College Football Coaches, Job Openings & Deion: Cavalcade of Whimsy

College football coaches and just how silly this all is, major job openings, and what to do with NIL money in this week’s Cavalcade of Whimsy

The silliness of the college football coaching world, big job openings, and what to do with NIL money in the latest Cavalcade of Whimsy.


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College Football Coaches, Job Openings & Deion

College Football Week 5 Roundup
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Rankings by Conference
Bowl Projections | Week 5 Scoreboard
Week 6 Early Lines | AP Rankings | Coaches Poll
Chryst, Dorrell Fired: Hot Seat Coach Rankings
What 12-Team Playoff Would Look Like

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …

It gained two rushing yards against the University of Illinois on Saturday and all it got was this lousy $11 million buyout.

Cavalcade of Whimsy
One thing about NIL deals that has to stop
5 Opinions | Lock Picks, Overrated/Underrated

And no matter what job you have, hopefully this shortens the game a bit

Think about all the jobs that needed to be filled in the history of human existence and all the things people have had to do to survive.

As we speak, someone out there is cutting someone else’s toenails.

Now think of the silliest jobs possible.

Someone actually gets paid to sit in a room and make a decision.

Right now, someone is unironically using the word “synergy” in a speech and being compensated handsomely.

Someone else is drawing a cartoon and will be able to feed her family by doing so. Someone else is finishing up a phone call with “talk at cha.” Someone else is writing a pretentious column full of goofy thoughts.

It’s not like these people’s jobs matter. It’s not like they’re building a house, or fixing a leg, or making a kid smarter, or repairing power lines, or feeding an old person, or doing something that actually makes this whole engine go.

Really, take a moment to come up with the silliest possible job combination of money and power. I’ll see your TikTok influencer and raise you a major college football head coach.

We have gone totally mad as a society to think Nick Saban is important.

It’s ridiculous that a person can become multi-generational wealthy and be the most powerful person at an institution of higher learning – and in some cases, be the highest paid employee in a state – by getting a bunch of college kids to play a dumb game.

Jimbo Fisher earned approximately $175 during the time it took you to read this so far.

This whole notion of teaching, and building up young people to become better men, and creating life skills, and caring about their eduction – it’s all a flaming bag of horsespit when that 18-year-old’s kick goes three inches to the left.

And how do I know this?

Did you see the way those coaches looked at Chad Powers when he started throwing?

A college football coach is there to do one thing and one thing only, and that’s to win college football games. That’s it. Raising money, curing kids with cancer, creating new buildings, funding scholarships – yeah, super, but did you beat Illinois?

And to make this madness even more insane, we’ve all bought into it.

Hook all Auburn fans – or fans of any major program with a struggling head coach – up to a lie detector and ask if they’d like to dump Bryan Harsin just before supper for Urban Meyer or Hugh Freeze.

Nick Saban is important.

The University of Alabama is a fine school, but it sure as shoot doesn’t have the same ability to dive into the national student talent pool if the football program isn’t this.

Not to school shame, but it’s not like the University of New Mexico is up in my neck of the woods in suburban Chicago macking it hard on the National Merit Scholars like Bama is.

And I know first hand how this all works. Not to go all “Losing My Edge,” but I was there in 1988 when Wisconsin football was ranked 107th in the Sagarin ratings.

There were 104 colleges playing Division-I football.

When it comes to Paul Chryst, I don’t want to hear whine one from any Badger fan that doesn’t go to a dark place hearing the words Veer offense.

I saw what one athletic director hire and one football coach could do to completely change an entire state.

It took a few years and, literally, trash cans of vomit to get there, but few major universities have been able to reposition themselves nationally like Wisconsin did, and it started with being better at a sport.

And now it’s going to pay almost $11 million to get rid of a good guy who won 72% of his games after starting the season 2-3.

Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but that’s the deal.

That’s why these coaches are being fired after losing a few games that could’ve gone either way. That’s why college football fans don’t bristle at the obscene amounts of money being given to these men to do what they do, and then to get rid of them if needed.

It’s all silly. These are silly people doing silly things in a silly situation.

And we’re cool with it, because that’s the game now.

However, with ALL of that said, I’m not cool with …

Cavalcade of Whimsy 
One thing about NIL deals that has to stop
5 Opinions | Lock Picks, Overrated/Underrated

NEXT: More coaching madness, when the Cavalcade of Whimsy continues …

College Football Cavalcade Think, Know, Believe: Talking Trash

College football reaction to Week 4: What I think, what I know, and what I believe, including the smack talk kerfuffle

College Football Cavalcade: What I think, know, and believe after Week 4 and all the strange twists and turns of this first month of the season.


College Football Cavalcade

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

I still haven’t recovered from the shocking and hurtful comments made by North Carolina QB Drake Maye.

(NSFW warning …)

“Whether you want to admit it or not, growing up in Carolina, you’re gonna be a Carolina fan. Some people may say (NC) State, but really people who go to State just can’t get into Carolina.”

Oh sure, he walked it back, and he was coached to say all the right things, but that bell can’t be unrung in just a tweet.

There needs to be grief counseling, there needs to be sensitivity training, there needs to be a total culture overhaul.

How this monster is still allowed to roam the streets, much less play college football – and how Mack Brown and University of North Carolina president Peter Hans are able to keep their jobs after bringing this filth to such a fine institution – is beyond me.

Fortunately, God punished the heathen by allowing those good Catholics from Notre Dame – who would never, ever spout anything disparaging about an opponent – to enjoy some semblance of an offense for a week.

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You really think THAT was a rip? I’d like to introduce you to a certain Jumpman logo from that school who took trash talk to a legendary art form.

I think … dogging your rival is the entire point of being a college sports fan.

I know … after a lifetime of living and working in and around the college space, I’ve heard them all. I can do this forever.

If you can’t get into college, you can go to (insert rival here).

You went to (insert school unnecessarily mentioned in random conversation here)? Okay, I’ll speak slower.

Why is it THE Ohio State University? Because THE America’s Safety School doesn’t fit as well on a t-shirt (or, the alternative dig, because Ohio State students need to constantly be reminded they were accepted into a college).

How do you spot someone who went to Michigan? By the trail of Ivy League rejection letters. What do all Michigan alumni have in the closet? 157 things that say Michigan and a wistful Northwestern sweatshirt tucked in the back.

Why do people go to USC? Because the University of Spoiled Children are too lazy to spell UCLA.

What does UCLA stand for? University of Common Little Adults.

What does Texas A&M stand for? A 17-14 loss to Appalachian State. (Rim shot. Or insert the latest home loss, playing on the tradition of the students standing at the ready in case they need to enter the game. I’ve heard it used by a Longhorn to an Aggie, and bad things happened from there.)

I believe … being able to set off a Texas fan by turning a hand sign upside down might be the funniest thing in all of American society.

I think … if you’re actually offended by any of that, or especially what Drake Maye said …

I know … that’s on you, and …

I believe … you’re too boring to be a part of a functional planet, much less the fun of college sports.

I think … Drake Maye has been terrific so far completing 69% of his passes for 1,231 yards and 16 touchdowns with a pick and a rushing score. He hit Notre Dame for five touchdowns.

I know … North Carolina once again seems like it has a strong team under Mack Brown, but it sort of doesn’t.

I believe … North Carolina continues to be an underappreciated college football quarterback factory.

I think … I’m going to miss the edit on his name at about a 32% clip as my computer continues to want to change Drake Maye into Drake May.

I know … I’m annoyed, because I can’t really ask my computer to learn the spelling since I’ll need to use the word May, too.

I believe … if you have the Curb Your Enthusiasm music going through your head on a constant loop, all stupid daily problems become whimsical.

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I think … James Madison has to be ranked ahead of Texas A&M.

I know … Texas A&M was ranked 17th in the latest polls. James Madison received 11 votes from the Coaches and 4 from the AP.

I believe … if Team A is unbeaten and it beat Team B on the road, and Team B beat Team C – and Team A TRUCKED Team D that blew out Team E that Team C just barely got past – then of course you put Team A over Team C in the rankings. It’s just not that hard.

I think … people’s brains melt when they have to actually think about how to rank things properly.

I know … people will do anything and will buy into anything that conforms to their familiar beliefs, even when they’re probably wrong.

I believe … very few people who vote in college football polls take the time to try putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. There needs to be a way this crazy sports takes its playoff system out of the hands of a panel of judges. Which is why …


College Football Week 4 Roundup
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 4 Scoreboard | Week 5 Early Lines
What 12-Team Playoff Would Look Like
Hot Seat Coach Rankings | AP Rankings | Coaches Poll


I think … the 12-team College Football Playoff idea would make this season a whole lot more fun than it already is with more teams, more bases, and more casual fans involved.

I know … it wouldn’t diminish the rivalry games and big matchups like the old timers think it would. On the flip side, an expanded College Football Playoff will make them bigger.

I believe … 15 minutes after the expanded College Football Playoff is in place, everyone will wonder why it wasn’t done a gajillion years sooner.

I think … the Ohio State all-black uniforms were sad. It looked like Utah was playing Wisconsin.

I know … the Ohio State normal kits are fantastic.

I believe … in 99% of all cases – Ohio State being in the 1% – if you need an outfit change to make your team better at a sport, you already know your answer.

I think … DJ Uiagalelei has – potentially, and with work – No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick upside and talent.

I know … I’m in a room by myself with people who agree with that assessment.

I believe … he’s going to be one of those quarterbacks who rises up and rocks with one more year of seasoning. Some guys just need the time and the live reps for everything to slow down to a stop. EVERY senior college quarterback remarks about how night-and-day easier the game becomes at 22 than it was at 19.

I think … a quarterback mistakenly stepping out of the back of the end zone for a safety isn’t particularly interesting or embarrassing.

I know … I’m in a DJ Uiagalelei Is Great lonely place with that.

I believe … field position and tactics-wise, it’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world to suck up the 2 and flip the field back around. Obviously you don’t want that, but it’s not necessarily a killer unless you lose by one like San Francisco did.

I think … Kansas being 4-0 is one of the best college football stories in a long time.

I know … Lance Leipold is one of those head coaches who, if all things were equal, could take his and beat your and yours and beat his.

I believe … Nebraska, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, and others will come calling soon.

