The firing of Colorado's head football coach Jon Embree on Sunday was one of the several firings that happened in the FBS this week. Embree's firing and his comments began debate on an issue at the highest level of college football.
Embree feels like he is getting the raw end of the deal, and feels like he would've received a second chance if he was white.
While the lack of black head coaches is an issue, the numbers show that any coach, regardless of skin color or race, would be out of a job. Colorado's football program has been mediocre over the past several years. Colorado played its first year in the Pac12 Conference, going only 1-11. Embree was 4-21 as the head coach. While Embree was unsuccessful, Colorado's problems go beyond the coaching staff and deeper into the program. The Buffaloes were bad under previous coach Dan Hawkins, and the time frame for a turnaround was short for the athletic department this time around.
While the mess in Boulder has been stealing headlines, in northeast Ohio, Kent State University's football team is having one of its best seasons in the 93 year history of the program. Darrell Hazell, a black head football coach, is in his second season with the Golden Flashes and has his team heading to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference championship game against Northern Illinois. Kent State is currently No. 17 in the BCS. If the Golden Flashes win, it can move them up into the top 16, and due to a clause in the BCS rules, they would play in the Orange Bowl due to the Big East Champion not being ranked above them.
The recognition for Hazell's success has not gone unnoticed. This week, he was named the conference coach of the year and might be taking his team on a trip to South Beach to face a team in the ACC or SEC, based on how championship Friday and Saturday goes.
This is hard to believe. A year ago, Kent State was 5-7. The Golden Flashes were the laughing stock of the MAC over the past several years. This season, they will play in their third bowl game in school history.
While there is negativity in the firing of Jon Embree, the great story out of Kent should be getting more attention. Why are we not giving it more attention? Is it because Colorado plays in a big BCS conference? Because nobody cares about the MAC? Anyone want to answer why?
A "Rooney Rule" should and needs to be pushed for college football in the near future, but give credit where it's due. Hats off to Darrell Hazell. While everyone grimaces at the idea of the Golden Flashes playing in a BCS bowl, acknowledge what Hazell has done at Kent State. Perhaps Colorado can learn how to turn around their program like Kent has.
What To Be Thankful For
Every year on this day, we tell everyone what we're thankful for. About 99% of us say we're thankful for the family and friends who are in our lives (for better or worse).
It's been a great week to be a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After last Saturday's BCS shake up, there are some people Notre Dame fans should be thankful for on this Thanksgiving.
Be thankful for Stanford and Baylor. Without those two schools pulling upsets of the previous No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country, it would be a nerve racking final two weeks of the college football season. The Irish control their own destiny now. Then again, they play USC. Nothing's guaranteed.
Be thankful for ESPN's Rick Reilly. Back in August, Reilly wrote a column that claimed Notre Dame was irrelevant. Irish fans can be thankful that they can use Reilly as a punching bag, knowing now that he was wrong and that what he wrote in his column was irrelevant.
Be thankful for Manti Te'o. The senior linebacker could have gone to the NFL, but decided to stay. A Heisman front-runner, Te'o has been the best one of the best players in college football. The death of his grandmother and girlfriend, who both passed away within six hour of each other, was a challenge that Manti overcame. He played one of the best games of his career against Michigan on the same day as his girlfriend's funeral. He is the all-around player Notre Dame looks for when they recruit. There may never be another player like him in South Bend.
Be thankful for Tommy Rees. Yes, Tommy Rees. Everett Golson has played well as a redshirt freshman. But there were times early on in the year when Rees came to the rescue. Most importantly, the final drive that set up a game-winning field goal against Purdue in week 2. Golson is better than Rees in most aspects of the position, but be thankful the Irish have a backup with game experience.
Be thankful for defense. How long has it been since Notre Dame has had a defense like this? The Irish only giving up an average of 10.1 points per game and have not given up an offensive touchdown in seven games this season. Without this defense, the Irish might be a 7-4 team right now.
There are other things to be thankful for during this season of Notre Dame football. Enjoy your day today, and get ready for what should be an always interesting game against USC.
It's rare that you hear Notre Dame is the top ranked team in the country. Being in South Bend for another Senior Day that had the Irish looking to finish undefeated at home for the first time since 1998. While that was nice, the path to the National Championship game hanging on the hope that Kansas State or Oregon would lose one of their two final games.
From 3:30pm to 11:30pm, Notre Dame was able to take care of business and then watch Kansas State and Oregon play simultaneously that night. The result was one me and my family didn't expect.
Let's take a look back at what happened in South Bend Saturday night.
3:30-5pm: Notre Dame is able to jump out to a 21-0 lead against the Demon Deacons. While the fans start to feel more comfortable, knowing it will not be a close game like Pitt was, the game on everyone's mind is USC-UCLA (for now). They announce that UCLA holds an early 17-0 lead over the Trojans. Some in the crowd cheer, unaware of how the BCS works despite their hatred of USC. The Irish are up 31-0 at the half.
5:00-6:45pm: The Irish put up another touchdown with Tommy Rees in the game at quarterback. The backup squads get in and so do the rest of the seniors. Coach Kelly didn't put Rudy in. HIGHLIGHT OF THE HALF: Notre Dame Stadium revolutionizes "the wave" by creating two different waves that collided together and kept going. There are some smart kids at that school.
After leaving the stadium and attending postgame mass, we rush to find a place to watch the Kansas State-Baylor and Oregon-Stanford games. Like everyone else in the college football world, we are shocked to see Baylor is beating the Wildcats by two scores. Stanford and Oregon are tied 7-7.
The talk begins around the table. "What if Kansas State and Oregon both lose?"
Let's wind the clock back for a moment. My dad, uncles and grandfather, along with some other memorable characters, have seen the best and worst of Irish football at Notre Dame Stadium. The last time Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 in the nation, they saw Boston College kick a game-winning field goal to upset the top ranked Irish in 1993. So it has been a lot of "what could've been" and "maybe next time" with this group for almost two decades. Trying to understand the feeling of going to bed that night the top team in college football was hard to wrap our heads around.
So, getting back to the scene at the sports bar. Baylor is starting to pull away, especially after an 80-yard touchdown run by Lache Seastrunk gave the Bears a 52-24 lead, and sealed the upset win.
"Well, we know we're number two" was the saying being thrown around at the table. On the television just right of the screen with Kansas State, Stanford's catch was under review, and later ruled a touchdown. We had overtime in Eugene. The top spot was still up for grabs.
Stanford wins the toss. The Cardinal force the Ducks to try a field goal. Alejandro Maldonado's kick kisses the left goal post. Now Stanford is a field goal or touchdown away from putting the Irish at No. 1.
"Can you believe this?" I said with an excited tone. Williamson's game-winning field goal for Stanford had almost all of us out of our seats at the restaurant celebrating a rival's victory.
There we were. In Mishawaka, a town right next to South Bend, watching the road to the BCS National Championship get a little easier for Notre Dame around 11:30pm Saturday night.
In eight hours, the college football landscape was turned upside down. The "#1" sign is pulled out of storage for the first time in 19 years and back on top of Grace Hall, and we were there in the area as the events of that afternoon and evening unfolded.
Gotta love college football.
Notre Dame Trip: Live Blog
A weekend many in college football will not forget as #3 Notre Dame wins and the top two fall within minutes of each other last night.
Below are some pictures around campus and inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday...
11:40pm: Oregon and Kansas State both lose! Notre Dame is the projected #1.
Tough to get service inside the stadium. Here are pictures from Notre Dame's 38-0 win.
The Notre Dame bookstore. It's Black Friday during every Saturday home game.
10:55am: Good morning from South Bend.
Senior captain Manti Te'o addressed the crowd at the pep rally tonight. Manti got emotional during his speech.
5:41pm: Football team enters the Pavilion.
4:27pm: Doors open at the Joyce Center
Miami Marlins Pyramid Scheme
Is it odd that I remember the events of November 3, 2007 like it was yesterday? It was a cold, sunny day in western Pennsylvania. I had just played my final high school football game ever. We had just lost the night before to Bethel Park 31-20. We were on the front cover of the sports section of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. My Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who had beaten Navy 46 straight times, lost in overtime to the Midshipmen 46-44, ending the streak and falling to 1-8. It didn't help, especially since I was banged up from the night before, and had been at the E.R. getting my arm looked at in the morning (just as bruised elbow, I was fine).
It was also the last time Lock Haven's football team won a game before Saturday. I don't remember hearing about it, but when I see the date when they last came out victorious, I remembered it in great detail tonight after hearing about their most recent victory.
52 straight losses. Think about it. The fifth year seniors on that Bald Eagle squad have lost every game they have ever played before playing lowly Cheyney, the "Haven of the East" at home to finish what could've been another 0-11 season. You could call this the "Toilet Bowl" of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, while Shippensburg and Indiana (PA) faced off for the PSAC title. Maybe the Bald Eagles will pass the unflattering torch off to the Wolves, who have been just as mediocre, only able to drum up at least one win per year.
The last team to suffer a loss to Lock Haven was Clarion all those years ago. It is the longest known losing streak in Division II, a milestone that gets you national attention from ESPN, and Deadspin. You made it Lock Haven! It may not be the best way to get national media attention, but you did it. Go crazy, take down a goal post or two, go streaking across campus, burn a couch (maybe not). How the program did not implode after the fourth year of losing baffles me. A demotion to Division III might've been in order after a while.
For the Haven, the last home game of the season since 2008 has probably been the biggest game for that football team. Those Bald Eagle players who are graduating will remember this game for the rest of their lives. The returning undergrads will be riding a one game winning streak into 2013. Head coach John Allen can tell high school football players that he is making progress in building a winning program.
So I will keep Saturday, November 10, 2012 in my thoughts and where I was and what I was doing when Lock Haven won the battle of the PSAC's two worst teams. A wins a win. I'll leave it at that.
Dedicated to my fraternity brother Joey, who requested a post about Lock Haven's first win in over five years. Joey, here ya go! A.E.K.D.B.
SENECA VALLEY WILL PLAY NORTH ALLEGHENY NEXT WEEK IN THE SEMIFINALS
Gallagher Podcast: Episode 1
Topics include college football's top four teams, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington and its effects on the NFL's substance abuse policy, and how much would it cost to put the name of your business on Wrigley Field?
College Football's Fab Four
A long time back, the Beatles were the fab four. John, Paul, Ringo and George. Each different from the other one. College football's top four teams in the BCS standings are currently undefeated. So why not see which Beatle Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame are like.
(1)Alabama: Paul McCartney
Like Sir Paul, Alabama has been the most successful out of the group. A two minute drive to beat LSU in Death Valley Saturday was like when McCartney plays "Hey Jude" for the 1000th time, it never gets old. They seem to be the most stable out of the four. As long as they don't think they're bigger than Jesus, they are more Paul than John in this case, especially with how Nick Saban is.
(2)Kansas State: John Lennon
The Wildcats are an inspiration this season, much like Lennon was an inspiration to so many people. Kansas State is in a position that they have not been in. If they win out, they are most likely in the title game. As long as they don't go "Yoko" in the final three weeks, the top four won't fall apart.
(3)Oregon: Ringo Starr
The Ducks are like Ringo because they beat the drum loudly to make their case for why they should be in the top two. Much like Ringo, Oregon feels like they don't get as much credit for their production and contribution to the F.B.S. They're exciting, but are caught in the background. They keep winning, they'll get more credit.
(4)Notre Dame: George Harrison
The Irish could be any of the four Beatles, but we'll say they are more George Harrison in this seasons scenario. Notre Dame is always making a contribution to the college football landscape. Harrison, the bands lead guitarist, contributed some popular songs to the group's albums during their time together. Notre Dame's contribution is not as liked as Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" was, but they make the season more interesting when they play well. Their close wins at home could write an interesting song for the end of the season.
For some Beatles fans, you may not agree with how the teams were matched with each band member. Alabama could be John Lennon, Kansas State could be George, and maybe some in Irish nation would claim Notre Dame is more of a Ringo.
When you think about it, the argument about which Beatle they are is just like trying to predict which two of the four undefeated teams will be standing at #1 and #2 come next month.
Upon the announcement that the 2013 NHL Winter Classic would be held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, it was going to be the biggest display of the annual outdoor show the league had to date.
The perfect storm was set. Two original six teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs (yes, a Canadian team for the first time) and the Red Wings, playing in front of over 110,000 fans to ring in another new year. HBO's cameras would be following both teams around leading up to the game, giving us an inside look at Brian Burke's struggle to make the Leafs a contender again. One of the many stories to follow during Leafs-Wings 24/7. Don't forget the jerseys too. Both teams with long histories, will unveil another jersey they would wear on January 1 and sell to the fans. How about the alumni game? Yes! Oh Yes! The greats from both teams coming back to play against each other! Yes!
Too bad the lockout killed the excitement....and the game.
While both sides can't come to an agreement on a new deal, with one side being as ridiculous as the other, the big event could have been the leverage the owners needed to reach an agreement by November. The threat of cancelling the Winter Classic did not prove to be enough for both sides to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement. Millions of dollars have been lost already with no hockey going on. Ann Arbor just lost millions of dollars in revenue. Hopefully, the town gets to still host the game in 2014, if there is one.
Although the game has been cancelled, does this send a message that the entire season is in jeopardy? Will it be enough to get talks going again? Losing that date on the first of January is tough enough, but losing the entire season is more debilitating to the league.
There are no games in November as of now. One can only hope that the owners and players can take the time to sit down and have a longer, more productive meeting in the next few weeks, or if we are all lucky enough, days to come.
So enjoy the bowl games on New Years Day, and hopefully we have hockey back up and running by then minus the outdoor game.