Looking back on the weekend of college football

by Gary Shelton on November 21, 2018 · 6 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, general, University of Florida, USF

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

5 Observations

1. I think UCF scores, and scores again, and scores some more. They will score so many points their extra point kicker will beg for mercy.

2. Aren't perceptions amazing? A year ago, FSU lost six games and Florida lost seven, but for some reason, the expectations of FSU were sky high. FSU fans want to throw that flaming spear into Willie Taggart's foot, while Florida sees hope.

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3. If Mark Richt doesn't find a quarterback, it will eventually cost him his job. Ditto Dan Mullen. Ditto Willie Taggart. Ditto Charlie Strong.

4. I learned about rivalry week while a student at Auburn. When the Tigers were playing Alabama, the student newspaper dug out a photo of Bear Bryant with, um, his finger in his nose. The caption? "Picking a winner."

5. Hey, Alabama got to be No. 1 with Nick Saban. What's the big deal? Clemson got to No. 2 with Dabo Swinney, who is terrific. But how about poor LSU, which got to eighth behind the immortal Ed Orgeron?

They Said It

"It's a lot of home run balls for them. We can't allow them to take the ball and pitch it over our head for 60, 70-yard plays. If anything, you've got to make them drive the ball and you've got to be great in the red zone."

-- USF coach Charlie Strong, on giving up the big play.

"There's talk with our team, if we can win out, we're right there on the edge of possibly playing in a New Year's Six Bowl," Mullen said. "... All of that's out there. There's a lot to play for. If you're not constantly improving week to week, you don't want to take a step back in November. That's been a big focus for us this week. ... It would be a great accomplishment. We have a lot of work to do before we get there. Because of what we've done and our record, we don't completely control that, but we have to worry about what we can control."

-- Florida coach Dan Mullen

"I think not just me as a coach, they're buying into the culture, they're buying into the vision of what we set out to do with our program. And I think our guys are seeing everything we're doing is benefiting them, everything is catered towards them and putting them first, whether it's in the classroom or off the field and trying to hold guys accountable and everything we're doing is about our players. And I think they appreciate that and when it comes to football and the losing streak and they didn't, not giving up or anything, I think it's just each individual being real with themselves and asking themselves, are you doing enough to help this team or are you doing something to hurt this team and if you are, let's work to make it better."

-- FSU coach Willie Taggart, on the future.

He’s in the driver’s seat. But there are some other guys on campus, as we know, (Cade) Weldon and (Jarren) Williams, that are talented guys. They’re going to get their chance to perform in the spring especially and show what they’ve got. I’m not going to close the door by any means because you just can’t do that at this point. But I do see a lot of growth in N’Kosi and I think he’s got the skill set. He can make all the throws and he runs the ball well.”

-- Miami coach Mark Richt, on if N'Kosi Perry is the quarterback of the future.

“Obviously, we want to go to a bowl. It’s more practices for your team, developing young players, excitement for the fans. I think if anybody, when we got here, said, ‘Hey, we’re going to two bowls the first two years after not going the [last eight] years,’ that’s pretty good.”

-- FAU coach Lane Kiffin, on gong to a bowl.

Team of the Week

It's been a rugged season for Maryland with a player's death and a coach's firing. Saturday made up for a lot of that with 52-51 loss to Ohio State.

This was one of those games where the winning team has to feel as if it lost. Maryland interim coach Matt Canada elected to go for a two-point conversion to try to win, and Jeshaun Jones was open in the end zone. The pass  by Tyrrell Pigrome was off, however, and the Buckeyes held on.

Still, for a day, it was all about football at Maryland. That's something of a victory in itself.

Player of the Week

No one, it seems, can stop Wisconsin's Joshua Taylor, a talented sophomore running back.

Taylor erupted for 321 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Badgers' narrow win over Purdue. Taylor leads the nation in rushing with 1,869 yards, a lead of 348 yards over the second-place runner.

In two seasons, Taylor has now rushed for 3,846 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has caught another 15 touchdowns.

It's been a disappointing season for Wisconsin, but not in its own backfield.

Best Rivalries

(One Man's Opinion)

1. Alabama-Auburn

2. Michigan-Ohio State

3. Army-Navy

4. Florida-FSU

5. BYU-Utah

Computer Rankings

Team            Colley Billingsley Sagarin  A&H  Wolfe  Massey

UCF                6 11 20 7 7 8

Florida           12 12 24 11 12 12

Miami            58 62 28 57. 50 46

FSU                68 77 62 63 58 55

USF                64 56 93 74 70 63

FIU                 63 53 103 72 69 87

FAU               94 69 95 94 88 89

State's Leading Passers

12. Milton, UCF 286.3

24. Francois, FSU 257.7

27. Barnett, USF 249.3

42. Morgan, FIU 231.8

61. Robison, FAU 205.5

State's Leading Rushers

12. Singletary, FAU 114.5

15. Cronkrite, USF 106.5

63. Whyte, FAU 76.5

70. Homer, Miami 72.8

66. McCrae, UCF 71.4

State's Leading Receivers

31. Durante, FAU 78.4

72, Davis, UCF 65.1

78. Murray, FSU 64.5

92, Terry, FSU 60.5

108. St. Felix, USF 57.1

Nation's Surprise Teams

1. Washington State        Unranked              7th

2. Utah State                     Unranked           14th

3. Syracuse                       Unranted             19th

4. Northwestern              Unranked          20th

5. UAB                               Unranked           Receiving votes

Bowl Projections

(Bleacher Report)

