Make certain to join us on Monday Night at 8:00 PM for our National Championship Game LiveBlog!
The one you’ve all been waiting for…well, outside of the Sugar Bowl, of course…
The history of the BCS National Championship game is rife with conflict. The game’s true origins start with the Bowl Coalition – a grouping of the SEC, Big 8, SWC, ACC and Big East, along with Notre Dame. Six bowl games were included in the agreement: the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Gator and John Hancock. The premise was to attempt to get the top teams in each conference to face off with one another, generating a “true” champion. Unfortunately for the Coalition, without the inclusion of the Big Ten or Pac-10 who remained tied to the Rose Bowl, the system was unable to crown a champion unless the top two teams resulted from its member conferences.
Weaknesses in the South Western Conference, along with poor play from Notre Dame, helped lead to the end of the Coalition and the creation of the Bowl Alliance. Functionally, it was the same group of conferences, except the SWC and Big 8 were replaced with the newly formed Big 12 conference. The Big Ten still remained outside of the Alliance due to their ties with the Rose Bowl, but at-large Big Ten teams were allowed to participate in the Alliance Bowl games. Both Penn State (Won 1997 Fiesta against Texas) and Ohio State (Lost 1998 Sugar to Florida State) participated.
As the days grow shorter, so too do the press conferences. Here’s what we’ve got:
They do what they do and they do it so well. They believe in it. Their players believe in it. They’re very, very physical at what they do and the schemes back that. They want to be a balanced offense and they’ve probably, over the past couple years, gotten more balanced, and so they’re not going to change. Now, they may change a little play they run because of what people are doing against them or they — in ’06 they blitzed us a lot more than they ever did. They came after us pretty good, but it was within their system. It wasn’t as if they’d never run those blitzes, they just did their blitzes rather than eight percent of the time they did it 15 percent of the time and it felt like they were blitzing every down, that’s what you admire about them, that’s what you admire about Penn State, that’s why you come out, we got behind Penn State and that wasn’t a shock to me that we were behind Penn State, Penn State plays their defense, they play their offense, they do what they do, they’re very capable as anyone else is, they have good athletes. How we were behind was a little bothersome, but scheme-wise, the good teams, they’re going to do what they do, and Iowa will do that.
REPORTER: Your players talked after the game about the, job if speech is the right word, but the talk you gave them before they went back out for the second half and just did you feel disappointed that you had to make that speech at that point or that you needed something like that and just what were your thoughts there during that? Did you think you were at kind of a junction of the season there a little bit?
COACH TRESSEL: I was disappointed that we weren’t playing like we were capable of playing. We’ve all been in games where you’ve played as well as you could and you lost and that happens, or you played as well as you could but you made those two mistakes and, therefore, you lost. I didn’t think we were playing anywhere near we were capable of playing and we were playing against a team that they knew was good. We play them every year, it’s not like we hadn’t played them in a while, and we were playing in our stadium and all the rest, and at this time of year when you’re supposed to have been improved, so, yeah, I was disappointed in our — and up until that stop, I wasn’t disappointed in that, in fact, I was energized by that, but disappointed up to that point.
REPORTER: How often do you have to go to that big halftime speech to get your guys motivated?
COACH TRESSEL: You only do what’s going on in the course of the moment, so you don’t sit there saying, okay, it’s game seven and I haven’t played that card because you can’t play a card. I mean, you have to react to what’s going on and, you know, typically what’s going on is that we’re playing near to our ability and we’re maybe not doing some little things, it’s atypical that we just weren’t ourselves.
I really can’t repeat that. He got pretty animated. He definitely, you know, spilled his heart out to us and he challenged us, he challenged us to go out there the first play, you know, the kickoff team to make an impression and defense to get a stop and once we got the ball back in the huddle, he was like, you know, we had those — we had that penalty and then we had another penalty, but his attitude didn’t change. His eyebrows didn’t go up. They were still down. And he was like, well, let’s just make the drive a little bit longer.
They’re a little bit thicker on you, a little bit stronger on you…