Tag:North Texas
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 2:10 pm

SEC Poll Reactions, Week 3

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to its bottom, and what it means.

LSU/ALABAMA. Back and forth we go. A week after the Tide leapfrogged the Bayou Bengals in the AP poll by the slimmest of margins, LSU's overwhelming defensive performance on the road in Starkville -- and in Thursday night prime-time -- was enough to push them back ahead in the media balloting. Alabama couldn't have been much more dominant than they were in thumping North Texas 41-0 ... but with the game airing on regional pay-per-view, did enough media get a look at it?

In any case, the coaches didn't mind; though the Tigers collected five first-place votes to the Tide's four, Alabama's 38-point margin only shrunk to 29. And it's not like the Tide won't have a chance to surge back in front -- possibly for good -- when they tangle with Arkansas in the league's highest-profile game to-date this Saturday.

SOUTH CAROLINA. It's not an easy trick to fall two spots in one poll and rise one space in the other, but after the Gamecocks' 24-21 escape against Navy, Carolina managed it. Only eight points separate teams 10 through 12 in the media poll, but unfortunately for the Gamecocks, they wound up team No. 12, five points behind Florida State and three more behind Oregon.

On the one hand, the Gamecocks can't complain too much when they struggle so badly with a lesser opponent like the Midshipmen. On the other, the four teams defeated by the Seminoles and Ducks so far this season are ULM, Charleston Southern, Nevada and Missouri State--as strong as the teams FSU and Oregon lost to are, should they really be ranked ahead of an undefeated team with two wins (Navy and Georgia) stronger than any claimed by the two teams in front of them?

The Coaches would seem to agree; the Seminoles dropped to No. 14 and the Gamecocks moved up a slot to No. 11.

ARKANSAS. The poll-vs.-poll debate regarding Florida State also affected the Hogs. With the Coaches dropping the 'Noles to 14, the Hogs got a one-spot bump from 13 to 12; the AP keeping FSU up at No. 11 meant the Hogs likewise stayed at 14. Given the cupcake-laden slate the Hogs have faced thus far (and their struggles with Troy), though, it's hard to argue Arkansas deserves to be any higher.

FLORIDA. No SEC team has made a more consistent charge up the ballots than the Gators, who after their decisive win over Tennessee have reached the No. 15 spot in both polls. But with the 14 teams in front of them all members of the preseason top 15, the Gators may have hit their ceiling until a few more losses open things up. (Which is not to say that's how it should be; having seen off a quality team in the Vols, the same complaints regarding Carolina vs. Oregon and Florida State apply here, too.)

EVERYBODY ELSE. With Auburn falling to Clemson and Mississippi State dismissed so rudely by LSU, the SEC can still claim a full third of the top 15--but after starting the season with eight teams of the polls, those first five teams are now the only ones to still make the top 25 cut. Auburn is the only team even close, ranking "No. 27" in the AP.

And frankly, that's the way it should be. With the Tigers so unimpressive in getting clubbed by their South Carolinian mascot equivalents, the Vols unable to survive the Swamp, and Vanderbilt not yet proven top-25 caliber (though we applaud the 'Dores for picking up a handful of votes in both polls), the next SEC team to make the ballot will have to prove it belongs.

Posted on: September 18, 2011 1:44 am

What I Learned in the SEC, Week 3

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Until proven otherwise, yes, Arkansas is a step behind LSU and Alabama. Thursday, the Bayou Bengals put together what we'd confidently call the most impressive defensive performance by any FBS team this season. Saturday, well, Alabama didn't do a whole lot in their 41-0 workout against North Texas. But we know what the Tide are capable of with that defense, as the previous week's throttling of Penn State proved.

But Arkansas? Their Saturday performance against Troy might be the first one by any of the consensus top three teams in the West you could legitimately describe as "disappointing." After scrimmages against FCS Missouri State and FBS-in-name-only New Mexico, the Trojans were the first Hog opponent of the year capable of doing much more than meekly rolling over ... and Troy did much more than that in Fayetteville, rolling to 457 total yards (three more than the Hogs) and cutting a 31-7 deficit to 31-21 midway through the third quarter. Bobby Petrino's teams made major mistakes on both sides of the ball, turning it over three times on offense -- including a pick-six from Tyler Wilson -- and allowing the Trojans seven plays of 20 yards or more.

