Category Archives: college football

Clemson Is in Good Hands w/ Dabo

ClemsonFans of the Clemson Tigers should have nothing to be ashamed of.  In fact, they should be pretty damn proud of the Tigers after last night’s loss.

Look, this is not to say that we should take stock in moral victories.

After all, the Alabama Crimson Tide was clearly the better team.  The Tide’s strength and speed was on full display Monday night.  The difference in coaching was evident as well as Bama’s Nick Saban CLEARLY surprised Clemson’s Dabo Swinney with that onside kick that turned the tide (no pun intended) of the game.  And it didn’t help the Tigers that their defense and special teams failed them with lapses that led to big plays.

So this is not about moral victories, this is about telling the truth.

The Tigers balled their asses off last night.  They stood toe-to-toe with the mighty Tide, trading body blows in the form of big plays.  QB Deshaun Watson was clearly the best player on the field last night.  And even after scoring late to make the difference respectable, Clemson showed no signs of quitting.

For all of that, Clemson fans should feel good about its future.

Swinney has built this program into a powerhouse in the making over the last five years.  The Tigers have beaten top 10 teams during that time, and the rewards of those victories have manifested themselves on the recruiting trail.

Next year Clemson has as many as 17 starters returning.  Also keep in mind that this is one of the youngest teams in football this season.  So Clemson fans have plenty of reasons to raise their heads up high.

The Clemson Tigers proved two things during their magical 2015 season.  First, they have officially retired the term “Clemsoning”.  Lastly, they are going to be a power in college football next season – and the years to come.

And it’s all because of a dude named Dabo.  #ALLIN and #BYOG, indeed…

The College Football Playoff Is Fine at FOUR Teams

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The last two college football seasons have been the most exciting in recent memory, if ever.

Fans have been on edge every week, wondering if any loss suffered by their favorite teams will threaten their spot in the playoffs.  ESPN promoted the “Who’s In?” slogan the last six weeks of the season.

All of the aforementioned excitement is due to the College Football Playoff.  And do you know what else makes the CFP special?  It’s limited to four teams.

I don’t know about you, but that makes the CFP the most exciting postseason in ALL of sports.

A lot of people out there disagree with my last two sentences.  Several fans and college football “experts” believe that an eight-team playoff would make the CFP close to perfect.  Others have been bloviating over how much MORE exciting an expanded CFP would be.

“They can make soooo much money with eight teams.”

“Eight teams ensure that no one deserving gets left out.”

“Just think of the juicy match-ups!”

Let me address those concerns in order.

First of all, of course the college football power brokers would make more money.  More teams would mean more revenue in terms of increase in viewership and such, that part is obvious.

However, if the name of the game is finding the best teams in the country, the money would pour in regardless.  Fans have been tuning in to the CFP shows on ESPN every Tuesday night the last half of the season.  Sponsors have been pouring in lots of money into the CFP advertising pot.

Speaking of the best teams…

The second quote makes absolutely no damn sense if it’s all about getting the best teams.  Look at the teams ranked #s 5-8.  Iowa, Stanford, Ohio State and Notre Dame were all good teams, check that, VERY good teams.  But they were not THE BEST teams.

Why would I tune in to watch a playoff that is not exclusive to the best teams?  I don’t want the CFP to morph into the NBA and NHL playoffs.  Hell, as much as I bag on baseball from time to time, at least MLB is the closest to getting it right with its exclusivity (only five out of 15 teams in each league makes the postseason).

And as far as the match-ups go, here is what we would have been looking at based on the final CFP rankings:

#1 Clemson vs. #8 Notre Dame.  I’ve already seen this match-up, don’t need to see it again.  NEXT…

#2 Alabama vs. #7 Ohio State.  A conference champ vs. a non-conference champ.  No thank you.

#3 Michigan State vs. #6 Stanford.  This would be the only match-up featuring conference champs, an old school Big Ten-Pac 12 game to boot.  But this game is the ultimate outlier in terms of a game feautring conference champs in this scenario.

