College Football As Thanksgiving Dinner
Oh it’s that time again when you gather around the table with the people you know and mostly despise to
discuss, argue, scream incoherently about immigrants, LGBT rights, racial tension, an advancing Caliphate, and the latest episode of Scandal. No, it’s not another presidential debate, it’s Thanksgiving.
Football and Thanksgiving are cosmically intertwined so eat up and then gather around and watch large people run into each other at full speed...Black Friday comes but once a year.
Turkey: Les Miles
People do a lot of things to turkeys these days. You can cook it in the oven, smoke it, deep fry it, or as the Pilgrims and Native Americans did at the first Thanksgiving--stuff two other deboned birds in it and wrap it all in bacon. All of these preparation methods apply to the current state of Les Miles whose career in Death Valley is all but over. LSU has lost three games in a row, and despite Miles winning a national championship in 2007, the Tigers’ inconsistency these past few years means a new coach will be in Baton Rouge next fall.
Mashed Potatoes: Iowa’s Schedule
Soft, mostly white, somehow someone spilled some corn in it; Iowa’s schedule is the most innocuous dish on the table. The Hawkeyes are undefeated at 11-0 and ranked No. 4 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. But how much of that is due to Iowa’s mostly mediocre schedule? With their biggest wins coming against Wisconsin and Northwestern, Iowa’s strength of schedule is ranked 65th in the country which is one of the worst for a Power Five conference team. They will have a shot to prove their worth in the next couple weeks when they travel to Nebraska on Saturday and face Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship next week.
Made up with a mixture of different things yet somehow still really good, Baylor just keeps on rolling even with the loss of two quarterbacks. Last week’s victory over an undefeated Oklahoma State in Stillwater was made even more impressive when third string quarterback Chris Johnson was forced into action yet still delivered 138 yards and two touchdowns in the second half alone. If the No. 7 Bears have any chance to make the CFP, Johnson will have to continue to make plays as Jarrett Stidham is now out for the year with a broken bone in his ankle.
Nobody really knows how or why it is there but for some reason it is on the table. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good for the most part, but it is probably unnecessary in this setting. Some people really like it but it mostly goes uneaten and then thrown in the trash. Okay, this isn’t really about Oklahoma, I just don’t feel ham is needed on Thanksgiving.
It’s not thanksgiving without pouring gravy over everything, and it’s not college football without Alabama blowing out everybody they play. Since losing to Ole Miss back in September, the Crimson Tide have won their last eight games and have outscored their opponents 276-89. Nick Saban is so focused right now he probably wouldn’t notice if he someone switched out his ubiquitous bottle of coke with a gravy boat.
Cranberry Sauce: Several Teams Trailing the Top 4 in the CFP Rankings
All bloodied, squished together, and a little sour: Michigan State, Baylor, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina have but only a single loss to their names but are in the unenviable position of being potentially left out of the Playoff. Like cranberry sauce, they’re all good teams but few would complain if they didn’t make the final cut.
It’s been a really sweet season so far for Clemson and Dabo Swinney as they are undefeated and in the driver’s seat of the CFP. Quarterback Deshaun Watson might very well take home the Heisman next month and the Tiger’s defense is currently fifth in the country in total yards allowed. But beware Tigers…by the end of the night, everybody wants a slice of pie.
As Marshawn Lynch once said, "I'm thankful."
Well said Marshawn, we all should be plenty thankful. These could be dark times ahead, so hold your turkey close and your football closer.