Tag:Penn State
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 12:58 pm
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JoePa fought school over player discipline

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's no secret that while he was the head coach at Penn State, Joe Paterno may have been the most powerful man on campus in State College, and according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Paterno wielded that power whenever possible when it came to the discipline of his players. The Wall Street Journal acquired emails from and talked to former Penn State University standards and conduct officer Vicky Triponey who says that Paterno fought her every step of the way, and wanted to hold football players to a different standard than other students.
The confrontations came to a head in 2007, according to one former school official, when six football players were charged by police for forcing their way into a campus apartment that April and beating up several students, one of them severely. That September, following a tense meeting with Mr. Paterno over the case, she resigned her post, saying at the time she left because of "philosophical differences."

In a statement Monday, Dr. Triponey said: "There were numerous meetings and discussions about specific and pending student discipline cases that involved football players," which she said included "demands" to adjust the judicial process for football players. The end result, she said, was that football players were treated "more favorably than other students accused of violating the community standards as defined by the student code of conduct."
The story also tells of other incidents that took place during Triponey's tenure at Penn State, including a meeting between Paterno and Triponey in 2005 that also involved President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and assistant athletic director Fran Ganter. At this meeting Paterno was very vocal in his critique of Triponey and expressed how he didn't like her meddling in the football team's business, which Paterno felt was his territory.

Things came to a head in September of 2005 following the school's suspension of linebacker Dan Connor who had been accused of making harrassing phone calls to a retired assistant coach. Despite the suspension, Paterno ordered Connor to suit up for practice and Connor says he could only recall being suspended for games, not practices.

This resulted in Graham Spanier coming to Triponey's house to inform her that Paterno had given him an ultimatum. The school was to either fire Triponey or he would cease his efforts to fund-raise for the school. Connor's suspension was then reduced to 10 days.

Then came the 2007 incident with the Penn State players involved in that fight at a campus apartment. It was another incident in which Paterno and Triponey had differing views on how things should be handled, with Paterno saying that his players couldn't be expected to cooperate with the school's disciplinary process because it would mean that they'd have to testify against each other, and that would make it hard to play football together.

The majority of charges against the players were eventually dropped, with two players pleading guilty to misdemeanors. There were also four players suspended for a summer semester, but none ever had to miss any games.

Shortly after Triponey resigned and was replaced by Bob Secor, and the school instituted new rules that gave the school limited ability to end a student's participation in activities such as football.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Senate to hold hearing in wake of PSU scandal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State has reached all the way to the U.S. Senate.

A Senate committee will hold a special hearing dedicated to examining current laws protecting children from abuse and predation--and whether those laws will need to be stronger in the wake of the Sandusky grand jury allegations.

Already, multiple bills have been introduced in the Senate aimed at requiring witnesses of child abuse to report offenders to law enforcement. In the House, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has introduced the "Speak Out to Stop Child Abuse Act," which would mandate witnesses to report abuse to either law enforcement or child protective services.

The Senate hearing has been called by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension subcommittee on children and families. Mikulski said she was "troubled and distraught about the child sexual abuse allegations" at PSU. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said the hearing would be "an opportunity to ensure that our federal laws are protecting our children from dangerous sexual predators."

The Sandusky story has, sadly, long since gone past the point of being about a football coach and a football program, and that it could spark a change in the way federal laws treat the reporting and prevention of child abuse is just the latest evidence of how important the story has become.
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:38 am
 

Conference Title Race Reset, Week 13

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the regular season winding down, we'll check in on the conference title races in all 11 FBS conferences. The contenders, key games, and some early predictions on who will claim the league's automatic bowl berth.

SEC
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game
2010 Champion: Auburn

EAST CONTENDERS
1. Georgia (9-2, 7-1 conference) - CLINCHED

WEST CONTENDERS
1. LSU (11-0, 7-0)
2. Alabama (10-1, 6-1)
2. Arkansas (10-1, 6-1)

LSU needs: Win over Arkansas on Friday, win against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, and it's on to the BCS title game for the Bayou Bengals.
Alabama needs: Win against Auburn on Saturday, an LSU loss to Arkansas. The three-way tiebreaker in the SEC is decided by BCS standings, which the Tide would likely own after an LSU loss.
Arkansas needs: To beat LSU and for Auburn to upset Alabama on Saturday. The Razorbacks would have the opportunity to move up in the BCS standings with the losses and likely earn the bid to the BCS title game.
Georgia needs: Defeat SEC West Champion in Atlanta to cause mass chaos.

