Lone wolf coach votes TCU No. 1; was he right?

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As they are a part of the cartel system used to determine a national champion, the coaches are expected to fall in line with the results of the BcS title game and vote for the winner in the final USA Today coaches poll.

For the second time in three years, one coach has bucked the system.

Auburn claimed 56 of the 57 first-place votes — two coaches could not be reached in time to place their vote — while the other vote went to unbeaten non-automatic qualifier TCU.  The identity of the coach was not revealed, but some reasonable assumptions could be made as to who may have broken ranks with the other coaches — Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Boise State’s Chris Petersen are two of the 59 voters this year.

In 2008, Utah was the only team to receive a first-place vote after Florida laid a beat-down on Ohio State in the national title game.

While the name of the coach who voted TCU No. 1 was not revealed, he will be ultimately.  And, more than likely, he will be vilified by a good percentage of the country.  That would and will be a shame.

Almost as big of a shame that there has to be this argument in the first place, that a national champion can’t be decided on the field instead of on some subjective ballot filed by someone who simply doesn’t possess the time to make a rational decision.

As Penn State assistant Jay Paterno tweeted Tuesday morning, “Not sure TCU isn’t the best team in the Nation—someday the system must allow a team like that a shot at all the marbles.”

And that’s the thing.  A playoff would afford a team like TCU, like Boise State in 2009/2010 or Utah in 2008, the opportunity to prove their worth on the field of play.  Just like every other sport governed by the NCAA currently crowns their champions.

Not to impugn what Auburn accomplished last night or over their previous 13 games against a rugged schedule — they are indeed worthy — but there is a better way to determine a national champion.  Like it or not, teams like TCU and Boise State have earned the right to, as Paterno wrote, have a shot at all the marbles.

Plus-one, eight-team, 16-team playoffs and anything in between, teams like the non-AQs must be allowed the opportunity to prove, one way or the other, whether they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the so-called traditional powers.

All I know is, it’d be a step in the right direction arguing about the fifth-, ninth- or 17th-best team getting screwed over for a playoff spot than the current system that only allows two of 120 schools to have a shot at hoisting the crystal at season’s end.

Until Congress acts, though, I’m not holding my breath.

Thorpe Award semifinalist Jeremy McDuffie to miss rest of Duke’s season

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Duke will be forced to navigate its way through the rest of the year, however long that is, without one of its top players on the defensive side of the ball.

The football program announced Tuesday that Jeremy McDuffie suffered an injury to his right knee in this past Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech.  The junior safety will undergo surgery next Monday to repair unspecified damaged ligaments and miss what’s left of the Blue Devils’ season.

At 5-6, Duke needs to beat Wake Forest this Saturday to become bowl-eligible.  The Blue Devils missed out on a bowl game last season after going to four straight for the first time in the program’s history.

After playing in 24 games the previous two seasons, including two starts, McDuffie had started all 11 games in 2017.  His three interceptions are tied for second on the Blue Devils, while his eight quarterback hits are tied for tops on the team.

Earlier this season, McDuffie was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

FCS player who punched coach charged with felony assault

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Normally in-game violence doesn’t result in off-field legal ramifications, but this is (rightly) one of the rare exceptions.

Earlier this month, Tennessee State defensive end Latrelle Lee was not only dismissed from the FCS program but expelled from the university after he punched Tigers strength & conditioning coach T.J. Greenstone twice in the head on the sideline during a game.  Greenstone serves as TSU’s “get-back” coach for players, charged with keeping them from creeping toward the field of play and, in the process, keeping the team from drawing a flag.

The unprovoked assault was caught on video and quickly went viral.

As a result of that incident, Lee, who had been a criminal justice major prior to his expulsion, has been arrested on one count of felony assault, The Tennessean is reporting.  Lee was subsequently released Monday night after a $7,500 bond was posted, and has an initial court date scheduled for Dec. 8; he had been scheduled to graduate Dec. 9.

According to the arrest affidavit, “[t]he victim has subsequently been having medical difficulties as a result [of] the altercation.”

“We, of course, do not condone any act of violence within our department and are very disturbed by the action of one of our students,” a statement from athletic director Teresa Phillips released shortly after the Nov. 11 incident began. “We are committed to supporting the coach who was personally affected and our concern now is with him.”

Thus far, there has been no public comment from the football program or the university on this latest development, nor have they updated the status of the coach who was the victim of the assault.

Bovada pulls Heisman odds as Baker Mayfield’s ‘too big of a favorite’

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While Baker Mayfield‘s crotch-grabbing histrionics last weekend will cost him this weekend, the same can’t be said for his Heisman hopes — at least when it comes to wagering establishments.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold opened the 2017 season as Bovada.lv‘s favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, only to be overtaken after Week 1 by Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson — he was the prohibitive favorite in mid-September… only to see Jackson leapfrogged by the Oklahoma quarterback two weeks later… only to see Mayfield overtaken by Penn State running back Saquon Barkley — he was the overwhelming favorite in late October… only for Barkley to be overtaken by Mayfield the first week of November. Mayfield has been a steadily increasing favorite since, with last week’s odds featuring just him (as the overwhelming favorite at 1/20), Barkley and Love.

This week’s odds? There are none. From Bovada:

Heisman odds are currently off the board as Baker Mayfield is too big of a favorite. He was 1/20 last week and would be even bigger this week.

Other oddsmakers followed suit, as noted by ESPN.com:

MGM had Mayfield listed at -250 as of last Monday, when the book took the odds off the board in compliance with Nevada Gaming Control regulations. The Westgate SuperBook closed Mayfield as even a bigger favorite at -2,000 on Sunday.

Those odds were pulled, however, as the NGC requires all betting on the Heisman to cease on Nov.19, per ESPN. Bovada doesn’t fall under the auspices of the NGC, so they could’ve technically continued laying odds on Heisman race.

The assistant manager at Westgate confirmed to ESPN that the book is looking at a loss if (when?) Mayfield wins the Heisman. It’s likely that other books could very well be facing the same predicament.

Emotional Baker Mayfield discusses being stripped of captaincy for last game, Senior Day, in Norman

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Much-needed, hard lesson learned, maybe?

While he was subjected to a lack-of-class moment by Kansas in the pregame and then a couple of questionable hits during this past Saturday’s game, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield showed his backside by very graphically grabbing his front in a heated response.  While he truly apologized in the postgame aftermath, OU announced Monday that the Heisman Trophy front-runner will not start this weekend’s regular-season finale against West Virginia.

Not only that, Mayfield was stripped of his captaincy for that finale.  On Senior Day, his last-ever game in Norman no less.

That latter aspect of the punishment proved to be almost too much for Mayfield to deal with, with the quarterback becoming visibly emotional when discussing with the media his lost captaincy Monday night.

“Playing at OU was something that I always dreamed of,” Mayfield said. “Not starting, it is what it is.

“But not being a team captain is so much more. It would be hard if it were a regular game or not, but it being my last one here ever, it means a lot more. It’s going to be tough, because Saturday was going to be — without all of this — an emotional one. It’s going to be hard to handle, but … it’s going to be hard.”

OU has already secured one spot in the Big 12 championship game, most likely against TCU.  The Sooners are also ranked fourth in the most recent College Football Playoff Top 25 and will earn one of the four semifinal slots if they win their next two games.