Baylor's defense played its best game of the season when they held then number one ranked Kansas State to 362 yards and 24 points in the Bears 52-24 upset of the Wildcats.
Thursday night's performance by the Bears' defense against UCLA might not top beating the number one team in the country, but it wasn't far behind.
Baylor took advantage of the Bruins losing two starters to injuries on the offensive line early and sacked quarterback Brett Hundley six times while holding Johnathan Franklin to 34 yards rushing. In total, they held a very good UCLA offense to 362 yards on the night, 110 yards under their season average setting the stage for another strong performance from their offense.
"They played well up front. When we're at our best is when we can run the football. We couldn't find any room to run the football tonight. Certainly not having two of our starters was a factor, but also a factor was the way they played. They played physical, they played aggressive, they played well. I would never take anything away from them, they played outstanding up front," UCLA head coach Jim Mora said during his post game press conference.
That's an understatement if there ever was one.
Franklin came in with 1,700 yards rushing on the year. He had rushed for over 200 yards in two games and ran for 150 yards in six different games this season. Baylor's front seven held the senior to his fewest yardage total of the season in both total yards (34) and average per carry (2.4).
UCLA's in ability to run the ball combined with depth issues on the offensive line opened the flood gates for a defense that came into the game with just 13 sacks on the season, the second fewest in the Big 12. Baylor finished the game with nearly half that amount in just four quarters against the Bruins.
Just imagine if Baylor's defense had played this well the entire season. They certainly would have won a few more football games in what turned out to be another successful season for Art Briles in Waco.
If Baylor's defensive performance Thursday night becomes more of the norm rather than the exception going forward, the Big 12 will have yet another team capable of competing for conference titles in the years to come.
Even so, Briles knows there is still plenty of work ahead especially when he's forced to face the offenses in the Big 12 on a weekly basis. "You know, I really don't," Briles responded when asked if he feels the last four games were a turning point for his defense. "They made some big, big, plays but you're never where you want to be. If you are, you're in the wrong business so we will keep trying to find ways to get better."
You can argue all day whether or not it's a turning point, but whatever the case, it has to give him and his team a shot of confidence heading into the offseason.
All Baylor did on offense this season was replace college football's best player and the team hardly missed a beat in terms of production.
Combine that offense with a defense that is able to keep opposing offenses in check, and what you have is a team in the Big 12 nobody will be excited about playing in 2013 and beyond.
Baylor will lose four seniors off this year's defense including both defensive tackles, but they will return seven starters including their entire linebacking corp so there will be plenty to build on next season.
Thursday night's performance was certainly another step in th right direction for a program that was already trending up in a big way over the past three seasons. And now they just might have a resemblence of a real defense to add to one of the country's best offenses.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Baylor (7-5) vs. #17 UCLA (9-4)
Before getting into the preview of this year’s Holiday Bowl, take yourself back to Saturday, November 17th. Baylor was coming off a loss to Oklahoma and stood with a 4-5 record on the season. For the Bears to qualify for their third straight bowl game, they would have to win two of three games against Kansas State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.
Given the fact that Baylor had one win in their past five games – and that being against Big 12 cellar dweller Kansas – it looked like a solid bet the Bears would be staying home for the holidays.
But then a funny thing happened; Baylor started playing a little bit of defense. More specifically, Phil Bennett’s crew started creating turnovers. In Baylor’s final three games of the season, they came up with nine turnovers which offset the fact that they were still giving up points and yards (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State both finished with over 550 yards of offense).
Baylor’s newfound ability to come up with big plays on defense keyed their three game winning streak to end the season including their shocking upset of Kansas State who was well on their way to playing for the national title before the Bears held K-State to just 362 yards of offense forcing Collin Klein into three uncharacteristic interceptions.
That three game winning streak propelled the Bears to San Diego with the Holiday Bowl selecting Baylor over the likes of West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State which was unthinkable after Baylor's midseason four game losing streak.
UCLA meanwhile, comes into Thursday night’s Holiday Bowl on the heels of two straight losses to Stanford to end the season. Stanford took care of the Bruins 35-17 to end the regular season forcing a rematch the following week in the Pac-12 championship game.
In the second meeting, Stanford outscored UCLA 10-0 in the fourth quarter while overcoming a seven point deficit giving them back-to-back victories over UCLA and earning the Pac-12’s Rose Bowl berth.
Both teams were potent on offense in 2012 with Baylor averaging 578 yards per game while UCLA finished third in the Pac-12 averaging 474 yards over their 13 games.
