Tag:Colorado
Posted on: September 7, 2009 10:01 am
Edited on: September 7, 2009 10:02 am
 

Updating Coaches On The Hot Seat ...

Or at least get new seat cushions, especially for Dan Hawkins, Ron Zook and Al Groh. Those three are the main targets of columnists, fans and message boards after the first week of play. (Note: This is before Miami-Florida State so this post may appear dated by Monday night.)

This ain't intramurals, brother, but it sure looked like it Sunday night in Boulder. Colorado, a 10 1/2-point favorite, was manhandled by in-state rival Colorado State 23-17. And, yes, the score was as misleading as Byron Hout's "internal discipline" at Boise State.

They're all over coach Dan Hawkins for a) sticking with his son Cody at quarterback the entire game and b) leaving one-time program building block Darnell mostly on the bench. Hawkins completed 24 of 40 for 222 yards but still looks like he's too short to see over the line when the rush comes. His dad picked him in a tight battle with Tyler Hansen to be the starter so, if nothing else, you can't doubt a dad's love.

That was one problem. The bigger one was that the Buffs weren't ready to play. Colorado State scooted off to a 17-0 lead in front of stunned Folsom Field fans. CU AD Mike Bohn had said privately that is was very unlikely that Hawkins was even in trouble going into the season. Scratch that. CU can't afford a rebuilding effort that includes a flat offense, an intimidated defense and an unprepared squad.

Zook has to be on the hot seat (again) after his team's performance against Missouri. Sure, he lost preseason All-American receiver Arrellious Benn early on but quarterback Juice Williams looked flat in a 37-9 loss to Missouri. Yes, Missouri's defense surrendered single-digit points to a BCS conference school for only the fourth time since October 2004. (Ironically, two of those performances have been against Colorado.)

Williams did not look comfortable against a defense he had skewered for 42 points in last year's meeting. On the other side, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is a national player of the week candidate after throwing for 319 yards in his first start. Gabbert averaged 9.7 yards per attempt. Chase Daniel surpassed that average only nine times in his 41 games as a Tiger.

Speaking of national players of the week, please don't overlook William & Mary's B.W. Webb. Bill and Mary's redshirt freshman picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown, in his team's shocking 26-14 win over Virginia. The immediate reaction in the Georgia Dome press box was whether Groh would last the week.

You can catch all the action here. William & Mary's SID department immediately threw up on an online video of the game. Don't miss the seven -- yes, seven -- Virginia turnovers.

Until the ACC actually starts winning football games the league office ought to institute a media blackout. The ACC was 4-6 in the opening week against non-conference opponents. There's no truth to the rumor that BCS honchos are considering replacing the ACC with the Colonial Athletic Association.

The CAA took two ACC scalps (Richmond beat Duke) and is considered the Big Ten (roughly) of I-AA. William & Mary is ranked No. 14 and Richmond is a former I-AA national champion.

Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 12:09 pm
 

Picking the Big 12


The Big 12 South Division race, the Big 12 title game, the Heisman race and the national championship hinged on the conference's three-way tiebreaker. We found out about the 11-year-old rule when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech each tied at 7-1 in the South Division.

Oklahoma "won" the tiebreaker because it finished the regular season as the highest-ranked team in the division  -- by .0128 of a point in the BCS standings. Instead of reliving the Austin angst, let's just say that one Longhorn suggested that if the tiebreaker rule wasn't changed in the offseason his school ought to pull out of the Big 12.

What's changed? Not much. The rule wasn't changed and Texas is still in the league. At the spring meetings, the Big 12 ADs accepted the coaches' vote that the tiebreaker remain the same. Why?

 One theory is that Texas probably doesn't get much sympathy from the other coaches because ... it's Texas. The school is perceived to have the best of everything so it didn't get much sympathy from schools that don't. Yeah, jealousy sucks.

 There is nothing to be gained for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor, etc., so why change? Hey, the league got two teams in the BCS. To the other schools it doesn't matter who plays in those games as long as the money keeps rolling in.