It might be just a one-week fluke; it might be the Hogs looking ahead to next week's showdown against the Tide; it might be something more serious. Whatever it is, it's the kind of sloppiness we haven't seen yet from the Tide or Tigers--and reason enough to doubt the Hogs can upset the LSU-Alabama apple cart until they do.

Florida is a frightening, frightening football team. The old adage says that to win in the SEC, you have to run and stop the run, and everything else will take care of itself. So maybe it's time to start taking the Gators as a serious conference contender--and not just on the East divisional side of things. Defensively, Will Muschamp's team held Tennessee to minus-9 yards on the ground and their tailbacks to less than two yards a carry; offensively, they netted 134 themselves with Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey averaging 5 yards an attempt.

No doubt there will be stronger running games to shut down and stronger front sevens to run against down the road. But as long as Florida stays anywhere near this productive on the ground, their hat will remain in the ring.

Houston Nutt is on the hottest seat in the SEC. It's one thing to lose to Vanderbilt; the Commodores don't do it often, but occasionally they do leap up like those crocodiles in a Discovery Channel documentary about African water holes and drag some unsuspecting SEC wildebeest into the mud. And with James Franklin having instilled a stunning amount of confidence in the downtrodden 'Dores and NFL-bound corner Casey Hayward leading one of the league's best secondaries (one that now has three pick-sixes in three weeks), that's an occurrence you can expect to happen more often.

But to lose to Vandy 30-7? To go without a single point against Vandy for 57 minutes? To be outgained by the 'Dores by 153 yards? There's no other word for it than "embarrassment," one that without question ranks along the very lowest points of the Ed Orgeron era. Nutt's biggest misstep has been his butchering of the Rebel quarterback situation; after waffling all offseason between Randall Mackey and Barry Brunetti, Nutt seemed to settle on JUCO Zack Stoudt against BYU on little more than a whim. Stoudt responded by fumbling away that game, then topping himself with five interceptions Saturday in Nashville.

With the Rebel offense in total disarray and what seems like the team's only potential SEC win on the road (at Kentucky in November), an Oregeron-esque 0-8 mark in the conference -- and a 2-10 or 3-9 overall record -- is entirely in play. And as much support as Nutt earned in his back-to-back Cotton Bowl seasons, last year's loss to Jacksonville State and Saturday's horrorshow has burned through virtually all of it with the Rebel fanbase ... and maybe even Nutt's boss. When Georgia comes to Oxford next week, Mark Richt will clearly need a win in almost the worst possible way. But we'd argue Nutt will, somehow, need one even more badly.

Auburn's defense is even worse than it should be. Yes, the Tigers are ridiculously, fatally young. Yes, Clemson is loaded with explosive playmakers that will give more veteran units fits, too. Yes, the up-tempo nature of Gus Malzahn's offense --particularly when it struggles, as it did for the final two-and-a-half quarters Saturday -- puts a hefty portion of extra pressure on that defense.

But that's still no excuse for numbers like Clemson's 14-of-18 mark on third-down conversions or 624 total yards, numbers far beyond what Dabo Swinney's squad managed against either Troy or Wofford. While Ted Roof is public enemy No. 1 among Auburn fans right now, Gene Chizik also has some questions to answer. As many, many positive things as he's done at Auburn (for which he's rarely received enough credit), Chizik also has yet to translate the acumen that made him such a successful assistant into any kind of defensive consistency on the Plains.

South Carolina hasn't put it together yet. A week after edging Georgia as much on Georgia's fatal mistakes as the Gamecocks' own play, Carolina needed a last-minute stop to hold off Navy. The talent in Columbia demands that the Gamecocks remain the SEC East favorites, but they haven't played like it yet.

Kentucky's bowl streak is in serious, serious jeopardy. With the Wildcats unable to overcome an inexperienced Louisville team in Lexington, it's a difficult, difficult thing to find four more wins on the UK schedule. Jacksonville State, you'd hope. Home to Ole Miss, sure. And after that? Best of luck, Joker Phillips.

Posted on: September 17, 2011 11:03 pm

QUICK HITS: No. 2 Alabama 41, North Texas 0

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It amounted to little more than a light scrimmage for the Tide, but Nick Saban's team handled its business in its typically professional manner, outgaining the Mean Green 586-169 and holding them without a point. And in the weekly "how good is AJ McCarron?" watch, the Tide starter under center went a solid 15-of-21 for 190 yards and -- most importantly -- no interceptions.

