Tag:Bryan Fischer
Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:19 pm
 

BCS headed toward plus-one, but still roadblocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The move toward a BCS plus-one has been gaining support following a commissioners meeting in New Orleans this week and was given a further shot in the arm with the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert on Thursday.

Still, roadblocks remain among the presidents controlling and ultimately the discussion about college football's postseason.

"I think that our position is we like the way the current system works," Oregon State president Ed Ray said. "The Rose Bowl is pretty damn special so we're pretty protective of that. I'm sure Larry (Scott) hasn't gone into considerations that there is an imperative to change. I understand the public feels that way but I don't. I think the most realistic change, if any, is the plus-one because the structure exists."

Representatives from the 11 BCS conferences met in New Orleans following the national title game to begin the process of re-working the system ahead of negotiations for a new contract that will start with the 2014 season. Although the general consensus amongst presidents and athletic directors at the annual NCAA convention is that there is likely a move to a plus-one with the new deal, there are plenty of skeptics of changing a system that, in their eyes, is working fine.

"I'm still not enamored with expanding the number of BCS games," said Nebraska channcellor Harvey Perlman. "I'm not in favor of a playoff, I have yet to hear a good reason why we would want one. I've spent a lot of time over the last several years as to why a playoff is bad. I'd like to hear one why it would be good and what it would accomplish. The only one I ever hear is that it would give us an undisputed national champion."

Arizona State president Michael Crow told CBSSports.com on Wednesday that he is supportive of an 8-team playoff run by the NCAA. While the position has not been formally proposed, it does appear to be on one extreme of the Spectrum where no two people are on the same page.

"I think (a playoff) would undermine the regular season or add games or undermine the bowls," Perlman said. "We don't need it. We have a regular season that is as much of a playoff as anything that could be constructed artificially. Why would you want it? Football isn't basketball."

"if there is a change, I think it will occur incrementally," Ray added. "The next incremental change would then be to make the plus-one structure to where you have two semifinals and a final. Beyond that I don't know but sometimes you get surprised."

There has been talk that the Cotton Bowl, thanks to Jerry Jones' money and the largess of Cowboys Stadium, would be in play as a fifth BCS bowl come 2014. Perlman doesn't believe that will be the case, with a more likely scenario of the BCS evolving into a #1 vs. #2 matchup and the rest of the bowls reverting back to conference tie-ins. That scenario is one that many think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany would be supportive of.

"I don't think (Delany) is convinced yet," Perlman said of a plus-one. "We're all in conversations and I think we're going to have a teleconference soon. We'll have to see how it goes."

From the sounds of it, there could be a bumpy road to BCS change.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

ASU president on Todd Graham: "It was not normal"

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the departure of head coach Todd Graham from Pittsburgh was messy might be understating things a little. Not only was it a surprising hire by Arizona State, but the reaction from Panthers players elevated to the point of vitriol.

Nearly a month after Graham was formally introduced in Tempe, Arizona State president Michael Crow, speaking on a panel at the NCAA convention, said that the reason there was such a fuss about him leaving was due in large part because of the Pitt administration.

"We made one offer and had one answer. It was a simple process," Crow said. "He caught a lot of flak because he was unable to talk to his team. We requested permission to speak to him and (Pitt) said no. For him to speak to us, he had to resign and then he could no longer speak to his players. We don't set those rules, we asked for an opportunity and didn't get it."

Graham is one of several new hires in the Pac-12 known primarily for fast-paced offense, which is interesting when you consider he was defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa. Still, outside of last season at Pitt, where the Panthers ranked 88th in the country in total offense and struggled with turnovers, Graham had the background that fit with exactly what Arizona State was looking for.

"What we set out to do was hire a head coach who had experience in playing football the way we wanted to - no huddle offense," Crow said. "We wanted the environment of a teach as opposed to the model of a professional coach. It's just a different model. We happen to think that in our environment, that's the model that we need. When we looked around the country, there were a few individuals on the list and Coach Graham was one of them."

The school was aware that Graham's father-in-law lives in Arizona and that he and his wife were already looking at houses in the Phoenix area before the ASU job even opened up. Because of a long interview process, Crow was one of several administrators who didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that their new head coach would have two "one-and-done" coaching stops on his resume and was firmly committed to building the program into a conference title contender.

