Tag:Florida
Posted on: November 2, 2009 2:16 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2009 5:11 pm
 

Florida pleads an eye for an eye

Half a game? Wow. What would have happened if Brandon Spikes had succeeded in actually removing Washaun Ealey's eyeball from its socket?

God forbid, Spikes would have to sit three quarters.

Instead, Florida coach Urban Meyer sat down his star linebacker for the first half of Saturday's Vanderbilt game. Videos on YouTube outed Spikes on Sunday afternoon. From there on, it was clear Florida had to do something. Shame on the SEC, which had the final say in the matter, accepted the penalty as is.

Conspiracy theorists you may once again start your engines. Florida is protected -- this time against the league doormat. It's a good thing this wasn't the week of the Alabama game, Spikes would be, gulp, running steps.

In the wire story, Meyer mentions something about Spikes getting eye gouged early in the game, as if that is any excuse at all. That sounds like the logic speeders tell the cop that stops them: "Everybody else was doing it."

What Meyer did -- or didn't do -- was an insult to Georgia. Just when this "rivalry" was cooling down, the Dawgs have reason to hate again -- if they can ever get within three touchdowns.

Spikes deserved to be suspended a full game, at least. Maybe more. Spikes has apologized. That's a good start, 48 hours later. Thank goodness for hi-def TV or we wouldn't have seen this assault.

We're told that eye gouging is part of the game, much like a punch to the package. That doesn't mean it's right and certainly doesn't mean it's right when someone did it to you first.

C'mon Urban, we expected more of you and your star linebacker.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 1, 2009 8:52 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Stunning stat of the day: At least one former Miami player has scored a touchdown in 112 straight weeks of NFL play dating back to week 15 of 2002.

BCS ramblings: Iowa is a heartbeat away from the presidency at No. 4 in the BCS. Here’s how it gets to the title game: LSU upsets Bama this week (Tigers have won five of the last six overall and the last three in a row in T-town) and then beats Florida in the SEC championship game. That opens up a spot for the Hawkeyes vs. Texas.

It’s looking worse for Notre Dame, 6-2. At 22, the Irish are the second-lowest ranked two-loss team in the BCS top 25. It will get some bump for beating No. 13 Pittsburgh, but that’s about it. It has to get to No. 14 in the final standings to be “eligible” which for Notre Dame would mean a BCS bowl bid.

It doesn’t help that eight of the nine teams above Notre Dame all have a chance to run the table. That could block out the Irish even if they win out.

 If you don’t vote Case Keenum No. 1 this week for the Heisman, you’re high.

There, I said it. The kid has accomplished more than Jimmy Clausen and is more consistent than Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy. The Houston quarterback’s Heisman moment came Saturday in the final minute when he tossed the winning touchdown pass to beat Southern Miss.

That ended one of the best games by a quarterback this season. Keenum completed 44 of 54 game for 559 yards and five touchdowns. Oh yeah, he’s the second most accurate passer in the country too.

The Cougs also ran for 191 yards. That’s 750 yards in total offense. I know it probably isn’t going to happen, but I’d love to see Houston in a BCS game against a defense like Texas’. The Longhorns beat Texas-El Paso 64-7, the only team that has defeated Houston. Strange.

2. Ryan Mathews, Fresno State – The nation’s leading rusher went for 185 yards against an aggressive Utah State defense to keep the national rushing lead. Mathews was able to return after a third-quarterback hit that reportedly bruised his ribs. “Probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit,” he said.

Mathews has run for 1,316 yards despite not playing a couple of fourth quarters.

3. Iowa defense – Your offense turns it over six times. Your quarterback throws four interceptions in one quarter. The Iowa D deserves some sort of recognition for a couple of pick sixes that might have been the difference in the Hawkeyes’ 42-24 win over Indiana.

Las Vegas should just get it over with and list Iowa as a pick ‘em in every remaining game. Team Turnover is that flaky.


4. Tim Tebow – The question is not whether Tebow can play in the NFL. The question is whether he will be alive to play in the NFL. You saw my Saturday column. I love the kid, but good Lord, 84 rushes in four games after a concussion? His excellence against Georgia proved once again that Tebow is pretty much all Florida has on offense, or at least that’s what the coaching staff believes.

