- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports17 hrs ago
The winner of the SEC – either No. 3 Auburn or No. 5 Missouri – would get one bid. The other would probably go to No. 4 Alabama, which is idle. Maybe that's fair, maybe it isn't, but that's the way it is. Dantonio can't possibly think poll voters would jump No. 10 MSU over half a dozen teams, including the two-time defending champion Crimson Tide, whose only blemish was decided on a final second 109-yard field goal return.
Still, there Dantonio was Tuesday, standing in front of the media and broaching the subject himself, just laying it out there for discussion.
"Why not us?" he said.
For the national title?
"Yeah, why not us?" he repeated.
Don't bother debating him because swaying some poll voter somewhere with such a hypothetical was neither the point nor the purpose. He doesn't care about who doubts him; the intended audience was his own team.
The ultimate week for annoying analysis is here – it's the final few days for BCS politicking.
Dan Wolken of USA Today joins the Dan Wetzel Football Podcast as we attempt to make a rational, sound, fact-based determination of who should be No. 1 and No. 2. Well, actually we don't do that. We make no selection.
We do beg for a decision that is based on logic, and logic says that quality of victory and strength of schedule have to count for something. Essentially, the question is: Why is college football the only sport in which whom you beat isn't as important as not getting beat – at least as long as you are in one of a select few conferences.
Other topics include:
• Why Auburn AD Jay Jacob wasn't better prepared to make the Tigers' case and instead went for the oft-putting and mostly ineffective whine about how "un-American" it would be for a one-loss SEC team to be left out of the BCS title game? Is there any chance the SEC won't get its PR campaign in order by Saturday though?
Southern California has hired Steve Sarkisian, who arrives via the University of Washington, as its new head coach.
He follows Ed Orgeron, who served much of this season as interim coach, and Lane Kiffin, who led the Trojans for three-plus seasons before being canned in late September.
Sarkisian worked alongside both on Carroll's staff when USC was the nation's top program last decade. He and Kiffin were co-offensive coordinators.
Now he has to prove that he's something different, something better, something that will work.
"He knows how to build a program and create a culture that we value," athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement.
Everyone likes a good conspiracy theory, especially when an NFL player rattles off the words "suspicious", "spying" and "Bill Belichick" in an accusatory fashion. Certainly Houston Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith knew all of that when, through a smile, he lobbed the loaded charge that the New England Patriots were up to something nefarious last week which allowed them to adjust in the second half of their game against the Texans on Sunday. Houston led by 10 points at the break but wound up losing 34-31.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
So here on a sunny-but-cold last Saturday of November, with Michigan trailing Ohio State by a single point and 32 seconds left, Hoke was faced with a decision that really wasn't – kick an extra point to likely force overtime, or go for two and try to take the lead.
"We play the game to win," Hoke said.
So Hoke tried for the win, setting up one of the most dramatic plays this old and storied rivalry had ever seen. It left 113,211 people – whether clad in maize and blue, or scarlet and gray – holding their breath.
It didn't work. Devin Gardner's two-point conversion pass was picked off and Ohio State rolled out of Ann Arbor with a 42-41 victory and a 12-0 regular season heading into next week's Big Ten championship against Michigan State. "I would've done the same thing," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said. "You've got to win the game."
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
Even in a sport prone to hyperbole the following is true: The coming week may be one of the most extraordinary in the history of college football.
And the fact Alabama and Auburn are holding an Iron Bowl that serves as a knockout game for both the SEC and perhaps even BCS national title chases is just part of it.
In Tallahassee, the local state's attorney, William Meggs, is gathering evidence and considering whether to charge Florida State star quarterback and Heisman frontrunner Jameis Winston with a felony over an allegation of sexual battery that occurred nearly a year ago.
The alleged crime is both serious and ugly and can't be understated. Winston could face up to 15 years in prison, far greater stakes than football glory (both team and individual). There are two young people involved here. No one is forgetting that.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
Mike DeWine was driving back from Steubenville on Monday afternoon, back from the old steel town in the eastern part of Ohio where a high school sexual assault – the kind that everyone knows occur too often in too many places – had blown into an international story over the past year.
DeWine is the veteran attorney general for the state of Ohio. His office prosecuted two high school football players, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, back in March. They were found guilty of sexually abusing a passed out 16-year-old girl from West Virginia who'd come across the Ohio River to attend a Steubenville High School party. Mays and Richmond currently sit in a youth correction center.
Those criminal cases were just the first step, however. Monday was the rest of it for DeWine, who commissioned a special grand jury to uncover everything that could be uncovered – who else knew, who else should've known, who supplied the booze, who hid from their responsibilities, who didn't report a crime?
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In 2009, the New England Patriots visited the Indianapolis Colts in one of those typical, big expectation, powerhouse midseason showdowns.
The Pats were sitting on a six-point lead with 2:08 remaining in the game when Bill Belichick decided he'd rather go for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28-yard line than punt to Peyton Manning.
The play failed and the Colts went on to score a short-field, game-winning touchdown. The decision went down as one of the more memorable (and criticized) in the Manning vs. Patriots rivalry.
Sunday night here, in the series' latest chapter, with Manning now a Denver Bronco, the game went to overtime, score tied at 31. New England won the coin flip and Belichick immediately chose to again buck conventional wisdom and take the wind, a cold, whipping 20-mile per hour effort.
"We [were] like, 'Defer? Take the wind?'" defensive back Devin McCourty said.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
'Tis the season for fan angst, where the chase for an elusive spot in the BCS title game heads toward a conclusion. With four unbeaten teams from major conferences – not to mention Fresno State and Northern Illinois – the last year of the BCS may prove to be the most controversial and unsatisfying.
Perhaps no school championed and protected the BCS more than Ohio State, both courtesy of its campus leader (now-departed president E. Gordon Gee) and conference boss (Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany). They fought for years against the creation of even a modest playoff.
So it is a measure of poetic justice that the 10-0 Buckeyes, riding a 22-game win streak, are currently ranked third and in danger of being bumped down by Baylor to No. 4 and even possibly jumped at some point by Auburn if the Tigers go 12-1 and win the SEC.
Ohio State's vast fan base could live without the Shakespearean story arc, of course. Urban Meyer has an excellent team and the downfall of the Big Ten conference isn't exactly the Buckeyes' fault.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports15 days ago
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was long after Tom Brady had screamed at the referees about reversing a pass interference call on the final play of the game, and long after Bill Belichick had mumbled off his passive-aggressive displeasure ("you saw what I saw").
Everyone was looking for answers on Monday night, and so Rob Gronkowski stood at his locker and kept shrugging, while down the hall Luke Kuechly stood in front of his and just smiled.
It was Gronkowski and Kuechly who wound up in the back of the end zone, clock reading all zeros, Tom Brady's would-be game-winning pass zipping through the air toward them. Kuechly, Carolina's great linebacker, hugged his arms around Gronkowski, New England's great tight end.
The ball went short and wound up in the arms of safety Robert Lester, but the jubilation was short-lived as back judge Terrence Miles dropped a yellow flag down. Pass interference was the call, leaving New England with one more play, at the Carolina 1-yard line for all the marbles.
It seemed pretty simple. It wasn't.