1. (Don’t) Suit Up!
Let’s say this much: Saturday night in Tallahassee was wonderful theater. The No. 1 team in the nation…the nation’s longest win steak on the line…Florida State’s midnight (or, 11:07 p.m.) decision to suspend Jameis Winston for the entire game in light of new information, and then Kirk Herbstreit calling them out on national TV for this, stating bluntly, “I’m not buying it.”…Jameis’ absolute tone-deafness…a true freshman QB for Clemson enters the game late in the first quarter and shows the poise of a future All-American…FSU backup Sean Maguire’s inability, most of the game, to seek out any receiver who was not his roommate (Nick O’Leary… Maguire and O’Leary–and they call Notre Dame the Fighting Irish)…and of course, Clemsoning. This was the most Clemsony Clemsoning of all time…and the cherry on top had to be Jimbo Fisher excusing his Heisman winner’s sartorial gaffe by noting that he did it “because he loves his teammates.”
I mean, imagine if Clemson doesn’t lose that fumble and kicks the game-winning field goal. It’s Winston’s fault that FSU loses and we all know it. And, I’m sorry, but with only one more ranked team (Notre Dame) on the schedule, the SelCom would have every reason not to choose the Seminoles as a final four team even if they did win out. Either way, it was a fascinating game. I just wish Brent Musburger had called it. ESPN is going to give Chris Fowler, who is perfect as the host of College GameDay, anything he wants, but in an atmosphere like Saturday night’s, there are at least five men who were better-suited for that role, beginning with Brent. It’s really all the game lacked.
3. That’s Amari
I haven’t been that crazy about Alabama (or Crazy in Alabama) this September, but the Tide opened my eyes on Saturday in the 42-21 defeat of Florida. Lane Kiffin (this is not easy for me to say) did a terrific job coordinating up those plays, Derrick Henry ran like a Bama RB is s’posed to, Trent Richardson-style, Landon Collins hit like a poophouse of red clay, and most impressive of all of them was wideout Amari Cooper.
Right now Cooper, who had (this is where Katie McCollow eyes glaze over and she begins to daydream about chocolate chip cookies with Steve Coogan’s face) 10 receptions for 201 yards and three touchdowns, is our new leader for the Red Grange Award. He currently leads the nation in both receptions (43) and yards per game (163.8). I still love the Gurley Man, but Mark Richt didn’t give him the pig bladder at first-and-goal on the 4 with the season on the line and then last Saturday he got outrushed by Samsung Michel, his own backup. Granted, it was during a 66-0 win, but still
Right now the top two candidates for the Grange are Cooper and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has thrown 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions and whom Rod Gilmore likes a lot because he’s not always in trouble.
Amari is such a pretty name, isn’t it? It stems from “amare”, which in Latin means “to love” (or to be constantly injured), which is not to be confused with “amore,” which means a big pizza pie has just struck you in the eye.
3. Medium Happy 8*
*The judges are accepting suggestions for a snappier name.
(Our weekly ranking of the top eight teams in the nation, based almost entirely on what they have done on the field. We will note that Drew Sharp found it in his heart to place Notre Dame at No. 23 on his ballot this week –they covered against Bye–and that Scott Wolf has 1-2 Clemson at 15)
1. Texas A&M (4-0)
One of two schools –the other is located just 90 minutes northwest–in the Top 10 in both Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense, and also have a quality road win at SC.
2. Alabama (4-0)
Okay, Nick, you’ve sold me.
3. Oklahoma (4-0)
I said, “Nooooooklahoma” to Saturday night’s unis, but the Sooners pulled away in the second half in Morgantown. West Virginia has out-Clemsoned Clemson this month in terms of best two losses by one team.
4. Florida State (3-0)
They found a way to win. More impressive to me than Oregon, whose defense is again soft.
5. Oregon (4-0)
The Ducks have a high-quality win, but they eked by a Wazzu team that lost by more to Nevada. Not at all impressed with the defense. By the way, keep your eyes on Cougar sophomore wideout River Cracraft. He catches everything.
6. Auburn (3-0)
Nice road win in Manhattan on a Thursday night.
7. Michigan State (2-1)
I doubt Sparty will lose again. The Michigan game will be ugly.
8. Baylor (3-0)
Not at all impressed with the schedule, but they’re tops in the nation in Scoring Offense and No. 2 in Scoring Defense. Upcoming games are at Iowa State, at Texas, versus TCU and at West Virginia.
Looking ahead to next week: LSU is going to smote New Mexico State with a vengeance just the way Georgia and Michigan State took out their frustrations on Saturday in 66-0 and 73-14 wins, respectively…Arizona, which scored 36 fourth-quarter points on Cal and stole a win with an Ave Maria Paseo (we are close to the Mexican border in Tucson, after all) will get rolled in Eugene by the Ducks.
4. Suit Up!
In the category of “Fish Out of Water” journalism, here’s a piece I wrote on suits. I wanted to write a three-piece story, but the editors sagely overruled me.
5. While My Qatar Gently Weeps*
*We know. We know. It doesn’t really rhyme with “guitar.” We just couldn’t resist.
So it has come to the attention of FIFA officials that Qatar is somewhat warm and uncomfortable and now one of them says that the 2022 World Cup will not be held there. So, yeah, thanks to those 1,000 or so migrant workers who died thus far constructing stadiums, but are you free in the summer of 2022, America?
It’s the right move. Why they ever $$ chose $$ Qatar $$ in the $$ first place $$ is beyond $$ me.
Men in Blazers
NBC Sports Net 10 p.m.
Well, this ought to be truly sub-optimal. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett continue to dominate as, following in the grand tradition of Rowan & Martin, the Smother Brothers and Rizzoli and Isles, they bring their two-man act to an actual scheduled TV broadcast. From the crap part of SoHo. Size the day.