From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while noting that one of the biggest disappointments about being retired is not having a working gig during today’s Kentucky Derby:

Stirring it up

Sometimes Charles Barkley is the biggest knucklehead in the TNT studio. He just can’t help himself.

Such was the case after Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Rajon Rondo of the New Orleans Pelicans went nose-to-nose while engaged in “some unfriendly chatter” Tuesday night.

During TNT’s halftime show, Barkley suggested Green deserved to pay a price for trying to intimidate and provoke Rondo into fighting.

When Ernie Johnson asked the panel for their thoughts, Barkley said, “I just want someone to punch him in the face. I really do. I just want someone to punch him in the face.”

After the game when Green was asked to respond to Barkley’s comments, the war of words was on.

“He’s seen me a million times,” said Green.” If he feels that strongly about something, then punch me in my face when you see me. If he’s not going to punch me in my face when he sees me, then shut up. It’s no different than someone sitting behind a computer screen and tweeting, “I’ll knock you out, and you never see them in your life.”

Green continued his rant by suggesting Barkley should have the guts to follow through on his threat.

“Punch me in my face when you see me. If not, no one cares what you would have done. You’re old and it is what it is,” said Green. “If you aren’t going to punch me when you see me, then stop talking about it. Period.”

When he initially had trouble putting the microphone back on its base, he looked at the reporters in the room and said, “Drop the mike.” Then he got up and left the interview session.

Meanwhile, Rondo laughed off the incident and said it was essentially gamesmanship between the two. He said he wasn’t trying to “bait” Green, but he wasn’t going to back down, either.

For the record, the Warriors lead the West semifinal series, 2-1, after the Pelicans bounced back for a 119-100 win Friday night. Neither Green or Rondo was much of a factor scoringwise in that game, combining for 15 points. But Green did have 12 rebounds and nine assists and Rondo had 21 assists and 10 rebounds.

So, no title?

For the record, Scott Frost, now the head football coach at Nebraska, doesn’t claim he won a national championship at UCF last season after completing a 13-0 season by leading the Knights past Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Sure, he understands why UCF athletic director Danny White scheduled a title parade, hung banners around campus and purchased championship rings for the team. Heck, Frost and his coaching staff even accepted the championship bonus checks – and then all bolted for jobs with the Cornhuskers.

Not a bad way of double-dipping on your football salary, if you can manage it.

“All I’ll say is if I had stayed there, I would have had a hard time getting behind it,” said Frost. “I think it was smart by them because it has kept UCF in the media and in the conversation. But you know, like our rings, I kind of wish my ring just said ‘Undefeated Season’ and ‘Peach Bowl Champion.’”

All the media fuss the championship claim has created is reportedly been worth $200 million in publicity for UCF. And it hasn’t cost UCF anything but the expense of the parade, banners, rings and coaching bonuses.

“I do think it was almost criminal how low (the CFB Committee) kept UCF in the rankings, and I think it was intentional,” Frost told USA Today. “But at the end of the day, the playoff system  is that the national champion is the team that wins the playoff.”

So while White sticks to his assertion that UCF has a championship claim because it beat both Alabama and Georgia – the two teams that played for the title in the same stadium in Atlanta – Frost recognizes the Crimson Tide as the true champions.

’Skins game

The New York Times reported this week that several Washington Redskins cheerleaders were forced to go topless or wear only body paint during a 2013 calendar shoot in Costa Rica. Since there was no nudity in the calendar, the real problem is that the women allege corporate sponsors and other men were on the trip and were invited to watch the photo shoots. The story also alleges that the cheerleaders were then required to escort those men to a nightclub.

It took a few days, but the team is now finally, and predictably, pushing back on those charges. Two former squad captains who were on the Costa Rica trip dispute that the team was “pimping us out.”

“Those terms — ‘pimped out,’ ‘escort’ — they just need to stop, because it’s absolutely not what happened,” Rachel Gill said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show alongside fellow ex-team member Charo Bishop.

The Times, which interviewed five former cheerleaders, stands by its reporting. The women remain anonymous because they were required to sign confidentiality agreements to go on the trip.

While none of the cheerleaders have alleged they were required to have sex, they do claim that the squad’s director, Stephanie Jojokian, used them “as sex symbols to please male sponsors.”

Bishop, however, said she didn’t see anything wrong with the cheerleaders’ roles at the team’s corportate events. She also told NBC that going topless at the photo shoots was, “All optional, voluntary. Some girls were excited to do those things.”

The Times report also alleges that during a 2012 private boat party the men were allowed to shoot liquor into the mouths of cheerleaders with turkey basters” and “handed out cash prizes in twerking contests.”

Team president Bruce Allen said in a statement Thursday that the team is investigating the allegations.

“I can promise that once we have completed looking into this matter, if it is revealed that any of our employees acted inappropriately, those employees will face significant repercussions,” Allen said.

Of course, what’s really needed is for the NFL to get serious about its diminished image and realize that a growing percentage of its fans are female. So where is the side of beefcake?

Right step

Meanwhile, over in the NBA, another step in the right direction toward women’s rights comes the news that the Milwaukee Bucks plan on interviewing Becky Hammon for their vacant head coaching job, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.

Hammon already has been a trailblazer in the league, serving as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. In 2015, she coached the Spurs’ Las Vegas Summer League team and won the championship.

Despite being undrafted in 1999, the former standout at Colorado State played 16 seasons in the WNBA with the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Stars and was named as one of the league’s top 15 players all-time in 2011.

The Bucks interviewed Hammon for their general manager job in 2017 but she wasn’t a finalist

For the coaching vacancy, Milwaukee is expected to interview several other candidates, including former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, former New Orleans coach Monty Williams and former Cleveland coach David Blatt.

They said it

Mike Bianchi of Orlando Sentinel on the report that some Washington Redskins cheerleaders were forced to pose topless during a 2013 calendar shoot in Costa Rica:  “New team motto: “We’re a sexist organization with a racist nickname!”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “You can slip us this Mickey anytime: A 1952 Mantle baseball card has sold for $2.88 million — or 384 times the $7,500 he was paid to play that season.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe: “FIFA called out Trump on ethics after he tweeted about not supporting countries who don’t support North American World Cup 2026 bid. Give Donald Trump credit – who else could give FIFA the moral high road?”

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien: “A study reveals that the best way to add years to your life is to exercise, lose weight, and not drink too much. To which all of America replied, “What else you got?”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Two ex-cheerleaders who filed NFL discrimination suits said if Commissioner Roger Goodell met with them, they’d settle for $1 each. Or twice their old salaries.”

Dwight Perry, again: “Scientists in Singapore created a robot that can put together an Ikea chair in roughly 20 minute. So now it’s on to even tougher challenges, like assembling a roster for the Cincinnati Reds.”

Age-old problem

Jerry Richardson is clearly not smarter than a fifth-grader.

The 81-year-old owner of the Carolina Panthers is being forced to sell his NFL team because of numerous harassment complaints, including sexually suggestive comments he made to female employees.

One such incident even borders on middle-school hijinks since Richardson allegedly passed a note to at least one woman that sought to determine if she had any interest in having a relationship with him.

“Do you think of me as: 1. Your grandfather; 2. Your second father; 3. Your second husband; 4. Your friend; 5. Your boyfriend; 6. Something else.

 Gridiron grandstanding

When NewArena.com compiled its listing of the top college football coaches, the Big Ten surprisingly came out on top with  nine of the 33 ranked coaches. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer led the way for the league at No. 2, while Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh was No. 5.

Meanwhile, the ACC had the second most coaches on the list with seven, giving the league two more than the SEC. But despite those overall numbers, it’s interesting to note that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney was the only ACC coach ranked among the Top 10.

Alabama’s Nick Saban was No. 1 overall to lead the SEC’s three coaches in the Top 10, including Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M at No. 7 and Gus Malzahn of Auburn at 10.

But based on numbers, the Pac-12 could claim dominance with UCLA’s Chip Kelley ranked No. 4, Washington’s Chris Petersen at No. 6 and Stanford’s David Shaw at No. 8.

We should also note that Fisher bolted from Florida State of the AC at the end of the season to take the Aggies’ job. If that hadn’t happened, the Pac-12 would have been the only league with three coaches ranked in the top 10.

