November. It’s a month filled with so many important days full of memories and traditions. There’s All Saints Day, the Day of the Dead, Guy Fawkes Night, and, of course, Thanksgiving.
But for college football fans, November is a month when a very sacred tradition begins anew. It arrives to give us hope for a better tomorrow and departs just as quickly as those with better-placed sources descend upon it to remind us that tomorrow is just more of the same.
It’s Dan Patrick’s Annual November College Football Report That Gets Quickly Debunked Day. And it’s here early this November!
We all remember the first iteration. Patrick was still reeling from his September 2020 report that the Big Ten would not have enough teams to play and that the conference would have to cancel the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, of course, is not what happened as the Big Ten ended up playing an eight-game conference schedule.
However, Wisconsin was forced to cancel two of its first three games that season due to COVID-19 outbreaks. With many wondering how it would all shake out, Patrick came back strong in November 2020, reporting that it was the Badgers might just shut down their season and Camp Randall Stadium might be used as a hospital instead.
Wisconsin ended up playing six of their eight scheduled Big Ten games that season and finished the year with a win over Wake Forest in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Ah well.
No matter, November 2021 would give Patrick a chance to redeem himself. And what a redemption story it would be as Patrick broke the news that the College Football Playoff was expanding, saying “12-team playoff is a go but they want to get it done for next season.”
The bad news is that Patrick’s report was widely and roundly debunked by just about every college football reporter on the planet within the hour. The good news? A tradition had been sealed. (And to give Dan a sliver of credit, the CFP did indeed expand to 12 teams, though a year later, but his timeline remains way off).
1 Earliest CFP can expand is 2024
2 There has lately been optimism in approval of a 12-team alternate format
3 If commissioners don’t agree on a model at meeting in 2 weeks, expansion will start in 2026
All of this was reported here last week – https://t.co/Ok33FuObIg https://t.co/9Msed9tBgl
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 19, 2021
All of this brings us to November 7, 2022. College football fans were still shell-shocked from the weekend’s wild upsets and Georgia’s statement victory when the annual tradition struck again.
On Monday, Patrick reported that the San Diego State Aztecs are leaving the Mountain West to join the Pac-12 and that it would be officially announced “this week.”
Source: San Diego State is expected to join the Pac 12. Announcement could be made as early as this week. #SDSU #Aztecs pic.twitter.com/o1n6YkTLKN
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) November 7, 2022
On paper, it certainly makes a lot of sense. The Pac-12 is about to lose UCLA and USC and desperately needs to keep a flag planted in Southern California. San Diego State is a school that has always had its eye on moving up the ladder. It makes obvious geographic sense. Sounds like we can just take a big swig of coffee, scroll Twitter, and assume this all checks out.
Alas, as soon as the Pac-12 and college football insiders heard the report, the annual alarm bells started ringing and they all lined up to let everyone know the tradition had begun anew.
If there are any two reporters who would know something like this, it’s John Canzano and Jon Wilner. And both of them quickly shot it down, noting that the Pac-12 had no plans to announce expansion until they’ve figured out their next media deal or what they’re doing about UCLA.
“If “as early as this week” really means “sometime after Nov. 17 and perhaps not ever,” then the report is 100% accurate,” tweeted Wilner.
If "as early as this week" really means "sometime after Nov. 17 and perhaps not ever," then the report is 100% accurate https://t.co/ykb4SRFljn
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) November 7, 2022
“Nothing will happen with regard to a Pac-12 media rights deal or expansion until the University of California Board of Regents gathers later this month to resolve the UCLA situation,” Wilner added in his daily write-up.
“The news feels right. But the timeline is too ambitious,” wrote Canzano in his Bald Faced Truth newsletter. “In fact, two trusted sources told me on Monday that nothing has changed. They insist SDSU remains a solid expansion candidate. Nobody I spoke with expects an announcement this week… Said one source with direct knowledge: ‘Timing hasn’t changed.'”
San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Bryce Miller then added his own debunking.
A very highly connected source at SDSU says, "It's not accurate." Would SDSU want it to be? Yes. Is it, as of now? No. https://t.co/bRzko08HRu
— Bryce Miller (@Bryce_A_Miller) November 7, 2022
“A very highly connected source at SDSU says, “It’s not accurate.” Would SDSU want it to be? Yes. Is it, as of now? No,” wrote Miller.
And then plenty of national college football reporters also threw water on the report.
DP actually said, "to be announced this week." I would be highly surprised if that happened this week. https://t.co/BlBaJzVi0P
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) November 7, 2022
Re: the report about the Pac-12 announcing the addition of SDSU as soon as this week, a source close to the situation tells @TheAthletic that the report is inaccurate.
It's been my understanding that the Pac-12 will do its media deal first before any conference expansion.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) November 7, 2022
And so, another Dan Patrick’s Annual November College Football Report That Gets Quickly Debunked Day has come and gone. Mazel Tov to those who celebrate and we’ll all meet back here next November when Dan reports that, I dunno, Florida State is relegating itself to FCS or something.