College Football Week 13 – UCLA fires Jim Mora
A weekend of Grand Guard, Cupcakes and Coaching Rumors
Swamp Mama and I left home around noon on Thursday. We were on our way to Gainesville. It was going to be a big weekend for Swamp Mama. When you reach your 50th anniversary of graduating from the University of Florida, you are invited to join the Grand Guard Society.
I can’t tell you how many years Swamp Mama has been waiting for this. She has talked about it for a long time. Finally, her time was here.
The weather was perfect as we drove to Gainesville – pleasant, sunny skies. That’s the way it remained all weekend – pleasant days, cool nights and sunny skies.
Once we were in Gainesville, we headed straight for our hotel. The first item on the itinerary of the Grand Guard weekend was a reception and cocktail party Thursday evening. It was being hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine.
As I was checking us into our hotel, there was a lady to the right of me checking in with another hotel desk clerk.
She kept looking over at me. Finally, as she was looking at me again, the lady said, “Are you 72?”
I looked at her and replied, “I beg your pardon. I’m still 70.”
The lady said, “Oh, I thought you were checking in for the Grand Guard weekend like me.”
I said, “My companion is. I’m just her cabana boy.”
The lady said, “How much do you charge?”
I said, “I’m expensive. I also cook the meals.”
The lady said, “I can pay for that.”
About that time, a hand came from out of nowhere, grabbed me by the arm and jerked me away so fast my feet almost came off the floor.
And so the Grand Guard weekend began.
That evening at the reception and cocktail party, I saw the lady again. She was standing about 15-20 feet away. As I saw her, I said to Swamp Mama, “Oh there’s the lady who was checking into the hotel when we were. I’m going over and say hello.”
I mean to tell you Swamp Mama’s fingers wrapped around the upper part of my arm so fast. She dragged me away in the opposite direction from the lady. For the rest of the evening, whenever I saw the lady, I never opened my mouth. I was tempted to. But I knew better.
Friday morning, the Grand Guard crew and spouses gathered at the Emerson Alumni Hall for an awesome buffet breakfast. No, there weren’t any chili dogs, cold pizza and beer, but it was an outstanding breakfast all the same.
During breakfast, Swamp Mama’s classmates took turns standing and telling stories – mostly humorous – from their days at UF. One guy reminisced about having a date to a football game, but being so broke, he had to first go give blood to get money to buy a bottle of gin. But he said he learned a lesson. Never give a pint of blood just before you drink a pint of gin.
Following breakfast, several speakers addressed the group, including Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. As Stricklin began, he said, “I apologize, but I don’t have the news you’re waiting to hear.”
I felt like yelling out, “Oh, we know it’s Chip Kelly.”
But I didn’t.
We also heard from Ilaria Capua (Google her) an internationally known virologist from Italy who is currently a professor at Florida. She is an amazing woman.
The day continued with a tour of the College of Journalism and Communications – Swamp Mama’s school – followed by lunch at the school. The afternoon culminated with a bus tour of the campus.
Friday night was the feature occasion – the induction of the 1967 grads into the Grand Guard Society. It was preceded by a cocktail party and dinner. The program was impressive. The induction was followed by a dance. The music for the dance was a tape of songs that were on the charts from 1963 to 1967 – good dancing music.
Saturday morning, Swamp Mama had to get her fix. We drove over to Trenton, Florida, to the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe. Once she bought some fabric, she was good to go. Yes, the shop had a husband chair.
From Trenton, we drove back to Gainesville to the Emerson Alumni Hall for the group tailgate party – barbecue. We shared lively conversation, while watching a number of college football games – the 12 noon starts – on several large screens. From the balcony of the alumni hall, we watched the Florida football players take part in the pregame “Gator Walk.”
Before long, it was game time – UAB and Florida, a 4 p.m. start. The stadium was a short walk from the alumni hall. The Grand Guard had a block of seats. Coming into the game, the Gators were riding a four-game losing streak. We didn’t know what to expect – not even against a cupcake like UAB.
