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#DearAndy: Playoff rankings and Spurrier returning
4:24 | College Football
#DearAndy: Playoff rankings and Spurrier returning
Wednesday November 5th, 2014

There are so many questions heading into this showdown weekend, so let’s get right to them. Here’s what we answer in the video:

  • Should the playoff selection committee be releasing rankings every week?
  • Will Steve Spurrier coach South Carolina next year?
  • Now that East Carolina has lost, who gets the Group of Five spot in a big-money bowl?
  • Can anyone touch Auburn coach Gus Malzahn?

From @rchrdpeacock1: From 2005, which would seem more improbable -- Baylor vs. Mississippi State or Arizona State vs. TCU as playoff games?

Slow down. Our time traveler from 2005 has a couple of questions first.

  1. There’s a playoff?
  2. There’s a playoff?

Because in December 2005, the following words were uttered in a committee meeting in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives: “The bowls are not perfect, and the Bowl Championship Series is not perfect. But a playoff system is dangerous.”

Of course, they were uttered by Alamo Bowl president Derrick Fox, who really meant “a playoff system is dangerous because it might reduce my paycheck.” He spoke those words during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that examined why FBS football was the only college sport that didn’t end its season with a playoff.

This was neither the first nor the last time someone went before members of Congress and used the work product of the south end of a northbound bull in order to further his own self-interests. Fortunately, commissioners and university presidents (sort of) realized the bowls need them far more than they need the bowls and made a four-team playoff happen.

As for your theoretical matchups, which are still very much in play for this season, let’s examine what our 2005 time traveler would say…

Baylor: “Wow, Guy Morris really did turn things around. I kind of figured things were headed in the right direction after the Bears won five games in ’05 following four consecutive three-win seasons.”

Mississippi State: “Holy cow. Sylvester Croom has come a long way since that loss to Maine in ’04. So, exactly how many opposing coaches have gotten Croomed since 2005?”

Arizona State: “I knew Dirk Koetter really had things rolling in Tempe.”

TCU: “They weren’t so great in their last year in Conference USA, but they really kicked butt once they got to the Mountain West in ’05. It’s really nice to see the big boys give a school from one of the less wealthy conferences a crack at the national title.”

• ROUNDTABLE: Analyzing playoff rankings: Does Oregon deserve No. 4?

From @HalfwayToHobo: Why can offensive linemen on no-huddle teams rise out of their stances and look to the sidelines without drawing a false start?

Bascially, the linemen in a “lookback offense” can do this because they aren’t moving toward the line of scrimmage. The rules forbid any movement that simulates the start of a play, and turning at the waist to look back at the sideline does not do that. But it should be noted that the rules explicitly forbid that this motion be “jerky.” Seriously, that’s the word used repeatedly in the rulebook.

These, according to the NCAA football rulebook, are all examples of false starts:

“An offensive player making any quick, jerky movement before the snap, including but not limited to: (a) A lineman moving his foot, shoulder, arm, body or head in a quick, jerky motion in any direction.

“(b) The snapper shifting or moving the ball, moving his thumb or fingers, flexing his elbows, jerking his head, or dipping his shoulders or buttocks.

“(c) The quarterback making any quick, jerky movement that simulates the beginning of a play.

“(d) A back simulating receiving the ball by making any quick, jerky movement that simulates the beginning of a play.”

So if the officials don’t deem the look back to be too jerky -- and the linemen then reset for at least one second before the ball is snapped -- it’s OK.

The lookback is a bit odd, but it’s less strange than the Dallas Start, the preferred pre-play routine for some lines in the 1970s. The start was memorialized in the 1979 classic North Dallas Forty.

From @tallguyDuke: Realistically, what has to happen for a 12-1 Duke team to make the playoff?

Perhaps we need to place the answer to this question with the answer to the first question because the idea of Duke playing for a national title that doesn’t involve a rim and a backboard would blow the mind of our 2005 time traveler. But it isn’t that farfetched, except for one major if.

@tallguyDuke is assuming the Blue Devils win the rest of their games, which in the regular season isn’t the least bit outside the realm of possibility. They play at Syracuse on Saturday and then close with home games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Schedule strength and a loss at Miami would be serious issues for the committee, but this scenario also assumes one more thing. If the Blue Devils are 12-1 and win the ACC, it means they beat Florida State in the ACC title game. That would do wonders for Duke’s schedule strength, especially if the Seminoles came into the game undefeated. At that point, it would probably depend on the records everywhere else. If the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 were all marred in two-loss chaos, a one-loss ACC (or Big Ten) champ would definitely have a shot at the playoff. Such a champ probably would have a shot even if only one of those leagues fell into chaos.

Of course, that scenario also assumes Duke beats Florida State. If you watched last year’s ACC title game, you’d know that the Seminoles would be heavily favored in a game between two teams that have fairly similar personnel compared to last season.

• ​STAPLES: Best- and worst-case playoff scenarios for each conference

From @Tyrone_Maguire: This past week had national sandwich day. If a ranking of best overall is too much to tackle, how about best bread?

Before we talk bread, I will toss out my favorite sandwich. It’s the pork belly with mint and cucumber at Cochon Butcher in New Orleans.

Now for the bread rankings, which are for sandwich breads only. We all love banana bread, but that’s dessert.

  1. Sourdough
  2. Ciabatta
  3. Soft Pretzel Bread
  4. Merita white bread (In high school, I lived near the since-closed Merita bakery in Orlando. You can sop up any meat juice with a fresh slice of that stuff.)
  5. Brioche

From @KilloughJustin: As an Ole Miss fan, what can I do to appease the evil spirits that haunt us?

Feed them dozens of strips of the thick-cut Tabasco/brown sugar bacon from Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford (see below). Of course, owner John Currence is an LSU fan, so there is a slight chance the bacon will only make the spirits stronger. But the likelihood of them taking a nap and leaving the Rebels alone is far greater.

Andy Staples

• THAMEL: Ole Miss' playoff dreams end with ambulance siren, Auburn win

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