WHY ALABAMA WON: We'll go with the decades of winning tradition yielding the kind of multi-million dollar budget and five-star-packed roster that teams like North Texas can only dream of, first and foremost. But as for specific on-field advantages tonight, nowhere was the Tide more dominant than at the running back position. No matter who you play, two tailbacks collecting 328 yards on just 20 carries -- an average of 16.4 yards per-attempt -- is mighty impressive.

Those were the numbers for Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, with both players breaking loose for emphatic long scores; Richardson went to the house from 58 and 71 yards, Lacy from 43 and 67. Richardson's 167 yards, 3 touchdownss, and 15.2 yard average would do a lot of good for his Heisman campaign ... but he likely could have done even more for it if Lacy's strong play didn't continue to demand a chunk of carries that might otherwise go to the starter.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: When Jeremy Shelley kicked a short field goal with 9:56 left in the first quarter. North Texas could have played for the better part of a month against the Tide starters without scoring.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: A healthy portion of rest for the starters, and only a week before the Tide open their SEC schedule against highly dangerous Arkansas. And maybe just that extra ounce of preparation and confidence for McCarron as he gets ready for the biggest game of his young career.

Posted on: September 17, 2011 5:25 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 5:28 am

Game day weather updates, Week 3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Pretty chilly this morning, eh? Yep -- that's football weather. We've got a lot of games on today's schedule of Top 25 teams. A LOT of games. Almost seems like it practically doesn't matter whether a program schedules a tough opponent or a cupcake in the non-conference, doesn't it? At any rate, not much bad weather on the horizon today, but summer's sure not sticking around this year. Happy tailgating/game-going!

Noon kickoffs

No. 21 Auburn at Clemson, 12:00, Clemson, SC: Mid 60s, overcast

No. 18 West Virginia at Maryland, 12:00, College Park, MD: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

Afternoon kickoffs

Louisiana-Monroe at No. 23 TCU, 2:00, Fort Worth, TX: Mid 80s, mostly cloudy

Tennessee at No. 16 Florida, 3:30, Gainesville, FL: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms

Washington at No. 11 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Lower 60s, cloudy, storms

No. 7 Wisconsin at Northern Illinois, 3:30, DeKalb, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Missouri State at No. 12 Oregon, 3:30, Eugene, OR: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 23 Texas at UCLA, 3:30, Los Angeles, CA: Lower 70s, clear

No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Arkansas State at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 4:00, Blacksburg, VA: Lower 60s, mostly cloudy

Evening kickoffs

Navy at No. 10 South Carolina, 6:00, Columbia, SC: Lower 60s, cloudy, light rain

Florida A&M at No. 20 South Florida, 7:00, Tampa, FL: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, storms

No. 22 Arizona State at Illinois, 7:00, Champaign, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Stephen F. Austin at No. 19 Baylor, 7:00, Waco, TX: Lower 90s, mostly cloudy

Idaho at No. 9 Texas A&M, 7:00, College Station, TX: Upper 80s, partly cloudy

No. 17 Ohio State at Miami, 7:30, Miami Gardens, FL: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, rain

North Texas at No. 2 Alabama, 7:30, Tuscaloosa, AL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy

Troy at No. 14 Arkansas, 7:30, Fayetteville, AR: Lower 70s, cloudy, storms

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State, 8:00, Tallahassee, FL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy

Late night kickoffs 

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Tulsa, 10:00, Tulsa, OK: Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, storms

No. 6 Stanford at Arizona, 10:45, Tucson, AZ: Lower 70s, clear

Posted on: September 14, 2011 6:53 pm

SEC RapidReport Roundup, 9/14: Gators ready

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Running down everything you need to know from the week's news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters.

FLORIDA. Just in time for the Gators to face their first opponent of 2011 with a definable pulse -- and judging by their comprehensive smackdown of Cincinnati, Tennessee has more than just a pulse at the moment -- Will Muschamp will have his most complete roster to date. Defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd will officially be in uniform after serving his NCAA-mandated two-game suspension, and running back Jeff Demps will be able to go after missing most of the Gators' drubbing of UAB with a shoulder problem.

"He's fine," Muschamp said of Demps. "He's playing. He's been practicing." The one question mark is backup linebacker Dee Finley, arrested earlier this week on multiple misdemeanor charges; Muschamp would not say whether Finley had been suspended or not.

