Sunday, September 15, 2013

NCAA Football 2013: Week 3 Under Review

We have officially closed the books on week three of the 2013 college football season, and what a wild ride it was at times. I have spoken some last week on my Twitter feed about Texas (Mack Brown is toast), Oklahoma State (SI article on corruption and scandal in the program), and USC (Kiffin's job status) last week. Let us take a look below at these events, and how they helped to shape the week that was. After that, we'll take a closer look at what happened on the field, and break down who won, who lost despite winning, and who outright lost and why.

Mack Attack In Austin

It has become more obvious by the second as to where the stability bar is located on Mack Brown's tenure in Austin might be coaching the Longhorns. The official take is that there is none at all, and more heads might roll along with Brown's at the end of the season.
Brown was so desperate for answers after the 40-21 trouncing Texas took at BYU in week 2, that he fired DC Manny Diaz as a scapegoat for getting rush bombed by the Cougars. Brown brought back former DC Greg Robinson, and just like that, Texas got stumped at home by Ole Miss, a team that Texas rolled last year in Oxford. Making matters even worse is that this trouncing came at home on Darryl Royal Field.
I immediately dropped Brown's job status into the Dead Pool last weekend after the humiliation in Provo, and the water only gets deeper this week after the 44-23 home loss to the Rebels. I did some studying of the local Austin temperature and the national take on Brown after last week's move to the DP, and found out many things that piqued my interest.
As far as Brown is concerned, the entirety of Longhorn nation wants him gone, and the sooner the better. They do not feel that he is the man to take Texas back to the promised land, and they become incensed that some members of the national media keep pointing to that long ago 2005 title win. They give the credit for that title to Vince Young, and not Mack Brown, and the general feel is that Brown has done nothing lately but get complacent and stale in his position. Ask for a decent replacement candidate, however, and the bag seems relatively empty right now.
Texas is a great job, one of the best in the nation with endless funds and amazing facilities. If you can navigate the fan base, a political culture that rivals the dirt of Washington, and unlimited expectations, then Texas is the place for you. It's one of the best jobs in the nation, but also one of the toughest, and maybe worst for the expectations on you from day one.
That being said, we'll see next winter who wants the gig, because not only will Brown's job be open, but it looks as if DeLoss Dodds is getting the boot as well, and it's actually hardly shocking when you look at the general state of the big three programs in football, men's basketball, and baseball. All three programs are in relatively stale condition, and Texas baseball hasn't been in the running for a title in a while, not realistically anyway. The Texas Administration went into immediate denial mode over that breaking story, but where there's smoke...
Stay tuned for further details.

Kiffin Breathes a Sigh of Relief...For Now

I stated last week that if USC fell to Boston College on Saturday, that he may be fired as early as this week, even today. I did not ever truly believe that BC could win at the Coliseum, as they are one of the worst road teams in college football, regardless of who the coach is. The end result, USC won 35-7, so firing Kiffin immediately after that would be difficult at best.
Kiffin has lost the general support of his fan base, his players, and his administration. He has not only lost general support, it would seem that he has lost a great deal of the little bit of respect that he still had amongst that wide ranging group as well.
How do I know about the respect factor? Last week, according to some reports, USC players may or may not have had a players only meeting at the football facilities. Some players reported being in on it, and some deny it ever happened or weren't invited. That leads me to believe that the leadership of the coaching staff has cracked, and that there is the same schism that existed within the team at the end of last season, when players were fighting amongst themselves. One major factor was a quote from "team leader" Marquise Lee, who has begun to look like a petulant child, when he was asked about Kiffin's knowledge of the meeting beforehand. His response? "Kiffin didn't know about the meeting."
Lee didn't respond by saying that "Coach" didn't know about the meeting. He certainly didn't respond by saying that "Lane" didn't know about the meeting. He referred to his leader as "Kiffin", which coming from my world bleeds disrespect and flat out distain.
When you have lost all of your most needed support structures in the world of coaching, your days are numbered, and it is real to me that no matter what happens going forward, Kiffin will be not be coaching the Trojans in 2014.

It's Not OK at OKlahoma State

It's Not OK

A scathing five part story has emerged from Sports Illustrated looking into details heading back to 2004 that Oklahoma State had become a pit of corruption and scandal, going back to the era of Les Miles and the early part at least of the Mike Gundy era at OSU. These allegations include the following: At least 29 or 30 former OSU players discussing being paid by multiple boosters and former assistant Joe DeForest. Grade manipulation by professors for football players and tutors performing classroom work including passing grades for no work performed. Cover ups of multiple failed drug tests by many different players. A hostess program for recruits where the student hostesses were engaging in sex with said recruits. Multiple other recruiting violations and outright violations of so many NCAA bylaws, one can hardly count.

