Holidays are a time to return to one’s roots by going home.  The territory’s familiar and easy to recognize… lending a certain warmth to the coldest month of the year.  For the Burgundy and Gold, the holiday season is another time to go–and stay–home.  Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the NY Giants clinched last place in the NFC East.  For the second straight season and sixth time in seven years.  The current century has seen the team post a winning record just three times (2005, 07 and 12)…with the last four coaches under the Skins employ posting last place seasons (somehow Spurrier’s 5-11 that was “not too good” still bested the NY Giants in 2003).  Another winter of discontent.  Another year wondering what this team needs to get in the right direction…

 

RG3VER– the face of the franchise was pressed into service when McCoy had to go to sick bay with an aggravated neck injury.  While Griffin completed 18 of 27 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions…his biggest play was one that resulted in a major momentum shift for the other team.  With time running down in the first half, RG3 was streaking for the end zone…only to lose possession of the ball as he crossed the plane.  Instead of a 17-7 lead at the half, a shaky 3-point lead was erased when the Giants began the second half with an offsides kick and tied up the game with a field goal.  RG3 also showed some wheels (46 yards rushing on 5 carries).

 

McCoy sticking his neck out– while it’s a shame that Colt’s day at Met Life Stadium was cut short by the aggravation of his neck injury, one wonders exactly how hurt he was–and if the Redskins knew it, why didn’t they activate Kirk Cousins to have another QB on the roster?  Also, is coach Jay Gruden so done with RG3 as a longterm option he’s willing to junk the 2012 Rookie of the Year?  And why is he risking McCoy out there?

 

Alfred the Out of Place– Mr. Morris gained 49 yards on 14 carries…as he continues to stagger towards the finish line that is the 1,000 yard mark.  After rumbling for a season-high 125 against San Francisco, Morris has gained 123 yards over the last 3 games at 3.2 yards per carry.  On  a team like this 3-11 mess it appears as though Alfred’s talents are being wasted.  They need to get better on offensive line and in the secondary– and as much as you’d hate to see this team part with their leading rusher, #46 has to be a chip in the mix of yielding talent.  Even Mark-Paul Gosselaar had to move on to “Hyperion Bay”, “NYPD Blue” and whatever that show is on TNT now.  I’m not saying they should ship him out, but if the right deal is there…

 

The Joy of Sacks– seven more times the Redskins quarterbacks went down Sunday.  The 53 sacks allowed is the second most in the league this year (behind Jacksonville–and do they even count?) and once again it’s a combination of OL, poor pass protection by the RB’s and TE’s plus the QB hanging on to the ball way too long.  It’s just as important at quarterback who’s standing as who is starting…

 

Third and Hide My Eyes– the Skins converted 4 of 13 chances to move the chains.  Three resulted in sacks…and RG3 completed 4-5 with 3 conversions.  Another mixed bag.  Distance:  2 for 2 on third and short, 2 for 6 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed) and 0 for 5 on third and long.

 

Deficient Defense– Odell Beckham Jr. is open again.  The Giants sparkplug caught 12 passes for 143 yards (almost half of the team’s total output) and 3 touchdowns.  The Skins were unable to contain Beckham no matter what they threw at him… legal and illegal.

 

Flying flags– Well. Ten penalties for 135 yards.  All four against the defense went against Bashaud Breeland (coach Jay Gruden lauded the rookie’s aggressiveness Monday):  2 pass interferences, one taunting call and one unnecessary roughness.  Three of his four flags moved the ball past midfield.  Four flags came against the offense (false start, delay of game, and Santana Moss’ unsportsmanlike conduct infractions) and while Moss’ flags helped give the Giants a short field to onside kick from (they’d get a field goal), Shawn Lauvao’s false start helped force a first quarter field goal.  That’s six points there…

 

Cobra Kai, Showing the Way– the Skins Johnny Lawrence connected from 35 and 38 yards out…while Tress Way averaged 45.2 yards on six punts.  Can these two get their own movie series already?

