Notre Dame isn't ranked? A call for protest makes a connection

Adding to the mysteries in your column is Rankman slotting in USC as No. 25. If a 7-3 Notre Dame team that beat No. 14 Michigan State and No. 22 Arizona State doesn't deserve to be ranked (and they don't), then how can a 7-3 USC team that lost to Notre Dame (and ASU) merit a ranking?

Gerry Swider

My prayers were answered! Thank goodness, you are all alive! I thought the entire Domer Nation had retreated to an underground bunker with a year's supply of canned beans.

The Irish's fan base camp was last seen in January leaving the Fort Lauderdale area for a long hike toward Mt. Alabama. Fans were told to "pack a lunch" because it was "going to be an all-day affair." The trip would be treacherous and there was a chance the entire entourage would get turned back before halftime of the climb.

I am happily surprised, after all these months, you were found shivering on the streets of Pittsburgh surrounded by empty bottles of Heinz ketchup. Glad everyone is OK.

Now, to your excellent point: First, I remember the old days of last year when the argument over Notre Dame was over No. 1, not No. 25. But Gerry from the "ah-ha!" police caught me breaking my own rankings rule. That is, if two teams have the same record, the advantage goes to head to head.

Notre Dame and USC are both 7-3 this season and the Irish beat the Trojans, even though no one saw it because the game was going head to head against Florida State and Clemson.

There is another rankings rule, though, that overrides the head-to-head rule: I had a better comment for USC than Notre Dame.

Why is it that South Carolina is ranked higher than Missouri, yet Mizzou beat SC (the other USC) and they have a better record; what kind of rankings are these?

Greg Diamond

These are just your normal, garden-variety rankings. Nothing special. I put hardly any effort into it and find myself very easily distracted. For example, if I'm doing the rankings but see a butterfly outside my office window I'll drop everything I'm doing and chase it down the street.

Or, sometimes, rather than concentrate on a team's win-loss record, I'll notice a loose seam on a baseball and unravel it all the way to its core.

If I'm really bored, I'll add up how many major college football venues I've visited over the course of a long career. I did this Wednesday and came up with 87.

I was very strong in the Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences but weak in the Sun Belt and Conference USA.

The reason I ranked South Carolina ahead of Missouri is because the "other" USC actually defeated Missouri.

You may have turned off the television set after Missouri shot out to a big lead. But the Gamecocks came back and won in double overtime.

In your heart, do you believe Fresno State would be a favorable school and fit if the Pac-12 expanded and the school met the five (I think) doctoral program requirements? Fresno State has three and is expanding the programs.

David Mitzman

The answer is no. The Pac-12 has no interest in the California state schools, but the good news for everyone is the conference has no plans to expand beyond 12 for the foreseeable future.

The embarrassing rash of conference poaching was stalled when the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was prone to attack, got its members to agree to a "grant of rights" deal. That means any school that leaves for another league has to pay its broadcast rights back to the ACC.

That's a deal breaker that effectively ended, for now, the maniacal cycle of musical chairs.

Is this the worst Cal football team ever?

Howard Cohen

Not even close. Back in 2001, the Golden Bears were really hibernating under Tom Holmoe. After the tragic events of Sept. 11 of that year, the Rutgers-Cal game was postponed until the end of the season. When the time came to play, Cal was 0-10 and Rutgers was 2-9.

Cal wanted to cancel the game but Rutgers insisted the Bears fly across country to play on Nov. 23 because Rutgers thought it could chalk up an easy win. Cal was so peeved about having to make the trip that it played its most inspired game of the year and came home with a 20-10 win.

Cal finished 1-10, but it still wasn't enough to save Holmoe's job. He was replaced by Jeff Tedford in 2002.

This year's Cal team is very bad but mostly because of an inordinate number of injuries suffered, mostly on the defensive side. You can't judge new Coach Sonny Dykes until he gets his up-tempo offensive system in place with a healthy roster.

Cal has a chance under Dykes to be as exciting as another team with the Bears' nickname: Baylor.

My rule is you never judge a coach until his third year. Check back in 2015.

So a Heisman hopeful is not allowed to have a bad game even though he still hasn't thrown a pick?

Jeffrey Hartman

There is a different standard for quarterbacks in the Pacific Northwest. It must be why the region hasn't had a Heisman winner since Oregon State's Terry Baker in the early 1960s.

It's crazy how the national media came down on Oregon's Marcus Mariota after last week's loss at Stanford.

Mariota did not have his best game, by far, and had a key fumble too. He was also playing on a gimpy knee and still nearly led what would have been one of the greatest comebacks in college football history.

As it was, Mariota finished the game with two touchdowns and no passes intercepted. He still hasn't had a pass intercepted since last Nov. 17.

Johnny Manziel lost two games at home last year and still won the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M.; The difference was Manziel had a huge moment when the Aggies beat Alabama on national TV, while Mariota's team lost in its marquee game.

Heisman is a beauty contest. Miss Texas can falter in her interview, Miss Alaska cannot.

Bill Corradini

Yes, and that's why Brent Musberger, Carl's Jr. and myself are throwing all of our Heisman support behind Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, who is dating former Miss Alabama Katherine Webb.

Even you could lead 'Bama to the championship right now. His payoff for not messing anything up is he wins those titles. I mean, how many of these 'Bama quarterbacks are successful at the next level?

I can't think of one except for Bart Starr, Joe Namath and maybe Kenny Stabler.

Why wasn't Myles Jack getting carries for UCLA in Eugene?

Twitter: @Saidnogolfer

What are these local coaches thinking? Lane Kiffin kept "Buck" Allen on the bench and Jim Mora had Myles Jack playing only linebacker in losses to Stanford and Oregon?

My only guess is both coaches were trying to keep their legs fresh for the Las Vegas or Sun bowls.

Utah is 11 points away from being 7-2.

Twitter: @Utebuntu

Yes, and I'm only five inches from being 6-5.

Stanford is God's gift to man, and they are three-point favorites to beat a team that fired its coach midseason?

Twitter: @Justme

I can't remember Stanford ever being God's gift to man. I do remember in the 1982 game, though, Stanford being God's gift to Cal.

Why are you hating on Clemson this week (and on many other occasions)? And you have two-loss South Carolina at No. 7 — with one of those losses to a 4-6 Tennessee team? Yeah, that makes sense.

Paula Richardson

I just hate Clemson. No other reason, not even the fact that the Tigers lost to Florida State, 51-14, in the most humiliating top-10 nationally televised game this season.

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