Questions the “Rankman” asked at various points during the day:
--Is it time to liquidate the Southeastern Conference and sell off the best parts and\or Missouri.
--Is Houston the best team, not in the American Athletic, but in America the Beautiful?
--Is UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen a top NFL pick in the first round, or the fifth?
--Did USC hire the wrong coach to replace Steve Sarkisian?
--Is Alabama going to defy Rankman’s axiom and become the first team in three decades to win a national title with a true-freshman quarterback? It would the first time since Oklahoma and Jamelle Holieway.
--Should Lane Kiffin have, after calling a brilliant game against his old school, gone to DFW airport afterward just to, you know, wish USC a safe trip home? Since getting fired on the tarmac at LAX, Kiffin has won a national championship and drubbed the team that canned him. How much left can there be on his bucket list?
--Has the SEC become “Alabama and 13 Pylons?”
What an emotional roller-coaster day it was, knowing this is no way to properly structure a sentence. The topper of toppers was the University of South Alabama shocking Mississippi State in Starkville—prompting the singing of anthems and calls of “USA!, USA!, USA!”
Word is Colin Kaepernick didn’t know whether to sit, kneel or stand.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Saturday held up its end in the billing: “Best opening weekend in college football history.”
Northwestern lost…to Western Michigan.
Temple lost to…Army.
UC Davis scored first against…Oregon.
South Dakota State took a lead into halftime against…TCU.
There were crickets on Kirk Herbstreit’s side of the ABC booth when the TCU score got reported at the USC-Alabama game. “Herby” recently picked the Horned Frogs to make the playoffs. Maybe he meant FCS?
(Relax, Kirk, TCU pulled it out).
Anyway, Wisconsin held to defeat…Louisiana State.
Arkansas needed a late, fourth-quarter touchdown to hold off…Louisiana Tech.
But Kentucky didn’t hold off…Southern Mississippi.
Washington State, one year after losing to Portland State, lost to...Eastern Washington
USC jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Alabama. And then…and then…and then?
Ah, you know—Ka-boom!
There was a ton of interesting stuff to sort through but the two most compelling results were:
1) USA over Mississippi State and 2) Houston manhandling Oklahoma.
South Alabama’s win over the Cowbells rates as one of the biggest in recent college football history. The Jaguars, in one index, were given a 2.3% chance to win—and that was just the coin flip.
It was an incomprehensible, embarrassing defeat for the SEC but, apparently, just another day at the office for the team ranked No. 115 in Athlon magazine’s preseason rankings of teams.
‘It’s very refreshing,” USA linebacker Roman Buchanan said after the win. “But we’re not shocked. We came in here expecting to get the win.”
It was not a great weekend for the SEC, aka America’s Greatest Football Conference, but it could have been way worse.
Top-10 Tennessee needed divine intervention Thursday to hold off Appalachian State, in overtime. The Vols prevailed when quarterback Joshua Dobbs’ goal-line fumble was recovered by a teammate for a touchdown. Whew.
Things looked bloody bleak Saturday after Mississippi State lost, and the sky didn’t clear when LSU lost to Wisconsin on Green Bay’s home field. Later, Clemson would beat Auburn--at Auburn.
The SEC was rescued, though, when Texas A&M held off UCLA, in overtime; Arkansas survived La. Tech,; Georgia came back to defeat North Carolina and Alabama played "Conquest" on USC's chest.
Texas A&M blew a 24-9 lead in regulation but prevailed in extra time. UCLA would have won, perhaps easily, had it not gotten a C-plus effort (at best) from Rosen. He’s been called “The Chosen One” and is projected the No.1 pick in the 2018, but Rosen flinched under pressure, missed two open receivers for potential touchdowns, and finished with three interceptions.
We hate to be rag on the kid, but he’s working the high bar when it comes to expectations. Rosen did find his rhythm late, only to be foiled by dropped passes, so it's certainly not the end of his world.
Alabama’s drubbing of USC, however, mitigated some of SEC damage. It also begged the question: is Alabama, gulp, the only great team in the conference this year?
USC has far more serious concerns. The Trojans loss was the beat down of beat downs, starting up front at head coach.
It should sound off all sorts of alarm bells at Heritage Hall. Losing to Alabama is one thing, but getting trampled, 52-6, is unacceptable.
The Pac 12 of late seems to be getting caught in a lot of marquee mismatches: Mark Helfrich vs. Urban Meyer; Clay Helton vs. Nick Saban.
And we out west wonder why the Pac can’t win national titles?
SOONERS ARE LATER
Houston’s win over Oklahoma was more than a 10-point victory. It was a statement for Tom Herman’s Cougars as they lobby to gain membership into the Big 12.
In fact, Herman receives a $5 million bonus if Houston makes the Big 12 cut.
We’re not sure why, though, the Cougars were celebrating.
It only takes two Big 12 schools to keep a team out and we can easily imagine Oklahoma voting “HELL NO!” against Herman’s Helmets.
The Sooners could lobby for lowly “Rice” with and claim “it’s Houston with better academics.”
Another question: Did Houston increase, or decrease, its chances with Saturday’s game against Oklahoma.
Why would other Big 12 schools want a rising monster like Houston in the league? Joint statement from Kansas and Iowa State: “Like we don’t have enough problems winning game in this league?”
Texas has already ceded in-state football Big 12 authority to Baylor and Texas Christian. Why would it want Houston?
And this might also sound weird, but Houston’s win over Oklahoma still might be the “easy” part in its long-shot to make the College Football Playoff.
Of course, the Cougars had to beat the Sooners to have any chance, but the odds of any non-Power five school maintaining a high ranking are still long.
Houston, a member of the AAC, has to battle its schedule the rest of the way. The Cougars most likely won’t face a ranked opponent again until Nov. 17 (Louisville).
Houston does play Lamar, Texas State, Tulsa, SMU, Central Florida and Tulane. According to Phil Steele’s ratings, Houston has the 87th toughest schedule this season, just ahead of Miami (um, of Ohio).
The 2015 winning percentage of Houston’s 2016 schedule is just 47.33 (No. 98 nationally).
And what if Oklahoma goes in the tank? How would that help Houston’s cause?
Ok, that’s enough questions for one, whacked out day. Time to go tear down a goal post. [/membership]