Thursday Pump Up Jam – Iowa

September has sucked for the ‘Cats. Wake us up on Saturday when it ends. We should’ve just gone to bed on 9/1 and waited until this Saturday.  Maybe things will change. Probably not though. #ThanksMick

“Don’t ever leave me!!” -Fitz to Mick (probably)

Advertisements

Is That a Faint Smell of Roses?

northwestern-1996-rose-bowl-chicagoside

At this point, Northwestern is unlikely to get an at-large NY6 Bowl. Why? Because even at 10-2, NU would likely need to rise to #10 in the rankings to get that bid (#12 will be jumped by a Group of Five champion and #11 will be jumped by an automatic SEC bid in the Sugar Bowl). Yes, the SEC is likely to only have 1 team in the top 12 and that will be Alabama playing in the Final Four. Unfortunately, the Sugar Bowl still has to take an SEC team.

I don’t see a path for us to get as high as #10. But, all hope is not lost here.

It’s actually looking more plausible (albeit still incredibly unlikely) that the ‘Cats could make their way to a NY6 Bowl through the automatic bid provision.

What’s that, you ask? Isn’t the Rose Bowl the B1G’s automatic bid? Well….. it sure as shit is.49rosedaily

Here’s what needs to happen for this to play out:

1. NU beats Illinois

2. The B1G gets 2 teams in the Final Four

  • a) Sparty wins out
  • b) OSU beats Michigan handily
  • c) Carnage occurs all around allowing OSU to back door their way to #4 and a spot int he playoff

3. Iowa loses soundly at Nebraska and (as part of 2a) then to Sparty

4. Michigan (by virtue of having 3 losses) and Iowa (by virtue of losing their final 2 games soundly) fall behind NU in the rankings

If 1, 2, 3 and 4 above were to all occur in the final 2 weeks of the season, NU would be guaranteed a Rose Bowl bid (likely against USC or UCLA… see more on that below).

For 2c to occur, a lot of craziness would have to go down. But, I lived through the final 2 weeks of the 2007 season and so did you. So, we know it’s possible. Here are some things that would help (note: not all of them are necessary, but the part in bold is and the first 2 are almost crucial):

  • ND loses to Stanford
  • Stanford loses to USC or UCLA in the Pac12 title game
  • Iowa loses to Nebraska and Sparty (requirement #3 above anyways)
  • Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State (#Bedlam)
  • Baylor loses to TCU (or Texas)
  • Florida loses to Florida State
  • Alabama loses to Florida (only if Florida loses to Florida State)
  • Clemson loses to anyone

So, there are your rooting interests for the next 2 weeks.

Things have seemed to go right for the ‘Cats this year, so who knows what the final stretch may bring.

#IWantToBelieve

Roger’s Ramblings – A Look Around the College Football Landscape (Week 12)

Here we go! Another week of shenanigans awaits.

Let’s look back a week quickly though…..

At about 5:30 pm CST last Saturday, we had all the makings of chaos right in front of us. OK State looked to be in serious trouble at Iowa State (circa 2011) and Michigan was in a dogfight at Indiana. This was all before the Pac12 actually did implode later that evening.

Everything was looking up for the ‘Cats and their pursuit of a New Year’s Six Bowl.

Unfortunately, the chaos subsided. Iowa State blew the game (as you would expect from a 3-7 team) and then this happened (as you would also expect from a team who is 0-6 in conference). Meanwhile, Houston stormed back from 20 points down in the 4th quarter (the only team to do that this year) against Memphis.

So…. we didn’t get what we wanted. The result? The ‘Cats fell 2 spots in the rankings to #20 this week (moving ahead of Mississippi State and behind Houston, UNC and Navy). But, we’re still hanging on for dear life. We’ll try our luck in a blizzard up in Madison on Saturday and hope all hell breaks loose elsewhere.

Meanwhile, shit got real for the Big8/10/12 and the Pac12.

Let’s start with the Pac12.

The consensus for the last several weeks had been “Stanford, win and you’re in”. With a big game against ND looming, that seemed a reasonable perspective. What nobody considered though was a potential Stannies loss before that ND game parlayed with a Utah loss. Well, we got that on Saturday night (thanks to Kevin Hogan’s fumbles), and now the Pac12’s top team has 2 losses. This is very problematic for those wanting a left coast team in the playoff. However, the rhetoric is that the Pac12 is dead and I’m not so sure that’s the case just yet. Don’t sleep on Stannies climbing their way back in just yet. With a little help from some Big8/10/12 carnage, Stanford still has a fighter’s chance if they win out.

