Emery was only suspended for one game by the Mountain West Conference (MWC) and BYU took no additional action. I felt that was very weak by BYU and the MWC. THe PAC-12 and Oregon State should make a statement and suspend Reid for a couple of games and have him attend counseling or something. What Emery did was terrible and what Reid did was flat out uncalled for.
Another question is, ‘what’s going on in Salt Lake?’
Is there something in the water? Is Utah really that frustrating of a basketball team to play against? Is it the elevation?
Regardless, Utah home basketball games need to be added to the ‘must watch’ list for the rest of the season.
It’s the Holiday Season which means it’s college football bowl season. Or as ESPN likes to brand it ‘Bowl Week’….that of course lasts two weeks. There are some 41 bowl games including the National Championship game and some feature teams with sub 500 records. How did we get here and which ones are worth watching?
CBS Sports Dennis Dodd wrote an article sometime ago about why we have so many. The reasons are varied but essentially come down to these factors: It’s live programming for ESPN who broadcasts all but one of the bowl games and money. Teams and conferences get payouts from each bowl game who in turn get money from ESPN, sponsorships, plus tickets and concession sales.
Lord knows what BattleFrog paid to be the title sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl(a game that kicks off at 11am local time New Years Day) but it had to be a pretty penny. It also shows that bowl games are truly in it for the money. They would sell two title sponsorships to their games if they could.
Besides BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, other oddities include:
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (It’s not just a bowl game, it’s a celebration!)
Cure Bowl (We don’t think The Cure is playing the halftime show.)
Miami Beach Bowl (This is at Marlins Park which is not near the beach.)
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (Marmot specializes in winter clothes.)
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (What?)
Russell Athletic Bowl (Features two teams sponsored by Nike.)
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (…..Yeah.)
It’s big business and if the model didn’t work then there wouldn’t be so many bowl games.
From a schools perspective there are other reasons to go to a bowl game. Specifically the extra practice time. If you have a young team, installing a new offense, etc you can always use the extra practice time that a bowl game allows you.
Yes bowl games are supposed to be a reward for the players but let’s not kid ourselves, is going to play in a bowl game in Detroit or outside in the Bronx in December a reward? Now playing a game in the Bahamas or Honolulu, ok that seems like a good gig. But Shreveport, LA or Montgomery, AL, probably not so much.
Either way, the games are upon us and here is a list of ones that should be worth watching:
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – 12/19 | 12:30pm | ABC: BYU vs Utah is a rivalry that went away when BYU went independent. While Utah isn’t thrilled about this matchup (or being back in a bowl they were in last year) this renewed rivalry should be worth watching.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – 12/19 | 2:30pm | ESPN: Ohio vs Appalachian State may not seem sexy but Ohio has eight wins and App State has 10. Just sayin.
Miami Beach Bowl – 12/21 | 11:30am | ESPN: Western Kentucky vs South Florida is a heck of a match up. Western Kentucky can score points at will while USF has found it’s swagger once again under head coach Willie Taggart.
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl – 12/22 | 4pm | ESPN: Toledo vs Temple is a game, despite Toledo’s coach bolting for a new gig at Iowa State, that is pretty underrated. Toledo had a chance to win the MAC and Temple burst onto the college football scene this year with the help of Chuck Bednarik Award winner Tyler Matakevich (that means he is Defensive Player of the Year).
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – 12/23 | 1:30pm | ESPN: It’s funny to say that Boise State vs Northern Illinois is game between two teams who had a down year. Both have been to major bowl games the last few years and the talent is there to do it again.
Hyundai Sun Bowl – 12/26 | 11am | CBS: Washington State came out of nowhere this year to be a force in the Pac-12. Miami….well they have talent and a new head coach coming in so most of the returning players are essentially giving a live tryout to their new head coach Mark Richt.
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman – 12/28 | 11:30am | ESPN: Last chance to see Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds go do his thing. Pittsburgh is a tough, hard-nosed team so this could be an old grind’em up football game. Oh, Navy is playing at home.
Russell Athletic Bowl – 12/29 | 2:30pm | ESPN: Two high powered offenses that should put points on the board. Granted North Carolina is a lot healthier than Baylor at the quarterback position but this should be fun none the less.
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl – 12/29 | 6pm | ESPN: A contrast in styles. LSU has arguably the best running back in the country in Leonard Fournette and Texas Tech likes to spread you out and expose the open space.
