NCAAF Notebook: Georgia tops first College Football Playoff Rankings
The calendar has ticked over to November, and that means it's time for the mad dash to the end of the college football season. As we look forward to this weekend’s craziness, here are the top stories from around the country in this edition of our NCAAF Notebook.
Gary Patterson and TCU part ways
After 22 years as head coach of the TCU Horned Frogs, Gary Patterson is gone. The longtime coach was one of the most tenured in the sport behind only the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Kirk Ferentz, and led the Horned Frogs to an impressive ascension into the sport’s upper hierarchy.
TCU was once a participant in the WAC before advancing to Conference USA, the Mountain West, and eventually the Big 12. The leap in 2012 to join the Big 12 was their biggest, and Patterson bravely led them into their new competition with a defensive tenacity that would serve the program well.
Patterson went 181-79 during his tenure at TCU, including a No. 2 overall ranking finish in 2010, and a No. 3 overall ranking in 2013. Patterson was consensus Coach of the Year in 2014, and coached a number of players that would go on to have successful NFL careers.
Patterson has defined TCU football for the last two decades, and while recent seasons were below expectations, his legacy with the program is an impressive one.
As a footnote to the story, don’t be surprised if Patterson lands somewhere else in the future as his competitive spirit is almost certain to keep him out of an early retirement.
Big Names Enter Transfer Portal
With two-thirds of the season complete, players whose preseason hopes went unrealized in 2021 are turning their eyes elsewhere.
The Transfer Portal has been one of many changes to college football that has fundamentally changed the sport, and as seasons conclude and players who hoped to be starters realize they’re permanently down the depth chart, more and more names will make themselves available.
Thus far, quarterback Myles Brennan of LSU, quarterback Chubba Purdy of FSU, wide receiver Emery Simmons of North Carolina, and five Wisconsin Badgers have entered their names in the portal. Plenty more are sure to come, with the biggest potential name being Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler.
College Football Playoff Rankings
The 2021 debut of the college football rankings arrived on Tuesday night, and as we all expected, they invited plenty of drama and discussion. The top four spots consist of Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oregon. Undefeated Cincinnati is sixth, a demoralizing reality for the program that has done all that has been asked of it, but sits outside the sport’s power conference caste.
Rather shockingly, undefeated Oklahoma sits all the way down in eighth. The Sooners have undoubtedly struggled in 2021 but they are still undefeated, which makes their ranking feel off.
There is plenty of time for these rankings to shake some teams out as losses will undoubtedly mount among those currently in the top 10, providing clarity for the committee tasked with picking the best four. But for now, this feels like a wholly arbitrary and unfair selection process.
College Football Game of the Week
There are a great number of very interesting and important games taking place this weekend.
Michigan State vs. Purdue will be closely watched, undefeated Wake Forest travels to North Carolina as a small underdog, and Boise State takes on Fresno State in an excellent West Coast matchup for true fans of the sport.
But the Game of the Week takes place in the SEC West, where Auburn travels to Texas A&M for a key matchup that each team needs to have any hope at maintaining an outside shot at the playoff.
Sat, November 6 2021, 7:30 PM
Auburn has just one conference loss and an upcoming matchup against Alabama. The Tigers control their fate and despite two losses, would likely not be denied a playoff spot if they miraculously ran the table. Texas A&M has two conference losses, but has already defeated Alabama, and with one more slip-up by the Crimson Tide would have the inside track to Atlanta.
Both teams are playing well lately, and this is the only game on the schedule featuring two ranked teams. Kyle Field will be packed for some excellent SEC football on Saturday afternoon.