DeVonta Smith. Hey, Smith, the lesser-known but just-as-electric Alabama wide receiver, just scored again. Dude had five TDs as the Tide ran over, through and around Ole Miss 59-31. The Alabama offense is scary good friends.
SMU. We were on the Mustangs this weekend, and it was easy. SMU built a 41-0 lead over a hapless South Florida team that may have quit on Charlies Strong in a 48-21 victory. SMU is 5-0 (and 5-0 against the number for those of you who follow such matters) and is ranked 24th in this week's AP poll. It's the first time SMU has been ranked since October 1986. (For comparison, that's when I got my driver's license.) SMU and Texas transfer QB Shane Buechele are averaging 44.4 points per game. (Side note: College picks went 4-3 this weekend and that was the worst it could have been. We were a missed extra point Thursday and Alabama making any type of stop Saturday from a 5-1-or even a 6-1-type of weekend.Hits: Oklahoma, Michigan, SMU, and Oklahoma State. Misses: Navy, Bama and Clemson. And yes all of our cutting room floor picks — THE OSU, against Tech, Penn State to name three — hit big time.)
UTC. Rushing for 400 yards and scoring 60 points on Homecoming are good deals. Congrats to Rusty Wright and Co. Curious if any of the loyal readers attended Saturday's date with Western Carolina? If so, please share thoughts about the experience and the crowd. The attendance was announced at 7,636, and while it was wicked hot Saturday, a home game with UT and Georgia off has to be the ideal setting for UTC.
New Orleans. The Saints are 3-1 despite losing their starting quarterback. Think about that, especially if certain NFL head coaches of certain NFL teams of certain NFL cities about 90 minutes south of Chattanooga proper, the next time you bemoan injuries. It's the NFL people; everyone is injured. And the Saints are finding other ways to get it done. (Side note: How's this for a stat? After the Saints prevailed 12-10 over Dallas without scoring a TD, the Cowboys are now 69-4 in games in which their opponents do not get into the end zone.)
Back-up QBs making the most of their chance. Not unlike Teddy Bridgewater with the Saints, there are a few dudes making their most of their chance in there here and now, and we're not necessarily discussing the first-round dudes like a Daniel Jones or Baker Mayfield. (Side note: Man, with each passing week the Daniel Jones > Dwayne Haskins analysis from the Giants looks better and better.) Subbing for Cam Newton, Carolina's Kyle Allen is 3-0 with three road wins as a starter after the Panthers' win at Houstonon Sunday. Nevermind the phenomenon that is the Gardner Minshew experience in Jacksonville, right?
Cameron Champ. This week's winner on the PGA Tour made birdie on the 72nd hole. The first-time winner was visibly emotional and dedicated the win for his grandfather — Papa Champ, whose name Cam put on his wedges — who taught Cam the game and is suffering from Stage 4 stomach cancer. I'm not crying, you're crying.
Akron. In the Toilet Bowl that was Akron vs. UMass, the Fighting' Arths came up on the short end of the scoreboard of a 37-29 loss. Heading into the off week, the 0-5 Zips are the worst FBS team in the country.
Casual college football fan. Name an entertaining game from Saturday? OK, Clemson serving UNC because Clemson is not anywhere as good as we thought and Mack Brown is doing a much better job than I ever imagined counts. What was the next best game? Alabama, THE Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Auburn stomped conference foes. Georgia and Tennessee had bye weeks. Notre Dame and Washington won ranked-on-ranked games by multiple TDs. Some of that is schedule for sure — and the schedule gets noticeably better this week highlighted with Auburn going to Florida (Hi, T Gator). But that was as blah-tactic college football Saturday as I can remember. And if that becomes the norm, then those of us waving the banner about the "best regular season in sports" as the reason against expanding the playoff are going to lose credibility.
