When the fine folks at ChicagoSide welcomed me aboard for the 2013 college football season, we mutually agreed I’d try to write more from a Chicago-centric or Big Ten angle.
That will not be happening during this week’s intro.
Tajh Boyd! Jameis Winston! Dope offense! Unbeatens! Clemson vs. Florida State in a battle of Top 5 teams. As Kevin Durant would say, “Got Damn!”
This is my dream matchup in too many ways to count. It’s got the national relevance based on high rankings, two beyond-cool QBs, non-SEC teams, non-Big Ten teams, warm weather, happy people, happy football. I don’t believe I’m missing anything — other than not being at the game itself.
I implore all y’all to watch it, come back here next week, and we can discuss and be friends and maybe even talk Big Ten again.
Selective Hits On The AP Top 25
1) Alabama (55)
2) Oregon (5): Reader Lindsay sends in a picture of Oregon’s cheerleaders wearing these eerie-yet-gorgeous school-themed contact lenses. I made that picture my desktop at work for a solid three days and scared myself at least twice while minimizing screens.
Speaking of Oregon and the Internet… I like De’Anthony Thomas a ton, but this was too good to deny:
“De’Anthony Thomas uses Internet Explorer” might be the most Pac-12 Gameday sign ever.
3) Clemson: Somehow, this FSU-Clemson tilt has turned into a mini-hate week down South, and Clemson Tom be sippin’ on haterade flavored beverages:
‘Hatred’ is a word I usually use at the end of November. However, when it comes to Florida State, my hatred for them runs deep. True, they were dominant in the 90s and have tradition. Yet, they ALWAYS seem to bust. Every year, we always hear “FSU is back,” and they always crumble like mediocre teams do.
They made Bobby Bowden quit — think about that. They made the face of their program quit. Kicked him to the curb! He’s the symbol of what they were! Classless. But when has FSU ever been classy? I’ll wait…
With all that being said, who can actually blame them when they get excited about a young talent? ‘Baby Face’ Winston is talented. I can’t argue that. Yet, he’s unproven! How can FSU be so arrogant when their QB is unproven? He has yet to play a good team. Play at a true away game. Unproven in all areas. Sorry, he beat an extremely overrated Maryland team. How y’all gonna hang your hat on beating Maryland? Since when have they been good in football? Once again, delusional fans.
Baby Face Winston and the rest of the Crimanoles have to FINALLY play a real team in a true away game. Clemson will be the loudest stadium in the world come Saturday night. FSU will see what a championship team looks and plays like.
Wait till Vic Beasley sacks Baby Face. He hasn’t been hit yet. Nothing about FSU is tested. That is why they’ll lose.
This is going to be a street fight. We hate them, and they hate us. Death Valley will make people deaf Saturday night. Put your big boy britches on, ’cause the Clemson Tigers are coming to whip that ass!
I am so Got-damned fired up right now. Also, why not just call it Deaf Valley?
4) Ohio State: I am jealous of you, your program, your players. I love you with the passion of my own self-loathing which runs through my veins.
5) Florida State: Clemson Tom tweeted out a pic that could only be called “Do You Believe In Jameis Christ?”
7) Texas A&M: I don’t care how redunant this is — guys, please watch Johnny Football play football. This sounds basic because it is, but if you’re still somehow not, I have run out of words. Manziel treated the field like an easel in that Ole Miss game. It’s like watching someone play Madden on the easiest level; just… full control at all times.
Meanwhile, off the field, he’s letting the readers of Outkick The Coverage pick his Halloween costume for this year. Will it top Scooby Doo? I say possibly. Man, that story feels like ten years ago.
8) Louisville: Haha, No. 8. Even though we should like them, Louisville always seems to make this column for all the wrong reasons. This week, SB Nation gives us GIFs of Teddy Bridgewater being bad at sliding. It’s worth your time.
9) UCLA: Top 10, UCLA? That’s what I’m talking about. Welcome to Realrankingsville, sons.
10) Miami (FL): You can come too, Miami!
11) South Carolina: Eleven? Bluhhh.
12) Baylor: Don’t sleep on the Baylor Bears, Don’t sleep on the Baylor Bears, Don’t sleep on the Baylor Bears
13) Stanford: As miserable* as last Saturday was, I took a lot of joy in watching Stanford’s unbeaten season peace out. The best part was they lost on a passing play. That’s right, Mr. Power Running flamed out through the air. Now, you might say “But Bobby, they’re known for running in short yardage, so maybe they thought they could deceive them by passing it on fourth-and-short!” To which I say: watch the play. Seriously watch the play.
/looks up play
Aright, well, I can’t find the play, but trust me, it sucked. It was this sloppy, rudimentary, desperation heave, clearly spawned via an offense which hangs its hat on power running — the boringest of boring. It would be like if Oregon lost a perfect season after coming out in a spread look, then getting stuffed up the middle like it was 1945.
Man, I hope that doesn’t happen.
But yeah, Stanford loses to the Utes. The only thing that could make this better is some weird hyperbole quote from one of the Utah players.
“I feel like we just won the national championship,” receiver Dres Anderson said.
Haha, and there it is.
(* – this is foreshadowing a Michigan section on the horizon, duh)
14) Missouri: Nothing sadder (note: many things sadder, but I love QBs so much) than a big win getting tainted by a QB injury. I’m sorry, Mizzou. Things gon’ get tough befo’ they get easy.
15) Georgia: Listen, I love Georgia, I love Murray, I love passing, and they probably are a Top 15 team, but this ranking is an atrocity. You just got blown out at home for your second loss of the season, and you’re still above undefeated teams from power conferences? Come on, son.
16) Texas Tech: Tech has got to be sadly thinking “Why do they all hate us?”
I dunno, but they clearly do.
17) Fresno State
18) Oklahoma: He gawn.
19) Virginia Tech
21) Oklahoma State
23) Northern Illinois: ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF ROOF.
25) Wisconsin: Sconnie enters the Top 25 just in time for the Big Ten to finish this week with two — count ‘em, two — ranked teams. Say it with me, in the most whimsy way yet: #wisconsinjustice
Dropped from rankings
Michigan (18): Obligatory Michigan Fan Getting Maced In Face Who I Also Compare To Myself As Metahpor For How Bad Last Week’s 4OT Loss To A Depleted Penn State Team Was.
One of this column’s biggest assets (wait, this column has assets?) is waiting until Thursday to publish for the week. Had I not waited until Thursday, y’all would have been treated to roughly 90,000 words on the coaching catastrophe that was Michigan vs. Penn State. It was literally every nightmare I had of Brady Hoke’s offensive staff before they ever coached a down at Michigan, and it was downright pathetic. Because he is smarter than me in every way, I’m going to let MGoBlog’s Brian Cook ride for a little bit. This week’s excerpt come from his game recap, which was titled “Position To Fail”.
Any individual play can be blamed on a player. Any structural issue in the first couple years can be attached to the previous coach. But there’s a breaking point at which it becomes clear that something is deeply wrong with the guys in charge…
Yup, yup. He then lists RB Fitzgerald Toussaint’s line, which was, and my stomach is churning writing this, 27 carries for 27 yards.
We’re talking about the worst game from a tailback in the history of the program here, and nothing about it was actually Toussaint’s fault. This is Greg Robinson level output. The only faith you can have in the offensive coaching is that two to four times a year they will come out with a gameplan so clueless that you spend four quarters telling yourself that you won’t send that BORGERG tweet out. It’s time to break the seal.
There are ways to work around the personnel limitations Michigan has, but they are not the ones Michigan wants to run. They want to be a rough and tumble Stanford offense (ed- VOMIT VOMIT VOMIT VOMIT); they spend large chunks of games with one wide receiver and three guys vaguely inclined towards blocking, and they’ve spent almost a month of precious practice time installing an unbalanced formation that resulted in the above table as soon as an opponent saw it on tape…
This is nothing like what Rodriguez did on offense because there was no offense in which Stephen Threet, Nick Sheridan, seven scholarship OL, and a parade of freshmen at wide receiver would be effective. It is instead exactly like what he did on defense: faithlessly pretend to fit personnel to scheme early, ditch that at the first sign of trouble, shoehorn players into roles they are not fit for, make alarmingly large mid-season changes, and get the minimum possible out of available talent. Michigan is 117th in tackles for loss allowed, giving up eight per game.
No offensive line is bad enough to pave the way for 27 yards on 27 carries, because teams running for one god damn yard an attempt stop doing it.
Preach preach preach preach preach.
You know what? I can’t excerpt more of this. I’ll stop the record here and end with some bullet points.
- He compares Devin Gardner’s ball security to Miley Cyrus
- He calls out various fourth quarter and OT playcalling
- He points out Michigan spiked the ball … deep breath … AFTER A PLAY WHERE THEY RAN OUT OF BOUNDS GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
- And he ends it with the part which crushes my heart in the saddest way possible: Michigan’s insistence on playing — gulp — suuuuuuuuper slow.
Michigan’s dedication to the slowest possible pace is enraging. It enrages to see opponents get to the line, see what Michigan is doing, and check to a play that uses that information. It is enraging to see Michigan get to the line of scrimmage with six seconds on the clock, unable to react to the defense, unable to even to have a snap count that might allow the offensive line to react to a tipped blitz. It is the most enraging to have Michigan eat critical delay of game penalties because the offensive coordinator is consistently having all these things happen and putting his players in a position to fail.
Gardner and Hoke share responsibility there, as well—Hoke moreso than Gardner, who’s trying to get to the line, read the defense, and check with six seconds while Hoke should be on top of the playclock—but at root the issue is Michigan’s dedication to the archaic art of huddling.
In conclusion, the season is over, I’m glad Michigan is no longer in the Top 25 because now we don’t have to think about them until they beat more bad teams and somehow return, and I hate everybody.
Northwestern (19): Seriously, eat shit Northwestern.
Any Sweet Games This Weekend?
Miami, FL (10) at North Carolina: Man, I’m in a bad mood now. Michigan is SO BAD YOU GUYS. Focus. Foooooocus. Aight, I’m good. Eh, I’m OK. I’m not good. I’ll never be good.
This is a game I like. Miami — the ACC’s third unbeaten team — takes its talents to UNC. The Canes feel a tad over-ranked, but the 9.5 spread in their favor totally says otherwise. If Miami wants to prove it’s a Top 10-caliber team, it takes care of business on the road en route to bigger and better thangs.
UCF at Louisville (8): This one’s for you, Teddy.
South Carolina (11) at Tennessee: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Georgia (15) at Vanderbilt: No.
Texas Tech (16) at West Virginia: Like this one. The Mountaineers have shown they can upset peeps, and Texas Tech desperately needs to prove it belongs in the national title conversation. Roll the ball out and play, boys.
Minnesota at Northwestern: Will the Wildcats continue their free fall? Much more importantly, do I care at all?
Purdue at Michigan State:
Florida (22) at Missouri (14): This will be an underrated game. Missouri has to play without their QB for a long chunk of the season, but this is a perfect game to see where the Tigers at right now. They get to ease in at home and play a solid, not spectacular, also banged up Gator squad. It’ll be a good litmus. Also, it kicks off at 11:21 a.m. (CST), which makes no sense.
Northern Illinois (23) at Central Michigan: ROOF ROOF ROOF vs. Fire Up Chips
Iowa at Ohio State (4): You know, I’m boycotting Iowa’s 2013 season, but I’ll be around people who have interest in this game on Saturday.
Auburn (24) at Texas A&M (7): Damn! This one’s real solid. Can’t see A&M losing, though.
UCLA (9) at Stanford (13): Will Stanford annoy its way back into the Top 10 this quickly? Oh, brother.
Indiana at Michigan: I will waste eight words talking about this.
Arkansas at Alabama (1): Not gonna go this whole column without mentioning the nation’s number one team, but this game does nothing for me.
LSU (6) at Ole Miss: Man, Ole Miss in another cool game. They’ve really turned into the Atlanta Falcons of college football — interesting skill players, competent offense, entertaining games… but, ultimately, no title shot. Sure does make for good watchin’, though. ESS EE SEE.
Iowa State at Baylor (12): I can get with that.
USC at Notre Dame: The RIP Bowl.
Florida State (5) at Clemson (3): Game of the Week.
I like this game so much, I feel like I have to make a prediction. Going into the week, I’da guessed Clemson would be favored by 3 or 4 points, but Vegas actually sees it as Florida State by 3. While that initially cooled me off on Clemson’s chances, I thought about it more and still think they’ll come out of this as the winner. The atmosphere is going to be insane, the defense just needs to make a few plays against Winston, and, as CT said, Tajh Boyd is more battle tested. I’m taking Clemson by a moderate margin.
Wisconsin (25) at Illinois: OK.
Washington State at Oregon (2): Ohhhhh, it’s gonna be a sad end to Saturday for your old buddy Bobby.
UNLV at Fresno State (17): What are you up to, Fresno State?
Wrapping It Up…
For as salty, strung out, and grumpy as I am right now, I still have “The Electric Slide” melody stuck in my head.