Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: August 28, 2009 12:17 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2009 8:17 am

Seven more "things" to consider this season

You've read "25 Things". Here are seven more also getting votes ...

Terry Bowden

Eleven years out of the game and unable to find a suitable job in I-A, Bobby’s boy settled in at Division II North Alabama.

It seems that the celebrated former Auburn coach (.675 winning percentage) isn’t planning on retiring in Florence. He has brought in 24 I-A transfers, seven from his dad’s program alone. Not that the Lions were about to fall off the edge of the earth. They reached the I-AA semifinals last season and have won at least 10 in the last four years.

The idea is to win fast, win a lot and maybe grab a I-A job. Among the notable transfers are former North Carolina State and Nebraska quarterback Harrison Beck and FSU receiver Preston Parker.

Parker was kicked off Florida State in February after his third arrest since 2006. But he can play. Parker caught 104 passes in three seasons with the Noles. 

Mike Gundy is a man, he’s 42 but he’s no less paranoid

It hasn’t made much national news, but Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is up to his old media-baiting self.

Gundy recently cut off the team from media (practice, interviews, everything) saying the team needs to focus for its Sept. 5 opener against Georgia. That’s bad enough, but he hasn’t restricted all media. A couple of Cowboy-friendly types have been allowed in. Not surprisingly they are a guy who works on the Cowboys recruiting site and the radio color man.

So maybe “media” is too definitive a word in that case.

What grinds the legit media is that Gundy is a 27-23 coach bankrolled by a billionaire booster at a state institution. Where's the accountability? We don’t know if Gundy is beating players, denying them water breaks, hell, holding illegal tryouts.

Not saying it’s happening but with the doors closed, can’t say it’s not happening. It’s not just me talking. Read this excellent piece by the Tulsa World’s Bill Haisten. Pay particular attention to the lead.

I remember catching up to Gundy 3 ½ years ago the day it was announced that Pickens had donated $165 million to Oklahoma State.  Coaches were kidding him at the American Football Coaches Association annual convention about getting a loan. Gundy was almost oblivious. Pressure? What pressure?

Pickens is now 81 and is perhaps wondering what happened to all that money. Where has Gundy’s three-year old rant and this stunt gotten him? Nothing tangible. He is a YouTube celebrity. Recruiting hasn’t been hurt. It’s like an old hat in the closet. You pull it out years later and remark, “Man, did that look silly.”

Now the Cowboys are no longer a curiosity. Oklahoma State has a top 10 ranking. It’s about time Gundy started winning big. Unfortunately, that ranking and a quarter will get you a bag of chips.

The problem for Okie State, as it always has been, is Oklahoma and Texas. Those powers form a cement ceiling above Stillwater every season. That hasn’t changed. Neither has Coach Clandestine. Maybe he is feeling the pressure of having to deliver on Boone Pickens’ investment.

Chill pill

In the middle of one of the hottest Southwest summers in recent history, Oklahoma and Texas can agree on one thing:

Taking a pill to monitor players’ core temperature is a good idea. The CorTemp capsule is about the size of a vitamin and ingested about five hours before practice. Players thought to be at high risk of heat-related maladies are selected each day.

Trainers pass a monitoring device over a player’s stomach (the pill  is somewhere in the intestines) to check body temperature. Texas trainer Kenny Boyd calls it an “ingestible thermometer.”

The $35 pill is too pricey for some programs but with heat-related illnesses killing players at a record pace this decade, no price is too high. Sickle cell trait (usually brought on my physical exertion) became the leading killer of Division I players this decade.

The Eagles, Vikings and Jags in the NFL use the pill as well as Nebraska and North Carolina on the college level.

If you’ve read this far you’re still wondering how the players get rid of a pill filled with electronics. It is, um, passed. No word on how, or why the pills are recycled.

… Or they could just forget the whole thing and let those state troopers fight it out

A proposal from the American Football Coaches Association calls for both coaches and ADs to accompany their teams on the field for a pregame handshake before each game. The initiative starts with next week’s opening games.

A thoughtful gesture, but college football isn’t exactly the Stanley Cup playoffs where teams form a handshake line at the end of playoff series. These guys are minutes away from tearing each other’s heads off. It’s hard to imagine Alabama and Auburn exchanging handshakes. More like haymakers.

Forced to confront Lane Kiffin on Sept. 19 in Gainesville, will Urban Meyer shake hands or whip out a taser?

AFCA executive director Grant Teaff says the association’s code of conduct calls for coaches to shake hands before the game. Is that the same code of conduct that Rick Neuheisel adhered to when he committed 50-plus secondary violations?


Possible bowl rematches

The bowls are loathe to stage regular-season matches in their games, but with the rash of TV-arranged non-conference games, rematches could become more frequent. The reason these games are being arranged in the first place is because the teams are TV draws.

