Skip to comments.The College Football Czar: Week 8
Posted on 10/17/2013 6:48:18 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
The College Football Czar: Week 8
Week seven in review: The NCAA officially released its appointments to next years playoff selection committee, although the names had been leaked almost a week earlier. The only thing in the world that makes the committee a less awful idea than it might otherwise be is the fact that the list of committee members does not include Mark Cuban, who voiced interest in running a college football playoff last year. Just because a guys not guilty of insider trading doesnt mean he isnt still a buffoon. If the NCAA ever lets Cuban anywhere near a college football game without buying a ticket, the sport will become little more than an amateur version of the XFL.
And, no, contrary to public opinion, the XFL was not itself an amateur league. Those guys actually got paid for that stuff!
The College Football Czar survived a weekend of upsets with his record relatively unscathed. Things did start to look bleak for a while, when his Michigan and Stanford picks imploded simultaneously, but thanks to some narrow escapes by a few smaller conference teams (Ball State, UAB, UNLV), he salvaged a mark of 14-6. For the season, his record stands at 106-34, for a .757 winning percentage.
A new record has been set, in that eight teams from the same conference are ranked in the AP Top 25 this week. Youve surely guessed that the conference is the SEC, and youve just as surely also guessed that two of those teams (Florida and Auburn) do not deserve to be there.
Central Florida at Louisville
The 6-0 Cardinals dont have many more chances to lose a game, and they sure seem to be in desperate search of one. Considering the yardage the Cards have been rolling up, they really should have won more handily against Kentucky, Temple and Rutgers. If they beat UCF, they could easily go undefeated, with only South Florida, Uconn, Houston, Memphis and Cincinnati remaining on their schedule.
Come to think of it, the U of L could easily go unbeaten without being anywhere near the fourth-best team in the nation. Nevertheless, if the NCAAs subjective playoff selection committee were on the job this season, it surely would be inclined to invite them ahead of a one-loss major conference team, out of a warped sense of fairness. The championship contenders might as well be selected by a Frank Luntz focus group, whose participants twist their little knobs to register their feelings, and then, in follow-up interviews, offer valuable insights like, I just felt like they was good.
The 4-1 Knights have won at Penn State, and lost only to South Carolina, by a final of 28-25. They survived an unexpected scare at Memphis last week, where they trailed by seven in the fourth quarter. They tied the score by recovering their own fumble in the end zone, and then used two Tiger turnovers to put the game away, 24-17.
If youre going to be one of only two power teams in a weak conference, its better to have a coach like UCFs George OLeary, who really knows how to pump up the ol resume.
Central Florida 17, Louisville 14
Texas Tech at West Virginia
At 5-0 a year ago, the Mountaineers were being talked about as national contenders, with a presumptive Heisman contender at quarterback. That kind of talk sounded pretty stupid after a 49-14 tatering by Tech sent them spinning into a five-game losing streak. Actually, it already sounded stupid beforehand, but whos counting?
This year, its the 6-0 Red Raiders that may be teetering before a fall. After this trip to Morgantown, they face Oklahoma, OSU, K-State, Baylor and Texas. That would be tough enough, without the perils of playing quarterback for this team. With both Michael Brewer and Baker Mayfield injured, freshman Davis Webb passed for 415 yards in his first start, a 42-35 win over Iowa State.
WVU gave up a Big XII record 872 yards in their last game, a 73-42 trouncing by Baylor two weeks ago. Just to give them something to shoot for, that all-freshman, post-death penalty SMU team allowed 1,021 yards in a 95-21 loss to Houston in 1989.
When they administer the death penalty in West Virginia, they dont electrify the chair. They just set it on fire.
Hey, wait a minute. Thats kind of smart!
Texas Tech 42, West Virginia 37
Florida State at Clemson
If all you knew about these teams was how they played against Boston College, youd never guess that this was basically a national championship elimination game. The 5-0 Seminoles gave up more points against BC than they have in their other four games combined, but woke up in time to win the game 48-34. Last week, it was the Tigers who spotted the Eagles an early lead, and had to come clawing back for a lackluster 24-14 victory.
Sportswriters loved the story line for this series when it was a father-son affair in the Bowden Bowl (or Pa vs. Paw, as the Czar preferred to call it), but the games have been better and more consequential in the three years that Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney have squared off, with FSU winning twice. Last season, the Noles rolled for 35 second-half points to win, 49-37.
