Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Things and more things

* Monday night's Fiesta Bowl was one of the best games of the bowl season, and Colt McCoy stepped up big with everything on the line. He didn't play well for most of the first three quarters -- taking a couple of bad sacks, throwing a pick near the goal line at the end of the first half, etc. -- but with 2 minutes left to play and in need of a touchdown, he marched the Longhorns down the field with the accuracy and game management he showed all season. I'd call him the Heisman front-runner next season, but with the possibility that fellow finalists Tim Tebow AND Sam Bradford could be back next season, it could be a hell of a race. It's also worth noting that McCoy set BCS bowl records with 41 completions and 414 yards.

* On a related note, Ohio State represented itself surprisingly well. I honestly didn't think that the Buckeyes could hang with Texas' potent offense, but James Laurinaitis and company kept everything in front of them all night -- until the Quan Cosby touchdown, that is -- and hopefully silenced some of the Big 10 critics. I'm sure they'll still be there, of course (Tuesday's projected headline: "Big 10 collapses in big game once again"), but the Buckeyes have nothing to be ashamed of by losing on a last-minute TD to one of the best teams in the country. That said, the Longhorns have no real argument to finish No. 1 in the AP poll -- no more than they did before the game, anyway. There was some talk in the media that a dominating win over Ohio State followed by a close, not-so-spectacular Oklahoma victory in the BCS championship game could make for some controversy. That didn't happen, though, and while USC and Utah each might pick up a first-place vote or two (and Texas will get Mack Brown's vote, of course), the winner of the title game will be a near-unanimous No. 1.

* Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who is 45 years old, has coached two seasons and has a career record of 20-8, will apparently be fired for interviewing with the New York Jets for their vacant head coaching position. The question here: What is Boston College doing? I understand the concern, which is essentially not wanting to have your head coach looking around for other positions, but if he's doing so well that he's a legitimate candidate for bigger jobs, shouldn't you be grateful that he's been able to get your program to that level? Especially when you consider that BC's only option for a successor at this point, with all other noteworthy candidates off the market, is to promote an assistant who will in no way be prepared to take over a major ACC program? We'll see if athletic director Gene DeFilippo carries through with his threat, but this seems like a potentially huge mistake.

* I haven't been sold on Brady Hoke as a big-time head coach, considering that his record at Ball State coming into this season was 22-37 -- that's an average of 4.4 wins per season, slightly worse than his predecessor, Bill Lynch. But with the staff he's assembled so far at San Diego State, it'll be hard not to succeed. Hoke recently hired Al Borges (former O-coordinator at Auburn) as offensive coordinator and Rocky Long (former head coach of New Mexico) as defensive coordinator. One of the most important things for a guy like Hoke, who was never a college coordinator before becoming head coach at Ball State, is to surround yourself with quality assistants who can devise a gameplan, and that's exactly what he's done so far at San Diego State.

* Numerous players declared for the NFL draft this week, with the most noteworthy of those being Alabama tackle Andre Smith, Iowa running back Shonn Greene, Kansas State QB Josh Freeman, Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt, North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks and UConn running back Donald Brown. It's always nice to see guys stick it out for four years, as it only makes the game that much better (wink Tebow wink), but you can't blame the guys who are all but guaranteed a spot in the first two rounds. If put in the same situation, I'm not sure I could delay the chance to set myself up financially for the rest of my life.

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