Tag:Texas A&M
Posted on: August 4, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Future programs of the Longhorn Network

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Thursday the new and controversial Longhorn Network announced a slate of programming that it will begin airing in the coming weeks. On the whole there's nothing all that groundbreaking in the lineup. There will be a show in which Mack Brown talks with Vince Young, Ricky Williams and Colt McCoy. There's also a look back at the 2005 national championship season, and your standard greatest games fare.

Being the visionary that I am, however, I decided to take a peak into my crystal ball to get a glimpse at what the Longhorn Network will be showing a little over a year from now. Let me tell you, there's going to be some must-see television going on.

High School Football - It's just like Friday Night Lights, except without a script, Connie Britton and every game ending on an unrealistic, last-second touchdown. What it will have, though, is plenty of Texas recruits.

The Departure - A five-part documentary series highlighting all the comings and goings in College Station as Texas A&M packs its bags and moves to the SEC.  You won't want to miss the episode where DeLoss Dodds and Bill Byrne run into each other at a local grocery store and let the expletives and produce fly.

Crying All Night with Don Beebe - A late night talk show that is shown every weeknight in which Don Beebe sits behind a desk and cries as his conference dissolves around him. His co-host DeLoss Dodds then consoles him while interviewing special guests!

Mack Daddy - Have you ever seen some of the lovely co-eds who call beautiful Austin, Texas home? Well now you have the chance to date them! Join Texas head coach Mack Brown as he hosts a game show that is a cross between The Match Game and Flavor of Love!

Major's Malfunctions - A refreshing family sitcom starring Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. While Major has his problems with Garrett Gilbert at work, the trouble doesn't really start until he returns home to his sassy wife and two small children!

Aggie Rehab - Hosted by Dr. Drew, former Texas A&M fans move into a house where together they all try and overcome their love of Texas A&M and turn their lives around. Incredibly moving, sad and uplifting all at the same time.

Call your cable operators now!
Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whatever you think about preseason polls -- such as the USA Today Coaches version, released earlier today -- the one thing you cannot argue is that they don't matter. For Oklahoma and Alabama, the news became official today that if they win all their games this 2011 season, they will be in the BCS national championship game--no ifs, ands, or buts. And though they'll start the season No. 4, the same can now be said of LSU, since they'll face two of the three teams ranked ahead of them.

So with that fact about their importance in mind, it's time to break down where each of the SEC's 12 teams landed in (or outside of) the first Coaches Poll of the year, and decide whether the pollsters placed them too high, or too low, or just right:

ALABAMA (No. 2): So much for defense winning championships, apparently. The Tide allowed a full half-yard less per-play than the Sooners did in 2011 (ranking seventh in the FBS to Oklahoma's 33rd) and return 10 defensive starters, while Oklahoma has said good-bye to All-American safety Quinton Carter and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Beal. There's also the little matter of Nick Saban's recent defensive pedigree over the much, much iffier Sooners'.

Given that Saban is still deciding between two inexperienced quarterbacks while the Sooners return Heisman candidate Landry Jones, we can understand the coaches' thinking here. But we don't agree with it.

Verdict? Even at No. 2, too low.

LSU (No. 4): It's not often you see the nation's 86th-ranked offense rewarded with the No. 4 ranking the following season, but such is the buzz surrounding the Tigers after their bludgeoning of Texas A&M in last year's Cotton Bowl.

But until Jordan Jefferson proves he's as improved as he appeared to be that night in Dallas and the new (and, unfortunately, newly reshuffled) offensive staff prove they're genuinely capable of putting all the Bayou Bengals' weapons to use, we're still foreseeing a lot of tight, competitive, coin-flip-style ball games. And as excellent as Les Miles is in those kinds of contests, that's still not the recipe for the one-loss season required to finish in the final top-five.

Verdict? Top 10 makes sense, but top 5 is too high.

SOUTH CAROLINA  (No. 12): There's no question that with Stephen Garcia back in the fold, the Gamecocks have the talent to live up to this lofty billing. And the schedule, while difficult, isn't that difficult; no LSU or Alabama means trips to Georgia and Arkansas are the trickiest dates on the slate. If Carolina can survive the week 2 trip to Athens, a 10- or even 11-win season beckons.

