College Football Overtime (cont.)
Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger has made a career out of playing the contrarian, but you'd be hard-pressed to defend his bizarre decision -- and ensuing explanation -- in the Owls' game against Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday. There's no other way to put it: He laid down. Surrendered. Decided he'd seen enough for the day.
Sure, FAU's prospects looked bleak when, with just 2:53 remaining, they faced fourth-and-goal at the Spartans' one-yard line, down 30-14. Still, the Owls remained within two scores (two touchdowns and two two-point conversions). A comeback would have been miraculous, but possible. But when FAU got flagged for a false start, moving the ball back to the six, Schnellenberger ... sent out his field-goal team. The Owls kicked the field goal, lost 30-17, and that was that.
"I want to congratulate the Michigan State Spartans for playing an outstanding game and ... there at the end, for not running the score up," he said afterward. "It was obvious we couldn't slow 'em down any more."
Wait. It gets better.
"We get out of this what we've been getting out of playing these kinds of games for all the years we've been doing this. We had a great scrimmage. ... Obviously we get a lot of p.r. out of it, and certainly, the bottom line is, our financial statement is also helped."
Apparently, Schnellenberger takes the "guarantee" part of the phrase "guarantee game" quite literally -- though this was actually an FAU home game (complete with an Owls logo at midfield) that the school voluntarily moved to Michigan State's backyard in hopes of netting more ticket sales. According to the Palm Beach Post, the school stood to make $2 million if all 65,000 seats sold out. Actual attendance was 36,124. And apparently everybody -- even the losing coach -- went home happy.
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
Iowa at Arizona, Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET): It's the only game of the day matching ranked teams, and it's a pivotal one for Mike Stoops' program, which in seven years has yet to score a big nonconference win. The Wildcats lost 27-17 in Iowa City last year, but QB Nick Foles is completing 83 percent of his passes.
Nebraska at Washington, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): All those who wrote off Jake Locker's Heisman chances after an opening-week loss at BYU forgot he had this game on his schedule. The nation will be watching. Of course, if the Huskers bat him around like they did Colt McCoy last year, that really will be the end of that story.
Texas at Texas Tech, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): The 'Horns return to Lubbock for the first time since the infamous Michael Crabtree catch in 2008. It should be a nice test for Texas QB Garrett Gilbert, who will be making his first Big 12 road start, while Tommy Tuberville can obliterate Mike Leach's shadow by pulling the upset.