Tag:Washington
Posted on: October 27, 2008 4:20 pm
 

The next coach at Washington...

No one knows yet but I can tell you that Texas Tech's Mike Leach's name has come up and the coach is interested.

To no one's surprise, Washington's Tyrone Willingham announced Monday he would step down after the season. That was predictable after U-Dub officially dropped out of bowl consideration at 0-7. Please, stop laughing. This is the way things are done. It was certainly a lot classier than what went down at Auburn and Clemson.

Whether Washington is interested in Leach is another deal. Here's what one former coach thinks of Leach and Washington:

"He's kind of made it clear he wants to go someplace in the long run ... (His personality) is not bad, it's just different. I don't think it sells well in an interview. I've always said I'd love to see him in Oklahoma with that talent. Mike Leach, I don't know where you can say he's a perfect fit for because he's an unusual character, but he's a brilliant unusual character.

"That's a place where you can compete in that conference, probably better than 75 percent of the teams in the Pac-10. Neuheisel was smart enough to win there, he wasn't smart enough to mesh with the personality of the people he had to deal with ...

"They have an old-boy group there that is hard to please ... Those boys, they want things like it used to be ... When (former coach Jim) Lambright got hired, he was part of that old school. They loved him because he represented the old. He couldn't quite get the offense cranked up.

"Neuheisel had no chance if he had not screwed up. He won but he doesn'thave the kind of personality that could endear itself. He's so new age ...

"Whoever gets that job is going to have a chance to compete for the conference championship within two or three years. It's a great town, got a great image. You ought to be able to walk into Southern California and compete (in recruiting) with everybody but Southern Cal. If Oregon can't get the players they get and Seattle (meaning Washington) can't, you got to be kidding me."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 20, 2008 11:31 am
 

Startling Pac-10 realization ...

Yikes, just realized this scenario:

If Oregon State and USC win out, the Beavers would win the Pac-10 tiebreaker and go to the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, USC would be a couple of upsets away from playing in the national championship game. The Trojans debuted at No. 5 in the BCS standings and clearly need help to jump the teams above them -- Oklahoma, Penn State, Alabama and Texas.

USC's schedule strength was/is inferior to those other teams. First things, first. USC has to win at Arizona this week.

Just to be clear, USC could lose out for the Rose Bowl but play for the national championship. 

Pac-10 standings

USC, 5-1, 3-1

Arizona 5-2, 3-1

Oregon 5-2, 3-1

Oregon State 4-3, 3-1

Oregon State remaining schedule -- Nov. 1, Arizona State; Nov. 8, at UCLA; Nov. 15, at Cal; Nov. 22, at Arizona; Nov. 29 Oregon

USC remaining schedule -- Oct. 25, at Arizona; Nov. 1, Washington; Nov. 8, Cal; Nov. 15, at Stanford; Nov. 29 Notre Dame; Dec. 6, at UCLA

And no I haven't  forgotten that Arizona controls its own fate. The Wildcats still have USC and Oregon at home and a Nov. 15 trip to Oregon.

Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:56 am
 

National notes at the halfway point

One of the best measures for an improved program is the games ahead/behind method. Look at baseball standings for an example. The NCAA includes a section in its statistics book each year that tracks the most improved teams from one year to the next. In 2007, it was Illinois which went from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 last season. That's an improvement of 6 1/2 games.

Hawaii holds the record improving by 8 1/2 games in 1999. Ironically, the Warriors might be on the opposite side of that stat this season.

At the halfway point, I thought it would be a good idea to figure the biggest improvements and biggest declines of the 2008 season. Remember, some of the numbers might be skewed because we've played only half a season. But this might be a good measuring stick for coach of the year candidates and provide a short list of coaches about to be fired.