Of course, the Gamecocks have also been the kind of program that traditionally loses trap games like their roadies at Mississippi State or Tennessee, so it's also possible they drop three or four regular-season games and wind up nowhere near No. 12. Splitting the difference seems reasonable.

Verdict? About right.

ARKANSAS (No. 14): We'll make this simple: a talented, veteran defense opposite a Bobby Petrino offense featuring his long sought-after plowhorse running back and the nation's best wide receiving corps? They're going to be really, really good. 10-2 good, second straight BCS bowl berth good, we're thinking.

Verdict? Too low.

AUBURN (No. 19): As we mentioned earlier today, the old adage that you shouldn't drop the previous No. 1 until they lose might suggest the Tigers have been slapped in the face being as low as No. 19. And indeed, no defending national champion has been ranked this low to start the season since Minnesota went unranked in the 1961 preseason top 20.

But almost none of those defending national champions have faced either the kind of talent exodus the Tigers do or the savage slate that sees Auburn face all seven of the other SEC teams in the poll. If Gene Chizik can win the nine games that are likely necessary to finish the season in the top 20, he'll have done nearly as good a job as he did in 2010.

Verdict? It's a nice gesture towards the defending champs. But performance-wise? Too high.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (No. 20): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs will be good enough (and will have enough opportunity, with home dates against Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina) to impact the SEC race and make the top 25. They don't seem to have enough horses (particularly in a graduation-damaged front seven) to actually challenge for a title in a division as completely stacked as the West. 20 is jus tabout where we'd have them, too.

Verdict? About right.

GEORGIA (No. 22): Mark Richt's Bulldogs, on the other hand, are the SEC's biggest 2011 wild card. They might start 0-2 and collapse in an under-.500, Richt-finishing heap. They might start 2-0 and ride the league's cushiest schedule all the way to an undefeated regular season. (Seriously. Look at their slate and tell me which game after the Carolina tilt they won't be favored in if they can get past the Gamecocks.)

That would suggest a cautious 22 might be about right, but we're betting Richt has turned the tide with this spring's "Dream Team" recruiting class and the focus that comes with a make-or-break season.

Verdict? Too low. We think. Maybe.

FLORIDA (No. 24): It's easy to forget that for all of the disappointment and frustration of Urban Meyer's final season in Gainesville, the Gators still won eight games--and could have even snagged a few more if not for some unfortunate bounces against teams like LSU and Mississippi State. So even though we're firmly in wait-and-see mode where the John Brantley-Charlie Weis shotgun marriage is concerned, having the SEC's second-best defense from a year ago getting the added boost of Will Muschamp's arrival seems like reason enough to take a flyer on the Gators at the bottom of the ballot.

Verdict? About right.

THE OTHER FOUR (n/a): Tennessee pulled seven voting points to land in the "Others receiving votes" category at "No. 41" overall, with none of the other three SEC teams receiving even a token vote. We're surprised the Volunteers didn't get a little more love -- after their late-season surge in 2010, there was some measure of buzz pegging them as 2011 sleepers -- but after Tyler Bray's up-and-down spring, we don't blame the pollsters for their skepticism.

Verdict? About right.


Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The preseason USA Today Coaches Poll came out Thursday, and as usual, several Big Ten teams are involved. Here are the conference's represented programs:

10. Wisconsin

11. Nebraska

16. Ohio State

17. Michigan State

25. Penn State

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES

30. Iowa (41 votes)

31. Northwestern (30 votes)

33. Michigan (19 votes)

Few quick notes:

There's been a pretty clear consensus that Wisconsin and Nebraska are the top teams in their respective divisions, so it's not much of a shocker to see both teams lead the conference pack. If anything, it'd be nice to see both ranked higher; would you really take Texas A&M and Oklahoma State over Nebraska and Wisconsin this year?

If Michigan State wins at Notre Dame and Ohio State fends off Miami (both pretty big ifs, to be sure), the MSU-OSU clash on October 1 could be a Top Ten affair. It'll also be the final Buckeyes' final game without their four suspended stars, which probably means more to the team than what its ranking's going to be. Either way, someone's coming out of that game with a ton of momentum for the rest of the Big Ten schedule. If that winning team is Ohio State, Wisconsin should start getting nervous.

