The Long Snapper – Oklahoma, Brian Kelly, Tennessee, Tim Tebow, and More…


Over the last week, hoards of my readers (that was typed with SARCASM LOCK on) have gotten in touch with me to tell me, while they appreciate my holding their hands through the last issue of The Long Snapper, they can all do one better than the Big Ten (Eleven). They can count. And count well. So because of their calculatory aptitude, I’m officially changing the format of this column. I know, I know. For literally minutes, you were all big fans of the last format and I’m sure you will mourn its passing. But it’s a new month and with the chill in the air, I bring to you the new and improved. Out with counting. In with random numbers. You may ask yourself “well what in the name of all things holy does any of this have to do with long snapping? I came here to learn about snapping the ball over long spaces of field. Keep with the long snapping!” Well I’m hearing you and because of your statements (even if they’re only in my head), I’m keeping – if ever so slightly – with the theme of 15. So sit back, grab a hot cocoa, put on your best flannel jacket, and enjoy The Long Snapper with a capital T. Ya heard me!

June Jones claimed his offense wasn’t a gimmick or system. Next year, he may want to find one. Whatever Jones attempted to implement at SMU may have Mustang fans wishing for the days of the death penalty. In Jones’ debut season, SMU didn’t win a single game (0) against FBS competition. The Mustangs finished 1-11.

By the smallest of margins (0.0128), Oklahoma is your Big 12 South champion. Congrats Sooners! How’s that for a hollow victory? Most teams play their games, do their thing, and win their division or conference, but OU did what teams do when waiting to find out if they made the national title game or not. They waited for the envelope to be opened on the latest BCS standings. And the Oscar goes to… It’s almost humorous that they will have to do the exact same thing over again later this week if they beat Missouri in the Big 12 title game. Let’s give a moment of silence to Texas who not only missed out on a chance to win the Big 12 championship, but also may have to experience agony all over again during the BCS selection special. There are scenarios where the Longhorns could still play for a national title, but most of them start with Mizzou putting 70+ up on OU on Saturday. While a final of 63-45 in the Sooners favor is definitely possible, something along the lines of 70-66 the other way probably is not. A monumental upset puts Texas in the national title picture once again. Another thrashing by the Sooners doesn’t. Well maybe not. This is the BCS we’re talking about. Trying to make sense of all the scenarios is about as easy as downing a handle of Early Times then playing Jenga blindfolded.

We’re in the midst of an era where quarterbacks just don’t get picked off all that much. Of course there are those on the other end of the spectrum, but there are currently 11 QBs with 250 or more attempts who have been intercepted five times or less. Florida star Tim Tebow will join this group later this week. He currently has put the ball up 246 times. But NC State QB Russell Wilson has done him one better. The freshman has been picked off only once (1) in 252 attempts. His lone interception was all the way back on September 13 against Clemson, which incidentally was also only the second college game he had ever appeared in.

For the second (2) straight year, Navy won the unofficial independent title. And here’s your fun stat of the week: Navy attempted 76 passes over the course of the entire season. Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell has attempted 50 or more in each of the last four games.

Notre Dame is slow. Joe McKnight (4) is fast.

Cincinnati head man Brian Kelly has had nothing but success since being named the coach of the Bearcats. After going 10-3 in his first full year with Cincy, Kelly has hit double digits in wins again (10). This year, the Bearcats won the Big East and are likely headed to the Orange Bowl. Going 10-2 so far in 2008, the 47-year-old Kelly is now 21-5 with Cincy. This quick success led to him being mentioned as one of the front runners for the Tennessee job. But as fast as Kelly was rumored to be the Volunteers’ man, he was forgotten, replaced by Lane Kiffin, who was officially announced as the next coach. Granted they have both coached on very different levels, but Kiffin’s career record as of 5-15 pales in comparison to Kelly’s 157-56-2 mark. There are rumors Kelly started to back away when speculation grew regarding Charlie Weis not returning to Notre Dame, but maybe the Vols should’ve pursued him further. Then again maybe they did. We’ll never know what went on behind the scenes. Regardless, the Kiffin era in Knoxville should be an interesting one. Maybe I’m just getting older, but I’m still in shock the new head coach of a major SEC program is only four years old than I am.

