The Pacing Problem

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 11.12.2016

The pace of college football games is becoming a bigger issue. The nearly 5 hour Tennessee at Texas A&M game earlier this year was probably the straw that broke the camels back. But there are ways to fix this and yes they are easy to achieve.

There have been two major articles written on this subject this fall. First by Ben Cohen in the Wall Street Journal and then by Dennis Dodd at CBSSports.com this past week. Both point out that games have steadily been increasing in time since 2008 and a few of the reasons are up-tempo offenses, increased scoring and of course TV timeouts among them.

Cohen’s article did an analysis on the Florida State vs Ole Miss game at the beginning of the year. While the game lasted a little over 4 hours there were only 16 plus minutes of actual football action (it was a heck of a game though).

Dodd’s article points to the main culprit of extended games, fast-paced offenses. Kind of ironic that fast-paced or up-tempo offenses cause games to be longer. Short passes, snapping the ball 15-25 seconds after the previous play all leads to more plays, more stoppages and longer games.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema have been vocal about the this style of play in the past claiming that it will lead to injuries. That may not be far off but there is no data to support their beliefs.

A few years ago, I remember listening to UCLA head coach Jim Mora on the Jim Rome show. He pointed out the low hanging fruit on how to solve this problem, quit stopping the clock after a first down. The NFL doesn’t do this and Mora postulated that if you don’t stop the clock after a first down then you will decrease the amount of plays a team can run (probably by a dozen) and speed up the game in the process.

Tougher sells would be to shorten the play clock by 10 seconds, limit reviews to 90 seconds, and limit the number of commercial breaks in a game.

There are fixes for this problem and some of them are pretty easy. This is an issue that the NCAA should look at. Games are getting longer and in a world where students won’t go to games due to poor mobile phone reception, it is an issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later.

What’s In A Name?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


What is in a name? It can be a rallying cry, a term to define a group or a point of division. The University of North Dakota now has a new nickname, the Fighting Hawks. It replaces the Fighting Sioux which was dropped in 2012 however it wasn’t the only choice and in the end not the one the North Dakota faithful wanted.

North DakotaThere was a long legal battle which resulted in North Dakota dropping the nickname Fighting Sioux in 2012. There was then a state mandated ‘cooling off’ period until 2015. Then the suggestion box was wide open and as CBS Sports Chris Peters pointed out, there were some real dandy’s.

The final list came down to five options: Fighting Hawks, Roughriders, Nodaks, North Stars and Sundogs. The nickname that most wanted wasn’t even an option and that was to not have one at all. The University of North Dakota suited those folks just fine.

Fighting Hawks was chosen regardless. Now we just have to wait for the Fighting Hawks logo to be unveiled.

This does bring back some memories to when Ole Miss changed their mascot. They didn’t change the nickname, Rebels, but the old southern gentleman mascot, Colonel Reb, was pushed out back in 2003. In 2010 their was a grassroots campaign to use Admiral Akbar from Star Wars. Lucas Film crushed that idea and OIe Miss settled on a Black Bear of all things. We’re still disappointed in their decision but it gives us a reason to post this ESPN promo.

 

The Sunday: Slips and Misses

And That’s Not Travelling?

We know it’s early in the NBA season but how do multiple steps without a dribble get by the refs? They are professionals right?

 

The Slip

Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema was so happy about his teams OT win at Ole Miss that he couldn’t wait to jump….

He was probably still blown away by this play that kept Arkansas alive in OT.

 

No Direction

Ken WhisenhuntThe Tennessee Titans fired Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt less than two years into his regime. Not only that, they fired him with starting quarterback Marcus Mariota out, they recently took the 5-1 Atlanta Falcons to the wire and he convinced one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history (Dick LeBeau) to come to Nashville this past off season.

It is clear that the Titans ownership (or lack thereof) has no clue what they are doing or what direction they are going. It is a franchise that is being run remotely from Houston. The best thing that can happen for Titans fans is for the franchise to be sold to an owner who actually has a plan and cares about the franchise.

Were Those ACC Officials?

Nebraska defeated #7 Michigan State on a 30 yard touchdown catch that shouldn’t have counted. The Nebraska wide receiver was clearly out of bounds but the refs said he was pushed (meaning intentionally). It doesn’t really appear that way. Michigan fans may call this karma.

While that is bad, the following was called as a taunting penalty. Seriously.

Unstoppable?