 

Dissecting the Division– Dallas takes over first place in the NFC East with their victory over Philadelphia.  That’s consecutive primetime games in December the Cowboys have won–is there something we don’t know here?  Due to Detroit owning a better conference record, Dallas takes the 3rd seed if the playoffs were to start today while the Eagles are in 7th place and out of the postseason party.  The NY Giants hold down 3rd place in the division and 13th place in the NFC (right in front of Atlanta who led the NFC South until yesterday)…while the Skins after clinching last place in the division for the sixth time in seven years are now focused on dead last in the conference for the second straight season.  They own a one game lead over Tampa Bay but the Buccaneers own the head to head tiebreaker…

 

North besting the West– the AFC North owns the best composite record with two weeks remaining at 34-21-1 while the NFC West is 34-22.  The NFC East?  In sixth place at 27-29.

How bad will things get for the Burgundy and Gold?  A losing season and non-playoff campaign is already assured.  We’ve already seen the face of the franchise become fallible…casting doubt in his future.  There have been days when the defense gets gashed repeatedly…while on other afternoons and evenings the offense is reduced to a drizzle.  Now the coach is defending his defensive coordinator against a former player who calls Jim Haslett both clueless and a backstabber.  The 24-0 loss to St. Louis was perhaps punctuated before the game even began when Rams coach Jeff Fisher sent six players out as captains for the coin toss–six players who came to the Rams thanks to the RG3 trade.  Things are bad…and they may get much, much worse before the season ends.

McCoy, beam me up!– Colt before spraining his neck threw for 199 yards and two interceptions while also getting sacked six times.  Much like the Kirk Cousins Boom and Bust Cycle…now that teams have more tape on the plucky third stringer, he’s less effective.

Alfred the Vanishing– after gaining 12 yards on his first carry of the game, Mr. Morris ran the ball 7 more times for a total of minus-6 yards.  As a team the Skins gained just 27 yards on 12 tries…and was a decided non-factor.

Garcon instead of DeSean– with Jackson out of commission with an injury, Pierre returned to 2013 form by catching 9 passes for 95 yards.  Santana Moss matched his week 13 production with 3 more catches for 43 yards.

Third and Forever– the Skins move the chains on 3 of 12 attempts…with McCoy completing 6 of 7 passes for 3 conversions (with 3 sacks).  Seven of the third downs were by 10 yards or more as the problem isn’t just how this team executes on third down but how poorly they move the ball before third down.  Short: 1 for 2.  Medium: 0 for 2.  Long: 2 for 8.

One Serious Sack of You Know What– Skins quarterbacks were sacked 7 times.  Sometimes it’s the offensive line…sometimes its the runningback not making the right block on a blitzer…sometimes its the quarterback holding the ball too long.  Prime picks need to be spent on a wall up front for this team to move forward.

Case for the Defense– Will Compton tallied 14 sacks while Ryan Kerrigan notched a pair of sacks.  The D got off the field on 6 of 12 third downs.  The secondary still looks bad and the pass rush isn’t good enough to mask one bad back four.  The prime picks that aren’t going towards offensive linemen need to be spent on quality DB’s.

Cobra Kai– no field goal or extra point attempts for Mr. Forbath.  Tress Way’s day was marked by gaining 2 yards on a fake punt…but he still averaged over 45 yards per kick.  Sadly the special teams allowed a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown to Tayvon Austin in the third quarter that wrapped up the scoring.

Flying Flags– on 5 infractions this time for 51 yards.  Three on offense (false start, ineligible downfield pass, holding) and two on defense (personal foul and a facemask).  The most costly?  Kory Lichtensteiger’s ineligible downfield pass that turned what would have been a 1st and 10 from the Rams 38 into a 3rd and 10 from the Skins 16.  Both defensive players turned what would have been fourth downs into first downs for the Rams out of their own territory.

Dissecting the Division– despite Philadelphia’s loss the Eagles remain in first place of the NFC East (due to their win over Dallas on Thanksgiving)…holding the #3 seed in the conference.  The second place Cowboys are currently 7th in the  NFC–losing conference record tiebreakers with wildcard contenders Detroit and Seattle.  The NY Giants win over Tennessee gives them the inside track to not finishing last--the cellardwelling Skins can clinch last place with a loss to the G-Men Sunday.

