• Tailgating: Those Meaningless Trophies and Your College Football Weekend Discussion Thread


    Each week, two of us take on five questions and pick five games of quality to help prepare for the football weekend, which begins in earnest with college games all day Saturday. In addition, we try to spot one upset special for the week and have a little fun in the process. If it’s late afternoon Friday or early Saturday, grab your coffee and let’s get started. And if you've got an opinion, or maybe another question, we'd love to hear from you.

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    FIVE GOOD QUESTIONS

    1.) The same question to open, as always: if you could go to any game this weekend, where are you headed and why?

    MK: After two weeks with so many stellar matchups to lead off this conversation, we have some very interesting but not terribly spectacular games to feature this time around. There are easy and perfectly respectable responses to this question. Georgia has climbed back into the Top 25 and the Bulldogs are getting healthier looking to renew a series against #7 Auburn which dates back to 1892. Texas has at least partially recovered from their September embarrassments when they gave up 550 yards and 272 yards rushing in consecutive weeks to BYU and Ole Miss; they are now ranked, and are playing Oklahoma State in Austin in what amounts to an elimination game in the Big XII Championship race. This week, though, I’m thinking small and I’m traveling to Alliance, Ohio, which sits on the border between Stark and Mahoning counties, about as far from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton as it is from the Pennsylvania border. Of all the games I could take in this weekend, I want to watch the Mount Union Purple Raiders—the top-ranked team in NCAA’s Division III—take on the John Carroll Blue Streaks.

    If you’ve only heard of one Div. III team in college football, it’s probably Mount Union. Larry Kehres turned the small northeast Ohio college into a powerhouse, amassing an all-time record of 332-24-3 while winning eleven national championships, all of them since 1993, before passing the program on to his son following another 15-0 season which culminated in a national title. They’ve also won every Ohio Athletic Conference championship since 1992. The OAC is a marvelous little conference in Division III, featuring mascots ranging from the literary (the Marietta Pioneers!) to the creative (the Ohio Northern Polar Bears!) to the esoteric (the Heidelberg Student Princes!) to the just plain weird (the Muskingum Fighting, um… Muskies). John Carroll, the alma mater of Don Shula, has typically played the also-ran in the conference, often the second-best team in the league and unable to manage a victory over the behemoth since 1989. Tom Arth’s squad, though, is undefeated, is ranked ninth nationally for their division, and is outscoring opponents on average 45.7 to 3.7. That’s not a misprint. The numbers for Mount Union are equally impressive. Make no mistake, these are both very good football teams.

    As fate would have it, JCU’s road to the conference championship runs through Mount Union Stadium, as they’ll have to travel just over an hour from their campus on Cleveland’s suburban east side to unseat their nemesis of over two decades. This may not be the final meeting between the two this season, though, as the loser will almost certainly qualify for Division III’s 32-team playoff. We could see a rematch as late as the national semi-finals. All the same, these two teams will play at least one game before an expected capacity crowd, some 5,600—approximately 82,000 fewer than will watch Auburn play host to Georgia, and probably less than at least five high school football playoff games in Ohio that very night.


    Still, I'll be rooting for the Blue Streaks and trying to follow the game a bit on Saturday afternoon. Where else would you want to be?

    BW: A couple of summers ago, I made the trek to Canton with my dad. On our way home, we made a bit of a wrong turn, and shortly thereafter, ended up in Alliance, Ohio, where they welcomed me to the home of the (then) 10 time Division III champion. It certainly doesn't feel like a place that would be associated with big-time football, but that's exactly what makes it special. It's amateurism at its finest. Great pick.

    This week, I'm heading out to the corn fields in the Midwest, where the "N" stands for "Nowledge". I'll be joining the "sea of red" at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Michigan State put together a very impressive defensive performance last week against Michigan, while Nebraska did the same to Michigan 2 weeks ago. Now, these two teams are battling for what will likely be the Legends Division championship, and a place in the B1G championship game against Ohio State.

    2.) I think the Michigan State—Nebraska game will be a good one, but the Huskers didn’t climb back into the Top 25 after their win at Michigan. As of this week, who is the best unranked team in the country?

