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Ken Schreiber: 5 things to know about college football this week

Providence Journal 9/24/2022 Ken Schreiber

I went with my heart and not my head. Sure, there is no better gameday atmosphere than Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. The Huskers had just fired their coach (Scott Frost) and  were making a fresh start.  This was No. 6 Oklahoma coming to Lincoln, formerly the best rivalry in college football. When it was 7-0 Huskers, the place was a madhouse. Unfortunately, reality set in and the Sooners scored the next 42 points, winning, 49-14 and it wasn't that close. Exiting the stadium was like leaving a wake. Nobody showed any emotion. For now, Nebraska, a team sadly in total disarray, has to be called what it is — irrelevant.

Here are four other things you should know from the college football world this past week. I promise, I'll be using my head, not my heart ... 

Expansion kills a storied rivalry

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have been playing  each other for 116 years, since 1904. With Oklahoma leaving in 2025 for the SEC, the series known as Bedlam, is in jeopardy. This week both athletic directors basically said they were "moving on" because of scheduling conflicts and not enough open dates to continue the series after 2025. That was the "company line." The truth is that's baloney! The real reason is simple — Oklahoma is leaving the Big 12 for big money in the SEC. Oklahoma doesn't want to play what, in effect, is another difficult game after playing the anticipated nine league SEC games while the Cowboys, well — are just downright bitter.  Reminds me of Texas and Texas A&M when the Aggies left for the SEC and refused to play Texas.  Supposedly, they might play again in the mid-2030s.  Yeah, right.  Another casualty of expansion.

Texas gets its man, for a price

How important is recruiting and how much are teams willing to go to get a commitment?  Texas badly wanted Arch Manning (yes the grandson of Archie and nephew of Eli and Peyton).  So on his recruiting visit, they spent nearly $280,000 in June entertaining him and nine other Texas recruits.  Food, travel, hotel, open bar for the parents, nonstop entertainment, etc.  Sounds like me when I graduated high school — just kidding. Texas isn't alone in the extravagant spending. In fact, it wasn't even close to No. 1 with Georgia spending almost $3.5 million in total. That doesn't even consider what Manning and others will command in name, image, and likeness payments. In the end, the Longhorns got their man to commit.

Bad ending for Herm Edwards

Herm Edwards, forever known as the man who returned "The Fumble" for the Philadelphia Eagles against the NY Giants, was fired as the head coach of Arizona State after an embarrassing 30-21 home loss to Eastern Michigan.  Edwards, a surprise hire five years ago (he had not coached in eight seasons and was in the middle of a starring role as an NFL guru at ESPN) finished with a 26-20 record.  It wasn't just what happened on the field that contributed to Edwards' firing.  ASU is being investigated for multiple violations and five coaches had left or had been dismissed from the program.  So where there's smoke, there's fire.  Edwards is still owed about $8 million, but because of the alleged violations, it remains to be seen if ASU will say he was fired for cause, thereby making those payments null and void.  Speaking of violations, the NCAA placed LSU football on one-year probation for a multitude of violations.  The Tigers did fire the assistant coach responsible for the most egregious violations.  They remain bowl eligible.  It remains to be seen what will happen to Arizona State.

Sankey speaks the truth

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey may be the most powerful voice in college football. He made some honest and transparent comments about the upcoming College Football Playoff expansion to 12 teams. "I'm fine if we (the SEC) win the championship every year, but we have a responsibility to think about the game from a bigger picture."  He also acknowledged that it was not a good thing that "the West Coast and everything west of the Rockies have been excluded from the CFP for all but two years (hint-the PAC 12).  We want college football to be strong nationally and I think that's the responsibility we all have."  While that may be true and both the Big 12 and Pac 12 will probably now receive an automatic bid once the 12-team model is adopted, the reality is it's a boom for the SEC to compete for up to six additional spots for the CFP.  That was the greater motivation here for the SEC.  Translation — lots more money. 

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during SEC Media Days, Monday, July 18, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) © John Bazemore/AP, file Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during SEC Media Days, Monday, July 18, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

On the field

No. 5 Clemson (-7) at No. 21 Wake Forest: Don't be fooled by rankings. They're worthless.  Look at the scores with Wake barely surviving last week by stopping a two-point conversion against Liberty, 37-36.  Not much to say except this will be a Tiger blowout and leave it at that.

No. 20 Florida (+11) at No. 11 Tennessee: Lots of similarities between these two teams. Fast and athletic, they play undisciplined football. The quarterbacks will decide who wins this game. Florida's Anthony Richardson looked good in Week 1 but has not been able to duplicate that performance since.  The Vols need quarterback Hendon Hooker to continue to play turnover-free football (one interception in 88 attempts). The game's in Knoxville.  Take the points because this game will be decided in the fourth quarter.  Gators cover.

Arkansas No. 10 (-2) vs. No. 23 Texas A&M:  They're playing in Arlington, Texas, at Jerry's World, where the crowd will be evenly divided.  Is Max Johnson the right guy at quarterback for the Aggies?  Didn't look like it in their low-scoring victory against Miami (17-9).  The Achilles heel for the Razorbacks has been their passing defense, allowing at least 325 yards in each game.  Arkansas is first in the nation in sacks and seventh against the run.  So Johnson needs to be bold and accurate. The Razorbacks running game averages 243 yards and is led by quarterback KJ Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders.  The Aggies just have not found their groove yet.  Arkansas must play better than they did last week against Missouri State (a 38-27 victory) as they look to go to 4-0 and set up a battle of the unbeatens against Alabama next week.  Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has found ways to win even when his team does not play well and I think it continues here. 

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ken Schreiber: 5 things to know about college football this week

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