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jokergreen Feb 14
                                         You tell me whats weirder: that the second-, third- and fourth-ranked teams could lose on the same Saturday for the first time since 1985, or that the effect on the rankings of something so eclipselike in its rarity could be so negligible. Gary Lewis Jersey . Clemson, Michigan and Washington arent going to fall out of playoff contention. In fact, they arent going to fall far at all. Thats a tribute to the credibility they built in the first 10 weeks of the season, a commentary on all the two- and three-loss teams immediately behind them and on the oddity of this weird but entertaining 2016 season.1. To recap, No. 5 Ohio State may be the best team in the Big Ten and not make the conference championship game, and No. 20 USC may be the best team in the Pac-12 and not make its conference championship game. Watch where the Trojans land in the College Football Playoff rankings, and remember that if the Pac-12 champ goes to the playoff, the Rose Bowl gets to choose the Pac-12 team it desires. And either Clemson or Louisville is the best team in the ACC, and one of them wont make that leagues championship game. Can you remind me again why the Big 12 thinks a championship game will solve all its problems?2. Pitt began the season as a dark horse in the ACC Coastal and, thanks to an unexpectedly leaky defense, never brightened up. The Panthers defense has been uncharacteristically leaky -- for a Pat Narduzzi-coached team -- and thats why Pitt has lost four games. But when the Panthers have made stops, they have won big games. Is there another 6-4 team that has wins over two top-10 teams (No. 10 Penn State and No. 2 Clemson)? That should be a source of pride for Pitt. Or a source of what might have been.3. Two consecutive late-game plays in Iowas 14-13 upset of Michigan raised eyebrows. The first came with the Wolverines having a third-and-8 at their 18, with 1 minute, 43 seconds to play and Iowa down to its last timeout. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh eschewed running the ball and forcing the Hawkeyes to use their last timeout. He went for the first down that would have clinched the game. Of course he did. Hes Jim Harbaugh. Michigan quarterback?Wilton Speight, hurried by the rush of Parker Hesse, threw an incomplete pass. Iowa saved its timeout.4. And then came the punt, a low line drive that Desmond King fielded at the Iowa 41 and returned 8 yards. Michigan linebacker?Mike McCrays?right hand raked across Kings helmet, swiveling the returners head. McCray was called for a face mask penalty, although he didnt grab it, and Iowa started that final possession all the way at the Michigan 36. Wolverine fans are not happy with the call. But in not grabbing the face mask, McCray did slap King upside the head. Either way, its a personal foul, right?5. When the barroom debate gets to best marriage of coach and program, it would be easy to pick Saban-Bama, Meyer-Ohio State, Harbaugh-Michigan or Swinney-Clemson. But if you get to the final four and Mike Leach and Washington State arent in there, you better be prepared to defend your argument. Leach thrives as a maverick, and theres no more mavericky Power 5 program than the Cougars out there on the Palouse. Washington State, after an 0-2 start that included a loss to FCS Eastern Washington, has won eight straight in the same season for the first time since 1930. The Cougars went to the Rose Bowl that year.6. The FPI says that the winner of No. 11 Oklahomas visit to No. 16 West Virginia on Saturday night will be the favorite to win the Big 12. Whither the Mountaineers and the playoff? They tried with their nonconference schedule, which included Missouri and BYU, only to be let down. West Virginia could be one of only six one-loss Power 5 teams. But there is room for only three in the playoff, after Alabama, and there may not be even that. No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 10 Penn State, each with two losses, could play for the Big Ten title and get a playoff bid ahead of West Virginia.7. It is difficult to imagine a scenario that would deny Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson the Heisman Trophy. If we are going to question his efficacy Saturday, when he accounted for only 298 total yards and one passing touchdown, then we are measuring Jackson not against other players, but against his own otherworldly performance in the first nine games of the season. Thats not fair to Jackson. He has been far and away the best player in the FBS for 10 games. To my mind, its the biggest runaway in the Heisman since Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith got about 90 percent of the first-place vote a decade ago. Leo Nomellini Jersey . There are surprises among the Vezina candidates, but most of the others are standard top-tier performers, even if the two Hart Trophy runners-ups have never been quite as good as they have been through the first half of the season. Kevin Greene Jersey . A statement from the worlds top-ranked player says all checks "were satisfactory and showed positive evolution" regarding the injury, which contributed to his loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the final in Melbourne. http:///...rsey-large-601f.html . The native of Mont-Tremblant, Que., captured a World Cup downhill event Saturday, his second this year and fifth career victory on the circuit. South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee wants a young and inexperienced Springboks side to play without fear against Wales on Saturday.Coetzee says he does not believe there is a gamble involved by fielding a team containing just 260 caps, with only 40 of those among a back division that features three Test match debutants.The under-pressure Springboks boss has left out proven match-winners like Bryan Habana and Willie le Roux, with South Africa striving to avoid a record eighth defeat in 2016 as they tackle Wales just seven days after being humbled by Italy.It has been a terrible, tough year. But looking back, it is the right time to go this route and get something out of it, Coetzee said. The large number of players based overseas is a problem for us, and another 50 are leaving at the end of this year.We have to back players at home, and this is an indication, so players will have a look and say they would rather hang around and give themselves another shot at representing the Springboks.If players are based in South Africa, we have control over how they are managed. The overseas policy has not been cast in stone. We are still busy with it, and it will definitely be there in the next month or two.We have picked some exciting youngsters. They have been on tour with us and showing a lot of progress and enthusiasm and excitement. They have to play withhout fear and enjoy it. Jimmy Johnson Jersey. I am sure they will be there going forward and right up there in 2019 (World Cup). I feel it is the right time to give them Test match exposure. It is now time to back the youngsters. I do not see it as a gamble, but the right decision for the future of South African rugby. It is a good team.While South Africa will go into the Principality Stadium clash as underdogs, they can at least take comfort from an outstanding record against Wales that has seen them win 28 of the previous 31 fixtures.And while the Italy loss underlined how far South Africa have fallen, Coetzee does not believe there will be any hangover effect shown by the players this weekend.I could see in training on Tuesday that we had moved on, he added. We want to revive everything, and we have good rugby players in this group. They want to score tries and that is how we have prepared.We had opportunities against Italy, but it was almost as if a fear of failure made the players over-think and question whether they were taking the right option, but there is a different mindset this week.It is about achieving trust among each other. They have to go out with belief and perform, sticking to the plan and not trying to force things. ' ' '