4th and inches …

Fourth and inches …

Toby Gerhart, don’t let me down in your last two games of the regular season because I’m going to rave about why you are the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy … Toby has 1,395 yards rushing in 10 games (5.3 yards per attempt). That’s third in the nation, 96 yards behind the leader in this category. But the two running backs ahead of him have not faced the same level of competition—they both play in the pathetically weak Western Athletic Conference where even the conference’s top dog, undefeated Boise State, ranks 38th in the nation in total rushing yards allowed and 31st in rushing yards per game allowed.

Gerhart averages 139.5 yards per game, third in the nation among all backs with at least 150 rushing attempts, again just a few yards behind the two WAC rushers (Ryan Mathews, Fresno State and Donald Buckram, UTEP).

His 19 rushing touchdowns are second to Navy’s Ricky Dobbs (22 TDs) and he leads in rushing attempts, a clear indication of his durability and impact on the field.
More >

Fourth and inches …

How stupid can you be, Jimmy Clausen? The most visible Notre Dame football player on and off the field gets clocked by some idiot in South Bend last weekend following the Irish double overtime loss to Connecticut … you really have to question Clausen’s maturity and character. What in the heck is he doing at a bar early on Sunday morning when he has to prepare for Stanford and travel across the country this week? Where is his commitment to his teammates, his coaches, and the school? This incident is just further evidence that Charlie Weis’ days are numbered at Notre Dame.

And with Weis on his way out of South Bend, , how stupid could Notre Dame have been for renegotiating his contract before he had even completed his first season back in 2005? Try $18 million stupid …

Who will be the new head coach of Notre Dame? My source within the university community there insists it will be Jon Gruden. Practically everyone else is saying it’ll be Brian Kelly. I think my source is just close enough to be falling for a decoy, though. Kelly is a far more logical choice to revive the program. Besides, would Gruden even want the ND job?
More >

4th and inches …

Ranking the best six coaching vacancies …

1. Notre Dame. Tradition, facilities, respected academic institution, a hefty budget, commitment to win it all, exclusive NBC television contract, and easier access to the BCS than any other program.

2. Virginia. Top-notch academic reputation, ACC affiliation guarantees solid schedule, fantastic recruiting market in DC/Maryland/Virginia, one of the best looking uniforms in college football, and nowhere to go but up for a new head coach.

3. Louisville. Big East affiliation guarantees solid schedule along with annual instate rivalry game vs SEC’s Kentucky, solid facilities with commitment to continue upgrading, only a few years removed from national championship conversation, Johnny U’s alma mater.
More >

4th and inches …

NEW MEXICO BOWL Dec. 19
Fresno State vs. Wyoming
The Bulldogs’ rushing game will shred the Cowboy defense, but Wyoming should find a way to prevail.

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL Dec. 19
Rutgers vs. UCF
The Scarlet Knights will simply out-joust the Knights in Saint Pete.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL Dec. 20
Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders have been on a roll the last half of the season and will continue rolling right over Southern Miss in the Big Easy.

LAS VEGAS BOWL Dec. 22
BYU vs. Oregon State
This has all the makings of a high scoring shootout but the Beavers will persistently gnaw away at the Cougar defense for the win.
More >

4th and inches …

NEW MEXICO BOWL Dec. 19
Fresno State vs. Wyoming
The Bulldogs’ rushing game will shred the Cowboy defense, but Wyoming should find a way to prevail.

Result: The Cowpokes got me off to a great start by pulling off the upset in two overtimes, 35-28. They did a nice job mitigating FSU’s rushing attack, holding them to 197 yards rushing—144 from standout RB Ryan Matthews. The Bulldogs were averaging 231 per game.

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL Dec. 19
Rutgers vs. UCF
The Scarlet Knights will simply out-joust the Knights in Saint Pete.

Result: Rutgers took a 9-point lead to the locker room at halftime and kept extending it thru all 4Qs. Final score: 45-24.
More >

4th and inches …

After the first 15 bowl games this season, I was 8-7 and tied with Jerry Ahern and Jason King, while Tom Dienhart, Mike Huguenin and Olin Buchanan were all 7-8.

Here’s how I fared in the second half of the bowl season.

ARMED FORCES BOWL Dec. 31
Houston vs. Air Force
Houston’s air attack and the Falcons’ ground game will gouge each other’s defenses silly in this contest. Case Keenum is the difference.

Result: Holy Toledo! Air Force dominated Houston, intercepting Keenum 6 times in this game on their way to a good old fashioned butt-kicking of Houston, 47-20. The game featured back-to-back kickoff returns for TDs by each school.

SUN BOWL Dec. 31
Oklahoma vs. Stanford
If any team can stop Toby Gerhart this season, the Sooners can. But they won’t.

Result: The Sooners didn’t stop Gerhart (135 yards, 2 TDs) but Stanford couldn’t stop Landry Jones (30-51, 418 yds, 3 TDs) or Ryan Broyles (13 receptions, 156 yds, 3 TDs), either.
More >