Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:13 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the five new head coaches in the MAC.
DON TREADWELL, Miami (Ohio) (pictured)
Why him? Because few assistant coaches in the country had a better 2010 than Treadwell, who turned a collection of average-looking talent into one of the Big Ten's most effective offenses at Michigan State and added a couple of victories as the Spartans' interim head coach to boot. For 2011, Treadwell needs to: capitalize on the momentum built by Mike Haywood's amazing 9-win turnaround in Oxford. A second straight MAC title isn't a necessity, but the pieces are in place for the kind of solid, winning season that would stamp the RedHawks as a contender for years to come. By 2014, Treadwell needs to have: won the MAC. With so much coaching turnover, there's a power vaccum at the top of the conference, and no reason Miami can't fill it. Chances Treadwell gets what he needs? Good-to-very good. Haywood left behind an excellent foundation and Treadwell's work in East Lansing suggests he's just the man to build upon it.
PETE LEMBO, Ball State
Why him? At just 40 years of age, Lembo already has 10 years of head coaching experience (all at the FCS level, no less) and just finished resuscitating a truly rotten Elon program. For 2011, Lembo needs to: just move the Cardinals in the right direction. Stan Parrish's dreadful two-season reign-of-error means Lembo has to get the program walking towards, say, not losing to Eastern Michigan before it runs towards bowls and league titles. By 2014, Lembo needs to have: put the Cardinals in position for a postseason berth; the Brady Hoke era showed it's far from impossible for the right coach. Chances Lembo gets what he needs? Not bad. BSU's not an easy gig, but Lembo's energy and FCS success mean he could be a sneakily good hire.
STEVE ADDAZIO, Temple
Why him? Not his efforts running the Florida offense, that's for sure, but his top-notch recruiting expertise, Northeast ties, and Urban Meyer -trained CEO skills won him the job all the same. For 2011, Addazio needs to: put together a coaching staff -- particularly at the coordinator positions -- that can take advantage of Addazio's good work on the recruiting trails. Maintaining Temple's perch near the top of the MAC East would be a nice signal that Al Golden's tenure wasn't a fluke, too. By 2014, Addazio needs to have: gotten the Owls back to a couple of bowl games; anything else would be a terrible waste of Golden's remarkable work. Chances Addazio gets what he needs? Better than you'd think. There's a reason Meyer tabbed Addazio as his replacement during his sabbatical; he's got the leadership skills necessary to head up a successful program ... if he can just find someone to call his plays for him.
DAVE DOEREN, Northern Illinois
Why him? NIU can't ask for a whole lot more than a long-time successful Big Ten defensive coordinator fresh off a visit to the Rose Bowl. For 2011, Doeren needs to: win the MAC? Those are high expectations for a first-time head coach, but the Huskies were the league's best team in 2010 and their offense returns almost entirely intact. By 2014, Doeren needs to have: won the MAC, no question mark. With the offensive talent left behind by Jerry Kill and Doeren's defensive acumen, the Huskies should find a way to finish what they started in 2010. Chances Doeren gets what he needs? Solid; none of the other new MAC coaches steps into a situation quite this friendly, and Doeren's defensive pedigree is promising.
DARRELL HAZELL, Kent State
Why him? No one the Golden Flashes could have hired knows the Ohio recruiting scene better than the longtime Buckeye receivers coach and recruiting ace. For 2011, Hazell needs to: find a difference-maker or two. KSU's been close to getting over the bowl hump, going 5-7 each of the past two seasons; if Hazell can recruit just a handful of actual play-makers, he could get them there in short order. By 2014, Hazell needs to have: reached the postseason. It would be a huge milestone for woebegone program that's had just two winning seasons since 1977, and has never played in a bowl as an FBS program. Chances Hazell gets what he needs? Like Addazio, it'll depend on who Hazell can hire for his staff, since he has no coordinating experience. But the talent level in Kent should definitely rise on his watch.
