With the help of players, coaches, TV analysts, school administrators and NCAA officials, AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo tackles on-and off-field issues affecting the sport throughout the year. The show gives everyone from the casual fan to the obsessed alum, an insider look into the AP Poll and all that is trending on campuses around the country. Be ready for the big game, signing day or spring practice with this weekly chat about college football.
Alabama’s Unrelenting Excellence and LSU’s Severe Regression
About 13 months ago LSU-Alabama was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Biggest game of the season. Game of the Century. And LSU broke through for a landmark victory on the way to a national championship. Now the Tide and Tigers play again and LSU is slogging through a season of attrition and regression while Alabama is better than ever. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the Tigers’ slide and the Tide’s unrelenting excellence. Plus, the Big Ten can’t catch a break: Can Ohio State make the playoff playing only six games? Who is the real Heisman favorite and will Texas make a coaching change?
First CFP Rankings of The Season
Because everything is a little weird this season, we have the convergence of two events in college football that would normally be weeks apart.
The first College Football Playoff selection committee rankings of season make their debut. And Thanksgiving week comes with some _ though not as many us usual _ rivalry games. Plus, there is a big batch of Black Friday games for a college football feast. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to talk about what to expect from the playoff rankings: Why where BYU and Cincinnati start is important? Is Ohio State allowed a regular-season mulligan? What happens if Clemson blows out Notre Dame in an ACC rematch? Pac-12, anyone? Plus, the Clemson-Florida State postponement controversy.
Big Ten Showdowns, Bedlam and Bearcats
From Monday to Friday the college football season has been a grind of uncertainty and instability. But the Saturdays are still delivering intrigue and excitement. Dennis Dodd of CBS joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the odd dynamic of the season in the pandemic. Plus, will the first head coach firing in the Power Five break the seal for other schools? And what to expect from two crucial Big Ten games; Bedlam between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma; and Cincinnati’s big test at UCF?
Hot-Seat Watch: What Schools Could Make Coaching Changes?
In a normal college football season we would be waist deep in coaching change rumors and speculation right about now. But this year’s carousel figures to be relatively quiet. Conventional wisdom has been that schools struggling financially because of the pandemic will be less willing to pay big buyouts. Plus, how can you judge performance is this weird season? But fans at some schools are reverting back to the default mode and looking to fire everyone involved with their struggling teams. To take a look at which coaches are on the hottest seats, Dan Wolken from USA Today joins AP’s Ralph Russo to assess the situations in places like South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Iowa and Michigan.
Monster Matchups and Everybody is Playing!
The first week of November in college football feels like opening weekend of the season all over again. All the major conferences will be playing games for the first time, including the MAC on Wednesday night and the Pac-12 starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday. There are huge games involving BYU and Boise State, Florida and Georgia, and Clemson and Notre Dame. Stewart Mandel of The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph D. Russo to dive into it all and try to figure out how the results will impact the College Football Playoff race.
Running the numbers on Penn State-Ohio State
Penn State suffered an epic and thrilling upset the hands of Indiana last week, taking some of the shine off this week’s game against No. 3 Ohio State. But if we look deeper than the final score, the Nittany Lions might not be so bad off. ESPN’s Bill Connelly, the mastermind behind the advance metric SP+ rankings, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to do an autopsy on Penn State’s loss and preview the showdown with the Buckeyes. Plus, why does math hate Kansas State? Is it better to have a good offense or a good defense? Why a boring playoff doesn’t have to mean a boring college football season.
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Love Ralph's professional, no-nonsense take on the sport, the big-picture analysis, and stellar guest lineup.
The bite-sized "3-and-out" closing segment is currently, dearly missed, it was always a highlight when I got to marinate on those for the last few minutes of my commute.
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