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Tag:Wake Forest
Posted on: December 12, 2008 10:40 am
 

Meyer/Muschamp/Grobe

Forget all this nonsense about Will Muschamp going to Auburn, the biggest news of Friday morning was Urban Meyer's comments. He told a Miami radio station that Notre Dame is still his dream job.

(Sideways cocked head like a dog that has just been shown a card trick)

Huh?

That should do wonders for Florida recruiting. Or maybe I was right when I suggested Notre Dame is waiting to make a coaching change on the chance it can shake Meyer loose from Florida.

--Jim Grobe's name has surfaced in the Auburn interview process.

The Wake Forest coach is in the midst of a 10-year contract. He talked to Nebraska last season before the school hired Bo Pelini. The question is, who hasn't interviewed on The Plains? As soon as Ball State coach Brady Hoke's name was attached to the job, he emerged on a list of finalists at San Diego State. A Mobile, Ala. Fox station reported that Will Muschamp is going to be the new coach at Auburn. Wrong!

--How is George O'Leary able to recruit?

That's the first question after Central Florida kept his job Thursday despite another player collapsing. It's never a good thing when your bosses hire an NCAA troubleshooter (for a pretty penny, no doubt) to review training methods. I love the line in this story where it is described that Central Florida interviewed 40 athletes and staff members about Brandon Davis' collapse. It couldn't talk to Davis, though, because he is still in the hospital.

Yeah, you might want to get his side of the story.

--Syracuse apparently has hired someone named Doug Marrone from the Saints. I'm sure he's a fine man and we know he is a Syracuse alum. But on the surface, the Cuse just traded a hot (at the time) NFL defensive coordinator for a hot NFL offensive coordinator.

The clock is offically ticking on AD Daryl Gross.  

Posted on: November 23, 2008 9:05 pm
 

Random thoughts on a football Saturday

It looks like it's over for Texas.

It's over if Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State on Saturday. Although Texas moved up to No. 2 in Sunday's latest BCS standings, it has a very slight lead over No. 3 Oklahoma -- .0084 of a point.

It is almost assured that if Oklahoma beats No. 11 Oklahoma State the Sooners will make up that margin on Texas and win the three-way tiebreaker in the Big 12 South. The tie goes to the team with the highest BCS ranking.

Texas plays its final regular-season game on Thanksgiving against Texas A&M.

The Horns have to hope for an Oklahoma State upset. That would send Texas Tech to the Big 12 championship game (if it beats Baylor)and at the same time strengthen Texas' hold on No. 2. The Horns could become the third Big 12 team since 2001 to play in the national championship game without winning the conference.

 Up to date profiles of the three teams involved in the current Big 12 South tie ...

 

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: 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.

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: No. 7

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: 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 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


 Picking up the pieces after Notre Dame's epic meltdown: ND had four possessions inside the Syracuse 24 and came away with six points ... The Irish blew their third double-digit lead this season ... Notre Dame was held to 41 yards rushing. The previous season low given up by the Syracuse defense was 90 yards rushing allowed to Division I-AA Northeastern which finished 2-10.

 

 Maryland dropped out of contention in the ACC Atlantic after losing to Florida State. Chalk it up to inconsistency. The Terps were 4-0 against ranked teams, 3-4 against unranked teams and 0-4 at night.

  North Carolina State captured the "state championship" by beating North Carolina, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Duke. That's the first state sweep for the Pack since 1986. "What it speaks to is we're the best football program in the state," coach Tom O'Brien said.

 Either Beanie Wells is injured or he's turning into Franco Harris. I'm not talking about the Franco who led the Steelers to Super Bowls. I'm talking about the Franco who became famous for stepping out of bounds rather than accept punishment from, or deal out punishment to, defenders.

 

Wells broke for a long run to midfield in the second half and clearly cut his run short and stepped out of bounds rather than lower a shoulder. Wells could have picked up another five yards, instead he did an out route out of bounds.

That's the not first time I've seen him do that. Wells did leave the game later because of hamstring problems. It will be interesting to see what Wells does after this season because his junior season has been somewhat of a disappointment.

 The recent legacy of bad decision making among Tennessee apparently carries on to the next level. Former Tennessee golden body Erik Ainge was suspended by the NFL for violation of the league's policy on steroids and related substance.

 It's not like Ainge is blowing his career. First, he would have to have a career to blow it. The Jets rookie quarterback was already on injured reserve so, hey, maybe was bored.

