A different view of sports
Clearing my mind and notebook while convinced more than ever that what major college football really needs is a 16-team playoff rather than this four-team poll nonsense:
Up and downs
With the top two teams from last week’s College Football Playoff poll losing, Clemson is riding the up elevator again.
The defending champion Tigers, who slipped from No. 2 to No. 3 last week should be ranked No. 1 when the next poll is released Tuesday. That’d be the only reasonable result after Alabama lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn, 26-14, and Clemson bullied rival South Carolina, 34-10.
But yeah, the real game-changing result of the weekend was Miami’s 24-14 loss to unranked Pittsburgh. That critical misstep should allow unbeaten Wisconsin to move into the top four this week, giving the Big Ten a seat at the table.
That said, I still believe the Badgers have to finish the drill and win the Big Ten championship on Saturday in Indianapolis. Otherwise the door will be left cracked open for either the SEC or ACC to claim a second playoff team.
My top 10 heading into Championship Week:
- Clemson (11-1)
- Oklahoma (11-1)
- Auburn (10-2)
- Wisconsin (12-0)
- Miami (10-1)
- Alabama (11-1)
- Georgia (11-1)
- Ohio State (10-2)
- Central Florida (11-0)
- Washington (10-2)
Paying the price
Auburn’s win over rival Alabama was a costly one after fans stormed the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, resulting in a fine of $250,000.
It was the school’s third violation of the SEC policy intended to keep fans from invading football fields or basketball courts. Auburn fans previously rushed the court after a 2016 basketball game against Kentucky and also came on the field at Jordan-Hare after the 2013 win over Alabama.
TheOnion.com: “Nick Saban undergoes cosmetic procedure to unfold arms.”
TheOnion.com: “Should NASCAR ban Uber drivers?”
SportsPickle.com: “Kansas apologizes to Baker Mayfield for being so easy to make fun of: We had it coming.’”
TheKicker.com: “Kevin Durant returns to OKC, visits the birthplaces of six of his Twitter personas.”
TheOnion.com: “Giants players excited about seeing real end zone up close.”
The Kicker.com: “Loser of Browns vs. Broncos will be relegated to MLS.”
SportsPickle.com: “Red hot Vikings now a lock to let their fans down in the playoffs.”
Three on five
Shifting to basketball, No. 25 Alabama finished Saturday’s game with No. 14 Minnesota with just three players but only lost the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic by five points, 89-84.
Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson saw all his reserves ejected when they came on the court during a confrontation between Dazon Ingram and Minnesota’s Dupree McBrayer early in the second half. Ingram, who received a technical, fouled out. Then John Petty sprained an ankle.
That left freshman guard Collin Sexton, who finished with 40 points, and 6-6 senior Riley Norris and 6-9 freshman Galin Smith. Sexton made 12 of 22 shots, including 4 of 7 treys, in 36 minutes.
If nothing else, it was more entertaining than forcing Alabama to forfeit for not having enough players. And maybe the NCAA should take a hint from hockey and play 3-on3 overtime periods.
Minutes after Missouri kicker Tucker McCann kicked a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the game to beat Arkansas, 48-45, Bret Bielema was booted from his job.
While it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, Bielema said he was told he was fired before he could even leave the field by interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples.
The loss to Mizzou means Bielema finishes his five seasons as Razorbacks’ head coach with 29-34 overall record and only 11-29 against SEC competition.
That can’t be what he imagined life would be like after he bolted from Wisconsin because he was tired of answering to AD Barry Alvarez, the Badgers former coach.
They said it
Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald on news that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife are expecting their first child: “There’s no excuse for not getting Mom to the hospital on time.”
Dwight Perry of Seattle Times: “Would anyone be surprised if Bol Bol — Oregon’s 7-foot-2 basketball recruit — develops into a repeat All-American?”
RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Word out of UCLA is the three Bruins who shoplifted in China will face severe discipline. Case in point: last night they were only allowed to watch two hours of television.”
Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “NASCAR ratings on Fox Sports are down 17% this year. I’m sure it’s all those black drivers kneeling for the National Anthem.”
Greg Cote of The Miami Herald on the nasty Jerry Jones-Roger Goodell feud: “On the bright side, it’s a diversion from counting players who took a knee during the anthem.”
CBS comedian Stephen Colbert: “You might remember that while he was in China, Trump asked China’s President Xi Jinping to release three UCLA players who had been arrested for shoplifting from a Chinese mall — easily the most scandalous thing to happen in a mall that didn’t involve Roy Moore
After losing to Indiana the last four years, Purdue reclaimed the Old Oaken Bucket Saturday, defeating the Hoosiers, 31-24.
The win was the sixth of the season for Purdue, making the Boilermakers bowl eligible and again proving first-year head coach Jeff Brohm knows how to lead a football revival.
Now Purdue needs to keep rewarding Brohm with the support and resources he needs to continue building the program.
If FIFA adopted the College Football Playoff model, at least we’d get right to the World Cup matchups everyone wants to see with semifinals featuring Germany vs. Argentina and Brazil vs. Portugal.
Meanwhile, host Russia, which gets an automatic spot in the field of 32 next summer, is only ranked No. 65. That wouldn’t even make the Russians the Boise State of the sport.
Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11
Don’t fret South Carolina fans. The women’s soccer team is headed to the College Cup, so at least one Gamecocks football team is in a final four.
Auburn beats Alabama 26-14, which gives Georgia a rematch with Tigers in SEC Championship game. In the SEC, when it comes to rematches, “It just means more.”
With Pitt about to whip Miami’s butt, it raises the question. Do teams need more than 24 hours to get turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie out of their system? Final: Pitt 24-14. Hurricanes must have been suffering tryptophan lethargy to spoil unbeaten season. #everygamematters
After giving highlights of Jacksonville’s 19-7 win over Cleveland, Terry Bradshaw said “Cleveland remains undefeated.” Uhh, Terry, Browns are 0-10, not 10-0.
Manute Bol died in 2010, reportedly at the age of 47, but former Cleveland State basketball coach Kevin Mackey has reason to believe the 7-foot-7 Sudanese player was much older.
Why? Because Bol didn’t know his birthdate when he arrived in the U.S. in 1983, so Mackey made up one for him to complete college applications. Bol was probably already in his 40s by then, “but there’s no way of ever really knowing,” Mackey told ZAGSBLOG, “I gave him his birthday because they didn’t know how old he was.”
That means Bol would have been in his 50s for much of his decade in the NBA, where he played for four teams until 1995.
It also means Mackey was about the same age as Bol when he was attempting to recruit him to Cleveland State. So, where was the FBI’s crackerjack college basketball investigation staff when we really needed them?
Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol, has committed to Oregon over Kentucky. He’s 7-2, weighs 220 and has a 7-8 wingspan.
His birthdate? Nov. 16, 1999, which means he’s a legit 18.
Here’s some nifty bio info about Bol Bol that other college recruits can’t claim. Besides having a father who was 7-foot-7, Bol Bol is the great grandson of a Dinka chief, Bol Chol Bol, who was 7-foot-10.
Also, Bol paid a dowry of 150 cows when he married his third wife, who is Bol Bol’s mother.
I was perfect on my picks in the Big Ten and far from flawless when it came to ACC games this weekend.
A 7-0 effort in the Big Ten improved my season picks success to 86-20, putting me back over 80 percent at 81.1.
I only got six of nine games right in the SEC, but my season total is 83-20, which also is where it needs to be at 80.5 percent.
Alas, in the ACC, Miami, Florida State (actually UF), Wake Forest and Virginia each let me down, resulting in a 5-4 week. I’m 79-27 for 74.5 percent. I consider that unacceptable and will have to make up for it with my bowl picks.