While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. College football’s warts come front and center this time of year. First, schools should fire head coaches immediately after deciding to do so, not a week or two weeks or a month later and especially not when Bret Bielema is walking off the field after his final game. That’s as distasteful and unprofessional as it gets. Have some guts and do it the right way so coaches and players are not in limbo. Secondly, allow players who get a new head coach to transfer elsewhere and play immediately. It’s the right thing to do. Along those lines, do not criticize players for going pro early and skipping their bowl games. I don’t care for the trend, but it’s going to increase and players have to do what’s best for themselves when they are months away from becoming a professional and risking serious injury in bowl games.
2. I’d vote for one-loss Alabama over a two-loss Ohio State to get into the Final Four if the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in their Big Ten title game. The Crimson Tide passes the eye test and the Buckeyes can’t erase the stain of their eyesore 31-point loss to Iowa and crushing defeat by Oklahoma. I wouldn’t totally blame Alabama for its poor strength of schedule because it was brave enough to schedule then No. 3 Florida State in the opener and it’s not the Tide’s fault that the SEC is so down this year. It’d be tough for a potential Big 12 champion two-loss TCU to jump a one-loss Alabama since the Horned Frogs fell to Iowa State and Oklahoma and the Tide lost only to possible SEC champion Auburn.
3. It’s time to let Jason Garrett go. He’s a good guy, a smart guy and a true Cowboy, but I’m not sure what all he brings to Dallas in terms of football savvy, halftime adjustments and, oh yes, charisma. We don’t have to go to the videotape to see Garrett’s impact is negligible. The fact that the Cowboys went from Super Bowl contender to NFL team impostor with the loss of simply one dynamic player in Zeke Elliott underscores the need for Jerry Jones to make a change. Jerry should check his list of 500 coaches who could do the job and go after someone like Nick Saban with a blank check.
4. The Texas basketball team, which hosts Florida A&M on Wednesday, lost a tremendous RPI opportunity when it squandered a 16-point lead over No. 1 Duke. Maybe it will get some NCAA selection committee love for playing the Blue Devils so close. Longhorns coach Shaka Smart said, “There were some tears. … But I think they also felt like there were some good things we did, and we didn’t necessarily play an A-game for us.”
5. The abundance of replay reviews has grown to the absurd level, but Big 12 officiating supervisor Walt Anderson tells me, “That might be the perception, but it’s not reality.” I think those games approaching four hours with such interminable delays are seriously hurting college football, but Anderson says Big 12 games have averaged 3.1 stoppages compared to 2.2 as the national FBS average. Big 12 reviews have averaged 1 minute, 38 seconds, compared to the national average of 1:18. As for targeting calls, those enforced fouls are up nationwide with 177 (132 last season). The Big 12 has had 23 called with 11 being reversed on replay.
6. I’d like to see pass interference become reviewable although it’s not under Rule 12 of the college rulebook. Allow each college and NFL coach one challenge per half on pass interference calls. Maybe have ‘em throw a green flag. Such penalties are so punitive and have such a critical impact on the outcome of games that coaches should have some redress. Anderson said, “It’s been a very short discussion by the rules committee (in the past). But I’m on the record saying I wouldn’t have a problem to go to an all-challenge system. Let people challenge whatever they want to.” As Anderson said, “It could be an 80-yard penalty in the NFL. It always gets a few votes in the competition committee, but it never gets enough to pass it out of committee. But it would not surprise me somewhere down the road if it’s added.”
7. Interesting that LSU was crushed when it lost out on Houston’s Tom Herman and had to settle for Ed Orgeron. Orgeron’s LSU Tigers did lose to Troy but beat giant-slayer Auburn and finished 9-3, and Herman’s first Texas team is a mediocre 6-6. Which fan base is happier now? … Did you notice that Saban apologized for not coaching up his Crimson Tide better after Alabama lost to Auburn? It’s always, always smart to take the high road and act humble, even if you have more skins on the wall than anyone. Didn’t see that out of Herman following the inexplicable loss to Texas Tech. He should have learned from Mack Brown, who raised the post-game apology to an art form.
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Longhorns touchdown machine Cody Johnson, who ran for 36 scores in 51 games. Last week’s target, former safety Ricky Churchman, lives in Richland, Wash., and works as the controller and director of finance and accounting for Lockheed’s Mission Support Alliance that provides services to cleanup contractors. He has a very athletic 13-year-old son, Jake Austin Churchman. “I had to get Texas in there somewhere,” he says. He’s a quarterback/strong safety like his father, but he was throwing 65 mph as a 12-year-old and might be an even better catcher.
9. I’m nominating “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” for Best Picture of the Year. Frances McDormand is the second coming of Meryl Streep. This is a dark, at times very heavy film with few laughs, but the acting is superb. Gave it nine ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Saban will leave Alabama and be the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from Nov. 30, 2016 — that the Houston Cougars would hire Les Miles. Which didn’t happen, of course.