NCAA Playoffs Point to Giant Crescendo
By Bo Carter
College Insider, sportsandoutdoors.guru
We’ll all know Sunday at 11:45 a.m. (CST) via ESPN about the four teams making the inaugural semifinals toward to the championship game on Jan. 12, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
There’s already a buzz surrounding the title game. Imagine the thump-thump build-up to the game itself.
The big question remains how 12-0 Florida State can remain fourth after being leapfrogged (pun intended) by TCU at 10-1 and playing Saturday for a possible Big 12 Conference co-championship with Baylor and Kansas State. Coach Gary Patterson’s Frogs are 7-1 in Big 12 play and face Iowa State, a decided underdog in Fort Worth. Some 88 miles down I-35W in Waco, Baylor (7-1 Big 12, 10-1 overall and sixth in the CFP rankings) meets Kansas State (7-1 in Big 12).
The big questions remain about how an Ohio State win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game – possible, maybe even likely — might vault the Buckeyes from No. 5 into the coveted Top Four. What would a Missouri upset of current No. 1 Alabama do to the CFP? Meanwhile, No. 2 Oregon must overcome an Arizona crew that has upended the Ducks twice over the last 13 months in the Pac-12 title bout.
Drum beats – Already there is a hue and cry from coaches and major administrators to expand the new playoff system to eight teams. Expect a ton of conversation on the shock jock sports talk shows, in barber shops and at the water coolers nationwide next Monday. Stay tuned…
The National Football Foundation and the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will announce the winner the of the 2014 Wuerffel Trophy, which and honors the name of NFF College Hall of Fame QB and Florida grad Danny Wuerffel, and is presented to the college football player who best exhibits exemplary community service, during the NFF morning press conference as part of the festivities surrounding the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City on Dec. 9.
The College Football Hall of Fame opened on Aug. 23 in the heart of Atlanta and continues with its popular legacy brick campaign. As part of this exclusive, limited-run opportunity, college football fans can purchase a commemorative brick with a personalized message that will forever be part of this historic 94,256-square-foot attraction. Prices begin at $100, and individuals can learn more about the multiple purchase options by visiting www.cfbhall.com/bricks or calling 1-855-HOF-BRIX (463-2749). Fans can take a virtual tour online of the of the new College Football Hall of Fame via a live camera during the history of the construction site by clicking here and a time lapse video of the hall’s history by clicking here.
The NFF also has a special campaign that encourages people to tell why football matters to them. The campaign, called Football Matters to Me, will provide people from border-to-border and coast-to-coast a voice in highlighting the positive impact that football has had on their lives by utilizing social media platforms and the hashtag: #ImAFootballPlayer.
The effort encourages participation via a series of national television spots with high-profile former players who subsequently achieved remarkable success later in life. The campaign was announced at the Omni Dallas Hotel during the 2013 NFF Leadership Hall of Fame induction of Jerry Jones, the owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones, who attributes much of his success in life to his experiences as a college football player at Arkansas, worked with the NFF to help launch the campaign. Individuals can get involved in the effort by simply posting their football stories and explaining how the sport’s life lessons have helped them off the field. Whether it’s a Tweet, a few sentences on a Facebook page or a video link, individuals can tell their football stories, and by using #ImAFootballPlayer, their testimonials will become part of the Twitter feed on the NFF homepage (footballfoundation.org).
Gridbits — The 99 points in the 55-44 Alabama win over Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl represented the most points scored in the 121-year-old series, which was interrupted by agreement of the schools from 1908-47…After its victory at Texas last Thursday, TCU is 17-4 the weeks after open dates, 28-3 when rated in the Top 10 nationally and 11-1 in games when the Horned Frogs have had at least 10 days to prepare under head coach Gary Patterson … In the face of Alabama-Birmingham dropping football last week, Charlotte is stepping up its preparations to join NCAA FBS and Conference USA as a full-fledged football member in 2015 … Ohio University’s Frank Solich, formerly fired at Nebraska, apparently can coach football. He has guided the Bobcats to bowl eligibility for a school-record sixth consecutive season. Meanwhile, in Lincoln, Husker fans never embraced head coach Bo Pelini, will not return for 2015…SMU was expected to name Clemson offensive coordinator and former Texas A&M student-athlete Chad Morris as head coach Monday afternoon.