Pick: LSU over Georgia

BIG 12
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game
2010 Champion: Oklahoma

CONTENDERS
1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 conference)
2. Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2)

Oklahoma State needs: A win over Oklahoma in the Bedlam game on Dec. 3. However, the Cowboys could clinch the conference title with an Oklahoma loss to Iowa State this weekend.
Oklahoma needs: Win out against Iowa State and Oklahoma State to claim share of Big 12 Championship and earn BCS bowl bid.

Pick: Oklahoma State

PAC-12
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game (Rose Bowl or National Championship)
2010 Champion: Oregon

NORTH CONTENDERS
1. Stanford (10-1, 8-1 conference)
2. Oregon (9-2, 7-1)

SOUTH CONTENDERS
1. UCLA (6-5, 5-3)
2. Arizona State (6-5, 4-4)
2. Utah (7-4, 4-4)

Stanford needs: An Oregon loss on Saturday to clinch the Pac-12 North and a bid to the conference championship game.
Oregon needs: A win over Oregon State to move into a tie for the Pac-12 North, earning a championship game bid thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker.

UCLA needs: A win over USC clinches the Pac-12 South. A loss would result in the Bruins needing Colorado to beat Utah to avoid being jumped by the Utes.
Arizona State needs: A win against Cal and USC to beat UCLA. Even if Utah beats Colorado, the Sun Devils own the three-team tiebreaker.
Utah needs: A win over Colorado, Cal to beat Arizona State on Friday, and USC to beat UCLA on Saturday.

Pick: Oregon over Arizona State

BIG TEN
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game (Rose Bowl or National Championship)
2010 Champion: Wisconsin (Rose Bowl berth)/Michigan State/Ohio State

LEGENDS CONTENDERS
1. Michigan State (9-2, 6-1 conference) - CLINCHED

LEADERS CONTENDERS
1. Penn State (9-2, 6-1)
2. Wisconsin (9-2, 5-2)

Penn State needs: A win over Wisconsin on Saturday
Wisconsin needs: A win over Penn State on Saturday

Pick: Wisconsin over Michigan State

ACC
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game
2010 Champion: Virginia Tech

ATLANTIC CONTENDERS
1. Clemson (9-2, 6-2 conference) - CLINCHED 

COASTAL CONTENDERS
1. Virginia Tech (10-1, 6-1)
2. Virginia (8-3, 5-2)

Virginia Tech needs: A win over Virginia on Saturday
Virginia needs: A win over Virginia Tech on Saturday

Pick: Virginia Tech over Clemson

BIG EAST
Champion Destination: BCS Bowl Game
2010 Champion: Connecticut (Fiesta Bowl berth)/West Virginia/Pittsburgh

CONTENDERS
1. Louisville (6-5, 4-2 conference)
1. Rutgers (8-3, 4-2)
3. Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2)
3. West Virginia (7-3, 3-2)
3. Pittsburgh (5-5, 3-2)

Week 13 Key Games: Louisville at South Florida (Friday), Pittsburgh at West Virginia (Friday), Rutgers at Connecticut, Cincinnati at Syracuse
Week 14 Key Games: West Virginia at South Florida (Thursday), Syracuse at Pittsburgh, Connecticut at Cincinnati

Louisville needs: Win at South Florida, at least one loss for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh
Rutgers needs: Win at Connecticut, at least one loss for Louisville and West Virginia
Cincinnati needs: Wins against Syracuse and Connecticut, at least one loss for Rutgers and West Virginia
West Virginia needs: Wins against Pittsburgh and South Florida, South Florida defeating Louisville
Pittsburgh needs: Wins against West Virginia and Syracuse, at least one loss for Cincinnati and Rutgers

Pick: Louisville

CONFERENCE USA
Champion Destination: Liberty Bowl
2010 Champion: UCF

EAST CONTENDERS
1. Southern Miss (9-2, 5-2 conference)
2. Marshall (5-6, 4-3)

WEST CONTENDERS
1. Houston (11-0, 7-0)
1. Tulsa (8-3, 7-0)

Southern Miss needs: A win over Memphis OR a Marshall loss to ECU clinches the East
Marshall needs: A win over ECU and a Southern Miss loss to Memphis.

