Monday, December 5, 2016

College Football Week 15 – Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington
Winning the Big Ten is meaningless

But I suppose it’s better than winning the Big 12. The four college football playoff teams were announced yesterday and for the second time in three years the Big 12 champion did not make the playoffs.

Saturday, Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State, 38-20, for the Big 12 title, but the 10-2 Sooners were not in the Top 4 when the final Playoff Poll was released yesterday. OU finished 7th.

No one really expected Oklahoma to be a playoff team. Nor did anyone think that OU should be one of the four playoff teams. The Sooners lost two games early in the season – an embarrassing loss to Houston and a bad loss at home to Ohio State. But to their credit, the Sooners did finish the season with an impressive 9-straight wins.

You would have thought, however, that the Big Ten champion would be a playoff team. After all, the Big Ten champ has made the playoffs each of the previous two years – Ohio State in 2014 and Michigan State in 2015.

This year, Penn State (11-2) won the Big Ten championship. The Nittany Lions captured the title Saturday night with their amazing come-from-behind win over Wisconsin, 38-31. Penn State was down in the game 28-7, before rallying to outscore the Badgers 31-3 in the final two quarters and 58 seconds of the game.

Penn State won its division – the East – in the Big Ten and the Nittany Lions went on to win the conference title game. During the season, Penn State beat Ohio State, 24-21. And like Oklahoma, the Nittany Lions finished their season with an impressive 9-straight wins.

Apparently, it was bad luck to finish your season with a 9-game winning streak.

But, when the Playoff Poll was released yesterday, Penn State was not one of the playoff teams. Instead, Ohio State, who was 3rd in the Poll, is the Big Ten’s representative in the playoffs. Penn State was 5th in the Poll. So this year, at least, winning the Big Ten was meaningless.

Penn State does get a pretty good consolation prize. The Nittany Lions are going to the Rose Bowl where they will play USC.

Yeah, when the weekend’s championship games were over Saturday night, the College Football Playoff Committee went to work. By mid-day Sunday, the committee released its final product:

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

The runner-ups were 5) Penn State, 6) Michigan, 7) Oklahoma, and 8) Wisconsin. Sounds like a beauty pageant, doesn’t it?

In the first semifinal game, Alabama (13-0) will play Washington (12-1) in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The Tide returns to the same location – the Georgia Dome – where they beat Florida, 54-16, for the SEC championship.

In the other semifinal game, Clemson (12-1) will meet Ohio State (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Both games will be played on December 31. The winners of the two games will meet January 9 in Tampa for the national championship.

Personally, my final product would have been 1) Alabama, 2) Clemson, 3) Penn State, 4) Washington, 5) Ohio State, 6) Oklahoma, 7) Michigan, and 8) Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a say-so in the matter.

In the three years of the college football playoffs, this is Alabama’s third appearance. It’s the second appearance for Clemson and Ohio State. Washington is making its first appearance. Oregon (2014), Florida State (2014) and Oklahoma (2015) have each made one appearance. Ohio State won the national title in the first playoffs and Alabama won last year.

The Big 12 failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and again this year. Last year, the Pac-12 champ did not make the playoffs. The ACC, Big Ten and SEC have made the playoffs all three years. But this is the first year that one of the participants – Ohio State – is not a conference champion.

In the conference championship games Friday night and Saturday, they saved the best for last – the Big Ten and ACC title games. Both games were the last two played Saturday night. Both were the two most exciting of all the conference title games. And interestingly, in both games, it looked like at first one team was going to run away from the other.

As mentioned above, Penn State trailed Wisconsin badly in the Big Ten game, but the Nittany Lions battled back to tie the Badgers late in the third quarter. Then Wisconsin retook the lead, only to have Penn State go back up and hold on to win.

Likewise, Clemson had big early leads over Virginia Tech in the ACC game. But after trailing the Tigers by 21 points, the Hokies fought back to pull within 7 points twice in the fourth quarter – the second time with about 6 minutes left on the clock. Clemson hung on to win, 42-35.

The Pac-12 and SEC title games were laughers. Friday night, Washington dominated Colorado, 41-10. Saturday afternoon, Alabama made mince meat out of Florida, 54-16. Even the Big 12 game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State lacked excitement – in the second half. After an interesting first half – 17-17 – the Sooners ran away from the Cowboys in the second half. OU beat Okie State, 38-20.

Three of the four Group of 5 championship games were exciting. Only the AAC game was a rout. Temple (10-3) surprised Navy, 34-10. Friday night, Western Michigan (13-0) hung on to its undefeated season and Cotton Bowl berth, edging Ohio, 29-23. The win gave the Broncos the Mid-American Conference title.

In the wildest of all the title games, Western Kentucky (10-3) won the C-USA championship, beating Louisiana Tech, 58-44. Early in the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers only led by 4 points.

Like the Power 5 title games, the Group of 5 saved its most exciting game for last. Saturday night, San Diego State (10-3) won the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs slipped by Wyoming, 27-24, in a thriller. The 11-team Sun Belt Conference does not have a championship game. Appalachian State and Arkansas State finished as co-champions of the Sun Belt.

In two regular season-ending Big 12 games, West Virginia beat Baylor, 24-21 and Kansas State downed TCU, 30-10. West Virginia finished third in the Big 12, while Kansas State finished in fourth place.

So the playoffs are set and the bowl games have been filled. Now we just have to wait until December 17 for the start of bowl season. Stay tuned!

All three service academies – Air Force (9-3), Army (6-5) and Navy (9-3) – are going bowling this year. But Army and Navy still have one more very important game to play, before they go bowling. The Cadets and the Midshipmen meet this Saturday in Baltimore. Air Force won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy this year, beating both Army and Navy.

More coaches were dumped last week. After a 4-8 season, Oregon fired Mark Helfrich. In four years in Eugene, Helfrich was 37-16 with the Ducks. Interestingly, some reports have Oregon interested in Florida coach Jim McElwain as Helfrich’s replacement. Stay tuned!

For the record, two coaches stepped down, but in effect they were fired. One was Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. After six seasons in Bloomington, Wilson was 26-47 with the Hoosiers. The other coach was Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville. In four seasons with the Bearcats, Tuberville was 29-22.

Indiana quickly named its defensive coordinator Tom Allen as the new coach of the Hoosiers. No candidates for the Cincinnati job have been mentioned as yet. However, apparently the two finalists for the Houston job, replacing Tom Herman, are Les Miles and Lane Kiffin. Kiffin had his interview with Houston yesterday. Before the interview, Kiffin said if he gets the job at Houston or becomes the offensive coordinator at LSU, he will remain on the Alabama staff through the playoffs.

Former Baylor coach Art Briles is very interested in the Houston opening, but Cougars athletic director Hunter Yurachek was very adamant about the fact that Houston had no interest in Briles. Stay tuned!

The candidates for the Baylor job are reported to be SMU’s Chad Morris, California’s Sonny Dykes and North Carolina’s Larry Fedora.

So far, 14 schools will have new coaches next season. Twelve schools have fired their coaches, one coach – Tom Herman – left to fill an opening, and one school – Baylor – will be making a change from its interim coach, Jim Grobe. Of the 14 schools, only 4 – Florida International, LSU, Texas and Indiana – have hired their new coaches already.

Alabama’s Reuben Foster won the Butkus Award as college football’s top linebacker. And, by the way, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey rushed for 1,603 yards this year and led the country with 211 all-purpose yards per game.

Friday, I will post my annual bowl game preview and next week in CFW Week 16, I’ll provide my annual bowl game predictions.

Yes, winning the Big Ten was meaningless this year.

Enjoy your week!

Go Navy!

Touchdown Tom
December 5, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Playoffs here we come – Washington 41, Colorado 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 26, Colorado 21). The Huskies made it clear that they will be in the playoffs, especially in the second half. The score was just 14-7 at halftime. Then Washington outscored Colorado 27-3 in the second half. The Huskies defense held the Buffaloes to less than 100 yards rushing (82) and less than 100 yards passing (81). Washington wasn’t much better passing (118 yards), but the Huskies were big on the ground. Two Washington backs ran for more than 100 yards each – Myles Gaskin 159 yards and Lavon Coleman 101 yards. Attendance in Santa Clara: 47,118

RUNNER UP: Brutal – Alabama 54, Florida 16 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 28, Florida 12). For a little more than four minutes, Florida had something to cheer about. The Gators scored first and led Alabama for about five minutes in the first quarter. But that is the one and only positive thing you can say about the Gators in the game. When Alabama went ahead with 5:06 to go in the first quarter, the Tide never looked aback. Florida had 261 total yards and all 261 of it was passing. Yes, the Gators had zero yards rushing. Bama was kind of a joke passing (138 yards), but the Tide had 234 yards rushing. Florida was scoreless in the second half. Attendance in Atlanta: 74,632

REST OF THE BEST: What a comeback! – Penn State 38, Wisconsin 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21). With a minute to go in the second quarter, Wisconsin led Penn State 28-7. The Nittany Lions scored a touchdown 58 seconds before the half and went on to outscore the Badgers 31-3. The teams were pretty even in the stats – 435 total yards to 415 in favor of Penn State; 22 first downs to 21 in favor of Wisconsin. Penn State was the passing team. Wisconsin was the rushing team. Oddly enough, the Badgers controlled the clock – 37 minutes to 23. And Penn State only had 51 yards rushing. Lions quarterback Trace McSorley passed for 384 yards. Badgers running back Corey Clement rushed for 164 yards. Attendance in Indianapolis: 65,018

Tigger was happy – Clemson 42, Virginia Tech 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 33, Virginia Tech 27). Late in the third quarter, it looked like Clemson put this game away when the Tigers went up 35-14. But Virginia Tech battled back to trail by only seven points – 35-28 – early in the fourth quarter. Midway through the fourth, the Hokies were trailing by only seven again – 42-35. In spite of the closeness of the score, Clemson dominated the stats – 472 total yards to 386 for Tech and 30 first downs to 19 for Tech. Deshaun Watson passed for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Attendance in Orlando: 50,628

How about another field goal – Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 29, Ohio 19). At the break, it looked like WMU was going to run away with the game. The Broncos led 23-7. But Ohio made a game of it in the second half, outscoring WMU 16-6. There were six field goals kicked in the game – five by WMU. The Broncos held the Bobcats to only 37 yards rushing. Attendance in Detroit: 45,615

Big 12 champs – Oklahoma 38, Oklahoma State 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma 39, Oklahoma State 30). This was a tight ballgame at the break. The teams were tied 17-17 at the half. Then Oklahoma outscored Okie State 21-3 in the second half. The teams combined for 1,032 total yards, but the Sooners had 629 of them. OU’s Baker Mayfield passed for 288 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners Samaje Perine rushed for 239 yards and Joe Mixon had a respectable 99 yards rushing. OU’s defense all but shut down the Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph. Attendance in Norman: 87,527

