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Tag:Oregon State
Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:14 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Oh, right, USC. That team with an embarrassment of riches. Them. It's easy (and not altogether unwise) to forget sometimes based on their on-field "exploits," but the USC Trojans still have a ton of talent. They don't have a ton of experience and they're with a brand-new coach, but still: these guys have some innate physical advantages. Take Matt Barkley, for example. The 5-star recruit had a rough freshman campaign last season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks, but, y'know, he's still a former 5-star recruit. And he flashed that talent in a big way today with a 25-37, 352 yard, five-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Cal in a 48-14 whipping. Even with the reserves seeing plenty of garbage time, the Trojans still racked up 32 first downs, 602 total yards, and 5.9 yards per rush. And this is against a Cal defense that held UCLA to seven points and Arizona to 10 in their two prior games (yes, 52 to Nevada prior to that, but hey). USC isn't allowed to go to a bowl, and its scholarship restrictions are going to sting for years, but every now and then these Trojans are going to lay waste to mediocre opponents. This was one of those weeks.

2. Jake Locker is here, and not a moment too soon. Washington QB Jake Locker, the much-ballyhooed freshman of three years ago, is a senior now, and whether through lousy luck with injuries, insufficient surrounding talent, or poor play of his own, he hasn't really lived up to his high expectations for any sustained amount of time. Again, not completely his fault, but it's true. To Locker's credit, he's kept his head down and stayed at the task of improving this whole time, and he was rewarded today with a five-touchdown performance in Washington's 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State. Locker made some gorgeous throws today, and the memories of his ghastly 4-20 performance against Nebraska just four weeks ago seemed much further away today. Locker wasn't perfect, and his fourth-quarter fumble in Beaver territory killed the Huskies' most promising shot at a game-winning score in regulation, but still: five touchdowns. 

3. Meanwhile, bravery and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. After seeing his team match Washington's touchdown in the second overtime, Oregon State coach Mike Riley made the commendable decision to go for the win right then and there, to tell his team that victory was only three yards away. Curiously, though, Riley declined to dial the number of Jacquizz Rodgers, who had played like a man possessed up to that point with 189 total yards and four touchdowns up to that point -- including three rushing scores from within six yards. No, Riley called on his sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who tried to connect with tight end Joe Halahuni on the conversion. The ball slipped through Halahuni's hands before falling harmlessly incomplete, and that was that. Now, going for two was a bold, mansome decision, but not giving the ball to Rodgers even if the defense was expecting it (much as they had for the entire game thus far) doesn't put Oregon State in the best position to succeed, and for that Oregon State now has a loss instead of a win.

4. Is Matt Scott better than last season? We're about to find out. There wasn't a whole lot to take away from each team's performance in Arizona's 24-7 win over Washington State; the Huskies are improving but still not very good, but we already knew that. The real news is that Arizona's star QB Nick Foles injured his knee after getting rolled into early in the second quarter. Early indications are that it's a dislocated kneecap, which sounds far worse than it is; Matt Barkley suffered the same injury last season, and he was practicing after a week or two. Mike Stoops told reporters he expected Foles to miss two to three weeks. If true, that's rough news for the Wildcats, who will face Washington, UCLA, and Stanford in their next three games. Backup Matt Scott came in for Foles, but he's the guy who was benched for Foles after three games last season for ineffective play. He sure didn't do much for Arizona against Washington State, and there's no guarantee he can put up points against some of the Pac-10's better defenses. For the sake of everybody on the Wildcats, let's hope Scott can put together some good games in Foles's absence, because it's incredibly disheartening to see a team's shot at a conference crown go south on account of one key injury.

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:54 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:16 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's another gorgeous day across the country, but it's starting to get just a little bit chilly. You should still bring the sunscreen. All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Boston College at No. 16 Florida State , 12:00, Tallahassee, FL: Low 70s, clear

Illinois at No. 13 Michigan State, 12:00 , East Lansing, MI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy

Missouri at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00 , College Station, TX: Low 70s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 15 Iowa at Michigan , 3:30, Ann Arbor, MI: Low 60s, partly cloudy

No. 12 Arkansas at No. 7 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear

Texas at No. 5 Nebraska , 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Low 70s, clear

Evening kickoffs

No. 10 South Carolina at Kentucky , 6:00, Lexington, KY: Low 60s, clear

No. 1 Ohio State at No. 18 Wisconsin , 7:00, Madison, WI: Mid 50s, partly cloudy

Mississippi State at No. 22 Florida , 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Low 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

Ole Miss at No. 8 Alabama , 9:00, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 50s, clear

No. 24 Oregon State at Washington , 10:15, Seattle, WA: Mid 40s, partly cloudy


Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:15 pm
 

Insane Predictions, Week 7

Posted by the College Football Blog Staff

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 Les Miles would look like the endgame genius against Urban Meyer and Florida? 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

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore sprains his knee when he trips while running onto the field during pregame ceremonies, and all of a sudden, the Broncos must face San Jose State with a brand new quarterback. Boise coach Chris Peterson blames San Jose State and their groundskeeping for the mishap, and feeling untold amounts of shame, SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre forfeits the game. Moore recovers fully for the Broncos' next game, and Boise's march to a 12-0 regular season continues unabated. -- Adam Jacobi

As the closing seconds count down on the scoreboard at Ross-Ade Stadium, Tim Brewster looks up at it to see the final score: Purdue 37, Minnesota 13.  Knowing that these are probably the last few seconds that he'll spend on a sideline COMPETING and FIGHTING  with the Gophers, his emotions get the best of him.  Danny Hope begins to make his way to midfield to meet the coach, but instead Brewster bursts into tears and sprints off the field.  He then hides in a supply room deep within the bowels of the stadium, refusing to come out until eventually Minnesota AD Joel Maturi lures him out by promising he's not going to fire him.  Brewster then opens the door and comes out, his face red and blotchy, covered in tears.  "Really?" he asks Maturi.  "No, you're totally fired," says Maturi before kicking him in the groin. -- Tom Fornelli

Arizona's slide continues after falling to Oregon State despite getting some help from the replay officials.  This time, facing Washington State, the home officials give the Wildcats a taste of their own medicine and refuse to replay a game-winning touchdown that was actually an incomplete pass. Mike Stoops has no timeouts, and the Cougars quickly kick the extra point to pick up that elusive first conference win. It is later revealed that the replay official was Washington State alumnus Drew Bledsoe, who emerges from the booth in full Wazzu regalia and facepaint. The Pac-10 finds no fault in this. -- Chip Patterson

Severely Unlikely

With Texas trailing Nebraska 24-7 just before halftime, Mack Brown makes his way over to Colt McCoy who is watching the game from the sidelines.  "Listen, I need you to come to the locker room at halftime.  Give these boys a pep talk."  McCoy agrees, but Brown was lying.  Instead Brown locks Garrett Gilbert in a shed -- hey, it's popular in Texas -- and convinces McCoy to put on Gilbert's uniform.  McCoy then goes out and leads Texas to a comeback victory, finding James Kirkendoll for the game-winning touchdown with, you guessed it, one second left on the clock. -- Tom Fornelli

Michigan's defense pitches a shut out against Iowa. The Big House rocks as Denard Robinson totals 600 total yards of offense and the Wolverines bounce back from the loss to "Little Brother" with a performance for the ages as the Wolverines reclaim a spot in the Top 25 with a 48-0 win over the Hawkeyes. Adrian Clayborn, struck with grief, eats 400 cheeseburgers on the ride home and gives up on the NFL for a career in the lawn and garden industry. Turns out Clayborn is quite the green thumb. -- Chip Patterson

The Kansas football team shows up to an empty Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Head coach Turner Gill and his Jayhawks were under the impression that their game would be played on Saturday, and thanks to various elaborate pranks by Kansas State fans, they had no idea that they had been scheduled to play on Thursday night. KSU coaches, upon finding out that Kansas had not appeared for the game, dressed their scout team in KU colors and had them put up token opposition. Somehow, they also had a scout team Turner Gill. The garbage-time touchdown Kansas State allowed to its double agents was a sublime touch. -- Adam Jacobi

Completely Ludicrous

McNeese State trots into Death Valley on Saturday night and shines under the lights. LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combine for an NCAA-record 11 interceptions, five of which are returned for touchdowns.  The other six picks are hideous arm-punts that prevent the Tigers from finding the end zone once. Patrick Peterson returns 4 kick offs for touchdowns, but LSU falls 35-28. -- Chip Patterson

Emboldened by reports that he was coaching with his job on the line, Tim Brewster leads his team to an emotional 35-34 victory over a frisky Purdue squad... then rips off five more wins to finish the season, culminating in a 55-0 revenge win over Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota's 7-5 (6-2) record and a host of other conference losses among the rest of the Big Ten vault the Gophers into the Rose Bowl, making them the first five-loss team to earn a trip to Pasadena. A month before the game, Brewster announces that he's leaving the Gophers to coach his beloved Texas Longhorns; Mack Brown has retired, as expected, but the program was stunned when defensive coordinator (and presumptive next head coach) Will Muschamp pulled a simultaneous "sympathy retirement." The Gophers hire Mike Leach on the spot, and the new Pirate Gophers stun Oregon on January 1st, 45-31. -- Adam Jacobi

There's nothing out of the ordinary taking place in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.  It's early in the fourth quarter and the Alabama Crimson Tide have a healthy 24-6 lead over the Rebels, but then suddenly a bright, white light can be seen in the sky.  Those who notice it assume that it's a comet or meteor passing by the planet, but it keeps getting bigger and bigger before everyone suddenly realizes it's coming right for them.  As it gets closer, it becomes clear that it is some kind of UFO, in fact, the space ship actually looks like a piece of fried calamari.   It lands at the 50-yard line, and out comes Admiral Ackbar.  Knowing immediately what's taking place, the new Ole Miss mascot makes a break for it before he is apprehended by members of the Rebel Alliance.  The Rebel Alliance then holds a trial on the field, determining whether or not the Bear shall live.  This does not please Nick Saban.  After a few minutes Saban walks briskly up to Admiral Ackbar, takes his gun, and executes the Bear himself before saying, "There.  NOW GET THE HELL OFF OF MY FIELD."  Ackbar and his soldiers sheepishly retreat to their ship and take off.  Not even the Rebel Alliance wants to mess with Nick Saban. -- Tom Fornelli

Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:18 am
 

Conflict of interest in replay for Arizona?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Oregon State defeated Arizona 29-27 last week, and the final margin doesn't accurately reflect how well the Beavers outpaced the Wildcats over the course of the evening. Sure, Nick Foles' 440 yards of passing were massive (that's literally a quarter of a mile, in one game), but Arizona never led, nor did they show much defensive acuity -- even after James Rodgers went down with that horrific knee injury.

So how did the Wildcats hang close, exactly? Some of it was obviously their own considerable skill, but the Portland Tribune has alleged that another reason is that the Wildcats had a thumb on the scale -- namely, with a partisan in the replay booth. 

Here's the Tribune's assessment of the situation:

The replay official [was] a Tucson citizen, an Arizona grad and, according to one source, a donor to the school’s athletic department.

The man working Saturday was Jim Fogltance, a former Pac-10 football crew chief who earned his degree from the UA in 1967.

Among the disputed plays:

• Rodgers’ first-quarter catch of a low ball that was ruled a reception by the game officials. After review, the call was overturned.

• Rodgers’ 3-yard catch later in the quarter that was ruled a touchdown by the game officials. After review, the call was overturned.

• A first-quarter bomb caught by Arizona’s Juron Criner that was ruled a touchdown by game officials. It appeared that Criner landed on the 1-yard-line and rolled into the end zone. After review, the call was upheld.

• Then, a catch by an Arizona receiver — similar to the Rodgers’ play — that was ruled a reception by game officials. Fogltance chose not to review the play.

It's also my recollection that the play preceding the touchdown that put Oregon State up 23-13 was itself a legitimate score, but that replay officials ruled Jacquizz Rodgers out of bounds at the 1-yard line when he had actually scored. I'd like to be able to prove that, and I freely admit that I may be wrong -- I watched 13 hours of football that day, after all -- but there are no legal ways (and no trustworthy illegal ways) for me to re-watch that portion of the game to double-check. That seems incredible in this day and age of information sharing, but this is what happens when media access guidelines are excessively restrictive. Anyway, it's a moot point since Oregon State scored on the very next play.

Of the four calls mentioned, the Criner "touchdown" was easily the most egregiously bad decision; Criner was clearly down while the ball was feet (not inches) away from crossing the plane. Granted, the odds of scoring a touchdown on first-and-goal from the 1 are pretty awesome -- there's literally no better position for scoring other than "standing in the end zone and holding the football while the referee signals a touchdown" -- but it's not an absolute certainty, and Oregon State at least deserved the right to make Arizona earn that last yard, right?

And really, this would all be a non-story if it weren't for the fact that the replay official is -- and there's really no other way to put it -- an Arizona man. He lives in Tucson, he's a UA grad, and he's apparently a donor. Do we know that these facts swayed his ability to call the game impartially? No, of course not. They probably didn't affect it at all. Probably. And we can't know for sure, because those confounding factors exist, and the mere appearance of a conflict of interest is enough to compromise the integrity of the officiating in the eyes of many. That mistake's on the Pac-10, not Fogltance, who never should have been put in such a position to begin with. His work affects the game, after all, and it would make a lot of Pac-10 fans happier if the replay official didn't have any incentive -- acted upon or not -- to swing any calls one way or another.

Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:10 am
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Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:16 am
 

James Rodgers may not come back next year

Posted by Tom Fornelli

James Rodgers' season-ending knee injury was not only painful to see, but also incredibly unfortunate for the Oregon State wide receiver.  Still, if every cloud has a silver lining, this cloud's would be the fact that, if he wants to, Rodgers shouldn't have much trouble getting a medical waiver from the NCAA which would allow him to play next season.  It would also mean that James was able to finish his college career alongside his brother Jacquizz Rodgers.

The key part of that whole equation, though, is if he wants to.  James showed up at Oregon State's practice on Tuesday and he was non-commital as to what his plans for the future are.

"I've got a lot of time to think about that, so I'll just talk to coach Riley, get his input on everything and make my decision when the time comes.''

James should probably talk to his brother too, because according to Jacquizz, his big brother is definitely coming back to Corvallis next season.  At least, that's what he said during his weekly segment on a local radio show.

Odds are that the effects of James' impending surgery, along with the months of rehab that will follow, will be the biggest factor in whether the elder Rodgers brother decides to enter the NFL draft or not.  If things go well and the knee holds up, then odds are he'll go pro.  If not, he'll return for another season.

While at practice Rodgers was also asked whether he was upset about the way he hurt his knee, being pulled to the ground by Adam Hall of Arizona after he'd already crossed the goal line.  He said no, that Hall was only "playing to the whistle."
Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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