Kansas State WR Adrian Hilburn Flagged for Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Video)

We’ve seen a lot of bad calls throughout our lives as sports fans, and this certainly is up there. You don’t even have to be a Kansas State supporter to realize that the Wildcats were hosed at the end of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

In what turned out to be a highly entertaining bowl game with the teams trading scores, Kansas State scored with 1:24 left to get within two of Syracuse. Carson Coffman hit receiver Adrian Hilburn on a quick hook, and Hilburn broke a tackle turning the pass into a 30-yard touchdown. After scoring the TD, Hilburn did a salute to the crowd and then was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty pushed Kansas State back to the 18 in their two-point conversion attempt and their pass fell incomplete. Here is the Kansas State Adrian Hilburn penalty video if you haven’t seen it:

That wasn’t anything close to excessive, and it hardly was an example of a player drawing attention to himself. That certainly was a situation where I wish the referee just let it go. It was too good of a game for a key play at the end to be ruined by an official’s poor judgment.

TCU Fans Traveling Hard to Pasadena for Rose Bowl, Wisconsin Too

Because most of the early bowl games are so uninspiring, a fun game has been tracking the amount of tickets sold for each game. Several schools have struggled to sell tickets resulting in poor attendance figures for most games. One bowl game that won’t have the same issue is the Rose Bowl.

The January 1st game featuring the atypical matchup of TCU and Wisconsin should be well attended in Pasadena. The Badgers sold out their allotment of tickets early in December. TCU was not far behind. As reader Aaron Benton noted to LBS, Horned Frog fans sold out their 20,000 ticket allotment in four days.

Back when we were predicting the BCS bowl games, we called TCU an “undesirable team” because they do not travel well. Apparently that is not the case, and the reason is pretty easy to see: crappy bowl games to cap off an average season don’t pique the interest of many fans. Seeing a big-time bowl game at the end of an excellent season is an entirely different story. TCU fans are clearly amped to see if their Horned Frogs can remain unbeaten with a win in the LA-area and are paying big money to see it happen.

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State Players Not Suspended for Sugar Bowl?

The hypocrisy of the NCAA is at it again. Not much longer after they inexplicably allowed Cam Newton to remain eligible at Auburn though his father shopped him to at least one school, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season.

The players were suspended for receiving some benefits ordinary people wouldn’t have (free tattoos!), and for selling some of their swag — game jerseys and the 2008 Big Ten championship ring. That makes complete sense given the NCAA’s stance on preserving amateurism and preventing players from using their status to gain monetary advantages. But what doesn’t make sense is the punishment.

The NCAA deemed the actions of Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas bad enough to suspend them the first five games of next season (standard suspension is four, but they got an additional game for not immediately revealing their violations). If their actions were bad enough to result in a five-game suspension, then how can the NCAA justify allowing the players to be active for the Sugar Bowl? There is no answer.

The NCAA says the players were not suspended for the bowl game because they believe the players were not properly educated about violations prior to committing their actions. Who actually buys that defense? Oh I’m sorry officer, I didn’t know the speed limit in the neighborhood was only 25mph, not 60. Like players don’t know it’s against NCAA rules to sell their jerseys and rings?

The NCAA’s reasoning on the matter is inexplicable. They’ve now ruled on two high-profile cases by heavily weighting the “knowledge of the players” factor and they’re rewarding perceived innocence. It’s odd decisions like this one that leaves critics wondering how the NCAA can seemingly dole out penalties on an arbitrary “this is what we feel like doing” basis.

Utah WR DeVonte Christopher Begins Trash Talk of Boise State on Twitter

Boise State had the biggest disappointment of any team this college football season. Instead of going undefeated and playing in a BCS Bowl Game (possibly the Rose Bowl?), they lost to Nevada on two missed kicks and wound up in the lowly Las Vegas Bowl. (And don’t even try to argue that point, Broncos fans — I’ve been there). Well if Boise State was planning on sleep-walking through the game because they were disappointed, you can thank Utah for waking them up.

Utes wide receiver DeVonte’ Christopher unleashed a little trash talk on his twitter, writing “I can’t wait to get out here wit these Boise State or should I say Girlse State they a bunch of cheerleaders…lol.”

I’m guessing he must have seen some of the Boise State players around town or at events promoting their Wednesday game and became charged up. The Boise State-Utah game has nothing on the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, and they didn’t even need this barb to fire up the fans. Boise State has the biggest name amongst teams playing the first week of bowl season and the question isn’t whether or not they’re going to win, but whether they can cover the hefty 15-point spread. Let ‘em rip on Wednesday, cowgirls!

Ralph Friedgen Fired Because of Business, Not Performance

On Saturday we passed along the news that Maryland and football coach Ralph Friedgen had agreed on a buyout and that Mike Leach was the leading candidate to replace him as head football coach. The news was confirmed Monday when it was officially announced that Ralph would be fired after the team’s December 29th bowl game. As much as we respect what Mike Leach did at Texas Tech, Maryland is not a big-time program and the reality is it will be hard to outperform Friedgen.

Ralph led the Terps to seven bowl games in 10 years and five 8-win or more seasons. After a disappointing 2-10 year last season, he turned in an 8-4 year this season. In 2001, he led the Terps to their first double-digit win season since 1976, and actually accomplished the feat three straight years. So not only will I argue that Friedgen did a wonderful job at Maryland, but I’ll also say that it will be difficult to do much better than he did.

Given all that information, why did Maryland make a change? It’s pretty clear that the reason is not performance-related. In fact, athletic director Kevin Anderson confirmed the move is “a strategic business decision.” What the heck does that mean? College football teams are in the business of winning, and Friedgen won somewhere it’s not easy to win, so what did he do wrong?

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Louisville-Southern Miss Fight at Beach Bash, Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Just Got Real

What better way to draw some interest to a meaningless game like the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl than adding a little boxing press conference spice? That’s exactly what happened on Sunday in St. Petersburg at the Beach Bash which was supposed to be a fun event for Louisville and Southern Miss leading up to their bowl game on Tuesday.

Players nearly got into a brawl at the Beach Bash which had to be called early. It actually seems like the Louisville players were more to blame:

“Someone said something disrespectful, did a little jawing after the dance contest… it’s all good,” said Louisville linebacker Dexter Heyman. It’s “just a little too close to game time, ya know?”.

“They started talking trash about us being in Conference USA, [that] we can’t dance… it was stupid. We’ll do our talking on the field,” uttered one Golden Eagle who refused to be identified. “A friendly dance competition and they take it all serious? It’s ridiculous.”

I can just picture these guys pounding their chests, arguing over whose Dougie was doper, and then a brawl broke out. They do realize they’re Louisville and Southern Miss, right? They do realize nobody takes either of them seriously, right? And they do realize they’re playing in a little something called the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, right? OK, just checking, wouldn’t want them actually taking things seriously because it’s not like their game actually matters.

And if you want to know what things looked like at the Beach Bash, here’s a video:

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Maryland Agrees to Buyout with Ralph Friedgen, Targeting Mike Leach

Mike Leach desperately wants to coach college football again. His reputation took a huge hit after a concussion scandal that occurred when he was the head coach at Texas Tech.  Donald Trump thinks Leach deserves another shot, as evidence by the letter he sent the president of the University of Miami.  It looks like Leach may finally get his chance.

According to InsideMDSports.com, University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen has verbally agreed to let the university buy out his contract, meaning he will not return in 2011.  Maryland is said to be very interested in hiring Leach to be its next head coach and plans on moving quickly to bring him in.

Leach would be a great hire for Maryland.  He compiled an 84-43 record at Texas Tech from 2000-2009 and is one of the best known offensive minds out there.  Leach was fired as a result of accusations that he mistreated his players, not because he was an ineffective coach.  Bringing in Leach would allow Maryland to sign a big-time coach to lead a program that has not yet reached its potential.

Friedgen had the Terps headed in the right direction, but Leach could do better.  With the likes of Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech in the ACC, Maryland would do well to bring in a coach who knows how to put points on the board.  Assuming the player mistreatment accusations don’t effect Leach’s ability to recruit, he should be able to bring in some of the top offensive high school prospects based on his history with Texas Tech.  If he’s interested in the job — which he should be considering there aren’t many offers out there for his services — Maryland should act quickly and bring Leach on board.