The Original College Football Czar

Week 4

 

 

Week three in review: Many of the nation's top teams continued to unimpress, as Alabama eked out a 31-29 win when Florida attempted to score a two-point conversion in slow motion. Oklahoma only outlasted Nebraska by a final of 23-16. Clemson could generate little offense in an ugly 14-8 escape against Georgia Tech. Ohio State found itself in a tussle with Tulsa until the game unraveled late in the fourth quarter. UCLA fell to Fresno State for an incredible fourth time in a row, to even that all-time series. Even Coastal Carolina barely got by Buffalo. Although it's still early, it looks as if the race for the national championship might finally look a little different than it has anytime in the past decade or so.

Bama's victory kept the nation's longest active winning streak alive at 17 games, with challenges upcoming in early October against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The longest losing streak, held by Arizona, only gained momentum with the Wildcats' 21-19 upset loss to the Division I-AA Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. If the Cats were to finally break into the W-column this Saturday night at Oregon, that might qualify as the wackiest thing yet to happen this season.

It was a poor week for officiating in general, but especially at the Penn State-Auburn game, where a series of highly peculiar calls nearly cost the Nittany Lions the game. On one occasion, they even lost track of the downs, forcing PSU to punt prematurely. The ABC announcers repeatedly pointed out that it was an SEC officiating crew that was working the game. The College Football Czar thinks it was improper for them to dwell on that, and symptomatic of the ongoing takeover of sports and sportscasting by gambling lardheads. There was nothing conspiratorial going on, just a handful of terrible calls.

Nevertheless, the Czar does find it to be an unnecessary invitation to conspiracy-mongering that the game officials would belong to the conference of one of the participants. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was commonplace for interconference games to be officiated by a crew from a neutral third conference, which was as it should be. What it was about that arrangement than anybody ever found insufficient has never been adequately explained.

The College Football Czar doesn't suppose you'd believe last week's picks were made by his evil twin, Micale. His winning percentage for the young season has just taken a big spill because of a 7-10 week, during which he made the horrific mistake of picking three Pac 12 teams to win. For the season, his record stands at 42-24, for a .636 winning percentage.

Sept. 24

Wake Forest at Virginia

The Demon Deacons have got a record of 3-0, but how much have they done to earn it? They opened against an Old Dominion team that was taking the field for the first time in about 21 months, and then they beat up on Division I-AA Norfolk State. Last week, they were probably less responsible than their opponents for the six takeaways that propelled them past a death-spiraling Florida State team.

A second-quarter interception was the Cavaliers' only defensive stop all day long in a 59-39 loss to North Carolina, and even that came at the end of a 70-yard Tar Heel drive. UVa allowed a total of 699 yards for the game, offering next to no resistance against either the run or the pass. Nevertheless, coach Bronco Mendenhall insists there was nothing wrong with his team's effort. The Czar must wonder, then, just what was it they were trying to do?

The Deacons, like about a dozen other teams, has removed the Commiefiety logo that they wore so prominently a year ago. So Wake is no longer woke? The truth is, they could no longer afford to be. When you're a Forest, those "fiery but peaceful demonstrations" can only last so long.

Virginia 55, Wake Forest 52

Liberty at Syracuse

This is already these teams' third meeting since Liberty make the jump to Division I-A three years ago. In 2019, they hosted the Cuse to open the season, but seemed a bit overwhelmed by the occasion in a 24-0 loss that became a greater disappointment as the year went on. Last season, on the road, the Flames beat the ACC doormats like a rug, 38-21.

An opening 29-9 Orange victory at Ohio appeared to be cause for optimism, until that same OU team was upset a week later by I-AA Duquesne. As for SU, it lost its next game to Rutgers in a 17-7 snooze in the Carrier Dome, which had been scoreless at halftime.

LU dumped fellow Virginian small-conference team Old Dominion 45-17 to improve to 3-0. Quarterback Malik Willis picked up 77 yards and two TDs on the ground, to go along with a 242-yard, four-touchdown passing day. In his last ten regular season games, he has thrown for 21 scores, with only one interception.

The Liberty mascot is an eagle named Sparky, which of course has nothing to do with a team called the Flames. So whenever some group of lardheaded fans demands that Sparky fly, in order to prove that he's not an emu, it's the team�s own fault.

The College Football Czar doesn't have a problem with LiMu the Emu, but Doug has got to go away. The only way that guy can get on the Czar's good side is if, upon his arrival in commercial purgatory, he gives Keith Stone a sock in the nose.