I think … the Arizona State job is better than the Nebraska job.

I know … recruiting area, market size in an NIL world, and overall expectations with time to build will matter.

I believe … I can’t get there with Georgia Tech being as big of a sleeping giant as Arizona State, but there are a whole lot of positives about that gig to flip it around sooner than Geoff Collins was able to.

I think … I have no freaking clue how to make Nebraska amazing again.

I know … Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Tennessee, Miami, Florida State, Michigan – it’s next to impossible to recapture the magic like fans remember.

I believe … it takes a whole lot of dumb luck to hit the perfect blend of the right coach, the right administration, and the right infrastructure. There was a time when it was hardly a given that Alabama and Ohio State would become this.

I think … I’m loving this start to the 2022 season. Bring on more upsets, more twists, and more zaniness.

I know … how this all ends, though.

I believe … SEC powerhouse vs Ohio State for the national championship. And America yawns.

I think … I know it’s all going to be okay.

I know … I believe it’s all going to be okay.

I believe … I think it’s all going to be okay.

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College Football Week 4 Roundup
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 4 Scoreboard | Week 5 Early Lines
What 12-Team Playoff Would Look Like
Hot Seat Coach Rankings | AP Rankings | Coaches Poll

Think, Know, Believe College Football Cavalcade: All Aboard The USC Party Bus

College football reaction to Week 3: What I think, what I know, and what I believe. All aboard the USC party bus

College Football Cavalcade: What I think, know, and believe after Week 3 and the fantastic start to the college football season 


College Football Cavalcade

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

The woman ran an empire until she was 96. Stop asking me when a 70-year-old Nick Saban might retire.

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And it’s all going to be even better and more exciting when the College Football Playoff is expanded. Really, it will be. No, really.

I think … this has been the most amazing start to a season I can ever remember.

I know … there’s a new energy. Lots of fan bases not used to college football success are getting involved more than ever before.

I believe … that’s where the fun is. Venting against doorknobs who disrespect your long-suffering team or Group of Five conference is the entire point of being an irrationally fired up fan. That’s the gig. That’s what I’m here for.

I think … it’s AMAZING when fans of the Sun Belt, or that FCS program, or places like Kansas, Wake Forest, UNLV, or Duke puff their chests out. It’s my standard answer to the question of who the best fans are – the Bowling Green season ticket holders, and they just had a fun Saturday. I’m always comfortable getting honked at because …

I know … the moment will soon arrive when Hell, Alabama, and reality are coming to breakfast.

I believe … eventually, time – and the SEC superstar program in a given year  – gets us all. Speaking of which …

I think … everyone is trying to book their tickets well after the fact – seriously, ESPN, you send a text alert on Sunday that now USC might have a shot at the top four? – but there’s still room on my USC Will Go To The College Football Playoff party bus.

I know … it left a few months ago. There are a few grapefruit White Claws left, but the spread of delightful meats and cheeses has been restocked.

I believe … the bus is going to crash and possibly blow up in either Glendale or Atlanta – there’s no way it makes it to Los Angeles – but it’ll get to the CFP in time for the show.

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I think … this Alabama thing isn’t quite right.

I know … everyone just assumes it will all work out because it’s Alabama, but that wide receiver glitch might not get instantly fixed, and this seems like one of those teams that’s feeling the weight of the National Championship or Bust pressure.

I believe … Alabama will still get into the College Football Playoff, partly because …

I think … there’s NOTHING else. There’s Georgia, there’s Ohio State, and that’s about it. There’s USC – my fanboy supercrush is real – but that’s because of the schedule as much as the all-star team on the offensive side. The D is an issue.

I know … there are the unbeaten Big 12 schools, but the league is going to cannibalize itself with no easy out 1-through-10. There’s no Group of Five program in the mix, and the Buckeyes will take care of the Penn States and Michigans of the Big Ten East.

I believe … there’s Clemson, but that offense desperately needs some help to go along with that national title-level D.


College Football Week 3 Roundup
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 3 Scoreboard | Week 4 Early Lines
What 12-Team Playoff Would Look Like
Hot Seat Coach Rankings


I think … Clemson could absolutely get to the College Football Playoff with its defensive talent and schedule.

I know … Dabo has zero interest in the new world of college football, and that includes NIL and the transfer portal, but …

I believe … that’s one team that desperately looks like it could use – and could’ve gone to get – a reliable deep threat and an extra bulldozer at guard. That might be all the difference between getting there and having an honest shot at winning the national title.

I think … I love talking with jacked up superfans in person.

I know … because last week I got to speak to the Red Elephants Club at Alabama. That was a blast for a variety of reasons, especially because they all totally disagreed with me on almost everything. They did it in a professionally nice “bless your heart” sort of way, but they didn’t buy in that …

I believe … NIL is okay. Bryce Young did a Dr. Pepper ad – he’s still good at football. He did an ad for Nissan that came on right after a Nick Saban thing with Deion and the duck – and college football kept on going. Everything is totally fine. With that said …

I think … I do NOT want to hear players whining in any way about other players getting money, deals, benefits, whatever.

I know … if you’re a player and you want NIL money or your own deals, and you want what you think is yours, then go and get it.

I believe … that’s how the world works, son. It comes down to the Jerry Jones three keys to a successful business: 1. Ask for the money. 2. Ask for the money. 3. Ask for the money. Now the players can do all three.

I think … it’s possible to walk, chew gum, dribble a ball during one season, and come up with a goal line stand in another.

I know … some schools really do focus their respective identities on being awesome at one sport over another.

I believe … Kentucky can be a football school, too. At the moment, so can Indiana, so can Kansas, and so can UNLV.

I think … Stetson Bennett is playing like a Heisman finalist.

I know … even though he won a national title and might take another this year, I still believe Kirby Smart can’t quite figure out how to maximize the skills of the most talented quarterbacks he’s able to bring through his program.

I believe … Bennett’s experience is shining through for a reloaded team that was obviously going to be good, but needed a steady QB to make it all work right away. He’s making plays he didn’t come up with last year, and it seems like the game slowed to a crawl for him. He’s reading everything right.

I think … Ohio State seems to be as comfortable as it has ever been, at least for Ohio State.

I know … the offense is going to be more than fine. It’s getting warmed up, the Toledo game was just a taste, and the fireworks will be there throughout the Big Ten season.

I believe … the defense will have improved to the level it needs to be at when I see it against a team with a talented offense. No, Notre Dame doesn’t count. Wisconsin this week doesn’t really count, either.

I think … until the world shows you otherwise, you keep taking USC and give away the points. You keep assuming that no spread is too large enough for Georgia, and …

I know … you could set the total at 1.5 and I’d still go under on any Iowa game. It’ll probably be played in the rain.

I believe … after sitting through all the delays and stops and starts of Nevada-Iowa I should at least be able to see a queen or something.

I think … that whole dying thing looks boring.

I know … my AirPods probably won’t work, I won’t be able to get my coffee right, and there’s no way to charge my phone. So I came to an existential decision about death after sort of paying attention to all the pomp and interminable how-can-we-miss-you-if-you-won’t-leave honoring over the last ten days – along with the Iowa win over Nevada …

I believe … I’m just not going to do it. The UMass vs Temple game preview isn’t going to write itself.

I think … I know it’s all going to be okay.

I know … I believe it’s all going to be okay.

I believe … I think it’s all going to be okay.

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College Football Week 3 Roundup
CFN 1-131 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Week 3 Scoreboard | Week 4 Early Lines
What 12-Team Playoff Would Look Like
Hot Seat Coach Rankings

Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 2

Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 2 AFLUTTER WITH NUTTER BUTTER Texas and Sark and all of the cowboy-hat-wearers put forth a gallant effort. Now everyone is aflutter with Sark and Matthew McConaughey being “back.” Earl Campbell may suit up next …

Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 2

AFLUTTER WITH NUTTER BUTTER

Texas and Sark and all of the cowboy-hat-wearers put forth a gallant effort.

Now everyone is aflutter with Sark and Matthew McConaughey being “back.”

Earl Campbell may suit up next week.

David McWilliams was really only a few bad bounces away from having a statue of himself erected.

Etc.

Any time this sort of thing develops, I can’t help but think back to the wise and personable Charlie Weis.

Notre Damers were similarly aflutter – as Weis enjoyed an extra helping of his Nutter Butter post-game treat – when Weis led the Irish to a gallant shortfall against Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and the rest of Pete Carroll’s USC juggernaut.

If memory serves, Weis was given a 17-year contract extension during Mass the next morning and guaranteed $139M.

The affable Weis is still happily using those earnings on customized hammocks, lots of Nutter Butter, and his own Product & Tech startup business that specializes in snow removal via drone technology.

Yes – Sark and his battlers showed admirable brawn in almost winning the football game.

Ah – that nagging word – “almost.”

Take down Kansas, Sark, and we’ll start to listen to the people.

RON ZOOK ALSO HAD A TOUGH 1-1 START

Speaking of being “back.”

Maybe the folks in Austin should take a look over at the folks in Gainesville.

With the snap of a finger, Florida went from being “back” to being lucky it isn’t 0-2 after two home games.
The Gators aren’t 0-2, they’re 1-1.

Ron Zook got off to a challenging 1-1 start, too, so Bill Napier has a successful roadmap for reference.

BBN’S HEAD COACH REWRITING ITS…….HISTORY

Mark Stoops, with his program’s win at The Swamp, is now Kentucky’s all-time winningest head football coach.

However, when a man becomes a football program’s all-time winningest coach by notching victory #61 (in that man’s 10th season at the helm), I don’t care if the previous all-time winningest coach was Babe Ruth or James Bond or The Fonz, it says much more about the program you lead than it says about anything else.

BIG PUSSY KNEW HE HAD TO GO

Pussy Bonpensiero wasn’t just a good earner.

Tony said it himself countless times – he LOVED Pussy.

Pussy was as much of a respected institution within the organization as Richie Aprile was an admirable maverick within the organization.

But, Pussy had to go.

There wasn’t any choice in the matter.

Scott Frost is, was, and always will be one of the more respected, honorable, accomplished members of one of the prouder programs in the sport.

But, just like Pussy, Frost knew his fate and he probably, not so deep down, is relieved.

Is Frost happy with the situation?

Did Pussy WANT to become dead by assassination?

