Ohio State coach Fickell has failed his team.

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 The win yesterday by the Buckeyes against Wisconsin was not amazing. It was not even too surprising that freshman QB Miller brought the team back from a 29-26 deficit against a top 25 team. It was an indication that the young QB had developed into a playmaker. Miller winked at his coach indicating that despite the deficit and the limited time on the clock, he was confident he could bring the team back. It is not bragging if you can do it. But that brings us to a very perplexing question.

What would have happened if Miller had been named the QB to start the season? Miller has blossomed in his stint as the starter. He has developed much more quickly than anyone could have guessed. Most likely Miller would have developed in time to have won against Miami. But newbie HC Fickell chose to give the practice snaps to his choice the 5th year senior instead. The problem is that young man is an outstanding guy but is not capable of playing QB at the major college level. No one can guess why Coach made that decision. But there are a couple things we know for a fact did not impact his decision.

1. Was it in the long term interest of the program to start a senior? No. In fact, the long term interests of the program would have been served much better if the young man with 4 years of eligibility had been allowed to get both the practice snaps of a starter and the experience of playing in the Shoe against some lesser teams PRIOR to taking on a major school on their field.

2. Was there a significant difference in experience between the freshman and the senior? No. The senior had very little game experience. The senior had thrown a grand total of 47 passes in his 3 years on the roster. Miller was part of the team in the Spring so that he could participate in spring practices. Except for the practice snaps allocated by the coach, neither player had a major edge in experience.

3. Was there an indication that the senior would be more successful than the freshman? No. As a matter of fact any pee-wee coach should have been able to tell in the first practice that Miller had much more upside and very little downside in both the short and long term.

4. Would the “locker room” have reacted negatively to a freshman being picked over a senior? No. My experience with several levels of football indicates to me that the guys that give their sweat to the team want the best chance to win. When a coach chooses to start a guy that hurts their chances to win, that coach is in danger of losing the locker room. Once that happens, it is impossible to get it back. Players at this level of college know by the end of the first practice in pads who can play and who can coach. There is no fooling the locker room. The OSU players have gotten behind Miller very quickly because he gives them everything he has and gives them the best chance to win.

The result was not only a miserable start to the season that included 3 losses and an offense so inept it scored a total of 13 points in two of those defeats.

So why did the coach decide to go with the senior? I don’t know and will not speculate. Let me leave it at this. Fickell is the interim coach. Anyone would love to have this job because it is one of the best in the country. I hope he made his decision based on his true feeling about what was in the best interest of the team and the program.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. He edits .

"Welcome to Big 40 College Football"

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football

It isn’t that bad yet but nothing is out of the question. What we seem to have is a Conference game of musical chairs. Every NCAA team wants to be sure it gets a seat in a better conference (and of course the money that goes with it). Every NCAA Conference seems to be wooing schools in other conferences to come join them.

  • The Big 10 may not be able to count (there are 11 teams) but now they want to go to 12 or maybe 14 or 16.

*The PAC 10 (they can count) is looking to move to 12 or maybe 14.

*The Big 12 is just trying to hold on to their teams but would like to take in 2 more as well.

*The Big East and ACC are hiding under a blanket hoping other conferences won’t find them there.

The Big 10

According to the rumors floating around, the league has invited Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers to join the league. They have been courting Notre Dame for years but the Irish have their own TV deal with NBC and think they are too good to become a member. Nebraska is not likely to leave their rivalry with Oklahoma but both Missouri and Rutgers are likely to join.

But that leaves an odd number of teams at 13. If those two join look for the league to recruit either UConn, West Virginia, Pittsburgh or Syracuse to get to 14.

The Big 12

If Missouri leaves the league will be 1 short. TCU would be the most likely candidate to replace the Tigers. But if the Big 10 goes to 14, the Big 12 will want to follow. That would bring TCU, SMU, and either Rice or Houston to the fold. TCU, SMU and Rice were all part of the Southwest Conference that got raided by the Big 12.

SEC

If both the Big 10 and Big 12 got to 14 teams, the SEC will be forced to follow. There are rumors that the SEC is trying to lure Florida State and Miami out of the ACC to join their league. That would gut the football aspects of the ACC and force them to steal teams from the Big East or Conference USA.

Pac 10

The Pac 10 will want to expand as well to keep up with the other leagues. The most likely to join it are Utah and BYU. If they decide to go to 14 they would look at Utah State and either Wyoming or Colorado State.

