Making the morning rounds.
• We'll take it from here. Braxton Miller's 40-yard, game-winning heave to fellow freshman Devin Smith Saturday night sealed Ohio State's 33-29 win over Wisconsin and may have saved the Buckeyes' season. It was also OSU's longest completion of the year. And according to receiver Corey Brown, it was also completely made up on the fly — not a broken play that deviated from design when Miller started to scramble, but pure improvisation by almost everyone involved.
"We were scrambling … and [the coaches] didn't give us a play or nothing," Brown said. "So we're out there just running playground routes. I think I ran a deep out or something like that. And Braxton said he pointed at me to get the safety to run over [so he could] throw it to Devin. So on his part, that was like a veteran move. … I just think we were so, like, into the moment our emotions kind of took over and we weren't really listening to anybody." The only person who might have had any idea what he was supposed to be doing, according to Brown: Devin Smith. [Columbus Dispatch]
• I'm all in. Probably. Tuesday morning, the agent for Miami coach Al Golden told CBSSports.com that there have been "overtures made" to restructure Golden's five-year, $10 million contract with the uncertainty of a major NCAA investigation looming over the program, but also emphasized that "We've got options available to us" if the U doesn't offer more security in a turbulent situation. By Tuesday afternoon, he was beginning to backtrack a bit when contacted by the Miami Herald.
"Al is not going anywhere, OK?" said Robert Senior, who's represented Golden since 1991. "He is so committed. All he talks to me about is how great the players are and how much he loves them. He loves his home here. His family loves it here. He's got a five-year contract. He's there to honor the contract. He's the real thing." [CBSSports.com, Associated Press, Miami Herald]
• Welcome aboard, whenever you can make it. West Virginia welcomed Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas to Morgantown Tuesday for a reception to welcome the Mountaineers to the Big 12, where both sides expressed their mutual affections and reiterated the plan for WVU to join the fold by next year. The whole affair was, you know, festive. Meanwhile, Big East commissioner John Marinatto made it clear in no uncertain terms that, lawsuit or no lawsuit, the league remains determined to keeping the Mountaineers through 2014.
"In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference's 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave," Marinatto said after an annual meeting of Big East presidents in Philadelphia, at which they also voted to extend invitations to six new members. "The conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations." [Associated Press, Charleston Gazette]
• You mean these things aren't renewable? Toledo and Northern Illinois combined for 1,121 yards of total offense, 60 first downs, 15 touchdowns and eight lead changes in the second half of a 63-60 NIU win Tuesday night in Toledo, the highest-scoring non-overtime game in MAC history. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish passed for 265 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions; his counterpart, Toledo QB Austin Dantin, connected on five touchdowns, all to receiver Eric Page. Combined, both teams scored on eight consecutive possessions to end the game.
Yet somehow, with a 60-56 lead and Northern Illinois driving for an inevitable touchdown in the final two minutes, Toledo elected to sit on its timeouts as the clock ticked down — thereby putting the game on the Rocket defense to make a stop. Surprise: It didn't, yielding the go-ahead touchdown from Harnish to Perez Ashford to put the Huskies up 63-60 with less than a minute remaining. Toledo got the ball back on its own 27-yard line with just 19 seconds left and all three timeouts still in its pocket, now useless as their last-gasp drive came up well short and control of the MAC West shifted to NIU. [Rivals]
• Under the Crimson Thumb. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees has officially voted down a proposed on-campus stadium at UAB, arguing that a stadium is "not in the best interest" of the state because UAB football "has not generated sufficient student, fan or financial support" to justify a $75 million price tag. So far this year, the 1-7 Blazers are averaging a little over 18,000 in three home games at 71,594-seat Legion Field, including an announced crowd of 8,872 for a 26-24 win over Central Florida, their only win of the season.
Quickly… Michigan loses a backup safety after he's demoted to third string. … Texas loses another wide receiver for "personal reasons." … A congressman compares the NCAA to the mafia. … Somehow, 7-1 South Carolina has yet to score first in any game this season. … Oklahoma plans to keep the "Belldozer" as part of its short-yardage offense. … When in doubt, bet on Stanford. … And you know you're done when you've lost the trick-or-treaters.