The Original College Football Czar
Bowl Game Picks, Part Two
Week fourteen in review: As
explained in Part One, the abnormal bowl game scheduling has caused the College
Football Czar to break his picks into two installments. This issue includes all games that take place
after Christmas, including the CFP semifinals and championship game. To review his picks for the opening week of
the bowl season, please see Part One.
Dec. 26 (Saturday)
Bowl -- Dallas -- 3:30 (ABC)
vs. UTSA (7-4)
This game was moved last year from the venerable
Cotton Bowl to Gerald J. (as in not the president) Ford Stadium on the SMU
campus. The reason for this was that the
NHL was using the Cotton Bowl for its Stadium Series, but the bowl committee
must have liked the cozier confines of the 32,000-seat venue, because here they
are for a second year in a row.
The Ragin Cajuns were deprived of a chance to avenge
their only loss of the season when their Sun Belt Conference Championship game
against Coastal Carolina was canceled.
Their regular-season three-point loss to CCU has tainted an otherwise
excellent year, which began with a stifling 31-14 stoppage of Iowa State, and
has also included a nonconference win over a very good UAB team.
The Roadrunners have got One (1) Acme Game-Breaking
Running Back in sophomore scooter Sincere McCormick. The 5-9 flyer runs like he really means it, gaining
1,345 yards this season, which places him second nationally behind Iowa State's
In his last game, he trounced North Texas for 251 yards and two
touchdowns, although that's really not so extraordinary, if you saw that same UNT
defense against Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
It's a little-known fact that the reason this is
called the First Responder Bowl is that they invite everybody, and let in the
first two teams to accept. Sorry,
Alabama and Clemson. Too slow.
LendingTree Bowl --
Mobile -- 3:30 (ESPN)
(5-6) vs. Georgia State (5-4)
These same teams squared off three years ago in the
Cure Bowl, where the Panthers prevailed 27-17.
They shut down the WKU ground game that day, for a total of 19 rushing
yards, with a fumble. The Hilltoppers
have a more balanced offense this season, averaging almost two more yards per
carry than they did in 2017.
GSU salvaged a winning regular season with a victory
in a rivalry-in-progress game against Georgia Southern. Quarterback Cornelius Browniv
threw for a career-high 372 yards, while rallying his team from an eleven-point
fourth-quarter deficit to come out on top, 30-24.
At first glance, one might think the Toppers, having
a losing record, would need that towel to wipe the egg of their faces, but with
those six losses coming against Louisville, Liberty, Marshall, UAB, Brigham
Young and Florida Atlantic, they're clearly among the better group-of-five
teams appearing in this postseason.
The College Football Czar utterly fails to grasp the
concept of a lending tree. When you pick
an apple from a tree, you probably intend to eat it, so why would you agree to
give it back? And where would you come
up with the interest? It sounds like the
target audience for this is the people the Czar has argued with in bars about
two-point conversions. "But still, I get
an apple! Your way, you don't get nuthin!"
34, Georgia State 31
Cure Bowl -- Orlando
-- 7:30 (ESPN)
Liberty (9-1) vs.
Coastal Carolina (11-0)
These former Division I-AA Big South Conference
rivals were supposed to have squared off in Week 14, but the Flames were forced
to cancel. That led to CCU's blockbuster
matchup with Brigham Young, which it won, 22-17. Now we'll see how the Chanticleers would have
fared against their originally scheduled opponent, which will be better
prepared to face their unorthodox, wishbone-influenced, multiple-option
LU stopped getting national attention once it lost a
game, but does a 15-14 setback against an 8-3 Nc
State team really drop them a rung below the undefeated Chants? As strong as the Sun Belt Conference has
been, the Czar suspects that Liberty, an Independent, has faced a tougher
schedule. Their three games against ACC
teams were all on the road, including a wild 38-35 win over Virginia Tech in
Coastal isn't the only offense that's dangerous on
the QB Keeper. Flame thrower Malik
Willis has 10 rushing touchdowns this year to go along with another 20 through
the air. The juking junior leads his
team with 807 yards on the ground.
Unlike some other dual-threat quarterbacks, he has also been an
efficient passer, piling up 2,040 yards with only four interceptions.
