Tag:Mountain West
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:57 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 100-91

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy.

100. THE DOOLEY RULE, new NCAA regulation.
We don’t know when; we don’t know where. But we’re betting that at some point this season, college football’s new Dooley Rule -- which punishes offenses that commit a penalty in the last minute of either half with a 10-second runoff from the game clock -- makes a major impact on the outcome of a game. If it’s the right game, the rule could make a major impact on the outcome of college football’s entire season.

That’s not necessarily likely, of course. Until namesake Derek Dooley’s Tennessee team lost last year’s Music City Bowl when North Carolina stopped the clock with its own penalty, the situation hadn’t yet seemed to occur in a high-profile college football game. (There’s a reason it took until 2011 for the rule to be put into place.) But now that it’s there, we think the odds are good that we’ll see it put into practice this fall … and that the losing coach will be sure to let us know about it. -- JH

99. JARED HASSIN, running back, Army. For the last nine years, Army has fallen short of toppling their Navy counterparts. Could 2011 be the year that the Black Knights finally get over the hump? If they do, it will likely be thanks to the efforts of Hassin. He broke out in a big way his sophomore season, racking up 1,013 yards and 9 touchdowns, helping lead Army to their first postseason appearance since 1996 and first bowl win since 1985.

Hassin was originally enrolled in the Air Force Academy before transferring back to Army (his original commitment) and sitting out 2009. It was an odd recruitment, especially for the son of an Army graduate. But regardless of the process, the lifelong Army football fan is now playing for the team he grew up loving. He is undisputedly one of the most important players on the Black Knights, and fans hope the 6-3, 235-pound back can flash the historic rivalry back to the late 80's and early 90's, when Army took 9 of 11 from the Midshipmen. -- CP

98. GUNNER KIEL, quarterback, Columbus (Ind.) East High School. The nation's top quarterback in the class of 2012 and number two overall prospect according to MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming, Kiel holds a scholarship offer from just about every program in the country. The 6-foot-4, 210 pound signal-caller is ideal for just about any kind of system and has a good arm, throws the ball accurately and is a natural born leader on the field.

Kiel comes from a long line of quarterbacks - his uncle Blair played at Notre Dame and in the NFL and both of his brothers play the position in college - and the next in line might be the most talented out of all of them. His recruitment, as one would expect from a top prospect, is not being played out in the public as he is trying to keep things close to the vest. Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Alabama are a few of the schools making a strong push for his services but it will be well into the season (or after it) before he ends up making a decision; expect to hear plenty about it as 2011 progresses. -- BF

More CFB 100
Related Links

97. RYAN TANNEHILL, quarterback, Texas A&M. The Aggies had two different seasons in 2010: one B.T. (Before Tannehill) and one A.T. (After Tannehill). With Jerrod Johnson at quarterback, the Aggies were 3-3 on the season, and 0-3 in Big 12 play. Then Tannehill took over the reins against Kansas on Oct. 23 and Texas A&M didn't look back. The Aggies reeled off six straight wins, including games over Oklahoma, Nebraska and (the coup de gras) Texas. They wouldn't know defeat under Tannehill until the Cotton Bowl, where LSU won 41-24.

Still, Tannehill was a revelation. Not only was he able to run a rather potent Aggies offense, but he did so without the crippling turnovers that became a trademark of Texas A&M under Johnson. This season will be different for Tannehill, however. No longer is he the former tight end-turned-savior, but the quarterback who is supposed to make sure Texas A&M takes the next step--its first league title since 1998, and just their second Big 12 title ever. -- TF

96. GREG MATTISON, defensive coordinator, Michigan. One could certainly make the argument that it was the continuing ineptitude of former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson that cost former head coach Rich Rodriguez his job in Ann Arbor. After all, Robinson's latter year spearheading the Wolverine defense was, by far, the worst in points allowed in Michigan history; the former was the third-worst (and just for good measure, the second-worst season came in Rich-Rod's first season, with one-and-done Scott Shafer as DC). Yes, Michigan has an unusually stingy history of defense, but that's just the thing: Michigan fans have every reason to expect that stingy defense. That's just how it's done at Michigan.

It'll be up to Mattison, then, to keep Brady Hoke's seat cool, and he's got the pedigree to do it. Mattison is entering his 35th year of assistant coaching defense and his 16th as a defensive coordinator, and he's been a part of some very successful defenses (Florida's '06 BCS Championship team, for one). Fans shouldn't expect miracles and shutouts on Day 1 or even in Year 1, but they're going to need to see some sense this year that Michigan's old way of football is coming back. Getting the points per game allowed back under 27.5 for the first time since 2007 would be a good start. -- AJ

95. TYLER BRAY, quarterback, Tennessee. Give the sophomore gunslinger from California this: he doesn't lack for confidence. From the moment he stepped into Tennessee's starting lineup as a true freshman in midseason 2010, Bray carried himself with a swagger that paid big dividends in the Volunteers' season-ending, bowl-salvaging four-game winning streak--a streak in which Bray threw for 12 touchdowns and better than 1,200 yards. Behind four more Bray scoring strikes, the Vols nearly upset UNC in their bowl game (see above), raising expectations for even bigger things in 2011.

But Bray might have taken a little too much self-belief into spring, where he finished an up-and-down camp with a miserable 5-for-30 performance in the Orange-White Game. If he can harness his confidence and continue building on last year's impressive debut, the Vols could be major spoilers in a logjammed SEC East. If not, one of the nation's proudest programs could slip below .500 for the third time in four years. -- JH

94. JON EMBREE, head coach, Colorado. After a disastrous experience with an outsider as head coach in Dan Hawkins, Colorado turned to someone with a strong connection to the program in Embree, a former tight end and assistant coach for the Buffs. He's never been a head coach before but his fiery attitude and pledge to bring back several school traditions have already gotten players and alumni fired up for the upcoming season.

Embree has his work cut out for him though, with Colorado coming off a 5-7 season and transitioning to a new league, the Pac-12. He installed a pro-style offense during the spring and has his staff hitting the recruiting trail hard over the past few months to get word out about the program. The schedule is tough, hosting Oregon and going to both Ohio State and Stanford, but Embree has a senior quarterback in Tyler Hansen and a few solid pieces to build around. Expectations are rising in Boulder and while it might be too much to ask of Embree to turn everything around in his first year, he sure will make things more interesting up in the mountains. -- BF

93. SAVON HUGGINS, running back, Rutgers. Huggins enters his true freshman season with the Scarlet Knights with high expectations from the Rutgers fan base. At their spring game in April, Huggins drew about as much fanfare in his street clothes as the boys in pads. Huggins was one of the few big signing day steals for head coach Greg Schiano, and the Maxpreps No. 1-ranked running back should be an immediate upgrade for the Big East's worst rushing offense in 2010.

Fans are not the only ones anxiously awaiting Huggins' arrival. The coaching staff failed to identify any kind of order for the position in the post-spring depth chart. When Huggins suits up for fall camp, he will have as much of a chance to play as the three current backs on the chart. Hailing from nearby Jersey City, NJ, Huggins is the new face of Rutgers football. If he doesn't pan out into the star Schiano is hoping for, the 2006 Coach of the Year might find himself suddenly on a warmer seat in Piscataway. -- CP

92. QUALCOMM STADIUM, home field, San Diego State. Thanks to years of incompetence from its regular Aztec tenants, the former Jack Murphy Stadium's most prominent ties to college football have been the Holiday Bowl and (more recently) the Poinsettia Bowl. And those aren't insiginificant, particularly considering some of the classics that have been played in the Holiday.

But that should change this year. SDSU is poised for potentially their biggest season in school history, with senior quarterback Ryan Lindley and sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman forming the most dynamic QB-RB combo in the Mountain West. To win the conference the Aztecs will have to go through both TCU and Boise State, but wouldn't you know it--both MWC frontunners must visit Qualcomm this year, the Frogs Oct. 8 and Broncos Nov. 19. With two chances for the Aztecs, don't be surprised if "the Q" plays host to this year's version of Nevada-Boise, the upset that turns the non-AQ BCS chase on its head. -- JH

91. PAUL RHOADS, head coach, Iowa State. When Paul Rhoads took over as head coach at Iowa State in 2009, replacing Gene Chizik -- whatever happened to that guy? -- he was walking into a tough situation. The Cyclones had only won five games in the previous two seasons, but the man who grew up 20 miles outside Ames led the team to seven wins in 2009, including a win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. Iowa State took a step back in 2010, but did get a huge win over Texas and narrowly lost to Nebraska in overtime.

In 2011, however, the time for moral victories has passed. While the Cyclones have won 12 games under Rhoads in his first two seasons, only six have come against conference opponents, four of them coming against former Big 12 North teams. Now the Cyclones will no longer have seasons in which they don't have to play Texas and Oklahoma, so winning in the conference won't be easy. Of course, it's not like anybody is expecting Iowa State to compete for the conference title every season, but if Iowa State wants to be better than a program that makes the occasional bowl appearance, Rhoads is going to have to do more than pull off the occasional shocker. -- TF

Check back tomorrow at Eye on College Football for Nos. 90-81 on the countdown, and follow us on Twitter.




Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:19 pm
 

Eye on CFB Roundtable: Full cost scholarships

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

Both Jim Delany and Mike Slive have come out in favor of "full cost of attendance" athletic scholarships that will include stipends for transportation, clothing, etc., in addition to covering tuition. But it's believed that not all conferences will be able to afford such stipends. Is this a plan college football fans should support?

Tom Fornelli: This is an interesting debate. Because my first inclination is that any extra money that the players can get, they should get. It's not that I think it'll keep players from breaking NCAA rules and taking money elsewhere or anything, it's just that I've always felt that the players should be getting a bigger piece of that billion dollar pie they bake to begin with.

That being said, I do worry about what this can lead to. It will affect recruiting. Let's say one conference is offering more than another. If I'm an 18-year old kid without a job, with an equal opportunity of playing at two different schools, but one is offering me $5,000 a year while the other $3,000? That $2,000 is going to make a big difference in my life. Plus, what if all the BCS conferences agree to a flat rate throughout to even that up? Well, that will just about kill the Mountain West's, WAC's and all the other non-BCS conferences' recruiting. The BCS already has an advantage over them, and now if they're offering even more, that gap only widens.

Adam Jacobi: You know what, though, Tom? I don't think the current recruiting rules did the little guys much good to begin with.

By that I mean, pretty much the only thing a school is allowed to use to entice a particular recruit is the relationship with the coach (playing time, off-field support) and the football program itself (game day, training facilities). Education also plays a role, but a rather weak one--the amount of young men who either A) enroll in the SEC or B) transfer from a quality school to some rinky-dink lower-division school whose diplomas mean about as much as a McDonald's placemat would indicate that the quality of education is not nearly as important as playing time or on-field prestige.

And sure, limiting recruiting pitches to football and education sounds good, but it basically means that a have-not type of school--your typical Sun Belt or MAC program, say--can't do a damn thing to entice an upper-level recruit to come there instead of to a BCS school.

Jerry Hinnen: Right. There's no question that the proposal would end any kind of recruiting "battles" between BCS and non-BCS teams (assuming the latter, as widely believed, couldn't come up with the scratch to put it into practice). Playing time and shots at championships only matter so much compared to (over four years) $8,000-$12,000.

But how many of those battles are going on in the first place? A handful in the West between Boise State and San Diego State and various Pac-12 schools ... maybe a few between bottom-rung BCS schools looking for sleepers in Texas and Florida and local C-USA teams like UCF, Houston and SMU ... perhaps a local metro recruit could be persuaded to stay in the MAC at Temple or, now, UMass, rather than going to ride the bench at a Big East cellar dweller.

AJ: Remember how funny it was that Cyrus Kouandjio kept leaving New Mexico in his Top 5? It's probably irritating to non-power schools that it was so funny.

At the same time, though, the last thing we need is a redux of the cash-crazy SWC days. That was unseemly and it ended badly. We don't need to encourage that type of behavior. And that's why I think what Tom's suggesting, that one school might be able to offer a flat sum of money more than the other, won't come to pass. There's going to be some strict regulation on what constitutes the full cost of attendance, and that seems fair. What I'd be interested in is how this extra money is disbursed. Surely they don't plan to award the money in a flat sum at the beginning of each semester, right? Because if you put $2,000 in a college kid's bank account and tell him it's got to last for four months, how long do you think that money's really going to last? And how much of that money is going to be spent conspicuously (i.e. cars, bling, alcohol), potentially embarrassing a school that fought hard for the athletes to get that extra money? JH: That could be a problem. But the fallout I'm worried about from this plan isn't what happens if it passes; it's what happens if the NCAA's mid-major rank-and-file (which may not have a dog in the FBS fight but will no doubt do whatever they can to protect their D-I men's hoops interests) find a way to keep it from passing. It's possible that that's the point at which the BCS schools take their ball and go home to their own, NCAA-free college football Premier League ... and as someone who enjoys seeing Boise State try to break through the glass ceiling and the C-USA champ take on the SEC in the Liberty Bowl and even, say, Temple take on Penn State in mid-September, I think college football would be dramatically poorer for it.

Chip Patterson: Further separation from the BCS and Non-BCS schools is the scariest aspect to me in this whole situation.  The threat/idea of a BCS breakaway from the NCAA (as Jerry mentioned) seems to be a doomsday scenario that everyone knows exists, but no one wants to talk about.  It would bring up new definitions and standards for college athletes, as well as amateurism in general.  Full cost scholarships are going to be a nightmare to try and define and establish across college football, and I fear the results of the conversation would only raise more problems than it would solve.  

Around many college campuses, the football team is on a bigger celebrity status than city officials.  You give 18-22 year olds a new stream of cash to go along with their larger-than-life status, there are going to be some consequences.  You could argue that there would be no more of a threat of off-field misconduct than already exists, but I find it difficult to imagine it won't play a factor in misconduct reports in the future.

Bryan Fischer: The one thing to keep in mind about these full-cost scholarship proposals is that they're going to be adjusted based on federal calculations to cover the gap between what the college scholarship covers now and what it actually costs to attend a school.

As Jim Delany has been quoted, players used to receive $15 for laundry every month and they still get the same $15 now. In essence, the Big Ten and SEC want to adjust scholarships for inflation. I think it's admirable and the right thing to do. If you're a parent spending thousands on private tutors and coaches and travel teams, I would think you'd be in favor of this too.

What remains to be seen is how you work out the nitty gritty details. There's Title IX considerations, partial scholarships for some sports to navigate around and a myriad of other issues. I don't think it will provide the recruiting advantage many think, since it's tied to cost of living. You go to USC or UCLA and you're going to get more money because gas is a tad more expensive than it is at Auburn or Alabama.

This idea has some traction with the membership, but the key will be nailing down the details and figuring out where the money is coming from. If the funding comes from student fees (in essence, students paying for student-athletes) then I can see a few roadblocks. There's a long way to go on this issue, and it will be interesting to see where those details take us.


Posted on: May 23, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Patterson, Frogs thinking big with move East

By Brett McMurphy
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

PONTE VERDA BEACH, Fla. – Being that this was his first official Big East function, you’ll have to excuse TCU coach Gary Patterson for not realizing shorts, and not long pants, are the preferred attire in this beach town.

Still, it wasn’t Patterson’s slacks, but the bling on his right ring finger that stood out the most – the Horned Frogs’ 2011 Rose Bowl championship ring.

And by joining the Big East in 2012, Patterson believes the Horned Frogs will have an easier road to make even more BCS bowls. Leaving the Mountain West after this season for the Big East will be a huge boost for the Horned Frogs in recruiting.

“[In the Mountain West] we weren’t an [automatic] qualifying conference and [now we can] get a chance to get into a BCS game without going undefeated,” Patterson said. “And then for us, the TV sets [the Big East reaches 30 percent of the nation’s television sets] by being able to go east.

“That’s the same reason the Dallas Cowboys did it. Geographically it doesn’t make any difference to come to [play] Philadelphia. That’s how they became – quote – ‘America’s Team’ because they became seen so much. We’ll see how that works.”

So far last year’s announcement of TCU moving to the Big East has already made an impact.

“I think there will be [excitement moving to the Big East],” Patterson said. “The excitement is the new recruiting class, they’re the ones the Big East will have an effect on and maybe the class coming in. We haven’t really talked about it. Our whole thing is getting a chance to win one more championship in the league we’re in.”

Patterson said he didn’t think anyone was considering them “a lame duck” in their final season in the Mountain West.

“You have to play the games,” Patterson said. “Schedule-wise, except for the Boise game [which was changed from a TCU home game to a Boise State home game by the league] … the Mountain West could have played it anyway you wanted to as far as the league was concerned.

“We don’t get a return game one way or another [with the other league opponents]. The only thing I’m worried about is making sure our stadium is ready for the first home game.”

Patterson said attending the Big East’s spring meetings gave him a chance to become more familiar with how the league operates.

“My whole premise was to get to know people [here], getting the lay of the ground work,” Patterson said. “I’m still loyal to the Mountain West. I get a chance to meet people and understand [how the league works] when we come into the league next spring.”

Posted on: April 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/22

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS

1.
Want a quarterback? Like Clemson's Tajh Boyd (pictured)? You might want to head to the state of Virginia, which despite its relatively small recruiting profile could produce starters at as many as seven different BCS programs, including potential national title contenders Alabama and Florida State. (The class of 2012 might tend more towards wideouts, though; both the Virginia-based members of Tom Lemming's top 100 are receivers.)

2. Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier is a funny guy. On why the Broncos are joining the Mountain West rather than the Pac-12: "We’ve applied for membership into the NFL. … The truth is schools must be invited into a conference. You don’t get to just join a conference like you can go and join Costco.” Of course, it was his less-amusing, more-serious remarks on the lack of a college football playoff that made headlines.

3. We found out this week that both Auburn and Alabama are going to take a trip to the White House this year; the Tigers to see President Obama as national champions, of course, but Penn State announced that the Tide's Week 2 visit to Beaver Stadium will also be to a "White House." It will the first white-out for the Nittany Lions since 2009, but they maybe should have picked a different opponent, at least if the Tide's infamous 2008 throttling of Georgia during a "black-out" is in any way indicative.

4. The lead item in this Tulsa World post-spring notebook on Oklahoma concerns the Sooners trying to fill the Thanksgiving week hole in their schedule, but the most interesting item comes at the notebook's end, when we discover that Bob Stoops once hitchhiked "several hundred miles" to see Bob Seger in concert.

"I put the name of the city on some cardboard around my tennis racket," Stoops said, "and went out to the highway, held up the racket and hitched a ride to the concert." So if he ever chooses to kick against the wind for no apparent reason, you'll know why.

AND A CLOUD ...

Navy's spring game will air tonight on our own CBS Sports Network, with a few twists ... And speaking of the Midshipmen, Ken Niumatalolo has signed a long-term extension , though the non-release of details means we don't know for much or for how long ...The first wave of Ohio State Tatgate smack shirts is hitting store racks and Internet shopping carts ...  Colorado was the first school to go all-HD this spring when it comes to practice film, a move that's made post-practice film study much quicker and easier, the Buff coaches say ... Mike Slive reiterates that he expects the SEC to "do something more than we have done up to now" to curb oversigning ... Yes, Virginia, it is possible for a football program to attend the Humanitarian Bowl and turn a profit; Northern Illinois (somehow) just did it ... The go-to reporter for news on Chad Bumphis's ankle injury scare at Mississippi State was Chad Bumphis ... Every school keeps things simple during their spring games, but "simple" means something different at Boise State ... A look at which SEC schools are getting the biggest financial boost from their boosters ... All-American Big 12 receiver Justin Blackmon interviews All-American Big 12 receiver Ryan Broyles, and finds out Broyles' favorite XBox game is FIFA?!?


Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:09 pm
 

SDSU's Long calls Boise blue turf 'unfair'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Say this for first-year San Diego State head coach Rocky Long: he's not a man to hide what he's really think.

Just ask BYU. Or as of yeterday, his Aztecs' new conference rivals at Boise State, since Long made it beyond clear he doesn't think much of the Broncos' famous Smurf Turf:

"I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf. I think it's unfair," said Long, the former New Mexico coach ...  

When asked to expand, Long said, "it takes the visiting team a quarter or two to get used to that different field."  

Long said players "track the ball differently" on the blue turf, particularly since Boise State traditionally wears all-blue uniforms on the blue turf.

Long isn't the first coach to grumble about the Boise field's effect, though he might be the first to do so so publicly. We encourage him to continue, since the Aztecs' home game against the Broncos already shapes up to be one of the best in the 2011 Mountain West and should only get spicier from here. (Boise's Chris Petersen unfortunately wasn't willing to play along, politely saying his players don't notice any effects from the blue field "because we see it every day.") 

But is there any truth to Long's claims? The Broncos did go 40-0 at home in their 10 years in the WAC and are (as the Idaho Statesman points out) an incredible 69-2 on the blue turf since 2000. 

But the simpler explanation for BSU's success, of course -- and it's one we wish Petersen had made in retort -- is that the Broncos have been really, really good, and traveling all the way to Boise to play those good teams is very, very hard. Maybe Long is right that the combination of the field and the Broncos' blue uniforms is unsettling enough that it doesn't make for an entirely even playing field (and to be fair to Long, he does have personal experience with the Smurf Turf, having taken the Lobos to Boise in 1999), but whatever advantage Boise gets isn't nearly so big as the advantage of simply having the better team.

In short: with all due respect to Mr. Long -- and to the thousands of retinas scarred annually by the blue turf in high definition -- Boise shouldn't feel obligated to tear up the turf anytime soon.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.

FOUR LINKS ...

1. It's not easy for a school like Mississippi State to keep up with the Joneses of the SEC when it comes to the facilities arms race ... but $12 million worth of private donation sure helps. The artist's rendition of the future "Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex" (which will house practice fields a weight room, coaches' offices, etc.) looks like so:



2. It sounds like new Colorado coach Jon Embree isn't wasting any time reshaping the Buffaloes roster. Though a round of cuts (unfortunately) isn't exactly unprecedented for a new coaching administration, it will be interesting to see if there's any pushback from the Boulder media or academic types over his cancellation of scholarships for "effort"-related reasons that seem to straddle the "violation of team rules" line.

One player who won't mind Embree's arrival regardless: Buff kicker Justin Castor, who watched Dan Hawkins burn his redshirt last season to attempt just one field goal.

3. Unlike most sports teams, when choosing a design for their Rose Bowl championship rings, TCU went reserved, classy, tasteful :



Or, perhaps, the opposite of that. (Not that they don't deserve rings that would fit around this blogger's wrist, of course.)

4. After the success of last year's Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field (and that in the face of the "offense only faces one way" debacle), it's no surprise that the Boston Red Sox would consider hosting a college football game of their own at Fenway Park. Though such a game is still just a twinkle in the Sox executive's eye at this stage, it's no surprise that Boston College fans would like to volunteer their team's services.

AND THE CLOUD ...

Cal receiver Tevin Carter has left the Bears program citing a lack of interest in football; Carter did not catch a pass last season ... "Top-level donors" at Arizona State are getting a sneak peek at the team's new uniforms ... Minnesota signee Peter Westerhaus suffered a skull fracture and received 50 stitches after being hit in the face by a boulder on a family hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. He'll be fine for fall practice, though ... Staying with the Gophers, a bill to allow alcohol sales in TCF Bank Stadium's "premium seating" has made it through committee ... The intensity of the Iron Bowl rivalry extends itself to a gymnastics meet, not that you should be surprised by that ... And speaking of Auburn, reserve linebacker Jessel Curry and reserve safety Ryan Smith are not currently with the Tigers during spring practice, though the door to their return doesn't sound closed yet ... And speaking of Alabama, here's 50 photos (!) illustrating the process (pun intended ) of bringing the Tide's new Nick Saban statue to, uh, life ...  A useful look at the SEC's overall athletic program program margins, of which football is obviously the largest part ... Things got feisty at Texas A&M's practice this week ... The most in-depth 2011 preview of UL-Monroe you're going to find, courtesy of new stats-loving blog Football Study Hall .


Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:00 pm
 

TCU wraps up spring practice

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT WORTH, Texas - Amid the construction at Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU wrapped up their own reconstruction project Thursday afternoon, finishing spring practices in an up-tempo two hour session at the Horned Frogs' home field.

"We got better," head coach Gary Patterson said. "Now we'll see how much better is."

TCU lost 14 starters from their Rose Bowl-winning 2010 team. Linebacker Tank Carder, expected to be the heart of the defense next year, was limited most of the spring while recovering from surgery but wore a red jersey normally reserved for quarterbacks and practiced in non-contact situations. Despite Carder's absense, the biggest issue of the spring might have been to find a replacement for All-American safety Tejay Johnson and figure out the rest of the secondary. In addition to senior Johnny Fobbs, sophomore Trenton Thomas and redshirt freshman Sam Carter both looked ready to handle the added responsibilities.

"I don't know if we're good enough to win but we got a lot better at the safety position," Patterson said. "I thought the young safeties, there was a sophomore and the rest of them were freshmen, did a great job. Running the defense, all the things we do, they did a great job. We have to keep getting better at corner and the linebackers, we should be good there with everyone coming back."

Sophomore defensive end Stansly Maponga looked good during team drills for the Horned Frogs and junior Jeremy Coleman looked quick inside at tackle. The defensive line might actually be the strength of the team if they can figure out a few things before taking on Baylor in the opener.

"With the defensive line, we have to keep getting stronger and better inside at the tackle position," Patterson said. "With the first front, we have a chance to be better than we were a year ago."

Sophomore starting quarterback Casey Pachall looked sharp and clearly had a better grasp of the offense than backup Matt Brown. Pachall threw several very nice passes and didn't mind tucking it and running with it when the pocket started to collapse. With just two quarterbacks on the roster at the moment, Patterson pointed to the offensive line as the only thing stopping TCU from continuing their run atop the Mountain West in their final season in the conference.

"On offense, I think the whole thing comes down to the offensive line progressing and being what we need it to be," he said. "We've got our motto of do it now. Everybody thinks we need a year to grow up but our goal is to come back and win a lot of ball games and do it now."

TCU's 2011 schedule was released earlier in the day and features the team playing three times on CBS Sports Network in their final season before moving on to the Big East in 2012.

Posted on: April 7, 2011 5:54 pm
 

2011 Mountain West television schedule announced

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Mountain West released its television schedule for the 2011 season today. It's surprisingly robust, with every single conference game being televised on The Mtn, Versus, or the CBS Sports Network. While that's not exactly the SEC's deal, let's not forget that we're still talking about every game being nationally televised, which just so happens to be more than the Big 12 has ever delivered for its members. Additionally, every game will be televised on HD where available. It's good to see that even as the conference is in flux with its membership, it still takes as good of care of its television-watching fans as possible.

At any rate, the full list is here, and some key games are listed below (all times Eastern).

CBS SPORTS NETWORK GAMES

Sept. 10, 2:00 pm: San Diego State at Army
Sept. 24, 8:00 pm: Tulsa at Boise State
Sept. 30 (Friday), 8:00 pm: SMU at TCU
Oct. 1, 3:30 pm: Air Force at Navy
Oct. 8, 10:30 pm: TCU at San Diego State
Oct. 13 (Thursday), 8:00 pm: San Diego State at Air Force
Nov. 5, 10:30 pm: Boise State at UNLV
Nov. 19, 3:30 pm: Colorado State at TCU
Nov. 19, 8:00 pm: Boise State at San Diego State
Dec. 3, 8:00 pm: Fresno State at San Diego State

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

Sept. 3, 8:00 pm, ESPN: Boise State vs. Georgia at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Sept. 24, TBD, TBD: San Diego State at Michigan
Oct. 1, TBD: Versus: Nevada at Boise State
Oct. 7 (Friday), 9:00 pm, ESPN: Boise State at Fresno State
Oct. 28 (Friday), 8:00 pm, ESPN: BYU vs. TCU at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Nov. 12, 3:30 pm, Versus: TCU at Boise State

 
 
 
 
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