Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Pac-10 goes 2-2 in its four -- yes, just four -- bowl games. Wrapping up:
1. Oregon still has to prove it can outfox teams outside the conference. For all of Chip Kelly's undeniable brilliance at the Oregon helm, the last three times the Ducks have stepped out of conference to face quality defensive opposition -- and frankly, we're being generous by even including Auburn in that discussion -- they've scored 8, 17, and 19 points (against Boise State, Ohio State, and the Tigers, respectively). Those totals are a far, far cry from the Ginsu job the Ducks have performed on the Pac-10 the past two seasons, and they beg the question: what kind of kryptonite do defensive coordinators outside the league have that those inside it don't?
To be fair, it may be a simple matter of preparation; all three of the above teams had far longer than the typical work week to watch film and prep for the Duck tempo. And the torrent of TV-dictated stoppages in bowl games didn't do anything to help Oregon's attempts to wear down the Buckeyes or Tigers from a stamina standpoint. But the root of Oregon's problems in these games doesn't have anything to do with either of those issues; it's that they've simply been destroyed at the line of scrimmage. Whether it's Boise's Ryan Winterswyk, OSU's Cameron Heyward, or now Nick Fairley, the Ducks have had no answer for the elite linemen on the other side of the ball.
No one will argue that the Duck offensive linemen aren't well-coached, athletic, quality players. They've been good enough to win two Pac-10 titles and 22 games in two years. But to take the next step and win Oregon's first national title, Kelly may have to find a way to upgrade his offensive front all the same.
2. If they can keep the staff intact, Stanford's not going anywhere. Or at least, not far. No one will argue that Jim Harbaugh wasn't the driving force behind the Cardinal's unfathomable rise to 12-1 and beyond-impressive 40-12 demolition of Virginia Tech (remember that despite their short-week loss to James Madison, the Hokies had ripped through an improved ACC without even being seriously challenged), but that doesn't mean he was the only force. Andrew Luck will return in 2011 as the hands-down, no-debate best quarterback in the nation. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has already drawn head coaching interest and has learned directly under Harbaugh the past three seasons. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio just finished overseeing the biggest single-season defensive improvement in the conference, if not the countr. And Harbaugh's recruiting prowess means the cupboard should remain well-stocked for the next few years.
2010 may be the high-water mark for the program all the same. But if both Roman and Fangio are retained -- and it seems likely they will be, if one or the other is named head coach -- don't expect much of a drop-off in the near future, even with Harbaugh in San Francisco. The team on display at the Orange Bowl was clearly constructed well enough to withstand the loss of a single pillar, even if it happened to be the biggest one.
3. Arizona doesn't really "do" that whole bowl game scene, man. The Wildcats' appeared to have taken an important step forward during the 2009 regular season, coming within one overtime loss against the Ducks of a Rose Bowl berth. But then they took a big one back with a 33-0 shellacking at the hands of Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. This year, Mike Stoops needed a solid performance in the Alamo Bowl to wash out the taste of the 'Cats' season-ending four-game losing streak, and instead his team laid another colossal egg, meekly succumbing to Oklahoma State 36-10.
With victories or even respectable performances in those two bowls, Stoops would still have his team firmly established as one of the "up-and-comers" in the Pac-10. As is, 2011 isn't a make-or-break year for Stoops just yet ... but another iffy regular season followed by a third bowl faceplent would mean 2012 certainly would be.
4. Washington had a winning season. OK, that's not really something we "learned" as much as something that simply happened, but it's as close as we'll get since we're not sure there really was anything to learn from the Huskies' 19-7 win over Nebraska in this year's edition of the Holiday Bowl. Certainly it was a thrill for Jake Locker and the other Husky seniors to go out with a win, and after a disappointing year for coordinator Nick Holt's defense, holding the Huskers to a measly 7 points -- after giving up 56 to them in Seattle during the regular season -- will provide some optimism for next year. But with the Huskers visibly unfocused and unmotivated for a bowl game they'd played the year before against a team they'd already flattened during the regular season (and Taylor Martinez still not 100 percent), it's questionable how much an accomplishment the win really is. And with the face-of-the-program Locker departed, it's equally questionable how similar next year's Huskies will look to this year's.
So: it's a nice story for Washington. But it doesn't tells us much, if anything, about the Huskies going forward.
Tags: ACC, Alamo Bowl, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Boise State, Cameron Heyward, Chip Kelly, Greg Roman, Holiday Bowl, Jake Locker, James Madison, Jim Harbaugh, Nebraska, Nick Fairley, Nick Holt, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-10, Rose Bowl, Ryan Winterswyk, Stanford, Taylor Martinez, Vic Fangio, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington, What I Learned, What I Learned Bowl Edition
Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 4:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon was done speaking with Les Miles, he took his jet to Southern California to hire the next head football coach for the Wolverines. There is no word yet as to if an official offer was made to Miles, but after the discussions Brandon wasted no time in getting the deal done with San Diego State's Brady Hoke.
“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Brady,” Brandon said in the official school release. “He is a terrific coach and will be a great ambassador and leader for our football program. We look forward to having him build a championship program on the field and in the classroom.”
Hoke was a member of the Michigan staff from 1995-2002 as the defensive line coach. His 1997 championship defense led the nation in rushing defense at 89 yards per game. He was named the 2010 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Aztecs to a 9-4 record and 35-14 Poinsettia Bowl win over Navy.
Brady Hoke's name has always been on the Michigan radar, and it has been widely speculated that he has always been willing to accept the job if offered. But before the Wolverines were ready to ink the eager Hoke to a contract, they had to at least ask about the services of alum's Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. In the last week the rumors flew from every direction, but after Harbaugh got hired by the San Francisco 49ers, and Les Miles announced he would stay with LSU; the move for the Wolverines became obvious.
Hoke will be officially announced as the head coach in a press conference at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 6:34 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
One of the hottest names in college football, and one of the top choices for Stanford's next coach, is not going to be relocating before the 2011 season. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen announced Monday that he will be staying with the Broncos to "continue directing the football program." Petersen's name pops up on the radar of most major job openings, as different school's have hoped to win the coach with the allure of a big-time program.
Many believed that the school with the best chance to do that was Stanford, with the Cardinal looking to replace head coach Jim Harbaugh - now with the San Francisco 49ers. The Orange Bowl champions have a strong core returning in 2011, led by Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck. But Petersen is returning to his own Heisman finalist, Kellen Moore, and the Broncos will focus on competing for a National Championship again in 2011.
Boise State also announced that Indiana offensive coordinator Brent Pease would return to become the new offensive coordinator, and quarterback coach Ron Prince would move over to coach the wide receivers and serve as the pass game coordinator. Now, with a full coaching staff, the Broncos will go into tonight's National Championship evening ready to begin plans to make their own run in 2011. Pease returns to the Broncos after being hired away as Indiana's offensive coordinator just weeks ago. Pease, wide receivers coach at the time, accepted the promotion to OC when he moved to Indiana, but quickly answered when Boise State called him back to fill in for Bryan Harsin, who departed to join Mack Brown's staff at Texas.
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: January 9, 2011 12:58 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
After losing Jim Harbaugh to the NFL on Friday, Stanford has the enviable task of finding a new head coach. It's enviable because for the first time in almost 40 years,* an open Stanford head coaching position is actually desirable on account of the team coming off a major bowl victory. Buoyed with this success, Stanford is able to reach out to big names early in the process, and as Yahoo! Sports reports, Stanford has contacted Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.
Now, hiring a Boise State head coach isn't necessarily a guarantor of future success; look at what happened to Dan Hawkins down at Colorado , after all. Nonetheless, this report would seem to indicate that Chris Petersen is Stanford's first choice, and there's nothing athletic directors like to do more at hiring announcements than stand up there and proclaim that they "got their guy."
Of course, it also helps that Andrew Luck is returning for his junior season, which should definitely ease the new coach's transition to Palo Alto. One could argue that this decision by Luck will be a bigger factor than the head coaching hire for Stanford's short-term success, in fact.
Now, if Stanford can't bring in Petersen or any other "big" name for whatever reason, fans shouldn't be quick to be disappointed. As the San Francisco Chronicle reminds, Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby has made two football hires at the I-A level: Kirk Ferentz at Iowa after the 1998 season, and Harbaugh at Stanford in late 2006. Neither coach had any I-A head coaching experience; Ferentz was 12-21 in three years with the Maine Black Bears, while Harbaugh was 29-6 at San Diego (a school in the non-scholarship I-AA Pioneer League). Both hires have, to say the least, succeeded.
*In 1971, John Ralston led Stanford to its second consecutive Rose Bowl (a 13-12 win over then-undefeated Michigan , incidentally), then jumped to the NFL to coach the Denver Broncos. His successor -- Jack Christiansen -- didn't fare exceptionally well, going 30-22 in five seasons and never reaching a bowl before being fired, but he at least had a winning record in every season and paved the way for legendary coach Bill Walsh to take over. So if history repeats itself, it's not as if disaster lurks for the Cardinal in the coming years. Disappointment, yes, but not disaster.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bill Walsh, Bob Bowlsby, Boise State, Chris Petersen, Chris Petersen Stanford, Colorado, Dan Hawkins, Iowa, Jack Christiansen, Jim Harbaugh, John Ralston, Kirk Ferentz, Maine, Pac-10, San Diego, Stanford, Stanford Coaching Candidates, Stanford Coaching Rumors, Stanford Coaching Search, WAC
Posted on: January 7, 2011 2:35 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Yes, I've grown just as tired of all the Jim Harbaugh talk the last few days as you have. Every 20 minutes the Stanford head coach is interviewing with somebody else, and about to sign a bajillion dollar contract to leave Stanford and coach somewhere else. It's tiresome. That being said, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't share this with you.
