Don’t Worry, It’s Murray

The Heisman Trophy for the best player in college football was awarded last night to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray who beat out quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. It is the second straight year that an Oklahoma Sooners quarterback won the coveted trophy as Baker Mayfield, currently the quarterback of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, won the hardware last year.

Goodbye Buckeye

Speaking of college football, the big news in the sport today is that head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes will retire after this year’s Rose Bowl game against Washington. The coach has been plagued with consistent migraines due to inoperable cysts on his brain that continue to get worse. He will be replaced by OSU offensive coordinator Ryan Day in the 2019 season.

Meyer went 82-9 in his seven seasons as Ohio State coach, including a 54-4 Big Ten record. He has three national championships on his resume — one at Ohio State in 2014 and two at Florida in 2006 and 2008 — to go along with two undefeated seasons (2004 at Utah, 2012 at Ohio State). Since taking over Utah in 2003, Meyer’s teams have not missed a bowl game in 13 years in which they were eligible. He has nine conference titles in 14 seasons and has gone 10-3 in bowl competition. His teams are 186-32 overall for a .853 career winning percentage.

Bowling Green 2001-02

17-6 (11-5 MAC)

Utah 2003-04

22-2 (13-1 MWC) Undefeated in 2004

Florida 2005-10

65-15 (36-12 SEC) National titles in 2006, 2008

Ohio State 2012-2018

82-9 (54-4 Big Ten) National title in 2014

Meyer’s retirement comes on the heels of a tumultuous year in Columbus, Ohio, in which he was suspended for the first three games of the season after an investigation revealed that he mishandled domestic assault allegations made against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired in late June.

Despite the controversy that swirled around him during the 2018 season and previously while coach at Florida, Meyer will go down as one of the best and most influential coaches in college football history.

The Heisman Hopefuls

The 2018 Heisman Trophy award finalists were announced last night and only three were invited to the awards ceremony for the best player in college football. All three finalists are quarterbacks:

Alabama Quarterback – Tua Tagovailoa

Oklahoma Quarterback – Kyler Murray

Ohio State Quarterback – Dwayne Haskins

Any of the three could win the prized trophy without controversy. Tagovailoa helms the best team in the country and has been nothing short of phenomenal all year long. Kyler Murray has the best statistical numbers of the three candidates and has a better quarterback rating than Andrew Luck did coming out of college. Dwayne Haskins was the hottest and most clutch quarterback down the stretch as his team fought for the Rose Bowl invitation.

Our only caveat? Football is a team game and it’s amazing that no other position is recognized by the Heisman committee. Last year, it was a joke that Saquon Barkley was not invited to New York for the ceremony when he was clearly the most electric player in the collegiate ranks AND has proven this year to be just as electric in the pros. Running backs like Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin and Travis Etienne of Clemson should have been given a ticket. Maybe even Darrell Henderson of Memphis. We won’t even start with the glut of quality Wide Receivers and defensive players in the NCAA. In a year we think a quarterback SHOULD win the Heisman, it would still be nice to see a football TEAM represented by the finalists encompassing all positions.

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded this Saturday, December 8th.

Weekend Football News And Notes

After the action of college football’s Championship Weekend, the National College Football Playoff has been set! Number 1 Alabama will take on Number 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for semifinal #1 and Number 2 Clemson will take on Number 3 Notre Dame in the second semifinal.

How were the teams determined?

Well, in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship game, the Oklahoma Sooners met their rival, the Texas Longhorns for the second time this season and won 39-27. It was the first time in 115 years that the teams played a season rematch, and after Texas won the early season game to give the Sooners their only loss, Oklahoma got its revenge to take the Big 12 title.

The best game of the day turned out to be the SEC title game where the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide took on the #4 Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs actually dominated for three quarters and held the lead going into the fourth quarter. It looked like the end for Alabama when Crimson Tide starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down with an injury and backup Jalen Hurts stepped in. In last year’s National Championship game, Hurts was pulled at halftime against the Georgia Bulldogs and replaced by Tagovailoa who led the Tide to the National Title. This time around, it was Hurts who played the hero as he led Alabama back against Georgia to win the game 35 – 28. The Georgia loss allowed the Oklahoma Sooners to jump to the fourth and final college playoff spot. The National Semifinals will be played on December 29th. The championship game will be played on January 7th.

In other college games, Ohio State defeated Northwestern in the Big 10 title game 45-24 but the victory wasn’t enough for the Buckeyes to leapfrog both Oklahoma and Georgia for the final college playoff spot. Instead, they will play in the Granddaddy Of Them All: The Rose Bowl against Washington who won the Pac-12 title against Utah on Friday Night 10-3. Clemson won the ACC title game against Pittsburgh 42-10, Central Florida defeated Memphis 56-41 in the AAC title game and Fresno State defeated Boise State 19-16 in OT to take the Mountain West Championship.

In today’s NFL action, several playoff spots have also been clinched with still 4 weeks left in the regular season. The Los Angeles Rams clinched a playoff spot with their 30-16 victory on the road over the Detroit Lions. The win moved the Rams to an 11-1 record. And despite their shocking loss to the Cowboys Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints clinched a playoff spot when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-17.

