Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Early Kansas State Bowl Projections

The projections are all over the board right now. Here is a sample of the destinations and possible opponents:

The Texas Bowl, Houston, TX
December 28th

Kansas State vs. Rutgers

This would be a great game for Kansas State if they got matched up against Rutgers. It would give Kansas State an opportunity to play a team that is currently ranked #13 in the nation.

The Insight.com Bowl, Tempe, AZ
December 29th

Kansas State vs. Minnesota

Not a great matchup for Kansas State but a better bowl then the Texas Bowl. A chance for Ron Prince to have his first bowl appearance in the same location as Bill Snyder's first bowl.

The Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, TX
December 30th

Kansas State vs. Iowa

Opprotunity for a win over a Big Ten school with a solid program on a down year. The Alamo bowl is a great destination for fans.

Independence Bowl Shreveport, LA
December 27

Kansas State vs. South Carolina

Great chance for rookie Head Coach to go against coaching ledgend Steve Spurrier. Not a great bowl destination, but the location of the first ever KSU bowl appearance vs. Wisconsin.

NCAA Football Playoff

It is that time of year... teams are being slotted for bowl games and the final BCS rankings will be out next week to determine who will play for the Mythical National Championship. The NCAA Division 1 Football is the only sport on any level that does not decide its championship on the field. Instead it is turned over to computers and voters to determine who will get to play in one game to determine the eventual champion.

The system has been flawed from the beginning. It is setup to fail. We have had a split national championship under this system and almost every year the controversy surrounding the two team selected overshadows the actual game.

A playoff is the only way we are going to have a true national champion. All other divisions of NCAA football have a playoff.... why not in the only division that really matters. NCAA football is the greatest sport with the worst post season.

There are no legitimate arguments against an 8 team playoff. The NCAA cries about student athletes missing too much time, then they add a 12th game to the schedule. They are not concerned about the NCAA Basketball tournament with requires their student athletes to miss considerably more time then a football playoff would.

There are concerns about the Bowl system and what it would do to the minor bowls. This is also complete B.S. All the existing bowls would remain in place and be a reward for those teams that qualified. There would also be seven bowls involved in the playoff and they would all have a shot at hosting the eventual national champions.

Here is my proposal in a nutshell. We leave the BCS formula in place as it is. We take the top 8 teams in the BCS at the end of the year. These 8 teams would then play a tournament over 3 weeks to determine the National Champion.

You say what about #9, they won't have a shot. True, but if your team is ranked #9 or higher, you didn't take care of business throughout the year. Eight teams will include any unbeaten teams and usually all the one loss teams.

The teams would be given a week off after the end of the season and the first game would be on Dec. 16th and the Championship game would be two weeks later on the 30th. If you wanted to give the teams an extra week to prepare for the championship game, it could be held on Jan. 6th.

Below I have listed the first round games as they stand today. This is of course, subject to change after the final week of games this saturday.

Round One - December 16th

The Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
The Orange Bowl, Miami, FL
The Capital One Bowl, Orlando, FL
The Hoilday Bowl, San Diego, CA

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ron Prince turns up the heat on Mark Mangino

There was plenty of criticism of the University of Kansas Head Football Coach Mark Mangino going into last weekend but the recent success of Kansas State Head Football Coach Ron Prince is really turning up the heat on Mangino.

After Mangino’s first winning season at KU, he was given a 5 year contract extension worth $1.5 million a year. This makes Mangino 21st on the list of highest paid NCAA football coaches. Ahead of the likes of Lloyd Carr, Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, Tommy Bowden, Rich Rodriguez, and Houston Nutt. He ranks 92nd based on winning percentage of active coaches. KU is not getting much return on their investment.

Mangino in his first four plus seasons has an overall record of 24-34 and is on his way to the his 4th losing season in 5 years. He is also responsible for landing the Jayhawks in hot water with the NCAA which resulted in a three year probation and the loss of three football scholarships. His biggest win as KU’s Head Coach would be a win over 23rd ranked Missouri in 2003. He has managed to increase home game attendance through his first four years, but it looks like it will be dropping slightly after this year.

All of these “great” accomplishments led to the 5 year contract extension mentioned above. After KU finished the 2005 season strong, including Mangino’s first ever bowl victory over the University of Houston, spirits were high in Lawrence.

It didn’t take long for that to change. An early non-conference loss to Toledo and several games that KU let slip away have led to much criticism of Mangino. The small fire that was slowing building was doused in gasoline on Saturday night when first year KSU Coach Ron Prince led the Wildcats to victory over the defending National Champion and 4th ranked Longhorns of Texas.

