Bring Back The History for 2020 College Football Season

 By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 7.12.2020


The IVY has pushed the 2020 football season to the spring at the earliest. The Big Ten and Pac 12 have gone the conference games only rout and things are up in the air in the SEC. Put aside for a moment if games should be played at all in the midst of a global pandemic but the move to do a conference only approach is short sighted, driven by TV contracts and has a noticeable lack of creativity.

Make no mistake, college is big money. Billions of dollars come from TV contracts and those Power 5 schools can pull in mid to upper seven figures on game day. Not to mention the influx of money from fans cramming into small college towns eating, drinking, staying in hotels, etc. These numbers appear to be enough to force conference only games regardless of how far those schools are away from each other and the lack of interest.

Conferences are not local or regional contests anymore. The Big Ten covers 12 states and currently has a conference game between Nebraska and Rutgers. The distance between Lincoln, NE and Piscataway, NJ is some 1,200 miles and does really anybody care if that game went away? How about the conference matchup between Washington State and UCLA. Distance is some 1,100 miles but at least those two schools have a decent history. Say the Big 12 jumps onboard the conference only game train. We’d be treated to the ever compelling and historic matchup between West Virginia and Iowa State which is West Virginia’s nearest conference opponent at a distance of some 900 miles.

Cmon guys.

 

A better approach would be to go old school and dash in some regional matchups. Sure the conferences can’t have total control but is the Mountain West really going to overrule the Pac 12 or the MAC going to overrule the Big Ten? Add in the nostalgia of bringing back historic rivalries for a season and helping out some of the Group of 5 schools and you have a winning combination in a shorten season.

Wouldn’t fans rather see the old SWAC get back together for a year and crown a state of Texas champion rather than try to fly a team from Lubbock, TX to Morgantown, WV?

How bout what’s happening in Colorado. Does it make sense for Colorado to go from Boulder to Tucson to play Arizona while in the process of kicking Colorado State to the curb when it is an hour away and a long standing rivalry? Add in Wyoming, Air Force and a few others and you have some compelling rivalries that help keep the regional trash talk alive.

Think of the possibilities. The return of the Big 8, Big East, and original ACC days. Up until 1971 the ACC consisted of Clemson, South Carolina, Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia. That’s a grand total of three states to worry about shutdowns and regulations vs the current ten.

The history and nostalgia alone would warm the heart of the college football faithful. It also limits travel and the risk of a state closing due to an outbreak of COVID-19. And as for the money from the TV contracts? You’re tellin me that ESPN, Fox and CBS wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to bring back some old rivalries like Nebraska vs Oklahoma, Texas vs Texas A&M, Utah vs BYU, and West Virginia vs Pittsburgh for a year? Sure as heck beats those rating grabbers like Nebraska vs Rutgers and BYU vs….well anybody else.

While college football was played during the last nationwide pandemic, not everyone played and there were much fewer games but college football was played and people tried as best they could to be as safe. The status of the college football season itself is certainly still up in the air and there is a good chance it won’t be played at all. Given the current situation, logistics and money, we can come up some creative solutions in scheduling if the season is to be played.

Losing Record? Come On Down!

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


There are 40 bowl games not including the National Championship game. That means 80 out of the 128 FBS schools will go to a bowl game. Problem is, there may not be enough teams with a 500 or above record to go. That means that teams with losing records will go to a bowl games this year.

FootballBowl games are important and some are even coveted. The reasons why are the extra practice time with your team and the the check the school can receive. Now schools will actually lose money on some of the smaller bowl games but if you can make it to one of the big ones (think New Years 6 games) then the payout to the school can go into the eight figures.

So for a hard luck 5-7 Nebraska team, actually being allowed into a bowl games is a huge benefit. It’s a new coaching staff still implementing their way of doing things. To have an extra 10-12 practices, film meetings and a game is invaluable.

Another school with a 5-7 record, Missouri, has elected to not go to a bowl game even if asked. They are switching coaches and have other issues they need to solve.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy wrote up an excellent article last weekend explain how the NCAA will decide which 5-7 teams go to fill those empty bowl slots.

We do still find it a bit odd that teams with losing records are now ‘bowl eligible’. What message does that send to the players and fans? Maybe there shouldn’t be so many bowl games to begin with?

What To Watch Thurs. 11/26 – Sun. 11/29

All times are Pacific.


Thursday November 26th

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 9:30am FOX: Well, we’d like a better matchup but hey, it’s what we got.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm CBS: The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back so this could actually be a good game.

