Tag:USC
Posted on: December 10, 2008 12:44 am
 

National notes

My Heisman ballot:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy

I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.

I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?

It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.

The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.

(Two voters did not want their names used)

The rest of the national awards, etc.


MVP: McCoy

There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.

Best quarterback: Bradford

This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.

Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa

The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.

Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech


Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.


Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.

The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?

Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.

He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.

Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.

Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.

Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati

You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.

Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?

Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?

Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Staff of the year: Penn State

The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.

With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.

Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.

Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.

Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o. 

Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.

Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.

The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?

Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.

Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.

Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.

Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.

The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.

Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC

You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.

Best stories:

Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)

Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban

Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.

Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.

Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.

Coaches in waiting.

Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).

The end of a Bowden (Tommy).

The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).

The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).

Joe's hip.

Charlie's knee.

Nate Davis' gloves.

Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."

Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.

The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).

Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 offenses.

Big 12 top 10 games each week.

The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.

The tie in the Big 12 South.

The cry that followed.

Politcking.

Text messages.

The high road.

Running it up.

Calling off the dogs. 

Flyovers.

"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.

That's a good way to end it, for now.

 

 

Posted on: December 8, 2008 7:38 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2008 11:22 am
 

Random thoughts on a football Monday

Colt McCoy is the Heisman leader in the prestigious Rocky Mountain News poll. Yours truly voted in it this season.

 Nagurski Award (best defensive player) went to a Big 12 player? Texas' Brian Orakpo was sixth in sacks and 11th in tackles for loss. Okaaay ....

 

CBSSports.com's All-America team (including our defensive player of the year) will be released on Friday.


 Once again, one person didn't vote in the Harris poll. That made it three times this season someone was missing from the 114-person panel.


 Eighteen coaches voted for their own school in the coaches poll. The individual ballots were released  Monday in USA Today. There were some interesting results.

--Oregon's Mike Bellotti voted for Cal (No. 25) but Cal coach Mike Tedford did not.

--North Carolina finished with six points in the coaches poll. Two of them came from coach Butch Davis who voted the Tar Heels No. 24.

--Mike Leach voted Oklahoma No. 1, Texas Tech No. 2 and Texas No. 5. No. 5? That at least equaled the lowest ranking of the Longhorns among the 61 voters.

--Nebraska got all of five points in the poll. Four of them came from coach Bo Pelini who slotted his Huskers No. 21.

--Most overrated team by a coach: Missouri. Gary Pinkel had his Tigers at No. 18. They barely stayed in both polls.

--Three five-loss teams finished with votes -- Kansas, Rutgers and Buffalo.

 Here are the combined top five of the seven Big 12 coaches who voted in the coaches poll. This is an issue, of course, because Texas finished .01816 of a point out of the BCS title game.

 

1. Oklahoma (five first-place votes)
2. Texas (1)
3. Florida (1)
4. Alabama
5. USC

The seven are: Art Briles, Baylor; Mack Brown, Texas; Dan Hawkins, Colorado; Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Gene Chizik, Iowa State; Bo Pelini, Nebraska. Only Chizik and Mack Brown had Texas ahead of Oklahoma on their ballots. Briles, Hawkins, Leach, Pinkel and Pelini voted Oklahoma No. 1.

Four coaches voted Texas No. 1 in the coaches poll. Amazingly, one of them wasn't Mack Brown: Chizik, Todd Dodge, North Texas; Rick Neuhiesel, UCLA; Mike Price, Texas-El Paso.

Chizik worked for Brown. Dodge played at Texas. Price played Texas this year was grateful for the Horns coming and filling his stadium. Neuheisel is the head scratcher but a lot of stuff The Rickster does causes us to scratch our heads.

 How my BIG playoff would have looked in 2006 and 2007:

 


2007

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 8 West Virginia
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 5 Missouri
No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 7 Kansas
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 USC

2006

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 8 Oklahoma
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 7 Auburn
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Boise State

 The old lady next to us offered us a drink, she was guzzling gin out of a thermos. That much I remember from the last time the Cardinals won a division. Back in 1975 they were the St. Louis Cardinals and I was just out of high school.

 

Friend Jack Scanlan and I somehow scored tickets in the bleachers at old Busch Stadium to what was then the biggest football game in The Loo's history.  On a cold, cold day, Jackie Smith caught a touchdown pass and the Cardinals of Jim Hart, Terry Metcalf and Mel Gray beat the Giants 14-6.