Shaking down the South– while the AFC South is somewhat sorry at 20-32 after 13 weeks, the NFC South has already clinched a losing record for the season at 16-35-1.  I admire Atlanta for keeping its division record perfect (5-0) while remaining winless outside of its group (0-8).  The race for best division has the NFC West (32-20) one half game better than the AFC North (31-20-1)…with the NFC North (30-22) in close pursuit.  The NFC East? 25-27 and sixth-best.

Tis the season to be clinching!  December is when some NFL teams lock up playoff berths and division titles…while others are merely securing their spot in the cellar.  The Redskins 49-27 loss to Indianapolis secures the team’s sixth non-playoff season in seven years.  December for this franchise has changed from the “what are the potential postseason matchups?” to “where is the reset button?”.

 

If this team wants to be serious about becoming a contender, they need to get better on offensive line and in the secondary.  It’s great that they have two #1 wide receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but if the quarterback of the moment is lying on his back how valuable are they? Keenan Robinson and Ryan Kerrigan are difference-makers at linebacker, but does that matter when opposing receivers either run free through the secondary or are just not tackled after the catch?  This should be an intriguing offseason– one that is in effect already underway.

 

Colt 47–  McCoy threw for 392 yards and 3 TD’s with no interceptions…and was able to keep more than a few plays alive in the pocket while also managing the gameplan better than in his previous outings. He did fumble 4 times (losing 1 that was returned for a Colts TD) and was sacked 6 times (one more than RG3 the week before).  Much like many a Trek Episode, McCoy is neither the key problem nor solution (City on the Edge of Forever an obvious exception) for this franchise.  He’s a quarterback, not a miracle worker.

 

Alfred the Insignificant– Mr. Morris gained 67 yards on 17 carries…but when you trail 21-3 the running game goes into the circular file.  He’s well within striking distance of 1000 yards (only Stephen Davis has reached the millenium mark three straight years for the Skins)…it’s just a shame his play isn’t as impactful as it would be with a better team around him.

 

DeSean and Garcon Show– DeSean Jackson tallies 5 catches for 84 yards and a TD while Pierre Garcon adds 3 grabs for 9 yards…3 for 9?  For a guy who broke Art Monk’s regular season record for receptions last fall?  Does it make sense to keep both alpha-wideouts in Ashburn when the line can’t protect them long enough to get the ball?

 

Third and Really, Freaking, Consistently Ridiculously Long– the Skins converted just 5 of 15 attempts…with 13 passes and 2 runs called (one was a Morris loss on 3rd and goal from the 1, the other a Morris draw on the final play of the game.  McCoy completed 8 of 12 passes for 4 conversions while being sacked once.  Yardage Breakdown:  1-3 on third and short, 2-3 on third and 4-6 yards needed, 2-9 on third and long (7+).  There aren’t many 3rd & 27 plays out there…

 

D earns an F– where to begin?  The defense notched just one sack but tallied two takeaways in the first quarter.  The secondary looked vulnerable while allowing TD passes of 30, 48, 73 and 79 yards.  The defensive backfield had the appearance of playing shorthanded on multiple occasions…while one never thought it would be a strength the fact that it is such a glaring weakness makes one wonder what steps will be made in the offseason regarding the back four.

 

Flying Flags– are you ready for 10 penalties and 68 yards?  Four were offensive (Trent Williams tagged twice–for a false start and a hold), three came against the defense (including two neutral zone infractions) and two came on special teams on an extra point attempt and ensuing kickoff.  The most costly?  DeSean Jackson’s hold wiped out an Alfred Morris TD (although the Skins would score on the next play) and the two special teams miscues truncated the Colts field by 20 yards (they started at their 44).  When you’re allowing 73 and 79 yard TD’s, does shortening the field for the other team really matter?

 

Cobra Kai– a quiet day for Mr. Lawrence– as everybody’s favorite 80’s movie bully connected on 25 and 29 yarders.  Dutch would’ve made those.  Forbath improves to 19 of 22 on the season…but the real story on special teams remains Tress Way: 6 punts for a 46.5 yard average.  This is the role Zabka had to play on “European Vacation” where as Jack he dated Audrey Griswold…and was never seen again after picking up one vote for family president.  Does this make Way Rusty or  Clark?