The list: 1. Nick Saban, Alabama; 2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State; 3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson; 4. Chip Kelley, UCLA; 5. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; 6. Chris Petersen, Washington; 7. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M; 8. David Shaw, Stanford; 9. Gary Patterson, TCU; 10. Gus Malzahn, Auburn; 11. Bobby Petrino, Louisville; 12. Mark Richt, Miami; 13. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; 14. James Franklin, Penn State; 15. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; 16. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; 17. Kyle Whittingham, Utah; 18. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin; 19. Mike Leach, Washington State; 20. Bill Snyder, Kansas State; 21. Dan Mullen, Florida; 22. David Cutcliffe, Duke; 23. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; 24. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech; 25. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; 26. Tom Herman, Texas; 27. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; 28. Clay Helton, Southern Cal; 29. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; 30. Scott Frost, Nebraska; 31. Mike Norvell, Memphis 32. Matt Campbell, Iowa State; 33. Jeff Brohm, Purdue.

Headlines

TheOnion.com: “Don Mattingly yelling at Marlins for leaving dome open with AC on.”

Fark.com: “Boston Marathon gets to keep some of the prize money because three of the top 15 runners lack Y chromosones.”

Onion.com: “LeBron James credits teammates with providing 4 bodies necessary to avoid forfeiture against Pacers.”

TheOnion.com: “Joe Maddon saves up all his mound visits for one long trip in 8th inning.”

Fark.com: “There are dumb people in the world but until today I didn’t know there were people dumb enough to say, ‘let’s put a Super Bowl in London.”

TheOnion.com: “White Sox promotion puts first 9 fans at ballpark in starting lineup.”

Fark.com: “High school baseball player sues third base coach for telling him to slide.”

Fark.com: “Stay classy, Redskins management.”

TheOnion.com: “No (expletive) chance kid who bought mitt to 400 level getting near foul ball.”

TheOnion.com: “Gym patron just resting for a second until will to live returns.”

Higher expectations

Josh Rosen wasn’t pleased that he fell to the 10th pick of the first round of the recent NFL Draft.

“I thought I should’ve been picked at 1, 2 or 3,” said Rosen, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals. “I dropped, and I was pissed. I was really, really angry. I wasn’t really showing it. I was trying to keep calm, cool, composed.”

So much for projections that Rosen was the top quarterback in the draft. Perhaps the problem with that evaluation is that it caused ‘Chosen Rosen’s” head to further swell, and then burst when he was drafted 10th.

One team GM said Rosen was psychologically a combination of Jeff George and Jay Cutler, two polarizing quarterbacks who can divide teams. It was a way to suggest that Rosen doesn’t have the leadership skills to last in the NFL

But what he did demonstrate in college was that he can make the quick, short-yardage throws that keep the chains moving in a West Coast offense.

Rosen responded to the criticism he’s heard by saying that he would make it a goal to be a leader. “I’m not going to come in and be an a–hole and think that my s— don’t stink,” he said.

Replacement player?

Ben Roethlisberger may have been merely voicing his desire for more help in getting the Steelers to another Super Bowl when he criticized Pittsburgh for taking Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Randolph in the third round. But by bringing it up during a KDKA radio interview on the Cook and Poni Show, he sounded territorial.

Roethlisberger is entering his 15th season in the NFL and he wouldn’t mind sticking around for another few years. Since Big Ben has had a knack for playing through injuries, starting an average of 14 games a season, he thought the Steelers could have used a lower draft pick on a quarterback and gotten help for another position of need.

“I thought that maybe in the third round, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now,” he said.

Personal note

I haven’t fully decided, but this blog may go into hibernation for a few weeks because my wife and I are in the process of relocating from Indiana to South Carolina.

If I can still manage the time to write, I will. You’ll just have to tune in during this transition, but I shall return at some point.

Personally, it’s a good time to take a break since I was kicked to the curb by Gannett one year ago during one of the company’s many downsizing moves. It came less than two weeks after I was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with two 2016 writing awards, including second best columnist in Indiana.

As always, you can always reach me by email at randy.beard@yahoo.com

From Sidelines to punchlines

A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while shamefully admitting I was 0-for-3 in my predictions for the ACC, SEC and Big Ten championship games:

Emerging dynasty

Clemson left no doubt which team deserves to be No. 1 when the College Football Playoff committee announces its Jan. 1 semifinal matchups Sunday afternoon.

The defending national champion Tigers (12-1) crushed Miami in the ACC title game Saturday night in Charlotte, claiming a 38-3 win to secure the top seed.

Oklahoma (12-1) should move up to No. 2 after Baker Mayfield’s Heisman-clinching effort in leading the Sooners past TCU, 41-17, in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The third slot should go to SEC champion Georgia (12-1), which beefed up its playoff resume by avenging an ugly loss to Auburn just three weeks ago.  Beaten 40-17 at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium,  the Bulldogs rolled to a 28-7 victory in Atlanta.

That leaves the fourth spot for Big Ten champion Ohio State (11-2), which beat previously unbeaten Wisconsin, 27-21.

If every game counts in college football, as coaches like to say, it should matter that Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide wasn’t playing for the SEC title on Saturday.

Celebrating 50

Clemson has only six scholarship seniors – cornerback Ryan Carter, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel,  guard Tyrone Crowder, lineman Maverick Morris, tight end D.J. Greenlee and cornerback Marcus Edmond — but they will be remembered as the winningest class in ACC history.

That streak of success includes a national championship, three ACC titles and a 4-0 record against rival South Carolina. And they aren’t ready to stop at 50 wins, either.

Headlines

Fark.com: “The 2018 World Cup draw is set. The U.S. is in Group 1 with Holland, Italy and Chile.”

SportsPickle.com: “Archie Manning puts Eli up for adoption.”

TheKicker.com:  “LeBron lobbies NBA  for ability to eject refs that eject him.”

SportsPickle.com: “Greg Schiano drops interest in Tennessee job after discovering program’s ties to awful football.”

TheOnion.com: “New report finds Giants just 5 years away from acquiring offensive weapons.”

Fark.com: “Cleveland Browns are now officially eliminated from the playoffs.”

Volunteer movement

Most athletic directors keep handy a list of potential head coaches for football and basketball for when they have an opening. On Friday new Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer didn’t exactly rule himself out, saying only that he wouldn’t “serve as interim coach of the Vols.” That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t consider a long-term contract to return to a job he held for 17 seasons until 2008, right?

With that in mind, we at sportseditorperspective were able to sneak a peek at Fulmer’s football coaching wish list:

  • Phillip “Legendary Vol” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Vol for Life” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Better than Johnny Majors” Fulmer
  • Phillip “No. 2 on UT wins list” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Need 22 wins to be No. 1” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Don’t hate like 2008” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Still should be coach” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Anybody can be AD” Fulmer
  • Phillip “Kick Kiffen’s Twitter butt” Fulmer
  • Plan B: Tee Martin.*

Tee time

Once the season started unraveling for Tennessee, Peyton Manning’s ears must have been burning.

He was being mentioned as a replacement for Butch Jones. And if not head coach, then offensive coordinator. And if not coordinator, then quarterback coach.

But let’s be serious. The next head coach at Tennessee should be  Tee Martin, who replaced Manning as quarterback and led the Vols to a national championship in 1998.

Martin, who is Southern California’s offensive coordinator, is one of the country’s top young coaches. Under Martin, the Trojans averaged 34.5 points and 489.5 yards per game, which ranked among the top 30 in the nation.

Fulmer should already have made Martin an offer he can’t refuse. Unfortunately, reports suggest that Fulmer has contacted Martin about returning to Knoxville only as offensive coordinator on a staff led by former LSU head coach Les Miles.

With Fulmer sitting in the AD office,  Martin would have all the head coaching advice he’d ever need.

Coaching carousel

With college football’s regular season over, it’s time to launch new coaching eras.  Of the five vacancies created (so far) in the Southeastern Conference, three of the schools  have found their man.

Dan Mullen filled one opening while creating another when he jumped from Mississippi State to Florida.

Such conference thievery could happen again if Arkansas can give native son Gus Malzahn enough reasons to leave Auburn. That courtship can become serious now that Auburn won’t be playing for the national championship.

Here’s an updated list of the SEC coach openings/closures:

  • Arkansas: Mike Norvell????
  • Auburn: Gus Malzahn says he’s staying
  • Florida: Dan Mullen
  • Mississippi State: Joe Moorhead
  • Tennessee: Les Miles orTee Martin?
  • Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher

Jimbo jumps

Texas A&M just hired a coach who had a losing record this season. That’s right. Since Jimbo Fisher wasn’t stalking the sidelines during Florida State’s 42-10 win over Louisiana-Monroe, he finished 5-6 this season.

Meanwhile, the coach he replaces, Kevin Sumlin, was 7-5 this season.

No doubt Fisher got a better deal contracturally from the Aggies, but we’ll have to wait and see if the fans  agree that Texas A&M came out ahead in the switch.

They said it

Dwight Perry of Seattle Times: “A man proposed to his girlfriend at ‘Monday Night Raw.’ That’s what she gets for saying she expected a humongous ring.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com:  “Danica Patrick told USA Today when it comes to a Thanksgiving drink, she’s a ‘red wine kind of person.’ Hey; at least wine has a ‘win’ in it.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Congratulations to the Toronto Argonauts, winners of the Grey Cup. Few sports fans think the Argos could actually compete with NFL teams, though they might be two touchdown favorites against the Cleveland Browns.”

NBC comedian Jimmy Fallon: “The New York Giants announced that they are benching Eli Manning this weekend. Eli’s not sure what’s worse – not getting to play for the Giants, or having to WATCH the Giants.”

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle on the 49ers’ futile attempts to sack Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: “Trying to capture a butterfly with a soup spoon.”

Super K

Kayla Montgomery, a runner from Winston-Salem, N.C. who won three state high school championships in the 2013-14 school year for Mount Tabor High School despite having Multiple Sclerosis, will forever be an inspiration to all who hear her story.

I caught her ESPN E:60 documentary, “Catching Kayla,” the other day and found myself fighting back tears as I learned about all the hurdles she had to overcome every time she  stepped up to the starting line for a distance race. Because she loses feeling in her legs as her body begins to overheat while she is running, Montgomery needs to have someone waiting at the finish line to prevent her from falling once she stops. She also needs help to cool down as quickly as possible to avoid other health concerns that arise with MS.

She’s now a senior at Lipscomb College in Nashville, although it doesn’t appear she is still competing. Her last finish in a race, according to her athletic department bio, came in 2015.

But that doesn’t make her any less of  an inspiration.

Sweet Tweets

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11

So, if you combined the scores of the two games between the two SEC Championship Game participants, Auburn would beat Georgia 47-45, right?

Jimbo Fisher resigns at FSU to take Texas A&M job, proving some coaches leave even when grass isn’t greener on other side of fence. Concussions have horrible consequences.

Today I’m announcing that I will not be the next person to turn down the head football coaching position at the University of Tennessee. Alas, there are way too many folks who are more qualified to turn down the job ahead of me. But, if UT officials get desperate, I am available.

Laura Okmin just asked Titans’ Marcus Mariota how “it feels to get all these monkeys” off your back. So now there’s more than one monkey?

Titans’ Delanie Walker catches TD pass and does end zone celebration as salute to CPR, laying football on field and doing “chest compressions.” Announcer Chris Myers describes the celebration as “burping the baby.”

 Stat of week

Bavarian Bierhaus in Glendale, Wis., thought it had the perfect in-game promotion when the Green Bay Packers hosted the Baltimore Ravens.

The deal was to hand out free beer until the Packers scored. But wouldn’t you know it, Green Bay was shutout at home for the first time in 11 seasons, losing to the Ravens 23-0.

The brewery estimates it gave away as many as 300 beers as the suds flowed freely from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

From Sidelines to punchlines

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:

  1. Clemson (11-1)
  2. Oklahoma (11-1)
  3. Auburn (10-2)
  4. Wisconsin (12-0)
  5. Miami (10-1)
  6. Alabama (11-1)
  7. Georgia (11-1)
  8. Ohio State (10-2)
  9. Central Florida (11-0)
  10. 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.

Headlines

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.

Other shoe

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

Rewarding rivalry

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.

Americanizing futbol

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.

Sweet Tweets

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.

Bol I

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?

Bol II

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.

Weekend results

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.

ACC Landscape: Week Thirteen

Wrapping up his second season as South Carolina’s head football coach, Will Muschamp’s quest to rebuild the Gamecocks into an SEC  contender is ahead of schedule.

Picked to finish only fourth in the SEC East, his players exceeded expectations with five conference wins. USC (8-3, 5-3 SEC) was even in contention for the division title until a 24-10 loss to Georgia three weeks ago.

Now, with Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) visiting Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, the Gamecocks have another chance at earning a signature win.

“You don’t need a lot of extra motivation at the end of the day,” said Muschamp. “If you don’t get excited about playing your archrival, then something is wrong with you. That’s the way I look at it.”

The fact Clemson is looking to extend its winning streak in the series to four in a row, including a 56-7 rout last year, should light an extra fire under his players, Muschamp said. So should the fact that the game has been picked for a national primetime telecast on ESPN.

That may even explain why so many national college football writers have picked South Carolina to win, choosing to make the game their upset special of the week. I’m not that reckless with my picks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the game qualifies as an instant classic.

Of course, Rivalry Weekend’s biggest upset occurred Friday when Pittsburgh stunned No. 2 Miami, 24-14.

That’s the loss Swinney will talk to his players about since the Tigers will face Miami in the ACC Championship Game next Saturday in Charlotte. He’ll remind his players that the Hurricanes were undefeated until they dropped their guard and were sucker punched by the Panthers. He may even remind his players that Pitt did the same thing to them last November.

“It’s about winning the game and this team having an opportunity to continue on because its playoff football for us every week,” said Swinney, who knows a second loss now could deny Clemson one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff. “We’ve got a challenge on our hands with South Carolina. They’ve gotten better as the year has gone.”

Swinney, who played and coached at Alabama, said he believes the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is as intense as the Iron Bowl clash between Auburn and Alabama.

 “Zero difference in this state. Zero. Year-round, that’s all people talk about. It’s just different logos. It’s the same type of intensity, emotion,” Swinney said.

The strength of both teams is their defenses, but Clemson has a decided edge on the defensive front. Not only are they difficult to run on, but the Tigers have one of the nation’s fiercest pass rushes.

If the Gamecocks are going to keep the game close into the fourth quarter, quarterback Jake Bentley will have to be effective keeping plays alive with his legs. He’s passed for nearly 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns and run for another six touchdowns. But he’s also tossed nine interceptions, and if he’s turnover prone against the Tigers, South Carolina could be staring at another huge lategame deficit.

Meanwhile, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant has been efficient, and occasionally explosive, for the Tigers. He’s passed for 2,200 yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions.

The Tigers are scoring an average of 10 points more per game than the Gamecocks – 35.3 to 25.4. Meanwhile, both teams rank among the top 20 teams in the nation in scoring defense with the Tigers at No. 3 while allowing 13.9 points per game and the Gamecocks ranking No. 20 at 19.6.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

(All times Central)

Friday’s games

Pittsburgh 24, Miami 14

(Pittsburgh improves to 5-7, 3-5 ACC; Miami 10-1, 7-1 ACC)

Virginia Tech 10, at Virginia 0

(Virginia Tech improves to 9-3, 5-3 ACC; Virginia 6-6, 3-5)

Saturday’s games

Florida State (4-6) at Florida (4-6), Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ESPN

Georgia (10-1) at Georgia Tech (5-5), Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ABC

Louisville (7-4) at Kentucky (7-4), Saturday 11 a.m. CT, SEC Network

Boston College (6-5) at Syracuse (4-7), Saturday 11:20 a.m., ACC Network

Duke (5-6) at Wake Forest (7-4), Saturday 11:30 CT, ACC Network

North Carolina (3-8) at N.C. State (7-4), Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU

Clemson (10-1) at South Carolina (8-3), Saturday 6:30 p.m., ESPN

FAB FIVE

1 Miami (10-0, 7-0): Last Week – W, Virginia, 44-28. The Impact – Hurricanes twice rallied from 14-point deficits, scoring pair of touchdowns in seven seconds for first comeback and then finishing game with 30 unanswered points. Malik Rosier passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as UM extended nation’s longest win streak to 15 games. Mark Richt now needs to make sure his players don’t overlook Pitt since ’Canes are already set to face Clemson for ACC title on Dec. 2.

  1. Clemson (10-1, 7-1): Last Week – W, The Citadel, 61-3. The Impact – Tigers scored on 10 of 13 possessions as Dabo Swinney emptied his bench early and often against an outmatched FCS opponent in The Citadel. Fifteen players caught passes and nine carried the football, but the rout wasn’t enough to prevent Miami from taking the No. 2 spot in the CFP rankings. That’s a battle that will be settled next week, though. This weekend the Tigers are looking to win their fourth straight over rival South Carolina after losing five in a row.
  1. Wake Forest (7-4, 4-3): Last Week – W, N.C. State, 30-24. The Impact – Demetrius Kemp’s forced fumble and end zone recovery allowed the Demon Deacons to win their fourth conference game and continue N.C. State’s late-season slump. It was also the Deacons’ first win over a Top 25 opponent since 2011. John Wolford and Tabari Hines connected on three touchdown passes of 21, 7 and 18 yards and Wolford finished with 247 yards passing.

 

  1. N. C. State (7-4, 5-2): Last Week – L, at Wake Forest, 30-24. The Impact –  Since Dave Doeren announced his goal was still to win 10 games after losing at Notre Dame, N.C. State has lost two more. Three of the Wolfpack’s four losses have been by seven or fewer points. But the loss to Wake Forest was particularly painful since the Wolfpack held a 22-minute edge in time of possession and ran 94 plays in compiling more than 500 yards.
  1. Louisville (7-4, 4-4): Last Week – W, Syracuse, 56-10. The Impact – Lamar Jackson continued his assault on the school record book, compiling 381 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Jackson racked up his 11th consecutive 300-yard game to become the Cardinals’ career yardage leader with 12,474, which is third best in the ACC. Tailback Malik Williams had a career-high 180 rushing yards on only nine carries, including TD runs of 46 and 56 yards.

 

THE PACK

  1. Virginia Tech (8-3, 4-3): Last Week – W, Pittsburgh, 20-14. The Impact – Hokies’ defense kept Panthers out of end zone on final drive despite Pitt having a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Cam Phillips had 117 yards on eight catches to increase his school record to 2,981 receiving yards. The win allowed Justin Fuente’s team to end two-game skid.

 

  1. Boston College (6-5, 3-4): Last Week – W, Connecticut 39-16. The Impact – Playing at Fenway, BC became bowl eligible after winning for fourth time in five weeks. A win over Syracuse would allow Eagles to break even in ACC after an 0-3 start in conference. A.J. Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns covering 48 and 53 yards.
  2. Florida State (4-6, 3-5): Last Week – W, Delaware State, 77-6. The Impact – FSU played MEAC school and it wasn’t nearby Florida A&M. Seminoles nearly tied school record for largest margin of victory. If FSU beats Florida Saturday, earning a bowl bid will become mere formality since Louisiana-Monroe comes to Tallahassee for a rescheduled game on Dec. 2. Receiver Justin Motlow became the first Seminole Tribe of Florida product to score a touchdown for FSU.
  3. Virginia (6-5, 3-4): Last Week – L, at Miami, 44-28. The Impact – After 5-1 start to season, the Cavaliers have lost four of five. Still, Bronco Mendenhall’s squad should be able to relax heading into Saturday’s home game against rival Va Tech since a bowl berth is already in the bag. Against UM, Cavs couldn’t run the football, finishing with 55 yards on 28 carries, including 23-yarder by Jordan Ellis on final play. They’ll need to be more productive that against Hokies.
  1. Syracuse (4-7, 2-5): Last Week – L, at Louisville, 56-10. The Impact – The schedule has taken its toll on Dino Babers’ Orange. Since upsetting Clemson Oct 13, the Orange has played road games at Miami, Florida State and Louisville and had a home date against Wake Forest. Syracuse lost all four contests with Louisville shredding the Orange defense for 727 yards.
  2. Duke (5-6, 2-5): Last Week – W, Georgia Tech, 43-20. The Impact – David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils, who had been held to combined 46 points in previous four games, racked up 43 while shutting out Georgia Tech in the second half. The win ended a six-game skid by Duke and revives the Blue Devils’ hopes of earning a bowl berth by beating Wake Forest. For that to happen, Blue Devils will have to be exceptional on defense.

 

THE UNPROVEN

  1. Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4): Last Week – L, at Duke, 43-20. The Impact – Yellow Jackets have lost three of their last four games and likely would have to upset Georgia Saturday to become bowl eligible. There’s a slight chance they could get an invitation with five wins since they only played 11 games this season. But that’s a gamble Paul Johnson would rather not take. After trip to Athens on Saturday, Johnson may regret schools’ decision not to reschedule or replace game against UCF that was postponed by Hurricane Irma.
  2. Pittsburgh (4-7, 2-5): Last Week – L, at Virginia Tech, 20-14. The Impact – Panthers’ chances of staying in contention for bowl bid ended when Virginia Tech made a late goal-line stand. Pat Narduzzi’s team had a first down at the 1-yard line after Kenny Pickett connected with Jester Weah on 74-yard pass with less than 30 seconds remaining. But the threat ended with a pass breakup in the end zone with three seconds left and tailback Darrin Hall being dropped for a 3-yard loss on the final play. Hall finished with four yards on 15 carries and Pitt gained just 55 yards on 30 carries.
  1. North Carolina (3-8, 1-6): Last Week – W, Western Carolina, 65-10. The Impact – It took all season but Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels finally won back-to-back games. After falling behind 7-0, UNC responded with six consecutive touchdown drives, including three scores in less than three minutes. Sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott tossed four touchdown passes in the first half. Tar Heels had a 231-32 edge in yardage in second quarter while scoring 35 of their points.

BEARD’S PICKS

(Predicted winners in bold caps)

Friday’s games

Pittsburgh 24, MIAMI 14 — STUNNING UPSET

Virginia Tech 10, at VIRGINIA 0

Saturday’s games

Florida State at FLORIDA

GEORGIA at Georgia Tech

LOUISVILLE at Kentucky

BOSTON COLLEGE at Syracuse

Duke at WAKE FOREST

North Carolina at N.C. STATE

CLEMSON at South Carolina

Last Week: 7-2

Overall: 69-21 (76.6%)

 

A different view on sports

 

 

Clearing my mind and notebook while hoping someone will  send me a photo for my office wall of Miami coach Mark Richt wearing America’s best bling, the Turnover Chain:

Poll badgering

Fox Sports color commentator Joel Klatt took aim at the designated cupcakes being consumed in the south on Saturday, noting Alabama and Clemson were enjoying “November byes.”

Granted, what Klatt said in an attempt to make a case for Wisconsin’s playoff worthiness contained a smidgen of truth. Dabo Swinney’s defending champion Tigers did spend Saturday afternoon overpowering The Citadel, 61-3. And yes, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide pounded Mercer, 56-0, while going through the motions of being the nation’s No. 1 team.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin had to survive a stern Big Ten clash with Michigan, 24-10.

Is that fair? Probably not. But let’s not forget that the main reason Paul Chryst’s team is  unbeaten after 10 games is a schedule that is only rated as the nation’s  50th toughest.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma (No. 1), Clemson (No. 4), Miami (No. 21) and Alabama (No. 23) have all played much tougher slates.

Klatt also should be reminded that Alabama plays Auburn this week and Clemson faces South Carolina. Those rivalry games will be road trips for the Crimson Tide and Tigers against teams that have winning records.

The Badgers? They face a 5-6 Minnesota team.

I do agree with the main point Klatt was trying to make when he slipped into snarky mode. College football’s guaranteed victories against step-down opponents should be played in September not November.

The final month of the regular season should be reserved for conference clashes and traditional rivals.

That’s the only way anyone can continue to argue that every game counts.

My power five

I’m not sold on Clemson being one of the four teams once the CFP dust settles because I don’t believe the Tigers will beat Miami on Dec. 2 in the ACC Championship game.

Breaking out my crystal football, the four teams I believe will be playing for the national championship are Miami, Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Headlines

SportsPickle.com: “Lonzo Ball arrested for shoplifting ‘How to Shoot a Basketball’ DVD.”

