Sports Outside the Beltway

UF’s Meyer: Dan Mullen will coach in BCS title game

Florida will play Oklahoma for the National Championship. From ESPN-

Florida football coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday that offensive coordinator Dan Mullen will stay on to coach in the Bowl Championship Series title game Jan. 8 against Oklahoma, despite taking the head coaching job at Mississippi State last week.

“The goal is to win the game, and I think right now, unless something changes, it looks like that’s going to happen,” Meyer said. “Is that the best chance of us winning that game, with the mechanics of the game the way we do them? Probably yes. So right now I’d say the plan is he’ll be up in the press box.”

At the Heisman Trophy ceremony Saturday night, Gators quarterback Tim Tebow said it was unlikely Mullen would call the offensive plays against the Sooners. Tebow suggested that Florida could go with a play-calling-by-committee approach in the title game.

Mullen was still in Mississippi and not planning to return to Gainesville until after Christmas, Meyer said. The Gators held their first bowl practice Tuesday, but with final exams scheduled all week, it was mostly conditioning drills. Meyer said detailed game-plan preparations for No. 2 Oklahoma won’t begin until after Christmas.

I never understood Tebow’s Saturday statement from the beginning. The only reason not to let Mullen play call, is because if players and coaches didn’t trust him. If that was true, why wouldn’t Florida tell Mullen his services weren’t needed for the BCS Championship game?


Utah basketball coach suspends player for intentional foul

It stemmed from an incident in a game played last Saturday. From AP-

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has suspended guard Luka Drca for two games for an intentional foul committed in a loss to No. 4 Oklahoma.

Drca tripped Blake Griffin as the Sooners were on a fast break with a 14-point lead early in the second half of Saturday’s game. Oklahoma’s Willie Warren was called for a technical for jawing with Drca, who was whistled for an intentional foul.

Utah coach Jim Boylen said in a release Monday that he was suspending Drca for two games.

Boylen says he wasn’t required to suspend Drca, but felt the trip was unacceptable behavior. The junior from Serbia will sit out Saturday’s home game against Weber State and the Utes’ road game against Utah State next Monday.

Drca suspends every bit of the suspension. That kind of behavior he portrayed on Saturday doesn’t belong on a basketball court.


Upset Saturday in College Football

It was a bizarre weekend in college football, with eight ranked teams losing to teams ranked below them — seven to teams not ranked at all.

    #3 Oklahoma lost to unranked Colorado, 24-27.
    #4 Florida lost to unranked Auburn, 17-20.
    #5 West Virginia lost to #18 South Florida, 13-21 (Thursday night).
    #7 Texas lost to unranked Kansas State, 21-41
    #10 Rutgers lost to unranked Maryland, 24-34
    #13 Clemson lost to unranked Georgia Tech, 3-13
    #21 Penn State lost to unranked Illinois, 20-27
    #22 Alabama lost to unranked Florida State, 14- 21

This was on top of several other close finishes.

ESPN’s Pat Forde dubs it “Insanity Saturday” and observes that this throws the whole season out of whack.

Just that fast, the college football landscape shifted seismically beneath our feet.

Just that fast, the Red River Shootout game Saturday between Oklahoma and Texas was dropped to undercard status. For the first time in years, it’s not the marquee game in the Big 12. And for the first time in years, the league’s maligned North looks more compelling than the South. If you can believe it, the biggest game in that league next week might be unbeaten Kansas at 3-1 Kansas State — either that or 4-1 Nebraska at unbeaten Missouri.

Just that fast, the upcoming LSU-Florida showdown Saturday in Baton Rouge lost half its helium when the Gators were shocked in The Swamp by an Auburn team that had lost at home to South Florida and Mississippi State on consecutive weekends.

Just that fast, the three Big East teams that began the season in the Top 25 all have at least one loss. Louisville went down first, then West Virginia, now Rutgers. Suddenly South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati are the unbeaten teams in the Big East. Honk if you foresaw that in August.

Just that fast, Illinois is 4-1 and tied for first in the Big Ten at 2-0. That’s the same Illinois that went 2-10 last year, with only one victory over I-A competition.

Just that fast, we have an ACC plot twist that leaves Virginia and Boston College well out in front in their respective divisions at 3-0 in league play. Virginia was left for dead after a Week 1 blowout loss to Wyoming. Boston College was picked last in its division by at least one preseason magazine.

And just that fast, USC and LSU put that much more distance between themselves and what’s left of the pack.

The object lesson here is that no favorite is safe. Not at home, not on the road, not in league play, not out of league play. If those lessons hadn’t already been learned by Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32, and Syracuse 38, Louisville 35, they were reinforced on Insanity Saturday.

And no lead is safe. You’d think the Sooners getting up 24-7 would be enough to make Colorado quit. You’d be wrong. The Buffaloes scored the final 20 points, winning on the last play of the game — a 45-yard field goal by Kevin Eberhart.


Underdogs aren’t scared right now, by much of anyone. Players and coaches are shrugging off past history, blowing off bad losses, not worrying about falling behind and regrouping to pull upsets nobody saw coming. Nobody’s rolling over.

I’ve seen this sort of thing in college basketball before but never to this extent in football. The bottom line, though, is that Notre Dame and Alabama and Michigan no longer have an automatic recruiting advantage over South Florida and West Virginia and Georgia Tech. There’s a wealth of talent out there and plenty of television exposure to be had in the realigned conference structure. Players would rather go to a program with less prestige and start than sit on the bench and one of the Big Boys.


NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #7 – Minnesota Vikings – RB Adrian Peterson

The Minnesota Vikings have selected Adrian Peterson, the Heisman Trophy winning running back from Oklahoma, with the 7th pick.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

Adrian Peterson Photo Civies Evaluation: An outstanding ball carrier with sensational running skills, Peterson possesses all the abilities needed to be a feature runner. Durability issues loom large yet if he stays healthy he is potentially a franchise back at the next level.

STRENGTHS: Instincts, Power, Size


Biography: Three-year starter awarded varying degrees of All-Conference and All-American honors since his freshman campaign. Rushing totals last season were 188/1,012/12, with 10 receptions. Sophomore numbers were 220/1,108/14, after career-best numbers of 339/1,925/15 as a freshman. Missed six games last year after breaking a collarbone. Sat on the sidelines for all or portions of four games as a sophomore with an ankle injury.

Adrian Peterson Photo Oklahoma Sooners Uniform Pos: Big, fast ball carrier who can dominate the action. Patient, waits for blocks to develop and finds the running lane, maneuvering through the smallest of holes. Follows blocks anywhere on the field, makes defenders miss and has a burst of speed. Strong, has defenders bouncing off him and picks up a lot yardage off initial contact. Works runs, driving his feet up the field, and displays power in all aspects of the game. Effectively picks up blocking assignments and helps the quarterback sell ball fakes.

Neg: Not always super-aggressive and occasionally shows some tentativeness at the point of attack. More of a straight-line runner who does not show great skill around the corner.

The Atlanta Falcons (via trade from Houston Texans) are on the clock.


This is another example of a team making the right decision by trumping need with value. While the Vikings have more pressing needs at several other positions including defensive end and running back Adrian Peterson is too good to pass up on. Peterson is a tough runner who can pick up yards between the tackles and break tackles when he gets into the open field. He has the burst to turn the corner, make the first defender miss and turn on the jets when he gets a seam.

Oklahoma admittedly didn’t throw to Peterson much but he has shown signs of developing into a quality receiver. Of course there are the durability issues. However, Minnesota already has Chester Taylor on the roster so they wont have to lean on Peterson as much as a lot of other teams would have had they taken them.


NFL Draft 2006 – Round 1 #23 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OG Davin Joseph

The Bucs are on the clock. USC offensive tackle Winston Justice, the guy Rick Gosselin projected for the Bucs, is still on the board. There are plenty of sexier picks on the board, including all the wide receivers in the draft, but I’d be surprised to see Gruden and company pass on Justice.

The pick: Oklahoma offensive tackle Davin Joseph, expected to play guard in the NFL. Mel Kiper had him projected in the 2nd round and Goose had him at #41. The Bucs might be right but, again, why not trade down a few spots and get more value if this was the guy they had their heart set on?


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