Posted on: January 3, 2011 5:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While Iowa may have won the Insight Bowl against Missouri last week, just about all the news coming out of Iowa City over the last month has had to do with players getting busted with drugs. There was Derrell Johnson-Koulianos running that drug house of his, and then, after he was already suspended for the bowl game, running back Adam Robinson got busted with marijuana in his car.
Well, it seems that, once again, pot is a gateway drug to Coker. Or in this case, Marcus Coker. I guess that seeing Coker rush for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri was all Kirk Ferentz needed to make a decision on Robinson's future at Iowa. That decision being that Robinson will no longer have a future at Iowa.
“Running Back Adam Robinson has been dismissed from The University of Iowa Football team,” said Ferentz in a typically verbose, and confusing statement.
Which means that the three running backs who began 2010 on top of the Iowa depth chart are no longer with the team. Robinson follows Brandon Wegher and Jewel Hampton out the door. Robinson was rather productive during his first two seasons with the Hawkeyes, too, rushing for 1,775 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 1:35 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
South Carolina loses Marcus Lattimore to an early head injury and can't rally from a 13-0 hole, falling 26-17 to Florida State.
Offense: The Seminole offense rarely looked like a well-oiled machine, particularly after quarterback Christian Ponder left the game for good with a first-quarter concussion, and a few more touchdowns in place of field goals would have salted the game away sometime in the third quarter. But in a game defined by blown chances and mistakes on both sides, that the 'Noles managed not to screw up four potential (and eventually converted) Dustin Hopkins field goal opportunities counts for a lot, and backup E.J. Manuel's two clutch throws on FSU's game-clinching fourth-quarter drive -- one on third-and-eight to set up first-and-goal, the other to score the touchdown -- count for even more.
But what counts the most was the 218 yards rushing stunningly piled up on what had been the nation's eighth-ranked run defense. Even without any real passing threat once Ponder left the game, the Seminole line blasted hole after hole in the Gamecock front seven, and Chris Thompson took advantage to the tune of 147 game-changing yards. GRADE: B
Defense: When FSU corner Greg Reid -- the game's best player by a wide, wide margin -- walloped Lattimore on Carolina's first drive to dislodge the ball, end a Gamecock scoring threat, and (cleanly) knock Steve Spurrier's biggest weapon out of the game, the tone was set. Maybe the Seminoles were going to give up some yards here and there (414 in all by the time the whistle blew), but it wasn't going to matter as long as they had a big play waiting ... and they nearly always did. The 'Nole pass rush recorded only two official sacks but harassed Stephen Garcia into poor throws all game long; the defensive backs turned three of those throws into interceptions; and Reid, a demon all night, separated Alshon Jeffery from the ball as well late in the third quarter for another crucial turnover, Carolina's fifth of the game. In short: yardage allowed, schmardage schmallowed. GRADE: A-
Coaching: In a game where both teams appeared equally motivated and (almost) equally sloppy, the star of the game from a coaching standpoint was FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, whose blitz packages the Carolina offensive line never developed an answer for. But credit also goes to Jimbo Fisher and his offensive staff for never asking the clearly-limited Manuel to do too much. GRADE: A-
Offense: Particularly considering they were forced to play nearly the entire game without the linchpin of their offense -- a situation that had already seen the Carolina offense roll over and die a couple of times this season -- the Gamecocks as a whole weren't that bad. 414 yards of offense ought to be worth a lot more than 17 points. But it's not when your quarterback has the kind of nightmare game Garcia had, throwing three picks-to-zero touchdowns, missing multiple open receivers, and generally looking every bit as lost as he'd looked in his previous two bowl starts (blowout losses to Iowa and UConn).
He didn't get a whole lot of help -- no Lattimore, Jeffrey's fumble, blown assignments in pass protection, etc. -- but it was Garcia's loose screws that first let the Gamecocks' wheels come off. GRADE: C-
Defense: There shouldn't be much shame in the Gamecocks' defensive performance; allowing only 308 yards of total offense should be enough to win most games, and if not for a whole series of huge stands from the Carolina D following offensive (and special teams) miscues, the game would have been well out of hand before the halftime whistle.
At the same time, there might have been more time for a Gamecock comeback if not for all the clock burned off by Thompson's runs, and allowing Manuel to go 7-for-7 on the deciding touchdown drive directly after the offense had scored to cut the lead to 19-17 will stick in coordinator Ellis Thompson's craw all offseason. The Gamecocks were good, but it's not true to say they were good enough. GRADE: B
Coaching: Spurrier's perenially lackadaisical approach to blitz protection caught up to him again, but aside from that, there's not much to take issue with in Carolina's coaching performance; the coaches can't be held responsible for Lattimore's sudden injury, Garcia having one of those games, the defensive line getting beat straight up in the running game, etc. Unlike the last two years, the Gamecocks at leats played like they wanted to be at their bowl game. GRADE: B+
FINAL GRADE: The 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl provided some drama in the late-going, but between the insistence on South Carolina's part to hand the game over to Florida State and FSU's insistence on politely kicking another field goal to keep the Gamecocks in it anyway, you can't call it a classic. And with the final five minutes an anticlimax following Manuel's final touchdown toss, this blogger isn't sure he'd even call it "good." Grade: B
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 4:41 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Why to Watch: For those who enjoy a good storyline, the Insight Bowl's got plenty of reasons to imagine that a blood feud is about to get its next chapter. The Iowa - Missouri rivalry is one that predates football itself, as the "Honey War" can attest, and a series of racist and savage acts by the Missouri fans led to a 100-year freeze in the rivalry (not that the 100-year thing was specifically mandated; Iowa and Missouri were contracted to start a series in 2005, but that fell through). These guys must really hate each other (if they're historians)!
