Tag:Jacksonville State
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Big East to play 10, 11 conference games?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who is also the father of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, recently sat down for an interview with the school's MSNsportsNET.com, and while the majority of the back and forth was the type of thing you'd expect between a school and its own athletic director, there were some remarks that Luck made that could shine a light on the future of the Big East.

Luck was asked about what adding a ninth member in TCU, and probably a tenth member, could mean for football scheduling within the conference. Turns out that the Big East may have some changes in store that we've never seen before. The emphasis added to the Luck's quotes are mine.
Last fall the Big East Conference added a ninth football member in TCU and the possibility remains high that a 10th team could be added in the near future. Naturally that is something you must keep a close eye on because of its direct impact on football scheduling. What are some of the challenges and/or opportunities further Big East expansion pose to your long-term planning for the athletic department?
OL: Number one, football is crucial and is responsible for the bulk of our revenue. Number two, every team has a scheduling philosophy. For us, we want to have a high profile, attractive AQ non-conference opponent on our schedule. We’ve got LSU this year and we had Auburn in the past. Going forward, we have Michigan State and Florida State. In addition, we have extended our series with Maryland, which is very important for us. The proximity and the importance of the Baltimore/Washington D.C. recruiting area is crucial for us. Then we have historically played a I-AA team like Coastal Carolina or Norfolk State. We also have a tradition of playing a MAC school and of course over the past decade or so the Marshall series has been a fixture on our schedule. But with the addition of TCU and the expectation of a 10th member very soon, we have no option but to sit tight and wait and see what happens with our conference. It is highly likely that we will have nine conference games in the near future and if that is the case we will certainly have to review our non-conference scheduling priorities. Also, one development that we have noticed is that there are more and more opportunities to play the so-called “one-off” games. We will be playing BYU at FedEx Field, for example, and these matchups are becoming more common.
The real question is if the conference ends up going to 12 and having a North and South Division or an East and West Division. I could see the day when we play 10 conference games - or even 11 conference games. There is a good bit in flux right now and we need to keep our powder dry until some important decisions are made regarding the future composition of the Big East.
Now, it's important to point out that Luck doesn't say that the Big East expanding to 12 teams is the current plan, nor is playing ten or eleven conference games. Still, the fact that he mentions the possibilities does lead you to believe that the idea may have come up in discussions, which would certainly be a new development in college football. It could also be one that works well for the Big East.


More Big East

After all, when it comes to other BCS conferences, one of the complaints is how members of BCS conferences feed on FCS "cupcakes" at the beginning of the year. The month of September is filled with such sacrifices to the BCS gods. Yes, once in a while you have Jacksonville State knock off Ole Miss, or James Madison take down Virginia Tech, but the majority of the time we get final scores like 55-3.

If the Big East were to expand to 12 teams, and play an 11-game schedule, that would lead to only one non-conference game being played by each member of the conference. Sure, some teams may use that as an opportunity to play a cupcake, but in West Virginia's case, that game could be against Maryland. Other schools may use the "free" game to play a rival as well.

Which would mean that just about every single game in the Big East would mean something, either in the rivalry sense, or a BCS berth sense. Something that, while it may not make the Big East the best football conference in the country, could wind up making it one of the most entertaining.

Will it happen? That I doubt. The fact is that teams like those cupcake games to help pick up easy victories and get closer to bowl eligibility. Picking up six wins a year would likely be a lot tougher to do playing 11 games within your own conference. So I think that we should expect to see a nine-game conference schedule in the Big East in 2012, and possibly even 12 teams five years from now, but the expansion will stop there.

Still, it is an interesting idea from the fan/viewer standpoint.

Hat tip: @Mengus22

Photo courtesy of MSNsportsNET.com
Posted on: November 18, 2010 12:45 pm
 

Nick Saban has an incredible poker face

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there was ever a game in which you could give the coach and players of the favorite the thumbs-up on dropping the usual "we respect everyone/we're not looking forward to next week/no, seriously, even though our opponent is starting a cardboard cutout of Jar Jar Binks stolen from a shuttered Blockbuster at outside linebacker, we could lose this game" front, you'd think it would be tonight's matchup between reigning national champions Alabama and FCS Georgia State , a program in its very first year of existence. After all, the Crimson Tide rescheduled the game from Saturday to Thursday specifically to get some extra preparation in before next week's day-after-Thanksgiving showdown with Auburn . It is, almost by definition, a game you look past.

But give Nick Saban credit: even this week, even against the Panthers, the traditional coach's poker face has stayed resolutely in place :

"We're not concerned about anything else," Saban said. "We're not concerned about anybody else but the team that we play this week."

Saban has sold the Alabama-Georgia State as a strong test.

