Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 8:35 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Stanford holds Virginia Tech to a scoreless second half in their 40-12 win for the Orange Bowl title.
Offense - Stanford put together one of the most complete offensive second halves that Virginia Tech has seen all season after holding a 13-12 halftime lead. They did it the way they've done all season, with a balanced attack of rushing and passing. The final damage totaled an evenly distributed 534 yards of total offense, with quarterback Andrew Luck leading the way with 287 yards passing and four touchdowns. After being frustrated by Virginia Tech's defense in the first half, Luck adjusted at halftime. With the chains off, Luck's presence opened up the run game as well for Stanford, proving once again why they are the best one-loss teams in America The Cardinal fans may have seen their last of Andrew Luck in that jersey, but it was one heck of a farewell show. GRADE: A-
Defense - Virginia Tech has a backfield full of playmakers, and Stanford absolutely shut down the Hokie rushing attack. The Hokies were held to only 66 yards as a team on the ground, and the Cardinal successfully turned the Hokies into a one-dimensional team by the second half. Once they accomplished that, Stanford began turning up the pressure on Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor, normally elusive and cool under pressure, was sacked eight times and forced into throwing a crucial interception in the third quarter that led to a two play, 97 yard scoring drive. If the Hokies had scored on that position, they could have tied the game at 19, but instead the Cardinal defense answered and changed the gameplan entirely for the Virginia Tech offense. GRADE: A
Coaching - When John Harbaugh gave his interview right before halftime, he mentioned that he liked "some" of what Stanford was able to get done in the first half. Andrew Luck mentioned after the game the change was about the little things. This was one of those moments when you determine that someone is one of best coaches in college football. Harbaugh and the Stanford staff repurposed Stanford's scheme at half to match defensive coordinator Bud Foster in the ongoing coaching chess match. As we saw, it worked out well for the Cardinal. Having said that, Harbaugh is so gone. His stock won't get any higher than it is right now, and the way he treated the question all night just left a feeling that he was ignoring the inevitable. GAME: A
Offense - Tyrod Taylor had one incredible play. Don't let that go unnoticed. But the Virginia Tech rushing attack of Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson combined for only 44 yards, well below the trio's average. The rushing attack usually helps keep the defense honest and allows Taylor to make more plays. The offensive line also struggled late to pick up the blitzes, and the Hokie offense could not find any kind of production in the second half against Stanford. GRADE: D+
Defense - Virginia Tech has been strong defending the run for most of the season, but for the first time since Boise State (the last time they played a Top 5 ranked team) strong defensive play was negated by giving up the home run. Throughout the game, strong stops would be quickly overshadowed by a crucial and/or big yard play by the Stanford offense. The few highlights the Hokies defense did have occurred in the first half, but by the end of 40 points and 534 yards a few highlights won't give you a good grade here. GRADE: D
Coaching - Bud Foster dialed up a new set of blitzes that gave the Stanford offense fits in the first half. Unfortunately, Harbaugh and the rest of the Cardinal staff adjusted at halftime and Virginia Tech had no counter. The speed with which the game got out of hand in the third quarter was surprising considering how resilient this Virginia Tech team has been all season. I assumed that the Hokies would need to play a full 60 minutes of hard-fought football in order to win. One half of perfect football wasn't enough to win against one of the better teams in Stanford's school history. GRADE: C-
FINAL GRADE: I was really excited about this game, and figured that it had the chances to be a quarterback duel for the history books between Luck and Taylor. Instead, I was most impressed with Stanford's defense and Harbaugh's ability to adjust at half. The game quickly turned into a promotional piece for Luck and his head coach. Now we will wait and wade through days filled with sources and tips, all claiming to know the fates of Harbaugh and Luck. My guess? Both gone. No sources, just a hunch. FWIW. GRADE: B-
Posted on: December 27, 2010 12:57 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Way back on December 6, we wrote of the contract extension offered by Stanford to Jim Harbaugh that "if he balks [at signing it], it's going to be the clearest sign possible that he's going to want to hear what [Michigan] (or NFL Team X) has to say."
It's now December 27, and not only has Harbaugh not signed the extension, he claims he hasn't even bothered to look at it :
“I haven’t even discussed it,” he told [the San Jose Mercury News] today.If you are Bowlsby or Stanford, there is only one response to that: Ouch.
Because it's highly doubtful that -- even if Bowlsby was exaggerating when he claimed that Harbaugh was close to accepting the extension -- that Harbaugh isn't even aware of what Stanford is offering. The contract is out there, and whether he's "discussed" it or not, Harbaugh knows it. He's just not interested in putting his name on it just yet.
It's entirely possible he still does at some later date, of course. But with not one but two possible-bordering-on-probable landing places for Harbaugh should he decide to bolt, in both his alma mater at Michigan and now the vacant San Francisco 49ers head coaching job, it's clearer than ever that Harbaugh's in no hurry to limit his options now.
For the time being, Bowlsby and the Cardinal are just going to have to grin about their Orange Bowl berth and bear it. The rumor mill is going to be circling The Farm for a while.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 1:55 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Some of the stories that have emerged over the past few days about teams struggling to sell their allotment of bowl tickets aren't surprising, quite honestly. How many FIU fans are going to want to leave Miami for a late-December trip to Detroit ? What percentage of the fanbase at Tulsa -- one of the smallest schools in all Division I -- are going to have the means to fly to Hawaii ?
