Blog Entry

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

Posted on: January 2, 2009 7:21 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2009 7:33 pm

LOS ANGELES -- Take all of this for what it is worth but USC's two biggest stars from Thursday say they're coming back.

Receiver Damian Johnson said before the Rose Bowl that he was definitely coming back from his redshirt junior season in 2009. That was before his 10-catch, 162-yard career day against Penn State.

A USC source told me that Sanchez' father told him that the quarterback is definitely coming back. Sanchez threw for 413 yards (second-most ever in the Rose Bowl) and four touchdowns.

"I don't know how I could leave all this," Sanchez told reporters after the 38-24 victory. "That's what I'm planning on."

Departing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was asked if this was Sanchez' last game.

"I don't know. I know he's a tremendous quarterback, he's extremely bright. He's got great physical tools. He prepares himself mentally and physically better than anyone I've been around. I don't know what that equates to. I just know what he is."

If both players return, USC's offense could be the most productive at Troy since 2005, the last season for Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. The defense is another issue. The offensive line returns intact. Williams and Ronald Johnson are rounding into go-to receivers for Sanchez who has struggled in general to develop one as a starter.

The nation's No. 1 defense is another story. It figures to lose 10 starters if, as expected, safety Taylor Mays comes out early.

"It's about what's best for me," Mays said.

Code breaking from your favorite translator: He's gone.

As for that rebuilt defense ... USC got its last national championship game with a unit that wasn't exactly a juggernaut in 2005. It finished 48th nationally giving up 361 yards per game.

 While Sanchez' future is uncertain, Sarkisian did coach his last game at USC before going to Seattle for take over the sinking ship known as the University of Washington.

"It's been seven great years of my life," Sark said. "Four straight Rose Bowls to be part of, three straight wins. For Mark and I, watching him grow up as a freshman until this point now I'm really happy for him."

"More than anything we've got to develop a belief in winning. This team believes in winning. That's the first thing we have to carry up there."

 Williams is the most productive on-field member of the Springdale Five.

Four of the five highly-recruited members of Springdale (Ark.) High School followed their coach Gus Malzahn to Arkansas in 2006. Since then, a cross-country drama has played out. Malzahn left Arkansas after a year to go to Tulsa. He recently took the OC job at Auburn.

They eventually scattered to the four winds. Williams and quarterback Mitch Mustain transferred to USC. Mustain is now the No. 3 quarterback behind Aaron Corp and Sanchez. Williams led the Trojans in receiving. Tight end Ben Cleveland is still at Arkansas having caught one pass in 2008. Receiver Andrew Norman transferred to Tulsa in 2007, then returned to Arkansas as a walk-on in 2008.
Offensive lineman Bartley Webb signed with Notre Dame but reportedly gave up football because of a shoulder problem.

"I wouldn't ever say that (I'm the most accomplished)," Williams said.

 It still boggles the mind that Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer was considering redshirting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. In winning a tidy, if not exciting, Orange Bowl, Taylor is now 13-2 as a starter.

The Hokies should go into next season as ACC favorites. Again. Tech's dominance of the league was not what the suits envisioned when they expanded the league but until Miami and Florida State show us more, the league is going to stay out of the state of Florida.

 Speaking of which, that was the ACC's first BCS bowl win (and second ever) since 2000. Virginia Tech was involved in that one too, as the loser from the Big East against FSU.

 South Carolina quarterbacks threw an incredible 27 interceptions this season and have coughed up a total of 69 in Steve Spurrier's four seasons. After a disappointing 31-10 loss to Iowa in the Outback Bowl you've got to ask yourself how much the OBC has left before he starts hitting from the tips for good.

  For whatever its worth, the Pac-10 has clinched best record in the bowl season (5-0). It's hard to put much stock in a series of exhibition games but if we're going to damn the Big Ten for being 1-5 in bowls, we might as well credit the Pac-10.

That doesn't remove the fact that the league had two of the worst programs in America -- Washington and Washington State -- and continues to be USC and the Little Nine.

 Not a bad comeback for Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz in the Gator Bowl. He fumbled away a ball that was a returned for a touchdown and threw a pick that led to another score. After leading a second-half rally Ganz was named the MVP of the Gator. 

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2009 11:29 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

I-AA figured out how to play the games, so I would hope they could come to a solution in Division I.  I think the scheduling issue is an excuse that the commissioners and bowl representatives use to poorly disguise the fact that it all comes down to money.

I like adjusting the BCS, though, to encourage teams to stop scheduling I-AA teams so often.  I do not mind when a school plays a Division I in-state school to attempt to boost their revenues, but some teams scheduled two I-AA teams this year that were not even in their region. 

