Posted on: October 8, 2010 4:40 pm

Insane Predictions: Week 6

Posted by the College Football Blog Staff

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles wouldn't be the coach that screwed up the endgame the worst during Tennessee-LSU? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Utah punishes every single "win-go-up, lose-go-down" poll voter by dropping their night game at Iowa State, 31-20. The previously comatose Cyclone defense comes to life against the Utes, sacking Jordan Wynn four times and picking him off twice. The exasperated Utah coach, Kyle Whittingham, will blame the pollsters for Utah's upset loss, saying "I wasn't the one telling my guys they were the tenth best team in the [censored] nation." -- Adam Jacobi

Washington State slows down and upsets Oregon in Martin Stadium, claiming their first conference win with a 24-0 victory over the Ducks. The shutout will be thanks to the defense who, despite starting the day ranked 118th in the nation in yards allowed per game (509.8), shut down the best offense in nation by simply putting 11 linebackers on the field at all times. -- Chip Patterson

Michigan's defense actually shows up to play on Saturday, allowing Denard Robinson to see even more snaps behind center.  The end result is a 600-yard performance from Robinson as the Wolverines coast to a surprisingly easy 42-17 victory over Michigan State, giving Denard an even firmer grasp on the Heisman Trophy. -- Tom Fornelli

Severely Unlikely

Michigan and Michigan State's defenses completely shut each other down in a 3-2 Spartan victory in the Big House.  Denard Robinson attempts to run 18 times, but is only held to 14 yards.  Braylon Edwards gets behind the wheel and drives the Spartans back to East Lansing, hitting every bar on the way. At 73 mph. -- Chip Patterson

A week after having a huge day in a losing effort against Michigan, Indiana's Ben Chappell does even more damage in the Horseshoe.  Chappell picks the Ohio State secondary apart for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Terrelle Pryor's leg injury reappears and the Buckeyes offense has absolutely no answer. The Hoosiers shock the world, picking up what would be considered the biggest win in the program's history.  Final score: Indiana 45, Ohio State 31. -- Tom Fornelli

Oregon pours it on hapless Washington State for the full 60 minutes and becomes the first I-A team to hit the century mark since Houston beat Tulsa 100-6 in 1968. LaMichael James reclaims the top spot in Heisman consideration with 532 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Oregon cruises, 113-0. -- Adam Jacobi

Utterly Preposterous

The game between LSU and Florida is an all-time epic performance that will be talked about 50 years from now.  The game goes back and forth as the offenses take turns destroying the defenses, and the defenses respond in kind.  Finally, in the fourth quarter Jordan Jefferson takes the field with LSU down 24-20 and two minutes left on the clock.  He has yet to throw an interception as the Tigers begin their drive.  They enter get inside the Florida 20-yard line as the clock goes under the minute mark.  Les Miles stands on the sidelines with no worries in the world.  Amazingly, he still has all three of his timeouts left.  He uses them well, and Gary Crowton calls the perfect plays as Jefferson hits Terrence Toliver for the game winning touchdown with 12 seconds left.  LSU wins 27-24. -- Tom Fornelli

In a scene reminiscent of the realistic football documentary Varsity Blues, the Texas Tech players rise up in mutiny against head coach Tommy Tuberville at halftime as they trail Baylor 21-3. Red Raiders QB Taylor Potts makes one call on his cell phone, and five minutes into the third quarter, Mike Leach parachutes onto the field, delighting the Cotton Bowl crowd. Leach, seeing no sheds present at the game, has WR Adam James locked in a bathroom stall for the rest of the game. Leach re-installs the spread, Baylor's defense is overmatched, and the Red Raiders prevail 34-31. -- Adam Jacobi

South Carolina upsets Alabama 28-24 after Mark Ingram has his 5th fumble of the game on the goal line in the final seconds. Trent Richardson, who had 250 yards rushing in the game, erupts with rage that he did not get a chance to win the game himself.  In the locker room, things get heated. Our own Tom Fornelli emerges from Richardson's locker and pins Ingram's arms behind his back, allowing Richardson to head-butt Ingram and knock the Heisman Trophy winner to the ground. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspends Ingram for the confrontation, claiming "the kid showed no fight." -- Chip Patterson

Posted on: September 24, 2010 5:22 pm

Insane Predictions: Week 4

Posted by the College Football Blog staff

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Mike Pouncey would screw up a baker's dozen worth of snaps in one game? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

