Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 23 hrs ago
Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball, where God clearly is not a fan of realignment – His snowstorm having postponed the first-ever Michigan State-Rutgers Big Ten game and imperiled the first-ever Louisville-Boston College ACC game:
COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S BIG PROBLEM
Jay Bilas is the leading television voice in the sport – a smart, outspoken and fully confident guy who has both played and coached the game. And Jay Bilas basically says college basketball sucks right now.
Actually, “unwatchable” is the modifier he’s often used. He has a point.
Here is the biggest problem as it relates to the game as a whole: it is ugly and slow and unskilled.
Here is an ancillary problem specific to this season: the two teams currently atop the rankings aren’t helping.
The disappointing aspect of the overall pace and aesthetics of college hoops is that the sport’s decision makers were in the process of fixing it last year. And then they lost their nerve.
Scoring has plummeted back to where it was before the refs tried to clean up the game – actually even a little bit lower. Not coincidentally, TV ratings are far from robust. There isn’t much fun to watch.
SAVE IT FOR MARCH
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Wait, what happened?
What happened to the horrible Hoosiers? The program in disrepair? The coach who had lost control? The fan base that was forming into a lynch mob?
Where did that Indiana go?
Maybe, despite an autumn of knee-jerk outrage, that Indiana never existed.
Now that we've plowed through the preseason panic and actually played 19 games, this is Indiana: 15-4 and ranked in the AP Top 25.
Now that we've completed one-third of the Big Ten season, this is Indiana: 5-1 and tied for first.
Now that we're 36 days from March, this is your front-runner for Big Ten Coach of the Year: Tom Crean.
"We're improving," Crean said. "They've been improving all year. They've gotten closer. They've really worked hard to control what they can control."
But the Hoosiers blocked them out.
Still, even the most optimistic player had to have doubts when starting big man Mosquera-Perea went down with a knee injury a couple of weeks ago. This was a small team with threadbare interior depth to begin with, and losing the 6-foot-9 junior looked like a potential disaster.
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
On Nov. 28, 1975, a college basketball game was played that resonated almost nowhere:
Army 56, Lehigh 29.
Nobody knew that game played in the dark, dingy old U.S. Military Academy Field House on the banks of the Hudson River in West Point, N.Y., was the start of something big.
Well, maybe Bo Gill, sports editor of the Evening News in Newburgh, N.Y., had an inkling, given the breathless first sentence of his story on the game in the next day’s paper: “They ran with gusto, they swarmed over the enemy offense like hornets, they drove for the loose basketballs and did just about everything that could be expected of a first-game team Friday.”
But the story got second billing to the upcoming Army-Navy football game. The basketball news was shouldered onto the page alongside a series of bowling notes. Faye Peters bowled a 601 series to grab an Evening News headline.
Not a big deal.
Army-Lehigh matched a pair of frighteningly young rookie head coaches with long and interesting roads ahead – divergent roads that would lead them to far bigger venues and brighter stages.
His name is Mike Krzyzewski.
Hill, Lehigh's coach, believes it might have been more a case of freshman nerves.
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
By all appearances, the college football coaching carousel has stopped.
For the second straight year, no head coach is jumping from college to the NFL. The college game had lost Chip Kelly and Doug Marrone to the pros in 2013, and in previous years lost Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll.
In a major reversal of fortune, the college game poached a big one from the NFL – Harbaugh went back on campus. And that’s an appropriate place to appraise the winners and losers in this year’s coaching realignment derby.
Michigan. The Wolverines dumped a coach who was in over his head, shot for the moon and hit the bull's-eye with Harbaugh. Best thing to happen to Michigan football since Charles Woodson.
Mississippi State. For much of the season, Gridworld speculated on whether Dan Mullen would go to Florida or Michigan or some other high-rent locale. Instead Mullen stayed put in Starkville – and so did his star quarterback, Dak Prescott. The Bulldogs lost defensive coordinator Geoff Collins but replaced him with Manny Diaz, who did a fine job at the school earlier in Mullen’s tenure.
HOTTEST SEATS FOR 2015
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago
DALLAS – As the cliché goes, hindsight is 20/20.
Or in this case, 42-20.
The combined College Football Playoff margins of victory by Ohio State over Oregon and Oregon over Florida State make clear which team did not belong in the sport’s first Final Four. And that team is the Seminoles. They were routed by a team that then was routed in its next game.
The 'Noles were thrashed by 39 points by Oregon, which promptly was pummeled by 22 by points by Ohio State in Monday night's national championship game. The combined 61-point chasm between the Buckeyes and Florida State confirms what a lot of people suspected throughout the season: the 'Noles were more lucky than good, and the playoff exposed that.
It would have thrown the idea of an undisputed national champion into serious doubt.