NM Aggie action — New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin is working with administrators on some updated plans for recruiting and the state of the Aggie football program…Head coaches Reggie Barlow (Alabama State) and Sparky Woods (VMI) will not return to their posts for 2015…Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has vacated his post after the 2014 regular season.
Bowling lane — There are 78 teams eligible for the record 39 bowl slots in post-2014. The Southeastern Conference leads with 12 entries while the Atlantic Coast Conference has 11 qualifiers after Pittsburgh’s win over Miami (Fla.)…Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and Appalachian State are conditional bowl bid recipients in their first year in NCAA FBS while the Mid-American Conference is seeking a possible waiver for Buffalo, which at 5-6 had its game with Kent State last month cancelled by severe winter weather conditions…Temple has a possible qualification at 6-6 with a season-ending victory over Cincinnati (8-3 overall) Saturday…Oklahoma State at 5-6 and playing Oklahoma in Big 12 activity Saturday also has a chance to reach bowl berth eligibility…Fresno State can appeal to the NCAA with a 6-7 record for postseason play if the Bulldogs lose to Boise State in the MWC title contest.
Conference title match-ups: ACC – Florida State vs. Georgia Tech; Big Ten – Ohio State vs. Wisconsin; C-USA: Louisiana Tech at Marshall; MAC – Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois; MWC – Boise State vs. Fresno State; Pac-12 – Oregon vs. Arizona; SEC – Missouri vs. Alabama…Last Saturday’s Louisiana Tech-Rice contest in Conference USA was one of a handful of winner-take-all situations in the week prior to FBS conference title bouts, and Tech outscored the Owls 76-31.
Individual honors — Oregon QB and National Player of the Year/Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota has pitched for 229-of-334 passes for 3,470 yards, a 68.6 percent completion rate, 10.39 yards per completion, 36 TDs and just two interceptions…TCU senior safety Sam Carter notched his 11th and 12th career interceptions against Texas for an all-time school record for pass pilfers…Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty threw for a Conference USA game record eight touchdowns in a wild, 67-66 overtime win over previously-unbeaten Marshall last Friday. The loop rivals rolled up 1,500 yards of total offense between them…Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes passed for a Big 12 Conference freshman-record 609 yards and six TDs against No. 5 nationally Baylor…Finalists for the 69th annual Outland Trophy are Texas DT Malcom Brown, Auburn C Reese Dismukes and Iowa OT Brandon Scherff. The winner will be denoted on the 2014 Home Depot College Football Awards Nomination Special on ESPNU Dec. 11…Oklahoma freshman RB Samaje Perine has been named Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week twice this season…North Texas co-captain Cyril Lemon recalled his odyssey over 40 days before his family settled in Marble Falls, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, La., in 2005…Baylor RB Shock Linwood became the school-record-setting 1,000-yard running back for a fifth consecutive season.
Milt Tenopir, the offensive line coach at Nebraska for head coaches Tom Osborn and Frank Solich for 29 years, will receive the inaugural Dr. Tom Osborne Legacy Award at the Outland Trophy Dinner on Jan. 15, 2015, at the downtown Doubletree in Omaha, Neb.
Renovations at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field continued this week with preparations for an implosion of the west side of the stadium on Dec. 22. The pressbox and some suites will be relocated to the east side of the stadium after the third round of construction…Kansas State is moving offices while making major renovations at Snyder Family Stadium.
By the books — Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Stanford shared the American Football Coaches Association’s 2014 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. Each school posted a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete classes of 2007. This is the record 13th time Duke has won the award.
2014-15 Inaugural College Football Playoff Schedule
(All Times EST)
Dec. 31, 2014 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, 1 p.m. – Host Bowl East, ESPN
Dec. 31, 2014 – VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 5 p.m. – Host Bowl West, ESPN
Dec. 31, 2014 – Capital One Orange Bowl – ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC or Notre Dame, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla., 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Jan. 1, 2015 – AT&T Cotton Bowl, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 1 p.m. – Host Bowl, ESPN
Jan. 1, 2015 – Rose Bowl presented by Northwest Mutual, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, Calif. – CFP Semifinal, 5 p.m., ESPN
Jan. 1, 2015 – Allstate Sugar Bowl, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La., 8:30 p.m. – CFP Semifinal, ESPN
Jan. 12, 2015 – Inaugural College Football Championship Game – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 8:30 p.m., ESPN