Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:50 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 3:51 pm

Gene Chizik hitting the incentives jackpot

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Far be it from us to criticize a fellow CBS property, but it has always bugged this blogger that Rod Roddy always introduced The Price is Right game "Plinko " by telling contestants they could win $25,000 (and, later, $50,000). While that was technically correct, the number of hoops required for contestants to actually win that amount -- winning the maximum five chips, then having all of them slide down the virtually random Plinko board perfectly into the $5,000/$10,000 slot -- made it so unlikely that the stakes for Plinko were, secretly always much lower than the figure announced. (Much like, say, an NFL free agent contract.)

Why do we mention this? Because when Gene Chizik signed his head coaching contract with Auburn, it felt like he'd agreed to play a game of Plinko with his salary. As Jay Tate of the Montgomery Advertiser detailed again recently , Chizik's original base salary of $1.9 million fell well below typical SEC market value (his predecessor at Auburn, Tommy Tuberville, earned upwards of $4 million), but a cavalcade of incentives gave Chizik the potential to earn far, far more than that. The catch: when Chizik arrived fresh off of his 5-19 stint at Iowa State, the overwhelming majority of those incentives looked so far beyond Chizik's reach they might as well not have existed.

As it turns out, though, if Chizik's time at Auburn has been a game of Plinko, it's looked something like this:

Entering today, Chizik had already claimed bonuses of $125,000 for winning 12 games, $100,000 for making the SEC Championship Game , $200,000 for winning it, and $25,000 more for having won a 13th game of any kind. With the league's announcement today that Chizik is the AP SEC Coach of the Year (leading an Auburn sweep that saw Cam Newton the conference offensive Player of the Year and Nick Fairley the defensive equivalent), he's pocketed another $100,000, bringing him up to $550,000 total. With national coach of the year honors, a top 5 final poll ranking, and (of course) a BCS national championship all triggering further (and larger) bonuses, Chizik stands to rake in as much as $1.3 million from his team's dream season.

No doubt Chizik would tell you the accomplishments of his team are the cake and the money merely the icing. But there's also no doubt that hauling in a wad of dough that substantial when no one thought you'd see a dime of it must taste awfully, awfully sweet.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 8:30 pm

Auburn dominates second half, off to Glendale

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We asked at halftime if the Hail Mary from Cam Newton to Darvin Adams had done enough to erase the cavalcade of mistakes from Auburn in the second quarter, mistakes that had seemed to hand momentum back to South Carolina and undone a dominant first quarter from the Tigers.

The answer over the second 30 minutes appeared to be a resounding "Oh goodness yes," as Auburn cruised to an overwhelming 56-17 victory in the SEC Championship Game. Spencer Lanning missed a 42-yard field goal on Carolina's first drive of the half, wasting a 10-play, 50-yard march, and from there it was nothing but Auburn. Newton scored on a one-yard plunge to cap a 75-yard drive on Auburn's ensuing possession, and the rout was on, starting with this T'Sharvan Bell pick-six of Stephen Garcia:

That put Auburn up 42-14, and from there the only question was what kind of stats Newton might finish with to put the finishing touches on his Heisman campaign, which by every indication will result in his becoming the third Auburn Tiger to win the award. The answer: 17-of-28, 335 yards, and 4 touchdowns in the air, 14 carries for 73 yards and 2 scores on the ground. In the process, he became the No. 1 quarterback in the country in pass efficiency and just the second player ever to both run and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season. (Tim Tebow , of course, was the first; just a little while later, Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick becaee the third.) While the discussions about Newton's now NCAA-approved eligibility and his father's transgressions will no doubt continue apace, the discussion of who has been college football's most dominant player this season is over.

Up next for the Tigers: the BCS National Championship Game against Oregon, where they will seek to become the fifth consecutive SEC team to lift the crystal football. The game promises to become the highest-scoring national title game -- by a wide margin-- in the BCS's history, as even in victory (one that featured another stout second-half performance defensively), Auburn's 20 first downs and 5.2 yards-per-carry allowed likely didn't do that much to convince viewers they'll be able to slow down the Ducks.

But after today -- and the 56 points and 589 total yards -- it's also worth wondering at this point if anyone, much less Oregon, can stop Newton and the Gus Malzahn machine now that the NCAA has not. When even your Hail Mary's are working, it's safe to say every last cylinder is hitting. When the BCS title game kicks off Jan. 10, we strongly suggest we all buckle up.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 6:37 pm

VIDEO: Hail Mary to save Auburn from mistakes?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn is 30 minutes away from the BCS National Championship Game, up 28-14 on South Carolina at halftime of the SEC Championship game. But if the second 30 minutes are half as back-and-forth as the first, the Tigers will still have an awful lot of work to do to earn their trip to Glendale.

