The Long Snapper – BCS, Graham Harrell, Jimmy Clausen, Conference Titles, and More…

Leaches /

of the Technical College of Texas. If



Texas Tech

can get through the rest of their schedules unscathed – easier said than done considering both still have games against top five teams – well then the BCS worked and the possibilities of a playoff are even further away than we may think. But we still have a chance that everything will be screwed up beyond belief and we will spend the entire offseason discussing how to make playoff work. The formula for disaster is actually quite simple. If


beats Texas Tech this weekend and


downs Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, we end up with a whole mess of 1-loss teams. Assuming of course everyone wins the other games they are supposed to, we could have a situation where there are no undefeated teams in the BCS conferences and the following teams finish the season with only one loss: Alabama, Texas Tech,


, Florida, Oklahoma,


, and Penn State. Talk about a major headache. Given that scenario, there’s actually a decent chance the Gators and Trojans could face off for the national title since their losses would’ve been so long ago while the others would be much fresher in everyone’s minds. Or we could see an all-Big 12 national title game. Of course, those are only two of the possibilities. In the end, those in favor of a playoff might actually want Alabama and Texas Tech to lose, ensuring a season end full of pure chaos. Let the fun begin.

Let’s get right to the team that ruined any chance it had of playing for the national title: the Penn State Nittany Lions. In the year’s first three versions of the BCS standings, Penn State was stuck looking up at Alabama and Texas Tech. There was already talk of the Nittany Lions being left out of the national championship party and that was a definite possibility, but with the easiest remaining schedule, it looked like Penn State still had a chance to get in if they could win out and the other two stumbled. Then along game Iowa. Iowa with their animal body part mascot. Iowa with their yellow overalls. Iowa with their I-O-W-A. Iowa with their Steeler-like uniforms. Iowa with their desire to knock off one of the last undefeateds. And now Penn State is no more. There is a chance a 1-loss team will play in the national title game (as detailed above), but it won’t be Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. The odds of Penn State getting in are about as good as a mid-major team doing the same. So farewell Joe. A little bit of everyone was pulling for you to go out on top (well not any fan of another school with a title shot) and you came close, but just not close enough. If anything though, you may have knocked Ohio State out of a BCS bowl, which is alright by me.

The rest of the BCS standings have issues as usual. Florida seems to be the team on the bad end of the stick this week. The Gators are third in the Harris Poll and USA Today Poll, but a computer average of fifth puts Florida in fourth place overall. Texas on the other hand is fourth and fifth in the big polls, but a computer average of third places the Longhorns ahead of the Gators overall. One of the computers actually has Texas as the top team in the nation despite the fact the Longhorns lost to Texas Tech. And just in case you wondering, the three computers that have the Gators the lowest (sixth) have Georgia only one spot below Florida. I guess getting beaten 49-10 only means you are slightly worse than the team that embarrassed you. Not to mention the fact that the Bulldogs have two losses to the Gators one. Oh I guess I did just mention it. The computers do add a dimension to the rankings that humans may not be able to fully include – some of which may be welcome additions – but quirks such as these prove the system isn’t working as it should. And just to add more fuel to the fire: one computer has Ohio State two spots higher than Penn State. Do you need any more evidence that head-to-head matchups aren’t emphasized nearly enough? Maybe it’s just me, but if you have fewer losses than a team you beat, you should be ranked higher than them. The teams they lost to may be ranked higher than the team(s) you lost to, but one of the teams they lost to was YOU!!! You proved on the field you are better than them. They had their chance and blew it. What more do you need? Texas Tech and Penn State proved on the field they are the better teams. Their performance in those games proves it and their records do the same. Until those teams have the same number of (or more) losses than Texas and Ohio State, they should be ranked higher in every poll there is without discussion.