It was a bigger deal then than it was today in Arizona. The Cardinals migrated from Chicago in 1960 and spent 27 mostly-frustrating seasons in my hometown. I still follow the Cards enough to know that the Bidwells are still the Bidwells.  Cheap and clueless.

Good on ya to Arizona, though. The city deserves a team to fit that magnificent stadium.

And, no, take the old lady up on her offer. I was only 18, besides I'm a vodka man.

Posted on: December 7, 2008 1:16 am
Edited on: December 7, 2008 11:08 am
 

2009 BCS bowls

One-hundred one days after it began, the 2008 season is over. I'm as exhausted as the 75,000 fans in the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Now onto bowl season.

A quick look at the BCS matchup:

 

BCS title game -- Oklahoma vs. Florida. The best shootout in bowl history? Florida has a more complete team. Will its D be able to shut down the nation's highest scoring team.

Sugar Bowl -- Alabama vs. Utah. We'll see how Nick's mental toughness holds up after a huge disappointment.

Fiesta Bowl -- Texas vs. Ohio State. Letters, e-mails, TV ads, flyovers. You'll see it all this month with Texas trying to get a share of the national title.

Rose Bowl -- USC vs. Penn State. You want excitment? See if JoePa ends up on the sidelines.

Orange Bowl -- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech. This isn't a BCS matchup, its an Astro Bluebonnet Bowl from 1984.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: December 5, 2008 6:21 pm
 

Latest from theSEC championship game

ATLANTA -- Florida receiver Percy Harvin remains questionable for Saturday's SEC championship game.

While Florida coach Urban Meyer said the Gators' biggest home-run threat would be evaluated after a Friday afternoon practice.
 
"We're going to hold him until everyone leaves (practice) then we're going to make an evaluation after that," Meyer said.

Harvin suffered a high ankle sprain last week against Florida State.  Harvin's health is the No. 1 subject around the SEC championship game which will determine one of the participants in the BCS title game. The often-injured star averages only 8.7 touches per game but leads the Gators in receiving and is second in rushing.

He was named to the American Football Coaches Association All-American team this week.


 Sometimes you have to find out what you don't want to do.

That's what happened to Steve Sarkisian who will be named the new Washington coach some time after Saturday's season ender at UCLA. It was just a short time ago when USC's offensive coordinator was Al Davis' No. 1 choice to become the Raiders coach.

I was sitting in his office shortly after his marathon interview. The crotchety Davis is thorough, if you consider thorough what the team is going to eat for lunch. That was one of the questions thrown at Sarkisian. It was at that point that he knew the NFL -- at least the Raiders -- was not for him.

His friend and fellow USC coach Lane Kiffin eventually got interested in the job. We know what happened from there.

Sarkisian's departure makes it four assistants that have left Pete Carroll's side in recent years.

Norm Chow -- left for the Titans in 2005 and was fired after last season. He will go against Carroll for the first time on Saturday.

Nick Holt -- left Louisville to join Carroll's original USC staff in 2001. Holt then left to become the Idaho head coach in 2004 and 2005 before returning as defensive coordinator in 2006.

Kiffin -- The son of Monte Kiffin left the staff in 2007 to take the Raiders' job. That unfortunate dalliance that ended earlier this season probably helped him get the Tennessee job last month.

By the way, the Sarkisian deal is done. Both Washington and Sark didn't want it to get out until after Saturday's game but, hey, we have to do our jobs.

Current receivers coach John Morton is reportedly a candidate to replace Sark. Great piece here by theL.A. Times Bill Plaschke regarding the situation.


 For the second consecutive year the nation's No. 1 team is an underdog going into a conference championship. Last year it was No. 1 Missouri losing to Oklahoma. This year it's Alabama giving up 9 1/2-10 points to Florida.


 Hoping for upset in the Big 12, Texas? Congrats, you're actually a part of the four biggest upsets in the Big 12 title game history:

1996 --Texas 37, Nebraska 27. James Brown (the one without the cape) hit Derek Lewis with a 61-yard pass on fourth-and-1 to help clinch it. The game allowed Florida to slip into the Sugar Bowl for a rematch with Florida State. Steve Spurrier won his, and the school's first national championship.

