Thursday, January 6, 2005

Behind the Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Sorry folks, but the NFL playoff picture will have to be clearly explained next week. At this point, even in lieu of Sunday’s games being completed, it is still muddled.

I am sure you remember the scenario – if the St. Louis Rams beat the N.J. Nets and Seattle ties and/or loses, and Minnesota loses or defects to the Canadian League, and a disgruntled weatherman in Iowa predicts a sandstorm, then St. Loo will clinch the division. (Sure, a little bit out there, but you get the picture.) Sunday the picture was about as clear as the BCS. What we know for sure is that the Wild Card games will be played on next Saturday and Sunday.

Before we get into whose SEC teams disappointed whom in the bowling picture, I thought it just might be a little appropriate to visit the “coaching carousel” for this season one last time as a parting shot.

There were 21 head coaching changes in division 1-A. Of that number, just one retired (Lou Holtz). Ten resigned – meaning that they left for greener pastures (and we don’t mean the grass kind!). Ten were given the Donald Trump edict. But not to worry, most of those who were fired have already found new berths.

We had two SEC teams which acquitted themselves quite well in their respective bowls. Tennessee put on a clinic for the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl and Georgia made it by Wisconsin in the Outback. The LSU Tigers didn’t give their coach the send-off he was desiring. Nick Saban was beaten by Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. It is rumored that Saban was overheard as saying, “What, me worry?” Probably already basking in all that greenery and sunshine in Miami.

Florida was caught by the Hurricanes in the Peach Bowl. In both of the losses by Florida and LSU, they led in times of possession and first downs. Don’t you just love those hidden statistics?

I have no idea what Alabama did in the Music City Bowl.

If you were looking for the traditional shoot-outs in the bowl games, then you should have tuned to the Rose and Liberty bowls. In the former, the Texas Longhorns had never been to a Rose Bowl in their 112 years history. Can you believe that? Anyway they have lifetime bragging rights after taking down Michigan, which practically lives in the Rose.

In the latter, Louisville handed Boise its first loss of the season. That was just a plain, good football game.

By this time Wednesday morning, there will be a new national champion (or two). And the people in Auburn will still have heartburn along with the rest of us.


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