ncaa football

With Alabama’s exciting victory over unbeaten Clemson earlier this week, view the 2015 college football season came to an end and Alabama won the CFP Championship.  Even though the teams have barely settled back into their campuses after the trip to Arizona, is it too early to start thinking about next year?  Well, probably, but let’s do it anyway.  Here are some things to look for in the 2016 season:

  1. The Clemson Tigers will probably open the season ranked #1.  They will most likely be bringing back 17 starters including Heisman Trophy finalist, Deshaun Watson. Even though they have a few significant losses, they will be in a position to regroup around the core players that will be returning.  Key match-up for next year:  A road game against Florida State.  Pencil that one in now as one to watch.  Will the Tigers be able to repeat their perfect season and return to the championship game?
  2. The Expectations for Michigan are Off the Charts.  This year’s 10-3 team also returns a group of strong players, especially on defense, and no doubt Wolverines fans can practically taste the chance to make it to the championship game.  Some oddsmakers are reporting that Michigan has 12/1 odds of making it to the final game.  One thing is for sure: Coach Jim Harbaugh has started the recruiting season and everyone is taking note!
  3.  The Big Twelve May Host a Conference Champsionship Game. At the NCAA convention this week, the league voted to allow the Big 12 to have a conference championship game, even if does not expand from its current ten-team roster.  However, the Big 12 Commissioner walked back the rule change, stating to ESPN that the vote did not necessarily mean that a championship game would happen.  ESPN reports it is unlikely that a championship game would be held next year, in any event.
  4. Alabama isn’t Going Anywhere.  This team has won four championships in the last seven years.  Even with star running back Derrick Henry declaring he will enter the NFL draft next year, can you really count on Alabama not to be in the hunt for a national title?  No.  And if politics have anything to do with it, AL.com encourages Crimson Tide fans to vote democrat in the next election.  Why?  Eleven of ‘Bama’s sixteen championships have come with democrats sitting in the White House.  And four have come with O-Bama occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
  5. Big Ten to Begin Nine Game Conferenece Schedule.  Despite the fact the Big Ten coaches unanimously hate the 9-game conference schedule, it’s here.  All Big Ten teams will now have to play nine conference games and one intersectional game against a power league.  No more padding those scheduleds with MAC teams.  We can only wonder what the bowl eligibiilty will look like with nine conference games.  Yikes.

 

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Happy New Year!  For college football fans, mind there is no better way to ring in 2016 than by binge-watching bowl game after bowl game.  For those of us who will be sitting on our couches today watching those games, doctor  the storyline that will be undoubtably be dominating the airwaves is the performances of Clemson and Alabama last night, viagra sale both earning a trip to Arizona for the CFP championship game on January 11th in convincing fashion.  Sadly for Michiagn State fans, the Spartans were beaten 38-0 by Alabama last night.  You have to wonder just how the game would have turned out if MSU’s interception right before halftime hadn’t happened.  It felt like Michigan State was in the game up until that point, but they just couldn’t recover after that interception.  Hats off to Alabama as they looked like a championship caliber team last night.  The Detroit Free Press has a great analysis of not only the game, but what the Spartans need to do in the future to get to the level of a championship-caliber team.

Then there was the matter of Oklahoma vs. Clemson where the Tigers handed the Sooners a 37-17 loss and earned their way to the CFP champsionship game.  Did you know that “Clemsoning” was a word?  The urban dictionary has an actual definition for “Clemsoning.”  It is: “The act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season.”  Well take note, urban dictionary, you may need to update that definition.  Clemson fans were anything but disappointed last night. Despite the fact that Clemson came into the game undefeated and ranked #1 in the country, they were underdogs.  The much under-appreciated, disrespected, and often overlooked Clemson team showed everyone last night that they are the real deal and deserve to be in the champsionship game.