 The tiebreaker makes sense. Why wouldn't you want your highest rated BCS team to win the tiebreaker? There was some feeling that the SEC tiebreaker is fairer.

In a three-way tie, the SEC drops the lowest-ranked team and decides things head-to-head. But since you're chasing a BCS title, the SEC tiebreaker potentially keeps the highest-ranked team out of a title shot.

The tiebreaker would have been a footnote on the national scene had not Texas and Oklahoma been involved. The rivalry was bitter enough without having to explain why the Horns lost out when they beat the Sooners on the field. Yeah, Oklahoma's fortune might cause a bit of consternation in Austin.

"They got a huge break," Texas' Colt McCoy said.

Like I said, nothing has changed. Texas and OU still hate each other. There is a good chance we could have another tiebreaker train wreck at the end of this season. Only the teams will change.


Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could all start the season in the top 10. The Red River Shootout on Oct. 17 shapes up as one of the most intense in the history of the rivalry. Just for controversy's sake let's assume the Horns win in Dallas, they still have to play in Stillwater on Halloween. If the Cowboys win they could win out until a Nov. 28 date in Norman. If the Sooners win that one, we're looking at another three-way 7-1 finish.

Who wins it in the BCS tiebreaker? In that scenario, you'd have to like Oklahoma again. The Texas loss would be six weeks old by then and beating Oklahoma State impressively would be the emphatic final statement for the computers the pollsters. That same thing happened last year when OU blew out Texas Tech.

Closer to the field, for the second consecutive year the Large Dozen remains the conference of quarterbacks. It sports a Heisman winner (Sam Bradford), a runner-up (Colt McCoy) and well as 2009 Heisman candidate Todd Reesing of Kansas. You can add Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Texas Tech quarterback du jour Taylor Potts as difference makers.

Just giving you a fair warning, Texas fans. Grow your hair out now. You might be pulling it out in December.

Picking the Big 12 ...


North Division

1. Kansas -- If this were Miami, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Reesing would be on the cover of every preseason mag in the country. Meier is the leading returning receiver in catches per game (10.8). Briscoe is second in receiving yards per game (108.2). Reesing already has led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl and is in line to become the school's best quarterback ever. Mark Mangino already has proven he can coach. If a new set of starting linebackers can tackle and if KU can beat either Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (he is a combined 0-9 against the three) this could be a special season. The Jayhawks get the slight edge in the North because the Nebraska game is at home.

2. Nebraska -- Bo Pelini is slowly building Huskerville back to its usual standards. Slowly is the key word because defense is Pelini's thing and the D showed astounding lapses last year. Slowly, because Nebraska has not had a first-team All-American on the defensive line in 12 years. Tackle Ndamukong Suh could break the streak. Some draft boards already have him in the top five. There is little room for error where Pelini is a turned ankle away from having real problems at quarterback. Zac Lee is the guy after Patrick Witt, who was being counted on, left before the spring. A lot of folks think Nebraska has the advantage in the North because of its schedule. I see road trips to Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado, plus a home game against Oklahoma. Please tell me how that is favorable?

3. Missouri -- The Tigers will take a dip after back-to-back Big 12 North titles. Missouri knows it. The fans know it. The league knows it. The key is trying to make an 8-4 season seem like a success. Six-foot-five Blaine Gabbert takes over for Chase Daniel, only the greatest qb in Missouri history. He would be wise to spread the ball out to 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Washington and receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The Tigers will score, just not as often. If the defense is shored up at all this team could be on the fringes of contending in the North. At times, the secondary looked like a fire drill. Linebacker All-American linebacker candidate Sean Weatherspoon passed up the draft and will chase the school's career tackles record as a senior.

4. Colorado -- Has Hawk Love turned into Hawk Doubt? Entering his fourth season in Boulder, Dan Hawkins has won only 13 games. The pressure is on to produce (hint: Big 12 North contention and a bowl game). Hawkins isn't backing down, saying this at the senior banquet: "Ten wins, no excuses." The quarterback situation is unsettled with son Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen maybe sharing the job again. Freshman tailback sensation Darrell Scott was upstaged by fellow freshman Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. Here's the scary thing: In a league with unrelenting offenses, CU has lost six of its top 10 tacklers.

