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Week 10 News (Details following Top 10 analysis)
- Playoff picks: 1) Alabama 2) Georgia 3) Clemson 4) Notre Dame
- Why there is a playoff committee.
- No Byes this week.
- Buyouts for head coaches.
- Kickers greatest scorers of all-time.
- Most disappointed teams.
- FSU on record path.
- Penn State lights out.
- Zoom-in ads ruining viewers’ pleasure.
- Tough Guy of the Week.
- Five-person injured player escort.
- Florida sinks to new low.
- Syracuse’s Dino Babers doesn’t get it.
- Inconsistent pass interference calls.
- Heisman Talk.
Top 10 Analysis for Week 10
No. 1 Georgia / South Carolina 24-10 The Bulldogs led by Kirby Smart retained their hold on the top spot by staying in control throughout the game with the Gamecocks. Strangely though, the stats for the game are very odd. Although SC only rushed for 43 yds and passed for 227 with 2 interceptions they were not blown-out. Georgia’s incredible stable of rushers, led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, combined for 242 yds, and Jake Fromm threw for almost another 200 with 2 TD’s and no picks. This game could have been an embarrassing blow-out.
No. 2 Alabama / LSU 24-10 The top 2 games, both with only SEC teams playing, had identical scores. The Tigers from Baton Rouge tried to make a game of it with the Crimson Tide, but they were simply not good enough. Alabama QB Jalen Hurts only connected on 11 for 24 passes, but his field command and running when necessary, was enough, along with the formidable defense, to subdue Ed Orgeron’s Tigers. No secrets or tricks here, just dominant football. Maybe Auburn or most certainly Georgia will give the Tide a must needed work-out before the playoffs.
No. 3 Notre Dame / Wake Forest 48-37 With combined offense of 710 yds. the Irish hung-on to beat Wake Forest, who had (only) 587 yds of offense. John Wolford led Wake throwing for 331 yds on 28 for 45 passing with one interception. Brandon Wimbush of Notre Dame threw for 280 yds on 15 of 30 passing. He also contributed another 110 yds on 12 carries for a Heisman-like performance. I am not suggesting he is a candidate though. This was an uncharacteristically high score against an Irish defense that had not allowed more than 20 points in any game this year. Wake does have a potent offense though, so we will not harshly condemn the Notre Dame defense for it’s inability to stop Wake.
No. 4 Clemson / NC State 38-31 It took until the 3rd quarter before Clemson appeared to be the best team in this match-up in Raleigh, NC. Kelly Bryant led the Tigers with 20 for 38 passing for 191 yds and one pick. He also contributed 88 yds on 20 carries. This was Bryant’s first game in a month that he looked 95% healthy after his ankle injury and subsequent concussion, although his passing was off the mark through most of the first half. Tavien Feaster let the crowd know that the Wolfpack was not going to have an easy day when he ran for an untouched 89 yd TD. Once again Mr Sticky-Hands, Hunter Renfrow, saved the day for the Tigers with a crucial 4th down catch and wiggle-free run for additional yds. late in the game. He has saved the day for Clemson many times, including the final TD against Alabama in last year’s championship game. Ryan Finley was pin-point in his 31 for 50 passing for 338 yds and 3 TD’s for the Wolfpack. He completed his first dozen throws, and they all looked like they were laser-guided. Clemson’s vaunted defense did not look like it did in the first half of the year. Defensive coordinator, $1.7M Brent Venables, seems to have reached another point in his life. The loss to Syracuse looks to be the turning-point. Now he is less animated on the sidelines, and so is his defense. Opponents used to see multiple looks on each play, with complicated blitzes and variations. Now they line-up for most plays, don’t shift around to confuse the offense, and look like the defenses from the Frank Howard era of 50+ years ago. This correspondent is puzzled. Clemson, although still one of the top teams in the country, is an enigma.
No. 5 Oklahoma / Oklahoma State 62-52 They call this game the Bedlam Bowl, and yesterday was no exception. It was 55-52 with one minute remaining. Both QB’s, Brash Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph, threw bombs all day long, totaling well over 1000 yds. Rudolph was 28 for 54 with 5 TD’s and 2 picks totaling 448 yds. Mayfield was even more devastating than that, with a game that the Heisman committee shall not forget. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 598 yds and 5 TD’s with 2 picks. That is an incredible average of 25 yds per completion. Both teams rushed at will also. Rodney Anderson collected 111 yds on 21 carries for the Sooners, and his teammate Trey Sermon added 81 on only 10 carries. For the Cowboys, Justice Hill carried the rock for 228 yds on 30 carries. This game had over 150 offensive plays. It was a shoot-out, and it was certainly Bedlam! In the end though, the Sooners take home the prize as they most often do. We will see Mayfield again in NYC in December, probably lifting that most-prized of football trophies.
