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  • Ohio State’s trailer for the Penn State game is really good

    Ohio State-Penn State is not a rivalry, although it’s felt like one at times. Penn State essentially won the 2005 Big Ten championship with a 17-10 win over No. 6 Ohio State on Oct. 8, and did the same in 2008 when the third-ranked Nittany Lions beat the 10th-ranked Buckeyes 13-6 in the Horseshoe. Ohio State returned the favor a year later with a 24-7 win over No. 11 Penn State in Happy Valley.

    Penn State isn’t challenging for the Big Ten title this season, but it’s the non-rivalry match-ups between powerhouses that make college football such a treat. Maybe it’s just me, but I have just as much fun watching Penn State-Ohio State, Nebraska-Michigan, USC-Oregon and Georgia-LSU as any rivalry week games.

    Saturday’s game also serves as the first of many (we hope) meetings between Urban Meyer and James Franklin.

    The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

  • Video: Marcus Mariota as Super Mario, as narrated by Gus Johnson

    Well, this video is just all sorts of insanity.

    It’s Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota animated as Super Mario, narrated by Gus Johnson.

    Nice work by the folks at Fox Sports Live.

  • The 49ers take you through a day in the life of Jim Harbaugh


    If you’ve ever sat and wondered what it would be like to shadow an NFL head coach for a day, San Francisco senior manager of social media Scott Kegley has you covered in a recent piece on Jim Harbaugh.

    Kegley follows Harbaugh from the time sun comes up when he takes out the trash, to dinner consisting of a hot dog and pop from a vendor.

    Most of the piece focuses on his life outside of the office, with his family and young children, but there is one brief note on his time at the facility, with the most interesting part being his interaction with his players during lunch.

    “While at lunch, Harbaugh often makes it a point to sit with various players each day. He’s genuinely engaged, often laughing, and one can assume the conversations are rarely about the game. He tries to get to know his players on a personal level. This day was no different, as he mingled with some of the players.” Kegley points out in the article.

    The full piece is something you really have to read in its entirety to appreciate. It’s rare to get this kind of access.

    Read all of it here.

  • SMU is floating $32 million for Mack Brown? We don’t buy it

    On Thursday, Dallas Morning News SMU beat writer Bill Nichols wrote a column exploring the prime candidates for the Mustangs’ vacant head coaching position. While 11 coaches are mentioned toward the bottom, only one name makes the opening paragraphs: Mack Brown.

    Here’s what Nicholls wrote:

    Thus, it’s not shocking that SMU officials have already had preliminary discussions with former Texas coach Mack Brown, floating $4 million annually over eight years, sources say. Brown, 63, fits the Larry Brown model — a national championship winner who can land star prospects on name alone.

    There are a number of reasons this doesn’t make sense. The first is that if Mack Brown was seriously offered $32 million, he would have accepted it. Brown has stated he’s waiting until December to weigh his options, but he has nothing holding him back from accepting an offer on the table. The job is officially open. He’s not in coaching. What’s holding him back?

    And nothing about the offer makes sense, either. SMU is essentially bidding against itself, and it’s going to make him one of the 10 highest paid coaches in college football?

    Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports floated the idea that some at SMU believe hiring Brown would be a step toward an eventual Big 12 invite. This is going to read harsher than intended because SMU is an attractive school that, when the football program is cranking at full capacity, is a solid member of the American Athletic Conference, but SMU is one of the last schools in America the Big 12 would look to add should it choose to expand (which it isn’t). The conference already carries the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Adding SMU would be a completely redundant move. Some in Big 12 land were upset the conference invited TCU for that very reason, and the Horned Frogs had one of the best programs in college football at the time.

    We wrote in earlier this month that hiring Brown would be a mistake for SMU, and in September listed Chad Morris as the primary candidate. Nothing has changed on either front.

    As always, we’ll keep you updated as the story unfolds.

  • Dana Holgorsen on offensive innovation: “Those things typically happen at Happy Hour”


    Dana Holgorsen has certainly lived up to his mad scientist reputation this season, pushing West Virginia to sixth nationally in both passing and total offense this season as the Mountaineers are off to a 5-2 start after busting then-No. 4 Baylor for 456 yards and 33 first downs in a 41-27 upset victory.

    Holgo joined’s College Football 24/7 Podcast this week and was asked where he got his inspiration for some of his wackier ideas.

    “Those things typically happen at Happy Hour or at retreats,” Holgorsen said. “That’s the honest truth, too. We had a staff retreat at Oklahoma State, we went to somebody’s little cabin out there in the country and me and Joe Wickline were sitting there talking ball, there’s nothing else to do at these retreats, so we were talking ball and I kind of threw it out there to him, the whole diamond thing, and Joe’s one of the most innovative offensive line creators in college football to this day, he’s since moved on to the University of Texas. We thought about it and we were like, ‘Hey, that’s a pretty good idea.’ So we started dabbling with it in August it was a huge part of why Justin Blackmon caught like 26 touchdown passes that year.”

    Many of Holgorsen’s craziest ideas ended up on the cutting room floor, though.

    “I’ve had more bad ideas than I’ve had good ideas, I can assure you of that. Usually sometimes I’ll bring something up at staff meetings or retreats or like I said these Happy Hours or just talking ball at conventions and people will look at me like, ‘You’ve just absolutely lost your mind.’ Who knows? If we’d had tried some of those things it might’ve worked out.”

    As Holgorsen advances, though, he reins himself in closer to the center of offensive convention. The Mountaineers ran the ball 50 times and threw it 35 times in the Baylor win.

    “It forces them to play run in the box more than anything,” he said. “If they don’t get those safeties involved then those four of five yard chunks are going to be 10 or 15 yard chunks. We’ve got a solid offensive line, probably two of the better guards in the country. We’re able to run the ball behind them. If they don’t commit to stoping it then we’re just going to keep running it.”

    For the year, West Virginia has run the ball 317 times compared to 295 passes. That 2011 Oklahoma State team Holgorsen referenced earlier called 595 passes compared to 392 runs. Leach’s current Washington State team, by the way, has called an astounding 440 passes against 133 rusn.

    “My days of the old Air Raid offense with Hal Mumme, Mike Leach, I don’t know if they would claim me anymore because I’m calling so many run plays, but we’re still throwing for a whole bunch of yards so we’ve found a different ways of doing things.”

    To listen to the full thing, click here. Holgo jumps on at about the 26-minute mark, and Mark Helfrich hops on after that.