Tag:Alabama
Posted on: December 10, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Robert Griffin III wins the 2011 Heisman

NEW YORK -- The humble son of two retired Army sergeants now becomes a name for the ages.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III became the 77th winner of the Heisman Trophy here beating out two-time finalist Andrew Luck of Stanford. Alabama's Trent Richardson was third.

The redshirt junior caught the nation’s attention with his accurate arm, incredible moves and scholastic achievements. In other words, what the Heisman should be about. Griffin threw for almost 4,000 yards and accounting for 45 touchdowns for an equally humble Baptist school in central Texas.

His win helps Baylor elevate itself from a low point that included a player’s murder eight years ago. Twice in the last 18 months, the program faced an uncertain future with the possible breakup of the Big 12.

But Griffin changed all that. He has been compared to everyone from Michael Vick to Vince Young to any role model you can imagine. If he doesn’t declare for the NFL next month, Griffin will apply for Baylor Law School. There can’t be many former winners who were pursuing their master’s when they accepted the award.

Griffin had two signature Heisman moments this season. On Nov. 19 he threw the game-winning touchdown pass against Oklahoma with eight seconds left. A week ago, he threw for two scores and ran for two more in a blowout win over Texas. In terms of Heisman voting, that was the clincher. Luck and Richardson had completed their seasons.

Actually, there was a third Heisman moment. Griffin outdid himself as a wearer of outrageous socks. He pulled up his pant leg at the ceremony to reveal he was wearing Superman socks – complete with cape. He is the first Heisman winner to play his high school football in Texas since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990. That's also the last year a player won it from a private parochial school.

Luck and Richardson were thought to be the leaders late into November. But Griffin overtook them winning comfortably by 280 points over Luck (1,687-1,407). For those on the Richardson bandwagon, he didn't even carry his own region. Griffin won even that region 303-256 over the Alabama tailback. 

Griffin was born in Japan, the son of Army lifers Robert Sr. and Jacqueline Griffin. Enrolled at Baylor at age 17, he was a Big 12 400-meter hurdles champion in track before he took a snap. When he did, he became the youngest starting quarterback in FBS in 2008.

Coach Art Briles saw something that others didn’t. Other schools projected him either as a track star or something other than a quarterback.

But that was at Houston where Griffin originally committed. When Briles got the job at Baylor, Griffin followed like a loyal puppy.

“A big part of the decision was I wanted to go where I could play early,” he said. “Not that I thought I was better than anyone else, I just didn’t feel like it would be good to sit behind somebody for two years then play.”

In the third game of the 2009 season he tore his ACL. In 2010, he was back throwing for 3,500 yards. This season he threw for almost 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was more accurate than Luck, more exciting than Richardson. If his pass efficiency numbers hold up through the bowl game, Griffin will complete, statistically, the best season in NCAA history.

RGIII also became the third player in FBS history to throw for 10,000 yards and 2,000 yards rushing.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:40 pm
 

Badger-TRich discuss split title at Heisman

NEW YORK – The BCS title game representatives at the Heisman ceremony are not cool with a split national championship.

Just so you know.

LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama’s Trent Richardson both spoke on the subject as they waited for the Heisman announcement Saturday night. There already is talk that LSU could lose the championship game and still remain No. 1 in the AP poll because it already beat Alabama.

The teams remained 1-2 in the BCS for the final three weeks of the season. But LSU is a unanimous No. 1 in AP with 60 voters. If Alabama won Jan. 9 in New Orleans, theoretically all it would take is 31 voters to keep the Tigers No. 1 for force a split. The coaches’ poll final No. 1 spot is committed to the game’s winner.

“We don’t go into game wondering if we lose will we still be considered the best team,” Mathieu said. “I think this month is going to give us some time to prepare for these guys. It will give us enough time to throw some wrinkles in our defense, stuff they haven’t seen.”

Richardson, Alabama’s star tailback was asked if Alabama fans would tolerate a split national title if the Tide won.

“No, Alabama [fans] wouldn’t,” he said.

What about the players?

“As long as we get that trophy, get those rings, we’re happy with it,” Richardson said. “But we’re kind of selfish when it comes to championships. We probably wouldn’t be OK with it.”

