Posted on: December 11, 2010 12:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last season Brandon Wegher set an Iowa record for freshman by rushing for 8 touchdowns as the Hawkeyes finished their season 11-2 with an Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech. This season Wegher was supposed to be a big part of Iowa's offense once again, but before the season started he left the team due to personal reasons.
Personal reasons that were never publicized, but received plenty of speculation. There were also a lot of questions about whether or not Wegher would be returning to the Iowa program, and that is one question that can be answered.
He won't be.
Wegher has been granted a full release from his scholarship at Iowa with the lone stipulation being that he cannot transfer to a Big Ten school as a scholarship athlete in the 2011 season.
The news was confirmed by associate athletic director Fred Mims on Friday night.
Wegher rushed for 641 yards to go along with those eight touchdowns in 2009, and also rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown in the Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.
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: December 7, 2010 10:51 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 12:42 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, a senior Iowa wide receiver who recently set school records for career catches and career receiving yardage, was arrested on several drug charges on Tuesday night. According to The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Johnson-Koulianos' seven total charges include possession of cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs, and he and his roommate were both charged with keeping a drug house.
Here's more from the police report:
The "keeping a drug house" charge requires some explanation; it's an aggravated misdemeanor that basically means that residents were aware that drugs were in use in the house. It's a serious charge, but one that seems to be more auxiliary to other drug charges -- sort of like the tax stamp charges that often get brought against drug dealers who don't pay taxes on the drugs they sell -- than a separate bad act that independently compounds the situation. In other words, it's the sort of charge that can go away under the terms of a plea deal without materially altering the substance of the criminal complaint.
At any rate, given that Johnson-Koulianos freely admitted to police his drug use and possession, and given the level of narcotic activity going on at his house, this might not only end his collegiate career but his NFL prospects as well, while Johnson-Koulianos wasn't projected for the first round of the draft or anything, he did appear to have something of a future in the league. But in the NFL, character is important -- especially for the players who don't have the talent necessary to at least mitigate off-the-field distractions.
Of course, it's worth reiterating that Johnson-Koulianos is still innocent until proven guilty, and he's owed his day in court just like everyone else. Being that he has freely admitted basically everything to the police straight away, according to the complaint, it seems like he's trying to mitigate the damage by fully cooperating with the police, and that probably couldn't hurt when it comes time to see the judge. Still, the player they call DJK is in a lot of trouble right now, and it would not be surprising to never see him in a football uniform again. For a kid who grew up basically fending for himself then turning his life around in a big way after being adopted , that would be an ignominious end to the last four years.
Posted on: December 4, 2010 4:22 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
There are, as of now, two job openings in the Big Ten: Indiana and Minnesota. Those two programs are generally regarded as being among the three worst in the conference (Illinois being the third, but at least the Illini go to a Rose Bowl every now and then), so a head coaching spot at one of these places probably isn't going to be terribly attractive -- or a recipe for success -- unless the candidate in question is familiar with the Big Ten, its style of play, the recruiting grounds, etc., and wants to spend years and years in the conference.
It's no real surprise, then, that both Indiana and Minnesota are reportedly interviewing candidates from other Big Ten schools -- and really, both schools are looking at superb hires. Minnesota has reportedly interviewed Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. You may remember Wisconsin's offense from such hits as 83-20 over Indiana, 70-21 over Northwestern , and 48-28 over Michigan. Sure, it's not like hiring Chryst is all it takes to get the Gophers dropping 50 on everybody that walks into TCF Bank Stadium, but at least they'd be getting a guy that knows how to do that at this level.
Meanwhile, over in Indiana, the Hoosiers apparently have their eyes on several coaches with Big Ten ties. Michigan State assistant head coach Don Treadwell is going to be the name that's most familiar to Big Ten fans, but watch out for Oklahoma OC Kevin Wilson -- previously Northwestern's offensive coordinator for three very productive years. Treadwell was the de facto head coach for Michigan State while Mark Dantonio recovered from his heart attack, and it's worth noting that the Spartans stayed undefeated while Dantonio was either out or operating in a limited capacity. If Treadwell was auditioning for a head coaching spot, it's hard to imagine he got anything but an A+.