1998 --Texas A&M 36, Kansas State 33 (2OT). Purple people were on pay phones (10 years ago was before cellies) calling for tickets to the Fiesta Bowl at halftime. It looked even better when K-State was up by 15 with 12 minutes left. Sirr Parker's game-winning touchdown catch that his life story was made into a movie. 

2003 -- Kansas State 35, Oklahoma 7. Who needs a Big 12 championship when you're this solid in the BCS? In one of the great BCS fumbles of all time, the Sooners still played in the national championship game despite losing  by four touchdowns. USC got justice later with a split title.

2007 -- Oklahoma 38, Missouri 17 -- This one barely qualifies as an upset. Oklahoma was a three-point favorite but Missouri was No. 1 going in. The Tigers were coming off perhaps the biggest game in their history, beating rival Kansas. They had risen to the top spot but were underdogs  in a game in which Oklahoma rolled.  OU's was the first defense all season to hold Missouri to less than 31 points.

 How does this happen?  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was named Associated Press' Big 12 player of the year. He was AP's second-team quarterback. Complicating matters further Heisman-wise: Sam Bradford was the first-team AP quarterback. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was the AFCA first-team quarterback.

 

 The favorite at Auburn now seems to be Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.  If the school can come up with the money to fund Fisher's multi-million dollar buyout it might work. Fisher has a background at Auburn as quarterbacks coach from 1993-98.

 

Posted on: November 30, 2008 9:35 am
Edited on: November 30, 2008 10:09 am
 

In early returns Sunday, OU leads Texas in BCS

Oklahoma has the early advantage in its Sunday BCS showdown with Texas. It is a significant one.

The Sooners moved past Texas in the Sagarin Rankings, one of six computers used to determine the BCS standings. Jeff Sagarin was the first of the computer masters to post their updated rankings. Oklahoma moved from No. 4 to No. 1 in Sagarin while Texas dropped from No. 1 to No. 2.

What does that mean? Plenty. OU has a .0150 of a point lead over Texas now in Jerry Palm's CollegeBCS.com BCS standings estimate posted early Sunday. Texas came into Saturday with a .0084 lead over Oklahoma in the official BCS standings. The highest ranked team of the two in Sunday's BCS standings will play in the Big 12 championship game against Missouri on Saturday.

Win that and either Oklahoma or Texas could play for the national championship against the Alabama/Florida winner in the SEC championship game.

There is still a long way to go Sunday but momentum seems to be building behind the Sooners who made their final regular-season statement in a 61-41 over No. 11 Oklahoma State. BCSguru.com, another website dedicated to BCS analysis but with no input into the system, projected Sunday that Oklahoma would finish ahead of Texas.

Still to weigh in, the five other computer indexes and the two human polls that comprise the BCS -- the Harris and coaches polls.

Here is a very preliminary look by Palm at the top five posted on his site Sunday morning.

1. Alabama, .9839
2. Oklahoma, .9325
3. Texas, .9175
4. Florida, .8988
5. USC, .8107

Breakdown of the Big 12 South three-way tie as of Sunday morning:

Texas (11-1, 7-1)


Why they're in this position:  Blake Gideon, Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree.

Texas had Tech beat in Lubbock until it gave the ball back with 1:29 left in the Nov. 1 game. Harrell was able to drive the team down for the game-winning touchdown with one second left. But that was only after Gideon, a Texas defensive back, dropped a tipped pass that would have ended Tech's drive.

Crabtree made an amazing catch against double coverage and tight-roped the sidelines into the end zone for a 39-33 victory.

Ranked teams beaten (ranking at time of kickoff): No. 1 Oklahoma 45-35; No. 11 Missouri 56-31; No. 7 Oklahoma State 28-24.

Common opponent with other two teams: Defeated Kansas 35-7, defeated Texas A&M 49-9, defeated Oklahoma State 28-24, defeated Baylor 45-21.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 12 (down from No. 5 last week)

BCS ranking: No. 2

Argument for:  Defeated three teams ranked in the top 11, including No. 1 Oklahoma. Colt McCoy is this year's version of Tim Tebow leading the Horns in rushing and passing. Will Muschamp's defense might not be impressive statistically but it is a big play group and is coming off its best performance of the season against Kansas.

