Tag:LSU
Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 2:25 pm
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Miles is a lifer at LSU now

Great day for LSU. No, really, a great day.

Whether you Tigers like it or not, Les Miles is most likely a lifer now in Baton Rouge. LSU released a statement Tuesday saying that Miles is staying at the school after speaking to Michigan officials about its opening. 

You don't think Miles is locked in? The man just turned down his alma mater -- for the second time. I'm thinking Michigan isn't going to come around a third time. Miles knows that it's over. He told you on Tuesday, that he's OK with it. 

This is it for The Hatter. You're stuck with him, LSU, and you should be delighted. Where is he going to leave for now? The best college jobs are in the SEC and he's already got one of those. The league is to the sport what Beyonce is to music. Girl's got it going on. Crazy Les looked smarter than hell on Tuesday. 

Miles, the ultimate Michigan Man, is a Tiger Man until he retires or LSU fires him. If it does, the school will owe him millions in buyout money that will be a testament to his excellence. He will have earned every cent. Until Nick Saban came along, LSU was kind of slopping around, certainly not an SEC threat. Miles carried on the excellence winning, yes, with Saban's players but also his own. Next year's team, seven years removed from Saban, should start the season in the top five.

No matter what you think of his methods, the man wins. Big. 61-17 in six seasons. That kind of excellence trumps everything. Or should. Les gets tired of being bashed by spoiled LSU fans but obviously he knows the long-term at LSU is better than it is at Michigan. LSU should compete for the SEC title every year as long as he is there, and compete for the national championship every few years. That's a damn fine football standard he helped set.

Miles obviously realized how big a rebuilding job would await at his alma mater. Whoever gets the Michigan job -- it looks like San Diego State's Brady Hoke now that Michigan has whiffed on Miles -- is going to have a lot of work to do. There is a dearth of talent on defense. The offense is a rip-up-the-carpet type project especially for a coach like Hoke who doesn't run the spread.

And each day Ohio State gets further and further ahead.

No, it was not a good time to take the Michigan job. In the end, Miles knew that. The man might be quirky and weird at times, but he isn't dumb. He's got the job of his life. Get used to it LSU. Your guy isn't leaving, perhaps ever. He just told you Tuesday that LSU has replaced Michigan as his dream job.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: LSU, Michigan
 
Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:55 pm
 

TCU's Gary Patterson not contacted by Michigan

Gary Patterson had not been contacted by Michigan for its opening as of Wednesday night according to a source close to the TCU coach.

Patterson, fresh off a 13-0 season and Rose Bowl win, is thought to be a candidate for the job left open after the firing of Rich Rodriguez by AD Dave Brandon. Brandon said earlier Wednesday he expects to move quickly to fill the vacancy but arguably the hottest coach in the country had not gotten a call 12 hours after Rodriguez had been let go.

Is it too early to speculate? Not with recruiting hanging in the balance. Brandon also said Wednesday that this weekend's recruiting visits would be shuffled as the coaching search takes priority. Patterson has not publicly expressed interest but it is assumed he would listen to Michigan if it called.

The debate rages whether Brandon should hire a so-called "Michigan Man" or the best coach available. Patterson, 50, fits the latter category. In 10 seasons, Patterson has won 98 games at TCU and is seen as the main reason why the school was invited to join the Big East beginning in 2012.

San Diego State's Brady Hoke and LSU's Les Miles -- two coaches with Michigan ties -- seem to be the leading candidates. If Brandon prefers to go off the reservation he could pursue Patterson, a defensive mastermind who has assembled the nation's No. 1 defense each of the last three seasons. Brandon said BCS conference experience would not be a required seemingly opening the door for Hoke and Patterson.

Brandon said earlier Wednesday that he has a "dynamic list" of candidates.

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 4, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 7:24 pm
 

If Rich Rod is out, where does UM go from here?

The number you dialed is not a working number.

That was the message on Rich Rodriguez's cell phone Tuesday afternoon. Kind of says it all, doesn't it? In the end, nothing worked at Michigan, not even the man's cellie.