Earlier this year, the Chanticleers celebrated a
victory by beating up a faux Georgia Southern Eagle mascot, WWE-style. What would they do if they were to defeat the
university founded by Jerry Falwell?
Bring out a Jerry Jr. impersonator and pull up his fly? No, that would be too witty for this
crew. How about if they bring in a faux
Liberty mascot, also an eagle, and beat it up WWE-style? That bit never gets old, to a lardhead. The rest of us could do without it, though.
Liberty 28, Coastal
Dec. 29 (Tuesday)
Cheez-It Bowl -- Orlando -- 5:30
(7-3) vs. Miami (8-2)
The game that has been called the Cheez-It Bowl for the past two years was lamely renamed the
Guaranteed Rate Bowl, which is so intensely uninteresting that it makes a
cricket test match look like rollerball.
Mercifully, this year's edition of that game has been canceled. If you were already aware of this, knowing
that there is still a Cheez-It Bowl must make you
feel like you did when Frosty came back to life.
Seriously, this is why the Czar doesn't like
supplanting traditional bowl names with sponsorships. If last year they played the Cheez-It Cactus Bowl, and this year they played the Cheez-It Tangerine Bowl, people would know which was which. Fans remember great games in the history of
the Liberty Bowl or the Holiday Bowl, but nobody recalls great moments in
Sports/Russell Athletic/Camping World/Cheez-It Bowl
The NCAA's 2019 leading rusher, Chuba
Hubbard of OSU, quit after his team's blowout Bedlam loss to Oklahoma, but he
won't necessarily be missed. The
self-appointed sheriff of the apparel police should have cared more about the
Cowboy jersey on his own back than worrying about how coach Mike Gundy dresses
for a fishing trip. Hubbard's per-carry
average had dropped from 6.4 a year ago to 4.7 in 2020. Still competent, but about a yard worse than
either Dezmon Jackson or L.D. Brown.
That pair of Poke pounders could bring the hammer
down on the Hurricanes, who were folkshandled by
North Carolina, 62-26. UNC romped for
554 rushing yards that day, to make up the bulk of a 778-yard assault that was
the worst that The U has ever suffered.
The College Football Czar will take his chances
eating the It, but Cheez with a Z frightens him.
Oklahoma State 52,
Alamo Bowl -- San Antonio
-- 9:00 (ESPN)
Colorado (4-1) vs.
The Pac 12 considered putting the Buffaloes in the
conference championship game after Washington withdrew, even though they and
USC are both in the same division. The
league did not need to invoke the Just Making Crap Up As We Go Along clause in
its bylaws the way the Big Ten did, because CU stumbled in its final regular
season game against Utah, 38-21. Too bad
there was no live audience to enjoy the game in the snow that day, because
those of us at home might as well have been watching "eSports," what with Fox
superimposing yard markers, gigantic arrows, and Mario and Luigi among other
things onto the field.
Quarterback comparisons don't come much more
lopsided than this. The Horns have one
of the nation's most prolific passers in Sam Ehlinger,
with 2,406 yards and 26 touchdowns in only nine games. His counterpart, sparingly used CU senior Sam
Noyer, who almost transferred before the season, has
got only six TDs, while equaling Ehlinger's total of
The College Football Czar is surprised by the
surprise expressed by others in the Longhorns' announcement that Tom Herman
will return next year as head coach. In
his fourth year in Austin, the former Ohio State assistant has won his first
three bowl games, including a Sugar Bowl shocker over Georgia two years
ago. In the three years before Herman's
arrival, the pointy cows came up short of the .500-mark in each campaign, for a
record of 16-21. They have since gone
31-18. How is there even a discussion
about his future with this program?
Former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell made a successful
return to the Pac 12 this year in Boulder, which he rolled over his first four
opponents, including his former team in a 48-42 firefight. What the Czar remembers best about the coach
from his days in L.A. is that he would often wear the official cap of the Bruin
baseball team as he stood on the sideline, a refreshing show of solidarity with
another of his school's athletic programs.
Unfortunately, the Buffs don't field a baseball team.
They do have a ski team, so maybe he could wear a ski
lift ticket on his jacket, like a ski geek who imagines it to be an
irresistible ice-breaker. "Hi,
ladies. You might be wondering why I'm
wearing this ski lift ticket when I'm nowhere near a resort. Hey, come back!"
