The #FootballFam Mailbag: A Spurrier Golf Show, And Could Memphis Make The Playoff?

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There’s a certain thing about sports memories that stick out in a different way than other life events. They have an entirely new filter from birthdays or time spent with friends. Instead, there’s a sharpness – a who, what, when, where, why – that lives on even after so many other details are frayed and melt away.

I can still remember exactly what I was doing when Vince Young had his scramble against USC in the Rose Bowl, where I was when the Cleveland Indians’ World Series hopes were crushed by the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and by the Marlins in 1997, and the exact place I was sitting when Bryce Drew hit his shot in the NCAA Tournament.

That’s the beautiful thing about each and every week of college football. We always have a chance to make another one of these memories; we just don’t know when or how they’re going to happen. I experienced one of those in watching my first Red River Rivalry game from the Oklahoma student section, as Texas upset the heavily favored Sooners. Maybe this week will give us another unforgettable game – there certainly are enough possibilities out there.

Let’s answer some questions!

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@thegnc: Considering the weirdness of the season, what’s more likely, a non Power 5 playoff team or a two-loss playoff team?

Now this is my kind of mailbag question. It’s about football, but it forces me to use my imagination a little bit and speculate more than just the typical “Who is going to win the Heisman?” “Who is going to be in the Playoff?” questions. I still think the hill is too steep for a Group of Five team this season, although our best chance is Memphis.

I broke down the Tigers’ strength of schedule in Power Rankings this week, and just about every team they’ve beaten also has another signature win on their resume so far (or at least a win over a Power Five squad). And Memphis has an opportunity to break through in a big way if it can beat Ole Miss on Saturday. That’s the type of win that will propel a Group of Five from a decent season to a Playoff contender, especially when you factor in Ole Miss’ win over Alabama earlier in the season. It’d still be tough – and they’d have to be undefeated – but the Tigers could have a shot.

It’s a much easier quest for a two-loss playoff team, and I’ve said all season I think a two-loss team is getting in this year. We’ve already seen plenty of dominoes fall, and lots of teams have a loss already who are still in the running for the Playoff. If anything, I’d be more surprised if we have any undefeated teams left by year’s end. The potential for four one-loss teams or three one-loss teams and a two-loss team seems really high right now. It’s highly unlikely the committee would want to keep the SEC out of the Playoff, but what happens if Ole Miss does drop another game? Or Alabama loses again? Or Texas A&M loses twice over the course of the rest of the season? There’s still Florida in there, too.

Everybody in the Pac-12 but Utah already has a loss, and most of those teams play each other in some capacity, so there’s a bunch of guaranteed two-loss teams out West. The ACC has Clemson and FSU left, but neither of those teams will likely get in if they dropped two games. The Big 12 is still looking really strong, and both Baylor and TCU are undefeated, as is Oklahoma State to this point, and you have the Michigan (with one loss), Michigan State, Ohio State group (to go with Iowa and Northwestern maybe) of the teams vying for national attention. This week could go a long way toward clearing things up or muddying the waters further. I’m hoping for the latter, but that’s just because chaos is more fun.

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@tholzerman: More likely: Iowa runs the table or Bama loses two more times?

Let’s look at Alabama’s schedule first: @ Texas A&M, vs. Tennessee, vs. LSU, @ Mississippi State, vs. Charleston Southern, @ Auburn.

And here’s Iowa’s: @ Northwestern, vs. Maryland, @ Indiana, vs. Minnesota, vs. Purdue

Oh my goodness this is a tough call. Bama conceivably could lose the A&M game, or get nipped by Tennessee, or lose a defensive battle against LSU. I think the Tide handles Mississippi State and Charleston Southern no problem. As for Auburn? We’ve seen how down the Tigers are, but it is the Iron Bowl. Then there’s the matter of whether or not with two losses, Bama still gets into the SEC title game. If so, there’s a potential loss to whomever wins the East (likely Florida right now). If Bama did have two losses and made the Playoff somehow (as discussed above), they could get a third loss in the Playoff. There are a lot of potential grenades here. That said, it is Alabama, and the last time the Tide had three losses in a season was 2010.

As for Iowa, that’s a mighty tantalizing schedule if Iowa can get past Northwestern. The game is in Evanston, and Northwestern’s defense is extremely good, but let’s say the Hawkeyes pull it out. Who is scaring them the rest of the way? Those are four extremely winnable games. The problem here is Mr. Holzerman is saying they’ll run the table, which means they’d win not only the regular season games, but win the Big Ten Championship as well, and their bowl game (or the Playoff!!). That seems a bit harder to do than just going undefeated through the regular season.

