5-at-10: NFL power poll, CFP ranking predictions, transfer portal already filling up

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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NFL power poll

So the axes are starting to fall. Josh McDaniels got got in Vegas. Monday, Frank Reich was terminated in Carolina.

I doubt he thinks, "I'll be back."

Reich was canned 11 games into his Panthers tenure. Yes, 11 games.

And the Panthers are in a world of hurt as a franchise.

Since Jerry Richardson was forced to sell the team to billionaire David Tepper, the Panthers have had six head coaches — counting interims — since firing Ron Rivera three years ago.

Plus, they dealt arguably their best offensive player, DJ Moore, and next year's first-round pick — which looks like it likely will be No.1 overall — to Chicago to move up and take Bryce Young over CJ Stroud.


Now you have to wonder who will be the next coach called into the owner's office for a "chat."

Brandon Staley in L.A.? Mike Vrabel in Nashville? Bill Belichick in Foxboro? Beuller? Beuller?

Like the heavy kid trying to play tetherball at recess, let's slowly make our way to the poll.


1. Philadelphia (10-1). The Eagles continue to dazzle, and Sunday's 37-34 overtime win over Buffalo in which Jalen Hurts scored a walk-off TD may be the game of the year. It was not the call of the year, as Tony Romo's star continues to fall. Here's more on the social media backlash Romo got over th weekend, which also included him making some Dolly Parton comments on Thanksgiving.

2. Baltimore (9-3). The Ravens can play fast. The Ravens can win ugly. If we had a straw poll in this here power poll, would you vote for Lamar Jackson as MVP? Discuss. According to FanDuel, Hurts is the frontrunner at plus-150 (bet $100 to win $150), with Patty Mahomes at plus-350 and Jackson and Dak Prescott next at plus-600.

3. San Francisco (8-3). That was a road beatdown the 49ers delivered to a Seattle team that likely will make the postseason. When Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey are healthy and on the field at the same time, well, good luck stopping that. That said, how did the entire league miss on Brock Purdy, San Fran included since the 49ers picked him with the very last pick of the draft two years ago? In 20 total games, Purdy's record in 16 starts is 13-3, and his numbers are sick. More than 4,200 yards, 32 TDs and a completion percentage of 69.1. The other eight QBs picked before Purdy, who was the 262nd and final pick in 2022, are Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh; Round 1, 20 overall), Desmond Ridder (Atlanta; 3, 74), Malik Willis (Tennessee; 3, 86), Matt Corral (Carolina; 3, 94), Bailey Zappe (New England; 4, 137), Sam Howell (Washington; 5, 144), Chris Oladukon (Pittsburgh; 7, 241), and Sklar Thompson (Miami; 7, 247).

4. Dallas (8-3). Every team aching to make a playoff run wants home-field advantage; the Cowboys need home-field advantage maybe more than any other franchise. Dallas has not trailed for a single second of any home game this season. Speaking of betting props, and yes, Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons and TJ Watt are the favorites for defensive player of the year, but I just put a little sprinkle on FanDuel on DeRon Bland at plus-1600, and if you are wondering, "Greeson, who the bleep is DeRon Bland? Is that Joe and Janet Bland's boy?" Know that Bland had his NFL record-setting fifth pick six of the season last Thursday.

5. Kansas City (8-3). Andy Reid and Mahomes are still the best coach-QB combo in the league, and that is critical in the playoffs.


28-29. The New Yorks (Giants 4-8; Jets 4-7). How'd they ever win eight? It's a miracle. Lollygaggers.

30. Arizona (2-10). There was a time I could easily rattle off every NFL head coach. Heck, I could do most of the batting orders across the NL when I was in middle school. But anyone care to guess who is the head coach of these Cardinals? And no it is not Dennis Green, "who is who we thought he was, and we let him off the hook."

31. New England (2-9). Man, somewhere Tony Eason is nodding his head and thinking, "Man, these are the Patriots I was used to B.T. (Before Tom)."

32. Carolina (1-10). Man, Greg Olsen — yes, the former Panthers tight end and current Fox broadcaster — has tossed his headset into the ring of fire that is the Carolina coaching search. Considering Tepper's track record, he may hire Greg Olson — former Braves catcher — by mistake.