Most improved

1. Minnesota +7 1/2 games (from 1-11 to 6-1)
2. Duke +5 1/2
3. North Carolina +4
4. Pittsburgh +3 1/2
5. several tied at +3

Biggest decline

1. Hawaii -5 1/2 games (from 12-1 to 3-3)
2. Central Florida, Tennessee -4
4. LSU, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas - 3 1/2

Most improved by conference: Baylor, +3; ACC, Duke +5 1/2; Big East, Pittsburgh, +3 1/2; Conference USA, Rice/Marshall, +3; Mountain West, Colorado  State/UNLV, +3; MAC, Ball State/Northern Illinois, +3; SEC, Vanderbilt/Ole Miss, +3; WAC, New Mexico State, +3: Independents, Notre Dame, +3; Big Ten,  Minnesota, +7 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida International/Louisiana-Lafayette, +3; Pac-10, Stanford, +2 1/2.

Biggest decline by conference: ACC, Boston College/Clemson/Virginia, -2 1/2; Big 12, Kansas, -3 1/2; Big East, West Virginia/Rutgers, -3 1/2; Big Ten, Michigan, -3 1/2;  Independents, Western Kentucky, -2 1/2; Conference USA, Central Florida -4; MAC, Bowling Green/Ohio/Miami (Ohio), -1 1/2; Mountain West, New Mexico, -3; SEC, Tennessee, -4; Pac-10, Arizona State -3 1/2; WAC, Hawaii -5 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida Atlantic, -3 1/2.

Storylines for the second half

Will anyone go unbeaten?: It looks like the SEC and Big 12 will cannibalize each other. That leaves a bunch of one-loss powers that also could include Ohio State, Penn State, USC and Utah or Brigham Young.

Heisman race: Tim Tebow won't repeat and the Big 12 looks like it has a lock on the 2008 winner. But which player?

JoePa In the Sky With A Headset: Can Penn State's venerable coach win a Big Ten title and national championship without setting foot on the field the rest of  the way? Physical problems continue to keep JoePa in the press box. When asked Tuesday if he needed a hip replacement, Paterno answered cryptically, "I don't  know." It isn't exactly Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds but anything Joe does the rest of the season is going to be followed closely.

The non-BCS challengers: TCU, BYU and Utah are all in the mix. If Tulsa can win at Arkansas on Nov. 1 the Golden Hurricane will be a factor. The MAC is  simply too tough for Ball State (7-0) to go undefeated but you have to root for the Cardinals. Their best receiver's career is over (Dante Love) and their quarterback (Nate Davis) wears gloves.

Biggest looming controversy: If a one-loss team from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 is edged out of the BCS title game by an undefeated non-BCS school.

Next coach to be fired: Given the swiftly declining situation at Auburn it might be Tommy Tuberville. Other than that, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and  Syracuse's Greg Robinson are locks. Keep an eye also on San Diego State's Chuck Long and Central Florida's George O'Leary.

Biggest upset looming out there: Not in terms of David and Goliath but watch the Texas at Texas Tech game on Nov. 1. If both teams keep winning you're looking at No. 1 Texas vs. a Red Raiders team that should be in the BCS top five. If Texas Tech wins try to wrap your mind around Mike Leach and his Pirate  Love jumping up to No. 1.

Get out your swords and Johnny Depp movies.

BCS bowl predictions at the halfway point

BCS title game: Penn State* vs. Oklahoma*
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sugar Bowl: Florida* vs. South Florida*
Orange Bowl: BYU^ vs. Virginia Tech*
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC*

*-conference champ
^-non-BCS automatic qualifier

  Remember last week when Washington State held open tryouts to find a scout team quarterback? The winner of that competition, Peter Roberts, suddenly finds himself a viable backup option with the Cougars headed into the USC game.

 Speaking of injuries, it's a shame that two stars at Kentucky and North Carolina recently saw their careers end. Carolina's Brandon Tate, the I-A career  leader in kick return yards, is finished because of a knee injury. Exciting Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons is done because of a knee ligament tear.

 

 Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I said about Texas and Texas Tech above but indulge me: The way things are shaking out, a Kansas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game isn't out of the question. If Texas beats Missouri on Saturday then it becomes more likely. Kansas is playing better and has Texas at home later in the season. KU and Missouri meet in Kansas City on Nov. 29.

