Posted on: September 11, 2011 1:10 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 1:24 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. I'm not sure who Texas' quarterback is, but I know it shouldn't be Garrett Gilbert. While the Longhorns' win against BYU on Saturday night wasn't pretty, wins should be enough these days in Austin. And it seems more and more apparent that those wins aren't going to come very often when Garrett Gilbert is lined up under center. On Saturday night Gilbert completed only 2 of his 8 passes. Which is the exact same number of passes he completed to BYU defenders. Then, led by backups Case McCoy (7/8 57 yards) and David Ash (2/3 35 yards) the Longhorns were able to come back from a 13-3 deficit at halftime to squeeze out the victory. Hell, even Jaxon Shipley had a better night throwing the ball for Texas, completing his only pass to Ash to ice the game.
What truly sparked the Texas offense, however, was the combo of Case McCoy and Jaxon Shipley -- McCoy to Shipley? What year is this? -- on the touchdown drive that finally put Texas ahead in the fourth quarter. I'm not sure if Texas should start McCoy next week, Ash, or just use a combination of the two, but it should not be Garrett Gilbert.
2. Steele Jantz is a bad, bad man. You know, if you have a name like Steele Jantz, that's a lot to live up to. I mean, you need to save the world from an asteroid or catch a school bus full of first graders after it goes over a cliff if you're going to have any hope of being as awesome as your name. Or you can just deliver a performance like the one Jantz did against Iowa on Saturday afternoon. With Iowa State not exactly expected to compete for a Big 12 title, this was Iowa State's Super Bowl, and Jantz is going to Disneyworld. He threw for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns, answering every touchdown that Iowa scored to keep the Cyclones in the game and force overtime. He then converted a big third down in the second overtime which led to the winning touchdown run by James White, giving the Cyclones the opportunity to destroy the interim Cy-Hawk Trophy.
3. I can't figure James Franklin out. It's only been two games for Franklin as Missouri's quarterback, and he has me as confused as any player ever has. He throws passes that float like wounded ducks that cause me to think they're going to be intercepted everytime, yet on Friday night, he completed 26 of those helium bombs for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading Missouri back from a 14-point deficit to force overtime against Arizona State. I'm still not totally sold on his ability as a passer, but he showed that he can make the throws that he has to, even if I can't help but think that a team with a secondary better than Arizona State's -- like Oklahoma -- will have a field day against him.
4. Oklahoma State's defense is improving. Now that statement comes with a caveat. Yes, the Cowboys allowed 34 points against Louisiana-Lafayette in their opener, but 14 of those points came on interception returns, and another 14 of those points came when the game had long been decided. On Thursday night against Arizona, the Cowboys defense allowed only 14 points in the entire game, and though Arizona was without Juron Criner, that's still something to be proud of. The thing is, in two games the Oklahoma State defense has given up 759 yards of total offense, but it's not giving up points. At the end of the day, an offense can rack up as many yards as it wants against a defense, but if it's not putting up points it doesn't really matter. The Cowboys are doing a good job of keeping opponents out of the end zone, and with that offense, that's more than enough.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 8:50 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 9:15 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LOS ANGELES -- While Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's newest acquisition, Utah, was warming up on the field of his conference's most storied member, USC, the former tennis executive strolled into the Coliseum press box beaming about the first ever conference game that was to take place a few minutes later.
Then he met a swarm of media interested in just one topic.
"I'd prefer to be less popular," Scott joked after being inundated with questions about conference expansion. "On this topic, we're trying to stay out of the story frankly. Our position hasn't really changed, we haven't been looking for or aspiring to expand since we made the decision on 12.
"If schools are going to leave the Big 12 and there's going to be a paradigm shift, or a landscape change as people like to describe it, we'll go ahead and step back and look at our options, then reconsider."
Scott is just one of the key figures in the ongoing conference realignment saga that has infringed on the start of the college football season. In a nod to the fact that the story seems to change by the day, if not by the hour, Scott couldn't even confirm that he would be running a 12 team league next year.
