Monday, December 05, 2011

Catching up has a totally unbiased ballot

Now Chris Petersen hates the BCS: It's all the system's fault:
"Everybody is just very tired of the BCS. I think that's the bottom line. Everybody is frustrated. Everybody doesn't really know what to do anymore. It doesn't make sense to anybody. I don't think anybody is happy anywhere. The whole thing needs to be changed, there's no question about it."
Let's start with this: Boise State got hosed. Being No. 7 and getting passed up for two possible at-large spots (and ending up in the Las Vegas Bowl against ASU lol) sucks a lot. This is not in dispute.

But his argument is still fundamentally stupid. Boise has played in two ginormous bowl games in the last six years entirely because of the BCS. Way back in the day, blah-conference champions went to blah-conference-champion bowl games. BYU went undefeated in 1984 and played in the Holiday Bowl against 6-5 Michigan. Boise has played in the Fiesta Bowl twice almost entirely because the BCS has an autobid for non-AQ-conference champions. BTW, that's another easy counterpoint: Boise would be (a) guaranteed a bid and (b) probably playing for the national title if it had won the freakin' WAC. The WAC! The second-place team in the WAC isn't getting a BCS bid while the first-place team goes the Poinsettia Bowl.

There are a lot of legitimate gripes about the ridiculousness of the BCS; Petersen doesn't have one. Scrapping the system would do nothing whatsoever for this year's Boise and would've cost previous years' versions a couple Fiesta Bowls and bazillions of dollars. The end.

Fresno State fires Pat Hill (?!?): There was a time not long ago when Fresno State was arguably the best non-BCS-conference team in the country. Remember David Carr and the '01 team and then the epic USC game in '05? Man ... RABBLE RABBLE NOT GOOD ENOUGH RABBLE! Pat Hill went 112-80 in 15 years and had a grand total of three losing seasons; this year unfortunately was one of them. Fresno State went 4-9, which was a little too much considering that there was already some disenchantment around the program's plateau at New Mexico Bowl levels.

To be fair, Fresno wasn't exactly in a crater when Hill got there. Jim Sweeney had three straight losing seasons at the end but left with a winning percentage .654 when Fresno was in the old Big West. Hill's winning percentage was slightly worse but against better competition, especially in the early 2000s, when Fresno was playing a ridiculous nonconference schedule every year. The 2001 team beat Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin (when all those teams were actually good) and would've played for the national title if not for a prophetic/ironic loss to Boise State in November.

Anyway, Hill is about to turn 60 and probably wasn't gonna be around a whole lot longer but probably deserved to go out on his own terms after 15 years of (mostly) awesomeness. He set the bar high and generally coached up to it. I'm curious to see whether Hill gets another job and whether Fresno gets somebody of comparable quality (albeit probably much younger) to replace him. The job is a relatively good one despite the potentially unrealistic expectations.

Oregon dismisses Cliff Harris: Ahh, Cliff Harris. Sadly, this isn't surprising at all:
All-American cornerback Cliff Harris has been dismissed from the Oregon Ducks for violating team rules.

Harris was already suspended from the Ducks because of a traffic stop in October and wasn't allowed to participate in team activities. He missed the last five games of the regular season and last weekend's Pac-12 championship game.

The Fresno Bee reported Monday that Harris was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Fresno, Calif., on Nov. 25. The junior is from the central California city and went to Edison High School.

Harris was suspended from the team indefinitely by coach Chip Kelly on Oct. 24 when he was cited for driving on a suspended license, without proper insurance and without a seatbelt. Harris was also suspended for the season opener to after a he was cited for driving 118 mph on Interstate 5 in June.

Solid life choices. In case you forgot (and you might have), Harris was an All-American last year and probably the best punt returner in the country; he had a ridiculous 18.8-yard average and four touchdowns (!). He basically didn't play at all this year: six games as a backup, one pick and nine punt returns for about seven yards a pop. Oregon obviously moved on this year and should be fine in the secondary with Terrence Mitchell, Troy Hill, Avery Patterson and maybe Dior Mathis. Harris will presumably try to transfer (maybe to juco?) since he's got a year of eligibility left, which offers a full 12 months of new arrest opportunities.

UAB hires Garrick McGee: Interesting. McGee is pretty widely regarded as an excellent passing-game O-coordinator at Arkansas (obvsly since he works under Bobby Petrino) and was thought to be a potential candidate for some bigger jobs before being introduced at UAB on Monday. He's also a Broyles Award finalist this year and is only 38.

McGee has never been a head coach and has only been a coordinator for two years but is still a pretty fantastic hire for UAB, a school with almost zero fan support (16,000 a game???) and an 18-42 record over the past five years; Neil Callaway had exactly zero winning seasons before getting fired. Obviously, the bar is pretty low.

McGee reportedly turned down the Tulsa job last offseason and might have been a Plan C-level candidate at Arizona State since he started his playing career there and presumably had some connections. Instead ... umm ... UAB. He should be able to implement a reasonably effective passing game (he's got extensive experience as a quarterbacks and receivers coach) and at least sell some tickets. The winning part might be a little tougher, but again, the bar is low. A couple .500-ish seasons and a division title would make him the Kevin Sumlin of 2014.

Tulane hires Curtis Johnson: I'm gonna be honest: I know absolutely nothing about Curtis Johnson except for the widely reported fact that he's been the New Orleans Saints receivers coach for the past six years. A little research reveals that all his previous coaching experience was at the college level (that's good) as a receivers coach (that's not so good), most notably at Miami from 1996-2005. He's making a big jump up to D-I head coach.

That doesn't mean he can't be successful -- Art Briles had all of one year as a running backs coach at Texas Tech before getting the Houston job -- but it does make things a little tougher, as does working two jobs; Johnson is gonna stay with the Saints through the end of the season. The one thing he's definitely got going for him: He's from New Orleans and reportedly has massive recruiting connections. That can't hurt.

It's always seemed to me like Tulane should be a pretty good program: good market, great recruiting base, a little history, etc. They allegedly wanted Mike Leach and actually offered the job to Rich Rodriguez, who was the O-coordinator at Tulane back in the Tommy Bowden era. Those guys were totally unrealistic but were worth a shot because they both have a track record of (mostly) success. Johnson has no track record and is therefore a complete unknown in terms of his head coaching abilities.

Greg McMackin retires: Remember when Hawaii was playing in the Sugar Bowl four years ago? Yeah ... McMackin's relatively disappointing tenure ended with a three-touchdown loss to BYU on Saturday that completed a 6-7 season. In four years, he went 6-7, 7-7, 10-3 and 6-7. That's a 29-25 record that compares not so favorably to June Jones' 76-41 record over the previous nine years (and Jones took over a program that was totally in the crapper).

McMackin obviously wasn't terrible but definitely had some issues. Outside of Bryant Moniz's ridiculous 2010 season, the offense wasn't nearly as good as it was under Jones, and the defense stayed about equally mediocre. This year's Hawaii played a bunch of close games but also lost by three touchdowns to UNLV (!) and lost to bad San Jose State and Fresno State teams. Oh, and there was this:

There were also unfounded allegations that some players may have been involved in point-shaving.

The university said it received an anonymous letter Nov. 3 accusing unnamed players of intentionally playing poorly to affect the final score as part of a gambling scheme. Honolulu police and the NCAA were notified after the university received the letter, but police have said there isn't enough information for a criminal investigation.

The Warriors were 0-7-1 against the spread in their last eight games.

The school said McMackin wasn't forced out, which may or may not be entirely true but doesn't really matter now. He's 62 and probably didn't see massive improvement in the near future. The obvious candidates are O-coordinator Nick Rolovich (a former Hawaii QB who's an old man at 32) and Texas defensive backs coach Duane Akina. I bet you can figure out his connection.

Dayne Crist no mas at Notre Dame: No surprise here. Crist apparently had no desire to spend his senior year on the bench behind Tommy Rees and is planning to transfer since he's already got a degree. Crist was never very good at ND (despite playing in the quarterback-friendliest system in existence) but won the starting job twice and obviously has some talent; he could be of value somewhere and probably won't have much trouble finding a place to play.

Everybody's saying Wisconsin, which would make sense since Russell Wilson is a fifth-year senior and Wisconsin apparently has no issues with going the free-agent route. Crist isn't Russell Wilson but would probably be better than the group of guys they've got who have never seen the field. BTW, shouldn't they have to play a non-senior non-transfer quarterback at some point? Argh. The other obvious possibility: Florida and Jabba the Weis, who recruited Crist at Notre Dame.

Jake Heaps to transfer: Jake Heaps was the top-rated quarterback in the country in 2009 and picked BYU over a billion other offers. He started for most of 2010 and was pretty dang good for a freshman (a little under 60 percent with 15 touchdowns and nine picks). He started the first five games this year, played pretty poorly, got benched for Riley Nelson, played great in the two games Nelson missed because of injury, then went back to the bench. Result:

After two seasons at Brigham Young, former Skyline standout quarterback Jake Heaps is transferring.

The sophomore, who started the Cougars' final 10 games as a freshman and the first five in 2011, was given his release by coach Bronco Mendenhall Monday. Heaps has yet to decide where he will continue his college football career.

Some guys bail because they just can't cut it; Heaps isn't one of those guys. He wants a starting job and can probably get one since he's already got offers from USC, Washington, Washington State and some others. Word on the interwebz is that Wazzu is probably the favorite since (a) Mike Leach hahaha and (b) he's from Washington, although he actually went to school about five minutes from Seattle and U-Dub. Steve Sarkisian's not bad with quarterbacks either.

Nick Saban puts Oklahoma State at No. 4: Nick Saban doing something borderline unethical to benefit himself?

That is all.

RichRod is gettin' the gang back together: Arizona announced three coaching hires Monday that I could have named off the top of my head in advance: Calvin Magee (offensive coordinator), Tony Dews (receivers coach) and Tony Gibson (defensive backs coach). All three of those guys were with RichRod at West Virginia, left with him for Michigan and ended up at Pitt this year. They're his core guys, even if Gibson is widely agreed to be terrible. Magee, on the other hand, has actually had some head coaching interviews, so getting him back at Arizona isn't an insignificant move. That's the good news.

The bad news: There's now one scholarship quarterback on roster, and that's redshirt senior Matt Scott. Ex-Rutgers QB Tom Savage lasted about a month in Tucson before announcing his transfer this week, which wouldn't be a significant problem except fairly highly touted freshman Daxx Garman is also transferring. The Savage thing was allegedly unrelated to the Rodriguez hiring; I'm sure the Garman thing wasn't. Recruitin' time!

One more note on the coaching staff: RichRod said he hopes to have a defensive coordinator by the end of the week. That may or may not rule out Jeff Casteel since West Virginia is set to play in the Orange Bowl on January 3. I haven't heard any other specific names as obvious candidates and have to believe Casteel is Plan A, B, C, D and E after the never-ending D-coordinator debacle at Michigan.

LSU team shop derp: This seems like an obvious hack job but was admitted by the vendor to be a hilariously unfortunate mistake:


Michigan State advertising derp: The banner ad should probably be updated:

Spartyfreude: It's so delicious.

Weber State hires John L. Smith (?!?):
John L. Smith is 63 and ... ummm ... OK fine I really just wanted to post this video:

I have nothing to add.

Purdue hates ACLs: There's a little-known rule that all Purdue athletes must tear an ACL at least once, preferably twice. Seriously, it's out of control. Ralph Bolden is compliant:

Purdue starting running back Ralph Bolden has suffered a torn ACL that will end his season.

Boilermakers coach Danny Hope confirmed Bolden's injury Sunday night. Bolden sustained the injury in the third quarter of Purdue's win against Indiana on Nov. 26. The junior leads the team in rushing with 674 yards and six touchdowns on 148 carries.

Bolden is legitimately good but just can't keep his knees from exploding. I won't be surprised if his career's over; if he can recover and maintain some semblance of athleticism, he does have a year of eligibility left. Sad-but-hilarious graphic goes here:

Poor Purdue.


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