A few notes about tonight's game

Washington visits California tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Here's what stands out to us gametime approaches. 

Two-faced Huskies: Washington has been stout at home this season. The undefeated seasons of Stanford and Oregon State came to an end in Seattle. Add in wins over San Diego State and Portland State and the Huskies are 4-1 in their home kennel, with the lone setback coming 24-14 to USC. Going on the road, however, is a completely different story. Washington is 0-3 and has been outscored 145-38 away from home. The competition in the first three games (LSU, Oregon and Arizona) is tougher than what Steve Sarkisian's team will face tonight, but the Huskies haven't beaten anyone away from Seattle in 13 months. 

In between a rock and a hard place: California enters tonight at 3-6, which means the Golden Bears must win out to avoid missing a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. Nevermind the fact that Jeff Tedford's next two games after tonight come against BCS No. 4 Oregon and BCS No. 11 Oregon State, the Bears will doom themselves to an extra-early hibernation (Cal's regular season ends on Nov. 17) without a win tonight. 

When the Huskies throw: Washington has struggled to throw the ball this year, standing ahead of only Colorado in the Pac-12 and 109th in the country in passing efficiency. Washington passers throw for a conference-worst 5.73 yards per attempt with a total of eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Meanwhile, Cal's defense has picked off eight passes in their last four games.

The Tosh Bowl: Tonight marks the first time Washington defensive line coach/defensive run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi returns to Berkeley after a dozen years in the Cal program as a player, graduate assistant and defensive line coach. Lupoi has his work cut out for him in retooling a unit that ranks last in the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss.

Turnovers tell the story: Washington has not lost a game in which it won the turnover battle. Conversely, the Huskies have not won a game in which they did not force more turnovers than their opponent. (LSU and Washington tied the turnover battle, 1-1). On the opposite sideline, USC's win over Cal stands alone as the only time a team that lost more turnovers than it gained managed to win the game in the Golden Bears' nine outings this season. In the 17 combined games of Cal and Washington's season, only one time has a team lose the turnover battle and win the game. 

Video of Oregon's white on white uniform

...Just when you thought Oregon had every uniform combination covered, they come out with this white on white on white version for their match up tomorrow against USC. Very smooth looking.

The futuristic themed video breaks down all of the features. 



Video: ESPNU Ole Miss All-Access

ESPNU cameras honed in on Hugh Freeze and his Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday, Oct. 16.  The show lasts a full 23 minutes, so instead of simply providing the video, we decided to point out what stood out to us in the peek behind the curtain of Freeze's program. The Worldwide Leader had good timing, as Ole Miss was fresh off a 41-20 win over Auburn. 

The show opens with Freeze and his staff in the meeting room. The staff is reading through "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy. Today's passage focuses on the importance of expressing love to your children. Moments like that won't help Ole Miss gain a schematic edge over their next opponent, but they will help the staff pull together when the Rebels find themselves down by five on the road with two minutes to play. 

Oddly enough, watching Ole Miss All-Access made me realize the far-reaching impact that Oregon has had on college football. At the 8:30 mark, Freeze explains how important it is for his program to "Win the Day." The phrase is plastered on the wall in Ole Miss' football facility, and it's even on the front end of the golf cart Freeze drives through campus to make sure his players attend class.  

Freeze also subscribes to another Oregon staple - short, efficient practices.

"We don't practice long," said Freeze. "The shorter practices for us are sometimes the better ones. You've got to be on top of your details to do that and you have to have great energy and coach on the run, becuase we're not going to have any time to correct on the field. We do that in the film room."

Freeze's assistants are the stars of the show. ESPN cameras take viewers in the film room with offensive line coach Matt Luke, cornebacks coach Wesley McGriff and special teams coordinator/linebackers coach Tom Allen. The coaches are clear, effective communicators that clearly have the respect and attention of their players.

"Our assistant coaches are invaluable," Freeze explained. "They really are where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Every single person in this building was faced with one tasked when they were hired by me and that is to capture the hearts and minds of our players."

Freeze spent the majority of his attention on the offensive backfield working with quarterbacks on the timing, fundamentals and decision-making of the Rebels' spread offense.

