Brian Kelly, Billy Napier, Dabo Swinney- Just A Bad Start, Or Are They On Shaky Ground?

We need to talk about the way some of these prominent college football coaches flopped in week 1, and determine whether it was just a bad start, or if the coach is on shaky ground.

Brian Kelly

LSU came into the season ranked #5 despite finishing last year’s SEC slate getting blown out by Texas A&M and Georgia, and losing six players to the NFL Draft. The ranking was all based on hype… and there’s nothing wrong with hype if you can back it up. 

But last Sunday, with no NFL games and the entire football-loving world watching, Florida State outscored LSU 31-7 in the second half, and Seminole QB Jordan Travis personally murdered Jayden Daniels’ preseason Heisman hype.

Is this just a bad start, or is Brian Kelly on shaky ground?

That all depends. Outside of Georgia, LSU has one of the friendliest schedules for a supposed championship contender in the country. It’s completely reasonable to expect the Tigers to turn the page on this L and steamroll through the next seven games before they roll into Tuscaloosa on November 4th. 

This loss might be the humbling the entire Tigers team needs, head coach included. 

Billy Napier

Billy Napier and the Florida Gators could not have picked a worse time to get physically dominated by a shorthanded Utah roster. 

The Swamp Kings documentary that whitewashed Urban Meyer’s image and waxed poetic about the mid-2000’s championship teams just dropped. You can’t be out here giving people a reason to think about their ex.

Billy Napier is a good man, and a good coach- but these Florida fans want a bad man that gets the job done. 

Florida State’s last two games had them getting manhandled by the supposedly soft Pac-12, and the Gators went 0-4 against ranked SEC opponents last year. 

They’ve got issues at quarterback, on and off the field, and quarterbacks are supposed to be part of Napier’s specialty. 

I think this ground is shaky, and if the Gators lose back-to-back games to Vanderbilt, who they play on October 7th, that ground in Gainesville might just open up and swallow Napier whole.

Dabo Swinney

Clemson just got smashed by Duke- meanwhile former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalalei put up five touchdowns in his Oregon State debut. 

If you pay attention to the national media, you would think the sky is falling in on Dabo. You would never guess that this loss just snapped a 12-game winning streak in the ACC.

The reason for that is that Dabo has been in direct opposition to the national narrative that has been supported by a media entity that is increasingly made up of former athletes, and to be honest, we’re all sick of his bullshit. 

He’s not a bad man. On the contrary, he’s an extraordinarily good man that has confused his personal morality with an immoral structure of profiting off of uncompensated labor. It’s what made him say he may quit if players ever got paid, without a hint of irony that he’s cashing biweekly checks somewhere in the six digits. It’s also what has made him reject the transfer portal in an age when his school’s brand recognition is at an all-time high, while demonstrating the pinnacle of hypocrisy by not speaking against his school for flirting with jumping conferences for a bigger payday.

So yeah, if it feels like people are rooting for Dabo to lose, it’s because they might be. Some of that ground shaking in Clemson might be manufactured. 

But it could turn real if the Tigers start 0-2 in ACC play for the first time since 2010. Clemson has Florida State on September 23rd.

Top 5 College Football Playoff Storylines Heading Into Week One

College football is back. Thank the lord! I couldn’t watch another cornhole and spikeball tournament on ESPN2. I need college football back in my life and that’s exactly what we’re getting this weekend. Fans received an amuse-bouche of football with a few games last weekend including Miami vs. Florida, but Week 1 starts the road to the College Football Playoff (CFP).

Every week this season, we’ll look at the Top 5 CFP storylines heading into the weekend. We’re a long way from the first 2019 College Football Playoff rankings, which will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. However, every game matters so let’s kick it off with Week 1.

Are we destined for Alabama vs. Clemson In The National Championship?