    BW: There are a few interesting options here, but I'm going to take the easy way out and pick a team that isn't playing this weekend. Notre Dame is the one unranked team that I feel could beat nearly anyone outside of the top 5 or 6 in the BCS standings. They've handed Michigan State their only loss on the year, are the only team other than Stanford to have beaten Arizona State, and are the last team to defeat the surging USC Trojans (another strong candidate for this question). They could also conceivably be the team that provides the last hurdle for Stanford's BCS National Championship hopes. Tommy Rees has been very inconsistent this year, but when he's on, Notre Dame has the talent of a top 10-15 team.

    MK: I’ve written before about how impressed I was Keith Price’s performance against Stanford back in early October, and I think I have to tap the Washington Huskies in this spot. It’s worth stating here at the beginning that this is a team with balance. The Huskies run and pass the ball well—and efficiently—averaging nearly 300 yards per game through the air while still racking up 229 per outing on the ground, and are in the top 25 nationally scoring offense and just one place away from it in scoring defense. In addition to Keith Price, Bishop Sankey is one of the best runningbacks in the country and tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins may be the best pro prospect at the position in the country. Their play against a tough schedule backs up the numbers, too. Their best win of the season is probably a decent (but not great) Boise State, but while they looked terrible against a surging Arizona State team, they played both Oregon and Stanford tough and close deep into the second half this year in back-to-back weeks in a brutal Pac-12 North. The only other team to do that, you ask? Why, it’s #13 UCLA, who they’ll play tonight.

    BW: Washington is certainly an interesting pick, and clearly has the best offense of any team that is currently unranked. The other teams that I felt deserved serious consideration were Nebraska and USC.

    3.) Should one-loss Stanford be ranked ahead of undefeated Baylor in the BCS?

    MK: No, they should not, and I’d like to begin here by begging the future playoff selection committee not to do something this stupid if the situation comes up next year. I’ve been over the numbers for Baylor and I don’t see how you can fail to be impressed by them. The Big XII has not been as strong as the Pac-12 this season, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad football. Watch this team play. I have a sneaking suspicion that any doubts about a resume like Baylor’s would disappear if Oklahoma or Texas were in the same position. Even if we accept that Stanford’s schedule has been stronger to this point than Baylor’s—and it has been—I don’t particularly like the idea of parsing through schedules too finely. I’ll add here that Stanford is a very, very good football team who might have played the most difficult schedule in college football so far this season; as it happens, though, they have been very fortunate in their draw of home games during their conference slate, getting Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, and Oregon at home, while having to travel to Washington State, Utah, and Oregon State. Tough games are tough games, but where you play them counts for quite a bit in college football.


    The schedules of the other three unbeatens are not consistently overwhelming, either. Ohio State’s Big Ten problem is pretty well documented, but the rose has been coming off the bloom for a few of Florida State’s impressive, high-profile wins (or anticipated wins), too, while Alabama’s schedule has a share of weak opponents to balance the strong—and the strong may not be quite as strong as they once were—despite playing in college football’s conference of the past decade.

    BW: Stanford has become one of my favorite teams in all of college football, mainly because I'm a big fan of their style of play. Stanford's dismantling of Oregon (ignore the final score, that game was never in doubt) was probably the most impressive win for any team in college football this season. And Stanford has played as tough a schedule as anyone in the country, beating 5 teams that were in the top 25 at the time that Stanford faced them. But there's that one loss to a mediocre Utah squad that is standing out to me. When it comes to the national championship discussion, I've always believed that teams without a loss, especially in a major conference, should get the chance to prove their worth over a team that has a blemish on their resume. If Stanford and Baylor were to meet on a neutral turf, I don't think there's a question that Stanford would prove to be the much better team. But Baylor has taken care of the schedule that was placed in front of them, and if they continue to win, then I feel they've earned the right to be placed ahead of any school that has been saddled with a loss.

    MK: Agreed. It won’t matter, though, not because Alabama and Florida State will out but because this is all just part of an elaborate jinx to try to get Baylor crossed up during their game against Texas Tech this weekend, who badly need a break after a rash injuries on defense and whose season is quickly spiraling out of control.

    4.) Speaking of tailspins, is Florida still a great power in the SEC? And, sub-question, should Will Muschamp be updating his resume?

