2017 College Football Re-Rankings

Reranking the New Year’s Top Ten Teams

(originally posted on espn.com)

Not only do we now have two finalists for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T and a clear No. 1 and No. 2 heading into Monday’s game (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) between Alabama and Clemson, we also have a completed season for everyone else.

We know more now than we did on Dec. 4, when the CFP selection committee laid out the semifinals and the rest of the New Year’s Six bowls, decisions that weren’t devoid of controversy at the time. That means we can rework the speculation of the final CFP rankings into something that is (slightly) more objective, as the two human polls will do on Jan. 10.

So here’s a reranking of the 12 teams selected for the New Year’s Six bowls.

1. Alabama

The struggling passing game sent up an itty-bitty red flag, and it’s difficult not to raise an eyebrow at offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s sudden departure for his new job and the elevation of Steve Sarkisian. But the result of the CFP semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl was nonetheless a decisive 24-7 takedown of Washington. The Crimson Tide are the defending national champions, and as they look to become the first 15-0 team in college football history, they are the kings until someone else takes the throne.

2. Clemson

The Tigers’ 31-zip domination of Ohio State was spectacular football in all phases. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and his team seem to be peaking at the right time, riding late-season momentum after they suffered their only defeat, a stunner to Pittsburgh. It’s not difficult to make a case that Clemson is a more complete team than Alabama. It’s also not difficult to wonder what Watson might do for an encore in a championship rematch against another outstanding Crimson Tide defense, particularly with receiver Mike Williams healthy and available this year. Clemson can propel itself upward one spot with a fairly obvious accomplishment Monday.

3. USC

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to the Trojans winning truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see — a 52-49 thriller over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, decided on the last play — but we’re promoting the Trojans over two playoff teams. Only Alabama and Oklahoma can eclipse USC’s nine-game winning streak, which also includes a win over Washington and a team that beat Ohio State (Penn State).

4. Penn State

Maybe it’s an emotional reaction to Penn State’s gutty effort in losing truly one of the most entertaining games you’ll ever, ever see, but we’re promoting the Nittany Lions, too. Here’s a guess we’re not the only ones whose opinions of this team are higher today after a bowl loss than they were before the Nittany Lions took on USC. And, well, they are the Big Ten champs.

5. Ohio State

Making a distinction between Ohio State and Washington is difficult, particularly with the Big Ten and Pac-12 being mostly bad-to-mediocre in the postseason and both teams getting whipped in CFP semifinals. The edge here comes down to the major criticism of the Huskies all season: their nonconference schedule. You can’t ignore that the Buckeyes posted the most impressive nonconference victory this year: a blowout win at Oklahoma, the Big 12 and Sugar Bowl champ.

6. Washington

The Huskies’ defense proved it was ready for prime time against Alabama, holding the Crimson Tide to 17 offensive points. The Huskies looked like just about everyone else against the Alabama defense, however, which was bad. While you could make a case that things might have been more competitive without several notable miscues, that can be said about just about every game. Washington proved itself as a good team this year, but it’s not yet in Alabama’s class.

7. Oklahoma

The Big 12 champs’ whipping of Auburn in the Sugar Bowl gave the conference a solid, perhaps partially vindicating, 4-2 bowl record. The Sooners took care of the No. 2 team in the SEC, and their in-state buddies in Stillwater stomped the Pac-12 South Division champ, Colorado. The Sooners’ much-maligned defense dominated Auburn, which might inspire some snarky “SEC offense” talk.

8. Florida State

The Seminoles provided the second-most-entertaining game of the postseason with their 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Deondre Francois‘ 12-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray with 36 seconds left was the money play, but the money player was Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Seminoles’ win should make up for a “down” 9-3 regular season and propel them toward another run at the ACC title next year.

9. Michigan

The Wolverines are back in Big Ten and national contention under coach Jim Harbaugh, no doubt, but the bottom line of this season is they lost three of four when it mattered most. Great teams find ways to win. Michigan found ways to lose at the end of the season.