Texas Tech at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: Texas has to win out to be bowl eligible and that’s a big deal for a young team. Texas Tech is good but beatable.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: Awaken from the food coma in time to see if they Packers can win back-to-back games or if the Bears will finally put it together.

 

Friday November 27th

NY Rangers at Boston Bruins – 10am NBC: Ice, skates, rivals. Not a bad way to start Black Friday.

Keenan ReynoldsNavy at Houston – 9am ABC: Winner gets to represent the West in the American Atheletic Conference championship. Also get a chance to see the NCAA all time leader in touchdowns in Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Marshall at Western Kentucky – 9am FS1: Last year the final score was 67-66. Just sayin.

Washington State at Washington -12:30pm FOX: The Apple Cup is the most underrated rivalry in college football. Always a solid game.

Armstrong JRIowa at Nebraska – 12:30pm ABC: Nebraska is a lot better than there 5-6 record indicates. Iowa is undefeated and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This rivalry will get a lot more heated after this game.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 2pm NBCSN: Both teams are better than their record indicates and still a whole bunch of talent on the ice.

Baylor at TCU – 4:30pm ESPN: It doesn’t really matter what quarterback plays for Baylor but it does for TCU. Points a plenty in this one.

Miami Heat at NY Knicks – 4:30pm NBA.TV: The Kicks aren’t bad this season but the Heat may be a little bit better.

 

Saturday November 28th

Ohio State at Michigan – 9am ABC: Our first taste of Meyer vs Harbaugh. Add in Ohio State having to put a tough loss behind them and this should be one heck of a ball game.

Louisville at Kentucky – 9am SECN: Kentucky is one win away from bowl eligibility and their cross state rivals would love nothing more than to keep that from happening.

UCLA at USC – 12:30pm ABC/ESPN2: Battle of LA and for the Pac-12 South.

Penn State at Michigan State -12:30pm ESPN: Michigan State controls it’s own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 10 Eastern division.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – 12:30pm BTN: Dude, it’s the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe! It also gives us a chance to show this video from 2003.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 4:15pm ESPN2: The Egg Bowl and if Alabama loses, a chance for Ole Miss to grab the SEC West crown.

Notre Dame at Stanford -4:30pm FOX: Huge game for the Irish against a very, very good Stanford team.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State – 5pm ABC: Bedlam is here. Winner probably has a legit shot at the College Football Playoff.

 

Sunday November 29th

NY Giants at Washington Redskins – 10am FOX: The winner controls first place in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: Steelers have been able to keep it together and succeed despite a rash of injuries. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks for once this season last week. Good luck hearing the play call Pittsburgh.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers – 2pm ESPN: 2nd leg and Dallas got an all important road goal in leg one. They did lose 3-1 however which should put the Timbers in the drivers seat.

103rd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Live from Winnipeg with Fall Out Boy as the halftime entertainment. Oh its the Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa RedBlacks.

NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew – 4:30pm FS1: The Crew won first the first leg 2-0. NYRB has it’s work cut out for them if they want to advance to MLS Cup.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: The best offense in football goes against the best defense. More or less. Broncos start Brock Osweiler for a second straight week.

The Sunday: Slips and Misses

And That’s Not Travelling?

We know it’s early in the NBA season but how do multiple steps without a dribble get by the refs? They are professionals right?

 

The Slip

Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema was so happy about his teams OT win at Ole Miss that he couldn’t wait to jump….

He was probably still blown away by this play that kept Arkansas alive in OT.

 

No Direction

Ken WhisenhuntThe Tennessee Titans fired Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt less than two years into his regime. Not only that, they fired him with starting quarterback Marcus Mariota out, they recently took the 5-1 Atlanta Falcons to the wire and he convinced one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history (Dick LeBeau) to come to Nashville this past off season.

It is clear that the Titans ownership (or lack thereof) has no clue what they are doing or what direction they are going. It is a franchise that is being run remotely from Houston. The best thing that can happen for Titans fans is for the franchise to be sold to an owner who actually has a plan and cares about the franchise.

Were Those ACC Officials?

Nebraska defeated #7 Michigan State on a 30 yard touchdown catch that shouldn’t have counted. The Nebraska wide receiver was clearly out of bounds but the refs said he was pushed (meaning intentionally). It doesn’t really appear that way. Michigan fans may call this karma.

While that is bad, the following was called as a taunting penalty. Seriously.

