Archives for posts with tag: USC

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Identity is a big thing in college football.  South Carolina is an interesting school because the Gamecocks alternately refer to themselves as both “USC” and “Carolina”; when one thinks of USC I’m thinking the Trojans first, and Fleetwood Mac singing “Tusk” with the Southern Cal marching band second.  Carolina (with apologies to the NFL’s Panthers) will always make me think of Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and Michigan being out of time-outs.  Now South Carolina has made major strides this decade, reaching the Final Four in men’s basketball while winning a National Championship in women’s basketball in 2017.  And let’s not forget back to back College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011.  But in the south, football is king and for most of their history the Gamecocks have been an afterthought in the weaker of the two divisions of the nation’s best conference.  While Florida tapped up-and-coming Urban Meyer, SC rolled the dice and lost on Sparky Woods.  While Alabama turned failed NFL experiments Gene Stallings and Nick Saban into title-winning coaches, SC caught Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier during the “retirement nest egg building” phases of their careers.  Former Florida flameout Will Muschamp became the latest retread to take over in Columbia in 2016.  After three years of going 1-11 against ranked foes, Muschamp was handed one nightmare of a slate this year with games against Alabama and Clemson–not to mention traditional East Division powers Georgia and Florida.  Early losses to North Carolina (or Carolina if you prefer) and Missouri (somehow in the SEC East despite being west of the Mississippi River) plus a blowout by Alabama helped set the bar to its customary low spot in the Palmetto State.  But somewhere on the way to battling for bowl eligibility the Gamecocks went into Athens and shocked No. 3 Georgia 20-17 in double-overtime.  Not only did they beat their closest divisional neighbor, but they also kept what are shaky at best SEC hopes alive for at least one more week.  No. 7 Florida comes to Columbia next weekend.  Enjoy your moment in the sun while you can, USC/Carolina.

 

Alma Mater Update- the Orange are 3-3 midway through the season and their remaining six foes are a combined 23-13. The much-maligned defense only allowed 16 points last Thursday, but the offense had issues once again. That’s what happens when you give up eight sacks.

 

Virginia (4-2, 2-1 ACC) fell for the first time in conference play, losing to Miami 17-9 Friday night.  Instead of continuing its pursuit of a first-ever Coastal Division title (the previous six years saw the other six schools take turns advancing to the ACC Championship Game), the Cavaliers find themselves halfway through the season trying to figure out of their glass is half-full or half-empty.

Cavalier Congrats: Hasise Dubois caught 7 passes for 93 yards. Joey Blount led the defense with 8 tackles and added a sack.  Billy Kemp had a 19 yard punt return and Joey Blount ran a kickoff back 72 yards.  Brian Delaney made three of his four field goal attempts.

Cavalier Concerns: the offense had issues all evening, converting just 2-10 third downs. Pass protection was a problem, with five sacks allowed.  Six of their ten possessions stalled inside the Hurricanes’ 30-yards line.  A missed field goal, lost fumble and a failed fourth down each took points off the board on the night they could least afford to.  The defense allowed the Hurricanes to roll up 147 yards and 10 points the final two times they had the ball.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 against Duke.

 

Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) had reason to be optimistic when they visited Purdue.  The 1-4 Boilermakers had lost their starting quarterback and top receiver to injury two weeks ago.  Their defense also ranked near the bottom of multiple categories in the Big Ten.  But you wouldn’t know any of that if you watched the game, a 40-14 humbling that has the faithful looking at the schedule and trying to see three more wins.

Terrapin Triumphs:  Tyrrell Pigrome threw for 218 yards while running for 107 yards in his first start of the season.  Dontay Demus was the top target, grabbing 10 catches for 105 yards.  Ayinde paced the defense with 11 tackles.

Terrapin Troubles:  Nine penalties, including one that wiped out a first quarter touchdown and another that pushed them out of field goal range late in the first half.  Pigrome threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter.  The defense had issues getting off of the field, allowing Purdue to move the chains on 11 of 18 third downs that included back-breaking conversions from 11, 13 and 23 yards.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 against Indiana.

