Run and Shoot: The 2008 Goat Awards

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The 2008 Goat Awards

You have to love this time of the season. All the individual award winners have been announced. The Heisman. The Outland. The Nagurski. The Lombardi. The mystery is over and everybody is given a big fat smiley face because love is all around.

But we always forget that there's the other side of the coin. I'm talking about the teams, players and coaches who did not come through in the clutch. In other words, who are the biggest goats of the season? The plays that, had they been made would have changed the complex of the season.

(This play never should have happened, except for the Goat Award winners that allowed it)

Here's our top five for the Goat Awards for this season.

1- November 1, Jones Stadium.
(a two-way tie)
Texas DB Blake Gideon's dropped interception, and...
Texas DBs Earl Thomas and Curtis Brown both lollygagging and allowing Michael Crabtree to score on the next play.

Everybody wants to make a big deal over Gideon dropping a gimme INT. And it's true. But you also have to chastise Thomas and Brown (particularly Thomas) for even allowing that game-winning touchdown to occur. I'm not sure what Thomas was doing on the play, just jogging over and not bothering to play off the receiver. Instead, he ran right by just watching the brilliant receiver make another brilliant catch.

If one of the two Horn players even went so far as to knock Crabtree into the 10th row of the stadium and get a flag, at least Texas would have another chance to stop Tech. Instead, both horribly misplayed the throw and Crabtree is still celebrating that TD to this day.

Needless to say, these two plays changed the chase for the national championship more than anything else this season. Thus, the BCS was given carte blanche to put the screws to somebody again. It's just never been Texas that has gotten the works like this.

(Blake Gideon's drop of an easy interception could've ended Texas Tech's upset the play before the Raiders scored the winning touchdown)

2- September 25, Reser Stadium.
USC's Kevin Thomas' sure-fire interception that tipped off his hands and landed softly in James Rodgers hands for an Oregon State touchdown.

With the ball down at the Trojans' three-yard line and mere seconds left in the first half, OSU quarterback Lyle Maevao tossed a Billy Kilmer-like floater into the end zone where SC's Kevin Thomas easily had his mitts ready to gobble up. But instead, the ball tipped off his stone hands and into the waiting arms of OSU's Rodgers. Six points.

With seconds remaining in the half, this gift-six allowed the Beavers to go up at 21-0 at the break. As you know, SC made a big comeback in the second half, but came up short in a 27-21 loss. Do the math. If Thomas makes that pick, USC would've won that night. And had USC won, they’d be in Miami in early 2009, not fighting horrible L.A. gridlock to get to Pasadena for the fourth straight year. Yawn.

(All Kevin Thomas had to do was either pull this ball in, or knock it into the stands...)

(Instead, he tipped the ball just enough to where James Rodgers was able to make the catch for a crushing half-ending touchdown)

3- November 8, Kinnick Stadium.
Penn State's secondary in third-down situations in the loss to Iowa

During the Hawkeyes three second half scoring drives, including the one that led to the game-winning field goal, they went 7-for-7 on third down. Six of the seven conversions were from Richard Stanzi passes, four completed to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and two to Brandon Myers. The other conversion was from another awful pass interference call.

If the Nittany Lion defense stops just one of those seven plays, they would be playing Oklahoma for the national title.

4- September 24, Dolphin Stadium.
Miami WR Kayne Farquharson dropping the game-winning pass vs. North Carolina

After UNC scored with 46 seconds left in the game to go up 28-24, the Canes quickly matriculated down the field and found themselves at the Tar Heel 20-yard line. UM quarterback Robert Marve found Farquharson cutting across the middle of the end zone on a crossing route and zipped a ball right into his hands. But like USC's Thomas above, the bee-line pass tipped off his hands and nestled into the awaiting arms of Carolina'sTrimane Goddard, who clutched the pick and secured the win.

(Hurricane students react to the cruel change of fate that just occurred in the end zone in front of them)

Had Farquharson wrangled that last-second touchdown, the Canes would've tied Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division crown of the ACC. And, well, depending on how lame the ACC tie-breaker is, maybe it would've been the U playing BC for a chance at a BCS bowl. Now THAT would've been a Randy Shannon success story, the kind you haven't seen much of from black head coaches in major college football, because of lack of opportunities.

5- December 6, Skelly Stadium
East Carolina's Travis Simmons' 72 yard pick six of Tulsa QB David Johnson's pass.

In the Conference USA title game, Johnson, the nation's top rated passer, tossed a career-high five picks and East Carolina prevailed 27-24. The most costly of those picks was Simmons' pick-six that put ECU up 14-0 in the first quarter.

In all, the Golden Hurricane had seven turnovers on the day and still only lost by three. Had Johnson only thrown four interceptions - still a large number for the usually efficient signal-caller - Tulsa would've won the game and its first-ever C-USA title.


- Florida offensive line vs. Ole Miss
Allowed game-tying extra point to be blocked and then couldn't push the Rebels D-line back a yard on a 4th and one as Tim Tebow got stopped well short on potential game-winning drive. Lucky for the Gators, it didn't cost them a spot in the BCS title game. Otherwise they would've made the list above.

(This blocked extra point was the difference in Ole Miss being able to pull the upset in Gainesville back in September. C'mon O-line, where are you guys?)

- Oklahoma State's co-offensive coordinators Gunter Brewer and Trooper Taylor.
Whichever one of those guys that are responsible for calling a crossing pattern pass behind the line of scrimmage on a key 4th-and-6 with 2:48 left in the Texas game, a 28-24 loss.

- Michigan QB Steven Threet two-point conversion attempt vs. Utah.
Overthrew WR Tony Clemens in the back of the end zone, not noticing the tight end that released on an underneath route and would've scored easily. Can you imagine the kind of season Rich Rodriguez and company would've had if they had beaten the Utes in game one?

- Stanford failing to have guts in 23-20 loss at UCLA
With a 4th-and-a-foot at UCLA's 11 yard line, Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh chose to kick a field goal to put SU up 20-16 with 5:16 left, instead of going for it. (And yes, this is an offense with bruising Toby Gerhart at running back). UCLA then went through Stanford's D like a sieve and scored the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left. Had SU won, they'd be 6-6 and going to a bowl game.

- Tennessee losing to Wyoming 13-7.
No need for description here. For lame-duck coach Phil Fulmer to have his team lose to lame-duck coach Joe Glenn and company defies logic. Remember, the Cowboys are a 4-8 Mountain West team.

(Tennessee players reflect the same feeling college football fans around the country had to Wyoming's stunning upset in Neyland Stadium.)

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