Archive for 2010

Why New Year’s Day needs to matter again

New York–One of the things we lost with the advent of the BCS in 1998 was the magical quality about New Year’s Day for the college football fan. Before the BCS scattered the big games over several days, New Year’s Day was when everything got decided.

You would get up in the morning (some of us got up slower than others), watch a little of the parades to make your mother happy, and then settle in for a day and night full of football where multiple games could, and often did,  have a bearing on the eventual national champion.

Sure the system was flawed because No. 1 and No. 2 rarely met in a bowl game because of conference tie-ins. And when New Year’s Day was over there could be multiple teams with a claim on the national championship. But every now and then you got a day like Jan. 2, 1984 (Jan. 1 fell on a Sunday that year).

When we woke up that morning here were the Top Five in the Associated Press poll:

1. Nebraska

2. Texas

3. Auburn

4. Illinois

5. Miami

Here is how the day …

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Will the Gators send Urban Meyer out with a win?

I’ll write a lot more about this subject on Friday when I make my predictions, but I sure do miss New Year’s Day as the date that really matters in college football. Here are Five Burning Questions I have about Saturday’s games:

1. Will the Gators send Urban Meyer out with a win? The Outback Bowl between Florida and Penn State is strictly a mindset game. If Florida is excited about playing the game the Gators are going to win because they simply have more athletes. But if Florida comes out flat and uninspired it could get pretty ugly. These kids at Florida have been through a lot in the last 12 months. Last year when Urban Meyer retired and then unretired Florida came out on fire in the Sugar Bowl and just destroyed Cincinnati. It will be very interesting to see how Florida’s players respond to Meyer and his staff in this final game.

2. Will this be the last college game for Alabama running back Mark Ingram? Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2008 and his numbers were down for …

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Five Burning Bowl questions (non-New Year’s Day edition)

This time around, we really have six bowl courses on our post-season menu:

**–Pre-Christmas: Very light appetizers (Beef O’Brady’s, Poinsettia, Hawaii, etc.)

**–Post-Christmas:  A decent house salad but the crutons are a little soggy (Little Caesars Pizza, Texas, Armed Forces).

**–Pre-New Year’s Day: Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Lobster bisque with just a touch of sherry. (Chick-fil-A, Liberty, Sun, Music City).

**–New Year’s Day: Still the main course for me. A fine filet from Ben Benson’s in New York. (Capital One, Outback, Gator, Rose, Fiesta).

**–Post New Year’s Day: An unexpected course of sherbet to clear the palate and extend the bowl season: Jan. 3 (Orange), Jan. 4 (Sugar), Jan. 6 (GoDaddy.com…I did not make that up), Jan. 7 (Cotton), Jan. 8 (BBVA Compass), Jan. 9 (Fight Hunger). We’ll have a taste but not consume it all because we’re  really waiting for…….

**–BCS Championship (No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 2 Oregon): The perfect dessert. A Bannanas Foster from …

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There is a lot of work to do at Georgia Tech

Nobody asked me this morning but:

1. There is a lot of work to do at Georgia Tech: Coach Paul Johnson said that Monday’s 14-7 loss to Air Force in the Independence Bowl was a “microcosm of the season.” He’s right. A year ago Georgia Tech was talented enough to overcome mistakes. This season they were not. A year ago there was a serious receiving threat with “Bay-Bay” Thomas. This season there was not.  Some thought freshman Stephen Hill was going to be plugged into that spot. He was not ready. Georgia Tech lost a lot when quarterback Joshua Nesbitt broke his arm against Virginia Tech. Tevin Washington has a chance to be a good quarterback but Tech could have used Jaybo Shaw (now at Georgia Southern) down the stretch. The defense played well until the last Air Force drive that ate up the clock. That side of the ball still needs some better athletes. It is going to be an interesting spring on The Flats. Johnson is going to look back at this season and not be happy. He shouldn’t …

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Ohio State’s players not stupid, but they are selfish

Hope everybody had a great Christmas! So what did we miss while we were gone spreading the Holiday cheer? Where in the world do you start?

1. Ohio State’s players aren’t stupid, but they are selfish: So a bunch of  Ohio State players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, will miss the first five games of the 2011 season because they sold and exchanged stuff for money and services. That’s a pretty stiff penalty and it’s likely a bunch of those guys will just turn pro and never serve the suspension. But please spare me the hand wringing and the gnashing of teeth about how the system is unfair. Two points:

**–It is an unfair system, yadda, yadda, yadda: We know that. We have always known that. There is a reasonable argument to be made that athletes should be able to generate some kind of income based on what they do and the value they provide to the school. But you don’t get to break the rule and THEN make the argument. Then all you’re doing is trying to rationalize behavior …

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Mr. CFB will return on Dec. 27

This is the time of year when Mrs.  College Football puts her foot down.

