Tuesday, November 19, 2019

No. 23 Colorado 69, UC Irvine 53: Buffaloes rely on altitude and defense to knock off the Anteaters

Photo Credit: David Zalubowski- Associated Press

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

BOULDER, CO— The No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes’ defense once again proved to be the difference maker at home as they defeated the visiting UC Irvine Anteaters, 69-53. 

Despite losing the rebounding battle, 41-32 and having trouble with big-man Collin Welp who led the Anteaters with 12 points, the Buffaloes were able to hold Eyassu Worku, who came into the game averaging 15 points per game to just seven points on three-for-12 shooting.

Colorado (3-0) came into the game with a 129-24 under Tad Boyle. The Anteaters (3-2) have proven to be a giant slayer at times and undoubtedly road warriors with a 15-3 mark over their last two seasons. Early on, it looked like it could go that way.

At first Colorado struggled with shot selection, shot under 40 percent through the first ten minutes. Where Buffs’ offense lacked however, their defense was able to step up. That is where it starts for head coach Tad Boyle and his team.

“They were dialed in defensively and they did it for 40 minutes,” said Boyle, “And we held one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country to just percent and held them to 53 points...”

The Buffaloes finished the game with ten steals, six of them coming from junior guard Tyler Bey, who finished the game with 16 points as well to tie for the games’ leading scorer alongside McKinley Wright. After the game, Boyle lauded Bey’s effort defensively. 

“When Tyler moves his feet and he plays with awareness and energy on defense, holy cow.. I mean he is disruptive because he is so athletic and he’s so quick and I thought his energy level and awareness level,” Boyle said. “He had a steal in the second half out of a ball-screen X-out that was a big time play I mean Irvine made the right read, Tyler made the play because of his length and athleticism.”

When asked about what went into his six steals, Bey deferred to Boyle and the reminder of staying discipline at all times. 

“Coach really just told me about staying in my stance,” said Bey. “I feel like ever since I have been staying in my stance, I’ve been able to get to places faster and be quicker than others, be stronger in the post and tonight was just one of those nights where I was in the stance almost every play and I was able to get my hands in passing lanes and stuff like that.” 

With the help from one of the best home court advantages in the nation, the Buffaloes were able to control the tempo as they began to pull away late in the first half. The first twenty minutes were highlighted by a 14-2 Buffaloes run as they took a 40-30 lead into the half after the close start. It was hard to see then but it was the beginning of the end of the Anteaters.

“Playing in Colorado against teams from California which we’ve done the last two games, we’ve got altitude on our side, we’ve got to get the pace of the game going,” said Boyle. “Cal Irvine is a deep team so they can kinda whether that a little bit with their depth but I think you saw San Diego really get fatigued in the second half so that pressure at home kinda gets the pace of the game going and we’re a deep team so we can expend some of that energy and I really like what we’re seeing from our guards defensively.”

The Anteaters were able to cut the deficit to six points early in the second half and attempted to give Buffaloes a taste of their own medicine with an intense half court trap. Colorado was eventually able to weather the storm however by sticking with a small ball lineup to provide them with quick movement off the ball and multiple ball-handlers. 

Defensively, Colorado’s quicker players continued to disrupt passing lanes forcing 13 more turnovers to make it 22 on the night for the Anteaters. Colorado’s defense once again created opportunities for the offense as they scored 13 points off turnovers in the second half and 22 total for the night. 

Colorado is now 3-0 on the season and will take on Wyoming on Sunday next. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee top 25 for Nov. 18

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Thanks to the mock CFP selection committee for coming through and making the 13th edition of the rankings possible this season. Spots four to six are the closest in the five-year history of the top 25, so kick back and enjoy.

Biggest jump: Iowa 20 (+5)

Biggest drops: Minnesota 11 (-6) and Auburn 18 (-6)

       Team                      Points      Last Week

1) LSU (9) 10-0                   248               1

2) Ohio State 10-0               237               2

3) Clemson (1) 11-0             233               3

4) Georgia 9-1                     217               5 (+1)

5) Oregon 9-1                       206              7 (+2)

6) Alabama 9-1                    204               4 (-2)

7) Utah 9-1                           185               9 (+2)

8) Oklahoma 9-1                   180              10 (+2)

9) Penn State 9-1                   158              11 (+2)

10) Florida 9-2                      157              13 (+3)

11) Minnesota 9-1                  146               5 (-6)

12) Baylor 9-1                        132               8 (-4)

