Thursday, November 30, 2006

Don't Get Them Hillbillies Riled Up!

The year was 2004. Nebraska traveled to Oklahoma and was drilled by the Sooners, 30-3. About everything that could go wrong did. Cornhusker offensive lineman Darren DeLone was charged with aggravated assault and battery for a pregame incident involving a member of the OU RufNeks (DeLone was later acquitted of the charges) and afterward first-year coach Bill Callahan called Sooner fans "f---ing hillbillies." Of course, this stirred up the Oklahoma faithful and our man Siouxner, who is known around these parts for his nifty Photoshop job of Adrian Peterson, went to work. He produced this fine piece of work that only increased the bitterness between the fans. Now you understand why we are looking forward to Saturday, when the Big 12 rivals meet again in the conference championship game.

'Nice Buttkicking'

Ever wonder what coaches say when they meet for the postgame handshake? Specifically, two coaches who are not — shall we say — the best of friends? Reader Bert found this YouTube video of Notre Dame's Crewcut Charlie Weis complimenting USC's Pete Carroll for the "nice buttkicking."

Maybe We Can Finally Settle This Dispute

Louisiana State and USC fans have been going at it ever since the teams split the 2003 national title (LSU the BCS, USC the AP). And now — if things break just right — the teams could finally settle it on the field. Specifically, in the Rose Bowl. Chris Dufresne of the L.A. Times reports that if the Trojans lose Saturday to rival UCLA, USC is likely to be paired against LSU in Pasadena. The Tigers have never played in the Rose Bowl and fans have already committed to purchasing 28,000 tickets the the Granddaddy. LSU's main competition is coming from Notre Dame, which last played in Pasadena in 1925. If USC defeats UCLA and advances to the BCS title game, Michigan would get the call from Tournament of Roses officials, with LSU or Notre Dame likely filling the other slot.

The Scoop on Those Who Get the Scoops

This is slightly off-topic, but considering this site is a favorite stop for members of the media, we thought it would be of interest to pass this along. Steve of Sports Media Guide (SMG) sent us a note about his site and we really like what we see. In a nutshell, SMG has interviews with sportswriters from papers big and small, many of the same writers who are often linked here at the Wiz. SMG is affiliated with The Sports Institute at Boston University. We've added SMG to our links list, under "Lazy Journalist."

An Invitation to Join Us Friday Night

Join the Wiz this Friday night on "Sports Overnight America" on Sports Byline USA beginning around 11:30 (Pacific). Fred Wallin and John Woolard get the festivities rolling at 10 p.m. and their guest will be none other than the BCS Guru, who will join the show at 11 p.m. "Sports Overnight America" can be heard on Sirius 122, over the Internet at Sports Byline or on the Armed Forces Network. If none of these options work for you, check Sports Byline's list of affiliates by clicking here.

Reporters' Notebooks

Scott Bordow, East Valley Tribune: Tennessee Titan offensive coordinator Norm Chow is interested in the opening at Arizona State and has been contacted by Sun Devil officials.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Miami has a "strong interest" in promoting defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to head coach, athletic director Paul Dee said (registration).

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: The arrest of Snoop Dogg was the hot topic at USC. Dogg was wearing a Trojan jersey bearing receiver Dwayne Jarrett's No. 8 when he was arrested.

Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: Texas backup quarterback Jevan Snead is seeking a release from his scholarship so he can transfer at mid-term (registration).

Leonard Shapiro, Washington Post: What happened to end the relationship between Tony Roberts and Westwood One? The former voice of Notre Dame football would like to know (Thanks to the Midwest Correspondent).

Mike Belt, Lawrence Journal-World: A group of administrators have had enough of students tearing down goalposts after Kansas' victories.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Colt Brennan Story

With a little luck Saturday, Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan is going to set the Division I-A record for touchdown passes in a season, which is held by former Houston quarterback David Klingler, who had 54 in 1990. Brennan is at 51 entering the Warriors' game against Oregon State and when you compare his statistics with the other Heisman contenders, he blows them away. Brennan is an interesting story. He was Matt Leinart's backup at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., then went to Colorado and appeared as if he might contend for the starting job in 2005. But after a night of drinking, he walked into a coed's room uninvited and refused to leave. He eventually pled guilty to second-degree burglary and first degree criminal trespass, and given the climate in Colorado at the time (the Kobe Bryant incident and lurid tales of sex surrounding the Buffaloes' program), he got kicked off the team. Brennan found his way to Hawaii in June 2005 and although he wasn't welcomed by everybody on the Islands, he has been a good citizen from all appearances. Now his popularity is at a peak, with Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann joking that if an election were held today, he would probably lose to Brennan.