Still, Wilson is considered the leader in this race, for whatever that's worth; if so, Indiana hiring away Bob Stoops' OC would be nothing short of a coup, especially considering Wilson was the winner of the Broyles Award for the top college assistant in 2008. He's got almost 30 years of tutelage under Randy Walker and Stoops, dating back to his college football playing days, and he's still only 49. Frankly, it's something of a surprise that Wilson hasn't been hired already. If he or even Treadwell is seriously considering a Hoosier offer, the future just might be bright in Bloomington. If, however, the interest isn't totally mutual and Indiana's forced to go the route of, say, Iowa OC Ken O'Keefe instead, well, that'd be just a little more depressing, if not exactly surprising.
Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. Wisconsin would run over its own mother if she got in the way. Not because Wisconsin doesn't like its mother, but because it just doesn't know how to stop. For the third time this season the Badgers put up at least 70 points, this time against Northwestern. Though it does seem like Bret Bielema at least learned how to slow his boys down a little bit, as they had 70 at the end of the third quarter and decided not to go for 100. Which is very considerate of the Badgers. Of course, most importantly, the win means that Wisconsin should be going to the Rose Bowl.
2. At least I think it does. Nobody will be sure until Sunday night which Big Ten team is going to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State are all tied for first in the conference, and the BCS rankings will decide which team gets to go to Pasadena. Well, Wisconsin has been the highest ranked of the three for weeks, and it's hard to think that either Ohio State or Michigan State will pass the Badgers after a game in which they just hung 70 points on the board again. Then again, who knows?
3. Rich Rodriguez is in trouble. What? You think that a coach with a team that's gone 7-5 is safe? How'd that work out for Randy Shannon this season? Exactly, and Shannon didn't have people calling for his head since the second his name was announced as the new head coach as Rodriguez has. Getting to 7-5 and going to a bowl game for the first time since coming to Ann Arbor is nice, but beating Ohio State once in a while would be nicer. Here's a nice little stat for you to consider. During his three years at Michigan, Rodriguez has won three conference games in the Big House. Three. During Jim Tressel's career at Ohio State, he's won four games inside the Big House. He only gets to play there once every two years.
4. Ohio State is the best program in the Big Ten. I didn't say they were the best team this season, as I think that title belongs to Wisconsin, but the best program in the Big Ten is clearly Ohio State. The Buckeyes clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the sixth consecutive season, which is hard to do in any conference, let alone the Big Ten. The last school to win six straight Big Ten titles? Ohio State of course, from 1972-77.
5. Iowa must be a huge Walking Dead fan. It's the only explanation for the way they walked through the last month of the season like a bunch of brain dead zombies. The day before Halloween the Hawkeyes pasted Michigan State 37-6 to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten and remain in the Rose Bowl hunt. They then went 1-3 in November, with that one win coming against Indiana, and that game saw Damarlo Belcher drop a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds. The Hawkeyes then followed that narrow escape with losses to Northwestern, Ohio State, and Minnesota. What happened?
Posted on: November 24, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 12:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Particularly for an academic, Ohio State president Gordon Gee has never been shy about expressing his opinions on athletics, popular or not.
And it's a safe bet that the opinions he expressed today in an interview with the AP are going to be most decidedly unpopular in Boise and Fort Worth. Writing off entire conferences as the "Little Sisters of the Poor" isn't particularly becoming for the president of the nation's largest university, and criticizing TCU and Boise for their schedules is more than a little hypocritical when one advanced rating puts the Buckeyes' schedule strength barely above the Frogs' or Broncos' and both non-AQ teams have played a more challenging nonconference slate than the Buckeyes' lineup with Marshall , Eastern Michigan , and Ohio .
But as infuriating as Gee's viewpoint might be to those who'd agree the non-AQ teams are far more deserving this season than the 10-1 Buckeyes (whose best win until last week's triumph at 7-4 Iowa was a home win over either 7-4 Penn State or 7-4 Miami ), at the end of the day it's just another warmed-over rehashing of the same arguments that have surrounded Boise and TCU all season (and for much of the past two). Where Gee is really, truly wrong is in his comments on expanding the football postseason to ensure that we don't have to have these same tired debates:
Gee isn't just arguing that Boise and TCU don't deserve a title shot this year; he's arguing that college football should entrench a postseason system that would ensure that they never got that title shot. What his argument (and similar diatribes against "playoffs") misses is that college football already has a playoff; it selects a number of teams, pairs them off, and the winner is automatically declared the champion. Where the BCS playoff differs from every other playoff in existence is that it only includes two teams. To frame the debate in terms of some nebulous future "playoff" against a current BCS system that varies from that bogeyman only in terms of the number of teams involved is to rig the debate permanently in the BCS's favor.
Gee's desire to preserve what amateurism and respect for academics remain in college football is admirable. But there's a point at which even those concerns have to give way to basic fairness. And surely the permanent exclusion of the TCU's and Boise's of the sport from national title consideration represents that point; what Gee proposes is to draw a line between college football's haves and have-nots, one based on conference affiliation, and declare that the latter can never cross it. It's elitism and snobbery of the highest order.
Now, a show of hands: who's in favor of Wisconsin blowing their season finale against Northwestern and setting up a showdown between Gee's Buckeyes and either the Frogs or Broncos in the Rose Bowl ? Is that everyone (Badger fans excluded)? Yes, we think that's everyone.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:36 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
1. Wisconsin fans shouldn't necessarily buy tickets to Pasadena, but they should at least be pricing them. We're sure that Badger fans weren't terribly excited to see their nemeses in East Lansing complete the comeback today, leaving the Big Ten title picture still in some measure of doubt, but Ohio State 's own comeback against Iowa later that day means that barring a sensational boost in the BCS rankings for the Buckeyes, Wisconsin is one win away from the Rose Bowl. Considering Northwestern -- the Badgers' last opponent -- clearly misses injured QB Dan Persa and struggles to stop the run, the likelihood of an upset at Camp Randall seems slim. Famous last words, yes, but still.
2. Don't mention fourth quarters to Iowa fans for a while. Or do if you want to anger them. In the Hawkeyes' game against Ohio State, the Buckeyes weathered Iowa's defense for three quarters before making a heroic drive in the last few minutes of the game to take the lead and win. For the Iowa fans, it was a broken record that desperately needs to stop; in each of Iowa's four losses, the vaunted Iowa defense has given up a go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes on the clock, at which point the Iowa offense has failed to answer under pressure. In fact, Iowa would have five losses of that exact nature if Indiana wideout Damario Belcher hadn't dropped an easy fourth-down touchdown two weeks ago. It's to the point where "small sample size" just doesn't work as an excuse anymore: the Iowa defense clearly doesn't have the juice to play for 60 minutes, and that painful fact has snuffed out the high hopes of the Hawkeye faithful in Iowa City.
3. The Spartans might not be going to the Rose Bowl, but their season's pretty special anyway. Barring an Ohio State loss to Michigan next week, Michigan State will not be going to Pasadena; the fact that MSU and OSU didn't play each other this season means that their tiebreaker would be BCS ranking, and OSU was already comfortably ahead of the Spartans even before OSU took down a ranked Iowa team while MSU struggled with very-not-ranked Purdue. Michigan State's season-ender at Penn State isn't a gimme, but even if the Spartans lose, this is still just the third time in program history that MSU has hit 10 wins on a season (1965, 1999). The Spartans have never won 11 games in a season, and they have two opportunities to do that now.
The accomplishment isn't that much of a stunner, as the Spartans looked on paper to be at worst a darkhorse contender for the league title. It's just, well, they barely ever do this, so it was hard not to wonder how MSU would screw it all up this year. But credit Mark Dantonio and his staff for keeping the team on track, even through Dantonio's heart attack and other off-field problems, and en route to its best Big Ten record its best conference record in at least 11 (and maybe 45) years.
4. Okay, so football at Wrigley can be pretty cool -- even if one of the end zones is sort of a death trap. The Big Ten got it right when it forbade Illinois and Northwestern to run offensive series toward that now-infamous east end zone at Wrigley, and when Northwestern defensive back Brian Peters took an interception to the house, he had to be tackled by teammates before hitting that wall. No, he wasn't three yards away from certain doom, and the tackle by his pals was also nice and celebratory, but still: he was only about three or four yards away from impact before being taken down as he slowed from his sprint. Running offensive plays (like fade routes) toward that wall would have been just begging for injuries -- and lawsuits.
But past that, the fans in attendance got to see a special occasion, even if Illinois absolutely worked the Wildcats. Wrigley Field is one of the most hallowed sports arenas, and to see its famed scoreboard used to show Big Ten football scores and its marquee painted purple must have been a thrill for Northwestern and Big Ten fans in Chicago. Ron Zook said he'd "absolutely" have his team play there again, and Pat Fitzgerald was equally effusive in his praise of the event. Should the two teams play their rivalry game there every year? Well, that seems like an abuse of the novelty of it all, but have you ever actually seen Memorial Stadium or Ryan Field? Not exactly cathedrals of the sport, those. It might -- just might -- be worth keeping Wrigley on the table going forward.
Tags: Big Ten, Brian Peters, Damario Belcher, Dan Persa, Illinois, Illinois Northwestern, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa Ohio State, Mark Dantonio, Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan State Purdue, Michigan Wisconsin, Northwestern, Northwestern, Northwestern Illinois, Ohio State, Ohio State Iowa, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Purdue, Purdue Michigan State, Ron Zook, What I Learned, Wisconsin Michigan, Wrigley Field, Wrigley Field Football
Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
We're less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and apparently the NCAA has taken that into consideration with this week's schedule. It seems they're kind enough not to give us anything too heavy this weekend so that we're able to gorge ourselves to death on Thursday.
The NCAA: always concerned about the fan and their digestive limitations.
Main Course - Michigan vs. #6 Wisconsin - Noon - ESPNListen, people, if Bret Bielema can put up 83 points on Indiana, then surely he can do the same against a Michigan defense that has been the polar-opposite of stout this season. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Badgers shoot for 100 this weekend.
First of all, they need a win a win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and second of all, the Badgers have some BCS computers to impress. What's more impressive than 100 points?
There's also the fact that Bielema has already gotten Tim Brewster fired this season, and may have added Bill Lynch to his tally last week as well. Why wouldn't he take a shot at Rich Rodriguez?
Side Orders: Not much else of importance on Saturday morning, but there are options. Oklahoma State goes to Kansas looking to stay atop the Big 12 South division, and West Virginia will try to keep its slim BCS hopes alive on the road against Louisville. There's also the battle of North Carolina when the Tar Heels take on N.C. State. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State looks to maintain its spot on top of the Big Ten hosting Purdue.
Main Course - #21 Iowa vs. #8 Ohio State - 3:30pm - ABCWe have a couple of games featuring ranked teams during the afternoon, but in my opinion, this one should grab top-billing. Iowa saw its chances at winning the Big Ten ruined by Northwestern last week, so what could be better for the Hawkeyes than to ruin Ohio State's chances?
After all, it was Ohio State that beat the Hawkeyes last season and ended their hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, so why not return the favor?
If nothing else, it's just another chance for Ricky Stanzi to spread the message of loving America and hating hippies throughout the country.
Side Orders: The other ranked game this afternoon features Miami and Virginia Tech. Miami has a very slim chance to win the ACC Coastal division, but in order to keep those hopes alive, they have to knock off a Hokies team that's won eight straight since dropping that game to James Madison. There's also some Les Miles fun on the mothership when LSU hosts Ole Miss, and seriously, after all that's gone on surrounding the game, how can you not tune in to Illinois and Northwestern at Wrigley Field? I'll be at that game witnessing the insanity from the press box.
Main Course - Maryland vs. Florida State - 8pm - ABCThe game that would decide the ACC Atlantic!
Who saw this one coming? Essentially, the winner of this game will be going to the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks. Now, while seeing Florida State in this position doesn't come as much of a shock, the fact that Maryland is here is rather surprising.
Though that's just the way the ACC rolls these days. One minute you're terrible, and then the next you still aren't very good, but you're good enough. Seriously the ACC should adopt the motto of "Hey, at least we aren't the Big East!"
Side Orders: If ranked teams are more your thing, then you can check out Texas A&M and Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers look to hold on to their ticket to Dallas while the Aggies -- who have done a 180 this season -- still want a chance to buy one. Mississippi State and Arkansas will be going at it in Starkville as well. Also, if you're into football games being played in baseball stadiums that use two end zones, Notre Dame and Army continue their annual rivalry on Saturday night, but this time from Yankee Stadium. Show up and chant Derek Jeter's name for no reason!
Late Night SnackUtah has not had a good November. One week its getting pasted by TCU at home, and the next it's getting beat up on the road by a mediocre Notre Dame team missing half of its offense. Now they get to take on a San Diego State team that played TCU much better than the Utes did.
Tags: Arkansas, Army, Bill Lynch, Bret Bielema, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, James Madison, Kansas, Les Miles, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Rich Rodriguez, Ricky Stanzi, San Diego State, Saturday Meal Plan, TCU, Texas A&M, Tim Brewster, Utah, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin