What We Learned
Two Throws Ended Oregon’s Playoff Hopes & Possibly More
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert had thrown only three interceptions during the Ducks’ nine-game winning streak.
He threw two in a span of three plays on consecutive passes Saturday night in the Ducks’ 31-28 loss to unranked Arizona State.
Oregon’s winning streak is now gone. And so are its Playoff aspirations.
Despite having already clinched the PAC-12 North, the 6th-ranked Ducks needed a win to keep pace with Utah for a chance to represent the conference in the College Football Playoff.
That dream died suddenly in Tempe on the arm of Herbert, who has now thrown two picks in a game six times as a four-year starter, including twice against the Sun Devils.
A furious fourth-quarter comeback nearly rendered Herbert’s pair of mistakes moot, but now it’s impossible to imagine a scenario in which the Ducks are even considered for the fourth and final Playoff spot, even with a win against the No. 7 Utes in the PAC-12 Championship.
But was Oregon’s loss damaging in more ways than one?
A one-time possible frontrunner for Heisman, Herbert was considered by many analysts to be the second-best quarterback in next year’s NFL Draft, behind LSU’s Joe Burrow.
Now, some of those same analysts could be wondering whether the Arizona State loss may have dulled some of the sheen from Herbert, whose Ducks are just 4-5 against ranked teams and now 6-6 in games decided by seven points or fewer during his run as a four-year starter.
Saturday could have been an aberration. It’s possible Herbert still comes off the board within the first two or three selections. No one has ever questioned the talent.
For one night, though, everyone is questioning Herbert’s decision-making, perhaps by no one more than he. And it cost him team dearly.
What We’d Still Like to Know
Did Miami Just Lose To FIU?
Head coach Manny Diaz called it a “very, very dark night.”
Former players have since taken to Twitter to find answers. A three-star defensive end recruit de-committed before the dust had a chance to settle.
Some are saying it’s the lowest point in program history.
Miami’s confounding 30-24 loss to FlU Saturday was disastrous, not to mention historically significant.
But, should we really be that surprised? Hasn’t Miami been doing a lot of this lately?
Yes, the Hurricanes absolutely have, and we’re not even talking about losses to non-Power Five teams of recent past. Those belong to the Al Golden and Randy Shannon eras.
We’re talking about the 2019 season.
This one belongs solely to Manny Diaz, who was supposed to be the savior, the one to breathe life into a feeble program — one that would once not hesitate to tell you how good they were and then purposely draw unsportsmanlike conduct penalties while beating you by 40.
On Saturday, Miami became the first time in 40 years to lose three games in a season as a favorite of 14 points or more.
You can’t trash-talk your way around that.
An added layer of deliciousness to all this, at least for FIU fans, is that the man responsible for the disaster, Butch Davis, set the table for Miami’s national championship run nearly 20 years ago before bolting for the NFL.
Davis, in his third season with the Panthers, now has a signature win, and his team is bowl-eligible for the third consecutive season, quite the feat for a program that did not even exist the last time the Hurricanes won the national title in 2001.
But you would never know it. After Saturday’s win, the Panthers were talking Miami-like smack, and it was awesome.
“We wasn’t even calling them the University of Miami during the week,” FIU linebacker Sage Lewis said. “We were calling them the University of Coral Gables. We’re the true Miami school.”
What We’d Like to Forget
Charlotte Football’s Bowl Eligibility Rager
To be frank, I still don’t know if this is a little weird or 100% fantastic.
I give you Will Healy, who will forever go down as a legend in the state of North Carolina.
And not just because he’s officially led UNC-Charlotte football to bowl eligibility for the first time in program history.
It’s because he chose to celebrate half-naked while wearing the team mascot head.
You could say the half-nakedness is long overdue for 49ers football fans.
The program was scrapped following the 1948 season, just two years into its existence, and it has not won more than five games since being reinstated in 2013.
The spectacle was so symbolic of the moment that ESPN chose to play the video rather than run a scheduled promo during SportsCenter.
Well done, Mr. Healy. Best of luck during bowl season.
We’re now gonna try to get to the bottom of why your locker room looks like a cross between Boogie Nights and The Thunderdome.