John Clay's notes: Can we start football playoff now?

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistOctober 29, 2013 

Random notes:

Too bad we don't have the College Football Playoff system a year early. Semifinal matchups of Alabama-Ohio State and Florida State-Oregon would be terrific.

Up 56-7 on Penn State last Saturday in the third quarter, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer challenged the spot after PSU converted on a fourth down. After viewing the replay, the officials gave the ball to Ohio State.

When Bill O'Brien was asked about it in the post-game press conference, the Penn State coach stared straight ahead for five seconds before declining comment.

Marvin Lewis compared the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive weapons to those possessed by the Dallas Cowboys in the Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin days. And Lewis may not be wrong.

Speaking of the 6-2 Bengals, you don't hear the critics harping about the franchise's lack of a general manager now, do you?

Connor Shaw probably solidified legendary status in South Carolina football history, ignoring his gimpy knee, entering Saturday's game at undefeated Missouri in the third quarter, the Gamecocks down 17, and leading the visitors to a double-overtime victory.

Shaw also provided an example for other conference coaches to use to their banged-up players. Mark Stoops made clear Monday he is one of those coaches.

Kentucky football's current strength-of-schedule ranking, according to Jeff Sagarin's computer for USA Today, is now sixth in the country. Georgia's ranks No. 1.

Duke's 13-10 win at Virginia Tech on Saturday was the football team's first victory on the road against a ranked team since 1971.

David Cutcliffe should have never been fired by Ole Miss way back when.

Leading up to its rivalry game with Alabama, Tennessee Coach Butch Jones would only refer to the Crimson Tide as "the red team." The Red Team won 45-10 on Saturday. And it wasn't that close.

One of the best stats from the World Series: The Red Sox's Jonny Gomes had drawn a walk only once in 72 plate appearances during the regular season when he fell behind in the count 0-2.

Sunday night, Gomes drew a walk after falling behind 0-2. Next at-bat, Gomes hit the three-run homer that gave Boston the 4-2 win.

I pefer the Kentucky-Duke-Kansas-Michigan State Champions Classic to the newly proposed Kentucky-North Carolina-UCLA-Ohio State Champions Classic.

Florida State's Jameis Winston is No. 2 in the nation in pass efficiency. His quarterback coach: Former UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders.

We've been hearing for the last several years about how baseball players don't know the fundamentals anymore. The sloppy play in the World Series appears to back up that belief.

You're not supposed to peek ahead, I know, but the Nov. 9 Kentucky-Missouri football game looms large in the SEC East race. If Missouri wins out, the Tigers will be playing in the SEC title game in Atlanta. Who would have thought that?

Speaking of Missouri, my vote for SEC Defensive Player of the Year would go to Mizzou defensive end Michael Sam, who was a two-star recruit out of Texas, by the way.

CBS' Bruce Feldman points out that last week was the anniversary of Florida's firing of football coach Ron Zook.

The Gators were 20-13 overall and 14-7 in the SEC under the Zookster at the time. Florida's current coach, Will Muschamp, is 22-11 overall and 13-8 in the SEC.

Kentucky's current SEC losing streak of 12 games is third in league history behind its 17 from October 1969 into November 1971; and 15 from November 1999 into November 2001.

Has Bruce Pearl sued the NCAA yet over receiving a three-year show-cause penalty for fibbing about a cookout when Missouri's Frank Haith got a five-game suspension for trying to cover up a payment to a recruit? Pearl should.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com.

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