Rankman: Top Ten Pet Refuge Loaded With Tigers, Dogs, Gophers, Ducks and Gators

Chris Dufresne

Rankman just read on a TV crawl that Kentucky’s loss to Evansville on Tuesday was one of the biggest upsets in recent college basketball. The Wildcats, No.1 in the nation after knocking off Michigan State last week, were 25-point favorites. How does a blue-blood franchise survive such a colossal, horrific, inexcusable collapse? Relax. That terrible defeat will have zero impact on Kentucky’s national championship hopes. John Calipari’s team can even lose another game (or 10) this year and have a clear path to the playoff. It’s really not much different than Georgia football. On the same night Kentucky was losing to Evansville, in fact, the College Football Selection committee moved Georgia up to No. 4 in its weekly ranking. If the playoff started tomorrow, Georgia would be in despite losing to South Carolina this year as 25-point favorites. Wait, though, Kentucky lost on its own hallowed floor, Rupp Arena. Um, Georgia lost at home, too. But wait, there’s more: Not only did UGA survive that “horrific loss,” we were told by an SEC/ESPN panel of SEC/ESPN experts that Georgia could even go ahead and lose again (even as a favorite) and make the playoff. It was a fascinating narrative, expertly spun by the Parent Co. that underwrites SEC Network. You couldn’t get a word in edge-wise if you were, say, Utah, or Minnesota, or Baylor, because none of those schools have lost as 25-point home favorites this year. The crazy part of this yarn about Georgia is that it all made perfect sense. At the end of an hour-long show hosted by Rece Davis, who grew up with an Alabama rattle in his crib, all you could do was shake your head and say “Yep, Georgia is in (almost) no matter what.” It was spun gold, is what it was, brilliantly crafted in a manner that had you believing no conferences outside the SEC were seriously involved in this year’s playoff. This, we imagine, is how Sports Emmys are won.

1: LSU (9-0): Mike the Tiger told not to make any family wild-animal park plans during the second week of January.(2)

2: Ohio State (9-0): Playing Rutgers week after 73-14 over Maryland could to lead to NCAA two-game scoring record. (1)

3: Clemson (10-0): Dreams of defeating a ranked ACC foe this week foiled by Wake Forest’s crushing loss to V-Tech. (4)

4: Alabama (8-1): Duke, NM State, S. Miss, Western Carolina sounds more like a Bellamy Brothers mini-tour. (3)

5: Oregon (8-1): AD Mullens caught trying to slip Ducks’ opponents record (50-36) under CFP committee door. (6)

6: Georgia (8-1): Impartial site DAWGgoneit.com finds route for UGA to lose to Auburn, TAMU and G-Tech and still make playoff. (7)

7: Utah (8-1): School swears it tried to sked Clemson Tigers in non-conference but accidently booked Bengals of Idaho State. (8)

8: Florida (8-2): Named by Paul Finebaum as the fifth two-loss SEC school that can make playoff without winning its division. (9)

9: Minnesota (9-0): QB says team’s nine-spot leap in CFP ranking this week dispels myth “White Gophers Can’t Jump.” (11)

10: Oklahoma (8-1): Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to knock on door after seeing failed conversion vs. Sooners last Saturday. (9)

11: Penn State (8-1): Clay Helton responds to Franklin-to-USC rumors by spit-shining his Rose Bowl championship ring. (5)

12: Auburn (8-2): “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus reaches No. 1 as Tigers look to dash dreams of UGA, Alabama and Oregon. (12)

13: Baylor (9-0): Waco said to be historically comfortable with phrase “On the outside looking in” when describing playoff chances. (11)

14: Michigan (7-2): Ten years after “What’s Your Deal?” we can report Harbaugh/Carroll have both inked tremendous contracts. (14)

15: Notre Dame (8-2): Defeated Navy 43 straight seasons until that year (2006) the Irish ship didn’t come in. (NR)

16: Cincinnati (8-1): Currently leading the American East but manager says there’s a lot of baseball left to be played. (15)

Next Four Out

Memphis: Great news: basketball coach agrees to pay all player family travel expenses if Tigers make Cotton Bowl.

Boise State: Coach coins social media term “Twitiot” same week Rankman opens shellfish stand for fanatics called “Blue Oyster Cult.”

Wisconsin: Biggest team uniform issue at this week’s game at Nebraska: telling our guys from their guys.

Texas: Bevo will pay respect for retiring “Ralphie” with a 21-cud salute at halftime of next game.

Next Four Never:

Rutgers: Last time RU was shut out by Michigan/OSU in same season was WAY back in 2016 (136-0).

Northwestern: Prayers for ending weeks of football agony will be answered Saturday at 9 a.m. UMass.

Arkansas: Leach says if you’re looking for quirky coach who has never won a conference and won't cow to authority: “I’m your guy.”

UTEP: Eight straight losses after win over Houston Baptist captured in new made-for-TV film “Gory Road.”

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Chris Dufresne

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