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Well, it’s time to say nice things about the Notre Dame Yankees

The Top Whatever is your weekly ranking of only the teams that must be ranked at this exact point in time.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

1. UCF. Still the champs. UCF will probably go undefeated again and still get walled out of the playoff, but at least they’ve pulled the most Florida of moves: turning their rickety stadium built from recycled aluminum cans into a brand strength. Does your stadium barely meet code and vibrate under even basic foot traffic? BOUNCE HOUSE.

Other schools could learn from this. Does your stadium still house unsafe levels of carcinogenic asbestos despite years of warnings by the city and state to clean it up? WELCOME TO THE COUGH TROUGH. Is it built on a Superfund site, and possibly not safe for human habitation even for just a few hours every Saturday? WE DARE YOU TO PLAY AT THE TOX BOX.

Built on an active fault line that could go off and swallow the whole place in one huge tremor? TEST YOURSELF AT CAL MEMORIAL STADIUM. This is actually Cal Memorial Stadium’s thing, because the Hayward Fault runs right down the middle of their actual football field.

Again, the weirdest thing we could make up turns out to be a real thing. The lesson here: Stop making jokes, and start taking dictation.

2. The Citadel Bulldogs. Lost 50-17 to Alabama.

The Citadel may have just posted the most dominant 33-point loss in the history of college football. The Bulldogs were tied with Bama at the half. They held the ball for 36 minutes against Alabama. Maybe you wanted to go to watch Tua Tagovailoa play in Tuscaloosa, random Alabama fan? TOO BAD, TIME TO WATCH FORMER HIGH SCHOOL WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON RAINEY RUN A QB KEEPER 25 TIMES FOR MIGHTY CITADEL.

The Citadel lost by fewer points to Alabama than Arkansas, Ole Miss, or Tennessee did. Better still: They scored more points than LSU did against Bama, and LSU was playing at home.

The Citadel is now no worse than like, fourth in the SEC West, and possibly better in the SEC East, if I’m going to be honest. Go Bulldogs.

3. Notre Dame. Flattened Syracuse, 36-3. Listen, I have nothing but jokes for Notre Dame when it comes to the Yankees-themed pinstripe uniforms. Notre Dame would be the first team to co-brand a uniform with Amazon, the first to do a dual-logo football jersey with Duke basketball, and the first team to wear Range Rover-themed cleats. None of this is a surprise. If Notre Dame played a game in Spain, they would 100 percent come out in all-white jerseys in honor of Real Madrid, and definitely not Barcelona.

Unlike Real Madrid — another venerable, old money power — Notre Dame hasn’t won anything of note for years and has a hard time measuring success.

This is not Notre Dame the Football Team’s fault. As college football’s last mighty independent, the only championship Notre Dame can win is THE national title. The Irish live in the unique position of having to decide whether they had a satisfying year or not without using conference play as a report card.

If there’s a question about that for 2018 to this point, there shouldn’t be. Notre Dame deboned Syracuse, reduced them to a gelatinous thing so incapable of moving the ball that the Orange had to rely on an Officially Sad Field Goal in the fourth quarter to avoid a shutout. The offense barely had to sweat. Ian Book had open men all over the field, while the Notre Dame rushing attack clicked along nicely for 171 yards and two scores.

And that’s been the story the whole year. They’ve been better than good, to the point where the only jokes are their specialty uniforms. Which are awful. Let’s be totally clear on that while saying things like “Notre Dame should stop having flashbacks to 2012, because it is six years later and they should get over that, because this is an entirely different team and a much deeper roster.” Because at one point, jokes aside, Notre Dame will have to realize that it stands a chance to seriously compete for the one title they can win outright.

P.S. This isn’t me writing this about Notre Dame, and we will never discuss this again.

4. Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert. Q: How does a Liberty University QB who didn’t even pass for a hundred yards in his team’s 53-0 loss to Auburn merit mention in any list of superlatives?

A1: Is nicknamed “Buckshot”.


5. Clemson. 35-6 over Duke. Duke will be an underrated victory for Clemson, and it really shouldn’t be. Duke consistently overachieves, is a top 25 defense in points per game, and has a pretty good QB in Daniel Jones. Please don’t make fun of Jones when he gets drafted too high because he is large, white, and was coached by the guy who coached Peyton Manning once.

It’s not Jones’ fault he’s a dim NFL scout’s fantasy quarterback. That’s on the dim NFL scout, not Jones.

Duke even tried a play I’d never seen before: a fake quick kick on fourth and short when Jones took the snap, began to punt the ball downfield, and instead pulled up and threw to an open receiver for the first down. The receiver was open because he pushed off, but I’ll never punish effort or innovation here.

Side note: David Cutcliffe would be the worst coach to face in a backyard Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving. He’d be using the water oak for dirty pick plays, intentionally spilling sweep plays into the holly bushes, and definitely pulling double passes. Grandpa loves you, but Grandpa ain’t here to show you what a chump looks like, either.

Trevor Lawrence is coming along nicely, Clemson has at least three wide receivers who might be the next Nuk Hopkins, the defense allowed just six points, the rushing attack was balanced and deep, and Dabo Swinney learned a new word in the postgame presser.

See: It’s late November and everyone is still learning and growing at Clemson, even the head football coach.

6. Oklahoma State. A 45-41 fish stuffed into the glove compartment of West Virginia’s 2018 Dodge Challenger on a hot day and left in there for a week or two.

There is one abiding rule in the Big 12: the conference is a bucket, and all the teams in it envious crabs. The minute one team appears to be heading for freedom, excellence, and a New Year’s bid? That is the moment that team is caught by the leg, then dragged back into the bucket with the rest of the other sad, petty crabs.

Hmm ... let’s search the photo tool for “saddest pettiest Big 12 crab in 2018” and see what comes up and —

Boise State v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

— there we are. Stuck in a rebuild, starting a QB who would otherwise be starting at West Texas A&M, and stumbling into a game against West Virginia at 5-5, Oklahoma State had little reason to stay in the game against a rolling Mountaineers team besides the desire to ruin someone else’s season. This being the Big 12, that was more than enough for the Cowboys.

Taylor Cornelius had 444 yards of total offense, including an improbable 106 yards rushing to doom the Mountaineers. Just go watch him run a few times, and you’ll see how improbable it is. It just shouldn’t work, but somehow, there it all is, toddling down field like an NBA small forward running a 40-yard dash with his legs tied together at the knees.

West Virginia sort of forgot it couldn’t carry timeouts over into the next game, too? That happened, and likely cost West Virginia its best attempt at a last-minute score to win. This in turn cost the Mountaineers a possible shot at the playoff. This in turn means the Big 12’s best hopes are still in the hands of hated rival Oklahoma, who now has a clearer line towards everything, thanks to Oklahoma State. The circle of spite in the Big 12: it’s both endless and perverse.

7. Washington State. Boat raced Arizona, 69-28. That included a 34-point second quarter in which this happened:

Arizona did this, but these kind of things happen for Wazzu this season. Their quarterback is a mustachioed, headband-wearing rec-league football god set loose in a fully functional air raid machine. Their defense is good all the time, and sometimes legit great in the second half of games. They’re ridiculously fun in the way that produces points and wins, which is a rare, rare thing to be treasured.

8. This Fresno State Fan. Siri show me images for the city of Fresno, California.

Yeah, man. YEAH.