The Rich Rod era at Michigan reportedly has ended with everyone at fault and no one at fault. (Michigan released a statement saying Rodriguez' firing is "media speculation" and that AD Dave Brandon has yet to make a "final decision." A regularly-scheduled team meeting was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday, but had nothing to do with the coach's job situation according to a spokesman)

Three years ago Rodriguez was the obvious and welcome choice at Michigan. It's easy to blame former AD Bill Martin for the hiring but that would be revisionist history. Rodriguez was at the top of his game in December 2007. Michigan went to the wall, financially, to extricate him from a messy buyout at West Virginia.

Michigan fans cheered the whole way. Rodriguez brought the next-generation offense that was going to allow Michigan to compete for national championships. That's exactly what had happened at West Virginia, but for some reason the magic didn't translate to Michigan. It was square peg/round hole from the getgo. At his core, Rodriguez is a West Virginia guy. Michigan is ...well, it's hard to define but Michigan is different -- or at least perceives itself that way.

That's why it's hard to blame this whole thing on Rodriguez. The same guy who recruited and coached Denard Robinson to the brink of a Heisman invite to New York couldn't find a suitable defense. His worth as a valued coach will proven by his next job. It will be a quality one whether it's in 2011 or 2012. Pittsburgh or Connecticut would be wise to snatch up a proven head coach on the rebound. Rodriguez's career isn't over, it's just altered.

You can blame Brandon. He dragged this out much longer than it needed to be to the point that the firing itself seems to be lingering on. Meanwhile, recruiting has suffered. There is no assurance that Jim Harbaugh is coming. In fact the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that it is "highly unlikely". In other words, Brandon could have canned Rodriguez a month ago and been way ahead. Michigan would either have a coach or be able to tell recruits they were going to get a quality coach.

Now it might come down to whether Brandon can sell San Diego State's Brady Hoke to the masses. The short answer is no. A quick Twitter survey by colleague Stewart Mandel at SI.com was interesting. He asked Michigan fans which of three outcomes they'd like to see, if Harbaugh wasn't available -- keep Rich Rod, hire Brady Hoke or hire Les Miles.

Keeping Rich Rod won.

I don't think Miles comes because it's too much of a rebuilding job. LSU is going to likely start in the top five next season and could be favored to win the SEC West. And there's the little matter of Miles buyout which stood at $14 million before the season. Whoever comes in is going to have to rip up the foundation and start over. Hoke would welcome it. Miles? I say not so much.

The search seems to be trending toward getting another Michigan Man after Rodriguez The Outsider, didn't get it done. But if Harbaugh is out of the picture why limit yourself? Call Gary Patterson. Call Chris Petersen. Call Bob Stoops. Who knows, one of them might have a secret hankering to coach Michigan. What Brandon can't do is trot Hoke up to the podium and tell us, "He was our No. 1 choice all along." No matter what you think of Hoke, that won't fly. Michigan will have settled.

As for blame, it's everywhere. This is like a no-fault divorce. Something went wrong. It's now up to Brandon to get it right. If he can.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 2, 2011 6:46 pm
 

TCU's legacy both BCS and non-BCS

On the same day TCU received its first Rose Bowl bid, its stadium was demolished.

The two occurrences on Dec. 5 are actually related. In a strange way, the Frogs were in Saturday's Rose Bowl because Amon G. Carter Stadium was being demolished. The win over Wisconsin was a culmination of events that might have elevated TCU to being the best non-automatic qualifier in existence.

Part of the stadium was torn down as part of a $100 million facilities upgrade. Call it an overall upgrade, the biggest in school history. With the Rose Bowl win and a 13-0 season, TCU is on the edge of breaking into college football's elite. It certainly has passed Utah and Boise as the best non-BCS programs of the BCS era (since 1998). World's tallest midget status is a bit meaningless now, though, with TCU joining the Big East in 2012.

It will leave behind quite a legacy before starting a new one as one of the game's haves. Gary Patterson is a defensive savant but his teams have been tremendously balanced. Departing senior Jeremy Kerley was a dual threat as a receiver and returner. Quarterback Andy Dalton leaves as the winningest active quarterback in the game. His placement will be either Casey Pachall, a redshirt freshman, or Matt Brown, an Allen, Texas star who changed his commitment from Arizona in February.