So we are set for the showdown in the desert to decide the 2015 NCAA football national champion.  Will it be the Crimson Tide of Alabama who are trying to win their first title in three years?  Or will the Tigers, who have only won one championship – back in 1981, bring home the title?  This southern duel will surely be a fun one to watch.

And Big Ten and Notre Dame fans, even though Michigan State loss its game last night, you are well represented today as four of the five bowl games feature Big Ten teams and the Fiesta Bowl has Notre Dame going against Ohio State.  The day starts off with Northwestern facing Tennessee in the Outback Bowl.  Then Michigan plays Florida in the Citrus Bowl at the same time Notre Dame and OSU battle it out.  Then Iowa takes on Stanford in the Rose Bowl.  By the way, who would have predicted that Iowa would have been representing the B1G in the Rose Bowl this year!

So get comfy on those couches – you’ve got a lot of football to watch today!

 

 

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Back in November, for sale I followed the story about the Missouri football team boycott which ultimately led to the resignation of the university’s President and Chancellor.  The team’s boycott was in response to a student movement, tadalafil including a hunger strike by one student, advice claiming that the school had not done enough to deal with racism on campus.  The story garnered little national attention until the football team united together and threatened to boycott all football activities, including the upcoming game against BYU, unless the President resigned.  I was conflicted about the story then, and I remain so today.

The power this college football team had to instantly grab attention and cause the resignation of two of the university’s highest ranking officials was stunning. Not only did the story dominate the headlines once the football team got involved, but the issue of racism on college campuses was instantly brought to the forefront of the news cycle. The President and Chancellor’s resignations were not in response to a major address by a civil rights leader, political figure, or world scholar.  This was a football team threatening a boycott of a game that some argued had little meaning to the team’s season since Mizzou was not in the hunt for the SEC title. And we have to wonder, would the team have boycotted if the season had been on the line?

It is no secret that Mizzou would have lost $1 million if the football team boycotted the game.  That had to get university officials, the athletic department, boosters, and season ticket holders anxious – to say the least.  So this week a Missouri legislator introduced a bill  in the state legislature that would have caused university athletes to lose their scholarships if they refused to play in a game for any reason other than injury. Let’s think about this:  If the bill passed, it would have been illegal under Missouri law for student athletes to have refused to play in a game for any reason other than an injury.  What could possibly go wrong under a law like that?  There are so many problems I don’t know where to start.

Think the NCAA might want a say in what would constitute a student athlete losing his or her scholarship rather than a state law dictating such terms? Are student athletes now considered university employees?  Somehow I think that NCAA is going to have a problem with that one. And what about the First Amendment?  Yes, no issues there. Thankfully, that bill was withdrawn later this week. But its introduction has done exactly what its sponsors had wanted – created a discussion about how much power is too much power to hand to student athletes.

We know the athletes in this country have a tremendous amount of influence given their endorsement deals, access to mainstream media, and wealth.  But it is not only professional athletes that have this platform.  At a school such as Missouri where the football team is such an integral part of that school’s identity and tradition, when they unite for a cause, there is an instantaneous response.  Their platform is enormous on a college campus – and even nationally.  This Missouri football team clearly identified with and was passionate about their united mission.  The question then becomes, where do we go from here?  Are college sports teams now in a position to threaten to boycott over larger political issues that they feel passionate about?  What if they are all not united?

I don’t have an answer for this, and I suspect most university officials do not either – yet.  The consequences, both financially and structurally, could be devstating for a program if it actually had to forfeit money into the millions of dollars because its team would not take the field.  Entire recruiting strategies would suffer if a program’s instability was evident. Therefore, this is not an easy issue and it will undoubtably develop over the next several months and years.  But one thing is for sure:  Sports are powerful and influential well beyond the actual game.  But then again, we all knew that, right?

 

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Category: NCAA

Over the next several weeks there will be a total of 40 college football bowl games played.  If you are a college football fan, medical this is heaven – and quite a change from twenty years ago.  During the 1995-1996 season, cure there were only 18 bowl games.  Sure, cialis sale we all know the “famous” bowls like the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl.  These marque bowls continue to attract the highest ranked teams in prime time slots, mostly due to conference agreements with the individual bowl organizations.