#4 Oklahoma vs. #5 Iowa.  See the Alabama-Ohio State analysis.

A lot of people like to compare playoffs of other sports – pro and college.  Not all playoffs are created equally.

Wild card teams routinely challenge for — and win — the Super Bowl and World Series. Those types of runs are celebrated.

Outliers succeeding in — and winning — the NCAA Tournament work out fine because that event is built around the appeal of Cinderellas.

College football is predicated on exclusivity.  College conference commissioners want to be sure the playoff does not negatively impact the regular season.

The rules that are put in place state the CFP committee should pick the four best teams.  That means that a conference champ from the Power 5 will be left out.  And you know what, that’s what makes the college football regular season so exciting.

Now if college football power brokers want to stage a REAL playoff, it would open it up to TEN teams.  That would allow conference champs from ALL FBS conferences to participate.

Imagine teams from “Group of Five” conferences going against the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Stanford.  Teams like Houston (from the AAC) and Bowling Green (MAC) would be more than competitive.

However, that would never happen for two reasons.  First, the “big boys” from the Power 5 would NEVER share the pie with the “lesser” Group of Five conferences.  Second, what would become of an independent like Notre Dame?

Is college football’s playoff system unfair?  Perhaps, but you know what they say about life – it’s not fair.

So until Pleasantville arrives and takes over college football, keep the playoff at four teams.

Miami Nailed it with Richt Hire

MiamiU_LOGO-05Moments after the Miami Hurricanes hired former Georgia head coach Mark Richt to bring back its storied football program from its current malaise of mediocrity, I checked social media for reaction.

Needless to say the reaction on social media has been MUCH different from when Miami hired former coach Al Golden from Temple.  Check it out…

And here are two of my favorites…

(Poor Golden)

At any rate, this is a home run hire for the Canes.  In Richt, they get a coach whose record at Georgia was 145–51, averaging close to 10 wins per year.  His other accomplishments include two SEC Championships (2002, 2005) and six SEC Eastern Division Titles (2002–2003, 2005, 2007, 2011–2012).  Oh, and he was a two-time SEC Coach of the Year (2002, 2005).

In other words, Richt is a bonafide winner.

Now I know that there are a lot of Georgia fans who think that Richt underachieved at Georgia, though I think most college programs would kill for that “underachievement”.  From what I’ve seen from Canes fans, they are certainly glad that Georgia let the “underachieving” Richt go.

This is a great day for Hurricanes fans.  Lots of jubilation from fans everywhere thinking “The U” is on its way back.

Maybe this move will help double the crowd turnout at football games to 30K?

Props to the Missouri Football Team for Taking a Stand

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Taking a stand is not an easy thing to do.

When people take a stand on an issue near and dear to their heart, risks are taken.  Some risk losing their livelihoods.  Others put their reputations on the line.  Some people who do not agree with the stand taken make threats to the protesters AND their families.

This is why I commend the young brothers (and their white teammates and coaching staff) for taking a stand against Tim Wolfe, the now-former president of the University of Missouri.

Before I continue, I am aware that there are some people out there who will NOT agree with what I have to say.  Hell, many people may look at the tagline of my rant, roll their eyes and not even bother reading what I have to say.

That’s the beauty of taking a stand – I can’t worry about what people think of me when I know in my heart I am doing the right thing.

At any rate, let me give you all a bit of background on this university.  Missouri admitted its first black student in 1950.  It has an enrollment of 35,000 students, seven percent being of African-American descent.  And 60 out of the 124 players on the football team are black.

I encourage those of you who do not know what happened at Missouri to use our good friend Google and read about what’s been happening at the school.  I could give you all links, but I would be doing the work for you.  We are living in the “Information Age”, and we all have no excuse for not keeping abreast of news of this magnitude.

