Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 5:30 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The headline news at TCU these days is all positive: another undefeated regular season and Mountain West title, a Rose Bowl bid, an imminent move to just-begging-to-be-dominated Big East, and even -- for once -- an offseason without rumors that Gary Patterson is due to be hired away. Everthing's coming up Horned Frog.
So it's not a surprise that TCU is starting to wide that wave of momentum in the recruiting wars, too. Traditionally an afterthought behind the state's big Big 12 programs when it comes to recruiting, Patterson scored arguably the biggest coup of his tenure when athlete LaDarius Brown of Waxahachie (Tx.) chose to stay in his home Dallas metro area and suit up for the Frogs.
A 6'2", 190-pound speedster who could fit in with Patterson's team at either wide receiver or running back, Brown has all the requisite tools to become another future weapon in TCU's plans for BCS conquest. But Patterson's found plenty of weapons before; the reason Brown's commitment is noteworthy is because of how many other programs wanted Brown for themselves, and how impressed the recruiting experts already are with Brown's potential.
On the former count, Brown claimed offers from a who's who of schools across the country: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska. And though the state's eight hundred-pound recruiting gorilla at Texas didn't extend an offer, Brown had drawn serious interest from such in-state schools as Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston. In years past a recruit like Brown would have been on his way to College Station or Lubbock (if not out of state), but Patterson's success appears to be changing the game.
That's what the recruiting gurus seem to think, anyway, as Brown is arguably the most highly-regarded recruit to commit to TCU since there was such a thing as a "recruiting guru." The Dallas Morning News rated Brown the best prospect in the Dallas metro area ; Maxpreps lists him as the nation's No. 22 athlete ; ESPN rates him the No. 16 wide receiver and No. 95 prospect overall; Scout the No. 18 receiver and No. 124 player overall; and Rivals , most optimistic of all, the No. 5 athlete and the 44th-best prospect in the country. Every one of those assessments is the high-water mark (as far as this blogger can tell) for a TCU commitment at those respective sites.
While it helps that the Frogs can offer Brown the chance to play so close to home, there's also no question that a recruit with this kind of profile would not have given TCU the time of day in years past. If Patterson can convince a few more like him that the Frogs are the state's next-best-thing to the 'Horns -- and in the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas, there's no question he'll have the opportunity -- the past two years might only be the beginning of TCU's stay at the forefront of college football.
HT: Mountain West Connection .
Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:40 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 10:14 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As expected, the University of Houston has filed an appeal with the NCAA requesting a sixth year of eligibility for quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum, the school's all-time leading passer, had his senior year cut short in the third game when he went down with a knee injury against UCLA. In 2009, Keenum wowed Cougars fans by throwing for 48 touchdowns and amassing over 5800 yards of total offense.
After being named the Conference USA Player of the Year, hopes were high for Keenum and the Houston squad coming into 2010. With another big season, Keenum could possibly become the NCAA all-time leader in total passing yards.
But the injury has kept Keenum from accomplishing that in his fifth year, as well as hurt his stock in the NFL Draft. So Houston is doing their part to try and grant him that redshirt senior season he did not get in 2010. According to the NCAA rules, a player may only be granted a sixth year of eligibility if they can prove that the player has missed two seasons due to circumstances out of his control.
What does not bode well for Keenum is that the NCAA normally does not consider a team-issued redshirt (Keenum's first season on campus) as one of those situations. Keenum's best chance in the appeal is the timing of the knee injury, and hoping to get some sympathy from the appeals committee.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 3:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With the news that Urban Meyer has resigned/retired at Florida (delete as you personally see applicable), the Dan Mullen sweepstakes has a new almost-certain winner. The Gators will likely see Mullen as their Nos. 1, 1A, and 1B candidates, and there's no better fit -- and no place that can pay him more money -- for Mullen than his old stomping grounds in Gainesville. From the outside, it appears to be the kind of marriage that'll have both parties at the courthouse before anyone even knows they're courtin'.
That may be great news for Gator fans who would be happy to sacrifice Meyer if it meant replacing Steve Addazio' s hapless play-calling with Mullen's tried-and-proven offensive acumen, but it's a terrible blow for Mississippi State (who given their financial constraints will have no chance of keeping Mullen if/when the Gators come calling) and a big one for Miami as well. Depending on which reports you believe, the 'Canes had made Mullen their top candidate after being turned down by Jon Gruden , and given his offensive pedigree and performance in Starkville, he was the option with the best combination of availability and likelihood of success.
