Posted on: November 28, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 11:52 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1.) The Randy Shannon Era is done at Miami - Late Saturday, Miami announced that head coach Randy Shannon was fired, and the school would move forward with a coaching search immediately. While Shannon brought in several top-ranked recruiting classes, he failed to ever crack into the ACC elite in his four years at Miami. Miami fans collected money to have a banner flown over Sun Life Stadium on Saturday: 4 YEARS 0 ACC TITLES LOTS OF EXCUSES FIRE SHANNON. The only thing more depressing than the banner was the mostly-empty stadium below. Whether you believe the reports that an "emergency meeting" was called following the 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida, Saturday was undoubtedly the icing on a cake of concerns regarding the state of Miami football. Now, on to the real fun: the replacement rumors.
2.) Another year, another Coastal Division title for the Hokies - In Saturday's 37-7 win over Virginia, Virginia Tech may have cemented itself as the team of the decade in the ACC - and they have only been a member sin 2004. Virginia Tech finished the season undefeated in conference play, a feat that has not been accomplished since Florida State in 2000. Since the expansion in 2004, Virginia Tech has appeared in four of the last six ACC Championship Games as the the Coastal Division champion. Since getting virtually written off from the national scene after an 0-2 start that included a loss to James Madison, the Hokies have methodically dissected their way through their remaining schedule. A full stable of healthy running backs and a matured Tyrod Taylor have kept the Hokies productive, while the defense has held conference opponents to 14.1 points per game. Virginia Tech has improved continuously throughout the season, and now stand just one win away from their third Orange Bowl appearance in the last four years.
3.) On the day that Florida State got crowned, they looked like champions - Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State staff did not want any distractions in Doak Campbell Stadium, so they requested that the stadium staff not report the score of the Maryland-N.C. State game. After all, the Seminoles could do nothing to improve their position in the ACC Atlantic Division race, so they might as well not worry. Instead Florida State went out and dismantled their rivals from Gainesville, ending a six game losing streak to the Gators. They did it in style too, with senior Christian Ponder dicing up the Florida secondary for 221 yards and three touchdowns. When the game finished, Fisher and the Seminoles were greeted with the news of Maryland's victory. At times this season, Florida State has struggled to look like a team that wanted to compete for a league championship. But they did not look that way on Saturday, representing the conference well in the storied rivalry. Virginia Tech was one of the three opponents not on Florida State's conference schedule this year, so the Seminoles enter with a fresh slate against the conference's best team. Now we will get to see if Florida State can do what no other ACC team has done in 2010: beat Virginia Tech.
4.) Despite little to play for, Maryland did come to play - While there were concerns about how "up" Maryland would be for this game, Torrey Smith showed up. Torrey set the stage early, snagging in seven receptions in the first half. When the Terps had to have a score, trying to capitalize on a Russell Wilson interception before halftime, freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien counted on Smith in the end zone. After the Maryland defense held Russell Wilson on 4th and Goal, everyone expected the Terps to try and burn the clock. But when Torrey Smith burned his man down the field, O'Brien took a strike deep and connected for a 71 yard touchdown. Smith accentuated the score with a penalty-inducing slam dunk on the goalpost that slammed shut the Wolfpack's ACC Championship Game hopes. The Terps have been a particularly aggravating thorn in the side of N.C. State, stealing four of the last five matchups in the series. While Maryland may feel disappointed missing out on the ACC Championship Game, the win still caps off an unbelievable turnaround from the 2-10 season in 2009. Head coach Ralph Friedgen has been getting some (deserved) Coach of the Year discussion, and Smith likely just picked up a few more NFL scouts for Maryland's bowl game. All in all really impressive performance by Maryland to close the season.
