Tag:orange bowl
Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:49 pm
 

2012 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff: 2 games in 2 days

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We've known since September 2010 that the 2012 edition of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game would be the annual event's first doubleheader, one matching up Auburn and Clemson in one game and Tennessee and North Carolina State in the other. But Thursday saw the organizers reveal that for the first time, the Kickoff will become a two-day event, one matching up the Volunteers and Wolfpack on Friday, Aug. 31, and the Tigers and other Tigers Saturday, Sept. 1.

“When we created the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game with ESPN, our goal was to kick off the season in a special and memorable way,” Chick-Fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said in a statement. “With these two games, and these four teams and their fan bases, this is going to be a colossal weekend of football in Atlanta – like nothing you have ever seen before.”

While we don't begrudge Stokan or the athletic directors quoted in the statement their excitement over "the first-ever double hosting of marquee, BCS-style games on back-to-back days in the same venue," we also won't begrudge any neutral fans their lack of excitement over games that -- frankly -- don't quite live up to that "BCS-style" billing. Clemson may have won the ACC last season, but none of the other three participants won more than 7 regular season games, with the Vols' 5-7 mark a particular disappointment. (That billboard-worthy Orange Bowl drubbing at the hands of West Virginia even took a bit of the shine off of Clemson's 2011, too.) There's also the little detail that Auburn and Clemson doesn't exactly qualify as an exotic nonconference matchup any longer, not with the two teams having played each of the last two seasons and three of the past five. 

We won't argue with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips when he calls the Auburn-Clemson tilt "one of the national highlights of the opening weekend of college football." But compared to past games like Alabama-Clemson in 2008 or Georgia-Boise State in 2011, we're forced to point out the 2012 Kickoff isn't quite that kind of highlight, either.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 4:30 pm
 

West Virginia has some new billboards

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While West Virginia is making its way to a new era in the Big 12, it's not quite ready to forget about its past. Well, at least not its recent past. 

If you've been cruising along any interstates near Morgantown in recent days, you may have noticed these nice reminders about West Virginia's recent success against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.



While this may seem somewhat insulting to Clemson fans, let's remember that the billboards are in West Virginia, not South Carolina. So it's not as if the Mountaineers are rubbing it in anyone's face.

Though a part of me does wonder if spending money on billboards is the best thing for a school that currently owes the Big East $20 million to do right now.

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

What are the chances of the BCS adopting the Big Ten's home-field semifinals playoff proposal? And if they do, how much of a good thing (if at all) is that for college football? 

Tom Fornelli: I think it's clear at this point that the playoff is coming. Whether or not it's going to be the Big Ten's proposal of the top two seeds hosting semifinal games, I'm not sure.

I do think that's the best way of going about things for the schools and fans, though. It would minimize travel costs for the schools, and it's the only way to make things fair. Hosting the games at places like the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl wouldn't be. Right now, if you're a Big Ten or Big 12 team and you land in the top two, you're not only traveling outside your home state but your entire conference footprint to play in those locations.

Plus, how exciting would it be to see a school like Florida possibly having to travel up north to play Wisconsin in Madison during December? We already know what happens to the Big Ten when it has to head south for the winter. With this proposal we'd get to see what happens to the SEC when it's forced to head north.

As for whether or not this would be a good thing for college football, I don't see how it would be a bad thing. You take a lot of the money that you've been giving to bowl games and put that cash into the schools. Plus, as long as you keep the playoff to the top four teams, get rid of the BCS AQ statuses and everything else, you can restore the bowl traditions that are so important to everybody.

Chip Patterson: I'm with Tom: I don't see how this could be a bad thing. I certainly understand there are plenty of concerns along the way, but any step in this direction is one I support.  

Allowing the top two seeds to host the semi-final games also keeps the integrity of the BCS system intact.  At its core, the system is meant only to determine the two best teams in college football.  Now those two teams will have the advantage of getting to play the gridiron's version of the Final 4 round on their home turf.    Those who are calling for a large-scale playoff would likely be appeased with this one step forward, and the bowl experience that means so much to the fans and players can continue as it has for years.  There is no rich tradition for the BCS National Championship Game itself, so altering the process at the top does not hinder the game of college football. 

Jerry Hinnen: I'm afraid I can see how this proposal could be, if not a bad thing, a worse thing than it should be. 

