Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why I'm NOT Going to The Orange Bowl and Death to Conference Championships!!!


Kudos to the commenters!!!  I’ll keep a closer eye on the comments in the future and try to respond in a timely fashion.

Don’t forget to vote for the Hot Seat Mascot!  The Play-In Games were a little thin and it seems like there’s only a couple of you out there deciding who will be the 2016 Hot Seat Mascot of the Year!

From this point on is a rant.  Be Warned.

So, I started doing some math and was trying to figure out how to get the ole family down to Miami for the Orange Bowl.  The first stop was the Michigan Alumni Tour web Page.  As seen below:

 


So a three day family vacation would empty the old wallet by $8,916, assuming two children and two adults.  That’s WAY OVER my pain threshold for Family Travel and Entertainment. 

So I did a little investigating.  Delta flights for the same period were running anywhere from $1,000-$1,200, depending on flight departure time and # of stops.  That too, quickly became a non-starter with respect to what I’ll pay for a plane ticket going….anywhere.

Adjusting dates and increasing the length of the stay to 5 days, in addition to going with the cheapest Horse, Cattle & Freight Air Carrier out there (Spirit) got the flights down to $575.  That’s not too bad!  Considering the location we’re headed and the time were travelling I thought the premium was reasonable and worth it. 

VRBO.com produced several condo options on the beach either in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood or Miami for a very attractive $160-$175/night. 

A rental car for 5 days clocked in at $550 (I know – ouch).  But again, premium time and location.

So, multiply some of that by 4 and add all that up and you come up with

Flights:                                   $2,300

Local Transportation:             $550

Lodging:                                $875

Game Tickets:                       $480

TOTAL:                                 $4,205

That’s actually right in my wheel house!  I figure that anytime I can take a family trip with all the attractions included for around $1,000/day it’s a good trip!  So why didn’t I feel good about spending this money on my family?  Because I didn’t feel good.  So I tried putting my finger on what was bothering me.  Of course, that money is being spent in the state of Florida and also going to a bunch of Orange Bowl officials that have done nothing more than print up some tickets, brochures, programs and other stuff that probably costs them peanuts.  And the only reason I was going to Florida was because Michigan was there….

AND THEN, I began thinking about this whole Bowl thing…And it started to piss me off.  The Detroit Lions are on the verge of making the play-offs.  The ticket prices on Stub-Hub for play-off games start at $263 and $390 respectively. Lion Fans will get to see their team on their HOME FIELD if they win the Home Field Advantage.   


And if Michigan were playing a Home play-off game in Ann Arbor last weekend, I would have been willing to spend about 4 times face value for a ticket, or around $400. That would be $1,600 for the family. And the money would be going directly to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and staying in the state of Michigan.  Yes, some of that money would have to go to which ever University Michigan would be playing, but that’s okay.  The opposing team should get something from the gate and also TV rights.  And if Michigan wasn’t playing at home, well, I could always road trip to the Team they were playing.  That would be interesting and probably not as costly as a bowl. 

But the idea of supporting an antiquated system and what amounts to a meaningless Bowl Game at this point simply rubs me the wrong way.  Ergo:  We’re not going to Miami.

I’m ready for a College Football Play-off that’s real and meaningful.  This past weekend we had 2 Conference Championship games that were MEANINGLESS to the overall CFP rankings.  The SEC and B1G had NO IMPACT on the CFP.  Bama was in regardless of the outcome of the SEC Game and the B1G champ was never getting in because of the suckeyes.  The ACC and the Pac 12 Championship had some impact, but in the end, nothing changed in the CFP as the results were “as predicted”.  What’s even worse:  Both Clemson and Washington were “in” before the Conference Championship games and could ONLY DROP IF THEY LOST!!! They were better off calling in sick and saying, “Hey – we’re good!!”

SuperFan commented on the Blog (THANKS!!!!) that if we went BACK to the old system and started the 4 team play-off from those results, you’d have this:

I say just return to the old Bowl format as the first round of the playoffs. Then a 4 team playoff after that. How would that have panned out this year?
Rose-PSU v Wash
Sugar-Bama v suckeyes
Orange-Ok v Clemson
Fiesta- MICHIGAN v USC (could swap M and suckeyes)
Cotton- W vs Buffs - The Cotton Bowl would serve as the longshot bowl. So if one of the four top bowls was a poor performance by both teams, resulting in an undeserved or unimpressive win, then the Cotton winner MAY get the nod IF they had an impressive performance.
This seems to take care of all reasonably likely outcomes. BIG v PAC 12, SEC v at large, ACC v Big 12, and the Fiesta and Cotton serve to give worthy non-conference champs a way to recover from failing to win their conference.