Both teams feature strong ground games with quarterbacks who can make you pay in the passing game. UCLA’s freshman quarterback, Brett Hundley, completed in impressive 68.2% of his passes this season with 26 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
On the other side, Nick Florence did just about as good a job as anyone could have expected in replacing the gigantic shoes left by Robert Griffin. Florence threw for 4,121 yards with 31 touchdown passes on the year while leading the nation in total offense averaging 388 yards per game.
Baylor’s defense was once again its Achilles heel throughout most of the season but give the Bears credit, they stuck with it and finished the season playing their defense when they needed it most. It was their defense that was the difference when the knocked off Kansas State in the season’s biggest upset.
Baylor, Keys to the Game:
1. Protect the quarterback: The Bruins finished third in the Pac-12 with 45 sacks on the season (Kansas State led the Big 12 in sacks with 31 for comparison’s sake) led by linebacker Anthony Barr who finished the year with 13.5 sacks by himself. If UCLA can get constant pressure on Florence, Baylor’s vertical passing game will suffer as a result.
2. Keep Johnathan Franklin in check. That, of course, is easier said than done. Baylor’s run defense hasn’t been great, but it’s gotten better late in the season. They’ll need to be at their best to slow down Franklin who has rushed for over 150 yards in a game six different times this season. He averages over six yards per carry and it doesn’t take a math genius to realize that’s a first down every other time he touches the ball.
3. Stay balanced on offense. The Bear’s offense is good – really good that is – and they’re at best when they can run the ball which they’ll undoubtedly try and do with Lache Seastrunk in the backfield. If they can get Seastrunk and the running game going early, stopping their explosive duo of Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese over the top becomes that much tougher to defend.
UCLA, Keys to the Game:
1. Avoid the big plays on defense. Baylor can score from anywhere on the field and if the Bruins can avoid giving up long scoring plays, Baylor will be forced to maintain drives which is something they haven’t always had to do this season (Baylor has 19 scoring drives off one minute or less this season).
2. Penalties. UCLA leads the country in penalties with an astounding 124 this season (16 more than any team in the country). It goes without saying, but in a game which figures to be close Thursday night, shooting yourself in the foot could come back to haunt the Bruins in the end with a couple ill-time yellow flags.
3. Keep the pace. UCLA should have plenty of success running the football against Baylor, but that will be hard to maintain as the game where’s on if Baylor is able to jump out to an early lead. If UCLA can stay within a score or two throughout the game, Franklin could be the difference in the game when the fourth quarter rolls around as UCLA will be able to control the clock keeping Baylor’s offense on the sideline.
Everybody remembers Baylor’s bowl game last year when they outscored Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl. Given the offensive firepower the will be on display in San Diego, we could be in for more of the same Thursday night.
The over/under point total for the game currently sits at 81.5 and even with the high total, you would be hard pressed to take the under given these team’s penchant for scoring points if you like to place wagers on such things, of course.
UCLA figures to have the better defense, but few defenses have been able to slow down Baylor’s attack this season. Only two teams held Baylor under 30 points all season and in those two games, the Bears hurt themselves with 10 turnovers (six vs. TCU and four vs. Iowa State). If Baylor can hold onto the ball, it stands to reason they'll be eclipsing the 30 point mark – and then some – once again.
With the long layoff between the regular season and the bowl games, it’s always hard to predict which team comes out ready to play, but Baylor was playing their best football over the season’s final three weeks and I see no reason why that won’t continue against the Bruins.
Baylor’s offense will pick up right where it left off and UCLA will be forced into a couple costly turnovers trying to play catch up as the Bears pick up their second straight bowl victory. Baylor 48 UCLA 40.
Kansas didn't win many football games during the 2012 season - one to be exact. But that doesn't mean Kansas head coach Charlie Weis is hitting the panic button in regards to his coaching staff.
The Jayhawks' head man said there won't be any changes in his staff coming off an 1-11 season. That news shouldn't be terrible surprising.
Despite winning only one game all season, Kansas was far more competitive on the field than they had been during the previous two seasons. Kansas had both Texas and Texas Tech on the ropes losing to the Longhorns in the game's final seconds and Texas Tech in double overtime. They also played Oklahoma State and TCU close holding two very good offenses to just 20 points in both games.
There is only so much a coaching staff can do when you're playing with less than full deck in certain areas and there was enough improvement on the field that continuity among the staff probably ranks high on the priority list to build on the baby steps the program took this season.