Javon Ringer

Watch: Ringer had 121 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in

Michigan State’s

21-7 win over


, bringing his season totals to 1,548 yards and 20 touchdowns. He leads the nation in rushing yards and scoring. For those of you who are new to the site, I have a minor man-crush on Ringer. I don’t know when or how it started, but he is a darn good football player and he earns The Bull Gator Seal of Approval (if there were such a thing of course).

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell looks like he could be a good pro prospect. Most “system” quarterbacks don’t fare well in the NFL and are usually drafted in the later rounds, but Harrell has the tools to buck this trend and become a decent pro if not for one issue that was exposed during the Red Raiders win over Oklahoma State. So maybe it wasn’t exposed, but it was the first time I noticed it. Harrell has the classic video game drop back weakness. If you’ve ever played any of the number of football video games out there, you’ll know what I’m talking about. After taking the snap, most gamers will run their quarterback straight back to avoid any rush. A 5-step drop becomes a 23-step drop. Very few gamers stand strong in the pocket before getting rid of the ball. Instead they run around like a toddler hopped up on Mountain Dew and Pixy Stix. Because it’s a video game, the good evens out the bad and you can still be successful doing this, but in real life that just isn’t the case. This was Harrell most of the night. He doesn’t seem to want to try to avoid the rush, but instead just keeps running back further and further. In the NCAA, this may work as coverage tends to break down the longer a play takes to develop. In the NFL, the rushers are much faster and will be on him before he can say Michael Crabtree.

This Just In: Julio Jones is freakishly good. There are always a number of prospects that fans of every single school want. Jones was one of them. In the end, a few don’t live up to expectations and fans of the schools that didn’t get the player don’t seem to care anymore. Jones isn’t one of them. This isn’t breaking news by any means, but if for some reason you are living under a rock, do yourself a favor and start paying attention to Jones now.

Stat of the Week: 95. Wyoming is not a passing team. In 10 games this season, the Cowboys have passed for just 1,049 yards, so when Chris Stutzriem finished Saturday with 95 yards, it didn’t seem as bad as it looks. What makes it the stat of the week though is that those 95 yards led all passers on both teams in Wyoming’s defeat over Tennessee. We’re at the point now that the Vols aren’t a good program having an off year. They’re just flat out bad.

I remember reading the words “10-year prospect” a few years ago. They referred to then high school senior

Jimmy Clausen

. Brother of the well-known Casey and lesser known Rick, Jimmy was supposed to be the best of the pickle clan. He committed to

Notre Dame

early. After seeing

Brady Quinn

excel with the Irish, no one could really blame him. Notre Dame looked like a program on the rise and had a quarterback putting up big numbers.

Ron Powlus

anyone?). Well, in Clausen’s first year, he posted a quarterback rating of 103.8 and so far in his second he is at 127.5. During Quinn’s first year, his rating was a 93.5 and rose to a 125.9 during his second. During Clausen’s first two years, Notre Dame has posted a record of 8-13. During Quinn’s first two, the Irish were 11-13. They went 19-6 over his final two as he posted ratings of 158.4 and 146.7. Just a few things to keep in mind. Oh, and Powlus is now Notre Dame’s quarterbacks’ coach.

Stat of the Week 2: 220. The Vols do have one player who is a bona fide stud – Eric Berry. Berry has 220 yards on interceptions returns making him one of Tennessee’s most valuable offensive players. Yes, you read that right.

And now for a look at how the conferences are shaping up…


At first glance, FSU appears to be in the driver’s seat for the ACC Atlantic Division crown, but Maryland is actually the team that controls its own destiny. If the Terrapins win out, they take the Atlantic because they have the tiebreaker over Wake Forest. If Maryland loses to FSU in two weeks, Wake Forest can take the title if they win out because they beat the Seminoles earlier this year. For FSU to get in, they would have to beat Maryland and hope for a Wake Forest loss to either NC State or Boston College.

