Resounding CFP message sent as TCU pounds Ole Miss in Peach Bowl

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If TCU was looking to send a message to the College Football Playoff committee, consider it delivered. And delivered in resounding fashion, at the expense of one of the best the SEC has to offer in 2014.

After jumping out to a 28-0 first-half lead, TCU kept its foot on Ole Miss’ throat the last two quarters and ran away with a 42-3 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win.  It’s the largest postseason loss in Ole Miss history, surpassing the 35-3 beating at the hands of Michigan in the 1991 Gator Bowl.

Simply put, the Horned Frogs did everything right and the Rebels did absolutely, positively everything wrong.  The details were gruesome, so I’ll be brief before getting to what people really want to talk about coming out of this game.

The Rebels managed just 129 yards of total offense, with a mere nine of them coming on the ground.  For the game, Ole Miss averaged a microscopic .2 yards its 37 carries, and converted just 3-of-15 third downs.

The last game of Bo Wallace‘s career was one to forget, with the senior completing just under 50 percent of his passes for just over 100 yards and three interceptions.  Add in a fumble, and it was a four-turnover day that Wallace would like to shove down the toilet and flush.

His counterpart, meanwhile, got his 2015 Heisman campaign started a day early as his club also made its case for preseason No. 1.

Trevone Boykin, continuing a season-long trend of outstanding play, tossed three touchdown passes — and three picks, admittedly — and accounted for 253 yards of offense (188 passing, 65 rushing).  Wide receiver Josh Doctson caught two of those touchdown passes.

Now, with that out of the way…

TCU, its fans and some in the media felt the Fort Worth school was snubbed by the playoff committee, and it’s they and not Ohio State that should be preparing to face Alabama in the second national semifinal game in the Sugar Bowl New Year’s night.  Based on their demolition New Year’s Eve afternoon, the Horned Frogs gave the Buckeyes’ detractors some significant ammunition.

Simply for the sake of argument, Ole Miss beat Alabama 23-17 in Tuscaloosa in Week 6.  TCU just decimated the same team that beat the team that’s currently ranked No. 1 in the country on a neutral field and is in the playoffs while the Frogs are on the outside looking in.  And while TCU may have nearly lost a conference game to a really bad team, they didn’t actually suffer a non-conference loss to a really bad team like OSU did at home by double-digits.

Compare TCU’s lone loss to OSU’s: TCU 61-58 at 11-1 and fifth-ranked Baylor, OSU 35-21 in Columbus to 7-6 and decidedly-unranked Virginia Tech.  And then there’s this: TCU 30, Minnesota 7 in Fort Worth Week 2, OSU 31, Minnesota 24 in Minneapolis Week 12.

“Case closed!” TCU defenders scream, and they’re not necessarily wrong. “I don’t think I have to say anything,” head coach Gary Patterson said in the immediate aftermath when asked if it was a statement game.

In fact, they all may damn well be correct.

Then, though, there’s this argument: Ole Miss has been overrated all season long, with their rankings a direct result of the over-inflated opinions of the SEC that really came home to roost in 2014.  The Rebels lost three of the last four games it played in the regular season, with the only win coming against a Mississippi State team that many considered as overrated a their in-state counterparts.  One of the last three losses came at the hands of 7-6 Arkansas to the tune of 30-0, while another came against an LSU squad that limped home to an 8-5 mark. “So what if TCU demolished an overrated Ole Miss,” OSU defenders will say.

“Besides, TCU shouldn’t have lost to Baylor — which is ranked ahead of TCU anyway — and shouldn’t have allowed a really bad Kansas team to nearly pull off the upset in a four-point win in Week 12 if it wanted to guarantee it wouldn’t get politicked out of the playoffs,” the pro-Buckeye slant goes.  “And don’t even get me started on the lack of a conference championship game, which is the real ‘villain’ in this whole lingering debate.”

Whatever side of the Ohio State/TCU/Baylor argument you fall on, though, one thing is certain: what TCU did on the field Wednesday is easily the most impressive performance of the 2014-15 bowl season, and might be the most impressive performance of the entire season, period.  They showed that, regardless of which side of the aisle you sit, they were one of six teams that most certainly deserved one of the four current playoff spots.

Another certainty?  Fans of an expanded playoff sooner rather than later have another viable bullet to load into the chamber.

Former Arizona head coach Dick Tomey being treated for lung cancer

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Sad news out of Tucson this week as Dick Tomey and his family has issued a statement that the former  Hawaii, San Jose State and Arizona head coach was undergoing treatment for lung cancer.

“Coach Dick Tomey was recently diagnosed with a type of lung cancer at Tucson Medical Center and is currently undergoing further tests this week at MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston, Texas,” the statement, obtained by the Arizona Daily Star, read. “We (Coach and his family) greatly appreciate all the people who have reached out to help in so many ways and all the expressions of love and well-wishes being sent our way from so many people. Following Coach Tomey’s example, our family is feeling very grateful and hopeful for a positive outcome.”

Tomey, now 80 years old, had an impressive resume after several stops out West, including a long stint at UCLA as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors. He eventually became Hawaii’s winningest head coach by the time he left for Arizona, where he revived the program and became famed for being the architect of the ‘Desert Swarm’ defense. His best season with the Wildcats resulted in a 12-1 mark that included a top five finish in 1998.

Per the Daily Star, Tomey had moved back to Tucson in recent years to live full-time in retirement.

Count school presidents on board with renewing Texas-Texas A&M rivalry game

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Do you hear that? Could it actually be the start of détente in the Cold War between Texas and Texas A&M after realignment split the two bitter rivals apart?

Well, as usual in these cases, it’s best to be very cautiously optimistic about the most recent series of words coming out of both Austin and College Station. But make no mistake about it, there is at least some optimism that the Aggies and Longhorns could meet once again on the gridiron.

“It’s a storied rivalry of a hundred years or so,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves told the Austin American-Statesman. “We’ve told our ADs (athletic directors) to figure out a plan and bring it to us.”

“We’re supportive’ of renewing it.” A&M President Michael K. Young said. “Absolutely. We have been from Day One.”

The talk is good but it did come with some demurs about scheduling, such as the fact that both have games already on the non-conference docket for most of the next decade and other issues related to when they could actually get onto the field.

Young and Fenves are far from the only ones to call for the historic rivalry to be renewed in recent years. We’ve seen state legislators get involved, regents from both sides, head coaches like Tom Herman, both athletic directors and even the Texas governor call for the two teams to play each other again… mostly to no avail.

The Longhorns have a major opponent already on the schedule through 2029, including A&M’s fellow SEC opponents LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia (plus Ohio State and Michigan). The Aggies, meanwhile, have an extra non-conference slot available but also have big names on the docket until 2027, including Colorado, Miami, Notre Dame and Arizona State.

As is typically the case, these two old rivals could renew their series if they really wanted to no matter what either side wants to say. They can claim scheduling conflicts all they want but it seems like it will still be another generation before the burnt orange clashes with the maroon white once again.

Despite taking big pay cut from being head coach, Urban Meyer still making six-figures with Ohio State going forward

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We’re approaching a month into Ryan Day’s tenure as the new head coach at Ohio State but the guy he  replaced just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines.

That would be one Urban Meyer, who is officially known by another title nowadays by being the Buckeyes’ “Assistant AD, Athletics Initiatives and Relations.” What exactly does that entail? Well Eleven Warriors put in an open records request to find out more and discovered it’s mostly a fundraising/public relations/development role that comes with a lovely $100,000 per year salary.

“The Assistant AD, Athletics Initiatives and Relations is responsible for fundraising and community relations initiatives and is committed to excellence and advancing Department of Athletics through its strategic plan,” a statement to the site said. “In alignment with the department’s mission and values, and in conjunction with the Executive Associate Athletics Director for Development, this position provides leadership and supports fundraising strategies for the Department of Athletics.  The Assistant AD, Athletics Initiatives and Relations will serve as an ambassador through numerous speaking engagements, service events, donor events, corporate events and engagements.”

While the $100k is notable, it’s a far cry from the over $7 million Meyer was supposed to make in 2019 had he remained in charge of OSU football. The six-figure salary isn’t all that he’ll be taking home either, as Meyer is reportedly signing on with Fox Sports to be a TV analyst for the network going forward.

Tennessee confirms Tee Martin is officially back on Rocky Top as an assistant

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Who says you can’t go home again? Tee Martin is certainly glad you can.

Tennessee confirmed reports on Saturday afternoon that the former Vols legend was indeed returning to Rocky Top as an assistant coach, set to fill an unspecified role on the offensive staff.

“I’m excited to welcome back Tee Martin as one of our assistant coaches,” head coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a statement. “He coordinated some of the nation’s top offenses at USC, and he develops and identifies players as well as any coach in the country. He’s an excellent recruiter, and he is terrific at building relationships with his players. He cares about developing young men on and off the field. Tee was the quarterback on one of the greatest teams in school history, winning a national championship. He knows what it take to win here, and I’m excited to have him on our staff.”

Martin was an assistant at New Mexico and Kentucky before spending the past seven years at USC, rising all the way up to become the Trojans’ offensive coordinator. However he was first stripped of play-calling duties this past season by head coach Clay Helton and then not retained after the team failed to make a bowl game in 2018.

It’s not known what specific position group he will handle under new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney but Martin was highly regarded for his time as a recruiter and for developing wide receivers. However he could be going back to his roots to handle quarterbacks at Tennessee given that Brian Niedermeyer is on staff and coaches tight ends while David Johnson handles the Vols’ receivers.

Either way, the homecoming is a welcome one for many fans in orange and white who have to feel a bit like the band is getting back together to lead the program back into contention. Phillip Fulmer is of course athletic director and now Martin is back in the fold, returning to the place where he has a street named after him for his heroics in leading UT to the national championship some 20 years ago.