So… what about the Big8/10/12?

Well… we still have an undefeated (OK State) and three 1 loss teams (OK, Baylor and TCU). But, Bob Bowlsby is certainly not sleeping easy right now. I can almost assure you that he’s having nightmare’s of last year’s scenario where both Baylor and TCU were left out. Why? Well…. here’s how it might happen:

  • Oklahoma beats TCU and loses to Oklahoma State … 2 losses for TCU. 2 losses for Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State loses to Baylor and beats Oklahoma….. 1 loss for Oklahoma State
  • Baylor beats Oklahoma State, beats TCU and beats Texas…. 1 loss for Baylor, 3 losses for TCU now.

Under this scenario, Baylor would technically be the conference champion with the head to head victory over Oklahoma State. So, what’s the problem Roger? Baylor is a 1 loss conference champion. Well…. here’s the problem: In this scenario, Baylor’s only win over a ranked team would be against Oklahoma State. TCU’s embarrassment against Kansas this past Saturday didn’t help the situation as they fell in the rankings and have no chance of remaining ranked with 2 more losses. Could a 1 loss Baylor – with 1 win against a ranked team and the most abysmal SOS in the country – count on staying ahead of a 2 loss (conference champion) Stannies or even a 1 loss Iowa/Ohio State?

Things could get dicey!

With all of the scrutiny around the playoff, this week, I’ve decided to play if fairly straightforward and give you my top 4. I’ll provide this note of clarification though – the top 4 should be about the team’s most deserving of the ranking. It is not a reflection on the 4 teams who would be favored against anyone outside of the top 4. That’s not how this is played, nor should it be how this is played (otherwise, USC and Oregon would be dangerously close to the top 4 right now). So, here they are:

1. Ohio State

Yea… they haven’t blown the doors off of everyone they’ve played. But, they’ve still been impressive nonetheless, and they’ve been getting better week by week. Defending champs. Undefeated. How are they not 1 in the real thing?

2. Clemson
Clemson probably has the most impressive win of anyone in the top 4 (ND), but I have a hard time putting them ahead of OSU. It’s close here, but Clemson comes in at #2.

3. Iowa
Keep on winning, Iowa! Nobody gives Iowa any credit, but guess what? You should! Their schedule is not nearly as bad as you might think and they haven’t lost a game. Take a seat at #3!

4. Oklahoma
Oklahoma is easily the most impressive 1 loss team in my book. So, they come in at #4. Simple as that. Yes, their loss was beyond strange, but with a big win at Tennessee and a very impressive win at Baylor, Oklahoma deserves serious credit.Would Alabama be favored against all of these teams? Probably. Should they be? Probably. But, that doesn’t mean they are worthy of a top spot. Like I said, we’re not trying to figure out who would beat who in the future. This is a retrospective. And they aren’t in the top 4 in my retrospective.

So, how’d we do last week?

  • USC (-16.5) @ Colorado – USC hangs 60 on the Buffs. Because why not? DEFINITELY NOT… USC was damn close to losing this one and only mustered up 27 points.
  • Pitt @ Duke (50.5 O/U) – We don’t even reach half of the O/U in this one. MEH… DUKE DID THEIR PART. The total was 44, but Duke only had 13. What’s going on Duke?
  • Ohio State (-16) @ Illinois – We are all scared shitless as Illinois has a chance to win the game with a long last second field goal. It gets blocked. NOPE… BUCKEYES TOOK CARE OF BUSINESS.
  • NC State @ FSU (-9.5) – Noles go down, opening the door for the ‘Cats to move up. LOOKED PROMISING… and then the 2nd half rolled around.
  • Oklahoma @ Baylor (-2.5) – This game is surprisingly defensive. Oklahoma wins…. never trails for a second. YAHTZEE!!! Despite the score, the game was surprisingly defensive for a Big12 game. OU won!

So, what’s on the docket this weekend?

  • Memphis (-1.5) @ Temple – Neither team wants to win anymore…. 7+ turnovers combined
  • Michigan State @ Ohio State (-13) – What a spread! OSU covers… Barrett with 4 TD’s.
  • Navy (-12) @ Tulsa – Navy goes down…. Chaos ensues in the evening games. Let’s hope the ‘Cats did their job earlier.
  • BC @ ND (-16) (Fenway Park) – Someone gets hurt because football is not meant to be played in a baseball stadium.
  • TCU @ Oklahoma (no line yet) – Oklahoma by 20+

That’s all folks!

