The College Football Weekend Review

It’s not even November, and already we have three very coaching vacancies at top Universities around the country. Southern California, South Carolina and Miami all have openings. The most notable job opening is that Southern California fired Steve Sarkisian two weeks ago. He was replaced on an interim basis but offensive coordinator Clay Helton. This is the second time Helton has served as the interim head coach and based on how the USC performs under his leadership he ought to be a strong candidate to have the interim tag removed. He deserves the head coaching job. Five days after being named interim coach, Helton’s squad put up a strong fight at Notre Dame and then came back this past weekend to beat blowout third ranked Utah. When Helton was the interim coach two years ago, he led the Trojans to an easy bowl game win against Fresno State. While Helton may not have the big name, the players play hard for him every game. At the USC of the east, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier stepped down two weeks ago. The South Carolina job is an excellent one. They have great fan support and the best high school football players in the country are all within a few hundred mile radius of the campus. There will be some outstanding candidates for this job. Years ago, Miami was considered to be one of the better football coaching jobs in America. That is no longer the case. While other football powers in the southeast have spent millions upgrading thoer football facilities, Miami facilities are among the worst in the ACC and SEC. They are the only SEC or ACC school that doesn’t have an indoor practice facility. Why does a school like Miami need an indoor facility? Two reasons, in 2014 Miami had about 15 practices days lost or shortened because of rain. The other is recruiting. Recruits are always thrilled with top facilities in which to perform. The other main problem Miami has is attendance. There is no on or near campus stadium for the Hurricanes to play in. They have to travel 25 to 40 miles to Sun Life Stadium to play their games. The result of this is they play in a stadium that is often half empty. Not only is this a downer to players and coaches, but it results in less cash to be used on the program. Miami does not have the money to compete for the upper echelon coaches. According to the latest USA Today survey of coach’s salaries, Miami was ranked 42nd. The big name coaches are going to go to the schools that can pay them $4 million or more, not the $2.5 Million that Al Golden was receiving. Unless there are drastic changes made at the school, the days of Miami competing for National Championships are over. The College Football Playoff The more I look at it, the more I think that come College Football Playoff time there may be only one and perhaps no undefeated teams that are selected for the four team field. Looking at the remaining power teams, LSU, Ohio State, Baylor, TCU, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Clemson remain undefeated. All have some very difficult games in the next six weeks. Three of the final four LSU games are very difficult. They have to play at Alabama and Ole Miss and have a tough home game versus Texas A&M. If they get through those they still would have the SEC Championship game to contend with. While there are currently three undefeated teams in the Big 12 (TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State), they all still have to play each other before the season ends. On top of that, each of those three team’s also has to play once beaten Oklahoma. At best one team gets through the schedule unbeaten and I feel that is highly unlikely. When it comes to playoff time, the Big 12 gets hurt by not having a Conference Championship game and no team plays a strong defensive game. In the end, that will hurt the conference just like it did a year ago. Ohio State and Michigan State are unbeaten in the Big Ten (as is Iowa), the two schools have to play each other on November 21st. If Ohio State beats MSU, they still have to get by Michigan in Ann Arbor. If Michigan State wins there is a strong chance the Big Champion will be undefeated. While anything is possible, I don’t feel Iowa has a chance against the winner of the Big Ten East in the Big Championship game. Clemson may have the best chance of getting into the playoff undefeated as their only tough game between now and the ACC Championship game is November 7th versus Florida State. Clemson will have an advantage in that game being they are playing at home. Once these unbeaten clubs suffer a loss, the once beaten teams come back into the picture. What does this mean? It means November will be a very memorable month in college football this season. Realistically, there are still about 15 teams that still have a good chance of reaching the playoff. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Upcoming Games