Texas 42, Colorado
Dec. 30 (Wednesday)
Duke's Mayo Bowl --
Charlotte -- Noon (ESPN)
Wisconsin (3-3) vs.
Wake Forest (4-4)
The Madison Reds have been among the worst underachievers
this year, but that is not the fault of their defense, which has allowed only
263.5 yards and 15.7 points per game. In
games in which freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has not been intercepted, they're
The Badgers beat Minnesota 20-17 in overtime to keep
possession of the Paul Bunyan Axe. UW's
two leading rushers were forced to sit out for the usual reasons. That left it up to little-utilized senior
running back Garrett Groshek, whose 24 carries were
double his career high. The former
walk-on responded by more than doubling his career high in rushing yards, with
Looking at Wake's wacky results, the College
Football Czar wonders how they'll react to facing a formidable offense. In their seven games against Division I-A
competition, the average score has been a 34-33 defeat.
Yuck! All of a sudden, Cheez with a Z is sounding pretty good.
Wisconsin 16, Wake
Music City Bowl --
Nashville -- 3:30 (ESPN)
Iowa (6-2) vs.
It's been a difficult enough year for college
football coaches without some of the hogwash they've had to deal with from
"social justice warriors." At the start
of the season, the big story in Iowa City was a lawsuit that had been filed by
a handful of former players, alleging among other things that longtime head
coach Kirk Ferentz is a racist because he doesn't like backward hats and
earrings. If that wasn't bad enough, the
Hawkeyes started the season at 0-2, with a loss to pitiful Purdue. Their turnaround to win six in a row should
be one of the biggest stories of the season.
If Ferentz was really treating players unfairly on
the basis of race, the obviously correct thing to do would be to fire him. The U of I has not done that, so why has it
not been more vociferous in defense of a coach who has remained loyal to it for
21 years? Because college administrators
are weasels. The simplest answer is
often the correct one.
The Tigers tumbled to a .500 finish with a 51-32
loss to Mississippi State. In the three
games since shutting out Vanderbilt, Mizzou has surrendered 48, 49 and 51
points. In other words, they have fared
poorly over the past month against teams that are comprised entirely of men.
Iowa 41, Missouri
Cotton Bowl --
Arlington -- 7:15 (ESPN)
Florida (8-3) vs.
In the SEC title game, the Gators gave Alabama a far
better battle than the Czar expected, before falling by a final of 52-46. Quarterback Kyle Trask added 408 yards to his
NCAA-leading total of 4,125. The senior slinger
is now the runaway leader in touchdown passes with 43, ten more than Zach
Wilson of BYU.
OU avenged an early loss to Iowa State in the Big
XII championship game, 27-21. The
Sooners stuffed the nation's leading rusher, Breece
Hall, for season-lows in yardage and per-carry average, but their third-ranked
run defense will be of little use against the UF aerial attack.
How ironic that this game is no longer played in the
stadium that is named the Cotton Bowl, but instead is at the home stadium of
that human boll weevil, Jerry Jones. Why
do announcers speak of this atrocious edifice with such reverence? Is Jerry plying them with concubines? That's the most innocent explanation the Czar
can think of.
"How the edifice got in my pajamas, I'll never
know." It's a little-known fact that
those were the dying words of Groucho Marx, after leaving a brick in his
britches at the old folks' home.
Dec. 31 (Thursday)
Armed Forces Bowl --
Fort Worth -- Noon (ESPN)
Mississippi State (3-7)
vs. Tulsa (6-2)
The Bulldogs started strong with a win over 2019
national champion LSU, and finished with a flourish against Missouri, but in
between, they only won one out of eight.
They wouldn't be making a postseason appearance, except that the only
qualification was a willingness to play.
TU put up a tussle against unbeaten Cincinnati, but
lost on a last-second field goal, 27-24.
The Golden Hurricanes' only two setbacks of the season have been close
games on the road against teams with a combined record of 16-3. In their opener in Stillwater, they stopped
the flow of the Oklahoma State offense for three quarters before succumbing,
Do the Armed Forces include our new Space Force, and
if so, what is it with which it is armed?
