Category Archives: College Football

College Football Playoffs – Did ‘The Thirteen’ get it right?

Ultimately, yeah. I think they did.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that the four teams to play in the inaugural College Football Playoff are; No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State.

As I said, I think they did get it right. How they got there however, has left me gobsmacked.

As recently as last week, TCU held the No. 3 ranking and Baylor held the No. 4 spot. This week Baylor fell to No. 6 after beating Iowa State 55 – 3. WUT?! Now, in my opinion (and surely that of any sane CFB enthusiast), TCU should have never been ranked ahead of Baylor since Baylor beat TCU, and head to heads matter don’t they? DON’T THEY? Nope. Total mind fuck. Such a liar, Condy.

I have a sneaking suspicion that ‘The Thirteen’ may have tried at the last moment to rectify that situation with a ‘Oh, you thought we didn’t get it right, how fucking fascinating?’ type decision. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Either way, both Big 12 contenders Baylor and TCU did not make the Playoff.

Ohio State fielded a third string Quarter Back and won 59-0 over a ranked opponent to win the Big Ten Championship, so I’m okay with them joining the three other Conference Champions in the College Football Playoff, cos, you know. Baylor and TCU didn’t win their championship game.

The Big 12 has no championship game.

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Hmmmmmmm.

College Football Opening Weekend 2014

My life has infinitely improved with the re-introduction of college football. I did nothing this past weekend except eat, sleep and watch football. IT WAS AMAZING.

No. 9 South Carolina v No. 21 Texas A & M

Texas A & M DESTROYED No. 9 South Carolina 52 – 28.  TAMU quarterback Kenny Hill completed 44 of 60 passes for 511 yards and 3 touchdowns, breaking my boy Johnny Football’s previous school record for yards in a single game. Kenny Hill had a nice time of it out there with plenty of open receivers, a great offensive line and South Carolina’s piss poor secondary helping him out. Truly, the game was won in the very first drive, and it was obvious South Carolina’s defence had nothing.  I know it was only the first game, but sophomore Kenny Hill looked like a fucking stud out there. It was glorious. He had 72% completion against the blitz, and his poise and decision making was that of a somewhat more seasoned QB. Genius recruiter Kevin Sumlin’s team, offensively looks brilliant, and Kenny Hill certainly seems suited to Sumlin’s style of play, where more than half of their gained yardage came after the catch. Ah. Football.  I can’t help but comment that South Carolina’s preseason ranking appears to be fucked.

No. 2 Alabama v West Virginia

With the loss of A J McCarron to the NFL, Alabama had fifth year senior (seriously, shouldn’t have graduated by now??) Blake Sims at QB. He threw one interception, but otherwise looked solid. Alabama’s defence is still as bad as it was last year – West Virginia wide recover Kevin White finished up with 9 catches and 143 yards because defending against him was apparently a little too much like hard work. ‘Bama went on to win 33 – 23, the game being a lot closer than that score suggests. It was also possibly the most boring game I watched.

The best thing about this game was the ESPN Camera dedicated to Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin and his rollercoaster of emotions. SO MANY FEELS.

No. 12 Georgia v No. 16 Clemson

Let’s go ahead and copy + paste my post from last year since once again this was the game of the weekend for me. Honestly, that game could have gone for another 2 hours and I still would have been sad to see it end.

Three words for you…. Todd Gurley, Heisman. Junior Todd Gurley was first scorer after a 5 play, 57 yard drive.  He also ran a 100 yard kick off return for TD making him the only player in UGA history with 2 career 100 yard kick off return TDs.  While he only touched the ball 5 times in the first half, he touched it that many times in the first drive of the second half, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Gurley finished with 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. You go Todd Gurley.

One of the most interesting reviews of the weekend was a dropped ball by Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett. The ruling on the field was that Bennett was down before the ball came free (he was). The call was reviewed and overturned by some person who may or may not have been drunk since there was absolutely no evidence to overturn the call on the field. Poor form drunky. 