AAC champs – Temple 34, Navy 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Navy 29, Temple 27). Navy not only didn’t show up for the game, but its fans didn’t either. That was embarrassing for a home team that was coming into the game with a 9-2 record. Temple jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead. Navy did come within 14 points – 24-10 – late in the third quarter. But Temple added 10 more points in the fourth quarter. It’s rare for the Middies to be outrushed, but the Owls outrushed Navy, 189 yards to 168. Temple quarterback P.J. Walker passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Attendance in Annapolis: 22,815

MWC champs – San Diego State 27, Wyoming 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Wyoming 32, San Diego State 28). The score was tied 10-10 at the half, but at the end of three, San Diego State led 24-10. Wyoming rallied in the fourth quarter to pull within three points at 27-24 with 6:12 to go in the game. The teams were even on the stats. The Aztecs were the rushing team (242 yards). The Cowboys were the passing team (248 yards). Both teams suffered three turnovers each. The Aztecs Rashaad Penny rushed for 117 yards and Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 110 yards. San Diego State got revenge. The Aztecs lost to Wyoming on the same field two weeks earlier, 34-33. Attendance in Laramie: 24,001

Almost a basketball game – Western Kentucky 58, Louisiana Tech 44 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Kentucky 37, Louisiana Tech 25). The teams combined for 65 points in the first half. WKU led 38-27. But they calmed down in the second half, only scoring 37 points. And the two teams combined for 1,163 total yards. But La Tech only had 5 yards rushing. That was the difference as the Hilltoppers Anthony Wales rushed for 209 yards and Mike White passed for 421 yards. The Bulldogs Ryan Higgins passed for 502 yards. Attendance in Bowling Green: 13,213

If it wasn’t for those two teams from Oklahoma – West Virginia 24, Baylor 21 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 40, Baylor 24). In what was supposed to be an easy game for WVU turned out to be a struggle. Early in the second quarter, the Mounties trailed 14-3. Early in the fourth quarter, WVU led 24-14. But Baylor made it close again, scoring a touchdown with 2:40 left in the game. The Mountaineers rushed for 311 yards and controlled the clock – 34 minutes to 26. WVU’s Justin Crawford rushed for 209 yards. Baylor had four turnovers. Attendance in Morgantown: 49,229


Where was Kermit? – Kansas State 30, TCU 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Kansas State 27, TCU 26). Tied 10-10 at the break, K-State outscored TCU 20-0 in the second half. The Wildcats had 495 total yards to 280 for TCU, and 21 first downs to 15 for the Frogs. K-State’s strength was on the ground – 336 rushing yards. The Wildcats Jesse Ertz had 170 yards rushing and Justin Silmon had 133 yards. Attendance in Fort Worth: 42,746

Week 14 Results: 9 correct picks, 2 fumbles (81.8 percent)
For the Season: 155 correct picks, 85 fumbles (64.6 percent)


Impressive Passers:

Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Higgins – 35-57-1 for 502 yards; Western Kentucky’s Mike White – 21-31-1-421, and Penn State’s Trace McSorley – 22-31-0-384.

Impressive Rushers:

Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine – 239 yards; West Virginia’s Justin Crawford – 209 yards, and Western Kentucky’s Anthony Wales – 209 yards.

Kansas State’s Jesse Ertz – 170 yards; New Mexico State’s Larry Rose – 170 yards; Wisconsin’s Corey Clement – 164 yards, and Washington’s Myles Gaskin – 159 yards.

TT’s Annual Picks

My choice for “Coach of the Year” from each of the FBS Conferences

AAC: Matt Rhule – Temple; Runner-up: Scott Frost – UCF
ACC: Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech; Runner-up: Pat Narduzzi – Pitt
Big 12: Dana Holgorsen – West Virginia; Runner-up: Bill Snyder – Kansas State
Big 10: James Franklin – Penn State; Runner-up: Paul Chryst – Wisconsin
C-USA: Bobby Wilder – Old Dominion; Runner-up: Frank Wilson – UTSA
MAC: P.J. Fleck – Western Michigan; Runner-up: Chuck Martin – Miami (Ohio)
MWC: Craig Bohl – Wyoming; Runner-up: Bob Davie – New Mexico
Pac-12: Mike MacIntyre – Colorado; Runner-up: Clay Helton – USC
SEC: Jim McElwain – Florida; Runner-up: Derek Mason – Vanderbilt
Sun Belt: Neal Brown – Troy; Runner-up: Paul Petrino – Idaho

My choice for national “Coach of the Year”:

1. James Franklin – Penn State
2. Mike MacIntyre – Colorado
3. P.J. Fleck – Western Michigan

If I had a vote for the Heisman Trophy, my ballot would be cast as follows:

1. Deshaun Watson – Clemson
2. Lamar Jackson – Louisville
3. Dede Westbrook – Oklahoma

The most surprising team from each FBS conference:

AAC: UCF (6-6)
ACC: Virginia Tech (9-4)
Big 12: West Virginia (10-2)
Big Ten: Penn State (11-2)
C-USA: (tie) Old Dominion (9-3) and UTSA (6-6)
MAC: (tie) Miami (Ohio) (6-6) and Eastern Michigan (7-5)
MWC: (tie) Wyoming (8-4), New Mexico (8-4) and Hawaii (6-7)
Pac-12: (tie) Colorado (10-3) and Washington State (8-4)
SEC: Auburn (8-4)
Sun Belt: Idaho (8-4)

The most disappointing team from each FBS conference:

AAC: Cincinnati (4-8)
ACC: Florida State (9-3)
Big 12: (tie) Baylor (6-6) and Texas (5-7)
Big Ten: Michigan State (3-9)
C-USA: Marshall (3-9)
MAC: Bowling Green (4-8)
MWC: Utah State (3-9)
Pac-12: (tie) UCLA (4-8) and Oregon (4-8)
SEC: (tie) Ole Miss (5-7) and Tennessee (8-4)
Sun Belt: Georgia Southern (5-7)

Quotes of the Week

“I’m not going to Baylor. I love it at Colorado. And my family loves Colorado,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, when asked about the Baylor opening.

“It’s a historic day in Western Michigan history, and we deserve to be in the gosh darn Cotton bowl, period. Write it down,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, after the Broncos beat Ohio for the Mid-American Conference championship.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be careful what you wish for. I didn’t hold that sign up,” Washington coach Chris Petersen, when asked about a Washington fan holding a sign that said, “We Want Bama.”

“Our guys would have obviously loved to have been in the playoff, but they’re also excited about the opportunity to play in a big bowl game. We’ve had a great year. I’m really proud of our guys. Yeah, they would have loved to have been in the playoffs, but we’re still very, very appreciative and honored for the opportunities that we have,” Penn State coach James Franklin.

“Being on this side of the country, we don’t get to stay up late enough to watch their games. My wife doesn’t let me,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, on his upcoming Sun Bowl opponent Stanford.

Quote from the Past

“He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words,” Urban Meyer.

Signs of the Day

Just Give Bama The National Championship

Harbaugh Invited Meyer Over For A Sleepover Tonight

Wisconsin Is The Antichryst

Badgers Are Angry Skunks

Touchdown Tom’s Prediction for
This Week’s One Biggest and Most Intriguing Game…and then none

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Army (6-5) vs. Navy (9-3) – (Ind. vs. AAC) – 3 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Both teams are going bowling. Navy could have been going to the Cotton Bowl, but the Middies lost their AAC championship game to Temple last week. Even though Army has had a good season, Navy is the superior team. Middy quarterback Will Worth does just about everything for Navy. He even does the kitchen sink. But he was injured in the Temple game. Worth has rushed for 1,179 yards and passed for 1,363 yards. Navy is averaging 42 points a game on offense. Navy has won 14-straight games in this series and 17 of the last 19 games. Army last won in 2001. Make it 15-straight – Navy 34, Army 20.


West Virginia (10-2) and Florida (8-4) have completed their seasons.

Your 2016 Conference Champions

AAC: Temple
ACC: Clemson
Big 12: Oklahoma
Big Ten: Penn State
C-USA: Western Kentucky
MAC: Western Michigan
MWC: San Diego State
Pac-12: Washington
SEC: Alabama
Sun Belt: (tie) Appalachian State and Arkansas State

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but with the gray skies of early December upon us, the college football season was fading fast. As the fans were talking about new coaches, bowl games and the Heisman Trophy, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

…70 years ago this week in 1946 was “Ole Buttermilk Sky” by Kaye Kyser

…65 years ago this week in 1951 was “(It’s No) Sin” by Eddy Howard and His Orchestra

…60 years ago this week in 1956 was “Singing the Blues” by Guy Mitchell

…55 years ago this week in 1961 was “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “Winchester Cathedral” by The New Vaudeville Band

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart

…35 years ago this week in 1981 was “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John

…30 years ago this week in 1986 was “The Next Time I Fall” by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” by P.M. Dawn

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were two passings of note last week – Harry Flournoy and Grant Tinker.

Harry Flournoy, a captain on the Texas Western (now UTEP) basketball team that won the 1966 NCAA basketball tournament, died last week in Atlanta. He was 72. Flournoy was a member of the first team with an all-black starting five to win the NCAA basketball tournament. The Miners beat Kentucky, an all-white team, in the championship game. He helped guide Texas Western to a 28-1 record in the 1965-66 season. Harry Flournoy was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1943. As a child, his family moved to Gary, Indiana. After college, Flournoy taught and coached basketball in El Paso before becoming a sales representative and moving to California in 1972.

Grant Tinker, who produced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and other television hits in the 1970s, died last week in Los Angeles. He was 90. As president of MTM Enterprises, a company he founded with his second wife, Mary Tyler Moore, in 1970, Tinker produced the show named for her and the spinoff “Rhoda” and the newsroom drama “Lou Grant.” He was chairman and chief executive of NBC from 1981 to 1986, where he filled prime time television with such successful shows as “The Cosby Show,” “Cheers,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Family Ties,” “St. Elsewhere” and “Miami Vice.” Under Tinker, NBC enjoyed runaway ratings and record profits. Grant Almerin Tinker was born was born on January 11, 1926, in Stamford, Connecticut. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1949 and joined NBC. He left NBC in 1954, but rejoined the company in 1961. He developed “I Spy,” Dr. Kildare” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” In the late 1960s, he developed “It Takes a Thief” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.” for Universal. Tinker and Mary Tyler Moore married in 1963 and divorced in 1981.

Monday, November 28, 2016

College Football Week 14 – The firings have begun
I’ve got everything I need
and nothing that I don’t

Thanksgiving Week is always one of my favorite times during the college football season. The week is not only full of football games played out across three or four days, but also it is typically a week full of the season ending news and gossip – playoff projections, bowl projections, Heisman projections, coaches fired, coaches hired. You name it, there’s something to talk about.

Along with football, Thanksgiving Week is also a time when family and friends come together to be thankful, share good times, share good memories and yes, talk football. For me, Thanksgiving Week is always a week when, as the Zac Brown Band sings, “I got everything I need and nothing that I don’t.”

“I got some good friends that live down the street
Got a good lookin’ woman with her arms around me
Here in a small town where it feels like home
I got everything I need and nothing that I don’t”

Swamp Mama and I were running around like crazy at the beginning of the week. We had 11 people coming to dinner on Thursday. Three of them were good friends that live down the street. We hadn’t done anything like this in several years.

