Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

No. 23 Cal gets crazy last-second goal-line stand as time runs out on Ole Miss

1 Comment

How many teams have beaten a top 25 team on the road and added a road win against an SEC team this season? No. 23 Cal (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has after picking up a 28-20 victory at Ole Miss on Saturday. Chase Garbers passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns. But this one was all about how the game ended.

With no timeouts, Ole Miss was held short of the goal line on the final play of the game. Clock management, to put it kindly, was not ideal for the Rebels. Ole Miss ran successive running plays without a chance to stop the clock in the final minute. Without a chance to dial up a different play, Ole Miss tried pushing across the goal line for a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but the Bears stood firm.

The biggest blow of the game from Cal was a 60-yard touchdown to a streaking Jake Tonges midway through the third quarter. Cal had taken a 21-13 lea don Ole Miss on their previous offensive series, and the defense forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball right back. On 2nd & 10 from the Cal 40-yard line, Garbers and Tonges connected on the pass attempt and Tonges ran away from a pair of stumbling Ole Miss defenders and had enough gas to reach the end zone before anyone could catch him.

Ole Miss had a chance to make things closer in the fourth quarter but opted to try a 29-yard field goal from the Cal 2-yard line on 4th & Goal. Similar to the decision of Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi last week against Penn State, this decision by head coach Matt Luke backfired in a big way when Luke Logan missed the short field goal attempt.

Cal is now 4-0. They have completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record against UC Davis, North Texas and Ole Miss. Cal also picked up a win on the road against Washington (who was No. 14 at the time). Next up for Cal will be a home game against Arizona State in what is suddenly a fairly significant game in Pac-12 play. Arizona State also entered this week 3-0 with a game against Colorado coming up later tonight). Cal’s defense gave up some yards and plays against Ole Miss, but Cal is looking to be a team to keep an eye on in the Pac-12. Cal is 4-0 for the first time under head coach Justin Wilcox and the first time since 2015.

Ole Miss will get a bye week to rest up for their next game on the schedule. They’ll need it. Ole Miss travels to Alabama in two weeks.

LSU opens as double-digit favorites on Oklahoma; Ohio State slight underdog to Clemson

Getty Images
2 Comments

While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.

Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released.  LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship.  Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1.  Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.

Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners.  Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.

The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.

LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004.  Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.

Arkansas confirms hiring of Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach

Getty Images
6 Comments

When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.

Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman.  A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.

“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.

“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”

The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.  He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.

The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.

Mizzou zeroing in on Eli Drinkwitz as next head coach

Getty Images
3 Comments

Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.

Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri.  Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”

An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.

The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football.  App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.

Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock reportedly suffered ACL tear in SEC title game loss

Getty Images
1 Comment

A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.

As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.

Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.