Nearly every preseason prediction had the Wildcats finishing last in the Big 12 North. Some had Kansas as high as 2nd. But with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, it is KSU sitting in 2nd place and KU looking up from the bottom half of the division. In his first year, Ron Prince was able to do something Mangino could not… beat a top ranked team. With a win Saturday over the Jayhawks, Kansas State will finish the season 8-4 and be headed to a good bowl game and potentially finish in the Top 25.

If Mangino loses his next two games and KU finishes the year at 5-7, KU could be looking for a new football coach after this year. At least Basketball season is here… oh wait… KU just lost to Oral Roberts and Kansas State just landed the best recruiting class in the country.

Looks like the Jayhawks could be relegated to the 2nd best team in Kansas in Football AND Basketball.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stay Classy Texas

I guess the REAL reason UT lost to Kansas State was because Doug Flutie jinxed them. The Longhorn fans are working overtime to try and find a reason how the mighty Horns could fall to an unranked team that was picked to finish last in the Big 12.

Angry fan threatens Flutie and Family

FRAMINGHAM - An unhinged Texas Longhorn fan who blames Doug Flutie’s televised analysis for the team’s upset Saturday threatened the former football star and his family in an electronic mail message, police said.
The threat, which was not detailed by police, was sent to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism early Sunday, police Lt. Paul Shastany said.
“We have intentions of finding this person and speaking to this person,” said Shastany. “As threats go, it’s a pretty serious incident.”
Although the exact nature of the threat was not disclosed, the man, who investigators believe lives in California, wrote, “You jinxed the Longhorn faithful and a chance at the national title,” Shastany said.
“He was upset, wishing bad will and speaking badly about his family,” said Shastany. “At this point, the information is disconcerting enough to follow this up the best we can.”
Police spoke with Flutie, and he is aware of the threat, Shastany said, but there was no imminent danger and Flutie went ahead with a foundation fund-raiser last night at the Hyatt Regency in Boston.
Flutie is a college football analyst for ABC and ESPN. His playing career included winning a Heisman Trophy with Boston College in 1984, two stints with the Patriots and several championships in Canada. The Texas Longhorns were upset Saturday, when Kansas State beat them 45-42.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week

Congrats to Josh Freeman and Yamon Figurs for their Player of the Week awards. Mark Dodge from Texas A&M won the Defensive POY award for a great performance against Nebraska but the award should have gone to Ian Campbell.

Ian Campbell:
5 Tackles1 Tackle for Loss
2 Fumble Recoveries (Both led to TD's)
1 Pass Breakup
1 Sack

Mark Dodge:
17 Tackles
1/2 Tackle for Loss
1 INT (led to missed FG attempt)

Without a performance like that from Ian Campbell, Kansas State would have not beat the 4th ranked team in the country. Dodge played well in a losing effort, while Campbell played better in a winning effort.

KSU should have swept to Big 12 Players of the week awards.

Big 12 Football Players of the Week

AT&T Big 12 Football Players of the Week - Nov. 13

Josh Freeman (Kansas State), Mark Dodge (Texas A&M), and Mason Crosby (Colorado) and Yamon Figurs (Kansas State) have been named AT&T Big 12 Conference Offensive, Defensive and co-Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively, as selected by a media panel. Freeman is honored for the second time in as many weeks, while Crosby adds to his Big 12 record with the ninth award of his career and second of the season. Dodge and Figurs receive recognition for the first time.

Offensive Player of the Week
Josh Freeman, Fr, QB, Kansas State (Kansas City, Mo.)
Freshman quarterback Josh Freeman passed for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Kansas State to a 45-42 win over No. 4 Texas. Freeman completed 19-of-31 passes for 269 yards, including TD strikes of 36, 32 and 30 yards. The loss ended the Longhorns' 21-game Big 12 Conference win streak.

Defensive Player of the Week
Mark Dodge, Jr, LB, Texas A&M (Yerington, Nev.)
Playing on Veterans' Day, former Army serviceman Mark Dodge turned in a game-high 17-tackle performance in Texas A&M's 28-27 last-minute loss to Nebraska. Dodge returned his first interception of the season 16 yards in the fourth-quarter to set up an Aggie field goal attempt with 1:57 left.

Co-Special Teams Players of the Week
Mason Crosby, Sr, PK, Colorado (Georgetown, Texas)
Mason Crosby connected on 4-of-5 field goal attempts and accounted for 15 points for Colorado in its 33-16 win over Iowa State. Crosby hit on attempts of 47, 38, 41 and 42 yards, while coming up just short on a school-record 65-yard effort.
Yamon Figurs, Sr, PR, Kansas State (Lakeland, Fla.)
Yamon Figurs' took his only punt return in K-State's upset of Texas 52 yards to the 8-yard line to set up a short touchdown drive to give the Wildcats a 21-14 second-quarter lead.

Big 12 Coach of the Year

As the 2006 seasons nears the end, it is a good time to look at who is in the running for Big 12 Coach of the Year. Coach Prince threw his name into the hat on Saturday night with an impressive win over #4 Texas but lets look at all the candidates and their 2006 accomplishments.


Nebraska - Bill Callahan
Record: 8-3 Overall, 5-2 Conference
Biggest Win: 28-27 at Texas A&M
Worst Loss: 29-41 at Oklahoma State

Nebraska was picked to win the Big 12 North and clinched the North with a hard fought victory in College Station last weekend. They played Texas tough in Lincoln and should have won that game. Will the Big 12 Championship game be any different? If Callahan and the Huskers can manage to beat Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, Callahan could be the favorite to win the Coach of the Year in the Big 12.

Kansas State – Ron Prince
Record: 7-4 Overall, 4-3 Conference
Biggest Win: 45-42 against the University of Texas
Worst Loss: 3-17 at Baylor

Kansas State was picked to finish last in the Big 12 North and currently sit in second place, one game behind Nebraska. With a victory over Kansas on Saturday, the Wildcats will finish 8-4 overall with 5 conference victories. A considerable improvement over a year ago. Add to that a win over the 4th ranked team in the country and Ron Prince has a good case for Big 12 Coach of the Year.

Missouri – Gary Pinkel
Record: 7-3 Overall, 3-3 Conference
Biggest Win: 38-21 at Texas Tech
Worst Loss: 34-20 at Nebraska

Missouri started out strong and could finish strong. With games remaining against Iowa State and Kansas, Missouri should finish with a good overall record of 9-3. However, there were no marquee wins that MU can point to during the season. They played a very weak non-conference schedule and lost to the better teams in the Big 12. They have not had any letdowns against the weaker teams yet. If Missouri loses one of its remaining games, Pinkel has no shot, but if they win out, he deserves some consideration.

Kansas – Mark Mangino
Record: 5-5 Overall, 2-4 Conference
Biggest Win: 13-7 against South Florida
Worst Loss: 31-37 at Toledo

This has been a horrible year for the Jayhawks. KU gave a contract extension to a coach with a losing record and now they find themselves on probation for recruiting violations and likely to finish 2-6 in the conference.

Colorado – Dan Hawkins
Record: 2-9 Overall, 2-5 Conference
Biggest Win: 30-6 vs. Texas Tech
Worst Loss: 10-19 vs. D1AA - Montana State

Tough year for first year coach Dan Hawkins… Boise State remains unbeaten though!

Iowa State - Dan McCarney
Record: 3-8 Overall, 0-7 Conference
Biggest Win: 28-27 vs. Northern Iowa
Worst Loss: 16-33 vs. Colorado

Dan McCarney leaves the program as the after a tough year.


Texas – Mack Brown
Record: 9-2 Overall, 6-1 Conference
Biggest Win: 28-10 vs. Oklahoma
Worst Loss: 42-45 at Kansas State

Texas found a replacement for Vince Young and looked to have a good shot at defending their National Championship until Josh Freeman and the Kansas State Wildcats defeated them last weekend. Texas had another great year and Mack Brown will get some consideration for Coach of the Year, however, the Longhorns were supposed to win all their games and they have lost two so far. Expectations are high in Austin and so is the talent level… 10-2 probably not enough to win the award for Brown.

Oklahoma – Bob Stoops
Record: 8-2 Overall, 5-1 Conference
Biggest Win: 17-16 at Texas A&M
Worst Loss: 33-34 at Oregon

If the Officials don’t hand Oregon the game against Oklahoma on September 16th, the Sooners are fighting for a spot in the BCS Championship game. OU should win out against Baylor and OSU and if Texas A&M can upset the Longhorns, OU will be playing in the Big 12 Championship Game. Given all the problems the Sooners have had losing Bomar and Peterson for the year, Stoops has done a great job this year. If the Sooners find a way into the Big 12 Championship game and beat NU, Stoops wins, if not, he still deserves some consideration.

Texas A&M – Dennis Franchione
Record: 8-3 Overall, 4-3 Conference
Biggest Win: 25-19 vs. Missouri
Worst Loss: 27-31 vs. Texas Tech

Coach Fran continues to struggle against the Big 12’s better teams. Against UT, OU, TTU, and NU Fran is 1-13 overall. He needs to worry about keeping his job, not the Coach of the Year award.