But you might think that things would be different on the top rungs of the bowl ladder. You'd think wrong, as the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl are each finding out. We mentioned last week that UConn was looking at a major financial shortfall, and that hasn't changed; the Huskies have still sold only approximately 4,500 of their 17,500 tickets and are on the hook for at least $1.4 million in unsold ticket costs alone. Stanford, meanwhile, isn't much better off , according to San Jose Mercury-News columnist Mark Purdy (emphasis added):
Why should the Cardinal football team and its loyal followers be forced to schlep way across the country to Miami for the Orange Bowl in two weeks? As of late last week, Stanford had sold less than half of its 17,500-ticket allotment for that game. Isn't it stupid that the team can't play in a big bowl much closer to home?Purdy's column makes clear that he and the Pac-10 would have much preferred to see the the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl over TCU (and no doubt the Rose itself agrees), but he doesn't ask the question from the opposite perspective: isn't it stupid the Orange Bowl can't invite a big school closer to home? Why do they have to take a team representing a private academic institution from the West Coast whose fanbase is mostly apathetic even in the best of times when teams like LSU or even Michigan State could provide a lot more attendance bang for the invitation's buck?
In Stanford's case, it's because of a BCS bylaw that requires any team in the BCS rankings top-four to receive an automatic BCS berth; in UConn's, it's because the Big East champion is also admitted auotmatically, no questions asked. If Purdy thinks the agreement that sent TCU to Pasadena at Stanford's expense is unfair (and that's debatable, since the other BCS bowls have each been saddled with non-AQ teams before and will be again; why should the Rose be excepted?), how fair is it that the bowls are forced into inviting schools they know will leave them with attendance issues?
It's a little fair, sure, because there's no question that at 11-1, Stanford has done more to deserve a BCS berth than, say, 9-3 Alabama. But it's high time the NCAA started examining a way to free teams from the burden of ticket guarantees -- since it is unfair for a team like FIU, caught between an invitation they can't afford to turn down for the sake of their program and a guarantee they can't afford to accept on the financial ledger -- and if they might start with either limiting or eliminating those guarantees, they can definitely continue by loosening bowl tie-ins and doing away with the BCS's automatic bid. If bowls can take teams that will actually fill seats, they won't have to charge the schools that don't when those seats go empty.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: November 23, 2010 11:02 am
J. Darin Darst
The Orange Bowl will welcome back a familiar face for this year's Orange Bowl as former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has been named honorary captain.
Bowden led Florida State to the Orange Bowl eight times during his 34-year tenure at the school, including his first national championship game win over Nebraska in 1994. Only Tom Osborne (11) of Nebraska and Barry Switzer (nine) of Oklahoma coached their teams in more Orange Bowls than Bowden.
From the press release:
"I am so honored to be invited by the Orange Bowl Committee to attend the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl and serve as an honorary captain," said Bowden. The Orange Bowl holds so many wonderful memories for me, including, of course, winning our first National Championship there. But the memories of coaching against some of my dearest friends, and coaching the many great young men that played in those games make the Orange Bowl even more special."
Bowden will join the captains for the participating teams on the field for the coin flip prior to the Orange Bowl. The game will be on ESPN and pit the champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference against a BCS "at-large" team. Right now, I project Virginia Tech vs. TCU , but depending on what happens in the Auburn at Alabama game, we could see the LSU/Arkansas winner or even Alabama in the Orange Bowl.
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.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 7:41 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
One of the most intriguing subplots of last bowl season was the hot water the Fiesta Bowl found itself in for allegations of political tomfoolery, which is a no-no for a tax-exempt organization. The allegations, in a nutshell, were that director John Junker would privately urge employees to make campaign contributions to specific candidates or PACs, and the employees would be reimbursed with bonus checks. The allegations didn't really go anywhere, since that type of conduct is awfully hard to prove, but it was a signal that the heat is on the BCS bowls.
That heat's being felt at the highest levels, too; when senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Max Baucus (D-MT) sent a letter to the BCS with several inquiries about the particulars of the BCS arrangement, BCS exectuive director Bill Hancock responded with a (and we're being charitable here) dismissive statement, saying "Congress has more important things to do" than investigate the BCS. That type of statement, from the director of an organization that oversees the distribution of tens of millions of dollars, is usually a giant red flag signaling that Congress might have a reason to investigate.
The scrutiny continues today, as Playoff PAC -- a PAC dedicated to busting up the BCS system in place -- recently issued a wide-reaching challenge of the tax-exempt status of three of the BCS bowls, alleging financial misdeeds by the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl:
- Paul Hoolahan, CEO of the New Orleans-based Sugar Bowl, received a $645,000 salary in 2009, a nearly $200,000 increase from his 2007 salary.
Naturally, citing the CEOs' salaries on their own would seem to be a contentious idea, inviting a reflexive "what do you have against rich people" from some who are well-versed in today's climate of identity politics. The context doesn't really help the bowls' case -- especially considering the complaint declines to allege misdeeds by the other two bowls, whose executives average $320,000 in annual salary:
Playoff PAC argued that the executive salaries are "above market" and "an abuse of their organizations' favorable tax status." The PAC cited a 2009 NonProfit Times survey, which calculated an average chief executive salary of $185,000 at nonprofits with similar operating budgets ($10 million-to-$25 million).
The biggest issue, though, would be the use of money on lobbying, and like with the no-interest loans, the primary offender here would be the Fiesta Bowl:
The complaint accuses the Fiesta Bowl of not disclosing lobbying activities. The IRS says that an organization can't qualify for 501(c)(3) status "if a substantial part of its activities" involves lobbying, although some lobbying is allowed.
Today, four Congresspeople -- all representing districts containing or close to Mountain West schools -- urged action on this complaint, and it's entirely possible that the IRS moves forward. Is it politically motivated? Of course it is.
But Playoff PAC had better hope that if action is taken, it directly leads to the implementation of a playoff system. After all, even if these bowls are in the wrong, if they fix their problems and say "all better," what then? This isn't really an argument for a playoff at all, and it doesn't seem as if the BCS is going to be any more amenable to co-existing with a playoff afterwards than it was before.