The Michigan State Spartans lose Kirk Cousins to an injury during the first quarter of their game against Northern Colorado.  His replacement, freshman Andrew Maxwell is dealt the same fate early in the second quarter and the Spartans go into the half trailing 21-10.  After quarterback-turned-WR-turned-back-i
-scenario Keith Nichol succumbs to a horrible stomach virus in the locker room, interim head coach Don Treadwill calls on punter Aaron Bates to lead the team in the second half.  Bates comes out and throws for 300 yards three touchdowns and kicks another three field goals as the Spartans roll to a 40-21 victory. -- Tom Fornelli

Temple upsets Penn State in Happy Valley. There's really no excuse for this happening; even with Temple starting out 3-0 and PSU looking average with true freshman Robert Bolden at QB, Penn State is still highly favored in this contest. But the Temple front seven (led by returning MAC Defensive Player of the Year DE Adrian Robinson) gives the Nittany Lions' enough fits that Temple goes into halftime leading by 10, Bolden gets benched, Kevin Newsome performs worse in relief, and the Owls shock Happy Valley, 27-20. -- Adam Jacobi

Marcus Lattimore is held to less than 70 yards rushing by the Auburn defense. Lattimore only ran for 57 yards against Southern Miss, but when the Gamecocks have really needed yards this season, they turn to number 21.  He will likely get at least 18 carries, and the Tigers did give up 140 yards to Clemson's Andre Ellington, but look for the defensive line to step up and shut down Lattimore at home in primetime. -- Chip Patterson

Severely Unlikely

Mike Leach makes it through the entire broadcast of the Houston - Tulane game without some reference to "symptoms of concussion" followed by awkward silence that lasts as long as an equipment shed is wide. -- Chip Patterson

With his team trailing 24-21 late in the fourth quarter against Arkansas, Nick Saban calls a timeout as his team is marching down the field looking for the go-ahead touchdown.  "I've had an epiphany, gentleman.  I'm not here to win football games, I'm here to make you all better men and better human beings.  Sometimes being the bigger man means letting the other man have his moment in the spotlight."  Saban then forces Greg McElroy to kneel four straight times to end the game. -- Tom Fornelli

Boise State sets the post-WW2 single-game record for most team yardage (pre-WW2 may be a touch out of reach) in their victory over Oregon State, 94-0. Kellen Moore and the rest of the Broncos' starters play every snap, even after Oregon State puts in their second stringers in the 4th quarter. Following the game, Chris Peterson then throws his headset at the press box and yells, "Are you not entertained?!" Boise does not budge in the polls. --Adam Jacobi

Completely Insane

During the third quarter of a listless win at Washington State, USC head coach Lane Kiffin will disappear from the sideline for several minutes, and television cameras will catch him talking on his cell phone. He will claim to have been speaking with old college friends since the game was "boring," but anonymous sources with knowledge of Kiffin's cell phone records will later tell reporters that Kiffin was trying to negotiate a deal to rejoin Pete Carroll in Seattle as an assistant with the Seattle Seahawks. The deal falls through when Kiffin asks for $17.5 million a year. -- Adam Jacobi

Oregon State takes Boise State to overtime on the legendary Smurf Turf.  In overtime, Chris Peterson calls a trick play that finishes with Kellen Moore crossing into the end zone to win the game.  Upon crossing the goal line, Moore rushes over to the cheerleaders and drops to one knee... where he proposes to Buster Bronco.  The horse says "neigh." -- Chip Patterson

With the USC Trojans up 14-0 on Washington State in the first quarter, Matt Barkley finds Ronald Johnson for a 67-yard touchdown to make the score 20-0.  Lane Kiffin then decides to just kick the extra point. -- Tom Fornelli

Posted on: September 19, 2010 9:04 pm

Is Case Keenum's injury a blessing in disguise?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There can't be many positives that come out of a 31-13 loss for a ranked team -- especially when the victor is UCLA -- but Houston's loss yesterday is going to hamper the Cougars for the rest of the season.

During the game, All-American quarterback Case Keenum tore his ACL while trying to make a tackle (incidentally, not the first time he's been hurt like that this season), and is done for the year. His backup, Cotton Turner, then broke his clavicle one quarter later. He's also out for the balance of the season. And just like that, one of the best positional units in the country is now one of the most unstable. Freshman Terrance Broadway is expected to take the majority of snaps now, but there's really no telling how he'll perform.

Ironically, if Keenum were singularly focused on setting collegiate passing records, this injury might actually be something of a blessing; Keenum's injury came during the third game of the 2010 season, meaning he's almost assured of receiving clearance for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. The NCAA's cutoff for medical hardship waivers is 30% of a season, after all, and our trusty calculator here tells us Keenum participated in only 25% of this season.

