Tag:Big East
Posted on: January 2, 2011 2:38 am
 

Bowl Grades: Fiesta Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Oklahoma outpaced Connecticut en route to a 48-20 Fiesta Bowl victory.

Oklahoma

Offense: Landry Jones set an Oklahoma bowl passing record with 433 yards through the air, and he was able to find wideouts Ryan Broyles and Cameron Kenney (both of whom had over 150 receiving yards) without much trouble. Broyles' touchdown catch was the type of play that exemplified his All-American season: an absolutely brilliant display of athleticism. DeMarco Murray wasn't a gamebreaker, but his 25 carries for 93 yards kept the chains moving -- he accounted for eight of Oklahoma's 27 first downs. Jones did throw a pick-six and Broyles coughed up a fumble at the end of an otherwise brilliant punt return, but those were relatively minor concerns. Grade: B+

Defense: Giving up 20 points is sort of a bummer, right? Thing of it is, though, UConn scored one touchdown on the aforementioned pick-six, and the other came on a kickoff return. Also, Jamell Fleming and Tony Jefferson each took an interception to the house in the second half, pushing the game out of reach for UConn. So essentially, the Oklahoma defense outscored the Huskies' offense 14-6. That's a win. Grade: A

Coaching: Well, Bob Stoops finally got that BCS bowl losing streak off his back. Shame that it had to come against such a comically overmatched opponent, but that's probably of limited concern to Stoops and the Sooners. It's hard to fault Stoops for any play calls or in-game decisions, except for that fake field goal early in the fourth quarter. Everyone in the world knows Stoops doesn't have a great deal of confidence in kicker Jimmy Stevens, who doesn't have a field goal of longer than 41 yards this year, so when OU lined up for a field goal on 4th and 7 at the UConn 30, nobody really expected a kick to go up. Further, Jones passed for 8.8 yards per attempt on the day; let the kid make another play!  Grade: B-

Connecticut

Offense: It's painfully obvious that UConn quarterback Zach Frazer doesn't have much in the way of help at receiver. The senior QB had rather pedestrian numbers again tonight (19-39, 223 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs), but several of Frazer's throws were dropped, tipped, or aimed somewhere other than where the receivers ended up going. Even on Frazer's two pick-sixes, both passes hit his receivers in the hands before being deflected up and into a Sooner's hands. It was sort of painful to watch. Jordan Todman did rush for 121 yards after a slow start, however, and Anthony Sherman and Ryan Griffin were decent targets between the 20s. Grade: D+

Defense: The Huskies' main highlight on defense was the "look what I found" interception score by Dwayne Gratz in the second quarter that first got UConn on the board, but that was pretty much it. Landry Jones found open receivers nearly every time he dropped back to pass, and Oklahoma was only forced into four punts in 14 possessions on the day. Grade: D

Coaching: Randy Edsall 's first foray into the BCS bowl world didn't go well, but that was pretty much a given considering the matchup. Connecticut's execution was sufficiently bad that it's hard to pin much on Edsall's playcalling, and the Huskies at least made Oklahoma work for its victory; this was still a 14-point game with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. It's hard to say whether Edsall will ever make it back to a BCS game -- his odds are probably better at a stronger school than UConn -- but he didn't look bad today. Grade: B

Final Grade

Look, nobody outside of Storrs, CT and whatever lair BCS president Bill Hancock resides in wanted this game to happen. The final score was pretty predictable, even though UConn stuck around for a little longer than most people would have expected. It would have been great to see this high-powered Oklahoma offense face a real defense, like that of Stanford or TCU or Boise State . But the rules are what they are, and this is what we get because of them: an afterthought of a Fiesta Bowl. Connecticut didn't belong in a BCS game, everybody knew it, and they proved why today. Can we really not get an "automatic unless you're a four-loss team" clause in the BCS language? Really? This game's very existence was unacceptable. Grade: F

Posted on: January 1, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Pitt fires new coach Mike Haywood after arrest

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Less than 24 hours after news of the Mike Haywood arrest on domestic violence charges came out, Pittsburgh has responded in really the only sensible way possible by firing Haywood. Here's the full statement released by Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg today:

“After careful consideration of recent events, the University of Pittsburgh has dismissed Michael Haywood as its head football coach, effective immediately. He was advised of that action this afternoon.

“To be clear, the University’s decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances.

This is a matter of real regret for the many people at Pitt who had looked forward to working with him. However, head coaches are among the University’s most visible representatives and are expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct and to avoid situations that might reflect negatively on the University.

