Despite Frost’s Departure, UCF is a Sleeping Giant

The past week has been an unbelievable roller coaster for the UCF Knights Football Program. Rumors of Scott Frost’s departure for Nebraska continued to mount on the eve of the AAC Championship Game against the Memphis Tigers. Following a thrilling victory in double overtime, the rumors became reality and the Knights were without a coach as they were extended an invitation to the Peach Bowl to play the Auburn Tigers on New Year’s Day. Despite what looked like a shaky situation, all signs point to UCF being able to continue their momentum and taking the next step as a football program.

As far as Group of 5 Programs, UCF has been one of the best programs since 2007. Thanks to Saturday’s AAC Championship game win over Memphis, UCF will earn their second trip to a New Year’s Six/BCS Bowl since 2013. UCF is the only Group of 5 program with that distinction. The Knights are one of 15 FBS teams since 2013 to play in multiple New Year’s/BCS Bowl Games.

Teams to Play in Multiple New Year’s Six/BCS Bowls Since 2013

5 Alabama
5 Ohio State
4 Florida State
4 Oklahoma
4 Clemson
3 Michigan State
2 Washington
2 Auburn
2 Baylor
2 Stanford
2 Penn State
2 Ole Miss
2 Wisconsin

That’s a pretty special group of storied, big-time college football programs that UCF is a member of as well. From 2007-2016, the Knights have won 10+ games four times, played in seven bowl games while winning three. That’s a pretty good span of success over a ten-year span. Now insert a historic, undefeated 2017 season as the highest scoring team in the nation.

It’s been a storybook season minus the cloud of Scott Frost to Nebraska rumors that grew darker through November until becoming reality this past weekend. The news broke that Frost would be accepting the Nebraska job during overtime of UCF’s thrilling 62-55 win over Memphis.

Under normal circumstances, a fan base would be completely elated to celebrate their third conference title in five years. But this was not a normal circumstance. As much as fans were cheering, the mood in the stadium turned bittersweet as the video board focused on Frost, who was clearly trying to hold back his emotions. During this sequence, he exchanged a few words with outgoing UCF President, Dr. John Hitt in what I imagine Dr. Hitt was taking the time to express his appreciation for what Scott Frost did for the football program in such a short period of time.

By applying logic, Scott Frost cannot be faulted for taking the opportunity to return home to Nebraska to coach his alma mater. It’s a dream job. And while we found out in a story on Monday that the decision was much tougher than anyone thought it would be, Frost did what we expected by accepting the job to become the Cornhuskers next Head Coach.

Despite UCF fans being able to understand and accept Frost’s departure after only two seasons, it’s hard not to still be disappointed. For years I watched big-time Power 5 programs poach successful coaches from Group of 5 programs. It’s an unconscionable system that takes a coach from his team, usually before the big bowl game that getting to was the major goal of the season.

On top of that, it leaves the team in purgatory before the unavoidable process of starting over with a new coach, culture, and class of incoming players. It’s nearly impossible for a good Group of 5 program to sustain success due to inevitable departure of the coach for a bigger job with more money and resources.

Naturally, it’s easy for UCF fans to feel uneasy about the near future. In a way, it’s a Catch-22 because if the best case scenario occurs and UCF comes back strong, what is standing in the way of this process repeating itself within the next couple years? That’s a fair question.

The head coaching job was vacant for less than 72 hours as UCF announced the hiring of Josh Heupel, former Missouri offensive coordinator Monday afternoon. Heupel draws multiple similarities to Scott Frost. Both are former National Championship winning quarterbacks from the Big 12 who served as successful OC’s of major programs before taking the reins at UCF.

UCF athletic director Danny White deserves a lot of credit for not just acting quickly following Frost’s departure, but for working in a $10 million buyout into Heupel’s contract. Clearly White wanted to make a hire that appears to be a seamless transition on paper while doing what he can to prevent another quick exit (Frost’s buyout was $3 million).

UCF fans should be just as excited about the hiring of defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. Shannon recently held the same title with the University of Florida. In addition to Shannon’s credentials as a defensive coach, his recruiting connections to Miami, a historically talent-rich area cannot be understated.

The program has the right people in place to build off the momentum from this historic season. Former head coach George O’Leary did a tremendous job putting UCF on the map in from the mid-2000s before stepping down in 2015. Scott Frost became the first coach to take an 0-12 team to a bowl the following season in 2016, before following up with a 12-0 campaign this season. Now the program is in the hands of a well-respected coaching staff with great recruiting ties.

UCF may still be in the Group of 5, which can certainly be limiting considering their media revenue is roughly 10% of their Power 5 counterparts. Given what UCF has accomplished over the past decade, the size of the university, tv market and upgraded facilities, I have to think their time outside the Power 5 is limited.

It may not be until the early 2020’s until the realignment discussion creeps up again, as the end of the major TV deals draw close. At this rate, there is no question UCF will be one of the most attractive candidates to make the move to a conference like the ACC, SEC or Big 12. And based on what they have been able to accomplish with very limited resources in comparison to major in-state programs like Florida, Florid, and Miami, the sky’s the limit for what UCF can be once they finally get a seat at the table.


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The Perfect Season for an Expanded Playoff Field

Last November, I made the case for the College Football Playoff needing to expand the field to eight teams. This season is panning out to be one that could benefit from it more than ever. I’d like to think after the conclusion of conference championship games on the first Saturday of December, it may be a lot easier for the committee to come up with a consensus Top 4 then it was for the committee to release their first rankings Tuesday night.

There are a handful of championship-caliber teams that will likely be on the outside looking in thanks to this being a season in which the Big 10 and SEC both boasting multiple teams worthy of a spot. Don’t forget about the notable independent, Notre Dame who will be in the mix all the way to the end.

The initial Top 4 included Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson. This Top 4 significantly contrasted with the latest Associated Press Poll, which would have produced a bracket of Alabama and Georgia of the SEC and Wisconsin and Ohio State of the Big 10. Now we can assume that these schools likely squaring off in their conference’s respective championship games that the rankings will sort itself out. But is that really what is best for college football, assuming those conference runner-ups find themselves on the outside looking in? I’d say no.

