Tag Archives: college football

Johnson Continues To Fly Under Radar

by Nicholas Muhl

Averaging over 400 yards passing a game, top 5 in touchdowns thrown, only three interceptions in two wins against major non-conference opponents; Matt Johnson is flying under the radar.

According to Scott Swegan (@ScottSwegan), Assistant Director of Athletic Communications for Bowling Green State University and ESPN Statistics , BGSU Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson has accumulated some impressive numbers and accolades in his 2015 campaign, including:

  • 5-time MAC East Offensive Player of the Week
  • In the last two weeks he has thrown almost as many TD’s (10) as he has incompletions (11).
  • Has led the Falcons on opening drive score 6/7 games.
  • Through 7 weeks, the nations leading passer in yards (2891), 3rd in Touchdowns (24)
  • 2-time Manning Award Star of the Week, Manning Award Midseason Watch List
  • 70.5% completion percentage, 5th best passer rating (174.1)
  • Led the Falcons to two wins over Big Ten opponents for the first time in school history
  • http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2
  • http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/513573/matt-johnson

Some are going to accuse me of being a homer, because I do attend Bowling Green State University. However, I believe Johnson’s numbers and the game film truly speak for themselves. Here in northern Ohio, just off I-75, we are aware of the incredible talent throwing the football for our BGSU Flacons. It’s time the rest of the country is aware of him too – so let me introduce you to Matt Johnson who is a serious Heisman candidate, and one of the best quarterback prospects in the NCAA.

http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?path=aspirants_&roster=2

The “it” factor – Dino Babers coached Garoppolo (Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports)

Drew Brees College Highlights

Who Spiked the Kool-Aid?!: SEC shocked, the miracle ride continues and more

By Kaleb Page

As the final days left in the college football season start to dwindle down, this bowl season gave us all some great moments, players and story lines. Whether it was the Camellia Bowl or the Rose Bowl this season of bowls and the inaugural college football playoff brought a great end to what was (at least for me) a season where almost every Saturday was a great slate of college football games.

As this cap played out over the weeks the theme of how dominant the SEC is took a huge hit. Even though the SEC did go 7-5 overall as a conference, the mystique of the conference left many in the sports world wondering what happened since the conference only went 2-4 against ranked opponents. Even though the piece was full of satire the title of Clay Travis’s piece on Fox Sports was something of interest. The title read “The SEC is Dead, Long live the SEC,” yes it is over the top and it is supposed to be, but there needs to be a discussion on this topic; discussion on is everyone else finally starting to catch-up?

With the introduction of the playoff and new varying bowl match making, is the SEC starting to come back down a bit? I would agree with some analysts who say that the conferences are starting to show parody but to say the SEC is completely terrible now is something I won’t go forth in saying quite yet. It is better in the end to see that more teams are coming into the fold and we aren’t being completely hammered with how the SEC is better than everyone else. Parody no matter what the sport is makes it that much more enjoyable because it makes things more interesting and competitive, instead of seeing the same old same old year after year.

The SEC has their bad teams just like every other conference. For those still over sipping on the SEC kool-aid and notice that nasty taste in your mouth don’t look at me, instead look at the Big Ten and other conferences that crashed the party.

The perception change that happened over the past few weeks to the SEC could really put in full effect by one team slaying the SEC’s biggest giant.

The Ohio State Buckeyes went into New Orleans, LA and faced the big bully on the block from the SEC: Alabama. As big as a nine-point underdog, it looked like the magical run by the buckeyes was doomed to be ended with such force that it might as well not even be played. Isn’t that why we play the game though? You play the game to prove that sentiment that the underdog has no chance wrong and for the buckeyes they did just that. Even though they got down early in the game, the buckeyes showed that they had the heart to win and continue their magical journey. The journey though still has another huge task in the way.

Monday night puts the end to all the talk on who the best team is in college football. Finally with the playoff we all will know that there is a definitive champion. Oregon off its impressive win versus FSU showed how potent their offense is and that the talk of them being “finesse” is something far from the truth. As mentioned above Ohio State looks to cap off an impressive season full of adversity by winning it all and showing what it means to be a complete team. It will be interesting to see these two teams play since both teams are full of great players and coaches. Making this game a battle more than just a physical one on the field, but one that is a mental chess match as well.