Freeze is in his first year as the Rebels' head coach but not his first go-round in Oxford. He served as an assistant in the Ole Miss program from 2005-07. He remembers the tradition of Ole Miss football - and thinks he can lead them back there.

"It's not that long ago that this program was competing for the (SEC) West championship," Freeze told the ESPN cameras (21:30 mark). "Certainly there's been a few lean years here but there's no reason it can't be restored."

The show closes with Freeze motivating his team for the short term, to stay focused during their off week, and the long term, to keep improving throughout the season.

"Don't be satisfied with where we are," Freeze said. "Let's keep it moving forward. Keep building until the end of the year."

So far, so good. The Rebels defeated their next opponent, Arkansas, 30-27. 


Howard Schnellenberger: I can convince anyone Kentucky is a good job

Howard Schnellenberger, the famed head coach at Miami, Louisville, Oklahoma and most recently at Florida Atlantic, recently gave an interview to Larry Vaught at VaughtsViews.com. Schnellenberger provided a myriad of thoughts on what direction Kentucky should go in hiring its new head coach, provided they indeed decide to make a change.

“Miami was going to drop to Division I-AA before I got there and it was about the same way at Louisville,” Schnellenberger said. “Both were on their last gasp. They both called a timeout and tried to analyze what to do and who to bring in. In both cases, they brought in somebody that was bigger than the job. That’s one part of the equation at Kentucky."

Obviously Kentucky is nowhere close to dropping to FCS, but the program has struggled of late. Kentucky football recently dropped below .500 all-time for the first time since 1902. The Wildcats are 1-8 this season and are in the midst of their third straight losing season.

“If they do decide make change, they have to decide what they have done in the past will not get it done,” said Schnellenberger. "Bring in someone with a proven track record and has a reason for wanting the job. If you give me 20 minutes with a coaching candidate, I can convince him why Kentucky is a good job.”

Schnellenberger emphasizes that the ideal coaching candidate not only knows how to win, but wants to win at Kentucky.

“Kentucky has every natural resource you need to be good,” Schnellenberger said. “There should be no inferiority complex at Kentucky. If the university will focus its resources financially, spiritually and psychologically for the development of a great football program with the right guy in charge that brings a lot of confidence with him and a lot of public awareness to the university, then they have a chance to succeed."

According to Schellenberger, Kentucky presently finds itself stuck between mediocrity and success. From 2006 to 2011 the Wildcats bounced anywhere from five to eight wins. 

"The worst thing that can happen to a program is going 4-8, 6-6, 5-7, maybe 7-5," he said. "Just good enough to every once in a while have a winning season. Those are the ones that limp along and there’s no way they will take the next leap up.”

But Coach, does Kentucky have the facilities to compete in the SEC?

“Bull—-. Facilities are the last thing you need," said Schnellenberger. "At Miami we had the worst facilities of any top 100 team in the country and we won the national championship. At Louisville, look at where we were before they got Papa John’s (Cardinal) Stadium and we beat Alabama."

In Schnellenberger's mind, everything Kentucky needs to succeed is already at its fingertips. He thinks an SEC schedule can be used to the Wildcats' benefit in recruiting.

"Kentucky is in the greatest conference in the world. It’s people that make a difference because you have the schedule to sell. You are in the most productive, financially sound conference in all of them. The university is an outstanding academic institution. You are sitting in a great geographical area. And you are fortified by the best basketball team in America.”

If there are four schools in the country that will never be confused as anything but a basketball school, Kentucky is one of them. But Schnellenberger doesn't see that as a negative.

“At Louisville, I used the basketball program," he said. "Can you imagine bringing football players in from Florida and bringing them into Rupp Arena on any given game and see the pageantry and excitement and all that. That is a recruiting opportunity that is unprecedented. Only a few schools have that kind of stage. You have all kinds of stuff going at Kentucky.”

It remains to be see what steps Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart takes with his football program but a stop in Louisville to see the old coach is certainly one of them.

Read the full interview at VaughtsViews.com.

Maryland is at it again with unique uniforms

After last years season opener, Maryland has become synonymous with using their state flag in their uniforms. 

First the helmets and the jerseys, and now the cleats. They'll be rocking the black uniforms pictured above for tomorrow's game against Georgia Tech.

Take a look at the cleats and gloves below.



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