Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:53 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
After breaking out in Syracuse's dramatic Pinstripe Bowl victory with 172 yards receiving and three touchdowns, Marcus Sales was an early favorite to be one of the primary offensive producers for the Orange in 2011. But Sales has been suspended indefinitely from the football program since a traffic stop led to multiple drug charges against the wide receiver. Those charges were dropped on Wednesday.
"It's good for marcus to have this legal process behind him," head coach Doug Marrone said in response to the news. "As you know, the university has a student judicial process. Until that is complete, I cannot discuss any details."
Sales was driving with his brother Michael, 25, when the pair were pulled over after Marcus ran a red light the night of July 29. Police reported finding an open container of alcohol, several baggies of marijuana, prescription medication, other baggies and digital scales.
The grand jury found enough evidence to accuse Michael Sales Jr. of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana. But there was not enough evidence that Marcus "knowingly possessed the illegal substances."
A university official confirmed to the Syracuse Post-Standard that Sales was enrolled in school for the fall semester. But the steps left for the wide receiver to return to the football field remain unclear. It is possible that with a year of NCAA eligibility left, Sales would search out options to finish a full season in 2012 or later. But until Sales or Marrone speak on the issue, there is little to report past speculation.
The good news here is that a promising wide receiver was able to clear his name and could possibly return to the football field on day.
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Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Don't look now, but this so-called "New York City" place might be on its way to mattering a bit in the world of college football.
That's the way New York Yankees president Randy Levine sees it, anyway. With Big East commissioner John Marinatto telling reporters that he would like his league to expand to 12 teams, schedule a championship game, and play it in the Big Apple, Levine was asked about his team's interest in hosting that title game.
He response? That he was "very" interested. With Marinatto already openly declaring "how great it would be" to have New York City be the site of the game, it seems the only thing holding the two parties back would be logistical details--and the game itself existing, of course, pending the conference's pursuit of what seems like half the FBS.
Even if still in the highly-speculative phase and years away from actually being held, a Big East championship game --even if just advanced to the concrete planning stage -- would further enhance Yankee Stadiums rapidly growing college football profile. Already home to the annual Pinstripe Bowl, the stadium played host to Army vs. Notre Dame in 2010 and will see the Black Knights take on Rutgers on Nov. 12 this season.
The city's never going to be Atlanta or South Bend or even, say, Miami. But making New York City the destination of choice for a revitalized 12-team Big East would make it something more than a little important for college football fans all the same.
Posted on: June 29, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 2:25 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Rogers Redding is the NCAA's new national coordinator of officials, a title the former SEC referee must be delighted to hold after years of officiating service both on the field and in an administrative capacity. But though he'd never admit so publicly, we're betting he wishes he'd come aboard before some other season.
Why? Because 2011 is the first year of the NCAA's new unsportsmanlike conduct celebration policy, in which taunting or other conduct penalties committed during play will be a live-ball foul -- and could result in touchdowns, even game-winning ones, being removed from the scoreboard.
College football fans (those of us here at Eye on CFB included) have been near-unanimous in decrying the rule change, worrying that overzealous officials could alter the outcome of a critical game over a bit of harmless exuberance. We'd hope Redding would take the opportunity of this interview with Rivals to reassure us that won't be the case ... but as it turns out, it sounds like he's just as worried as we are:
"That's my hope, that's my dream, that it will be so obvious to the entire world," Redding says. "There will be people who disagree with it. If there are 50 guys in a bar, if 45 say it's a great call, I'll be happy.If there's any encouragment to be found here, it's that Redding is promoting the fire-extinguisher-style "break touchdown-removal glass only in case of emergency" approach we'd all like him to promote. But it's troubling that he doesn't offer any assurances that his officials will take that approach. In fact, it sounds as if he'd like to preemptively pass the buck:
"It's really up to the players," Redding says. "If they do what they're supposed to do, we won't have a problem. If they make the choice they should make and that the coaches want to make, there won't be an issue. But there will be somebody. They're teenagers, for goodness sake."They are, which is why it's hard to think of last year's wretched celebration call against Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl and not think that it wasn't the player in that instance who failed to "do what he's supposed to do."
At the very least, dead-ball calls like that one against the Wildcats still won't result in six points getting yanked off the board. But what we want, as college football fans, is to enter this season with some confidence that that same trigger-happy attitude won't nullify a perfectly good score at the perfectly wrong time.
