Archives for posts with tag: Eight is Enough

Haven’t we been here before?  December brings disappointment for 3-5 schools as has been the case since the College Football Playoff began.  I’ve written so many “eight is enough” columns over the years I’m starting to sing like Grant Goodeve.  This year it almost feels as though spots in the playoff field weren’t as much won as not lost.  Once again the Big Ten and Pac 12 champs find themselves on the outside looking in…although at least this year they have the Rose Bowl to play in.  UCF if they beat LSU in the Fiesta Bowl will likely hand out rings that say “National Champions”.  And Georgia will rue that fake punt on fourth and 11…knowing how razor-thin the margin for playoff inclusion is.  Not having an eight-team playoff field sucks.  But this is the world we live in…

If the BCS were still kicking around, Notre Dame would be arguing for inclusion instead of a Clemson team that allowed 35 points to South Carolina (the Irish allowed 54 points in four November games) after winning the ACC in a down year for the league.  Oklahoma would claim that its Big 12 title win over Texas more than erased their regular season loss to the Longhorns…to no avail.  And if the old bowl system were still in place, #1 Alabama would face #2 Clemson in the Sugar while #3 Notre Dame would face #4 Oklahoma in the Orange.  Going back further, at least they award the championships post-bowls.  Minnesota in 1960 and Alabama in 1964 kept their titles despite January defeats and Notre Dame won the 1966 title despite not even participating in a bowl.  So bear with the larvae stage of the college football postseason…and gear up for a better process in eight years.

 

Virginia Tech (6-6) salvaged its season further by beating Marshall 41-20.  The Hokies keep their postseason streak alive thanks to consecutive wins.  Hokie Highlights:  Ryan Willis threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns.  Rayshard Ashby tallied 15 tackles to lead the defense that notched two takeaways and handcuffed the Thundering Herd for the first three quarters.  Hokie Humblings:  the offense converted just 4 of 13 third downs while the defense did cough up a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns.  The sad part about finally putting together two solid efforts is one asks where this team was when they were losing four straight.  Next:  December 31st against Cincinnati at the Military Bowl in Annapolis.

 

James Madison (9-4) saw its season end with a 23-20 loss at Colgate in the second round of the FCS Playoffs.  The defeat also saw the end of the Mike Houston era:  three years and a 37-6 record before he went to East Carolina (after reportedly being bound for Charlotte).  Such is the cost of being a perennial FCS contender.  May the next coach be as successful.  Duke Do’s:  the running game gained 200 yards against a defense that allowed 5.7 points per game during the regular season.  Duke Don’ts:  Ben DiNucci threw five interceptions.  Next:  August 31, 2019 at West Virginia.

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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.