Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It seems that Charlie Weis is looking for his own quarterback as he takes over the Kansas program. He's already had a visit from former Notre Dame quarterback and Weis recruit Dayne Crist, and now according to JayhawkSlant.com (subscription required), former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps will be making a visit to Lawrence as well.
Heaps announced that he was leaving BYU in early December. He came into the 2011 season as the team's starting quarterback but lost the job to Riley Nelson. Heaps threw for 3,768 yards and 24 touchdowns while at BYU, but it was the 17 interceptions he also threw that helped him find his way to the bench.
Now, just because Crist is considering transferring to Kansas next season, that doesn't mean the school can't bring in both Crist and Heaps if both players want to become Jayhawks. Since Crist has already graduated from Notre Dame, much like Russell Wilson did with Wisconsin this season, he could transfer to Kansas and play right away in 2012. Heaps will have to sit out the 2012 season, so it's not as if he'd lose playing time in Lawrence if Crist transferred as well.
Crist is expected to choose between Wisconsin and Kansas in the next week. As for Heaps, there's no timetable on his decision.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 5:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Now that Robert Griffin has officially taken the world over by winning the Heisman Trophy, most people want to know what his next move is going to be. Griffin hasn't really committed one way or the other when it comes to whether or not he'll return to Baylor for another season or enter the NFL draft, but it looks like his parents are taking every precaution.
According to a report by Yahoo's Jason Cole, Griffin's parents have been interviewing prospective agents, and there's a strong chance that Griffin will declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.
Which, as bad as it would be for Baylor, only makes sense for Griffin. While he was a bit of a cult hero coming into the season amongst die-hard college football fans, he had a meteoric rise in notoriety this season culminating in the Heisman win. He's like the Arcade Fire of college football quarterbacks, except that he gets a meaningful award and not a Grammy.
So with that in mind, if Griffin does want to give the NFL a shot, it's hard to see his stock getting any higher than it is at the moment. He's not likely to be the first quarterback taken in the draft, as that will be Andrew Luck, but he's definitely a first round pick and could be the second quarterback taken.
In fact, according to CBSSports.com's mock drafts, Griffin will go in the top ten to either Miami or Cleveland.
So unless Griffin really just wants to spend another year as a college kid -- and given his personality, that's a distinct possibility -- then odds are that the Alamo Bowl will be the last time he plays in a Baylor uniform.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:38 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Holiday Bowl
Texas running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron versus California linebacker Mychal Kendricks
There are plenty of match ups to watch for in this game but Texas' two running backs against the Pac-12 defensive player of the year should be a focus if you're watching at home. Both Brown (turf toe, knee) and Bergeron (hamstring) have been hurt and missed time during the second half of the season but have been practicing and should be full strength for the bowl game.
They're going to need to be 100% against Kendricks. The heart and soul of the Bears' defense, Kendricks was a big reason why the team was solid on that side of the ball despite having to replace several contributors. He averaged eight tackles a game and was third in the conference in tackles for loss at over one per game. His pass defense is pretty good too despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot, 240-pounds and learning the inside linebacker position this season after a few years on the outside.
Highly touted out of high school, Brown took most of the rushing load this season for the Longhorns and finished 7th in the Big 12 in yards. Bergeron was more of a surprise but did just as well, if not better, with fewer carries. The loss of Fozzy Whittaker put even more on the two freshmen and with both battling injuries, was a big factor in the offense slowing down.
Texas needs the ground game to be effective to take pressure off of their so-so quarterbacks and the Longhorns need Brown and Bergeron to be healthy and productive if they want a chance to win. They'll be squaring off against a great, experienced linebacker in Kendricks however. Should be a fun match up to watch.
You can read our complete Holiday Bowl preview here.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier on Friday the blog's Jerry Hinnen wrote about Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads being the top choice at Pitt to replace Todd Graham. Well, it's time for Pitt to turn to Plan B, because it doesn't look like Rhoads is going to be leaving Ames anytime soon.