Which leads to the following conundrum for the committee moving forward: Does going undefeated in a power-five league guarantee a place in the playoff, no matter how it is achieved?
That would be a shame for the fans.
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago
ARLINGTON, Texas – When the three-time national champion coach came out of the postgame interview room, a golf cart was waiting to take him back to the Ohio State locker room in AT&T Stadium.
A couple of groupies were waiting for him, too.
"Ur-ban Mey-er!" chanted Gigi Meyer at her father.
The cart abruptly stopped and the college-age girls ran after it and climbed onboard for a short but sweet victory ride.
"Hey," Meyer yelled at his older daughter, Nicki, as he wrapped his arms around her. "It's Nicki Kardashian!"
Laughter ensued. Four years ago, this sport had scorched Meyer to a crisp – burning him out, affecting his health and leaving him untethered from his family.
Now, with a dominant 42-20 rout of Oregon on Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship, Meyer has risen from his own ashes and put everything back together. With astonishing speed.
[Yahoo Team Fan Shop: Buy Ohio State national championship merchandise]
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago
DALLAS – “Drink.”
That was the order from the Ohio State strength and conditioning staff to the Buckeyes at media day Saturday. As the players sat at tables for their one-hour session with reporters, the coaches wanted them to have water bottles in their hands, hydrating in preparation for Monday night.
They also wanted the players to be careful what they said.
“Don’t get diarrhea of the mouth,” one staffer told safety Tyvis Powell. The staffer then looked at fellow defensive back Armani Reeves, who shared a table with Powell, and said, “Hey, monitor him.”
This is part of the Urban Meyer Method – no detail is too small to overlook. From water bottles to watching your words, the Ohio State staff is on top of everything – an extension of Meyer’s obsession with maximizing the potential of everyone in his program.
Which is a huge reason why the Buckeyes are here, facing Oregon in search of an unlikely national championship.
Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden? No. Darrell Royal and Bo Schembechler? No. Ara Parseghian and Robert Neyland? No. And Meyer can join Saban as the only coaches to win three or more titles with more than one team.
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago
DALLAS – Matt Lubick did a fine impersonation of Monty Python's Black Knight on Saturday.
At the College Football Playoff national championship media day, the Oregon receivers coach kept insisting his diminishing corps of pass catchers is fine. It was reminiscent of the 'tis-but-a-flesh-wound insistence by the Black Knight as he had one limb after another severed in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
"This is the healthiest we've been in a long time at receiver," Lubick insisted. "To be honest, our depth right now is better than it was last year at this time. I think we've got six or seven guy."
That's some serious depth, because the attrition has been astounding.
Those personnel losses aren't likely to engender much sympathy from Ohio State, which is on its third quarterback of the season. Both teams have had to adjust and overcome on the fly. But the most recent setback is Oregon's.
And then his season went up in smoke.
"Darren's my friend," said Allen, who is out with a knee injury. "I love that guy and it sucks that he can't play and the NCAA made an example out of him. …"
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After Ezekiel Elliott broke the line of scrimmage and suddenly was in the clear – suddenly was running away from Alabama, running 85 yards to the end zone, running Ohio State into the national championship game – the sophomore’s eyes darted up to the Superdome big screen.
He was checking the whereabouts of the Crimson Tide defenders, seeing whether anyone was closing on him. None was. His touchdown route was safe, the video board told him, and the Buckeyes were on their way to a Sugar Bowl shocker that ranks as the blueblood program’s biggest win of the past 12 years.
As Ezekiel was looking up, Stacy Elliott was looking back.
In the Superdome stands, Ezekiel’s dad blinked back tears and found himself transported 25 years into the past. He’d been a linebacker at Missouri in the late 1980s and early ’90s – dark days for that program, when losing in painful fashion was a way of life. Elliott was on the team that lost to Colorado on the infamous fifth-down play in 1990: “It don’t get worse than that. I was on the tackle. He didn’t get it.”
It’s a feeling Stacy Elliott never experienced as a player. And he’s damn sure not going to miss out on it as a parent.
Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The most memorable play from Ohio State’s 42-35 upset of Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals was running back Ezekiel Elliott going 85 yards for the clinching touchdown – bursting into the clear and running away from that vaunted SEC speed.
Elliott is a member of the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class.
Before Elliott’s run, the game-turning play came on a Vonn Bell interception in the fourth quarter near the Ohio State goal line to thwart what could have been the go-ahead drive by the Crimson Tide.
Bell is a member of the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class.
The most decorated player on this Ohio State team is defensive end Joey Bosa, who was a consensus All-American; a finalist for the Lombardi, Chuck Bednarik and Ted Hendricks Awards; and the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Bosa is a member of the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class.
The guy who was Ohio State’s best offensive player before breaking his ankle, and who spent much of the season in the Heisman Trophy picture, was quarterback J.T. Barrett.