And what are bowls looking for? These big regular-season games could be the first of a doubleheader to be completed in the postseason.

Sept. 5: Georgia at Oklahoma State, also in the Cotton Bowl.
Sept. 5: BYU vs. Oklahoma in Irving, Texas, also in the Fiesta Bowl
Sept. 19: Kansas at UCLA, also in the Insight Bowl
Oct. 17: Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas, also in the BCS title game (don’t laugh, it could happen)
Oct. 24: Boston College at Notre Dame, also in the Gator Bowl

Technology meet the economy

It's possible now to go an entire season in the Sun Belt, Ohio Valley and Big Sky conferences without ever meeting another human coach.

Those conferences cancelled their in-person preseason media days as a way to save money. In the case of the Sun Belt, it went to video streaming its media days. You already know that several schools no longer print media guys, the assumption being that everyone has a large hard drive, a speedy processor and time to stop in the middle of a story, slip in a CD and look up something.

Now that human contact has been removed from the equation, can alien probes of various orifices be far behind?

Point being, the cost-saving excuse in some ways is a sham. Michigan is saving one-half of one percent on its budget. There are ways to save money, but once the boulder gets rolling down the hill there are a lot of copy cats.

These schools wouldn't be in this economic crunch if they weren't all operating under the same model. Remember, teams have been staying overnight in a hotel for years the night before home games.

Smelly, cussing guy in overalls? Text CNHSKRHELP

By allowing fans to text for help, isn't Nebraska admitting it has a problem?

Campus police say they will accept "citizen crime reports" in the form of texts from fans at games. Nice move. But when are they going to do something about that freakish mascot?


Posted on: June 26, 2009 3:41 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2009 11:00 am

Picking the ACC

It has been easy to take shots at the ACC since expansion.

The whole Florida State/Miami axis-of-excellence thing hasn't panned out. But there have been some stories worth reading. Wake Forest competes favorably representing one of the smallest schools in I-A. Everybody is waiting for North Carolina to break out under Butch Davis. Georgia Tech's option game has baffled opponents, at least in Paul Johnson's first season.

Virginia Tech has remained the only constant. The Hokies have won consecutive ACC titles and never seems to drop far off the grid. Frank Beamer could be anywhere. He has chosen to remain in Blacksburg and built an unlikely powerhouse.

The Hokies are prohibitive favorites to make it three in a row.


1. North Carolina State -- Invest in Tom O'Brien. The Wolfpack's coach is as solid commodity as there is on Wall Street these days. Actually better, considering the state of Wall Street. For 10 years, he overachieved at Boston College. Now with more resources he is ready to deliver in Raleigh. When in doubt, I always go with a solid returning quarterback. Russell Wilson might have the most upside of any in the league. He enters the season with 249 passes without an interception, 22 short of Drew Weatherford's ACC record. During an injury-filled season Wilson still threw 17 touchdowns and only one interception. O'Brien will hit it big in his third season coming in with a four-game winning streak to end '08.

UPDATE: Linebacker Nate Irving was injured in a car accident on Sunday (6/28). Irving, when healthy, was one of the best linebackers I saw last season. If he isn't able to go this season, the certainly impacts the Pack's chances.

2. Florida State -- The bandwagon is not full. I'm intrigued why the Seminoles are most people's choice in this division. Bobby Bowden is back to having an established quarterback (Christian Ponder) for the first time in eight seasons. The offensive line is reflecting line coach Rick Trickett's toughness (left tackle Andrew Datko was a freshman All-American). But there aren't the dynamic athletes we're used to seeing. And there always seems to be some drama around the program. People have talked more about the loss of 14 victories in the offseason more than Ponder having some reliable receivers. Try to envision a nine-win season with road trips to BYU, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake and Florida. I can't. FSU could win the division and probably eight games but it will take a step back from '08 when it won nine. 

3. Wake Forest -- The Deacons have won 11, 9 and 8 games the last three seasons. It would be logical to assume the decline is going to continue. Most of the returning players are back on offense, which struggled. The defense loses eight starters. Four players were taken in the first four rounds of the draft. That's amazing but also troubling for this season. Wake will have to get those new defensive starters ready to contribute right away for it to be a factor in the division.
4. Clemson
-- The Dabo Swinney era goes into its first full season. A 4-2 finish by the former receivers coach was enough to raise hopes after the end of Tommy Bowden's 9 1/2-year reign. There is always the fear that Clemson is still Clemson. Since 1999, it has never won less than six or more than nine. The Tigers have had the talent to win the ACC each of the last three seasons but they always seem to disappoint. Kevin Steele was a huge get as defensive coordinator coming from Alabama. Tailback C.J. spillers is less than 1,000 yards away from becoming the ACC's career leader in all-purpose yards. Swinney will be reminded at every turn that the last ACC title was in 1991. 