A Tiger win would thrust quarterback Tajh Boyd back into the thick of the Heisman race, but for now, he might not even be tops in his own league. Seminole freshman Jameis Winstons totals are lagging because hes played one game fewer, but his completion percentage and average yardage per passing attempt are both significantly better than Boyds.
No wonder theres no I in team; Jameis has it.
Florida State 45, Clemson 41
USC at Notre Dame
The Trojans took a 28-3 lead over Arizona last Thursday, in their first game without coach Lane Kiffin. Their enthusiasm eventually wore off, however, and they had to hang on for a 38-31 victory. Sophomore QB Cody Kessler surpassed his previous weeks career high by throwing for 297 yards and two touchdowns.
If you were watching last years languid performance in the Coliseum, and somebody told you that the winning team would play Alabama for the BCS Championship, you could have guessed just how that national title game would eventually turn out. The Fighting Irish sealed the 22-13 victory with a late goal-line stand, which the uninventive SC offense made about as difficult as winning a prize in a carnival duck pond game.
NDs defeats against Michigan and Oklahoma now look worse than they did a week ago, but theyve scored a couple quality wins, also. Back in Week 4, they came out on top in a 17-13 defensive slugfest with Michigan State, and two weeks ago in Arlington, they held off Arizona State 37-34. At 4-2, they may actually be no worse than the team that got so many unlikely breaks to go undefeated last regular season.
The Czar never fails to pick a winning duck out of the pond. Hes got a system.
Notre Dame 20, USC 12
Auburn at Texas A&M
Evidently, the pollsters were a little more impressed than the Czar was with the Tigers 62-3 stomping of the Division I-AA Western Carolina Quantity O Felines. At 5-1, AUs only comfortable win has been against Arkansas State. Their other three Ws have been against also-rans Ole Miss by eight, Washington State by seven, and Mississippi State by four.
Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel spilled to the ground with an apparent leg injury in the first quarter of his teams 41-38 win over Ole Miss, but he returned to the game without missing a series. He obviously wasnt hurt, as can be seen from his 124 rushing yards, to go along with 346 through the air. The 2012 Heisman winner must be watching too many of those Mexican league soccer matches on The Deuce. Just for the record, one Mexican league soccer match is too many.
The College Football Czar cant bring himself to call the A&M quarterback Johnny Football. Thats too Wally Cleavery a nickname for the ultra-cocky sophomore. In the spirit of Don Rickles, the Czar hereby gives Manziel a new moniker more befitting the intelligence with which he conducts himself: Johnny Hockey Puck.
Texas A&M 54, Auburn 41
UCLA at Stanford
The 5-0 Bruins face their suddenly familiar rivals for the third time in eight games. Last November, they lost at home to the Cardinal 35-17, and then dropped the rematch six days later in Palo Alto, 27-24 in the Pac 12 championship game. In the meantime, theyve been outscoring their opponents by almost four touchdowns per game, and unlike most teams, they havent beaten up on any lower-division palookas. Not even halfway through the season, the blue bears have got nine different players with 100 or more receiving yards.
The Cardinals 27-21 loss to Utah really wasnt that big a shocker. If not for kick returner Ty Montgomery, they would already have lost to Washington a week earlier. In the past two games, Montgomery has returned seven kickoffs for a total of 364 yards and two touchdowns.
At 6-4, quarterback Kevin Hogan is only of average height among the towering tree-mens offense. Thats only fitting, because its a little-known fact that Palo Alto means tall pal.
The Czar learned how to speak Spanish from audio books narrated by Peter Scolari.
UCLA 30, Stanford 27
Indiana at Michigan
At the end of one of the longest and wildest games of the season, U of M coach Brady Hoke suddenly decided he didnt want to win all that badly. After a missed Penn State kick to start the first overtime, Hoke decided to meekly accept a 40-yard field goal rather than try to move the ball downfield. The attempt was blocked. Three OT rounds later, PSU played to win, and did, by going for a fourth-and-one, instead of kicking to tie the game.
In truth, the Wolverines wussery began in regulation time, when they were at the Nittany Lions 40-yard-line with nine seconds to play. They completed a pass to improve their field goal range, but was five yards the most they were willing to go for? Brendan Gibbons 52-yard attempt was on target, but barely short.