Rankings that count

The college football playoff committee — which is a scary group led by some dude name Boo — will release their penultimate rankings tonight.

The final four will be announced Sunday after this weekend's conference title games.

Here's one fat-faced fella's best guess on how it will look.

1. Georgia. Cue Ric Flair. If you wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man. WHOOAA.

2. Michigan. Jim Harbaugh said the rivalry with THE Ohio State is unhealthy. Well, no bleep Coach Khaki. There are few things in and around college football that are healthy — for players and fans alike ,Jim. Side note: If you are a program looking for your next coach, don't you have to kick the tires on Sherrone Moore, the guy who picked up Khaki's clipboard while Harbaugh has been in timeout.

3. Washington. Did everyone see that fourth-down call Washington made to matriculate the ball down the field to beat Washington State over the weekend? Fourth-and-1-plus, inside their 40 with the score tied and roughly 2 minutes left, the Huskies went end around for 20-plus and eventually kicked the game-winning field goal to stay in the chase. Gutsy.

4. FSU. And yes, despite the injury to Jordan Travis and a schedule that features LSU and a whole bunch of blah, an unbeaten Power Five conference champ will get an invite. Now if that team that escaped The Swamp sees Georgia in round one of the playoff, lay the 14. Bigly.

Now comes the biggest question of the night: Who is the committee's top one-loss team.

I'm going this way.

5. THE Ohio State. Lost by six at Michigan and was driving late in a great game.

6. Oregon. This is the easy way for the committee, because Oregon gets a shot at revenge against Washington this weekend after the Huskies beat the Ducks by three earlier this year.

7. Texas. The Horns beat Alabama head to head, but man, this gets sticky because if it goes like this then that means ...

8. Alabama. And we all agree that a one-loss SEC champ coached by Nick Saban shant be let out of the dance, right?

Open for business

So as the regular season in college football ends for the majority of teams, that means two things.

Coaching carousel picks up speed. Check and check.

And the transfer portal opens and every coach in need of a QB starts salivating at the names.

Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke reportedly put his name in the hopper. As did Kansas State QB1 Will Howard and Vandy QB AJ Swann.

There are some eye-popping names already on the list — including former four-star recruits Carter Smith (Indiana tackle) and Don Chaney Jr. (Miami RB) — and more will be added almost daily, especially with more coaching turnover.


This and that

— LeBron James set the NBA record for minutes played last night. So there's that.

— Here's the broadcast schedule of Mr. Tiger Woods, who returns to competitive golf this weekend in the Bahamas at the Hero Challenge, which he hosts. Side note: The 20-man field has no cut, and if you finish DFL you still get six-figures. Wowser. Sign me up, Eldrick.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with a look at Jalen Milroe's growth and how it saved Alabama's season.

— Wow, cool story here from TFP's Lindsey Young. Tre Young, the former Calhoun High School star QB, got the HC gig at ETSU. Cool. And man, talk about the family business, the Lambs know coaching. Tre's daddy was a high school legend at Calhoun, and Tre's uncle Bobby built Furman into a monster back in the day.

— The first of many coaching shoes to fall in Athens could be Fran Brown, the Bulldogs' DB coach who appears to be one of the leading candidates for the Syracuse HC gig. What, there are no more Lambs out there to hire?

— As we all sit here waiting for the next Braves hot stove move and whether they can add a top-end-of-the-rotation guy, a belated rest in peace to Levi Walker. For those of us of a certain age, Levi Walker is more well-known by his work name — One Chief Noc-a-Homa. Walker was 81.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning, Ern.

True or false, Chief Noc-a-Homa would not fly today.

True or false, Jalen Milroe will win a Heisman before he's done at Bama.

True or false, Frank Reich will never get another HC gig.

True or false, this is Belichick's last year with the Pats.

True or false, THE Ohio State will be the top-ranked one-loss team tonight.

You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, ask some T or Fs. No big whoop.

As for today, Nov. 28, let's review.

Ed Harris is 73 today. I am pretty sure we have done his Rushmore, and it's pretty entertaining.

Jon Stewart is 61 today.

Paul Shaffer is 74 today.

Rushmore of talk show sidekicks, because Shaffer was aces as Letterman's band leader/sidekick.

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