Also, please explain in detail how your NFL style playoff would have worked using this year as an example.  I am certainly not opposed to an extra home playoff game, but not sure how this would be implemented.  Would these be forced inter-conference match-ups?  Who decides who plays at home?

SuperFan’s proposal helps define who the best 4 teams are, BUT now you’re playing a LOT MORE FOOTBALL GAMES in far-away locations and in multiple college semesters (that would be two to three additional weeks of college football).  And a total of 16 games (?) if I’m counting correctly for the NC teams (that would still include Conference Championship games!).    It’s ending later than January 9th and there will be more games in more exotic locations.  I’m not sure I want that…  There’s no way the average fan could even come close to supporting their team through all that….So, no, that won’t work.  Good idea, but not feasible from a timing, money, student athlete health (and future career considerations), safety and fan affordability standpoint. 

Where am I going with all this? The College Football format needs an overhaul.  We don’t need or want more games.  12 regular season games for Student Athletes is plenty – and in some cases, too many.  However, when Conference Championships have two teams from “divisions” that aren’t even the best two teams in that conference, there’s a problem.  And in the case of the B1G, Michigan defeated both teams that played in the Conference Championship.  That’s messed up.  Step 1 of the solution:  Get rid of divisions and get rid of Conference Championships.

Then what?  Well, for starters, as we’ve now freed up an additional weekend (the first weekend in December), I’m ready to expand the CFP to either 6 or 8 teams.  6 would be a logical step, but my guess is Michigan would have been screwed yet again as Oklahoma would have got the 6th spot and Michigan would have been bumped to the 7th spot because “no conference championship”.  In this day and age where it’s impossible to play a round robin conference season, I’m not sure what a conference championship even means.  So 6 teams sucks.   

Regarding why conference championships are meaningless:  Consider this- Georgia will only play Texas A&M twice in a 12 year span.  Yet Georgia will play ACC opponent and rival Georgia Tech 12 times in that same 12 years.  Does that make sense when you’re trying to decide who should be a conference champion? 

The B1G has a similar situation with Iowa and Iowa State.  Those two play EVERY SINGLE YEAR but Iowa will only sees cross divisional rivals twice in an 8 year span. 

Solution:  Eliminate two or three non-conference games.  You can have 1 non-conference game (that doesn’t count against your play-off consideration) against another Power 5 school.  Play 11 conference games.  The teams on top with the best conference record at the end of the season are the Champions.  Keep the CFP as is and let the committee decide on who the best 8 teams are. 

That’s it.  Will there be teams that still get screwed?  There’s no question that somebody will still feel like they’re getting hosed.  But the fact that conference members don’t play each other for years is silly and needs to stop.  And the Bowls are still in the mix (unfortunately) and there are still two that are meaningful.  Well, three, I guess, with the National Championship. 

In response to Super Fan and what this season would have looked like with 8 Teams (and no Conference Championships – It’s simple, really.  I took the liberty of assuming that a 3 loss USC team would look more attractive than 4 B1G Teams getting into the play-off, (but I have it as an either or)  And I still think the committee would have flipped flopped osu and Clemson to not have a repeat of The Game 1 week later.  Meaning Michigan would have been playing in Clemson rather than Columbus a 2nd time: 
 
 


 

To better illustrate the meaningless-ness of Conference Championship games – I used both the CFP ranking AFTER the Conference Championships and the one right before, the teams are roughly the same and only the order changed.  With Conference Championships, the play-off will have to be played either on the same day as Army-Navy or the following week (December 17th).   However, using the Ranking prior (and eliminating the Conf. Championships), Michigan as the #5 seed would have been playing on the road in Washington.  Which is fine.   In the 2nd scenario (without Conf. Championships), the same amount of games played in the same amount of time and the same dates they play now (for most teams in the play-off) and finish the season at the same time it finishes now. 

Okay…I’m done with that for this season!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fresh Oranges Are Better For You, Anyway...




I know that sounds like sour grapes (and maybe it is) but the Orange Bowl is nothing to sneeze at.  Michigan knows it had every opportunity to be in the CFP and they didn’t capitalize when they needed to.

