Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Getting Lost? College Football Cavalcade of Whimsy, Dec. 8

    Will the Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Fiesta Bowl get lost in the shuffle? Pete Fiutak comments on the college football world.

    December 8, 2015


    Will the Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Fiesta Bowl get lost in the shuffle? Michigan State’s epic drive. What it means to “make a play.”


    Follow and/or Contact or Baskets of Mini Muffins to @PeteFiutak

    Sorry if this column sucks. It’s not my fault …

    It’s awful, but along with Larry Fedora dealing with a whiffed offsides call on an onside kick, “I’m going to have to swallow it like a man and just take it.”

    “Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant, via the categorical imperative, is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination … and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

    Rewarding a 5-7 college football team because of its Academic Progress Rate is like analyzing a university’s philosophy department based on how well it plays soccer.

    With the honor of joining 2014 Baylor as the answer to a trivia question …

    It was subtle, but it might be important for future analysis.

    There are some relatively established precedents to go off of now that we’ve done this whole College Football Playoff Ranking thing twice. Now we know it really and truly is about winning your conference championship, and it’s going to take a whole big thing for anyone to bust through that.

    It would’ve been interesting if Ohio State had just ripped up everything in its path for the first ten games, had one off day against Michigan State, and then destroyed Michigan. On a Four Best Team theory, the Buckeyes might have been able to bust through the rankings, but that obviously didn’t happen.

    Stanford was a victim of actually playing a schedule – more on that in a moment. Notre Dame could make a solid argument for being more deserving than Oklahoma, considering it beat Texas, OU didn’t, and the two losses were to the ACC and Pac-12 champs, but whatever. The four teams that are in are all deserving without question.

    However, there was one little part of this that no one talked about.

    Iowa finishing No. 5 sort of matters.

    The committee made a huge, thundering statement in the first go-round taking No. 3 TCU and dropping it to sixth in the final 2014 rankings, even though the Horned Frogs annihilated Iowa State. And why? Baylor was technically the One True Champion of the Big 12, so the final top five was made up of the five Power Five conference champions. Okay, fine. No problem.

    So, naturally, the prediction was easy going into last weekend – ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 champs were going to make up the top four, and if Stanford won, there’s your No. 5 as the Pac-12 champion with a fantastic resume to offset the two losses. Instead, Iowa got that No. 5 spot.

    It’s not like the old poll ‘n’ bowl days when being No. 5 really was one spot away from being in the top four. Now, if this makes any sense, there’s a huge wall between four and five, and it’s not just as simple as the No. 5 team being really close. If push came to absolute shove and, let’s say, Florida beat Alabama in the SEC championship, I’m guessing that Stanford would’ve finished as the No. 4, not Iowa.

    I wished I cared more about things that actually matter, but …

    Michigan absolutely destroyed Northwestern. Northwestern was put at 13th and Michigan 14th by the committee, and if you’re going to put USC No. 25 despite an 8-5 record, it has to be ahead of No. 22 Utah – the Trojans beat the Utes. Worst of all, No. 19 Florida is playing like a throbbing bucket of sick offensively over the last part of the season, but before the wheels came off, it lost to LSU 35-28. There’s absolutely no justifiable reason for the Gators to be one spot ahead of 8-3, No. 20 LSU.


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    ISIS? Radicalized homeland terrorists? Loose nukes? Rising climate temperatures? People who actually believe the Trump performance art is for real? The Property Brothers? No, the greatest threat facing all of human existence is …

    Any talking head who says someone needs to, “make a play.”

    We all know what it means. The team is struggling a bit and the momentum is on the other side, so someone needs to create a gamechanging moment to shake things up.

    Someone needs to make a play.

    It was overused by Bill O’Brien in this summer’s Hard Knocks, and it’s being crushed now by announcers who can’t use their words to explain what has to happen to make the team be better at whatever it is it’s doing. So, instead, the catch-all “make a play” line is used as a crutch, to which the proper retort should be, “uuuhhhhh, okay.”

    How do you make Iowa football eggs? Put them in a big bowl and beat for three hours.

    Jordan Canzeri and other Hawkeye types, I obviously got the gist when you said you wanted to “put Iowa on the map,” but there Iowa is already on the map. All of them. I’m looking at it right now. It’s right there … Iowa. America’s delineation between states with stuff and states with no stuff.

    But beyond that, it’s not like Iowa football has been missing. It might not be a national superpower, but it has a 2010 Orange Bowl win in the recent history and it’s been a fixture on the above-average bowl circuit under Kirk Ferentz. It hasn’t been to a Rose Bowl since 1991, but this isn’t an early 1980s Kansas State program that came out of nowhere. There is a solid tradition in place.

    But yeah, Jordan, and others. You, your head coach, and your program handled this entire season so far – including all the negativity – exactly how you’re supposed to. It’s a shame the 2015 Iowa team will be defined by an epic loss. It should’ve received more respect before last Saturday night.

    What’s the difference between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Interstate 70? You can take really long drives on both of them.

    I did some looking around and I couldn’t come up with an answer – please, fire away your suggestions and I’ll go with them next week.

    That Michigan State 22-play, 82-yard, 9:04-eating march was the greatest non-bowl-winning scoring drive in one of the biggest non-bowl regular season finales in college football history.

    There were a few recent final regular season games every bit as big as the 2015 Big Ten championship, but with that drive?