 Steroids?

 

 

Posted on: November 16, 2008 5:27 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2008 5:32 pm
 

Random thoughts on a football Saturday

Yes, it was hard to me to find a compelling game Saturday too.

Six of the top seven teams in the AP poll that played Saturday covered easily. The top 15 either won or didn't play. Things heat up a bit next week when Texas Tech-Oklahoma will either sort out the Big 12 South (if Texas Tech wins) or complicate it even further.

 Just a thought so don't go nuts but ... if Urban Meyer wins it all this season (two titles in three years) is he getting close to surpassing Steve Spurrier's legacy?

  He didn't really say it, did he?

 President-reject, er, elect Barack Obama told 60 Minutes Sunday night he is seriously going to pursue a college football playoff.

"I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this," he told the show. "so I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."

Here's some other right things to do B.O. before you go poking your nose into our game: The economy, national security, alternative energy, health care, poverty ... should I go on? Your playoff infatuation is the presidential equivalent of Oprah's book club. Just something to sell yourself.

Oh wait, I forgot who got you elected.

Wake me when you do something important like sign a bill into law.

 The coaches finally got it right. Texas is now ahead of Oklahoma in the coaches' poll after beating Kansas. The Horns moved up from fifth to fourth, while idle Oklahoma dropped from fourth to fifth. The coaches' poll was the only BCS entity that had Oklahoma ahead of the only team to beat it this season.

 The next test of the system is a week from now if Oklahoma defeats No. 2 Texas Tech. Texas is idle under its

Thanksgiving regular-season finale against Texas A&M. The Horns had a surprisingly comfortable cushion at No. 3 over Oklahoma in the latest BCS standings. The question now becomes whether Texas can hold off OU if the Sooners win out.

 The ACC is Maryland's and Miami's to blow which means, of course, they will. For now, though, each controls its division destiny in getting to the ACC title game.

 The march of the Terrapins continues: Maryland drove 73 yards, taking almost nine minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter, to set up the winning field goal against North Carolina. The drive will go down as one of the signature moments of Ralph Friedgen's Maryland tenure. The Terps have beaten six consecutive top 25 teams. Of course, they'll also lost to Middle Tennessee State.

Now they control their fate in the Atlantic Division with games left against Florida State and Boston College. FSU blew its chance to take control of the division in getting upset by BC.

Maryland can also win the division by beating Florida State at home this week and having BC lose at Wake Forest. The Terps have won seven in a row at home.

ACC coach of the year? It might be Randy Shannon whose Hurricanes (7-3) have won six in a row and lead Coastal Division with two games to go.

 More to the point, does the ACC deserve a BCS berth? Its highest ranked team in the BCS, No. 22 North Carolina, lost on Saturday.

  Remember when Vanderbilt was 5-0 and actually competing in the SEC East? It took six long arduous weeks for the Commodores to get what they really wanted -- simple bowl eligibility. It came, finally, on Saturday at Kentucky.

 Vandy's 31-24 victory assures it of its first bowl since 1982.

 The best thing about Conference USA is Tulsa and Houston. The two offensive giants combined for 1,142 yards and 59 first downs in Houston's 70-30 victory. At least it's fun to watch.

 

 Might as well start the drumbeat for the latest game of the year: Texas Tech's offensive line has not been called for holding in the last 118 pass attempts.

 

Posted on: November 12, 2008 11:49 am
 

National notes

The BCS bowls right now ...

BCS title game: Alabama/Florida vs. Texas/Texas Tech/Oklahoma
 
Orange: ACC vs. Utah/Boise
 
Fiesta: Texas/Texas Tech/Oklahoma vs. Ohio State
 
Sugar: Alabama/Florida loser vs. Big East
 
Rose: Penn State vs. USC
 
 
Notes: The SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten get two teams ... The Fiesta Bowl gets the first and third picks in this scenario ... That leaves the Sugar with the Big East chumps, er, champs ... Orange definitely gets the non-BCS team because it picks last. No one is going to take Utah or Boise ahead of it because those schools just aren't new stories.
 
 
 Your official ACC tiebreaker scenarios direct from the ACC office.

First, 10 of 12 teams are still alive for the ACC title including Duke, in last place in the Coastal Division at 4-5 and 1-4. Other than that, take a couple of Advil and read on.