Liberty 27, Syracuse 16

Sept. 25

West Virginia at Oklahoma

In his preseason issue, the College Football Czar picked OU #1. But of course, preseason rankings are only a guess, which should not have any staying power once the real game results come trickling in. For the Sooners at this point in the season to be ranked ahead of Iowa, Penn State and Texas A&M is absurd. The Coaches Poll even has them ahead of Oregon. All right, so they're still unbeaten, but what team in the Top 25 would not have beaten the same three opponents more impressively?

Sooner quarterback Spencer Rattler has been reluctant to strike downfield so far this season. In alarmingly close games against Tulane and Nebraska, he has posted the kind of modest yards per completion numbers you'd expect if the offensive coaches were afraid to turn their QB loose. It appears to the Czar as if head coach Lincoln Riley has made the calculation that the "eye test" is not important to his team, and that as long as he can keep them unbeaten without taking risks, so be it.

The Mountaineers led Virginia Tech 27-7 last week, but they ended up needing a last-minute stand inside their five-yard-line in order to finish off a 27-21 victory. For beating their former Big East rivals, they carried off the Black Diamond Trophy for the first time since 2003. That award, which is topped with a professionally chiseled piece of coal, is easily among the classiest trophies in the world of sports. That's to make sure the Eers are willing to part with it when the time comes. Had they instead been awarded a velvet painting of Elvis scratching a lottery ticket, the Gobblers would never see it again.

Oklahoma 21, West Virginia 17

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin

Former Badger quarterback Jack Coan, now leading Notre Dame, has been a lot sharper this year than Graham Mertz, who took over the starting job last season in Madison. Mertz's play to this point in 2021 has been such that when he appears on TV, your instinct will be to turn him off just as quickly as you would his namesakes, Fred and Ethel.

With a 27-13 victory over visiting Purdue, the Fighting Irish improved to 3-0, but did they really need to resort to such cheap gamesmanship as to prohibit the Boilermakers from bringing their giant drum onto the field? The drum had never been an issue in any of PU's previous trips to South Bend, but this time they were told that it wouldn't fit through the tunnel. That's because the visiting team at Notre Dame Stadium must now always enter the field through the recently constructed visitors' tunnel, which is not large enough to accommodate the drum. Of course, the main tunnel used by the home team is, but Purdue was denied access to it. A total chump move, in the College Football Czar's book. Just because the golden domers defiled their own stadium with the installation of artificial turf in 2014 doesn't mean they should deny opposing teams their traditions as well.

At least this week the Irish aren't at home, or are they? This Shamrock Series neutral-site game is being played at Soldier Field in Chicago, where they have an all-time record of 10-0-2. Their most recent game there was a 41-3 thrashing of Miami in 2012, when ND apparently tried to make the Hurricanes feel at home by wearing bizarre uniforms whose designer must have been on an acid trip. This year's Shamrock Series unis are thankfully more standard.

The actor and actress who played Fred and Ethel Mertz despised each other in real life, to the point that when informed of Fred's death, Ethel is reputed to have said, "Champagne for everybody!" Actually, it sounds like a sitcom about them would have been a whole lot funnier.

Notre Dame 19, Wisconsin 16

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas

These divisional foes play their now-traditional neutral-site game indoors at Arlington, in Jerry Jones' House of Inadequacy, also known as the place where otherwise entertaining football games go to die. If you can stand the setting, the matchup has been very competitive, in spite of the fact that A&M has won the last nine games. Of their past 19 meetings, 12 have been decided by seven points or fewer.

The Conjunction Boys malfunctioned two weeks ago in Colorado, although they still came away with a 10-7 win. Sure, they're without injured QB Haynes King, but that doesn't explain a 97-yard team rushing performance, against a CU team that would get stomped for 277 yards by Minnesota a week later. The A&M defense has been kicking some ampersand, having allowed only 17 points in three games, but easy victories over Kent State and New Mexico have done little to prepare them to face the Hogs.

The Razorbacks, also 3-0, followed up their big win over Texas by gashing Georgia Southern 45-10. Quarterback K.J. Jefferson was self-evidently excellent, tallying 366 passing yards and three touchdowns on only 13 completions. Those numbers come partly courtesy of the opposition, though. What started out as an innocent screen pass in the third quarter was turned into a 91-yard bomb by the inefficacy of the GASO tacklers.

You might wonder how a game between a Texas school and an Arkansas school can be considered neutral-site when it is always played in Texas. That's where it pays to be from an agricultural university. The Aggies happen to know that pigs, though reputed to be highly intelligent, stink at geography.