    2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State was gigantic – both teams were unbeaten with the winner going off to the BCS championship – and both the 2008 and 2009 Florida vs. Alabama SEC title games were right there in terms of national title implications for both teams, but again, to come up with that drive – and one of my new favorite all-time throws; Connor Cook’s 3rd-and-8 NFL-caliber strike – took that game and this season to a whole other level.

    And use some of that physicality while you’re at it

    Oh, COME ON … that last blurb was just tired. This column is being written like it doesn’t want to be out here … MAKE A PLAY.

    You never, ever, ever, ever, ever schedule a tough game if you don’t have to

    Considering UCF was supposed to be a strong matchup when it was scheduled, and Notre Dame is Notre Dame, and there’s a nine-game Pac-12 schedule, no one would’ve balked if Stanford had started the season with a team like Wofford, like Clemson did, instead of Northwestern. If the Cardinal had done that, it would’ve been a far different Saturday night.

    I know, I know, I know … if it’s a Tuesday, I’m whining about this, but …

    Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash took the Rutgers head coaching gig. The only hubbub is that he should probably hit the ground running as the new head man for the Scarlet Knights, rather than spend the next month working with the interdivision rival – word used loosely – Buckeyes. So, basically, the controversy is that he’s probably supposed to leave early for a better job, more pay, and a better life. That’s the right thing to do.

    Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones hinting after the Michigan State game that they’re turning pro early?

    NO NO NO BAD BAD BAD. How selfish are they? Why aren’t they thinking of the team first? They’re everything that’s wrong with college sports.

    I’ve tried to be nice about how I’ve phrased this a million times before, but Georgia star pass rusher Leonard Floyd, your head coach just bailed on you for the University of Miami. You’re an absolute, stone-cold doorknob if you risk tens of millions of dollars by playing one more down of college football in a totally and completely meaningless TaxSlayer Bowl exhibition game against Penn State. The coach moved on to a bigger and better life. Time for you to do it, too.

    This also goes for, you, Joey Bosa. And you, Jalen Ramsey. And you Jaylon Smith, Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkemdiche, Ronnie Stanley, Andrew Billings, and all the other top options who aren’t in the playoff. Fun time is over. Go be a professional.

    But this should take on a whole other level for the hair of the dog, wake-n-bake crowd

    December 31st should be amazing.

    Florida State vs. Houston in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl should be a nice opening act, and then it’s on with Clemson vs. Oklahoma in the first playoff game – thanks, BTW, committee for putting the Orange Bowl first, since I’ll be there – and the Alabama-Michigan State Cotton Bowl to follow. Then it’s time for the rest of the world to get its groove on while I slave away in Miami trying to entertain and inform a nation.

    All anyone will want to talk about is the fallout from the two massive games, look ahead to the national title game in Glendale, and then get into what it all means to the fabric of our society.

    And then comes Notre Dame vs. Ohio State bright and early in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The showdown of two massive superpowers for just the sixth time ever – which is criminal since the two schools are just four hours apart – has now been reduced to, “oh yeah, the game is on. What’s the score?”

    And then comes the Rose Bowl, which should be an entertaining battle between Iowa and Stanford, but considering it’s not the playoff, it’s not the Big Ten champion, and the first round already happened, it’ll get completely lost in the shuffle – three words: America’s afternoon nap – with the Oklahoma State-Ole Miss Sugar Bowl to follow.

    New Year’s Day – the mother of all college football days – is going to feel like opening Christmas presents on December 26th.

    “If you love something and you set it free, and it doesn’t come back, you’re a dumbass.”

    And I’m not joking. Players should be penalized for head-butting to celebrate drawing a targeting call. This happened in the Seattle Seahawk-Minnesota Viking game, and I’ve seen it other times – at least when the blasted player hasn’t been reduced to a lump of pudding. The Minnesota receiver got erased on a helmet-to-helmet hit, got the call against him, and his teammate gave him a high-five – there should be a penalty for that, too – and they butted heads.

    Just stop butting heads when you don’t have to, football players. Yeah, the celebratory head butt is to CTE what taking one extra drag is to lung cancer, but there’s no need for it. Protect the melon.

    The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week

    I got cocky and the gods of investing made me pay with a totally worthless late Florida touchdown as part of a tough championship week. All the bowl picks to come next week.
    – 45-14 straight up so far, 35-24 against the spread

    1. Navy -22.5 over Army
    2. Best guess on what the Heisman Trophy finish will be (this is NOT my ballot, Heisman types … just a prediction). 1) RB Derrick Henry, Alabama; 2) RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford; 3) Deshaun Watson, Clemson; 4) QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma; 5) RB Leonard Fournette, LSU

    C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …

    The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world

    1) Overrated: Being that guy who wears the 100 jersey celebrating 100 wins … Underrated: Dabo Swinney as a head coach

    2) Overrated: The rest of the NFL regular season … Underrated: 40 bowl games

    3) Overrated: Kirby Smart … Underrated: Will Muschamp

    4) Overrated: Steve Sarkisian using an A+ grade from a Bleacher Report article in his breach of contract lawsuit against USC … Underrated: His lawyers also presenting their case to the judge in slideshow format

    5) Overrated: Texas’ first win over Baylor 48-0 in 1903 … Underrated: Texas opening up the 1903 campaign with a 17-0 win over the Texas Deaf School.

    Sorry if this column sucked. It wasn’t my fault …

    It lost, so there was no pizza party for the 30,000 people who showed up. However, to keep with the tradition of anyone who has ever held a pizza party, we’ll be braiding each other’s hair while discussing how cute Chad is.

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