The school announced on Friday that Rhoads had agreed to a ten-year contract.
"To say that I'm appreciative and humbled is a huge understatement," Rhoads said in a release. "So many people have contributed to what has been achieved in our program the first three years. I want to thank President Geoffroy and Jamie Pollard, who personally met with me to begin contract talks after the Kansas game in early November. The support of everyone in Cyclone Nation has been fantastic. It's great to be a Cyclone."
Full details of the new contract have not been released, but the school did announce that its total value is $20 million. Whatever the amount, it's pretty obvious at this point that when Rhoads said in the past he was happy at Iowa State and wanted to stay there, he meant it.
Rhoads came to Iowa State in 2009 after spending 8 seasons as defensive coordinator at Pitt and one season in the same position with Auburn. The Cyclones have gone 18-19 under Rhoads in his three seasons, and will be making their second bowl appearance against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:28 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
TCU WILL WIN IF: How's a trip to San Diego before Christmas for a Mountain West swan song sound? The Horned Frogs dominated conference play for the final time, including a memorable upset of Boise State, and will head to one of just four bowls matching up conference champions. Motivation would normally be a factor for some teams coming from two straight BCS bowls but not for one coached by Gary Patterson - as intense and well-prepared a coach as you will find.
"I think the key is, the team that wins bowl games is the team that wants it the most," Patterson said. "What I’ve found is that you usually find out in the first five minutes of the ballgame how that’s all going to go down, with the intensity level and how they do it. I think this is going to be one of the games people talk about, one of the better ball games in the bowl season."
A win in the bowl game would also give TCU 11 wins for the seventh time in a decade. Though they've taken a few lumps, this team is built on defense and linebacker Tank Carder is looking to cap off a great career by slowing down Louisiana Tech's high-powered offense with help from the secondary. The offense is pretty good too, rounding into form as the season progressed. The Horned Frogs have scored at least 27 straight in every game this year and if quarterback Casey Pachall and the offense - sans coordinator Justin Fuente - keep turnovers to a minimum, they should be riding off to the Big 12 with a bowl game win.
"This ball game is a challenge for us," added Patterson. "Not only is it a challenge at the end of the season but it’s a challenge to go into next season, to teach our kids what it’s about to play at a high level. There are no two ways about it."
LOUISIANA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Bulldogs certainly can score some points, averaging almost 450 yards of offense and 35 points per game ever since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback and started throwing the ball around. The offense gets most of the attention but the defense isn't too shabby either with 20 interceptions on the year - good for third in the nation.
"This will be a bit of a measuring stick for our program and where we are headed," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "This has been a great team to coach, we’ve had a fun ride."
A sound game plan that mixes up a few runs as Cameron finds top wide receiver Quinton Patton should be able to move the chains and find the end zone. If the defense can make some plays and slow down the TCU offense, special teams will come into play and the team has a great weapon in Ryan Allen, who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter and can help flip the field position battle in favor of LaTech.
"Our guy Ryan Allen had plenty of punts," said Dykes. "We won ball games because of him, especially when we were trying to find an identity offensively early. We were making a quarterback switch and trying to find which direction we were going. Our defense was playing pretty consistent football and our punter was giving us a chance to win. He is a weapon."
"This is the biggest bowl game for us, probably in school history, so we have to see this as an opportunity."
THE X-FACTOR: As always, turnovers. Pachall has been pretty good in not throwing interceptions or fumbling the ball but he has to keep that up in this game. Give Louisiana Tech extra chances to score and things might get interesting. Spread offenses - Baylor, SMU - have hurt TCU already this year and the WAC champions know how to beat teams if the game is close.
Tags: Baylor, BCS, Big 12, Boise State, Bowl previews, Bryan Fischer, Casey Pachall, Colby Cameron, Gary Patterson, Justin Fuente, Key Matchups, Keys to the Game, Louisiana Tech, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, Poinsettia Bowl, Quinton Patton, Ray Guy Award, Ryan Allen, SMU, Sonny Dykes, Tank Carder, TCU, WAC
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:42 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Turner Gill, the Kansas head coach who was ousted in November after two seasons to make way for Charlie Weis, has found a new home as head coach. The FCS-level Liberty Flames announced late Wednesday night that Gill had been hired as the team's eighth head coach in its history. Liberty, which is located in Lynchburg, VA, is known every bit for its religious affiliation as it is for its athletics or other extracurricular activities, and that fact was evidently not lost on Gill or school administrators looking to make this latest hire.
"In our search for a new head football coach, almost every advisor recommended Turner Gill, said school chancellor and president Jerry Falwell Jr. in a statement released by the school. "Every indication is that he is a perfect fit for Liberty University. His experience is at the level where we would like to take our football program. His Christian faith is strong and sincere and what any new recruit would expect to see in a Liberty University head football coach. I think Liberty University and Turner Gill were made for each other."
Liberty athletic director Jeff Barber shared Falwell's view of the school's new head coach.
"Liberty is tremendously blessed to welcome Turner Gill as our new head football coach," Barber said. "As we conducted this search during the past nine days, his name was recommended to us over and over from coaches and athletics directors from around the country as the right man to lead our football program. Turner embraces all that Liberty is and stands for and it will be a privilege to work alongside him as we continue to move our football program forward."
Gill struggled mightily to get the Kansas program on track, losing his last 10 games in Lawrence against what the Sagarin ratings deemed college football's toughest schedule in 2011. The losing streak capped a 5-19 (1-16) record at KU, which was a far cry from the 20-30 (14-18) record he achieved at Buffalo prior to joining Kansas. Gill took Buffalo to its first (and only) bowl game in 2008, losing 38-20 to Connecticut in the International Bowl.
Gill will replace Danny Rocco, who racked up a 47-20 record over six years before taking a job with FCS powerhouse Richmond over this offseason. Rocco led the Flames to four consecutive Big South championships in his time atop the program, and he was named the Big South Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Rocco is second in Liberty history for most wins behind only longtime head coach Sam Rutigliano, who went 67-53 in his 11 seasons with the program.
The school has announced a press conference for Gill on Thursday afternoon.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:06 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
As you can see in the photo above, when TCU said that its renovation of the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium would begin immediately following the season, they weren't kidding. This is all part of a $164 million renovation plan that began last season with the north and west side of the stadium, and will be completed before the beginning of the 2012 season.
Which is pretty good timing considering that 2012 is when TCU will begin play in the Big 12 next season. The seating capacity for the stadium this season had been reduced to 34,000 but will be at 43,000 with the possibility to expand to 50,000 in the future.
The stadium opened in 1930.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:56 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Oklahoma State doesn't play again until January 2nd when it will face Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. Which means that Oklahoma State players have a lot of free time on their hands, and we all know what happens when college kids have a bunch of extra time on their hands. So it's not surprising to find out that Oklahoma State's Christian Littlehead and Jonathan Rush find themselves in a bit of trouble with the law.
Oklahoma State defensive lineman Christian Littlehead and offensive linemen Jonathan Rush were each charged Monday with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.Both players could face a year in jail or $1,000 fine, possibly both, but probably neither.
As for how this will affect each player's status for the Fiesta Bowl, the school is aware of the incident and is handling its own internal investigation. When it comes to Rush, whether suspended or not, he won't be playing in the Fiesta Bowl as he suffered a knee injury against Texas A&M in September that ended his season.
As for Littlehead, that's where things get a bit interesting. Littlehead has started a couple of games this season, but has played on the defensive line in all 12 games for Oklahoma State, with 16 tackles and a sack. His current court date is set for December 29th, which poses a problem for him seeing as how Oklahoma State is scheduled to fly to Arizona on December 27th. Which means that if he's not suspended for the game and wants to make the trip, he's going to have to get his court date changed as well.