Tag:Kansas State
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.

Atlantic

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.


Coastal

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: March 9, 2009 4:39 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2009 4:48 pm
 

Countdown for Bryce Brown

They are fasting by now, drinking only liquids.

The strategy worked last year when Arthur Brown Jr., his father, brother and advisor Brian Butler fasted for a week before the highly-touted linebacker made his college decision.  The story goes that the entire group was hit with a revelation that Arthur, a Wichita, Kan. prospect, should attend Miami.

The group is trying to enter the same physical and mental state as Brown's younger brother Bryce is less than a week away from making his college decision. Bryce's long anticipated announcement will come at a Monday press conference at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.

Yes, it will probably be overdone. Yes, it will probably be faux dramatic. (Please, Bryce don't play us with the "hat tease".)  But we still can't stay away. No doubt there will be media there from all over the region and around the country. At least four schools -- Tennessee, Oregon, LSU and Kansas State -- will be hanging onto the kid's every word. It will be a recruiting website's wet dream.

But the story of Bryce's recruitment might not come to a flashy climax on Monday. Butler, the celebrated mentor, is under investigation by the NCAA. The association's assistant director of amateurism certification has been to Wichita to question a high school player who formerly trained under Butler.

Read between the lines and it seems the NCAA is trying to see if Butler has compromised the amateur status of any of the high school players he has trained.  That, or it might decide Butler should be disassociated from certain athletes. Fourteen months ago Butler quit his job at a T-Mobile call center to pursue training prospects full time.

Butler, 33, usually charges to train athletes $75 a month for one day a week and up to $200 a month for three days a week. On the surface, it's hard to see how Butler could be making a killing.

"Trust me, I can take you to my house right now and show you a stack of bills and show you my bank account," Butler told me in late January. "I wonder how they're going to get paid."


One question seems to be whether Bryce Brown, or any other player, was given a price break. That could constitute an extra benefit in the NCAA's eyes. Two specific NCAA bylaws come into play here:

 12.1.2.1.6 has to do with "preferential treatment" given to a prospect based on his "reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete."

 13.02.13, defines a "representative of athletics interests"

In Butler's case, 13.02.13 would mean he would be steering kids to a certain school. Butler said that the most former players he has at a single school is two at both Kansas and Kansas State. That hardly constitutes a pattern especially since former K-State coach Ron Prince had been critical of Butler.

Butler says that if Prince were still at the school Bryce probably wouldn't be considering the Wildcats. With new/old coach Bill Snyder back in charge, K-State is one of Bryce's finalists.

However, one person with knowledge of the NCAA process told me, "You can turn a ham sandwich into a representative (of athletics interests) if you want to."

"Mr. Brown (Bryce's father Arthur Sr.) pays me more than most people," Butler told me  when informed of the "preferential treatment" bylaw.

"My goal," Butler added, "is to be a millionaire before they (players) are."

On the up and up, of course.

At one time the NCAA had in place a "big brother/big sister" program in which investigators would take a region of the country and speak to the top three to five prospects in that area. I'm not sure if that program is still in place but Butler did tell me that the NCAA plans on talking to the nation's No. 1 recruit.

A best guess is that Bryce has narrowed his choices to Oregon and Tennessee. Based on conversations I've had, the kid is very interested in how he will be promoted. Oregon has at its disposal the Nike marketing machine. That's not to say the kid would be hidden playing in the SEC at Tennessee (on CBS).

Oregon can further sell the nation's No. 2 rushing offense and a somewhat stable quarterback situation. Tennessee can sell the charismatic Lane Kiffin, his superstar staff and a program about to take off .

Stay tuned, the circus is about to end with Monday's announcement. Or, with the NCAA sniffing around, it might just be beginning.

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 11, 2009 1:04 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2009 4:06 pm
 

The future of Mike Leach and other items

The feeling seems to be that Mike Leach will let the deadline expire for signing a new contract on Tuesday. I wrote about the situation on Wednesday.

That leaves him only two years left on a deal that is paid him $1.75 million in 2008, eighth-highest in the Big 12. More important, Texas Tech could be assured that Leach would be on his way out. Allowing him to walk after the 2010 season would not only hurt recruiting but probably distract Leach who would be looking for a new job.