Loss to Sun Devils Cost Stoops $80,000

How much did you drop last Saturday on Arizona? The Wildcats were rolling entering their game against rival Arizona State, which was staggering after a loss to UCLA and ready to fire Dirk Koetter. So you laid the small number and took the Wildcats to cover at home. And guess what happened? The Sun Devils left Tucson a 28-14 winner. Yea, it hurt, and you spent the rest of the weekend chasing to get even, but imagine how Arizona coach Mike Stoops must feel. The loss not only cost his team a bowl game, but Stoops missed out on $80,000 in performance bonuses. Stoops, in his third season, would have received an extra $30,000 for finishing 7-5, according to his contract. And a berth in a non-BCS bowl game would have added another $50,000. Stoops will still hit several other bonus clauses that could add about $120,000 to his $650,000 base salary, which is enough to have a good time at the Wiz's favorite Tucson watering hole, Dirtbag's, or his favorite steakhouse, Li'l Abner's.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Arguably the Cheapest Shot of 2006

We call them as we see them folks. This is a cheap, cheap shot delivered by Texas A&M's Kellen Heard on Texas' Colt McCoy. It comes after McCoy throws an interception that all but secures the Aggies' 12-7 victory at Austin. The hit comes after the play, which is real chicken crap. Heard gets tossed and the Aggies get a 15-yard penalty. Heard is only a freshman, so don't be surprised to see some retribution down the road.

Brady Quinn Drops the F Bomb

Brady Quinn says "F--- Me" after taking a hit and returning to the sideline during Notre Dame's 44-24 loss at USC.

Hirings and Firings

Tough business, this coaching. The past two days have been a blur of activity, and here is a roundup of where we stand:

Alabama: The Crimson Tide appear to have plenty of options in their search for a replacement for Mike Shula. Barry Alvarez, Steve Kragthorpe, Jim Grobe and Jeff Tedford are names tossed about by the Tuscaloosa News. Word of Shula's firing stopped the presses at the paper.

Arizona State: Sun Devil athletic director Lisa Love said she will be patient if need be in her search for Dirk Koetter's replacement.

Iowa State: Gene Chizik's contract with Iowa State will pay him $6.75 million over six years. Plus some local reaction from Iowa and from Houston.

Michigan State: The hiring of Mark Dantonio is getting a thumbs up around East Lansing.

Cincinnati: Athletic director Mike Thomas wants to name a replacement for Dantonio by Christmas.

Miami: The Hurricanes will have plenty of competition finding a replacement for the fired Larry Coker.

North Carolina State: Possibly the last opportunity to hear the voice of Chuck Amato for a while.

North Carolina: Details of Butch Davis' contract have been released. He has a seven-year deal worth about $1.72 million annually.

Reporters' Notebooks

David Ovalle, Miami Herald: Miami-Dade homicide detectives seized an assault rifle, shotgun, handgun, ammunition and a folding rifle stock from the apartment of slain Miami player Bryan Pata (registration).

Pete Pelegrin, Miami Herald: Five coaches — including four with ties to Miami — have emerged as leaders in the search for a coach at Florida International (registration).

Mitch Vingle, Charleston Gazette: Big East notebook. Greg Schiano of Rutgers and Rich Rodriguez of West Virginia will likely draw attention from Miami and Alabama.

Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese says critics of the Bowl Championship Series should quit yapping.

Doug Segrest, Birmingham News: Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith is a lock to win the Heisman Trophy.

Robbie Neiswanger, Clarion Ledger: Mississippi athletic director Pete Boone called the Rebels' second season under Madman Ed Orgeron a step in the right direction.

Extra Game Is Adding Up

It appears we will complete the 2006 season with approximately the same number of plays as 2005, despite the new clock rules designed to shorten games. How can this be? The addition of a 12th game has made the difference. In other words, if teams played 11 games in 2006, a full game of plays would have been lost because of the clock rules. Marty of cfbstats, who provides us with this terrific information, sent along this note: "The decrease so far from 2005 to 2006 has been less than 1% (0.8%). So really, we're not seeing less football for the season, it's just spread over more games. ... You could say that while the NCAA and schools wanted to increase revenue by playing a 12-game regular season, at least the players were not forced to participate in more plays and presumably increase their chances for an injury. ... This does not factor in increased practice time and other off-field demands that affect the lives of players by playing an extra game." Here are the Week 13 numbers:

* missing game duration of Toledo-Ball State 10/15/2005


Year.......G.....1H Pts....1H Pts/G...2H Pts....2H Pts/G...OT

Here are the shortest games from Week 13:
Central Michigan-Buffalo: 2:38
North Texas-Louisiana Monroe: 2:40
Marshall-Southern Mississippi: 2:40
Virginia-Virginia Tech: 2:43
San Jose State-Idaho 2:45

Here are the longest games from Week 13:
Florida-Florida State: 3:35
Air Force-Nevada Las Vegas: 3:29
North Carolina-Duke: 3:26
Oregon-Oregon State: 3:25
Cincinnati-Connecticut: 3:23
Colorado-Nebraska: 3:23