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Heisman, LSU
 
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Robert Griffin in a landslide in my straw poll

Robert Griffin in a runaway.

That’s how much Baylor’s quarterback has captured the nation – or rather the ballots of Heisman voters. Griffin was the landslide winner in the Dodds and Ends straw poll canvassing of 23 Heisman voters.

Griffin was named on all 23 ballots, getting 19 first-place votes. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was second having been named on 13 ballots, getting two first-place votes. Alabama’s Trent Richardson was third.

Ballots were due to the Heisman Trust on Monday. This poll suggests that Griffin made huge gains after beating Texas on Saturday. Before that, it seemed that Luck and Richardson had dominated the voting.

If Griffin follows through and wins the Stiff Arm on Saturday, he would be the first player from a private parochial school to win the Heisman since BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1990. He would be the first player from a non-traditional football school to win it since Boston College’s Doug Flutie in 1984.

Since then, the Heisman has been shared by only 17 schools.

 

The totals:

1. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor, 64 points (19 first-place votes)
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 25 (2)
3. Trent Richardson, TB, Alabama, 17 (2)
4. Montee Ball, TB, Wisconsin, 14
5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, 11
6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC, 6
7. (tie) Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; LaMichael James, TB, Oregon, 1

Participating voters: Lee Barknecht, Omaha World-Herald; Tony Barnhart, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Network; Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel; Dean Blevins, News 9, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal; Chip Brown, Orangebloods.com; Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Bob Condotta; Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Erik Gee, KNML, Albuquerque, N.M.; Ken Goe, Portland Oregonian; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Stewart Mandel, SI.com; George Schroeder, Eugene Register-Guard; David Teel, Newport News Daily Press; Dick Weiss, New York Post.   

Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:39 pm
 

AP voter says LSU can't drop out of No. 1

Erik Gee believes LSU can’t lose.

Oh, the Tigers can score fewer points than Alabama in the BCS title game but they can’t lose his No. 1 vote. They’ve done enough. That’s Gee’s belief and he intends reinforce it with his Associated Press ballot.

The 39-year old radio host in Albuquerque, N.M. is going to vote LSU No. 1 pretty much win or lose following the BCS title game.

“It would have to be something like a 63-0 pasting [by Alabama],” for Gee to change his mind, he told CBSSports.com this week.

His is a stance we haven’t heard of this week as talk of a split national championship starts to bubble up. Now we have a face and a name and reasons why LSU should stay No. 1 in AP. That’s the only place it could happen, by the way, if Alabama wins. The coaches’ No. 1 vote is committed to the BCS title game winner, although there have been some defectors among voting coaches over the years.

“They’ve beaten Alabama once, what else do they need to do?” Gee said of LSU.

“I honestly feel this is the first year somebody is getting screwed by the system because they beat a team on the road, won the division, won the conference and now the system is saying, ‘Play it again, this time on a neutral field.’ “

This is the first time in BCS history two teams from the same conference have met. It is the third time a team that hasn’t won its conference is playing for the title. Complicating matters is No. 1 LSU being asked to beat No. 2 Alabama again after winning the SEC and beating eight ranked teams, three of them in the top three.

Gee’s opinion shouldn’t be a shock. We have seen weirder things – this week. Nick Saban conspicuously voted Oklahoma State No. 4, seemingly attempting to hold the Cowboys underwater so they couldn’t challenge his Tide for No. 2. No coach voted Alabama lower than third. Five coaches voted Oklahoma State lower than third.

Since LSU won the SEC title game Saturday there has been some talk of a split national championship, but not in detail. Oklahoma State finished behind No. 2 Alabama by the closest margin (.0086 of a point) since the BCS formula was changed in 2004. The last split national title occurred in 2003 when USC remained No. 1 in AP. LSU, which beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, won the BCS title.

Gee graduated from Oklahoma but his second choice for college was LSU. He considers himself a passionate and educated college football fan. On Sunday, he voted Oklahoma State No. 2 in his latest AP ballot.

“Not because I believe they deserve to play in the national championship but because I believe they and Alabama should get to play for [second place]. LSU should get to kick back and watch everyone else make fools of themselves.”