But did you also know that this year there is a Motel 6 Cactus Bowl featuring West Virginia vs. Arizona State in Phoenix?  The San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Boise State vs. Northern Illinois) in San Diego?  And the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Ohio vs. Appalacian State) in Montgomery, Alabama?  Unless you are a fan of one of these football teams, chances are you were not waiting with baited breadth last Sunday for the announcement of what teams would be playing at these games.

So that begs the question:  Are there too many bowls in college football today?  Nancy Armour of USA Today had a scathing commentary for the state of college football’s bowl system:

With a whopping 40 of them this year, bowl games have become college football’s equivalent of the participation trophy. Seriously. There are 127 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which means only about a third will miss out on the headphones, sunglasses, watches, gift cards and whatever else is stuffed into those goodie bags.

It is noteworthy that eligibility to play in a bowl game is generally 6 wins during the season.  This year, however, three teams with losing records (5-7) got invites to play at bowl games due to a lack of eligible teams with a total of 6 wins.

One bowl match-up has also had a lot of people scratching their heads: NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl will feature the University of Nevada against Colorado State: two teams from the Mountain West conference.  So, essentially, this is just another regular season game for both of these schools.  Would it not have been possible to pull another school into the mix here just to make things more interesting?  How many fans from these two schools are going to want to travel to see a regular season match-up?

The other side of the coin is that by giving more teams (and their fans) an opportunity to see their team play in a post-season bowl game, everyone wins. Plus, it is a great recruiting opportunity for the participating schools and allows the players returning next year to get more real-time action before the start of next season.  These are all of the justifications for more bowl games outside of the say, 10 or so bowls that have real significance and historical meaning.

Eventually, the NCAA is going to need to crack down on the number of bowl games played and should take a realistic look at attendance and ratings of some of the lesser known bowls. While everyone getting to play is a nice notion, making it to a bowl game should continue to mean something.  For a complete run-down of all the bowl games, here is ESPN’s cliff notes:  Ranking the College Football Bowl Season.

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It’s that time of year when the national college football rankings are shuffling around on a weekly basis, medicine the playoff and bowl situation is starting to take shape, capsule and the Heisman watch is heating up.  But before we get to the players who will likely be the top candidates to take home the famed prize, did you know that the Heisman trophy’s earliest roots are right here in Chicago?

John Jacob “Jay” Berwanger, who played halfback for the University of Chicago Maroons football team, was the first winner of the Heisman Trophy (then called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy) back in 1935.  Berwanger became the first player to be drafted by the NFL in 1936 and was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles then traded his rights to the Bears becaue they didn’t think they could pay him what he would want.  Berwanger never played for the Bears, however, because after he chose not to sign in 1936 so he could compete for a spot on the U.S. Summer Olympic team in 1936, he and George Halas could never agree on his salary  – they were $2,500 apart.

Wow.  $2,500.  My how things are different for the top Heisman candidates in 2015.  According to ESPN, the top five vote-getters in the race after last week are:

  1. Derrick Henry of Alabama. The current Heisman frontrunner had a fantastic game against LSU and is leading the FSB in rushing touchdowns with 17.  Against LSU he ran for 210 yards and had three touchdowns to  jump ahead of Leonard Fournette in votes.  Up next is Mississippi State for the Alabama running back.
  2. Leonard Fournette of LSU. Is he unfairly losing ground because of his game against Alabama? He still has the FSB rushing lead with 172.9 yards per game. Many have speculated that he may have lost the trophy for good after he directly went up against Henry last week (and Henry clearly took that round), but isn’t that why we play all the games?  And with Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M left on LSU’s schedule, Fournette could post some big numbers.
  3. Corey Coleman of Baylor.  Now here is an interesting case – he is the only wide receiver in the top five vote-getters last week.  He had 5 first-place votes (more than any other candidate) but is sitting in third place because he did not receive any votes on three of the ballots.
  4. Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State.  Big Ten fans know Elliott well as he most likely has run through you favorite team’s defense at will since he has rushed for 100 plus yards in 14 consecutive games.  To say he is a workhorse is an understatement.  He will also have a great opportunity to show how he performs against OSU’s multiple ranked opponents in the last month of the season.
  5. Christian McCaffrey of Stanford. McCaffrey has climbed back into the top five after being out for one week.  He rushed for 147 yards against Colorado and even threw a 28-yard touchdown pass during the game.