Two rushing touchdowns by Superman shot him past Herschel Walker for SEC lead in career rushing touchdowns, 51.

5. Kellen Moore, Boise State – A trip to New York would be Boise’s consolation prize for missing out on a BCS bowl in consecutive years. Moore has 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Also consider Golden Tate. He's still the best Notre Dame player, not Jimmy Clausen. Had an effective game against Washington State.

 A Tennessee radio guy FOI’d (Freedom of Information Act) the Mike Slive letter to Lane Kiffin on Friday. The contents of it are out there. It’s good reading.

In case you missed it, the SEC commish brought the hammer down on Friday threatening suspensions and fines if there is any more criticism of league officials. He seemed to call out Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin who is going from the reprimand hat trick. Remember him erroneously saying that Urban Meyer “cheated” in the recruiting of Nu’Keese Richardson?

``It is your responsibility as a coach to comply with the policies of the Southeastern Conference and to know the football playing rules …,” Slive wrote.

``Since it is clear from your public comments that you believe this letter `mean(s) nothing,' let me be equally as clear to you. The next time you, or a member of your staff, make public comments of this nature, you will be suspended from all coaching duties for one or more games, and the institution may be subjected to a substantial fine … ''


``I also remind you that this is your second public reprimand in your brief tenure as Tennessee's head football coach, and on both occasions, you were wrong about the applicable rules.''

Bam, zing, boom!

 

Posted on: November 1, 2009 9:48 am
 

Early BCS standings

The top three teams in the BCS standings seemingly will remain that way when the rankings are released Sunday night.

Jerry Palm was projecting Sunday morning that Florida will be No. 1, followed by Alabama and Texas. Once again, the order of the top three doesn’t matter as long as they keep winning. Alabama and Florida are on track to play in the SEC championship game. Texas cleared its last, most significant hurdle with a 41-14 victory at Oklahoma State.

Iowa looks like it is going to remain fourth after a win over Indiana that featured six turnovers. The biggest news might be how Boise State and TCU end up. TCU beat UNLV 41-0 but Boise State might vault the Horned Frogs this week because of Oregon’s success. The Broncos will continue to get a schedule strength bump as long as the Ducks keep winning.  Boise State beat Oregon on opening night 19-8.

Oregon, 7-1, should be the highest ranked one-loss team. Palm had the Ducks at No. 8 Sunday morning.

Palm's updated top seven before the human polls were released later on Sunday:

1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Texas
4. Iowa
5. Boise State
6. TCU
7. Cincinnati

Fox will reveal the new BCS standings in a 10-second flash tonight between 7:15 pm.-8 p.m.

Posted on: October 31, 2009 5:48 pm
 

Slive on SEC officials

Just talked to SEC commissioner Mike Slive at the Florida-Georgia game.

Without saying the actual words, he agreed that he is going to be iron fisted in enforcing his new edict on criticizing officials. After two rookie head coaches in the SEC (Dan Mullen and Lane Kiffin) and one second-year guy (Bobby Petrino) had popped off, Slive said he felt like he had to “change the culture.”

On Friday, Slive said any further criticism of officials would result in suspensions or fines.

Slive also told me that some Tennessee media outlet had filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain his reprimand letter to Kiffin. It’s out there, somewhere, I’m still checking cyberspace.

The commish seemed rather pleased that his letter had become public.

“Go read it,” he said.

We will.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, Georgia
 
Posted on: October 30, 2009 5:15 pm
 

SEC brings the wood

What if an airliner went down in your backyard? Noah’s flood came roaring down the street? How about snow in July?

The SEC would ask you to ignore the obvious tragedy, moisture and cold.

There have been plenty of all three lately in the Southeastern Conference which is more famous this season for what its officials haven’t done than what its teams have accomplished.

This being the world’s best amateur football league, officiating gaffes aren’t met with simple disdain by coaches and fans. They are viewed as tragedy – wrecking a team’s season; moisture – tears of gut-wrenching anger and cold – as in the temperature of the shoulder given the league office which oversees the zebras.

The ongoing story took another turn on Friday when the SEC said it would begin fining and suspending coaches who criticize officials. Forget the reprimands that have done as much good as a rubber knife in a gun fight. Commissioner Mike Slive made a point of saying after the next outburst -- anywhere by anyone -- things would escalate “right to suspensions and fines.” He was empowered by the conferences CEOs and ADs who basically gave him carte blanche to step up the penalties.