5.) Boston College shows tremendous resiliency - When Boston College star running back Montel Harris underwent season-ending surgery, the Eagles lost the backbone of their newfound offensive attack. Harris averaged 127 yards per game in conference play, helping Boston College bounce back from a five game losing streak that almost crippled their season. But Boston College showed tremendous resiliency and finished the season on a five game winning streak to become bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. That same resiliency showed in the performance of backup running back Andre Williams on Saturday. Williams stepped up in Harris' absence and delivered one of the best rushing performances of the season. Head coach Frank Spaziani did not feel nervous handing the rock to Williams, and did so a whopping 42 times. But the usually tough Syracuse defense was not able to contain Williams, and freshman racked up 185 yards rushing and added a touchdown. Maybe it is the influence of linebacker Mark Herzlich, but this Boston College team simply refused to buckle in 2010.
Posted on: November 21, 2010 1:35 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Virginia Tech clinched the Coastal Division title because of playmakers - If there is one thing that has seemed to separate Virginia Tech from the rest of the conference in 2010, it has been the weekly appearance of Hokie playmakers. Frank Beamer's roster is loaded with talent that can simply make plays when needed. Virginia Tech clinched their fourth Coastal Division title since joining the ACC in 2004 with their 31-17 dismantling of Miami in Coral Gables on Saturday. When the Hurricanes stuck VT in a corner, the Hokies always had someone to answer. Whether it was Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, or Danny Coale, someone was always stepping up when needed. The Hokies may have the division clinched, but they'll be playing for history against Virginia next week. No team has run the table in the ACC since Florida State did it in 1999 and 2000. A win over the Cavaliers and Virginia Tech can add that to their already impressive ACC resume.
2. N.C. State on the edge of a historic season - By squeezing out a 29-25 come from behind victory against North Carolina, N.C. State has found themselves a game away from competing in their first ACC Atlantic Division title. The Wolfpack have not won an ACC Championship since 1979, and with a win over Maryland next week in the season finale, will have a chance to do so against the Hokies in Charlotte. They got it done with special teams against the Tar Heels, benefitting from T.J. Graham's 87 yard punt return touchdown to give the Wolfpack the go-ahead score in Chapel Hill. The win gave Tom O'Brien a perfect 4-0 record against North Carolina as the N.C. State head coach, an accomplishment that can keep him in good graces around Raleigh for quite some time.
3. There might not be much of a quarterback controversy in Miami - Miami chose not to play quarterback Jacory Harris against Virginia Tech despite being cleared by the doctors before the game. Stephen Morris had performed well in Harris' absence, even leading some pundits to murmur ideas of a quarterback controversy. After Morris' performance against Virginia Tech, which included three interceptions and a lost fumble, it would not be surprising to see Harris back under center for the Hurricanes' season finale against South Florida. Miami's loss ended their chances of a division tittle, and with the conference season being completed are playing for bowl stock against the Bulls next week. The Hurricanes offense finished the game with six turnovers, and Morris looked very much like a freshman against Bud Foster's defense. Harris has a knack for turning the ball over as well, but judging by how active he was on the sidelines on Saturday it would surprising not to see him take some snaps against the Bulls to warm up for the bowl game.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 5:10 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2010 5:11 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Jacory Harris was listed as questionable on the Miami injury report coming into Saturday's matchup with Virginia Tech, still recovering from the concussion suffered against Virginia . At gametime, Harris is in pads on the sideline, but freshman quarterback Stephen Morris has continued to be the man under center. Harris has been active on the sideline, constantly communicating with Morris and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. He has been cleared to play by team doctors, but there has been little indication that he will see the field against the Hokies.
Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post is guessing that Morris will also be the starter for the Hurricanes season finale against USF, with Harris returning for the bowl game. Morris' performance in the first half against the Hokies has been decent, completing 12 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown - though he has fumbled one snap. With the score knotted at 10, the Hurricanes are keeping their ACC Championship Game chances alive...barely.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 4:37 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
We've got a big game down at Miami today, as 8-2 Virginia Tech has come to town with the Coastal Division potentially at stake against the 7-3 Hurricanes. Big game of great consequence! November football! Packed house, right?
That's from Andy Staples' twitter feed, about 15 minutes before kickoff. And this just doesn't make sense. Sure, Miami fans are notoriously fickle when it comes to attendance, but that? That's horrible. Maybe 10,000 in the seats, but that doesn't seem likely.
And it doesn't even make sense, since Miami's not really terrible this season or anything. Surely, their attendance ought to be higher! So either A: their fans are invisible and/or ghosts, which is already plenty scary, or -- and we're inclined to believe this -- B: someone's killing Miami fans at an alarming rate. There are no reports of a serial killer on the loose down there, though. But an inconspicuous serial killer? In south Florida? Wait a second...
Cut it out, Dexter! That's too much murder!
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
Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:35 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
It takes a special kind of mentality to return kicks and punts. Running headlong into the football equivalent of oncoming highway traffic is not exactly written into human rationality, after all, and finding the right person with the speed to take a kick to the house and the bravery to risk injury by running at that coverage team with purpose.
Fortunately, college football players are the type of players who would at least try, because that's football and that's just the way of things. And so with Virginia Tech needing some help in the return game after losing three returners over the last couple weeks, VT coach Frank Beamer figured he could use tailback Ryan Williams back there in a pinch. And sure enough, Williams -- wait, what's that? Okay, let's just skip all that:
"Ryan decided at the end he’d rather not do that," Beamer told the Daily Press . "You want a guy back there that wants to be there. I’m not sure what Ryan’s reasoning was, but it was his decision.”
As the Daily Press points out, Ryan Williams does have one career return in college... and zero successful returns; Williams muffed a punt that led to an Alabama field goal in a 34-24 loss for the Hokies to start 2009. Since then, Williams has stayed away from special teams, and truly, more power to the guy; if he knows he's not cut out for it, then that's that, and it's probably better for the team that he not stand back and field punts or kicks. That takes a lot of maturity to realize, and though humility doesn't necessarily make a good football player, it does make for a good teammate.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 1:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With Saturday's 35-10 victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Miami was able to keep their ACC Championship dreams alive. But with Virginia Tech taking care of business in Chapel Hill just hours later, this week's matchup against the Hokies has become a must-win for the Hurricanes. With the heightened status of the Coastal Division showdown in Coral Gables, the biggest question out of Miami has to do with the starting quarterback situation. Jacory Harris has not played since suffering a concussion during the first half of Miami's 24-19 loss to Virginia on October 30. Freshman Stephen Morris has performed admirably in Harris' absence, throwing for 516 yards and two touchdowns in the last two victories. Some have suggested that head coach Randy Shannon should let Morris keep the job, regardless of Harris' health. Shannon has stuck by his starter, but it looks like he may not have any other choice for Saturday's game.
In his teleconference on Sunday evening, Shannon called Harris' head injury "something that's severe and serious'' and added that the Miami training staff would not rush the recovery process. Shannon said that in Harris' best interest, they would be taking "baby steps" bringing him back to the field. Since the Virginia Tech game is five days away and he has yet to see any time back in pads, all signs seem to point to Morris being under center against the Hokies.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:22 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's definitely fall these days, and the wind will be whipping across the heartland. All times are Eastern.
No. 13 Iowa at Northwestern , 12:00, Evanston, IL: Mid 50s, scattered showers
Indiana at No. 6 Wisconsin , 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, scattered showers
Kansas State at No. 20 Missouri , 12:30, Columbia, MO: Mid 40s, cloudy, windy
No. 15 Utah at Notre Dame, 2:30 , South Bend, IN: Low 60s, scattered thunderstorms
No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina , 3:30, Chapel Hill, NC: Mid 60s, clear
Penn State at No. 8 Ohio State , 3:30, Columbus, OH: Upper 60s, partly cloudy
Georgia at No. 2 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear
Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma , 3:30, Norman, OK: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy
San Diego State at No. 3 TCU , 4:00, Ft. Worth, TX: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy
No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor , 7:00, Waco, TX: Upper 40s, clear, breezy
No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida , 7:15, Gainesville, FL: Upper 50s, clear
No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama , 7:15, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 50s, scattered showers
USC at No. 18 Arizona , 8:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, clear
Late night kickoffs
No. 21 Nevada at Fresno State , 10:15, Fresno, CA: Mid 50s, clear, breezy
Tags: Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kickoff Weather, Mississippi State, Missouri, MWC, Nevada, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-10, Penn State, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, WAC, Wisconsin