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College GameDay Rewind Bowl Week II: Edsall, Luck, Harbaugh And More

In this second-to-last edition of College GameDay Rewind, I thought there would be no better time than now to take a quick trip around the world of college football. And when I say quick, I mean quick, so here we go.

I’ve heard all the haters here in Connecticut spew venom on former Huskies head coach Randy Edsall, and I get it all. Huskies fans (is there such a thing?) have every right to be angry at their former head coach, but not for the reason you might think. Edsall has every right to look for another job, and when Maryland called, he answered. That’s no reason to hate the guy.

But there are two big reasons to hate the guy and the situation. The way Edsall left the school was embarrassing. He and his players left in different planes after losing the Fiesta Bowl, with Edsall heading to Maryland instead of Storrs. Not only that, but Edsall never told his players he was even thinking about leaving the school. That is simply a jerk move and he should be ashamed of himself.

The bigger situation for UConn fans to be angry about is the fact their team most likely reached their peak this season and that is very apparent because of the actions of your head coach. If Edsall believes that Maryland, a bottom-feeder of the terrible ACC, is in a better situation than UConn, well, that’s not good news for fans here in the state. UConn will probably never play in a bigger game than it did against Oklahoma a week ago. Edsall knew that and bailed as soon as he got a bite from another school.

By the way, if the reports have been true over the past few years about Edsall being one of the hot, young coaches and being linked to some big-name jobs, why did he jump at the Maryland job so quickly? I’ll tell you … because those reports were a bunch of bunk, something that I was all too ready to say as they were happening. My guess, and I’ve read it elsewhere, is that the rumors were put forth by Edsall’s camp. If it’s true, and my money says it is, it’s just another classless move by the guy. I’ll give it three years at Maryland before the fans revolt and Edsall is sent packing. Heck, the revolt has already begun.

Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback, stunned just about everyone by announcing he would return to college next year. Luck has two years of eligibility left, but the lure of a Heisman Trophy and national championship was too much for the young passer to pass up, even though he would probably have been the top pick in the NFL Draft. It’s always a great move when a athlete chooses school over the money, but there are risks involved in the decision. If Luck declared for the draft, he would be in line for a huge payday, guaranteed. Playing another year on the collegiate level could result in a number of things: injury, diminished skill, suspension, just about anything. Injuries are part of the game and can happen at any time. When you talk about diminished skill look no further than Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who many had going No. 1 overall if he came out of college last year. Locker isn’t even a blip on the radar right now. Suspension is as easy as selling a ring, just ask Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor.

Luck is someone to root for, however, because he's a good example for fellow student-athletes to follow, not to mention young athletes that may take his path in the future.

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was probably the happiest person in the country after learning of Luck’s decision. Mallett did enter the NFL Draft early and moved up many draft boards without having to do anything. Draft guru Mel Kiper has Mallett as the No. 3 rated quarterback in the draft, behind Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Auburn’s Cam Newton. He would have been fourth if Luck left early, the difference being millions and millions of dollars.

I did love this quote from Mallett: “Ever since I was a kid, my dream has always been to play for the Razorbacks, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to do so.” If that truly is the case, then why did Mallett decide to play for Michigan coming out of high school? Mallett left the Wolverines when Rich Rodriguez was hired as the team’s head coach three years ago because Mallett wanted to play in a pro-style offense, something Rodriguez doesn’t do.

In great news, Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers player who was paralyzed from the neck down during the season, says he has regained some sensation in his entire body and movement in his shoulders during an interview with ESPN. The entire conversation will be on ESPN Friday. Let’s all pray for a full recovery for LeGrand.

So, where will Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh be coaching next year? Who cares? If he goes to the NFL, he’s not going to be a savior for the 49ers or Broncos. There not suddenly going to be Super Bowl contenders. Heck, they won’t even be playoff contenders. This isn't the NFL Draft or the opening of free agency, it's just a young coach living off a great season in college. The only real news would be if Harbaugh returns to Stanford. Wake me when he makes a decision.

The season finale of the Brad Carroll’s GameDay web show debuts Friday afternoon and we’ll, of course, pick the national championship game winner. All season long, I’ve been on the Oregon bandwagon, picking the Ducks early on to win the title. But with the way Auburn has played leading up to this game, I still haven’t made up my mind on how I’m going to pick. No matter what happens, it should be a great game. Tune in to the show this week to see the picks and analysis from myself, Craig Carroll and Anthony Della Calce on that game and the Cotton Bowl.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be hosting another web show, called Sports Page Online, so the videos will keep coming. Hopefully you’ll keep watching. Thank you to everyone who ever clicked on the GameDay show, I appreciate every single view. I can only ask and hope that you continue to support everything we do here on the website. I wouldn’t do all the work if I didn’t have a great group of readers, so thank you again.

Now, on to the breakdown:

My Bowl Week: 3-4 (spread); 4-3 (overall); 0-3 (upset picks)
My Season: 65-47-3 (spread); 86-29 (overall); 8-3 (upset picks)
My Money: UP $1,330 (season)
Craig Carroll's Bowl Week: 5-2 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Season: 58-54-3 (spread)
Craig Carroll's Money: DOWN $140 (season)
Anthony Della Calce’s Bowl Week: 1-6 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Season: 52-59-3 (spread)
Anthony Della Calce’s Money: DOWN $1,290 (season)

Alabama -10 vs. Michigan State
My Pick
: Alabama 31,
Michigan State 17
Actual Score: Alabama 49,
Michigan State 7
I wrote in my college football picks column and said it on last week’s web episode of Brad Carroll’s GameDay that Alabama was in a completely different class than Michigan State. I couldn’t have been more right. Alabama simply blew the doors off the Spartans and rolled to a 42-point victory. Craig and I both get wins to start the New Year. Anthony, in his so-called Year of Anthony, starts with a loss, as he picked Michigan State to win outright. Yeah, no joke.

Michigan +4.5 vs. Mississippi State
My Pick
: Michigan 33, Mississippi State 30
Actual Score: Michigan 52, Mississippi State 14
Ah, the game that got Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez fired. You know all the stats by now – the worst bowl loss in Wolverines history; the most points allowed in bowl history. And now Rodriguez needs to find a new job. The future isn’t so bad for Michigan, though, as quarterback Denard Robinson should be one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy, along with Stanford passer Andrew Luck, next year. The defense can’t be any worse, right? That could combine for a solid season in Ann Arbor, depending on who the head coach is. But one big suggestion to athletic director Dave Brandon – just say no to Les Miles. I just couldn’t take that. I take the loss, not surprisingly, while Craig and Anthony both get victories.

Florida +7 vs. Penn State
My Pick
: Florida 28, Penn State 17
Actual Score: Florida 37, Penn State 24
You know a game ends in a special way when the phone starts ringing before you can finish dialing yourself. That’s what happened in the Outback Bowl as Florida, winning by just six, returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown with just 55 seconds left to give the Gators, and those that picked them, a victory. The interception return, and a long one at that, was the only shot for those picking Florida. It was a nearly impossible shot, but it happened. Craig and I both picked Florida, making the race to the phone a contested one. He won, but we both celebrated equally. These games are rare, so the chance to enjoy them is always great. Craig and I both get the win, while Anthony gets tagged with another loss.

TCU -3 vs. Wisconsin
My Pick
: TCU 27, Wisconsin 23
Actual Score: TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
Even though I wanted TCU to win, I admittedly was hoping Wisconsin would get the 2-point conversion to tie the game late in the Rose Bowl. That would have been the only shot to win the game against the spread picking TCU. But when the Horned Frogs knocked the pass down, I was more than happy to watch a non-BCS conference team win the most historic bowl of them all. Great win for TCU and hopefully college football opens the door for a team from a small conference to play for a national title. This was just the start, but it’s a great one. All three of us take the loss in this one.

Oklahoma -17 vs. Connecticut
My Pick
: Oklahoma 52, Connecticut 10
Actual Score: Oklahoma 48, Connecticut 20
I thought UConn was going to sneak in a win against the spread the whole night. But alas Oklahoma finally put the overmatched Huskies to bed, winning by 28, and letting me exhale in time to go to bed. The Sooners should have beaten UConn even worse than the final score, but the Huskies stuck around with smoke and mirrors, which is just fine. Craig and I pick up wins, as Craig is 4-1 after the New Year’s Day games, while I’m 3-2. Anthony, poor Anthony, drank the Connecticut Kool Aid and is 1-4 on the day.

Virginia Tech +3.5 vs. Stanford
My Pick
: Virginia Tech 30, Stanford 28
Actual Score: Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12
I’m still kicking myself over picking Virginia Tech. Obviously, the ACC is a joke of a conference, but I thought the Hokies were better than the rest of the league they play in. Boy was I wrong. Stanford destroyed Virginia Tech. Simple as that. Right now, the ACC, Big East and Big 10 (not including Ohio State) all stink. One thing this win by Stanford does is prove that Oregon truly is good as advertised and may be the final push in me picking the Ducks to win the national title. We’ll see how that shakes down in the season finale of Brad Carroll’s GameDay, which drops Friday right here on this website. Anthony and I both take the loss, while Craig gets another victory.

Arkansas +3.5 vs. Ohio State
My Pick
: Arkansas 34, Ohio State 31
Actual Score: Ohio State 31, Arkansas 26
This was a great way to end the first wave of true college football bowl games. Ohio State rolled in the first half in what quickly was becoming a blowout. Arkansas, however, didn’t go away and made up eight points in the third quarter to cut the Buckeyes lead to 10. The Razorbacks didn’t stop there, getting a safety and kicking a field goal to pull within five points at the midway point of the fourth quarter. Then, Arkansas was getting the ball back with 1:09 left after forcing Ohio State to punt. Of course, more drama, as the Hogs blocked the punt to take over at the Buckeyes’ 18-yard line with the chance to win the game in shocking fashion. But quarterback Ryan Mallett threw an interception two plays later to end the game with an OSU victory. That pass also put a loss on all three of our ledgers. I end our second bowl picks special with a 3-4 record and am 6-8 overall in the bowl season. I’m 18 games over .500 for the season. My goal is to get to 20 games over, and with two games left to pick, I got my shot. Also, after going a perfect 8-0 in upset picks during the regular season, I went 0-for-3 in bowl games. Not too happy about that. Craig put together a 5-2 week to reach 9-5 during the bowl season. He’s four games over .500 and ever-so-close to reaching positive money for the year. Anthony ends with a 1-6 record in the New Year and is 6-8 in the bowl season. He’s seven games under .500 for the season. Not a good first year for the Della-man. But there is still two games to pick – the Cotton Bowl and the BCS National Championship – and we’ll do that right here on the blog in print and on the season finale of Brad Carroll’s GameDay, which will debut Friday afternoon right here on the blog. Check back soon!
(AP photos)

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