This week’s final 2016 Rankman poll is being sponsored by “ESPN analysts hired from Big Ten schools that were in favor of Washington making the playoff.” In other words, we have sponsorship squat. Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he wasn’t worried about Washington getting in, despite the “drama” created by ESPN over Washington’s credentials. Scott SHOULD have been worried. We’re convinced a close win over Colorado would have doomed Washington to something called the “Rose Bowl.” Sorry, but our Final Four is a champions-only club that excluded Big Ten East divisional “Miss Congeniality” award-winner Ohio State, coached by Urban Meyer, who voted his own team No.2 in the final USA Today coaches’ poll despite the Buckeyes losing to Penn State and being outplayed by Michigan. To be fair, Meyer looked long and hard and put Washington at No. 6 just to prove he wasn’t trying to manipulate the larger picture. Sometimes I think the only thing more duplicitous than a major college coach is one that also votes in the USA Today coaches’ poll. Anyway, it was a hoot this year moving “Rankman” from the L.A. Times, celebrating its 135th anniversary this year, to TMGcollegesports.com, born last July. Thanks to all you readers who vowed to follow “Rankman” wherever he landed after four decades in print journalism. Thanks to all paid subscribers who think our TMG ramblings are worth a nickel a day over 365. Our subscriber base has blossomed nicely into a sophisticated, eclectic niche of passionate college football knuckleheads who appreciate the off-kilter way it is presented in this space. It has been fun writing directly to like-minded folks who can deftly absorb same-column references to The Brady Bunch and Frederick Nietzsche. Here’s wishing all of you a happy and prosperous 2017. Rankman hopes you all earn $19.95 more than you need. Cheers.

 

1: Alabama (13-0): Three QBs leave program to become backup singers for Credence Tidewater and The Tuscaloosa Transfers.  (1)

2: Clemson (12-1): Best of luck to Deshaun Watson in advance of Saturday night’s Heisman-Trophy loss to Lamar Jackson.  (2)

3: Washington (12-1): Guy holding “We want Alabama!” sign also came up with “Keep Government’s Hands off my Medicare!”  (4)

4: Penn State (11-2): First two-loss Big Ten champion in college football history to lobby for playing in Peach Bowl over Rose.  (8)

5: Ohio State (11-1): Urban voted Washington No. 6 on his final USAT ballot but, more incredibly, had Grover Cleveland ahead of Lincoln. (3)

6: Michigan (10-2): Big Foot trackers call off hunt for Harbaugh after he is found safely in time for mandatory Orange Bowl press conference. (5)

7: Oklahoma (10-2): Committee says only Pac 12 teams like Oregon can get into playoff playing that kind of horse-hockey defense.  (7)

8: USC (9-3): Another traditional Rose Bowl featuring Big Ten champ vs. second-place team behind Colorado in Pac South Division. (9)

9: Wisconsin (10-3): Please join the Barry Alvarez carolers as they ring in the holidays with the yule tide classic: “I’ll be home for Chryst-mas.”  (6)

10: Colorado (10-3): Microwave Books releases: “From Roses to the Alamo,” one program’s 10-minutes-from-frozen rise and fall. (10)

11: Western Michigan (13-0): Rankman looking forward to Broncos playing Wisconsin in “MAC and Cheese” Cotton Bowl presented by Kraft. (11)

12: Oklahoma State (9-3): Alamo Bowl officiating assignments will be MAC refs with Big 12 handling instant replay (just kidding). (12)

13: Florida State (9-3): Orange Bowl vs. Michigan features a unique variety of coaching influences: Jimbo vs. Jim\Bo. (13).

14: West Virginia (10-2): We feel horrible here for first thinking head coach Holgorsen was offered a new five-year “hair” extension.

15: Florida (9-4): My list of bowls-to-watch has game with four-loss Iowa pushed to the way, way way Outback.” (14)

16: LSU (7-4): Nation’s highest paid staff (for fifth straight season) seeks to purchase acres of citrus grove located around Orlando bowl. (15)

 

First Four Out

Stanford: It seems clear after final tally that many Heisman voters thought McCaffrey opted out for NFL after last season.  (NR)

Temple: Coach Matt Rhule goes AWOL on Military Bowl to start a new Military School in Waco.

Houston: Saban calling schools to say Lane Kiffin is “the best assistant I’ve ever wanted out of my program…RIGHT NOW.”

Louisville: Tim Brown asks: “What’s wrong with being the first Heisman winner to lose his last two games since me?”

 

Honorary Poll Bearers

South Florida (Taggart bolts for Oregon in a pair of Phil Knight’s best new cross-country trainers, Navy (too many top players saluting with crutches) Auburn (one Oklahoma lump, or two, in the Sugar?), Virginia Tech (will knock the Belk out of Bielema for leaving Hokies off final USAT ballot), Utah (proceeds from Foster’s Farm Aid Bowl vs. Indiana will go to pay Willie Nelson’s back taxes), Pittsburgh (feel free to discuss wins over Clemson\Penn State at Pinstripe Bowl), Washington State (Trump names Leach head of Environmental Pullman Agency), Nebraska (looking for someone to play lead pitchfork at Music City Bowl).

 

Next Four Never

Rutgers: The team Washington would have tried to schedule in 1869 if it wasn’t already playing Princeton.

Oregon: Some fans were hoping to get a coach named Kelly to come.

Notre Dame: Some fans were hoping to get a coach named Kelly to leave.

Purdue: New coach’s top priority is getting another quarterback transferred to the SEC.