Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:23 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Outback Bowl became a lot more interesting on Wednesday with the news that Urban Meyer would step down as Florda's head coach following the game. The true irony, of course, is that the opposing coach is Penn State's Joe Paterno, who still has not retired at the age of 83 [note: Paterno will turn 84 on December 21]. But while everyone spends the foreseeable future discussing the future of the Florida football program, the Nittany Lions will prepare to face the Gators of the present.
Step one in that preparation was naming a starting quarterback. After the signal calling duties were split throughout the season between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, but Paterno has named McGloin the starter for the team's bowl game on New Years Day.
“I think that Matt is the quarterback,” Paterno said in a bowl teleconference earlier this week. “Now the other kid (Bolden) has a lot of ability, but he is a true freshman in the truest sense of the word – he wasn’t even here for spring practice. He came in and unfortunately we had to start him a few games early until the other kid (McGloin) started to show some promise."
So talk all you want about Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen, Winston Churchill, or the Ghost of Tim Tebow, but the Outback Bowl will still be about the 2010 Gators against the 2010 Nittany Lions. If anything, Penn State has gained a competitive advantage from the new off-field distractions out of Gainesville. For a team that struggled in the big games this year, the Nittany Lions will take every advantage they can get.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 2:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The college football world was rocked today when the University of Florida announced that Urban Meyer would step down as head coach after the Gators' Outback Bowl match against Penn State on January 1. A press conference is scheduled for later this evening.
The announcement comes nearly a year to the day after Meyer's last resignation from the school, and like last year, Meyer's current resignation appears to be health-related. While Meyer doesn't specifically mention health in his resignation, he also makes no mention of any future professional aspirations, just to spend more time with his family. Moreover, as Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch reported today, sources close to Meyer indicated that he appeared to be in poor health once again, suffering from various stress-related maladies. In other words, it's extremely unlikely at this point that Meyer's resignation is a sign that he's a candidate for the Denver Broncos (featuring third-string quarterback Tim Tebow ) or that his impending availability had anything to do with the firing Josh McDaniels earlier this week.
And again, Meyer has announced that he will at least coach through the end of this season, so Florida fans dreading the words "interim head coach Steve Addazio " can at least rest easily. The Florida job is high-profile enough that the school will likely have its pick of candidates, so any downtime between Meyer's stepping down and the new coach's hiring should be minimal -- think a couple weeks or so.
Here's Meyer's statement, released through the university:
Tags: Denver Broncos, Denver Broncos Urban Meyer, Florida, Florida Interim Coach, Gators Interim Coach, Josh McDaniels, Josh McDaniels Fired, Outback Bowl, Penn State, SEC, Steve Addazio, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer Denver, Urban Meyer Quits, Urban Meyer Resigns, Urban Meyer Retires, Urban Meyer Steps Down
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's still something of a mystery why Vanderbilt ever removed the "interim" tag from recently ousted (or "resigned," if you believe the press releases) Robbie Caldwell if the Commodores were just going to go coach-shopping again after just one season with college football's most famous turkey inseminator , but at least the Vandy brass appears to be going about that shopping the right way. As in, according to the Tennesseean , taking a look at one of the hottest properties on the coaching market in Temple 's Al Golden .
Golden's overall record of 27-34 may not look overly impressive, and this year's 8-4 mark has actually been something of a disappointment for an Owls team that was expected to win the MAC and instead finished a surprising third in the conference's East division. But that a program as punishingly downtrodden as Temple ever had those kinds of expectations to begin with is a minor miracle; the Owls had gone 3-31 the three years prior to Golden's arrival. And this season hasn't exactly been a disaster, especially by typical Temple standards, not with accomplishments like a win over potential Big East champion UConn , eight wins, and back-to-back bowl berths for the first time in the program's history.
With a resume like that and the rampant similarities between Vandy and Temple -- both academics-first afterthoughts in major metropolitan centers with zero tradition of winning football -- Golden would appear to be the best-case scenario for the Commodores. The bigger question is if their interest is reciprocated; Golden has been rumored for jobs at places like his alma mater Penn State (assuming Joe Paterno isn't immortal, a dangerous assumption at this stage) and Virginia before they hired Mike London . Like fellow alleged Vandy target Gus Malzahn , he may be able to land a better (and certainly easier ) gig down the road even if one doesn't come available this offseason.
But if the 'Dores can get Golden to listen, the Caldwell fiasco might start to make a little sense after all.
Posted on: November 27, 2010 1:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Michigan State finds itself in a precarious position this weekend. The Spartans need to win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and while a win would guarantee at least a split of the conference championship, in order to get to the Rose Bowl, they'll need some help. In particular, the Spartans need their in-state rivals to take care of Ohio State on Saturday.