This college football season feels a lot like when the Cavs and Warriors met in four straight NBA Finals. The question was not “if” they would play in the NBA Finals, but “how” would they get there. Alabama and Clemson are the two best teams in college football right now. There’s nothing to debate here. Alabama and Clemson have the two best coaches, Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, and two best quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, in the country. Both teams will be double-digit favorites every game with the exception possibly coming in the final game of the regular season when Alabama travels to Auburn. If the Crimson Tide and Tigers meet in the championship, it would be the fifth straight year those two teams met in the College Football Playoff with three of those coming in the national title game. Bama should roll through Duke and Clemson should dominate Georgia Tech in Week 1.

Who is the third-best team in the country?

Is there a consensus third-best team in the country behind Clemson and Alabama? Most fans and experts would choose Georiga as the third-best team in the country. Who can blame them? Georgia has lost three games in the regular season the past two seasons with one of those losses coming to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs will be very good this year. It all starts with the return of third-year quarterback Jake Fromm. Remember the name, D‚ÄôAndre Swift. The junior running back rushed for 1,049 yards and 10 TDs last season while splitting time with Elijah Holyfield. It’s Swift’s backfield now. If all goes according to plan, the Bulldogs are on a collision course with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Can Jalen Hurts become the third straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy?

Jalen Hurts on Oklahoma / Alonzo Adams

The Jalen Hurts Era at Oklahoma begins Sunday night in Norman against Houston. Hurts has not been a starting quarterback since 2017 when he was at Alabama. Lucky for Hurts, he’s going to a coach in Lincoln Riley who happens to be the best play-caller in the nation. It’s safe to say that Riley has a more versatile offensive strategy at Oklahoma than Hurts’ former coordinators at Alabama. Riley also has two straight quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who have won the Heisman Trophy. Can Hurts make it three for three? To be honest, I have no idea what to expect out of Hurts. Can he throw the ball for more than 4,000 yards as Mayfield and Murray did over the past two seasons? Only time will tell if Hurts fits into Riley’s explosive offense.

The game with most the College Football Playoff implications in Week 1 is Oregon vs. Auburn

The marquee game of Week 1 with the most CFP implications on the line is #11 Oregon vs. #16 Auburn at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night. Oregon’s 2019 expectations are very high thanks to the return of senior quarterback Justin Herbert. In 28 starts, Herbert and the Ducks offense have averaged 38.3 points per game in his 28 starts. They’ll need every point on Saturday as Auburn’s defense is coming off a season where it ranked 28th nationally allowing 361.9 yards per game and seventh holding teams to just 17.1 points per game. Coach Guz Malzahn believes this year‚Äôs defense could be the best defense he’s ever had during his tenure thanks to Nick Coe, Derrick Brown, and Marlon Davidson. Not to add any more pressure, but the entire Pac-12 conference is rooting for Oregon. This is the Ducks’ chance to put their conference on the playoff radar versus arguably the best conference in the nation.

Can Michigan Finally Win The Big Ten Title Under Jim Harbaugh?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If there has ever been a year for Michigan to win the Big 10 Conference, it’s 2019. Urban Meyer is no longer at Ohio State. Trace McSorley is not at Penn State. Wisconsin is still not back to their 2017 form where they went 13-1. Michigan State is average. There are no more excuses for Michigan. Returning quarterback Shea Patterson is in for a treat as new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will implement an up-tempo, no-huddle, speed-in-space offense. For Jim Harbaugh, it’s time to win the Big 10 and beat Ohio State.

What are your top storylines for the CFP in Week 1? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Trevor Lawrence Should be Able to Receive his Worth While at Clemson

Trevor Lawerence

On Monday, Clemson decisively defeated Alabama for the College Football National Championship. The Tigers¬†overcame the Crimson Tide 44-16. Not only did Clemson defeat the almighty “Bama,” Clemson sent a strong message defeating them by 28 points. Leading Clemson to victory was¬†true freshman quarterback¬†Trevor Lawerence. Lawerence undisputedly emerged as the star of the game. He threw three touchdown¬†passes and amassed 347 passing yards. Accordingly, Lawerence’s performance was truly unprecedented. He defeated the most powerful team in college football who boasted a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback.

