On one of the best days of college football, I took in all the conference championship games, every last one of them meaningful and relevant, from the best seat in the house. My house.
So while wondering how many guaranteed zeroes are in Jimbo Fisher’s new Texas A&M contract — I’m told his fully guaranteed, 10-year, $75 million contract doesn’t even include bonuses for championships and bowl games — I’ll be interested to see how many math professors bemoan the outlandish money bestowed on these mercenary coaches and how many college football players get thrown under the bus for leaving those same schools early. Also curious how many Division III coaches the Tennessee Rolodex will spit out. (Google Rolodex, millennials.)
Here’s how the day unfolded:
8:49 a.m. — I’m sure Scott Frost is already committed to coaching his alma mater and returning to Nebraska, even though the former Cornhusker quarterback could be in the running for better jobs at Florida State, Oregon and, oh, just about anywhere. A close friend and I agree Wisconsin is the new Nebraska while Nebraska is the new … Illinois? What’s sad is there is no good way to conduct these searches while the season is ongoing, but no one should feel sorry for the coaches.
8:57 — Chairman Kirby Hocutt told Rece Davis absolutely nothing newsworthy on “GameDay” and said the College Football Playoff selection committee will operate with a “clean sheet of paper” Saturday night and Sunday. Riiiiiiiiiight.
9:28 — Such a genuine, touching story about David Saville, Clemson’s equipment manager who has Down syndrome. One of many reasons Dabo Swinney is my favorite coach. Saville has it right. “It’s all about attitude.”
11:01 — Really like Memphis’ icy-cool unis. Very spiffy.
11:10 — Terrific UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin recovers an early fumble. Doesn’t have a left hand. I remember when he was here for a high school all-star game, and I interviewed him for a column. Neat kid. Inspiring story.
11:28 — I’m wondering if Baker Mayfield is a little off his game. Didn’t drill a single Horned Frog during warmups. Almost fell out of my chair when Fox analyst Matt Leinart called Mayfield “humble.”
11:31 — Love TCU’s high-gloss, shiny purple helmets.
11:39 — Play-by-play guy on ESPN calls Akron defensive coordinator Chuck Amato “probably the youngest-looking 71-year-old coach in college football.” Just curious who’s in second place.
11:55 — On board with Lincoln Riley’s early gamble with a fourth-and-2 call at the TCU 42. Sets an early tone. Nick Saban told me once he did that when he was at LSU early in a game and said he felt the players grew in confidence because their coach believed in them.
12:13 p.m. — Really impressed with Manchester United’s defense against Arsenal. Oops, sorry. Hit wrong channel on remote.
12:19 — Thinking of our discussion in the office this week. Put Baker Mayfield on this year’s Texas team, and what’s the Longhorns’ record? I’m thinking 10-2. Maybe better.
12:32 — Barbecue chicken pizza for lunch.
12:34 — Tight call on a punt by Akron about whether it crossed the goal line. Is there any reason they can’t put GPS chips in footballs to make those calls easier?
12:51 — John Diarse makes the catch of the day — or month or year — for the Horned Frogs. Terrific reception.
1:03 — No Heisman pose, Baker? Has someone kidnapped the real Baker Mayfield? Maybe the new Baker is humble.
1:18 — My favorite holiday commercial during these football games is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra car ad. The Sonic commercials always win as the worst.
1:32 — Saw tweet that Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson wants to transfer now that the Rebels have a postseason ban for next season, too. School was cited for lack of institutional control but wants to control where Patterson goes and refuses to allow him to transfer to any opponent on Ole Miss’ schedule the next two years or an SEC school. Perfect example of the hypocrisy of college athletics. Do not hold these students hostage. Where are their rights? He’s not looking at Texas, by the way.
2:34 — Never seen four delay-of-game penalties against a team in one game, as we witnessed against Memphis.
2:58 — Central Florida wins a 62-55 AAC title game with a defensive play, an interception, of all things.
3:48 — Ridiculous roughing-the-passer penalty against Georgia. Bulldogs defender was called for landing on top of Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The guy’s supposed to redefine gravity?
5:11 — Love Kerryon Johnson’s want-to. Auburn back’s a warrior for playing hurt. Gus Malzahn has a better chance of winning big at Auburn than he would if he leaves for rebuilding Arkansas.
5:51 — Georgia’s running game clearly made the difference. It has a luxury of running back riches. If No. 1 Clemson wins against Miami later, I’m guessing No. 3 Bulldogs will be No. 2 OU’s semifinal opponent.
6:15 — Still expecting Longhorns in Texas Bowl against Mississippi State or Missouri. Jimbo’s plane leaves Florida at noon Sunday, will meet regents, boosters at reception that night. What’s for dinner?