Florida won, 36-7. The losing streak was over. The Grand Guard brought the Gators luck.
Yes, the media labeled it “cupcake week.” That week before Thanksgiving every year when so many of the big teams play cupcakes. Saturday was definitely a cupcake day. Who were the cupcakes? There were a variety of them – Mercer, The Citadel, Kansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Illinois, Wofford, Delaware State, UAB and Western Carolina. And they all tasted good.
Who devoured the cupcakes? Who licked the icing? How about Alabama 56, Mercer 0, or Clemson 61, The Citadel 3. Then there were Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3, and Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 14. The cupcake games continued with Ohio State 52, Illinois 14, and South Carolina 31, Wofford 10. It finally ended with Florida State 77, Delaware State 6, and North Carolina 65, Western Carolina 10. Does that satisfy your appetite? It doesn’t mine.
It’s okay for the Power Five teams to play a cupcake team the first or second weekend of the season – but not the next to last weekend of the season. We could get rid of a lot of these cupcake games if only the ACC and the SEC would play a nine-game conference schedule, like the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 do. Come on ACC and SEC – start playing a nine-game conference schedule. Get on par with the rest of the Power Five conferences.
In spite of the cupcake games, there were a lot of big boy games and a lot of them were good too. The Big Ten had four amazing games. Wisconsin remained undefeated, beating Michigan, 24-10. Northwestern won its sixth-straight game, beating Minnesota, 39-0. The Wildcats improved to 8-3.
Purdue stunned Iowa in Iowa City. The Boilermakers beat the Hawkeyes, 24-15. And finally, in a shootout in University Park, Penn State held off Tanner Lee and Nebraska. The Nittany Lions downed the Cornhuskers, 56-44. Huskers’ quarterback – Lee – passed for 399 yards.
In the Big 12, Kansas State surprised Oklahoma State. The Wildcats beat the Cowboys, 45-40. Will Grier broke his finger and West Virginia proceeded to lose to Texas, 28-14.
Down south, Mississippi State rallied to come from behind and beat Arkansas, 28-21.
In the ACC, Virginia gave Miami a scare. But the Hurricanes held on and beat the Cavaliers 44-28. Wake Forest gave NC State more than a scare. The Demon Deacons downed the Wolfpack, 30-24.
Out west, USC defeated cross-town rival UCLA. The Trojans won, 28-23. In the MWC, Fresno State took care of Wyoming, 13-7.
Among the AAC teams, UCF remained undefeated. The Knights beat Temple, 45-19. Memphis outscored SMU, as the Tigers beat the Mustangs, 66-45. Navy lost a close one to Notre Dame. The Irish beat the Middies, 24-17.
And finally, the little-big game in Florida, Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic squad beat Butch Davis’ Florida International squad, 52-24. FAU improved to 8-3, winning its seventh-straight game.
The coaching carousel heated up more during the week. Florida AD Scott Stricklin told the Grand Guard group that he didn’t have the news they wanted to hear, but there was a lot of news coming out of Gainesville. First there were reports that Stricklin had made a decision to hire Chip Kelly. Further reports said that Kelly had agreed in principle to become the Florida coach.
The Stricklin-Kelly romance was followed by reports that Steve Spurrier and former Florida AD Jeremy Foley had intervened to stop Stricklin from hiring Kelly. Apparently Spurrier and Foley want Scott Frost, or so the reports claim. I still think if Frost goes anywhere, he’ll go to Nebraska.
Meanwhile, in Knoxville, reports say that Tennessee is headed towards hiring Jon Gruden. And like Kelly at Florida, Gruden has agreed in principle to become the coach of the Vols.
Florida and Tennessee are two of several SEC schools looking for coaches or soon to be looking for coaches. Ole Miss is still looking for a coach to take over from interim coach Matt Luke. Arkansas and Texas A&M are still expected to fire Bret Bielema and Kevin Sumlin respectively.
Some Auburn people believe that if Auburn loses to Alabama either Gus Malzahn will be fired or he will leave Auburn on his own for employment elsewhere. And where might that be – Arkansas so they say.
Once in trouble, Missouri’s Barry Odom appears to have saved his job in Columbia. The Tigers have gone from 1-5 to 6-5. Missouri has a five-game winning streak going and is bowl eligible. Who knows what Vanderbilt will or won’t do with Derek Mason? They should get rid of him, but does Vanderbilt really care?
In the Pac-12, UCLA fired Jim Mora yesterday. In six seasons with the Bruins, Mora was 46-30 – 5-6 this season, with one game remaining. And who knows what Arizona State may or may not do with Todd Graham?
In the Big Ten, Nebraska is sure to fire Mike Riley next week. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury and Kansas’ David Beaty are on thin ice in the Big 12.
Like Missouri’s Barry Odom, Boston College’s Steve Addazio appears to have saved his job. The Eagles began the season 2-4, but have improved to 6-5. Addazio was the only ACC coach in trouble, that is, unless North Carolina and Larry Fedora have a falling out.
The third edition of this season’s college football playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday evening. My Top 10 this week – no change from last week – are: (1) Alabama, (2) Clemson, (3) Oklahoma, (4) Miami (Florida), (5) Auburn, (6) Wisconsin, (7) Georgia, (8) Notre Dame, (9) USC, (10) Ohio State.
But with Alabama-Auburn, Clemson-South Carolina, Ohio State-Michigan and Notre Dame-Stanford on tap this week, there will be some changes and potential changes next week.
Oklahoma, Miami (Florida), Wisconsin and Georgia have easy games this week. USC has completed its regular season. The Trojans are waiting for either Stanford or Washington State in the Pac-12 title game.
My best of the Group of Five are UCF (10-0), Memphis (9-1), South Florida (9-1), Boise State (9-2) Florida Atlantic (8-3), Toledo (9-2), North Texas (8-3), San Diego State (9-2), Northern Illinois (8-3) and Fresno State (8-3).
Good games in the Group of Five this week are South Florida-UCF, Boise State-Fresno State, Northern Illinois-Central Michigan and Western Michigan-Toledo.
It was good to hear from Fern Musselwhite last week.
Happy Thanksgiving, college football fans. Have a good week!
Yeah, I’m expensive. I also do the cooking.
November 20, 2017
GAME OF THE WEEK: Badgers for real – Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10 (Touchdown Tom said: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 22). The Wolverines kept it close for most of three quarters. Wisconsin only led by four points – 14-10 – with less than a minute to go in the third. Neither team had a lot of offense, but Wisconsin did have 182 yards rushing to only 58 for Michigan. The Badgers Jonathan Taylor rushed for 132 yards. Attendance in Madison: 81,216
RUNNER UP: Back in the saddle again – Georgia 42, Kentucky 13 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia 30 Kentucky 21). Georgia bounced back from its loss to Auburn to a big win over Kentucky. The Dawgs racked up 504 total yards. Nick Chubb rushed for 151 yards. Attendance in Athens: 92,746
REST OF THE BEST: Still perfect – UCF 45, Temple 19 (Touchdown Tom said: UCF 32, Temple 25). After a bit of a shaky start – Temple led 10-7 in the second quarter – UCF pulled away, holding the Owls to 6 points in the second half. Temple was pretty even with the Knights in the stats, except for turnovers. Temple had 5 and UCF had none. Attendance in Philadelphia: 25,877
Kings of L.A. – USC 28, UCLA 23 (Touchdown Tom said: USC 33, UCLA 24). UCLA kept the game close throughout, but USC was always in control. The Bruins Josh Rosen passed for 421 yards. The Trojans Ronald Jones rushed for 122 yards. Attendance in Los Angeles: 82,407
North Texas 52, Army 49 (Touchdown Tom said: Army 30, North Texas 22). It was a shame anybody had to lose this contest. The game was tied 5 times. Army had 534 rushing yards. Ahmad Bradshaw was responsible for 244 of those yards. North Texas’ Mason Fine passed for 386 yards. Attendance in Denton: 26,392
So close – Notre Dame 24, Navy 17 (Touchdown Tom said: Notre Dame 34, Navy 21). Touch and go game – 10-10 at the break, 17-17 at the end of three. Amazingly, Navy controlled the clock for more than 42 minutes. Attendance in South Bend: 77,622
Basketball game – Memphis 66, SMU 45 (Touchdown Tom said: Memphis 32, SMU 26). Close for three quarters, Memphis ran away from SMU in the fourth – outscoring the Mustangs, 21-7. The teams combined for 1,141 total yards. Memphis’ Riley Ferguson passed for 320 yards and the Tigers Darrell Henderson rushed for 147 yards. SMU’s Xavier Jones rushed for 175 yards. Attendance in Memphis: 35,329
Deacon power – Wake Forest 30, NC State 24 (Touchdown Tom said: NC State 38, Wake Forest 33). Another close contest throughout – the game was tied 4 times. State dominated the stats. The Wolfpack even dominated the clock for more than 41 minutes. But State also dominated the turnovers – 3-1. State’s Ryan Finley passed for 327 yards. Attendance in Winston-Salem: 31,803
Surprise – Kansas State 45, Oklahoma State 40 (Touchdown Tom said: Oklahoma State 35, Kansas State 27). K-State led 45-20 early in the fourth quarter. Then the Cowboys went on a rampage, scoring 20 points – 3 touchdowns – in less than nine minutes. Okie State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 425 yards. Attendance in Stillwater: 56,790
Frog defense – TCU 27, Texas Tech 3 (Touchdown Tom said: TCU 29, Texas Tech 25). TCU has the best defense in the Big 12. When was the last time Texas Tech was held to 3 points? Attendance in Lubbock: 51,278
Jake the Snake – Washington 33, Utah 30 (Touchdown Tom said: Washington 30, Utah 18). Close throughout, neither team led by more than 7 points. Washington kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to win. Washington’s Jake Browning passed for 354 yards. Attendance in Seattle: 65,767
Fingerless in Mo’town – Texas 28, West Virginia 14 (Touchdown Tom said: West Virginia 31, Texas 23). Will Grier broke his finger and that was all she wrote for WVU. The Mounties only had 56 yards rushing. Texas balanced its rushing and passing. Attendance in Morgantown: 53,133
….AND ONE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
Devin is heaven – Florida Atlantic 52, Florida International 24 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida Atlantic 40, Florida International 31). FAU took control from the start and never trailed in the game. The Owls had 572 total yards. FAU’s Devin Singletary rushed for 164 yards. Attendance in Boca Raton: 24,116
YE OLDE STOMPING GROUNDS:
Eddy! Eddy! – Florida 36, UAB 7 (Touchdown Tom said: Florida 27, UAB 23). Florida had 25 first downs to eight for UAB, 409 total yards to 180 for UAB and 257 yards rushing to 3 for UAB. The Gators also controlled the clock for more than 42 minutes. Florida’s placekicker Eddy Pineiro was responsible for 18 of the Gators 36 points – 5 field goals and 3 extra points. Pineiro kicked two 50-yard field goals. The Blazers were plagued by 4 turnovers. Attendance in Gainesville: 84,649
Too little, too late – Penn State 56, Nebraska 44 (Touchdown Tom said: Penn State 39, Nebraska 18). Penn State outscored Nebraska, 42-10, in the first half. Then Nebraska outscored Penn State, 34-14, in the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions led the Huskers 56-24. Nebraska scored three touchdowns – 20 points – in the final 6:32 of the game. The teams combined for 1,075 total yards – 609 total yards belonged to Penn State. Nebraska’s Tanner Lee passed for 399 yards. Penn State’s Trace McSorley passed for 325 yards. The Lions Saquon Barkley rushed for 158 yards. Attendance in University Park: 106,722
