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Fourth & Long: Sarah Fuller Becomes First Woman to Play in a Power 5 Game! Also Other CFB News & Notes, and Are we Heading Right For College Football Playoff Armageddon?

Wow, what a week in college football. We had upsets, close calls, bad beats, and everything on Saturday’s slate. However, the most noteworthy even that happened this weekend did not involve any Ohio States or Clemsons, it all starts in Nashville, Tennessee, where Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper, made college football history.

Sarah Fuller Breaks the Glass Ceiling in College Football

(Writer’s Note: This should have been covered last week, and when it happened on the weekend, With so many things happening around college football, I got distracted and forgot about this news. I apologize. Hopefully this brief story will help you fill in the pieces!)

Sarah Fuller, goalkeeper on the Women’s Soccer team at Vanderbilt, made history on Saturday. Usually when someone or something makes history in a Vanderbilt uniform, it is for doing something bad. However, this story is the complete opposite. On November 22nd, 2020, Fuller put on her Vanderbilt goalkeeper kit for the last time. She and her teammates closed out the women’s soccer season with a thrashing of Arkansas 3-1. to win the SEC. After Fuller took off her “SEC CHAMPIONS” shirt, she nearly hopped right into a Vanderbilt football jersey. The Vanderbilt football team, coached by Derek Mason, was missing a bunch of specialists because of COVID testing, so Fuller put on the #32 jersey and spoke to the media as the Vanderbilt starting place-kicker.

She didn’t really have time to soak it all in, as she prepared for the game versus the Missouri Tigers. Unfortunately, Vanderbilt was in the midst of a win-less season, so in the game on Saturday, the Commodores lost to the Tigers 41-0, so Fuller had no chance to kick a field goal or kickoff in the game. However, because the Commodores received the ball to open the game, they would kick to start the second half.

Fuller came out for the second half, put the ball on the tee, and took her 5-6 step walk backward, trying to take it all in as she would in seconds become the first woman to play in a Power-5 game. Even though the attendance was low because of the virus, the sound of everyone on their feet clapping and cheering for Sarah, was music to her ears. She wasn’t nervous, it was just another sporting competition. The cheers even reached the Missouri sideline.

Fuller approached the ball, and kicked a successful squib kick that was not returnable, didn’t go out of bounds, and pinned Missouri inside their own 35. To pretty much all college kickers, that is a successful special teams play, and to Sarah, it was the same. She had done her job to perfection, and made history in doing so.

It might take some time for this to truly settle into people’s minds. However, Sarah Fuller did it, she shattered the glass ceiling in college football, and paved a path that hopefully many other young girls will follow. Coach Derek Mason, who was let go after the game, said “a champ is a champ,” a nod to her SEC Soccer Champion Commodores. In his statement upon being terminated, Mason close his statement with this, “it has been an honor to coach hundreds of Vanderbilt young men, and one courageous female.”

Just like that, Sarah Fuller had etched her name into college football history. One day a father will tell his young daughter he saw the first woman to play in a Power 5 game, and that she can do whatever she dreams. Fuller also had one nice note on the field. On the back of her helmet, it read the words, “play like a girl.” “All I want to do is be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times I struggled in sports, but I’m so thankful that I stuck with it and it’s given me so many opportunities and I’ve met so many amazing people through sports,” she said. “And I just want to say that literally you can do anything you set your mind to.” (ESPN)

Other CFB News & Notes

  • The third Florida State game has already been cancelled, they have had problems with positive test and contact tracing. Instead of hosting Florida State, Duke will host Miami next weekend.
  • Northwestern at Minnesota has also already been called off due to virus issues.
  • As stated above, Vanderbilt dismissed head football coach Derek Mason. At least he went out the right way (Check Above!)!
  • The USC vs Washington State that was scheduled for Saturday has already been moved to Sunday
  • Two players opt out of the rest of the season to focus on the NFL Draft: Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas and Terrance Marshall, WR, LSU.

With Ohio State Having to Cancel Their Game with Illinois this Past Weekend, are we Headed for College Football Playoff Armageddon?

Let me take you back real quick, to a simpler time. The 2007 college football season will always be remembered as the year of the upset. Any college football fan will tell you that this was the most eventful year of their lives, and it sure was. Let me just give you some quick numbers on the 2007 college football season.

