What can be learned from just a little research: This week's winner of USC at Notre Dame receives year-long possession of the coveted jeweled Shillelagh. I knew this rivalry was special but never took the time to study the hardware. USC's game notes describe the Shillelagh as a "Gaelic war club made of oak or blackthorn saplings from Ireland—has ruby-adorned Trojan heads with the year and game score representing USC victories, while emerald-studded shamrocks stand for Notre Dame wins. For tie games, a combined Trojan head/shamrock medallion was used. The first Shillelagh was retired after the 1989 game when it ran out of space for the medallions and a second one is now in use. There are now 46 shamrocks, 37 Trojan heads and five combined medallions on the shillelaghs (One USC win was later vacated due to NCAA penalty)." Those damn NCAA sanctions have even tarnished the Shillelagh! If only USC had concocted, like North Carolina, an elaborate academic fraud scheme that was available to all its students, including athletes, over 18 years. It would have never had to lose 33 scholarships and vacate the 2004 national title. Instead, USC had one player, Reggie Bush, who was deemed ineligible for receiving improper benefits. And the NCAA nearly gave USC the Death Penalty. Meanwhile, North Carolina got to unfurl another NCAA basketball banner this week. Isn't that special. Anyway, this does not at all diminish this week's main attraction: USC at Notre Dame, in prime time, on Saturday night. It is the 89th official meeting between the schools but the first meeting since 2009 when both teams are ranked. We're looking for some good, clean, fun, boys, to take our minds off FBI investigations and the infernal, inept workings at NCAA headquarters. Anyway, on with this week's super duper ranking:
1: Alabama (7-0): Hosting Tennessee this weekend in hallowed annual game renamed this year the “Third Saturday ass-kicking in October.” (2)
2: Georgia (7-0): Leading the SEC East this year akin to leading a potato sack race at the annual Founder’s Day picnic in Athens. (3)[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
3: Penn State (6-0): Next three games—Michigan, at Ohio St, at Michigan. St— could determine whether Barkley wins a Heisman, or a participation, trophy. (5)
4: Texas Christian (6-0): Dorothy's "wizard of odds" warning: Frogs are 39 1\2 point favorites vs. Kansas this week despite winning five games since 2012 by only 35 total points. (6)
5: Ohio State (6-1): Urban tells wife Shelley to stay off Twitter unless she has something inappropriate, profane, or vile, to say about Michigan. (7)
6: Wisconsin (6-0): Some pundits suggest there are more holes in Badgers’ schedule than the last scene from “Bonnie and Clyde.” (9)
7: Miami(5-0): Sunshine state numbers: USF, UCF and Miami Hurricanes are a combined 16-0. Florida State, Florida and Miami Dolphins are a combined 8-8. (14)
8: Oklahoma State (5-1): Gundy's concept of "basketball on grass" is illegal in Stillwater but being widely praised by the medical marijuana community. (13)
9: USC (6-1): Dearest Irish: “There once was a push that was regal, from Leinart behind not so feeble. It won us a game, and some of your dames, and the best part: it’s no longer illegal!” (12)
10: Notre Dame (6-1): Dearest Trojans: “May the road rise up to impale you. May the wind be in your kicker’s face. May the sun shine directly into your eyes. May a cold rain leak into your undershorts. ” (15)
11: Clemson (6-1): How long as it been since Tigers recovered from a devastating loss, as double-digit favorites, to win the national title? Months. (1)
12: Washington (6-1): Road loss to Arizona State opens door for committee to move Texas A&M ahead of Huskies in first CFP ranking. (4)
13: Michigan State (5-1): Over-extended Magic will send a body-double to next game as he splits valuable time taking credit for Lakers\Dodgers. (16)
14: Central Florida (5-0): Who knew? Black Friday (Nov. 24) game vs. South Florida shaping up as biggest game in state this season. (NR)
15: South Florida (6-0): It doesn’t add up: “South” Florida is 85 miles from Central Florida (Orlando) in a state that is 500 miles long. (NR)
16: Washington State (6-1): Bruce Arena claims Leach stole his quote, “We were a bunch of pathetic frontrunners,” from his surrender at Trinidad & Tobago. (8)
First Four Out
Oklahoma: One expert says Baker Mayfield will have to take what he's given against Kansas State's defense. It could be a giant middle finger.
Michigan: Don Brown's defense must come up big this week at Penn State. Ok, it doesn't really HAVE to come up big. It could come up small and lose.
North Carolina State: Rankman hasn't been this excited about the Wolfpack program since Roman Gabriel was the starting quarterback.
Stanford: Shaw says team will use bye week to draw up a few more plays for that jackrabbit in order to take some defensive heat off Bryce Love.
Next Four Never
Illinois: After loss to Rutgers school SID is said to have nominated several mid-season candidates for this year’s Dick Bubkis Award.
North Carolina: School skates on NCAA violations but must now renounce all academic intentions and become a Barbers College.
San Jose State: Just think: Dropping football several years ago would have denied students this year’s lone win over Cal Poly.
Missouri: In a dramatic strength-of-schedule shift the Tigers take a break from 0-4 SEC play to take on easier states: Idaho and Connecticut.[/membership]