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Tag:Mountain west
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:40 pm
 

MWC commish 'open' to Minnesota AD job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi won't be officially retired until June 30th, but the school would like to have his successor in place before then, and one name that has come up is current Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.

Thompson, who has been the commissioner of the Mountain West since the conference was first formed in 1999, is a Minnesota graduate. He's also said he's open to the idea of returning to the school to run its athletic department.

"But there would be a million questions to learn more about the position," Thompson told the Pioneer Press. "Is there a budget deficit? Is fundraising the issue? Is the focus on rebuilding the football program? Are there academic concerns? Is there a support system to graduate student-athletes? There would be a lot more to know about the needs and wants of the athletic department before you can even think about taking the next step."

While there are plenty of questions for Thompson to ask Minnesota, there are probably just as many questions for him to ask the Mountain West. The first question being, what would Thompson's role be within the conference should it merge with Conference USA?

With the future of the Mountain West being unclear at the moment, this might be the best time for Thompson to make the next move in his career.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:44 pm
 

NCAA grants Boise RB Harper sixth year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Boise State isn't going to return much in the way of experience in 2012. But thanks to a Tuesday ruling from the NCAA, they'll have a little more at the running back position than they would have had otherwise.

Per the Idaho Statesmansenior tailback D.J. Harper has been granted a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility. Harper ran for a career-high 557 yards in 2011, placing him second on the Broncos behind fellow senior Doug Martin. With Martin moving onto the NFL and Harper both eligible and healthy, Harper should finally have his first shot at serving as the Broncos' every-down back. 

Harper looked well on his way towards becoming a major contributor for the Boise offense in 2009, his first junior year, when he ran 44 times for an average of 6.5 yards per-carry over the Broncos' first three games. But a torn ACL suffered in that third game put Harper on ice for the rest of that season, and a second torn ACL in the same knee limited his impact in 2010, when he again appeared in only three games.

Despite the NCAA's occasional stinginess in granting the waivers -- Arizona State wideout T.J. Simpson was denied a sixth year Tuesday after missing all of 2011 with a knee injury -- the Broncos were highly confident in Harper's application following the pair of ACL tears, holding him out of the traditional Senior Day festivities.

Originally a lightly-regarded running back recruit out of Cypress, Texas, Harper has 1,642 career rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Lobo QB Trujillo arrested on domestic charge

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

New Mexico has been completely under the radar since making one of the most surprising (and intriguing) hires of the offseason in new head coach Bob Davie. Given the way things have gone for the Lobos the last few years -- coaching embarrassmentsfailed recruits, loss after loss after loss -- that's probably the way the Lobos would like it.

But now walk-on quarterback Ryan Trujillo has gotten the Lobos another round of attention--and, once again, not the kind the program would like.

Local TV station KRQE reported this week that Trujillo was arrested Friday and charged with "battery on a household member," a domestic violence charge, after allegedly spraying his girlfriend in the face with her own pepper spray.

Per police reportsTrujillo and the girlfriend were engaged in an argument in an Albuquerque restaurant when Trujillo grabbed the girlfriend's car keys off their restaurant table. When the couple continued to fight over the keys in the parking lot, Trujillo sprayed the girlfriend in the face with the pepper spray canister attached to the keys.

Trujillo was later arrested in the restaurant parking lot, telling police that he had sprayed her by accident. 

New Mexico issued a statement Friday that it was looking into the incident, but had no other comment. 

Though a walk-on who redshirted during the 2011 season, Trujillo won't be an unknown to many Lobo fans, having earned New Mexico high school Player of the Year honors in 2010 after leading Albuquerque's Manzano High School to the state championship game.

HT: EDSBS.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
 

A first look at 2012's returning starters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never, ever too early to talk about the next college football season once the previous one has passed. But it's a lot less too early once the deadline for NFL Draft declarations has passed and teams can enjoy an accurate -- or at least semi-accurate -- gauge of what their returning talent will look like next season.

Thanks to data-cruncher Phil Steele, we can enjoy that same semi-accurate gauge. As he does every January -- among the teams predicted for big things at this time last year were Michigan, Alabama and Vanderbilt -- Steele has released a comprehensive list of FBS returning starters for 2012, ranking each team 1-123. Yes, 123, thanks to the arrivals of UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass; Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners even top the list with 23 total returning starters (11 offensive, 10 defensive, and both specialists) as they ready for their first WAC season.