Further, ACL tears aren't the catastrophes they used to be; while Keenum's season is most certainly over, an 8- to 9-month recovery period puts him on the practice field by the start of summer. That means Keenum only needs 4,122 yards to break the record next season, rather than the 4,758 he needed coming into this year. While we wouldn't recommend "season-ending injury in the middle of senior year" as a path to statistical glory, of course, we are just sayin' -- three extra starts never hurt anyone's stats.

Oh, and this injury has no relation -- karmic or otherwise -- to the poor decision Houston made in starting Keenum so quickly after suffering "concussion-like symptons" (NOTE: this is, effectively, a concussion, and Houston was trying to draw a distinction without a difference in obfuscating the matter). Keenum should not have started, but an extra week of recovery for his brain would have had no bearing on whether his knee was injured.

Posted on: September 18, 2010 11:30 am

Game day weather updates, Week 3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. Will the heat affect teams' gameplans in the southeast? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

No. 12 Arkansas at Georgia, 12:00, Athens, GA: Lower 80s, clear, hot

Maryland at No. 21 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Upper 60s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 8 Nebraska at Washington, 3:30, Seattle, WA: Mid 60s, cloudy, scattered showers

No. 18 USC at Minnesota, 3:30, Minneapolis, MN: Mid 50s, partly cloudy

No. 10 Florida at Tennessee, 3:30, Knoxville, TN: Mid 80s, clear, hot

Evening kickoffs

Clemson at No. 16 Auburn, 7:00, Auburn, AL: Mid 80s, cloudy, slight chance of showers

No. 6 Texas at Texas Tech, 8:00, Lubbock, TX: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, windy

Late kickoffs

No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona, 10:30, Tucson, AZ: Lower 90s, breezy, hot

No. 23 Houston at UCLA, 10:30, Pasadena, CA: Upper 60s, clear

Wake Forest at No. 19 Stanford, 11:15, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 60s, clear

Posted on: September 15, 2010 6:50 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 6:54 pm

There's no reason for Case Keenum to face UCLA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's Wednesday and it seems that Kevin Sumlin and the Houston Cougars are yet to come to a decision on what to do with quarterback Case Keenum.   Keenum suffered what is being termed as a "mild concussion" last Saturday in the Cougars' 54-24 victory over UTEP last Saturday, and though Sumlin has said his quarterback's condition has improved throughout the week, he's still not sure whether or not to let him play against UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Well, since Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jason Phillips have had such a tough time figuring out what to do, I figured I'd help them out a little bit. 

Sit him.

There, problem solved.  As Jacobi went over earlier in the week, the more we learn about the effect of concussions on those who suffer them, the scarier things get.  So whether it was a mild concussion or not, there is absolutely no reason to play Keenum.  Especially when Phillips sounds so confident about Keenum's backup, Cotton Turner.   Who, on an unrelated note, has an awesome name.

"We're going to do what we do," Phillips said. "Our system is in place. Our offense is in place. Our players are confident in what we're doing. Cotton is very confident in what we do, and our players believe in him."

Okay, so if you're so confident in Turner, then why the hesitation over playing him?  Is a victory over UCLA worth endangering Keenum's quality of life?  He is just a kid after all, not a professional athlete.  I'd imagine just going to class with a concussion could be an adventure, let alone playing in a football game.

Turner proved himself more than capable of filling in for Keenum against UTEP, and let's be real, you're facing UCLA here.  Have you seen the Bruins this season?  I don't think playing Turner hurts your chances of leaving the Rose Bowl with a victory.

So for the sake of Keenum, I hope all this indecision is nothing more than posturing just so UCLA doesn't know who to expect under center.

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Posted on: September 13, 2010 9:57 pm

Former Penn captain who killed self had C.T.E.

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, we questioned the sanity of allowing Houston QB Case Keenum to return to action for the Cougars after sustaining a concussion during play on the previous Friday. And while we can try to conjure as many different synonyms for "reckless" as possible to describe the situation, it's really not as likely to resonate as an argument without a tangible example of the dangers involved. 

Unfortunately, new details about those exact dangers emerged just today, as the New York Times reported that Penn student Owen Thomas, the former lineman and captain of the Quakers who hanged himself at the age of 21, was found to be suffering from the same type of degenerative brain disease that has recently been associated with long football careers. The disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (or C.T.E.), can cause a host of serious mental problems in those afflicted with it, including substance abuse, suicidal depression, and symptoms similar to Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's Disease. Most notably, it was also found in an autopsy of Chris Henry, the former Cincinnati Bengals and West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver who died after falling out of his fiancee's truck in a bizarre incident last year.