Tags: Al Golden, Ball State, Big Ten, Brady Hoke, Darrell Hazell, Dave Doeren, Don Treadwell, Eastern Michigan, Elon, Florida, Headset Reset, Jerry Kill, Kent State, MAC, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Mike Haywood, Northern Illinois, Pete Lembo, Rose Bowl, Stan Parrish, Steve Addazio, Temple, Urban Meyer
Posted on: January 13, 2011 2:36 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
One the one hand, it makes sense that the salaries of top-ranking officials at multi-million dollar enterprises like modern bowl games would be rising into the stratosphere. As the San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday :
From 2001-05, compensation packages for bowl game executives have increased about 70 percent, with many of them more than doubling, according to an examination of the bowls' Internal Revenue Service records by The San Diego Union-Tribune. The highest-paid bowl executive in the study is the Outback Bowl 's Jim McVay , who earns about $490,000, more than double the salary for the CEO of the oldest bowl, the Rose Bowl ($239,807).
For all of that, it's worth remembering that thanks to onerous ticket guarantees mandated by the bowls , the payouts to the teams playing in them haven't nearly kept pace with the cost of playing in them for many smaller schools. When UConn makes the biggest bowl, with the greatest payout, in their brief Division I history and still has to deal with massive financial losses as a result of their accomplishment, something is wrong.
And that goes double when the Fiesta Bowl suits who offered UConn the invitation are getting these kinds of raises. In a vacuum, the raises are a-OK. But in this economy, when the very bowls they're overseeing are so often taking such huge chunks out of the budgets of the schools they're claiming to help (not to mention that some 23 are run as nonprofit organizations), they're simply not.
HT: The Wiz . More information available there.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Pac-10 goes 2-2 in its four -- yes, just four -- bowl games. Wrapping up:
1. Oregon still has to prove it can outfox teams outside the conference. For all of Chip Kelly's undeniable brilliance at the Oregon helm, the last three times the Ducks have stepped out of conference to face quality defensive opposition -- and frankly, we're being generous by even including Auburn in that discussion -- they've scored 8, 17, and 19 points (against Boise State, Ohio State, and the Tigers, respectively). Those totals are a far, far cry from the Ginsu job the Ducks have performed on the Pac-10 the past two seasons, and they beg the question: what kind of kryptonite do defensive coordinators outside the league have that those inside it don't?
To be fair, it may be a simple matter of preparation; all three of the above teams had far longer than the typical work week to watch film and prep for the Duck tempo. And the torrent of TV-dictated stoppages in bowl games didn't do anything to help Oregon's attempts to wear down the Buckeyes or Tigers from a stamina standpoint. But the root of Oregon's problems in these games doesn't have anything to do with either of those issues; it's that they've simply been destroyed at the line of scrimmage. Whether it's Boise's Ryan Winterswyk, OSU's Cameron Heyward, or now Nick Fairley, the Ducks have had no answer for the elite linemen on the other side of the ball.
No one will argue that the Duck offensive linemen aren't well-coached, athletic, quality players. They've been good enough to win two Pac-10 titles and 22 games in two years. But to take the next step and win Oregon's first national title, Kelly may have to find a way to upgrade his offensive front all the same.
2. If they can keep the staff intact, Stanford's not going anywhere. Or at least, not far. No one will argue that Jim Harbaugh wasn't the driving force behind the Cardinal's unfathomable rise to 12-1 and beyond-impressive 40-12 demolition of Virginia Tech (remember that despite their short-week loss to James Madison, the Hokies had ripped through an improved ACC without even being seriously challenged), but that doesn't mean he was the only force. Andrew Luck will return in 2011 as the hands-down, no-debate best quarterback in the nation. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has already drawn head coaching interest and has learned directly under Harbaugh the past three seasons. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio just finished overseeing the biggest single-season defensive improvement in the conference, if not the countr. And Harbaugh's recruiting prowess means the cupboard should remain well-stocked for the next few years.