Moreover, why is there not yet a Space Force football team? Not enough flubber? Enquiring minds that watch too much TV want
Mississippi State 21
Arizona Bowl --
Tucson -- 2:00 (CBS)
Ball State (6-1)
vs. San Jose State (6-0)
Originally an obscure bowl that tried to appeal to
Millennials by broadcasting online, this game has now landed a network time
slot normally reserved for the Sun Bowl, which of course has been canceled.
The Spartans stayed unbeaten by bouncing Boise State
34-20 to win the Mountain West. The
conference championship is their first since winning the Big West in 1990. SJSU went undefeated in league play that year
also. Their 2-2-1 nonconference record
included a 48-24 rout of MAC championship Central Michigan in the California
The Cardinals have also won six in a row, but it
hasn't been easy. They needed a
last-second score to beat Eastern Michigan, barely held off winless Northern
Illinois by six, and thwarted a Cal-Stanford-esqe final
play to stave off Western Michigan.
What bright boy thought it was a good idea to market
football to people who like beer with fruit in it and pizza with no sauce?
San Jose State 45,
Ball State 33
Liberty Bowl --
Memphis -- 4:00 (ESPN)
Army (9-2) vs. West
The Mountaineers had a favorable matchup set against
Tennessee until the West Pointers were offered as a late replacement, forcing
Neal Brown to prepare his team to face the triple-option on short notice. Brown is not a novice at coaching against the
wishbone, however. In four years as head
coach at Troy, he faced Georgia Southern every season, winning his last two
against that Eagle team.
The Black Knights scored on a late fourth-down play
to defeat Air Force 10-7, taking the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with
back-to-back wins in bruising defensive battles with their academy rivals. Before becoming too impressed with the Cadets'
record, though, one must realize that their opponents have included three
Division I-AA teams and 0-10 Louisiana-Monroe.
WVU does not think much of the academic standards at
West Point, especially the way they soldiers are always showing off with that
left-right-left-right stuff. Big
deal. Most of the Eers
players are majoring in that.
West Virginia 24,
Texas Bowl --
Houston -- 8:00 (ESPN)
Arkansas (3-7) vs.
The Razorbacks are a significantly improved team,
even if it does not yet show in their record.
In addition to winning three SEC games for the first time since 2016,
they've only lost to Auburn by two points and to LSU by three.
The leaping lizards could easily be mistaken for
chameleons, the way they play to the level of their Big XII competition. They've lost to an underfolksed
Kansas State team, but they've also beaten both Texas and Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs only lost to Iowa State by
three, but they were bullied in the second half of a 33-23 win at Baylor, after
leading 30-0 in the second quarter.
Texas Christian had better get cumbered in a hurry,
because longtime offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie
has left the team to take the same position at his alma mater, Texas Tech. Cumbie had been in
Fort Worth for seven seasons, and has been instrumental in the development of
versatile sophomore quarterback Max Duggan.
Feleipe "Fenway" Franks, the Hogs' quarterback and former Florida Gator, was
once called out by coach Dan Mullen for moping, but you wouldn't know it the
way the Red Sox prospect fought his way through a rib injury just to get banged
up by Alabama. With lots of other key
players bailing out of their bowl games in recent years, Franks has been
adamant that he's a Razorback for the 2020 season, and he's going to see it
The Texas Bowl is actually just one of seven bowl
games to be played in the Lone Star State this year. That kind of makes this the The Ohio State University of bowl games, doesn't it?
Arkansas 28, TCU 23
Jan. 1 (Friday)
Peach Bowl --
Atlanta -- 12:30 (ESPN)
vs. Georgia (7-2)
One might think the location of this game would be a
big benefit to the Bulldogs, but between SEC title games, Peach Bowls, and one
CFP championship they have lost four of their last five postseason games in
Atlanta. Of course, there's no reason
the hometown of Georgia Tech should have been regarded as friendly territory.
There's no doubt the #8 Bearcats are an outstanding
team, but are they really better than any of the big league schools that are
ranked above them? Texas A&M,
Oklahoma and Florida all played conference championship games in Week 16, in
addition to UC. The College Football
Czar cannot possibly consider Cincinnati to be anything other than the fourth-best
team among that group. True, you have to
be very good to beat Tulsa, but which of these others would not have done so?
