Bowl Preview: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

The 43rd annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be held tomorrow night, January 1, 2014, at 8:30 PM at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

This year’s game features Big 12 champion Baylor (11-1) vs. American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida (11-1).

Baylor    Central Florida

Team History

Baylor, the traditional doormat of the Big 12 Conference, has really turned things around in recent years, as this will mark their 4th consecutive bowl appearance after being shut out from postseason play the previous 15 years. Baylor participated in the 1994 Alamo Bowl but didn’t appear in another bowl game until the 2010 Texas Bowl. This will be Baylor’s 20th bowl appearance in school history. It will be their first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl as well as their first appearance in a BCS bowl. Baylor produced recent Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who won the award in 2011.

Central Florida joined the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) this season after spending 8 years in Conference USA. This will be UCF’s 6th bowl appearance, all of which have come since 2005. As was the case with Baylor, this will be UCF’s first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl as well as their first appearance in a BCS bowl. Central Florida produced former NFL star Daunte Culpepper, who graduated in 1998.

Coaches

Baylor is coached by Art Briles, who is in his 6th season at the school after spending the previous 5 seasons at Houston. Briles has an overall record of 78-59 (44-31 at Baylor). This will be his 8th bowl game (4th at Baylor).

NCAA Football: Wofford at Baylor

Central Florida is coached by George O’Leary, who is in his 10th season at the school after spending 8 seasons at Georgia Tech and 2 seasons as an assistant with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. O’Leary is perhaps best known for being hired as the head coach at Notre Dame on December 9, 2001, and then resigning 5 days later as it was revealed that his resume contained inaccurate information. O’Leary has produced an overall college record of 123-89 (71-56 at UCF). This will be his 10th bowl game (6th at Baylor).

Central Florida Golden Knights v Florida Gators

The Game

Both schools are participating in a BCS bowl game for the first time. Baylor won its first Big 12 championship this season. Central Florida won the American Athletic Conference in its first official year of existence after formerly being called the Big East.

Baylor was the highest-scoring team in all of college football this season, finishing the year averaging 53.3 points per game. Their only loss came when they were blown out at Oklahoma State in November. Their best wins were decisive victories over Oklahoma and Texas.

Central Florida went undefeated in conference play this year, including a victory over Louisville, which was Louisville’s only loss all season. UCF’s only loss came in September when they were narrowly defeated at home against South Carolina. Their best wins this year were the Louisville win and a nonconference win over Penn State. They didn’t exactly blow everybody out, though, as 7 of their 11 wins were by 7 points or fewer.

Bryce Petty    Blake Bortles

Both teams’ marquee players are their quarterbacks – Bryce Petty of Baylor and Blake Bortles of Central Florida. Both quarterbacks are juniors. Petty has already declared that he is returning for his senior season, while Bortles has yet to announce his plans. The draft stock of Bortles has been skyrocketing lately, and he is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the draft if he declares. Both quarterbacks have impressive size, with Petty at 6’3″, 230 pounds, and Bortles at 6’4″, 230 pounds. Petty has completed 61.8 percent of his passes this season for 3,844 yards while throwing for 30 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Bortles has completed 68.1 percent of his passes this season for 3,280 yards while throwing for 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Both teams statistically have good defenses, with Baylor allowing 21.2 points per game and UCF allowing 19.6 points per game. However, Baylor scores over 20 points per game more than UCF (53.3-33.2).

Baylor is favored to win this game by 17 points, due to their juggernaut offense, better strength of schedule, and significantly higher margin of victory. I think UCF can keep it somewhat respectable but I think Baylor will win by a comfortable margin.

Prediction: Baylor 49, Central Florida 31


Tuesday Thoughts: Which location would you like to see develop a bowl?

stadium bowl tacoma

Recently, on the radio show we discussed which location should develop a bowl game. Here are some of the responses.

Puerto Rico: A true tropical destination that is unique and helps a struggling economy. They have a national soccer stadium which was renovated in 2012 that holds 22,000.