Penn State hosts Alabama in Week 2. Suffice it to say, the Nittany Lions are either dropping out of the poll or rocketing up the ranks very quickly.

The balance of power in college football ebbs and flows pretty sharply, but this business with five of the six Legends Division members getting preseason votes seems like more the rule than an anomaly -- especially if Pat Fitzgerald sticks around at Northwestern. If Jerry Kill gets the Gophers' act together too, that division might turn into the toughest top-to-bottom in all of college football.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The preseason coaches poll was released on Thursday morning, and while I'm not a big fan of polls in the preseason, at the moment I'm thrilled to see them. It's just a reminder of how close we are to the beginning of the season and now fans across the country finally have a reason to put a chip on their shoulder -- "My school gets no respect!" -- or feel an unearned sense of entitlement.

After persusing the poll, it's obvious that the Big 12 should puff its chest out a little bit. The last year has been filled with news of the conference losing teams, and even the last few weeks have stoked the fires of schools feeling like they're getting the short end of the stick in the Big 12 when compared to Texas, but the Big 12 has something that no other conference in the land can claim right now.

Three teams ranked in the top ten.

Let's take a look at who is ranked, who isn't, and whether or not they're in the right place.

#1 Oklahoma - I don't think it's shocking at all to find Oklahoma opening the season on top of the poll, as many predicted this is what would happen, and there's a good reason for it. Oklahoma finished 2010 ranked sixth, and unlike the five teams that were ranked ahead of them at the time, all the major players are back in Norman. Landry Jones will be getting a lot of Heisman hype as the offense should continue to put up a lot of points, and the Sooners defense should be one of the best units in the land. The real question here is whether or not Oklahoma can stay atop the polls. The preseason #1 doesn't have the greatest track record, and the Sooners have a tough schedule that includes road games against #5 Florida State and #8 Oklahoma State. Home dates against #9 Texas A&M, #21 Missouri and the annual battle with #24 Texas won't be a cakewalk either.

#8 Oklahoma State -  A top ten spot is well-deserved for the Cowboys based on what they did in 2010. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon lit the air on fire last season as Oklahoma State finished second in the nation in passing yards per game and third in points per game. Both of those gentlemen are back, so the offense will be fine. What will really determine whether or not the Cowboys are deserving of this ranking and will finish the year in the top 10 is the defense. Offense alone can get you into the top ten, but you need a strong defense to stay there. We'll find out soon enough when Oklahoma State plays an early game against Arizona, and considering that the Cowboys play #9 Texas A&M, #24 Texas and Missouri all on the road this season, holding on to this spot or moving up is not going to be easy.

#9 Texas A&M - Based on how things finished for the Aggies last season, I get the hype. I truly do. Still, that doesn't mean I'm fully convinced the Aggies are a top ten team in 2011. Ryan Tannehill was a revelation for the Aggies after taking over for Jerrod Johnson, but will he be able to match his performance again now that teams will be ready for him? Can the defense replace Von Miller without a drop off? Those are pretty big questions to answer, and when you throw in a game against #14 Arkansas to go with the conference slate, and it's not insane to think this is a team that finishes the year closer to the 15-20 range than the top ten.

#21 Missouri - Missouri loses a bit from its 2010 squad on both sides of the ball, but this placing feels right. It won't be easy to replace Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, but nobody thought it would be easy to replace Chase Daniel either, and Gary Pinkel has proven that he knows how to find quarterbacks. Can James Franklin be that guy? We'll find out early when he Tigers go on the road to face Arizona State on the second Saturday of the season, but if the defense that allowed only 16.1 points per game last season can put up an encore performance, that would be a big help. I would be worried about road games against #1 Oklahoma and #9 Texas A&M though.

