The Dirty Dozen and Bottom of the Barrel: You Get a Championship and You Get a Championship
It's now official: Outside an odd handful of largely meaningless games, College Football's regular season has officially comes to an end.
Unofficially--we still have the "Money" games, a.k.a Conference Championship games to go and that's why we are still here. If you are wanting to know why Conference title games are "Money" games---that's a whole other conversation about the greed and money in College Football.
But, in the spirit of giving and the holidays....
Ok, so it doesn't really work like that....most teams actually have to win on the field. Though I should say for 3-teams--Clemson, LSU and Ohio State, they're already in the playoff...everyone else is playing for the last spot.
The last full week of predictions saw yours truly go a robust 13-2, for those keeping track at home I'm talking 143-27 for the full season, something almost NONE of you can say is bad.
In fact---I can't find a whole lot of places where anyone can really top that record....So dwell on that for awhile...
But alas--we wind up our season with the final and last Dirty Dozen and Bottom of the Barrel teams for 2019.
THE DIRTY DOZEN:
1. Ohio State 12-0: By far the most impressive team in College Football this season they are very, very good on both sides of the ball and sport not one--but 3 potential Heisman Trophy candidates. Hard not to be impressed.
This Week: BIG 10 Title vs. Wisconsin; My Pick: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 7
2. LSU 12-0: This Tiger team bears almost zero resemblance to any of their teams over the past decade, yet arguably this is the best of them all. Yes, there are a few holes on defense but the offense usually can make up for them.
This Week: SEC Title vs. Georgia; My Pick: LSU 27, Georgia 23
3. Clemson 12-0: Will someone please tell Dabo Swinney to stop whining? It's unbecoming nobody hates or disrespects his team, they just haven't gotten the headlines because of their god-awful ACC brethren. It's limited their challenges and we've all expected them to do what they've done.
This Week: ACC Title vs. Virginia; My Pick: Clemson 43, Virginia 17
4. Georgia 11-1: Time to play with the big boys. This may be the best team defense in the FBS. But the offense has held them back. But their strength (running) plays well this week. This team would roll 2018 LSU, 2019 LSU is a totally different beast.
This Week: SEE #2
5. Utah 11-1: This is my darkhorse pick for the 4th playoff berth. I really like this team, despite the hiccup vs. USC, they've dominated everyone else on both sides of the ball. They may get hurt though because the brand isn't big enough.
This Week: PAC 12 Title vs. Oregon; My Pick: Utah 37, Oregon 21
6. Oklahoma 11-1: This is where the drop-off begins. I do not buy the Sooners as a playoff team. Since losing to K-State, they've struggled to win games. Beating Okie State was an improvement, but is it enough?
This Week: Big 12 Title vs. Baylor; My Pick: Baylor 47, Oklahoma 41 UPSET!!!!!!
7. Baylor 11-1: The Bears are one half of one game from being in the Top 5. Unfortunately that half resulted in them losing a big lead against Oklahoma. It's exceptionally hard to beat any Power 5 team twice in one season.
This Week: SEE #6 (UPSET)
8. Minnesota 10-2: Yup, the Gophers earned this. I was surprised they didn't beat Wisconsin but I guess I shouldn't have been. This is P.J. Fleck's best coaching job in his career, let's see if he can match this squad.
This Week: Bowl Game
9. Alabama 10-2: This is where the Tide should be. Are they a very good team? Yes. Are they Top 5 Caliber? No. The defense has been shredded both times it played a good competitor. The offense is excellent...but not elite without Tua.
This Week: BOWL GAME
10. Auburn 9-3: Yes, Auburn. The Tigers saved their best game for the Iron Bowl. A super stout defense and evolving offense gets them on our list. Win their Bowl game means a Top 10 guarantee and probably Top 10 start for the 2020 season.
This Week: BOWL GAME
11. Florida 10-2: The Gators are solid and had a great, overachieving season. There's little to be disappointed about as they weren't the most talented team on the board--but they won. Lots to build on for the future.
This Week: BOWL GAME
12. Memphis 11-1: That's right! A non "Power 5" team. The Tigers finished strong and had an exceptional season. Mike Norvell's squad is again very, very good on offense and Top 50 on D. No, they won't get in the playoff, but I like them more than the "Other Receiving Votes" teams...
This Week: AAC Championship Game vs. Cincinnati; My Pick: Memphis 41, Cincy 33
Also under consideration: Penn St, Wisconsin, Notre Dame
THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL:
Big shout-out to the Rice Owls who finished with 3 straight wins and showed signs of life and improvement. The rest of this bunch, well...there is always 2020, right?
5. UConn 2-10: SMH. So, we're now several days separated from the end of the season and Randy Edsall is still the coach. How is this? The Huskies were exceptionally bad on offense, their biggest point total outside a fluke win vs. a crappy UMass team was 24 points.
4. Old Dominion 1-11: The Monarchs were not awful on defense, Top 60 in the country even. So that's something. But when you go 1-11, you will be on this list. When you go a full season not scoring more than 23 in a game, you definitely end up here.
3. UMess 1-11: Sigh...what can I say. UMass doesn't belong in the FBS. They aren't good at, well, anything. Yes, they won a game--but it was against Akron so I'm not sure what that counts for.
2. UTEP 1-11: Bad is bad and UTEP has been the poster child for bad football for going on nearly a decade now. The Minors barely beat Houston Baptist who won 5 games this season...in the FCS. The FCS is probably where UTEP belongs. But alas, they won't win yet another Barrel Trophy because.....
1. Akron 0-12: So they did score in their final game of the season, but it was a measly little Field Goal in a 52-3 loss to Ohio. 2019 was a season where the Zip-ah-dee-doo-dahs managed to score 29 once....in a loss to UMess, barely breaking 20 only a couple of times all season. When your leading rusher runs for 179 yards for the season, well...'nuff said.
Also receiving votes: Arkansas, Rutgers, New Mexico and New Mexico State
Congratulations Akron, it was a hard earned title, but as this is last "Official" column of the College Football season with rankings, you are officially crowned THE....Bottom of the Barrel for the 2019 season.
Long live Akron, King of the Zips......