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Tag:Texas A&M
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 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2009 11:37 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

If Georgia Tech beats Virginia Tech this week the possibility exists that the winner of the Coastal Division could be pulled out of a hat.

If Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami each finish with 7-1 records, then the tiebreaker goes to the highest ranked team in the BCS standings unless … the second team is ranked with five spaces of the top-ranked team. Those two teams are broken out and the tie is broken by head-to-head play.

It’s something that the Big 12 thought of doing but decided against after the South Division debacle last season.

It’s not that simple, though. A Georgia Tech victory also sets up a scenario in which all three teams could be in the top 10 or 12 of the BCS, all within five spots of each other. If that’s the case, the winner is pulled out of a hat.

Here's the language from the ACC:

Three (or more) teams tie:

(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
 
Records of the tied teams within the division.
 
Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
 
Overall record for non-divisional teams.
 
Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
 
Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
 
The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.

The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

Whose call is it?: Saint Bobby says he is “leaning” toward coming back in 2010. His friend and FSU president T.K. Wetherell says the coach will be evaluated at the end of the season. Whose call is it, especially if the Noles finish 3-9 or 2-10? That’s entirely possible if you glance at the schedule which continues Thursday at North Carolina.

“I would like to finish on top,” Bowden said of his 2-4 Noles. “Right now it ain’t going too good.”

Etc: Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson is the only full-time starting quarterback in I-A not to have thrown an interception (in 228 attempts) ... How do you deny Virginia Tech national championship consideration? It is already playing its fourth ranked team ... Who's the best quarterback in the Big Ten? Daryll Clark is the league's highest rated passer at No. 35 ... Arkansas is facing is fourth consecutive opponent was is undefeated at Kickoff (Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida).

 

Posted on: October 4, 2009 9:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 9:43 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

It’s becoming apparent that Notre Dame has to beat USC in two weeks to go to a BCS bowl. I told you in Sunday’s story how lowly regarded ND is in the polls.

Here’s why: It has plenty of competition. Notre Dame is currently one of 30 one-loss teams in Division I-A. Twenty-three of the other 29 teams are from BCS leagues. Ten of the 29 are ranked. Six of those 10 have a victory over a ranked team. That's something Notre Dame doesn't have.

That means ND is one of 20 one-loss teams in I-A that are unranked. it is in a group with the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford and UCLA. Four of those teams are left on ND’s schedule – BC, Pittsburgh, UConn and Stanford.

Given that the Irish play only one more team that is currently ranked (USC), the Oct. 17 game becomes make-or-break for a BCS bowl the way I see it. It’s 11-1 or bust. The pollsters and computers simply won’t get ND high enough at 10-2 because of the quality of the remaining schedule.

 Oklahoma has lost a pair of games by a point in the same season twice. Both have come in the last four years – 2006 and 2009 following Saturday's 21-20 loss to Miami. That followed a 14-13 opening-night loss to BYU.

In 2006, OU lost to both Oregon and Boise State by a point. In its history, OU has lost 299 games. Only 18 have come by a single point. That’s a one-point loss for every 16 losses. Since Sept. 16, 2006, four of the Sooners’ last 10 losses have come by one point.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had lost 26 games. Four have been by one point and two have been by two points.

  Which way LSU? All we can say is the that Tigers are still undefeated after sneaking out of Athens with a 20-13 victory over Georgia. Charles Scott’s game-winning 33-yard run with 46 seconds left was set up by A.J. Green’s excessive celebration penalty. You’ll read more about that from Tony Barnhart on Tuesday. My take? That kind of penalty should never decide a game. This one did.

“It was a want-to run,” said Scott who had been struggling this season. “I ran mad.”

He better run madder with Florida coming to town. I’ve trotted this out a bunch of times, but the winner of LSU-Florida has won the national championship in the last three seasons.

 All that stuff about USC slipping in the Pac-10? Maybe not. The 30-3 win at Cal re-positions the Trojans for BCS bowl No. 8 in a row.

 Anyone want to take a stab at the Florida State mess? One of the most trusted and knowledgeable beat writers in the South says it’s time for Bobby to go. For most of the BC game, it looked like Bobby Bowden had lost his team. Down 21-6, the Seminoles rallied to tie, only to lose late 28-21. That marks FSU’s first 0-2 start in the ACC. It is 2-3 for the first time since 1976.