 

Dissecting the Division– Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day win over Dallas gives the Eagles the NFC East lead as well as the #3 seed in the conference…while the Cowboys drop to 7th in the NFC due to losing the conference record tiebreaker with Seattle and Detroit.  The NY Giants–despite wasting a 21-3 lead in Jacksonville–hang onto third place thanks to their September win over the Skins (they host Washington in week 15).  The Burgundy and Gold remain one spot behind the Giants in 15th place of the NFC– one game ahead of a Tampa Bay team that owns the head to head tiebreaker.  At least they own their pick this year…

 

 

There’s always that one point during Thanksgiving weekend where one realizes–there’s not much football left.  The NFL is down to 4 or 5 weeks (unless Roger Goodell gets his 25 game schedule approved) remaining and the conference championships (plus Army-Navy) are all that remain on the college pre-bowl schedule.  It’s been a fun fall marked by the rise and decline of the Mississippi schools…the Russian Roulette that is the Big 12 (Actual 10)…and high-octane offenses all over the place.  As we prepare for the playoff (which should be 8 instead of 4)…one last glance around a region that gave us more misery than magic in 2014.

 

Alma Mater Update– a forgettable loss at Boston College wraps up a season made memorable by wearing sweatpant colored uniforms in prime time against Notre Dame.  The Orange lost 9 games in Dick MacPherson’s second season…hopefully Scott Shafer is on the same path and track.  Because we know the alternative…and the Greg Robinson era still stings.

 

Maryland wasted a 25 point second quarter lead in their 41-38 loss to Rutgers.  So much for a winning conference record their first season in the Big Ten.  So much for sending the seniors out on a strong note.  So much for “welcoming back” former coach Ralph Friedgen on the video scoreboard (looking forward to Bob Wade’s welcome back at the next basketball game).  Terrapin Triumphs– Brandon Ross runs for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns while CJ Brown adds 107 yards rushing and a score…the defense tallies two takeaways…William Likely notches 12 tackles while Cole Farrand adds 10 stops.  Terrapin Troubles– the defense managed just one sack as Gary Nova gashed the team for 347 yards and 4 TD’s (196 yards after halftime)…CJ Brown completed just 4 of 11 passes for 30 yards in the second half…9 penalties for 70 yards, including two that kept a late first half drive by Rutgers alive:  a roughing the kicker call at midfield and a defensive offsides that wiped out a Will Likely INT at the goal line.  Now and Next: 7-5 (4-4) hoping they get a trip to the TaxSlayer.com Bowl as opposed to the previously “unnamed Detroit Bowl”.

 

Virginia Tech somehow staggered to bowl-eligibility with a 24-20 “nobody wants to win this one” victory over Virginia.  For UVa it means another season on the outside looking in on the postseason and another bitter pill to swallow in their one-sided rivalry with VT.  For the Blacksburg faithful it means they have to watch 60 more minutes of this bumbling, stumbling bunch.  Barring overtime.  Do they have to play OT?

Hokie Highlights– holding the Cavs to 38 yards rushing… Ken Ekanem notches 2 of the teams 4 sacks… JC Coleman rushes for 118 yards while Michael Brewer throws 2 TD passes, including the go-ahead strike with 1:48 left…special teams gets a TD on a blocked punt.  BEAMER BALL!!!!

Hokie Humblings– 8 penalties for 71 yards…and how can you eat a smoked turkey leg the day after Thanksgiving?  I’m not saying Lane Stadium needs to add sushi, but…

Now and Next:  6-6 (4-4) looking at a potential Military Bowl trip to Annapolis.  I think I’m taking the tree down that day…

Cavalier Congrats– Quin Blanding led the defense with 14 tackles…and coach Mike London gets at least one more year with his recruits as it was announced he’ll be back for 2015.

Cavalier Concerns– the offense converted just 4 of 18 third down attempts…and 9 penalties for 71 yards doesn’t help much either.  Will the quarterback Magic Eight Ball be back in Charlottesville next fall?

Now and Next: 5-7 (3-5) shows progress from last year’s disaster…but the hot seat settings are already in place for 2015.

