Picking Alabama-Florida, Wisconsin-Penn State, Clemson-Va Tech & Bedlam In Oklahoma
There was more action off the field this past weekend than on it in college football.
On Thursday, just as LSU was ready to kick off against Texas A&M, the agent for Tom Herman leaked negotiations to Texas beat writers in the hopes it would light a fire under the Longhorns and sure enough the Steers bolted ahead like bulls and fired Charlie Strong. LSU, meanwhile, was so ticked that it broke off negotiations and hired Coach O. And Herman got his “dream job” at Texas.
Then, after an epic Ohio State-Michigan game in which one had to question a few play calls by the head coach – letting a wounded quarterback throw from his own end zone, for starters, a play that resulted in a Pick Six – Jim Harbaugh talked not of the game but whined like a bratty little kid about the officiating. He’s a sore loser and – despite the fact he’s got the program back in the National Championship conversation – this pouting did not sit well with many Michigan men.
And now there’s word out of the Pacific Northwest that Oregon is making an all-out push to get Chip Kelly, who is getting pushed out of the San Francisco 49ers.
Down in T-town, Nick Saban unloaded on reporters who asked him if it’s okay to lose the SEC Championship game figuring his Crimson Tide would still get into the College Football Playoff. “it’s NEVER okay to lose!,” Saban shot back at them. Ahhh, all’s normal in Tuscaloosa, and the standard Saban at Alabama has set has caused a lot of the panic over coaches at the above schools.
This is all more interesting than what we’ll see on the weekend with some potential yawners for the league championship games.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP, COLORADO vs. WASHINGTON (9 p.m., Fox)
Here’s an example of how when you don’t always get what you want, sometimes you get what you need. When Colorado was searching for a coach a few years ago it badly wanted Butch Jones of Cincinnati. Jones, tho, opted for Tennessee and the Buffs settled for Mike MacIntyre. Now MacIntyre is playing for a conference championship while Jones is saying stupid things like his players “have won the championship of life” before losing to Vanderbilt.
And USC didn’t think Chris Petersen could handle the media spotlight and now P’s team is one win away from playing for a shot at the National Championship. Of course USC has beaten both of these schools, which kind of gives the feeling this is a game of second-tier teams. The Huskies fans would howl at this notion and have a wide-open stage to impress the entire college football nation. That is, if beating Colorado can qualify as impressive, even tho it’s impressive that the boys from Boulder are here in the first place. Winner: Washington
OKLAHOMA STATE at OKLAHOMA (9:30 a.m., Fox)
The Boomers hope to create Bedlam not just in Norman but in the College Football Playoff by blowing out the Pokes, but Pistol Pete isn’t going to go down without making this a gunfight at the OU Corral. It would take true bedlam to give the winner of this one a chance at the Final Four – U-Dub and Clemson both need to down to give them even a chance – but the lack of stopping power from either defense is not likely to impress any committee. Winner: Oklahoma
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP, ALABAMA vs. FLORIDA (1 p.m., CBS)
The big elephant in the college football room stomps into Atlanta’s Georgia Dome led by a coach who does not think playing for the SEC title this year is like playing for peanuts. The Pachyderms are eating up everything in sight and a bunch of offensively-challenged Gators coming in from The Swamp does not curb their appetite in the least bit.
The Tide D will feast on the gang from Gainesville as if they were eating ribs from Dreamland while the point producers will eventually get their share of the meal. Winner: Alabama
BIG 12 CHAMPONSHIP, PENN STATE vs. WISCONSIN (5 p.m., FOX)
Bucky loses to both Michigan and Ohio State but winds up in Indy while both of those teams are home. The Felines get blown out by Michigan yet blocked (literally) the Buckeyes from getting here and there you have the Big 10 Championship, 2016 version. Much like the Pac-12, it’s hard to get really excited about this game because the best team in the conference is not in it.
Oh, the Badgers fans are doing the “jump around” while the Lions fans are on top of the Allegheny Mountains but that’s what fans do, of course. Each has a right to be greedy, too, and may want more as in a playoff position, but will gladly settle for a conference title and going to the Rose Bowl. Winner: Wisconsin
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP, VIRGINIA TECH vs. CLEMSON (5 p.m., ABC)
After spending much of the season lounging around and chewing on the fat of last year’s season, the Tigers seem to have finally gone on the hunt again the past two weeks. If indeed they are hungry and are back to stalking a national title, then these Cats can be ferocious.
The Hokies kind of stumbled their way into this one, fell backward a few times and sometimes wobbled like a drunk leaving $1 beer night at the local college bar, but collected themselves to look presentable enough to make it to the game. It’s actually a credit to them that a first-year coach could have the program here at all, so the fans should gobble up the satisfaction of making it to this game rather than worrying so much about the outcome. Because it could be a rout. Winner: Clemson