Fark.com: “Danica Patrick to retire from full-time racing in attempt to preserve her unblemished record of no wins.”

TheOnion.com: “NFL announces plans to stream ‘Thursday Night Football’ exclusively on Delta flights.”

TheKicker.com: “Report: Seahawks playbook just squiggly lines indicating Wilson’s scrambles.”

SportsPickle.com: “Christian Pulisic writes heartfelt essay on Players Tribune revealing it turns out he’s actually German.”

TheOnion.com: “Jim Harbaugh conducts entire ESPN interview with whistle clenched in teeth.”

Alternate Cup

Within minutes of Italy being eliminated from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, I tweeted that the United States should “stage its own 8-team mini-World Cup” next summer with the likes of Italy, Netherlands, Chile, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa and China.

Apparently, mine was a shared genius since ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and others had similar thoughts.

But the real catalyst for such a tournament was the United States Soccer Federation. It was already kicking around a few ideas to make up for the failure of the U.S. men’s team in CONCACAF qualifying. With FIFA agreeable and ESPN apparently willing to bankroll it, momentum has quickly built.

It probably didn’t hurt that FIFA already has announced that the World Cup field in 2026 will be expanded to 48 teams, so there’s no chance this will become a regular pity party.

Connecting dots

From Dwight Perry’s “Sideline Chatter” in the Seattle Times:

“Introducing your new No. 1 team in this week’s NFL Who Beat Who Power Rankings — the San Francisco 49ers! After all, the 49ers (1-9) beat the Giants (1-8), who beat the Broncos (3-6), who beat the Cowboys (5-4), who beat Washington (4-5), which beat the Seahawks (6-3), who beat the Rams (7-2), who beat the Jaguars (6-3), who beat the Steelers (8-2), who beat the Vikings (7-2), who beat the Saints (7-2), who beat the Panthers (7-3), who beat the Patriots (7-2), who beat the Falcons (5-4), who beat the Bears (3-6), who beat the Ravens (4-5), who beat the Raiders (4-5), who beat the Chiefs (6-3), who beat the Eagles (8-1).”

They said it

TBS comedian Conan O’Brien,after the IOC said it might include pole-dancing, poker and foosball in the next Games: “They also said it’s the first Olympics that will be held in a frathouse basement.”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Four more Russian cross-country skiers were stripped of their Sochi Olympic medals for doping. Officials became suspicious when they had faster times than the bobsledders.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com “ No way was China putting American basketball players in jail for 10 years. If NBA pulled their shoe factories it would put tens of thousands of Chinese children out of work.”

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Just to add some extra incentive to the upcoming UCF-USF game, I think the winner — whether it’s UCF’s Scott Frost or USF’s Charlie Strong — should get the Gators job. On second thought, maybe the loser should get the Gators job.”

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Browns fan Chris McNeil has secured a Cleveland parade permit for Jan. 6 just in case the team completes a “perfect” 0-16 season. Now comes the tough part: Convincing Roger Goodell to show up and hand out the participation trophies.”

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., after golfer Tiger Woods said his knee is “trashed”: “Just like his marriage, reputation and driving record.”

Comedy writer Jerry Perisho, anticipating a debate question during the next presidential campaign: “Are you ready to take a 3 a.m. phone call from the UCLA basketball coach?”

No more miracles

Maple Grove High School ran out of miracles in the 6A Minnesota High School state football playoffs.

The Crimson, who scored three touchdowns in the final minute to beat St. Michael Albertville 29-27 last week, had no answers in a 26-0 loss to No. 1 Eden Prairie in the semifinals on Thursday.

Maple Grove’s best scoring chance again came late in the game but ended with an interception.

Eden Prairie improved to 12-0 and will face Minnetonka for the state title this Friday. Minnetonka defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 17-14.

Eden Prairie won 39-21 when it played Minnetonka (11-1) earlier this season.

Fact of day

A bat reportedly used by Lou Gehrig when he hit his final two home runs in 1939 is on the Heritage Auctions block just six years after it was bought for $403,664.

Sweet tweets

Rehastagging this weeks’ top Twitter shots from @Randy_Beard11:

“Baker Mayfield’s Heisman stats this week: 257 yards passing, 3 TDs, at least one FU and one crotch grab as Oklahoma cruises past Kansas. No, that’s not going to help him.”

 

 “It really will be the Not For Long league if NFL meets Goodell’s reported demands for $49.5 million salary, lifetime health insurance and use of private jet for life.”

“Jay Bilas needs to stay in his lane and stick with basketball. His top 4 in college football would be Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Badgers should make it only if they are still unbeaten and win Big Ten title.”

“It’s Duke. Of course it’s a dirty play by Wendell Carter Jr.”

 “Well, at least the United States has another partner to share in the misery of not qualifying for the World Cup: Italy. Got ousted by Sweden.”

 Back in trouble?

The NFL is investigating allegations that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston grabbed the crotch of a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.

The driver said she is not pursuing criminal charges or looking for a civil judgment against Winston, but felt the assault should be revealed in light of all the other women who have come forward to report being assaulted and harassed.

Winston denied the allegations on Friday, but not in the most convincing terms.

“While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way,” Winston said in a statement.

When he was playing football at Florida State, of course, Winston was accused of a sexual assault in 2012. He was never charged criminally in that case but he did settle a civil lawsuit with his accuser late last year.

If there’s fire to go with this smoke, it wouldn’t be good for Winston’s long-term future with the Bucs.

Weekend success

With all the non-conference games against second tier team, I should have had a good weekend of picks. And I guess I did, even if I did foolishly believe Western Carolina had a real shot at North Carolina.

Bottom line, I missed just one game each in the Big Ten and SEC and two in the ACC.

The 7-2 effort in the ACC improved my season total to 69-21 (76.6 percent) in the conference. In the Big Ten, I’m now 72-20 (78.2 percent). And in the SEC, I’m still above 80 percent after going 8-1 for a season total of 77-17 (81.9 percent).

At least my goal of an 80 percent winning percentage for the season is alive in one of the three conferences.

 

 

One missed pick from perfection in both Big Ten and SEC — 21-4 overall — in Saturday’s college football predictionsACC Landscape: Week Twelve

Big Ten Landscape: Week Twelve

SEC Landscape: Week Twelve

ACC Landscape: Week Twelve

ACC Landscape: Week Twelve

Mark Richt’s toughest challenge this week may be convincing his University of Miami football players that they are still quite capable of beating themselves.

Coming off a dominating 41-8 rout of Notre Dame last Saturday night in front of a national audience on ABC, it would be easy for the Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0) to be overconfident going into this Saturday’s game against a 17-point underdog like Virginia (6-4, 3-3). And it probably doesn’t help that the game is scheduled for a noon ET kickoff – even if it will be the second straight week the Hurricanes will be televised to a national audience by ABC.

Richt, of course, has a season’s worth of close calls to use to remind his players that they haven’t been a dominating football team every week. Indeed, three of the Hurricanes’ ACC wins were by eight or fewer points, including a 25-24 win just five weeks ago against Georgia Tech.

Richt has reminded his players that they can’t afford to relax even if they have clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Charlotte, N.C. against defending national champion Clemson.

The win over the Fighting Irish elevated Miami four spots to No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings. But Richt told his players on Monday “we are the same team that started this season that was grinding and fighting and trying to find ways to win games. We’re the same team and if we forget that, then we are going to find ourselves being in trouble.”

Still,  he wants them to enjoy the excitement they have generated in Miami. For the first time in years, there’s a buzz around the Hurricanes’ program.

And he’s having fun, too. Things like UM’s “Turnover Chain” feed into that narrative that college football is a game to enjoy by players and fans alike.

Putting the fun back into his job was one thing Richt said he was determined to do when he decided to get back into coaching after being forced out at Georgia after 15 years.

“Sometimes after a game, you’re thankful you won and that’s about all you can muster, but I’m like, forget being thankful,” said Richt. “Let’s celebrate. So I wanted to celebrate all the good things along the way and that’s really what the turnover chain is about.
“It’s about celebrating a great play and doing it in a big way, and doing it, quite frankly, in a fun way. We’ve got guys sprinting off the field on to the sideline to pop their helmet off to be able to get the chain and be able to celebrate with teammates and coaches and fans. I think it’s good, clean fun. There’s not anybody taunting anybody with it.”

