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Gundy: ‘We’d have thrown 50 times… I just think we could score’

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It was a performance for the ages, and LSU’s microscopic offensive numbers bore out Alabama’s defensive dominance in the BcS title game.

Zero points.  A miserly 1.4 yards per carry, and just 3.1 yards per pass attempt.  Converted just two first downs in 12 third-down attempts.  Four plays ran in Alabama territory, none until the fourth quarter and all coming on one drive.  Five first downs.  92 yards of total offense.  In every fashion imaginable, it was the Tide sawing on a Stradivarius while the Tigers plucked aimlessly on a stringless banjo.

Those numbers weren’t enough, though, to dissuade one coach from playing the what-if game.

Speaking to USA Today shortly after the Tide’s 21-0 thumping of the Tigers, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy lamented the fact that his Cowboys, which finished third in both the major polls, didn’t get the opportunity to do what LSU couldn’t — put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard.  And, according to Gundy, they would’ve done it by doing what they do best.

Fling footballs all over the field and see what sticks.

“We’d have thrown it 50 times,” he said. “You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens.”

“You sure would like to have had a shot at it,” Gundy said.

“It kind of hurts to watch it. I just think we could score. We’d use all 52 yards across (the width of) the field. Get people on the edges. Use the vertical game.”

“For the most part in the last couple of years, we’ve been able to move the ball and score points against about anybody we played. … It’s been talked about all year from coast to coast: Big 12 offenses, SEC defenses, how do we really know if anybody’s really any good? That (a showdown in the BCS title game) would have been the best way to find out.”

“I will say this,” Mike Gundy said as Alabama closed in on Monday night’s 21-0 win against LSU. “I bet you there’ll be a lot of people wish they’d given us a shot to see a different kind of game.”

Granted, there were certainly a lot people who may have preferred a different style of game, as the 14-percent dip in overnight ratings from last year’s Auburn-Oregon title game attests.  There are, however, a couple of teeny tiny flaws in Gundy’s logic.

First, the Cowboys would not have been facing the Tide, they would’ve been facing the Tigers.  LSU was the unquestioned No. 1 while the Tide squeaked into the title game by the narrowest of margins over the Cowboys.  Whether the Cowboys could’ve put scored X number of points by throwing it 50 or 100 points against the Tide simply doesn’t matter.

And secondly, they did have a shot at it…

Given the current system — as inherently flawed and bogus and exclusionary as it is — taking care of business against a team that finished the season 6-7 would not leave the door wide open for the lamenting that’s taking place after the fact.  Gundy has no one to blame but himself, his coaching staff and his players.

And, yes, the system that instead of leaning toward equity runs like hell away from it should shoulder some blame as well.  Alas, that’s another story for another day, a discussion that’s hopefully coming sooner rather than later.

In the interim, at least one member of the 2011 BcS champions would have no problem taking the situation to the playing field and settling whatever issues Oklahoma State may have with how the season ended.

“I could play them right now,” Tide offensive tackle Barrett Jones said after the win Monday night. “You don’t think we hear that talk? Line up, let’s go.”

Houston reportedly closing in on a head coach; Kiffin and Miles still being considered

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18:  Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches action prior to the University of Alabama A Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The Houston Cougars are reportedly hoping to have a new head coach named as soon as this coming weekend. As expected, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles are among the final candidates being considered for the job.

One candidate no longer to be in the mix, according to a report from Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, is Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. That should be good news for Oklahoma, as it likely means Riley will be back in Norman for at least one more season to run the offense (and with Baker Mayfield coming back for 2017, the Sooners offense should continue to rack up some big numbers).

As noted by Duarte, five total candidates were vetted by Houston for the head coaching job. Kiffin, Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along with Riley all were checked by the university as a decision is approaching.

KD Cannon promised Matt Rhule Baylor will beat Boise State in Cactus Bowl

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 12:  KD Cannon #9 of the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.

Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.

Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.

Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Mark Emmert thought “Penn State’s season was spectacular”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23:  NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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There was a certain irony in seeing Penn State win and celebrate a Big Ten championship in Indianapolis on Saturday night. Penn State, five years after the horrifying revelations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal ripped through the program, university, and community, was slammed hard by the NCAA, whose offices are located in Indianapolis with sanction terms that were thought to be crippling for the program at the time in the summer of 2012.

So, with Penn State clinching the Big Ten title in the home city of the NCAA headquarters, what did NCAA President Mark Emmert have to say about it?

I thought Penn State’s season was spectacular,” Emmert said while taking questions at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York on Wednesday: “What coach [James] Franklin has done there, I think, is very, very impressive.”

Emmert has been criticized by many who have taken issue with the NCAA getting involved with any decisions regarding Penn State’s football program in the aftermath of the Sandusky fallout following the release of the Freeh Report, which the NCAA used in place of its own in-depth investigation.

“It’s great to see it bounce back and do well,” Emmert said of Penn State’s 11-2 season. “While people will occasionally say those sanctions were meant to cripple the university, that’s not true at all. I’ve always said and always believed Penn state is a wonderful university, because it is, and secondly it’s got great sports traditions.”

Emmert may say the sanctions dropped on Penn State were never meant to cripple the university, but that is exactly what a four-year postseason ban and a massive reduction of available scholarships (reduced to 15 per year as opposed to the typical 25) is intended to do. Regardless, Emmert had nothing but praise for Penn State’s 2016 season.

“How can you not be pleased that they’re playing good football again? That’s very good stuff.”

Pac-12’s Larry Scott says expansion may happen again, but unsure how soon

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott addresses the crowd after the championship game of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament between the Arizona Wildcats and the Washington Huskies at Staples Center on March 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott says the expansion fun could kick up some dust in the future, but he is unsure just how soon that may become a realistic possibility.

I think it’s likely you’ll see more expansion, more consolidation over time,” Scott said Wednesday at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York, hinting at the possibility of 16 super conferences that have been dreamt up previously. Scott suggested the next round of media rights package negotiations could spearhead those discussions about expansion as conferences look to jockey for the best bargaining power with media partners. The Pac-12’s current contract is due to expire in 2024, to which Scott suggested “We’ll be in a very unique position.”

When the major shifts in conference realignment were at their hottest, the idea of a Pac-16 was a popular idea that would have added Texas and Oklahoma as well as a few other Big 12 members to the Pac-10. Reports of the Pac-16 becoming a reality were premature at the time, however, and the Pac-12 expanded by two with the additions of Utah and Colorado, which led to a rebranding as the Pac-12. The Big Ten added Nebraska at the time and later expanded to 14 with the later additions of Maryland and Rutgers. The SEC had added Missouri and Texas A&M and the Big 12 welcomed TCU and West Virginia. Moves from the power conferences left a ripple effect in the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, Big East (which led to the American Athletic Conference) and Sun Belt Conference as well as the death of the WAC as a football conference. Things were just about to return to normal until the Big 12 finally made some long-awaited moves to explore their expansion options. The Big 12 closed the door on possible expansion within its conference in recent months, leaving a number of potential Big 12 hopefuls feeling used and disrespected.

Scott also has a bright vision for the future of Pac-12 athletics, which he believes will one day have all Pac-12 sports being broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. That may be true, but the big question will continue to be just how many people will be watching, or be able to watch.