Dookies go wild – Duke 43, Georgia Tech 20 (Touchdown Tom said: Georgia Tech 31, Duke 19). The Dookies could do no wrong. They held Georgia Tech scoreless in the second half. The Dookies had 500 total yards. They had 30 first downs to 15 for Tech. Attendance in Durham: 20,141
Well, look here – Purdue 24, Iowa 15 (Touchdown Tom said: Iowa 27, Purdue 17). Iowa led 9-7 at the break. It was all Purdue in the second half. Iowa never scored again until 1:04 left in the game. Neither team could run the ball – 82 yards rushing for the Boilers and 65 yards rushing for the Hawkeyes. Attendance in Iowa City: 60,554
Week 12 Results: 11 correct picks, 6 fumbles (64.7 percent)
For the Season: 138 correct picks, 56 fumbles (71.1 percent)
ELSEWHERE AROUND FLORIDA:
South Florida 27, Tulsa 20 – Attendance in Tampa: 26,195
Florida State 77, Delaware State 6 – Attendance in Tallahassee: 70,599
Miami 44, Virginia 28 – Attendance in Miami Gardens: 63,415
Bethune-Cookman 29, Florida A&M 24 – Attendance in Orlando: 47,819
Drake 52, Jacksonville U. 7 – Attendance in Des Moines: 1,487
Western Kentucky’s Mike White – 39-54-0 for 485 yards; East Carolina’s Gardner Minshew – 31-45-0-444; Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph – 32-53-2-425; UCLA’s Josh Rosen – 32-52-1-421, and Nebraska’s Tanner Lee – 26-41-0-399.
Also, North Texas’ Mason Fine – 24-36-1 for 386 yards; Virginia’s Kurt Benkert – 28-37-1-384; Washington’s Jake Browning – 26-35-0-354, and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson – 16-28-1-350.
Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw – 244 yards; San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny – 222 yards; Boston College’s A.J. Dillon – 200 yards; UNLV’s Armani Rogers – 193 yards; Toledo’s Terry Swanson – 192 yards; Northern Illinois’ Jordan Huff – 185 yards, and Louisville’s Malik Williams – 180 yards.
Also, SMU’s Xavier Jones – 175 yards; Northwestern’s Justin Jackson – 166 yards; Ohio’s Nathan Rourke – 165 yards; Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary – 164 yards; New Mexico’s Tyrone Owens – 164 yards; Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer – 163 yards; Penn State’s Saquon Barkley – 158 yards, and Southern Miss’ Ito Smith – 153 yards.
Also, California’s Patrick Laird – 153 yards; Georgia’s Nick Chubb – 151 yards; Indiana’s Morgan Ellison – 149 yards; Memphis’ Darrell Henderson – 147 yards; Michigan State’s L.J. Scott – 147 yards; Ole Miss’ Jordan Wilkins – 147 yards; Arkansas State’s Warren Wand – 145 yards, and New Mexico’s Daryl Chestnut – 145 yards.
Quotes of the Week:
“That’s just totally false. I haven’t paid any attention to all these whirlwind rumors and everything, and I’m not going to. I’ve got an unbelievable team I’m coaching and I can promise you that no decision has been made,” UCF coach Scott Frost, on reports that he was nearing a seven-year, $35 million deal with Nebraska.
Touchdown Tom’s predictions for
This Week’s 12 Biggest and Most Intriguing Games…and then some
GAME OF THE WEEK: 1. Alabama (11-0) at Auburn (9-2) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBS – This one is for all the marbles in China – well, for all the marbles somewhere. The winner wins the SEC West, remains in the playoff picture and goes on to the SEC title game to play Georgia. The loser is out of the playoff picture. The loser will hope to land a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. Auburn last beat Alabama in 2013. Since then, the Tide has won three straight. It won’t be four straight – Auburn 27, Alabama 26.
