College Football Overtime (cont.)
Smaller story, but I'm sure you're following it...
Last Thursday night, while most of the country was fixated on Oregon-Boise State, a stunning score popped up from Muncie, Ind.: North Texas 20, Ball State 10. If that doesn't register, this will: Ball State went 12-2 last year; the Mean Green were 1-11.
After going 3-21 his first two seasons, North Texas coach Todd Dodge -- who the school took a decided gamble on by hiring him straight out of Texas prep power Southlake Carroll -- got a much-needed confidence booster. And he did it with a familiar face running his no-huddle spread offense: redshirt freshman QB Riley Dodge, his son. "We're not anything to write home about yet, but [Riley] did a really nice job in his first game getting the ball in a lot of different peoples' hands," said Todd, who previously coached Chase Daniel in high school.
Most remarkably, North Texas' defense -- which ranked dead last nationally last season -- held the Cardinals to 10 points. Granted, Ball State figured to take a dip following the departure of head coach Brady Hoke and star QB Nate Davis. But the Mean Green, helped by the influx of four junior college or freshman defensive linemen -- held the Cardinals to just 309 yards.
Apparently Dick Tomey's seeing things
This was the San Jose State coach's assessment following his team's 56-3 loss to USC: "For a while it looked like we could compete with them. Obviously, it was an illusion."
LeGarrette Blount: A clinical analysis
Still traumatized by Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount's punch-to-the-face last Thursday night? Still puzzled over how a college football player could melt down so explosively on national television? On this week's edition of "The Bubba Counseling Show," Bob Zima, licensed professional counselor and self-proclaimed Boise State fan, uses the Blount punch to teach us all a valuable lesson about hurt and anger ... direct from his RV. (Warning: clip includes brief profanity.)
Lane Kiffin: Master Visual Artist
The Lane Kiffin era got off to a rocking start -- literally. Saturday's 63-7 rout of Western Kentucky doesn't mean Tennessee will win the SEC just yet, but the Vols already take the cake for highest production value of a pre-kickoff Jumbotron segment. It certainly worked this dude into a tizzy (the real fun starts at the 3:42 mark).
Scenes from the road
I'm not sure I've ever endured a stranger game-trip than last week's jaunt to Boise.
It started almost bucolically, my buddy Bruce Feldman and I enjoying lunch at the RAM Restaurant and Brewery across the street from Bronco Stadium, looking out at joggers and dog-walkers strolling the Boise River Greenbelt. With a Rueben in my hand, Journey's Any Way You Want It piping through the restaurant and ESPN Classic replaying the Northwestern-USC Rose Bowl on one of the bar's TVs, life seemed pretty grand.
Of course, the evening ended with my head spinning and my poor editors waiting on me at 4 a.m. EST as I tried to process the fact that a prominent college football player had just punched an opposing player in the face, among other things. In between, Bruce and I somehow got lost on that same river trail for two hours in 94-degree weather, I ate three different brewpub meals in less than 24 hours and I learned that I'd been mispronouncing "Boise" (it's Boi-see, not Boyz-ee) my entire life.
Boise really is a lovely place with a beautiful stadium and a splendid football team, though I do have one criticism (shared, apparently, by Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott): How does the school not punish Byron Hout? Seriously?
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
USC at Ohio State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET):
Notre Dame at Michigan (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET):
UCLA at Tennessee (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET):
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