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2020-01-14 07:08

Shortly after I did publish the last entry, stating that I had the feeling no college coach would switch to the NFL, the news came in that Matt Rhule, the now former HC of Baylor, would become the next HC of the Carolina Panthers.

Rhule had good success at Temple and Baylor, so if he can transfer that to the NFL, Carolina should be OK, but this step from college to NFL is big one and doing this without being a bit more connected to the NFL by serving in the past as coordinator or assistant for some periods is tough.
Rhule was an assistant for the New York Giant for 1 season as 'assistant OL coach' and will now have to orchestrate the complete team.

Not saying it will fail, but I'm also not very confident right now.
In terms of football, Carolina is well set, but in terms of personal management and procedures ... not sure.
But on a professional team you have the chance to hire the people to do that better than you can, if you admit you need help.
So, if Rhule can get a good staff, this might become a winner.

However, Baylor now needs a new HC.

And also new HC needs now Washington State, who just lost their HC to Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs had fired Joe Moorhead after 2 seasons and did hire Mike Leach of the Cougars.
I did predict a longtime assistant who had some HC experience, but no new young hot coach, right?
Well it turns out they did take likely the best 'old' coach they could get with Mike Leach, who did turn around losing teams twice with Texas Tech and Washington State. I personally think his Wazzu job was the most impressive, since the team was REALLY in bad shape and he did turn in around in 4 seasons, when they did gain 9 wins the 1st time since ages.
So, an impressive hire by Mississippi State, which is a pity for Washington State, since they now need a new HC and that won't be easy.
Thanks to Leach the program is in much better shape than before and they should have plenty of money.
Likely a non-power-5 coach will get a promotion here, fast.

Name were already dropped, and the leading candidate seems to be Nick Rolovich of the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors.
He would be a good hire for Wazzu, he did lead Hawai'i to a 10 win season this year and did something many coaches were not able to do since a long time, winning in Hawai'i, regularly.

Let's wait and see.

Another news came a few days later. Long time HC of the San Diego State Aztecs Rocky Long will retire and Brady Hoke, the Aztecs DL coach, will take over as HC. Now that might look a bit odd, but the reality is, that Hoke was the Aztecs HC before Long and did hire Long as DC in those days. When Hoke went on to become the HC of Michigan, Long was promoted to HC and stayed there since then, very successfully. Long did last season hire Hoke as DL-coach and now gave Hoke the chance to become a HC again. In the 2 seasons as Aztecs HC was Hoke quite successful, he took over a losing team and made it a winner, which gave him the chance to move to Michigan after those 2 seasons.
Now he inherits an Aztecs team almost in its prime and does know the team very well.

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAME FOR WAVE 6

Mon. Jan. 13
CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PRESENTED BY AT&T
#3 Clemson vs #1 LSU

So the last game and it was an offense juggernaut.
The first 2 series of each team ended with a punt, then did Clemson score a TD.
After each team did again had Punt-series did LSU throw a bomb and the games was tied.
Clemson answered with a field goal, stopped LSU on the next drive and scored after that a TD on the next drive.
So, Clemson now 10 points ahead.
But LSU had again a big play on the next drive and did score a TD a few downs later. 17:14 Clemson.
From that point on it became clear that LSU did get better on containing Clemson.
They forced punts on the next few drives, but were able to get long lasting drives together, capped with TDs each.
LSU lead 28:17 at the half.
The 3rd quarter did then look like Clemson would be able to narrow the gap.
They came out of the locker room and stopped LSU after 3 plays and needed only 6 plays to score a TD with 2-point conversion. 28:25.
LSU was again stopped after 3 plays and Clemson got the ball back.
But this time they were stopped by LSU and did start marching over the field and capped the drive with a TD. 35:25.
Clemson got the ball back and was stopped again and LSU did march again.
When they were stopped, they were in field goal range, but missed the 45 yarder to extend the lead.
Good chance for Clemson to answer, but they were again stopped after 3 plays.
So LSU got the ball back and went over the field and scored another TD a bit into the 4th quarter. 42:25.
Clemson no in big need, but LSUs defense was 100% and was able to stop Clemson, Clemson stopped LSU and then came the final play which did seal the game finally for LSU.
Clemson was in a hurry and tried to make 1st downs, LSU did play basically a wide open defense to prevent big plays.
Lawrence did see room to run (which he did often on that day) and got over the 1st down marker, but lost the ball on the tackling play, LSU did recover on at mid field and LSU did get the ball with less than 4 minutes to play and 17 points lead.
Clemson was at that point broken.
They were unable to stop LSU from making 1st downs, likely they would have been unable to prevent another scoring, but on 2nd and 1 on Clemsons 4 yard line did they kneel down and did let the clock run down on this and the next play to end the game.
LSU is National Champion!
Congratulation to the Tigers, it was a very special season for sure.
Clemson did play a good game, but for me at least it was as expected, they were not on the same level as LSU.
But next season will give them another chance, including their star QB, while LSU will need to look for a new QB and likely for a lot of early draft declarer, so repeating will be tough.
#3 Clemson 25 vs #1 LSU 42 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 27-13

So, it's the end of this seasons blog.
Thanks for reading.

