NCAA

Heisman Watch: Meet Robert Griffin III

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Heisman Watch: Meet Robert Griffin III

With four of the top seven teams in the country losing over the weekend, you better believe there was significant shakeup in both the BCS standings and Heisman Watch.

After his unbelievable performance against No. 5 Oklahoma, I couldn't resist the temptation anymore -- Robert Griffin III deserves to be in the top spot this week.

Can he legitimately win the award?

Rank Player, Position, School Recent Game Stats Season Stats Remaining Games 1 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 21-34, 479 yards, 4 TD, 72 rush yards in 45-38 win over No. 5 Oklahoma 245-336 (73), 3572 yards, 33 TD, 5 INT, 550 rush yards, 5 rush TD Texas Tech, No. 25 Texas 2 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 32 rush, 175 yards, 2 TD, rec. TD in 45-21 win over Georgia Southern 236 rush, 1380 yards (5.8 YPC), 322 rec. yards, 2 rec. TD At No. 24 Auburn 3 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 20-30, 257 yards, 2 TD, INT in 31-28 win over California 241-343, 2937 yards, 31 TD, 8 INT, 2 rush TD No. 22 Notre Dame 4 Case Keenum, QB, Houston 30-45, 318 yards, TD, rush TD in 37-7 win over SMU 309-421 (73), 4269 yards, 38 TD, 3 INT At Tulsa, Conf. USA title game (if beat Tulsa) 5 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 28-40, 366 yards, 4 TD, INT in 52-35 win at San Diego State 248-336 (74), 2915 yards, 35 TD, 6 INT Wyoming, New Mexico
On the bubble: Brandon WeedenQBOklahoma State, Montee BallRBWisconsin, Matt BarkleyQBUSC

Analysis:

1) Robert Griffin III: He burst onto the scene after throwing for 359 yards and five touchdowns in Baylor's upset victory over TCU back in Week 1, but fell off the radar as the Bears lost three of four games in October. After his jaw-dropping performance on Saturday, he can't be ignored anymore. For those of you who don't know his life story: Griffin III graduated high school a semester early and enrolled at Baylor for the 2008 Semester. He came in 1st place in the 400-meter hurdles at the Big 12 Championships and 3rd in the NCAA. He then started 11 games at QB as a true freshman, tore his ACL in the team's third game as a sophomore (redshirted), but bounced back the following year by combining for over 4100 yards and 30 touchdowns, while leading Baylor to its first bowl game since 1994. Now, he has Baylor at No. 18 in the BCS, and would be a lock to win the trophy if the Bears could play any defense.
2) Trent Richardson: When Richardson was a freshman, he backed up the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. In 14 games, Ingram carried the ball 271 times to Richardson's 145 (not bad for a backup, huh?). In 2010, Ingram received 158 carries, and Richardson 112. Now that Richardson is the No. 1 back, he already has more touchdowns (22) in 11 games, than Ingram had in 14 games in 2009. If Ingram won the Heisman with those numbers, than Richardson should follow suit, right? Not necessarily. The competition is better this year than it was in 2009, when Stanford's Toby Gerhart came in second (on a team that was 8-4 entering the Heisman ceremony), and Texas' Colt McCoy came in third (3,869 total yards, 30 total touchdowns, 12 INT -- he probably wouldn't even be in the top 10 this year). Richardson needs a monster performance against Auburn, and less than stellar performances from the competition to have a chance.

3) Andrew Luck: After he led Stanford to a come-from-behind win over USC on October 29, Luck was considered a lock to take home the hardware. Then came Phil Simms' comment that 'Luck doesn't make big-time NFL throws," followed by Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian's declaration that he would take USC's Matt Barkley over Luck if he had the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. In Stanford's last three games, Luck has completed 66 of his passes (72 first 8 games), averaged 240 passing yards per game (277 first 8 games) and thrown four interceptions (four in the first eight games combined). Are Simms and Sarkisian correct? Or could it be that the three games were played under wet and sloppy field conditions? Either way, Luck needs a 300-plus yard, four touchdowns, zero interceptions performance against Notre Dame on Saturday to regain the momentum he lost the past few weeks. If he delivers and Stanford wins, I think he will ultimately win.4) Case Keenum: Based on how he was playing in weeks prior, Keenum had a "down" game on Saturday with just one touchdown. However, he broke yet another NCAA record -- career completions. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell completed 1,403 passes from 2005-2008, but he now stands in second behind Keenum's 1,427. The sixth-year senior should have three more games to ensure nobody in the future can catch him, but the Cougars face a tough Tulsa team on the road this Saturday, with a birth in the Conference USA Championship Game on the line. A win and Houston will most likely face Southern Miss, and should they win that, an automatic birth in a BCS game. After coming this far, please don't fall short, Case.5) Kellen Moore: The southpaw from Prosser, Washington just won't go away. His efficiency is off the charts, but the loss to TCU derailed his chance of winning the trophy. He's a huge reason why Boise State has become one of the most successful programs in the country over the past five seasons, and he should be rewarded with a trip to New York City. I don't see Wyoming, or New Mexico preventing that from happening.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

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AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

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USATSI

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
 
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
 
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
 
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
 
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
 
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.