Tom Arth and UTC. Yes, the season as a whole was not what a lot of us expected. (Monster kudos to Stewwie, who had his finger on the pulse of the challenges the Mocs faced this year and the difficulty of the start to the season.) Still, in a year in which just about everything that good go wrong — having your best offensive and defensive player suspended to start the season —did go wrong, the Mocs played the final month with passion and pride. That's a testament to the players and to the coaches, as well.
Lane Kiffin. He has FAU in its conference title game. He had a profile on GameDay — and man the haters (looking at you, Herbstreit) were harsh — but Kiffin's quotes were awesome to be honest. Real. Relatable. Respetful. And all anyone on GameDay harped on was the fact that Kiffin has one of the most fun Twitter accounts around, as the GD crew talked about his maturity and the fact that he likes to mae people laugh. OK. He's not old-school, although he could not have been more respectful of the dean of old-school Nick Saban, but neither are the recruits of today. And let's be clear, Kiffin's Twitter game is sharp, and mostly it's pointed at himself' including the most recent "RTR #watchoutauburn #IronBowl" tweet that had a picture of a long-haired Bama fan with a No. 69 Crimson jersey on with the name J. Freshwater on the back.
Boston Celtics. Wow, 15 wins in a row. That's pretty sweet. Boston's defense is almost seven points per game better than the nest best-defensive team in the Eastern Conference, which is Detroit (94.4 points per game to 101.2).
Tennessee football. Yes, that was an ugly loss that set offensive football back a few years. But the fans showed up in mass on an awful weather night to celebrate the 1997 SEC title team and honor the players. The players played with energy and verve and nerve. (Side question: Are we 100 percent sure Butch Jones left the program in a 'way' better place than Dooley did? Man, we know there are injuries, but wow, the talent looked limited in comparison.)
Will Healy and Austin Peay. Wow, what a story. Riding a 29-game losing streak as a program, and with Healy — the 32-year-old former all-state Boyd-Buchanan quarterback and UTC assistant having lost his first 14 games as a head coach — the Govs became one of the greatest turnaround stories in college football. With Saturday's win, Austin Peay won seven of its final eight to finish 7-4 and second in the OVC.
The FCS selection committee. How in the name of Sweetness Payton himself can Austin Peay, which lost all of one game to FCS competition but still did not make the playoffs. Healy joined ESPN's coverage of the playoff show and offered this: "Felt like the FCS playoffs missed out on a great story." Absolutely coach. And the committee missed out on being fair. Part of the committee's reasoning: They played too much FBS competition. And we're serious about that, which is staggering.
Nathan Peterman. Wowser. Dude threw a pick-six on his third pass of the game Sunday, a narrow 54-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He was making his first start, taking over for benched and confused Tyrod Taylor, who has never thrown a pick-six in his Bills career. Peterman finished with five interceptions while completing six passes in an absolutely horrific first half. (Side note: If you think that decision was not felt across the locker room, a Bills defense that was among the top five in several categories allowed 40 points to now 4-6 Los Angeles Charges in a 54-24 loss. The defense turned two of the Buffalo turnovers directly into touchdowns. It also allowed Team Greeson — which includes the trio of Rivers, Gordon and Keenan Allen — to surge to a win over a team that had Antonio Brown and Alvin Kamara. So it wasn't all bad, right?)
The Greeson clan. Dude, our first-grade daughter brought home a stomach bug Wednesday and it has wreaked havoc on everyone in the compound. Complete and total devastation.
Baker Mayfield. Dude is the best player in college football and deserves to be the Heisman frontrunner. But let's be really clear here: His antics in today's landscape will cost him serious money. The NFL does not want any part of quarterbacks with off-the-field issues that could be distractions. Mayfield, whose game already draws Johnny Mansell comparisons, did his best Johnny Football impression Saturday, both inside and outside the lines. He led the Sooners to a 41-3 win over Kansas and grabbed his crotch and yelled something that sounds like but is not exactly "Luck (to) You." We know how Johnny Football turned out, and that's not to say Mayfield has Mr. Football's habits of wine and song, but we also see how much the NFL takes to distractions with one Colin Kaepernick and how the worm is starting to turn on Jameis Winston, too.
Twitter nut bars. First there was the guy @JoeV_GatorsPod, who posted in August, "If Miami wins 10 games this year I'll eat a steaming pile of dog crap and periscope it live." The all-talk, no-walk gutless @JoeV posted over the weekend after Miami moved to 10-0, "To all Miami fans other there. I apologize for my tweet back in August. The tweet was meant to be a joke. I had zero belief in Mark Richt. I will not risk my health by eating fecal matter, however I will be decked out in Miami gear if they make the CFB playoff. The U is back." The second — some UT fan under the handle @RollTitanz, who has recently deleted his tweet — was some nut job following John Currie around through Neyland asking over and over about Jon Gruden. It was awkward and awful in its awfulness.
Marshawn Lynch. Dude stood for the Mexican National Anthem but sat for our National Anthem. Wow. Whatever man, and feel free to gut your own argument. Or do you think that the renowned Mexican policia is international acclaimed for its proper treatment of minorities. Riiigghhhttttttt.