I will admit that I didn’t watch the selection show or any of the Sunday Hoopla on ESPN, but I was e-mailed and texted about the absolute BS that ESPN commentators were saying about Michigan.  Whatever.  I think Everyone knows that Michigan was 1 play away (in two different games) from being in the CFP. 

And that’s really all that matters.  One play away and they’re not in.

I still think, if you’re Washington, that you need to be worried that you’re about to get slammed by one of Satan’s best teams ever (at least on Defense) and you’re New Year’s is going to be over before it ever really gets going.

So – this was texted to me: 

Would 6 teams in made that big of a difference?  Meaning:  Michigan as the 6 seed would be playing the three seed for a shot at the 4-5 winner?

Great question.  And I sort of wondered the same thing.  I’m going to assume for a minute that the committee would have REVERSED the order of the 2-3 teams to NOT HAVE an immediate re-match of Michigan and the suckeyes as the 3 and 6 seed in the Horseshoe two weeks after the game of the century (number LXXVII).  So, Michigan, in my mind, would have been about a 10 point favorite over #3 seed Clemson on a neutral field.  But, assuming that the CFP will go to home field 1st round games, Michigan would have been traveling to Clemson this weekend to play the Tigers.  As a slight road favorite (maybe 3 points).  And PSU would have to travel to Washington to play (and lose, most likely?) to the Huskies. 

In my mind, Michigan is replaying the suckeyes (again, assuming no re-seeding) on December 31st in the Fiesta Bowl and maybe – MAYBE getting into the final with Bama. 

So, to answer the question:  Yes, I think 6 teams would have made a difference this season, much like 6 teams would have made a difference last season.  But only in one case – that is Michigan beating Clemson in the first round. 

Michigan’s an early TD favorite against the Seminoles and I see that line dropping down under 7 in the following weeks as the talking heads yak up Jimbo Fisher’s team.  Unfortunately, FSU’s Bowl record isn’t great in recent history and the Seminoles might be looking at the Orange as a consolation prize more than Michigan.

It’ll be fun to watch all the footage of the last time Michigan was in the Orange and Touchdown Tommy made Alabama look silly with a passing game that convinced the world (if you were paying attention) that Tommy should have been the season long starter (and only player) in 1999 and Michigan would not have lost three games that season.  I’m looking forward to re-watching that game on BTN Classics at some point. 

Later this week I will post the MMQ’s Bowl Watching “Puke Factor Index” with Spread’s and Picks!

The Rest of the Mess

Bama vs. Gatorland:   Bama won by a kazillion and the SEC blows chunks with the exception of one team.  That team may itself lose a game yet this season…but Michigan had the best chance of unseating the Tide….

Clemson vs Va Tech:  Hats off to Va Tech making this a game.  I was pulling for them all the way, but the defense let the hokies down one too many times…

Washington vs Colorado:  I thought the Buffalos would play Washington a little closer than that and maybe, just maybe, Washington does have what it takes to beat Satan’s Warriors if they can catch them looking ahead. 

PSU vs Wiscy:  PSU comes back in an instant classic that has Herbstreit anointing them as the “Best Team in the B1G 10”.  Really?  What about that 49-10 blow-out in Ann Arbor, Kirk?  And Wiscy’s reward for losing the B1G Championship?  The Cotton Bowl against Western?  Really?  That seems like a long way to drop for Wiscy….

The 5 Stages of Slappy Fan Grief – Will Return Next Season!!!

Idle Thoughts from Saturday - Will Return Post Bowls!

THE MMQ’s “I DON’T NEED A COMMITTEE!”

Will return next Season!!!

The Hot Seat

It’s HERE!!!!

The 2016 Hot Seat Mascot Play-Off is HERE!


Some of you complained that we weren’t voting for the Hot Seat Mascot of the week, and I explained that it was much like the CFP coming out early and it isn’t fair to the Hot Seat Mascots that come in later in the season.  This is the most democratic way I could figure out and the voting is going to go quick. 

I selected 10 HSM’s out of the 14 available to be in the finals, because I’m my own committed.  They’ve been seeded in no particular order and the voting begins today on the play in games.  I will keep the polls for the play in games open until Wednesday, Midnight.  Then, the Elite 8 voting will be open from Thursday to Monday, the 12th.  Final 4 voting will start Monday the 12th and continue through Monday, the 19th.  On the 19th, the Championship Voting will begin and I will leave that open until the Championship game on January 10th. 

