Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 1:04 pm
Posted by Eye On College Football
On Sunday night the final BCS standings were released. Despite Oklahoma State's impressive victory against Oklahoma to capture their first Big 12 Championship in program history, the Cowboys were left on the outside looking in of the BCS National Championship Game. Now it's Game of the Century II in New Orleans to decide the top team in college football. Love it or hate it, that is the way the numbers added up.
You can check out a rundown of the Top 10 below, with some thoughts from our College Football Bloggers. For a full breakdown of the Top 25 teams in the BCS formula, you can check out the comprehensive standings.
1. LSU:How dominant was the season just put together by Les Miles's Tigers? This might be the first time in the BCS era that a team has clinched a share of the national title before they even play the national title game. Considering that the best BCS championship opponent Alabama can do vs. the Tigers head-to-head is a 1-1 record (with a home loss, no less), and that LSU has a wider collection of quality wins and the SEC title in their back pocket, we'd suggest that AP voters consider awarding their No. 1 ranking to LSU regardless of what happens Jan. 9. Of course, the way they've played thus far this season -- and how well they're likely to play in home-away-from-home New Orleans -- the Tigers may not need the charity. - Jerry Hinnen
2. Alabama: Lost in the controversy over whether the Crimson Tide should have slotted into the national title game over Oklahoma State is that now that they have, their selection caps an incredible four-year run for Nick Saban's program: three BCS bowls, two perfect regular seasons, two SEC West titles, a 47-4 overall record, and now a pair of BCS championship appearances. Of course, that also heightens the stakes even further for the Tide as they head to New Orleans; a second loss to LSU will only drive home the point that for all of those accomplishments, Saban would still be sitting on a single SEC title and lone national title to Miles's two. - JH
3. Oklahoma State: .009 points. That's all that separated Oklahoma State from a trip to New Orleans to face LSU for the national title. Or, in football terms, about 12 inches on a Quinn Sharp field goal attempt in Ames, Iowa. Still, as disappointing as it may be for Oklahoma State to miss out on a title chance, there's still plenty to be thrilled about this season. The Cowboys not only won their first Big 12 title, but they also did it by throttling Oklahoma to finish the season. Plus, the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford isn't exactly a terrible consolation prize, so while the sting will last a bit, it's going to wear off eventually. Tom Fornelli
4. Stanford:The Cardinal have back-to-back trips to a BCS bowl game thanks to finishing in the top four and snagging a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State. It gives Andrew Luck a marquee chance to end his college career on a high note against a defense that has been a turnover-forcing machine. They lost out on a Pac-12 title game but the consolation prize of a trip to the desert and a shot at ending up in the top three would be part of a historic run for a school known more for their alumni off the field than on it. - Bryan Fischer
5. Oregon:The Pac-12 champions are making their way to Pasadena after winning the league's first ever championship game against an overmatched UCLA team. The Ducks come in on a mission: win their first BCS bowl under Chip Kelly and the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1917. Should be an interesting clash of styles as the fast-paced offense takes on a Wisconsin team known for efficiently moving down the field. - BF
6. Arkansas:On the one hand, who knows how high the Hogs could have flown this season if they hadn't been in the SEC West? Swap them out with Oklahoma State and maybe it's the Razorbacks who are bucking for second and the Cowboys licking their wounds from a pair of blowout losses and a third-place divisional finish. Then again, there's the little fact that the Hogs never beat a team better than South Carolina, defeated just two teams with winning records, and struggled more badly with Ole Miss than any other team in the conference. Maybe the Razorbacks were unfortunate they didn't do better than 10 wins and the Cotton Bowl. Maybe they're lucky they've gotten that far. - BF
7. Boise State: Another one-loss season for the Broncos ends in a series of "What If's" as the missed field goal against TCU has cost Boise State a spot in a BCS bowl. Unfortunately, the trends are beginning to mount for Chris Petersen's squad. While Boise State is proud to celebrate their sixth Top 10 finish in the last eight final BCS standings, this is fourth time the Broncos have finished in the Top 10 and NOT been invited to a BCS game. Instead it will be another trip to Las Vegas for the Maaco Bowl against Arizona State, their first showdown with the Sun Devils since 1996. - Chip Patterson
