Tag:Big 10
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:45 pm
 

SEC dominates first round of NFL draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The SEC has been dominating the college football landscape for quite a while now, as the conference has been the home of the last five national champions. So it's not exactly surprising that during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, more players who called the SEC home during their college career were taken than any other conference.

In fact, nearly a third of the players taken on Thursday night were SEC players. There were 32 picks, and 10 of them were from the SEC, including five of the first six picks. The only non-SEC player taken in the top six was Texas A&M's Von Miller, who went to the Denver Broncos with the second pick. Other than that there was a distinct SEC flavor, with the state of Alabama being able to lay claim as the best college football state in the country. Auburn saw Cam Newton go to Carolina with the first pick, while Nick Fairley went 13th to the Detroit Lions.  Then there was the Crimson Tide, who basically had their own table in the green room, and everyone who sat at it -- and even one player who didn't -- heard their name called on Thursday night.

Marcell Dareus (#3 Buffalo), Julio Jones (#6 Atlanta), James Carpenter (#25 Seattle) and Mark Ingram (#28 New Orleans) all gave Nick Saban some valuable face time on television last night. Elsewhere in the conference, Georgia's A.J. Green (#4 Cincinnati), LSU's Patrick Peterson (#5 Arizona), Florida's Mike Pouncey (#15 Miami) and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod (#32 Green Bay) were drafted as well.

Here's a look at selections by conference in last night's first round (both Nebraska and Colorado still counted for the Big 12).

  1. SEC - 10
  2. Big 12 - 8
  3. Big 10 - 6
  4. Pac-12 - 3
  5. ACC - 3
  6. Big East - 1
  7. MAC - 1

That's it. While it was a great year for the Big 12, what's somewhat surprising about the eight players drafted from the conference is that Missouri had two, Colorado had two and Baylor had another two. Not exactly your classic Big 12 powers. In fact, Oklahoma and Texas combined for none of the picks last night. Which can be looked at two ways. You might say that it's because neither school produced any top talent last season. I prefer to think of it as neither school lost any of its top talent this year.

There's a reason a lot of people think Oklahoma will start the year at #1 after all.

Then there was the Big 10, who had six picks, but it should be noted that all six players drafted from the Big Ten last night were lineman, whether offensive or defensive. Surprise! The Big Ten didn't have any top talent at the "skill" positions. Still, if you're a skilled defensive lineman in high school right now, there are worse places for you to play than the Big Ten, as Wisconsin, Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, and Iowa all sent members of the defensive line to the NFL last night.

Then, in other not-so-surprising news, we see that the Big East had only one player taken in the first round last night. The same amount as the MAC, which was the only non-BCS conference to be noticed last night, as Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson went to the Jets with the 30th selection. The one Big East player to be taken was Pitt wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin to Kansas City at 26, which came as a bit of a surprise as most grades on Baldwin saw him as being an early to mid-second round pick.

Of course, this isn't the end of the NFL Draft by any means. There are still three days and six rounds left to get through, and who knows what the numbers will look like by Sunday night? More importantly, the true measuring stick of the conferences success on the pro level won't be known for years. It's not the amount of players you funnel into the league, it's the players who last on the next level and succeed that really tell the story.

Though that's not going to stop the "S-E-C!" chants.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:39 am
 

Willie Lowe to transfer from Iowa, citing rhabdo

Posted by Adam Jacobi

A rhabdomyolysis scare may have briefly hospitalized 13 Iowa players earlier this year, but it has finally claimed its first permanent casualty of sorts. Willie Lowe, a cornerback who played a key reserve role for the Hawkeyes, announced today that he would be seeking a transfer from the school, according to Joe Schad.

"I would like to be able to sit out a year, regain my strength, feel fine and play again," Lowe told ESPN when asked about the prospect of playing football again. "But I don't know. I am still down 20 pounds and I am having headaches every few days."

Even as the 13 players have all been medically cleared to practice, most are still working to fully recover. There's a world of difference between "allowed to start practicing football again" and "back to normal," after all, and Lowe isn't the only player on that Iowa team who's still struggling to regain his pre-rhabdo form. Still, the fact that some players are at full speed already is promising, considering the fact that there's still five months of off-season left. That number of fully recovered players can only go up, after all.