ZAPPED List

We’ll keep track of who’s gone as the season progresses….

  1. Miles and Cameron – LSU Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. 
  2. VanGorder – Domer D-Coordinator. 
  3. Ron Turner – FIU. 
  4. Hazell PURDUE!
  5. Tim DeRuyter – Fresno State. 
  6. Charlie STRONG- Texas. 
  7. Helfrich – Oregon.  Saw it coming….
  8. Kevin Wilson – Indiana.   Yes – this one surprised me but related to Player Safety and other issues.  I know, not on the Hot Seat List…..
     
    Electric Chair of Death Seat!

  1. Kelly and $warbuck$ - Till Next Season!!!

The Hot Seat – Beginning Next Season!!!

  1.  Rich Rod – Arizona. 
  2. Todd Graham – ASU
  3. Butch Jones – Cremesicles. 
  4. Kirby Smart – Georgia.
  5. ANTONIO, MARK – Sparty
  6. Sumlin  Texas A&M. 
  7. Muschamp – South Carolina 
  8. Mike Riley – Nebraska
  9. Malzhan – Auburn

Short List of Available or Desirable Head Coaches

  1. Jimbo Fisher –SEC or Texas Job?  ….
  2. Kiffin – Somebody will hire him.  Might as well go for broke…
  3. PJ FleckRowing the Boat….for Purdue?
  4. Willie Taggart  - Oregon????
  5. Les Miles AVAILABLE FOR HIRE – Spent the Weekend in Michigan!!!
  6. Mike Leach – The Pac 12 is taking notice!!!
  7. Dan Holgersen – IS he available?
     
    And HIRED!!
     

  1.  LSU – Ogeron!  Aleva figures as long as he’s paying Miles, he can’t afford another $5M Coach.  He’ll stumble along with Coach O, but if Coach O falters in 2 seasons, he’ll be out of a job!
  2. Texas – HERMANN!  Did anyone not see this one coming?  Than you haven’t been reading the MMQ!

Side NFL NOTE:  Lions, with the victory over the Saints that NO ONE SAID THE LIONS COULD GET, are 8-4 and 30:1 per Las Vegas to win SB!!!    Can you believe it???

 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

FMQ Championship Week!!!


It has been a fun season, to say the least.  When your team is relevant, the season goes by a LOT FASTER than when you suck…So sparty and the domers had a nice, long enjoyable Fall of 2016…No pun intended!

In the coaching carousel, Oregon surprised me (a little) and dumped Helfrich, a Chip Kelly disciple and will be searching for a new head coach for the first time in 40 some years (that didn’t come from within the ranks).  That surprised me.  That and the fact that Helfrich will get $11M in his buyout this year and if Oregon would have waited until after next season, they would have only paid $3.5M.  But when you have Phil Knight lining your pockets, money for coaches is no object.  The question still remains – who are they gonna’ get?

 

The FMQ

The Championships!

Last week wasn’t terrible, but Michigan and osu getting to the OVER kind of screwed me.  That parlay would have been nice.  The results:

 


So, on to the Championships!

Friday!

Washington vs. Colorado (+7.5)

This game is a tuffy.  I like Washington and have seen them play, but I also know that Colorado is playing at the top of it’s game, also.  I think Colorado may have had a slightly easier schedule coming down the stretch, however.  But does that mean they can’t keep it close against the Huskies?

Take Colorado and the 7.5  for $40

SATURDAY!!!!

Florida vs. Alamaba (-24)

Strangely, I had this spread at about 4 TD’s based on Florida’s average PPG and Bama’s average PPG.  Vegas thinks (I guess) that Gatorland’s defense might be able to contain Bama’s offense?  But what about Bama scoring on Defense?  I may have to do something I hate to do and lay big points in what I see ending up as a big blowout….

Take Bama and lay the 24 for $20

Clemson vs Va Tech (+10)

Va Tech is playing REALLY GOOD FOOTBALL right now and the evidence was there when they destroyed a pretty good Virginia team last week.   10 points seems like a gift in this one and I can’t ignore it. 

Take Virginia Tech and the 10 for $40

Row the Boat vs. ohio (+18)

In what will be PJ Fleck’s penultimate game on Saturday, I don’t see the Broncos getting wet vs the pesky ohio Bobcats.  Fleck is going to finish the regular season with a flourish and coach a football game on New Year’s Day down in Dallas….

Take the Broncos and lay the 18 for $75

Wiscy vs PSU (-2.5)

So, here we have two teams that Michigan and the suckeye are 3-1 against.  Yet, somehow, both these clowns are in the title game.  This irks the ever living shit out of me and somehow, I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that Michigan was one first down (in two different games) away from being in this game.  That being said, and the way one team is trending,

Take PSU and the 2.5 for $30

Parlay!

Parlays pay 6-1

Va Tech – Bama - Western:  $20

Va Tech – Western – PSU:  $20

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The CFP, Final Grades and the MMQ's


It's that time of year when there’s nothing left but window dressing bowls for teams that don’t make the CFP which means it’s time for the MMQ grades and the MMQs!  But First,

The CFP

Talk about your INTRUIGING plot twists!!! So, at #5, Michigan is still in the middle of the mess!  Amazing, but not so much when you really think about it.  Michigan has victories over 3 teams in the Top 10, which can’t be ignored!!  Wiscy has one victory over a team in the top 25.  PSU has one victory over a team in the top 10 (osu).  One of them will improve to 2 victories this weekend, but not exceed Michigan’s Top 10 Win totals.  If Washington or Clemson loses, regardless of who wins the B1G Championship, the Committee is more or less saying, “We’re NOT going to have a repeat of last season where we totally screwed up and DIDN’T put a superior suckeyes team in the CFP (that destroyed the Domers in the Fiesta Bowl) and instead, put in a sparty team, that won the B1G Championship, but turned out to be a really bad team - in the end.  And they totally embarrassed themselves on national TV.  In addition, we REALLY screwed up putting in an Oklahoma team (that couldn’t play a lick of defense) over a Stanford team that DESTROYED their B1G 10 opponent (Iowa) in the Rose Bowl.  Nope – NOT GONNA’ DO THAT AGAIN.  And we don’t care who we piss off in the process.”

And you can bet that some folks in Happy Valley and Madison are going to be PLENTY PISSED OFF about that result if the winner Saturday doesn’t jump the team that beat them both (Michigan).  But the Committee appears poised to do just that. 

And I’m not sure that’s entirely a bad thing (and I’m speaking objectively here– HONEST!!!).  Does PSU or Wiscy want to go into the CFP ala sparty in the 4th slot only to be demoralized by Bama?  Look what happened to sparty this season after that humiliation.  Me-thinks that the committee is looking to the past with both eyes wide open as to which team can compete against Bama (based on coaching and overall statistics) and at least give the audience a game instead of a 4 hour blow-out of mega proportions.  Which is probably what you’d get with either Wiscy or PSU. 

So, Clemson and Washington both have to win.  If one of them loses….CHAOS!!!!

The Grades

Michigan Offense:  C+  I was going to give this a D based on what I thought were pretty good reasons, but then I looked at Bill Connelly’s SP+ Rankings after the last game.  Michigan is still in the top 30 overall offensively (28th), and the number 2 team overall SP+.  That’s pretty good, but nowhere near A or B work, but definitely better than the D I originally planned.  If Michigan was in Indy for the B1G Championship and a shot at the CFP, this grade would be different. (For those of you not familiar with the SP+ rankings, Bill does a great job of adjusting all stats for opponent level, “meaningful game time” stats vs. garbage minutes at the end of the game, etc.)  Probably the best stat site out there.

Michigan Defense:  A+  I’m not sure what more they could have done and what more we could have asked.  Michigan maintained it’s overall #1 rank in the SP+ on Defense which is why Michigan has been able to hang on to the overall #2 rank for the season.  This defense was plenty good enough to win a Championship, but the offense failed them too many times…. And of course, there’s this: 

http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/112916aad.html

The entire Defense was recognized and received all B1G 10 Honors.  Each and every player.  So, yeah, I guess an A+ here is warranted by the ole MMQ! 

Special Teams:   B   Why the B?  While JP was the real deal on returns, I’m not sure he took advantage of each and every opportunity he was presented with.  And while his performance was better than B work when he did make returns, I have to look at what could have been.  Also, kicking in general gave us some grey hair early in the season, but then Allen seemed to right the ship.  Iowa definitely cost the special teams a half grade (punt coverage team) and could have changed the outcome of the season. 