  • A ranked team lost to a lower ranked or unranked team 62 times during the regular season.
  • The Number One Team lost Four Times
  • The Number two team lost seven times , all in the final nine weeks of the season
  • In week 5 we saw five top-ten teams lose
  • LSU, the eventual national champion, lost twice as number one. In week 7 versus Kentucky and week 13 against Arkansas.

It truly was an absurd year in college football. The two-loss LSU Tigers would eventually win the national champion over the one loss Ohio State Buckeyes. LSU climbed up the AP Poll five spots alone in week 14 to set up the Tigers Vs. Buckeyes National Championship.

This season (2020-21) it really seems like we could see the same thing happen, only with the four team playoff now. Ohio State had to cancel their game with Illinois, as multiple Buckeyes including head coach Ryan Day, tested positive for COVID. This means if the Buckeyes have to cancel one more game of their last two versus Michigan State, and Michigan, they would not be eligible for the B1G Championship. Also, after Northwestern beat Wisconsin last week to set up a possible B1G Championship match-up with Ohio State, the Wildcats lost to unranked Michigan State 29-20. The B1G is absolutely up in the air.

I’m going to explain a scenario I can possibly see playing out, and just decide who the four teams to make the playoff are. The Buckeyes have to cancel the Michigan State game, but defeat Michigan the next weekend, to finish 5-0, on the outside looking in on the B1G Championship. Let’s say Indiana wins the B1G over Purdue, Northwestern, or Wisconsin. Your top two contenders for the playoff out of the B1G are an undefeated 5-0 Ohio State, and a one lose B1G Champion Indiana Hoosiers, who lost to the Buckeyes earlier in the year. Now we head to the Big 12, where Iowa State wins the conference to finish with two losses. So your top contender from the Big 12 is a two loss Iowa State. Now down to the SEC. Let’s say things play out like everyone thinks and Alabama crushes Florida in the SEC Championship Game. So your best contenders from the SEC are Alabama (Lock) and Texas A&M who in this scenario, would also finish with just one loss, that being to Alabama earlier in the season. I’m not even going to bring up the Pac-12, as their best contender was clearly Oregon, and they lost to Oregon State on Friday. So no contenders from the Big 12. Now things will get messy.

Let’s go all the way down to ACC country, where Notre Dame vs Clemson Part II takes place in Charlotte in the ACC Championship. For the scenarios state, we’ll say Notre Dame completes the sweep of Clemson, and are all but a lock to go to the playoffs. So really your only contender from the ACC is Notre Dame.

While all this is happening, BYU continues to win and so does Cincinnati. BYU is an independent, so no championship game for them, while Cincinnati takes out Tulsa at home to win the AAC, and finish undefeated.

So with all that, you have multiple teams to fill two spots in the playoffs. With Alabama and Notre Dame winning and finishing without a blemish, they go in the Playoff as Number one and Number two. So now for the third and fourth spot. Your contenders are: Ohio State, Undefeated non-B1G Championship Game Winner, Indiana, one loss B1G champion, who’s loos is to Ohio State. Now for the Big 12, your top contender is a two loss Iowa State in this hypothetical. They would be the only contenders. In the SEC, Alabama grabs number one, but Texas A&M is still in play for the playoffs, while finishing with one loss. The ACC sends Notre Dame to the playoffs.

So as of right now you have four spots open for seven-eight contenders. Now let’s hand out the seedings. Alabama at Number one, Notre Dame at Number Two, and Cincinnati at 3 or 4. I really believe that in this scenario, your only locks are Notre Dame and Alabama, but if Cincinnati wins out and keeps dominating, I think they will have the best shot out of the rest of the contenders, to get into the playoffs. So finally you have Iowa State, Indiana, Northwestern, Clemson, Texas A&M, BYU, and Ohio State for one spot. Right now I have no idea who would get the nod, but we will get into this more on the Fourth & Long Podcast Episode 16: College Football is Drunk. We’ll go into detail on who we think should be in, who has no chance, and things of that nature. We will also go over some of our picks and predictions. Hint: I did not do well at all this weekend. So be sure to tune into the Fourth & Long Podcast tomorrow at noon-12:30 Eastern so you can be filled in on everything college football.

Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE

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