"This team (Georgia State) played to overtime against Jacksonville State who beat Ole Miss," Saban said. "We respect the players that they have. We respect the good job of coaching that they do."

This is the first time in recorded human history that "went to overtime against Jacksonville State " has been cited as a reason for Alabama to be concerned with an opposing football team. That Saban can offer it up with a totally straight face is a poor-mouthing job of truly Lou Holtz -ian proportions, and he should be commended not only for that but for apparently convincing his team of the same:
"We know that every game we play is important," Alabama defensive back Robert Lester said. "Every player in college is an athlete and can make plays. We can't look ahead to Auburn and look past Georgia State, because they could sneak up and beat us, which obviously wouldn't look good."
No, no it wouldn't. But even though the spectrum of all potential possibilities is wide enough that Georgia State could win tonight, in the quantum sense of the word, it's not something Lester and his Tide teammates actually have to worry about. That he's bothering to express sentiments to the contrary should tell you: yes, even in what qualifies as a disappointing season in Tuscaloosa, this is every inch Nick Saban's team.


Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Jerrell Powe knows how to stop Alabama

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Man, you lose one game in two years and suddenly everybody thinks they know how to beat you.

Alabama is hoping to rebound from its loss against South Carolina last weekend when they host Ole Miss this weekend, but according to the Rebels' defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, it isn't going to happen.  You see, Mr. Powe watched the game against South Carolina and now he knows the secret formula for beating the Crimson Tide.

"I think they got exposed, you know what I mean? Showed that they're a one-dimensional team, that they run the ball really well, and I think South Carolina did a good job of stuffing the run and they really couldn't get nothing going after they got stopped," Powe said. "I think they tried to come out and do the same thing they did against Arkansas - tried to wear South Carolina down with the run - but I think South Carolina did a great job of persevering through the whole game."

Wow, Powe cracked the secret code.  Who knew Alabama was a running team?  I always thought that Mark Ingram won the Heisman last season for his tremendous pass-blocking skills.

Listen, figuring out that stuffing Alabama's ground game is the key to beating them isn't a revelation.  It's actually doing it that matters, which is something that nobody had done until the Gamecocks did it last week.  So you'll have to excuse me if I don't have much faith in Powe and the Rebels this weekend, as last I checked the Rebel defense was 103rd in the nation allowing 32.6 points per game. 

And those games include losses to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt.   Something tells me that if you can't stop Jacksonville State at home, you aren't going to be able to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Posted on: September 5, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 7:21 pm
 

GOATs and Goats, Week 1

Posted by Adam Jacobi

GOAT*: Denard Robinson. Michigan's electric quarterback Denard Robinson thrilled fans at the Big House, completing 19 of 22 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 197 more yards and another score. Robinson even shook off a third-quarter hip injury, returning after just one series. Robinson's performance was downright seismic: it likely drove backup Tate Forcier to transfer, and it's the type of on-field brilliance around which Heisman candidacies are built. Of course, it was against UConn, and Michigan will not play UConn for every game; if they did, Jim Delany would be fired immediately. But it's hardly a guarantee that Terrelle Pryor can outperform Robinson over the course of the season, and last we checked, Terrelle Pryor was basically the nation's best Heisman candidate coming into week 1.

Goat: Mike Pouncey. Florida's season debut against Miami University--the one that's in Ohio, mind you, and went 1-11 last year--was almost a disaster of the highest order. Yes, Florida won 34-12, but that was a rather deceptive final score--Florida converted a 4th and 21 touchdown near the end of the game to push the margin to 22, and Miami was within 9 points in the 4th quarter (and that's without scoring a single touchdown).

Don't let the 34-point tally fool you: Florida struggled mightily on offense, and the primary culprit was Mike Pouncey, who had moved from guard to center to take over for his brother Maurkice, a first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers this spring. Pouncey was an unmitigated disaster at center: ESPN announcers counted over a dozen botched snaps, usually out of the shotgun, and the dropped snaps usually killed whatever momentum Florida was trying to sustain against a young but aggressive defense.

Pouncey's unlikely to last more than one more game at center; if he even makes it to the South Florida game, it's because his inevitable replacement needs another week to work on his timing with QB John Brantley. But Pouncey's struggles were some of the worst we've ever seen from a center, and Urban Meyer has never been patient with ineptitude from his players.

GOAT: Jack Crowe. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks pulled one of the most unlikely upsets in years with a 49-48 comeback stunner at Ole Miss, and for head coach Jack Crowe, the irony must have been delicious. 18 years ago, Crowe was on the other end of the "I-AA team beats SEC team" when his Arkansas Razorbacks were upset by the Citadel, 10-3. Crowe was fired just the next day.

