Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: Big Ten College Football Playoff Panic

Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: Big Ten College Football Playoff Panic

Week 11

Crowley Sullivan's Thoughts & Prayers: Big Ten College Football Playoff Panic

2017 Crowley Sullivan’s Thoughts & Prayers

Crowley Sullivan is a 20-year sports-media veteran having spent ten years at ESPN as a producer, programmer, content creator, business developer, and brand manager.  He now serves as EVP, Planning/GM, Sports for MandtVR, a content creation platform that emphasizes Virtual Reality initiatives.

Bother Crowley at @CrowleySullivan

Thoughts & Prayers – Week 11



The yelling, the ALL CAPS headlines, and general hysteria has continued through the week in reaction to – prepare yourself – some Top 20 Big Ten teams defeating other Top 20 Big Ten teams.

I know – the “disaster” is that the Big Ten might be “locked out” of the College Football Playoff.

This time of year, I get a real kick out of the HYSTERIA that explodes from the punditry regarding the seismic shifts taking place within the CFP rankings and, more importantly, how so many more seismic shifts will occur in the weeks ahead.

The Big Ten – everyone’s favorite whipping post ever since it launched the conference concept itself in 1898 – has the best conference in college football.

Go ahead and laugh, snicker, guffaw – I don’t care.

The rational, normal, regular humans in Big Ten country didn’t have any panic attacks or meltdowns after what was a sensational day of football in the Midwest this past Saturday – except for the not-so-normal people in Columbus.

I could hear all of the noise from Finebaumville when Iowa destroyed Ohio State. It made me think about something that I find myself thinking every season around this time.

It sure would be interesting to see how Mississippi State would fare at Kinnick Stadium in November.

It would also be intriguing to see how LSU would do in East Lansing in November, particularly since we know how they’ve fared in Milwaukee in September.

It would be quite an experiment to see how Auburn would do in Columbus on a gray, raw November day.

How about seeing how Texas A&M might perform in Ann Arbor in November?

Give Georgia credit – they ventured into foreign territory when they went all the way up to South Bend.

But, that was, after all, before the leaves started to change colors.

I’m pretty sure the stat was that it was Georgia’s first trip north of the Mason-Dixon Line since some salty Georgia Colonists accidentally strayed all the way up into Newfoundland when they were hunting for mongoose.


When Auburn defeats Georgia this Saturday, why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the narrative won’t be “DISASTROUS DAY FOR SEC!!!” but, rather, “SEC SHOWS IT STILL IS GREATEST COLLECTION OF SPORT TEAMS IN HISTORY!!!”?

This all will work out very simply.

Pay attention.

Auburn defeats Georgia.

Alabama defeats Auburn.

Alabama defeats Georgia in SEC Championship Game.

Most of the drama disappears as Alabama – surprise! – represents the SEC in the CFP.

The only drama left is whether or not an 8-loss Mississippi team belongs in the CFP.



Notre Dame and The U are gonna get after it this Saturday.

Top 10 matchup between these iconic programs that have as much in common with their 1980s predecessors as Katrina vanden Huevel has in common with my barber.

But forget about the game (and my barber) for a moment.

Can we all agree that the 30 For 30 on the “Catholics vs Convicts” rivalry from the 1980s is a really silly, pretty hokey examination of how some kids made a bunch of t-shirts?

Are we allowed to say that the specialty production shoots showcasing the ways in which the lettering and coloring was emblazoned on the t-shirts didn’t make for compelling content?

Are we allowed to say that the whole thing about how some adorable Midwestern Irish Catholic Notre Dame students referred to the Miami football team as “Convicts” was in good taste in the way Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones didn’t allow blacks into Augusta National Golf Club simply because they were “products of their time?”

I’m not an expert on copyright infringement laws but the cute young boys who made those transcendent t-shirts seemed to have stretched a lot of boundaries and, according to their endearing testimonials, they had University of Notre Dame priests chuckling at their entrepreneurial spirit.

The U and Notre Dame played some colossal football games over a four-year stretch way back in the days of human-driven automobiles.

How about a film that focuses more on the football players and coaches?

Having said that, congratulations to those clever Irish Catholic kids who changed the world with their t-shirts.

As for this Saturday, today’s Notre Damers are going to continue to be flummoxed with the ongoing conundrum – the Irish will be one step closer to a second CFP appearance under the leadership of a head coach that is loathed by every single Notre Dame person on earth.

