December 15, 2014 | by Mark McDonald
Befuddled by Bowls

NCAA Strangely Dispels 6-Win Teams

By Bo Carter
Faithful (most of the time) Field Correspondent, sportsandoutdoors.guru

To quote Eddy Clinton’s Internet renewals on the 25th anniversary of his famed radio calls of the Plano East-Tyler John Tyler state high school football championship game at the now-destroyed Texas Stadium in Irving: “Good gosh almighty, Joe Friday!”

GOING BOWLING – Even with six victories, the UTEP Miners were not assured of a bowl bid until the final-play interception vs. Middle Tennessee protected a precious seventh win on the last play of the last game of the regular season. Here, the Miners are led by senior lineman Jerrel Watkins down the players ramp at Sun Bowl Stadium. (El Paso Times photo)

GOING BOWLING – Even with six victories, the UTEP Miners were not assured of a bowl bid until the final-play interception vs. Middle Tennessee protected a precious seventh win on the last play of the last game of the regular season. Here, the Miners are led by senior lineman Jerrel Watkins down the players ramp at Sun Bowl Stadium. (El Paso Times photo)

Hard to believe that the first five of the 38 bowl games are Saturday, including resurgent UTEP vs. a very good Utah State team in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Make it 39 when fans include the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium.

This year, more than any other, reminds players and coaches that six victories makes you “bowl eligible” but not necessarily playing in one. Six-win Middle Tennessee, in fact, lost its bowl footing to UTEP, also with six victories at that moment, to an interception on the last play of a heart-wrencher in El Paso. Here’s the rub:

There were 80 eligible teams for the initial 76 invitations, and the NCAA ruled Sun Belt Conference champion Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and Appalachian State were not eligible for postseason play in their “transition” year from NCAA FCS to the top division in FBS…Seems a little strange that these teams were not given a fighting chance, while Alabama-Birmingham defaulted as a 6-6 entry because of dropping the program.

Tough to see multiple health issues finally sideline good guy, 1970 Heisman Trophy winner and former TCU head coach Pat Sullivan at Samford. He retired earlier this month and has been replaced by former Murray State, Valdosta State and Georgia Southern head coach Chris Hatcher.

The coaching merry-go-round continues, and there’s the possibility that the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth could become the first in history when both head coaches who finished the regular season with their teams were unable to coach in the bowl. Houston dismissed head coach Tony Levine on Dec. 8 while current Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst has been mentioned prominently for the vacant Wisconsin position…

More College Notes … The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame celebrated its 57th Annual Awards Dinner with pomp and circumstance last Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, and it was one of the most memorable in history. The 25th annual William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments, went to David Helton of Duke from a splendid group of 17 of the game’s current collegiate stars.

That group also collected $313,000 in postgraduate scholarships as members of the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. A record crowd of 1,600-plus attended with representatives of every national group in college football and 200-plus schools. For video replay, please access footballfoundation.org/awards-dinner.

The dinner also paid special tribute to ‘14 NFF College Hall of Fame inductees (64th class) and numerous other NFF national award recipients. Some the other national winners were world-renowned doctor and former All-America football player from Brown University Dr. Tom Catena (co-NFF Gold Medal), influential and longtime NFF Board member George Weiss (co-NFF Gold Medal), sports marketing pioneer Jim Host (NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award), Duke Athletics Director Kevin White (John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration), recently retired Michigan play-by-play announcer Frank Beckmann (Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting), and Mike McNeely, a walkon special teams player and reserve receiver at Florida (2014 NFF Legacy Award).

The NFF also issued public thanks to its corporate partners for making the 57th annual Awards Dinner possible. They include: Fidelity Investments, Under Armour, New York Athletic Club, Volar Video and LiveU, Herff Jones, The Pasadena Tournament of Roses, UPS, Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker, EventaGlobal, iSix, Sports Systems, Allstate Sugar Bowl, The Sports Business Journal, and XOS Digital.

RARE BIRD – QB Marcus Mariota last weekend became the first player in Oregon history to win the Heisman Trophy. He leads the Quackers into the busy bowl season that begins Saturday. (Deadspin photo)

RARE BIRD – QB Marcus Mariota last weekend became the first player in Oregon history to win the Heisman Trophy. He leads the Quackers into the busy bowl season that begins Saturday. (Deadspin photo)

Major college football awards denoted last week via the New York Downtown Athletic Club and the Home Depot ESPN Awards Show were 80th annual Heisman Trophy: QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (from three finalists Mariota, Alabama WR Amari Cooper and Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon).

Also, Chuck Bednarik Award: Scooby Wright III, Arizona; Biletnikoff Award: Amari Cooper, Alabama; Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award: Brad Craddock, Maryland; Ray Guy Award: Tom Hackett, Utah; Maxwell Award: Marcus Mariota, Oregon; Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award: Mariota; Outland Trophy: Brandon Scherff, Iowa; Jim Thorpe Award: Gerod Holliman, Louisville; Doak Walker Award: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin; Rimington Trophy: Reese Dismukes, Auburn; John Mackey Award: Nick O’Leary, Florida State (the grandson of Golf Hall of Fame member and former Ohio State golfer and baseball player Jack Nicklaus); Bronko Nagurski Trophy: Wright; Frank Broyles Award (top assistant coach): Tom Herman, Ohio State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach; Rotary Lombardi Award: Wright; Sam Baugh Award: Barndon Doughty, Western Kentucky.

And, ESPN National Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU. William V. Campbell Award recipient David Helton also was recognized during the ceremonies…The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award recipient has captured nine of the last 10 Heisman Trophies from 2005-14, and Mariota is the first native of Hawai’i and alumnus of Oregon to capture the Heisman.

2014 Walter Camp All-America Team …

Player of the Year: Mariota

Offense – QB: Mariota; WR: Cooper, Rashard Higgins, Colorado State; TE: O’Leary; OL: Tre’ Jackson, Florida State; Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M; Scherff, Laken Tomlinson, Duke; C: Dismukes; RB: Tevin Coleman, Indiana; Gordon.

Defense – DL: Vic Beasley, Clemson; Joey Bosa, Ohio State; Nate Orchard, Utah; Shane Ray, Missouri; LB: Paul Dawson, TCU; Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington; Wright. DB: Landon Collins, Alabama; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon; Senquez Golson, Ole Miss; Holliman.

PK: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State; P: Hackett; PR: Jamarcus Nelson, UAB.

Bo_CarterSamuel (Bo) Carter is former sports information director of the Southwest and Big 12 conferences. He currently serves as secretary of the College Baseball Writers Association and correspondent for the American Football Foundation. For more Bo Carter, follow him on Twitter at #bcarter52 and Facebook at Bo Carter (Carrollton, Texas).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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