Houston needs: A win over Tulsa on Friday
Tulsa needs: A win over Houston on Friday

Pick: Houston over Southern Miss

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Champion Destination: Maaco Bowl
2010 Champion: TCU

CONTENDERS
1. TCU (9-2, 6-0 conference)
2. Boise State (9-1, 4-1)
2. Wyoming (7-3, 4-1)

TCU needs: Having clinched a share of the title, the Horned Frogs can win outright with a victory over UNLV Dec. 3.
Boise State needs: Wins over Wyoming and New Mexico, and a TCU loss to earn a share of the conference championship.
Wyoming needs: Wins over Boise State and Colorado State, and a TCU loss to earn a share of the conference championship.

Pick: TCU

WAC
Champion Destination: Poinsettia/Hawaii/Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
2010 Champion: Nevada/Boise State/Hawaii

CONTENDERS
1. Louisiana Tech (7-4, 5-1 conference)
2. Nevada (6-4, 4-1)

Louisiana Tech needs: A win against New Mexico State earns a share of the WAC title, one Nevada loss will make them outright champions. Louisiana Tech earned the head-to-head advantage with a 24-20 win over Nevada.
Nevada needs: Wins against Utah State and Idaho earn the Wolf Pack a share of the WAC title. Nevada needs to win out and a Louisiana Tech loss to be outright champions.

Pick: Louisiana Tech

MAC
Champion Destination: GoDaddy.com Bowl
2010 Champion: Miami (OH)

EAST CONTENDERS
1. Ohio (8-3, 5-2 conference) - CLINCHED

WEST CONTENDERS
1. Northern Illinois (8-3, 6-1)
1. Toledo (7-4, 6-1)

Northern Illinois needs: A win over Eastern Michigan on Friday clinches the West Division thanks to the head-to-head advantage over Toledo.
Toledo needs: A victory over Ball State on Friday and a Northern Illinois loss to win the division and earn a spot in the conference championship game.

Pick: Northern Illinois over Ohio

SUN BELT
Champion Destination: GoDaddy.com Bowl + New Orleans Bowl
2010 Champion: FIU/Troy

CONTENDERS
1. Arkansas State (9-2, 7-0 conference) - CLINCHED

BOWL-BOUND: Arkansas State accepted an invitation to the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. after their 45-19 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday. After the announcement, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl offered an invitation to Louisiana-Lafayette. It will be the first time in the bowl's 11-year history a team from Louisiana will be participating.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 6:07 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Week 12

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The latest college football polls are out and now it's time to rip them to shreds. Senior college basketball writer Gary Parrish has been calling out voters in the major hoops polls for thinking a little bit too far outside of the box when it comes to their AP ballots every week.

With the football season starting, I thought I'd steal take the baton on the idea from my colleague and keep all of the writers across the country who vote honest. I've come to know a good number of these people through time and twitter but relationships do not matter, bad votes do.

AP Poll           Coaches Poll           Harris Poll           BCS

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com)

Poll reactions: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC

Rodney Dangerfield "No respect" team(s) of the week: Everyone not in the SEC

Yeah, I said it.

Overrated: Virginia Tech

  The coaches/SIDs have the Hokies 4th, the AP has them 6th and they're sitting pretty in the BCS ranked 5th. Everybody was touting this team as a dark horse national title contender in large part because of one thing: weak schedule. If you want to know how a team rises into the top five when their best win is Georgia Tech, you have your answer. The loss to Clemson looks even worse after seeing them humbled by N.C. State on Saturday as well.

California Craziness

A trio of voters from California (CSN Bay Area/CBSSports.com's Ray Ratto, San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner, LA Daily News' Scott Wolf) are an interesting voting block. Some would call them progressive, others would call them extreme and just about everybody else will call them crazy given their fluctuations in their ballots each week. All three are consistently in Pollspeak's group of "extreme voters" so we'll highlight the most baffling decision(s) out of each.

  Wilner finds his way back into this space for putting Oklahoma 8th and Houston 20th. I know the Cougars defense isn't great but they're undefeated so why 20th? Also, Boise State is 13th behind 11th ranked Kansas State. Wilner is the only voter to put Arkansas behind Oklahoma State. I know it's slim pickings but still, Oklahoma 8th?