The most harrowing aspect of the revelations about Henry and Thomas is that neither man was ever diagnosed with a concussion, and neither had an extensive football career past middle school. Henry played one of the least contact-intensive positions in the sport, and while Thomas was on the other end of that spectrum, he was also only a 21-year-old junior when he began the mental collapse that ended in his apartment months later.

Worse, as of last year, 20 deceased football players had been tested for CTE--some who had exhibited no symptoms whatsoever--upon autopsy. 19 tested positive. Thus, considering Thomas' history in the sport and his subsequent quick descent into suicidal depression, it would have been far more surprising if the 21-year-old Thomas hadn't had CTE. That should be frightening for every single fan of the sport of football--and even moreso for parents of young football players.

And yet Houston coach Kevin Sumlin won't give Keenum a week off after Keenum's concussion. Just something to think about.

Posted on: September 13, 2010 5:05 pm

How is Case Keenum day-to-day with a concussion?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As mentioned earlier, Case Keenum suffered what's being called a mild concussion and is, according to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, "day-to-day" and "improving dramatically." On its face, that's good news for Houston fans, as Keenum is their superstar and a big key to victory this weekend and going forward.

But that all obscures a larger question. If Keenum really did suffer a concussion, how in the world is he just "day-to-day"?

First of all, let's agree to retire the term "mild concussion." There's no such thing. Certainly, there are concussions with fewer visible effects than the crushing hit Tim Tebow took last year that sent him to a hospital, full vomit bag in hand. But even if a player suffers what would usually go down as a "mild concussion," that is still a brain injury, and needs to be treated accordingly. Sure, Keenum's condition has improved dramatically between Friday and today, but that should be a sign of concern, not relief: that means there was dramatic improvement that needed to be made.

Our colleague Eric Freeman wrote a story about the Philadelphia Eagles' own concussion problems yesterday, and in multiple instances, the Eagles sent concussed players (quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley) back onto the field before halftime, leading to this sickening quote from Andy Reid:


Coach Andy Reid said both Kolb and Bradley were initially cleared by the medical staff on the sideline. It was decided at halftime to sit them.

"They were fine," Reid said. "All of the questions they answered with the doctors registered well, but as it went on, they weren't feeling well. So we took them out."

Let's be clear: Bradley and Kolb were not fine. Both visibly struggled to leave the field immediately after their hits. Worse, upon actual examination by team doctors today, both men were sent home after failing concussion tests. So if Reid says the two men were fine on Sunday but not today, then whatever gameday protocol the Eagles followed (to a T!) is recklessly insufficient.

But this isn't about the Eagles. This is about the Houston Cougars, potentially threatening Keenum's mental well-being years down the road in pursuit of, tops, two weeks' worth of stats for the quarterback. With all the news about that has come out recently about the (surprisingly prevalent) deleterious effects of repetitive brain trauma on former football players, it is within a football players' best interests to ease back into play over the span of weeks, not days. Rushing Keenum back--and, let's be honest, calling him "day-to-day" on a Monday means he's playing on Saturday--seems like an insanely reckless decision

Posted on: September 11, 2010 10:19 am

Case Keenum leaves Houston game with injury

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Houston quarterback Case Keenum passed Colt McCoy and Philip Rivers for fifth place all time on the NCAA's career passing yards list on Friday night against UTEP, throwing for 279 yards in the Cougars 54-24 rout of the Miners, but his 13,503 career yards are likely the last thing on the Cougars' minds when it comes to their quarterback this morning. 

Keenum had to leave the game in the third quarter with what appeared to be a head injury.  After having a pass intercepted by UTEP's Travaun Nixon, it looked as though Keenum took a blow to the head while trying to make a tackle.  He was slow to get off the ground and seemed a little woozy before finally leaving the field under his own power.

Keenum did not return to the game, but according to his coach Kevin Sumlin, he didn't need to .

“I just talked to him; he was smiling in the locker room,” Sumlin said. “So we’ll evaluate it and see where he is. The situation was such at that point of the game, the way Cotton was playing, there was no need to do anything. We’ll see where it is.”

Cotton Turner came on for Keenum, completing nine of ten passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.  Which was one more touchdown than Keenum threw before having to leave the game and seeing his streak of 31 consecutive games with a touchdown pass come to an end.

As for the severity of Keenum's injury and whether or not he'll have to miss Houston's game at UCLA next Saturday, we'll have to wait and see. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com