College Football, Week 5 — 4 Winners, 4 Losers

I will admit that, as I write this on Sunday morning, I have only seen highlights of the night games on Saturday, as I was attending the UFC 192 card at Toyota Center on Saturday night (always a good time, UFC never disappoints in person). I was following some of the games on my scoreboard app on my phone, in particular Notre Dame-Clemson, especially the final eight minutes when Notre Dame mounted a near comeback.

After the game ended (on a failed two point attempt by the Irish with seven seconds to go), a buddy at the event asked me how Notre Dame did, and I was amazed how I was able to cobble the final eight minutes together from blurbs on my iPhone app and make it sound like I'd watched the whole thing. (Turns out, after watching the footage on my DVR when I got home, I was razor sharp in my analysis, and hadn't seen a THING up to that point! Yay me!)

So thank you, technology! Thank you for making me SOUND smart! In fact, let's make technology our first winner in this week's Winners and Losers….


4. Technology
As a (possibly degenerate) gambler, nobody has been using Scoreboard apps and the like on smartphones for longer than I have. So I don't want to sound like I'm five years late for the prom on how the "game following" experience has evolved. I KNOW how much information we have at our fingertips. I don't want to perceived as "out of touch." Allie LaForce probably knows all too well what I'm talking about after social media's reaction to her amazement at the use of oxygen tanks —- GASP! — on the Alabama sideline….

Sadly, we never got Allie's follow up report on this new colored drink that Alabama was consuming instead of water. "Verne, Gary, the Crimson Tide are staying hydrated by drinking this new flavored water called GATORADE. It has electrolytes and the players say it tastes amazing. Something to watch… back to you, guys!"

3.  University of Houston
It's time to stand up and recognize that Tom Herman has something very special going on over on the southeast side of town. The Coogs ran their record to 4-0 by taking care of a tricky Tulsa outfit in an early start on Saturday. He probably won't (yet), but QB Greg Ward, Jr. should be getting some Heisman mention as he has run Herman's offense nearly flawlessly all season long. On Saturday, he carried the Coogs and made plays when it mattered — 273 yards passing and a mind blowing 182 yards rushing and three touchdowns. The conference the Coogs play in will always be a handicap in arguments like the Heisman, but should it be? There are four undefeated teams in the AAC right now, and Cincinnati just knocked off Miami last Thursday. Is the AAC, top to bottom, all that much worse than the ACC? 

2. Over bettors in the Big 12
So at kickoff on Saturday, Baylor and Texas Tech went off with a total of 90 points on the board in Vegas, the highest recorded betting total for points scored in a game in college football betting history. And four minutes into the game, it was 14-7 Baylor and you knew where this was all headed. By halftime, there were 70 points scored. My question would be "Do people really enjoy this kind of football? Where defense is a total afterthought and shitty coverage and tackling feel like they're practically encouraged?" Personally, I don't. I found myself watching Alabama and Georgia way more than the Big XII matchup. My analogy would be this  — watching Baylor and Texas Tech was like watching two buddies play each other in a video game, while Bama and Georgia was like watching tow buddies in a fist fight. Watching buddies fist fight is always more compelling. Speaking of which...

1. Nick Saban
For some reason, Georgia tried to play mind games with Nick Saban and Alabama before their matchup on Saturday….

I don't know why the Bulldogs did this. Maybe because Alabama was an underdog for the first time in 72 games and they thought the Tide was vulnerable. Maybe the Bulldogs truly felt they had the better team. Maybe Georgia is that fucking stupid. All I know is Alabama smoked them by 28 and Mark Richt is the biggest fraud in college football. Still. 


4. Big Ten (I think)
Brace yourself — one of the most overanalyzed things the next few weeks will be the state of the Big Ten, especially in light of Ohio State and Michigan State seemingly hellbent on playing down to their competition every week. It will be asked over and over whether Michigan's resurgence, Northwestern's and Iowa's revival, and frisky play from the lower rung schools mean that the conference is "back." In the end, it won't really matter. If the conference is "back," then its winner will likely get a playoff bid. If it turns out that Ohio State and Michigan State are merely good and not great, both are insulated enough to where the style points won't matter. Again, the winner of the conference (unless there's a major upset in the conference title game) will get a playoff berth. The end.

3. Wisconsin party goers
Speaking of the Big Ten title game, sadly, it appears Wisconsin won't be going there, which means we won't get the cold weather version of this in the parking lot on game day….

You can set your watch to it — UCLA gets off to a pretty good start, people begin to believe the hype, and then, in catastrophic fashion, they "Jim Mora, Jr." all over themselves. Granted, he's missing two key guys on defense in linebacker Myles Jack and nose tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, but that didn't stop everyone this weekend from hyping them as a playoff contender. Losing at home by 15 to Arizona State is about as emphatic a thud as you could have. THUD!

1. Charlie Strong social media debacles
Just when ti looked like the wheels to the Charlie Strong bus were at least somewhat tightened back on (yes, two close losses due to special teams gaffes is cause for celebration in Austin right about now), along came TCU. The Horned Frogs beat the Longhorns 50-7 in a game that felt like it was 150-7. It spawned two of the most noteworthy tweets of the weekend. First, there was this gem of a retweet from UT defensive back Kris Boyd about transferring to A&M:

This would be bad enough unto itself, say, AFTER the game. The biggest issue with this tweet? It happened AT HALFTIME! Then came this little scud (hastily deleted shortly after it posted) from the Texas Rangers' team account….

The Rangers fired the person responsible for the tweet before their game with the Angels had even ended on Saturday afternoon. By the way, I'm not sure if there is such a thing as inter-sport karma, but shortly after this tweet, the Rangers coughed up a four run lead in the ninth inning and lost to the Angels 11-10. 

It was quite a sports day on Saturday!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. 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.

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