Coaching:   B   While the pre-season prep time was clearly something this team needed, 4th quarter performance in games that mattered was a major issue.  And some of that has to fall on the coaching staff and the guy calling plays.  As I stated earlier, sparty last year, Iowa and osu were all winnable games.  One first down at critical times in all of those games results in a “W”.   Good coaches need to figure out how to call those games at the end, get that first down, and win them.  The B or B+ was there, just get one first down in either of those critical games this season.    

Overall:  B   A 10-2 season is nothing to be ashamed of, but when expectations are so high and you have only defeated one of your rivals, well, it’s a problem.  I guarantee you Coach Harbaugh knows it and will work hard to fix it in the future. 

The MMQ’s

Every year I come up with some awards for outstanding players, coaches, teams and whatever other what-not that I feel are worthy of an MMQ award.  In no particular order (and because I just like making stuff up as I go), here we go!

The MMQ for Best Game of the Season:  Michigan vs. osu.  I considered a couple of others, (actually, not really) and this game by far topped them all.  2nd place was probably the Clemson-Louisville game that went down to the final seconds, but for sheer stakes on the table, all or nothing, leave everything on the field, it has to be Michigan-osu.

The MMQ Game We THOUGHT was the Best Game of the Season:  domers vs. Texas wins over sparty vs. domers.  Turns out that Labor Day game for the ages was a bunch of shiny things wrapped up in pretty paper that had absolutely no substance to it what so ever, in the long haul.  Ditto that sparty –domers game that was simply a battle of ineptitude, as it turned out.  Strong’s gone, Kelly’s looking and neither team has much to hang their hat on this season. 

The MMQ Player of the Year (that won’t win the Heisman):  I’m a little biased on this one, but I do think that Jabrill Peppers is the most exciting player to watch in college football.  Defensive End Jonathan Allen from Bama also controls games and is a handful for any team he faces, but for sheer excitement when he touches the ball, I’m giving it to Peppers.

The MMQ Coach of the Year:  PJ Fleck.  I was torn on this one, I really was.  Fleck has set records in the MAC and given Western Michigan something to talk about for generations to come.  I wanted to give it to Harbaugh (again, bias) but losing the way Michigan has lost is somewhat on the coaching staff.  Other coaches strongly considered were McEntyre (Colorado), Franklin (PSU), Peterson (Washington) and Chrsyt (Wiscy).  Where Fleck ends up after next Saturday will be interesting to see, and my money is on Purdue right now. 

The MMQ Dumpster Fire inside of a Tire Fire Team of the Year:  This one is SO HARD.  Three candidates immediately jumped to mind:  sparty, domers and Rutgers. (Also considered:  Arizona, Texas, Purdue, BC, and UCLA.)   Seeing as how everyone kind of knew that Rutgers was a disaster heading into the season and everyone is giving Chris Ash at least 5 seasons to right the ship, I can’t put them in first place.  NOBODY saw the disasters at sparty and the domers coming, but which one is worse?  Sparty has to play in the B1G East and they also beat the Domers rather decisively.  The domers opponents this season are barely playing 0.500 ball, meaning that the domers had a fairly easy schedule.   And while the sparty record at 3-9 is worse than 4-8, that heads up victory has to count for something.  And Anthononio isn’t actively looking for other gigs, as far as we know, unlike Kelly, who wants to bail on the sinking ship.  WINNER:  The Domers it is. 

The MMQ Team of the Year:  While it’s easy to give this to an undefeated team and Bama seems like the logical choice, I’m leaning a slightly different way.  Everyone kind of expected Bama, Michigan, osu, and Clemson to be pretty good.  But there’s a team in the Pac 12 that is really good and will probably give fits to the rest of the Pac 12 for years to come.  WINNER:  Peterson’s Washington Huskies are a great team and still have a shot at winning the Pac 12 and going to the CFP.  And NOBODY predicted that pre-season.

The MMQ for “What Could Have Been” Season:  Again, it might be too early to hand this one out as we still have a weekend of football left. (especially if Clemson or Washington lose)  But not everyone is playing and the CFP is probably pretty set with regards to who’s in and out.  Several teams are in the running for this one:  Wiscy, PSU, osu, Colorado, USC, Okie State and Michigan.  I have a very funny feeling that only 1 B1G team gets in and it’s not going to be the one that everyone THINKS is going to make the CFP.  Michigan’s losses (by 1 and 3 points) and osu’s loss (by 3 to PSU) are clearly the closest losses for the teams considered.  Michigan decisively beat Colorado, Wiscy and PSU, so they’ve been eliminated from consideration.  If osu is left out of the CFP for the 1-loss to PSU (assuming it’s Bama – Clemson – Washington – PSU/Wiscy winner) than osu can claim the award.  Otherwise, it’s Michigan.   

