College Football Overtime (cont.)
A former administrative assistant filed a sexual harassment complaint against New Mexico coach Mike Locksley before he'd even coached his first game in 2009. During the first month of his first season he allegedly punched his receivers coach, resulting in a 10-day suspension. He once went to a bar to swipe surveillance tape of a heated exchange he'd had there with a student reporter. All the while, he went 2-26, repeatedly losing in lopsided fashion. Yet he managed to keep his job.
But after the events of this weekend, the school finally pulled the plug Sunday on one of the most disastrous coaching hires in recent history, according to a CBSSports.com report. Though based on the school's previous treatment of Locksley, it's hard to say what actually constituted the final straw: the fact that a self-professed Lobos recruit, Joshua Butts, was arrested for DWI while driving a car registered to Locksley (reportedly belonging to his son), or New Mexico's 48-45 loss to Sam Houston State.
Either way, the move was two years overdue. Locksley, formerly Ron Zook's top recruiter at Illinois who was known for his Washington D.C.-area ties, inherited a program that went to five bowl games under Rocky Long (now the coach at San Diego State) and drove it straight into the ground. The Lobos lost seven games by at least 20 points in Locksley's first season, lost their 2010 opener 72-0 to Oregon, and earlier this month lost 52-3 to Arkansas and 59-13 to Texas Tech.
"I don't read the paper I don't look at the news. ... I don't like negativity around me," Locksley said last week. Coach, sorry to break it to you, but you brought on all the negativity yourself. There's a huge sigh of relief in Albuquerque today, but it's unfortunate if it took a teenager's DWI for New Mexico to come to its senses. Though again, it was probably the Sam Houston State loss.
In the long history of controversial officiating errors, I can't remember a crew botching a crucial extra-point call. Either it went in or it didn't. How do you mess that up?
Well, the officials at Saturday's Toledo-Syracuse game did. The Big East acknowledged Saturday night that both the refs on the field and in the replay booth missed what anyone watching at home could have seen: This Orange extra point did not go through the uprights. Because the refs said it did, Syracuse went up 30-27, not 29-27, so Toledo's subsequent last-second field goal sent the game to overtime, where it lost.
Toledo is not happy.
On Sunday, the school held a news conference to announce it had petitioned the Big East to have the results of the game vacated. Note: It's not asking to be credited with the win. It just wants Syracuse's taken away.
"This can be looked upon in a variety of ways," said AD Mike O'Brien. "Whether it be sour grapes, that athletic director is a sore loser, or praised, I think it's important we show our football team that we truly support them, that we show our football coach and his staff we're here for them and support them and tell our fan base that it wasn't a situation where the University of Toledo just lays down."
Make no mistake, Toledo: You got robbed. But I'm going to go with the sour grapes/sore loser reaction. The call in question did not come on the final play of the game. There was still 2:07 remaining. Who knows, down two instead of three, what plays coach Tim Beckman might have called and whether they still would have led to a successful field goal. Even without all that, Toledo still had overtime.
But it's a moot point. There's about as much chance of the Big East vacating the result as there is of Syracuse deciding it was just kidding about that whole ACC thing.
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
Nebraska at Wisconsin, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): The preseason is over. It's time to find out whether Russell Wilson can keep up his torrid start against the Huskers' Blackshirts. And Nebraska's first Big Ten conference game will provide quite the hostile atmosphere to test Huskers enigma Taylor Martinez.
Alabama at Florida, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): Florida tailbacks Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey have been running away from people so far, but no one runs away from Alabama's defenders. The Gators' best hope is to produce an equally dominant defensive effort. Will Muschamp may spontaneously combust.
Clemson at Virginia Tech, Saturday (6 p.m. ET): The Hokies are another team we've yet to see against legit competition. Running back David Wilson is averaging 129 yards per game, but quarterback Logan Thomas will have to make some plays, and Tech's secondary will need to contain Clemson's explosive young receivers.