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  • Photo: Here’s the Bret Bielema in an afro photo you’ve always wanted

    Saturday was a good day for Bret Bielema. He beat Ole Miss 30-0, secured a bowl berth in his second season, and got to finally wear an afro.

    Wait, what was that last part?

    Bret Bielema afro

    That’s offensive line recruit Jalen Merrick, and he also got offensive line coach Sam Pittman in on the act.

    Sam Pittman afro

     

    Judging by Merrick’s tweet – “The people of Arkansas are great loved this town, university and the football team” – Bielema and Pittman seemed to connected with him, which is the point of putting on those fabulous afros in the first place.

    (Via Dr. Saturday)

     

  • Sorry, Western Kentucky (you, too, La Tech and Rice), your conference is rooting against you

    HerdZone.com

    HerdZone.com

    Marshall is 11-0, two wins away from a perfect season. No one knows where exactly the Thundering Herd would rank in the College Football Playoff’s Group of Five hierarchy, but the folks at the Conference USA league office and those wearing green in Huntington, W. Va., like their chances should Marshall remain unscathed.

    “It’s huge for all of the members of our conference,” Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky told HerdZone.com, Marshall’s official athletics site. “We’ve had teams in this position before (in the Bowl Championship Series era), and there is still football to be played. But if Marshall gets that opportunity to get into one of those Playoff access bowls, it would be great.”

    To get there, though, Marshall must beat Western Kentucky this weekend and either Louisiana Tech and Rice a week later in the Conference USA championship. Banowsky didn’t come out and say he’s rooting against the Hilltoppers on Saturday, but he didn’t have to; Marshall’s success will come at the expense of a 6-5 Western Kentucky team looking to secure a bowl berth under first-year head coach Jeff Brohm. There’s no way around it.

    And Banowsky isn’t wrong here. Not at all. His job is to secure the best possible footing for his conference, and a Marshall appearance in the Peach Bowl is just that in terms of exposure and in real dollars – millions of them, in fact. C-USA is already in line for upwards of $12 million thanks to the new playoff system, but a Marshall appearance would generate an extra $6 million for the conference.

    There are no guarantees Marshall receives the Group of Five automatic berth even if the Thundering Herd finish undefeated. The selection committee has not ranked Marshall yet, but they haven’t ranked current Mountain West leader Boise State or current American leader Memphis yet, either.

    Still, the league as a whole has much more to gain with a Marshall win on Saturday than seeing Western Kentucky move to 7-5.

    It’s an odd position, though, for one team to potentially take a giant leap forward on behalf of its conference, but do so while stepping on the shoulders of its C-USA siblings.

    “We went through realignment again (losing seven members) and now we have Marshall having a great season. Having a bell cow like Marshall this season is big for us,” Banowsky said. “It’s cool. It’s a great opportunity for the conference.”

  • The FootballScoop Four: Our latest brackets

    CFB Playoff

    Not much changed across the College Football Playoff landscape this week, but we’re now in position for things to really start changing with two weeks left in the season.

    In advance of Tuesday’s fifth bracket reveal, here’s how each of us see things stacking up.

    SCOTT (@FootballScoop)

    No. 1: Florida State logo

    No. 2: alabama.120

    No.3: oregon.120

    No.4: mississippi-state.120

    Last two out:  Baylor.120 and tcu.120

    ZACH (@Zach_Barnett)

    No. 1: alabama.120 With Auburn this week and the SEC Championship next, Alabama will either solidify its hold on the No. 1 ranking, or fall out of the Playoff picture completely.

    No. 2: oregon.120 It’s very tough to beat a good team twice in the same season, and it looks like that’s what Oregon will have to do with UCLA in an effort to reach the Playoff. But first, a visit to Corvallis to meet Oregon State. Remember last season, when Oregon pulled out a 36-35 final in Eugene? This is no gimme.

    No. 3: Florida State logo Another week, another close call. With Florida and Georgia Tech waiting, expect both of those teams to run it 50 times or more at FSU’s 43rd-ranked rushing defense.

    No. 4: Baylor.120Sure, the Bears won by 21, but don’t you have to look at their 49-28 win over Oklahoma State as something of a missed opportunity? With a 14-0 lead five minutes in it looked like Baylor was ready to blow the roof off the Cowboys in the 63-14 range, but they just never pulled away. Oh, and while we’re at it, TCU beat that same Oklahoma State team by 33.