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers could have embarrassed themselves by not taking Western Michigan seriously in the Cotton Bowl, but they took care of business in a 24-16 victory. The Badgers ended up as the Big Ten’s fourth-best team, but that still earned them a final top-10 ranking here. That said, our decision to drop the Badgers three spots despite their bowl win is in response to the CFP selection committee’s irrational exuberance for the Big Ten, which went 3-7 this bowl season.

I Think I’m Gonna Be Sick

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The man with the best bracket and most points racked up among the 3 million brackets submitted to Yahoo sports made a terrible, terrible mistake.  He forgot to pick a champion.

$50,000 in prize money on the line, and he did not pick a champion.

James Kiki’s nailed some early upsets, he had seven of the Elite Eight teams correct.  He has a perfect Final Four.  He is tied with two other people for first overall, just three games away from a $50,000 grand prize.  James Kiki will not win. Here is his bracket.

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Kiki told Syracuse.com.

Ready to get even more upset?

Kiki, a South Sudanese refugee who works for a nonprofit in Syracuse, says he’d never filled out a bracket in his life, and only did so because he saw he could win $50,000.

But he was challeneged by Yahoo’s somewhat unintuitive picking system.  Kiki says he forgot about his bracket—“I’ve been watching the games, but I didn’t even know what teams I picked”—but only realized how well he had done, and how he had screwed up, when he was flooded by messages from other Yahoo users telling him how stupid he was.

I think I’m gonna be sick.

NCAA Opening Weekend 2016 Was The Best EVER

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In the poetic words of the quadrophonic-Blaupunkt philosopher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh“I want to give him the heat and announce my presence with authority!”

The opening weekend of the 2016 NCAA Tournament could not handle the “heat” or the “authority” that would be announced to us all between Thursday’s opening morning session games and the final horn of the last game on Sunday night.

From the very first tip-off, the looming quaff of embarrassment and humbling defeat filled the arenas as well as our TV sets.  It was obvious that no higher seed was safe, no chair would be left un-turned, no dog un-scratched, no cat un-ignored (cause seriously, who gives a shit about cats) and no human being unimpressed.

Capped off with the MOST INCREDIBLE COMEBACK in the history of college basketball on Sunday when UNI lost a 12 point lead to Texas A&M in the last 40 seconds which ultimately lost them the game.  This has LITERALLY never happened before:

But before we get too deep into Sunday, let’s talk about everything that lead to that culmination of cold-blooded-ness.

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Thirteen total upsets (according to seeding) occurred in the first round of the tournament, matching the most ever in tournament history.  If the 2-handed dunk by Cincinnati’s Octavius Ellis as time expired had been 1/16th of a second quicker, there would have Fourteen upsets in the first round of the tournament and cats and dogs would be living together in perfect harmony with humans as their pets as the world would be plummeting into an alternate reality (Trump’s poodle for President 2016 – Bark The Vote).

Middle Tennessee State took down Michigan State in the first round!  Michigan State was the predicted NATIONAL champion of about one-quarter of ESPN and Yahoo! brackets submitted.  Who the hell is Middle Tennessee State!?!?!?  They’re the winningest college basketball program in the state of Tennessee over the last five years…….yes, I’m serious (123-49).  That’s who the hell they are.

This year’s 10 wins by double-digit seeds is the most in NCAA tournament history (there were nine in 2001 and 2012) — this comes in the third year since the NCAA overhauled how it seeds the tournament (great work fellas) as it seeks to place teams where they naturally belong, bucking the trend of rules such as when conference teams can meet in the tourney, which often required movement of a team up or down (again, solid work guys).

Wichita State was a play-in game, but somehow after stomping Vanderbilt 70-50 they became an 11-seed and matched up with Arizona (6-seed) in the first round??  I STILL need someone smarter than me to explain that gorilla-math.  How does a play-in game become an 11-seed?  There are conference champs that are 14, 15 and 16-seeds?

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But I digress, Wichita State shouldn’t have been a play-in game.  They should have been an at-large bid and been seeded accordingly.  They proved me right by handling Arizona (over-seeded) 65-55 in the first round.  Only to meet there demise by an every-game-improving Miami Hurricane squad.  Seriously, if you don’t know about Jim Larranaga’s boys down in South beach…..you’re on notice now.  They’re the real deal, the next round will be heavyweight punch-fest with Villanova.  I’m talking drunken-hillbilly-haymaker fight that lasts a week.  Nothing but HUGE punches thrown and nobody going down (they can’t feel pain, cause drunk hillbillies are magical creatures….like Bridge-Trolls or Orcs).

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Stephen F-ing Austin.  Seriously, where the hell is this school?  No one knows, even wikipedia has a giant question mark with a half-smiley face come up when you search for Stephen F. Austin.  Yet somehow the 14-seeded Wrestle Mania fan-school beat 3-seeded West Virginia, who was EVERYONE’S “sleeper” Final Four team (ok, admittedly that was a big sub-reference for a bad and obvious joke, Wrestler: Steve Austin to University of Higher learning Sephen F. Austin, gimme a break, I don’t get paid much for this shit).

The 4th-seeded Cal got stoned and forgot to play against 13-seeded Hawaii.  Two of the four total 14-seeds won in the first round, two of the four total 12-seeds won in the first round and one of the 15-seeds won in the first round.  Ok, ok now I’m just sputtering out of control……reel it back in.

Second round action:

Notre Dame met up with Stephen F-ing Austin in round two (fight!), leading to another last minute, last second, last breath before death winning shot:

That was the only bucket of the game for Notre Dame freshman Rex Pflueger (?), who is averaging 2.5 ppg and hadn’t made a field goal in a game since the Fighting Irish’s regular season finale against NC State on March 5…….March…..(dramatic pause) Madness.

(7-seed) Wisconsin over (2-seed) Xavier made my head explode and even made Bill Murray look sadder than Chevy Chase:

The former greens-keeper turned pro, about to become the funniest meme in recent history:

FINALLY we’re to the Northern Iowa game.  Ok, here’s the set-up:  UNI won it’s previous two games with last second buzzer-beaters….read that again.  They won they’re conference tournament with a last second buzzer beater:

Then they upset (6-seed) Texas with an UNBELIEVABLE half-court shot to win it:

Goosebumps.  Straight goosebumps.  Northern Iowa has more luck than the Irish and more piss and vinegar in their veins than an Italian bare-knuckle boxer.

Fast-forward to late Sunday afternoon, Northern Iowa is now taking on (3-seed) Texas A&M.  The Panthers (awesome) are in control leading 69-57 with 44 seconds left in the game, looking like yet another giant-beater story is about to unfold.  It was at this point that UNI decided to quit playing defense or rebound the ball or even inbound the ball safely.  I’ll let the video speak for itself:

The Aggies made six field goals in the final 34 seconds of regulation, the same number they made in the entire first half.  This lead to 2 overtimes and an eventual win for A&M, what will be forgotten is the fact that UNI had the game won in the first overtime and then lost 2 of their main players to fouls.  But none of that will matter, this is now the “how to:” video example forever on how to NOT close out a game out correctly.  Northern Iowa is the Shakespearean tragedy of a basketball team over the last 2 weeks:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

  (as we all roll our eyes at the jarring amount of pretentiousness in quoting Shakespeare whilst talking college hoops)

An incredible first four days of the tournament, an UNREAL beginning to the greatest time of every year.  Just like a terrible horror flick, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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NCAA Tourney Update

At about 330pm pacific time, every college basketball bracketeer on earth collectively yelled out profanities after watching the Yale 1%ers upset the Baylor Yellow Highlighter Markers 79-75.  

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Makai Mason had a career-high 31 points, including six of Yale’s final nine points, and the No. 12 seed Bulldogs held on to upset 12th-seed Baylor.  Yale (23-6) earns its FIRST EVER NCAA Tournament victory. It comes in its first appearance since 1962.

Then, the greatest, “Popovichian” postgame answer to an ass-clown reporter’s question about rebounding:


Fast-forward to just 10 minutes ago and we have another BIG-TIME #12 over a #5 upset!  Two overtimes, a double-digit deficit overcome late in the second half, a buzzer beating three-pointer to send it into the first overtime and there you have it.  The University of Arkansas-Little Rock has taken down the Purdue Boilermakers 85-83 with Derek Fisher (UALR Alum) in attendance.

Insert your Pur-DON’T joke here.

RESULTS THUS FAR:

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St. Patty’s Day Irish Whiskey Rankings

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Two things we love on this perfect mish-mash of a highly alcoholic-cultural day with the greatest basketball day in sports history: Irish Whiskey and March Madness.

Here’s 11 great reasons to throw-up today and call in sick tomorrow:

  1. Paddy; $20, 80 proof

Paddy’s from Cork, if that sort of thing means anything to you, and it’s triple-distilled, as are most Irish whiskies. It’s very smooth and easy to drink, though a bit light on flavor, with hay and Triscuits atop a bit of nutmeg and not much else. Paddy is fine whiskey, particularly for the price, and it’s probably the strongest last-place finisher in any Drunkspin ranking. Sorry, Paddy, but we can’t all win. Or finish second-to-last.

  1. Kilbeggan, $26, 80 proof

Kilbeggan is slightly better than Paddy due to a deeper flavor profile, with some sweet corn and cinnamon notes that make it one of the more bourbon-like of the Irish whiskies in this lineup.

  1. Teeling Small Batch; $37, 92 proof

This was partially aged in used rum barrels, and it shows. I like rum, but the molasses and vanilla flavors were overpowering, without much real whiskey character underneath. It tastes objectively pleasant, though: rummy and slightly floral.

  1. 8. Jameson; $28, 80 proof

Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in America by a preposterous margin. It outsells second-place Bushmills by more than 10 to 1. That’s crazy, sure. But just because its market dominance isn’t justified by a strict qualitative accounting doesn’t mean Jameson sucks: This isn’t a Irish Jose Cuervo situation. Jameson smells like vanilla, candied orange peel, lemon, and pepper; it’s simple and clean but assertive enough to be worth the effort, and you should absolute accept it every time it’s offered.

  1. Bushmills; $25, 80 proof

Bushmills is from Northern Ireland. I like it because it tastes like apples, toast, cinnamon, and wet pine bark, with a light tropical hint underneath.

  1. Glendalough 7-Year Single Malt; $40, 92 proof

This is the entry-level bottling from one of the newest Irish distilleries, founded in 2011. It tastes somewhat harsh, boozier than 92 proof ought to, but I was won over by the relatively complex flavor profile featuring sweet orange, lemon, cinnamon, pear, pistachio, and wood.

  1. Powers; $32, 80 proof

Powers has a unique chocolate, cherry, and caramel flavor, along with cinnamon and a touch of clove.

  1. Tullamore D.E.W.; $28, 80 proof

So the D.E.W. represents an old distiller’s initials, which is nice, but feel free (by which I mean, feel obligated by decency) to pronounce it “Dew.” It opens with a strong, sweet vanilla and butterscotch aroma, with cherry and faint pine needle notes emerging with time. And this is weird, but hear me out: I swear I pick up a little mustard seed? Good stuff.

  1. Jameson Gold Reserve; $70, 80 proof

Of course it’s good, it costs $14 a gulp! But, price gripes aside, the caramel apple, cinnamon, vanilla bean, oak, indeterminate spice, and light toffee work very well together, and I’ll happily drink this any time someone else is buying.

  1. Tullamore Dew Trilogy 15-Year; $75, 80 proof

Another super-deluxe model, this one is a blend of whiskies aged in sherry, bourbon, and rum barrels. It tastes like butterscotch, orange blossoms, maybe even mango, definitely cashews, and smoked honey. It’s bonkers and delightful, and I would likely feel that way even if they hadn’t sent me a small sample bottle.

  1. Redbreast 12-Year; $55, 80 proof

Sweet and spicy, with vanilla, black pepper, plum, anise, and molasses. I will very rarely advocate that Drunkspin readers spend this many of their own dollars on a single bottle of liquor, especially one that’s only 80 proof, but here’s a plan: Get yourself a bottle of Redbreast and have two ounces on the 17th of every month for a year. You’ve done so many worse things with $55.

Two And A Half Minutes Of A Terrific Waste Of Time

This video is for every single person/kid/adult-when-drunk-at-a-park that has ever recreated a buzzer beater with no one watching.

We’ve all done it in our driveway at some point, “3……..2………1………the shot is up……….IT’S GOOD!  IT’S GOOD!”

Is watching a grown man at an empty park, in the rain, recreate 13 different March Madness classic buzzer beaters with actual footage edited in a waste of time?

Yes, probably.

Should you be doing something more productive today?

Yes, probably.

Will you watch this again a second time and now fall deep into the youtube pigeon-hole of classic buzzer beaters and NCAA March Madness and then cry uncontrollably as you enter the realm of “One Shining Moment” montage videos over and over again for the next hour?

Yes, definitely.

March Madness is officially here.

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March Madness – How To Get Out Of Working All Day

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Here is the official March Madness bracket, in case you don’t have time to do any googling on your own.

‘s Tournament time once again, and with three No. 1 seeds and some big names getting play started on Thursday afternoon, chances are you’ll want to watch the games while you’re away from your house or your nearest television. Fear not, as it’s easier than ever to watch every game without being near a television.

All NCAA Tournament games can be streamed online with NCAA March Madness Live. There’s also an NCAA March Madness Live app for iOSAndroidWindows 10Amazon, and Roku, so you can watch every game, even if you’re not at home or near a TV. March Madness Live has also added Chromecast support this year, so there are more ways than ever to get the game onto the TV.

It should be noted that March Madness Live requires authentication through your TV provider login. You can also check out the games through online television providers like SlingTV and Playstation Vue. Those services also require a signup, but you don’t need to go through a standard provider.

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Nuts and Bolts, Nuts and Bolts; Boise State Got SCREWED

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Even as a local Coloradoan, I can say confidently that we got away with one here.

Last night in an entertaining mid-major college hoops feet of strength, the Boise State Broncos seemed to have pulled off the miracle buzzer-beating win over the hosting Colorado State Rams.  The Broncos’ James Webb III hit’s a bank-shot three pointer with just 0.8 seconds left to play to seemingly give the Idahoians a huge Mountain West conference win on the road from the planet Hoth (Colorado).

BUT (huge ass on this one), when the zebras went to the monitor to review the last second hot-potato, they determined that the clock did not start at the exact moment when Webb III received the ball, and therefore ruled that he did not get the shot off in under .8 seconds.  Now if you’re a man of science, or just common sense, you may ask how the refs got to this conclusion, how did they determine the lag time in the clock starting?  They used the same tool that your girlfriend/wife throws in your face every Friday night to determine if you provided them with the “satisfaction” of a good night sleep……a stop-watch.

Here is the shot in slow motion, notice the clock above the basket:

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt weighed in last night with his two-cents.

And now for the twitter-verse to take control and ruin every referee’s life for the next week:

A real-life reliable way to determine how long it took Webb III to get that shot off is to break down the video of the shot frame by frame, which is completely possible to do in real time during the game.  Webb III held the ball for 17 frames before releasing it, which is equal to 0.57 seconds.  BOOM, done and done.