Alabama Crimson Tide

College Football Playoff: Would You Rather …

Let’s play a game of hypotheticals. Say you were Dabo Swinney, head coach of the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers have to be considered the top power in College Football this year, as they have looked impressive during their undefeated run....

Nike Unveils Uniforms for College Football Playoff

It’s generally a well kept secret as to what flashy uniforms the Ducks will wear on game day. But this time we will not have to wait, as Nike unveiled the uniforms for all four football teams in the College...

National Scene: Ohio State is in, Baylor and TCU Are Out

“Who’s In?” You’ve seen the commercials for ESPN’s College Football Playoff selection show. And you know what? That’s a great question. This conference Championship Week was supposed to help clear some of that up, but that simply wasn’t the case....

Oregon’s Shot at the Number One Spot

The College Football Playoff Committee unveiled their rankings last night and the Ducks moved up into the number two slot. Oregon hopped an undefeated Florida State and there is a realistic possibility that Oregon...

Playoff Hunt/Pac-12 Update: Ducks inch closer to the Top 5

After the luck of the Irish fell short in Tallahassee and West Virginia exposed Baylor’s user-friendly defense, only three legitimate playoff contenders remain undefeated. Headed in the Playoff Direction No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs...

College Fantasy Football Week 3: Can’t Go Wrong if His Last Name Is Hill

For the third consecutive week, my college team has put up huge fantasy numbers. That was thanks in large part to my starting quarterbacks, Kenny and Taysom Hill (not related) of Texas A&M and BYU, who scored 34 and 31 points respectively. Connor Halliday led the way for all quarterbacks, scoring a miraculous 45 fanatsy points. His week by week totals …

Spring Football Questions As Pondered by FishDuck

Spring football gets underway around the Pacific Northwest this week.  Looking forward, Duck fans have a few questions for the 2014/15 campaign.  Will the linebackers step up?  Is the offensive line improved?  After they lose for the 11th time in a row, can we expect Washington fans en masse to jump off a Seattle area bridge, or will they use the Ferry Street bridge nearby?

Husky fan in full on distraught mode

Husky fan in full-on distraught mode.

But questions are what Spring ball is all about.  In our quest for exhaustive coverage, FishDuck.com/investigativereportingtomakeWoodwardandBernsteinjealous has traveled around the country to ferret out those questions being asked by other fan bases:

1.  Alabama Crimson Tide:  Sure Nick Saban has a ton of trophies in his office but, after failing to win even the SEC in 2013, folks in Tuscaloosa and places even less sophisticated, are wondering if modern football has left Nick behind.  Saban’s panic-stricken efforts to keep football played at a snail’s pace leaves us wondering if he might not be wondering the same thing.  Little wonder.

5-star Alabama recruit Manny Bewbs

5-star Alabama recruit Manny Bewbs

2.  Georgia Bulldogs:  Following the recent trend toward alternate uniforms, and in light of the recent series of arrests at Georgia, FishDuck.com got word that Head Coach Mark Richt might be planning a change in attire for the 2014 season.  While the final design isn’t yet set in stone, our investigators took some behind the scenes photos.

What happens between the hedges stays between the hedges.

What happens between the hedges, stays between the hedges.

3.  Florida State Seminoles:  Fresh off of their first National Championship in quite a while, the ‘Noles have a lot of talent coming back.  Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston is expected to have his team in the hunt one more time.  The Seminole staff is preparing Winston for the season by making sure that he is up-to-date on the playbook as well as one other publication.

Read it, know it, live it.

Read it, know it, live it.  Some things are more important than football.

4.  Washington Huskies:  The Huskies tried to win with Rick Neuheisel, a good amount of cheating and a roster full of skilled position players.  They tried to win with Steve Sarkisian and a defense led by Nick Holt.  Now they will try to win with new head coach Chris Petersen.  Fresh from the recruiting wars waged in Weiser, Idaho, Petersen will be leading a team that has talent but is … say it with me, you know it as well as I do … “young.”  This team is so young that Peterson is considering a name change for the 2014 season.

"Coach Pete.  We said we needed some studs...not spuds."

“Coach Pete. We said we needed some studs … not spuds.”

5.  Oregon State Beavers:  The Beavers just need to distinguish between two things that will provide a chance for a good 2014 season, and maybe even a trip to some minor bowl that will be invented this summer.  They need to learn to distinguish between two things:

Ummm. behind

Ummm, behind.

...hole in the ground.

Hole in the ground.

Go Ducks!  Win the Day begins with winning the Spring!

