Pat Forde

  • Forde-Yard Dash: Bowl edition

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college football, bowl edition:

    We have reached the postseason, and it’s going to be the best postseason ever. Sure, there is still the wide array of dud bowl games with clunky sponsor names. There still are several teams ready, willing and able to mail in their bowl performance and turn a potentially interesting matchup into a bust. There still are interim coaches dotting the landscape, and ESPN promos we’ll be tired of by sundown Saturday, and the task of finding out what Foster Farms is.

    But there also is a playoff. And that makes everything better.

    In addition to a playoff, there are new bowls in Boca Raton, Miami and the Bahamas. (The good news is not the “new bowls” part; it’s the “Boca Raton, Miami and Bahamas” part.) And there are plenty of good matchups as well.

    Whether The Dash can provide insight into those matchups is another question. The Bowl Dash picks are an annual crapshoot – if you are planning on using these picks in your office pool, remember: they’re worth exactly what you paid for them. Now Dash away, Dash away, Dash away all, to the rest of the column:

    Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 1-0, Sun Belt 0-1.

  • Sources: Houston set to hire Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman and Houston were finalizing terms on a five-year contract Monday night to make Herman the next head coach of the Cougars, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Herman will stay with the Buckeyes through the College Football Playoff, a source said. Ohio State plays Alabama on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl, and if it wins would play Jan. 12 in Dallas for the national championship.

    Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reported earlier Monday that Herman was expected to get the job.

    Already a hot commodity coming into the season, Herman is the 2014 Broyles Award winner as the nation's outstanding assistant coach. His work with Ohio State's quarterbacks after season-ending injuries to starter Braxton Miller and backup J.T. Barrett helped keep the Buckeyes in the national championship picture.

    Herman and former Florida head coach Will Muschamp interviewed for the job, sources said. The school also had preliminary discussions with California coach Sonny Dykes.

     

  • Oregon's Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy in historic landslide

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    It was a milestone night as Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy in a landslide Saturday.

    Mariota becomes the first Oregon Duck to win the award, the first Hawaii-born winner and the first player from a Pacific Northwest university since 1962 to take the most prestigious individual award in college football. Terry Baker of Oregon State was the only previous winner from the states of Oregon and Washington.

    Mariota became the clear choice as the season wore on, and that clarity was reflected in the voting: the Oregon QB garnered 90.9 percent of the total points possible - the second-highest total ever, behind Ohio State QB Troy Smith in 2006. Mariota finished with 2,534 total points, including 788 first-place votes.

    Runner-up Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin received 1,250 points, while third-place finisher Amari Cooper of Alabama had 1,023 points. Cooper did finish with 49 first-place votes to Gordon's 37. Defending Heisman winner Jameis Winston of Florida State finished a distant sixth place, and was not one of the three finalists brought to New York City for the ceremony.

     

  • UK enduring after key injury thanks to relentless POY candidate Willie Cauley-Stein

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The season-ending knee injury to forward Alex Poythress on Thursday shook the Kentucky Wildcats to the core.

    In part because the core of this team is Willie Cauley-Stein.

    The 7-foot center is the nation's best defensive player, and the most valuable, versatile and relentless member of the nation's best team. He's also its leader. And he is Poythress' roommate.

    The team took the news of Poythress' injury hard, but no Wildcat took it harder than the thoughtful giant from Olathe, Kan.

    "He's one of the best kids I ever met," Cauley-Stein said Saturday, after the 'Cats moved to 11-0 by pounding North Carolina, 84-70.

    The two young men who share the cover of the Kentucky media guide are the rarest of John Calipari commodities – highly recruited juniors. The fact that they're not in the NBA right now, along with the sophomore Harrison twins, is why Kentucky is the runaway No. 1 team in the nation. This isn't just the most talented team, it's a veteran team as well.

    "Every player's worst nightmare," Cauley-Stein said.

  • Sources: Houston interviewed Will Muschamp for head-coaching job

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    Former Florida coach Will Muschamp interviewed this week for the vacant head-coaching position at Houston, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Several Southeastern Conference schools are believed to be courting Muschamp for a defensive coordinator position, but he is interested in staying in the head-coaching ranks, sources said.

    Muschamp was fired after four seasons with the Gators, compiling a 28-21 record. Prior to coming to Florida, he was the defensive coordinator at Texas and knows the recruiting landscape in the state.

    Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman also is a candidate for the Houston job, sources said. Herman won this year's Broyles Award as the outstanding assistant coach in college football, largely for his work developing backup quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.

    A timetable for naming a new coach is unclear. After its second year in the American Athletic Conference, Houston fired Tony Levine on Monday after three seasons at the school.

    More NCAA football coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • On Wisconsin? Gary Andersen bolting shows UW's problem may be institutional

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Barry Alvarez said Wednesday he was “very surprised” that football coach Gary Andersen had abruptly fled Wisconsin for Oregon State.

    That comes two years and four days after Alvarez was “totally caught by surprise” by football coach Bret Bielema abruptly fleeing Wisconsin for Arkansas.

    Surprise, surprise. The football program Alvarez turned into a contender shockingly has become the most dump-able program in the Power Five conferences.

    The question is why? What has made Wisconsin a bailout job?

    Neither Andersen nor Bielema left Madison for an obvious step up. That should concern Alvarez and the Wisconsin administration.

    Arkansas is in a better conference but also is a tougher place to win – Bielema is 9-15 there, but just 2-14 in Southeastern Conference games. He knew he’d be getting his teeth kicked in for a while at least. Andersen departs what is at worst a top-six Big Ten job for one of the three toughest in the Pac-12. He ran to a job where his daily challenge is going up against the Nike trust-fund baby that is Oregon.

    "Bret used my gameplan to win,” he said. “The coach I hire will have to understand who we are and how we go about our business."

  • Is Heisman Trophy race a foregone conclusion or is there more to it?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    When Heisman Trophy voters cast their ballots online, we have to check a box saying we won’t disclose our votes before the ceremony Saturday night.

    I don’t like strong-arming the voters into a vow of secrecy – we’re in the news business, not the withholding news business.

    But I checked the box Monday, or else I could not have filled out my ballot. Thus, I regretfully inform you that I cannot divulge whom I voted for in a year when there is zero suspense about who will win.

    However, this would be a pretty short and uninformative column if it ended right here. So, ahem, I will list three guys who had a really nice season in college football. Any appearance they may have made on my Heisman ballot would be purely coincidental.

    Nobody played better in 2014 than Marcus Mariota. And no, it’s not close.

    He has had to make big plays and simultaneously be nearly error-free in taking care of the football – especially in an up-tempo offense, where the decisions come fast and furious. Yet Mariota has done it. He’s run or passed on more than half of Oregon’s 966 plays. He is by far the biggest reason why the Ducks are 12-1, champions of the Pac-12 and the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

  • 10 takeaways from the buildup to the first College Football Playoff

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    The matchups are set, and bowl/playoff season is upon us. Now that we’ve made it this far, here are 10 takeaways from the first spin on the College Football Playoff carousel – what we’ve learned, what we’ve liked, what’s lacking.

    1. This is better than the BCS. Much better. Even though the playoff bracket is highly questionable, think where we would be under the old system – quite likely with Florida State playing Alabama, and everyone else left out of championship consideration. The computers used in the BCS formula had the Seminoles and Crimson Tide as the top two teams, as does the USA Today coaches poll.

    That would exclude an Oregon team that almost everyone else believes is one of the two best teams. Think of the outrage that would be generating today. It also would exclude Ohio State, and both Big 12 candidates, TCU and Baylor.

    The simple act of including two more teams created interest and excitement, and it also creates three highest-level matchups – the two semifinals and the final – where the BCS was tasked with just producing one big game.

     

  • Playoff matchups offer intrigue, but will they actually be competitive?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    The College Football Playoff selection committee led us on a labyrinthine journal to a flawed result – but that discussion now is part of the past.

    The field of four is set, and it's time to appraise what the committee has given us.

    The matchup storylines are juicy. The question is whether they're competitive.

    The early report from Las Vegas is no. Southeastern Conference champion Alabama is a 9½-point favorite over Big Ten champion Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl – a bigger favorite than the Crimson Tide was at home against a Mississippi State team that the committee held in much lower regard. In the Rose Bowl, Pac-12 champion Oregon is an 8½-point favorite over Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State – the first time the Seminoles have been an underdog since early in the 2011 season.

    While there are doubts about whether the games will be good, there is no such doubt about the storylines.

    Meyer and Saban overlapped in the SEC for only four seasons. But during that time they won three national championships.

    Advantage – major advantage – to Alabama.

    Advantage – major advantage – to Oregon.

     

  • Will CFP selection committee get it right? Championship weekend didn't help ...

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Selection Sunday? No, this is Squabble Sunday.

    The first-ever College Football Playoff bracket will be revealed Sunday, but any chance of this enlightened new era ending more than a century of bickering about who’s No. 1 is long gone. This will be a brutally difficult choice, with ripples of outrage rolling across the land when the teams are revealed at 12:45 p.m. ET.

    The six teams in contention for the four bids all won this weekend. Nobody made the committee’s job any easier. So it is time for a committee that has made some weird decisions in its weekly rankings to suddenly develop Solomonic wisdom in the only vote that truly matters.

    The top two teams are relatively simple at this point: Alabama and Oregon. The order doesn’t much matter, though it almost certainly will be the Crimson Tide at No. 1 and the Ducks at No. 2. After that it becomes agonizing.

    And acrimonious.

    “I don’t have a message for [the committee],” coach Jimbo Fisher said postgame. “But there ain’t no decision to be made. The decision just got made.

    “I ain’t worried about being No. 1. We’ll be in the playoff.”

    So what does the committee do with its two spots and four teams?