13) Michigan 8-2                    126             14 (+1)

14) Wisconsin 8-2                   124             15 (+1)

15) Notre Dame 8-2                108             17 (+2)

16) Cincinnati 9-1                    93              16

17) Memphis 9-1                       87             18 (+1)

18) Auburn 7-3                          78             12 (-6)

19) Boise State 9-1                    74             19

20) Iowa 7-3                              65             25 (+5)

21) SMU 9-1                              50             20 (-1)

22) Appalachian State 9-1         44             23 (+1)

23) Oklahoma State 7-3             31             NR

24) Texas A&M 7-3                    17             NR

25) San Diego State 8-2             15             NR

Dropped out:

Navy (21), Indiana (22), Texas (24)

Others receiving votes:

Indiana 9, Virginia Tech 7, Virginia 2, Louisiana Tech 2, Louisiana 1, Texas 1, Air Force, Pittsburgh 1

Schaible: The New Year's Six race providing chaos among group of five schools

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson- Associated Press

By: Brian Schaible
Twitter: @SBNationReports

Saying Cincinnati escaped with a win in Tampa would be a massive understatement.

This was essentially a loss that miraculously appears in the win column.

Four missed field goals, head-scratching clock management, and just inane decision-making is what did in the South Florida Bulls on Saturday night.

The Bearcats are now 9-1 and very much in the chase for the New Year’s Six Bowl bid, which is awarded to the highest ranked Group of Five team.

“When you can go out there and not have your best, nothing clicking and find a way to win on the road, you really have to look at yourself,” said Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell. 

He went on to add, “When those guys believe in themselves, they’re hard to beat.”

He’s right, they’ve been an exceptionally tough team to close out.

UCF had a second half lead, Eastern Carolina threw a pick six in the closing minutes, and Saturday, USF sunk to new levels of late game ineptitude.

Has Cincinnati really found ways to win or have their opponents mastered the art of the second half collapse?

In Cincy’s only loss, there were no last second theatrics, there was a 42-0 clobbering by the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Despite all of this, that illustrious Cotton Bowl bid is theirs to lose. All they need to do is win their remaining games and the American Conference Championship and they will almost certainly be the highest ranked representative from the Group of Five.

Easier said than done.

In order to advance to the conference championship game, they’ll likely have to defeat an inconsistent Temple squad and then go on the road against No. 18 Memphis on Black Friday.

There are scenarios where Cincinnati could potentially match up against Memphis in consecutive weeks.

Will they do it? Who knows?

What I think is more fascinating is whether the American conference actually deserves the top ranked status amongst non-Power Five schools.

Before UCF’s unexpected loss to Tulsa last week, I began to explore whether the Knights has a path back to the New Year’s Six for the third consecutive year.

What was found most fascinating was interacting with UCF fans and media was that they were not worried about a one-loss Conference USA or Sun Belt champion. They stated emphatically that UCF would be given the nod if the bowl committee had to choose between the schools.

I thought, how ironic is this?

The same folks who campaigned against big school bias and how every benefit of the doubt seems to favor the SEC and Big 10, suddenly they are the ones now claiming conference superiority.

It was and remains and incredulous point of view. 

That said there are parallels in this race to become the Group of Five “champion”.

The Mountain West continues to schedule most of their games after 10pm ET and therefore generate minimal interest on a national scale. How has that worked out for the Pac-12 in playoff appearances?

Conference USA and Sun Belt are seemingly always in flux. While the MAC generally fares well in its annual Big Ten matchups, it’s also so closely matched that having a breakout team, like Western Michigan a few years ago, going undefeated is a very rare occasion.

2019 is proving to be the most competitive year in history for the coveted Cotton Bowl bid.

Here’s where we stand after Saturday:

Mid-American Conference: 

While the conference will certainly have many bowl bids, they have been eliminated from any possible New Year's Six Bowl. Just too many losses to overcome.

Conference USA: 

Skip Holtz’s Louisiana Tech squad jumped out to an 8-1 start but, they still couldn’t get any love from the pollsters. A second loss– 31-10 to Marshall finished off any remaining hopes.

American Athletic Conference: 

Three teams looking to compete for a conference title. SMU and Memphis are all in the same division with the latter owning a victory over the former. Whoever emerges will likely take on Cincinnati. There are certainly losses on the horizon, but if one of these schools can remain unscathed, they will likely emerge with the bid.

Mountain West: 

This will come down to whether Boise State can finish the regular season and champion at 12-1. If they do and the American Conference stumbles, they will secure the big payout.

