Tuesday TV - Western Michigan at Northern Illinois
The best team in the MAC (and one of the lone undefeated teams left in the country) takes on a struggling Western Michigan program looking for some momentum heading into next season.
Eastern time listed.
Western Michigan at Northern Illinois - 7 - ESPN2
VIDEO: Take an inside look at Arizona's win over Oregon
As you'd expect, Arizona's all-access video of the win over Oregon on Saturday is nothing but smiles and cheers. It's as you'd expect when you hold leads of 14-0, 21-3 and 35-9 en route to a 42-16 blow out of the No. 5 team in the country.
But it's after the game highlights, around the 5:30 mark, that this video really takes off.
Rich Rodriguez thanks his 18 seniors, and then hands the post-game celebration to his players in a nice "Who's got my back?!" routine. It's the kind of scene Rodriguez and his staff will hammer home to every recruit from now to kingdom come, and the type of moment - and game - built toward in his two years (almost to the day, in fact) to the day since taking the Arizona job.
"I don't know how many people gave us a chance," Rodriguez said, "but I know the men in this room gave us a chance."
Twenty stats and trends worth knowing heading into the season's final week
Only one (real) full week of the college football season remains before we hit the tail end of the season featuring Army vs. Navy week (where they'll wear these new unis) and conference championship games begin. Although the best is behind us, there's plenty of crazy finishes and stats to take a look at.
1. Cal's 2013 Sonny Dykes team finished the season scoring 276 points. That's the exact same amount scored under Jeff Tedford's Cal staff in 2012. (H/T @GoldenBlogs). Dykes' team ran 230 more plays than the 2012 Bears did.
2. Florida State has scored 27 touchdowns in their last three games. In state rival Florida has scored 26 all season (H/T @tomdangelo44).
3. Florida will not make a bowl game for the first time since 1990.
4. This is the first time neither spot in the SEC Championship has been clinched entering the final week of the regular season since 2003. (H/T @MattSmithCFB)
5. These ten teams have had the luxury of the best starting field position this season: ECU, Michigan State, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Houston, Arizona State, Stanford, Ball State, Tulane. (H/T CoachesBTN)
6. Florida has lost numerous starters to injuries this season, but Georgia Southern (who beat the Gators despite not throwing a complete pass Saturday) entered the game with 19 season ending injuries.
7. With the loss to Oklahoma State Saturday, Baylor has now dropped 37 straight road games to teams ranked in the AP and is 0-10 against Oklahoma State in Stillwater since joining the Big 12. (H/T @BryanDFischer)
8. December 7 will mark the fourth time in five years that Oklahoma State has entered the Bedlam rivalry game with a better record than Oklahoma. (H/T @MattSmithCFB)
9. Last night's win over the New York Giants moved the Dallas Cowboys to 134-133 since 1997, including a perfect .500 finish in the past two seasons. (H/T @AdamSchefter)
10. Florida State has returned five interceptions for touchdowns this season (first nationally). Forty-four teams don't even have a pick six yet this year.
11. Cal went for it on fourth down an astonishing 38 times in 12 games, converting on just 42 percent of those tries. On the flip side, Florida State has gone for it on fourth down just three times (converting on two of them)
12. Kentucky's secondary has just on pick on the season (two total, with the other one coming from a linebacker). We saw a note last week that no team has ever finished with less than two interceptions on the seasons.
13. Vanderbilt has forced an impressive 31 fumbles this season. That's more than East Carolina, South Alabama, and Eastern Michigan combined (25).
14. Georgia Tech and Ohio State are the only two teams to convert over 80 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns (86% for Georgia Tech and 83% for Ohio State).
15. Of Northwestern's 41 trips to the red zone, only one of them has not been converted to a touchdown or field goal.
16. With only a week left to go in the regular season, only Utah State is allowing negative punt return yardage (-0.6)
17. After rushing for just 695 in their previous ten games, Washington ripped Oregon State for 530 yards rushing Saturday.
18. Boston College's Andre Williams could rush for minus-143 yards over his final two games and still finish with the top rushing total in college football over the past five years.
19. Opponents have converted only one field goal (in six tries) in 11 games against Bowling Green. It's the best field goal defense (if there is such a thing) since at least 2007.
20. San Diego State's last seven games have been decided by seven points or less, and four have gone to overtime. The Aztecs have won six of those seven and seven of their last eight overall, making San Diego State only the eighth team since 1980 (of 488 that quality) to reach a bowl game after an 0-3 start. (H/T @McMurphyESPN)
The Dallas Cowboys' offensive flow chart now looks like a pretzel
In the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on November 10, head coach Jason Garrett pledged that his staff would go back to the drawing board and the team's broken offense would look different after its upcoming bye week.
The Cowboys looked different Sunday evening in their 24-21 defeat of the New York Giants, different in a way that no one in the NFL would ever think to duplicate.
That big change the Cowboys braintrust put together over the off week? Garrett now has an expanded role in the offense, and specifically that means offensive coordinator Bill Callahan passes the play call to Garrett, who then relays the play to Tony Romo. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who previously relayed plays into the offense, moved up to the press box, and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved from the press box to the sideline.
“It was more just about mechanics,” Garrett said of the change. “I don’t know that I took a bigger role in the play-calling. One of the things we really try to emphasize is communication during the ballgame.”
Quick backstory: Garrett was hired as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2007, before Jerry Jones hired Wade Phillips as head coach. Garrett continued calling plays after being elevated to head coach during the 2010 season. Following the 2012 season, Dallas' third straight without a playoffs appearance, Callahan added offensive coordinator and play-calling duties to his role as offensive line coach. Though the move was announced shortly after the season, Dallas media didn't get a straight answer on who made the call to shake up offensive responsibilities - Jones or Garrett - until well into the summer.
After ten games as a traditional head coach, Garrett is now signaling - not calling - the Cowboys' offense.
In a franchise with the most convoluted organizational flow chart in American sports, it all makes perfect sense.
“You just want to make sure you’re communicating during the ballgame,” Garrett said. “That’s something that we really emphasize with our players and certainly among coaches and between coaches and players, just to make sure we’re all communicating as to what we’re getting and what we want to get to. That’s just a big part of, I think, calling plays well and calling defenses well and really handling the game well.”
2013 Offensive Coordinator of the Year - Finalists
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards, presented by ProGrass, are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. Finalists were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors and other athletic department personnel. The winner will be chosen by the previous winners of this award and will be announced on Monday December 9th.
The 2013 FootballScoop Coaches of the Year will be recognized and will receive their awards at an event held in their honor at the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in January.
Previous winners of the Offensive Coordinator of the Year award are Kevin Wilson (Oklahoma, 2008), Bryan Harsin (Boise State, 2009), Gus Malzahn (Auburn, 2010) and Kliff Kingsbury (Houston, 2011 and Texas A&M, 2012).
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Army and Navy to break out special uniforms on Dec. 14
There are many inside the college football world who will tell you the Army-Navy game is the best and most unique rivalry in the game. I've never been so I'm not here to agree or disagree, but I can offer that, once again, the Midshipmen and Black Knights will be outfitted in uniforms worthy of such a special game.
For any uniform historians, this year's kits are a near exact replica from Navy's 17-13 win in 2012, only alternated for home and road.
These uniforms will see the field on December 14 in Philadelphia (3 p.m. ET, CBS). Navy has won 11 straight in the series and 14 of the last 16.
BCS athletics director on coaches' salaries: 'Yes, it's insane'
Here's something to get your brain going today: in the last 24 years, the salaries of college football head coach have more than septupled. For those of you whose morning coffee has yet to kick in, that means the salaries of college football coaches have grown to seven-and-a-half times their figures from a quarter century ago according to Duke economics professor Charles Clotfelter.
In light of the escalating paychecks of college football coaches, the Yakima (Wash.) Herald took a look at its own state's major college coaches, Washington's Steve Sarkisian and Washington State's Mike Leach, in advance of their annual Apple Cup tussle Friday in Seattle.
Neither coach was made available for comment, but each athletics director spoke and they were in agreement - salaries have grown to mind-blowing levels.
“Yes, it’s insane,” Washington State AD Bill Moos said. “But if you’re going to get in the race and be competitive in the sport of college football, you’re going to have to invest that kind of money anymore.”
Sarkisian earns a salary of $2.425 million according to the USA Today Coaching Salary database, nearly double the $1.4 million made by his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham. Leach commands a $2.25 million salary - plus a $25,000 bonus for beating Washington - nearly four times the $600,000 previous WSU head coach Paul Wulff earned.
“If we lived in a pure egalitarian society, heck no, it’s not justified,” Washington AD Scott Woodward added. “But it’s the market.”
It's no secret what's driving that market - the 12-year, $3 billion television contract the Pac-12 recently inked with ESPN and Fox.
And I would argue that same market is what drove each athletics director's salary to the $500,000 range. Woodard makes $553,000 according to USA Today, and Moos earned $455,000.
Woodard, strangely, argues that the media boom funding college football's boom has an expiration date coming.
“It can’t (continue),” Woodard said. “ ... We’re in a very, very nice situation where broadcasters are paying an enormous premium for live content that people will watch. Now, how long will that continue? I don’t know.”
Nick Aliotti has a riddle for you
On Saturday, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti knew his defense was going to have their hands full looking for an answer to stop Arizona's two headed rushing attack of Ka'Deem Carey and BJ Denker. They schemed for it all week, and couldn't seem to put it all together Saturday, losing 42-16 and allowing the Wildcats to rush for over 300 yards.
After the game, Aliotti was asked about how Arizona was able to use the short passing game to compliment their run game so effectively, and he answered with a riddle of sorts that only coaches could fully understand.
"Whenever you're not stopping the run, the pass plays become a lot more (effective)."
"When it gets to be a game like that, when A tries to do B's job, and B tries to do C's job...who's doing A's job? That's the best way that I can explain it to you."
"When a team can run the ball as efficiently as they did, and boy did they, a lot of things open up."
That may look like an impossible riddle to some, but if you watched the game Saturday (or have been in that situation defensively before), you know exactly what Aliotti is talking about.