This week’s college football and etc. mailbag looks at underrated rivalries, the best Netflix shows, playoff baseball and some more fun stuff.
About last week. That may have been the most exciting week of the college football season so far. it was the perfect way to close out the first half as three teams in the Top 10 were all upset and there were several near-misses, including UCF extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 19 games with a comeback one-point win over Memphis.
This left the College Football Playoff picture looking as clear as it has all season. Alabama is far and away the top team in the nation with Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame representing the four-team field if the season ended today. But, of course, the main talking points are about which of the eight remaining undefeated teams will lose next and which of the one-loss teams have the best chance of cracking the field.
In an effort to interact and engage with more college football fans, this marks the first edition of the “college football and etc.” mailbag where I’ll field questions from fans on Twitter about what’s on their mind, whether it be about the glorious sport of college football, what they should be watching on Netflix or sage advice about life and love.
Okay, let’s reach into the mailbag and field questions ranging from the Big 12’s hierarchy, Pac-12’s playoff hopes, underrated rivalries and more fun stuff.
I think West Virginia is the first one out. Their loss to Iowa State exposed them for the pretenders that they were. I think we’ll see Texas and Oklahoma have a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game, and I’m taking the Sooners in that.
This ain’t it, Chief. Michigan State has been wildly inconsistent this year and I don’t expect them to take out another Top 10 team for a second week in a row after they upset Penn State. Michigan is really coming on strong and the offense is humming while the defense is arguably the best in the nation. Jim Harbaugh will make sure they aren’t overlooking “Little Brother.”
I think Nick Bosa’s decision to withdraw from Ohio State and rehab his injury and prep for the NFL Draft was the best one for him and I can’t fault him for it. There was no guarantee he would even be healthy in time to make an impact for the Buckeyes before the College Football Playoff. I do think we will see others make a similar business decision, but I don’t think it’ll be a tidal wave of players doing this.
Much like we saw Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey sit out bowl games to keep their stock, many speculated that would see a rush of players bowing out of games, but it’s only been a few players here and there and not an epidemic.
That said, I wouldn’t put it past a player getting terrible advice from a handler or family member pressuring him to stop playing and focus on the draft. We see this all the time with players declaring for the NFL Draft before they should, and it happens all the time in the NBA too. If anything, I think I’d like to see a rule that allows players an opportunity to return to school if they declared early and go undrafted.
Not solely with a win. Oregon is a good team. A team that should be undefeated if not for a bone-headed decision by Mario Cristobal in the Stanford game that Ducks fans will never forget if it costs them a trip to the Playoff. I think it will.
I don’t know that underrated is the right term, because overlooked might fit best here, but I’ll say Alabama-Tennessee. The two will meet for the 101st time on Saturday. The rivalry referred to as Third Saturday in October dates back to 1901 with Alabama holding a 55-38-7 lead. Alabama’s primary rivals are Auburn and LSU while Tennessee’s are Florida, Georgia and to a much lesser extent, Vanderbilt. The primary reason it’s gone overlooked or been underrated lately is that it’s not really a rivalry anymore, because Alabama beats them every year. The Crimson Tide have won 11 straight and it’s about to be 12 by Saturday evening.
Alabama will have a stranglehold on the West for the next few years, but Georgia is building something special and should present a legit opponent in the SEC Championship Games. The Kirby Smart is a Nick Saban disciple and will model his program after what Saban did at Alabama and LSU. Georgia already has a loaded recruiting class in the works with several five-stars. This doesn’t include they should have stability at quarterback with Jake Fromm and Justin Fields, the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit last year, having the most important position secured for the next 3 years.
I’m partial to a trio of Big Ten mascots. Brutus Buckeye, Sparty and Bucky Badger.
Dodgers. I’m answering this with them holding a 3-2 series lead, but they were my pick before the series started and that’s not just because I am obligated by the rules of fandom as a Cubs fan to root against the Brewers from now on until eternity.
A question near and dear to my heart as I ran a Netflix site (Netflix Life) for years before shifting to this role as college sports editor. It’s hard to limit to just five because there are so many great shows to choose from. Some shows started out really strong like Bloodline and Jessica Jones before fading in later seasons. Others are fairly new like Big Mouth, Ozark and The Punisher that have a smaller number of episodes to compete with shows that have a handful of seasons. But my five favorite Netflix Originals in no particular order are Orange is the New Black, BoJack Horseman, Stranger Things, House of Cards and Master of None.
How BoJack continues to be snubbed by the Emmys, Golden Globes and any other place that hands out awards for television excellence is beyond me. The only reasonable explanation is there is an agenda by big TV to exclude them from the party.