In the meantime, here are some of the highlights of what has taken place there:

  • In October, a white man interrupted a Legion of Black Collegians rehearsal for a homecoming play.  When the black students tried to get him to leave, the students said he responded, “These niggers are getting aggressive with me.”
  • Graduate student Jonathan Butler launched a hunger strike on Nov. 2 that he said would continue until Wolfe resigned.  Butler began his protest several days after a swastika was drawn with feces in a new residence hall.
  • Black students confronted Wolfe during a homecoming parade.  As the students spoke about incidents of racism at the university.  The driver of Wolfe’s car attempted to drive around them, clipping two students in the process.
  • A group called “Concerned Student 1950” gave a list of demands that would improve the conditions of black students – and other students of color – on campus.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is only the tip of the iceberg.  I shudder to think how uncomfortable the atmosphere has been for Missouri’s black students.

Seeing those students, football players and coaching staff taking a stand not only inspires me to be more vocal on issues affect me and my community, it also invokes memories from my own college experience and my inability to take a stand of my own.

Most people know that I attended North Carolina State University for college (‘Go Pack!’), but several people did not know that I actually transferred there from ANOTHER school.

I went to a religious liberal arts college called Ambassador University, which is located in Big Sandy, Texas.  It had an enrollment of around 1,100 students.

The school was affiliated with a church my family attended when I started 6th grade called the Worldwide Church of God (which is worthy of another rant in and of itself), therefore calling itself “God’s college”.  Unfortunately, there were things that happened there that let me know that Ambassador was not as “Godly” as it portrayed itself to be.

I’ll just give you a few highlights.

During my freshman year there, I learned that for those who wanted to date interracially had to obtain notes from their parents and submit them to administration before doing so.  You read that right.  The shocking thing was this happened in 1991, not 19-61.  Needless to say, not only did my parents NOT write such a note, they thought it was stupid to begin with.

Whenever the black students (which made up less than five percent of the student population) wanted to get together and have parties and get-togethers, we had to obtain permission from administration.  Other ethnic groups’ get-togethers, namely the international students, were encouraged and promoted by administration.

Black History Month events were particularly awkward, mainly because many of the white students did not come from areas where they mingled with people of other ethnicities, let alone black people.  One particular event left many of the white students (and many faculty and administrators) seething after a West Indian friend of mine gave an account of how he never “felt he was black” until he came from his native Jamaica to America.  There were crumpled up programs from that event, and administrator changed the way future Black History Month assemblies were conducted going forward.

Those events, coupled with some that happened to me PERSONALLY from others (some of whom I thought were cool with me), left me in fits of outrage.  It also left a lot of my black and Hispanic – as well as some white – college buddies outraged.  While we wanted to protest, we decided against it because we did not want to risk isolation from the student body and expulsion from the school.

To this day, I have been upset at myself for not taking a stand against what happened at Ambassador.  I sometimes have flashbacks of what happened there and leave those flashbacks with anger and regret.

Hell, I would have transferred from the school MUCH earlier if the damn place was accredited before my senior year.

It took me several years to forgive my parents for sending me there, even after they learned of the crap that was happening out there.  Aside from the small group of my closest college friends and friendly acquaintances, I chose to dissociate with anything having to do with Ambassador.  I have not – and will not – attend any of their college reunions.

And as far as I am concerned, my undergraduate college experience began when I stepped onto N.C. State’s campus (again, ‘Go Pack!’), rendering Ambassador as a forgotten memory.

From observing friends taking parts in activism on issues such as police brutality, racial profiling and the Confederate flag fiasco on Facebook, I have learned over time about the importance of activism and taking a stand for the greater good.  It is time for to join the fight against atrocities brought against people inside and outside of my community.

Fortunately for the black students at Missouri (and their supporters), their activism and courage has been rewarded.  Hopefully people at other colleges and universities will choose to follow.

Thoughts on the 2016 College Football Playoff Rankings

College-Football-PlayoffThe 2016 College Football Playoff rankings were released last night on ESPN (where else?), and there have been lots of reactions from seemingly every corner.

