With a resounding 48-29 victory over an upstart Arizona squad, the Oregon Ducks cemented their status as the number one team in college football and came within one victory of a berth in the BCS Championship Game.
One of the more intriguing side stories to this game was Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. Upset over an obvious penalty on his defense, Stoops engaged in one of the more embarrassing and demeaning rants a program has had to endure this season. It is no secret Stoops has a temper, but his actions towards the referees were unacceptable.
Later, television crews had to blur out his mouth when showing replays due to the extreme amount of profanity he was using. That is simply unacceptable. To compound matters, his own players had to twice restrain him from referees. To not control your temper like that, perhaps he should not be in coaching.
There is no doubt Stoops can coach. He has made Arizona relevant, something not easily replicated. However, much like Nebraka's Bo Pelini, there has to be a line you cannot cross. Both Stoops and Pelini crossed that line.
Passion in coaching is one thing. Absolute rudeness and lack of civility is another. Watching the replay, it was fairly obvious (if you were sitting in the stadium) there was helmet to helmet contact on LaMichael James, the star Oregon running back. Arguing about that penalty in the manner Stoops did was ridiculous.
The ironic thing is, Oregon would fumble the ball back to Arizona, they would get the ball back, and they still were routed by 19 points.
One last point on Stoops -- it is pretty bad when the entire stadium is booing the opposing head coach for his derogatory behavior. True, Oregonians were jaded in light of the fake cramping during the Cal game, but a 6 year old would see Stoops was out of line.
I would encourage the University of Arizona to, at the very least, do what Nebraska did to Pelini. Have your school president and athletic director make a statement condemning the actions of your head coach. Stoops represents not only his football team, but the entire University of Arizona. Cursing and acting like a madman does nothing to build character in your team.
A head coach has a duty not only to coach football, but help turn 18-23 year olds into men. Stoops does not seem to be setting a good example in that area.
Pelini is just as fiery as Stoops. Pelini recently, in a 9-6 Nebraska loss, berated officials in much the same manner. Classless. Shameful. Embarrassing. Nebraska and Arizona should take more proactive steps in dealing with their coaches. I would recommend nothing less than a one game suspension, possibly even a bowl suspension.
Take a page out of the Tennessee athletic department. While no one will ever claim the Volunteers are a clean basketball program, at the very least they slapped head coach Bruce Pearl with massive penalties. The NCAA may be next as well. But at least Tennessee fans can rest comfortably knowing their athletic department does not tolerate breaking the rules.
You may argue the situation is vastly different, and it is. The similarities though relate to the student athletes. Coach with class during games and lead with character. College coaches today are forsaking the character aspect because they feel the need to win outweighs all.
One example of a coach who values character is Miami head coach Randy Shannon. He was fired today, coming off a 7-5 season. He did clean up the Hurricanes program, but never made the team relevant nationally.
That is what makes college coaching such a cutthroat profession. How many programs today are 100% clean and have classy head coaches.
A few come to mind in college basketball -- Butler and Duke. Both teams competed for the national championship last season, and their head coaches are absolutely full of class.
Now, back to the 2010 college football season. Barring a mild upset next week in the SEC title game, Oregon will square off against the Auburn Tigers for the 2010-2011 BCS Championship. South Carolina has history on their side though, already defeating top ranked Alabama this season. Should Coach Spurrier pull this one out, TCU in all likelihood would play Oregon.
Oregon is virtually assured of an undefeated regular season after the Oregon State result today. Stanford decimated the Beavers 38-0, the same Stanford team Oregon routed earlier this season.
Should Oregon lose -- the possibility does exist since the game is in Corvallis -- things will get very interesting. The LSU and Boise State losses mean Oregon will be 1, Auburn 2, and TCU 3. Could Stanford actually get a shot at the national title?
An Oregon and Auburn loss would mean Stanford and TCU would be playing for the championship. Talk about a disaster for not only television, but also Glendale, Arizona. Even if Wisconsin slipped in ahead of Stanford, no one outside California, Texas, or Wisconsin would be interested in any of those match ups.
So, my predictions for next weekend are as follow:
Oregon 48 Oregon St. 13
Auburn 42 South Carolina 31
BCS Championship Game - Oregon 56 Auburn 52
Heisman Trophy Winner - Cam Newton
Heisman Trophy Runner Up - LaMichael James
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