No. 6 Ohio State / Iowa 24-55 This was the game that no one saw coming. Ohio State was an 18 point favorite and they lost by 31 points. That is the same amount of points that Clemson beat them by last year in the first playoff game. The 49 point differential between the point spread and the actual score is the largest by any team this year, eclipsing the 44 point differential when Howard beat UNLV the first week of the season. This game is now tied for the worst drubbing that SubUrban Meyer has ever experienced in his career. This will also be the game that will be remembered as deflating JT Barrett’s aspirations of winning the Heisman trophy. He was flustered by the Iowa defense all day and completed 18 for 34 passes for only 208 yds and 3 interceptions. The Buckeye rushing attack was stymied also, gaining only 163 yds on 30 carries. JK Dobbins only gained 51 yds, not his usual self. Iowa gets tons of credit for their stout and relentless defense. The Hawkeyes QB Nathan Stanley was surgical hitting 8 different receivers for 226 yds and 5 TD’s. The rushing attack overwhelmed the Buckeye defense as well, racking-up 243 yds on 38 carries. Akrum Wadley netted 118 yds on 20 carries, James Butler 74 yds on 10, and Toren Young 47 on 5. This loss eviscerates all chance for Ohio State to return to the playoffs this year. They still are in contention to play Wisconsin for the Big 10 title though.
No. 7 Penn State / Michigan State 24-27 Nittany Lion fans had big hopes to make it into the playoffs at the end of the year. Those hope were dashed on a stormy afternoon in East Lansing as the 10 point favorites went down to the run-stopping defense and the marvelous throwing clinic that Brian Lewerke put on. The Spartan QB threw for exactly 400 yds on 33 for 56 passing and 2 TD’s with one pick. Once again though, a great game was decided not by a QB or a rusher. It was decided by a kicker. Matt Coghlin scored all of the Michigan State points in the second half, including the game-winner as time expired. The game was a simple match of throwing, as neither team gained over 74 yds on the ground. Trace McSorley nearly matched Lewerke in stats with an almost identical yardage total of 401 yds, on 26 for 47 passing. Unfortunately for him and Penn State, he was intercepted 3 times. Saquon Barkley, the former Heisman front-runner, was basically corralled for most of the contest. He gained only 63 yards on 14 carries, and most of that was on one carry of 36 yards. That seems to be what he does. He usually makes one big spectacular carry per game, but he gets stopped continually if he can’t find space. He is certainly not a power runner. Both Penn State and Michigan State are in the running for the Big 10 championship against Wisconsin, although Michigan State controls it’s own destiny.
No. 8 TCU / Texas 24-7 The Horned Reptiles easily handed the 5th highest paid coach in the country, $5.25M Tom Herman, and his Longhorns their fifth loss of the year against only 4 wins. Texas rushed for a total of 9 yds. Is that all you can get from a $5M coach with a $20M buyout clause? Herman went back to benched QB Shane Buechele who threw 21 completions from 44 attempts and 254 yds. Meanwhile, the Frog-like Reptiles racked-up 177 yds on the ground, 99 of which came from Darius Anderson on 18 carries. Kenny Hill was accurate with 18 of 26 completions, but for a modest 166 yds with no TD’s and no picks. Next week TCU faces Oklahoma. That game will determine how far they will go this year.
No. 9 Wisconsin / Indiana 45-17 The undefeated Badgers had no trouble handling the 3-5 Hoosiers, even though the Hoosiers were leading early in the second quarter. This game, like all of Wisconsin’s games so far, was decided in the trenches. They beat Indiana everywhere but on the soles of their cleats. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 183 yds on 29 carries. All five rushers for Indiana recorded only 40 yds, 143 less than Taylor alone. Richard Lagow tried hard to keep Indiana in the game with 20 for 34 passing and 2 TD’s, but his 2 picks were his undoing. Alex Hornibrook threw for 158 yds on 13 for 20 passing for the Badgers. He had 2 TD’s and one pick. The Badgers have 3 games left before the Big 10 championship. Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota remain in their path, all capable teams, especially after Iowa’s unexpected stomping of Ohio State yesterday. Wisconsin needs to go undefeated to be considered for the playoffs. They haven’t beaten any explosive or daunting teams yet. Until they do, they will languish just below the signature teams.