 Top photo by en.wikipedia.org

College Football Nation: SEC rules and SEC SEC SEC

 

First off, it has been a busy week for me.  Not so much with National Signing day and paying attention to recruiting but more on the family aspect.  My wife and I welcomed our 2nd child on February 1st.  I know she will be a great child because she was born before the Super Bowl allowing me to not miss any of the game!  Welcome to the world Taylor Lauren Hostetler.

Daddy's little football fan is here.

Daddy’s little football fan is here.

 

Signing day has come and gone!  Many coaches’,fans’, and recruits’ dreams have been fulfilled or shattered all in one short day.  Signing day is the one time a year where the records do not matter, and it gives hope to a fan base about things to come in the fall. You might be reading my title and go, “Oh boy, another SEC homer here tooting his horn!”  Well, YES!!!!! and no.  Our main focus of the week is to look back at signing day, and really, outside the SEC what do we have to talk about…. Southern California and their recruiting class?  Signing day not only gives all teams hope for the upcoming season, but it also re-enforces the fact that the SEC gets it done.  7 out of the Top-10 teams were the SEC.  Alabama has once again gotten the #1 recruiting class for the hundredth time in a row… or so it seems.  Yes the SEC lost the title game vs. FSU and has been “dethroned” in that aspect, but come signing day, you would think every top recruit is required to go to an SEC school!  So I am sure the comment board will blow up with that paragraph, but when another conference can even get 3 or 4 teams in the top-10 of the recruiting ranking… then you will have something to talk about.  Let’s get into some of the news and highlights from Signing Day.

1)  One surprise on signing day was at Texas A&M.  Yes, they landed a top class but that is not what I am talking about.  Cedric Collins was committed to Texas A&M and ready to go.  Unfortunately he had a career ending injury and will never play football again.  Most coaches would move onto the next recruit and go from there.  If you can’t play then you can’t help the team.  Texas A&M coach, Kevin Sumlin, looked past that and is still honoring his scholarship.  I think that is great!  We all know the business of college football, but Sumlin was able to look past that and still do the right thing. Collins committed to Texas A&M and they still committed to him even after the injury.  I enjoy seeing stories like this.  It gives me hope that people still realize there is more to life than football.

2)  No matter who your team gets, there will always be winners and losers.  What really surprised me was Tennessee doing so well on the recruiting trail.  People forget that Tennessee has top rated facilities, a huge fan base, and a giant stadium to pack them all in.  Look for Tennessee to be on the up while other top schools that had way better seasons than Tennessee  did not do so well.  If Butch Jones can turn around Tennessee like he did Cincinnati, then look out, Alabama.  He has proven he can get it done on the recruiting trail, so now it is time to prove it on the field!

3)  If you are a Florida State fan (I AM NOT) then rejoice this week.  Your school landed a Top-5 recruiting class, but more importantly got an even bigger commit when it was reported that Jameis Winston will not be headed to the NFL DRAFT first chance he gets but instead, play out all of his college years.  Looks like FSU fans can plan for great things for the next few years.  It always helps a coach rest at ease when he has a quarterback like Winston committing to him for the next couple years and can groom the predecessor properly.

Winston will be setting all sorts of records

Winston will be getting all sorts of records – on and off the field. (Sorry, the last part comes from the snarky editor again.)

So there you have it.  Signing Day has proven the SEC still dominates while the rest of the country plays catch up.  I would talk about Oregon and their recruiting class but the website will take of that.  Really, is there anything to get excited for with Oregon’s recruiting class?  For a program doing as well as them, they did not even crack the Top-20 or Top-25…all depending on where you are looking.  [Editor’s note: Jeff, if you are going to make a big deal out of Winston coming back, throw in a few recruiting points for Marcus Mariota, Hroniss Grasu and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu for the Ducks while you are at it!]  With all the resources made available to Oregon and all of the support they get, I expected more from them.  I am sure I will hear all about that last sentence I typed.  Enjoy the off season and now it’s back to watching ESPN CLASSIC REPLAYS from this past season until spring ball gets here.

NATIONAL NEWS:

1. ACC wants a piece of the SEC

2. Oklahoma QB situation changing

3. Florida loses another

4. Nick Saban gets it done

5. Tennessee war room

 

Oregon settles for the Alamo; FSU-Auburn matchup in the BCS title game

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Photo by Walt Grondona
Photo by Walt Grondona

The Oregon Ducks will play in the Alamo Bowl against the Texas Longhorns in the final year of the current BCS format. The Ducks were thought to have a slim shot at receiving a bid to either the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl, but the two bowl game’s executive committee’s selected Oklahoma and Clemson instead. Oregon will miss out on the BCS Bowl party for the first time in five years. As the third best team in the Big-12 and with no shot at reaching the BCS, the Texas Longhorns automatically received a bid to the Alamo Bowl. The Ducks finished No. 10 and the Longhorns finished 22 in the final BCS standings. Oklahoma and Clemson finished 11th and 12th respectively. The game will be played on Dec. 30.