5. Maryland -- We can see the end of the Ralph Friedgen era in College Park. Offensive coordinator James Franklin is the coach in waiting. The Terps should take a major dip after going 8-5. Twelve starters have departed including receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Friedgen loves Torrey Smith and redshirt freshman Kevin Dorsey as emerging talents at receiver. Franklin has done a good job shaping senior quarterback Chris Turner. 

6. Boston College -- Gene DeFilippo is my hero. Look, I liked Jeff Jagodzinski but I admire BC's AD for calling the former coach's bluff when Jags interviewed with the Jets. I admire DeFilippo more for replacing Jags with the guy who most deserved it. Frank Spaziani was d-coordinator for 10 years and had earned his shot. There is enough left over from the nation's No. 5 five defense to compete (linebacker Mark Herzlich was ACC defensive player of the year). You wonder, though, if the Eagles will be able to throw when they need to. Junior Codi Boek arrived as a quarterback, then was converted to fullback. He is now is back at quarterback. He is competing with freshman Justin Tuggle.


1. Virginia Tech -- Beamer doesn't get enough credit. The Hokies have become the dominant program in a league that was formed showcase Miami and Florida State. In the last five seasons he has won 52 games and three ACC titles, including the last two in a row. Virginia Tech should go to a third consecutive BCS bowl. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor gets the job to himself after injuries and Sean Glennon blocked his way the past two seasons. Taylor's game resembles a certain legend whose name rhymes with "quick." Sophomore tailback Darren Evans rushed for most of his 1,265 yards in the second half of the season.  Coordinator Bud Foster might have his best defense ever. It is quick and mean. If the Hokies get past Alabama in the opener, they could be in the national championship hunt.

2. Georgia Tech -- You've got to love Paul Johnson's, um, confidence. When folks questioned whether his triple option could work in the big time he went out and won nine while beating Georgia in his first season with the Jackets. Things should be better this season Heisman candidate Jonathan Dwyer, the ACC's leading rusher, is complemented nicely by Roddy Jones in the same backfield. The defense finished in the top 25 nationally and held five teams to 20 points or less. The secondary is loaded with the addition of corner Jerrard Tarrant who was suspended for all of '08 fighting a rape accusation. The charges were dropped. The toughest stretch will be three weeks in October when the Jackets play at Mississippi State, at Florida State and Virginia Tech at home.

3. North Carolina -- Davis continues to recruit. The Tar Heels should continue to win. In Davis' second year the Heels jumped from four to eight wins. Often-injured quarterback T.J. Yates lost his two most reliable targets (Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate) to the NFL. Fortunately, the defense is loaded. If the Heels can win at Georgia Tech on Sept. 26 don't be surprised if they start 6-0.
4. Miami -- I don't care who is responsible. In fact, I don't want to know. The schedule, though, is a joke. Poor Randy Shannon is looking at 0-4 with the toughest first four games in the country -- at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. Shannon lost a quarterback (Robert Mavre) and had to change both coordinators. Mark Whipple came from the NFL to take over the offense. First-year d-coordinator John Lovett came from North Carolina. The defense is stout, but let's be honest. This is Miami and if they don't win big with flair, it will be a disappointment.  The progress of quarterback Jacory Harris will be on one of the major stories in the conference.

5. Virginia -- It has been a weird circle of life in Charlottesville. Al Groh's son Mike became offensive coordinator in 2006 after Ron Prince left to become Kansas State's head coach. Prince is back (as special teams coach) after being fired at K-State. Mike Groh was, um, let go after producing the sixth-worst offense in Division I-A last season. Gregg Brandon has installed a spread offense for quarterback Jameel Sewell. They should be thankful to work together. Brandon landed at Virginia after being fired at Bowling Green. Sewell missed '08 because he was academically ineligible.

6. Duke -- There won't be a more upbeat last-place team in the country. David Cutcliffe squeezed out four victories in his first season as coach. That ties for the most in Krzyzewskiville since 1994. Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis gets one last season to work under the guy who tutored Peyton and Eli. Last season's defense held three opponents to less than 10 points for the first time since 1976. Only four starters return including potential All-ACC defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase.


Posted on: June 26, 2009 11:09 am

Stoops' raise and heat-stroke deaths

Oklahoma knows what it's doing. Bob Stoops is about to become the game's first $5 million coach (with bonuses by 2011).

I have no problem with that. You shouldn't either. You pay for victories. You pay for championships. You pay because your university has not been disgraced. That's the way it is these days. Heck, didn't Phil Fulmer get a raise last year?

There will be those who ask: Where was Bob Stoops going? Nowhere that I can see but sometimes it pays to keep your most important employees happy.