Pay For Play

Over 30 athletes on the football team over ten years have more then verified these accounts. There were always different boosters who had access to the locker room after games, where cash was handed out in the open amongst the team, with players who had had big games getting the lion's share of the money. Joe DeForest has been accused of handing out cash himself in the articles that I have read, and he was the ringleader of the operation, allegedly.
Of course the denials have come, and it does seem that these alleged acts happened back in the Les Miles era, and tended to end during the reign of Mike Gundy. From what I have heard, it would seem that Gundy may have come into this situation, and may have stemmed the tide of the activities, however, it would be interesting to know whether or not they stopped outright. There are other details of the other accusations that seem to state that some of the other activities continued under Gundy.

Grade Manipulation...Can You Do My Homework?

Dez Bryant was an Academic All-American once during his days at OSU. If that's true, then I'm Walter Kronkite. Bryant, for lack of a better phrase, is about as sharp as a marble, as dim as a burned out light bulb, and probably has the IQ of concrete. This part of the story is the part that I have the easiest time believing, in that professors were engaged in giving out passing grades to football players like Halloween candy, and that student tutors were actually doing the work, which would more than explain Bryant's accomplishments.

We Never Inhaled...

There are multiple issues at stake here. There are several stories (I don't have a count) in regards to players failing multiple drug tests each that goes back ten years. These tests were then buried and never came to light to protect the status of the athletes involved. When you look back to the Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant issues of lack of sobriety behind a wheel, which have happened not only in the NFL but at OSU as well, you really can't fail to believe these accusations.
Former QB Brendan Weeden has shot down these speculations, calling them the trivial accusations of jaded athletes who were kicked off of the team, but there weren't that many players who got bounced off of the football team during these years. There really are never that many players getting bounced out of programs most years anywhere that are not publicized to hell and back, so Weeden's claims ring false.
When you look at the cases of Blackmon and Bryant, the only reasons they were likely outed was for the fact that they were such huge stars, the mainstream media followed their acts like the vultures that they are looking for a fresh carcass to snack on. By doing so, there was just enough of a wedge blown open to actually see where these claims are going, and I, for one, tend to believe it.

OklaHOma State has HOstesses

We've all heard this story before. Oklahoma State has a hostess program as it turns out. Most programs do. I don't believe in them, personally, as I believe that they are mere fronts for borderline prostitute behaviors like this one. It's happened before. It's happened a lot. The girls get special favors, probably grade manipulation and flippant degrees, in exchange for "taking one for the team" with high profile incoming recruits. This happened rampantly dating back to the SMU death penalty days and before. We'll talk about that in a minute.
OSU has been accused of using their HOstess program to lure recruits to Stillwater by engaging in sexual activities, often with underage athletes as the case would seem, to pique their interest in attending OSU. It has likely been endorsed by both the administration, and the staff alike, but of course any head coach would have been giving deniability by having some third rate assistant being in charge of the coordinating of "activities."
This story is as old as time, so again, it rings true.

Controlled Chaos

With all of these allegations in place, OSU will have a hard time defending themselves outside of Stillwater. T. Boone Pickens, I am sure, will throw every dollar he has into defending the activities of his beloved university, and let me tell, you, he owns the joint, as most of us know. It has been said that you don't work for Oklahoma State, you work for T. Boone Pickens.
These allegations, in their entirety, remind me of one specific case dating back more than 25 years at their root, and I have already mentioned it. SMU.
SMU did all of the above, and maybe more. SMU was also hammered with one of the harshest penalties ever to be brought down, one which the NCAA has been more hesitant to name than the calling out of Voldemort in Harry Potter. Yes, I am referring to it which shall not be named, the dreaded Death Penalty.
If it can be outright proven, and I am guessing that SI has put together what is reffered to on HBO's "The Newsroom" (if you aren't watching this gem of a show, why not?) their "Red Team" to go over the details and investigate, then these details are more than real and likely true, then OSU should be hammered into oblivion by these allegations. If the NCAA can keep from fucking up this investigation like they have in investigating USC, North Carolina, and Miami (it's a stretch to believe that they can), then OSU should be in for the ride of their institutional lives, Mike Gundy and Les Miles should be jobless and under a show cause clause for hire, and we should see an OSU program blown into the depths of hell. Remember, SMU has never recovered.