But of course, UTSA has its work cut out for it to make an impact, no matter how experienced its players might be. Among programs college football fans are more familiar with, here's the numbers and teams from Steele's data that stand out:

  • Sharing the lead amongst all BCS programs are Texas Tech and Tennessee with 20 starters each, including quarterbacks Seth Doege and Tyler Bray, respectively. If Red Raider and Volunteer third-year coaches Tommy Tuberville and Derek Dooley can't turn that kind of experience into a better year 3 than their collective Year 2's, neither one should be surprised if they don't receive a Year 4.
  • Never say never with Chris Petersen still around, but this looks like the season Boise State's incredible run of dominance and top-10 finishes comes to a halt. The Broncos rank dead-last, rock-bottom, with just 6 starters coming back--3 offensive 2 defensive, and (infamous) kicker Dan Goodale. (Then again, in the newly TCU-less Mountain West, will anyone stop them regardless? The league leader in returning starters is Colorado State, with no other MWC program ranked higher than Fresno State at 29th.)
  • It's possible Badger fans will rue their back-to-back failures at the Rose Bowl even more than they do already; with just 10 returning starters, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten and 116th overall. Big Ten fans should instead gear up now for an even-more-critical Ohio State-Michigan game than usual; the Buckeyes are second in the league behind Indiana with 18 starters, and the Wolverines are tied with Nebraska for third with 16.
  • The Vols, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt top the SEC list -- with 18 starters or more, all rank among the nation's 19 most experienced teams -- which means the league could see a more topsy-turvy season than usual; despite their cavalcade of young talent LSU returns just 5 defensive starters, national champions Alabama just 4. Despite major losses on the offensive line, Georgia looks poised to field the conference's best defense, with nine starters coming back for a unit already ranked fifth in the FBS.
  • Why is USC getting so much early preseason love? Pretty simple: of the 10 teams listed in Bruce Feldman's early-bird top 10, the Trojans are one of just two to have as many as 17 returning starters. The other is Oklahoma, and since the Sooners finished the year getting chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma State while the Trojans were busy upsetting Oregon in Eugene and annihilating UCLA, it's not hard to see why voters might go for the former.
  • Poor Al Golden: not only is his Miami team still laboring under the weight of the Nevin Shapiro allegations, not only do they rank 96th nationally and tie for next-to-last in the ACC with 12 returning starters, but according to Steele's data the Hurricanes are -- amazingly -- the only ACC team to not return its starting quarterback for next season. 
  • Gus Malzahn is going to be one of the FBS's most closely watched mid-major head coaches after his move from Auburn, and with six returning starters including QB Ryan Aplin on offense, the Red Wolves should be fine on that side of the ball. But with just three starters back on defense, ASU ranks 116th overall and last in the Sun Belt in total starters returning. Opposite Malzahn's punishing up-tempo attack, we'd like to place an early wager on the Red Wolves as one the nation's statistically weakest D's in 2012 ... and on Malzahn needing at least two years to return ASU to last year's championship perch.

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:57 pm
 

Boise St. losing its offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Boise State found out earlier this week that it doesn't have to worry about Chris Petersen going anywhere for a while, but for the second straight season the Broncos will be in need of a new offensive coordinator. According to the Idaho Statesman, Brent Pease is leaving the school to take an offensive coordinator job somewhere else.

Where exactly that other job is, however, isn't known at this point. Word is that Pease will be choosing between both Florida and Alabama, which is a pretty sweet position to be in. According to the report, Florida is the favorite as Charlie Weis left to take over the head coaching job at Kansas.

Pease replaced Bryan Harsin as offensive coordinator with the Broncos this season after Harsin left to run the offense at Texas. Pease was Boise State's wide receiver's coach from 2006-10 before leaving to take over as offensive coordinator at Indiana for a few days. Pease quickly returned to Boise after Harsin left to take the job at Texas.