Atlantic Division


Florida State (7-2, 4-2) -- beat Boston College and Maryland to finish the season and hope someone beats Wake Forest. FSU currently loses a tiebreaker to the Deacons.

Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2) -- needs to beat N.C. State and Boston College and hope someone defeats Maryland.

Maryland (6-3, 3-2) -- controls its own destiny. Beat North Carolina, Florida State and Boston College and it is in.

Boston College (6-3, 2-3) -- controls its own destiny. Needs to win at Florida State, at Wake Forest and at home against Maryland to win the division.

Clemson (4-5, 2-4) -- Can't win the division.

N.C. State (3-6, 1-4) -- Can't win the division.

Coastal Division

North Carolina (7-2, 3-2) -- win out against Maryland, N.C. State and Duke and hope someone beats Virginia Tech.

Miami (6-3, 3-2) -- win out against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and N.C. State and hope North Carolina loses one more game.

Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) -- Controls its own destiny by beating Miami, Duke and Virginia.

Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3) -- needs to beat Miami and have North Carolina lose twice, Virginia lose to Clemson and Virginia Tech lost two of its remaining three games (one to Virginia).

Virginia (5-5, 3-3) -- needs to beat Clemson and Virginia Tech and have someone beat both Miami and North Carolina

Duke (4-5, 1-4) -- beat Clemson, Virginia Tech and North Carolina to finish 4-4 in the division. Then, have Virginia lose to Clemson and beat Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech beat Miami and lose to Duke and Virginia. Georgia Tech lose to Miami and have Miami lose to Virginia Tech, beat Georgia Tech and lose to N.C. State. In addition, have North Carolina beat Maryland, but lose to N.C. State and Duke.

Got all that?

 

 All is not lost for Penn State.

 

There is a convoluted way that Joe Paterno can get to the national championship game.

1. Penn State wins out to go 11-1
2. Alabama loses to at least two of the three: Mississippi State, Auburn and Florida.
3. Texas Tech loses to Oklahoma and Baylor.
4. Oklahoma State defeats Oklahoma.
5. Missouri defeats Texas in the Big 12 title game.
6. USC loses once more to either Stanford, Notre Dame or UCLA.
7. Utah loses to San Diego State or BYU.

That would leave Florida No. 1 at 12-1. Bama, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas and USC would each have at least two losses. An undefeated Utah might not be a threat anyway but a loss to BYU ends the Utes' hope for making a miraculous run to the national championship game.
 
The only possible No. 2 would be Penn State. Hey, I told you it was convoluted.

 That got me thinking. How DOES Utah get to the national championship game?

 

1. Penn State loses to either Indiana or Michigan State.
2. through 4. above.
5. USC loses once more.
6. At that point, it probably wouldn't matter which team won the Big 12, Texas or Missouri. It would be close with Texas having one loss and Utah being undefeated.
7. All Utah would have to do is beat San Diego State and BYU to advance to the title game.

 No matter what the standings say, it's still all about Texas in the Big 12.

 

The university is in talks to launch its own TV network. Horns TV sounds a bit inappropriate in a cable universe populated with the likes of Playboy TV, but I'm sure the school will come up with something.

Texas has the nation's largest athletic budget, somewhere north of $120 million. It made non-qualifiers a deal breaker when the conference was formed 12 years ago. Nebraska and Kansas State complained loudly but went along. Look where those programs went shortly thereafter without the benefit of non-qualifiers.

Now Texas is bidding to take over the cable universe. Makes me wonder how Michael Crabtree ever got into the end zone a couple of weeks ago.

 Tim Tebow got away with it. John Parker Wilson didn't.

 

Wilson, Alabama's quarterback, said he regretted pantomiming a cell phone call to the LSU fans following a first-quarter touchdown at Death Valley. Unlike Tebow last year at LSU, Wilson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Tebow wasn't. Guess it depends on how innovativeness of your taunt.

"Whether it should have been a penalty or not, it doesn’t really matter," Wilson said. "It was just a bad decision, something I really shouldn’t have done."

The quarterback turned his cellie off on Thursday and didn't turn it on again until after the game on Saturday.

 They're talking contract extension for Randy Shannon at Miami. That's good news for a guy who started 2-3 after a 5-7 first season. The Canes are in contention for the ACC title (who isn't?) and should start 2009 in the top 25.

 

 Bo Pelini has waited until the week of the 11th game to break out the coveted "Blackshirts" for 11 of his best defenders.

