Good morning and welcome to another edition of Wake Up With Whitty. College football is officially here, as we have a full slate of games ahead of us today. Among those games is possibly one of the most anticipated season openers ever, #1 Alabama vs #3 Florida State. This very well could be a preview of one of our College Football Playoff matchups. Several other teams kicked off their seasons earlier this week, including the Ohio State Buckeyes (check out my recap here) and the Cincinnati Bearcats, who both opened the season with wins on Thursday night. If you’re looking to kill some time between now and that next big game, then check out this edition of Wake Up With Whitty and let me know what you think.
Fashion Faux Pas
The Florida A&M Rattlers, unbeknownst to them, committed a rules infraction before their game even started on Thursday night. FAMU was on the road for a matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks, and they soon discovered that their road uniforms did not comply with NCAA football regulations. The rules mandate that a team’s uniform numbers contrast with their jersey color, and even though Rattlers’ numbers were outlined in a contrasting color, the actual numbers were the same color as the jerseys themselves. As a result, Florida A&M was penalized by forfeiting a timeout at the beginning of each quarter, leaving them with only one timeout per half.
Arkansas won this game fairly easily, with the final score being 49-7. It’s clear that Florida A&M was no match for its SEC opponent. So is it likely that the team’s uniform violation had anything to do with the outcome of the game? I’d like to think so. I’m a big uniform guy, especially when it comes to college football. The ESPN Uniwatch College Football Preview is one of my favorite days of the year. But I’m also a huge traditionalist when it comes to uniforms, so it makes me cringe seeing some of the flashy, gimmicky uniforms (See: Oregon Ducks) that teams come up with these days. So if there’s even a remote chance that a team’s garbage uniforms were responsible for their loss, then that makes me happy inside. Does that make me a bitter, spiteful old man? Yes. Do I care? No. Now get off my lawn.
Cleaning House in Cleveland
The Cleveland Browns clearly have a plethora of talent, which is making it hard for them to keep some of their big name superstars. And sometimes, when you have an embarrassment of riches like the Browns do, some of those superstars have to get cut. That’s the nature of the business. When you’re as consistently good as Cleveland has been, sometimes you have part ways with your two-time Pro Bowl cornerback so you can make room for some young, up-and-coming talent. And sometimes you have to release a quarterback who, during his tenure with the team, had fewer losses and threw for fewer interceptions than any other QB in franchise history, opening the door for your rookie signal caller to begin his journey to greatness. Again, that’s just the nature of this business, and if you want to be great like Cleveland, you have to be ready to make those hard decisions.
As much as I want to give Cleveland a hard time about cutting Haden, it makes sense. His performance had began to decline the past couple years and his injury issues started to hold him back as well. They tried their best to trade him away, but clearly no team was willing to give up what the Browns were asking for in exchange for him and his current contract. So they let him go. As a free agent he received plenty of interest however, with teams knowing they could sign him to a more reasonable deal. Since he is still relatively young, I could see him still being productive if he can stay healthy and get in the right system. As a Bengals fan, I’m just glad to have him out of Cleveland. He always gave Cincinnati fits, so it would have been nice not to have to see him twice a year, except he decided to sign with the Steelers. Even better…
The most recent front office casualty of the Browns was quarterback Brock Osweiler, who was cut without ever taking a regular season snap for the Browns. The Browns still probably come out winners in the Osweiler deal, though. In exchange for their 4th round draft pick in 2017, the Browns received Osweiler, Houston’s 2017 6th round pick and Houston’s 2018 2nd round pick. The 2018 second round pick was the real centerpiece of that trade. Had Osweiler turned out to be a decent QB, it would have just been a bonus, but that clearly didn’t happen. The Browns tried to move him throughout the offseason, but after receiving no interest they decided it was best to part ways. Brock received a monster contract in 2016 from the Texans, based largely on half of a season of work in Denver in 2015. That year he came in for an injured Peyton Manning to finish out the regular season, but lost the starting job back to Manning in the playoffs (who led the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory). No team wanted to touch that contract, especially for a quarterback who was unspectacular at best last year for the Texans. Even though they cut him, Cleveland still owes him $16 million this year, which is more than Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning are set to make in 2017. When you look at it that way, Brock’s the real winner in all of this.
College Football Playoff Prediction
On the latest episode of The Nati Boys podcast, the four of us discussed our preseason predictions for the College Football Playoff. I really went out on a limb with my four choices, picking some real dark horses that could have a shot, should everything fall their way. I really put a lot of careful analysis into it, and after crunching the numbers and running countless simulations, my prediction for the four College Football Playoff teams are, in no particular order, as follows:
- Ohio State
- Florida State
What’s that you say? I just picked the top four teams (in order) according to the preseason AP poll? That’s exactly why this is considered going so far out on a limb. Think about it, when’s the last time the top 4 teams of the preseason AP poll were all ranked in the top 4 at the end of the season? That’s right, it’s never happened. Look it up and see for yourself. (Don’t actually look it up because I have no idea if this has actually happened before or not.) I really do think this is how the CFP will play out though. Each of these teams will finish with 1 loss at most, and they’ll all win their respective conference championship games. I have Ohio State and Alabama meeting in the championship game, which should be a great game. Finally, the homer in me is picking Ohio State as your 2017 National Champion. Disagree with my picks? Leave a comment below and let me know who you’re picking in the College Football Playoff.
Thank you for checking out another edition of Wake Up With Whitty. If you liked what you saw, hit the like button and leave a comment letting me know what you thought. Follow Milliron Sports on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to the Nati Boys podcast on iTunes. Enjoy some college football this weekend! And if NCAA football isn’t your thing, we’re just one week away from the NFL season. Fall is coming!