A few years ago, we had 18 people for Thanksgiving dinner, including six good friends that live down the street. And we were both working then. We’re retired now and it’s only 11 people. We must be out of condition. We are, because the past two years we went away for Thanksgiving.

And I’m cooking the turkey. Stay tuned!

But there’s nothing like watching some football for relaxation – to calm you down and settle your nerves. Well, that is as long as it’s not West Virginia or Florida. Watching West Virginia and Florida is not always relaxing. Often it doesn’t calm me down or settle my nerves.

Watching Auburn on TV can have the same affect on Bootsie. Rockledge Gator says you wouldn’t believe some of the words that come out of Bootsie’s mouth when she’s watching Auburn on television. Not that he should talk, because Rockledge is famous for speaking French and throwing various objects when Florida is on television.

Tuesday night, however, was a relaxing evening. Two Mid-American Conference games were on television. MAC games are rarely the type to raise your blood pressure. After running around like a mad dog on Monday and Tuesday, I needed some relaxation Tuesday evening.

In one game, Akron played Ohio. Ohio needed to beat Akron to win the MAC East Division and play for the conference title. It wasn’t an exciting game, but it was a close game. Actually, it was a game of four field goals. Or as my father would have said, “It was a good soccer game.”

Ohio beat Akron 9-3. Until late in the fourth quarter, Ohio led 6-3. Then with 2:59 on the clock, Ohio kicked the game’s fourth field goal – a 23-yarder. The Bobcats got everything they need and nothing they don’t.

The other MAC game on TV was close and exciting. Eastern Michigan beat Central Michigan 26-21. Early in the fourth quarter, EMU led 20-7. Then CMU scored back-to-back touchdowns to take a 21-20 lead with 2:34 left in the game. But EMU put together a final drive. With just 21 seconds on the clock, the Eagles scored the winning touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Brogan Roback to Sergio Bailey.

The win capped a successful season for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles finished 7-5. That’s quite an accomplishment for EMU, considering the Eagles won a total of 7 games during the past four seasons. They were 1-11 last year. The Eagles got everything they need.

There was a third MAC game Tuesday night. Miami (Ohio) beat Ball State, 21-20. Had Ohio lost to Akron, then Miami would have won the MAC East. Still, the RedHawks capped a good season at 6-6. They only won a total of five games the past three seasons and were predicted to finish last in the MAC East this year. Instead, Miami finished tied for first.

Thanksgiving Day, Princess Gator, Bama Gator, Gator Gabe and Gator Babe arrived. They drove down from the panhandle on Thanksgiving Day, figuring the traffic would be light. They figured right.

Earlier in the day, I cooked my turkey – a 19 pounder. It was my first turkey in three years. Swamp Mama and I also watched the appearance of “The Pride of West Virginia” – The Mountaineer Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They looked sharp.

Late that afternoon, friends Neal and Stephanie Stein and their children Julia and David, and neighbors Dieter and Deb Gum and Betty ‘The Duchess of Indialantic’ Pappas joined the six of us for good times and Thanksgiving dinner. I introduced Princess Gator, Bama Gator, Stephanie and Dieter to their first Irish Mule. I think they liked it.

The turkey was a success. Everyone said it was good and juicy. Dieter reminded me of the time I cooked the turkey upside down – breasts down. That was a few years ago. But that one turned out good too.

Before dinner, we watched much of the Illinois-West Virginia basketball game. West Virginia won, 89-57.

That evening, we watched the LSU-Texas A&M football game. We sort of lost interest in the game during the third quarter when LSU scored and went up 34-10. After that, the defenses went to sleep, as LSU ultimately won, 54-39. Forty-nine points in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Throughout the game, the commentators kept talking about the LSU coaching situation. They provided reports and rumors that LSU was working hard to get Houston coach Tom Herman. They almost made it sound like LSU was going to get Herman. But other reports indicated Herman hadn’t ruled out an offer from Texas. It sounds like Herman’s agent had a good thing going.

Again this year, LSU was undergoing an awkward public coaching search. Remember the Jimbo Fisher talk last year, all while Les Miles was still coaching. This year it is the Tom Herman gossip, all while interim coach Ed Orgeron is still coaching. And speaking of Jimbo Fisher, he hadn’t exactly been ruled out. Apparently, Fisher was still LSU’s first choice.

Friday contained a full slate of games – and a full-slate of upsets too. My, oh my, who would have thunk it. Memphis knocked off Houston, 48-44. Tom Herman must have been focused on Texas and LSU and not his football team. Then NC State surprised North Carolina, 28-21. Larry Fedora’s mind might have been focused elsewhere too. His name has popped up a place or two as a possibility in the coaching carousel.

The upsets weren’t over. Missouri stunned Arkansas, 28-24. Hog fans can’t be happy with Bret Bielema. But I’m sure Jennifer will patch things up. Out West, Air Force handed Boise State an unexpected loss. The Falcons beat the Broncos, 27-20. Any faint hopes Charlie Strong had of keeping his job were doused when TCU downed Texas, 31-9.

Texas Tech, after losing to Iowa State, 66-10, last week, bounced back and beat Baylor, 54-35. Arizona, who had lost eight-straight games, beat Arizona State, 56-35. Iowa, who was expected to have a struggle with Nebraska, made it look easy, beating the Huskers, 40-10.

Two favored teams won Friday and won big too. Washington downed intrastate rival Washington State, 45-17. The victory gave the Huskies the Pac-12 North title. Likewise, Western Michigan won the MAC West title and remained undefeated, beating
Toledo, 55-35. Washington and WMU have everything they need.

Friday night, the six of us went to a party at Neal and Stephanie Stein’s house. All had a good time. I ate too much cake, pie and cookies which were to die for.

The upsets continued on Saturday. Georgia Tech rallied in the fourth quarter to knock off Georgia, 28-27, and Kentucky shook up Lamar Jackson, as the Wildcats surprised Louisville, 41-38. Jackson suffered from four turnovers in the game – three interceptions and one fumble.

In the big game Saturday, the game of the week, Ohio State won as favored. But oh what a game it was. It took two overtimes for the Buckeyes to subdue Michigan, 30-27. Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh said it took a crew of officials for the Buckeyes to subdue Michigan.

In the second half of the Michigan-Ohio State game, Harbaugh was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his antics on the sideline. Harbaugh said to the official, “That’s a penalty?”

The official responded, “Well, it is in basketball.”

Harbaugh said, “This isn’t basketball.”

Yeah, Jim Harbaugh was right. The officiating in the Michigan-Ohio State game was atrocious. But the officiating, however bad it was, didn’t cause Michigan the game. Michigan caused its own loss – two interceptions and one fumble by Wolverine quarterback Wilton Speight. Those three things caused Michigan the game. Maybe Harbaugh should have started John O’Korn.

In another early start on Saturday, South Florida won the battle of central Florida, beating UCF, 48-31.

The second biggest game of Thanksgiving Weekend kicked off at 3:30 ET. This game went as expected, perhaps more than expected. Alabama remained undefeated, beating intrastate rival Auburn, 30-12.

Wisconsin won the Big Ten West and Penn State won the Big Ten East. The Badgers beat Minnesota, 31-17, and the Nittany Lions downed Michigan State, 45-12. Wisconsin and Penn State will meet for the Big Ten championship this week.

Notre Dame’s, Oregon’s and Ole Miss’ misery continued. USC downed the Irish, 45-27, while Oregon State beat the Ducks, 34-24, and Mississippi State blasted Ole Miss, 55-20. Notre Dame, Oregon and Ole Miss failed to qualify for a bowl game.

West Virginia bounced back from its loss to Oklahoma. The Mountaineers beat Iowa State, 49-19. And speaking of West Virginia, the WVU women’s soccer team beat Duke, 1-0, in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Mountaineer ladies move on to the Final Four this week.

As the day progressed on Saturday, news broke that Texas officially fired Charlie Strong and hired Tom Herman as his replacement. Strong’s buyout is $10.6 million. Shortly afterward, LSU announced that Ed Orgeron was the new coach of the Tigers. Apparently, LSU didn’t bid high enough for Herman. After failing to land Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman, LSU was left with Orgeron.

But apparently LSU is willing to bid high for Orgeron’s new offensive coordinator. News broke that LSU is willing to make Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin the highest paid offensive coordinator in the country, if he’ll come to Baton Rouge. Stay tuned!

Saturday night, Colorado, one of the hottest teams in the country, beat Utah, 27-22. It was the Buffs’ sixth-straight win. The victory gives Colorado the Pac-12 South title. In Tallahassee, Florida State downed Florida for the fourth year in a row. The Noles beat the Gators, 31-13. Florida didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the game.

Clemson clobbered South Carolina, 56-7, giving the ACC a 3-to-1 advantage over the SEC for the day. Tennessee coach Butch Jones is under fire. Vanderbilt upset the Vols, 45-34.

In two strange outcomes in the MWC, the conference’s division champions were both upset – and big time too. Colorado State pounded San Diego State, 63-31, and New Mexico dumped Wyoming, 56-35. Go figure.

In the battle for the Silver State, Nevada beat UNLV, 45-10. Stanford downed Rice, 41-17, as Christian McCaffrey rushed for 204 yards. In the only other overtime game besides Michigan-Ohio State, Tulsa beat Cincinnati, 40-37 in OT.

In the most outrageous game of the weekend, Pitt outlasted Syracuse, 76-61. No, that wasn’t a basketball score. And while we are talking about 70s, Navy beat SMU, 75-31, and Middle Tennessee downed Florida Atlantic, 77-56. You know, looking at these scores and others, I have to believe that by the end of the season an awful lot of defenses are simply beat down – wiped out, riddled with injuries.

The coaching carousel continued on Sunday. Florida Atlantic fired head coach Charlie Partridge. In three seasons with the Owls, Partridge was 9-27. Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is rumored to be the next coach at Florida Atlantic.

Additionally, San Jose State fired Ron Caragher and Nevada fired Brian Polian. In four years at San Jose State, Caragher was 19-30. The Spartans were 4-8 this season. In four years with Nevada, Polian was 23-27. The Wolf Pack were 5-7 this season.

Oregon officials announced they will meet with Mark Helfrich this week about his returning to coach the Ducks next season – or not. If Helfrich is fired, and rumor is he will be, his buyout is $11.7 million. Reports and rumors have Notre Dame thinking about letting Brian Kelly go. Conversely, there are reports that Kelly already had his agent looking into opportunities for him to coach elsewhere next year.

In the midst of a bad season, Notre Dame got more bad news last week. The NCAA has ordered Notre Dame to vacate wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons for academic fraud. The NCAA has also vacated Notre Dame’s appearance in the 2012 national championship game. With all the problems, issues and infractions that have occurred under Brian Kelly’s watch, combined with this year’s 4-8 season, maybe Notre Dame should just go ahead and ditch Kelly.

Les Miles name continues to be connected to the Purdue opening.

