Posted on: January 13, 2010 12:42 am
Edited on: January 13, 2010 12:43 am

Everything Kiffin

The story goes like this:

Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin almost came across the table at each other during a USC staff meeting years ago. To say they hated each other was an understatement. Now we're to believe that Kiffin may bring back Chow to USC -- and Chow might come back? That's what I'm getting through the grapevine.

I thought Chow would have been a great head coaching candidate at USC, if the school could get past his age (something like 64). Apparently, Mike Garrett wanted Kiffin to hire Chow. I don't know if they would have come together on their own. Believe me, there is some serious animosity between the two.

That confrontation was the beginning of the end for Chow at USC. I'm told that's when Pete Carroll figured he had to find a graceful way for Chow to leave. He did, leaving after the 2004 national championship for the Tennessee Titans ...

Also wondering what happens to Tyler Bray. He is the 6-foot-6 quarterback from Kingsburg, Calif. who committed to Tennessee last September ....

Found this lede from a magazine story I did on Kiffin last year:

If you've come here to read how Tennessee's new coach is going yap his way out of a job he has barely started, it ain't happening.  If you think Division I-A's youngest, certainly most cocksure, coach has kicked off his career going negative, well, you're right. There have been at least three secondary NCAA violations.  He called out Florida -- twice. Maybe insulted the entire state of South Carolina. Pissed off the SEC. In the process he has made Al Davis look practically lucid.

All that without ever, you know, actually coaching a college game. No one is that dumb, are they?

If by dumb you want to include Saban, Carroll and Meyer in the conversation then, yes, Lane Kiffin is stupid as charged.

" Lane Kiffin understood it right away," recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "I guarantee Tennessee is going to be fighting for the title. Two or three years they're going to be right back up there. Not because of coaching, because of recruiting. These guys are everywhere, they're relentless." 

Oh boy.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee, USC
Posted on: November 18, 2009 12:29 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2009 3:14 pm

National notes

We all know that the SEC rules our lives. So what are we to make of the release this week of The Blind Side, the much-hyped movie adaptation of the famous book?

To me, it's free advertising for the coaches and schools involved. Free recruiting advertising.

Think that other coaches aren't jealous? The movie features Nick Saban (as LSU's coach), Houston Nutt (as Arkansas' coach), Tommy Tuberville (as Auburn's coach), Phil Fulmer (as Tennessee's coach) and, uh, Lou Holtz.

Sure, they're at other jobs, or out of jobs, but think about what they represent. When they watch the movie potential recruits will see the current coach of Alabama (Saban), the current coach at Ole Miss (Nutt) and a couple of out-of-work coaches who will be getting free advertising -- Tuberville and Fulmer.

I'm all for Tubby and Fulmer getting new jobs. Holtz, well, I think you know my stance on him. This is not the economy of health care, I just wonder if the rest of the SEC coaches, or the rest of college football will be so thrilled about Friday's premier.

Fiesta frolic: The Fiesta seemingly holds the fate of Boise State in the BCS. The bowl would get the second pick after the Sugar Bowl if the rankings remain the same -- Florida or Alabama at No. 1 and Texas at No. 2.

The Sugar Bowl would take the Gators-Tide loser because it would have lost its anchor team, the SEC champion, to the BCS championship game. The Fiesta would pick second because it would have lost its anchor team, the Big 12 champion (Texas). In that scenario, the only threat to the Broncos -- unless Texas is upset – is Oklahoma State. It could finish 10-2 and qualify as an at-large team.

Qualify is a relative term. It was communicated to me this week that the Fiesta Bowl considers its relationship with the Big 12 similar to that of the Rose Bowl with the Pac-10 and Big Ten. In other words, the Fiesta isn’t passing up a BCS-eligible Oklahoma State to take Boise State.

A lot has to happen: The Cowboys still have to beat Colorado and, more significantly, win at Oklahoma to finish 10-2. The Pokes would be going to Glendale having finished second in the Big 12 South with no wins over currently ranked teams.

Boise, then, has to be big Oklahoma fans on Nov. 28. If not, the at-large teams look like this: TCU, Big Ten (Iowa/Wisconsin/Penn State), SEC (Florida/Alabama) and Oklahoma State. The six other slots are taken up by the six major-conference champions.

TCU search: Sometimes you just get lucky. Nine years ago, the TCU coaching search’s was kept  small and secret. Dennis Franchione was going to Alabama. Then-TCU AD Eric Hyman was joined by NFL personnel guru Gil Brandt and TCU trustee Malcolm Louden.

They climbed into a private jet, hitting as many candidates as possible in as short a time as possible. Your loyal blogger recently obtained that candidates list:

Sonny Lubick, former Colorado State coach and former assistant at Miami
Rick Minter, former Cincinnati coach
Watson Brown, former coach at Alabama-Birmingham and current coach at Tennessee Tech
Jeff Bower, former coach at Southern Miss
Dave McGinnis, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and TCU grad. McGinnis is now an assistant with the Tennessee Titans.
Dan McCarney, former Iowa State coach and current defensive line coach at Florida

After running through that group, The Thoughtful Three came back and found their guy in their backyard. They picked Dennis Franchione’s defensive coordinator, a guy named Gary Patterson. Things seem to have worked out.

McGinnis never was a head coach after the Cardinals. Bower was let go at Southern Miss a couple of years ago. Brown had a mostly mediocre stay at Alabama-Birmingham. Lubick is retired. Minter left Cincinnati after 2003 and is currently the defensive coordinator at Marshall.

“I watched Gary coach the defense and I knew he was a genius,” said Hyman now the South Carolina AD.

Goodbye, Dick Tomey: The classy, accomplished San Jose State coach retired this week (effective at the end of the season) reminded of the biggest tragedy of his career.

In 1995 while coaching at Arizona, Tomey endured the death of Damon Terrell. During a preseason workout Terrell collapsed due to sickle cell trait and died about a month later. A hospital technician removed a tube leaving an air bubble in Terrell’s bloodstream. He died not from a disease but because of hospital error.

Tomey was given the news during a game that year against Georgia Tech.

“That was gut wrenching … Damon was out of the woods, he was going to recover,” Tomey said. “At halftime of the game they told me that Damon had passed away. They weren’t going to tell a anyone else, because people were watching on television. The hospital had made an error.

“I knew it and I couldn’t tell anybody. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere …  I went in the lockerroom after the game. I was about to explode. I had to tell the guys their teammate had died. It was the most gut-wrenching thing. The outpouring of affection for that young man was amazing but the circumstances were clearly the most difficult thing I ever had to deal with.”

The next week at Illinois, Arizona called timeout before the opening kickoff. They formed the letters “D” and “T” with helmets held to the sky.

Most improved: So far it’s Idaho and SMU. They’re tied. Each is five games better than last season.

Idaho has gone from 2-10 to 7-4. SMU has rebounded from 1-11 to 6-4. Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads is the most successful first-year coach to this point improving the Cyclones, 6-5, four games from last season.


Posted on: November 12, 2009 11:30 am
Edited on: November 13, 2009 7:43 am

Tennessee Knuckleheads

If  Nu’Keese Richardson was looking to transfer out of Tennessee, he got his wish.

Division I-AA is going to look like heaven compared to prison.

By now you know that Richardson and two other Tennessee players were charged attempted armed robbery early Thursday morning. You also know that one of the alleged victims thinks it's no big deal. Hey, that's football in Tennessee.

It’s obvious that smarts were not a big part of Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class. The three players had everything ahead of them and threw it all away. One of those charged, Mike Edwards, was coached by Ted Ginn Sr. in Cleveland. Ginn’s life has been dedicated to preparing inner city youth for a better life. This has to be a huge disappointment.

But Richardson is the name that will make headlines. He started the whole thing. Well, Kiffin started the whole thing accusing Urban Meyer of “cheating” to get Richardson out of Pahokee, Fla. Meyer didn’t cheat and, thankfully now, didn’t get Richardson.

A Tennessee football source told me earlier in the season that Richardson wasn’t getting on the field because he couldn’t be trusted yet. That was in reference to his football skills. There were rumblings that Richardson wanted to transfer.

It’s not going to be the type of transfer he thought. I can’t see any way these three don’t spend some time in prison. Kiffin surely has to kick them off the team soon, if not today.

In the short term, Tennessee will take a beating on the recruiting trail. There’s a chance that Kiffin’s first class has been gutted. We’ll see. As a whole, the Volunteers have overachieved this season. Now they’ve been betrayed by some knuckleheads.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: November 6, 2009 9:43 am

Son of Weekend Watch List

If I’m Jimbo Fisher I’m raising holy hell.

Bobby Bowden picking the new defensive coordinator has to be a deal breaker for Jimbo. The job is going to be his in 13 months or so. No way he wants to be saddled with a d-coordinator who is hand-picked by Bobby.

Just to refresh: Bobby will be retired in January 2011. Jimbo Fisher has to live with his choice as d-coordinator.

Bobby’s legacy doesn’t include sticking his nose into Jimbo’s staff. This move could not only bring down the defense, it could bring down the program.

Dollar Bill: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might re-retire sooner than we think. Speaking on Kansas City station WHB this week, Snyder hinted that he is a mere caretaker until the program is in good enough shape to turn over to someone else.

“This isn’t something to do for the rest of my life,” Snyder said prior to Saturday’s game with Kansas. “I want to get it back, calm the waters and [rally] the constituency. Get it in good position for a smooth transition …

“I’ve got to spend time with my children and grandchildren. There’s going to come a time when I went to do [that] again. Hopefully that is in the not-too-distant future.”

Snyder, 70, is in the first year of his second coaching career at K-State.  Originally, he was the author of the “Miracle in Manhattan” from 1989-2005. The Wildcats are currently 5-4 and in first place in the Big 12 North heading into the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas.

SEC bowls: The SEC has only five bowl-eligible teams. The league is trying to fill what looks like a potential 10 bowls spots (eight regular bowls plus a likely two BCS bowls). Nervous? There are five other teams at 4-4 or 4-5 that have some work to do.

Three of the five teams are playing winnable non-conference games this week. Mississippi State, that 4-5 team, is off. Mississippi, 5-3, still has to win two because it played two I-AAs. Arkansas, 4-4, might face a do-or-die game at home against South Carolina. Tennessee Tech is at Georgia, 4-4. Memphis is at Tennessee, 4-4. Kentucky, also 4-4, has Eastern Kentucky at home.

Boise blitz: Boise State has hired a p.r. firm to keep the Broncos in the “forefront” of the “minds” of “pollsters”.  That smells a lot like buying voters. First, let The List express its regret that it is not a Harris or coaches’ poll voter.

No, this isn’t Daley-era Chicago. Boise isn’t going to buy votes. In fact, it is fighting an uphill battle going into Friday’s game at Louisiana Tech. All TCU (at San Diego State on Saturday) has to do is keep winning. The voters <i>and</i> computers have spoken. They like Horned Frogs better than Needy Broncos.

Beaver milestone: As the 300th game at Beaver Stadium looms, let’s review the previous 299 games …

Penn State has a 241-58 record (80.6).

There have been 15 unbeaten seasons.

The Nittany Lions are 216-40 at Beaver with Joe as head coach. Fourteen of those undefeated seasons have come under Paterno.

Penn State is 32-3 in its last 35 at home. The only setbacks have come to No. 4 Michigan in 2006, No. 1 Ohio State in 2007 and Iowa on Sept. 26.

Paterno has been around for all of them.

  The North is 3-9 against the South Division. Two of those wins are against Baylor, in last place in the South.

  Kind of tells you something when Oklahoma-Nebraska gets relegated to the WWL blog. The teams now only meet twice in any four-year period.  A Husker win in Lincoln would give Nebraska a huge boost in the North.

  Does Colorado AD Mike Bohn have the $3.2 million he’ll need to buy out Dan Hawkins? Some more contributions might be added to the pot if the Buffs, 2-6, lose Texas A&M, 5-3

  Something has to give. Navy (34 minutes, 18 seconds) and Notre Dame (33:19) are 1-2 in time of possession.
  South Carolina is 7-10 after Nov. 1 under Steve Spurrier. USC is 27-0 in the month under Pete Carroll. 

Personal rant: The decision on player suspensions needs to be taken away from the school, the athletic director, maybe even the school president. SEC commissioner Mike Slive stepped in a week ago to issue his edict about critical coaches. Then Urban Meyer criticized officials and wasn’t punished. Yet. It seems like commissioners basically exist these days to pursue the best television contracts and shake hands with bowl reps.

The call here is for leagues to put in their constitutions (or whatever they’re called) language that gives the commissioner (or some league panel) the sole power to hand out discipline. Then the commissioners need to have the you know what to follow through.


Posted on: October 30, 2009 5:15 pm

SEC brings the wood

What if an airliner went down in your backyard? Noah’s flood came roaring down the street? How about snow in July?

The SEC would ask you to ignore the obvious tragedy, moisture and cold.

There have been plenty of all three lately in the Southeastern Conference which is more famous this season for what its officials haven’t done than what its teams have accomplished.

This being the world’s best amateur football league, officiating gaffes aren’t met with simple disdain by coaches and fans. They are viewed as tragedy – wrecking a team’s season; moisture – tears of gut-wrenching anger and cold – as in the temperature of the shoulder given the league office which oversees the zebras.

The ongoing story took another turn on Friday when the SEC said it would begin fining and suspending coaches who criticize officials. Forget the reprimands that have done as much good as a rubber knife in a gun fight. Commissioner Mike Slive made a point of saying after the next outburst -- anywhere by anyone -- things would escalate “right to suspensions and fines.” He was empowered by the conferences CEOs and ADs who basically gave him carte blanche to step up the penalties.

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was incensed after perceived missed calls against Florida. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen vigorously ripped officials who didn’t rule that Florida linebacker Dustin Doe fumbled before scoring a touchdown on an interception. (To be fair, I still can’t tell after watching multiple replays. Without overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the call was correct.)

Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin is working on the hat trick having been reprimanded twice this year. After critiquing officials’ failings in last week’s Alabama game, he practically begged for more from the conference saying he wasn’t concerned with “one of those letters”.

The outbursts had the effect of putting out fire with gasoline. Fans have reacted predictably. They screamed everything from conspiracy – critics have suggested that the league is helping Bama and Florida keep the team’s BCS and national championship hopes alive – to incompetency.

Nothing new there. All fans think their conference’s officials are the worst.

Throughout it all, the SEC has shown unprecedented transparency. For the first time it publicly admitted officiating errors and suspending the crew that worked the Gators-Hogs game. The cut was two ways, though, as the coaches were called out too.  

While the transparency has been refreshing and appreciated (at least by the media), the SEC just made a U turn. It is asking coaches to ignore that smoldering jet in the backyard, the rush of water coming down the street and snowflakes in summer.

What’s obvious to everyone else, will now be a conference secret. What bugs me is that there is no wriggle room. What is this, Havana? A conference spokesman told me that the commissioner can act with “discretion.”  What I want to know is a simple, “I didn’t agree with the call,” going to be met with a suspension or a fine? It’s clear the public vetting of officiating errors is about to end. There’s nothing like a suspension or going into a coach’s wallet to shut him up.