--In the battle of point guards, Syracuse’s Greg Paulus had more turnovers (five interceptions) than South Florida’s B.J. Daniels. The former Duke guard lost to the current South Florida guard (they’re both quarterbacks, by the way) 34-20.

 Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards against Duke. Yes, you read that right.

 Stanford, 4-1, is off to its best start since 1995.

 Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher stuck it to Wisconsin fans by wearing a Brett Favre jersey during the Badgers’ 31-28 victory in Minneapolis. Let’s hope Goldy is not on scholarship because that would be a waste of good polyester.

 

Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:14 am
Edited on: September 30, 2009 8:10 pm
 

National notes 1/4 of the way through the season

The best of September

Who would have thought by the end of the month …: USC would lose to Washington a week after a heart-stopping, game-winning drive at Ohio State? [Ok, maybe by now there are a few of you.] … Unranked the preseason, the Big East would have two marquee teams – Cincinnati and South Florida … Houston would have the best Big 12 record [2-0 after beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech] … Two Heisman winners would be knocked out of games … NC State’s Russell Wilson would have a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 29-1 … Auburn’s Chris Todd would lead the SEC in touchdown passes [11] … Not that the SEC would have three teams in the top 10 in total defense but the Pac-10 would have two … The only three teams yet to allow a touchdown pass would be winless Eastern Michigan, undefeated South Florida and USC [3-1].

Coach of the month: Oregon’s Chip Kelly. On the night of September 3, his world was falling apart. LeGarrette Blount threw a punch and almost started a riot after Oregon looked punchless losing its season opener to Boise State.

Almost four weeks later, the Ducks might be the team to beat in the Pac-10. They have won three in a row, two over ranked teams and have a new lean-on tailback in redshirt freshman LaMichael James.

Team of the month: Miami. Playing September schedule in the country, the Hurricanes beat two ranked teams [Florida State, Georgia Tech] and showed signs of being its old self. Losing to Oklahoma this week wouldn’t be a disgrace. Coming out its death march 2-2 could be a jumping off point for an ACC title.

Also considered: Texas A&M, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Florida, Stanford, UCLA, Idaho.

Player of the month: [tie] You’re gagging on this by now but Florida would not not undefeated with Tim Tebow. His 24 rushes for 76 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 19 were the difference.

LSU safety Chad Jones is this season’s Charles Woodson. Against Mississippi State on Saturday, he single-handedly stopped Tyson Lee on back-to-back plays inches from the goal line. He also provided the eventual game-winning 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Worst conference: Based on previous accomplishments, it’s the MAC. The nation’s largest conference [13 teams] has only one team with a winning record coming out of September. [Central Michigan, 3-1]. The league is 13-29 in the non-conference, 7-27 against I-A competition and 3-19 against BCS conferences.

Best conference: SEC by a hair. The Big 12 has six ranked teams vs. the SEC’s four. But the SEC is 23-2 in the non-conference, a national best 6-2 against BCS conferences.

If you think the SEC has padded its schedule with I-AA teams, actually only the Sun Belt and Pac-10 have played fewer games against “inferior” competition. The SEC is 5-0 against I-AAs. The Big 12 is 9-0. Almost a third of its non-cons have come against I-AAs.

Best trend: Smaller offensive linemen. Boise has been doing it for a while but the Broncos are soaring toward a BCS berth with a line that averages 285 pounds. Remember those hog mollies at Michigan? They weigh in at a svelte average of 295 under Rich Rod who likes ‘em lighter and lively.

Worst trend: This month it had to be the coaches’ poll. It went into the season not exactly on the same page with the BCS commissioners. As long as the coaches are going to go completely  underground [hiding all their ballots] beginning in 2010, the possibility exists that the poll will be jettisoned from the BCS process next year.

As for now …

Steve Spurrier gave us a glimpse of his voting habits in July when he admitted that his football ops guy had filled out his preason all-SEC ballot. That caused a huge stir when Spurrier/ops guy didn’t make Tebow a unanimous choice. Spurrier/ops guy picked Ole Miss’ Jevan Snead but was allowed to change to Tebow after it became an issue.