Sun Belt: 

Appalachian State is putting together a resume that is hard to top. No other group of five team can claim two Power Five victories with both coming on the road. Outside of Clemson, they could easily stake claim that they are the second-best team in the Carolinas. A close home loss to Georgia Southern might mean they will need help to claim the top spot.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

No. 25 Colorado 71, San Diego 53: Buffaloes pull away in the second half led by Bey and Schwartz

Photo Credit: Adam Chalifoux

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFoux

BOULDER, CO— The San Diego Toreros (2-3) visited the No. 25 Colorado Buffaloes (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) looking to extend their win streak against the Buffaloes to three games after defeating CU the last two seasons. The Toreros’ bid came up short as the Buffaloes pulled away with the 71-53 win at the CU Events Center.

While their offense struggled in the first half, Colorado’s consistently active defense was a little too much for the Toreros to handle. The Buffaloes forced 10 turnovers, seven of them coming off Colorado steals through the first 20 minutes. The extra possessions proved to be crucial for Colorado who shot 11-of-32 from the floor in the first half. With nine more attempts than the Toreros, the Buffaloes was able to head to the tunnel with a narrow three-point lead and a lot of adjustments to be made, especially on the offensive end.

CU’s first half numbers were abysmal; 34 percent from three-point range, 3-for-7 from the free-throw line and plenty of missed opportunities by way of poor ball movement.

“In the first half, our motion offense was atrocious,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, “We stood around, we didn’t cut, we didn’t move the ball.” 

The Buffaloes switched late in the first half to a ball-screen attacking offense that set up ample opportunities from deep and kept the Toreros on their heels. 

“At half time we figured it out,” said sophomore guard D’Shawn Schwartz, Honestly, I think we just played as a team, helped each other on back cuts, and we were just there for each other in the second half.” 

After shooting 39.1 percent from the field the Toreros were limited to just 31.3 percent in the second half as the CU defense sparked their struggling offense to a roaring blaze. Colorado shot a 50 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from the 3-point line, outscoring the Toreros 41-26 in the final 20 minutes.

The biggest turning point in the game came just under half way through the second half. After seemingly smelling blood in the water after as the crowd began to turn up the volume and the offense began to come alive, Tad Boyle put his men into a vicious full-court press that ultimately helped seal the game. 

Up 46-42, the Buffaloes held the Toreros scoreless for almost six minutes of game time while pouring in 18 points of their own. 

“I told our players look, it’s really simple in terms of what I expect from every player on our team. I don’t care if you’re coming off the bench. It makes no difference to me. But defensively, you got to play your tail off and rebound the basketball on defense. Offensively, take care of the ball and take great shots. It’s that simple,” said Boyle.  

With McKinley Wright struggling from the field, Tyler Bey and Schwartz stepped up to carry the load. Bey scored 14 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots. Schwartz led all scorers with to 15.

It will be a quick turnaround for Colorado as they prepare to host UC Irvine on Monday. 

“I’m telling you guys, the game Monday night is going to be a battle extraordinaire, said Boyle. “We are playing a well-coached, well disciplined, tough team that last year won 31 games, won an NCAA Tournament game, they’ve got three starters back on that team.”

The UC Irvine Anteaters and the Colorado Buffaloes will do battle at 7 p.m. MT at the CU Events Center. Be sure to check back in with College Sports Overload for what should be an exciting game. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Pick Six- Week 12 CFB slate

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to Week 12 of CSO's Pick Six. Baligian once more went 3-3 along with Lucas last week, while Larimore went a disappointing 1-5 last week.

Standings                GB

Baligian 43-23               -

Larimore 37-29            6

Lucas 29-37                14

This week's games:
                                              Baligian        Larimore        Lucas

Navy at Notre Dame                       Notre Dame     Notre Dame      Notre Dame

Georgia at Auburn                           Georgia            Georgia            Georgia

Minnesota at Iowa                             Iowa              Minnesota        Minnesota

Oklahoma at Baylor                        Oklahoma        Oklahoma         Oklahoma

Arizona State at Oregon State        Oregon St.        Oregon St.         Oregon St.

Wild card game:

Wyoming at Utah State                    Utah St.             Utah St.            Utah St.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Green: McEwen and a supporting cast provided Howard much-needed help in an 18-point comeback

Photo Credit: Dylan Buell- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Exact chemistry on a year-in, year-out basis can be a difficult thing to replicate in college athletics.