For the way this season will come to an end it pushes the old phrase “don’t drink the kool-aid” to the front. For all that we heard that the majority trend for people was to lean one way or the other (mainly on SEC teams), it truly shows at the end of this season that putting your full confidence towards one frame of mind is almost foolish. It also has shown that to essentially “drink the kool-aid or go only off of the thoughts of the majority,” is a habit we all need to break. To say I’ve been insusceptible to this would be foolish too, but I will say for the majority of this season I stayed away from the punch bowl so many others drank out of.

Hopefully next season we all can stay away from the kool-aid and make our own thoughts. Until then don’t drink the kool-aid too much…you’ve been warned.

Feeling the Pressure

By Kaleb Page

It’s approaching that time of the year. Now when you hear that phrase most may think of Christmas or the holiday season. In the college football world that means the college football coaching carousel is approaching. This week two teams that joined the coaching market jumped out of the carousel ride early.

Nebraska after many tension filled season with Bo Pelini fired the coach even after posting another 9-3 season. Over his tenure Pelini went 67-27 and for what some would say brought some consistency to the Nebraska program. Another thing that could be said with the firing of Pelini is that the fan base at Nebraska could be making unrealistic expectations, but at powerhouse programs expectations can exceed reality.

With that said ESPN reports showed that early Thursday Nebraska hired Mike Riley from Oregon State to take over the team. A coach of 14 years at Oregon State he was known for his loyalty and being calm, this might have been the reason to hire Riley to just have an opposite view-point from that of Pelini. Only time will tell how consistent Riley is in comparison to how Pelini was at Nebraska.

For the time it had Will Muschamp as a coach, Florida just could never seem to hit its stride. Offensively every year it seemed to be lacking something. It might have been due to the fact that switches at coordinator on offense over the years didn’t lend to the offense at Florida being cohesive and full of continuity. The defense was not the problem though during his tenure with there being plenty of NFL talent on the defensive side, including this final season. A specialty of Muschamp’s that might land him a job as a defensive coordinator at Texas A&M or Auburn.

The same Thursday as the Nebraska hire, Florida hired from Colorado State Jim McElwain a former offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-11 the lead to two championship runs. This season at Colorado State saw McElwain take his team to a 10-2 record and recognition from the Mountain West conference as the best coach. From the buzz around the college football scene it sure looks like Florida made the right hire in McElwain.

Now there is pressure from these schools and schools that probably will join in the coaching carousel soon to make the home run hire. To get that “it” guy who can transcend not only the conference but also the national scene to bring all the glory to that perspective school is more important than ever now. Maybe it was the pressure that caused Florida and Nebraska to make the leap for their guy right now. Possibly it was just because they did their homework and said this is the right fit in all ways. For one school in particular this better be the best hire they have had in a long time.

The University of Michigan was one of the more premiere jobs in the country back in the early to mid-2000s. However after multiple years of complete failure in the eyes of any Michigan fans’ standards under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke; the job saw its luster fade away. With the vacancy created after the firing of Hoke this past weekend, the task at hand to find a new coach might be the most important one in Michigan history.  As I heard SVP and Russillo today talk about the coaching hires, they brought up a very interesting point that is very important to realize.

In the college football coaching arena there are only a handful of guys you can look at and say those guys are “it.” Coaches that are consistent and no matter the scenario or team they can bring you a level of excellency not matched by any coach out there. That is why Michigan better get this right and better hit the walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth for the win to make not only a statement, but to show they mean business again.

Whether it is Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Dan Mullen or even Greg Schiano the man picked for the job better be the big splash needed to bring the Michigan of old back to the scene. The fans need it, the Big Ten conference needs it and even college football needs a stronger showing from Michigan. For the new athletic director at Michigan the choice better be a great one and better be that “it” guy.

No pressure.

Sorry to sound like a broken record but…

By Kaleb Page

Over this past college football weekend, games were tightly contested and full of excitement which we all came to expect with this college football weekend. With that said a lot of games were not only battles between teams, but the elements as well. One game in particular, Ohio State versus Minnesota, was just that case. Playing in blizzard like conditions with temperatures in the teens, made it a game within the game just to even move like you would without having these conditions.

The game ended in a 31-24 win by Ohio State that was deceiving due to the miscues by Ohio State that left opportunities for Minnesota. Now it must be given to Minnesota that they are a very hard team to beat and work hard in all phases of the game. Therefore a tough win by Ohio State in those conditions should have a gotten a better reception.

That same Saturday TCU traveled to Kansas to go collect their win in what seemed on paper a mismatch in favor of TCU. For much of the game that mismatch did not play out as Kansas led 27-17 in the third quarter. A valiant effort was put together by TCU to come out on top in the end with the score of 34-30.