As for coaches themselves looking for other jobs during the offseason - there happens to be plenty of schools with openings - it's doubtful that'll be much of an issue. That is if his coaches have any ambition to continue coaching at Kansas.
“I said, ‘If I hear you’re looking for another job, I’m looking for another coach,’” Weis said. “It’s a very simple system. So I think you should expect us to be back intact.”
The Jayhawks open the 2013 season with three winnable games against South Dakota, Rice, and Louisiana Tech.
Kansas will head into the spring season with an overhauled roster that includes the loss of 23 seniors and a recruiting class that currently includes ten junior college players with a few more expected to join the class before it's finished.
No one can argue about the strength of the SEC at the top. National championships are the ultimate measuring stick for any team and the SEC happens to have the last six national champions and seven out of the last 10 and by virtue has been deemed the best football conference in the country.
Does any other metric beside national titles really matter? Maybe not, after all, nobody remembers who finished second, third, or fourth in any season. The best team in the country the past six seasons has resided in the SEC and until another conference can produce a couple champions of their own, any argument that another conference is the best around is probably an effort in futility.
This year isn't much different. Take a look at the current BCS top ten and you'll find six teams from the SEC in the top ten. That in itself is enough for me to proclaim the SEC the nation's best football conference. Not to mention, Alabama will be playing for the SEC's seventh straight national title on January 7th.
That apparently isn't enough, however, to get the SEC to the top in Jeff Sagarin's conference rankings which he released on Tuesday. He had the Big 12 ranked in the nation's best conference with the SEC coming in a close second.
How is that even possible, you say? Well, when you look at his "central mean" calculation, the Big 12 gets a big boost from the fact that it had nine teams with at least six wins, all of which will be playing in bowl games over the next several weeks.
Sagarin's "central mean" gives more weight to the teams in the middle of the conference and less weight to the teams at the top and the bottom or as he puts it, "progressively less weight to teams as you go away from the middle in either direction, up or down."
Here's a look at how Sagarin's calculations ranked the strength of each conference for the 2012 season.
As for the SEC, after the six teams ranked in the top ten, the next two best teams are Vanderbilt and Mississippi State who both finished with 8-4 records. From there is where the SEC gets hurt in these rankings because the conference had five teams with losing records and three of those teams won four or fewer games.
Of course, the counter argument to that is that those teams won so few games because they had to play the six teams at the top. Using that argument, it stands to reason that Arkansas, for example, would have won more games had it been playing in another league.
Comparing the Big 12 with the SEC is never an easy thing in their current structures in large part because the SEC has 14 teams while the Big 12 had just 10.
Another mitigating factor is the SEC's scheduling which requires teams to only play two cross-division games. If you're the SEC East and your two cross divisions games were Alabama and LSU, a team's record isn't likely to be the same as if they had played Mississippi and Auburn. (Alabama's cross division games this season were Tennessee and Missouri while they didn't play Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. That not only benefited the Crimson Tide, but also those three teams for avoiding playing Alabama).
The Big 12 on the other hand doesn't enjoy that scheduling luxury so it's much simpler to compare teams within the conference.
There's no question the Big 12 from top to bottom is a great league. Outside of Kansas, there were no games that provided a break for any team on the conference schedule. There was far less difference in competition within the Big 12 from the top team to the ninth ranked team.
Does that make it a better league than the SEC this season? A more accurate description is probably to say the Big 12 was more balanced than the SEC, not necessarily better, despite what any rankings might say otherwise.
An argument could easily be made that the SEC's top six teams were as good or better than any one team in the Big 12. I'm not even saying that's true - Oklahoma and Kansas State would surely say otherwise - but the fact the argument could even be made lends itself in support of the SEC's continued strength.
Looking at it from the other direction, let's assume OU and Kansas State would have had a fighters chance to win the SEC had they been in the league this season. Then take the Big 12's third, fourth, and fifth place teams - Texas, Oklahoma State, and either TCU, Texas Tech, or West Virginia (all tied for fifth). Would any of those teams have a chance to win the SEC? It's doubtful and that's trying to be optimistic.
We obviously love the Big 12 around here and there's no question the league may be as deep as it's ever been but when talking about the nation's best league, the SEC deserves a tip of the cap.
The one advantage we as people have over any data set or computer ranking is that fact we have eyes to see the SEC has all the trophies. That's all we need to prove this argument for the time being.
Out with the old, in with the new.
On Saturday, Kansas State's Dev Nelson press box met its fate as construction continues on the new west side stadium expansion.