Still, it seems heavy handed and a bit reactionary. What disturbs me is that there will continue to be officiating goof-ups. It's human nature. The current point of emphasis on flagrant fouls and excessive celebration is asking for controversy. Ask a thousand people to define an excessive celebration or a flagrant personal foul and you might get 500 different answers.

As it is, officials are asked to make snap judgments. They don’t have the benefit of instant replay. They’re not professionals. These guys are contract workers who love what they do. There are no conspiracies.

Now they’re protected by the coaches’ lack of free speech because the SEC presidents and ADs have spoken.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: October 28, 2009 3:47 pm

National notes

This is why we love college football

 Absolutely no regrets for Sam Bradford. Great kid, great athlete. We’ll miss you, buddy.

Strange that Blake Griffin is one of Bradford’s closest friends and the two have been injured together again. They both suffered concussions while in college. Within a few days of Bradford making his announcement, Griffin was knocked out with a broken kneecap suffered in a Los Angeles Clippers preseason game.

 What exactly is the threshold for the SEC to get into coaches pockets for some of the recent criticism of officials. In the past week Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen have been reprimanded for criticizing league officials.

All three seemed to have a gripe as the league deals with what seems to be a growing crisis of credibility with its zebras. But there is only one thing that will silence coaches – fines. For commissioner Mike Slive, the crisis is getting out of hand. The Marc Curles crew that was suspended for the Florida-Arkansas debacle returns in two weeks. Given today’s viral media society, that occasion is going to be treated in the South like the bankruptcy of the Waffle House chain.

It ain’t going to be popular.

Here are some compelling comments from SEC officials’ supervisor Rogers Redding who appears on “The Tony Barnhart Show” this week on CBS College Sports.

“We understand that people are going to make mistakes. We’re human, we make mistakes.  It’s fair game to question the officials’ judgment.  It’s fair game to question their knowledge of the rules.  It’s fair game to question their mechanics that they use in terms of where they are on the field. 

“But when you question their integrity, that crosses the line.  That’s where I part company with those who are criticizing football officials, because the integrity is absolutely there.  We manage it.  We insist on it.  And I would put the integrity of every football official I know now or have ever known up against any other profession or anybody in the world...I think criticism of integrity is over the top and it’s unacceptable.” 

 Did Larry Scott, then, overreact? Judge for yourself whether the Pac-10 commissioner was fair in suspended an official for “missing” this penalty against Oregon State.

In real time, it’s hard to determine how James Rodgers’ helmet comes off. With so many helmets flying off these days, it’s almost less likely that USC’s Taylor Mays would have ripped it off. On the replay you can see what happened.

My question is, would Scott have suspended the official had not all these shenanigans been going on in the SEC?

 As long as we’re on the subject of assistant coaches of the year (see Wednesday's notes lead), let’s do the top five:

1. Monte Kiffin, Tennessee – If Lane gets anything going on offense in future years, Monte is going to work ‘em silly. Thanks mostly to Monte’s ability to hold the Vols in games, Tennessee has lost to the SEC’s two best teams by a total of 12 points on the road. Bama and Florida have been held to a combined average of 17.5 points. The last time a Volunteer defense was that successful against its two big rivals was 2006.

2. Mark Whipple, Miami – This is not the place to come if you want to read a bad word about Miami’s new offensive coordinator. The journeyman assistant has single-handedly made Jacory Harris a legitimate Heisman candidate. Everywhere he goes offenses improve. Don’t blame him for the Clemson loss. The Canes lost for only the second time 115 games when scoring at least 37 points.

3. Dick Bumpas, TCU – Spoke at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday and one of the first questions was how soon Arkansas could hire TCU’s defensive coordinator. The veteran defensive guru is at the top of his game. While he doesn’t call a defense that head coach Gary Patterson doesn’t sign off on, Bumpus gets credit for assembling four consecutive top 15 defenses (currently No. 5). Defensive end Jerry Hughes is a slam-dunk All-American.

