Thursday, January 14, 2010

NCAA Football 2009: In the Books

This time of year is one of the most depressing times, in my opinion. No, I am not a pessimist, I’m not a “Negative Nancy,” I’m generally an optimistic person, but the realization that there will be no college football for approximately 8 months breaks my heart. Of course, I’m not forgetting about spring practices and scrimmages, but c’mon, that’s like having an appetizer at 4 and dinner at 9; you get a taste of the meal but get even more hungry waiting for the main course. It’s a tease.

Anyway, now that I am done with my spiel we can get down to business. The BCS National Championship was a week ago, and it sure was a crazy game. With Colt McCoy being knocked out of the game on the third offensive play, I know your jaw hit the floor approximately the same millisecond mine did. McCoy later described his arm as if it were dead – which is not something the third rated QB in the 2010 draft should be saying – but either way, it’s a good thing his father took out an insurance policy that offers a payout of $3-5 million if McCoy never returns to the gridiron.

The bright side of this happening, is we got a sneak peek at who will take the reigns of the Horns with McCoy graduating and entering the NFL. Although freshman Garrett Gilbert had a rocky start, and somewhat of a rocky finish, there were bright spots. Bright spots that had Texas fighting back, and only down by 3 with 6 minutes remaining. No one can knock Gilbert for the 4 INTs – he’s an 18 year old kid getting thrust into the biggest game of the year. Despite the loss, it will be great experience, and he handled it well. Looks like the Horns will produce another productive fantasy player in the near future.

The question many people I have talked to are asking, is whether Alabama would have been able to withstand Colt McCoy, had he not been knocked out of the game. Well, Alabama’s offense looked great once they got going in the 2nd quarter. Even though QB Greg McElroy played with a hairline crack in "at least one rib," he managed the game well, getting the ball into the hands of Mark Ingram (22 carries for 169 yards and 2 TDs) and Trent Richardson (19 carries for 109 yards and 2 TDs, with a 49yd long TD in the second quarter). But what was more impressive, and more likely the answer to the question, is how the Crimson Tide defense completely dominated the Longhorn rushing attack, allowing only 81 yards total on the ground. That is obviously because the threat of a high-powered passing attack that came with Colt McCoy was non-existent, but its also because the ‘Bama defense was just plain nasty. Who knows what would have happened, but I think it would have been another nail-biter, much like the one Texas was in back in 2006.

On another note, with the stir that Lane Kiffin has created in the last 72 hours, everyone has their own opinion. Some think he’s a complete jerk, some people understand the business and personal decision he is making and don’t blame him. Personally, I feel bad for the players that bought into his system, bought into his hype, and were severely disappointed. I feel bad for the Volunteer fans who praised him, who supported him by defending his name in the face of every Gator fan, and they too were severely disappointed and angered. Either way, the only one who will be able to overcome this mess is Lane, himself. He is on his way by signing up what looks to be a superb coaching staff on paper, but Kiffin has been all talk for years. The fact that he is bringing with him one of the all-time greatest defensive coaches in his dad, Monte Kiffin, along with recruiting guru Ed Orgeron, and an offensive professor Norm Chow, recruiting shouldn’t miss a beat and expectations will be high. Having been handed two great jobs in Oakland and Knoxville, and not doing much with them (5-15 in Oakland, 7-6 at Tennessee), the best thing for him to do is to win. Lots. Now. That’s the only way he will be able to repair his reputation – and that might already be unsalvageable.

Congrats to the Alabama Crimson Tide on their big win. Now onto basketball season.

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