This is CYA week in college football.
That’s when embattled football coaches start firing assistants (as if that’s really going to help at this point in the season) and are basically telling their athletic directors “see, I’m doing something – please don’t fire me!”
Look for further “staff adjustments” at the end of the season for coaches who survive, but this is the last move of a desperate man who is likely to be gone the next season anyway. This is the point when the media stops writing their “coaches on the hot seat” articles and starts their “possible replacements” stories research.
The sudden implosion of Florida is, on the surface, the biggest surprise, even surpassing the puzzling situation at Nebraska. But look back to last year and anyone could see this coming like a gator running across open land. The team seems interested only in playing Alabama and the rest of the time they wander around looking lost like a bunch of Mullenheads in a trailer park.
It’s too early for Sark to start dropping assistants at Texas but if the Horns can’t hook some Ws, he may not last as long in as Charlie Strong on the Forty Acres.
Congratulations to Jim Mora for taking the head coaching job at, er, UConn?? Why the heck would you give up hanging out in Hermosa Beach in that beautiful beach pad!??
New feature! The Pigskin Prognosticator’s trivia question: Why are UT’s colors orange and white?
Now onto the games. USC at Cal has been postponed until Dec. 4 due to an outbreak of COVID among the parent Bears. All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Michigan at Penn State (9 a.m., ABC)
Big Blue isn’t feeling too blue over that Michigan State loss now that it has passed Sparty in the Playoff rankings and it’s hoping to celebrate against the blue-clad felines. The Khaki Coach is hoping to stay happy in Happy Valley but on a rainy day it’s not going to be a sunny outcome for UM. Winner: Penn State
Oklahoma at Baylor (9 a.m., FOX)
Is this the week the stacked beer cups finally crash to the ground? The College Football Playoff committee sure has not been impressed with the team’s Houdini-esque escapes tho the Bears went into hibernation last week against TCU. So not this week. Winner: Oklahoma
New Mexico State at Alabama (9 a.m., SEC Network)
It’s a sure bet that Nick Saban was not rocking like a wagon wheel after that LSU escape and while these Aggies don’t pose nearly the threat of the previous ones, he will have the Pachyderms rocking like a southbound train. If the Tide is to make the College Football Playoffs – no sure thing with a trip to wild Auburn on the schedule and if they survive that then Georgia in the SEC Championship – it will have to do it with its (gasp!) defense. Winner: Alabama
Northwestern at Wisconsin (9 a.m., ESPN2)
The Tamecats head to winter camp at Camp Randall where they will be frozen out on a cloudy, frigid (game-time temperature, 35 degrees) field with little protection from the elements. As well as the Badgers, who won’t exactly be in a hospitable mood. Winner: Wisconsin
Georgia at Tennessee (12:30 p.m., CBS)
The new Junkyard Dawgs, as nasty as they ever were with the bald and wild Erc Russell as their coordinator, will be tested against the throw-deep-anywhere-anytime Volunteers. The Davy Crocketts like to toss the ball up on good ‘ol Rocky Top, hoping the opposing defense is like the two strangers who climbed it and never came down. Their offense may be as wild as a mink but their defense is a sweet as soda pop and while they may put up some points, they will give up a lot more. Winner: Georgia
Purdue at Ohio State (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Can it happen again? The Spoilermakers sending the Nuts rolling out of the College Football Playoff committee’s Top 4? If this game were in West Lafayette then it probably would be happen. But in Columbus – despite the Buckeye’s offensive struggles against decent teams – the Boilermaker Special is going to run out of steam. Winner: Ohio State
Miami at Florida State (12:30 p.m., ESPN)
Wide right! Wide Right II!! Wide Right III! Wide Left, for a change of pace. At one time, this game was an instant classic and an annual heartbreak for Bobby Bowden and the Spears. This year, the rosters are not stocked with future NFL talent, the coaches are far from legendary (heck, they may not even survive the season) and the quality of play will be, well, keep a paper bag and the remote within easy reach. Winner: Miami
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (4 p.m., ESPN)
The two biggest misnomers in college football this season are that the Texas Aggies have suddenly (and finally) emerged as the powerhouse many predicted when Jimbo Fisher took the job and that Ole Miss scores tons of points because its coach, Lane Kiffin, is such an offense genius. Well, okay, maybe Dan Mullen being such a fantastic coach and offensive guru is more of a misnomer but in this case, the Cadets played one out-of-their-minds game and have had the benefit of a series of conference creampuffs since then and the Hottie Toddies have scored in the 20s their last two games. The Gig (Em) won’t quite be up here but this won’t be a points-a-minute thriller, either. Winner: Texas A&M
Colorado at UCLA (6 p.m., Pac-12)
The ol’ trampoline is in need of repair and the maintenance crew from Bolder is on the way to make some adjustments that will be a temporary fix to put some bounce back into the Baby Bears. Other than having a cool mascot, the Ralphies bring nothing to the football field. Playing them is like getting 10 shots of Cuban coffee, for it can really wake up an opponent from a slumber. That will be enough to get the hosts the W but a question remains: if the Trampolines win a game and nobody is in the Rose Bowl to see it, did it really happen? Winner: UCLA
Washington State at Oregon (7:30 p.m, ESPN)
Now that the coaching vaccination thing is behind them, the Cougs are actually showing signs of life. That may also serve to stir up the Waddlers, who have been scaring their fans much more than their opponents of late. Winner: Oregon