The Hoosiers hammered that same Penn State team a week earlier, 44-24. Having noted that, anyone who believes in the transitive property of football (e.g., Indiana > Penn State and Penn State> Michigan; therefore Indiana > Michigan) is a lardhead. Using that theory, the Czar could deduce that Prairie View A&M is better than Notre Dame.
Dont believe it? PVAM def. Stephen F. Austin 56-48; SFA def. Montana St. 52-38; MSU def. No. Arizona 36-7; NAU def. Cal-Davis 21-10; Cal-Davis def. So. Utah 21-3; SUU def. S. Alabama 22-21; S. Alabama def. Tulane 41-39; Tulane def. N. Texas 24-21; UNT def. Ball St. 34-27; Ball St. def. Virginia 48-27; Virginia def. BYU 19-16; BYU def. Texas 40-21; Texas def. Oklahoma 36-20; OU def. Notre Dame 35-21.
You cant argue with science.
Michigan 51, Indiana 35
LSU at Ole Miss
The 35 points the Rebels scored in last years meeting were by far the most that Louisiana State gave up all season. The Tigers tied the game on Odell Beckhams 89-yard, fourth-quarter punt return, and then sacked Mississippi QB Bo Wallace out of range for a winning field goal. Coach Hugh Freeze chose to try the 53-yarder anyway, but the miss set up the Bayou Bengals on a short field, which they drove for a late score to win, 41-35.
The Hat pulled out a rabbit last Saturday, when his defense gave up Les Yards than in any game all season. It was also their lowest score allowed, as they held Florida out of the end zone for the entirety of a 17-6 smothering.
Just three weeks ago, the possibility of the 3-0 Rebs beating Alabama was a serious topic of discussion. Now, at 3-3, their chances of just qualifying for a bowl game even with Idaho and Troy remaining on their schedule are in doubt.
Ole Miss has ditched its Colonel Rebel mascot, which was deemed to be offensive, but its still got a quarterback named Bo, as in one of the occupants of the General Lee, with the Stars and Bars painted on the roof. The College Football Czar will have to ask Bob Costas whether thats acceptable and then inform him that hes a supercilious ninny.
LSU 31, Ole Miss 16
Utah at Arizona
Last weeks upset of Stanford was the first Pac 12 win of the season for the Utes, who had lost to Oregon State 51-48 in overtime, and been beaten in a tough, Thursday night tussle with UCLA, 34-27. They must have thought they were in for another disappointing finish when Cardinal WR Devon Cajuste was allowed to trap the ball for a touchdown to pull his team within six. Instead, the Ute defense withstood a 7-minute, 82-yard Stanford drive, and forced a turnover on downs at their 6-yard-line, to cap a 27-21 triumph.
The Wildcats got whacked for two touchdown passes of over 60 yards apiece, in the first quarter of a 38-31 Thursday night loss to USC. At 3-2 overall, RichRods team is now 0-2 in conference play, after prevailing in their marquee nonconference game, against the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners. The coach may as well have just ordered One (1) Acme Cowardly Schedule from the catalog.
Thankfully, these border rivals are able to meet this week, because the government shutdown is over. That means the Grand Canyon has been re-opened, but who knew it was possible to close up a canyon in the first place? The president must have been serious about those shovel-ready jobs after all.
Utah 24, Arizona 23
Iowa at Ohio State
Braxton Miller is now 15-0 as the Buckeyes starting quarterback, but what does that mean, exactly? Coach Urban Meyer is 18-0 since arriving in Columbus. How much differently would his record have turned out with another QB? After all, Kenny Guiton is 3-0, for the same winning percentage, right? Alas, superstitious analysts remain bent on crediting Miller for every victory, even those that were arguably achieved in spite of him.
Against Northwestern, for instance, he scored no TDs while turning the ball over three times, but tailback Carlos Hyde carried the team, as he rumbled for 168 yards and three scores. Chalk up another win for Braxton. Even in his triumphant return against Wisconsin, Miller passed for a modest total of 198 yards. It doesnt matter how he does it, were told, he just wins. Hes just a winner. Thats all.
