College Football’s 2014 Resolution of MOAR SPEED AND OFFENSE gets off to a roaring start on New Year’s day with the potential of a BCS Shootout!
The History: The Fiesta Bowl has been a long standing tradition for Arizona football fans since 1971 and has seen some of the best moments in sports history. The Fiesta has been a major part of the BCS era, hosting an NCAA record seven national championship games. Over the last few years, the bowl has become popular for the amount of trick plays that have lead to wins. From Urban Meyer’s 2005 Utah squad, to the 2007 Boise State trick plays, there is no doubt that this bowl has been known as an exciting game to watch every single season.
Let’s relive some of those great moments. Starting with the three Boise State trick plays that beat Oklahoma…
And how about this good ol’ defensive stand on 4th and goal to give the Buckeyes the championship in double OT in 2003…
Buckeye Connection: As witnessed above, the Fiesta Bowl has been good to the Buckeyes. Ohio State has played in the Fiesta six times, defeating Notre Dame (2006), Miami (2003 Championship), Kansas State (2004) and Pittsburgh (1984). The Buckeyes have lost to Texas (2009) and Penn State (1980) in the Fiesta Bowl. Current Head Coach Urban Meyer defeated Ohio State as the head coach of Florida in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl National Championship. Meyer also lead Utah to a 35-7 win over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.
The Buckeyes faced UCF last season, lead by current quarterback Blake Bortles in the second game of the year, winning 31-16. Braxton Miller rushed for three touchdowns on a then career high 27 carries. He was the first OSU quarterback in over 34 years to run for three scores.
Despite not playing each other since 1982, a lot of talk during the season from the media and fans pitted Baylor against Ohio State as a matchup they’d like to see at the end of the season. Ohio State and Baylor have only played twice against each other, with OSU holding a 2-0 record against the Bears.
Hooray! One final chance to make fun of TTUN in 2013!
The history: This is the 25th edition of the game. Since it began in 1989, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl has been played in Arizona at three stadiums. For the first 10 years, the game was played at Arizona Stadium, on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 2000, the game was moved to Bank One Ballpark, a baseball-only stadium in Phoenix. In 2006 the game moved to Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe to replace the Fiesta Bowl which had moved to University of Phoenix Stadium.
The game was formerly known as the Copper Bowl from 1989 until 1996 when sponsorship and naming rights were assumed by Insight Enterprises and it became the Insight.com Bowl (1997 to 2001), and then the Insight Bowl. For 2012, Buffalo Wild Wings assumes sponsorship after Insight Enterprises elected not to renew the fifteen-year agreement. It has featured teams from the WAC, the Big 12, the Big East and Pac-10. Starting in 2006, the Insight Bowl began featuring an annual matchup between teams from the Big Ten and the Big 12.
Kansas State scouting report: After a Fiesta Bowl appearance last season, the Wildcats had high hopes with a high flying offense. But the defense was decimated by graduation and any visions of grandeur were blurred by a 2-4 start. They rebounded to win five of six but only held four opponents under 20 points all season.
Jake Waters sparked the passing offense, completing nearly 60 percent of his throws for almost 2,200 yards. His favorite target was Tyler Lockett, who snatched 71 balls for 1,146 yards and 8 touchdowns. When it came to running from the QB position, Daniel Sams took charge with 784 yards and a team-leading 11 touchdowns. John Hubert led with 968 yards while scoring nine times. Read More
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 14, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Notre Dame in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl on January 1st, 2006, 34-20.
This game matched up Big
Game Girth Charlie Weiss against the plodding, we’ll-get-there-eventually Buckeyes under Jim Tressel. Ohio State managed to plod their way to 617 total yards. Quite a bit of that yardage and scoring came via non-plod big plays (Ginn Jr 56 yard TD reception, 68 yard TD run; Holmes 85 yard TD reception; Pittman 60 yard TD run).
For you keeping score at home, that’s four TD’s on 269 yards on four plays. Why mess around with ‘Red Zone’ offense when you can do that?
For your viewing enjoyment: Read More
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 55, specifically Ohio State’s 31-24 multiple overtime win over the Miami
Hurricanes Thugs on January 3rd, 2003 in the (Tostitos) Fiesta Bowl for The National Championship. Nothing mythical about this one. The double-digit underdog Buckeyes showed a tenacity and athleticism that surprised many (national) collegiate football fans. However, True Believers, such as us, pretty much knew how this game would end up.
In fact, as I write this, I have the game DVD playing, on mute of course, since Dan Fouts is such a jackass and Keith Jackson was well beyond his “whoa Nellie” days. Fouts was jones’ing so much for a Miami win.. suck it Dan.