"When you sit and spend hours with someone and talk to references about them, you get a better sense of the character of the person," he said. "You go from Tulsa to Rice and then back to Tulsa in one year, what's the reason? You talk to the people at Rice and you find out yes, there was a reason. You go to Pittsburgh and ask why you go to Pittsburgh, why don't you like Pittsburgh, what's going on? There's an explanation, coaches can have explanations like 'My family doesn't like it here, we'd really like to be somewhere else.'

"I'm not worried about that as an element of his character. His body of work as an assistant coach, as a high school coach, at Rice, why he moved from Rice back to Tulsa where he'd been an assistant (is good). The Pittsburgh thing I saw as an aberration. It was not his normal behavior."

We're guessing a few people in the Northeast disagree however.


Posted on: January 10, 2012 4:40 pm
 

ACC Recruiting Reset

Posted by Chip Patterson

Now that the 2011 season has come to an end it's time to move on to the next phase of the college football year: recruiting. With the ACC Recruiting Reset we fill you in on what you may have missed in the ACC and what you should expect to see between now and signing day.

TOP THREE CLASSES

1. Miami - Head coach Al Golden's goal was a 30-person recruiting class, and the Hurricanes appear well on their way with 31 verbal commitments. Defensive end Jelani Hamilton will add depth to a young defensive line next season, while top-rated running back Duke Johnson should have an opportunity to wow Canes fans early with Lamar Miller on his way to the NFL. The Hurricanes already have a class that ranks in the Top 10 nationally, and still could close with a few more names before signing day.

2. Florida State - Some shaky commitments from top recruits Mario Edwards and Jameis Winston have knocked Florida State from the presumed top recruiting spot in the conference. Both elite prospects could likely end up with the Seminoles, but with only 15 commits any defects hurt the class. But with four of MaxPreps' Top 100 on board, Jimbo Fisher has assembled yet another impressive group of highly-touted recruits.

3. Clemson - Dabo Swinney's recruiting prowess was on display in 2011, winning an ACC Championship while usually playing 20+ redshirt or true freshman per game. The 2012 class is shaping up to be another strong one, highlighted by safety Travis Banks and highly-touted defensive tackle Carlos Watkins. The Tigers are still in the play for several top recruits, including Ronald Darby (below), and could see their ranking improve in the coming weeks.

TOP PLAYERS AVAILABLE

1. Ronald Darby - After de-committing from Notre Dame, one of the nation's top cornerbacks has re-opened his recruiting to several schools including Clemson, Florida State, and Maryland. In addition to being a top-ranked defensive back, Darby is also a gifted return specialist and can have an immediate impact on any team he joins.

2. Jameis Winston - One of the nation's top quarterback prospects scared Florida State fans when his supposed firm commitment softened in recent months. Many still expect Winston to end up in Tallahassee, but a late push from Alabama and a career in Major League Baseball have threatened Florida State's chances to sign the dynamic signal-caller.

WORK TO DO

1. North Carolina - The combination of a less-than-smooth coaching transition and an impending ruling from the NCAA has created a difficult recruiting environment for new head coach Larry Fedora. One unforeseen challenge in the final weeks includes signing a quarterback. Backup quarterback Braden Hanson will transfer to North Dakota and top QB prospect Patton Robbinette, scheduled to enroll for the spring semester this week, has decided to flip to Vanderbilt.

2. Boston College - Head coach Frank Spaziani felt his seat in Chestnut Hill heat up after the Eagles' 4-8 record in 2011 resulted in the program's first bowl-less postseason since 1998. The first opportunity to win back support comes in recruiting, and Boston College is currently looking at one of the least impressive classes in the conference. Both in current number (14) and caliber of commitments.

Keep up to date with all the latest recruiting news leading up to National Signing Day with our Eye On Recruiting Blog with Bryan Fischer. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 


Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:00 am
 

BCS National Championship Game stats of note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A few stats of note and records from Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU to capture the BCS National Championship.

- First shutout in BCS title game history.

- Alabama had 384 total yards to LSU's 92.

- LSU crossed the 50 yard line just once, late in the 4th quarter.

- Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.'s opening kick return vs. Florida gained more yards and points than LSU did this entire game.

- It wasn't until A.J. McCarron's 13 yard scramble with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter that Alabama, as a team, passed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's total yardage from last year's championship game. The Crimson Tide finished the game with just 55 yards more than Newton had last year and just 27 more than what Oregon's Darron Thomas had in 2011.