And now onto a look at the weekend that was on the field, as I take a look at who won, who lost despite winning, and who outright lost.

Winners and Losers

AAC

Winners

Louisville: It was a struggle to separate from Kentucky early, but the Cardinals did so, even if Teddy Bridgewater may have taken a slight hit to his Heisman campaign by only tossing one TD on the day. Cardinals beat Kentucky 27-13 on the road.

Cincinnati: It was the perfect game to play when breaking in a new starting QB, as the Bearcats coasted to a 66-9 pasting of FCS member Northwestern State. Brendan Kay tossed for 277 yards and 4 scores in his debut act.

UCF: Lee Corso picked the Knights to win it on the road, and they certainly did so, 34-31. Blake Bortles passed for 3 TDs, and Storm Johnson broke the 100 yard mark and scored on a pass and a long run, as UCF beat a Big 10 team for the first time ever.

Lost Despite Winning

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights beat Eastern Michigan 28-10, but led the hapless Eagles, who dropped to 1-2, by only a 14-10 margin at the half. Rutgers has the ability to play flat at times, and they did so here.

Losers

Temple: When you lose to Fordham to fall to 0-3, there is never anything good to come out of it.

UConn: Lost to former coach Randy Edsell, cementing Paul Pasqualoni's decent into the Coaching Dead Pool.

South Florida: The Willie Taggert era starts 0-3, and this comes at the hands of falling to an awful Florida Atlantic program. It hurts to watch.

Memphis: The Tigers put up a fight, but the Justin Fuente era looks no different in year two than that of any other coach in Memphis history. Fell to Middle Tennessee 17-15.

ACC

Winners


Pittsburgh: Bounced back from a horrible loss to start the season by pounding New Mexico 49-27.

Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson is off to a 2-0 start, and the Wreck beats a solid Duke team by 24 on the road.

Florida State: Jamies Winston may be the second consecutive redshirt freshman to win the Hiesman. He is in the running as he has tossed just 5 incomplete passes in two wins. He also has passed for 7 TDs. FSU destroys Nevada 62-7.

Syracuse: Cruised out to a 37-0 halftime lead and crushed FCS Wagner 54-0.

Maryland: Randy Edsell climbed off of the Hot Seat last week, and this week it gets sweeter as he cruised by his former team, UConn, 32-21.

Lost Despite Winning

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were lucky to have survived on the road in beating East Carolina 15-10, and with their struggles, the future is looking bleak. Tech is averaging just 12.5 points per game thus far against FBS opponents, but scored 45 against FCS Western Carolina.

Losers

Wake Forest: Lost at home to Sun Belt member UL-Monroe. Grobe to the Dead Pool this week?

Boston College: BC never disappoints the gamblers on the road. They never got off the bus in a 35-7 loss to USC in LA.

Duke: After a solid 2-0 start, it got real very quickly in a 38-14 loss to Georgia Tech in ACC play at home.

Big 10

Winners

Indiana: The Hoosiers were up against a solid Bowling Green unit this weekend, and torched the Falcons 42-10. The IU offense is very much for real, and so are bowl hopes.

Michigan State: The Spartans were prone for an upset to FCS Youngstown State, who had been dominant on their level to date, but it was not to be. Spartans roll 55-17.

Ohio State: No Braxton Miller? No problem as the Buckeyes rolled at Cal 52-34. Kenny Guiton passed for 3 scores in a six minute span in the 1st quarter, and finished with 4 on the day in relief of injured Miller.

Northwestern: The Wildcats scored 24 points in the 2nd quarter and cruised by Western Michigan 38-17 to get off to a 3-0 start.

Lost Despite Winning

Michigan: The Wolverines had to put up two stops from their five yard line to hold off an upset bid by Akron, one of the worst teams in FBS football. Michigan trailed twice in the second half before winning 28-24.

Minnesota: Jerry Kill was carted off of the field with yet another seizure, and the Gophers lost QB Phillip Nelson. They pulled away, but led just 7-6 at the half against FCS Western Illinois.

Iowa: If the Hawkeyes were going to beat up on someone, finally, it would be this week. They could hardly separate from rival Iowa State, and barely held onto a 27-21 win. Again, the future in Big Ten play looks bleak.

Losers

Penn State: Lost to a solid program in UCF, but did it at home.