'Til next season
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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2020-01-07 06:44

Last season at this point I did drop the news of Houston Cougars getting a new HC out of nowhere with hiring Dana Holgorsen.

This season it was all quite after the teams did get their HCs quite fast, as last team it was Boston College hiring a new HC mid-December.
Then did Mississippi State fire Joe Moorhead after 2 seasons with the program.

Moorhead was hired after Dan Mullen got the call from Florida and left the school. Moorhead came at that time from Penn State, where he was the OC for 2 seasons. Before that he was HC of FCS team Fordham.
He inherited a team which was quite successful under Mullen and had an 8-5 and a 6-7 season and lost both bowl games.
I'm not sure this is a fair handling of the situation, but obviously the university was not satisfied with the results.
We have now a new opening, which could cause some more coaching changes, depended on the next coach selected.

I have to say, the biggest asset the schools brings with them is that they can pay SEC salaries and play SEC games.
That's a big elevator for some career hungry coaches.
But the college is not known to be the career maker. in fact, the only coach in the past 40! years with a winning record is Dan Mullen, who got the career call to Florida after 9 seasons with the Bulldogs.
And all other coaches did NOT have a HC position after the Bulldogs job.
So, maybe the times have changed, or maybe this is more a retirement money position.
We will see, which coach they will get. My bet is on a long-time career assistant who might had a short period as HC, but not one of the hot guys waiting for the next step.

There is also another source left, which might open up the coaches carousel in college football again, the NFL.

Several teams seemed to be interested in College Football coaches, most wanted coaches seem to be Matt Rhule of Baylor and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma.
Status right now is, none will leave their programs, but the NFL is not over yet and hiring coaches in the NFL is not as easy as it seems and some of the coaches on the lists are on playoff teams, so the owners have to wait for those to be 'open'.

In this circus you never know what will happen, right now my feeling is, no college coach will switch this season.

Here are the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 5

Thur. Jan. 2
TICKETSMARTER BIRMINGHAM BOWL
Boston College vs #21 Cincinnati

A nice game, if you are a Bearcats fan, a horror to close the season as Eagles fan.
Cincinnati did lead 17-0 at the half, and Boston College had 1 missed field goal (40 yards) and 1 lost fumble on the clock.
Then on the 2nd half did the Bearcats score 1 TD more and Boston did only score in this game, because they were able to return a blocked field goal try for a touchdown.
At that point it was 24-6 (Boston failed the 2-point-try) and Cincinnati did ... score again a touchdown.
Later in the 4th they did that again and send Boston home to their new HC to pick up the pieces and hope for the best next season.
The Bearcats did finish the season on a high note, for sure.
I hope they can work with that and might return to the Championship game again next season.
Boston College 6 vs #21 Cincinnati 38 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 22-13

TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL
Indiana vs Tennessee

This was ... crazy.
It started as field goal bowl in the 1st half with very little scoring opportunities and both teams did throw an INT also.
Tennessee did lead 6-3, but both teams did look quite equally bad.
Then came the momentum shift when Indiana did start with a long drive and a touchdown and made and interception return touchdown on the ensuing Tennessee drive after 2 plays.
Suddenly Tennessee was behind 16-6 (with a missed PAT try).
The Vols did respond with another field goal on the next drive, but Indiana did counter that also with a field goal. 19-9 now.
Tennessee got 3 and out and Indiana another field goal for the 22-9 lead.
At that point did Indiana look like the save winner.
Then, mid of the 4th quarter did Tennessee produce a long drive, which did end with a touchdown. 22-16 now.
And with roughly 4 minutes left to play did Tennessee try an onside-kick through the middle (Indiana did expect a regular kick) and MADE it!
Got the ball and a few plays later they got the lead with a TD. 23-22 at that point.
Indiana got the ball back and tried a field goal from 52 yards out and 2 minutes left to play on 4th and 8 and missed it.
Tennessee got stopped after 3 plays and Indiana got the ball BACK with 48 ticks left on the clock.
Now in every sports-movie we would see the miracle, but unfortunately not every game ends like a movie and Indiana did manage to get to mid-field and then was stopped to lose the game.
Not the game I expected, for sure, but I picked right.
It will be interesting to see, whether the teams will improve or not.
Chances are good they improve, but with improving competition inside their divisions, they will have a hard time to match this years results.
Indiana 22 vs Tennessee 23 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 23-13

Unfortune for me, I did pick them right, but did forget to lock the picks in the pickem'. Urg!

Fri. Jan. 3
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Ohio vs Nevada

Ohio was clearly the better team and did only let the score be better in favor of Nevada thanks to a 4th quarter letdown.
Nevada was on the same level for about 1 quarter and then did Ohio pull away and led 20-9 at the half.
Not too bad for Nevada, right?
Well Ohio did pull further away to 30-9, until Nevada scored a TD after an Ohio fumble at the start of the 4th.
Ohio did commit another fumble on the next drive and Nevada did score again.
Now it looked quite open, but from that point on did Ohio secure the victory and the ineffective Nevada team was unable to crack that defense good enough to make a comeback.
For Ohio it looks like same-same-but-different again and we might see some downside again, since their starting QB will leave the school as senior.
Nevada is still in rebuilding mode, which might get an upside next season.
Ohio 30 vs Nevada 21 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 24-13

Sat. Jan. 4
LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL
Southern Mississippi vs Tulane

Tulane did not look good in the 1st half, they did allow 2 Southern Miss scores on the 2 initial drives.
Then they were able to stop the Eagles, but were not able to get TDs by themselves, capped their drives with some field goals and went into the halftime break trailing 13-6.
Then in the 3rd quarter the Green Wave came alive.
A TD, a field goal, an INT caught, another TD thanks to the good field position.
Suddenly it was 30-13 (which was also the final score) for Tulane and Southern Miss was in deep trouble, because they were just not able to move, not able to score.
The 4th quarter was all defense and ended 0-0, so Tulane won this basically with 1 great quarter.
I hope Tulane can make a splash next year, bigger than this year.
Southern Miss is a mystery for me, since they did play solidly, but I'm not sure whether they will improve or not.
I think their QB will return, so maybe they can improve.
Southern Mississippi 13 vs Tulane 30 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 25-13

Mon. Jan. 6
LENDINGTREE BOWL
Louisiana vs Miami (OH)

The 1st quarter was all defense, then came some scoring on both sides and we had an open game at halftime with Miami trailing 7-10.
Then came a period were it looked like an exciting game with Louisiana scoring 2 TDs and Miami scoring a field goal and a TD.
Still Miami training now 24-17. We are now at the early 4th quarter.
Louisiana was stopped and Miami got the ball, but fumbled it away at mid-field.
Louisiana was only able to score a field goal out of this and Miami got the ball back.
The team went quickly over the field thanks to a big 63 yard pass play and on 4th and goal on the 1 yard line did the team ... snap the ball so hard and quickly beside the QB, that it was only recoverable 23 yard behind them for a huge loss and because of the 4th down, for a change of possession.
Unbelievable!
Still 3 minutes left to play, and the Cajuns were again stopped, but Miami was unable to move the ball and lost the ball again after an unsuccessful 4th down play.
Both team did not really convince me of some kind of improvements, but we will see next season.
They HAD a good season, both, and one of them can polish a championship trophy now, the other can polish the bowl trophy.
Louisiana 27 vs Miami (OH) 17 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 26-13

And with that there is only 1 game left to play, again.

Here is the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAME FOR WAVE 6

Mon. Jan. 13
CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PRESENTED BY AT&T
#3 Clemson vs #1 LSU

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Oh man, this season we have the game in Louisiana.
And it is Clemson vs the SEC-Champion, again.
And the SEC-Champ is again favored, this season only by 5.5 points, not the 6.0 of last year.
If you think about it long enough, you get to the point where it become some sort of believe-in-it-or-not-game.
Clemson did finish 14-0, as did LSU.
Both had some good teams to play against, LSU had some more higher ranked teams to beat, but overall both did prove they can win.
So which Tigers will win here?
Clemson did start a bit weak into the season, their surprising QB of last year did play a bit worse in the 2nd season then in the 1st and Clemson did win, but not win as convincing as all did expect.
Until about mid-season when the team did start playing great again and won all games with high margin and from that point on, they did just win in style.
I did pick Ohio State to beat that Clemson team, but Clemson did prove me wrong and did play great.
Maybe Ohio State did play the worst game of the season, maybe not, Clemson won and they won against a very good team.
Now they play against one of the most surprising teams of the season, the LSU Tigers.
These Tigers did start great and basically never stopped.
They did almost lose against Auburn, but came through and won the rivalry game against Alabama a week later with a great game and later they won the SEC, with another great game.
And that Semi-final against Oklahoma was too good to be true. They did look unbeatable.
So now wonder LSU is favored, playing in Louisiana and after that season.
But do you believe in a LSU win here? Or do you believe in a Clemson win?
Because you can find arguments for both teams to win.
Great QBs on both sides. Great lines, great defenses.
You can make up stories like Clemson losing to Alabama in this dome in the Semis 2017, the last time they lost (since then 29-0).
Or like LSU getting their 1st National Championship since 2007 when they did beat Ohio State in that dome!
Is that coincidence, destiny or just random sport events shuffling?
You can matchup all the players as much as you like, it will come down to some simple moments.
Whether this will be Trevor Lawrence keeping his team alive with his feets, or whether this will be Joe Burrows passes great passes out of nowhere, whether this will be some defense players with a crucial INT or sack or some special team voodoo, which only happens once a season, you never know.
Expect a great game, with both teams having offense and defense loaded with future NFL players.
Expect a high scoring game, since both teams do feature great offense and as good as each defense is, they will find ways to score.
The difference will make, in which situation crucial plays will happen.
I have to pick a winner here, so I pick one.
I think LSU did bring a lot on the table and I still think that Clemson is not as strong as last season.
So LSU Tigers win for the National Championship.

Don't forget your final pick!

'Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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