 

Navy became bowl-eligible by beating South Alabama 42-40…making their game with Army meaningless.  Hah.  Midshipmen Medals– Keenan Reynolds paces the running game with 119 yards and 3 touchdowns…as the team rolls up 388 yards on the ground.  The defensive trio of Jordan Drake (13 tackles and a forced fumble), Anthony Will (12 tackles and a sack) and Myer Krah (10 tackles and an interception) shined as well.  JUST ONE PENALTY.  Hokies and Terps- watch and learn…

Midshipmen Miscues– 415 yards allowed to the Jaguars?  And how do they get away with using “USA” as their abbreviation?  I think there’s a copywright infringement somewhere…

Now and Next: 6-5 with a December 13th game against Army.  Okay, so it’s not exactly meaningless.

Thanksgiving involves family, feasting and football–not necessarily in that order.  Hopefully everyone had an opportunity to share some time with loved ones–or even disliked ones that you’re mandated to spend time with because of family ties.  What do area teams have to be thankful for this November?  Maryland enjoyed a major feast this fall with a first-ever win at Penn State plus a first-ever win against Michigan (and in the Big House no less).  That is one huge turkey with multiple sides in the form of Will Likely interceptions, Andre Monroe sacks and CJ Brown grit.  Virginia got to experience some nice hors d’oeuvres with solid performances against UCLA and BYU plus a Coastal Division lead before starving itself over the last month.  Virginia Tech got nothing but gizzards and overcooked sides before the Wake Forest game provided food poisoning (must have been something in the gravy).  Navy gives us a fantastic dessert in the form of Keenan Reynolds– despite the less than stellar season the Midshipman Magician of a quarterback sends folks home happy like an incredible piece of pumpkin pie.  All I know is that after everything I’ve had to digest this fall… I need a nap on the couch.

 

Alma Mater Update– the Orange autumn of discontent wraps up with a road trip to Boston College to watch the Eagles celebrate their senior day.  Hopefully this offseason will provide coach Scott Shafer the impetus to continue the course originally set by Doug Marrone.  This program can be good but can’t afford major mis-steps…and if they’re able to get settled at quarterback perhaps 2015 will represent a bounce-back season.  It’s a shame they’re not playing in the Coastal Division…

 

Maryland vs Rutgers– the Terps wrap up their first season inside the Big Ten by facing the other “new kid in town”…while reuniting with a familiar face.  Ralph Friedgen coached in College Park for ten years–and after an extended vacation paid for in part by the University of Maryland he’s back on the sidelines as the Scarlet Knights offensive coordinator.  Rutgers first season in the Big Ten mostly mirrors Maryland’s–both losing to Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State while playing one-possession games with Penn State and Michigan.  But the Scarlet Knights have dropped four of five since getting off to a 5-1 start…a 5-1 start upon closer examination that includes a three point win at last in the Pac-12 Washington State plus a 13 point victory over Howard.  Thank goodness Tulane was on the schedule.  Saturday’s a big day at Byrd Stadium because it’s a senior day for a group of kids that went from 2-10 to two bowl appearances.  After coach Randy Edsall’s first season at the helm a lot of kids cut and run on his program–but those that stayed have succeeded.  Terps triumph, 35-13.

 

Virginia at Virginia Tech– sometimes the glass is half-empty…other times half-full.  For the Hokies faithful, there’s the agony of losing games to East Carolina and Georgia Tech at home…plus the stinker they threw out there last Saturday at Wake Forest.  At 5-6 they need a win to become bowl-eligible and continue a postseason streak that stretches back to 1993–but that means they have to experience another 60 minutes of this team playing against a quality opponent in a less than desirable location.  For the Cavaliers fans still working off the contact high of a senior day triumph over Miami, there’s the ecstasy of watching their team exceed expectations–however minimal those expectations may have been.  They led the Coastal Division for five minutes!  They can go bowling by beating their rivals!  Time for a dose of reality:  UVa hasn’t beaten Tech since 2003–and hasn’t won in Blacksburg since 1998.  That’s pre-Michael Vick, boys and girls.  Kippy and Buffy can take consolation that Tony Bennett has a top-10 team on the court preparing to invade College Park for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  Hokies earn themselves a few more weeks of not thinking about basketball, 27-20.