"I know there will be a Pac-12," he said before cautioning, "I hope there is. The ink is still drying on our new logos and the field paint and uniforms. It's our hope that the world stays the same and we get to enjoy what we've created. I don't think anyone, with how dynamic the situation is, would stick their neck out and say nothing is going to change."
While most of the nation was focused on the thrilling Missouri-Arizona State game Friday night, Scott not only took in the action in Tempe but also discussed issues with the man who has seen several of his teams openly flirt with other conferences, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.
"I did speak with Dan yesterday," Scott said. "He was due to be in Tempe but didn't go. So we spoke over the phone and had a nice chat."
Scott already tried to raid Beebe's conference once before. Last summer he tried to boldly add Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to form a Pac-16 superconference. While he was unsuccessful in fulfilling his goal of adding all six teams - settling for the Buffalos and Utes - he still sees the future of major college athletics as having four, 16-team superconferences.
"I still believe it and I think what's going on is evidence that there's a disparity between certain conferences," he said. "I've been saying that over the past year that there will be more consolidation. I didn't think it would happen so quickly - a year after we expanded - that we'd have so much noise around the issue."
The commissioner did acknowledge that several schools have reached out to him - presumably Oklahoma and Oklahoma State - to gauge interest in the Pac-12 being a popular landing spot. Scott cautioned that there have been no votes nor any formal talks at adding teams to the conference. Given the threats of legal action from schools like Baylor, he chose his words carefully when asked about what could happen over the next few weeks.
"We're not being proactive, we're not trying to initiate any move to conferences beyond 12," said Scott. "I'm trying to be more precise in the language because it's a highly charged situation. People are hanging on every word, I felt that the media was getting a little further out in front of where we actually were, so I have had to be more precise that we're not initiating a move to superconfereces. We are only evaluating anything if other conferences go first."
For now, Scott and Pac-12 will wait. And watch. And listen.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:36 am
Edited on: September 10, 2011 2:48 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
ARIZONA STATE WON. It was a wild one in Tempe, with Arizona State picking up a 37-30 win in overtime over No. 21 Missouri. QB Brock Osweiler was a revelation for Arizona State, going 24-32 for 353 yards, three TDs, and no picks. Osweiler also made some big plays with his feet, finishing with five rushes for 34 yards and another score. The big quarterback's target of choice was wideout Aaron Pflugrad (seen at right in Osweiler's embrace), who ended up with eight catches for 160 yards and two scores.
WHY ARIZONA STATE WON: It's hard to pin the outcome of a game on one last-minute string of inadvisable coaching decisions when A) the outcome of the alternative is unknown, and B) the other 59 minutes of regulation gameplay featured 60 points scored. And yet, with 21 seconds left in the game and Missouri lining up for a go-ahead 48-yard field goal, Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel called time out. Then after the teams had gotten set again, Pinkel called time out again, icing his own kicker twice. Kicker Grant Ressel would push the field goal wide, sending the game into overtime, and Missouri's comeback would fail thereafter.
WHEN ARIZONA STATE WON: When Missouri QB James Franklin's desperation heave on 4th and 5 fell harmlessly to the turf. ASU looked ready to put the game away early in the 4th quarter after taking its largest lead of the game at 30-16 and forcing a quick punt by Missouri, but PR Jamal Miles muffed that punt and Missouri recovered, sparking the 14-point comeback over the rest of the quarter. ASU was fortunate to get to overtime, but once there, the Sun Devils squashed the Tigers.
WHAT ARIZONA STATE WON: This was a significant enough win for Arizona State that some fans stormed the field afterwards, and really, who can blame them? Missouri isn't exactly a Top-5 team, but the Tigers were still ranked No. 21, and the game featured enough emotional highs and lows that whichever team prevailed was going to have an enormous boost of confidence both in the locker room and in the stands.