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was incensed after perceived missed calls against Florida. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen vigorously ripped officials who didn’t rule that Florida linebacker Dustin Doe fumbled before scoring a touchdown on an interception. (To be fair, I still can’t tell after watching multiple replays. Without overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the call was correct.)

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin is working on the hat trick having been reprimanded twice this year. After critiquing officials’ failings in last week’s Alabama game, he practically begged for more from the conference saying he wasn’t concerned with “one of those letters”.

The outbursts had the effect of putting out fire with gasoline. Fans have reacted predictably. They screamed everything from conspiracy – critics have suggested that the league is helping Bama and Florida keep the team’s BCS and national championship hopes alive – to incompetency.

Nothing new there. All fans think their conference’s officials are the worst.

Throughout it all, the SEC has shown unprecedented transparency. For the first time it publicly admitted officiating errors and suspending the crew that worked the Gators-Hogs game. The cut was two ways, though, as the coaches were called out too.  

While the transparency has been refreshing and appreciated (at least by the media), the SEC just made a U turn. It is asking coaches to ignore that smoldering jet in the backyard, the rush of water coming down the street and snowflakes in summer.

What’s obvious to everyone else, will now be a conference secret. What bugs me is that there is no wriggle room. What is this, Havana? A conference spokesman told me that the commissioner can act with “discretion.”  What I want to know is a simple, “I didn’t agree with the call,” going to be met with a suspension or a fine? It’s clear the public vetting of officiating errors is about to end. There’s nothing like a suspension or going into a coach’s wallet to shut him up.

Still, it seems heavy handed and a bit reactionary. What disturbs me is that there will continue to be officiating goof-ups. It's human nature. The current point of emphasis on flagrant fouls and excessive celebration is asking for controversy. Ask a thousand people to define an excessive celebration or a flagrant personal foul and you might get 500 different answers.

As it is, officials are asked to make snap judgments. They don’t have the benefit of instant replay. They’re not professionals. These guys are contract workers who love what they do. There are no conspiracies.

Now they’re protected by the coaches’ lack of free speech because the SEC presidents and ADs have spoken.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: October 28, 2009 3:47 pm
 

National notes

This is why we love college football

 Absolutely no regrets for Sam Bradford. Great kid, great athlete. We’ll miss you, buddy.

Strange that Blake Griffin is one of Bradford’s closest friends and the two have been injured together again. They both suffered concussions while in college. Within a few days of Bradford making his announcement, Griffin was knocked out with a broken kneecap suffered in a Los Angeles Clippers preseason game.

 What exactly is the threshold for the SEC to get into coaches pockets for some of the recent criticism of officials. In the past week Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen have been reprimanded for criticizing league officials.

All three seemed to have a gripe as the league deals with what seems to be a growing crisis of credibility with its zebras. But there is only one thing that will silence coaches – fines. For commissioner Mike Slive, the crisis is getting out of hand. The Marc Curles crew that was suspended for the Florida-Arkansas debacle returns in two weeks. Given today’s viral media society, that occasion is going to be treated in the South like the bankruptcy of the Waffle House chain.

It ain’t going to be popular.

Here are some compelling comments from SEC officials’ supervisor Rogers Redding who appears on “The Tony Barnhart Show” this week on CBS College Sports.

“We understand that people are going to make mistakes. We’re human, we make mistakes.  It’s fair game to question the officials’ judgment.  It’s fair game to question their knowledge of the rules.  It’s fair game to question their mechanics that they use in terms of where they are on the field. 

“But when you question their integrity, that crosses the line.  That’s where I part company with those who are criticizing football officials, because the integrity is absolutely there.  We manage it.  We insist on it.  And I would put the integrity of every football official I know now or have ever known up against any other profession or anybody in the world...I think criticism of integrity is over the top and it’s unacceptable.” 
 

 Did Larry Scott, then, overreact? Judge for yourself whether the Pac-10 commissioner was fair in suspended an official for “missing” this penalty against Oregon State.

In real time, it’s hard to determine how James Rodgers’ helmet comes off. With so many helmets flying off these days, it’s almost less likely that USC’s Taylor Mays would have ripped it off. On the replay you can see what happened.