Scott Frost deserves to take a nap.

He deserves to go see a movie.

He deserves to sleep past 5am for a week or so.

And he will be back.

It says here that he’ll have benefitted from this whole mess and lead some other fortunate football program to greatness just around the time when we ask one another whatever happened to Scott Frost.

SILVER LININGS

The good part for Iowa is that the Hawkeyes have a 14-13 offensive advantage over its opponents in the aggregate through two games.

The Hawkeyes have also demonstrated a diversified approach to putting points on the scoreboard.

LESSONS OF TOM TREBELHORN

Within the onslaught of feedback I get from the proletariat after each of these essential writings, the people of the great state of Maryland have offered so many kind words regarding the lack of THOUGHTS & PRAYERS for the Terps.

Mike Locksley is now two games into his fourth season as head man in College Park.

The Terps are 2-0 this season and a trendy pick to do stuff.

Locksley’s overall record as the leader of this proud program is 15-23 (including the 2-0 start to this season).

His Big Ten record is 7-22.

He’s finished – in order from the start of his reign – 6th, 4th, and 5th in the Big Ten East.

Just before the start of the 1994 season, Cubs manager Tom Trebelhorn was instilling a vibrancy that hadn’t been felt in Wrigleyville since the 1989 NL East Division Championship season.

Yes, the 1994 season was a strike-shortened season so it warrants an asterisk –and the club was coming off an encouraging 84-78 4th place finish in the NL East in 1993.

But Trebelhorn and the Cubs finished that season with a 49-64 record.

One of the more unique moments in Cubs history occurred on April 29 of that season after a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 9th.

Glenallen Hill swung at the first pitch he saw and ground into a game-ending double play.

The loss was the ninth straight home defeat for the Cubs to start the season and dropped the club to 6-15.

In a stoic effort to demonstrate leadership, accountability, and so forth, Trebelhorn vowed to meet fans outside the ballpark if the Cubs lost another home game and was true to his word, walking tall into a crowd of a throng of 200 or so angry fans gathered at a fire station on Waveland Avenue just outside Wrigley’s left-field wall.

The confrontation started ugly, but quickly, Trebelhorn, who was known for his quick humor and good nature, won over most of his detractors.

Trebelhorn was, seemingly, in the process of building a culture and an understanding that greatness was right around the corner.

The team went on to lose three more home games before snapping the record streak with a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on May 4, 1994.

However, by then Trebelhorn’s “Firehouse Chat” was a memorable moment in Cubs’ history.

The season, which ended when MLB players went on strike on August 12, was Trebelhorn’s only as manager of the Cubs.

He was replaced in 1995 by Jim Riggleman.

Is Mike Locksley Tom Treblehorn?

Are the 2022 Maryland Terrapins the 1994 Chicago Cubs?

LESSONS OF TOM TREBELHORN?

Jim Harbaugh might just be showing us that he does, indeed, have a mastery of 3-dimensional chess.

The quarterback situation in Ann Arbor seems to be one of those problems that 1%ers face when trying to choose which boat within their fleet they’ll use for the 4th of July gala for their friends and sophisticates.

J.J. McCarthy barely broke a sweat in going 11 for 12 for 229 yards through the air with 3 touchdown strikes during UMAA’s 56-10 win over Hawaii.

People seem to be saying the right things and the defending Big Ten Champions look like they are ready to walk right through the gauntlet that is their non-conference slate.

Ronnie Bell had another great game for UMAA – after missing most of last season, Bell looks like the Bell that UMAAers expected to see before his injury a year ago.

And Blake Corum looks like he’s poised to crack 1,000 yards to go along with a lot of touchdowns over the course of the season.

If this team can manage to fight its way through a treacherous pre-Big Ten lineup of contests, the question will be whether or not the defense can fill the voids left by the handful of guys who are now in the NFL.

Tests and battles loom whether UMAAers can see them up ahead in the distance or not.

At some point, Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy might wonder if Jim Harbaugh plans to take a page out of Tom Trebelhorn’s book and have firehouse chats with either them, UMAA fans, or a collection thereof.

BREAK UP THE FIGHTING ILLINI

Nfm.

NORTHWESTERN, PAT FITZGERALD, AND THE CHANGERS OF THE WORLD WHO GRACE US BY PLAYING FOOTBALL FOR NORTHWESTERN

Pat Fitzgerald is a good football coach.

He’s better than I am at coaching football.

However, there are times when I expect to see white smoke puffing its way out of the chimney of The Vatican when Fitzgerald works his magic with his group of future world-changers.

I had dinner this past week with a group of people and one of the persons was a former Northwestern football player who will remain anonymous.

This person was a defensive back for Northwestern within the last five years.

I asked him is he liked his defensive coordinator when he played defensive back for Northwestern.

The person could not recall who the defensive coordinator was when the person played football (on defense) for Northwestern.

Maybe – just maybe – some of these young men who Pat Fitzgerald molds into the future of America aren’t on the verge of curing Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.

And maybe – just maybe – Pat Fitzgerald is a good football coach that doesn’t necessarily need to be fawned over as if he’s invented a new kind of computer machine.

IT’S A HIGH STANDARD

Maybe Jerry Lundegaard is becoming happier with each passing week.

Maybe Norm Son-of-a-Gunderson is thinking that he might have to put off the work he’s in the middle of on his newest stamp creation so he can have his Saturday afternoons free.

Maybe even Shep Proudfoot is bullish.

But, again, Wade Gustafson (and Stan Grossman) are going to demand that the Gophers play to the highest standard.

That’s just the reality of delivering value to Wade (and Stan Grossman).

CLUNKERS SEEM AS STANDARD AS LIMBURGER SANDWICHES

Wisconsin outgained Washington State 401 to 253 in total yards of offense.

Wisconsin, not surprisingly, had 174 yards vs Wazzu’s 53 yards of rushing for the game.

Wisconsin had 22 first downs to the Cougars’ 10.

The Badgers throttled Wazzu in time of possession – 38:02 to 21:58.

Yes, the Badgers turned the ball over three times – but so did Wazzu.

How in the hell did Wisconsin lose this game?

In Madison?

I don’t know – I’m just a basement dwelling typist who has tremendous respect for the way Wade Gustafson (and Stan Grossman) conduct business.

“Many people say” that Wisconsin is among the best programs in college football, is at the top of the list when thinking about the programs that have not made it to the College Football Playoff, and that Paul Chryst is great and Madison is amazing and Camp-Randall Stadium is among the best atmospheres, and so on.

My daughters are having the time of their lives as Badgers and it’s a hell of a great place to go to school.

But the Badgers sure do seem to lay a whole lot of clunkers on a year-in and year-out basis.

GET LONG ON AVGO

The loss to Penn State was a heartbreaker for Purdue.

The Boilers were on the verge of creating yet another victim of Ross-Ade.

A Week 1 loss like that can sometimes ruin a season for a team before the leaves have even begun to change colors.

But if you sleep on the Boilers, you might as well sleep on Broadcom, Inc (AVGO).

Broadcom is a diversified global semiconductor device developer and supplier.
Tech stocks have been hit hard this year but Broadcom isn’t your typical high-growth, low-profit tech stock.
Broadcom generated more than $3 billion in net income in the most recent reporting quarter, it trades at roughly twelve times forward earnings, and pays a nifty 3.3% dividend.

In May, Broadcom announced to The Street a clever $61 billion dollar buyout of VMware Inc (VMW).

Analyst Angelo Zino says that VWware gives Broadcom greater software exposure and could improve overall margins meaningfully and provide greater visibility to weekend warrior.

CFRA has a”buy” rating and a $580 price target for AVGO stock which closed at $503.13 on September 7th.
In terms of the Boilers, need I say more?

FRANCO HARRIS CHOSE TO RUN OUT OF BOUNDS ON 85% OF HIS CARRIES

On the flip side, James Franklin and Penn State seem to be somewhat forgotten, overlooked, underappreciated, etc.

And that’s just in reference to the way Franklin and Penn State are viewed by their own fans.
Sean Clifford’s experience and skill will steadily give this team a shot at competing in the Big Ten East.

This coming Saturday’s trip to Auburn – no matter how much of a dumpster fire Auburn is – presents Franklin, Clifford, and Franco Harris with a real opportunity to set a tone for the season that Penn State needs.

CRANKY – IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?

When a team beats anyone 52-0 and is cranky about it, that suggests that the team that won 52-0 has a high standard.

Mel Tucker isn’t messing around.

Michigan State is 2-0, ranked 11th in this week’s AP Poll, and has outscored its two opponents 87-13.

The two-headed monster of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard continues to fill the void left by Kenneth Walker III’s departure for the NFL.

State has piled up 457 yards of rushing in two games – yes, against Western Michigan and Akron but there were “many people who said” that the Spartans would not be able to replace K9.

I’ll say it again – State doesn’t need to replace HIM – it needs to replace the yards, scores, and overall production.

Payton Thorne is cranky even though he’s 30 of 52 for 445 yards with 4 touchdowns and a QBR of 143.4 through two games.

He’s thrown 3 picks – and his standard is Tucker’s standard which is even higher than Gustofson’s (and Grossman’s).

The defense has been noticeably better – particularly in the back seven where the Spartans were dead last in all of college football a year ago.

State has given up 198 passing yards per game – a drastic improvement from the 324 yards it gave up per game last season.

Traveling to Seattle this week for a real test against a resurgent Washington program feels a lot like last season’s tone-setting trip to Miami where Tucker and his program dragged The U into The Deep End and created a whole new mantra for the program in the process.

It’ll be a surprise to this basement dweller if State doesn’t conduct its business in this final test before the Big Ten gauntlet kicks off.

BLOOM OFF THE ROSE?

Columbus took care of business against Arkansas State– as it should have.

However, did some bloom come off the rose of that slugfest win over Notre Dame after the Irish did a face plant at home against Marshall?

Columbus is still Columbus and the Buckeyes will be unbeaten when they travel to Beast Lansing on October 8th.

Will Ryan Day be picked off 3rd base for taking too much of a lead along the banks of the Red Cedar against the Spartans?

He shouldn’t be.

The Buckeyes still have enough talent to compete with the entire NFC Central.

