Monday After features some thoughts on college football week 13, NFL week 12, and some NBA news and notes.
Let Chase Young Go To New York
Chase Young is THE best player in college football. Nobody – not Joe Burrow, not Tua Tagovailoa, not Justin Fields or JK Dobbins, or Jonathan Taylor, nobody – has had as big of an impact on every game as Young has.
Young was suspended the last two games and returned with a vengeance in a 28-17 Buckeyes win over Penn State. Young had 3 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss.
So what if he missed two games. It wasn’t his fault. The NCAA is stupid. He was suspended for what, for borrowing money so his girlfriend could watch him play at Rose Bowl last year? How is that a benefit if the money didn’t come from a direct contact at the school (aka a booster). Is the presences of Young’s girlfriend really that great of a benefit? I think it had zero influence on his performance in that game.
If the Heisman Trophy is about the best player, than Young should be there. If he’s not in NYC as one of the finalists, than let’s just go ahead and call this award what it really is – the best QB or offensive playmaker award.
No More Quacking
Arizona State beat Oregon to end the Ducks’ pursuit of a playoff spot. Arizona St snapped a 4 game losing streak and the win makes them bowl eligible for 2019.
Oregon trips to the desert:
- 2019: Loss to Arizona State ends CFP hopes
- 2018: 44-15 blow out loss to Arizona (who finished 5-7)
- 2017: Lost to ASU, ranked #23
- 2015: Three overtime win vs Arizona State
- 2013: 42-16 blow out loss to Arizona
Ducks are also now 0-6 in the last six games that ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit commentates.
I projected Texas to be a playoff team in 2019. I projected QB Sam Ehlinger to be a top three Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019. I projected horribly, horribly wrong…
This Texas team stinks. Sure, they were plagued by injuries but they were plagued and flawed by so much more.
Texas has the same record (6-5) as Illinois.
Texas also has the same record of Tennessee, who started the year 1-4. Vols have now won 5 of their last 6 games, with the one loss coming to Alabama. They have wins over Mississippi State, South Carolina, and on Saturday they beat Missouri. Vols will return to a bowl game for the first time since 2016 (Music City Bowl) and the first time under coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Decisions and Disappointment in Los Angeles
USC beat UCLA 52-35. Bruins fell to 4-7 and will not make a bowl game in Chip Kelly’s second season. It was understandable that UCLA struggled last year with a new head coach and a completely different system. Not everyone was a fit and there was going to be an adjusment period. But there was an expectation that the adjustment period would not last this long. Kelly is just 8-15 in two years and showed more regression than progression at times. Obviously Kelly is not going to be fired. Not yet. But this year was a major failure and his aura as an offensive genius and great college head coach (was 46-7 at Oregon) has taken a major hit.
On the the other side, this was USC’s final regular season game. They finish 8-4 and now await to see what happens next. IF Utah loses to Colorado next week, the Trojans actually play in the PAC-12 title game, with the Rose Bowl on the line. Otherwise, USC will wait and see where they will play in their bowl game. 8-4 is a good season for most teams, but USC is not most teams. They strive for greatness. They strive to recruit the best players and win championships, something that has not happened in the Clay Helton era. Helton is a good man. He was probably the right man at the right time to clean up the program and get USC on stable ground. But now they are. And they have a new Athletic Director (Mike Bohn from Cincinnati). And there’s a really famous Championship winning coach who is available and spends his Saturdays with two legendary USC alums.
Key week 13 results
Both Wisconsin and Minnesota won which means two things – College Gameday is going to Minnesota for the first time on Saturday. And the winner of this game will be Big Ten West Champs and face Ohio State.
Virginia Tech beat Pitt meaning next week’s Virginia Tech vs Virginia game will be to decide the ACC Coastal champ and who gets to lose to Clemson on 12/7. If Virginia wins, they will be the 7th different team in the last 7 years to win the Coastal.
Miami lost to FIU. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Among the many funny things about this result – Miami becomes the only team in the last 40 years to lose three times as a 14-point favorite in a single season.
YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME
On last week’s podcast, I predicted the Cowboys would lose to the Patriots. Dez Bryant pretty much summed up my pre-game thoughts during this game.
It’s sad really. Because the Cowboys definitely have a top 5 roster in the NFL. But this coaching staff really sucks. Down 13-6 with 6 minutes to go, Jason Garrett opted for a field goal. 6+3=9. 13-9=4. That means Cowboys would STILL need a touchdown. This was the closest they had gotten to the endzone all game. Why in the world would you kick a field goal? The end result was, the Cowboys did get the ball back, but that wasn’t guaranteed. That was the first issue. The second issue was, they had to go 90 yards in under 3 minutes against a historically elite defense.
This isn’t one decision or one bad call by Garrett. This is the continuation of 10 years of horrible decisions. The Cowboys have the potential to be great. To be special. That potential won’t be reached until a new head coach and coordinators are brought in.
AFC Wild Card Picture
Are the Bills playoff bound? They are 8-3, and their next four games are at Cowboys, vs Ravens, @ Steelers, @ Patriots. Given the separation they have on the teams beneath them in the standings and the fact that they close with the Jets in week 17, I’d say they are a sure bet to claim at least the 5 seed, as long as they win one of those 4 games.
The 6th seed is a lot more complicated and the Browns have entered the picture. At 5-6, the Browns sneaking into the playoffs is not as crazy as it seemed a month ago. It’s probably going to take 9 wins to get the 6th seed.
Raiders had a chance to improve to 7-4 and blew it, getting blown out to the Jets. Steelers are 6-5, but have some major issues. If the Browns win in Pittsburgh in week 13, they will be in prime position to sneak into the playoffs. Following Pitt, they play the Bengals, Cardinals, Ravens, Bengals. If they go 4-1 the rest of the way, they’ll make it.
Titans and the Colts are both 6-5 and right in the mix as well. Titans are now 4-1 since benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill. I don’t see either AFC South team being a factor in the wild card race at the end of the year.
Problems in Philly
Eagles are now 5-6 and have a ton of issues. Injures have completely destroyed this team, but the issues seem to go deeper than that. Does Carson Wentz have the trust of the locker room? Is he a leader? He has certainly struggled this year and doesn’t necessarily look like a guy worth the $100 million extension he received.
Obviously, the struggles are on more than just Wentz. The wide receivers haven’t been great (and hurt). The running game has mostly struggled. And the defense isn’t great. So do you blame the front office? Do you blame the coaching staff?
Eagles are two years removed from winning the Super Bowl, but it seems like sweeping changes may be necessary sooner than later.
Of course, despite all of that, if they beat the Cowboys on 12/12, they are likely going to win the NFC East. But even if they do, should changes happen?
Maybe the Jets don’t suck?
Jets have won 3 straight games, beating the Giants, Redskins, and Raiders over that time. Sam Darnold looks like a franchise QB and Adam Gase seems to have regained the locker room. Let’s see if the Jets can end this year strongly.
Wildest Ending of the Weekend
Easiest Bet of the Weekend
Coming into Saturday night, the Spurs had lost 8 straight games and were coming off a loss to the 76ers on Friday. They played the Knicks on Saturday, who played the Spurs tough in an opening night loss.
Naturally, with the cards stacked against the Spurs, they won with ease, leading by as much as 30.
Can this just be the Grizzlies every day uniform please?
Stat of the Weekend
Duke Blue Devils won the Empire Classic, by beating Cal on Thursday and Georgetown on Friday. Duke now has 3 wins at Madison Square Garden this season. Same total as the Knicks…who play their home games there.