    Last two out:  tcu.120 and ohio-state.120

    Big games for both of these teams this week with Mississippi State facing Ole Miss in Oxford. Break out the red and blue, Frogs and Buckeyes.

    DOUG (@CoachSamz)

    No. 1: oregon.120 Oregon manhandled Colorado, as expected, setting up a potential trap game in the Civil War match up with Oregon State. The Ducks benefited the most from Florida State’s stumble against Boston College in my mind, and an argument can be made for them in the top 2.

    No. 2:   alabama.120 This weekend is huge for Alabama. Auburn has struggled the past few weeks, but we all know that means nothing when it comes to the Iron Bowl. A blowout win could catapult them to my #1 spot, a win keeps them at #2, and a loss could be just what Baylor needs to make the top 4. I forsee the Tide struggling more in this one than the SEC title game.

     

    No. 3:  Florida State logo Still not impressed with Florida State, but somehow they find a way to win the close games, and that has to count for something, doesn’t it?

     

    No. 4: mississippi-state.120A 51-0 drubbing of an SEC opponent, even if it’s a down Commodore squad, is enough to keep Mullen’s guys in contention. I really wish they could match up with Alabama again in a best of three match up to really help clear the muddy water a bit.

    Last two out: Baylor.120and tcu.120

     

    Baylor is just waiting on one team to slip up, or have a close call, and they’ve got a case to be in the playoff.

    TCU can say the same.

     

  • The Twitter 12 Pack of things I did not expect to see during Week 13

    50centodj

    I am particularly proud of the #Twitter12Pack this week. You’ll either be thanking me at the end, or cursing me…and I’m oddly okay with either one.

    Lots of good/funny stuff from this weekend, plus one or two that will leave you scratching your head.

    1) “Flopping” is officially contagious, and the NFL has caught it. Thanks a lot NBA.

    2) Forget “catch of the year” this is the best catch I’ve ever seen in my 28 years on this Earth…and all the creative Photoshop genius’ had plenty of fun with it. I used to wonder why NFL scouts put so much stock into hand size, but now I know why.

    3) Oh SEC

    4) This was a heartwarming story, but that’s not really “rocking that baby to sleep”…it’s more like awkwardly petting it.

    5) This year tempo in college football = more wins

    6) There’s a number of kids out there that idolize competitive eater extraordinaire Joey Chesnut and want to be just like him…just hope those kids aren’t at your Thanksgiving meal

    7) Remember Arkansas fan Liz Honey and her custom Wooo Pig Sooie tunes? Well there’s more where that came from in Razorbackland. Caution: You can’t unhear this.

    8) I’ve been debating this all weekend; What’s more comical, a punter with facepaint or a kicker that wears receiver gloves?

    9) This didn’t work out, but you can’t help but be mesmerized.

    10) Interesting sideline refreshments in Utah. I think I’ll pass

    11) This seems a bit high from Saturday…and crazy.

    12) This was my favorite play from Saturday’s action. The old tackle around for a gain of one yard. I love it.

  • Chances are pretty good you slept through the most exciting finish of the weekend

    HawaiivsUNLVbanner

    Sure, Saturday’s action saw Florida State squeak by Boston College with a late field goal, and Minnesota’s late surge to knock off Nebraska was exciting, but the craziest finish of the night took place while most of us were sleeping.

    Out West, Hawaii and UNLV was the very last game to wrap up Saturday night, and it ended in dramatic fashion with plenty of controversy.

    With 15 seconds left, UNLV took a 35-31 lead with a 7-yard touchdown pass, but were flagged for TWO excessive celebration penalties while celebrating the touchdown. That helped Hawaii get the ball on the Rebel 42 yard line with all the time they needed. A few plays later they found themselves at the 20 heading in.

    Then, with 5 seconds left, Hawaii threw an incomplete pass over the middle of the field, leaving one (very controversial) second left for a final shot at the end zone.

    Here’s how that final second played out, with both the TV angle, and a view from the field.

    The win brought Norm Chow’s squad their fourth win, to improve to 4-8 on the year, and the loss for UNLV dropped them to 2-10.

    (H/T CBS Sports)