Only 10 starters return with the loss of 26 seniors in 2011. But Patterson has been good at replenishing and rebuilding. Most of the 2010 recruiting class redshirted. Only three true freshmen played any significant time. This season marked the program's fifth in the last six with at least 11 wins. The residual gift from those victories will benefit both the Mountain West and Big East. BCS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed Saturday night that the leagues will each get credit for TCU's records in 2010 and 2011.

A four-year evaluation period for automatic BCS conference qualification has been adjusted to match up with TV contracts. That's why TCU will most likely help the Big East keep its BCS status and aid the Mountain West in getting its shot. If the MWC meets a series  of benchmarks it will get temporary automatic qualifying status in 2012 and 2013. That would help sustain the league despite the losses of Utah and BYU next season and TCU in 2012. Boise State joins the MWC in 2011. Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii (football only) will arrive in 2012.

As TCU AD Chris Del Conte said, that wasn't the MWC that TCU had joined or wanted to be part of in the future.

Some dope tweeted Sunday about TCU's weak schedule. While the MWC has been damaged by defections, it is on the brink of BCS automatic qualification because of the accomplishments of TCU, BYU and Utah. The Frogs have actively sought a tougher schedule in the Big East. Meanwhile, in the non-con Boise State comes to Fort Worth in 2011. Oklahoma and Virginia follow in 2012. There's a home and home with LSU in 2013 and 2014.

Let's see Ohio State (Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season in the non-con) match that.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
 

BCS releases list of at-large candidates

The BCS exclusionary?

Not today with 22.5 percent of Division I-A still eligible for BCS bowls. That's the conclusion after reading a BCS press release Tuesday afternoon. The BCS released its list of teams still under consideration for the five elite bowls. In addition to the 19 teams contending for automatic berths by winning their conference there are still eight teams being considered for at-large berths.

Those are:

No. 11 (in the BCS) Alabama, 9-2. Eliminated from the SEC, the Tide could get in the conversation by beating Auburn.

No. 21 Arizona, 7-3. A longshot even if the Wildcats beat Oregon this week.

No. 12 Arkansas, 9-2. The LSU game is a playoff to stay alive in the BCS.

No. 4 Boise, 10-0. Let's be honest, if the Broncos don't win out they're not going to a BCS bowl.

No. 5 LSU, 10-1. The highest-ranked one-loss team would seem to be in if it beats Arkansas.

No. 19 Nevada, 10-1. Another longshot even with a win over Boise on Friday.

No. 20 Utah, 9-2. Consecutive losses to TCU and Notre Dame doomed the Utes.

No. 3 TCU, 11-0. The Frogs are nervous. If they are passed by Boise for the No. 3 spot, their BCS bowl chances are in jeopardy.

To be eligible for an at-large berth, a team must finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings. For a non-A.Q. (automatic qualifier) conference champion to get into a BCS bowl it must finish in the top 12. (Top 16 if it is ranked higher than a champion from a power conference.) Only the highest-ranked non-A.Q. meeting those parameters is guaranteed a spot in the BCS. 

What's amazing is that there are 19 teams still alive for automatic berths:

ACC: Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech
Big East: UConn, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia
Big Ten: Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big 12: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
Pac-10: Oregon, Stanford
SEC: Auburn, South Carolina

Posted on: November 21, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 11:14 pm
 

Why TCU's chances for a BCS bowl just improved

TCU's chances of making a BCS bowl just improved with Sunday's release of the latest BCS standings.

The Horned Frogs are teetering on the brink of being excluded from a BCS bowl and coach Gary Patterson knows it. That's the reason he went through the ESPN "car wash" over the weekend, flying to Bristol, Conn. for appearances on various ESPN platforms. Patterson was low key and stated his case to the point that he even made it to Chicago Saturday to be on the set of GameDay.

What even Patterson probably doesn't know is, as of Sunday night, that a spot looks like it is opening up for his team in the Orange Bowl. TCU's case was helped by the Nebraska's loss to Texas A&M. The Huskers could have been a potential at-large team. That possibility probably no longer exists with Nebraska having dropped to 9-2.