The Golden State Warriors are the defending NBA Champions. Guard Stephan Curry is the reigning MVP. So far they are 7-0 in the 2015/2016 season and Curry has scored 20 points in a quarter three times already. To give you some perspective, Oklahoma City’s Brian Westbrook lead the NBA in that category last year and he did it four times….all season. Yes, Curry is taking it to the next level

That Just Happend

North Dakota State Zack Vraa made arguably the most outstanding catch of the weekend. Best part? Watch the defender afterward.

NDSU WR Catch

Meanwhile this happened in Pocatello, ID to end the Montana vs Idaho State game in overtime.

What To Watch Thurs. 9/17 – Sun. 9/20

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 17th

Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.

ManningDenver 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.

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

What To Watch Thurs. 11/20 – Sun. 11/23

All times are PST

Thursday November 20th

Kansas St at West Virginia – 4pm FS1: K-ST and WVU may not get into the College Football Playoff but this should still be one heck of a game.

LA Clippers at Miami Heat – 5pm TNT: Still a fun game even without LeBron.

Friday November 21st

Chicago Bulls at Portland TrailBlazers – 7:30pm ESPN: Battle of two of the top teams in NBA.

Saturday November 22nd

Minnesota at Nebraska – 9am ESPN: Key game in the Big Ten West. Both teams coming off of embarrassing losses last weekend.

Arsenal vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: The game may not decide the Premier League but it’s still a lot of bad blood between the two.

Yale at Harvard – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s one of the longest running rivalries in College Football. This year the winner walks away with the Ivy League title. It’s also signifies the beginning of the end of the College Football season.

Ole Miss at Arkansas – 12:30pm CBS: Arkansas finally broke through and got their first SEC win in what seems like forever. Now they welcome Ole Miss to town in a must win for both but for different reasons.

Arizona at Utah – 12:30 ESPN: Think the SEC West is tough? Try the Pac 12 South.

Stanford at Cal – 1pm FS1: THE BIG GAME! Winner goes bowling. Cal QB Goff has 4 INT’s all year.

Louisville at Notre Dame – 12:30pm NBC: Notre Dame is reeling and Louisville is no joke.

Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: An original 6 match up for your Saturday night.

Missouri at Tennessee – 4:30pm ESPN: Mizzou is looking to wrap up their second straight SEC East title. Tennessee needs to win one of the next two to go bowling.

USC at UCLA – 5pm ABC: Battle of LA.

Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson – 9pm(ish) FS1: This is a heck of a fight in the Featherweight Division.

Sunday November 23rd

Detroit Lions at New England Patriots – 10am FOX: Can anyone stop the Pats?

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 10am ESPN: Eastern Conference Final.

NY Red Bulls vs NE Revolution – 10:30pm NBC: Can the Red Bulls get Thierry Henry to an MLS Cup before he retires?

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – 1pm FOX: This could decide the NFC West.

Edmonton Eskimos at Calgary Stampeders – 1:30pm ESPN3: Western Conference Final, a chance to get to the Grey Cup and the battle of Alberta all wrapped into one.

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 2pm ESPN: Game 1 of two in the Western Conference Final.

The Saturday You Always Wanted

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Seven ranked teams lost on Saturday. Four lost to unranked teams. Five other teams were in the quintessential ‘dog fights’ but were able to pull out the victories. It’s the perfect example as to why you watch football all day.

Saturday was one of those days you hope will happen when you turned on the television that morning. Upsets, nail-biters, coast to coast action for 13 hours. Coincidentally it was also one of this days that had non normal kick off times.

A typical Saturday of college football really has four sets of start times: 9am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, and sometimes one game at 7:30pm. This particular Saturday had some odd start times like 1pm, 2pm, 5:30pm and multiple games at 7:30pm. This provided a great overlap when games came down to the wire. So when Penn State was driving for the tying touchdown against Michigan you weren’t even missing the start the of the Texas A&M at Ole Miss game.

None of this is planned of course, it’s just a nice coincidence.

Even the networks didn’t know which games were going to be the best ones of the day. ESPN College Gameday and most of the big name college football reporters descended upon Husky Stadium in Seattle for the Oregon at Washington game. One member of Gameday didn’t even stay for the game. Kirk Herbstreit jumped on a plane after the show ended at 9am and high tailed it to Oxford, Miss (probably via Memphis,TN) for Texas A&M at Ole Miss game which kicked off at 5:30pm. Fortunately for him, this game turned into one of the best games of the day.

Texas A&M vs Ole Miss

From Missouri beating Georgia in Athens to Penn State outlasting Michigan in the fourth overtime in Happy Valley to Johnny Football leading his team in prayer as a former FC Dallas goalkeeper knocked in the winning field goal to seal the win for Texas A&M.

