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CFN Analysis - The Wild & Crazy Alamo

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 29, 2011


The CFN Instant Analysis on one of the wildest bowl games ever.

CFN Analysis   

Baylor 67, Washington 56
 
 

By Pete Fiutak

- Save the defense for the big bowl games. Alabama vs. LSU can be a gripping slugfest, but when it comes to minor bowls, this is exactly what you want.

- This game might have had the worst linebacking play in the history of college football. The linebackers were never in position and the safeties couldn’t make a tackle.

- If you told Washington before the game that the offense would come up with 620 yards, 56 points, and Keith Price would outplay Robert Griffin, it would’ve taken it in a heartbeat.

- This was the John Isner vs. Nicholas Mahut of college football.

- If I’m Washington, I blow off the rough defensive performance and chalk it up to a wacky bowl game against a high-powered offense. Instead, I get pumped up about next year and the idea that Price might have just started his Heisman campaign. If Chris Polk returns – which he shouldn’t – the offense will be devastating.

- The star of this game might have been Robert Griffin. No, the other one. Right guard Robert T. Griffin, left guard Cameron Kaufhold, and center Philip Blake obliterated the Washington defensive interior. There’s a reason Terrance Ganaway had ten-mile wide holes to run through.

- Art Briles has been considered for some bigger coaching jobs, but he’s said he wants to stay around Baylor and make the program special. He’s doing that. As good as RGIII was – and he was his typical brilliant self – you don’t crank out 777 yards of total offense and 482 rushing yards because of one player. The system worked.

- And Washington’s back seven couldn’t do a thing.

- Of course, I never advocate trying to hurt a college player, but at some point, shouldn’t Washington have sold out and blasted Griffin – legally - to at least make him a little bit uncomfortable. There wasn’t any pressure on him whatsoever, but Baylor was able to get some shots in on Price.

- Okay, BYU and Tulsa. You’re up next in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces. Good luck with that.

By Richard Cirminiello 

Too easy. Way too easy. Hey, I like a shootout as much as the next guy, but you can have too much of a good thing, even points. The skill from the offenses was sensational, but the defenses were FCS-caliber … and that’s being generous. I know everyone will trip over each other to label this Alamo Bowl an “instant classic”, but that’s a reach considering how dreadful the two defenses performed.

If this was your first exposure to the game of college football, you’d swear No. 17 in white, not No. 10 in green, was the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. Washington QB Keith Price was brilliant in a losing cause, accounting for seven touchdowns, but also playing with tremendous poise. The sophomore didn’t just hang with Robert Griffin III—he outplayed him.

Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway is going to make a lot of big plays—and big paychecks—at the next level. His speed in a low-to-the-ground, 240-pound frame is going to floor NFL scouts and GMs at February’s Combine. He’s like a stocky LeGarrette Blount when he builds a head of steam, and starts trucking through the hole.

Which of RG3’s teammates were most responsible for his Heisman Trophy, his dynamite skill players, his underrated O-line or a Baylor defense that made certain every game of 2011 was an end-to-end track meet?

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator Nick Holt are very tight, but you have to start wondering if changes on the D staff are becoming necessary in Seattle. Sure, no one expected the Huskies to blank high-flying Baylor, but 67 points and three 100-yard rushers? It was actually the second time in 2011 that U-Dub allowed an opponent to surpass the 60-point threshold, putting Holt further under the microscope.



By Matt Zemek


-- What makes for a great football game? We’ve had this discussion earlier in the 2011 college football season, and the simple point to appreciate is that “great football” involves “greatness” in all three phases of play. LSU-Alabama featured high-level defense. The Syracuse-Pittsburgh game earlier this season featured some impressive placekicking by the Panthers. The 2011 Alamo Bowl offered a buffet of pyrotechnics, a nonstop orgy of offense for a party-minded crowd in San Antonio. All three of those games were and are one-note disappointments. It really shouldn’t be too difficult to appreciate the following statement: Any sport – if played at its best – needs to call upon the full skill sets of accomplished athletes, who successfully adjust to the needs of a given moment. If any game is all-offense, all-defense, or all-special teams to the exclusion of the other two phases of competition, it’s not much of a game. It’s not much fun when offenses fail to challenge defenses, and it’s not very compelling when two defenses don matador outfits for 60 minutes in a bowl game, proving to the nation that they did absolutely nothing with their 15 extra days of preparation time. The best football is – get this! – elevated in all aspects of competition. We all have stylistic preferences, but the truest form of athletic greatness encompasses all aspects of performance.

-- Baylor never should have scored that last touchdown. With 2:28 left in regulation, Washington could have scored in 45 seconds (which wouldn’t have been unusual at all, given the game flow) and then had more than enough time to get the ball back. The Huskies also could have onside kicked if they had been able to score a touchdown and pull within five points of Baylor (67-62) or three (67-64, with a successful 2-point try). Coaches simply do not understand endgame management. Players need to be told not to score in such situations.

-- The amount of money Nick Holt is making as Washington’s defensive coordinator is too high… unless Holt gets fired in the coming weeks.

-- America, you knew about Robert Griffin III, but now you know about Keith Price. This is the quarterback the Pac-12 saw all season long. Yes, he was this good for most of the season; only injuries held him back.

-- This is why you don’t gamble on sports, either. Best wishes for a safe and saner 2012 if you lost money with Washington plus the nine and a half points.

-- This was a rough night for the officiating crew, not just the two defenses and their coordinators: The officials missed a clear false start on Washington when the Huskies faced 4th and 1 in their own territory midway through the fourth quarter. A few minutes later, Washington failed on a different fourth down play, but a Baylor safety hit a UW receiver well after a pass sailed by. The play should have merited a personal-foul penalty for a late hit, but no flag was called. Rules are in the rulebook to be enforced.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

- Before we go any further, let’s get this out of the way...9-6 games and ridiculous shootouts like the Alamo Bowl are both extremely entertaining, and both contain their fair share of “good” and “bad” football. Neither is better than the other, and just because Baylor and Washington scored a combined 123 points doesn’t mean than it’s ONLY because of bad defense. Good and bad football was played in both instances.

- But seriously, I have never seen wide receivers THAT open...ever.

- Keith Price out RG3ed Robert Griffin III. What an amazing performance by the Washington quarterback, which culminated with one of the best stretches for the pylon that you will ever see midway through the fourth quarter. In a game like this, it’s a shame that somebody has to lose, and Price didn’t deserve to lose.

- Washington plays at LSU next season. The Husky offense vs. LSU’s defense? That will be interesting.

- Baylor had three players rush for more than 100 yards, and none of them were named “Robert Griffin III.” Think about that...

- If this was Griffin’s last game in college, it was quite a show. He won the Heisman despite being a non-factor for the majority of the season. Not many people really paid attention to him until late. Despite being outplayed by Price, it’s clear that Griffin has a very bright future in the NFL.

- But come back to Baylor, please. That’d be fun.

- Meaningless bowl games take a lot of heat, but for three straight nights, we’ve had wildly entertaining football. I’m okay with it.

By Russ Mitchell

- No truth to the rumor that CFB tried an interesting experiment with the 2011 Alamo Bowl and elected to play without Defense Coordinators.

- This game failed as a football contest, and succeeded as a freak show.

- If you thought this was good football, you’re certifiable. The only thing interesting about this game was how completely putrid the defense was. Actually, there wasn’t even an attempt at playing defense. Receivers were consistently WIDE OPEN on crossing routes. Running backs regularly went untouched on their way to the end zone.

- I’ve watched intramural flag football games that were better football than this.

- That Washington and Baylor played defense this poorly in a game named after the Battle of the Alamo is insulting.

- RGIII after the game said, “This had to be one of the most watched TV games of all times.” People stop to watch a train wreck too, Robert. People stop to gawk at car accidents. This was the football equivalent of a car wreck.

- Only the refs could stop touchdowns from being scored.

- With that slop fest, Baylor gets its tenth win, which ties a school record. They also have a good chance of finishing in the top ten, which would be the first time in school history. But...

- Baylor only played two teams all season that had a defense that finished inside the top 60: Texas and TCU. No joke.

- Baylor’s defense entered this game ranked 114th out of 120. Washington’s was 94th.

- Wrote it before the Heisman ceremony and will write it again: if RGIII had played on a team with even a decent defense, there’s a chance he would have gone undefeated.

- Washington sophomore quarterback Keith Price out RGIII’d RGIII. 23/37, 438 yards and 4 TDs, to go with 3 running touchdowns (8 ypc). Seven touchdowns in one game. That’s ridiculous, even for Playstation.

Follow me on Twitter @RussMitchellCFB

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

- This was clearly the most exciting bowl game of the season. The teams combined for almost 1400 yards of total offense (a new bowl record), 17 TDs (also a bowl record) and 123 points.

- Congratulations to the Bears for their second 10-win season in school history, and their first since 1980. The 1980 squad featured a dominating defense led by future Hall-of-Famer Mike Singletary.

- Baylor’s offensive line made the difference in the game. Sure, they struggled at times (especially in the second quarter) with the Washington pass rush. But the big uglies paved the way for 482 yards rushing, and a whopping 9.2 yards per carry. More importantly, they did not allow a sack in the second half.

- The game ball belongs to Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway. Ganaway ran right through the Husky defense all night long, gaining 200 yards on 21 carries, and 5 TDs.

- Robert Griffin III had another outstanding game, completing 24 of 33 passes for 295 yards and a TD. He also ran for 55 yards and an additional score.

- Even though Griffin helped spark the Bears to another come-from-behind win, he should stay remain in school for another year to fine-tune his passing skills. Ask Kevin Kolb about the advantages of playing Art Briles offense for four years.

- Who was the nation’s top newcomer at the QB position? Washington’s Keith Price, who finished third behind Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley in Pac 12 in passing efficiency. Prince capped off his first season as a starter by accounting for seven TDs – four passing and three rushing. If healthy, he will push Barkley for all-Pac 12 honors next season.

- It will be interesting to see if Washington makes any coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball next season. UW struggled against the run the second half of the season, and had allowed over 4.5 yards per carry coming into tonight’s game. With no noticeable improvement in run defense since Sarkisian took over as head coach, some sort of change seems inevitable.

- To be fair, the Huskies actually played excellent defense during the second quarter. Washington limited Baylor to just 88 yards, and only gave up a FG right before halftime. Unfortunately, they allowed almost 700 yards in the other three stanzas.

Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Everyone is certainly going to remember the Alamo after this one as both teams left their defenses back at the hotel. Were these to MAC schools going at it, or was this really a Big Twelve vs. Pac-10 match up. It’d be tough to dust off my NCAA PS3 game and have a shoot out like this one.

- Is the pocket passer going the way of the dinosaur? This game showcased two of the brightest dual threat QBs, and the college landscape is beginning to be dotted with them. It’s almost the norm rather than the exception anymore.

- Speaking of which, you could make a solid argument that Keith Price outplayed Heisman winner RG3 in this one--that is, until it mattered. Folks, he’s only a sophomore.....To Be Continued.

- Isn’t it ironic that this game was won by one of the few defensive stops in the game by Baylor?

- Okay Robert Griffin III, are you going or are you staying? This much is clear--college football will be much more entertaining if he comes back. We all would be appreciative of watching RG3 for one more season.

- Throw traditional coaching decisions out the window in a game like this. Both coaches had absolutely no faith in their defense (and for good reason), but to go for it on fourth down down by just one score so deep in your own territory, and then again on a fourth and eight when there is still time left to get the ball back speaks volumes for the fireworks being set off in this one.

- For Washington, despite the loss, Steve Sarkisian seems to have the program on the right path. It’ll be tough to beat back USC and Oregon for conference supremacy, but the Huskies look to be a program on the rise.

- Congrats Baylor on your first ten win season, and first bowl win since 1992. You could argue that the Bears are still the hottest team in the country, and it would be hard for any team to slow down the Heisman winner and his followers.