Tag:UMass
Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
 

A first look at 2012's returning starters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never, ever too early to talk about the next college football season once the previous one has passed. But it's a lot less too early once the deadline for NFL Draft declarations has passed and teams can enjoy an accurate -- or at least semi-accurate -- gauge of what their returning talent will look like next season.

Thanks to data-cruncher Phil Steele, we can enjoy that same semi-accurate gauge. As he does every January -- among the teams predicted for big things at this time last year were Michigan, Alabama and Vanderbilt -- Steele has released a comprehensive list of FBS returning starters for 2012, ranking each team 1-123. Yes, 123, thanks to the arrivals of UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass; Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners even top the list with 23 total returning starters (11 offensive, 10 defensive, and both specialists) as they ready for their first WAC season.

But of course, UTSA has its work cut out for it to make an impact, no matter how experienced its players might be. Among programs college football fans are more familiar with, here's the numbers and teams from Steele's data that stand out:

  • Sharing the lead amongst all BCS programs are Texas Tech and Tennessee with 20 starters each, including quarterbacks Seth Doege and Tyler Bray, respectively. If Red Raider and Volunteer third-year coaches Tommy Tuberville and Derek Dooley can't turn that kind of experience into a better year 3 than their collective Year 2's, neither one should be surprised if they don't receive a Year 4.
  • Never say never with Chris Petersen still around, but this looks like the season Boise State's incredible run of dominance and top-10 finishes comes to a halt. The Broncos rank dead-last, rock-bottom, with just 6 starters coming back--3 offensive 2 defensive, and (infamous) kicker Dan Goodale. (Then again, in the newly TCU-less Mountain West, will anyone stop them regardless? The league leader in returning starters is Colorado State, with no other MWC program ranked higher than Fresno State at 29th.)
  • It's possible Badger fans will rue their back-to-back failures at the Rose Bowl even more than they do already; with just 10 returning starters, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten and 116th overall. Big Ten fans should instead gear up now for an even-more-critical Ohio State-Michigan game than usual; the Buckeyes are second in the league behind Indiana with 18 starters, and the Wolverines are tied with Nebraska for third with 16.
  • The Vols, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt top the SEC list -- with 18 starters or more, all rank among the nation's 19 most experienced teams -- which means the league could see a more topsy-turvy season than usual; despite their cavalcade of young talent LSU returns just 5 defensive starters, national champions Alabama just 4. Despite major losses on the offensive line, Georgia looks poised to field the conference's best defense, with nine starters coming back for a unit already ranked fifth in the FBS.
  • Why is USC getting so much early preseason love? Pretty simple: of the 10 teams listed in Bruce Feldman's early-bird top 10, the Trojans are one of just two to have as many as 17 returning starters. The other is Oklahoma, and since the Sooners finished the year getting chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma State while the Trojans were busy upsetting Oregon in Eugene and annihilating UCLA, it's not hard to see why voters might go for the former.
  • Poor Al Golden: not only is his Miami team still laboring under the weight of the Nevin Shapiro allegations, not only do they rank 96th nationally and tie for next-to-last in the ACC with 12 returning starters, but according to Steele's data the Hurricanes are -- amazingly -- the only ACC team to not return its starting quarterback for next season. 
  • Gus Malzahn is going to be one of the FBS's most closely watched mid-major head coaches after his move from Auburn, and with six returning starters including QB Ryan Aplin on offense, the Red Wolves should be fine on that side of the ball. But with just three starters back on defense, ASU ranks 116th overall and last in the Sun Belt in total starters returning. Opposite Malzahn's punishing up-tempo attack, we'd like to place an early wager on the Red Wolves as one the nation's statistically weakest D's in 2012 ... and on Malzahn needing at least two years to return ASU to last year's championship perch.

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Report: UMass will join the MAC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

FBS football is about to get another new member, one that should make the already-competitive MAC that much more challenging.

The Midwestern league is set to announce that they will be inviting FCS power UMass to join as a football-only member, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The MAC Twitter feed has already confirmed that a press conference has been scheduled tomorrow featuring both conference and UMass officials; it's all but official.

Per the Plain Dealer, the Minutemen will play a full conference schedule as soon as 2012 but won't be eligible for the league championship until 2013. UMass is the second football-only member that plays its other sports in the Atlantic 10, joining Temple, and brings the MAC's total football membership up to 14.

The addition of the Minutemen will allow the conference to return to two even seven-team divisions after an awkward set up the past few years with seven teams in the East and six in the West. (The league will likely move area rivals Bowling Green and Toledo into the same division to accommodate the addition.) But more importantly, the move gives the MAC a member with a strong history of terrific football at the FCS level.