It took all of seven seconds from start to finish as 172 charges were set off taking down the press box that was built in 1993 and saw 113 Wildcat victories over the past 20 seasons.
The old structure was built for $3.3 million and contained a total of 22 suites. It now gives way to a vastly improved facility that will cost a total of $75 million (all privately funded) and will house 40 luxury suites, 36 loge boxes, and 800 club seats.
The new facility will also house a student dining hall all for all 16 sports, an academic learning center, a hall of fame, as well as a plethora of new concession facilities and restrooms. It will contain eight levels and cover 250,000 square feet.
The expansion is expected to be completed over the summer and ready for the 2013 season. Kansas State opens the 2013 season at home on August 31st against North Dakota State.
Here's a look at what was and what will soon stand in its place.
And the new.
Kansas State is set to play Oregon January 3rd in the Fiesta Bowl but it's obvious the Wildcat coaching staff has had something else on their agenda in addition to beginning preparations for the Ducks; recruiting.
The Wildcats have picked up seven new commitments over the past week highlighted by junior college quarterback Jake Waters who announced on Thursday he was heading to Manhattan to try and replace two year starter and Heisman finalist, Collin Klein.
“I have made a really tough decision, but I’ve decided to be a student athlete at Kansas State University," Waters said in making his announcement.
Waters is fresh off leading Iowa Western Community College to the junior college national championship this season. He completed 73.3% of his passes (breaking Cam Newton's junior college record) while throwing for 3,501 yards and 39 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
“What else could you ask for? I wish I had 100 of him," Iowa Western head coach Scott Strohmeier said prior to the NJCAA championship game. "Guys like this don’t come by every single year. He’s obviously meant a lot to this program.”
Waters will now join the competition to replace the gigantic shoes left behind by Klein's departure next season. Redshirt freshman Daniel Sams figures to be his main competition. Sams played in eight games this past season completing six of his eight pass attempts while also rushing for 235 yards on 32 carries.
Waters will already know a few familiar faces when he arrives in Manhattan. He joins Iowa Western teammate Travis Green (DB) who had previously committed to K-State along with Devon Nash (DE) who also announced on Thursday he was headed to Kansas State.
Along with Waters and Nash, Kansas State also added two high school players from Texas in the past week, kicker Matthew McCrane and offensive lineman Ajhane Brager and another from Baldwin City, Kansas, athlete Dayton Valentine.
They joined junior college linebacker Martrell Spaight from Coffeyville Community College who on paper at least, appears to be a good candidate to fill the void left in the middle of KSU's defense left by the graduation of Arthur Brown.
The Wildcats class now stands at 15 players although according to Rivals, is still ranked last in the Big 12. Not that Bill Snyder pays attention to such things, but I'm guessing if he did, he'd be laughing to himself about now.
Kansas State's recruiting classes have often been ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12 according to the recruiting services. Yet somehow, Kansas State has still found a way to win more games over the past two seasons (21) than any other team in the conference.
Kansas State's recent run of success will likely continue to pay dividends on the recruiting trail as it did with Waters' and Nash's commitments on Thursday. But then again, Snyder looks to have this recruiting thing figured out as it relates to Kansas State regardless of what the recruiting rankings may say.
If the 21 wins over the past two seasons aren't evidence enough, the Wildcats also placed seven players on the first team All-Big 12 team announced this week, more than any other school in the league. So keep those two and three-star players coming.
UPDATE: Chalk up another one for the Wildcats. Shortly after posting, Nick Ramirez, a linebacker from Lee's Summit, Missouri announced he was heading to Manhattan, as well. And he appears to be a guy the recruiting services actually like with Rivals giving him four stars. He also held offers from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska.
Two seasons ago, Mack Brown hired Bryan Harsin from Boise State to revamp the Longhorn's offense which had gone stale under long time offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
It now appears Harsin's stay in Austin will be a short one as he is expected to be named Arkansas State's new head coach on Wednesday. He will take over an Arkansas State team that finished 9-3 this past season and has seen plenty of change themselves.
The Red Wolves have to be getting pretty good as this hiring-a-new-head-coach thing. Each of the past two seasons, the Arkansas State has been forced to look for new coaches after hiring Hugh Freeze who then left after one season to take the head job at Ole Miss following the 2011 season.
Last week, Freeze's replacement, Gus Malzahn, was hired to be the head man at Auburn returning to the school where he had been the offensive coordinator.