Oklahoma State – Mike Gundy
Record: 6-4 Overall, 3-3 Conference
Biggest Win: 41-29 vs. Nebraska
Worst Loss: 25-34 vs. Houston

Not a bad year overall for the Pokes but showed inconsistent play throughout the year.

Texas Tech – Mike Leach
Record: 6-5 Overall, 3-4 Conference
Biggest Win: 31-27 at Texas A&M
Worst Loss: 30-6 vs. Colorado

Disappointing year for the Red Raiders who cannot move from being a good team to a team that competes with Texas and Oklahoma every year.

Baylor – Guy Morriss
Record: 4-7Overall, 3-4 Conference
Biggest Win: 17-3 vs. Kansas State
Worst Loss: 66-24 at Oklahoma State

Another year at the bottom of the Big 12 South. Baylor needs to continue to improve as they have done the last few years.

The race for Big 12 Coach of the Year, in my opinion, comes down to three coaches. Bill Callahan, Bob Stoops and Ron Prince. Callahan and Stoops are both having great years and doing exactly what was expected of them. However, if you look at where Kansas State was picked to finish and where they are now, it is tough to argue that anyone is more deserving then Ron Prince.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Reason #7,346 to Hate Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns

When asked about the #4 Longhorns loss to the unranked Wildcats, Mack Brown said "We didn't get beat by them, we just ran out of time."

What a Jackass!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thanks for the Memories....

Can KSU Upset the 4th Ranked Team?

The University of Texas had one and only one question mark coming into the 2006 season. Would they be able to replace the irreplaceable Vince Young at Quarterback? Going into the season two freshman were battling for the starting job and it looked like the answer to that question was no. However, Colt McCoy emerged as the starter and has turned into one of the best surprises of the year.

McCoy, a redshirt freshman, leads the Big 12 in Pass Efficiency and has an amazing 24-4 TD to INT ratio. He has great receivers led by Limas Sweed with 642 yards receiving and 10 TD’s. McCoy spreads the ball around, eight UT players have at least 15 receptions. One difference you see in the UT passing attack this year is the lack of catches by the TEs.

UT has also had a strong rushing attack Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young have both been productive runners for the Horns this year. Charles the leader with 714 yards on the ground.

Kansas State has played well against some great offenses this year. The Cats held Louisville to 24 points and only 247 yards of total offense. This is a team that is averaging 492 yards per game on the year.

The KSU defense will have to have a great game against Texas and it will begin with slowing down the passing attack. UT has done a great job at pass blocking this year only allowing 1.5 sacks per game. The key to KSU’s victories against UT in the pass has been unrelenting pressure on their Quarterback and forcing mistakes. Ian Campbell and company will need to get up field and try give McCoy something to think about every time he drops back to pass.

On the other side of the Offensive ball, Kansas State has been much improved over the course of the year. True Freshman QB Josh Freeman has shown steady improvement and while KSU ranks 10th in the Big 12 in Passing Offense, they are much improved in this area. Last week against the 6th best defense in the Big 12, Colorado, Freeman was 22 of 26 for 251 yards and two TD’s for an amazing QB rating of 191.1.

KSU will have to throw the ball to win against Texas. The one weakness in the UT defense is defending against the pass. They rank 11th in the Big 12, giving up 241 yards per game. The amazing thing is, UT is ranked 11th in pass defense in the league and 2nd in Total Defense. That is because they are holding opponents to 43 yards per game rushing.

UT will challenge the Freshman Freeman to beat them through the air. They will bring pressure on every play and Freeman will need to be ready for it. KSU will need to be creative in getting the ball to Leon Patton and James Johnson. Short passes to the RBs in the flat will allow them to get the ball on the edge and make some plays with their feet. However, KSU will only win this game if they can get the ball down field. It will be difficult for the Cats with sustain long 15-20 play drives. They are going to exploit the UT weakness in the Defensive backfield. That means the line will need to hold their blocks long enough for the receivers to get down field.

KSU has had great play on special teams all year and that will need to continue. If Kansas State can win the field position battle, they will be in this game at the end. However, if the Cats are starting every drive inside their own 20, they will have a hard time putting points on the board.

Bold and Daring. This is what Ron Prince said the 2006 Wildcats would be all about. In order for the Cats to win this weekend, they will need to be Bold and Daring. Coach Prince has me believing. UT will be busy trying to figure out how they can get into the BCS Championship and looking forward to their battle with rival Texas A&M.

KSU beats the 4th ranked team in the country at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas State - 27
Texas - 24