That even the national coordinator of officials admits he can't do more than "hope" for the same "dream" and pawn the problem off on the players doesn't exactly fill us with that confidence. It doesn't even come close.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:20 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Dennis Dodd posted his annual list of Hot Seat Ratings today, so if you haven't perused them all, do so at once. At once, I say! Right now, let's focus on some of the untouchables, the 32 coaches who scored a 0.0-0.5 rating. Suffice it to say none of them are getting fired this year (or even next) without a major, unforeseeable catastrophe befalling the program. But past that, what coaches are truly untouchable, and who's just still on a honeymoon? Here's a look at 15 of those coaches, five for each category in the schools' alphabetical order, listed with Dodd's hot seat ratings.
THE HONEYMOONERSGene Chizik, Auburn, 0.0: Hear me out. Chizik is absolutely a 0.0 on Dodd's scale this year, and he would be even if the NCAA somehow finds a way to make Auburn vacate the 2010 BCS Championship (though that seems extremely unlikely at this juncture). But Auburn is expected to struggle this year, and while it's easy now to say that the title has earned Chizik a five-year grace period, what happens if Gus Malzahn gets a high-major head coaching offer and Kiehl Frazier doesn't pan out? If Auburn struggles through two straight .500 seasons and Malzahn takes off, that 0.0 turns into a 2.0 pretty soon.
Will Muschamp, Florida, 0.5: Muschamp is one of the most dynamic and promising new head coaches in the last decade or so, but the fact remains that he's a 39-year-old, first-year head coach at a "win right now" program. Oh, and John Brantley is still his quarterback. If Muschamp can't get his Gators back above the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC East pecking order, his seat's going to ignite in a hurry.
Chip Kelly, Oregon, 0.0: The other coach coming off a 2010 BCS Championship berth also has two things working against him: a track record of only two seasons as head coach, and the possibility of major NCAA violations. For Kelly, the worry is more the latter than the former, and depending on where this business with Willie Lyles and Lache Seastrunk's recruitment ends up, Kelly could find himself in way more hot water than a 22-4 coach has any right to be. That's all "ifs" right now though, so for now, the honeymoon is still on.
Doug Marrone, Syracuse, 0.5: Marrone enters his third year with the Orange after guiding the once-proud program to a 36-34 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State last year -- Syracuse's first bowl win since 2001. He's got a solid core of skill players back, but the overall talent level at Syracuse is still low enough that a moderate rash of injuries could be enough to plunge Syracuse back to the level of 3-5 wins in 2011, and that's a good way to snap fans back into remembering that the Pinstripe Bowl is just... the Pinstripe Bowl. Marrone's still got a lot of work to do.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington, 0.5: Like Marrone, Sarkisian has performed the rather remarkable feat of turning around a program that had been mired in sub-mediocrity for the majority of the '00s. But like Marrone, the program's talent level isn't BCS-caliber yet, and unlike Marrone, Sark has to contend with losing a first-round draft pick senior quarterback, Jake Locker. Further, Washington's road schedule is brutal this year; the Huskies'll probably have to win at least two home games between California, Arizona, and Oregon just to get back to .500.
HAPPILY MARRIEDJimbo Fisher, Florida State, 0.5: That Bobby Bowden transition wasn't so bad after all, was it? That's because Fisher guided FSU to 10 wins in his very first year... unlike the last six years of the Bowden era. Seminole fans are going to start raising expectations to the levels of the mid-'90s, so four losses and an ACC Championship loss aren't going to cut it forever, but Fisher's recruiting well enough to restore FSU to glory quickly.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 0.5: How comfortably ensconced at Iowa is Ferentz? He's been coaching at Iowa for 12 years, and in seven of them, Iowa has suffered at least five losses. Ferentz runs a clean coaching staff, but there have been a couple isolated stretches of off-field embarrassments for the Hawkeyes -- and the rhabdo case certainly didn't help matters. But he's well-loved in Iowa City all the same, and the fact that he has turned down offers from Michigan and several NFL teams is not lost on Iowa fans or administrators. Moreover, his teams haven't been bad since his first two years on campus, and he's producing a double-digit win season once per three years; if he keeps that pace up, he'll be at Iowa for as long as he wants.