Losing Harsin will sting a bit for a Texas offense that had shown gradual improvement during Harsin's two seasons in Austin. The good news is that co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite is waiting in the wings and will likely take over coaching the quarterbacks and calling the plays beginning with the Alamo Bowl vs. Oregon State.
In the end, the chance to put his own stamp on the offense may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. He's already coordinated offenses at both Rice and Alabama and intimately knows the Texas personnel far better than anyone they could possible bring in from the outside.
The last week brought with it a drastic change within the Big 12 coaching ranks after all had been quiet and by be most accounts, it was expected to stay that way. But then Tommy Tuberville bolted Texas Tech for Cincinnati followed by Oklahoma State offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, accepting the head coaching position at Southern Miss on Tuesday.
Now with Harsin's departure to Arkansas State, three of the schools in the Big 12 will have new guys calling the plays next season. As mentioned, Applewhite should be the guy for Texas while there has been no mention as to who Mike Gundy will select to replace Monken.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, has yet to name a head coach although Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Texas A&M offensive coordinator - and former Tech quarterback - Kliff Kingsbury appear to be the two leading candidates vying for the Red Raiders top job.
The Associated Press released their All-American teams on Tuesday and the Big 12 landed nine players overall on the three teams.
Terrance Williams and Tavon Austin were the conferences two first team players. Williams led the Big 12 in receiving with 147 yards per game while Austin led the conference in all-purpose yards averaging 230 yards per game.
Kansas State's Collin Klein who finished third in the Heisman trophy voting, was the second team quarterback. That's impressive to say the least - and well deserved - considering some of the candidates who put up some gaudy numbers this season.
The Wildcats Arthur Brown also received second team recognition joining Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson (second team) and safety Ty Zimmerman of Kansas State (third team) as the Big 12's only defensive players recognized.
Here's a look at all the Big 12 players who made the cut along with a link to all three teams from the AP.
|Tavon Austin||West Virginia||All-purpose|
|Collin Klein||Kansas State||QB|
|Stedman Bailey||West Virginia||WR|
|Arthur Brown||Kansas State||LB|
|Ty Zimmerman||Kansas State||S|
The SEC led all conferences with nine first team selections, followed by the Pac-12 with six. The Big Ten, ACC, and Big 12 each had two first team players.
Over the weekend, the NCAA released the attendance figures for the 2012 college football regular season.
It's no huge shock, but Michigan, Ohio State, and Alabama are one, two, and three once again leading the nation in average attendance per game, the same as they were last season. And barring anyone expanding their stadium, that's not likely to change anytime soon.
Texas jumped into the number four spot nationally this year ahead of Penn State who's attendance suffered just a bit given their off the field problems this past offseason. The Nittany Lions still drew 96,730 fans per game although that was about 6,000 less per game on average than in 2011.
As for the Big 12, Texas continued to lead the pack in 2012, again no surprise given the fact they have the league's largest stadium.
These numbers overall look considerably different than they did just a few seasons ago given that Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Missouri had three of the largest stadiums in the league. West Virginia and TCU were great additions to the conference, but from an attendance standpoint, they don't match what the Big 12 lost on that front. Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Missouri ranked 11th, 12th, and 24th nationally this season (did someone forget Colorado? They checked in 50th nationally, down almost 11% from last season).
Here's a look at the Big 12's attendance figures for 2012 compared with where they stood in 2011.
|Nat'l Rk.||Team||2012 Avg. Atten.||% of capacity||2011 Avg. Attendance||+/- % change|
|Big 12 Avg.||58,993|
Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and TCU were the four schools in the league that were at 100% capacity or above for the entire season.
TCU also had the largest jump in attendance of any school in the nation which was a result of their stadium coupled with their move to the Big 12.
As for the other newcomer, West Virginia actually had a slight dip in attendance over last season despite home games with OU, Kansas State, and TCU proving that winning football games beats all else when it comes to filling your football stadium.
The Big 12 as a whole ranked third among the five major BCS conferences trailing the SEC and Big Ten and ranking ahead of the Pac-12 and the ACC.
|School||Avg. per game|
|School||Avg. per game|
|Big Ten Avg.||70,165|
|School||Avg. per game|
|School||Avg. per game|
Everything had been relatively calm in the Big 12 regarding the coaching carousel that had been spinning like crazy since the end of the regular season. Mike Gundy may or may have not flirted with a few schools in the SEC over the past week, but outside of that, all had been quiet.
Nobody was on the hot seat.
Every coach in the league was expected back in 2013.
That was until Tommy Tuberville bolted Lubbock on Saturday morning for Cincinnati of all places. Nothing against the Bearcats whatsoever, they've had plenty of success of late. But it's not often - or ever, really - when a coach in the Big 12 leaves a school on their own accord for what is by almost any litmus test a step in the wrong direction in the hierarchy of good college football jobs.
That, however, is exactly what Tuberville did when he phoned Kirby Hocutt to inform he was leaving for a school in the Big East.
That to me is the most surprising thing in this whole matter, not Cincinnati itself. The Bearcats have propelled Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, and now Butch Jones to bigger jobs at great schools. The program is in great shape and Tuberville can win there right out of the gate.
But in the Big East? And this isn't exactly going to be the Big East we've all come to know and even the one we knew was the weakest of the six BCS conferences. West Virginia is already gone. Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers and Louisville will soon follow.
Maybe we can just assume Tuberville isn't all the concerned with winning national titles or at a minimum competing in a conference where you will play the best teams in the country every week (doubtful, yes).
With the new college football playoff coming in 2014, the Big East will almost assuredly be on the outside looking in every single season even if their conference champion goes undefeated. (Who knows, maybe he knows something the rest of don't as it relates to Cincinnati and conference realignment).
So then why make the move? There were obviously things going on behind the scenes most of us aren't privy to. On the field, things had gotten better although with Tech limping to the finish line each of the past two seasons, it wasn't always easy to notice.
There was still plenty of work to be done, but you could at least see some tangible evidence of improvements even if it didn't always show up on the scoreboard.
Don Williams of the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal reasoned that Tuberville never fit in Lubbock.
Tuberville misread the lay of the land when he arrived not quite three years ago. Based on his winning ways at Auburn, Tuberville seemed to take consumer confidence for granted, at least in the beginning. He was genuinely disillusioned to see the rancor over the Leach firing, rather than dissipate in short order, continue to boil around him.
Williams also noted the Tuberville remained friends with Cincy athletic director, Whit Babcock, after they spent several seasons together at Auburn. Plus, Tuberville's wife is from a town just 30 minutes from Cincinnati.
The explains part of it although whatever his reasons, it became obvious on Saturday he wasn't happy with his situation and maybe he and saw this as his only way out.
Is he using this a stepping stone job to bigger things as did each of the three coaches before him? Maybe, but the fact he already had a pretty good job, one he chose to leave, in order to get there seems like an odd way to go about it.
Not to mention he is 58 years old, not necessarily old, but he also isn't getting any younger. He did go out of his way to mention during his introductory press conference this afternoon, however, that he plans on coaching for many, many, more years (and said it with some emphasis) which was interesting
When Tuberville was asked point blank why he left in this interview, he hemmed-and-hawed without really offering anything of substance other than to say he liked Lubbock, he mentioned Babcock, and he thought it felt right.
Maybe it was nothing more than timing. It's been mentioned before that Tuberville had a desire to get back into coaching in the SEC. After Tech's strong start, his name had been rumored as a potential candidate for some of the openings the SEC expected to have, but Tech's struggles down the stretch seem to put a damper on those schools being interested.
Now with the four schools at the bottom of the SEC standings having new coaches in place, there's likely to be fewer if any openings there for a few seasons at least. Maybe he thought a couple strong seasons at Cincinnati would once again thrust his name to the top of those lists when jobs come open down the road.
It's certainly going to be easier to win games at Cincinnati than it would be at Texas Tech given the current strength of the Bearcats' programs. No longer will he have to play OU, Texas, Oklahoma State and the rest.
Instead, he'll get to butt heads with the likes of South Florida, Temple, Houston, and Memphis. Boise State will always be tough, but maybe his thinking is that 10-2 at Cincy is better than 7-5 or 8-4 at Texas Tech regardless of who they're playing.
Or maybe I'm thinking too hard and he just wants to coast off into the sunset leading the Bearcats to a couple Big East titles. Only Tuberville knows the answer to that and he's doing nothing more than beating around the bush about his true intentions so we're just left to guess.
As for Texas Tech, it's going to be interesting to see what candidates throw their hat into the mix in the coming days. It's a good job and given the parity in the conference the past couple seasons, there's no reason that with the right guy in place, they can't rise to the level of competing for conference titles in short order.
Oklahoma State has already done it. So has Kansas State. There's no reason Texas Tech can't do the same.
|09/07/13||Southern Miss||5:00, BTN|
|09/21/13||S. Dakota State||TBA|
|11/23/13||@ Penn State||TBA|
|12/07/13||Big Ten Champ.||TBA|