Now when looking in comparison to these two games you could pull out some things just by doing the eye test of the two teams (OSU and TCU) in the running to finish in the playoff. For one thing, the eye test would show you that the respective opponents for OSU and TCU that day were on two different planets. Coming into the game Minnesota was ranked 25th and in contention to make it to the Big Ten title game. While Kansas with only three wins on the season has been a bottom feeder in the Big 12 for the past few years. When watching the OSU-Minnesota game it was easy to see OSU was dominating. If they didn’t have three costly turnovers, who knows how big a winning margin we would be talking about today. TCU on the other hand was on shaky ground the entire game but did show their heart in this game to come away with a win; nevertheless they should have been nowhere near that position.

When it came to coverage at the end of these two contests it was interesting to open my ESPN homepage and read two different headlines that left me thinking “Are you kidding me?” The headline for the TCU and Kansas game read “TCU Passes Test in Lawrence” while the OSU and Minnesota headline read “Ohio State Escapes Minnesota.” So my question is this, did the person who put these headlines up even watch the games?

I mean come on anybody who knows even the slightest bit of football, or even watched both games Saturday would know that Minnesota would dominate Kansas nine times out of ten with the tenth one about to be served up. That is why it frustrates me to no end to see one team squeak by when they should dominate and get a somewhat praising review (TCU), and then another team get a headline almost making their tough road win seem like nothing (OSU). It wouldn’t matter what team it was or sport for this fact to frustrate me. I know it is good to write the headline that grabs attention, but there is a difference between that and just being so far off base.

I don’t understand how you can’t have a similar tone from headline to headline when talking about these two games. This is not the first time I have seen this by ESPN to make a headline about respective college football games, and one will get a good perspective while the other one will not.

I don’t want to be the one crying out that there is a bias or sounding like a broken record in that regard, but it is a suggestion to ESPN to fix this. How about we think before we post and make sure to not be too pointed one way in our judgment of a performance and then pointed in the opposite direction toward another similar performance.

To some of you who have heard this argument before I’m sorry to be the broken record, but someone had to remind us again.

 

Is the gap growing between the “Power” and “Non-Power” Conferences?

By Alex O’Connor

Marshall has had a historic football season, where they currently sit at 9-0 and are the clear frontrunners in Conference USA. Marshall is also one of three undefeated teams left. As conferences have been realigning rapidly not only in football, but basketball, there has been an increasing concern that the “power” conferences are getting more powerful each time there is a new alignment. NBCSports has noted that Marshall’s streak is special, but there is a large amount of hesitancy on whether or not it will matter if they finish undefeated.

Currently, Marshall is ranked twenty-first in the country, according to the latest AP Top 25, and they are notably unranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings. With the addition of the new playoff system, the twelve committee members are using new statistics to measure the quality of the eligible schools. The most notable new statistic is “FPI”, which stands for the Football Power Index. Per ESPN.com, FPI is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward for the rest of the season. Given the opponents Marshall has faced in and out of conference, there is no indication that they are anywhere near the top four teams in the country. The establishment of FPI has only furthered the gap between power and non power conferences.

In regards to the media, there is always a desire to find an underdog, or a team that can come out of nowhere to shock the bigger teams. This is especially prevalent in college football. fbschedules.com noted that Marshall going undefeated in this new playoff format will be a true determination if the non-power conferences are actually playing for that grand prize.

A recent example of a small school having major success in the previous format was Boise State. In 2006, Boise State won all twelve of their scheduled games. Though they were and still are in a non power conference, (WAC) they were still slotted into a major BCS Bowl Game which was the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. They ended up winning that game by one point over Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma. For the time being, Boise State gave smaller schools at the glory of a big college football bowl game. Now that only four teams compete for the National Championship and the former big BCS bowl games will have considerably less attention than the final four teams. The new playoff system has only made it harder for non-power conference teams to break into the national spotlight and the balance of authority is shifting heavily towards the power conferences.

College Football Playoff Committee: Lose-Lose Situation

By Kaleb Page

This Tuesday night the College Football Playoff Committee releases their highly anticipated playoff rankings (to this point). These rankings will be the first set of the year done by this class of committee members. With these rankings however there is certain to be a high amount of scrutiny, and it is only the first one.

That is why I beg the question: Is this committee in a lose-lose situation? Already I am reading an article with the headline “What the College Football Playoff Committee is already getting wrong.” To think the BCS had people going bonkers, could pale in comparison to what people might do after Tuesday nights reveal and even later on when the final four is set in place.

