Big College Football Saturday
After another wild day of college football, here are some observations:
- Barring a slew of wild upsets that let a 2-loss team into the mix, the real contenders for the final four spots is now down to nine teams – Mississippi State and Alabama from the SEC, Florida State from the ACC, Oregon and Arizona State from the Pac 12, TCU and Baylor from the Big 12 and Ohio State and Nebraska from the Big Ten.
- Ohio State made a huge statement with its road demolition of Michigan State as they posted 49 points on Sparty’s vaunted defense. Suddenly the Buckeyes are in the mix though they probably need some help.
- I don’t have much sympathy for Auburn despite their two late fumbles (other than feeling bad for the individual players who messed up). Auburn rode good fortune to get to the BCS championship game last year, so they really can’t gripe about some bad luck this year. Also, their defense blows.
- Alabama pulled out a huge win against LSU, but they’re getting a ton of love based on reputation. This isn’t the same dominating Alabama team.
- The TCU/Baylor debate will become heated as it’s hard to figure out who should be ranked higher. Also, with Ohio State playing at Minnesota this week, the Buckeyes and TCU will have a common opponent for sake of comparison. TCU beat the Gophers at home 30-7, so Ohio State needs to beat Minnesota handily, and they can also help themselves if they thump Minnesota on the road.
- Arizona State got a huge win against Notre Dame, though they benefited from a slew of turnovers. The Ohio State win over Michigan State was probably more impressive as it was on the road and they overcame two of their own turnovers and got none from Sparty. If you take into account the eye test, you’ll see the Buckeyes are as talented as any other team. They’re just young and you’ll need to overlook a bad, early-season loss against Virginia tech after they lost Braxton Miller and had inexperienced freshman TJ Barrett starting in his place. Now we see just how good Barrett can be.
That said, it looks like the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 teams control their own fate. How it plays out for the others is anyone’s guess.
The embarrassment in Michigan
Let’s put aside for a moment this hideous sweatshirt Brady Hoke was wearing during today’s game, or how stupid he looked clapping and trying to rally his team after this running play was blown up by Michigan State.
The embarrassment on the field is starting to be matched by the antics of Hoke and his players before and after games. The Michigan players decided to bring a stake onto the field before the game and drive it into the field at Michigan State. This is the same Michigan State team that was poised to kick their asses and already had a chip on their shoulder for all the “little brother” crap they’ve heard for years.
After a Michigan State win where Dantonio decided to score a last-second touchdown to rub it in as opposed to taking a knee, Dantonio said “Just felt I needed to put a stake in them at some point.” Wow. He basically took a shot at the arrogance of the entire Michigan program though he wouldn’t place any blame on Hoke himself, which made the whole incident even funnier.
Hoke’s line when asked about the incident: “I think I was aware that something happened, but I’m not fully aware.” Incredible.
Brady Hoke has gone from a bad coach to a complete laughing stock at this point, and having Michigan look this bad doesn’t help the Big Ten at all. This column from John Niyo sums it up pretty well.
Florida State hangs on against Notre Dame
The game lived up to the hype. Notre Dame gave Florida State everything they could handle last night in Tallahassee, with the winning touchdown being taken off the board on what turned out to be the correct call. Both Jameis Winston and Everett Golson were spectacular, and it seemed like whoever had the ball last would win. As it turned out, Notre Dame thought they had it but the refs called them out for a pick on the last touchdown to Corey Robinson.
Both teams were impressive, and frankly both are in good shape for the upcoming playoff. Florida State has a pretty easy road so all they need to do is take care of business in the ACC. Notre Dame will have to impress over other one-loss teams if they win out, but they have a tougher road which helps if they win them, but . . . . they have to win them! Road games against USC and Arizona State will be tough ones.
Here are some other observations from yesterday’s games:
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Fran Tarkenton scolds AJ McCarron
This is pretty hilarious.
AJ McCarron has a pretty inflated view of himself, and that came across when he criticized the current Alabama team by saying it didn’t have the leadership the team had last year (that would be himself, AJ McCarron). He also made some comments about Nick Saban “handcuffing” the offense.
The great Fran Tarkenton reacted with a classic rant about McCarron:
“A.J. McCarron- he needs to be quiet,” Tarkenton said on Jox 94.5-FM’s The Opening Drive. “He was so fortunate to play in that program. He’s an average quarterback at best. He couldn’t have played anywhere else but Alabama and to make any kind of comment is just disrespectful. He shouldn’t have made it and he should keep his mouth shut, praise Saban and Alabama for the rest of his life.”
Does anyone disagree with that?
Tarkenton is one of the ex-players who says what’s on his mind and doesn’t sugar-coat things. He’ll tell you most modern players are using HGH, which is why players are so huge these days and why defensive ends are running 4.5 40s.
As for McCarron he backtracked of course, and he’s be wise to heed Tarkenton’s advice.