While it looks like the top two front-runners of Henry and Fournette seem to be going head-to-head in the last few weeks of the season to grab those final and definitive votes, we have all been shocked by Heisman winners in the past – will we be this year too?  One thing is for sure.  There won’t be any future NFL deals blown up because of $2,500.

 

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It’s week 7 and there are 5 teams that are playing without a coach. These teams are USC, cialis South Carolina, pharm Maryland, Illinois and North Texas.   All of these schools are without a coach for different reasons. The Illinois coach was fired just a week before the season opener, while these other firings are pretty new. Only time will tell the effect the firing of these other coaches will have, as for Illinois, this time last year they were 3-3, this year they are 4-2, slight improvement, but still needs more work to keep interim coach Bill Cubit around if he wants to lobby for this position permanently. Let’s talk about what went wrong with these coaches.

Illinois fired their coach Tim Beckman for mistreating the players. He influenced their medical treatment decisions to get them back on the field sooner than they should have been. He also had the players play through their injuries.   Allegedly he treated certain players differently and threatened their scholarships as well. None of these actions are in line with the school employee code of conduct. His many game losses with Illinois sure didn’t help his fight to stay either.

USC’s head coach Steve Sarkisian was fired after he left the team to check himself into an alcohol treatment center. He is set to be there for 30 days. Sarkisian found out about his firing via emails and texts from friends. Athletic Director Pat Haden attempted to reach out to Sarkisian, but was unsuccessful. According to SI.com, USC will not have to pay him the remainder of his three-year contract.

South Carolina’s coach Steve Spurrier stated, “I sort of fired myself.” The season has started off with South Carolina having a record of 2-4, not a great start. It sounds like Spurrier felt like he was getting out of the way and giving his team a chance to win without him in efforts for the rest of the staff to have a hope at keeping their job despite these last few years without a championship.   The other side of the coin could be him getting out early so he can preserve his legacy as one of the best South Carolina coach. One will never be able to argue against how he turned around the team and made them better, but this season at this rate definitely wouldn’t make the highlight reel for the positives. Good luck coach Spurrier, enjoy your time after football!

Maryland has started their season 2-4 and winless in the Big Ten, they are also lacking fan support. This dismal start with 3 straight blowout losses is the reason head coach Randy Edsall was fired. The athletic director gave praise for the success of the last two years, but the six games of this season, didn’t get the same praise. Edsall will still receive his salary for the rest of the year and his contract buyout amount.

North Texas’ athletic year has gotten off to a rough start. They are currently 0-5. They lost all their games by at least 14 points. They are ranked in the country for having the worst yards per play and yards allowed per play. This we know can never end well for a coach, and it didn’t! North Texas fired coach Dan McCarney on Saturday.

With all these firings, it gives the interim coaches time to show what they are made of. Show that they can rally their team, despite coaching changes and losses and come back and pull off a better season than they started with. This will not only boost team morale, but also increase the opinion of the team’s ability to weather adversity and still come out winning!

While we’ve seen a small improvement in the Illinois outcomes with the dismissal of their coach, these other teams are just finding out their coach is gone and the effect will show up soon. Losing a coach during or right before the season is always a difficult coach transition, but the hope is that these changes are for the better. We’ll be watching to see!

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