As for the realistic chances of a split national championship? So far, Gee seems to have a lot of support.  For the last four weeks, all 60 voters were unanimous in voting LSU No. 1. Would a close Alabama win -- say, three points -- convince the majority of those 60 to keep LSU at No. 1?

“I think the majority of them [voters] would vote Alabama No. 1 [if the Tide won],” Gee said. “But if it’s a close game, there’s enough of them out there to go, ‘I’m not changing the vote.’ “

You want more? Listen to Gee on “The Sports Bar” weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on KNML in Albuquerque.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Robert Griffin wins Scripps Heisman Poll

Baylor’s Robert Griffin III will be the Heisman Trophy winner according to the oldest Heisman poll.

Scripps-Howard News Service announced Wednesday that Griffin had barely nosed out Stanford’s Andrew Luck in its last Scripps Heisman Poll. The Scripps Poll has correctly matched the Heisman winner 20 of the last 24 years since it started in 1987.

Points are assigned on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Ten media members vote each week. They are listed below.

 1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor, 40 points (6 first-place votes)

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 38 (3)

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama, 19 (1)

4.(tie) Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin, 18; Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, 18

Others receiving votes: USC QB Matt Barkley 7, Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden 5, Houston QB Case Keenum 3, Boise State QB Kellen Moore 2.

Voters: Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Randy Beard, Evansville Courier and Press; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Bob Condotta, Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Vahe Gregorian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; John Helsley, The Oklahoman; Mike Griffith, Knoxville News-Sentinel; Michael Lewis, Salt Lake Tribune; and Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 7:41 pm
 

Sugar-Fiesta were talking OU-OSU trade

The Sugar Bowl was actively seeking a trade of BCS teams with the Fiesta Bowl had Oklahoma beaten Oklahoma State, Sugar CEO Paul Hoolahan told CBSSports.com on Monday.

Hoolahan said he was in contact with Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas about working the deal that would have brought Oklahoma to New Orleans in exchange for Oklahoma State. That would have relieved Oklahoma from so-called “Fiesta Fatigue” by taking the Sooners had they lost Saturday to Oklahoma State. Per BCS procedure, the Sugar would actually had to take Oklahoma State with the first overall pick then wait until the selection procedure was over before working the trade for the Sooners.

Oklahoma has been in the Fiesta Bowl three of the last five years. The Sooners have played in New Orleans once since 1972. That was the 2003 BCS title game against LSU. The trade, of course, was predicated on LSU and Alabama remaining 1-2 in the BCS. It is allowable per the BCS contract. 

The Sugar ended up with Michigan and Virginia Tech.

“I was working with Neinas throughout the week prior to selections on a possible Oklahoma trade …” Hoolahan said. “We had that greased and ready to go.”

“A lot of time was spent looking at that,” he added. “A lot of time was spent looking at similar situations regarding Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech’s name didn’t come in out of the blue.”

A second source from the Fiesta Bowl confirmed the trade talks. Neinas did not immediately return a call for comment. Because it lost both LSU and Alabama as SEC anchors, the Sugar had the first and third picks in the BCS process. Michigan was the first pick.

While the trade talk doesn’t directly address the reason why Kansas State was left out of the Sugar Bowl, it does begin to explain the Sugar Bowl’s thinking. It needed a so-called “anchor” team to pair with a second participant. Michigan became a worthy choice and the potential trade was off when Oklahoma State beat the Sooners.

The Wolverines return to New Orleans for the first time since 1984. If there are less than 10 automatic BCS qualifiers, teams ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings that have won at least nine games are eligible for at-large selection. That explains the leeway BCS bowls have in creating their best matchup. 

An Oklahoma win in Bedlam likely would have put a second Big 12 team (Oklahoma State) in the BCS.  

While ticket sales didn’t figure to be issue in either of the possible games involving Michigan -- Michigan-Virginia Tech or Michigan-Kansas State – there are always television considerations. It could have been that Virginia Tech was a slightly better TV draw.

Virginia Tech itself is suffering from its own “Orange Bowl Fatigue” having been to South Florida as the ACC champion three out of the last four years. Still, the college football world wanted to know Monday why Virginia Tech made it over the more accomplished and higher-ranked Wildcats.