Conference Imbalance?

It can be argued that this is a down year for the other three Power 5 Conferences. While Clemson landed at #4 in the initial rankings, the ACC is not a lock to have a representative.

The Big 12 has the 5th, 8th and 11th ranked teams in Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State, respectively. While the Big 12 added a conference championship game that has the potential to improve the resume of its champion, the risk of an upset by a two-loss team could lead to the conference failing to field a team in the bracket for the third time in four years.

The Pac 12 is the most in-flux, with the highest ranked team being the Washington Huskies sitting at #12. For the Pac 12 to send a team to the Playoff, Washington is their best chance and they would need the Huskies to win out and for a lot of teams ahead of them to lose. Even if that happens, is that a good scenario for college football: a team that is outside the Top 10 leaping 9-10 spots thanks to the slip-ups of better teams? Again, I’d say no.

The question of these three conferences has to be asked – Are these teams being penalized for facing tougher competition at the top of their conference than the undefeated teams in the SEC and Big 10. Through Week 9, both Alabama and Wisconsin have not played a single ranked opponent. On the other hand, one-loss teams such as Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, TCU, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and even Memphis all have wins over ranked opponents.

What’s the point? Most, if not all, of the teams I just mentioned, should still be in the running to compete for the National Championship. Theoretically, just about all of those teams still have a chance. However, most need teams ahead of them in the rankings to lose in order to reach the Top 4. In a world with a Top 8, all of those teams would be able to control their own destiny to secure a spot in the Playoff.

Untested Unbeatens 

Then you have the undefeated teams that arguably have not been tested to the degree in which the previously mentioned teams have been to this point in the season. While Wisconsin, Miami, and UCF have simply taken care of business by beating everyone on their respective schedules, they don’t have quite the resume to be considered Top 4 teams. Should that preclude them from at least getting a shot against the best in the country to compete for a National Championship? Absolutely not.

I’m not naive enough to suggest they would beat or even are at the same level as the undefeated teams at the top. But I don’t think they should miss out on the opportunity to play them just because their schedule wasn’t strong enough. Fortunately for Miami and Wisconsin, both will have the opportunity down the stretch to strengthen their resume. Miami has games scheduled against Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and potentially a highly-ranked opponent in the ACC Championship Game while Wisconsin will likely have an opportunity against a top-ranked opponent in the Big 10 Championship Game.

UCF will not have that same chance, especially after USF fell out of the Top 25 following their first loss of the season to Houston. At the same time, it would be fun to at least give the top Group of 5 team a shot, and in this case UCF a chance to see if they belong with the big boys.

The bottom line is that there are several, high-caliber teams that may technically still be in the mix to make the College Football Playoff, but realistically will not be able to get into that position solely based on their own merits the rest of the season. This is why this season would have been the ideal year to have an expanded playoff field.

Top 8

My proposal that I lined out last November would award would the eight spots as follows: five Power 5 Champs, two at-large and the highest-ranked Group of 5 team. If we followed this formula, following the initial CFP Rankings, we would currently have seedings and first-round matchups that looked like this:

  1. Georgia (SEC)
  2. Alabama (At-Large 1)
  3. Notre Dame (At-Large 2)
  4. Clemson (ACC) 
  5. Oklahoma (Big 12)
  6. Ohio State (Big 10)
  7. Washington (Pac 12)
  8. UCF (Group of 5)

In the Hunt: Penn State, TCU, Wisconsin, Miami

First Round

Georgia vs. UCF, Alabama vs. Washington, Notre Dame vs. Ohio State, and Clemson vs. Oklahoma.

What college football fan wouldn’t want to watch that? The move to eight teams is on the horizon, and hopefully, this season pushes the needle closer to it happening. The best part of this system may be that subjectively will be limited and earning a spot in “the dance” will have a much clearer path.


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The Case for the American Athletic (Power) Conference

In the latest Associated Press Top 25 College Football Rankings, a third team from the American Athletic Conference joined the list when Navy grabbed the #25 spot. The American is now tied with the prestigious SEC with having three teams. Outside of the three AAC teams in the Top 25, USF (#18) and UCF (#22) being the other two, there is only one other representative from the Group of 5, San Diego State.

Since the newly formed delineation of the Power 5 and Group of 5 in 2014, the American has easily been the best amongst the Group of 5. The conference has been responsible for several statement wins against major, Power 5 programs since the end of the BCS era and it was relegated from the group of BCS conferences to the Group of 5. The performance of these programs in the post-BCS era suggest the American should have never been separated from the SEC, Big 10, ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 in the first place.

AAC Victories over Power 5 Teams

2014 Season  
AAC Winner Power 5 Loser
Temple Vanderbilt
East Carolina Virginia Tech
East Carolina North Carolina
Houston Pittsburgh
2015 Season
Temple Penn State
Houston Louisville
Memphis Kansas
East Carolina Virginia Tech
Cincinnati Miami
South Florida Syracuse
Memphis Ole Miss
Houston Vanderbilt
Navy Pittsburgh
Houston Florida State
2016 Season
Houston Oklahoma
Cincinnati Purdue
East Carolina NC State
Memphis Kansas
Connecticut Virginia
South Florida Syracuse
Navy Notre Dame
Houston Louisville
South Florida South Carolina
2017 Season (Through Week 6)
Houston Arizona
South Florida Illinois
Memphis UCLA
UCF Maryland

Looking back, we know that the demise of the conference, that is essentially the remains of the Big East, began with the rejection of a new television deal which gave potential newcomers like Boise State, TCU, BYU and San Diego State cold feet and caused them to back out of joining. The next domino to fall was the departure of Louisville, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh for the ACC and Rutgers for the Big 10. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, what was setting up to be a very formidable football conference evaporated into Conference USA 2.0.

You could argue that a conference with programs like TCU, Boise State, San Diego State, BYU, Louisville, UCF, USF, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Houston, SMU and Cincinnati would be a very strong one. At the very least, it would be a conference that would certainly deserve the status of a Power 5 conference.  

