Some of us are hoping Washington State makes the playoff this year if only for the press conference. No. 1 Nick Saban vs. No. 4 Mike Leach would be the best\worst demeanor mismatch in history. This week was a perfect example. As Saban was spitting up teeth over the insulting question of whether he should risk playing gimpy-knee Tua Tagovailoa against The Citadel, the Pullman play caller was breaking down a hypothetical street brawl among Pac 12 coaches. There are many things unique about Leach. He is funny but I’ve never really seen him laugh. He looks scared all the time, but is fearless. He is controversial, politically, but intensely interesting and curious. After Rankman returned from the 2014 Olympics in Russia, what was supposed to be a short phone conversation with Leach about an NCAA rule change morphed into a 40-minute discussion on Putin and geopolitics. He wanted to know what I thought was going on over there and I told him I felt like there were eyes (bugs) on me 24\7. Leach is also different because he didn’t play football, so never has he stood at a press conference podium with his arms positioned so that reporters can see he once pushed a blocking sled at Kent State. But let’s get right to that Pac 12 coaches’ brawl. Leach contemplated the question and settled on a cage match between Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Herm Edwards of Arizona State. “They’re both in shape,” Leach said. “Simple, at this age, if you’re in shape you’ve got a chance.” Reminded of Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, who looks like he could dead lift a Eugene fire truck, Leach reconsidered his picks. “Well you don’t want to get tied up with him,” Leach said. “You don’t want to let him get his hands on you because he is big and he’s got long levers.”So, for the sake of livening up a boring season, give us Alabama vs. Washington State in a national semifinal. The game might be off the board in Vegas, but Leach would be the heavy, heavy press conference favorite.
1: Alabama (10-0): Saban says Tua will play against The Citadel despite lawsuit filed by the single wing-nut branch of the Tuscaloosa Preservation Society.(1)
2: Clemson (10-0): Dabo informed it is NOT necessary to curtsy this week when approached by any of the noble Dukes of Cutcliffe. (2)
3: Notre Dame (10-0): Lou Holtz\ Lou Piniella hold joint presser before Yankee Stadium game to discuss their 1988 seasons.(3)
4: Michigan (9-1): Informed the school was ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense, a freshman from Sherman Oaks remarked “that’s totally awesome.” (4)
5: Georgia (9-1): Every student who attends Saturday’s important home game will receive a map of Massachusetts and an order of fish and chips. (5)
6: Oklahoma (9-1): Since canning Stoops as DC the Sooners have rocketed to No. 83 nationally in scoring defense, one spot ahead of Indiana. (6)
7: West Virginia (8-1): Fans on trip to Oklahoma State told the potential for a "shootout" is just a metaphor and that all muskets and powder must be left in Morgantown. (7)
8: Washington State (9-1): “No one is looking past Arizona this week to the Apple Cup,” said one player on Wednesday between bobs over water-filled barrel. (8)
9: Central Florida (9-0): A hamster on a wheel watched the latest CFP ranking show on ESPN and said he knew exactly how Central Florida felt. (9)
10: LSU (8-2): School releases team meal plan for this two-week portion of schedule: braised Arkansas Hog with a side of Rice. (10)
11: Ohio State (8-1): Fortune tellers says the chances of Urban coming back next season are the same as Zach Smith ever getting off Twitter. (11)
12: Utah State (9-1): Rankman’s fondest true-story memory of Logan is stumbling back to the Baugh Motel after starting a bar fight with a Cowboy. (13)
13: Syracuse (8-2): Uh-oh. Game vs. Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium is starting to remind grad Bob Costas of a Mickey Mantle story. (15)
14: Washington (7-3): Committee says ranking three-loss Kentucky ahead of UDub despite a double-digit loss at Tennessee is, in no way, a reflection on catfish vs. salmon industries. (16)
15: Utah (7-3): There are secret Rose Bowl negotiations ongoing about the possibility of moving a Utah-Northwestern pairing to the Pac 12 Network on Jan. 5. (NR)
16: Mississippi State/Iowa State/Northwestern (18-11): One loss short of forming a separate post-season tournament this weekend and calling it "The War of 18-12."
Next Four Out
Texas: Involved in three intensely close, field-goal margin outcomes: Oklahoma (48-45), Oklahoma State (35-38), Cruz-Beto (50.9-48.3).
Boston College: Sen. Rubio says no more bookmaker ballots should be counted after BC opens as a one-point favorite in Tallahassee.
Cincinnati: Town hasn’t been this excited since the former mayor gave up politics and started “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Florida: Source tells me last week's ranking may be invalidated because one playoff committee member's ballot signature looked too much like "Steve Spurrier."
Next Four Never
USC: Helton tells players not to listen to any nightly rubbish from a Canadian about his job being in Jeopardy!
UCLA: Student section alert: the Rose Bowl cheer for THIS WEEK ONLY has been changed to “Two-and-Eight Clap.”
Louisville: Petrino fell off motorcycle again after learning of firing but his secretary escaped with only minor scratches.
Western Kentucky: Hilltoppers (1-9) offer UTEP (1-9) a police escort to stadium to make sure team arrives in time for kickoff.