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Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: October 23, 2010 9:15 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm

Wisconsin does just enough to pull out 31-30 win

Posted by Adam Jacobi

This was more than a football game; this was a 12-round heavyweight slugfight, one befitting a spot in the Rocky series. Wisconsin won this fight, 31-30, and the one-point margin only underscores how closely matched Iowa and the Badgers were. But in the end, this was about Wisconsin going that extra inch to get its win -- and the Heartland Trophy.

Just ask J.J. Watt , the Badgers' standout DE, and defensive hero for the second straight week. In the first quarter, Watt swung the momentum of the game by blocking an Iowa extra point and keeping the game at 6-3. After 52 more points scored in the rest of the game, that one single point would prove to be the margin of victory.

"I've always told my defense that to me, the truest test of what a defense is all about is how they play PAT, because any time you're on the field and it's a PAT situation, it means that you were just scored upon, and how are you going to react?" Bret Bielema said. "The reaction was unbelievable and ends up being the difference in the game."

That blocked PAT wouldn't have been of much significance if Montee Ball hadn't stretched across the goal line by three inches with about a minute left, and Ball probably wouldn't have been able to score that touchdown without a crucial fake punt call on fourth and 4 from Wisconsin's own 26. With everyone on Iowa's punt return team playing for the return, Badgers punter Brad Nortman streaked up the middle of the field for 17 yards. Afterwards, Nortman and Bielema confirmed that it was the coaches' call to fake it from the start.

"It was all the coaches, all the coaches," Nortman said. "When I got the snap, I saw the wide-open field, a couple blockers in front of me, and I just ran. Once I got down the field, I knew it was a great call."

Watt also came through in the fourth quarter. With Iowa holding a first down near midfield with 35 seconds left, Watt finally broke through for the Badgers' first sack of the game, dropping quarterback Ricky Stanzi for a loss of 11 yards, running nine seconds off, and forcing the Hawkeyes to burn a timeout. And sure enough, Iowa's drive ended on the Badgers' 35-yard line, running out of time just outside of field-goal range because the Hawkeyes had burned their last timeout.

After the game, Watt wore his battle scars proudly, the bridge of his nose still freshly bleeding, as he reflected happily on what he considers the high point of Wisconsin's season so far.

"I really think it tops last week," Watt told reporters. "We had so many guys banged up, we're here in a tough environment against a tough team; to come here and do what we did is so unbelievable and a testament to our team."

Watt admitted that with a bye week coming up next, he's going to savor this Badger win that puts them in a dominant second-place position behind the still-unbeaten Michigan State Spartans.

"I'm going to take this one in, and I'm going to take [last week's win against] Ohio State  in, because we didn't really have much time to take Ohio State in," Watt said. "I'm going to take a day or two here, watch the game films, and just let it sink in, but then after that we're going to come right back and start focusing on the last four games of the season."

Of course, with such a close final margin, the losing team usually has plenty to rue afterwards, and for the Hawkeyes, today will be no exception. Aside from the blocked extra point and fake punt given up, Iowa placeholder Ryan Donahue  fumbled the snap on a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter, costing his team a shot at three points.

Further, and perhaps worse, the Iowa endgame clock management will be under close scrutiny from fans and coaches alike. With the Hawkeyes facing a fourth and 1 at Wisconsin's 42-yard line, Stanzi ran a keeper for the first down, then let three seconds run off the clock while signaling a spike before calling Iowa's last timeout with 13 seconds remaining -- a call that, minus the few wasted seconds, Ferentz later said was their plan all along. Alas, the next play was a pass to tailback Adam Robinson in the flat, and when Robinson was tackled inbounds without Iowa being able to stop the clock, well, that was that.

Perhaps it would have been preferable for Iowa and its fans if the Hawkeyes had lost by 10, and if they'd never been so close to attempting a game-winning field goal. But such is the emotional cruelty of college football. If it's any consolation to the Hawkeyes -- and probably scant, at that -- it's that Iowa isn't the first team to lose by the skin of its teeth to the Badgers. Recall that back in September, Wisconsin dispatched Arizona State 20-19 by blocking a tying PAT, and also stopped a potential kick return for a touchdown at the Wisconsin 1-yard line to end the first half in that game.

Again, yes, it's scant consolation for Iowa, but anything would be after such a devastating loss -- one where the Hawkeyes seemed just inches away from victory.

Posted on: October 23, 2010 3:27 pm

Nevermind: Cousins leads comeback for Sparty W

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When we last off with Michigan State vs. Northwestern , the homestanding Wildcats were manhandling the favored Spartans on the ground and had opened up a commanding 17-0 second quarter lead. They never really stopped manhandling them, either; until a late, essentially meaningless Edwin Baker touchdown run, Northwestern was outgaining the Spartans 2-to-1 in the rushing game.

Which is why Michigan State went to the air in the second half, changed the game, and won 35-27 . Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins enjoyed a monster second half, finishing with 335 yards on 32-of-45 passing, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. MSU wideouts B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell each finished with over 100 yards receiving. They were all at their best on the Spartans' critical 11-play, 89-yard fourth-quarter drive to take the lead, as Cousins went 8-of-9 for 96 yards (the Spartans turned 2nd-and-20 and 3rd-and-15 situations into first downs after sacks) and Cunningham added a brilliant touchdown reception after an end-zone deflection.

Sparty also got a boost from another Mark Dantonio fake punt that led to a touchdown and two critical Northwestern turnovers, one on the Spartan 1-yard line in the first half and a Dan Persa interception that helped lead to MSU's first score of the second half. But Cousins was the difference-maker, hitting his routes on perfect timing again and again. Ohio State annihilated Purdue as comprehensively as it's possible to annihilate a Big Ten opponent, but it's not going to matter as long as Cousins and his receivers continue executing at this level and Dantonio's squad continues to show the kind of resilience they did today.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm

Game day weather updates, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear

Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain

Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain

No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear

No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms

Evening kickoffs

No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms

Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms

Late night kickoffs

Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy

Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 5:53 pm

Hinnen's Insane Predictions, Week 8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that  South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Playing at home for interim coach Jeff Horton and that until-now foreign concept known as pride, Minnesota surprises Penn State and their ever-creaky offense with 17 first-half points, then hold on for a 17-13 upset. After the game, Joe Paterno offers up something even more surprising, issuing his resignation effective at the end of the year to ESPNU's speechless sideline reporter. To drive his point home, Paterno leaves his trademark glasses at the edge of the TCF Bank Stadium field, a la an Olympic wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat. ESPN issues a press release promising to include footage of Paterno's gesture in every college football montage from now until 2024.

Severely Unlikely

At halftime of the Missouri -Oklahoma game, the visiting Sooners hold a commanding 24-3 lead. Just before the break, Gary Pinkel is spotted pushing a button on some kind of radio-like device on his belt. A few minutes later, Bob Stoops is just about to begin his halftime team talk when there's a knock on the locker room door. It's Mizzou alumnus Jon Hamm , dressed as his famous Mad Men character Don Draper . He introduces himself as Draper and asks if he could speak to the team for a minute. Stoops, a huge Draper fan, is awestruck and concedes. Hamm/Draper has a lackey wheel in a wet bar and offers Stoops and the rest of the Sooner staff a stiff drink as he begins to pitch the rest of the Sooners on what he calls a "revolutionary" sports drink called "Gator-ade." Too polite to decline, Stoops and his staff are severely tipsy by the end of the break. 12 different second-half double-passes back to quarterback Landry Jones later, Missori escapes with a 27-24 win.

Completely Ludicrous

Washington State goes on the road and defeats No. 12 Stanford.

Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:38 pm

Tim Brewster may have driven Minnesota to drink

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That's right, it's another update on Minnesota football on the CBS College Football Blog. Maybe you don't think the trials and travails of the Big Ten 's worst team is worth that much attention, but consider that in the last two weeks, the Gophers 1. threatened to fire their ironically hilarious coach if he lost one more game 2. lost that game in ironically hilarious fashion 3. fired the coach as the same athletic director who'd hired him taunted him as "not Vince Lombardi" 4. turned the ignition on a coaching search that in all logic should end in the hiring of Cap'n Mike Leach 5. had to douse a nasty rumor the coach had gone Hal McCrae on the team trophy case.

If you're a college football blogger, there's no way to ignore catnip like that. If you're a Minnesota football fan, it's probably enough to drive you into the waiting arms of sweet, sweet alcohol. Which heeeeeeeey , that might just give the Minnesota administration an idea :

Just days after Tim Brewster's firing, the University of Minnesota will be spending a lot of money to find a new coach. People wonder if lifting a ban on alcohol sales at Gopher games would bring in more cash to the U of M.
Well, the question isn't actually "if" selling alcohol would bring in the dough; "people in the know" say a liquor license could net the program a quick-n'-easy $3 million. (And "people in the know" are never wrong.) That might be enough to lure the good Cap'n all by its lonesome.

But of course, when we're talking about alcohol, nothing's simple. As the Fox video report on the issue ...

... illustrates, the Gopher powers-that-be haven't even moved this into the discussion stage just yet. But they do have options: either to go whole hog, to just allow alcohol in the brand-spanking-new TCF Bank Stadium's luxury boxes, or to keep teetotaling.

The video also illustrates that plenty of other Big Ten schools -- like Michigan -- make plenty of money without liquor sales. But those other schools aren't Minnesota. The Gophers are behind a serious financial eight-ball, trying to pay for the new stadium, for Brewster's buyout, for the inevitable assistants' buyouts, for the new coach's salary, for his assistant's new salaries, all while dragging around the millstone of widespread fan apathy and inconsistent revenue streams.

