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The Nine Circles of Football Hell - Volume 12

Photo by Julie Bennett, USA Today Sports

By Jeremy Dennis


That weekend was bland, said no one ever. Just when the season couldn’t get any crazier, we get some doozies as we march toward Thanksgiving. Well, it looks like Beelzebub is calling. Let’s see who is making their way down to the Inferno.

Circle 1 - Limbo

The four-team College Football Playoff. I know that I touched on this last week, but now it is time to look at the Playoff itself. Before the next rankings come out, we have three teams that deserve to be there in LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson. Then you have no less than seven teams with one-loss that could make a claim for the next spot. Right now, Georgia holds number 4 and probably will not relinquish it after beating a top-15 team in Auburn. If the season ends with three or more teams with only one loss behind Georgia, there will be an uproar heard around the country (except the Southeast).

Circle 2 - Lust

The Minnesota Golden Gophers. Ah yes. Old P.J. Fleck with his fancy coaching get-up and all the Boat Rowing. All they had to do was win against Iowa and Northwestern to lock up the Big Ten West before even playing Wisconsin. Well…..Iowa had plenty to say about that. The Hawkeyes ended the Gophers undefeated season with a 23-19 victory in Iowa City. Now Minnesota must win out to reach the Big 10 Championship game. This includes a visit from Wisconsin in a couple of weeks.

Circle 3 - Gluttony

Secondaries that play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bruce Arians is an offensive genius but I don’t think he can help the lost cause that is Jameis Winston. In the last five weeks, the FSU standout has thrown 13 interceptions. For the year, he has 18. Next up is the resurgent Atlanta Falcons defense that has not allowed a touchdown in two games. It could be time for the Bucs and Jameis to part ways.

Circle 4 - Greed

To those who bet Ohio State and Northwestern to cover the spread. Yes, it was enticing. Ohio State sitting at -52 against a Rutgers team who couldn’t score in the Amsterdam Red Light District. The Wildcats (-41) playing a UMass team that was giving up almost 50 a game on defense this season. Well, the Buckeyes probably allowed their intramural team to play on defense because Rutgers scored 21 points and State only won by 35. Northwestern got close, but the 45-6 final wasn’t enough.

Circle 5 - Anger

To Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett. I don’t know what was said at the bottom of that pile on Thursday night, but man did that escalate quickly. It will be interesting to see what the league does to Rudolph after the incident as he certainly was not innocent in the matter.

Circle 6 - Heresy

For those that blame anyone for Tua Tagovailoa’s injury against Mississippi State. Let’s get one thing straight. It is rare for any quarterback playing in major college football to get pulled before the end of the first half. Especially when it is a conference game. To listen to many folks sound off about Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff is ridiculous. I don’t see any reason why Tua shouldn’t have finished the half and then sat in the second. It was an unfortunate injury but there should be no second-guessing Tua’s playing time during the first 30 minutes.

Circle 7 - Violence

To Myles Garrett. Typically, a person cannot serve in two different circles of hell, but Satan says this is a special circumstance. The man yanked another man’s helmet off of his head and hit him with it. Damn. The league has suspended Garrett indefinitely while they try to sort out all of the things that happened with the Steelers and Browns. I cannot say that I recall seeing that ever happen in a professional football game.

Circle 8 - Fraud

Gus Malzahn. Since the magical Kick Six year of 2013, the Auburn coach’s record against LSU, Georgia, and Alabama stands at 4 wins and 15 losses and only one division title. No SEC titles. As a whole, there have been few signature wins in his time there. It is probably time for him to move on. I hear a job in Arkansas just opened up...

Circle 9 - Treachery

To the Oklahoma Sooners and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams were getting a whoopin of epic proportions to the Baylor Bears and the Denver Broncos, respectively. However, once the quarter had turned to number 4, both teams woke up and brought their teams back from the dead. The Sooners outscored the Bears 17-0 and the Vikings topped the Broncos 20-0 in that stanza to complete the comebacks. Thievery at its finest.

While the Steelers-Browns game pretty much takes the cake for This Year in Hell-Raising, it is certainly possible that something even more unusual could happen with only two more regular-season weeks in the college football season. Let’s sit back and enjoy a new week unfold.



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