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College Football News: Florida tops recruiting class

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National signing day.  Huge day, and huge news for Gator Nation as they nabbed four top-10 recruits to top ESPN.com‘s 2010 recruiting class.  Texas, with the two top-10 recruits they nabbed last week on the defensive side of the ball, were ranked 2nd.  Click below for full story:

Gators have four top-10 recruits

Written by Austin Swafford

February 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Season wrap-up…final facts, figures and frustrations

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I probably should have written this last Friday, Saturday or even Sunday.  I hope you will forgive the tardiness of this article as I have been letting the disappointment of the lost championship drain away.  It seems 2009 was just the season destined to see the University of Texas as the #2.  They lost the College World Series finals, the volleyball national championship and the BCS National Championship.  Second place in three sports speaks of a school’s great talent and diversity, but it really would have been nice to see them bring home at least one of those titles.

But I digress.

I just wanted to wrap up the season with a few things.  Some house cleaning items, if you will, along with some thoughts on the national championship game.  First off, if you haven’t seen them, these are the final rankings:

AP USA Today
#1 Alabama (60) #1 Alabama (58)
#2 Texas #2 Texas
#3 Florida #3 Florida
#4 Boise State #4 Boise State
#5 Ohio State #5 Ohio State
#6 TCU #6 TCU
#7 Iowa #7 Iowa
#8 Cincinnati #8 Penn State
#9 Penn State #9 Cincinnati
#10 Virginia Tech #10 Virginia Tech
#11 Oregon #11 Oregon
#12 BYU #12 BYU
#13 Georgia Tech #13 Georgia Tech
#14 Nebraska #14 Nebraska
#15 Pittsburgh #15 Pittsburgh
#16 Wisconsin #16 Wisconsin
#17 LSU #17 LSU
#18 Utah #18 Utah
#19 Miami (FL) #19 Miami (FL)
#20 Mississippi #20 USC
#21 Texas Tech #21 Mississippi
#22 USC #22 West Virginia
#23 Central Michigan #23 Texas Tech
#24 Clemson #24 Central Michigan
#25 West Virginia #25 Oklahoma State



No major differences between the two major human polls.  #1-#7 is the same.  Though I’m trying to figure out why they put TCU ahead of Iowa when Iowa actually won their BCS bowl.  Nebraska seems kind of low considering how they dismantled a ranked opponent.  I’d say the same for BYU.  And how on earth does the Coaches poll still have Oklahoma State ranked?  Did they see how they played against Mississippi?  It was pathetic.

Biggest Winner: Aside from the obvious answer of Alabama for winning the national championship and being a unanimous No. 1, I’d have to call it a toss-up between Boise State and Ohio State.  Boise State manged to finish with its second top-5 finish in school history and continue to build momentum for non-BCS conferences by making this the fourth time in the last six years that a non-BCS team has finished in the top-5.  And Ohio State made one of the bigger poll jumps, moving three spots to put an exclamation mark on a great bowl season for the Big 10 with a top-5 finish.

Biggest Loser: Navy.  They totally dominated a solid Missouri team and still didn’t break the top 25.  They were hosed after an impressive season with plenty of impressive wins.  I can’t believe the voters overlooked Navy, especially when they managed to put Central Michigan in the top 25.  The Pac-10 is a very close second for biggest loser and is worth mentioning.  Oregon State, Stanford and Arizona fell out of the rankings in both polls after two of those three were absolutely throttled in their bowl games.

Here’s how the bowl season played out by conference:

Conference Schools Record Percentage
Independents Navy 1-0 1.000
MWC AF, BYU, TCU, Utah, Wyom 4-1 .800
Big East Cincy, Pitt, Rut, UConn, USF, WVU 4-2 .667
SEC Ala, Ark, Aub, Flor, Geor, Ky, LSU, Miss, SCar, Tenn 6-4 .600
Big 10 Iowa, MichSt, Minn, Nwstern, OSU, PSU, Wis 4-3 .571
Big 12 ISU, Mizzou, Neb, OU, OklaSt, Texas, TxA&M, TTech 4-4 .500
WAC Boise St, FresSt, Idaho, Nev 2-2 .500
Sun Belt MidTen, Troy 1-1 .500
ACC BC, Clem, FSU, GT, Miami, UNC, VT 3-4 .429
C-USA ECU, Hou, Marsh, SMU, SoMiss, UCF 2-4 .333
Pac-10 Ariz, Cal, Ore, OreSt, Stan, UCLA, USC 2-5 .286
MAC BGreen, CMich, NIU, Ohio, Tem 1-4 .200



