Bowden Files: Throw the flag
By Terry Bowden, Yahoo! Sports
April 10, 2007
Terry Bowden will comment on college football issues throughout the months leading up to the 2007 season here in "Bowden Files."
Our college football analyst will file several times a week. Some days he may file twice. Some days he may not file. But check Yahoo! Sports' college football page to make sure you don't miss his latest installment (of course, we'll archive them, too).
And Terry wants you to be involved, so he encourages you to send him a comment or question. That link also appears at the bottom of every article, including Bowden Files. He can't reply personally, but he'll try to address some of your comments and questions in this space.
April 10 An interesting look at the NCAA stats
How many times have you heard the saying that penalties will get you beat? The truth of the matter is that a lack of penalties will get you beat even quicker. Of the top 10 teams in college football last season in least yards penalized, six of them had losing records. With that list including such teams as Northwestern, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Navy, Air Force, and Stanford, it looks like the lack of penalties points more toward how smart you are than how good you are. Incidentally, the national champion Florida Gators finished the season ranked 109th out of 119 schools in least yards penalized and only one team in the final top 10 made it into the top 35 least-penalized teams.
Whats the difference between a fan and a fanatic? If we were to use the Ohio State Buckeyes as an example, a fan would be someone who nicknames his son, Buck. A fanatic is someone who names his son, Tressel Hayes. The problem is that this is not a hypothetical. It seems that Buckeye fan
atic, Brent Huffines, last week named his newborn son after OSU coaches Jim Tressel and Woody Hayes. However, if you think this sounds a little strange, you better think again. There have been six boys named Tressel in Ohio since 2003. Incidentally, what is the least favorite name in Ohio this year? Urban, of course.
April 9 Did you know that St. John's (Minn.) head coach John Gagliardi, the winningest coach in college football history, has a unique style of coaching football called "Winning with Nos." That is: No calling him coach. No calisthenics. No tackling during practice. No whistles. If it weren't for those 443 wins, I'd say "no way."
Speaking of the winningest coach in college football, most people know that Joe Paterno, age 80, and Bobby Bowden, age 77, are the winningest coaches in Division I-A history. Currently, my old man is three games ahead of Joe Pa, with 366 career wins. With both of these guys having spent 41 years as head coaches, many people think that there is just too much pressure in today's game for anyone to last long enough to challenge that record.
Well, not so fast, my friend. At 54, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel already has 197 victories. He has averaged a little more than 10 wins per season at Ohio State, and if he can maintain that pace, and if he coaches until age 75, he will have 407 total victories (the ones at I-AA Youngstown State count, just like Bobby Bowden's wins at Samford).
After winning its third national championship in the last year, it looks like I finally get to say something critical about the Florida Gators. Last week, not one but two football players were arrested by local authorities in Gainesville. First, projected starting linebacker Dustin Doe was arrested for fighting in public, a misdemeanor. Then offensive lineman Ronnie Matthews was jailed and charged with a felony for firing a semiautomatic rifle in a dispute at a local nightclub.
April 6 Here's an update on the states with the most Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) football recruits. I reported earlier that 1) Texas, 2) California and 3) Florida are the top three states for Bowl Subdivision football recruits. Of course, those also are three of the four most populous states (New York ranks third). Reader Paul Otto was kind enough to email me that, based on his calculations, the three states with the most recruits per capita are 1) Mississippi, 2) Louisiana and 3) Alabama no wonder the SEC does so well in recruiting.
Dawg days All indications are that Washington head coach Ty Willingham will go with redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker when the season opens against Syracuse. Although spring practice has not begun, Willingham said Thursday that Locker would get the nod even if Carl Bonnell recovers from his shoulder surgery. Bonnell took over in the seventh game last year after starter Isaiah Stanback was lost to injuries. The Huskies lost six of their last seven under Bonnell. As much as the Washington fans love their home-grown All-American recruit, I have a hard time projecting a winning season with a quarterback who never has taken a college snap.
College Football Playoff Central I don't want to get all our Big Ten and Pac-10 readers in a hussy, but many people think it will be those two conferences that ultimately will come between college football and a playoff system. Florida president Bernie Machin, who is spearheading the drive to persuade college presidents to consider a playoff, believes the only real problem will be the Big Ten and the Pac-10 because "they like their sweetheart deal with the Rose Bowl." Maybe fans can visit www.boycotttherosebowl.com
, a site that reader David Barnes of Dallas emailed to me.