That leaves a number of leagues with not enough teams and would undoubtedly lead to more raiding. The Big East would probably disappear unless they can raid Conference USA for teams like Memphis and Marshall. The ACC would go after South Florida (Big East) and UCF (USA).

The bottom line is that no league is safe as long as the big 3 are sniffing around for more teams. It will change the landscape of college sports and not for the better. Bigger conferences will lead to more bowl games. After all, the NCAA was thinking about having 96 team in the Basketball Championship Tournament. So what is wrong with having 48 bowl games?

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What did we learn from college football this week? Who is going where.

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football

Alabama and Texas will play for the mythical BcS championship.

Alabama looked great and Texas got VERY lucky to win its game against Nebraska. Texas tends to play down to the competition too often to be favored against Bama. Texas has been living on luck in several games and their luck runs out against the Tide.

Rose Bowl Ohio State and Oregon.

The Buckeyes are going to have to focus on their running game and stopping the run. Even though they practice against a running QB, the team has always had trouble stopping an offense based around that. Oregon has one of the best running games in college football. All Big 10+1 teams have trouble going west and Oregon has just the kind of team that will give the Buckeyes fits.

Sugar Bowl Florida and Cincinnati

This should be one of the most interesting games of the bowl season. The question is can the Cincy D handle Tebow and the Florida O? I think that TCU would be a better match up for the Gators but they will get Boise. The other question is who will be coaching the Bearcats. Coach Kelly is said to be high on the ND wish list. He will interview this week for that job.

This is a critical game for the Big East to prove that it belongs among the big boys. Florida will be a good test. If you can’t play Big Boy football, it will be obvious.

Fiesta Bowl TCU and Boise State

The Fiesta is going to be a good game but it is too bad that these two teams couldn’t have faced a BcS team. A win against a team like Florida would have given the non BcS teams and leagues a lot of cred. I think that TCU has too much on both sides of the ball for BS.

Orange Bowl Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

Iowa got the invitation to Miami rather than Penn State because they won head to head. The Hawkeyes will have to find a way to jump out in front or risk having the Big 10 take another hit to the credibility of the league. Without their starting QB that will be tough. Based on the way things look now, GT wins this game.

We will look at the other bowls next week.

Other news:

WR Golden Tate and QB Jimmy Clausen declare for the NFL Draft. Evidently they don’t care to wait around to see who gets the ND job. That is a great move for Tate. Clausen has not advanced like everyone expected but still will be a prospect with a lot of potential.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn in the College football last weekend?

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football

Both Weis and Bowden are fired.

Weis used the players recruited by Tyrone Willingham for his early success. The experience at ND proved that as head coach, Weis was one step beyond his level of competence. ND will likely never again be a regular contender for a national title. It may wander close from time to time but no matter who is the next coach, the team will not regain the status that both the administration and the fan base assume is their natural right.

Bowden is an entirely different story. Florida State was a joke prior to him becoming head coach. The “what have you done for me lately” group of FSU fans don’t seem to remember that. He had 14 straight top 5 finishes, 2 national championships, 12 conference championships, a bowl record of 21-10-1 and the second most wins in division 1 college football history. He is still loved by both his current and former players and the parents of those players. Now he has decided to retire the way that former USSR heads of state did—by threat of force. That is not the way that a great coach should end his career. FSU will have some problems getting a better coach. That is a hard act to follow.

The BcS is busted.

This season there are 6 undefeated teams going into the last week of the regular season. Either Florida or Alabama will drop from that list next week. Even so, it is clear to anyone that has watched TCU and Cincy are capable of playing with anyone. But until the pinhead college presidents get a kick in the butt from major donors that will suspend their gifts until Mr. Pinhead votes for a playoff, nothing will change. The fans are being cheated by a system that takes all meaning out of the regular season.

The big boys struggle with lessor competitors

#2 Alabama struggles to beat rival Auburn 26-21.

The Tide didn’t roll in the annual Iron Bowl. They looked sluggish and incapable of taking advantage of an Auburn D that was depleted by injury. They did show good fortitude coming back to win with less than 2 minutes left. But some cracks were obvious. The Tide managed only 73 yards rushing. RB Ingram who was considered a top Heisman prospect looked very average with 16 carries for 30 yards. They will have to play better than that to beat Florida.