Fiesta                 UCF vs. LSU

Peach                 Penn State vs. Florida

Boca Raton       USF vs. FIU

Gasparilla          Memphis vs. FAU

Independence    Miami vs. Tulane

Best-Ever Players (Oklahoma)

1. Lee Roy Selmon

2. Billy Sims

3. Adrian Peterson

4. Steve Owens

5. Baker Mayfield

State Predictions

UCF 82, USF 7

Florida 24, FSU 23

Pitt 27, Miami 17

FIU 20, Marshall 17

National Predictions

Michigan 30, Ohio State 28

Alabama 35, Auburn 21

Georgia 16, Georgia Tech 14

Notre Dame 28, USC 14

Utah State 24, Boise State 21

If the Playoffs Had 8 Teams

1. Alabama-Georgia Winner vs. Utah State

2. Clemson vs. UCF

3. Notre Dame vs. Washington State

4. Michigan-Ohio State winner vs. Oklahoma-West Virginia winner

Heisman Rankings

1.Tagovailoa, Alabama

2. Minshew, Washington State

3. Murray, Oklahoma

4. Grier, West Virgina

5. Taylor, Wisconsin

Random Lists

(5 Memorable Plays)

1. Fourth-and-Vince: In 2006, Texas was playing a heralded Southern California team in the Rose Bowl, but the Trojans couldn't slow down Vince Young. Finally, on a fourth-and-five from the 8 with 19 seconds to go, Young faded back to pass, then scrambled and reached the end zone.

2. Kick Six: In 2013, undefeated Alabama tried a 57-yard field goal as time expired and the score tied at 28. The kick was short, however, and Auburn defensive back Chris Davis grabbed it at the goal line. He returned the kick 100 yards for the upset.

3. The Play: It was 1982 when Cal started flipping the ball all over the field. Stanford had kicked off and just needed to make a tackle to win the game. But Cal went downfield, including the last few yards through the Stanford band.

4. Hail Flutie: It was at the end of a classic matchup in 1984, as the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes had taken a late lead, and it looked as if Bernie Kosar would outduel Doug Flutie. But on the game's final play, Flutie heaved a long pass toward Gerard Phelan, who caught the ball as time ran out and Boston College won 47-45.

5. The Puntrooskie: Back in 1988, FSU coach Bobby Bowden showed why they called him the Riverboat Gambler. Faced with a 21-21tie and a punting situation at his own 20, meaning that if the fake punt failed, FSU would probably lose. But the center snapped the ball to the blocking back instead of the punter (who lept as if the ball had gone over his head). The blocking back crept forward the placed the ball between the legs of LeRoy Butler, who went around the right end and ran all the way to the one. The Seminoles kick a field goal to beat Clemson 24-21.

Closing Thoughts

1. I still think the Alabama-Auburn game is America's best because of this. It isn't just about game day; it's about February 11 in Huntsville and June 28 in Opp. It's about guys on empty who won't buy from a gas station that has the colors of the opposing team. It's about killing trees and punt Bama punt. That said, this year's best rivalry game is Michigan-Ohio State, where Jim Harbaugh might get his last chance to beat Urban Meyer. I say all good men wear khaki on Saturday. Who's with me?

2. If I were Louisville, I'd call Bobby Petrino back and fire him again. Just so there is no mistake about it.

3. There are three games this weekend between 5-6 teams where the winner goes to a bowl and the loser goes home, They are Baylor-Texas Tech, Purdue-Indiana and Tennessee-Vanderbilt. All of which means we have too many bowl games.

4. Arkansas has suspended two defensive backs ... for flirting. Flirting? Really? Collecting some digits from an opponent's dance team? For crying out loud, people. We have domestic abusers and steroid users in college football. Let's clean up the parts that are dirty, ok?

5.  The Kansas Jayhawks aren't very good. They also aren't very much fun. The school has banned Texas mascot Bevo from the field, as it does all live mascots. Hey, if the school wanted to ban a large, beefy figure from its sidelines, why didn't it start with Charlie Weis?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Willson November 21, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Great column….have a great Thanksgiving.

Reply

Gary Shelton November 21, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Thanks, man. You too.

Reply

Larry Beller November 21, 2018 at 6:58 am

I’ll have my khaki on Saturday with a Michigan shirt. Go Blue!

Reply

Gary Shelton November 21, 2018 at 7:40 am

You’ve changed the way I look at Michigan, you know.

Reply

Larry Beller November 22, 2018 at 11:50 am

That’s pretty cool. I’ve lived and died (a lot recently) with that team in all sports and I never will root for anyone as hard as I do for the University of Michigan. Go Blue!

Reply

Gary Shelton November 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Should be a fine game.

Reply

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