Take a look at the photos of St. Augustine and you know exactly why LSU at Florida was postponed. Just a slight wobble or shift in the atmosphere and St. Augustine could have been wiped off the map and Hurricane Matthew could have done major damage to Gainesville. So to all the writers in Louisiana and other places with their conspiracy theories I have this to say: Shame on you. You went through Katrina. You know better.
Now, to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Florida AD Jeremy Foley and LSU AD Joe Alleva this is what I have to say: Essentially, you have 48 hours to come up with a solution because LSU at Florida has to be played if we are to have anything close to a smidgen of integrity in this league. I would add this to Commissioner Sankey: You are the boss. You make the call and if Florida and LSU don’t like it, tell them to (a) stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and (b) remind them that their membership in the SEC makes them a ton of money so see if you could make that kind of jack somewhere else.
There are all sorts of ideas and plans, but only one makes sense and that is to shift Florida-Georgia to October 22, when both teams have an open date, and then have LSU visit UF on October 29. Moving the Florida-Georgia game up a week would inconvenience a bunch of hotel and condo owners and fans would have to rearrange their schedules. Georgia certainly wouldn’t be happy, but that’s the way the weenie wiggles sometimes. The SEC could maintain its integrity and it would mean neither Florida nor LSU would have to lose a home game’s worth of revenue. The excuse that the Jacksonville Jaguars play the next day (October 23) doesn’t wash. Just 13 hours after Miami and FSU played at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans played football with 99% of the seats sold.
So Commish, Jeremy and Joe, suck it up, take the high road and shuffle things around. Use your brains for something other than a means to part your ears.
MIDSEASON REPORT CARD FOR SEC QUARTERBACKS
1. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: He doesn’t have the personnel he had last year so he’s having to carry the Rebels on his back. He won’t win the SEC title but he’s making millions of dollars for the future because his draft status is going to go through the roof.
2. Jalen Hurts, Alabama: Two things should scare the hell out of SEC defensive coordinators – (1) He’s a true freshman so he’s going to be playing at least two more years; and (2) he’s dominating already and he’s still learning on the fly
3. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: You have to love his competitive nature, mobility and his will to win. If he could complete the kind of passes that move the chains he would still be at Oklahoma, so that’s actually a blessing for the Aggies.
4. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: He’s a nightmare for opponents in the fourth quarter but he also has a penchant for fumbles and interceptions. If he had protected the ball against the Aggies, the Vols would still be undefeated.
5. Austin Allen, Arkansas: He threw for 400 yards on the Alabama defense. Sure he mistook Minkah Fitzpatrick for one of his own receivers three times but 400 yards. Against Alabama. He is going to keep getting better this year and next year he will be scary good.
6. Drew Lock, Missouri: It’s amazing the difference good coaching makes. Last year he was a lost ball in the tall grass. This year he already has thrown for more touchdowns (14) than last year (4) and more yards (1,675) in five games that he did last year in 12.
7. Sean White, Auburn: Gus Malzahn isn’t trying to make a running QB out of him anymore. If he continues to get running game support that will allow him to throw off play action, Auburn will be good and he will get better.
8. Luke Del Rio, Florida: If he’s taking the snaps, you could see the Gators winning 9-10 games. He doesn’t have the strongest arm or the most athleticism, but he knows the offense and is the on the field extension of Jim McElwain.
9. Jacob Eason, Georgia: He can make incredible throws like the one that nearly won the Tennessee game and then the next week go 5-17 against South Carolina, averaging 1.7 yards per attempt. He’s a work in progress but not anywhere close to being there yet.
10. Nick Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State: Because the Bulldogs don’t have a decent running back, Fitzpatrick is THE offense and that takes away from his overall skills, which are good.
11. Danny Etling, LSU: LSU’s offense is better with Etling than it was with Brandon Harris. Now that Steve Ensminger is calling the plays, will the offense open up to take advantage of his strong arm and LSU’s fast receivers?
12. Brandon McIlwain/Perry Orth, South Carolina: Orth is the passer and McIlwain is the dual threat guy. McIlwain is the true freshman who is the better talent but until he better understands what is a good pass and what is a bad one Orth is going to play more.
13. Stephen Johnson/Drew Barker, Kentucky: Kentucky is 2-1 in Johnson’s starts, 3-1 if you count New Mexico State where he came in on the second series. It will be interesting to see if UK goes back to Barker when he returns from his back injury.
14. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: He might be a lot better if he could run an offense that wasn’t straight out of the leather helmets era.
THE DOMINO EFFECT OF HOUSTON’S LOSS
Houston’s hopes of crashing college football’s final four party were effectively put to rest Saturday by Navy, but that one loss had a domino effect as both Louisville and the Big 12 Conference also took a hit. For Houston to make it to the College Football Playoff, the Cougars had to go unbeaten so they’re out after the 46-40 loss to Navy. Since the Cougars have taken a loss, their game with Louisville on November 17 loses luster and the boost it could give the Cardinals’ chances of becoming the second representative from the ACC in the final four. If Oklahoma could run the rest of its table and finish out at 10-2 with losses to top five teams Houston and Ohio State, the Big 12 Conference was holding onto an outside chance of staying in the playoff picture. The Houston loss looks worse for Oklahoma and that leaves the Big 12 with the necessity for Baylor to finish as its undefeated champ for a spot in the playoffs.
