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Top 5 Dynasties of the BCS Era

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Austin Mayerhofer

January 1, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO–Throughout sports history, there have been many fantastic dynasties in which a team dominated over a long period of time. Ones that come to mind for most people are the 1980’s San Francisco 49ers, the UCLA men’s basketball program, and many others. While we’re on the subject of everything BCS, I thought I’d go ahead and list my view of the best dynasties during the 16-year run of the BCS. This list is based on how much a team was winning, and the duration of that highly successful period.

1. USC Trojans (2002-2008) 82-9usc

Winning. Domination. Style. Just a few of the words that describe this amazing run from the USC Trojans, spanning a total of seven years, winning at least 11 games in each. The number of accomplishments and accolades are endless, the highlight being three Heisman trophies won (Carson Palmer 2002, Matt Leinart ’04, Reggie Bush (later vacated) ’05), two national titles won (’03 and ’04), and a Pac-10 record seven straight conference titles. The 2004 Trojans team is regarded as one of the best in college football history, going 13-0, capping the season off with a 55-19 domination of Oklahoma in the national title game. From 2003-2005 USC had a win streak of 34 games, tying a record for the longest winning streak in modern years. Lately USC’s success has been restricted by sanctions, but now with the penalties off, the Trojans should return to dominance under Steve Sarkisian.

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©Alabama Athletics

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2008-2013) 72-9

This one is the most recent dynasty and is continuing today. Nick Saban has these guys ready to play every game, in the toughest conference in the nation. The Tide haven’t won 11 games plus every year like USC has, but they have won 10+, and have a whopping three national titles. What’s crazy to think is that if Alabama beat Florida in 2008 SEC championship and Auburn not beaten them in the most amazing fashion in 2013 this team could very have won FIVE national titles in a span of six years. During this time they have also sent countless players to the NFL, and even had their first Heisman winner in school history in 2009 (Mark Ingram). A look into how dominant this team has been? In their three national title games (2009, ’12, ’13) they have outscored their opponent by an average of 22 points a game. They are currently gunning for their 4th national title in six years in 2014.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (2002-2013) 129-26

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©Ohio State Athletics

Consistency is what describes the Buckeyes. To the envy of Michigan, Ohio State has owned the Big Ten and won six conference titles during this span (it really should be seven if you count Ohio State’s 12-0 season that was barred from going to the conference championship game because of sanctions), appearing in a whopping NINE BCS bowls. However, despite Ohio State winning the 2002 National Title and Troy Smith bringing home the Heisman Trophy in ’06, this marvelous run was marked with futility in BCS bowls starting in 2006, going just 2-4 in the big games afterwards. If Ohio State had won some of those games, no doubt this would’ve been looked upon as one of the greatest dynasties in recent memory.

©Oklahoma Sooners

4. Oklahoma Sooners (2000-2008) 102-19

The Oklahoma Sooners. Where to start? Known as the biggest, baddest, team in football for most of their time, they made it to the biggest stage in football countless times, winning the national title in 2000, and then… From 2000-2002, the Sooners went 3-0 in bowl games, but 2003-2008 they were 0-5 in BCS bowl games. Still, not to take away from the Sooners, as no team looked forward to playing them. Jason White won a Heisman in ’03 and Sam Bradford followed that up, taking home the trophy in 2008. They took home a Big-12-high five conference titles, and sent many great players to the NFL. One worth noting is Adrian Peterson, a household name who took home the 2012 NFL MVP.

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©Boise State Athletics

5. Boise State Broncos (2006-2011) 73-6

The Miami Hurricanes…Florida Gators…Texas Longhorns…Boise State Broncos!? Yup, the Broncos definitely deserve some love as a top 5 dynasty during the BCS era. Looking at their resume you’d think they were in a BCS conference: 6-3 vs Top 25 opponents, 2-0 in BCS bowls, 3 perfect regular seasons. When Boise State beat Oklahoma in 2006, it signaled a change in college football, the era of the “BCS Buster”, a team from a non-AQ conference going to a BCS bowl and knocking off a high-powered AQ team. Home to the blue turf and trick plays, the Broncos went 37-1 at home during this span, their only loss coming by one point to TCU in 2011. Quarterback Kellen Moore also set an NCAA record for wins in a career, going 50-3 as a starter from 2008-11, finishing 4th in the 2010 Heisman trophy balloting and making the All-American team twice. Boise State didn’t churn out NFL players like the four schools above, but a dynasty is about winning, and boy, did the Broncos win.

Honorable Mentions:

Miami Hurricanes (2000-2003) 46-4

An amazing run, they would’ve ranked on this list if the dynasty went a bit longer. Still, the numbers are staggering. 17 first round NFL picks on the 2001 team, 34 straight wins from 2000-02, four straight Big East titles, one unbeaten title in 2000, and a whole lot of swagger.

Florida Gators (2006-2009) 48-7

The Gators went 13-1 three times, winning two national titles. The only season they didn’t go 13-1, 2007, Tim Tebow won a Heisman trophy. Go figure.

Jim Harbaugh Hire Changes College Football Landscape

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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski – USA Today Sports

Austin Mayerhofer

January 1, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO–You can all relax now. After a maddening couple of months, the Jim Harbaugh coaching rumors have finally come to a close as of Tuesday, December 30th, 2014, when he was hired as Michigan’s 20th head football coach. A Michigan Man. Throughout the season there was much speculation on whether he could co-exist with the 49ers’ front office, as it’s hard for two smarts minds to do so. Rumors throughout the season had him going to the Raiders, the Jets, to Michigan, you name it–everyone wanted Harbaugh. And for good reason, the man can build programs (or in Michigan’s case, rebuild). At FCS school San Diego he went 27-6 in three years. Upon his arrival to Stanford, the Cardinal were just 14-31 in the previous four years, but under Harbaugh’s watch Stanford improved to 29-21, improving their record every year, their best season under Harbaugh was going 12-1 and smashing Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This might sound familiar: In the 49ers’ previous four seasons before Harbaugh arrived, they went 26-38. 44-19-1 after, including three straight NFC championship game appearances, a feat unmatched by any NFL head coach in their first three seasons ever.

Now that he has returned to the college game, he figures to return Michigan to their past glory–the team with the most wins in NCAA football history (915). While the Michigan athletic department will give Harbaugh time to shape Michigan in his image, the bar is set high. Brady Hoke’s tenure was regarded as a failure after he obtained a winning percentage of .608 in four seasons. To put that in perspective, only 22 programs in NCAA football have an all-time winning percentage above .608. Lloyd Carr, Michigan’s coach from 1995-2007, compiled a record of 122-40 but was forced out because many thought Michigan was becoming mediocre. However, Harbaugh is possibly Michigan’s most celebrated hire ever, evident by his $48M contract, and one slip up won’t mean his job.

Harbaugh’s hire has a huge impact on recruiting. Last season under Hoke, Michigan’s class ranked 18th in the nation. Not bad, but not Michigan. Harbaugh’s last recruiting class at Stanford also ranked 18th in the nation. which, ironically, was a rousing success. It most definitely was, considering how tough it is to recruit to Stanford. Despite the amazing location, campus, and education, the high academic standards are what restrict the Cardinal and significantly restricts their recruiting.

According to ESPN’s Mitch Sherman, ESPN top 100 recruits CB Iman Marshall and WR Cordell Broadus are considering Michigan solely on the Michigan hire. TE Chris Clark could follow in their footsteps as well. With Harbaugh, recruits will get some of the best coaching offered, as he mixes NFL experience with college. With Stanford, he got his 2 and 3-star recruits to play above their potential, and the 4’s and rare 5-star player to maximize theirs. With the 49ers, there was talent when Harbaugh arrived, but it wasn’t the general manager or magic that took the 49ers from 2 Pro Bowlers to 9 in Harbaugh’s first season.

Harbaugh has had some issues in the past, problems with the 49ers’ head management, and he reportedly lost the locker room, but those problems should not follow him to Ann Arbor. In college, a coach has much more freedom to do what he wants compared to the NFL. In San Francisco, Harbaugh, the Yorks, and Trent Baalke all had to work together to keep the team successful, while in Michigan he will have almost full power to do whatever he wants. As for any locker room problems, Harbaugh’s shtick will work at the college game as he’ll have 3-4 years to work with his players and then they’ll be gone.

The 49ers management will deeply miss Harbaugh. Image Credit: @49ers on twitter

The next couple of years should be very interesting. It’s an exciting time in Ann Arbor, and for good reason. This hire changes the entire college football landscape, and Michigan could very well become a playoff contender in the next couple of years. The battles between Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Harbaugh (Michigan) have the potential to be a storied rivalry between some of the game’s best minds. There hasn’t been such an anticipated hire since Nick Saban at Alabama in 2007. If this hire is anything close to that one, college football beware—Michigan is back.

The Future of U.S. Soccer

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Austin Mayerhofer

January 5, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO–What a year for U.S. soccer. Low expectations were put upon them after their calamitous draw for the 2014 World Cup–a group which contained European powerhouses Germany and Portugal, along with Ghana, who had beaten the U.S. in each of the previous two World Cups. Thanks to a boost from Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, and some of the younger players, The Yanks were able to make it out of the group over Portugal and Ghana, eventually losing to Belgium in the round of 16. It marked the first time in history that the United States made it out of the group stage in two consecutive World Cups.

Unfortunately, the tremendous World Cup run was followed with a series of disappointing results, most recently a 4-1 loss at the hands of Ireland, bearing no resemblance to the team that played just six months ago. Granted, the squad that played against Ireland only contained 10 of the 23 players that made the trek to the World Cup, but it posed some serious questions on what the future of U.S. Soccer would look like. Will this nation ever become a soccer powerhouse? Just as it looked like the Americans would be serious contenders for 2018, they drop 13 spots in the rankings in a span of six months, from #15 to #28.

While this article reports on the weaknesses of the present, there is a plethora of young talent in Europe and the MLS, including three players that everyone should keep an eye on for the next two years or so.

3. Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund) Age: 22

He might be the best player on this list, but he’s injured at the moment, having torn his lateral meniscus in a friendly against Ecuador in October for the United States. Before his injury, though, he was a very promising player and was working up his way through the ranks for Borussia Dortmund, one of the best teams in the German Bundesliga. In 2012, on loan with club St. Pauli from Hoffenheim, he tallied 15 appearances for the team, helping them place 4th in the 2nd tier Bundesliga (2. Bundesliga). His impact on the team was noted, as Dortmund II signed him for a transfer fee of 120,000 €, for who he appeared in 10 league games, scoring two goals for the club. He was one of the most promising young players in the Dortmund academies and in a matter of just three months, made his first team debut against Vfb Stuttgart, contributing 20 minutes. It’ll be interesting to see how he returns from his injury and elevates Dortmund’s play, who shockingly is placed 17th out of 18 teams in the current standings.

2. DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham) Age: 21

DeAndre Yedlin - Azerbaijan v United States

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Probably the U.S. player who elevated his status most out of anyone on the roster during the World Cup, Yedlin possesses outstanding speed and quickness to be able to win 50/50 balls and make dangerous runs down the wing. As a defender, he is a bit raw, but with the right training at Tottenham he could become a world class RB in the coming years. Coming on in the 32nd minute as a sub against Belgium, he played extremely well, taking on Eden Hazard and even beating him at times. Goal.com rated him the 2nd best American player for that game, noting “His pace was vital to his team and he supplied good crosses from the right.”

1. Julian Green (Hamburger SV, loan from Munich) Age: 19

source: AP

The German-American picked the United States over Die Mannschaft, a decision that made Jurgen Klinsmann salivate. It can be debated upon whether Green is the most talented of the three or not, but he certainly has the most intriguing statistics. For Bayern Munich II, Munich’s B-team, he scored 15 goals in 23 caps to help his team win the Regionalliga Bayern, a 4th level league in the German football league system. He made his professional debut for the first team on November 27th, 2013, replacing Mario Gotze in a Champions League game in the 88th minute. The young winger still has a long way to go before he is a top-level player in Europe, however, as he lacks strength with his 5’8″, 132 lb build. The sky is the limit for this youngster.

Of course, there are many more players who should make an impact in the 2018 World Cup. Gedion Zelalem is expected to gain U.S. citizenship soon, a 17-year old midfielder for Arsenal who is starting to compete for first team minutes. John Brooks and Timothy Chandler get good time for their respective clubs, Hertha and Frankfurt. The MLS is quickly growing into a solid league and developing better talent every year. Depending on how this talent develops, U.S. could go from a round of 16 team to a dark-horse finalist. Stay tuned.

What’s new in Sports

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Royals Win World Series

It will be the replay that is played over and over again all winter, the haunting image that will make each bitterly cold day all the more bitter in New York.

The man in the gray jersey dances off third base, then makes a mad dash for home. The unsuspecting man in the blue jersey clutches the ball, hurries his throw, and misses his target badly.

With a good throw, the New York Mets win, and they remain alive in the World Series. With this throw, they set themselves up for a sudden and painful end.

The Kansas City Royals won their first World Series championship since 1985, forcing extra innings with that daring play by Eric Hosmer and winning the game in the 12th inning.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez was the World Series most valuable player, one year after making the final out of the Game 7 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

“In 2015, Kansas City is No. 1,” Perez said. “Who cares about what happened last year?”

On Sunday night, the final score was 7-2. The Royals scored the winning run on a pinch-hit single by Christian Colon, a reserve infielder who had not batted in the postseason. Colon, a Cal State Fullerton product drafted three picks ahead of Matt Harvey in 2010, secured his place in Royals immortality by driving in pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson with the winning run.

The Royals won the series in five games. They became the first team to win three World Series games in which they trailed entering the eighth inning.

Royals Manager Ned Yost, roundly ridiculed at the start of last year’s playoffs, has the best record of anyone to manage at least 20 postseason games. He has more postseason victories than Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny and Mike Scioscia.

The Mets staggered back into their clubhouse for the final time this season, replaying the scenes that will nag at them all winter.

Should they have pulled Harvey after eight shutout innings and let their closer start the ninth? They did not, so they rushed Jeurys Familia into the middle of an inning, with the tying run 180 feet from home plate, and that tying run scored.

Mets Manager Terry Collins told Harvey he was done after eight, then let Harvey persuade him otherwise.

“I let my heart get in the way of my gut,” Collins said.

In explaining the decision, Collins used the words “my fault” three times.

Should they have pulled Yoenis Cespedes after he fouled a pitch off his kneecap and crumpled to the ground in pain? They had the bases loaded and none out in the sixth inning, with a chance to blow the game open. Cespedes could not even walk, let alone run. He popped out, then limped off the field.

And, of course, how could first baseman Lucas Duda make such a poor throw in the ninth inning? That will be Duda’s Bill Buckner moment, because a good throw would have nailed Hosmer and sent the series back to Kansas City.

Duda acknowledged he was surprised when Hosmer raced home.

“It takes some [guts] to do what he did,” Duda said. “The game was on the line. He went for it.”

As the Mets batted in the bottom of the eighth, with Familia at the ready, the crowd left no doubt about its desire: “We Want Harvey.”

They got Harvey, who sprinted to the mound for the ninth inning, then gave up a walk to Lorenzo Cain and an RBI double to Hosmer.

The shutout was gone. The tying run was in scoring position. The Mets turned to Familia.

Mike Moustakas grounded out, with Hosmer taking third.

Salvador Perez then grounded to third base, where David Wright looked Hosmer back toward third. But Wright was not all that close to the base, so Hosmer did not return all the way to the bag.

Said Wright: “I tried my best to hold him, to freeze him at third base. Obviously, that’s tough to do with nobody over there covering.”

Wright threw to first, Hosmer took off for home, and Duda’s throw home was hurried and off line. Hosmer jumped up in celebration. The Royals, three outs from getting shut out and one run from losing, had tied the score, 2-2.

Duda’s throw went wide, way wide.

“I’ve got to make a better throw. No excuses,” Duda said. “I’m not going to sit here and make excuses about grip. There’s no excuses about what happened.”

That left Familia as the first pitcher to blow three saves in a World Series. He blew five saves in the regular season.

“Baseball is a crazy game,” Familia said.

Royally so.

Sports Insider Predictions

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TEAM W L PCT.
*Thierry D. 78 32 .709
Brandon W. 77 33 .700
Joseph D. 73 37 .664
Mr. Colvig 57 29 .663
Austin M. 70 40 .636
Dani G. 68 41 .624
Ethan M. 62 38 .620
Andrew F. 68 42 .618
*Kim R. 30 25 .545
Victor I. 7 3 .700
  • This semester for Sports Discussion Club has arrived to a conclusion. Thierry has won first semester predictions. We will resume next semester with a new foundation in which Thierry starts off each discussion because if the standings are any guide, he is the most knowledgeable.
  • FIRST PLACE AWARD: THIERRY D.
  • A FOR EFFORT AWARD: KIM R.