2021-12-08 08:25

And the regular season is (almost) over.

It had some surprises and some stuff happened like in the past few season.

One of the things which seem to be stable and comes regularly as X-Mas comes, Alabama stays on top.

One thing which is a bit new this season is coaching changes. It seems the rules of the market have changed, wages did increase, and everyone is looking for the next oil field / gold mine. Ridiculous amounts of money were given on paper already and the changes are not done yet.
If the hire and fire mentality does not adapt in this development, then the amount of dead money will increase heavily over the next few seasons.

Dead money is the money the teams have to pay for compensation and penalty if they decide not to fulfil the last active contract of the coaches.
Often the amount of the contract with a length of a decade or so on signing day is almost at full guaranteed and if you fire that coach after 3 disappointing seasons, you still have to pay 7 seasons while searching for the next coach who also wants that kind of money and duration.

A spiral which did produce 500+ million in dead money the past seasons, but with those 100 million dollar contracts now offered, this will likely increase.

By the way, the players do still get almost nothing. Ridiculous.

Before I get to the games, first the coaching changes.

A new HC did find Troy, hiring Jon Sumrall, so far Co-DC at Kentucky. It's his 1st HC job, so no way to tell anything. But he is under 40, so he did rise quite fast in the ranks and gets now a quite challenging task, since Troy did suffer a bit in the past few seasons. In the past the team was a lock for conference championships.

Akron decided to go with Joe Moorhead as HC. He was the OC of Oregon in the past 2 seasons and before that he was the HC of Mississippi State, where he only lasted for 2 seasons. The Mississippi gig had some strange headlines, regarding 'not fitting in' and there was also that strange tutor test incidence, which from my point of view never could have happened if the school itself would not support this in any way. So maybe it was just bad luck or fishing for reasons to get rid of that 'bad hire' in terms of personal feelings. Who knows? Moorhead had a 5-year stint with Akron in his past, as position coach and OC, before leaving for better paid jobs on high profile colleges. He is pushing 50, so this can't be a retirement job, but maybe some chance to redeem himself.

And Oklahoma did find their new guy, Clemsons DC Brent Venables. He was at Oklahoma from '99 to 2011 and did serve Clemson since then.
Venables had declined several HC gigs in the past, but it seems the offer with Oklahoma was to good to pass or some personal stuff was involved.
He is 50 years old, so hopefully for Oklahoma he will serve for a long time.

Then did Miami thought twice and brought out the treasures and hired Mario Cristobal away from Oregon.
Oregon did make an aggressive offer as it is said, but failed to keep him. He was Oregons HC for 5 seasons, winning the conference twice and this season the team lost in the final. His overall record for the Ducks was 35-13.
Miami had little success in the past 3 seasons, their HC, Manny Diaz, did never win the division and won most 8 games in a season. Obviously not enough for 'The U'.

And Notre Dame did promote their DC Markus Freeman to HC. A quite surprising move on paper, since it's his 1st HC job then and already with such a high-profile school. But he came from Cincinnati after last season, where he was also DC, and did impress all members of Notre Dame as DC and recruiter, as he did impress the players, so when Kelly did bolt for LSU, Freeman was at least on the short list. At 35 he is quite young but could make a similar impact as Lincoln Riley did at Oklahoma. Of course, it could also just fail.

Louisiana did promote Michael Desormeaux, the OC, to their new HC. He is also young, 36, and is at Louisiana since 2017 as TE coach, but OC only since this season. It's his first HC job and he inherits a very competitive team.

A strange hire is Jay Norvell, who was Nevadas HC since 2017 and has a record of 33-26 and who was in talk for several position. He did hire at Colorado State as new HC. So, he stays inside the Mountain West, from my point of view not really a promotion, but you never know the insides.
He did keep Nevada on 2nd tier level inside the MWC, never reached the top, but did also not have a losing season, except the 1st season, when he took over.

And there were also some leaves.

As mentioned, did Miami fire Manny Diaz after 3 seasons. His record is 21-15 with the team.
Honestly, I never liked the hire, Diaz did play the coaches market in 2019, accepted a HC spot at Temple only to leave after a minute and hired at Miami, of course a much better paid spot.
As HC he brought Miami in each season to a bowl, but lost the 2 Bowls he did coach as HC, the 3rd one will be without him.

Steve Addazio was fired by Colorado State after 2 seasons. His team managed to win this season only 3 games, in total he had 4-12.
Obviously, he was not able to stop the down spiral for the Rams. Addazio was prior to the Rams gig HC of Boston College, where he was quite successful, but also fired after 7 seasons.

Then did Bronco Mendenhall surprisingly step down from his position at Virginia (well he will do that after the bowl game). He was the HC for the Cavaliers for 6 seasons and had his most successful season on 2019 winning the division, but likely his biggest success was to actually change the Cavaliers from a losing team into a team which has to be taken seriously. His overall record is only 36-38, but that includes his 1st season at 2-10. Hard to say why he did step down, maybe he had enough, who knows.

There are still several positions open, Florida International, Duke, Temple, Virginia, Fresno State, Oregon and Nevada. Beside FIU and Temple all leaves on their own, so no wonder the university needs some time to find a replacement. Some of the schools might create additional domino effects.
So far 28 positions are open or where replaced. Roughly 21% of all FBS schools, so every 5th school.

So, with that said and done let's review the Championship game weekend.


Sat. Dec 4
SEC Championship Game
#1 Georgia vs #3 Alabama

Never underestimate Nick Saban.
His team did find some weak spots in the very good Georgia defense in the 2nd quarter and was on the other hand able to control the Georgia offense.
Result was the were trailing 0-3 at the start of the quarter and they were leading 24-17 at the half.
After the half did Alabama continue to expose weaknesses did even create some turnovers on top.
At the end did Alabama win by right the SEC again and did by that also secure a playoff spot.
The Bulldogs did also get a playoff spot, thanks to their record and losing only to the now best team in football so far.
#1 Georgia 24 vs #3 Alabama 41 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 29-13

Big Ten Championship Game
#2 Michigan vs #13 Iowa

My gratulations to Michigan, they did play flawless in this game and did deserve to win the BIG 10.
Iowa was held to 3 points, while Michigan did put on a 40-burger in the Hawkeyes.
It was quite clear that the East would be likely the conference winner, only that most had OSU in their mind.
It will be interesting to see, how the Wolverines will play against Georgia in the playoffs.
#2 Michigan 42 vs #13 Iowa 3 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 30-13

Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship
#9 Baylor vs #5 Oklahoma State

This was a pain to watch, but a nail biter and Oklahoma State can take all the blame losing this game.
The QB had a bad day, throwing stupid INTs and did basically push Baylor to almost every score they made.
The Cowboys defense did play quite good, and if those INTs wouldn't have happen, Baylor would have score almost never.
Oklahoma States offense was good enough to push for a comeback, but the Baylor defense did really play well and came up most of the time when needed most.
It came down to 4th and goal on Baylors 1 yard line and the run to the pilon did end 1-2 inch short.
Baylor wins the conference.
By that OSU is out of the playoffs and Baylor was unable to leap into it.
#9 Baylor 21 vs #5 Oklahoma State 16 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 30-14

American Athletic Conference Championship Game
#21 Houston @ #4 Cincinnati

This was quite open until the half.
Then did Cincinnati have a major 3rd quarter and the game was over.
Houston did only score in garbage time and of course way too less to challenge the Bearcats.
Cincinnati did complete the perfect season by winning the conference and even securing a playoff spot, the 1st for a group of 5 team ever.
They will face Alabama on the Semi, so it will be the biggest challenge the team can get.
#21 Houston 20 @ #4 Cincinnati 35 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 31-14

Other interesting games:
Fri. Dec 3
Pac-12 Championship Game
#10 Oregon vs #17 Utah

No big story here, Utah did dominate and kept the Oregon offense in check for the 1st half and scored plenty to basically making the game done at halftime.
At the end the Utes won the PAC 12 with a score of 38-10.
Both teams will of course play high profile bowls.
Jacks interesting games Score: 29-26

Ryan Conference USA Championship
Western Kentucky @ UTSA

UTSA did lead at the half and did also increase the lead a bit later, but WKU did come back and with a minute left to play WKU did actually get the ball for a final drive. The dreams did vanish into nothing when the team did throw an interception with the final play on a last desperate attempt from mid field.
UTSA won the CUSA with a score of 49-41.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-26