So when the College Football Playoff Poll comes out this week, I figure it will be (1) Alabama, (2) Ohio State, (3) Clemson and (4) Washington, with Wisconsin, Penn State, Colorado and Oklahoma knocking on the door.

With Boise State and Houston losing, Western Michigan should be in good shape as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team. But the Broncos have to be wary of Navy. The Middies have good wins over Houston, Memphis and Notre Dame. WMU’s best wins are over Northwestern and Toledo. Stay tuned!

Right now there are 76 bowl eligible teams for 80 bowl spots. Two five-win teams, Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama have games this week that could improve them to 6-6, depending on the outcome. ULL plays at Louisiana-Monroe and South Alabama hosts New Mexico State. Both teams are favored. But, depending on how those games come out, there will be 2, 3 or 4 teams with 5-7 records eligible for a bowl spot. The NCAA awards those spots based on the school’s APR rating (graduation rate). The 2, 3 or 4 teams with the highest APR rating will get a bowl spot.

It was good hearing from Bob Willey, Dave Brolhorst and Tim Muth last week. I reminded Tim, an FSU grad, that I picked his Noles to beat Florida. Tim said, “Yeah, but you were way off on the point spread.” Tim likes to rub it in.

And also, it was good to hear from Ken Burger. Thanks for the heads up Ken. Yes, that was a typo last week when I had Alabama at 12-1. I corrected it on the blog site.

Yeah, it was another good Thanksgiving Week.

“I got everything I need and nothing that I don’t”

Enjoy your week – championship week!

Touchdown Tom
November 28, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Harbaugh wants a recount – Ohio State 30, Michigan 27 (2OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Ohio State 21, Michigan 20). The game lived up to its hype. You can’t get much closer or more exciting than two overtimes. Jim Harbaugh’s sideline antics made the game exciting too – or at least, interesting. The teams were pretty closely matched in the stats. The Buckeyes were the better running team. The Wolverines were the better passing team. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett rushed for 125 yards. And, oh yes, Michigan had 7 penalties for 59 yards, while Ohio State was penalized twice for a total of six yards. Attendance in Columbus: 110,045

RUNNER UP: Beat down – Alabama 30, Auburn 12 (Touchdown Tom said: Alabama 28, Auburn 13). This game didn’t live up to its hype. But then, on the other hand, there was no hype. Everyone knew Alabama would beat Auburn. The only question was: by how much? The Tide dominated the Tigers from top to bottom – 26 first downs to 7; 501 total yards to 182, and controlling the clock for more than 40 minutes. Auburn only had 66 yards rushing. You can’t get much more brutal than that. Well, it could have been worse, if Jalen Hurts hadn’t thrown two interceptions. Attendance in Auburn: 101,821

BEST OF THE REST: Mush on the Palouse – Washington 45, Washington State 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 32, Washington State 26). In the battle of the quarterbacks, Washington’s Jake Browning threw for 292 yards (21-for-29) and three touchdowns, while Washington State’s Luke Falk threw for 269 yards (33-for-50) and three interceptions. The Huskies also outrushed the Cougars 168 yards to 65. Attendance in Pullman: 33,773

Party time in Boulder – Colorado 27, Utah 22 (Touchdown Tom said: Colorado 26, Utah 22). After Washington easily won the Pac-12 North, Colorado had a fight on its hands to take the Pac-12 South. Although the game was close throughout, Utah’s only lead was early in the game. The Utes led 7-0 in the first quarter. Colorado went up 10-7 in the second quarter. The score was tied 13-13 late in the third quarter. Utah had four turnovers to two for the Buffs. Attendance in Boulder: 53,301

Slow start, fast finish – Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Wisconsin 26, Minnesota 17). Minnesota had a 17-7 halftime lead and held the lead until early in the fourth quarter. Commencing in the third quarter, Wisconsin scored 24 unanswered points. Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner threw four interceptions. Attendance in Madison: 77,216

Undefeated – Western Michigan 55, Toledo 35 (Touchdown Tom said: Western Michigan 30, Toledo 25). Midway through the third quarter, Western Michigan led 45-14. Then it was tit-for-tat until the finish. Oddly enough, the teams were pretty closely matched in the stats. But WMU controlled the ball for more than 39 minutes. Toledo’s Kareem Hunt rushed for 200 yards, and WMU’s Jamauri Bogan rushed for 198 yards. Attendance in Kalamazoo: 24,191

Flyboys like the ground – Air Force 27, Boise State 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Boise State 31, Air Force 29). Boise State’s passing couldn’t outdo Air Force’s running. The Broncos had 316 yards passing (Brett Rypien) to 45 for the Falcons. And Air Force had 314 yards rushing to 84 for Boise State. The Falcons’ running allowed Air Force to control the clock for more than 41 minutes. The game was tight throughout. Attendance in Colorado Springs: 23,556

Too much wampum – Florida State 31, Florida 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida State 23, Florida 20). With 10:45 to go in the game, Florida State’s lead was just 24-13. But the Gators couldn’t close the gap anymore. The Noles put the game away with a late fourth quarter touchdown. FSU held Florida to only 58 yards rushing and just 207 total yards. FSU’s Dalvin Cook rushed for 153 yards. Attendance in Tallahassee: 78,342

The Eyes have it – Iowa 40, Nebraska 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 28, Iowa 17). Nebraska began the season 7-0, only to lose 3 of its final 5 games. Two of the three loses were bad and this was one of them. Iowa dominated the game, out-rushing and out-passing the Huskers. Two Hawkeyes rushed for more than 100 yards – LeShun Daniels (158) and Akrum Wadley (105). There were no turnovers in the game. Iowa finished the season with three-straight wins, including a win over Michigan. Attendance in Iowa City: 69,814

Typical Mustake – Clemson 56, South Carolina 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Clemson 26, South Carolina 13). This game was over in the first quarter. Actually, it was over before it began. Clemson led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 35-0 at halftime. The Tigers plucked the Gamecocks with 41 first downs to 14 for South Carolina and 622 total yards to 218 for the Cocks. Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 347 yards and six touchdowns. Attendance in Clemson: 81,542

Rub down – Memphis 48, Houston 44 (Touchdown Tom said: Houston 32, Memphis 22). Memphis jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter and never trailed in the game until the fourth quarter when the Tigers trailed twice. With 7:02 to go in the game, Houston led 37-34. Then with 1:29 on the clock, Houston led 44-41. But each time, Memphis came back. The Tigers scored their winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the game. The teams combined for 1,179 total yards – 896 of it from passing. Houston’s Greg Ward threw for 487 yards and four touchdowns. Memphis’ Riley Ferguson threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns. Attendance in Memphis: 36,527

Not a Heisman performance – Kentucky 41, Louisville 38 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 32, Kentucky 30). Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson threw three interceptions and lost the ball on a fumble. But Jackson did have 352 yards running and passing. There was a lot of offense in the game. The teams combined for 1,142 total yards. The score was close throughout. Louisville led 24-21 at the half. The score was tied 31-31 at the end of three. Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson passed for 338 yards. Attendance in Louisville: 54,075


Bulls win the Battle of I-4 – South Florida 48, UCF 31 (Touchdown Tom said: South Florida 30, UCF 20). South Florida jumped out to leads of 24-7 in the second quarter and 31-14 in the third quarter. But late in the third quarter, UCF pulled within 7 points, trailing 31-24. Then the Bulls outscored the Knights 17-7. UCF lacked a running game with only 64 yards rushing. Two USF players rushed for more than 100 yards – running back Marlon Mack (155) and quarterback Quinton Flowers (152). Attendance in Tampa: 36,056

Hot seat bowl – LSU 54, Texas A&M 39 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas A&M 19, LSU 17). In the battle of the hot seats, Ed Orgeron saved his job, while Kevin Sumlin may have lost his. It was an embarrassing loss for the Aggies. After a 6-0 start, A&M lost 4 of its last 6 games. The teams combined for 1,094 total yards. LSU quarterback Danny Etling passed for 324 yards, and Tiger running back Derrius Guice rushed for 285 yards. Attendance in College Station: 102,961


Shoot down – West Virginia 49, Iowa State 19 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 34, Iowa State 18). Iowa State took a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter. Two minutes later, WVU went up 7-3 and the Mountaineers never trailed for the rest of the game. The teams combined for 1,174 total yards, but the Cyclones couldn’t turn their yards into points. WVU freshman Martell Pettaway rushed for 181 yards. Iowa State had four turnovers – 3 fumbles and 1 interception. Attendance in Ames: 51,365

Cane party – Miami (Florida) 40, Duke 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Miami 30, Duke 19). Close at the break, Miami led 16-14 at halftime. Then the Canes outscored the Dookies 24-7 in the second half. Miami held Duke to just 79 yards rushing. Canes quarterback Brad Kaaya passed for 396 yards (22-for-35) and four touchdowns. The game was turnover free. Attendance in Miami Gardens: 57,396

Not so Smart – Georgia Tech 28, Georgia 27 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 26, Georgia Tech 21). The game was tied 14-14 at the half. But Georgia appeared to take command of the game in the third quarter. The Dawgs led 27-14 at the end of three. But the Jackets came back and skunked Uga in the fourth quarter, 14-0. Tech scored its winning touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game. Neither team was a success passing the ball, but both had a strong ground game. Georgia’s Sonny Michel rushed for 170 yards. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

The camel breaks his back – TCU 31, Texas 9 (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 27, TCU 20). If there was any hope for Charlie Strong before the game, it was all but wiped out after the game. The Horns were just down by one at halftime – 7-6. But TCU outscored Texas 24-3 in the second half. The Horns D’Onta Foreman rushed for 165 yards. As a team, TCU had 309 yards rushing. Attendance in Austin: 99,065

Fitting – Indiana 26, Purdue 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Indiana 32, Purdue 23). This game went back and forth from start to finish. But when Indiana went up 26-22 with 4:59 left, the Hoosiers never relinquished their lead. Neither team showed much offense. Purdue only had 42 yards rushing, and Indiana only had 117 yards passing. Between them, the two teams had eight turnovers – 4 each. Attendance in Bloomington: 43,103

Week 13 Results: 12 correct picks, 7 fumbles (63.2 percent)
For the Season: 146 correct picks, 83 fumbles (63.8 percent)


Old Dominion 42, Florida International 28 – Attendance in Norfolk: 20,118
Middle Tennessee 77, Florida Atlantic 56 – Attendance in Murfreesboro: 10,227
South Carolina State 28, Bethune-Cookman 7 – Attendance in Orangeburg: 4,086


Impressive Passers:

Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes – 30-46-0 for 586 yards; Houston’s Greg Ward – 47-67-1-487; Syracuse’s Zack Mahoney – 43-61-1-440; Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur – 21-34-1-416; Memphis’ Riley Ferguson – 30-45-0-405; Miami of Florida’s Brad Kaaya – 22-35-0-396, and Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen – 35-57-1-393.

