TCU’s Gary Patterson says somebody will always feel screwed by college football’s postseason

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It was not all that long ago TCU head coach Gary Patterson was being respected for the way in which he handled his Horned Frogs being left out of the College Football Playoff. It was rather easily to compliment Patterson for his calm demeanor on the topic when Art Briles at Baylor was sounding off at every opportunity. Patterson reasoned TCU was working to reach the rung of the ladder programs like Ohio State and Alabama had reached, and admitted it takes time to earn that level of respect. Patterson kept TCU focused on the next opportunity, which resulted in a blowout victory over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Now Patterson is ready to share his true feelings about TCU being left out of the College Football Playoff.

“No matter what we’ve called it during my 33 years of college football coaching, whether we had the BCS or the coaches’ poll, whatever they had, somebody has felt like they got screwed,” Patterson said while talking to reporters this week. “That will go on.”

He is absolutely right. This is not going to change regardless of the number of playoff teams are handed an invite to the championship hunt. But Patterson was not necessarily saying TCU should have been a lock for the first College Football Playoff. He was more pointing out some of the possible concerns that should be had regarding the new postseason format. Most notably is the emphasis on a conference championship game.

“I was told why we had a committee was we were going to take all that stuff out of it. I remember talking about the championship games and they shouldn’t have mattered,” Patterson said, as quoted by The Dallas Morning News this week. “Their job was to watch all this film and pick the top four teams no matter where you played and what you did. And then, all of a sudden in the end it got down to they played a championship game and we didn’t. That’s not what we were told. We were told they would pick the four best teams.”

Patterson’s comments days after the latest developments in the possible deregulation of conference championship games was reported. The Big 12 and ACC have made a push for removing the title game requirements (12 league members, and two division champions), which figures to open the door for a possible Big 12 championship game with only 10 conference members (which is also bad news for BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and so on). Patterson actually thinks the championship game model should be ditched everywhere. Some feel the Big 12 would have had a much better chance to be represented in the playoff had a conference championship game been played instead of the final week of the regular season. Odds are that certainly would have helped the cause for Baylor or TCU (or both!), but it is far from a suggestion either co-Big 12 champion would have been awarded one of the four spots.

Judging by Patterson’s story of a pregame meeting before the regular season finale with Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads, he knew TCU was going to be left out of the mix unless some crazy things happened elsewhere.

“We were on the field before the ballgame and [Paul Rhoads] said he hopes if we ended up winning for us to have good luck. I told him, ‘Paul, we weren’t going to the playoffs.’ We were the first team playing on that Saturday and haven’t seen anybody else and I told him we weren’t going to the playoffs. I’m pretty good at gut feelings and I watched all the articles going through the week. I actually thought it was the kiss of death when we got moved to third.”

Patterson spoke earlier this offseason about college football royalty coming into play. Conference championship game or not, Baylor and TCU each lack that perceived royalty compared to the other playoff options that were on the table. The Big 12’s overall production in non-conference play did not help that cause either.

Pitt landing another ex-USC QB as a transfer

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Max Browne made the move from USC to Pitt work.  Ricky Town could be hoping for some of the same transferring magic.

Town’s private quarterback coach confirmed to 247Sports.com that Town has committed to continuing his FBS playing career at Pitt.  The move to the Panthers comes after Town took a visit to the football program this past weekend.

“This is the perfect system for him,” Town’s tutor, Donovan Dooley, told the recruiting website. “I think the pro-style system is good for him.”

Originally a USC signee, Town announced in mid-August of 2015 that he would be transferring from the Trojans. Less than a week later, after considering Florida as well, Town landed at Arkansas.  In December of 2016, Town transferred from the Razorbacks as well.

Town spent the 2017 season at a California junior college, which would allow him to play immediately for a Panthers program that has already lost two quarterbacks to transfer in the last week.  The California native has two years of eligibility remaining.

Town was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 15 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 79 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  In January of 2014, Town pulled his verbal commitment from Alabama and gave it to USC.

Texas LB Malik Jefferson’s status for bowl game still up in the air

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As Texas prepares to play in the Texas Bowl against former Big 12 foe Missouri, it remains unknown whether or not linebacker Malik Jefferson will play.

Jefferson was reportedly diagnosed with a case of turf toe recently and is said to be considered day-to-day. Nick Moyle of the San Antonio Express-News reported the medical update via Twitter, and he also notes Jefferson still has not made a definitive decision on whether to leave for the NFL or not.

