Tag:Michigan State
Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 2:56 pm
  •  
 

The Rich Rodriguez Watch begins now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Let the Rich Rodriguez is getting fired rumors begin.  Well, okay, continue.  No, that's not right either.  Let's just pour some more gasoline on the raging inferno that has been Rich Rodriguez getting fired rumors.

Yes, the Wolverines have improved in each season under Rodriguez since his first year in Ann Arbor after taking over for Lloyd Carr.  They've even reached bowl eligibility this season.

Still, improvement is nice, but not getting destroyed by Ohio State is better when you're the head coach at Michigan, and so far Rodriguez just hasn't proven himself capable of that. Through three seasons, Rodriguez is yet to pick up a victory against either of Michigan's two rivals, Ohio State or Michigan State

It's one thing to get beaten by Ohio State, it's another to do so while seeing Michigan State earn a share of the Big Ten title.

So I don't think it would surprise anyone if Rodriguez is let go after the season, if not before whatever bowl game the Wolverines end up in.  Dave Brandon may be the athletic director at Michigan right now, but he's not the one who hired Rodriguez.

Rich isn't his coach, and you have to think the man Brandon would have his eye on is out west in Palo Alto, California.  That's where former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh has built one of the best programs in the country with Stanford, and has done so while having to recruit the smart kids, not just the talented ones.

What's odd in this situation is that the Michigan fans may want Rodriguez gone, and even Brandon may want Rodriguez gone, but I'm not sure they have that much say in the matter.  No, I think it'll all come down to what Jim Harbaugh wants to do.

I have no doubt that Michigan will reach out to Harbaugh somehow, though it won't be publicly.  If Harbaugh gives the indication that he'll leave Stanford and come home to Ann Arbor, then Rodriguez will be kicked out the door quicker than a Greg Robinson defense can give up a touchdown.

If Harbaugh says no, then I think Michigan sticks by Rodriguez for one more year.  And waits to see if Harbaugh changes his mind.

Posted on: November 27, 2010 1:29 pm
 

Michigan State doing what it needs to

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Michigan State finds itself in a precarious position this weekend.  The Spartans need to win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and while a win would guarantee at least a split of the conference championship, in order to get to the Rose Bowl, they'll need some help.  In particular, the Spartans need their in-state rivals to take care of Ohio State on Saturday.

Of course, all Michigan State can control is its own game, and the Spartans are taking care of business through the first 30 minutes in Happy Valley.  The Spartans lead Penn State 14-3 at haltime thanks to a touchdown run by Edwin Baker and a touchdown catch by B.J. Cunningham.  Still, the Spartans have let a couple of opportunities slip through their hands -- literally.

Twice Michigan State defensive backs have had balls hit them right in the hands, and neither ended in an interception.  One allowed Penn State to get a field goal.  

Penn State hasn't played poorly, though the Nittany Lions are hurting themselves with penalties and while they've been able to move the ball, it hasn't resulted in points on the scoreboard.

Michigan State will need to make sure that trend continues, because the way things look in Columbus right now, I'm not sure it can count on Michigan taking care of the Buckeyes.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:36 am
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 20)

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.


Posted on: November 20, 2010 2:00 pm
 

Purdue leading No. 11 MSU at the half, 21-13

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big Ten race might be wrapping itself up early this week, if a certain game in East Lansing holds up. Purdue leads No. 11 Michigan State 21-13 at the break.

MSU has generally looked like the better team over the course of the first half, but QB Kirk Cousins has been dinged up, leaving the game twice with minor injuries. He started the second half, but there's no telling how close he is to 100% and how much it'll affect the MSU offense. MSU went three-and-out on its first drive, for the record.

Though Purdue has three TDs, only one came as a result of a sustained drive; during the last drive of the half, Rob Henry converted several third downs en route to an Antavian Edison touchdown catch (on third down, of course) with :08 left on the clock. Other than that, the Boilermakers have scored on an 80-yard rush by Keith Carlos and a pick-six by DB Ricardo Allen on the ensuing Wisconsin possession.

And yet, every time Michigan State looks likely to tip the balance of the game back in its favor, Purdue answers somehow, whether by forcing a stop or by putting together a drive. That the Spartans will come back to win this game is hardly a certainty, and plenty of Wisconsin fans would love to see this upset hold.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Saturday Meal Plan: Week 12

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.

Breakfast

Main Course - Michigan vs. #6 Wisconsin - Noon - ESPN

Listen, 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.

Lunch

Main Course - #21 Iowa vs. #8 Ohio State - 3:30pm - ABC

We 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.

