PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM…

 

College Football’s championship process has come a long way from the jigsaw puzzle of New Year’s Day bowls where you needed a chart to get through the day.  We had that for about 30 years (Associated Press champions were determined pre-bowls up to 1967).  The BCS #1 vs #2 model (often flawed and frustrating) lasted less than 20 years.  So it gives me hope that although this 4-team playoff is a decided step forward, it won’t be too long before they expand to eight. That’s right, eight is enough.  The Big Ten, ACC, Big XII, SEC and Pac-12 Championship Games should be for automatic berths.  Fill the other spots with dominant mid-major schools, worthy runners-up or schools that are too good to submit themselves to being in a conference (we’re looking at you, Notre Dame).

You wouldn’t want a Saturday quadruple-header midway through December?  Does Alabama-Oklahoma whet the appetite as a potential quarterfinal?  I’d give the higher seed home field, but keep the New Year’s games and Championship game at neutral sites with their current dates in place.  If it means you have to move the Conference Championship games to Thanksgiving weekend, so be it.  Schools already have two bye weeks most years as it is (this season being the exception).  Would this solve everything?  Hardly.  But 5th ranked teams pre-bowl have won it all before (Notre Dame in 1977, Miami in 1983).  You should be rewarded for winning your league–and barring that, coming close to doing so while playing a challenging schedule.  This won’t happen until 2030, right?

 

Maryland (2-8, 0-6 Big Ten) entertains Indiana– while some say the Terps have caught a couple of bad breaks along the way this fall, you could easily make the case for the Hoosiers being the most snake-bitten team this season.  Four of their six conference losses have come by eight points or less- including last weekend’s overtime loss to Michigan.  IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld has torched his share of secondaries this season…and if there’s one thing Maryland can’t get into it’s a shootout (the offense ranks 12th in the Big Ten in scoring, 13th in passing and 14th in total offense).  Terps tumble, 34-22.

 

Virginia Tech (5-5, 3-3 ACC) hosts North Carolina– emotions will be high during the final home game of coach Frank Beamer’s career.  Tech has dominated the Tar Heels since joining the ACC…winning 9 of 11 matchups.  But this year’s UNC team has won nine straight since an opening weekend loss to South Carolina…and is on track to contend for it’s first ACC title since 1980.  They lead the conference in scoring, passer efficiency and yards per carry.  With Michael Brewer and company as offensively challenged as they’ve been this year, I’ve figured the kicking game (BEAMER BALL!) needs to return a kickoff, punt and a blocked kick back for scores to keep pace.  Hokies sadly come up short, 38-24.

 

Virginia (3-7, 2-4 ACC) hosts Duke– the Blue Devils have not won since they fell on a last-second kickoff return to Miami, only to learn two days later that the touchdown should not have counted on that play.  I know this isn’t hoops Gary Williams, but so much for Duke getting all the calls.  Coach Mike London’s team has lost more than their share of close calls, but while they may be four plays away from 7-3 they’re also three scores away from being 0-10.  While UVa is not known for finishing strong on the football field, Kippy & Buffy bring it for the first of two final Saturdays:  they welcome Tommy & Cricket with a bottle of Tarara 2010 CasaNoVa Merlot (“the nose is packed with dark notes of desiccated strawberry, red currant and caramel lozenge, plus dried herb and maduro subtleties”)…as they share Red Leicester cheese on water biscuits.  Cavaliers bounce back against the Blue Devils, 29-21.

 

Navy (8-1, 6-0 AAC) tangles with Tulsa– the Midshipmen look to avoid looking ahead to next weekend’s showdown with unbeaten Houston for a spot in the American Athletic Conference (of America) Championship Game (for the Championship).  The Golden Hurricanes have been downgraded to “brass weather systems” this fall:  their two AAC wins are against UCF and SMU–schools that are a combined 1-20 on the season.  They allow 39 points per game.  Why is Keenan Reynolds salivating again?Midshipmen make it happen, 45-21.

 

Howard falls at Delaware State, Georgetown slips to Holy Cross, James Madison falls to Villanova,  William & Mary edges Richmond to win the CAA.

 

Last Week: 8-1.  Closing Month continues with a 14-2 run…

Overall: 71-18.

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