“We will immediately re-open our search for a head football coach, expanding the process to include a larger pool of candidates. Our goal is to move swiftly, but prudently, to find the right person to successfully lead the Pitt football program for what we hope will be an extended period of time.”

Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:43 pm
 

Pitt releases statement on Mike Haywood

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In case you missed it while spending your New Year's Eve watching bowl games, Mike Haywood, Pitt's new head coach, was arrested on Friday afternoon in South Bend and jailed on domestic battery charges.  While we can't be sure what this means for Haywood's future at Pitt, there's a pretty good chance there won't be one.

For now, however, the school isn't saying anything about what it plans to do with Haywood.  Though Pitt did release a statement on his arrest on Friday night.

“The University of Pittsburgh is aware of an alleged incident involving head football coach Michael Haywood today in South Bend, Indiana. The University expects the highest standards of conduct from its employees, including its coaches, and any breach of those standards is a very serious matter. The University will decline further comment until more complete information is available.”

You have to believe there is some kind of ethics clause in Haywood's contract with the school, and should he be found guilty of these current charges, he'll no doubt be in violation of that clause.  Which would lead to the termination of his contract.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 8:54 pm
 

New Pitt head coach Mike Haywood arrested

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This probably isn't the way Pitt and Mike Haywood wanted their new relationship to get started.

According to a report out of South Bend, Indiana, where Haywood once served as a coordinator for Notre Dame , Haywood was arrested on a domestic violence charge in South Bend on Friday .
St. Joseph County Police say Haywood was arrested around 2:30 p.m. on Friday at a home in the 50000 block of Hawthorne Meadow Drive.
He has a child with the woman living there.
Police say there was a custody issue and the woman attempted to leave.
As she left, police say a physical altercation broke out.
The woman told police Haywood grabbed her by the arm and neck and pushed her.
According to the police report, the woman had red marks on her neck, arms and back.

Haywood was the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis before moving on to take the head coaching job at Miami (OH) .  In his second season at Miami, Haywood led the Redhawks to a MAC championship before taking the Pittsburgh job earlier this month.

As of now, the school has not released a statement regarding Haywood's arrest.

UPDATE: We have a mugshot, thanks to KDKA.


Posted on: December 31, 2010 5:54 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Meineke Car Care Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

South Florida weathered a late charge by Clemson to win, 31-26.

South Florida

Offense: From a productivity standpoint, B.J. Daniels regressed substantially this year from his brilliant freshman campaign; his passing rating was down 20 points, and he rushed for over 500 fewer yards on the season. Not surprisingly, the Bulls' scoring dropped three points a game from last year. So it was nice to see Daniels put together a solid performance today, going 19-26 for two scores and rushing for another touchdown. At one point, Daniels completed 10 straight passes on the day. The running game was generally ineffective, with the Bulls' 38 rushes netting only 90 yards, but the ground attack helped open up passing lanes for Daniels. Grade: B

Defense: There might not be another team in the country that runs as many screens as Clemson, and to USF's credit, that screen game didn't exactly take off today. USF also swallowed up the run game, allowing just 50 yards on 27 carries. Of course, giving up 26 points isn't exactly a point of pride and there's no telling what would have happened if that last onside kick had gone another two feet before being recovered, but still. Grade: B

Coaching: There wasn't anything terribly special about Skip Holtz and his gameday coaching, which is really what fans should want to see: no surprises from the sideline. In that respect he did a good job, and the aforementioned defensive successes against the run and screen passing games indicate solid preparatory work coming into the game. Holtz probably needs to get his team's onside kick return game fixed, but he's got all offseason to work on that. Grade: A

Clemson

Offense: It's hard to say whether South Florida or Clemson fans were more upset to see Kyle Parker leave the game with broken ribs; Parker's a fine quarterback who'll probably have a stellar career with the Colorado Rockies. He also single-handedly made his touchdown pass happen by scrambling away from pressure and finding his running back wide open on a check-down for the score. And yet, he also threw two picks and was brutally inconsistent. So was Tajh Boyd in relief, but at least Boyd threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Still, Dabo Swinney needs to figure out a way to get Jamie Harper some help in the run game; he rushed for all of 34 yards today and really never got free. That can't happen in a big game. Grade: C

Defense: It's something of an oddity that Clemson gave up 31 points; the Tiger defense was fast enough to keep USF from turning the corner on the sidelines, as the Bulls tried routinely. And yet, when USF got down to it and threw the ball downfield or rushed between the tackles, it encountered little resistance. Clemson has got to tighten up on defense if it ever wants to make the leap. Grade: C-

Coaching: I was ready to praise Dabo Swinney at the half when he decided to go for it on 4th and 7 near midfield late in the half, and was rewarded with a big play and eventually a touchdown. He then kicked an extra point rather than trying to get the game to within three points at the break, which was also the right call. Those are decisions that coaches routinely screw up and Swinney got them right.

And yet, he also called two punts in the fourth quarter -- one on a 4th and 1, which, WHY?! -- and his decision to go for two on Clemson's first touchdown of the fourth quarter trying to get the Tigers to within 10 meant Clemson couldn't afford to kick a field goal for the rest of the game. Yes, Georgia would have eventually needed that conversion, but conversions should be delayed until necessary in order to keep as many scoring options on the table during a comeback. And last, kicker Richard Jackson is apparently Clemson's onside specialist, and he put up two absolutely beautiful onside kicks in the fourth quarter. And with a weapon like that on special teams, why not use him all the time? Serious question. If you can reliably recover half or even a third of your onside kicks, that is an absolute game-changer. Do something with it! Grade: C

Final Grade

Today's game was about what people should have expected coming in: a slapfight between two physically talented but inconsistent and untrustworthy teams. Nothing was particularly impressive about the game, short of Clemson's near-comeback thanks to Boyd and Jackson. In fact, I'm still bitter that Swinney doesn't use Jackson on every single kickoff. It's like playing make-it-take-it! C'mon, Clemson! Grade: B-

Posted on: December 30, 2010 7:34 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Pinstripe Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Syracuse rides Delone Carter, Marcus Sales and some help from the refs to beat Kansas State 38-36 in first ever Pinstripe Bowl

Syracuse


Offense: Syracuse did not come into this game with the reputation as a strong offense, as the Orange averaged only 21.0 points a game this season.  Still, a funny thing happens when you have a running back like Delone Carter and are facing one of the worst run defenses in the country: you rack up yards like there's no tomorrow.  The Syracuse offense put up 498 yards of total offense on the day, led by Carter's 202 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.  Ryan Nassib also found his groove after playing poorly down the stretch of the season, to throw for 240 yards and three touchdowns of his own.

All three of Nassib's touchdown passes went to Marcus Sales, who only had one touchdown during the season, and wasn't even listed on the depth chart before the year started.  Sales finished the day with 5 catches for 172 yards.  Grade: A

Defense: Much like its offense, Syracuse's defense took on an alternate personality in Yankee Stadium.  Syracuse only gave up 13.1 points a game during the season, but life is a bit different when you step out of the Big East apparently.  Still, even though Kansas State put up a lot of points, the Syracuse defense played a bit better than it looks.

First of all, holding a Kansas State offense that averaged over 200 yards on the ground per game to 120 yards and 3.3 yards a carry is nothing to be ashamed of.  No doubt the Syracuse game plan was to stuff the Wildcats ground attack and force them to air it out, which they did, but had probably been hoping they could do a better job of containing the passing game.  Grade: C

Coaching: Doug Marrone took the leash off his offense and let the kids play a bit in this one, and it worked out very well for the Orange.  From flea-flickers to reverses, to being smart enough to pound KSU into submission with Delone Carter, I can't find much in Syracuse's gameplan to complain about.  Grade: A

Kansas State 


Offense: Much like Syracuse, Kansas State didn't have a lot of trouble finding the end zone in this game.  What was surprising, however, was to see Chase Coffman have so much success throwing the ball.  I had thought that Kansas State would be better served with Collin Klein at quarterback in this game, and it turns out I was wrong.

Coffman completed 17-of-23 passes for 229 yards and a couple touchdowns.

The problem for the Wildcats was that aside from his 51-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game, Daniel Thomas was virtually non-existent.  Yes, he finished with 3 touchdowns, but following that first run, Thomas had only 38 yards on 20 carries.  When he struggles like that, Kansas State isn't going to win a lot of games.  Grade: B

Defense: Did Kansas State play defense during this game?  I'm having some trouble remembering plays in which it did.

