Posted on: November 3, 2010 10:03 am
Edited on: November 3, 2010 10:10 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Yesterday, reports began to surface that former Tennessee head coach and current CBS College Sports analyst Phillip Fulmer had emerged as a candidate for the open coaching position at the University of Minnesota. Initially, there was some speculation as to the probability of Fulmer being enticed by the position. After all, names such as Tony Dungy, Mike Leach, Scott Linehan, and Marc Trestman (the hometown favorite), have all come up in reports since Tim Brewster's firing in mid-October.
Also, as Tom Fornelli pointed out, there is doubt that Fulmer, 60, would want to take on the task of rebuilding a program that has not seen overwhelming success in quite some time. But after seeing his interest in the Louisville job, eventually given to Charlie Strong, it is fair to assume that Fulmer is most interested in coaching, less so where. When asked by the Knoxville News Sentinel about any possible contact with Minnesota, Fulmer was non-committal, though he did offer some kind words about the program.
“Minnesota has great potential, and with its new facilities it’s a place you could recruit to,’’ Fulmer told the News Sentinel on Tuesday night. “I believe it’s a place where you can compete.’’
COMPETE. There is that operative word for a program that has not won a conference title since 1967. Fulmer would bring an awfully impressive resume to Minneapolis, particularly 13 nationally ranked finishes in his 17 years of head coaching. While athletic director Joe Maturi said that he preferred the next candidate "get" Minnesota, other sources have indicated that a "Tubby Smith-type hire" may be probable to fill Brewster's position. While Fulmer spent nearly all of his coaching career with the Volunteers, he is a seasoned and respected in the national scene. His pedigree would elevate the program's status almost immediately, the challenge would be utilizing that status to produce winning seasons.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:07 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A new name has emerged in the Minnesota head coaching search. According to a tweet from Tom Dienhart , former Tennessee head coach and current CBS college football analyst Phillip Fulmer is a candidate for the job.
How seriously we should take this, I'm not sure yet. Fulmer has made it known that while he enjoys the television work, his ultimate goal is to get back into coaching, which is why his name has surfaced in recent coaching searches at Notre Dame , Louisville and even back in Knoxville over the last year.
You also have to wonder if, at the age of 60, Fulmer would want to take on the task of rebuilding a football program at Minnesota that isn't exactly used to success over the last 40 years. There's also the question of whether Minnesota would want to hire a 60-year old coach as well, or if they'd prefer a younger target.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 1:42 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Minnesota football fans no longer have Tim Brewster to absorb their blame for another failed season in Minneapolis. While the athletic department is working on narrowing down the list of candidates for his replacement, current interim head coach Jeff Horton has his hands full trying make the best of the games left on the slate in 2010. With Brewster gone, much of the negativity from the Minnesota faithful has been directed at starting quarterback Adam Weber. After picking up their eighth straight loss, the emails have been pouring into Horton's account on a daily basis. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the e-mails have become so plentiful Horton has created an auto-reply:
He replies to some of the thoughtful ones, spikes the more profane, but can't find time to answer them all. So to save him the trouble, here's a public reply -- all, straight from the keyboard of the Gophers' decision-maker,Wide receiver MarQueis Gray is reported to only be taking about 10 percent of the snaps during the week in practice, and at this point in the season it would be pointless to try and install a new offense based around Gray's running and decision-making ability. There has been talks of a pistol package being installed at Minnesota, but with only three games left on the schedule the best chance to win is to stick with the offense at hand and pray for the best. Weber hasn't even really been that bad as a quarterback, his 17 touchdowns are good for fourth in the conference and statistically is quite similar with Michigan State's Kirk Cousins. But for a 1-8 team that still has yet to win a game in conference play, statistics are not good enough for the fans. Sounds like there won't be any changes though, so they might as well get used to it or continue to receive auto-reply's for the remainder of the month.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 3:45 am
Edited on: October 31, 2010 1:28 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Michigan State isn't exactly BCS Championship material after all: Not even in our Insane Predictions did we ever see a 31-point Iowa throttling of Michigan State coming; the Hawkeyes dominated from the get-go and harassed Kirk Cousins into irrelevance, forcing three interceptions and keeping the Spartans off the scoreboard until the game was well out of hand. The vaunted Michigan State rushing was even more forcefully debilitated; the Spartans managed only 31 yards on 20 carries, and even that might overstate the Spartans' effectiveness rushing the football, as only one of their 13 first downs came on the ground: an 11-yard end-around by WR Bennie Fowler. The MSU tailbacks? No-shows. That, plus a harried performance by the quarterback, equals disaster, and that's what rained down on the Spartans in Iowa City on Saturday.
This makes four one-loss teams in the Big Ten, and with tiebreaker rules being what they are, there are essentially no teams left in the Big Ten that can win the conference crown "without help"; each of the four teams' Rose Bowl hopes depends directly on another team winning or losing. Might we see some eyes casting furtive glances at scoreboards from here on out? Don't be surprised.
Quietly, Ohio State marches on. Don't look now, but Ohio State is back to 8-1 (4-1) on the season, tied for first with Michigan State in the standings. The Buckeyes' latest act of aggression against the rest of the conference was a 52-10 spanking of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, OSU's sixth victory of 28 points or more on the season. Terrelle Pryor's still really good, and the defense is tightening up after that 31-18 horror show in Madison two weeks ago. A 12-1 mark to finish the year isn't exactly out of the question for the Buckeyes, whose only real tests are a visit to Iowa and whatever high-level bowl game they're awarded.
Now, even if the Buckeyes win out and even if they're ranked ahead of Michigan State in the BCS ratings (which they would be), they're not guaranteed a Rose Bowl bid; like everyone else crowded at the top, OSU needs one little bit of help. Again, more on that later. But rest assured that at the very least, an 11-1 Ohio State gets an at-large BCS bowl bid.
Sorry, but Michigan's not legitimate. The Michigan defense's ability to breathe life into a moribund opposing offense is truly a sight to behold, and its 41-point performance against Penn State and former walk-on QB Matt McGloin (making his first start ever) might have been its magnum opus. Evan Royster, who basically hasn't found rushing lanes all season long, gashed the Wolverines for 150 yards and two scores. McGloin threw for 250 yards and another touchdown, and the Nittany Lions converted on 10 of 16 third downs (and went 2-2 on fourth downs, so really, 12 of those 16 third downs ended up getting converted). Again, this is the same Nittany Lion offense that scored three points against Iowa and Alabama, scored 13 against Illinois, and "racked up" 24 on Kent State. Throw in the backup quarterback, and Michigan still gives up 41 points -- and that's not even counting PSU kneeling at Michigan's 2-yard line to end the game. It could have been worse.
What this means is that even for Denard Robinson's heroic 380 yards of total offense in the loss, Michigan's overall ineptitude makes him more the next Antwaan Randle-El than a potential conference-winning quarterback at this point. And don't get it twisted, Randle-El was truly great, but there's no doubt that he'd have traded his first-team All-American designation for so much as a bowl bid in his four years of play. Didn't happen. Now, Michigan's not there yet, but the Wolverines are at least on their way; under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines are now an astonishing 4-16 in Big Ten play with Saturday's loss. They're not exactly "program-defining" wins, either (or they could be, perhaps, but certainly not in any positive sense): at Indiana this year, vs. Indiana in 2009, vs. Wisconsin in 2008, and vs. Minnesota in 2008. That's all. No teams with over seven wins on the season, one win by over seven points. At Michigan. In fact, only Indiana has fared worse in Big Ten play since RichRod showed up; for those keeping track at home, that's the second unflattering comparison to Indiana in this paragraph alone.
Stanzi for Heisman? Let's start with Stanzi for New York: Ricky Stanzi had his third straight game of three passing touchdowns and no turnovers, pushing his season totals to 19 TDs and two picks in eight games. That's usually not a Heisman-winning pace, and especially not this season, but the efficiency (second in the nation and gaining on Boise State's Kellen Moore) is awfully reminiscent of another QB in Iowa City just eight years ago: Brad Banks, who threw 26 TDs and four interceptions en route to a runner-up spot for the Heisman to Carson Palmer in 2002. If Stanzi keeps this up and if Iowa upends Ohio State in Iowa City (big ifs), might we see Stanzi at the Downtown Athletic Club? With Denard Robinson's (or more accurately Michigan's) season fading and Taylor Martinez dinged up, don't rule it out quite yet.
Wisconsin's biggest fans are the Spartans, and its biggest enemies are its victims. How badly does Michigan State need Wisconsin to win out? If the Badgers lose while either Iowa or OSU finish at 7-1, the Spartans' grasp on the conference title evaporates; Iowa has beaten MSU head-to-head, while it's extremely unlikely that MSU can overtake the Buckeyes in the BCS standings after its jarring defeat in Iowa City on Saturday. Meanwhile, the fact that Ohio State and Michigan State don't play each other has suddenly swung heavily in OSU's favor; more on that later this week. As for Wisconsin itself, its Rose Bowl chances hinge entirely on either Michigan State or the Iowa-OSU winner losing another game. But again, more later; trust us, that stuff gets complicated, especially now that "Just win, baby" isn't automatically enough for anybody in the conference anymore.