Thats the kind of reasoning that leads lardheads to conclude that Trent Dilfer was a better quarterback than Dan Marino, just because one of them won a Super Bowl, and the other didnt.
The 4-2 Hawkeyes have only scored more than 28 points once this season, and that was against a woeful Western Michigan team. Last week, they did all their scoring within a four minute span of the second quarter, in a 26-14 loss to Michigan State.
This is the kind of game in which a team can find out a lot about itself from its opponent. For instance, the visitors from Iowa City will learn from the fans in Columbus that the name of their state actually begins with a triangle.
Ohio State 28, Iowa 17
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Sophomore tailback Todd Gurley might be able to return to the Bulldogs huddle this week. The problem is that he might not recognize anybody once he gets there. Senior slinger Aaron Murray is one of the few familiar faces to have remained there throughout the 5-1 start.
Last season, the Commodores were a far better team than they showed in a 48-3 blowout loss to UGA. Whether or not they are this year is debatable. At 0-3 in the SEC, the only thing keeping them afloat at .500 is an early schedule consisting of UAB, Umass, and Division I-AA Austin Peay. Mind you, theyve still got one nonconference game left, against ACC doormat Wake Forest at the end of the season.
Vandys head coach is named James Franklin. His team was trounced 51-28 two weeks ago, by a Missouri team led by quarterback James Franklin. The Mizzou QB does not have a numerical suffix on his jersey to distinguish himself from the coach, which means that the two of them are in fact the same person. Ergo, the game was fixed.
You still cant argue with science.
Georgia 40, Vanderbilt 22
Syracuse at Georgia Tech
The Orange won their first-ever ACC road game last Saturday at Nc State, 24-10, behind running backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, who rushed for 140 and 132 yards, respectively.
Somehow or other, the Ramblin Wrecks Week 4 comeback win against North Carolina seems to have destroyed their momentum. Of course, another factor is that their schedule suddenly got tougher after their 3-0 start, with consecutive losses to Virginia Tech, Miami and Brigham Young. During those three games, quarterback Vad Lee has vaded away, throwing no touchdown passes while getting picked off four times, and fumbling twice.
Somebody whose first name consists of both Prince and Tyson has got to have the squeakiest voice in the world. People wont point it out to him, though, because the Tyson half of him would clobber them. Besides, it would hurt the Prince halfs feelings.
Syracuse 26, Georgia Tech 16
Washington at Arizona State
The Huskies may be the third-best team in the Pac 12, but theyre all but eliminated from contention after consecutive losses to North division foes Stanford and Oregon. After getting quobbered by the Quack Attack for the tenth year in a row, theyll try to snap a seven-game losing streak against ASU.
Todd Grahams team is capable of totally devastating lesser opponents like Colorado, against whom they scored 47 first-half points on the way to a 54-13 rout last week. When faced with more formidable foes, like Stanford and Notre Dame, the Sun Devils have not only lost, but theyve been bullied. They were visibly intimidated out of making offensive plays in the first half of a loss to the Cardinal, whereas the Fighting Irish sacked QB Taylor Kelly six times, and were in his head all game long (which, technically, is not a targeting penalty because theyre, you know, already there).
ASUs team name must have been misspelled for all these years. Theyre actually the Son Devils, who, like the Son of Godzilla, have no fire to blast at their enemies. All they do is blow wussy little smoke rings.
Washington 52, Arizona State 41
Duke at Virginia
The 4-2 Blue Devils demolished Navy last week, 35-7, forcing three turnovers out of the triple-option offense from Annapolis. It was the first time theyve held a Division I-A opponent to single digits since vanquishing Vanderbilt 10-7 in 2008.
The Phantom has vanished just as mysteriously as hed appeared, as junior QB Brandon Connette, whod played very well in a 38-31 victory over Troy, was unable to start against the Middies due to an ankle injury. Luckily, original starter Anthony Boone was ready to return. In his first action since suffering a broken collarbone a month ago, Boone passed for 295 yards and three TDs.
The 2-4 Cavaliers nearly knocked off Maryland last week, but fell by a final of 27-26. Kicker Alex Vozenilek successfully booted 4 of 5 field goals, but the longest of those was for only 28 yards, meaning that the Cavs had four drives stall out at the 11 or closer. Vozenilek finally got a shot at a 42-yarder with ten seconds left, but missed.