This was as gritty performance by any Buckeye team, particularly QB Craig Krenzel. I’ll forego the stats for this game, since there weren’t any outstanding numbers other than Craig Krenzel’s 2 TD’s and Maurice Clarett’s 2 TD’s.
And thus, it was over, the season completed at 14-0 and let the celebrations begin. Special shout-out to Cie Grant of New Philadelphia, OH. A lad from Tuscarawas County seals the National Championship for Ohio State. In the previous link, Cie showed his guns; here he shows his pipes. O-Hi-O.
OK, this one might actually be interesting…
The History: The Tositos Fiesta Bowl has been a staple in Glendale, AZ for 42 years. A group from Arizona State originally pitched the idea to the NCAA in 1968 but the NCAA rejected the proposal. One year later the NCAA approved the bowl as part of their annnual bowl games. The Fiesta Bowl is played at The University of Phoenix Stadium and has hosted 7 National Championship games (Does anyone remember 2002?) since it was first played in 1971. Not only is this Fiesta Bowl important to college footbal, it is important to the Glendale area. Over a 5 year span the bowl has generated over $1 Billion in the Glendale economy.
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 8:30 PM EST on ESPN, from Glendale. Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big Integer) and Stanford (11-1, 8-1 PAC12).
Steve, our regular season picks champion, just happens to also be a Stanford season ticket holder, and gives us his rationale for the Cardinal’s sure victory. Be sure to check out the counterpoint!
At the beginning of the season I posted the following to poke a little fun at my Ohio State family:
To my Buckeye friends, Last year I wished I could afford tickets to see a BCS bowl champion, with a returning Heisman candidate QB, playing for a highly successful coach with experience in 2 levels of college football, playing in a recently renovated state of the art stadium. Sadly that coach is no longer with the team, but today my dream came true. I bought season tickets to watch Andrew Luck play for Stanford and they only cost me $240 … for 6 games … for all 4 members of my family. “All … Right … Now!”
It has truly been a magical year on The Farm and since all Stanford football conversations start with Andrew Luck let’s get that out of the way early. He’s good, seriously he makes playing QB look easy, his tears have the ability to grow hair on bald men and he makes a mean western omelet.
I would love to tell you that it’s not just him, that there are all kinds of offensive threats around him. The 3-headed TE corps of Fleener, Toilolo and Ertz, the 1,100 yard back Stepfan Taylor, the strong ground game of Gafney, Wilkerson and Stewart, and the speedy sure-handed receivers Griff Whelan, Chris Owusu and Ty Montgomery. But from where I sat this year, it was pretty easy to see how it is Luck that makes them all better.
When the Cardinal has the ball, look for Luck to exploit any TE mismatches. 19 of his 35 touchdowns have gone to one of the big 3. With Ertz out and Toilolo around 70% for Oregon much of the gameplan was gone and offensive output suffered. Watching one of the 3 go down field and take on a much shorter/smaller DB is excruciatingly fun. Sadly Owusu’s concussion against Oregon State probably sealed a once promising career but, Luck’s roommate Whelan and Freshman Ty Montgomery have filled in well. The hidden gem of the Cardinal attack is the running game. 2nd in the Pac 12 (passing was 6th btw) in yards per game, the running game owes much to the attention opposing defenses pay to Luck. All of this behind a front line with 2 2-time all Pac 12 OLs that gives up less than 1 sack per game and against the 83rd ranked rushing and 107th ranked total defense in the country. If I were Luck, I would have stayed in school for that too.
On defense the story is going to be simple, limit the big plays. OSU will be unable to move the ball on the ground. Period. I am sure they could care less. They will throw the ball and to tell you the truth it’s the part of this game that has me the most scared. The secondary has allowed over 250 yards in the air for 6 of the last 7 games with the sole exception being Oregon who didn’t need it. The DBs will need to come up with 1 or 2 stops because conceivably that is all it will take. I fear this mostly because of all the unnecessary big gainers given up to the likes of Washington State, Colorado, Washington, Berkely and Notre Dame not to mention Oregon and USC. A lack of effective running here may allow for extra help in the secondary.
This will be one of those high scoring affairs, but not one of the, “last one with the ball wins” types. This will be more, “he who makes the least number of mistakes wins.” Luck is human and has shown he can make the wrong decision on occasion. He threw 6 of his 9 interceptions in the last 5 games of the season, threw 2 against a much faster Duck D and almost cost the USC game with a late pick-6. Keep the Pokes offense off the field, cause +1 or more in turnover margin, and let Andrew be Andrew and everything will work out fine. As the say in Palo Alto, “Give ‘em the axe!”
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 8:30 PM EST on ESPN, from Glendale. Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big Integer) and Stanford (11-1, 8-1 PAC12).
Well, our Midwestern correspondent checks in with one side of the debate… yeah, he’s biased. Be sure to check out the counterpoint a bit later this evening.
Everyone knows about the stars, Luck, Weeden, Blackmon, but where I think this game will be won or lost is where most games are won and lost, along the lines and on defense. Oklahoma State has one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation in Joe Wickline. Last year he took 5 new starters and turned them into the best performing line in the Big 12, which is saying a lot with the other linemen in the conference. This season, he added 2 other linemen to this mix and again has a dominating line. This is why, in my opinion, OSU has one of the top offenses in the country. It’s not surprising that the only hiccup this year was when the line had their worst game. If the O-Line performs as it has for two seasons, I find it hard pressed that Stanford will be able to keep the Cowboys under 30.
This leads me to my next key of the game: The Defense. Much has been written about how bad (statistically) this side of the Cowboys team has been. However, look at it this way: They held 5 top 25 offenses below 30 points (3 of these games were on the road), and two potential top 10 draft picks (RG3 and Landry Jones) to 1 TD and 7 turnovers. Now many will say neither of these players is Andrew Luck. I’m sure they are not, but the Cowboys have fared just fine going up against top offenses all season. Some will also say holding an offense to under 30 shouldn’t be highlighted. Based on my first point, if Stanford doesn’t score 30, OSU wins, because I don’t believe Standford will hold the Cowboys under that number. Nobody has done that all season, and I don’t see the Stanford Cardinal doing it either.
Finally, I look at Stanford’s loss, Oregon. Not only did they lose, they lost BIG and at home. I watched this game from start to finish and what stood out was how slow Stanford looked, again AT HOME. Oklahoma State is very similar to Oregon…they spread you out, are crazy up-tempo, and then pass and run depending on how you line up. Also, like the ducks, they are VERY fast at the skill positions. I see more of the same happening to Stanford in this year’s version of the Party Bowl.
My prediction, Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 31. Oh, for kicks and giggles, Alabama beats LSU 4-3 with a safety as time expires. Now what do we have…3 one loss teams. And I say the Oklahoma State Cowboys are the AP National Champion! Hey, why not, because none of us buy into the BCS anyway.
Quick look at a bit of coolness from yesterday’s presser, then onward into the fray-
Ohio State announced yesterday that they will be wearing customized helmets for the Spring Game, painted with a military design to honor American servicemen and commemorate the 75th anniversary Jesse Owen’s performance at the Berlin Games.
Most of these helmets will be re-painted over the summer, but the announcement goes on to read
Each of the 25 remaining “camo” helmets will be individually numbered, autographed by Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel and then sold, with the sale benefiting the Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program, LiFE (Learning in Fitness & Education) through Sports Program and the Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholars Fund. These helmets will be sold off-line on a first-come, first-served basis for $1,000.00/helmet (limit one per an individual).
which I’m sure will make the good folks over at Tiger Droppings extremely happy.
We talked already about Coach Fickell’s promotion, and other sites have good coverage of the press conference. We expect to hear more today following the media accessible spring practice period.
We haven’t talked about the “news” that Coach Tressel forwarded the Cicero email to Jeanette businessman and Pryor mentor rather than the OSU Compliance office or Gene Smith, mostly because it’s already been said. We all have our theories/rationalizations, but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes his “confidentiality” excuse hold next to no water, and the NCAA will certainly respond accordingly. I was a bit intrigued that the media responded almost wholeheartedly with a “well, now that we know this, he has to be fired/resign” theme, mostly because this doesn’t get to be decided in the media. We’re assuming that, if this information was leaked from inside the athletic department, that the NCAA was aware of this (and has been since the University found out about it). So, while it doesn’t appear positive in any way it’s not as if it was “proof of a greater coverup”. It’s like I’ve been told- just because I don’t know something doesn’t mean that it’s important for me to know it.
So, let’s get to the flavor of the day: The “HBO “revelation” that a former recruit at Ohio State is alleging that he received cash from a booster and “sexual favors” from a co-ed while on a recruiting trip. We’ll get to the context in just a minute, but it should be noted that this occurred around the same time that the athletic department was under a full investigation, and the University was not found to have any pervasive issues with this type of behavior (“pervasive” means “more than a one or two time thing”). If true, it’s indefensible and should have been dealt with.
Regarding the “sexual favors” aspect of the story, I’m shocked to hear that a student who was visiting a University might have had “relations” with someone during their visit. That type of thing never happens when high school kids visit Universities. Sarcasm aside, unless this was coordinated or tacitly facilitated by the athletic department or the coaching staff, I’m not sure how it’s relevant to the perspective that those two entities are “lawless”. Particularly when the reporting team at HBO sports has themselves stated they had no proof to back up the claim. However, since Ohio State is the target of the month, it’s the story that everyone’s been running with.
And now, the rest of the stories…