8. Kansas State:There's plenty to be happy about here, and also reason for Kansas State fans to be upset. You can easily argue that Kansas State deserves to be playing in a BCS game this season more than either Michigan or Virginia Tech due to the Wildcats finishing ahead of both schools in the BCS rankings. Unfortunately that's just not the way the BCS works. Either way, I think it's safe to say that if you had told Kansas State fans before the season began that the team would go 10-2 in the regular season and finish the year in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas they'd have all jumped at the chance. - TF
9. South Carolina: One of these things is not like the other. Of the top 10 teams in the BCS standings, the other nine all earned either a conference title or serious consideration for a BCS at-large bid. And then there's the Gamecocks, well shut out thanks to ranking a distant fourth in the SEC pecking order. No one will claim this was a vintage year for the SEC, with claims the league was "top heavy" entirely accurate. But with four of the top nine teams in the final BCS standings, it's fair to say that top was heavy indeed. - JH
10. Wisconsin:The Badgers are the only team from the Big Ten to finish the regular season ranked in the top ten, though they aren't the only Big Ten team that will be playing in a BCS bowl game this year. Wisconsin is headed to the Rose Bowl after a thrilling victory against Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, and going to the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons is nothing to be ashamed of. Still, it's got to be hard to get past the fact that the Badgers are basically two last second prayers away from being 13-0 and headed to New Orleans. - TF
Finally, the luckiest teams in all of the land: Virginia Tech and Michigan. The Hokies and Wolverines fall at 11 and 12 in the final BCS standings, and will face each other in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3.
11. Virginia Tech: Not that the Hokies themselves have done anything to deserve it, but the haters of the BCS's current selection process just got a new poster program. Plenty of teams with questionable credentials have been granted BCS admission before (heck, the Hokies will be playing one of them in the Sugar), but it's been a while since a team without a single win over a top-25 team and so clearly second-best in a back-of-the-BCS-pack conference got this kind of preferential treatment. That's not to say the Hokies haven't had an outstanding season--those 11 wins didn't fall into their lap. But when compared to Kansas State or Boise State, it's just another signal that however much the BCS likes to blather that "every game counts", some things still count far more than the games. - JH
12. Michigan: It's crazy how things can change, isn't it? Michigan went from being a program that was routinely letting its fan base down back to the BCS in one season under Brady Hoke. If you had told Michigan fans they'd end the season in the Sugar Bowl back in August, would they have believed you? Of course, the argument can also be made that there were other teams more deserving than the Wolverines, but this is the way things ended up. You can't chastise the Michigan fan base for being so enticing to BCS bowl games who are just as interested in selling seats as they are compelling matchups. (Though you should probably send a thank you card to Jim Delany.) - TF
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Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, BCS, BCS Rankings, BCS Reactions, BCS Standings, Big 12, Big Ten, Boise State, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Fischer, Casey Pachall, Chip Patterson, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Dabo Swinney, Dabo Swinney, David Wilson, Frank Beamer, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Jerry Hinnen, Kellen Moore, LSU, Mississippi State, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stanford, Tom Fornelli, Tom Fornelli, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:23 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 2:25 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Another day, another report, another hint at movement in the coaching search for Arizona State. After moving on from Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, it appears school officials have set their sights on a coach a few hours up I-45.
According to reports out of Tempe, Arizona State met with SMU head coach June Jones on Saturday. KTAR radio's Paul Calvisi, citing multiple sources, said the two parties spent "a good part" of the day in discussions. The Arizona Republic said on Friday that ASU had interest in Jones but has not been able to confirm Saturday's meeting.
Jones, 58, is well-regarded for his run-and-shoot offensive system. After spending several years in the NFL, he took over at Hawaii in 1999 and led the Warriors to the Sugar Bowl in 2007. He moved on in 2008 to an SMU program that hadn't seen a bowl game since receiving the death penalty and quietly positioned the Mustangs to go to their third straight bowl this season.
If Arizona State doesn't go with Jones, former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, former Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora Jr. and current Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz have reportedly expressed interest in the job. The Republic has also mentioned Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as assistants who could be in the running.
ASU fired Dennis Erickson after five seasons and a 31-30 record.
