Looking back on the weekend in college football

by Gary Shelton on November 29, 2018 · 0 comments

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

Thursday, 4 a.m.

5 Observations

1. They weren't Chip Kelly bad. They weren't Chad Morris bad. But you could certainly list FSU as among the nation's most disappointing teams. Why? From 2014-2017, the Seminoles were 4th, 3rd, 3rd and sixth in the nation in recruiting. That ought to translate into something, shouldn't it?

2. I was going to say something nice about Feleipe Franks, but he told me to hush.

3. You know those undersized defenders from USF? Odds are, they'll be undersized next year, too. Unless someone recruits bigger kids. It's not rocket science.

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4. Once, FAU was fearful that someone would steal their head coach. Another year like this one, they'll be fearful they won't.

5. McKenzie Milton has always been a class act. And there is no joy to be taken from his injury. No, UCF didn't deserve to be considered for the college playoffs -- they played the 71st best schedule in the country -- but Milton was certainly the best player in this state.

They said it

“That’s hard for me to say because only 12 teams get to go to those games. I think we’ve certainly put ourselves in the conversation as one of those teams that’s right there. I think we deserve to be in the conversation for it. But you know what, there’s a lot of teams out there in the country.

“There’s a lot of games still to be played and championship games that have automatic bids that could affect it. We’ll see how it plays out. We put ourselves in a tough position back a couple weeks ago, but over the last three weeks we clawed and fought our way back to put ourselves in the conversation.”

--FSU coach Dan Mullen, on playing in a Jan 1 bowl.

"Georgia is one of the most complete teams in the country. I think Kirby (Smart) has done a fantastic job there in terms of taking the players that were there and developing them in the style that he wants to be and doing a great job of recruiting to get new players to come and buy into their system. They have some very impressive wins this year. They're one of the top-ranked teams on offense in terms of point production, ability to run the ball, make explosive plays. The quarterback does a really good job for them."

-- Nick Saban, on facing Georgia

“He dropped his pads and dropped some other things...I probably shouldn’t say that. That’s a big part of it. There’s 10 other guys on the field looking at him on every snap, he’d better give the right answer. They’d better trust and believe him and those guys certainly do.”

-- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, on quarterback Dwayne Haskins

'That mindset needs to be checked — like winning’s not enough. That’s sad. Nobody’s ever going to steal my joy; joy comes from within. If it ever gets to where its not fun to win, I’d better do something else. I don’t want to let that mindset creep into the walls of this team. I’m passionate about their experience and want them to have a good perspective.”

-- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, on fan expectations.

They Wrote It

"A 63-0 loss wouldn’t seem to scream “job security’’ for a college football coach. Further, a 4-23 Big Ten record in three seasons wouldn’t immediately bring to mind the need for a contract extension. But this isn't a normal situation. This is Illinois.

"And Illinois, a beige, middle-of-nowhere university when it comes to sports, can’t do better than Lovie Smith, not even close. It’s why, after a season from hell, the school recently gave him a two-year contract extension through 2023.

"The idea that he’s the best Illinois can do might sting some Illini fans and enrage others looking for blood. But Smith had a stellar résumé when he arrived in Champaign in 2016. An 81-63 record as the Bears’ coach. A Super Bowl appearance. Players who loved him. Another shot, a failed one, as coach of the Buccaneers. But two NFL jobs."

-- Rick Morrissey, Chicago Sun-Times

"By retaining Clay Helton as the Trojans’ football coach, Swann doesn’t seem to understand the basic role of an athletic director or the modern soul of USC.

"In failing to make a change in leadership after the Trojans’ worst season in nearly 20 years and with the program at one of its lowest ebbs ever, Swann took the easy way out by keeping Helton, almost as if he had no real plan and no desire to dirty his hands concocting one. In completely ignoring the scores of invested boosters who were demanding a change, Swann also showed a lack of appreciation for the passion that has helped fuel not only the greatness of the football program, but the success of the entire university."

-- Bill Plaschke, L.A. Times

"Harbaugh may be a traditionalist in the way he speaks about football, but he’s not a sentimentalist when it comes to his staff. Besides, he has proven he can be a forward-thinking presence at Stanford and with the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh has to know that his strategy isn’t good enough to compete with the elite programs in the game. Pounding the ball into the teeth of the defense may work against Indiana, but it hasn’t worked against Ohio State.  His record at U-M proves it. Here’s betting he will change.

-- Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free-Press

"This was my question, and (NCAA chair Rob) Mullens didn’t really answer it. I know Kyler Murray’s offense is historic because I’ve studied the numbers. I know how great was Baker Mayfield’s offense, and I know how much better this offense is. I just wondered how the committee measured the historic nature of the discussion. Oh well.

-- Berry Tramel, Daily Oklahoman

"But what if that’s not the most difficult question for the committee? What if Alabama loses?

"There’s a growing school of thought that Alabama’s position in the playoff is set in cement, like its hold on No. 1 has been. That even if Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC championship (we know, but go with us), the Crimson Tide is still in the four-team bracket. But it’s not a foregone conclusion.