Biggest Winner: Mountain West Conference.  Even though lots of conferences put on great performances, the MWC was the buzz of the bowl season.  Its only blemish was TCU’s close loss to Boise State…a very respectable loss to have on the record.  Meanwhile, Air Force, BYU, Utah and Wyoming all came up with huge bowl wins that left pundits asking if the MWC should be in the mix of conferences that receive an automatic bid.  I want to be on the record as saying that I’d have no problem with the MWC taking the ACC’s automatic bid, as the ACC fell to 2-10 in BCS bowls (second-worst is the Big 12, still way ahead at 7-10) and posted its third losing bowl season in a row.  They haven’t had a winning bowl season since 2005.  Time to stop treating that mess like a major conference.

Biggest Loser: Pac-10.  And it’s not even close.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  This time last year, the conversation was about the colossus that is the Pac-10 as they closed out an undefeated bowl season.  That seems a distant memory as the Pac-10 posted a 2-5 record, including humiliating losses by Oregon State and Arizona.  The conference’s only victories were USC (topping Boston College in a virtual home game at San Francisco) and UCLA (which beat Temple…not impressive).

Speaking of unimpressive, did anyone say anything about the picks Jon and I made for bowl games?  My record was completely pathetic.  Jon’s was only mildly pathetic.

On BCS Bowls:

Austin: 2-2

Jon: 1-3

Final for bowl season:

Jon: 10-14

Austin: 9-15

Final season total:

Jon: 220-76

Austin: 213-83

I think it’s clear who the big winner and the big loser is on this one.  Congratulations to Mr. Castano on a great season.  I very much look forward to next season and going out on a limb less with those Vanderbilt picks.

Lastly, I just have some thoughts on the national championship that I want to share.

1.  Those were two of the best defenses that I’ve seen square off in college football in recent memory.  I thought Alabama and Texas both deserve huge credit for what they did defensively.  And, since nobody is really talking about them in the wake of Alabama’s performance, I want to say that Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston were awesome and deserve just as much credit as anyone on Alabama that’s getting all the love right now.  The two Texas defensive linemen combined for 18 tackles (14 solo) and three sacks.  There’s no way those two didn’t improve their draft stock with how they played.

2.  Mark Ingram is an absolute beast.  Not that you didn’t already know that, I just want to give credit where it’s due.  After watching Greg McElroy this year and watching what happened when Ingram went out with cramps in the third quarter (Texas held Alabama to 3 yards of offense), I think it’s very easy to say this team wouldn’t be much without Ingram.  Even though I still think Toby Gerhart deserved the Heisman.

3.  The NCAA needs to take a serious look at how games are being officiated, especially in the SEC.  Alabama came into the championship having gone 34 quarters without having a holding call on their offensive line.  That is literally impossible.  I subscribe to the saying that there is a holding call on every play, it’s just a matter of whether you want to call it.  I think that’s true, and that means that SEC officials chose not to call the Tide for holding for eight and a half games.  That’s insane.  And if they played every game like they did against Texas, the idea that it’s just disciplined ball is a myth, because they held all over the place.  I’m not making excuses for the Longhorns…that’s just a fact.

It’s also a fact that there was a false start on Alabama’s first touchdown that the refs didn’t call.  Go back and watch it, and keep an eye on Terrence Cody.  He rocks before the play starts and they missed it.  The officiating in that game was suspect, as it seems to have been all season in Alabama games.  Again, not making excuses for the Longhorns.  These are just facts.

4.  The Texas coaching staff absolutely did not earn their pay in that game.  I know it’s never easy when your two-time Heisman-nominated QB goes down, but the coaching staff flat-out froze in that game.  They showed no faith in Garret Gilbert, running predictable running play after predictable running play, making it easy for Alabama to bunch the line of scrimmage and forcing Gilbert to throw on a third and 12 and a third and 15 in the first half.  Before D.J. Monroe broke a 28-yard run on an end around, Texas ran eight running plays, mostly up the middle, for a total of only 22 yards.  They gave Gilbert no chance in the first half.  But, what’s more, when you saw him on the sidelines he was all by himself.  Nobody coaching him up, encouraging him or even making him feel like he was so much as a part of the team.  They treated him like a pitcher working on a no-hitter in the 8th.