TENNESSEE. On the other side of the rivalry, Derek Dooley has several nicked-up players -- including pivotal defensive back Prentiss Waggner -- practicing in non-contact jerseys, but only as a "precautionary" measure. For senior starting defensive end Ben Martin, though, even a precautionary non-contact jersey would be an improvement; an ankle injury means Dooley would "like to get 15 plays from him" but may have to keep him on the sideline entirely.

In other Vol lineup news, struggling freshman Justin Coleman is holding off senior Art Evans at starting corner ... for now. On the scheduling front, Tennessee will play third-year FCS program Georgia State in 2012.

AUBURN. Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris, the offensive coordinator for Auburn Week 3 opponent Clemson, have something unusual in common besides their similar schemes: both came up through the high school coaching ranks. Malzahn hopes the matchup will help other teams look at high school coaches when filling out their staffs. "Hopefully, things like this will give more high school coaches opportunities that we've been fortunate enough to both have," Malzahn said.

The Tigers have been using as many as 12 defensive linemen and won't change those plans against Clemson, though redshirt freshman end Justin Delaine's season-ending knee injury may limit that number by one. True freshman kickoff returner Tre Mason is hoping Clemson kicks to him after Mississippi State began using squib kicks last week.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Despite the Gamecocks' 2-0 record, Steve Spurrier isn't thrilled with his team's defense. "We don’t look like we know what we are doing or we have some bad players, one or the other," he said. "I have been reading about all these great athletes we have on defense, but we don’t play great that’s for sure right now." He had similar comments for his wide receivers, who he said "are getting a lot of publicity, but need to start doing something." Wideouts other than Alshon Jeffery have combined for only five receptions so far this season.

Despite the Gamecocks' struggles in the passing game (on both sides of the ball), Spurrier said he won't be rotating Stephen Garcia with Connor Shaw. "The competition was over," Spurrier said. "[Garcia]’s got every opportunity to take us as far as he can because we firmly believe he’s our best quarterback on the team."

ELSEWHERE: Alabama senior wide receiver Darius Hanks will return for the Tide's meeting with North Texas after missing the first two weeks with a redshirting issue. "I don’t think his transition back will be a problem," Nick Saban said ... Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden is surprisingly already practicing again after his broken ankle was found to be only a hairline fracture. Bolden could see the field as early as this week ...

Mississippi State
head coach Dan Mullen says his players have practiced "angry" this week after last week's loss to Auburn. "They felt we should have won that football game," he said ... As for the Bulldogs' Thursday night opponent, LSU head coach Les Miles would not rule out backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger making an apparance after a successful debut against Northwestern State. "I would anticipate playing Jarrett Lee really start to finish," Miles said, but added "You just never can tell when you may turn to him and see if we can get a hot hand and go." Lee is nursing an ankle injury but should be fine against MSU ...

Starting Georgia safety Shawn Williams could get a look at inside linebacker after the position has been hard-hit by injuries ... Vanderbilt's surprising recruiting renaissance has continued with the commitment of a top-25 wide receiver from Minnesota.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:32 pm

CBSSports.com Heisman Hopefuls, Week 2

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The all-seeing, all-knowing experts here at the Eye on College Football (and CBSSports.com's equally all-knowing Adam Aizer) have voted, and here is the first Heisman Hopefuls breakdown of the season.

Our collective ballot's top five looks like this:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
(37-of-54, 461 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT)
2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (28-of-34, 261 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; no game last week)
3. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor (21-of-27, 359 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT; 38 yards rush; no game last week)
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (148 rush yards, 3.8 YPC, 5 TD; 35 yards receiving)
5. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (35-of-47, 375 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; no game last week)

Five other players received at least one vote across our six ballots, which, again, you can see here. Breaking down the race:

WHO'S NO. 1? Luck's stats aren't quite as over-the-moon as you might expect from a Heisman front-runner who'd faced a pair of patsy defenses in San Jose State and Duke (he's currently 20th in passer rating, after finishing third a year ago), but the weak opposition also means the Cardinal haven't had to ride their future No. 1 overall draft pick all that hard, either. It's too early for most of us to back a horse in this race other than the favorite.

WATCH OUT FOR: Jones. The senior Sooner's precision performance against Tulsa might have drawn more notice if it wasn't the sort of outing we've come to expect from whoever lines up under center for OU ... and if it hasn't come against Tulsa. But if Jones repeats those kind of numbers in a road victory this Saturday against Florida State, there won't be any shortage of attention thrown his way.

OVERLOOKED? Your current national leader in total offense? Houston's Case Keenum, bearing down on the all-time NCAA passing record after throwing the Cougars to a 38-34 Week 1 win over UCLA and shredding North Texas for 458 yards in a 48-23 win Week 2. It still wasn't enough for Keenum to appear on any of our six ballots, though, not with so many outstanding quarterbacks -- most of which have faced stiffer competition -- in front of him.

OVERRATED? Obviously this opinion isn't shared by all the voters, and it's still early enough that it makes some sense to vote on pure talent and potential -- which Trent Richardson has in overabundance -- rather than production. But Richardson's statistics simply aren't at Heisman levels just yet; he's lagging 140 total rushing yards behind Marcus Lattimore, for instance, and averaging a full two yards less per-carry than the Gamecock back. Much of that is sitting for most of the second half in his team's rout of Kent State, and maybe even more of it is an offensive line that Tide observers say hasn't lived up to its billing just yet. But sooner rather than later, Richardson will have to put up some bigger numbers (especially in the per-carry average department) to keep pace.

DEFENSIVE NOMINEE OF THE WEEK: We all know a defensive player has a chance of winning the Heisman somewhere between zero and lottery ticket, so each week we'll use this spot to highlight a defender who deserves some kind of a nod. This week's honoree: Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who after two weeks aleady has 11 more tackles than any other player in the nation. Maybe he can play both ways for the sputtering Eagle offense?
Posted on: September 12, 2011 3:33 pm

Duron Carter still not cleared to play at Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Last week was supposed to be the week for Duron Carter, Alabama's much-hyped JUCO wide receiver transfer. The former Ohio State Buckeye and son of Cris Carter was finally supposed to hit the field after a long fall awaiting his eventual NCAA clearance, finally supposed to show some glimmer of the potential that has him rumored to be the Tide's potential gamebreaker at wideout.

That didn't happen; in fact, the school announced just before kickoff that Carter didn't even make the trip to Penn State. Per that announcement, Alabama is "awaiting documents necessary for Duron to be certified. Until those documents are received, Duron may continue practicing with the team, but he cannot compete in a game."

Not surprisingly, Saban's typically tight-lipped Monday press conference did nothing to clear up Carter's situation. "Don't even ask," he told reporters. "You'll be the first to know when we get the information, if we get the information."

And with that, Carter's chances of ever making a substantial impact on this 2011 Tide season become that much slimmer. Thanks to the eligibility concerns that held him out of all but the tail end of fall camp, Carter was already behind in getting up to speed on his assignments and game-readiness, and Saban's staff has never been one to casually throw an unprepared player (no matter how talented) into the fray. The good news for Carter was that the early-season slate of Kent State and Sept. 17 opponent North Texas should have given him ample opportunity to prove himself reliable before the Tide's critical Week 4 showdown with Arkansas.

But with Carter's eligiblity apparently still to be resolved, it's entirely possible Carter won't be able to take so much as a single snap before the Tide hit the meat of their SEC schedule. If that's the case, how much will Saban be willing to risk on an untested first-year player?

The answer might come down to how badly the Tide's receiving corps seem to need him. And right now, an extra weapon like Carter looks like he'd certainly come in handy. Though senior Marquis Maze has established himself as a legitimate No. 1 option with 12 catches (several of them of the highlight reel variety) and 160 yards, no other Tide wide receiver has more than DeAndrew White's four receptions and 44 yards ... and all four of them came in Week 1 vs. the Golden Flashes.

Thanks to the Tide's brutalizing defense and patented running game, Maze's efforts alone might be enough to raise the Tide passing game to the point where an effective Carter isn't needed for a national title. But we don't know that yet, and the longer Carter is forced to sit, the less likely it becomes he will be that effective if he is needed to take the Tide over the top.
Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:42 pm

LaMichael James headlines Doak Walker watch list

Posted by Chip Patterson

Keeping the watch lists coming here at the Eye on College Football, with the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announcing the initial list for the prestigious Doak Walker Award. The award, which was first given to Washington's Greg Lewis in 1990, celebrates the nation's top running back.

Oregon running back LaMichael James won the award last season, and he is back on the watch list for 2011. In the award's history, only two players have won in back-to-back years: Ricky Williams (1997-1998) and Darren McFadden (2006-2007).

Here is the rest of the watch list, which will continue accepting nominations through October

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com