And now, among other tricks, Johnny Manziel knocking shooting clays out of the air with a football. Stay forever, Johnny Football.
• “Group of five” still just sounds so ominous. Jeremy Fowler reports on the coalescing system the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt are working on to distribute playoff revenue from the new postseason system:
In this proposed system, more than half the group’s roughly $86-million playoff pot would be distributed among the Big East, Mountain West, Mid-American Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt as guaranteed base shares, according to a source with direct knowledge of the discussions. The source expects those shares to be evenly split, but added discussions are ongoing. The second tier pays out based on a conference’s body of work — the top conference gets the highest amount, then “X” amount for the next-rated conference, and on down. The third tier pays a kicker to the conference with the highest-ranked team, which is guaranteed an access bowl bid or, if among the top-four teams in the country, a semifinal berth in the playoff.
• Harbros’ early broing days. Check out Dan Wetzel’s tale of relatively wee Harbaughs recruiting youngsters to their dad’s team at Western Kentucky, including an appearance by one Willie Taggart.
• Exactly how you would’ve guessed. Former Miami Hurricanes make up the biggest slice of Super Bowl roster pie charts, but two of the next five teams on that list are … Marshall and Utah? Marshall and Utah! Go ThunderUtes!
• From the no-jokes department. Compelling story via OTL on UCLA researchers and evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living football players.
Assorted items of varying degrees of interest which you may have missed while grudgingly watching playoff football and sending surly tweets to the Golden Globes:
• The NCAA is Lucy, and Miami football is the football, and we are Charlie Brown running toward it, or something? This metaphor holds up only to demonstrate how very much we wish for this all to be over, but here we go: The Miami Herald is calling the release of NCAA allegations against the Hurricanes football program “imminent,” just short of the investigation’s two-year anniversary. Bylaw Blogger John Infante lays out all the ways this process could still be stalled, and how the Miami case might affect Oregon’s.
• Mike Stoops also a fan of Hi Haters Friday! Friday night, 6:06 p.m., Tulsa World‘s John E. Hoover posts a transcript excerpt of a Mike Stoops radio interview, specifically a question regarding Johnny Football: “They’re gonna be tough to deal with. If they can keep him out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good.” Friday night, 10:37 p.m., Tulsa World post headline: “Mike Stoops regrets controversial comments on Manziel.” Had Stoops’ defense possessed that kind of on-the-fly adaptability in the Cotton Bowl, perhaps Manziel would not have scored four touchdowns against it, PAAAOWL.
• Roster blotter. In better news for Miami: Seantrel Henderson, Brandon Linder and Curtis Porter announced Monday morning they all intend to return to the ‘Canes in 2013 … in even better news for Profiteroles fans, Dri Archer will stay on for his senior season at Kent State … Iowa State quarterback Jared “That Kid Who Beat Oklahoma State” Barnett and linebacker C.J. Morgan intend to transfer … Texas defensive tackle Brandon Moore will enter the draft … also declaring is USC corner Nickell Robey, whom we will dearly miss watching because of his too-perfect defensive name … Oregon linebacker Anthony Wallace will transfer … Case McCoy and Jordan Hicks have been reinstated at Texas … and Casey Pachall returns to the Horned Frogs.
• Mack Brown offered the Manning Award as a safety. College football’s first freshman Heisman Trophy winner can add another accolade to his surely sagging trophy shelf: Johnny Manziel has won the Manning Award. Manziel entered the national lexicon with last year’s shirtless mugshot follies, won the starting job at Texas A&M as an underclassman, took home the Heisman, obliterated a former conference rival in the Cotton Bowl and will — football gods willing — continue to stay on his “hi, haters” message train throughout the forthcoming offseason. It is getting perilously close to impossible to hate Johnny Football, particularly if you don’t have a rooting interest in a defense that had to play him this year. Congrats, kiddo.
• Coach-firin’ follies. The silly season rolls on in the assistants derby: OUT goes Louisiana defensive coordinator Greg Stewart … IN comes Mario Cristobal at Miami in a most excellent personnel coup for the ‘Canes … and IN comes Ted Roof, back at Georgia Tech? (Related reading: “Has the internet desensitized us to the extraordinary?”)
• Gettin’ drafty. GONE: Tennessee’s three brightest offensive stars. BACK: Tajh Boyd, whose future presence, along with Aaron Murray’s, makes Clemson’s Week 1 date with Georgia an absolute must-watch game. GONE, TEARILY: Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel, whose letter to the faithful of Texas A&M you simply must read.
• It’s really and truly over. With Army-Navy receding in the rearview, and a football-free week between now and the New Mexico Bowl, it’s time to confront the close of the 2012 season with the following range of emotions:
Everything is terrible.
• What verbal glories await in Hattiesburg? As a kind of farewell to Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the Oklahoman rounds up a collection of his more memorable (if PG) quips during his tenure in Stillwater. One favorite: “Up until that point, there hadn’t been a moment for myself. Dana had been here, I was just running his stuff. Up until that point there was a trust, but it was still, ‘Who is this guy that stands in front of us?’ It’s like in ‘The Sandlot’ when the goofy kid with glasses finally catches the ball. It’s like, ‘All right, he’s OK.’ Up until that point he’s just the nerdy kid in the outfield with his hat on weird.”
The Switzies are named for former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, patron saint of football frolicking. Ten imaginary trophies — and the coveted Grape Job! plaque — honor our on- and off-field favorites at the close of the season.
• Special Achievement in Spectacle by a Heisman Winner. Johnny Manziel made more spectacular plays this season, in front of bigger crowds than the one that showed up in Shreveport when the Aggies faced Louisiana Tech in mid-October. But we got to see this one with our own eyes, giving it a special place in the shining black pits where our hearts should be.
Just a madcap sequence of events on a night that saw more than its share of them.
• GameDay Moment of the Year. Someday eons into the future, when as-yet unimagined civilizations discover Earth and piece together the history of college football, it is our fervent and enduring hope that a being fancying itself a prophet uncovers this photo of South Carolina’s live mascot being fed Steve Spurrier-branded wine, and builds a religion around it.
Did Sir Big Spur sample the Steve Spurrier wine? twitter.com/gogamecocks/st…
— GoGamecocks.com (@gogamecocks) October 6, 2012
• Navy 17, Army 13. The Midshipmen take the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and extend their winning streak over the Black Knights, but don’t let this moment pass without a fond farewell to Trent Steelman, who was born to quarterback at Army:
Look, it's Trent Steelman and the Army versus Wave Ryder and the Navy. How is anyone not watching this?—
Andrew Bucholtz (@AndrewBucholtz) December 08, 2012
Steelman finishes his college career without ever having beaten Navy, and with sour memories of his final play as a Black Knight. He also finishes with another record to his name and his legacy burnished, both during and after the game. We’ve written his name in all caps for years, because it just seems to fit. Happy trails, TRENT STEELMAN.
• Assorted trophy happenings. Read Andy Staples’ anecdote of the Manziel family’s adventures in trademarking … Manti Te’o garnered more Heisman points than any other purely defensive player in the history of the award … Te’o added the Lott Trophy to his hardware haul.
• Quote of the day, Heisman edition. From Johnny Manziel’s acceptance speech on Saturday night: “To Grandpa … you inspired me to play football. Grandma, I’m sorry for all the things we broke in the house.”
Highlight video of the ballyhooed 1992 RU/VT game. And there is NO QUESTION it was made in 1992. youtu.be/UIlIsa2zphg
— RussellAthleticBowl (@RussellAthBowl) December 3, 2012
We would like to politely request at this time that all footage of the 2012 Rutgers Athletic Bowl adhere to these same retro production values. For continuity, you see.
• Assorted trophy happenings. Your 2012 Heisman finalists, who are somehow still not called “Heis-men,” which will apparently never be satisfactorily explained: Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o and Collin Klein. Klein has also been bestowed with the Johnny Unitas Award, and Te’o with the Nagurski Trophy. In non-Heis-men news, Notre Dame’s Bob Diaco is the 2012 Broyles Award winner, and Matt McGloin takes home the Burlsworth Award.
Snap Judgments from the Week 13 late slate. For more, check out Friday’s Snaps, Saturday’s early Snaps, Saturday’s midday Snaps, our recaps of Michigan-Ohio State, Florida-Florida State and Notre Dame-USC and our complete Top 25 review.
• No. 11 Stanford 35, No. 15 UCLA 17. With tonight’s victory, the Cardinal secured a share of the Pac-12 North division title and set up a rematch for the conference championship six days from now in Palo Alto. The win was all but assured midway through the second quarter, when Stanford jumped out to a 21-7 lead on a 49-yard Stepfan Taylor touchdown run; UCLA didn’t come within a score of catching up again all night. Stanford’s last conference title came in 1999; the Cardinal will be making their first appearance in the Pac-12 championship game.
Johnathan Franklin, he of the 131-yards-per-game rushing average, was held below 100 yards for just the fourth time this season, recording 65 yards on 21 carries and scoring one of the Bruins’ two touchdowns. Taylor more than doubled up Franklin, gaining 147 yards on 21 carries and scoring twice, all before being rested in the fourth quarter. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, meanwhile, threw for 259 yards but was sacked seven times — bad even for an offense that ranked 110th nationally in sacks allowed before this game, and above even Stanford’s lofty four-sack average.
Not to take anything away from Stanford, which has done some very neat work this season in the absence of Andrew Luck, among other key figures, but it’s all right to feel the tiniest bit let down about this. If only for the sake of variety, it would’ve been interesting to see UCLA play Oregon for the first time this season and not the Cardinal for a second in a week. But if we got everything we wanted, there’d be no point in writing fanfic about Ron Prince becoming monarch-commissioner of college football, and where’s the fun in that? The battle for a Rose Bowl bid begins next Friday at 8 p.m. ET. [BOX | RECAP]