This is just a crazy, crazy play [video]

Let’s see — tipped ball, receiver manages to catch it and almost score, but he fumbles it just before he crosses the goal line and the defense gets possession on the 20 yard-line.

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Mandel: Ranking the Bowls 1-34’s Stewart Mandel recently ranked all 34 bowl games.

Here are his top 5:

1) BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 7): Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0). It’s the first-ever matchup of two 13-0 teams. Colt McCoy. Mark Ingram. Rolando McClain. Sergio Kindle. Yeah, I’m thinking you might want to tune in.

2) Sugar (Jan. 1): Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1). It’s spread vs. spread, Tim Tebow vs. Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard vs. Joe Haden. It may be a letdown game for the Gators, but it should still be entertaining.

3) Fiesta (Jan. 4): TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (13-0). Enough with the outrage, people: You know you’re going to watch. The nation’s No. 1 passer, Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore, goes up against the nation’s top-ranked defense.

4) Rose (Jan. 1): Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2). Dangerous dual-threat star Jeremiah Masoli is what Terrelle Pryor was supposed to be. But the Buckeyes present the toughest defense the Ducks have faced since Boise.

5) Orange (Jan. 5): Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2). You remember the Hawkeyes. They love low scores and dramatic finishes. With a month to prepare, can Pat Angerer, Tyler Sash and Co. stifle Josh Nesbitt and the triple-option?

That’s how I would have my top 5, although the Fiesta and Sugar bowls might be interchangeable. I love watching TCU’s defense play and I’m intrigued about how Gary Patterson will game plan to stop Boise’s offense. That said, I’m interested to see how Cincinnati responds after Brian Kelly ditched them for Notre Dame.

I know Georgia Tech’s triple-option is exciting to watch and Iowa does have a solid front seven, but that matchup just doesn’t have the same appeal as the other four. Maybe it’ll wind up being the best BCS game of the season, but the matchup offers little sizzle compared to the other top bowls.

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House subcommittee approves legislation for college football playoff system

According to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a U.S. House subcommittee has approved a legislation that would force college football to switch to a playoff system to determine a national champion.

The bill, which faces long odds of becoming law, would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless that title contest is the result of a playoff. The measure passed by voice vote in a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, with one audible “no,” from Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

“With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on,” Barrow said before the vote, although he stressed he didn’t like the current Bowl Championship Series, either.

The bill’s sponsor, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, said the BCS system is unfair and won’t change unless prompted by Congress.
The vote came three days after the BCS selections were announced, including the Jan. 7 national title game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas.

Something that just occurred to me is what if college football does implement a playoff system and teams like TCU, Boise State, Cincinnati and whomever routinely get knocked out in the first or second round?

I get that the point of a playoff system is to determine a winner on the field as opposed to leaving the decision up to voters and a computer system. But it would be a tad ironic if all this clamoring for a playoff system eventually leads to the same conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, etc.) being pitted against each other in the national title game – especially if there has to be a law made in order to force college football to figure out a playoff structure.

That said, I’m still all for it. I agree that there are probably better things for the congress to be worried about than college football, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to see it happen.



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Did Kelly meet with Notre Dame before the Pittsburgh game?

According to the Chicago Tribune, Brian Kelly didn’t interview with Notre Dame officials yesterday because he had already interview with them last week before Cincinnati’s game against Pittsburgh.

Kelly had a meeting last week about the opening with representatives of Notre Dame before Cincinnati’s Big East championship game against Pittsburgh, the Tribune has learned.

Talks progressed well enough that the official announcement Kelly will be Charlie Weis’ replacement could come as early as Friday — any time after Cincinnati’s football banquet Thursday night.

It also was important to Kelly to delay any possible announcement until after he had a chance to talk to his Bearcats in person at Thursday’s season-ending banquet. He informed his players at a team meeting Monday before leaving for New York that he planned to speak with Notre Dame.

None of this should surprise anyone given how college coaches (Bobby Petrino, Rich Rodriguez, Nick Saban, etc.) are always looking for the next big job/payday. Kelly himself ditched Central Michigan right before its bowl game a couple years ago to coach at Cincinnati.

Was it immoral for Kelly to talk to Notre Dame days before Cincinnati’s biggest game of the season? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Personally, I’m so numb to the way college coaches job hop that I could care less at this point. There’s no loyalty anymore and it doesn’t appear that things are going to change anytime soon.

We’ll just have to wait and see if the Tribune’s report is right that Kelly is bound for South Bend. But all signs point to him being Notre Dame’s next head coach.

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Report: Brian Kelly to entertain Notre Dame opportunity is reporting that Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly would entertain the idea of talking to Notre Dame next week about the school’s open coaching position.

Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly told ESPN this week that he promised fans he would focus on the Pitt game and that speculation he is a candidate for the Notre Dame opening wouldn’t be a distraction.

Kelly still maintains that it hasn’t been, adding that he was staying away from it until after the game, but if Notre Dame wanted to speak with him next week, he would “entertain” their request.

Kelly told a local radio station in Cincinnati that he’s happy at Cincy and wants to stay there long term. But that means nothing, especially coming from a man that ditched Central Michigan in 2006 before its bowl game in order to take the vacant position in Cincinnati.

Kelly has successfully climbed the latter from D-III head coach at Grand Valley State, to MAC coach at CMU to Big East coach at Cincinnati. If Notre Dame calls, there is little doubt that he won’t at least entertain the offer. And chances are, Cincinnati won’t come up with the money it’ll take to retain Kelly’s services and he’ll move on.

Regular readers know that I think Kelly would be a perfect fit for the Irish, even though I would think it would be admirable if he stayed at Cincinnati and continued to grow that program. We’ll see what happens.

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