DAILY DIRT: Only three schools have realistic shot at national title


Bryce Young looks to lead the Crimson Tide to a title this year. — ESPN

Daily Dirt for Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022

High school football opened in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri this week and NCAA college football kicks off this weekend … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 380 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Today, many of us will be enjoying the start of the college football season as Nebraska and Northwestern play in Ireland.

With that in mind, here’s my preseason top 10 for both the Power Five and the Group of Five conferences.

Over the next seven days, all you really need to do is read whatever you can about Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia. No other school has a realistic shot at winning the national title.

The best of the Power Five:

  • 1. Alabama: Nick Saban just got a raise to almost $12 million a year and he has no plans on retiring anytime soon.
  • 2. Ohio State: Mark down Nov. 12. That’s when Indiana visits The Horseshoe, and that’s the day Ohio State might score 100 points.
  • 3. Georgia: Don’t overlook the Sept. 3 opener with Oregon.
  • 4. Clemson: There’s a wide gap between the top three and No. 4, and that’s not an indictment of Clemson. The top three programs are simply THAT much better.
  • 5. Utah: The Utes have a star in the making in quarterback Cameron Rising. It’s also a great name.
  • 6. Texas A&M: The Aggies are loaded, and Jimbo Fisher so wants a shot at Alabama in the postseason.
  • 7. Michigan: Wolverines are picked by many to have a mighty fall this season. I can’t see it. For starters, their first three games are against Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn. Their first test will not come until Oct. 15 vs. Penn State.
  • 8. Notre Dame: That Sept. 3 opener at Ohio State will likely tell us a lot about Marcus Freeman’s first Irish team.
  • 9. Oklahoma State: There’s no way, of course, Mike Gundy’s club stays here the entire season. The Cowboys traditionally go belly-up at some point — usually, at a critical time — late in the season.
  • 10. USC: The Lincoln Riley Era begins.

A few other notables who could make things interesting on any given Saturday afternoon:

The best of the Group of Five:

  • 1. Cincinnati: Luke Fickell is building a dynasty in the Queen City.
  • 2. Boise State: One of two powerhouse teams from the Mountain West.
  • 3. Fresno State: This is the other.
  • 4. UCF: Mark down Oct. 29. That’s when UCF and Cincinnati collide.
  • 5. Appalachian State: The Mountaineers and Coastal Carolina (which just missed my Group of Five top 10) provide one of the nation’s fiercest rivalries that few outside the Sun Belt Conference know anything about.
  • 6. UAB: The Blazers will be helped by playing the No. 116 (out of 131) schedule among Division I teams.
  • 7. Houston: Clayton Tune is a quarterback to watch.
  • 8. San Diego State: How good are the Aztecs, who have a brand new stadium to play in? We may find out Sept. 17 when they journey to Utah.
  • 9. Tulane: This could be the turnaround program of the year. The Green Wave was 2-10 last fall, but have a very comfortable schedule and a veteran team.
  • 10. Toledo: The Rockets travel to Ohio State Sept. 17. Yikes.

2. Everyone loves Walt Disney movies, right?

Not necessarily.

Some have been absolutely ravaged by critics. According to newsweek.com, the ensuing five Disney films have received the worst (and sometimes scathing) reviews:

  • 1. “The Jungle Book 2” (2003): I have never seen this film. In fact I have never seen any of these. But seeing that it stars John Goodman and Haley Joe Osment is enough to tell me I never should.
  • 2. “Planes” (2013): All we need to know is that Kevin Nealon was the biggest “star” in the movie.
  • 3. “Doug’s 1st Movie” (1999): It’s a cartoon, and from what I read, a stupid cartoon at that.
  • 4. “Chicken Little” (2005): “Disney expends more effort in the technical presentation than in crafting an original storyline,” wrote one critic. 
  • 5. “Brother Bear” (2003): Two of the characters are named Koda and Kenai. Yawn …

3. Today’s little-known fact from Billboard Hot 100 pop music history:

File this under strange but true. The Beatles boast the most No. 1 songs (20) of any rock act, but two of their hits were never released as singles and are not included in that figure. “When I’m 64” and “Birthday” were never a part of Hot 100 history.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — “Birthday” is actually one of my favorite Beatles songs, and I never knew it had not been released as a single until doing research for this particular Daily Dirt. Who knew!?

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Don’t bother him on Saturdays until late December.

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