Posted on: December 23, 2010 11:12 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is a bit different from the rest of the honors on the college football postseason, as it specifically takes into account an athlete's off-field activities as well -- to quote the release announcing this year's winner, "a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition."
So it makes sense that this year's award went to Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs is arguably the greatest option quarterback of the past decade or so, an honorable mention All-American who totaled more than 2,000 yards of offense this season and set a single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback as a junior with 27.
But Dobbs is also due to graduate this sping with a degree in general science from one of the FBS's most challenging academic programs, and still finds the time to be involved with various community activities (including helping at multiple football camps in the Annapolis area). After graduation, he'll be serving (naturally) in the U.S. Navy. Tonight's the final game of his career as he takes on San Diego State in the waterlogged Poinsettia Bowl; it's your final chance to watch one of college football's best players in action, and we strongly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity. (Need a preview? The blog's got you covered .)
Also making the Lowe's Senior Class Award All-America first team: Northern Illinois defensive end Jake Coffman, Auburn center Ryan Pugh, Penn State guard Stefan Wisnewski, and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. Congratulatiosn are in order for all.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:03 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had the second surgery on his throwing elbow last week, and generally when you have two surgeries on the same elbow within a month, it tends to put your ability to play in a football game in doubt for a few weeks. Which is where Florida State and Ponder currently find themselves only ten days away from taking on South Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
There is some good news for the Seminoles, however, as after Ponder had the second surgery the hope was that he'd be able to return to practice a few days before the game, and that would increase his chances of playing. According to a release by the school on Monday, it seems that Ponder is on track to return to practice next week.
“We’ll probably let him throw some a bit the next three or four days before he goes up there, then turn him loose on the 26th and see what happens,” said Jimbo Fisher in a school release.
Ponder had a protective brace removed from his arm on Monday as well.
Should Ponder not be able to play in the game, E.J.Manuel -- who has taken the majority of reps in practice -- would once again get the start. Still, even though Manuel has had more practice, you have to think that if Ponder can play and wants to, Fisher will start Ponder. He is a senior, after all, and nobody wants to spend the final game of their college career in a baseball cap on the sideline.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 10:03 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 10:08 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder entered his senior year with hopes of putting a nice cap on a mostly successful career at Florida State. He was on the watch list for most major awards, and even was the ACC's endorsed Heisman candidate. Ponder has put up impressive numbers, throwing for 20 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions in 11 games of action. He will fall well short of last season's 2717 yards passing, but that is more a credit to Florida State's rapidly improving rushing attack. When all healthy, the three-man attack of Chris Thompson, Ty Jones, and Jermaine Thomas wore teams down and allowed Ponder to put together yet another efficient season.
But Ponder has struggled with an elbow injury in the last half of the season. On Friday, Ponder underwent his second surgical procedure in four weeks to remove scar tissue from the elbow. Last time, the doctors operated on his elbow and drained enough fluid to "fill a 16-ounce soda bottle." Despite the frustrations of undergoing another operation on the nagging injury, Ponder was all jokes for reporters on Tuesday. When asked about the operation, he informed reporters that his arm had been amputated.
"I'm probably going to put it on eBay," Ponder said of his right arm, which was concealed in a sling under a baggy sweatshirt. "See if I can make some money off it."
Ponder will miss all of Florida State's practices until arriving in Atlanta for the Chick Fil-A Bowl on December 26, then they will reevaluate the situation. If Ponder cannot go against South Carolina, E.J. Manuel will once again get the nod. Manuel filled in for Ponder earlier this season in the 16-13 last minute victory over Clemson. Ponder dressed, but watched from the sideline as Manuel helped lead the Seminoles on a victory drive that would eventually help clinch the Atlantic Division crown. When Ponder was a last-minute scratch for the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, Manuel put together an impressive performance against a talented Hokies defense. It might have been a good experience for the sophomore signal-caller, especially if he has to face the SEC runner-up on New Years Eve in the Georgia Dome.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:20 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 10:10 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given annually to the nation's top senior quarterback, announced its 2010 winner today. Wisconsin signal-caller Scott Tolzien , who led the Badgers to an 11-1 record and a berth in the 2011 Rose Bowl, won the award today.
Now obviously, the pool for this award is always going to be diluted on account of it being limited to senior quarterbacks, and the tendency of high-level QB prospects to declare for the draft before their senior season only further weakens the available list of candidates. Tolzien won this award over a rather tepid list of finalists: Andy Dalton , Colin Kaepernick , Christian Ponder , and Ricky Stanzi.
Or, more to the point, Tolzien wasn't up against Cam Newton , Kellen Moore , Andrew Luck , Ryan Mallett , Dan Persa , or Brandon Weeden. And that's good for Tolzien, because his statistics and the context surrounding them are totally underwhelming. While Tolzien led all seniors with a 169.80 passing efficiency and 74.8 completion percentage, he was hardly the focal point of the offense or the main engine getting it into the end zone; Tolzien recorded just 16 passing touchdowns, compared to his team's otherworldly 46 rushing touchdowns (of which Tolzien had none). Tolzien's total yardage accounted for just 42.6% of Wisconsin's yards, which compares rather unfavorably to Colin Kaepernick's 57.7%. And yes, Wisconsin is ranked higher than Nevada and was involved in more blowouts in which Tolzien's services weren't needed ... but TCU just so happens to be ranked even higher than Wisconsin, was involved in many blowouts of its own, and Dalton's total yardage was still 51.6% of his Horned Frogs' total yards. Also, keep in mind Tolzien was facing a defense with eight men in the box basically all the time, thanks to Wisconsin's thundering ground game. That's a luxury Dalton and Kaepernick didn't enjoy, and they still outperformed Tolzien in every category except passing efficiency, where Tolzien's lead is utterly marginal.