As far as whether this is the last of the rhabdo-related transfers, that remains to be seen. There's little indication that a mass exodus of players is coming, to put it mildly, but the aftermath of the hospitalization and recovery will take months and years to unfold, long after every player has recovered. The longer said recovery takes, after all, the longer that player spends performing at a sub-optimal level -- all while his former backup (if he had one) relishes his new role with the team. At that point, the previously stricken player may decide to transfer just to get a little playing time instead of staying buried on the depth chart. Is that still a rhabdo-related transfer? Perhaps, but if the hypothetical player holds no animosity toward the coaches over the incident, then it's disingenuous to lump him in with Lowe, whose transfer is directly related to his rhabdomyolysis recover. So we'll see how this all shakes out; for now, it just looks as if the Iowa secondary just took a small hit, depth-wise, but that's about it.

Posted on: March 4, 2011 1:00 am
Edited on: March 4, 2011 9:24 am
 

Jacobi's Favorite Stadiums

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In college football, more than any other sport, the stadiums can be just as memorable as the games played within them. So as CBS Sports takes a look at the best stadiums that college football has to offer, the bloggers here at Eye On College Football share their three favorite stadiums in the country. 

1. Ohio Stadium (Ohio State, Columbus, OH, capacity 102,329) When it comes to truly great stadiums, two conferences have a vastly disproportionate share in college football: the Big Ten and the SEC. And as great stadiums go up north, nothing touches the Horseshoe: Ohio Stadium.

Everything about the 'Shoe is big, brash, and boastful, yet at the same time not extravagant: the rotunda entering the stadium, the 131-foot flagpole behind the north end zone, the North Korea-quality precision of the Script Ohio, and the noise. Good heavens, the noise. The double-decker setup helps keep the 102,329 scarlet-clad fans as close to the field as possible, making for a deafening atmosphere on Saturdays, and Ohio State fans are never, ever quiet (they consider that a glaring character flaw, one that's endemic in That State Up North). When people talk about the passion and pageantry of college football, they talk about Ohio State, and that's all thanks to Ohio Stadium.

2. Tiger Stadium (LSU, Baton Rouge, LA, capacity 92,400) Tiger Stadium made the top spot in Dennis Dodd's rankings, and it's hard to argue that point; Tiger Stadium represents everything that college football should stand for. The fans are second to none inside and outside of the stadium, the fans are probably the loudest in the entire nation, and even the detail of yard numbers every five yards instead of 10 is a cool quirk that I at once want more teams to use and at the same time want to be the sole property of LSU's.

In fact, I almost don't want to rank these stadiums at all because it tacitly lends an objective air to what's purely a subjective decision; the only reasons I like Ohio Stadium better than Tiger Stadium are the increased capacity, the Script Ohio, and I think the exterior architecture at the Shoe is just a little better. But that's personal preference operating on a small level, and I certainly hope nobody comes away from this article under the impression that I think Tiger Stadium is anything but incredibly awesome. LSU fans should be proud, and of course, they are.

3. Beaver Stadium (Penn State, University Park, PA, capacity 107,282) Penn State deserves major credit for packing such a gigantic stadium every Saturday, but to just heap praise on Beaver Stadium for being big essentially misses the point; a big stadium is only as worthwhile as the fans inside it, and the Penn State fanbase is arguably the most impressive and enjoyable in college football. The Penn State whiteout is so well-executed, so thorough that no other team bothers trying to make it its own; the whiteout essentially belongs to PSU, as it ought to. The fans pay loving homage to Joe Paterno with costumes, masks, and props, and the "We Are Penn State" chant is as iconic as they come.

But what truly sets Beaver Stadium apart is Penn State's fanatical devotion to volume. A PSU grad student actually figured out that due to the acoustics of Beaver Stadium, moving the students to the south end zone could increase the level of noise up to 50%, and this was already a stadium that was rated louder than Tiger Stadium in one 2007 ESPN poll. That move is coming this season. Even if the Penn State research is wrong, this is still an incredibly intimidating place to play. If they're right? Look out.

Posted on: December 29, 2010 8:36 am
Edited on: December 29, 2010 8:47 am
 

Bowl Grades: Insight Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa used a interception return and a late replay overturn to upend Missouri in the fourth quarter, 27-24.

Iowa

Offense: A star was born for the Iowa Hawkeyes in Marcus Coker , a 230-pound true freshman tailback who gashed Missouri for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. Coker's workhorse production -- both his carries and yardage were Iowa bowl records -- overshadowed the absence of starting tallback Adam Robinson , who was already suspended for academic reasons before his arrest Monday night. Coker showcased both power and speed, running over some tacklers and and running away from others, and his blitz pickup was stellar: Ricky Stanzi wasn't sacked all night.

