Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

7 01 2013

I don’t know what was more evident Monday night: the establishment of sport’s first legitimate dynasty since the 2001-2004 New England Patriots or Nick Saban proving to be one of the all-time best college football coaches. Or Brent Musburger’s newfound creepy attitude toward young women.

The 2013 BCS National Championship game was supposed to be good. No. 1 in the nation against No. 2. Everything was set for a night of competitive and high-quality football. One team had a fantastic defensive line that only gave up two rushing touchdowns prior to this game while the other had an offensive line consisting of mammoths for men, who have five projected to make it to the NFL. The football stars had come out to play.

But just as the nation saw last year, one team ended up obliterating their opponent, leading to the increasing necessity for a playoff system.

NCAA Football: BCS National Championship-Alabama vs Notre Dame

The Alabama Crimson Tide destroyed the Notre Dame Fighting (that was tough to type…) Irish 42-14 as the SEC claimed its seventh straight national championship. Alabama now becomes the first school in NCAA history to win back-to-back BCS titles as they also win their third national championship in four years.

From the moment of the opening kickoff to the moment the red and white confetti was released, this was Alabama’s night. The disparity in toughness of schedule and toughness of teams became transparent when Heisman candidate Manti Te’o, who had only missed two tackles all season, missed tackle after tackle after tackle. After tackle. His draft stock dropped faster than Matt Barkley’s did this season with each successive failed attempt. Te’o and his Irish team were utterly outmatched on college football’s biggest stage.

With the running game being completely shut down (32 total rushing yards), the Irish offense was nothing short of stagnant. No progress could be made at any point in this matchup. The 14 points the Irish put on the scoreboard came in the second half when the game was already out of hand. Once this game became a 21-0 deficit for Notre Dame four seconds into the second quarter, it became clear those men in the gold helmets didn’t have enough offensive weapons to compete with an SEC powerhouse.

Alabama quarterback McCarron throws a pass against Notre Dame during the third quarter of their NCAA National Championship college football game in MiamiOn the other end of the field, the Alabama front seven pushed their way to a second straight national championship as a new “Big 3” was created. AJ McCarron threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, Amari Cooper received 105 of these yards and collected a pair of touchdowns, and Eddie Lacy balanced this attack with his 140 big-time rushing yards. For a team known for their defense, the offense showcased its lethal ways Monday night.

To go along with a potent offense, the renowned defense lived up to their name as these men continued to go about their business. Going back to last year’s title game, it took nearly 101 minutes for someone to find a way to put up some points against these Rolling Tide. Even though this phrase is often thrown around to describe some of the best defenses out there, the Alabama D was truly too big for Notre Dame to handle. At times, it looked as if this elite college program was squaring off against a North Indiana High School. The question will be raised – once again – if this is the best defense college football has ever seen. And they deserve this debate.

Speaking of the best college football has ever seen, Nick Saban has put himself right up there with the best. No matter if you like his blunt attitude with the media, the man knows how to win football and win it on the biggest stage. Even Bear Bryant did not win to this degree at such a fast pace so early on in his coaching career. This sustained level of greatness is unheard of with his five total crowns, three titles in four years, and back-to-back BCS championships – something no one has ever seen before.

No matter who gets the majority of the credit, the Alabama Crimson Tide football program has cemented itself as one of the few college football dynasties we have ever seen. This team has shuffled through different quarterbacks, running backs and every other position imaginable during their dominant run but one thing has remained constant – the will to win. To add to their undying success, they unquestionably play in the country’s most competitive conference, going up against the likes of LSU, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina.They play the best and have been the best for three of the past four years. That is a true dynasty.

Even though this point shouldn’t have a counterargument, their most recent blowout victory reminds the nation that the playoff system just around the corner can’t come soon enough. Notre Dame beat four ranked teams this year and three of these teams turned out to be disappointments. Michigan State barely squeezed into a bowl game, Michigan turned out to be anything but what their preseason No. 8 ranking reflected and Oklahoma had an off year based on Bob Stoops’ standards. Even if you consider Stanford a quality win, that is still only a single game to show off. Alabama had five.

Yes, Notre Dame was undefeated, which can’t go unnoticed, but they also needed three overtimes to beat Pittsburgh… Pittsburgh. With no defining victory and very few challenges during the regular season, who’s to say that half of the SEC couldn’t have taken down those Irish? It may not be the perfect system, but the upcoming college football playoffs will better protect the integrity of the NCAA while giving the championship game a better chance of being like a championship game – the two top teams playing to see who is better.

NCAA Football: BCS National Championship-Alabama vs Notre Dame

So, until that playoff system comes into form to challenge Alabama, we can only admire a football program and a football coach that have once again proven to be the best in the nation.

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Defense? No Thank You

30 09 2012

Saturday was not a good day to be a defensive coordinator. Across the country, yardage was racked up and offensive records were smashed during a wild day of college football. Here are a few notable games.