5. Kansas State -- This isn't the old Big Eight for Bill Snyder. Back in 1989, he was taking over Kansas State from a zero position. This time he is chasing his own legacy. Not to diminish what Snyder accomplished, but back in the early 1990s, Missouri and Kansas were jokes and Oklahoma was sliding. There was no Texas to play two out of every four years. The Big 12 has more depth and strength than the Big Eight as Snyder tries for Miracle In Manhattan II. Snyder got K-State from dregs to the brink of a national championship game in nine years. Will the 69-year-old have that much time this time around?

6. Iowa State -- Iowa State swapped coaches with Auburn. Gene Chizik went. Paul Rhoads came. Rhoads, from nearby Ankeny, seems like he wants to stay awhile. He'll be looking up at the rest of the Big 12 North for a while. Ripping Wally Burham from South Florida to be his defensive coordinator was a huge get for Rhoads. The offense will have a chance with dual-threat Austen Arnaud at quarterback


South Division

1. Texas -- Mack Brown smiled when I told I had his pregame speech ready for the OU game. "We beat the Sooners last year, boys. Now let's go out and get some revenge!" Yeah, it's about that and a lot of things for Brown and the Horns. Except for perhaps some suspect running backs, Texas is loaded. Brown has his best team since the 2005 national championship crew. Hybrid defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle should be this season's Brian Orakpo. McCoy is driven not only by the tiebreaker but also his second-place finish in the Heisman. Still, it all boils down to Oct. 17 in Dallas.

2. Oklahoma -- Sam Bradford won the Heisman, became the first quarterback to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and got the Sooners to the national championship game. What is there left to accomplish? Plenty for Bradford who listened to family and advisors and put off the NFL. His body can fill out a bit and it doesn't look like there will be a Matthew Stafford to compete with in the draft this year. Oklahoma's questions are at offensive line and receiver. If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat. With a break here or there, they still might end back up in the national championship game.

3. Oklahoma State -- With apologies to Texas and Oklahoma, this could be the best offense in the Big 12, if not the country. Returning are a 1,500-yard rusher (Kendall Hunter), an All-American receiver (Dez Bryant), and a 65 percent passer with 25 touchdowns (Robinson). The problem remains defense. New defensive coordinator Bill Young is the Cadillac of his profession. Okie State will be better just because of his presence. Perrish Cox is developing into an NFL talent at corner and is one of the nation's best returners.

4. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders slip back to the 8-4 level this season. You know the drill: Potts will throw for eight million yards. There will be a 1,000-yard receiver or two. Mike Leach will be his usual quote-machine self. However, last season was a once-in-10-year event. There is payback waiting at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Nebraska.

5. Baylor -- Does any Big 12 school have more upside? Joe Pawelek is an All-Big 12 linebacker. Center J.D. Walton anchors the offensive line now that Jason Smith is gone. But let's be honest, the moment quarterback Robert Griffin followed coach Art Briles to Baylor (from his commitment to Houston), things took off. A sprinter with Olympic aspirations, Griffin gave up the Big 12 track season to concentrate on what should be his breakout season in Waco. If there is a one-man team in the league, this is it. Griffin also was the team's No. 2 rusher. With more weight and more knowledge, Griffin should become the most elusive dual-threat in the Big 12 since Vince Young. At stake is a 14-year bowl drought. That ties for the longest active streak among BCS schools.

6. Texas A&M -- One former Big Eight coach said it during the offseason: This is A&M. It should be able to go over to the Houston high schools and scrounge up a couple of defensive linemen. In Mike Sherman's second season, d-line is a good place to start. The one-time Wrecking Crew was Charmin soft as one of the worst defensive units in the country. After the non-conference games, the Aggies gave up less than 35 once. Once! Nineteen players had surgery in the offseason. The Aggies better get fat early. The season ends with Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.
 

Posted on: June 9, 2009 8:38 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2009 11:10 pm
 

Secondary violations and Kiffin

Lane Kiffin is at it again. This time with what could be secondary violation No. 6.

You've no doubt heard that Kiffin might have broken NCAA rules by allowing a recruit to filmed in his office by a cable network. The question that popped into my mind was, when do enough secondary violations equal a major violation.

Short answer: It's complicated. Complicated answer: It's really complicated which is why so many coaches are willing to push the envelope when it comes to recruiting.

"There isn't a magic number," said one Division I-A compliance director, "but if you're violating the same rule more than once on different occassions, that's a problem."

Secondary violations are minor infractions that are sometimes inadvertent. Complicating matters further is the severity of those minor violations. The NCAA breaks them down by Level 1 and Level 2 violations. Level 1 is more serious and involves intentional violations as well as similar violations in the same sport.

Sound familiar, Tennessee?

All Level 1 violations are reported directly to the NCAA. The less serious Level 2 violations are reported to the conference. Those Level 2s must be filed with the NCAA en masse once a year.

The compliance director suggested that if the NCAA deems the infraction serious enough the recruit who appeared with Kiffin on TV could be ruled ineligible to attend the school. Tennessee then would have to seek reinstatement to keep recruiting the kid. 

"I really believe the majority of violations out there are unintentional," the director said. 

Auburn recently had the idea of traveling around the state in limos to impress recruits. Completely legal. However, the football program might have broken rules recently during a so-called Big Cat Weekend. Recruits were allowed to "roll" Toomer's Corner with toilet paper, a longtime tradition after big Auburn victories. Fans, police, media, even the mascot were present.

That could be a secondary violation -- several of them -- because it simulates a game-day setting. Yeah, I know, toilet paper and trees don't conjure up game day but that's exactly what it is at Auburn.

I found out firsthand what these secondary violations mean to some coaches. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley allowed me to sit in on a staff meeting the day before signing day this year.  Commanding the meeting, Locksley impressed upon his staff that he wanted to lead the Mountain West in self-reporting violations.

A minor controversy erupted at New Mexico when I published what Locksley told his staff, " "It's OK to make a mistake -- secondary violations, We want to lead the conference in them." There was laughter in the room but the point had been made. It's not the number of secondary violations that necessarily matter. It's about being forthcoming with the NCAA.

They were nervous at New Mexico when the quote came out because the program already is on probation from wrongdoing during the previous coaching regime. But Locksley showed me in that meeting he knew more about NCAA rules than anyone in the room. The 39-year-old coach, a tireless recruiter, was also well aware of his reputation in some coaching circles as a guy who pushes the edges of the NCAA Manual.

"As coaches it's almost a compliment," Locksley told me. "It's almost like having a beautiful girlfriend or wife and people are staring at her. If you're a good recruiter, people are going to accuse you of cheating."

So how beautiful a girlfriend do you want to date? In a recent Columbus Dispatch investigation, the newspaper found that Ohio State had reported an incredible 375 violations since 2000. That's the most of any of the 69 Division I-A schools who responded to the paper's Freedom of Information requests.

That number is tempered with the fact that Ohio State sponsors the most sports in the country, 36.

Rick Neuheisel had a part in more than 50 secondary recruiting violations while at Colorado.  Neuheisel, then at Washington, was prohibited from recruiting off campus for a time. His former school was placed on probation, docked scholarship and had off-campus recruiting limited.

To say some of these secondary violations are unintentional is a bit misleading. In fact, a lot misleading. If compliance directors don't know this stuff is going on they should. If they don't tell the coach to knock it off, they should lose their jobs. Of course, at a lot of schools when the head coach doesn't want compliance to know something it isn't known.

Schools have proven that the slap on the wrist they receive is worth it. If Kiffin wants attention for his program, he certainly has it. One of the violations reportedly had to do with a fake press conference set up to impress nine recruits. A fog machine was reportedly used in January, simulating pre-game introductions.

Taking all that into account, six secondary violations don't seem to be that many. I'm no expert but it seems Kiffin will get both his attention and a sore wrist.

Guess which one he cares about?