Beyond this year, though, Tolzien's numbers scarcely fit the typical profile of a Unitas Award winner. Beginning in 1995, when noted option enthusiast Tommie Frazier won the award with Nebraska, the average passing touchdown total of the Unitas winner has been 32.5 TDs ... or basically twice that of Tolzien and his 16 touchdowns. The only winner in that timespan with fewer than seven more touchdowns than Tolzien was (no surprise) Frazier, and even he threw for 17 TDs his senior year.
It just seems, like John Clay inexplicably being named a Doak Walker finalist, as if Tolzien is being given this award in lieu of a team award, since Wisconsin is ranked fourth and hooray for that. And it's not as if Tolzien had a bad season, either; his performance against the Iowa defense, especially when he drove the team down the field for a touchdown in the third quarter with only Montee Ball healthy (and Ball lining up at wideout since Nick Toon was out, no less), was really a fantastic display of passing. But by and large, there's just no way Tolzien was a more deserving recipient of this award than Dalton or Kaepernick.
Tags: 2010 Unitas Award, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Big Ten, Brandon Weeden, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Persa, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Kellen Moore, Montee Ball, Nebraska, Nevada, Nick Toon, Ricky Stanzi, Ryan Mallett, Scott Tolzien, TCU, Tommie Frazier, Unitas Award, Unitas Award 2010, Unitas Award Finalists, Unitas Award Winner, Wisconsin
Posted on: December 4, 2010 5:21 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 5:29 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida State will try and reclaim their position on top of the ACC against Virginia Tech on Saturday in the conference championship game in Charlotte, NC. According to a last-minute report, it looks like they will have to do so without starting quarterback Christian Ponder.
Ponder has been battling issues with a bursa sac in his elbow for most of the season, and has had fluid drained from the elbow as recently as Sunday. Even though doctors have medically cleared Ponder to play, sources have told the Tallahassee Democrat that Ponder will be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore EJ Manuel.
Ponder was held out of the Seminole's 16-13 victory over Clemson earlier in the season for the same reason. Manuel had an impressive outing, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown and burning the Tigers' defense for 71 yards and another score on the ground. The report says that Ponder will still be available to play, but will not start for the Seminoles.
Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more updates on this story as it develops.
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 23, 2010 9:22 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
In the 2010 college football season, we have been fortunate to see exhilarating quarterback play all across the nation. There has been Mallett and Newton in the SEC, and the big arms of Luck and Moore on out west. Unfortunately none of those players are seniors, and do not quality for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. As opposed to the Davey O'Brien award, given to the nation's most outstanding quarterback; the Unitas Golden Arm Award is saved for the nation's top senior quarterback. So without further ado, here are the finalists who will be receiving coupons to Country Kitchen Buffet.
Andy Dalton, TCU
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Christian Ponder, Florida State
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin
Obviously all these quarterbacks have had great seasons, and should not be overlooked just because of their age. In fact, many of the names on that list were favorites for the Davey O'Brien coming into the season. However, winning the Unitas Golden Arm Award could be a good omen of things to come at the next level. Recent award winners include Colt McCoy (2009), Matt Ryan (2007), Eli Manning (2003), Carson Palmer (2002), and Peyton Manning (1997). Not a bad crew to be associated with if you ask me.
The 2010 winner will be presented with the Golden Arm Award in a ceremony on December 10 in Downtown Baltimore. Many of Unitas' Baltimore Colts teammates will be on hand, including Unitas' center and current Georgia State football coach, Bill Curry.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:43 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 11:05 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Locked in a heated three-way race with Maryland and N.C. State, Florida State knows that a loss against the Terps on Saturday likely crushes their chances of an Atlantic Division title and a berth to the ACC Championship Game. Florida State had a firm grasp on the division before losing back-to-back games to N.C. State and North Carolina. Now, the Seminoles must defeat Maryland and hope for the Wolfpack to lose one of their two remaining conference games in order to avoid losing the division.
They are going to have to get the job done in College Park far from full health. Christian Ponder will be back on the field after sitting out against Clemson a week ago with soreness from a ruptured bursa sac in his elbow. Ponder is not quite 100 percent, and it would not be surprising if E.J. Manuel saw some action, particularly after his performance on the ground against the Tigers. But Ponder will missing two crucial pieces of the offense on Saturday. Wide receiver Willie Haulstead and running back Jermaine Thomas are both will both sit out the conference finale with injuries. Haulstead, who leads the team in receiving yards, has not been able to practice this week due to a head injury. Thomas, the team's leader in carries, was expected to miss action due to a sprained knee. Maryland's defense has buckled against Top 25-caliber offenses this season, but with all the health issues it is not certain that the unit on Saturday is of that caliber.