RUNNER UP: 2. South Florida (9-1) at UCF (10-0) – (AAC vs. AAC) – 3:30 pm ET, Friday, ABC – This one is for all the marbles in Florida. Do they have marbles in Florida? With Florida at 4-6 and Florida State at 4-6, UCF and South Florida have been the two premier teams in the Sunshine State this season. The winner of this game wins the AAC East Division, remains in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl and goes on to play Memphis in the AAC title game. South Florida has won the last two games in the series. UCF won the two games before that. The Knights get the marbles – UCF 30, South Florida 24.
REST OF THE BEST: 3. Washington State (9-2) at Washington (9-2) – (Pac-12 vs. Pac-12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, FOX – This is the Super Bowl of the Northwest. Washington State still has a slight chance of making the playoffs. The Cougars would have to beat Washington, then beat USC in the Pac-12 title game and then hope for the best. If Washington wins, the Huskies would get the Apple Cup, but that’s about all. Washington can’t win the Pac-12 North Division. The North Division title goes to Stanford if Washington wins. Stanford beat Washington, but lost to Washington State. The Cougars last beat Washington in 2012. The Huskies have won the last four games in the series. Make if five – Washington 32, Washington State 30.
4. Clemson (10-1) at South Carolina (8-3) – (ACC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – Regardless of the outcome, Clemson is the ACC Atlantic division champion with a date to meet Miami for the ACC championship. However, if Clemson loses, the Tigers are out of the playoff picture. Regardless of the outcome, South Carolina can still say it is the second-best team in the SEC East. If the Gamecocks win, they can say they are champions of the Watermelon State. Clemson has won three straight in this series. South Carolina won five straight before that. Make it four straight for the Tigers – Clemson 26, South Carolina 23.
5. Ohio State (9-2) at Michigan (8-3) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FOX – First of all, there is nothing in this game for Michigan, except pride. The Wolverines can’t win the Big Ten East Division. Ohio State has already won the Big Ten East and has a date with Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship. However, the Buckeyes must win to remain in contention for the playoffs, remote as their chances are. Ohio State has won 12 of the last 13 games against Michigan and 14 of the last 16 games. The Wolverines last won in 2011. Make is six straight for the Buckeyes – Ohio State 28, Michigan 24.
6. Notre Dame (9-2) at Stanford (8-3) – (Ind. vs. Pac-12) – 8 pm ET, Saturday, ABC – This is the last regular season game for Notre Dame. The Irish are out of the playoff picture and just have to hope for the best bowl they can get. Beat Stanford and ND will get a darn good bowl. This may or may not be Stanford’s last game before a bowl. If Washington beats Washington State, then Stanford will play USC for the Pac-12 championship. The Trees flourish – Stanford 28, Notre Dame 24.
7. West Virginia (7-4) at Oklahoma (10-1) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:45 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN – After West Virginia, Oklahoma will most likely play TCU in a rematch for the Big 12 championship. Win out and OU is in the playoffs. WVU’s chances of knocking off the Sooners went down the drain when Will Grier broke his finger early in the Texas game. Grier is out for 4-6 weeks. Mayfield has a heyday – Oklahoma 35, West Virginia 20.
8. Boise State (9-2) at Fresno State (8-3) – (MWC vs. MWC) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, CBSSN – Well this is interesting. Boise State has won the MWC Mountain Division and Fresno State has won the MWC West Division. These two teams will meet again next week in the MWC championship game. So this is a warm-up game. The game is important for the Broncos because Boise State still has a shot at finishing the season as the highest-ranked Group of Five team. That would put them in a New Year’s Six bowl. Fresno State has been a surprise team this season under first-year coach Jeff Tedford. At preseason, the Bulldogs were picked to finish at or near the bottom of their Division in the MWC. Broncos toss the Bulldogs – Boise State 29, Fresno State 27.
