The selection committee finally came around to Alabama at No. 1 the same week Rankman came around to relegating the Pac 12 to the "Group of 6". The Pac will join Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and the American in a pool of conferences that will compete for two very good bowl bids. The top finisher in the Pac 12 will receive an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl while the champions of five other leagues will vie for a spot in the Peach Bowl. This has been a down year for the Pac 12 but there's no sense getting up in the league's face. The conference released its 2018 schedule on Wednesday and it was hard not to get excited about the prospect of Cincinnati playing at UCLA on Sept. 1. If you don't like that, there's also Bowling Green at Oregon Green on the same day. Ok, we buried the lead. After two years of getting ripped for scheduling Rutgers, the University of Washington will play Auburn on Sept. 1 in a neutral-site game. The selection committee will likely hail Auburn for making this game while chastising U-Dub for taking so long to make it. And here's an opening-week present for the new Oregon State coach: at Ohio State. Yikes! The second week could make or break the Pac playoff psyche with key non-conference games: Oklahoma at UCLA, Arizona at Houston and Michigan State at Arizona State. Another Bevo-burner figures to be USC at Texas on Sept. 15, a rematch of this year's 2OT thriller at the Coliseum. Great news for USC, however, which was forced to play 12 straight weeks this year. The Trojans will get a bye in 2018, on Oct. 6. The schedule is fairer overall and does away, thankfully, with Friday road games following Saturday road games. Pac 12 will play seven games on six different Friday nights, a move partially responsible for the MAC having to move its entire schedule to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Also, if Jim Mora remains UCLA's coach, he's going to have to wait until the last weekend of the season (Nov. 24) to get another shot at beating Stanford for the first time. Did we mention, in terms of the Pac 12, that next year can't get here soon enough?
1: Alabama (10-0): Saban doesn’t understand why kids need to rip holes in jeans. Kids don’t understand why Saban needs to rip holes in Mercer. (1)
2: Miami (9-0): School calls pest control to deal with hundreds and hundreds of former players crawling out of wood work. (4)
3: Clemson (9-1): Dabo on Citadel: “Boys, if you’re looking to get suspended for one game this is the week to do it. (6)
4: Auburn (7-2): Louisiana-Monroe game ends SEC presidential cupcake series that included Louisiana-Adams and Louisiana-Madison. (15)
5: Oklahoma (9-1): It is believed Baker Mayfield would be first QB to win Heisman six months after getting tackled by a Fayetteville cop. (6)[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
6: Wisconsin (10-0): Playoff hopes seem solid but team warned by committee to keep its schedule away from sharp object or open flame. (7)
7: Central Florida (9-0): ESPN reports Nebraska has contacted UCF for permission to kidnap Scott Frost and bring him back to Lincoln in a gunny sack. (10)
8: Georgia (9-1): Some people in Athens convinced Uga’s food bowl at Auburn was laced with Doggy Downers. (2)
9: Notre Dame (9-2): Dorais\Rockne modernized passing game in 1913 vs Army. Wimbush\Book took it back to 1912 last week vs. Miami. (3)
10:USC (9-2): Saturday marks 50th anniversary of famous 1967 game vs. UCLA that one former Trojan will be watching with his parole officer. (16)
11: Ohio State (8-2): This week's home game vs. Illinois receives a parental warning of T14 based on potential gruesome scenes unsuitable for young children. (15)
12: Washington (8-2): A fine team with many attributes but not so many as to get you invited to any kind of formal four-team playoff. (8)
13: Texas Christian (8-2): QB Hill listed between “probable and questionable” for Texas Tech with injury Coach says is none of our business. (9)
14: Oklahoma State (8-2): Coach Gundy said he’ll treasure the letter-of-support he received from T. Boone Pickens for the rest of his…day. (13)
15: Washington State (8-2): Mike Leach emerges as the top candidate to replace Jon Gruden at whatever school his agent is using today to keep Gruden's name in the news. (NR)
16: Penn State (8-2): Big Ten Newcomers Magazine describes this week's opponent, Nebraska, as "Rutgers with taller corn and a better fight song." (16)
First Four Out
Mississippi State: Conservative Weekly praises coach Mullen's fourth-quarter decision, in a tie game, to punt on fourth-and-three from the Alabama 42.
Florida Atlantic: One coach with a Twitter account notes team from Boca Raton (Rat’s Mouth) has more combined wins than Florida and Florida State.
Stanford: Bryce Love's 166-yard performance against Washington last Friday has deservedly been nominated for a late-night Emmy.
Memphis: Rankman has Tigers most likely headed to the Birmingham, Barbecue, Graceland or Peabody Hotel bowls.
Next Four Never
Oregon State: School's overtime win against Portland State is expected to dominate highlights at the post-season banquet.
Kansas: Chancellor supports 3-31 coach by saying "He's our man going forward, and backward."
Illinois: Players told to "get their football affairs in order" in advance of trip this week to Ohio State.
UTEP: Located in only city in nation with 0-10 football and 10 of the best Tex-Mex restaurants in the Southwest. [/membership]