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Tag:Missouri
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 6:53 pm
 

Pinkel: 'Common sense' will lead MU-KU to play

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said his school and Kansas will play again “when common sense takes over emotion.”

Pinkel has been a strident supporter of keeping the KU-Missouri series alive as the Tigers head to the SEC. The argument between the two sides over the century-old rivalry has, if anything, increased after Saturday’s basketball game in Lawrence. KU’s overtime win may be the last meeting of the two schools in a major sport. Kansas has said it has no interest in playing Missouri since it is leaving the Big 12.

“It will be a great continued rivalry and it could happen this year if we really wanted it to happen,” Pinkel said. “It’s all choices. We’re ready to do it anytime.”

The war of words between the two camps isn’t going to end anytime soon. At the end of interview on other subjects Wednesday in his office, Pinkel reacted to a quote from Bill Self after Saturday’s hoops games.

“It’s not the same,” Self said of the rivalry continuing. “Missouri has got to market their future. We’re their past.”

Pinkel said he is convinced that the schools will play again in football and basketball. The rivals have played since 1892 in football and 1907 in basketball.

“There will come a time when, without question, that in Kansas City at the beginning of the football season, hopefully Missouri and Kansas will play,” he said. “That will happen sometime, when common sense takes over emotion. There is sometime when, in Kansas City, Mo., KU and Mizzou will play basketball too.”

The teams have played a neutral-site football game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium since 2007. There is speculation the schools could meet in the future for a non-conference basketball game at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. There is still a possibility the teams could meet at next week’s Big 12 tournament and, less likely, in the NCAA tournament.

“That rivalry can last forever and ever and ever,” Pinkel said. “It gets kind of comical after a while the more you hear about it, especially when you hear it coming from Kansas City.”

Some Missouri supporters in and around Kansas City had been more vocal about staying in the Big 12 than in other parts of the state. The Big 12 traces its basketball tournament roots in Kansas City back to 1977 in the old Big Eight. The four-year-old Sprint Center was built, in part, as a way to keep that tournament in town.

“Everywhere in the state, everyone has kind of accepted it and you go into Kansas City – and Kansas City is a great city for Mizzou football and basketball – [but] after a while [pausing] … it’s going to happen,” Pinkel said. “When common sense takes over and we relax a little bit why would it not?"


Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:56 pm
 

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Thank you John Brown, Bloody Bill Quantrill, Norm Stewart, Phog Allen -- and God.

If Saturday was the last Missouri-Kansas game, then it will be everlasting. YouTube, cell phone and video all will preserve the images. But there will also be memories. Good, old-fashioned remembrances that will be handed down from generation to generation. Synapses that will fire one on death beds one last time for some of the 16,300 who witnessed a classic -- and a shame.

In the 105th year of the rivalry, Missouri and Kansas played with the urgency that this was their last regular-season conference game against each other -- which was fitting. If this is truly it for the Border War, the hoarse, sweat-drenched fanatics who jammed Allen Fieldhouse will go to their graves knowing these teams never played this hard against each other.

Until Saturday.

"It's a shame that it's going to end," Kansas' Bill Self said, "but it’s definitely going to end. Playing them once a year with nothing on the line doesn't carry the same value as playing twice a year with a championship on the line."

That was the central theme Saturday with Missouri leaving for the SEC after this season. No matter what happens, it's just not going to be the same anymore. Post SEC announcement, the Kansas stance has been: "Missouri is the one leaving the conference, why should we do them any favors by playing them in the future?" Missouri's general retort: "Why are you throwing away all this tradition?"

Nothing is scheduled and may not be for a while -- if ever.

So it terms of a walk-off to the rivalry, it was David Freese in Game 6. It was Kanye dropping rhymes, then dropping the mic and walking offstage. It was a kick in the jewels to tradition.

In the 267th meeting between these two eternal rivals, KU-MU played one that could have lasted from here to eternity. In the end, it was elongated by one overtime and won by one point. Kansas, 87-86. 

Missouri could have been a contendah, stealing the last Big 12 title they would ever play for and keeping it forever. Instead, Kansas clinched at least a share of the conference title for the eighth straight year. For the Tigers, SEC-ond place never felt so bad. 

“That was as good as it gets,” Self said. “Plus, recruits were here so I was hamming it up too.”

Self saluted the crowd in is own walk-off [the court]. They did their part raising the decibel level somewhere between 747 takeoff and Who concert. Jayhawkers couldn’t have stood for Missouri winning its final game in Lawrence. One woman sprinted down an aisle in the final seconds with a sign stating: "Missouri Forfeits A Century-Old Tradition. Kansas Wins."

For now. Yes, the series is over but with an asterisk. We should all root for a rubber match in next month's Big 12 tournament. That would probably be in the championship game. Talk about walk offs.

They're both good enough that a fourth meeting in the NCAA tournament is not out of the question.

"I wouldn’t have a problem playing them again," Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor. "Sign me up."

But the series is definitely over in Lawrence which already begs the question: How long will all this be remembered? Just recall how the rivalry started, amid the bloodshed of the Civil War.

There was a fan dressed up as John Brown, the revolutionary abolitionist. NCAA national championship trophy in one hand, 2008 Orange Bowl trophy in the other. Noted pro-slave terrorist Quantrill and his raiders -- thankfully not portrayed on Saturday -- burned Lawrence to the ground 160 years ago. Of the four persons listed in the lede of this blog -- both real and basketball Border War participants -- only one is still alive.

And good, old Norm, bless is heart, just turned 77.

So roll over Phog Allen, tell Bill Self the news.

It wasn't just the best game of the college basketball season, it was arguably the best of those 105 years. Missouri was up 19 in the second half. The last time Missouri led at Kansas by 19 was the Paleozic Era, or at least 1999. That was the last the Tigers won here.

Kansas made less than half its free throws in the first half which had to delight the Missouri fan at the top of Section 15. Each time a Jayhawk would go to the line he'd scream "S-E-C." Kansas fans were beside themselves. Amid the silence providing their beloved Jayhawks with the needed concentration, they couldn't respond.

It was the perfect strategy until Kansas made everything, scoring 55 in the second half and overtime.

Kansas' Thomas Robinson ran into foul trouble, then played himself back into the national player of the year conversation with 28 points and 12 rebounds. If T-Rob does nothing else the rest of his career, they will commission paintings of his swat of Phil Pressey’s driving layup as time expired in regulation.

The ball landed somewhere east of here in DeSoto, Kan. OK, that was hyperbole. The painting, though, was actually the real deal. There was an artist in a corner of the old gym going Leroy Neiman on a canvas as the game went on.

"Playing Missouri, unfortunately, does mean something," Self admitted. "It means something to me. I was at Illinois and coached against Missouri when I was there. I hated nothing more than losing to Missouri."

That hate may never be felt on the court again. Kansas will continue to be a national power. Missouri basketball will fit nicely into the SEC. But now it’s over, at least in Lawrence. We'll just have to remember Saturday being the best.

"I read an article … it said pretty much how I feel. It's not the same," Self said. "Missouri has got to market their future. We're their past.

"[But] for it to end like this is pretty cool."


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 12:09 pm
 

From TVZ to DGB, Mizzou makes history

Somewhere Tony Van Zant is shedding a tear.

Until Dorial Green-Beckham signed with Missouri on Wednesday the landing of Van Zant, the Hazelwood (Mo.) Central tailback, was the signature recruiting moment for Tiger fans. Back in 1985, Van Zant was at least the top-rated running back in the country, if not the No. 1 overall prospect. Mizzou and its followers attached their hopes and dreams to the shifty kid from suburban St. Louis.

To say that Van Zant was a bust is an insult to the noun. He was supposed to be the foundation for “Woody’s Wagon,” the name given to the momentum created by hiring former Steelers defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer. Van Zant injured a knee playing in a state high-school all-star game after his senior season. That caused him to miss his entire freshman season at Mizzou in 1986. Later, he injured the other knee. For his career Van Zant ran for a grand total of 214 yards.

Woody’s Wagon ran off the road. Widenhofer was fired after four seasons. Today, Van Zant is a high school coach in Saginaw, Mich. On Wednesday, Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, inherited part of Van Zant’s legacy when he signed with the Tigers.

There can be a direct line drawn between Van Zant and Green-Beckham. They were both high school All-Americans. Both were Parade Magazine’s national player of the year. Both were known by their initials in the recruiting process – TVZ and DGB. Both were national recruits who stayed home. So which one is he, this DGB?

Is he Dishon Platt or Fred Rouse or is he Percy Harvin or Derrick Williams? Will he ever finish in the top 10 in receiving during his career? CBSSports.com checked the number of receivers ranked in the top 20 among national recruits in the last 10 years (according to Rivals.com). The idea was to determine how valuable highly-rated high school receivers were to teams and how they panned out.

From a group of 200 recruits over those 10 years, only 27 were receivers. That’s 13.5 percent. Of those 27, 14 played on at least one conference-winning team. Seven of those 14 played on at least one national championship team. Only two of those 27 ever finished in the top 10 nationally in receiving yards per game since 2002. (Tennessee’s Robert Meachem in 2006 and USC’s Robert Woods in 2011.)

So which one is Green-Beckham? He was only the third receiver in the last 10 years to be rated No. 1 overall. The other two were Florida’s Harvin (2006) and Penn State’s Williams (2005). Harvin was part of two national championship teams and has had a productive NFL career. Williams was one of the most versatile players in Penn State history becoming the only Joe Paterno player to ever catch, run and return a kick for a touchdown.

Is this a snapshot of Green-Beckham’s career?

Over the last 10 years, the receiver position is tied with running back (27 each) as the second-most abundant position in the top 20. Defensive line is No. 1 (41 players). Going into Wednesday, only 14 schools in the last 10 years have taken top 20-rated receivers. There are the usual suspects – USC leads all with seven in the top 20.