Oh, also beat Oklahoma head-to-head by 10 on a neutral field on Oct. 11.

Argument against: Not much of one except that it didn't play on Saturday while Oklahoma got all the national love. If Texas doesn't get to the Big 12 title game it will be because of a six-point loss on the road with one second left against Texas Tech.

 

Texas Tech (11-1, 7-1)


Why they're in this position: Worst game of the season came at the worst possible time. Technically, Tech is involved in the three-way tie but its 44-point loss at Oklahoma on Nov. 22 seems to have eliminated it from division title consideration.

Ranked teams beaten (ranking at time of kickoff): No. 19 Kansas 63-21; No. 1 Texas 39-33; No. 8 Oklahoma State 56-20.

Common opponent with other two teams:  Defeated Kansas 63-21, defeated Oklahoma State, 56-20, defeated Texas A&M 43-25, defeated Baylor 35-28.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 26 (down from No. 19 last week)

BCS ranking: No. 7

Argument for: Defeated No. 1 (Texas), sports a Heisman frontrunner (Harrell) and the nation's best receiver (Crabtree). But there's more than this high-flying offense. Texas Tech has been well -rounded most of the season with a serviceable running game and effective defense. Until Saturday.

Argument against: You can't lose by 44 on national television on Nov. 22 and expect to play for a national championship, much less a Big 12 title.

Oklahoma (11-1, 7-1)

Why they're in this position:  Colt McCoy. Texas' quarterback had a career day on Oct. 11. The Sooners led by five with 12 minutes but were outscored 15-0 down the stretch the day in beating Oklahoma.

The result created a firestorm that isn't going to quiet down anytime soon.

Ranked teams beaten (ranked at the time of kickoff): No. 24 TCU, 35-10; No. 2 Texas Tech, 65-21.

Common opponent with other two teams: Defeated Kansas 45-31, defeated Baylor 49-17, defeated Texas A&M 66-28, defeated Oklahoma State 61-41.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 17 (up from No. 26 last week)

BCS ranking: No. 3

Argument for: Playing the best right now. OU has laid waste to its opponents since losing to Texas. It has won successive games by 14, 23, 34, 38, 44 and 20 points.

Sam Bradford leads the country in touchdown passes (44) and seems to be the new Heisman leader.

Argument against: Beat Tech which beat Texas which beat Oklahoma. Oh no, here we go again.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 28, 2008 11:09 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2008 7:42 am
 

Kiffin hired(?) and more weekend tidbits

A couple of weeks into the hiring season and Jimmy Sexton is having a heck of a year.

Sexton is the mega-agent located in Memphis who basically controls the coaching market. Last week, he convinced Texas that its defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was headed out of town -- somewhere, quickly. Texas is used to this sort of thing as d-coordinators in recent years have been treating the position as if it were a one-night stand.

Anyway, Texas bit and figured out a way to keep Muschamp. It named him coach-in-waiting, upped his assistant coach's salary to $900,000 beginning Jan. 1 and solved two problems at once. It keeps its talented d-coordinator and has a new head coach when the time comes. Of course if Muschamp doesn't work out over the long haul, gets a better offer elsewhere or Brown stays around longer than anticipated, then everybody washes their hands and moves on.

Texas pays off Muschamp and goes looking for someone else or Muschamp buys out of his contract.

Bravo Jimmy.

Sexton's latest coup was getting Tennessee to hire Lane Kiffin, another one of his clients. Kiffin is a West Coast guy, a USC guy, a Pac-10 guy. Yet, to the best of anyone's knowledge Kiffin hadn't interviewed at Washington, a West Coast team and Pac-10 opponent of his former employer, USC.

Kiffin also has an ally in Syracuse AD Daryl Gross, a former USC associated AD. Once again, there was no evidence there were ever any serious talks between the two. So the question for Tennessee is -- what's the rush? The only winless team in the country didn't rush to get Kiffin. The worst team in the Big East wasn't exactly breaking down his door.

Kiffin could have still been there next week while UT talked to, say, Mike Leach or made progress with Cincinnati's Brian Kelly. Kelly still hasn't said he flat-out isn't interested in Tennessee. Maybe he's hoping that Kelly is revealed as a tax cheat or something.