#3 Texas D allows 39 by Texas A&M.

The strength of the Texas team was supposed to be the D beside QB McCoy. But TAM QB Johnson threw for 342 yards against the Texas D while McCoy could manage only 175. TAM WR Fuller ran through the Texas D so wide open it was like he was contagious with the H1N1. Something that should concern all Horn fans is that TAM lost to Oklahoma 65-10 and Colorado 35-34 in the last couple of weeks. Texas did not look good on either side of the ball.

#6 Boise State almost gets Kaepernicked.

Boise went into the game against Nevada with one thought—stop QB Kaepernick. They jumped out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter. Even so, they were forced to score in the 4th quarter to win over a team with one threat—Big K. Kaepernick is a great runner and a better passer than most think. As always, he put the team on his back and almost pulled off the upset of decade for his school. The Boise D was so focused on K that they allowed a much less talented team to get back in the game.

#7 Georgia Tech gets lost in the hedges.

As I have said for several weeks, the way to beat GTk is to get in front quickly and then hold on for dear life. Georgia found its running game and used it to keep the GTk O off the field. Tech scored 17 points in the 2nd half but fell short 30-24.

#9 Pitt gets upset by West Virginia.

Pitt had to score 10 points in the last 8 minutes just to get the game into overtime. They were in a position to challenge for a BcS bowl but not now. WV took revenge for Pitt knocking them out of a potential BcS Championship game a couple of years ago.

#12 Oklahoma State looked inept against an angry Sooner team.

Perhaps the biggest turkey of the weekend was OkS that looked totally outclassed by a wounded and angry Oklahoma team. OkS was shown to be a pretender not a contender.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,BCS,BCS Championship,Flroida State,Notre Dame,Weis,Bowden,Alabama,Auburn,Texas,Texas A&M,Boise State,Nevada,Georgia Tech,Georgia,Pitt,West Virginia,Oklahoma State,Oklahoma
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  • Published: Oct 26th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What did we learn from the College football weekend for 10/26/09?

What did we learn from the College football weekend for 10/26/09?

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football

The top 3 teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Texas looks to be the first to get its ticket punched by virtue of an easier schedule if they get by #14 Oklahoma State this Saturday. That will not be an easy game because the Cowboys are playing very well now since they stubbed their toe against Houston.

Texas has only a home game against Kansas and a rivalry game at Texas A&M left as a challenge after OK St. I think that Texas will go undefeated and get to the big game.

Both top SEC teams have big games this weekend. Florida takes on Georgia and Alabama hosts #9 LSU. If that game were at LSU, I would think it would be a tossup. At home, Alabama should win and probably get the top spot in all the polls based on a win over a top 10 team only if the voters forget the less than impressive 12-10 win over Tennessee at home last week. Alabama came within a fingernail of losing the game when NT Cody blocked his second FG attempt in the 4th quarter of the game.

The Vols were the sandwich game between #22 South Carolina and #9 LSU. Every national champ has a close call or 2 on their way to the title. Bama played down to the Vols level on O. The Vols D refused to let QB McElroy throw down field and Bama averaged just 4.1 per pass attempt. Bama also struggled in the red zone. They failed on 2 trips there having to kick short FGs rather than scoring TDs. They led the entire game holding the Vols to just 3 points until the 4th when the Vols had 3 drives including a TD and the 2 blocked FG attempts.

After a close call against Arkansas at home, Florida had a solid if not impressive win at Mississippi State. The most significant hurdles the Gators face to get to the SEC Title game are against Georgia, at South Carolina and their rivalry game at home against an always dangerous Florida State. Neither of those should provide an upset which of course means the Gators may lose one of them.

Of the two schedules, I believe that LSU represents more of a challenge than the group that Florida will face.

#4 in the BcS Iowa represents the biggest threat to the top 3 because the computers love them and because they still have a game on the road @ #17 Ohio State. The Hawks have to hope that the Buckeyes continue to win until that game. Given the way the OSU offense has failed to move the ball, that is not a sure thing at all. However, the Hawks overcame the crowd, and the odds makers in winning on the last play of the game. They only way they get into the big game is to be undefeated and have 2 of the top 3 lose at least one each. The voters have Iowa ranked 8th and that hurts them in the BcS.