Lexi Thompson. In a year of heartbreak, one of the best and most famous female golfers in the world finished her year in heartbreak fashion. Remember Thomson was the player who missed winning a major when a TV viewer called a penalty on her for mis-marking her ball almost 24 hours after the fact. (Man, as crazy as it seemed then, it's even more crazy typing it out now. Reread that friends.) Sunday, Thompson gagged a 2-footer that would have won the season-ending tournament and locked down Player of the Year honors. Ouch-standing.
Jim Harbaugh. Hey, anyone else want to tap the brakes on the greatest of Coach Khaki just now? Yeah, we think so too.
There's so much to get to on a Monday, our head kind of spins sometimes.
Now factor in that the Mrs. 5-at-10 has had the stomach big (and to call it a bug is to say that Edgar's character in Men in Black was also a bug; this thing is the devil) we had tot responsibilities as well this morning.
OK, with that in mind, here are our three biggest football takeaways, not winners or losers style, but more so in a simple here we are it football folks.
The battle of Sam and Josh did not really materialize as a lot of us had hoped. Coming into this season we believed Sam Darnold to be the best college passer since Andrew Luck, and we believed that Josh Rosen was second on that list.
They each have kind of disappointed, even to the point that Darnold is hinting about coming back to college. (That may have something to do with Cleveland potentially having the No. 1 pick, which is a pretty shrewd BID-ness decision all things considered.)
In the UCLA-USC showdown, each looked rather pedestrian. Now add in the off-the-field concerns with Mayfield we listed, the shoulder injuries to Josh Allen, the coveted gunslinger at Wyoming, and the erratic nature and style of Lamar Jackson, and what once was perceived as a very deep quarterback class seems rather shallow.
And that makes the offseason winner in that position, one Kirk Cousins. Mr. "You like that" has been aces this year without an all-star cast and will get top-10 QB money in the offseason. (Cousins-Denver, collision course.)
Speaking of collision courses, considering the way the Vikings, Rams (even with Sunday's loss), Saints and especially the Eagles are playing doesn't tonight's Monday Night game between the Seahawks and the Falcons feel like an elimination game for two teams a lot of us picked to be contenders in the NFC?
And speaking of Monday night, anyone wonder if Jon Gruden will be wearing an Orange tie or drinking an Orange Gatorade? Side note: If it's Orange, but a 'Gator'-ade does that count as a secret message to the fan base? Would an Orange Powerade be more direct? What about a Fanta? Or even Tang?
And speaking of direct, dude, the social media frenzy around Chip Kelly-to-Florida chat on Sunday was overwhelming. And we believe this: If that's who Florida wants, the Gators brass better act quick, because now that Jim Mora —hey, Seahawks-Falcons, MondayNight — has been shown the door at UCLA, here's betting the well-heeled Bruins will get into a Chip Kelly bidding war neck deep.
This and that
— Well that was a complete Seinfeld weekend of picks. College picks went 3-3 with the utmost of painful losses when N.C. State (getting points) was going in for the game-winning score, and a freshman wideout fumbled into the end zone with less than 90 seconds left. (And friends, we are sorry for not putting this train on Missouri when the midseason point hit. That's on us.) The NFL picks? Yep, a break-even 2-2. That's why Vegas has free drinks for players and your local entertainment brokers normally drive nice cars.
— Weekend's most popular Grumor: That Jon Gruden was eating at Calhoun's with Peyton Manning before Saturday's UT-LSU game. Social media almost consumed itself.
— Stephan Jaeger finished -8 and tied for 29th ($37,742) and Keith Mitchell finished at -4 under and tied for 54th ($14,012) at this week's PGA Tour event.
— Charles Manson died in prison over the weekend. Yet another reason to be thankful this week, no?
— This is a pretty cool stat, and not unlike being on a baseball list with Babe Ruth, if you are second on any triple-double list behind Oscar Robertson, well, you're in a good spot. Here are the players who needed the fewest NBA games to get their second career triple double: Oscar Robertson (3), Ben Simmons (9), Hambone Williams (10), Magic Johnson (12), Connie Hawkins (14) and Lonzo Ball (17).
— For the first work day since 1999, there was no Mike & Mike on ESPN radio today. The first show was Monday, Jan. 3 and the last show was last Friday.
We can go a multitude of ways today.
First, we need to ask for weekend winners and losers.
Second, the Georgia Dome is already no longer. We wrote this very, Very, VERY early this morning — thanks stupid stomach bug — but here's the late video.
And yes, it's pretty crazy to think that they can destroy something that quickly and only get smoke and soot on the mecca next door.
So we could ask your favorite moment in the Dome and compile a Rushmore of those.
We also could remind everyone that on this day, Nov. 20, in 1984 McDonald's made its 50th billion hamburger. Egad.
Joe Biden is 75 today.
Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner are 42 and 40, respectively today, and this is a reminder that new country is God awful and should be condemned.
One of our personal favs, Richard Dawson would have been 85 today. He died in 2012, and man, his smooching act on the Family Feud would go over like a toot in church these days.
Crud, Bo Derek is 61 today. For those of us in a certain era, Bo Derek was the bee's knees friends.
Happy birthday Dabo Swinney, who is 48.
Quick side question: Considering age and success and connection, would Clemson and its fan base trade Dabo Swinney for any other coach in college football, Saban included? Discuss.
As for a real Rushmore, today is the 25th anniversary of the Stanford-Cal band play. We bet you have seen.
Rushmore of craziest college football plays.
Go and enjoy the day.