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

(All times Central)

Delaware State (2-8) at Florida State (3-6), Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Virginia (6-4) at Miami (9-0), Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ABC

The Citadel (5-5) at Clemson (9-1), Saturday 11:20 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Pittsburgh (4-6) at Virginia Tech (7-3), Saturday 11:20 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Western Carolina (7-4) at North Carolina (2-8), Saturday 2 p.m. CT, ACC Network

Georgia Tech (5-4) at Duke (4-6), Saturday 2:30 p.m., ACC Network

Syracuse (4-6) at Louisville (6-4), Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU

Boston College (5-5) at Connecticut (3-7), Saturday 6 p.m. CT, CBS Sports Network

N.C. State (7-3) at Wake Forest (6-4), Saturday 6:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU

FAB FIVE

1 Miami (9-0, 6-0): Last Week – W, Notre Dame, 41-8. The Impact – Mark Richt’s unbeaten Hurricanes locked up a spot in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 and put themselves into the national championship conversation by jumping into the third spot in the CFP rankings. After losing to FSU, UNC, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame last season, UM has beaten all four this season.

2. Clemson (9-1, 7-1): Last Week – W, Florida State, 31-14. The Impact – Dabo Swinney’s Tigers clinched the ACC Atlantic Division to set up conference championship game with Miami on Dec. 2, but had to survive a second-half scare from FSU before tacking on two late touchdowns. Tigers will need to sort out its offensive issues if they are going to have a chance to defend national title.

3. N. C. State (7-3, 5-1): Last Week – W, at Boston College, 17-14. The Impact – After two consecutive losses crushed what was looking like a dream season for Dave Doeren’s squad, the Wolfpack earned their fifth conference win for first time in seven seasons. Nyheim Hines scored on a 50-yard run with 8:22 left for the winning score. 

 4. Wake Forest (6-4, 3-3): Last Week – W, at Syracuse, 64-43. The Impact – Trailing 41-27 late in the third quarter, the Demon Deacons outscored Syracuse 37-2 the rest of the way to clinch their sixth win. QB John Wolford ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more during the second half surge. He finished with 363 yards passing and 136 rushing while scoring six TDs. He now has the Deacons’ school record for touchdowns with 69.

5. Virginia Tech (7-3, 3-3): Last Week – L, at Georgia Tech, 28-22. The Impact – A lack of big plays the past two weeks have the Hokies looking to regroup. Justin Fuente’s team was outgained on the ground 262 to 105

 

THE PACK

 6. Louisville (6-4, 3-4): Last Week – W, Virginia, 38-21. The Impact – Lamar Jackson added 342 yards of total offense and four more touchdowns to his legacy while becoming the first player in NCAA history to have two seasons with 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. The Cardinals’ four losses will prevent him from winning a second straight Heisman.

7. Boston College (5-5, 3-4): Last Week – L, N.C. State, 17-14. The Impact – Eagles lost starting quarterback Anthony Brown to a knee injury in the first half against N.C. State and backup Darius Wade was sacked five times. BC compensated with their rushing attack as AJ Dillon had nearly 200 yards, including a 66-yarder for a score. Thadd Smith added a 12-yard TD run

8. Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-3): Last Week – W, Virginia Tech, 28-22. The Impact – QB TaQuon Marshall completed just two passes but both went for touchdowns covering a combined 140 yards, including 60 yards to Brad Stewart and 80 to Ricky Jeune. Marshall, who also had two scoring run, had a huge mistake with a late Pick-6 that gave the Hokies a late lead. The win kep the Yellow Jackets’ bowl hopes alive.

9. Florida State (3-6, 3-5): Last Week – L, at Clemson, 31-14. The Impact – With five of their six losses in conference action, the Seminoles finished with                   their first losing record in the ACC since 2006. In a desperate attempt to qualify for a bowl game, FSU has rescheduled a game against Louisiana-Monroe that had been postponed by Hurricane Irma. With another “guaranteed win” with Delaware State this week, the Seminoles will need to win at Florida next week.

 10. Virginia (6-4, 3-3): Last Week – L, at Louisville, 38-21. The Impact – With three losses in last four games while surrendering at least 31 points in each of those games, the Cavaliers are in need of a defensive fix heading into Saturday’s game at Miami.

11. Syracuse (4-6, 2-4): Last Week – L, Wake Forest, 64-43. The Impact – Dino Babers’ Orange have been in a freefall since upsetting Clemson, losing three in a row. Syracuse would now have to win its final two games to become bowl eligible. QB Zach Mahoney did pass for 384 yards and three touchdowns but was picked off twice.

 

THE UNPROVEN

12. Pittsburgh (4-6, 2-4): Last Week – L, North Carolina, 34-31. The Impact – Panthers squandered a chance to get to .500 for the first time since Week 2 when UNC rallied late. The pivotal play came late in the first half when receiver Quadree Henderson was stripped of the football right before the goal line and the Tar Heels instead added a field goal.

13. Duke (4-6, 1-5): Last Week – L, at Army, 21-16. The Impact – Needing a stop in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils didn’t get one until Army had marched 75 yards on 18 plays while burning more than 12 minutes. David Cutcliffe’s bunch did block the ensuing field goal attempt but failed to mount a drive of their own in the final two minutes. The loss extended Duke’s skid to six games, including four losses by seven or fewer points.

 14. North Carolina (2-8, 1-6): Last Week – W, at Pittsburgh, 34-31.The Impact – Larry Fedora’s travel squad to Pittsburgh included a welcome playmaker as receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams returned the opening kickoff for one score, threw for another and then caught a go-ahead TD pass in the final six minutes. The effort was enough to give the Tar Heels an ACC win this season. Interestingly enough, UNC is 5-0 against the Panthers since they joined the ACC.

BEARD’S PICKS

(Predicted winners in bold caps)

Delaware State at FLORIDA STATE

Virginia at MIAMI

The Citadel at CLEMSON

Pittsburgh at VIRGINIA TECH

WESTERN CAROLINA at North Carolina

GEORGIA TECH at Duke

Syracuse at LOUISIVILLE

BOSTON COLLEGE at Connecticut

N.C. State at WAKE FOREST

Last Week: 4-4

Overall: 62-19 (76.5%)

ACC Landscape: Week Eleven

When Miami and Notre Dame met last season in South Bend, it turned out to be a game worthy of the intense rivalry between the two programs with the Fighting Irish winning 30-27 on a last-minute field goal.

But that was then and this is now, and that 2016 contest didn’t have the national implications that are rolled into this Saturday’s meeting. Miami (8-0, 6-0) needs to win to continue its climb from No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings, while a loss by the Fighting Irish (8-1) would knock them from the top four because it would be a second loss.

The fact this is Notre Dame’s first trip to Miami since 1989 only ramps up the excitement around UM coach Mark Richt’s program.

“It takes a lot of work to get here this late in the season and we are excited about that and we are proud of our guys, but we know we have a monster challenge here this weekend,” said Richt.

Notre Dame’s only loss came against Georgia, which has topped the CFP rankings the past two weeks.

“This is why we came here. This is why I came back to my alma mater, these types of moments,” said Richt, who coached at Irish-slayer Georgia prior to coming to UM two years ago.

Meanwhile, Brian Kelly likes the direction his Notre Dame team is headed after rattling off seven consecutive wins.

“I know our guys are excited about this championship drive that they’re on now,” said Kelly.

Kelly said there wasn’t much value in looking at the film from last season’s game.

“It’s really about both these teams this year,” Kelly said. “(They have) a new quarterback. (Malik) Rosier is a really gritty kid. As a first-year starter, he finds ways to make plays.

“He’s a lot like Brandon (Wimbush) … He just finds ways to win football games.”

The difference between the two quarterbacks is that Rosier is more prone to throw the deep ball. The Miami freshman has passed for 2,773 yards and 19 touchdowns –  nearly a thousand more yards and eight more scores than Wimbush.

But Wimbush also has only thrown two interceptions, while Rosier has been picked off seven times, including three errant throws last week against Virginia Tech.

Richt knows Rosier will have to do a better job taking care of the football against the Irish, who expect to have tailback Josh Adams back in action. He missed the second half against Wake Forest last week and finished with just 22 yards because of what Notre Dame’s sports information office first labeled as “fatigue” but later changed to a “headache.”

