College football never ceases to amaze
Five or six times a season this column could be titled: “Now I’ve heard everything.”
Take this week … please.
• A junior college is ranked ahead of the last two Rose Bowl champions in one of the six computer rankings systems used in the Bowl Championship Series formula.
Arizona Western College of Yuma checks in at No. 30 this week in Ken Massey’s computer ranking, ahead of Ohio State (31), Texas Christian (32), Houston (33) and Florida State (34).
To be fair, Arizona Western is only No. 88 in the formula Massey submits for BCS use.
Asked how a JC could even receive a BCS rating, Massey emailed a connect-the-dots matrix that started with Arizona Western’s win against New Mexico Military this month and ended with Arizona defeating UCLA.
Massey added, “And after hearing about JC players like Cam Newton, I’m not sure it’s not just a fluke of the schedule.”
Arizona Western (6-0) plays Eastern Arizona College on Saturday in a game with big implications for Massey.
Arizona Western Coach Tom Minnick is taking it one Massey ranking at a time.
“Three more to win,” Minnick emailed.
• Louisiana State Chancellor Michael Martin, in Washington to testify before the Knight Commission on the state of intercollegiate athletics, told USA Today on Monday that the status of three suspended LSU players for the Tigers’ showdown at Alabama on Nov. 5 would be determined after they “get their acts together.”
“The athletic director will ultimately make the decision, and he’ll consult with me,” Martin said.
The players — Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware, Tharold Simon — were back at practice Tuesday.
“We’re going to plan on using them,” Coach Les Miles told reporters after practice.
• Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt called out a reporter for predicting his team would lose, 49-10, to Arkansas.
Ole Miss lost, 29-24, after blowing a 17-0 lead.
“It wasn’t no 49-10,” Nutt said.
Ole Miss has lost 10 straight Southeastern Conference games, reminding some of that old refrain “We don’t redshirt All-Americas, we redshirt Miss Americas.”
• We get that Oklahoma State is a very exciting 7-0 team that controls its own destiny to the BCS title game. But how is it possible the Cowboys are No. 1 in five BCS computers — and No. 2 in the other — with a No. 103-rated defense that is giving up more points per game, 26.86, than Texas El Paso (26.71)?
The computers must be impressed by Oklahoma State’s killer nonconference schedule of Louisiana Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa.
• Craig James of ESPN voted Boise State No. 10 this week on his Associated Press ballot. Boise State may not be worthy of its lone first-place vote, cast by USC beat writer Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, but the Broncos have certainly earned more respect than No. 10.
Comically, James has Georgia at No. 19, three spots higher than its No. 22 overall ranking. Boise State handily defeated Georgia in the season opener at Atlanta.
• Notre Dame might have quit against USC. That’s what Trojans players said after their 31-17 win Saturday in South Bend, and it sure looked that way from here.
More than the players, it was Coach Brian Kelly, who sat on three timeouts in the final minutes of a two-touchdown game.
“I thought about it,” Kelly said at his news conference Tuesday, “but why I didn’t call time out had nothing to do with, ‘Hey we’re throwing in the towel.’”
This thinking does not square with page 193 of Notre Dame’s media guide, which recounts the story of George Gipp, on his deathbed in 1920, telling Knute Rockne to tell teammates to keep fighting “when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys.”
Rockne used the story eight years later to inspire his team to a win against Army.
Quit one for the Gipper?
“Are we going to talk about Navy or not?” Kelly said, trying to change the subject. “They beat us last year. You guys know that?”
That never used to happen either.
• Michigan State defeated Wisconsin last weekend on a last-second Hail Mary pass without committing a single penalty in the game.
• Grandmas are getting patted down by the TSA at the airport, yet a fan posing as a referee last week was able to run unencumbered onto the field during the UCLA-Arizona game in Tucson and attempt to mark the ball for play.
“We were cracking up, quite honestly,” Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian, who watched it unfold while relaxing at home, said at his weekly news conference. “We were laughing and laughing. My son kept telling me, ‘Rewind it, rewind it’ … then all of a sudden you see the brawl and it was, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’”
• Monday and Tuesday, several reputable news outlets reported West Virginia’s departure from the Big East to go to the Big 12 was imminent.
Wednesday, it was reported that Louisville, not West Virginia, might be the Big East team leaving for the Big 12.
The New York Times reported Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell may have intervened Louisville’s behalf.
West Virginia senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin are outraged.
Manchin released a statement calling for an investigation if “a United States senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made.”
And people want Congress to investigate the BCS?
• Stanford has won 15 consecutive games — 10 by 25 points or more — yet ranks No. 22 in this week’s Sagarin ratings. Three-loss Auburn is No. 9.
Sagarin is not allowed to factor margin of victory into his BCS formula.
If he was, Stanford would be No. 10 and Auburn would be No. 29.
OK, now I’ve heard everything.
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