Some pundits have been bloviating on why Team A got placed over Team B.  Others bitching about why Team C was hosed by the selection committee and why it is more deserving over Teams A and B.  And as for we the fans, hell we are never happy to begin with.

All of the commotion and chaos have compelled me to chime in with my own two cents on the first College Football Playoff rankings.  Let’s go…

The committee has the right #1 team.  Clemson has the most impressive wins and has the best win at this point of the season: #5-ranked Notre Dame.  No other schools can boast that it has beaten a top-5 team.  That is all…

The committee is STILL in love with Alabama.  Aside from Clemson, I agree with LSU and Ohio State being among the committee’s top four.  After all, all of those teams are undefeated at the moment.

And then there is Alabama, and to that I say, “huh?”

Here’s the deal on the Crimson Tide.  They lost one game, and that game was to Ole Miss – AT HOME.  In fact, it’s the same Ole Miss that got curb-stomped by Memphis a few weeks back.

And as for their wins, the only impressive win they have is over unranked Wisconsin.  The Georgia win was nice, but they flat out suck right now.  Ditto for Tennessee.  Texas A&M is grossly overrated.

Look, I know Alabama has been legit under Nick Saban the last few seasons.  And if the Crimson Tide puts in work against LSU, then the Tide deserves to be there.  It’s just what happens when a school has built up so much street cred over time – it always gets the benefit of the doubt.

And it STILL has no love for the Big 12.  I guess the Big 12 has yet to learn that you’ve got to schedule out of conference to get some love from the committee.  TCU’s is so-so, though Minnesota was a decent opponent.  Oklahoma has the best win out of conference over Tennessee.  Oklahoma State, sit down.  Baylor should just recuse itself out of the conversation and shut the hell up.  Hell, Memphis and Houston from the American Athletic Conference has a better out of conference schedule than Baylor.

If Oklahoma were undefeated, I’d put the Sooners in my top four.  TCU does need to get a bit of love though.

That’s my two cents on the CFP rankings.  I bet y’all are probably asking me, “well what is YOUR top-four, smart-ass?”  Well – asshats – here ya go:

  1. Clemson
  2. LSU
  3. Ohio State
  4. TCU

Commence the hate…

Who Should Coach “The U”?

MiamiU_LOGO-05Before I give my opinion on who should the University of Miami hire to lead its football program back to the promised land, before I go into why Miami should allocate its resources to said football program, let me make one thing clear.

Al Golden had to go.

I mean I could go on about Golden’s mediocre record during his tenure at Miami (32-25), his loyalty to his embattled defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, and his failings of cultivating the talent he recruited.  I would rather start with the 58-0 embarrassment against Clemson.

Losing by 58 points was bad enough, but losing by that amount AT HOME was several times worse.  That’ a tell-tale sign that Golden’s players flat out quit.  Hell, a Clemson player had the same sentiment, saying that the Canes “laid down” and quit.

All of that falls on the coaching staff, which failed repeatedly at not only putting its players in position to succeed but also getting them ready to play every single week.  Nobody associated with a program like Miami should ever have to hear that its players laid down.

And yes, I know Golden took over the program and shepherded it through a brutal NCAA investigation for which he bore no responsibility.  And yes, he got much-needed facilities upgrades, from revamped practice fields to new locker rooms, and an upgraded academics center.  And yes, he stayed loyal to the school when he could have bailed during the aforementioned NCAA investigation.

However, we all know that what matters in the end in sports is wins and losses.

Frankly, Golden simply didn’t win enough games to justify keeping his job.  And a 58-point shellacking at home certainly did not help his cause.  Let’s be real about one more thing, Miami is lost its luster as “The U” under Golden’s watch.

So now this begs the question: who should Miami tab to lead its football program back to prominence?

There are a number of names that have been brandied about.  Mario Cristobal.  Lane Kiffin.  Rich Rodriguez.  And my personal favorite, Butch Davis.