Unstoppable?

The Golden State Warriors are the defending NBA Champions. Guard Stephan Curry is the reigning MVP. So far they are 7-0 in the 2015/2016 season and Curry has scored 20 points in a quarter three times already. To give you some perspective, Oklahoma City’s Brian Westbrook lead the NBA in that category last year and he did it four times….all season. Yes, Curry is taking it to the next level

That Just Happend

North Dakota State Zack Vraa made arguably the most outstanding catch of the weekend. Best part? Watch the defender afterward.

NDSU WR Catch

Meanwhile this happened in Pocatello, ID to end the Montana vs Idaho State game in overtime.

Changing of the Guard

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


504. That is the combined wins at the collegiate level between newly retired South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and soon to be retired Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer. It’s more than wins and losses though, it’s a changing of the guard in college football and one we have seen before.

BeamerSpurrier has been on the sidelines at the collegiate level (off and on) since 1978 while Beamer has been strictly a collegiate coach his entire career which reaches back to 1972. Both have built programs from the ground up multiple times and both have decided to step aside at or around the age of 70. The reasons differ but the fact is that being a head coach has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Think about it, social media wasn’t really a factor in recruiting back in 2005 and now players have been seen tweeting at halftime!

Being a head coach is a middle – aged job. The successful coaches ruling the college football roost today like Ohio State’s Urban Meyer (51) and Alabama’s Nick Saban (64) are well under the 70 year mark and both have adapted to change well. They have embraced new technologies and still have the energy for the late nights and endless recruiting trips.

Dr Tom OsborneWe have seen this passing of the torch before. Maybe not within the same season but we’ve seen it before. Lou Holtz left Notre Dame in 1996 and former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne stepped down in 1997 (Holtz would later come out of retirement to coach South Carolina for six seasons). Think about the changes that were occurring when they stepped down. The Internet was being born and satellite TV was becoming ubiquitous (NFL Sunday Ticket launched in 1994). Shortly thereafter, they moved on and left the head duties to young, more energetic assistants.

Spurrier and Beamer will be greatly missed by the fans, players, and media but this isn’t the end of college football in Columbia or Blacksburg. As we’ve seen in Columbus or Tuscaloosa, sometimes new blood is just the doctor ordered. As a former coach once said, change is inevitable, growth is optional.

College Football Recap Week 1

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The first full weekend of College Football is in the books (almost) and there are some big takeaways and moments we should visit again and again.

Upset City

Several schools from the Power 5 conferences lost their opener. Washington State, Kansas lost to FCS schools along with non Power 5 school Wyoming (Portland State, South Dakota State and North Dakota respectively). Colorado, Vanderbilt and Penn State lost to non Power 5 schools.

Penn State’s loss to Temple falls into the historic column. It’s the first time Temple has beaten Penn State since 1941 (39 games) and Penn State gave up 10 sacks. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when Penn State goes into Columbus in October? Yikes.

Other upsets included BYU beating Nebraska on a last second hail-mary in Lincoln. Northwestern manhandled #21 Stanford in what may be the biggest surprise win of the weekend.

 

Just The Hits

The fact of the matter is that football is a violent sport. It’s part of the reason why we enjoy it. One of those big hits happened on Friday night at Montana State linebacker Mac Bignell leveled Fort Lewis running back PJ Hall.

https://twitter.com/jackmurrey/status/639678894887469056

South Dakota State quarterback Zack Lujan got drilled on a pass play. In fact he got hit so hard his helmet went rolling down the field.

The best may have been the phantom one. Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns lost his shoe and when he realized that he couldn’t get to the sideline before Tennessee would snap the ball, he just fell down and played dead. Classic.

 

The Takeaways

Some people had Arizona State as their dark-horse College Football Playoff team. The odds of that happening now are a little darker as they were beaten by Texas A&M. The man of the hour was A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He was unblockable and finished with three sacks and eight tackles.

Injuries were big in week one. Arizona loses All Pac 12 linebacker Scooby Wright III to a knee injury but it sounds like he could be back in a month. BYU lost QB Taysom Hill for the season….again. Oregon was looking real good offensively until new QB Vernon Adams took what looked like a cheap shot to the head. He might have a concussion but was on the sidelines at the end of the game. Oregon will need him healthy with a trip to Michigan State looming next week.

All Coaching Aside

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Being a head coach in college football is not just about coaching. While actually coaching football is the cornerstone of the job, the majority of the job now consists of selling, raising money and riling up the fan base. Sounds more like a politician than being a football coach.