 

Navy faces South Alabama– Directional November continues for the Academy two weeks after crushing Georgia Southern.  In an odd scoreboard twist, websites will be posting a “Navy-USA” result Saturday-which seems kind of counterproductive.  South Alabama lost to Georgia Southern by 22 in September, so the transitive property would say that it looks good for the visitors– and the Mids have a healthy Keenan Reynolds running at full speed.  Bring on Army.  Midshipmen cruise, 34-19.

 

Richmond beats Morgan State, James Madison tops Liberty.

Last Week: 4-5.  Closing month?  I’m not even close to sniffing a set of steak knives…was the empty box Mitch and Murray set on my desk an early Christmas present?

Overall: 82-36.

Burgundy and Gold Nation doesn’t have a lot to be thankful for this November.  Their quarterback of the future doesn’t seem to be in the plans of their coach of the present.  A defense already with a coordinator on the hot seat loses a new player every week.  Each loss is another indictment on how this team is not well constructed…and the team’s recent history puts everything in play.  It’s not inconceivable they’d fire their coach after one season or trade away their first round quarterback after three seasons as a starter because they’ve done both.  In the interim, there are now five more games to play to set the stage for 2015.  Sunday’s 17-13 loss to San Francisco had a Thanksgiving feel…the offense was repeatedly stuffed and the special teams looked like turkeys.  Did anyone bring yams?

 

RG3VER– the face of the franchise completed 11 of 19 passes for 106 yards and no interceptions…but Griffin was sacked 5 times for 29 yards, meaning the Skins gained just 77 net yards passing.  Three of those sacks came on third down…as the offense feels as threatening as it did in the first year of Gibbs II when one felt the opponents would get their 17 of 20 and then put the game on deep freeze.  At least he didn’t throw any teammates under the bus.

 

Alfred the Centurion– Mr. Morris ran for 125 yards and a touchdown– the first time he reached triple digits all season.  It’s as if Zack had left the cast during the College Years season and then came back for the Wedding in Vegas movie like Lark Voorhies did.  I almost didn’t recognize him…

 

DeSean and Garcon– the dynamic duo combined for 5 catches and 73 yards…aren’t we used to one or the other posting those numbers on his own?  This year the Lamborghini(Garcon) has often been left in the garage…but it’s nice to know that there’s room in there for the Ferrari (Jackson). This is going to sit well…as wide receivers are very understanding and even-tempered.

 

Third and Oh No– the Skins moved the chains on 2 of 13 attempts.  RG3 completed 3 of 7 passes (1 conversion) while getting sacked 3 times;  he ran twice for eight yards (both times coming up short of moving the marker) while Alfred Morris scored a 1 yard touchdown on his lone third down carry (3rd and goal from the 1).  Yardage breakdown:  1-1 on third and short, 1-4 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed) and 0-8 on third and long.  Again, poor execution on first and second down gave the team 5 third downs where they needed 10 yards or more.

 

Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson– when London Fletcher announced his retirement, there was concern that this team would not find the right man to monitor the middle.  Those concerns were overblown as Keenan Robinson once again paces the defense with 8 tackles (7 solo).  The D needs more pieces like Robinson to turn around what’s been a less than ideal fall.

 

Flying Flags– seven penalties for 53 yards might not sound horrible, but five of those infractions came in the fourth quarter.  Three of the seven came on offense (illegal formation, hold, false start) while one came on defense (Ryan Clark’s unnecessary roughness) and three more were on special teams (Akeem Davis with two–a false start and an illegal block).  The illegal block gave the Skins a 1st and 10 from the 8-yard line as opposed to the 28 on their final possession…and Morgan Moses’ false start pushed the ball back to 4-yard line two plays before Griffin’s game-ending fumble.