UGA is 3-0 since USC transfer J.T. Daniels took over
at quarterback. The sophomore slinger
has nine touchdowns and only one pick, while completing 66.7 percent of his
passes. One must wonder where this
Bulldog team would be playing if he had been the starter for their midseason
clash with rival Florida.
If the Dogs have to turn to the QB who started for
most of their season, that would make this Stetson Bennetiv
versus Cincinnat the First.
Citrus Bowl --
Orlando -- 1:00 (ABC)
vs. Auburn (6-4)
The dearth of regular season nonconference games
makes it difficult to assess a team like the Wildcats. Yes, they're fifth in the nation in scoring
defense, but how much does that mean when your only opposition has been a bunch
of plodding Big Ten teams? They're only
#24 in yards per game allowed, but teams like Nebraska, Illinois, and this year
Wisconsin are simply not good at finishing drives.
Tiger trotter Tank Bigsby
finished his freshman regular season in a big way, with 192 yards on 26 carries
in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State.
AU needs more than a good ground game, though. Earlier this season, they were unable to
follow 111 yards of Tank's tracks to victory against lowly South Carolina.
Since winning their Big Ten West battle with
Wisconsin, the Cats have lost two of three, including a letdown loss to
Michigan State. During that stretch,
former Indiana QB Petyon Ramsey has been picked off
five times and fumbled once.
It's a little-known fact that the title of this game
is really a sponsorship by a retail chain called Cit
R Us. That's the place to go whenever
you need some cit, and how do you know you don't?
Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal) -- Arlington -- 5:00 (ESPN)
Notre Dame (10-1)
vs. Alabama (11-0)
The Fighting Irish battled their way into this
semifinal in the second half of a game that was already lost. Had Clemson, leading by four touchdowns in
the third quarter, continued to roll over the golden domers
by a big, blowout score, the CFP committee would not have wanted any part of a
possible re-rematch. The 34-10 final was
enough to keep them one step ahead of a Texas A&M team that had lost just
as badly to Bama.
Nevertheless, that outcome did nothing to suggest that
this clash with the Crimson Tide would be any more competitive than the 42-14
trouncing the Irish took in the 2012 BCS championship game. When most of the talk the next day is about a
septuagenarian announcer's libido, you know it was not good football.
This year's pachyderms are not as perfect as their
record, however. Nor was the 52-46 scare
they got from Florida in the SEC championship was the first unsettling
performance by their defense this season.
Back in October, Nick Saban's team was
scorched for 647 yards in a 63-48 win over Ole Miss.
As you're probably aware by now, the venue of this
game has been switched from college football heaven to college football hell,
and if that was done in order to placate Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, the CFP
committee should have just invited A&M instead.
While the decision to move the game out of the
actual Rose Bowl is an understandable response to California's COVID lockdown
measures, the decision to play the Granddaddy of Them All at Jerry Jones' House
of Inadequacy is totally unjustifiable.
If The Powers That Be Stupid wanted to move operations to Texas, they
could have shown a lot more respect by playing in the Cotton Bowl. Then again, they don't need 92,000-seats, so
they could have found a scenic location practically anywhere, except that the
people in charge of football don't like football, which is why they love
domes. This is like running out of the
brand of beer you like, and having your immediate go-to substitute be Zima.
Alabama 44, Notre
Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal) -- New Orleans -- 8:45
Ohio State (6-0)
vs. Clemson (10-1)
People can complain all they want about the lumpy
nuts being here with so few games played, but seriously, who else is
there? Texas A&M not only has a
lopsided loss to Alabama, but it only won its opener against Vanderbilt by
five. Oklahoma has two losses in a
league that got its posterior punted by the Sun Belt in nonconference
play. The purpose of the CFP is to
ensure that the best team in the nation is not left out of the national
championship game. It has not been. If this Buckeye team doesn't belong, then
this year's four-team CFP field is simply too big.
These teams have met four times before, all of those
in bowl games, and all won by the Tigers.
Last year's 29-23 semifinal classic in the Fiesta Bowl was ended by a
rare interception from OSU quarterback Justin Fields, who had only been picked
off once throughout the 2019 regular season.
This year, Fields faltered down the stretch, throwing three INTs against
Indiana, and two more in the Big Ten title game against Northwestern.