In short: if they're not considering it yet, they probably ought to be.

HT: Get the Picture .

Posted on: October 21, 2010 8:44 pm

No, Tim Brewster did not steal Minnesota's trophy

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Today's most tantalizing rumor in college football, put forth by Pat Reusse on ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis, is that after being fired on Sunday, Tim Brewster went a little crazy and broke a trophy case at Minnesota before leaving the premises. If true, it'd be absolute professional suicide; nobody would want to hire a coach who can't even handle being fired without exacting vandalistic revenge on university property. 

Slight problem: the rumor is totally untrue. A spokesman in the Minnesota athletic department told CBS Sports that the rumors were "completely false," and that it wasn't even clear where the rumors had started. Also, keep in mind: it's very much in Brewster's best interests to keep a rumor like this quashed, but much less in Minnesota's best interests to protect Brewster -- especially if the rumors were true.

But though everyone craves scandal and discord, this rumor doesn't even pass the smell test. For the myriad faults attributed to Brewster over the course of his campaign at Minnesota, at no point did anyone ever suggest the man had a temper problem, on the field or off. Heck, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema tried to flat-out embarrass Brewster's Gophers when he went for two late in their game two weeks ago, and what was Brewster's reaction? A terse exchange with Bielema and then strong words delivered calmly at his press conference. If Brewster wasn't going to whip himself into spittle-flecked histrionics then, when would he?

Further, it's not as if Reusse and Brewster don't have a long, sordid past. From the moment Brewster set foot on Minnesota's campus, Reusse -- who is also a columnist at the Minneapolis Pioneer-Press -- has been a prominent critic of his. The shared enmity reached its zenith after Brewster tweeted (and immediately deleted, except this is the Internet) this: "How would you like to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror....... If your FAT PAT??" Yep: fat jokes at reporters from a D-I football coach. That happened.

Reusse was one of the first to shovel dirt on Brewster's grave after the firing, calling Brewster's initial news conference "the least sincere pile of verbiage ever heard in Dinkytown." Reusse was right, of course, but it's pretty easy to see why he would be eager to pass along rumors of negative behavior by Brewster, aberrant and unsubstantiated as it may be.


Posted on: October 21, 2010 12:31 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2010 12:37 pm

Who needs a ticket when you have a gun?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we went over here a few weeks ago, tickets to the game between Michigan and Michigan State at the Big House were tough to get this year, and the ones you could get were incredibly expensive.  There were plenty of people who would have liked to go to the game but never got the chance, but those poor souls didn't have the ingenuity of one fan.

He was smart enough to get his M16 rifles.

A 42-year old man from southeast Michigan not only got himself into the stadium for the game, but on to the field.  See, he's a full-time member of the National Guard, so he put on his uniform, grabbed his rifle and headed to Michigan Stadium in military vehicle.  Once he was there he explained to security that he was a member of the honor guard, and after having his weapons examined to make sure they weren't loaded, was granted access to the stadium.

He was there until an actual member of the honor guard explained to security that the man wasn't actually a member, and he was escorted from the stadium.  He was then arrested and released without being charged for anything.

A brilliant plan, if I do say so myself.  One that could only have been topped had the man entered the stadium by jumping out of an airplane.

Posted on: October 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Lou Holtz to Minnesota?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The coaching corpse of Tim Brewster hasn't even begun rotting yet, but there's already been plenty of movement to find a replacement in Minnesota.   The Gophers wanted Tony Dungy, Dungy said no thanks, but he'll help.  He then offered up Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Lesley Frazier, to which I replied Mike Leach, and then this morning interim head coach Jeff Horton said the school should look at Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

But what if the Gophers wanted to go the crazy route?  What if they actually wanted to look outside the state of Minnesota for a replacement?  Apparently there are some within the schools who have set their eyes on a crazy old man in Bristol, one who just might have the prescription to make Minnesota football all better.  That's right.  Dr. Lou.
There was some talk Tuesday that some local dreamers will try to bring Lou Holtz , 73, back as Gophers football coach, with a master plan that Holtz's son Skip, the coach at South Florida, would succeed his dad at Minnesota.

The late Leroy Gardner, who worked for Holtz as an academic adviser at Minnesota, described Holtz as "the most sophisticated (fibber) he had ever seen."
Lou Holtsch back to coach the Minneshota Golden Gophersh?  Shufferin' shuccotash!

Holtz spent two years at Minnesota before leaving to take over the job at Notre Dame, leading the team to the Independence Bowl.  The Gophers beat Clemson in that game, but Holtz had already left for South Bend by then. 

Personally, I don't know that hiring Holtz would really make all that much sense for the Gophers.  He is 73 years old, and he seems pretty content with his television gig.  Besides, I don't want Minnesota's football team being the only people in this country privy to Holtz' pep talks and life advice.  That wouldn't be fair to the rest of us.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or