    BW: The power struggle in the SEC over the years, as well as all of college football, has centered around the big name coaches. Alabama with Nick Saban is a national power. But before that, what were they? LSU has thrived with both Saban and Les Miles. Florida took off with Steve Spurrier, fell back under Ron Zook, then took off again with Urban Meyer. In college athletics, the coaches are the real stars, and a team often fluctuates based on whom is at the helm. It's possible for a Gene Chizik to have a great season or two, but after a while, mediocre coaches are exposed. It hasn't taken long for Will Muschamp to be exposed as a coach who's clearly not on the level of elite college coaches. If Florida wants to compete with the likes of Alabama or LSU, then I don't think they can afford to wait any longer in relieving Will Muschamp of his duties.

    MK: Of course, the day after we pick this question the Florida Athletic Director comes out and publicly says that Will Muschamp ‘will fix it,’ which I guess is just the sort of show of confidence that can be reversed in about three weeks’ time. To be honest, I’ve never really understood the Muschamp fascination. I never thought his Texas defenses were particularly great, and he might have gotten on television a lot for yelling at people as a defensive coordinator, but that’s entertaining and not necessarily good coaching. As much as I agree that big-time coaches rule college football like petty kings, let’s look at this from another point-of-view. Despite success and a national title under Spurrier, the apogee of Florida’s power came under Urban Meyer, when they ripped off national championships in two out of three seasons and threatened for a third in four years. What changed in Florida, apart from Meyer—and, it must be said…Tebow—leaving? It’s not like those are insignificant subtractions, but I think we might want to look north to Tallahassee. Florida State had been a power in decline for most of this decade, following a very successful 1990s, until Bobby Bowden—who built the Seminole program, really—exited the scene and Jimbo Fisher began recruiting and developing players in the panhandle once again.

    It’s easy to think that Florida’s three big powers are always good, but usually one is clearly on top, one is rising, and one is falling, at least since the mid-1990s or so. While Miami dropped off after 1992 or so, Florida State rose to the top while Florida tried to keep up (and won a national title in 1997 trying to do that); eventually, Florida State was eclipsed not by Florida, but by Miami in about 2000, as the Hurricanes became a hegemon and the Ron Zook era began in Florida. When Urban Meyer arrived in Gainesville, though, he walked into a uniquely favorable situation: an aging Bowden and Larry Coker were losing control of the programs, while Meyer was savvy enough to use to Zook’s admittedly talented recruits more effectively and integrate them into a new offensive system. The Gators, under Meyer, had no real intrastate challengers. Now, though, Florida State has moved back to the pole and Florida is in freefall. I don’t quite know what to make of the Hurricanes yet, but let’s calling them ‘rising’ to keep the model moving.

    Last year, Gator fans were hopeful that 11-win campaign meant they could break of the cycle, but surrounded by 8 wins (in 2010), 7 wins (in 2011), and now possibly 5 wins (this year), it’s beginning to look more like an aberration than anything else. In any case, Florida is still a potential power given their recruiting base, but it’s likely to take some time to get back on top in their home state, let alone the SEC where they’ll have to compete with Alabama. Oh, and the AD says Muschamp will fix it? He may give him three games to see if he can.

    BW: It really was perfect timing that as we agreed to tackle this question, the Florida AD gave his own kiss of death to Muschamp with the dreaded vote of confidence. The FSU angle is a good one, as they've clearly become a force again in recruiting under Jimbo Fisher. And Florida has less history than both FSU and Miami, although I'm not sure how much tradition actually plays a role. It's not like Muschamp was thrown into a bad situation, and it's easy to forget that Meyer left him with a team coming off a 7-5 regular season. But he's certainly done nothing to improve things, and if anything, they've regressed in his short tenure. Perhaps it's as easy as looking at their disappointing QB situation, but even then, Muschamp has to take some of the blame for the lack of development Jeff Driskel showed prior to his injury this season.

    5.) This weekend, Ohio State will play Illinois, with the winner receiving a wooden turtle called the Illibuck. Bizarre, meaningless, traveling trophies are a college football institution, though, so which one is your favorite and why?

    MK: I thought long and hard about this one, but I've got to choose the Floyd of Rosedale, right?


