Blog Entry

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Posted on: November 15, 2009 9:44 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2009 10:21 pm

Here’s why Rich Rodriguez is an odd fit for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh is an odder fit for Stanford … 

Because Harbaugh and Michigan could be close to being engaged to be married right now if it weren’t for those niggling things like contracts.

The same reason that Notre Dame needs to reach out to Brian Kelly right now is the same reason Harbaugh should be playing footsie with his alma mater. But it can't happen for Harbaugh right now. As painful as the transition has been at Michigan, Rodriguez deserves another year. He has only 71 scholarship players (for a variety of reasons), the offense shows promise and, well, Harbaugh isn’t available.

It’s just not a good time. After the second-biggest victory Saturday in his short three years on The Farm – remember USC in 2007? – Harbaugh is hotter than July.  Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby is hurrying to complete a contract extension that would tie up Harbaugh through 2014 at $1.25 million per year.

“Tie up” is a relative term these days. Because of the awkward timing, Michigan/Stanford could lose Harbaugh to another college or NFL team by the time it is ready to make a change after next season. The $1.25 million salary makes Harbaugh one of the highest paid coaches ever at Stanford. It’s also about half of what Harbaugh is currently worth on the open market.

What makes the Cardinal so interesting is that Harbaugh has installed a toughness gene. He talked before the season about playing physical. Sorry, but the words “toughness” and “Stanford football” seldom appeared in the same sentence ever. Until now.

Tailback Toby Gerhart has run for 401 yards the last two games. If he isn’t on the top of every Heisman list this week something is wrong. Owen Marecic started at linebacker and fullback on Saturday. Marecic already has broken a couple of helmets this year.

All of it sounds sooo like Michigan and sooo unlike Stanford that you’d figure that Harbaugh would be in Ann Arbor soon. But it’s too early for Michigan pull the trap door on Rich Rod and too early for Harbaugh to leave.

Here's why USC isn't done: At some point next month, the Trojans will wake up in El Paso and wonder how the hell they got there. It’s called the Sun Bowl, fellas, and it this rate you’re going to be playing in it.

The popular thing this week will be to bash USC and say that Troy has crumbled before our eyes. That would be true if some other team were out there to take control. Oregon leads the Pac-10 for now but still has to go to Arizona and beat Oregon State in the Civil War.

Arizona botched a great opportunity Saturday, losing at Cal which without Jahvid Best.  Stanford, the hottest team in the league, has lost three times, one of them to Wake Forest. Suddenly Oregon State is in the mix.

This is not to say it isn’t bad. It’s real bad at USC right now.

“You could see that everything was not there,” Stanford’s Richard Sherman told the L.A. Times. “They didn’t run as hard. They didn’t play as hard.”


The 55 points were the most given up in the 121-year history of USC football. You never thought you’d see the day where a Pete Carroll team would lose that toughness groove. When you’re bitching about a run-it-up two-point conversion, which the Trojans were in the fourth quarter, that’s just deflecting bigger problems.

The quarterback (Matt Barkley) is a freshman and playing like it.  The defense, led (?) by senior two-time All-American Taylor Mays, has been embarrassed. Turnovers are coming in bunches.

This would be cause for bigger alarm if USC couldn’t get it back, quickly. They can in the same way Carroll began storming the conference in 2002, by playing some of the best defense in the country. It seems laughable to think that now, but the recruiting isn’t going away and, until further notice, the conference isn’t exactly slipping away.

Carroll has lost one game -- one -- in November while at USC (28-1). Barkley is going to get getter. The defense can’t get any worse.  If an 82-year-old man can lead Penn State within sniffing distance of its third BCS bowl in five years, if a small, private school in Fort Worth that doesn’t sell out its games can go undefeated, believe me, USC can get it back.

A lot of fingers will be pointed this week – at coaches and players. Remember this whole thing started with a wake up call in Sin City in 2001 at the Las Vegas Bowl for USC. Waking up in El Paso might be the shock to the system the Trojans need. 

Yes, that’s SMU in first place in Conference USA’s West Division: The Mustangs beat Texas-El Paso becoming bowl eligible for only the third time since their last bowl in 1984. You might remember that the little thing called the death penalty that intervened.

The scuttlebutt is that the Ponies will play in the Hawaii Bowl. June Jones will triumphantly return to the scene of his greatest glories, this time to boost attendance at the Hawaii-less bowl.

Congratulations Ohio State but …:
Until the Luckeyes backed into that Iowa win, an interesting note was developing. Had the Bucks lost, consider that in the games that decided the Rose Bowl berth each of the last two seasons, Terrelle Pryor (and Ohio State) would have been beaten by two backup quarterback – Penn State’s Pat Devlin and Iowa’s James Vandenberg. Devlin came in for Daryll Clark and directed the game-winning drive last year for Penn State. He is now at Delaware.

Vandenberg, a freshman subbing for the injured Ricky Stanzi, led the Hawks back from a 24-10 deficit only to lose in overtime, 27-24.