#24 Texas - You're going to hear a lot of folks saying that this is a reputation spot for Texas and nothing else. Those saying it will be correct, too, because there's no way you can say that Texas earned this spot with its play last season. That being said, I think it's entirely possible that when the dust settles on 2011, Texas will be ranked higher than this. Hell, the Longhorns may be the second-highest ranked team in the conference. I'm of the opinion that 2010 was an aberration and I don't think the offense can be as detrimental in 2011 as it was in 2010. Plus this is still a fantastic defense, and one that will keep Texas in every game, so if the Longhorns can win 8 or 9 games that reputation that got them to #24 in the preseason poll will only help push them up further as the year goes on.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 11:41 am
 

Oklahoma tops preseason Coaches Poll

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Just as predicted by numbers guru Phil Steele back in February, Oklahoma will begin the 2011 season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Sooners grabbed 42 of a possible 59 first-place votes in the coaches' preseason ballot, released Thursday morning, but still hold just a 40-point lead over second-place Alabama. The Tide took 13 first-place votes, with the remaining four split evenly between No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU (who just so happen to be playing in Dallas on the season's opening Saturday). Florida State rounds out the top five, further cementing Jimbo Fisher's program as the new ACC favorites. (Virginia Tech is the next-highest ACC team at No. 13.)

Conference-by-conference, the poll features eight teams from the SEC, five from the Big Ten, five from the Big 12, two each from the Pac-12, ACC and Mountain West, and one independent in Notre Dame. The Big East went unrepresented in the top 25, with West Virginia finishing "No. 27" as part of the "Also Receiving Votes" category.

Some immediate reaction:
  • When it comes to getting the benefit of the doubt, it still pays to be the biggest-name program possible. Georgia, Florida, Texas and Penn State combined for a whopping 25 losses last year, but all four still find their way into the preseason ballot as teams Nos. 21-25.
  • Despite the SEC's lofty reputation, it's the Big 12 with the top billing in the top 10. In addition to Oklahoma edging the Tide for top spot, both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M squeeze into the top 10 while only LSU joins Alabama from the SEC. The Cowboys and Aggies will have a lot to prove, as recent Big 12 dark horses like Nebraska last season and the '09 Cowboys have failed to live up to their preseason ranking.
  • Ohio State's off-season turmoil has left Wisconsin and those same Cornhuskers as the only Big Ten teams in the top 15 of the poll. Given the league's apparent parity -- the Huskers were recently named the league favorite despite coaching turnover and major losses on defense -- even that may be generous.
  • The top two teams in the final poll of 2010 slid a combined 31 spots, with national champion Auburn coming in No. 19 and No. 2 TCU checking in at No. 15. Auburn may be ranked entirely too low if you subscribe to the "champions until they lose" doctrine, and entirely too high if you believe the combination of a brutal schedule and extremely young roster will result in a struggle to even make the top 25. Which means they're probably ranked about right for a poll like this.
  • With USC ineligible and Arizona State and Utah each finishing in the "Also Receiving Votes" category, no team from the new Pac-12 South was included. Guess the "Sun Devils = divisional favorite" offseason chatter didn't mean a whole lot to the voters, just as West Virginia's status as the presumptive Big East favorite didn't. But should it really have meant less than Penn State's expected running-in-place season after a 7-6 season a year ago?
  • For that reason, this blogger will go with the Nittany Lions as the poll's most overrated team, and a tie between Nos. 13 and 14 -- Virginia Tech and loaded Arkansas -- as the poll's most underrated.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Pelini: Refs told him Nebraska got jobbed at A&M

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has a reputation for being a bit of a hothead. A reputation that was only solidified during Nebraska's 9-6 loss to Texas A&M in College Station last November. That's the game which most people will remember seeing Pelini lay into quarterback Taylor Martinez on the sideline in the first half.

However, that wasn't the only time during that game that Pelini seemed angry. Just about every shot of him on the sideline that night showed Pelini displaying a face that could only be described as "oh my god that guy is going to kill EVERYBODY." It was a rage that was understandable considering his team was called for 16 penalties totalling 145 yards compared to the two false starts that were called on the Aggies.

Well, for an insight into what really lit Pelini's fire that night, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel, Pelini said that the refs that night told him his team was going to get the shaft.
I'd been on a late, tight deadline that wild and crazy Saturday night when Pelini cemented his image as a raging volcano. There were 16 penalties against Nebraska. I ripped Pelini rather than the officials. I thought that he brought the chaos on himself. But I had heard plenty of stories since. I needed to ask a question I wished I'd had the opportunity to ask after that game.