So it’s close, but I have to say Bama losing two more times is a bit more likely just because Bama is going to have more opportunities to lose. While I could see Iowa finishing the regular season 12-0 probably a bit more realistically than a lot of other people could, something tells me they’d drop either the Big Ten title game or a Playoff game or a bowl game. But boy that’d be one of the most amazing and wonderful things in the world if Iowa somehow found a way to do the dang thing.

Jim (not on Twitter): What’s the most expensive thing you saw at the Texas State Fair last weekend?

That would be the Chicken Fried Lobster Tail and the accompanying champagne, which you could get for a combined NINETY DOLLARS.

Note the nice Seinfeld restaurant with the Vandelay Industries name there. I thought about doing this for my feature and being extremely decadent, but I was warned not to get the lobster tail by a few different vendors (and fairgoers). This was a tourist trap, basically, and it was a tiny lobster tail ruined by the chicken frying. You’d be better off just getting crawfish at this point, and right now I really want some crawfish.

So I stayed away. But I am bummed out I didn’t try the Fried Pepperoni Pizza.

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@NataTheScribe: What’s Steve Spurrier’s tee time at Augusta National on Saturday?

Unfortunately, I don’t think Spurrier’s going to make it to Augusta on Saturday due to his GameDay obligation, although I wonder if that factored into his decision at all, or if he’s trying to find a way to make it work. He has said he’s excited to go to the Big House, and GameDay will be over by noon, so it’s possible he could take a private jet back from Ann Arbor to Georgia and get on the course for a twilight round. I’m not sure he can get 18 in before dark because the days are getting shorter, but it’s worth a shot.

If he’s not planning on sticking around to watch Michigan State play Michigan, maybe he can get a round in. It wouldn’t even be the Most Spurrier Thing Ever. It seems like something he’s thinking about. There are plenty of good courses in the state of Michigan. I bet he finds a way to play somewhere.

And if this isn’t an audition for GameDay, Spurrier really should consider doing a golf show on the Golf Channel or the Travel Channel or even the SEC Network. Bring guests on, play your favorite courses, explore the various towns and cities nearby, and generally be yourself. I’d watch it on occasion when there’s nothing else on, and I know plenty of college football fans would DVR it and freak out about it and make GIFs and stuff. Something to think about, although if it does happen, at least have me on or give me an Executive Producer credit. I’m giving away great ideas here.

@LethalSax: Please rank these four games in terms of watchability: Cincy/BYU, Iowa/NW, MSU/Mich., UF/LSU.

Watchability, the ultimate subjective test of what a person likes to see in football. Ranked teams? Points? Hilarity factor? Speed of play? All these things factor in.

For my money here’s how they rank:

Michigan State vs. Michigan – I think this game is the most intriguing, it’ll be played the quickest in terms of time so we can watch another game afterward, it’s got two ranked teams, plenty of storylines, and they’re pretty evenly matched. This is the game I’m most excited for this weekend.

Iowa vs. Northwestern – Same deal to some extent. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this game played in under three hours, which would make our friend Michael Felder very happy. It could be a three-point game and come down to a final drive or a last-second field goal. And there’s lots of intrigue here.

Cincinnati vs. BYU – A wholly entertaining game that’ll be extremely watchable, and the fact that it’s on a Friday enhances it greatly. It’s not competing with much for our attention, and lots of weird stuff could happen. I love these kinds of games.

Florida vs. LSU – Fournette. And Death Valley. And whether or not Florida can respond without Will Grier. But I could see myself skipping it and watching it on DVR on Sunday. There’s nothing wrong with this game at all, and it should be fun, maybe, but I dunno, I might be SEC’d out after Bama-A&M anyway.

@dennymayo: How does Mingo feel about Leonard Fournette?

First, a preface. Denny is not talking about former LSU player and current Cleveland Brown Barkevious Mingo, although I would like to hear his thoughts on the electric Tigers running back. So if any Browns beat writers get the chance to talk to Mingo, go ahead and ask him for me, kthx.

No, the venerable Dr. Mayo is asking about my dog. Two years ago, the day after the Browns drafted Mingo, my then-girlfriend and I went to an adopt-a-thon put on by a local shelter. We picked what we thought was a German Shepherd/Husky mix (we found out later she was a Shiba Inu/Husky mix after she straight-up stopped growing and looked more and more like a Shiba), and we were trying to decide what to name her.

It was pretty obvious to me, and she was thinking the same thing, apparently, but I never thought she’d go for it. So I threw it out there: Barkevious Mingo, you know Dawg Pound, BARK-evious, the fact I write about football and stuff. It seemed like a great joke name, but when she actually agreed, I was floored. Obviously, a dog couldn’t understand a six-syllable word, especially as a puppy, but Mingo worked, and it sounds nice (and little toddlers who meet her love saying it).

I don’t know how Mingo feels about Fournette, but she has heard me yell when he breaks free and runs for lots of yards, and she usually peeks her head up to say whaddup. So I think she likes him.