 

Oklahoma State is playing better than anyone in the conference (that includes Texas). That head-to-head game is Oct. 25.

 Remember this when you watch BYU and TCU on Thursday night. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall allows each special teams unit to name a captain. The captain then  names starters and backups for each unit. Wonder if that ever happens in the SEC?

 

 


Posted on: October 12, 2008 3:39 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2008 5:05 pm
 

Random thoughts on a football Saturday

Is Tommy Tuberville coaching for his job?

 A week away from the release of the first BCS standings there are 10 undefeated I-A teams, half of them from non-BCS conferences. The most undefeated teams we can have at the end of the season now is seven because of head-to-head matchups among the 10. Only three of the six BCS leagues are represented -- Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC.

 

The breakdown:

Three of the teams are from the Big 12 -- Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech.

Penn State is 7-0 for the first time since 1999.

Utah and BYU are still headed for a Nov. 22 showdown in Salt Lake City. The Mountain West rivals gave up a combined one touchdown on Saturday. Utah beat Wyoming 40-7 and BYU dominated New Mexico 21-3.

Ball State is hanging around at 7-0, although end-of-the-season battles against Central Michigan and Western Michigan are looming.

The next big SEC games are coming up with Florida-Georgia on Nov. 1 and undefeated Alabama, 6-0, going to LSU on Nov. 8.

 Halfway through the season how about these surprise conference leaders?

 

Pac-10: Cal, at 2-0 still has the bulk of its schedule left but still an impressive bounce back from last season at 4-1.

Big Ten: Michigan State is tied with Penn State and Ohio State at 3-0. The Buckeyes come to East Lansing this week. Michigan State ends the season with a trip to Penn State.

WAC: San Jose State is 2-0 (4-2) overall after beating Utah State.

Sun Belt: Florida International is one of four teams tied at the top at 2-0.

Mountain West: It's showdown Thursday when the BYU visits TCU. The teams are undefeated in conference play.

 

 Who would have known that halfway through the season that two teams from Oklahoma would be undefeated (Tulsa, Oklahoma State) and one of them wouldn't be Oklahoma?

 

 The last time Nebraska opened conference play with two losses was 1968. It fell at Texas Tech 37-31 in overtime. That was the Huskers' eighth consecutive loss to a ranked opponent.
 
 Georgia Tech tipped the game-tying field goal attempt with three seconds left to survive against Gardner-Webb 10-7. Coach Paul Johnson was down to his third-string quarterback Calvin Booker who was largely ineffective.

 

The defensive line combo of Michael Johnson combined for five sacks, 17 solo tackles and 51 yards in lost yardage.

 How bad is Washington State? The Cougars intercepted Oregon State's Lyle Moevao four times but lost 66-13. Wazzoo had more penalty yards (170) than offensive yards (132).

 

 Georgia's Matthew Stafford surpassed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career (310) against Tennessee. The Vols are 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in 20 years.

 

 North Carolina (5-1) is off to its best start in since Mack Brown's last season in 1997.

 

 USC's Fili Moala tied an NCAA record by blocking two field goals in one quarter against Arizona State.

 

 Wyoming used four quarterbacks in that loss to Utah.

 

 Is it ironic or just karma? Rich Rodriguez negotiated his Michigan contract in Toledo during the offseason. He lost to the school that represents that city on Saturday. Some called Toledo's 13-10 "stunning". After Appalachian State there is nothing that compares to stunning. The Rockets had been 1-4. Michigan had been 24-0 against MAC teams.

 

“I feel that we’re at a crossroads where we could either go downhill or we can hang tough and weather this storm,” said linebacker Obi Ezeh. “Hopefully, this will pass and things will start going our way. We’ve just got to be tough.”

 Texas is one game into playing four ranked opponents in a row. It's No. 11 Missouri this week after the big win over Oklahoma. Mack Brown is 10-0 in the game immediately following Oklahoma, four of those opponents have been ranked.

 

 Florida's Tim Tebow is two rushing touchdowns shy of Emmitt Smith's school record of 34.

 

 Texas and Oklahoma combined to score each of the 11 times they were in the red zone on Saturday. For the season, OU has cashed in all 28 red-zone visits. Texas is 32 of 33.

 

 Forget about Gary Pinkel going to Washington. The Missouri coach's next job is the hot gossip in the industry considering the Tigers are a national title contender and the Washington job will be open. Pinkel coached for 12 years at U-Dub under mentor Don James.

 

"I don't know why he'd even want to consider coming out here, with the facilities he's got and the way he's got it going," James told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I wouldn't know why anybody would want to leave Missouri now. It would be a tough, long haul."

 Tis the season. First Tony Franklin at Auburn, now Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper. Harper was demoted last week after a 12-7 loss to Wake Forest on Thursday. Hot-shot recruit Willy Korn will take over for the preseason ACC player of the year.

 

 The weird things you see at the Texas State Fair...

 

Spam quesadillas ... Wine coolers. Who the hell drinks wine coolers anymore? ... Sign outside the Cotton Bowl: Pass Out Only At Halftime ... Fried ice cream ... Fried Avocado Chunks ... Gregg Doyel's cousin.

 

Posted on: October 8, 2008 10:39 am
Edited on: October 8, 2008 11:11 pm
 

National notes

One day closer to the ultimate comeback by Mitch Mustain.

If you've forgotten him, get in line. Mustain was the uber-recruit from Springdale, Ark. who signed with the 
hometown Hogs, went 8-0 as a freshman starter then transferred to USC amid the Houston Nutt shenanigans. The 
transfer to USC looked curious from the start. Mark Sanchez was there. So was highly regarded Aaron Corp.

At one point this season, Mustain dropped to fourth on the depth chart. Now with Sanchez nursing an injured knee 
Mustain might get his first start with the Trojans. I have no idea the amount of rust on Mustain but it says 
something that he rose up the depth chart to be in position to take over when Sanchez got hurt against Oregon.

The latest from Tuesday's practice: Sanchez threw lightly but did not practice. With three days to go before the 
Arizona State game, that's a positive sign for Mustain.

 It looks like Joe Paterno is going to be around for a while.

This is news because 1) the Penn State coach broke his leg two years at Wisconsin, the same place Penn State will 
play on Saturday 2) the reports coming out of State College lately have painted a bleak picture of his current 
health. Paterno was noticeably limping Saturday at Purdue and had to coach again from the press box. The 81-year-old 
has been seen at practices getting around in a golf cart.

The story, often repeated, is that Paterno injured his knee attempting an onside kick during a drill. However, after 
the Purdue game he was seen wearing two different shoes and was steadying himself at the podium while speaking to 
reporters. JoePa has taken to doing his weekly coach's show from his home.

"We're a little worried," quarterback Daryll Clark said after the 20-6 victory. "His leg's been bothering him for a 
little while now. But he's still there at practices doing what he can."

Joe being Joe, he shot down speculation that he is anywhere near the end of his career.

"I can't walk like I used to walk all the time," he said. "I used to love to get up and walk five, six miles. But I 
can't do that and still go out and go to practice for a couple hours. It just wears down on me. But what I have can 
be fixed, so we'll work on it.

 
"I'm going to have to live with it for a couple of weeks, maybe more. But hey, that's why I get the big money."

There is an increasing vibe that when Penn State eventually makes a change that the new coach might now come from 
the current staff. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and defensive line coach Larry Johnson are the most likely 
candidates.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying Joe is going anywhere. A Big Ten title or national championship run will give him 
more reason to stick around.

 Ole Miss continues its up and down season. A week after winning at The Swamp, the Rebels lost an emotional game to 
South Carolina, 31-24. That leaves them 1-2 in the SEC West with a bye week before going to Alabama on Oct. 18.

I spoke to Houston Nutt recently.