    I mean, it’s a bronze pig that Minnesota and Iowa have been playing for since the Great Depression, and it’s the spiritual successor of a live hog that the governors of Minnesota and Iowa bet on the game of 1935. There are plenty of great choices, but Minnesota plays for all the best of these stupid things. The Little Brown Jug isn't bad either, and neither is Paul Bunyan's Axe if we're being honest. It’s kind of a shame that Minnesota, who acquired many of these traveling trophies when they were among college football’s elite programs in the 1930s and ‘40s, has been very good since then and so we don’t get to see Floyd or the Axe hoisted on national television very regularly.

    BW: I must admit that I love the concept of completely random and meaningless trophies. When starting my home fantasy league a decade ago, I decided that I wanted to give our league something that would make it stand out. While walking through a store, I happened upon a display with ceramic fruit. The best of these were the banana and the apple. Something clicked with me, and thus, the "Prestigious Golden Banana League" was born. The idea was that the league champ gets a banana trophy, while the doormat gets the "Rotten Apple" award. After the first season, on ebay, I stumbled into a clay banana bowl, replete with monkeys affixed onto the top of the bowl. The thing cost more to ship than to buy, but I had it painted a nasty gold, and that's served as our trophy ever since. The winner of the trophy each year is to display the trophy as a mantelpiece, until the next year, when the trophy is delivered to the new champion.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand, you made a fantastic choice in taking the Floyd of Rosedale. Really, a bronzed pig can't be topped. Minnesota really does have the market cornered on these trophies. I think the Thompson Cup has the most meaning, because it's awarded to the winner of Army-Navy, which is the best rivalry, bar none, in sports. But who wants to attach meaning to a trophy? There's the Platypus Trophy that's awarded to the winner of the Oregon "Civil War", since a platypus has features of both a duck and a beaver. There's also the Old Oaken Bucket, which is awarded to the Indiana-Purdue winner, and is literally an old oaken bucket. There are also some great random trophies in the lower divisions. Central Arkansas and McNeese St battle every year for a "50 Pound Iron Pot", while my alma mater, Division II Indiana (PA) evidently battles California (PA) every year for the "Coal Miner's Pail Trophy". But while this may be a bit irreverent, I think my favorite trophy has to be the "Chief Caddo", which is presented to the winner of the game between Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State, and is the largest trophy in college football. A 7 1/2 foot, 330 lb solid wooden statue honoring an Indian Chief whose tribe (called the Caddo Tribe) was responsible for settling the locations of the two communities where the schools are located, and also providing safety for the early white settlers in the area. Frankly, I'm amazed this trophy has survived the PC police, but it lives on to this day, in all of it's glorious, uh... bigness? If I'm creating a random trophy, I want it to be big, I want it to be loud, and I want there to be a 37% chance that it will make the PC police cringe. This trophy fulfills all of my recommended criteria, and then some. It really is a sight to behold.

    MK: I believe it and Chief Caddo is one large man.


    I do have make to an exception and say here that there is one traveling trophy that I sort of dislike, and that is the Heartland Trophy. Awarded to the winner of the Iowa—Wisconsin game, it’s only eight years old, it’s a small brass bull, and it’s like the knockoff handbag of the Floyd of Rosedale. C’mon, Iowa—you should know better.

    GAMES OF THE WEEK

    MK: Each week of the regular season, we'll be picking about five of the premier matchups on the slate. Instead of picking against the spread, we'll be raising the stakes using confidence points, a common method of scoring in bowl game pools. The more we believe in our pick, the higher the confidence rating. If five games are chosen, five is the highest rating, with one being the lowest. Each number can only be used once. Last week, Brian took home the prize again, as close games between Houston and UCF and Notre Dame and Pittsburgh both went in his favor. We're still waiting for our first upset special winner this season, but just like every week, this has to be the one.

    Washington at #13 UCLA
    Friday, 9:00 ET

    BW: I'm not sure why we need to have these marquee games on odd nights, but I suppose that if this were most any other week, this game would not be a marquee event. The Bruins need a win to keep their hopes alive in the Pac-12 South. While Matt has Washington pulling off the mini upset, I think UCLA rides a big game from Brett Hundley, and contains Keith Price and Bishop Sankey just enough to eek out a W.