For those more concerned with actual football, the Insight Bowl represents an opportunity to see two highly touted quarterbacks at work, not to mention two big-play defenses. Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi spent a good portion of the season in the top 5 nationwide in passing efficiency, and while Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert didn't go downfield nearly enough to match Stanzi's efficiency numbers, Gabbert did lead the Tigers to more points than the Hawkeyes scored on the year.
Keys to victory for Iowa: Obviously, the Hawkeyes' season didn't quite go as fans had hoped, and summer BCS dreams quickly gave way to a cold autumn's angst as the Hawkeyes melted down in November. Those who looked at Iowa's three-loss streak as a low point of the season were quickly proven wrong when star wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was arrested on a litany of drug charges, and rumors swirled about other misdeeds on the program for days until Kirk Ferentz addressed them at a press conference the next week. Not helping the matter was the fact that Ferentz was announcing that other players (all tailbacks) would be missing the Insight Bowl.
Thus, if there's one challenge for Iowa, it's to put the past behind it and have the seniors go out and play one last good game in the black and gold. Easier said than done, of course, when the team has such a rich history of 4th quarter collapses, but the talent's at least there to give Missouri a fight.
Keys to victory for Missouri: The Tigers allowed a hair under 16 points a game in Big XII play, and that defense is going to have another opportunity to shine tonight. As mentioned before, Iowa is without Derrell Johnson-Koulianos after his multiple drug charges got him kicked off the team, and it also misses starting tailback Adam Robinson , who was suspended for academic reasons even before his arrest (drug charges!) on Monday night. Combine those losses with a patchwork Iowa offensive line, and Missouri should be able to disrupt the Iowa offense without much difficulty.
That's not to say that the Tigers' offense will find an easy task ahead on the field; Iowa's defense has also been stout on the season, and while it struggled in the 4th quarter on numerous occasions, Iowa also had no problem running up insurmountably large leads on bowl teams Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State over the course of the year. Fortunately for Missouri, Iowa's pass defense has struggled on medium-range throws, thanks to inexperience and injuries in the LB corps, and that's where Gabbert likes to find All-American TE Michael Egnew . Egnew won't stretch the field, but he'll move the chains and wear down the defense. Getting Gabbert into a rhythm with Egnew and top wideout T.J. Moe will be crucial.
The Insight Bowl is like: a beloved upscale restaurant that recently lost a Michelin star. Iowa and Missouri both spent time in the Top 10 this season, and if you'd have heard back in October that they'd be meeting in a bowl at the end of the year, you'd have probably guessed a BCS bowl before the Insight Bowl, which hosted 6-6 powerhouses Iowa State and Minnesota last season. Yet here we are, after Iowa took a dive in the standings and Missouri tumbled down the iist of Big XII bowl priority for the umpteenth year in a row. The drop in reputation for both is troubling, but like your next meal at that restaurant after losing the Michelin star, the next experience will be instructive as to why that happened. Are the teams really not as good as advertised? Is it just the result of correctable mistakes? Can we enjoy them as if nothing bad had ever happened? Is it really worth it to spend three hours with them this late at night after this hit in the ratings? Tune in and we'll find out.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:12 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Today is a good day to be a college football fan as we're all blessed with the chance to watch not just one, but two bowl games this evening, the first time we've had multiple games on the same day since the first three bowl games were played on December 18th. The games provide a couple of decent matchups as well, as all four teams come from BCS conferences with West Virginia taking on N.C. State and Iowa facing Missouri. Though if recent television ratings have taught us one thing, not many eyes will be on N.C. State and West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
The Wall Street Journal published a story on the top television draws in bowl games since 1998 based on how ratings performed against expectations. The usual suspects sit atop the list of teams who draw more viewers. Teams like USC (+28.7%), Florida State (+22.6%), Notre Dame (+20.8%), Miami (+15.7%) and Michigan (+12%) all draw in more eyeballs than expected. Of course, when you look at the bottom of the list, you find that outside of Florida State, not many people seem to care about ACC teams in bowl games.
Four of the bottom five teams are from the ACC, including N.C. State. In dead last we have Virginia (-18.3%) followed by N.C. State (-17%), Georgia Tech (-14.7%), LSU (-8.9%) and Clemson (-7.9%). As you can see, LSU is the only non-ACC team in the bottom five, and honestly, I'm a bit surprised to find them there.
You'll also notice that there are no SEC teams in the top five, so I guess everyone must hate the SEC too. Or, you can explain it by the fact that the SEC tends to play in a lot of national championships and other BCS bowls, which are expected to get higher ratings and skew the numbers a bit. Still, even if that's the case, feel free to use the "Nobody watches the SEC!" argument next time you're dealing with an SEC-homer. They won't care, but you'll need as much ammo as you can get.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 12:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
There's a part of me that feels sorry for Michigan State this season. Like Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Spartans went 11-1 this season and picked up a share of the Big Ten title. Unlike Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Spartans aren't going to a BCS bowl game this season thanks to a big loss against an Iowa team that stumbled down the stretch.
Instead they'll be going to the Capital One Bowl where they get to face Alabama. Not that it's anything to be ashamed of, but when you win a share of the Big Ten title, you expect a bit more. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the hits keep on coming now that the regular season is over. The team's leading receiver B.J. Cunningham broke his foot during practice on Saturday and won't be able to play in the game.
"B.J. Cunningham is a great competitor and he's extremely disappointed to be out for the Capital One Bowl game against Alabama," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a release from the school.
"B.J. had another outstanding season, and I know that he'll work hard during his rehab and set himself up for a big senior year."
Cunningham had 50 catches and 9 touchdowns this season, both of which led the Spartans. The good news for Michigan State is that they have a couple of talented receivers behind Cunningham in Mark Dell and Keshawn Martin, but when you're going against a defense like Alabama's, you want as much talent on your side as you can get.
So not having Cunningham available will only make a tall task that much taller.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:36 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's not too big a deal that Missouri defensive end Brad Madison injured himself in practice last Friday, since his broken middle finger won't keep him out of the lineup when the Tigers take on Iowa in the Insight Bowl Dec. 28.
But it certainly won't help the Tigers for their leader in sacks to play with a plate in his dominant hand, and the injury must sting Mizzou fans even worse when they read how it happened :
Madison broke the middle finger on his right hand in a practice scuffle ... Madison and senior defensive tackle Bart Coslet exchanged punches on two occasions during the practice and ultimately, after the second fracas, three teammates restrained Coslet from continuing the confrontation.If it seems a little late in the year for the kind of overheated practice-field brawlin' that typically takes place during fall two-a-days, consider that head coach Gary Pinkel wasn't on hand to view Madison's and Coslet's shenanigans, having flown to New York to take part in the day's opening ceremony at NASDAQ.
The odds that either Madison's injury or one less-than-focused practice has any substantial impact on the Insight outcome are negligible. But it's also not the best statement about the seriousness of the Tigers' attitude towards their bowl game that the mice start playing games with each other's health the moment the cat steps away.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:58 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the official news release from the University of Iowa regarding the status of two of its running backs:
Sophomore running back Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the University of Iowa. And, sophomore running back Adam Robinson will not be part of the Hawkeye team that makes the trip to Arizona for the Insight Bowl. The announcement was made today by Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz.
“Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the team and plans to transfer to another school to complete his degree and finish his career. We wish him the best of success in the future,” said Ferentz.
“While Adam has been cleared medically, he will not be participating in the upcoming Insight Bowl game as a result of failing to comply with team expectations and policies. Adam will have the option to rejoin the team when classes resume in January.”
Hampton, a 5-9, 210-pounder from Indianapolis, IN, has been plagued by injury problems during his three years at Iowa. He has rushed for 577 yards and scored eight touchdowns as a Hawkeye. He was injured in the Arizona game earlier this season and was lost for the season following surgery.
Robinson, a 5-9, 205-pound back from Des Moines, IA, led the team in rushing with 941 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
As mentioned before, Hampton announced his departure from the football team on Facebook yesterday, but Robinson's violation of team rules is a new development. This leaves Iowa with only true freshman Marcus Coker and sophomore fullback Brad Rogers as running backs who have carried the ball more than 10 times on the season for the Hawkeyes (walk-on running back Paki O'Meara has 10 carries, but they've all come in garbage time; if he touches the ball for Iowa in the Insight Bowl, that game is effectively over).A Kirk Ferentz press conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Central to address any questions about the announcement.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:24 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
With the Big Ten adding Nebraska to the fold earlier this year, the old Big Ten logo with the subtle "11" embedded was suddenly rendered obsolete. The Big Ten's response? A Big Ten logo with a subtle "10" embedded. Here's the new logo unveiled by commissioner Jim Delany on the Big Ten Network today:
As for the division names, yes, they're "Legends" and "Leaders." The announcement was made after a five-minute presentation about alumni of each and every school doing good things, and as the image above indicates, the split is like this:
There'll be a time and place for editorializing about the new branding, but for now, here's what it all is. Reactions go in the comment section below.
Tags: Big Ten, Big Ten Division Alignment, Big Ten Division Names, Big Ten Divisions, Big Ten Logo, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Jim Delany, Leaders, Legends, Legends And Leaders, Legends Leaders Divisions, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Big Ten Logo, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin