The Dirty Dozen and Bottom of the Barrel: It's the final countdown!
For a majority of college football teams, the regular season is over. 12 games are in the books and we know who did well, who did enough to get by and who is hoping for better luck next year.
We also know that College Football is a nutty game and the past week or so has brought us some really weird, really highly publicized coaching changes which I for one don't necessarily believe are going to help grow the game.
As we begin the countdown towards the College Football Playoff, right now the only thing we know is that the University of Georgia is going to be in it. Whether they win or lose the SEC Championship game vs. Alabama won't matter. The currently 12-0 Bulldogs are in.
After that, nobody really knows. Maybe it will be current #2 Michigan who will be favored but is certainly not a lock to beat Iowa in the Big 10 title game.
Cincinnati is probably in. Unless they lose their conference title game vs. Houston, in Cincinnati. It could happen, especially if Luck Fickell does something stupid and moves to Notre Dame.
I don't expect that to happen.
After that, maybe Oklahoma State gets in if they beat Baylor. Or Alabama if they beat Georgia. Or Notre Dame at 11-1 just sitting and waiting.
The point being there's no real, clear cut 2,3 or 4 team out there right now. Which isn't to say there won't be, just that there isn't right now.
It also means this week--a.k.a. Championship Week matters.
Quick note for those of you keeping score at home. In the last full week of the season, I went 12-1 picking games (damn you UTSA!!!!). Yes, 12-1. That makes me 125-26 overall. That's a pretty damn good winning percentage if you ask me.
And yes, I did pick Michigan---AND Oklahoma State to win.
I'll stop with the self-congratulations and get on with the part you are here for. It's the last week of this season's Dirty Dozen and Bottom of the Barrel. We may chime in and pick bowl games this year, we'll have to see. It takes a lot of work/time to publish that and time is not something I always have.
Let's get "on with the countdown"....
THE DIRTY DOZEN:
Georgia 12-0: Is there really any question? The defense is dominant and the offense is criminally underrated. Let's see what they do from here as the defenses they play get better but folks, this is easily your team to beat in 2021. THIS WEEK: SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; My Pick: UGA 34, Alabama 17
Cincinnati 12-0: Undefeated. The Cincinnati Bearcats. A very, very good team on both sides of the ball with a veteran QB and very good coach. They will be a tough out for anyone should they make the playoff. Don't buy into the "Strength of Schedule" crap, it's a total smokescreen put up by big business to distract you. THIS WEEK: AAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; My Pick: Cincinnati 31, Houston 23
Michigan 11-1: Did the Wolverines make it all the way over the hurdle? Maybe? Are they good enough to beat UGA, no. But they've played smart and haven't made many mistakes, which matters. A lot. THIS WEEK: BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP; My Pick: Michigan 27, Iowa 16
Oklahoma State 11-1: Yeah, why not? They play great defense--or at least great for the Big 12 defense and do enough on offense to win. That does really matter. Can they beat Georgia? Probably not. But if they beat Baylor for the second time this season after nearly running the Big 12 table, they deserve a CFP berth. THIS WEEK: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP; My Pick: Oklahoma St. 28, Baylor 21
Alabama 11-1: Yes, we've seen weakness from a Nick Saban team. Yes, The Tide nearly and probably should have lost the Iron Bowl to Auburn. But don't EVER sell them short. Nobody wants to play them. Especially at the end of a season. THIS WEEK: SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. My Pick: See #1
Notre Dame 11-1: This is where the guessing begins. The Irish have gotten better each week. They aren't dominant but just keep winning. Are they elite though? What impact will Brian Kelly leaving have on the field. We won't find out until ate December at the earliest. THIS WEEK: WAITING ON BOWL BID
Ole Miss 10-2: Yup. Ole Miss crashes the party. This is a team that can score. In a hurry. If the defense shows up at all, you might find yourself in trouble playing them. Alas, too little, too late but a New Year's 6 is not out of the question for them. THIS WEEK: WAITING ON BOWL BID
