Damage Report from Upset Saturday

Last week was boring. This Saturday was everything a college football fan could want and more. There were so many upsets today that the college football playoff is getting harder to predict. After today you’re looking at Florida State, Auburn, Baylor, and Notre Dame as your four. Yep, we have hit chaos in early October. In the BCS this occurred in November. That’s the bad part of picking four teams instead of two.

Loser: Prestigious Programs

I’m talking Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and USC level of prestige. All lost to schools who are still trying to prove themselves nationally. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, TCU and Arizona are very much alive for a playoff spot. Arizona State’s loss to UCLA may be too much to overcome.

Winner: Hail Mary Passes from Arizona Teams

Both Arizona and Arizona State have now defeated a PAC-12 team this year on a desperate pass from midfield. California saw its undefeated season disappear two weeks ago to Zona. Now, USC may fall out of the Top 25 after failing to bat down the ball against Arizona State. The Sun Devils scored on a 46-yard pass as time expired. It appeared that the Trojans simply waited for the pass to come down. That’s how a Hail Mary can work.

Loser: Wisconsin

The Badgers are a lock to drop out of the Top 25 after a bad loss to the Wildcats of Northwestern. Northwestern has lost to Northern Illinois of the MAC but has now defeated Penn State and Wisconsin on consecutive weeks. For Wisconsin, the Big Ten West favorite, its odds of making it to the Big 10 championship game became extremely difficult.

Winner: Marshall

The Thundering Herd destroyed Old Dominion 56-14 and should move into the Top 25 for the first time since 2002. Marshall has scored at least 40 points in every game this season and is currently 5-0.

Loser: South Carolina

The Gamecocks are looking at a Music City Bowl appearance as a best case scenario. My Kentucky Wildcats scored 21-straight in the fourth quarter to beat South Carolina in Lexington 45-38. South Carolina is 3-3 and still has to play Auburn, Florida and Clemson. A 6-6 season would be an achievement.

Winner: College Football Fans

All of the upsets we’ve been expecting the past month occurred in the first three days of October. We wanted to see how the college playoff system would work and now we have an ideal scenario to test it out. Plus, the upsets have been fun to watch.

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No, the NCAA is Not Falling Apart

Everyone PANIC!

Everyone PANIC!

There was plenty of overreaction Thursday to the 16-2 vote from the NCAA Board of Directors giving the power five conferences more autonomy. Banter ranging from Athletes being paid to the death of the NCAA was controlling the news. Some punks in the media even called it the creation of “Haves and Have Nots in college sports.”

My response is simple.

Where the heck have you been?

The NCAA has always been operating in a “haves and have nots” system. Especially in football. The Sun Belt has never been equal to the SEC. The same for the MAC and the Big Ten. In terms of resource disparity, Thursday’s vote changed nothing.

In a lot of ways, the vote will do some immediate good. The NCAA has never been able to police the institutions in charge. The cheaters who launder money know how to get around them. The power five conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12 and SEC) are more nimble in making preventive measures around cheating. Stipends, not paying players thousands of dollars, are long overdue. You can’t eliminate cheating but you can place players in a less vulnerable position financially.

Seeing Oklahoma self report itself for giving players too much pasta has to end. Heck, South Carolina self reported itself for having too much icing on a cake. The system is broken and the power five are more qualified to fix it than the overwhelmed enforcement staff in the NCAA.

The NCAA is still needed as there has to be a governing body for all schools, and Thursday’s vote didn’t change that either. The bigger conferences have different needs than the rest and the Board of Directors recognized that. That doesn’t mean the NCAA is going to disappear.

As much as the SEC wants to just be by itself, it will always need competition from around the country to validate its prestige. That keeps the NCAA safe from elimination.

The real issues will be how much compensation the power five will agree to disperse to players? Will mid-majors drop down in competition? Staple issues, like Title IX, are not going away either.

But don’t expect the sky to fall because of Thursday’s vote. Intercollegiate athletics is not going to blow itself up. The “Star Trek” clip resembles the situation as Scotty thinks the cloaking device will overload. However, sometimes you just have to throw the switch.