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2009 11:14 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

I actually think that helps the bowls out, because I could care less about probably 30 of the bowl games this year.  I only watched some of them because it is football, which would continue to be the case for the lower bowls that are not involved in the playoff.  I do not think a playoff would affect the UConn-Buffalo game today.  It is just not very interesting to anyone that is not a fan/alum of the two universities.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2009 8:39 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

Its a pretty good concept, but it would require a few things to be reworked.

The Pac 10 and Big 10 play in the neighborhood of 8 to 9 conference games. That would kill any large out of conference schedule. It would be doable, but any games like Boise State/Oregon this year would have been unlikely to happen. I like the idea, but then the bowls lose a lot of their commerce because not all 34 would be hosting a game. It would be 4 games in round 1, 4 in round 2, 2 in round 3, and then a championship. That's only 13 games. A lot of teams would be left out.

Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2009 2:50 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

The Dark Years, I like your idea

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2009 2:21 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

That's all well and good, but when do you plan to play the last two games? All the playoff plans other than the +1 are all pretty unworkable since you have to schedule games around finals and winter break (college football still maintains the rather flimsy stance that these players are student athletes rather than unpaid minor-league football players).

I'm still in favor of a +1 where the 4 teams in the mix for the title are the 4 top-rated conference winners (i.e. Alabama and Texas would be SoL since they didn't win their conferences). Your suggestion of dropping the last game could make it an 8-team tourney, but there are some schools that don't schedule cupcake opponents (USC comes to mind...other than Notre Dame, they played only BCS-conference teams all year).

I'd prefer to institute some changes to the BCS that would encourage teams to schedule harder opponents from other major conferences as well as the top teams from the non-BCS conferences. First, I'd put in a rule that a win against an I-AA (FCS?) team counts as a BCS loss. That should stop the teams with any title aspirations from scheduling those teams. Second, I'd suggest that a loss to a team ranked higher in the BCS be removed in the BCS calculations. Lastly, I'd mandate that as a condition for receiving an automatic bowl bid, each team from every BCS conference must play at least one road game against a non-BCS conference team that finished with a winning record in the previous year. This should give teams like Boise St who win a lot but can't get any of the big teams to come play them on their own field a chance to have a marquee home victory.

The biggest problem with the BCS is it places an inordinate punishment on losses regardless of the opposition. And it places very little premium on winning over quality teams rather than teams that have no business being in the same stadium as the top teams. So the big conferences schedule ridiculously easy non-conference schedules. If the BCS rules punished that strategy, we'd get a lot more meaningful information from the non-conference games to determine who the actual top 4 teams in the country are come bowl season. And then we could rely on the +1 to sort out which of the top 4 teams is the National Champion.

I guess what this rambling post is getting at is that I think your solution is interesting, but like most other 3-4 round long playoff systems, it ignores some of the logistics that college football has to work around. And, as fans, I think we need to give up on the notion that we can have anything that works as well as March Madness does in basketball. Football, both because of the physical punishment players take, the preparation involved for games and the season in which it's played, makes it basically impossible to add any more games than teams currently play. But I think if we push for the right changes and a +1 system where the national championship game is played 1 week after the new year's day bowl games that determine who gets to play in that game, we can arrive at a system that removes almost all doubt over who the best team in the country actually is.

Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2009 1:15 am

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

Eh. Big deal. The Rose Bowl is pretty much a running joke these days anyway. USC vs. (insert pillow biter's name here). Talk about a snooze fest. I don't even consider it a premier bowl anymore. The Orange is equally as laughable.

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: January 2, 2009 11:47 pm

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

great idea

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: January 2, 2009 10:29 pm

Playoff Idea

I have seen a lot of playoff ideas but not this one yet.  Let me know if it sounds good or is worthless.

1.  We cut the schedule to 11 games.  I am an Ohio State fan and do not need to watch us play Youngstown State or Akron every year.  Do Gators fans want to see them play the Citadel or Sooners fans watch Oklahoma clobber Chattanooga?  It is a waste of three hours.

2.  12 teams make the playoff.

3.  Every Division I conference champion makes the playoff, now hear me out, as long as they are ranked in the final BCS top 25.  This would have made the ACC and MAC championships much more interesting this year.  Granted, a 25th ranked champion form Conference-USA may not have much of a shot, but it would give them the chance to prove themselves. 

4.  The at-large teams and seedings are determined by the BCS as well.

5.  The top 4 teams in the final BCS standings get byes through the first round.  (Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, and Alabama)

The matchups would have looked like this:

     1) Oklahoma vs. Penn State/Boise State Winner

     2) Florida vs. Texas Tech/Ohio State Winner

     3) Texas vs. Utah/Cincinnati Winner

     4) Alabama vs. USC/Virginia Tech Winner

It may not be perfect, but it is a lot more interesting than watching one bowl game to decide everything while the majority of the rest mean nothing. 


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