What were you thinking? Keith Sargeant, Gannett NJ Newspapers

  There's so much wrong with Sargeant's ballot, it's hard to figure out where to begin. Houston is 4th and Georgia, yes Georgia, is 6th. He also has TCU ranked higher than anybody (10th), Penn State 13th (for beating Ohio State? Ok...) and has USC 17th and Oregon 18th, the lowest out of anybody. Notre Dame is higher than anybody at 19th and Oklahoma falls to 21st. Yikes. Also, Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times has Oregon ranked 4th and USC 16th. Not sure how that happened.



Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Surveying the Field: Reviewing Week 12



Posted by Bryan Fischer


On Saturday it stops.

The bylaws, the scandals, the arrests, the arguing, the issues - the scars of college football -  it's all gone and it becomes just a game. When the whistle is blown there are no rankings or underdogs, just a game between the lines, two teams with 11 on either side.

Saturday seemed like a perfect reminder of that. Looking at the schedule earlier in the week, the lack of marquee match ups - just three involving two ranked teams - made it seem more like a bye week than Week 12.

As the season made - to borrow a metaphor from another sport - its final turn and moved onto the home stretch, it was looking like we were indeed destined for a week off of drama. Wisconsin beat Illinois, Michigan State rolled Indiana, Michigan put on a clinic against Nebraska, Georgia had a close but ugly win over Kentucky, Houston beat SMU handily, Arkansas steamrolled Mississippi State and shockingly N.C. State had beaten Clemson before halftime.

Then consider what happened as night fell and some of the late games got interesting, with plays happening just about every minute. A quick sampling in case you missed the drama:

- Matt Barkley hit Randall Telfer for a touchdown to put USC up 38-14 over Oregon.
- De'Anthony Thomas returned a kickoff 96 yards, and showed why he's one of the fastest players in college football.
- Eric Gordon picked off Jordan Rodgers and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown to seal a 27-21 Tennessee win over Vanderbilt. Only there was mass confusion thanks to the officials.
-  A Robert Griffin III pass is deflected right into the arms of a streaking Kendall Wright for a 87-yard touchdown to tie Oklahoma 24-24.
- Kenjon Barner caps a 75-yard drive to pull Oregon to within 38-27 with over 12 minutes left in the game.
- Michael Rocco caps off a 75-yard drive in less than a minute to give Virginia a 14-13 lead over Florida State.
- Zach Maynard tosses a perfectly thrown pass to Keenan Allen to take a 10-7 lead over Stanford.
- Baylor retakes the lead 31-24 after a 10 play, 85-yard drive after another RGIII touchdown pass.
- Texas' drive stalls and the Longhorns settle for a field goal to trail 17-13.
- Barkley is picked off by the Ducks defense then score a touchdown. Two-point conversion is good (barely) and they cut USC's lead to 38-35 with 7:05 left.
- A crazy play involving Florida State's Bert Reed happens. He was ruled to have caught a ball but inbounds, running out the clock. A five minute replay takes place.
- Landry Jones throws an interception, setting up a Terrence Ganaway touchdown as Baylor goes up 38-24 on Oklahoma.
- Case McCoy is sacked on 4th-and-10 at midfield, Kansas State takes over but has to punt.
- The replay overturns Reed's play, ruling it incomplete. FSU sets up for a 48-yard field goal but Virginia players bark out signals drawing a flag. Shorter kick misses anyway, giving the Cavilers their first ever victory at Doak Walker as Mike London screams at his team to get to the locker room.
- The Trojans are in the red zone when Barkley and Marc Tyler fumble an exchange, leading to Oregon getting the ball back.
- Oklahoma can't convert a 4th-and-14, Baylor gets the ball back.
- Kansas State barely holds on but beats Texas 17-13.
- Cal hits a short field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 in the Big Game against Stanford.
- The Ducks march right down the field but Chip Kelly fails to use his timeouts leaving a 42-yard field goal to tie the game with five seconds left. It's no good allowing USC to escape with a 38-35 upset to further shake up the BCS.
- The Belldozer formation (with backup quarterback Blake Bell) scores a TD to make it 38-31 Sooners with six minutes left.
- Oklahoma gets the ball back then Bell scores his 4th touchdown of the night and the Sooners look like they're going for two. They don't but tie the game up at 38 with 51 seconds on the clock.
- RGIII finds Terrence Williams in the back of the end zone for a perfect 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left to give Baylor their first ever win against Oklahoma 45-38.
- Andrew Luck leads two scoring drives coming out of halftime to take a 28-13 lead over Cal.
- The Bears come right back down the field and score a touchdown, connecting on a two-point conversion to pull to within 28-21 in the 4th quarter.
- Stanford takes over seven minutes off the clock with a drive that ends in a field goal and 31-21 lead.
- Cal makes things interesting with a touchdown to pull to within 31-28 with 14 seconds left.
- Onside kick recovered, Stanford beats Cal 31-28 to win the Big Game.

