First and 10 - Examining the conference title scenarios
Congratulations to Gary Andersen and Utah State for wrapping up the final WAC championship with its 48-41 overtime thriller over Louisiana Tech. With one conference title wrapped up, how do the other 10 league championship races shape up as we head into Thanksgiving weekend.
1. The possibility exists for a four-way tie atop the Big 12. If Texas beats Kansas State and Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma (and the four mentioned win all their other games), there will be a four-way tie for the Big 12 title. In that scenario, Texas could emerge from the tiebreakers as the conference's BCS representative. Imagine that occuring when the Longhorns were allowing 197 points in their first four Big 12 games.
2. The ACC Championship is set. Florida State locked up the ACC Atlantic with its 41-14 win over Maryland, and with Monday's self-inflicted postseason ban, Miami is out in the ACC Coastal. In steps another team that struggled mightily on defense this season, Georgia Tech. The eighth ACC title game will be played Dec. 1 in Charlotte, N.C., at 8 p.m. ET on ABC or ESPN.
3. The road to the SEC Championship runs through Auburn. Georgia clinched the SEC East at Jordan-Hare two Saturdays ago, and Alabama can clinch the SEC West with a win over the Tigers on Saturday. Should the unthinkable happen and Auburn shocks the Crimson Tide, through my interpretation of the SEC divisional tie-breakers, LSU would win the West and go to Atlanta.
4. The final Thursday night of the season will be the de facto Big East championship game. Rutgers stands in first place in the Big East at 5-0 and Louisville is second at 4-1. Assuming the Scarlet Knights beat Pittsburgh and Charlie Strong's team defeats Connecticut, the Cardinals will host Rutgers with the league title and an Orange Bowl berth on the line.
5. The Big Ten could be awash in the sea of red. No, not the red of Maryland and Rutgers, at least not yet. Wisconsin has already clinched the Leaders Division for the second straight year, and Nebraska will win the Legends Division with a victory over Iowa on Friday. If Iowa beats Nebraska, Michigan will win the Legends Division if it beats Ohio State. If the Buckeyes win, Bo Pelini's team will slide its way to Indianapolis.
6. The Pac-12 could be headed toward an awkward rematch. Stanford took control of the Pac-12 North with its upset of Oregon, and UCLA clinched the Pac-12 South by beating USC. The Bruins host Stanford on Saturday. If Stanford wins, the teams will meet up again six days later, this time in Palo Alto. UCLA's reward for beating Stanford will be a trip to Eugene to face Oregon, provided the Ducks beat Oregon State. If Oregon State beats Oregon, UCLA can host Stanford again with a Bruins victory. Got it?
7. Conference USA could be headed toward its own rematch. Tulsa clinched the C-USA West with its 23-21 win over Central Florida, and can host the conference championship with a win over SMU. The Knights will win the C-USA East if they beat UAB, which will mean a return trip to Tulsa for the second time in three weeks. If UCF loses, East Carolina wins the division with a defeat of Marshall.
8. The MAC Championship Game is set. 7-0 Kent State and 7-0 Northern Illinois are on a collision course for Detroit. Dave Doeren's team will look to defend its conference title, while Darrell Hazell seeks a MAC title in year two on the job. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
9. The Mountain West is an equilateral triangle. Boise State is 6-1 with a loss to San Diego State, San Diego State is 6-1 with a loss to Fresno State, and Fresno State is 6-1 with a loss to Boise State. If all three teams win out, the conference will declare all tri-champions and ship trophies to each campus.
10. Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee are on course for a de facto Sun Belt Championship Game. The 6-1 Red Wolves have an off week before hosting 5-1 Middle Tennessee, who hosts Troy on Saturday. A Blue Raiders win would set up a winner-take-all showdown in Jonesboro on December 1. Although a possibility exists where Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana - Monroe and Louisiana - Lafayette are all tied atop the standings with two losses. In that scenario, your guess is as good as mine.
UTSA put together a very creative highlight video
Here at The Scoop we come across countless numbers of highlight tapes during a typical week, but this one from UTSA had a little extra creativity put into it that caught our attention.
Take a close look at how the video staff masterfully pieces bits of real action with footage from EA Sports' NCAA Football 2012.
Very, very well executed and well thought out video.
Legendary St. John's coach John Gagliardi retires
After 60 seasons of roaming the sidelines at St. John's (D-III - MN), John Gagliardi has decided to hang it up.
“Seventy years (60 at SJU) is a long time to be doing the same job. Luckily, I've always been blessed with great players, friends, family and support to make it this far. Nobody ever said that getting older was easy. I just can't do the job at the level I used to anymore.” Gagliardi said in a statement on the Johnnies athletics website.
Gagliardi began his coaching career 70 years ago at Trinidad high school (CO), at the age of 16, before moving on to Carroll College (MT) and eventually St. John's. Gagliardi went on to compile a record of 489-138-11 at the college level, making him the winningest coach in college football history. Since 1953, Gagliardi has been firmly entrenched in the St. John's University community, which speaks to his character as a person just as much as it does his coaching career.