Chick -fil -A Peach Bowl – 12/31 | 9am | ESPN: One of the New Years Six bowl games featuring Houston against Florida State. Houston has had an awesome season under first year head coach Tom Herman but FSU has Dalvin Cook who is arguably the best running back in the country.
Capital One Orange Bowl – 12/31 | 1pm | ESPN: The first of two College Football Playoff Semifinal games. This is a rematch of last years Russell Athletic Bowl and while Clemson got the better of Oklahoma in that game, OU is one of the hottest teams in the country.
Goodyear Cotton Bowl – 12/31 | 5pm | ESPN: Michigan State vs Alabama is about as old school as it gets. This one is all about running the ball and defense.
Outback Bowl – 1/1 | 9am | ESPN2: Northwestern and Tennessee have had outstanding years. This game is always close and a lot of fun to watch.
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl – 1/1 | 10am | ESPN: Does it get much better than Notre Dame vs Ohio State?
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual – 1/1 | 2pm | ESPN: Iowa vs Stanford is like Michigan State vs Alabama, run oriented offenses defenses that can win a game for you. You get to also check out the most exciting player in the country in Stanford’s Christian McCaffery.
Valero Alamo Bowl – 1/2 | 3:45pm | ESPN: Oregon vs TCU and that means wide open offenses and two quarterbacks looking to end their collegiate careers with a bang. Oregon’s Vernon Adams and TCU’s Trevone Boykin.
The University of Virginia should have taken a long, hard look before hiring former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall to head up their football program. All of the incidents (except for the basketball stuff of course) happened under his watch. He may not be the person that should be heading up a football program at a University that has it’s own image issues.
The NCAA should take notice and start asking some questions of BYU as to why these things are happening on the football field and now the basketball court. And then ask BYU why it is so slow in dishing out punishment. This is a University that has dismissed players in the past for violating the schools Honor Code. Where is that now?
We’re all for tough players and a hard hitting game but BYU players have repeatedly crossed the line and with little or no punishment as a result. This is BYU, a school with high moral standards and a great athletic history. It’s disappointing to see these things happening and we hope that they are dealt with in the future in a more swift and appropriate manner.
Norm Chowwas relieved of his duties last week as the head football coach at Hawaii after a 58-7 loss at home to Air Force. He finished with a record of 10-36 in just under four seasons with the Rainbow Warriors. It’s a sad ending for a man who has had so much success.
Fox Sports Bruce Feldman probably said it best when he sent the following tweet the day Chow was fired:
Was tough to see Norm Chow struggling as a HC. His time as Hawaii's head coach was like Red from Shawshank working in that grocery store.
Chow is a legendary coach at the collegiate level. He helped develop quarterbacks like NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young, Heisman Trophy winners Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He won multiple awards and three National Titles during his assistant coaching stops. It’s hard to see such a good coach not succeed during his first (and probably only) collegiate head coaching job.
The reason we bring Chow up is because he was the subject of thefirst ever post on this blog. We believed that his offensive philosophy was a bad fit for Hawaii and that theory proved to be correct. We wish it wasn’t but it was.
We wish Norm Chow the best. We’re sure he’ll be back coaching (if he wants) somewhere out west where he has had so much success.
BYU at San Jose State – 8:30pm CBSSN: SJSU running back Tyler Ervin is a stud. He has almost 1200 yards rushing already this season and 12 TD’s. BYU are some tough dudes though. Last thing they want is for this guy to run wild on ’em.
Saturday November 7th
Penn State at Northwestern – 9am ESPNU: Big Ten match up with poll position for a decent bowl game on the line.
Duke at North Carolina – 9am ESPN2: UNC is getting no love this year and Duke is coming off of that bad referring loss to Miami. Is there a hangover for Duke?
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – 9am ABC: All Pitt is doing is winning. Yes they are coming off of a tough loss to UNC but they are hard nosed football team. Notre Dame is going to get all it wants from the Panthers.
Florida State at Clemson – 12:30pm ABC: Clemson is the number 1 team in the land. Florida State doesn’t care.
TCU at Oklahoma State – 12:30pm FOX: TCU is getting no love…even with the number 2 offense in the country. The over/under is 78. We vote to take the over.