Miami of Ohio’s Gus Ragland – 26-35-0 for 380 yards; Illinois’ Wes Lunt – 28-54-1-377; Baylor’s Zach Smith – 30-46-1-377; Penn State’s Trace McSorley – 17-23-0-376; Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins – 43-58-1-372; Iowa State’s Jacob Park – 23-44-1-371; Cincinnati’s Hayden Moore – 20-37-0-371; Eastern Michigan’s Brogan Roback – 26-37-1-355, and Arkansas’ Austin Allen – 24-39-2-348.

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson – 26-32-1 for 347 yards; Southern Miss’ Nick Mullens – 29-33-0-342; Massachusetts’ Andrew Ford – 24-38-0-342Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs – 31-34-0-340; Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson – 16-27-1-338; Buffalo’s Grant Rohach – 20-35-0-334; SMU’s Ben Hicks – 31-44-2-331; West Virginia’s Skyler Howard – 12-21-0-330, and LSU’s Danny Etling – 20-28-0-324.

Impressive Rushers:

UTEP’s Aaron Jones – 301 yards; LSU’s Derrius Guice – 285 yards; Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald – 258 yards; Wyoming’s Josh Allen – 18-28-0-248; Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singeltary – 235 yards; New Mexico’s Teriyon Gipson – 217 yards, and Middle Tennessee’s I’Tavius Mathers – 213 yards.

Middle Tennessee’s Richie James – 207 yards; Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey – 204 yards; Toledo’s Kareem Hunt – 200 yards; Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan – 198 yards; Tulsa’s James Flanders – 197 yards; Nevada’s James Butler – 196 yards, and Old Dominion’s Ray Lawry – 194 yards.

Mississippi State’s Aeris Williams – 191 yards; Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins – 183 yards; Notre Dame’s Josh Adams – 180 yards; Arizona’s Samajie Grant – 176 yards; New Mexico’s Lamar Jordan – 176 yards, and Northwestern’s Justin Jackson – 173 yards.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson – 171 yards; Georgia’s Sony Michel – 170 yards; Maryland’s Ty Johnson – 168 yards; Connecticut’s Arkeel Newsome – 166 yards; Texas’ D’Onta Foreman – 165 yards; Bowling Green’s Fred Coppet – 160 yards, and Iowa’s LeShun Daniels – 158 yards.

Quotes of the Week

“We will do whatever it takes to keep Tom Herman at the University of Houston. We’re not going to lose Tom Herman because of money. He’s not going to leave because of money,” chairman of the University of Houston Board of Regents Tilman Fertitta.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron, after the Texas A&M game.

“I’m bitterly disappointed in the officiating today. I can’t make that anymore clear,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, after the Wolverine’s loss to Ohio State.

“I’ll be back, absolutely,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, after Notre Dame’s loss to USC, when asked if he would be coaching the Irish next year.

“Nobody’s job is safe in college football,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, after the Ducks loss to Oregon State.

“He’s the best I’ve ever been around. Ever,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, on his quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“I believed in Kliff Kingsbury when I hired him. I believe in him today,” Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, on Kingsbury’s status.

“We will win championships. We will build men of character. We will graduate our players, and we will do it all with integrity and with class,” new Texas coach Tom Herman.

“I think pressure is that uneasy feeling that you feel when you are unprepared. Pressure is self-inflicted. Pressure is self-doubt when you are unprepared. We’re prepared for this job. We’re prepared for success at this job. We’re prepared for adversity in this job. So I don’t feel any sense of pressure at all,” new Texas coach Tom Herman.

Quote from the Past

“Football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport,” Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty.

Touchdown Tom’s Predictions for
This Week’s 10 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games.…and then one

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Washington (11-1) vs. Colorado (10-2) (The Pac-12 Championship Game – Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara) – 9:30 pm ET, Friday, Fox – These are two first-timers in the Pac-12 title game. In the six-year history of the game, it has always been Oregon or Stanford from the North and UCLA, USC, Arizona or Arizona State from the South. Washington was supposed to be here. Colorado wasn’t. The Buffaloes are the surprise team of 2016. Both teams are solid. Both play good defense and both play good offense. This should be some battle, but the edge on offense goes to the Huskies – Washington 26, Colorado 21.

RUNNER UP: 2. Alabama (12-0) vs. Florida (8-3) – (The SEC Championship Game – The Georgia Dome in Atlanta) – 4 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – This could be a laugher. Florida is capable of playing good defense. But the Gators defense is injury riddled. On the other side of the ball, Florida has no offense whatsoever. And against Alabama, it could be worse than that. Maybe Eddy Pineiro will get a few field goals for the Gators. Don’t expect any touchdowns. But Nick Saban will take this game seriously. The Tide gets a serious win – Alabama 28, Florida 12.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Penn State (10-2) vs. Wisconsin (10-2) (Big Ten Championship Game – Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – I’m expecting a good contest here. Penn State has to be one of the most improved teams in the country since the first of the season. But Wisconsin is no slouch. The Badgers only two losses are to Ohio State and Michigan. The Ohio State game was an overtime loss. And Michigan only won by 7 points. The Badgers are riding a six-game winning streak. Penn State has an eight-game winning streak. The Badgers’ streak is broken – Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21.

4. Clemson (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (9-3) (The ACC Championship Game – Camping World Stadium in Orlando) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – If there is an upset in a conference championship game, this is where it will occur. I don’t think Virginia Tech will beat Clemson, but if the Hokies do, I won’t be surprised. Both teams can be up and down. It’s just a matter of how one catches the other. With Deshaun Watson, the advantage has to go to Clemson. But it’ll be close – Clemson 33, Virginia Tech 27.

5. Ohio (8-4) vs. Western Michigan (12-0) (The MAC Championship Game – Ford Field in Detroit) – 7 pm ET, Friday, ESPN2 – Western Michigan has been an amazing team this season. It will be more amazing if the Broncos end up in a New Year’s Six bowl. They most likely will if the Broncs beat Ohio. And they most likely will. The Bobcats don’t have much of an offense. They play good defense. WMU has an overwhelming offense. The Bobcats are overwhelmed – Western Michigan 29, Ohio 19.

6. Oklahoma State (9-2) at Oklahoma (9-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – It’s not officially, but it is like a conference championship game. Heck, it is a conference championship game. These are the two best teams in the Big 12. Oklahoma is sitting on an 8-game winning streak. Okie State is riding a 7-game winning streak. OU is 8-0 in Big 12 play. The Cowboys are 7-1. Since its early season slip ups, the Sooners are playing like one of the best teams in the country. At least the offense is. OU’s defense is shaky – very shaky. This is going to be a high-scoring game. The Sooners score higher – Oklahoma 39, Oklahoma State 30.

7. Temple (9-3) at Navy (9-2) (The AAC Championship Game – Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Navy is the favorite in this game. Temple is a very deceptive team. The Owls are better than they appear, especially on defense. But can Temple defend the Navy offense? The Middies do score a lot, but they also can give up a lot on defense. Temple’s offense is so-so. The Owls spring a leak – Navy 29, Temple 27.

8. San Diego State (9-3) at Wyoming (8-4) (The MWC Championship Game – War Memorial Stadium in Laramie) – 7:45 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – The winner of this game is anybody’s guess. Wyoming has the better wins. But the Cowboys have some bad losses. So does San Diego State. Something tells me the Aztecs won’t like Wyoming in December. The Cowboys like the elements – Wyoming 32, San Diego State 28.

9. Louisiana Tech (8-4) at Western Kentucky (9-3) (The C-USA Championship Game – Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Western Kentucky has to be heavily favored. Home field advantage and a much better offense spells trouble for Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs just hope to keep it close – Western Kentucky 37, Louisiana Tech 25.

10. Baylor (6-5) at West Virginia (9-2) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – Last time WVU was playing at home, the Mounties were a disappointment. That was against Oklahoma. I would think the Eers will make amends for that game. And Baylor is in a funk – big time. After winning their first six games, the Bears have dropped five straight. The news coming out of Baylor hasn’t been good. The Mountaineers should roll. Almost Heaven – West Virginia 40, Baylor 24.


11. Kansas State (7-4) at TCU (6-5) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FS1 – This is a tough pick. Both teams can score. K-State has a slightly better defense. TCU has the home field advantage. But never underestimate Bill Snyder. He always has a trick up his sleeve. And a Frog in his hand – Kansas State 27, TCU 26.


Nebraska (9-3), Duke (4-8), Georgia (7-5), Texas (5-7) and Purdue (3-9) have completed their seasons.


Florida State (9-3), Miami (8-4), UCF (6-6), Florida Atlantic (3-9) and Florida International (4-8) have completed their seasons.

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were five passings of note last week – Ralph Branca, Al Cailoa, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro and Ron Glass.

Ralph Branca, who had three consecutive All-Star seasons pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers, died last week in Rye Brook, New York. He was 90. Branca is known for one unforgivable offense to Dodger fans. On October 3, 1951, in a final game with the New York Giants to determine the National League championship, he served up Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning home run – the “Shot Heard Round the World.” Ralph Theodore Joseph Branca was born on January 6, 1926, in Mount Vernon, New York. After pitching for New York University as a freshman in the spring of 1944, he made his debut for the Dodgers in June. An accident at the Dodgers spring training camp in 1952 resulted in Branca injuring his back and pelvis that affected his leg motion. He never regained his form. He later pitched for the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees, finishing his career in 1956.

Al Caiola, a guitarist who recorded hit versions of the themes from the westerns “The Magnificent Seven” and “Bonanza” and worked with artists ranging from Buddy Holly to Tony Bennett, died last week in Allendale, New Jersey. He was 96. His version of “Bonanza” reached No. 19 on the Billboard singles chart in 1961. His rendition of “The Magnificent Seven” reached No. 35 on the charts, also in 1961. Along with Holly and Bennett, Caiola also recorded and performed with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, Simon and Garfunkel, Sarah Vaughn, Glen Campbell and Rosemary Clooney. He also played in orchestras led by Percy Faith, Morton Gould and Andre Kostelanetz, and on radio and television with Steve Allen, Jackie Gleason, Arthur Godfrey and Ed Sullivan. Alexander Emil Caiola was born on September 7, 1920, in Jersey City. He was in the Marines in World War II.

Florence Henderson, who began her career as a soprano in stage musicals but made a more lasting impression on television as the 1970s sitcom mom on “The Brady Bunch,” died last week in Los Angeles. She was 82. “The Brady Bunch” ran from September 1969 to March 1974. Henderson starred in “Fanny” on Broadway in the mid-1950s. In the 1950s and 1960s, she appeared on television in music-driven series like “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Oldsmobile Music Theater” and “The Dean Martin Show.” Henderson was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show,” and she was the first woman to be the show’s guest host. Henderson also made appearances on NBC’s “Today.” After “The Brady Bunch,” she made guest appearances on “Medical Center,” “Ally McBeal,” “30 Rock,” “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island.” Henderson was the host of “Country Kitchen,” a cooking show on TNN. In 2010, she appeared on “Dancing With the Stars.” Florence Agnes Henderson was born on February 14, 1934, in Dale, Indiana.

Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary and leader who defied the United States, died last week. He was 90. Castro dominated his country with strength and symbolism from the day he triumphantly entered Havana on January 8, 1959. Falling ill in 2006, Castro turned his power over to his brother Raul Castro. Fidel Alejandro Castro was born on August 13, 1926, in the eastern Cuban province of Oriente. As a law school student at the University of Havana in 1945, he became obsessed with Cuban politics and led student protests and demonstrations.

Ron Glass, the character actor best known for his role as the detective Ron Harris on the cop comedy “Barney Miller,” died last week. He was 71. Although best known for “Barney Miller,” Glass appeared in other shows and movies dating to the early 1970s. He was Felix Unger in “The New Odd Couple” in the 1980s. Glass also made appearances on “Friends,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Designing Women.” Early credits included “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford and Son” and “Hawaii Five-0.” “Barney Miller” aired from 1975 to 1982. Raised in Evansville, Indiana, Glass received a bachelor of arts degree in drama and literature from the University of Evansville. After graduation, he moved to Minneapolis before coming to Los Angeles.

Monday, November 21, 2016

College Football Week 13 – Texas fires Charlie Strong
It’s all over but the shouting

Two weeks to go and the season is all but over for two of the Power 5 conferences. In the other three conferences, it ain’t over till it’s over. There is still some shouting to take place. And it could get loud – very loud.

It was all over in the SEC before the season began. You can thank Alabama for that. Let’s face it, the SEC has become Snow Crimson and the 13 Dwarfs. Yeah, I know, Auburn may open its mouth and try to shout this Saturday, but believe me, the Tigers are suffering from laryngitis. They caught it in Athens a week ago.

Yeah, I know, Florida beat LSU. And for beating LSU, the Gators get to play Alabama in the SEC title game. Sounds more like a consolation prize to me. Florida’s offense has no vocal cords. There won’t be any shouting in Atlanta. You can go ahead and pencil-in Alabama in the playoffs.

Notice that there is only one SEC team in the Top 10 this week. It really is Snow Crimson and the 13 Dwarfs. Yes, Alabama will finish 13-0 and be in the playoffs. There won’t be a second team from the SEC in the playoffs.

Unlike the SEC, it wasn’t all over in the ACC before the season began. Louisville surfaced as a serious challenger to Clemson. But along the way, the Tigers won the head-on meeting between the two. Then it all got interesting a week ago when Clemson lost to Pitt. Ultimately Clemson and Louisville ended up with identical conference records 7-1.

The victory over Louisville puts Clemson in the ACC title game against either Virginia Tech or North Carolina – most likely Virginia Tech. Regardless, Clemson will win that game. The Coastal Division is the ACC’s equivalent of the East Division in the SEC – the runt of the litter.

So it’s over in the ACC. You can go ahead and pencil-in Clemson in the playoffs. The Tigers will finish 12-1. And there won’t be a second team from the ACC in the playoffs.

For the other three Power 5 conferences, it’s basically over, but the fireworks have yet to go off. They will start going off this weekend in the Big Ten. In the East Division of the Big Ten, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are tied for first place in the Division with 7-1 records.

Saturday, Michigan (10-1) plays Ohio State (10-1) in Columbus. Penn State (9-2) hosts Michigan State in University Park. If Michigan beats Ohio State, the Wolverines win the East Division, because they also beat Penn State earlier in the season.

However, if Ohio State beats Michigan, then the Buckeyes must wait and see if Penn State wins or loses. A Penn State win over Michigan State would give the East Division title to the Nittany Lions, as Penn State beat Ohio State earlier in the season. If Penn State loses to Michigan State, then the Buckeyes win the division title.

The Michigan-Ohio State game starts at 12 noon ET. The Michigan State-Penn State game starts at 3:30 pm ET. It could be a long wait for the Buckeyes, assuming they beat Michigan.

Then there is the Big Ten West Division. It’s messy too. Wisconsin and Nebraska are tied with 6-2 conference records. Saturday, Wisconsin (9-2) hosts Minnesota (8-3), and on Friday Nebraska (9-2) visits Iowa (7-4).

If Wisconsin wins, then the Badgers win the Big Ten West, having beaten Nebraska earlier in the season. But if Wisconsin loses and Nebraska beats Iowa, then the Huskers win the West.

My guess is Ohio State beats Michigan, but Penn State beats Michigan State. In the West, Wisconsin beats Minnesota. That would put Penn State against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. A one-loss Ohio State sits home and hopes to still slip into the playoffs.

I wouldn’t pencil-in anybody from the Big Ten yet. But most likely there will be a Big Ten team in the playoffs.

The Pac-12 is almost as noisy as the Big Ten. There is some shouting to be done and it could be loud. But it is not as complex as the Big Ten. Quite simply, in the Pac-12 North Division, Friday’s winner of the Washington (10-1)-Washington State (8-3) game wins the Pac-12 North. Both teams are 7-1 in conference play. The game is being played in Pullman.

In the Pac-12 South, it is down to Colorado (9-2) and USC (8-3). The Trojans have finished conference play with a 7-2 record. Colorado is 7-1 with a game Saturday against Utah (8-3). The game is in Boulder.

If the Buffaloes beat Utah, then Colorado wins the Pac-12 South. But if Colorado loses to the Utes, then USC wins the Pac-12 South, because the Trojans beat the Buffs earlier in the season.

Should Washington win out, I believe the Huskies will be in the playoffs. But there is no guarantee they will win out. And if they don’t, I wouldn’t pencil-in anybody from the Pac-12 in the playoffs – not yet. For sure, there won’t be two teams from the Pac-12 in the playoffs.

The Big 12 is the simplest of the three, but there is some shouting to endure. In the Big 12, it’s all down to Oklahoma (9-2) and Oklahoma State (9-2). The two meet in Norman on December 3. The Sooners are 8-0 in conference play, while the Cowboys are 7-1. In short, the winner of the game wins the Big 12.

But I wouldn’t pencil-in anybody from the Big 12 in the playoffs – not yet. And there won’t be two teams from the Big 12 in the playoffs.

When the shouting is over, I have Alabama and Clemson in the playoffs. If Washington wins out, the Huskies will be the third team. Who will be the fourth team? Somebody from the Big Ten or somebody from the Big 12. If Washington doesn’t win out, who will be the third and fourth teams? Stay tuned.

Among the Group of 5 teams vying for the highest ranking in the final Playoff Poll and a guaranteed spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, it’s all over but the shouting. The three teams doing the shouting are Western Michigan (11-0), Boise State (10-1) and Houston (9-2).

Of the three, Western Michigan is the highest ranked in this week’s AP and Coaches Polls, but the Broncos were one spot behind Boise State in last week’s Playoff Poll. Western Michigan still has to play Toledo (9-2) on Friday. The game is in Kalamazoo. The winner wins the MAC West Division and goes on to the MAC title game.

Boise State is tied with Wyoming (8-3) in the MWC Mountain Division. Both are 6-1 in conference play. Friday, Boise State plays at Air Force (8-3) and Saturday Wyoming hosts New Mexico (7-4). Wyoming beat Boise State earlier in the season. If Wyoming wins, the Cowboys win the division title. If Wyoming loses to New Mexico and Boise State beats Air Force, then the Broncos win the division. Regardless, the division winner meets San Diego State (9-2) in the MWC title game.

Houston (9-2) was all but out of the picture until the Cougars up and beat Louisville last Thursday night. Now the Cougars are back in the Top 25 – behind Western Michigan but ahead of Boise State in the AP Poll, and behind both WMU and Boise State in the Coaches Poll. Where will Houston be in this week’s Playoff Poll.

Houston can’t win the AAC West Division. The Cougars are one game behind Navy and they lost to the Middies during the season. Should Western Michigan and Boise State both lose, there is always the possibility that Navy (9-2) or South Florida (9-2) could end up being the highest ranked Group of 5 team.

It’s all going to be interesting in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12, and among three of four Group of 5 teams. It’s all over but the shouting. Stay tuned.

The weekend was disappointing for two teams that had slight playoff hopes. West Virginia fell to 8-2, losing to Oklahoma, 56-28. On Thursday night, Houston upset Louisville, 36-10, dropping the Cardinals to 9-2.

It was also disappointing for two Group of 5 teams that had a slight chance for the New Year’s Six bowl. Troy fell to 8-2, losing to Arkansas State, 35-3, and San Diego State dropped to 9-2. The Aztecs lost to Wyoming, 34-33.

Two coaches sealed their fate Saturday. Texas coach Charlie Strong was fired Sunday after the Longhorns lost to Kansas 24-21 in overtime. It was the first time Texas lost to Kansas since 1938.

In his third season at Texas, Strong was 16-20, 5-6 this season. Texas plays its last game Friday against TCU. Word has Texas going after Houston coach Tom Herman.

LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron will be fired. The Tigers were upset by Florida, 16-10. If the loss to Florida wasn’t enough, Orgeron should be fired for letting Leonard Fournette play Saturday. In a scuffle before the game with the Florida team, Fournette shoved a Florida coach. Orgeron should have suspended Fournette from the game. Instead, he let Fournette dress for the game and play. If nothing else, this shows a total lack of character and leadership on Orgeron’s part.

Florida’s offense wasn’t great in the game, but the Gators defense was spectacular. Florida’s defense stopped LSU for four downs on a goal-line stand at the end of the game.

Michigan State went for a two-point conversion late in the Spartans game against Ohio State. Michigan State failed on its attempt and lost to the Buckeyes, 17-16. Oregon scored late to upset Utah, 30-28. Notre Dame gave up a 17-point lead and lost to Virginia Tech 34-31. The Irish are 4-7, with one game remaining at USC.

Tennessee exploded, scoring 63 points in a 63-37 win over Missouri. Iowa State rose up and clobbered Texas Tech, 66-10. I’m thinking Kliff Kingsbury could be in trouble. In the Pac-12, Colorado beat Washington State, 38-24, Stanford downed California, 45-31 and USC beat UCLA, 36-14. I’m thinking Jim Mora is in trouble too.

In the Stanford-Cal game, Christian McCaffrey ran for 284 yards.

As mentioned, Florida played LSU Saturday in a game that was supposed to have been played on October 8. But Hurricane Matthew caused the game to be postponed to November 19. Saturday, Florida was originally scheduled to play Presbyterian and LSU was to play South Alabama. The Gators and the Tigers bought-out those teams in rescheduling their game.

Well, Presbyterian and South Alabama decided to play each other to make up for the cancelations. They met Saturday in Mobile. South Alabama beat Presbyterian, 31-7

Banned again! No not Illinois. Not the banned Indians, but the banned band. The Stanford band was banned from performing at the Stanford-Cal game over the weekend. Known for its antics and controversial halftime shows, the Stanford band is still on probation and was not allowed to perform at the Cal game. The Stanford band remains the best banned band in the land.

Then there were the Yale students who stripped naked before 32,000 fans at the Harvard game. It must have worked – Yale upset Harvard, 21-14.

Former Miami (Florida), Cleveland Browns and North Carolina coach Butch Davis was hired last week as the new coach of Florida International. Latest word on Les Miles has the former LSU mentor coaching Baylor or Purdue next season. Stay tuned.

And word is if Texas A&M loses to LSU this Thursday, Kevin Sumlin will be fired. The Aggies and the Longhorns may both fight over Tom Herman.

Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist John Adams wrote last week that the SEC should trade Missouri to the Big 12 for West Virginia. Adams went further to say that the SEC should pay the Big 12 to get West Virginia. Interesting.

It was good to hear from Scott Greenwood and Stephanie Stein last week.

Yeah, it’s all over but the shouting. And the shouting should be good!

Enjoy your week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Touchdown Tom
November 21, 2016

Weekend Recap

GAME OF THE WEEK: Too cold! – Oklahoma 56, West Virginia 28 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 34, Oklahoma 29). This one was all over but the shouting in the first half when Oklahoma led 34-0. The Mountaineers did mount a rally in the second half when they pulled within 13 points at 41-28. That was with 10:06 on the clock in the fourth quarter. But things fell apart after that and WVU played like it did in the first quarter – terrible. There were two bright spots for WVU: The Mounties outgained the Sooners – 579 yards to 486, and WVU back Justin Crawford rushed for 331 yards. The downside: WVU had four turnovers. OU running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon rushed for 160 and 142 yards respectively. Attendance in Morgantown: 57,645
RUNNER UP: Ralphie’s smiling – Colorado 38, Washington State 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Colorado 26, Washington State 25). Up until the fourth quarter this was one of the best games of the day. Colorado led Washington State 28-24 at the end of three. The teams traded the lead back and forth throughout the first three quarters. But in the fourth quarter it was all Colorado. The Buffs outscored the Cougs 10-0 in the final period. The teams combined for 1,065 total yards with Colorado coming out on top with 603 yards. Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 345 yards and rushed for another 108 yards. The Buffs Phillip Lindsay rushed for 144 yards. Attendance in Boulder: 48,658

REST OF THE BEST: Motorcycle wreck – Houston 36, Louisville 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Louisville 37, Houston 32). What happened? Didn’t Louisville steal Houston’s game plan? I suppose it was only justice after Louisville allegedly stole Wake Forest’s game plans last week. Whatever, the Cardinals weren’t focused and the Cougars were. Houston jumped out to a 31-0 first half lead and never looked back. The Cougars only had 64 yards rushing, but they made up for it with 298 passing. Louisville suffered three turnovers. Lamar Jackson completed less than 50% of his passes. Attendance in Houston: 42,822

Sorry Tennessee, but LSUcks – Florida 16, LSU 10 (Touchdown Tom said: LSU 20, Florida 9). The Gators defense shut down LSU’s two big guns. Derrius Guice only had 83 yards rushing and Leonard Fournette only had 40 yards. Florida running back Jordan Scarlett had 108 yards rushing. I think LSU would fire Ed Orgeron now, but it would be embarrassing to replace an interim coach with another interim coach before the season is over. Then again, LSU’s program is already embarrassing. Attendance in Baton Rouge: 102,043

Saddled – Wyoming 34, San Diego State 33 (Touchdown Tom said: San Diego State 33, Wyoming 25). This game was either tied or San Diego State led until 1:07 left in the game when Wyoming scored and went ahead 34-27. But as time expired, San Diego State scored and only needed the extra point to put the game into overtime. But the Aztecs went for two and failed on the attempt. Wyoming’s Brian Hill rushed for 131 yards. Attendance in Laramie: 19,112

Speight-less – Michigan 20, Indiana 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Michigan 36, Indiana 16). With 5:21 to go in the third quarter, Indiana led 10-6. Before the third quarter was over, Michigan led 20-10. Neither team scored in the fourth. It was a defensive game. Indiana only had 64 yards rushing and Michigan only had 59 yards passing. Neither team had a turnover. The Wolverines De’Veon Smith rushed for 158 yards. Attendance in Ann Arbor: 110,288

Croaked – Oklahoma State 31, TCU 6 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 31, TCU 24). A good game for a half – Okie State only led 10-6 at the break. But the Cowboys skunked TCU in the second half – 21-0. Okie State had a balanced attack – passing for 334 yards and rushing for 207. The Cowboys Justice Hill and Chris Carson rushed for 154 and 146 yards respectively. Attendance in Fort Worth: 43,303

Golden runners – Tulsa 35, UCF 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Tulsa 27, UCF 26). The game was tied 14-14 at the break. Then Tulsa had a 21-0 outburst in the third quarter. UCF was held to 88 yards rushing. Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer and James Flanders rushed for 167 and 163 yards respectively. Attendance in Orlando: 35,141

Where was Helen? – Arkansas State 35, Troy 3 (Touchdown Tom said: Troy 30, Arkansas State 23). Just when everything was looking rosy for Troy, Arkansas State up and spoiled things for the Trojans. Troy led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Then the Red Wolves scored the next 35 points. Troy only had 55 yards rushing, and Trojans quarterback Brandon Silvers threw two interceptions. Troy suffered five turnovers in the game. Attendance in Troy: 23,764

Holed – Minnesota 29, Northwestern 12 (Touchdown Tom said: Minnesota 23, Northwestern 20). Minnesota led 12-0 at the half. Then after a fairly quiet third quarter, the Gophers scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to hang on and win. Minnesota held the Wildcats to 63 yards rushing. Attendance in Minneapolis: 38,162

Rammed – Colorado State 49, New Mexico 31 (Touchdown Tom said: New Mexico 28, Colorado State 26). Colorado State led 28-10 at the half and 49-17 at the end of three quarters. The Rams had 576 total yards to 366 for New Mexico. CSU held the Lobos to 81 yards passing. The Rams had three backs rush for more than 100 yards each – Marvin Kinsey (127), Izzy Mathews (107) and Dalyn Dawkins (102). New Mexico’s Tyrone Owens rushed for 157 yards. Attendance in Fort Collins: 29,133

Purr-less – Central Michigan 27, Ohio 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Ohio 29, Central Michigan 22). Ohio won the stats but lost the game. Well, the Bobcats did lose one very important stat – turnovers. Ohio gave up the ball four times. The Bobcat defense did its job. They held CMU to only 22 yards rushing. Chippewas quarterback Cooper Rush passed for 268 yards (25-for-32) and two touchdowns. Attendance in Mount Pleasant: 8,619


Where was the little old lady? – USC 36, UCLA 14 (Touchdown Tom said: USC 33, UCLA 19). At the 11:07 mark in the second quarter, the score was tied 14-14. Then USC went on to score 22 unanswered points. The Trojans held the Bruins to only 55 yards rushing. USC had 527 total yards to 266 for UCLA. Attendance in Pasadena: 71,137

We don’t need no band – Stanford 45, California 31 (Touchdown Tom said: Stanford 30, California 26). The Stanford band didn’t show up, but the Cardinal football team did. At the end of three quarters, Stanford just had a 7-point lead – 31-24. Then the Trees scored 14 unanswered points and led 45-24 with 4:17 left in the game. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 284 yards. Cal quarterback Davis Webb passed for 393 yards. Attendance in Berkeley: 52,266


Corn rules – Nebraska 28, Maryland 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Nebraska 36, Maryland 14). Nebraska led 28-0 before Maryland got its sole score in the fourth quarter. The Terps only had 9 first downs and 207 yards of offense. Much worse – only 11 yards rushing. Attendance in Lincoln: 89,704

Fork-less – Pitt 56, Duke 14 (Touchdown Tom said: Pitt 29, Duke 25). Halfway through the second quarter, Pitt led Duke 21-14. That’s when the Dookies rolled over and died. The Panthers proceeded to score 35 unanswered points. Pitt held Duke to a mere 25 yards rushing. The Dookies leading rusher had all of 12 yards. Attendance in Pittsburgh: 35,425

Uga gets a bite of Cajun – Georgia 35, Louisiana-Lafayette 21 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 30, Louisiana-Lafayette 15). Early in the fourth quarter, Georgia led 35-7. Then ULL scored two late touchdowns before the game was over. The Cajuns actually outgained the Dawgs 465 yards to 400. ULL’s Elijah McGuire had 124 yards rushing. There were six turnovers in the game – ULL 4 and Georgia 2. Attendance in Athens: 92,746

Last nail – Kansas 24, Texas 21 (OT) (Touchdown Tom said: Texas 33, Kansas 20). Six turnovers? Nobody has six turnovers. Texas did. Midway through the fourth quarter, Texas was winning 21-10. Kansas scored 11 points in the final 7:48 of the game. The tying points that put the game into overtime came on a 36-yard field goal with 0:07 left in the game. Texas’ D’Onta Foreman rushed for 250 yards, all for naught. Kansas beat Texas for the first time since 1938. Attendance in Lawrence: 25,673

On – Wisconsin 49, Purdue 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Wisconsin 32, Purdue 13). Wisconsin scored 35 points in the second quarter. Other than that outburst, it was a close game. The Badgers held Purdue to 71 yards rushing. Purdue quarterback David Blough threw three interceptions. Attendance in West Lafayette: 30,465

Week 12 Results: 11 correct picks, 8 fumbles (57.9 percent)
For the Season: 134 correct picks, 76 fumbles (63.8 percent)


Jacksonville U. 41, Marist 35 – Attendance in Jacksonville: 1,738
Miami 27, NC State 13 – Attendance in Raleigh: 56,263

Drake 45, Stetson 17 – Attendance in Deland: 3,712
Bethune-Cookman 39, Florida A&M 19 – Attendance in Orlando: 45,372
Florida State 45, Syracuse 14 – Attendance in Syracuse: 32,340

Old Dominion 42, Florida Atlantic 24 – Attendance in Boca Raton: 5,843
South Florida 35, SMU 27 – Attendance in Dallas: 18,417
Florida International 31, Marshall 14 – Attendance in Miami: 15,054

North Greenville 27, Florida Tech 13 – Attendance in Melbourne: 1,480


Impressive Passers:

Western Michigan’s Zack Terrell – 29-37-0 for 445 yards; California’s Davis Webb – 34-57-0-393; SMU’s Ben Hicks – 25-41-2-380; Colorado’s Sefo Liufau – 27-41-0-345, and San Jose State’s Kenny Potter – 25-37-2-340.

Washington’s Jake Browning – 27-44-2 for 338 yards; Temple’s Phillip Walker – 18-33-0-337; Toledo’s Logan Woodside – 25-39-1-325, and Oregon’s Justin Herbert – 30-43-0-324.

Impressive Rushers:

West Virginia’s Justin Crawford – 331 yards; Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey – 284 yards; Texas’ D’Onta Foreman – 250 yards; South Carolina’s Rico Dowdle – 226 yards; Florida State’s Dalvin Cook – 225 yards, and Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols – 206 yards.

Arkansas’ Rawleigh Williams – 199 yards; Auburn’s Kam Martin – 176 yards; Northern Illinois’ Jordan Huff – 173 yards; Iowa State’s Joel Lanning – 171 yards; Eastern Michigan’s Ian Eriksen – 171 yards; Utah State’s Tonny Lindsey – 168 yards, Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 167 yards, and Tulsa’s James Flanders – 163 yards.