Along with his impressive record, Gagliardi gained recognition for his unconventional practice methods. Those methods included not tackling all week, no yelling or blocking sleds, and no whistles. It was a combination of his methodology and success that gave him the distinct honor of being the only active coach to ever be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame back in 2006.
With their most recent national title game appearance coming back in 2003, the Johnnies program had come on some hard times over the past few seasons. Their nine losses over the past two years was the most for the program dating back to the late 60's.
Gagliardi molded St. John's into one of the most consistent winners in small college football. He led the Johnnies to four national championships (1963, 1965, 1976, 2003), six national semifinal appearances (1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2001, 2002) and collected an impressive 30 conference titles and with appearances in 58 post season games with a record of 39-19.
It goes without saying that you didn't want to see your name matched up with the Johnnies come playoff time.
The last paragraph on the St. John's University announcement of his retirement sums up coach Gagliardi perfectly.
"Gagliardi's success is attributable to more than just football strategy and tactics. He created an environment of fun and high expectations, which concentrated on methods and practices that truly focused on winning football games."
There's no doubt that Gagliardi leaves behind a legacy that many coaches will hope to emulate, and he has touched more lives through football alone than any of us can even begin to imagine, not to mention the entire St. John's University community. When the greatest coaches in the history of college football are being argued, it will be impossible to not mention Gagliardi and his contributions to the game.
Al Golden responds to Miami bowl ban
Miami won its sixth game of the year on Saturday, 40-9 over South Florida, and put themselves one win away from playing in their first ACC Championship.
And then it was taken away Monday morning.
For the second straight year, the Hurricanes have decided to self-impose a bowl ban in advance of NCAA sanctions stemming from violations revealed in an August 2011 Yahoo! report.
In his second season at the helm, Al Golden has led the Hurricanes to bowl eligibility twice now with nothing to show for it.
Golden had this to say following the announcement, "Come at me. Bury me all you want. Attack me all you want," Golden said. "These kids who have stuck it out, who have stayed here, who have never gotten one week in two years without hearing about all this nonsense, don’t blame them. And I appreciate all those kids that not only stayed here, but those guys that answered the bell, that answered the call to come here and fix this. And we will get it fixed."
The aim of this column is not to criticize Miami for imposing the ban. Today's administrators, coaches and players are stuck in a rough situation, paying for sins committed long before they arrived in Coral Gables. Sanctions are certainly coming, and nothing would be worse than finding themselves in the situation Ohio State is currently in.
It's the timing of the announcement that I question. I wasn't in the locker room or coaches' offices at Miami, but I'd have to imagine the Hurricanes' morale is low after climbing their way to six wins and the top of the ACC Coastal Division only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Announce the ban before the season and get everyone on the program on the same page.
Miami should be in the clear to chase its postseason dreams by 2014, when Golden's first recruiting class is in its fourth season. By all accounts the Hurricanes should be able to compete for the ACC championship, and maybe more, by then. So the good news is, there's light at the end of the tunnel. It's a long, long tunnel, though.
Arizona going with all red unis this weekend
Arizona is busting out the red on red look with red helmets this weekend against Arizona State, and fans are loving these red helmets.
The red on red look has been rumored for a few weeks now, and finding a way to add some extra excitement to an in state rivalry game is never a bad idea.
Take a look and judge for yourselves. What do you think?
Inside Scoop: The transition to D-II
Northwestern Oklahoma State just completed their first transitional season moving up from NAIA to Division II. Head coach Alan Hall spent a few minutes with us discussing the season, the challenges of moving up and gives some advice for how they have dealt with the matter in recruiting.
Inside the film room at Penn State
Hiring a quality video coordinator is will make your entire operation run smoothly. The really good ones have the practice film ready for coaches within minutes of walking off of the practice field.
"Video, in football, is your primary teaching tool," O'Brien points out in the clip. "That's really how I, in many ways, prepare the football team for the opponent that we're playing."
In short, getting the right guy in place allows your coaches to focus on coaching.
O'Brien and the staff believe that they have that guy in Jevin Stone.
As Stone points out, his duties go beyond just filming practices and games. They also film every single college football game on Saturdays so that coaches can pick out a specific play from any game that the staff may have caught a glimpse of and really liked (like a fake punt or field goal for example), and be able to break it down and look to implement it for the Nittany Lions.
"When you do this job as a video guy, you have to look at football in a different manner than you would any other way." Stone explains.
Here's a good look behind the scenes.
Video that Utah State watched before taking on LA Tech
Gary Andersen has done an impressive job out at Utah State transforming the Aggies (9-2, 5-0) from a struggling program into WAC champions. Their 48-41 overtime victory over a ranked Louisiana Tech on Saturday is a great barometer of how far the program has come.
Here is the video that the guys at Utah State watched before kickoff to help get them focused and hyped up for the big game. The win over the Bulldogs secured at least a share of the WAC title for the Aggies, and a win this weekend against Idaho will give them their first outright conference title since 1936.
With evertything that Andersen and his staff have been able to accomplish in just four seasons, his name will continue to be brought up as the coaching carousel continues to turn.