2010 may be the high-water mark for the program all the same. But if both Roman and Fangio are retained -- and it seems likely they will be, if one or the other is named head coach -- don't expect much of a drop-off in the near future, even with Harbaugh in San Francisco. The team on display at the Orange Bowl was clearly constructed well enough to withstand the loss of a single pillar, even if it happened to be the biggest one.
3. Arizona doesn't really "do" that whole bowl game scene, man. The Wildcats' appeared to have taken an important step forward during the 2009 regular season, coming within one overtime loss against the Ducks of a Rose Bowl berth. But then they took a big one back with a 33-0 shellacking at the hands of Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. This year, Mike Stoops needed a solid performance in the Alamo Bowl to wash out the taste of the 'Cats' season-ending four-game losing streak, and instead his team laid another colossal egg, meekly succumbing to Oklahoma State 36-10.
With victories or even respectable performances in those two bowls, Stoops would still have his team firmly established as one of the "up-and-comers" in the Pac-10. As is, 2011 isn't a make-or-break year for Stoops just yet ... but another iffy regular season followed by a third bowl faceplent would mean 2012 certainly would be.
4. Washington had a winning season. OK, that's not really something we "learned" as much as something that simply happened, but it's as close as we'll get since we're not sure there really was anything to learn from the Huskies' 19-7 win over Nebraska in this year's edition of the Holiday Bowl. Certainly it was a thrill for Jake Locker and the other Husky seniors to go out with a win, and after a disappointing year for coordinator Nick Holt's defense, holding the Huskers to a measly 7 points -- after giving up 56 to them in Seattle during the regular season -- will provide some optimism for next year. But with the Huskers visibly unfocused and unmotivated for a bowl game they'd played the year before against a team they'd already flattened during the regular season (and Taylor Martinez still not 100 percent), it's questionable how much an accomplishment the win really is. And with the face-of-the-program Locker departed, it's equally questionable how similar next year's Huskies will look to this year's.
So: it's a nice story for Washington. But it doesn't tells us much, if anything, about the Huskies going forward.
Tags: ACC, Alamo Bowl, Andrew Luck, Auburn, Boise State, Cameron Heyward, Chip Kelly, Greg Roman, Holiday Bowl, Jake Locker, James Madison, Jim Harbaugh, Nebraska, Nick Fairley, Nick Holt, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-10, Rose Bowl, Ryan Winterswyk, Stanford, Taylor Martinez, Vic Fangio, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington, What I Learned, What I Learned Bowl Edition
Posted on: January 5, 2011 3:49 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Today was the first media day at the BCS National Championship game, with Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti the star of the show after saying he was "sleeping like a baby. I wake up every two hours and cry." Cam Newton also clarified that his father would be in attendance at the game.
But maybe the most interesting development to come out of Phoenix since the teams arrived has been the consensus that Auburn has been the more relaxed, more happy-go-lucky team while Oregon (sometimes typecast as a laid-back West Coast program out of admittedly laid-back Eugene) has been much more business-like in their approach.
For maybe the best example of the difference between the two teams, look at the wide, wide variance in their respective curfew policies. When it comes to Auburn (emphasis added) ...
After Internet reports surfaced that star quarterback Cam Newton and some of his teammates were out at a club till almost 2 a.m., Newton was asked on Tuesday if any sort of curfew has been put in place for Auburn.Meanwhile, on the Oregon side , the Duck captains elected to have the players confined to the hotel by a 10 p.m. with a lights-out call by midnight. Linebacker Spencer Paysinger said that the Ducks were distracted at last year's Rose Bowl by "a bunch of things going on" and that this year's bowl experience is "a business trip."
Auburn fans will no doubt say that the light-in-the-reins approach is the right one for a team that's seemed to thoroughly enjoy their 2010 ride, and that the Tigers will be ready to play a loose, nerve-free game next Monday. Oregon fans will no doubt say Auburn isn't taking things seriously enough and that the Ducks will see their sharper focus and better preparation pay off.
