Posted on: January 12, 2011 5:56 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
When it comes to projecting the strength of Iowa's defense the last few seasons, a lot of people bring up the name of Adrian Clayborn and other members of the Hawkeyes defensive line. The reasons for this are obvious, as Clayborn was a one man wrecking crew in 2009, but safety Tyler Sash has always had a knack for making huge plays for the Iowa defense when they're most needed. And now it seems that the Hawkeyes are going to have to find somebody to replace Sash as well.
According to Matt Bowen, Sash is going to forego his final season at Iowa and enter the NFL Draft.
In his three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Sash has picked off 13 passes, and is also a force in stopping the run. He's the type of player whom, although he's projected to be a mid-round pick, can make an immediate impact for a defense on the NFL level. Whether as a starter in the secondary, or on special teams, the kid is just a football player.
Sash was an All-Big Ten selection in both 2009 and 2010.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In the flood of departures for the NFL Draft yesterday, featuring such luminaries as Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and not Andrew Luck, there was one early entrant that seemed to be unjustly overlooked: Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who multiple reports stated would be declaring in the near future.
Jenkins doesn't have a whole lot in the way of stats -- three interceptions, a handful of tackles-for-loss, some mostly nondescript punt returns -- but being named first-team All-SEC by the AP reflects how dominant Jenkins was in man-to-man coverage, moreso than any other player in the conference that wasn't Patrick Peterson. (That the SEC's coaches selected South Carolina's wobbly Stephon Gilmore over Jenkins for first-team honors is maybe the worst case of preseason-accolade inertia we've seen that hasn't involved Adrian Clayborn.)
The consensus on Jenkins is that he'll go in the first round, possibly in the top 10 or 15 picks , and given the premium on top-level cover corners on the next level (as wel las the college one), that makes sense. Maybe he's not Ingram or Mallett in terms of star power, but there's a chance Jenkins could outshine both in the league.
Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 4:11 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Let's face it, it takes a "special" kind of person to stay watching a game like the New Orleans Bowl -- a 48-21 thumping by Troy over Ohio -- a couple minutes before midnight on the last Saturday before Christmas. Yet those who stayed with the game were rewarded when Troy punter Will Goggans finally got his shot at uncorking a punt in the fourth quarter (Troy had scored on every single possession before then). Goggans' punt was downed at the 1-yard line, which was cool to see in and of itself, but HOLY HOLY HOLY THAT BEARD:
According to announcers, Goggans has been growing the beard for the entire year in preparation for his role in a play as Santa Claus. Well, that's as good a reason as any to grow a beard. They also mentioned that Goggans would be shaving the beard in a few days after the play is done, and perhaps the women in his life would prefer he do so, but we must strenuously disagree with that decision. That's the finest beard in college football. He makes Adrian Clayborn look like an 8th grader with a crustache. May the beard live forever.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's one of those stories that would be edited out of a film script for being "too heavyhanded," but happened in real life Wednesday night anyway: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, playing the past two seasons under the tutelage of his school's last winner of the Lombardi Award, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, became the school's newest winner of the same award . It's not irony, but it's close enough that Alanis Morrisette would think it is.
In any case, the award's voters -- "a distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America's most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists," charged with selecting the nation's best lineman or linebacker -- weren't voting based on the headlines; Fairley was arguably the nation's most disruptive defensive force this season, leading the SEC in tackles for loss with 21.5 (for comparison's sake, one more than Ndamukong Suh totaled in 2009) and finishing second with 10.5 sacks. But Fairley's penchant for brutal hits on opposing quarterbacks -- a handful of which straddled the line between fair play and unnecessary roughness, and earned him something of a villain's reputation in some quarters of the conference -- meant his impact was felt even beyond his imposing statistics.
All that said, the Lombardi committee couldn't have gone wrong with the equally beastly Da'Quan Bowers, the Clemson defensive end who leads the nation in sacks and was one of three other Lombardi finalists (with the others Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick ). Bowers won the Nagurski Trophy over Fairley, setting up a kind of rubber match vote with the Bednarik Award , given to the nation's best defensive player later today.
Whether Bowers or Fairley triumphs in their little one-on-battle on the awards circuit (the Bednarik could also declare an effective tie by honoring LSU corner Patrick Peterson ), the real winner here is the NFL draft, which assuming Fairley declares, looks poised to have an outstanding class of defensive linemen on its hands this April.
Follow along with all the postseason college football honors at the CBS Sports Awards Watch .
Posted on: November 29, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 11:54 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As many schools have wound down their regular season, the time has come for 2010's series of accolades and awards. There will be predictable nods, deserving players snubbed, and a guarantee of AT LEAST one slightly irrational fan base being furious by the omission of their star player. The first notable All-America team was released on Monday morning, the AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team.
It is the only All-America team that is voted on exclusively by the coaches, and it was not surprising to see the team headlined by Oregon's LaMichael James and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers. Auburn fans, don't worry, your boy made the cut.
Check out all of the coaches' selections below:
A few notes on the list:
- Despite constant criticism for a "down year," the ACC has as much representation on the list (4) as the SEC and Big 12. Only the Big Ten (6) produced more players on the 2010 team.
- As Bryan Fischer pointed out, there were four Texas natives selected to the All-America team. Outside of TCU's Tank Carder, none of them even play for a school in Texas. How should that reflect on the in-state universities, particularly Texas head coach Mack Brown? I know that the 2010 Longhorns would have benefited significantly from a Kendall Hunter or LaMichael James in the backfield.
- There was little turnover from last year's squad, with Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones being the only repeat selection from 2009. However, the same could be true for next year's list. Only ten players on the list could return for 2011, and there is no guarantee that they all will.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 1:06 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
There are still four weeks of regular season football left, but the Lombardi Award has evidently seen enough to select four finalists already. The finalists for the Lombardi Award, given annually to the top lineman or linebacker in college football (no linebackers are in the running this season), are listed below.
Clayborn is unlikely to win, as his 2010 statistics aren't nearly at the level of last season; it'll take an Iowa win over Ohio State that prominently features Clayborn in a disruptive role to bring him into the conversation as a potential winner. Even then, it might not do much to the overall narrative.
Nick Fairley was relatively unheralded coming into the season, but he has been an absolute terror on the interior and is easily the defensive MVP for the undefeated Auburn team. His 18 tackles for a loss lead all defensive tackles; he's got to be a unanimous All-American at DT this season.
TCU's offense is rolling, and Jake Kirkpatrick is the presumptive winner of the Rimington Award this season, but an offensive lineman hasn't won the award since Orlando Pace won at Ohio State in 1995 and 1996. Though we mean zero disrespect to Kirkpatrick, he is not the transformative blocking talent that Pace was, and Kirkpatrick will probably be the first to agree (humility is sort of an offensive lineman's "thing"; this usually only intensifies toward the middle of the line).
That leaves Da'Quan Bowers, the star defensive end for Clemson. Bowers leads the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss, and has generally made iife hell for opposing quarterbacks; while the Clemson defense's touchdowns and yards per pass are generally pretty pedestrian, its overall pass efficiency defense is one of the better in the nation. The incompletion percentage and interception percentages, meanwhile, are relatively high. That means one thing: pressured passes ahoy, and plenty of that credit goes to a terrorizing defensive line. Unless Clemson collapses down the stretch, this award is Bowers's to lose, and it would be an honor well-earned.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 6:56 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If there's been one defining, overarching narrative to the 2010 season to date, it's been ... well, maybe it's been the upheaval at the top of the polls that's seen preseason outsiders Oregon and Auburn seize control of their national championship destiny with four weeks remaining in the season. But if there's been two co-defining narratives, the second, without question, would be the rise of non-AQ teams like Boise State , TCU , and Utah into not only the BCS bowl picture but the BCS national championship picture.