WHAT MISSOURI LOST: This was a tough pill for Missouri to swallow, no doubt about it, and what makes it especially rough on Tiger fans is the fact that the game was nearly in hand. Missouri was on the edge of field goal range with a little under a minute left and two TOs in its pocket when Pinkel went conservative with the playcalling, keeping the ball on the ground and making no attempt at the sidelines, then saving the time outs for after Ressel lined up to kick. If anything, Missouri fans lost some confidence in Pinkel's endgame coaching acumen, though it's not terribly likely the players themselves share that sentiment. Still, better teams than Mizzou have gone on to lose their resolve and turn in a subpar season after a backbreaker of a loss like this, so it'll be key for Pinkel to make sure his players stay focused on the games in front of them.
THAT WAS CRAZY: The penalties. The penalties. The penalties. The two teams combined for 23 flags for 224 yards, and that's just the penalties that weren't declined. Defensive penalties routinely kept drives alive, and offensive penalties killed scoring chances. If only icing one's kicker were a penalty, though. Maybe then Pinkel would have thought twice. Still, this was one hell of a game, and it's too bad the last drive and overtime didn't reflect the quality of the rest of the game.
BONUS THAT WAS CRAZY: Ressel also had a 54-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. Like the game-winning attempt, this one also failed. It did, however, connect with the face of one unfortunate photographer (GIF via @HuskerLocker):
Posted on: September 8, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 4:10 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Apparently there's some consternation on the part of Arizona State fans as the Sun Devils prepare to debut their slick new all-black uniforms on Friday night in a key Week 2 game against Missouri. Arizona's hot enough, after all -- the temperature at kickoff's going to be in the mid-100s -- so why would the home team court even more danger in the heat by wearing black while Missouri wears the comparatively chilly away whites? And why would that home team encourage all its fans to wear black in that oppressive desert heat, as ASU did? Whose dang side is this school on, anyway?
Well, for one, the kickoff's at 7:30 p.m, well after the area's 6:43 sunset. And since that evidently didn't register with all the fans, Arizona State was compelled to issue a statement complete with a quote from an associate professor explaining that no, the uniforms don't make anything worse at night:
In other news, ice cube trays don't make ice unless they're in the freezer, a chainsaw doesn't do much for chopping down trees until it's turned on, and stepping on a crack does not break one's mother's back. This concludes the report from Why Do We Need An Expert To Tell You This News.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 2:41 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
It is clear that this is a fight that will not be won easily, as both Woman and Machine dealt me a crushing blow in the first week of the season. Fear not, my fellow containers of the Y chromosome, for a war is not lost in the first battle, and we have many more to fight. So let's get to the senseless slaughter, shall we?
Oklahoma State (-14 1/2) vs. Arizona - Thursday, 8pm (All times Eastern)Man - This one could wind up being quite the barnburner much along the lines of the Baylor/TCU game we saw on Friday night. It's two good offenses facing off against each other, and it may come down to which defense can make a stop when it has to. Even though I'd give the edge on defense to Arizona, the fact that this game is being played in Stillwater makes me lean toward the Cowboys, but at the same time Oklahoma State's defense makes me think this one could be a lot closer than the spread indicates. Of course, it's hard to forget Oklahoma State beating Arizona 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl. Screw it, I'm riding with the Cowboys. Pick: Oklahoma State
Woman - "Remember the Alamo Bowl." Pick: Oklahoma State
Machine - The Machine sees a lot more defense in this one than I'd expect, and Brandon Weeden struggles against Mike Stoops' defense, throwing for only 245 yards and 1 touchdown. OSU wins 27-14, but the Cats cover. Pick: Arizona
Arizona State (-7 1/2) vs. Missouri - Friday, 10:30pmMan - I really don't have a lot of faith in the Missouri offense after last week's performance, but it's hard to get a decent read on Arizona State based on one game against UC-Davis. While I still believe in the Missouri defense, I think being on the road will catch up to them in the second half and the Sun Devils pull this one off. Pick: Arizona State
Woman - "This is Frank Kush Field in 108 degree weather. This is your football team on Frank Kush Field in 108 degree weather. Any questions?" Pick: Arizona State
Machine - The Machine is fearful of James Franklin's inability to throw passes over 7 yards as well, but it does not think that will keep the Tigers from putting up points and the defense from smothering ASU. Missouri 24-10. Pick: Missouri
Wisconsin (-21 1/2) vs. Oregon State - Saturday, 12pmMan - Bret Bielema let me down last week. After Wisconsin buried UNLV early on Thursday night he decided to call off the dogs and not pursue 100 points. That being said, Oregon State lost at home to Sacramento State. I don't care how kind and cuddly this new version of Bret Bielema has become, nor how large the spread, I am not picking a team that loses at home to Sacramento State. Pick: Wisconsin
Woman - "On one hand, Russell Wilson magic and a monster Badger homefield advantage. On the other hand, a hammy-challenged Beaver rusher and a secondary that might as well be wearing Louboutin athletic shoes. Wait, that's the same hand. Wisconsin wins easily but throttles back, so doesn't quite cover." Pick: Oregon State
Machine - ALERT! ALERT! THE MACHINE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED! IT IS ON DRUGS! IT HAS OREGON STATE WINNING THIS GAME 16-0! Pick: Oregon State
Auburn vs. Mississippi State (-6 1/2) - Saturday, 12:21pmMan: We saw how tough life could be for Auburn this season without Cam Newton when the Tigers barely had the power to squeak by Utah State at home last weekend, and Mississippi State is a much tougher foe than the Aggies were. That being said, a spread this large for a team on the road in the SEC seems rather ominous, so while I wouldn't be shocked if Auburn loses, it's going to be another close game. Pick: Auburn
Woman - "Pay no attention to the neutered Tiger behind the curtain. Mississippi State wins but doesn't cover." Pick: Auburn
Machine - According to The Machine, Auburn will once again find itself in a whole during the fourth quarter this week, but unlike last Saturday, this hole will be too deep to climb out of. Mississippi State wins 35-21. Pick: Mississippi State
Penn State vs. Alabama (-9 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - An SEC team makes a rare appearance in a Big Ten stadium this week, and I have a feeling that the Tide won't be the most polite visitors the conference has seen. I know that there are still some questions on offense for Alabama, but I just don't see Penn State's offense being able to do much against that Alabama defense. Pick: Alabama
Woman - "Do you ever wonder if Joe Paterno is actually comatose lying in a hospital bed at some nursing home called Happy Valley and we're all just figments of his imagination? No? Uh, me either... Regardless, good D versus great D means JoePa's gonna have bad dreams." Pick: Alabama
Machine - The Machine sees Robert Bolden enjoying his date against Alabama a lot more this season, but unfortunately a late 40-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson makes it a Not-So-Happy Valley. Alabama just gets by 24-23. Pick: Penn State
Duke vs. Stanford (-21 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Let me make this clear: There is nothing I enjoy less than picking against a home team that is a 21 1/2-point underdog. That being said, one of these teams has Andrew Luck and the other one lost to Richmond last week. Pick: Stanford
Woman - "Crimson last year, now Cardinal? Red looks terrible on Duke. Coincidentally, reverse the spread and it would equal the mean IQ point differential in respective student bodies." Pick: Stanford
Machine - The Machine does not experience human emotions, but it is torn on this game. Does The Machine go with the kids who designed it, or the kids who begged mommy and daddy to buy it for them? Stanford wins 34-31. Pick: Duke
Georgia vs. South Carolina (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 4:30pmMan - This is an incredibly important game for so early in the season as it could play a large role in who wins the SEC East. It also features yet another home underdog, but to be honest, I'm not all that concerned this time around. What I am concerned about is the fact I have so much faith in a team that features Stephen Garcia as its quarterback. Pick: South Carolina
Woman - "I'm assuming Mark Richt's players want him to get out of Sanford Stadium alive." Pick: Georgia
Machine - Stephen Garcia not only starts for the Gamecocks, but he plays so unbelievably well that Steve Spurrier doesn't even think about pulling him. Garcia throws for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns as Mark Richt's seat grows even hotter. South Carolina wins 28-21. Pick: South Carolina
Nebraska (-28.5) vs. Fresno State - Saturday, 7pmMan - While I have no doubts about the fact that the Nebraska defense is going to make life hell on the Fresno State offense, I'm just not ready to give the Cornhusker offense enough credit in this one. Until Taylor Martinez can show me he can have consistently good games, a spread like this is just too large to bet against. Pick: Fresno State
Woman - "Quick question: Can Bo Pelini find out where I live? He can?" Pick: Nebraska
Machine - Much like The Woman, The Machine fears Bo Pelini smashing it into a million pieces. Nebraska wins easily, 48-17. Pick: Nebraska
USC (-9 1/2) vs. Utah - Saturday, 7:30pmMan - We all saw how much trouble that USC had with Minnesota last week, and I have a hard time believing that Utah is any weaker than the Golden Gophers. Plus at some point Lane Kiffin is going to blow USC's chances of covering by going for two and failing, and I don't want to have to rely on one of Kiffin's dumb decisions paying off to get me a win. Pick: Utah
Woman - "I'll take the points over boneheaded Lane Kiffin, even if the Song Girls try to lure the Utes into the rocks." Pick: Utah
Machine - The Machine's pick does not disappoint me this week, though I was saddened to see that USC kicked two field goals rather than failing on a two-point conversion. Utah wins 21-6. Pick: Utah
Michigan vs. Notre Dame (-4 1/2) - Saturday, 8pmMan - You know, Notre Dame's offense actually had a great game against South Florida last week if you could somehow erase the five turnovers, and the idea of that same offense facing a Michigan defense that can't be totally over 2010 causes me to lean towards picking the Irish here. That being said, the first ever night game at the Big House is bound to give the Wolverines a pretty nice boost, and I think this game is going to be pretty darn close. I'm not sure who wins, but I have to take the home team and the points here. Pick: Michigan
Woman - "After last week, Notre Dame has officially become the Chicago Cubs of college football." Pick:Michigan
Machine - The Machine nailed Notre Dame's loss last week, but it seems its faith in the school has been restored a bit. Or at least it believes in the healing powers of Tommy Rees as the new Irish starter throws for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Irish cruise to a 46-29 win. Pick: Notre Dame
StandingsSeason Record (Last Week)
1. Machine 11-4 (11-4)
1. Woman 11-4 (11-4)
3. Man 8-7 (8-7)
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bo Pelini, Brandon Weeden, Bret Bielema, Cam Newton, Duke, Fresno State, Georgia, James Franklin, Joe Paterno, Lane Kiffin, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Mark Richt, Michigan, Mike Stoops, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, Non-BCS, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Pac-12, Penn State, Robert Bolden, Russell Wilson, Sacramento State, SEC, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Taylor Martinez, TCU, Tom Fornelli, Tommy Rees, Trent Richardson, UC-Davis, UNLV, USC, Utah, Utah State, Wisconsin
Posted on: September 6, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 8:31 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It was a rough week for the Pac-12, certainly not what Larry Scott had hoped for in the first (and perhaps only) year of the new twelve team league. Oregon was embarrassed in the featured game of the week, UCLA had issues with Houston in the afternoon, USC didn't impress against Minnesota and, oh yeah, Oregon State lost to an FCS foe. This week could be a make or break week for some in the conference and also could give everybody some clarity in how the South division will sort out with Utah traveling to Los Angeles to play USC in the first ever conference game.
