Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Michigan has one of the worst defenses in the country this season. A unit that has been depleted over the last few years thanks to transfers and injuries finds itself ranked 114th in the country in total defense, and 104th in scoring defense. Which wouldn't be so terrible if there were 400 teams in the FBS, but there are only 120.
So, naturally, the last thing Michigan needs right now is another injury on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, that's exactly what they have. Linebacker and leading tackler Jonas Mouton pulled a chest muscle during Michigan's crazy triple-overtime victory over Illinois last weekend, and now his status for Michigan's game against Purdue this Saturday is in doubt.
"We'll see how he progresses as it relates to Saturday," Rich Rodriguez told The Detroit News. "I don't think there's structural damage, but there's muscular issues that are causing some pain, and it's kind of a day-to-day thing. He's a tough guy, and if he can play and is cleared by the trainers, he'll be ready to go."
Obviously, Michigan can't really afford to lose anybody on defense these days, let alone its leading tackler. If Mouton can't go on Saturday, Rodriguez said he'll be replaced by co-captain Mark Moundros at weak-side linebacker.
Moundros was a fullback last season.
The Wolverines may want to put up 60 again.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:34 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This being Veteran's Day, it's worth noting that one of the highlights of this year's service academy football schedules is the Nov. 20 meeting between Army and Notre Dame in New York, the first-ever college football game at the new Yankee Stadium. With the game now just nine days away, it was time this week to give the stadium its gridiron makeover, and we'd say the new look looks mighty fine on it :
For video of the process that produced the above, click here . As fascinating as the venue promises to be, however, it won't even be the only traditional baseball stadium hosting college football that day. Also playing that day are Northwestern and Illinois , and they'll be meeting at Wirgley Field. How does Wrigley look like with its football lines in place? Like so :
Neither game promises to match up ranked teams or have much bearing on any conference or BCS races. But with settings this unique, we'll be tuning in all the same.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 1:06 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
There are still four weeks of regular season football left, but the Lombardi Award has evidently seen enough to select four finalists already. The finalists for the Lombardi Award, given annually to the top lineman or linebacker in college football (no linebackers are in the running this season), are listed below.
Clayborn is unlikely to win, as his 2010 statistics aren't nearly at the level of last season; it'll take an Iowa win over Ohio State that prominently features Clayborn in a disruptive role to bring him into the conversation as a potential winner. Even then, it might not do much to the overall narrative.
Nick Fairley was relatively unheralded coming into the season, but he has been an absolute terror on the interior and is easily the defensive MVP for the undefeated Auburn team. His 18 tackles for a loss lead all defensive tackles; he's got to be a unanimous All-American at DT this season.
TCU's offense is rolling, and Jake Kirkpatrick is the presumptive winner of the Rimington Award this season, but an offensive lineman hasn't won the award since Orlando Pace won at Ohio State in 1995 and 1996. Though we mean zero disrespect to Kirkpatrick, he is not the transformative blocking talent that Pace was, and Kirkpatrick will probably be the first to agree (humility is sort of an offensive lineman's "thing"; this usually only intensifies toward the middle of the line).
That leaves Da'Quan Bowers, the star defensive end for Clemson. Bowers leads the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss, and has generally made iife hell for opposing quarterbacks; while the Clemson defense's touchdowns and yards per pass are generally pretty pedestrian, its overall pass efficiency defense is one of the better in the nation. The incompletion percentage and interception percentages, meanwhile, are relatively high. That means one thing: pressured passes ahoy, and plenty of that credit goes to a terrorizing defensive line. Unless Clemson collapses down the stretch, this award is Bowers's to lose, and it would be an honor well-earned.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 5:32 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Sometimes, a news story isn't so much a news story as mere confirmation. For instance, after Penn State sophomore walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin tore apart visiting Michigan in a 41-31 win in relief of nominal starter Robert Bolden , and then led the Nittany Lions out of a 21-0 hole with 35 straight points to beat Northwestern after two series with Bolden went nowhere, it would take an extremely stubborn coach not to decide that McGloin had earned the starting position.
And Joe Paterno didn't win 400 games by being stubborn , not that Bolden is out of the picture just yet:
Paterno said he had intended to reinsert Bolden [against Northwesten], but McGloin got hot and finished with 225 passing yards and four touchdowns. McGloin has thrown for seven scores the last three games, with one pick.By this stage, though, there might not be many Nittany Lion fans who'd agree. McGloin is sporting a 7-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio compared to Bolden's 5-to-7, is averaging .7 more yards per pass attempt (7.9 to 7.2), and has a passer rating some 34 points higher (154.83 to 120.16). McGloin has had the benefit of facing three less-than-killer defenses in Minnesota , Michigan, and Northwestern, but there's also not much arguing with a three-game win streak or the kind of listlessness the offense displayed under Bolden in losses to Iowa and Illinois .
