National Title Game

All I can say is – Pete Carroll made the right call going for it on 4th down. His defense was never going to stop Vince Young when he had 4 downs to work with (even a moron like Mack Brown would have to call the QB draw at least 1 time out of 3, which was a guaranteed 12+ yards). Period. The only thing you can really question is why he called a pass play on 2nd down – and, of course, the inexplicably stupid calling of his last timeout before Texas’ 2-point play. But going for it on 4th and 2 at the Texas 44? A no-brainer. He had to figure 80% odds they make it, and if so – game over. He certainly didn’t have an 80% chance of stopping Young if he punted, even if their crappy punter (3rd worst net punting in D-1A) put it inside the 10. Mathematically, it’s a clear call.

Of course, it’s easier to second guess the “risky” move, which I fully expect to be the primary occupation of the sports media for the next week or so. But I for one appreciate a coach having the balls not to play it by the book, when the odds favor taking the “risk.”

Anyway, discuss in the comments and feel free to praise the virtues of the “book”, since Texas did ultimately win the game.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General Media NCS Football

21 Responses to National Title Game

  1. JeremyHyatt 01/05/2006 at 1:14 AM #

    was a cool game, but i’m more psyched about the Chris Wright commitment! woohoo!

  2. Greg 01/05/2006 at 1:25 AM #

    The BAAAD decision was going for it inside the 20 instead of taking the free three points. Guess field goals dont matter for a team that scores 50 per game…

  3. TVP 01/05/2006 at 1:36 AM #

    Vince Freakin Young. Wow.

    Were it not for the media orgasming over Bush’s performance against…Fresno State (and don’t get me wrong, Bush is a phenomenal player) Young might have won a well-deserved Heisman this year. After tonight there should be no doubt that he is the best college football player this season and the best seen in many years IMO.

  4. Class of '74 01/05/2006 at 6:33 AM #

    ^Agree. They could have punted the ball in the pacific ocean or Guam and Vince was going to move that team in for the score. What a classic, so many superlatives and there were no losers. That was what college football is all about!

  5. VaWolf82 01/05/2006 at 8:26 AM #

    This game was no upset in my book. USC’s defense was substantially weaker than last years’ version. Going into the game, the USC’s pass defense was ranked in the mid-70’s. Texas had the all around stronger team.

  6. Jim 01/05/2006 at 9:19 AM #

    That was the best football game I have ever watched and Vince Young’s was the best individual performance I have ever seen in any sport. Unreal.

    They need to move the Heisman voting and have it after the bowl season.

  7. choppack 01/05/2006 at 9:52 AM #

    Right call going for it – horrid play call though. Reggie Bush out of the game. A formation that allows Texas to stack the middle – stupid, stupid, stupid.

  8. Tom A. 01/05/2006 at 10:18 AM #

    Mack finally won his championship using the “Carolina Principle”…have such overwhelming talent and a few questionable calls to aid when needed, mix them all together and the result is a championship. Texas finally had a team that even he couldn’t mess up. Right now Mack better be a praying man because if Young leaves he is in for a long season next year. Choppack is dead on…what the heck was Reggie doing on the sideline during the make-or-break play of the game?
    By the way…this goes out to college officials. If the player’s knee is on the ground then the play is over. Just an opinion but in watching games from all over this past season does it seem that college officiating has gotten progressively worse? Considering the number of top talent leaving most of the top 5 teams this year next season looks to be a wide open race to the championship! Can’t wait to see what happens!

  9. Jim 01/05/2006 at 10:18 AM #

    Did anyone else think Vince Young was doing a Jeff Brock impression on the podium when he said “This is going back to Austin, Texas bay-bay”?

  10. kevin 01/05/2006 at 10:36 AM #

    I agree, I thought the pass on 2nd down was the bad call. Texas was not able to stop #21 unless they threw the ball.
    I was SHOCKED that Pete was surprised by the 2 pt conversion play. I knew when they were driving they would be going for 2 if they scored. The single point at that time, would have done them no good… Texas still loses on a FG at that point.

    On 4th.. I think i punt, but i understand why they went. I think USC really thought they could not be stopped. (even after they had already been stopped one time before). I think it was a little arrogance?

  11. BJD95 01/05/2006 at 10:36 AM #

    ^ chop, that’s exactly what Mike and Mike said on ESPN radio this morning. Need to make Texas be ready for multiple options. I hadn’t thought about that, and it was a good point. I would have still given White the ball, but don’t telegraph it.

    Kudos to Mike and Mike for both saying that going for it was ABSOLUTELY the right call. At a commercial on ESPN radio, I flipped to Fox on my XM Radio, and they had some idiot saying that if Norm Chow was still there, he would have played field position (guess he doesn’t know Norm Chow’s mind whatsoever) and that going for it was “an ego thing” for Carroll since he’s a defensive coach. That was perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard on national sports radio, in so many ways.

  12. Clarksa 01/05/2006 at 10:43 AM #

    Wow. Great game last night. Vince Young reminded me of what Woody Danzler(sp?) did to us a few years back.

  13. newswolf 01/05/2006 at 11:25 AM #

    It was the wrong call, but a gutsy one. I would have punted to make them have to go further down the field.

    Also, I wish we could have a “moron” coach of Mack Brown’s caliber. I am not sure what you guys expect from Brown.

    If he was such a bad coach why can’t UNC sniff what he accomplished there? Why can’t ANY charter ACC school?

    4? BCS apperances, 2 Rose Bowl Titles, National Title. I think he is a damn good coach

  14. TigerFan 01/05/2006 at 11:47 AM #

    The 4th down call is a classic case of playing to your strengths. If USC had a good defense, then they should have punted; however if you have “the greatest offense of all time�, then you go for it. Put the game in the hands of your best players, which in this case clearly was USC’s offense.

    Carroll made the right decision on that play. USC wasn’t having much success stopping Texas, and every close game USC has one (and there were a lot of them) was won on offense not defense.

  15. Class of '74 01/05/2006 at 12:57 PM #

    It was absolutely the right call on 4th down to go for it. They could have punted the ball across the Pacific to Guam and Vince Young would have still scored. Gosh, LenDale White was killing them up the middle and he missed the final first down by what , maybe 6 inches? Good call that just needed a little better execution that’s all. Great game and the right call!

  16. VaWolf82 01/05/2006 at 1:15 PM #

    Last year was Mack’s first BCS game which he got by lobbying with the voters going into the final poll of the year. Five straight losses to OU (including several blowouts) and losing to Colorado in their only other conference championship appearance haven’t done anything to enhance Mack’s reputation.

    1/1/1999……Cotton Bowl
    1/1/2000……Cotton Bowl
    12/29/2000…Holiday Bowl
    12/28/2001…Holiday Bowl
    1/1/2003……Cotton Bowl
    12/30/2003…Holiday Bowl
    1/1/2005……Rose Bowl

  17. BJD95 01/05/2006 at 1:50 PM #

    Mack Brown is a great recruiter and program builder. I just don’t think he’s a great coach on the sidelines.

    News – do the percentages. What percentage chance does USC have of converting a 4th and 2 (if they convert, Texas gets the ball back in the best-case scenario with about 35 seconds and no timeouts, with maybe a 1% chance to win)? What was the percentage chance of stopping Young if they punted (2:05 left, with 2 timeouts)? If the first percentage is greater, then you MUST go for it. Of course, that doesn’t even consider the odds of stopping Texas even if you don’t make the 4th down play, which makes the decision even more clear.

    Also, like someone else said – you have to play to your strengths. If you’re the Baltimore Ravens, of course you punt. If Vince Young is not the Texas QB, you PROBABLY punt.

  18. Packer74 01/05/2006 at 2:59 PM #

    The decision to go for it 4 and 2 was the right call for Pete Carroll but as coach, I would have kicked it. An extra 25 to 35 yards may have equated to 3 additional plays and a potential 75 seconds off the play clock or burning their timeouts earlier. In addition to being unable to handle Vince Young, USC left a potential 17 points on the field with the Bush attempted lateral, the interception in the endzone and the QB sneak on fourth and one in the second quarter at the Texas 17. At least the game lived up to the media hype except most of the “experts” were overbearingly sitting on the Trojan bandwagon. Great game to watch. Glad I didn’t have any strong emotional ties to either team because it would have to take that loss being a USC fan being up 12 with 6 minutes to go.

  19. choppack 01/05/2006 at 4:37 PM #

    Unless you are confident you can smash someone up the middle – when they know it’s coming – running up the middle against a competent and strong D that knows it is coming is foolish. While Lindale had been running through the Tejas D like Swiss cheese, if memory serves correct, it wasn’t usually painfully obvious they were going to do so. Much like the 4th down call w/ Lienhardt, USC learned the hard way, that against good D’s, you don’t telegraph runs like these. If Bush was in the game and you sent him in motion, the same action (a run up the middle) may have worked. Clearly this was a case where USC puffed out their chests and put it on the line – and they lost.

    Regarding Mack – I’ve been critical of his gameday coaching in the past. However, I thought he did a great job last night. He managed his TO’s well. Only made one bonehead call – the 4th up the draw where once again- USC knew it was coming. His team was well prepared. The D didn’t really give up the big play – no small feat and Mack, nor the team panicked when they fell down by 12.

  20. Class of '74 01/06/2006 at 6:29 AM #

    ^If running up the middle is bad in short yardage situations why do you do it at the goaline? It was the right call tey just needed slightly better execution that’s all.

  21. choppack 01/06/2006 at 9:11 AM #

    C o 74 – Re-read my post – there’s plenty of clarifiers in there. It’s not always bad. However, on 4th down, when a D can pretty much deduce it’s coming – or when your formation allows you to stack a D against it – it isn’t a good call. It was basically the same call Texas made in the 1st quarter – and guess what – they were stopped!

    The key factor is that it is 4th down. Nothing is wrong w/ running up the middle on 3rd and 2 – especially if you plan on going for it if you fail and you have plenty of time.

    These things are entirely situational. Think of our terrible run w/ TA on 3rd down in Chapel Hill. The reason that call was foolish was that it put is in a position where we had to score on THAT play when we really had 2 plays to score. OTOH, you play action it on that down and even if the pass is incomplete you have another play to try to score.

Leave a Reply