But at least we actually got to see everybody play someone other than themselves so it's a bit easier to figure out how they fall in the Top 25. A look at the conference of champions in the latest AP and Coaches polls:
The Cardinal are the top team in the polls for the Pac-12 and it might be awhile before they face a stiff enough test to knock them from off their perch. They easily won their game against San Jose State, 57-3, and Andrew Luck did a good job of getting his new receivers the ball early. Running back Stepfan Taylor rushed for two touchdowns and most of the first team players on both sides of the ball played sparingly. Up next is a trip to Duke.
Quite the drop for the Ducks after the loss to LSU in Dallas. No, they didn't play very well and yes, it's a little concerning that they couldn't get the ground game going against another big SEC team but the drop should be temporary for Oregon. This is still a good football team who has a chance to run their way to the Rose Bowl and, keep in mind, it was a three point game against the Tigers at halftime. Running back LaMichael James needs to get going after posting just 54 yards against a stout defense. Nevada is up next in the Ducks' home opener.
NR/23. Arizona State
The Sun Devils are a borderline top 25 team according to the pollsters but certainly impressed last week against an overmatched UC Davis, winning 48-14. Running back Cameron Marshall looked good for the offense, catching the ball out of the back field four times for 86 yards and rushing for two touchdowns. The defense was as advertised, as linebacker Vontaze Burfict racked up thee sacks and - shockingly - didn't commit a single penalty. The real test comes this week as they'll host Missouri in a big Friday night matchup in the desert.
Others receiving votes:
Arizona State (119 points in the AP poll), USC (69 in the AP), Utah (24 in the AP/42 in the coaches), Arizona (5 in the AP, 28 in the coaches), Washington (3 in the coaches), Cal (1 in the coaches).
Tags: Andrew Luck, Arizona, Arizona State, Bryan Fischer, Cal, Cameron Marshall, Duke, FCS, Houston, LaMichael James, Larry Scott, LSU, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Rose Bowl, San Jose State, Stanford, Stepfan Taylor, UC Davis, UCLA, USC, Utah, Vontaze Burfict, Washington
Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:21 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Missouri offense wasn't exactly a well-oiled machine in the Tigers 17-6 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday, but at least the team's defense seemed to be in mid-season form. Both sides of the ball will face a tougher test in Arizona State this week, and the Tigers offense may need to improve quickly because the defense is going to be without two starters on Friday night.
Defensive end Jacquies Smith and linebacker Will Ebner will both miss the Arizona State game after suffering injuries on Saturday.
Smith disclocated his elbow during the win, and Ebner suffered a high ankle sprain. While there is no set timetable on the return of Ebner, as high ankle sprains can take over a month to recover from, head coach Gary Pinkel is at least optimistic that Smith could return after missing only one game.
"Who knows when Jacquies will be back," Pinkel said. "He won't play this week. Hopefully we'll get him back (soon)."
Not all the news is bad for Missouri's defense, however. Starting cornerback Kip Edwards didn't play on Saturday because of a hamstring injury, and he's likely to be dressed and playing Friday night.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:49 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the race to replace departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State has had four possible candidates emerge: Senior Joe Bauserman (pictured at right), sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, and true freshman Braxton Miller. Each have their own considerable strengths and drawbacks, but the sense in the spring was that all four had a chance to compete for the role.
[READ MORE: Ohio State's four quarterbacks]
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the race has worked itself out to an extent, and two quarterbacks -- Bauserman and Miller -- have emerged as the top two quarterbacks in the mix. This isn't much of a departure from the consensus opinion from this spring; Bauserman's got far more time in the program than anybody else, and of the younger players, Miller's by far the most physically talented.
Since two's an easier number to pick between than four, this means we're closer to getting a starting quarterback designation from head coach Luke Fickell, right? Well, via the Buckeye RapidReports... no:
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Ohio State used the tandem of Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine back in 1996 to considerable success; those Buckeyes went 11-1, beating Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and finishing second in the nation.