#5 USC should jump over Iowa if they win at #10 Oregon Saturday. They also have a game against #20 Arizona on December 5 but it is very doubtful that the Wildcats will still be ranked by then because they have games against #10 Oregon and at # 24 California. So USC has to win at Oregon big to have a shot then hope that 2 of the big 3 lose a game.

#6 TCU is undefeated and is the best chance of the non-BcS league reps to get into the big game but there are a lot of chips that have to fall in their favor to do so. The computers like them as well ranking them 4th. The Frogs were outstanding in a 38-7 win at then #16 BYU. They still have a game against now #16 Utah in a couple of weeks. TCU is an outstanding team and deserves better than they will get. The Frogs will get a nice BcS bowl but have 0 chance to get to the big game.

#7 Boise State has 6 games on its schedule but no ranked teams. Their only statement win was in week 1 over Oregon. They are 5th in the polls but the computer has them 8th. They are playing well but can never get any big schools to go there and play a home and home. That hurts the teams chances to break the glass ceiling of the “BcS” leagues.

#8 Cincinnati is also perfect and has 2 games against ranked teams. They will face #21 West Virginia and # 15 Pittsburgh. Their chances were long to start with and are longer now because they have lost their QB Pike for awhile. Without him they have little chance of completing the year perfect and no chances of getting more than a crumb off the BcS table.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What to look for in College football for week 8.

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1 Florida @ Miss St.

The Gators will face a pretty good O in the Bulldogs. QB Lee has a passer rating of 112.3 and RB Dixon averages 5.2 per run. The Dogs have struggled on D against good teams. In losses to Auburn, 7 LSU and 13 Georgia Tech they gave up a total of 121 points. They will give up quite a few against Florida as well. Florida this year seems to loose concentration in games against lessor teams. That is particularly true when a tough game is next up. The Gators will play Georgia next which is a big rival. Florida will win but it could be closer than it should be.

Tennessee @ 2 Alabama

Bama has taken over the top spot in some of the rankings and that is well deserved. It has outplayed Florida against better competition. Bama has beaten 3 ranked teams and won the games easily. Their D is playing outstanding ball giving up just 9 points in the last 2 games against ranked teams. The Bama O has played well with QB McElroy having a 137.6 passing rating and 2 RBs averaging over 5 per carry.

Tennessee had a nice win last week over Georgia but faces 2 ranked teams in the next 2 weeks. The D has played well but the O is inconsistent. QB Crompton has been streaky but is completing less than 58% with 13 TDs and 9 picks. He has a set of good receivers as well. He has racked up a lot of the numbers against 2 teams. RB Hardesty averages 5.4 per carry. The O has struggled against good defenses. They will struggle badly against Bama. Bama wins.

3 Texas @ Missouri

The Horns tend to play with less energy after the Oklahoma game. But they have way too much for the Tigers. Missouri lost a lot in graduation or the draft and is not a physical team. They will be pushed all over the field by Texas and the Horns win.

4 Boise State @ Hawaii

Boise is 4th but has no chance of playing for the national championship. I don’t want to hear any crying from State fans because if they want to play for a title they need to schedule more than 1 tough opponent. The only ranked team they played was Oregon. The rest of their schedule is too weak to get the spot over a 1 loss SEC or Big 12 team. They will win at Hawaii and get a nice tan at the same time.

Louisville @ 5 Cincinnati

Cincy may have lost their QB Pike in the game against South Florida. Pike has led the team to 244 points in 6 games. His replacement is Collaros is an untested sophomore. Pike’s status is unknown. The Cincy D has played well and should have no problem with the Cards or next week against Syracuse. However, they have 4 tough games to end the season and will need Pike if they want to win out.

6 Iowa @ Michigan St.

Iowa has 2 tough road games left on its schedule and this is one of them. Iowa has a shot at the big game if it ends the season undefeated. Either Alabama or Florida will lose at least 1 game when they meet in the SEC Championship game. That leaves only Texas as the other candidate. The Hawk O is inconsistent but seems to show up in big games. If Iowa gets by MSU their only other road game is at Ohio State.

The MSU D is very tough with 12 sacks in the last 3 games. They stopped last year star RB Green on 4th and 1 to preserve a win over Iowa. The game is at night and it is MSU’s best shot to get to a New Years Day Bowl. The Spartans may be more dangerous than the Buckeyes to Iowa’s hopes. Iowa will win in a close game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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