You can keep up with all the latest in the Arizona State coaching search, along with every coaching search in the country, with our Coaching Carousel.
Tags: Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Bryan Fischer, Chicago Bears, Coaching changes, Dennis Erickson, Gus Malzahn, Hawaii, Houston, Jim Mora Jr., June Jones, Justin Wilcox, Kevin Sumlin, Kirby Smart, Mark Helfrich, Mike Bellotti, Mike Martz, NFL, Oregon, Pac-12, Paul Calvisi, Seattle Seahawks, SMU, Sugar Bowl, Tennessee
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 11:43 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon ran over UCLA so bad Friday night, they might have beaten the Bruins back to Los Angeles.
They'll make the trip down, to Pasadena to be precise, in a month but took care of business against an overwhelmed South representative to win the conference in the first ever Pac-12 championship game 49-31.
The Ducks will head to the Rose Bowl looking for their first win since 1917, Rick Neuheisel will head home with out a job. The recently fired head coach said the team was ready to shock the world.
They scored, shockingly, for the first time since November 19th.
UCLA lost the coin toss and, despite a few plays that gave them life, were never in the game from that point. The Pac-12 championship game was never about them however.
"We end the season with three teams in the top 10 and what looks like two BCS bowl teams for the second year in a row," commissioner Larry Scott said during his state of the conference address. "And seven bowl-eligible teams and what would have been eight."
That eighth team, USC, was the reason why UCLA "represented" the South division despite going .500 on the year . The athletic department brass didn't think too highly of their chances and applied for - and were granted - a waiver to go to a bowl game despite a 6-7 record. While the Bruins will likely end up in San Francisco for the game, the Trojans sat at home serving out the final year of their bowl ban and watched two teams they beat.
"All-in-all, I still think it's been a strong season," Scott continued. "The Pac-12 and the SEC are the only conferences to have three teams in the top 10. The conference is clearly establishing itself as a perennial, elite football conference."
The night showed off the good and bad of West Coast football. In front of a national audience, Oregon showed how good it could be. UCLA showed how far they had to go. Despite some sloppy play on both sides of the ball, the Ducks ran into the record books as easy as their running backs ran into the end zone.
LaMichael James became the first player in conference history to post three 1,500+ yard rushing seasons. He passed some guy named Marcus Allen on the career rushing list and moved into second place on the Pac-12 rushing touchdowns list. Darron Thomas became the school's career leader in touchdown passes (63) and had a career-long run. The Ducks set school records for rushing yards and touchdown passes.
Duck. Duck. Duck. Rose.
UCLA's Pistol offense was shooting blanks most of the night when it wasn't the players in the foot with turnovers. Still, they put up more points than many expected after coming in as the biggest underdog in postseason play according to Vegas insiders. There were positive plays, such as Kevin Prince flea-flicker to Nelson Rosario for a 37 yard touchdown. There were negative ones too, such as Derrick Coleman attempting to pitch the ball on a reverse despite the recipient being well past him. Oregon recovered and scored on 4th down on a Thomas touchdown pass to make it 35-14. The team fought hard but were simply outclassed by a Ducks team that seemed to be looking for style points ahead of their matchup against either Wisconsin or Michigan State the day after New Year's.
Head coach Chip Kelly made it a point to put up impressive numbers, using timeouts before halftime and going for it numerous times on 4th down. It may not have been the best show of sportsmanship but it did result in his third straight outright Pac-12 title as head coach. Winning the conference is one thing but if he wants to take the program to the next level, he'll have to get over the hump of winning a BCS game. Kelly has a .500 record against teams with two or more weeks to prepare so something will have to change.
Friday night however, nothing changed for Oregon. They ran their way to another win and in this case, plenty of roses.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 6:13 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If there's a head coaching vacancy, odds are that Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin has been brought up as a candidate to fill the position. Arizona State had been one of the many schools interested in Sumlin, but according to a report from a the local Fox television affiliate in Houston, Arizona State is moving on.
The report says that Arizona State has broken off talks with Sumlin's agent, Trace Armstrong. The school never had any direct contact with Sumlin during the talks.
"We've dropped from further communication and moved on," a source told the station.
There is no indication as to why the talks have come to an end, but as for where Arizona State will turn next, former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti has been mentioned as a candidate, and current Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has reportedly expressed interest in the job as well.
