LATE AFTERNOON EDITION We hold these truths to be self-evident: 1. If you go by the preseason polls and magazines, the Florida Gators performed up to expectations. The Gators were ranked between 7-9 in nearly every poll and magazine. When the final polls came out Tuesday, the Gators were 6th in the Associate Press poll, 7th in the Coaches.
2. College football’s two most compelling stories came out of the SEC: Joe Burrow coming from completely off the radar to win the Heisman Trophy, set a slew of passing records and leading LSU to the national championship; and Kyle Trask tossing aside that career backup moniker to lead the Gators to their 11-2 finish. Burrow has exhausted his collegiate eligibility (thank goodness!) so he’s off to the NFL. If the Cincinnati Bungles choose anyone but Burrow with the first pick in the NFL Draft, expect rioting and mobs setting fires to cars in the vicinity of the Bungles offices and facilities and those same mobs firing up the tar and buying sacks of chicken feathers in preparation for when they capture the execs in charge. As for Trask, he’s got another year of eligibility and will be the best returning quarterback in the SEC.
3. You can count on the folks at ESPN to fall passionately in love with Georgia once again. They will (a) rank Georgia too high and (b) they will declare Wake Forest grad transfer QB Jamie Newman the second coming of Joe Burrow. Remember you heard it here first – Georgia will be very good thanks to its defense but will lose at least three games (Alabama, Auburn and Florida) next year. Jamie Newman will be this year’s version of Kelly Bryant.
4. Coach O is the real deal. He’s been the butt of far too many jokes in the past, mostly because a lot of folks think he looks and sounds like whatever evolved from Neandertals. Ask people like Pete Carroll and Jimmy Johnson and they will tell you he has an absolutely brilliant football mind and ranks with the very best assistant coaches either has ever had. Neither are surprised that Coach O has won a national championship. You shouldn’t be surprised either. This won’t be the last one. Coach O’s salary is a bargain basement $4 million. You can expect that to change in a very big way in the next 30 days or so.
5. ESPN’s staff put together its all-time 150 best players in college football. Any list that doesn’t have Tim Tebow in the top five and Lee Roy Jordan in the top 20 is bogus. Any list that has Peyton Manning ranked above Danny Wuerffel is bogus. From my perspective, the 10 best players of all time are: (1) Roger Staubach, Navy; (2) Herschel Walker, Georgia; (3) Tim Tebow, Florida; (4) Tommie Frazier, Nebraska; (5) Red Grange, Illinois; (6) Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama; (7) Orenthal James Simpson, Southern Cal; (8) Derrick Thomas, Alabama; (9) Billy Sims, Oklahoma; (10) Sammy Baugh, TCU.
THE FINAL ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25
1. LSU 15-0 2. Clemson 14-1 3. Ohio State 13-1 4. Georgia 12-2 5. Oregon 12-2 6. FLORIDA 11-2 7. Oklahoma 12-2 8. Alabama 11-2 9. Penn State 11-2 10. Minnesota 11-2 11. Wisconsin 10-4; 12. Notre Dame 11-2; 13. Baylor 11-3; 14. Auburn 9-4; 15. Iowa 10-3; 16. Utah 11-3; 17. Memphis 12-2; 18. Michigan 9-4; 19. Appalachian State 13-1; 20. Navy 11-2; 21. Cincinnati 11-3; 22. Air Force 11-2; 23. Boise State 12-2; 24. UCF 10-3; 25. Texas 8-5
THE FINAL COACHES TOP 25 1. LSU 15-0 2. Clemson 14-1 3. Ohio State 13-1 4. Georgia 12-2 5. Oregon 12-2 6. Oklahoma 12-2 7. FLORIDA 11-2 8. Alabama 11-2 9. Penn State 11-2 10. Minnesota 11-2 11. Notre Dame 11-2; 12. Baylor 11-3; 13. Wisconsin 10-4; 14. Auburn 9-4; 15. Iowa 10-3; 16. Utah 11-3; 17. Memphis 12-2; 18. Appalachian State 13-1; 19. Michigan 9-4; 20. Navy 12-2; 21. Cincinnati 11-3; 22. Boise State 12-2; 23. Air Force 11-2; 24. UCF 10-3; 25. Virginia 9-5
TUESDAY MUMBLINGS AND ASSORTED RAMBLINGS
(1) Now that LSU has won the national championship and the reality that Joe Burrow will be slinging footballs all over NFL yards for the Cincinnati Bungles next year, it’s time to think about who plays QB for LSU. Myles Brennan came to LSU a skinny 6-4, 170-pounder but now he’s filled out to 207 pounds. He has a big time arm, but can he process information like Burrow and then make split second judgments to put the football in the right place? The Tigers have also signed a couple of hotshot freshman QBs – Max Johnson, who is former FSU and Tampa Bay Bucs QB Brad Johnson’s kid, and T.J. Finley, a 6-6, 250-pounder with an impressive arm. Talented as they are, neither will be ready to handle what Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady throw at them. Has Brennan progressed enough that Ensminger and Brady are ready to turn the offense over to him? If not, then LSU will make a really big play to land either Stanford grad transfer KJ Costello or Houston grad transfer D’Eriq King, who took a redshirt four games into 2019 and has now apparently double-crossed Dana Holgorsen by putting his name in the NCAA transfer portal. King is an incredibly gifted athlete who is as good with his feet as his arm. Costello is a pocket passer with a big arm and super high intelligence.