Tags: Alabama, Antwaan Randle-El, Bennie Fowler, Big Ten, Big Ten Rose Bowl, Boise State, Brad Banks, Carson Palmer, Denard Robinson, Evan Royster, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kellen Moore, Kent State, Kirk Cousins, Matt McGloin, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rich Rodriguez, Ricky Stanzi, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl Big Ten, Rose Bowl Predictions, Rose Bowl Projections, Rose Bowl Tiebreakers, Taylor Martinez, What I Learned, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 29, 2010 3:22 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
Doctors have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but these doctors obviously didn't have the Saturday Meal Plan in mind when they came up with that load of poop. I mean, the morning slate has been pretty light all season, but this week? Wow, it's barren. I wouldn't normally ever say this, but if there was ever a Saturday morning to get all those chores around the house done that you've been putting off, this would be it. Besides, you're going to need some room in your stomach to eat all the candy you decide to keep from the trick or treaters on Sunday.
Still, if you insist on it, here are your options.
Main Course - Cincinnati vs. Syracuse - Noon - ESPNUSee? I told you. I wouldn't normally recommend the Big East to anybody, but this really is the most important game on Saturday morning. Syracuse has been one of the bigger surprises of the season, and if you ever want to check them out without sacrificing better games, than this week is your best chance to do so.
Both the 'Cuse and Cincinnati are still very much alive in the Big East race, and the conference does still get that automatic BCS berth, so I guess that makes this game worth your time.
Side Orders: I suppose that when Jacory Harris is playing quarterback for Miami there's always a chance that the Hurricanes could be upset, so I guess that's reason enough to tune into Miami and Virginia on Saturday morning. Or you could go with Illinois and Purdue! Oh how exciting that will be! Though, truth be told, Illinois is one of those teams that may be a lot better than is record indicates. I would have made Kansas State and Oklahoma State the main course, but since it's not being televised nationally, I just couldn't. Still, if it's on in your area, I suggest finding it.
Main Course - #14 Nebraska vs. #7 Missouri - 3:30pm - ABCUnfortunately, the two biggest games of the day will be played at the same time on Saturday afternoon. It was tough to choose between the two for the main course, but since the winner of this one is basically a lock to win the Big 12 North, I chose this.
Missouri jumped out last weekend and showed the country that they are, in fact, a legit undefeated team by knocking off Oklahoma, but this game may be even tougher. It's one thing to defend your home turf, it's another to go into a hostile environment and take down a strong Nebraska team.
Well, unless your Texas, but the Longhorns are stuck in some kind of bizarro dimension this season.
If the Tigers can win in Lincoln, then barring something crazy, they'll continue climbing the BCS rankings and reach the Big 12 title game undefeated with the conference and possibly a shot at the national title on the line.
Side Orders: Of course, if the Big Ten is more your thing, then you can't go wrong with Michigan State and Iowa. This game is the last true roadblock between the Spartans and an undefeated season, as they don't have to face Ohio State this season. Also, while the Hawkeyes lost last week, they're still in the hunt for the Big Ten title as well, but a loss in this game would wipe away all hopes. Or maybe you'd prefer Georgia and Florida. The game doesn't have the normal hype considering neither team is ranked right now, but whoever wins this game has a good shot to win the SEC East. The loser is just about done.
Main Course - #24 USC vs. #1 OregonThis is your best option on a Saturday night that is a little light compared to the last few weeks, but anytime you get a chance to watch Oregon play, you should take advantage of it. This team is just fun, and considering the amount of smack that has gone back and forth between the Ducks and Trojans this week, it's that much better.
If the Ducks annihilate USC on Saturday night, they also have a chance to impress those computers and jump Auburn in the BCS rankings. Also, since USC isn't allowed to go bowling this season, or win the Pac-10, they don't have much left to play for aside from possibly knocking the Ducks out of the title game.
Side Orders: ABC's other prime-time game this weekend is Ohio State and Minnesota. Seriously, the only thing I have to say about that game is pray you get Oregon and USC in your area. If you don't, flip on over to Ole Miss and Auburn because watching Cam Newton run over dudes is always a good time. There's also Washington and Stanford, or you can check out Penn State and Michigan. In other words, there's nothing fantastic, but there is plenty of quality on Saturday night.
Late Night Snack
Odds are that it won't be televised in your area, but if it is, take some time out to watch TCU and UNLV. Believe me when I say that TCU is just as good as Boise State or any of the other undefeated teams in college football these days, they just don't get as much national television exposure. So, if you can, do yourself a favor and find this one. It might just change your mind about who should be playing for a national title, and who shouldn't be.
Tags: Auburn, BCS, Boise State, Cam Newton, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Jacory Harris, Kansas State, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Saturday Meal Plan, Stanford, Syracuse, TCU, Texas, UNLV, USC, Virginia, Washington
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:33 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every week there's plenty of interesting matchups -- no, really -- that don't feature ranked teams and don't make anyone's "must-watch" list other than the team's fans. Here's three of them you should keep an eye on regardless (all times Eastern) :
East Carolina (5-2, 4-0) at UCF (5-2, 3-0) , 3:30 p.m. It's a straight-up, head-to-head battle for first place in Conference USA 's East division, but there's plenty of other reasons to pay attention to what ought to be the C-USA game of the year. With Houston 's Case Keenum out for the season and Southern Miss having already lost to ECU at home, these appear to be the best two teams in the conference; the Pirates have the league's best nonconference win, over Florida State conquerors N.C. State , but UCF boasts C-USA's stingiest defense by a mile. Both teams have brand-name playmakers in elusive ECU quarterback Dominque Davis and explosive UCF defensie end Darius Nall. Thus far this season ECU has specialized in winning barnburners (51-49 over Tulsa , 44-43 over Southenr Miss) and this should be another tight contest on the road in Orlando, but with starting quarterback Rob Calabrese out, expect the Golden Knights to play things as close to the vest as possible.
Cal (4-3, 2-2) at Oregon State (3-3, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. His brother may be lost for the season, but any time Jacquizz Rodgers suits up for the Beavers, it's worth paying attention to. Beyond that, despite their nonconference losses at TCU and Boise State , the Beavers can still have a major say in the Pac-10 race with a win here; they'll play host to both USC and Oregon and must still travel to take on Stanford . Cal, meanwhile, has been more up-and-down than a yo-yo taken for a bungee-jump. After destroying Arizona State a week ago (a week after being destroyed at USC), they'll be expected to fold at Corvallis. But if you look past the margin of defeat, there's no particular shame in losing in Los Angeles, or at Arizona or Nevada . Both teams will still feel like their season to-date is a success with a win ... but both might also start to feel like the year might be a lost cause with a loss. The game promises to be a turning point for both.
Michigan (5-2, 1-2) at Penn State (4-3, 1-2), 8 p.m. It's pretty simple: at some point, Rich Rodriguez must start winning Big Ten games that aren't against Indiana to keep his job. (Against all other Big Ten teams, he's lost his last 11 in a row.) There's no time like the present, what with the Nittany Lions giving a sophomore walk-on his first start and their banged-up front seven looking like an excellent matchup for a fully-armed and operational Denard Robinson . On the other sideline, last week's win at Minnesota stopped the bleeding for Joe Paterno and Co., but a second straight home defeat to one of the conference's middle-of-the-pack teams -- particularly one with a Swiss cheese defense like the Wolverines' -- is not going to sit well with the Happy Valley faithful. Both teams will feel like they have reason to win this game, and as with the matchup above, the victor will wind up with plenty of reason to feel good about itself going forward. But the loser is going to have some very, very difficult questions to answer.
Tags: Arizona, Arizona State, Big Ten, Boise State, Cal, Case Keenum, Conference USA, Darius Nall, Denard Robinson, Dominique Davis, East Carolina, Florida State, Indiana, Jacquizz Rodgers, Joe Paterno, Michigan, Minnesota, N.C. State, Nevada, Oregon State, Pac-10, Penn State, Rich Rodriguez, Rob Calabrese, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, UCF, USC
Posted on: October 26, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:11 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While the Michigan Wolverines may know who they will have lining up under center against Penn State this weekend, the same cannot be said for the Nittany Lions. Robert Bolden suffered a concussion during Penn State's victory over Minnesota last week and had to be replaced by former walk-on Matt McGloin.
As of now Bolden's status for Penn State's game against Michigan is up in the air, as Joe Paterno is still waiting to see what the doctors have to say about Bolden. Still, if you're going to force him to give you an answer, he's guessing Bolden won't be ready.
"[The medical staff] tested him Sunday and he still had memory problems," Paterno told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . "They are going to test him again [Wednesday}.