This is what Saturdays’ were made for. Non-stop, exciting games that go down to the wire from coast to coast. It’s why we are college football fans.

What to Watch 10/10-10/13

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday Oct. 10th

4:30pm-ESPN: Rutgers @ Louisville (An important battle in the AAC. Both teams have a  short week but Rutgers went into 3 overtimes against SMU last weekend. That could be difference. It’s also a chance to check out Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater for yourself.)

5:00pm-TBS: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A’s (Game 5 in the ALDS. Winner gets a date with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Let’s do this!)

5:25pm-NFL Network: NY Giants @ Chicago Bears (Can the Giants get a win this season or will they go 0-6? It will be funny for everyone outside of New York if they do.)

Friday Oct. 11th

6:00pm-ESPN3: BC Lions @ Calgary (West Coast rivals meet again. Calgary RB John Cornish looks to set another league record for rushing yards in a season.)

Saturday Oct. 12th

9:00am-ESPN: Missouri @ Georgia (Georgia’s D is not very good and they are missing just about everyone on offense due to injury. Missouri is a surprising 5-0. Upset alert!)

12:30pm-CBS: Florida @ LSU (How Florida lucked out and got at daytime kick off we’ll never know. Either way it’s a must win for both teams if they want to keep their SEC & National Title hopes alive.)

1:00pm-FS1: Oregon @ Washington (The Quack Attack gets its first true test against an old rival. Can UW bounce back and contain the Ducks high-powered O? Needless to say, it’s going to be very, very loud in Husky Stadium.)

5:30pm-ESPN: Texas A&M @ Ole Miss (It will be points galore in Oxford. Big point swings are liable to occur.)

7:00pm-Regional: Montreal Canadiens @ Vancouver Canucks (East meets West for the first time this season.)

Sunday Oct. 13th

1:25pm-FOX: New Orleans Saints @ NE Patriots (5-0 Saints head to Foxboro. Can Tom Brady find some WR’s in time?)

6:00pm-ESPN: Seattle Sounders @ Portland Timbers (Cascadia Cup match between two playoff teams. Only time Seattle visits the Rose City during the regular season. This is always something awesome to see.)

Gunner Kiel…the Next Mitch Mustain and Brent Schaeffer.

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

We wrote some time ago on why recruiting rankings are nonsense. We’ll here’s another example, Gunner Kiel. Recently the former #1 quarterback (QB) recruit announced that he was transferring to the University of Cincinnati from Notre Dame. Should you care? No. Why is this news? Because ESPN.com felt the need to post it and Kiel was the former #1 QB coming out of high school according to Scout.com and Rivals.com.

The truth is that Gunner Kiel has done nothing on the collegiate level to deserve any kind of recognition. Kiel flirted with more schools than Kim Kardashian has boyfriends. He committed and then de-committed from 2 schools that we know of (Indiana and LSU) and now transferred to Cincy all the while gaining more media attention. Makes you wonder if he is doing it more for attention or for playing time.

Kiel isn’t the first player to playing musical university’s nor will he be the last. Kiel should pay attention to two previous examples though, Mitch Mustain and Brent Schaeffer.

Mustain was the #1 player in America coming out of high school in Arkansas. It’s a long story but he ended up transferring to USC after 1 year at Arkansas (in which he started 8 games going 8-0). He never started a game for USC and currently plays in the Arena Football League. Schaeffer was the 1st ever true freshman starting QB on opening day in SEC history. Schaeffer platooned with fellow freshman Erik Ainge for a year and then transferred to a junior college and eventually ended up at Ole Miss playing wide receiver. He is currently out of football.

What we learned from Mustain and Schaeffer is that, as Derrick Brooks has said, ‘everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die to get there.’ Everyone wants to jump from good to great but good takes a long time. You don’t just jump to great. Kiel, and others, have yet to learn this and it’s hard to learn when ESPN and Rivals and Scout.com are telling you how great you are and how you should be starting and succeeding NOW! Well, that guy ahead of you on the depth chart and that guy behind you…they’re just like you Gunner. People with talent who have been told that they are great and should be starting.

If Mustain and Schaeffer would have been patient, developed, been a good teammate, and perserved then who knows what would have happened. They didn’t. Will Kiel settle in and be patient, develop, be a good teammate and perserve? Who knows but from what we’ve seen so far doesn’t lead us to believe that he ever will.