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…
Don’t forget to join us on Saturday for our All Day Livechat! We promise to talk about HGTV’s Rose Parade coverage if that will help your decision making…
*Don’t forget to check out the marathon live blog on The Buckeye Battle Cry for all the New Year’s Day bowl game action!
History: The 40th playing of the Fiesta Bowl matches the Connecticut Huskies against the Oklahoma Sooners. Since 2007 the game has been played in Glendale, Arizona at the University of Phoenix stadium, which contains a natural grass playing field (or, if you’re really a turf enthusiast, it’s Tifway 419 Bermuda hybrid planted in early May 2006 using stolons in an 11″ bed of USGA sand mix with inclusions, according to the bowl’s official website). The Big 12 currently is the chosen conference to send a representative each year, and it’s well worth it, as both attending schools receive a payout of $17 million.
Arizona State won the inaugural Fiesta Bowl back in 1971, as well as the games in 1972, 1973, and 1975. Ohio State appeared in its first Fiesta Bowl in 1980, a 31-19 loss to Penn State. The Buckeyes rebounded with a victory over Pittsburgh on January 2, 1984 (coincidentally, the day of my birth – how appropriate!). Ohio State would not visit Arizona for the game again until that fateful night in 2003 that resulted in a double-overtime victory over the Miami Hurricanes and our first national championship in over 30 years. Last year’s contest pitted Boise State against TCU, and ended in a relatively low-scoring 17-10 win for the Broncos.
As promised (or threatened. Whatever.), today we start the three part exploration of the “National Championship” process, including a look at the money trail on the current system, and a discussion about the relevancy for the whole thing. Much of this is from my work on an earlier site; I’ve updated it as best as possible because you deserve the best.
Because, it’s not enough to point fingers- I want us to really know the facts. First, we figure out how we get to where we are today.
Let’s start off by remembering that as the game was in its formative stages, it was more prestigious than “professional” football. There were major concerns that almost had the game banned, and it was only “Papa Bear” Halas’ ability to sign Illinois legend Red Grange to the Bears that gave the NFL any credibility. College football is big now, but it used to have no competition- no NFL, no NBA, no PBA.
And, college football existed before the NCAA (it was founded to address football’s issues)- which is may also be why the NCAA has never had a ‘champion’ for football. It’s also important to note that the NCAA basketball tournament has always existed (although, at one time it was less significant than the NIT, but that’s another post), so there’s always been sanctioned “championship”.
In this context, the first thing to realize is that (once upon a time) everyone was OK with the media or others deciding this and letting folks know.
You know an obnoxious Notre Dame fan who’s obsessed with all of their national championships? Or a Mich1gAAn fan with the same obsessions? Or even an Army fan who remembers when they were good (it’s true)? Back then, it was up to sports writers (like the Heisman, the MVP for the season) to make that determination.
But they weren’t the only ones- there were multiple “champions”, designated by differing groups. For instance, Ohio State has five “official” championships and seven other ones. So the idea of a “true” champion is mostly a modern one- our ancestors were either OK with the complexity, enjoyed the debate, or simply had better things to do. My vote is the latter- there just wasn’t 24 hour coverage online and on cable of sports (not that I’m complaining).
At one point, though, things got complex when the good folks in Pasadena decided to host a little game in 1902 in order to raise awareness for tourism and for their parade. That first game was Michigan and Stanford (I know, but it’s true), and saw Michigan win 49-0. But the Rose Bowl wasn’t always a Big T1e1n and Pac-10 event; one of the most famous moments in college football occurred in a game against Georgia Tech and Cal (I know, because my grandfather listened to it on the radio).
With the success of trips to California, other cities soon got into the act- Florida and Texas soon hosted bowl games of their own. To ensure a crowd, these games began to approach conferences in order to set up the best match ups and provide a vacation spot for fans from the east coast, the Midwest, and the plains states.
In all of this, though, the idea of “championship” never came into consideration. Even through the 80′s, there were split “championships“, as the Associated Press and Coaches Poll would select different teams. But any attempt to change the bowl alignments to facilitate a better process went out the window with the 1984 anti-trust decision that allowed for colleges (and conferences) to negotiate their own television deals (which is why Notre Dame has their own deal with NBC).
Because conferences were creating their own contracts, they were working to create the television rights for their bowl agreements. All the NCAA could do was “recognize” these bowl games (meaning “allow student athletes to play, and member institutions to participate”). “Recognizing” is not “sanctioning”.
This leads us to our next discussion regarding the financial realities of the current system, but let’s finish with a quick summary:
Next in our journey: Follow the money… The major barrier to making any changes. And why it’s not as lucrative for your alma mater as you might imagine.
We had a couple of interesting pieces to publish today, so the countdown had to wait until the street lights went on….thanks for your patience!
There’s only ten days left until the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field for the opening game of the 2009 season. Now is the time that you begin to literally taste the excitement. You can begin to smell the air in Ohio turning crisp, that genuine aroma of fall that you don’t truly recognize if you’re not from the midwest. To me, that is the actual essence of college football.
Day #10 could have had so many great athletes recognized here at The BBC.
Or we could just go with the guy that still thrills us all here in Ohio and still gives them nightmares in that state up north.
Yeah, let’s go with Troy Smith.
Ohio State football has long been a force, and no single man can be credited with being the savior of the game (well, maybe Woody). But earlier this decade things did not look so good for us until Troy Smith returned the Buckeyes to greatness.
Justin Zwick was our quarterback in 2004, and we struggled a lot with him at the helm early on. It actually took a 55-yard FG at the buzzer to beat lowly Marshall. More than half of Zwick’s passes ended up incomplete or in the hands of our opponents.
Then the losses started coming. An OT loss to Northwestern showed just how bad things were about to get. The murmurs about removing Zwick for Smith began to turn into screams. The next week, a loss at home to Wisconsin started Buckeye fans into panic mode. Tressel felt the heat to make a switch at QB.
Against Iowa, with the Buckeyes trailing 17-0, Zwick fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, and the change was made. Troy Smith took over during Ohio State’s worst slump in over a decade and the weight was now on his shoulders.
Smith won 5 of the remaining 6 Buckeye games in 2004, turning a 3-3 Zwick team into an 8-4 Alamo Bowl champion….and a complete destruction over #7 Michigan, 37-21.
In 2005, his starting record was 9-1, which included a come-from-behind win at Michigan 25-21 and a 34-20 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Then came the dream season of 2006, in which the Buckeyes ended up 12-1. Smith’s final home game was known as the “Game Of The Century” between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. Guess who won?
Wanna know just how much we love Troy Smith in northeast Ohio? We actually didn’t mind that he got drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
But none of those stats are as pretty as it is to actually watch the man in action. Thank God for YouTube….
“The Catch” against Michigan, 2005;
The play that won him the Heisman against Penn State;
The entire day against Notre Dame;
And then there’s this collection of dominance over Michigan….Troy’s in WAY too many of these clips;
Troy Smith, thank you for all you did for us. This day is for you.
10 days left!
Yup, we’ve reached day fifteen of our “Countdown to Kickoff”!
Today, AJ Trapasso drives us into the stratosphere on our way to the final two weeks of…
(No kickers this time? Are you kidding? Do you know how much research I’ve put into Gilman industries? Ah, well…)
Like our day 19 honoree, he stepped into big shoes, following Art Schlichter’s assault on the passing record book at Ohio State. And yet, when he graduated, he was second only to his predecessor in many of the same categories; in spite of helping his tailback set his own record for most rushes in a season in 1984.
1983 saw Tomczak and the Buckeyes travel to Norman Oklahoma to battle the then #2 ranked Sooners. As this video from OHD shows, Oklahoma couldn’t win that big game either.
As that season came to an end in Tempe, Tomczak showed amazing poise in leading the winning drive against the Pitt Panthers with 2:39 on the clock. Here’s all 89 yards of glory:
What a throw to Jemison. And what is it with tOSU and Tempe?
During his senior year, he ended his career as all Buckeye players should (and most have, lately), with a victory over MACh1gAAn:
This resulted in a New Year’s trip for Ohio State to Pasadena, a trip they have made only one more time. As someone who lives within 10 minutes of the Rose Bowl, I’m looking forward to this trend changing ASAFP. Otherwise, I’m moving to Arizona.
Back to Mike.
His NFL tenure was mostly as a backup, although he did have the opportunity to exhibit his guitar skills on the way to New Orleans. His career ended with the Lions practice squad, but he’s best known as the reliable counterpoint to “Slash” during his seven year stint with the Steelers.
Mike, you done good. Thanks for bringing us one step closer to kickoff.