"But, if you ask me, if I had to guess, he won't be able to make it. I don't want to take any chances. I just don't know."
It's nice to see that Paterno doesn't want to take any chances with a freshman quarterback coming off of a concussion. Personally I don't care what the doctors tell me, if I'm Bolden's coach, he's getting a week off. The question is who will replace him? McGloin took over for Bolden on Saturday and threw a couple of touchdowns, but he only completed 6-of-13 passes and also threw an interception.
Which is probably why he's sharing snaps with Kevin Newsome in practice this week.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 9:33 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 10:43 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
1. You're going to have to knock Sparty out. The Michigan State Spartans, even sitting at 7-0 entering this week's trip to Northwestern , weren't exactly strangers to adversity. They trailed Notre Dame in the fourth quarter. They gave away all kinds of points in turnovers against Wisconsin . Their offense sputtered for a half against both Michigan and Illinois . Their head coach had missed time with multiple ailments including a freaking postgame heart attack.
But in football terms, none of that quite matched trailing the Wildcats 17-0 on the road midway through the second quarter this afternoon. The Spartans were lucky it wasn't worse, as Northwestern had fumbled a certain touchdown at the 1 and had both run the ball and stopped the MSU run with impunity. No matter: the Spartans turned to quarterback Kirk Cousins and their excellent receiving corps, and responded with an immediate touchdown. Just a few minutes into the second half, it was 17-14. A fake punt helped keep them within 24-21. And two touchdowns in the game's dying minutes gave them a 35-27 win . They just never stopped coming.
The lesson -- as the lesson has been all season with the Spartans -- is that you'd best put your boot on Sparty's throat when you get the chance. If you let them stay upright, their offense is too balanced and their confidence too high for them not to overtake you eventually. Just ask the Wildcats.
2. Iowa's fourth-quarter mojo is missing. A year ago, Ricky Stanzi was unstoppable in the final period , and the Hawkeyes rode his arm to a perfect 10-0 record in games he started and finished. Four of those wins came by a teeth-skinning total of eight points, with several others blown open by the Hawkeyes in the fourth after three evenly-played quarters. In short: no team in America was more clutch.
In its five wins so far this year, Iowa hasn't needed any of those heroics, winning by an average of 23 points. But twice in 2010 the Hawkeyes have found themselves in fourth-quarter struggles, and in neither case have they come up with the plays that made 2009 so special. Against Arizona , it was a collapse on the offensive line that led to a series of game-ending sacks. Against Wisconsin today , it was the Iowa special teams and defense that allowed the Badgers to drive 80 yards in 7:29 with the game on the line, eventually giving up the winning touchdown to Badger backup Montee Ball . The Badgers converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive, one on a fake punt deep in their own territory.
And this time, with barely more than a minute to work with, Stanzi wasn't able to pull off the miracle drive for the win. As they say: what a difference a year makes .
3. Move along: there's nothing to see in Minneapolis. Playing at home after the embarrassment of having its coach fired midseason, Minnesota allowed the previously moribund Penn State offense -- and "moribund" is being kind -- to rack up 145 rushing yards and 33 points in a comfortable 12-point win , all without injured starting quarterback Robert Bolden . We knew that the next Gopher head coach was by far the biggest question surrounding the program; after a performance like Saturday's, it's fair to call it the only question.
4. The Big Ten is one game away from total chaos. Or total boredom. Wisconsin looked utterly lost in East Lansing in Week 5, but after massive wins against Ohio State at home and now Iowa on the road, it's fair to say the Badgers have their usual ground-pounding attack operating at maximum efficiency. The Buckeyes made clear Saturday they're not going anywhere, obliterating Purdue 49-0 . And as painful as their come-from-ahead loss Saturday may have been, Iowa has just the one conference loss and is all the more dangerous for having been stung by its setbacks to date.
Meaning that if Michigan State falls in Iowa City this coming Saturday, no less than four of the Big Ten's powers could be tied at the top of the conference standings with a single loss, with only one game -- Iowa against Ohio State -- still to play between the four of them. The mind reels at the tiebreakers.
The flip side is that if Michigan State wins in Iowa City, to sit at least a game up on the rest of the field ... with head-to-head tiebreakers over the Hawkeyes and Badgers in hand ... no game scheduled against Ohio State ... and only dates against Minnesota, Purdue and Penn State remaining ... you might as well go ahead and pencil the Spartans in for Pasadena, or something even greater.
So, Michigan State at Iowa: the game of the Big Ten's season? Yes, Michigan State at Iowa, the game of the Big Ten's season.