Starting 11: A Weekend of Bowl Watching

You. Can’t. Rely. On. College. Kickers.

That should be the lesson that anyone who watched games all day yesterday should take with them. College kickers are notoriously unreliable. This isn’t the NFL. In fact, there’s no comparison between NFL and college kickers. Think about it, NFL kickers are the 32 best at what they do in the world. Great kickers will stay in the league for twenty years. Once you demonstrate that you’re clutch, you’re set for a generation. But college kickers? Even if you’re great, you probably only get two or three years to kick and then you have to find a new kicker.

Plus, there are 120 or so starting kickers every year in college.

How many of those guys end up kicking in the NFL the next year? One or two at most, right?

So is it any surprise that college kickers aren’t, by and large, clutch?

Yet twice yesterday college coaches chose to rely on kickers. First, Mark Richt in overtime and later David Shaw relied on his kicker late in the Stanford-Oklahoma State game. The decision is even more mind-blowing when you consider the quality of the quarterbacks both men have. Andrew Luck is the most NFL-ready quarterback in the country. Aaron Murray may well be the best quarterback in the SEC. Wouldn’t you rather have the ball in both these men’s hands than resting on the foot of an uncertain kicker? 

Again, this isn’t a situation where you have no other options than to attempt a kick, this is a situation where you choose to accept a field goal rather than try and get the ball as close as you possibly can running your regular offense.

Both kickers, predictably, choked.

Georgia and Stanford both went on to lose.

Such is the life of a college football fan. No kick is ever routine. 

None. 

So if you have a choice, you can’t ever settle for a kick.

On to the final Starting 11 of the year.  

1. Andrew Luck is Peyton Manning.

As I watched Luck last night all I could think was, “F— me.”

What are the odds that the Colts could get 13 years of Peyton Manning and then, miraculously, Manning is injured and Andrew Luck falls right in to their laps.

And I know a ton of y’all — Jags, Texan and Titan fans — were thinking the exact same thing

It’s really beyond unfair.

Especially when you toss in that number one picks aren’t even that expensive anymore thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement.

Even the two missed field goals last night were downright Vanderjagtian.

2. Cotton Vandy

Scene: Vanderbilt is driving to tie the Libery Bowl.

Larry Smith tosses a pass to the right side and then…

Cotton Vandy.

3. Ohio State has not beaten an SEC team in 8,501 days.

That win came on September 24, 1988 against LSU.

Stop with the Sugar Bowl emails. That win over Arkansas has been vacated. We’re at 8,501 days and counting since Ohio State last beat an SEC team.

4. The Big Ten is now 1-9 in its past ten New Year’s Day bowl games. (We’re counting January 2nd as New Year’s).

Somewhere Jim Delany is curled up in the fetal position clutching the 2002 BCS title game trophy won by Ohio State.

How bad has it gotten for the Big Ten? I actually feel sorry making fun of the conference these days.

It’s like if the slowest guy on your team tears his ACL, do you still make fun of him for being slow?

Right now the Big Ten has a perpetually torn ACL.

And the Big Ten’s only win came courtesy of Mark Richt’s decision to settle for the field goal after blowing a 16-0 second half lead.

The Big Ten’s issues are systemic; this is a mediocre football conference that continues to trend downwards.

By the way, best evidence of Mark Richt’s bipolar coaching? After settling for a field goal in the first overtime, what’s his first play call to begin the second overtime? Twenty-five yard pass to the end zone. It was incomplete, but think this might have worked on first down in the first overtime?

Richt seems unable to escape the hot seat. That’s why in the back of my mind I keep expecting him to pull a Tubby Smith and bolt for another job.

5. Alshon Jeffery received the Capital One Bowl MVP award despite being ejected from the game.

Has this ever happened before? A player is ejected from a bowl game and still receives the MVP.

Here’s the fight:

 How many post-game meals do you think Alshon had while he waited out the rest of the second half?

Any doubt the back-up kickers had to go to Arby’s/

After catching the hail mary, Nebraska didn’t score again. But Bo Pelini still thinks they’ll be fine.

 If your coach is this shellshocked it’s probably pretty likely that the team is too.

6. Why don’t Oregon’s cheerleaders have a reality show?

They have the making the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader show, are you telling me that an Oregon cheerleader reality show wouln’t do really well?

Based on all the Tweets you perverts send me during Oregon games, I know y’all would watch.

7. Memo to Russell Wilson: You can’t spike the ball with less than three seconds remaining in a game.

I hated to see the Rose Bowl end on that spike play. Especially since Wisconsin was already lined up for a final play. Given how well Wilson had played to that point, his odds on throwing a 25 yard touchdown pass to put that game in to overtime wouldn’t have been that bad.

Even Les Miles was screaming, “Don’t clock it, don’t clock it!” 

One issue with the television schedule for the BCS games, it sucks that the Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl were on the same day. Those were the two best non-title games by far.

Does anyone really want to watch the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl?

I wish we could have moved the Fiesta Bowl to its own day.

8. UT’s Da’Rick Rogers is a Twitter must follow.

He’s like TO already.

I can’t even begin to believe what’s going to happen when Rogers gets to the NFL.

In the space of five hours Rogers tweeted about the Vols loss of Justin Wilcox: “So many recruits lost today … wish I could tell you otherwise fellas .. but that’s whats goin on here…”

One hour later, he’s consoling himself by hottubbing with high school girls:

“Hot tub with and
 
Big deal, Da’Rick, last year I went hot tubbing with my buddy Chad Withrow, mid-day host on 104.5.
 
Smoking.
 
 
 
Which is outstanding.
 

9. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon had a “inner thigh infection.”

Perhaps this is why Stanford chose not to cover him all night.

Even if this injury is true, don’t you make another one up? I would. Especially with the protection afforded to medical privacy issues. Bone bruise, strained hamstring, groin pull? Basically it’s hard to come up with a more disgusting injury than inner thigh infection.

10. Case Keenum smoked Penn State.

Keenum had 380 yards passing at the half.

(The number of Jerry Sandusky jokes that y’all Tweeted me to describe this Penn State defensive performance was off the charts.)

If you woke up hungover on Sunday and thought, “Man, my team sucks,” just be glad you aren’t a Penn State fan.

Unless you are a Penn State fan.

11. Can you imagine if college football had a playoff and Andrew Luck’s college career came to an end on those two missed field goals?

If a playoff existed that moment would become iconic, Luck’s reaction would forever be embedded in our collective memory of him. Think back on your sports memories, how often does the road to the title end up more memorable than the title game itself.

Hell, this is the whole premise of the NCAA tournament.

We all remember Christian Laettner’s miracle shot and that wasn’t even in the Final Four.

As is, within a week the only people who will remember those missed kicks are Stanford and Oklahoma State fans.

The rest of us won’t even remember that game for a week.

But you will remember the Oregon cheerleaders forever.

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