In that previous meeting, Travis Etienne was held to
36 rushing yards on only ten carries, but the Tigers did spring him for 98
receiving yards on three completions.
This pattern has become more familiar in 2020, with the sure-handed senior
having only three 100-yard rushing games, but breaking the 100-yard mark in
Much of the buzz around this rematch has been about
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney ranking the Buckeyes #11
in his entry in the coaches poll. As far
as the Czar is concerned, the controversy should be over why such a thing even
exists. The coaches poll has no bearing
on anything. Every head coach is too
occupied with his own team to follow 129 others. Most of the entries are probably filled out
by graduate assistants, except when the head coach is looking to make a
provocative statement like this one. All
things considered, the coaches poll is barely more legitimate than determining
the rankings by something called an "eye test."
Makes about as much sense as picking the champion by turning your head
Clemson 38, Ohio
Jan. 2 (Saturday)
Gator Bowl --
Jacksonville -- Noon (ESPN)
Kentucky (4-6) vs. Nc State (8-3)
According to the SEC supremacy theory, all these SEC
teams with losing records deserve their bowl bids because they haven't played
any nonconference games, and because the SEC is so swell, their losses are
really better results than victories against teams from any other conference
would have been. In reality, the four
teams the Wildcats have beaten (Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and
South Carolina) would be the dregs of any power-five conference.
A Kentucky-friendly website even argues that the
Cats would easily have qualified for a bowl game if the coronavirus hadn't
forced them to drop their entire nonconference schedule, and that's hard to dispute. Aside from cross-state rival Louisville, they
were slated to play Eastern Michigan, Kent State, and Division I-AA Eastern
The UK offensive coaches had better pay a ton of
attention to Payton Wilson. The Wolfpack
sophomore linebacker and former high school state wrestling champion is third
in the nation in tackles, with 11.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks and two
The whole title of this game is the TaxSlayer Gator
Bowl, but that sounds excessively cocky, from the reptilian point of view. If the matchup were one between the
alligators and the IRS, the Czar knows who he'd expect to slay whom.
Nc State 26, Kentucky 14
Outback Bowl --
Tampa -- 12:30 (ABC)
Indiana (6-1) vs.
Ole Miss (4-5)
Lane Kiffin's club may be
under .500, but they are one of only two teams to have alarmed Alabama's
defense. The 63 points they gave up that
day, however, was no fluke. For the
season, they're scoring 40.4 points per game, but giving up 40.3.
It's hard to believe in hindsight that the Hoosiers
came a millimeter away from losing to Penn State in their opener. If only they could have finished their
fourth-quarter comeback against Ohio State, it could have been the
candelabra-heads who were going to the final four, while probably being totally
unranked in Dabo Swinney's poll entry.
A lot of people have been storming around demanding,
"SAY THEIR NAMES" this year. The Rebels
had better not obey, because by the time they managed to say Ty Fryfogle, the IU wide receiver would be behind all their
defenders and gliding into the end zone.
The only reason the streaking senior is not among the nation's leading
receivers is because he's only played seven games, but he's averaging five
catches for 98 yards and one touchdown.
Admittedly, Reb WR Elijah Moore is doing very slightly better, but at
least Fryfogle is housebroken.
Surely, Australia has its share of quality beef, but
why name an Australian steakhouse after a famous wasteland? If the Texas Roadhouse was called the Mojave
Desert Roadhouse, would you want to eat there?
You might think the Czar is nitpicking, but what must half of the
punters in the NCAA think?
Indiana 49, Ole
Fiesta Bowl --
Glendale, AZ -- 4:00 (ESPN)
Iowa State (8-3)
vs. Oregon (4-2)
Oh, boy. A
fiesta! In a mausoleum that is normally
occupied by the Arizona Cardinals. What
Mind you, a great game can overcome the handicap of
its venue. That was the case the first
year this contest was moved to Glendale, when Boise State shocked
Oklahoma. Last year's Clemson-Ohio State
game was, in the College Football Czar's estimation, even better. The dozen games in between, even the close
ones, have been eminently forgettable.
ISU's Breece Hall, the
nation's rushing leader, was held to a season-low 79 yards last game, in a Big
XII championship loss to Oklahoma. UO's
run defense hasn't been comparable to OU's, but it has been better than
advertised, holding four of six opponents to 100 yards or fewer on the ground.