If he's off the board, where might Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt turn? A flurry of reports out of South Florida have identified the candidates currently at the forefront of the search. (The 'Canes will apparently risk receiving another sternly-worded letter from Donald Trump , as Mike Leach is not among them.) Taking them one coach at a time, and assessing their chances of eventually taking their talents to South Beach:
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville has a strong Miami connection, having coached there for eight years and winning a national-title as a defensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson, and would certainly be capable of preserving the team's defensive improvement under Randy Shannon. He would almost certainly accept the job if offered, as whispers have indicated Tuberville has been campaigning hard for the job behind the scenes. (Then again, Tuberville's agent is infamous rumor-starter Jimmy Sexton, so take that with a grain of salt.) The problem is that Tuberville is already 56, with his best coaching days behind him, and has struggled at times putting together a working offensive staff. Would he cause enough of a splash?
Randy Edsall, UConn: Then again, if the 'Canes are seriously considering Edsall, making a splash isn't high on their list of concerns. Edsall would maintain Shannon's sense of rugged discipline, with an old-school grinding running game to match, and there's no doubt he's wrung the most out of his fledgling program. But the Huskies haven't actually been "good," even by Big East standards, as much as they have been the team least-prone to shooting itself in the foot.
Kevin Sumlin, Houston: Sumlin is a young, charismatic coach with an exciting up-tempo offense that ought to put butts in seats; he should be able to immediately connect wit hthe 'Canes fickle fanbase in a way the above candidates might not. But he's also by far the least proven, having made his name by maintaining Art Briles' previous good work at Houston.
Al Golden, Temple: Golden's resuscitation of the Owls is one of the most impressive feats of college coaching of the past few years, and he's young enough that he could be a cornerstone for Miami for years and years to come. But there's a strong sense -- bordering on consensus -- that Golden is waiting for Joe Paterno' s retirement for a shot at the Penn State gig. After Turner Gill' s struggles at Kansas , it's also worth wondering if rebuilding jobs in the MAC are easier than they're made it out to be.
Mike Stoops, Arizona: In what might be seen as a too-close-for-comfort parallel with the Shannon era, Stoops's steady year-by-year improvement project in Tucson took a minor step backwards this year. But Stoops' sideline antics prove he's got the energy for the job, and his reclamation job with the Wildcats has been impressive. But Miami may not be able to pay him much more than Arizona can, and there doesn't seem to be as much buzz as there is with the candidates above.
And that, for the time being, is the list (though the reports also agree that other candidates are likely on the radar screen). There's a few reasonably solid options there, and at this point you might have to consider Tuberville the favorite; he has the biggest name, the strongest ties, and likely the most intense interest. But if Mullen is truly no longer in the picture, Hocutt might also have to get creative to stave off the perception that the Gators stole his hire's thunder clean out from under him.
Tags: Al Golden, Arizona, Dan Mullen, Dan Mullen to Florida, Donald Trump, Florida, Florida coaching search, Houston, Jon Gruden, Kevin Sumlin, Kirby Hocutt, Miami, Miami coaching search, Mike Leach, Mike Stoops, Mississippi State, Randy Edsall, Randy Shannon, Steve Addazio, Temple, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, UConn, Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer resigns, Urban Meyer retirement
Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:18 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
BYU may have wanted out, Utah may have wanted out, TCU may have wanted out, but the continuing expansion drama surrounding the Mountain West Conference has proven that there's still plenty of schools that would be happy to be in. The Honolulu Star-Advertister reported yesterday that Hawaii officials were in Colorado this week, speaking with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson and ironing out the final details of what appears to be a done deal to bring the Warriors aboard as a football-only member. (UH's other sports will join the California-based Big West. )
But the MWC may not stop there. According to this AOL Fanhouse report , Utah State officials have also been making a face-to-face plea to Thompson and Co. this week, asking for a MWC invite and a lifeline out of the lame-duck WAC . The Aggies won't bring much to the table in terms of football pedigree, but at least they've taken steps forward in recent years under coach Gary Andersen (including beating BYU this season for the first time in 10 tries) and can claim a sterling men's basketball program and solid academics.
USU's interest gives the MWC several options when it comes to expansion. Running them down:
They could stand pat at 10 teams . There seems to be little downside to bringing Hawaii aboard, especially in football alone -- the travel costs of visiting the islands are easily offset by the NCAA provision allowing teams a 13th scheduled game if they travel to Hawaii -- so it seems unlikely the MWC will suddenly stiff-arm the Warriors and stay at 10 teams. But few other immediate options will do much to raise the league's football profile, and weaker members on the gridiron could put the league's dream of a BCS automatic bid in jeopardy.
They could expand to 12 teams and start a championship game . A title game could be an excellent carrot for the MWC to dangle when they start looking to finally get out of the less-than-lucrative current television contracts that drove BYU into football independence. Utah State might be the most obvious candidate, but Conference USA member SMU would bring the highly attractive Dallas media market back into the league after TCU's defection, and under June Jones the Mustangs have made major strides on the field as well. With C-USA's chances of ever snagging a BCS bid set at "nil," the Mustangs would likely jump at the chance. The same goes for Houston , which is an even more distant geographical fit but features an even-better established football program and a similarly-lucrative market.