 

 


Baylor 63, West Virginia 70

1,507 Combined Yards

Baylor QB Florence – 581 yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT

West Virginia QB Smith – 656 yds, 8 TDs

 

 

NC State 37, Miami 44

1,315 Combined Yards

NC State QB Glennon – 440 yds, 4 TDs, 2 INTs

Miami QB Morris – 566 yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT

 

 

Tennessee 44, Georgia 51

1,038 Combined Yards

Highest scoring game in the history of this rivalry

 

 

Texas 41, Oklahoma St 36

1,016 Combined Yards

OSU RB Randle – 199 yds, 2 TDs

 

 

Oregon St 38, Arizona 35

1,158 Combined Yards

OSU QB Mannion – 433 yds, 3 TDs

Arizona QB Scott – 403 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs

 

 

Indiana 29, Northwestern 44

1,129 Combined Yards

Northwestern set school record with 704 yards of total offense

 

 

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Seminoles and EJ Make a Statement

23 09 2012

Just as the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles proved their legitimacy as a team with a gritty 49-37 victory over the No. 10 Clemson Tigers, so did Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel prove his authenticity as a Heisman candidate.

This man truly did it all Saturday night – and did so in an efficient way. Not only did Manuel throw for a career-high 380 passing yards, but he also completed 77 percent of his 35 passes and threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions. If that wasn’t enough, the 6-5 senior ran for a career-high 102 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. This was his Saturday night.

The Seminoles faced their first respectable competition in Clemson since outscoring their opponents 176-3 up to this point in the season only gave them a backseat to three other undefeated teams. Once they trailed 28-14 early in the second half, the first gut check stared Manuel and his Seminoles right in the face. Last year this team faced an almost identical deficit (28-17) to Clemson as Manuel was forced to watch from the sidelines with an injury. That night ended in a loss as Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd stepped into the limelight.

Things were different this time around. During his team’s second-half comeback, Manuel seemed to have a command and fight in him that Boyd and Clemson simply couldn’t match. And to add to this powerful force, the Seminoles seemed to feed off their quarterback’s energy – something all great teams need in order to overcome any sort of obstacle. Whether it was through the air or on the ground, Manuel’s teammates had his back and helped push their way to victory.

Now, this team looks primed to compete for the national championship if they continue to play at this level. They have a coach in Jimbo Fisher that seems to finally be close to stepping out of Bobby Bowden’s shadow while the play on the field has few weaknesses. There’s no reason to think they shouldn’t be able to breeze through the rest of their schedule, facing all unranked opponents that have already lost until their last game of the regular season when they go up against the feisty No. 14 Florida Gators.

What about Manuel’s case for the Heisman? Well, with USC’s Matt Barkley sudden drop in production the past two weeks (a loss to Stanford along with only two touchdowns and four interceptions), this thing is up for grabs. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Oregon flashy running back De’Anthony Thomas are most likely still frontrunners for the award, but Saturday night should put Manuel in the conversation.

There are still many games to be played until that elusive trophy is handed to one man. If Florida State goes on to have a successful season and plays the strings of the voters’ hearts by “revitalizing a once renowned program” due in large part to their quarterback, that man might just be EJ Manuel.

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Fun Fact Friday (Delayed)

16 09 2012

Florida State might be ranked No. 4 in the most recent AP rankings, but purely based on the scoreboard the past three weeks, they have been the best college football team in the nation. Outscoring their opponents 176-3, the Seminoles have scored 50 or more points in each of their first three games – a first in school and ACC history.

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Fun Fact Friday

7 09 2012

Even though some college football coaches are criticized for running up the score late in games, none can top Georgia Tech. In 1916, the Engineers squared off against the Cumberland Bulldogs and defeated them by a score of 220 to 0. This game that ended 15 minutes early is the largest margin of victory by any collegiate football team.

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Playoff Bound

20 06 2012

After years and years of debate along with an innumerable amount of ideas spouted from fans, analysts and executives, the BCS is within reach of an actual playoff system. No, I’m not pulling your leg.

The Associated Press has reported that BCS commissioners have agreed upon a playoff format for college football consisting of four teams selected by a committee. There would be two semifinals matches along with the current BCS bowl games and a national championship game in the stadium of the highest bidding city, ESPN sources said. This would be implemented in the 2014 football season.

The model will be presented to the university presidents next week in Washington D.C. for its necessary approval.

Commissioners have relentlessly been working to create this brand new college football concept and recently met for four hours to construct this plan. However, they didn’t want to reveal many details before they discussed them with other parties.

Whether or not you agree with the proposed system, the significance of this is indisputable. We haven’t seen a change this big in collegiate sports since the BCS came to existence in 1998. Furthermore, there couldn’t be a more built up modification. Every single college football season the past 14 years has had one or two teams face the wrath of the skewed BCS system, and countless people on the internet have attempted to tell the association how they should go about working things.

Well, they might have finally listened. They might have finally formulated a blueprint that will lead to a fair fight for all college football teams.

Playoffs, here we come.

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Fun Fact Friday

6 01 2012

Since the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship game consists of two SEC teams (LSU and Alabama) on Monday night, this will be the sixth straight SEC team to win the national championship. Both of these teams have won during this streak, LSU winning in 2007, and Alabama winning in 2009. After scoring a combined 15 points in their first match-up, LSU and Alabama will surely provide a different type of game than the other four BCS Bowl games that have averaged a combined 77 points per game.

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