It was an eventful Saturday in the world of college football, and we have some thoughts on what took place, especially the games of interest here at Hangover Headquarters. As our faithful reader knows, we started a new series of picking college football winners on Friday. On the extremely small chance you missed that column, you wouldn’t be surprised to see the games that we decided to make selections. And, as it turns out, a couple of those games had some interesting endings, that we thought we would address.
Before we dive into our Airing of Grievances, let’s celebrate some wins by teams of very levels on interest to the Hangover editorial staff.
First, the Heels dominated NC State, which wasn’t particularly surprising but immensely satisfying. After laying an egg against FSU, Carolina needed to bounce back in a big way if it is going to be the program Mack was brought back to make it into. And bounce back they did, with a 48-21 win. And always, the best part of any UNC win over NC State is the measured and totally reasonable response from NC State fans. A quick check of the NC State Twitter account’s post of the final score reveals the true nature of NC State fans, who seem to be taking the loss with incredible grace. The first response: “I am no longer an NC State fan. This team is a pure and utter embarrassment to the city of Raleigh.”
Second, it is rare we’ll ever discuss games that we picked incorrectly, but we’re pleased we were so far off on Michigan’s visit to Minnesota. The Wolverines defense showed up, and more importantly, it appears they might have a quarterback. Joe Milton had an efficient evening, and hope has sprung in Ann Arbor, as that was the common talking point for what Michigan needed to make the leap. One could argue not giving up 50+ points to Ohio State is a bigger concern, but that’s for another day. Here in late October, things are looking up for the Maize and Blue.
Meanwhile, Happy Valley is not so happy after a tough loss at Indiana to open their 2020 season. Penn State fans, at least the one we live with, will admit they didn’t play to the level they have come to expect. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the officials jobbed them at the end of the game. We’re confident in your ability to go find the replays of the final play of the game, but the point we want to make here is why have replay if you’re going to ignore what you see when you watch the replay? We can totally understand ruling that play a touchdown in live action. And it is unfair to judge officials making calls in real time against slow motion, HD cameras. But, when the officials look at those slow-motion cameras and still make the wrong calls, it’s on the officials. And last night, they got it wrong and it cost Penn State a win.
And while we’re on the subject of costing a team a win, let’s take a trip to Bowling Green, KY, where the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers scraped by the Chattanooga Mocs thanks to one of the worst calls, we have ever seen. The Mocs returned a kickoff 102-yeards for a touchdown to take the lead with about a minute remaining in the game. However, one official threw a flag claiming that a fair catch was called. Again, the officials reviewed it, and upheld the call. While we know we are completely biased, it doesn’t mean we are wrong. It was an awful call, no one called a fair catch, and an FCS team was robbed of signature moment in its athletic department’s history. The only silver lining is that the Mocs coach Rusty Wright didn’t run onto the field and assault the ref. Not that any jury would have convicted him.
Elsewhere in college football, Alabama steamrolled Tennessee for the 14th straight year but lost their best playmaker, Coastal Carolina is ranked ahead of Southern Cal and Michigan State lost to Rutgers. At home. Sometimes the jokes write themselves.
We will take a moment to give Greg Schiano some credit for the Rutgers win. This man was dragged through the Rocky Top mud a few years back by the Twitter Fellowship of the Miserable. While he would have been an awful fit at Tennessee, it wouldn’t have been because he’s a bad coach. It would be because people in the SEC don’t believe anyone other than other people in the SEC know anything about football. While this one win might say more about Mel Tucker and MSU than it does Rutgers and Schiano, props to Schiano for finding a place that he fits and giving them hope for the first time in a long time. Enjoy it, Greg.
Just want everyone to realize that the only thing keeping your Washington Football Team out of first place in the NFC East is a Philadelphia Eagles tie, which should disqualify the Eagles from contention. Seriously, who gets a tie? In football? Did I mention that the Football Team is 2-5? The biggest highlight of the season for the NFC East is the Giants quarterback tripping over the 20-yard line. Sniper!
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Browns staged a last-minute drive to win for perhaps the first time in franchise history, the Falcons gave up a last-minute drive to lose for the fifth time this week and the Bills managed to win by only kicking field goals in an impressive boycott of the end zone.
The Rays and Dodgers are locked in a 2-2 series, and Saturday’s night Game 4 was by far the most exciting game of the series. The final at-bat was a sight to behold, complete with two fielding mistakes AND a base runner who tripped over…well…nothing. While it probably has Fred Emanski rolling over in his grave, it’s hard to find something more exciting than a World Series walk-off winner on a play at the plate.
Currently, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm are battling it out at the ZoZo Classic and the Golf Channel is trying really hard to sell us on a Thomas vs. Rahm rivalry, which is a bizarre storyline to manufacture. Maybe if they had played against each other in a Ryder Cup match or two at some point or been paired in the final round of a tournament slightly more prestigious tournament than a fall season 70-man tournament sponsored Led Zeppelin cover band. But, as it is, they are both really good and it’s reasonable to expect they will be among the best golfers in the world for the next decade. But when you compare them to Tiger and Phil, who have combined for 125 wins and 20 majors, we’re going to need a little more evidence than “they are both ranked in the Top 3 at the moment.”
More importantly, the tour is gearing up for the first November edition of The Masters. We’ll have plenty to say about the Masters, so we’ll spare you for the time being, but we just wanted to mentally prepare you. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.