After the game, sports fans and commentators began criticizing the fact that Lawerence is ineligible for the upcoming NFL draft. Critics argued that it is unfair that players do not have the option to enter the draft when they see fit. Similarly, they argue that is not fair that elite athletes are told when they may go professional and make money off of their athletic abilities.

Division 1 college football is a billion dollar industry. However, the athletes who propel that industry receive essentially no compensation above a cost-of-attendance scholarship. However, the coaches make millions of dollars each year. Perhaps, the real issue is not when Lawerence or other similarly situated players should be eligible for the NFL draft. Perhaps the real issue is why playing professionally is the only option such players have to make money for their athletic abilities?

Why is Trevor Lawerence Ineligible for the NFL Draft?

Lawerence is ineligible for the draft because the NFL’s¬†rules¬†say a player is not draft eligible until he is three years removed from his high school graduating class. Proponents of the rules argue that they are in place to protect future NFL prospects from prematurely entering the league before they are physically ready. However, opponents believe that it is unfair that Lawrence and other NFL prospects do not have the option to start their professional careers whenever they see fit. Accordingly, fans and critics argue that Lawerence and other NFL prospects should have the ability to chose when to start their NFL careers.

Perhaps elite athletes should have the ability to freely decide when to turn pro. However, this issue is not the real injustice. The real injustice is the fact that elite NFL prospects cannot make money off their athletic abilities while in college. This is especially true given the fact that the coaches make millions off of the labor of the athletes.

Coaches Make Millions Off of the Labor of Elite Talent, While the Talent has to Wait for a  Professional Career That May Never Manifest.

Take the two coaches who were in the championship game for instance. Those two coaches were Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban. Saban’s base salary was $7.5 million. He made an additional¬†$400,000 for appearing in the CFP semifinal game. Even though the Crimson Tide lost, Saban still cleared an additional $600,000 just for appearing in the championship game. Swinney’s base salary for the season was $6 million. ¬†He received an additional $200,000 for his CFP semifinal appearance. ¬†Since Clemson won the championship, Swinney will receive an additional $250,000.

Meanwhile, the labor force (the football players) that makes these incredible salary numbers possible receives a very small amount in comparison. A scholarship for a college education is invaluable. However, when compared to coaches salaries, television deals, and other sponsorships, does it really seem fair that athletes are limited to their scholarship?

The Focus Should be on Lawernce’s Inability to Profit off his Athleticism in College Instead of on his Inability to go to the NFL

It is not fair for athletes to have wait to reach the NFL to be adequately compensated for their athleticism. What if a player suffers a career ending injury before he is eligible for the NFL? Such a player would never have the opportunity to be adequately compensated for his athletic ability.  It is for this reason that the conversation should be focused on college athletes rights to receive adequate compensation in college.

Yes, an injured player may have a degree. ¬†It is also true that the degree could yield high earnings for the player in the future. However, the injured player would still have missed the opportunity to be adequately compensated for his athleticism in college. ¬†Meanwhile, his coach made millions in games that the injured player’s labor largely contributed to.

There is a lot of money in Division 1 college football. ¬†This is evident from the coaches salaries. ¬†More of that money should be funneled down to the labor force who makes it all possible. ¬†It would be nice if Lawerence had the ability to opt for the NFL. However, it would be better if he could receive more for the fruits of his labor while in college.¬†At the very least, Lawerence and other similarly situated athletes should be allowed to profit off of their own name, image, and likeness. ¬†Therefore, the conversation should be about Lawerence’s ability to receive his worth while in college instead of his ability to go to the NFL.

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 8: Big Shake Ups

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 8

Week 7 was the Best

The Unafraid Show College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 8 are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive ‚Äúbenefit of the doubt.”¬† I don‚Äôt believe in that. The college football top 10 teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins,¬†schedule played, and dominance. Only the games have played matter.

I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information.  For weeks I had been criticized for ranking Georgia, Penn State, and West Virginia too low. Week 7 proved me right.

Before we get to College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 8, you can reference the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 7.