That's not to say a new agreement couldn't be worked out at some future date, but giving a sitting coach a deadline to sign a deal is unique.

Here is a copy of what is believed to be Leach's current contract

 A look at the 2009 Pac-10 non-conference schedule: (Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner who rounded up the skeds)

Once again the Pac-10 is showing it isn't shy about playing out of conference. The league plays few I-AA opponents and is willing (maybe because of its geography) to travel to play high-profile opponents.

Best 2009 Pac-10 non-conference games:

1. USC at Ohio State, Sept. 12 -- Game of the Century No. 1,317. Will this be Terrelle Pryor's coming out party?

2. Utah at Oregon, Sept. 19 -- By this point in the schedule the Ducks will have played Boise, Purdue and Utah. Three BCS league opponents. Combined record from 2008: 29-9. Please, stop the madness. Even if the Ducks win all three, what condition will they be in for the Pac-10 schedule?

3. USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 17 -- Seven in a row and counting for the Trojans ...

4. Oregon at Boise State, Sept. 5 -- Can't understand why Oregon (and Oregon State) keep playing the Broncos. In this case, the loser might be out of a BCS bowl.

5. UCLA at Tennessee, Sept. 12 -- Rick Neuheisel won't be leading any postgame pep rallies in Neyland. When was the last time the Bruins and Vols were each this desperate for a quarterback?

6. Arizona State at Georgia, Sept. 26 -- The Devils were embarrassed by the Bulldogs last season in the middle of a six-game losing streak. In this return game, both teams are rebuilding.

7. Cincinnati at Oregon State, Sept. 19 -- Jacquizz Rodgers vs. the defending Big East champions.

8. LSU at Washington, Sept. 5 -- What is the Washington AD smoking? That brutal non-con schedule helped get Tyrone Willingham fired. Steve Sarkisian starts his career against an SEC monster.

9. Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 28 -- Irish season finale. Will it be Charlie Weis' finale?

10. Kansas State at UCLA, Sept. 19 -- Wait, Bill Snyder is actually getting on a plane to play a non-con road game?

11. Arizona at Iowa, Sept. 19 -- The Wildcats are on the rise but Iowa still start the season ranked despite the loss of tailback Shonn Greene.

12. Stanford at Wake Forest, Sept. 12 -- The I.Q. Bowl. Jim Harbaugh's scheduling instincts have to be questioned. His team is starting with consecutive roadies to Pullman (Washington State) and Winston-Salem.

13. Cal at Minnesota, Sept. 19 -- Gophers have almost everyone back in this season that will be a referendum on Tim Brewster's future. (started 7-1, finished 0-5). Hope the Bears have a secondary. Adam Decker could be a preseason All-American.

14. Maryland at Cal, Sept. 5 -- Plenty of revenge motive here for the Bears. Cal was down 28-6 after three quarters last season at Maryland before waking up. After winning nine in '08, the Bears have set their sights higher.

 How the economy will handle the glut of bowls -- natural selection.

 The president is a recruitnik too.

It is the responsibility of this space to keep alive the printed word whenever possible. To that end, let me recommend two excellent, recently-released books.

"KU Basketball Vault, The History Of The Jayhawks," is a unique look at one the most decorated programs in hoops by veteran college basketball scribe Ken Davis. Unique? When was the last time you got souvenirs with your coffee table book?

"Big Boy Rules, America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq" will change your entire view of the war, the government and human nature. Steve Fainaru of the Washington Post provides a deeply personal look at the Bush travesty that is the Iraq war. Steve is a Pulitzer Prize winner who was a former colleague at the Kansas City Star.

I know, I know. I can hear you. That's as close as I'll ever get to a Pulitzer.

 

Posted on: December 5, 2008 6:21 pm
 

Latest from theSEC championship game

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Posted on: November 5, 2008 8:17 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2008 8:18 pm
 

Don't forget Dennis Franchione at K-State

Connect the dots. Dennis Franchione will be strongly considered as the new Kansas State coach.

Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause said Wednesday he would have a new coach hired by the end of the season, and that he preferred a head coach. There's not too many sitting head coaches who are going to leave their jobs in the middle of the season to take Kansas State.

