NCF Nation: Bill Curry
2. The ESPNU 150 debuted Wednesday. Before you could hit the refresh button, one of four players on the list from the state of Missouri, wide receiver Durron Neal, verbally committed to ... Oklahoma. Ouch. Until the rest of the Big 12 can divert the top talent away from the Sooners and from Texas, the league will not be as competitive as it should be. Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel has a chance for redemption. Another wide receiver from the state, Dorial Green-Beckham, is rated the No. 3 recruit in the nation.
3. Georgia State head coach Bill Curry announced earlier this week that he had promoted Joe Hamilton into a full-time position as assistant coach. That’s great news for Hamilton, who, like Curry, played up the street at Georgia Tech. Unlike Curry, a lineman, Hamilton is the most prominent quarterback in Yellow Jacket history. He won the Davey O’Brien Award in 1999 and finished second in the Heisman Trophy vote that year. Hamilton is exactly the type of name the Panthers need to gain a toehold in Atlanta.
Georgia State head coach Bill Curry, who hired Smith at Alabama in 1988, described Smith on the ESPNU College Football Podcast this week as “the best football coach I’ve ever seen.”
And Curry played for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech and Vince Lombardi at Green Bay, both Hall of Famers in their respective categories.
“I thought a lot about it before I said it,” Curry said. “For getting results for bringing a group of young people into a cohesive unit and loving the process and using every iota of his Princeton-Stanford-Harvard education. And the guys loved it. He was just so incredibly productive.”
I encourage you to listen to Curry on the podcast.
Smith made All-Ivy League as a fullback at Princeton in 1952. He combined a sonorous voice with the ability to break down information that made it easy to digest for players (and sportswriters). He did it all with a remarkable lack of pretension for one so smart.
Smith became a head coach at Davidson College in 1964, at age 32. He ended his head-coaching career in 1978 after five seasons at Army that covered the end of the Vietnam War and the aftermath, when the military held very little attraction for young people. Few coaches could have done as well as Smith’s record of 21-33-1 in those circumstances. That also may explain why, when Smith left West Point at age 47, he enrolled in Harvard to study theology.
He returned to coaching in the 1980s and worked at Alabama, UCLA and Arizona, where Dick Tomey hired him as offensive coordinator in 1996 at age 64. Tomey had worked for Smith at Davidson.
“He was one of a kind -- revered by his players and the rare offensive teacher who wrote books about divergent offensive philosophies,” Tomey, now retired, said via email. “Who else wrote about the dropback pass and the wishbone? All the 'gurus' of today are singularly focused on one style: the West Coast, the triple option, the spread, etc. Not Homer.
“The day after he left our staff at Arizona,” Tomey said, “I assembled the staff and said to them, ‘We need to write down all that Homer taught us." We were still writing two hours later.”
“He fired me each year I worked for him at Davidson,” Tomey said, “and yet we became lifelong friends. I will never forget him.”
Of all the games I could have missed last week, I’m still kicking myself for whiffing on the Head Ball Coach going back to the Swamp and taking down the Gators.
I should have seen that one coming from a mile away. Yes, South Carolina has a history of losing those games. But this was Steve Spurrier with a championship on the line.
And it was the Swamp. I mean, that’s his own personal playground.
It was the lock of the year, and I blew it.
At least it was my only miss. I was 6-1 for the week and now 66-16 (.804) for the season.
I am indeed “playing my best football” when it matters most.
Here’s how I see it playing out in Week 12:
Alabama 45, Georgia State 7: The Crimson Tide get an early warm-up game before Auburn comes to town next week. This game was moved to Thursday to give Alabama some extra time to prepare for the Iron Bowl, especially with Auburn having the week off. Bill Curry, coaching Georgia State in its inaugural season, makes his return to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The good news for his team is that the Tide will take every opportunity to rest as many players as possible in the second half.
Arkansas 37, Mississippi State 24: This will be a closer game than the final score indicates. The Bulldogs fell behind early last week at Alabama and had to play catch-up. That’s not their forte. The Hogs are clicking on all cylinders right now offensively, but they’re also playing solid defense. A couple of Ryan Mallett touchdown passes will break this game open in the second half.
LSU 34, Ole Miss 14: It’s payback time for the Tigers. They’ve lost the past two games to the Rebels, and both losses were memorable for the wrong reasons. Last season was the clock debacle at the end of the game, and two seasons ago Ole Miss routed LSU 31-13 in Tiger Stadium. These are two teams going in opposite directions, and LSU is playing its best football right now and eyeing a trip to a BCS bowl.
Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 21: After going 0-for-October, the Vols are now riding a two-game winning streak. Never mind that they beat up on a pair of reeling teams (Ole Miss and Memphis). They’re playing with more confidence and more precision and can recover from a 2-6 start by getting to a bowl game if they win these last two. The Commodores, decimated by injuries, simply haven’t been able to hold up for four quarters, which will again be the difference in this game.
South Carolina 38, Troy 17: Has the party ended yet in Columbia? The South Carolina football team might want to make sure it’s put away the party hats and balloons. There’s still some work to do before the Dec. 4 SEC championship game. The Gamecocks probably won’t be sharp this week, but they’ll be good enough to pull away for a comfortable win.
Florida 31, Appalachian State 10: The season highlight DVD from this season doesn't figure to be a top-seller at Florida. It’s been a turbulent season for the Gators all the way around, and their offensive struggles just keep getting worse. They get a chance Saturday to take out some frustration on an FCS team that’s had a history of playing giant-killer. Urban Meyer had better hope his team is more pumped for this game than the Florida fans.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas coach Mack Brown took home another major honor Tuesday after he was presented with the Bobby Dodd Award during ceremonies at the Erwin Center in Austin.
The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award is an annual college football award given to the FBS head coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The award was established in 1976 to honor the values that Coach Dodd exemplified. The recipients are chosen by a selection committee composed of college football experts.
Brown was a unanimous choice for the award after his team finished an 12-1 season capped by a dramatic comeback victory over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
That comeback served as the punctuation mark for one of Brown's most satisfying seasons as a coach, he said.
"It's why I'm here tonight. I'm excited and humbled to accept this award in honor of our football team," Brown said. "They liked each other, and they liked playing. They liked the competition. And that's why they were so much fun to coach. I'm not sure I've ever had more fun coaching than last year."
Former Alabama and Kentucky coach Bill Curry, the president of the award's foundation, was in Austin to present the award to Brown. He said that Brown was the first unanimous winner in his memory.
"There was only one choice," Curry told Texas Sports.com.
Brown becomes the third Big 12 coach in history to win the award, joining Bill Snyder of Kansas State in 1998 and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops in 2003.
Another winner at a Big 12 school before the conference was formed was Nebraska's Tom Osborne in 1978.