A creative idea
Ball State is promoting wide reciver Willie Snead for the Biletnikoff Award through a creative "This is SportsCenter" type video.
What it's like on the headsets during an Oregon game
Esver wonder what the headset conversation is like during an Oregon game? If so, today is your lucky day.
Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com provided an excellent look at the inner workings of the Oregon of last Saturday's Utah game, and it's excellent.
What struck out to me was the yin-and-yang of the Oregon coaching staff. As you'd expect, Nick Aliotti is the yin. The Ducks' defensive coordinator stands while his unit is on the field, does the lion's share of the talking among defensive assistant, and is easily the Oregon coach most likely to raise his voice. He's also very good at what he does.
"You're 100 percent right now," a staff member told Aliotti after he correctly predicted every single Utes' play on the opponent's first possession. "Every play they've called, you've called it."
The offensive coaches are calmer than their defensive counterparts, and more collaborative. Wide receivers coach Matt Lubick and graduate assistant Joe Bernardi chime in with what they see (running backs coach Gary Campbell is the quiet one of the group) and feed it to offensive coordinator Scott Frost, with input from head coach Mark Helfrich along the way. We loved Moseley's note that Frost didn't leave his seat once during the first half, nor did he raise his voice...not once.
For a day in what Aliotti calls the "stress box", last Saturday could've been a lot more stressful. Oregon led 10-0 after one, then saw its lead cut to 17-14 for all of 13 seconds early in the third quarter after De'Anthony Thomas took a kickoff back for a touchdown. Oregon defeated Utah, 44-21.
It's an intriguing look inside the brain trust of one of the most successful coaching staffs in college football. Take a look.
Briles, Gundy, Sumlin, Les, Graham and Mora headline the Top Ten Coaching Matchups of Week 13
1. The Baylor offensive staff vs. the Oklahoma State defensive staff - Baylor ripped through the Oklahoma State defense on Dec. 1 last year to the tune of 296 passing yards and 319 rushing yards on their way to a 41-34 win in Waco. That game was a major step to when Baylor became BAYLOR, and they haven't slowed down since. Saturday night Baylor will face the biggest test of the season - in terms of the opponent lining up across the line of scrimmage and stakes surrounding the game - without its best big-play wide receiver, starting left tackle and possibly its top two running backs.
2. The Texas A&M offensive staff vs. the LSU defensive staff - No championship aspirations on the line in this one, but goodness gracious this should be a fun game. Johnny Football doing his Johnny Football thing at Death Valley and John Chavis' batch of gazelles. LSU pushed Manziel into the worst game of his short career - 29-of-56 for 276 yards with three interceptions, 17 rushes for 27 yards, no touchdowns - in the Tigers' 24-19 win in College Station. This year's unit isn't as good as the 2012 LSU defense, but it's still ranks 24th nationally and represents Texas A&M's biggest challenge since the Alabama game.
3. Todd Graham vs. Jim Mora - Each of the four Pac-12 head coaches hired before the 2012 season - Graham, Mora, Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach - has been successful in his own right, but Graham (16-7) and Mora (17-7) have won the most. Mora won last year's duel, 45-43, on a 33-yard field goal as time expired, sending his Bruins to the Pac-12 Championship instead of Graham's Sun Devils. Once again, these teams sit atop the Pac-12 South standings and a trip to Eugene for the Rose Bowl is on the line.
4. Gary Pinkel vs. Hugh Freeze - Aside from one disastrous quarter against South Carolina, it's been a perfect season for Pinkel. A National Coach of the Year type of season, pushing Missouri from 5-7 to 9-1, a top 10 ranking and in control of the SEC East. But in a backloaded schedule, Missouri has to win at Ole Miss on Saturday and beat Texas A&M next week or cede the division title to the Gamecocks. Those are the stakes as Pinkel's Tigers pay visit to an Ole Miss team that's won four in a row and quietly played some pretty darn good football all season long. If Missouri wants to go to Atlanta, it has to earn it.
5. Bob Stoops vs. Bill Snyder - After two months spent on opposite sides of the line graph, the Sooners and Wildcats are intersecting. On a sharp incline, Kansas State has been the Big 12's third best team since October, giving Oklahoma State and Baylor their stiffest tests of the season (outside of OSU's inexplicable loss to West Virginia) and running off four straight wins. If this were basketball, they'd be the low-seeded team you want no part of on your side of the bracket. And to continue that analogy, Oklahoma would be the high-seeded team primed for an upset. Playing without its starting quarterback, starting running back and a wide receiver, the Sooners enter a game which should feature twice as many rushes as passes - a game that Kansas State comes much more equipped to win.
6. The Minnesota offensive staff vs. the Wisconsin defensive staff -
7. The Wisconsin offensive staff vs. the Minnesota defensive staff -
Temperatures in the low twenties. Wisconsin and Minnesota. This should be the most Big Ten game of the Big Ten season. And to win, it'll require withstanding the other team's rushing onslaught.
Minnesota has rushed an average of 50 times per game for 252 yards and three touchdowns in its eight wins, and a total of 61 times for 166 yards and no scores in its two defeats. Wisconsin is playing the same football under Gary Andersen it played under Bret Bielema and Barry Alvarez before him. The Badgers rank seventh nationally with 3,079 rushing yards and 34 rushing touchdowns. There are no secrets here.