That. Was. Fun.

We probably should have guessed something was up this week. Northern Illinois kicked a field goal with eight seconds left to beat Ball State 41-38 on Tuesday, rolling up 710 yards of offense in a little midweek MACtion. The story was much the same the next night as Ohio made a chip shot field goal as the gun went off to beat Bowling Green 29-28. Also on Wednesday, Western Michigan held on to beat Miami (Ohio) with both starting quarterbacks topping the 400 yard passing mark. Thursday produced a huge - relatively - CUSA upset as a terrible UAB team upset #22 Southern Miss to beat a ranked team for just the second time in school history.

North Carolina, with an interim head coach and not much to play for, gave Virginia Tech a fight with two touchdowns in the 4th quarter before the Hokies decided to pay attention on defense. It was an off night for David Wilson, who never could get going, but a solid one for quarterback Logan Thomas. He tossed two touchdowns and ran for a third to provide most of the Hokies scoring to setup a showdown next week with rival Virginia for a trip to the ACC championship. The late comeback from UNC should have been a warning that no one was safe, home or road, regardless of the conditions.

Oklahoma State rolled into Ames, Iowa as 27-point favorites but holding a heavy heart just a day after a plane crash killed the women's basketball coach and three others. It was an unspeakable tragedy for a school that had already suffered a similar one a decade before. Friday was supposed to be about the second-ranked Cowboys giving their fans something - anything - to cheer about.

But it's a game between the lines and though Iowa State came into the match up 2-4 in Big 12 play and winless in 58 tries against teams ranked sixth or better, head coach Paul Rhoads knows a thing or two about upsets. He had pulled off at least one shocker each year he was in charge of the Cyclones and was defensive coordinator of a lowly 4-7 Pittsburgh team four years ago that helped cause BCS chaos with an upset of then-No. 2 West Virginia. He threw a similar wrench into the Cowboys' plans in large part by shutting down the ground game and forcing five turnovers. Brandon Weeden put some big numbers - 42-of-58, a quiet 476 yards and three touchdowns - but threw three interceptions, his last in the second overtime to lose the game.

"We got a group of young men that put their hard hats on every day and just continue to go to work," Rhoads said. "I could not be prouder of the effort they put out tonight."

The field storming after the upset was well deserved, with Rhoads even getting hit by a fan who spilled his drink on the emotional head coach at midfield. The Iowa native took over the program from Gene Chizik after serving as Auburn's defensive coordinator the season before Chizik headed to the plains. Ironically, his upset sent cheers up in Tuscaloosa because no program stood to benefit more from the loss than Alabama.

It was the first of many on a topsy-turvy week that saw the #2, #4, #5, #7, #17, #22 and #23 in the BCS suffer a loss. As you can tell from the boom-boom nature of the plays listed above, the drama and action seemed to culminate in another perfect weekend in college football. Fitting, perhaps, that on the sport's supposed week off, it gave us the most drama-filled few days of the year.

As the Big Game was wrapping up late on the West Coast, I was trying to think of another time there was so much craziness, so much excitement, packed into just a few hours. It thought about the NCAA tournament but MLB's final day this year immediately popped into my mind right after. The country was glued to the television as pitch after pitch carried more meaning than the last. Four games determined two wild cards (and the eventual World Series winner) and three of them were tied. Three blown saves and two incredible walk-off wins had produced one of baseball's finest nights.

This weekend, and late Saturday in particular, was not quite what that Wednesday in late September was. That night for baseball does contrast however, and serve as a reminder of how great a regular season can be with a playoff still to come. The BCS proponents out there had no problem coming out and saying the system enhanced the upsets because they somehow mean more. As baseball showed us, even after 162 games and plenty more to play, nothing takes away from the drama. We're still going to watch Baylor try and beat Oklahoma for the first time ever with RGIII taking snaps. People will still tune in to see USC make an emphatic statement to the country that their time out of the spotlight is over.

It does however make the losses that much more painful. Boise State has lost three games in three years by five points thanks to walk-on kickers missing field goals. They never get a shot at playing for the national title. Oklahoma just hopes they can beat their rival and get to the same old exhibition (the Fiesta Bowl) they're used to playing in.