Wide receivers coach Robert Prince is expected to take over as offensive coordinator for Pease at Boise State.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 8:20 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 8:20 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Toledo 42 Air Force 41



Posted by Tom Fornelli


TOLEDO WON. In what was one of the more entertaining bowl games of the season so far, the Toledo Rockets just edged out Air Force 42-41 at the Military Bowl in Washington D.C. As the score in this one indicates, there wasn't a whole lot of defense being played in this contest. In fact, there wasn't a score after the first 9 minutes of the first quarter, but then both teams combined for 35 points in the final 6 minutes of the opening frame. 

Air Force actually outgained Toledo on offense, but the Rockets were able to score a touchdown in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens had a great game, completing 20 of his 25 passes for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. All three of those touchdowns were to Bernard Reedy, who had 4 receptions for 125 yards in the game. Adonis Thomas also rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Rockets. Tim Jefferson led the way for the Air Force attack, with 225 total yards and 3 total touchdowns.

WHY TOLEDO WON. Honestly, there isn't really one specific area of the game that you can say Toledo outperformed Air Force. Yes, they had an interception return for a touchdown and a kick return for another score, but I'd say the deciding factor in this one was the fact that Toledo scored the first two touchdowns in this contest. After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter Air Force was playing from behind all game and never did manage to take a lead.

WHEN TOLEDO WON. It wasn't until the final moments. On a 4th and 2 at the Toledo 33-yard line, down 42-35, Air Force's Tim Jefferson found Zack Kauth wide open for a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 42-41. Air Force then sent its kicking team out, but instead of kicking the extra point, the Falcons ran a fake. One that was beautiful in design, but hideous in execution. The Falcons didn't convert, and then after Toledo recovered the onside kick it was just a matter of running out the clock.

WHAT TOLEDO WON. This was a nice finish to the season for Toledo, as it finishes 2011 with a 9-4 record and a win over a pretty good football team in Air Force. More importantly for the program, the Rockets didn't seem to lose a step after losing head coach Tim Beckman to Illinois earlier this winter. Matt Campbell also gets his first win as the program's head coach in his very first try.

WHAT AIR FORCE LOST. The Falcons lost a bowl game. That's it. They didn't get embarrassed either on the scoreboard or by a bad opponent. They were in this game until the closing seconds, and while it would no doubt have been nice to end the season with a victory, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of here.

THAT WAS CRAZY. This is going back to Air Force's two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game. I have no problem with the decision to go for two, as it's a bowl game, and you might as well play to win it. My problem was the fact that Air Force ran a fake kick. It's one of my biggest pet peeves in football. If you're going to go for two, then send your offense out there.  Put the players that are used to running these types of plays in a position to win the game, not your kicker or holder. Kickers kick. They don't run the option.

FINAL GRADE: This game was excellent. It was a back and forth affair that didn't feature a lot of defense, but did have plenty of big plays and was a bit of a roller coaster ride. In other words, it kept you entertained for the entire three and a half hours it was played, and what more can you ask for from a bowl game in late December? GRADE: A 
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN DIEGO -- Let's face it, after two straight BCS bowls TCU wasn't exactly thrilled about ending the season well before Christmas at the Poinsettia Bowl. No matter what head coach Gary Patterson said or would have you believe, the Horned Frogs came out of the tunnel at Snapdragon Stadium uninspired and the play on the field clearly reflected as much. Penalties. Yards allowed like the opposing quarterback was named Robert Griffin III. Illegal formations. Muffed Punts. Turnovers. It wasn't the prettiest effort but considering the Horned Frogs only play in close bowl games - six of their last seven by a touchdown or less - they did just enough late to pull out a win against WAC champion Louisiana Tech

TCU WON. The bowl was just one of four games this postseason to match up conference champions, with the Horned Frogs winning the Mountain West in their final season in the league. They had their hands full with the WAC champs largely due to their own mistakes that gave the Bulldogs extra chances before taking control on both sides of the ball in the 4th quarter. Louisiana Tech's defense played extremely well and the offense was solid but TCU just found a way to win.

HOW TCU WON: It was not a game won by TCU's trademark defense, which struggled all night with LaTech's aerial attack. The secondary had trouble against option routes and anything down the field. They played man-to-man a good portion of the night and were torched for a long Myles White touchdown that gave the Bulldogs the lead in the second half. The offense was fairly effective, with running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker getting up field for some nice gains and quarterback Casey Pachall did a good job on throwing intermediate routes. Special teams were not very good at all, with Brandon Carter muffing a punt that set up a later touchdown. Still, the offense got more creative in the final quarter and that was the difference in the game.

WHEN TCU WON: After Louisiana Tech quickly took the lead late in the 3rd quarter, TCU put together an impressive 18-play, 72-yard drive to tie the game - the team's longest scoring drive of the season in terms of time off the clock and number of plays. Thanks to good pressure by the front seven, the Horned Frogs forced a three-and-out then Pachall found Skye Dawson on a 42-yard touchdown pass after rolling out on third down to take a 31-24 lead to seal the win.

WHAT TCU WON: The win gave Patterson his seventh bowl victory and as head coach of the Horned Frogs and 109th overall, tying him with Dutch Meyer as TCU's all-time winningest coach. It also gives the program their 11th win of the season and sends them off to the Big 12 with an eight game winning streak.

WHAT LOUISIANA TECH LOST: It was a great second year for head coach Sonny Dykes, turning things around after an early funk by running off seven straight wins en route to the WAC title. Any coach will say there's no such thing as a moral victory but the Bulldogs competed in every single game this season and showed they were close to a top 15 program in TCU. There's plenty to like about the effort they gave Wednesday night, even if they ultimately have to go into the offseason with an "L" in their last game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Despite it being his first year as a full-time starter, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall set new school records for completions and yardage this season, passing Andy Dalton. Nothing will help the young team transition to Big 12 play like having an experienced signal-caller like Pachall.

FINAL GRADE: B-. There was a lot of sloppy play on both sides and plenty of missed opportunities. Given that it matched up two conference champions, one expected a close game but this was close because neither team could take advantage and deliver a knock out blow until TCU did late. It wasn't a terrible game but it wasn't a great one either. 


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Posted on: December 18, 2011 1:16 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 1:17 am
 

QUICK HITS: La. Lafayette 32 San Diego State 30

Posted by Tom Fornelli

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE WON. Wow, what a great way to end the first day of bowl season. After the Ragin' Cajuns jumped out to a 19-3 lead early in the third quarter, this game was looking as though it wouldn't provide much drama, but I guess it just wanted to wait as long as possible. San Diego State battled back in the fourth quarter and finally took the lead with 35 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Ryan Lindley to Colin Lockett.

Louisiana-Lafayette then got the ball back down 30-29 with no timeouts, but it didn't matter. The Cajuns marched down the field to set up a 50-yard field goal attempt, and Brett Baer picked a great time to kick the longest field goal of his life, sending Louisiana-Lafayette to a win.

WHY LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE WON. Well, you could say that the Cajuns won this game because they had the ball last, and while it would be partly true, it wouldn't be entirely fair either. You see, while San Diego State played strong in the second half, for the first 30 minutes of this game the Aztecs were a lethargic bunch. Whether it was because they didn't want to be there or was just another typical first half -- the Aztecs won 5 games this season in which they trailed during the first half -- for San Diego State, I'm not sure. But if the Aztecs played the first 30 minutes like they played the last 30, well, Louisiana-Lafayette may have never been in position to win this game.

WHEN LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE WON. As Brett Baer's 50-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired.

WHAT LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE WON. When you haven't been to a bowl game in 41 years, and you start the season widely considered to be one of, if not the worst team on the FBS level, you're going to want to win your bowl game. That was evident in the way the Cajuns played on Saturday night, and their effort resulted in the school's first ever bowl victory. A pretty nice thing to be a part of if you're a Ragin' Cajun.

WHAT SAN DIEGO STATE LOST. A chance to win its second consecutive bowl game, even after Brady Hoke left for Michigan. Still, an 8-5 season is nothing to be ashamed of for the Aztecs, so while the loss stings, I don't think it hurts too much.

THAT WAS CRAZY. This is Louisiana-Lafayette's strength coach. That's a bleeding wound on his head he suffered after apparently head-butting one of his own players. No, he felt no need to wipe the blood off. In fact, it was still there, all dried and caked on his face, in the fourth quarter.



GRADE: A. When it comes to these early bowl games featuring teams you're not used to watching on a regular basis, you can only ask for one thing: a close, entertaining game. And this one provided everything you wanted, including the lead changing hands twice in the final 35 seconds. What more could you want?
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com