Georgia QB Hutson Mason went on to score the very next drive after great plays by Michael Bennett and Todd Gurley, while Clemson went on to three consecutive 3 and out drives. Clemson back-up QB Deshaun Watson was then put in for Cole Stoudt (Sunshine?) and showed his arm early in the second with a pretty, pretty 30 yard pass for touchdown. That drive – 6 plays for 78 yards, not a bad start for the young man, not good for Cole Stoudt who was later intercepted by red shirt freshman Aaron Davis in an important drive that tied the game at 21-21 going into the break.

Georgia ended up winning the game in a 45 – 21 blowout, and Clemson fans face palming became my new favourite thing.

Honourable mention to freshman running back Nick Chubb who was impossible to bring down in a 47 yard TD run in the 4th.

No. 1 Florida State University v Oklahoma State University

Reigning Heisman winner, crab leg connoisseur, and No. 1 Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston really did nothing to remind people why he won the trophy last year. He threw two interceptions in the fist half, was too slow releasing the ball and was sacked twice. He did manage to score off a 28 yard run which included some hurdling of team mates and was vaguely impressive, finishing up with 25 completions for 40 attempts and 370 yards.

FSU receiver Rashad Greene had 203 rushing yards in this game and scored Jameis Winston’s only passing touchdown. No one else is worth mentioning. I’m not even kidding.

Underdog Oklahoma State are in a rebuilding year but the unranked, very young team showed a lot of heart and managed to stay in the game by doing a really nice job limiting FSU’s running game.

No. 14 Wisconsin v No. 13 LSU

How did LSU even win this game? I still don’t even know what happened. Okay, that is not exactly true. What happened was Wisconsin had the lead in the third quarter 24 – 7. Then BOOM. Fake Punt, 30 yard field goal, 21 unanswered points. Les Miles.

Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy quite literally lost his shit in the second half, throwing 8 completions from 24 attempts for only 50 yards, and got picked off twice. That was that. 

Everything else…..

No. 3 Oregon beat South Dakota 62 – 13

No. 4 Oklahoma beat Louisiana Tech 48 – 16

No. 5 Ohio State beat Navy 34 – 17

No. 6 Auburn beat Arkansas 45 – 21

No. 7 UCLA beat Virginia 28 – 20

No. 8 Michigan State beat Jacksonville State 45 – 7 

No. 11 Stanford beat UC Davis 45 – 0 (COME ON!)

No. 15 USC beat Fresno State 52 -13

No 17. Notre Dame beat Rice 48 – 17 

No. 20 Kansas State beat beat Stephen F Austin 55 – 16

No. 22 Nebraska beat Florida Atlantic 55 – 7

No. 23 North Carolina beat Liberty 56 – 29

No. 24 Missouri beat South Dakota State 38 – 18

No. 25 Washington beat Hawaii 17 – 16

Penn State beat University Central Florida 26 – 24 in Dublin

+ a whole lot of scores nobody cares about. 

Also, Eastern Michigan played on a grey field. It was weird. 

Explained: How The Bloody Hell Does The College Football Playoff System Work Anyway??

It’s getting close to that glorious time of year where I am notably absent from any and all social gatherings on Sundays, and Mama Gray asks redundant questions like “Are you really going to sit there and watch football all day?” Really Mum, is that even a question? I can’t even. Seriously.

There are some important changes to this year’s college football season. After 16 years, the seemingly erroneous and vastly confusing Bowl Championship Series (BCS)  system, which used voting by 167 pollers and computers to generate rankings, has been sacked. This sees the introduction of a new, four team bracket, college football playoff system, aptly named College Football Playoff or CFP (genius!).

The College Football Playoff format means we are no longer required to have some kind of Good Will Hunting sized, mathematically blessed brain in order to keep up with the rankings which were previously determined by using computer generated figures and percentages as well as all sorts of other rules to gain points, generally all things that made little sense to me given my inclination to have little or nothing to do with anything remotely mathematical. If you want to give it a go, Wikipedia sums it up pretty well here.