    BW’s pick: UCLA, 37-31. Confidence rating: 3.
    MK’s pick: Washington, 35-31. Confidence rating: 1.

    #16 Michigan State at Nebraska
    Saturday, 3:30 ET

    MK: Last week, we both got dinged by the Cornhuskers, who went into Ann Arbor and upset the Michigan Wolverines. I have a feeling this may be the best game of the day on Saturday, and if it is, it will be because it walked that fine line between offensively ugly and defensively beautiful without stumbling. If you want to see pressure on the quarterback, tune in for this one. Brian has learned from underestimating the Huskers, where I’m doubling down on the Spartans.

    BW’s pick: Nebraska, 22-13. Confidence rating: 2.
    MK’s pick: Michigan State, 16-10. Confidence rating: 2.

    #12 Oklahoma State at #24 Texas
    Saturday, 3:30 ET

    BW: After starting the season slowly, Texas has been on a roll of late. Meanwhile, Okie State has reeled off 5 wins in a row following their upset loss in Morgantown back in September. Matt and I are on different sides of the aisle again with this one, as he thinks Oklahoma State will leave DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium with a big road win over the banged up Longhorns. I, however, feel that Case McCoy will build off of a career-best performance from last week, and lead a balanced Texas attack to a victory over the Cowboys.

    BW’s pick: Texas, 30-27. Confidence rating: 1.
    MK’s pick: Oklahoma State, 44-28. Confidence rating: 4.

    #25 Georgia at #7 Auburn
    Saturday, 3:30 ET

    MK: Where, oh where, have the great SEC defenses gone? Georgia is resurgent and has climbed back into the rankings, but they still can’t stop anybody. Brian likes the Bulldogs in what’s billed as the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry—wait, I had something for this…—but I see Auburn outscoring them.

    BW’s pick: Georgia, 34-27. Confidence rating: 4.
    MK’s pick: Auburn, 45-39. Confidence rating: 3.

    Oregon State at #19 Arizona State
    Saturday, 9:30 ET

    BW: Something has to give this week, as Arizona State, who is undefeated at home, takes on the Beavers, who are unbeaten on the road. After a blazing start to the season, OSU QB Sean Mannion has struggled as of late, and now returns to Sun Devil Stadium, where he threw 4 INTs two years ago in a loss to ASU. Matt and I both see Mannion's struggles continuing, as Arizona State rolls in preparation for their showdown with UCLA next Saturday.

    BW’s pick: Arizona State 33-16. Confidence rating: 5.
    MK’s pick: Arizona State, 55-38. Confidence rating: 5.

    UPSET SPECIAL

    MK: The upset special is an off-the-board pick which must meet one of two criteria: (1) a consensus gap in rankings of at least five places or (2) a point spread of at least a touchdown or greater. Games between ranked and unranked teams automatically qualify. The team cannot cover but must win outright. A correctly pegged upset earns three additional points.

    BW: I'm going to take Kansas at home to upset West Virginia, and grab their first conference win of the season. West Virginia played Texas tough last week, but has been putrid on the road. Honestly, I have nothing good to say about Kansas or Charlie Weis whatsoever, but West Virginia shouldn't be favored by a TD over anyone on the road, so I'm pretty much just playing the odds, and hoping for the best.

    MK: I should be trying to win here, and I swear that I am, but there just isn't all that much that's inspiring in the upset category this weekend. I'd love to pick Texas Tech to upset Baylor, but I just don't see it. Give me the Duke Blue Devils to take down the reeling Miami Hurricanes at Wallace Wade Stadium, because why not? Duke took down Virginia Tech in Blacksburg a few weeks ago, and I haven't seen anything out of Miami yet this year to convince me that they're bound to steamroll an overachieving squad like the Devils.

    RECORDS
    MK: 7-5 (20 points, 0-3 in the upset special)
    BW: 10-2 (27 points, 0-3 in the upset special)

    Comments 101 Comments
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Love the Duke pick. When's the last time anyone was interested in Duke football?

      "It's not like Muschamp was thrown into a bad situation." I think an awful lot of people would strongly disagree with that statement. I think it's more accurate to say that Urban Meyer fled a disintegrating program, filled with undisciplined malcontents.