So it's perhaps something of a shame that the lists of semifinalists for the Lombardi Award and the Thorpe Award -- given to the nation's best down lineman or downhill linebacker and best defensive back, respectively, and both announced within the past week -- do little to acknowledge that rise. The lists:
Lombardi AwardSam Acho, Defensive End, Texas, 6-3, 260, Sr., Dallas, TX
Jeremy Beal, Defensive End, Oklahoma, 6-3, 267, Sr. Carrollton, TX
Da'quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson, 6-4, 275, Jr., Bamberg, SC
Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End, Iowa, 6-4, 285, Sr., St. Louis, MO
Jared Crick, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska, 6-6, 285, Jr., Cozad, NE
Nick Fairley, Defensive Line, Auburn, 6-5, 298, Jr., Mobile, AL
Cameron Heyward, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State, 6-5, 288, Sr., Suwanee, GA
Rodney Hudson, Offensive Guard, Florida State, 6-2, 282, Sr., Mobile, AL
Greg Jones, Linebacker, Michigan State, 6-1, 240, Sr., Cincinnati, OH
Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue, 6-4, 263, Sr., Muncie, IN
Jake Kirkpatrick, Center, TCU, 6-3, 305, Sr., Tyler, TX
Drake Nevis, Defensive Tackle, LSU, 6-5, 285, Sr., Marrero, LA
Thorpe AwardPrince Amukamara, Sr., Nebraska
Mark Barron, Jr., Alabama
Chimdi Chekwa, Sr., Ohio State
Brandon Harris, Jr., Miami (Fla.)
Cliff Harris, Soph., Oregon
Tejay Johnson, Sr., TCU
Joe Lefeged, Sr., Rutgers
Rahim Moore, Jr., UCLA
Patrick Peterson, Jr., LSU
Tyler Sash, Jr., Iowa
Congratulations are in order for all 22 of these players, each of which is, without question, an outstanding college football athlete and certainly deserving of the honor of becoming a semifinalist.
But it feels remiss not to note that in this year of unprecedented prominence for non-AQ programs, only two of those 22 players represent a non-AQ team, and those two -- TCU 's Jake Kirkpatrick and Tejay Johnson -- each represent the same team. The other 53 teams? Nothin'.
This can be explained, to some extent, by the undeniably true fact that most of the game's best athletes and players ply their trades in BCS leagues. But no one on the Boise State defense that currently ranks third in both scoring and total defense (or Utah's, which ranks sixth in both categories) is worthy of inclusion? Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry , tied for third nationally with 9.5 sacks and seventh nationally with 13.5 tackles for loss (one of only four players to rank in the top 10 in both categories) can't get a nod? Strong safety Domonic Cook of Buffalo leads the country in both passes broken up and interceptions; there's not room enough for him here?
There's no question that it's always going to be an uphill climb for non-AQ players who rarely play on national television and even more rarely receive the sort of fawning from scouts and writers that helps buoy campaigns for national honors, and that's fine. But it's worth wondering whether, in a season like this one, if the climb ought to be quite this steep.
Pictured: Boise State defensive lineman Ryan Winterswyk.
Tags: Adrian Clayborn, Boise State, Brandon Harris, Cameron Heyward, Chimdi Chekwa, Cliff Harris, Da'quan Bowers, Drake Nevis, Greg Jones, Jake Kirkpatrick, Jared Crick, Jeremy Beal, Joe Lefeged, Lombardi Award, Mark Barron, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara, Rahim Moore, Rodney Hudson, Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Winterswyk, Sam Acho, TCU, Tejay Johnson, Thorpe Award, Tyler Sash, Utah
Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:29 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 5:30 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
We're halfway through the regular season, so it's time for the Midseason Report. Who the real contenders are in the Big Ten is pretty clear. Who'll actually win the conference, however, is a little more muddled. This certainly looked like Ohio State's conference to lose seven days ago -- and it still might be -- but Wisconsin's superlative 31-18 upset of the Buckeyes in Madison muddled the picture somewhat. Here's a list of the contenders for the conference crown thus far.
Michigan State (7-0, 3-0): It's generally lazy analysis to assume that a current front-runner -- especially one without any recent history of success -- will maintain its place atop the conference. And yet, Michigan State has, essentially, a two-game schedule to sew up a trip to Pasadena. After all, of the Big Ten teams with one conference loss or fewer, Michigan State has already beaten one (Wisconsin), won't face another (Ohio State), and gets another at home (Purdue, who, yeah). The only games left are visits to Northwestern and Iowa in the next two weeks. If the Spartans win these, they'll have the tie-breaker over everyone in the conference. Add a loss anywhere, and the prospects get a little dicey -- especially since if it comes down to Michigan State and Ohio State both at 11-1. More on that in a bit.