In other games:

Baltimore Ravens 26 – Atlanta Falcons 16

Denver Broncos 24 – Cincinnati Bengals 10

Arizona Cardinals 20 – Green Bay Packers 17

Miami Dolphins 21 – Buffalo Bills 17

New York Giants 30 – Chicago Bears 27 (OT)

Houston Texans 29 – Cleveland Browns 13

Jacksonville Jaguars 6 – Indianapolis Colts 0

The late afternoon games include the New York Jets at the Tennessee Titans, the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings at the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the Seattle Seahawks.

Tonight’s Sunday Night game has the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tomorrow’s Monday Night Football game is the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles.

Weekend Football News And Notes

Not only was it an extended Thanksgiving football weekend but it was also Rivalry weekend in the college ranks. So let’s get right down to it:

In the biggest college football game of the weekend, the #4 Michigan Wolverines traveled to their arch-rival’s in Columbus, Ohio to take on the #10 Buckeyes with a trip to the Big 10 title game and possibly a spot in the National Playoff on the line. The Wolverines proceeded to get shellacked by Ohio State 62-39. Let’s just say Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh can’t be a happy camper. The vaunted Michigan defense gave up a season high amount of points and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer remained undefeated against Michigan in his tenure. Ohio State now heads to the Big 10 title game to face Northwestern next weekend.

#1 Alabama took care of business against in-state rival Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl by the score of 52-21. Next up for Alabama is #6 Georgia in the SEC title game as the Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech 45-21. #2 Clemson pulled away from South Carolina in the second half of their game winning by a comfortable 56-35 margin. #3 Notre Dame held on against USC in a road game by a touchdown, defeating the Trojans 24-17.

In other big college games, the #6 Oklahoma Sooners outlasted the #13 West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday night 59-56 in an absolute barn burner. Not to be outdone, the #7 LSU Tigers were upset by the #22 Texas A&M Aggies in a 7OT marathon game that ended 74-72. That final score set an all time Division I college football record.

Things got snippy in the #18 Mississippi State vs. Ol’ Miss game as State trounced their in-state rival 35-3. Sidelines brawled towards the end of the 3rd quarter. A brawl nearly broke out at the end of the annual Florida – Florida State game as well, but the #11 gators easily defeated their opponent. 41-14.

#16 Washington stole a trip to the Pac-12 title game by defeating in-state rival #8 Washington State. The Washington Huskies will now face Utah in that championship game.

#9 Central Florida continued their nearly 2 year winning streak by defeating the University of South Florida 38-10, but lost their starting quarterback McKenzie Milton to a gruesome leg injury which required emergency surgery and could potentially end the junior qb’s career. The team will next face Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship.

Moving to the NFL, there were 3 games on Thanksgiving Day, but no real surprises there. Despite the Chicago Bears having their starting qb Mitch Trubisky sitting out due to injury, the team rode their defense to a 23-16 victory over the home Detroit Lions. In the 4p game, the Dallas Cowboys easily defeated a Washington Redskins team who lost their starting quarterback Alex Smith to a season ending leg injury last week by a score of 31-23. And in the primetime nightcap, the New Orleans Saints continued their winning ways by defeating the visiting Atlanta Falcons 31-17.

In today’s early games, the biggest surprise came from the Seattle Seahawks who defeated the Carolina Panthers on a last second field goal 30-27 in a tough road game for the Hawks. Seattle is now 6-5 and Carolina drops to 6-5. Late field goals also led to wins for the Buffalo Bills who defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21 and the Philadelphia Eagles who beat the New York Giants 25-22.

Other scores:

Cleveland Browns 35 – Cincinnati Bengals 20

New England Patriots 27 – New York Jets 13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 – San Francisco 49ers 9

Baltimore Ravens 34 – Oakland Raiders 17

Today’s late afternoon games are the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals at the Los Angeles Chargers and the Miami Dolphins at the Indianapolis Colts.

Tonight’s Sunday Night game is the Green Bay Packers at the Minnesota Vikings.

Tomorrow’s Monday Night game is the Tennessee Titans at the Houston Texans.

In The Ivy League, The Bird Is Not The Word

In one last college football note, in yesterday’s annual Harvard vs. Yale rivalry, a penalty was called on the Harvard running back after he scored a touchdown and then appeared to flip off the Yale defender shadowing him. The referee threw the flag on the obscene act, taking the touchdown off the board.

In the end though, it didn’t matter. Harvard defeated Yale 45-27.

Still, not a smart move by this Ivy League genius…

Weekend Football News And Notes

As the college football regular season approaches its end, the top ranked teams for the most part held form this weekend. Meanwhile in the NFL, the top contenders started making their moves for playoff spots in today’s early games.

In the best college football game of the day, the #10 Ohio State Buckeyes survived a game Maryland squad who took OSU to overtime, only to lose on a failed 2 point conversion attempt. The high scoring affair ended up in a 52-51 victory for the Buckeyes, which kept their Big 10 title hopes as well as national playoff hopes alive. Next week, they play the annual rivalry game against the #4 Michigan Wolverines who won their game against Indiana 31-20.