Then there are the all-out busts. Florida State had two of the biggest at the position in the last 10 years. In 2002, Platt was the No. 16 player in the country. He never made it academically at FSU, transferred to South Florida then faded into obscurity.  In 2005, receivers ruled. Williams and USC’s Patrick Turner were the top two rated players in the country. There were four wideouts in the top 18 including Cal’s DeSean Jackson.

The fourth wideout in that group, Rouse, went from playing in the Orange Bowl for FSU to transferring to Texas El-Paso to spending a couple of months in jail to Concordia College-Selma.

So which one is DGB? For now the foundation of Missouri’s jump to the SEC. Gary Pinkel’s offense has had stars of several wideouts over the past decades (examples: Jeremy Maclin, Danario Alexander). But that was in the wide-open Big 12.

If he never catches a ball, Green-Beckham, like Van Zant, has created momentum for Mizzou. Perhaps other players will follow. Perhaps he will be a game breaker. But SEC defenses are tougher. That doesn’t suggest he won’t succeed. Green-Beckham is the third nationally top-rated receiver to sign with an SEC school since 2008. The other two guys didn’t do too bad – Alabama’s Julio Jones (No. 4 overall in 2008) and LSU’s Rueben Randle (No. 2 overall in 2009).

Somewhere Van Zant is shedding a tear because of a career derailed -- and maybe because DGB has a chance to be the TVZ that never was.   


Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:10 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:11 pm
 

NCAA sickle cell testing debated

The American Society of Hematology issued a policy statement Thursday opposed to the current NCAA mandate that requires schools to test athletes for sickle cell trait.

The policy statement conflicts with that NCAA testing policy that is not yet two years old. For decades, the association had not tested for sickle cell trait but changed its stance as part of a settlement of a lawsuit over the death of a Rice athlete in 2006.

The NCAA requires that all athletes be tested for the condition unless they provide prior test results or sign a waiver. In a Thursday press release, the hematology society contended that “current scientific evidence does not justify screening.” It says that “universal preventive interventions” make testing unnecessary.  The society stated further that the Army uses such measures as heat acclimatization, hydration and work-rest cycles to deal with all situations regarding exertional issues.

Scott Anderson, Oklahoma head trainer and noted expert on sickle cell trait, countered: “Their [recommended] precautions are not working for individuals with sickle cell trait …”

Sickle cell trait is not a disease. It is a condition found in approximately eight percent of African-Americans and in a much smaller percentages of Caucasians.  Anyone with the condition can live a normal life. About two million Americans live with the trait. Problems occur when blood cells “sickle” due to overexertion.

Thursday’s policy statement seems to make public a large disagreement between organizations on how to treat the affliction. The hematology society said its position is supported by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Public Health Association and Association of Public Health Laboratories.

That differs from the approach taken by the NCAA, NBA, NFL and the military academies aside from the Army.

Oklahoma has had major award winners play with the condition. But because of Anderson and his research, afflicted athletes are acclimated to heat and exertion over a period of days at the beginning of spring and fall practice. Testing becomes a further safeguard.

Several high-profile deaths caused by the condition have occurred in recent years at Missouri, Florida State, Central Florida and Rice.  
Anderson added that the NBA, NFL, Navy, Marines and Air Force do screen for sickle cell trait. In results published recently in Health Services Research Journal, it was estimated there would be one death in the NCAA if every athlete were tested over a four-year period. Without testing, the research concluded that seven players would die over a 10-year period.

Anderson said that 2011 was believed to be the most deadly year for athletes nationally regarding sickle cell trait since 2000. Not all of the deaths have been confirmed to be caused by sickle cell trait, Anderson added. It is known that sickle cell trait has been the leading cause of non-traumatic deaths among Division I college football players since 2000. The NCAA changed its policy in 2010 after lawsuit brought by the family of Rice football player Dale Lloyd. The association promised to require testing and increase awareness.

“When you look at kind of objectively, this was prompted by a lawsuit,” said Dr. Janis Abkowitz, president-elect of the hematology society. “We’re not against the NCAA … We hope that we could provide information to the NCAA in rethinking both the correctness of the initial policy, but also some of its downstream unintended policy.”

Dr. Abkowitz said the NCAA plans to extend its policy to Division II and Division III athletes, “every high school kid that is interested in sport would be tested and confused.” She want on to call it a “huge network of misunderstanding”. The society notified the NCAA before releasing its statement.

“We’re not out for a battle, we’re out to be helpful,” Dr. Abkowitz said.

In February 2010, Ole Miss player Bennie Abram died of complications resulting from sickle cell trait. The school, the NCAA and other entities are being sued by Abrams’ family. The death took place just as the NCAA was changing its policy.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:47 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 10:16 pm
 

Petrino not seeing No. 1 recruit Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will not be making an in-person visit Thursday to the nation’s No. 1 recruit according to the player’s coach.

“A situation occurred,” Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest coach John Beckham told CBSSports.com

Beckham said that Petrino and Hillcrest receiver Dorial Green-Beckham “bumped into each other” earlier this month in San Antonio, Texas possibly creating an NCAA recruiting issue. Petrino was in town for the American Football Coaches Association convention. Green-Beckham was there for the U.S. Army All-Star Game.

Arkansas issued a statement Wednesday saying no NCAA violation occured.  

“When he was at the coaching convention in San Antonio, they bumped into each other,” said Beckham who also is Green-Beckham’s foster father. “It just so happened that another school that was recruiting Dorial happened to be there that day.”

This NCAA bylaw may apply: 

In football, one contact per prospective student-athlete is permitted during each week of the contact period as specified in Bylaw 13.17.4 either at the prospective student-athlete's educational institution or any other location (e.g., prospective student-athlete's home). A visit to the prospective student-athlete's educational institution and any other location (e.g., prospective student-athlete's home) during the same calendar day shall be considered one contact.

The Army all-star game was Jan. 6. The AFCA convention was Jan. 8-11. There were NCAA recruiting "quiet" and "dead" periods during some of those dates. During those times no in-person contact is allowed with recruits by coaches. Beckham added that Arkansas will send other coaches on Thursday.

Arkansas' statement: "No violation has occured and we are taking proactive steps we feel necessary to avoid any risk of one." 

As days dwindle toward signing day on Feb. 1, the rush to get Green-Beckham’s name on a national letter of intent has intensified. The 6-foot, 6-inch, 225-pound receiver has narrowed his list of finalists to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Alabama. He is listed as having the most Twitter followers among the nation’s top 100 recruits

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and assistant Jay Norvell visited the school on Monday. Texas coach Mack Brown is expected to visit on Wednesday. Green-Beckham made an Arkansas visit last week with his foster  brother Kingsley Ehie. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel flew in by helicopter to speak to the prospect last week. Green-Beckham's list of finalists are Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.

Recruiting analysts are hanging on every nugget of information regarding the national single-season leader in receiving yards. Rivals.com predicted Monday that the receiver would be heading to Arkansas. Maxpreps.com analyst Steve Spiewak says he can’t understand the perception that Arkansas is in the lead. Green-Beckham says he is undecided and will make his decision known next Wednesday morning at the school.

“People really read in too much to what he says,” Beckham said. “They interviewed [Dorial] last week before a basketball tournament in St. Louis. And he said … ‘I have to go to Missouri next week.’ They all got hung up on, ‘I have to,’ instead of ‘wanting to go.’ That’s just a little example.” 

Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:58 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 1:46 pm
 

A plus-one playoff through the years: 2008-2011

In the final installment plus-one lookback (2008-2011), the Big 12 and SEC rule. The assumption is that playing extra games would loosen the SEC’s grip on the sport. It just makes sense. In any playoff, dark horses and underdogs are going to emerge. Teams spend all season getting to the top, then in one game it can all go pfft against an inferior opponent.

In this plus-one there was a huge pfft in 2011.

(All plus-one games played on neutral fields. Here’s how things looked from 1998-2002 and 2003-2007.

 


2008

BCS champion: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14

The setup: Put this one on the Big 12 which never foresaw a three-way tie broken by the BCS standings. Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas all went 7-1 in the Big 12 South. Texas beat OU, Texas Tech beat Texas, OU beat Texas Tech. They were all 1-1 against other. Texas felt slighted because it won the Red River Shootout, but Oklahoma won the South by a mere .0128 of a point.  That basically greased the path for OU to get to the national championship game.

Another Oklahoma powerhouse, another disappointment. For the third time in four tries during the BCS era, the Sooners were stopped in that championship game. This Oklahoma team was the highest scoring of all time averaging 51 points per game. In his last season, Sam Bradford threw 50 touchdown passes.

All that was no match for an SEC defense. A top 10 defense featured Brandon Spikes, Joe Haden and Jermaine Cunningham. Florida’s D held the Sooners to their lowest point total in more than two years.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Alabama, No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Texas. A plus-one couldn’t come fast enough for the Horns whose only blemish was a loss to Texas Tech with a second to go. It’s easy to project that Gators D devouring the Horns too. Florida 33, Texas 21.

Alabama stayed in the top two of the BCS until losing an SEC championship game showdown to Florida. In year before Bama won two out of the next three titles, the defense tied for third overall. It would have been the difference against OU. Alabama 26, Oklahoma 24.

Championship game: Same script as Atlanta. A close game is blown open in the fourth quarter by that guy named Tebow. Before anyone cared about his throwing motion, completion percentage or virginity, Florida’s quarterback proved himself one of the best of all time. Florida 20, Alabama 17.

Fantasy quote: “They got lucky. The state of Alabama is going to rule college football the next three years.” – Nick Saban.

Who got screwed: Utah. It beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. It beat Alabama bad. It deserved something after finishing as the only undefeated team in the country.