Iowa (5-1, 2-0): If the Spartans are the new frontrunners to the Big Ten title, then the Hawkeyes are the gatekeepers. Iowa has three home games remaining, and they're against the other three teams on this list: Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Will the Hawkeyes beat all three of these teams? That'll depend on the leadership of Ricky Stanzi, the senior quarterback who's playing at a level few would have expected after last season. The Hawkeyes' defense, anchored by Adrian Clayborn and the rest of the line, is still their strong spot. But if Stanzi malfunctions like he did on occasion in 2008 and '09, the Hawkeyes could take a very damaging loss and (probably) watch their Big Ten title hopes evaporate.
Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1): Which Wisconsin team will show up in Iowa City on Saturday? The high-octane world-beaters that ran Ohio State out of the stadium last weekend? Or the semi-suspect squad that looked sluggish against plainly inferior non-conference competition and got outgained by 150 yards in a 10-point loss to the Spartans? Granted, 2009 Iowa demonstrated the folly of reading too much into low margins of victory against putative cupcakes, but Iowa won the majority of their games against upper-level Big Ten competition, and Wisconsin hasn't reached that plateau quite yet. A win in Iowa City changes that outlook substantially. Still, when the Badger rush offense is struggling, QB Scott Tolzien's track record isn't promising. It's probably wise to expect one more loss from the Badgers before the season's said and done.
Ohio State (6-1, 2-1): Ever thought you'd see the day when a 6-1 Ohio State had arguably the fourth-best chance to win the Big Ten crown? Here we are, though; for as good as Michigan State's prospects look, the Buckeyes' seem to be on the other end of the spectrum. Of the contenders, they've already lost to one (Wisconsin), they play another on the road (Iowa), and the last they miss entirely (Michigan State), which means OSU can't take matters into their own hands and put a loss in the Spartans' column. Essentially, to win the conference, Ohio State needs every other team to lose at least once -- and the Buckeyes only play Iowa in the second half of the season. That's a lot of help needed. The Buckeyes have the talent to keep up their own end of the bargain, of course; that defense is still stellar across all 11 positions, and OSU's offensive line will keep their offense humming. But for all his otherworldly physical talent, Terrelle Pryor still isn't taking over games at the level that, let's say, Cam Newton is. Further, this is Pryor's third year in Tressel's offense. It's Newton's first with Auburn OC Gus Malzahn. Either this trend gets corrected, or Pryor's collegiate career becomes a relative disappointment; it's not as if OSU's a seven-win team without Pryor at the helm, is it?
Any of these four teams could go to the Rose Bowl without any surprises; Wisconsin's an underdog at Iowa, but not prohibitively so. Yes, technically, Northwestern and Purdue are in the mix for now too, but they're definitely longshots next to these four teams. My prediction is that Iowa effectively eliminates the Badgers from the discussion by beating them this weekend, while MSU handles Northwestern. Iowa then hands Michigan State their first conference loss in Iowa City, all while Ohio State keeps winning. Then, Ohio State knocks off the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. All three teams win out otherwise, and there's a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings at 7-1. Tiebreaker time!
Iowa will be the first team to be eliminated from consideration, as the Hawkeyes will be 10-2 while OSU and Michigan State are 11-1. Now, a few years ago, the Big Ten had a Rose Bowl tiebreaker after head-to-head competition and overall record that gave the bid to the team that hadn't been to Pasadena in the longest amount of time. This would obviously be Michigan State. But! That tiebreaker was ditched a few years ago and replaced with a Big XII-style stipulation that the highest BCS ranking is awarded the bid. So here we go again. Ohio State, having been ranked ahead of Michigan State when both were undefeated and having an earlier loss than the Spartans, is likely ranked higher at the end of the regular season and sent to Pasadena. Spartan faithful cry foul, but they're rewarded with an Orange Bowl bid in consolation. Iowa represents the conference in the Capital One Bowl, and Wisconsin goes to the Outback for the third time in the last seven years.
Of course, watch Northwestern beat Michigan State this Saturday and render this entire prediction worthless.
Tags: Adrian Clayborn, Auburn, BCS, Big Ten Bowls, Big Ten Outlook, Big Ten Report, Big Ten Tiebreaker, Cam Newton, Gus Malzahn, Iowa, Michigan State, Midseason Conference Reports, Midseason Reports, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pasadena, Purdue, Ricky Stanzi, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl Tiebreaker, Scott Tolzien, Terrelle Pryor, Wisconsin