Wednesday, December 11, 2013
As usual it was an outstanding morning spent at the Waldorf at the NFF press conference for award winners, incoming Hall of Famers and honored players. The number of people who were honored is long so I will stick to my impressions. Roger Goodell won the Gold Medal and while he may or may not be a worthy winner his presence dominated the Q and A session that followed as all of the questions focused on the NFL. This is a college event and I want the focus solely on the college game. There was also a military feel to the awards as General Ray Odierno and former Green Beret and current Texas long snapper Nate Boyer were both honored. As for the players it is always bittersweet to see some players who I grew up watching now aged and a little less nimble. Still it is outstanding to see that these outstanding players and coaches are universally humbled by becoming members of the Hall. As an historian my favorite moment was when former Navy and Temple coach Wayne Hardin made reference to his former coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. That he could be honored at the same time as the current players who were born 60+ years after Hardin and 130 years after Stagg shows the true reach of the NFF. What else? I joked with new Hall of Famers Percy Snow and Orlando Pace about the recent Big Ten championship game. Snow was quite proud while Pace admitted he had his bags packed for the BCS title game. I also enjoyed talking Florida football with Danny Wuerffel and the old days with Steve Meilinger, who mentioned that football in his days (50s and 60s) was more gentlemanly that today's game. The current players who finished the event did not prove Meilinger's point as they were, al usual, an outstanding collection of young men who combine football skill with academic success. Penn State lineman John Urschel, who is working on his second masters, won the Campbell Trophy that night. Head over to the NFF site for more quotes and information.
Monday, December 9, 2013
It has been a long season but once again college football delivered an exciting year full of big games, star players and surprising results. Thanks to the seemingly annual late November collapse of teams ranked too high, the match-up in the BCS title game features one team, Florida State, that played at championship level all season and another, Auburn, that while representing the SEC, still was not expected to compete for any kind of title as recently as October 1. But the Tigers are now on a roll, having won nine straight games including four SEC games away from home and one, against Alabama, in which they were big underdogs. Despite that run they will be big underdogs again, but the time for predictions will come at a later date. The Seminoles meanwhile have barely flinched all season, destroying one opponent after another. They do not have many weaknesses. As for the other BCS match-ups, of which more will be written at a later date, the committee did okay for themselves. Missouri and South Carolina are perhaps the biggest absences but they could not be considered as each conference can only have a maximum of two teams and Alabama was clearly number two for the SEC. In mid-season it seemed guaranteed that the Pac 12 would have two teams but the conference ended up with only one legitimate squad with Rose Bowl bound Stanford. As for that Rose Bowl, traditionalists should have their day as Michigan State and Stanford have both ridden the ability to hit hard to the top of their respective conferences. It should be a good game for the old black and white Magnavox that is taking up room in your parents' attic. The Fiesta Bowl will feature Baylor, one of the teams that squandered a late chance to reach the title game, against a Central Florida program that has had a chip on its shoulder all season. The Sugar Bowl will feature two history-swashed programs in Alabama and Oklahoma with the entire nation predicting that one of them will win. Folks have assumed OU would fade away all season and they are the one program that nobody discussed as a possible BCS team back in November despite their pedigree. We may see why in January. The Orange Bowl matches two similar teams in Ohio State and Clemson who both choked up their biggest game of the year (Clemson dropped their second biggest game for good measure). To be honest, I will be watching the Cotton Bowl being played that night between Missouri and Oklahoma State first, this game second. There will be more than enough football to watch this winter. There will also be more than enough time to discuss the match-ups--once the regular season actually ends this Saturday with the Army-Navy game.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
It is not meant to be easy. When the BCS expanded by a game to, in part, reward schools from less respected conferences for great seasons they did so to honor those who went the distance. So play great all season but miss late FGs and you go from BCS bowl to some game played the day after Christmas. Fresno is the latest team to fall to a rival late in a close, pressure-packed game that wiped out any hopes for a BCS bowl. But while that would have been a first for the program the main goal all year should have been the conference championship and that will be on the line next week. So shake it off Fresno and focus on the real prize. As for San Jose the outcome helps the team forget what has been an under-achieving season. They may now go bowling but yesterday's game proved that they should be better than 6-6.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
It will be interesting to see if Baylor can keep humming along this season with tonight's game in Stillwater. An impressive victory along with their already impressive season will prove that the Bears deserve a national title shot this season. But, being that we all know that only two teams can go, if Baylor finishes the regular season undefeated and still does not get a BCS championship game berth, then the only people to blame would be their coaching staff and athletic administration for the team's September out-of-conference schedule (Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana Monroe). Lousy out of conference scheduling was a theme this season with fingers finally beginning to point at SEC programs and more emphatically at Louisville (do you remember when they were a national title contender?) and Ohio State. But Baylor was under the radar at the beginning of the season and only brought attention to themselves by scoring 69, 70 and 70 in the three games mentioned above. Now Baylor had not originally scheduled Wofford, currently 5-5 overall and fourth in the Southern Conference, but when SMU cancelled their meeting with Baylor earlier this year the Bears were left scrambling. That's understandable, but SMU, who themselves played Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU before beginning conference play, would have sounded a little better than Wofford but are currently 4-5 and would have done nothing to change the appearance of Baylor looking to avoid anyone who could challenge them prior to conference play. That's nothing against either program, or solid Buffalo and Louisiana Monroe programs, but Baylor's on-the-rise program needed a statement September victory. Actually, so too Louisville and that would have been a much-anticipated early-season contest. The Cardinals played Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky and FIU instead and not one college football fan cared, even with Kentucky. Baylor probably would have won that game and would be sitting much better now. But at least Baylor crushed the lesser programs on their schedule, including conference lowlights West Virginia, Iowa State, KU and Oklahoma (just kidding Sooner fans!). Ohio State played a weak schedule and did not even look good against most of it, including teams like Cal and Illinois that just are not very good. If Baylor wins out then they should be ahead of Ohio State and ready to pounce if Alabama and Florida State falter.
Ugh. 91-80. Ugh. Hawaii +6 CMU -13 MSU -7 Cincy over 59 Duke -7 Illini -7 KSU -5 ECU-6 Minny +17 Michigan +6 A&M +4.5 Notre Dame over 54 Marshall over 54 Kentucky +25.5 Vandy +3 USF +4.5 Okie State +8.5 Boise over 57 Good luck