Not another one!: SEC officials blew another one in the third quarter of the Florida-South Carolina game. Florida’s Brandon James clearly went to knee to field a punt near midfield. It didn’t matter as block in the back nullified James’ long return. Caleb Sturgis eventually missed a 54-yard field goal.

More incredible was the replay official in the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game. Notre Dame had its final possession cut short when Jimmy Clausen was ruled to have fumbled while trying to throw. The replay clearly showed Clausen’s arm going forward as he was it. The ball came out at an odd angle, but it still came out while he was throwing.  That was one of the more egregious rulings this season.

Stingy Blackshirts: Nebraska allowed its first rushing touchdown allowed in 14 quarters. Big deal. The Huskers rebounded to beat Kansas 31-17 and take the lead in the Big 12 North.

BCS trivia: In case you’re wondering, in the BCS era no unbeaten team from one of the power conferences has been knocked out of the BCS title game by a team with one loss. That possibility still exists for Cincinnati if Texas, Alabama or Florida lose.

Heisman hit: Going to be hard to justify Heisman mention now for Case Keenum. Houston’s two losses have come to Texas-El Paso and Central Florida. Can’t remember the last Heisman winner to lose to two directional schools. Keenum threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-32 loss to Central Florida.

Philly excellence: Temple, Villanova and Penn are a combined 24-5. The last time all three had a winning record was 1986 then they finished a combined 24-6. Temple, though, had to forfeit six victories for using an ineligible player (Paul Palmer). Not counting that year, you have to go back to 1951 when the Philly Three finished a combined 16-11.

Heroism: Rowan (Division III) defensive end Matt Hoffman missed his team’s season-finale against The College of New Jersey. On Thursday, Hoffman began donating blood marrow to a 52-year-old man who is dying of lymphoma. Hoffman was one of seven matches found through a search of the national registry.

Dog of the day: Louisville beat Syracuse 10-9 in the dog game of the day. Somehow we’ve missed the fact that the once mighty Cardinals had lost nine Big East games in a row.

The no B.S., up-to-the-minute, not-what-they-did-last year, right now Heisman list

Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford: Hottest skill player in the country. Gerhart has Stanford in the Rose Bowl conversation after running for 178 yards against USC.

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Stayed consistent running for more than 140 yards against Mississippi State.

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Best quarterback in the country right now.

Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh: Ran for 152 yards including the game-winning 50-yard touchdown run.

C.J. Spiller, AP, Clemson: The most dangerous player in the ACC. Heisman voters usually don’t recognize all-purpose players but Spiller deserves mention especially after adding to his accomplishments with a 17-yard touchdown pass against NC State.


Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2009 7:48 am

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Dennis Dodd,

U sir a D****heaD with a CAPITAL "D", not because your first and last name starts with the first and last letter of said word and not because you don't check your facts when you write stories, and just write haphazard articles that suit your whimsy to stir people up. No it's not just because of that. The fact that you actually think Michigan can beat Ohio State and chose them (and they call you an expert) shows, you wouldn't know a thing about football if one hit you in the head (and i think it did!) Then again, you went to Missouri, or is that Misery? One day they might win a Championship, and then you can write about them with your glowing words. I think you should go back to writing for the The University of Missouri newspaper "The Maneater", which I think you may have named because that's what you did! Surprised

Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: November 16, 2009 5:41 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday


Your comment on Ohio state backing in to an Iowa win is totally uncalled for.  If you don't like Tressel ball that's fine, but don't call what he does luck.  The man is 25-4 in the month of November while at Ohio State and he is taking his team to a 7th BSC bowl game.  That's not luck! 

In addition, maybe Iowa got lucky just to be in the game.  Remember, Ohio State had a pick 6 called back that would have made the score 31-17, and few plays later (2) defenders run into each other and flub an interception that easily could have gone for 6.  Instead that ball bounces up into an Iowa receivers hand and they keep the drive alive and score for the tie.  Now who's lucky?

Please give the man the credit he deserves...he's earned it.

Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: November 16, 2009 2:00 pm

What do you expect from Dodd, OSU fans?

Dodd and CBS Sportsline are bought and paid for by the SEC.  He loves to try to get the goat of OSU fans, so you shouldn't take him seriously.
There's a big difference between blowing a big lead and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – which the Buckeyes nearly did – and "backing into" or lucking into a victory. But don't expect poor old Dodderer to know the difference.
Anyone who watched that game and then contends OSU "backed into" the victory (did ya' see the Buckeyes defensive stand in OT, Doddly?) simply doesn't know anything about football.
Dodd's a paid SEC propagandist and agitator, nothing more.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: November 16, 2009 1:40 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

I can't appreciate the commentary when it seems so consistently biased. I am an Ohio St. fan, so maybe I miss the scathing critiques of Dodd's darling SEC and Big XII teams (from Dodd only, Doyle reasonably called out a middling and grossly overrated SEC a few weeks ago).