We'll find out who's right next Monday.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:48 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
TCU says "Hello, BCS!" and beats Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl to finish season 13-0
Offense: It wasn't a great game by the TCU offense in this one, as while the Horned Frogs came out blazing in the first quarter and scored touchdowns on their first two drives, they only managed 7 points over the final 45 minutes. Still, the Frogs got as many points as they needed, and didn't turn the ball over, using field position to their advantage throughout the second half.
Andy Dalton was on fire out of the gate, but TCU then got a bit pass-happy in the second half and his performance fell off a bit. He did finish the game with 247 total yards and two touchdowns, running the offense efficiently enough to win the offensive MVP of the game. That being said, had TCU been a bit more productive with the ball late, it wouldn't have had to sweat so much at the end. Grade:B
Defense: His name is Tank Carder, and this game wasn't as much the Rose Bowl as it was the Tank Carder Show. Carder was everywhere on the field for the TCU defense. Knocking Scott Tolzien to the ground repeatedly, swallowing runners in the backfield, and knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage. If you didn't know Carder's name before this game, you do now.
The only problem for TCU was its interior run defense. While it was able to utilize its speed every time Wisconsin tried to stretch runs outside, the defensive line was getting manhandled up the middle quite a bit. Still, considering how impressive Wisconsin's offense was over the final month of the season, holding the Badgers to 19 points is nothing to be ashamed of. Grade: B+
Coaching: The only complaint I have about the job Gary Patterson and the TCU coaching staff did in this game was abandoning a game plan that was working so well at the start. Andy Dalton was having successful early throwing the ball and running out of the read option, but for some reason TCU ditched this attack after the first quarter. Instead Dalton just kept dropping back to pass, and things got a bit too predictable. Grade: B
Offense: Just looking at the statistics and not the scoreboard, you'd think Wisconsin won this game. The Badgers rushed for nearly five yards a carry, converted nearly half of its third downs, both of its fourth down attempts and didn't turn the ball over a single time. So what went wrong? Well, once the Badgers got to the red zone things seemed to stall and the team had to settle for field goal attempts, one of which they missed.
Which was a big miss given the final score.
The big problem on offense was that Wisconsin just wasn't very efficient throwing the ball. The Badgers have never been a passing team, but they've utilized play-action all season to pick up big chunks of yards and move the ball down the field. Tolzien couldn't do this against TCU on Saturday, and it cost Wisconsin points in the end. Grade:C+
Defense: Aside from the first quarter, Wisconsin's defense played pretty well. It's just Wisconsin had trouble getting off the field on third down, which lengthened TCU drives and took more gas out of the tank as the game wore on. The Badgers did a good job stopping the run and made life difficult for Dalton at times, but in the end, the Badgers defense had to make a play, and they simply didn't.
A turnover or two would have gone a long way in this game. Grade:B
Coaching: Why did Wisconsin lose this game despite the stats? Coaching decisions. Now, I loved Bret Bielema calling a fake punt deep in his own territory in the first half, but other than that, he left me scratching my head quite a bit. There was the questionable clock management at the end of the first half that forced Wisconsin to settle for a field goal, as it seems Bielema thought unused timeouts carried over to the second half. The biggest gaffe, however, came at the end of the game. On Wisconsin's final drive the Badgers ran the ball right down TCU's throat with John Clay and Montee Ball. After finally punching the ball into the end zone, the Badgers had to go for two, so what did Wisconsin do? They spread it out with four receivers and decided to throw. A Tank Carder fly swat later and TCU was Rose Bowl champions. Grade:F
The first quarter gave me the feeling that this was going to be an epic Rose Bowl, one that would go down in history. Things didn't quite play out that way, but it was still a very interesting game up until the last few minutes. It was a huge win for TCU, and one I thoroughly enjoyed watching. With or without the questionable decisions at the end. Grade: A-
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:00 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Mississippi State crushed an overmatched, undermanned Michigan defense, 52-14.
