SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ college football reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the upcoming playoff.
USA TODAY Sports
Coaches make dozens of decisions in every game. Most of them aren’t that noticeable. Some of them very much are.
Some calls can change a game. Some are just thrilling to watch. Sometimes it’s not one call but an entire game plan. Sometimes — because college football is supposed to be fun — it’s about trick plays.
Each weekend this season, USA TODAY Sports selected four calls from across the nation that we think ranked among the best decisions for the Amway Coach’s Call of the Week. You, the fans, chose the best of the best.
From those winners, you now get a chance to pick the best of the year. There will be three weeks of semifinals, with four weekly winners from which to choose. In the week before the College Football Playoff title game, you will have a chance to choose from among those three winners for the single best call of the year.
Here are the first four semifinalists:
Voting closes at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14.
Dino Babers, Syracuse
From Week 7: The Orange made a case for biggest upset of of the season. As a three-touchdown underdog, the Orange took down No. 2 Clemson 27-24 to really shake up the college football world.
Babers’ defense was solid throughout the night, but his offense made the difference, racking up 440 yards against a feared unit that had been giving up only about 264.
Occasionally, Syracuse made it look easy. Particularly a brilliant 66-yard strike from Eric Dungey to Ervin Phillips in the first quarter that made a pretty large statement.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
From Week 13: There were all kinds of statements being made in the Iron Bowl, a 26-14 Auburn win against No. 1 Alabama.
One big statement was made early in the game. On third-and-2 at the Alabama 3, running back Kerryon Johnson lined up in the shotgun, with QB Jarrett Stidham split wide. Johnson took the snap, ran to the line as if to smash it in, then completed a jump pass to Nate Craig-Myers for a touchdown to get the Tigers on the board first and to set a tone.
The Tigers proceeded to, well, roll over Alabama.