You can keep up with all the latest in the Arizona State coaching search, along with every coaching search in the country, with our Coaching Carousel.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 9:58 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Since firing Rick Neuheisel, UCLA's top choice to be their new head coach has been Boise State's Chris Petersen, but it doesn't look like UCLA is something Petersen is interested in.
According to a report at ESPN.com, UCLA reached out to Petersen and was told that he will not be a candidate.
Petersen also gave up quite a bit to stay at Boise, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times on Friday night. Petersen was apparently offered a deal that would have paid him nearly $4 million a year and given him $3 million to spend on assistants. Petersen reportedly turned down the money and chose to stay at Boise State for "lifestyle reasons."
Now that Petersen is out of the running, it's not clear who UCLA's second choice would be, though Houston's Kevin Sumlin, former Oregon head coach Mike Belotti and former Raiders head coach Tom Cable have all been mentioned as possible candidates. If Sumlin is next on the list, UCLA will have to move fast as he's a popular choice at just about every other school with a coaching vacancy at the moment.
Petersen has been the head coach at Boise State since 2006 and his name has come up as a candidate at many different schools over that time, but he's never left Boise State nor has he expressed much interest in doing so.
UCLA plays Oregon on Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 7:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
This is it, the final week of MWM in the 2011 season, and it pretty much couldn't have gone worse for me. You see, heading into last week it was a two-horse race, and I was on the verge of losing a picks competition against my girlfriend. Well, then the Machine had to go 8-2 last week while both Woman and I struggled, and guess who is now in second place?
That's right, at the moment, I trail not only my girlfriend but my Playstation as well. Pretty much as embarrassing as embarrassing can be.
On the bright side, the race is closer than ever before, which is pretty much the ideal situation heading into the final week of any competition. Yes, I'm in last place, but I'm only two games behind Woman. Machine is a game behind. So any of us can win, which makes this week the single most important week of the MWM season.
Feel free to read our final picks of the season while I pool some money together and get to work bribing teams to help me out this weekend.
South Florida (Pick 'em) vs. West Virginia - Thursday, 8pm (All times Eastern)Man - I was originally leaning toward South Florida because they're at home, and it's the Big East, so since you have no idea what's going to happen, leaning toward the home side is usually the best bet. But then the news that B.J. Daniels probably won't be playing came along, and, well, that changes things. Pick: West Virginia
Woman - "I want to pick the Bulls - mostly so I can watch coach Dana Holgorsen figure out a way to blame West Virginia fans for the loss (start at minute 1:10 here to see his previous efforts) - but they're too banged up, so the mundane Mountaineers will squeak by." Pick: West Virginia
Machine - West Virginia keeps its slim BCS hopes alive with a rather easy 37-20 win over the Bulls. Pick: West Virginia
Oregon (-30 1/2) vs. UCLA - Friday, 8pmMan - That is a very big spread. One that's big enough to make me think that maybe UCLA isn't a horrible pick because once Oregon gets up by a lot, it really has no reason to pile on, the Rose Bowl is its only possible destination. But then I realized I'd be putting my faith in Rick Neuheisel, and last game or not, no thanks. Pick: Oregon
Woman - "My prediction: At the start of his final game, fired UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel will rip off his shirt to reveal his 1984 SAN ANTONIO GUNSLINGERS JERSEY, SPRINT OUT ONTO THE FIELD AND, UNFAZED BY THE BAD BURRITO HE ATE FROM A TACO STAND ON LA CIENEGA, TAKE OVER AS QUARTERBACK, THROWING TO HIMSELF FOR TOUCHDOWN AFTER TOUCHDOWN UNTIL THE UCLA BOARD OF REGENTS REALIZES ITS GRIEVOUS ERROR, RUSHES TO THE SIDELINES AND ASKS, NAY, BEGS HIM TO STAY." Pick: Oregon
Machine - The Machine sees this one as a game that might be competitive-ish for a while on Friday night. It seems to think that the Bruins will experience some kind of Rick Neuheisel bump. They still lose, but only 41-28. Pick: UCLA