Following convincing wins by No. 3 Alabama and No. 2 Texas on Sept. 19, Florida got all the first-place votes [55] for the first time this season after struggling to beat unranked Tennessee.

Then, there was this week. What a mess. 

No. 12 Oklahoma State is ranked three spots ahead of Houston, which beat the Cowboys by 10.

Cal, which just lost to Oregon by 39, is ranked seven spots ahead of the Ducks.

Penn State had beaten doggies Syracuse, Akron and Temple. After losing at home to Iowa it is No. 13, four spots ahead of the unbeaten Hawkeyes.

Keep it coming, fellas, can’t wait to see how this effects the BCS standings.

Team schizo: Florida State. Do you have to have it explained?

Say goodbye to:  BYU [in the BCS], Al Groh, Ralph Friedgen, Steve Kragthorpe.

Posted on: September 27, 2009 6:36 pm
 

Shocking news from Baylor

What a shame. Baylor just announced that quarterback Robert Griffin III is out for the season.

Griffin has what the school called "an isolated tear" of the ACL in his right knee. The injury occurred the first quarter of Saturday's win over Northwestern State. This has the potential to wreck Baylor's plans for a bowl.

The school with a 15-year bowless streak is now in danger of making it 16. The Bears gave one back on Sept. 19, losing at home to UConn. At 2-1, Baylor must now find four more victories in a schedule that includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Griffin was seen as the next big thing in the quarterback-laden Big 12. A big, big shame. No word on if the school is able to seek a redshirt season.


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 16, 2009 12:06 am
 

Colt McCoy's (non-)broken leg

AUSTIN, Texas -- John Bianco's phone blew up at dinner. That was the first sign -- of a Texas football apocalypse.

You should know that Bianco is the football SID at Texas. One of the best. Sometimes it seems he knows something has happened at with the football program before it actually happens. Not this time. Silly him for thinking that he could have a nice, quiet dinner with friends at a trendy Austin fish place on Monday night.  

His cellie began buzzing with cryptic texts as we were looking over the menu. Something about Colt McCoy's compound leg fracture. TV and radio guys were calling. If it was true ... well, no one around here wanted to think that it was true. Texas' promising fall would have turned into a nuclear winter. Still, when you're the SID at a big dog like Texas you don't ignore even the flimsiest of rumors.

Believe me, this one was flimsy. I might not have this right but apparently a radio production assistant in San Antonio had heard from a guy who had it on good authority that Texas' quarterback had broken his leg. That was news to Bianco and other three of us gathering around our fish. But in this instant information age, a message board post can become like a wildfire. You have to put it out.

By the time the check came, Bianco had it under control. No one of substance was going with the news that proved to be false the moment we stopped by Monday's seven-on-seven drills. There was McCoy, Heisman hopeful and Texas' leading career passer, zipping passes to his mates.

As he came off the field, we kidded him about how good his leg looked -- considering.

"Iced it up," McCoy said. "Shot me up, I'm good."

What was troubling was that five of McCoy's teammates had come up to him inquiring about his busted leg. This literally could have been something someone made up. For a couple of hours, it had Texas Nation trembling. That's what scares me. Wherever this came from, someone is likely to blame "the media."

This was not a media creation. As Dave Simon said last week at the National Press Club, "I don't believe in unprofessional journalism. I don't believe in bloggers." Simon is the former Baltimore Sun reporter who created the HBO series "The Wire". You should read and listen to him. 

Simon rails against the idea that Joe Six Pack sitting in his underwear can post his thoughts on the internet and be considered credible. His point is that real journalists take years trying to perfect their craft. Ours is more of a vocation than a job.

I blog. A lot of us at CBSSports.com blog. The difference is our names are on our work. There is someone, somewhere in the company who thinks what  we write is worth paying for. That's professional.

Persons with no formal training in how to communicate -- or how to write -- can become celebrities because they are able to spew a blog. My point is, that's essentially what happend Monday night at Texas. There is a lot to like about what the web has become. Example: A post on a Texas A&M message board led to the breaking of the Big Red Motors scandal at Oklahoma.

