College Football

Down and Out in College Football: Alabama vs. Florida State, Muschamp in Trouble, Coaches Poll Has a Louisville Fixation

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Alabama is No. 1…  Good teams execute. Great teams adjust and drop the hammer. LSU challenged Alabama, for a half. The Tide responded with three-straight touchdown drives, each lasting longer than five minutes. Two fourth quarter LSU drives produced -9 yards. Whatever the blocking strategy, T.J. Yeldon ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns, most of it right up the middle. The Death Star remains intact, lest there were any doubts. Alabama has two nominal “top ten showdowns” remaining. Not sure those games will mean much, beyond improving the Tide’s strength of schedule.

Florida State is No. 2… Oregon lost to Stanford, and, within 48 hours, were ditched by sugardaddy Phil Knight. Florida State settled into the No. 2 slot. The Seminoles looked flaccid against a good Wake defense. Jameis Winston had an off night. It didn’t matter, as FSU still won 59-3 on the road. Winston’s Heisman odds improved. Miami may take a tumble. Clemson could take a hit losing to South Carolina. Florida is diminished. The ACC title game opponent may be underwhelming. None of it will matter. Ohio State is not catching them.

Baylor fan dancingBearing Down… Baylor received its first test of the season. It passed, dispatching Oklahoma 41-12. The Sooner defense actually coped well. They held the Bears to a pedestrian 5.7 yards/play (season average: 8.62). They stopped 10/15 third downs and let Bryce Petty complete only 50 percent of his passes. The trouble was the offense needed to score 40-50 to win. It scored 10.

We’re not positive Baylor goes undefeated. That may not matter. This game may end up more critical of a loss for Oklahoma. Bob Stoops’ team has been blown out in its three biggest calendar games of 2013. Only a late defensive touchdown against Texas kept all three from being by four scores. This face could become permanent if they keeps this up. Bob Stoops is not on the hot seat, by any means, but he has reached the Raditude stage of his run. Pinkerton was a while ago.

Hot Seat… We’d say Will Muschamp has entered Ron Zook territory, but Zook never coached a Florida team this bad. The Gators lost by 17 to Vanderbilt at home. That result itself is historic. It also all but ensures the Gators will finish below .500 for the first time since 1979. Compounding the losing has been the boredom. Florida’s offense has gotten progressively worse from 67th in yards/play in Muschamp’s first year to 92nd to 112th in 2013. It’s hard seeing Muschamp get fired, unless things get apocalyptic. With South Carolina and Florida State left on the slate, though, that’s not such an outlandish prospect.

Michigan… Nebraska upset Michigan 17-13, giving Brady Hoke his first loss in Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines have not unraveled. They have not quit. Their offensive line is just really, really awful. Teams watch film. The news has gotten out. Your key number is 14. That’s the number of sacks Michigan has conceded the past two weeks. Factoring the sacks out, the Wolverines averaged a buoyant 1.6 yards/carry. It’s a marvel they are still in most of these games.

Blake Bortles GirlfriendCoaches Poll… Voters seem hell bent on earning Fresno State an automatic BCS bid. The Coaches jumped UCF two places to No. 19, six places behind No. 13 Louisville. In the Harris Poll, the rankings are 19th and 14th respectively. The Knights beat Louisville head to head at Louisville. They have an identical record. Their loss came by three points to No. 12 South Carolina. How that makes sense, beyond the Cardinals having been ranked higher preseason, is unclear. That decision could have dramatic ramifications. The human vote is, at present, keeping UCF outside the Top 16, below Fresno State. That secures Fresno State a BCS bid.

Profanity… Eastern Michigan fired head coach Ron English, after this profanity-laden rant to his players. The homophobic slur is indefensible. Though, one wonders how many similar rants from other coaches with better records go unnoticed. The national search begins for next coach to reiterate Eastern Michigan should not be fielding an FBS football team.

Offense… Virginia Tech scored 42 points and gained 549 yards against Miami. The Hokies converted eight of 14 third down attempts. Logan Thomas completed 25/31 for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Had Florida State done that we’d need to hose down the walls.

Hello, Dorial Green-Beckham… Missouri WR Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 2012, finally had the performance recrutniks projected happening every week, with seven catches for 100 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-17 win over Kentucky.

Doing it Both Ways… UCLA freshman LB Myles Jack played some offense against Arizona. Expect him to keep doing that. Jack ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on six carries. He also had eight tackles, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble at his natural position. Not a terrible day.

Odds and Sods… Verne Lundquist does not work for “that four-letter network.” LSU T-Rex was your fan of the day. Zach Mettenberger took an errant snap to the junk. Miami’s “smoke” uniforms didn’t quite have that fire. Minnesota finally got its hands on the Penn State rivalry trophy, and broke it. Baylor Fans brought their A-game for Thursday Night football.

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