1) I tweeted the following on Saturday following Iowa State’s debacle against Kansas State.
Well, unfortunately, it turned out to be true. It’s amazing how just a few plays here and there can change a man, and his family’s, future. Alas, that is the world of college football coaching. But, what happened Saturday was inexcusable. When your seat is semi-hot, that kind of meltdown can’t happen. Frankly, I was still surprised to see Iowa State pull the trigger. It’s a crowded coaching market with 7 of 65 Power 5 teams in the search for head coaches and Rhoads had a $4.6 million buyout. Of those 7 openings, Iowa State is likely the least attractive in a state with few D1 players and constantly plays little brother to Iowa.
But, at some point, Rhoads had to be held accountable for just two non-Kansas wins in his last 24 tries against Big 12 opponents. It’s hard to argue that the change was unwarranted.
Had Rhoads pulled out the win (which everyone assumed would happen, even in the 4th quarter), he would have momentum heading into the final game of the season and the offseason recruiting trail. Just crazy.
2) So, now, it’s a question of: who’s the guy to take over in Ames? There are several names being floated out there such as Ken Niumatalolo, Troy Calhoun, Willie Fritz, Chris Ash, Brock Spack and others. All I know is, Iowa State should find someone with an offensive pedigree. Right now this team’s strengths reside on the offensive side of the ball with QB Joel Lanning, RB Mike Warren, WR Allen Lazard, and the offensive line. Niumatalolo, Navy’s head coach, makes no sense. His recruiting style to servicemen and running the triple option are not fits or needs for this job.
Two names I would look out for: Dino Babers, currently HC at Bowling Green and Todd Monken, currently head coach at Southern Miss. Both men are offensive minds and have coach in the Big 12, Babers at A&M and Baylor, Monken at Oklahoma State. Iowa State needs a fresh, younger face who knows the Big 12 and the inherent challenges to coaching in Ames.
3) Gary Patterson went for two!? HUH!? Really???? At the time, I thought: “Wow, what balls.” Then as I stepped away and looked at it more rationally, it made no sense. The Oklahoma offense was useless since Trevor Knight came in at QB to replace Baker Mayfield. TCU had all the momentum in the world.
Patterson said after the game he was concerned about playing a 3 OT game because his team had a short turnaround to play Baylor on Friday. I’m sorry, but these guys are 19, 20, and 21-years old. If they had pulled out the win, this week in practice would have been outstanding, full of energy and adrenaline-loaded. These aren’t 35 year old NFL-vets who need a carefully crafted schedule to set up ample amounts of time for R&R.
What’s the point in worrying about the Baylor game if you don’t beat OU to keep yourselves in contention for the Big 12 title? That made no sense. I still think Gary Patterson is one of the top in-game coaches in the Big 12, but that was a big mistake.
4) All that being said, Gary Patterson did his conference a service. Oklahoma winning is the best case scenario for the Big 12 to potentially get a team into the College Football Playoff. Granted, it would have been better if Oklahoma State had won on Saturday … but OU can’t control that. The Sooners would have the best crop of victories in the Big 12 if they win out (Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, Tennessee). Plus, they have the name brand recognition to compete with Notre Dame. While that should not matter, it does to the committee. Oklahoma has the cache that Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma State just don’t.
The Sooners are as exciting a team (thanks, Baker Mayfield) as any team in the country and playing as well as anyone in the country. They are the best chance to represent the conference in a positive light.
5) Now, how does the committee view the Sooners win? Do they say, “oh they barely held on to beat a TCU team without their starting QB?” From what I’ve seen in the lack of respect the committee has for the Big 12, this would not shock me. Forget the fact that OU was playing with their back up for much of the game, Ohio State lost to a team’s back up QB, and Notre Dame barely held on to beat a very mediocre Boston College team. Nope, they’ll point out that OU’s win isn’t all that impressive or worthy of much. Funny how that happens.
Oh, and you better believe the committee won’t bring up the fact that half the SEC struggled against their FCS opponents (or in South Carolina’s case, actually lost).
6) How about them Baylor Bears?! All the discussion last year was Ohio State’s embarrassment of riches at QB from Braxton Miller to J.T. Barrett and then Cardale Jones. But, Baylor has proven to have a trio worthy of that kind of exposure with Seth Russell, Jarrett Stidham, and now Chris Johnson, who looked awfully competent in his action on Saturday night.
Sure, Art Briles’ system deserves a lot of the credit, as well as the best WR group in the nation. But, give these QB’s credit for stepping in as ‘next man up’, getting the job done, and still giving Baylor an outside shot at the CFB Playoff.
7) As for the team they beat on Saturday night, Oklahoma State … we should’ve seen this coming. The Cowboys had trailed 3 average opponents by 15+ points and came back against each one. But, eventually that was going to catch up to them. And it did.
After 3 mentally exhausting games in a row, Texas Tech (comeback), TCU (undefeated), and Iowa State (comeback), the Cowboys looked worn out. Unfortunately, because of their weak non-conference schedule, I don’t think the Cowboys make the playoff, even with a win on Saturday. But, I don’t even think it’ll come to that, with the Sooners rolling in Stillwater, getting revenge for last year, and making the playoff themselves.
8) Saturday night during the Oklahoma State – Baylor game on Fox, play-by-play man Gus Johnson praised Mike Gundy, saying he would get a few phone calls this offseason due to the plethora of open jobs out there, citing “USC, South Carolina and Maryland.” WTF.
Who in their right mind thinks Mike Gundy would do anything but laugh if and when Maryland calls? Even South Carolina isn’t a better job than Oklahoma State. Gundy had an offseason where he mended fences with T. Boone Pickens and others at Oklahoma State. I don’t see him going anywhere. Unless, he is lured by the bright lights of SoCal… I believe that is a slight possibility.
9) When we talk about the reality behind #SECBias on this site … does the below graphic from the SEC Network convince you? They put the #8 next to Charleston Southern. Just to let us know that ‘Bama was playing a top ten team … in the FCS.
10) The rumors of Charlie Strong to Miami just aren’t going anywhere. And frankly, they won’t. Until we see Charlie Strong on the sidelines Week 1 of the 2016 season, the rumors will persist. Between Strong’s strong (sorry the pun) ties to South Florida and the Longhorns continued struggles, it’s inevitable.
That being said, I believe Strong when he said on Monday that he is in Austin for the long haul. Granted, that could change, but it will be because those involved with the Longhorns want change, not because Strong wants out.
Let’s be honest, most college football coaches are full of shit and blow hot air. I don’t believe Charlie Strong is one of them. I think he’s a man with strong values, core beliefs, and a man of his word. Sure, the situation still is worth monitoring. But, more so on the side of the UT athletic department, administration, and power brokers.
11) So, not much talk of Dana Holgorsen being ousted in Morgantown lately, huh? Well, after an 0 for October against the top teams in the Big 12, WVU has won 3 straight, and is likely to end the season on a five game winning streak with remaining games against Iowa State and Kansas State.
At some point, Holgorsen does have to prove he can build a program to compete and win against the top teams in the Big 12. But, he should not be in any danger of losing his job at West Virginia. But, next season will be a defining one for him.
12) After a hot start to the day, going 2-0, I finished 2-2. Baker Mayfield’s injury, combined with Trevor Knight’s ineptitude, prevented the Sooners from holding on to cover their spread against TCU. For the season, I’m 34-24-2.