Friday, November 19, 2010

What 2 Watch 4

CFRT Editor

Here are three things you just might see during your college football Saturday today.

Wisconsin coach Bret Beilema will likely try to put a foot up Michigan in a BIG way today.

More Run-It-Up Beilema?

Wisconsin Badgers coach Bret Beilema may not be winning any popularity contests, but his apparent strategy of running up the score lately has earned enough BCS votes to push the Badgers to a No.7 ranking.
Earlier in the season, Wisconsin put up 70 against out manned Austin Peay, and just last week, the Badgers pounded Indiana 83-20.
But it was their 41-23 rout of Minnesota that got everyone's attention that Beilema was trying to score as many points as he possibly could each week - everyone including "former" Minnesota coach Tim Brewster.
Up 41-16, with just 6:39 remaining in the game and the slim possibility of losing, Beilema ordered his offense to go for a two-point conversion.
The attempt failed, but it succeeded in angering Brewster, who confronted Beilema after the game.
Brewster lost his job a couple of weeks later.
That may be bad news for Michigan today when the Badgers head into the Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines sport the 100th worst total defense in major college football, and give up a 93rd worst 32.1 points per game.
Get that scoreboard ready Big House!

The Pony Express, consisting of Craig James (left) and Eric Dickerson, became one of college football's most dynamic duos between 1979 and 1982.
Robbing the Pony Express?

This may be going a little too far back for some of you, but the Southern Methodist University football team actually used to be a national contender before an NCAA-imposed "Death Penalty" in 1987 effectively wiped them off the college football map.
The entire 1987 season was cancelled and the Mustangs were only allowed to play seven games in 1988 - and all of those were away games so the teams SMU had scheduled wouldn't be financially effected by the Mustangs' sanctions.
However, prior to the the NCAA crackdown, SMU's history on the football field included 10 Southwest Conference Championships and even a national championship in 1935.
And, they also produced one of the best runningback tandems in the history of the sport.
Between 1979 and 1982, Eric Dickerson and Craig James - who were dubbed The Pony Express - set the record for most yards gained by two teammates.
Dickerson (a member of the NFL Hall of Fame) rushed for 4,550 yards and James (an ABC/ESPN college football analyst) rushed for 3,743 yards, setting the record at 8,193 career yards for two players on one team.
Look for that record - one that has been untouched for 28 years - to be threatened, if not broken today.
Heading into their game against New Mexico State (2-8), Nevada's Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick are just 241 yards away from the record.
Taua has 4,108 career yards and Kaepernick has 3,855.
But, and perhaps more importantly, New Mexico State's defense is ranked 99th in the nation against the run, giving up an average of 195.1 yards per game.
Meanwhile, No.18 Nevada (9-1) - led by Taua and Kaepernick, of course - is third in the country in rushing, averaging 310.5 yards per game.

Notre Dame and Army will renew an old rivalry and tradition when they play at Yankee Stadium tonight.
A Touchdown in Deep Center field?

It would be odd enough to have just one major college football game going on in a historical baseball stadium this weekend, let alone the two we'll see today.
For the first time since 1969, a football game will be played inside New York's Yankee Stadium (but to get really technical, this is actually the first time ever since the new stadium - with the old stadium's namesake - only opened in 2009).
And for the first time since 1970, a football game will be played inside Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Notre Dame and Army played some huge games at Yankee Stadium with national championship implications.
Notre Dame will revive one of the sport's more storied rivalries when they take on Army in Yankee Stadium.
The two teams first met in 1913, and played in the old Yankee Stadium a total of 38 times between 1925 and 1969.
Yankee Stadium will also hold the newly-created Pinstripe Bowl on December 30 this year (bring your parkas).
Northwestern and Illinois will play at Wrigley Field today, where a football game of any kind hasn't been played since 1970.
The NFL's Chicago Bears called Wrigley their home from 1921 to 1970, before relocating to the "old" Soldier Field.

Today will mark the first time in 72 years a college football game will be played inside Chicago's Wrigley Field.

This isn't the first college football game to be played at Wrigley - DePaul actually played their football games there until 1938 - but it will be the first of its kind in 72 years.
Another interesting thing to watch for - that you may never see again unless the game is being held at Wrigley again - is the shape of the field will dictate some odd changes to how the game will be played. 

The Chicago Bears played their home games at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970, before relocating to Soldier Field.

In order to keep the playing field at regulation dimensions, the normal safety clearances for each end zone to the walls behind them is considerably less than usual.
Earlier this week, the east/right field end zone came under scrutiny as it is wedged extremely close to the right field wall (less than 12 inches in some spots), forcing the goal post to be hung from the right field wall in order to fit. 

The right field wall at Wrigley is less than 12 inches from the end zone in some spots.

Despite double-thick padding, the decision was made that all offensive possessions for both teams will play in the direction of the west end zone.
So that means no wind advantage or disadvantage for either team in the "Windy City."

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