The new system will instead utilise the combined brain power of ‘The Thirteen’*. ‘The Thirteen’ have been introduced as people of integrity consisting of a mixture of current athletic directors, former coaches, a former NCAA executive VP, a former sports writer, Archie Manning and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The appointment of Condy, the daughter of a football coach and self professed “student of the game”  to ‘The Thirteen’ was obviously met with harsh criticism given that she has a vagina never played the game herself, and therefore has “no business” involving herself since “College Football has never been how she’s made a living” (Birmingham Columnist Kevin Skarbinsky’s words – not mine) and apparently career changes are not allowed. We all know what the boys club was really thinking though. YOLO Condy.

‘The Thirteen’ will pore over numbers each round, taking into consideration such factors as strength of conference, win/loss record, points, time in possession, efficiency inside the 40 and various other computer generated figures before releasing their top 25 rankings on Tuesdays beginning the 28 October 2014, finally deciding on the final four, December 6. The Rose Bowl and The Sugar Bowl will be host to the College Football Semifinals this year, with the # 1 ranked school taking on # 4, and # 2 taking on # 3, the winners of each will play for the National Title Monday 12 January 2015 in Texas.

Whilst the rankings of ‘The Thirteen’ are all that count, The AP rankings will be available before that of ‘The Thirteen’. People of integrity or not, ‘The Thirteen’ are (assumed) human beings, and therefore subject to influence. It will be interesting to see how the rankings stack up.

One of the myriad of issues surrounding the BCS System was that of bias. In an attempt to eliminate bias from the new College Football Playoff system, ‘The Thirteen’ will not be allowed to vote for a team where: they or their immediate family members are paid by that school, they provide professional services to that school or they are a coach, administrator or student athlete at that school. Seems pretty obvious, but good job for trying guys.

Call me Negative Nancy, but all I see here is one big mess, kinda like the old mess, except now instead of blaming computers when we don’t see the results we want, we get to blame actual people! The problem is we have a season that lasts only 12 games, with teams only playing a maximum of 4 out of conference games – not enough chances for the teams from weak conferences to impress, and not enough data. Win/loss numbers will not be as important as the casual football fan may think. Schedule strength will be everything. Big football schools from strong conferences like the SEC can probably afford to lose a game and still make the Playoffs, where schools like those in the Big 10 who hope to make the Playoffs will have to get through the regular season undefeated just to have a chance.

Oh, and there is no limit as to how many teams from a single conference can make the Playoffs. Good times.

*Not an official title

2013 College Football attendance will blow your mind.

Further proof that the USA is heaps better at sports than us (us being Australians in case you weren’t aware), the NCAA announced attendance during the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision…and the numbers are HUGE!

The FBS, just one division of several in US college football, recorded fan total attendance of 38,135,118 for the 2013 season, which averages out to be 45,671 fans per game played. Is your mind blown yet? Wait for it…..In their 7 home games, Michigan averaged 111,592 fans per game, Ohio State 104,933 and Bama had a fair average of 101,505. Let’s not forget that this is not a professional sport, and the players are not being paid.

Shall I put it into perspective for you? As far as Australia’s professional football codes, AFL was the most popular. In the 2013 season, 207 games were played for a total fan attendance of 6,931,085 which averages out to 33,484 fans per game. By team, Collingwood had the best average of 53,754 per game, followed by Hawthorn with 45,769 fans per game…..Still less than half the average number of fans attending a Michigan home game. Huh.

Other Austalian football codes in 2013:

  • NRL – In 184 games, total fan attendance 2,888,760 with an average of 15,700 per game;
  • Super Rugby – In 26 games, total fan attendance 467,752 with an average of 17,999 per game.

MIND BLOWN.

Is an announcement regarding one’s sexuality really necessary?

