December 18, 2008

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl - Memphis (6-6) vs South Florida (7-5) (St. Petersburg December 20, 2008 4:30pm ESPN2)

Dan: Memphis +12.5

The game is in St. Petersburg. But can USF really beat anyone (even Memphis) by two touchdowns? Memphis hasn’t really been blown out much this year at all, and USF has lost outright 4 of its last 5. Take the points.

USF 17 Memphis 10

Matt: USF (-12.5)

South Florida gets a home game for their bowl, and I really don’t think that Memphis will put up much of a fight. One of the guys I go to school with who went to and is from Memphis was speculating/wishing that Thomas Tuberville would consider going to Memphis to revive the football program. I don’t see it happening, but he would be able to recruit the south and team with Calipari to form one of the better coaching duos in the country. In fact, besides the Urban / Billy Donovan combo, I really can’t think of any better duo in the country than a Tuperville / Coach Cal combo. Maybe Mack Brown and Rick Barnes?

USF 34 Memphis 20

Mike: Memphis (+12.5)

Once again, I must resort to the highly unscientific technique of attempting to predict the relative levels of motivation for two teams with which I am quite unfamiliar. Using this approach, I like the visiting Tigers to harness their motivation edge against a South Florida team that has not appeared to play with much hunger this year.

South Florida 31 Memphis 28

Doug: Memphis +12.5

The inaugural magicJack bowl comes to you live from lovely St. Petersburg, Florida. The 2nd place team from the Conference USA against the 6th place team from the Big East. Dear god, how is this bowl game even happening?? And what the heck is magicJack?? Am I completely out of touch in admitting that I have no idea what magicJack is?? Good place for a bowl game though. Maybe grab a hotel room on Treasure Island, get to the beach, slip down to Sarasota for breakfast at the Broken Egg, head over to the Trop to apologize to all things Scott Kazmir, and then watch some turrrrible college football.

South Florida stinks, and I can’t take them to win this game by over 12 points. They went 2-5 in the Big East this year. I don’t know what happened to them, but they completely fell off the map this year. Not sure if it means that South Florida is going to start trending downward again as a program or if it is just a blip in the road. The Big East is counting on South Florida as a future anchor for the league, so I hope they aren’t going to go in the tank now. With their access to talent, they should be a pretty good team every year.

This bowl season is going to be important for the Big East. If the Big East teams all get plowed this year, they could be under some serious heat going into the offseason. When you have a league like the Mountain West that is producing 2-3 ranked teams just about every year nowadays, there might be some clamoring to boot the Big East out of the favored BCS status that they currently enjoy. I have to say that it was concerning that Cincinnati went out to Hawaii and very nearly lost that game. They really should have lost to Hawaii, which would have been a lethal blow to the league. The conference champion losing to a middle-of-the-pack WAC team. Yikes.

South Florida 23 Memphis 17


k said...

Mack Brown and Rick Barnes??? Come on. How about Butch Davis and Roy Williams or Jim Tressel and Thad Matta (no bias there). Interesting topic.

Doug said...

This could be a great debate. I'd have to think about it some more.

What about Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan?? That would be my vote. There are three national titles between those two (about to be four).

Another sleeper school might be Bob Stoops and Jeff Capel. OU is ranked #2 in football and #4 in basketball. Not too shabby. That Castiglione guy is the best athletic director in all of sports.

Some other sleepers might be USC (Pete Caroll and Tim Floyd), Oklahoma State (Mike Gundy and dare I say Travis Ford), Michigan State (Izzo and Dantonio), Tennessee (Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin if he pans out), and maybe even Michigan someday (Rich Rodriguez and John Beilein).

One combo that would be nowhere to be found on my list would be Charlie Weis and Mike Brey. And I'm saying that as someone who wants to build a statue of Mike Brey on campus.

My gut rankings for now on this list:

1) Florida (Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan)
2) North Carolina (Butch Davis and Roy Williams)
3) Ohio State (Jim Tressel and Thad Matta)
4) Texas (Mack Brown and Rick Barnes)
5) Oklahoma (Bob Stoops and Jeff Capel)
6) Michigan State (Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio)

I put UNC at #2 because Roy Williams is the best coach/program manager in the country maybe in any sport. Butch Davis is a weaker link there, but he can probably win ACC titles at UNC at some point. I went back and forth on #3 and #4, but there's a part of me that thinks Mack Brown and Rick Barnes are both slightly (and I emphasize slightly) overrated coaches. Those two are working at talent factories, and yet Mack Brown has 1 Big 12 championship in a decade and Barnes has only been to 1 Final Four I believe. They both have great records obviously, but both those guys have more resources and talent at their disposal than just about anyone out there. Then again, both of them have great career records, and Rick Barnes has been to 6 Sweet 16s. I'm torn on that one.

Tom Izzo has been to probably 5 Final Fours or so (if not more) with half the resources that Rick Barnes has. And Mike Brey is 2-0 against Rick Barnes with much less talent.

Tressel owns the Big Ten, and I think the world of Thad Matta. He's been to an Elite Eight at Xavier, won the Big 10 twice already in four years, and has been to the NCAA Title Game. He doesn't have the career record that Barnes has considering that Barnes has been a head coach for 20 years, but Matta has done a lot in a relatively short period of time.

Now if Texas blows Ohio State out of the building in the Fiesta Bowl, I'm going to have to reconsider.

Jimmy said...

Love this topic and will throw in some more logs to the fire. In no particular order, some combos that would be somewhere in a top 25 of dual coach rankings:

UCLA - Howland & Neuheisel
UConn - Calhoun & Edsall
Louisville - Pitino & Kragthorpe
Wake Forest - Grobe & Gaudio (they sound like a contemporary male pop duo, like Eager & Jones)
Duke - Coach K & Cutcliffe
Bama - Saban & Gootfried
Maryland - Williams & Friedgen
Pitt - Dixon & Wannstedt
Kansas - Self & Mangino
Oregon - Belotti & Kent (quite underrated)
Wisconsin - Ryan & Bielema
GT - Johnson & Hewitt (for all your tax needs)

Just misses the cut:
ND - Weis & Brey
Minnesota - Brewster & Tubby
Cuse - Boeheim & Marrone
Arkansas - Heath & Petrino
BC - Skinner & Jags
Cincy - Kelly & Cronin (doubles as the local pub after the game)
Memphis - Calipari & West (actually had to look up Tommy West)
South Carolina - Spurrier & Odom

Most Overrated? Try Iowa with Alford & Ferentz. Or Illinois with Weber & Zook.

Matt said...

Glad I stumbled upon an interesting discussion piece. I wrote that bowl preview in about two minutes, and obviously missed the big one with Roy Williams and Butch Davis. I think we can all agree that there is a pretty big gap after Urban / Billy.

I can see why you Ohio guys would put the Matta/Tressel combo ahead of Texas, and I respect that opinion. But I will stand by the Texas guys as #3. Barnes has totally elevated that Texas program to another level since taking over.

Jimmy, your list just illustrates how big of a dropoff there is after the first couple of schools. When guys like Marrone and Kragthorpe are showing up on the list, you know you are digging deep.