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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - OCT. 18

By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/19/2010 at 06:40 PM

Two games last week featured a team going for the win with a two-point conversion rather than kicking a tying extra point. Bowling Green trailed by 14-points entering the fourth quarter but rallied to tie the game as time expired. Coach Dave Clawson opted to go for the win but the pass play was broken up. Oregon State Coach Mike Riley also went for two and the win double-overtime against Washington. The Beavers had been given a second shot in that frame as a pass interference call gave Oregon State a new set of downs after appearing to fail on fourth down.

           

In the NFL only seven times has a team attempted to go for a 2-point conversion for a win since the conversion rules were added in 1994. Three have been successful, the last being Denver with Mike Shanahan in 2008 against San Diego. Historically 2-point conversions are completed about 44 percent of time, less than the assumed 50/50 split for the odds of winning in overtime but obviously the numbers are not always so simple. In game-winning situations in the NFL the numbers are in line with the overall statistics for conversion plays but there is not enough data to come to a conclusion.

           

In the 2009 season 2-point conversions were successful 45 percent of the time. Play calling in those critical situations is intriguing and last season teams that ran for a conversion were successful 57 percent of attempts compared to just 41 percent on passing plays even though nearly three fourths of all attempts went with the pass. There are not enough conversion attempts to place real weight on the numbers but it certainly is a dilemma that will continue to confound coaching staffs.

           

The initial BCS rankings feature an interesting shake-up with Oklahoma landing the top spot this week. The Sooners are on the road against a very good Missouri team this week so it could be a short-lived stay at the top. Next in line is Oregon who will have to travel to face a rested and suddenly explosive USC team next week. Auburn and LSU will play each other this week. Michigan State plays on the road the next two weeks including at Iowa. Needless to say things could get messy really quick. Boise State and TCU could have the door open for a moment but once the computers digest the upcoming schedules in the WAC and the MWC one-loss major conference teams are sure to pass both of those squads.

           

Coaching moves are already happening with Minnesota striking first and Tim Brewster shown the door after three plus seasons of futility. Tony Dungy’s name is always the first to come up but the Gopher alum surely would rather keep his TV gig and if he wanted to get back into coaching a more attractive NFL offer would be at his disposal. Other names that may come up would include Leslie Frazier, the current Vikings defensive coordinator, Minneapolis native Marc Trestman who currently coaches the Montreal Alouettes, and the most interesting name may be Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech ‘mad scientist’. Leach brings a bit of baggage but his system could rock the boat in the Big Ten and instantly attract top offensive talent to the school that otherwise struggles in recruiting. That said Rich Rodriguez and his dramatic system change is yet to lead to success at Michigan.

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