My question is, would Scott have suspended the official had not all these shenanigans been going on in the SEC?


 As long as we’re on the subject of assistant coaches of the year (see Wednesday's notes lead), let’s do the top five:

1. Monte Kiffin, Tennessee – If Lane gets anything going on offense in future years, Monte is going to work ‘em silly. Thanks mostly to Monte’s ability to hold the Vols in games, Tennessee has lost to the SEC’s two best teams by a total of 12 points on the road. Bama and Florida have been held to a combined average of 17.5 points. The last time a Volunteer defense was that successful against its two big rivals was 2006.

2. Mark Whipple, Miami – This is not the place to come if you want to read a bad word about Miami’s new offensive coordinator. The journeyman assistant has single-handedly made Jacory Harris a legitimate Heisman candidate. Everywhere he goes offenses improve. Don’t blame him for the Clemson loss. The Canes lost for only the second time 115 games when scoring at least 37 points.

3. Dick Bumpas, TCU – Spoke at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday and one of the first questions was how soon Arkansas could hire TCU’s defensive coordinator. The veteran defensive guru is at the top of his game. While he doesn’t call a defense that head coach Gary Patterson doesn’t sign off on, Bumpus gets credit for assembling four consecutive top 15 defenses (currently No. 5). Defensive end Jerry Hughes is a slam-dunk All-American.

4. Charlie Strong, Florida – You’ve read here and other places why Strong should be a head coach. The game’s institutional prejudice continues.  But Strong has stayed strong with what might be the nation’s best defense. Odd, that with Tebow, Harvin and others in the past, Florida might win its third title in four years because of defense.

5. Will Muschamp, Texas – So tired of d-coordinators skipping town, Texas paid Muschamp $900,000 a year and made him Mack Brown’s coach-in-waiting. Muschamp is so white hot that some school might buy him out from Texas and make him a head coach before Mack, who shows no sign of slowing down, retires. With Muschamp calling plays, this has a chance to be one of Texas’ best defense in – decades?

Three to think about …

Ron Powlus, quarterbacks coach, Notre Dame – Yeah, yeah Charlie calls the plays but Mr. Two Heisman deserves credit for getting Jimmy Clausen’s head around the minefield that can be being Notre Dame’s quarterback.

Jeremy Bates, quarterbacks coach, USC – Matt Barkley is a 6-0 as a freshman starter.

Norm Parker, defensive coordinator, Iowa – The Hawkeyes are challenging for a Big Ten and national championship because of a dominant defense.

 If Oklahoma State upsets Texas this week, we might be looking at an Oklahoma State-TCU Fiesta Bowl. Bet the BCS commissioners never thought of that possibility, in a major bowl, when they created the system.

 Anybody hear anything from Orrin Hatch this week? Boise and TCU both have a shot a national championship. They still need teams above them to lose but in that respect nothing has changed from the pre-BCS days. The fact is that without the BCS, those schools wouldn’t even be in the title discussion this late in the season.

 

Posted on: October 25, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 7:05 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Oh, Good Lord, are we going to do this again? SEC officials are suffering a crisis of confidence.

 In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, it might be time to rip Tim Tebow.

The Chosen One refused to speak to reporters after throwing two pick sixes in Saturday’s 29-19 victory. Tebow has been so good for so long to everyone – especially the media – that it’s hard to question him but players only have one chance to get it right win or lose. You either show up and face the journalistic music or you look bad.

To be fair, the postgame setup at Mississippi State is bad. It was hard to sequester Tebow because he was being surrounded by fans and even security personnel who wanted autographs. But … he is arguably the best player in the country.

Tim, if you were pouting, get over it. Life, and football, are going to get a lot tougher. Enjoy college while you can.

 In football terms, don’t blame the national media for being tough on suddenly vulnerable Florida. Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley summarized things on Sunday after an ugly win over Mississippi State.
.

I can’t explain why the players made bad decisions.
I can’t explain why this team is hard to watch.
I can’t explain why Florida only throws the ball to two receivers.
I can’t explain why Tebow still takes sacks out of the pocket instead of throwing it away.
I can’t explain how Tebow could score more points for the maroon and white than he did for the orange and blue.

