Posted on: January 14, 2010 5:02 pm

Hatch to Obama: Invite Boise State to White House

Capping yet another strange day in college football: Trumping Ari Fleischer's BCS p.r. bum rush, Orrin Hatch is asking the president to invite Boise State to the White House (plus Alabama).

Got to give The Hatcher credit. If Obama doesn't invite Boise, he is painted as part of the vast left-wing BCS conspiracy.

That gives me an idea. Maybe the Boise wins the White House Trophy for aggrieved non-BCS programs. Some sculptor could put together some kind "huddled masses" trophy.

Hatch is a political animal. Obama's answer will be significant.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 6, 2010 8:32 pm

Javier Arenas' Japanese acid trip

PASADENA, Calif. -- Javier Arenas is one of the baddest dudes at Alabama. The closest talent to Charles Woodson since the Michigan defensive back won the Heisman in 1997, is as intimidating as they come in the defensive backfield.

That’s why it’s so disturbing that he collects Pokemon cards. Remember the Japanese cartoon of about 10 years ago that resembled an acid trip?

“I like the holographic ones,” said Arenas, cousin of Washington Wizards, uh, sharpshooter Gilbert Arenas. "I like to collect them for myself and leave them for someone after that.”

My son collected Pokemon cards too – 10 years ago when he was about three. It’s disconcerting that an All-American cornerback compares himself to Pikachu and Charzard.

Told that Pikachu seems a little uncharacteristic for such a bad ass, Arenas asked, “What do you picture me as?” Well, something more bigger and stronger for starters.

“Appreciate you,” Arenas said.

 Much has been made of Nick Saban’s privacy fence he had erected around the Tide’s “Camp Saban” practice field. Well, stuff it, Nick says.

“I don't think it's uncommon for any coach to not want people to see practice when you're playing in any game. I have no problem with the media coming to practice, but when you televise everything and put it on camera, then we might as well just open it to everybody,” Saban said.

That’s exactly what USC’s Pete Carroll has done, Nick. Seems to have worked for him. How does seven consecutive BCS bowls sound?

“It gets your juices flowing,” Arenas said. “When we get in there  it’s time to go. This is what we’re here for, The Granddaddy Of Them All.”

That raises another question, the Rose Bowl has been played. Shouldn’t the BCS title game be The Great Granddaddy Of Them All?

 More from Mack Brown:

“I wasn’t the smartest guy in the world so one day I said [the game] is full of Fs: It’s fast, have fun and be physical and they all laughed. Some of [the players] didn’t get it. That bothered me more.”

“I was taught in a small town in Cookeville, Tenn. To say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’ and ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am’ I was taught to open doors. I was taught to allow ladies to walk through and gentlemen older than I to walk through the door before I did. And if I didn’t do that, I got whipped.”

What will he think about Wednesday night before the game?

“Are they going to onside kick to open the game? Do we? How do you punt it? How do you protect? What about your fakes? What about protection? How do you start the game? How do you get your offense more comfortable than they were against Nebraska? What do you do on defense?”

Doesn’t sound like Mack is going to get much sleep.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, USC
Posted on: January 4, 2010 4:34 pm

Why Alabama is allowed to be here

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Alabama shouldn’t be playing for the BCS championship. No way.

 It says so at the bottom of the coaches’ poll in USA Today: “The AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) prohibits coaches from voting for schools on major NCAA probation.” Alabama, as you might remember, is on such major NCAA probation. Has been since June 11 when it was slapped with three years of NCAA proby for “misuse of free textbooks.”

Doesn’t sound like much and, really, it isn’t except that it was the program’s fourth major violation in 14 years. As you can read again here, Alabama has literally been eligible for the death penalty since 1995. So that makes the latest probation, historically, a big deal and in some sense Tide fans should be wary. But not this week.

They’re in the championship game here in Cali and nothing is going to change that. Why? An AFCA spokesman says “major probation” is defined by schools losing TV appearances, being banned from postseason play or losing 20 percent of its scholarships. The NCAA has unspoken and unwritten practice these days of not taking away TV appearances because it impacts other programs. So don’t expect to see that one, maybe ever.

 Losing at least 17 scholarships (20 percent of the 85 max) would be crippling and is a more common penalty than the TV or postseason stuff. Alabama’s biggest gripe this time is that it was forced to vacate 21 wins. It is appealing the penalty, essentially to save face. Four majors in 14 years can be awful demeaning if when the program is being turned around.

So Bama is here because of an asterisk. It’s not even that. It’s a definition written down (maybe) at the AFCA headquarters in Waco, Texas. That’s cool with me. Nick Saban took the time to call me in June to stress that none of the penalties impacted scholarships. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time except for the historic significance. But this being Alabama the issue HAS to be mentioned which I’m betting it won’t many places outside of this space and here.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama
Posted on: December 9, 2009 5:39 pm

Scripps-Howard Heisman poll

Another major Heisman indicator. Mark Ingram is the winner of the final Scripps-Howard News Service Heisman poll, by a point over Ndamukong Suh. Yours truly voted in this poll all season.

This is shaping up to be the closest Heisman vote in history. Scripps-Howard is a further indicator with Ingram getting 33 points to Suh's 32. Third-place Toby Gerhart actually had the most first-place votes, four. There were 10 voters nationwide. Here is the breakdown:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, 33 points (two first-place votes).

2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 32 (2).

3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford, 29 (4).

4. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 16 (1).

5 (tie). Tim Tebow, QB, Florida, 7 (1); C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, 7.

Others receiving votes: Houston QB Case Keenum 5, TCU DE Jerry Hughes, 1.


Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:50 am

Florida State defensive coordinator

The list is down to four for candidates to replace Mickey Andrews at Florida State defensive coordinator, Noleinsider.com is reporting.

Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri, Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, South Carolina assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson and Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster are reportedly the final four. While several outlets reported earlier this week that Sunseri was the guy, as of Tuesday Sunseri had not been formally contacted. Sunseri could still be the guy, however.

Also, Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett is interested in the vacant Marshall job.

Posted on: December 6, 2009 8:35 am

BCS bowl lineup and my top five

If form holds – and that means Texas finishing No. 2 in the BCS – this is how the BCS bowls will shake out tonight …

BCS title game – Texas vs. Alabama
Comment:  Got to think Bama will be almost a prohibitive favorite but Texas wasn’t supposed to beat USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl either.

Fiesta Bowl – TCU vs. Boise State
Comment: Fiesta is always thinking out of the box. It becomes the first BCS bowl to match two undefeated non-BCS schools. Should be a ratings winner.

Orange Bowl – Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
Comment:  Pasty Iowans will overrun South Florida and come away schooled in the ways of the option offense.

Sugar – Florida vs. Cincinnati
Comment: Alabama didn’t want to be here last year. Will Florida coming off an SEC title game loss? Also, who coaches the Bearcats with Brian Kelly headed to Notre Dame?

Rose – Oregon vs. Ohio State*
Comment:  Might be the best game of the bunch. Chip Kelly’s wide open Quack Attack against Ohio State’s old-style defense.

*--locked in

Here is my final regular-season top five. You can see the entire top 25 later Sunday:
2. TCU
3. Texas
4. Cincinnati 
5. Florida

Posted on: December 4, 2009 9:17 am

Gerhart wins readers' Heisman

Our armchair voters have spoken.
If it were up to our readers Stanford’s Toby Gerhart would get the Heisman. That’s the surprising result of the responses I got this week from approximately 150 readers.
I posted a request on my blog earlier this week asking readers for their five candidates.  What prompted me was perhaps the closest Heisman race in history looming with one big weekend left. Gerhart was the somewhat surprising winner, beating out Texas’ Colt McCoy. Alabama’s Mark Ingram was a distant third.
Gerhart will not be part of this weekend’s flourish to the finish. Stanford completed its regular season at 8-4 after a victory over Notre Dame. He finished with a flourish running for 205 yards and scoring four touchdowns (including one passing). Toby for Heisman seems to have captured the nation’s attention after the senior rushed for 1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns.
The tailback received 446 points and appeared on 116 ballots. He got first-place votes on 37 of those ballots. Gerhart has been a fast riser on other Heisman polls but is assumed to be at a disadvantage because his season is completed. The country may have fallen in love late.

He will still have to survive final statements from Tim Tebow, McCoy and Ingram in the SEC and Big 12 championship games.

Surprises: Tebow finished a distant fourth with only seven first-place votes … Houston quarterback Case Keenum was fifth … Nebraska defensive tackle finished seventh with more first-place votes (13) than Ingram or Tebow.
Thirty-four players received votes. Nine received first-place votes.
The top 10:
1. Toby Gerhart, Stanford, 446 points (37 first-place votes)
2. Colt McCoy, Texas, 398 (32)
3. Mark Ingram, Alabama, 194 (4)
4. Tim Tebow, Florida, 170 (7)
5. Case Keenum, Houston, 128 (7)
6. Kellen Moore, Boise State, 119 (4)
7. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, 113 (13)
8. C.J. Spiller, Clemson, 90 (8)
9. Golden Tate, Notre Dame, 22 (1)
10. Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan, 13


Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:06 am

Oh no, he didn't: Dunlap is latest Gator charged

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if Brandon Spikes didn't ultimately decide his sentence.

This wouldn’t near as big a thing if, you know, Florida weren’t playing for the SEC title.

Heads might turn the other way if there wasn’t a recent history in Gainesville, if the football world weren’t waiting to see what Urban Meyer was going to do with his latest star run afoul of the law.

But it is a big deal, a huge deal. Carlos Dunlap, you messed up. You went Tony LaRussa on the entire Gator Nation by getting one of the sloppiest DUI’s in recent memory.

Asleep at the wheel?

With the engine running?

While the car was in gear? 

3:25 in the morning?

Dude, that’s not drunk. That’s falling down, can’t-count-backwards-fro-100 drunk. Allegedly, of course. Certainly not exactly what you expect, though, from the BCS title game defensive MVP and one of the team leaders. Not what you want from the guy tied for the team lead in sacks (seven).  A guy who could be a first-round draft choice.

Carlos, aren’t you supposed to celebrate after beating Alabama? Another stomp of the Seminoles hardly seems worth the Captain Morgan.

But as coaches like to say, hey, they’re still college kids.

This college kid put his team at further risk of losing the SEC championship game. If Dunlap is suspended – a big if given recent history – I have this image of Trent Richardson and Mark Richardson sweeping around the end. Dunlap’s absence would give tight end Colin Peek, a Florida guy from Ponte Vedra Beach, more room. Obviously, it would have to easier protecting Greg McElroy.

The next step is up to Meyer. After the way he handled the Spikes situation, he absolutely cannot go light on Dunlap. That’s what happens when the star linebacker has to suspended himself. Remember that one after the eye gouge? Spikes was suspended for a half (laughable), then Spikes took himself out of the entire game.

If the Florida coach stops short of anything less than a one-game suspension in this case, then the SEC may step in.

I’m kidding, of course, on the SEC thing. The outrage from outside the program would be enough of a distraction. The Urbanator is smart enough to limit the damage. See ya, Carlos. We’ll check in with you, maybe, in the BCS title game or the Sugar Bowl.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Florida
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com