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Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:31 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 5:38 pm

Here is this week's mailbag. As always, you can send your questions via Twitter at BFeldmanCBS.

From @Mark Johnson  w SEC the best conf who do you think is the 2nd best after realignment?

There is a big drop-off between the SEC and the next-best conference. Having won six BCS titles in a row is quite an accomplishment and with four or five SEC teams expected to open the season in the top 12, it doesn't seem like anyone is close to make a move to overtake Mike Slive's league. 

  Going forward, I'd lean to the Big Ten in who I'd list as the next toughest conference. A big reason for that is Urban Meyer's arrival giving Ohio State and really the rest of the Big Ten such a jolt. On top of that you have Michigan now surging back on track, coming off a BCS Bowl win; Wisconsin coming off back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances; Michigan State coming off its best season in over a decade and Nebraska joining the league in 2011. The downside of it is the uncertainty of the direction Penn State is headed.

  The other conferences I had right there with the Big Ten are the Big 12 and the Pac-12. From an off-the-field component the Big 12 still seems fairly unstable given all of the uncertainty around it and its recent history. On the field, you've had Oklahoma State rise up with consecutive top 10 finishes. We'll see if Mike Gundy's program can sustain it. Same for Bill Snyder at K-State. Baylor had a fantastic season but figures to backslide some with RG3 gone. OU had a "disappointing" season yet still finished in the top 15 and now gets Mike Stoops back to run the defense. Texas appears to be on the way back up after two woeful seasons. 
The Big 12 also added two programs in WVU and TCU that are poised for big debut seasons because they both return a lot of young talent although the Horned Frogs, given this week's events and key player dismissals, definitely don't look as strong as they did a few days ago.

  Larry Scott's league is on much more solid footing than the Big 12 big picture, but it's still coming off a season where one of the teams that played in its title game, UCLA, finished with a 6-8 record. That doesn't speak well of the league when something like that happens. Chip Kelly just led Oregon to perhaps its best season ever, but the Ducks still have the Will Lyles recruiting mess hanging over the program. Stanford lost Andrew Luck and a couple of other top 15 draft picks and the Cardinal are likely to drop out of the top 20, although with the way David Shaw has recruited, it doesn't seem like this program will plummet off the national radar. USC is poised for a great 2012, but after Matt Barkley's senior year, the Trojans will have to deal with the meat of the NCAA's scholarship sanctions. After these three teams, the rest of the conference is in scuffling to get to be Top 25 caliber.

  From @Drew Conrad  what do you think about University of Utah promoting a 25-year-old to OC? 

  No question it's risky to flip the keys to a guy this young, but Brian Johnson has spent a lot of time around some very bright offensive minds, starting with Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen, going through Andy Ludwig and Norm Chow. That's a pretty interesting mix of coaches and styles. From the guys in the coaching world I've asked about Johnson, I've heard a lot of good things. Almost all of those guys keep talking about how focused and smart the former QB is.

His experience working with head coach Kyle Whittingham and knowing what he wants is also key for a new hire. Johnson's level of coaching experience isn't much less than what Kliff Kingsbury had when he took over play-calling duties at Houston, and that worked out great for the Cougars. The biggest difference there though is that Kingsbury's head coach Kevin Sumlin had been an OC before while Whittingham is a defensive guy.

  The short-term concerns here are that the team lost two very good offensive tackles and on top of that a terrific O-line coach, Tim Davis just left the program for Florida. And obviously, they need to get better at QB if they're going to be serious contenders in the Pac-12 South.

From @GoonerAggieFan Thoughts on the Staff that Kevin Sumlin has put together at A&M, including his most recent addition Terry Price?

  It is excellent. He brought one of the sharpest young offensive guys in coaching with him from UH in Kingsbury. That guy is going to be a star in this business very soon. He also brought one of his betters recruiters in the Southwest in Clarence McKinney, and landed USF D-coordinator Mark Snyder, who is one of the top defensive guys in the country. I'll have a lot more on the Aggies in a week or so. I'm heading to College Station in a few days.

  From @marty roberts  If FSU shores up OL, how far u think they can go this year? And where u think they start in rankings?

Given all of the youth and newcomers from the JC ranks they're adding into the mix, that is a pretty big if. I'd expect improvement, but can this group make such dramatic strides to go from being as shaky as they were last year to the caliber of being part of a BCS title contender? I have my doubts, especially when you consider after last season's hype, it's basically anything short of a top-five season will be seen as a major disappointment/underachieving yet again. 

  The line was a mess last year. FSU was 110th in sacks allowed and 104th in rushing. You can't be an elite team no matter how tough your defense is being so bad in both those stats. 

The other big key is E.J. Manuel also needs to take a significant step forward and become much more consistent. Part of his struggles, no doubt, were due to the inexperienced O-line and to his injuries, but you look at just how much he and the Noles struggled in their regular season finale at UF and it's clear this is still a team with a lot of work ahead.

As far as where the Noles will open the season, I'd expect them to begin around No. 11 or 12. On paper, there is a lot of reasons for enthusiasm: returning QB coming off a pretty good first season as a starter with a gifted young group of receivers, an outstanding defense returning and the influx of (another) touted signing class. The problem: it seems like we've heard much of these same reasons why FSU is finally poised to compete for a BCS title again before, almost annually in fact, and for a variety of reasons, it hasn't came true and things fizzled out. And, why I used the word "problem" is that I suspect that notion isn't something only the media now believes, it's something players on the team hear about so much that it's a challenge to not let that mindset seep into the locker room: 'O.K., what's going to creep up and muck things up for us this time?'

From @Omer Subhani how good/bad was recruiting job by All Golden considering circumstances? TheU

  The recruiting job Golden's staff at Miami did this year, considering the circumstances of the avalanche of publicity the Nevin Shapiro story got, and the fact that there is an on-going NCAA investigation still hanging over the program, was remarkable.

As I said on our Signing Day Central show, I think there were three big keys to this class: the first was having a local star hold firm on being very public about his desire to be a Cane as Duke Johnson, perhaps the most dynamic running back prospect in the country, did. The second was stocking up on depleted positions (WR, D-line and DBs) with scholarship restrictions looming. The third was finishing with a flourish to build up that momentum going forward, and by reeling in Tracy Howard, the nation's top CB recruit, Golden did that in a big way. Remember, Howard was a kid who just a few weeks earlier was said to be a long-shot for Miami. Highly touted DE Tyriq McCord was another big late pick-up who many top programs chased hard.

If Golden can land a class this deep and talented in the face of all of the Shapiro stuff/NCAA player suspensions, it'll be interesting to see what he can do at Miami once the NCAA's ruling finally is known.

From @djr98 wat do u think of arkansas for 2012? 

  I like the Hogs chances to be a top 10 team, but I don't like their chances to win the SEC West and compete for a BCS title. Reasons for a top 10 run: Tyler Wilson is back, along with Knile Davis and they do get LSU and Bama at home this year. Reasons why I don't think they can win the SEC: I'm not sold on the defense. It wasn't good enough in 2011 and they're losing most of the best players they had on that D to the NFL.

From @joe king Who's gonna be next years Sammy Watkins,An can Hugh Freeze recruit well enough after Mullin has dominated the State this yr.

  I'll go with Dorial Green-Beckham being the biggest impact freshman wideout. He has freakish athleticism at 6-6, 225 and will play in a wide-open offense at Mizzou with a promising young QB (James Franklin) where they run the ball well enough to stress defenses. That should enable DGB to have a lot of big-play opportunities.

  Freeze is an ultra-aggressive recruiter and a good salesman. He also knows the area around Ole Miss as well as any coach they could've hired. I suspect he'll probably end up offering more scholarships before the summer than any coach in the country. I have no doubts he will get some talented players to Oxford. He was able to nab a couple already.

The on-field product is going to be mediocre for a few years, though. Freeze inherited a complete mess from Houston Nutt. Recruiting there had really tailed off save for Nitt's final class there. The program was in disarray and that won't be mended overnight. Dan Mullen just put together a very strong class, especially on the D-line and at linebacker. There is a pretty sizeable gap for Freeze to try and close.

Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:09 am

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

There is a big drop-off between the SEC and the next-best conference. Having won six BCS titles in a row is quite an accomplishment and with four or five SEC teams expected to open the season in the top 12, it doesn't seem like anyone is close to make a move to overtake Mike Slive's league"

YEAH!!  It's called a self fulfilling prophecy.  It shows the power of CBS and ESPN's propaganda machines.  They've spent years convincing kids, who can't remember past their last six years, the SEC is the conference they want to play in.  It gives them a big recruiting advantage.  Sports is one thing but pay attention, they affect the voters in politics too.  If the media is for it, you're most likely in for a good screwing unless you're a parasite. 

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 11:38 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

With 4 SEC teams starting in the top 12 it is guaranteed that 1 of them will yet again play for the national championship.  Dig deeper into who they play and you will see their schedules are nothing spectacular.

Georgia was ranked in the top 15 going into their bowl game having LOST TO EVERY SINGLE RANKED TEAM THEY PLAYED!


South Carolina beat Georgia and lost to Arkansas.  So they beat 1 ranked team that hadnt beaten a ranked team.


Arkansas beat South Carolina who only beat Georgia who beat nobody.


Right there you have 3 SEC teams ranked in the top 20 at the end of the year and none have a quality win over a ranked opponent.

Alabama beat Penn State who wasnt that good, and Arkansas who only beat South Carolina who only beat Geogia who beat nobody.  And we wonder why the SEC always has a team playing in the championship game.  They play nobody so come bowl games they have a full healthy team while the Big ten plays bruiser football and has star players out with serious injuries.

No team in the SEC would have come out of Michigan States 4 game set undefeated BUT NO SEC TEAM in the top of the standings played 2 ranked games in a row.  In fact the toughest schedule belongs to Tennessee.

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:38 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Leave it up to the experts to start picking the champions of the world again.  We will have the Heisman picked in a couple weeks.  Let's just move on and start picking 2013 and 14 while we are at it.  These are some of the same idiots that continually try to shape the hype every year on conferences, games and especially BCS outcomes.  I've seen way too much of this over the years and it seems to be designed to keep many talented and surprizing teams out of the top 15 so they can't move past these ortained teams.  Happens ever year. 
I chose to wait and see who performs on the field during the season but there's way too much dead air to let that happen.  So let the networks pick the winners, we will see who rises above their expert advice.

beer is great
Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 8:11 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:34 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Thanks to the media's witch hunt and murder-by-proxy of Joe Paterno, Penn State is going to be in the dumper for a long time.

Nebraska may or may not fill the void, but it remains to be seen whether Michigan State can sustain any degree of "excellence" for more than a year or two at a time.  Sparty hasn't yet proved that they are capable of competing with elite teams on grand stages.  Sorry, but beating UGA in the Outback Bowl doesn't count.  

We'll see if Wisconsin's one year rental of Russell Wilson damaged the natural progression at QB in Wisconsin, or whether someone on the team will step up and be counted this year.  I detest Ohio State and the fact that they have been rewarded for cheating, but they could win a lot of games this year, and contend for the BS Sham-pionship in 2013.  As for Nebraska, who the bleep knows?  They are a true "wild card."  They have to be disappointed with their performance last year, but there isn't much of a sample size to see how they will improve yet.  

Michigan should do well this year, but David Brandon was both arrogant and stupid to take the game with Bama. Brandon has put Michigan in a position where there are too many pitfalls and the schedule is too tough to get out of without a couple of losses.  They could win the Big Ten, but watch two one-loss teams play for the "national championship" this season.  

Until there is a playoff involving conference champions only to determine a true champion instead of a beauty contest winner, it makes absolutely no sense to play a tough non-conference schedule.  Really, if the NCAA wants to know which conference is the best, all they have to do is pit champions against champions and see who comes out on top.  

I guess that would be too easy. 

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:29 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota must be leaving the Big Ten?  Penn State and Ohio State will recover from scandal quicker than expected? Michigan will play defense?

I'm sorry, I don't see this group flexing any muscle for some time.  Will their be improvement? Sure, with Urban's legendary recruiting their will be better athletes attending that college in Ohio.  And Hoke has restored respect at UM, but it will be a while and perhaps more realigning before this conference flexes muscles of any kind.  

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: February 18, 2012 3:10 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

The other members of the Big Ten didn't "up their game" when Tressel was the coach at OSU. I believe Tressel ran off 7 straight conference titles. Having Myer in his place may make OSU more competitive on the national scence, but it doesn't mean the rest of the conference will improve. And I'm saying this as a Nebraska fan.
The Pac-12 has 2 elite teams and 1-2 good teams in a given year. The Pac-12 South Division was the worst since the Big 12 North trotted out a 7-5 Colorado team to get trounced by a Vince Young led Texas squad 70 to something. I do like the coaching hires in the Pac-12 and think they will make it a deeper conference in the long run.
The Big 12 has consistently been the 2nd best football conference for the past decade and with the addition of West Virginia and TCU, I don't see that changing in the near future despite the unstability the conference went through the past few seasons. Baylor and Oklahoma State may drop back some next year, but OU and Texas should improve. It has elite teams (OU, Texas) and it is a deep conference where 9 teams could beat the other on "any given Saturday." Kansas is still a disaster----I'm not a big believer in Charlie Wiess.

Since: Aug 13, 2011
Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:56 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Sorry, I'll wait and see if the Big 10 is ready to flex some muscle yet. As far as the Big 12 is concerned, this fan thinks that the Big 12 is on more solid footing than it has been in the past two or three years and the addition of West Virginia has added a team which, within recent years, has proven to have a better football program than all of those who have left the Big 12 with the exception of Nebraska. It figures, top-to-bottom, we are stronger now than before. Whether we can challenge the SEC again or not awaits to be seen.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:20 pm

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Have you studied the results of Big 10 teams outside of conference? The league is a joke and is yesterday's news. The conference does have several great venues but the talent just isn't there. Hell, Notre Dame is on even keel with the Big 10 opponents they annually schedule and that should tell you something. The Irish haven't been relevant since the 80's.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:16 am

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

FSU needs more than better offensive line play.  It needs consistency from Manuel and the receivers.  Manuel, if he's in a groove, can be deadly.  But the problem is that groove isn't there week in/out.  Sometimes you wonder where the pass was supposed to be going.  And it would also help if his recievers were surer handed.  Of course getting a running game going always helps with dealing with the pass rush as well.

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