Tag:Non-BCS
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Military Bowl

Postedy by Tom Fornelli

TOLEDO WILL WIN IF: This game is going to be a very interesting matchup. In order for Toledo to come out on top they'll have to continue to do a lot of the things that they did all season, and that means put up a lot of points. Something that the Rockets should be able to do, even without Tim Beckman around. The Air Force defense isn't terrible, but it did give up nearly 28 points a game this season. Which means that Terrance Owens, Austin Dantin and Eric Page should find plenty of opportunity to make plays for the Rockets. Where the problems for Toledo may come is on the defensive side of the ball. The Rockets defense gave up 31 points a game this season and while the run defense was acceptable, it hasn't faced a rushing attack like Air Force. When you haven't faced an option offense it's hard to stop one because you're not quite sure what you're seeing right away. The good news for Toledo is they've had the extra time to prepare for it, but how well the Toledo defense executes on the field will play a big role in this contest.

AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: The key for Air Force in this game is simple: keep Toledo out of the end zone. While Air Force's defense hasn't been terrible this season, it's also had some pretty bad games. There was a three week stretch against teams like San Diego State, Notre Dame and Boise State in which the Falcons gave up 45.67 points per game. Now, Toledo's offense is different than any of those three teams because it provides more of a running threat at quarterback, but it does have a lot of similar characteristics. So slowing Toledo down will not be easy, but it will be a must if Air Force wants to win. The Falcons should find success on offense running the ball, but not enough to where they can afford to get into a shootout.

X-FACTOR: Eric Page. Simply put, Eric Page is the most exciting player in this game. He's Toledo's biggest threat on offense and he finished the season with 112 catches for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Air Force pass defense hasn't given up a lot of yards this season, but it does allow opposing quarterbacks to complete 61% of their passes, which means Page should find openings on short to intermediate routes and be a favorite target of both Dantin and Owens.

You can read our complete Military Bowl preview here. 
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Fresno St. hires A&M coordinator Tim DeRuyter

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Pat Hill left behind some sizable shoes to fill at Fresno State, but the Bulldogs have the man they believe will fill them all the same ... or, where conference titles are concerned, do even better.

Multiple reports (including those from the Fresno Bee) have the Bulldogs introducing former Texas A&M and Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter as the program's new head coach at 1 p.m. Pacific Wednesday. DeRuyter will continue to serve as the Aggies' interim head coach through their Meineke Car Care Bowl appearance vs. Northwestern. 

DeRuyter comes to Fresno with a deserved reputation as one of the college game's best up-and-coming defensive minds. After engineering impressive defensive turnarounds for Ohio and then Troy Calhoun's Falcons, in 2010 DeRuyter took over an A&M defense that had ranked dead last in the Big 12 and 90th nationally in yards per-play allowed in 2009. His first season in College Station those rankings improved to third and an incredible 17th, respectively. Though the 2011 Aggies weren't quite as successful on the scoreboard (going from 34th to 76th in scoring D), they still ranked 25th nationally and second in the conference in yards per-play allowed*.

DeRuyter has yet to coach in the Golden State at any level but is a Long Beach native. He replaces Hill, who went 112-80 at Fresno and took the Bulldogs to 11 bowl games, but never won an outright WAC title.

The Bulldogs' new coach will once again have his work cut out for him, as FSU finished 101st in total defense last year. But if DeRuyter can work his magic there and continue to recruit the strong-armed quarterbacks and explosive playmakers that marked Hill's tenure, there's no reason to think his new team can't contend in the shaken-up Mountain West sooner rather than later.

*Because of the up-tempo, high-scoring nature of most Big 12 games, total scoring and total defense numbers tend to be inflated for conference teams across the board. We like yards per-play a bit better in that situation.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Report: Craig James to run for U.S. Senate

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Former Southern Methodist tailback Craig James will file for a spot in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in Texas, according to Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas Morning News.

His son Adam James is currently a wide receiver for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech.

James was one half of the famed "Pony Express" at SMU, joining fellow top RB recruit Eric Dickerson in the Mustang backfield and leading SMU to a combined 29-5-1 record from 1980-1982. In James' final game as a Mustang, SMU beat Pittsburgh 7-3 in the Cotton Bowl to preserve an unbeaten 11-0-1 record.

After graduating from SMU, James played for two seasons in the doomed USFL with the Washington Generals before spending five seasons with the New England Patriots, rushing for 2,469 career yards and 11 career touchdowns and making the 1986 Pro Bowl. 

James retired from the Patriots after the 1988 season.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:25 pm
 

New Orleans Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the New Orleans Bowl

Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State vs. Lance Kelley, LB, Louisiana-Lafayette

This should be the biggest matchup in this game, as Hillman is one of the nation's leading rushers, finishing third in the country with 1,656 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Hillman also picked up another 221 yards on 20 receptions during the season, as he is the key component of the San Diego State offense which finished 28th in the country in rushing yards. Then there's the Louisiana-Lafayette defense which allowed 3.8 yards per carry and 144.5 yards rushing per game this season. More importantly, the Cajuns allowed 25 touchdowns on the ground this season.

So you can expect the Aztecs to try and take advantage of that, which means the matchup between Hillman and linebacker Lance Kelley will be huge in this game. Obviously, Kelley has ten teammates on defense who will have to help out, but he was the team's leading tackler in 2011 with 107 tackles. Nearly 30 more than his closest teammate.