Baylor 10-2: The only question here is will they lockup Dave Aranda for the next few years until someone backs up a Brink's Truck in Waco? He's only taken 2 seasons to totally remake a struggling university and have a really impressive 2021 season. They squeaked by Texas Tech last week without QB Gerry Bohannon who's been most of the offense. If he's not 100% they don't beat Oklahoma St. THIS WEEK: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; My Pick: SEE #4
Oregon 10-2: Not sold, but don't have many options. The Ducks on paper should be really good. And they are. Just not as elite as one would think. They haven't been great at anything just good at most things. The challenge this week is beating a team that annihilated them just two weeks ago. THIS WEEK: PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; My Pick: Utah 37, Oregon 27
Pittsburgh 10-2: Surprised? Yeah, the fighting Kenny Picketts can ball. They're a little soft on defense which is an issue but not enough that they wouldn't have a punchers chance against teams 6-9 or the teams below them. So why the heck not? THIS WEEK: ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME; My Pick: Pitt 52, Wake Forest 42
Oklahoma 10-2: No, I'm not really sold on this team either. Sure, they're pretty good. But they really haven't beaten anyone soundly and lost their biggest games. Can they beat most teams on the board? This year, yeah. But that's this year. THIS WEEK: WAITING FOR BOWL BID
San Diego State 11-1: Hold on dare...SDSU? Hear me out! The Aztecs beat Utah who's in the Pac 12 title game. They've beaten up everyone else they've played. In a year where its Ga. and everyone else, why not give some love to a smaller school having surprisingly good success? THIS WEEK: MOUNTAIN WEST TITLE GAME: vs. Utah St. My Pick: SDSU 41, Utah St. 33
No, I'm not picking others receiving consideration here because I had enough trouble finding 12 worthy teams. It's been a balanced but not spectacular year for most teams which isn't a horrible thing but it makes it tough to argue a poll of 25 teams is fair to really anyone. IMO...
THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL;
Overall records are a bit less important here, but the Barrel features teams that really had a season long air of disappointment or just didn't have the horses to compete---with anyone.
And no, for the first time in nearly a decade, Kansas did not make this list.
5. Indiana 2-10: But they were the darlings of the pandemic riddled 2020 season. Nope. Doesn't matter. It was clearly a mirage as this team was NOT good in 2021. Outside a 34 point effort in a loss to Maryland, the Hoosiers didn't score more than 24 in a game the entire season. THIS WEEK: Looking forward to 2021
4. Arizona 1-11; So what that they were less bad at the end of the season. It still means they were bad. And they only beat Cal's JV squad to keep themselves from running the table of loss. Maybe they'll improve, but they worked hard for this ranking. THIS WEEK: Good luck Jedd FIsch's
3. Florida International 1-11: If the school was really trying to tank this season like Butch Davis said, well, they were really good at it. They weren't good at much else though. Outside the first two games of the season, they really weren't competitive. With anyone. THIS WEEK: I guess someone will take the coaching job, right??
2. UMass 1-11: The only reason the Minute-men are here is because they beat UConn. That kinda matters believe it or not. I really wanted them to win the title after losing to New Mexico State but it was a road trip for UMass, so they get a smidge of slack. Just a smidge. THIS WEEK: On to the Don Brown era
UCONN 1-11: And then there were the Muskies...uh, I mean Huskies. The team that lost to everyone but Yale and got lucky to beat Yale. They were inept on both sides of the ball and really have no business playing Power 5 football. Buth hey! Jim Mora Jr. is the new head coach. Good luck chucklehead. THIS WEEK: The Countdown to Mora's head explosion begins.
If you made it this far---thank you! I know a handful of people do read this on occasion if it's only mostly family and friends. It takes a bit of time--like an hour and a half to produce this so it's not a quick and easy thing to do.
But I enjoy it and it's worth the time.
I'd be ever so grateful if you share this with your friends for next season because I fully plan on being back. Back and better....better than EVER
Until then enjoy the music of the week, been totally into this band lately, they're really good. It's one of their older cuts--a cover tune, but dig into the library, they have branched out and do some seriously great, fun stuff.