Thursday, December 01, 2005

Going for Gold

It all comes down to this. There's just one more weekend of games to be played before the bowls start. And while it may seem that the 2005 season has come and gone faster than Phil Fulmer's last Big Mac, after attending 14 games in 13 weeks I surprisingly find myself somewhat welcoming the upcoming respite from the wearisome and stressful practice of giving my all for my team each Saturday in stadiums across the Southeast. In other words, to quote Forrest Gump, "I'm tired." But since I don't have a multibillion dollar shrimp company to start, I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. I'll go ahead and finish the year by divvying out the College Football Weekly 2005 Medals. Even though it may seem as if this season is a carbon copy of 2004 with USC facing the Big 12 champ for the national title (presumptious perhaps), a Trojan winning the Heisman (again presumably), Auburn being snubbed by the BCS, Alabama finishing on a losing streak, Mississippi teams losing more times than not, Notre Dame causing everyone else to hate them, etc... this go-around was entirely different, and thus deserves to be commemorated in its own right. Therefore, the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals will be handed out in various categories. And to see if I can get my 50th win on the year, which would get me in the postseason in the NBA, I'll throw some picks in at the end as well. So, start up the Star Spangled Banner, and get ready to congratulate these fine Americans...

(Note: I was going to do a Top 5 like I did earlier in the season, but I decided to go 3-and-out since that seems to be the standard M.O. around Tuscaloosa these days.)

Best Coaching Jobs

Gold: Les Miles. Most people would agree that just about anyone could win with the type of talent that Miles inherited when he took the job in Baton Rouge this season. But not everybody could put together 10 wins and a championship season under the circumstances that the Bayou Bengals encountered in '05. Even if you think the "Katrina factor" is blown out of proportion, Miles still deserves the gold based on the fact that his team won 5 games settled by 4 points or less, 3 of which were on the road. With the talent pool in Louisiana as deep as it is, SEC coaches will have to worry about Miles for a while to come.

Silver: George O'Leary. After being fired from Notre Dame before coaching a single game, it appeared that the situation couldn't get any worse for the former Georgia Tech head man. But assuming the reins at a program in utter despair and turmoil didn't seem to help too terribly much. During his 1st season with Central Florida, O'Leary went 0-11. This season, after starting 0-2 and expanding the losing streak to 17 games, the forecast in Orlando was looking even more disastrous, and not because of the hurricanes. However, not only did O'Leary end the Golden Knights' skid, but he won 8 of the last 9 games on the schedule and guided his new team to this weekend's C-USA championship in only their 1st season in the conference...A great story of redemption for someone who had taken the ultimate fall from grace in college football.

Bronze: Joe Paterno. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? They obviously didn't tell JoePa. Over the last 5 seasons, Penn St. had averaged a mere 5 wins per year. Hopefully, though, by doubling his average this season and claiming the Big 11 title, Papa Joe will decide to go out on a winning note and save everyone the "When's he gonna retire?" discussions in 2006.

Worst Coaching Jobs

Gold: Phillip Fulmer. Is there really even a need to explain this one?

Silver: Dennis Franchione. For every A&M fan that was disappointed with the way the season turned out in College Station, there were 2 Bama fans who couldn't contain their excitement. With all the pieces in place to have a break-out season, Fran was supposed to finally make the Aggies a contender in the Big 12 South. However, not only did they have to play 2nd-fiddle to the Longhorns again, but they also were embarrased by Texas Tech. Fran should just be happy he didn't have to play that other team in the Lonestar State from Fort Worth, or he may have even been shown up by his former team. At least no one dropped 77 on them this year.

Bronze: Ed Orgeron. This week, Tulane coach Chris Scelfo went on the record and called Coach O "lower than dirt." To anyone who knows anything about the "Wild Man" in Oxford, though, this should come as no surprise. However, what is surprising is the fact that Orgeron didn't beat his face in. Even though there's still a remnant of hopeful Rebel fans who believe "The Coach" will win once he gets his own players and not Cutcliffe leftovers, even Coach Cut was able to win 4 games with 'em.

Best Players

Gold: Reggie Bush. Even if The President didn't have a Heisman Quarterback and another 1000 yard rushing tailback in his corner, he'd still be the most talented athlete to ever put on a college jersey. The Heisman ballots aren't due for another few days, but they could've all been sent to New York on November 20, the day after Bush single-handedly won the Fresno St. game by putting on the best offensive attack since D-Day. If the Trojans win a 3rd consecutive National Championship, some may actually begin to believe that this Bush really is the president since he'll have been to the White House more times in 3 years than the afore mentioned Gump.

Silver: DeAngelo Williams. Although his Heisman campaign was over after Labor Day, DeAngelo Williams' season wasn't. In fact, this Memphis tailback went on to rush for 1726 yards (6.2 per carry), becoming the NCAA's 4th best rusher of all-time. And in a few weeks, when the Tigers make their record 3rd consecutive bowl game, he'll have a chance to break Tony Dorsett's mark for career 100 yard games. Most impressively, Williams accomplished all of this while playing on a team that started 4 different quarterbacks and passed for -3 yards in its final game.

Bronze: Tyrone Prothro. Had Prothro not suffered a Joe Theisman-like injury on the 1st day of October, he might be receiving an invitation to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York next weekend. While Brodie Croyle may have received all of the credit for the Tide's fast start, it became apparent real quickly who was the real reason Sports Illustrated announced that Bama was Back.

Best Games

Gold: USC 34, Notre Dame 31. Trailing by 3, 4th and 9 from their own 18 with less than a minute left. This is what USC faced in South Bend as their 27-game winning streak appeared all but over. Then Matt Leinart and Dwayne Jarret connected on possibly the biggest play of the season for the Trojans as they not only gained the 1st down but moved the ball in scoring position. The rest is history...Watching the game in the Grove after Bama had escaped an upset by Ole Miss and Penn St. had lost to Michigan on the last play, I just knew that if the Irish could come through also that it would be the Tide's year. Well, neither one happened.

Silver: Alabama 6, Tennessee 3. This year's version of the battle which occurs on "the 3rd Saturday in October" epitomized the style of play in the SEC in 2005 as stingy defenses made points hard to come by. Case & Point: What appeared to be a sure touchdown for the Vols late in the 4th quarter instead resulted in one of the most legendary defensive plays in the storied history of Alabama football as Roman Harper forced Cory Anderson to fumble the ball through the end zone and give Alabama new life and ultimately another win to improve to 7-0. While the Florida game may have been the most enjoyable and electrifying game of the season for Alabama fans, no win was more fulfilling.

Bronze: LSU 20, Auburn17 (OT). I list this simply because this was the loss that kept the Tigers from winning the West. I'm sure, though, that they'll figure out a way to claim this championship. Maybe Golf Digest will award this one to them too. After John Vaughn missed his 5th field goal of the night to seal the deal, it was rumored that he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself. Fortunately, though, he couldn't kick the chair out from underneath him.

And in the spirit of the season, I'd like to make 3 Christmas wishes to wrap things up...

1. An Alabama win over Auburn.

2. For Notre Dame to earn a BCS bid.

3. For Fulmer, Fran, and Orgeron to be fired instead of making their coordinators take the fall.

Well, fans. That'll do it for this season. It's been a fun ride, and I appreciate everyone's willingness to humor me by taking just a few minutes out of each week to read this. Don't get too down, though, I'm sure some type of bowl preview will appear sometime. But in the meantime, I'd like to announce that due to just a couple of requests and to the fact that I want this to keep on going, I've enlisted a true college hoops insider, Jacob Batson (Vice President of Mark's Madness & uber-genius) to carry on the prediction practice for the basketball season. Starting next week with the Alabama-Notre Dame game, will no longer be limited to just football, but college basketball picks will also be featured. So, be sure and visit on Wednesday to see the test run. Thanks again, and ROLL TIDE!...

O yea, there were supposed to be some picks this week.

USC 41, UCLA 35.

Texas 45, Colorado 14.

Va Tech 31, FSU 13.

LSU 22, Georgia 21.

Army 28, Navy 24.


Anonymous Russell said...

Kyle im sorry but Prothro? If the guy played for any other team in the country you would laugh at such ignorance. Instead you will reach far and wide for support of the ridiculous argument. On the other hand I'm with you on the head coaches taking the fall instead of coordinators... I mean who hired em in the first place!?!

Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Kyle, great job covering the college football this season. I must say you came away with a gold medal finish to a fun-filled season. For the rest of the audience, you will get some insightful commentary on Alabama basketball and the rest of the college hoops world from Jacob Batson this season.

Friday, December 02, 2005 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous the O Zone said...

kyle, this is getting out of hand! i have to agree with russell seriously Prothro? the kid didnt even complete 5 games did he? 5 out of 11 makes him one of the best players. p-willy had the same injury this year and how many games did he prothro quit...hes a quiter! prothro does deserve the best game changing performances award with that sick catch.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 5:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRY VINCE YOUNG, best player ever in the best conference ever

Sunday, December 04, 2005 5:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Tiger High said...

hey jacob for your first post you should do something on the memphis tigers and how they rolled over Alabama at Alabama, think about it?

Sunday, December 04, 2005 5:48:00 PM  

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