A regular season that really began in June with conference expansion is finally over. The bowls are coming up and we have a national championship game on Jan. 10 that has a chance to be very special.

So with  your indulgence and understanding  I will take my ususal Christmas break and re-introduce myself to the family. I will return on Monday, Dec. 27 and we’ll start getting ready for the post-season.

As we take this break  Florida has hired a new coach in Will Muschamp and a whole new chapter in the SEC begins. Gus Malzahn, who was a successful high school coach just five years ago, has been given a multi-year contract at a reported $1.3 million per year to stay at Auburn. Wow! It is going to be a very Merry Christmas for a bunch of assistant coaches in this league.

So yeah, there is still stuff going on. In this sport in this part of the world there is ALWAYS stuff going on.

It has been a great season …

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Are the Gators rolling the dice with Muschamp?

Even when the regular season is over, it ain’t over. So what did we learn, and what do we still want to know?:

1. Are the Gators rolling the dice with Muschamp? Urban Meyer announced his “retirement” last Wednesday after six years as the head coach at Florida. In the next 48 hours everybody from Bob Stoops, to Jon Gruden (there is that name again), to Chris Peterson, to Dan Mullen to Chip Kelly was considered to be the  front runner for one of the top five jobs in college football. Then suddenly, at 8:28 p.m. on Saturday (note the time) Florida announces that it had hired Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as its next head coach. The press conference will be Tuesday. Some consider it a risk by athletics director Jeremy Foley, who got burned the last time he hired an assistant (Ron Zook). But those who know Muschamp know that he’s been groomed for this since he was a player at Georgia for Ray Goff. Muschamp has worked at LSU (for Nick Saban), at Auburn (for Tommy …

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Why Cam Newton got my vote for the Heisman Trophy

In our post-game of the SEC championship Saturday night, my CBS colleague Tim Brando said that his Heisman vote was going to Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. He said he was casting the vote “reluctantly” because he wished he knew more facts about the controversial case involving Newton’s father, Cecil, and the extent to which the father may have solicited money in the son’s recruitment.

I’ve read others who have written that they won’t vote for Newton because the father, according to the NCAA, had committed a rules violation by discussing a play-for-pay deal for the son. The NCAA  ultimately decided that the violation did not rise to the level of suspending Cam Newton. A lot of people, including four BCS conference commissioners (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12) publicly expressed disagreement with that ruling. SEC commissioner Mike Slive and incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert have defended the ruling based on the evidence and based on the the NCAA rules, which don’t have a …

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Even if you’re a Gator hater, there is no joy in Meyer’s departure

It’s a tough business. I get that. And over the course of six seasons a head football coach in the SEC can rub a lot of people the wrong way, especially the people he beats.

But if you’re a Bulldog or a Volunteer for a Gamecock or a member of the Crimson Tide Nation, you really shouldn’t be celebrating today over the news that Urban Meyer is leaving as the head coach at Florida.

I’ve had my own issues Meyer.

 He was flat wrong when he suspended linebacker Brandon Spikes for only one-half game after Spikes clearly tried to hurt Georgia’s Washaun Ealey (sticking his fingers in the facemask). Only after the public outcry did Spikes “suddenly” decide that his suspension should be for one game.

He was wrong when he dressed down a reporter in practice in front of cell phone cameras. If he had an issue with the reporter, then there is a right way–a professional way–to address the concern. He chose the wrong way. I don’t know if Meyer was trying to put on a show for his players but it …

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Congrats to Randy Cross, a new Hall of Famer

 

New York–Let’s tie up a few loose ends before I head back home to the ATL.

1. Congrats to Randy Cross,  a new Hall of Famer: Former 49ers All-Pro and UCLA star Randy Cross was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last night at the annual banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Cross, who played at UCLA from 1973-75, now lives in Atlanta. As a member of the 49ers, he played in three Pro Bowls and was All-Pro six times. He works for several television and radio outlets, including The CBS College Sports Network and FSN South. Randy’s son, Brendan, plays quarterback at Wake Forest.

Also going into the Hall of Fame last night was former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, who won 70 games and a national championship in his seven years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide (1990-96). He also coached at Texas A&M before a long stint with the Dallas Cowboys.

2.  Tom Brokaw remembers, Georgia-Alabama, 1965: I spoke to former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who was honored with the …

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