Or maybe he's not young enough or inexperienced enough for Tennessee's tastes. Kiffin is all of 33 and has been a head coach for exactly 20 games, none as a college coach. Without those 20 games in Oakland, though, Kiffin wouldn't be locked up in Knoxville making more than he made with the Raiders. Funny how failure works sometimes.

Again, bravo Jimmy. You cashed in on a 37-year-old defensive coordinator who might fail as a coach-in-waiting. You also found work for a 33-year-old out-of-work coach who can't wait to coach.

 A couple of outlets have reported that a group of Texas boosters have spent $7,000 for a plane that will tow the score of the Texas-Oklahoma game ("45-35") behind it Saturday above T. Boone Pickens Stadium. They better watch it. There's a fine line between campaigning and getting on people's nerves.

 

 Cincinnati clinched the Big East on Friday with West Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh. That fills three of the 10 BCS bowl slots. Utah (at-large) and Penn State (Big Ten) are the others.

 

 By losing to Arkansas, LSU finished with five losses. That ties for the third-most by a team that won a national championship the previous year.

 

 Their interest was first reported here. Now both Chip Kelly and Mike Locksley are in the interview process at Syracuse. Locksley, the Illinois offensive coordinator, reportedly interviewed at the school earlier this week. Kelly, the Oregon o-coordinator, will interview next week.

 

 

 Jerry Palm gave me permission to run this detailed breakdown of Texas and Oklahoma from his website.

 

Here's a mathematical primer on the race. Texas currently leads Oklahoma by .06 in the computers. If the lead on Sunday is:


.05, OU would need to expand its lead over Texas in the Harris poll by 44 points or by 24 points in the coaches poll (or, in each of these cases, some mathematically equivalent combination) to pass Texas.


.04, OU would need to expand its lead over Texas in the Harris poll by 15 points or by 8 points in the coaches poll to pass Texas.

.03, Texas would need to reduce Oklahoma's lead in the Harris poll by 14 points or by 8 points in the coaches poll (to stay ahead of OU.

.02, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 22 points in the Harris poll or reduce Oklahoma's lead by 23 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.

.01, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 50 points in the Harris poll or reduce Oklahoma's lead by 38 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.

If Texas and Oklahoma are tied in the computers, Texas would need to pass Oklahoma and lead by 79 points in the Harris poll or by 11 points in the coaches poll to stay ahead of OU.

I don't think Oklahoma can pass Texas in the computers.

Posted on: November 27, 2008 12:04 pm
 

Lane Kiffin and Tennessee

So Lane Kiffin is the leading candidate at Tennessee. Good. Great. Now answer these questions...

What's the rush? Butch Davis is still out there. Brian Kelly's season ends a week from Saturday. Recruiting isn't an urgent matter at the moment.

What's the rush to get a 33-year-old out-of-work former Raiders coach? The line of fired Oakland coaches reaches around the block. I'm still not clear on what Lane actually did with USC at the end. He was co-offensive coordinator with Steve Sarkisian calling plays that were filtered through Pete Carroll over the headphones.

How many of those plays were Kiffin's? What input did he have in the playbook, the game plan, recruiting? He has a good reputation from USC but I'm still not sure he's ready to lead a major SEC program where in any given week the best in the business can be outcoached.

All that being said, this makes sense if, as reported, Kiffin is putting together a dream staff. Ed Orgeron might have been a disaster as a head coach at Ole Miss but he is one of the best recruiters/defensive line coaches in the business. If Lane can pull his father Monte away from Tampa Bay, that would be the coup of the year.

There's not a great coach around that doesn't have a great staff.

Tennessee owes it to itself to look around more but Kiffin is intriguing.

Meanwhile, Kelly seems to be staying put -- or at least not going to Tennessee. This is from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Where you feel it the most is in my want and desire to continue to build this football program (is) I'm having those conversations with potential donors, from a facilities standpoint to a stadium standpoint, and (I’m) getting the response, ‘We’re going to get this thing done.’

“If I wasn’t married and I didn’t have kids, I’d look at what the best personal thing is. That’s not the case. When you come home and your son goes, ‘Dad I don’t want to go to Tennessee,’ that affects you. But you know that comes with the territory. If you win, you’re going to get those things.