Was there any temptation to shove it in Arkansas' face after that Florida win?

Nutt: I really deep down inside haven't thought about that (like) 'Look at us now.' "

OK, so how sweet was it?

Nutt: It was very sweet. We played Florida in the championship game in Atlanta (while with Arkansas). I thought we 
had 'em there. You beat Texas, you beat Tennessee, you beat Alabama, but this one ranks so high. It was 629 days 
since this team had won an SEC game."

After beating Georgia, Nick Saban mentioned the day-by-day grind that it takes to win at this level. You have to 
agree.

Nutt: "The constant grind, that's why you need three weeks of the summer to get totally away from it"

How close are you guys to turning it around?

Nutt: "The disappointing thing is, we're still sitting at 73 scholarships. A lot of names you heard the last three 
years aren't here. You're good at defensive line, you're good at receiver. There are some holes. The biggest hole 
was the mindset."

 More on the greatest stat of the season so far ...

D&E told you earlier this week that No. 3 Missouri had not had a three-and-out this season with Chase Daniel at 
quarterback. In those 48 possessions, Mizzou has scored 33 times (28 touchdowns, five field goals). The 15 "misses" 
include five punts, four lost fumbles, three series turned over on downs, two missed field goals and one 
interception.

 Brouce Mompremier has been cleared to do conditioning a couple of weeks after he was one of three players involved 
in Black Saturday. The South Florida linebacker was among the three who each suffered serious spinal or back 
injuries.

 As mentioned in today's main story, Ball State's Dante Love will never play football again after being injured against 
Indiana. He is rehabbing and is expected to make a full recovery. Washington State quarterback suffered a 
non-surgical spine fracture.

Mompremier's got back on the practice field on a limited basis on Tuesday. His injury has been defined as 
nueroproxia, which is temporary failure of nerve conduction in the absence of structural changes, due to blunt 
injury or compression.

 Cincinnati (vs. Rutgers) and New Mexico State (at Nevada) will be the last two teams to open conference play this 
week.

 Georgia Tech freshman Jaybo Shaw completed nine of 13 passes in his first career start against Duke, all to  
Demaryius Thomas for 230 yards. That's the second-highest receiving total in school history.

 Big week for punt blocks involving guys named Carter: North Carolina's Bruce Carter blocked three punts against 
Connecticut. Navy blocked two punts resulting in touchdowns against Air Force. Navy's Blake Carter blocked a punt in 
the first half that was returned for a touchdown. In the second half, he picked up a punt blocked by teammate Bobby 
Doyle. Navy had not blocked a punt in nine years.

  Rutgers has dropped to 1-4 leading coach Greg Schiano to say he might have overestimated his talent. Maybe his 
schedule has been overrated. The Scarlet Knights have beaten two ranked opponents since Schiano took over in 2000. 
That's as many ranked teams as Vanderbilt has beaten this season.

  Texas' Mack Brown on the Big (Scoring) 12: "Every time we look up, the most phenomenal thing is to see 50 points 
in this league. Nobody is surprised. At one time, you said, 'God they scored 58.' Now people are pulling them out  
to keep it to 58.' "

  Seeing the scoring explosion a different way: The nation's top scoring team is Tulsa. Factor in time of possession and  
the Golden Hurricane are averaging a point every 28.7 seconds. No. 2 Missouri is averaging one every 28 seconds.

 How important is Oklahoma-Texas this week? Eight times in the previous 12 games during the existence of the Big 12 
the winner has gone on to win the South Division. Two other times, the loser has played for the conference title. 
The other two South Division titles have been won by Texas A&M.

 Oklahoma is the only team in the country not to lose a fumble this season.

  Washington is 0-5 for the first time in 39 years and one of only two winless teams in I-A. North Texas is the other.

  Name the 12 teams averaging both 200 yards passing and rushing and you win a sucker. Answer below.

  More about Ball State:

 It is located in Muncie, Ind. where basketball is king. The 1990 Ball State team went to the Sweet 16 before losing 
to UNLV. Muncie Central High School has won eight state championships.

