December is upon us! As we imagine a world without COVID (vaccines coming this week), the College Football world continues to entertain us.
Updated CFB Standings Since the NCAA puts out their standings on Tuesday, I will put mine out on Sunday. I use my own formula, which I think is more accurate in placing the teams.
2020 CFB Playoff Standings
2. Notre Dame
5. Texas A&M
6. Ohio State
Despite their loss to Notre Dame, Clemson’s overall numbers are outstanding. Florida moves down from three to four, and like Clemson, holds destiny in their own hands. As a result of their lackluster performance against LSU, along with playing fewer games than each of the top four teams, Texas A&M’s numbers saw them drop out of the top four.
2020 College Football Standings
W-L vs Top-25
*Adjusted to eliminate totals vs subdivision opponent
The “Unofficial” Playoff Round?
Assuming each team finishes their regular seasons without a blemish, these four teams will participate in a pre-playoff playoff. Alabama (1) meets Florida (4), and Notre Dame (2) takes on Clemson (3) on December 19 in the SEC and ACC Championship Games. While the SEC stayed with division winners earning a spot in the conference championship, the ACC instead features the conference’s top two teams.
ACC Championship Preview
2020 Offensive Statistics
Plays Per Game
Yards Per Play
Barring a massive upset (all four teams are huge favorites in each of their remaining two games), the top four teams in the nation will square off on December 19.
College Football Playoff Standings Committee Nightmare Scenario
Figuring in likely undefeated programs Ohio State and Cincinnati, would increase that choice. Ohio State, assuming they defeat Michigan State, Michigan and their opponent in the December 19th Big Ten Championship Game, would give them seven wins. How could one justify the Buckeyes inclusion into the College Football Playoff when they played at least three fewer games than all the other qualified programs?
Cincinnati’s undefeated resume appears more complete, as they would finish with ten wins (includes assumed victories over Tusla and their opponent in the AAC Conference Championship Game on December 19th).
One substantial reason for the argument suggesting the College Football Playoffs expand to eight teams in 2020 holds weight looking at the scenario if Clemson and Florida win their conference championship games. Such an outcome (assuming Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Cincinnati do not lose) produces impossible choices for the committee. Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama each would have one loss and hold advantages over the other (Florida over Alabama, Alabama over Texas A&M, Texas A&M over Florida). Clemson and Notre Dame would cancel each other out, making a choice between the two difficult.
The certain number 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Trevor Lawrence, returned to action Saturday after not playing since October 24 due to COVID. Lawrence showed no signs of rust, completing 26-37 for 403 yards and 2 TD in the Tigers’ 52-17 victory over Pittsburgh. In seven games this season, Lawrence registered 319 Pass YPG, 19 TD and 2 INT, 11.1 Pass Yds Per Attempt, while completing 70.6 percent of his pass attempts.
Clemson completes their regular season schedule this Saturday, traveling to Virginia Tech (4-5). The ACC has yet to confirm the December 12th rescheduling of the Tigers postponed matchup against Florida State. The postponement of their originally scheduled meeting saw harsh words thrown between Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney and Florida State Head Coach Dan Norvell.
Heisman Takes Shape Mac Jones set a career-high with five TD, while posting his fifth 300-yard passing game this season, in the Crimson Tide’s 42-10 victory over Auburn. Jones connected with DeVonta Smith on a 66-yd TD pass in the first quarter, along with a 58-yard TD pass which put the game away early in the second half. Smith has 16 TD receptions of 30-yards or longer, in addition to breaking Amari Cooper’s school record for TD receptions earlier this season (31 – Smith now has 35).
Through Eight Games
Yds Per Att.
>>2019 Heisman Trophy Winner
Alabama’s explosive offensive attack has registered 71 TD from scrimmage 30-yards or longer since DeVonta Smith’s Freshman season in 2017.
Alabama’s Quick Strike Offense
TD from Scrimmage, 30-yards or longer
Meanwhile, Kyle Trask registered his second-highest career completion percentage (77.8 – min 25 att.), going 21-27, 256 yds, 3 TD, as the Gators moved closer to clinching the SEC East. Both Alabama (at LSU) and Florida (at Tennessee) will make their SEC Championship Game matchup official with a win this weekend.
Most Division Titles Won
SEC Since 1992
Two Most Successful Programs Since 1992
The Tide and Gators anticipated matchup in the 2020 SEC Championship Game will mark the 13th division title for each program. This would mark the tenth time these programs would battle each other for the SEC Championship (Alabama leads, 5-4).
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On Tuesday, the 13-member CFB Playoff Committee released their first standings. Below are the committee’s list of the top-10 teams, followed by my response and top-10. A question often asked is who is on the committee.
The end of 2020 cannot arrive soon enough for this lowly sportswriter. If our nation’s division isn’t already toxic, incessant rambling concerning the College Football Playoff selections seems unavoidable.
Yes, I understand the comparison is drastically overblown. However, fans of the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, and Big 12 view the SEC as “the favorite child” of the CFB Playoff committee.