The Coastal Division is Virginia Tech’s to lose. The Hokies already beat UNC, which would knock the Tar Heels out if there were a tie, and face Miami this Thursday. If they beat the Hurricanes, they have only Duke and Virginia to worry about. Miami’s loss to UNC earlier this year forces the Canes out if they beat the Hokies but end up tied with the Tar Heels.

Basically all of this means the entire ACC is wide open. That’s what happens when six out of 12 teams all have 2 conference losses.

Side Note: I’m happy that FSU seems to be on the rise. Coming from a Gator fan that might sound like pure, unadulterated blasphemy, but I’ll say it again. I’m happy that FSU seems to be on the rise. Why? Florida has to play Florida State every year. Why wouldn’t Gator fans want the Seminoles to be a good, ranked team when they play them? If you have to live with the current BCS system for at least the foreseeable future, then you want to play (and beat) as many high-ranked teams as possible. The FSU of the past few years did nothing to help Florida. Beating a better Seminole team does.

Big 12

The Big 12 also has two teams that can take their divisions if they win out, but it’s not quite as messy as the ACC because those teams are not currently tied with anyone record-wise.

In the North,


has to get by

Iowa State



to get to its second straight Big 12 Championship game. The Tigers could actually lose one of those games and still get in. They are a game ahead of the Jayhawks at the moment, but that lead could be increased after Kansas faces (and loses to) Texas this weekend.

Texas Tech controls its destiny in the South – and for the national title – however, there’s a good chance the South could end up with three teams tied atop the standings. If Oklahoma and Texas were to win out – with the Red Raiders falling to the Sooners – the division would have three 11-1 (7-1) teams tied atop the standings. I believe – if I’m reading this right – that the team that would then go would be determined by tiebreaker #5, which means the South representative would be whichever team is ranked higher in the BCS standings following the conclusion of the regular season. Quirky yes, but at least it’s not tiebreaker #7, which says the divisional champ is determined by a draw.

Big East

The Big East actually has two teams that control their own destiny in terms of winning the conference title: Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Both schools have one conference loss and have yet to play each other. The winner of their game in two weeks will have the upper hand. If the Bearcats can get by the Panthers, they will be in a better position because they hold the tiebreaker over West Virginia, but if Pittsburgh wins, they will be tied with the Mountaineers who they play in three weeks. Confused yet?

Big Ten

Ohio State will be rooting for Michigan State to upend Penn State in two weeks. If the Spartans beat the Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes can take the conference title by way of the head-to-head tiebreaker. However, if Penn State wins out, they will claim the Big Ten crown. In order for Michigan State to get the title, they would have to win out and hope Ohio State drops a game to either Illinois or Michigan, which most likely means the Spartans are out of luck.


Everyone keeps talking about USC, but

Oregon State

is the team that controls its destiny (I’ve said that phrase way too many times). The Beavers are just 5-3, but 5-1 in the conference with a big win over the Trojans. USC could end up 11-1 without a Pac-10 title. If Oregon State does win the title, we could see two Pac-10 teams in BCS bowls, possibly pushing out one of the undefeated mid-majors.


The SEC is the one BCS conference that’s already decided. At least in terms of who will play for the conference title. Due to wins by both schools this weekend, Alabama and Florida will face off for the championship on December 6 at 4:00 PM. It may have happened before, but an afternoon SEC Championship Game is weird to me, especially considering this could be #1 vs. #3. Doesn’t that warrant prime time consideration?

The Others

All of the non-BCS conferences have something in common: schools that can win out and take home the title (or win out and get into the title game in the case of Conference USA and the MAC). East Carolina, Tulsa, Akron, Buffalo, Ball State, Central Michigan, Utah, Louisiana-Lafayette (I know, you’re shocked, everyone just always assumed ULL and Louisiana-Monroe don’t actually win games), Troy, and Boise State all…wait for it…control their own destiny.

Now that you know who can win their respective conference titles, I’ll end with my picks as of today: FSU, Texas, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Tulsa, Ball State, Utah, USC, Florida, Troy, and Boise State.