|Jeff Tedford is feeling the heat thanks to a rough start at Cal. (US Presswire)|
Week 7 is over, so it's time to fire up the Tuesday Tweetbag and tackle the burning topics that are being talked about in the college football-sphere. I'm here to answer questions tweeted to me, so make sure you follow me on Twitter at @BryanDFischer. Without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
"What does your hypothetical Heisman ballot look like at this point? Geno still #1?" - Kyle Nelson, (@jkylenelson)
|Despite getting beat up in Lubbock, Geno Smith is still on top in the Heisman race. (US Presswire)|
For what it's worth, I do indeed have a Heisman vote and am one of the participants in the CBSSports.com/Heisman Pundit poll, which has Geno Smith with a narrow lead over a crowded field of candidates.
I think this is a big weekend that will go a long way toward some separation in the race as we pass the halfway point and teams get into the thick of the conference races. Let's not forget that there's plenty of time for some players on the outside of the race -- say De'Anthony Thomas or Kenjon Barner of Oregon -- to put their names in the hat with some big-time performances on the national stage.
When I sent in my ballot, I had Smith still in the lead despite the loss to Texas Tech (he still hasn't tossed an interception, mind you). Next up was Collin Klein, and there figures to be an elimination game of sorts this weekend between the two candidates. I added Manti Te'o third on my list because I'm not sure there's been a more outstanding player on defense in the country than what he's been so far this season in willing Notre Dame to the top five. If there were five spots, I'd have Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Ohio State's Braxton Miller round things out.
There's plenty of football and plenty of memorable performances left this year, so it's pretty clear, as expert Chris Huston lays out, that the race is far from over.
"Do you think Tedford has to have a winning season to keep his job? Has he almost saved it already? What's the problem at Cal?" - Amber Gregory (@cardassianv0le)
Jeff Tedford is in the Hall of Fame for coaches who are living off reputation and not results. Yes, he did a fantastic job of turning around a terrible program to the point where Memorial Stadium is renovated and up to par for a major program. The weight room and facilities look great, and Strawberry Canyon is going to be a great place to play for years to come.
That said, there's been plenty of talent at Cal and little results. A lot of the issues have come down to not having a quarterback since Aaron Rodgers left Berkeley -- an issue because the head coach is supposed to be known as a "QB guru." There's been plenty of NFL-caliber talent to play for the Bears, but the best season of late was a 9-4 year in 2008. As much as Tedford has done, the lack of execution, mental errors and unprepared look some of his teams have are on him and his staff. Losing the opener to Nevada doesn't help anybody, and on top of all that, one wonders how losing top recruiter Tosh Lupoi to Washington will hurt the program.
At some point, the administration has to see if the boosters are willing to front the money for the hefty buyout on Tedford's contract. The Bears could wind up with their second bowl-less season in the past two years, and although wins against UCLA are nice, it would likely take a huge upset of one of the three ranked teams left on the schedule for Tedford to truly feel safe. Maybe the program takes a step back with a new coach, maybe it doesn't. After 11 seasons and a host of mediocre years, sometimes change needs to be made for change's sake.
"Will Boise State see a recruiting uptick in the Big East or will Petersen just keep doing what he does?" - Bradford Christensen (@Drofdarb23)
|It's full steam ahead for Boise State with a move to the Big East. (US Presswire)|
I have noticed that the Broncos are doing better on the recruiting trail than they have in past years. Bigger kids, faster recruits and just a number of overall better players coming out of high school each year. The move to the Big East, and into a new media deal with what we'll assume will be increased exposure, should help keep pushing Boise State to the forefront of players' minds.
One thing to keep in mind is that kids who are getting recruited now are really growing up in the Boise State era. Chris Petersen is 78-7 since taking over the program, and there have been some memorable wins in that time frame that high schoolers grew up watching. Unlike a lot of programs, the Broncos can say they've got BCS wins on their resume and it seems like they're in the hunt every season to be a top-15 team. Kids notice that and want to play for a winner. Add in the quirky blue turf and some slick uniform combinations, and this is a "cool" program that higher-caliber recruits are considering with each passing class.
The school is also upgrading facilities and, though its not located in a talent-rich state, more and more folks from around the country are taking a chance on living in Boise and playing for one of the more fun teams in college football. A look at their current recruiting class shows how this is very much a program that can recruit nationally, grabbing players from Florida to Texas to California. The move to the Big East and playing in towns like Houston, San Diego and others should do nothing to slow down what Boise State is doing.
"Is Texas Tech the best team in Texas? And what do you think of their defense?" - Forrest Grimes (@FGrimesN7)
|It's a close race but Texas A&M edges out Texas Tech for best program in the state. (US Presswire)|
There are 12 FBS programs in Texas, and it seems like the down cycle in Austin has opened up the door for a number of the teams to lay claim to being the best in the football-mad region. Given how others have struggled, this is pretty much a two-team race between Tech and Texas A&M.
While it was no doubt impressive what the Red Raiders were able to do in upsetting another top-five team in Lubbock, I think the Aggies get the nod on this one by a hair. A narrow loss to Florida, No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, looks a lot better on the resume than the blowout at the hands of Oklahoma. It's a bummer the two rivals don't play each other any more because the improved Tech defense would probably love a shot at trying to contain Johnny Manziel and the high-flying A&M offense.
The weak schedule to start the season by Tommy Tuberville's squad is one factor holding the team back but there's no doubt it's a much-improved team that will be a tough out in the Big 12 if the defense plays like it did last Saturday.