On Sunday, University of Missouri All-American DL Michael Sam made the announcement via ESPN and The New York times that he is gay. If drafted in this years NFL draft, that would make Sam the first openly gay player in NFL history.

Whilst I applaud Michael Sam for not feeing the need to hide himself and I agree that overall this is a positive for gay athletes, I find it disappointing that in this day and age we have to have an announcement or press conference to discuss a person’s sexuality at all. A person’s sexuality just is, and shouldn’t need to be announced to the world. I fully understand acknowledge that Sam will likely face adversity (because there are way too many ignorant assholes out there), and he admitted that he made the announcement now so that he would avoid a media shitstorm before the Combine. However, I don’t remember Russell Wilson having to announce that he is heterosexual, so in a way, I also feel like this is a step backwards for gay athletes.

The only announcement relating to one’s personal status I want to hear coming from the NFL is Colin Kapaernick admitting once and for all that he is a douche.

College Football Opening Weekend

So, I watched A LOT of football this weekend, and it was awesome. Roll highlights.

North Carolina went down to South Carolina 27-10. This opening game was highly anticipated for one reason……big hitting, All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Now, just so I am clear –  that kid just does not know when to shut up and I am not a fan. Let me give you some examples of his genius remarks from the SEC media day.

Regarding my boy Johnny Manziel “Can I get him? Yes………….I make him move. I’m going to try and hit him in the mouth”.

And regarding Clemson’s Tajh Boyd “I can tell Tajh Boyd is scared back there……He’s scared everytime we play them…….. I know he is probably listening to this right now, but I’m just telling the truth, man”.

Anyway, ever since he knocked the helmet off a Michigan runner in the Outback Bowl in a huge hit, everyone had been talking Heisman, and Jadeveon Clowney has been talking Jadeveon Clowney. Lucky for me since I’m a spiteful bitch, Clowney was anything but Heisman worthy in a lackluster performance which was chalked up to heat and humidity but looked more like lack of fitness. Should have been working out his body more than his mouth in the off-season perhaps?

Remember this name – Baker Mayfield (it’s a pretty cool name). Texas Tech’s Mayfield is the first walk-on true freshman to start at Quaterback for a BCS school EVER, which is awesome on its own, add to that the guy threw 43 passes for 413 yards, 0 interceptions, 4 touchdowns and one rushing touchdown on debut. For his first game at college level he never appeared rattled – just quietly confident, comfortable in the pocket and super on 3rd down plays. One to watch for sure. Texas Tech went on to beat SMU 41 – 23.

Alabama beat Virginia Tech 35-10 largely thanks to Bama wide receiver Christian Jones who scored a kick return touchdown, a punt return touchdown and a receiving touchdown. One would not blame Alabama fans who may have watched that game and come away concerned about the Crimson Tide’s offence – frankly it wasn’t very good. They ran the ball for less than 100 and gave up 3 sacks. Normally solid AJ McCarron just didn’t look overly comfortable in the pocket at any point in the game and 14 of the 35 points scored by Alabama were from special teams. Still, Alabama have put everyone on notice that they are on the hunt for a threepeat.

In a longstanding rivalry game, Clemson beat (some people’s) SEC East favourite Georgia 38 – 35. My pick for the best game of opening weekend. In a close game,  the Bulldogs had more yards than the Tigers, but they just made way too many mistakes on offence and with special teams. Todd Gurley was Georgia’s shining light (add him to your Heisman discussions) rushing for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns whilst QB Aaron Murray threw for 323 yards and 1 interception…….he was also sacked 4 times. Clemson’s QB Tajh Boyd was solid, throwing for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns and Roderick McDowell rushed for 132 yards. Despite the end result, Clemson gave up 35 points. So I’m not sure I will add them to my Championship list just yet. Cracking start though. Thoroughly enjoyed the shit out of that game.