"Did any of those officials tell you during the game you were going to get jobbed?'' I asked.

"Yes,'' Pelini said.

What did they tell you?

"I won't say,'' he said. "But it was highway robbery. An absolute joke. I've moved on.''

So while you were yelling all night, were you sticking up for your players?

"No doubt,'' Pelini said. "I have their back. I always will. But if I had to do it over again, I would have done it different.''
By doing it different, Pelini explains that he'd have been just as angry, but he wouldn't have shown the anger and caused so many people to hide behind their couches that night.

Now whether or not Pelini is telling the truth about what the officials told him is another story. If it is, that's not exactly the type of thing that any conference would want to hear about taking place in its games. Whether Nebraska was leaving for the Big Ten or not, the idea that a conference would stack the deck against a team isn't good for anybody.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Vegas Hilton releases odds on win totals

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We here at CBSSports.com and the Eye On College Football blog don't really encourage or condone betting on college football as we're of the belief that the games themselves are all the entertainment we need, but we also know that our feelings aren't the same as all college football fans. Many of you enjoy betting on the sport, and we're here to cater to every college football fan.

So, with that in mind, we felt we should let you know that the Las Vegas Hilton sportsbook has released their number on the win totals of a number of different teams that you can wager on. The truth is that Vegas is actually pretty good at predicting what's going to happen on any given Saturday or during the entire season, as casinos aren't exactly in the business of losing money. So these numbers actually have some value even if you aren't planning on wagering.

Here are the totals currently on the board:

Alabama 10

Oklahoma 10

Boise St. 10.5

LSU 9.5

Stanford 9  

S. Carolina 9 

Arkansas 8.5

Texas A&M 8.5 

Georgia 8.5 

Oklahoma State 8.5

Nebraska 9.5 

Florida State 9.5 

Virginia Tech 10

Wisconsin 9.5

Arizona St. 8 

West Virginia 9.5 

Florida 7.5 

USC 7.5

Notre Dame 8.5

Texas 8

Miss State 7.5 

Miami 8 

Oregon St. 6.5 

TCU 9 

BYU 8.5 

Missouri 7.5

Michigan State 7.5 

Auburn 6 

Tennessee 6.5 

Penn St 7.5 

North Carolina 8 

Michigan 7 

Utah 7.5 

Nevada 8 

UNLV 2.5 

Nothing too crazy on there, even if it is weird to see schools like Florida and Texas only expected to get 7 or 8 wins. You probably also noticed that Auburn's total is set at 6 wins, which seems low considering Auburn is the defending national champion, but it's also reasonable considering what that team has lost.

Now while I'm not going to wage any of my money on these, I will say that I have some doubts about BYU being able to win 9 games this season, and considering that UNLV is playing both Southern Utah and New Mexico this season, surely it can find a third win, can't it?

*Looks at rest of UNLV schedule*

Oh, okay. Maybe not. 
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Mike Sherman gets a contract extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While we don't really know what to think of the future of the Texas A&M football program as far as where it will be playing its football in the coming years, we do know something about what tomorrow holds for the Aggies. Wherever the school ends up playing, it's likely Mike Sherman will be there.

The school announced on Friday that it had given Mike Sherman a contract extension along with a $400,000 pay raise. The extension adds one year to the four years remaining on Sherman's current deal, and bumps his pay up to $2.2 million annually, which makes him the fourth-highest paid coach in the Big 12.

“Coach Sherman has done an outstanding job of directing our football program and is one of the top football coaches in the country,” A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said in a statement. “Not only has our team improved on the field, but under Coach Sherman’s direction the overall football team has embraced the values and virtues of Texas A&M University.” 

Through three seasons in College Station Sherman's record is the epitome of mediocrity, as the Aggies have gone 19-19 in that time, but they are coming off of a 9-4 season and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl. It's also possible that the team will start the season ranked in the top ten, and is considered to be one of the favorites in the Big 12 this season. 

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