Duke University was founded by Methodists, and was originally known as Trinity College. So where does the Blue Devils name come from? It was the name of a group of French military heroes. Kind of makes those 53 years since their last postseason win a little more understandable.
Duke 29, Virginia 25
Army at Temple
The Black Knights junior tailback Terry Baggett doesnt carry the ball like a loaf of bread, nor did he loaf much during last weeks 50-25 toasting of Eastern Michigan, to whom he did something else breadlike for four touchdowns and 304 rushing yards, rising to more than double his previous career high.
The Owls kept their 0 intact last Friday, when they fell to 0-6 with a 38-20 loss to Cincinnati. Freshman P.J. Walker became the first QB from his team to throw two TDs in a game this season, however, and hes proving to be a more potent downfield threat than either of his predecessors. Unfortunately, they cant go back and replay the Fordham and Idaho games with him behind center.
And if you like the Czars witty bread-related humor, just wait until next week, when he regales you with every hat joke he ever wrote down while watching The Captain and Tennille.
Temple 32, Army 24
Brigham Young at Houston
UH is off to a 5-0 start, having opened against Division I-AA Southern University, before going on to beat Temple, Rice, Texas-San Antonio and Memphis. Any announcer who refers to this Cougar team as a potential BCS-buster for that reason is hereby officially nominated for the Lardhead of the Year Award.
The other Cougars, from Provo, are only 4-2, albeit against much tougher competition. Last week, they pounced on mistake-prone Georgia Tech 38-20, going plus-two in turnovers, while taking advantage of GTs ten penalties.
If these Cougarses are wearing pink this week, it wont be for the usual reason. Instead, it will be for the purpose of raising Mellencamp awareness, by reminding viewers of the pinko ex-Cougar who sang Pink Houses. Remember: Friends dont let friends listen to John Mellencamp. At least not without slapping them.
Brigham Young 35, Houston 20
Kent State at South Alabama
The Jaguars have taken the silly bubble-headed cat off their helmets this year, and replaced it with the word Jags, perhaps in an attempt to trick Catherine Bell into showing up at their games. A long shot, admittedly, but well worth a try.
The 2-5 Golden Flashes might be almost as good a team as they were during last years 11-3 campaign, but their early schedule has just been brutal. In addition to nonconference foes LSU and Penn State, theyve lost to the three best teams in the MAC. A week ago, they came up with a late fourth-down stop against Ball State, but quickly went three-and-out, and were unable to beat back BSU again in a 27-24 setback.
Those fans in Mobile chanting U-S-A, U-S-A are referring to their home team, the University of South Alabama, and not the United States of America, of which their opponents are a part as well. Nevertheless, some crackpot school administrator will probably find the cheer to be racist hate speech directed at the undocumented community.
The Czar sincerely wishes he was joking about that.
South Alabama 20, Kent State 14
Florida at Missouri
The 6-0 Tigers took advantage of an undermanned Georgia team to score a big 41-26 win, but in doing so they suffered a costly injury themselves, losing senior quarterback James Franklin, perhaps for the season, with a separated throwing shoulder.
Gator quarterback Tyler Murphy wasnt given much time to look downfield during last weeks dismal 17-6 defeat to LSU. The junior, getting his third start, was sacked four times, and avoided many others by bailing on plays early. His 15 completions went for a total of only 115 yards, with just four of those going for more than ten yards, and none of them over 20.
If the SEC is really so much better than everyone else, then how can its two newest members already be competing for division titles in their second year in the league? Are we to believe that A&M and Mizzou were miraculously imbued with swellness upon joining the conference, or were they already of comparable quality while they were still playing in the Big XII? I mean, really, if the AAAUGH!
Sorry for the interruption. This still is being the Czar football guessing person, really it is. Here I am picking the game scores natural as always, and not at all tied up in the trunk, or someplace else you might be thinking of me being. Oh, look. That last thing above that I wrote is stupid. What I mean to say is S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!
Missouri 27, Florida 14
Here’s hoping Coach Orgeron rallies the Trojans to prevail over the Domers—even though that could cost him his job because his boss, USC Athletic Director Benedict Alger Haden is a Domer fan.
Goodbye, Muschamp...don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
Looks like Missouri-Alabama for the SEC Championship.