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Moving the Chains


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 30, 2020 - 2:59 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 .

In the Big 12, Iowa State – 23, Texas – 20. The win keeps the Cyclones in the driver’s seat in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Longhorn coach Tom Herman is just thankful that he didn’t end up in someone’s trunk after losing a game they led for almost 59 minutes. (Hello, coach Saban. This is the Chris Del Conte, the AD at Texas. Got a second?) Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger – perhaps the most-hyped mediocre player in the history of college football, or at the very least since Todd Marinovich – had his team within field goal range in the closing seconds. Ehlinger had time to run one last play before the kick, and the only thing he couldn’t afford to do was get dropped for a sack. So, he got dropped for a sack. The subsequent 57-yard field goal, as expected, missed; wide left.

Baylor, on the other hand, made their field goal as time expired to beat Kansas State by a point, 32 – 31. Oklahoma State outlasted Texas Tech, 50 – 44. TCU slaughtered Kansas, 59 – 23, giving the Jayhawks a slight edge over Vanderbilt as the worst team in the nation.

In the Big 10, the First Tier (Ohio State) had the week off. Not intentionally, but rather due to Covid. At this point in the season there is a chance the better teams in the conference won’t have played enough games to be eligible for the conference championship. There is a convoluted system of determining what takes place if that happens, but it’s too complicated to explain here as it was, apparently, designed by the same group of people who convinced the president that votes weren’t properly counted.

In the revolving door that is the Second Tier (Iowa in 2015, Minnesota last year), Indiana (a 27 – 11 winner over Maryland) and Northwestern (a 29 – 20 loser to Michigan State) now have identical records of 5 – 1, and may be facing off in the Championship game in December unless the Buckeyes (at 4 – 0) can win another couple of games before then.

In the Third Tier Bowl, Penn State – celebrating the one-year anniversary of its last regular season win – beat Michigan in the Big House, 27 – 17. Don’t be surprised if the Detroit Lions’ Matt Patricia isn’t the only head coach in Michigan to be fired over the holidays.

In the ACC, Clemson – or more precisely Trevor Lawrence, returned to action in a 52 – 17 victory over Pittsburgh. *Lawrence passed for 403 yards and two touchdowns, adding to his Heisman credentials, only it be may too little, too late.

Florida State, for the second week in a row, canceled its game against a visiting team a few hours – literally, a few hours – before kickoff. This week’s victim was Virginia; last week it was Clemson.

News flash for the next team scheduled to play the Seminoles in Tallahassee: Fool me once…

Notre Dame overwhelmed a pesky North Carolina team in the second half in a 31 – 17 win. Irish quarterback Ian Book’s improvisational skills remind me a lot of Doug Flutie during his glory days at Boston College, which is the only positive thing I have to say about a team that won’t commit to playing in a conference on a permanent basis.

*Lawrence’s performance paled in comparison to the one turned in

by Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson:

he rushed for 409 yards and a record-tying EIGHT touchdowns

in a 70 – 41 victory over Kent State.

In the SEC, the weekend’s matchups were particularly appealing. On paper, anyway.

In the Iron Bowl, #1 Alabama pummeled hapless Auburn, 42 – 13. I’m not going to waste another second discussing it.

Florida beat Kentucky, 34 – 10, that featured the return of Gator tight end Kyle Pitts, who had been out of action since suffering a concussion earlier this month against Georgia. Update on the Fire (alleged Gator defensive coordinator) Todd Grantham Bandwagon: in the first half head coach Dan Mullen lit into the fat tub of goo on the sidelines in an exchange shown on television that later received a plethora of replays on the internet.

It appears the Bandwagon finally has a conductor: welcome aboard, Coach Mullen. In the first half, Kentucky’s offense controlled the ball for more than 23 minutes; the Gators had the ball for less than seven. Speculation is that Mullen, realizing Gator quarterback Kyle Trask can’t win the Heisman sitting on the bench, was fed up with Grantham’s inability to get the Wildcat offense off the field.

Texas A&M had such an easy time against LSU that the Aggies didn’t even bother taking the field in the fourth quarter. Even with that, the Tigers still were only able to put up just one touchdown on the scoreboard. Final score: 20 – 7, and it would have been worse had the Aggies not been lulled to sleep well before halftime.

Georgia 45, South Carolina 16. Gamecock interim head coach Mike Bobo lost for the second consecutive week, so now the question is, who’s next? Bulldog quarterback J.T. Daniels wasn’t throwing the ball like he did last week in his outstanding debut, but then again, he didn’t need to.

In the Egg Bowl, Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels defeated Mike Leach’s Mississippi State Bulldogs, 31 – 24. The quarterbacks of the two teams combined for 825 yards in the air, about par for the course for the two offensive-minded coaches. As a matter of perspective to the 440 yards in the air in the game by the Mississippi State quarterback: rush-oriented Georgia Tech hasn’t thrown for that many yards in a season since 2008. As a matter of perspective to Jaret Patterson’s 409 rushing yards: teams coached by Leach haven’t rushed for that many yards in total during his 20-year career. (The last two statements may need to be fact-checked, just not by the people in charge of the Big 10 Championship.)

Vanderbilt lost again, this time to Missouri by 41 points. The Commodores made history with the debut of the first female football player in a Power 5 Conference when Sarah Fuller kicked off to begin the second half. Maybe, just maybe they can score in their next week and Ms. Fuller can attempt an extra point. Just don’t hold your breath (not that Ms. Fuller can convert an extra point, but that Vandy can score a touchdown).

The Pac 12 games all finished late, and I was asleep before any of them were over. But I did see that Oregon State knocked Oregon from the unbeaten ranks, but only because the game was played Friday night and the score flashed across the screen all day Saturday.

Finally, this from my friend David: The Pinstripe Bowl was canceled due to virus concerns to the disappointment of exactly no one.

From my perspective, there are at least two dozen other bowl games that could apply to as well.

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 .