BCS National Championship Recap: Alabama over LSU, 21-0

The Alabama Crimson Tide Rolled Over LSU, 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game

What Happened: In a continuation of the world’s most boring matchup of top-ranked teams, the formerly number-one LSU Tigers were absolutely smeauxked (sorry, that’s the only one I’m throwing in) by the Alabama Crimson Tide, 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game. The Tide defense put on an impressive display, swarming to the ball on nearly every play and shutting down an offense that had previously scored over 38 points per game. Mixed with some questionably conservative play-calling, the Tigers would only manage 92 yards of total offense. They failed to cross the 50-yard line until the final five minutes and rarely looked as if they wanted to come out of this game with a victory. Considering the fire LSU had played with all season, it was both shocking and disappointing to see the lackluster effort on the field through the final gun.

Who’s to Blame: We’ll start with Les Miles, for putting together a gameplan that brought football back to the 1920s. A flawed triple option that failed to work from the beginning yet was continually called anyway, coupled with intense pressure from Alabama’s defensive line, snuffed out any chance Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson would be effective. The beleaguered senior, who regained his starting spot during the Alabama game earlier this season, threw for just 53 yards on 17 passes. For those who watched the game live, Jefferson spent much of the second half laying on his back, petitioning for calls from the referees. Even more puzzling was the fact that Miles refused to put Jarrett Lee (who was an effective starter through the team’s first eight full games. While theories are still being tossed out as to why Lee wasn’t handed the ball once Jefferson deemed himself ineffective, I think it’s a matter that Miles must address to the LSU fanbase if he hopes to have a pleasant offseason. Continue reading

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ACC Heisman Watch (Week 15)

Baylor's Robert Griffin III Could Be the First Player In School History to Win the Heisman

Since Heisman finalists have been named for the 2011 season, we’ll skip right to the evaluation portion, looking at where we’d rank the five candidates.

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (4,642 total yards/45 total TD/6 INT/72.4% completion): In thoroughly crushing rival Texas, Griffin managed another four touchdowns and over 350 total yards, adding to his growing legend status down in West Texas. Considered a darkhorse for all season, the way Baylor’s quarterback has performed these past few weeks might just deliver him the game’s biggest individual prize.

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3,170 passing yards/37 total TD/9 INT/70.0% completion): With a weak overall schedule, and watching other quarterbacks (Griffin, specifically) just plain putting up better numbers over the past month, Luck has finally lost his once-insurmountable lead in our rankings. Does it mean he’s played poorly of late? Of course not. And I doubt this award has any bearing on him going number-one overall in the NFL Draft either. He had his chance at a true “Heisman moment” (versus Oregon), but just couldn’t capitalize.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2,014 total yards/38 total TD): Possessing a conference title, 15 more touchdowns and just one more loss than the “favored” running back below, Monte Ball would have won the Heisman in most seasons. Yet, since many only consider him the second-best RB in this group, he gets little consideration. Why? More yards-per-carry, more touchdowns, more yards, same amount of wins. It’s all because he doesn’t play in the SEC (a theme in college football of late).

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,910 total yards/23 total TD): Richardson is a talented back, don’t get me wrong. But he’s never had any business being in the same conversation as the three players I list above him. Alabama’s defense has been the biggest key to their success, and their lopsided victories allow for more garbage-time carries. Just because your team’s playing for the national title (with debatable credentials) doesn’t mean you deserve a Heisman finalist, as you’ll see below.

5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (475 total yards/4 total TD/2 INT): Yup, you read all of those stats right. While I don’t doubt the defensive prowess of the “Honey Badger,” I have to ask — what the hell is he doing on a Heisman ballot?! See above for my thoughts on this sham of a pick, but beyond my own opinions, can anyone say he put up one of the season’s five most impressive efforts? If Mathieu finishes any higher than fifth on ballots, I’d be floored.

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 14)

Montee Ball's Imrpessive Stat Line is Starting to Get Heisman Attention Again

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

With no ACC player even near the Heisman Trophy conversation, let’s just get on to the nation’s top five candidates, in order:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3,170 passing yards/37 total TD/9 INT/70.0% completion): Say what you want about Stanford’s schedule (just one win over a ranked team — USC), but is it really their fault the Pac-12 isn’t up to par? Luck has performed admirably this season and is the main force behind the Cardinal’s 11-1 record. Even without an additional chance to prove himself in the Pac-12 title game, I still believe the Heisman belongs to Andrew Luck.

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (4,726 passing yards/46 total TD/3 INT/73.2% completion): Houston is blowing out opponents lately, but even in shortened action, Keenum has been incredibly impressive. With over 300 yards passing in every game this season, a 12-0 record, and a conference title and BCS berth on the line, it’ll be hard to ignore Keenum’s resume when the votes are finally tallied. Frighteningly, 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards are both within reach.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (1,870 total yards/34 total TD): If Montee Ball played for Alabama or LSU, he’d be the overwhelming favorite to win this award. Since Wisconsin has two losses in a down year for the Big Ten though, his 34 total touchdowns have gone virtually unrecognized on the national stage until his recent four-score performance against Penn State. As I’ve said before — I don’t care who you’re playing for. These numbers are impressive at any level, against any opponent.

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,910 total yards/23 total TD): Richardson rushed the ball extremely well against rival Auburn, racking up 203 yards on just 27 carries. What he’s lacked though is a real signature game against a worthy opponent. Still, his team is 11-1, plays in the SEC and their only loss was in overtime to the nation’s number-one school. Taking all of that into account, it’s not hard to see why he’s been moved to the top of several mock ballots, however debatable his credentials may be in comparison to his peers.

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (3,528 passing yards/41 total TD/7 INT/69.1% completion): Avoiding the “what if” game with Barkley’s chances and USC’s postseason ban, just examine his statistics on their own. The junior quarterback has accounted for 18 touchdowns in the past four games — a staggering total. He’s gotten more impressive and poised as the season’s progressed. He has dominated and embarrassed teams in recent games. And all for a team that had no chance to go anywhere at the end of this season. As the Trojans’ leader, he proved himself worthy of Heisman consideration and should get at least an invite to New York.

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 13)

RG3's Perofmance Saturday Has Him Moving Quickly Up Voters' Heisman Ballots

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

With no ACC player even near the Heisman Trophy conversation, let’s just get on to the nation’s top five candidates, in order:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (2,937 passing yards/33 total TD/8 INT/70.3% completion): Even amidst some really terrible weather this Saturday here in the Bay Area, Luck still managed over 250 yards and two touchdowns in the Big Game. Couple that with a slew of losses in the top 10 and suddenly, Stanford is once again a top-five team and their quarterback’s candidacy is starting to look like it’s a sure victory.

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (4,269 passing yards/42 total TD/3 INT/73.4% completion): Keenum only had two total touchdowns in a nationally televised victory over SMU — pedestrian by his standards, even accompanied by 318 yards passing. As long as the Cougars stay undefeated, the quarterback’s name will continue to climb these charts. If they happen to slip in either of their last two, however, the dream and Houston’s BCS hopes die in a hurry.

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,702 total yards/22 total TD): Considering how down I’ve been on Richardson’s candidacy, I was pleasantly surprised to see the running back put in a great effort on Saturday (even if it was against an FCS squad). For some voters (mainly in the southern part of the country), the Tide’s upcoming contest versus Auburn could very well decide who’s first on their Heisman ballot. If Richardson shows up, maybe he makes some believers out of enough of them to make it close.

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (4,022 total yards/38 total TD/5 INT/72.9% completion): If you watched any part of Griffin’s superb effort against Oklahoma on Saturday night, you know exactly why the junior has jumped to fourth on this list. In spite of the Bears’ three losses, RG3 has been a phenomenal leader and the main reason the team has a chance game-in and game-out. Outstanding performance, and vital to his team’s success? Sounds like a Heisman candidate to me.

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (2,915 passing yards/35 TD/6 INT/73.8% completion): Once again, the Broncos’ defense fails to show up in the second half of a game, and once again it sullies an otherwise great performance by Moore. Yes, Boise still won by 17 this weekend, but considering their 28-point lead at half, the result left something to be desired. Still, even with recent defensive failings, Moore’s thrown for six touchdowns and nearly 700 yards in the past two games. And he lost one game by just one point. How has he fallen so far on most ballots?

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 12)

Why Not Case Keenum For Heisman?

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

We’ll preface this week’s Heisman Watch by stating that in spite of his impressive numbers for a sophomore, Clemson‘s Tajh Boyd doesn’t have a realistic shot at winning the sport’s highest award. While it’s a shame that one loss has removed him and others from contention, no one would deny how impressive a season the young quarterback has had. A 9-1 record, 31 total touchdowns and well over 3,000 total yards will do that.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (2,695 passing yards/31 total TD/7 INT/70.6% completion): Even though Luck’s numbers are even with or below Boyd’s, he is still considered the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. While I’ve supported this notion all season, it’s miraculous how much one loss will damage your candidacy (or won’t, in the case of a certain Alabama running back on this list).

2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (3,635 passing yards/31 TD/9 INT/73.1% completion): If not for being a 28-year old playing against a bunch of kids, perhaps Weeden would get the nod here over Luck. In spite of that, I won’t deny the type of season he’s having, and the heights he’s led the Cowboys to (undefeated, and currently number two in all the polls). If OK State makes it to the BCS title game, you’ll have Weeden to thank (and possibly award the Heisman).

3. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (3,951 passing yards/39 total TD/3 INT/74.2% completion): Keenum threw for 325 yards on just 22 completions (and three quarters of action) last week. Enough said. If he played for any BCS school, he’d far-and-away be the favorite in this race, but between that lack of perceived pedigree and the “system” status of Houston’s offense, he’s not getting a ton of consideration. His only saving grace? A couple losses at the top and an undefeated season for his Cougars could vault him to the top.

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,523 total yards/19 total TD): Most pundits put Richardson as a close second to Luck — with some even putting him ahead. How is this possible? Yes, the Tide’s offense goes through Richardson’s run game, but plenty of other backs with just one more loss are having more impressive seasons. His presence here is only a nod to the fact that he will be among the finalists in New York (whether I like it or not).

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (2,549 passing yards/31 TD/5 INT/74.1% completion): I watched the entire Broncos-TCU game on Saturday, and even I expected to see Moore’s stat line tell the tale of how Boise’s perfect season unraveled. Instead, I saw a pretty good game by a quarterback known for showing up on the big stage (28/38, 320 yards, 2 TD). Moore’s too classy to blame his defense getting carved up for the loss or his vanished candidacy on this list, but I’m happy to.

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 11)

Andrew Luck is Poised to Take Home the Heisman for Stanford

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (2,561 total yards/28 total TD/5 INT/71.3% completion): As long as the Cardinal stay undefeated, Andrew Luck will likely inhabit the number-one spot on most Heisman boards. With incredible accuracy, leadership and a pro-style delivery NFL scouts are drooling over, he’s been the favorite since day one and hasn’t looked back.

2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (2,229 passing yards/29 TD/5 INT/74.1% completion): While not putting up the most impressive yardage numbers of the quarterbacks considered, Moore’s 29 passing touchdowns and phenomenal accuracy are worth a second look. Add to that his career achievements at Boise and the team’s top-five ranking, and one Stanford loss could give the Broncos’ senior a Cinderella run to the Heisman trophy.

3. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (3,626 passing yards/36 total TD/3 INT/74.1% completion): I don’t care who you’re facing in the FBS — any player putting up the numbers Keenum is for an undefeated team deserves consideration for the sport’s highest individual honor. Averaging over 400 passing yards and four touchdowns per game, he’d be the story of this race if not for Moore sitting in front of him. If victorious (unlikely), it would be a crowning achievement on a very decorated career that already includes most major passing records.

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,370 total yards/18 total TD): Richardson’s stock took a bit of a dip with the Tide’s loss to LSU Saturday, but comparatively, did he really ever deserve to be in the conversation with the three players ahead of him? Yes, he’s integral to the Alabama offense, but it was the defense that kept them in Saturday’s game for so long, and their special teams that lost it for them. Other running backs are also putting up better stats right now, just for lesser teams.

5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (2,848 total yards/29 Total TD/5 INT/61.3% completion): Boyd quickly fell from grace after the Tigers’ loss to Georgia Tech, but why so? Clemson still beat three ranked teams and are the odds-on favorite to win the ACC. Discounting accuracy, he’s still putting up better numbers than everyone but Keenum, too. He won’t be getting an invite to New York for the ceremony, but it’s hard to say Boyd’s not worthy.

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 10)

Tajh Boyd's Heisman Chances Aren't Great After Losing to Georgia Tech

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls:

1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (2,848 total yards/29 Total TD/5 INT/61.3% completion): Saturday’s performance was bound to happen for Tajh. In spite of the impressive, gaudy statistics he’s put up this season, he is still just a sophomore, and thus, is more susceptible to an off-game. That’ll happen when a team’s entire gameplan is to stop you, though. Even with a loss and two interceptions (40% of his season total), Clemson’s quarterback still managed to throw for 295 yards and a touchdown — which isn’t half bad. Now, it does pretty much remove him from the Heisman race, unfortunately, but he wasn’t being given too many chances to begin with either. A look at his competition:

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (2,337 total yards/25 TD/4 INT/71.9% completion)

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (2,010 passing yards/24 TD/5 INT/76.3% completion)

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,201 total yards/18 TD)

Now right off the bat, these players have one thing in common: zero losses. Now that’s still subject to change — there are at least four games left on everyone’s schedule — but without a loss by any of these three, it’s tough to see Boyd jump back into contention. Plus, just take a look at that last portion of Luck’s and Moore’s respective stat lines. Those completion percentages are off the charts, and even with less TDs and yards than Boyd, those numbers and W-L records will be all voters need to hand it to the assumed first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, Luck.