Arkansas 24, Texas A&M 21

Clemson at Nc State

The way Tiger quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei played last year against Notre Dame and Boston College, it was widely assumed that he would simply pick up where Trevor Lawrence left off. In two games this season against Division I-A competition, however, the scrambling sophomore has thrown no touchdown passes, while passing for minuscule amounts of yardage. In a 14-8 slog against Georgia Tech, he completed 18 of 25 for a meager total of 126 yards. His biggest gain of the day was for 17 yards, on a check-down to running back Kobe Pace.

A week ago, the Wolfpack felled the mighty Man of Fur, 45-7. Then again, eleven on one is hardly a fair fight. In what seemed like a more even matchup in Week 2, NCSU got knocked around by Mississippi State, 24-10, without reaching the end zone until there was one minute left to play.

Although these teams are in the same division, they did not meet last season, which works out just fine for the Pack. In their previous two games against the Paw Boys, they lost by a combined score of 99-17, and they've now dropped 15 of the last 16 in the series.

Uiagalelei is so big that if he held a ukulele, it would look really small by comparison. Which of course it would be. Even if he weren't so big, that is. Gosh, this paragraph is not going at all well, is it? How about if the Czar just says he's adding Uiagalelei to his "all name team"? That lame schtick has been used to bail out college football analysts from having to think of anything clever for decades.

Clemson 28, Nc State 14

Texas Tech at Texas

Tyler Shough rhymes with Duck, but the junior QB was not otherwise such a perfect fit at Oregon. That works out just fine for the folks in Lubbock, whose team is 3-0 after Shough threw for 399 yards in a 54-21 flogging of Florida International.

A week after a potentially devastating loss to Arkansas, the Longhorns were on Rice like white, 58-0. The pointy cows ran roughshod over the visitors from Houston, for 427 rushing yards and six touchdowns. If you're thinking that bulls don't wear shoes, you're right, of course. Perhaps that's why they were shod so rough. Nobody knows how to do it.

Of course, white is not on rice, as one of the world's stupidest sayings would have us believe. Don't tell that to the folks at UT, however. They've got their whole biology department working on how to take it off.

Shough is another member of the College Football Czar's "all name team." See? Once the Czar has left his readers with the responsibility to provide their own witticism, he can be as lazy a sack of crud as he wants!

Texas Tech 44, Texas 36

Oregon State at USC

With starting QB Kedon Slovis injured early against Washington State, freshman Jaxson Dart was mostly on target for Southern Cal, throwing for 391 yards with four touchdowns and a pair of picks. The Trojan passing game appears to be in good hands regardless of who starts behind center. The troubling part is that Dart also led the team in rushing last week, with only 32 yards.

The 2-1 Beavers have lost their only road game so far this year, 30-21 at Purdue. Shockingly, the OSU coaches failed to recognize that the key to beating the Boilermakers is denying them the use of their drum. How will Jonathan Smith and his staff ever live that one down?

If beavers are so busy, why have they not contributed anything to society by now? Perhaps they've been wasting their energy trying to remove the white from rice. Too bad they're not as intelligent as pigs, or they'd realize that "white" is not even a noun.

USC 29, Oregon State 25

LSU at Mississippi State

The Bulldogs won't have the element of surprise working for them like they did in last year's opening 44-34 victory in Baton Rouge. The way the Tiger defense has been since the start of last season, however, the only element the opposing offense needs is oxygen.

Last week in the Liberty Bowl, MSU quarterback Will Rogers threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns against Memphis. There are two problems with that, one of which is that it took him 50 completions on 67 attempts to gain that much yardage. The other is that nobody wins a football game by attempting 67 passes. Perhaps if they'd had any semblance of a running game, they would not have given up 17 fourth-quarter points to lose, 31-29.

One of the traditions the College Football Czar would rather do without is that the Bayou Bengals wear their road whites for all conference home games. Last week in their nifty purple home jerseys against Central Michigan, they were only recognizable from their occasional defensive breakdowns during an otherwise easy 49-21 victory.

Why do they hate to wear such a great uniform? Is it a voodoo thing? Will anyone who wears purple during an SEC game be turned into a salamander? The Czar demands answers, however stupid.

LSU 45, Mississippi State 41

Boise State at Utah State

As if re-ridding themselves of troublesome coach Gary Andersen wasn't enough, the Aggies managed to hire away Arkansas State skipper Blake Anderson (no relation, as the difference in spelling would suggest), who brought quarterback Logan Bonner with him. The result has been a pair of slightly surprising road wins, over Washington State and Air Force.