Roger’s Ramblings – A Look Around the College Football Landscape (Week 11)

I was gone for a week. I took a bye week (along with the ‘Cats) and spent some time in Riviera Maya. But, let’s get real here. You didn’t miss me…..

I’m back anyways. Here we go….

A lot has happened since we last convened. But, perhaps most importantly for us, the College Football Playoff Committee has now released 2 issues of rankings. I don’t have much of a gripe about the difference between rankings in week 1 and week 2 (aside from the random Iowa surge after beating Indiana), but I am going to ramble about the thing in its entirety.

Two years ago, Alabama lost to Auburn on a fluke last second field goal returned for a touchdown. Auburn subsequently went on to play in the National Championship Game. After the Iron Bowl, I noted that Alabama was still the best team in the country – regardless of whether they would be playing for the title or not. Simply put, if Alabama showed up and gave an A effort, they were not going to lose to anyone. But, you know what? They didn’t show up and give an A effort every game, so they paid the price. That’s the way it is.

Well….. apparently that’s the way it was. Because now the College Football Playoff Committee appears to be playing the same eye test game that I played 2 years ago. That’s fine. But, shouldn’t we be rewarding a team for having the best season? I don’t give a shit if they are the best team. Quite frankly, if Bama comes to play and brings their A game, they are probably one of the top 4 teams in the country. Same with OSU. Hell… same with USC. But, when Bama loses AT HOME to an unranked Ole Miss team, then they should pay the price. Teams that play Power 5 schedules and make it through unscathed should not be punished by the fact that Bama would beat them if they played their A game.

Sorry…. if you don’t bring your A game and win every week, then you have no room to bitch about being left out of the playoff. Somebody put me on the committee!!!!

Moving on…..

Let’s talk about officiating. I’ve seen some of the worst officiating in memory the last few weeks. I’m not going to go all out blaming officials though. No. That’s pointless. Why? Because this isn’t a full time gig for any of them. All of them get a weekend stipend, pack up their cars on Friday and drive to their regional destination for the weekend. But, that begs the question…. why isn’t this a full time gig? With the economic stakes at play nowadays in many games (like it or not), the difference between a New Year’s 6 Bowl and the Capital One Citrus Bowl is pretty damn drastic (I’m looking at you officials in the MSU – Nebraska game who likely cost MSU a New Year’s 6 bid). We don’t need amateurs who would otherwise be mowing their lawn determining whether Texas Tech has enough money to fund men’s and women’s soccer next year. Can we pay the damn officials an actual salary and make this a full time gig?!?! At least for the 4-5 months that we’re in season here?!?!??! Shit……

Ok…. let’s talk about some of the action.

In the spirit of mixing things up, I’m going to list out the 5 most impressive victories from the previous week:

1. Alabama

This is pretty obvious. Yes, LSU was probably overrated. Still…. any time you dismantle a top 10 team (the game was never, ever in question) then you deserve some serious credit. Again, Bama may be the best team in the country when they show up. That doesn’t mean they should be ranked #1.

2. Navy

I can’t say that I was terribly surprised by this. Did anyone actually expect Memphis to have the slightest clue what they were doing against the triple option? Nevertheless, it was awesome to see Navy get their first win against a ranked team in 31 years. They did so in convincing fashion. This squad is quite good. This was also fun because, in a roundabout way, it’s making Ole Miss (and Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss) look even shittier.

3. Oklahoma State

I’ve gone on record multiple times this year saying that TCU is highly overrated, and, realistically, is a borderline top 20 team. Having said that, I had no confidence that T. Boone’s team was any better. Apparently they are. I doubt they make it through the season unscathed, but they have a fighting chance at this point.

4. Iowa

I know what you’re thinking…. “what?”. Yea. Iowa. They beat an Indiana team that has not won a game in B1G play yet, but this had all the makings of a trap game and IU is actually far better than their record indicates. I give Iowa major props for not tripping up here in what would have been a typical Iowa failure.

5. North Carolina

Holy shit! I know this matchup has not been favorable for Duke over the years, but whoa!! North Carolina had eclipsed the 400 yard passing mark at halftime against a very good Duke secondary. The route was on early and never stopped. UNC has a real shot at sabotaging the ACC’s chances in the Playoff as they are likely headed for an ACC Championship encounter with #1 Clemson.