"That might be how it would go – Always Alabama – but it would not be an easy or simple decision for the 13-member committee.

You don’t have to agree. You can think – like we do! – that Alabama is the best team in college football, and might be one of the four best teams regardless of what actually occurs on the field Saturday. You can even determine that the playoff is Alabama’s Divine Right (i.e., never mind what is actually accomplished on the field, we know they’re talented enough to win it, so they should always be in it)."

-- George Schroeder, USA Today

Player of the Week

All season long, Dwayne Haskins has been one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

The last two games, however, Haskins has entered another plane of existence.

In an overtime win against Maryland, and a win against arch-rival Michigan, Haskins has been a fireworks show He has 801 yards and nine touchdown passes in those games, and he's led the Buckeyes to 104 points. He's passed 4,000 yards for the season, which isn't bad for a guy who had 565 last year.

Against Michigan, Haskins threw for 396 yards and six touchdowns.

Makes you wonder what he'll do next.

Team of the Week

For most of the season, the Washington Huskies had heard all the Washington State talk.

Saturday, in the snow, they muted it.

Washington made quarterback Gardner Minshew look mortal for once, holding him to just 152 yards passing in a 28-15 victory. Minshew had totaled 4,325 yards in the 11 previous games, but he was controlled in this one. The Huskies picked him off twice and held him to a 99.3 rating, more than 20 points worse than his previous low.

Washington will play Utah for the Pac-12 title.

Picking the Conference Title Games

Clemson 49, Pitt 3

Alabama 23, Georgia 17

Utah 24, Washington 21

Oklahoma 52, Texas 50

Memphis 24, UCF 23

Ohio State 31, Northwestern 14

Computer Rankings

                        Colley.  Billingsley. Sagarin   A&H     Wolfe  Massey

UCF                   6               11                 18           7             8             9

Florida             10             14                  19         11            11            10

Miami              49             59                 25         52            48          42

FSU                   67            70                 68         63            60          62

USF                  71              57                 95         76            67           88

FIU                  72             66                 102       81             80           86

FAU                95              75                   99        96           94            94

Strength of Schedule

11. Florida

46. Miami

49. FSU

71. UCF

84. FAU

92. USF

114. FIU


Team                        Biggest  win              Worst loss               Best Player

Florida                           LSU                        Missouri              Jachai Polite

FSU                            Boston College          Miami                 Brian Burns

Miami                            Pitt                           Duke                 Travis Homer

USF                             Georgia Tech           Tulane                Tyre McCants

UCF                               Memphis                 None                 McKenzie Milton

FIU                             Middle Tennessee      Marshall         James Morgan

FAU                                 FIU                          Charlotte         Devin Singletary

State's Leading Passers

19. Milton, UCF              266.3

25. Barnett, USF            249.3

27. Francois, FSU          288.3

41. Morgan, FIU             227.3

60. Robison, FAU          211.1

State's Leading Rushers

11. Singletary, FAU          112.3

24. Cronkrite, USF            99.5

56. Homer, Miami             80.8

74. Ford, USF                     73.7

81. Whyte, FAU                72.2

State's Leading Receivers

56. Durante, FAU                72.8

75. Davis, UCF                    65.5

90. Murray, FSU                62.0

Terry, FSU                   62.0

123. Bryant, FAU               55.2

Heisman Leaders

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Gardner Minshew, Washington State

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

5 Games to Look Forward To In 2019

Miami vs. Florida (Orlando)

FSU vs. Boise State (Jacksonville)

Wisconsin at USF

Stanford at UCF


Bowl Projections

(CBS Sports)

Fiesta                                LSU  vs. UCF

Peach                               Michigan vs. Florida

Independence                Miami vs. UAB

Bahamas                        FIU vs. Toledo

Cure                                 USF vs. UL Lafayette

If The College Playoffs Had Eight

1. Alabama-Georgia winner vs. Washington-Utah winner

2. Clemson vs. UCF

3. Notre Dame vs. Alabama-Georgia loser

4. Oklahoma vs. Ohio State

Closing Thoughts

1.I'd love to be a college football head coach, and heck, I've got a chance in another 30 years or so. That was the impression you got when the NCAA teams hired Statler and Waldorf, the grumpy old men. Les Miles, 65, is headed to Kansas. Mack Brown, 67, is headed to North Carolina. The pregame meals will be served at Morrisons during the Early Bird specials.

2. The truth about the final argument of the College Football Playoffs is this: Neither Ohio State (which lost to 6-6 Purdue) or Oklahoma (which gives up 40 or more every week) deserves to go. Georgia does, but the anti-SEC crowd would throw a fit.

3. So who are you most exciting about seeing during championship weekend? Pitt or Northwestern? And why.

4. Don't you wonder how many points the Oklahoma offense could score on the Oklahoma defense.

5.Oops. LSU's players poured Gatorade over Ed Orgeron too soon, then saw their team lose a 74-72 game to Texas A&M. Can I substitute the Gatorade for boiling oil, please.

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