Rankman's late night Saturday wrap

Three random things really hit me halfway through a Saturday, halfway through a season, halfway through a ham-and-Wisconsin cheese on rye.

--Alabama is really good.

--Clemson is really lucky.

--Rutgers is really awful.

No shirt, Sherlock, says anyone has been following Alabama since Nick Saban arrived in 2007.

Ok, but it’s easy to take for granted a program that has become almost “boring” great. With rare exceptions (Ole Miss), you never make it to the end of Alabama because it’s usually bedtime after two quarters.

It was same thing Saturday as I flipped channels on Alabama at Tennessee because it was headed for a 49-10 finish in which the home team would ultimately be asking for more Volunteers.

Sorry Verne, Sorry Gary. Sorry Peyton Manning, visiting the press box in Knoxville in an effort to keep us viewers from nodding off.

Danielson lost me, indefinitely, by donning a bathrobe during his chat with Manning.

In the long history of CBS programming, there have been people who I would have not minded seeing in a bathrobe. “Ginger” and “Mary Ann” come to mind—but not Gary Danielson.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

The distractions caused by a one-sided Alabama game make it easier to move on without fully appreciating the brutal efficiency in which Saban teams operate. It’s a symphony of speed, sacks and sanctimonious synergy.

You keep thinking someone will step up and give the Tide a challenge. You think this because Saban teams are not perfect, with only one of his five national title teams going undefeated. That was his 2009 squad, and even that team needed two blocked kicks from Terrance Cody to win at Lane Kiffin's Tennessee.

Trying to pinpoint the annual Crimson Tide hiccup is the hard part.

I thought it would come Saturday, against a previously fun-to-watch Tennessee team that has thrilled audiences this season from coast-to-coast.


Alabama put Tennessee in a death grip and didn’t let up. Tennessee had come from double-deficits all year but had zero chance in this one.

The Crimson Tide under Saban are as close to the NFL as college football gets. Efficiency, though, that does not always translate to watch-ability.

I think the phrase is "attention deficit disorder."

It was only later, on Twitter, that I saw a clip of former Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin, now the Tide’s masterful offensive coordinator, flipping his visor into the stands on the way out of Neyland Stadium.

It was so Lane, but why shouldn’t he gloat?

Kiffin's offense has outscored two former college teams he coached, USC and Tennessee, by 101-16.

He probably wishes the Oakland Raiders were on the schedule.

The bottom line: Alabama is 7-0 and there doesn’t appear anything in the SEC, or anywhere, that can stem this tide.

The only offense more feared in the SEC may be Alabama’s “non-offense,” which has scored 11 touchdowns this season.

Enough already: see you in Tampa.

Tiger Pause

Clemson is taking a different track in its quest to earn a rematch against Alabama in this year’s national title game.

Clemson is trying to get back with smoke and mirrors.

The Tigers have already escaped one home loss this year, when upstart Troy nearly pulled off the upset of the year.

Saturday, at home, North Carolina State kicker Kyle Bambard missed a game-winning field goal as time expired. It was a chip-shot, 33 yards, that drifted right.

“Just another day at the office!” Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said after his team’s near-death experience in Death Valley.

Hardly. Clemson got bailed out of a game it should have lost. It was the opposite of Alabama’s performance, yet each team notched a win on their way to a possible rematch in Tampa.

Rut, rut Rutgers

New Jersey officials may want to consider conspiring to close any bridges leading to Piscataway, for Rutgers has reach new levels of all-time badness.

The only good news for Rutgers in its 24-7 loss to Illinois was that the Scarlet Knights finally scored, snapping a drought that extended for 11 quarters and nearly 178 minutes.

Giovanni Rescigno’s scoring pass to Nick Arcidiacono marked the first points for Rutgers since the fourth quarter against Iowa on Sept. 24.

Rutgers has now been outscored, 160-7, in its last three losses.

Saturday night one-offs

Update for schools\school (Notre Dame?) that may soon be inquiring about the availability of Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck. His team defeated Akron, 41-0, to improve to 7-0 for the first time since 1941…Hey look: Nebraska is 6-0 for the first time since 2001, the year the Cornhuskers got mashed by Miami in the BCS title game. “I don’t even know where to start,” Coach Mike Riley said after his team’s five-point win at Indiana. Riley actually needs to concentrate on finishing with remaining games at Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa…Tackle of the day (year?) goes to Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, whose fourth-down stop of Georgia’s Isiah McKenzie preserved a 17-16 upset in Athens. Oh, Cunningham also finished with 19 tackles…Georgia fell to 4-3 after firing a coach who won nine games last year…Call it the “Buyout” Bowl. G-R-E-A-T to hear South Alabama has agreed to host Presbyterian on Nov. 19 after those schools were asked to step aside for God, country and the SEC. We’d expecting nothing less from the University of South Alabama (USA) and a religious institution. Florida and LSU are now playing Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge after last week’s game in Gainesville was postponed by Hurricane Matthew…Congratulations to Brigham Young for finally winning a close game. The Cougars on Friday scored a huge, overtime win over Mississippi State in Provo. BYU’s three losses this year have come by seven total points….…Questions, questions: How many more years does Urban Meyer have on his deal with the devil at Ohio State? ...Are USC fans now willing to let Clay Helton finish his first full season after the Trojans’ 48-14 win at Arizona?... Are Notre Dame fans willing to let Brian Kelly finish the second half of this season? ...Did UCLA fans really stay up to see backup quarterback Mike Fafaul throw his first career touchdown pass at Washington State? …Is there a more improved team in America than Colorado, which is 5-2 after beating Arizona State? …Where did West Virginia come from? The Mountaineers improved to the quietest 5-0 team in America after their impressive, 48-17 win at Texas Tech…Where did Virginia Tech go? We thought the Hokies were for real until Saturday’s inexplicable loss at Syracuse…What happened to Michigan State? How did the Spartans give up 54 points in a home loss to Northwestern? Is it time to bring in Tom Izzo as defensive coordinator?... How did Justin Wilcox, who was a rotten defensive coordinator at USC, become such a good one at Wisconsin? Is it possible to get Arkansas and Mississippi to play every week? ...Good night now. [/membership]