There is a lot to hate too. We Twitter, we blog, we gossip, we report facts. There needs to be a separation. You need to know where the line is drawn. Take the time to know and believe in Simon's professional journalism. Newspapers have cut staff, shrunk news hole and increased the price of the product. We're supposed to believe newspapers are better? They won't be until someone figures how to re-invent an entire industry. 

That saddens me because there are fewer watchdogs these days. That's why the media exists, to have an adversarial relationship with those in power. That will never change. This website has spent 14 years establishing itself. It is part of the CBS empire. It is accountable. Whoever vomited that rubbish about McCoy deserves a punch in the face from Dave Simon. He (they) diminished all of our lives a little on Monday.

 
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Texas, Texas A&M
 
Posted on: March 13, 2009 12:01 am
Edited on: March 13, 2009 12:11 am
 

The Big 12 Tournament blows up

No one was counting much on Dexter Pittman -- including his teammates.

"Dexter Pittman," Texas guard Varez Ward pondered Thursday afternoon,  "If he had played like that all season, no telling what our record would be."

It's hard to put much stock in a 6-foot-10, 300-pound foul-prone quasi-tight end who gets winded easily. But there was Pittman becoming the most outstanding player midway through the Big 12 Tournament.

Like most tournaments, the Big 12's was expected to be mostly chalk. Kansas and Oklahoma were the favorites. Going into Friday's semis, though, it might be the wildest postseason tournament in the country.

 Only one of the top four seeds (Missouri) advanced to the semis for the first time in tournament history.

 Kansas became only the second No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose in the first round. Ninth-seeded Baylor did the deed. No. 2 seed Oklahoma also slept in its own bed Thursday night, the victim of an upset to Oklahoma State.

 A kid named after a former Chicago Bears linebacker (Texas Tech's Mike Singletary) set the scoring record with 43 points against Texas A&M on Wednesday.

 No. 7 seed Oklahoma State finally broke through against Oklahoma this season with a last-second 71-70 victory.

Pittman, though, resembles King Kong in more than stature to this point. The Longhorns find themselves meeting Baylor -- Baylor? -- in one semifinal after Pittman went off against Kansas State on Thursday. A day after scoring a career-high 26 against Colorado, Pittman erupted for 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against the Wildcats. That's 45 points and 30 rebounds in two games for a guy who averages 10 points and five rebounds.

“There’s no question he played his best overall game,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said afterward. “It’s really neat, because he’s just getting started.”

Problem is, no one knew if Pittman would ever get started. He came to Austin three years ago 70 pounds overweight. Not only was food a problem, so was stamina. Until lately. Pittman has asserted himself late averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in the last five games. His go-ahead layup with 74 seconds left was eventually the winning basket.

The big fella dominated in a grinder that featured almost as many fouls (41) as field goals (42). Texas will take on Baylor in one semi with a hint of desperation. While the Horns are safely in the tournament, the Bears are trying to make a miracle run to an NCAA berth.

Why not? Baylor is across the street from the building where coach Scott Drew's brother Bryce made his miracle shot to beat Ole Miss in 1998. This year's difference maker for the Bears is the coach's 2-3 zone which bothered both Nebraska and Kansas.

The other semi matches Missouri against the Cowboys. Okie State had lost the previous two Bedlam games to Oklahoma this season. It held on this time when the timekeeper didn't start the clock with 2.3 seconds left on Oklahoma's last possession. National player of the year Blake Griffin looked like he was fouled going up for a desperation last-second pass. Officials ruled that time had expired after OU scrambled to get a last shot.

Oklahoma State also survived with guard Byron Eaton scoring 16 points before he moves on to ... football. Eaton is a senior in basketball but has a year of athletic eligibility left. Don't be surprised to see the guard transform into a fullback in the fall.

Meanwhile, the league's top two seeds go into the NCAA Tournament somnambulant. Oklahoma has won two of its last six. Kansas has lost two of its last three.

"We're not very tough," Kansas guard Sherron Collins said, "if we can't come back from this."

We'll see. The Big 12 upsets could have all kinds of repercussions.  Oklahoma's shot at a No. 1 seed is all but gone. Kansas was hoping at least to get placed in Kansas City for the first and second rounds. That virtual home-court advantage could be in danger as well.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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