The Broncos are in the unfamiliar position of entering this game with a losing record. Thy might have to get used to it if they can't pull even with a win against USU, because their next two opponents are Nevada and Brigham Young.

This game will kick off at noon ET for a national audience on CBS, which means it will only be 10AM in Logan, Utah. Thankfully, that is a largely Mormon community, which means the fans won't be too hung over to make it to the game. Moreover, halftime will roll around not far from time for their traditional nooner.

Utah State 30, Boise State 27

SMU at TCU

Would you believe the Mustangs are 20-6 since the start of the 2019 season? During that same stretch, the Horned Frogs are only 13-11. Their head-to-head meeting, for possession of the Iron Skillet, was canceled last season, but two years ago, it was the ponies leading wire-to-wire before winning by a nose, 41-38.

Neither team has had it easy so far this season. In Week 2, Texas Christian thwarted all three California two-point conversion attempts to win 34-32. Last Saturday, Southern Methodist receiver Reggie Roberson caught a deflected pass in the end zone as time expired, to turn back Louisiana Tech, 39-37.

This game represents an educational opportunity for the kids on the winning side, who will learn about the Iron Skillet having been an instrument for preparing food from way back in the pre-Lunchables era.

Ever see the alleged ham slices they put in those things? Yeesh! No wonder the younger folk associate food with the prefix "gastro" these days.

SMU 38, TCU 34

California at Washington

The UW offense broke out in a big way to bury Arkansas State, 52-3, but does that mean their offensive struggles are over, or were the players from the formidable but small ASU program simply overwhelmed by the atmosphere of Husky Stadium. The College Football Czar suspects the latter.

Following tough losses to Nevada and TCU, the Golden Bears finally got into the W-column, through hardly authoritatively, against Division I-AA Sacramento State, 42-30. The question is whether the suspect Cal pass defense is threatened by Husky QB Dylan Morris, who has thrown five interceptions to four touchdowns in three games this season.

It's a little-known fact that the Cal Bear was an unsuccessful attempt to remake the Teddy Bear, except that it was named after Calvin Coolidge, instead of Teddy Roosevelt. So how did the Cal Bear wind up at the University of California at Berkeley? It was the closest thing to the Island of Misfit Toys that existed at the time.

The College Football Czar was going to add a gag about Trumpy Bear here, but it just isn't worth the trouble. "Why, everyone knows that Trumpy Bear has the highest approval rating of any presidential bear of all time! You're only jealous of Trumpy Bear because you're a non-IQ-having loser who could never draw a crowd of ten million thousand people like Trumpy Bear does every Wednesday, you neocon RINO swamp creature and some other names I very loudly don't understand! Here's a Pepe the Frog meme, with which I assure myself that I've just outwitted you! MAGA!"

California 20, Washington 14

San Jose State at Western Michigan

The defending Mountain West Conference champions from SJSU may be getting a bit road-weary at this point, their third consecutive game away from home. Very, very late last week, they barely managed to hang onto a 17-13 win in Honolulu. Seven days later, they must play at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, 4,350 miles away. That could provide a convenient excuse for a subpar performance, and the Broncos will try to plant that excuse in their minds early, by getting off to a fast start.

Last week at Heinz Field, WMU scored a 44-41 upset of Pitt that left a bad taste in the mouths of the home fans. Either that, or else it was the fact that it's too hard to find a good beer in the whole stadium, so the Czar had to settle for a large, warm can of Philadelphia sewage.

Bronco coach Tim Lester is among the latest batch of sports figures to contract the coronavirus despite being vaccinated, and immediately insist that he'd have been far worse off if not for the vaccine. Obviously, they all feel compelled to say this, because there's no logical reason to assume it. Before there were any COVID vaccines, plenty of coaches came down with the coronavirus, without getting any sicker than the vaccinated ones are getting now.

On a related subject, how is it that COVID hospitalizations are down 15 percent from a month ago? Shouldn't the first two weeks of "superspreader events" at college football stadiums now be ravaging the countryside? Or do college football fans now qualify as "sophisticated people" who are exempt from the prescribed dingbattery, just like the people at the Emmys, and at Barack Obama's birthday party?

Western Michigan 38, San Jose State 28

Iowa State at Baylor

Long considered two of the three puniest teams in the Big XII, these oft-forgotten foes had developed a good competitive rivalry by the time they climbed into the upper echelon of the league. Entering this week, the Waco kids hold a 10-9 lead in the all-time series.