Instead, we are left with what has been the best Group of 5 conference and one that has been campaigning to be considered part of the “Power 6”. This has been based on the insinuation that they are in the same class as the Power 5 members. Despite the attempts to include themselves and the on-field performances which have backed up their claims, they’re still stuck in the rut of what is the Group of 5. Even if UCF, USF, and Navy continue to rise in the rankings and one of those schools make it to a New Year’s Bowl and defeats a storied program, the current system places a ceiling on what the conference can be.

The American will be up for a new television contract in 2020. The current deal is what separates the AAC from being on the same level as the Power 5. Currently, the Power 5 schools receive about $30 million annually from their television deals, compared to the $3.5 million per school in the AAC.

Despite the occasional great story like what is unfolding for UCF, USF, and Navy this season, none of it is sustainable. The American has become a breeding ground for new Power 5 coaches as a total of five left the AAC for Power 5 jobs just last offseason. Despite any feelings of loyalty or level of commitment those coaches may have felt to their programs, the decisions were a no-brainer when considering the imbalance of resources available to a Power 5 program.

This disparity makes so the story about Scott Frost of UCF isn’t about what he has done with a program that went winless just two years ago, but instead speculating which major program will pluck him after the season.

So what’s the solution? It all starts with television. AAC Commissioner, Mike Aresco has been very clear about his vision for improving the status of the conference. He has been very vocal about his league deserving more television revenue and has shown an ability to think outside the box to make it happen. The major positive for the American is their presence in major media markets like Houston, Dallas, Memphis, Tampa, Orlando and New York. The next step is figuring out how to capitalize on it.

I have to think there are a lot of conversations being had about exploring a contract with a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon. If they can act quickly and possibly secure a ground-breaking deal before any of the existing Power 5 conferences, that could be their ticket to closing the television revenue gap.

If you can close that gap and generate revenue at least in the same neighborhood of the current Power 5 conferences, the AAC will then have the argument on the business side to compliment the performance of their football programs to get a seat at the table and officially form the Power 6.

We have seen that the AAC has very strong football programs. These programs have accomplished a lot despite having roughly 10-15% of the resources of a SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 or Pac 12 school. But if you give them the resources needed to keep up and compete long-term, the AAC could be one of the nation’s better college football conferences.

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Players Who Sucked This Week


The Chicago Bears couldn’t get their run game going, managing just 20 yards on 16 carries along with a fumble – Jordan Howard finished with less than a yard per carry. Marlon Mack rushed six times for -3 yards. Total rookie move!

Deshone Kizer completed less than 50% of his passes and threw three picks, but I guess we can blame that on migraines. Blake Bortles continues to struggle as an NFL quarterback, turning the ball over three times and losing to division rival Titans.

Ezekiel Elliott was held to eight yards on nine carries. Fantasy owners were mad; Broncos fans and Cowboys haters were not.

Keller Chryst had a QBR of 4.9 with less than 100 passing yards and three turnovers. Stanford lost to San Diego State, then dropped out of the rankings. Conner Manning turned the ball over four times, but it’s a lot harder to play at Penn State when you’re Georgia State.

The Ragin Cajuns’ Jordan Davis was responsible for five turnovers against Texas A&M, not like they were gonna beat them anyway. Tyler Keane of Coastal Carolina completed 44% of his passes and threw three picks. Brandon Duncan of Arkansas-Pine Bluff three three picks en route to a 48-3 beatdown by Arkansas State. Darquez Lee of the Southern Jaguars started but couldn’t finish the game against UT San Antonio, completing only three of 13 passes with two interceptions. Bryce Rivers came in with a big league but had three turnovers, one being a pick-six. Rough week for the small schools.

Zach Smith and Baylor are winless after losing their first three games of the season, against teams they should’ve blown out. He turned the ball over four times in his first start, and their offensive troubles are going to make for a dreadful season.

Nevada are 0-3 to start the year, their latest loss against Idaho State. They lost to who you ask? Exactly.

Kent Myers was benched after going 9-28 passing for 54 yards and a pick. Think he’ll get the start next week? Doubtful.

Quarterback blues: Morgan State’s quarterbacks combined to throw 8-23 for 65 yards and four turnovers (3 interceptions).  I know they were expected to lose against a Division I school, but they should play a little better than that. Kent State’s combined for 117 yards on 17 throws – only seven of those were were caught, and one of those by the defense. And lastly, Rice’s completed 11 of 25 passes for 113 yards and an interception.

San Jose State had some bad luck to start the game against Utah. Sam Allen was brought in to replace Montel Aaron after a lack of offensive production cost him. Allen was much worse though, throwing two interceptions in only five attempts. He completed two passes for a measly 15 yards



The Worst Player of the Week goes to Dylan Covey. In two starts, he gave up nine runs in 9 ⅓ innings, walked eight batters, lost both games, and now sits at 0-6 with a 8.18 ERA for the year. (More on that horrific second start later.)

Chad Bettis and Wade Miley gave Covey a run for his money as the worst. Both gave up five and six runs, respectively, before being pulled midway through the first inning. Strange coincidence both games were on the same day.  

Doug Fister and Matt Harvey were their own worst enemy twice last week, losing both starts with a combined 23 earned runs in 13 innings. Actually Fister lost his first one because his team bailed him out last night.

The weekly one-and-done’s: Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Sean Manaea, Carlos Martinez, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Jeremy Hellickson, Andrew Cash, Myles Jaye, Seth Lugo, and Erasmo Ramirez. Tyler Glasnow made his first start since June and the rust showed – five runs and six walks led to a 2-8 loss to the Brewers.

Travis Wood, Jose Valdez, and Cory Mazzoni combined to allow 16 runs in nearly 7 innings last Tuesday against the Twins. Then Jordan Lyles and Miguel Diaz followed suit by allowing 10 runs in less than five innings on Saturday. Mazzoni came into that game to surrender six more and wouldn’t you believe it, the Padres lost 16-0 TWICE in the same week.