Remember way back 72 hours ago when Jim Harbaugh was going to be taking over for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan? Yes, well, that scenario was quickly shut down when Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said he was fairly certain that Harbaugh was headed to the NFL. Well, we can no longer be sure that's the case, and one man with ties to both Stanford and an NFL job that Harbaugh was being considered for seems to think that Michigan is back in play for his services.
"To me, it’s coming down to Stanford, and I think Michigan is back in the picture," John Elway said in an interview with Denver radio station 87.7 The Ticket. "I think he wants to stay in the college level. 'Cause we’ve been in touch with him, and they are aware we’d like to talk to him if he wants to go the NFL route."
Of course, all this means is that for the next 12 hours we're going to hear about how Michigan is ready to give Harbaugh $8 million and then tomorrow he'll announce he's staying at Stanford.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier today the news broke that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was going to return to Stanford next season instead of entering the NFL Draft. It was a surprise to most, seeing that Luck has been projected as the top pick in the draft, and it seems Jim Harbaugh is on his way out of Palo Alto to cash in on the NFL riches his quarterback is passing up.
In his post on the subject, the honorable Adam Jacobi said that it may not be the wrong decision for Luck to stay in school. He brought up some good points too, pointing out how college quarterbacks without a lot of starts under their belt have a history of struggling in the NFL. He even brought up the example of David Carr. Still, in spite of all that, I'm of the firm opinion that Luck is making a costly mistake to stay in Palo Alto.
There are a lot of things out of Luck's control with this decision that nobody can predict. Should he have gone on to the NFL, there's no guarantee he'd have succeeded. Staying in school, there's no guarantee that he'll get through another season or two healthy, or be rated as highly of an NFL prospect ever again.
Here's the one thing we do know about Luck: had he gone to the NFL, he'd have gotten paid. Not paid like you or I get paid, but "I can't choose between these yachts, so I think I'll buy both of them. Oh, and the Bentley too," paid.
We don't know what the future of the NFL holds. There may be a lockout next season, there may not be. What we do know is that as the top pick in the draft, and a quarterback at that, Luck would have landed a huge deal from the Carolina Panthers. Look at what Sam Bradford got from the St. Louis Rams with last season, signing a deal with $50 million guaranteed.
All indications are, whether there is an NFL lockout or not, one of the changes the NFL will be making is to put a cap on all rookie contracts. Which means that the difference between entering the 2011 draft and the 2012 draft could mean around $45 million for Luck. That's a lot of money to just give away.
Luck is a good quarterback. Will he be a great quarterback, I don't know. None of us do for sure. Still, I really don't think going back to school for another year will really help his chances. If Luck is destined to be an NFL great, he will put the work in to get better and become one. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.
Whatever the case is, I'd rather be a failed NFL quarterback with $50 million in my bank account than one with $5 million. If Luck does become a great player, he'll end up being paid either way. It's just, in this decision, the risk is not worth the reward for Luck. Yes, that degree from Stanford will be nice, but football isn't a sport anybody can play until they're 70 years old. He'll have plenty of time to go back and finish his degree if it means that much to him.
But the opportunity to break the bank, and set yourself and your family up to live comfortably for a few generations doesn't come around very often. I fear Luck may have just blown his.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:56 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Sophomore Stanford quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck announced today that he would be returning to school for the 2011 season.
"I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012," said Luck in a statement released by the university today.
The news comes as a shock to those who assumed Luck would be the top pick in the NFL Draft; certainly, it appears the Carolina Panthers would have snatched the quarterback in a heartbeat. That pick will probably be used on Da'Quan Bowers instead, as the Clemson junior declared for the draft just yesterday .
Also, this move by Luck might actually make sense; one of the biggest determinants for NFL success by quarterbacks is the number of starts made in college, and Luck only has two seasons' worth under his belt thus far. He may look sensational on the college level, but so did two-year starter and No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr nine years ago.
Now, the only remaining question is whether head coach Jim Harbaugh will also eschew a large payday for another year by returning to Stanford for another year. That probably won't happen, as it's been reported that Harbaugh is "very unlikely" to return to Stanford and is reportedly receiving giant offers from NFL teams.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:16 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Tuesday Rich Rodriguez was fired, and then he wasn't fired. After that he was probably going to be fired, but then he might have talked his way into keeping his job. Then, finally, the decision was put off until today.
Well the decision is in, and I think this time it's going to stick. Rich Rodriguez has been fired at Michigan.
The reason I believe it's for real this time is because the school announced that it would be holding a press conference on Wednesday at 12:30pm ET, likely to announce that Rodriguez is out. According to the Detroit News, Rodriguez will receive a $2.5 million buyout, so he should survive.
The question will now become who replaces Rodriguez at Michigan? Expect Jim Harbaugh's name to continue being tossed around until he announces he's staying at Stanford or takes an NFL job. If not Harbaugh, then look for San Diego State's Brady Hoke, or possibly former Michigan football player, and current LSU mad scientist, Les Miles to get some attention.