'Every week is a playoff'  is the line you'll see often in BCS literature. If that's the case then, Alabama would not be sitting at No. 2 in the country and set to play LSU - again - for the national title. They lost their playoff game at Bryant-Denny in the Field Goal Festival of the Century. Talk of another rematch involving Oregon was put to bed thanks to the conquering Trojans but had they won, they should have taken note that no, they can't be playing in New Orleans after losing a game earlier in the season.

Now we are left with a BCS beauty pageant. Boise could be a top five team at the end of the year but will likely play right before Christmas. Stanford might be passed over for Michigan despite the Cardinal being in the top 10 all season. The SEC is strong at the top but weak all over - as evidenced by FCS Southern Conference teams having a combined 52-34 lead on SEC teams at one point Saturday. Alas, this is the system we have.

The modeling still isn't over with a few more weeks left in the season and that should provide clarity on the situation, especially with Arkansas traveling to Baton Rouge and Alabama playing the Iron Bowl at Auburn. There's still Bedlam and championship games. This show will go on.

But a Saturday that didn't shape up to be much ended up being quite a bit thanks to what happened on the field. It's why we all love college football and why we put up with six days of arguing and rankings. 60 minutes between the lines never looked so good in week 12.

Stat of the week

USC is the first loss Chip Kelly has suffered as head coach when the opposing team has just one week to prepare. It was also his first ever home loss and the Trojans win snapped a 19 game conference winning streak and the longest home winning streak in the country.

Stats of the week

- The SEC has 9 offenses ranked 75th or worse in the country but four of the top five defenses. The former is responsible for the latter more than the other way around.

- Wisconsin had a 12 play, 27 yard drive against Illinois that took 7:11 off the clock before Montee Ball scored a touchdown. At that point, Texas A&M had scored 44 points in 8:24 against Kansas.

- FCS Georgia Southern scored 21 points and ran for 302 yards on Alabama's defense, which led the country in just about every major defensive category. Dominique Swope had an 82-yard touchdown and finished with 18 carries for 153 yards (8.5 yd ave.). In the process, Swope became just the fifth back to rush for over 100 yards against Nick Saban in his five seasons in Tuscaloosa. Alabama's scoring defense went from 7.1 points per game to 8.36 ppg afterward and the rush defense jumped from 51.9 ypg to 74.64 just from the one game.

- This is the first time since Bo Pelini's first year that Nebraska has allowed more than 40 points in a game twice in a season.

- Oregon's 24-point deficit they faced against USC was the biggest they faced since October 4, 2008, also against the Trojans.

- Via the AP, before Miami did it yesterday, no FBS team had scored less than seven points and won a road game since Auburn topped Mississippi State 3-2 in 2008.

- Five starts for David Ash, six interceptions. Ouch.

- LSU, Alabama and Arkansas are 1, 2, 3 in the AP Poll. The only other time one conference has done that in the poll era is Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado of the Big 8 in 1971.

- Kansas has - by far - the worst defense in the country. It is dead last in three major categories and is giving up 45.55 points per game and 531.45 yards per game. A sampling of the worst defenses since 2001 for comparison:

2001: Idaho 45 ppg, (Worst BCS defense: Duke 44.6 ppg)
2002: Eastern Michigan 47.2 ppg, (Kansas 42.3 ppg)
2003: Mississippi State 39.3 ppg
2004: San Jose State 42.6 ppg, (Baylor 36.9 ppg)
2005: Temple 45.3 ppg, (Illinois 39.5 ppg)
2006: Louisiana Tech 41.7 ppg, (Duke 33.8 ppg)
2007: North Texas 45.1 ppg, (Nebraska 37.9 ppg)
2008: North Texas 47.58 ppg, (Washington State 43.85 ppg)
2009: Rice 43.08 ppg, (Washington State 38.5 ppg)
2010: New Mexico 44.33 ppg, (Washington State 35.83 ppg)

Tweet of the week

"Down 22-7 in Q1, Gators DE Sharrif Floyd told teammates, "Listen it's Furman. No disrespect but it's Furman."

- Via Jason Lieser, Palm Beach Post.