 

Makes sense to reward the Huskers for their defense. They're 81st in total defense giving up 380 yards per game and 89th in scoring defense giving up 29.1 points.

 ESPN is in negotiations with the BCS to move all five BCS games to the cable side. I don't have a problem with all the games being on one network.  But this does allow the Worldwide Leader to increase its fees to cable companies which will be passed on to us, the consumer.

 

Posted on: September 30, 2008 7:57 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2008 7:59 pm
 

National notes

Some observations as we round the quarter pole of the season (most everyone has played at least four games):


Updated BCS bowl predictions

BCS title game: Oklahoma vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC
Fiesta Bowl: Missouri vs. BYU
Sugar Bowl: South Florida vs. LSU
Orange Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest


Three teams to watch:

 South Florida -- Everyone else is trashing the Big East. Some team has to win it. No one is talking about the 
Bulls. They're in the top 10 and have only three road games remaining. All the sudden the Dec. 6 game at West 
Virginia doesn't look that tough.

 

 Texas -- Oklahoma is No. 1. We're all assuming the Sooners are going to beat the Horns in Dallas. Don't discount 
Texas so easily. Colt McCoy is playing at an all-time high and the pass defense has to get better doesn't it?

 

 Kentucky -- This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. It's looking like a 9-3 year. The Wildcats are off to a 4-0 
start and have allowed only 22 points. We'll know more when they go to Alabama this week, but having a strong 
defense in the SEC isn't a bad thing.

 

Three shocking developments to come:

 Mid-season firings -- Watch for either Virginia's Al Groh, Syracuse's Greg Robinson or Washington's Tyrone 
Willingham to lose their jobs during the season. Syracuse AD Daryl Gross seems especially fidgety.

 

 Tim Tebow will not make it to New York -- Forget consecutive Heismans. I'm not a hater. Any casual follower of the 
sport has noticed Superman's downturn in production. The fourth-down stop against Ole Miss was a shining example. 
And the Heisman is all about production.

 

That, plus the glut of candidates nationwide, looks like it will keep Tebow out of Times Square.

 The upsets have just begun. OK, so that isn't so shocking.

 


Projected award winners:


Outland: Andre Smith, Alabama
Biletnikoff: Jarett Dillard, Rice
Thorpe: Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
Davey O'Brien: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Nagurski/Bednarik: George Selvie, South Florida
Groza: Louie Sakoda, Utah
Heisman: Chase Daniel, Missouri

Coach of the year: Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt


(Outland, best interior lineman; Biletnikoff, best receiver; Thorpe, best defensive back; Davey O'Brien, best 
quarterback; Nagurski/Bednarik, best defensive player; Groza, best kicker; Heisman, best player)

 

 CBS' Spencer Tillman on Pete Carroll: "After the Ohio State win, because of the relative weakness of Pac-10, Pete 
Carroll's coaching challenge totally shifted. He needed to become Dr. Phil. Be basically Nick Saban, Nick can piss a 
lot of people off. That's what he needed to."

 

 Clemson's loss to Maryland marked the eighth time in the Tommy Bowden era that the Tigers lost to an unranked 
opponent at home. The others:

 

2006 -- South Carolina 31, No. 24 Clemson 31-28

2006 -- Maryland 13, No. 19 Clemson 12

2004 -- Georgia Tech 28, No. 20 Clemson 24

2001 -- North Carolina 38, No. 13 Clemson 3

2001 -- Virginia 26, No. 19 Clemson 24

2000 -- Georgia Tech 9, No. 5 Clemson 3

 

 Is there is any question whether BYU can play for the national championship consider that BYU debuted at No. 7 in 
Harris poll and moved up to No. 9 in the coaches' poll. Jerry Palm has BYU 10th in his weekly BCS standings 
projection.

 


 Texas Tech has put up a website mimicking a presidential campaign for their stars Graham Harrell and Michael 
Crabtree. Here's an idea Mike Leach, trying bringing both guys to the Big 12 media days so hundreds of reporters can talk to them in person.

 Lloyd Carr to Syracuse?

 

 

Posted on: September 28, 2008 6:09 pm
 

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

Before we proceed, today's blog is dedicated to the memory Paul Newman, one of the two coolest guys ever. He and 
Steve McQueen were the male ideal throughout their lives, professional and personal. They taught us it's not about 
having a drink or a cigar or driving a hot car or chatting up a beautiful woman. It's about doing it in style.