Sat. Dec 4
ACC Championship Game
#15 Pittsburgh vs #16 Wake Forest

After a good 1st quarter with Wake Forest leading 21-14, this became a Pitt-defense-showcase which kept the Deacons scoreless for the rest of the game.
Pitt on the other hand did score and score and score and win the ACC 45-21.
None of the teams had a chance for a playoff spot, but for sure this win means a lot for the school and the players.
Since a long time an ACC champ not named Clemson.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-27

Mountain West Championship Game
Utah State @ #19 San Diego State

Well, I said everything can happen and it happened at least here.
Utah State did CRUSH SDSU 46-13 and did win the MWC with this dominant showing.
I think not many did foresee this kind of performance.
Jacks interesting games Score: 30-28

Sun Belt Conference Championship Game
Appalachian State @ #24 Louisiana

Louisiana did not look THAT dominant, but since they were the underdogs, they did pretty well by controlling the game and grinding this to a secure win, with a score of 24-16.
The Cajuns won the Sun Belt by that.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-28

Rocket Mortgage MAC Football Championship Game
Kent State vs Northern Illinois

NIU played very well, or Kent State did suck. I don't know, but the Huskies did win big time and did control the game totally.
NIU wins the MAC again since 2018 and it looks like NIU is going back into the right direction.
Jacks interesting games Score: 31-29

Other funny results?
In the only other game, the postponed USC-Cal game was played and Cal won 24-14. Both teams were out of the bowl hunt already, so only a game for standings.

The results for the playoffs did come in, I did hint this already in the reviews.

The committee did sort the teams as following.
#1 Alabama as SEC Champ
#2 Michigan as BIG 10 Champ
#3 Georgia as SEC Championship loser with losing only to #1
#4 Cincinnati as loss-less American Champ
#5 Notre Dame as Indy with 1 loss (against Cincinnati)
#6 Ohio State as best rated 2-loss team

the rest is irrelevant for discussions, I think.

First, I would have put Georgia at #2, thanks to strength of schedule, but I guess Michigan got the spot as Champ. And it was no option to put Cincinnati at #3, since this would have created a rematch of Alabama-Georgia in the Semis, which I think everyone wanted to avoid.
Hence the sorting.
It was easy to put everyone else at #5 and deeper, since those 4 did come up best and there is not much to discuss, whether Notre Dame in favor of Georgia or Cincinnati, since Georgia did lose only to Alabama and had a much tougher road to play and Cincinnati did not only win the American it did also win all games, including a win against Notre Dame.
And Ohio State lost twice, which did make them a VERY long shot.
All other champs did lose at least twice the season and had usually much weaker schedules than Georgia.

So, Alabama - Cincinnati and Michigan - Georgia as Semifinals.

Now let's take a look at the last remaining game of the regular season.


Sat. Dec 11
Army vs Navy
The big game at the end of the season.
Irrelevant for most stuff, usually.
Biggest thing in this rivalry is 1st the direct compare, the 2nd thing is the Commander-In-Chief-Trophy.
Army won the Trophy on the field last year with win against by beating Navy 15-0.
This season Air Force won against Navy and Army won against Air Force. That way the Trophy will be in Armys trophy case, since even a loss against Navy will result in a 3-way-tie, which by rule gives the trophy to the last season winner.
But Army can of course win the Trophy on the field again.
The rivalry itself had so far 121 games, with Navy leading by 8-wins.
Army won last season, as said, Navy won the game before.
The Knights did play a good season so far, having an 8-3 record and will play in a bowl.
The Midshipmen had a rough season, with a 3-8 record. They are far from playing on the level they had in the past.
In this game this season here, Army is favored by 7.5 points.
As usually done the game is played on neutral field, this season in the home stadium of NY Giants and NY Jets.
It will be packed and all show and glamor.
I expect a quite one-sided game, but on those rivalry games you never know.
Navy had some close games, including their loss to Cincinnati (by 7) and their loss against ECU (by 3).
Army won most of their games against not so good teams, but lost only by 6 against Wisconsin.
Close or not? Tough to tell, I expect Army to control the game and Navy do have problems scoring enough.
But maybe this will get close by scoring margin.
Black Knights win.

'Til next time

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