But, as we start to make our way into the meat of the matter here and as we look around at what’s already happened across the country, we can wonder if Columbus is susceptible to things in the same way the newest flavor of the month was in College Station this weekend?

Speaking of College Station – when that “elite” college football program wins anything at all that matters, wake me up.

B1G POWER RANKINGS

1. Defending champions are still as crisp as a mid-October Braeburn at Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Orchard in Rogers City.
2. Columbus

3. Tuck Still Comin.

3. Toomer’s Corner will be a lonely place this Saturday.

4. Broadcom, Inc (AVGO)

5. Carl Showalter loves two things – Jose Feliciano and rowing the boat.

6. Break up the Cutters

7/ Limburger sandwiches are still every bit as delicious as they’ve always been.

Crowley Sullivan is a 25+ year sports media veteran who spent ten years as a producer and suit-wearer at ESPN before becoming a digital media person. He built, grew, and led a college sports digital platform called “Campus Insiders” as its EVP/GM just as sports fans were beginning to engage with computers and phones. In addition to being a longtime contributor to CollegeFootballNews, he has written for USA Today Digital Sports, Rivals properties, and the St Bede The Venerable Monthly Parish Newsletter, the St Bede Beat. He now serves as the VP/GM of UFC Fight Pass even though the last time he got into a fight was in 2nd grade when he fought David Koller to a draw.

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Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 1

Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 1 Thoughts, prayers, and rambling musings about college football and the Big Ten season going into a big 2022, starting with … Florida State and LSU put on a show. Brian Kelly woke up in a cold sweat last night …

Thoughts and Prayers: Big Ten Week 1

Thoughts, prayers, and rambling musings about college football and the Big Ten season going into a big 2022, starting with …

Florida State and LSU put on a show.

Brian Kelly woke up in a cold sweat last night thinking he was reliving the nightmare of being pantsed by Mark Dantonio with “Little Giants” all over again.

Georgia put on a show that supports my decades-long theory that the defending champion of anything always has the right to be #1 in whatever relevant ranking pertaining to the defense of the prior year’s championship.

North Carolina earned a victory in one of the wildest, most entertaining, and most thrilling games featuring App State since the day App State took down Ann Arbor at Ann Arbor.

Don’t sleep on the Backyard Brawl.

Pitt and West Virginia reminded us all that this rivalry maintains its relevance with a good one with Pitt earning a win that might show it was more than just Kenny Pickett last season.

The slugfest at The Swamp was like Ali – Frazier all over again.

Major props to both Florida and Utah for scheduling this game in the first place.

Major props to Utah for going deep into SEC-land and coming within a whisker of what would have been a massive win.

Florida is good – as it should be.

And if the Utes can play like that in that environment against a program that has blue chippers in the 4-deep, the Utes will be ready to take on all comers in the Pac 6 – and that means you, all of you Lincoln Riley/USCers who have assumed that the combination of John McKay, John Robinson, and Pete Carroll is running things in LA now.

North Carolina State – a trendy pick to win the ACC – eeked its way out of Dowdy-Ficklen thanks to a missed extra point and a missed game-winning chip shot.

Here’s something to consider as we head into Week 2:

Every one of these teams that won – no matter how they won, who they defeated, how close the game was, etc – is 1-0 and as the wise and great George Perles famously said after every victory, “They all count one.”

If your team won, walk tall.

What about the happenings around the Big Ten?

Let’s get to it.

SAFETY DANCE – MUCH MORE THAN A WONDERFUL NUMBER BY MEN WITHOUT HATS

If Aaron Blom hadn’t converted 50% of his field goal attempts, the Iowa Hawkeyes would have defeated the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits 4-3.

In the second half, Iowa showed a consistency with its defensive effort by spreading two safeties across the 3rd and 4th quarters, respectively.

Iowa held South Dakota State to six first downs in this game.

Iowa held the Jackrabbits to 120 total yards.

For its part, Iowa gained a total of 166 yards of offense.

South Dakota State ran for 33 yards over the course of the four quarters of play.

Iowa, not to be outdone by SDSU, rushed for 57 total yards.

Kirk Ferentz gave the starting nod to his veteran Spencer Petras who showed his veteran skills by going 11 for 25 for 109 yards (an average of 4.4 yards per completion) and a QBR of 1.1.

And so, some out there are doing what they do every year – questioning the credibility of Iowa’s firepower and so forth.

I watched this football game.

That should earn me some sort of a prize from an Iowa State Fair Chairperson – maybe a Blue Ribbon or something.

But.

When Iowa ends up with another 10-win season that annoys the haters out there, this 7-3 victory, thanks to its two second half safeties, should be celebrated every bit as much as whatever massive win(s) the Hawkeyes earn along the way.

JIM KNOWLES IS GOOD

Columbus fans have had reason to be excited about Ryan Day luring defensive wizard Jim Knowles away from I’m A Man, I’m 40.

Sunday morning, there were more grumpy Columbus fans needing to put hair on the dog who were cranky about not throttling Notre Dame with the NFL-talent at every position on offense failing to rack up 67 points.

Give Notre Dame credit where it’s due.

And Marcus Freeman – even with an 0-2 start to his career as the successor to the winningest coach of all time at Notre Dame – deserves a ton of credit for handling a lifetime of Scarlet & Gray, a career of playing at The Shoe, and the pressures of his very first season opener as a man who will be judged by how he compares to Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, and maybe Kelly.

The Notre Dame defense is stout and may have shown that Columbus might be susceptible to defensive pressure applied to the Heisman Trophy candidate, CJ Stroud.

Even last season, when teams threw Stroud even slightly off kilter, he showed signs of being erratic and indecisive.

Stroud is human – and that isn’t a critique; it’s a statement of fact.

Any Columbus fan worth his/her collection of tattoos might have reason to be a little persnickety after this classic, hard fought slugfest that demonstrated that football continues to be played north of the Mason-Dixon Line and in front of rabid fans who have seen football as “meaning just a little bit more” since long before catchy slogans were integrated into commercials.

Stroud piled up 233 yards through the air and the Columbus ground game pounded out 172 yards and the 395 yards of total offense would be solid for a mortal team.

But, ask any supporter of the Columbus Football Team if that’s acceptable and you’re likely to get some tobacco-spittle in the face during the response.

The real story – Knowles had this defense primed.

Columbus limited Notre Dame to 177 yards through the air and 76 yards on the ground for a total of 253 yards of offense.

Columbus fans want fireworks and dominance and flamboyant performances at every position.

But if Knowles can do this in the season opener – against a damn good Notre Dame team – it might be time to rekindle the appreciation for Woody and the way he emphasized toughness in the trenches and suffocating schemes that demoralized opposing offenses.

Only one game into a bit of a new era for Ryan Day, it looks like traditional defensive toughness and greatness might be the difference maker.

LIGHTNING STRUCK AT ROSS-ADE – BUT SEAN CLIFFORD HAD OTHER IDEAS

It may seem like a month ago since Purdue and Penn State waged a classic, fantastic, exciting, and important kickoff to things off last Thursday in West Lafayette – but that game warrants attention.

Big Ten haters will always hate – but this game was almost as exciting of a way to get Week 1 started as Iowa’s defensive performance against the Jack Rabbits was.

I heard Joel Klatt say this about Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford:

“The relationship between a veteran quarterback and the fan base is a complicated and tough one because if you’re a quarterback who’s still leading the team after four years, it means you’re not good enough to have moved on.”

Okay.

I never would have said something so ridiculous about Joel Klatt as he set countless records for the Colorado Buffaloes in his senior season after serving as the starting quarterback since his sophomore year but I’m merely a basement-dwelling typist.

Moments after Klatt said this, Sean Clifford led Penn State on an epic game-winning drive that led to Klatt praising Clifford for his calm, tough, experienced leadership.

Here’s something for Klatt to consider – maybe Clifford is simply a very good quarterback and that’s all there is to it.

The cauldron of Ross-Ade Stadium seemed as if it had James Franklin in its clutches when Clifford was picked off by Purdue’s Chris Jefferson who thrillingly returned it 72 yards for an electrifying touchdown giving the Boilers a 31-28 lead midway through the 4th quarter.

All Clifford did was calmly and brilliantly lead his team on an 8-play, 80-yard drive with the game – and maybe Penn State’s season – on the line.

When Clifford connected with Keyvone Lee on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds left, it was Clifford’s 4th touchdown pass in a game his team had to have.

Make no mistake – Purdue is a damn good team and will give everyone fits all season long.

But what Sean Clifford did on the road in the season opener was the kind of thing that strengthens a relationship between a veteran quarterback and his coach, his team, and his fan base.

UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE

Michigan won its first Big Ten Championship since FacePage was launched and Jim Harbaugh apologists could be heard doing their best to muffle their cheers all across Zingerman’s.

Theory I’ve had forever and way to tangibly demonstrate how the theory should manifest itself:

Right now, Georgia should be the #1 team in the country in any poll that exists.

If Georgia is not #1 in the country in any poll, that poll doesn’t register with a 100.00 score on the THOUGHT & PRAYERS credibility scale.

Within the Big Ten, this theory applies.

UMAA won the title last season.

Until proven otherwise, this team is the #1 team in the conference.

And in Week 1, Harbaugh’s team proved the THOUGHTS & PRAYERS theory has legs.

Michigan’s 51-7 win over Colorado State featured speed and athleticism all over the field, big-play ability across the offense, a defense that appears ready to replace the talent from the championship team that is now in the NFL, and a starting quarterback who probably has to be wondering why he won’t be starting the second game of the season.

Which brings us to one of the constants for this program all throughout this Harbaugh Era.

Some point to the way Harbaugh has always managed to “win the games he’s supposed to.”

Those same pundits are quick to point out that he’s had “the unfortunate bad luck” to be Michigan’s head coach during an era when Columbus has been an absolute beast.

But what many overlook is the way Harbaugh has tightened up in games that require mental toughness and laser focus, particularly in crunch time when a game isn’t going according to plan.

Examples?

2015 losses to Michigan State and Columbus – go back and look at how those games went. And for those who will want to claim the loss to State was “fluky,” closely examine Harbaugh’s approach to Michigan’s final few offensive possessions and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2016 losses to Iowa and Columbus – go back and look at how those games went, particularly the loss to Iowa and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2017 losses to Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Columbus, and South Carolina – go back and look at how those games went and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2018 losses to Notre Dame, Columbus, and Florida – go back and look at how those games went and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2019 losses to Wisconsin, Penn State, and Columbus – go back and look at how those games went and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2020 losses to Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Penn State – go back and look at how those games went and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

2021 loss to Michigan State in Michigan’s Big Ten Championship season – go back and look at how that game went and tell me there wasn’t puckering occurring.

The point?

Harbaugh may have, indeed/finally, gotten over the hump with last season’s title and his team, according to THOUGHTS & PRAYERS, is the #1 team in the Big Ten until someone takes it down.

But he’s shown over an entire career that he can take a bit of an odd approach to the ways he leads his program.

The quarterback situation for every program is about as important as anything else and when a coach tries to thread a needle when needlepointing is not necessary, needles can prick fingers and produce unwanted blood globules.

I’m not a football coach but I once played one in an impromptu improvisational sketch at a bar in 1998.

But when a football coach has a championship winning quarterback and that championship winning quarterback comes out in Week 1 and plays like the championship quarterback that he is, what can it do to a team if the coach chooses to play another quarterback a week later?

Is Harbaugh in the process of proving he’s a brilliant 3-dimensional chess player or is he in the process of showing that those of us who have dared to question all of the hype and praise and hype might not be crazily driving our own personal agendas?

Again, I’m just a basement dwelling typist – and, according to Harbuagh, it’s biblical.

So, okay.

Biblical.

We’ll monitor the situation.

LAYING IN THE WEEDS AS A VERY SUCCESSFUL COACH ONCE SAID

Sloppy.

Uninspired.

Messy.

These are words I’ve seen more than any others in the aftermath of Michigan State’s 35-13 season-opening win over Western Michigan in East Lansing Friday night.

Junior quarterback Payton Thorne threw for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns to 4 different receivers.

For perspective, when Thorne set program records during last season’s 11-2 campaign, Thorne averaged 249 yards and 2 touchdowns per game.

Wide Receiver Keon Coleman, transfer tight end Daniel Barker, wide receiver Tre Mosley, and wide receiver Germie Bernard all hauled in touchdowns.

State’s future NFL wide receiver, Jayden Reed, has a stable of guys next to him who will give defensive coordinators plenty of sleepless nights this season.

How will State fill the void left by Kenneth Walker III’s departure for the NFL?

After one game, consider this:

Transfers Jalen Berger and Jarek Brossard combined for 174 yards on 26 carries and Berger punched one into the endzone after a 50-yard rumble in the 4th quarter.

Walker was an electrifying talent that comes along once a decade.

State doesn’t need to replace HIM – it needs to replace the yardage and the ability to pound the ball so it can create a balanced offense.

This offense may actually end up being even better than it was last year.

The defense?

Last year’s pass defense was literally the worst in the nation.

Giving up less than 200 yards through the air, zero coverage breakdowns, zero big plays – these are all signs that Mel Tucker and Scottie Hazelton are in the process of shoring up that back seven.

Jaboby Windmon.

Remember the name of the UNLV transfer who registered 4 sacks against Western and looks like he’s a faster Shilique Calhoun.

Injuries to Xavier Henderson and Darius Snow are reason for concern – but in Year 3 of the Tucker Era, depth across the entire roster has developed and there are guys ready and capable of stepping in.

Tucker has plenty to show his guys where improvement is needed and he has more tools to work with than the average fan out there realizes.

Underestimate and consider Tucker and State as a team that falls into the category of “taking a step back” at your own peril.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1

1. Defending champions or not, Zingerman’s is one of the most overrated, overpriced food places/cultural institutions in the Union.

2. First Round Draft Picks galore – but Jim Knowles might be the most important ingredient.

3. Tuck Comin. It’s not just a slogan for a t-shirt.

4. Casual, normal evening of joy and comfort at State Street Brats.

5. Sean Clifford.

6. It’s not just the dark magic of Ross-Ade – the team is damn good, too.

7. Making Jerry Lundegaard happy is one thing; delivering on the expectations of Wade Gustafson (and Stan Grossman) is something entirely different.

8. Before we identify the week to raise the statue of Ralph Friedgen as a way to tout the return of the program to upper-tier status, let’s see a meaningful win or two. Okay?

WORKING ON THINGS
Mustard’s Last Stand will live on forever.

Gloria Trillo was Tony’s finest conquest.

If You’ve Never Seen “Breaking Away,” you must at once.

“The Lonesome Jubilee” is one of the greatest American rock albums of all time

For everyone’s sake, I hope Champaign has a stable of best-in-class cardiologists.

The cardiologists in Lincoln say there is the sign of a heartbeat.

Crowley Sullivan is a 25+ year sports media veteran who spent ten years as a producer and suit-wearer at ESPN before becoming a digital media person. He built, grew, and led a college sports digital platform called “Campus Insiders” as its EVP/GM just as sports fans were beginning to engage with computers and phones. In addition to being a longtime contributor to CollegeFootballNews, he has written for USA Today Digital Sports, Rivals properties, and the St Bede The Venerable Monthly Parish Newsletter, the St Bede Beat. He now serves as the VP/GM of UFC Fight Pass even though the last time he got into a fight was in 2nd grade when he fought David Koller to a draw.

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College Football Playoff Expanding To 12: It Will All Be Fine. Really.

College Football Playoff expanded to 12 teams. This is why it’s a good thing.

The College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams in the near future. It’s going to be a positive thing for college football. Really.


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

[jwplayer PkCtjTd4-boEY74VG]

Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

By around 2024 it’s going to be the 13th-best take in a 12-take world.

College football is giving us more meaningful football, and some don’t want it

Really, was that so hard?

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers have approved a 12-team expanded College Football Playoff that could start as early as 2024, but will most likely kick in around 2026 – contract issues, logistics, and a slew of other parts of the puzzle have to be put together to make this happen earlier than later.

When this is a go, the CFP will be made up of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams. The first round will be played on the college campuses, and then it gets turned over to the bowl locations.

Yes, it’s for the money – as are all major sports – and yes, it’s about catering to the expanded monster conferences. The college presidents and athletic directors finally figured out there’s a nice, warm treasure bath waiting with lots of bubbles.

Of course, like everything, there will be those who shake their fists and get all weird because something fun might change and be more fun, but outside of “because,” they don’t have any real argument.

Expansion is a good thing. Really.

Start with this – there’s going to be a way for teams to play their way into the College Football Playoff.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you win all your games in the Power Five and you’re in, but that’s not a given, and that’s not the right way to look at it.

There will be debates in the future about who that 12th team should be, but that’s fine. We won’t have to get into it about the fifth, sixth, and seventh best teams – at least the theoretical ones determined on a belief.

2020 Texas A&M had to play Alabama. Notre Dame didn’t, but it beat Clemson once before getting throttled in the ACC Championship rematch. Both the Aggies and Irish deserved to be in the CFP, but one had to be left out. That was a silly debate that should’ve been unnecessary.

Cincinnati and Oklahoma State and Utah all should’ve had a shot in some sort of a playoff system after the 2021 season. TCU should’ve been in the playoff after the 2014 campaign – and Baylor should have, too – but not everyone could squeeze into the four team format.

Was it fair that some teams – 2021 Georgia, 2017 Alabama, 2016 Ohio State – got to the College Football Playoff without being good enough to win their respective conference championships? Not really, but that won’t matter with an expanded CFP – they can get in, but that doesn’t mean teams that earned it will be left out. That leads to the best part about all of this.

The importance of the panel of judges is lessened.

[lawrence-related id=549726]

This is the part I truly don’t understand from the anti-expansion types. Why do you want any aspect of the championship determined by an opinion?

The College Football Playoff committee is fine, but these are important people with lives, and things to do, and families that love them. They know the sport, but they don’t know the entire landscape of college football from the rooter to the tooter.

Expand the playoff, win your conference championship with a good record in a great league, and you’re good. There – take it out of the hands of the judges. You control your own fate.

That’s going to make the season more fun.

Think about it. How much more awesome would the Baylor goal line stop against Oklahoma State have been in the Big 12 Championship if that was for a playoff spot?

How much more fun would the Pac-12 Championship have been if the Utah fan base got to have an even bigger party?

And what about the ACC Championship? It’s possible someone outside of friends and family would’ve watched Pitt vs Wake Forest last year.

More fan bases will be involved, more teams will have something big to shoot for, and there’s going to be more interest in college football overall.

Does that mean a Boise State or a No. 3 Big Ten team will take down Alabama in the playoff? Probably not, but that’s not the point.

Did UCF really think it could’ve or would’ve won the national title in 2017 or 2018? I don’t know, and neither did those Knight teams that just wanted a shot.

It sucks more for a team to not get a chance because the judges went in a different direction than it does to get trucked by the Tide. All everyone wants is the opportunity, and now it’s coming.

No, College Football Playoff expansion deniers, this won’t lessen the importance of the regular season. It’s going to be much, much harder than it seems to get into the CFP – this isn’t the NCAA Tournament or the NHL or NBA playoffs.

No, this won’t make for a worse playoff. You can’t get hot from three for a weekend and end up close to the Final Four.

Ask yourself this – where has there been any sort of a flukish loss in the CFP so far? Of course there will be some sort of a crazy upset somewhere when this expands, but if you can win two or more games in this tournament, you’re for real.

In the near future, every team will know in the offseason that the College Football Playoff is a real possibility, and not just a silly slogan put on a t-shirt.

Every fan base whose team is having a good season will be more engaged.

December will be more fun, the College Football Playoff will be more fun, and the sport will be more fun.

The College Football Playoff is expanding. It’s going to be okay.

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Thoughts and Prayers: The Big Ten Season Is Here

Thoughts, prayers, and rambling musings about college football and the Big Ten season going into a big 2022

Thoughts and Prayers: The Big Ten Season Is Here

Thoughts, prayers, and rambling musings about college football and the Big Ten season going into a big 2022, starting with …

EVEN BONAPARTE HAD A RESPECTABLE DEFENSIVE FRONT

The Nebraska onside kick in the third quarter against Northwestern made as much sense as Napoleon’s decision in June of 1812 to invade Russia.

And Scott Frost’s decision played a role in the 31-28 loss in a game the Huskers badly needed.

But the things that nobody considers are:

Northwestern – 214 rushing yards on 47 carries.

Northwestern dominated time of possession – 34:14 to Nebraska’s 25:46.

Northwestern’s Ryan Hilinski – 314 yards on 27 of 38 passing.

And Nebraska rushed for 110 yards on 31 carries.

Against Northwestern.

Nebraska, once again, found a way to lose a game it was in the process of winning.

Toughness in the trenches used to be one of the definitive elements of Nebraska Football.

However, the real takeaway from this game was the way Northwestern manhandled a team that used to manhandle teams to epic degrees.

Nebraska and Scott Frost have a lot of work to do – and not a lot of time to get that work done.

WEEK ZERO MOSTEL

I’m sorry – it simply defies logic.

Week 0.

That means, by definition, that the week doesn’t exist, and I watched college football games on several of my televisions this weekend.

The games counted.

If we’re going to try to treat the initial slate of games as something other than a part of the actual season, it’s time to re-brand the first weekend of games.

Suggestions that would make equal or more sense than “Week 0”:

Week Bicycle.

Week Football.

Day Scrambled Eggs.

Late Summer Applesauce.

Weak Week.

Weak Branding.

CAUGHT IN A RUNDOWN BETWEEN THIRD AND HOME

I’m going to say it this way –

There’s absolutely no excuse for Ohio State to not win the national championship. Ryan Day has the program on third base, and now he has to get it home.

This team seemingly has 219 First Round draft picks on its roster.

There are eleven student athletes who will compete against each other for the Walter Camp Award – and the other award, the Heisman Trophy.

The quarterback could probably start for a dozen NFL teams.

Number 11 is almost too good to be allowed to compete due to his freakishly dominant skills.

And, apparently, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will unleash Buddy Ryan’s 1985 Junkyard Dogs.

Does every behemoth need to be on high alert in order to avoid letdowns?

Yes.

But Columbus should blast every team on its schedule, steamroll its way to the College Football Playoff, and pound the SEC opponent to claim the title.

It’s national championship or bust. It’s win it all or nothing. It’s Day’s time to get the team home – he’s been able to get to the national title game, but that’s not enough this time around.

Columbus – even though we’ve only just completed Week Nothing, the clock is ticking and you’re up.

BOILERS, ROSS-ADE, AND SOME REALITIES RELATED TO FOOTBALL IN WEST LAFAYETTE

The idea that the West Lafayette team doesn’t register on the “Relevance Meter” took a blow when the Boilermakers handed Tennessee a bowl defeat at a stadium that was, basically, a reconfigured General Neyland Stadium.

Purdue went 9-4 last season with impressive wins.

Taking down a red-hot Michigan State at Ross-Ade counted.

Taking down a good Hawkeye team counted.

And taking down the Vols in the bowl game really, really counted.

Typical Purdue reality – quarterback Aidan O’Connell led the nation’s fifth-best passing attack with an average of 440 yards through the air last year. He’s back for his sixth year and will play like the veteran that he is.

Jeff Brohm will need O’Connell’s experience since explosive receiver David Bell is off to the NFL – but there are standard Boiler pass catchers ready to step in.

Brohm needs his beefeaters up front ready to pave the way for a rushing attack that needs to be more than serviceable – even though the offense will be all about O’Connell.

Am I suggesting Purdue is ready to take on Columbus for Big Ten supremacy?

No.

Will Purdue compete for the Big Ten West title and give everyone fits?

It’s going to be a problem for the rest of the Big Ten.

WHEN A ROWBOAT IS A CANOE IN NEED OF AN OUTBOARD MOTOR

My podcasting partner and lifelong prognosticator, JStone, is more bullish on the Gophers than he is on the lamb chops at Chicago’s decadent nightclub, Fame.

PJ Fleck is entering his sixth season in Minneapolis, and he has done good things.

Does anyone know that Minnesota won nine games last season?

However …

Losses to Bowling Green and Illinois are more representative of this program than the close-but-no-cigar effort against Columbus.

Fleck’s Gophers are a trendy pick to win the West.

Last year, this team finished third in the country in time of possession, third in the conference in rushing, and had a passing attack that was serviceable enough.

Like Purdue, Minnesota has a veteran quarterback in Tanner Morgan who can throw and run – he’s entering his fifth year.

Morgan connected for 30 touchdowns in 2019 – he can whip the ball around.

What should give Jerry Lundegaard reason to be excited, though, is the Gopher ground game.

The line is strong and the running back room is loaded with guys who can pound the ball.

My man JStone isn’t urinating into the wind with his position on the Gophers.

Enough of the stout defense is back.

But …

When it comes to a program like Minnesota, I take a cautionary position.

Show me more.

Now is the moment for this coach and program and there isn’t the luxury of six or eight bye weeks.

Fleck has rowed the boat very, very well. Now he has to bring it ashore and get to the Big Ten Championship.

DEFENDING A CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE BATTLING FOR IN-STATE SUPREMACY

Michigan is the defending Big Ten Champion for the first time since the 2004 title the program won.

Jim Harbaugh slayed the dragon and reached the College Football Playoff.

Michigan has players – this is the case every single year.

Michigan has two talented quarterbacks – but there’s the old axiom says when you have two quarterbacks, you might not have a quarterback.

That might be a bit harsh since both Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy are truly talented field generals and maybe the two-quarterback system can work under the tutelage of The Quarterback Whisperer.

The losses on defense – Aidan Hutchinson, Daxton Hill, and David Ojaba – will be hard to replace but this is Michigan and that’s what this program is supposed to be able to do.

However.

Lost in all of the talk about how Michigan finally found a way to beat Columbus is the fact that it lost – again – to the program that has a 10-5 edge in the in-state rivalry over the last 15 seasons.

Mel Tucker has the engine revving in East Lansing and he’s 2-0 against Michigan, continuing the way Michigan State has dominated this rivalry dating back to the start of the Mark Dantonio Era.

These two programs will wage war again this season and the dynamics don’t seem to be on the verge of changing.

In last season’s battle in East Lansing, State ran for 197 yards, executed an epic comeback from 16 points down that featured huge plays, huge fourth down conversions, two separate two-point conversions, and an all-timer of a performance from Kenneth Walker III that included five touchdowns.

Payton Thorne is back this season after an underrated sophomore year when he threw for 27 touchdowns and 3,233 yards.

His lifelong best pal, Jayden Reed, hauled in just over 1,000 yards with ten touchdowns and is the Big Ten’s best receiver not wearing #11.

The experts will point to Kenneth Walker III’s departure for the NFL – and that’s fair.

But the additions of transfers Jalen Berger (Wisconsin) and Jarek Broussard (Colorado) combined with a stable of ball carriers should fill the void if the offensive line can continue to evolve.

Tucker’s mission since last season – improve the nation’s worst (“dead ass last”) pass defense.

When a team has the nation’s worst pass defense and finishes 11-2, defeats its rival, wins its New Year’s Six bowl game, and finishes in the Top 10, what does that say about the foundation, the talent and depth, the schemes, and the possibilities if the pass defense improves to, say, 56th in the nation?

Michigan, meanwhile, en route to last season’s conference title led the conference in rushing, allowed the fewest sacks in the Big Ten, and racked up 443 yards of offense per game.

After missing last season, Michigan’s Ronnie Bell should be a big factor at wide receiver for either quarterback and Erik All is a beast at tight end.

Cornelius Johnson and Andrell Anthony round out a talented batch of skill players and Blake Corum’s 952 yards of rushing last season showed that he’s posed for more.
October 29th is a massive day not just for football in the state of Michigan – it’s a massive day for the Big Ten and college football, in general.

If State stampedes into Ann Arbor where it’s 5-2 dating back to Dantonio’s first trip there and does what it’s done in this rivalry consistently, will people begin to recognize what’s been happening here?

Jim Harbaugh and Mel Tucker might not be firing off heavies in the way Harbaugh and Dantonio did – but these two aren’t exchanging Christmas cards and Tucker has let the facts speak for themselves.

Yes, Michigan is the defending Big Ten Champion – but when it comes to this rivalry, one school seems to have a far more intense approach that has worked now for a long time.

The Columbus – Michigan thing always has been and always will be epic.

But the thing that exists between Michigan and Michigan State has a whole lot of drama and storylines and intensity and, yes, fun baked into it and it’s a much more important element related to Big Ten supremacy than most people realize.

IF WINNING IS BORING, COLOR IOWA BORING

Why will Iowa be very good in 2022?

Because that’s what Iowa does.

Michigan was on a magic carpet ride and stomped on the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship last season.

But Iowa, once again, played for the Big Ten Championship.

Critics of Iowa say the program is boring.

If winning is boring, call me a fan of boring.

The Hawkeyes didn’t light the world in fire offensively – this is Iowa, the team that won its division and reached the conference championship game – but it does have to be better than horrible.

Think of it this way – Iowa got to the Big Ten Championship with no offense.

But the defense was its standard stout brick wall.

The Hawkeyes finished the season ninth in the country in yards allowed and surrendered only 20 points per game.

Cornerback Riley Moss is back after missing last season due to injury and he’s going to be a major impact on an already strong overall defensive unit.

Jack Campbell and Seth Benson are the two best linebackers in all of college football that nobody has heard of and they’ll wreak havoc on opponents all season.

The big question for Kirk Ferentz is whether one of his two veteran quarterbacks can step up and be a difference making type of playmaker.

Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla both have experience and can manage a game.

Can they elevate the offense with electricity and explosiveness? Will it REALLY matter if they don’t?

If winning the Big Ten West is boring … okay.

TIME TO SWITCH UP THE MUSTARD ON THE BRATWURST?

Wisconsin has people conditioned to unconditionally respect it because of how the Badgers “make the most out of what they have” and all of that stuff.

Wisconsin hasn’t won the Big Ten Championship since 2012.

The Badgers last victory in the Rose Bowl came on January 1st, 2000.

This feels like an important Autumn for Wisconsin.

Paul Chryst is a hell of a good football coach.

But.

Can Graham Mertz take the next step and become a difference-maker?

The running game should be typically strong with an amazing combo of Braelon Allen and Mellusi ready to pick up where they left off last year when they combined for over 2,000 yards.