Posted on: May 11, 2009 12:19 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2009 12:32 pm
 

We'll miss you Mim

In 1993, I covered the first home game in Colorado Rockies history. Really, it was a chance to drive out to Colorado Springs and see my friend Tim Mimick.

OK, Mim was offering a couch for free so that had something to do with too. That was Mim. He was the funniest guy I ever knew. That will never change. He was smart like that. He didn't like hack comics. He liked guys who made you think, like Bill Hicks.

He was also the smartest guy I ever knew. It was his goal, with his investments, to be able to retire at age 50. In 2003, at 49, Mim told the Colorado Springs Gazette that their paycheck was no longer needed. Somewhere, Warren Buffett blushed. Mim eventually moved back to native Columbus, Neb. to be with his mother who eventually died of cancer.

Mim was diagnosed himself last April. On Sunday, he died. Hug those close to you today and tell them you love them. Squeeze them tight. I never got that chance in the end with my buddy. Because of it, there will always be a small hole of guilt in my heart.
 
There will never be a person like him. Those of us who knew the Mim Dog will always have that laugh gene that he passed on. Can't wait to see you again someday, Tim. Hope the couches are more comfortable up there.

Here is the obit of the great Timothy L. Mimick ...

Tim Mimick, a Scotus Central Catholic High School and University of Nebraska graduate who became sports editor of the Columbus (Neb.) Telegram and later a longtime, award-winning sports writer at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., died Sunday at Genoa Community Hospital of complications from cancer. He was 55.
   
"I had the greatest respect in the world for Tim," former Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry told The Denver Post from his home in Isle of Palms, S.C. "He loved doing what he did for a living. To me, he was more than a great sports writer. He was a great friend as well. He was a pleasure to work with. He always looked for the positive in everything he did. I know my players loved being covered by him because they knew Tim had great admiration for them and for the academy.
   
"He will be greatly missed."
   
Mimick graduated from Scotus in 1971 and from Nebraska in 1975. He was a Gazette sports writer from 1979 to 2003 and covered most of the newspaper's major Front Range beats, including the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the football and basketball teams at the University of Colorado, Air Force and Colorado State, and numerous events at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He retired from journalism after covering the NCAA basketball tournament in 2003 and returned to Columbus, his hometown, to be closer to his family.

    "Tim not only was the best of the best among sports writers, he was the nicest person I've ever met," said Mike Burrows, a 1975 graduate of Columbus High School who worked with Mimick in Colorado Springs and now is with The Post sports department. "He displayed extraordinary courage during the last year of his life. Not once did he complain about being seriously ill. Not once. I'll never forget that, and I'll never forget Tim. Knowing him truly was a blessing."

    Mimick's work for the Colorado Springs newspaper took him to many high-profile events, including the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament and the NFL and NBA playoffs. One of the big thrills of his journalism career in Colorado Springs was covering Air Force's stunning 23-11 upset of Ohio State in the 1990 Liberty Bowl, where a Buckeyes senior safety named Bo Pelini, now Nebraska's football coach, played the last game of his college career.

    "Talent alone didn't make Tim a special sports writer," said DeBerry, the winningest coach in the history of military academy football. "Tim was a special sports writer also because he was a special person. And it showed in his work. Every time Tim walked into my office, I knew my day would be better because of him being there. He was a great man. His family had every reason to be proud of him.

    "Please keep Tim and his family in your prayers," DeBerry said.

 

 

Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:04 am
 

Daniel Hood and the coaches poll

Tennessee's newest football signee claims he had interest from 27 schools until they found out his criminal past.

My question is, how did it even get to that stage? It's shameful that apparently 27 schools got to the recruiting stage of Hood. Any reasonable effort to check his background would have produced his sordid past. One recruiting site said among the schools recruiting Hood were Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UCLA and Stanford. Stanford?

How many of those schools stayed on Hood after they found out about him? Here is evidence that Hood had at least two offers as long ago as 14 months.

This kind of reminds me of the case of Colt Brennan. The Hawaii quarterback served one week in jail after being convicted of burglary and felony trespassing while at Colorado. Brennan was able to reshape his life and become a Heisman contender.