No. 10 Miami / Virginia Tech 28-10 This was a signature win for the Hurricanes. For the first time this season they beat a ranked opponent, albeit barely at No. 20. As only 1 point favorites in their new stadium, the Hurricanes needed to show all skeptics that they belong in the conversation regarding the year-end playoffs. Well, they finally inserted themselves. Bud Foster, the Hokies’ defensive coordinator is well regarded as one of the great defensive geniuses in college football. The Hurricanes cracked his defense 4 times in the final 3 quarters, to take command of this game. Malik Rosier conducted the onslaught with less than stellar numbers connecting on 10 of 21 passes for 2 TD’s, but he also completed 3 passes to Virginia Tech defenders as well. Rosier however, kept the Hurricanes moving with his feet, which did not fail him when his arm did. He gained 84 yards on 13 carries, and often when they needed it most. In total, Miami out-gained the Hokies 439 yds to only 299 yds. Virginia Tech coughed-up the ball 4 times, 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions. It was not a pretty game. Braxton Berrios, at 5’9″, is a cocky mighty-mite that does so much for the Hurricanes with his enthusiasm, speed, grit, and skill. He caught 3 passes for 50 yds, rushed once for 9 yds, and passed once for 17 yds. He is also a spark plug on the sidelines, revving up his teammates. A coaches delight. Next week is the game of year for the Hurricanes, and fortunately for them, it is at home against No. 3 Notre Dame. If they win that game, they will win the legitimacy that they so seek. If Clemson beats FSU next week, then the showdown in the ACC championship game will punch the ticket for one of these two teams to go to the playoffs. Since Miami’s schedule has been so week, and some of it’s games so close, they cannot get into the playoffs with one loss. For those of you that study my blog weekly, and remember what I have said, you know that I am an avid fan of Mark Richt. Unfortunately for him though, it is mandatory that he finish the season undefeated, so that he may humble those whiners that fired him from his last job at UGA.
Now the rest of the Report for Week 10
Playoff picks: 1) Alabama 2) Georgia 3) Clemson 4) Notre Dame The top 4 from this site have not changed since last week. Although we are very nearly aligned with the “Committee” we have two slight variations. First is Alabama at the top. It is understood why the committee chose Georgia number one, but this correspondent weighs the data slightly differently. Alabama has lost one game (last year’s championship against Clemson on a last second TD) since early 2015. Their schedule this year has been very soft, and they don’t play away games, but they also have not produced a hiccup. Until they do, they stay numero uno. Clemson is above Notre Dame for virtually the same reasons. They lost one, Notre Dame lost one, but Clemson’s body of work this year is better than Notre Dame’s, as they have beaten 4 top 20 teams, and they are still the champs. The biggest movement on my chart is Miami, who will jump all other contenders into the No. 5 spot after a good win yesterday against No.13 Virginia Tech. Sorry Oklahoma, you are back to No. 6. Miami and Clemson will meet in the ACC Championship game. If both teams win-out the rest of the season until that game, the winner will be at least No. 2 or 3 in the playoff, not No. 4.
Why there is a playoff committee. Many people cannot understand why the committee jumbled the standings from what the AP and Coaches polls have been saying all year. The purpose of the committee is different than the other polls. Their purpose is to decide who are the best teams now, and in what order. The other polls are really popularity contests. This is a good system.
No Byes this week. Now that we are are in the home-stretch for the race to the bowls, nearly every team is done with their bye weeks. This was the first week that all Top 25 teams played since the first few weeks of the season.
