Ask the most casual college football fan who Robert Griffin III was in 2010 and they could probably tell you all about him. The same does not appear to not be the case for Bryce Petty, who led Baylor to a Big 12 title while putting up huge numbers and looks to keep the momentum going forward in 2014. Baylor head coach Art Briles challenged folks to go to a Dairy Queen in Oregon and ask about Petty, and the results were none too flattering. That is part of the reason why Briles spent time at Big 12 media days this week pumping up his signal-caller ahead of the 2014 season by comparing Petty to the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, RGIII.
“There’s a lot of similarities quite honestly,” Briles said on a radio interview with KESN-FM in Dallas on Tuesday. “Bryce probably has about as much name recognition nationally as what Robert had going in his senior season, and that’s kind of what it’s all about. Last year it was make a name, this year he’s got to keep his name. Both of those guys are very confident, very well structured for our offense from an intellectual and physical standpoint, and capable of leading us to victory every single time we step on the field.”
In other words, Briles says Petty has arrived, but now it is time to take that next step. If he does, he will gain more national respect as Baylor continues to thrive. It’s a win-win situation for Baylor and Petty.
Briles is probably accurate in suggesting Petty and Griffin enter this point of their respective careers on a level playing field. Griffin may have received more notoriety by breathing new life into the Baylor program, where Petty is continuing to contribute to Baylor’s success, but Petty is receiving recognition in the Big 12 and beyond.
Petty appeared alongside Briles and wide receiver Antwan Goodley on the college football preview cover of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, which is said to be a tremendous honor in the lone star state. Petty was also named the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year by the media. Petty also is one of the headline name sin various award watch lists this offseason, such as the O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award.
Helmet sticker to The Dallas Morning News for transcribing the radio interview quotes.
With multiple teams in the coach spill top 10 losing this week, there was bound to be some shaking up the rankings this week. The coaches poll still has Ohio State on top, followed by TCU, Michigan State and Baylor. Florida had the biggest jump in the rankings while Georgia had the biggest drop The coaches poll also welcomes some new additions this week.
The Florida Gators, fresh off a stomping of previous No. 3 Ole Miss (down to No. 13) moved up 11 spots in this week’s coaches poll. Florida is one of five SEC teams in this week’s coaches poll. The Big Ten has five as well. So does the Pac-12.
No. 23 Iowa, No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Memphis make their debuts in the coaches poll this week, giving us our first glimpse on the national perception in the Group of Five race. I may have Boise State down a few pegs, but the coaches, or those who actually submit the votes, have the Broncos on top of the Group of Five pack. Memphis is right there as well, but not Toledo.
Here is this week’s coaches poll:
- Ohio State ( first place votes)
- Michigan State
- Florida State
- Texas A&M
- Ole Miss
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Boise State
Notre Dame fell two points shy of tying a road game at Clemson Saturday night, partly because the decision to go for two-point conversion on one early fourth-quarter touchdown backfired on the Irish. Down 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly chose to go for two-points to cut the Clemson lead to 10 points, meaning Notre Dame would need a touchdown, extra point and a field goal to tie. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Irish trailed by 12, 21-9.
Had the Irish gone for the easier and more likely extra point, Notre Dame would have been down 11 points. That is still a bit of an uphill battle that would require a two-point conversion later on anyway, but it also meant Notre Dame had to score two touchdowns instead of a touchdown and a field goal for a shot at tying the game. Making things worse, Notre Dame burned a timeout after the touchdown before deciding which two-point conversion play to run.
Notre Dame’s execution of a late two-point conversion with the game on the line with under 10 seconds to play also came into question as the Irish looked to give freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer the call on a run-pass option. This was stuffed by Clemson as Kizer held on to the football. Kelly, after the game, defended his quarterback’s decision to try and run for the two points.
“We had fair numbers,” Kelly said. “He’s reading it at the line of scrimmage, if the numbers were fair, they were in zone coverage. It was the right call. He made the right call.”
Sometimes a player can make the right decision and still come up short. Perhaps that is exactly what happened in the rain at Clemson Saturday night. Kizer made the best possible decision in the heat of the moment, but Clemson came out on top with solid work up front on the line of scrimmage. Of course, as it turned out late in the game, Notre Dame would have only needed an extra point to tie Clemson in the final seconds after the Tigers tacked on a field goal to set up a seven-point deficit with an Irish extra point earlier. The Irish were forced to go for two because they chased the points earlier in the quarter. Hindsight might be 20/20, but Kelly is not looking back on that decision.
Kelly is hardly the only coach to make some questionable decisions under pressure this season, or this weekend. He is, however, another example of a coach being paid millions to put his program in the best position making some questionable calls that have come back to bite him. Maybe Notre Dame would have won in overtime. The Irish certainly had the momentum in their hands. Or maybe Clemson wins anyway. Who knows?