The Fighting Ducks' clock management has often come
under fire since Mario Cristobal has been at the helm, and their 31-24 Pac 12
championship victory at USC hasn't changed that. On a very late third-down play, they snapped
the ball with twelve seconds left on the play clock, and didn't convert. As a result, they gave Kedon
Slovis, of all people, two additional plays to work
with on a last-minute drive. Was the
theory that it was so stupid it would take the Trojans by surprise?
When the webfoots last went
to the Fiesta Bowl eight years ago, they scored a very rare one-point safety
against Kansas State. Following a Duck
touchdown, K-State blocked the extra point.
A linebacker picked the ball out of the air at the three-yard line, but
then gave ground into the end zone and was tackled while trying to pitch it to
a teammate. Hence, it was a safety on a
conversion attempt, which is a one-point score.
Can you believe someone actually had the foresight to put that in the
rulebook? They didn't even have to appeal
to the Big Ten Administrators Council, or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and
ask that a new rule be made up retroactively.
Oregon 29, Iowa
Orange Bowl -- Miami
-- 8:00 (ESPN)
(8-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-1)
The Tar Heels return to the scene of the crime,
where they mugged the Miami Hurricanes 62-26 to end the regular season. The chief assailants were running backs
Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, who combined for 544 rushing yards. The Czar is speaking figuratively, of
course. Everyone knows that the real
perps are the ones in the orange and green.
They don't even bother disputing it.
Aggie coach Jimbo Fisher
made a strong pitch for a CFP bid on the basis that Ohio State hasn't played
enough games, but his Conjunction Boys haven't played a full season,
either. So which team should get the
title shot? The College Football Czar
says it's the team that hasn't already lost to #1 Alabama by 28 points. Besides, Fisher seemed to think his Agathas had made an emphatic statement by beating Tennessee
34-13, but the Volunteers' only victory in their last eight games was against
UNC has not been as consistent over the course of
the season, which is putting it mildly, since they lost to Florida State one
game before blasting Nc State. Still, their offense has been blowing up
bulbs on the scoreboard all season long.
They've scored 56 points or more in four of their past eight ACC games.
In spite of his surname, A&M running back Isaiah
Spiller is no schlemiel. In only nine
games, he has rushed for 986 yards, and added another 174 on 16
receptions. Isaiah is no relation to
former Clemson back C.J., but instead is following in the footsteps of his
father, Fred Spiller, a tight end for the ampersanders
in the early aughts.
Okay, so scoreboards don't have bulbs anymore. As soon as coaches, sportscasters and CFP
committee members stop talking about "watching tape," the Czar will care.
North Carolina 45,
Texas A&M 41
Jan. 11 (Monday)
Game -- Miami -- 8:00 (ESPN)
Predicted matchup -- Alabama vs Clemson
The College Football Czar completely understands the
desire for more parity in the game, but anyone who doesn't want to see these
two square off for another national championship has got something seriously
wrong with him. In the past five years,
they've met in three CFP championships and one semifinal, with each team taking
two of those games. Bama had the Son of
Clem outclassed in the title game to win the 2018 season, but this year looks
like it should more closely resemble the pair of games they split at the end of
the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The Tigers took
the first game 45-40, with the pachyderms pulling out a 35-31 decision a year
Just when it looked like a foregone conclusion that
the Crimson Tide would capture this year's CFP trophy, Florida moved the ball
against them almost at will in a 52-46 slugfest for the SEC championship. That result, proving that the Ole Miss game
was not a one-off, ought to concern coach Nick Saban tremendously
as he prepares his team to take on these explosive ACC champs.
There's just as much to fear from the Tide's own
offense, however. Take wide receiver DeVonta Smith, as every opposing coach wishes he
could. The seasoned senior already has
1,511 receiving yards, 322 more than his closest competitor. What more could you possibly Vont?
Nobody ever says what the Son of Clem's name is, but
we know it's not also Clem, because if it were, the name of the school would be
Clemjr or Clemii. Ergo, by calculatus
eliminatus, the Czar figures his name must be
Tristan. At least that would explain why
he refuses to tell us.
Alabama 42, Clemson 39
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