And yet Stanzi was dismal in the second half; he threw two interceptions, and about three more passes that deserved to be picked off. A Missouri interception with under eight minutes to go seemed to put Iowa in a major hole, and if it weren't for the Micah Hyde pick-six on the ensuing possession -- more on that later -- there's no telling whether Stanzi could have driven the Hawkeyes for one last touchdown. It's an odd end for Stanzi's career as a Hawkeye to see him struggle, but get a win for it anyway, but college football can be an odd sport. Grade: B

Defense: What's better to focus on? The Micah Hyde interception and return for a touchdown that eventually won the game for Iowa, or the other 56 passes in which Blaine Gabbert passed for over 400 yards? In truth, both are immensely important in evaluating the Hawkeye defense, which took its "bend but don't break" philosophy to its absurd extreme tonight.

Still, for as much as Iowa's pass defense has been lauded, linebacker Troy Johnson was routinely victimized by Gabbert to the point that he was taken off the field in the first half and never heard from again -- to the point that Johnson was passed up for by true freshmen during the second half. It's good that Iowa took those steps, but if they were necessary, why was Johnson on the field in the first place? Grade: B-

Coaching: Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz deserves a great deal of credit for getting his team focused on the bowl game in spite of numerous off-field distractions, culminating in Robinson's arrest the day before the bowl game. It would be ridiculous to say Iowa didn't miss arrested wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos at the other WR spot -- just look at Stanzi's production in the second half -- but the offense stil produced all the same. That was hardly a given coming into the game, and the fact that Ferentz's boys come through to finish the first three-game bowl winning streak in Iowa history speaks volumes to Ferentz's abilities as a coach. Grade: B+

Missouri

Offense: Blaine Gabbert threw 18 completions for over 10 yards on the day, and his 41-57 performance doesn't truly give proper credit for his ability to hit his receivers in stride--half of Gabbert's incompletions hit his targets before bounding harmlessly incomplete. That was basically all the Missouri offense could do; situational running was a noted for its fumbles and failures as it was for its chains-moving. Blaine Gabbert threw for over 400 yards and his offense scored only 20 points; clearly, there's a bottleneck in play.

And yet, the Missouri receivers absolutely excelled. Wes Kemp had some highlight-reel catches as he overcame his season-long bout with the dropsies, T.J. Moe set an Insight Bowl record with 15 catches, and All-American TE Michael Egnew came alive in the second half to finish with seven catches for 64 yards and a score. Assigning blame for Missouri's loss to anybody on the offense seems a little silly. If T.J. Moe hadn't bobbled the 4th down pass after hitting the ground late in the game, as replay officials determined, there's no telling how Missouri would have finished the game. Grade: A-

Defense: Missouri's pass defense was its stingy self, but the image of the night was Marcus Coker trucking Missouri safety Jerrell Harrison on a 3rd and 1, then taking the ball for 30 more yards. Missouri's vaulted secondary ket Ricky Stanzi in check, but it ceded about seven yards a carry to Coker, and Iowa was wable to move the chains pretty much at will as a result. Aldon Smith and the rest of the Missouri defense line were essentially non-factors. Grade: C

Coaching: Iowa's first MVP for the game is Marcus Coker. Its second MVP is Missouri coach Gary Pinkel , who had a 3rd and 2 inside Iowa's 10-yard line after Gabbert had shredded the Iowa secondary on the opening drive, then called a QB keeper and a field goal. Oh, then Pinkel punted from Iowa's 40-yard line on a 4th and 6 in the second quarter. Pinkel also called numerous unorthodox runs in late-half situations, none of which got the ball out of bounds or otherwise challenged the Iowa defense. For as close as this game was and for as easily as Missouri moved the ball in the first half, it would be enormously presumptive to assume Miisouri wouldn't have scored any points if it had attempted both 4th downs. Would Missouri have struggled to keep a lead in the second half if it had maximized its point production in the first half? Grade: D

Final Grade

This may not have been quite as exciting a game as the Little Caesar's Bowl, but it was close, and the fact that Iowa made the fourth quarter comeback that eluded it during the entire 2010 season makes the game quite an important relic. The overturned catch call that handed Iowa the game will properly be scrutinized during the off-season, and Missouri fans can call foul until next September. Still, what a wonderful game for fans of both the Big Ten and Big 12 to watch, and what a redemption for an Iowa program that desperately needed a shot of good news for its seniors, who won 28 games and three straight bowl games -- the last of which is an Iowa senior record. If there's a mitigating factor for Missouri, it's that too much is generally made of bowl results; recall that just last year, Iowa was celebrating an Orange Bowl championship and setting its sights on higher accolades, while only the hardest of hardcore Missouri fans were tabbing this team for 10 wins.