Other potential WAC refugees like Idaho or New Mexico State would also be options, but probably only in the event the BCS bid was already off the table and SMU and Houston had turned the league down.
They could merge with C-USA. This seems like a terrible idea from the MWC's perspective, but nonetheless the Orlando Sentinel reported today that Thompson and C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky have had prliminary discussions about "a variety of potential collaboration options." But it's hard to see what, other than potentially a push for a joint TV contract, the C-USA can offer the MWC; the latter is the stronger conference top-to-bottom, has more brand recognition (compare the profiles of Boise State and even, say, Fresno State to C-USA powers like East Carolina and Southern Miss ), and already has the BCS bid process underway. If the C-USA is looking to create a full merger, it would seem to eliminate any chance of the league being powerful enough to wrangle a BCS bid; if all they want is an end-of-year title tilt, that's likely just one more obstacle in the way of a Boise or, well, Boise and a BCS at-large berth.
Butit's on the table, along with a lot of other possibilities for the MWC. Thompson has some very big decisions to make, decisions that will help shape the future of college football in the West for years to come.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 5:58 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) :
UCF (6-2, 4-0) at Houston (5-3, 4-1), 8 p.m. Friday: It's less than three hours away from kickoff, but if you've got plans, change 'em: it's not every week you get a meeting between the leaders of each of Conference USA 's divisions (UCF in the East, Houston in the West). The schedule is less than kind to the Golden Knights, who already had what looked like a season-defining matchup in last week's 49-35 win over previous C-USA favorite East Carolina and now have the short week to prepare for their trip to Houston. But if they can get the same mix of Ronnie Weaver 's powerful rushing and new starting quarterback Jeff Godfrey 's efficient passing that powered them to 424 total yards last week, they'll be OK. For Houston, this is another chance to prove the three-losses-out-of-four skid following Case Keenum 's season-ending injury is truly behind them, and to put some distance between them and co-division leaders SMU .
Air Force (5-4, 3-3) at Army (5-3, n/a), 12 p.m.: It's been eight years since someone other than Navy took home the Commander in Chief's Trophy, but that could change tomorrow as a Falcons win would send the trophy back to Colorado Springs for the first time since 2002. That's not to say the stakes won't be equally high for Army; a win would make them bowl-eligible for the first time since 1996 and set up a winner-take-all showdown with the Midshipmen for the CIC Trophy. The Black Knights will be at home, but that may not be a help, since they've already dropped games to Hawaii and Temple at Michie Stadium this year and the Falcons have won six straight in West Point. With both teams well-versed in defending the other's option attack, the final result could come down to which team executes in their rare attempts to put the ball in the air.
Texas (4-4, 2-3) at Kansas State (5-3, 2-3), 8 p.m.: Admit it: it's fascinating to see how low the Longhorns can sink. And it remains possible they could sink all the way out of the postseason, with the 'Horns sitting at 4-4 and three potential losses still on the schedule in Oklahoma State , Texas A&M , and this week's date in Manhattan. If they can't contain Wildcat running back Daniel Thomas or get their 79th-ranked rushing attack going, Texas will slip below .500 for the first time in Mack Brown 's tenure in a long, long time. But there's a lot on the line for the Wildcats, too, who would secure themselves a bowl bid for the first time in Bill Snyder 's second stint at the KSU helm.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:11 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 10:20 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As you probably know by now, the Big East has decided to expand the number of football playing teams in the conference from eight to ten. This decision was reached during a regularly scheduled meeting of the athletic directors and presidents of all sixteen conference schools in Philadelphia.
The decision was unanimous, and conference commissioner John Marinatto indicated that the evaluation of potential expansion candidates will begin immediately. However, the unofficial evaluation process has been ongoing for some time. The conference approached Villanova, a member of the Big East in the other Olympic sports, back in September to discuss a move from the FCS, though no official offer was extended.
Villanova appears to be an easy selection for one of the two new spots in the conference. The addition of the Wildcats would be as painless as it comes for the rest of the schools, but that does not mean it would be free of roadblocks. The NCAA requires a two-year transition period for a school to move from the FCS to the BCS, and there is some concern as to if Villanova could replicate the success that brought them an FCS National Championship immediately against BCS-caliber opponents. In all likelihood, Villanova winning the FCS National Championship was one of tipping points to accelerate the discussion of the jump to join their Big East brethren on the gridiron.
For the Big East to fill both spots in the planned expansion, they will likely have to bring in a school from outside the conference in the other Olympic sports. Making that move will take the work of some big guns, like former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Tagliabue has been hired as a consultant to help with the deal, among other things the formation of a possible TV network.
One giant boost to the television value of the conference would be the addition of TCU. Rumors of discussions between TCU and the Big East began to circulate back in September, with both sides remaining ambiguously mum on the issue. Now with the blessing of the Board of Directors, those discussions can (and may likely) become serious fast. Under head coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs have become perennial powerhouses on the national college football scene. In addition to bringing national interest, TCU would also bring the Big East to the football audience in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area.
But would this be a good move for TCU? The greatest appeal the Big East can offer is an automatic bid to the BCS, though some have argued that with the future arrival of Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State, the Mountain West Conference may be on their way to gaining AQ status. But as the teams shuffle, there are no promises that new MWC will carry the same weight as it has in recent years.
Sources have also reported Central Florida, Houston, and Temple as other possible candidates for the two new spots in the Big East. Central Florida and Houston would be able to offer the major markets that the Big East would prefer in order to negotiate a major television deal. Temple also is a former Big East conference member.
There is still plenty of negotiation ahead, but in my opinion the best move for the Big East would be to TCU and Villanova. If the Horned Frogs join the conference only for football, then no adjustments would be necessary for the rest of the Olympic sports. It would be an immediate upgrade for the conference to gain a program that has finished ranked in the Top 25 seven times since 2000.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 11:24 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
On the field, the Big East has failed to make a dent in the national scene this year. The conference has been openly criticized by many, and with just a month left in regular season play there is not a single Big East team in the current Top 25. Off the field, the presidents and athletic directors are gathering this week to work on changing their reputation. It is being reported by several sources that one of the hot topics to be covered in this meeting is a "probable expansion."
The regularly scheduled meeting will likely be tense with debate as the football-playing members of the conference will be pushing to expand the eight team conference, possibly by including current national powerhouse TCU. A New York Post report indicated that TCU and Central Florida are both very interested, with Houston, Temple, and Villanova also being mentioned as leading candidates.
"The goal is to get the presidents' blessing to seriously pursue teams," said one Big East athletic director. "I don't think we're going to get pushback on that."
If they do get the green-light, sources are reporting that invitations could be offered by the end of this college football season. But getting everyone involved to rally around expansion may not be easy for the non-football schools in the conference. Adding a team to the football conference would likely mean adding them to the already vast 16 team conference from many of the non-football sports.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 11:31 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Certainly, one of the teams that got the best news tonight is Oregon, ranked second in the initial BCS rankings. While there's only so much that can be read into these rankings with six games of play remaining, of course, the fact remains that as of right now Oregon is projected to go to Glendale to play for the BCS Championship.
So, those six games. There's no such thing as an automatic win in college football these days, but the Ducks should be heavily favored in the majority of these contests.
October 21, vs. UCLA: UCLA is of the most schizophrenic teams in the country, blowing out Houston and Texas but getting crushed by Stanford and a truly mediocre California. Still, even with the Bruins playing at their best, it's hard to imagine they can put up enough points to keep pace with the Oregon offense.
October 30, at USC: If there's any team left on Oregon's schedule that has the sheer talent to run with the Ducks for 60 minutes, it's likely USC. Lane Kiffin's team, led by emerging star Matt Barkley, is young and lacking in depth, but still explosively athletic. If Oregon's really a championship team, it'll handle the Trojans.
November 6 vs. Washington: Anyone think Jake Locker can lead the Huskies to eight touchdowns against Oregon's defense? Because the Ducks are probably putting up at least a 50-spot on the Washington defense.
November 13 at California: It's a road game, which means the Ducks have no business looking past the Bears. They probably won't, and on paper, they'll probably win by about five or six touchdowns here. But you never know -- there's no such thing as a safe road game anymore. We'll see if the game on paper resembles the game on the field.
November 26 vs. Arizona: Here's another potential roadblock for the Ducks; Arizona quarterback (and the Pac-10's leading passer up until his knee injury) Nick Foles should be healthy by the time this game rolls around, and Arizona is one of the few teams that has an offense that might keep pace with the Ducks. Might.
December 4, at Oregon State: Oregon State QB Ryan Katz is developing as a passer game by game, but the Beavers surely miss wideout James Rodgers, lost for the year with an awful knee injury. But that Oregon State defense doesn't have the horses or the discipline to keep Oregon down, so even though this is a rivalry game and anything can happen -- especially with a BCS championship at stake -- this is a probable win.
So yes, Oregon's road to an unbeaten record is relatively safe. Now, there's another question of whether Oregon can stave off Oklahoma and Auburn if they both go unbeaten, too. But that's a question the BCS will be tasked with answering, isn't it?