Offense: Quarterback Chris Relf wore #36 in honor of teammate Nick Bell , who passed away this season after battling skin cancer. He most certainly represented Bell admirably today, rolling up 281 yards on 18-23 passing and throwing three touchdowns. Michigan's secondary essentially had no answer for anything MSU wanted to do on offense. The Bulldogs' rushing attack was good for over 200 yards, even though it only gained 3.5 yards a pop. But above all else, MSU scored 52 points and gave Michigan its worst bowl beating ever. Grade: A
Defense: The MSU defensive performance basically defined "bend but don't break" today; Michigan gained 16 first downs and over 300 yards of offense, but only scored 14 points (all in the first quarter) and gave the ball up twice -- not including the partially blocked punt that gave TCU the ball on the Michigan 29. Only Ohio State held the Wolverines to fewer points this year. Grade: B+
Coaching: Dan Mullen went 5-5 on fourth downs in this game. 5-5! These weren't do-or-die situations, either; Mississippi State did beat Michigan by 38 points, after all. His team stayed aggressive even after it was garbage time, shutting Michigan out in the last three quarters. Right now, Mullen looks to be worth every penny of the $10.6 million he figures to make over the next four years. Grade: A
Offense: Michigan actually started the game on a roll, and led 14-10 at one point. Then Denard Robinson threw an interception, and things quickly went downhill. Robinson accounted for over 300 yards once again, but as per usual, the rest of the team didn't contribute much. Roy Roundtree and Martavious Odoms both looked solid at receiver, and both figure to be weapons next year. The Wolverines definitely missed Tate Forcier (ineligible) in the second half, when passing became the highest priority. Grade: B-
Defense: Statistically, this is the worst defense in Michigan history. This was Michigan's worst defensive performance in a bowl game ever. Greg Robinson should not only be fired, he should never coach defense in college football ever again. Michigan's defense was awful, wretched, putrid, horrific, horrible, and horrendous in every respect of the game. Grade: A new, worse grade than F should be invented and given to Michigan's defense
Coaching: Rich Rodriguez may have gotten himself fired with this one game. There were a litany of problems associated with Michigan's preparation and execution, as the 38-point margin would indicate, but let's just point this out: Michigan went 0-5 on fourth downs. Denard Robinson threw an incomplete pass on all of them. Robinson is the most feared rushing quarterback in college football this year; why is Rodriguez making him stand still and throw on every single fourth down? Use his legs, for crying out loud! Grade: F
This was not a good game for anybody but Mississippi State fans. It's great to see Dan Mullen breathe life into the historically inferior program, but it became quickly apparent in the second half that Michigan is just a mess. If it's Rich Rodriguez's last game on the Michigan sidelines, it's disappointing, but fitting. Grade: D
Posted on: December 22, 2010 1:55 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Some of the stories that have emerged over the past few days about teams struggling to sell their allotment of bowl tickets aren't surprising, quite honestly. How many FIU fans are going to want to leave Miami for a late-December trip to Detroit ? What percentage of the fanbase at Tulsa -- one of the smallest schools in all Division I -- are going to have the means to fly to Hawaii ?
But you might think that things would be different on the top rungs of the bowl ladder. You'd think wrong, as the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl are each finding out. We mentioned last week that UConn was looking at a major financial shortfall, and that hasn't changed; the Huskies have still sold only approximately 4,500 of their 17,500 tickets and are on the hook for at least $1.4 million in unsold ticket costs alone. Stanford, meanwhile, isn't much better off , according to San Jose Mercury-News columnist Mark Purdy (emphasis added):
Why should the Cardinal football team and its loyal followers be forced to schlep way across the country to Miami for the Orange Bowl in two weeks? As of late last week, Stanford had sold less than half of its 17,500-ticket allotment for that game. Isn't it stupid that the team can't play in a big bowl much closer to home?Purdy's column makes clear that he and the Pac-10 would have much preferred to see the the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl over TCU (and no doubt the Rose itself agrees), but he doesn't ask the question from the opposite perspective: isn't it stupid the Orange Bowl can't invite a big school closer to home? Why do they have to take a team representing a private academic institution from the West Coast whose fanbase is mostly apathetic even in the best of times when teams like LSU or even Michigan State could provide a lot more attendance bang for the invitation's buck?
In Stanford's case, it's because of a BCS bylaw that requires any team in the BCS rankings top-four to receive an automatic BCS berth; in UConn's, it's because the Big East champion is also admitted auotmatically, no questions asked. If Purdy thinks the agreement that sent TCU to Pasadena at Stanford's expense is unfair (and that's debatable, since the other BCS bowls have each been saddled with non-AQ teams before and will be again; why should the Rose be excepted?), how fair is it that the bowls are forced into inviting schools they know will leave them with attendance issues?
It's a little fair, sure, because there's no question that at 11-1, Stanford has done more to deserve a BCS berth than, say, 9-3 Alabama. But it's high time the NCAA started examining a way to free teams from the burden of ticket guarantees -- since it is unfair for a team like FIU, caught between an invitation they can't afford to turn down for the sake of their program and a guarantee they can't afford to accept on the financial ledger -- and if they might start with either limiting or eliminating those guarantees, they can definitely continue by loosening bowl tie-ins and doing away with the BCS's automatic bid. If bowls can take teams that will actually fill seats, they won't have to charge the schools that don't when those seats go empty.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 5:30 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The headline news at TCU these days is all positive: another undefeated regular season and Mountain West title, a Rose Bowl bid, an imminent move to just-begging-to-be-dominated Big East, and even -- for once -- an offseason without rumors that Gary Patterson is due to be hired away. Everthing's coming up Horned Frog.
So it's not a surprise that TCU is starting to wide that wave of momentum in the recruiting wars, too. Traditionally an afterthought behind the state's big Big 12 programs when it comes to recruiting, Patterson scored arguably the biggest coup of his tenure when athlete LaDarius Brown of Waxahachie (Tx.) chose to stay in his home Dallas metro area and suit up for the Frogs.
A 6'2", 190-pound speedster who could fit in with Patterson's team at either wide receiver or running back, Brown has all the requisite tools to become another future weapon in TCU's plans for BCS conquest. But Patterson's found plenty of weapons before; the reason Brown's commitment is noteworthy is because of how many other programs wanted Brown for themselves, and how impressed the recruiting experts already are with Brown's potential.
On the former count, Brown claimed offers from a who's who of schools across the country: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska. And though the state's eight hundred-pound recruiting gorilla at Texas didn't extend an offer, Brown had drawn serious interest from such in-state schools as Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston. In years past a recruit like Brown would have been on his way to College Station or Lubbock (if not out of state), but Patterson's success appears to be changing the game.
That's what the recruiting gurus seem to think, anyway, as Brown is arguably the most highly-regarded recruit to commit to TCU since there was such a thing as a "recruiting guru." The Dallas Morning News rated Brown the best prospect in the Dallas metro area ; Maxpreps lists him as the nation's No. 22 athlete ; ESPN rates him the No. 16 wide receiver and No. 95 prospect overall; Scout the No. 18 receiver and No. 124 player overall; and Rivals , most optimistic of all, the No. 5 athlete and the 44th-best prospect in the country. Every one of those assessments is the high-water mark (as far as this blogger can tell) for a TCU commitment at those respective sites.
While it helps that the Frogs can offer Brown the chance to play so close to home, there's also no question that a recruit with this kind of profile would not have given TCU the time of day in years past. If Patterson can convince a few more like him that the Frogs are the state's next-best-thing to the 'Horns -- and in the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas, there's no question he'll have the opportunity -- the past two years might only be the beginning of TCU's stay at the forefront of college football.
HT: Mountain West Connection .