November 12, 2023 –
Mike Kern’s Fraud Five
Penn State — I have never been a James Franklin basher. And the Nits are going to win 10 games and probably go to a New Year’s bowl, which they might even win. But … we’ve seen this game before. A couple of weeks ago, at Ohio State, as a matter of fact. A very unimaginative offense. Looking like they were playing not to lose. It’s way past getting old. As the coach pointed out afterward, there’s no shame in losing to two of the best teams in the country. Again. Even though Michigan as we all know didn’t even have its coach. Too bad they all play in the same division. And it’s not going to get any easier next year, when Oregon, Washington and Southern Cal come on in. The body language just doesn’t look right in these spots. They often look lost, mostly when they have the ball. They took a timeout late in the third quarter to discuss a fourth-and-two near midfield, and then punted. They went for it needing to make about five yards with like 4 and a half minutes left, from their own 30 something, with two timeouts still left. Then, when they scored to pull within nine with just under two minutes showing, they went for two. And ran a play from a picket fence formation that fooled nobody. And effectively ended the game. Because at that point they would have to recover not one but two onside kicks to pull off a miracle. What you have to do is give your team some chance by extending the game as long as possible. But what do I know? Did I mention that they ran the ball on their first 12 first-down plays, and couldn’t do a thing on third downs. On that fourth down play I referred to earlier, they threw a pass over the middle with no Penn State receiver within 10 yards. Seriously. Oh well. I guess I’ve vented enough. And I’ve got no horse in the fight. Happy Valley indeed. Hey, Jimbo Fisher got fired by Texas A&M after beating Mississippi State 51-0, two years after signing a 10-year contract that will pay him $76 million on his way out. Yo. The Aggies did finish No. 4 in 2020. Then LSU tried to lure him away. Now this. And the world keeps spinning.
Alabama Birmingham — The Trent Dilfers shouldn’t be losing, even on the road, to a team coming off a 14-point loss at Temple. And certainly not by 31-6. At least I can say I actually called this one on the Saturday morning radio show I do from Parx Casino with Dick Jerardi. Sometimes those feelings work out. Why ask why?
Oklahoma State — If you’re going to beat Oklahoma in what might be the final Bedlam game, you shouldn’t then be losing in the rain at Central Florida, which had just broken a five-game losing streak the week before. And certainly not by 45-3. But it was almost predictable. Ask Mike Grundy.
Tennessee — It’s OK to lose at Missouri, which was ranked 14th. Even when you’re ranked 13. But maybe not by 36-7. Seems like a bit much.
Arkansas — Coming off a win at Florida, lost at home to Auburn 48-10. Even if Auburn has a slightly better record, Hogs were a slight favorite. But again, you could almost see this coming. Just maybe not this bad.
And the then somes …
Ole Miss — It’s always OK to lose at Georgia, even if you’re ranked ninth. But 52-17? Really. Then again, nobody sheds many tears when Lane Kiffin goes down. Especially when he goes down like Joe Frazier in Jamaica against George Foreman.
UCLA — The Chip Kellys lost at home to a two-win Arizona State team, 17-7. The same ASU team that was coming off a 51-3 loss at Utah. And was down 14 players, including five offensive linemen. But it doesn’t have to compute. That’s why there’s a Fraud Five in the first place.