Houston (-14 1/2) vs. Southern Miss - Saturday, 12pmMan - This game is odd for so many reasons, one being that both head coaches are being mentioned as candidates at other schools, which can be quite a distraction. I want to pick Houston because they're undefeated and torched a good Tulsa team last week, but then I started thinking about the BCS. Wouldn't it just make sense that in the final weekend of the season the undefeated team from the non-BCS conference fell due to some kind of BCS conspiracy? I'm pretty sure Bill Hancock is a Freemason....ahh, screw it. Pick: Houston
Woman - "Picking blind here cuz the only Southern miss I know got wasted on SigEp punch and woke up on the 50 yard line the next morning. Wait. That was me." Pick: Houston
Machine - The Machine sees Case Keenum putting the final stamp on a terrific regular season, as he throws for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns as Houston wins 45-28. Pick: Houston
Pitt (-10 1/2) vs. Syracuse - Saturday, 12pmMan - Man, I seriously have no idea. Maybe it's the pressure of the situation I'm in getting to me, but I stare at this spread and it may as well be the equation on the chalkboard in Good Will Hunting. It's just a bunch of numbers and letters to me. Whatever, give me the Panthers. Pick: Pitt
Woman - "Syracuse is god awful but if there's one thing I learned watching last week's Backyard Brawl it's that every Orange defenseman should just yell "Boo!" while running towards Panthers QB Tino Sunseri, then wait for him drop to the ground and start weeping. That should keep the results within the spread, at least." Pick: Syracuse
Machine - The Machine nearly blew up after being forced to simulate two Big East games in the same week. Pitt wins 24-10. Pick: Pitt
Kansas State (-11 1/2) vs. Iowa State - Saturday, 12:30pmMan - I think Iowa State has already had its big upset bid of the season, and I don't see them being able to stop Kansas State on the road this weekend. Plus, the Cyclones offense just did not look very good at all last week. Pick: Kansas State
Woman - "Game's not being played in Oklahoma? Check. Not against a team from Oklahoma? Check." Pick: Kansas State
Machine - Can't decide if this is good or bad news for Kansas State, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time all year that The Machine has picked the Wildcats. KSU wins 27-10. Pick: Kansas State
Baylor (-2 1/2) vs. Texas - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Robert Griffin is expected to play, and although the Texas defense has been outstanding, I just don't see the Texas offense being able to keep up with the Bears for 60 minutes. Especially on the road. Pick: Baylor
Woman - "Note to Mack Brown: A television network does not a football team make." Pick: Baylor
Machine - Sorry, Baylor, The Machine just isn't buying what you're selling this season. Texas wins 27-24. Pick: Texas
LSU (-12 1/2) vs. Georgia - Saturday, 4pmMan - Here's how good LSU is: the Tigers could lose this game and then go on to lose the national title game, and I'd still probably put them at #1 on my ballot. Pick: LSU
Woman - "The only times I lost on LSU games this season were when I bet against you, Les. What was I thinking? (And by the way, I've decided to start a "DRAFT LES MILES FOR PRESIDENT" Committee, if only to see the look on his face when other candidates do really dumb things.)" Pick: LSU
Machine - The Machine doesn't really see Georgia threatening LSU in this game, but it also doesn't see much offense, and Georgia gets the cover because of it. LSU wins 14-6. Pick: Georgia
Oklahoma State (-3 1/2) vs. Oklahoma - Saturday, 8pmMan - You know that BCS conspiracy thing I mentioned with my Southern Miss pick? Yeah, well it applies here too. What's the best way to ensure that there's no debate between Oklahoma State and Alabama? Have Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State. Though I suppose that when you consider how the Sooners have dominated this rivalry through time, the conspiracy may not be necessary. Pick: Oklahoma
Woman - "This is it, Cowboys. Time to show all the naysayers why you belong in the BCS Championship. If you win, you've earned it (though it will have to be by thirty points to convince the myopic BCS voters)." Pick: Oklahoma State
Machine - The Machine sticks with the trends. Oklahoma wins 41-35. Pick: Oklahoma
Virginia Tech (-7 1/2) vs. Clemson - Saturday, 8pmMan - Clemson has already beaten Virginia Tech by 20 earlier this season, and although the Tigers haven't exactly been a good team the last few weeks, I'm still confident that they can at the very worst cover that spread on a neutral field. Pick: Clemson
Woman - "Really? This could be the game that loses me the MWM season? Pass the Maalox while I puzzle through my choices. Yeah, they crushed Virginia last week, but I still have Hokie hesitation. I'm taking a deep breath and going with Sammy Watkins plus home field advantage. Your move, Sicilian." Pick: Clemson
Machine - The Hokies get revenge and quite a bit of it, as Tech picks up a relatively easy 27-7 win. Pick: Virginia Tech
