Here are some random thoughts about Week 11 in college football…
- Tennessee fans can give up any hope that they’ll replace Butch Jones with Jon Gruden as their new head football coach. There’s no way Gruden is leaving the cozy confines of the ESPN broadcast booth for the pressure cooker of the SEC. Besides, the environment in Knoxville is so toxic right now the Volunteers will struggle to convince a Power 5 coach to come to Tennessee much less a high profile candidate like Gruden.
- Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will probably win this year’s Heisman Trophy but as Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) aptly tweeted this past weekend, “Baker Mayfield was put on this earth to sucker the Cleveland Browns.”
- Alabama will more than likely become the number one team in this week’s college football playoff rankings but their 31-24 comeback win against Mississippi State Saturday night exposed how much their recent injuries on defense have hurt their chances of winning a national championship.
- Miami, Florida is a legitimate national championship contender and they can thank their defense for the opportunity. The Hurricanes became the first team on Saturday since 2011 to force four or more turnovers in four straight games.
- Auburn looked the part of the best team in the country in their 40-17 throttling of number one ranked Georgia on Saturday. Their offense amassed 488 total yards against the conference’s best defense while allowing only 86 yards on Georgia’s 10 drives that did not result in a touchdown.
- The biggest obstacle Wisconsin faces in making the college football playoff is not themselves or their strength of schedule but instead the conference they play in. The 2017 Big 10 is full of under-achieving, inconsistent, and just plain bad teams. It makes the Badgers undefeated record seem less impressive than a one or even two loss team from the ACC, SEC or Big 12.
- With each passing week, it appears more and more likely that the 2017 college football playoffs will include a two-loss or two teams from the same conference or even both.
- It looks like it is time for Illinois to pull the plug on the Lovie Smith head coaching experiment after just two seasons. The Illini are just 5-17 overall and 2-14 in the Big 10 under Smith and falling rapidly in the wrong direction.
- When Luke Fickell was hired from Ohio State to become the head coach at Cincinnati, he promised to bring discipline to the Bearcats in 2017. So far, it seems Fickell’s discipline got lost between Columbus and Cincinnati. In their last two games, the Bearcats have been penalized a total of 23 times for 230 yards and for the year, Cincinnati averages 7.9 penalties for 79.2 yards per game. Until Fickell cleans up his team’s penchant for penalties, the Bearcats will continue to find themselves mired in mediocrity.
- Make no mistake, Florida State is paying Louisiana-Monroe $1 million to reschedule their game from September so they can earn the opportunity to become bowl eligible. However, the Seminoles large payout isn’t a desperate attempt for them to continue their 35-year bowl game streak alive but instead a chance for coach Jimbo Fisher to gain valuable post-season practice time for a talented, yet inexperienced team. This is all about building towards 2018.
- In an effort to keep up with the Joneses, the Big 12 decided to have a championship game this year like the other Power 5 conferences, even though they don’t have two divisions. It was done to increase the conference’s chances of having a team in the college football playoffs. This year, though, a championship game may damage the Big 12’s hope s of having a final four team. In all likelihood, Oklahoma will finish the regular season with one conference loss, the only team in the Big 12 with such a record. Without having a conference championship, the Sooners probably would have made the playoffs with just one loss. Now, Oklahoma will have to play an extra game against a two-loss team. A loss by the Sooners, a distinct possibility if they have to play Oklahoma State again, and they and the Big 12 will once again be shut out of the college football playoffs.
ONE MAN’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS
THE FINAL FOUR
FIRST FOUR OUT
NEXT FOUR OUT
ONE MAN”S CURRENT HEISMAN TROPHY BALLOT
1st Place–Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma
2nd Place–Bryce Love, running back, Stanford
3rd Place–Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State
4th Place–Khalil Tate, quarterback, Arizona
5th Place–Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin