NCAA Week 13: Stock Up, Stock Down
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While Saturday's SEC undercard of endless tomato cans provided its annual November embarassment to college football, it did serve a worthwhile purpose.
No, not the cynical buy-a-win controlled scrimmage before rivalry week.
Instead, it's Exhibit A for expanding the College Football Playoff bracket to eight teams and including all Power Five champions. If SEC fans are willing to settle for inferior non-cons, then keep it going. Same for Baylor. Better to have the Selection Committee chuckle their way through wild card choices than leaving out a conference titlist.
Stock Up: Savannah State ... This is the model program that every big brand record-whore has on its scheduling speed dial. The Tigers held BYU to 64 points while selflessly scoring none in the latest stop on their annual tour d'argent. Sure, they're 0-12 and they get the snot beat out of them every weekend. But they're darn honored to be there for every prestigious beatdown.
OK, dudes, just close your eyes and think of the cash this philosophy gives your athletic department so your coaches can get paid and those who come after you can get crushed like bugs, too. What an esteem-builder!
Stock Down: Mark Spier ... There he was, taking a break and tuning in ESPN Game Day like the rest of college football fandom before getting his Western Carolina Catamounts prepared for their annihilation at the hands of Alabama, and he sees this:
Not bothered for one second about sending kids into a mismatch to support his own six-figure salary, Spier popped off about haves berating have-nots:
|A guy had a silver spoon in his mouth all his life, Ohio State, prima donna state quarterback talking about, 'It's an embarrassment. He ain't ever coached.|
Dude, like other jocks at the big brands, Herbstreit had to put in the work and earn his way to a scholarship there. He then followed that up by carving out a top-flight career in sportscasting, which is 'way more competitive than coaching will ever be. Silver spoon? Hardly.
Look, if an athletic department has to keep sending kids out to be treated like the Bad News Bears, maybe the message is that it's over-reaching. Maybe it should accept reality and scale down a notch or two. Division II and III programs offer fine student-athlete experiences, too, and are most likely finer than being the butt of jokes and spot-on media commentaries.
Universities are full of smart people, so perhaps it's time for Coach Spier and his ilk to take counsel and understand that economic ethics indicate living within one's means is a far superior life lesson than pimping out one's players.
Stock Up: Samaje Perine ... Nebraska's frosh RB apparently liked the one thing Charlie Weis did right at Kansas. Perine admired those cool Jayhawk-mascot helmets so much that he wanted to see as many as possible every time he touched the ball. So he did. Linemen's. Linebackers'. Secondary's. It took him 427 yards to take it all in, but those were really cool helmets.
All Melvin Gordon had to look at last week was an N. No wonder he wrapped up his day in the third quarter.
Stock Down: Mike Gundy ... This dude's perspective is just as warped as Speir's. What's he doing pulling a freshman QB's redshirt in late November? At Baylor, no less! Was that expected clubbing worth burning a year of eligibility? Yes, getting bowl-eligible gives a team 15 more practices, but Baylor was never going to be Oklahoma State's sixth win, and Bedlam is in Norman in two weeks. The Cowboys had options -- not the best, but options -- on Saturday. A preferred walk-on is basically a player waiting for a scholarship to open up, so if Daxx Garman wasn't ready to go and possibly won't ready for the Sooners, why not see what Taylor Cornelius can do? Or is Gundy's relationship with AD Mike Holder so strained that Bovada is right to make him the front runner for the Gators job? If he intends to leave his alma mater, then maybe putting Mason Rudolph out there was an easy decision, after all.
Stock Up: Arkansas ... It took 17 conference games to put that ol' Big Ten know-how to work in the SEC, but Bret Bielema might finally be figuring it out. Back-to-back shutouts made the Razorbacks bowl eligible and a sudden source of concern for Missouri. Gonna be a lotta Sooo-eee piggin' going on in the Peach State this Friday night.
Stock Down: Old-Time football ... So much for three yards and a cloud of dust on a modern carpet. Virginia Tech and Wake Forest spent 27 possessions setting the game back 90 years while trying to hit paydirt before the clock struck zero on Saturday. Thus, it was joined by two more zeroes as overtime ensued. The tally up to then: 18 punts, three missed FGs, two fumbles, two interceptions, two guns -- halftime and regulation -- and Division I's first scoreless tie since 2005.
As if Florida State and Ohio State didn't already know they'd better win out if they want a shot at playing past New Year's Day.
This result sorta squares Ohio State's strength-of-schedule data for the week, what with the Virginia Tech debacle at Wake Forest, and TCU is clinging to any ort out there that might neutralize the effect of its 21-point collapse in Waco. More to the point, the Gophers kept themselves in the race for a Big Ten title game berth. It's now either them or Wisconsin at Camp Randall this Saturday for the Axe that they'll hope cuts down a tree full of Buckeyes.
Stock Down: The Rocky Topple ... Celebrating Tennessee's fake field goal TD can be hazardous to one's health:
Stock Up: Déja Vu ... Apparently, the legend of Boise State's trickerations never made it to Laramie. How could Wyoming's Cowboys gaze upon a QB's stilted follow-through pose and not see this coming?
All that was missing against Wyoming was a ring.