In FCS news, Appalachian State won its eleventh (11) game of the season, beating South Carolina State in the first round of the playoffs. The Mountaineers are looking for a fourth straight national championship.

Four teams finished the regular season with the magical win number (12) that meant they were undefeated. With Alabama at the top of the list and Ball State at the bottom, wouldn’t it be great if the Fiesta Bowl went ahead and chose Utah and Boise State to play each other? The Utes and Broncos are the only teams from non-BCS conferences to win BCS bowls and now they’re both unbeaten again. Let’s see what they can do against each other.

Billy Flutie (14) – nephew of Doug – added to the family’s highlight reel with a fake field goal touchdown toss in Boston College’s victory over Maryland.

Does red paint come with next year’s version of the Tim Tebow (15) Halloween costume? Is there any player more valuable to his team at this exact moment? After Florida’s the blip to Ole Miss, Tebow said no other player in the entire nation would play harder from that point forward. Although we all (and by we all, I mean Gator fans) wish he never had to say that, it’s sure been a fun ride. Seeing Tebow covered in red paint after carrying something like 53 Seminoles into the end zone on Saturday night was the picture of the year. Thanks to the announcers (who don’t even deserve name recognition) for letting us all know that it wasn’t blood. Unless Tebow had battled a shark at midfield, we were all pretty sure it wasn’t blood, but we appreciate being reassured. And for those of us keeping track, here’s a bonus number free a charge: that was Florida’s fifth (5) in a row over FSU.

A man named Dabo – as in Dabo Swinney – earned himself a head coaching gig as he guided Clemson to win over rival South Carolina (31-14). Always Mr. Confident, Swinney said he didn’t think his new 5-year deal was a gamble at all on the Tigers part. We’ll see. One win at the end of the year may get the fans pumped up, but only doing so consistently will keep you your job.

Since starting the season 3-4, Ole Miss has won five straight including an absolute drubbing of Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl (45-0). The Rebels finished the regular season 8-4 and in second place of the SEC West – or two spots higher than the school (Arkansas) Houston Nutt was at last year.

Apparently the best way to get yourself in a position to win the Pac-10 title is to allow your opponent to get out to a 20-point halftime lead in a game you must win. Forget actually getting back into the game in the second half though, it’s much easier to have your defense just roll over and die while giving up the most points they’ve allowed all season (65). Oregon State actually entered the fourth quarter down by only 13 to in-state rival Oregon, but allowed touchdowns of 76, 45, and 70 (although this last one was an interception return) yards in the final frame. Not exactly staging a comeback is it? Even if USC were to somehow get their way into the national title game, there’s no way the 8-4 Beavers will be going to a BCS bowl.

Marvel at this
Marvel at this /

for a second. Both

Colt McCoy


Chase Daniel

completed a ridiculous percentage of their passes this year


. I don’t care if your team’s offense is designed to throw only screen passes, that’s remarkable. What’s more impressive is that both of these quarterbacks go downfield a good amount of the time as well. It isn’t just dink and dunk plays getting them these high percentages. They’re both hurling the ball around, helping their teams. If a QB is completing 65% of his passes, that’s a very good thing. If he’s completing 75%, well look out.

Finally there’s an ACC team I can stomach to watch. Paul Johnson has turned Georgia Tech into a rushing monster. The Yellow Jackets won three of their last four by piling up more rushing yards (1,169) than you can point a stick at…or something like that. The teams on the other side of those beat downs – FSU, Miami, and Georgia – all finished the regular season in the top 27 in the nation in yards allowed. Whoever said Johnson’s offense wouldn’t work against the big boys was very, VERY wrong.

To all (both) of my readers, enjoy championship weekend. TBG out!