Calling all relievers who can’t hold a lead or just make deficits worse: Matt Bush, Jacob Rhame, Chris Rowley, Brian Ellington, and Jesse Chavez. Francis Martes somehow managed to let four guys score without getting an out. Austin Pruitt and Chase Whitley combined to give up eight runs (five earned) in the 14th and 15th innings against the Red Sox Friday night.

Chad Bell, Warwick Saupold, Joe Jimenez, and Victor Alcantara combined to allow 15 of the White Sox’s 17 runs last Thursday. Dylan Covey, Chris Beck and Mike Pelfrey returned the favor Sunday night, losing to those Tigers 12-0.


Players Who Sucked Again

Joe Biagini would be a dishonorable mention for his eight-inning no decision, but he blew it Sunday night unable to escape the second inning before giving up six runs.

Before the Phillies starting annihilating the Marlins Thursday night I thought to myself, “Whenever Vance Worley is pitching the Marlins are at a great advantage to lose.” He didn’t even last two innings before giving up 9 runs.

Dishonorable Mentions

LeSean McCoy matched Howard’s terrible rushing performance on 12 carries (0.8 YPC), but he was the team’s leading receiver. The Bills’ offense was sad anyways, putting up 3 points against the Panthers.

Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, but ran for two scores. His late interception solidified Nebraska’s loss. Colgate’s Grant Breneman completed just 26% of his passes for 56 yards. However, he led his team in rushing with 68 yards on 14 carries.

Josh Allen couldn’t figure out Oregon’s defense, having a 38% completion percentage with two turnovers. But he did score the only touchdown for the Cowboys.

Nick Pivetta and Dan Straily started the week with bad starts, but made up for it last night.


*Stats week of 9/12-18

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Players Who Sucked This Week

It got a little boring only hating on baseball. So with football back, I’m back to remind players how awful they played. Let’s get to it!



The Florida Gators’ offense was useless in their season opener, gaining 192 offensive yards. Eleven of those were rushing, and Malik Zaire had -29 of those. But don’t worry Gator fans! BYU had less than 100 yards of offense against LSU, finishing with -5 rushing yards. And yes of course, they were shut out. Let’s not leave out the Hoosiers and their offensive struggles – they managed just 17 yards on 27 carries against the Buckeyes.

Shame on the FBS schools who lost their opener to an FCS opponent: Georgia State, East Carolina, Baylor, UNLV. It might be a long season for your fans.

Tyler Harris transferred from UCF to Rhode Island, and us Knights fans are glad to see him go after he threw SIX interceptions against the Chippewas.

Riley Ferguson is supposed to be one of the top QB’s in the AAC, but a 40% completion rate with no TDs and an INT is not how you live up to hype.

Kent Myers of Utah State couldn’t do much right against the Badgers, throwing three picks en route to a 49-point loss.

Ben and Davis Cheek are not brothers, but they played like terrible twins. They each completed two passes in 9 and 10 attempts respectively, and both had one interception. Ben threw for 19 more yards than Davis…who only had 22.

James Morgan completed less than 30% of his passes with an interception. Bowling Green would go on to lose to Michigan State by 24; good for you if you picked the Spartans to cover the 17 point spread. Thomas Woodson threw a measly 71 yards with a pick. Akron lost by 52, more than their spread of +30.

Missouri’s defense allowed Missouri State to score 43 points and gain 492 yards of offense. Their SEC opponents are probably looking forward to crushing them with a real offense.

Saturday was further proof Brandon Harris should never be a quarterback. He went 7-16 for 60 yards and two interceptions and was benched halfway through the second quarter.

Gardner Minshew of ECU went 7-18 for 82 yards and an interception. He was benched in the second half, but ECU still lost to James Madison – an FCS school.

Jeremy Cox of Old Dominion ran for 22 yards on 14 carries with two fumbles and losing one. But he did catch seven passes for 43 yards. Maybe they were screens. Of course I didn’t watch the game, who would?

Brice Ramsey is Georgia’s last hope at quarterback, and they better pray he doesn’t have to play again. Both of his pass attempts were interceptions, at home, against Appalachian State.

Brendan Greene of Hampton was benched after completing one of nine passes for 10 yards. Yeesh.`

Shai Werts ran for 16 yards on 23 carries. He completed 50% of his passes for 8 yards and a pick. Montana State’s Chris Murray threw for only 28 yards with a 42% completion rate and an interception. To make things worse, his Bobcats were blanked. That’ll kill your confidence to start the season.

Tony Brooks-James of the not so mighty Ducks rushed nine times for 32 yards and lost two fumbles. Try stickum next time. (Yes I know that is not the best video quality.)

Desmond Hite of Incarnate Word racked up zero yards on 15 carries. That’s right, a donut for a rushing total. He kinda made up for it with 18 receiving yards.

Texas A&M couldn’t do two things against the Bruins – hold a huge lead and throw the ball. They deserved that tragic loss.



Mikie Mahtook gave Jose Ramirez his first of two homers by trying to be flashy. He was then robbed of a homer by Alex Gordon. Speaking of Gordon, he couldn’t hit for squat last week going 1-12 with five strikeouts.

Leury Garcia is one for his last 20 with eight strikeouts, four coming in the same game. To the batting cages!

Matt Davidson went 2 for 27 last week, striking out 12 times and drawing no walks. But he has 23 home runs on the year. Second coming of Adam Dunn?

Pablo Sandoval has no hits in his his last 31 at bats. His batting average has plummeted from .288 to .196. Given his age and being on the Giants, it’s going to be hard to bring it back up.

Sean Rodriguez had two hits in 18 at bats with at least one strikeout in every game (9 total). His batting average is even worse than Sandoval’s, sitting at .174 for the season.

Joey Rickard hasn’t provided much offensive for the Orioles since coming up from Triple-A, having one hit in 12 at bats.

As good as he’s been and will likely be in the hall of fame, Miguel Cabrera has made it to the list. He hasn’t gotten a hit in his last 16 attempts, but he’s really been terrible all year. Not too happy I took him in the first round of my fantasy league. His teammate Ian Kinsler has also had a down year, hitting .107 in his last seven games.

Mark Reynolds is having quite a comeback year, but hitting .055 in 18 at bats with 9 strikeouts for the week is gonna land you on this list.