Mexico City: The NFL has played games here before, as recently as the year 2005. International series American football games can draw attention. Just look at London England.

Cincinnati: Home of the Bengals is Paul Brown Stadium. It is also one of the few professional venues not to host a bowl game.

Daytona: My pick as a future destination for a bowl game. The Bristol Motor Speedway will host Virginia Tech and Tennessee in college football action in 2016. If all goes well Daytona would be a premier destination to put a good ACC v. SEC bowl game.

Monday Morning Quarterback for December 30th

As the NCAA is wrapping up their bowl season and the NFL is getting ready for the playoffs, It is time for me to look back of two football teams who had their best football seasons in their program’s history.  The neat thing about it, is that both teams played in the same town of Williamsburg, Kentucky.

wburg ky

First we have the city’s high school team, the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets.

Williamsburg

Over the last few years, coach Jerry Herron and his Jackets had become a team, with its high powered offense and emerging defense, that was capable of making long runs in the 1A state playoffs in he state of Kentucky.  The only problem was that they had to always meet up with 1A power Hazard in recent years.

In both 2011 and 2012, the Yellow Jackets’ season came to an end at the hands of the Bulldogs in the Regional Championship of the playoffs.  The game last year (a 7-0 loss in the last minutes of the game), was a hard pill to swallow for Williamsburg who had only 1 loss on the season up to that point.  From the night of that tough loss, it was the goal of Williamsburg of getting back to a 3rd Regional Championship game and get over that hump.

With big goals in mind and the core of their team returning, the Jackets set out on their task for 2013.  Deciding to play a tougher schedule, the boys from Williamsburg set out to accomplish that goal.  The Jackets made it through the regular season with just 2 losses, plus beating some good teams along the way.  It came down to meeting Hazard for a third year in a row.  This year, the Jackets were not to be denied, as they were the better team that night and finally got over the hump and beat Hazard for the Regional crowd (first in school history).

wburg yellow jackets

Williamsburg got to play all of their playoff games at home and the community rallied around this team by “painting the town ORANGE”.  After the big win over Hazard, they secured their spot in the state finals by taking care of business against Raceland.  Everyone was riding high, as Williamsburg was headed to Bowling Green and the State Title Game vs. Mayfield.

Of course, not all stories have the happy “Hollywood” ending, as Mayfield took care of business for the state title, but that does not take away from the magical ride this team experienced on 2013.  The city of Williamsburg can have nothing but pride in their school.  With most of their key players returning, this team can shoot for bigger and better things in 2014!!!

Now those games are played on Friday nights.  There was another school in town who played their games on Saturday afternoons who was in the process of making memories themselves.

Since football was brought back to the school in the mid 1980’s, Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands), was making strides in their football program as well.  In the last eight years of the program, Coach Jon Bland has built a program that won several division titles and made several appearances in the NAIA Playoffs.  While Williamsburg has it’s Hazard, The Cumberlands had Georgetown.

cumberlands

The Patriots had many of the key pieces in place for the 2013 season.  Many felt that this was a team that come run the table in the NAIA.  With it’s high powered offense and tough defense, they did just that.  With key wins against Lindsey Wilson and Faulkner, the Patriots finally got over the hump with a key win vs. Georgetown.

uc qb

What followed, was the famous #HomeTilRome, as they took care of business in the playoffs (including the semi-final overtime win over NAIA power Carroll College).  #HomeTilRome then turned into #WinInRome.

Just like Williamsburg, the magical ride ended in a loss in the finals to Grand View College of Iowa, but it doesn’t take away from the thrills that the Patriots gave their fans during the 2013 season.  With the talent on this team, the Patriots will look for another magical ride to the championship in 2014.

Of course, we play the games to try to win championships, but not everyone can win.  That does not take away from of trying.  Both Williamsburg high school and the University of the Cumberlands definitely had fun in the trying in the Fall of 2013.  That fun made the city of Williamsburg and its football fans a great place to be in 2013.