UMass won the national championship in 1998 (then I-AA) and finished as a runner-up in 1978 and 2006, pulling in their most recent conference championship in 2007. The Minutemen provide a few "big-time football" advantages to the MAC, including the use of the New England Patriot's Gillette Stadium for certain home games.  As far as the Minutemen are concerned, the move to FBS opens the door to plenty of new opportunities - bowl games, exposure, money - and should come as welcome new to the UMass faithful.    




Posted on: February 4, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Maryland DC headed to UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When Randy Edsall came to Maryland from UConn, he decided to keep Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown on his coaching staff. Well, it doesn't seem that Brown was all that happy with the idea, because according to a few reports, Brown is on his way out of Maryland to take the same position at...wait for it...UConn.

So, in a sense, it's as though UConn traded Edsall to Maryland for Brown and an undisclosed draft pick.
Brown, who came to Maryland in January 2009 as part of former coach Ralph Friedgen's staff, was retained by new Maryland coach Randy Edsall when he was hired earlier this year from Connecticut. The Huskies hired former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni to replace Edsall.
Brown has extensive experience as a coach in New England. From 2004 to 2008, he was the head coach at Massachusetts, and before that spent four seasons as the head coach at Northeastern. He also was an assistant at Brown, Yale and Dartmouth.
This could prove to be a big loss for Edsall and Maryland. Brown only spent two seasons at Maryland, but he did a nice job with the defense in that time. The Terps defense ranked 39th nationally in total defense. The team's rushing defense was 21st in the country, and only eight teams kept opposing quarterbacks to a lower rating than Maryland did in 2010.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Report: Mark Whipple to be next UConn coach

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Hey, did you know that there are other coaching searches going on right now besides the one at Michigan?  I'm serious, there are!  UConn still needs to find a head coach since Randy Edsall decided to leave following the Fiesta Bowl and take over for Ralph Friedgen at Maryland.  Though it's starting to look as though the job vacancy in Storrs has been filled.

Reports out of Florida say that former Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, now out of a job following the firing of Randy Shannon and hiring of Al Golden, will be named the new head coach at UConn.

If the reports turn out to be correct, and the 53-year old Whipple lands the UConn gig, it will be his first head coaching job on the FBS level, and his first head coaching job anywhere since he left UMass in 2004.  While at UMass he won a Division-IAA national championship in 1998.  Whipple has spent the last two seasons as Miami's offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.  After a nice 2009 season that saw the Hurricanes score the most points they had in a season since 2002, things took a big step backwards in 2010.  Of course, that could be the fault of Jacory Harris throwing interceptions like they were going out of style more than it was Whipple's offensive system.

Either way, to lose a job as an offensive coordinator only to find yourself getting a job as head coach at another BCS program is a pretty nice turn of events for anybody.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 7:03 pm
 

UMass could announce move to MAC in January

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this month we wrote about UMass considering making the jump from the FCS to the FBS -- for what it's worth, I hate calling them that, they'll always be Division I and Division II to me -- and, in doing so, becoming a member of the MAC conference.  Well, it seems that UMass is moving along a lot quicker in their plans than Villanova is.

Word out of Boston is that UMass could announce its intentions to make the jump and join the MAC as early as next month.  

“We’re not going to comment on anything regarding that,’’ said UMass athletic director John McCutcheon told The Boston Globe. “But our discussions involve football only and we are still talking about making a decision sooner rather than later.’’

Of course, the move wouldn't be official until next September when the moratorium on keeping FCS teams from jumping to the FBS -- AARGH -- come to an end.  If that is what happens, then UMass will have to go through a two-year transition period before officially joining the MAC in 2013.  Which would then make the MAC the first 14-team conference in college football, that is unless Temple bolts for the Big East before then.

UMass, much like Temple, will only join the MAC in football, as both schools would prefer to stay in the more respected Atlantic 10 for basketball.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:30 pm
 

UMass considering jump to FBS, MAC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So if you had the MAC as the first conference to achieve Super-Conference status in your office pool, I have some good news for you.  The MAC, which already has 13 teams -- more than any other FBS conference -- may be on the verge of adding its 14th member.  UMass -- the University of Massachusetts -- is planning on making the jump to FBS by 2013, and according to reports, they'll be doing so as the newest member of the MAC conference.

So get ready for some Tuesday night MACtion in New England.
According to several sources, UMass would take its program, currently in the Football Championship Subdivision, to the Mid-American Conference, whose football schools include Temple, Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a MAC spokesman would say only that the conference is “exploring” the possibility of adding the Minutemen for football.

UMass has also been talking to the New England Patriots about the possibility of playing several home games a season in Gillette Stadium.  The Minutemen already played New Hampshire there earlier this season in the "Colonial Clash" in front of over 32,000 fans.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: FCS, MAC, UMass
 
 
 
 
 
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