 


2009

BCS champion: Alabama 38, Texas 21

The setup: The game was decided when Alabama’s Marcel Dareus took out Colt McCoy on the contest’s fifth play. The question to this day, remains: Would a healthy McCoy have made any difference? Mack Brown answered that night, “It wouldn’t even have been close.” 

Texas was forced to play an untested quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, against a carnivorous defense. All that was left was for stadium personnel to clean up the remains. It was perhaps the most disappointing BCS title game. Ninety-five thousand fans in the Rose Bowl and millions across the country expected to see a symphony. They ended up watching the Wiggles.

Yes, yes, Mark Ingram won the Heisman and that Alabama D could have played in the NFL, but it still feels like there is something missing from that night – a frisky Colt.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU, No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Cincinnati. All four were undefeated. All four would have had a fair chance to state their cases in a playoff. TCU would have scared the spit out of Bama. I know because I saw it a year later against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. I know because TCU was playing an NFL quarterback (Andy Dalton). I know because Gary Patterson is Nick Jr. as a defensive mastermind. Alabama 23, TCU 20 OT.

The toughest decision in the other semifinal was Brian Kelly’s. Does he stay at Cincinnati for a national title run or go to Notre Dame? Would it have made a difference? Texas 47, Cincinnati 27.

Championship: At the risk of being frisked for hallucinogens next time I go to T-town, McCoy would have made a huge difference. In a classic Big 12 offense vs. SEC defense, the Large Dozen was due to take one sooner or later. Texas 29, Alabama 27.

Fantasy quote: “We regret Coach Kelly’s decision to stay at Cincinnati to coach in the playoff. That said, Notre Dame has had to move on and act swiftly. Please welcome to the Irish family as Notre Dame’s next coach, Urban Meyer.” – ND AD Jack Swarbrick.

Who got screwed: Boise State, which went 14-0 while beating the Pac-10 (Oregon) and Mountain West (TCU) champions. Only one team in the regular season came within 11 points of the Broncos.

  


2010

BCS champion: Auburn 22, Oregon 19

The setup: Cam Newton’s daddy went trolling for the six-figure handshake. Then he and his son were bailed out by a loophole the size of the Lincoln Tunnel. That, basically, is a summary of the 2010 season. Newton was so good, that no team could stop Auburn. Cecil Newton was that sleazy that sometimes it was hard to sift through the wrongdoing to see a talented, personable kid who established himself as one of the best ever.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 4 Stanford. No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 TCU. TCU would have gotten the chance it deserved. The nation’s No. 1 defense could have matched up with anyone. The hunch here is that Patterson would have bottled up Oregon at least as much as Auburn did. TCU 24, Oregon 21.

How about a matchup of the top two Heisman vote getters? Stanford’s Andrew Luck would have done what Oregon’s Darron Thomas couldn’t – make a vulnerable Auburn secondary pay. Cammy Cam Cam, though, would have been the difference against the tough Cardinal.  Auburn 28, Stanford 21.

Championship game: Andy Dalton meet Nick Fairley. Tank Carder meet Cam Newton. Auburn-TCU would have gone a lot like Auburn-Oregon. Down to the wire with the underdog hanging surprisingly tough. In the end, the Tigers had too many playmakers. Auburn 22, TCU 19.

Fantasy quote: “Define ‘solicit.’ “ – Cecil Newton

Who got screwed: The Heisman Trust. What was supposed to be a celebration turned into a solemn event. The takeaway from his press conference is Newton's answer to the question: In a year when Reggie Bush had to give back is trophy, do you have any concerns you'll have to give yours back as well?

“Two letters for you, my friend,” Newton said. “No.”

All righty, then.

 

2011

BCS champion: Alabama 21, LSU 0

The setup: Funny how penthouses and outhouses occupy the same block in the SEC. One moment, they’re calling Les Miles’ team one of the best ever. The next he’s been outcoached so badly by Nick Saban that he has to turn in his trucker’s hat.

Such was the fallout from a season that kept the national championship down in the Sweet Home for the third consecutive season. The Rematch of the Century was almost as big a disappointment as the Game of the Century. Except this time, there was some finality to it. Saban DID outcoach Miles. AJ McCarron DID play like Tom Brady. The rest of the country IS still drafting in the SEC’s excellence.

While the rest of the nation continued to set offensive records, LSU and Bama combined for 36 points, 10 field goals and one touchdown in two games. Is this what you want out of a national champion? Read on.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: Plenty. No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Stanford and No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State would have added some texture, clarity, fairness and, well, offense to the proceedings.

Step back, Slive. Back off, Saban. Move away, Miles. College football would have gotten even, broken the SEC death grip.

"We'd have thrown it 50 times," Mike Gundy told USA Today. "You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens."

The key word being “exciting”.  Who wouldn’t have loved to see Andrew Luck and Weeden go against those defenses? LSU played with a quarterback who would have had a hard time starting in the Big 12. Alabama played one offense all season ranked in the top 30 (Arkansas, 29th) and 10 ranked 84th or lower.  

Defense wins championships? Not necessarily in this case if it plays a championship offense.

Let’s assume that Oklahoma State gave up its average of 27 points. Let’s assume Alabama gave up more than its average of eight points against the nation’s No. 2 offense. Let’s assume that it matters that the Cowboys were fifth in field-goal accuracy and Alabama was 85th.

Let’s also assume that Oklahoma State’s 44 turnovers gained – the most in the sport in eight years – matter.  The Cowboys had an average defense, not a bad one. LSU 22, Stanford 17; Oklahoma State 36, Alabama 34.

Championship game: It suddenly gets a lot easier for the Cowboys. With Miles keeping an actual passing quarterback (Jarrett Lee) on the bench, that makes things less difficult for Oklahoma State. Yes, LSU’s running depth would have pounded the Pokes. But an underrated offensive line would have worn down the Tigers. Oklahoma State 27, LSU 21.

Fantasy quote:  “How do you like us now, OU?” – Boone Pickens

Who got screwed: In the real world, it was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys finished third in the BCS by closest margin since the formula was refigured in 2004. They played a stronger schedule than Alabama and won what some thought was the strongest conference in the country in ’11. Bammers were successful, though, in reducing the national conversation about two one-loss teams to one game. It was determined Alabama’s one loss (to LSU) was less bad than Oklahoma State’s (Iowa State). It’s a full season, folks. The Fightin’ Gundys had a fine one.

As far as props, there was a time when the idea of Mike Gundy as the national coach of the year would have been a Saturday Night Live skit. Now it’s reality.

Cowboys as champs outrageous? At least you can’t blame the BCS.
 

Plus-one champions, 2008-2011: Florida, Texas, Auburn, Oklahoma State.

Plus-one team summary: Miami (3), USC (3) Florida (2), LSU, Texas, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Tennessee (each one).

Conferences: SEC (5), Pac-10 (3), Big East  (3), Big 12 (2), ACC (1)

-30-

 

Posted on: January 19, 2012 12:27 pm
 

A plus-one playoff through the years: 2003-2007

In the second installment of our plus-one lookback (2003-2007), USC takes over from Miami to forge a dynasty before the SEC begins to go reticulated python on college football.  Oh, and sorry Texas. That 2005 title never happened.

(All plus-one games played on neutral fields. Here’s how things looked from 1998-2002.)

 

2003

BCS champion: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14

The setup:  By now, epic BCS fails were becoming commonplace. This time Oklahoma blew through the first 12 games of the season winning by an average of more than 32 points. That was before a four-touchdown loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game.

So much for the dangers of losing late.  Not only didn’t No. 1 OU fall out of the top two, it didn’t fall from the top spot! (It dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the human polls.) That was the first problem.  The second, more significant issue, is that USC was a consensus No. 1 in the human polls but No. 3 in the BCS.

Complicating matters, if that was possible, was three major-college, one-loss teams occupying the top three spots in the final BCS (OU, LSU, USC). One of them didn’t win its conference. The BCS commissioners swallowed hard, averted their eyes and tried to explain an LSU-Oklahoma championship game. The final absurdity: That meant the coaches poll would not even be considering its No. 1 team (USC) for the national championship.

Thank goodness for the AP poll.  After USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, AP gave its final No. 1 ranking to the Trojans. For the first time in the BCS era, there was a split national championship. While that was OK with most folks, certain LSU fans couldn’t stomach sharing anything with anyone. Two things wrong with that: Like five other teams prior to the bowls that year, LSU was a one-loss team. By now it was becoming clear that if you lose a game in the BCS system, you lose the right to argue.

Isn’t it enough that national championships are forever? I still get emails from angry Tiger fans who claim they are the true national champs. Who cares?

How a four-team playoff would have changed things:  No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Michigan, No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 USC. OU would have easily mauled Michigan. The Rose Bowl that season proved it. USC outclassed the slower Wolverines by two touchdowns in Pasadena. Oklahoma 35, Michigan 17.

Many would have considered LSU-USC the real championship game. This was the year LSU freshman sensation Justin Vincent ran for 1,000 yards. Defensive tackle Chad Lavalais was the SEC defensive player of the year. USC had Reggie Bush as a freshman, Matt Leinart as a sophomore throwing to the  fantastic Mike Williams. This was the beginning of a Troy dynasty with the Trojans at least playing for three consecutive national championships in the real world. In this alternative universe it would have been a thriller, USC 27, LSU 20.

Championship game: Heisman winner Jason White was beat up for the Sooners at this point in the season. He hung in gamely against LSU but the Tigers defense and the Superdome crowd were too much. USC would have brought a similar kind of hurt. USC 23, Oklahoma 14.

Fantasy quote: “Sure we deserve a championship berth. It wasn’t like we lost to K-State by five touchdowns.” –Bob Stoops.

Who got screwed: Obviously USC, but AP was there to bail it out. That would change after the 2004 season, though, as the news organization rethought its influence on the national championship race and the money that went with it.

 

2004

BCS champion: USC 55, Oklahoma 19

The setup: For the first time in the BCS era, three undefeated teams stood atop the polls at the end. The BCS quickly realized that three don’t fit into two championship berths. Auburn eventually “lost”. There is still the lasting image of Tommy Tuberville working the press box for AP votes at the Orange Bowl after the BCS had kept the undefeated SEC champions out of the BCS title game. While the Trojans and Sooners played, Auburn’s coach was literally glad-handing media, hoping against hope.

It didn’t happen for Auburn which finished third in the BCS and second in the final human polls. SEC types were outraged that their undefeated champion wasn’t worthy of playing for it all. As you might have noticed, things would change quickly for the SEC.

The difference was Auburn’s non-conference schedule and perhaps an Oklahoma-friendly Bowling Green AD.  Elsewhere, both the Trojans and Sooners were in the middle of historic runs. OU played in its third championship game since 2000. USC was in the middle of its own 34-game winning streak. Only Stanford, Cal and UCLA came within a touchdown of the Trojans that season.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 USC vs. No. 4 Texas, No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Auburn.  Texas wasn’t quite there yet despite 1,000-yard rushing seasons from both Cedric Benson and Vince Young. Meanwhile, USC sported a Heisman winner (Leinart) as well as three other consensus All-Americans. This was arguably the best Trojan team of the Pete Carroll era. USC 37, Texas 24.

Would have loved to see the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (Auburn) against No. 8 in total offense (Oklahoma). Using LSU’s D in 2003 as evidence, OU doesn’t show up offensively in a plus-one against a quality SEC defense. Auburn 25, Oklahoma 21.

Championship game: Auburn gets its title shot but just can’t overcome perhaps the team of the decade. USC 26, Auburn 13.

Fantasy quote: “How many voters does a commissioner have to bribe for the SEC to get to the championship game?” – Mike Slive

Real quote: “Where’s Your God Now?” – sign taunting BYU fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the final seconds of Utah’s 52-21 win over the Cougars that clinched the Utes’ first BCS berth.

Who got screwed: Cal. With one BCS bowl berth left, the No. 5 Bears lost a propaganda war with No. 4 Texas. Both were 10-1 on pick ‘em day. Knowing that finishing at No. 4 guaranteed his team a BCS bowl, Mack Brown had no problem campaigning for his Longhorns while Cal’s Jeff Tedford pretty much refused to engage.

Cal would have been the obvious Pac-10 replacement in the Rose Bowl with USC playing for the national championship. But Texas’ bum rush created feelings that what Bevo wants, Bevo gets long before the Longhorn Network.

“"I guess we didn't run up the score at the end, or beg for votes after the game," Cal’s Aaron Rodgers said. "I thought it was [wrong] for coach Brown to beg for votes.”

AP withdrew its poll from the BCS after the controversy.



2005

BCS champion: Texas 41, USC 38

The setup: On paper USC never won a game this season. On the field, it ravaged the field. We would find out years later that Bush competed the entire 2005 season while ineligible having taken cash and benefits from two would-be agents.

Dismiss that from your mind considering how these Trojans were completing that 34-game winning streak. They failed to score less than 34 in any game. They scored at least 50 in seven games. They scored 60 twice and 70 once. This was the team that couldn’t be outscored -- until it was, by Vince Young.

On the night of Jan. 5, 2006 Texas’ quarterback proved himself to be the best player in the school’s glorious history. Completing a game in which he had almost 500 yards in total offense, Young pulled it down and scored the winning touchdown with 19 seconds left.

USC was denied a third straight national championship. Texas won its first in 35 years because of a singular talent.

"Without question that was the best [performance] by one guy [I've seen]," Pete Carroll said.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 USC vs. No. 4 Ohio State, No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Penn State. Anyone else have a letdown here? Ohio State was a year away in 2005 having lost to Texas and Penn State in the regular season. JoePa rebounded from downturn to begin the century to grab a share of the Big Ten. It is interesting that two Big Ten teams would have been in a plus-one. Does it matter, though, given the greatness at the top?

USC 42, Ohio State 20. Texas 44, Penn State 17.

Championship game: With his defense gassed and resting on the sidelines, this time Carroll decides to use Bush on fourth down. In the real game he didn’t. That allowed Texas to stop LenDale White on fourth down which led to the Horns’ winning drive. USC 38, Texas 35.

Fantasy quote: “I’m predicting two Super Bowls for Vince Young.” – Beano Cook

Who got screwed:  USC players who gave their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears for the program only to have the season ripped away in disgrace because of Bush’s selfishness. In case you forgot, the NCAA vacated USC’s 2005 season as part of the Bush penalties.

 

2006

BCS champion: Florida 41, Ohio State 14

In the latest BCS game ever played (Jan. 9), the system began to take different turns. Double-hosting debuted. A few days before the Gators swamped the Buckeyes, Boise beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in one of the sport’s greatest upsets. A player proposed to a cheerleader. The Broncos proved they could play with the big boys, a cry that still is ringing in our ears today.

Oh yeah, and the SEC started a streak for the ages. The first of six consecutive titles by the Strength Everywhere Conference began with Florida thrashing Ohio State.

That year the immortal Chris Leak was backed up at Florida by some kid named Tebow. During the season we were treated to the jump pass, winning a game by a fingernail and first of two national championships by Urban Meyer.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 LSU, No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Michigan. The Buckeyes blitzed through the regular season setting up Jim Tressel for his second national championship in five years. Les Miles was just getting going, posting his second straight 11-2 season. We were going to see LSU-Ohio State in 2007 anyway. In a playoff, the Buckeyes arrived a year early with Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and company winning a close one. Ohio State 31, LSU 27.

Denied a rematch with Ohio State by the pollsters and computers, Michigan would have welcomed a playoff. Coming off one of the most emotional games in Michigan history (losing to Ohio State the day after Bo Schembechler’s passing), there was a chance to sneak in the back door for a national championship. Florida’s D would have denied it. Florida 37, Michigan 21.

Championship: We’re assuming that Ginn Jr. doesn’t injure his foot celebrating a kickoff return. We still can’t assume Ohio State would have an answer for Florida’s team speed. Florida 31, Ohio State 21.

Fantasy quote: “We got tattooed.” – Tressel.

Who gagged: USC. Needing only to win over sliding UCLA to play for another title, the Trojans coughed up one of the program’s largest hairballs. The 13-9 loss to the Bruins on the last day of the regular season remains inexplicable to this day except to then-UCLA defensive  coordinator DeWayne Walker. He helped hold the Trojans to less than 20 points for the first time in 64 games

 


2007

BCS champion: LSU 38, Ohio State 24

Let’s see … LSU in New Orleans? Again? Call it another unintended consequence of the BCS. The commissioners probably never imagined the Tigers being good at the exact same time the Superdome was hosting the big game. Call it purple and gold serendipity.

And luck. In the fastest and more furious finish of the BCS era, both No. 1 (Missouri) and No. 2 (West Virginia) lost on the last day of the season allowing  the Buckeyes and Tigers to move up. A week earlier, LSU had lost at home, giving up 50 to Arkansas. After beating Tennessee in the SEC championship game, the Tigers moved from No. 7 to No. 2.

How a four-team playoff would have changed things: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma. No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech. This was an unspectacular Oklahoma team that lost to Colorado and Texas Tech before being smoked by West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State 31, Oklahoma 23.

In a plus-one, the ACC champion would have played for a national championship in a rematch we didn’t need to see. In the second week of the season, the Tigers smoked the Hokies 48-7 in Baton Rouge. Play it again, Les? LSU 33, Virginia Tech 14.

Championship game: What hurt Buckeye pride is that LSU was the last comic standing in 2007 in a wild finish to the season. The Tigers were the first two-loss team to win a national championship in 47 years. And still, LSU was able to score 31 unanswered to bury the Bucks. By now, the jokes and labels associated with Ohio State were beginning to leave a mark.

“Yeah, and that hurts," said Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, "just because the media really builds it up like we are slow and all that stuff."

The Bucks football reputation was in tatters after two straight championship losses. In a few years, that rep was about to get a whole lost worse. LSU 42, Ohio State 17.

 Fantasy quote: “Next?” – SEC

Who got screwed: The fans. Hawaii was non-competitive against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl got three-loss Illinois to match against USC. West Virginia lost Rich Rod, then promoted Bill Stewart before a rout of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The average margin of victory in the five BCS bowls (20 points) was second only to 2002 (22.5 points).

Plus-one champions, 2003-2007: USC, USC, USC, Florida, LSU.

Tomorrow: A plus-one from 2008 to 2011.   

Posted on: December 19, 2011 12:05 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:39 am
 

Koetter emerges at Hawaii

Jacksonville Jaquars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has emerged as a strong leading candidate at Hawaii, according to a source.

Koetter came from a reported group of 30 applicants for the job left vacant when Greg McMackin retired on Dec. 5. The 52-year-old Koetter has nine years head coaching experience at Boise State and Arizona State and 22 years of college experience overall. He was most successful at Boise where he led the Broncos to a pair of 10-win seasons from 1998-2000. At Arizona State, he preceded Dennis Erickson going 40-34 from 2001-2006.

His 66-44 career mark in college includes a 4-2 bowl record. For the past five seasons he has coordinated the Jags’ offense. From 2007-20010 Jacksonville’s offense ranked 13th in the NFL according to the team's website. In 2007, the Jags set a franchise record averaging 25.7 points. This year Jacksonville, 4-10, is last in the NFL in total yards.

In 2005, Arizona State finished second in total offense nationally under Koetter. He was fired at ASU in late November 2006.

Koetter was once known as a bright, young, up-and-coming offensive mind. Starting as offensive coordinator with San Francisco State in 1985, he moved up the ladder as OC with Texas-El Paso, Missouri, Boston College and Oregon before getting the Boise head coaching job in 1998.  

 

 

 

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