Cyclone tailback Breece Hall had the wind at his back last season, when he led the nation with 1,572 rushing yards, but so far in 2021 he's been stuck in the Doldrums, having gained only 69 yards against I-AA Northern Iowa, and then again in the Cy Hawk game against Iowa. Finally, in Week 3, he had a 100-yard game, but it took 21 carries against UNLV to do it.

At 3-0, the Bears have got a very good record. Then again, so did Peter McNeeley. Just because BU has beaten up Kansas and I-AA Texas Southern, and clawed out a 29-20 win at Texas State, that doesn't mean they're about to wrap ISU in a cocoon of horror.

Do you suppose McNeeley meant "typhoon" instead of "cocoon"? We'll probably never know, because by now he has surely faded into Bolivia.

Iowa State 26, Baylor 18

UAB at Tulane

It turns out the Green Wave only postponed the pounding they were supposed to take against Oklahoma in Week 1. Last Saturday at Ole Miss, they were slammed 61-21, and it wasn't nearly that close. That was actually the score midway through the third quarter, at which point the Rebels stifled their own 707-yard attack and concentrated on killing the clock.

Having moved their opener from New Orleans to Norman, TU now hopes to turn the tide of their season by finally arriving at Yulman Stadium to play their belated 2021 home opener. Their opponent, Alabama-Birmingham, plays its last game before returning to its own new stadium, having played their last six games away from home.

In last week's Conference USA opener, the Blazers torched North Texas 40-6, holding the home team off the scoreboard until early in the fourth quarter. The only facet of the game in which they did not have the advantage was in the 11 penalties they took, for 108 yards.

The Blazers were supposed to have played in the Gasparilla Bowl last season, but the game was canceled when South Carolina had an outbreak of COVID on its roster. It wasn't a total loss, though. As you can see from their helmet logo, mascot Blaze drank the gasparilla.

UAB 48, Tulane 33

Rutgers at Michigan

Could this possibly be the year the Wolverines contend again? Through three games, they have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 141-34. The fact that two of those teams have been from the MAC does little to diminish that accomplishment. Their first foe, Western Michigan, just improved to 2-1 with a 44-41 upset of Pitt, and last week's opponent, Northern Illinois, opened with a victory over Georgia Tech, and went on to score 43 in a tough loss to Wyoming.

Isaih Pachecho is no relation to the Fight Doctor, but the junior RU running back has got to start doing a better job at diagnosing the plays. In two games against Division I-A opponents Temple and Syracuse, the team's leading ground-gainer is averaging only 2.5 yards per carry.

Each of these teams has made history at Princeton's expense. The Scarlet Knights defeated them in the first ever college football game, by a score of six goals to four. The Wolverines swiped their groovy helmet design. If you don't agree that the second of those accomplishments is the greater of the two, you're simply not a college football fan.

Michigan 41, Rutgers 22

UTSA at Memphis

The Tigers turned away Mississippi State 31-29, thanks in part to one of the week's many questionable calls by the officials. The MSU punt coverage team had touched the ball to bat it away from the goal line, but they hadn't downed it. Tiger returner Calvin Austin picked it up and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown, even though the back judge had erroneously signaled to stop the clock. It is correct, of course, that the clock was not stopped, and Austin was allowed to run it back, but how many Bulldogs let up on the play upon seeing the signal?

The Roadrunners meeped their way past Middle Tennessee, 27-13, in a game that was not nearly that close. Texas-San Antonio held the MT-heads off the board until giving up two scores in the last three and a half minutes. Aside from this MU team, Louisiana Tech and UAB are about all that's left to prevent them from running the table.

One thing the Liberty Bowl in Memphis is known for is frequent Elvis sightings. Well, heck! If a walking burlap sack full of comorbidities like Elvis can go to football games, then the rest of us need to get on with our lives, already.

UTSA 28, Memphis 27

New Mexico at UTEP

In Week 2, former Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson threw for 381 yards in the Lobos' 34-25 triumph against intrastate rival New Mexico State. That was by far a career high, but a week later against former SEC foe Texas A&M, he completed only 10 of 23 for 33 yards. Seriously, the Czar never quite understood why Wilson had been the starter at UK, and that team certainly does not seem to be missing him.

The Miners haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2010, but sophomore wide receiver Jacob Cowing has gone udderly mad, averaging 22.5 yards per completion through three games, for a total of 293 yards. Even in last Friday's blowout loss to Boise State, he pulled down six catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Why is it that these teams in the deep Southwest have remained so uncompetitive over the years? The College Football Czar doesn't know, but he has chosen to blame NAFTA. Nobody ever bothers to question that.

UTEP 31, New Mexico 22

 

 

 

 

The College Football Czar

a sports publication from The Shinbone