But once again, felony trespassing is a loooong way from sexual assault. We can only hope that Hood makes Tennessee proud. I still say that UT doesn't need Hood given its recent past, its controversial present and its reputation in the future. Yes, give the kid a scholarship -- somewhere else.

I'm wondering how many kids are dying to attend UT but can't for financial reasons. I want Hood to tell them why he deserves the scholly more because he plays a mean defensive line.

  The Gallup Poll apparently has discussed the coaches in the coaches poll completely hide their ballots.

This came consultation with Gallup by the American Football Coaches Association.

If it happens, welcome back to the stone age. Gallup seems to think that there would be less pressure on coaches if the public didn't know how they voted, or even their identity. Currently, the 61 coaches release their ballots at the end of the regular season. At least we know who the 61 voters are. Now, even that shred of info might be hidden.

So let's recap: The national championship might be decided by 61 anonymous men who may or may not be actually voting, may or may not be voting their friends (or themselves) unethically high (or low) and who, no matter how this turns out, will continue to line their pockets with BCS bowl money based on their poll.  

Where do we sign up?
Posted on: December 8, 2008 7:38 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2008 11:22 am
 

Random thoughts on a football Monday

Colt McCoy is the Heisman leader in the prestigious Rocky Mountain News poll. Yours truly voted in it this season.

 Nagurski Award (best defensive player) went to a Big 12 player? Texas' Brian Orakpo was sixth in sacks and 11th in tackles for loss. Okaaay ....

 

CBSSports.com's All-America team (including our defensive player of the year) will be released on Friday.


 Once again, one person didn't vote in the Harris poll. That made it three times this season someone was missing from the 114-person panel.


 Eighteen coaches voted for their own school in the coaches poll. The individual ballots were released  Monday in USA Today. There were some interesting results.

--Oregon's Mike Bellotti voted for Cal (No. 25) but Cal coach Mike Tedford did not.

--North Carolina finished with six points in the coaches poll. Two of them came from coach Butch Davis who voted the Tar Heels No. 24.

--Mike Leach voted Oklahoma No. 1, Texas Tech No. 2 and Texas No. 5. No. 5? That at least equaled the lowest ranking of the Longhorns among the 61 voters.

--Nebraska got all of five points in the poll. Four of them came from coach Bo Pelini who slotted his Huskers No. 21.

--Most overrated team by a coach: Missouri. Gary Pinkel had his Tigers at No. 18. They barely stayed in both polls.

--Three five-loss teams finished with votes -- Kansas, Rutgers and Buffalo.

 Here are the combined top five of the seven Big 12 coaches who voted in the coaches poll. This is an issue, of course, because Texas finished .01816 of a point out of the BCS title game.

 

1. Oklahoma (five first-place votes)
2. Texas (1)
3. Florida (1)
4. Alabama
5. USC

The seven are: Art Briles, Baylor; Mack Brown, Texas; Dan Hawkins, Colorado; Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Gene Chizik, Iowa State; Bo Pelini, Nebraska. Only Chizik and Mack Brown had Texas ahead of Oklahoma on their ballots. Briles, Hawkins, Leach, Pinkel and Pelini voted Oklahoma No. 1.

Four coaches voted Texas No. 1 in the coaches poll. Amazingly, one of them wasn't Mack Brown: Chizik, Todd Dodge, North Texas; Rick Neuhiesel, UCLA; Mike Price, Texas-El Paso.

Chizik worked for Brown. Dodge played at Texas. Price played Texas this year was grateful for the Horns coming and filling his stadium. Neuheisel is the head scratcher but a lot of stuff The Rickster does causes us to scratch our heads.

 How my BIG playoff would have looked in 2006 and 2007:

 


2007

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 8 West Virginia
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 5 Missouri
No. 2 Virginia Tech vs. No. 7 Kansas
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 USC

2006

Regular season national champion: Ohio State
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC


Playoff bracket

No. 1 Florida vs. No. 8 Oklahoma
No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 7 Auburn
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Boise State

 The old lady next to us offered us a drink, she was guzzling gin out of a thermos. That much I remember from the last time the Cardinals won a division. Back in 1975 they were the St. Louis Cardinals and I was just out of high school.

