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Posts Tagged ‘Dana Holgorsen’

Conference USA Nosedives to Rock Bottom

Rewind eight months. Houston capped one of the finest seasons in program history by decimating Penn State, 30-14, during bowl play. Southern Mississippi won its program-record 12th game against Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl – and in their last time out, the Golden Eagles had harassed Case Keenum and the Cougars out of the B.C.S. conversation. Tulsa, S.M.U. and Marshall acquitted themselves well in the postseason, with the Mustangs beating Pittsburgh, Marshall beating Florida International and the Golden Hurricane leading B.Y.U. for 59 minutes before a late collapse. Was last season the finest in the history of Conference USA? It’s not hard to make that case.

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    P.S.R. Heisman Watch: Week 3

    The SEC rules the roost – Monday’s post touting the Big 12 notwithstanding. Beyond the national titles, the SEC has also staked a claim to the Heisman since 2007, when Tim Tebow was the league’s first of three Heisman winners in four years. So… what can’t the SEC do? While it’s going to be hard for a team to take out Alabama or L.S.U. in January, it seems – through two weeks, to be fair – that the SEC will not put forth a leading Heisman contender in 2012. For now, fringe and true-blooded candidates like Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones, Eddie Lacy, Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson stand removed from the Heisman’s upper crust. The good news? These players will have ample opportunities to state their case in October and November, when SEC opponents butt heads for conference supremacy. For a player like Murray and Jones, solid showings against Missouri are one thing; doing the same against Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina will make voters really stand up and take notice. Before getting to the list, another installment of This Date in Heisman History:

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      No. 12: West Virginia

      West Virginia’s 49 points at halftime were the most in bowl history. Not Orange Bowl history: bowl history, as in every single bowl ever played. Likewise, West Virginia’s 70 points at the end of regulation was a bowl record – ever. Were the Mountaineers ready for the Big 12 after dousing Clemson in the Orange Bowl? The Mountaineers wanted to start the next day, if possible, and if that B.C.S. showing holds true, should fit the pass-happy conference like a glove. The real Orange Bowl winner — fitting in this age of conference expansion — might be the Big 12 itself, which saw West Virginia, its newest addition, cap its final season in the Big East in the grandest of grand style. “Our guys felt like they weren’t getting much credit, and they wanted to make a statement in this game,” Dana Holgorsen said after the game. “The victory caps a great season and helps us lay the groundwork for the future.” Future? The future is now. Just ask Clemson, which tasted West Virginia at its best, and just ask the rest of the Big 12, which knew when the clock hit zero that another title contender was about to join its ranks.

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        NASCAR Talk, Starring Jerry Glanville

        When I do watch NASCAR, it’s for the same reason as I watch hockey: for the fights. Or the fiery, Michael Bay-approved crash and burns, much like the one unveiled by Juan Pablo Montoya during last night’s already rain-delayed Daytona 500. Crash? Uh, I think Montoya’s breaks went out. Burn? My goodness. Part of me expected a Transformer to burst out of the flames. In summation: NASCAR is better with fire, like most things. And since this needs to involve college football in some fashion — and since it’s most definitely the offseason — let’s add Dana Holgorsen and Jerry Glanville into the conversation.

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          Trending Young, But Old Guard Still Reigns

          What does a football coach have in common with fine wine, real estate holdings, antiques and scotch? Like that quartet — but not necessarily always, as a disclaimer — a coach gets better with age. As our first piece of evidence, check out how Tom Coughlin, 65, led the Giants to a second Super Bowl win in five years over the Patriots, who were in turn led by Bill Belichick, 59. Bruce Feldman did the calculations shortly after the Giants’ win was in the books: the average age of the head coach or manager of the last five major North American sports champions is… 62. It’s in that 62nd year that an American is first eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, albeit at a slightly reduced rate than one would receive had he or she waited until 66 or 67, depending on your year and date of birth. Let’s get back on track.

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            230 Things to Occupy 230 Long Days

            There are 230 days until Aug. 30, when a few lucky teams jump ahead of the curve and start the 2012 season on a Thursday, not a Saturday. And for that, the teams in question — I know Utah is one — earn our love and affection. But that lies way, way in the future, and the question now becomes how we fill our college football-free days. For 230 days, here are 230 ideas. Not all are possible; some of us are pretty busy, and the next time I do 230 things over 230 days will be the first time, I must admit. But nonetheless, the list:

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              Almost Heaven? Not Quite: Pure Heaven.

              West Virginia’s 49 points at halftime were the most in bowl history. Not Orange Bowl history: bowl history, as in every… single… bowl… ever played. The history of bowl games, from the Rose to the Beef ‘O’ Brady. Ever, ever, ever. Likewise, West Virginia’s 70 points at the end of regulation was a bowl record – ever. The Mountaineers hadn’t dropped 49 or more points in a game against B.C.S. conference competition since Rich Rodriguez; Clemson hadn’t allowed at least 49 points since the 2002 Tangerine Bowl, when Texas Tech squeaked by with a 55-15 win. Texas Tech, home of Mike Leach, the Air Raid offense and a young, promising assistant named Dana Holgorsen.

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                Midseason Grades for the New Guys

                There are 24 first-year head coaches doing work on the F.B.S. level, not counting the three interim coaches keeping seats warm at Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that trio — Tim Kish, George Barlow and Everett Withers — become full-time replacements in 2012, though the way Withers has kept U.N.C. afloat through the first half of the regular season certainly bodes well for his future coaching opportunities, whether with the Tar Heels or otherwise. So how are the new faces doing at their new stops? Let’s hand out some midseason grades for the new hires, and include the grade each coach received over the winter’s hiring recap.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.