Rankman's Weekly Believe It Or Not, From Verlander To The Sun Belt

Chris Dufresne

Some numbers in sports just jump out at you and this week was no different. Content to believe Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is the greatest active pitcher to come up empty in the postseason, we here at Rankman & Co. were shocked to learn late Wednesday evening that Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros is the first pitcher to go 0-5 in the World Series. One would have never guessed that by his press clippings. Kudos to his "influencers" and public relations department. Being married to Kate Upton can't hurt. Hearing 0-5 after Verlander's name ranks is an incongruent concept. It's like hearing that Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, in his career, threw more interceptions than touchdowns (true). Or that Cy Young Award is named for the pitcher who lost the most games in MLB history (316). Did you know the San Diego Padres, singularly or collectively, have never recorded a no-hitter? Here's another brain cross-wire. Appalachian State in the Cotton Bowl. It hasn't happened yet, but just the idea of it sounds like an oxymoron (clearly confused, deafening silence, jumbo shrimp). But here's the deal. The school that shocked Michigan back in 2007 is close to becoming a regular AP poll cast member. The Mountaineers, who enter Rankman's rankings as the third team in "Next Four Out," are rock-solid No. 21 in the AP index. App State is ranked in consecutive weeks for the first time in school in history and is the highest ranked Sun Belt school...ever.. If, if IF our heroes from Boone, N.C., finish undefeated, they will be in contention for a Cotton Bowl berth under new conditions that award a major berth to the top-ranked school among the Group of 5 conferences. ASU has stiff competition in the American (SMU, Navy, Cincinnati, Memphis) and could also get stiff-armed by one-loss Boise State (Mountain West). What you can't say three weeks into October, regarding App State, is that it can't happen....

1: LSU (7-0): It’s LSU Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers in “Death Valley” Clemson Tigers say they dubbed first. (1)

2: Ohio State (7-0): Starting LB claimed Tuesday he still had “a bit” of Northwestern stuck in his teeth. (2)

3: Oklahoma (7-0): Boomer Schooner grounded for 5 months AND forced to watch old reruns of “Wagon Train.” (5)

4: Alabama (7-0): “Tight-rope” procedure performed on Tua’s ankle first perfected by Dr. Wallenda at The Ringling Institute. (3)

5: Clemson (7-0): Spike in Trevor Lawrence’s INT rate traced to attending Brett Favre summer camp. (4)

6: Penn State (7-0): Some students couldn’t remember “White Out” during Michigan because of post-game “Black Out.” (7)

7: Florida (6-1): Re-USA Today coach received $100,000 bonus for sixth win plus half/off “one” appetizer at Cracker Barrel. (8)

8: Notre Dame (5-1): Tight end Cole is best KMET that Rankman has tuned into since 94.7 FM in Los Angeles. (9)

9: Auburn (6-1): Booster Bob takes money out of Waffle House “kitty” jar after hearing Malzahn’s buyout is $27 million. (10)

10: Oregon (6-1): School seeks trademark for “Pacific North Best” after 15th win over UW this century. (11)

11: Georgia (6-1): Heard in Athens this week: Son: “What are we having for supper on Saturday?” Mom: “Kentucky.” (12)

12: Utah (6-1): Code Red called off after officials learn coach’s “We cannibalize each other” quote was about Pac 12 race. (13)

13: Wisconsin (6-1): If we didn’t know before we know now what game Chryst will take to his grave. (6)

14: SMU (8-0): Sonny could have done this at Cal if they’d given him four fewer protesters and three more boosters. (NR)

15: Baylor (7-0): What no competing AD wants to hear: Rhule took job in Waco partly because his wife liked “Fixer Upper.”

16: Texas (5-2): Bevo nervously watched wining vs. KU chain-smoking an unfiltered Chesterfield in the VIP paddock. (16)

Next Four Out

Minnesota: Rankman “may” have asked for tissue after watching four-time cancer-survivor Casey O’Brien hold for PAT.

Cincinnati: List of best football in Ohio right now: Ohio State, Mt. Union, Bearcats, Browns, Akron Pop Warner, Bengals.

Appalachian State: Times have changed. For years talk of a “major bowl” in town usually referred to a haircut.

Michigan: Harbaugh’s “total crap” quote on NFL-rumors also works for record vs. ranked opponents**.**

Next Four Never:

Tennessee: Coach grabs gardener by pollen mask after his weed whacker is stopped cold on fourth attempt into Alabama Pines.

Rutgers: Misguided legal document signed to pay $1 million to this week’s favored opponent known as “Statute of Liberty.”

Northwestern: Top J-school exit questions out of 52-3 home loss to Ohio State: Who, when, where, why and what the hell?

Connecticut: Hoping to bookend wins over Wagner (first week) and UMass (this week) between losses against real teams.

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Chris Dufresne

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