The college football world has a funny way of pre-determining which of the 15 or so Saturdays in the fall are the ones where (using my urgent Joe Tessitore voice) "legends are made and legacies are shattered in an instant." The proverbial "Shakedown Saturday," if you will. It was supposed to be last Saturday, with LSU-Alabama and TCU-Oklahoma State on the docket, and certainly those games helped shape the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
But in actuality, it was a Saturday like this weekend that did a whole lot more to cull the herd of playoff hopefuls, with a slew of one loss teams getting bumped from the dance, and some of the survivors doing just that — surviving. Barely.
By my count, you can virtually eliminate LSU, Stanford, and Utah, who all picked up their second losses of the season. Baylor may as well have two losses now that they're no longer unbeaten, given their putrid out of conference schedule. And Iowa and OKlahoma State hung on BARELY against teams that are now 3-7 and 4-6 respectively.
And that's all in the top ten! So let's examine the weekend and see where we are...
4. The top four
The committee has to quietly feel validated, at least for one week, with their top four of Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, all of whom were favored fairly heavily this weekend (Bama was the smallest favorite at -8.) and took care of business. No drama with these four. The same can't be said for literally every other team in the top ten, as outlined above. They all lost or had close shaves that shouldn't have been close.
3. Bob Davie
I will admit that I totally forgot Bob Davie was back in college coaching, mostly because, as a Notre Dame alum, I'm trying to forget that Bob Davie exists at all. Davie coaches the New Mexico Lobos, and late Saturday night, ironically at about the same time massive UFC favorite Ronda Rousey was getting put to sleep by a Holly Holm kick to the head, Davie's Lobos knocked off Boise State as a 31 point underdog on the blue turf. Huge win for Davie, who as fired Notre Dame coaches go, is admittedly Vince Lombardi compared to Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis.
2. Bear Bryant Award
Shifting gears from utterly shitty coaches to those who are the best at what they do, who heated is the Coach of the Year race this season? Let's start with the fact that COY stalwarts Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are doing their usual things, but occasional COY contenders Dabo Swinney, Kirk Ferentz, and Mike Gundy have undefeated teams this season, the latter two very unexpectedly. Add in Jim McElwain and Tom Herman doing amazing things in their first years at Florida and Houston, respectively, and Jim Harbaugh resurrecting Michigan, not to mention Brian Kelly having Notre Dame in line for a playoff spot with his backup QB, RB, TE, DT, and FS. This is a crazy competitive year in the coaching world. The winner of the awards will have earned them.
1. Kyle Postma
Speaking of Herman, I've felt all season there's been a magic about the guy. We have him on our radio show on SportsRadio 610 each week, and after every interview, me and my co-hosts are ready to run through a brick wall for the guy. On Saturday night, the Coogs were trailing Memphis by 20 points headed into the fourth quarter in the game that was essentially an elimination game for the AAC West division. They were missing their Heisman candidate QB Greg Ward, Jr. who'd left the game with a leg injury. Enter Postma, who went 21-33 for 236 yards and ran for the go ahead touchdown as the Coogs dodged one final bullet on a missed Memphis FG in the waning moments. Now, if the Coogs get past a dreadful lookahead spot in Connecticut next weekend (cold, outdoors, week before Thanksgiving sandwiched in between two huge games), they'll play Navy (6-0 in conference, also) for a shot at the AAC title game. Here's hoping the Coogs get a couple more years out of Herman before a $5 million paycheck somewhere comes calling.
4. Big XII
The powers that be in the Big XII claim that they didn't purposely backload the schedule with all of these colossal November match ups purposely, but of course, no one believes them. The thinking from skeptics is that the slew of "show me" games is their substitute for a conference title game. However, it may end up having the opposite effect, as last week, Oklahoma State cannibalized TCU, and now this past weekend, Oklahoma got Baylor. So in a matter of eight days, not only was the supposed marquee matchup of the Big XII season (Baylor-TCU on 11/27) rendered into "just another big game," but the Big XII will no longer have any battle of undefeateds. It's mathematically impossible. The only good news is Bedlam (OU-OSU) will have major juice this season, assuming OSU knocks off Baylor next weekend, which if the trend holds up, they won't.
3. J.J. Watt
Let me preface this by saying that I think Watt is the greatest defensive football player on the planet today, and maybe the greatest I've ever seen. (I feel like that needs to be said before making even the most light hearted of jokes about him.) But is it possible he is the walking version of the Brady Bunch bad luck tiki statue? He's been a regular courtside for a Rockets team that is a hot mess, he was in the stadium Saturday night for the first half of the Coogs game and left at halftime (after which UH mounted its comeback), and also Saturday afternoon came this….
…which may or may not have led to this….
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2. Lee Corso
So Gary Pinkel had kind of a rough week. On Monday, all of the African-American players on his team basically go on strike over racial issues at Mizzou, so then he stands by them in their desire to get the president overthrown. By Tuesday, the president and chancellor are both gone, but Pinkel makes it clear in interviews he doesn't support the politics of his players, but was supporting them as people. By the end of the week, he was retiring due to health concerns over non-Hodgkins lymphoma. That's some heavy shit. So here comes Corso on Gameday, and when he was asked what he would do in PInkel's situation he said if he didn't believe in what the fight was for, he'd quit because you can't compromise your integrity. I'd give anything to go back in time and put Corso in a spot where he was earning Pinkel-type money as a coach and see him give it up and explain that to his wife. Only one problem, Corso was never good enough as a coach for anybody to care about him quitting.
1. Charlie Strong
38-20 loss to West Virginia. Charlie Strong not only gave back all the equity from that Oklahoma win, he's now borrowing against his credit card.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.