Thursday, September 18, 2014


Game Day

Midseason awards continue

10/23/2013

FIRST DOWN

The Tuesday Morning Quarterback Midseason Awards continue with a run through the B1G…

Big Ten’s best team: Ohio State. Just because Urban Meyer provided the launching pad for the Tim Tebow circus and the Aaron Hernandez circus that tainted popular culture as we know it isn’t the reason you’re going to learn to hate Urban Meyer. The fact that he’s going to go 13-0 by the skin of his teeth, week after week after week after week after week after week after week; the fact that he’s going to hang around and hang around while the rest of the national championship contenders beat one another up; the fact that he’s going to backdoor the Buckeyes into the BCS title game, then act like it was somehow the divine birthright of all things scarlet and grey — that, THAT is why you’re going to learn to hate Urban Meyer. Assuming, of course, you don’t hate him already.

Big Ten’s best player: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State. In July, Hyde got into an altercation with a woman who he may or may not have struck (the video’s out there, you be the judge). While the female in question chose not to press charges, this is the kind of thing that dances so uncomfortably close to the Lawrence Phillips situation at Nebraska, it’s frightening. Like Phillips, he’s a holy terror between the white lines. And like Phillips, there’s a part of you that wonders what the hell he’s doing out there in the first place. And hey, as if you needed another reason to hate Urban Meyer, well — there ya go.

Big Ten’s best coach: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State. Tough call. Damn tough. Meyer opened the season with a wallet full of Powerball tickets, so the Buckeyes’ dominance was expected. You could make a good case for Bill O’Brien continuing to keep the ship afloat at Penn State, but that loss at Indiana — yikes. You could make a case for Gary Andersen at Wisconsin, but that attempt to kill the clock at Arizona State — yikes. It’s the lesser of several evils here, but we’ll roll with Sparty. For now. Dantonio appears to have botched his situation under center, but his defense is so freaking strong, it almost doesn’t matter. They’ve got a fairly user-friendly schedule the rest of the way, too.

DM Art Center

Big Ten’s best game: Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (4 OT), Oct. 12. If overtimes were decided simply by placekicking, this bad boy might still be going, weeks after the fact. This one was something, wasn’t it? The kind of game you leave the room for a minute, presuming it’ll be over, only to come back and find that they’re still … somehow … going. You presume again, leave the room again and return again. Still … somehow … going. Sure, the Wolverines’ Brendan Gibbons and the Lions’ Sam Ficken engaged in an all-time case-of-the-yips contest on a national stage, but hey — even if it wasn’t pretty (and it wasn’t), it sure as hell wasn’t boring, either.

Big Ten’s best narrative: The league’s quarterbacks, but for all the wrong reasons. Braxton Miller? Hurt. Taylor Martinez? Hurt. Kain Colter? Hurt. One week, Connor Cook looks like the answer at Michigan State; the next, he’s a total question mark. Michigan’s Devin Gardner did a very cool thing in donning Tom Harmon’s old “98” jersey — at least until he started looking like a defensive end that just happened to be playing quarterback. Joel Stave’s credentials, like his Badgers, are better than most folks give credit for, but that attempt to “down” the ball in Tempe gets more comical every time you watch it.

 

THE BIG EIGHT

Ranking the best eight teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten, one through eight…

TEAM (RECORD) / UP NEXT

1. Ohio State (6-0) / vs. Penn State

2. Baylor (6-0) / at Kansas

3. Wisconsin (5-2) / Idle, at Iowa, Nov. 2

4. Texas Tech (6-0) / at Oklahoma

5. Oklahoma (6-1) / vs. Texas Tech

6. Michigan State (6-1) / at Illinois

7. Oklahoma State (5-1) / at Iowa State

8. Nebraska (5-1) / at Minnesota

 

ONE MAN’S RUNNING HEISMAN BALLOT:

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. Death Valley tried to break Arrowhead Stadium’s Guinness World Record for noise at an outdoor stadium. Big Gameis Jameis put the kibosh on that, damn quick.

2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Looked even faster in pink helmets than he does in green. Or yellow. Or black. Or grey. Or whatever the hell color they’re wearing.

3. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State: On a pace to throw 50 touchdowns. Single-season FBS record: 58.

 

SET YOUR TIVO:

The games you won’t want to miss…

1. Texas Tech at Oklahoma, FOX, 2:30 p.m.: The computers don’t believe in the Raiders. That’ll change if Kingsbury can win in Norman.

2. South Carolina at Missouri, ESPN 2, 6 p.m.: Would you believe Mizzou’s Sam, and not Clowney, is the best DE in the SEC?

3. UCLA at Oregon, ESPN, 6 p.m.: Ducks could leapfrog Florida State in the BCS standings with a quality win here. And the Pac-12 — not the SEC or Big 12 or Big Ten — is easily shaping up to be this fall’s deepest power conference.

 

THE HOT SEAT: DANA HOLGORSEN, WEST VIRGINIA

That win over Oklahoma State feels more like three months ago than three weeks. After taking a 27-23 lead into the fourth quarter at home versus Texas Tech, the Mountaineers surrendered 14 straight points in the fourth quarter in a 37-27 setback, dropping their conference record to 1-2. Up next: a visit to better-than-its-record (2-4) Kansas State. After that: a trip to TCU. Oy vey. CV

Sean Keeler is a columnist/blogger with FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports. In 2011, the Iowa native was named one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. You can read him at www.FoxSportsKansasCity.com and at www.FoxSportsMidwest.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@seankeeler) and through his Tumblr blog: seankeeler.tumblr.com.

Body Sense