Posted on: August 27, 2009 8:45 pm
 

PAC-10

I am going to cut it close to get all the conferences done in time for the start of the season.  The next conference on my magical mystery tour is the PAC-10.  USC has DOMINATED the conference this decade.  That might not be the case this year, however. Here is how I see the PAC-10:

USC- Well this is the season that we find out if they really are the team of the decade.  They named Matt Barkley the starting QB. Some people may not agree with this decision, but I will trust Pete Carroll on this one.  They have three tough road games this year.  They go to Ohio State, Cal, and Oregon. They might trip up in one of those games. If they do, it will be very interesting to see what happens. They might be able to get into the national championship game with one loss, but nothing is guaranteed.  Pete Carroll will probably prove his worth again this year.

Oregon- This is probably the second best PROGRAM in the PAC-10. Mike Bellotti steps into the AD chair this year and Chip Kelly takes over.  Jeremiah Masoli will probably be the starter. The key for this team is if they can find enough defense to stop USC and other teams in this conference.  This could be the year that they topple the USC dynasty.

Oregon State- Well, they certainly changed things last year.  Their upset of USC kept the Trojans from playing in the national championship game.  Mike Riley has done a better job the second time at Oregon State.  He should get them to another bowl game this year.

Cal- This is the year we find out about Kevin Riley.  He has not been one of the better QBs that Jeff Tedford has coached. Cal went 9-4 last year. They should be about the same this year.

Arizona- Whew, that was close.  Mike Stoops, by some accounts, saved his job last year getting to a bowl game. We will have a new QB after losing Willie Tuitama.  A bowl game will be a great coaching job this year.

Arizona State- Well, that was a disappointment.  Dennis Erickson did a great job in 2007 getting Arizona State to a bowl game. Last year said more about where this program is due to the lack of offensive line.  A bowl game will be a good coaching job this year.

Stanford- Well, this could be a huge year. Stanford has not had sustained success since Ty Willingham left. Jim Harbaugh has done a great job improving Stanford to a point where they could get to a bowl game this year.  It would be such a fine site to see them back in a a bowl game this year.

UCLA- Well, that stunk.  Rick Neuheisel's first year really was over in Spring Practice.  He lost his top two QBs to ACLs and had to put in Kevin Craft as the starter and had a bad season. This season, Kevin Prince is the starter and UCLA should get back to a bowl game.

Washington State- Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  This program has not been the same since Mike Price left.  Bill Doba was hired as the head coach, and he was not as successful. Last year really showed where the program is.  Paul Wulff has quite a job ahead of him in a hard place to recruit.  A bowl game is always a success here.

Washington- Wow, where has this team gone?  Last year was probably the worst year in this program's history.  Tyrone Willingham has not had the same success since he left Stanford for whatever reason.  Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach and if he get four wins out of this team, he has done a great job. 

Two more conferences left.  Please don't leave yet!!



Category: General
Posted on: August 24, 2009 4:02 pm
 

ACC

Well, this should be interesting.  This conference was probably the most competitive conference last year. Ten teams made bowl games, but no team was especially dominant.  This is how the ACC could look this year:

ACC Atlantic

Boston College- Wow, that was rough.  Jeff Jagodzinski was fired after interviewing with the Jets after being told if he did so he would be fired.  Frank Spaziani becomes head coach, and he will have quite a job in front of him. He will probably not have a QB with any experience. He will have to rely on his years as defensive coordinator to get some wins for BC this year. A bowl will be a great accomplishment.

Florida State- This was also a rough offseason for Florida State.  It remains to be seen how the NCAA cloud will affect them. The bigger problem for Florida State will probably be trying to develop Christian Ponder at QB.  A bowl seems to be within reach as well as a division title.

Wake Forest- This could be another great year for Wake.  Riley Skinner, who is still at Wake, believe it or not,  will need another huge year for them. They went 8-5 after beating Navy in the EagleBank Bowl last year.  Look for them to have about the same record this year.

Clemson-  Will this team finally get it together?  That is the question that seems to be asked every year.  That talk was part of the reason that Tommy Bowden lost his job.  Every year it seemed as though Clemson was on the cusp of winning the ACC. That never happened. That hope really ended on the first game of the season last year against Alabama.  They were never quite the same after that. Dabo Swinney will probably go with Willie Korn at QB, which is the latest QB that has been hyped at Clemson. This team could perhaps get it all together and make a BCS game this year, but it remains to be seen.

Maryland- Will the real Fridge please stand up?  Ralph Friedgen did a great job when he was first there of taking Maryland, who had not had much success in football before he got there, and getting them to big bowl games. He had a couple of down years after that, but the administration stuck with him.  Byrd Stadium looks to be improving.  He has gotten back to bowl games the last few years, but not to the level of the Orange Bowl or the Gator Bowl. Look for this team to get to a bowl game, but probably one of the lower bowl games again.

N.C. State-  Well, we shall see what Tom O'Brien can do this year.  He has a couple of down years at N.C. State after having great success at Boston College.  That was mostly due to the fact that Chuck Amato did not leave him with much. This team also had QB issues last year. They should get back to a bowl game this year.

ACC Coastal

Virginia Tech- Well, Frank Beamer certainly knows what he is doing. He got Virginia Tech back to the BCS and won a BCS game for the ACC for the first time since Florida State beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship in January 2000. Tyrod Taylor is the QB and will probably win the ACC again the way that Beamer likes to do it, which is with special teams.  If they win the first game against Alabama, they could be ranked very high at season's end.

Georgia Tech- I would like to say welcome back to the triple option.  I would also like to thank Paul Johnson for bringing it back to big-time college football.  Georgia Tech went 9-4 last year although they did not end the season well losing 38-3 in the Peach Bowl.  They will probably get back to a bowl game this year as well.

North Carolina- This is the team that could challenge Virginia Tech. North Carolina has been a sleeping giant in football for the longest time.  Mack Brown had success there before he moved on to Texas, and Butch Davis could be the guy to really bring it up to full song.  T.J. Yates is back and hopefully will be healthy the entire season.  If that happens, they could win ten games this year. 

Miami(FL)- Well, Randy Shannon has had a time of it here.  Robert Marve was not a good fit at QB and he is off to Purdue. Jacory Harris needs to take charge and be the QB for the U to have big time success this year.  Eight or nine wins will be a good year.

Virginia- Can we officially start the Al Groh watch?  It seems as if he has been on the hot seat for several years, and he always finds a way to make it.  They have been up and down the past few years, and he might need a bowl game to make it through this year.

Duke-  Well, David Cutcliffe certainly made something out of nothing.  He got four wins out of team that had done almost nothing the past few years.  If he can get this team to a bowl game, he could be a major candidate for national coach of the year. 

Three more conferences are left. Please stay tuned!!
Category: General
Posted on: August 17, 2009 2:32 pm
 

NASCAR update

Well, this has been an interesting two weeks.  Last week's race at Watkins Glen basically solidified Tony Stewart as a championship contender. This week's race solidified Brian Vickers as a chase contender.  He pulled to within 12 points of Mark Martin after he ran out of gas on the final lap.  Jimmie Johnson cost himself the lead when the chase starts at Loudon after he ran out of gas yesterday at Michigan. He will still be in there. Juan Pablo Montoya had another interesting day, but he is still locked into the chase with three races left. This will be a fight to the finish.
Category: General
Posted on: August 17, 2009 2:17 pm
 

Big Ten

My tour of college football continues with probably the fifth best conference in the country. Some people might disagree, but the teams playing against USC in the Rose Bowl would suggest otherwise.  There are many interesting stories in this conference.  Here is how I see this conference playing:

Penn State- This team is coming off an 11-2 season after getting thumped by USC in the Rose Bowl.  They probably won't be as good, but they will still get to a bowl game. Joe Pa Pa can still coach.

Ohio State- Well, this is where Terrell Pryor has to prove himself.  All the seniors that won all those games are gone.  He will probably have to take the team on his shoulders. They will probably get to ten wins.

Iowa- This could be the sleeper team in the country.  Ricky Stanzi is coming off a great game in the Capital One Bowl against South Carolina and could be in for a breakout season. Kirk Ferentz also needs to prove that he can still get it done.

Northwestern- This has to be one of the biggest coaching comeback stories.  Pat Fitzgerald had a rough go of it taking over for Randy Walker after he died.  He has certainly turned it around since then and could have his alma mater in position to make a run at the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State-  Will Sparty ever really make it?  We keep waiting on Michigan State to make its first huge splash on the national scene since Nick Saban left, not that they ever really were that huge when he was there.  They went 9-4 last year, and probably will be about the same this year.

Wisconsin- Well, Bret Bielema certainly has fallen a bit. He has a chance to make it better, though.  He basically has all his players in there and none left over from Barry Alvarez.  They went 7-6 last year and almost lost to Cal Poly at the end of the season.  This could be an important year for him.

Minnesota-  Watch out for this team.  They went 1-11 under Tim Brewster the first year. They improved to 7-6 this year. That, however, is not the most important thing about this team.  The biggest story with this team is moving into its own stadium and out of the Metrodump.  That could help the morale of the team a bit. We shall see if that translates to the field.

Illinois- Wow, what happened?  This team went to the Rose Bowl to 5-7 in one year.  That was mostly to their defense, which is not Ron Zook's area of expertise.  Juice Williams is a good QB and will probably have to be again for this team to get to a bowl game.

Purdue-  Well, Joe Tiller's tenure ending on a disappointing note.  Let this be a lesson to schools out there. When you have a coach in waiting, the last year almost always ends poorly.  Danny Hope will probably be better knowing that he is the coach and only coach that is in charge there.

Michigan-  How does it feel, Rich?  Rich Rodriguez had a tough year last year trying to bring the Big Ten into the 21st Century. He was not going to do it with the players that he had last year after so many guys were lost to the NFL and graduation.  They might be better this year with getting some of his players in his system.  We shall see what happens.

Indiana-  This could be a tough story.  Indiana has not been good since Coach Hep died.  Bill Lynch has not been as successful as his former boss.  It would be tough for him to get fired, but that is what might happen.  Let's hope that they get it turned around this year.

More to come here.
Category: General
Posted on: August 17, 2009 1:56 pm
 

PGA Championship

This could change everything. Tiger finally lost, which is the second time he has finished second at Hazeltine. I am not someone who wants to see Tiger lose just for him to lose. I am not a Tiger hater.  However, the bigger story could be what Y.E. Yang's victory could do for golf all over the world.  He is the first Asian to win a major championship.  Se Ri Pak won two majors back in 1998 and that created basically an entire generation of women's golfers from South Korea.  This could be even bigger for that region of the world.  Tiger will probably still win more majors. He is not finished. Let's get that off the table.  He had won a major every year since 2004.  He won two majors in 2005 and 2006.  He might win two next year with Pebble and St. Andrews on the slate for next year.  Who knows how many he will win after knowing that he cannot play three weeks in a row anymore.  We could remember this one for a long time.
Category: General
Posted on: August 9, 2009 12:46 pm
 

BCS Conferences

My tour of AFKA 1-A college football in 2009 has hit the BCS conferences. I will start with the Big East. This conference is another conference that got hurt by the ACC expansion.  It goes not have a team in the pre-season top 25 in the coaches' poll.  That might be a bit extreme, but you get the point.  Cincinnati won the Big East last year playing four or five different quarterbacks, depending on how you look at it.  The Bearcats will be contenders again, along with several other teams.  Here is how it will look:

Cincinnati- This was a remarkable job by Brian Kelly last year. There was the situation before the season with Ben Mauk trying to get another year of eligibility, and then the injuries came. Dustin Grutza got hurt against Oklahoma, and then they went down to Tony Pike, who was probably fourth on the depth chart.  Even he had to play with a broken non-throwing arm.  They finished 11-3 after losing to Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.  They might have a shot to get close to that record again if they can beat Oregon State and Illinois in non-conference games.  They will contend in this conference.

Pittsburgh- Well, Wanny finally might have it together.  It took a few years for Dave Wannstedt to get a quarterback to replace Tyler Palko, but he might have found it in Bill Stull. Pittsburgh went 9-3 last year, and might be better this year if Stull continues to improve.

West Virginia- Well, this is where we find out about Bill Stewart.  He did a great job keeping everyone together last year after a tough start. However, Pat White is not walking through that door.  West Virginia should make a bowl game, but it might not be easy.

Rutgers-  This might also be the year where we know more about Greg Schiano.  Ray Rice and Mike Teel are gone.  Rutgers might be a bowl team, but Schiano will have to really make it all work.

UConn- Well, they have certainly come from nowhere.  Randy Edsall has done a great job moving this program into AFKA 1-A football and keeping it afloat. They might not get to a bowl game this year, but they are certainly a program that has made it happen.

South Florida-  This is another program that has made it happen.  Jim Leavitt certainly has an advantage being in Florida and playing in an NFL stadium, but that certainly does not make it easy.  Matt Grothe could be a sleep Heisman contender if all goes well. 

Louisville-  This is the only program where the coach is really on the hot seat.  Steve Kragthorpe has been a disappointment so far in following Bobby Petrino.  Ron English is gone as the defensive coordinator.  He did a good job with the defense until the injuries hit.  If Louisville does not make it to a bowl game, Krags could be gone.

Syracuse- Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  This program used to be so great with players like Jim Brown, Dwight Freeney, Marvin Harrison, and Donovan McNabb.  Paul Pasqualoni did not do as well replacing Donovan McNabb, and that could him his job. However, Gregg Robinson was just not a good fit there and was a huge disappointment.  Doug Marrone is left to summon the Average White Band and try to build something. Greg Paulus might eventually be the quarterback of this team.  That might be the only way that they have a shot to get to a bowl game.

Still more to come!!!
Category: General
Posted on: August 4, 2009 2:03 pm
 

Pocono

Well, that was fun!!!  NASCAR certainly made the correct decision in waiting a day to dry the track and put on probably the best race in the history of this track.  It shows what happens when a track is really green, or has no rubber on it.  Guys can run different grooves to try to get rubber built into the track.  The day was also marked by several strategy moves. Jimmie Johnson had problems with his engine early. However, his team worked on it, got several lucky dogs and came back to finish 13th.  Juan Pablo Montoya and Sam Hornish, Jr. made great moves ducking into the pits before a debris caution came out to end up with good finishes. Despite all of those stories, the best story was Denny Hamlin. He had the best car all day and made a move to pass Clint Bowyer late quickly enough to keep Montoya behind him and secure the win. This had to be a tough week for him with his grandmother dying and having to deal with that. That is not a pleasant experience, believe me.  Kyle Busch moves up to 13th in the points, but is still 101 points back. He will need some help from Greg Biffle or Matt Kenseth, as they seem to be the guys most likely to fall out of the top 12 at this point.  Everyone else seems to be alright. It will be a fight to the finish to make the chase.
Category: General
Posted on: August 1, 2009 8:56 pm
 

Trade Deadline

I have not talked about baseball enough in my blog. I love baseball, I just find it difficult to write about it here because so many things happen every day. Yesterday was a big day for many teams. The Blue Jays could be the big winners because they kept Halladay and have the makings of a potentially good rotation next year if they don't deal him.  The big winners among teams that made a deal are probably the Red Sox and the Phillies. The Red Sox get a bat in a lineup that has been slumping here lately with the addition of Victor Martinez. The Phillies get one of the best pitchers in baseball in Cliff Lee, although that deal had been done a few days earlier. Cliff Lee pitched a gem last night against the Giants and Ben Francisco, the other guy in the deal, made a great catch in San Francisco.  Cliff Lee also went 2 for 4 with a double. Who knew that he could hit as well?  The White Sox got a steal in Jake Peavy if he can pitch later this year, which he may or may not do.  There were some other deals such as the Tigers getting Jack Bauer, I mean, Jarrod Washburn.  That should help their rotation, which has carried the load with their offense not being as good this year.  It will be a crazy two months to see who gets into the playoffs. I don't think anyone is assured of anything yet.  Even the Dodgers have not played as well even with Manny coming back.  I encourage everyone to follow this into football season on the days when games are being played. I have done that the past few years. It is really fun to follow all that happens during those days.  Have fun and see you in October!!
Category: General
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com