But will that ground game dominate in ways that past Wisconsin teams have been able to “Wisconsin” defenses all season long?

Jim Leonhard is among the best defensive coordinators in college football and it’s a credit to the program that he hasn’t left for a head coaching job.

He’ll have another punishing, disciplined, and fearsome defense, anchored by a tremendous front that will make it nearly impossible for teams to rush for anything meaningful.

It’s a cliché to refer to “magic” and “intangibles” and stuff that doesn’t necessarily refer to the players and coaches and football things when trying to assess a program’s status.

But it feels like Wisconsin needs some of that stuff to avoid becoming what Kansas State had become at the peak of the Bill Snyder Era (Google it, folks).

Huge opportunity for the Badgers – an October 15th trip to East Lansing to take on the Spartans.

Beating Columbus in Columbus is too tall of an order for this team.

But if the Badgers were to find a way to get a win at State in what will be a massive game for both programs, that might be a springboard that this team – and this program – needs.

WHEN PAPER IS WET, IT’S EASIER TO RIP

James Franklin – the clock is ticking.

It’s not ticking in the way it’s ticking for Ryan Day, who needs to win the national championship NOW.

It’s ticking in the way it’s ticking for Chip Kelly or David Shaw or Mike Norvell.

You aren’t in Scott Frost territory.

And I know the folks just ponied up a pile of loot for an extension.

But those pieces of paper easily become wet if things don’t go according to plan.

Ross-Ade Stadium can be a nightmare and when it pops up as Game #1, that makes for a dangerous start to what is an under-the-radar important season for Franklin and Penn State.

If this Penn State team wasn’t named Penn State and, instead, was, for instance, named “Purdue,” nobody would be paying any attention to this team right now.

FORMER UMAA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR DAVE BRANDON WAS GREAT WITH BRANDING – PERHAPS HE CAN PROVIDE A CONSULTANCY

Week Begin The Begin by R.E.M.

Week Computer.

Week Football.

Day of Games Before More Games Are Played Next Week.

Week …

WEEK WONDERFUL OVER, WEEK 1 IS HERE, LFG!!!!

Now that we’ve climbed over Week Zilch, it’s time to look at the schedule in a normal way.

Week 1 is here.

Penn State at Purdue – beware of the weirdness and unexpected occurrences at Ross-Ade, Penn State. Seasons go to die here and when you’re kicking things off at that snake pit, it can set a queasy tone for the entire slate.

Notre Dame at Columbus – time for Ryan Day and his troops to show that this season will feature game by game, possession by possession dominance en route to the Promised Land.
What a great opportunity to show that this is the beginning of a statement type of season for a program that still has steam coming out of its ears from the loss to The Team Up North and is anxious to climb over the recent steps on the ladder and close it out with the whole shebang in hand.

The rest of the Big Ten is off and running and the entire conference is riding high after what has been a transformational summer led by the commissioner’s magic wand – and we’ll take a good, hard look at that in the days ahead.

For now – bring it on.

Gorgeous campuses teeming with excitement, color, traditions, intensity, passion, pride, and gratitude for yet another Autumn spent living and dying with the teams that represent those golden years when the most important considerations were whether the tailgate would feature Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon – at least for many of us those were the most important considerations – and whether or not we’d be celebrating on Saturday nights or looking ahead to the next chance at greatness.

Big Ten Football has been happening on campuses around the Midwest – and now beyond – for longer than any other conference.

For those of us attached to the conference, it’s the true page-turner of the calendar.

It’s the arrival of our chances to reconnect with everything that made that time so special.

And it’s here, once again.

Time to dig in and soak up every bit of it.

Crowley Sullivan is a 25+ year sports media veteran who spent ten years as a producer and suit-wearer at ESPN before becoming a digital media person. He built, grew, and led a college sports digital platform called “Campus Insiders” as its EVP/GM just as sports fans were beginning to engage with computers and phones. In addition to being a longtime contributor to CollegeFootballNews, he has written for USA Today Digital Sports, Rivals properties, and the St Bede The Venerable Monthly Parish Newsletter, the St Bede Beat. He now serves as the VP/GM of UFC Fight Pass even though the last time he got into a fight was in 2nd grade when he fought David Koller to a draw.

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Predictions of Every Game
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AP Top 25 Preseason College Football Poll: 5 Things That Matter, Overrated, Underrated, Winners, Losers 2022

The 2022 AP preseason top 25 college football poll was released. Here are the 5 things that matter with the overrated and underrated teams.

The 2022 AP top 25 preseason college football poll was released. Here are the topics that matter with the overrated and underrated teams, and the winners and losers.


CFN Predictions of Every Game
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN Preview 2021: All 131 Teams
2022 Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings 1-131
Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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5. Who is, technically, overrated in the 2022 AP Top 25 Preseason College Football Poll?

It’s all subjective, obviously, but who’s overrated and who’s underrated compared to the CFN 2022 Preseason Rankings 1-131? Here are five possible overrated teams.

No. 5 Notre Dame
Totally nitpicking here. Notre Dame is going to be terrific. There’s no excuse to not be in the CFP mix – even after starting the season against Ohio State – and nothing less than a New Year’s Six bowl game will be okay.

Five is a wee bit high considering how strong Michigan should be and with Oregon, Utah, and USC all knocked down a peg. The Irish should be around 10ish instead of top 5, but it’s hardly a crazy ranking.
Notre Dame Preview

No. 6 Texas A&M
In theory Texas A&M should be No. 6 good, and the talent level is there after this latest loaded recruiting class, but the program might be a year or so away from being worth this much respect.

Outside of that new haul of talent – which matters, of course – is A&M about to make the leap from unranked like it was at the end of last season to the top 6? Top 20, yes, but gut feeling – the voters remember the Alabama win of 2021 and ranked accordingly.
Texas A&M Preview

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No. 10 Baylor
100% getting it that we might be on the wrong side of the Baylor call this year. The defense will be great, the offense just fine, and … the Big 12 will be stronger. Rankings shouldn’t be predictive and need to be based on how good the teams are, but compared to a slew of Others Receiving Votes teams – more on that in the Underrated section – Baylor at 10 is a tad rich.
Baylor Preview

CFN Preseason Rankings

No. 16 Miami
I like Miami, you like Miami, we all like Miami. Warm weather, cool program, Mario Cristobal taking over, Tyler Van Dyke a rising star quarterback – 16 is too high. The Canes aren’t there yet. It’s not horribly off – they should be top 25 – but ahead of Arkansas, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss? No.
Miami Preview

No. 22 Wake Forest
PLEASE forgive how gross this is to consider a young man’s medical condition as a factor in any sort of football analysis, but to be fair, I would’ve put Wake Forest in the Overrated category before the announcement of Sam Hartman’s non-football related medical issue.

Talent-wise – and if the teams were playing on the field in Week 1 – give me at least ten Also Receiving Votes programs over Wake Forest. Tennessee, Penn State, LSU being front and center.
Wake Forest Preview

And then there are the …

2022 AP Top 25 Preseason Analysis
Overrated | Underrated
Most loaded Also Receiving Votes ever?
Don’t like the Top 25, just wait
Winners & Losers

NEXT: AP Top 25 Preseason College Football Poll – 5 most underrated teams

3 Conference Expansion Moves That Would Shock The World: Daily Cavalcade

College football expansion has been crazy enough – what other off-the-wall ideas are we not thinking about?

With everything happening in the conference expansion world, what moves would be totally shocking? Here are three ideas so crazy they might just work.


Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

On the job, expansion begins here. We have proudly worked 26 days on this site without a lost school to another conference.

And don’t get me started about how Wheel of Fortune is TOTALLY rigged – it’s statistically impossible to have that many spins land on Bankrupt, and …

Does anyone want to discuss college football at college football media days?

Sort of, but the only topic brought up with all the leagues is expansion – okay, NIL, too – because that’s far more interesting than the normal “talk about how you’ve improved this season” question and “work hard” answer sessions.

Expansion, expansion, expansion – it’s all any radio hit I’ve done over the last few weeks has been about. I’ve been asked the same interesting question several times phrased a few different ways …

“At this point, what’s the college conference expansion move that would totally shock you?”

Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC was a stunner, but it wasn’t as unthinkable as USC and UCLA leaving for the Big Ten. Not even the wackiest of expansion discussions saw that coming.

It’s boring, but if I’m being honest, the Sun Belt loading up with a few Conference USA programs – and getting Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss for this season – was about as shocking as anything else.

Before we get started, no, I don’t think any of the below will happen, and this is all based on nothing more than caffeine-fueled speculation, but that’s not the point.

If some dope like me is thinking of these things, the smart people with real jobs and lives and pants are certainly exploring every possibility.

If you had said two months ago that USC and UCLA would form the LA branch of the Big Ten …

So I’ll answer the question. Considering all the huge moves so far, and with nothing really off the table, what are three crazy expansion scenarios that would be really shocking?

Oregon and Washington to the SEC

If you’re Greg Sankey and the higher-ups in the SEC offices, and your total world domination balloon just got popped by the Big Ten, what do you do? What’s your next move?

Think national.

Of course landing Texas and Oklahoma was massive, but when it comes to everything that expansion can do for a conference, acquiring USC, UCLA, and the Los Angeles market was a far bigger statement.

The problem when it comes to college conference expansion is a geographic failure of imagination. Good luck finding anyone who can wrap their head around the time zone differences and length of travel from the Big Ten schools to LA, but that’s the deal now.

If you’re the SEC, you have to expand the brand and footprint outside of the southeast part of the United States – if a conference called the Big Ten can have 16 teams, a league called the Southeastern Conference can mean more in other areas.

Conventional wisdom when it comes to Oregon and Washington is that 1) they’re the next logical expansion move for the Big Ten or 2) they stay put as the new stars and anchors of a refurbished Pac-12. However, Phil Knight and Oregon have been pinging around seeing what’s possible, and Washington all but certainly would be involved as a sort of package deal – or the other way around.

Get the Seattle market, get all the marketing opportunities in an NIL world that Oregon has to offer, make the brand national, and expand, expand, expand.

And the SEC would beat the Big Ten to the punch.

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Notre Dame to the Pac-12

I need to get out more.

I’ve somehow talked myself into thinking this is the only move that makes sense for Notre Dame, even though there’s absolutely NO chatter about it anywhere from my Pac-12 types, or anyone else.