Charlie Strong, Louisville, 0.5: Strong has only been at Louisville for one season, but he's already got a winning season under his belt (unlike the disastrous reign of his predecessor, Steve Kragthorpe), and he's recruiting well enough (in particular, QB signee Teddy Bridgewater) to keep Louisville winning in perpetuity. If Strong leaves, it's because a powerhouse came calling; he's legit, and everybody at Louisville knows it. If he delivers a BCS win, you can move him into the last category here.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State, 0.5: Dantonio has been more successful at Michigan State than Nick Saban was. Mark Dantonio is therefore a better coach than Nick Saban. QED. If Dantonio can avoid any more health scares and start routinely challenging for Big Ten (sigh) Legends division championships, he's set for life in East Lansing. Easier said than done with Nebraska coming to town and Michigan likely to rebound from the recent swoon, though.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 0.5: Bo Pelini has done a fine job in his first three years as Nebraska head coach, and on first glance, it appears the young coach is the perfect candidate to lead the Huskers into the Big Ten. There's been an odd sense of impermanence from Pelini's stay at Nebraska though; it's unclear whether it comes from his tempermental sideline behavior (and his brother's) or his itinerant career thus far -- this fourth season as Huskers head coach makes this the longest coaching job Pelini has ever held. Whatever it is, he seems to lack the stable, staid nature of his longer-tenured fellow coaches. That's not insignificant; if a coach can make his fans and boosters believe he's got everything under control when things go south for a year or two, his seat can stay nice and cool for longer. Pelini is respected, but he's not quite there yet.
YOU'LL HAVE TO PRY THEM FROM OUR COLD DEAD HANDSNick Saban, Alabama, 0.0: Saban delivered a national championship to Tuscaloosa in his second year there, and his Crimson Tide have finished with three straight AP Top 10 finishes. He's the highest-paid coach in college football for a reason: he earns it.
Chris Peterson, Boise State, 0.5: Peterson basically ruined the WAC for everybody else, going 61-5 as Boise's head man. Sure, you can wonder where he'd be without Kellen Moore, but Peterson did beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl with Jared Zabransky behind center. Now that Utah and TCU are both running off to BCS conferences, expect Boise to dominate the Mountain West for as long as Peterson's there.
Chris Ault, Nevada, 0.0: If this scale could go into negative numbers, Ault would be at least a -10. He's a College Football Hall of Famer who has overseen Nevada's rise from Division II to the upper echelon of the FBS mid-majors. Ault is a true Nevada lifer: he played QB for the Wolfpack in the '60s, and he's on his 26th year as a head coach with the program (his 39th overall in some facet with the Nevada athletic department). He is never, ever, ever getting fired.
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern, 0.0: Fitzgerald just signed a contract extension that has 10 years on it, but is a de facto lifetime contract. He'll probably be in Evanston for at least the next 20 years. Seems crazy to say something like that about Northwestern football, doesn't it? But here it is and here we are.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 0.0: The Hokies owe as much to Beamer as just about any program and current coach in the country (other than the aforementioned Nevada and Ault or Penn State and Joe Paterno, who might as well get the school named after him upon retirement). When the ACC realigned in 2005 to include a championship game, the divisions were set up to ensure the possibility of Miami and FSU meeting every season. Instead, it's been Virginia Tech dominating the conference, appearing in four of six championship games and winning three. The ACC is Frank Beamer's conference, so the very notion of a hot seat for Beamer is essentially unimaginable.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Bo Pelini, Bobby Bowden, Boise State, California, Charlie Strong, Chip Kelly, Chris Ault, Chris Peterson, Doug Marrone, Fiesta Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Florida State, Frank Beamer, Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn, Hot Seat Rankings, Iowa, Jake Locker, Jared Zabransky, Jimbo Fisher, Joe Paterno, John Brantley, Kansas State, Kellen Moore, Kiehl Frazier, Kirk Ferentz, Lache Seastrunk, Louisville, Mark Dantonio, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Nevada, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-12, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Pinstripe Bowl, Rhabdomyolysis, SEC, South Carolina, Steve Kragthorpe, Steve Sarkisian, Syracuse, TCU, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington, Will Muschamp, Willie Lyles
Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:11 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
From the department of news that goes far beyond "good" comes this bulletin: the brain tumor afflicting former Syracuse punter Rob Long (which kept him out of his expected career finale in the Pinstripe Bowl) is entirely gone, as the Syracuse Post-Standard reports:
An MRI taken Friday of Long’s brain shows no more signs of a tumor.Though Long will continue to be monitored for any sign of the disease, the news at this point is nothing but positive.