Of course, all Michigan State can control is its own game, and the Spartans are taking care of business through the first 30 minutes in Happy Valley. The Spartans lead Penn State 14-3 at haltime thanks to a touchdown run by Edwin Baker and a touchdown catch by B.J. Cunningham. Still, the Spartans have let a couple of opportunities slip through their hands -- literally.
Twice Michigan State defensive backs have had balls hit them right in the hands, and neither ended in an interception. One allowed Penn State to get a field goal.
Penn State hasn't played poorly, though the Nittany Lions are hurting themselves with penalties and while they've been able to move the ball, it hasn't resulted in points on the scoreboard.
Michigan State will need to make sure that trend continues, because the way things look in Columbus right now, I'm not sure it can count on Michigan taking care of the Buckeyes.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 12:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Particularly for an academic, Ohio State president Gordon Gee has never been shy about expressing his opinions on athletics, popular or not.
And it's a safe bet that the opinions he expressed today in an interview with the AP are going to be most decidedly unpopular in Boise and Fort Worth. Writing off entire conferences as the "Little Sisters of the Poor" isn't particularly becoming for the president of the nation's largest university, and criticizing TCU and Boise for their schedules is more than a little hypocritical when one advanced rating puts the Buckeyes' schedule strength barely above the Frogs' or Broncos' and both non-AQ teams have played a more challenging nonconference slate than the Buckeyes' lineup with Marshall , Eastern Michigan , and Ohio .
But as infuriating as Gee's viewpoint might be to those who'd agree the non-AQ teams are far more deserving this season than the 10-1 Buckeyes (whose best win until last week's triumph at 7-4 Iowa was a home win over either 7-4 Penn State or 7-4 Miami ), at the end of the day it's just another warmed-over rehashing of the same arguments that have surrounded Boise and TCU all season (and for much of the past two). Where Gee is really, truly wrong is in his comments on expanding the football postseason to ensure that we don't have to have these same tired debates:
Gee isn't just arguing that Boise and TCU don't deserve a title shot this year; he's arguing that college football should entrench a postseason system that would ensure that they never got that title shot. What his argument (and similar diatribes against "playoffs") misses is that college football already has a playoff; it selects a number of teams, pairs them off, and the winner is automatically declared the champion. Where the BCS playoff differs from every other playoff in existence is that it only includes two teams. To frame the debate in terms of some nebulous future "playoff" against a current BCS system that varies from that bogeyman only in terms of the number of teams involved is to rig the debate permanently in the BCS's favor.
Gee's desire to preserve what amateurism and respect for academics remain in college football is admirable. But there's a point at which even those concerns have to give way to basic fairness. And surely the permanent exclusion of the TCU's and Boise's of the sport from national title consideration represents that point; what Gee proposes is to draw a line between college football's haves and have-nots, one based on conference affiliation, and declare that the latter can never cross it. It's elitism and snobbery of the highest order.
Now, a show of hands: who's in favor of Wisconsin blowing their season finale against Northwestern and setting up a showdown between Gee's Buckeyes and either the Frogs or Broncos in the Rose Bowl ? Is that everyone (Badger fans excluded)? Yes, we think that's everyone.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 1:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
When you think about it, Joe Paterno and Brett Favre have a lot in common. Both have been around football since approximately the late 19th century, and every year we wonder whether this will be their last. The difference between Paterno and Favre is that he doesn't hold his team hostage all year long to get attention before making his decision.
Oh, and he hasn't sent any pictures of his penis to Jenn Sterger. At least, I don't think he has.
Anyway, we're not here to talk about Joe Paterno's text messaging habits or Brett Favre, we're here to figure out whether Paterno will be coming back for the 2011 season. And, yes, he will be.
Joe Paterno says he plans to return as Penn State coach next season, putting an end to any speculation about retirement.
The Nittany Lions meet No. 11 Michigan State in the regular-season finale on Saturday, leading some fans and writers to wonder if this would be the 83-year-old coach's last appearance at Beaver Stadium.This news doesn't come as much of a shock, as the coach who just picked up career win 400 earlier this season signed a contract extension in 2008 that runs through 2011. All of which means we can now begin speculating as to whether or not next season will be Paterno's last.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:36 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
1. Wisconsin fans shouldn't necessarily buy tickets to Pasadena, but they should at least be pricing them. We're sure that Badger fans weren't terribly excited to see their nemeses in East Lansing complete the comeback today, leaving the Big Ten title picture still in some measure of doubt, but Ohio State 's own comeback against Iowa later that day means that barring a sensational boost in the BCS rankings for the Buckeyes, Wisconsin is one win away from the Rose Bowl. Considering Northwestern -- the Badgers' last opponent -- clearly misses injured QB Dan Persa and struggles to stop the run, the likelihood of an upset at Camp Randall seems slim. Famous last words, yes, but still.
2. Don't mention fourth quarters to Iowa fans for a while. Or do if you want to anger them. In the Hawkeyes' game against Ohio State, the Buckeyes weathered Iowa's defense for three quarters before making a heroic drive in the last few minutes of the game to take the lead and win. For the Iowa fans, it was a broken record that desperately needs to stop; in each of Iowa's four losses, the vaunted Iowa defense has given up a go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes on the clock, at which point the Iowa offense has failed to answer under pressure. In fact, Iowa would have five losses of that exact nature if Indiana wideout Damario Belcher hadn't dropped an easy fourth-down touchdown two weeks ago. It's to the point where "small sample size" just doesn't work as an excuse anymore: the Iowa defense clearly doesn't have the juice to play for 60 minutes, and that painful fact has snuffed out the high hopes of the Hawkeye faithful in Iowa City.
3. The Spartans might not be going to the Rose Bowl, but their season's pretty special anyway. Barring an Ohio State loss to Michigan next week, Michigan State will not be going to Pasadena; the fact that MSU and OSU didn't play each other this season means that their tiebreaker would be BCS ranking, and OSU was already comfortably ahead of the Spartans even before OSU took down a ranked Iowa team while MSU struggled with very-not-ranked Purdue. Michigan State's season-ender at Penn State isn't a gimme, but even if the Spartans lose, this is still just the third time in program history that MSU has hit 10 wins on a season (1965, 1999). The Spartans have never won 11 games in a season, and they have two opportunities to do that now.
The accomplishment isn't that much of a stunner, as the Spartans looked on paper to be at worst a darkhorse contender for the league title. It's just, well, they barely ever do this, so it was hard not to wonder how MSU would screw it all up this year. But credit Mark Dantonio and his staff for keeping the team on track, even through Dantonio's heart attack and other off-field problems, and en route to its best Big Ten record its best conference record in at least 11 (and maybe 45) years.
4. Okay, so football at Wrigley can be pretty cool -- even if one of the end zones is sort of a death trap. The Big Ten got it right when it forbade Illinois and Northwestern to run offensive series toward that now-infamous east end zone at Wrigley, and when Northwestern defensive back Brian Peters took an interception to the house, he had to be tackled by teammates before hitting that wall. No, he wasn't three yards away from certain doom, and the tackle by his pals was also nice and celebratory, but still: he was only about three or four yards away from impact before being taken down as he slowed from his sprint. Running offensive plays (like fade routes) toward that wall would have been just begging for injuries -- and lawsuits.
But past that, the fans in attendance got to see a special occasion, even if Illinois absolutely worked the Wildcats. Wrigley Field is one of the most hallowed sports arenas, and to see its famed scoreboard used to show Big Ten football scores and its marquee painted purple must have been a thrill for Northwestern and Big Ten fans in Chicago. Ron Zook said he'd "absolutely" have his team play there again, and Pat Fitzgerald was equally effusive in his praise of the event. Should the two teams play their rivalry game there every year? Well, that seems like an abuse of the novelty of it all, but have you ever actually seen Memorial Stadium or Ryan Field? Not exactly cathedrals of the sport, those. It might -- just might -- be worth keeping Wrigley on the table going forward.
Tags: Big Ten, Brian Peters, Damario Belcher, Dan Persa, Illinois, Illinois Northwestern, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa Ohio State, Mark Dantonio, Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan State Purdue, Michigan Wisconsin, Northwestern, Northwestern, Northwestern Illinois, Ohio State, Ohio State Iowa, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Purdue, Purdue Michigan State, Ron Zook, What I Learned, Wisconsin Michigan, Wrigley Field, Wrigley Field Football
Posted on: November 17, 2010 11:22 am
Edited on: January 25, 2011 2:46 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
There's a local emergency sweeping through State College, Pennsylvania. One that, if not taken care of swiftly, could lead to the town smelling incredibly bad. It seems there just aren't enough toilets in the town. Yesterday it was reported that Penn State running back Silas Redd received a citation for urinating in public on early Monday morning. As it turns out, Redd was not the first Penn State player who felt the need to bring himself closer to nature by peeing on it.
It turns out that sophomore defensive end Sean Stanley beat him to the punch, getting busted for watering the lawn last Friday.
This is Stanley's second run-in with the law this season, though his first offense was a bit bigger of a deal. Stanley was charged with marijuana possession back in October after police found it in his apartment -- which also has a toilet -- and Stanley was suspended a few games because of it.
Whether or not he'll miss this weekend's game against Indiana remains to be seen, but if he does, I wouldn't let him stand on the sidelines. Who knows when he'll feel that urge again.