ROSE BOWL: As a former kicker, calling time out to ice the kicker only gives the kicker time to not be rushed. Better to not call time out and make him run out on the field and get lined up and kick in a hurry. Kind of like in basketball not calling a time out after your opponent makes a basket with 4 seconds remaining. They expect you to call time out to set up a play, so they can set up their defense. But by not calling a time out and instead inbounding the ball and quickly pushing it upcourt, a team can catch the defense off guard.
Another Big Ten team loses: Penn State joins Ohio State and Michigan. Wisconsin was heavily favored, even I picked that Cotton Bowl correctly. I kinda wanted Penn State to win big to show the playoff committee how wrong they were not picking the conference champion who'd beaten OSU head to head - two things the committee had originally said were important factors.
What happened in the Rose Bowl always happens: the Rose Bowl went way long, delaying the start of the Sugar Bowl, and causing the viewers to miss most of the first quarter. ESPN should've run less commercials to help get the game over quicker. Right.
USC QB Sam Darnold will now be the Heisman favorite going into next season. Look for him on the cover of the College Football issue. No way Lamar Jackson repeats. Jackson may have another good year, but he won't win the Heisman again. Jackson will be like that flash in the pan running QB from Nebraska who won a few years ago, who didn't play professional football.
The Trojan kicker Matt Boermeester is consistent. Wore the same baggy white long sleeves under his jersey the last time he faced Penn State. Had a better outcome this time.
SUGAR: Baker Mayfield looked like Johnny Manziel out there, which is good when you want to win a college bowl game. Bad when you want to play in the NFL. Mayfield will compete for the Heisman, but voters love USC. The Trojans are the voters' token west coast team.
BAMA: didn't seem like Nick Saban was too upset about letting Lane Kiffin go. Some said it was like firing the offensive coordinator before the national championship game. Monday morning when the story broke the ESPN College GameDay guys acted like it was no big deal, that Bama would just roll on without him. One TV guy said he could call the plays. Danny Kanell said his four year old daughter could call the plays. Kanell should've let his daughter make his bowl picks (his were worse than mine).
Then they asked Todd McShay from the SEC Network, and got more than they bargained for. McShay thought Kiffin's departure was a huge deal, saying Bama had struggled offensively for most of the Peach Bowl - and (1) bringing in someone new to call plays (2) for the freshmen QB (3) against a tough Clemson defense (4) in the national championship game was a recipe for disaster. The GameDay guys didn't know what to say, they just wanted to get McShay off the air. Then Paul Finebaum came on. The GameDay guys thought Finebaum might not had even heard the news. As if. Finebaum thought it was a big deal as well.
Today Kiffin says he can be there after all. Now all the uncertainty can be a disruption - something Saban hates. All week the media will be asking questions.
Bama is good, perhaps the best college team ever assembled. But winning game after game week after week only gets harder and harder, especially against the best teams in the country. Last year the final score was 46-40. Beating Clemson two years in a row won't be easy. Both teams are good on offense, defense, and special teams. Any one breakdown could be the difference in the game.
Gonna set a reminder to pick bowl games different next year. Except for my Navy pick (to lose), I picked the team to win with the highest Saragin Power Ranking. Might help when I had no idea about either team, but I should've known better about games like Clemson/Ohio State. Pitt's RB and QB left their bowl game with injuries. Otherwise Pitt would've won.