Seriously, what are you going to do if you’re that school?

Finally locking it in with the ACC in all ways would be the easiest move, but there’s a catch. If ESPN can work and change the ACC’s media deal, or if the Big Ten or SEC decide they’ll pay whatever it takes, some of the biggest brand schools are all but gone.

Officially making Notre Dame a full-time member might keep that from happening, but the ACC hasn’t had to try landing that plane because the deal in place still works.

But if Notre Dame really is snooping around …

The Big 12? No chance.

The SEC? Adding Texas sort of changes the dynamic, but if Notre Dame doesn’t want to join the Big Ten and be just another football program, the SEC makes even less sense.

The Big Ten? It’s SO sticky. The Big Ten is in the position of power here – it’s not going to give up any special concessions to Notre Dame, and the school doesn’t want to be thrown on the pile. This might be closer than we all think considering the USC and UCLA move, or Notre Dame can …

Remain independent with the current ACC arrangement. Yeah, a revamped TV deal would bring in a ton of cash, but that’s not where the cake is in the new college sports world. The opportunities with the big conferences might be too great. 
Or …

The Pac-12.

The Pac-12 is totally desperate to figure out something big to replace UCLA and USC, but it’s not in any position to go poach a giant school – and there isn’t a gettable one out there that can move the needle.

Notre Dame doesn’t have travel issues, it has ties to that part of the world with the USC rivalry and regular dates with Stanford, and best of all, it can pretty much ask for any deal it wants and get it.

And there’s the ego aspect. Join the Big Ten, and Ohio State and Michigan are still the stars. Join the SEC, and get buried under a mound of power-programs. Join the Pac-12, and that’s Notre Dame’s conference.

Notre Dame is tied into the NBC deal for another four years, but that can certainly be reworked. And then there’s the other issue – it contractually has to join the ACC if it tries to leave for another league before 2036, otherwise it has to pay the lost revenue.

Let’s just say that when it comes to Notre Dame – more than it is for the other ACC schools – this is doable, especially for a Pac-12 that might have to pay whatever it takes to get the one free agent that could change the game.

And then there’s the craziest idea that would throw everyone for a loop …

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Texas doesn’t go to the SEC

From the start of the Texas and Oklahoma deal with the SEC, all the Texas inside info types I know were … reserved.

Yeah, they were excited, and yeah it makes financial sense in a lot of ways, but Texas is already the richest athletic department going, and there seemed to be a realistic approach when it came to the football side.

There’s excitement over the recruiting opportunities, being a part of a bigger league, upping the profile in the southeast that much more, hype over the big matchups, but …

Life in the SEC is hard. That’s not to say – in general – that Texas isn’t happy, but it hasn’t been unabashed joy.

I usually have my finger on the pulse of the various fan bases when it comes to the big things, and I assumed Oklahoma people thought roughly the same way, but …

Nope. Very, very nope.

I’m not exactly sure what Oklahoma fans think is about to happen when their football-mad school joins a conference with Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, and on and on and on, but the money is great, the profile is bigger, and any hint that this might not be the move they all think it is sets off a firestorm of anger.

And in the end, they might be dead-on right.

The Alabama run has to slow down at some point, and in the up-the-competition, up-the-game sort of way, it’s certainly possible that a historical powerhouse program like OU jumps in and becomes even stronger.

So with ALL of that said, I can’t get there – even in a wacky won’t-happen scenario piece like this – to think Oklahoma is anything but all in on the SEC.

Texas, though …

Don’t get me wrong; Texas is fired up about being in the SEC. However, Texas and Oklahoma are coming from two very different positions here.

The University of Texas still remains a far better fit in just about all ways with the Big Ten.

Do I think it would happen that the Big Ten finds a way to pivot UT away from the SEC to be a part of a bigger, stronger league with USC and UCLA?

It figured out how to get USC and UCLA. And I’ll throw in one other selling point for the Big Ten …

Remember, University of Texas … Texas A&M isn’t in the Big Ten.

But that’s a heavy lift. Too many moving parts, too much money, too many political aspects involved. However, try this scenario.

The Big 12 picks off at least two Pac-12 schools, maybe four. It lands Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah – meaning they have the Phoenix, Denver, and Salt Lake City markets – to go along with the massive-school gets in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF and they’re great markets.

All of a sudden, if you’re Texas, you have to ask what the media rights deal would be – and what the cut could be – to sneak out and jump back into the Big 12 to be the giant whale, as opposed to just another big fish.

Okay, enough insane tin-foil hat scenarios.

Do I really think Oregon and Washington will go to the SEC? No. I 65% believe they’re staying in the Pac-12, 33% believe they’re going to the Big Ten, 2% think there’s something else – like even the Big 12 – they might do.

Do I really think Notre Dame will go to the Pac-12? I’ve talked myself into thinking it’s possible, but it’s dead even between Big Ten life or staying as an ACC/Independent.

Do I really think Texas isn’t going to the SEC? Ehhhhhhhh, I actually don’t think this is that insane, but it’s going to join Oklahoma and be off to the SEC in 2024 …

Maybe.

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Big 12 and Pac-12 Realignment Merger Isn’t Happening. Now What? Daily Cavalcade

What’s next for the Big 12 and Pac-12 after they decided not merge and combine forces?

The Big 12 and Pac-12 won’t merge forces to combat all that’s happening in the realignment and expansion world. Now what for these two conferences?


Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

My best points were lifted by the Big Ten and now the Big 12 is open for business with my mid-level opinions.

2022 CFN College Football Preview of Every Team

May you all have a day full of the swagger the Big 12 is walking with right now

It was revealed on Monday night that the Pac-12 and Big 12 won’t be sharing their toys with one another.

The friendship probably would’ve been an overall plus for both, but goes against the current cutthroat expansion and realignment climate – they both think they can do more on their own, at least the Big 12 does.

The harsh reality is that the Pac-12 and Big 12 could combine forces, add other schools, resources, Megan Thee Stallion, and Season 5 of Stranger Things and still not come close to getting the attention paid to the Big Ten and SEC, but that’s not fair. These two can – and will – do just fine for themselves depending on what happens next.

Why couldn’t the Big 12 and Pac-12 form an alliance – a real one, and not the fake détente the Pac-12 had with the Big Ten and ACC?

Here’s the problem – or the positive, depending on which side you’re on – now that these two will likely try to poach the other’s territory: the Big 12 is in a position of power.

Which Big 12 schools make sense for the Pac-12?

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From an academic prestige standpoint – Tier 1 research status is the baseline, but the big conferences really want those with an AAU membership – along with potential markets and overall branding, Kansas makes a whole lot of sense, and that’s even a stretch. That’s about it, and there’s a reason.

Of course the Big 12 has solid academic institutions, far better football fan bases who actually watch and care about the sport, and decent enough markets to consider, but when it comes to branding and fit, do any of its members on their own change the Pac-12 dynamic? Not really.

Replacing USC with, say, TCU won’t move the needle enough to matter for the Pac-12.

And on the flip side, which Pac-12 schools make sense for the Big 12?

All of them, because the league already has its solid base in place without the Pac-12’s fear of being poached by the Big Ten.

Remember, this is about markets, and footprints, and expanding and improving the brand.

Are Oregon State and Washington State two superstar options in the expansion discussion? No, but both of them would open up new areas for the Big 12.

Does anyone in San Francisco care about Cal or Stanford football? Not really – I’m being nice about this – but the Bay Area is a massive market with a whole lot of alumni from other schools. The academic side of things matters with the presidents, alumni, and donor bases – Cal and Stanford work in a Rutgers-to-Big-Ten sort of way. No way those two go to the Big 12, but the Big Ten?

Remember, the Pac-12 has the University OF Oregon. The University OF Washington. The University OF Arizona. The University OF Utah. The University OF California. The University OF Colorado. There’s a prestige in having a state’s flagship school.

Not dogging the Big 12 schools in any way – the Big 12 has the University OF Kansas and the University OF West Virginia, but it doesn’t have the University of Utah, or the University of Iowa, or the University of Oklahoma, or the University of Texas.

That’s hardly the end of the world when it comes to the business side of expansion, but for a Pac-12 Conference that always had its own niche, it’s an ego hit to not have any “University OF” schools to bring aboard. It’s also a killer that it can’t go grab any monsters to replace what it lost – other than Notre Dame in a dream world, but that’s for a different day.

On the flip side, the Big 12 is far more likely to flip Colorado, Utah, Arizona State, and Arizona than the Pac-12 is at getting, say, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, who make a ton of sense but aren’t going to bail for the Pac-12 brand in the current situation.

Again, the Big 12 has the upper-hand here.

It’s got the improved TV contract likely coming. It landed huge schools with good markets in Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, and it has an underappreciated gem in this whole process with BYU and its international fan base.

I still say the Big 12 should be all over USF, and beat the Pac-12 to the punch on San Diego State and UNLV, but it’s clearly thinking big. It wants Pac-12 schools and it might just be able to get them.

So now, the Pac-12 has to D up big-time.

It has to come up with something fast to put in front of its remaining member schools to show there’s still life without USC and UCLA.

There has to be proof of a better media deal and more positive things on the horizon. It doesn’t have to be massive, but it has to be something to make it look like there’s a future.

Copy what the Big 12 just did and go get big schools that make sense – and bite the bullet on the whole Tier 1 thing, for now. SDSU, UNLV, and Fresno State or Boise State don’t make up for losing USC and UCLA, but it evens the playing field a bit with the Big 12 after its recent moves.

Again, do something.

So what’s going to happen?

I could be very, very wrong here, and it could all blow up by the time you’re done reading this sentence, but my best guess is that everything chills out for a while.

The next move – if any – will probably be from the Big Ten, but it doesn’t mean everyone won’t be spending the next several weeks and months trying to put deals together.

Remember, the Big 12 was supposedly dead around this time last year – I’m old enough to remember when the American Athletic Conference was supposedly going to poach the Big 12, not the other way around – and no, the Pac-12 probably isn’t the new Southwest Conference, Big East, or WAC.

No, this merger didn’t work, but that’s okay – it’ll be more fun for the rest of us.

This Big 12 vs. Pac-12 business battle is about to get spicy.

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2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams