Professor’s Picks Rivalry Week

2009 Record

Overall: 132-50
Last Week: 10-4

Comment: The old alma mater (Georgia) stopped a twenty-game SEC winning streak on the picks by falling to Kentucky between the hedges. Professor seeks to finish strong the next couple weeks of the season.

Best Pick: With a big assist to Les Miles, Ole Miss pulled out the win over LSU as predicted; the Rebels probably need only to win the Egg Bowl for a holiday trip to Orlando.

Worst Pick: Maybe those Bob Stoops to Notre Dame rumors have something to them, because the Sooners got bushwhacked by Texas Tech.

Here are this week’s SEC picks and all the weekend’s rivalry games too.



Friday, November 27th

Alabama (11-0, 7-0) at Auburn (7-4, 3-4)
1:30 p.m. CT
CBS Sports
Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
Comment: Crimson Tide heads to SEC title game win or lose, but a victory clinches a second straight unbeaten regular season and keeps BCS title hopes afloat. It will not be easy on the Plains, but Bama gets the nod. Professor’s Pick: Alabama

Saturday, November 28th

Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5, 3-5)
12 p.m. ET
Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Comment: Steve Spurrier has really struggled against Clemson in the Battle of the Palmetto State (going 1-3), and the professor questions whether the old ball coach takes the game very seriously. Clemson and head man Dabo Swinney do.
Professor’s Pick: Clemson

Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3) at Mississippi State (4-7, 2-5)
11:21 a.m. CT
SEC Network / ESPN / ESPN GamePlan
Scott Field (55,082)
Comment: If the professor was college football commish for a day, the Egg Bowl would be played on Thanksgiving Night where it goes real well with one last turkey sandwich. Don’t expect this game to be a turkey; should be plenty of scoring. Upset special.
Professor’s Pick: Miss State

Florida State (6-5) at Florida (11-0, 8-0)
3:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports
Florida Field (88,548)
Comment: Florida best be on letdown alert what with the emotions of sending off the greatest Gator of ’em all, the looming SEC showdown with Alabama, and the pressure of national championship expectations. Might be scary for a while.
Professor’s Pick: Florida

Arkansas (7-4, 3-4) at LSU (8-3, 4-3)
6 p.m. CT
Tiger Stadium (92,400)
Comment: LSU must be reeling after losing a wacky game to Ole Miss (although to be fair the Rebels had outplayed the Tigers the whole game), and Arkansas comes in primed to move up in the SEC West pecking order. Bayou Bengals have a way of responding, so let’s go with them.
Professor’s Pick: LSU

Tennessee (6-5, 3-4) at Kentucky (7-4, 3-4)
7 p.m. ET
Commonwealth Stadium (67,942)
Comment: Bowl positioning will be on the line when two pretty physical squads square off. Saturday nights in Lexington are not easy, so consider this a tossup.
Professor’s Pick: Tennessee

Georgia (6-5, 4-4) at Georgia Tech (11-1)
8 p.m. ET
Grant Field (55,000)
Comment: How sweet would an upset be for the Bulldogs? Georgia Tech swaggers in as ACC Coastal champs, headed for the conference championship, with a potential south Florida bowl trip on the holiday docket. The Dogs straggle into Atlanta after blowing a two-touchdown lead against Kentucky at home, minus their best player (WR A.J. Green), with a fan base holding a pocketful of pink slips designated for every assistant coach wearing red and black. Even the Dog mascot died. Tough year gets tougher for the Classic City canines.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia Tech

Open: Vanderbilt (2-10)



8:00 PM ET No. 3 Texas at Texas A&M … Longhorn QB Colt McCoy has a losing record against Aggies, but should even that up Thanksgiving night. Professor’s Pick: (Picked Earlier) Texas


3:30 PM ET Nebraska at Colorado … Huskers on way to Big 12 title game but cannot overlook Buffs. Professor’s Pick: Nebraska

7:00 PM ET No. 9 Pitt at West Virginia … a Pitt win in the Backyard Brawl sets up a Big East showdown against Cincy next week, but this could be a dangerous fight for the Panthers. Professor’s Pick: Pitt

10:00 PM ET Nevada at No. 6 Boise State … Broncos could be left out in BCS cold even if they tame the Wolfpack. Professor’s Pick: Boise State


12:30 PM ET No. 12 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma … Bedlam carries big-time risk-reward for OK State because Cowboys probably BCS bound with a victory. Professor’s Pick: OK State

1:30 PM ET Southern Miss at East Carolina … C-USA East title on line when Golden Eagles swoop into Greenville to face the purple Pirates. Professor’s Pick: East Carolina

3:30 PM ET Missouri vs. Kansas … Border War might be last stand for Mark Mangino who will fall victim to political correctness (and a bad season) as much as anything else. Professor’s Pick: Missouri

5:00 PM ET No. 21 Utah at No. 19 Brigham Young … the Holy War is the only matchup of top-25 teams this rivalry weekend. Professor’s Pick: Utah

6:30 PM ET Washington State at Washington … Apple Cup is a bit sour as Wazoo is perhaps worst team in a BCS conference. Professor’s Pick: Washington

8:00 PM ET Notre Dame at Stanford … Charlie Weis brought some criticism on himself for being too mouthy too early, but the personal stuff sometimes goes overboard. Jim Harbaugh could probably get the Irish job if he wanted it, but figures to stay at Stanford (until Michigan or the NFL comes calling). Professor’s Pick: Stanford

College Football Rivalry Week TV Schedule

Thanksgiving Weekend Television Schedule

The National Football Foundation has posted the college football television schedule for rivalry week.


Bonus Professor’s Pick

Thanksgiving Night Game

8:00 PM ET No. 3 Texas at Texas A&M … Longhorn QB Colt McCoy has a losing record against Aggies in the Lone Star State , but should even that up Thanksgiving night.

Professor’s Pick: Texas

Professor’s Picks

Check back Friday morning for Professor’s Picks!

Paul not Perfect … Ask about A-Pop

Recent media reports to the contrary, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is not the perfect football coach.

Just ask him about A-pop (since apparently none of the pundits will).

The annual Georgia-Georgia Tech battle looms at historic Grant Field Saturday night and the story’s all about Paul.

Tech swaggers in at 10-1, ranked 7th in BCS standings, champions of the ACC Coastal Division, most likely bound for a big-time Florida bowl game.

All because of Paul.

Georgia staggers in at 6-5, freshly wounded from a second-half collapse against Kentucky, head coach Mark Richt on the business end of fan discontent for the first time since he arrived in Athens, a potential trip to shivering Shreveport souring the post-season.

All because of Paul leading Tech to a rousing victory in Athens last season.

At least that’s the story scribes are selling us.

Heck, I bet Johnson even offed Uga.

This morning I learned from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley that a couple years ago Paul hit the green on a par-5 with his second shot … after his partner suggested he lay up.

Wow, move over Knute Rockne and back off Bear Bryant.

In the same section, I discovered from Jeff Schultz that Johnson had done a better job than Richt of developing a quarterback this season because Josh Nesbitt has outplayed Joe Cox. Schultzie failed to explain how the great JP might have rounded the slow-footed Cox into an option quarterback had Johnson inherited him instead of the multi-talented runner Nesbitt. But, I’m sure Bear – er I mean Paul – could’ve.

In online versions of the AJC, the esteemed Mr. College Football (Tony Barnhart – not Paul Johnson) claims PJ will bring the hammer down on Georgia should he get the chance, and Tony wonders whether the Dogs will have the heart to fight back and keep the game close.

Slow down fellas.

Paul Johnson is a very good coach, possibly on his way to becoming a great one.

Keep in mind he does have a losing bowl record and got completely outmaneuvered by the less-than-esteemed Les Miles of LSU in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

While I’m a Georgia grad, I grew up pulling for Tech too, saw many games off North Avenue, have wonderful in-laws who are Tech people, love the triple-option offense, and sometimes still even cheer for the Jackets. So, my comments are not knee-jerk reactions because the Wreck is rambling along pretty good right now.

Still, local hero worship by Atlanta scribes to the contrary, Paul’s not perfect.

Georgia just may need him to have an A-pop moment this weekend.

Read A Civil War: A Year Inside College Football’s Purest Rivalry, John Feinstein’s fine book about the Army-Navy game of 1995. While Johnson (Navy’s offensive coordinator) comes across very well in the book, earthy, profane, funny, and smart … he’s also overly confident and bold. That boldness leads to a blunder that costs the Middies dearly.

Deep into the fourth quarter, Navy led 13-7 and drove to the Army one-foot line. Facing a 4th and goal, all the Midshipmen needed was a chip shot field goal (their kicker was 2-2 that day) to take a nine-point lead, forcing the Cadets to score twice to win the game – an implausible possibility.

As Navy head coach Charlie Weatherbie pondered what to do, Johnson came over the headset and exclaimed “We can score with A-pop … they’ll have so many people on the line it’ll be wide open.”

Rarely will such a smart coach make such a dumb call at such a bad time.

Navy was an option team. Same offense Tech runs today. The Middies had the ball on the one-foot line. Logic dictated the field goal, or – if the team decided to go for the TD – a quarterback plunge or fullback (B-back) up the middle. Instead, Paul Johnson called A-pop … a short pass into the flats to one of the wingbacks (A-back in the vernacular).

All the Navy coaches with the exception of one supported Johnson’s silly call. The pass fell incomplete and the game turned.

Army drove the ball 99 yards, scoring with just over a minute left in the game to win a 14-13 thriller, one of the best games in the storied series.

A-pop was the pivotal call in the game. Johnson blew it.

Paul Johnson’s a good coach, perhaps on his way to being great.

He’s also prone to being overly confident and bold.

Georgia needs PJ to have another A-pop moment this weekend.

He just might.

* Note: Wonder about the lone dissenter on the Navy staff oppposing Johnson’s boneheaded call against Army? Defensive backs coach Gary Patterson, now head coach at TCU … a team that might well face Georgia Tech in a bowl game. Maybe he’ll remind PJ of A-pop.

College Football Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Wishes

God … The game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and
the system; and so for the break of the game and
the first play and the last. Our prayer of thanks.
Carl Sandburg Our Prayer of Thanks

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
Erma Bombeck

Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.
O. Henry


Thanksgiving Football Quick Quiz

The Thanksgiving Week offers great rivalry games … can you name the schools that play in these ten rivalries?

Backyard Brawl
Battle for the Golden Boot
Border War
Civil War
Clean, Old Fashioned Hate
Egg Bowl
Holy War
Iron Bowl
Sunshine Showdown


Ain’t that America

Welcome to The Campus Game where a second helping of turkey and dressing is a side course to the main dish of Thanksgiving week football.

We’ll get to the quiz answers in just a minute, but as we gather with family and friends for food and football this holiday season we are enjoying a truly historical aspect of American culture.

College football and Thanksgiving have been linked together for well over a century.

By the 1880s, football had surpassed baseball as the most popular campus game, and (in these pre-bowl game years) the season typically ended with a big Thanksgiving Day game against a top rival. The same held true for high school football teams too.

So … enjoy your feast and your football … it’s America.


Quiz Answers!

Backyard Brawl: Pitt-West Virginia
Battle for the Golden Boot: LSU-Arkansas
Bedlam: Oklahoma-OK State
Border War: Kansas-Missouri
Civil War: Oregon-Oregon State
Clean, Old Fashioned Hate: Georgia-Georgia Tech
Egg Bowl: Ole Miss-Miss State
Holy War: BYU-Utah
Iron Bowl: Alabama-Auburn
Sunshine Showdow: Florida-FSU


The Campus Game Top Ten Games (Thanksgiving Week)

10. Texas at Texas A&M: Longhorns take on Aggies and the “12th man” at College Station.

9. Utah at BYU: Only pairing of Top 25 teams over Thanksgiving weekend … that’s not right.

8. Southern Miss at East Carolina: Golden Eagles and Pirates settle the C-USA East title.

7. Florida State at Florida: Tim Tebow’s last home game as Gators try to stay perfect.

6. Nevada at Boise State: WAC title on line as wily Wolfpack creeps onto the blue turf.

5. OK State at Oklahoma: Pokes are looking for a BCS bid but must get past in-state nemesis Sooners in Bedlam series.

4. Pitt at West Virginia: The Brawl looms large because Pitt is still in BCS bowl picture.

3. Georgia-Georgia Tech: Can Bulldogs recover and upset Tech after blowing a two-touchdown lead over Kentucky?

2. Ole Miss at Miss State: The Egg Bowl has few national ramifications (other than bowl implications), but is annually one of the hardest-hitting, most fun games to watch.

1. Alabama at Auburn: Tide travels to Plains with national title hopes on the line.


Around the SEC and Professor’s Picks

Check back later in the week for Around the SEC and Professor’s Picks.

See you at kickoff!

Professor’s Picks Week 12

2009 Record

Overall: 122-46
Last Week: 14-3

Comment: For the second week in a row, a pretty solid record highlighted by a perfect mark in the SEC (that’s 15 in a row going back to the Auburn-Ole Miss game). The grade is somewhat inflated because the SEC picks have not been so difficult.

Best Pick: Many had Auburn beating Georgia between the hedges, but the Dogs pulled it out as predicted here. Also, Ole Miss came through with a victory over what had been a hot Tennessee team.

Worst Pick: Stanford had been a professor’s favorite all season, but I went with USC to win … to paraphrase Pete Carroll … what’s my deal? Also, Notre Dame did not win one for the Weis guy against Pitt.

Here are this week’s SEC and selected national picks.


SEC Picks

Chattanooga (6-4) at Alabama (10-0, 7-0)
11:21 a.m. CT *SEC Network (check local listing)
Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,012)
Comment: If this was 1958 we might want to see this game; otherwise just a Tide tuneup before the Iron Bowl.
Professor’s Pick: Are you kidding – Bama

Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4) at Arkansas (6-4, 2-4)
11:21 a.m. CT *SEC Network (check local listing)
War Memorial Stadium (Little Rock)(53,727)
Comment: Hog QB Ryan Mallett leads the league in total offense and Arkansas paces the conference in scoring, while Miss State ranks 10th in pass defense and 11th in total defense. The only team below the Bullies in scoring D? The Hogs, so it could be a high scoring day in Little Rock.
Professor’s Pick: Arkansas

Florida International (3-7) at Florida (10-0, 8-0)
12:30 p.m. ET Florida PPV
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)
Comment: Like Alabama, the Gators also take a break from big-boy football before closing the regular season against an in-state rival (FSU Noles) next week.
Professor’s Pick: Are you kidding #2 – Florida

LSU (8-2, 5-2) at Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3)
2:30 p.m. CT CBS Sports
Vaught-Heminway Stadium (60,580)
Comment: The league’s best game with bowl travel destinations on the line. Winner most likely goes to Orlando for the Cap One Bowl, with loser looking at Cotton, Chick-fil-A, Outback … none of those scenarios is too bad. The Rebels are an up-and-down team coming off their most impressive win of the season (a 42-17 pasting of Tennessee). LSU played a lackluster game in dispatching Louisiana Tech 24-16. LSU has not impressed me all year, so I’ll go with the Rebs.
Professor’s Pick: Ole Miss

Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7) at Tennessee (5-5, 2-4)
7 p.m. ET ESPNU
Neyland Stadium (100,011)
Comment: The Volunteers fell from grace very quickly last week on and off the field. Four Vol arrests (three for their part in an alleged armed robbery and one for shoplifting) overshadowed a terrible defensive performance at Ole Miss. Vanderbilt should provide a tough, but beatable, opponent this week. Vols get back to business and earn a bowl berth.
Professor’s Pick: Tennessee

Kentucky (6-4, 2-4) at Georgia (6-4, 4-3)
7:45 p.m. ET ESPN2
Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Comment: Georgia played its best game of the year against Auburn last week, at a time Mark Richt and the Dogs really needed a lift. Expect the Dogs, who rank 11th in SEC rushing statistics, to try and run the ball at the Cats (who rank 11th against the run) with emerging freshman tailback Waushan Ealey. UK continues to play pretty well without starting QB Mike Hartline, as frosh Morgan Newton has played decently. Both teams may be without their best players … multi-threat WR Randall Cobb of Big Blue and WR A.J. Green of Georgia. That probably hurts Kentucky more.
Professor’s Pick: Georgia

OPEN: Auburn (7-4, 3-4), South Carolina (6-5, 3-5)


Selected National Picks

Connecticut at Notre Dame: Charlie is probably already gone, we’ll see if his team is too. Professor’s Pick: ND

Virginia at Clemson: Orange-hot Tigers can win ACC Atlantic division by unseating the Cavaliers. Professor’s Pick: Clemson

Penn State at Michigan State: Don’t count Joe Pa out of BCS berth just yet. Professor’s Pick: Penn State

Kansas at Texas: Suddenly Mark Mangino feels the heat – from his Athletic Director no less … don’t remember all these complaints when Jayhawks made it to Orange Bowl. Professor’s Pick: Texas

Oregon at Arizona: Ducks try to survive in desert against Wildcats. Professor’s Pick: Oregon

Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Sooners usually arrest passing game of Red Raiders. Professor’s Pick: Oklahoma

Cal at Stanford: “The Big Game” is the only one pitting top 25 squads this week. Professor’s Pick: Stanford

Ohio State at Michigan: who cares about the records, it’s one of college football’s best rivalries. Rich Rod and the Wolves could really use a good showing. Professor’s Pick: Ohio State

Around the SEC Week 12

Ruminations on the passing scene ...

Bowl Bonanza

The bowl season will soon be upon us and every SEC team except Vanderbilt is still in contention for post-season play. Here is one early projection of where teams might go bowling.

BCS Championship Game (Pasadena): Winner of Alabama/Florida if they finish regular season unbeaten

Sugar (New Orleans): Loser of Alabama/Florida

Capital One (Orlando): LSU-Ole Miss winner

Outback (Tampa): LSU-Ole Miss loser

Chick-fil-A (Atlanta): Georgia

Cotton (Dallas/Arlington): Arkansas

Music City (Nashville): Tennessee

Liberty (Memphis): Auburn

Independence (Shreveport): South Carolina

Papa John’s (Birmingham): Kentucky


Gator Bowl Joins Bowl Destinations

In 2010, the Gator Bowl joins the list of SEC bowl tie-ins. The game will be another Sunshine State SEC-Big Ten showdown (like the Cap One and the Outback). Selection order has not been finalized, but the Gator traditionally pays out the most of any non-BCS bowl.

The Independence Bowl will no longer be tied in with the conference.

Conference News and Notes (from SEC Office)

SEC Football Players of the Week
Games of Nov. 14

Offense: Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster
Defense: Florida CB Joe Haden
Special Teams: Auburn DB/RS Demond Washington
O Line: Alabama OG Mike Johnson
D Line: Kentucky DT, Corey Peters
Freshman: Georgia RB Washaun Ealey

• Florida became the eighth team since SEC expansion
(1992) to go through the regular season undefeated in
the conference (Alabama, at 7-0 this season, has one
conference game remaining.).

The list includes:
Alabama (1992, 1994, 2008)
Florida (1995, 1996)
Tennessee (1998)
Auburn (2004)

• With wins this past weekend, Arkansas, Georgia,
Kentucky and Ole Miss became bowl eligible. The SEC
now has nine bowl eligible teams with Tennessee
(needs one win) and Mississippi State (needs two
wins) still able to reach bowl eligibility.

• The SEC has a 37-6 non-conference record so far
this season. The 86.1 winning rate is tops in NCAA
FBS. The SEC has already reached the win total of
last season and needs to go 4-1 the remainder of the
regular season against non-conference foes to equal its
best winning percentage since the season was expanded
to 12 games (41-7 in 2006).

• Twenty (20) SEC football players are either semifinalists
or finalists for 11 post-season individual awards.


College Football on TV Week 12

The National Football Foundation has released this week’s television schedule. The games are listed by conference home game.



Results for SEC Games Week of Nov. 14:

Ole Miss 42, Tennessee 17 (61,422 at Oxford)
Kentucky 24, Vanderbilt 13 (33,675 at Nashville)
Florida 24, South Carolina 14 (79,297 at Columbia)
Alabama 31, Miss. State 3 (58,103 at Starkville)
Georgia 31, Auburn 24 (92,746 at Athens)
LSU 24, Louisiana Tech 16 (92,584 at Baton Rouge)
Arkansas 56, Troy 20 (66,442 at Fayetteville)


SEC Games This Week
Professor’s Picks Posted Tomorrow!

Schedule of SEC Games Week of Nov. 21:

Chattanooga (6-4) at Alabama (10-0, 7-0) 11:21 a.m. CT
*SEC Network / / ESPN GamePlan
Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,012)

Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4) at Arkansas (6-4, 2-4) 11:21 a.m. CT
*SEC Network / / ESPN GamePlan
Little Rock, Ark. • War Memorial Stadium (53,727)

Florida International (3-7) at Florida (10-0, 8-0) 12:30 p.m. ET
Florida PPV / ESPN / ESPN GamePlan
Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548)

LSU (8-2, 5-2) at Ole Miss (7-3, 3-3) 2:30 p.m. CT
CBS Sports
Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Heminway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field (60,580)

Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7) at Tennessee (5-5, 2-4) 7 p.m. ET
Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium/Shields-Watkins Field (100,011)

Kentucky (6-4, 2-4) at Georgia (6-4, 4-3) 7:45 p.m. ET
Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

OPEN: Auburn (7-4, 3-4), South Carolina (6-5, 3-5)



Schedule of SEC Games for Thanksgiving Week:

Friday, Nov. 27
Alabama at Auburn (1:30 p.m. CT / CBS Sports)

Saturday, Nov. 28
Arkansas at LSU (6 p.m. CT / ESPN)
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (11:21 a.m. CT / SEC Network)
Florida State at Florida (3:30 p.m. ET / CBS Sports)
Georgia at Georgia Tech (8 p.m. ET / ABC – ESPN2)
Tennessee at Kentucky (7 p.m. ET / ESPNU)
Clemson at South Carolina (12 p.m. ET / ESPN)


Professor’s Picks

Remember to visit The Campus Game for Professor’s Picks … they will be posted early Saturday morning.

See you at kickoff!

College Football 2009 Week 12

Hanging Half a Hundred

“What’s your deal?” … “What’s your deal?”
(On-Field exchange between USC coach Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh of Stanford after the Cardinal beat the Trojans 55-21 last weekend)

While that exchange might win no prizes for lyricism or wit, it fits well within a century-old college football ritual.

Welcome back to The Campus Game … where we know gratuitously hanging half a hundred on somebody is part of a grand college football tradition – running up the score.

Seems Pete got his dander up mainly because Haurbaugh went for a two-point conversion with 6:47 remaining and Stanford clinging to a scant 48-21 lead.

Now, Harbaugh can cite any reason he wants for piling on (and he told a few whoppers on the Colin Cowherd ESPN radio show this week), but the plain fact is he wanted to hang half a hundred on the Trojans and he eventually did even though the conversion failed; the Cardinal plunged in with a short TD at the 2:19 mark after an interception return.

Instead of denying his desire to rub it in, Harbaugh might have been better served to channel his inner Steve Spurrier.

The old head ball coach routinely ran up the score on opponents at Florida in the 1990s and didn’t shy away from showing some swagger in doing so.

“Wanted to hang half a hundred on them” Spurrier crowed after the Gators trampled the Georgia Bulldogs (his favorite foil) 52-17 in 1995 … at Sanford Stadium no less. The Georgia-Florida game is typically played in Jacksonville but was played on each campus once in the mid-90s while the Gator Bowl was renovated, and the visored one wanted to make sure he left Clarke County after having rung up the most points ever against the Dogs between the hedges (he did).

Haurbaugh, a Michigan man, could have also revisited an old foe of his alma mater.

Legendary Woody Hayes and Ohio State battered Michigan 50-14 on the way to the 1968 national championship. After the Buckeyes scored their last touchdown, Woody rubbed salt in the Wolverine wounds and had the Bucks line up for the 2-point conversion (it failed).

Asked afterward why he went for two, Hayes supposedly growled “because I couldn’t go for three!”

That’s the spirit!

If you’re man enough to run up the score, be man enough to say you did.

Even old Woody pales when compared to the all-time score runner-upper.

John Heisman (yes, that Heisman) of Georgia Tech paid Cumberland College of Tennessee $500 to play the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta in 1916. He got his money’s worth.

Seems Heisman wanted a bit of revenge because his Tech baseball squad lost a game 22-0 to Cumberland in the spring of 16. He earned his vengeance – ten times over.

Never passing or punting, Tech rambled to a tidy 32 touchdowns in a shortened game and won by the fabled mark of 222-0.

Woody, Spurrier, and Harbaugh would have been proud.


Professor’s Bookcase

Before getting to this week’s games, a few plugs for good football books (or sports books in general).

Earlier this season, I recommended The Real All-Americans by Sally Jenkins … the story of Pop Warner, Jim Thorpe, and the Carlisle Indian School. I do so again; fine book and here’s a review.