In fact, it's so positive that Long -- a four-year starter at punter for the Orange and a universally respected team captain and leader -- is back in training for a possible tryout with an NFL team. And after Long so thoroughly kicked that tumor's [rear end], who's going to doubt him?
Posted on: December 30, 2010 8:16 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 8:19 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Ask any defender of the bowl system why college football shouldn't ditch bowl games for a playoff and one of their reasons will be that the bowl games are a reward for the players who work so hard during the season. They're right, too. The bowl games are a reward for the players. A vacation to enjoy themselves and have some fun before the year comes to an end.
Just as long as they don't have any of that fun on the field, apparently.
What was a very entertaining first edition of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium was marred on Thursday evening when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn for what was deemed a celebration after scoring a touchdown in the final minutes. That celebration was a military-style salute to the crowd after scoring the touchdown that brought his team to within two points and gave Kansas State a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.
Instead the Wildcats were backed up 15 yards and forced to go for two from the 18-yard line. An incomplete pass later, and Syracuse left the Bronx with a 36-34 win.
It was a terrible call, and at possibly the worst time it could have been made. Kansas State fans, and college football fans have every right to be angry with the official who made the call, and reportedly told Hilburn "wrong choice, buddy" as he threw the flag. Still, we can all be as angry with the official as we want to be, but I worry that we might be shooting the messenger here.
Yes, it was a terrible call, but the penalty wasn't what's truly terrible about all of this. The fact that a player celebrating a touchdown is illegal in the first place is what's truly terrible.
These are kids out there on the playing field, are they not? Maybe the NCAA and the schools forget that from time to time because they're so busy counting the money that these kids make for them. It's because of this stupid rule that a kid goes from the elation he was feeling for possibly saving the day for his teammates to wanting to crawl under a rock knowing that he just cost those teammates the game.
Is this the lesson that the NCAA is trying to teach its student-athletes?
I mean, I know that college football is big business. Hell, listen to any coach leading up to a bowl game and he'll tell you that his team is taking the approach that the bowl game is a "business trip." It's just I fear we've reached the point where we've forgotten that football is a game, and that college football is a game being played by college kids. For our entertainment.
If the NCAA wants its student-athletes to start behaving like professionals, then maybe the NCAA should start paying them like they're professionals.
Posted on: December 30, 2010 7:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Syracuse rides Delone Carter, Marcus Sales and some help from the refs to beat Kansas State 38-36 in first ever Pinstripe Bowl
Offense: Syracuse did not come into this game with the reputation as a strong offense, as the Orange averaged only 21.0 points a game this season. Still, a funny thing happens when you have a running back like Delone Carter and are facing one of the worst run defenses in the country: you rack up yards like there's no tomorrow. The Syracuse offense put up 498 yards of total offense on the day, led by Carter's 202 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Nassib also found his groove after playing poorly down the stretch of the season, to throw for 240 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
All three of Nassib's touchdown passes went to Marcus Sales, who only had one touchdown during the season, and wasn't even listed on the depth chart before the year started. Sales finished the day with 5 catches for 172 yards. Grade: A
Defense: Much like its offense, Syracuse's defense took on an alternate personality in Yankee Stadium. Syracuse only gave up 13.1 points a game during the season, but life is a bit different when you step out of the Big East apparently. Still, even though Kansas State put up a lot of points, the Syracuse defense played a bit better than it looks.
First of all, holding a Kansas State offense that averaged over 200 yards on the ground per game to 120 yards and 3.3 yards a carry is nothing to be ashamed of. No doubt the Syracuse game plan was to stuff the Wildcats ground attack and force them to air it out, which they did, but had probably been hoping they could do a better job of containing the passing game. Grade: C
Coaching: Doug Marrone took the leash off his offense and let the kids play a bit in this one, and it worked out very well for the Orange. From flea-flickers to reverses, to being smart enough to pound KSU into submission with Delone Carter, I can't find much in Syracuse's gameplan to complain about. Grade: A
Offense: Much like Syracuse, Kansas State didn't have a lot of trouble finding the end zone in this game. What was surprising, however, was to see Chase Coffman have so much success throwing the ball. I had thought that Kansas State would be better served with Collin Klein at quarterback in this game, and it turns out I was wrong.