 

Virginia Tech (4-2) is never going to make things easy for us this year, will they?  Despite owning a two-touchdown halftime lead the Hokies found themselves up 17-14 midway through the third quarter against Rhode Island.  The Hokies turned the jets on and routed the Rams 34-17.  Just another turn on what is becoming a rocky ride through the 2019 schedule.

Hokie Highlights: Hendon Hookier threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns while running for 43 more yards.  Deshawn McClease rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown.  No turnovers for a second straight week.  Rayshard Ashby tallied 8 sacks as the defense held URI to 24 yards rushing and notched three sacks.

Hokie Humblings:  the D took a while to spring back to life in the second half, allowing the Rams to gain 135 of their 310 total yards on their first two third quarter possessions.  For those who watched the Furman and Old Dominion games, it felt like a re-run.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 against North Carolina.

 

Navy (4-1, 2-1 AAC) went to Tulsa and came home with its first road win in over two years.  The 45-17 rout of the Golden Hurricane helped move the Mids back into the conference race as previously unbeaten Memphis was stunned by Temple.

Midshipman Medals:  Malcolm Perry rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns while the nation’s top ground game pounded out 388.  Michael McMorris posted eight tackles to lead a defense that notched four sacks and held Tulsa to under 50% completions.

Midshipman Miscues:  so much for airing it out more this fall-the Mids threw just five passes and one was a halfback option pass.  They also converted just 5 of 12 third downs and were outgained by the Golden Hurricane in the second half.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 against South Florida.

 

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There’s another weekend before the bowls?  Really?  Conference championships are decided Friday and Saturday with the area schools mostly idle-unlike last December when Virginia Tech was bettered by eventual national champ Clemson and Navy lost to Temple (ugh) at home (double ugh).  At least we have James Madison (unbeaten and top ranked defending champ James Madison, that is) in FCS Playoff Action.  So even though one’s school might not be in action this weekend, you can still insert yourself into the conversation.

 

Friday’s Game:

Pac-12 Championship- #10 USC (10-2) plays #12 Stanford (9-3), 8 p.m. (ESPN).

At stake: neither has a great shot at making the College Football Playoff, and with the Rose Bowl serving as one of the semifinal games the winner won’t even get a trip to Pasadena.  Plus, this game is at 5 p.m. local time…on a Friday?  Even the MAC gets a Saturday kickoff.

Rematch?:  USC won 42-24 September 10th.

Who to Watch: Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold began the year as the Heisman favorite, and Cardinal runningback Bryce Love is a strong contender for the honor.  Both have nightmares of being drafted by Cleveland.

Notable Fact: unlike the other leagues, the Pac-12 name actually reflects its membership number.

Presto’s Pick:  Trojans triumph, 31-17.

 

Saturday’s Games-

AAC Championship- #14 UCF (12-0) vs #20 Memphis (10-1), noon (ABC).  

At stake: the right to be the really angry “group of five/Mid-Major” school left out of the playoff despite a conference title and a great record.  Plus the winning coach takes a leap in the “hot coaching commodity contest”.

Rematch?: UCF won 40-13 September 30th.

Who to Watch: UCF’s McKenzie Milton sounds like a shirt from Vineyard Vines…but the dual threat quarterback is averaging 326 yards passing per game this month and has run for a TD in five straight games.  Tigers QB Riley Ferguson is just as impressive.

Notable Fact:  both teams beat Navy and the Knights routed Maryland in College Park.

Presto’s Pick: Knights tame the Tigers, 37-28.

 

Big 12 Championship- #3 Oklahoma (11-1) vs #11 TCU (10-2), 12:30 p.m. (FOX)

At Stake:  Sooners need a win or they’d likely slip behind Alabama and out of the playoffs. Horned Frogs need a win plus a measles epidemic to make the Final Four.

