Run and Shoot: 11 Lessons Learned from Week 15

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11 Lessons Learned from Week 15

Yep, the regular season has been great, riveting and surprising at every turn. Now it has come to an end. So let the satisfying regular season end and let the aggravating post-season begin.

(Amongst a sea of hands, Sam Bradford is all smiles, knowing he just obliterated Missouri and screwed rival Texas out of a more-deserved chance at the BCS title game. Again, if you were a Sooner, wouldn't you be happy about all that too?)

Here's the lessons we learned from this past weekend.

Lesson 1-
We learned that every fan of college football deserves an apology.

Too bad this apology won't come from the bowl execs, but here goes.

Dear college football fans,

You've just experienced one of the greatest regular seasons in the history of our sport. Hope you enjoyed it. I sure did. But here's an apology for you: I'm sorry. Why? Because now you're about to get rooked.

We all know that this system of deciding the title in major college football really sucks. The BCS creators - Roy Kramer and his cronies, with their smarmy smiles, hoodwink eyes, glad-handing, placating and backstabbing selves - can all go burn in Hades. Just imagine how cool "December Madness" could be, especially with the one-loss teams we have in the top six?

Instead, we get a month-long layoff to collect cobwebs. Then we get a bunch of meaningless bowl games matching up teams that don't deserve to go to the post-season, playing in bowl games that are really nothing more than just a city's crappy chamber of commerce infomercial. And finally another "championship" game that won't truly decide who the best team in the country is. Yee... Haw.

So please accept this apology.


Eric Sorenson

Lesson 2-
Gregg Doyel is/was/will always be right.

He's been saying it for quite a while now and it has come true. It's Florida vs. Oklahoma in the BCS title game. And okay, maybe the Gators didn't mop the floor with the Tide like he said they would in the SEC title game, but a double digit victory? That's solid enough. My hat is off to you bro. Now, will you ever get those angry Bama fans to allow you inside their state lines? Probably not. So don't plan any vacations there, unless you're disguised in KISS makeup or something.

(Doyel called it... OU will play in the national title game. Here they are celebrating the fact that Gregg predicted they'd be sitting pretty going into the bowl season, and sure enough here they are.)

Lesson 3-
It's official, there's nothing "fair" about our fair sport.

I just thought I'd mention here that there IS no correct answer as to who should play in the national title game. The two teams that are playing for all the marbles have probably played the best in the month of November. That's what got them to vault over Texas.

But on the other hand, who says it shouldn't be an Alabama-Florida rematch for the BCS title? The Tide's only loss on the season was a hard-fought four-quarter battle against the No. 2 team in the country. Plus, wasn't the BCS conceived by an SEC guy anyway? Then he would love this. That whole unwritten rule of losing-later-in-the-season-knocks-you-out thing is really stupid.

Lesson 4-
We learned that Tim Tebow should go ahead and vote for himself for the Heisman.

He's the best football player in the game at this level. Dare I say, he's one of the greatest football players ever. He has showed that week-in, week-out. And I'm not just saying this because he claimed that nobody would play harder and work harder, etc. Not only that, but during that post-game presser he forgot to say that nobody was going to play *smarter* than himself. Because the biggest stat that shows what a great player he is was the fact that he only threw two interceptions all season long. Runs like a Mack truck, throws accurate as an English darts champion and makes very few mistakes. I'm sold.

My Heisman Top Three:
1- Tim Tebow.
And consider that he never got to play against some of those sieve defenses of the Big 12.
2- Colt McCoy.
A complete leader and also maybe even more valuable to his team than Tebow.
3- Sam Bradford.
Surgeon-like in exploiting defenses. He's also deceptively strong-armed.

Lesson 5
If Turner Gill can lead Buffalo to a bowl game, he deserves national Coach of the Year honors.

With their stunning 42-24 rout of previously-unbeaten Ball State, the Bulls won the MAC title and a slot in the International Bowl on January 3rd. UB finishes the 2008 regular season at 8-5. That's eight wins and a bowl game in just the program’s ninth year of operation. With that kind of pedigree, and with what is happening to black coaches in Division I, Coach Gill should parlay the success of this season into a more premium gig elsewhere.

(Cool as a cucumber. And yet, a stud on the coaching horizon. Buffalo coach Turner Gill led the once-lowly Bulls to their first ever bowl bid as a Division I member. That remarkable feat deserves a much more plush job)

My Coach of the Year Top Three:
1- Turner Gill, Buffalo.
Most black head coaches are stuck in horrible programs. Gill proved he could win at his.
2- Nick Saban, Alabama
Don't think I've ever seen a coach have this immediate of an impact on a major program.
3- Mack Brown, Texas.
A little off the radar in pre-season but hiring Will Muschamp made Horns better and made Mack look smart.

Lesson 6-
We learned that Greg Schiano and Mike Teel deserve the coach and player Comeback of the Year Award.

Think about these guys' situation back on October 11th. There they were having just lost a heartbreaking game to Cincinnati by a 13-10 count to drop them to 1-5. And for Coach Schiano, that magical season of 2006 was waaaaay back in the rear-view mirror. Suddenly he's no longer hot property.

But since that game, Coach and the Knights have, indeed, kept chopping. With Thursday night's 63-14 bombing of Louisville, the state university of New Jersey had completed a 7-5 turnaround that will have them heading to the Bowl. That sequence included wins over Pitt and South Florida where the Knights scored 54 and 49 points respectively.

Quarterback Mike Teel, who took more heat than any other player in the country, has completed nearly 70% of his passes and tossed 20 TDs as opposed to just five picks during the last six games. Prior to that he had three TDs and seven interceptions. On Thursday against the 'Ville, he was a precision-like 21-of-26 for 447 yards and seven TDs. Yikes!

Lesson 7-
We discovered that South Florida wins the Season Swoon Dive Award.

After one month of the season the Bulls were 5-0 and ranked in the Top 10, primed for a run at the Big East title. From that point on, USF went 2-5 including a loss to Louisiville and a 49-16 lambasting to Rutgers. The Bulls ended up finishing the season looking like a bunch of South Floridians out of water - or snow. They lost a 13-7 decision in snowy Morgantown on Saturday to close the regular season at 7-5. QB Matt Grothe had two interceptions and went just 18-of-33 as the Bulls out-gained the Mountaineers 326 to 280, but made too many mistakes.

(I don't know if it was the penalties, the Mountaineer defense or playing in that cold, flaky white stuff called "snow", but South Florida's Matt Growthe was so uncomfortable he was hoppin' mad.)

Their sentencing for this horrible downturn? Something called the "magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl." We can only hope that’s St. Petersburg, Russia. That would be fitting.

Lesson 8-
Navy has lapped the field in the chase for the Commander In Chief trophy.

Saturday's 34-0 bombarding of rival Army was the Midshipmen's seventh straight win in what is the best rivalry in college football. But not only that, Navy has also now gone unbeaten in 13 straight service academy games. That last loss was against Air Force in 2002.

(About the only thing that went wrong in Saturday's win over Army was when the flag-bearer here tripped and fell while running out onto the field for the annual Army-Navy game. Say, when the American flag touches the ground, weren't we taught that the flag should be burned in a humane manner?)

Quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada said he knew what the difference was.

"I think it’s work ethic." He said. "We pride ourselves on being the hardest working team out there. It’s the only thing that gives us a chance."

I'd say it has more to do with the speed of the Navy Midshipmen compared to the other service academies. I wouldn't dare say one of these high-discipline teams works harder than the other.

Lesson 9-
We've found another SEC fan base that is delusional and expect way too much.

Auburn (Said with head down and shaking side-to-side)

(Even the Pope of college football, Beano Cook, said that Auburn's fan base is delusional after it openly wanted Tommy Tuberville fired. And I agree with him.)

Auburn administrators were able to get a "resignation" from head coach Tommy Tuberville this week. Of course, I think we all know that this guy was under the gun and run off and/or fired. And this is something that a lot of Plainsmen fans have been looking forward to. But why?

Here's a guy that from 2004 to 2007 produced arguably the best four-year stretch of any coach in Tigers' history, going 42-9, including an unbeaten 13-0 season. Yeah they went 5-7 this year, but in the SEC you're going to have seasons like that once in a while. This isn't the Mountain West people. Everybody takes a tough season to the chops here and there. Auburn administrators, Board of Trustees and fans are obviously influenced by the hires of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. So Tubey gets the pink slip as they look for another savior coach. Instead, something tells me they're more likely to end up with an Ed Orgeron or Mike DuBose. Good luck.

Lesson 10-
The biggest potential for the sour grapes reaction to a bowl game is Alabama.

The Tide wanted to be playing in Miami on January 8th. Sure, if you had told a Tide fan before the season started that they would be going to the Sugar Bowl at the end of the season, they would've taken it in a heartbeat. But my how things have changed in their outlook. Instead of playing for all the marbles, the Red Elephants will be subjected to a game against Utah. (Those Tide fans are probably thinking, "Utah?.. is that still a territory or a real state?"). In other words, a no-win situation, because they will be expected to dominate the Mountain Westers in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, the Utes will be hell-bent to prove they belong, if not in a BCS bowl, they're going to try to get their point across that they deserved to be playing for the national title. Sure it may turn into another Georgia vs. Hawaii type of thing, but with a no-win situation like this, Alabama may not show up.

Lesson 11-
We discovered the winner of the Put A Bag Over Your Head bowl matchup goes to… the Independence Bowl.

Northern Illinois (6-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (7-5)

We didn't exactly get our usual 6-6 team vs. 6-6 team matchup, but this one is pretty close. A matchup so uninteresting, I'm wondering if a TV network is going to bother showing up to televise it. Who will show up? We're talking about girlfriends, parents and band members in the stands and that’s about it. Oh and the temperatures will probably be in the 20s or so too boot. Have a nice game.

Runner Up- The Hawaii Bowl
Notre Dame (6-6) vs. Hawaii (7-6)
Tell me, how the hell does a team as horrible as the Irish get rewarded by playing in the Islands? You gotta be shittin' me!

After seeing VaTech's Frank Beamer's tongue-wagging post-game victory dance after the win over BC, I realized that he deserved to be punched like this...


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