Adams ranks ninth nationally with 132.2 rushing yards per game.

With Adams in the same backfield with Wimbush, the Irish have a one-two punch that will test UM’s run defense.

In the latest NCAA rankings, the teams are fairly evenly matched.

Notre Dame is No. 7 in scoring offense (41.3), 13th in total offense (495.1), 17th in scoring defense (18.4) and 50th in total defense (375.6).

Meanwhile, Miami is 44th in scoring offense (31.5), 25th in total offense (461.0), 12th in scoring defense (17.6) and 43rd in total defense (367.6).

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

(All times Central)

North Carolina 34, at PITTSBURGH 31, Thursday

Duke at Army, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, CBS Sports Channel

N.C. State at Boston College, Saturday 11 a.m., ABC, ESPN2

Virginia  Tech at Georgia Tech, Saturday 11:20 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Wake Forest at Syracuse, Saturday 2 p.m. CT, ACC Network

Florida State at Clemson, Saturday 2:30 p.m., ESPN

Virginia at Louisville, Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU

Notre Dame at Miami, Saturday 7 p.m. CT, ABC

FAB FIVE

  1. Miami (8-0, 6-0): Last Week – W, Virginia Tech, 28-10. The Impact – With A-Rod and J-Lo jumping on the bandwagon, Hurricanes extended nation’s longest win streak to 13 games as Malik Rosier passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another. But UM has even bigger test Saturday with Notre Dame, the last team to beat UM, visiting.
  1. Clemson (8-1, 6-1): Last Week – W, at N.C. State, 38-31. The Impact – After flirting with being upset last week, Tigers need to shift into beast mode to strengthen standing in CFP poll. K’Von Wallace picked off Wolfpack’s Ryan Finley on final play to preserve last week’s comeback win.
  1. Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2): Last Week – L, at Miami, 28-10. The Impact – Hokies had three interceptions against Miami, but it wasn’t enough to fuel an upset, mainly because Justin Fuente’s team turned it over four times to lose for just second time this season.
  1. N.C. State (6-3, 4-1): Last Week – L, Clemson, 38-31. The Impact – Dave Doeren was mad enough to accuse defending national champs of cheating after Wolfpack lost for second straight week following six-game win streak. With next two games on road, Doeren needs to be more concerned about a defense that has given up 73 points in last two weeks.
  1. Wake Forest (5-4, 2-3): Last Week – L, at Notre Dame, 48-37. The Impact – Demon Deacons surrendered 24 points in second quarter to dig early hole against Irish. But despite losing four of last five games, Deacs still just need one win to become bowl eligible.

 

THE PACK

 6. Boston College (5-4, 3-3): Last Week –The Impact – Eagles have nation’s No. 2 overall pass defense and rank seventh in interceptions with 13, so facing pass-happy Wolfpack should be a huge issue. While BC has won three in a row, Steve Addazio’s team still needs one more to become bowl eligibile.

 7. Louisville (5-4, 2-4): Last Week –The Impact –Cardinals are fifth in nation in big plays with 62 of 20 or more yards. Lamar Jackson is now third player in NCAA history to surpass 8,000 yards passing and 3,500 yards rushing. Bobby Petrino’s squad needs to get back on track after losing three of four games.

8. Florida State (3-5, 3-4): Last Week – Syracuse, 27-24. The Impact – If Jimbo Fisher wants his players to regain respect, there’s no better time to defy all odds than this weekend in Clemson. Hey, it’s just a thought. And if nothing else, FSU finally won a home game last week as Cam Akers rushed for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns.

9. Virginia (6-3, 3-2): Last Week – W, Georgia Tech, 40-36. The Impact – Blown out in previous two games, Cavs rallied from double-digit deficit to pull out bowl-clinching win over Yellow Jackets in final 82 seconds. Kurt Benkert tossed three TD passes covering at least 27 yards, including two to Andre Levrone.

10. Georgia Tech (4-4, 3-3): Last Week – L, at Virginia, 40-36. The Impact – Despite knack for making big plays, Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets have lost three of four games to put bowl hopes in jeopardy. QB TaQuon Marshall rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, including 78 yarder, and passed for 179 yards and another score. But he also left plenty more yards on the field, completing just 6 of 22 passes.

11. Syracuse (4-5, 2-3): Last Week – L, at Florida State, 27-24. The Impact – Orange have split four straight games in which winning team scored 27 points, including three games with final score of 27-24. If it doesn’t want to squander upset of Clemson three weeks ago, Dino Babers’ team needs two more wins to become bowl eligible for first time since 2013.

 

THE UNPROVEN

12. Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-3): Last Week – Idle. This Week – L, North Carolina, 34-31. The Impact – In battle of teams coming off open dates, Panthers squandered chance to reach .500 in ACC action despite four second-half touchdowns by tailback Darrin Hall, who finished with 121 yards.

13. Duke (4-5, 1-5): Last Week – Idle. The Impact – Blue Devils have lost five in row and now face Army team that has won its last five and hasn’t lost at home. Black Knights also lead nation with 365 rushing yards per game. David Cutcliffe’s team has set school record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns, including two by corner back Byron Fields Jr.

14. North Carolina (2-8, 1-6): Last Week – Idle. This Week – W, Pittsburgh, 34-31. The Impact – Anthony Ratliff-Williams accounted for three touchdowns, including returning opening kickoff 98 yards and then catching game-winning 3-yard pass from Nathan Elliott. Ratliff-Williams also threw 35-yard TD pass to Josh Cabrera as Tar Heels won first ACC game of season.

BEARD’S PICKS

North Carolina 34, at PITTSBURGH 31

Duke at ARMY

N.C. State at BOSTON COLLEGE

VIRGINIA TECH at Georgia Tech

Wake Forest at SYRACUSE

Florida State at CLEMSON

Virginia at LOUISVILLE

Notre Dame at MIAMI

Last Week: 4-1

Overall: 58-15 (79.4%)

Note: Each week during the college football season, I’ll be  updating how things are unfolding in the Big Ten by Wednesday, the SEC by Thursday and ACC by Friday.  

 

Revisiting my Week 10 college football picks in ACC, Big Ten and SEC

BEARD’S PICKS

Check my individual blogs for team records, game times and television information.

ACC

Syracuse at FLORIDA STATE

GEORGIA TECH at Virginia

Wake Forest at NOTRE DAME

CLEMSON at N.C. State

Virginia Tech at MIAMI

Last Week: 5-2

Overall: 54-14 (79.4%)

BIG TEN

WISCONSIN at Indiana

PENN STATE at Michigan State

Illinois at PURDUE

Maryland at RUTGERS

OHIO STATE at Iowa

NORTHWESTERN at Nebraska

Minnesota at MICHIGAN

Last Week: 5-2

Overall:  55-16 (77.4)

SEC

LSU at ALABAMA

AUBURN at Texas A&M, Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN

Massachusetts at MISSISSIPPI STATE

Florida at MISSOURI

Western Kentucky at VANDERBILT

South Carolina at GEORGIA

Mississippi at KENTUCKY

Coastal Carolina at ARKANSAS

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI at Tennessee

LAST WEEK: 4-2

OVERALL: 54-14 (77.1)

Note: Each week during the college football season, I’ll be  updating how things are unfolding in the Big Ten by Wednesday, the SEC by Thursday and ACC by Friday.  

ACC Landscape: Week Nine

 

 

Notre Dame and N.C. State each enter Saturday’s game boasting 6-1 records separated by just five spots in the Top 25 polls.

Still, Dave Doeren isn’t about to overhype the importance of the game in South Bend for his No. 14/15 Wolfpack, even if it is being played at  historic Notre Dame Stadium in plain view of Touchdown Jesus.

“It’s still a football field with two locker rooms, and we’re going to go out there and play and play as hard as we can and not let something that doesn’t have anything to do with winning or losing be a part of the game,” said Doeren.

But yeah, anytime you have a chance to play a ranked Notre Dame team – No. 9/10 — on national television, it’s an opportunity for a coach like Doeren take his program one more step forward.

But by no means is it a must-win game for the Wolfpack. The simple fact that it’s not a conference contest means the importance of winning or losing is significantly diminished.