LEGITIMATE CONTENDERS FOR THE FINAL FOUR
1. Alabama (6-0): Alabama has the most balanced offense in the SEC and it regularly scores points with defense and special teams. The next three games are at Tennessee, Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa and at LSU. Bama will be favored to win those three and run the regular season table, but a 1-loss Alabama that fell to the Aggies might still make the final four.
2. Ohio State (5-0): The Buckeyes may very well have the Heisman Trophy winner in QB J.T. Barrett. They’re probably a year away from being scary good, but right now if they knock off Michigan and win the conference title game, they’re in. They might be in even with a loss to Michigan if there are two or fewer unbeaten teams.
3. Clemson (6-0): If the Tigers dispose of FSU in Tallahassee on October 29, it’s hard to imagine they won’t run the table and make the playoff. Deshaun Watson is starting to play like the Deshaun Watson of last season and that bodes well for Clemson’s chances to run the table and for Watson to win the Heisman.
4. Michigan (6-0): Not only did Michigan outscore Rutgers 78-0, the Wolverines outgained their hapless opponents 598-35. Everything points to a November 26 bloodbath in Columbus with Ohio State in the regular season finale. If that game is white knuckles to the very end, both teams might make the final four if there aren’t four unbeaten teams.
5. Washington (6-0): Considering the rest of the schedule, Washington might have to totally go in the tank to avoid making the final four as an unbeaten. There isn’t an SEC team that wouldn’t kill for those last six games. The schedule is also conducive for a legitimate Heisman Trophy run by QB Jake Browning, who threw for 6 and ran for 2 in the Huskies, 70-21, win over Oregon. He’s the real deal. So are the Huskies.
6. Texas A&M (6-0): The Aggies are unbeaten but they have three things going against them: (1) They have troubles with teams that can run the ball straight up the gut; (2) they have to play Alabama on the road and (3) QB Trevor Knight throws a nice deep ball but has problems hitting the bread and butter passes that keep the chains moving against good teams. If the Aggies can’t beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa October 22 but win the rest of their games, will they be impressive enough to sneak into the playoff as a non-conference champ wild card?
7. Tennessee (5-1): The formula for Tennessee is relatively simple – beat Alabama this week, run the rest of the table then beat either Alabama or the Aggies in the SEC Championship Game. But let’s say if the Vols lose to Alabama but come back to beat the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. Would the playoff committee leave out a 2-loss SEC champ?
8. Nebraska (5-0): The Huskers don’t really scare anyone but as long as they’re unbeaten and in the Big Ten you have to list them as contenders. They play Wisconsin and Ohio State back-to-back on the road so that should settle the problem.
9. Baylor (5-0): The Bears are the Big 12’s best hope to run the table but the schedule includes road games at Texas, at Oklahoma and at West Virginia and the defense is anything but stout.
10. Wisconsin (4-1): The only loss was by 7 on the road at The Big House. Their path to the final four is run the rest of the table to win the Big Ten West, then beat either Ohio State or Michigan in the conference title game.
11. West Virginia (4-0): The Mounties actually play the best defense of any team in the Big 12 so however improbable an unbeaten season and championship run may be, it’s still possible. WVU still has to play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
12. Louisville (4-1): Houston’s loss means the Cardinals have to win that Thursday night road game on November 17 plus trash everyone else on the rest of the schedule to get in as a wild card. That seems the only way the Cardinals get in because it’s unfathomable that Clemson would lose twice. While making the final four might need help from others, Lamar Jackson’s chances of winning the Heisman probably won’t. Midway through the season he’s at the top of the all too early Heisman heap.
13. Boise State (5-0): The Broncos will have to run the table to have any kind of shot but their schedule does include wins over Washington State and Oregon State of the Pac-12. If there are only two other unbeaten teams remaining when the playoff pairings are announced, it might be hard to explain leaving out Boise State, which has a history of knocking off Power 5 teams in bowl games.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that “sources” from the Dallas Cowboys are telling him there is “zero chance” Dak Prescott remains the starting QB once Tony Romo returns from his back injury. Romo is expected to be healthy enough to play by week 8. The Cowboys are unbeaten (3-0) with Prescott starting. He has yet to throw his first interception.
Maybe the New England Patriots should consider sitting Tom Brady the first four games of the next 4-5 seasons as a way to extend his career. In his first action of the season after sitting out his Deflate-game suspension, Brady was only 28-40 for 406 yards and 3 TDs against the Cleveland Browns. Did anyone notice any rust?
Did you happen to catch a glimpse of Notre Dame at North Carolina State? And there are people who question why LSU at Florida was postponed.
Two weeks ago the “experts” were claiming Stanford’s David Shaw on par with Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as the best college football coach in the county. Perhaps I’m going hard of hearing, but after going down to Washington and Washington State, 86-22, in the last two weeks, I’m not hearing those David Shaw is a genius comments anymore.
This is year three for Chris Peterson at Washington. The Huskies are 6-0 and Peterson is starting to show what he did at Boise State was no fluke.
Notre Dame is 2-4. How long before the fire Brian Kelly whispers become shouts?
QUESTION OF THE DAY
What do you think is the best solution for Florida-LSU?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Today’s music is a Mumford and Sons concert from Lolapalooza in Sao Paulo, Brazil.