5-at-10: College football playoff chaos conspiracies, other weekend winners and losers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) attempts a pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) chases after him during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. San Francisco's Spencer Burford (74) looks on. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) attempts a pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) chases after him during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. San Francisco's Spencer Burford (74) looks on. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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Chaos in college football

OK, I normally have weekend winners and losers on Mondays. It's kind of a staple.

I will move all of the non-college football playoff talk into separate categories. Because there were so many talking points from Sunday's announcement of the CFP field, it's hard to peg them all down.

In truth, when the answer is revealed — the playoff field as you assuredly know is top-seed Michigan vs. No. 4-seeded Alabama in the Rose and No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Texas — and there instantly are more questions, well, that's seldom a compliment.

But there are several facts in play here and some of them contradict.

I believe FSU — and unbeaten Power 5 conference champ — deserved a spot. And yes, deserved it over Alabama.

I believe that FSU would have been manhandled by Michigan with either of their reserve QBs on the field, and in an event that is made for TV as much as it's made for the sport — more on this in a moment — that fact must be addressed.

I believe the committee's biggest mistake was waiting on dropping FSU. When Jordan Travis got hurt and the offense sputtered, that was the time to address this.

I believe a one-loss SEC champion deserves a spot, too.

I also believe Alabama would be a double-digit favorite over this FSU team.

I also believe the committee decided to pick-and-choose on its requirements, because do I believe Alabama is one of the four best teams, yeah. But I think Georgia is right there, too.

I believe the way this broke was the worst-case scenario for the committee and there were potholes in either path.

But I also believe in strolling down a couple of new talking points that deal with a couple of conspiracies.

First, the Michigan-Alabama game will be a TV monster, and if you think that doesn't matter to the determination of college sports — or if you think that only matters in FBS football — watch the selection Sunday show sometime and how often fringe Bluebloods get an invite.

And after last year's TCU beatdown at the hands of Georgia, it matters more this year than ever.

It could be one of the reasons why the entire crew save Booger McFarland on the announcement show ESPN (which has to be tickled with Harbaugh vs. Saban in the Granddaddy of Them All) was in almost universal support of a decision that was universally loathed outside of the SEC.

But that's the clear conspiracy.

How about the clouded one?

It's no secret I think next year's playoff expansion is going to greatly diminish the greatest regular season in sports.

What's the best way to fight that argument? Present the dilemma that the regular season is broken in the current format. Cue the Guinness guys, "Brilliant!"

And this decision — an unbeaten Power Five champ being left out — has generated a lot of "why do we even play the games" chatter because all FSU did was beat everyone on their schedule, which has before Sunday always been more than enough in the Playoff era.

Side note: "The Playoff Era" is only 10 years old, so the word era may not be the best phrasing. And as an Auburn fan — remember 2004, friends — I know FSU's heartache.

But the expansion will forever change the college football football regular season, and here's how:

THE Ohio State would be in, so the loss to Michigan didn't matter.

Georgia is in, so the SEC title game didn't matter.

The way things played out, Alabama would still be in so fourth-and-31 at Auburn didn't matter.

Oregon is in, so both losses to Washington didn't matter. Same with Mizzou and Ole Miss and Penn State.

Heck, the drama — even in the defensive rock fights of the Big Ten and the ACC nightcaps — of the title weekend will be non-existent. Moreover, for some conferences, it would be better not to go or worse yet, to throw the outcome.

In a 12-team format, FSU and the ACC would have been better served to lose Saturday and let another league team into the field and in front of the cash spigot.

In truth, want to know what was better and will be fondly remembered: The BCS.

Less is more in my view on this.

Heck, if we all agree that Michigan and Washington are 1-2 in this format, the old bowl system would have been better and less controversial than this.

Other weekend winners

San Francisco. Wow, that was supremely impressive. We talked about non-QBs and MVPs last Friday, and 49ers RB1 Christian McCaffrey deserves to have his hat in that ring. But in terms of true value, what about this: Left tackle Trent Williams missed all or parts of three games; San Fran went 0-3 in those three games. Left tackle Trent Williams has played most or all of nine games; San Fran is 9-0 in those games, has scored 301 points in those games, including 42 in each thumping of NFC contenders Dallas and Philadelphia. That's pretty valuable.