Dinner

Main Course - Maryland vs. Florida State - 8pm - ABC

The 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 Snack

Utah 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.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 13)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. The Iowa defense is the biggest fraud in the Big Ten. Credit must go to Dan Persa and Northwestern for their gutsy fourth-quarter comeback against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but it's time to stop lauding the Iowa defense as one of the nation's best, because it isn't -- not when the game is on the line. Iowa has given up game-winning drives -- and long, sustained ones, at that -- to three different opponents this season, and if it hadn't been for an unconscionable end zone drop by Indiana wideout Damario Belcher on 4th down last week, that total would be four, in just 10 games. It's one thing to hold lightweights like Iowa State and Eastern Illinois to just one score. It's another to get a stop when the team needs one the most, and Iowa's defense just doesn't seem capable of doing that.

2. Bret Bielema's empathy generator is broken. Quick, name the one Big Ten coach who would run up 83 points on a conference opponent. It's probably the same one that goes for two while up by 25 with under seven minutes to play, isn't it? Why yes it is. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema continued his quest to get every mediocre coach in the Big Ten fired with an 83-20 firebombing of Indiana in Madison. And though Bielema will again claim not to be running up the score, it's worth pointing out that Scott Tolzien was throwing passes to fellow starters Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath with a 39-point lead and under five minutes left in the third quarter. Yes, it's up to Indiana to make the stop, and Indiana never did, but in a 63-point win, it's never good to see the winning team converting a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter -- regardless of whether a backup threw it. Wisconsin, we're looking at you here.

3. There's plenty of Hawkeye fans in East Lansing. The Big Ten title race is down to three one-loss teams, and as of right now, Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena (or if all hell really breaks loose, Glendale, but let's assume Pasadena). Of the three teams, only one -- Ohio State -- faces a ranked team down the stretch, and that's OSU's trip to Iowa next weekend. If Iowa wins, all of a sudden, Michigan State has the upper hand for the league title. Ohio State wins, and we're back to the three-team non-round-robin tiebreaker, which is BCS standing. MSU is not such a big fan of that idea: the Spartans are firmly mired at third among Big Ten teams in that department. So yes, there's still plenty of endgame drama left in the Big Ten, even if it involves two teams that are at best longshots for the title.

4. Matt McGloin has "moxie," but Ohio State has a secondary. Advantage, OSU. It's hard to believe, looking at the 38-14 final score from Columbus, but Penn State actually led the Buckeyes 14-3 at the break, and it could have been worse. PSU QB Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and unlike the two he threw in the second half, the first half scores were to his own team. Yes, things sort of fell off a cliff for Penn State, and the turning point was likely late in the first half, when Joe Paterno got greedy on 4th and 1 at the OSU 20 and went for it. The Evan Royster rush failed, the Buckeye defense's heart grew three sizes, and PSU never even threatened to score for the rest of the game.

It was a sobering return to reality for Penn State fans who witnessed McGloin's dissection of the Northwestern defense last week and were entertaining dreams of McGloin as a wildly successful three (or two-and-a-half, anyway) -year starter over true freshman Rob Bolden, Joe Paterno's choice at the beginning of the season. The fact of the matter is, there's usually plenty more to turning a struggling offense around than just making a switch at quarterback, and when Bolden's got a full year of film study and practice under his belt, he's probably going to be a better quarterback than McGloin. That fact doesn't have much relevance today, which is why McGloin started at Columbus and probably will next week, but it would be extremely presumptive to look at McGloin's first two quarters at OSU and attach a tag like "the future" to him -- unless the words "clipboard holder for Rob Bolden" immediately follow.

Posted on: November 13, 2010 6:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:25 pm
 

TCU assistant suffers heart attack during game

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Scary stuff from Fort Worth today: during the first quarter of the San Diego State - TCU game, TCU offensive line coach Eddie Williamson suffered a heart attack, according to head coach Gary Patterson. Williamson was hospitalized, obviously, but at the very least, he's reportedly in stable condition.

Williamson is in his late 50s, and has been a member of the TCU staff since 2001. His offensive lines have been among the best in college football recently, and TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick is the only offensive lineman still in the running for the Lombardi Award.

It's hard not to immediately harken back to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, who survived a heart attack immediately after his team's overtime victory against Notre Dame. That's scary enough. But during a game, as what happened to Williamson? It's almost unfathomable. Thank goodness Williamson is recovering, and that fans in Fort Worth didn't have to witness something truly awful.