If Blaine Gabbert comes back, Missouri is easily a 10-win candidate again in 2011. If this game is an encapsulation of a larger truth, Gabbert's pro prospects are definitely higher than those of Ricky Stanzi, who struggled mightily against an upper-echelon secondary in the second half. And yet, Iowa takes one last whack at its awful "Can't Finish" reputation with this win and sets the Law of Averages back on its way, while Missouri fans hope the loss means Gabbert's got another year in him in Columbia. All that and a 60-minute, 3-point game to show for it's pretty good, no? Grade: A


Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:26 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 9:27 am
 

'Black-Shirts' lose another to player to DUI

Posted by Chip Patterson

Nebraska is entering their Holiday Bowl matchup with Washington as a heavy favorite to repeat the beating they put on the Huskies earlier in the season.  But if the off-field incidents don't slow/stop, the game could become much closer than head coach Bo Pelini would like.

Less than two weeks after defensive lineman Baker Steinkuhler was arrested on suspicion of DUI and suspended for the bowl game, safety Rickey Thenarse was arrested for a similar set of charges - very near the exact same intersection.  Early Sunday morning, Thenarse was cited for DUI, suspended license, and impeding traffic.  According to reports , officers found his 1998 Oldsmobile stopped in the middle of traffic.  Not the best time or place to take a quick cat nap, if you ask me.

The suspension is a tough end to a lengthy career for Thenarse, who has been with the Nebraksa program since 2006.  Earlier on Saturday, the senior wrapped up his academic career in Lincoln participating in graduation.  Now, his athletic career will end with one game left on the schedule.  Bo Pelini expressed deep disappointment in his comments to the media, but seemed hopeful for Thensarse's future.   


Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:23 am
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Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Vandy fans lobby for Randy Shannon as next coach

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's hard to say that the Vanderbllt football community can be left "reeling" by any bad news these days; the program is traditionally the worst in the SEC, after all, reaching a bowl game less than once per decade since World War 2 and usually not coming close. All the same, Vanderbilt's considerable admission standards discourage many high school prospects of limited discipline or character, so scandals are few and far between at Vandy; it's just year in and year out, three wins a season or so. That breeds plenty of turnover in the coaching ranks, as one might imagine, so a coaching change in Nashville is hardly the headline material it is in, say, Tallahassee or Lincoln.

And yet, the resignation of first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell on Saturday was something of a surprise, even to Vandy fans; while the Commodores were just 2-9 (and screaming headlong into 2-10) on the season, Caldwell was still a first-year head coach, and um, Vanderbilt isn't exactly a "win very very immediately or go home" type of program. So Caldwell's departure wasn't exactly a foregone conclusion, even if it's sort of par for the course at Vandy.

All the same, the fan base is scrambling to find a replacement that'll hold up Vanderbilt's academic standards without capitulating on discipline, and some Vandy alums already have such a candidate in mind: Randy Shannon.

Miami 's recently ousted head coach caught the attention of some Vanderbilt alums, and here was their pitch to other alumni in an email being circulated (and posted to a premium Canes website ):

Dear Vanderbilt Alumni, friends and fans:

With the recent resignation of Coach Robbie Caldwell, the Vanderbilt football team needs a head coach who has had success both on and off the field.  A group of us strongly believe that Randy Shannon should be the next head football coach at Vanderbilt.  Our goal is to get several hundred names affixed to the email below and send it as our recommendation to Vice Chancellor David Williams .

As quoted by the SunSentinnel.com, "Randy Shannon was hired as the head football coach at the University of Miami on Dec. 8, 2006. He replaced Larry Coker, who was fired after a 7-6 season. Shannon, who played at Miami from 1984-88, has long been affiliated with the program. Born Feb. 24, 1966, Shannon was a four-year letter winner when he played linebacker for the Hurricanes. He won a national title in 1987. He was selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He became the first rookie to start at outside linebacker for the Cowboys since 1966. He played just two seasons before going into coaching. He became a graduate assistant at Miami in 1991, winning a national title that season. He was then promoted to defensive line and linebackers coach before taking a job with the Miami Dolphins as an assistant coach in 1998. Shannon returned to the Miami Hurricanes as the defensive coordinator in 2001. He held that job for six years, building one of college football's top defenses. In his first season, he led a defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in three categories.