Clemson’s Wayne Gallman – 161 yards; Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine – 160 yards; Michigan State’s L.J. Scott – 160 yards; Iowa’s LaShun Daniels – 159 yards; Navy’s Will Worth – 159 yards; Michigan’s De’Veon Smith – 158 yards, and New Mexico’s Tyrone Owens – 157 yards.

Quotes of the Week:

“Two Purdue transfers starting against each other today. Danny Etling at LSU and Austin Appleby at Florida. You’re welcome SEC!,” New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“They got what they deserved. It should have been worse,” Florida coach Jim McElwain, commenting on LSU after the Florida-LSU game.

“The charade with Leonard Fournette, it’s no surprise the LSU program is in the shape it’s in this morning, Paul Finebaum, speaking Sunday morning.

“Ed Orgeron showed no leadership Saturday. He’s gone,” Paul Finebaum.

Quote from the Past

“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it,” Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne.

Touchdown Tom’s predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games…and then some

GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Michigan (10-1) at Ohio State (10-1) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Last year, Jim Harbaugh’s first at Michigan, the Wolverines lost to Ohio State, 42-13. And that was in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh will be out for revenge. But Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight may not play. Speight is injured. He sat out last week’s game against Indiana. Last year’s starting quarterback John O’Korn may be leading the Wolverines against the Buckeyes again this year. I’m sure Urban Meyer will have the Buckeyes ready. No revenge for Harbaugh – Ohio State 21, Michigan 20.

RUNNER UP: 2. Alabama (11-0) at Auburn (8-3) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – Yeah, I know. Anything can happen in this game. But not this year. Alabama is too solid – solid all over. Auburn got lucky for seven games until the Tigers ran into Georgia. Wait till they run into the Tide. No nightmare at Hare for Bama – Alabama 28, Auburn 13.

REST OF THE BEST: 3. Washington (10-1) at Washington State (8-3) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 3:30 pm ET, Friday, Fox – It’s all for the apples – a basket of apples. It’s all for the Pac-12 North Division title too. And it may be all for the playoffs for the Huskies. Both teams play good offense. The Huskies play better defense – Washington 32, Washington State 26.

4. Utah (8-3) at Colorado (9-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, Fox – You have love the season Colorado has had. What a Cinderella team! Mike MacIntyre could get coach of the year. Quarterback Sefo Liufau and running back Phillip Lindsay give the Buffs a powerful punch on offense. But Utah is no slouch. This is going to be a barnburner. Ralphie rules – Colorado 26, Utah 22.

5. Minnesota (8-3) at Wisconsin (9-2) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, BTN – The Badgers have their eye on the Big Ten title game. They are motivated. Wisconsin barely lost to Ohio State and Michigan. Minnesota is good, but not that good. Bucky rules – Wisconsin 26, Minnesota 17.

6. Toledo (9-2) at Western Michigan (11-0) – (MAC vs. MAC) – 5 pm ET, Friday, ESPNU – This won’t be easy for the Broncos. Toledo has a potent offense. But WMU has its eyes on the Cotton Bowl – Western Michigan 30, Toledo 25.

7. Boise State (10-1) at Air Force (8-3) – (MWC vs. MWC) – 3:30 pm ET, Friday, CBSSN – Like Western Michigan, Boise State has its eyes on the Cotton Bowl. But in Colorado Springs, Air Force will give the Broncos a battle. Both teams have strong offenses. But with Brett Rypien, Jeremy McNichols and Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State has the stronger offense. Flyboys can’t ride horses – Boise State 31, Air Force 29.

8. Florida (8-2) at Florida State (8-3) – (SEC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – I’m thinking Florida will still be hung over from the LSU win. And the Gators don’t need this win to get to Atlanta. And they know they aren’t going to the playoffs. So the desire may not quite be there. I know it’s FSU and there is always desire against the Noles. It should be close. The Noles have wobbled this season. Sammy pulls a feather out of his bonnet – Florida State 23, Florida 20.

9. Nebraska (9-2) at Iowa (7-4) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 3:30 pm ET, Friday, ABC – In Iowa City, that could spell trouble for Nebraska. But the Huskers have a chance of winning the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes are playing for pride. Pride loses – Nebraska 28, Iowa 17.

10. South Carolina (6-5) at Clemson (10-1) – (SEC vs. ACC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Some people think South Carolina could spell trouble for Clemson. I’m sure Will Mustake thinks that. Man, would that ever spoil Clemson’s playoff plans. Spoil the ACC’s playoff plans too. But the Gamecocks are still too young to pull this one out. Tigers put Cocky on a rotisserie – Clemson 26, South Carolina 13.

11. Houston (9-2) at Memphis (7-4) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Friday, ABC – Houston can’t win the AAC. But the Cougars could end up the highest ranked Group of 5 team. Memphis is good, but too unsettled on defense. The Cougars take advantage of that. Cougars win the cat fight – Houston 32, Memphis 22.

12. Kentucky (6-5) at Louisville (9-2) – (SEC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – Louisville needs to get it s act together after the debacle in Houston. Otherwise, the Wildcats could surprise them. This is always an interesting game. And I’m glad they finally moved it to the end of the season. Cards deck the Wildcats – Louisville 32, Kentucky 30.


13. UCF (6-5) at South Florida (9-2) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, CBSSN – South Florida needs to win this game and needs Temple to lose to East Carolina to win the AAC East Division. Temple ain’t going to lose to East Carolina. So the Bulls just have to make the best of it. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is a threat passing and running. UCF coach Scott Frost has done wonders during his first year with the Knights. UCF is bowl eligible. But the Bulls are too tough in this one – South Florida 30, UCF 20.

14. LSU (6-4) at Texas A&M (8-3) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Thursday, ESPN – Supposedly, Kevin Sumlin loses his job if the Aggies lose to LSU. Win or lose, Ed Orgeron will lose his job. Without quarterback Trevor Knight, A&M is hurting. The Aggies aren’t the same team. But Sumlin saves his job – Texas A&M 19, LSU 17.


West Virginia (8-2) at Iowa State (3-8) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, FS1 – Iowa State exploded for 66 points last week. The Mountaineers better watch out. And WVU better pick itself back up from the Oklahoma disaster. They do – West Virginia 34, Iowa State 18.

Duke (4-7) at Miami (Florida) (7-4) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Mark Richt has had a pretty good first season at Miami. The Dookies have had a tough season. But they did beat North Carolina. They don’t beat the Canes – Miami 30, Duke 19.

Georgia Tech (7-4) at Georgia (7-4) – (ACC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, SECN – Tech has been up and down this season. But up lately. That could spell trouble for Georgia. There’s nothing really on the line for either team in this game other than pride. Uga avoids the sting – Georgia 26, Georgia Tech 21.

TCU (5-5) at Texas (5-6) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Friday, FS1 – This will be Charlie Strong’s swan song at Texas. He’d like to go out a winner. Actually, if Texas wins, the Longhorns are bowl eligible. TCU has been in a funk. The Horns win one for Charlie – Texas 27, TCU 20.

Purdue (3-8) at Indiana (5-6) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPNU – Purdue will have a new coach next year. Indiana may have, but probably not. If Purdue’s passing game is on, the Boilers have a chance. Otherwise, they don’t. Purdue has no running game at all. The Hoosiers are good on offense and defense but not great. But they are great enough to win this one – Indiana 32, Purdue 23.


Florida International (4-7) at Old Dominion (8-3) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN3….
Florida Atlantic (3-8) at Middle Tennessee (7-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 5:30 pm ET, Saturday….

Jacksonville U. (5-5), Stetson (4-7), Bethune-Cookman (4-5), Florida A&M (4-7) and Florida Tech (8-3) have completed their seasons.

Touchdown Tom


Not exactly college football related, but as the regular season was coming to an end with Thanksgiving turkeys and pumpkin pies almost in the oven, the number one song in the country…

…75 years ago this week in 1941 was “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

…70 years ago this week in 1946 was “Rumors Are Flying” by Frankie Carle

…65 years ago this week in 1951 was “Cold, Cold Heart” by Tony Bennett

…60 years ago this week in 1956 was “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley and “Green Door” by Jim Lowe

…55 years ago this week in 1961 was “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean

…50 years ago this week in 1966 was “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes

…45 years ago this week in 1971 was “Theme from Shaft” by Isaac Hayes

…40 years ago this week in 1976 was “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart

…35 years ago this week in 1981 was “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John

…30 years ago this week in 1986 was “Human” by The Human League

…25 years ago this week in 1991 was “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton

Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were four passings of note last week – Gwen Ifill, Holly Dunn, Melvin Laird and Robert Gain.

Gwen Ifill, a journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns for three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and PBS, died last week in Washington, DC. She was 61. Most recently, she was the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and the co-anchor and co-managing editor of “News Hour” on PBS. Gwendolyn Ifill was born on September 29, 1955, in Jamaica, Queens, New York. She graduated in 1977 with a bachelor of arts degree from Simmons College in Boston where she majored in communications.

Holly Dunn, a country singer and songwriter who wrote the hits “Daddy’s Hands” and “Maybe I Mean Yes,” died last week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 59. Her songs “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” and “You Really Had Me Going” reached No. 1 on the country charts in 1989 and 1990. She co-wrote “I’m Not Through Loving You Yet,” a Top 10 country hit for Louise Mandrell in 1984. Dunn recorded the duet “Maybe” with Kenny Rogers and sang on records with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Holly Suzette Dunn was born on August 22, 1957, in San Antonio, Texas. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in advertising and public relations from Abilene Christian College in 1979.

Melvin Laird, who as President Richard M. Nixon’s first secretary of defense challenged the administration’s hawkish military policies in Vietnam, died last week in Fort Myers, Florida. He was 94. Laird repeatedly pressed the White House to wind down the Vietnam War and opposed the resumption of bombing of North Vietnam and the invasion of Cambodia. Nixon picked Laird for defense secretary after Senator Henry M. Jackson, a Democrat from Washington State, declined the post. Under Laird’s leadership, the military eliminated the draft. Melvin Robert Laird Jr. was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 1, 1922. As a child his family moved to Marshfield, Wisconsin. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1942. Laird was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representative from Wisconsin. He became close friends with Gerald Ford. During Nixon’s second term, Laird moved from the Pentagon to the White House, becoming the president’s chief domestic policy advisor.

Bob Gain, an eight-time All-Pro defensive lineman who helped the Cleveland Browns wins three National Football League titles, died last week in Willoughby, Ohio. He was 87. Drafted fifth overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1951, Gain went to the Browns in 1952 and was part of the 1954, 1955 and 1964 championship teams. He played 13 seasons in the NFL. Gain was a two-time All-American at Kentucky playing for Bear Bryant from 1947 to 1950. Kentucky was 33-10-2 while Gain was there. In 1950, he was the Southeastern Conference’s first winner of the Outland Trophy, as the nation’s best interior lineman. During his senior season, Kentucky was 11-1 and beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Robert Gain was born on June 21, 1929, in Akron, Ohio.