Still, it’s a special moment for Doeren as a head coach. Growing up in the Midwest and raised Catholic, he was exposed to the Fighting Irish mystique early in life.

“I’ve been up there several times to watch them play when I was young,” said Doeren. “I know what that place is like and excited to have an opportunity not just to play there but to compete and do it with a great football team that we have against their team that’s playing as good as they can play.
“I think it’s an outstanding opportunity for our program and excited to be a part of it.”

Brian Kelly’s Irish are coming off a surprising easy 49-14 romp against rival Southern California.

N.C. State, which suffered its only loss to a USC (South Carolina), has had an extra week to prepare for the meeting with the Irish. The break came at a good time after the Wolfpack had reeled off six consecutive wins.

“We were beat up, and we’ve been dealing with nicks and bumps and flus and different things like that for the last month,” said Doeren. “I think for us, it came at a really good time for our guys to recover.

“But you know, there’s always — from a football program standpoint, you love to win a big game, and any time you do that, you’ve got a lot of positive momentum.”

Notre Dame’s players, riding big-win momentum, are a confident bunch after winning six games by at least 20 points. The Irish’s only loss came in Week 2 by one point to unbeaten and third-ranked Georgia.

This will be the third of four ACC games for Kelly’s team, which plays a partial league schedule as part of its agreement to compete for conference championships in every other sport.

Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush has passed for  903 yards and eight touchdowns with two interceptions. Running back Josh Adams is coming off a 191-yard effort against the Trojans and has topped 900 yards for the second consecutive season.

The Wolfpack are led by quarterback Ryan Finley, who has passed for nearly 2,000 yards and has attempted 331 passes without an interception this season. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns.

“He knows exactly what his offensive coordinator wants from him,” Kelly said of Finley. “Just does a really good job of taking care of the football. Very smart.

“They do a great job of holding onto the football, sustaining drives, and scoring. I think they average 3.2 points per possession, which is really, really good. So they’ve got a number of weapons on offense.”

Since losing 35-28 to the Gamecocks in the season opener, the Wolfpack haven’t allowed more than 25 points.

“Defensively, you know, I think as good of a group that we’re going to see. Comparable to Georgia. Physically very imposing,” said Kelly. “Again, this is a defense that’s very stingy against the run.” 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

All times Central

Friday’s game

Florida State at Boston College, Friday 7 p.m. CT, ESPN

Saturday’s games

Miami at North Carolina, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ESPN2

Louisville at Wake Forest, Saturday 11:20 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Virginia at Pittsburgh, Saturday 11:30 p.m. CT, ACC Network

N.C. State at Notre Dame, Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, NBC

Duke at Virginia Tech, Saturday 6:20 p.m. CT, ACC Network

Georgia Tech at Clemson, Saturday 7 p.m. CT, ABC, ESPN2

FAB FIVE

  1. Miami (6-0, 4-0):Last Week – W, Syracuse, 27-19. The Impact – Hurricanes keep finding ways to win and now have won last 11 games. They are also 4-0 in ACC for first time since joining league in 2003. Malik Rosier, who is 7-0 as a starter, passed for 344 yards.
  2. Clemson (6-1, 4-1):Last Week – Idle. The Impact – Tigers used bye week to get QB Kelly Bryant healthy again after he sprained an ankle and suffered a concussion in successive games. Now they need to prove they are over loss to Syracuse.
  3. Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1): Last Week – W, North Carolina, 59-7. The Impact – Hokies scored on fumble, interception and punt returns in cruising to a 35-0 halftime lead over Tar Heels. They led 52-0 before UNC finally scored.
  4. N.C. State (6-1, 4-0):Last Week – Idle. The Impact – Now ranked No. 14, Wolfpack get shot a beating third Top 25 team when they travel to No. 9 Notre Dame. QB Ryan Finley hasn’t been intercepted in last 313 pass attempts, which leads the nation.
  5. Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1):Last Week – W, Wake Forest, 48-24. The Impact – Yellow Jackets bounced back from loss at Miami and can keep pressure on Hurricanes in Coastal Division if they can pull off upset at Clemson. A loss, however, would dig the hole too deep.

THE PACK

  1. Syracuse (4-4, 2-2):Last Week – L, at Miami, 27-19. The Impact –. Orange burned for 20 or more yards on seven passes, but hung tough and trailed just 20-19 with 5:23 left. Open date comes at a good time.
  2. Louisville (5-3, 2-3):Last Week – W, at Florida State, 31-28. The Impact – Late rumble recovery gave Lamar Jackson one more chance to set up a game-winning field goal vs. FSU and he didn’t squander chance. But it’s probably too late for him to defend Heisman even if he does lead nation in total offense with 418.3 yards per game.
  3. Florida State (2-4, 2-3):Last Week – L, Louisville, 31-28. The Impact – With Seminoles still without home win, Jimbo Fisher lost his cool with a fan. Then learned he has lost starting running back Jacques Patrick for rest of season. A bad week could get much worse with Friday trip to BC.
  4. Wake Forest (4-3, 1-3):Last Week – L, at Georgia Tech, 38-24. The Impact –  Demon Deacons have lost last three league games and now face Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse and N.C. State over next four weeks. Hey, there’s always next year.
  5. Boston College (4-4, 2-3): Last Week – W, at Virginia, 41-10. The Impact –BC evened its record while scoring more than 40 points on road for second straight week. Now the Eagles need to do something about their 1-3 home record. They are 3-1 on the road.
  6. Virginia (5-2, 2-1):Last Week – L, Boston College, 41-10. The Impact – Bronco Mendenhall’s team took a big step back, getting hammered at home by BC to end a four-game winning streak. They trailed 17-0 after a quarter.

THE UNPROVEN

  1. Duke (4-4, 1-4):Last Week – L, Pittsburgh, 24-17. The Impact – This isn’t horseshoes, so being close doesn’t help Blue Devils get back on track. Still, they’ve lost last three games by a touchdown.
  2. Pittsburgh (3-5, 1-3): Last Week – W, at Duke, 24-17. The Impact – Darrin Hall scored on runs of 92 and 78 yards, finished with 254 yards and three touchdowns. Pitt hadn’t rushed for more than 208 yards as a team.
  3. North Carolina (1-7, 0-5):Last Week – L, at Virginia Tech, 59-7. The Impact – Have Tar Heels quit? Sure looks like it. They have been outscored 186-80 in five league losses and if you add in loss to part-time member Irish, the difference is 219-90. Oh yeah, they host Miami on Saturday.

BEARD’S PICKS

at BOSTON COLLEGE 35, Florida State 3 (Friday)

MIAMI at North Carolina

LOUISVILLE at Wake Forest

VIRGINIA at Pittsburgh

N.C. State at NOTRE DAME

Duke at VIRGINIA TECH

Georgia Tech at CLEMSON

 Last Week: 3-3

Overall: 49-12

Recapping my Week Eight Picks in ACC, Big Ten and SEC

Recapping my weekend college football picks in the ACC, Big Ten and SEC with TV networks and game times.

ACC

Louisville at FLORIDA STATE, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN

Pittsburgh at DUKE, 11:20 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Boston College at VIRGINIA, 11:30 a.m. CT, ACC Network

Syracuse at MIAMI, 2:30 p.m. CT, ESPN

North Carolina at VIRGINIA TECH, 2:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2

Wake Forest at GEORGIA TECH, 6:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU

Last Week: 4-2

Overall: 46-9 (83.6%)

 

BIG TEN

Iowa at NORTHWESTERN, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, ESPN2

PURDUE at Rutgers, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, BTN

Maryland at WISCONSIN, Saturday 11 a.m. CT, FOX

Indiana at MICHIGAN STATE, Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC

Illinois at MINNESOTA, Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, BTN

Michigan at PENN STATE, Saturday 6 p.m. CT, ABC

Last Week: 5-1

Overall: 45-13 (77.5%)

 

SEC

Idaho at MISSOURI,  Saturday 11 a.m. CT, SEC Network

Tennessee at ALABAMA, Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS

Kentucky at MISSISSIPPI STATE, Saturday 3 p.m. CT,  SEC Network

LSU at Mississippi, Saturday 6:15 p.m. CT,  ESPN

AUBURN at Arkansas, Saturday 6:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network

Last Week: 5-2

Overall: 45-12 (78.9%)