Slant Pattern’s College Football Mailbag

It's time again for another long-running feature of the Slant Pattern, where I answer mailbag questions written to other sites. This time, however, I'm making it all about college football.

The first letter is from Boyd, who wrote in to ESPN's Pac-12 mailbag. "A bunch of (people at) ESPN think the Pac-12 stinks. But if one takes away preconceived notions and actually crunches numbers, it doesn't stink at all. Looking at Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings, the Pac-12 has four teams in the top 15 and five in the top 20, exactly the same as the SEC. And Sagarin's conference rankings have the SEC West No. 1, Pac-12 North No. 2, and the Pac-12 South No. 3."

I'm not sure this is even true. Washington was poised to be in the playoff before this weekend, and Utah, Colorado, and Washington State were and are all ranked, and now USC is too, at ESPN and everywhere else. That's almost half the conference. Before the season, Stanford was No. 8. Not very disrespectful. If anything, it's possible that the Pac 12 is overrated, considering Washington State is looking like the class of the conference now despite losing to Eastern Washington.

An anonymous reader wrote to asking, "Does Sumlin need to win-out to get another year or was p***ing away a CFP spot enough to move the BMAs again?"

This was asked before A&M lost again to Ole Miss on Saturday, and I think it's still a good question. has his seat as the 26th hottest in college football, so while that isn't blazing, no one getting fired on that list would be surprising.

But, even if A&M loses to LSU (their other game is against UTSA and I will chalk that up as a win), I think he's probably given one more year. If he beats LSU, then I think he's completely safe for 2017.

Hank, a Wisconsin fan, writes to the following: "Lots of CFP scenarios but I struggle with who Bucky wants to face in the B1G title game. Thoughts?"

I'm tempted to say Michigan, because Penn State and Ohio State both seem firmly in the ascendancy right now. Time will tell if Michigan shakes off their loss, but Penn State still seems like the team that, if Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State played each other 1,000 times, would probably end up with the worse record through that. Neither Penn State nor Michigan has any impressive wins outside their home stadium. My brain says Penn State, my gut says Michigan.

Mr. E writers this to Stewart Mandel at FOX Sports: "Stewart, As a Notre Dame alum/emotionally-over-invested fan, I am surprised you and more of the credible national sports media have not focused your writing on the pitiful seven-year performance of Brian Kelly and the need to remove him as coach. Keeping this to strictly Kelly's on-field shortcomings:

Zero major bowl wins — and blowout losses in two appearances; a minimum of four losses in five out of seven seasons; and "accomplishing" all this during a period when Stanford has proven that an academics-first school can compete among the elite in college football."

If "pitiful" is the word you would use to describe Kelly, who has an NCG game appearance, three 9-win seasons out of six coming into this year, and bowls in all six, then I don't even want to think about what words you would use to describe the coaches that have preceded Kelly since Lou Holtz.

Clearly, you want Kelly out. Towards that end, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, after far outpacing the performance of Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis in the 13 years prior to his hiring, Kelly has almost certainly bought himself at least one more year. The good news is, there's no way he survives another season like this one.

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