Wisconsin: Did not survive a shootout in the desert against Arizona State. Defense was exposed.

Nebraska: Blew a 21-3 lead against UCLA, and then gave up 38 unanswered in a collapse like none I have seen since the Flutie era of the college football mid 80s.

Illinois: So much for the happy vibes after upsetting Cincinnati. Washington controlled the tempo this week in Champaign.

Purdue: Had Notre Dame on the ropes, but choked it away. 1-2 now, with only a narrow win over Indiana State to show for it.

Big 12

Winners

West Virginia: Blowout win over Georgia State was nothing to get hyped over, but it was a necessary big win.

Oklahoma: Torched Tulsa behind Blake Bell, and now you have a QB controversy.

Kansas State: Wildcats needed a big win, and coasted by hapless UMass.

Oklahoma State: Got by a scandal plagued week by crushing FCS Lamar 59-3 at home.

Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury is off to a 3-0 start with the Red Raiders, and the glory days could be coming back after a 20-10 win over TCU.

Lost Despite Winning

None

Losers

TCU: The Frogs just don't have it this fall. Could be a long season.

Iowa State: The Cyclones had Iowa within reach, but could not grab the ring.

Kansas: Lost to Rice. And so it begins.

Texas: Blown out for the second straight week. It's obvious that trouble is in store in Austin.

Conference USA

Winners

Tulane: Opened conference play with a nice 24-15 win over Louisiana Tech in what is sure to be a decent rivalry game annually.

North Texas: Trailed a good deal of the game to Ball State, but pulled out an important win. Showing major signs of growth as a program right now.

Florida Atlantic: A win is a win at this point for the Owls, and beating USF had to be pretty sweet. Won 28-10.

Rice: It's only Kansas, but Bailiff needs every win this season. Quality of wins doesn't matter right now.

UTEP: Doubled up on rival New Mexico State 42-21. Miners need to gain confidence, and this win probably helped.

Lost Despite Winning

Middle Tennessee: After falling to North Carolina in week two, the Raiders struggled to beat hapless Memphis 17-15. Stockstill stays on the Hot Seat.

Losers

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs have not been the same without Sonny Dykes as coach, and losing to Tulane was a horrible way to start CUSA action.

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane looks lost right now. Maybe Bill Blankenship isn't a rising star after all.

East Carolina: The Pirates had Virginia Tech on the ropes, and should have won. There is no real excuse as to why ECU didn't pull this one out.

Southern Miss: When Larry Fedora left to take the UNC job, he left the cupboard bare. This team is decimated, and I think Fedora was a fraud.

Florida International: It's one thing to lose, but to lose to a MEAC school as an FBS program? Fell to Bethune-Cookman 34-13. This is as bad as it could get for the Panther program right now.

Memphis: It's the same old song and dance in Memphis. Tigers lose again.

Marshall: The Herd had a tough assignment this week, and they fell just short at Ohio, 34-31. Time to get up and dust off. Move on.

UT-San Antonio: The schedule has been brutal on Larry Coker's club. It's hard to develop with a schedule this tough so early on.

Independents

Winners

Navy: Outscored Delaware 28-0 in the second half after leading 23-7 at the half. Big win against a solid FCS club.

Old Dominion: Monarchs are transitioning to FBS football, and are unranked in PRS rankings, but they certainly did crush Howard this weekend , 76-19. Led 49-10 at the half.

Losers Despite Winning

Notre Dame: We can talk let downs all we want after the Michigan loss. The Irish trailed Purdue quite a bit, and almost got bit in the ass. No excuses Irish fans.

Losers

Army: The Cadets played Stanford tough. Not tough enough. Lost 34-20.

New Mexico State: Getting doubled up by your rival UTEP? Never good. UCLA is next.

Idaho: Idaho had Northern Illinois on the ropes and let them go. Fell 45-35 at home.

MAC

Winners

Toledo: Beat Eastern Washington 33-21 in a game where I felt like the Rockets were the actual underdog. Good win against a great program.

Ohio: Held off Marshall and Rakeem Cato 34-31. This was a necessary win, and was huge for the Bobcats after a slow start.

Lost Despite Winning

Northern Illinois: Actually trailed Idaho 28-21 at the half. That can be a scary thing.

Buffalo: Had to go to OT to beat FCS Stony Brook, but then again, I picked the Bulls to lose.

Losers

Bowling Green: The fa├žade fell off in a 42-10 loss to Indiana.