Junichi Tazawa was not a helpful reliever, losing in one of his appearances and letting the Nationals cushion their lead last Tuesday. Kyle Crick of the Giants wasn’t any better, but does it really matter when your team is that bad?

Chris Flexen and Chasen Bradford of the Mets gave up 14 combined runs to the Reds last week. Flexen followed it up with almost identical numbers against the Astros.

Mike Fiers had a bad week, not making it to the 5th inning in both starts while giving up 14 combined runs.

It would take forever to individually call out starters who had one bad start, so let’s rattle em off now: Chris Smith, Troy Scribner, Rich Hill, Jerad Eickhoff, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ivan Nova, Derek Holland,

 Parker Bridwell, Kendall Graveman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, Jeremy Hellickson, Marco Estrada, Gerrit Cole, Buck Farmer, Tyler Skaggs, Kyle Freeland, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Lucas Sims, Onelki Garcia, Yu Darvish, Jharel Cotton, Matt Andriese, Chad Bell, Madison Bumgarner. Notice anything odd? Yep, all of the Dodgers’ pitchers made the list. Well except Kershaw, that dude is too good.

Ricky Rodriguez is not a household name, and weekly stats like this won’t get him there: 2 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 BLSV. Same goes for Richard Rodriguez’s first two career appearances: four runs on six hits in two innings. Coincidence they have similar names?

Sam Dyson continues to struggle, giving up five runs and recording only one out against the Cardinals on Friday. Maybe it’s time to call it quits?

Mike Dunn was anything but a relief for the Rockies last week, giving up four runs in three appearances in less than two innings of work. Lucky for him he didn’t record a loss or blown save.

The pitching staffs of the Braves and Cubs on Saturday were non-existent, with the game ending 12-14 in the Cubs favor. Also, the entire pitching staff on the Royals sucked by giving up 17 runs to the Twins.


Dishonorable Mentions

Ian Kennedy was the Rays’ MVP last Monday letting seven runs go by in less than three innings. He then kind of made up for it next game against the Twins, but wasn’t credited with the win.

Jose Urena went four innings and gave up four in runs in his first start of the week, and then went seven with only one run. Too bad his offense couldn’t help him in Sunday’s game.

Aaron Nola had a great start against the Braves (who doesn’t), but then got rocked by the Marlins.

Corey Dickerson was hitting terribly all week until last night when he hit two doubles and a homer to help the Rays beat the Twins.


Got anyone to add? Write ’em in the comments.


Stats week of 8/28-9/4


Photo Credits:×399.jpg


Players Who Sucked This Week


Greg Windham was definitely the reason why Ohio lost their bowl game. His five turnovers were the difference in a 5-point loss to Troy.

Kyle Shurmur of Vandy joins Greg as the only guys on this week’s list. He was unvandycraigslist-650x342der 50% passing completion including three picks.

Not a lot of terrible football was played in the NFL this week. The Jets were terrible yet again (see below) but no single player was absolutely bad. The Texans-Bengals was pretty boring and the Broncos’ offense is weak, but that’s as much as I’ll say about that. Good job NFL guys, you earned that overpaid salary!


Petr Mrazek came in when Jimmy Howard went down with an injury, and couldn’t get the job done.

Antti Raanta let up seven goals to the Penguins last Tuesday, then assisted his teammate Henrik Lundqvist on Friday en route to losing to the Wild 4-7.

Mike Smith racked up two losses in two starts this week, allowing 7 goals in those games.

Anders Nilsson started one game, and that’s about all you’d wanna see out of him. Five goals allowed to the Islanders led to a big loss.




Rodney Hood made just one shot in 11 attempts, and missed all 7 three-point attempts. Stanley Johnson was also pretty bad from the floor, going 2-11 while committing 6 fouls. Chandler Parsons didn’t make a single 3-ball, and shot under .200 from the field.

Dorian Finney-Smith played worse when he logged 30+ minutes, especially when he couldn’t make a single shot against the Clippers (0-8 FG).

Rajon Rondo has been a household name since his days in Boston, but he’ll be another player who sucked this week. Rondo shot .242 from the floor, .222 from beyond the arc, committed 7 fouls, and turned the ball over 13 times, all in four games. Maybe next week he’ll get back on it.

"I did what?!"

“I did what?!”

Tyreke Evans was terrible coming off the bench unless he was shooting free throws. Maybe you should draw some more fouls buddy.

Jaylen Brown has a sweet flattop, too bad it couldn’t translate to a better shooting percentage this week.

Glenn Robinson III logged 33.3 MPG but only made one shot each game…in 21 attempts.

Mirza Teletovic played worse as the week went on, missing his final 9 three-pointers. He missed all 9 shots on Friday before taking a hard fall.

Matthew Dellavedova gets paid way too much, and I don’t mind exposing him for being a crappy basketball player. Sure he can dish the ball, but a .241 FG% ain’t gonna cut it. Start earning that salary young man.

Players Who Sucked Again

Petty & the Jets sucked again, getting blown out by the Patriots. Bryce missed on all three pass attempts with an interception, and Fitzpatrick wasn’t much better. What a disastrous season for these guys.


Matt Barkley turned the ball over at home way too many times again. Five interceptions won’t help any team win a game, let alone come close.

Pekka Rinne is in a serious slump. The only game he played in this week ended 0-4 against the Kings. Chad Johnson returns after another poor weekly performance, albeit only one game. He wasn’t too good in that one game. He lost. Ryan Miller continues to play like a Canuck, losing his lone start against the Jets.

Andrew Harrison is basketball’s first three-peat! Man this guy needs to get it together.

Dishonorable Mentions

The Chargers are the only team (so far) to lose to the Browns this year. Way to be those guys.


The Rams offense sucks so much that I don’t feel like putting them in the above category again. Their offense needs some serious work this offseason.

Cory Schneider started three games this past week. In two of those, he let up 5 and 4 goals with the obvious losses. But he shutout the Flyers last Thursday. Then again it was only 16 shots. His team should try to allow less opportunities for the opponent so can play up to his professional standards.

