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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Casteel’

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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    No. 71: Arizona

    This time, Rich Rodriguez isn’t tiptoeing through the front door. There was never a comfort level at Michigan, where Rodriguez was pressured by the idea that he had to prove himself not just on Saturday but from Sunday to Friday, living up to the standard expected from the Wolverines’ head coach. Unlike Michigan, which warily accepted Rodriguez late in 2007 and held him at arm’s length throughout his three-year tenure, Arizona has rolled out the red carpet — come on in, make yourself comfortable, make yourself at home — what do you need? The Wildcats see in their new head coach what everyone else has forgotten: Rodriguez is unorthodox; his offense needs time to develop; he needs a steady, proven, experienced defensive coordinator to control that side of the ball; but when the pieces are in place, there aren’t many better head coaches in college football. That’s what Arizona is banking on, this idea that Rodriguez’s turn in Ann Arbor was the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. Smart move: This is going to be exciting.

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      One Key Spot Still Unfilled at Arizona

      Rich Rodriguez has been making the rounds, glad-handing here, making speeches there, but has been able to squeeze four coaching hires into his busy schedule, three on the offensive side of the ball. It’s the hires most expected: Calvin Magee, who spent a decade with Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan, will share coordinator duties with Rod Smith, who spent four years under Rodriguez; another former assistant, Tony Dews, will coach the receivers; and Tony Gibson, another longtime assistant, will coach the Arizona secondary in an as-yet undisclosed capacity. There are no surprises here, just comfort.

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        No. 21: West Virginia

        Red Bull! Excitement! Scoring! Touchdowns, not field goals! Punting? Never heard of it! Passing! Pass long, pass short, pass deep, pass underneath — just pass! Winning? That’s the plan! Tired of Bill Stewart? You sure are, I bet! Do you like cold beer, letting loose, staying cool, four verticals, hitches, quick screens, bubble screens, jailbreak screens, four verticals, slants and four verticals? Then you’ll love Dana Holgorsen! Punts? No way! Passes? All day, everyday! Four verticals! Red Bull? He’d love one, thank you, and then another! Excitement! I can barely contain myself! When does West Virginia kickoff? September? That long? Any Red Bull left?

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          Weighing Awkwardness vs. Potential

          Oliver Luck impacted college football in two ways this summer: one, by effectively managing his son’s decision to return to Stanford for his junior season; and two, by hiring Dana Holgorsen as West Virginia’s offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting, setting up a rapid succession plan for the underachieving Bill Stewart. The first move was and has been an unqualified success, both for the Lucks and Stanford. The second was and will be a coaching coup, but unfortunately for Luck, Stewart, Holgorsen and the entire West Virginia family, it’s been an awkward transition.

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            The Countdown

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