To Play Or Not To Play, Playoff Politics, Deion's Decision And Xmas Lights

Cincinnati v UCF

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Only Gus Malzahn and Mikey Keene know about their discussions over the last few months. They likely talked after Malzahn chose John Rhys Plumlee to be the starting quarterback before the first game. Malzahn chose to use freshman Thomas Castellanos earlier in the season in games where the score was lopsided. Many wondered why Keene had not played in those early games. Perhaps UCF wanted the more experienced Keene available on the backside of a more challenging schedule down the stretch. That came into play as Keene played in the victory over Cincinnati and started and won at Memphis. He also appeared in the Navy game and then came into the game in Tampa against South Florida. That was a fourth game Keene appeared in and made many wonder if he would play, if needed in the conference title game and have a second season of eligibility count.

Mikey Keene was asked by the media after the South Florida win about playing against Tulane and maybe he chose his words carefully by saying "let's go win a championship." 

For those talking about an agreement between player and coach, again, only those two know their discussions and it will stay there. This is college football in 2022 and it's a player movement era. Coaches across the country now face a myriad of challenges on players and who will stay and who will go and who wants to play and who wants to protect a season of eligibility. 

With the transfer portal opening today, the greatest era of player movement is starting. Starters are bouncing for money or a better chance to play. Coaches are bouncing players for what they think are better players. Some of your favorite players are about to play for your rival and players you rooted against may be wearing your laundry next season.

There are many views on Mikey Keene and his decision. First, he can make any decision that he feels is in his best interest. He, and only he, knows the discussions he had with Gus Malzahn and neither Keene or Malzahn owe anyone to reveal those talks. I wish Keene nothing but success wherever he goes and UCF fans have some great memories of his performances in games he played.

There is another view of the situation. There is no guarantee that if Keene played in the game against Tulane that UCF would have run. Having called every snap Keene played in I don't recall seeing him play defense. The Knights struggled all day in stopping the Green Wave, who put up 648 yards. But how many times in one's life can you be a sports hero? How many times do you get to play for a championship? What if Keene played? Would he have started? Would he have come in, as he has in the past, and lead UCF to a win and take his team to a major bowl game? Would a performance like that open the door for him to earn the starting job in 2023? Would he have that memory with UCF fans that would last a lifetime? How many times do you get a chance like that in your life?

Again, no one knows what happens in the game if Keene started or came in at some point. It's possible that UCF would have still lost to a talented Tulane team who earned the AAC title and Cotton Bowl berth.

But again, look around at college football. Two years ago many thought Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei was better than Trevor Lawrence when he came in as a freshman and had a huge game at Notre Dame. He was the next "can't miss" star. On Saturday in the ACC title game he lost his starting job to a new freshman sensation. Today' DJ Uiagalelei has entered the transfer portal. Today's starter becomes tomorrow's former player. Mikey Keene did what any player can do today. Do what they feel is best for them. Coaches today are doing what they think are best for their program and that's who do they want from the transfer portal. It's a portal world and we are just living in it...

Nuggets: The College Football Playoff committee chose Ohio State for the fourth spot after USC's loss in the Pac 12 title game. I expected that after watching the Trojans lose to Utah for the second time and this one on a neutral field. I did say last week that any team in the top four can argue they should not miss the playoff since teams ranked 5-8 by committee were not playing in a conference title game. But I am also smart enough to know the committee is made up of humans that react to things they see. The debate over who should be four was not really a debate, or was it? Nick Saban going on Fox (not Fox News) and making a case for Alabama was comical but I get it. But I laughed and was also frustrated watching people say that Alabama would be favored over TCU and therefore should be in the playoff. Stop it! Stop with what Vegas thinks. Then why even play the games? How far do you want to go with Alabama and still let them in? If the Tide has lost to Texas or Texas A&M, they'd still be favored over TCU. Does it take four losses to leave them out? TCU has a better resume. Stop with the "middle of the pack SEC teams would easily win the Big 12 (see Chris Simms)" talk. And I also give the committee props for leaving TCU number three. Many feel Georgia is getting the tougher opponent by facing Ohio State. Well, the committee doesn't agree. And if the committee did this to avoid a Michigan-Ohio State rematch in the semifinals, so be it...I think Deion Sanders took the Colorado job because he feels he needs to get to a P5 job to get one of the jobs he really wants. I think Sanders wondered how Mike Norvell's season would go this year and if not well, he would land in Tallahassee- his dream job. I also think Deion is frustrated he never got a look at the SEC jobs at Auburn and Ole Miss (if Lane Kiffin was going to Auburn). Sanders may feel like he needed to go win at Colorado and that might be the missing piece on the resume. I do think Deion wants a good SEC job for many reasons, including those not just related to football...My Heisman ballot is in and I cannot reveal who I voted for but I do have one name that won't finish anywhere near the top three but he will be a better pro than some who are in the top three. I will explain after the trophy is handed out...

Final note: The average number of Christmas lights on a house in the United States is 500.

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