The Newnan Times-Herald

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Moving The Chains


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 19, 2019 - 7:27 PM

Moving The Chains

Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia. His latest book, “Southern Charm” is a collection of his first 101 columns for The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at magicludwig1@gmail.com .

1. Question: Which team with a record of 4-6 is the most disappointing: UCLA (suffering a 49-3 defeat at Utah) or Michigan State (a 44-10 loser to Michigan)?

The nod goes to UCLA, as head coach Chip Kelly would cost the university $9 million if they decided to part ways at the end of the season, while a similar move with Mark Dantonio at MSU would be a relative bargain at $875K.

For perspective FSU shelled out $17 million to fire coach Willie Taggart, approximately 17 times the amount of the school president’s annual salary.

2. Georgia State lost to Appalachian State, 56–27 but remains the best football team in Atlanta as Georgia Tech, the other team in town, was annihilated 45-0 by Virginia Tech.

3. Washington State and Stanford combined for 71 points, 110 pass attempts and over 1,000 yards through the air. Basically the Pac 12 got a taste of what life is like in the Big 12.

4. Speaking of the Big 12, the most exciting game of the weekend was Oklahoma rallying from a 25-point deficit to beat previously undefeated Baylor, 34 – 31. The first half featured a Heisman-worthy performance by Bear quarterback Charlie Brewer as well as the unceremonious concession of the award by the Sooner’s Jalen Hurts, who then turned around and threw his hat back into the ring by leading an offense that controlled the ball for practically the entire second half of the game.

Look for these two teams to meet again in the Big 12 Championship in December, but don’t expect to see either of them in the four-team playoff to determine the National Champion because…

5. …those four spots will go to the SEC champion (LSU), the Big 10 champion (Ohio State), Clemson (there is no need to mention the conference since the only team worth mentioning is in fact Clemson) and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Pac 12 champion (Oregon). How does Alabama fit into all of this? Simple: round hole, square peg.

6. So how does a team—Alabama—that won their game against Mississippi State by five touchdowns fall from grace? Let me count the ways: (1) they lost their starting quarterback for the rest of the season; (2) they’re still licking their wounds after last week’s home field loss to LSU; (3) head coach Nick Saban is taking a lot of heat—justified or otherwise—for both; and (4) in my opinion I believe most of the country is tired of hearing about how great Alabama is (real or imagined).

As I said last week, there will not be two teams from the SEC in the playoffs this year, particularly when the DST (designated second team) this season is the Crimson Tide, who won’t even be playing in their conference championship game.

7. Why is the Heisman—and all of the other major individual awards in college football given before the most important games of the season—the playoffs and bowl games are played?

8. Speaking of the Heisman, since they’re going to award it too early anyway go ahead and give it to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow who threw for almost 500 passing yards and five touchdowns against Mississippi in a 58-37 win in Oxford. LSU needs to be concerned about its defense, however after giving up more than 600 yards to the Ole Miss offense, including 212 yards on the ground to their quarterback.

In the ‘too little too late for the Heisman’ department, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 204 yards and a touchdown in a 37-21 win over Nebraska. Perhaps there should be a ‘career Heisman’ for players of Taylor’s caliber: a junior in his third season he’s played in 37 games, rushed for 5,634 yards (152 per game and 6.7 yards per carry) and scored 46 rushing touchdowns.

As a University of Florida alum, I find those numbers intriguing as they appear to be comparable to the sum total of the Gators’ running attack for the past decade, only the average yards per carry is closer to 6.7 feet.

9. When #16 Notre Dame beat #21 Navy in South Bend 52-20, it was the first time the Fighting Irish failed to sell out a home game since 1973. As it has been pointed out several times in this column, Notre Dame is simply not ready for prime time. Perhaps it’s time for them to put on a pair of big boy pants and join a conference.

Here’s an idea: Clemson takes Missouri’s spot in the SEC that would open up a spot for the Irish in the ACC. Missouri would then be free to join the Big 10 or the Big 12, preferably the former since the latter mandates that a team score in double digits once in a while.

10. The most creative sign I’ve seen on ESPN’s Game Day all season was one held by a Baylor fan featuring the likeness of HGTV’s Chip Gaines and ‘It’s Demo Day’ plastered on it.

An Oklahoma fan (weakly) countered with one of his own: ‘OU hates shiplap.’ Baylor may not have won the war, but they certainly came out on top in the battle of signs.

Score of the week (and quite possibly all of 2019): Evansville – 67, Kentucky – 64. OK, so this was technically a basketball game, but anytime Coach ‘One-and-Done’ Calipari’s team loses is a good day in college basketball. The fact that the Cats were rated the Number One Team in the Country at the time makes the loss Absolutely Priceless.

And finally, a nod to one of the announcers at Fox calling the Steelers-Browns game Thursday night for his commentary with eight seconds left in the game when a Browns player pulled the helmet off the Steeler quarterback and slammed him on top of the head with it.

The announcer said something to the effect that it ‘had no place in football’ and that he was ‘sorry (the viewing public) had to see it.’ Meanwhile the producers at Fox showed about a half-dozen replays of the incident, several of them in slow motion.

As for the repercussions for the reprehensible behavior, how about Cleveland having to forfeit their win? Incidentally, if you missed seeing that particular play (or one of the numerous replays) on Fox, you had plenty of chances to see it on ESPN the following day; it received more coverage than the impeachment hearings was getting on any of the 24-hour news channels.

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Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia. His latest book, “Southern Charm” is a collection of his first 101 columns for The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at magicludwig1@gmail.com .