Buyouts for head coaches. Buyouts for head coaches has escalated to unfathomable and obscene levels. Dabo Swinney of Clemson, and Jimbo Fisher of FSU have $40M buyouts if the universities want to fire them for anything less than murdering the university president’s daughter. Let me put a little bit of context on that figure, as some of you rabid fans think that Dabo or Saban or whomever your favorite coach is, is never paid enough. $40M is what 400 professors making $100,000 a year get paid. Football is not as important as that! Here are a few more buyout terms for other coaches: Saban, $27M; Harbaugh, $20M; Suburban Meyer, $20M; Tom Herman, $20M; Chris Petersen, $30M; Craig Bohl – WY, $9.4M; Chris Ash – Rutgers, $7.4M; Yet, a fine coach of a team with only one loss, Charlie Strong of USF, gets only $192,000. for his buyout What is going on here? USF can get a top flight coach for pennies on the dollar, but these other public universities think they need to give vast fortunes away to hire someone that will be probably hated by the fan base within a few years. It doesn’t make sense.
Kickers greatest scorers of all time. Here is the best kept secret in all of football. In the NFL, every one of the top 20 scorers of all time are kickers. In college football, 11 of the top 20 scorers of all time are kickers. This correspondent has preached for years that the second most important player on the team is the kicker. Not many head coaches are smart enough to realize that.
Most disappointed teams. Every team that doesn’t go undefeated is at least somewhat disappointed. However, expectations can be valued on the traditional bell-curve that illustrates how perception and reality reflect each other. The teams that have most shattered the expectations of their respective fan-bases this years are: Florida, Tennessee, FSU, Michigan, Baylor, and LSU. Please add your choices to our comments page.
FSU on record path. FSU was No.3 on most polls at the beginning of the season. They have not had a losing season since 1976, the first year that Bobby Bowden was head coach. Their close win at home yesterday over Syracuse brought their record up to 3-5. Only with wins at both Florida and Clemson, and a home win against lowly Delaware state, will they be able to avoid a losing season, and be bowl eligible.
Penn State lights out. The lights went out in East Lansing, MI yesterday when a lightning storm moved over the stadium, as Penn State led Michigan State by a TD. Several hours later when the game resumed, the Spartans changed the momentum, took the lead, and hung on for an upset of the 10 point Nittany Lion favorites.
Zoom-in ads ruining viewers pleasure. Replays have become worthless to watch on TV as ESPN has that insidious zoom-in ad that starts small and zooms toward the viewer, and takes over the whole screen. In the process, it obliterates the end of play, which is usually when a player either makes a catch or is tackled.
Tough Guy of the Week: Today we are introducing a new feature to this blog. Eric Dungey, the QB for Syracuse is our first recipient of the Tough Guy of the Week Award . Dungey’s uniform was grass-stained and soaked with sweat as he threw, ran, dove, jumped, crashed, and otherwise sacrificed his body all day against a relentless and inspired FSU defense. Eric, you are one tough guy!
Five-person injured player escort. Contrary to the award mentioned above, the five-person troupe that walks with a supposed injured player as he departs the field after a prolonged delay is a disingenuous charade. If there is a delay of the game for a injury, that player should not return to the game until the next period. PERIOD!
Florida sinks to new low. Florida in a free-fall. They lost by 42 points or more (45 yesterday) back-to-back for the first time in 100 years!
Syracuse’s Dino Babers doesn’t get it. Dino Babers proved on TV yesterday during halftime of the FSU game that he is not ready for primetime. When asked why he didn’t kick a field goal on the last drive, to add to the momentum from the previous TD drive, he said: “You can’t come down here and beat FSU with field goals.” Well, Dino proved to this correspondent that he doesn’t know much about football history, as more games are won or lost by field goals than any other type of play. Hopefully he learned something yesterday, as he lost by a field goal, and all the FSU scoring in the second half was from field goals.
Inconsistent pass interference calls. One annoying aspect of a football game is the inconsistency of the calls by referees. Instant replay, although time-consuming, has improved officiating immensely, and taken much human bias out of the calls. However, there is still so much inconsistency on pass interference calls, that the outcome of many games is often changed by these calls. Work needs to be done by the NCAA in the off-season to make it easier to make calls more equitable.
Heisman Talk. The Heisman field is developing. Bryce Love from Stanford is back, but he didn’t do much yesterday. Saquon Barkley proved once again yesterday that he is explosive and versatile, but he is not a reliable back that can get 3-5 yards when needed. JT Barrett crashed and burned yesterday with 4 interceptions against Iowa. Josh Adams rushed for 22 of Notre Dame’s 380 rushing yards yesterday. Lamar Jackson had a bye, but his numbers are Heisman-like all year, even for an under-achieving team. Brash Baker Mayfield keeps playing hard-nosed winning football. This site endorses Mayfield and Jackson as the only two men standing at this time.