The Marquette Golden Eagles looked to be well on their way to being a top-25 ranked team in the preseason until the departure of Sam (Virginia) and Joey Hauser (Michigan State) in the off-season.

The loss of Hauser brothers meant the end of the Marquette hype train for the time being and more of a focus on who would complement of the sharp-shooting of Markus Howard when adversity would inevitably hit.

Wednesday’s night 65-55 win over Purdue in the Gavitt Tipoff Games provided a glimpse to the go-to role players and a potential equal to Howard as Marquette’s Koby McEwen caught fire in the second half scoring 18 of a game-high 23. McEwen is used to the big stage, but in a mid-major setting in the Mountain West as he produced 18 20-point games in two previous seasons at Utah State.

Down 38-22 with 30 seconds left in the first half, McEwen drained a three-pointer to give Marquette a much-needed boost going into halftime. McEwen managed to carry the momentum with a layup to start the Golden Eagles’ scoring in the second half, which started the beginning of the grind back to the top where Howard would contribute, but not in the usual workload.

Instead of being pass-first, McEwen’s mindset became more of a mamba-like mentality as he began to seize confidence with every basket made with Marquette’s deficit chipping away in the process and Purdue’s paint presence fading to black.

McEwen’s scoring outburst in the early stages of the second half helped pave the way for Sacar Anim’s return after leaving the game in the latter stages of the first half with an undisclosed injury. Anim provided support and another vital piece to Marquette’s comeback with five straight points capped off by the go-ahead layup to go up 54-52 with 4:43 left in regulation.

The Golden Eagles led for the remainder of the game and while Howard finished with 18 points, on 6-of-12 from the field in 32 minutes, Boilermakers coach Matt Painter gave credit to McEwen’s ability to change gears on the fly.

“Everything gets pushed towards Markus [Howard] and rightfully so, but had to explain to our guys how good [Koby] is and how we had to get him under control,” Painter said. “[Koby] made a big three towards the end of the first half when Marquette was reeling and making his free throws when it mattered, you have to give him credit.”

Wojciechowski also gave credit to McEwen for being adapt and attack with ease in the second half.

“Koby has the mindset of being a distributor and while that is a good quality to have to set other people up, you can’t forget your strengths,” Wojciechowski said. “One of the things we asked him to do after the first half was to be more aggressive because he can score and would help open things up.”

McEwen was very humble and modest about the outcome and deferred the effort to trying make his teammates better on the court.

“I was trying to set the tone for my team. I am considered one of the leaders of the team and it was my job to try and get the guys going,” McEwen said. [Markus] was in a little bit of foul trouble and coach wanted to me to be a little more aggressive to get into the paint to suck the defense in.”

Jamal Cain’s six-point, seven-rebound effort did not go unnoticed as the junior provided a couple of quality plays to aid in Marquette’s 18-point comeback, which is the largest in the Steve Wojciechowski era.

 “I thought Jamal [Cain] off the bench gave us a huge spark as he made a lot of energy plays and 50/50 balls and was proud of the effort put in,” Wojciechowski said.

The energy levels of McEwen, Anim and Cain will be needed and then some as they face in-state rivals, the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center in a Sunday matinee normally reserved for the Wisconsinites’ weekly Green Bay Packers helping.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

CSO Q and A: Nebraska graduate transfer guard Haanif Cheatham

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of CSO’s Q and A as I sit down with college coaches and players across college sports for in-depth questions sprinkled with a little bit of fun. The latest edition focuses on Nebraska graduate transfer guard Haanif Cheatham.

Green: You have had multiple stops in your college career, which started at Marquette, then to Florida Gulf Coast last season and now Nebraska. Are there any similarities with the different types of offenses in your collegiate career?

Cheatham: Every basketball coach has the same philosophy in terms of wanting you to execute, but being here at Nebraska, you learn how smart coach Fred Hoiberg is and he tries to pick your mind, but wants you to get better. The past two schools I have been at have been great and can’t complain about it at all.

Green: What are the differences in environments comparing being in an urban city like Milwaukee at Marquette to being in a rural city like Lincoln at Nebraska?

Cheatham: Lincoln is an amazing spot to be and I can’t complain at it. While Milwaukee has an NBA team and a raucous college fan base, Lincoln has a great fan base and will only get better as the season progresses.

Green: Family is important to you, so how was it to be back in the state of Florida last season to play at Florida Gulf Coast?