Cincinnati at Houston – 1:30m ESPN2: These two teams rank 5th and 7th in total offense at the FBS level. That alone is a reason to watch.
Navy at Memphis – 4pm ESPN2: Navy is 6-1 with the NCAA All Time touchdown king in quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Memphis is shooting for a big time bowl bid. Should be whoever has the ball last wins.
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens – 4pm NHLN: Original 6 matchup.
LSU at Alabama – 5pm CBS: Two teams that are currently in the College Football Playoff.
Sunday November 8th
Arsenal vs Tottenham – 7:55am NBCSN: A North London Derby for your Sunday morning.
Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers – 10am CBS: Man, can’t believe the Raiders are a must watch team. This could be the best game of the day.
Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers – 10am FOX: Packers got exposed last week in Denver. Now they have to rebound on the road against another undefeated team.
DC United vs NY Red Bulls – Noon ESPN: Red Bulls got the always valuable road goal so they look to be in good shape in this one.
Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas – 4:30pm FS1: First game was a 1-1 draw which gives Dallas the advantage heading into the second leg.
Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 7pm FS1: Like the Seattle vs FC Dallas game, the first game was a draw and that should give the Whitecaps the advantage here.
Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.
Denver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:25pm CBS: Denver is not the same offense it was a year ago but man was that defense impressive in week one. KC looks to finally get a touchdown pass into the hands of a wide receiver.
Friday September 18th
Florida State at Boston College -5pm ESPN: BC always seems to give people trouble when they play at home and at night. Well this game is at home and at night.
LA Angles at Minnesota Twins – 5pm MLB.TV: Both teams are chasing that final wild card slot in the American League. This is the second game of a four game set.
Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.TV: Playoff preview and a decent pitching match up to boot.
Saturday September 19th
Chelsea vs Arsenal – 4:40am NBCSN: Two of the better teams year in and year out in the Premier League. Chelsea desperately needs to right the ship.
Air Force at Michigan State – 9am ABC: Michigan State is coming off of a high profile win against Oregon. Now they have to settle down and play assignment football against a disciplined Air Force squad. Michigan State wins but it’s close for a half.
Nebraska at Miami – 12:30 ABC: Remember when these two teams use to play for the National Title every year?
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame – 12:30 NBC: Notre Dame has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at and Georgia Tech is a pretty good bet to win the ACC this year. Notre Dame has to be like Michigan State, very disciplined on defense if they want to win against a triple option attack.
Auburn at LSU -12:30pm CBS: Auburn has been the most overrated team to start 2015. Can they put it together in Death Valley and knock off the LSU?
Western Kentucky at Indiana – 1pm ESPNEWS: Western Kentucky can put up points and so can IU. This could be WKU’s second win against a Power 5 conference school.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders 4pm MLS LIVE: Cascadia Cup matchup with big time playoff implications.
Colorado vs Colorado State – 4pm CBSSN: The Rocky Mountain Shootout may not garner national attention but it’s usually a heck of a game.
California at Texas – 4:30pm FOX: Cal has one of the better QB’s in the country in Jared Goff. Odds are he will light up the Longhorns secondary.
Ole Miss at Alabama – 6:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss got the better of Bama last year. Bama has trouble with the Rebels style of offense too.
BYU at UCLA – 7:30pm FS1: Awesome matchup with two highly touted freshman QB’s. BYU’s Tanner Magnum and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BYU pulls this out like they have their first two games and they could be looking at a big 6 bowl berth.
Sunday September 20th
Southampton vs Manchester United – 8am NBCSN: Southampton are only four points behind the Red Devils in the Premier League table.
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Bengals ran over the Chargers AFC West cohorts (Oakland Raiders) last week. Chargers are a whole different proposition though.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: Well it’s Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick again except this time Ryan heads up the Bills.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm FOX: Cowboys pulled one out of the fire last weekend while the Eagles fell short trying to do the exact same thing. Chip Kelly will hear the boos if his team starts off 0-2 after the offseason they had.
Portland Timbers vs NY Red Bulls -2pm ESPN: Timbers and NYRB are both in the thick of the playoff hunt.
NY Yankees at NY Mets – 5pm ESPN: See why TV and MLB execs are wetting themselves over the possibility of another Subway World Series.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 5:25pm NBC: Rematch of the wildly entertaining NFC Championship game from a year ago.
Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees – 4pm MLB.TV: It’s the first of a four game set for the lead in the AL East.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots – 5:30pm NBC: Well Tom Brady is playing and we can only hope that NBC Sports doesn’t pull some nonsense with Ryan Seacrest again.
Friday September 11th
Utah State at Utah – 6pm ESPN2: The battle for the Beehive Boot. A tough, hard nosed football game.
Houston Astros at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Angels look to keep their playoff hopes alive as the division leading Astros come to SoCal.
Saturday September 12th
Everton vs Chelsea – 4:40am NBCSN: The Premier League season has yet to settle down which means there is a chance of an upset in this match.
Liverpool vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: Yes it’s a College Football Saturday but this is a classic match-up.
Oklahoma at Tennessee – 3pm ESPN: A power 5 matchup, two Top 25 schools with a lot of history and an orange and white checkerboard stadium. Oh yeah.
Oregon at Michigan State – 5pm ABC: Sparty shut down the Ducks for three quarters last year in Eugene. Then Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota took over and led the Ducks to victory. Mariota is now in the NFL and Sparty wants revenge.
LSU at Mississippi State – 6:15pm ESPN: LSU’s game was cancelled last week and Miss State got in a preseason game against Southern Miss. How big of a factor will that play?
Boise State at BYU – 7:15pm ESPN2: BYU pulled one out of the fire last week with a backup QB fresh off his two year mission and Boise almost blew it against Washington. Should make things interesting.
LA Galaxy vs Montreal Impact – 7:30pm MLS LIVE: Didier Drogba hits LA to take on Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane. Drogba had a hat trick in his first start for the Impact. What will he do for an encore?
Sunday September 13th
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – 10am FOX: One of the games best QB’s in Aaron Rodgers against one of the games most overrated in Jay Cutler. Can Rodgers still air out the ball without Jordy Nelson and a one shouldered Reggie Cobb?
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals – 1pm FOX: Can Drew Brees find someone in the redzone now that Jimmy Graham is in Seattle?
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – 1:25pm CBS: Could be Peyton Manning’s last go round. And with a new offense no less.
NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys – 5:30pm NBC: It should be a fantastic game but man, Cris Collinsworth twice in one week?
The first full weekend of College Football is in the books (almost) and there are some big takeaways and moments we should visit again and again.
Several schools from the Power 5 conferences lost their opener. Washington State, Kansas lost to FCS schools along with non Power 5 school Wyoming (Portland State, South Dakota State and North Dakota respectively). Colorado, Vanderbilt and Penn State lost to non Power 5 schools.
Penn State’s loss to Temple falls into the historic column. It’s the first time Temple has beaten Penn State since 1941 (39 games) and Penn State gave up 10 sacks. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when Penn State goes into Columbus in October? Yikes.
Other upsets included BYU beating Nebraska on a last second hail-mary in Lincoln. Northwestern manhandled #21 Stanford in what may be the biggest surprise win of the weekend.
Just The Hits
The fact of the matter is that football is a violent sport. It’s part of the reason why we enjoy it. One of those big hits happened on Friday night at Montana State linebacker Mac Bignell leveled Fort Lewis running back PJ Hall.
South Dakota State quarterback Zack Lujan got drilled on a pass play. In fact he got hit so hard his helmet went rolling down the field.
The best may have been the phantom one. Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns lost his shoe and when he realized that he couldn’t get to the sideline before Tennessee would snap the ball, he just fell down and played dead. Classic.
Some people had Arizona State as their dark-horse College Football Playoff team. The odds of that happening now are a little darker as they were beaten by Texas A&M. The man of the hour was A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He was unblockable and finished with three sacks and eight tackles.
Injuries were big in week one. Arizona loses All Pac 12 linebacker Scooby Wright III to a knee injury but it sounds like he could be back in a month. BYU lost QB Taysom Hill for the season….again. Oregon was looking real good offensively until new QB Vernon Adams took what looked like a cheap shot to the head. He might have a concussion but was on the sidelines at the end of the game. Oregon will need him healthy with a trip to Michigan State looming next week.