The game which was supposed to be the match-up of the day, but which was anything but was the #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish versus the #12 Syracuse Orange Men from Yankee Stadium in New York. Only one squad showed up to play though and the Irish trounced the Orange 36-3.

The only top 10 team to lose yesterday in the college ranks was #9 West Virginia who were stunned by unranked Oklahoma State 45-41, ending any chance the Mountaineers had of making the National College Playoff.

Elsewhere, #1 Alabama crushed the Citadel 50-17 despite being tied with the underdog 10-10 at the half. #2 Clemson dispatched Duke 35-6, and #11 Central Florida continued the longest winning streak in the nation by defeating #24 Cincinnati 38-13. Central Florida improved their record to 10-0 this year after last year’s undefeated season. Still, they are seen as a long shot to reach the National Playoff.

And two BREAKING NEWS notes on the college football front:

1) Former LSU head coach Les Miles who won the national championship with that school in 2007 has signed with the Kansas Jayhawks to become their next football head coach.

2) Army has landed in the top 25 rankings for the first time since 1996 with their 9-2 record. They will next play in the annual Army-Navy game at 3pm on December 8th.

Turning to today’s NFL action, all of the early games were relatively close with the exception of the Indianapolis Colts – Tennessee Titans match-up where the Colts easily won 38-10.

The Houston Texans pulled out a late victory on the road against the Washington Redskins with a 23-21 win. In that game, Washington starting quarterback Alex Smith went down with a gruesome broken leg injury and is lost for the season. Backup Colt McCoy did an adequate job covering for Smith, but the Texans would still eek out the win.

Similarly, the Pittsburgh Steelers won on a last minute quarterback run by Ben Roethlisberger to steal a victory on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16.

Other scores:

Dallas Cowboys 22 – Atlanta Falcons 19

Detroit Lions 20 – Carolina Panthers 19

New York Giants 38 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35

Baltimore Ravens 24 – Cincinnati Bengals 21

Today’s NFL afternoon games include the Philadelphia Eagles at the red hot New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders at the Arizona Cardinals.

The Sunday Night Game is a big divisional match with the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Chicago Bears.

And the Monday Night Game pits two of the best teams in the league this year with the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs visiting the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams. The game was originally was supposed to be played in Mexico City, but due to poor field conditions, the game was moved back to Los Angeles earlier this week.

Weekend Football News And Notes

This weekend, it looks like the big boys came to play. Not as many upsets as in weeks past; at least, not in the college ranks.

In the best game of the college weekend, the in-state Oklahoma rivalry game between the #6 Oklahoma Sooners and the unranked Oklahoma State Cowboys was an offensive shootout. The score changed back and forth multiple times, but the Sooners would prevail 48-47 as the Cowboys went for a 2 point conversion to take the lead late in the game, but the attempted pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

For the rest of the day, the top college teams held form. #1 Alabama scored its second straight shut out of an opponent, topping #16 Mississippi State 24-0. #2 Clemson took advantage of an injury to Boston College’s quarterback and prevailed 27-7. And #3 Notre Dame, #4 Michigan and #5 Georgia all rolled over their opposition.

The lone top 25 upsets were fading #11 Kentucky losing to unranked Tennessee 24-7 and #21 Iowa losing to unranked Northwestern at home 14-10. The win for Northwestern gave the school the Big 10 West title and they will play the winner of the Michigan – Ohio State game in 2 weeks at the end of the season in the Big 10 title game.

As for the pros, there have been a couple of surprises in the early games of the NFL match-ups, but for the most part, the favorites have once again proved victors.

The biggest surprise of the day was the Tennessee Titans crushing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 34-10. In another bit of a surprise, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Atlanta Falcons 28-16. And it appears to have completely unraveled for the New York Jets (once again) as the Buffalo Bills came into town and destroyed the home team 41-10.

Other scores include:

Chicago Bears 34 – Detroit Lions 22

New Orleans Saints 51 – Cincinnati Bengals 14

Indianapolis Colts 29 – Jacksonville Jaguars 26

Kansas City Chiefs 26 – Arizona Cardinals 14

Washington Redskins 16 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3

Today’s NFL late afternoon games include the Seattle Seahawks at the Los Angeles Rams, the Miami Dolphins at the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

Tonight’s Sunday Night Football game is the Dallas Cowboys at the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tomorrow night’s Monday Night Football game is the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers. (oh boy!)

Oh Yeah, This Happened Part 2

In another college football moment, a college prank may have seriously pissed off those crazy PETA people. In a match-up between Armed Forces branches Army and Air Force, several Army cadets “kidnapped” the 22 year old falcon named Aurora which is the official mascot of the Air Force Academy. Apparently, the cadets threw a jacket over the bird and threw it into a box to hold it captive. In the course of the bird-napping, the animal’s wings were injured and upon return, Aurora was shipped back to Colorado to be examined at the Air Force Academy. It has been later confirmed that the injury was not as bad as initially thought and the falcon should regain full health.

Oh and the Army defeated Air Force on the football field 17-14 adding insult to injury.