That kind of narrows the field to people like Franchione. The former TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M coach is currently a college football analyst on ESPN radio. It is known he is interested in replacing Ron Prince who was fired Wednesday effective at the end of the season.

Kansas State was Franchione's first college coaching job and his first child was born in Manhattan, Kan. He is a native Kansan who attended Pittsburg (Kan.) State. It is known he is preferred my hoardes of K-State fans although he has not yet been contacted formally by the school.

He has been out of work less than a year since resigning at Texas A&M. That was after the unfortunate newsletter scandal.

The 56-year-old Franchione is 107-81 in 16 years as a I-A coach.

Posted on: November 5, 2008 5:54 pm
 

Don't rule out Bill Snyder returning at K-State

The old Kansas State is close to returning.

The old Kansas State led the country in losses.  The old K-State was barely a Division I-A program before it made a lucky, once-in-a-millennium hire that just happened to pan out.

The old K-State became the new K-State when Bill Snyder arrived in 1989.

What's old could be new again.

When coach Ron Prince was dumped on Wednesday, Snyder's name immediately came to mind as a short-term savior. After Prince's purple reign, K-State is fragile, wounded, about to fall back into that deep, dark hole from whence it crawled out of 20 years ago.


The next hire better be the right hire or the program's death spiral is waiting around the corner. In the best of times, Kansas State football was a porcelain mouse.  It took Snyder five years to get the Wildcats to a minor bowl.  They won one Big 12 title in his 17 seasons.  After that, they should have waived the mandatory waiting period and elected Snyder immediately to the College Football Hall of Fame.


I'm not saying Snyder should go on for 10 more years. His legacy is gold. No coach, ever, will accomplish what Snyder did. I'm saying he should make some deal with administration to get the program back on its feet. Whether that means hand-picking the next coach or becoming the next coach.

There are worse things K-State can do than let Snyder take over for a couple of years. Look what two-plus seasons got them with Prince.

AD Bob Krause said he would like to hire a new coach before the end of the current season. That seemed odd. Krause would not rule out Snyder as candidate saying first Snyder would be used in a "consulting" role. When I asked, "Consulting or consideration (as a new coach)?" Krause said, "Consulting basis, then move on from there."

It is known that Snyder was homesick for coaching after he "retired" after the 2005 season.  It probably didn't help Snyder's jones that president Jon Wefald didn't listen to the coach when the school's CEO hired Prince.

And make no mistake, this is on Wefald. He hired a guy who was tough on his players and tougher on his assistant coaches.  I ran into Prince's former representative a few weeks ago. The man was flying to Kansas to give depositions in a lawsuit against the coach. The figure in question was reportedly $64,000.

What Division I-A, major-college coach goes to court over $64,000?

After a 38-29 loss to Louisville on Sept. 17, the defense reportedly was made to run 50-yard dashes for every point given up upon the team's arrival back in Manhattan.  In the middle of the night.

That Prince lasted less than three years, admits a colossal mistake on Wefald's part.

After going to a bowl in his first season with Snyder's players, Prince was exposed. He beat Texas twice but was winless against the school's three biggest rivals -- Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

But something else was at work here. Prince is 16-18 in his third season. Within the Big 12, though, two other successful coaches were in a similar situation and given time to turn things around. Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy was 18-19 in his first three seasons before getting the Cowboys into the top 10 in 2008. Kansas' Mark Mangino, the 2007 national coach of the year, as 12-24 in his first three seasons.

Prince wasn't the first choice of many of the administrators and power brokers when Snyder retired. Snyder might be the only choice now.

Some candidates

Terry Bowden, former Auburn coach -- If Wefald wants the alums energized with a name coach, this is his guy.

Gary Patterson, TCU -- Played at Kansas State. Native Kansan. Has coached TCU to the brink of a BCS bowl.

Brent Venables, Oklahoma defensive coordinator -- Former Snyder assistant at K-State. Didn't get a sniff before Prince was hired.


 

Posted on: October 25, 2008 7:29 pm
 

A battle for No. 1 in West Texas

The eyes of the college football world next descend upon ... Lubbock?

That's the case next Saturday after No. 1 Texas set up the latest Big 12 (and national) showdown with a 28-24 
victory over Oklahoma State. The Horns end their four-ranked-teams-in-four-weeks run with a trip to Texas Tech. 
Depending on how things shake out, it could be for the No. 1 ranking.