 Wait until Lane Kiffin gets everything in place. The Great Gum Flapper has lost to supposedly the two best teams in the country by a total of 12 points, both on the road.

And I don’t want to hear about positioning the ball better for Daniel (one for four) Lincoln. If you would have offered any Tennessee fan before the game a chance at a game-winning 44-yard field goal at the gun, he/she would have taken it.

 Clemson and Miami have gone into overtime in their last three meetings. Clemson won in 2004, Miami took a three-overtime decision in ’05 and the teams played that epic on Saturday night.  The upshot of Clemson’s 40-37 win this weekend: The ACC might have lost a second BCS bowl.

 Here are my 12 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback, not in any order)

Case Keenum, Houston
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Tim Tebow, Florida
matt Barkley, USC
Darryl Clark, Penn State
Colt McCoy, Texas
Andy Dalton, TCU
Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Jacoby Harris, Miami
Bill Stull, Pittsburgh
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State

 Bob Griese straddles the racist remark line.

 Playing it close: What is Notre Dame’s margin of error? Almost nothing. In its last six games Notre Dame has outscored the opposition 175-169. It is even in yards 2,559-2,559.

 Northwestern is Notre Dame Jr. It has had four games decided by six points or fewer after sneaking out a 29-28 win over Indiana.

 Same old thing for South Florida which is in the middle of its usual October Swoon. Since entering the polls two weeks ago, the Bulls have been outscored 75-31 against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Panthers haven’t been 7-1 since 1982. Dan Marino was a senior and Pitt – it was known as that then – was ranked No. 1.

The no B.S., etc., etc., blah, blah, you know the drill, Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston – Steady in 23-point victory over SMU. Still the most important quarterback in the country (sorry Tim Tebow)
2. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh – 111 yards against South Florida overshadowing emerging teammate Bill Stull.
3. Colt McCoy, Texas – Horns can’t run and play defense pretty well. Without McCoy they wouldn’t be undefeated. Three touchdowns vs. Missouri
4. Golden Tate, Notre Dame – Somebody has to be catching all those Jimmy Clausen passes. Tate is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the country.
5. C.J. Spiller, all-purpose, Clemson – The ACC’s career leader in that category went for 300 yards all-purpose to help upset Miami.
 

Posted on: October 23, 2009 11:24 am
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:49 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Montana coach Bobby Hauck has disgraced his profession. Wonder why the American Football Coaches Association hasn't weighed in on this issue...Let's see, because it condones this conduct by ignorning it. Bullying students, real nice Bobby ... 

Let’s see, the SEC officials blew in the Florida-Arkansas game. Then, Bobby Petrino is reprimanded for reminding them that they blew it. The SEC can’t suspend the officials and reprimand Petrino at the same time. Only the SEC can tell Marc Curles he is wrong?

 There’s tough and there’s SEC tough: Since suffering a broken jaw and concussion on Oct. 3 against LSU, Georgia tailback Caleb King has missed one game while subsisting on a liquid diet. King scored two touchdowns against last week against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are off this week before the Cocktail Party on Oct. 31.

 Whatever happened to that Sam Bradford press conference to announce his future? Love this stat: Three starting Big 12 quarterbacks have started against Texas. Three Big 12 starting quarterbacks have not finished this games.

 WWL saw USC’s Matt Barkley on some Heisman lists this week. Check the Pac-10 first. Barks isn’t even the best freshman quarterback in his own league. Stanford’s Andrew Luck has thrown for almost 1,600 yards with nine touchdowns.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis (fourth in rushing) is the only freshman in the top 22 in rushing.

 National rushing leader Ryan Mathews of Fresno State is on pace to rush for almost 2,000 yards. Four of the six rush defenses he will face the remainder of the season are ranked 98th or worse against the run (New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Illinois).

Looking ahead to next week:  Florida-Georgia in the Cocktail Party. Dawgs get to rest up this week. Florida is at Mississippi State. Tebow plays his last Georgia game.

 USC at Oregon. Trojans haven’t won in the state of Oregon since 2005 and need this one to stay in the Pac-10 and national championship hunt. Beavers, though, could end USC’s seven-year run of dominance with a win.

Texas at Oklahoma State. Cowboys thought they should have beaten the Horns last year in Austin. If they win in Stillwater, Pokes take control of the Big 12 South.

 
 
 
 
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