Jefferson would be considered a solid draft pick option at linebacker in the event he decides to leave Texas a year early to pursue a chance to play in the NFL. How this injury might impact that decision is nothing but speculation. However, players deciding to take to the NFL Draft the following spring have increasingly made the trendy decision to forgo their senior season and skip the bowl game when injuries play a factor. If Jefferson is to go to the NFL, it would not be a stunner to see him decide to skip out on the bowl game as well.

Jefferson is Texas’ leader in tackles this season with 110, including 79 solo tackles.

Lane Kiffin’s biggest recruit to FAU may be Snoop Dogg

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There is no denying the allegiance Snoop Dogg has for his beloved USC Trojans, but Lane Kiffin has managed to find some room in Snoop’s rooting interests to bring him aboard the Lane Train. With Kiffin preparing FAU for their upcoming bowl game in the Boa Raton Bowl this week, Kiffin managed to bring Snoop Dogg and Luther Campbell out to a practice.

Campbell, of course, is a Miami fan, but FAU has become a bit of a popular secondary team with Kiffin to lead the charge. Getting Uncle Luke to suit up in FAU gear and pose for a picture with Snoop Dogg deserves an automatic retweet of Kiffin’s account on Twitter.

Kiffin coached FAU to the Conference USA championship in his first season as the head coach of the Owls. With a good blend of JUCO transfers and new offensive mindset, FAU soared under Kiffin as he rebuilt his coaching pedigree. Kiffin remains one of the names to watch in the coaching carousel, although this year’s cycle may have gone through the motions without Kiffin getting a chance somewhere else. But if Kiffin is successful in Year 2, the Lane Train may be leaving the Boca Raton station for another destination soon enough.

Middle Tennessee holds on to win the bizarre (and turnover-filled) Camellia Bowl over Arkansas State

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Middle Tennessee State entered the Camellia Bowl 121st in the country in turnover margin and had lost the battle in nine of their 12 games this season. Arkansas State was only a little bit better in the same category, ranking 81st in turnover margin in 2017. Predictably those kinds of statistics came into play on Saturday night in the Camellia Bowl as the two sides played a bit of hot potato — six giveaways — before MTSU hung on for a 35-30 win to cap off the first day of bowl season in college football.

Blue Raiders quarterback Brent Stockstill had a game that could have been a nightmare for a veteran quarterback but ended up being alright thanks to his defense continually picking him on a night where chunk plays were hard to come by. The signal-caller threw the first of his three interceptions on the night on the first drive of the game but bounced back over the final three quarters, throwing for 232 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. That kind of performance, which included several big throws in the second half, helped secure the first bowl victory of his career and give him the rare distinction of being able to win a postseason game with his father Rick as head coach.

It wasn’t all about the Stockstill combo for MTSU however as their run game produced a pair of touchdowns behind tailbacks Terelle West and Tavares Thomas, and the team’s defense had one of their best outings of the season to limit the Sun Belt’s highest scoring offense to well below all their season averages. Linebacker Darius Harris led the way when his unit was on the field, flying from sideline-to-sideline and racking up 12 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a two pass break ups. His running mate at linebacker, D.J. Sanders, was equally productive with seven tackles and a 54 yard fumble return for a touchdown just before halftime.

The Red Wolves did what they could to threaten to make things interesting down the stretch but never could get over the hill. The team ran a fake punt to open fourth quarter, resulting in a 21 yard strike from the punter to gunner Chris Murray along the sidelines and appeared to seize momentum after a subsequent  touchdown to Warren Wand. However the defense failed to get a stop and then Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Justice Hansen (337 yards, 3TD, 1 INT) threw a fourth down pass out of the end zone to all but seal a rather lackluster loss for a team that had won six of the last eight coming into the bowl.

Arkansas State also came up a bit short in the record books on the defensive side of the ball as well. In addition to allowing 35 points to MTSU, conference player of the year Ja’Von Rolland-Jones failed to record a sack and thus couldn’t break the NCAA career record (held by former Arizona State and current Baltimore Ravens star Terrell Suggs) of 44 career sacks after entering the game just shy of the mark with 43.5. While the pass rusher did manage to sack Stockstill in the game, the play was negated by a penalty to keep him from taking over on the all-time list.

The victory pushed Middle Tennessee over the .500 mark for the fifth time in six seasons and likely meant a little bit more to the program given how many key injuries the team suffered over the course of 2017 before capturing their first bowl win in eight years. Arkansas State did their best to prevent that from happening as they dropped to 7-5 on the season after a rather bizarre Camellia Bowl that had a little bit of everything.