Of course, it won't take long to determine if McGloin is a product of his opponents or not; this week's Nittany Lion opponent is Ohio State , the No. 3 defense in the country, and the Lions will be on the road in Columbus. If McGloin can play well enough to keep Bolden on the bench in those kinds of circumstances, it'll be worth asking if we'll see the true freshman again this season ... and if a player who began the season as a third-string afterthought is JoePa's official Quarterback of the Future.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 11:58 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Ever since Minnesota fired Tim Brewster, the school's head has been in the clouds when considering who to hire to replace him. Names like Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson, Jim Harbaugh, and somebody at the school has probably wondered about Bear Bryant too. The thing that all these coaches have in common -- well, not the late, great Mr. Bryant -- is that if they were to leave their current jobs to take over at Minnesota, they'd be taking a step backward. Which Minnesota just doesn't seem to get.
Which is why I was somewhat relieved to see the latest name to come up in the Gophers coaching search, because this one actually seems sensible. According to a report in the Pioneer Press, Brady Hoke of San Diego State is now on the list of "serious" coaching candidates. Which just makes sense, so kudos to you, Minnesota.
Hoke has experience in the Big Ten, spending eight years at Michigan as a defensive coach and is from Ohio. He also led Ball State to a 12-1 mark in 2008 before moving on to San Diego State. Now, in his second season there, Hoke has the Aztecs at 7-2 with a chance at a Mountain West title if they can pull off the upset of TCU this weekend.
In other words, he's a coach that has had to work his way up the ladder, and had success everywhere he's been. You don't think he'd be interested in coming back to the Big Ten -- most certainly a step forward for him -- and taking over the Minnesota job? The most important thing for Minnesota to consider, though, is that it's not the the only school who has likely taken notice of Hoke. Colorado has an opening right now, too, and it's likely going to turn its attention to Hoke soon as well.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 9:33 am
Edited on: November 10, 2010 9:35 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
After narrowly escaping Indiana for the second-straight year with an 18-13 victory in Bloomington, head coach Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes gladly welcome leading rusher Adam Robinson back to the field this week after missing time due to an injury. Several media outlets reported the injury as a concussion, but Ferentz did not confirm that on Tuesday. He did, however, inform the media that Robinson should be good to go against Northwestern on Saturday.
"As far as I know, he's practicing today and he's training; ran on Sunday, lifted and all that stuff," Ferentz told the media on Tuesday. "So he's fine to go."
Having Ferentz offer a "denial/non-denial" to the concussion rumors was a little odd, though other reports do confirm that Robinson has returned and appears healthy. He was replaced by backup Marcus Coker against Indiana, who rushed 22 times for 129 yards in the win. While Coker held his own against the Hoosiers, Robinson's importance to the Hawkeyes' offense cannot be easily dismissed. He leads the conference in rushing attempts per game and his 10 rushing touchdowns on the season are good for 5th in the Big Ten.
This Saturday has all the makings of a trap game for the Hawkeyes, with a season-determining matchup in Columbus just a week away. Iowa must keep their focus on Northwestern in order to stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title. No game was more important for the race than the 37-6 victory over Michigan State giving them a tie-breaker edge against the one-loss Spartans. But in order to capture the Big Ten conference crown, the Hawkeyes need to win out and get some serious help from one of Wisconsin's final opponents. But with that out of their hands, head coach Kirk Ferentz knows they need to win each game left on the schedule, and it starts with Northwestern on Saturday.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 1:10 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In college football's grand scheme of things, who's serving as captain at Indiana as the Hoosiers prepare to take on Wisconsin Saturday isn't much of a story. But it's still tough to ignore once you see who coach Bill Lynch said the Hoosier players nominated this particular week :
Yes, that's the same Damarlo Belcher who held the winning fourth-down touchdown pass in his hands last week against Iowa and simply dropped it, costing his team what would have been their biggest win of the year and, potentially, bowl eligibility.