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin (-9 1/2) - Saturday, 8:17pmMan - I think we've seen the best from Michigan State already this season, and now that they're facing a Wisconsin team that's once again gotten rolling on a neutral field, I'm liking the Badgers' chances. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman - "Next stop, Rose Bowl. (Hey, guys, thanks to you for reading and to Fornelli for coming up with this competition. It's been a lot of fun. Also, thanks to CBS Sports for finally shattering the glass ceiling last week, so I can now look forward to a continued future in football prognostication.)" Pick: Wisconsin
Machine - The Machine doesn't believe in God, and therefore it does not see any Hail Mary saving the Spartans this time. Wisconsin wins 31-23, but that's a cover for Sparty. Pick: Michigan State
StandingsSeason Record (Last Week)
1. Woman 73-62 (4-6)
2. Machine 72-63 (8-2)
3. Man 71-64 (4-6)
Tags: ACC, Alabama, B.J. Daniels, Baylor, BCS, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bill Hancock, C-USA, Case Keenum, Clemson, Dana Holgorsen, Georgia, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas State, Les Miles, LSU, Mack Brown, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Michigan State, Non-BCS, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Pitt, Rick Neuheisel, Robert Griffin, Sammy Watkins, SEC, South Florida, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Texas, Tino Sunseri, Tom Fornelli, Tulsa, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:36 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 12:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
After the 50-0 humiliation at the hands of USC -- not to mention the fact that none of his four regular seasons were any better than the worst regular season turned in by fired predecessor Karl Dorrell -- it was, almost certainly, time for Rick Neuheisel to go. But say this for the UCLA head coach: he never lost his players.
You can see as much in this video from the end of Wednesday's final full practice under Neuheisel before they take on Oregon in Saturday's Pac-12 championship game. Yes, that's Neuheisel being carried off the field on his players' shoulders as they sing the UCLA fight song:
Not surprisingly, Neuheisel -- a UCLA alum and former Bruin quarterback star -- was more than a little moved by the gesture, pausing to compose himself more than once while delivering his post-practice comments to the media:
“(A better tribute) is tough to imagine but it’s meaningful when you work to create relationships and you want desperately for them to achieve what they’re capable of achieving. Despite the fact that we didn’t win enough games, I think they are achieving as people.That finish might be tough to come by against the Ducks in Autzen, the same team and location where Neuheisel's Bruins were demolished 60-13 last season. But UCLA will at least have the chance to play in a bowl game after the NCAA approved a waiver to allow them into the postseason at 6-7.
Neuheisel won't be coaching the team for that game, as interim coach Mike Johnson will have taken the reins. But after the above send-off, he's already got an ending as happy as this season was going to allow.
HT: Dr. Saturday
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 5:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So it turns out that no matter what happens in Friday night's inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game, it will not be the final time UCLA plays this season. The NCAA announced on Wednesday that it had approved UCLA's bowl waiver petition.
“As a program, we appreciate the NCAA approving our petition for a bowl waiver,” said UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero in a release. “We will be able to give our 18 seniors one more chance to represent their university and end their collegiate careers on a high note, regardless of the outcome of this Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game. We’d like to thank the NCAA for considering the unique situation in which we find ourselves this year and rewarding us with this opportunity.”
The reason this was in question was because UCLA finished the regular season at 6-6, in second place in the Pac-12's South Division, but due to USC's postseason ban, the Bruins were the team to move on to the championship game. Well, if UCLA loses that game against heavily-favored Oregon, the Bruins would be 6-7 on the season, and teams with losing records aren't normally allowed to play in bowl games.
That is, not without a waiver from the NCAA.
As for where UCLA would play in a bowl game, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm currently has the Bruins projected to face Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.