Coffman completed 17-of-23 passes for 229 yards and a couple touchdowns.
The problem for the Wildcats was that aside from his 51-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game, Daniel Thomas was virtually non-existent. Yes, he finished with 3 touchdowns, but following that first run, Thomas had only 38 yards on 20 carries. When he struggles like that, Kansas State isn't going to win a lot of games. Grade: B
Defense: Did Kansas State play defense during this game? I'm having some trouble remembering plays in which it did.
Seriously, Kansas State's defense wasn't anything to be proud of all season, and it wasn't on Thursday as well. When you allow an offense that had been as lackluster as Syracuse's to pick up nearly 500 yards of offense, well, there's only one grade you deserve. Grade: F
Coaching: Bill Snyder. I love what you've done for Kansas State in your career, but you made some questionable decisions in this one. While I loved the call to run the option on fourth and goal early in the fourth quarter, the fake field goal you ran later in the quarter when down five just didn't do it for me. You know that touchdown you scored in the final minutes that the refs jobbed you on -- more on that in a bit -- and cost you a chance to send the game to overtime? Yeah, well had you just kicked that field goal, the refs wouldn't have factored into the game and you'd have won. Grade: C
Seriously, refs? A personal foul in the final minutes after Adrian Hilburn scored a touchdown to bring Kansas State within two points? Really? Was a salute to the crowd actually enough to warrant a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call, and force Kansas State to go for two from the 18-yard line? I hope it was for you, because I fear that what was a very good game will only be remembered for your boneheaded call at the end of it.
But, hey, at least you kept the kids from having any fun in their bowl game, right? That's why we have these bowl games, isn't it? As a reward for the players?
Final Grade: This game was not the crispest football game we've seen this year, but as far as the bowl games have gone, this was one of the more entertaining affairs for both the fans and viewers. It's just unfortunate that a terrible call by the referees had such a dramatic impact on the outcome. Still, even with that happening, I'm going to base this grade on the first 58 minutes and 46 seconds. Grade: A-
Posted on: December 27, 2010 2:15 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2010 2:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series. Read our preview for today's Independence Bowl here.
The Basics: Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5), Dec. 30, 3:20pm EST
Why You Should Watch: Because don't you want to be able to tell your children and grandchildren someday that you were there, at home, to watch the first ever New Era Pinstripe Bowl inside the legendary two-year old -- it may be 22 years old by then -- Yankee Stadium? Who could pass that opportunity up? Plus, given the latest weather patterns to hit New York this week, the game could be played under two feet of snow.
Keys to Victory for Kansas State: It seems pretty generic to say it, but it's true. In order for Kansas State to beat Syracuse the Wildcats are going to have to win the battle up front on offense. Syracuse has a strong defensive line anchored by defensive tackles Bud Tribbey and Andrew Lewis. The interior of KSU's line, which has been strong all season, will have to neutralize those two and get to the second level and take linebackers Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue out of the equation.
This will be a key for Daniel Thomas to find room, and the more successful that Daniel Thomas is, the more successful Kansas State generally is.
It's likely that Kansas State will also feature backup QB Collin Klein a bit in this game as well. He saw a lot more playing time towards the end of the season, and he's more athletic and elusive than Carson Coffman is, and at times looked unstoppable. It will be important for Kansas State to be successful on the ground because its passing attack has been suspect this season, and Syracuse is strong in pass coverage.
Keys to Victory for Syracuse: It's not exactly a secret that Syracuse's strength is its defense. The Orange are ranked only 99th in the country with 21.0 points per game, but are ranked 13th in the nation on defense, allowing only 18.1 points per game.
That formula shouldn't change in this game, but Syracuse does have a chance to be a bit more successful on offense. Particularly in the rushing game, as Kansas State has been pretty underwhelming against the run on defense this season. So Syracuse's best bet would be to feed the ball to Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey and pound the Wildcats defense into submission.
There may be room for Syracuse to throw the ball a bit better than they have this season, but Ryan Nassib doesn't have many options around him and he can be a bit slow in making a decision. So Syracuse would be better served to pick its spots in the passing game, and let Carter and Bailey carry the load.
The Pinstripe Bowl is like: an actual baseball game at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and Red Sox. Not because this is such a strong rivalry, or because the stands will be packed, but because the final score is likely going to be 14-13 and the game will take over four hours.