8. The Oklahoma State offensive staff vs. the Baylor defensive staff - Circling back to the biggest game of the weekend, I'm going to list off a set of rankings and let you guess which team to which they should be attributed: 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st. That's the Baylor....defense. The Bears rank first or second in the Big 12 in scoring defense, rush defense, yards per carry allowed, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, yards per attempt allowed, total defense and yards per play allowed. In Oklahoma State, Phil Bennett meets its first (and only) truly two-dimensional offense. Most importantly, can the Bears hold serve for three or four consecutive drives if Oklahoma State knocks the Baylor offense out of rhythm for a quarter?
9. James Franklin vs. Butch Jones - Franklin refuses to call this game a rivalry and, considering Vanderbilt has beaten Tennessee a grand total of five times since 1960, he's right. It's not. But it's a game Tennessee really needs to win. The Vols haven't lost to Vanderbilt in consecutive seasons since losing seven straight from 1920-26, and they're in a must-win situation if Jones wants to extend his debut campaign into November.
10. Urban Meyer vs. the Beauty Pageant - With games against Chattanooga and Idaho, Alabama and Florida State cede away the national spotlight before next week's rivalry games. Baylor goes on the road for a game it may very well lose. After scoring 60 points, and winning by 25, on the road and losing ground in the polls, Meyer has no choice but to open up the playbook against Indiana and its 124th-ranked defense. Vegas put the spread here at 34.5. I'd take the Buckeyes to cover that by halftime. They have no other choice.
Snyder's hand written notes have been sent after nearly every game for 22 years
Bill Snyder has been the coach at Kansas State for 22 seasons. That's long enough to turn a program from basement-dweller to national title hopeful, retire, and then come back to do it all over again.
While Snyder's legacy is already destined to live forever in Manhattan, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and beyond the realm of college football, there are a few hundred people out there that will hold Snyder in even higher esteem because of a simple, thoughtful act of authoring a quick hand-written note.
We've highlighted Snyder's hand written notes to opponents before (like Brock Jensen at North Dakota State after the Bison beat the Wildcats in Manhattan), but today we came across an interesting article where Snyder admits that he's been doing it for nearly his entire head coaching career, and also explains why he feels compelled to squeeze in a personal note to a player (or coach) on the opposing team after each and every week.
“I appreciate opponents that prepare well and play well and show quality principles and values,” he told The Oklahoman.
“The letters that I've sent to players over the years — and coaches for that matter — it's just sharing my appreciation for what they do and how they prepared and how they played. Just recognizing what they do.”
Somewhere out there are a few hundred letters, and a few hundred people that (if they were smart enough) are holding on to that post game letter from coach Snyder. It's just part of the old school approach that has made him into the coach, and icon that he is. If you know anything about Snyder, you know that these notes are genuine and come from the heart. Only recently have the hand scribbled notes been uncovered for everyone to see, due in large part to social media.
Someday those letters are more than likely going to make their way to the College Football Hall of Fame. Then coaches everywhere will be able to add the simple act of kindness to an ever-growing list of underrated things that may seem trivial to most in the profession, but the fact that Snyder found the importance in it is what makes him the man, and coach, that he is and that will be remembered far longer than his accomplishments on the football field.
Snyder has found more than a handful of ways to leave a legacy, and he's not even done yet.
UC Davis has written a football-themed rap song
More often than not, when sports-themed anthems are, well, they're bad. It takes a special skill to work football nomenclature into verse form without sounding like a complete cheeseball. Click here if you don't believe me.
But this UC Davis rap anthem "Go Hard" is, dare I say, pretty good. Don't expect to see Rev Marc and Mo Grant accept a Grammy for this one, but they get the job done.
It's too bad the team only has a couple more days to enjoy it. The 4-7 Aggies close the 2013 season at Sacramento State on Saturday.
'This is what makes us unique at Ole Miss'
Every video that Ole Miss churns out is top quality, and this one is no exception.
It starts with Hugh Freeze explaining the traits that make Ole Miss a special place to play and go to school, and then rolls into some highlights of players having fun and ballin' out.
This is really good stuff, and sums up the environment and culture that Hugh Freeze and his staff have created for their players in Oxford.
Video: All-Access inside meetings at Louisiana-Lafayette
Go inside the weight room and meeting rooms with the Louisiana-Lafayette staff in this video from the good folks over at ESPN.
After losing their first two games to Arkansas and Kansas State, the Ragin Cajun's have ripped off eight straight wins. Six of those eight wins have been by double digits.
The key to their success over the last few seasons under head coach Mark Hudspeth and his staff comes down to two things; working hard, and having fun.
"We work hard to try to be the hardest working team in the country, but also, we try to have a great time with our players." Hud explained.
There's a good reason why Hudspeth's name comes up every offseason when it comes to high profile job openings, and this clip highlighting how him and his staff operate is a great peek into why athletic directors have him on their short list of guys they want to see running their football program.
Thursday TV - Four college games and an NFL game
At the beginning of the year, most NFL fans had the New Orleans vs. Atlanta match up circled on their calendars, and while the Falcon's hadn't had the type of year that they'd hoped for, this one should still be interesting. The last three meetings between these two franchises have been decided by ten points or less.
All times Eastern.
New Orleans at Atlanta - 8:25 - NFL Network
Nicholls State at Southeastern Louisiana - 7 - ESPN3
Rice at UAB - 7:30 - Fox Sports 1
Rutgers at UCF - 7:30 - ESPN
UNLV at Air Force - 9:30 - ESPNU