Tag:USC
Posted on: November 8, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2009 12:14 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

After watching that replay again from Alabama, how can a reasonable person rule that wasn’t an interception? I’m expecting something out of the SEC office in the next couple of days.

Why I like Alabama on game day … “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on and immediately everyone on University Ave. starts jukin’ and yellin’. Ever see 10,000 folks do the Bama version of the River Dance?

Why I like Alabama on game day II … The houndstooth 1) skirts and 2) beer coozies.

Why I like Alabama on game day III … Yes, they were taking pictures of me as I was in makeup prior to my appearance on CBS College Sports’ SEC Tailgate. You people must find some meaning in your lives.

Get ready for a noisy Boise: The way things are sorting out, an undefeated Boise State is going to be beaten out for a BCS bowl by a two-loss team from one of the power conferences, p.r. firm or not.

The BCS bowl matchups began to get into sharper focus when Iowa lost and Alabama won. Here’s out it works:

The automatic qualifiers are down these teams …

Big Ten: Iowa/Ohio State. The teams plays this week in Columbus so that will sort itself out. Both teams have lost once. Saturday's winner most likely goes to the Rose Bowl.

Big 12: Texas will play either Kansas State or Nebraska from the North Division. K-State controls its own destiny after beating Kansas. Texas might be cruising but could get some blowback at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving or from Nebraska or K-State in the Big 12 title game.

SEC: Alabama vs. Florida in the SEC title game. If they teams stay undefeated before Dec. 5, the winner plays for the national championship. The loser most likely goes to the Sugar Bowl.

ACC: Still a mess but Georgia Tech is the conference’s only one loss team and leads the Coastal Division. Clemson controls its fate in the Atlantic Division. The ACC winner most likely goes to the Orange Bowl.

Big East: Cincinnati is undefeated but still has tough games left against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. With no conference championship game to hinder it, the Bearcats could be headed to the Sugar Bowl to face the Alabama-Florida loser.

Pac-10: It looks as if Oregon, Arizona or Stanford will go to the Rose. The Wildcats and Ducks meet Nov. 21 in Tucson. Despite the letdown loss at Stanford, Oregon still seems to have the advantage. Arizona still has its toughest games to play (Cal, USC, Arizona State). Stanford has to get past USC and Cal before meeting Notre Dame in the regular-season finale,

That leaves four at-large berths. Notre Dame is out after losing to Navy. If TCU stays undefeated and ahead of Boise State in the BCS, it will go, most likely, to the Fiesta Bowl. As mentioned, the Florida-Alabama loser should gobble up a Sugar Bowl spot.  If USC wins out it could get the other Fiesta Berth at 10-2.

That leaves an undefeated Boise having to fight off a two-loss team from a major conference in order to get to the BCS. Things being what they are, which is the same for the past 50 years in this situation, the Orange Bowl most likely would pick a 10-2 Penn State to play the ACC champion.

Sorry Broncos.

Name this team: Its last conference championship came in 2003. Since then it has been a mixed bag. This program has changed coaches twice, beaten Texas twice and produced a quarterback drafted in the first round. This year alone it has given up 66 points to Texas Tech, lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and, amazingly,  is in first place in its division.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Kansas State, 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 North after beating Kansas 17-10. In Bill Snyder’s second term as coach, the Wildcats need only beat Nebraska in its final two games to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game.

Snyder is getting some run for Big 12 coach of the year. We’re fairly sure no COY has lost to Texas Tech by 54 and lost to a fourth-place Sun Belt team in the same season.


USC decline: Before Saturday’s 14-9 victory over Arizona State, USC had allowed 110 points in its last three games. That’s the most in a three-game stretch ever. The Trojans had allowed 113 points combined in the previous 14 games.


Breaking down the big boys: Now that a Florida-Alabama rematch is assured, here’s the three-minute eval of the SEC title game slightly less than a month away.

Advantage Alabama: A better running game (I think) and the revenge motive for last year’s classic loss in Atlanta.

Advantage Florida: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. As long as he’s taking snaps, Florida has a chance.

Advantage Florida: Defense. By a hair. This is going to be another matchup of the ages. Charlie Strong vs. Nick Saban/Kirby Smart. At this point Florida’s unit seems a bit more active.

Advantage Alabama: Special teams. With Javier Arenas returning kicks and Terrence Cody blocking them, give the Crimson Tide the edge. Kicker Leigh Tiffin is more than reliable. If you’re looking for an edge, this is it. Games like this tend to turn on special teams.

Stuff: SMU needed three blocked kicks to beat Rice and move to within one win of bowl eligibility. The Ponies last went bowling pre-death penalty in 1984 … Alabama hasn’t been 9-0 in consecutive seasons since 1973-74 … In its last 39 home games, Cal is 0-7 against Oregon State and USC, 32-0 against everyone else … My God, did you see Cal’s Jahvid Best suffer that concussion while diving into the end zone? Coach Jeff Tedford actually said his guy was “OK.” No, coach, he’s not OK. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Best’s season is over … Who knew UCLA had lost seven conference games in a row before beating  Washington?

The right now, no B.S., up to the moment Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston. Another last-second win, this time over Tulsa. In his last two games Keenum has thrown for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. Any questions? My goal in life is to get this kid a trip to New York. He’s earned it. In a perfect world, he’d win the Stiff Arm but because he plays at a Conference USA school it probably isn’t going to happen.