According to the Miami Official Athletic Site -- "All of Shannon's teams have continued to uphold to UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams have achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the 7th-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida."

We believe that Coach Shannon is a proven winner and would be the right coach at the right time for Vanderbilt.  He is a winner on the field and academically in the classroom.  If you agree that Vanderbilt should strongly consider Randy Shannon as its next football head coach, please affix your name to the email below.  Please feel free to send to other alumni, friends, or fans who you believe share the same sentiments.  Please have them affix their names to this email.  We ask that you copy us on any outgoing emails so that we know who is being added.

There's no telling how much regard Vanderbilt has or will have for this petition, of course; Shannon's track record is something that those in charge of finding Vandy's next coach will (or at least should) already be aware of. Still, it's interesting to see that while Shannon didn't succeed in Miami's eyes as a coach, college football fans are still noticing what he and his team accomplished off the field and recognizing him for it. Perhaps Vanderbilt is a better environment for Shannon. Perhaps Minnesota is. Regardless, it seems evident that Shannon's time between jobs will be brief.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 7:32 pm
 

Self: Big East was set to take Kansas, others

Posted by Adam Jacobi

At the height of conference realignment talks last year, there was real concern that Texas (and most of the other Big XII South schools) would flee the conference for -- pardon the pun -- greener pastures, leaving the schools up north wondering what their next move would be. Six conference members doth not a viable conference make, after all, and there was real concern that schools like Iowa State or Kansas State would have to suffer the indignity of joining a non-AQ conference.

Fortunately, as Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told listeners on his weekly radio show yesterday, his Jayhawks' AQ status was never in doubt -- and nor was that of Missouri, KSU, and ISU. When asked about TCU and its move to the Big East, Self said that if the Big 12 folded, those schools would have been offered a spot in the Big East. And further, Self thinks the Big East was smart to make those offers, because it was the only way to ensure the Big Ten doesn't kill the Big East's football program.

Audio, courtesy of the IMG Jayhawk Network, is below. Those interested in the full show may listen through Jayhawks All-Access ($$).

If you can't listen, here's the full text of Self's statement, with minor alterations for clarity's sake:

To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today that TCU made. And Kansas State could have been in there too, because the feeling that we got -- or we had, when the conference realignment was going on, that if by chance, Texas would have gone to the Pac-10 and we would have stayed buddies with Kansas State and not separated and done all that stuff, then the Big East would have came and gotten us, and KSU, and Iowa State, and Missouri. Which, in theory, you say, 'Oh god, the Big East, bad travel.' They would have gone to divisions, so we would have had divisions with probably the teams that are close, and maybe Louisville and Cincinnati or whatever.

And I think that's smart on the Big East's part, because the Big Ten's still going to go poach somebody, and when they poach somebody it's going to be a football-playing school, and if that number goes beneath eight, then I believe -- I could be wrong -- but I believe then they're not eligible for the BCS bid. So they're covering themselves to make sure that whenever the Big Ten does whatever they do, they'll still have enough football-playing schools to make sure that they keep their BCS football bid alive. So I think it's a smart move, and probably great for TCU, so I see no problems with it.

Although there had been rumors to this extent back in the spring and summer, this is the first time that a school official has not only addressed the rumor that the Big East was set to invite the wayward Big 12 North schools, but out-and-out confirmed it. And as Self mentioned, with the Big Ten purportedly sniffing around for expansion targets out east, the Big East needed to either go into buyer mode or prepare to get out of the business of football altogether. While some college football fans might have preferred the latter, the Big East would have lost an automatic qualifier bid and all the money it entails, so that was never really going to happen.

And above all else, this should at least reassure fans of those four schools that even if the Big 12 had folded, the day that ISU or Missouri would have had to share a conference with Wyoming or Middle Tennessee State was never really going to happen; there had always been another BCS conference waiting, and there probably still will be if this latest iteration of the Big 12 doesn't work over the next few years. The arms race probably isn't over yet.



 
 
 
 
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