Sound the alarms! A group of middle-aged elder statesman and woman have released their first of many Playoff Rankings and, the nature of college football fandom being what it is, every single talking head lost their minds, including me and my buddy Casino Joe Scumaci on our “Two People Arguing” podcast. Florida State in the second position based on how and who they’ve played this year just drives me nuts. But it’s frankly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Preseason rankings mean nothing. Midseason rankings mean very little. There are still a ton of great games on the schedule that will determine who will make the Final Four this year and not an October finger in the wind that does nothing but allow bloviators like me to complain. So let’s talk games, shall we?
Glance Game of the Weekend
Arkansas at (1) Mississippi State (TV: ESPN 2, 7:15 PM EST)
The number one team in the country certainly looked like it this past weekend, although Kentucky has proven itself to be a program on the cusp. Mississippi State will face another such program in Arkansas, which is the SEC West version of the Tennessee Volunteers. Seriously, the narratives of both programs are so similar, it’s eerie when you examine it. Both are headed by head coaches who’ve had massive success elsewhere before coming into the SEC and both inherited programs with clear and inherent structural issues–the reliability of their instate recruiting crops being the key one–and inpatient fanbases that recently went through trauma with prior head coaches. Both teams play hard and give the heavyweights in the SEC a hard time, sort of like the original Rocky movie, but come up short in the end. But maybe this is Rocky II. Or Rocky III. Or the fifth one where he just fights a dude out in the street and no one presses charges. Worthy of some of your time.
Haterade Game of the Weekend
(1) Florida State at (25) Louisville (TV: ESPN, 7:30 PM EST Thursday)
If you are sick of hearing about Jameis Winston and FSU and especially #FSUTwitter, then buckle up for your best bet of having them banished from the Final Four chase. I am gonna bask in the haterade for this one. Just bask in it. I don’t think I’ve ever rooted harder for Louisville in anything than I plan on rooting for them on Thursday night. That includes the basketball championship after this happened to Kevin Ware. God that was gruesome. Though not nearly as repulsive to me, at this moment in time, as Florida State.
Reservation Games of the Weekend
(17) Utah at (14) Arizona State (TV: FS1, 11:00 PM EST)
Seriously, that was the only picture we had in the files for either Arizona State or Utah Football. I mean, she’s a nice looking young lady, but still. The East Coast Bias is real. And it’s in play for this game, which a significant amount of people across the country are not going to see, despite the fact that a spot in the playoff is very much on the line for both of these two teams. A team from the Pac-12 will make the playoff (provided they only have one loss) once they win their championship game. If reading the tea-leaves of this first report from the committee is worth anything (it’s not!) it shows that they are a fundamentally conservative bunch that likes familiar names and/or conference champions. The winner here keeps their dream of running the table and getting into the Final Four alive. The loser plays the rest of the year for pride.
Stanford at (5) Oregon (TV: Fox, 7:30 PM EST)
We had many, many pictures of Oregon football in our files, but in order to not show any further East Coast bias to two Pac-12 teams, I selected this one instead. Out of fairness. You’re welcome. All of the above commentary about the Pac-12 applies to Oregon. But Stanford is where they traditionally, you know, Oregon and shoot themselves in the foot. They did that preemptively this year, which means that it’s win out or bust for the quack. Pretty good TV, if you ask me. Which you sorta did by clicking on this.
(3) Auburn at (4) Ole Miss (TV: ESPN, 7:00 PM EST)
Watch every single snap of this game. Bribe who you have to bribe, do whatever Halloween stuff with your kids you have to do, attend whatever campaign events you have to attend, whatever. Make sure you watch this game. These might be the two best teams in the country and one of them is likely out of the playoff after Saturday. That is insane, but that is the system we are in. It’s why college football is the most intense regular season of any and the best return on investment in terms of high quality sporting consumption. The NBA returned this week. Did you notice? Probably not. You know why? A minimum of 30 of those games are irrelevant. That is not the case here. Bask in the glory before you, even if it means paying slightly less attention to your significant other’s “Funny/Timely/Controversial” Halloween costume that that party they dragged you to.
Fancy Writer Quote of the Moment
He has a brilliant mind until he makes it up.
Have a great weekend anyone. Thanks again to Knoxville for being so brilliant. I’m still trying to recover four days later.