Congrats to both schools on a great 2013.  Here is to a bigger and better 2014!!!

Have a great week!!!!

Bowl Preview: The Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO

rose bowl vizio

It is the 100th edition of The Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO! This bowl game got started in 1902, took a break from play during World War 2, and is now celebrating game 100! Historically this match up features Big Ten and Pacific-12 schools and that is the exact match up we have this season. From the Big Ten is the conference champion, Michigan State Spartans (12-1 record) and from the Pacific 12 is the conference champion, Stanford Cardinal (11-2 record).

MichiganStateSpartans stanford tree cartoon

Team History

Sparty got to Pasadena by claiming their 8th Big Ten title. This is their 5th rose bowl appearance and first since 1998, a game in which they were victorious.

For the tree cardinal, they are making back-to-back appearances and playing in their 13th rose bowl. Last season they played in this very match up and won over the Big Ten’s Wisconsin.

Coaches

Mark Dantonio has been the head coach at Michigan State since 2007. In his time he has lead the team to  2 conference titles and 7 straight bowl appearances.

Stanford’s David Shaw is in his 3rd year. He too has 2 conference titles. He also won the Rose Bowl last season.

The Game

Michigan State sophomore QB Connor Cook has been steady for most of the season and has ip[roved all season. I mean this guy was only 6 of 16 in game one against Western Michigan but was the Big Ten title game MVP  with 300+ yards and 3 TDs over the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Running back Jeremy Langford has had 8 straight games for over 100 yards. The Spartan offense  loves long drives and hopes that they can keep the Cardinal defense on the field and wear them down.

Stanford has beaten 6 different teams in the top 25 where as the Spartans beat only 3 teams in the top 25. Las Vegas Caesar’s Palace has Stanford has a 5 point favorite.

Prediction: MSU 35 – Stanford 24


Steve Black Show’s “After Christmas Special” Last BCS Show EVER!!!!!-December 26th

On the December 19th show, the regular show crew discussed the Bowl Championship Series and gace their picks for this year’s games.  On tonight’s After Christmas Special, I bring back my band of BCS friends from last year’s BCS Special to put a final bow in the upcoming BCS games and look back on the BCS era, as we do away with the BCS after this year.

BCS

I will be joined by my BCS experts Richie Faison, Stephen Miniard and frequent show guests Donney Jackson and Scott Cummings as they give their picks for the upcoming BCS games.  We will also discuss/look back on the history of the BCS (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), and give our favorite memories as the BCS era of college football comes to an end.

Richie FaisonRichie Faison

Steve MiniardStephen Miniard

scottScott Cummings

JaxDonney Jackson

For those who are interested, click here for last year’s Steve Black Show BCS Special to see how well my show guests did on their BCS picks.  We will see if they can improve on their picks for this year.

Monday Morning Quarterback for December 23rd

When you play in the NAIA, you normally do not get much publicity outside of your local area, unless some wild play happens in a game that makes a sports network’s play of the of the day segment.

naia

I was looking online at www.espn.com yesterday and noticed in the NCAA Football section that there was an article on the recent NAIA Football National Championship game this past Saturday in Rome, Georgia.  The game featured Grand View of Iowa and The University of the Cumberlands (one of the teams we follow on the Steve Black Show).

If you are a fan of the Patriots, I know you are still hurting from the 35-23 loss, but what impressed me was that there was actually an article on the game on ESPN’s site.  You can view the article here.  It was interesting to me that Grand View won the championship in only it’s sixth year as a football program.

I do not know what kind of publicity Grand View received in Iowa, but the Cumberlands (which is located in Kentucky), got more publicity from the Knoxville, Tn. market than it did from the Lexington, Ky. market during their program’s historical run through the playoffs.  I guess that is what happens when you have Georgetown College in the Lexington market.

I will have more next week MMQ about the Cumberlands, as well as the Williamsburg High School football team, as they both had great football seasons this past Fall, but today it was just nice to the see the NAIA get a little shout out on a national website.

Have a GREAT week and Merry Christmas!!

Steve Black Show-BCS Preview Show Part 1

Here is our show from last night.  We discussed the BCS Bowl Games and gave our predictions.  Panelist included JT Elliott, George Carter, Shane Sams of www.CoachXO.com and Ashley Gulick of FOX Sports www.southerngameday.com.  I also interviewed Shane about his fast growing website.  We had a nice shoot rant from Steve The Stud Sexton in his Stud Corner Segment, plus our normal around campus and shot clock segments as well.  If you have not had the chance, check out the show.  As always….GREAT STUFF!!!!

 

Check Out Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Steve Black Show on BlogTalkRadio

On Tonight’s Show…….Dec. 19, 2013

BCS

Welcome to the BCS football preview show! The show staff will analyize the Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, and National Championship game. Special guest contributors include:

Also, which bowl game is the toilet bowl this year? Should players be given swag bags? We debate this and more on The Shot Clock!

toilet bowlbowl game gifts

 

LINK

 


 

The Top 3 Sports Books of All Time

books

I love to read! It was my favorite subject as a child and teenager. I do think it is hard to write a good sports book, whether it be fiction, non-fiction, or an autobiography. It is difficult to keep the reader attention, especially when the author replays sporting events play-by-play. All of these books are available in The Steve Black Show Store.

3. Bo Knows Bo

A lot of athletes think they are a top college recruit, but Bo Jackson was a top college recruit. He recalls the stories of university helicopters landing on his street during recruiting visits. The details about the trickery of sports agents which cost Jackson college eligibility are included.

 

2. Playing for Pizza

The best author in America in my opinion is John Grisham. He has written 3 novels about sports fiction and by far the best one is Playing for Pizza. It revolves around a former NFL quarterback who gets cut for the final time in the pros. He decides to take a starting QB job for an Italian football team.

 

1. Friday Night Lights

Clearly the best sports book ever written. A true story about the Odessa Permian panther’s football team in the 1980s and their quest for a state title. Booster donations help the team fly to games, coaches’ real feelings with harsh words about players are included, and the pressure from the town to win at all costs is detailed in the player’s lives.

 

KHSAA 2013 Competitive Cheer State Championships

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For the second year, competitive cheer in the state of Kentucky is the under the banner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Assoication (KHSAA).  This past Saturday (December 14th), the 2013 Competitive Cheer State Championships were held at the Alltech Arena. located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

There are five divisions that make up the competitive cheer championships.  Those are the All Girl Small, Medium, Large and Super Large Divisions, as well as a Co-Ed Division.

There were local cheer squads from the Tri-County/25E Area that we follow on the show that won their regional competition and participated in the state competition.  Here are their results and a list of the state champions in each division.

 All Girl Small Division

149

South Laurel’s squad finished 8th in this division, the highest finish out of any of the local squads in the competition.  The State Champion in this Division was Madison Central.

All Girl Medium Division

58

Corbin’s squad finished 9th in this division.  The State Champion in this Division was Mercy.

All Girl Large Division

146

Knox Central’s squad finished 13th in this division.  The State Champion in this Division was Paul Laurence Dunbar.

All Girl Super Large Division

17

Bell County’s squad finished 11th in this division.  The State Champion in this Division was George Rogers Clark.

Co-Ed Division

There are no area schools who have a Co-Ed squad.  The State Champion in this Division was Bullitt Central.

Besides the team championships, there are two individual honors handed out at the competitive cheer championships.

The National Guard Best and Brightest Award

This year’s award winner was Barbara Wright of Shelby Valley High School

Forcht Bank Uncommon Excellence Award

This year’s award was Carteen Kibbey of Greenup County High School

Congrats to all of our area cheer squads who made it to the state competition this year on their hard work.  Job well done.