The two-loss Hokies come to New Orleans fresh off a four-touchdown beatdown from Clemson in the ACC title game. Virginia Tech beat one team (Georgia Tech) ranked at the time in the top 20. Its own coach, Frank Beamer, barely voted the Hokies within BCS at-large eligibility on his coaches’ poll ballot at No. 13. At-large teams in the top 14 are considered.

Meanwhile, Kansas State is ranked higher (No. 8, BCS) guided by a national coach of the year candidate in Bill Snyder.

Without getting into specifics, Hoolahan said it was  a matter of familiarity with Tech. “A fond relationship,” he called it. The Sugar contributed $250,000 to the school after the tragic shootings in 2007. This is the third time since 2000 and fourth time since 1995 the Hokies have been to New Orleans.

The Sugar Bowl doesn’t have a large volunteer base (125) which could also play into the decision. Compare that to the Fiesta Bowl which claims a volunteer base of close to 3,000. The Sugar is double-hosting in this BCS rotation, responsible for two BCS games within seven days.

With SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama in the championship game, it could be one of the biggest and busiest weeks ever for the Sugar Bowl infrastructure. Anything to make the job easier – i.e. selecting a known commodity in Virginia Tech – could help.

Hoolahan called it inviting a “long-time friend and partner.”

The Sugar could also feel it is owed the freedom to make such a pick. Since 2008, it has hosted non-BCS schools Hawaii and Utah as well as the Big East’s Cincinnati. Essentially, the Sugar Bowl may feel it shouldn’t be criticized when it has taken teams with ticket and TV draw issues in recent years.

Those are lingering consequences of the BCS that will start to be dealt with when the commissioners meet next Jan. 10 in New Orleans.

Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:51 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 1:05 am
 

Uncertainty awaits 'Bama, OK State in BCS

If it all goes away for Alabama, Nick Saban will have taken his last shot on GameDay.

Complimenting LSU.

Smooth move or last gasp? 

That's the lasting image of Alabama's push for a national championship berth that could be slipping away overnight in the BCS. Jerry Palm says, for now, 'Bama looks solid at No. 2.

But let's review: The savvy Saban did his savvy best to be savvy Saturday morning, giving LSU its proper props. Even the mother of all TV hypefests may not help 'Bama as it sat on the sideline on the last day of the regular season. The intent, of course, was to expose Alabama as much as possible for two hours on national television.

What Saban failed to mention, or perhaps comprehend, was that Oklahoma State would be responsible for Bob Stoops's second-worst career loss. The Cowboys' 34-point over margin over Oklahoma on Saturday night was second only to OU’s 2005 BCS title game loss in the Orange Bowl. That 55-19 trounching at the hands of USC team that had to vacate its season because Reggie Bush was competing while ineligible.

Just to put a nice, neat bow on this season. Yeah, right. There is nothing but uncertainty as we wait for the final BCS standings Sunday night. Palm says Oklahoma State will have to make a significant leap in the human polls to pass Alabama. Consider the computers a wash. Alabama came into the day leading the Cowboys in that category, .9500-.9300.

Oklahoma State began the day fifth in both the Harris and coaches’ polls. Virginia Tech's loss to Clemson in the ACC title game helped but perhaps not enough. If the computers stay basically the same, Palm says Okie State has to finish at least 19 points ahead of Alabama in each of the human polls to have a chance. Oklahoma State currently trails Alabama by 342 points in the Harris poll and 166 points in the coaches' poll. That essentially means the Cowboys are going to have to pass Stanford, which didn’t play, and Virginia Tech in the human polls.

"I'm not sure one team ahead of [Oklahoma State] losing and one team putting up a big number [Clemson] is going to change the fact that everyone thought all along that LSU and Alabama were the two best teams," Palm said. "The voters would have to have an epiphany. That's basically what we're talking about."

That’s not to say the voters won’t change their minds. After watching one conference win five titles in a row, there could be such a thing as SEC Voter Fatigue.

The computers don’t know this was Stoops' second-worst loss. They don't know that Saban subtly was hyping his team on ESPN. A lot of the voters won’t either. Should it matter? Victory margin is largely factored out of the machines anyway. The circle argument will continue overnight until the final standings are released.

Computers don't know that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy endorsed Alabama at No. 2 last week, then went on the stump for his team immediately after the OU game.

Computers don't know the minds of the Cowboys on the night of Nov. 18. That was less than a day two Cowboys women's basketball coaches lost their lives in a plane crash. The next night the Cowboys lost their only game to Iowa State. Should that matter?

Computers don't care a hoot about an LSU-Alabama rematch which would be the first of its kind in BCS history.

So what we're left with are these base arguments:
  • Oklahoma State’s only loss in an 11-1 season came to unranked Iowa State on the road in overtime two weeks ago.
  • Alabama’s only loss came to No. 1 LSU at home in overtime a month ago.
  • Oklahoma State has an elite offense.
  • Alabama has an elite defense.
  • Oklahoma State won its conference.
  • Alabama didn't win its division.
Which team would you pick to play LSU in the national championship game? The answer isn't obvious. Immediately after the game Stoops said he would vote LSU-Oklahoma State 1-2.

That's one man. So is CBSSports.com blogger Tom Fornelli, who may have provided the most compelling evidence this week. Fornelli posted blind resumes of all the contenders for No. 2. Oklahoma State got 80 percent of the vote.

But the computers don't care about that either.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Heisman Badger whips Dawgs

ATLANTA -- It was bordering on the ridiculous.

For two months since that slop of Game of the Century we’ve had to listen to SEC loyalists argue about the defensive aesthetic value of its top teams. For the first half of the SEC championship game the Strength Everywhere Conference had lost the benefit of the doubt. It shamed itself. It shamed football. It shamed the No. 1 ranking.

At least the top two BCS remain intact. Or so it seems after No. 1 LSU did enough in the second half Saturday to beat Georgia in the SEC title game thanks to a kid renamed Heisman Badger.

His real name, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, not only saved the game for the Tigers, in one stunning afternoon-turned-night that turned Georgia into goo. At the same time he saved the SEC’s rep and legitimized, somewhat, the BCS national championship game.

Mathieu returned one punt 62 yards and set up another score with a 47-yard in the third quarter. Somewhere, Johnny Rodgers was giving props. Everywhere crotchety gray-haired Heisman voters conditioned to write “Andrew Luck” on the top line over the top few weeks had to scramble.

Spelling lessons – no, it’s not Tyrone Matthew – and a highlight package were in order for the uninitiated. A cornerback for Heisman is an acquired taste. Ask Charles Woodson. Can Mathieu get to New York? Debatable. Should he win the Heisman? No question.

With apologies to Robert Griffin III, this might have been as big a Heisman Moment as there has been on the last Saturday in recent years.  

That was all a mostly punchless LSU offense needed. It had tortured its coach and LSU fans for most of the game, but particularly in the first half. The Tigers had 12 yards and no first downs at halftime. The only reason they any points was Mathieu’s punt return.

The defense took over in the third quarter, giving LSU field position that led to 21 points. That’s all the Tigers needed to (we think) secure a spot in the BCS title game for the third time in eight years. Believed to be accompanying LSU is Alabama which waited on the sidelines Saturday for the Tigers to rubber-stamp things.  

That would be a matchup of the No. 31 (Alabama) and No. 62 (LSU) offenses. But on defense those teams are 1-2 in total defense. But there is only one Honey Badger which was the only original nickname stuck on the sophomore from New Orleans when he began making play after play.

For those of you not caught up on the Honey Badger saga, watch this. You too will see why the Honey Badger takes what he wants.

In the season opener against Oregon, Mathieu led all LSU tacklers with 10 accenting that with a strip and score of Duck Kenyon Barner. At the end of the season, in his 25<sup>th</sup> career game, Mathieu has averaged one big “Badger play” per game. That would be four career interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and two punt returns for touchdowns. Total: 25.

The SEC as a whole really couldn’t lose Saturday. LSU could have lost and possibly opened the door for the best postseason day in SEC history. Three teams – LSU, Alabama and Georgia – would have stood a chance of getting an unprecedented three BCS bids.

Turns out it doesn’t matter who lost that Nov. 5 Game of the Century. If it was LSU, Alabama would have been here causing Georgia to tap out. One was going to be No. 1 and the other was going to be No. 2. That is all but assured now. Right?

 

  

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, BCS, Georgia, LSU, SEC
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com