There was once a time when Nebraska was the 800lbs gorilla in College Football. That changed in recent years and now they have the ‘nicest guy in the coaching’ Mike Riley heading up their program. Riley, like a lot of other coaches, is out shaking hands, making appearances, and selling the program to future recruits.

Nebraska’s recent video reflects the importance of quality PR when you are trying to put a program back on track. It captures some of the beliefs that Riley has and plans to instill and is actually pretty damn cool.

Yes, coaching on the collegiate level is more than just coaching, especially when you have to get a program back on track. Just look at Tennessee. Lane Kiffin was terrible at PR and Derek Dooley wasn’t much better. Butch Jones on the other hand has embraced the role like seasoned politician. He has riled up the fan base, taken pictures, shaken hands and has done a little bit of that coaching part too. He was gotten Tennessee on the road back to prominence or at the very least, raised expectations.

Former Texas head coach Mack Brown may have been the best at this. He had to constantly win people over in probably the most demanding job in all of college football (and probably in all of Texas.) Pat Forde wrote a great series about Brown a few years ago called Constant Eyes Of Texas or CEO of TexasIt seems that a lot of coaches now are pulling pages out of Brown’s book on how to run a successful modern day college football program. They are being part football coach and part politician.

Being a head coach in major college football is a very tough job. You are the face of the program and the only constant it has. With that comes great monetary reward but also great scrutiny, just like any high profile politician. In order to be successful in this day and age, the PR part is almost as important as the coaching part.

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

What To Watch Thurs. 11/20 – Sun. 11/23

All times are PST

Thursday November 20th

Kansas St at West Virginia – 4pm FS1: K-ST and WVU may not get into the College Football Playoff but this should still be one heck of a game.

LA Clippers at Miami Heat – 5pm TNT: Still a fun game even without LeBron.

Friday November 21st

Chicago Bulls at Portland TrailBlazers – 7:30pm ESPN: Battle of two of the top teams in NBA.

Saturday November 22nd

Minnesota at Nebraska – 9am ESPN: Key game in the Big Ten West. Both teams coming off of embarrassing losses last weekend.

Arsenal vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: The game may not decide the Premier League but it’s still a lot of bad blood between the two.

Yale at Harvard – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s one of the longest running rivalries in College Football. This year the winner walks away with the Ivy League title. It’s also signifies the beginning of the end of the College Football season.

Ole Miss at Arkansas – 12:30pm CBS: Arkansas finally broke through and got their first SEC win in what seems like forever. Now they welcome Ole Miss to town in a must win for both but for different reasons.

Arizona at Utah – 12:30 ESPN: Think the SEC West is tough? Try the Pac 12 South.

Stanford at Cal – 1pm FS1: THE BIG GAME! Winner goes bowling. Cal QB Goff has 4 INT’s all year.

Louisville at Notre Dame – 12:30pm NBC: Notre Dame is reeling and Louisville is no joke.

Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: An original 6 match up for your Saturday night.

Missouri at Tennessee – 4:30pm ESPN: Mizzou is looking to wrap up their second straight SEC East title. Tennessee needs to win one of the next two to go bowling.

USC at UCLA – 5pm ABC: Battle of LA.

Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson – 9pm(ish) FS1: This is a heck of a fight in the Featherweight Division.

Sunday November 23rd

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots – 10am FOX: Can anyone stop the Pats?

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN: Eastern Conference Final.

NY Red Bulls vs NE Revolution – 10:30pm NBC: Can the Red Bulls get Thierry Henry to an MLS Cup before he retires?

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – 1pm FOX: This could decide the NFC West.

Edmonton Eskimos at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: Western Conference Final, a chance to get to the Grey Cup and the battle of Alberta all wrapped into one.

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 2pm ESPN: Game 1 of two in the Western Conference Final.

Wrap It In A Blanket

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

While the weekend brought us some interesting and exciting moments but none may have been as good as the Tennessee mascot, Smokey, wrapped in an orange blanket on the sidelines of their win against Kentucky.

Smokey in a Blankett

Yes, Florida State found a way to win, again! Yes, Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin ran for an NCAA record 408 yards on the ground against Nebraska. Yes, the Green Bay Packers scored 50 plus points for the second straight week.

But let’s be honest, nothing beats a hound dog wrapped in a blanket on the sidelines…and the photoshop madness that followed.

You’re welcome America.