I am currently re-reading A Civil War, another in a long-line of sports books by the prolific John Feinstein (this one about the Army-Navy football rivalry). Want to learn about one of college football’s greatest spectacles? This is your book.

As a fan of sports talk radio, I rank Paul Finebaum’s show out of Alabama about the best around. Yesterday, he had the great Pat Conroy on the show. Conroy was there to talk about his latest book (South of Broad – have read it and it’s good but very grim) but I want to mention My Losing Season, a terrific recount of his senior basketball season at The Citadel, a book I occasionally require my students to read. You can hear the interview with Conroy (it’s very good) at Finebaum’s website.

Finally, just finished Tall Tales. This is Terry Pluto’s history of the early NBA. Not a football book, but an interesting and fun read – wonderful stories of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s when the earliest players seemed to play mainly for the beer, and coaches thought nothing of punching fans, officials, even team owners (the Celtics Red Auerbach once decked Hawks owner Ben Kerner before a game and wasn’t even ejected) and sometimes each other.

Maybe good for Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh they didn’t coach back then.


BCS Bowl Projections

The bowl season approaches rapidly, and BCS bowl selections will be most interesting this season.

Since there are two undefeated teams from non-BCS conferences (TCU and Boise State) and only the SEC clearly merits two teams in BCS bowls this may get a bit hairy.

Let’s say the top three of Florida, Alabama, and Texas win out in the regular season and Texas wins the Big 12 title. The BCS championship would obviously pit Texas against the survivor of the SEC.

The selection order would then be as follows:

1. Sugar (for losing SEC champ to title game … note that if Texas finished atop the standings the Fiesta would get first replacement pick)

2. Fiesta (for losing Big 12 champ to title game)

3. Orange (would already automatically have ACC champ so would choose foe)

4. Rose (would be set with PAC-10/Big Ten champs)

The Sugar would certainly take the SEC title game loser, but what about the Fiesta Bowl? Boise State? TCU? Big East champ? Big Ten runner-up? PAC-10 runner-up?

Here are this week’s projections in order of selection:

BCS Title: Alabama/Florida winner vs. Texas
Sugar: Chooses SEC title game loser
Fiesta: Chooses Cincinnati if undefeated
Orange: Chooses TCU to face ACC Champ
Rose: PAC-10 vs Big Ten champs set
Sugar: Chooses Iowa or Penn State? Boise State?
Fiesta: Chooses Boise State … or Oklahoma State if the Cowboys win out … or Georgia Tech if the Jackets lose the ACC title game … on and on!


The Campus Game Top Ten Rankings (Week 12)

10. Stanford … three losses is too many for this rank but playing great ball.

9. Ohio State … Buckeyes best of a bad league.

8. Pitt … Panthers are methodical but sound.

7. Boise State … will Broncos be left out of BCS mix?

6. Georgia Tech … can Jackets win a bowl when opponent has time to prepare for the option?

5. TCU … Horned Frogs blasted Utah and should sail to a BCS bowl.

4. Cincinnati … Bearcats keep churning out big wins, but did not look great against West Virginia.

3. Texas … Longhorns look to cruise to national title game, but Nebraska might be worthy Big 12 foe.

2. Alabama … Tide plays Chattanooga choo-choo this week before the Iron Bowl.

1. Florida … mighty Gators get an FIU bye then close out regular season with Seminoles.


The Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 12)

10. Connecticut at Notre Dame: Charlie is probably already gone, we’ll see if his team is too.

9. Virginia at Clemson: Orange-hot Tigers can win ACC Atlantic division by unseating the Cavaliers.

8. Penn State at Michigan State: Don’t count Joe Pa out of BCS berth just yet.

7. Kentucky at Georgia: Two bowl-bound SEC teams battle between the hedges.

6. Kansas at Texas: Suddenly Mark Mangino feels the heat – from his Athletic Director no less.

5. Oregon at Arizona: Ducks try to survive in desert against Wildcats.

4. Oklahoma at Texas Tech: Sooners usually arrest passing game of Red Raiders.

3. Cal at Stanford: One of few games pitting top 25 squads this week.

2. LSU at Ole Miss: Rebels wore out Vols and face shaky Bengal Tigers

1. Ohio State at Michigan: who cares about the records, it’s one of college football’s best rivalries.

Remember to visit later in the week for Around the SEC and Professor’s Picks.

See you at kickoff!