 


Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Don't panic, Broncos: 5 anti-doomsday scenarios

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Over the past several days, more than one college football analyst has discussed a scenario which should make everyone involved with the BCS hang their head: the possibility of an undefeated Boise State not only not making the BCS national title game, but being shut out of the BCS entirely and heading off to play (or "obliterate," delete as applicable) Cal in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. As CBSSports.com's own Dennis Dodd has explained, with TCU poised to take the single automatic bid allotted to non-AQ teams, the Sugar Bowl suffering from "SEC power vs. small-conference upstart" fatigue, and the Orange Bowl potentially unwilling to put together a rematch between likely ACC champion Virginia Tech and the Broncos, every BCS at-large bid could easily wind up doled to teams other than Boise. It's true.

But that doesn't mean it's destined to happen, or even likely. For instance, CBS's Jerry Palm says it's not even a given that the Horned Frogs will wind up ahead of Boise in the BCS standings when all is said and done. But even assuming TCU gets the nod at No. 3, here's five somewhat reasonable scenarios (i.e. not "New Mexico beats the Frogs in the upset of the millennium"), ranked from most to least likely, which would result in the Broncos getting their second BCS berth in as many years:

1. The Sugar or the Orange extend an invite. There's reason to think the Sugar and the Orange won't want to take a flyer on the Broncos, but there's plenty of reasons to think they will, too. Boise has become such a polarizing fixture on the college football scene that they're capable of bringing a great deal of attention and excellent TV ratings with them. The Broncos haven't faced an SEC team since Georgia in 2005, and it's fair to assume plenty of fans would tune in to see the nation's most respected conference and most recognizable Cinderella go toe-to-toe. (If the Sugar gets to invite local favorite LSU as the Broncos' opponent, attendance won't be an issue.) The Orange might be nonplussed at the Hokie-Bronco rematch, but selecting last, they also might not have many palatable options; assuming Nebraska wins in the Big 12 and the Sugar takes a leftover Big Ten team (preventing the Orange from taking a third Big Ten team), the only serious candidates will be either a team like Oklahoma State or Missouri or that won't bring much more than Boise in terms of profile, TV attention, fan attendance, etc., or an Oklahoma team that won't come close to matching Boise's record of achievement this year.

2. The old switcheroo? After consultation with the rest of the CBS College Football Blog team, we're still not entirely sure what this provision in the BCS selection process bylaws means exactly (emphasis added):

5. After completion of the selection process as described in Paragraph Nos. 1-4, the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings taking into consideration the following:

  A. whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years;
  B. whether two teams that played against one another in the regular season will be paired against one another in a bowl game;
  C. whether the same two teams will play against each other in a bowl game for two consecutive years; and
  D. whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on ESPN and the bowls.

The pairings may not be altered by removing the Big Ten Champion or Pac-10 champion from the Rose Bowl.

But especially regarding that final caveat as it pertains to the Rose, it sounds like the BCS could play musical chairs with some of its bowl assignments if it means squeezing out from underneath a Virginia Tech-Boise State rematch. If the Sugar decides it doesn't want Boise but could deal with the Hokies, and the Orange wants Boise but doesn't want the rematch, could the bowls swap into, say, an LSU vs. Virginia Tech matchup in the Sugar and a Boise-Ohio State blockbuster in the Orange? Don't hold us to this, but reading the above, it might be a possibility.

3. A Virginia Tech loss in the ACC championship game. It's hard to see the Hokies not making it to Charlotte, but if someone other than Tech wins the conference title (the Orange would no doubt like Florida State, please-and-thank-you), inviting Boise would seem to be a no-brainer.

4. Wisconsin doesn't go to Pasadena. One of the Broncos' biggest rivals for at-large attention is Ohio State, who brings with them a huge fanbase, potentially an 11-1 record, a ton of media attention, etc. If Wisconsin falls out of the scrum at the top of the Big Ten (either by, say, a loss at Michigan or a tiebreak loss to Michigan State), that would open the door for either the Buckeyes or Spartans to go back to Pasadena ... and possibly for the Sugar to take Boise over a Badger team that doesn't pull nearly as much weight as the Buckeyes (though our resident bowl projections expert disagrees, I should note).

5. SEC chaos. It's not likely at all, but it's possible enough carnage goes on in the SEC (Auburn losing to Georgia and Alabama, LSU losing to Arkansas, the SEC East winner springing an upset in the championship game, even Cam Newton becoming suspended would help) that the conference doesn't produce a worthy BCS at-large team. That could open up a hole for Boise somewhere.

Put all of these possibilities together, and you can't guarantee that Boise will make one of the BCS games ... but it seems likely enough that something will happen in their favor that they don't have to lose sleep worrying about Cal. Not yet, anyway.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com