How successful Kelley is in stopping Hillman, or at the very least keeping him in check, will go a long way in determining which way this game goes. If Hillman has a typical day of 138 yards and a touchdown or two, then San Diego State is going to win. If Kelley can slow him down and force San Diego State's offense into being more one-dimensional, then the Cajuns' chances only improve.

You can check out our extensive New Orleans Bowl Pregame preview here
Posted on: December 12, 2011 8:26 pm
 

Report: Colorado State to hire Bama OC McElwain

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Colorado State has reportedly found its new head coach. According to the Denver Post, CSU will hire Jim McElwain, Alabama's offensive coordinator. The contract is estimated to be a five-year deal, worth $1.5 million per year. McElwain will replace Steve Fairchild, who was ousted earlier in December.

The deal represents a substantial step up in both salary and prestige for the 49-year-old McElwain; this will be his first head coaching gig at any level, as he worked his way through the collegiate assistant ranks after graduating. Additionally, McElwain's salary will be nearly tripled from the $510,000 per year he was making at Alabama

McElwain's Alabama offense has improved its standing in the SEC for every year that he's been there; in 2007, Nick Saban's first at the helm of Alabama and the year before McElwain arrived, the Tide was ranked seventh in the SEC in total offense; in his first year, it was sixth, followed by finishes at fourth, third, and second in the ensuing years. In the one year McElwain spent as Fresno State's offensive coordinator, the Bulldogs went 9-4 (6-2) with a win over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl, scoring nearly 33 points per game in the process. In addition, the Crimson Tide has scored over 30 points per game on average in every season McElwain has been at the helm of the Alabama offense; the Tide has averaged 36 points a game this year.

Colorado State has not officially announced the hire at this point, but the Post says the school will announce the hire at a Tuesday press conference. Meanwhile, Izzy Gould of al.com has reported that Saban met with his coaching staff on Monday to discuss McElwain's departure.

Stay on top of all the latest coaching changes around the country and which coaches might be the best candidates to take over in the college football coaching carousel.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview



Posted on: December 12, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Bowl Game Picks: Who Do You Like?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Every week the CBSSports.com college football staff offers our picks straight up and against the spread in the Expert Picks. But we aren't the only ones who get to offer our opinions on the outcome of the weekend's best games. In our weekly "Who Do You Like" Picks, we give you - the readers - a chance to weigh in on how you think the upcoming slate of games will play out.

After getitng your opinion on the BCS bowls last week, we move our attention to some of the high-profile non-BCS bowls in the weeks ahead.  Let us know how you think these cross-conference showdowns will play out in the days leading up to the National Championship Game.       

You can see the results of the voting every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on Inside College Football, airing on the CBS Sports Network.



Come debate your picks for the week with other college football fans at the new Eye On College Football Facebook page. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 12, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Bowl Game Picks: Who Do You Like?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Every week the CBSSports.com college football staff offers our picks straight up and against the spread in the Expert Picks. But we aren't the only ones who get to offer our opinions on the outcome of the weekend's best games. In our weekly "Who Do You Like" Picks, we give you - the readers - a chance to weigh in on how you think the upcoming slate of games will play out.

After getitng your opinion on the BCS bowls last week, we move our attention to some of the high-profile non-BCS bowls in the weeks ahead.  Let us know how you think these cross-conference showdowns will play out in the days leading up to the National Championship Game.       

You can see the results of the voting every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on Inside College Football, airing on the CBS Sports Network.



Come debate your picks for the week with other college football fans at the new Eye On College Football Facebook page. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:23 pm
 

Keys to the Game: New Orleans Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

SAN DIEGO STATE WILL WIN IF: The Aztecs are appearing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1966-67 seasons, and they'd like to make it two consecutive bowl victories as well. To do this the Aztecs should look to exploit a Louisiana-Lafayette defense that isn't exactly top-notch. The Cajuns allowed nearly 30 points a game this season, and allowed 25 rushing touchdowns. Which means that Ronnie Hillman should find some space to run for San Diego State. Not that Ryan Lindley won't have chances of his own, as the Cajuns allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete over 63% of their passes for an average of 7 yards a pop on defense. As for San Diego State's defense, the biggest test will be slowing Blaine Gautier. The majority of the damage the Cajuns do on offense is threw the air, so getting pressure on Gautier to disrupt his rhythmn will make life a lot easier.

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE WILL WIN IF: The biggest challenge for the Cajuns in this one will be the fact that they're strength (passing offense) is going against a strength of San Diego State (passing defense). Blaine Gautier finished the season with 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions, but the San Diego State defense is in the top 50 nationally and second in the Mountain West in defensive pass efficiency. While the Aztecs gave up 15 touchdowns through the air this season, they also picked off 14 passes. The Aztecs also led the MWC with 28 sacks this season. Which means the Cajuns would be helped quite a bit if freshman running back Alonzo Harris can find some success on the ground and not let the Aztecs defense key on the passing game.

X-FACTOR: Ronnie Hillman. Though he's only a sophomore, Hillman managed to finish the 2011 regular season third nationally with 1,656 rushing touchdowns, and he was also sixth in touchdowns with 19. He is the key component of the San Diego State offense, and unless a Cajuns defense that's allowing 144.5 yards per game on the ground can figure out a way to stop him, then this game may not be all that close.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com