Despite falling short of the sky high expectations of reaching a national title game, the Ducks will have the chance to complete an impressive 11 win season against a storied opponent in one of the most prestigious non-BCS bowl games. The last time Oregon faced off against Texas was the 2000 Holiday Bowl when UO had its first 10 win season in 105 years. Led by legendary Duck QB Joey Harrington, the Ducks defeated the Longhorns 35-30.  Of course, the following year Harrington would lead UO to its first BCS bowl win in a Fiesta Bowl victory over Colorado. 

Despite Oregon’s absence, the BCS show must go on.

Winston

Flickr

In the national championship game, Florida State will face off against the last team to win the national title besides Alabama, the Auburn Tigers. While the Seminoles have blitzed through their schedule with ease and have looked dominant in every facet of the game, the Tigers had to fight, claw and scratch their way to get to this position. Before winning the SEC championship game against Missouri while rushing for 545 yards, the Tigers beat Georgia due to a going for broke deep ball from the arm of QB Nick Marshall that deflected off of a Georgia player and bounced safely into the hands of WR Richard Louis, who ran into the end-zone. The TD all but solidified the Tigers victory as the Bulldogs only had 25 seconds to score a TD. In the Iron Bowl, Tigers CB and punt returner Chris Davis took an Alabama potential game winning missed field goal 109 yards as time expired for the game winning touchdown. WIth Ohio State’s loss, this matchup was inevitable. The dust will be settled and a champion will be crowned on Jan 6.

Oregon's Terrance Mitchell and Stanford's Rollins Stallworth go up for the pass as Mitchell knocks it away  | Photo by Gary Breedlove
Oregon’s Terrance Mitchell and Stanford’s Rollins Stallworth go up for the pass as Mitchell knocks it away | Photo by Gary Breedlove

The Rose Bowl New Years Day matchup will feature two of the toughest defensive teams in the country in the Michigan State Spartans and the Stanford Cardinal. The Spartans earned their bid after outmuscling the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big-10 championship game. Stanford beat Arizona State for the second time this season in the Pac-12 championship game. The Cardinal won the Pac-12 for the second consecutive season and has made it to a BCS game four years in a row. Much to Duck fans chagrin, Pac-12 supremacy might be shifting to Northern California.  The Cardinal and the Spartans are 10th and 4th in points allowed respectively.

The Jan. 3 Orange Bowl will be waged between the Clemson Tigers and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Urban Meyer’s undefeated streak as OSU head coach ended at 24 games Saturday against MSU.  As for Clemson, the Orange Bowl’s affiliation with the ACC and their close proximity to the Orange Bowl’s location, Miami, Florida, gave it the edge over Oregon.

NickSaban_LSU-AL-07t
commons.wikimedia.org

In a matchup of college football heavyweights, Alabama and Oklahoma will square off in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners defeated inner-state rival Oklahoma State in the Big-12 championship game, whereas the Crimson Tide watched the SEC title game at home. The Sooners were chosen over the Ducks for the same reason as Clemson, because of proximity and conference affiliation. A probably infuriated Nick Saban goes up against a more mild-mannered Bob Stoops in a matchup between coaches who have been to a combined eight national championship games since the year 2000(Saban has won four and Stoops has won one). The two will meet on Jan. 2.

The Central Florida Knights will make its first ever BCS bowl appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against the Baylor Bears. The Knights lone loss this season was to South Carolina when the Gamecocks were ranked No.8 in the nation. The Bears scoring output has decreased since the difficulty of their schedule has elevated, but Baylor is still the No. 1 scoring team in the nation(53.3 ppg) The battle will be fought on New Years Day.

Despite only one Pac-12 team reaching a BCS game, its nine bowl game bids prove the conference’s balance.

These are the matchup’s:

Washington State will face Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico bowl on Dec. 21.

USC will play 11-1 Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21.

The Beavers face a Chris Petersen-less Boise State squad on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl.

The Washington Huskies will look to win its first game after the departure of Steve Sarkisian  against BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27.

Arizona State is the other Pac-12 team eligible to make a BCS game that didn’t make the cut besides UO. The Sun Devils will play Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30.

UCLA plays the No. 4 ACC team, Virginia Tech, in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Years Eve.

 

 

Florida State, Auburn headed to BCS championship game

It’s the end of an era. The very last BCS rankings were revealed on Sunday and, as expected, the championship game will be played between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn. The Seminoles secured their berth this past Saturday with a win over Duke while Auburn did so in the SEC championship game…