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt probably won't suffer the same immediate indignity as Crowe did 18 years ago, mainly because I-AA teams are far more capable of beating their I-A opponents than 18 years ago, when these types of games were such mere formalities en route to 60-point margins that they didn't even count toward bowl eligibility. But this loss--especially after Jeremiah Masoli was granted eligibility the day prior--may prove fatal to Nutt's career in Oxford at season's end.

Goat: the Oklahoma secondary. Any talk of Oklahoma as a national title contender should be tabled indefinitely, if the Sooners's disturbing 31-24 victory over Utah State is any indication of how they'll perform this season. The USU Aggies--generally considered a middle-of-the-road WAC team--rode a 341-yard, 2 TD performance by quarterback Diondre Borel to rack up 421 yards of offense. The Aggies even had the ball in Oklahoma territory midway through the fourth quarter, but the Sooners defense stiffened and pushed USU back to the 33 before the Aggies missed a 50-yard field goal. Still, this is Utah State we're talking about here.

Oklahoma has Florida State coming to Norman next week, and while it's not like Christian Ponder's about to throw 4 TDs in a half again like he did to Samford this week, it sure seems like he's going to find a porous secondary to shred--not the stout defense that typifies a BCS champion. So, Sooners. It's either shut down Ponder or watch your title dreams get eaten by scorpions. No pressure.


*Greatest Of All Time, natch.

Posted on: September 4, 2010 7:21 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2010 7:23 pm
 

Jacksonville State rallies, stuns Ole Miss in OT

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It took a few hours, but with I-AA Jacksonville State's massive upset of Ole Miss in double overtime, the college football season has officially begun.

Jacksonville State trailed 31-13 in the fourth quarter before coming back to tie the game at 34 with 0:17 left in the game. Once in overtime, Ole Miss had little difficulty in converting touchdowns on their two possessions. Jacksonville State, however, found themselves down 48-41 with 4th and 15 at the 30 yard line. No matter, as Coty Blanchard found Kevyn Cooper for a touchdown at the back of the end zone to make it 48-47.

After the touchdown, JSU coach Jack Crowe called timeout, and took a cue from the Boise State-Oklahoma 2007 Fiesta Bowl by going for the win. Blanchard rolled out and, under duress, found his tailback for a shovel pass and the win. 49-48, David over Goliath.

It's safe to assume that massive cheers will go up when this score is announced in the stadia of the various SEC teams who are currently playing.

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 6:52 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Ole Miss and Jacksonville State in OT thriller

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coming into today's action, most of the news about Ole Miss centered on the Jeremiah Masoli soap opera and Masoli's early playing time. When the game was 31-10 Ole Miss at the half and 31-13 after three quarters, few would have guessed there'd be any more drama.

But, uh, about that.

Jacksonville State charged back in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns to one Rebels field goal to tie the game at 34. The tying score came on a 71-yard drive that started with under 3 minutes left, and that was capped with an off-balance two-point conversion throw by Marques Ivory.

Ole Miss did nothing more in regulation, and now the game goes to overtime. Giddyup.

UPDATE: Both teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime. Ole Miss now starts the second OT with the ball. 

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:13 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:40 pm
 

Nutt, Masoli still await official word from NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Rebels fans file into the Grove on Saturday to prepare for the season opener against Jacksonville State, there is one thing they can expect at quarterback: Nathan Stanley.  

The 6-5 sophomore from Sequoyah, OK is listed as the starter on Ole Miss' depth chart heading into the game, and will likely be the first man to take the reigns of the Rebels' offense since the departure of Jevan Snead.
But it's one of his backups that has been getting all the attention since his arrival in Oxford.  
Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli awaits word from the NCAA on whether he will be granted a waiver to bypass the NCAA's one year requirement for transfer students.  Head coach Houston Nutt is trying his best to be optimistic.

"I wish I could feel as good as [Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe] does about it," said the Rebels coach. "I truly don't know."

"I'm expecting (a decision) either today, tomorrow or the next day at the latest," said Nutt, whose team hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Masoli is expected to be granted the waiver because the graduate program he has enrolled in was not available at Oregon.  if he is made available, there is no doubt he will have a chance to make an impact right away.  Say what you will about his off-field troubles, but Houston Nutt would be more than happy to have Masoli's 15 passing and 13 rushing touchdowns from 2009 on this years' squad.  

Nutt currently has Masoli and junior Randall Mackey both listed as second on the depth chart.  All three quarterbacks have been sharing snaps during camp, but most of the snaps this week will be split between Stanley and Snead.

"I just know the clock is ticking and it's game week," said Nutt. "I have a guy who has played (Masoli) and two guys that haven't, so I have to get them ready."

If Masoli suits up, I expect Nutt will utilize the quarterback tandem that is becoming more and more popular in today's game.  If so, fans in Oxford should get ready when they see No. 8 on the field.



 
 
 
 
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