I’ve heard that teams make their biggest improvement between their first and second games of the season, but who knew that they regress the most between their eleventh and twelfth games?
Greg Bryant had 79 rushing yards on 7 carries. That guy could get in some games if he could pick up a blitz.
Watching Alabama pound the Auburn defense with its fourth quarter ground game brought a tear to my eye.
“I thought Coach (Sarkisian) was very generous today running the football to keep the score where it was,” Brian Kelly said after the game. While it’s true that Sarkisian became conservative and didn’t run up the score, I have to wonder if Kelly’s choice of words offers some insight into his own way thinking. Does he equate running with lower scores? If so, Alabama’s 55 points beg to differ.
The Irish ran 16 plays and gained 36 yards on their first four drives not including the punts that ended them. Nice game plan.
Northwestern lost to Illinois. At home. That’s right. Lost to Illinois.
Both USC and Notre Dame punted only three times, the former because it didn’t have to and the latter because it couldn’t afford to.
Most awesome stat of the week: Going into its Thanksgiving game against Texas, 51% of TCU opponents’ drives resulted in either three-and-out or a turnover. TCU padded the percentage with one of those two results in 11 of 17 Texas possessions.
Second most awesome stat of the week: After sitting out the first half because of his targeting suspension, Nyles Morgan had 11 tackles in the second half of Saturday’s game. Granted, USC’s 20 straight fourth quarter runs created plenty of opportunities; but that’s a hell of an effort, one of the few on a dismal day for the Irish.
I looked no further than Michael Bertsch’s first postgame note when choosing this week’s Hardin Award nominee for publishing a nominally true but worthless statistic. “The Irish conclude their regular season at 7-5 and await word on the destination for the program's fifth-straight bowl bid,” Bertch posted, but that wasn’t what sealed it. He continued, “It is the longest bowl streak for Notre Dame since a run of nine bowl games in a row from the 1987-95 seasons.” That wasn’t it either. “Brian Kelly will be the first head coach in school history to coach in a bowl game in each of his first five seasons at Notre Dame.” That was the part that sealed it for Mr. Bertsch, and I think it has a great chance to be the season’s winner.
Will there be upsets in the SEC, Pac12, ACC, and Big Ten championship games? Unlikely, unlikely, unlikely, and unlikely (assuming Wisconsin is favored after OSU lost its second starting quarterback of the season). Therefore this week’s poll probably is the field for the playoffs.