Admittedly, I didn't get to watch a ton of college football this weekend. (For those asking, I was busy watching my daughter do this.) So this week's post on the world of college football was done based on my watching overnight replays of games when I couldn't sleep Saturday night, watching College Football Final twice, and watching a shit ton of highlights on YouTube.
So let's see how this goes….
4. Desmond Howard
Before the season started, when the College Gameday crew was making their 2015 season predictions, Desmond Howard decided to go a tad contrarian and pick Stanford as his national champion. Then, one week into the season, Stanford was 0-1 with a horrific 16-6 loss in Evanston to Northwestern, and we all pointed at Howard and laughed at his selection. Well, as Howard's Gameday colleague Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend!" Stanford was a surprising 11th in the first College Football Playoff ranking (I thought they'd be ranked higher), but they control their own destiny in the Pac-12, have home games with Oregon, Cal, and 5th ranked Notre Dame remaining, plus a potential Pac-12 title game against Utah, USC, or UCLA. In other words, just enough equity to get into the playoff if a couple things break right in front of them. Desmond Howard might be a delicate genius!
3. Will Fuller
As a Notre Dame alum and someone who's watched every snap of Irish football since 1986, I've seen a lot of pretty good wide receiver play, especially over the last ten years. In my time watching the Irish, I can remember three wide receivers who you just knew would come up with big plays down the field, who you knew when the ball was in the air, that ball was theirs — Jeff Samardzija, Golden Tate, and Will Fuller. Fuller piled up another Biletnikoff Award worthy performance on Saturday against Pitt with seven catches, 152 yards, and three touchdown catches. Like Stanford, Notre Dame sits in a great position for a spot in the playoff if they win out.
From 2012 through 2014, Clemson-Florida State was the defining rivalry in the ACC and, truth be told, the turning point for some great Florida State teams, including a national champion in 2013. On Saturday, with the Seminoles' season teetering on the brink, the Tigers pushed them off the edge with a 23-13 win at home. With Syracuse, Wake Forest, South Carolina, and an ACC Title Game remaining, the Tigers should be double digit favorites in every game, and it would take Clemson "Clemson-ing" in order for them to NOT make the playoff.
1. Oklahoma State
In this backloaded, WWE bookers dream of a November Big XII schedule, the team getting the least amount of respect — less than Baylor, less than TCU, even less than 1-loss Oklahoma — has been undefeated Oklahoma State. Maybe that changes now, after the Cowboys thrashed the Horned Frogs 49-29, essentially ruining the Big XII "creative" team's dream Wrestlemania matchup on November 27 between TCU and Baylor. That game has far less sizzle now that it's no longer for the outright conference title. For now, it's not, at least. Who knows, after this conference gets done cannibalizing itself for the next three weekends, maybe it will be again.
4. The city of Houston
Speaking of the Big XII, It looks like College Gameday is coming to Waco next weekend for the Oklahoma-Baylor game. I have no information to back this up, but I have to believe that if Memphis had taken care of business against Navy this weekend (Tigers lost 45-20) then the Memphis-Houston game would've gotten the marquee spot, with juicy storylines galore — undefeated top 25, AAC squads with wins over SEC teams, and the "we're just as good as the Power Five" debate is always fun. At the very least, it's the de facto play-in game for the Group of Five automatic big bowl spot, but loses sizzle when Memphis has a loss. So if you're bummed out about missing out on the free marketing for the program, Coog Fan, blame the Tigers.
3. The Swag-copter
Aggies, you, on the other hand, have no one to blame but your own team and its coaching staff for where you are right now. I hope you enjoyed your Top 25 spot in the first playoff ranking, because that's the last you'll sniff of those rankings this season. I'm not sure if you've noticed (the self awareness of some of you on Twitter leads me to believe you've chosen not to), but your team is a combined 3-8 in SEC games after October 1 without Johnny Manziel on your team. My point is that during the last two seasons, Kevin Sumlin has managed to get everyone lathered up the first month of the season and gotten many of you to think he's a big deal even without Johnny Manziel, and then it's all come crashing down when the season really kicks in in the month of October. This is Year 4 for Sumlin, these are all his guys now. What does it say that the best players to play for A&M during Sumlin's time there are practically all Mike Sherman's recruits? You can deny it all you want, Aggies, but Sumlin's done nothing noteworthy since Manziel walked off the field after the bowl win over Duke.
2. Hugh Freeze
That feeling when you realize you just lost to Bret Bielema (and lost control of your own destiny in the SEC West) when you gave up a 4th and 25 in overtime on this play...
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By the way, I don't know who the play by play guy was in that clip, but I'm guessing he'd like that call back. First, he says that the pass was incomplete, and then when the fourth down is converted, he treats it like it was 3rd and 4 at midfield in the second quarter. Just a terrible, terrible call for a play that would be in the running for the Play of the Year if a) it had been executed by a team that matters, and b) if hadn't occurred in a season where we've seen three crazy plays like that in the last three weeks alone (Michigan punt-fumble, Georgia Tech blocked FG return, Miami 8-lateral kickoff return from hell).
1. Tear ducts
Dammit, Tom Rinaldi, why do you do this to me EVERY DAMN SATURDAY? (Also, kudos to Les Miles and prayers for the Ortis family. You must watch this video, but WARNING… have Kleenex handy!)
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.