Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Catching up can stop Auburn, it's not that hard

Question answered: The Big 12 and SEC announced Tuesday night that the Champions Bowl will (a) be hosted by the Sugar Bowl and (b) take the name of the Sugar Bowl, meaning the Champions Bowl will never actually exist by name but will take over the Sugar Bowl, which will (starting in 2014) be contractually tied in with the Big 12 and SEC.

Other than the name elimination, the only real surprise is in the lack of involvement of the Cotton Bowl; word on the interwebz had been that the Champions Bowl was just gonna rotate between the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl, with each one hosting a semifinal one year and the bowl the next. That obviously didn't happen, although it makes minimal difference because of this:
The Sugar Bowl also will be part of the semifinal rotation during college football's 12-year four-team playoff deal, starting after the 2014 regular season. Other bowls announced in the semifinal rotation are the Rose (Pasadena, Calif.) and Orange (Miami).

Sources said the other three bowls in the semifinal rotation are expected to be the Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.), Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) and Cotton (Arlington, Texas). Each of the six bowls is expected to host four semifinals during the 12-year period.
So the Cotton Bowl will still be part of the rotation; it just won't have the Big 12-SEC tie-in (it doesn't have any tie-ins at all as of right now). Upshot: Jerry Jones will have to buy something else that probably won't be very exciting since all the good conferences have their winners going elsewhere.

Things are going well, obviously: The Washington State situation is pretty much out of control. Here's some entertaining analysis from Mike Leach after Wazzu got freakin' destroyed by a pretty bad Utah team the other day:
"Sometimes they only brought two. Our five couldn't whip their two. Which means, if five of our guys went in an alley and got in a fight with two of theirs, we would have gotten massacred. That's just ridiculously inexcusable. It was one of the most heartless efforts up front I've seen; and our defensive line wasn't any better."
Perhaps they'd be less heartless (or more heartful?) if they weren't so corpse-like. Anyway, that hilarity preceded Marquess Wilson walking out of practice Sunday and either getting suspended or quitting the team, depending whom you believe.

Ohhhh ... OK. Wilson's a junior who's currently 22nd nationally in receiving yards a game and is on pace for his third straight 1,000-yard season. He's pretty good. He's also probably a first-round-ish talent and, given his apparent relationship with Leach, probably won't be back (like, ever).

As for Wazzu as a whole ... I mean ... yikes. I figured Leach would be entertaining but in a not-quite-as-horrifying way.

We don't need no transfers: With Joel Stave done for the year, Wisconsin is bypassing Danny O'Brien and starting Curt Phillips this week against Indiana in a game that (for some reason) will probably decide the Whatever Division.
Wisconsin will finish the season with a new starting quarterback, as fifth-year senior Curt Phillips will get the start this weekend at Indiana, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, citing a source.

It will be Phillips' first career start.

"He will be fine," a source told the Journal Sentinel.
Inspiring. Phillips was actually the presumptive starter a couple years ago before tearing his ACL a second time (and then a third time), which has resulted in him taking no snaps whatsoever since his freshman year in '09. Whether he's actually any good is unknown to anybody outside the Wisconsin coaching staff; I'm somewhat skeptical since he was the third-stringer going into the season behind a guy who had just shown up from Maryland and a lightly recruited redshirt freshman. As for the guy who had just shown up from Maryland, I dunno why O'Brien has gotten buried. He started the first three games and did OK -- 44 for 71 for 6.3 yards an attempt with three touchdowns and a pick -- before getting benched late in the Utah State game with Wisconsin generally unable to score points. Granted, he's pretty immobile, but so is/was Stave. The only thing I can figure is that he was taking way too much of the checkdown/underneath stuff and not taking advantage of the open deep stuff the Wisconsin run game generally creates; that could be why Stave averaged something like 9.2 yards an attempt and got Jared Abbrederis 403 yards and three touchdowns in the three games after he took over.

Regardless, Wisconsin kinda needs to win this week since, division race notwithstanding, a loss to Indiana creates a legitimate possibility of a 6-6 finish since the last two games are at home against Ohio State and on the road against Penn State. Wisconsin hasn't finished with fewer than seven regular-season wins since 2001 and has done so only twice since Barry Alvarez first got things going in 1993.

Because scoring points is fun: Stanford has apparently given up on figuring out Josh Nunes, a concession that was made a lot easier by Kevin Hogan coming in last week against Colorado (after Nunes did nothing on the first two drives) and going 18 for 23 for 248 with three touchdowns and no picks to go along with 48 rushing yards on seven carries.
Stanford coach David Shaw said redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will make his first start for the Cardinal on Saturday against Oregon State in what is essentially a Pac-12 North semifinal.
Nunes had been pretty unimpressive this year against everybody other than Arizona and Duke (and I guess the second half against USC); those schools have pretty awesome basketball teams but pretty bad defenses. And it's worth noting that in all but the two games in which Nunes played well, Stanford scored 21 points or fewer. NEED MOAR QUARTERBACKING.

