Tag:Adrian Hilburn
Posted on: January 14, 2011 2:11 pm
 

What I learned from the Big 12: Bowl Edition

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Oklahoma can crush Cinderella in a BCS bowl.  Just as long as Cinderella makes her way to the ball through a BCS conference.  After years of being woken up in the middle of the night due to nightmares about the Statue of Liberty, Ian Johnson and blue grass, Bob Stoops can finally get a good night's sleep.  Sure, beating UConn isn't exactly going to make the country stand up and notice Oklahoma, but at least the Sooners finally get to head into an offseason with some positive momentum behind them.  With Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles both coming back next season, the Sooners are the easy pick to be favored in the Slightly Smaller 12 and should contend for another national championship.

2. Though Oklahoma State may have a different opinion about that.  The Cowboys put the finishing touches on a season that saw the team fall six points shy of toppling their in-state rivals and playing for their own conference championship.  It seems like every season we say that "this could be the year" for Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys inevitably fall short of expectations.  This year, they surpassed them. With an easy win over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl, and the prospect of having Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon back next year, the Cowboys should make some more noise in 2011.

3. Kansas State may not celebrate anything ever again.  It wasn't the most important bowl game of the season by any means, but the end of the Pinstripe Bowl is a memory that is likely to stick with me for a while.  I know the Wildcats will remember it.  What was a great game was marred by a bad call at the end when Adrian Hilburn was called for unsportsmanlike conduct following a touchdown when saluting the crowd.  This decision cost Kansas State a chance to win the game as the Wildcats were forced to attempt a game-tying two-point conversion from the 18-yard line.

4. While we're on the subject of the Big Ten taking things from the Big 12.  Farewell to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who now move on to the Big Ten for the 2011 season.  Judging by Nebraska's performance against Washington in the Holiday Bowl, it's a move that couldn't have come quick enough for the Huskers.  After losing to Oklahoma in the final Big 12 Championship, Nebraska didn't look like a team with anything much to play for against Washington.  As odd as it will feel to see Nebraska playing in the Big Ten next season, it'll be stranger still to not see them playing in the Big 12.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 8:16 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 8:19 pm
 

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ask any defender of the bowl system why college football shouldn't ditch bowl games for a playoff and one of their reasons will be that the bowl games are a reward for the players who work so hard during the season.  They're right, too.  The bowl games are a reward for the players.  A vacation to enjoy themselves and have some fun before the year comes to an end.

Just as long as they don't have any of that fun on the field, apparently.

What was a very entertaining first edition of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium was marred on Thursday evening when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn for what was deemed a celebration after scoring a touchdown in the final minutes.  That celebration was a military-style salute to the crowd after scoring the touchdown that brought his team to within two points and gave Kansas State a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

Instead the Wildcats were backed up 15 yards and forced to go for two from the 18-yard line.  An incomplete pass later, and Syracuse left the Bronx with a 36-34 win.

It was a terrible call, and at possibly the worst time it could have been made.  Kansas State fans, and college football fans have every right to be angry with the official who made the call, and reportedly told Hilburn "wrong choice, buddy" as he threw the flag.  Still, we can all be as angry with the official as we want to be, but I worry that we might be shooting the messenger here.

Yes, it was a terrible call, but the penalty wasn't what's truly terrible about all of this.  The fact that a player celebrating a touchdown is illegal in the first place is what's truly terrible.

These are kids out there on the playing field, are they not?  Maybe the NCAA and the schools forget that from time to time because they're so busy counting the money that these kids make for them.  It's because of this stupid rule that a kid goes from the elation he was feeling for possibly saving the day for his teammates to wanting to crawl under a rock knowing that he just cost those teammates the game.

Is this the lesson that the NCAA is trying to teach its student-athletes?  

I mean, I know that college football is big business.  Hell, listen to any coach leading up to a bowl game and he'll tell you that his team is taking the approach that the bowl game is a "business trip."  It's just I fear we've reached the point where we've forgotten that football is a game, and that college football is a game being played by college kids.  For our entertainment.