That his Hoosier teammates are willing to not only forgive him but rally around him is worth a hearty round of applause, as well as a testament to the fact that even at 0-5 in the Big Ten (and 1-12 in league play over the last two years), Lynch has done an excellent job of keeping his beleagured bunch from splintering. Winning in Camp Randall Stadium Saturday won't be easy, but it won't be for a lack of team unity or character.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:57 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Over the past several days, more than one college football analyst has discussed a scenario which should make everyone involved with the BCS hang their head: the possibility of an undefeated Boise State not only not making the BCS national title game, but being shut out of the BCS entirely and heading off to play (or "obliterate," delete as applicable) Cal in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. As CBSSports.com's own Dennis Dodd has explained, with TCU poised to take the single automatic bid allotted to non-AQ teams, the Sugar Bowl suffering from "SEC power vs. small-conference upstart" fatigue, and the Orange Bowl potentially unwilling to put together a rematch between likely ACC champion Virginia Tech and the Broncos, every BCS at-large bid could easily wind up doled to teams other than Boise. It's true.
But that doesn't mean it's destined to happen, or even likely. For instance, CBS's Jerry Palm says it's not even a given that the Horned Frogs will wind up ahead of Boise in the BCS standings when all is said and done. But even assuming TCU gets the nod at No. 3, here's five somewhat reasonable scenarios (i.e. not "New Mexico beats the Frogs in the upset of the millennium"), ranked from most to least likely, which would result in the Broncos getting their second BCS berth in as many years:
1. The Sugar or the Orange extend an invite. There's reason to think the Sugar and the Orange won't want to take a flyer on the Broncos, but there's plenty of reasons to think they will, too. Boise has become such a polarizing fixture on the college football scene that they're capable of bringing a great deal of attention and excellent TV ratings with them. The Broncos haven't faced an SEC team since Georgia in 2005, and it's fair to assume plenty of fans would tune in to see the nation's most respected conference and most recognizable Cinderella go toe-to-toe. (If the Sugar gets to invite local favorite LSU as the Broncos' opponent, attendance won't be an issue.) The Orange might be nonplussed at the Hokie-Bronco rematch, but selecting last, they also might not have many palatable options; assuming Nebraska wins in the Big 12 and the Sugar takes a leftover Big Ten team (preventing the Orange from taking a third Big Ten team), the only serious candidates will be either a team like Oklahoma State or Missouri or that won't bring much more than Boise in terms of profile, TV attention, fan attendance, etc., or an Oklahoma team that won't come close to matching Boise's record of achievement this year.
2. The old switcheroo? After consultation with the rest of the CBS College Football Blog team, we're still not entirely sure what this provision in the BCS selection process bylaws means exactly (emphasis added):
But especially regarding that final caveat as it pertains to the Rose, it sounds like the BCS could play musical chairs with some of its bowl assignments if it means squeezing out from underneath a Virginia Tech-Boise State rematch. If the Sugar decides it doesn't want Boise but could deal with the Hokies, and the Orange wants Boise but doesn't want the rematch, could the bowls swap into, say, an LSU vs. Virginia Tech matchup in the Sugar and a Boise-Ohio State blockbuster in the Orange? Don't hold us to this, but reading the above, it might be a possibility.
3. A Virginia Tech loss in the ACC championship game. It's hard to see the Hokies not making it to Charlotte, but if someone other than Tech wins the conference title (the Orange would no doubt like Florida State, please-and-thank-you), inviting Boise would seem to be a no-brainer.
4. Wisconsin doesn't go to Pasadena. One of the Broncos' biggest rivals for at-large attention is Ohio State, who brings with them a huge fanbase, potentially an 11-1 record, a ton of media attention, etc. If Wisconsin falls out of the scrum at the top of the Big Ten (either by, say, a loss at Michigan or a tiebreak loss to Michigan State), that would open the door for either the Buckeyes or Spartans to go back to Pasadena ... and possibly for the Sugar to take Boise over a Badger team that doesn't pull nearly as much weight as the Buckeyes (though our resident bowl projections expert disagrees, I should note).
5. SEC chaos. It's not likely at all, but it's possible enough carnage goes on in the SEC (Auburn losing to Georgia and Alabama, LSU losing to Arkansas, the SEC East winner springing an upset in the championship game, even Cam Newton becoming suspended would help) that the conference doesn't produce a worthy BCS at-large team. That could open up a hole for Boise somewhere.
Put all of these possibilities together, and you can't guarantee that Boise will make one of the BCS games ... but it seems likely enough that something will happen in their favor that they don't have to lose sleep worrying about Cal. Not yet, anyway.