Oklahoma knows what it is doing because it is rewarding people for specific accomplishments. The entire staff received raises. By percentage, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson topped the list getting a 35 percent raise from $285,000 to $385,000. Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel was second going from $156,000 to $200,000 (28.2 percent).

What do these two guys have in common? They helped run the highest scoring offense since Minnesota in 1904. Their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy. Their team won a sixth Big 12 title this decade. Yeah, I'd say they earned it.

That raises the question: If Stoops is worth $5 million per year, where does that put Urban Meyer? Florida's coach is going to get another raise after winning two championships in three years. He already makes at least $3.5 million per year. And what about Nick Saban? The school is in the process of extending his average $4 million per year. LSU's Les Miles reportedly passed Saban last year making $1,000 more per year than the conference leader.

What happened to cost cutting? It doesn't touch football.

 Before you start, howling, yes, I do remember the Big Red Motors scandal at Oklahoma. Yes, that was embarrassing but the school was out front on it. Plus, Stoops showed some stones by immediately kicking Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn off the team. That is one smudge and in no way resembles the frat house that Barry Switzer ran during his heyday.

But let's not get all high and mighty here. Schools still pay for wins.

 For fun, see how your salary compares to Saban's with this salary calculator.

 Heat-stroke related deaths are up according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research center at the University of North Carolina. We're way ahead of you. I reported in May that "exertional sickling" a complication of sickle cell trait, is now the leading cause of death of NCAA football players this decade. Sickling is caused by overextertion without proper acclimation to the conditions.

All of the deaths have come in practice or in conditioning, not in games. Five of the 10 deaths in Division I-A football this decade have been caused by sickle cell trait. There have been 25 heat-related deaths overall in football in the last 10 years, according to Dr. Frederick Mueller, who wrote the report.

"This number is unacceptable since heat-stroke deaths are preventable with the proper precautions," Frederick said.

In a recent study, only 64 percent of Division I-A schools even test for sickle cell trait. You can bet that a lot fewer than that know how to accilimate sickle cell trait athletes to extreme heat during conditioning.

Why doesn't this bother anyone else?

 Came off the road, had a lot to do, fighting a cold. Ended up watching Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett retrospectives on Thursday night.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 3, 2009 4:02 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2009 5:27 pm

Hypocrites R' Us

DETROIT -- Roy Williams just delived the line of the day.

Everybody seems to be wringing their hands over Carolina's Ty Lawson winning $250 at the craps tables earlier this week. You know what? The Heels' coach doesn't have a problem with it. While he was at it, Ol' Roy also trashed the NCAA here during the Friday press conferences.

"It's strange, if we don't want those kids doing it, don't put the Final Four in a city whree the casino is 500 yards from our front door. And they have a great buffet in there."

Later ...

"You know when we got here? Wednesday. I mean, I'm not gonna tell my guys they have to stay in the room and watch Bill Cosboy reruns for four days. C'mon.

"I have zero problems with Ty doing it. I went and gambled myself ... When I came here this year to play Michigan State (earlier this season) we stayed at MGM. I went down and shot craps, (I) lost and we won the game. I go to Nevada, Reno, to play Nevada-Reno and I stayed in a casino, and I went downstairs and shot craps and (I) lost, and my team won.

"So you have to be halfway idiot if you think I'm not going go gamble and lose before this game."

Later ...

"You know where I was supposed to stay if my team hadn't (made it)? Caesar's Palace. The dunk contest last night, three-point contest? Who was it sponsored by? A casino. What a great country we live in."

So let's review: The best player on arguably the best team in the Final Four played craps. The team hotel is located a hiccup away from a casino. Roy Williams definitely plans on gambling while here for the Final Four.

I'm getting the impression the NCAA is way out over its skis on this gambling thing. It has an entire office to fight gambling but knowingly put the Final Four in a (depressed, cold) city that is built on the back of casino income. That's strange, the NCAA also once tried to ban any newspaper that ran point spreads from the NCAA Tournament.

That didn't work either. Time to give up, NCAA? At least stop preaching to us about the evils of gambling. You're part of the addiction.




Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2009 2:56 pm

Miami has a new defensive coordinator

Randy Shannon has settled on John Lovett, North Carolina's special teams coordinator/defensive assistant. Except an announcement sometime this week.

Lovett, 58, becomes Miami's third defensive coordinator in three seasons. He has been a d-coordinator at Auburn, Clemson, Maine and Bowling Green.  

 Don't expect any major rules changes to come from the annual NCAA rules committee meeting this week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. I spoke to secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding who specifically mentioned that the timing rules will stay in play. The length of games (and plays per game) were reduced slightly in 2008 with the new timing rules.

"I think there's a sense of, let's let these soak in for a while," Redding told me. "Let's take a deep breath."

He said there was some discussion of adding a two-minute warning but that there wasn't enough support.


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:



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


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: 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 ...



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


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.




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.


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