1.  Alabama (7-0) Last Week: #1

Alabama destroyed Missouri but suffered a casualty. Tua Tagoviloa left the game with an aggravation to his sprained knee. Nick Saban said he could have returned to the game if needed. The truth is that if Tagoviloa is not healthy Alabama goes from unstoppable offensively to mortal. Their defense is still the most dominant in all the land. This team feels a lot like the Patriots team that went 18-0. Will they have a different ending than losing in the championship?

2. Ohio State (7-0) Last Week: #3

The Ohio State moved up a spot this week. They had a dominant performance against Minnesota. The Buckeyes defense has made a living shutting teams down in the second half of games. Dwayne Haskins had another 400 yard three touchdown day. Their receivers Hill and Campbell can score every time they touch the football. Only Oklahoma has a more dynamic receiving corps. I can’t wait to see the Buckeyes play Michigan.

3. Notre Dame (7-0) Last Week: #2

Yuck. What an ugly win against Pitt. Ian Book had his first real struggles as starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish. But, he found a way to make enough plays to win. The Notre Dame defense has not failed them at all this year. They will need their best defensive effort in two weeks against Navy. I am still not fully buying into the idea that Notre Dame won’t have a let down this year. But, they have earned a seat in the College Football Playoffs at this point.

4. Clemson (6-0) Last Week: #4

Clemson had a BYE this week. They get a tough NC State team next weekend.

5. Texas (6-1) Last Week: #5

Texas will not let up. The Longhorns won with defense against Baylor. Their offense didn’t score a point after halftime, but they held on for the win. Texas fans should be concerned going forward. They lost quarterback Sam Ehlinger to a shoulder sprain, and who knows if he will miss time. Their offense is completely different without the threat of Ehlinger running the football. Next week Texas gets a much-needed BYE.

6. Florida (6-1) Last Week: #9

The Gators survived a scare from Vanderbilt. Florida’s offense is still less than impressive, but their defense is fast and physical. They will need to get more from Feleipe¬†Franks passing the football for Florida to turn a good start to the season into an SEC East championship. Their win over LSU looks much better this week. Will they be able to beat Georgia in two weeks?

7. LSU (6-1) Last Week: #NR

We have to give Coach O credit. He has knocked off Miami, Auburn, and Georgia so far this year, so technically he does have three top 10 wins. The fact is that Miami and Auburn (lost to Tennessee) were ranked WAY too high in the preseason and neither will be ranked in week 8. Georgia was completely untested, and the Unafraid Show top 10 were the only place that didn’t have the Bulldogs in the top 5. ¬†LSU is battle tested. Joe Burrow and the offense are complementing a stout defense. If the Tigers continue to improve, Bama better watch out.

8. Oregon (5-1) Last Week: #NR

The Ducks are back, and the Ducks are for real. They got an overtime win against their most bitter rival Washington. You haven’t seen Oregon play a physical brand of football like 2018 in a long time. The defense is tough and disciplined. The offensive line had controlled the line of scrimmage in all their games. Their quarterback Justin Herbert is as good as advertised. They have a trap game coming up this week at Washington State.

9. Michigan (6-1) Last Week: #NR

The Wolverines finally got a quality win. They took Wisconsin behind the woodshed and did some terrible things to them. I am starting to believe that this could be the year Michigan wins the Big Ten. Shea Patterson has breathed life into Jim Harbaugh’s offense. ¬†If they can avoid stumbling against Michigan State or Penn State, the winner of the Ohio State vs. Michigan game will make the College Football Playoffs.

10. Central Florida (6-0) Last Week: #9

The Knights have won 20 straight games going back to last season. Much to the chagrin of the CFB Playoff committee, UCF escaped Memphis in week 8. It will cause too much commotion if UCF doesn’t get in the playoffs two years in a row undefeated. The only team people wish losses on more than the UCF Knights is Notre Dame. Both teams could take a spot for a Power 5 team.

Next Up:

Oklahoma, Georgia, Washington, NC State

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts. The College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 8 is accurate, unbiased, and unafraid.

Leave a comment or shoot an email: ImMad@unafraidshow.com… Yes, that is the real email address.