I'm sure that most of us read Smart Football, but in case anyone missed it, Chris Brown (=Smart Football) has a great article on the Baylor offense and its architect, Art Briles:
There's some really interesting stuff here. For me, this was the big eye-opener:
Superficially, Baylor is yet another shotgun spread that pushes the tempo and rarely huddles. But when you watch the Bears, it's evident that this is an offense unlike the others. While more and more college and NFL teams are adopting the same up-tempo spread philosophy Briles used at Stephenville, Baylor has stayed one step ahead by taking these ideas — from formations to play-calling aggressiveness to pace — to their extremes.
The first thing to notice when watching Baylor is the splits of the wide receivers. While most teams put their wide receivers on the numbers, the Bears line theirs up well outside, sometimes directly on the sideline. By doing this, they force defenses to account for the entire width of the field.
The fascinating advantage of Baylor's splits is the effect they have on pass coverage. Defenses now use lots of complex, hybrid pass coverages, but most still reduce to a basic distinction: Is it man-to-man or zone? By taking such wide splits, Baylor puts every pass defender on an island, transforming most zone defenses into a type of de facto one-on-one man coverage.
And this play (play-action inverted veer, with the inside receiver running a slant-and-go) is just plain nasty:
I was just curious if anyone knew the answer to this question. Josh Gordon was just waiting for that Michigan offer up until signing day of 2009, almost begging for it. He ended up going to Baylor and is having a pretty solid rookie campaign after going in the supplemental draft. He wasn't the original Sad Josh, was he?
I'm sure you're all as excited as I am about the Sugar Bowl. But I'm sure you've all been pestered by friend/family/co-workers about how M is only there because it's all about the money. Or they have various other gripes. I've decided to classify these gripes, and share my unsolicited opinion with you on the internet. I'll approach this as a conversation with each of the various butthurt partisans.
(Since we are the lowest ranked BCS team in, I'll compare everyone's resume to ours)
QUIT YOUR WHINING
Sparty - I'd almost feel bad for you if you were passed over for a BCS game by us. But you weren't - you were outside of the top 14 and therefore ineligible. Why were you outside the top 14, when we both had the same number of losses and you won the head-to-head? And won the division over us? No, not the polls - we were ranked within a spot of each other in all of them. It was the computers. Why? You see, while you beat us by 14, you lost to Nebraska by 21, who lost to us by 28. Triangle of doom. Shall we look at the other loss? Ours was an ugly one in the division to Iowa - by 8 points. Which gave you the edge in the B1G West. Yours was an even uglier thumping at the hands of Notre Dame. Yes, yes, you beat Wiscy on a Hail Mary at home. And then lost to them by 3 at a neutral site. Want to count it as a tie against a top ten team? Doesn't change the fact that If you had shown up at all in that ND game, you may have had a legitimate gripe. You didn't, so you don't. Enjoy Florida. I hear it's nice this time of year.
Oklahoma - Yes, your TT loss doesn't look that much worse than our Iowa loss. And your Baylor loss looks better than our Sparty loss. But the way you got absolutely stomped in the biggest game of your season is way uglier than anything that happened to us. Also, you're 9-3 after that one. You don't deserve anything more than the Copper Bowl.
South Carolina and Arkansas - Nobody wants to hear it. No, the limit on only two teams from a conference isn't holding you back - it keeps you from playing each other. Look, even in your good years nobody wants to see two teams from the same conference play in a bowl game against each other. And the SEC didn't have a good year - Arkansas, your best win is against the Cocks, and your escape against A&M is not as pretty as our escape against Notre Dame. And you got throttled in your two losses - you got beat worse by Bama than Penn State did. Gamecocks, your best win was against Clemson - and your losses against Arkansas and Auburn are comparable to our losses against Sparty and Iowa. But we pretty much thumped everyone else on our schedule except our rivals. Your wins were...uninspiring. The system isn't holding you back at all - your own failures on the field are keeping you out of the party. And no SEC partisans are ever allowed to complain about the BCS again, unless it's talking about how biased pollsters are towards their own.
Boise State - I usually defend you guys, but I'm not going to this time. Yes, you've got only 1 loss, and it was a close one to TCU - better looking than either of our losses alone, and certainly prettier than both put together. And your win over Georgia is comparable to our win over Nebraska. But here's the thing - your next best win was either Tulsa, Wyoming, or SDSU. SDSU was at the bottom of our resume for wins. In fact, it's so far down there we don't even think about where it is. Your second best win is our 7th or 8th best? I've got to go with our resume on this, even with the uglier losses.
Southern Miss - When both of your losses are to teams without winning records, then you have not proven you belong in the BCS. That interview gave me a good laugh though.
YOU MAYBE HAVE A POINT
TCU - I love how you guys do what you do, and you had an amazing season. Beating Boise on the blue turf and winning the Mountain West is nothing to smirk at. And while your win @Boise may be better than ours against Nebraska, and your losses are comparable to ours, I've got to go with the same argument I had against Boise - the meat of your schedule is the dregs of ours. What's that you say? Why is West Virginia ahead of you? That's a good point, but you guys know how it is in the Mountain West. That's why you're leaving next year. Good luck in the B12.
Baylor - I've had a lot of fun watching you guys, and I'm rooting for RG3 for the Heisman. And your resume isn't bad - beating three ranked teams is far better than us, and getting blown out by OK St is not so bad. Losing to K St by one isn't bad at all either. Getting blown out by A&M is way worse than anything that happened to us though. So yea, your resume is close to ours. But there's a couple of other guys in your conference who belong more, so I don't feel so bad that we're in over you.
I FEEL FOR YOU GUYS BUT YOUR CONSOLATION ISN'T SO BAD
Kansas State - You guys should be in a BCS game. Yes, your blowout at home by OU is bad, but your second loss was by seven @the #2 team in the country. You totally have an argument that "it's all about the money." But hey now, don't look at US like that - we weren't the last ones in. That would be the Hokies you have beef with - and truth be told, I think you'd probably travel to NOLA better than them anyway.
But really, getting a chance to play an overrated #6 SEC team in the Cotton Bowl - a game that was "major" back in the Bowl Coalition days - that's a major opportunity for respect, and pretty much a BCS game anyway. I mean, without the massive payout. But that would've gone to Texas as blood money anyway, right?
DEATH TO THE BCS
Oklahoma State - What can anybody say, guys. You got hosed by Alabama. They have two wins over the top 25, you have four. They lost to the #1 team at home, and you lost to an unranked team on the road - your loss is a little worse, your wins are better. No, just cause they blew out a weak schedule doesn't mean anything - you should have gotten the nod from resume alone.
What makes it ridiculous and insufferable is the obvious - this is a rematch, they didn't win their division, they're playing a team from their conference. I know you've been over it a hundred times over in your own heads. I hope you guys beat Stanford and win the Grantland Rice and the Macarthur trophies. I hope Alabama gets crushed.
But really, your gripe is way more legitimate than K-State's. It's probably the most legitimate gripe I've ever heard with regards to the BCS - yes, more legit than Oregon, Auburn, and USC have had in the past. While I've never loved the BCS, I never thought it was so broken as to screw you over for a less deserving team because they came in second in a conference that was good the last couple of years. The system is broken and you've been royally screwed by it, and will watch them play a regional scrimmage.
I'm way more excited for your matchup against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl than I am for the event that precedes LSU's deserved coronation. Good luck, and prove to the nation that you deserve a shot.
Baylor destroyed Stephen F. Austin on Saturday by the score of 48-0, with RGIII having another incredible game. However there was a 41 minute lightning delay in the first half and the game was called after three quarters - kind of.
During the delay the coaches agreed to skip halftime and reduce the final two quarters to 12 minutes each - is that even allowed? The game continued in the second half, but with 3 minutes left in the (shortened) third quarter more lightning was approaching the stadium. The two coaches met at midfield and agreed to let the clock run out in the quarter (without running any plays).
As we know after the WMU game, since three quarters were completed the game is official according to NCAA rules and all stats will apparently be kept. This seems ridiculous to me because the game really only lasted 39 minutes, 42 including the 3 minute runoff. Compare this to the UM-WMU game where 43 1/2 minutes were completed, but the stats were not kept by the NCAA.
So WTF NCAA? Why should Baylor get to keep their stats but not Michigan? Why couldn't the last minute and a half of the 3Q magically run off the clock for the UM-WMU game? I WANT ANSWERS.