 

Cobra Kai– one week after going 0-for-2, the Johnny Lawrence of kickers shook it off (apologies to Taylor Swift)– and Sunday he booted both attempts (27 and 36 yards).  Tress Way continues to justify his offseason pickup by averaging 47 yards per kick…

 

Dissecting the Division–Philadelphia’s win keeps the Eagles ahead of Dallas thanks to a better division record;  both would make the playoffs at 8-3 (Eagles get the #3 seed while the Cowboys would be seeded 5th and face the NFC South winner-nice gift for not winning the East).  The NY Giants 5th straight loss keeps the division cellar in play for Big Blue and the Redskins (G-Men own 3rd thanks to their week four win at Fed Ex Field).

 

True North– the AFC North owns a 27-15-1 composite record, two and a half games better than the NFC West (27-17).  The NFC East?  22-22 (good enough for 6th out of 8 divisions) while drawing the AFC South (15-29) as a crossover opponent.  I’m sure they wish they had the NFC South (13-30-1) as their intraconference crossover…as 4-7 Atlanta leads the division with 2-9 Tampa Bay in striking distance of the lead.

College football has a history of being less than progressive…so I can understand if the four team playoff is here for a while.  Lets be honest–they didn’t use the bowls as a championship determining tool until the late 60’s…and it took 30 more years to move away from the jigsaw puzzle of New Years Day bowl game format.  Even the BCS overstayed its welcome.  So I’m not expecting football tournament expansion–but wouldn’t eight be great?  Five major conference winners plus three wildcards.  Home field for the higher seed.  No complaining by the Big Ten or Pac 12 if their leagues get shut out…plus once you move past the third at-large team there’s rarely a team that belongs in the championship mix.  Wouldn’t you want to see an Alabama-Ohio State quarterfinal in Tuscaloosa?  A quadruple-header December 13th or 20th would be preferable to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl…with the winners advancing to the January 1st semifinals.  Can’t wait until 2035 when this actually happens…

 

Alma Mater Update– is it over yet?  The Orange’s 30-7 loss at Pitt further cemented a forgettable season.  Coach Scott Shafer’s 2015 season begins now.

 

Maryland cemented its status as Big Ten road warriors…rallying with two fourth quarter touchdowns to beat Michigan 23-16.  Two weeks after posting its first ever win at Penn State, coach Randy Edsall’s team notches its first ever win against the Wolverines.  Terrapin Triumphs– CJ Brown rushes for 87 yards and a TD and avoids tossing an interception after throwing 3 last week…Cole Farrand tallies 10 tackles while Will Likely secures his 6th interception of the season…Brad Craddock converts all 3 field goals as the Aussie improves to 17 of 17 on the season.  Terrapin Troubles– the offense converts just 3 of 12 third down attempts… the defense allows 319 yards rushing… and the white ops uniforms make one miss the “X-Wing Pilot helmets” look.  Next:  Saturday vs Rutgers.

 

Virginia somehow finds itself in position to make the postseason…mauling Miami 30-13 on Senior Day.  All they have to do is win on the road against a rival they haven’t beaten since 2003…in a stadium where they haven’t won since 1998.  Cavalier Congrats– Khalek Shepherd rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown while leading the team with 5 catches…Max Valles notches three of the team’s four sacks while posting seven tackles…Kippy & Buffy end a great tailgating season by enjoying a Taylor Fladgate LBV Port with Gruyere on Captain’s Wafers.  Cavalier Concerns– CONCERNS?  They just beat the U by 17!  One just has to be worried about getting one’s hopes up heading into the annual ACC version of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown.  Next:  Friday night at Virginia Tech.

 

Virginia Tech finds itself on the precipice of bowl elimination…thanks to a 6-3 double overtime loss at Wake Forest.  How did ACC Commissioner John Swofford not step in after 60 minutes of scoreless regulation? Couldn’t he create a “thunderstorm warning” and send everybody home?  Hokie Highlights– can I actually list positives from such a dreadful day?  JC Coleman rushes for 98 yards… while Andrew Motuapuaka tallies 10 tackles and 2 sacks (of the team’s 7).  Hokie Humblings– where to begin?  Start with two fumbles lost plus an interception–both fumbles coming in Demon Deacons territory.  Continue with an offense that converted just 3 of 15 third down attempts.  Finish with an offensive line that allowed five sacks.   Next: Friday night vs Virginia.

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