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Week 12 News (Details following Top 10 analysis)
- Playoff picks: 1) Alabama 2) Clemson 3) Oklahoma 4) Wisconsin
- Tough Guy of the Week:
- Cupcake Week:
- ESPN and Steve Wynn sue NCAA, SEC, and ACC:
- Heisman Talk:
- Game of the Week, Wisconsin / Michigan:
- Kirk Herbsteit, Booger McFarland split suits on camera:
- ESPN Commentators laugh until we change the channel:
- Reverse incentive clauses for coaches salaries:
- SEC ticket prices crashing:
- Best QB matchup of week:
Top 10 Analysis
No. 1 Alabama / Mercer 56-0 In their first week back at the top, after Georgia’s crushing loss to Auburn last week, the Crimson Tide wasted no time in dispatching the grossly overmatched Mercer Bears. It must be noted for the sake of context though, that the Bears lost to Auburn in September by a score of 24-10. Only 2 weeks previous to that Clemson beat Auburn 14-8. So, the Bears scored only 4 points less than Clemson against Auburn. Yesterday though, the Bears were totally shut-down, producing a paltry 161 yds of total offense against an injury-plagued Alabama defense. Coach Saban used the opportunity to give playing time to his bench-warmers, as he used 9 different rushers, and 10 different receivers caught passes. QB Jalen Hurts was relieved of duty after the first half. Basically the game was used as a scrimmage for next weeks Iron Bowl with Auburn, a most significant game in developing the SEC Championship and final playoff teams.
No. 2 Clemson / Citadel 61-3 There is no doubt that the Tigers were deflated in the final 2 minutes of the game when Citadel kicked a field goal to get on the board. Clemson rarely tallies a shut-out, unlike Alabama and Ohio State. All the non-scholarship players got playing time, as they should, and Clemson gave the starters a break, so they would be in peak condition for their intense rivalry match next week with the Gamecocks in Columbia. Dabo gave 3 kickers a chance to show their stuff, as the kicking game this year after the loss of Greg Huegel, has exposed Clemson’s achilles heel. Reinstated former walk-on Drew Costa will probably lose the free meals that Dabo provided him for the last month, as he missed an extra point try. Christian Groomes did make a 36 yd field goal, and that might be the longest of the year for the Tigers. It is reasonable to assume that Alex Spence’s status as the number one kicker will be in jeopardy in the final weeks of the season.
No. 3 Miami / Virginia 44-28 The Virginia Cavaliers came into Hard Rock stadium with something to prove, and they did in fact make a statement, although they botched the hoped-for final result. Virginia QB Kurt Benkert put the Convict faithful on upset-alert by immediately picking apart the Miami defense. The Cavaliers were quickly up by 2 TDs and appeared to be taking total control of the game until head coach Bronco Mendenhall got way too cocky and called for a bonehead play. After the second TD of the first quarter he called for an on-side kick. HUH? He must have been drinking his bathwater the night before, and he was experiencing digestive disturbances that were affecting his judgement. Miami recovered the kick with excellent field position, and when Mendenhall called for an ill-advised review of the play, it was further found that Virginia committed a penalty, and that was added on. Miami got pumped-up and immediately scored, and the air began to seep out of the confidence balloon for the Cavaliers. Next week the Hurricanes go to Pittsburgh to face the hapless Panthers, and then to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game against Clemson.
No. 4 Oklahoma / Kansas 41-3 One-win Kansas didn’t put up much fight, actually they hardly gave a wiggle, as the Sooners rolled over the top of them. I don’t quite understand exactly what head Coach Dave Beaty does to justify the $1.6M salary that he collects. That is $4,383 per DAY, 365 days a year. And he gets a $3M buyout if Kansas wants to fire him for doing a bad job. How much money are you getting paid? Baker Mayfield performed as expected. He threw 20 completions on 30 throws for over 250 yds and 3 TDs. Kansas piled up almost 150 yds of total offense to counter that. Wow! Three more cheers for Dave Beaty and his program.
No. 5 Wisconsin / Michigan 24-10 The Wolverines not only made a game of it, they were leading with less than 4 minutes to go in the third quarter. Brandon Peters led Michigan with a solid performance until he was injured and the much-maligned John O’Korn came in. The difference in the game was rushing. The stout Wisconsin defense held the Wolverines to less than 60 yds on the ground, while their star Jonathan Taylor racked-up 132 yds on 19 carries. Alex Hornibrook played his usual unspectacular game as QB for the Badgers. He completed less than half of his passes and of course threw an interception, one of his 13 for the year. Here is a stat that really matters though: Wisconsin has won an incredible 17 times in a row with Hornibrook as the starting QB. Quinn Nordin, the embattled place kicker for Michigan, was given his well publicized “last chance” by Jim Harbaugh, after missing his 3 previous attempts last week. He made his one attempt from 39 yds.
No. 6 Auburn / Louisiana Monroe 42-14 The game was tied after one quarter, and Auburn led by only one TD at the half. Let’s just call it sluggishness and over-confidence when playing a minor opponent with a losing record. Nevertheless, Jarrett Stidham had a nice game going 18 for 24 for 235 yds with 2 TDs and one pick. Kerryon Johnson ran for 137 yds on 22 carries, a workman-like performance. Auburn has positioned themselves to be the most interesting team going into the last few weeks of the Playoff Rankings. It is understandable that they are positioned to be the first 2-loss team ever to make the playoffs if they beat Alabama next week, and then repeat as victors over Georgia the following week in the SEC Championship.
No. 7 Georgia / Kentucky 42-13 The Bulldogs shook the dirt off of themselves after last weeks thrashing by Auburn, and did what they do best, run over the top of their opponents. With Nick Chubb breaking records and scoring 2 TDs among his 151 yds, and Sony Michel scoring 3 times on twelve carries, the Bulldogs totaled 381 yds on the ground. D’Andre Swift and Brian Herrien put in some big runs also. Kentucky was simply outgunned in Sanford Stadium. With only one loss, and with a birth in the SEC title game, Georgia could very well find themselves in the Playoffs if they win in two weeks.
No. 8 Notre Dame / Navy 24-17 The Irish barely hung-on to beat the Midshipmen and their determined triple-option offense. Wins are always good, but a close win against Navy at home, did nothing to burnish their credentials in the mind of the committee. Of all the top 10 teams this week, Notre Dame is the only team that could possibly slip a notch. QB Brandon Wimbush played a solid game, rebounding from his debacle last week against the Convicts from Miami. A relief for all Irish fans.
No. 9 Ohio State / Illinois 52-14 In typical SubUrban Meyer fashion, the Buckeyes dismantled and humiliated the Fighting Illini. Ohio State compiled a total of 543 yds and 7 TDs on offense, while Illinois gained only 105 yds TOTAL. Illini QB Chayce Crouch went 4 for 14 passing for the grand total of 16 yds. In contrast, the Buckeyes had 7 different receivers that caught passes of at least 12 yds. They also gained 325 yds rushing on 59 carries. It seems incredible that Illinois scored 2 TDs. Meyer has a track record of humiliating opponents. It is fitting when he gets crushed, as Clemson did to him in the playoffs last year, 31 to nothing, and as Iowa did to him this year beating him by 31 points as 18 point underdogs.
No. 10 Penn State / Nebraska 56-44 This was no dominant Happy Valley win by the Nittany Lions. After opening up a 42 to 10 half time lead, they had to scramble to salvage a win as the underperforming Cornhuskers battled back and scored 34 points in the second half, of which 20 came in the last frantic quarter. Saquon Barkley had one of his best performances in this free-wheeling offensive match, with 225 total yds from over 600 that Penn State amassed. Trace McSorley had a very good day for the Lions with 325 yds while completing 2/3 of his passes. Tanner Lee of Nebraska surpassed Trace, throwing for 399 yds on 26 of 41 passing with 3 TDs and no picks. The Cornhusker run game was anemic though, and that was the difference. Mike Gesicki, the Rob Gronkowski clone, snatched only 4 passes from McSorley, but they were brilliant and he scored 2 TD’s. The end of this game might make the committee wonder what the result would have been if the game was played in Nebraska.
Now the Rest of the Report for Week 12
Playoff picks: 1) Alabama 2) Clemson 3) Oklahoma 4) Wisconsin
No changes this week as it was what is called Cupcake week. No team on this list, except Wisconsin, played a credible team. But the Badgers did solidify their position ahead of Miami, who did not make anyone exude confidence after their shaky win against Virginia. Wisconsin showed that they are very formidable. Not just because of their crushing defensive line, but because they can throw the ball enough to compliment a good running game. The next two weeks will decide it all, so even if you disagree with this assessment, so what?
Tough Guy of the Week: Benny Snell Jr. running back for Kentucky gained 94 yds from 22 carries against the awesome Georgia Bulldog defense. Many may think, “why pick a guy who gained less than 100 yds?” It is because of the way he did it. Benny rattled the bones of all his defenders. He isn’t one of those shifty scat-backs, like a Shaquon Barkley who gains a lot of yards if he gets into the open field, but goes nowhere in close quarters. Benny Snell, Jr. pounded the ball up the middle and knocked guys around from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Good job, Benny!
Cupcake Week: This was the most uninteresting week of the year in college football. Most top teams chose to pick rivals that don’t even play in the FBS. The top 2 teams especially. In Clemson’s defense, they had the second toughest schedule up until yesterday in all of football, so they can be excused. Alabama on the other hand, has had an awfully easy schedule, and they have played at home in all but three games. Outside of the previously mentioned Top 10, we had a few competitive games. No. 11 USC had it’s hands full beating UCLA 28-23. No. 13 Oklahoma State, behind a furious 20 point 4th quarter comeback engineered by QB Mason Rudolph, almost caught-up with the big lead Kansas State put on them, but they fell 45-40. No. 16 Mississippi State barely bested Arkansas 28-21. No. 18 Washington almost fell to Utah at home, but they prevailed 33-30, to preserve an exciting Apple Bowl next week against Washington State.
ESPN and Steve Wynn sue NCAA, SEC, and ACC: Due to the uninteresting games mentioned above, ESPN and Steve Wynn, owner of the Bellagio, Wynns Resorts, Beau Rivage, Treasure Island, etc., are suing the NCAA, SEC, and ACC for lost revenue from both advertising and gambling. It is believed that famed litigator David Boies will be handling the case.
Heisman Talk: The Heisman winner will be Brash Baker Mayfield. No one likes to listen to this punk, but he is one of the two best football players in the country. He had another fine day yesterday to add to his nearly flawless resume. He now has thrown for 3816 yds with 34 TDs and only 5 interceptions. He has rushed for another 5 TDs and 240 yds. The only other candidate worth mentioning is current Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. He has quietly compiled the following enviable stats: 3273 passing yds with 23 TDs and 6 interceptions, and he has rushed for incredibly another 1287 yds and 17 TDs. This correspondent would vote for Jackson if he had a vote. Remember, it is all about the money, and Jackson cannot generate the revenue for the NCAA and ESPN this year, like Mayfield can, because Louisville is not front and center, and Oklahoma is. Sad, but true.
Game of the Week: Wisconsin vs. Michigan was easily the game of the week. It had the most potential impact on the standings, and it was a smash-mouth exciting affair until late in the game. This doesn’t make Wolverine fans happy, but not everyone can go home happy from a football game. Mr. Khaki-pants, Jim Harbaugh, may be sitting in some hot water this off-season.
Kirk Herbstreit and Booger McFarland split suits on camera: Both of these guys split their suits from armpit to waist on yesterday’s broadcasts when they lifted their arms to wave at the camera. What is with the ESPN-required announcer uniform of skin-tight suits for it’s ex-jocks? Notice that the non-athletic commentators do not wear these ridiculous skin-tight costumes. They look so bizarre, besides being uncomfortable.
ESPN commentators Laugh until we change the channel: Late in his career, the now-retired Verne Lundquist started a terrible trend of laughing with an uncomfortable guffaw because he had nothing to add to the conversation. It was a way to fill-up air space. Now most of the ESPN commentators, especially on the College GameDay program, laugh with uproarious volume whenever any of them makes a comment. It is not funny, it drowns-out whomever was speaking, and it is totally disingenuous. Laughing at what they think are inside jokes is nothing more than noise. It makes for a predictable and poor production.
Reverse incentive clauses for coaches salaries: Nearly all college football coaches have huge incentive clauses and buyouts to increase their salaries when they win games, and protect their salaries when they don’t, and when they need to be fired. That is crazy! If they get huge raises for winning extra or special games, it is reasonable to think that they should have commensurate amounts deducted from their pay when they lose these same games. It is totally illogical that they get bonuses for winning, and bonuses for losing. Here are a couple that immediately come to mind: Brett Bielema of Arkansas, Jimbo Fisher of FSU, and Mike Riley of Nebraska.
SEC Ticket Prices crashing: The SEC has become a bit boring, and the constant game delays because of feigned injuries and official time-outs has finally taken its toll. This past week, as reported on the ESPN College Football Scores website, the following game tickets were available for $2 – $5 —— Alabama, Mississippi St, and Missouri. For $10 —— Auburn. By contrast, USC / UCLA $78 and Stanford / California $92
Best QB matchup of week: No doubt about this one. Sam Darnold of USC vs. Josh “Chosen” Rosen of UCLA gave us the finest viewing pleasure of future NFL QBs. Both of these guys are fine athletes, and each knows how to play their position. Rosen stacked-up the best stats of the day, but Darnold took home the win.
Referees looking for corporate sponsorship: Referee timeouts have become so long, that the refs are now in the cameras eye longer than any QB during each game. This correspondent has learned from an unnamed source that the Referees Union, a subsidiary of the Teamsters, is now negotiating with several companies/organizations for sponsorship, and thus logos on their uniforms. It is rumored that the NYPD, LAPD and the NSA have the most interest in getting their logos out in the eye of the viewing public. Since all are about authority over others, they seem to be a good fit. These same organizations have no interest in advertising in the NFL, for obvious reasons.