Oregon QB Vernon Adams takes a late hit and came up wobbly. Went to locker room. Player who hit him was ejected. pic.twitter.com/h2qPFxDcTr
We posted a blog earlier this called‘College Football Free Agency’. It reflects the trend in college football in which graduate players transfer schools for one last season on the gridiron and one last chance to impress pro scouts. While a player like former Eastern Washington quarterbackVernon Adamshas a lot of experience and success behind him, many transfers -graduate and undergraduate- don’t and end up leaving fan bases crying in their college football alumni mugs.
Everyone wants to think of transfers, in particularly quarterbacks (QB), as the next great QB savior. Just like Troy Aikman did at UCLA or Scott Frost at Nebraska or ever Ryan Mallettat Arkansas. Really everyone wants it to be just like when Russell Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to a Big 10 title and berth in the Rose Bowl. Reality is Aikman, Frost, Mallet and Wilson are more of the exception than the rule. For everyone one of these guys there is a Danny O’Brien, Sam Keller, Robert Marve or some other highly hyped kid who made a fan base believe they had a chance at a conference title.
O’Brien was barely ok at Maryland and then transferred to Wisconsin where the Badger faithful had dreams of another Russell Wilson dancing in their heads. Bottom line, he wasn’t very good. He could never win the QB job and ended up transferring to Catawba. Keller is more known for leading the lawsuit against EA Sports than for his QB play at Nebraska where he transferred to from Arizona State. Marve was highly touted, played at Miami and then moved on to Purdue where he couldn’t stay healthy on some pretty awful Boilermaker teams.
The two most cautionary tales for fans should be those of former #1 recruits Mitch Mustain and Jake Heaps. Mustain started his career at Arkansas but transferred to USC after his freshman year. He played more games in one year at Arkansas than he ever appeared in at three years at USC. Heaps went from BYU to Kansas and then to Miami (he is originally from the Seattle area). He could never lock in a starting job at three different schools despite showing promise his freshman year at BYU.
Players transfer for all kinds of reasons but just because they transferred doesn’t mean they are going to fit in at their new school and lead it to victory. There are more cautionary tales than successful stories. While we’re probably only seeing the beginning of the transfer binge, especially when it comes to graduate transfers, it should go without saying that transfers are not always a saving grace. So for those fans in Eugene, Tallahassee, and Athens, just remember that the odds of this new transfer QB being the next Aikman, Frost or Wilson are pretty far off.
Norm Chow is one of the legendary offensive minds in college football. He has been a very successful offensive coordinator at several schools from BYU to NC State to USC. He is now the head coach at the University of Hawaii. His first game was a 49-10 thrashing by his old employer USC and it won’t be the last blow out he’ll experience.
Hawaii has had some success in college football. In 2007 they went undefeated and made it to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and played in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia. They spent thirteen years in the Run & Shoot offense which was installed by former Head Coach June Jones back in 1999. Norm Chow has installed his own pro style offense.
For those not in the know, there are some big differences between the Run & Shoot and a pro style offense. The Run & Shoot uses four wide receivers (WR) and no tight-end. The pro style offense traditionally runs a TE and two running backs (RB).
The Run & Shoot worked at Hawaii for several reasons. The most prominent being, in my view, that you don’t necessarily need to out muscle the defensive line on the line of scrimmage. The offensive line mainly pass blocks and doesn’t need to blow the defensive line off the ball at the point of attack like you do with a run heavy offense.
You also don’t need to find great TE’s or several RB’s. You need to find several fast WR’s which are easier to find. Finding speed is usually easier than trying to find speed and size.
It’s not that you’re giving up on finding speed and size but if you’re at Hawaii you have to use the resources available to you. Just like the Academy schools Army, Navy and Air Force. They use the triple option attack. Why? It’s based on misdirection, execution and angles. Doesn’t that sound like any classic war plan and who better to carry that out then future military leaders.
Chow is trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Finding a pro style QB to go to Hawaii is going to be a challenge in and of itself. Finding and offensive line that can plow the road for an NFL style RB, that may prove to be impossible.
Hawaii is not a powerhouse program and their facilities have apparently been lacking. The latter was one of the reasons why June Jones left for SMU after the ’07 season. These things and the sheer distance of Hawaii from the mainland makes finding talent and convincing them to come to the islands a massive challenge.
Chow may very well succeed. Expectations are lower at a school like Hawaii then they are at some of Chow’s previous jobs but winning is winning. Chow’s best chance for winning was with an offense that capitalized on the resources available and not on the dreams of what might be.