There's two downsides to the Big Ten's plan as presented. The first is that it proposes to yoink those top four teams out of the bowl pool entirely, meaning that the two semifinal losers wouldn't get the bowl experience at all, despite having the kind of season that would have put them in the BCS top four to begin with. If you're, say, Stanford and your postseason experience is traveling to Columbus to watch your season end in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in 25-degree weather, I'm not sure at all that's going to feel like much of a reward. I'd much prefer the semifinals be played in mid-December, with the losers still eligible for BCS selection; it's better for the teams (who get their deserved week of bowl festivities) and better for the bowls (who get better matchups). 

The other downside is an unavoidable one: that this could be the first step down that slippery slope to the sort of eight- or 12- or 16-team playoff that sees the college football equivalent of the New York Giants ride a single hot streak past more deserving teams to a national championship. This is another reason the Big Ten proposal should do more to placate the major bowls--they've collectively taken a lot of heat for their role in preserving the BCS's current status quo, but their money and influence are also a key line of defense in ensuring the "plus-one" doesn't become a "plus-six."

But whatever downsides you come up with are always going to pale in comparison to the upside. The biggest flaw of the BCS has always been the No. 3 team that deserved its shot as much as either (or both) of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams and didn't get it, the team that -- as Phil Steele has called it -- needs to be in the playoff. The squabbles over No. 4 vs. No. 5 are going to continue, yes, but that's a small price to pay for giving 2001 Miami, 2003 USC, 2004 Auburn, 2010 TCU, or 2011 Oklahoma State their shot. Giving them that shot in an electric on-campus atmosphere -- be it in the Midwest, on the West Coast, the Southeast, wherever -- makes a huge triumph for college football that much more, well, huge.

Bryan Fischer: We're moving toward change, but what form it takes certainly remains to be seen. Let's be clear that there were something like 50 proposals presented at the last BCS meeting, so what's notable is not this specific Big Ten proposal but the fact that the conference has changed its tune and is open to some sort of playoff.


Jim Delany has two things he is looking to accomplish no matter what happens with the BCS: keep the Big Ten in a seat of power and protect the Rose Bowl. This proposal does both and seems to be a win-win for just about everybody. I think we're moving in the right direction and Delany is finally going with the flow instead of obstructing it.

Having seen how well things worked out for the Pac-12 with an on-campus championship game, I'm in favor of including a home field advantage tie-in no matter what proposal surfaces. The detractors are always worried about the regular season and keeping the bowl system and a plus-one/four-team playoff would make things meaningful during the year and keep the current structure (more Alamo Bowls!) in place. The most interesting thing, to me, will be how long we'll be stuck with the system. It could be a 10-plus year deal--which is interesting if tweaks need to be made in order to ensure a better playoff system.

TF: I would think that the any deal has to be longer than 10 years, just because conferences are going to want to keep things from expanding to 8 teams or 16 teams for as long as possible. Because we all know that as soon as the four-team playoff begins, then so will the "Expand the playoffs!" arguments. 

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 4:44 pm
 

PHOTO: Orange Bowl unveils 2013 BCS logo

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The 2012 season will mark just the second time the Orange Bowl has rotated into double bowl-and-BCS national championship hosting duties, and the honor couldn't come a minute too soon for the long-suffering game. Expect organizers to make the most of their time in the spotlight, and that started Thursday with the release of the logo for the 2013 BCS championship game:

 
A statement issued alongside the logo describes it like this ...
The BCS National Championship Game logo incorporates colors and elements that represent the beauty of South Florida. The blue waves represent the world famous beaches of South Florida, while the iconic Orange Bowl orange represents nearly 80 years of college football excellence in South Florida.  The orange border on the BCS National Championship Game logo ties together the rich tradition of the Orange Bowl with the Discover word mark.
... which strikes us as little over-the-top (and yet, simultaneously, bloodlessly corporate) for a logo we find enjoyably classy and understated. But like we said, the Orange is probably entitled to go a little over-the-top this go-round; we should probably all be thankful we haven't just posted college football's answer to the London 2012 logo.
Are you a West Virginia (or South Carolina) fan who'd like to relive all of the Eye on CFB's coverage of last year's Orange Bowl? Click here

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 1:56 pm
 

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will not return next season, the school announced on Thursday.

“I have had a great experience at Clemson and feel good about what we have accomplished the last three years,” said Steele in an official release. “But, there are some other coaching opportunities I wish to pursue at this time.

“It has been rewarding to see this program grow to the point of winning Clemson’s first ACC Championship in 20 years. I want to thank the coaches and players who worked so hard these last three years. Clemson is a special place and I wish the program and the players continued success.”

Steele has served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach since 2009, and is considered one of the ACC's better recruiters. But Clemson's defensive performance in 2011 was less than ideal, coming to a head in the record-breaking 70-33 Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.

No defense in bowl history has allowed 70 points in a game, especially on a national stage like the Orange Bowl. As West Virginia rolled off touchdown after touchdown - including five second-quarter scores - Steele stood on the sideline as the center of attention for an angry and frustrated fan base.

The Tigers ranked 81st nationally in scoring defense (allowing 29.2 points per game), only better than Duke and Maryland in the ACC. This coming just one year after leading the conference in the same category, and with all-conference defensive linemen Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch in the lineup.

“Although we were inconsistent at times with a young defense this year, overall we have been one of the best defenses in the country the last three years under his direction, head coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement.  "I thank him for his hard work and dedication to our program and wish him nothing but the best.”

Steele is considered one of the bright defensive minds in the game, serving as executive head coach and linebackers' coach for Bobby Bowden at Florida State and two season's on Nick Saban's Alabama staff before arriving at Clemson. But Steele's schemes did not seem to work with the Tigers' young personnel, and Clemson was repeatedly burned for big plays in 2011 because of breakdowns in the linebackers and secondary.

Follow Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports for more on this story, including potential replacements for Dabo Swinney's staff.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:00 am
 

BCS National Championship Game stats of note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A few stats of note and records from Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU to capture the BCS National Championship.

- First shutout in BCS title game history.

- Alabama had 384 total yards to LSU's 92.

- LSU crossed the 50 yard line just once, late in the 4th quarter.

- Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.'s opening kick return vs. Florida gained more yards and points than LSU did this entire game.

- It wasn't until A.J. McCarron's 13 yard scramble with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter that Alabama, as a team, passed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's total yardage from last year's championship game. The Crimson Tide finished the game with just 55 yards more than Newton had last year and just 27 more than what Oregon's Darron Thomas had in 2011.

- LSU still wound up gaining 10 more yards than Ohio State did against Florida in 2007.

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- Jordan Jefferson's 29 yards passing was the fewest in the BCS National Championship game and second fewest out of all BCS games played.

- This was the first ever shutout in a BCS game, the previous fewest points scored was Florida State's two versus Oklahoma in 2001.

- Georgia Southern gained more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU did in two (331).

- Every recruiting class Nick Saban has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship.

- LSU will have beaten the Pac-12 and Big East champions as well as the National Champions during the regular season.

- The Tigers will drop to 4-1 in BCS bowls. West Virginia will take over top spot for wins without a loss at 3-0 after their Orange Bowl victory.

- Marquis Maze's 49 yard punt return is the longest against LSU since Javier Arenas' 61yd TD return on Nov. 3, 2007. On Maze's punt return alone, LSU allowed eight times the number of yards they've given up total all season on punt returns.

- The SEC is now 8-1 in the championship game, with the lone loss coming to... the SEC.

- Alabama's defense finished the season by allowing just 106 points. They only gave up nine touchdowns all year, three on the ground and six through the air.

- 2001 Miami allowed 103 points and 2000 TCU allowed 106 in 11 games. Alabama allowed 106 with one extra game and finished the season giving up just 7.57 points per game.

Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:04 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 1:05 pm
 

VIDEO: Darwin Cook finds out Obie was female

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Wednesday night's Orange Bowl was memorable for the offensive display that West Virginia put on by scoring 70 points against Clemson, but if there was one play that stuck out amongst all the scores, it was Darwin Cook's 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

The play was surprising on its own in that seemingly everyone on the field and those watching in the stands thought that Clemson had scored a touchdown only to see Cook racing down the field with the ball in his hands. Once Cook finished his journey to the end zone, the play got even funnier when he tackled Obie, the Orange Bowl mascot, in the back of the end zone.

Well, Darwin got a surprise of his own after the game.



A true gentleman always apologizes to the ladies.
 
 
 
 
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