When radio voice Morry Mannies went to school there in the 1950s tuition was $150 and enrollment was 4,000. Today 
there are 18,000 students

The last MAC team to be ranked was Bowling Green in November 2004.

The school was shut down three times before 1917. At that point it was bought out of foreclosure by the Ball family. 
It was originally known as Eastern Indiana Normal School. 

The famous "Boom, goes the dynamite" guy, Brian Collins, is from Ball State.

 The 12 incredibly balanced teams referred to above: Oklahoma State, Nevada, Oregon, Penn State, Tulsa, Arkansas 
State, Louisville, Illinois, Indiana, Fresno State, LSU and Southern Miss.

 

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

National notes

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


Updated BCS bowl predictions

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


Three teams to watch:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Three shocking developments to come:

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

 

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

 

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

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

 


Projected award winners:


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

Coach of the year: Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

2006 -- Maryland 13, No. 19 Clemson 12

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

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

2001 -- Virginia 26, No. 19 Clemson 24

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

 

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

 


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

 Lloyd Carr to Syracuse?

 

 

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

National notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Reaction around the country varied widely ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted on: September 2, 2008 7:25 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2008 2:18 pm
 

The pollsters get a conscience

In the old days -- OK, 2006 -- the major pollsters fell in line like those lemming Obama supporters.

If USC was No. 1 -- as it was in AP for 32 consecutive weeks from the end of 2003 to the last regular-season poll of 2005 -- then, well, by God that's where it stayed no matter what. What I'm trying to say here is that there isn't much original thought in the human polls. Check the Harris polls. Instead of voting in the moment, the BCS pollsters who debut in October usually fall in line with what the AP and coaches are spewing at the moment.

That's why Tuesday was somewhat of a big day in the polling business. USC jumped Georgia for the No. 1 in both major polls after one week of play for no apparent reason. The Trojans punched a punchless Virginia. Georgia ripped Georgia Southern. Ohio State, which fell from No. 2 to No. 3 in AP, pimp slapped Youngstown State.

Really, I didn't see much difference in quality in the opponent except that the Trojans traveled across the country to play a real, live BCS team. Call it the frequent flyer advantage. USC picked up nine more first-place votes and 49 points overall in going from third to first in AP. It also picked nine first-place votes in the coaches' poll outpointing Georgia 32-4.

That last time something like this happened, No. 2 LSU lept over No. 1 USC in the AP poll of Sept. 30, 2007. That week the Trojans won at Washington 27-24. Meanwhile, LSU beat Tulane in New Orleans, 34-9.

Maybe the pollsters couldn't stand Georgia getting another injury. Maybe USC looked that good. The latest shift seemed to be a reaction to some of these powers playing body bag games. Suddenly, the pollsters have a concscience. What a concept! This is what poll critics wanted, now they've got it.

Here's the preseason AP top 5 fared

1. Georgia beat I-AA Georgia Southern and fell to second losing two first-place votes and 22 points overall.

2. Ohio State beat I-AA Youngstown State and fell to third losing six first-place votes and nine points overall.

3. USC beat Virginia and went to No. 1 picking up nine first-place votes and 49 points overall.

4. Oklahoma beat I-AA Chattanooga and stayed in fourth losing two first-place votes and 12 points overall.

5. Florida beat Hawaii and stayed in fifth losing one first-place vote. Its point total stayed the same.

--If you were dialing into the George O'Leary's weekly teleconference with reporters at Central Florida on Monday, you got a phone sex hotline.

"Hi sexy you've reached the one-on-one fantasy line."

Insert your punch line containing the words "spread option", "deep coverage" here.

 

Oh, by the way, it was a mistake. An SID entered the wrong phone number for reporters to dial in on.

 

--Glad to see Frank Beamer see the light. Dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor will play this week against Furman. Taylor was a candidate for a redshirt until Sean Glennon showed against East Carolina that he wasn't ready to fully lead the Hokies.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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