Texas Tech, of course, has never been ranked that high but finds itself in the thick of the national championship 
race after a 63-21 victory at Kansas earlier in the day. Mike Leach's band of pirates are just starting their own 
streak of four ranked teams in a row. Texas comes to Lubbock next week. If it wins Texas Tech could emerge No. 1 for 
the first time in its history.

Texas leads the all-time series 43-14 but Tech has won three of the last 11 meetings, two by former coach Spike 
Dykes. The Raiders haven't beaten the Horns since 2002.

Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was his usual self (386 yards, five touchdowns) but it was the defense that gave the Red 
Raiders hope. Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing had his worst game since high school throwing for only 154 yards.

We found out Harrell's weakness: boredom. After being sacked only once in the first seven games, he was sacked on 
successive plays late in the game. Not that it mattered. Texas Tech scored eight touchdowns in the first three 
quarters then sat back and enjoyed its best start in 32 years (8-0).

In Austin, we finally found out that Colt McCoy has a weakness too. The nation's current Heisman leader nearly 
handed Oklahoma State the game with an interception that set up a field goal and later a fumble at the Cowboys' 10. 
The fumble with 5 1/2 minutes left allowed Oklahoma State a chance to drive for the winning score but Texas tackle 
Lamarr Houston snuffed out a middle screen to stop the Cowboys on fourth down in their own territory.

Good luck getting a ticket. Game tickets are going to be tough enough, but we're talking plane ticket. A quick check 
of Travelocity.com shows the cheapest flight at $424. Then it shoots up to $894. One way. From Dallas.

 The Jets and Sharks, er, Georgia and Florida set up the cocktail party by both winning their games.

 

Who was more impressive? Georgia scored its most points ever in Baton Rouge, routing LSU 52-38. It was the third 
time in 10 games the Tigers have allowed at least 50 points.

Florida went up 35-0 on Kentucky on its way to a 63-5 win. The Gators' scoring drives on their first five touchdowns 
totaled 13 days plays and covered 216 yards. The longest drive lasted 1:43.


 Is there any doubt where the power lies in the Big 12? The South Division went into the Saturday with three of the 
nation's nine undefeated teams and four of the top eight in the BCS. Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma 
averaged 42.5 points in winning their games.

Texas Tech had eight touchdowns in the first three quarters of its 63-21 victory at Kansas. Not to be outdone, 
Oklahoma had eight touchdowns in the first half 80 miles down the road at Kansas State. In the half of the 
Oklahoma-Kansas State game, the teams scored 12 touchdowns. Not counting Oklahoma's punt return for a score, the 
teams averaged 4 plays, 56 yards and 1:26 of possession time on the 11 other touchdown drives.

 In the first half of three early games on the Big 12 schedule - Texas Tech at Kansas, Oklahoma at Kansas State and 
Baylor at Nebraska - the six teams combined for 159 points, 1,723 yards in total offense 63 first downs.

 

Oklahoma's 55 points in the first half at Kansas State is a school record. The previous high for a first half for 
the Sooners was 52 against Rice in 1978. It tied the school record for most points in a half. Oklahoma scored 55 in 
the second half against Texas Tech in 1942. Oklahoma had seven touchdown drives in the first half. That required 29 
plays and covered 343 yards. All of the scoring drives were under two minutes; the longest drive required 1:45.
In case you're wondering, the 73 points scored by both teams on the Oklahoma-Kansas State game doesn't come close to 
the NCAA record for most points in a half. North Texas 49, Navy 45 set the record last year (94).


Posted on: October 5, 2008 6:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2008 9:24 pm
 

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

There is some doubt as to whether Joe Paterno can finish the season.

 Brace yourselves. I know this will be hard to believe but there is more trouble with Pac-10 officials. Stanford's Jim Harbaugh went a little nuts after Notre Dame's 28-21 victory.

 

 

 Just so we're all clear on this: Those cuddly, loveable, loseable Cubs played exactly three more games than the Washington Nationals. It feels soooo good for those of us ready to stick a finger down our throats at the mention of everything Cub.

 

Good tee times available, Cubbies. Have a nice offseason ...

 On to the oblong ... Jake Harry's scholarship is in danger. OK, not really. But the Missouri punter does feel a bit, shall we say, underutilized?

 

The junior from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. did not punt Saturday night against Nebraska. Not even close, really. The first-team offense scored on all of its possessions Saturday excpet one -- a 59-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. He has punted nine times all season (Missouri has punted 10 times as a team). Harry has punted only twice in the last three games.

Reminded of this fact, super serious coach Gary Pinkel said, "We're going to have to work on that in practice. That's not reality."

Neither is this: Missouri's offense has not gone three-and-out with Chase Daniel at quarterback this season.

You're welcome in advance for this week's Heisman candidate trivia.


 Anyone want a piece of Ron Zook now? He was the first coach in nine years to win at Ohio State and at Michigan within a 12-month span in nine years. The last coach to do it? Illinois' Ron Turner in 1999. Illinois trounced Michigan 45-20 at The Big House on Saturday.

 Yes, that was Joe Paterno up in the press box again due to what was reportedly pain in his right hip.

 

"I'm not letting anybody get near me with a knife," JoePa said.

 Florida's fantastic freshmen, Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, each ran for 103 yards in a win over Arkansas. The last  time Florida had two players each rush for 100 and have no receivers over 100 yards was 1997. Wait a minute, wasn't that under Spurrier? Strange.

 

 USC avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time since 2001 with a 44-10 win over Oregon. The Trojans actually trailed 10-3 and faced a fourth-and-2 at Oregon's 34. Pete Carroll's, as he frequently does, went for it. Mark Sanchez threw a touchdown pass to Damien Williams.

 

 Is Charlie Weis working his quarterback magic again? In his first seven games Jimmy Clausen threw one touchdown and five interceptions while winning once. In his last eight games including a win over Stanford on Saturday, Clausen has thrown 18 touchdowns (only seven interceptions) and is 6-2.

 


 Bad times at Kansas State. Fans were booing and a less-than-capacity crowd left early during a 58-28 loss to Texas Tech. Ron Prince's embattled defense has been thrashed repeatedly dating back to last season. In its last season I-A losses, teams are averaging 49 points and 538 yards. Quarterbacks are completing 70 percent while having throwing 20 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Texas Tech's Graham Harrell threw for more yards against Kansas State (454) than Air Force, Navy and Army did combined (265) on Saturday. Those three schools haven't thrown for as many yards on the season as Harrell did on Saturday: Army, 279; Air Force, 412; Navy, 439.

The service academies played the whole game too. Harrell was yanked in the second half.

 At least Nebraska gets a break next week after losing by five touchdowns to Missouri. It goes to Lubbock. Thank you sir, may I have another.

 

 Some Wisconsin seniors got a windfall in their e-mail. Because the band was suspended indefinitely for acts that would make Penn State players blush, there suddenly were 300 empty seats to be filled in Camp Randall Stadium. The school contacted seniors who had lost out on the ticket lottery. They were told to show up at the stadium shortly before the game to claim their free ticket.

 


 You knew this was coming: Arkansas continues to face a Burma Road of a schedule thanks in part to the rescheduling of the Texas game last month due to Hurricane Ike. In consecutive games against then-No. 9 Alabama, then-No. 7 Texas and No. 12 Florida, the Hogs have been outscored 139-31. Next up: at Auburn and at Kentucky.

 Since winning its first eight games under Dennis Erickson last season, Arizona State is 4-6 including a 24-14 loss to Cal on Saturday.

 

 Michigan has 14 touchdowns and 16 turnovers this season.
 
 The lowest scoring winning team in the Big 12 was Kansas with 35 points.

 

 Kentucky has yet to allow a touchdown in the red zone this season.

 

 SEC teams are allowing an average of 17.4 points and 288.4 yards per game. If that holds up, it would be a post-expansion record (since 1992) for the conference.

 

 Missouri beat Nebraska in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1973-74.

 

 A big shout out to the (lack of) Quality Inn in Lincoln. Why even try? I got bitten in the lobby by flies the moment I walked in. Lighting in the room was optional. It gave me a greater appreciation for what O.J. Simpson is going to face in the next 20 years.

 

At least I got to check out.

 
 
 
 
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