And finally, an honorable er, a mention of Johnny Manziel (since his return to the field following his 30 minute suspension for an “inadvertent” NCAA violation was not quite honorable – enjoyable though). His on field antics had everyone all up in arms again, with haters on twitter getting their rant on. Ah, Johnny Football. My new obsession and quite possibly my spirit animal. I actually read one ESPN report where the author said something along the lines of “one day Johnny Manziel will realize everything is not about him”. Well, that day is not today and really, most everything is about him – you Sir are cementing that with your story and let me ask you – ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?? I know I am.

Manziel was his usual spectacular self on the field completing 6 of 8 passes for 3 touchdowns. He also mimicked signing autographs, made “gettin’ dollars” signs to the sky and continued to be the fucking legend that he is. He also got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for unnamed heckling after which he was removed from the game by his coach. Whatevs, damage was done, Johnny Football reminded everyone why he won the Heisman in 2012 and Texas A & M would put away Rice 52 – 31.

Other notables…..

Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews was hammered by Ole Miss’ Cody Prewitt, he then stumbled to the side line and puked. A lot. It was gross. On return to the game he made a super clutch catch which briefly put Vandy in the lead. They went on to lose to the Rebels 39 – 35.

Louisville Cardinals quaterback Teddy Bridgewater literally wiped the floor with the Ohio Bobcats in a 49 – 7 pounding. Bridgewater threw 23 completions for 355 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. Impressive display for a definite Heisman candidate.

Thank God for football season.

The one where I weigh in on Johnny Football

On Sunday ‘Outside the Lines’ reported that Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly being paid for signing his name on sports memorabilia back in January when he was in Florida to attend the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame. This, just the latest in what has been a busy summer for Johnny Football.

The issue with this is that by being paid for signing his name, Manziel would be in breach of NCAA amateurism bylaw 12.5.2.1 (accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product) which, could result in Manziel being ruled ineligible.

The NCAA does not allow the student athletes to profit from self promotion as such an act would insinuate professional status as opposed to amateur.

Now, here is where I get on my high horse and call bullshit on the NCAA. I sincerely hope that if Johnny Manziel did what was claimed, he gets away with it. Because this shit is ridiculous.

I get that this is a rule. If the rule was broken, of course the player breaking the rule should face the consequences. That would be fine if the rule in question was not blatantly stupid. This rule may have been appropriate at a time when schools weren’t raking in millions as a result of the players. They pimp these players out and the players can’t benefit from said pimping? How you gonna do that? Fair, the NCAA is not.

It could be argued that the players do get paid by the school in terms of their scholarship (board, tutorial etc.). However, when you compare what a player like Johnny Manziel is costing the school per annum (lets say $80 000)  to the schools revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, media, etc. (the school made $119,702,222) something feels a little off, no?

Hear me out, none of these kids – and let’s remember, they are kids – know if they will make the No Fun League and be earning millions when their college days are done. They are just one bad tackle away from a career ending injury, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to benefit from their careers at college level if everyone else is? Being paid for your signature or likeness does not make you a professional athlete. They are still at school, amateur status is implied. The rule is redundant.

What upsets me the most about this is that the school and the NCAA made Johnny Manziel ‘Johnny Football’. They allowed the constant media attention – hell, why wouldn’t they when they can see the $$$$, and now they are going to try to bring him down. If they want to keep the amateurism in college sport, how can they justify allowing Manziel the constant media scrutiny he has to face daily? He is a student athlete, the school should be protecting him. Yah, the dude has done some questionable things, but he is a kid! Didn’t we all? We just didn’t have our mistakes or whatever as “Breaking News” on Sportscenter.

Fortunately, at this time none of those involved in the alleged money exchange will cooperate with the NCAA, and are not obligated to do so. The NCAA will check Manziels accounts for large payments, but without the cooperation of those involved or direct evidence of money changing hands there is little they can do. So for now, Manziel is safe from ineligibility.

I have an idea for these NCAA assholes. Pay the kids, then they won’t have to break the rules. Problem solved.