As we enter December next week, we find ourselves just one month from the CFB Playoffs. Thanks to COVID delays, Alabama and Texas A&M currently will fail to complete a full 10-game conference schedule.
#5 Texas A&M
Florida and LSU are using the December 12 makeup date to play their postponed October 17th meeting. This denies Alabama the opportunity to reschedule their November 14th visit to Baton Rouge.
The Crimson Tide’s only options would be scheduling South Carolina or Vanderbilt (the only remaining SEC teams Alabama hasn’t played – obviously minus LSU) on December 12. The Gamecocks are on target to complete their 10-game schedule, making a possible rescheduled meeting with Alabama for December 12 unlikely. That leaves Vanderbilt as the only potential opponent without the Crimson Tide scheduling another SEC team twice.
The conference initially rescheduled Vanderbilt-Missouri for December 12 (making up their October 17 matchup), denying the opportunity. This Saturday, Vanderbilt’s schedule initially had them hosing Tennesee, while Arkansas traveled to Missouri. However, the SEC released this press release on Monday.
“BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (November 23, 2020) – The Arkansas at Missouri football game of November 28 has been postponed, resulting in rescheduling of games that include Vanderbilt playing at Missouri on November 28 and the postponement of the Tennessee at Vanderbilt game originally scheduled for November 28.
The Arkansas at Missouri football game of November 28 has been postponed due to combination of positive tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the Arkansas football program, consistent with Southeastern Conference COVID-19 management requirements.
The Vanderbilt at Missouri game is a rescheduling of a game postponed on October 17. The game will be played at Noon ET on Saturday on the SEC Network.
The Tennessee at Vanderbilt game is postponed for the purpose of facilitating the rescheduling of the Vanderbilt at Missouri game. This rescheduling of games allows for the continued opportunity for all 14 teams to play all of its 10 games in the 2020 season.”
The conferences rescheduling of these matchups now clears Vandy’s scheduled for December 12th. Could this indicate what I am suggesting? We will see.
The Aggies can use December 19 to make up their matchup against Ole Miss, but doing so would add to the chaos that is 2020 by playing opposite the SEC Championship. However, such a scenario must occur if Texas A&M wants to separate itself from other CFB Playoff contenders.
2020 College Football Standings
W-L vs Top-25
BEST OPTION FOR SEC
Since Alabama owns the only undefeated record in the conference, completing the season unblemished (including a victory over Florida in the SEC Championship) would give them the best resume and an automatic bid to the playoff.
SEC NIGHTMARE SCENARIO
If Florida finishes the season with one loss while beating Alabama in the SEC Championship, that presents an interesting equation.
Such a scenario gives Alabama, Florida, and Texas A&M one loss, while all three teams hold advantages. Florida would hold a head-to-head edge over Alabama, Alabama would hold the head-to-head advantage over Texas A&M, and A&M would hold the tie-breaker over Florida. Such a scenario would force the CFB Playoff committee to make an impossible choice between three equallly worthy teams.
The most obvious scenario would involve expanding the CFB Playoff to eight teams. This would allow non-power five conference teams such as Cincinnati, BYU, Coastal Carolina and Marshall, all who currently are undefeated, an opportunity to participate in the playoff. An expanded playoff format, would also allow all three aforementioned SEC teams (in the one-loss for each scenario) to qualify, in addition to teams from the Big Ten (Ohio State, Northwestern) and ACC (Notre Dame, Clemson).
Regardless, this is an intereting paralell and despite the impossible to predict outcomes, It should be exciting to witness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Everett Kelly is a former two-time Emmy Award winning writer/researchere from ESPN. Mark retired in 2008 due to the onset of long-term side effects from cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant). This led to Mark’s current health problems (Crohn’s Disease. Lymphedema and Hemochromotosis). To help support Mark in his battle, click on these links (Paypal, and Patreon).
As the calendar turns toward Thanksgiving next week, the College Football world faces difficulty heading into the final weeks of 2020.
The SEC postponed Texas A&M-Ole Miss representing another week of delays that affects the outcome of the season. Last week the conference postponed four games, including Alabama-LSU, which they will likely cancel due to unavailable remaining dates.
Kyle Trask and Mac Jones possess similarities across the board. Both are big, strong-armed QBs, both received their chance after an injury in their junior season, and both have lit up the SEC this season.
Both QB’s statistics mirror the 2019 Heisman Trophy and National Champion Joe Burrow through six games.
Mac Jones leads the three in passing yards (2,196 – 39 more than Burrow, 26 more than Trask), passing yards per game (366 – 6 more than Burrow, 3 more than Trask), and yards per attempt (12.4 – .8 more than Burrow and 2.1 more than Trask).
Joe Burrow leads in two categories (completion percentage 79.6 – 1 percent higher than Jones and 9 more than Trask) and passer rating (218.1 – just under 8 points higher than Jones and 21 points higher than Trask). Kyle Trask leads in one (TD (28 – 3 more than Burrow, 12 more than Jones).