      With Foley backing his coach "1,000%" I think it's safe to say that Muschamp gets another year to clean up his mess which, let's not forget, is in large part due to injuries.

      Georgia-Auburn ought to be in the Big 12. All offense, no defense.

      On the topic of trophies, in my imprisoned youth, the last place finisher in a race won "the wooden spoon." It was figurative, not literal, thank goodness. I love wooden spoons but three or four is all a man needs.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Another note on the Duke--Miami game: it's not inconceivable that the Blue Devils, if they should win, could take ACC's Coastal Division championship. They would be 4-2 in the conference with a win, give them a lead in the division standings over three-loss Georgia Tech and Miami, owning the tie-breaker against two-loss Virginia Tech, and setting up very winnable games against Wake Forest and North Carolina to close out the season. Punching a ticket to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte isn't all that unrealistic, but there they'd run into Florida State and that may not be pretty.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      It would reveal the ACC for what it is, a weak football conference. Not that that hasn't happened before. There's a reason why the TV numbers are low for the ACC championship game.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      The ACC is also an excellent example of why you don't get too cute with your divisions. Atlantic and Coastal isn't any kind of distinction and putting Florida State and Miami in opposite divisions serves no purpose except to try to get them both into a conference championship game--something that's never happened, by the way, and a reason why I'm glad the Big Ten abandoned what looked like a similar scheme to do the same with Michigan and Ohio State through the Leaders and Legends.

      I think a North/South alignment would ultimately serve them better, especially when Louisville joins and you could have a pretty clean division at the Virginia/North Carolina border. (It's going to be awkward no matter what with a fifteen-team conference plus quasi-member Notre Dame, who should probably compete against more 'northern' than 'southern' teams on a regular basis anyway.) The South looks much stronger, but these things are cyclical and it would give programs in the north an opportunity to build themselves up and recruit better as a consequence of their success.
    1. KabaModernFan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      It would reveal the ACC for what it is, a weak football conference. Not that that hasn't happened before. There's a reason why the TV numbers are low for the ACC championship game.
      To be fair, nobody watches the ACC Championship game because Virginia Tech has constantly had the ability to turn any game into a horrifyingly ugly slugfest.

      Also, Duke is totally winning that game against Miami. Once you play Florida State, you lose your soul. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO MARYLAND.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by KabaModernFan View Post
      To be fair, nobody watches the ACC Championship game because Virginia Tech has constantly had the ability to turn any game into a horrifyingly ugly slugfest.

      Also, Duke is totally winning that game against Miami. Once you play Florida State, you lose your soul. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO MARYLAND.
      True. Has anyone who's not a fan of the Hokies ever said, at least post-Michael Vick, 'You know, I'm really looking forward to watching Virginia Tech?'

      Also, Maryland has been outscored 183-66 since the month of October started and needed a late touchdown to beat just-awful Virginia by a single point, 27-26. The program is in the third year of the Randy Edsall Experience (copyright pending) and under his direction they've lost twice as many games as they've won, going 11-22. After a 4-0 start, the Terps are now 5-4 with three games remaining against Virginia Tech, Boston College, and NC State, but their four wins against Div. 1-A (or FBS) opponents come against teams with a combined record of 7-30. If Edsall can't get the Terps into the bowl season, is there any compelling reason not to relieve him of his duties?
    1. KabaModernFan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mkocs6 View Post
      True. Has anyone who's not a fan of the Hokies ever said, at least post-Michael Vick, 'You know, I'm really looking forward to watching Virginia Tech?'

      Also, Maryland has been outscored 183-66 since the month of October started and needed a late touchdown to beat just-awful Virginia by a single point, 27-26. The program is in the third year of the Randy Edsall Experience (copyright pending) and under his direction they've lost twice as many games as they've won, going 11-22. After a 4-0 start, the Terps are now 5-4 with three games remaining against Virginia Tech, Boston College, and NC State, but their four wins against Div. 1-A (or FBS) opponents come against teams with a combined record of 7-30. If Edsall can't get the Terps into the bowl season, is there any compelling reason not to relieve him of his duties?
      I wanted Edsall to be fired before this season even started, so my answer would clearly be no. I thought Maryland would be lucky to win three games this year though, so hooray for low expectations?

