Posted on: November 18, 2010 4:16 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College football's efforts to crack down on illegal head shots continued Wednesday, as the WAC suspended Idaho safety Shiloh Keo for the first half of the Vandals' next game for this blow to the helmet of Boise State backup quarterback Mike Coughlin :
Frankly, Keo is lucky he's only missing a half; he was initially suspended for the entire game but had it reduced on appeal. (Not that anyone at Boise can complain; Bronco cornerback Winston Venable also had a WAC-induced suspension reduced earlier this year.)
That Keo is suspended at all, though, further emphasizes the new, uh, emphasis in the sport this year on preventing head injuries. But is it coming at the expense of other kinds of equally nasty hits? The SEC raised eyebrows this week when it declined to punish Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley for a late blow to the back of Georgia 's Aaron Murray , and passed as well on issuing punishment to the two Bulldog linemen whose attempted retaliation on Fairley sparked a near-brawl. Notre Dame 's Kerry Neal went unpunished for this stomp on the torso of a Navy player.
The crackdown on blows to the head and concussions is, without question, an admirable one. But those are not the only dangerous -- and avoidable -- hits on the football field.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 3:07 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 3:08 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
You may have thought you were finally in the clear. After weeks of being bombarded by campaign advertisements on your television, the elections have finally happened and you can now get back to your normal diet of beer commercials and erectile dysfunction ads. Still, just because the campaigning may be over on your television, the country's true campaign is just getting started, one that is far more important than who do you want to send to Washington.
No, this one is about who you want to send to Arizona to play for the BCS title.
Coaches have hit the campaign trail in full force, including LSU head coach Les Miles. The Mad Hatter has talked his team's way into a BCS title game before, so he figures he may as well give it another shot, once again explaining to the world that the SEC is just harder than any other conference to play in.
"I only know this about this conference," Miles said. "The highest ranked team to come out of this conference should well have an opportunity to play in the national championship game."
As of now, that team would be Auburn, and unless its wins are vacated, Auburn controls its own destiny. Beat Alabama and South Carolina, and nothing will keep them from playing for the national title. But what if Auburn loses one, or even both of those games? You know who would likely be the highest rated team in the SEC then?
That's right, LSU.
Still, this isn't a tactic solely being utilized by the boys in the big time conference. No, TCU head coach Gary Patterson is on the trail as well. Patterson will be at ESPN headquarters on Friday to run the gamut of the network's eleventy billion media outlets to make sure that the world understands that TCU deserves to play for a title if it's undefeated.
"You won't see me beat my chest," Patterson told the Dallas Morning News. "I'll state the case of what TCU has to offer; the culmination of what we've done the last six years. Sometimes that gets lost.
"I think Boise and TCU both have proven over the last five years that no matter what conference you play in, we can play at a high level."
You can tell that Patterson is new to all this, because a seasoned vet would realize you don't say flattering things about your competition during a campaign. The only time he should be mentioning Boise State is when he's alleging that Kellen Moore is on the take.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 1:36 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 1:37 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
1. Oregon can win ugly, too. To be fair to the Ducks, they weren't exactly dominated in their 15-13 win in Berkeley; they outgained Cal by more than 100 yards, held the Bears to 193 yards total and a miserable 2.5 yards per-pass, and only gave up a second touchdown on a Darron Thomas fumble in the end zone.
But they also scored their only first-half touchdown on a Cliff Harris punt return, averaged a stunningly weak 2.9 yards per-carry, eked out the final two-point margin by virtue of their made two-point try and Cal's failed attempt, and could have easily lost if not for Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio short-circuiting his own 24-yard field goal with a stutter-step procedure penalty and missing the subsequent 29-yard try. Every national title contender has to win games when they're not at their best, but Oregon was so far away from their best Saturday night they'd have to send it a postcard.
In the end, it didn't matter, as behind Thomas and a hobbled LaMichael James the Ducks changed philosophies on the fly to a clock-churning, yards-chewing ground-exclusive outfit that ate up the game's final 9:25 on one drive . That kind of versatility could prove to be the difference between a national champion and a slip-up before Glendale ... even if the Ducks would prefer not to have to put it to use again until there's a crystal football awarded to the victor.
2. Washington State should keep Paul Wulff. Let's be fair: the Cougars' rehabilitation, even after their 31-14 upset-of-the-Pac-10's year against Oregon State today, is progressing verrrrry ... sloooooooowly. One FBS win in 2008, that one over winless Washington. One in 2009, over SMU in overtime. Until today, none in 2010.
But that hasn't meant it hasn't been progressing at all . After getting totally obliterated on a weekly basis two years ago, the Cougars have been substantially more competitive this season: 42-28 vs. UCLA , 43-23 vs. Oregon, 38-28 vs. Stanford , 20-13 vs. Cal. You could see the game coming where the Cougars put everything together and took down some unsuspecting favorite. And that game came today: quarterback Jeff Tuel had the game of his career, hitting 10-of-15 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown while adding 79 yards in the ground; the rest of a surprisingly productive run game chipped in 142 yards and three touchdowns; and the much-maligned Cougar defense forced three turnovers, hounded Beaver quarterback Ryan Katz into a quiet 12-for-21 performance, and held the Beavers to 261 yards overall. Unexpected as Wazzu's triumph might have been, especially coming in Corvallis, it was no fluke.
So maybe progress has been slow. But it's there. Wulff has Wazzu pointed in the right direction, and after today he deserves at least one more season to see how far in that direction he can go.
(As for the Beavers, well, TCU and Boise would like a refund, please.)
3. Arizona State is the Pac-10's hard-luck team. The Sun Devils have had a couple of games in which they outgained their opponent by wide margins and lost, but today wasn't one of them; visiting Stanford enjoyed a 420-268 yardage advantage. But this is still a team that lost at Wisconsin on a late missed extra point; gave away an excellent shot at a huge upset of Oregon with a flood of turnovers; lost to Oregon State when a late drive ended in an interception; to USC on a late missed field goal. You'd think that eventually Dennis Erickson 's team could buy a break, and when the Devils went up 13-10 late in the third quarter on a Steven Threet touchdown pass, it looked like that break might finally be coming.
But it wasn't: the Cardinal took over on their 15 and went 85 yards to score an Owen Marecic touchdown with just over five minutes remaining. ASU's following drive went nowhere, and Stanford picked up three first downs to ice the game. The Sun Devils have now played the BCS's Nos. 1, 6, and 7 teams and lost by a total of 16 points. But they'll still have to sweep their final two games vs. UCLA and at Arizona just to make a bowl game.
4. This isn't Mike Stoops' breakthrough season, either. Arizona has famously never been to the Rose Bowl, but even if Oregon made clear the Wildcats aren't getting there this year relatively early, Stoops could have still hoped for his first 10-win season and top-20 final ranking -- goals his team looked well on their way to fulfilling after their early-season win over Iowa .
Since then, though, the Wildcats have gone a ho-hum 4-3 with two of those wins over the Washington schools and the latest result a dispiriting 24-21 home loss to USC. The Trojans aren't a bad team by any means, but if the Wildcats want to be taken seriously as Pac-10 contenders, winning home games against their fellow upper-end-of-the-pack rivals (not to mention avoiding getting outrushed 205-51) is a step they'll have to take. Unless Arizona pulls a shocker in Eugene next weekend, eight regular season wins will be the ceiling.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 6:37 pm
Posted by 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 TCU would drop a 47-7 bomb on Utah last week? 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.
San Diego State plays the role of BCS spoiler by upsetting TCU in Fort Worth, 27-24. Andy Dalton struggles against an aggressive defense, and SDSU takes advantage of numerous turnovers to crack the TCU defensive wall. While Boise State fans squeal with glee at their new life in the BCS Championship Game race, the win solidifies Brady Hoke as the hottest coaching prospect in America. By Monday morning, Hoke has job offers from Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas. Yep: Texas. --Adam Jacobi
Highly UnlikelyIn Columbus, the Ohio State Buckeyes take on Penn State with their Big Ten title hopes still alive. Though PSU walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin has been somewhat impressive over the last few games, he hasn't faced a defense near the quality of Ohio State's -- and the Buckeyes know it. As a result, they're a bit over confident and are completely blindsided when McGloin explodes for 500 yards passing and six touchdowns as the Nittany Lions embarrass Ohio State 45-3. In a state of shock after the game, Jim Tressel completely breaks character and alleges that when Matt McGloin tried to walk on at Ohio State, he told the coaches he wouldn't play without a scholarship for less than $200,000. Ohio State refused, and then McGloin walked on at Penn State. "Do the math," says Tressel, and a media firestorm then ensues, leading to weeks of unnamed sources saying that McGloin might have taken or asked for money, but he also might not have. Nobody really knows, and no evidence is ever found, and McGloin and Penn State are never punished. Then the heads of all the BCS conferences meet in their secret lair and pat each other on the back for creating yet another diversion to keep everyone from talking about a playoff or bashing the BCS. --Tom Fornelli
Facing a Cal defense already torn to ribbons by the other funky, explosive rushing attack the Bears have faced this season (i.e, Nevada 's), LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, and the rest of Chip Kelly 's Oregon offense spend most of the first quarter in the highest gear imaginable, running with impunity and snapping the ball only seconds after it's set by the official. As the Bears wear down and offer even less resistance, the Ducks get faster and faster, quicker and quicker, until late in the second quarter (with the score already 51-3) the Ducks appear to violate one of the fundamental laws of the college football space-time continuum by snapping the ball before it's even been set. As Thomas is hauled down for a 32-yard gain on the ensuing play, fans notice that the Ducks' usual eye-searing uniforms are ... changing? Changing, into something even more eye-searing: they've gone plaid. In green-and-yellow, nonetheless.
The Cam Newton saga takes an incredible turn on Friday evening before the Tigers host Georgia. The NCAA informs Auburn that it is not Newton, but the rest of the offense which must sit out against the Bulldogs. Staring down less than 24 hours to replace an entire offense, head coach Gene Chizik is clueless. But not Newton. Cecil Newton finds a loophole in the NCAA rules (of course he does ), that allows his son to take the field with 10 members of the U12 Louisiana Blitz, a club soccer team from New Orleans. In the most bizarre Heisman moment in history, Newton and the middle schoolers put up 49 points on Georgia's defense. Newton throws for 200 yards, rushes for 200 yards, and catches a touchdown from the starting goalie just to prove a point. At the end of the game, Newton picks up a guitar and leads the entire stadium in a rendition of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." Because, as Newton says, "That's funny to Cam." --Chip Patterson
Tags: Andy Dalton, Auburn, Boise State, California, Cam Newton, Cam Newton Investigation, Chip Kelly, Darron Thomas, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Gratuitous Movie References, Insane Predictions, Jim Tressel, Kenny Rogers, LaMichael James, Matt McGloin, Nevada, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, San Diego State, Spaceballs, TCU
Posted on: November 11, 2010 3:52 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
There's a little known rule in the agreement between the Rose Bowl and BCS that could end up meaning a trip to Pasadena for Boise State this year should they miss out on a chance to play for a national title. You see, when the Rose Bowl entered into a partnership with the BCS, it did so under the grounds that should one of their traditional choices -- the champions of the Pac-10 and Big 10 -- be chosen to play in the BCS Championship Game, the Rose Bowl would get the first choice of BCS-eligible teams to replace them.
A choice that has never included a non-BCS conference school.
In fact, the six times that a non-BCS team has played in a BCS bowl over the last few years, all six teams have played in the Fiesta or Sugar Bowls, with the Fiesta hosting four of them -- including both TCU and Boise State last January.
So as part of a new deal, the other BCS bowls approached the Rose Bowl and asked them to take a non-BCS school once during the next four years should one of its traditional choices not be available.
Which is a situation that looks very possible this year, with Oregon on top both voter polls and second in the BCS. Should Oregon win out, odds are they'll be playing for a title, not in the Rose Bowl. So the Rose Bowl would be looking for a team to replace them.
Now, they could take Stanford, and keep the traditional matchup against the Big Ten champion. Or they could go TCU, but there's also a chance that TCU will qualify for the title game should Auburn drop a game before then.
Considering all the Cam Newton drama, and the fact that the Tigers have three games left against Georgia, Alabama and whoever wins the SEC East, this isn't exactly a longshot.
Still, if TCU went to the title game, the Rose Bowl wouldn't be obligated to take Boise this season because only one non-BCS conference school needs to be selected each season. That being said, it may make more sense for the Rose Bowl to take Boise this year, and the Rose Bowl's director of media, Gina Chappin, says it's something the bowl has been considering.
“We have discussed it because of the situation that we’re in and the current landscape of the season so far,” said Gina Chappin.
“We entered this year with the reality that this was going to happen sooner or later. I don’t think any of us expected to get through this four-year cycle and not have this be something that would be a reality.”
If you think about it, it would make a lot of sense for the Rose Bowl to take Boise State over Stanford. First of all, if you are required to do so at some point in the next four years, why not do it quickly and get the obligation out of the way?
There's also the fact that Boise State is a really good football team right now, and there's no guarantee that three years from now, should the Rose Bowl find itself in the same situation, that a non-AQ school will be available that is as good as this Boise State team.
Also, Boise State has already shown that it can compete and win BCS bowl games, and that it has a fan base that will travel and scoop up tickets in droves to the games.
It's possible that more Boise State fans would make the trip to Pasadena than Stanford fans would. The Broncos are also a television draw, not that the Rose Bowl needs any real help there, but plenty of college football fans would be interested in seeing Boise State take on the Big Ten champion.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 3:49 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Boise State writers and fans want to know : why exactly is the TCU team that's virtually identical to the TCU team that lost to a Boise team that virtually identical to this year's Boise team in last year's Fiesta Bowl so widely considered to be better of the two teams? If the Broncos were better then, why are the Frogs better now?
It's a valid question. One answer, the simplest one, is that TCU owns both the better strength-of-schedule to date and the bigger win; as dominant as Boise has been and as valuable as a win over likely ACC champions Virginia Tech should prove to be, no win in the country is as impressive as TCU's dismantling of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Then again, part of the answer might also be that like it or not, in the minds of many poll voters Boise comes across as the mor e "mid-major" of the two mid-major programs. The Broncos are tucked away in one of the most remote parts of the continental U.S., while TCU is located in the middle of Texas in one of the nation's largest metro areas; the Broncos wear loud bright blue and orange uniforms and play on the notorious (and notoriously unique) blue turf while TCU stays with a muted purple-and-black color scheme; the Broncos play in a league where the biggest challengers are outsiders like Nevada , Hawaii , and Fresno State , whereas the Frogs get a former national champion in BYU and a team in Utah that has two BCS bowl wins this decade; Boise occasionally plays Tuesday night games against the likes of Louisiana Tech ; etc.
It's not fair --- it's not even close to fair -- but to say for certain those kinds of stereotypes don't have any effect on the perception of the two programs is to give poll voters the benefit of an awful lot of doubt. So it's no wonder that Boise is aggressively working to change that, first with their jump to the Mountain West and now with expansion and renovation plans for 33,500-seat Bronco Stadium :
It's no secret that money is what makes the world of big-time college football go round as often as not; when Kustra cites the need to "pay for the program," he's not just talking about shoulder pads and cleats, he's discussing the need to pay for coach Chris Petersen , a larger recruiting budget, staff raises -- all the things that go into making a football program every bit as successful away from the field as the Broncos already are on it.
It will take more than a "stadium master plan" to erase all the skepticism regarding Boise (or even to hold on to Petersen if one of the sport's true heavyweights comes calling). But Broncos have to happy to have the school and its donors making the effort all the same.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 12:57 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While it's not exactly the type of rivalry that is constantly mentioned amongst the great rivalries of college football, in the state of Idaho, people take the annual meeting between Boise State and Idaho rather seriously. Though, to be fair, it's not as much of a rivalry these days as it is Boise State pounding Idaho into submission every year while maintaining its role as BCS-busting darling of the masses. More than anything, it seems that Idaho has a bit of the little brother syndrome.
When Boise State gets its own airplane, Idaho wants its own airplane. Things like that. Still, Idaho doesn't take too kindly to Boise State talking down to it, like Boise president Bob Kustra said earlier this year that Idaho's fan base was "nasty, inebriated." Idaho running back Deonte Jackson remembers those words, though he also likes to consider the source.
“Personally, I tried not to read too much into it,” Jackson told the Idaho Statesman. “But I wouldn’t expect anything different coming from the blue and orange snot. I just took it and use it as fuel in the fire and feed my hunger to want to get after these guys to finish my career off with a win against them and bring pride back to this community, the University of Idaho and Moscow.”
Wait, they dye their boogers at Boise State too? Come on, let's show some dignity and self-restraint here, Broncos.
Jackson didn't just rip on Boise's president, though, after he got his shot in he went on to lavish the actual football team with praise. After all, knocking off the Broncos will be hard enough, giving Boise's players any extra motivation probably wouldn't serve Jackson or the Vandals all that well.
Though, if you're waiting for Boise players to respond to Jackson's comments about their president, don't hold your breath. Chris Petersen has his players off-limits to the media this week hence they say something inflammatory about Idaho.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:57 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Over the past several days, more than one college football analyst has discussed a scenario which should make everyone involved with the BCS hang their head: the possibility of an undefeated Boise State not only not making the BCS national title game, but being shut out of the BCS entirely and heading off to play (or "obliterate," delete as applicable) Cal in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. As CBSSports.com's own Dennis Dodd has explained, with TCU poised to take the single automatic bid allotted to non-AQ teams, the Sugar Bowl suffering from "SEC power vs. small-conference upstart" fatigue, and the Orange Bowl potentially unwilling to put together a rematch between likely ACC champion Virginia Tech and the Broncos, every BCS at-large bid could easily wind up doled to teams other than Boise. It's true.
But that doesn't mean it's destined to happen, or even likely. For instance, CBS's Jerry Palm says it's not even a given that the Horned Frogs will wind up ahead of Boise in the BCS standings when all is said and done. But even assuming TCU gets the nod at No. 3, here's five somewhat reasonable scenarios (i.e. not "New Mexico beats the Frogs in the upset of the millennium"), ranked from most to least likely, which would result in the Broncos getting their second BCS berth in as many years:
1. The Sugar or the Orange extend an invite. There's reason to think the Sugar and the Orange won't want to take a flyer on the Broncos, but there's plenty of reasons to think they will, too. Boise has become such a polarizing fixture on the college football scene that they're capable of bringing a great deal of attention and excellent TV ratings with them. The Broncos haven't faced an SEC team since Georgia in 2005, and it's fair to assume plenty of fans would tune in to see the nation's most respected conference and most recognizable Cinderella go toe-to-toe. (If the Sugar gets to invite local favorite LSU as the Broncos' opponent, attendance won't be an issue.) The Orange might be nonplussed at the Hokie-Bronco rematch, but selecting last, they also might not have many palatable options; assuming Nebraska wins in the Big 12 and the Sugar takes a leftover Big Ten team (preventing the Orange from taking a third Big Ten team), the only serious candidates will be either a team like Oklahoma State or Missouri or that won't bring much more than Boise in terms of profile, TV attention, fan attendance, etc., or an Oklahoma team that won't come close to matching Boise's record of achievement this year.
2. The old switcheroo? After consultation with the rest of the CBS College Football Blog team, we're still not entirely sure what this provision in the BCS selection process bylaws means exactly (emphasis added):
But especially regarding that final caveat as it pertains to the Rose, it sounds like the BCS could play musical chairs with some of its bowl assignments if it means squeezing out from underneath a Virginia Tech-Boise State rematch. If the Sugar decides it doesn't want Boise but could deal with the Hokies, and the Orange wants Boise but doesn't want the rematch, could the bowls swap into, say, an LSU vs. Virginia Tech matchup in the Sugar and a Boise-Ohio State blockbuster in the Orange? Don't hold us to this, but reading the above, it might be a possibility.
3. A Virginia Tech loss in the ACC championship game. It's hard to see the Hokies not making it to Charlotte, but if someone other than Tech wins the conference title (the Orange would no doubt like Florida State, please-and-thank-you), inviting Boise would seem to be a no-brainer.
4. Wisconsin doesn't go to Pasadena. One of the Broncos' biggest rivals for at-large attention is Ohio State, who brings with them a huge fanbase, potentially an 11-1 record, a ton of media attention, etc. If Wisconsin falls out of the scrum at the top of the Big Ten (either by, say, a loss at Michigan or a tiebreak loss to Michigan State), that would open the door for either the Buckeyes or Spartans to go back to Pasadena ... and possibly for the Sugar to take Boise over a Badger team that doesn't pull nearly as much weight as the Buckeyes (though our resident bowl projections expert disagrees, I should note).
5. SEC chaos. It's not likely at all, but it's possible enough carnage goes on in the SEC (Auburn losing to Georgia and Alabama, LSU losing to Arkansas, the SEC East winner springing an upset in the championship game, even Cam Newton becoming suspended would help) that the conference doesn't produce a worthy BCS at-large team. That could open up a hole for Boise somewhere.
Put all of these possibilities together, and you can't guarantee that Boise will make one of the BCS games ... but it seems likely enough that something will happen in their favor that they don't have to lose sleep worrying about Cal. Not yet, anyway.