Ratto's Top 25: UW rewarded for crushing Heisman hopes


Ratto's Top 25: UW rewarded for crushing Heisman hopes

By now, everyone in America should be hating their favorite team, because it is the natural order of things. As Ovid once said, “Querimur queri incessanter qui non curant igitur sumus” (“We complain incessantly to people who don't care about our complaints, therefore we are”).

The point is, there aren’t many teams left who people can rely on unreservedly any more, and that usually results in firings at season’s end, diminishing season ticket renewals, a drop in alumni donations and ultimately the death of civilization as we know it.

But screw it. That’s not our problem.

1. MIAMI (4-0, 4-0, 3-1): This is why we do what we do. All that other stuff about educating young men and making money for Old State U and warming the hearts of wealthy alums and honoring traditions and culture – all of it is crap next to the simple act of covering, and those who forget it shall plowed under by the cruel bulldozer of history.

2. CLEMSON (5-0, 3-2, 1-4): Outgunning Louisville is a useful win, and frankly never hitting the over is as useful as always hitting it.

3. WASHINGTON (5-0, 3-2, 4-1): Crushed Stanford, shattered Christian McCaffrey’s Heisman hopes and broke the Cardinal-Duck hegemony in the Pac-12 North. Also failed to cover against Portland State, and that cannot be forgiven.

4. HOUSTON (5-0, 3-1-1, 2-3): Ground lost by pushing against UConn cannot be regained. Tom Herman may no longer be the hottest name in coaching circles as a result.

5. COLORADO (4-1, 5-0, 3-2): Covering every week is as close to the divine as anyone in this plane of existence can get

6. OHIO STATE (4-0, 4-0, 2-2): Smothered Rutgers, 58-0, extending Urban Meyer’s secret but obstinate belief that conference expansion is what killed the Austro-Hungarian empire.

7. THE MAC WEST (19-10, 22-7, 15-12): And that includes Northern Illinois being 0-4 against the line. Without the Huskies, the division would be covering 88 percent of the time, and who can’t support that?

8. ALABAMA (5-0, 3-2, 2-3): We’re just giving in to convention here, because when you don’t cover at home against Kentucky, it’s like you’re not paying attention to the real reason you exist. If we had any guts, we’d have them out entirely.

9. OREGON (2-3, 0-4-1, 3-2): Losing to Washington State (and never coming close to covering) means Duck fans have only a few more days before the rainy season starts to burn down Autzen Stadium.

10. WESTERN BULLDOGS (15-7, seventh, plus-249 Pythagorean margin): Won the Aussie Rules footy title for the first time in 62 years, joining Leicester City in the hall of improbable champions this year. This means good things for the Chicago Cubs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Cougars and whoever might be playing De La Salle this year for the NorCal prep title. Bet with confidence, suckers.

11. SOUTH FLORIDA (4-1, 4-1, 4-1): If there were more categories, they’d be 4-1 in those, too.

12. GUYS CRYING WHEN THEY HIT A HOME RUN (Dee Gordon, Mark Teixeira, Matt Holliday): Me, I’m a live-and-let-live guy. I believe in letting a hundred schools of thought contend, to paraphrase the quote from that old baseball scout Mao (Three-Finger) Zedong. But I do like the fact that millions of old and/or dead ballplayers hate this, no matter how valid and real the emotion might be.

13. ARKANSAS STATE (0-4, 0-4, 1-3): The number tells you what you need to know.

14. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (1-4, 0-5, 4-1): The only team that has failed to cover all five times it has played, and still a great over bet. Can’t ask for a fairer deal than that.

15. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (1-4, 1-4, 2-3): Beat Florida Atlantic for its first cover of the year, thus rewarding itself for brilliantly firing coach Ron Turner the same day LSU fired Les Miles.

16. FLORIDA GALACTIC: Joins Division 1-A as an independent next year, followed by Florida Mythical and Florida Student-Free Tax Dodge.

17. TY BLACH (1-0, 1-3): Owned Clayton Kershaw in his first major league start, got his first major league hit, and then his second, and authored the Giants’ fastest game of the year (54 minutes faster than their 3:10 average, proving that the slothful pace is what kept them from the 137-win season they should have had). He also completely turned Vin Scully around on that piker Sandy Koufax.