To some and to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports who wrote the article above, a committee releasing rankings at this point is a bad idea. I think that rankings should not be released anywhere in the beginning of the season even for the AP Poll or the Coach’s Poll. Seems ridiculous to me to make out where you see a team ranked even before they hit the field. However, I think that right now in this point of the season you know what you are getting from teams, and a good barometer of where you stand in the playoff hunt is a good thing to know. This may be one small victory in my mind for the College Playoff Committee, in waiting awhile to get a sense of the whole picture before making a judgement.

When it all comes down to it though, this committee of 12 individuals is probably fighting a battle they can’t win. They can try to justify their procedures and processes for seeding and eventual selection for the playoff, but they will never be right.

Right now if you take a look at the landscape of college football you probably could not tell me one team that is complete, lock-down, or dominate on both sides of the ball. Yeah we may have two undefeated teams in Mississippi St. and Florida St., but they are not untouchable by any means and could topple over in coming weeks. When looking at the records of the top 25 at the moment, there are 15 teams out of the 25 with only one loss and a legitimate chance of becoming an option to be in the playoff. Then by the end of the year there could be no undefeated teams which makes things even harder. Then when looking at how the SEC and PAC-12 are valued higher, what happens when a two loss team in either conference has an impressive resume and is still sitting behind a one-loss Ohio State or Michigan St.; what will they do then?

Think about that or better yet place yourself in the board room right now as the committee. Feel the pressure? Knowing that you have to somehow dwindle down a list as long as Santa’s to just a mere four teams. Oh and I forgot no matter what you pick to have in your playoff, you will have somebody (or fan-base) out there screaming for your head on a platter.

This group of members has a lot of homework to do and will obviously have a lot of explaining after their release Tuesday night. With this little sample being thrown our way, it will have (for me at least) a big deal of excitement. This will ultimately have me on the edge of my seat even more as this college football season starts to wind down toward the playoff.

As for the teams with a one out of a million shot to make it in the playoff like East Carolina, Marshall, and Duke; keep the mindset of a wise guy by the name of Lloyd Christmas and say, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!” Maybe just maybe this committee will select you guys to join the party at the end of the year.

Either way, have fun College Football Playoff Committee becoming the new BCS and something a majority of people love to hate.

Mid-American Conference to Back Up Quick Lane Bowl

By Kate Roth

The Mid-American Conference has just announced their agreement to be the back for the Quick Lane Bowl being played in Detroit. This agreement says that the MAC will be the backup to the Big Ten Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference if they cannot provide a team. For now this is a 6 year deal ranging from 2014 to 2019.

This may not seem like a huge deal to anyone right now, but in the long run could be very big for the MAC.

The B1G Conference has struggled over the past couple years to supply bowl eligible teams to all of the bowl games they have contracts with. If this continues the MAC will have a chance to send one of the conference’s best teams to the Quick Lane Bowl to represent the conference against an ACC team which happens to be one of the top conference’s in college football.

Not only will this be good for the MAC because they will be able to send one more team to a bowl game, but it will help them start to get some of the national media recognition they deserve.

All of the staff working for the MAC and the teams within the conference are working just as hard as all of those in the SEC or ACC. The players in the MAC are putting in the same amount of time and work as the rest of the players around the nation, but receive almost no media attention compared to the other conferences.

By gaining this partnership with the Quick Lane Bowl the MAC has a chance to step up and show the nation what MACtion is all about.

The MAC also has a partnership with 5 other bowl games for the 2014 season with guaranteed spots and 3 with back up spots. Of the bowls that the MAC has agreements with, the Quick Lane Bowl would be one of, if not the biggest. This being based upon the opponent and location of the bowl game.

Since the 5 bowls that the MAC has guaranteed spots with will be played in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, and the Bahamas, the Quick Lane Bowl (played in Detroit) would be the best option for fans from the MAC to travel to. This will help produce larger crowds for these teams to play in front of giving them the chance to feel a much different atmosphere than they are used to.

This bowl will also attract a lot more media attention because of the opponent the team from the MAC would be facing. The media likes to revolve around teams from the power 5 conference, which the ACC and B1G are a part of. Since the MAC would be playing against a team from one of these conferences compared to a WAC or Mountain West team as usual the game would receive more attention in turn giving more attention to the MAC team.

I think the MAC made a great move by gaining a partnership with this bowl, even though it is not a guaranteed spot, there is still a great chance that they could get the opportunity to send one of their teams to this bowl and make a name for the conference. I think it’s time that the rest of the nation got in on some of the MACtion and a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl could be a great way to do so.