Cheatham: It was great, although I did not expect to get injured, but it is what it is. I thank god for the journey that I am on and being able to be close to my parents and family for a season, while recovering from surgery was great. I am blessed to be where I am at right now in my collegiate career.

Green: As one of 14 newcomers this season for Nebraska, how did the overseas trip to Italy this past summer help in terms of building team chemistry?

Cheatham: It helped a lot, especially given that off-court chemistry really means a lot to on-court situations. Being around each other every day overseas helped us become better individuals and were able to get four quality games under our belt there. 

Green: From a non-basketball perspective, what were some of the highlights from Italy?

Cheatham: Experiencing a different culture. The way we live in America and the way they live in Italy is totally different. We were able to get out of our comfort zone by eating new food, see different people and enjoy the scenery of Italy. 

Green: In your short time on campus in Lincoln, is there a quality go-to spot for food?

Cheatham: I am a sushi guy, so I have been going to a spot downtown called Blue Sushi Sake Grill. I am a fan of the place and am up for trying new things. I also asked not too long ago on Twitter about some other places and have gotten a ton of responses, so I plan on trying some different spots out as the season goes along.

Green: Most athletes work out to music and I was wondering what your go-to song is on the playlist?

Cheatham: I listen to Drake a lot. My go-to album from Drake is Scorpion, but I like Nonstop as my favorite song during a workout or before a game. 

Green: During Nebraska’s annual opening night in September, rapper Rick Ross performed at Pinnacle Bank Arena, what was it like to have someone who has sold millions of records around the world to perform feet away from you?

Cheatham: With me being a South Florida guy and Ross too, it was a major deal. As soon as he came out and started performing his songs, I knew almost every one of them. We were on stage with him, but after everything, we were ready to get back to work.

Green: Pinnacle Bank Arena sold out of all its home tickets in the off-season, does the atmosphere remind you of when you played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Marquette?

Cheatham: PBA is no joke, especially when the fans came to sell out opening night. It shows how much the fans care and that gives us a reason for us to go out and play them, so we have to go out and play hard for 40 minutes.             

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Green’s five things to watch for in Wednesday’s Purdue/Marquette game

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Gavitt Tipoff Games season is here once more for select Big Ten and Big East schools as Purdue and Marquette square off Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum. Here are five things to watch for in the meeting between a pair of NCAA tournament teams from last season:

1) Howard don’t hurt them:

Despite the transfers of Sam and Joey Hauser in the off-season, Markus Howard has kept the train rolling for Marquette with a 38-point performance, on 7-of-10 from three-point range in an 88-53 win over Loyola (MD) in the season opener on Nov. 5.

Howard passed Jerel McNeal as Marquette’s all-time leading scorer with 1,993 points, but will face a much stiffer challenge with Purdue guards Nojel Eastern and Jahaad Proctor expected to primarily guard the senior star.

2) Marquette’s role players:

If the Golden Eagles hope to live up to any of the high expectations prior to the loss of the Hauser brothers, then their role players must continue to step up. Theo John continued his block party from last season with a career-high eight blocks in the season opener against Loyola (MD).

The addition of Utah State transfer Koby McEwen paid immediate dividends with 11 points and seven rebounds in the Loyola game, while Sacar Anim added 11 points and four assists.

3) Boilermaker revenge on their minds:

There is nothing more lethal than a team with a chip on its shoulder and Purdue will look to bounce back after a 70-66 loss to Texas on Nov. 9. A bright spot in the Boilermakers’ loss was the emergence of Sasha Stefanovic. 

Despite missing the Green Bay game with a right ankle injury, Stefanovic returned and kept Purdue afloat with 14 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, to go along with three steals. His energy off the bench will be needed if Purdue wants to avoid a 1-2 start to the season.

4) Reverse the curse:

The Golden Eagles and the Gavitt Tipoff Games have not been the best of friends as they look to win their first game since the series started in 2015. Marquette is in 0-3 all-time with losses to Iowa, Purdue and Indiana. 

The 86-71 loss to Purdue on Nov. 19, 2017 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center is fresh in Howard’s mind as the then-sophomore delivered 24 points in 33 minutes, which will give Marquette more motivation to deliver a win that can go a long way towards the month of March.

5) Five in a row for Purdue against the Big East?

The Purdue Boilermakers have feasted on Big East teams over the last three seasons with four consecutive wins, highlighted by an 87-61 win over the Villanova Wildcats in last season’s NCAA tournament second round.