Here is my short list of future Canes coaches:

Dana Holgorsen.  His offensive system would score big with South Florida recruits.  His “light-em up” offense would capitalize on the speed that is prevalent in South Florida.  He already recruits South Florida hard, and if he could get players to come to Morgantown, WV, he should not have a problem keeping those players in the area.  Plus it helps that Holgorsen has a bit of swag about him.

Greg Schiano.  Here is a guy who a no bull-crap, hard-nosed coach who will get the best out of his players.  First of all, Schiano was a defensive coordinator under Davis in the early 90s, making him well-connected to the South Florida recruiting scene.  Schiano also won big at Rutgers, which was an afterthought before he arrived.  And guess where most of his recruits came from?  South Florida.  Put it this way, it’s not like Schiano would be an outsider to the Canes’ culture.

Charlie Strong.  He would be my choice to coach Miami.  Like Schiano, Strong is a no B.S. kind of guy who would instill discipline and toughness in that Miami locker room.  Players love playing for Strong, as evidenced from the reaction of Texas upsetting Oklahoma a few weeks ago.  Like the other two candidates on my list, Strong recruits South Florida hard.  He led Louisville to prominence largely due to those South Florida recruits.  One of those recruits was Teddy Bridgewater.

Even though I am strongly behind Strong coaching the Canes next season, I would not be too upset with Schiano taking the helm.  In fact, I wouldn’t be upset at all.  Both would do a great job in turning the Miami football program around.

Whoever the next coach is, one thing is for sure: he needs to bring back “The U”.  Period.

College Football Will Not Be the Same without Steve Spurrier

Steve-Spurrier-640x356I have been (and continue to be) out of town for business purposes, so forgive me for being late to responding to arguably the biggest bombshell to hit college football this season.  Steve Spurrier resigning from his position as South Carolina football coach.

While I could see why this move was inevitable (his team is in the midst of a two year slide, and dude just turned 70 years old), I am still stunned by Spurrier’s departure.

I mean, who is going to follow in the footsteps of Spurrier’s bravado?  Remember his infamous smack talk of the Tennessee Volunteers while coaching his alma mater Florida Gators?  First there was Spurrier smacking Tennesee for always falling short of the SEC championship game and annually qualifying for the Citrus Bowl during his tenure.

“You can’t spell ‘Citrus’ without U-T…”

Then there was cracking then Tennessee QB Peyton Manning on his decision to come back for his senior season…

“I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl.”

And who could forget Spurrier cracking on then rival Florida State and legendary coach Bobby Bowden?

“You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.”

Upon arriving at South Carolina, Spurrier turned his sights to Dabo Swinney and Clemson.  The war with words he had with Swinney ranks as one of my favorites.  When asked to compared winning an SEC title to beating Clemson, Spurrier offered this gem:

“What I’ve also learned at South Carolina, our fans realize there’s more to life than winning the SEC championship. They really do. We’re in a state with Clemson. Clemson used to pretty much own South Carolina in football, no question about it. We have a state championship trophy. If you ask our fans at South Carolina, I can assure you a majority would say, ‘We would rather beat Clemson than win the SEC.’ That is how big it is to them, that one game. Personally, I’d rather win the SEC. I don’t mind saying that. Personally, that’s the bigger trophy.”

And when Swinney was asked about his relationship with Spurrier and said, “He’s from Pluto, and I’m from Mars”, Spurrier cracked him hard:

“Dabo probably thinks there’s only, what, nine planets out there? I think I read where Pluto may not be considered one now.”

When asked to comment on a fire at the Auburn library that destroyed 20 books, Spurrier offered the following:

“The real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”

My favorite quote of Spurrier’s came after learning that Tennessee and Arkansas had the same record as South Carolina last season:

“We were 7-6. Same as Tennessee, same as Arkansas. I think they’re sorta celebrating big seasons last year. … There are people in Knoxville and Fayetteville still doing cartwheels over going 7-6.”

College football is not going to be the same without Steve Spurrier.  I’m personally going to miss the hell out of him.

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