2. Mark Ingram, Alabama. It’s the KIIS system – Keep It Ingram, Stupid. After throwing 25 passes in the first half, Nick Saban changed tactics and had Ingram carry it 16 games in the second half against LSU. The result was 144 yards.

3. Colt McCoy, Texas. It was only Central Florida but McCoy continued a recent uptick with 469 passing yards. McCoy was removed from the game with nine minutes left four yards shy of the school passing record (Major Applewhite, 473 yards in the 2001 Holiday Bowl).

Funny thing, Applewhite might have the school record but because the NCAA didn’t recognize bowl stats back then it officially doesn’t exist. What makes things more annoying is that a few years ago the NCAA started counting bowl stats. I still contend that an intern at each school in the country could go back and add in all the bowl numbers.

The NCAA explains that current record holders would have their names expunged if records were updated. Tough! You count all the numbers, not just some of them.

4. Toby Gerhart, Stanford. Coach Jim Harbaugh is preaching physicality. Gerhart pounded Oregon for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-42 win.

5. C.J. Spiller, Clemson. If the Tigers are going to win their first ACC title in 18 years, Spiller is going to be the reason. He went for a school-record 312 all-purpose yards against Florida State.

Posted on: October 29, 2009 5:00 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2009 5:01 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley is back after being suspended for a week for punching an assistant. After losing $29,000 in pay, Locksley returns in time for the winless Lobos to go to San Diego State ... The nation’s leading rusher, Fresno junior Ryan Mathews, is weighing his NFL options. Mathews says if he is rated in the top 40 he might go. The Bulldogs host Utah State ... The last time Georgia beat a No. 1 team was 14 years ago in the Cocktail Party, 24-3 over the Gators …

 For all the hype over USC-Oregon we’ve forgotten about Arizona. The Wildcats, off this week, control this own destiny in the Pac-10. They are the only Pac-10 team not to get to the Rose Bowl … Rapper Li’l Wayne has referenced Tennessee’s coach in his new song “Banned from TV.” A sample lyric: “Smoke weed, talk (bleep) like Coach Kiffin,” …

Clemson (4-3, 3-2) controls its destiny in the ACC Atlantic but first it must get bowl eligible. There will be progress toward that goal this week against Coastal Carolina … Further on the Clemson tip: C.J. Spiller is now tied for the NCAA career record for kickoff returns for touchdowns, six …

Duke (at Virginia) has back-to-back conference wins for the first time since 1994, which also happens to be the last season the Blue Devils went to a bowl … Ohio State stages a scrimmage this week. New Mexico State is last in total defense and second-worst in scoring … As of late Thursday, Cincinnati (at Syracuse) still didn't know if quarterback Tony Pike will be able to go.

 

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.

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.

Posted on: October 17, 2009 11:37 pm
 

Early BCS projection

Best guess on the early BCS standings: 1. Florida; 2. Alabama; 3. Texas;  4. USC; 5. Cincinnati; 6. Iowa.

1. Florida – Barely survived a supreme effort by Arkansas. Won’t lose the top spot for playing it close.
2. Alabama – Impressive, head-knocking 20-6 win over South Carolina.
3. Texas – Still lots of questions about this offense.
4. USC – Why can’t USC schedule Notre Dame ever year? Wait, it does.
5. Cincinnati – Most impressive win of the weekend among the contenders over South Florida on the road.
6. Iowa – Annoyingly good.

  Alabama has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. It might be developing one with tailback Mark Ingram. Bear would have been proud of Ingram’s Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards.

  Line of the night (not from me): Notre Dame wins, 27-34!

  Kansas State became the first team I can remember that gave up 60 points one week (66-14 loss to Texas Tech) then followed it by scoring 60 points (62-14 over Texas A&M).

  Cardiac Jimmy Clausen is now 3-2 in cardiac games. Feel free to weigh in. Can Notre Dame get to the BCS with a 10-2 having beaten no ranked teams? Doubtful.

  Team of the week: At 6-1, Idaho is bowl eligible. Coach Robb Akey would like to give a shout out of Tom Cable who put the Fightin’ in Fightin’ Vandals. Cable coached Idaho from 2000-2004 (11-35).

  This Bobby Petrino is coming along nicely. The Hogs did it with defense in The Swamp -- Six sacks, four forced fumbles.

  Looks like Terrelle Pryor ran into a bunch of Ndamukong Suhs: five sacks, two interceptions, two fumbles.

  After beating Colorado State 44-6, TCU is 57-1 under Gary Patterson when holding the opposition to 17 points or less. That one loss came last year in Utah, 13-10.

Posted on: October 15, 2009 12:05 pm
 

One-Double-Hey!

Division I-AA was created in 1978, in part, to give disenfranchised smaller programs more attention. The NCAA even promised at the time that the new division would get more TV coverage because it was segregated from the big boys. The the big eye in the sky had to pay attention, right?

Not so much. I-AA, appallingly renamed the Football Championship Subdivision a couple of years ago, has become become a money-making venture – for Division I-A. The division exists basically to except paychecks and guarantee victories for their big brothers. Call them, what you want – bodybag games, Johnny Paycheck contests. We know this with the announcement that Washington will play Eastern Washington next season. That leaves only three programs that have never played a I-AA – USC, Notre Dame and UCLA. The Irish and Trojans will celebrate that fact by holding a fundraiser in the parking lot before they play their uber-game Saturday in South Bend.

No? We’ll just have to go back to watching all those nationally televised I-AA mis-matchups.

 

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