And the Oscar goes to … players faking injuries to slow down Ducks!

6 Comments

“You love me! You really, really love me!”

For opposing teams this season, stopping Oregon’s mile-a-minute offense has been like trying to convince Allen Iverson that practice is important.

However, at one of the country’s most prestigious universities — California, Berkeley — a team of world-renowned football minds headed by Jeff Tedford has discovered the secret formula to slowing the effects of gettin’ yo butt handed to ya by Oregon’s high-flying rushing attack.

Fake an injury … or ten.

In what has to be one of the worst (or best?) acting jobs by a football player since O.J. Simpson in The Naked Gun, Cal defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti suddenly, um, “cramped” during the second quarter of the Ducks narrow 15-13 victory over the Bears. The “injury” stopped the clock and allowed Cal’s defense to regroup as Tipoti was attended to on the field and then helped gingerly to the sidelines.

Had the game been played in Autzen Stadium, the sound of over 50,000 collective boos would have been heard.

Duck fans have accused opposing players of creating phantom injuries more than once this year. The idea behind the conspiracy is that opposing teams fake injuries to not only give their defense a rest, but to disrupt the tempo of Oregon’s offense, which, at one point this season, was scoring a touchdown a minute.

That’s interesting. Do coaches teach their players to take breaks during two-a-days as well?

“If teams are doing that – and I don’t know if they are – then you basically have thrown up the white flag and said you can’t play at our pace,” Chip Kelly said.

And Kelly’s right. The job of the head coach is to game plan effectively against each opponent. If a team isn’t physically and/or mentally prepared to face their opposition, it is 100 percent the coach’s fault. Tedford denies telling his players to fake injuries, but oh, the beauty of the internet is astounding.

The 15 points scored by Oregon was by far the lowest of the season, so in some regards, Tedford’s supposed plan worked. Technically, nothing about faking injuries is illegal, either. The NCAA rule book simply states that “feigning injury will break down rather than aid in the building of the character of players.” Referees cannot call delay of game or unsportsmanlike conduct on fake injuries.

There’s also a billboard in Austin that says “Buzzed Driving = Drunk Driving”

Just because you may not be over the limit doesn’t mean you should drive.

Granted, fake injuries occur probably more than we know. A team needs a timeout during a potentially game-winning drive, so a player goes down. It happens, but it doesn’t make it right. In Oregon’s case, it should be considered downright cheating.

James Franklin: I am not Keegan-Michael Key

Getty Images
1 Comment

College GameDay was in Times Square on Saturday and decided to do the most New York thing possible: respond to a Mike Francessa rant.

Francessa ripped Penn State head coach James Franklin, calling him a “horses’s ass,” for trying to prevent a field goal to preserve the Nittany Lions’ 56-0 blanking of Georgia State last week. To respond, ESPN didn’t talk to Franklin, but instead asked comedian (and Penn State graduate) Keegan-Michael Key to speak for him.

This is not the first time Key has leverages his resemblance to Franklin for comedic purposes.

Nevertheless, Franklin addressed the bit to close his post-game press conference following Penn State’s 21-19 escape of Iowa in an answer that toed the line between seriousness and wry sarcasm.

Boston College loses WR Charlie Callinan for ‘an extended period of time’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Boston College will be without wide receiver Charlie Callinan for “an extended period of time,” the program announced just before the Eagles’ date with Clemson on Saturday.

Callinan suffered a foot injury. The nature of the injury was not disclosed.

A senior from Westfield, N.J., Callinan was one of the most experienced players on the roster with 41 career appearances and 31 starts under his belt. He is the third BC player with at least 30 career games to be lost for an extended period of time this season.

Callinan posted the best game of his career in what may go down as the final game of his career, hauling in seven catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-20 loss to Notre Dame a week ago.

Without him in the lineup, BC passed for 141 yards on 34 attempts in a 34-7 loss to the second-ranked Tigers.

Don’t let Saquon Barkley distract you from the season Stanford’s Bryce Love is having

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Saquon Barkley is incredible. The Penn State running back is every bit a deserving Heisman front-runner, what with his 66 carries for 518 yards and four touchdowns, his team-leading 23 grabs for 335 yards and two touchdowns, and his 22.86-yard average on seven kickoff returns. This isn’t a criticism of him.

But I want to introduce an idea to you right now, and I want you to take a deep breath first: it’s possible Barkley is not having the best season of any running back in college football. At least not to this point.

Take a look at Stanford’s Bryce Love‘s first four games:

  • 13 carries for 180 yards and a touchdown in a 62-7 destruction of Rice
  • 17 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown in a 42-24 loss to USC
  • 13 carries for 184 yards and two scores in a 20-17 loss to San Diego State
  • 30 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown in last night’s 58-34 defeat of UCLA

Add it all up and you get 73 carries for 787 yards and five touchdowns, which not only means Love leads the nation in rushing yards per game — he leads the nation in rushing while averaging 10.78 yards per carry.

Love not only leads the nation in total rushing yards, he not only leads the nation in rushing yards per game, he leads the nation in yards per carry for all players anywhere in the neighborhood his carry total. Four players rank ahead of Love in yards per carry thus far, and those three players have toted the rock 76 times — combined.

The next closest player on the yards per carry rankings with at least 70 rushes is San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, who averages 7.87 yards on 91 carries. That’s an incredible number, and still 27 percent lower than Love’s average.

Stanford may not win enough for Love to join Barkley in the Heisman conversation, but right now it appears the two running back spots on every All-American team are locked up until further notice.

Georgia, TCU replace Ohio State and OK State in top 10 of latest AP poll

Getty Images
4 Comments

Big wins over ranked opponents pushed Georgia and TCU into the top 10 of the latest Associated Press poll, released Sunday. Voters were apparently more impressed with Georgia’s 31-3 whipping of then-No. 17 Mississippi State in Athens than they were of TCU’s 44-31 upset of then-No. 6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Georgia moved up four spots while TCU jumped seven, but the Bulldogs remained ahead of the Frogs by two spots, No. 7 to No. 9.

Elsewhere, Washington creeped forward one spot, Washington State and Louisville nudged forward two, and South Florida, San Diego State and Utah leaped three spots forward. Notre Dame and West Virginia returned to this week’s poll at Nos. 22 and 23, replacing upset losers Florida State and Oregon. Unlike the Coaches’ Poll, voters remembered that Mississippi State hammered LSU by 30 points just eight days ago, keeping the Bulldogs one spot ahead of the Bayou Bengals.

The full poll:

  1. Alabama — 1,515 total points (52 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson — 1,458 (2)
  3. Oklahoma — 1,397 (1)
  4. Penn State — 1,304
  5. USC — 1,247
  6. Washington — 1,188
  7. Georgia — 1,136
  8. Michigan — 1,088
  9. TCU — 1,028
  10. Wisconsin — 1,023
  11. Ohio State — 1,016
  12. Virginia Tech — 828
  13. Auburn — 701
  14. Miami — 693
  15. Oklahoma State — 665
  16. Washington State — 551
  17. Louisville — 502
  18. South Florida — 406
  19. San Diego State — 365
  20. Utah — 356
  21. Florida — 342
  22. Notre Dame — 246
  23. West Virginia — 212
  24. Mississippi State — 148
  25. LSU — 92