Tuesday, December 6, 2011
3-point stance: Farewell to Pat Hill
By Ivan Maisel
1. When sportswriters talk about exciting games we covered, one of my trump cards is the Fresno State-USC game in 2005. The No. 16 Bulldogs scared the No. 1 Trojans to death before losing, 50-42. Fresno State coach Pat Hill borrowed the philosophy that Bobby Bowden used to put Florida State on the map in the 1980s: play anybody, anywhere, anytime. Hill’s Bulldogs beat Colorado, Oregon State, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Washington, Kansas State, etc. Fresno State let Hill go Sunday after 15 seasons with a record of 112-80. He’s one of the good guys. Hill will be missed.
2. Oregon dropped suspended junior corner Cliff Harris from its program Monday. Man, he gave up a lot for the privilege of not adhering to coach Chip Kelly’s rules. Harris may have been a 2010 consensus All-American, but this year, the Ducks got along just fine without him. Harris played in six games before being suspended for a second time. When Oregon plays in the Rose Bowl, Harris will be looking for an FCS school or trying to explain to the NFL why it should take a chance on a kid who got thrown off the team.
3. Tulane made a smart choice in hiring Saints receiver coach Curtis Johnson as its new head coach. As a college assistant, Johnson made a reputation as a top recruiter, most memorably for going into New Orleans 21 years ago and finding tailback Marshall Faulk for San Diego State. Johnson has never been a head coach, which means Tulane made a leap of faith. But with an alienated New Orleans fan base and nine straight losing seasons, the Green Wave can’t afford to play it safe.