What happened on the University of Virginia campus on Sunday night has shaken the college football landscape on a different level. Although no polls, rivalries or revenue were affected, it was much more important. It was everyday life.
By now you know Cavalier football players Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry were all killed by a single gunman. Christopher D. Jones Jr. is accused of murdering those three young men with such promising futures and also shooting running back Mike Hollins, who was in intensive care until Thursday, and student Marlee Morgan, who is expected to recover. The attack occurred on a bus that was returning from a field trip. Details have emerged that Jones was convicted in June 2021 of having a concealed weapon and just one month later had warrants for his arrest for hit-and-run charges and received a 12-month suspended sentence. The red flags were there for all to see, but the system failed these victims. We can only have complete freedom if protection is provided for all those liberties in our Constitution.
Could this have been avoided? I do not know. What I do know is that a greater presence of security and police needs to be on every college campus throughout the country to act as a deterrent for this irrational and erratic behavior. It’s probably impossible to guarantee everyone’s safety, but it is irresponsible not to do everything we can to provide protection for the vulnerable individuals who expect a campus to be free of any felonious conduct. The next disaster is in the future and maybe it can be avoided with dramatic changes in how we secure our college campuses. Our prayers are with the victims and their families.
Trouble ahead for USC and Mississippi?Bold predictions for college football’s Week 12
Can Tennessee or LSU crack the top four?
There were no unexpected changes in the top four of the College Football Playoff with No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, no. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU all winning. The Horned Frogs’ 17-10 victory over No. 19 Texas on the road was the most impressive win of the week, but not enough to vault them into the top three. Tennessee remains at No. 5 with a good chance to enter the top four since Michigan plays Ohio State next week. The wildcard is No. 6 LSU, which if it runs the table and defeats No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship, will send the CFP Committee into isolation and the final four full of chaos and controversy. USC is a long shot at No. 7 and No. 8 Alabama needs a miracle but there are still games to play.
FBS sows seeds to break from NCAA
There’s an association called LEAD1, which represents the 131 athletic directors in the FBS. This week it circulated a letter to the highest levels of college football, including the 10 commissioners of the FBS conferences, every Division I athletic director, the NCAA Board of Directors and College Football Playoff personnel. The letter recommended a chief operating officer be created for college football to report to a governing board made up of powerful administrators associated with college football. Why? Because this is a precursor to eliminating the NCAA from having authority to govern the sport in all facets of the game with the exception of regulatory enforcement and oversight. This is a harbinger of things to come as the NCAA’s power is diminished and that organization’s revenues are dramatically reduced while the rich will get richer with new revenue streams and more power.
◘How popular is college football? The Tennessee-Alabama thriller had almost 17 million viewers, the largest figure since 1987. The number was almost twice as many people who watched the World Series.
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Will SEC consolidate to just 1 division?
The word is that the SEC is considering having one division when Oklahoma and Texas join the league in 2025. The reason — money, of course. Knowing teams will play a maximum of nine league games, the idea is to have as many teams qualify for a 12-team playoff by scheduling teams indiscriminately. That would end the annual battles and many rivalry games. But it would expand the coffers immensely by reducing the number of ranked teams each team plays each year. Terrible for college football but a great expansion of revenue for the SEC. Are you listening Notre Dame? Please call Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, join the league with the same premise that the Irish would probably only have Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State on their schedule every three years. The Irish could still lose to both Marshall and still qualify for a CFP spot.
On the field
No. 7 USC (9-1) at No. 16 UCLA (8-2) +2: The battle of Los Angeles. The Trojans are ranked No. 7 but who have they beaten? Their best win was against Oregon State, 17-14. Their opponents’ record is eight games under 500. Sure, quarterback Caleb Williams is talented and so is Jordan Addison, last year’s Fred Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver. However, this conference is not that good. UCLA? It lost to 4-6 Arizona, 34-28, at home last week. So while these teams are both ranked teams, it says here they are the “Clemsons” of the West. The game is basically a toss-up, but the Bruins have the home-field advantage and USC does not play well on the road. Bruin quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a big game and UCLA, being the more physical team, emerges victorious.
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No. 10 Utah (8-2) at No. 12 Oregon (8-2) -3: The Ducks and their quarterback Bo Nix need to rebound from their loss last week to Washington (37-34). The Ducks just couldn’t make a game-saving play and were eliminated from consideration for a top-four CFP position. There’s some speculation as to whether Nix plays at all. If he’s a scratch, fuhgeddaboudit. if he does play, he’s probably not 100%. The Utes came off a 21-17 victory over Washington State but needed quarterback Cameron Rising to play effectively. Utah also does not play well on the road and the pick here is Oregon will run up the score. Duck roll!