Posted on: November 23, 2009 11:02 am
Edited on: November 23, 2009 12:11 pm
A reader passed along some good points. At least they seemed reasonable at the time ...
It's the best interests of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada this week to lose showdown games.
--An OU loss to Oklahoma State all but clinches a BCS berth for the Cowboys.
--New Mexico should lose to TCU to make sure it shares in the $19 million booty TCU and the Mountain West will collect for playing in a BCS bowl.
--The same for Nevada against Boise State.
The reader was missing one thing: That thing beating inside of every player. Imagine telling any Auburn Tiger that would be best for the school if they lost to Alabama this week. Although the Bedlam Series looks more like Bedtime this year, you better believe Oklahoma will want to kill the Cowboys.
The reader said the BCS incentivizes (if that's a word) "cheating". The BCS is a lot of things but it's not a stage for cheating.
Posted on: November 18, 2009 12:29 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2009 3:14 pm
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
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 16, 2009 12:43 pm
One of the knocks on USC this week is that it got eviscerated by Stanford and still remained in the polls (No. 21 in coaches, No. 22 in AP). Had it been a Clemson or a Missouri, they would have been dropped so far out of the polls they would have needed the Hubble telescope to see No. 25.
But the Trojans are still ranked and still have a slight chance to go to the Rose Bowl through a series of tiebreakers. How Cincinnati takes on the USC disguise is if it passes TCU in the BCS rankings down the stretch. Cincy probably has a weaker schedule than TCU but will get a big push from playing Illinois – yes, Illinois – and Pittsburgh in the final two games.
TCU has Wyoming and New Mexico. A jump by Cincinnati could make a huge difference if two of the top three lose. While that’s not likely, imagine the screams you would hear from Fort Worth if Cincinnati played for a national championship over the Frogs.
Posted on: November 4, 2009 1:50 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2009 11:02 am
Please ignore Washaun Ealey. A cheap shot is a cheap shot is a cheap shot. It doesn’t matter if Ealey thinks so.
Part of this Brandon Spikes thing is about the power of the internet. Spikes’ eye gouge was shown Saturday during the CBS telecast. The replay became viral Sunday afternoon on YouTube. Amazing that it wasn’t an issue to millions of people watching live but after millions of people alerted by the internet replay, Florida felt compelled to do something. Not because Spikes necessarily committed a penalty but because he’d been caught on camera.
A fine whine from Iowa: The e-mail from Iowa sports information this week starts with the sentence, “It seems popular for national pundits to criticize the University of Iowa football team these days …”
The e-mail then goes to inform the reader that Iowa has defeated more teams with winning records than Cincinnati, TCU, Oregon and Boise State. The winning percentage of its opponents is higher than Oregon, TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State. Iowa has defeated as many top 25 BCS teams as Oregon (three).
One point: What are the Iowa flaks bitching about? Their team is No. 4 in the BCS and a heartbeat away from the national championship. It is essentially ranked as the best team in the country beyond Florida, Alabama and Texas. Not bad for a team that wins games with cushion shots.
Attendance issues: TCU and Boise State fans might be whining about which school deserves to go to a BCS bowl, but they aren’t showing up to watch their teams.
There were 11,000 empty seats in Fort Worth on Saturday to watch the Frogs shut out UNLV. It’s not like the game was widely televised. Once again, Versus did its best to keep TCU a secret. Amon Carter Stadium only holds 44,000.
Boise State can’t sell out 33,500 Bronco Stadium but still has plans to expand the stadium. Idaho Statesman columnist Brian Murphy breaks it down perfectly.
At least those two schools fans aren’t front runners. Only 67,700 showed up at Florida State to watch the Noles play N.C. State. That’s the smallest crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium since 1993.
• Notre Dame sports information has compiled the remaining schedule strength of the top 25 teams in the BCS. Turns out that the Irish, No. 22 in the BCS, have the third-toughest remaining schedule behind Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
The remaining four games are against Navy, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Stanford. Will beating those four be enough to raise the Irish into the top 14 where they will need to be to get a BCS bowl? We’ll see.
More to the point is whether ND can run the table. Navy (6-3) and Pittsburgh (7-1) are bowl eligible. Stanford (5-3) and UConn (4-4) could be.
• A.J. Green has a “pulmonary contusion”? That’s what they’re calling a bruised lung at Georgia. At least it wasn’t an eye gouge.
Posted on: November 1, 2009 9:48 am
The top three teams in the BCS standings seemingly will remain that way when the rankings are released Sunday night.
Jerry Palm was projecting Sunday morning that Florida will be No. 1, followed by Alabama and Texas. Once again, the order of the top three doesn’t matter as long as they keep winning. Alabama and Florida are on track to play in the SEC championship game. Texas cleared its last, most significant hurdle with a 41-14 victory at Oklahoma State.
Iowa looks like it is going to remain fourth after a win over Indiana that featured six turnovers. The biggest news might be how Boise State and TCU end up. TCU beat UNLV 41-0 but Boise State might vault the Horned Frogs this week because of Oregon’s success. The Broncos will continue to get a schedule strength bump as long as the Ducks keep winning. Boise State beat Oregon on opening night 19-8.
Oregon, 7-1, should be the highest ranked one-loss team. Palm had the Ducks at No. 8 Sunday morning.
Palm's updated top seven before the human polls were released later on Sunday:
Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: October 28, 2009 3:47 pm
• 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?
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.
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 …
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
Oh, Good Lord, are we going to do this again? SEC officials are suffering a crisis of confidence.
Tim, if you were pouting, get over it. Life, and football, are going to get a lot tougher. Enjoy college while you can.
I can’t explain why the players made bad decisions.
• 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
• 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.
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)
Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)
ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.
Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?
Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.
MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.
Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.
SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.
Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.
WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.
National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.
The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:
1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Cincinnati, Conference USA, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana-Monroe, MAC, Miami, Mountain West, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-10, Paul Johnson, Pittsburgh, SEC, Sun Belt, TCU, Temple, Virginia Tech, WAC, Washington State