Illinois getting it done on both sides of the ball
The fighting Zookers are 6-0 and have a big one Saturday at home against Ohio State (3:30 on ABC / ESPN).
The Illini are getting it done on both sides of the ball right now. They are 17th in scoring defense (9th in rushing def.); 32nd in scoring offense (13th in rushing offense).
A couple of stats that caught our eye in particular...
Receiver A.J. Jenkins has 450 combined receiving yards over the past two games...the most in Big Ten history.
Illinois has forced at least one turnover in 21 straight games, the longest streak in the nation.
And finally, over the last 23 seasons, only Michigan has beaten Ohio State more times that Illinois has.
Great opportunity for Zook and his staff to get to 7-0; but we're equally confident that Fickell and crew will have the Buckeyes ready for battle.
The grass isn't always greener
In 1999 Mark Mangino was the offensive line coach at Oklahoma. In 2000, Bob Stoops promoted Mangino to offensive coordinator, a position he would hold for two seasons before being named head coach at Kansas before the 2002 season.
In the four seasons leading up to his hiring, Kansas had averaged 4 wins per year. Going back further, in the 70s the Jayhawks averaged just over 4 wins per year, in the 80s, just over 4 wins per year, in the 90s they raised the average to nearly 6 wins thanks in large part to some good seasons early in the decade. So, over 30 years or so, this was a program that averaged 4 or 5 wins per season.
Mangino took over in 2002 and it took him a while to rebuild the program. As a matter of fact, in his first 3 seasons they averaged 4 wins. But then they started clicking...From 2005-2008 they averaged over 8 wins per season and had that great run in 2007 where they wound up 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
In 2009 they started 5-0; but then things fell apart. Lots of things happened. Once the season ended, the administration decided to make a change and Mangino was no longer with the program. The Jayhawks have struggled since and it won't get any easier this weekend...
Stoops, who remains close with Mangino, is bringing his squad to Lawrence this weekend. Earlier this week, Stoops had this to say, "In general, I think some people believe the grass is always greener somewhere else. You find out it's not always that way."
Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman wrote a very good article about Stoops comments (and there's a lot more that what we wrote above).
Tramel notes that Stoops said that while he was the defensive coordinator at Florida, he was offered some head coaching jobs that he felt were dead-end jobs. "I'm not that good a coach...some places there's reasons they have the history they do."
Stoops wound up picking the right job and he's done fairly well at Oklahoma. He went 7-5 in his first season; but since then...his teams have won 10 games in 9 of 11 seasons (they won 8 in the other two seasons) 12 bowl appearances with 6 bowl victories and 1 National Championship.
This coach has called over 20,000 plays
Actually, by our calculations, Norm Chow has called over 21,000 plays.
Chow says that he has called every play everywhere he has coached since 1982 (30 seasons).
We figure an average of 11 games per season, 65 plays per game (current national average is 70), 30 seasons...just over 21,000 play calls. Can you even imagine that?
A couple of the quarterbacks that Chow has tutored include Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Ty Detmer and Matt Leinart (those last three won the Heisman).
On the subject of calling that many plays, Chow laughingly said, "I don't know if that is something to brag about or complain about."
1 of the 10 best rivalries?
Admittedly, no one on our staff lives in, or has coached at, either Toledo or Bowling Green; but we were a little surprised a few minutes ago when we took a look at twitter to see what coaches were saying this morning.
Now Tim Beckman is a great coach; and he has Toledo playing well and we expect that he will build on this for quite some time.
However, his tweet this morning in which he proclaimed "53 hours till kickoff of one of the 10 best rivalries in the country!" might be pushing the envelope a little. Love the passion; not sure of the research behind the "10 best" part.
Regardless, good for him stirring it up in Toledo (and Bowling Green).
Should be a great game.
Historically huge game tonight
For only the second time in regular season history (that's a long time), the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the D-II poll are playing tonight. #2 Delta State (led by Ron Roberts) plays at #1 North Alabama (coach be Terry Bowden) tonight at 8 eastern. The game will be broadcast on CSS.
These two teams have met 9 times already since 2006 and who knows, they might just see each other again in the playoffs. Last season, Delta State beat North Alabama in the quarterfinals and made it to the National Championship (Minnesota-Duluth won the title game).
These two teams have won the last five Gulf South Conference titles.
Huge game. Hope it's a great one.
Good slate tonight.
All times Eastern.
Texas Southern at Alabama A&M - 7:30 - ESPNU
Delta State at North Alabama - 8pm - CSS
San Diego State at Air Force - 8pm - CBSSN
USC at Cal - 9pm - ESPN
Pearland (TX) at Clear Creek (TX) - 8pm - FSN
Saban: I'm not going to pull a Steve Spurrier on you
Love this. Coach Saban has been receiving media requests every week to meet with his quarterback AJ McCarron.
Saban allowed McCarron to speak briefly after a couple of their games this season; but does not regularly allow the media to meet with his quarterback.
Saban's response today was basically: It's my job to decide what's best for our program and I feel that AJ needs to continue to focus on preparing for games. At some point I'll allow you guys to speak with him; but if you keep asking everyday, I'm going to hold him back even more.
Then Saban light-heartedly [we think] added, "I'm not going to pull a Steve Spurrier on you. The best thing to do is let a sleeping dog lie."
Adopting new technology at Oregon State
It wasn't easy; but recently Mike Riley took a big step...
Yes, Mike Riley sent his first.....wait for it......yes, his first text message! Congratulations Coach.
The man has been tweeting for months (well at least his account has been tweeting); yet he's just sending his first text.
Extremely fitting that the response from his first text was, "Who are you? Why do you have Mike Riley's phone?".
Whatever you do Coach, please don't start adding :) at the end of your texts.