“I think every day, am I looking at the next challenge? Am I trying to suit my own ego? You weigh all of those things. You look at your family. You look at what you’re good at. Does the place allow you to do the things you’re good at?”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 23, 2008 10:09 am
Edited on: November 23, 2008 4:02 pm
 

The BCS and Big 12 South breakdown

The BCS doesn't come out until after 7 p.m. ET on Sunday but here's a best guess of how the top five will look.

1. Alabama

2. Texas

3. Oklahoma

4. Florida

5. Utah

6. USC

7. Texas Tech

Both human polls (Harris and coaches) have put Oklahoma ahead of Texas which should cause some consternation in certain quarters. The Longhorns beat the Sooners but OU obviously is playing better than anyone in the country with the possible exception of Florida.

"Hopefully they (voters) forget about that," Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box when reminded that his team lost to Texas.

For now, they have.

--Now the skinny on the three-way tie in the Big 12 South ... Who would you pick right now?

Texas


Why they're in this position:  Blake Gideon, Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree.

Texas had Tech beat in Lubbock until it gave the ball back with 1:29 left in the Nov. 1 game. Harrell was able to drive the team down for the game-winning touchdown with one second left. But that was only after Gideon, a Texas defensive back, dropped a tipped pass that would have ended Tech's drive.

Crabtree made an amazing catch against double coverage and tight-roped the sidelines into the end zone for a 39-33 victory.

Ranked teams beaten (ranking at time of kickoff): No. 1 Oklahoma 45-35; No. 11 Missouri 56-31; No. 7 Oklahoma State 28-24.

Common opponent with other two teams: Defeated Kansas 35-7.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 5 (up from No. 7 last week)

BCS ranking going into Sunday: No. 3

Argument for:  Defeated three teams ranked in the top 11, including No. 1 Oklahoma. Colt McCoy is this year's version of Tim Tebow leading the Horns in rushing and passing. Will Muschamp's defense might not be impressive statistically but it is a big play group and is coming off its best performance of the season against Kansas.

Argument against: Not much of one except that it didn't play on Saturday while Oklahoma got all the national love. If Texas doesn't get to the Big 12 title game it will be because of a six-point loss on the road with one second left against Texas Tech.

Regular-season game remaining: Thursday vs. Texas A&M

 

Texas Tech


Why they're in this position: Worst game of the season came at the worst possible time.

Ranked teams beaten (ranking at time of kickoff): No. 19 Kansas 63-21; No. 1 Texas 39-33; No. 8 Oklahoma State 56-20.

Common opponent with other two teams:  Defeated Kansas 63-21.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 19 (up from No. 50 last week)

BCS ranking going into Sunday: No. 2

Argument for: Defeated No. 1 (Texas), last week's Heisman frontrunner (Harrell) and the nation's best receiver (Crabtree). But there's more than this high-flying offense. Texas Tech has been well -rounded most of the season with a serviceable running game and effective defense. Until Saturday.

Suddenly Tech has the best schedule strength of the three jumping from No. 50 to No. 19. Until Saturday, Utah State has played a tougher overall schedule than Texas Tech.

Argument against: You can't lose by 44 on national television on Nov. 22 and expect to play for a national championship, much less a Big 12 title.

But both are still a possibility.

Regular-season game remaining: Saturday vs. Baylor

Oklahoma

Why they're in this position:  Colt McCoy. Texas' quarterback had a career day on Oct. 11. The Sooners led by five with 12 minutes but were outscored 15-0 down the stretch the day in beating Oklahoma.

Other than that, Kansas (14) has been the only team to get within 22 points of OU.

Ranked teams beaten (ranked at the time of kickoff): No. 24 TCU, 35-10; No. 2 Texas Tech, 65-21.

Common opponent with other two teams: Defeated Kansas 45-31.

Schedule strength (Sagarin): No. 26 (up from No. 42 last week)

BCS ranking going into Sunday: No. 5

Argument for: Playing the best right now. OU has laid waste to its opponents since losing to Texas. It has won successive games by 14, 23, 34, 38 and 44 points.

Sam Bradford leads the country in touchdown passes and seems to be the new Heisman leader.

Argument against: Beat Tech which beat Texas which beat Oklahoma. Oh no, here we go again.

Regular-season game remaining: Saturday at Oklahoma State

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