Matt Murray started two games where 7 goals were scored by the winner. He was on the losing side last Thursday where he was pulled after allowing 6 in 2+ periods of “work”.

Semyon Varlamov lost both of his starts, but he stopped 31 of 33 shots against the Wild last Tuesday. He’s allowed to point the finger at his teammates for that one.

Stats week of 12/20-26


 Got anyone to add? Write ’em in that comment box.


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College Football Playoff Needs to Expand Sooner than Later

For the sake of eliminating subjectivity, the College Football Playoff needs to expand. Since the beginning of College Football, final season results are dependent on opinions and computer models. Are these rankings based on merit? Absolutely. That doesn’t change the fact that each season there is a certain level of debate and controversy regarding the teams who get a chance to win a national championship, or in recent years participate in the four-team playoff.

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

Introducing a four-team playoff was a great first step in consistently ensuring a championship game of the two best teams in the country. In 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, the #4 Seed Ohio State defeated #1 Alabama to face #2 Oregon who defeated #3 Florida State. It was reported that under the former BCS system, the National Championship game would have pitted Alabama against Florida State. As much as college football fans would have loved to watch a battle of the Crimson Tide against the Jameis Winston-led Seminoles, we got the championship game determined by merit.

The unfolding of these events in the inaugural College Football Playoff validated the decision to introduce this system. In 2015, the #1 and #2 seeds (Alabama and Clemson) won their respective semifinal games. The results of the semifinal games left virtually zero debate over who were the nation’s top two teams that should be going head to head in the National Championship Game. One could argue the semifinal games were not necessary because the teams considered to be the better teams won, and in convincing fashion. However, the results eradicated any belief that Michigan State or Oklahoma, the #3 and #4 teams should be in the title game.

Every few years there is some degree of controversy over the team getting left out, who played a tougher schedule, what conference is more competitive and which victories were the most impressive. Sure, it gives fans, writers, analysts and prognosticators something to talk about throughout the season. But it still means that subjective opinions are determining the fate of a few programs each season.

ohio-state-college-football-playoff-1Under the current system of five “Power 5” conferences and four playoff spots, it is a guarantee that one of these conference champions will not have a spot in the playoff. In 2014, the Big 12 was left out in the cold as Baylor and TCU finished 5th and 6th respectively with 11-1 records. The popular explanation is that the Big 12 hurts itself by being the only P5 conference not to play a conference championship game. As valid as that may be, both schools were punished despite stellar seasons and neither had the opportunity to participate in the playoff.

There is not much use in reopening a debate from two years ago about who did and did not deserve to be in the Playoff. But, those events along with how this season is unfolding gives credence to the idea that the College Football Playoff needs to expand to eight teams and also follow a more objective process.

To start, every Power 5 Champion should have a seat at the table. No questions asked. That condition immediately requires for the playoff field to expand. Secondly, there are a always a few fringe teams that do not win their conference. This season is a perfect example. Look at the Big 10 East Division. Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are all playoff-worthy teams, especially if there are eight total spots. Staying in the Big 10, but looking in the West Division at Wisconsin and where they currently sit, would certainly be part of the conversation as well.

Now let’s consider the Group of 5, or more bluntly the “lesser half” of college football. We all know that the Group of 5 encompasses the programs with less history, resources and talent than those schools in the Power 5. Naturally, a Group of 5 team qualifying for the current College Football Playoff is nearly impossible. Houston could have made it with impressive wins against Oklahoma and Louisville, but there chances were squandered by three conference losses.

19118758-mmmainConsider Western Michigan, who will head into the MAC Championship Game with a perfect 12-0 record. Due to their underwhelming schedule, they will not sniff the Top 4. Even if the playoff expanded to a Top 8 and simply granted access to teams ranked 1-8, Western Michigan would still be on the outside looking in when the Playoff Committee releases its final rankings in December. One argument could be that Western Michigan shouldn’t deserve a spot, especially if they are not considered one of the eight best teams in the country by the committee. However, the other side could contend with “What did Western Michigan do wrong, aside from not playing a competitive enough of a schedule?”

While universities have some control over their out-of-conference schedule, when looking at an individual season, that specific team and group of players should not be punished for their school not being able to schedule more competitive opponents. A team should not be punished when they do everything they can, defeating every team on their schedule.

When Group of 5 teams have virtually perfect seasons, we never find out exactly how good those teams are. Do we get to see them against a great Power 5 team in a major bowl game? Yes. Sometimes they prevail, sometimes they flounder. But now that college football has graduated to a playoff system, teams like Western Michigan are still left out of the dance without ever finding out how that team stacks up against the other playoff participants. This needs to change.

The best Group of 5 team needs to be guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff. It would eliminate the mystery and ultimately give hope to each and every team at the beginning of the season, much like college basketball when every team theoretically has a shot. At the very least, even if we saw Western Michigan get blown out by Alabama, there would be a resolution to the season and a clear understanding of how the top G5 team stacked up against the best team in the country.

chi-college-football-playoff-selection-committ-001To recap, the proposed structure would call for an eight-team playoff granting spots to the following:

(5) Power 5 Conference Champions

(2) At-Large Teams, or the two highest ranked teams not to win their conference

(1) The highest ranked Group of 5 team

This creates an eight-team bracket where the rankings would still have a purpose for seeding the teams. Let’s take a look at how it would look this season and assume the presumed favorites win next weekend. The field would look something like this:

#1 Alabama (SEC Champ)

#2 Ohio State (At-Large)

#3 Clemson (ACC Champ)

#4 Washington (Pac 12 Champ)

#5 Michigan (At-Large)

#6 Wisconsin (Big 10 Champ)

#7 Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ)

#8 Western Michigan (Top ranked Group of 5 Team)

A bracket would then be created in a #1 vs #8, #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6 and #4 vs #5 structure. In order to keep the major bowls with their sponsors in tact, the extra games created by expanding the playoff from four to eight would occupy the appropriate bowl games and locations on a rotating basis.

An eight-team playoff bracket would mean seven games. The current “New Year’s Six” would occupy the first two rounds, with the National Championship Game being played at the end with the two teams left standing.

Taking these steps would drastically improve the College Football Playoff and the sport as a whole. Expanding to eight teams is the next, necessary move. Ideally, we will have a sixteen-team playoff someday soon. But eight needs to happen first. If we ever get to sixteen, the tremendous College Basketball model needs to be replicated.

An ideal sixteen-team playoff would include all ten conference champions and six at-large schools. This would truly give every single team hope. A system like this would do wonders for the sport, especially with the chance to narrow the gap between the Group of 5 and the Power 5. But, one step at a time. Hopefully we get to talk about who makes the “Elite 8” in the near future.

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Players Who Sucked This Week


Jay Cutler went back to being the guy we love to hate. He had 3 turnovers, completed 53% of his passes, and is now losing his teammates’ trust. Thank you for making my Bucs look good.

The entire Browns offense played at a high school level by  not reaching 150 yards and turning the ball over 3 times (all thanks to Josh McCown). Their season is looking more and more gloom, and they probably won’t win this year. First overall pick here they come!

Philip Rivers threw 4 interceptions in the fourth quarter, including 2 in the final 3 minutes of the game to seal the Dolphins win. He’s still the best option at quarterback for the Chargers who are having a very up-and-down season.rivers-fail

Hayden Moore and Gunner Kiel assisted UCF to its second straight win. Both threw an interception, Moore lost a fumble, and they combined to complete 45% of their passes. Moore is the better of the two, as Kiel can’t play well when he faces a halfway decent team. No really, look at his stats.

Giovanni Rescigno led a terrible Rutgers offense who failed to get on the scoreboard for the third time this season. And they are now second worst in the NCAA for offensive points scored. Can the Big 10 kick them out already?

Sean White completed just 6 passes in 20 attempts for 27 yards, while rushing for 3 yards in 4 attempts. All of this crap equated to a 1.0 QBR. Maybe everyone can stop thinking Auburn is a contender now?

Jeff George Jr had the worst first half performance of the year: in only 16 pass attempts, he completed 5 and threw 4 interceptions. He was replaced by Wes Lunt in the second half, but the game was already decided by then. After starting the last 4 games with a 40% completion percentage, he’ll likely go back to the bench.


Antti Neimi played half a game against the Jets and matched Kari Lehtonen’s awful performance: both allowed 4 goals en route to an 8-2 loss last Tuesday. Lehtonen played better throughout the week, but Neimi wasn’t able to redeem himself.

John Gibson faced 36 shots and let 7 go by, being responsible for both losses. He was even pulled against Nashville before the 2nd period ended. His .806 SV% is the worst of this list.

Carter Hutton was credited with both losses this last week, and picked up where Jake Allen left off against the Blue Jackets.

Jaroslav Halak couldn’t handle the state of Florida, allowing 10 goals to the Panthers and Lightning and losing all 3 games. The Islanders currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a -11 goal differential.goalies

Stats week of 11/8-14


Corey Brewer made only 1 shot in 18 attempts from the field, along with 7 personal fouls and 4 turnovers. And this is exactly why he plays back up.

Bradley Beal played in just one game, and only made 1 shot in 9 attempts in 11 unproductive minutes. The Wizards still beat the Celtics, and Brewer is happy to see a fellow UF alumnus on this list.

Tim Frazier has filled in for Jrue Holiday, and to nobody’s delight except his opponents. His numbers over the last four games: 31.3 MPG, .310 FG%, 3.8 RPG, 12 TO, 10 PF. But it doesn’t really matter, he’s on the Pelicans – they’ll be in the draft lottery when the season is over.

Stats week of 11/8-14

Players Who Sucked Again

My last two lists haven’t included anyone, so it’s nice to see players return to this prestigious section!

Brian Elliott: I’m not sure what’s more impressive, losing 5 straight games or having a .857 SV% in each of his last 2 games. As I said last week, this man is likely past his prime.

Ryan Miller hasn’t been great lately, but his team bailed him out Sunday against the Stars with an overtime win. He still gon make this list.

Dishonorable Mentions

Four players were terrible but rode their team to victory:
Willie Parker was a non-factor in EMU’s win over Ball State, rushing backwards 7 yards before fumbling the ball.
Jordan Davis of the Ragin Cajuns fumbled the ball on his only carry.
James Morgan on Bowling Green played like a freshman against Akron, completing 48% of his passes with an interception and rushing for negative 14 yards.
Jalan McClendon played sparing for the Wolfpack, but threw 2 picks in only 5 attempts.

Keon Howard, Southern Miss’s quarterback, threw an interception and fumbled 4 times. He had the most offensive yardage among his offensive teammates, but 5 turnovers doesn’t lead to a win.


Got anyone to add? Write ’em in that comment box.


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Players Who Sucked This Week

Have you ever been mad because your fantasy player under-performed? Or because your hometown team had that guy who screwed up the game? Or maybe, you just noticed someone who left their skills at home before the game? Well this new article is just for you!

Each week I will compile a list of players who just couldn’t get the job done. This serves more for comedic purposes than to vent anger. Okay, maybe I want to vent through this article. But nevertheless, here is my first list of some players this past week who didn’t earn that start or his salary.

First award goes to Sam Isaacson. This young man plays on the offensive line for Liberty University and made his first start this past weekend against the Virginia Tech Hokies. So what did he do? He committed not one, not two, but THREE false starts….consecutively! I don’t know the odds of that happening, and that isn’t how he planned to start his career.

Next we have Cole Hamels. Yes that same pitcher was the 2008 World Series MVP with the Philadelphia Phillies. His last two starts have been less than stellar: 6 IP, 14 H, 13 ER, 8 K, 1 L, 1 ND. To make it even worse, there was a 1 2/3 inning, 7 ER outing he suffered against the Mariners on September 5. Maybe next week Cole.

And now awards for poor behavior.

Jabari Ruffin of USC. You probably saw USC get demolished by Alabama Saturday night. And you probably also saw this man stomp on Minkah Fitzpatrick’s privates. No one can support this, except maybe this guy.

Colin Kaepernick. No political takes here about his national anthem protest. But to wear cop-pig socks and a Castro shirt while speaking on equality and oppression is just….no man. You’re going about it wrong.

Bruce Miller. Arriving at the wrong room then punching them? Not cool man. And it’s not the first offense. Even worse he came from my alma mater where he was a fan favorite.


Dishonorable Mentions

Osa Masina (and Don Hill) of USC: The case is still open and it is alleged so I won’t point the finger just yet. But really guys?

Ryan Lochte. It’s in the past so I’ll let it go. But that didn’t make us look good in Rio.


Did I miss anyone? Do you disagree with my choices? Type ’em in that comment box.


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College Football Preview

College football is just around the corner, and here’s my first-ever article to give you a nice right-to-the-point preview of the 2016 season.

First, let’s look at the returning Heisman finalists, in order of their 2015 Heisman Rankings.

1. Christian McCaffrey

2. Deshaun Watson


3. Baker Mayfield


4. Leonard Fournette



5. Dalvin Cook


There are two teams looking to win their first game since the 2014 season. I’ll give you a fun fact about each. The Kansas Jayhawks’ last victory came at home when hosting Iowa State on November 8th, 2014, winning comfortably 34-14. To make it even worse, Kansas has not won a road game since 2009.


The UCF Knights’ last win came on a last-second Hail Mary from Justin Holman to Breshad Perriman against East Carolina at Dowdy-Fickle Stadium on a Thursday night thriller. If there’s one thing I’d bet on this year, it’s that these teams will win more games than 2015. ucf1

Here’s a refresher on the more popular coaching changes for the 2016 season:

Kirby Smart to Georgia (formerly DC at Alabama)

Mark Richt to Miami (former HC at Georgia)

Lovie Smith to Illinois (former HC of Tampa Bay Bucs)

Will Muschamp to South Carolina (former DC of Auburn)

Full list of coaching changes

It’s also the third year of the college football playoff system. Woo! Screw the BCS!


Watch List

If you’d like a list of the preseason Top 25, check this out. I don’t like those because you got one there…and on ESPN…and you probably have your own opinion of what it’s like. So why bother? You know it will look much different come playoff time. However, here are a few teams to keep an eye on this year.


These boys are the consensus underdog to go the distance, which kind of doesn’t make them the underdog anymore, but they’re still like the underdog. With a giant RB (6’4”, 230) and dual-threat QB on offense, Evan Berry (Eric’s younger brother) returning punts and kicks (for a touchdown, and another touchdown), and a defense returning over half its starters, they could be that good. A not-so-competitive SEC East makes it a little easier for them too.

The Cougars are coming off a great year with second-year coach Tom Herman, houstonwho led Houston to a 13-1 year ending with a 38-24 win over the defending
national champion Seminoles in the Peach Bowl. Greg Ward Jr is coming off a season as a top-50 rusher with 21 scores on the ground and another 17 through the air, look for him to be a dark horse Heisman candidate.

With Trevone Boykin gone, they don’t have a quarterback right? Nah, they have Kenny Hill who transferred from Texas A & M and will likely lead the always-high-powered Horned Frogs’ offense. If anyone in the Big 12 is going to challenge Oklahoma for the conference title, it’s these guys.

Despite having a question mark at quarterback, FSU is always a playoff fsu
contender. Dalvin Cook is poised to have a huge year on the ground, possibly better than that Fournette guy on LSU. The Seminoles’ defense isn’t that bad either – returning for a consecutive year are most of its D-linemen, OLB’s, and DB’s.

uwYou know, I’m not entirely sure why they’re on my watch list, but I feel like I’ve heard some good things about them in the background noise of my TV playing ESPN. This team is ranked #14 this preseason, which makes them second in the PAC-12 behind Stanford at #8. Come to think of it/look it up, it’s the third year for Chris Petersen at UW, which is about the time new coaches’ vision and plan are well-developed and executed. Disregard that first sentence.

Every year I choose a random team to follow for various reasons, and this year iowathat team is Iowa. If you’re the type who likes old-fashioned football that requires a TEAM effort to win games without any flash, this team is for you (FTR that’s not why I picked them). If you aren’t aware, the Hawkeyes are made of a veteran offense and a half-experienced defense driven by the 2015 All-American & Jim Thorpe Award Winner Desmond King at CB. They just might make the Big 10 Championship game.

ucf2My alma mater has to turn it around after an abysmal 2015 campaign. They will have 3/4 of its starters returning under new head coach Scott Frost, previously the Oregon OC. (Did you know he beat Peyton Manning in the 1998 Orange Bowl while playing QB for Nebraska?) The Knights even got some new uniforms to hopefully inspire some Oregon-esque flare on the field. It won’t be easy getting past Houston to win the American.


Himesman Award

This will of course go to the best all-around college football player of the season. Not only will numbers carry significant weight, but off the field factors (e.g. what brought him here, academics, significance to team’s success) will also play a major role in determining the winner. One factor that will not carry much weight is his team’s W-L record. No, someone from a 0-12 team will not win the award, but recent Heisman winners have been on a championship-bound team. While I respect what it takes to bring your team to the national stage, there have been times a player on a less prestigious team was deserving of the esteemed trophy in college football. And I feel it’s my duty to give that award. The preliminary list will come out next month. And yes, I just created my own “award”. (I mean no copyright infringement, my apologies in advance Heisman Committee members).


Final Thoughts

Here’s an idea for next season and every one thereafter – do away with preseason rankings! Let’s have rankings come out week 4, after most teams have played a couple games. Maybe wait until week 8? Reminiscent of the despised BCS era. I bet it would change the way teams prepare each week, but on the flipside make it more exciting not knowing who is considered the best.

But wait! There’s more! Food for thought – what if rankings were totally abolished and there was one big playoff involving all of the FBS divisions based on final standings and conference title games. More on that in my next article.


Get ready people, it’s college football season!



[Disclaimer, being a UCF alumnus I like to shine some light on my college. However, I will not bias my articles for or against them. Peace peeps, I’m gonna go enjoy Spain for the next 8 days.]


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