The great Newman passed away Friday with a body of work that will be unmatched: Hud, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and 
the Sundance Kid, Absence of Malice, The Color of Money, just to name a few. I will make it a must that young Jack 
add Cool Hand Luke to his movie collection immediately. This is an anti-hero, Jack, showing grace, style and guts 
under pressure. Sure, it's only a story but it's an American story, an American male story.

Newman will be remembered not only as an action icon but also for his charity work, racing and making a heck of a 
salad dressing later in life. Thoughts and prayers, Joanne. Your husband is a legend.

 Gutty Little Tar Heels: Down to backup quarterbacks, down 17-7 at Miami and just plain down after blowing a 
two-touchdown lead against Virginia Tech last week, North Carolina beat the Canes 28-24. Other than that it wasn't a 
good day for the Carolinas. Wake Forest, East Carolina and Clemson all lost to unranked teams.

 Duke broke a 25-game ACC losing streak with a 31-3 victory over Virginia. Can't remember where this came from but 
the headline was perfect: Duke and North Carolina win. Is it basketball season?

 Two conferences without an undefeated team: ACC and Pac-10. Elsewhere, there are 13 undefeated teams among the six 
major conferences, five of them are in the Big 12 (Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State). Four of 
those are in one division, Big 12 South.

 Bad timing: East Carolina announced Saturday that coach Skip Holtz had received an extension through 2013 hours 
before the former BCS busters got blown out at home by Houston.

 After watching Connecticut's Donald Brown on two consecutive Fridays, it's obvious this guy is the real deal. The 
nation's leading rusher has amazing feet and cutting ability. Playing in the East in the Big East and being on 
national television several times, I can see Brown getting a Heisman invite if he keeps it up.

 If Tennessee and Clemson do make moves on their coaches, they're going to be expensive ones. It could cost 
Tennessee upwards of $6 million to get rid of Phil Fulmer, not to mention the cost of hiring a new staff. Clemson 
would have to start by scratching a check for $4 million. That's the amount of Tommy Bowden's buyout. Both coaches 
got raises/extensions in the offseason. Their teams are a combined 4-5.


 If Notre Dame keeps this up they're going to get ranked and go to a BCS bowl while Jimmy Clausen gets some Heisman 
mention, as far-fetched as that sounds. ND, 3-1, matched its 2007 victory total with a 38-21 victory over Purdue.

Clausen seems to be turning some kind of corner after completing 20 of 35 for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

"I know I'm capable of doing stuff like that," Clausen said. "It was just a matter of time and practice preparation 
to get to this point."

 Rice's Chase Clement hooked up three more times with receiver Jarrett Dillard setting an NCAA record for career 
scoring passes between teammates (41). North Texas (0-4) was the victim, 77-20.

Let the debate begin about the worst I-A team. Washington State (1-4 after a 63-14 loss to Oregon) or North Texas.


 Northwestern is 5-0 for the first time in 46 years after beating Iowa 22-17.

 Utah kicker Louie Sakoda chipped in 13 points during the Utes' 37-21 victory over Weber State becoming the 
school's all-time leading scorer. Funny, all along I thought it was Andre Miller.

 Penn State's Derrick Williams scored touchdowns rushing, catching and returning against Illinois.

 Weird play of the day: Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell threw an apparent 97-yard touchdown pass to Terrance 
Turner against Michigan State. Instead, it was called back. Indiana was called for holding in the end zone and the 
Spartans were awarded a safety.

 Did anyone else notice that Dolphin Stadium was half full, at best, for Miami's game against North Carolina? The 
announced attendance was 35,830.

 Navy beat its first ranked team in 23 years, 24-17 over Wake Forest.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: September 10, 2008 12:37 am
Edited on: September 11, 2008 12:06 pm
 

National notes

Following up on Sunday's blog: How hot is Skip Holtz? So hot that if polls were released today, the East Carolina coach's program could make a heck of an argument for being No. 1. What other schools at this point have defeated two top 20 teams that won their 
conferences last season?

So hot that agents are going to start lining up hoping to be hired.

Holtz is a unique kind of "free agent". Despite having just signed a six-year extension before the season, he does 
not have a traditional agent, choosing to work closely with his boss AD Terry Holland. His buyout, only $150,000 in 
his old deal, wouldn't scare away a school trying to hire him away.