4. Charlie Strong, Florida – You’ve read here and other places why Strong should be a head coach. The game’s institutional prejudice continues.  But Strong has stayed strong with what might be the nation’s best defense. Odd, that with Tebow, Harvin and others in the past, Florida might win its third title in four years because of defense.

5. Will Muschamp, Texas – So tired of d-coordinators skipping town, Texas paid Muschamp $900,000 a year and made him Mack Brown’s coach-in-waiting. Muschamp is so white hot that some school might buy him out from Texas and make him a head coach before Mack, who shows no sign of slowing down, retires. With Muschamp calling plays, this has a chance to be one of Texas’ best defense in – decades?

Three to think about …

Ron Powlus, quarterbacks coach, Notre Dame – Yeah, yeah Charlie calls the plays but Mr. Two Heisman deserves credit for getting Jimmy Clausen’s head around the minefield that can be being Notre Dame’s quarterback.

Jeremy Bates, quarterbacks coach, USC – Matt Barkley is a 6-0 as a freshman starter.

Norm Parker, defensive coordinator, Iowa – The Hawkeyes are challenging for a Big Ten and national championship because of a dominant defense.

 If Oklahoma State upsets Texas this week, we might be looking at an Oklahoma State-TCU Fiesta Bowl. Bet the BCS commissioners never thought of that possibility, in a major bowl, when they created the system.

 Anybody hear anything from Orrin Hatch this week? Boise and TCU both have a shot a national championship. They still need teams above them to lose but in that respect nothing has changed from the pre-BCS days. The fact is that without the BCS, those schools wouldn’t even be in the title discussion this late in the season.


Posted on: October 25, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 7:05 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Oh, Good Lord, are we going to do this again? SEC officials are suffering a crisis of confidence.

 In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, it might be time to rip Tim Tebow.

The Chosen One refused to speak to reporters after throwing two pick sixes in Saturday’s 29-19 victory. Tebow has been so good for so long to everyone – especially the media – that it’s hard to question him but players only have one chance to get it right win or lose. You either show up and face the journalistic music or you look bad.

To be fair, the postgame setup at Mississippi State is bad. It was hard to sequester Tebow because he was being surrounded by fans and even security personnel who wanted autographs. But … he is arguably the best player in the country.

Tim, if you were pouting, get over it. Life, and football, are going to get a lot tougher. Enjoy college while you can.

 In football terms, don’t blame the national media for being tough on suddenly vulnerable Florida. Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley summarized things on Sunday after an ugly win over Mississippi State.

I can’t explain why the players made bad decisions.
I can’t explain why this team is hard to watch.
I can’t explain why Florida only throws the ball to two receivers.
I can’t explain why Tebow still takes sacks out of the pocket instead of throwing it away.
I can’t explain how Tebow could score more points for the maroon and white than he did for the orange and blue.

 Wait until Lane Kiffin gets everything in place. The Great Gum Flapper has lost to supposedly the two best teams in the country by a total of 12 points, both on the road.

And I don’t want to hear about positioning the ball better for Daniel (one for four) Lincoln. If you would have offered any Tennessee fan before the game a chance at a game-winning 44-yard field goal at the gun, he/she would have taken it.

 Clemson and Miami have gone into overtime in their last three meetings. Clemson won in 2004, Miami took a three-overtime decision in ’05 and the teams played that epic on Saturday night.  The upshot of Clemson’s 40-37 win this weekend: The ACC might have lost a second BCS bowl.

 Here are my 12 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback, not in any order)

Case Keenum, Houston
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Tim Tebow, Florida
matt Barkley, USC
Darryl Clark, Penn State
Colt McCoy, Texas
Andy Dalton, TCU
Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Jacoby Harris, Miami
Bill Stull, Pittsburgh
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State

 Bob Griese straddles the racist remark line.

 Playing it close: What is Notre Dame’s margin of error? Almost nothing. In its last six games Notre Dame has outscored the opposition 175-169. It is even in yards 2,559-2,559.

 Northwestern is Notre Dame Jr. It has had four games decided by six points or fewer after sneaking out a 29-28 win over Indiana.

 Same old thing for South Florida which is in the middle of its usual October Swoon. Since entering the polls two weeks ago, the Bulls have been outscored 75-31 against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Panthers haven’t been 7-1 since 1982. Dan Marino was a senior and Pitt – it was known as that then – was ranked No. 1.

The no B.S., etc., etc., blah, blah, you know the drill, Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston – Steady in 23-point victory over SMU. Still the most important quarterback in the country (sorry Tim Tebow)
2. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh – 111 yards against South Florida overshadowing emerging teammate Bill Stull.
3. Colt McCoy, Texas – Horns can’t run and play defense pretty well. Without McCoy they wouldn’t be undefeated. Three touchdowns vs. Missouri
4. Golden Tate, Notre Dame – Somebody has to be catching all those Jimmy Clausen passes. Tate is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the country.
5. C.J. Spiller, all-purpose, Clemson – The ACC’s career leader in that category went for 300 yards all-purpose to help upset Miami.

Posted on: October 24, 2009 8:01 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 12:11 pm

Would you rather be Lincoln or in Lincoln?

Who do you want to be Saturday night?

Niles Paul or Daniel Lincoln?

Neither guy will be able to get a date, or much sympathy. Goats? With horns.

If you haven’t seen the two most compelling plays of the day, pull up a screen. Lincoln is the Tennessee kicker who kicked .250 against Alabama in a 12-10 loss. That’s another way of saying he went one for four, the last miss was a 44-yard attempt that was blocked by Alabama’s Terrence Cody as time ran out.

Perhaps you’ve already seen Mt. Cody ripping off his helmet and going nuts after Bama’s victory. If it wasn’t for Nebraska’s loss to Iowa State – more on that below – Cody would have been upstaged by Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who blocked two field goals.

Either way it was a bad day to be Lincoln or in Lincoln.

Paul is the Nebraska receiver who was part of the Huskers’ epic snowman against Iowa State. That would be eight – count ‘em eight – eight turnovers in a 9-7 loss to the Cyclones.

More turnovers than points. More embarrassment than Pee Wee Herman when he got caught in that theater.

Ahem, yes, well, let’s move on.

 Paul contributed probably the most spectacular of the turnovers in the first half. Sailing free for a long catch and run for a touchdown, Paul inexplicably dropped the ball at about Iowa State’s 5 without being hit. The ball then bounced right to him. Good luck, right? Paul stumbled, on his own, and went down about the 2.

The ball came loose again (the ground can cause a fumble when you don’t have control of it). The Iowa State defender practically trotted up to the ball in the end zone and snagged it for a touchback.

Eight turnovers tied the school record and were the most in 37 years since, amazingly, 1972 when Nebraska was pretty good. Remember?

Remember this: Iowa State was an 18 ½-point underdog and hadn’t won in Lincoln in 32 years. It’s starting quarterback and tailback were out with injuries. The team itself was wracked with a stomach bug that, according to the wire story, affected the team at halftime.


If they weren’t wearing those famous uniforms and selling out every game there are times when the ‘Skers could be mistaken for a Conference USA team this season. Nebraska has now played one serviceable quarter in the last three games (12 quarters). That would be the 27-point fourth-quarter against Missouri on October 8.

In the remaining 11 quarters against Missouri, Texas Tech and Iowa State, the Huskers have scored 17 points. In the last 14 quarters against BCS conference competition, No-Point Nebraska has scored 20 points.

The result contributed to an increasingly ugly Big 12 North situation. Halfway through the conference schedule, Kansas State is 3-1 after a 20-6 victory over Colorado. The Wildcats are the team in the division above an above-.500 conference record.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com