But they'll at least have momentum on their side after Cam Newton' s half-ending Hail Mary was batted and then caught by Darvin Adams in the end zone:

That play answered what had looked like a game-changing touchdown drive by Carolina, one capped by Stephen Garcia hitting Alshon Jeffrey on a one-yard slant to bring Carolina within 21-14 with 16 seconds left before the break. With the Gamecocks getting the ball first in the second half, the underdogs looked like they had recovered from a disastrous defensive first quarter that saw Newton account for three touchdowns as the Tigers racked up more than 200 yards in the first period alone.

One of those touchdowns was this 54-yarder to Adams:

But Adams also played a large role in letting Carolina off the mat, dropping a certain third-down conversion and later a touchdown pass Newton had floated in with precision. But he wasn't alone in making mistakes for the Tigers: Newton missed multiple open receivers, a Phillip Lutzenkirchen holding call negated a 3rd-and-1 inside the Carolina 5, and Wes Byrum missed a 36-yard field goal. The Tigers have been by far the dominant team on the stat sheet --- outgaining the Gamecocks 348 yards to 196 -- but as they learned themselves after coming back against an Alabama team that allowed missed first-half opportunities to become a huge second-half letdown, that didn't matter much with the boot never applied to the Gamecocks' throat.

The Hail Mary might change things. (At the very least, it redeemed Adams, who finished the half with an incredible 7 receptions for 215 yards and the pair of scores.) But unless they administer the knockout blow, they might still need a little more magic to seal their bid to Glendale.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 2:17 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 6:11 pm

Cincinnati mascot arrested for throwing snowballs

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Pitt and Cincinnati are currently playing in the snow, it seems that someone got a bit too carried away playing with the snow.  The Cincinnati mascot was detained by police and ejected from the stadium on Saturday, and had to be replaced.  Why?

Because he was throwing snowballs into the crowd, and when police asked him to stop, he didn't.  Something that then causes this to happen.

If that's not the greatest picture from the 2010 college football season, then i don't know what is.

Now with video!  Though be forewarned, there are some naughty words, so it's NSFW.

Photo courtesy of Molly Gruber

Video courtesy of FearTheStache and MaxBobinski

Posted on: December 3, 2010 11:11 am

Let the mocking of RichRod commence

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Listen, we all knew this was coming.  The second it went public that during Thursday night's banquet honoring Michigan's 1985 Rose Bowl team, Rich Rodriguez basically made a plea to return as head coach and quoted a Josh Groban song, and then played that Josh Groban song, it was only a matter of time before rivals pounced.

They've pounced.

Seems a Michigan State fan wanted to make sure that Rodriguez knows he raises them up as well, but I must warn you, Josh Groban waits for you.

Hat tip to EDSBS
Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:01 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:13 pm

Dennis Dodd talks TCU and the Big East

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's not much question that the biggest news of the day in the college football world is the announcement that TCU will be joining the Big East in 2012.  The decision to move from the Mountain West to the Big East presents a lot of changes for TCU, the Big East, and the Mountain West, and our own Dennis Dodd sat down to discuss what it all means with Lauren Shehadi .

Posted on: November 27, 2010 5:41 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 5:46 pm

Big plays leading Arkansas against LSU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Things have gone a little crazy in Little Rock between LSU and Arkansas this afternoon.  First there was this touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett to Cobi Hamilton.

That wasn't the last of it, however.  With the score tied at 14-14 with six seconds left in the half, Arkansas had the ball at its own 20-yard line.  Well, Mallett and Hamilton decided that they liked throwing for 80-yard touchdowns so much, they might as well do it again.  Which they did on the final play of the half, as Mallett hit Hamilton over the middle of the field, and some nice downfield blocks led to a 21-14 Arkansas lead 80 yards later.

It's been pretty crazy, thus far, which you would expect in any game involving Les Miles and two rivals.

Stevan Ridley is responsible for LSU's two touchdowns, and has 79 yards rushing to lead the Tigers.

This is a pretty important game for both teams, even if neither has any conference title aspirations.  Should LSU win, with Boise State's loss, there's a possibility that the Tigers would move into the top 4 of the BCS rankings, which would guarantee them an at-large berth in a BCS game.  Should Arkansas win, they still have a chance to get to the Sugar Bowl if Auburn can beat South Carolina and move on to the national championship.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 4:31 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 4:31 pm

Dane Sanzenbacher mocks LeBron, helps others

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Does making fun of LeBron James ever get tiring?  No, of course not.  Especially if you're from the state of Ohio and had your heart ripped out by him when he decided to take his talents down to South Beach to join a .500 basketball team.  Still, as awesome as making fun of LeBron James can be, there are ways to make it better.

Which is what Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher figured out a way to do.  Not only does he openly mock James' latest Nike commercial, but his version isn't designed to get you to forgive him or buy shoes.  No, Sanzenbacher wants you to become an organ donor.

I'm not sure Woody Hayes was ever an organ donor.  Something tells me that while he wouldn't be averse to the idea on the surface, fear that a Michigan fan would end up with his kidney probably kept him from committing.

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com