Week 14

We close the 2006 regular season with championship week and USC, despite a stumble at Oregon State, can clinch a berth in the Bowl Championship Series title game with a victory over cross-town rival UCLA. A Trojan loss could create an opening for Florida, but the Gators have to get past Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference title game. It's a defining weekend for several teams, and it begins Thursday with the Mid-American title game between Central Michigan and Ohio. Friday brings Southern Mississippi and Houston in the Conference USA title game. And Saturday features the Atlantic Coast finale between Georgia Tech and Wake Forest and the Big 12 title game between Nebraska and Oklahoma. All the details are available at Doc's Sports.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Stunner Out of Ames

Well now, I guess we now know why Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard was making all those trips to Dallas. Texas co-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is the new Cyclone coach, a stunning development that caught everybody by surprise. Central Michigan's Brian Kelly was widely reported to be the choice, but then the Raytheon Hawker 800 twin-jet owned by Troy Aikman arrived Monday morning in Ames and Chizik and his wife walked down the ramp. Pollard might not be known to most of our readers, but this guy has quickly become one of the best in the business. You'll be able to see the Chizik press conference over the Internet beginning at 5:45 p.m. (Central). So is this the right hire? Here is what Mark Wangrin wrote in Sunday's San Antonio Express-News: "Chizik has been more careful in his choice of destinations. Now, though, with the shine off his reputation, he may not have much of a choice. He must decide whether to jump toward a more mediocre program or stay at least another year and try to rehabilitate his reputation as a defensive mind. He must prove this season hasn't exposed his thinking as only working when he has exceptional talent at safety. He must show he can adjust."

The Holy War

We've been quite impressed with Brigham Young the few times we've watched the Cougars play. The problem is, it's next to impossible to see Brigham Young or any Mountain West team because of the mtn., the network set up by the conference that nobody can see. But that's another story. Saturday was the Holy War between Brigham Young and Utah, and we've somehow found three YouTube clips of the final play — essentially a playground play — that won the game for the Cougars, 33-31. The top clip is from the mtn. telecast and shows John Beck's mad scramble and throw to an inexplicably open Jonny Harline. The bottom clip is shot from the box of a prominent Utah booster and shows the reaction as the play unfolds. The third clip, which you can access by clicking here, is KSL play-by-play man Greg Wrubel's call. It's definitely worth a listen.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

USC Goes the Rout Against Notre Dame

USC took Notre Dame behind the woodshed for an old-fashioned beating Saturday night at the L.A. Coliseum, and our friends at Image of Sport sent along some terrific shots of the action. The USC sideline had plenty of celebrity power, including Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey (top). Fighting Irish quarterback Brady Quinn was on the run for much of the game (above), and Trojan receiver Dwayne Jarrett was unstoppable, much to the dismay of Notre Dame's Crewcut Charlie Weis (below). After the 44-24 victory, Gary Klein of the L.A. Times gets a word with USC quarterback John David Booty. You can view all the Image of Sport shots by clicking here.

Central Michigan's Kelly Is a Wanted Man

Is there a mystery candidate in Iowa State's search for a coach, or is Central Michigan's Brian Kelly still the man for the job? An airplane owned by Iowa State left the Ames airport on Friday night and arrived in Dallas, then returned Saturday night to Des Moines, according to Flight Aware. Speculation is that Cyclone athletic director Jamie Pollard and university president Gregory Geoffroy were on board. Pollard flew to Dallas two weeks ago and interviewed several candidates, including San Diego coach Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska assistant Jay Norvell, who have since been scratched from the list. Central Michigan athletic director David Heeke also said he had granted Iowa State permission to talk to Kelly, which solidifies our Friday report that also stated Kelly was to meet Saturday with Geoffroy. Kelly, when contacted by the Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson, declined to discuss his whereabouts late Friday or Saturday. Kelly also is on Michigan State's short list, and officials in East Lansing are expected to select a coach as early as Monday. The Detroit News reports that Miami Dolphin assistant Charlie Baggett also is in the running for the job.
Update: Michigan State fans are tracking a leased jet that left Lansing on Saturday and landed in Baton Rouge (Bo Pelini?) and Cincinnati (Mark Dantonio?) ... Thanks to J for this.
Update II: Iowa State will announce its coach on Monday.

Reporters' Notebooks

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: Greg Schiano, thought to be the frontrunner for the opening at Miami, says Rutgers is where he wants to be.

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez is linked to the opening at Miami, but sources say he has no interest in the job.

Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: This should be interesting. The MPC Computers Bowl in Boise will extend an invitation Tuesday to Miami.

Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato has no plans to step down (registration).

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii rallied for a wild 42-35 victory over Purdue at Aloha Stadium.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

USC Is Moving Up

USC's impressive 44-24 victory over Notre Dame will vault the Trojans into the No. 2 spot in Sunday's Bowl Championship Series standings, according to the BCS Guru. All the Trojans need to do to earn a berth in the Jan. 8 title game is defeat rival UCLA this Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Michigan's chances for a rematch with Ohio State rest with the Bruins pulling the upset. Florida's chances are slim and none, with none the choice. The BCS Guru has the breakdown of the projected standings, so check it out.