      It's clear that Edsall isn't going to lead Maryland to anything other than a meaningless bowl game once every few years. Now that they're moving to the Big Ten...I mean, you can't walk in there with Randy Edsall on your arm. Even Purdue is going to be laughing at you. I never wanted Edsall in the first place (I personally wanted them to pursue Mike Leach more heavily than they did), but the people I do know who were fans of Edsall have all seemed to turn on him by now.

      It doesn't help that quite a few of the Terps' best players got hurt. Dexter McDougle, Stefon Diggs, and Deon Long all have really left big holes to be filled. The team still might limp their way into a bowl game, but I hope that the school is smart enough to clean house after the season is done.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by KabaModernFan View Post
      To be fair, nobody watches the ACC Championship game because Virginia Tech has constantly had the ability to turn any game into a horrifyingly ugly slugfest.
      I went to the GaTech-Wake Forest ACC champ game, {a contest between real powerhouse programs.} Horrible rating, not a good game either. But a great example of the ACC's weakness.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by KabaModernFan View Post
      I wanted Edsall to be fired before this season even started, so my answer would clearly be no. I thought Maryland would be lucky to win three games this year though, so hooray for low expectations?

      It's clear that Edsall isn't going to lead Maryland to anything other than a meaningless bowl game once every few years. Now that they're moving to the Big Ten...I mean, you can't walk in there with Randy Edsall on your arm. Even Purdue is going to be laughing at you. I never wanted Edsall in the first place (I personally wanted them to pursue Mike Leach more heavily than they did), but the people I do know who were fans of Edsall have all seemed to turn on him by now.

      It doesn't help that quite a few of the Terps' best players got hurt. Dexter McDougle, Stefon Diggs, and Deon Long all have really left big holes to be filled. The team still might limp their way into a bowl game, but I hope that the school is smart enough to clean house after the season is done.
      I'm disappointed that Edsall isn't doing better. I thought he ran a great program at UConn, they were tough to beat.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      @Kaba: I agree, things haven't exactly gone Edsall's way in terms of injuries--and they had a pretty devastating effect last year, too, especially at the quarterback position--but I never believed in this hire. I'm an unabashed and very public total Leach fanboy, so it won't surprise anyone that I think the program would have been better served by pursuing him.

      @Wax: I also agree that the ACC's press clippings have been far too generous this season. Florida State, I think, is a very good team. Clemson also a lot talented players. Everyone else, though? Meh.

      Also, Washington has shot themselves in the foot on their two opening possessions tonight, fumbling away the ball twice. There's a lot of game left, but they're already down 14-0 against a very good UCLA team, which is a dangerous position to be in on the road.

      You might tune to see Myles Jack play two-way football. The Bruin linebacker is fourth in tackles on the team, but has been filling in as a runningback due to injuries, running ferociously. I think the best way I've seen it put is, 'Owen Marecic with actual talent.'
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Touchdown, Huskies, to get back into the game. Price completed a fifty-yard post to set up a Bishop Sankey touchdown.

      Looks like it could be a good one.
    1. KabaModernFan's Avatar
      I'm going to be really curious to see how Washington looks next season, after they'll likely have to weather the storm of losing an abundance of high-level skill position players.

      Keith Price is in his final year of eligibility; and Bishop Sankey, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, and Kasen Williams could all potentially be declaring early for the Draft.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post

      "It's not like Muschamp was thrown into a bad situation." I think an awful lot of people would strongly disagree with that statement. I think it's more accurate to say that Urban Meyer fled a disintegrating program, filled with undisciplined malcontents.
      Florida has had their issues for sure. But from 2009-2012, they had the #11, #2, #12, and #3 recruiting classes according to rivals. They are still loaded with HS All-Americans, and Jeff Driskel was a 5 star recruit, the #1 QB in the country. The cupboard was far from bare when Muschamp took over, and it is clear that they have severely underachieved under his leadership, for whatever reason. His teams have seemed to struggle significantly on offense, which shows a lack of development on that side of the ball. That has to go straight on Muschamp's shoulders.

