BY THE NUMBERS
All-purpose yards for Christian McCaffrey in the Rose Bowl
Victories for both the SEC and Pac-12 in bowls through
New Year's Day
Wins against fellow Power-5 schools
by SEC entrants
Bowl games remaining for
Bowl games remaining for
Bowl wins for the AAC, which had
Some observations about the bowl season as it enters its final day …
Said it when it went down with Alabama RB Derrick Henry getting hyped out of sight the last month of the season en route to capturing the Heisman, but it stands to be regurgitated ad nauseam for all eternity – anyone who voted for someone other than Stanford’s do-everything Christian McCaffrey is either an idiot or too chicken to admit when a white kid is the best athlete, in addition to best player, in college football. Friday’s Rose Bowl further confirmed how ridiculous this was when the sophomore RB shredded the nation’s No. 10 rush defense for 172 yards on just 18 carries … as well as another 105 through the air on four catches. His 75-yard TD catch and 63-yard punt return for six were, as usual, highlight-reel worthy and served as exclamation points to his Rose Bowl-record 368-yard all-purpose day. Henry? He had 75 yards and two scores on 20 carries against Michigan State on New Year’s Eve, and one catch for minus-6 yards. A great player who had a great year, but he’s a far cry from McCaffrey – even in terms of value to his team this season.
Well, the Southeastern Conference, headed, of course, by Alabama, certainly has re-established itself as the cream of college football’s crop if the past few weeks mean anything … and almost right along with it happens to be the Pacific-12. Both circuits have gone 6-2 thus far in bowls heading into today’s action, with the SEC a dominant 5-2 in games featuring Power-5 schools. The Pac-12 is 2-2 in those. Oddly enough, Michigan of the Big Ten was the main stick in the mud for the SEC as it embarrassed Florida in its own backyard, the Wolverines whipping the Gators 41-7 less than two hours from their Gainesville, Fla., campus at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Michigan, like the SEC, regained some serious street cred during the bowl season, and, frankly, throughout the entire 2015 season in earning 10 wins for favorite son Jim Harbaugh in his initial foray back in the college game. The biggest loser during the bowls? Easy, that’s the American Athletic Conference, a circuit that secured the “best non-Power-5 league” status with a wonderful regular season and then went 2-6 in bowls, with Temple and Memphis in particular flushing very good seasons down the toilet with poor efforts.
With QB such a key position at the NFL level, drafting a good one out of college has become crucial task for pro personnel departments. That’s not an easy task, even in years when many prospects grade out very high. This year it may be next to impossible, if this bowl season is any indication. Not for nothing, but the pickings appear to be less than slim. For instance, Michigan State’s Connor Cook is considered one of the top three available, along with Cal’s Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch of Memphis. Out of those, realistically, you have two legit, potential starting-caliber QBs available ... and Cook ain't one of them. Sorry, but the kid may have set a school record for wins, but he can’t play. He has no arm strength and little accuracy to match. Add/subtract to that how he is immobile and, well, kinda weak, and you start to get a better grasp of why Michigan State was no match for Alabama in Thursday night’s Cotton Bowl. Goff, by the way, was terrific in his bowl and Lynch terrible, so … good luck figuring it all out, NFL.
NEVER A DOUBT
Well, we got the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown all set for the College Football Playoff Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz., January 11, just as we all supposedly wanted, with unbeaten Clemson and once-beaten Alabama filling those roles. Are they the best teams? Are they the most deserving? Depends on how you view it. Going by the system in place, sure, not really any debate there. In fact, there’s nothing even to consider with Clemson since it is 14-0 and demolished Oklahoma for the second year in a row. Still, good fortune blessed Dabo Swinney’s Tigers more than once this season, with a two-point win against Notre Dame in which the Irish outgained them significantly and an eight-point decision over North Carolina determined by a blown onside-kick call, heading that list, and, really, can’t say Ole Miss wouldn’t beat ‘Bama again if they met, so this isn’t the slam-dunk, oh-it-is-obvious perfect matchup it is being painted as. But it ain’t bad.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org