The Real McCoy

Before he was Colt McCoy, Texas quarterback, he was Colt McCoy, pitchman for his uncle's store. McCoy, who was the victim of a brutal cheap shot in Friday's loss to rival Texas A&M, stars in this 2003 commercial for James McCoy's Drug Store in Abilene.

Reporters' Notebooks

BCS Guru: A primer on how Saturday's games will impact the Bowl Championship Series rankings.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald: Rutgers coach Greg Schiano tops the list of candidates to replace the fired Larry Coker at Miami (registration).

Eric Lacy, Detroit News: Central Michigan has offered a four-year contract extension to coach Brian Kelly, who is being courted by Iowa State and Michigan State.

David Birkett, Mount Pleasant Morning Sun: Despite the interest, Michigan State has yet to offer a contract to Central Michigan's Brian Kelly.

Richard Croome, Byron-College Station Eagle: Critics of Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione are in for a tough time after the Aggies upset Texas.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: The result confirms the obvious: Texas wasn't good enough on either side of the ball (registration).

Scott Rabalais, Baton Rouge Advocate: Louisiana State decked Arkansas, but was it enough to get the Tigers into a BCS game?

John Canzano, Oregonian: Oregon coach Mike Bellotti bailed on his players with the game on the line against Oregon State.

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: At the right time in all the right situations, Nebraska played Colorado for fools — and the Buffaloes fell hard for most of the foolery.

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times: It's Notre Dame and USC, and a little fertilizer helps this grass story grow and grow.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Game of the Week

USC cheated. Shortly after USC's 34-31 victory over Notre Dame last season, the Wiz was on the case, being the first to point out that Reggie Bush illegally pushed Matt Leinart into the end zone on the winning touchdown. Then he even provided the above photo of the "Bush Push." But that doesn't matter now. We have another Notre Dame-USC game staring us in the face, and this is a must-win game for the Trojans, winners of 32 in a row at the L.A. Coliseum. It's our game of the week, and our main man Mark Mathis is back to break it down. He predicted the Buckeyes to win by four points last week. They won by three. In other words, he is not to be trifled with! So take it away, Mark:

"Question: Did you hear that two of the Notre Dame playbooks were stolen?
Answer: Charlie Weis is very upset. He didn't even finish coloring them.

Two Notre Dame grads are on opposite sides of a river. The first one yells across to the second one "Hey, how do I get to the other side?" The second one yells back, "You are on the other side."

Q: Did you hear about the two Notre Dame fans who froze to death at the drive-in movie?
A: They went to see "Closed for the Winter."

Q: What did the N.D. football player get on his final exam?
A: Drool.

Q: What is the difference between a Notre Dame fan and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes before jumping on a trampoline.

Q: What's the difference between the Notre Dame cheerleaders and the Titanic?
A: Only a couple thousand people went down on the titanic.

Q: What do the Fighting Irish and marijuana have in common?
A: They both get smoked in a bowl.

Q: Where do you go to in Indiana when there is a chance of a tornado?
A: Notre Dame Stadium. I hear they never get a touchdown there!

Q: How do you get a Notre Dame cheerleader pregnant?
A: Cum in her shoes and let the flies do the rest.

Q: Why has the Notre Dame recruiting fallen on hard times?
A: The new coach found out that the SAT score of 900 was individual, not cumulative!

OK, what's the old saying ... Your two favorite teams are your alma mater and whoever is playing Notre Dame! Did I tell you how much I love USC! I love their cheerleaders, their band and their former running backs ... with one exception. Mr. Slice and Dice!

It should be a good one folks. I am taking my 9-3 record into this one with USC on top, 41-38. Look for my 12-0 record with the weather to keep on track with skies mostly clear and a temperature of 58 at kickoff. Peace out!"

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: Why is Notre Dame, with 18 senior starters, a seven-point underdog?

Mike Kern, Philadelphia News: Simply put, Notre Dame-USC is the best intersectional rivalry anywhere (registration).

Blue-Gray Sky: The Notre Dame blog of blogs. This is S.C. week, and around these parts, nothing else matters.

Displaced Trojan: The newest addition to our blogroll. The chronicles of a USC alum living in Connecticut.

House Rock Built: We have to throw some love their way (turn down your speakers). They were the folks who brought us the legendary rant by Mike Valenti of Detroit's 1270 XYT after Michigan State's loss to Notre Dame.

Is This the Cyclones' New Coach?

Here is the latest on the Iowa State coaching hunt. Central Michigan's Brian Kelly reportedly is meeting Saturday with Iowa State president Gregory Geoffroy. It will be a busy two days for the Chippewas coach, who leads his troops Friday in the regular-season finale at Buffalo. Then it's off to Ames and, presumably, back to Mount Pleasant to prepare his team for Thursday's Mid-American Conference championship game against Ohio at Ford Field in Detroit. Kelly is 17-16 in three seasons as Central Michigan's coach, but his record doesn't tell the story. The Chippewas were without an winless season since 1998, but all that changed in Kelly's second season when the team finished 6-5. The rejuvenation continued this season and it appears Central Michigan is headed for a bowl game. Michigan State also has been courting Kelly, but the Spartans' search appears stuck in neutral. Thanks to the Midwest Correspondent for the tip!

About That Rock-Solid Michigan Defense ...

We promise this will be the last posting on the Michigan-Ohio State game for a while, but this was too good to pass up. A Buckeye fan put together this video that picks on Wolverine junior cornerback Morgan Trent, who was picked on by the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game.

Crystal Ball

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News: Look for Texas to wear down Texas A&M and win, 27-13. And check out his Big 12 Insider.

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News: Notre Dame vs. USC? That's easy. Take the Fighting Irish to cover the number.

Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal: Sorry Kentucky fans. This isn't Louisiana Monroe. Tennessee can tackle.

Double D, Boston Herald: Louisiana State vs. Arkansas. We may finally get an answer to what happens when an irresistible force meets and immovable object.

For the latest lines, check with Doc's Sports. And thanks to Hester Graphics for all the help with the site. Check them out if you have a special need for your site.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Michigan and Ohio State in 210 Seconds

If you missed Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game, you can see it and more in this 3 minute 30 second video. Somebody took the time to stitch together images of Ohio Stadium from a campus web cam. The video begins with the tarp being taken off the field on Friday and shows the stadium through the night. Then pregame preparations begin early Saturday and you can watch the stadium fill to capacity. The game begins in daylight and ends under the lights, with fans spilling onto the field. The Columbus Dispatch has a link to the web cam and you can view it by clicking here.

Pac-10 Replay Official Riese Calling It Quits

Gordon Riese's career is over. The Pacific 10 replay official who is being blamed for missing the call on the onside kick that contributed to Oklahoma's 34-33 loss at Oregon on Sept. 16 is calling it quits, according to George Schroeder of the Oklahoman. The $400 payday wasn't worth the headache and the 64-year-old retired high school math teacher, who was suspended for one game after the blown call, decided not to return to the booth after the suspension. Although the Pac-10 has forbidden him to speak on the topic, Riese hints that there is plenty of blame to go around. First, he saw only one replay angle of the onside kick, but he can't say why that was, whether it was a technical or human error. And Riese said although he knew Oklahoma had recovered the ball, by rule he wasn't allowed to determine possession. That ruling had already been made on the field. Although the death threats have stopped, he still receives two or three calls a week from irate Oklahoma fans. Riese also received 67 letters of encouragement, even a few from Oklahoma. But the blown call will always be with him. "It will never leave me," he said. "Until I die." (registration).

From the Web to the Radio

If you like the website, you'll love the radio show. Join the Wiz this Friday night on "Sports Overnight America" on Sports Byline USA beginning around 11:30 (Pacific). Michael Rothstein, Notre Dame beat writer for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, is tentatively scheduled to join the program around midnight to discuss the Fighting Irish's game against USC. The dynamic duo of Fred Wallin and John Woolard get the festivities rolling at 10 p.m. and they will have plenty to talk about, including the Bowl Championship Series. "Sports Overnight America" can be heard on Sirius 122, over the Internet at Sports Byline or on the Armed Forces Network. If none of these options work, check Sports Byline's list of affiliates by clicking here. Please give a listen! And a reminder that if your sports talkshow is looking for a guest analyst, please drop the Wiz a line: dawizofodd (at)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This Is What a No. 1 Team Does to a City

Did we miss a party or what? Columbus was rocking last weekend! Take a look at these shots sent to us from Matt. The top photo really needs no explanation. Then again, maybe we just don't want to give one. ... Now to the important stuff, namely college coeds smothered in mud. How degrading, but yet, how appealing. Really now, what's not to like? We were not aware of this Columbus tradition, when students jump into Mirror Lake the night before the Michigan game, but we like! Now to do this — considering it's November — you probably need a few adult beverages beforehand, and as you can see, it was Consumption Junction. Even Columbus cops were taking all the frolicking in good nature.

A Happy Thanksgiving From Chuck Amato

It appears North Carolina State's Chuck Amato is about to lose his job. What do we base this on? Just take a listen to this audio clip, brought to you by Joe Ovies of the terrific 850/620 The Blog. This all came down during Amato's press conference on Monday. Before the proceedings began, a condescending flack set this ground rule: No questions about Amato's job status. If anybody stepped over the line, the press conference was over. So it took about 20 minutes before a reporter from the student newspaper, the Technician, said the hell with it and asked Chuckie about his future. Amato mutters a few words about speculation and then begins to storm off the stage. But before doing so, he wants to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. Classic! We've listened to this about 10 times and can only imagine being in the room when it all came down. Amato's voice always gets us chuckling, but we would have busted a gut laughing when Amato went on his mini-rampage. If anybody knows where we can get video of this, please let us know.

Starting Over at Iowa State?

Is Jay Norvell, right, the coach Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard had in mind when he went searching for a replacement for Dan McCarney? Cyclone fans who have emailed us are not thrilled with Norvell possibly becoming coach. Nonetheless, the smart money is now on the Nebraska offensive coordinator to take over the Cyclone program, according to Eric Pratt of the Fort Dodge Messenger. So what happened to Jim Harbaugh, who as of a few days ago appeared to be a cinch to get the job? While Harbaugh is reportedly still in the mix, hopes of the San Diego coach taking over in Ames decrease by the day. Were the sides simply unable to agree on a contract, or did Harbaugh back away after getting word that he would be in line for a more attractive opening? Given the sudden turn of events, Norvell — the backup candidate — might not be a cinch either.
Update: Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports Wednesday afternoon that Harbaugh is officially off Iowa State's list. Schrotenboer also reports that Norvell is no longer a candidate, adding to our belief that the Cyclones' search is starting over. And Tim Brewster, who had been mentioned as a candidate, also removed himself from consideration for the job.

Reporters' Notebooks

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: You get the feeling that Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and USC's Pete Carroll don't like each other.

Pat Harty, Iowa City Press-Citizen: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, whose team just completed a 6-6 regular season that included victories over Montana and Northern Illinois, talks about his $4.6 million salary in a 13-month period ending next June.

Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal: Central Michigan's Brian Kelly has been interviewed for the opening at Michigan State.

Doug Doughty, Roanoke Times: The 12th man. Virginia got away with an extra man on the field for a touchdown play against Miami.

Heather A. Dinich, Baltimore Sun: Maryland's Ralph Friedgen is going to open the fridge for players who can't make it home for Thanksgiving (registration).

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Covering the past weekend's action from A to Z. Subscription, so story is in comments.

Scott Carter, Tampa Tribune: A house divided. A winning essay gets a couple's home painted Florida State's Garnet and Gold and Florida's Orange and Blue.

Joseph Person, Columbia State: South Carolina's Steve Spurrier said one of his assistants broke NCAA rules.

Garry Smits, Times-Union: Sluggish ticket sales for the Atlantic Coast Conference title game have Jacksonville officials worried that they might lose the game.

Joe Walljasper, Columbia Tribune: One of the clauses in the new contract of Missouri's Gary Pinkel is for less whining, but he wasn't acting mature over a blown call by the refs in the loss to Iowa State.

Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal: Western Athletic Conference coaches are split as to who will win the showdown between Boise State and Nevada.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

L.A.'s the Place

If you couldn't make it to the Michigan-Ohio State game, L.A. was the place to be Saturday. Reader Greg was one of the lucky ones to take in the California-USC game, which decided the Pacific 10 championship, and he sent us photos of the activities inside and outside the L.A. Coliseum. T-shirts with a message that takes a jab at Trojan rival Notre Dame (top), USC's opponent this Saturday, were being hawked outside the Coliseum, and beer bongs were in order (above left) for some fans. Even though the Golden Bears lost, their fans appeared to be enjoying the festivities (above right). A Trojan fan has customized a satellite dish, left, and an overview of the Coliseum as the teams prepared to battle later that evening.

A 10,000-to-1 Longshot Hits in Toledo

A decision to play the winning score in the Michigan-Ohio State game has paid off for six men in Toledo. The group watched the game at Flav's Variety Store and when the Buckeyes won, 42-39, one of the customers said, "Play the winning score. Whatever it is. Winner's score first," store manager James Foster told the Toledo Blade. The numbers 4-2-3-9 were drawn and the men won $5,000. Lottery officials said the odds of those numbers coming up were 10,000 to 1. "It's just astronomical odds that it happened, but I'm glad they won," Foster said. "Just wish it would have been me." Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.

Reporters' Notebooks

Bob Condotta, Seattle Times: Washington quarterback Johnny DuRocher's playing career is likely over after doctors discovered he has a brain tumor.

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: A week after a voter was booted off the AP poll, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit acknowledges leaving Rutgers off his top 25.

Norm Frauenheim, Arizona Republic: Dirk Koetter says he is ignoring speculation about his future as Arizona State coach.

Susan Miller Degnan, Miami Herald: Miami coach Larry Coker says the thought of resigning has "never entered my mind." (registration).

Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer: Chuck Amato is not taking questions about his future at North Carolina State (registration).

Paul Gattis, Huntsville Times: Alabama coach Mike Shula's fate has yet to be decided.

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: The Big 12 has acknowledged that an official's call late in Missouri's loss at Iowa State was an error.

Rich Kaipust, Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska coach Bill Callahan put in a good word for offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, who is a candidate for the opening at Iowa State.

Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald & Review: Illinois' Ron Zook, who said he is not a very good loser, just finished a 2-10 season. Now what?

Ron Kantowski, Las Vegas Sun: His column proposing that Nevada Las Vegas drop football has fired up the locals.

You're Being Cheated Out of Football

Marty of the terrific cfbstats has the latest numbers regarding the impact of rule 3-2-5-e, which changed the clock rules to shorten games. While the rule has cut nearly 14 minutes from an average game in 2006, it also has reduced the number of plays by 16 and cut scoring by over five points. Any rule designed to give us less football is a bad rule, and if you agree, check out We Hate the New Clock Rules. Over 17,000 fans have already declared their opposition to 3-2-5-e. Here are the numbers through Week 12:

* missing game duration of Toledo-Ball State 10/15/2005


Year.......G.....1H Pts....1H Pts/G...2H Pts....2H Pts/G...OT

Here are the shortest games from Week 12:
San Diego State-Texas Christian: 2:40
Central Florida-Tulane: 2:40
Eastern Michigan-Kent State: 2:40
Idaho-Fresno State: 2:40
Illinois-Northwestern: 2:48
Nevada-Louisiana Tech: 2:48

Here are the longest games from Week 12:
Arkansas State-Troy: 3:41
Michigan State-Penn State: 3:31
Louisiana Monroe-Kentucky: 3:29
Michigan-Ohio State: 3:28
Akron-Ohio: 3:26

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let the Politicking Begin

Rematch anyone? Should Michigan, which lost to Ohio State, 42-39, on Saturday and finished second in the Big Ten race, get another shot at the Buckeyes in the Bowl Championship Series title game? If the season ended today, the Wolverines would, but USC, with games against Notre Dame and UCLA, appears to be in position to overtake Michigan, which has concluded its regular season. If the Trojans stumble, does the winner of the Southeastern Conference championship game between Florida and Arkansas deserve a shot? And what about Notre Dame? Can you justify the Fighting Irish getting the nod over the Wolverines, who scored a decisive 47-21 victory over Notre Dame on Sept. 16? With the BCS likely headed for another disaster, we thought there was no better time to put Democracy to the test.
Free polls from
Which of the following one-loss teams is most deserving of a shot to play Ohio State in the BCS title game?
Michigan USC Florida Notre Dame Arkansas

Columbus Day for 'GameDay'

"GameDay" is more popular than at any point in its 20-year history, but ESPN nearly canceled the program in the early 1990s. Then somebody came up with the bright idea to send the show on the road. "It doesn't look like anything else on TV," said Chris Fowler, who anchors the team of Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. The most anticipated part of the program is when Corso chooses which team will win and puts on the mascot head or helmet of the team he favors. "It's series business when you put the head on," said Corso, who urged "GameDay" contributor and former Michigan standout Desmond Howard to strike a Heisman pose during Saturday's telecast from Columbus, site of the Michigan-Ohio State game. "I've done a few too many here," Howard said. "Do it," Corso said. "I'll do it next to you." When Corso's moment came Saturday, he slipped on the Wolverine helmet, much to the disgust of the Buckeye crowd (you can watch the reaction in the above YouTube video). Corso then needed a cordon of state troopers to get to the stadium. Just before he entered, he picked up a "Go Bucks" placard from the sidewalk, waved it triumphantly to fans who now cheered him, then ripped it into shreds. Again, he was booed (registration).

Week 13

Notre Dame has had something like 53 days to prepare for USC. The Fighting Irish, who got fat on the likes of Navy, North Carolina, Air Force and Army, go toe-to-toe Saturday with the Trojans at the L.A. Coliseum. This one, as they say, has BCS written all over it. There are plenty of other games of note, with the action starting Tuesday when Bowling Green takes on Toledo. On Thursday, it's Boston College at Miami in what could be Larry Coker's Hurricane finale. Friday brings Louisiana State at Arkansas, Texas A&M at Texas and the Civil War battle between Oregon and Oregon State. Saturday's featured games: Wake Forest at Maryland; Oklahoma at Oklahoma State; Florida at Florida State; Boise State at Nevada and Purdue at Hawaii. Get a complete list of games and numbers at Doc's Sports, one of our sponsors.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic: Is Arizona State getting ready to fire Dirk Koetter, who has a 39-33 record in six seasons as coach?

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: Who's going bowling and where? A look at how the bowl picture is shaping up.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Fans flocked to pay final respects at a public visitation of former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.

Paul Gutierrez and Martin McNeal, Sacramento Bee: USC linebacker Dallas Sartz goes to the defense of his former girlfriend, USC Song Girl Natalie Nelson, who was caught cheering at the wrong moment in last season's Rose Bowl. Thanks to the Displaced Trojan.

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald: Hard to believe, but Boston College has not defeated Miami since Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass in 1984.

Doug Segrest, Birmingham News: How did this happen? The winning numbers in Saturday's Ohio lottery were 4-2-3-9. The score of the Ohio State-Michigan game was 42-39.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Columnists' Corner

Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald & Review: It's clear that Illinois' Ron Zook can recruit, but can he coach?

Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News: After another loss to rival Auburn, one has to ask if Alabama's Mike Shula is the right man for the job.

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Is this a great country or what? Iowa goes 2-6 in the Big Ten and gets to go to a bowl game.

Paola Boivin, Arizona Republic: A victory over rival Arizona would salvage what is left of Arizona State's dismal season.

Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona's third stunning victory in a row is an indication that the Wildcats have arrived.

Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle: California got close again to beating USC, but the Golden Bears returned home looking at empty, dirty hands.

Rick Maese, Baltimore Sun: The Naval Academy performed a parade of missteps with its handling of a steriod mess (registration).

Geoff Calkins, Commercial Appeal: Is Arkansas a team of destiny? Razorback players believe they can do no wrong (registration).

Steve Politi, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers fans need to shake off the hangover from a humbling loss at Cincinnati and realize this is a dream season.

Lenox Rawlings, Winston-Salem Journal: A 27-6 loss to Virginia Tech used to be the norm. Now it is cause for concern at Wake Forest.

Richard Oliver, San Antonio Express-News: Dennis Franchione and his Texas A&M Aggies need to stop teasing and start pleasing.

Mitch Vingle, Charleston Gazette-Mail: Somebody has pulled the plug on fan support for rejuvenated Marshall.

Reporters' Notebooks

Eric Petersen, Ames Tribune: Jim Harbaugh remains the hot name in Iowa State's search for a coach to replace Dan McCarney.

Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Scott Paterno, one of Joe Paterno's sons, chastised reporters for watching Paterno's arrival at Beaver Stadium.

Chris Low, David Climer and Ryan Callahan, Tennessean: Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer has a beef with Southeastern Conference officiating and didn't mind saying so after a victory against Vanderbilt.

Todd Schulz and Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal: Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon issued a statement about the school's search for a coach. It was also revealed that consultant Chuck Neinas has been contracted to help find John L. Smith's replacement.

Tom Dienhart, Sporting News: Todd Grantham of the Cleveland Browns to Michigan State? That might not be accurate.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: The MPC Computers Bowl has a sponsorship deal for this year, but it might not have an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

Stephen Tsai, Honolulu Advertiser: Colt Brennan passed for 402 yards and five touchdowns in Hawaii's 54-17 victory over San Jose State.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Michigan, USC Neck-and-Neck in BCS

Where do we go from here? It certainly appears that Michigan deserves a rematch against Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series title game. But what about USC, which has games left against Notre Dame and UCLA? The Trojans could finish with one loss and be left out of the party. To help break it down, we turn to the BCS Guru. The Guru says the BCS top 10, which will be released later on Sunday by Fox, will look like this: 1. Ohio State; 2. USC; 3. Michigan; 4. Florida; 5. Notre Dame; 6. Arkansas; 7. West Virginia; 8. Louisville; 9. Wisconsin; 10 Louisiana State. And check out the Guru's fine piece about a very special day spent with Bo Schembechler.

Harbaugh May Have Some Company

Don't be surprised to see San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson, left, follow Jim Harbaugh to his next coaching gig. Johnson is considered to be among the top junior quarterbacks in the nation. He leads all I-AA quarterbacks with a 179.3 efficiency rating and has thrown for 32 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Johnson didn't get a look from I-A programs coming out of Oakland Tech High because he was only 5 feet 10, 145 pounds. Now he is listed at 6-3, 195 pounds. Johnson would have to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules, then be eligible for his senior season. Iowa State will enter next season with senior Bret Meyer at quarterback, so if Johnson were to follow Harbaugh to Iowa State, he likely would become the starting quarterback in the 2008 season.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Iowa State: Is It Harbaugh?

San Diego coach Jim Harbaugh, left, has emerged as a frontrunner for the opening at Iowa State. The Ames Tribune is reporting that athletic director Jamie Pollard is in Dallas on Friday interviewing Harbaugh and Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. The Cyclones play their final game Saturday under coach Dan McCarney, who agreed last week to step down at season's end. Although the Tribune said two other candidates may be interviewed, the Wiz is hearing that Harbaugh has asked an NFL team for permission to talk to an assistant about joining him at Iowa State. In other words, don't be surprised to see a press conference Tuesday in Ames announcing the hiring of Harbaugh.
Michigan State: Todd Grantham, an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, is expected to be named coach on Monday.
Iowa State update: Backing up our earlier report, the Cedar Rapids Gazette is reporting that Harbaugh offered the defensive coordinator position at Iowa State to a current NFL assistant and was turned down.

Bo Schembechler: 1929-2006

It's a sad day for college football. Former Michigan coach and athletic director Bo Schembechler has died of heart failure. He was 77.

'Mattress Mac' Gets His Way

They caved. North Texas has given in to the demand of booster Jim McIngvale and decided to name its practice facility after outgoing coach Darrell Dickey. We told you about this earlier in the week. McIngvale, who gave $1 million to the university to help build the practice facility, was upset over the firing of Dickey. So he told university officials to transfer the money to the music department if they didn't honor his wish. McIngvale played football for the Mean Green after transferring from Texas, where he had been a bench-warmer on Darrell Royal's 1969 national championship team. Then "Mattress Mac" got into the furniture business and built his fortune.