Akron: Had the ball at the Michigan 5 with two plays. Still lost.

Eastern Michigan: Yet one more L in the books.

Ball State: Fell as the favorite at North Texas by a TD. Defense really let them down.

UMass: Get used to seeing the Minutemen in the column. Another terrible week.

Kent State: Got pounded by LSU. Good vibes from 2012 are gone.

Western Michigan: The team is lost. The losses will pile up. Rebuilding sucks.

Central Michigan: Fell at UNLV by 10. Dan Enos in the Dead Pool? You bet.

Mountain West

Winners

Boise State: Opened MWC play by crushing Air Force at home. Joe Southwick completed 25 of 27 passes in the win.

Colorado State: Necessary win over Cal Poly. Now beat someone bigger.

Wyoming: Cruised by Northern Colorado 35-7. Not a big deal, but a win.

Utah State: Crushed Weber State 70-7. Easy week, but USC is next.

UNLV: Rebels beat C. Michigan, but can they beat anyone else?

Losers Despite Winning

None

Losers

Air Force: The Falcons wings are clipped at Boise State 42-20. This is going to be a long year at the academy.

New Mexico: Lobos fall by 22 at Pitt. Nothing has changed it seems.

Nevada: Lost to Florida State 62-7, but also lost Cody Fajardo. Uh oh.

PAC-12

Winners

UCLA: Scored 38 straight in 16 minutes after trailing 21-3 at Nebraska. Won one for Nick.

USC: Kiffin keeps his job, as the Trojans rolled Boston College 35-7

Washington: Huskies got a huge win on the road against overrated Illinois 24-14. Great start for Sark and the gang.

Oregon: Is there anyone better than Oregon right now? I don't really think so. Crushed Tennessee.

Washington State: Easy win (48-10) over FCS Southern Utah. Good start for the Cougars.

Oregon State: Won a tough game on the road and got a conference win in 51-48 win over Utah.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils are for real, and beat a real team at home in Wisconsin.

Arizona: The Wildcats are off to a solid start, but they haven't played anyone yet. Beat UTSA this week.

Losers Despite Winning

Stanford: Allowed a bad Army team to hang out all day. Is Stanford overrated?

Losers

Utah: Trailed Oregon State by 20 at home before tying it, taking it into OT, only to lose. Gave up 51 in the loss.

California: The offense is fine. It's the defense that has problems. Gave up 52 to Ohio State, but scored 34.

SEC

Winners

Arkansas: It wasn't pretty at times, but the Hogs picked up a 24-3 win over Southern Miss. Don't panic.

Alabama: The Tide gets the revenge win, and takes A&M out of the title picture. Might have taken Manziel out of the Hiesman picture with 2 picks as well.

South Carolina: Led Vandy 28-10 at the half in what was a tough game coming off of the Georgia loss.

Auburn: The Tigers are trying to show some resilience this season, and they are hanging tough. Beat Miss. State to open SEC play. Quality win.

LSU: Cruised past Kent State. Was there ever any doubt?

Ole Miss: Blew out Texas in Austin, and may have put the final nail in Mack Brown's coffin.

Losers Despite Winning

None

Losers

Kentucky: The Wildcats played tough for a half against Louisville. It's not enough.

Texas A&M: Aggie defense is suspect, and even though Manziel had a big game stat wise, his two picks may have been the difference in the loss, and one was for sure.

Vanderbilt: Much promise coming into the season, many questions now.

Mississippi State: I am not a Dan Mullen fan, and the Bulldogs are crap. Worst team in the SEC West next to Missouri.

Sun Belt

Winners

Arkansas State: Beat Troy to open Sun Belt Play. In it for a bowl game.

UL-Monroe Beating an ACC team on the road is big for ULM, even if it was Wake Forest.

UL-Lafayette: Crushed Nicholls State a week after NSU beat W. Michigan. Good week overall.

South Alabama: Jags are coming to life after wins against Tulane and Western Kentucky. 1-0 in SBC play now.

Losers Despite Winning

None

Losers

Troy: This team is off the wagon, and Larry Blakeney needs to go.

Western Kentucky: Bobby Petrino's Toppers fell apart in loss to USA in league play. Not a great start to conference.

Georgia State: Can anyone seriously justify why this team is playing FBS football?

1 comment:

  1. You forgot Tennessee in the SEC section, though who wouldn't after that 59-14 beatdown in Eugene.

    ReplyDelete