Seriously, Kansas State's defense wasn't anything to be proud of all season, and it wasn't on Thursday as well.  When you allow an offense that had been as lackluster as Syracuse's to pick up nearly 500 yards of offense, well, there's only one grade you deserve.  Grade: F

Coaching: Bill Snyder.  I love what you've done for Kansas State in your career, but you made some questionable decisions in this one.  While I loved the call to run the option on fourth and goal early in the fourth quarter, the fake field goal you ran later in the quarter when down five just didn't do it for me.  You know that touchdown you scored in the final minutes that the refs jobbed you on -- more on that in a bit -- and cost you a chance to send the game to overtime?  Yeah, well had you just kicked that field goal, the refs wouldn't have factored into the game and you'd have won. Grade: C

The Referees


Seriously, refs?  A personal foul in the final minutes after Adrian Hilburn scored a touchdown to bring Kansas State within two points?  Really?  Was a salute to the crowd actually enough to warrant a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call, and force Kansas State to go for two from the 18-yard line?  I hope it was for you, because I fear that what was a very good game will only be remembered for your boneheaded call at the end of it.

But, hey, at least you kept the kids from having any fun in their bowl game, right?  That's why we have these bowl games, isn't it?  As a reward for the players?

Final Grade: This game was not the crispest football game we've seen this year, but as far as the bowl games have gone, this was one of the more entertaining affairs for both the fans and viewers.  It's just unfortunate that a terrible call by the referees had such a dramatic impact on the outcome.  Still, even with that happening, I'm going to base this grade on the first 58 minutes and 46 seconds.  Grade: A-
Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 1:41 pm
 

BCS football turning bigger profits than ever

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

To boil this report from CNN Money down to one simple question: What recession?
The profit for the 68 teams that play in the six major conferences was up 11% from the prior school year, according to a CNNMoney analysis of figures filed by each school with the Department of Education.

In the school year that ended in 2010, the vast majority of the schools in one of these deep-pocketed conferences posted a profit. Four of them broke even and only one -- Wake Forest -- reported a loss.
Way to ruin the shutout, Demon Deacons.

But seriously, folks: that 11 percent increase (fueled by rising ticket sales and prices and juicy new television contracts) pushed BCS conference profits up over the collective $1 billion mark for the first time. Contrast that with the profits turned in by, say, the nation's swim teams, and it's easy to see why -- charges of hypocrisy notwithstanding -- the NCAA and its member schools are willing to do so much to protect its interests on the gridiron.

Of course, that business model doesn't work nearly as well at the non-AQ level. Even after their 2009 Fiesta Bowl berth and the largest set of profits in the country at the mid-major level, for instance, TCU only broke even. We've heard plenty of horror stories the past few weeks about the amount of money smaller schools are burning through on their bowl trips, thanks to ticket guarantees and the like; in 2009, eight of the 53 bowl-eligible smaller-conference schools wound up losing money on the year.

With the line drawn so firmly between the sport's haves and have nots, it's no wonder access to the big-money BCS games and television's never-ending contract coffers have become the sources of so much acrimony. (Given that even the best possible year for them in the Mountain West still amounted to chump change for most Big East teams, is it any wonder the Horned Frogs jumped ship?) With no sort of NFL -style revenue-sharing agreement forthcoming (in fact, the angry comments from BCS commissioners like Jim Delany make clear that such an agreement would be less likely now than ever), don't expect anything to change anytime soon. The rich of college football are only going to get richer, and the poor will simply have to make themselves attractive enough to join them.

HT: GTP .
Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:01 pm
 

Geno Smith to have surgery on his foot

Posted by Tom Fornelli

West Virginia's season came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night when the Mountaineers lost to N.C. State 23-7 in the Champs Sports Bowl. While quarterback Geno Smith was probably disappointed at the way he and the team played in the game, I'm guessing there was a part of him who was also relieved to know the year had come to an end.  

As it turns out, Smith played the entire season with a stress fracture in his left foot.  A stress fracture he'll now be having surgery on in January to repair, which is a bit of a blow to both Smith and the West Virginia offense.  

You see, Smith had surgery to repair another stress fracture in the same foot last season and missed spring practice because of it.  Making things worse is the fact that if Smith is forced to miss spring practice again in 2011, he'll be missing out on a lot of time spent learning the new system that offensive coordinator/head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen will be implementing.

Not exactly ideal circumstances for West Virginia, Smith or Holgorsen.

I have a feeling that Smith may be held out of spring practice next year because, after suffering the fracture two years in a row, odds are that West Virginia will want to make sure the foot is fully recovered before letting Smith test it out on a football field. After all, it's better to have a healthy quarterback in the fall who missed a few practices than an injured one all season.
 
 
 
 
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