Through Six Games
Pass Yds Per Att.
Alabama Dominates the East Division
This week the Crimson Tide receives another opportunity to showcase their dominance against the East Division when they host Kentucky. The Wildcats lost six straight against the Tide, including going winless at Alabama (0-21). Overall, Kentucky’s lost 36 of their last 38 (one tie) meetings against the Tide, with their only win coming in 1997 (40-34 at Kentucky).
Kentucky’s defense could pose a problem to Alabama, as the Wildcats lead the SEC in fewest passing yards per game allowed with 214.0. They have only allowed three passing TD in their last five games after allowing seven in their first two games.
Alabama takes a 29-game win streak against the East into Saturday’s matchup. Under Nick Saban, they are 38-3 against the East, including 6-1 in the SEC Championship Game.
Alabama vs East
Under Nick Saban (Since 2007)
Current Win Streak
>>6-1 in SEC Championship Games
Destined for Showdown?
Both Alabama and Florida head toward a December 19 showdown in the SEC Championship. Here is a breakdown of both teams through six games.
The two opponents last met in the 2016 SEC Championship when Alabama defeated Florida 54-16. Saban’s crew currently holds a six-game win streak over the Gators. This would be the 10th time meeting in the SEC Championship (Alabama leads 5-4).
2020 Season Stats
Yards PG All.
Yards PG Diff.
Florida last won the SEC in 2008 (defeated Alabama 31–20). Alabama last won in 2018 and lead the conference with eight titles (since 1992).
Florida Owns Vanderbilt
The Gators head to Vanderbilt on Saturday, where historically they are dominant. Florida won six straight and 28 of last 29 against Vandy, including their last 14 at Nashville.
Since allowing 17 points in their opener against Texas A&M, the Commodores have allowed 39.8 PPG against their last five opponents. Overall Vanderbilt takes a 10-game SEC losing streak into their matchup with Florida.
Auburn, Tennessee Meet in Rare Matchup
Auburn and Tennessee face off Saturday for just the third time since 2010. The Vols snapped a six-game losing streak against the Tigers with a 30-24 victory at Jordan-Hare in 2018.
Since taking an eight-game winning streak and leading 21-17 at halftime against Georgia, the Vols opponents have outscored them 133-37. After struggling to start the season, Auburn’s offensive revival in their last four games includes rushing for 224 yards per game, totaling just under 474 yards per game while averaging just under 34 PPG.
1st 2 Games
Last 4 Games
Bulldogs Matchup in Athens
Georgia has won two straight and 11 of their last 12 meetings against Mississippi State. Since starting the season 3-0, Georgia has lost to Alabama and Florida to dash their National Championship hopes.
After racking up 632 yards and 44 points in their season-opening win at the defending National Champions, Mississippi State has registered just 263 YPG and 10.8 PPG in losing four of their last five games.
The New York Islanders’ history is one of triumph and darkness. After taking home four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1978-1982, this team has never been able to achieve that feat again.
This past offseason, the Islanders had a long stay in the bubble up in Toronto, and then Edmonton, falling two wins shy of making it back to the finals for the first time since 1984.
While Islander fans and hockey fans await the decision for next season, with a potential start slated for January 1st, fans of every team were ecstatic to see what Adidas went with regarding their design for the reverse retro jerseys. The idea with this was to look back at the history of each team and design a more modern look to classics. This morning they were released, as some were stellar, solid, and mediocre.
And then you have the Islander ones.
This offseason, Islander fans have felt uneasy. While there is no question that restricted-free agent Mat Barzal will be back with the club prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 season, whenever that begins, money is a major issue for this hockey club right now. A new, fresher looking jersey, could have at the very least taken our mind’s off of this issue.
But that was not the case. The reverse retro jersey the Islanders unleashed resembled their regular home uniforms, just with a darker shade of blue, and a few other minor changes.
But nothing special like we see with the other 30 NHL teams, jerseys that get the fan base excited in a time of uncertainty.
Deep down, what should we have expected? Through the almost fifty years this team has been around, their jerseys have rarely changed. Other teams have had secondary logos, which allows for creative alternates. The Islanders have never had that, and under the leadership of Lou Lamoriello, a classy-old fashioned guy, we should not have expected any glimmer and glam.
Fans calling for the fisherman jersey to come back makes me sick, as besides thinking they look absolutely horrid, this was a jersey that embarrassed the organization from 1995-1997. Over that span the team was a laughing stock finishing last in the division, the Atlantic Division at the time in both seasons. So paying homage to a jersey that exemplified failure would not be doing this franchise any good.
Look, I get the sadness. There was an opportunity here to do some creative things. But at the end of the day, this is a jersey that the team may wear three to five times this season, as it is more of a way for the league to generate money. I, and most fans, care more about the success on the ice. This reverse retro jersey represents winning, paying tribute to a time when the Islanders were a dominant force in the National Hockey League.
And for that reason, let’s accept what happened here, and move on.