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The Chaos Index, 2019 Final

So yeah, real life intervened in the form of moving vans – really effing expensive moving vans – a brand new state to live in, and a bunch of other good, but frantic, stuff. There are still unopened boxes in the Captain’s new hizzouse, but for the tens of people who read this hot mess with something approaching regularity, here’s a final look back at the most messed up college football programs of 2019 that we didn’t have time to insult regularly during our regular proceedings.

First, though, let’s summarize the season, shall we?

  • LSU got a whole lot better.
  • Alabama got a whole lot worse.
  • The Big 12, Pac-12, Texas, and Michigan stayed the same as they’ve been for a long time now: vaguely relevant, at least during the regular season.
  • Oh, and the tailspins in Tallahassee, Los Angeles, Lincoln – among others – continued to entrance a nation.

Can you wait to see who doesn’t really have 20/20 vision in the new year? Yep, us neither. So…who ended up with the most banana cream pie on their faces this go-round? Howzabout…

  1. Florida State – Before the season, yours truly wrote, “When Clemson face dances all over the ‘Noles in Week 7, Willie Taggart is going to be feeling a tiny bit of heat.” Sorry. That should have read, “When Miami face dances all over the ‘Noles…” Anyway, when the coach who rooted for you as a little boy gets capped in 21 games without the involvement of hookers or booze, you know you’re a royal freaking mess. Still, things won’t be the same without Kendal Briles and Jim Leavitt providing some of America’s most, uh, morally flexible assistant coaching. (Well, at least until we get to the lovely hamlet of Oxford, Mississippi.)
  2. Miami (OW FL) – Speaking of The U, when you’ve got to beat Louisiana Tech just to end the year over .500, you’re getting ready to be a regular contender in the Sun Belt. When you get shut out by Louisiana Tech to end the year at 6-7, maybe you’re not ready to win the Fun Belt just yet. In conclusion, the following are not the answer in Coral Gables: Manny Diaz, any of the quarterbacks on the roster, or anything else. BTW, has Tate Martell transferred down a level yet?
  3. Texas – Nothing might have sucked more for yours not-so-truly during this year’s awfully long sabbatical than missing the chance to mock the whole “Texas is back” thing, so let’s see if we can reconstruct the year:
    • Week 2: We kept it close against LSU. Yep, we’re back…just not quite all the way back…yet.
    • Week 5: We’re 4-1, and LSU looks pretty good. We’re back!
    • Week 6: At least we kept it close against OU. See Week 2.
    • Week 14: We just lost three of four. Maybe we’re not back.
    • Bowl game: We ambushed another surprise victim who’s bummed out about missing the playoff. We’re…just going to keep our mouths shut this time.
  4. USC – Say hello to 2020’s Chaos Index preseason #1. It’s always nice when the hometown fishwrapper is so supportive of your keeping the head coach. It’s even nicer when the fans are behind you. Really behind you. And now, trOJan Nation will spend the next eight months hearing about their proud tradition crumbling. Surely, they’ll keep things in perspective after they open with Alabama next year. Urban Meyer isn’t going to wait around forever for y’all to call!
  5. Ole Miss – When hiring Lane Kiffin isn’t asking for enough trouble, who ya gonna call? Yep, that’s right: DeeeeJayyyy Durkinnnn – come on down!!!  Anyway, congrats on being 2020’s preseason #2. BTW, didja hear about that exciting new movie night in The Grove? (If not, keep an eyeball out for it.)
  6. Ole Miss State – Are we excited to see The Pirate in the SEC? You bet we arrrrr! Now, all that’s left is to get The Hat back in the conference, preferably in the West. Wouldn’t that be festive?
  7. UCLA – Land Of Shattered Expectations, Part 1: see USC, but with much lower expectations and a non-conference schedule that replaces Oklahoma and Cincinnati with New Mexico State and Hawaii next year, making for even more shattered dreams if things get ugly early…again. Luckily for Bruin haters, the stunningly awful defensive staff isn’t being replaced.