Hogan probably doesn't have the grasp of the passing game Nunes has as a senior (albeit one with no meaningful snaps before this year) but is a way better athlete, as evidenced by his Wildcat snaps earlier in the year and his aforementioned 48 yards against Colorado's tire fire of a defense. And considering that Nunes was completing barely 50 percent of his passes and had thrown as many picks as touchdowns (six of each) against BCS-conference teams, getting a guy in there who can do anything consistently probably represents an improvement, even if it's mostly a run-based one.

BTW, going back to that "Pac-12 North semifinal" thing, the Oregon State-Stanford winner will have one conference loss and thus will technically control its own destiny until getting destroyed by Oregon. Seeing as how Oregon State has a legit defense that's fifth nationally in rushing yards allowed and 17th in pass-efficiency defense (and therefore about 20 standard deviations better than Colorado's defense), Hogan's getting his feet held to the fire here. Granted, it's at home, but I'm having a hard time seeing Stanford producing enough points to win unless it's a 17-13 type of game, which is possible since Stanford's defense is just as good as Oregon State's and may very well sack Cody Vaz eight times.

Thanks a lot, Dad: Lane Kiffin's assessment of what exactly USC did wrong defensively against Oregon:
"I think if we were to single either one of those out and say it was scheme or execution, I think we'd be wrong because if you give up those kind of numbers, it has to be everything," Kiffin said."You can't give up that amount of points and that amount of yards without it being everything overall. And so it was a combination of every aspect of defense you could think of for it to get to the level that it was at."
 Ouch. I don't even know what else to say.

I don't think you know what "committed" means: Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive end/running back/manchild who's the top recruit in the country according to everybody who decides such things, might or might not have decommitted from Clemson on Wednesday, presumably with the intention of committing to Ole Miss to play with his older brother:
"Nothing final yet," Nkemdiche told the AJC in a text message at 11 p.m. EST. When Nkemdiche was asked if he was still committed to Clemson, he replied, "Yes (still committed to Clemson). Just undecided."

Two hours earlier, Nkemdiche told the AJC in an interview that he was still committed to Clemson, was going to visit Ole Miss this weekend to watch his brother play, and would wait until after his senior season at Grayson High School.
So he's "committed" to Clemson but "undecided." I see. FYI, Nkemdiche's mom is the 2012 version of Cecil Newton and has made it abundantly clear (for whatever reason) that (a) she wants both her kids playing at Ole Miss and (b) the commitment to Clemson means nothing. I see no way this doesn't end with either Nkemdiche at Ole Miss or something hilarious happening (or both).

Michigan has games: Michigan filled a couple of the distant-future schedules left unfinished via the end of the Notre Dame series this week, setting up a one-off home game against BYU in 2015, a one-off home game against Hawaii in 2016 and a home-and-home with Arkansas in 2018-19.

The 2015 and '16 nonconference schedules are now done like so:

Sept. 3 at Utah
Sept. 12 Oregon State
Sept. 19 UNLV
Sept. 26 BYU

Sept. 3 Hawaii
Sept. 10 Miami (Ohio)
Sept. 17 Colorado
Sept. 24 Ball State

That 2015 schedule is pretty decent: two quality BCS-conference teams and one nationally recognizable independent. The 2016 schedule is downright terrible barring a significant turnaround at Colorado (which is possible given that 2016 is four years from now). And as noted by MGoBlog, Michigan's home conference schedule that year includes Michigan State, Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa. Who has two thumbs and wouldn't be interested in shelling out a couple grand for season tickets to that blahfest? This guy. I'm definitely appreciative of the Arkansas series, though; Michigan hasn't had a legit home-and-home with a quality (usually, anyway) SEC opponent since ... uhhh ... never. Seriously. More of that plzkthx.

O RLY: Hilarious tweet leading up to the Georgia-Auburn game this week:
Auburn OL Chad Slade on Jarvis Jones: "You can stop him, it's not that hard."
 That's what they say about Auburn's offense lol zing!

It's official: According to a simulation (with a sample of 50,000 games) based on lot of numbers that seem reasonable at first glance, the Jaguars would definitely beat Alabama ... 94.2 percent of the time. IT'S SCIENCE.
Since the start of the 2011 college football season, Alabama has been the top team in our College Football Power Rankings every single week (including after a loss at home against LSU last year). Since the start of 2011 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been ranked last in our NFL Power Rankings in all but two weeks (and they will find themselves there again tomorrow). On a neutral field, with equal time to prepare and playing under NFL rules, Jacksonville would win 94.2% of the time and by an average score of 33.1-8.7 – a blowout where Alabama does not even score double digits in the average game.
Insert "so you're saying there's a chance" gif here.


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