"I'm pretty much old fashioned," Holtz told me last week. "The AD hired me, we can work on a handshake. When I need 
an agent to go in there and start negotiating I've got a problem."

It's a problem he might like to have. Holtz's next job could be a lifestyle changer. Coaches have cashed in on less 
than Holtz has accomplished just this season.

"His market value is definitely on the rise," said Matt Baldwin, a senior associate in client management with IMG 
Coaches in Minneapolis. "I think he'd be a fantastic client."

IMG is the worldwide conglomerate specializing in representation and marketing. Prior to the latest extension Holtz 
was making only $4.35 million over five seasons. His new deal guarantees $1.16 million per season. The old contract 
included modest bonuses for tickets sold and for more than five conference victories per season.

Holtz's name value alone should net him some offers after the season. The problem is there don't figure to be many 
high-profile openings. Michigan, West Virginia and UCLA all have new coaches. The only sure openings seem to be 
coming at Washington and Syracuse.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is said to be interested in Washington. With the Syracuse situation deteriorating 
rapidly, AD Daryl Gross might have difficultly landing a major-program head coach to replace Greg Robinson.

If you really want to speculate how about Louis J. (Skip) Holtz Jr. at Notre Dame some day? The former Irish walk-on 
 played for his father in 1986.

 Speaking of Leach, even he thought he was crazy Saturday against Nevada going for it twice inside his own 30. The Red Raiders failed to convert each time.

 

"I thought I gambled stupid and it was just dumb," Leach said. "Being in Reno, I guess I got the bug. I was stuck in a hotel where you don't have any clocks and they were pumping oxygen in there. I thought it was my lucky day."

 Beanie Wells is playing Saturday in The Cage Match In The Coliseum. What did you expect? You know my feelings.

 Washington's Ty Willingham seemingly changed his stance since Saturday when he supported the official who threw 
that horrid excessive celebration against his team:

"I think we all know that it was not the right call. There are rules written for them to use discretion, and in this 
case we didn't do that. Proper judgment was not used. That was not an act of a young man taunting, not an 
unsportsmanlike act at all, and therefore it should have been viewed in its totality and not just isolated as to the 
letter of the law."

Reaction around the country varied widely ...

Pittsburgh's Dave Wannstedt: "At the staff meeting this morning we talked about that. I'm going to show our team 
that clip and reiterate what the rules are. My initial reaction was shock. I had to see it again to see what the 
penalty was. But when you read the rule book...the official had the right to throw the flag. Did I think it was 
right? I didn't think there was any taunting going on. I know what the rule is. The official made the call that way 
but there's a gray area that needs to be talked about.

Connecticut's Randy Edsall: "I don't know why everybody got upset. It's a rule. It's simply stated in the rulebook. 
If you score, hand the ball to the nearest official. I don't know why everybody is getting upset with the officials. 
The official had no other option but to throw the flag. If he doesn't then he has a problem. The guy was doing his 
job. The kid was wrong, didn't mean it intentionally but that's part of the rule."

 Sebastian the Ibis wasn't the only one with ruffled feathers after Florida kicked that late field goal against 
Miami on Saturday night. The Gators led 23-3 with less than a minute left when Urban Meyer called for a 29-yard field goal to make the 
final score 26-3. It seemed inconsequential at the time. But it was clear after the game that the Canes were upset 
that Florida was trying to run up the score.

Coach Randy Shannon issued a terse "no comment" when asked about it. Offensive lineman Jason Fox said "If I did 
(comment), I'd probably get in trouble."

Shannon later said: "Sometimes when you do things and people see what kind of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off.

A person in the office had an interesting thought -- that it was done intentionally to cover the spread, which was 21 
1/2 points. I won't go that far. To me, it was more of a reminder that Florida is Miami's, er, witch and will stay 
that way for some time. Miami had beaten Florida six consecutive times dating back to 1985.

These things always get blown out of proportion when a rivalry is involved. It is ironic, though, that Florida coach 
Urban Meyer famously stated in his book that Georgia's bum rush of the field in Jacksonville was "a bad deal."

" ... It will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team ... We'll handle it."

 Parity? What parity? The three power conferences -- Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC -- went a combined 30-1 over the weekend. The only slacker was Ole Miss which lost to Wake Forest on a late field goal.

The Big 12 enjoyed it first 12-0 week with the WAC On Steroids continuing its offensive assault. Oklahoma State became the first team in conference history to have a 300-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver in one game (a 56-37 victory over Houston). That has been only four times in history.

The rusher was Kendall Hunter (210 yards), the receiver Dez Bryant (236 yards), the passer Zac Robinson (320 yards). The Cowboys seemingly haven't missed offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, now the head coach at South Miss. The Cowboys were eighth nationally last season in total offense averaging more than 200 yards each in rushing and passing. This year's group is 12th, once again averaging 200-200.

 In that 12-0 sweep, the Big 12 scored 71 touchdowns, 33 passing, 27 rushing and 11 on defense or special teams. The touchdown passes averaged 25 yards, the scoring runs averaged 11 yards.

 

Big 12 quarterbacks had a great "season" completing 250 of 365 for 3,475 yards and 39 touchdowns (only eight interceptions).

 The thinnest position at Utah is now thinner. Kyle Whittingham has lost starting defensive tackles at the same 
position -- with the same injury! -- in consecutive weeks. Kenape Eliapo broke his foot in the opener against 
Michigan (out six-to-eight weeks). Lei Talamaivao replaced Eliapo and broke HIS foot Saturday against UNLV.

 Nebraska linebacker Barry Turner's season is over after suffering a broken leg against San Jose State. That 
reminds us of his quote from the preseason on how much he loves playing at Nebraska.

"Once we lose a game shops close, people are sad, divorces go up. There's no other place I'd want to play."

 West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said there is a future after Saturday's loss to East Carolina: "Jesus, Mary and 
Joseph, yes. It's only the second game of the season."

 Through two games Texas Tech has seven rushing touchdowns and only two passing. In the prior two seasons, Tech has 
scored 90 passing touchdowns and 31 rushing.

 The most brutal loss last week? I can't even begin to describe it. Read on.


Posted on: August 29, 2008 9:31 am
 

Opening night thoughts

A lot of mediocre-to-bad football Thursday night. Some observations:

 It's going to be a long season for North Carolina State, 34-0 losers to South Carolina. Even with quarterback Russell Wilson, who was carted off the field with a concussion, the Wolfpack struggled to score points. You can see why 2007 incumbent Daniel Evans couldn't keep the job. When he replaced Wilson, the offense went from unproductive to putrid.

 


 The most impressive NC State player to me was Nate Irving, a redshirt sophomore linebacker who seemed to be in on every tackle. The Wolfpack did intercept four Tommy Beecher passes which might say more about South Carolina's offense than NC State's defense.


 Kirby Freeman went from Miami to Baylor to bench. After the quarterback's celebrated transfer from Coral Gables, 
he couldn't even make it through the first half against Wake Forest. Coach Art Briles kept his starter a secret up 
until kickoff. Why? Baylor just might have itself a quarterback of the future in true freshman Robert Griffin. The 
big-time recruit replaced the stiff, laconic Freeman and led the Bears to their only two scores. Not bad for a 
native of Japan. (His dad was military)

Briles is evaluating his options for next week against Northwestern State. Again, why? Let Griffin take this sunken ship over and try to raise it.

 Alphonso Smith is the truth. Wake Forest's preseason All-American corner is all that. He had an interception and 
tipped away a pass in the end zone in the first half. The Human Turnover Machine (12 by himself last season) has 15 
career interceptions.

 

 Wow, what was the deal with the Stanford crowd? I know it was a Thursday night in Palo Alto -- usually Pinochle night in P.A. -- but this was the season opener (against Oregon State). The announced crowd was 30,223 in 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium. That seemed very charitable.

 

 This is a sign of inexperience: Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao "threw" a safety. That's hard to do. Moevao 
dropped back from deep in his own territory to throw a swing pass. It was actually a backward pass that passed through the end zone and went out of bounds. The Beavers turned it over three times (five fumbles, one lost) in a 36-28 loss to the Cardinal.

 

 By the way what is Oregon State doing opening the season on the road against two BCS conference opponents? It goes 
to Penn State next week.

 

 My opening-night hero is Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Returning from a torn PCL he ran for 147 yards against the Beavs (No. 1 against the rush D in 2007). Not a huge deal, I just can't remember the last time a tailback of any substance was named Toby.

 


 Good luck to Ryan Perrilloux. His numbers were nice -- 203 yards in total offense -- but Georgia Tech was never 
threatened in a 41-14 victory over Jacksonville State. The opponent was only I-AA but Paul Johnson's triple option 
produced 349 rushing yards.


 
 
 
 
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