- LSU still wound up gaining 10 more yards than Ohio State did against Florida in 2007.

More on BCS Championship
Related links
- Jordan Jefferson's 29 yards passing was the fewest in the BCS National Championship game and second fewest out of all BCS games played.

- This was the first ever shutout in a BCS game, the previous fewest points scored was Florida State's two versus Oklahoma in 2001.

- Georgia Southern gained more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU did in two (331).

- Every recruiting class Nick Saban has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship.

- LSU will have beaten the Pac-12 and Big East champions as well as the National Champions during the regular season.

- The Tigers will drop to 4-1 in BCS bowls. West Virginia will take over top spot for wins without a loss at 3-0 after their Orange Bowl victory.

- Marquis Maze's 49 yard punt return is the longest against LSU since Javier Arenas' 61yd TD return on Nov. 3, 2007. On Maze's punt return alone, LSU allowed eight times the number of yards they've given up total all season on punt returns.

- The SEC is now 8-1 in the championship game, with the lone loss coming to... the SEC.

- Alabama's defense finished the season by allowing just 106 points. They only gave up nine touchdowns all year, three on the ground and six through the air.

- 2001 Miami allowed 103 points and 2000 TCU allowed 106 in 11 games. Alabama allowed 106 with one extra game and finished the season giving up just 7.57 points per game.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:09 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:11 pm
 

Coaches talking about title game at convention

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The annual American Football Coaches Association convention is going on in Texas this week and usually coincides with the BCS National Championship game. Normally the weekend offers a chance to hang out with other coaches, make a few hires, exchange a few cards and knock back a beer at the bar after a long, long season.

Such is the case again this year, with plenty of head coaches, assistants, graduate assistants and high school coaches gathering along the Riverwalk. Usually there's a buzz about the only game left, the sport's ultimate prize, but with two SEC teams in the game there's a noticable lack of interest from some coaches. Things picked up a little on Monday as kickoff drew near but there's wasn't a lot of breaking down the game over lunch as there normally was at the convention. That doesn't mean we let some of the coaches off the hook so CBSSports.com asked a few people their thoughts about the game between Alabama and LSU.

"The last two years the BCS games have been great and I can't imagine the championship game this year," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, fresh off of a Rose Bowl appearance, said. "I don't have a tie to either one of those schools but it will definitely be a good football game. Hopefully I'll get to watch some."

One SEC assistant, who played LSU this season and asked not to be identified, felt the game would come down to whoever controlled the line of scrimmage.

"The secondaries for both teams are so fast and so good, if the quarterbacks don't have time to throw it will be 9-6 or whatever again," he said. "Both sides will try and establish the run game first and take their chances with some big plays."

New Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has yet to play in the SEC so he gave quite the diplomatic answer when asked about the matchup.

"I'm the new guy in the league, I can't give any predictions," Sumlin said with a laugh. "We play these guys next year so I'm not giving any predictions.

"This game could go either way. It was 9-6 and Alabama missed four field goals, you could be talking about a whole different ball game. I think you're going to see a more wide open football game. The quarterbacks have had more practice and coaches, with a lot of time, become more creative. That game was played pretty close to the vest in the middle of the year and I think tonight you're going to see a more wide open style of offense, from both teams."

The general consensus? It's going be a good, close game between two heavyweight SEC squads.


Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:58 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 4:26 pm
 

BCS Championship Game Score Predictions

Posted by Eye on College Football Staff

Chip Patterson: The first Game of the Century had the feel of two teams trying just as hard "not to lose" as they were trying to win.  With so much time to prepare, I imagine the first half will be just as low-scoring.  But Les Miles' willingness to adjust on the fly and take chances will be the difference as this game is won (or lost) in the second half.  LSU runs a kick return reverse to catch Alabama off guard for the deciding touchdown. LSU 24, Alabama 17.

Tom Fornelli: I'm with Chip on this one, even if I think 41 points is asking too much. Generally I'm of the opinion that it's hard to beat a team once, and much harder to beat that same team twice, but with this game being played in New Orleans it's hard to pick against the Tigers. LSU has been the best team in college all season, and it won't change in the Superdome, as the Tigers win 20-10.

