4-Down Territory: Officiating Controversy, Your Team's 2020 National Title Hopes and More...
1st Down: Strike A Pose: The season isn’t over but already players around the country are using bowl victories to talk on social media about being National Title contenders next year. Talk is cheap and no one ever won a title on social media. What is clear is that getting to and winning the college football playoff requires a defense that is at least good if not flat out great. But maybe more importantly it requires a quarterback with durability plus mental and physical toughness. Exhibit A: LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow who just lit up Oklahoma. Exhibit B: Watch the Fiesta Bowl and ask yourself if your quarterback is as tough as Ohio State’s Justin Fields or Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Both of them, Lawrence in particular, took a physical pounding and kept getting up off the ground to keep competing. Look at your team’s quarterback and ask if you have that guy under center. If you don’t then your National Title talk is premature to say the least. Can’t say enough about how impressive the two quarterbacks in that game were. And that brings us to……
2nd Down: “I Know It When I See It” Part One: Clemson survived a brutally physical game with Ohio State, but the game was not without controversy. The first controversy involved a targeting call. Ohio State DB Shaun Wade blitzed and as the moment of contact arrived, Trevor Lawrence’s head lowered causing Wade to make contact with Lawrence’s helmet. It was not a launch, it was not a defenseless player and should not be defined as targeting. This penalty is like the 1964 Supreme Court Obscenity case Jacobellis v Ohio. Justice Potter Stewart could not define what was obscene but famously stated “But I know it when I see it.” Targeting penalties have been called so many different ways that is has become completely ambiguous and up to the discretion of the crew working the game that day. After twenty-plus years in coaching and having seen the evolution of efforts to prevent intentional malicious hits, this did not meet the threshold that should be attached to targeting. The tricky thing for defenders is that offensive players are moving targets. Often just before impact, some defensive players close their eyes. As such they miss a last 0.2 second movement by a player which causes the strike zone to move resulting in impact to a player’s head. It is a tough call and one in this game that had a big impact…..
3rd Down: “I Know It When I See It” Part Two and Three: Also in the Fiesta Bowl came a huge reversal of an on-field call of a fumble recovery and touchdown that could’ve swung the game in Ohio State’s favor. To everyone not adorned in Clemson Orange, possession of the football and three steps constituted a “football move” and a completed catch before the fumble. The concept of the completion of a catch is becoming a subjective call once again fitting the “I know it when I see it” standard. To Ohio State’s credit, they fought through the two blown calls to get a chance to win that fell short. But the Big Ten’s tough officiating luck was not confined to Ohio State. Trailing by one in the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin converted a critical third and five only to have a puzzling offensive pass interference call go against them. The receiver in question was clearly attempting to get around the defender but the call was made, Wisconsin punted and Oregon ran out the clock. Also big credit to Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert who gutted out a tough performance to lead Oregon to the Rose Bowl win.
4th Down: Other Bowl Notes: Minnesota scored the Big Ten's biggest bowl with their surprising 31-24 win over #12 Auburn. The Gophers lost their offensive coordinator yet put 31 points on an Auburn defense that held LSU to 23 points. With an 11-2 record including wins over Penn State and Auburn, the Gophers deserve a Top 10 final ranking....Alabama got a look at a potential future with quarterback Mac Jones. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns. For the season Jones started four games with a 3-1 record completing 68.8% of his passes with 14 TDs and 3 INTs. In the four games Alabama averaged 48.5 points with the lowest totals being 45 points in the loss to Auburn and 35 in the bowl win over Michigan..... Memphis made it an interesting day for the Penn State defense compiling 479 yards through the air and 542 total yards in a losing effort. Penn State racked up 396 yards on the ground and surprisingly parted ways with their offensive line coach just days later.... Salute to Navy with a 23-20 win over Kansas State they clinched a Top 25 ranking to go with the Commander in Chief Trophy and an 11-2 record.
College Football 150 Goes to the Movies: John Goodman and Dennis Quaid starred as LSU players in "Everybody's All-American." Check the gallery for more pictures from the movies.
Picture 1: Ronald Reagan played The Gipper in "Knute Rockne All-American"
Picture 2: Vince Vaughn as a Notre Dame player in "Rudy"
Picture 3: Dennis Quaid as Syracuse Coach Ben Schwartzwalder in "The Express"
Picture 4: John Goodman as Coach of The Adams College Atoms in "Revenge of the Nerds"
Picture 5: Matthew McConaughey as Marshall Coach Jack Lengyel in "We Are Marshall"
Picture 6: Tom Hanks plays Alabama All-American Forrest Gump in the movie of the same name
Picture 7: Marc Singer played Penn State Heisman Trophy Winner John Cappelletti in the movie "Something For Joey"
Picture 8: Adam Sandler rose from waterboy to All-American in "The Waterboy"