We're still waiting, college football.
Still waiting on that "Holy shit!" weekend of games where some foundational pieces of the Top 25 get shaken up and we see the earth shift a little bit in this brave new world of college football where all roads lead to a post season playoff, albeit a miniature four-teamer.
(This is where I gaze longingly at a cartoon "thought bubble" over my head with a bracket for a 16 team playoff, and a tear slides down my face like the Native American in the old commercial where he sees some regular American folks tossing trash on the ground in our great nation.)
This weekend was flush with opportunity -- spunky, revived West Virginia hosting Oklahoma, Mike Leach hosting a somewhat overrated Oregon, Auburn traveling to take on Bill Snyder at night, and of course, Clemson taking on the Jameis-less Seminoles.
In the end, we got a little bit of entertaining football, numerous opportunities to make fun of Jameis Winston, another Dabo meltdown, and the rankings all pretty much look status quo, save Dan Mullen and Mississippi State finally beating LSU (in Baton Rouge at night, no less!).
Thankfully, even ho-hum college football is still college football, and we were given a few nuggets that will make you chuckle from the weekend.
BIG TEN FEVER, CATCH IT! It wasn't all that long ago that Ron Zook was taking Illinois to the Rose Bowl. Nowadays, if you follow the Illini football program on Twitter, you get reminders sent to you that you can come check out the squad for free after halftime!
Reminder, anyone can come watch the rest of the game for FREE, with or without tix. Still 3Q left so if you're near #Chambana come on out!
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) September 20, 2014
I don't know that anything captures the current state of the Big Ten quite like that tweet. (Well, that, and Michigan losing at home by two touchdowns to Utah. There's that, too.)
"OH, SHOULD I NOT HAVE DONE THAT?" I don't think I'm out of line when I say that Jameis Winston is not an intelligent person. Ok, I'll go a little further -- Jameis Winston is a dumb person. His lack of self awareness was legendary before he stood on a table and screamed the "internet meme obscenity" that we all had to dance around on TV and radio this week. (By the way, I contend it would have re-calibrated the comedy scale if all of the ESPN talking heads had to say the actual phrase Winston uttered when discussing him. My personal top three in hilarity -- 3. Lee Corso, 2. Mack Brown, 1. Lou Holtz)
But this...this was priceless.....
Yes, Jameis Winston knew he was suspended for the game and yet still suited up and started to warm up with the team. My hunch is Winston's vocabulary skills are not upper tier, but I would think he knows what "suspended" means. Maybe.
Now comes the NFL scouting community's take on his latest issues, which in a vacuum, is just stupid college kid stuff. But Winston doesn't live in a vacuum. He lives in a world where he's been accused of sexual assault, cited for stealing food from a grocery store, flagged for carrying pellet guns around campus, and generally having a reputation of being a diva phony. To wit, this scouting report to Albert Breer of NFL.com:
"It'll hurt him significantly," said one area scout assigned to Florida State. "Especially with all the stuff going on in the league. This may force him to stay another year to clean up his image. He's a fraud. You can't believe anything he says, because he keeps doing the same things over and over. In my mind, there are night-and-day differences between (Johnny) Manziel's and his character concerns. Winston has some serious issues."
This takes us all back to 2011, when then-Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki took Cam Newton to task for his various alleged character flaws and behavior issues:
"Very disingenuous -- has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law -- does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. .........Will require a very strong-willed, demanding coach to live up to his potential and avoid the trappings of fame and fortune, but even the greatest taskmaster will not be able to keep away the drama that is still swirling from a stained Heisman Trophy..."
Honestly, the Winston scouting report should be the easiest one ever for Nawrocki, just do a "Find/Replace" for "Newton" with "Winston" and hit SEND.
RICH ROD IS 4-0 Finish of the weekend (and proof that it's okay to stay up and watch the late games on Saturday night even when you don't have a five team parlay riding on them) came in the Cal-Arizona game, which saw the Wildcats score 19 points in the final 3:30 to cap a wild comeback (and a 36 point fourth quarter), with the final play coming on this Hail Mary from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill as time expired to push Arizona past Cal, 49-45.
Solomon, a redshirt freshman, attempted 73 passes, passing for 520 yards and five touchdowns. More importantly, Arizona, coached by Rich Rodriguez, is now 4-0. Also, some Michigan fans are revising history, wanting to bring back Rodriguez (who was 6-18 in the Big Ten in his three years in Ann Arbor) to replace Brady Hoke. (Did I mention Michigan lost to Utah at home by double digits?)
(h/t The Big Lead)
WEEKLY EASTERN MICHIGAN VIRAL MOMENT Eastern Michigan was arguably the worst team in FBS last season. Not much has changed other than their head coach's name. They gave up over 70 to Michigan State on Saturday, but more importantly, they gave us the next in what we hope is a long line of reasons to point and laugh at them like Nelson Muntz. First, there was the cinder block fiasco in Week 1.....
This weekend there was this little issue with their center forgetting to snap the ball and getting obliterated "Total Elimination" style by a couple of Spartan beasts....
For those who don't get the "Total Elimination" reference.....
Sorry, Eastern Michigan....
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF INVENTORY -- THE REAL OR THE RAISIN BALLS There's still a long way to go this season, and eventually there may be a one loss team (or two or three or four) who deserve to go to the inaugural College Football Playoff, but right now, being undefeated is still the minimum cover charge to get into the club. So let's look at the potential guest list for the playoff, including for now, only the undefeated teams.
I shall briefly assess each one based on the binary "black or white" judging system that I like to call the "Iron Sheik Scale". For those who don't know, the Iron Sheik was a wrestler back in the 80's from Iran who tormented all of our patriotic WWF heroes like Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, and the Junkyard Dog. After a few decades of destroying his brain with cocaine and alcohol, he has reentered our lives (as a character on Twitter, more than anything) commenting on pretty much any element of pop culture and sports, and doing so in his own inimitable lingo.
For the Iron Sheik, if you're really, TRULY good at what you do, you are "the real." If you're phony good (or actually not very good), you're "the raisin balls." ("The raisin balls" has a close cousin which can be used interchangeably called "the Rice Krispie dick," but that's a little vulgar.)
So for our 2014 undefeated teams, here are the ones I categorize as "the real" and "the raisin balls," with the category being "Chances of making the College Football Playoff" (explanations where necessary):
THE REAL * Florida State (3-0): Clemson really deprived us of some good, hot sports takes * Alabama (4-0): Alabama is like pizza or sex...even when they're ho hum, they're still really good * Oklahoma (4-0): Did you see the graphic that OU's o-line would be second in size...in the NFL??? * Oregon (4-0): Again, like Alabama, not the best recent edition of the Ducks. Not close. Still good. * Auburn (3-0): Should've lost to Kansas State * Baylor (3-0): All roads lead to Norman in November * Texas A&M (4-0): May be the best team in the country * Notre Dame (3-0): Stanford and FSU over the next month will tell "real" story * MIssissippi State (4-0): LSU win on the road gets them on "the real" list
THE RAISIN BALLS * UCLA (3-0): Close games against semi-shitty teams, they'll likely tumble soon * Arizona State (3-0): They play UCLA this weekend, winner makes "The Real" * Ole Miss (3-0): Need to beat someone noteworthy in SEC West for bump up, no shortage of chances * Nebraska (4-0): Could go undefeated and still get beat out by 1-loss SEC team * BYU (4-0): Fun one to watch on this list, QB Taysom Hill is "the real" * Arizona (4-0): Eventually, Rich Rod is never allowed to have nice things * Utah (3-0): Hmmmmm..... * Washington (4-0): Will learn more about them this weekend vs Stanford * Oregon State (3-0): Has a QB that's "the real" in Sean Mannion * Duke (4-0): Still trying to work up "Duke hoops hate" for the football team * Penn State (4-0): It'd be a nice story...or would it? How do we feel about Penn State? * TCU (2-0): Um, play some games...please? * Cincinnati (2-0): You too, Tuberville....two games? * North Carolina State (4-0): FSU this weekend, nice knowing ya, Wolfpack * Georgia Tech (4-0): Could be 9-0 going into NC State game in November * Marshall (4-0): Yeah, ok...
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.