If the Boilermakers are to win five in a row, it would have to accomplish that feat over the Golden Eagles for the second time on the road in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Rosenberg's Power Five Bottom Ten for Week 11

By: Jeremy Rosenberg

Join me each week as I unmask the worst of the best, the teams that play in big time conferences, but end up with small time accomplishments. My bottom ten is made up only of so-called power five conference members. I have little interest in haranguing the UTEPs or Bowling Greens or Rices of the world. Nope, I’m after schools with massive football budgets, coaches with obnoxious salaries, and legions of sheep-like fanboys and fangirls that refuse to admit their program sucks.

10. Arizona (4-5)

            Bear down! The Wildcats make their Bottom Ten debut. They were on a bye last week, and the week before, suffered a 56-38 loss to former Bottom Ten mainstay Oregon State. Now that they are here, I expect big things out of Arizona.

Next week: @ Oregon (The Ducks smell a college football playoff birth if they can win out.)

Prognosis: Duck beats cat.

9. West Virginia (3-6)

            The Mountaineers predictably lost at home to Texas Tech, extending their losing streak to five, and officially putting the program in free fall. Rarely does West Virginia stink this thoroughly. Hard times in Morgantown.

Next week: @ Kansas State (The Wildcats lost a disappointing game at Texas, and will be ready to take it out on West Virginia.)

Prognosis: Mountaineer massacre in Manhattan. 

8. Kansas (3-6)

            The Jayhawks had a bye last week, but not a week off. Listening to a week’s worth of Les Miles making motivational speeches qualifies as work.

Next week: @ Oklahoma State (As usual, the Cowpokes have a solid squad.)

Prognosis: KU is KO’d.

7. Maryland (3-7)

            The ‘Terps held their own against Ohio State, losing by a score of 73-14. It could have been worse.

Next week: BYE

Prognosis: Why is this better than being in the ACC?

6. Syracuse (3-6)

            The Orange had what must have been a thoroughly relaxing bye week, wondering where and how it all went wrong.

Next week: @ Duke (The Blue Devils need to beat Syracuse to hold onto slim bowl hopes.)

Prognosis: Grant Hill with a late floater over Lawrence Moten.

5. Georgia Tech (2-7)

            The Yellowjackets clearly don’t have what it takes to be a true bottom four team, they keep putting forth something that looks like effort each week. Tech gave Virginia all they could handle in a 33-28 loss.

Next week: vs. Virginia Tech (The Hokies are a tough team to figure, but they will be a tall order for GT.)

Prognosis: Another hard fought loss for the ’Jackets.

4. Vanderbilt (2-7)

            The ‘Dores dropped trou at Florida in a most uninspired 56-0 defeat. Vandy officially moves into the coveted last Bottom Ten Final Four spot.

Next week: vs. Kentucky (The ‘Cats are still fighting for bowl eligibility.)

Prognosis: Vanderbilt cements its spot in the bottom four.

3. Arkansas (2-8)

            The Hogs lost their supposed cupcake game in humiliating fashion to Western Kentucky. Chad Morris has been fired after less than two seasons. It is officially rock bottom for the Razorbacks.

Next week: BYE

Prognosis: LSU on Nov. 23. Eat hearty, for next week you dine in hell.

2. Northwestern (1-8)

            The Wildcats confirmed early suspicions that they could resemble a football team every now and then, by playing tight against former Bottom Ten foe Purdue. Alas, the result was another loss, just respectable enough to keep the ‘Cats in the two slot.

Next week: vs. Massachusetts (Ah yes, the annual two Weeks Before Thanksgiving Brawl between UMass and Northwestern. Makes you teary-eyed for the days of leather helmets.)

Prognosis: If going to this game is the best thing you can find to do on a Saturday in the Greater Chicagoland area, then you are already dead.

1.  Rutgers (2-7)

            Rutgers enjoyed a week off of being destroyed on the football field, consistently and thoroughly, week after week.

Next week: vs. Ohio State (Has a line for a B1G game ever been -60?)

Prognosis: Chase Young’s backup dominates Rutgers all game long.

Schedule Shaming ‘Game’ of The Week

            One of the most egregious offenses in college football is non-conference scheduling. Each week, I will single out and ruthlessly shame one program for their gutless scheduling.

Ole Miss 41, New Mexico State 3

            Nothing helps build respectability for a down program more than playing what is probably the worst overall Group of Five team, year in and year out. I would have respected Ole Miss more if they played an in-state, HBCU like Jackson State or Alcorn State. But, given the Rebs recent performance, they probably are trying not to be humiliated at home.