Fisch's Finest

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma State

4. Arkansas

5. Stanford

6. Boise State

7. Houston

8. USC

9. Oregon

10. Virginia Tech

Where we'll be this week

Dennis Dodd will be at two games this week, starting with the big showdown on CBS between Arkansas and LSU on Friday and Missouri-Kansas on Saturday, the final game in the second-longest rivalry west of the Mississippi. I will cover two games as well, with the final Texas-Texas A&M game on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and end with the crosstown showdown between USC and UCLA. Brett McMurphy will be at the Iron Bowl as Alabama looks for revenge on Auburn and to keep their name in the national title race.

Leaning this way

Penn State at Wisconsin

This is for a trip to the Big Ten title game and there's no doubt that commissioner Jim Delany hopes Wisconsin can win and hopefully cover the two touchdowns+ spread. Penn State's offense showed signs of life in the first half against Ohio State but managed to throttle back down to nothing in the second half against an ok defense. Montee Ball and Russell Wilson have this thing over early though and the Nittany Lions can't claw their way back.

Alabama at Auburn

The Tide are ranked second in the country, the Tigers are unranked. Normally that doesn't matter when these two get together but that's just one indication of how good/bad these teams are. Neither team looked impressive against FCS foes so you wonder if they were saving a few things for this game. Still, hard to see an upset when Alabama is in the top three in the conference in every major category.

Arkansas at LSU

BCS chaos can rain supreme if the Razorbacks are able to go into Baton Rouge and pull off the upset. They will certainly be the best passing offense LSU's fantastic secondary has faced but the key will come down to protecting Tyler Wilson. If LSU turns it over a few times there is certainly a chance at a loss but it all seems unlikely for 'The Hat' to lose this close to taking a trip to Atlanta.



Posted on: November 19, 2011 7:49 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Penn State 20, Ohio State 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

PENN STATE WON. A high-powered first half gave way to a defensive struggle after halftime, and Penn State hung on to a 20-14 victory at Ohio State. The win was the first for interim head coach Tom Bradley and his retooled staff. Every point of this game came in the first half, as Anthony Fera knocked home a 46-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to give the Nittany Lions the six-point lead. After the 34-point first half, few watching the game could have possibly predicted the second half would be scoreless.

WHY PENN STATE WON: We thought coming into the game that one of these two teams would be exerting its will with a multi-faceted ground game to wear down the opposition; we just didn't think that team would be Penn State. Stephfon Green rushed 16 times for 93 yards and two scores, and the Nittany Lions as a whole gashed OSU for 239 yards on 39 attempts -- over six yards per carry. That total is twice OSU's season average for rushing yards given per game (119.3) coming into this week's game, and it's a critical reason why Penn State was able to engineer those scoring drives in the first half and keep its defense fresh late.

WHEN PENN STATE WON: Sure, OSU had the ball back at the end of the game, but this game was really lost when Ohio State couldn't convert a 4th and 10 at Penn State's 42 with under two minutes to play. Braxton Miller (7-17, 83 yards, 1 TD) couldn't find anyone open on the play and made a nice move on the outside to get moving toward the first down line, but a desperation dive by Miller came up a yard shy, and that was that.

WHAT PENN STATE WON: In terms of the division race, Penn State's win Saturday was largely meaningless; with Wisconsin beating Illinois, the season finale between the Badgers and Nittany Lions was going to decide the Leaders division regardless of whether Penn State took a one-game lead into the game or came in tied. And yet, getting that first post-Joe Paterno win -- in front of a hostile Ohio State crowd, no less -- will likely do wonders for the team's stability going forward. Nothing is spiraling out of control, nothing is forever ruined. Penn State can still play ball.

WHAT OHIO STATE LOST: Rumors are swirling about the future coach of Ohio State, and while they're still just rumors, it's important to note that none of them involve Luke Fickell remaining the head coach. And that was before his Buckeyes lost their fifth game of the year with a road game at Michigan still on the docket. Meanwhile, that fifth loss means OSU's going to be hurting when it comes time for bowl selection; while we're still talking about a high-profile program that draws fans and ratings wherever it goes, the simple fact is that there are now six conference teams with more wins than the Buckeyes, and that's going to complicate any effort to get OSU into a high-profile bowl game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: This game was star WR DeVier Posey's first on the season, after serving two consecutive five-game suspensions for impermissible benefits. On Posey's first catch, he went 39 yards on a deep fade to convert a 3rd and 15. But it was Posey's second catch -- a one-handed grab while falling out of bounds -- that had everybody in the 'Shoe buzzing and ruing the fact that Posey had been hit so severely by suspension. It's a legitimate contender for catch of the year.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 3:08 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 28 Illinois 17