The Most Poorly Officiated Game of the Year:  Again, another close one, but I do have a personal bias on this one.  Candidates:

Michigan vs. osu:  reasons have been stated and are obvious

Okie State vs. Central:  Recall the play at the end of the game that SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED and was due to an officiating screw up where refs were suspended for two weeks.

While I’m still bitter about the subjective officiating calls that were and were NOT made in the Michigan-osu game, the Central-OSU game has to be the winner.  In what could be an easy decision to simply say the last play didn’t count, take the points off the board, the NCAA (and Las Vegas) isn’t allowing it.  Crazy.  

The MMQ for the Most Overrated Conference of the Year:  Anyone else besides the SEC in this discussion is a non-starter.  Clearly a conference that started with 8 teams in the top 25 (and 5 in the Top 10) pre-season to only have 1 Top 10 Team in the final rankings is worthy of this award.  I know all about the Big Xii, but they weren’t supposed to be that great to begin with.  However,

The MMQ for the Most Disappointing Conference of the Year: Can easily go to the Big Xii.  They stink on ice and Texas and Oklahoma are leading the way with that stink.  The Big Xii’s non-conference record was also atrocious, giving them this award hands down.  Not to mention wasting all of our time with expansion that never happened.

The MMQ for the Worst Coaching Performance of the Year:  This one is close.  I’m not sure any of these coaches quit (maybe one), but they certainly didn’t do themselves any favors with things they said and did during the season.  This award came down to coaches that are still active.  IF you got canned somewhere along the way, I’m eliminating you from consideration as you’re already history.  This award has to go to a coach that will be back on the same team next season (and as of this writing, hasn’t been fired), and probably in the top 5 as far as the Hot Seat goes.  In no particular order: 

Butch Jones – Cremesicles were unanimous favorite to win SEC East, and blew it.  Not only that, but losing to a lousy Vandy team to end the regular season has the torch and pitchfork crowd fired up. 

B. Kelly – domers were a top 10 pre-season team with 1st round QB

Dantonio – sparty was a pre-season top 15 team with plenty of returning talent

Smart – Georgia was not a dumpster fire and the cabinet wasn’t bare. Should have been a 9 win floor for Smart… 

Rich Rod – 5th season on the job and he goes 3-9 after being a dark-horse pick pre-season by some observers?

Grobe – is he even coaching Baylor or just letting the assistants run the show?  Baylor on a 5 game skid after starting 6-0.  To be fair, Grobe doesn’t even have to be fired as he told the AD he’s done after the bowl game. 

Chris Ash – lost by a combined 228-0 to Michigan, osu, and PSU.  Even for a first year, that’s not good…

And the winner is:  Kelly.  I know it sounds like I’m always picking on the guy, but he is the only coach on the list that calls his players and assistant coaches out for not executing or playing good enough to win.  My guess is that a lot of schools have seen that as well, which is why his nosing around for another job didn’t go so well.  The biggest reason for him winning the award:  I asked myself if I had to take coaches off this list to fill vacancies, who would be the last one I picked (Grobe excluded)?  Rich Rod right before Kelly were the last two. 

The MMQ for the Well That’s Fabulous Moment of the Year:  Again, close.  Okie State-CMU was considered, firing the winningest head coach at a school in the SEC was also considered, and playing a football game in a hurricane that could have been played on Sunday was considered.  A couple of those have already received awards, so I’m giving this one to Hurricane Bowl.  And the fact that the domers tried to pass the ball like the heavy stuff wasn’t going to come down for quite awhile!!!

MMQ for the Most Improved Team of the Year:  Always tough, but without question the coaching change that Clay Helton made at QB for USC had a tremendous impact on that teams performance.  And after watching a lot of the USC Washington game, there’s not a coach in his right mind that would WANT to play USC right now.  That’s improvement. 

The MMQ for the Most Non-Football Related Issue that Occupied Our Time:  It’s close, and items considered were Baylor sexual abuse, Targeting Rule Discussion(s), and Big Xii Expansion.  Winner:  Big Xii Expansion.  Tired of listening to it and talking about it.