TCU's plight is affected by a BCS rule that allows a berth to only one automatically qualifying non-BCS school. After that, it's up to the bowls' discretion. That was the scenario last season when Boise and TCU played in the Fiesta Bowl. This year it's likely they both get in again if you assume that the top eight in the BCS win out. Here's why:

1. An Oregon-Auburn championship game creates an opening in the Rose Bowl that this year, per BCS rules, allows for the highest-ranked qualifying non-A.Q. (automatic BCS qualifier) to go to Pasadena. Given the numbers posted Sunday that is most likely Boise State. The Broncos -- fourth in the BCS -- moved within .0135 of No. 3 TCU. With two games remaining, Boise State seems destined to move into that No. 3 position.

2. Assuming Boise is in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin (winner in a three-team Big Ten tie), then it's easy to slot these teams:

Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Nebraska or Missouri vs. the Big East champ in the Fiesta.

LSU (SEC at-large) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten at-large) in the Sugar.

3. This is where it gets interesting in the Orange Bowl. There simply isn't that large of an eligible pool to match against the ACC champion (Virginia Tech, Florida State or NC State). At that point only Oklahoma State (11-2 coming off a Big 12 title game loss), Missouri (10-2 if it beats Kansas), Stanford (11-1 if it wins out) and TCU  (12-0 if it beats New Mexico) would likely be eligible for a BCS berth. Every other team would have at least three losses or, like Michigan State, be shut out because its conference already had the limit of two BCS teams.

Remember that the Orange is very sensitive to attendance. It needs two teams who can guarantee a sellout (or come close to guaranteeing) a sellout. That seemingly eliminates Stanford and Missouri. Stanford would be traveling across the country. Only one Pac-10 team (USC in 2003) has played in the Orange Bowl in a non-championship BCS year since 1985. Missouri has a notoriously mediocre fan following in bowls.

That leaves only TCU, not exactly an attendance draw but a better team than any of the other candidates. Virginia Tech-TCU doesn't quite stir the blood the same way that, say, LSU-TCU does but in my scenario the Sugar is not going to pass up a chance for a rematch of the 2008 BCS title game (LSU-Ohio State).

In my scenario, everyone is happy -- TCU, the BCS -- which doesn't have to take a load of ---- for leaving out the Horned Frogs -- and my man Patterson. Once again, the biggest development of Saturday was Nebraska being eliminated. If the Huskers had won that created the unsavory scenario involving the Orange Bowl. The bowl possibly would have had to choose between a two-loss Nebraska and an undefeated TCU. Isn't it great how things work out?

Once again, recapping why TCU fans should be happy if the top four win out:

BCS championship game: Oregon-Auburn

Rose: Boise State-Wisconsin (assuming Badgers win three-way tiebreaker)

Fiesta: Big 12 (Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Nebraska/Missouri) vs. Big East (too many possibilities even to post on the Internet)

Sugar: LSU-Ohio State

Orange: ACC (Virginia Tech/Florida State/NC State)-TCU

Top eight in the BCS as of Sunday:

1. Oregon, 10-0
2. Auburn, 11-0
3. TCU, 11-0
4. Boise State, 10-0
5. LSU, 10-1
6. Stanford, 10-1
7. Wisconsin, 10-1
8. Ohio State, 10-1

Posted on: November 17, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 1:06 pm
 

National notes/Illinois-Northwestern fiasco

Northwestern and Illinois are playing this week at Wrigley Field. The NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee might want to have a word.

Whoever sanctioned this mess probably came from the state boxing commission. Those folks don't care who the hell gets hurt either. Seriously, how does any adult in good conscience put an end zone up against Wrigley's right field wall? There's also precious little out-of-bounds room on one side of the field. If you haven't seen the pictures, they're here and here.

The NCAA's 15-year old principles of student-athlete welfare states, " ... It is the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each of its participating student-athletes."

Smashing one's face into a (padded) brick wall seems to violate some of those principles. Forget about the possibility of injury, both teams are going to have to alter their game plans. In other words, don't figure on seeing many skinny posts or go routes in the east end zone at Wrigley.

"They've got it padded up pretty good," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "I was jokingly [saying] to our receivers, 'Got to get you ready for the Arena League.' Obviously, there was a lot concerns and a lot of thought put into that before the decision was made."