[Full 2011-2012 bowl schedule]

Adam Jacobi: Tom, LSU's certainly got the best resume, but I don't know if they're the best team. And if anyone's going to turn around their scoring fortunes from first game, I'm picking the one who got into scoring position seven times and has the best running back in all of college football. I think Alabama gets into the end zone thrice, and LSU twice, good enough for a 24-20 Alabama win.

Bryan Fischer: All year I've thought this was the best defense Nick Saban's ever had. Watching them play, I believed it. The offense had Trent Richardson and a great offensive line with solid coordinators on both sides. But, and this is a big but, I can't pick against LSU. Les Miles has a great team and it seems like their destiny is to run the table. The Tigers aren't better than the Tide 11-on-11 but they are the better team and will get things done in New Orleans like they always have. LSU 27, Alabama 24.

Jerry Hinnen: It seems crazy to doubt LSU at this point. I personally doubted them before Oregon, before Mississippi State, before the Prematch, and even once they went down two scores to Georgia. And they've made me -- and all the other doubters -- looks like fools every time. But I'm doubting them one more time, because the formula they used to beat the Tide the first time isn't consistent enough to expect it work a second time. Missed field goals, special teams mistakes, Nick Saban's general conservatism, a botched trick play in LSU territory--these are mistakes the Tide aren't going to make a second time. And down-to-down, offense vs. defense, the Tide had the upper hand. This time, I think they make that advantage count. And if not, well, I'll be the one in the corner wearing the purple-and-gold dunce hat ... again. Alabama 20, LSU 16. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:55 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:57 am
 

BBVA Compass Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Bryan Fischer


A look at the key matchup that could determine the BBVA Compass Bowl.

SMU quarterback J.J. McDermott vs. Pittsburgh's secondary

Live by the quarterback, die by the quarterback. That seems to be SMU's M.O. this season with difficulties winning games when McDermott turns the ball over. Obviously you don't want your signal-caller giving the ball away to the other team and putting more pressure on your defense but it seems as though the Mustangs have a particularly hard time rebounding.

Now, the Pitt secondary isn't littered with NFL talent but they've done a solid job this season. They held explosive West Virginia to just 244 yards through the air and allowed only 12 touchdowns through the air against FBS competition. They're helped out by a pretty good pass rush and generally force teams to make it a point to run the ball. Jarred Holley is the leader of the group and should roam around to cover SMU receivers and help support against the run, making him a busy man.

Behind McDermott, SMU has had over 300 yards passing just once in the second half of the season and he had a 6-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio during the stretch run. Against a solid Pitt defense, he's going to have to step his game up to say the least. The running game has found some success but June Jones playcalling obviously calls for a successful short and intermediate passing game and that will mean McDermott has to play within the offense and not take too many chances because the Panthers can give him fits.

Both teams are better than their record suggests but the BBVA Compass Bowl should come down to McDermott taking advantage of the time off to come out sharp and well prepared. If he's on, SMU should be able to beat their BCS AQ opponent and allow Jones to win another bowl game in a place where those wins are few and far between.


Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:01 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 11:25 pm
 

Oregon wins the Rose Bowl 45-38 over Wisconsin


Posted by Bryan Fischer

PASADENA, Calif. -- Wisconsin's run for the roses quickly turned into a track meet that they just couldn't keep up with.

The second half of the granddaddy of them all opened much like the first: offense, offense and - a strange concept to the SEC - more offense as Oregon finally broke through and won a BCS game under Chip Kelly 45-38 in front of 91,245 at the 98th edition of the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks, receiving the kickoff to open the second frame, needed just three plays and 48 seconds to find the end zone - with most of the work done by De'Anthony Thomas on a 64-yard touchdown run along the sideline (complete with an escort blocker). At that point, the speedy freshman was averaging 78 yards per carry and, as colleague Bruce Feldman tweeted, the only thing slow about him Monday evening was the apostrophe in his name.

A big run on the ensuing kick return by Jared Abbrederis for 60 yards setup Wisconsin in Oregon territory but they just couldn't capitalize. Running back Montee Ball did end up hurdling two defenders to pick up a first down on the drive but paid the price with a shot to the, um, sensitive area. Phillip Welch booted a 29-yard field goal to pull the Badgers to within 35-31.

The defense held Oregon to just their second three-and-out of the day with a big stop of Kenjon Barner on third down to force a punt.