Rematch?:  Oklahoma won 38-20 November 11th.

Who to Watch: OU quarterback Baker Mayfield is on his way to the Heisman Trophy, while TCU defensive linemen Ben Banogu and Ross Blacklock will try to keep him off-balance.

Notable Fact:  the Big 12 is the only conference to have a championship game despite not having divisions, which is why the conference championship game was created in the first place.

Presto’s Pick:  Sooners stumble, 44-38.

 

FCS Second Round-#1 James Madison (11-0) vs #10 Stony Brook (10-2), 2 p.m. (ESPN3)

At Stake: a berth in the quarterfinals and bragging rights between conference foes that haven’t met since 2015.

Players to Watch: Bryan Schor led the Dukes to the National Championship last year and picked up where he left off this fall.  Seawolves running back Donald Liotine led the CAA in scoring.

Notable Fact: home teams went 5-3 last weekend in the first round of the tournament after going 17-5 in 2016.

Presto’s Pick:  Dukes dominate, 34-16.

 

SEC Championship- #2 Auburn (10-2) vs #6 Georgia (11-1), 4 p.m. (CBS).

What’s at Stake:  automatic berth for the winner…with the knowledge that Alabama will be sweating until Tuesday evening.  Loser knows they had a chance and blew it.

Rematch?:  Auburn won 40-17 November 11th.

Who to Watch:  Kerryon Johnson ran for 167 yards against Georgia three weeks ago, while Bulldogs tailback Nick Chubb was held to 27 yards on 11 tries.

Notable Fact:  CBS announcer Brad Nessler used to call Atlanta Falcons games at their old stadium–not the Georgia Dome but Fulton County Stadium in the 1980’s.

Presto’s Pick:  Tigers by a nose, 23-20.

 

ACC Championship- #1 Clemson (11-1) vs #7 Miami (10-1), 8 p.m. (ABC).

At Stake:  the winner makes the Playoff while the loser should be cursing their loss to a sub-500 Syracuse or Pitt.

Rematch?:  No.  Although in 2015 the Tigers torched the Hurricanes 58-0 in Al Golden’s final game as coach. Enter Mark Richt.

Who to Watch: can Miami QB Malik Rosier bounce back from his subpar effort against Pitt?  Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell had 8 sacks to finish second in the ACC…and will have a say in Rosier’s play.

Notable Fact: this is Miami’s first-ever trip the ACC Championship Game–while Virginia Tech has been to the most (3-3 in six appearances).

Presto’s Pick: Tigers triumph, 30-22.

 

Big Ten Championship- #4 Wisconsin (12-0) vs #8 Ohio State (10-2), 8 p.m. (FOX).

At Stake:  a Badgers win would lock up a playoff berth as welll as quiet naysayers about their soft schedule.  A Buckeyes victory would likely send Alabama to the Playoff-making OSU fans whine about not being included despite winning their league (a criteria ignored last year when they made the playoff and Penn State was excluded).

Rematch?: they didn’t meet this year-but the Buckeyes butchered the Badgers 59-0 in 2014.

Who to Watch:  OSU QB JT Barrett led the Buckeyes to the national title as a freshman–he’ll play Saturday despite having “minor” knee surgery this week.  Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is the league’s leading rusher, averaging 7 yards per carry and 150 yards per game.

Notable Fact:  Maryland has as many conference championship game appearances as Michigan.

Presto’s Pick:  Buckeyes blow up the bracket, 24-20.

 

Playoff Party—

#1 Clemson vs #4 Oklahoma

#2 Auburn vs #3 Alabama

 

Last Week: 2-1.

Overall: 74-25.

