One and three, but not two.
Uno and tres, but not dos.
Un and trois, but not deux.
No way this college football season was going to be as easy as one, two, three.
We came so close, to having the top three ranked schools lose, on the same day, for the first time since Jan. 1, 1966.
Top-ranked Georgia fell, as did third-ranked Notre Dame, but not second-ranked Alabama.
The Crimson Tide avoided Bloody Saturday by scoring a game-winning touchdown, with 25 seconds, to win at Mississippi State.
Stark-Vegas had a chance to pull off the upset but seemed inclined to play for a close, you-almost-got-em, defeat.
MSU got the ball back, game tied, after a missed Alabama field goal, but sat on the ball like a stork on an egg. On fourth-and-medium, Coach Dan Mullen pulled out his situation card and punted back to Alabama for what everyone knew was going to be the game-winning drive.
Mullen, if he goes to Florida, is going to have to show a little more imagination. How many times do you get to beat Alabama, as opposed to punting to Alabama?
So it was almost complete chaos yet, with two-loss Notre Dame cleared out of the playoff way, it was enough mayhem to make a couple of Power 5 commissioners happy. No way three conferences' champions get left out now.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day....
Gary Danielson, without Verne by his CBS side for Southern comfort, took a deep breath and uttered words that must have really hurt.
“Talk of two SEC teams getting in is over,” Danielson said.
Georgia…no peace they found.
The No. 1 Bulldogs choked on a bone Saturday at Auburn, losing by a 40-17 final score that pretty much said it all.
It clearly threw Danielson into a funk as he dismissed the chance of two SEC schools making this year’s college football playoff.
Saturday’s result certainly damaged those chances but, as colleague Stewart Mandel noted, the SEC could still get two to the show if 11-1 Georgia defeated 12-0 Alabama in the SEC title game.
Notre Dame then one-upped Georgia's inept performance with a face plant against Miami. It was Convicts vs. Comedians. The final was 41-8. The Irish should never play in Florida again. Last time they were there, against Alabama in the 2012 national title game, it was 42-12.
Let’s sort out the winners:
--Oklahoma and Miami. The Sooners knocked the TC U-know what out of the Horned Frogs in Norman and figure to move up from No. 5 in Tuesday's CFP ranking. That's if they don't get jumped from behind by No. 7 Miami.
--Auburn. That’s right, the team Rankman made his preseason No.1 way back in August. The two-loss Tigers are still in the race because they are already ranked No. 10 in the CFP ranking and remain the only school in America with a chance to finish the season with wins against, Georgia, Alabama and Georgia.
Auburn has two respectable losses—at Clemson and at LSU—with a mega-watt Iron Bowl set for Nov. 25 against Alabama.
I’d like to say I never gave up on my preseason No.1—but I kind of did.
--Wisconsin. The Badgers improved to 10-0, for the first time in school history, with a home win over Iowa. Wisconsin is playing a weak schedule and is one of only three Power 5 teams (Alabama and Miami are the others) that can have an undefeated season.
Wisconsin has remaining games vs. Michigan and at Minnesota before the Big Ten title game. It really wants to play two-loss Ohio State, which hammered Michigan State on Saturday as a way of working out last week’s big loss at Iowa.
Too bad Washington spit the bit Friday night at Stanford, otherwise the Pac 12 could pretend it was still in the discussion.
A tailspin week for Larry’s League--politically, domestically, playoff-wise and otherwise--has left the conference a new set of priorities and recalculated goals.
--Freeing three UCLA basketball players held captive in China.
--Crowning a football champion for purposes of sending it to the…Fiesta Bowl.
--Congratulating another Stanford player for finishing second in the Heisman balloting voting.
Washington’s 30-22 loss at Stanford on Friday night ruined the weekend before it started. It put a second loss on the only top-10 Pac 12 team in this week’s College Football Playoff ranking.
It virtually, if not officially, knocked the Pac 12 out of this year’s playoff race. Unless...unless?
USC, with its win at Colorado on Saturday, clinched the Pac South and has a chance to be a two-loss champion with a killer strength of schedule.
Stanford recorded a nice monkey-wrench win and with it got a heroic, Heisman-worthy performance from tailback Bryce Love, who took the nation’s No.1 overall defense for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
Love’s performance, on an injured ankle, was as impressive as anything I’ve seen in college football this year.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
“On one leg,” Stanford Coach David Shaw said after the game. “Give me a break. His tolerance level is through the roof…I don’t know if you can ask anything more of a football player.”
Love limped on, and off, the field on a bum ankle he injured a month ago against Oregon. He has been limited since, hardly able to practice. Against Washington, he needed several re-tapings to stay on the field.
Too bad so few people saw Love in the east thanks to another 8 p.m. (ish) start on FS1 that actually started on FS2 because of a Monster Truck Race.
Given what Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield did against TCU, Love’s performance could very well lead to a Stanford player finishing second—again—in the Heisman race.
The Pac 12 killed another contender, this time Washington, with help from a schedule policy that put another one of its best teams at a disadvantage.
Washington, which lost at Arizona State by seven, blew its last chance to stay in the playoff chase. The Huskies now need help to even take the Pac 12 North.
Upon further inspection, Washington seems a very good, but not great, team. Its weak schedule masked an offense that is not national-title worthy. Jake Browning is a very good, but not transcendent, quarterback. The Huskies miss the break-away speed John Ross brought to last year’s Pac 12 champions.
This year’s Pac 12 champion will likely not be in the playoff, or the Rose Bowl, which is hosting a national semifinal this year. The Pac 12 champion is bound for the Fiesta Bowl, where it could face Ohio State.
Not bad, but not the Rose.
Commissioner Larry Scott took it all in from China, his home away from home, while trying to untangle an international incident. Scott spoke Friday night during halftime of ESPN’s broadcast of UCLA and Georgia Tech, which was supposed to culminate a week of goodwill, business and fortune cookie harmony.
You could sense Scott seething beneath his well-mannered, Harvard-educated delivery.
He didn’t come to China to bail UCLA players out of jail. He came to continue his on-going Pacific Rim initiative.
Scott, even as he was expressing his disappointment in the actions of three baby Bruins, announced the Pac was returning to China next year with a basketball game between Cal and Yale.
Let’s hope those UCLA kids are out of China by then.
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were being held under hotel arrest, charged with shoplifing, as their teammates flew back to Los Angeles.
It remains to be seen how long the players will have to stay.
“I ain’t got nothing to say,” LiAngelo Ball said when reached by phone by the Times, which described him as sounding despondent and scared. “They don’t want us to talk.”
You couldn’t draw up a worse stretch for the Pac 12. USC basketball opened play Friday without associate head coach Tony Bland and star guard De’Anthony Melton, embroiled in the on-going corruption case. Arizona is also hip-deep in this FBI mess.
Larry Scott just negotiated a mega, streaming deal with Chinese conglomerate Alibaba.
What he needs more is three free rubs on Aladdin’s lamp.[/membership]