DeMeco Ryans. Can we book coach of the year for the first-year Houston HC? Ryans and the Texans are contending for a postseason spot and have seven wins this season. The Texans had seven wins combined in the last two seasons. And CJ Stroud looks like he's going to be him.

UTC women hoops. Nice win over a ranked Mississippi State team gang.

Mike Evans. The Bucs WR1 topped the 1,000-yard mark for the season Sunday. It's the 10th consecutive season. Evans, who already owns the NFL record for most 1,000-yard receiving seasons to start a career, is now tied with Randy Moss for second in NFL history with 10 in a row. Jerry Rice holds the record (of course) with 14 consecutive such seasons.

Damon Stoudamire. It may have been a head-scratching choice when he was hired at Georgia Tech, but the Jackets have rallied from a humiliating loss at Cincinnati with back-to-back wins over ranked foes, highlighted by Saturday's home win over No. 7 Duke. And know this friends, if you build Tech hoops, it has been proven people will come. There was no hotter sports ticket in the A-T-L growing up there in the mid-1980s than Bobby Cremins' Jackets.

Weekend losers

The Patriots. Egad, when you think Iowa's offense is bad, Bill Belichick and his crew simply say, "Hold my Sam Adams." How about this stat: The Pats are the first NFL team since 1938 to lose three straight games in which the opponent did not score more than 10 points." There are only two choices for Coach Hoodie at this point: Plan your retirement or spend the next four months doing everything possible that you have the first pick and you are sure you have the right guy.

The MLB Hall of Very Good. Man Cooperstown continues to be watered down by the cronies formerly known as the Veterans Committee, who added another good-to-very-good member to the Hall of Fame. Jim Leyland was announced as the next selection from the Contemporary Baseball Era Non-Players Committee. Leyland has a career winning % of .506 (seriously) at 1,769–1,728 and all of one World Series title (despite multiple years with a Pirates team that was loaded in the early 1990s) in 22 years. His average record over that span (including work stoppages) was — wait for it — 80.4-78.5. Yikes. It's official, it's the Hall of Very Good. Period.

SEC hoops. I'll go ahead and beat DD to the punch. Kentucky lost at Rupp to UNC. UNC-Wilmington that is. By more than a few (seven ot precise) as an 18.5-point favorite. Coach Cal deserves more than just a paragraph at some point this week. Miss. State lost at home to Southern, which is less than good. Auburn lost at App State (that said, and not being an apologist here, I think App State is likely going to be a tournament team).

Anyone counting on returning starters for their college football teams. Egad, the transfer portal is open and coaches can have contact with those who have submitted their names. And when THE Ohio State can't pony up enough to prevent its QB1 from submitting his names, then buckle up.

This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the bowl match-up for UT Vols.

— Yes, we are going to have a bowl contest. Yes, we will discuss all the bowl match-ups. Let's plan for tomorrow. Deal? Deal.

— Speaking of college football, no way to put your UTC Mocs in either of the above categories, since a) they got thumped pretty good (as expected) at Furman, and b) they extremely overachieved in a lot of ways considering the injuries to some dudes, the way the season started and still making it to round two of the playoffs.

— It's in AA we trust. Has to be. And in truth, he's made so many great moves over the years, if I was a GM of an opposing club, I'm not sure I would take his calls. Atlanta sent Cole Phillips, a righty who throws triple-digits, and another prospect to Seattle for LF Jarred Kelenic, LHP Marco Gonzalez and 1B Evan White. Kelenic (.253 with 11 homers and a .746 OPS in 416 ABs) is the key point of the trade and at the least could platoon with Vaughn Grissom in left.

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers, go.

And yes, there will be more than a little back-and-forth about the CFP field. That's to be expected.

But we'll offer this in honor of Mike Evans this morning. If you are on a NFL records list, which is the best duo to join:

— A WR joining Moss and Rice.

— A QB joining Manning and Brady.

— A RB joining Smith and Sanders.

— Other and specify.

As for today, Dec. 4, let's review.

On this day 80 years ago, MLB commish Kennesaw Mountain Landis announced that any team could sign Black players.

Jay-Z is 54 today.

Rushmore of Jay (and not just J, but the full spelling). Go.


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