 

Friend Jack Scanlan and I somehow scored tickets in the bleachers at old Busch Stadium to what was then the biggest football game in The Loo's history.  On a cold, cold day, Jackie Smith caught a touchdown pass and the Cardinals of Jim Hart, Terry Metcalf and Mel Gray beat the Giants 14-6.

It was a bigger deal then than it was today in Arizona. The Cardinals migrated from Chicago in 1960 and spent 27 mostly-frustrating seasons in my hometown. I still follow the Cards enough to know that the Bidwells are still the Bidwells.  Cheap and clueless.

Good on ya to Arizona, though. The city deserves a team to fit that magnificent stadium.

And, no, take the old lady up on her offer. I was only 18, besides I'm a vodka man.

Posted on: September 19, 2008 3:33 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2008 3:52 pm
 

Reacting to West Virginia-Colorado

How do you like things now, West Virginia?

You got your money ($4 million from Rich Rod) and you got your loyal coach. I'll repeat: How do you like things now?

Three games into the Bill Stewart administration; you're three losses away from the total ol' Rich lost (five) in his last 37 at Morgantown. The West  Virginia message boards were a hoot on Friday. I purposefully waited until now to file this blog in order to properly absorb Thursday's loss at Colorado.

 
Conclusion: There's something missing. It's more than Owen Schmitt, the blocking back Stewart could have used against Colorado's stubborn defense. It's more than those timeouts that Stewart kept in his holster in the final minute. It's the mojo, the utter confidence the Mountaineers used to have under Rodriguez.  At the end, they felt like they could walk into any stadium in the country and win.

Now they are the Grateful Dead after Jerry Garcia died. Soldiering on but just not the same. I don't blame Stewart so much. He is such a nice guy and so  authentic. All he did was accept a "Who, me?" promotion after the Fiesta Bowl. His enthusiasm rubs off on everyone.

I blame the West Virginia administration. This is what they wanted, twice. The guy signed his contract a week ago. Now the typical poster to terrybowden.com wants him canned.

"I had a brief moment of hope back in December that you might become our coach," one post to Bowden read, "Now all of the WVU fans are living a nightmare. Wish we could go back in time ..."

The offense has been tweaked just enough so that Patrick White has been shackled. Forty-three yards passing doesn't get it. Yeah, I know White had two  touchdown runs Thursday night. But the NCAA's all-time No. 2 quarterback rushing leader carried twice after his second touchdown run with 4:49 left in the third quarter. Twice.

Check out this column from the Charleston Daily Mail, which portrays the mood after the game.

This is going to make for a strange West Virginia season. A team playing for championships might be playing for a low-level bowl in late November.

"It feels like the worst thing in the world right now," said defensive back Quinton Andrews.

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 11, 2008 10:28 am
 

What the Arkansas-Texas cancellation means

Arkansas is trading one Burma Road for another after seeing it game against Texas cancelled due to the threat from Hurricane Ike.

Beginning Saturday, the Hogs were lined up to play Texas, Alabama (Sept. 20), Florida (Oct 4 after a bye week), at Auburn (Oct. 11) and at Kentucky (Oct. 18).

Now the schedule becomes even tougher with consecutive games against Alabama (Sept. 20), at Texas (Sept. 27), Florida (Oct. 4), at Auburn (Oct. 11), at Kentucky (Oct. 18). Those five schools are all off to 2-0 starts. Four of the five are ranked. Counting last season they are a combined 53-22 (.707) since the beginning of 2007. Four of the five won their bowl games. Only Florida lost.

Texas has it a bit easier than the Hogs. It loses a bye week installed before the beginning of the Big 12 season. The schedule now looks like this: Rice (Sept. 20), Arkansas (Sept. 27), at Colorado (Oct. 4), vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 11), Missouri (Oct. 18). Those opponents have yet to lose. Two are ranked.

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