Well, the big news today comes out of the realm of college football. Two college coaching hires have been announced; two more coaches were given pink slips and there are reports that Deion Sanders has been offered the Colorado job, but no details have been elucidated. So, let me dive in…
- Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell away from Cincy where Fickell has been for the last 6 seasons and where he amassed a record of 57-18. Last year, his Bearcats were the first team outside the so-called Power-5 conferences to take part in the CFP.
- Nebraska hired Matt Rhule meaning that Rhule will have another reclamation project on his hands. The Huskers were college football royalty once upon a time but the last time they made it to a New Year’s Day Bowl Game was in 2006. The last time they were in any bowl game of any kind was in 2016.
While there is likely a lot of smiles and levity in the Fickell and Rhule households today, two other coaches will not be back at work next season…
- Stanford saw coach David Shaw resign his position after being at the school for 12 seasons; he took over after Jim Harbaugh left Stanford to take the job as the head coach of the Niners in the NFL. Stanford was 3-9 this year – – the worst record in Shaw’s tenure there. He was the National Coach of the Year in 2017 but Stanford has not been to a bowl game since 2019.
- Florida Atlantic fired Willie Taggert after the Owls went 5-7 this season and failed to make a bowl game. Taggert has been a head coach for 13 seasons with a combined record of 71-80 at 5 different schools. About 5 years ago, he was one of the “hot prospects” involved in the college coaching game of musical chairs but his tenures at both Oregon and Florida State were brief and nothing more than mediocre.
And there are reports by FOX sports and by CBSSports.com out there but not yet confirmed that Colorado has offered its head coaching position to Deion Sanders whose Jackson State team just completed an undefeated season in the SWAC at the Division 1-AA level. Jackson State has a record of 22-2 over the last two seasons after Sanders took the job there. In the last two seasons, Jackson State has a conference record of 16-0 and to put that in perspective, the time before that when Jackson State was the SWAC Champion was in 2007.
Colorado is more than a reclamation project; Colorado needs a resurrection. Ever since the Buffaloes jumped from the Big-12 to the PAC-12 in 2011, the school has posted exactly two winning seasons (one of them in the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season). I do not know that the Colorado program is worthy of the label “A Lazarus of Bethany Project” (John 11: 1 – 44) but I am confident in saying that putting the Buffaloes back on the list of top college programs will be a Herculean task.
And once I got past the surprises provided by the coach-hiring processes, I came to notice that the college football results from last weekend also had more than a couple of surprise results:
- LSU will play in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia and probably looked ahead to that game as they lost badly to Texas A&M by 2 TDs last weekend. That is 3 losses for the Tigers in 2022; so, even if they beat Georgia, they are not likely to be in the CFP.
- South Carolina beat Clemson 31-30 meaning that the Gamecocks beat two Top 10 teams in consecutive weeks. S. Carolina finishes the season with an 8-4 record – – all four losses were against SEC opponents. This loss is the second of the season for Clemson making it a longshot for a CFP berth.
- Oregon St. beat Oregon 38-34. Oregon led 31-10 at one point in the game and led 34-17 in the 4th quarter. Oregon simply collapsed at the end of this game. That is the third loss of the year for the Ducks.
- USC can still aspire to a CFP slot after a win over Notre Dame by 11 points. They will need a win in the PAC-12 Championship Game against Utah to maintain that chance.
- TCU creamed Iowa St. 62-14 to stay undefeated for 2022. The fact that the Horned Frogs won this game is not nearly a surprise – – but that margin of victory is surprising.
- Michigan beat Ohio State convincingly in Columbus OH. It is not a shock that Michigan won the game; after all, they too were 11-0 at the kickoff. However, beating Ohio State at home by 3 TDs is always a surprise.
Assume for a moment that Michigan beats Purdue in the Big 10 Championship Game and that TCU beats K-State in the Big-12 Championship Game. Both will be favored to do so; and if those games go as foreseen, that will cement those two teams in the CFP bracket. But what if…
- Georgia loses to LSU (with 3 losses already this year) – – AND – –
- USC loses to Utah.
I am not predicting that either of those things will happen, but if they do, the CFP Selection Committee members will earn whatever their stipends are for serving on that body for 2022.
Finally, let me close here with these words about “surprises” and “football” from Cris Collinsworth:
“Most of us have been in a street fight at one point or another and it’s not always the best athlete that wins. Sometimes, it’s a tough guy that surprises people and I think that still has a major role in football, which is why the numbers do not always decide things.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………