’s the most likely scenario. The other ones would be:
- If Clemson loses, Alabama would be #1 and the Big Ten would get two spots as Ohio State would move in at #4.
- If Alabama loses, the Big Ten Champ would move to #2 and Oklahoma would fill at #3. Ohio State would again get the #4 spot.
- If both Clemson and Alabama lose, the Big Ten Champ would be #1. I can’t foresee either North Carolina or Florida getting in. I think Ohio State would be a lock to be #3 and Stanford would pick up the other spot.
So now no Big XII issues on the final day, no leapfrogging thanks to winning a conference championship game. None of that. The Committee must be breathing a sigh of relief after seeing what went down. Now their real issues lie with the New Year’s Six.
I think Houston will win the AAC Championship and be slotted into the Fiesta Bowl. I have Iowa losing the Big Ten Championship and falling here as well. Baylor, if they beat Texas, clinch the Sugar Bowl spot. Ohio State would be the choice over Iowa to go to the Rose and face the team who I think will win the Pac-12, Stanford. The SEC spot in the Sugar Bowl should still go to Florida. They would have to lose by at least 40 to allow another team (LSU) to slot in there. Florida State’s dominating win over Florida moves them up far enough so that they would grab a Peach Bowl spot. Their opponent? I don’t think The Committee will overlook Notre Dame here for three reasons: 1) the Irish probably won’t fall too far after a last-second loss to a very good Stanford team, 2) if they put North Carolina here they can’t put Florida State here and I think Florida State is a lock (with TCU the next best team and not as good as either FSU or UNC), and 3) the Irish are the Irish. Being Notre Dame carries some cache and this is the time they can use that to their advantage. There could be a lot of debate if North Carolina beats Clemson or Florida beats Bama but we will cross that bridge if we come to it.
I am not even showing you the rest of my bowl predictions because it’s a big massive shitshow right now. There are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all the bowl spots. They will need at least 2 and perhaps upwards of 5 5-7 teams to go to the postseason. There was a rumour they may let a bowl game or two go dark (not be played) if there aren’t enough teams but I can’t see that happening since, for the most part, they are money makers. The NCAA still hasn’t figured out how they will award these spots. The prevailing thought is that they will go off of APR score but they could look at program prestige, conference prestige, or even location (relative to the bowl game’s location) when picking these teams. At this point, only Middle Tennessee (Bahamas) and Navy (Military) have accepted bids. Expect BYU to accept a Hawaii bowl bid over the next day or two. Then come Saturday morning, the trickle should become a flood as the bowl bids start coming fast and furious up until the Bowl Madness/CFP/NYS/Ratings Winner show is aired Sunday at noon to tell the world who will be sitting at the Bowl Adult Table.