How did we do 2 weeks ago….???

  • West Virginia @ TCU (-13) – TCU goes down. Notre Dame inches closer to the Playoff. Help us, Stanford (or Temple… or anyone else playing ND)!!!! NO…. But, TCU did get smoked the following week.
  • Oregon @ Arizona State (65 O/U) – At least 90 points are scored in this late evening affair in the desert. WINNER. WINNER. We went over 100 in this one.
  • Illinois @ Penn State (-4.5) – The Illini make mincemeat of PSU’s O line, record 6+ sacks and win the game UH…. This was ugly in PSU’s favor. Thankfully, the ‘Cats beat them over the weekend.
  • Clemson (-10.5) @ NC State – They have to pull a Clemson at some point, right? Not here. But, NC State leads going into the 4th. KIND OF. This game was close throughout.
  • Georgia @ Florida (-3) – The Cocktail Party – Ejections, ejections and more ejections! In what is a huge rivalry game, look for some quality brawls in the Ville. I DON’T THINK SO… but UGA might as well have not shown up.

Oh… here’s some fun for this weekend::

  • USC (-16.5) @ Colorado – USC hangs 60 on the Buffs. Because why not?
  • Pitt @ Duke (50.5 O/U) – We don’t even reach half of the O/U in this one.
  • Ohio State (-16) @ Illinois – We are all scared shitless as Illinois has a chance to win the game with a long last second field goal. It gets blocked.
  • NC State @ FSU (-9.5) – Noles go down, opening the door for the ‘Cats to move up.
  • Oklahoma @ Baylor (-2.5) – This game is surprisingly defensive. Oklahoma wins…. never trails for a second.
Peas!

Roger’s Ramblings – A Look Around the College Football Landscape (Week 9)

What a time to be alive!!! Am I right? Mark Jones thinks so.

This is now 2 weeks in a row that truly absurd shit has happened on a special teams play that was also the final play of the game. That’s not something you see every year. So maybe it is a great time to be alive. It sure is for the Jackets!

It might not be so great for Baylor fans, though. Art Briles and Baylor looked destined for the final four that they were shutout of last year. Oklahoma is good, but they wouldn’t keep up with Baylor. TCU is good too, but they might have given up 80 to Baylor. And then….. BAM! This happened. It remains to be seen just how this will alter the course of Baylor’s season (backup Jarrett Stidham is no joke with a 255.7 QB rating in mop up time), but surely it’s going to have some impact. It’s also likely going to impact my projected final four from last week. I don’t see the Bears navigating the upcoming November gauntlet unscathed with a true freshman at QB. You know what that means? It means I’m a huge Stanford Cardinal fan because I’m starting to get very worried about the enemy in South Bend.

In other news, Alabama continued to look mediocre with another nailbiter against an unranked opponent. What’s annoying about this is not that Alabama wins close games against mediocre teams, but it’s how they are rewarded for winning close games against mediocre teams. Let me remind everyone that, at this point in the season, Alabama has played 1 game against a ranked opponent. That game was against Ole Miss. It was a loss…. at home. So why are they the top ranked 1 loss team in the polls? Why does someone have the audacity to give them a #1 vote this week in the AP poll and pretty much discredit the existence of any poll? Oh…. because Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News has a vote in the AP poll. That’s right, this clown has Alabama ranked as the #1 team in the country. Wins and losses must not mean much to Jon. Thanks for sabotaging the polls, though!

Lastly, let’s give a big shout out to Meg-O. Last Thursday, Meg-O suggested that I was trolling her by stating my confidence in the BuckNuts. Well, I wasn’t trolling her, but I was glad to hear that she is one 7 weekly readers (shout to Marcel as well). As such, she was rewarded with OSU’s big, giant shellacking of Rutgers on Saturday night. The BuckNuts have the potential to be a well oiled machine by season’s end. Karma is on Meg-O’s side as long as she continues to read.

That’s a good summary from last week because, all in all, it was a pretty uneventful weekend on the field. Off the field…… not so much.

What the hell is going on off the field with coaches getting sacked and/or resigning? We have to be setting some sort of record this year for the most Power 5 jobs available in midseason. AfterAl Golden was canned and Kill resigned over health concerns, we now have midseason openings at USC (Sarkisian), the other USC (Spurrier), Illinois (Beckman), Illinois (Edsall), Miami (Golden), Minnetonka (Kill), UCF (O’Leary), and North Texas (McCarney).

I ask this of you…. for those coaches canned (not retired/resigned) midseason, what in the hell do those programs think they’re accomplishing? What good does it do to sack Randy Edsall at this point? or Al Golden? Is your season going magically turn around? Are all the recruits that you couldn’t get in the first place going to come to College Park or Coral Gables now because you have no coach in the middle of the year? No….. they aren’t. So, suck it up and wait for the opportune time to make a change. And if you’re wondering, that’s not in the middle of the f*cking season.

I digress….

What game should we play this week? Hmmm…..

 

Let’s play “Your Team is an Absolute Underachieving Joke this Year”

1. Auburn – Not a lot to say here. Auburn is in serious jeopardy of missing out on a bowl game…. and they were predicted by many to win the SEC West and compete for a spot in the Playoffs. Yikes. Malzahn might want to look for a real estate agent. This shit doesn’t fly down there.

2. Nebraska – This isn’t nearly as bad as Auburn, but Nebraska is in really serious jeopardy of missing a bowl game. After the ‘Cats handed them their 5th loss over the weekend, Nebraska is in full on train wreck mode. I still think Riley is/was a good hire, but keep in mind Pelini never won less than 9 games. Riley officially has 0 chance of reaching that mark now.

3. Virginia Tech – VT suffered some bad luck with an injury to their starting QB against the BuckNuts in week 1, but underachieving is becoming a recurring theme in Blacksburg. Now sitting at 3-5, at least VT was able to beat Purdue, right?

4. Oregon – At least the Ducks are not in full on train wreck mode like some others, but this is clearly a huge letdown from seasons past. We’re used to Nike (read Oregon) reloading on an annual basis and competing for championships. That didn’t happen this year. Something looked off in Week 1 against Eastern Washington and it has carried through the entire season. At 4-3, the Ducks are just hoping they don’t get matched up with the ‘Cats in the Holiday Bowl or the Foster Farms Bowl.

Ok.. Let’s see how we did last week.

  • Memphis (-10.5) @ Tulsa – Riding high after last week’s win against Land Shark Lager defense, Memphis goes down here as they sleep walk through the first half. NOPE. Memphis kept scoring…..
  • Utah @ (-3.5) USC – Not sure if you can call this an upset, but Utah by 2 scores. Their defense is legitimate and USC has had trouble with the pass rush (see Washington). OYE… NO WAY. Utah looked bad.
  • Ohio State (-21) @ Rutgers – A scare! Rutgers leads this one DEEP into the game. Perhaps until the final drive. OSU pulls it out though. NOPE…. not even remotely close. It was 49-0 OSU late in the 4th though.
  • Washington @ Stanford (no line yet) – Washington pulls off the upset. Stanford’s title chances are shot. WRONG AGAIN! Stannies looks really good.
  • Western Kentucky @ LSU (-17) – Western Kentucky isn’t god awful, thus LSU will have to keep their foot on the gas. The result? Fournette for 250+. NAH. 0 for 5. This one was directionally accurate. 

What’s that? You want some predictions for this week? Fine…. here they are:

  • West Virginia @ TCU (-13) – TCU goes down. Notre Dame inches closer to the Playoff. Help us, Stanford (or Temple… or anyone else playing ND)!!!!
  • Oregon @ Arizona State (65 O/U) – At least 90 points are scored in this late evening affair in the desert.
  • Illinois @ Penn State (-4.5) – The Illini make mincemeat of PSU’s O line, record 6+ sacks and win the game
  • Clemson (-10.5) @ NC State – They have to pull a Clemson at some point, right? Not here. But, NC State leads going into the 4th.
  • Georgia @ Florida (-3) – The Cocktail Party – Ejections, ejections and more ejections! In what is a huge rivalry game, look for some quality brawls in the Ville.

As they say in China, au revoir!

Roger’s Ramblings – A Look Around the College Football Landscape (Week 8)

Remember how I said more shit happened last week than in the previous 6 weeks combined? Well, lucky for us, the absurdity continued on Saturday.

In what can only be rivaled by the Cal vs. Stanford Band play, I present to you this:

Yea. I don’t know what to say either.

I told several of you after the fact – if that happened to Northwestern (let me take a breath), the property destruction in 1980 on St. Simon’s Island would pale in comparison to what would be going on in the West Lot. I can’t even think about that anymore. Let’s move on…..

I try to avoid talking about NU here (as I like to save that for my predictions), but I’m going to truly ramble here for a second. Just to preface though, this has been several years in the making. Actually, it has been about a decade in the making. I’ve had enough. I’ve lost it. I can’t deal with it anymore.

As a die hard Northwestern fan, I hate seeing us lose. I really hate seeing us get blown out. But, I absolutely DESPISE seeing us get exploited. I point this out only because, as I talked with Pops to review the game, something was said: by his recollection (and now mine), Pat Fitzgerald’s NU teams have never once….. NOT ONCE…. exploited the other team. No no. On the contrary, if there’s any exploiting being done, we’re the one getting exploited. In a big f*cking way. Sure, we’ve had great games. Big wins. Nice game plans. Executed well. All that shit. But, we never seem to key in on an element of the game where we can take advantage and expose the shit out the other team. Yet, that happens routinely to us. It’s like f*cking clockwork. Once a unit has been exposed, we simply cannot adjust.

This is probably what was going through Ferentz’s head on Saturday – “Oh, you think your defense is good? Well, that Walker is great when he plays with his head down and runs to the ball, but watch us run a little misdirection action – just like Michigan – and get him totally out of f*cking position because you haven’t coached him to react to scheme properly after 2 years in the program. While we’re at it, we’ll crack your DB’s because we saw Michigan do that sporadically with great success last week and we know that there’s a zero percent chance you’ve addressed that or coached it up.”

Simply put, if a weakness is found, it’s game over. It’s apparent at this point. This team has not, will not and CANNOT adjust to anything unconventional or unexpected. It starts at the top and it’s not changing.

Moving on…..

Let’s play a little something I like to call “Playoffs???“.

If the season ended today, here’s who I would have in my Final Four (in no particular order).

Final Four as of Today

  • Ohio State – Last season’s champ. They’ve looked shaky in some appearances, but who gives a shit? What do they need to prove at this point? They just need to win and move on and they have done that quite well. They’re in.
  • Baylor – Good God! Could the Denver Broncos stop Baylor’s offense? This is a well oiled machine and Briles may finally prove that you can win without defense. They’re definitely in.
  • Utah – Even at this point, I’m not sure they are for real. But, they are definitely well coached. Additionally, Utah doesn’t have any significant weaknesses and they have arguably the best resume of the bunch. They’re in.
  • Clemson – I said that I’m not ranking these teams, but Clemson would be my #4… and LSU is right on their ass. This is totally subjective and I don’t have a lot to say other than LSU, in my opinion, had a bit more of an advantage in their one marquee game this year. They played Go Gata immediately following the Grier suspension. At least ND had a little more time to adjust to life without Zaire before playing Clemson.

Alas though, the season doesn’t end today. So, here’s who I’m predicting to be in the playoffs at the midway point:

Projected Final Four

  • Ohio State – I’ve got them winning out. They just keep winning. Going full time with JT will help as well.
  • Baylor – See above. They will score 80 on TCU. I’d be more worried about the Oklahoma game than the TCU game.
  • LSU – LSU will lose to Bama, end the season with 1 loss and back their way into the playoff despite 1 loss Clemson winning their conference title.
  • Bama – Bama will beat LSU and win out. SEC champs. 1 loss. Off they go.

That was fun. Let’s see how we did last week.

  • Penn State @ (-17) Ohio State – The Buckeyes finally look like the #1 team in the land while covering the spread and holding PSU to single digits CLOSE! We had a cover, OSU looked legit, but PSU scored 10.
  • Alabama (-4) @ Texas A&M – This game will get ugly. We know very little about A&M aside from a “nice showing” against ASU in the season opener, yet somehow they find themselves in the top 10. Bama by 3 scores. WINNER! Lots of defensive scores here. Bama rolled.
  • Nebraska @ (-2) Minnesota – Every Nebraska loss this season has come on the other team’s final offensive play. Expect that trend to continue here. Tonka with a late win. The corn people are getting pissed. UH… NO. Minnesota is not good.
  • BC @ (-15.5) Clemson – BC hasn’t given up 15 points in a single game this season. They’ll lose, but they’ll cover and this stays under the 36.5 O/U. WRONG AGAIN. Surprisingly, someone finally scored on BC.Cubs @ TBD (Saturday night) – Arrieta will be throwing. The ace for the other team will not be throwing. Cubs take the lead in the NLCS 1-0. NO. Yikes, Cubs, Yikes! Arrieta ended up not throwing game 1 anyways.

Ask and you shall receive. Wild predictions for the week ahead:

  • Memphis (-10.5) @ Tulsa – Riding high after last week’s win against Land Shark Lager defense, Memphis goes down here as they sleep walk through the first half.
  • Utah @ (-3.5) USC – Not sure if you can call this an upset, but Utah by 2 scores. Their defense is legitimate and USC has had trouble with the pass rush (see Washington).
  • Ohio State (-21) @ Rutgers – A scare! Rutgers leads this one DEEP into the game. Perhaps until the final drive. OSU pulls it out though.
  • Washington @ Stanford (no line yet) – Washington pulls off the upset. Stanford’s title chances are shot.
  • Western Kentucky @ LSU (-17) – Western Kentucky isn’t god awful, thus LSU will have to keep their foot on the gas. The result? Fournette for 250+.

See you next week, friends.

Roger’s Ramblings – A Look Around The College Football Landscape (Week 7)

Holy shit…. where do we start?

Thus far, Week 7 has seen 1 game (Arkansas State’s 49-31 win over South Alabama on Tuesday night), but quite possibly more noteworthy activity than the rest of the season combined.

We are going to largely forget about Week 6 (until we review our predictions) because it was not pleasant for the ‘Cats or yours truly.

Let’s start with USC.

Wait…. which USC? Southern Cal? or South Carolina? It doesn’t really matter. Just know that they are both without a coach right now.

The left coast USC is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. For those who don’t remember, Steve Sarkisian brought some attention to the Trojans back in August when he was belligerently drunk at the annual Salute to Troy donor event. That was funny…. until it wasn’t. What we learned shortly thereafter was that this wasn’t a case of Steve going after it too hard for one evening, but it was a case of a man going with an addiction compounded by issues in his personal life. This is where Pat Haden – the same Pat Haden who, between football, basketball and baseball, has now fired 4 coaches mid-season – really dropped the ball. There were deep rooted issues here that suggested Sarkisian needed immediate help and an immediate leave of absence, but…. winning is more important in Troy. The result is obviously not pretty. USC let Sarkisian hit the proverbial “rock bottom” with the entire country watching. Haden and the USC administrative staff are as much to blame here as anyone. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that. So, Pat, I bid thee adieu. It’s your turn to be fired mid-season.

Enough unfortunate news. Let’s head south to the armpit of Florida before we address the situation at the other USC.

Ladies and gentlemen, Go Gata! For the 3 (shout out to Marcel) people who read this and don’t really know me, I despise the Florida Gators. I really hoped that Zook would be a permanent fixture at UF because, well, that was fun. Unfortunately, Legendary Corch Irving Mayas took over and brought with him the rec unit from the state penitentiary. Florida led the nation in arrests and off the field trouble on an annual basis while Herb was at the helm. Muschamp brought some discipline, but couldn’t get it done on the field. Well, good news everyone. It looks like the rogue Gators have returned. This story is awful, but combined with the Will Grier incident (more on that below), it seems like McElwain has brought with him the type of off field discipline that the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes sought.

As mentioned, also on the Florida front, PED’s there is great news here! With Grier coming into form now with a real offensive gameplan in Gainesville, I was starting to get seriously worried that Florida was on their way to being back in the national title conversation. To be clear, they still are (Treon Harris is definitely capable), but they definitely have an uphill battle with LSU, Georgia, Florida State and a potential SEC title game on their hands without Grier behind center. As for Grier, are you shitting me right now with that excuse? Give me something better than the “I took the OTC supplement and didn’t realize what was in it” excuse. That’s horseshit. He knows it’s horseshit. And he knows that we know it’s horseshit. Enjoy your time off, Will. I hope you got that fertility issue fixed.

While we’re on the subject of Florida quarterbacks, we might as well talk about the east coast USC and Steve Spurrier. Steve, despite just completely bailing on the season, I truly do bid you a fond farewell. As much as I despise Florida, and as much as Spurrier contributed to that contempt in the 90’s, I’ve grown to like Head Ball Coach in his aging years at South Carolina so I’ll miss him now that he’s playing more golf. If nothing else, he’s had much of the SEC East’s number (including Florida’s) while coaching for a school I care about less than a Tuesday night MACtion game. None of his hilarious quotes were at all amusing when he was coaching Florida and torturing the shit out of me on a weekly basis, but it’s hard not to look back and chuckle at his jabs.

Ok…… I know what you’re thinking. “Enough of this off the field shit. Can we talk about football now, Roger?”

Yes. The time has come. We’re going to mix it up a bit this week. I’ll give my usual wild predictions (I know you can’t go on without them), but I’m going provide some deeper commentary on what I see to be 2 games that could go a long way in determining the Final Four. I’m staying out of the SEC despite the big matchups there (Florida vs. LSU and Alabama vs. Texas A&M) and I’m looking towards two playoff games to get into the playoffs:

UCLA @ Stanford – Thursday, 9:30pm CST

Each of these teams has a loss (Stanford out of conference and UCLA in conference). So, the loser of this game is in real trouble when it comes to the national conversation. But, the winner of this game could be poised for a deep run. It will be very hard to keep the Pac12 champion out of the playoff conversation. It will be impossible to keep a 1 loss Pac12 champion out of the playoff conversation. Each team still has losable games, but probably not until 11/21. There’s a very real chance that the winner of this game wins out (at least until the Pac12 Championship game). But, the losing team will be out.

This is Playoff Game #1 

Michigan State @ Michigan – Saturday, 2:30pm CST

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Harbaugh is turning Michigan into a bonafide contender a lot quicker than people realize. Dating back to the end of the first quarter in week 2 against Oregon State, Michigan has given up a grand total of 7 points. Those 7 points came in garbage time against UNLV. On top of that, Blue is riding a 3 game shutout streak that includes dismantling 2 ranked opponents. They’re good.

Meanwhile, Sparty has looked asleep at the wheel since beating Baylor 10 months ago. Sure, MSU beat Oregon. But guess what? This isn’t Chip Kelly’s Oregon. This Oregon is trash. They just lost at home to Washington State…. who lost at home to an FCS school. So, Oregon lost at home to an FCS school through the transitive property (#math). Sparty definitely has the potential with a proven senior quarterback and a bevy of playmakers. But, nothing leads me to believe they are ever going to show that potential because they certainly haven’t to date

If Sparty plays like they have so far, they’ll lose this game by at least 3 scores. If they play the way they are capable of playing, then we’ll have a gem on our hands. Not only that, but the winner should be able to set sail until their respective date with the Buckeye in late November. At that point, all the marbles will be on the line. The loser? Well…. have fun in the Holiday Bowl.

This is Playoff Game #2

That’s the week ahead. Let’s now rewind to see how we did in Week 6.

  • LSU (-13.5) @ South Carolina – Fournette is held under 100. SC wins. NO. Just no…. on all accounts. To be fair, I made this call before the game got moved to LSU.
  • Indiana @ Penn State (-8) – IU wins in State College for the first time in ages. Franklin is really feeling the heat under his ass. NO. Wrongo…. Indiana was forced to play with QB #3.
  • Wake Forest @ BC (O/U 37) – Less than 20 points scored cumulatively in this game. BC wins. YAHTZEE (kinda)…. This game had a whopping 3 points scored!!!! Wake won though.
  • Cubs (-128) @ Pirates – NL Wild Card Game – Cubs by 3+. Arrieta has a no-no going past 5. YESSIR! Cubs win (and beat the Cards). Jake had a 1 hitter though 5 in this one.
  • USA vs. Mexico – Confederations Cup Playoff Game (Saturday night in the Rose Bowl) – USA 2 Mexico 1. Goals from Deuce and Altidore in this one. Klinsmann keeps his job. BIGGEST MISS YET… Not only did the US lose, they then lost again to Costa Rica. Jurgen’s seat is hot. 

Ok…. so we had some trouble last week. So did the ‘Cats.

What wild shit do we have in store for week 7?

  • Penn State @ (-17) Ohio State – The Buckeyes finally look like the #1 team in the land while covering the spread and holding PSU to single digits
  • Alabama (-4) @ Texas A&M – This game will get ugly. We know very little about A&M aside from a “nice showing” against ASU in the season opener, yet somehow they find themselves in the top 10. Bama by 3 scores.
  • Nebraska @ (-2) Minnesota – Every Nebraska loss this season has come on the other team’s final offensive play. Expect that trend to continue here. Tonka with a late win. The corn people are getting pissed.
  • BC @ (-15.5) Clemson – BC hasn’t given up 15 points in a single game this season. They’ll lose, but they’ll cover and this stays under the 36.5 O/U.
  • Cubs @ TBD (Saturday night) – Arrieta will be throwing. The ace for the other team will not be throwing. Cubs take the lead in the NLCS 1-0.

Until next week, friends…..