18. LSU (3-2, 1-4, 0-5): Like Florida International, won with a new interim coach (Ed Orgeron), who is himself becoming better at covering (18-27, 21-20-1, 14-27-1), though he remains utter crap at beating the over.

19. SAM ALLARDYCE (1-0): Fired as England coach after one match (obliterated Slovakia, 1-0, in extra time) for slagging the present rules of player acquisition on tape by a London newspaper and therefore offending his superiors. If he coached American football, he’d already be doing network pregame shows because, hey, 1-0.

20. BUFFALO (1-3, 1-3, 1-3): Not much to claim record-wise, true, but rolled up 67 total yards in a 35-3 loss to Boston College. Total. 67 yards. 201 feet. 2,142 inches. That, my friends, is purpose.

21. TORONTO RAPTORS (1-0, 1-0, 0-1): Beat Golden State in Vancouver Saturday night, thus rendering the Warriors’ big dreams utterly inert even before the season begins. Steve Kerr will be fired before Christmas, bank on it.

22. BAYLOR (5-0, 1-4, 1-4): Couldn’t cover at Iowa State. They disgust me. Okay, they disgust me more than they already did.

23. JED YORK AND TRENT BAALKE (1-2, 1-2, 2-1): Did not enjoy Michigan’s win over Wisconsin. Definitely did not enjoy the 10-man I-formation Jim Harbaugh ran. Did enjoy their failure to cover.

24. NEBRASKA (5-0, 3-1-1, 1-4): Illinois escapes Lincoln with a huge cover as the heat increases on Mike Riley from people who bet their corn harvest and gave the 20.

25. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (not the school, which covered at home against Arizona State): Rumors of the possibility of a massive earthquake along the San Andreas Fault based below the Salton Sea were downgraded by whimsical scientists from 1-in-100 to 1-in-500. Bad news for the late Bill Hicks’ hopes of Arizona Bay.

And with that, until next week, you know what to do. As in, go away.

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault


WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

BERKELEY — Former California women’s basketball player and current WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit against Cal claiming she was sexually assaulted by a longtime member of the athletic department.

The school acknowledged the lawsuit Wednesday night and said the staff member, Mohamed Muqtar, had recently been placed on paid leave. The assistant director of student services, Muqtar has been working for the university for just more than 25 years, the school said. An e-mail to Muqtar’s Cal email account was not immediately returned.

Cal said in a statement “the University is aware of the complaint, but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations.”

Clarendon, who plays for the Atlanta Dream and was at Cal from 2009-13, posted on Twitter her thoughts about the lawsuit.

She said in three separate tweets:

— “Regarding the news today: I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry. It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”

— “My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. #TimesUp.”

— “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”

Cal explained in its statement that this case goes beyond the athletic department for investigation.

The statement reads: “Our department policy states that once anyone in Cal Athletics is made aware of any instance or allegation of a violation of University policy involving a coach, staff member or student-athlete, those matters are referred to the appropriate departments on campus responsible for investigating them. Athletics does not have its own specific conduct process nor does it investigate allegations or cases on its own, but follows the University’s policy and works in concert with campus professionals who are responsible for those areas. All university staff are also required to complete sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training, and those programs have increased in recent years. Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center and other campus resources.

“Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women’s basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today.”

Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


Alabama wins national title on epic walk-off touchdown in OT


ATLANTA -- To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

"He just stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said. "He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him." The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead of it but first Alabama will celebrate another national title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played in a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

"I could not believe it," he said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbably victory of his unmatched career.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation , Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from the pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing the poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

"After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play," Tagovailoa said. "I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open." Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense: Najee Harris at running back, Henry Ruggs III at receiver, Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

"I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama," Tagovailoa said. "Thank God he found me and we're here right now."

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star for the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

"I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against," Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Saban's top lieutenant, Kirby Smart, to coach the Bulldogs and bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban - eight as his defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa - quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its own division.

With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama and now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble - second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.