If the NCAA wants its student-athletes to start behaving like professionals, then maybe the NCAA should start paying them like they're professionals.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 7:34 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Pinstripe Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Syracuse rides Delone Carter, Marcus Sales and some help from the refs to beat Kansas State 38-36 in first ever Pinstripe Bowl

Syracuse


Offense: Syracuse did not come into this game with the reputation as a strong offense, as the Orange averaged only 21.0 points a game this season.  Still, a funny thing happens when you have a running back like Delone Carter and are facing one of the worst run defenses in the country: you rack up yards like there's no tomorrow.  The Syracuse offense put up 498 yards of total offense on the day, led by Carter's 202 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.  Ryan Nassib also found his groove after playing poorly down the stretch of the season, to throw for 240 yards and three touchdowns of his own.

All three of Nassib's touchdown passes went to Marcus Sales, who only had one touchdown during the season, and wasn't even listed on the depth chart before the year started.  Sales finished the day with 5 catches for 172 yards.  Grade: A

Defense: Much like its offense, Syracuse's defense took on an alternate personality in Yankee Stadium.  Syracuse only gave up 13.1 points a game during the season, but life is a bit different when you step out of the Big East apparently.  Still, even though Kansas State put up a lot of points, the Syracuse defense played a bit better than it looks.

First of all, holding a Kansas State offense that averaged over 200 yards on the ground per game to 120 yards and 3.3 yards a carry is nothing to be ashamed of.  No doubt the Syracuse game plan was to stuff the Wildcats ground attack and force them to air it out, which they did, but had probably been hoping they could do a better job of containing the passing game.  Grade: C

Coaching: Doug Marrone took the leash off his offense and let the kids play a bit in this one, and it worked out very well for the Orange.  From flea-flickers to reverses, to being smart enough to pound KSU into submission with Delone Carter, I can't find much in Syracuse's gameplan to complain about.  Grade: A

Kansas State 


Offense: Much like Syracuse, Kansas State didn't have a lot of trouble finding the end zone in this game.  What was surprising, however, was to see Chase Coffman have so much success throwing the ball.  I had thought that Kansas State would be better served with Collin Klein at quarterback in this game, and it turns out I was wrong.

Coffman completed 17-of-23 passes for 229 yards and a couple touchdowns.

The problem for the Wildcats was that aside from his 51-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game, Daniel Thomas was virtually non-existent.  Yes, he finished with 3 touchdowns, but following that first run, Thomas had only 38 yards on 20 carries.  When he struggles like that, Kansas State isn't going to win a lot of games.  Grade: B

Defense: Did Kansas State play defense during this game?  I'm having some trouble remembering plays in which it did.

Seriously, Kansas State's defense wasn't anything to be proud of all season, and it wasn't on Thursday as well.  When you allow an offense that had been as lackluster as Syracuse's to pick up nearly 500 yards of offense, well, there's only one grade you deserve.  Grade: F

Coaching: Bill Snyder.  I love what you've done for Kansas State in your career, but you made some questionable decisions in this one.  While I loved the call to run the option on fourth and goal early in the fourth quarter, the fake field goal you ran later in the quarter when down five just didn't do it for me.  You know that touchdown you scored in the final minutes that the refs jobbed you on -- more on that in a bit -- and cost you a chance to send the game to overtime?  Yeah, well had you just kicked that field goal, the refs wouldn't have factored into the game and you'd have won. Grade: C

The Referees


Seriously, refs?  A personal foul in the final minutes after Adrian Hilburn scored a touchdown to bring Kansas State within two points?  Really?  Was a salute to the crowd actually enough to warrant a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call, and force Kansas State to go for two from the 18-yard line?  I hope it was for you, because I fear that what was a very good game will only be remembered for your boneheaded call at the end of it.

But, hey, at least you kept the kids from having any fun in their bowl game, right?  That's why we have these bowl games, isn't it?  As a reward for the players?

Final Grade: This game was not the crispest football game we've seen this year, but as far as the bowl games have gone, this was one of the more entertaining affairs for both the fans and viewers.  It's just unfortunate that a terrible call by the referees had such a dramatic impact on the outcome.  Still, even with that happening, I'm going to base this grade on the first 58 minutes and 46 seconds.  Grade: A-
 
 
 
 
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