By Mike Kern for PhillyCollegeSports.com
September 30, 2018
Some weeks are easier than others. But somebody has to do it, so here it goes once again. All we can do is try.
1. United States Ryder Cup team – Good thing the Americans were favored. Now they still haven’t won over there since 1993, which is almost impossible. And it wasn’t just that they lost, once again, but the way it went down. After a great start they lost eight straight matches, which is also nearly impossible. Francesco Molinari hadn’t won a full Ryder Cup point before, in six matches (0-4-2). Didn’t matter. Tiger Woods had just won for the first time in five years. Didn’t matter (0-4-0). Dustin Johnson is ranked No. 1 on the planet. Doesn’t matter. It rarely does. The last time they won in Europe, Raymond Floyd led their way with three points. He’s 76. Two years from now they’ll get to try again on home turf, at Whistling Straits, which has hosted three PGA Championships since 2004. Sergio Garcia missed the cut in all four majors this year. Didn’t matter. Any doubt he would be a captain’s pick, and a great pick? Advantage? Who knows. The U.S. has at least won three of the last six at home. So we’ll see. In 2022 the event will go to Italy (Rome) for the first time. And to think I had the U.S. getting 61/2. Should have known better.
2. James Franklin — Games aren’t won on one play. But Penn State’s last play against Ohio State is the only one anyone will remember. And the Nits coach did himself no favors by handing the ball off on a fourth-and-5, after calling two timeouts (The Buckeyes actually called one too). It was stopped for a two-yard loss. All I know is quarterback Trace McSorley had already accounted for a school-record 460-some yards. What else do I have to know? You let him make a play. And if he doesn’t you live with it. But sometimes these guys like to overthink it, and that’s what can happen. Franklin has done a lot of good things in Happy Valley. But his last four losses (in 28 games) have been by a total of four points. In three of them they had big fourth-quarter leads. This was the second year in a row they had the Bucks by double digits in the final period. And the worst part is this game could have given them the inside track on a playoff berth. Now they probably can’t win their division, even though they can still get to a New Year’s Eve bowl. Again. Not bad, but not what they want either.
3. Stanford — Hate to pick on the Cardinal, but like I said it was a favorite kind of week. They were tied at Notre Dame 14-all in the second, and wound up losing 38-17. Not a mortal sin, especially since they had beaten the Irish on a regular basis recently. But it wasn’t a good look, especially for the PAC-12. And they were losing big last week at Oregon before pulling off an incredible comeback.
4. Pitt — I know Central Florida is good. But maybe the Panthers shouldn’t be losing 45-14, even if it was in Orlando. Just saying.
5. Connecticut — I know nobody cares about the Huskies, but they were losing 49-7 at home to Cincinnati, which isn’t exactly Top whatever material.
Nebraska — This might remain a weekly thing for the duration. Cornhuskers lost at home to Purdue, 42-28. And somehow it didn’t even seem that shocking. Which is really the bad part.
UCLA — I know, the Bruins stink too. The Chip Kelly’s lost at Colorado, 38-16. I’m sure they weren’t supposed to win. In fact, they were nearly 10-point underdogs. I’m guessing that’s not the good part. And why can UCLA almost never get it right in this sport? But it’s early. Kelly may grow on Westwood yet. Maybe. Just like Scott Frost in Lincoln.