Posted by Tom Fornelli

WISCONSIN WON. The Badgers didn't have the easiest time with Illinois on Saturday, as the Illini led this contest 17-7 at halftime, but the Badgers dominated the second half to win the game and keep themselves in contention for the Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin did this by putting the offense on the shoulders of running back Montee Ball. Ball finished the day with 224 yards rushing and 3 total touchdowns, which gave Ball 30 total touchdowns on the season. Russell Wilson only managed to finish the day with 90 total yards, but wasn't really needed anyway.

WHY WISCONSIN WON. Illinois turnovers killed the Illini. Wisconsin played with a short field all day, forcing 4 Illinois turnovers. The Badgers would convert all those turnovers into touchdowns except for the last one, as it came in the fourth quarter and Wisconsin just ran out the clock. To give you an idea of the kind of field position Wisconsin had in this game, the Badgers offense had 291 total yards of offense on the day. Illinois had 299.

WHEN WISCONSIN WON. Wisconsin finally took the lead on the final play of the third quarter, but a few minutes later Montee Ball scored a 17-yard touchdown following yet another Illinois turnover to make it 28-17, and the life had been sucked out of Illinois.

WHAT WISCONSIN WON. This win keeps Wisconsin alive in the Leaders Division. Penn State still has to play Ohio State on Saturday, but even if Penn State beats the Buckeyes it still has to finish the season with the Badgers. If Wisconsin wins that game next week it's going to Indianapolis.

WHAT ILLINOIS LOST. It's fifth straight game after starting the season 6-0, and Ron Zook may have officially lost his job on Saturday afternoon as well. There have been rumors about Zook's status for a couple weeks now, but seeing his team blow a double-digit lead and playing so sloppy on offense isn't going to do a lot to keep those rumors from becoming reality.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Wisconsin's second touchdown drive of the day only covered 30 yards. Still, that didn't keep it from lasting 12 plays and taking 7:11 off the clock.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Sandusky's Second Mile charity to fold

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the wake of a massive investigation against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for sexual assault on several young boys, the executives of The Second Mile -- the charity Sandusky formed in 1977 to work with underprivileged boys, and the avenue through which prosecutors say Sandusky met and groomed each of his eight alleged victims -- announced on Friday that they plan to fold the charity. According to the New York Times, the charity hopes to incorporate some of its programs into other outside organizations.

“We’re working hard to figure out how the programs can survive this event,” new chief executive David Woodle said in an interview with the Times. “We aren’t protective of this organization that it survives at all costs.”

Earlier this week, the charity announced that longtime chief executive Jack Raykovitz was resigning from his role effective immediately in the wake of the scandal. Woodle had been the the vice chair of operations for the charity until Raykovitz resigned on Sunday. Raykovitz has not been charged by Pennsylvania prosecutors of any criminal behavior, nor have they mentioned him as a target of the ongoing investigation, but he has been roundly criticized after reports emerged that he was informed of Sandusky's alleged behavior by Penn State AD Tim Curley in 2002.

Here's more from the Times' report:

On Sunday, the charity’s board of directors authorized the hiring of Lynne M. Abraham and the law firm Archer & Greiner to conduct an independent investigation into Second Mile. The investigation will seek to discover the extent of contact Sandusky had with children who went through the program, when the program learned about various allegations against Sandusky, and how it handled them.

According to testimony given before a grand jury in Harrisburg, Pa., Athletic Director Tim Curley informed the charity’s chief executive in 2002 that Sandusky had been directed not to bring youngsters onto the Penn State campus after a graduate assistant reported that Sandusky had engaged in inappropriate conduct with a boy in a shower. (The graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, testified that he was far more specific and told administrators that he saw Sandusky raping the youth.)

Woodle declined to answer questions about what, if anything, was done after that. Nor would he say if the charity took steps to limit or monitor Sandusky’s interactions with Second Mile youth after Sandusky himself informed the Second Mile in 2008 that he was under investigation for a separate incident involving inappropriate behavior. Woodle said that those were matters that fall under the scope of Abraham’s investigation. He said the board would publicly address those issues and others, but not before she finishes her inquiry, which he said he expected to take until the end of the year.

“The board agrees that these are good questions,” he said. 

 
 
 
 
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