And that was just the most egregious of the mistakes by the coaching staff.  The shovel pass at the end of the first half was a bad call.  They rugby punted with Justin Tucker when they should have been punting it straight and they punted it straight with John Gold when they should have been rugby punting.  Their whole strategy was backwards.  I spent the entire night wondering what Texas could possibly be paying these guys huge sums of money for.  That performance was an embarrassment.

5.  Even with all the losses on defense and offense, Texas will be right back next year with Gilbert.  His 37.5 completion percentage, four interceptions and a fumble, and 73 QB rating is hardly exemplary.  But he showed resilience getting his team back into the game in a hopeless situation.  He fought and showed flashes of brilliance even as his wide receivers let him down repeatedly with numerous dropped passes, including ones on third downs and one in the end zone, all of which could have completely changed the complexion of the game.  Gilbert showed some guts that night, and I think Texas fans will be very happy with what he produces these next three years.

Written by Austin Swafford

January 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

College Football News: Texas Tech has new head coach; USC appears to need one

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Texas Tech reportedly announced today that they have their successor to Mike Leach.  Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville reportedly signed a five-year deal worth about $2 million a year.  Color me surprised that they did not appoint interim coach Ruffin McNeill to the permanent post after he handled the Leach firing with poise and led his team to a huge Alamo Bowl victory.

Tuberville named to coach Red Raiders

In more baffling college coaching news, the Seahawks have reportedly worked out a deal to bring in USC coach Pete Carroll.  Why Carroll would leave USC (where he’s been highly successful and worshipped by fans and media alike) for the NFL (where he was anything but successful or beloved) is beyond me.  Especially for an entirely unenticing job like the Seahawks. 

Look at their roster and tell me you’d take that job.  I dare you.

At any rate, looks like the Trojans will be on the look out for their new head coach.  Possible upgrade for Mike Leach?  Hmmmm…

Sources: Seattle, Carroll agree on deal

Written by Austin Swafford

January 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

College Football News: Texas’s Thomas declares for NFL draft

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News came last night that Texas Longhorns All-America safety Earl Thomas declared that he will leave school after his sophomore season to enter the NFL draft, according to ESPN.com.  The news is the latest (though unsurprising) blow to a team that will be rebuilding next year while having to replace (among others) its entire offensive line, two-time Heisman nominee Colt McCoy, his favorite target Jordan Shipley, and defensive leaders Roddrick Muckelroy, Sergio Kindle and Lamarr Houston.

Thomas set team records this year with eight interceptions and two returned for touchdowns.

Texas’ Thomas leaves school early

Written by Austin Swafford

January 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

College Football News: Agonizing night for Texas QBs

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This was a great article a friend of mine posted on Facebook.  It’s great for anyone who has doubts about McCoy’s effort last night in the national championship against Alabama, for for anyone who wants a glimpse into the human side of the game, and a great article for anyone who wants to know more about the similarities and differences of the experiences of the two Texas QBs last night.  It’s just a great read:

Agonizing night for Texas QBs.

Written by Austin Swafford

January 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Thoughts on the National Championship

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Texas players and fans had their hearts broken last night as Alabama won the national championship against a short-handed Longhorns squad.  Colt McCoy was injured on the first possession of the game and Texas went on to defeat despite a roaring start that included an interception on a fake punt and recovering a short kickoff.  But Alabama wore down Texas as Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson did what they do, rumbling for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns a piece.  It was a thriller, but I just want to generate some discussion.  Do you think that Alabama’s championship is tainted by the injury to Colt McCoy?

Written by Austin Swafford

January 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Big 12, SEC

College Football News: Texas’s O-line on the line; Alabama has chance to clinch CFB dominance

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As a last post previewing the national championship, I just wanted to pass along these articles from ESPN.com.  Phoning it in?  Yeah, maybe.  But I don’t care.  They’re good reads and I really have nothing to add beyond this.  Here’s hoping the championship’s a good one!

Ivan Maisel discusses Texas’s offensive line woes in UT’s O-line aims to improve.

And Pat Forde talks about Alabama’s chance to make history for its conference in SEC on verge of total domination.  The SEC stands to become the first conference to win four straight national championships.  I’ll be honest – I’m not entirely sure what his point is.  He talks about the SEC needing to be defeated because of how they’re eating college football alive, but then sarcastically refers to Texas as an underdog.  Not his best work, but still an interesting read just for the facts and historical perspective.

Written by Austin Swafford

January 7, 2010 at 9:00 am