(2) Watching Ed Orgeron lift that national championship trophy and then tearfully thank all his players, assistants, staffers, managers, the LSU student body and alumni, fans and everyone who has ever even driven through “the great state of Looziana,” I had to wonder what the folks at Southern Cal are thinking about now. They had their chance to hire Coach O after he took over as the interim coach and went 6-2 following the firing of Lane Kiffin. The players and assistants begged Pat Haden to hire Coach O, but he confided in others that Coach O’s raspy voice with the thick Cajun accent just wouldn’t sell down at the country club. Since rejected Coach O, Southern Cal has been a West Coast train wreck. They all but begged Urban Meyer to come out of retirement and he said no way. They put the full court press on James Franklin and he signed an extension with a huge raise at Penn State. If Clay Helton doesn’t win 10 games next year they’ll fire him. Meanwhile, Coach O is going to be the HBC at LSU for a long, long time.
(3) And while on the subject of Coach O, let us not forget he was anything but the top choice for departed AD Crazy Joe Alleva, who tried to hire Jimbo Fisher in 2015 even before he had fired Les Miles. After he fired Miles in 2017, Coach O went 6-2 as the interim and had the players begging to have that interim title lifted. Crazy Joe went all-out for Tom Herman, who said no to LSU and took the Texas job. He tried to hire a couple of others before he reluctantly hired Coach O as time was running out and pressure was mounting to come up with a permanent head coach. Crazy Joe is gone now, replaced by Scott Woodward, the same guy who hired Jimbo at Texas A&M when Alleva was begging him to come to Baton Rouge.
(4) Here are the all-too-early 2020 preseason top 25s from Stewart Mandel of The Athletic, Mark Schlabach of ESPN and Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com: Stewart Mandel: (1) Clemson; (2) Ohio State; (3) Alabama; (4) Georgia; (5) LSU; (6) Penn State; (7) FLORIDA; (8) Oregon; (9) Oklahoma; (10) Notre Dame; (11) Wisconsin; (12) Auburn; (13) Iowa; (14) Southern Cal; (15) Oklahoma State; (16) Minnesota; (17) Texas; (18) Cincinnati; (19) Tennessee; (20) Michigan; (21) Memphis; (22) Texas A&M; (23) North Carolina; (24) Arizona State; (25) California.
Mark Schlabach: (1) Clemson; (2) Ohio State; (3) Alabama; (4) LSU; (5) Oregon; (6) Georgia; (7) FLORIDA;(8) Oklahoma; (9) Penn State; (10) Notre Dame; (11) Texas A&M; (12) Auburn; (13) Oklahoma State; (14) Wisconsin; (15) Michigan; (16) Iowa State; (17) Cincinnati; (18) Boise State; (19) Minnesota; (20) Baylor; (21) Memphis; (22) North Carolina; (23) Iowa; (24) Texas; (25) Tennessee.
Dennis Dodd: (1) Clemson; (2) Ohio State; (3) Alabama; (4) LSU; (5) Oklahoma; (6) FLORIDA; (7) Oregon; (8) Auburn; (9) Georgia; (10) Notre Dame; (11) Minnesota; (12) Penn State; (13) Texas A&M; (14) Michigan; (15) Wisconsin; (16) Louisville; (17) Texas; (18) Cincinnati; (19) Memphis; (20) Boise State; (21) Iowa; (22) UCF; (23) Baylor: (24) Arizona State; (25) North Carolina.
(5) Transfers, going pro, new coaches and hanging around: Steve Spurrier Jr. is following Mike Leach from Washington State to Mississippi State. He will coach the wide receivers … Former UF quarterback Feleipe Franks is visiting Arkansas. He could easily step into a starting job there … Texas A&M running back Cordarrian Richardson has entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal, leaving Jimbo Fisher with but one scholarship running back … Clemson backup quarterback Chase Brice is hinting that he could transfer to Georgia …Oklahoma State stud running back Chuba Hubbard is going to return to Oklahoma State … Auburn has hired former Louisiana Tech head coach and NFL assistant Jack Bicknell Jr. as its offensive line coach … Former FSU tight end Tre’ McKitty is a grad transfer to Georgia … South Carolina linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Coleman Huntzler is leaving for the same role at Texas.
GOOD QUOTES FOR TUESDAY
Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence on losing for the first time as a college QB after a 25-0 beginning as a starter: “It sucks. The worst thing is that, this group of guys, I’ll never get to play with them again. I’m gonna miss ‘em a lot, especially the guys up front and some of the wideouts. But you have to have faith in the journey. Everything happens for a reason but it sucks to go out like this.”
Andy Staples of The Athletic on the improbable path of LSU’s Joe Burrow to record-setting Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback: “Meanwhile, Joe Buirrow had to be unwanted by his dad’s school (Nebraska) so he could wind up at his home-state school (Ohio State), where he had to be beaten out by a future first-rounder (Dwayne Haskins) just before he graduated and earned the right to transfer and play immediately at his second school (LSU).”
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich has taken over as the HBC at Washington State. Was he dropped on his head way too many times as an infant? You leave paradise for Pullman? I don’t care of Wazzoo is Pac-12 and Hawaii is Mountain West. If you’re going to leave Hawaii at least leave for some place with lower odds of (a) being eaten by a bear or (b) fewer than six months of serious cold complete with butt-deep snow … A federal lawsuit has been filed against Penn State, football coach James Franklin and former Penn State player Damion Barber by former player Isaiah Humphries, who claims he was subject to hazing.