 

Heat rises.  It also stifles and confuses.  Last season at this time I saw the multiple hot seats at blue blood programs Texas (Mack Brown retired), USC (Lane Kiffin was fired) and Nebraska (Bo Pellini’s tenure hasn’t expired).  A new year brings new coaches looking over their shoulders at schools that feel they’re entitled to 10 wins, playing for a conference championship and a New Year’s Day reservation.  Michigan’s Brady Hoke not only has the 31-0 thumping by Notre Dame to answer for…but also a home loss to Utah.  Florida’s Will Muschamp saw his Gators get worked by Alabama one week after they needed triple overtime to outlast Kentucky.  There was even talk around Texas and first-year coach Charlie Strong after their early loss to BYU.  Coaches are paid big money to produce wins and revenue for their schools…and the only opponent more difficult than this week’s is yesteryear.  Because nobody in Austin will admit that Darryl Royal ever had problems beating Oklahoma…nobody mentions how Michigan under Bo Schembechler was 5-12 in bowl games…and nobody mentions that the Gators didn’t win an SEC title until 1984 (that had to be vacated).  Thankfully a coach’s salary allows his expenses budget to include antacids.

 

Alma Mater Update– one tough loss at home for the Orange.  As if one didn’t realize after needing a fake field goal in double-overtime to beat Villanova that this wouldn’t be a replay of the 1987 Sugar Bowl season.  Penalties and missed plays helped ruin the offense in the red zone…and coverage breakdowns led to a pair of long TD’s.  Now for Notre Dame–can SU get the 1983 Liberty Bowl season Fighting Irish?

 

Maryland won on the road for the second time in three weeks…edging Syracuse 34-20.  Entering a Big Ten buzz-saw that includes ranked teams Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin (plus Michigan and Penn State and an Indiana team that upset Missouri) at 3-1 is so much better than 2-2…because who wants to sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner at 5-6 needing a win over Rutgers to become bowl-eligible?  Terrapin Triumphs– beware the big play:  CJ Brown tossed a 90-yard TD pass to Brandon Ross that began as a simple swing pass, a blocked punt set up a 2nd quarter TD and Will Likely returned an INT 88 yards for the team’s last TD of the day (he also tallied a team-high 9 tackles)… Red Zone Defense forced the Orange to settle for field goals or nothing at all multiple times… and the team bounced back from a tough loss at home in fine fashion.  Terrapin Troubles– the offense gained just 68 yards in the second half… 8 penalties for 75 yards won’t sit well with the coaching staff…and the defense allowed over 500 yards for the second straight week.  Next:  Saturday at Indiana.

 

Virginia Tech began the ACC season with a whimper–a 27-24 come from ahead loss to Georgia Tech.  Whatever glow this team had from its upset win at Ohio State two weeks ago is washed away…and while there are still Coastal Division hopes (hey– Duke, UNC and Virginia remain Duke, UNC and Virginia) one wonders if it isn’t too early to be concerned if this isn’t another 4 or 5 loss team.  Hokie Highlights– linebacker Chase Williams led the hit parade with 17 tackles … Isaiah Ford notched 8 receptions for 114 yards… the defense held GT to 4-12 on third down while the offense was 8-14 at moving the chains.  Hokie Humblings– Michael Brewer threw 3 interceptions (one of which was returned for a TD)… laundry continues to be an achilles heel for this team with 12 penalties for 79 yards… and was that a blocked field goal I saw?  Whatever happened to Beamer Ball?  Next:  Saturday vs Western Michigan.

 

Virginia had #21 BYU on the ropes for 30 minutes before falling 41-33.  Another one-possession game against an unbeaten…another opportunity missed…but another encouraging sign that this program is moving in the right direction.  Cavalier Congrats–  how did they lose this game after owning a 35-16 edge in first downs and a 519-332 yardage advantage while  possessing the ball for over 40 minutes?  Miles Gooch (6 catches for 65 yards) continues to terrorize secondaries instead of Arnold Drummond… and Khalek Shepherd (73 yards rushing and a TD) looked sharp.  Cavalier Concerns– the defense bent and broke in the second half– allowing 3 touchdown drives… special teams allowed a kickoff return that kept the game out of reach… and neither quarterback averaged 10 yards per completion–even the Eight Ball knows you’ve got to stretch the field somewhat.  Next:  Saturday vs Kent State (evidently it’s schedule a MAC school day in the Commonwealth).