April 3 Just as they did in the college football national championship game back in January, the Gators just looked too athletic for the Buckeyes on the basketball court Monday. Florida's basketball team wasn't just as good as advertised, it was better. I don't normally comment a lot about basketball, but when I see a team that is this complete I just have to take notice. Now, with three national championships in a year's time, maybe I won't have to talk or write about the Gators again for a while.
The times, they are a' changin': It used to be that when a college athletic program was accused of breaking NCAA rules, it would hang its head in shame, quietly accept the findings, and promise never to do it again in hopes of a more lenient punishment. This definitely doesn't seem to be the case anymore
just ask Oklahoma.
OU "strongly disagrees" with the NCAA's allegations that the university failed to adequately monitor the employment of its athletes at a Norman car dealership. The association alleges that the athletic department violated its own guidelines by failing to collect earning statements from 12 football players.
The university has gone on the offensive, with Oklahoma president David Boren quoted as saying, We met, if not exceeded, industry standards," "There was absolutely nothing else we could have done to detect it," "We should be applauded, not penalized by the NCAA," "These unnecessary and unfitting charges
and "The University of Oklahoma stands for principle, and all of the actions we took in this matter illustrate that character." "Strongly disagree" is an understatement.
For two groups (the NCAA and universities) that are supposed to be working together for the same cause, it sure sounds like an adversarial relationship to me. I guess we'll find out who is right at the NCAA hearing in Indianapolis on April 14.
April 2 I forgot to mention that I drove up to Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend to speak to the students at the Florida State University School of Law (I am an '82 graduate), and I managed to take in the Seminole football scrimmage Saturday. I talked my brother Jeff into going with me to the scrimmage, and I have to admit it was a little strange standing on the field next to my brother, the former offensive coordinator at FSU, and watching Jimbo Fisher, the man who replaced him, leading the offense for my father, Bobby, who is the head coach of the whole thing.
When I first became a head football coach at Salem College in 1983, Fisher was the first quarterback I ever recruited and he became a great player and coach for me at Salem College, Samford and then Auburn. Jeff, by the way, was Jimbo's first offensive coordinator. Anyway, we both agreed that the offense looked much improved in only the second week of spring ball.
April 1 Did you see which states had the most scholarship football players signed this year by Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) schools? Texas was No. 1 with 374, California was second with 332 and Florida was third with 313. The next closest was the state of Ohio with 157 barely half of Florida's total. Is it just a coincidence that the last three national champions are Florida, Texas and Southern California? I think not.
Federal authorities recently charged a Toledo player in connection with a point-shaving scheme. Apparently, Harvey "Scooter" McDougle helped a man identified only as "Gary" try to influence other athletes into improperly affecting the outcome of a game. The payoff was said to be cash, merchandise, groceries, and other various gifts. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 20
As a former head football coach at a major university, I always felt that this situation was just a disaster waiting to happen. A poor college athlete gets behind on his Internet gambling debt and gets talked/coerced into fumbling a punt or dropping a touchdown pass. You can imagine the possibilities.
With so many great football players coming back, it's going to be awful hard for anyone not to pick Southern California as the preseason No. 1.
March 30 The NCAA is being hit with a class-action lawsuit scheduled to go on trial in June that represents all football players and men's basketball players in major programs (nearly every Bowl Subdivision, or Division I-A, school), and it just might cost the NCAA a huge chunk of change.
The athletes are suing for the inclusion of such incidentals within the athletic scholarship as school supplies, laundry money, travel, and health and disability insurance. At about $2,500 per student per year, it could total about $350 million, which the NCAA lawyers insist the sanctioning body can't afford to pay.
I don't know exactly what the NCAA can or cannot afford, but in this case it should be as much as possible as long as it doesn't break the bank. Colleges can't pay the coaches million-dollar salaries and then say they can't pay the student-athletes for reasonable cost-of-living requirements. Its still supposed to be about the student-athlete.
You had better get used to it: If Florida wins a second NCAA men's basketball title to go along with its current football title, the school will reach a level of success unparalleled in NCAA history. With the best teams in the two most important college sports, two of the best young coaches in America, annual revenues of $82.4 million, one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country and a president and athletic director that clearly are committed to winning championships in every varsity sport, the Gators are not going away any time soon.
Terry Bowden is Yahoo! Sports' college football analyst. Send Terry a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.