by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Seems a bit harsh.
No, seriously, it does.
While most are kinda just shrugging their shoulders and going, “Yeah, OK, makes sense” to Penn State dropping from second to seventh in the polls after playing its part, albeit a losing one, in a college football classic this past Saturday, if you let the gears grind a little, chew down some facts, well, no, it really doesn’t make sense.
It … seems a bit harsh.
Gotta say, if we’re factoring in strength of schedule, as well as where teams play, which we are repeatedly told are critical factors ad nauseam, then Penn State’s current ranking doesn’t compute.
If anything, it proved itself worthy of a high ranking. Maybe not No. 2, but certainly better than No. 7.
Here’s the rub, though – who would the Lions jump to theoretically “right” things?
It’s not like Alabama, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Clemson are unworthy of their spots 1 through 6, either, and, frankly, if you want to point out a team “worse” off than Penn State it is Oklahoma.
The Sooners, after beating the Buckeyes, jumped to No. 2 and stayed there exactly one week before being supplanted by Clemson, the reigning national champ, even though they hadn’t lost. Once they did, in Week 6, they plummeted to 12th … and seem forever slotted below Penn State and the others mentioned, despite being 7-1 and having that blowout of Ohio State in their back pocket, and the reality that the team that stunned them – Iowa State – may be the hottest squad in the country now, finding itself 14th.
The Cyclones not only topped Oklahoma, but they’re fresh off knocking Texas Christian from the ranks of the unbeaten and its No. 4 perch. The Horned Frogs now sit at No. 10.
Hey, still got a Power 5 unbeaten in Miami, which actually dropped a spot to No. 9 despite improving to 7-0, and a non-Power 5 unbeaten in Central Florida, which only just cracked the top 15 this week despite leading the country in scoring, too.
If anything, all of the above shows – once again – that the College Football Playoff is too subjective in its current state. There is no clear-cut, or even fair, way to nail down the top four teams in the country as means to pit two semifinalist winners in a championship game to determine a “true” champion.
Just too many good, perhaps even great, teams out there. Expanding that CFP field to eight or, even better, 16 teams would water down that subjectivity. Lessens it. Maybe it wouldn’t erase it, but it certainly would take the prejudice and “eye test” seen through, well, perhaps, bad eyes out of the picture for the most part.
Until that changes, though, we’re going to have a deserving playoff team such as Penn State on the outside looking in. Again.
Which is why the Lions’ current drop in the polls seems so harsh … since it will play a part in the CFP rankings.
SAQUON = HEISMAN? NOT NOW
Never bought into it.
Oh, he’s an awesome talent. Just a great player.
But all the hullabaloo and hype about Penn State’s Saquon Barkley being a runaway winner of this season’s Heisman Trophy never reeled me in to join it.
He’s just had too many mediocre games, and even “disappearing acts,” for all the highlight-reel plays to offset in my opinion.
Reality is, he’s had two great games this season: Akron and Iowa. The former occurred against a Mid-American squad and the latter against a middling Big Ten team that, frankly, saw his teammate, quarterback Trace McSorley, steal the show when things mattered most anyway.
All too often, for me, have been the “play here, play there and that’s it” outings against the likes Pittsburgh, Indiana and Northwestern. He’s had three 100-yard rushing efforts all season. In eight games.
Sorry, that usually ain’t enough for a running back to win the Heisman, never mind “dominate the field” – even with two kickoff returns for scores and some nice receiving numbers in his back pocket, too.
In the last three games, Barkley has ripped off TD runs of 53, 69 and 36 yards. Tremendous, no doubt. That’s 158 yards on just three carries. The issue, for me, is the other 49 he had, which totaled just 69 yards.
No matter how you slice it or rationalize it, that stinks.
You’re not seeing guys like Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Bryce Love or, heck, even McSorley fade for such stretches. Ever. Never mind consistently.
In wins or losses.
Can he still win it? Sure.
But he isn’t the favorite anymore, nor was he deserving of the “leader in the clubhouse” chatter we heard the last six weeks or so.