 

Navy fell behind early against Rutgers…and a second half rally wasn’t enough in a 31-24 loss to the Scarlet Knights.  Midshipmen Medals– Keenan Reynolds threw for 231 yards and a TD in his return to the lineup from a knee injury…the defense held Rutgers to 139 yards in the second half and turned an early Scarlet Knights fumble into a touchdown.  Midshipmen Miscues– the run defense was gashed for 284 yards… and after the D forced a fumble and a three & out allowed points on four straight possessions.  Next:  Saturday vs Western Kentucky.

Remember the Coaching Hot Seat unveiled a few weeks ago? Show Me Month isn’t even over and two coaches have already been shown the door. This while basically napalming a season barely underway gives schools a chance to make a measured review of what’s wrong…and what it needs to do right with its next hire. USC’s Lane Kiffin was taken off the team bus and fired in the early hours of Sunday after the Trojans lost to Arizona State. This is one of the top-shelf schools that doesn’t look kindly to 3 loss seasons…let alone 2012’s 7-6 campaign that included coming up short against rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. Granted, he was fighting scholarship reductions–but Ted Tollner, Larry Smith and John Robinson all were eased out of Troy after going to the Rose Bowl at one point of their tenure. One imagines that USC finds the right person to fit the position…while Kiffin finds another elite job he doesn’t merit. UConn waits a day to realize they aren’t just 0-4…but 0-4 with losses to Buffalo and Towson…and jettisons Paul Pasqualoni. And the Huskies are less than ten days removed from leading Michigan by two touchdowns in the second half. Their pool of candidates will be markedly different from USC’s…perhaps Kiffin could coach there as part of his penance.

Alma Mater Update– speaking of Paul Pasqualoni, he coached Syracuse from 1991 through 2004–guiding the Orange to a 107-59-1 mark. His career began with a bang (an upset of then #5 Florida highlighting a 10-2 campaign) but ended with the whimper of allowing 51 points twice in a 6-6 season. The Orange always seemed to come up short against the elite (a 16-10 loss to #1 Miami in 1993) while dropping games they had no business losing (East Carolina in ’95, Minnesota in ’96, NC State in ’97) that kept them one rung below a marquee bowl. But Pasqualoni’s 16-20 valley over his last three seasons was far better than the Greg Robinson peak (10 wins spread out over four years). So caveat emptor reigns whenever the hot seat is fired up.

Maryland in the Mix– can you say #25? With a West Virginia win that looks more impressive after the Mountaineers dismantled previously unbeaten Oklahoma State (IT’S THE BIG 12!). I like that the Terps will have two weeks to prepare for an extremely explosive Florida State. You almost wish they had a week off before Clemson…and no Wake Forest Jokes, please.

Hokie Heartburn– despite an impressive win over Georgia Tech, who knows which Virginia Tech team we’ll get as the season enters Moving Month? After a date with 1-3 North Carolina (who got roughed up at home by East Carolina) coach Frank Beamer’s team plays Pitt. And then they have TWO FULL WEEKS to prepare for Duke. Thank goodness…

Virginia began ACC play with a 14-3 loss at Pitt– a game that was made for the 12 noon “can’t wait for 3:30” timeslot. The Charlottesville rollercoaster ride continues. Cavalier Congrats– nice job limiting the Panthers to under 200 yards… and just one drive of more than 27 yards. only 8 yards on the ground. Max Valles led the pass rush with 2.5 sacks…while Anthony Harris notched 8 tackles and an interception. Cavalier Concerns– converting just 3 of 18 third downs. Two first quarter fumbles inside their own 20 leading to both Panther touchdowns. David Watford didn’t throw an interception…but averaged just over 8 yards per completion. Next– Saturday vs Ball State.

