Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
After getting my new copy of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 on Tuesday, I took the time to simulate the entire 2012 season to see what the video game thinks is going to happen this year. In order to make things realistic, I even went through all the trouble of updating rosters to reflect what they currently look like.
That meant moving Russell Wilson from NC State to Wisconsin, removing Terrelle Pryor -- not to mention benching the suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season -- removing WaShaun Ealey and Caleb King from Georgia's backfield and so on and so forth.
No need to thank me, it was a labor of love.
So how did things turn out?
Well, it looks as if we'll once again have a non-BCS school finish the year undefeated -- the only school to do so -- but it's not Boise State or TCU. In fact, Boise State finally got its shot at a national title, but it couldn't come through.
Let's find out. First we'll start with the conference champions (Records don't include conference championships or bowl games).
ACC -- North Carolina 9-3 (6-2)
Big 12 -- Texas A&M 10-2 (8-1)
Big East -- South Florida 9-3 (6-1)
Big Ten -- Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)
C-USA -- Houston 12-0 (8-0)
MAC -- Western Michigan 10-2 (7-1)
MWC -- Boise State 12-0 (7-0)
Pac 12 -- Oregon 9-3 (7-2)
SEC -- South Carolina 11-1 (7-1)
Sun Belt -- Troy 10-2 (8-0)
WAC -- Fresno State 8-4 (7-0)
And how about those BCS bowl games? Well I'm glad you asked.
Rose Bowl -- Wisconsin 49, Oregon 46 OT
Fiesta Bowl -- Texas A&M 38, Ohio State 17
Orange Bowl -- North Carolina 28, Alabama 20
Sugar Bowl -- Houston 48, South Florida 13
BCS National Championship -- South Carolina 24, Boise State 22
Yes, that's right, the Ol' Ball Coach has added another national title to his resume. Boise State did have a chance to topple the BCS machine, but couldn't pull through. Trailing 24-16, Kellen Moore hit Kyle Efaw on a 16-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, but the Broncos couldn't convert the two-point conversion. The Gamecocks ran out the clock and celebrated a national title. Oh, and Stephen Garcia was the game's MVP. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute or two.
As for awards, I hope Houston quarterback Case Keenum used all that time off last season to build himself a trophy case because it looks as if he's going to need one. Keenum not only won the Heisman Trophy, but the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien trophies to boot. That's what happens when you lead Houston to a 14-0 record yet still finish second in both polls.
Now, if that's not enough info for you, let's take a look at some of the season storylines by conference.
-- Jimbo Fisher hits the sophomore slump. Florida State doesn't even qualify for a bowl berth after finishing the year 5-7 with a 3-5 mark within the ACC. FSU loses to Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Miami and Florida. And of those losses, only the loss to Florida was by less than 10 points.
-- Al Golden has Miami on the right track. Sure, the Canes only went 8-5 during the season, but they did finish 6-2 in ACC play, just missing the ACC title game thanks to a 27-17 loss to North Carolina
-- Duke goes bowling! That's right, Duke finishes the year 7-6 with a 4-4 mark in the ACC, including a two-point win over UNC. Though the Dukies do lose to Florida in the Music City Bowl. I have no idea who Steve Spurrier was rooting for while watching.
-- Boston College is the "best" team in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles finish the year 8-6 with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They even nearly beat UNC in the title game, losing 29-27.
-- Oklahoma can't handle the pressure. The Sooners started out the year 7-0 before getting shocked by Kansas State on the road -- where else? -- 24-21. They also lost at Oklahoma State 38-24 to end the regular season and kill their hopes of a BCS berth.
-- Texas won't be terrible two years in a row. The Longhorns finish the season 11-2 with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12. Though they do lose to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which stings a bit.
-- Where have you gone, Blaine Gabbert? Missouri needs you. The Tigers finished the season 4-8 with a 2-7 mark in the conference. Seems they're going to miss Colorado, Nebraska and the North Division.
-- The Big East is respectable. While no team in the conference finished the season with less than three losses (Pitt being the only with three), seven of the eight Big East schools won at least seven games, with Rutgers holding the only losing record.
-- Louisville can't finish. The Cardinals led the Big East most of the season before losing four of their last five games to finish 3-4 in the conference.
-- Casino or football field, Dana Holgorsen has a tough time winning anywhere this year. The Mountaineers went 2-5 in the Big East during his inaugural campaign.
-- Who needs Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor? Ohio State went 4-1 in its first five games of the season while so many of its playmakers sat out, and though the Buckeyes struggled in Big Ten play, they still finished the year 9-4 and got an at-large berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and they still beat Michigan.
-- Not that Michigan minded all that much, because Brady Hoke made believers out of the faithful in his first year. That Michigan loss to Ohio State? That was the Wolverines only Big Ten loss of the regular season, as they went 7-1 to win the Legends Division.
-- Wisconsin loves Russell Wilson. Wilson and the Badgers tore up the Big Ten all year long until the final week of the regular season. Then, after being 11-0 and ranked #1 for the majority of the regular season, the Badgers fell at home to Penn State 42-28. Though I guess beating Michigan 34-13 in the first Big Ten Championship Game and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl took some of the sting out of it.
-- New kid Nebraska gets picked on. The Huskers went 3-5 in Big Ten play, even losing to Minnesota. Though that wasn't as embarrassing as the 13-7 loss to Ohio -- University, not State -- in the Texas Bowl.
-- USC isn't on probation in virtual reality. So the Trojans were able to win the Pac-12 South division, even if they did lose to Oregon 35-14 in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.
-- Utah enjoyed their move more than Colorado. The Utes finished the season 5-4 in conference play while Colorado went 3-6.
-- Andrew Luck should have gone pro. Stanford and Luck were off to a very nice start to the season, opening 7-0. Then Luck broke his arm, missed the rest of the year and Stanford finished 10-3.
-- The East still stinks. Sure, South Carolina wins the national title, but no other SEC East team managed to win more than four games in the conference. Meanwhile, in the West, LSU had the worst season of anyone, going 7-6 with a 3-5 mark in the SEC. Les Miles needs to eat more grass.
-- Will Muschamp did OK. Florida finished the season 9-4 with a 4-4 mark in the SEC, though Charlie Weis' offense needs some work. The Gators never scored more than 21 points against a SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt.
-- Alabama needs to fire Nick Saban, PAAAAWWWWWWWL. Oh the indignity of Alabama's 2012 season. Not only did the Tide lose the SEC title game to South Carolina, but then they went and lost to North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Since when does Alabama play in the Orange Bowl, PAAWWWWL? NICK SABAN HAS GOT TO GO.
-- Auburn doesn't miss Cam Newton as much as you'd think. Even without their Heisman winning quarterback, the Tigers still manage to go 8-5 with a 4-4 mark in the conference. Not great, but not terrible either.
-- TCU would like to get to the Big East ASAP. The Horned Frogs lose twice in 2012, and not just to Boise State. Unlike 2011, TCU wasn't able to escape San Diego State, losing 33-30 at Qualcomm Stadium.
-- Notre Dame is back! The Irish finish the year 10-3, and feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. Why they're painting Brian Kelly over Touchdown Jesus as you read this.
-- BYU finds independence to be constricting. The Cougars first season free of the shackles of conferencedom does not work out very well, as BYU finishes the year 4-8 and even loses to Utah State along the way.
-- While I already went over the disrespect Houston received, what about conference mate Southern Miss? The Golden Eagles finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to Houston in the C-USA title game, and they couldn't even sniff the Top 25.
And that's it. There's the entire 2011 season right there according to a video game. I suppose at this point there's no point in even watching any of the games. Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go try and wrap my head around Stephen Garcia leading South Carolina to a national championship.
Can you imagine that party?
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, BCS National Championship, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, BYU, C-USA, Caleb King, Cam Newton, Case Keenum, Charlie Weis, Colorado, Dana Holgorsen, Duke, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Heisman Trophy, Houston, Jim Tressel, Jimbo Fisher, Kansas State, Kellen Moore, Kyle Efaw, Les Miles, Louisville, LSU, MAC, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, MWC, NC State, NCAA Football 12, Nebraska, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Pitt, Rose Bowl, Russell Wilson, Rutgers, San Diego State, SEC, Simulations, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Sugar Bowl, Sun Belt, TCU, Terrelle Pryor, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, USC, USF, Utah, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Video Games, WAC, Wake Forest, WaShaun Ealey, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Will Muschamp, Wisconsin
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 11:02 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Check the time, we got another watch for you.
The Football Writers Association of America also released its 2011 Outland Trophy Watch list on Friday.
The trophy is awarded annually to the best interior lineman in college football. Only tackles, guards and centers from both sides of the ball (defensive tackles are included) are eligible for the award. Of the 65 players currently on the watch list, 16 of them are defensive tackles.
The Outland Trophy dates back to 1946 and is one of the oldest annual awards in college football.
This award honors the often-thankless positions that fight in the trenches and establish the line every Saturday. Last year's winner was Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.
Who do you have pegged as a favorite in 2011? Let us know in the comment section below.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, BYU, California, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colorado, Connecticut, Defensive Lineman, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Illinois, Interior Lineman, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Offensive Lineman, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Outland Trophy, Outland Trophy Watch List, Pac-12, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Purdue, SMU, South Carolina, Standford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Troy, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: June 2, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 1:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As soon as the Huntington (W.V.) Herald-Dispatch published its May 29 column reporting that new West Virginia head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen had been involved in "as many as six" alcohol-related incidents in the past six months, the paper was rebuked by Mountaineer fans believing it to be exaggerating rumors and grinding an ax for local WVU rival Marshall.
We doubt officials at West Virginia reacted quite so vehemently. But they may not have been pleased all the same, as a report in today's Charleston Daily Mail cites a university source claiming the Herald-Dispatch report contains "blatant inaccuracies":
WVU sources said Tuesday and again Wednesday the university was reviewing the accusations in a Huntington Herald-Dispatch column from Sunday and an Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register column from the day before.Specifically, that "six" number appears to have been on the high side:
A source said WVU officials have not seen the video footage from Mardi Gras Resort & Casino, but have spoken with those who have and that WVU trusts their review that Holgorsen was guilty of nothing too severe. WVU officials also called the Wheeling Island resort and casino and asked about an alleged incident before spring football began.The Daily Mail story also disputes the Herald-Dispatch's accounts of Holgorsen's visit with Houston to Marshall in 2008 and the relationship between WVU AD Oliver Luck and president James Clements. So was the original column exaggerating, possibly even "rumormongering"? It certainly seems that way. (To be fair, it admitted that some of the incidents it was reporting were "rumors.") Holgorsen may not be -- is probably not -- as incorrigible as the Herald-Dispatch column (and subsequent headlines) have made him out to be.
But does that mean this is a nonstory? No. The Daily Mail report appears to acknowledge that Holgorsen was involved with incidents of some fashion at two separate casinos, and the stern response from Luck makes it clear that this is an issue the WVU administration is taking very, very seriously. Holgorsen maybe hasn't been the out-of-control devil he's been made out to be in some quarters, but he hasn't been a saint in his time in Morgantown, either. Whatever the degree of improvement in Holgorsen's self-control that might be necessary for him to remain in charge at WVU, none of today's refutations change the fact that some improvement is required.
Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 8:05 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 5:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Big East has been waiting for Villanova to make a decision on whether or not it would be joining the conference as its tenth football member, and it looks like the conference will need to wait a few more months. Villanova's Board of Trustees have spent the last couple of days discussing the subject, and though the school was expected to make its announcement on Tuesday, it released a statement on Monday morning saying that no such decision will be coming.
Though the delay seems to be more the Big East's doing than Villanova's.
"Villanova recently learned that the Big East Conference needs more time to do its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership," the university said in a statement. "Villanova is now working with the Big East to provide whatever additional information we can. It is the university’s desire that in the near future its Board of Trustees will proceed with the vote as planned."
Considering that the statement says the Big East needs more time, and that the school wants to proceed with its vote as planned, I'm inclined to believe that means Villanova wants to make the jump, and the Big East may be having some second thoughts. Again, that's just pure speculation on my part from an attempt to read between the lines.
While the schools concern over making the jump from the FCS to the FBS level is no doubt financial, the Big East is likely concerned with where Villanova would play its home games. At the moment the leader in the clubhouse for Villanova home games would be PPL Park in Chester, but the stadium as presently constructed holds only 18,000 fans. That would make PPL Park the smallest stadium in the Big East by far, with only Idaho and FIU having smaller stadiums in the FBS.
Of course, PPL Park does not have to be a long-term solution. It is possible that Villanova could move into Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, after the 2017 season, when Temple's lease expires.
Odds are that, even with concerns, the Big East will try to do everything it can to make this Villanova move work. While the conference wants to add a tenth member to the conference, it would also prefer not to add another school to a basketball conference that will already claim 17 teams once TCU makes the move next year.
Though if the conference decides Villanova is not a viable option, or Villanova ultimately decides against the move, that would mean Central Florida, Houston and Memphis would once again be in play.
[UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Big East commissioner John Marinatto has just released a statement on the matter. It is reprinted in full below.]
“The Big East Conference and Villanova University have worked closely with each other over the past several months regarding potential football membership. We will continue with our due diligence process and work with Villanova to continue to share relevant information and materials. The Big East Conference obviously very much values its long-standing relationship with Villanova and we are committed to continuing to work with them on this matter in an open and forthright manner. Until there is additional information to report, the conference plans no further comment.”
Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 4:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Say this for West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel: he's not under any illusions about the increased challenge of coaching a defense opposite the fast-paced aerial attack Dana Holgorsen will bring to Morgantown as the Mountaineers' new offensive mastermind:
[H]aving to replace seven starters is about as easy as it sounds.
Casteel is correct that defenses forced to keep up with offenses that take and then leave the field just as quickly typically don't fare as well as those that get more time on the sidelines. As the story from the Charleston Daily Mail points out, only one team that finished in the bottom 20 in FBS in time-of-possession (Syracuse*) also finished in the top 20 in total defense.
Some of that is sheer statistical inevitability -- shorter possessions equals more possessions equals more plays equals more total yards no matter what the quality of the defense -- and adjusting the metric to yards per-play shows that some units (like Oregon's, which improves from 34th to a tie for 11th) are better than total defense gives them credit for. But many of the defenses in the time-of-possession bottom 20 -- Michigan, Texas Tech, Houston -- were just-plain-bad, buckling under the strain of the extra snaps and time spent on the field.
But if Casteel is right that those teams' experiences show that he has his work cut for him, here's the good news for both he and Mountaineer fans: even if his defense does take a sizable step back as his team's time-of-possession decreases, it won't matter so long as the offense puts those quick possessions to use.
Consider the fates of some of the other members of that bottom 20 in time-of-possession: Oregon went 12-0 in the regular season and earned a national championship berth; San Diego State went 9-4 for their first winning season since 1998, with those four losses coming by a combined 15 points; Notre Dame shrugged off a massive exodus of offensive talent and major injury troubles to finish the season at 8-5 and on a four-game win streak; Holgorsen's Oklahoma State team went 11-2 in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Even your national champions at Auburn finished 75th in time-of-possession, a major reason they also checked in at a mediocre 55th in yards allowed per-play.
You get the point: if you've got a functioning high-tempo offense, all the defense has to do is keep its head above water (mainly by the third-down conversions and turnovers Casteel mentions; it's no surprise Oregon finished in the top 20 in both categories, is it?) to produce an extremely successful season.
And so we won't blame Mountaineer fans for being excited about their new coaching marriage. Given both Holgorsen's and Casteel's track records, they should see both halves of that equation put into action sooner rather than later.
*That the Orange remained as successful as they were on defense even as the offense struggled to stay on the field is quite the testament to defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, who also enjoyed a successful stint at Stanford under no less a coaching authority than Jim Harbaugh. With Manny Diaz presumably locked up at Texas for the forseeable future, another solid year at Syracuse should make Shafer one of the hottest names on the defensive coordinating market next offseason.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:48 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Who knew that an entire conference could disappear right before our eyes? That seems to be exactly what's happening to the WAC. The conference has already lost Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West -- which has been hemorrhaging teams of its own -- and now it seems like the conference could be about to lose another school.
According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, talks have begun within the Mountain West about extending San Jose State an invitation.
San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference, according to sources familiar with discussions between SJSU officials and their counterparts in the MWC.
A longtime member of the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State is one of several schools that could be invited to join the more prestigious MWC if the 10-team league expands by two in order to stage a football championship game.
The Mountain West’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday in Las Vegas. Expansion is on the agenda, but the league isn’t expected to issue invitations.The other teams reportedly in consideration are another WAC school in Utah State, and three C-USA schools in UTEP, Houston and SMU. Though, according to the source in the story, it's unlikely either Houston or SMU would leave C-USA. Which makes San Jose State an attractive option to the Mountain West in the same way that the lone girl at the bar looks more attractive because she's the only girl there.
Though the Mountain West will tell you it's because of the television market that San Jose State brings for the Mountain West's television network, as well as the fact it'd be joining fellow California schools Fresno State and San Diego State in the conference.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 4:49 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Why You Should Watch: It's the very first bowl game of the year! It's Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and don't you really want one more dose of Saturday afternoon football before the relatives start showing up and the holidays start getting a little too real? Plus, sure, BYU is 6-6, but that record's a bit misleading, as the Stormin' Mormons' regular season schedule featured seven bowl teams -- including all four non-conference foes. UTEP also faced a litany of impressive players, including Ryan Mallett with Arkansas and Houston QB Case Keenum before his season-ending injury. Neither defense is going to be surprised or overmatched, compared to what they'd seen earlier in the season.
Keys to Victory for BYU: The Cougars need to get Jake Heaps going early in the game. The freshman quarterback has been turning his season around after throwing just two touchdowns in his first eight games; Heaps is up to 11 passing TDs on the year and another TD on the ground, and the UTEP passing defense is just porous enough to allow the Cougars to get something going if they're in the mood.
But most of all, BYU has to shake the Green Chili Curse. Every year, before the New Mexico Bowl, the two teams engage in a green chili cookoff in honor of New Mexico's most famous cuisine. Trouble is, the winning team in the cookoff is 0-4 in the actual bowl game thereafter. Brigham Young won this year, so that's obviously a problem; near as we can tell, there are ancient gods who control green chilis and punish those who desecrate their sacred fruit to the infidel judges' liking in said competition. That's a factor BYU needs to account for, or this game's as good as lost. Either that or the cookoff correlation is just random chance, but where's the fun in that?
Keys to Victory for UTEP: On paper, UTEP is overmatched in this game, but the Miners are facing a freshman quarterback with a penchant for not throwing touchdowns who's playing in his very first bowl game. So often, these minor bowl games just come down to a battle of who could care less, so if ever there were an opportunity for UTEP to grab its first bowl win since 1967, it's now.
QB Trevor Vittatoe and star wideout Kris Adams are likely the keys for UTEP. Both are seniors playing in their last game as Miners, and despite their considerable career numbers, neither is projected to be much of a factor in the NFL as of right now. Adams might get drafted late; Vittatoe probably won't. If the tandem can hook up the deep game a couple more times in their last dance, UTEP could put up enough points to take this game.
The New Mexico Bowl is like: a glass of water. What's the first thing you get when you dine out? Appetizer? Salad? Rolls and butter? Drink order? No, no, no, and no; it's that ubiquitous glass of water, there to welcome you to the restaurant and whet your appetite for what's to come. It's not there to satisfy, and to expect otherwise would be just silly. Yet the longer you wait for it, the more uncomfortable everybody at the table becomes. Ladies and gentlemen, fret not; your water is here, and your bowl experience is about to begin.