In the past I chalked it up to the interest CBS holds in the SEC (similar to Gary Danielson's embarrasing behavior during telecasts), but now that ESPN has undercut the overriding need to convince people that the SEC is excellent (and, therefore, presumably entertaining), I had expected some latitude for objective commentary.

So Dennis, when are we going to talk about how crappy Florida and Alabama have looked in a weak SEC? The constantly underwhelming offensive performances and the sad decline of St. Tebow? How about the shocking and pathetic schedule Texas will ride to a national championship over an underwhelming SEC champion (will Texas beat Alabama more convincingly than Utah did last year? Stay tuned!!)

I know, I know, Alabama has a domintating defense (supposedly, with reference to its domination of horrid SEC offenses). Ohio St. has a similarly dominating defense, but when you talk about Ohio St. its always negative and runs towards disappointing issues (trust me, everyone in Columbus knows that Tressel has some real problems putting together an offense). How about we get SOME commentary on the sorry state of the SEC mixed in with the dubious reverence, and some acknowledgement for the accomplishments of Big Ten teams (four of which will likely go 10-2) mixed in with the perpetual negativity.

Look at the top fan pages on the CFB front page. No matter how much CBS and ESPN want the SEC to capture the nations imagination (so that they can capture its dollars) Ohio St., Penn St., Mich., Notre Dame (even Wisconsin) are going to generate more interest than the SEC. The way you operate now, its impossible to characterize your commentary as objective. I realize that ESPN assigns people rolls and fills their mouths with inflammatory nonsense to generate "interest" (see, Mark May), but do you really want to do this? Its certainly a departure from objectivyt, which I assume to be a conerstone of journalisitc integrity.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:59 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Why do some teams 'back-in' to a win, while others 'hold-on' for a win?

Is there some kind of definition?

I can buy (although I don't agree) for arguments sake Ohio St. 'backing-in' to the NCG two years ago, when several teams ranked higher lost, however in this case, Ohio State held lead, the team that has refused to die all year long was able to come back to tie the game up.  Tressel did play it conservative because he was confident he could win the Overtime.  This is the same way he has coached since he got to OSU.  Defense and field position. 

Unfortunately, most in the media, as well as the public, (who have more than likely never stepped on a field) think these guys line up on Saturdays specifically for your entertainment. News flash - they don't care what you think!  They're there to beat the team they are playing no matter how it gets done.  Style points don't exist in most football coaches heads (other than maybe Urban Meyer.)  You do what you have  to do to win, period.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:30 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2009 12:30 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday


You just answered your own question. Ohio State backed into the win because, in your words, "Ohio State had a 14 pt. lead with 5 minutes left to go in the 4th qrt ..."

instead of hoping to survive a game.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2009 9:26 am

Dennis Dodd is a child.

Exactly how did Ohio State "back into the win" this weekend, when Ohio State had a 14 pt. lead with 5 minutes left to go in the 4th qrt?  Give Iowa credit for returning a kickoff for 7 points, and making a few passes on the prevent defense to set up another lucky TD catch to tie it late... but that game was never in doubt once the 4rth qrt began.  The Iowa possesion in OT was a microcosim of the entire game.  This Ohio State D-Line is one of the best in the nation and will carry conservative Jimmy T and the buckeyes to another BSC bowl win.

How'd Mizzou finish this year, Dennis?  


Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2009 4:20 am

How'd you back into this gig Doddless....

Sorry Doddley your hopes and dreams crushed again. Ohio State advances.  It'll be quite a while before they give you reason to poke your head out again.  No wonder your Idol cried so hard when Sanchez bailed on em.. Seems like he could overcome a QB with every recruit in the country on that roster.. Think he crashed...Wait till Tebow makes his brief NFL visit next season. Could be another hard landing

The next time the Buckeyes  lose it'll be a new year...Like 2011. Top heavy with Sophomores on the way to total domination again. Devlin didn't beat them last year.... Pryor did. You can't rely on Uncle John's bathroom reader for your information any longer. Being the best of a terrible group of to ugly for TV wannabes is no accomplishment.

 At least your just rediculas referencing Ohio State... That Boil guy is is so bitter his heads gonna explode.. Is it doyal....Whatever

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2009 10:09 pm

Epic Replay Fail

More incredible was the replay official in the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game. Notre Dame had its final possession cut short when Jimmy Clausen was ruled to have fumbled while trying to throw. The replay clearly showed Clausen’s arm going forward as he was it. The ball came out at an odd angle, but it still came out while he was throwing.  That was one of the more egregious rulings this season. I agree. And I am even one of those people who always cheers against Notre Dame. I guess the ruling had to be that the hit knocked the ball loose and flying forward before the arm started forward. What made this ruling seem even strange was that it appeared to be ruled an incomplete pass on the field and replay overturned it. I'm not a big fan of replay. There were at least two other instances Saturday where I thought replay got it obviously wrong. If replay is still going to make this many mistakes then what's the point in constantly stopping games for this crap. And that is the reason I really dislike replay. It completely kills the flow of the game when one team or the other has seized momentum.

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