Losing Sucks.  And with the late Luther Vandross belting “One Shining Moment” at the close of another NCAA Tournament, 67 schools wonder how things could’ve ended in that slo-motion net-cutting moment.  Meanwhile, 280 schools wonder what it will take to get into the Big Dance.  For just about everybody it’s a slippery slope on the way to the top;  a prized recruit attends another school, an athletic director makes a bad hire… and the winter of one’s discontent can turn into several years.  Losing Sucks.  Whether you were Michigan unable to turn back the Louisville tidal wave, Syracuse unable to get the block call instead of the charge, Georgetown unable to nip March’s most memorable story in the bud, Maryland unable to win on the road in the ACC, George Mason unable to keep Luke Hancock around campus, American unable to put 40 smart minutes together, Howard unable to break the cycle of 20-loss seasons or the Maryland women unable to keep its backcourt off crutches–Losing Sucks.  But it’s worth the missed shots, the blown calls, the misjudged recruits…because Luther had pretty damn good pipes.  Just hearing that song makes a lot of the heartbreak manageable…and if it just happens to be your school’s “One Shining Moment”– don’t let it go.  Ever.

Cardinals Rule– It’s hard to think that this Louisville team was once a teetering ship that malfunctioned multiple times at Notre Dame during a 5-overtime marathon, wrapping up a 3-4 stretch that took coach Rick Pitino’s team from top ranked to partially tanked.  Credit the Hall of Famer for getting this team back in gear– and 16 wins later, they’re National Champs.  Credit Luke Hancock for averaging 21 points during the Final Four in Kevin Ware’s absence.  Credit the Cardinal pressure generating turnovers on the perimeter while locking down inside and dominating the glass against Michigan.  Credit Jim Nantz for not coming up with a blatantly ridiculous pun at the final buzzer.

Alma Mater Update– what did I say?  Losing Sucks.  But what a run by the Orange.  The VAUNTED 2-3 ZONE must now be capitalized and in boldface with italics for one calendar year.  I still think I’m watching the halfcourt offense every time I drive through DC– come on people, it’s a crosswalk!  Make your way with some kind of purpose!  I still have to shake my head when I realize this team had lost 4 of 5 entering the Big East Tournament, the killer a 39 point effort against Georgetown.  I still get goosebumps when I remember the upset of Indiana and recall the net-cutting after beating Marquette.  I still wonder if Mike Hopkins will be Tom Izzo or Craig Esherick (THAT IS CRAP!).  I still try to imagine how the move the ACC will help or hurt this program from an immediate as well as a longterm standpoint.  I still marvel at the fist-pumping high-fiving comradery I have with fellow alums in Orange Nation win or lose.  And I still know it’s 9:39 PM. 

Bye Bye Big East– National Champs in 1984, 85, 99, 03, 04, 11, 13.  Not a bad tally for a latecomer to the big time… who then redefined what Big Time was.  Great memories of incredible games and Hall of Fame coaches and unbelievable players.  The 34 year history of excellence will live on…in the “New Big East” (hopefully more “Frasier” than “AfterMASH”), the ACC (7 of the 14 schools in the league next summer will have Big East ties) and the American Athletic Conference– yeah, whatever.  Losing Sucks.

Terps end near where they started– it’s just a matter of it you take the subway or a cab from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to Madison Square Garden.  A thrilling 58-57 win at Alabama sent coach Mark Turgeon’s team to the NIT Semifinals–and despite a 71-60 loss to Iowa there’s plenty of positives to take into the offseason.  Now the question is if sophomore center Alex Len returns to College Park.  Enough scouts like his upside– but he’s had more than a few consistently uneven stretches.  You’d think he’d stay to get more polish– but the money’s probably there to be a semi-project in the NBA.  The program will definitely lose the last player on the roster to have played for Gary Williams– Pe’Shon Howard transferring to be closer to his ill grandmother in California.  For whatever reason it just didn’t work for the junior under coach Turgeon– he missed 18 games last winter and this past season shot under 30% from the field.  All the best to a good kid.  And all the best to a Terrapin progam that chooses between Nick Faust, Seth Allen or freshman Roddy Peters to run the offense next season.

Maryland Womens Minute– the Terps came up short against eventual National Champion Connecticut 76-50… before the Huskies bludgeoned its final three opponents in the tournament by an average of 27 points.  The world of women’s hoops this winter involved such a gap between the elite and the upper tier… and coach Brenda Frese’s team after losing its starting backcourt to torn ACL’s found itself overmatched and overworked.  Can another solid recruiting class combined withinjured players Laurin Mincy and Brene Mosley returning to form negate the loss of four year starter Tianna Hawkins?  Alyssa Thomas returns for one more run through the ACC…Duke and UNC beware.

Coaching Carousel– when will it stop?  Actually, never.  A few notable moves over the last few weeks…

Steve Alford went from New Mexico to UCLA…if ever there was a blue-blood player turned blue-blood coach around to guide the blue-blood Bruins, it’s the former IU All-American and Olympian.  His success at various stops now feels like a precursor to this career-making (Wooden) or career-breaking (Cunningham, Hazzard, etc) move.  The pressure at Pauley Pavillion is just enough to turn out a coach who led them to three straight Final Fours (Howland).  But after operating on the fringes it’ll be interesting to see how Alford deals with a prime time program that’s expected to win big consistently.

Andy Enfield went from Anonymity to USC…while Alford’s career has been a slow broil, the ex-Florida Gulf Coast coach’s run has been a high heat microwave trip.  He’s charismatic, energetic…respected in NBA circles.  Enfield teaches a pro-style offense that recruits will flock to.  He’s going to be recruiting in Southern California.  And he took his Maxim model wife out to Taco Bell on their first date…while proposing with a ring stuck between Krispy Kreme donuts.  Let’s just say the guy has moxie.  And the bar in Troy is much lower than Westwood.

Richard Pitino went from being Rick Pitino’s son to being Rick Pitino’s son at a Big Ten job…one never knows how a coach’s kid will fare when on his own (Pat Knight, Sean Sutton) and it’s not easy to win at Minnesota (unless you want the eventual NCAA Probation).  He’s had one year as a head coach and led Florida Atlantic to an 18-14 record.  Now he might turn into something special, but the Big Ten is not the ECAC North where his father cut his teeth at Boston University.  And the Golden Gophers got rid of a perfectly decent coach in Tubby Smith who had been somewhat successful.

Chris Collins went from CBS’ halftime interview to the Big Ten’s Abyss… I can’t wait to see Wojo handle that role next year, although I don’t think it’s fair for Coach K not to rotate his assistants in the halftime interview segment.  Although he did speak at the half this year.  I think after losing to Louisville, Coach K will view his halftime chats as bad luck and give one of his managers the role next winter.  The last few sentences has intentionally kept me from writing about Northwestern Mens’ Basketball.

Mike Rice Jr. went from Rutgers to Infamy… Wow.  Beyond career-napalming.  How does that happen for so long without anything coming out?  Oh yeah, Rutgers.  I’ll call this the Curse of Gary Waters– the Scarlet Knights hired him away from Kent State and despite 3 winning seasons in 5 years, dumped him for Fred Hill (57-77 over 4 years) and now Mike Rice (11-25 after 2 seasons).  Since Waters left, Rutgers hasn’t only lost every season– they’ve placed in the teens of the Big East (13th or lower) every single year.  Athletic Department misfires aside, Rice cooked himself with belligerent behavior that not only crossed over the line but ran far beyond it.  Shoving and kicking players from behind is akin to attacking a defenseless receiver in the NFL– you just don’t do it.  Homophobic slurs in 2013– you just don’t do it.  Not with video.  Not with sound.  You wonder if Rice let the pressures of handling a sinking program in the Big East get the better of him.  You hope that he gets the necessary help to move on.  But you know that he’s justifiably out of there…and probably shouldn’t be anywhere for a while.