Here’s the accurate depiction of the rivalry and the truth about those t-shirts from the perspective of the Convicts –


I really don’t mean to pile on to this thing but it just keeps offering up red meat.

I’m reading now that Steve Spurrier strolls into offensive coaches’ meetings regularly and offers up his thoughts – and, sometimes, prayers – on plays and schemes and ideas related to what sort of sideline stance looks best during a game.

The Ole Ball Coach is a lot like Bill Clinton – and somebody needs to tell him to just go for a long walk.

Nobody in Gainesville wants to say it out loud so I’ll say it for them –

Ole Ball Coach – leave everyone alone and let the football program try to recover from its malaise. Don’t be Rob Lowe as Billy Hicks in St Elmo’s Fire. Billy was a hell of a good sax player.

But as he crept into his late 20s, the undergrads all saw him as a cartoon character. Granted, Billy never led the Tampa Bay Bandits to the level of success you did – but you’re deep into Billy Hicks territory and you should just waltz off into the sunset and enjoy yourself.

Now, if The Ole Ball Coach wants to offer his thoughts (and prayers) to Boom Muschamp, that’s a different story.

Boom could use the guidance.



So much football to be played and everyone is already losing their minds.

People – relax and enjoy the show.

What follows is a team-by-team prescription for reaching the College Football Playoff.

Alabama, 9-0

When lacing up cleats, remember to tie the laces all the way up to the top of the shoe. This is especially important for the players who wear high-top cleats.

Georgia, 9-0

Figure out a way to eliminate this weekend’s game against Auburn from the schedule. It would also be helpful to find a path to eliminating the SEC Championship game.

Notre Dame, 8-1

Continue to light the candles in the Grotto, attend Mass daily, take the Holy Eucharist twice daily, be truthful in Saturday morning Reconciliation, and refrain from eating meat on Fridays (pre-Vatican II rules).

Clemson, 8-1

Let Dabo be Dabo. And keep all laptop computers as far from the Clemson football program as possible.

Oklahoma, 8-1

Petition the NCAA for the allowance to schedule another game with Ohio State. Within the framework of the petition, insist that the game takes place in Columbus or Iowa City.

Wisconsin, 9-0

Purchase as much popcorn as possible so that you are well-stocked when the circus show commences and all of the David Pollacks and Mark Schlabaugchghs of the ecosystem collapse and die after their heads explode due to your admittance into the College Football Playoff.

Miami, 8-0
Claim the Coastal throne. Let the rest take care of itself.

TCU, 8-1

Cotard’s Delusion is a rare condition that causes those afflicted with the disease to believe they are dead or that various body parts no longer exist.

Most medical professionals believe that the cause(s) of Cotard’s Delusion is/are unknown – however, some alternative scientists believe that the disease rears its ugly head after adverse reactions to the intake of unusual drugs.

So, members of the TCU football program should infiltrate the Oklahoma football program via its facility by feigning a friendly visit to extend collegiality between the two schools in advance of the game they’ll be playing on Saturday.

Once inside of the Sooners’ environs, the TCUers should inject some strange drugs into the food and water being consumed by the Sooners. The theory would be that the Sooners will become stricken with Cotard’s Delusion and soon think they are dead or that some of their body parts (arms, for instance) no longer exist.

This would create quite a distraction for the Oklahoma football players and coaches, etc, and would seem to give TCU a good chance at winning the game on Saturday.

Washington, 8-1

Intellectually stymie STANFORD. But, prior to the battle with STANFORD, while out on the field during warmups, tell all of the STANFORD players that you have nothing but respect and admiration for their ability to be student athletes at STANFORD.

Then, meet with scientists (perhaps from STANFORD) who can help you figure out a practical way to turn back time so that you can actually show up for the football game you were supposed to play against Arizona State.


I’ll make a deal with the people.

If you get to say that a two-loss Auburn team would deserve to be in the College Football Playoff, I get to say that a two-loss Michigan State team would deserve to be in the College Football Playoff.


When the 2020 college football season kicks off, these three fellows who are currently head coaches in the Big Ten will no longer be coaching their current teams and will, instead, be doing something else that may or may not include being a head football coach:
Urban Meyer
Jim Harbaugh
James Franklin

When the 2020 college football season kicks off, this fellow will still be the head coach of the team he currently coaches;
Mark Dantonio

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