A Look Around the CFB Landscape 9/10

The biggest crotch kick, at least for me, was the OKState/Central Michigan game. CMU did a great job of hanging in there. But at the end OSU was running the clock out. On the final, or so we thought, play, Mason Rudolph hucked the ball downfield as time expired. My dumb ass, figured his money was safe and turned the channel. Later I was watching another game and saw the final was CMU 30 OSU 27. I thought it was a damn misprint!!  Turns out Rudolph’s pass was called intentional grounding. The Chippewas proceed to throw a hail mary lateral that wins the game. But wait, that’s not all. It turns out that play should have never been run. The MAC officiating crew screwed it up and the Big 12 replay crew (shockingly)also screwed it up. So everyone freely admits OSU should have won the game, but didn’t and the results wont change. What a bunch of shit.

 

The TCU/Arkansas game was classic. This old time SW conference matchup was worth every drunken minute of my time. For the bulk of the game the pigs were in command. Then TCU got ole MO on their side and couldn’t be stopped. The game went to double OT with Arkansas ultimately prevailing. This thriller will go down as one of the best games of the year. It was truly fantastic and was a reminder of what makes college football so great. I’ve got no dog in the hunt. Although I live in Fort Worth I would not call myself a Frog backer. Don’t misunderstand, I’ve got nothing against them, it’s just not my team. Additionally I’ve always identified somewhat with the Arkansas style of ball. It was an interesting matchup and a thrilling game. If you missed it, well, its your loss.

 

Florida has now beaten Kentucky 30 straight times. Think about that. I dont care how good one program is or how bad another is. To defeat a team you play annually 30 times is extremely remarkable. The last time Kentucky beat Florida Ronald Reagan was in the white house, Money for nothing by Dire Straits was the top song, Back to the future was the top movie, and gas was 1.17 per gallon which for them was astronomical. This blogger was a year old. That was a long freaking time ago.

 

Tennessee and Virginia Tech met at Bristol Motor Speedway in what I will describe as a farce. The only reason they met here is to set the attendance record. Its obscene. That place may have 150K good seats for a race, but I’m here to tell you there are tens of thousands of terrible seats that were sold for this game. Look at the venue. There is no way someone sitting in the endzone has any kind of view. Lets call this what it is, a money grab. I shouldn’t be surprised by this and yet my feeling of disgust is strong. I just don’t get why folks would pay good money for terrible seats. Someone help me here.

 

To see Lamar Jackson Friday night against the Orange was to awe in him. He was fantastic, and that’s putting it lightly. However, let me put a wet blankey on that performance. I think Syracuse has a miserable defense. I need to see Jackson perform admirably against a defense with a pulse. Not some soft, limp, defense like Syracuse. If he can create similar heroics against a decent team I will sing his praises from the mountain tops.

 

Toward the end of a 28 point home victory Nick Saban was seen going berserk. He was all over Lane Kiffin. Asked after the game about the argument, Saban replied “There was no argument, that’s called an ass chewing.” I know a lot of people don’t care for Saban, but this quote is classic. Ha!!

Can anybody play some damn defense in the Arizona State/Texas Tech game?  Goodness gracious.

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The Hatter Strikes Back

The Pick

Years and years from now we are all going to look at the Thanksgiving 2015 on the bayou with crossed eyes. It may be the damndest thing I’ve ever seen. A group of influential, i.e rich, boosters were getting ready to oust longtime coach Les Miles. These people saw their program as waning. Naturally, the fall guy was the head coach. They may have had just cause. After starting last year 7-0, LSU loses at Alabama then gets whacked at home by Arkansas. Then the Tigers go on the road to Oxford Mississippi and get slapped around. The powers that be in Baton Rouge saw their program becoming an afterthought in the ultra competitive SEC West. They took action. Backroom meetings were held, action was planned, but, oops, someone leaked this information. As the Tigers took the field against Texas A&M Thanksgiving weekend it was well known that this might be Les Miles’ last game. The Mad Hatter had something up his sleeve. By embracing the rumors it turned that game into a Les Miles love fest. The players carried Miles off the field amid chants of “Keep Les.” The groundswell of support was too much for the AD to ignore. After the game LSU AD Joe Alleva stated Miles would return. Typically where there is smoke there is fire. Had Miles not pulled an end around I believe he would be gone. How Miles worked the situation was sheer brilliance. This year LSU has a loaded team that I believe will make Joe Alleva look very smart and those boosters quite foolish.

This is the best team LSU has had since the 2011 bunch that destroyed the SEC before getting Sabaned by Alabama in the national title game. There are awesome players, with ample experience all over this roster.  One player stands out above the rest. Leonard Fournette is every body’s All American. He is the closest thing I have seen to Adrian Peterson. He is big, physical and fast. He will have another monster season before invading, and destroying, the NFL. A chief beneficiary of Fournette’s greatness is QB Brandon Harris. I cant remember the last time LSU had a good QB. They are always a liability. Harris will not be. Aided by a ferocious ground game Harris will be free to throw darts to Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural. This offense will be very difficult to stop. But that is not why I am picking LSU. In the offseason, LSU aquired defensive coordinator Dave Aranda from Wisconsin. I’ve admired Aranda’s defenses up close for years and am happy to have him out of the Big 10. He is an outstanding tactician and will be a difference maker for LSU this fall. It doesn’t hurt that Aranda will have more athletes on hand than he could have ever dreamed of in Madison. LSU returns 10 of their top 11 tacklers from a year ago. I see Safety Jamal Adams and Cornerback Tre’Davious White becoming household names this fall as this unit ascends to the top of the college football’s defensive rankings. This team has it all, including a favorable schedule. Every schedule in this division has potholes, but the Tigers are fortunate to miss Tennessee and get Alabama and Mississippi in Death Valley. All of these factors make me a believer that this is the year LSU gets back atop the mountain in the SEC.

The Field

I really hate to bet against Nick Saban. He is the best coach of this generation, maybe ever. His Alabama program reloads like nobody else. However, he does lose defensive guru Kirby Smart this fall. I think that hurts Alabama just enough. The schedule isn’t favorable either. The Tide visit each of the other top 4 contenders in the league. There are plenty of opportunities for this team to fritter away any chance at a league title. Would it surprise me to see the Tide curb stomp the rest of this league? Not at all. Saban never surprises me.

I need to see Ole Miss win more than 10 games per year, or a division title, before I take them to win this league. Sure, Hugh Freeze’s club has plenty of talent. Chad Kelly is probably the best QB in the SEC, but they lose 4 of their top 6 tacklers from last year along with their top rusher and 2 top receivers. This program has promise, but I need to see more before I stick my neck out there for them.

The very same can be said about Tennessee. The Vols have become a very trendy pick to win the SEC and make the playoffs. There are a few good reasons for that. 17 returning starters is a good place to start. But I’m not convinced this group is ready for the bright lights just yet. Lets not forget the Vols have lost 11 straight to Florida and 9 straight to Alabama. There are also trips to Georgia and College Station on that schedule. Pump the brakes on this trendy pick. Im not buying it.