"The Stack" 1-2-18

Sony Michel's touchdown run in double overtime lifted Georgia to a 54-48 win over Oklahoma in an instant Rose Bowl classic and helped vindicate Michel for an earlier fumble that Oklahoma returned for a touchdown. Bring on Oklahoma.

The Stack is back on this Tuesday and boy was that a tremendous Rose Bowl game yesterday. Last year I do believe we said that that Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC was the best of all-time. That “all-time” lasted one year. Oh yeah, there is the 2006 Rose Bowl so maybe we're talking about a top 3 Rose Bowl of all-time. Anyway, we’ll talk about that game and more so let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Tuesday, January 2nd:

Georgia tops Oklahoma in Rose Bowl classic

If you thought last year’s Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State was awesome (it was), well yesterday’s Rose Bowl between Georgia and Oklahoma for a spot in the College Football Playoff National Championship was an instant classic and a must-see game. Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma looked just about unstoppable in the first half jumping out to a 31-17 halftime lead, but Georgia turned things on on both sides of the ball in the third quarter to erase the seventeen point deficit to take the lead 38-31. Oklahoma scored two straight touchdowns including a defensive touchdown after running back Sony Michel fumbled and the Sooners returned it for a touchdown. Would freshman quarterback Jacob Fromm be able to lead Georgia on a drive to tie the game? Yes! Fromm was great on the ensuing drive and Nick Chubb would tie the game on a wildcat type run. To overtime we would go and after each team traded field goals on the first possession, Georgia blocked Oklahoma’s field goal in the second overtime. Michel would score the game-winning touchdown and vindicate himself. He and Chubb combined for 326 rushing yards and while Rodney Anderson was tremendous himself rushing the ball for the Sooners with 201 yards, it was not enough to take the high-powered Sooners down 54-48. They are headed to Atlanta. What a game. Absolutely tremendous with how the teams would go back and forth. You feel for Oklahoma, but you have to be happy for Georgia and how they just kept fighting. What a game. An instant classic!

Alabama routes Clemson

Unlike the two last two national championships, this game was not a thriller. Unlike the last two national championships, Clemson’s offense didn’t do much of anything. Alabama’s defense stymied Clemson’s offense and as a result, Alabama crushed Clemson 24-6 sending them to the national championship game (yet again) and setting up an all-SEC championship game against Georgia. The last time there was an all-SEC championship game, Alabama shutout LSU 21-0. Alabama was masterful on defense in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson. They held Clemson to minus seven ( -7) yards of offense in the first quarter. What?! Clemson had under 200 yards for the entire game. They cut the Alabama lead to 10-6 after recovering a fumble in the third quarter, but Alabama controlled things from there. A pick-six of Kelly Bryant in the fourth quarter sealed the deal. This was something I definitely didn’t see coming, but probably should have. You can’t give a Nick Saban team this much time to prepare for you. They’re too good and will figure out ways to stop you. Alabama certainly did that to Clemson. We haven’t heard the last from Clemson though. They will be back…probably next year. The national championship is going to be interesting next week that’s for sure.

NFL head coaching carousel

Black Monday just happened to fall on New Year’s Day and while there were some estimations and speculation out there that we could see as many as ten or eleven head coaching openings, I assume there was at least some pleasant surprise when as of the posting of this blog that there are only five head coaching openings. On Friday, Tampa Bay and Washington both said their respective coaches, Dirk Koetter and Jay Gruden, were both safe. Cleveland ownership has consistently said that Hue Jackson is safe even if he does have a 1-31 record. Three potential head coaching openings are now not vacant. The New York Giants already have an opening. Other spots where head coaching jobs may open up included Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Oakland, Cincinnati, Arizona, Denver and maybe Tennessee. Well so far, there are now six teams looking for new head coaches.

In New York, speculation is that Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is the guy, but the Giants are said to be looking a few other candidates as well including New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. My best guess is that Schwartz is likely the guy for the job.

Indianapolis didn’t wait long after their win over Houston to can head coach Chuck Pagano. It’s not Pagano’s fault that Andrew Luck wasn’t available for the whole year, but he certainly had some problems. Since GM Chris Ballard came from Kansas City, expect Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and special teams coach Dave Toub will be interviewed. While there certainly will be others, I would guess it’s one of those two guys that gets the job.

Oakland didn’t wait long either after their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers to fire Jack Del Rio. Based off of all of the reports out there, ESPN’s Jon Gruden will be headed back to the Black Hole. It’s going to take a lot of money, but the Raiders will get it done.

Detroit didn’t like going 9-7 and missing the playoffs so they got rid of head coach Jim Caldwell early Monday morning. I definitely could have seen the Lions keeping Caldwell, but he had a couple of bad losses this year. He’s a good guy though. Shame to see him go. Since their GM Bob Quinn came from New England, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will be getting at least one interview. Matthew Stafford wants to keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter though. It may be wise to have Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin be the new head coach if there is an agreement that Jim Bob Cooter would stay on as offensive coordinator.

The Chicago Bears were tired of three losing seasons with John Fox so they fired him on Monday. Not much of a surprise there. They did keep their GM Ryan Pace and gave him a four-year extension through 2021 so they obviously like what he has done. Since they need someone to help Trubisky, it would make sense to target an offensive guy like Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur or Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Arizona head coach Bruce Arians has retired so there is now an opening in the desert. Not sure which way the team will go, but it is a shame that Arians has retired. He has had health concerns in the past though so this is probably a good time for him to step aside. Quarterback is definitely an area of concern for the Cardinals. Perhaps a team of Pat Shurmur and Case Keenum would be just what the Cardinals need.

Bill O’Brien is staying in Houston, but GM Rick Smith is taking a year absence which is great news for Texans fans since there is definitely some friction between O’Brien and Smith. With all of the talent that the Texans have, assuming they can avoid injuries, this is a good job and O’Brien is the right man for the job.

Denver is keeping Vance Joseph which is the right move after only one year. John Elway deserves most of the blame for the current quarterback conundrum the team faces, not Joseph. Joseph just needs to make sure the defense doesn’t fall off again.

We’re waiting to see what happens in Cincinnati, but it would seem to be a stretch to think that Marvin Lewis is going to come back, but then again, Lewis and the Bengals just seem to be a great fit for one another.

And in Green Bay, defensive coordinator Dom Capers is out and GM Ted Thompson is getting a different role within the team so the Packers are in the market for a new GM. It will be very interesting to see who gets the job in Green Bay.

There is bound to be plenty more head coaching news in the upcoming days and weeks. I’ll try to be back here with plenty more reaction.

Coming up later this week or Friday: NFL Wild Card preview and picks, NFL head coaching news and more.