You might think nothing in college football can surprise me anymore. In the past week alone, we saw two schools make a $5 million pledge to keep a conference together, then bolt five days later; we heard Florida State icon Bobby Bowden allege for the first time that he was "fired" from his job after 34 seasons; and, in lighter news, we read that a drunk, naked Oregon State offensive lineman (since dismissed) got in a three-point stance and lunged at police officers.
The walls of Tommy Tuberville's new office in the Texas Tech football complex have only a few links to the coach's past. There are pictures of former players: Ray Lewis, from Tuberville's days as Miami's defensive coordinator, and ex-Auburn players Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams; the two coach of the year awards he won after the Tigers' undefeated season in 2004; and the faux Golf Digest cover he received after lobbying for someone to crown his 13-0 team national champions.
Thousands of coaches will descend on Orlando, Fla., this weekend for the annual American Football Coaches Association convention. If they're smart, all but a few will come, resume in hand, to the hotel room of South Florida athletic director Doug Woolard.
1. The Statue of Liberty play; Jan. 1, 2007. The final down of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was the American Dream rolled into one play from scrimmage. Using a play (the Statue of Liberty) mastered by millions of boys in their backyards, David (Boise State) scored on a two-point conversion to slay Goliath (Oklahoma) in overtime. The running back who scored the conversion (Ian Johnson) then ran down the sideline and proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend (Chrissy Popadics). Johnson and Popadics wed that July, and they have lived happily ever after. The fairy-tale ending also changed college football. Boise's win, which followed Utah's Fiesta Bowl-crash after the 2004 season, earned immeasurable respect for the sport's mid-majors and brought them one step closer to a legitimate shot to compete for the national title.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has had to answer plenty of tough questions in the past two weeks, but the queries he got from the fourth estate were softballs compared to the ones Ray Cotton Jr. and his father will soon ask.
AUBURN, Ala. -- Though he's a 6-foot-1 defensive tackle who projects as a top-10 NFL draft pick, two legendary Sen'Derrick Marks stories take place on a basketball court. Both stories are true, but certain details of each remain a matter of some debate. Still, the tales should give LSU offensive linemen pause as they prepare to block Marks on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
AUBURN, Ala. -- If Tony Franklin's history didn't prove that the man is utterly incapable of limiting himself to coachspeak, the following declaration might sound like a ploy to put a positive spin on the fact that neither of his top two quarterbacks has played well enough to wrestle the starting job away from the other.
As thrilling and memorable as last year's Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl turned out to be, there was very little buzz nationally leading up to it. For whatever reason, the nation was not yet enamored with Ian Johnson and the Broncos (though it certainly would be shortly thereafter), and the game garnered the third-lowest Nielsen rating of 37 BCS bowls played to date.