9. Texas A&M (7-4) at LSU (8-3) – (SEC vs. SEC) – 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, SECN – In all likelihood, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is going to get fired after this game. But if the Aggies can manage to win, who knows, that could save his job. LSU coach Ed Orgeron was on the hot seat earlier in the season, but he seems to have turned that situation around. A Tiger win will give LSU sole position of third place in the SEC West. Mike bids Kevin farewell – LSU 27, Texas A&M 25.
10. Louisville (7-4) at Kentucky (7-4) – (ACC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, SECN – This one is for the Governor’s Cup. The rivalry has been a series of streaks. Louisville won five straight. Then Kentucky won four straight, followed by Louisville winning five straight. Kentucky won last year. Was that the beginning of a new streak? No – Louisville 30, Kentucky 25.
11. Georgia (10-1) at Georgia Tech (5-5) – (SEC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ABC – Georgia has either Alabama or Auburn coming up in the SEC title game. So the Dawgs can’t overlook the Yellow Jackets. That would put a big damper in their playoff plans. Tech has won two of the last three games in this series. But let’s make it two of the last four – Georgia 32, Georgia Tech 19.
12. Virginia Tech (8-3) at Virginia (6-5) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 8 pm ET, Friday, ESPN – This has been an embarrassing series for Virginia. Tech has won the last 13 games in this series and 17 of the last 18 games. You can’t even call this a rivalry. The Cavaliers have improved throughout this season. They’ll give the Hokies a few headaches. But not migraines – Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 20.
….AND ONE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
13. Iowa State (7-4) at Kansas State (6-5) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 3:30 pm ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – K-State is on its third quarterback. He found himself last week against Oklahoma State. Iowa State is an improving team too. This could end up being one of the most exciting games of the weekend. The Wildcats enjoy the excitement – Kansas State 27, Iowa State 23.
YE OLDE STOMPING GROUNDS:
Florida State (4-6) at Florida (4-6) – (ACC vs. SEC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN – One thing is for sure – the loser of this game won’t be playing in a bowl game. The Gators may not be playing in a bowl even if they win. Who, in their wildest mind, would have thought at preseason that these two teams would have losing records in November? The Noles have won the last four games in the series and six of the last seven games. Before that, the Gators won six straight. The Noles don’t make it five straight. Shannon finds a spark – Florida 24, Florida State 23.
Iowa (6-5) at Nebraska (4-7) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 4 pm ET, Friday, FS1 – Iowa is going to a bowl game and Nebraska isn’t. That’s about all you can say about this game. The Hawkeyes have won three of the last four games in this series. Before that, the Huskers won five in a row over the Hawkeyes. Sometime after this game is over, Nebraska will announce that Mike Riley is stepping down. Will Scott Frost be Nebraska’s next coach? The Hawkeyes don’t care, not this year – Iowa 27, Nebraska 26.
Duke (5-6) at Wake Forest (7-4) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, FSN/ACCN – Both teams are coming off big wins. Duke over Georgia Tech and Wake over NC State. This has been an interesting year for the two teams. Both began the season 4-0. Then Duke lost six –straight games, before beating Georgia Tech. Wake has been up and down, but the Deacons are currently on a two-game winning streak. Make it a three-game streak – Wake Forest 28, Duke 21.
Texas Tech (5-6) at Texas (6-5) – (Big 12 vs. Big 12) – 8 pm ET, Friday, FOX – Tech ain’t A&M, but the Raiders will have to do for Thanksgiving. Actually, they have done very well for Texas. The Longhorns have won 14 of the last 17 games in this series. Tech needs the win for a bowl bid, but the Raiders don’t get it – Texas 33, Texas Tech 22.
Indiana (5-6) at Purdue (5-6) – (Big Ten vs. Big Ten) – 12 noon ET, Saturday, ESPN2 – Indiana is riding a four-game winning streak in this series. Purdue last won in 2012. Both teams have had some bright moments this season. They also have had some bad moments too. The winner gets a bowl bid. The Hoosiers are going bowling – Indiana 28, Purdue 27.
ELSEWHERE AROUND FLORIDA:
Miami (10-0) at Pitt (4-7) – (ACC vs. ACC) – 12 noon ET, Friday, ABC….
Western Kentucky (6-5) at Florida International (6-4) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 7 pm ET, Friday….
Florida Atlantic (8-3) at Charlotte (1-10) – (C-USA vs. C-USA) – 2 pm ET, Saturday…
Jacksonville U. (7-4), Bethune-Cookman (7-4) and Florida A&M (3-8) have completed their seasons.
Not directly college football related, but as the regular season was coming to a climax and Thanksgiving turkeys and pumpkin pies were almost in the oven, the number one song in the country…
…75 years ago this week in 1942 was “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
…70 years ago this week in 1947 was “Near You” by Francis Craig and His Orchestra
…65 years ago this week in 1952 was “It’s In The Book (Parts 1 & 2) – by Johnny Standley
…60 years ago this week in 1957 was “Jailhouse Rock”/”Treat Me Nice” by Elvis Presley and “Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers
…55 years ago this week in 1962 was “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons
…50 years ago this week in 1967 was “Incense And Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock
…45 years ago this week in 1972 was “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash
…40 years ago this week in 1977 was “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone
…35 years ago this week in 1982 was “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
…30 years ago this week in 1987 was “I’ve Has The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
…25 years ago this week in 1992 was “How Do You Talk To An Angel” – by The Heights
Not exactly college football related, but sadly there were four passings of note last week – Bobby Doerr, Paul Buckmaster, Mel Tillis and Pancho Segura.
Bobby Doerr, the Hall of Fame second baseman who was an immensely popular player through 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, died last week in Junction City, Oregon. He was 99 and was the oldest living former major league baseball player. He began his career with the Red Sox in 1937. Playing in Fenway Park into the early 1950s, except for one year in the Army during World War II, Doerr was a nine-time American League All-Star. Robert Pershing Doerr was born in Los Angeles on April 7, 1918.
Paul Buckmaster, whose orchestral arrangements brought power and poignancy to signature songs by David Bowie, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon and countless other rock, pop, country and jazz stars, died last week at his home in Los Angeles. He was 71. Buckmaster established himself early in his career when he arranged “Space Oddity,” the eerie 1969 Bowie song that begins with the lyric “Ground control to Major Tom.” He did the arrangements on Elton John’s second album “Elton John” in 1970. It contained the hit “Your Song.” Over the next 47 years, Buckmaster worked with rockers like Guns N’ Roses and country stars like Faith Hill. Paul Buckmaster was born on June 13, 1946, in London, England. His arrangements, often heavily reliant on strings, can be heard on songs as different as the Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” and Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.”
Mel Tillis, whose career as a country singer and the writer of songs like “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and who was equally well-known for his stutter, died yesterday in Ocala, Florida. He was 85. Tillis stuttered only when he spoke, not when he sang. He had upward of 70 Top 40 country hits – six No. 1 hits. He also wrote songs for Patsy Cline and Bobby Bare. Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born on August 8, 1932, in Tampa, Florida. He served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955. He had minor roles in films like “Smokey and the Bandit II” (1980) and “The Cannonball Run” (1981).
Pancho Segura, who rose up from Ecuador to become one of the world’s leading tennis players in the mid-20th century, died Saturday at his home in Carlsbad, California. He was 96. Segura was a mentor to and coach of Jimmy Connors in the 1970s. He played tennis for the University of Miami and won the NCAA singles tennis championship from 1943 to 1945. Segura turned pro in 1947. He barnstormed around the world with players like Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Bobby Riggs, Tony Trabert and Ken Rosewall. Francisco Olegario Segura was born on June 20, 1921 in Ecuador.
On another note, Charles Manson died yesterday. He was 83. Nuff said.