Zook he and officials surveyed Wrigley two years ago. Amazingly, none of the participants seem to have a problem with it.

"We had risk managers out here," Northwestern AD Jim Phillips told the Chicago Tribune. "We had civil engineers, safety engineers. We had so many people look at it because nobody wants to put the student-athletes in harm's way."

Noooo, who would want that? I guess to these guys, harm's way is actually putting the end zone in the bleachers.

"It will definitely be an element in the game," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Thoughts and prayers, Illini and Wildcats, thoughts and prayers.



* Could a heart attack be a key to BCS bowl this season?

Hang with me on this: As crass as this sounds, TCU may have been distracted Saturday during a closer-than-expected 40-35 win over San Diego State. In the first quarter offensive line coach Eddie Williamson left the field because of a reported heart attack. Williamson had a stent put in and is expected to be back to the team soon. He didn't want the players to be seen in the weakened state, so he left the field as calmly as possible.

But the players had to know eventually that one of their coaches was gone. Did it have anything to do with the Frogs losing focus? They fell behind the Aztecs and came back to lead comfortably before a couple of late touchdowns by San Diego State.

The five-point victory margin probably had something to do with Boise cutting into TCU's lead for the automatic BCS bowl berth race. TCU is currently No. 3 in the BCS standings, but Boise is right behind with three games left. TCU has only one, Nov. 27 at New Mexico. Could the Broncos eventually pass the Frogs for that No. 3 spot if they win out?

It could come down to a close game caused by a distraction caused by Williamson's heart attack. Just saying ...



* The Pac-10's dirty little secret apparently is out. The Oregonian says it has a source who confirmed faking injuries was a "big part" of the game plan against Oregon's rapid-fire offense.

I reported Sunday that had been concerns inside the Oregon program over opponents' faking injuries since late September.

Oregon fans have taken to booing opponents' injuries whether legitimate or not.

"I know what our fans reaction is when someone's  carted off the field that looks like he's going off to surgery and is back immediately on the next play," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We've played in games when three or four guys are down on a play. I think we have pretty intelligent fans at Oregon."



* There seems to be two parts to every SEC scandal -- the actual scandal itself and who ratted out the violator.

It's a conference tradition, one that commissioner Mike Slive has tried to eradicate with a code of ethics. The code requires those with knowledge of an NCAA violation to pass up the chain of command (AD to conference office to NCAA). That's obviously an issue lately with the Cam Newton situation. Mississippi State is on record as having turned in to the conference office Cecil Newton's alleged request for money for his son's services.


"The issue is you cannot turn a blind eye to misconduct," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you do you're as guilty as the misconduct. I'm comfortable with the need to create a climate of compliance. I wish it wasn't anonymous. I wish everybody knew everything there was and it was open ... Then there would no behind closed doors."

Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: October 22, 2010 10:38 am
 

Defense of No. 1 Oregon's ranking is offense

How does that taste Alabama?

Is there hope Oklahoma?

How about you LSU, Auburn?

Forget about the non-BCS schools. They're all but out of it. Oregon just laid a nuclear whipping on UCLA that sends a clear and present message: Resistance is futile by you puny humans.

OK, so it was only UCLA but can you think of a better first-game No. 1 defense -- in history? I'm going to spend Friday trying to look it up. Point being, that as we wring our hands about the SEC's chances at a fifth consecutive national championship one thing is clear. Oregon is the only team in the country that controls its own destiny in the BCS.

It is No. 2 (in the BCS) with a bullet and there is not much resistance in front of it. The Ducks face just one currently ranked team (Arizona) the rest of the way. Good for their prospects, bad, perhaps for their BCS numbers. But when you're No. 1 and winning by an average of 39.3 points maybe it doesn't matter.

You say victory margin doesn't count in the BCS? Bull feathers. It impresses the voters. This wasn't New Mexico or Portland State. This was UCLA which at times has had a pretty good defense. If Oklahoma struggles with Missouri and LSU and Auburn grind it out at Jordan-Hare, voters won't have a hard time deciding who is No. 1 in the polls -- at least for another week.

Look for more of these carpet bombings in the future. Blowouts don't count in the BCS? They really do. Those human polls (Harris and coaches) are still two-thirds of the formula, right?
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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