Bettors. More than 80 percent of the betting public was on doomed trains of Kansas City (minus-6.5) and New England (minus-7). (Yes we were too and our NFL picks were awful in their awfulness. We're bagel-and-4 on NFL picks heading into tonight, and yes we had both the Chiefs and the Pats, who both won and both failed to cover. #PickersGottaPick) The majority of the public money was on Vandy minus-6.5 and the Commodores covered after Northern Illinois inexplicably went and got a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
Pat Fitzgerald. The Northwestern coach is among the top names on the coaching list of guys who do the most with the least. Visor tip. That said, dude went all Saban-esque blast last week about the 50,000 play-callers on Twitter and second-guessing the Northwestern offense, even dropping "May email is #IDontCare" last week. Well, coach, if you're going to talk it, you best walk it. Not only was the play-calling terrible, not only did Wisconsin survive a scare from NU because of two defensive TDs for the Badgers, but Fitzgerald completely and totally whiffed on very basic two-point conversion strategy. Down 24-3, Northwestern scored and Fitz went for two and failed. So it's 24-9. Northwestern gets a three-and-out and scored again and rather than kick the PAT to make it a one-score game, Fitz went for two and failed so his team was down 24-15. Fitzgerald is a NU alum — so you suspect he had a college level math class at some point — and one of the best in his field, especially defensively. But I've said it before and I believe it, botching the two-point strategy should be in the contract of every coach as a fireable offense for cause.
Dan Quinn. I'll ask it: Is it time for the Falcons to part ways with Quinn, who consistently has a team that is not as productive as its individual pieces. Uh, Matty Ice, unless you want a new nickname along the lines of Matty Turnover, let's start hanging on to the ball, OK?
Vontaze Burfict. The Raiders linebacker has a suspension coming because he is a dirt bag off a human being. He actually will get suspended for his illegal hit on Jack Doyle. In truth, while no one with an IQ above your average cucumber believes the NFL is actually concerned about safety, if the NFL was actually concerned about safety, the league should ban Burfict from the league forever as a repeat offender of all-time dirtiness and cheap shots.
A poll in name only
On ESPN's College Football Final, Joey Galloway said, "Clemson is the defending champion and undefeated so I will keep them at No. 1."
What a crock of poop.
Clemson was awful Saturday and should have lost. The ACC is awful every Saturday and will be lucky to have two teams ranked at the end of the season.
Amazingly, because the college football polls have adapted to modern views like that lawn mower with the wheel-spinning blades that you make your 11-year-old push.
If I had a ballot, Clemson would be no better than seventh, and I can make a hard argument that — based on how they have played this season and how they have looked this season — the Tigers are a fringe-top-10 team.
Sure they are going undefeated because they are play roughly the seventh- and 10th-best teams in the SEC (A&M and South Carolina) and a slate full of ACC laughingstocks.
Has Clemson done more this year or done it better than
THE Ohio State?
Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Florida, Wisconsin?
What about Penn State or Boise State?
Heck, Wake Forest is 5-0 and was way more impressive against UNC?
Thoughts? If you had an AP ballot what would your top 5 look like?
This and that
— Hey, Frank Gore is a hero friends. Hero. Did you know he now only trails Emmitt, Sweetness and Barry Bleepin' Sanders in career rushing yards? Speaking of that Larry Fitzgerald is now second all-time in receptions. Major props.
— Baseball is heading to the postseason. Good times. We will have more on that tomorrow. Deal? Deal.
— Kudos Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for playing well Sunday. Both are playing for tens of millions every Sunday.
— Speaking of gambling, got a couple of interesting tidbits for you this week. Who says Game 162 is meaningless? Well, the Mets' season win total over/under was 85.5. Some cat named Dominic Smith jacked a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to beat the Braves on Sunday. The Mets finished 86-76, os the over cashed.
— Winning and losing the weekend was Jahmyr Gibbs, the star Dalton running back who has become a stat-machine. Against a top-flight Harrison bunch, Gibbs had 223 rushing yards and a TD. Through five games, he has 1,367 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.
— Robert Garrison died over the weekend. He was 59. Robert Garrison had been an actor since the 1970s. If you are having a tough time placing Robert Garrison in a role, know that he has one of the iconic lines of my generation. He delivered th classic, "Put him in a body bag, Johnny," in the original Karate Kid.
— Don't know if this winning or losing the weekend, but as great as Khalil Mack has been this season — four games, four sacks, four forced fumbles — it is not close to the greatness of his quote about how the entirety of the NFL season is a marathon not a spring. "A dog that poop fast don't poop for long," Mack said, via NBCSportsChicago.com. Any questions?
— Not sure how I missed this, but the 007 reboot reportedly is going to have a female James Bond. OK.
In addition to the AP ballot question, feel free to offer your winners and losers.
As for today, the final day of September, let's explore.
On this day 85 years ago, Babe Ruth played his final game.
Martina Hingis is 39 today. James Dean was killed in a car wreck on this day in 1955.
On this day 80 years, the first televised college football game happened. It was between Fordham and Waynesburg.
Rushmore of best college football TV personalities of all time. Go.