Friday, April 1, 2011

You guys ever think "What If?" I do all the time.

The Top “What If” Moments in College Football 2010
-Patrick Woo

Any college football fans out there? Here's something for you. I've put together what I think are the top ten "What If" moments from the 2010 college football season. Here they are, counting down.

Your thoughts are always welcome.

10. Kellen Moore leads the game-winning touchdown drive against Virginia Tech and derails the Hokies’ season from the start. (Sept. 6)
What if it didn’t happen?

Virginia Tech lost a heartbreaker to Boise State and when you lose your first game in college football it’s hard to block out the fact that the rest of the season will be an uphill battle for the BCS. The loss to Boise State hit the Hokies’ mentality and they came out flat after a short week in their next game against James Madison. The Hokies were upset 21-16. Looking back now, if the Madison loss had never happened, Virginia Tech would have been widely considered the best one-loss team in the nation for much of the season.

9. Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden gets injured against Minnesota. (Oct. 23)
What if it didn’t happen?

Granted, it was against the Minnesota defense, but true freshman Rob Bolden was finally having a great game and got help from the running game as well. Then Bolden got hit and suffered a concussion and was relieved by Matt McGloin. The rest is history for Penn State fans as McGloin became the full-time starter for the rest of the year, Bolden is displeased that he did not see playing time when he got healthy, and now there is major QB drama in Happy Valley. If Bolden never gets hurt, does he finish out the season playing well and carry that over to 2011? We can only speculate.

8. Vick Ballard has a career day against Arkansas…then fumbles it away. (Nov. 20)
What if it didn’t happen?

Vick Ballard put together career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns for Mississipi State against Arkansas en route to almost pulling off the upset. The turn of events at the end of this one were nothing short of dramatic as Arkansas RB Knile Davis fumbled the ball to give Mississippi State the opportunity to tie the game and send it into overtime (ironically Davis also set his career high in rushing in this game). Then in overtime, the Bulldogs were in perfect position to win the game and Ballard headed for the endzone and was tackled at the 1-yard line and fumbled the ball through the endzone. Arkansas got the ball and won the game. Had Ballard not fumbled the ball and Mississippi State retained possession, it’s safe to say they would have won and Arkansas would not have played in the Sugar Bowl, perhaps opening the door for Boise State or Michigan State to get into a BCS Bowl and now we know how ugly it would’ve been if it was Michigan State.

7. Danny O’Brien throws a crucial interception against Florida State. (Nov. 20)
What if it didn’t happen?

Maryland needed one win to clinch the ACC Coastal Division a year after going 2-10. They outplayed Florida State for most of the game before letting the Seminoles take the lead in the second half. Down 23-16, Maryland put together one last drive and Danny O’Brien threw an interception in the endzone. Had that not happened, the game would have gone to overtime and we can only speculate from there but if Maryland would have won that game, they would have represented the Division in the ACC Championship Game, but more importantly for their fans, would have been in a better bowl game than the Military Bowl.

6. Arkansas blocks Ohio State’s punt in the Sugar Bowl…and falls on it? (Jan. 4)
What if it didn’t happen?

Arkansas needed a defensive stop and then a miraculous blocked punt to have a chance to beat Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Well, it happened. Arkansas got the blocked punt and had a clear path to the endzone had the Razorbacks scooped the ball up and ran forward. However, they did what they are fundamentally taught to do and fell on the ball to save the possession. You can’t blame them for it but Ryan Mallett went on to throw an interception and Arkansas lost. It’s hard to get the idea out your mind that Arkansas had the Sugar Bowl win gift wrapped with that punt block and rejected it.

5. Ryan Clarke fumbles the ball at the goal-line and UConn wins. (Oct. 29)
What if it didn’t happen?

West Virginia had never lost to UConn in six meetings but found themselves in a physical Big East battle. The game went to overtime tied at 13-13 and Ryan Clarke picked the worst time for his first career fumble as he coughed in up in overtime and Lawrence Wilson recovered it for UConn. Next in overtime, UConn’s Dave Teggart kicked the game-winning 27-yard field goal. Looking back at how the Big East played out now, this was the moment where UConn gained the right to play in the Fiesta Bowl representing the Big East. It could’ve been West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl beating Oklahoma (okay…more speculating…) or at the very least, it would have been a more entertaining Fiesta Bowl.

4. Jerrod Johnson throws one away. (Sept. 30)
What if it didn’t happen?

It was the first conference game of the season for both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M so what’s the big deal? Turns out that this game defined the Big 12 South Champion.
The two teams were tied at 35-35 and Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson was simply throwing the ball away but it was intercepted by Oklahoma State and they got possession with just over a minute to go and ran the hurry-up offense to perfection and set up Dan Bailey’s game-winning field goal as time expired.

The Big 12 South Division ended up in a three-way tie between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and the Aggies beat the Sooners so they would have won the tiebreaker and represented the South in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game. In other words, Oklahoma would have never made the BCS and the Fiesta Bowl would have hosted Nebraska or Texas A&M instead. Oh my, how things could have been.

3. Auburn survives thanks to two Clemson miscues. (Sept. 19)
What if it didn’t happen?

Can we imagine how the BCS would have shaped out if Auburn did not go undefeated? Clemson had a chance to end Auburn’s 13-game win streak against them but gave away two opportunities to win.
First the Tigers blew the 17-0 lead, but in overtime tied at 24-24, Auburn took the lead 27-24 off a Wes Byrum field goal in overtime’s first possession. Clemson had a chance to tie or win. Going for the win, Kyle Parker found a wide open Jaron Brown in the endzone and the ball came off of Brown’s fingertips. What if he had caught that? Clemson wins and Auburn doesn’t play for the BCS title. Next, Clemson has a chance to at least send the game to double overtime. Freshman kicker Chandler Catanzaro makes the 26-yard attempt to go for double overtime but Clemson got called for an illegal snap. Catanzaro had to kick again from 32 yards and missed it. Auburn survived. Imagine if they didn’t. Does TCU then play for the national championship? Wow.

2. California misses a costly field goal. (Nov. 13)
What if it didn’t happen?

The entire landscape in the BCS could have been changed as California slowed down the nation’s top scoring offense in Oregon. Rob Beard missed two field goals for Oregon from 37 yards and 48 yards that could have come back to haunt the Ducks but luckily the Cal Bears weren’t having sweet dreams. The end result was an Oregon 15-13 win to remain undefeated. What’s remembered is that California allegedly faked injuries to slow down Oregon and Oregon survived. What’s forgotten is that California should have won, but Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 29-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter that would have gave Cal a 16-15 lead over Oregon that as we saw would have been enough to win. What if Cal makes that field goal and beats Oregon? Everything would have changed.

1. Kyle Brotzman has a nightmare in Reno. (Nov. 26)
What if it didn’t happen?

I’m sure Kyle Brotzman is still having nightmares about that night in Reno, Nevada. The consensus was that Boise State needed just a win to overtake TCU in the BCS Standings and book a trip to the Rose Bowl, perhaps the national championship game. Nevada made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter but Kellen Moore and Boise State had a knack for finding ways to win the game. In theory, they found a way to win again.

Kellen Moore, as we know is majoring in clockwork with the Boise offense, had 13 seconds to win the game. He threw a bomb down the field as Titus Young laid out for a miraculous catch inside the 10-yard line and all of a sudden Boise State was going to win the game. But Kyle Brotzman missed the field goal and the game goes to overtime. But Boise is composed, they’ll find a way to win in overtime, right?
Brotzman missed another field goal from 29 yards in overtime that would have given Boise State the lead. The rest is history. Nevada’s Anthony Martinez kicks the game-winning field goal and the “Boise Bus” breaks down and their dreams are snatched away from them. Boise State ends up shunned from the BCS and plays in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl.

One can only think, “What if Brotzman didn’t miss?”

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