  8. Nebraska – Land Of Shattered Expectations, Part 2: the first two years of ScoFro weren’t nearly as hideous as the first two years of Chip Kelly, so that’s a positive. Losing to every B1G team in Indiana? That’s pretty hideous.
  9. Oklahoma – You know what they say: a year without an OU transfer quarterback chasing the Heisman is like a year without OU chasing another College Football Playoff humiliation. We’d call the Sooners the Buffalo Bills of FBS, but they never lose The Big Game. (Oh sure, that’s because they never get to The Big Game.) Can you even imagine the Sooner Schooner without thinking of another blowout loss in the semis?
  10. Michigan – Not that it’s time to abandon all hope of ever beating Ohio State ever again, but it’s going to be fun to hear the questions lobbed at Captain Khakis at next year’s Big Ten media days.
  11. Arkansas – When you lose pretty much every SEC game since forever, why wouldn’t you hire a guy who’s never been so much as a coordinator at any level? Hell, it worked for Clemson, right?
  12. Texas A&M – You have to respect the way that the Aggies navigated The Toughest Schedule Ever!!! by almost vanquishing the defending national champions, kinda sorta putting up a fight against the national champions before that, coming kinda close against Auburn and Georgia, and getting the ever-loving snot kicked out of them in the LSU revenge game. Speaking of that game, didja hear the one about Jimbo Fisher changing the lock codes in Aggieland to 50-7 as motivation for next year’s game? Surely, that will do the trick!
  13. Maryland – Mike Locksley is a helluva nice guy who’s now 6-40 as a head coach. He’s also making $3,000,000. Dunno about you, but we totally went into the wrong profession.
  14. UConn – What do you do after beating one “major” college program – UMass, no less – other than giving Randy Edsall a three-year-long “vote of confidence?”
  15. Arizona – It’s one thing to finish last in the Power 5’s worst division. It’s another thing to finish last in the P5’s worst division and then lose your quarterback with Heisman-level talent who never quite developed for some odd reason that clearly has nothing to do with Kevin Sumlin and Noel Mazzone.
  16. Houston – Holgo and D’Eriq King became the first coach-quarterback combo to intentionally tank an entire season in college football (even though that didn’t improve their draft position one bit). If they accidentally tank the next one, say goodbye to both of their alleged upward career trajectories.
  17. UCF – Here’s what we said preseason: “Now that expectations in Orlando are through the freaking rollercoaster – er – roof, we hate to point out that LSU burst the Knights’ bubble back on New Year’s Day, and that KZ isn’t going to be riding through that door this year (at least not without a backwards ball cap and a clipboard). 2019 ain’t gonna be a 5-7 year, but how happy will everyone who’s been a UCF diehard for a 50th of a century feel about, say, 10-3?” Maybe KZ will be back in 2020; maybe he won’t. Either way, by the time that 2021 rolls around, the good people of Central Florida will be in for a letdown.
  18. Illinois – Stunning Wisconsin and beating five tomato cans is what passes for progress in Champaign these days. Luckily for the Illini, next year’s non-conference schedule makes tic tac toe look like brain surgery. Less luckily for the Illini, the Badgers may have a little something for them next year.
  19. Stanford – That moment when you say to yourself, “I wonder who the nerds are playing in their bowl game this…oh yeah, I forgot the correct answer is ‘nobody.'” Of course, there are 14 less nerds than there used to be thanks to the transfer portal.
  20. UTEP – Two wins in three years, including this year’s two-point blowout of Houston Baptist, presumably makes everyone in the Sun City long for the glamorous 4-8 days of 2016. Luckily, there’s a Whataburger and a Ditzy Duck less than a mile from the Sun Bowl.

Bonus: Bama – How fun is it to see the Tide getting rolled repeatedly? (Okay, twice.) The wheels come off for everybody at some point, but this isn’t Tricky Nicky’s time. Probably. Still, there’s nothing like seeing a Bama team with two digits in their ranking playing on New Year’s Day in a year where you didn’t want to be playing on New Year’s Day.