      Yes, there have been injuries, but even before the injuries, the offense had no life, led by the lack of development of Jeff Driskel. I could easily be wrong, but Will Muschamp is coming across to me as a second rate coach, and simply not good enough to hack it at a school like Florida, that is supposed to be sitting at the top of the SEC.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Kabamodernfan View Post
      I'm going to be really curious to see how Washington looks next season, after they'll likely have to weather the storm of losing an abundance of high-level skill position players.

      Keith Price is in his final year of eligibility; and Bishop Sankey, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, and Kasen Williams could all potentially be declaring early for the Draft.
      Yeah, there's a 90% chance no one will want to talk about Washington next preseason, because not be a single person who doesn't receive a paycheck to talk about college football will be able to name a player on this team's offense. Also, Keith Price is out due to injury to start the second half, and a redshirt freshman named Cyler Miles is playing. So, they may look a little like this, and like this comes with a potentially pretty outstanding 'fro, based on the picture ESPN was using.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      It was an epic fail on my part to not include Myles Jack in my breakdown.

      Maryland is the type of school that needs a unique identity if they want to be consistently relevant. I agree completely that a Mike Leach would have been a much better hire than Randy Edsell. Edsell had great success at UConn, and I was impressed with how he handled that program, but Maryland was never a good fit for him.

      Evidently Kevin Colbert (Steelers GM) was in attendance last night at Clemson to scout the Clemson-Georgia Tech game. Rumors are that his eyes were on Tahj Boyd, but I'm thinking his eyes were at least equally set on Sammy Watkins, who would be a perfect fit in the Steelers' offense.

      It's a shame that Keith Price isn't going to play in the 2nd half for Washington tonight. He's been such an impressive player. Hopefully this isn't a long-term injury.

      And here come the Huskies...
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      @Trumpet: Ben's only 31. It's a little early to draft his replacement, isn't it? Furthermore, the Steelers still might be drafting early enough that they won't have to settle for Boyd. Then again, pretty much every pick between 5 and 22 or so is up in the air at this point.

      @Kaba: I don't mean to put you on the spot, but I'd love to hear your opinion on Price as a prospect eventually. I like him a lot, personally. I know he's a bit smaller than people would normally like (he's listed at 6'1", 200 lbs.), but I think he has more than enough arm to succeed as an undersized quarterback. He's very athletic, too, but I haven't seen anyone put him anywhere near the first round. He might be a great project in the late second or early third, especially if he doesn't have to play right away? And am I totally crazy for seeing some sort of weird Russell Wilson potential here?
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mkocs6 View Post
      @Trumpet: Ben's only 31. It's a little early to draft his replacement, isn't it? Furthermore, the Steelers still might be drafting early enough that they won't have to settle for Boyd. Then again, pretty much every pick between 5 and 22 or so is up in the air at this point.

      @Kaba: I don't mean to put you on the spot, but I'd love to hear your opinion on Price as a prospect eventually. I like him a lot, personally. I know he's a bit smaller than people would normally like (he's listed at 6'1", 200 lbs.), but I think he has more than enough arm to succeed as an undersized quarterback. He's very athletic, too, but I haven't seen anyone put him anywhere near the first round. He might be a great project in the late second or early third, especially if he doesn't have to play right away? And am I totally crazy for seeing some sort of weird Russell Wilson potential here?
      I'm curious as to Price's hand size, as that seems to be a new focus to help distinguish some of these smaller QBs.

      The sexy story is that Colbert was there to watch Boyd, especially when there's that rumor out there that the Steelers will pursue a trade of Ben in the offseason. Of course, I don't believe the trade rumors for a second, and I suspect that he was either there for a different reason than scouting, or was there to check out Sammy Watkins, who would fill a huge need in the mid-1st, especially if a franchise LT is no longer on the board.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      You guys definitely could use a receiver and Watkins is a good one.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Florida has had their issues for sure. But from 2009-2012, they had the #11, #2, #12, and #3 recruiting classes according to rivals.
      I'm just not a real believer in those recruiting class rating services. I admire people for making a living out of doing that sort of thing, good on them. But I don't buy that they know what they're talking about. Anyone want to tell me how many kids play high school football? And they see them all?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Edsell had great success at UConn, and I was impressed with how he handled that program, but Maryland was never a good fit for him.
      Why? Serious question.