Russell Wilson led the Badgers down the field with his arms and the legs on the next possession, picking up a big first down to sustain the drive with his legs on a 17-yard run. A few plays later he found Nick Toon in the end zone for an 18-yard strike that gave Wisconsin the lead back at 38-35.

A promising drive started out with Darron Thomas hitting Lavasier Tuinei for big 35-yard gain over the middle of the field and over a defender to push into Wisconsin territory. The drive stalled however after a sack and holding penalty pushed the Ducks back. Thomas dropped back on 3rd-and-18 but his pass across the middle was tipped by De'Anthony Thomas and into the hands of Aaron Henry to give the defense another stop and much-needed momentum late in the 3rd quarter.

The offense took over from there but Wilson gave it right back, throwing a pass low intended for a receiver that was picked off by linebacker Kiko Alonso. Thomas made up for his interception by finding Tuinei once again as Oregon took a 42-38 lead to open the 4th quarter. The defense once again stepped up and forced a three-and-out as momentum was planted firmly on the side that had chrome helmets and fans clad in lightning yellow.

Thomas found Tuinei almost immediately upon taking over, hitting him on a 41-yard completion that caught the Wisconsin defenders out of position. After a holding call that wiped out a beautiful throw (and 30-yard gain) from Thomas to Thomas, the Ducks eventually ended up going for it on 4th down with Tuinei once again making a play and picking up a first down.

Oregon ended up kicking a field goal after being stopped on the next third down, with Alejandro Maldonado's 30-yarder pushing their lead to 45-38 with 6:50 remaining.

Russell Wilson and the offense was moving right along trying to answer on the next drive. Abbrederis was wide open just past midfield and Wilson hit him in stride but he fumbled the ball along the sidelines and Oregon recovered the ball inbounds. The Ducks, for a change, actually slowed things down and picked up first down after first down to milk the rest of the time remaining off the clock.

Wisconsin had a chance late but, with two seconds remaining, spiked the ball with no time left on the clock.

OREGON WON. The Ducks picked up the school's first win in the Rose Bowl since 1917 thanks to a strong second half in a game that was all about offense but saw the defense make a few plays late to win the game. After back-to-back defeats in BCS games, Kelly finally got the program over the hump to capture his first bowl win in an exciting game that was paced just how he liked it.

HOW OREGON WON: Known mostly for running the ball, the offense was going up and down the field thanks largely to the arm of quarterback Darron Thomas, who finished 17-of-23 for 268 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Freshman De'Anthony Thomas returned to Southern California and put on a show in his first bowl game, collecting 315 all-purpose yards by speeding past Badger defenders.

WHEN OREGON WON: Up 42-38, it felt like the last team to have the ball would win the game the way both defenses were playing - especially as they got tired late. After two penalties pushed the Ducks back, Chip Kelly opted to go for it on 4th-and-6 and Thomas found Tuinei on a slant to convert. Later in the drive Maldonado kicked a field goal to extend the lead one final time and, thanks to an Abbrederis fumbling the ball for Wisconsin, essentially give Oregon the win.

WHAT OREGON WON: The school's first Rose Bowl since 1917 for one but more than that, it marked the culmination of an impressive run under Kelly that was lacking a postseason win of note. From the national title game last year to LSU and USC this year, there were more signature losses than signature wins for the program. Now, with trophy in hand and plenty of celebrating Duck fans in the stands, Oregon has finally reached the elite level in college football.

WHAT WISCONSIN LOST: The second straight Rose Bowl loss by the Badgers will sting just as much as the first. Legitimately two hail mary's from playing in New Orleans for the national title, Wisconsin had high hopes at taking the trophy home to Madison and helping restore the Big Ten's reputation. Alas, it was not meant to be despite a great game and they end up on the receiving end of a Pac-12 victory in Pasadena.

THAT WAS CRAZY: The two teams combined to set Rose Bowl records for points scored in the 1st quarter, first half and the 83 at the final buzzer set a game record. De'Anthony Thomas' 91-yard was the longest in the game's history and both squads racked up 1,128 yards of total offense.

FINAL GRADE: A. Do you like offense? Do you like great games? Then toss in the greatest postseason game in college football and that's what happened Monday afternoon. There was plenty of offense - 7.8 yards per - and points to make things entertaining and even the defensive plays that were made excited the crowd. All-in-all, a great way to open college football in 2012 and close out the 2011 season for Oregon and Wisconsin.

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