Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 4:55 pm

PODCAST: Previewing the 2011 Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Tuesday afternoon, I joined cohorts Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to talk about the 2011 Big Ten season, and how I know everything about the season before it even happens. I'm that good. Well, it's Wednesday now, the podcast is up, and I'm sticking by everything I said. Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Northwestern fans will be pleased. Iowa and Michigan State fans probably will not be. Listen:

Now, it's important to note that my divisional rankings aren't power polls; on paper, Michigan State is better than both Iowa and Northwestern, and it's the second-best team in the (sigh) Legends Division. Or the West Division. You have no idea how much I want to call it the West Division. Anyway, the problem for the Spartans is the brutal road schedule, which includes November dates at -- whaddya know -- Iowa and Northwestern. Hence, the three-way tie at 5-3 I've got those three teams in, with Sparty losing to both the Hawkeyes and Wildcats. 

Other than that, the power structure at the top is pretty well defined this season, but below the leaders, there's the potential for outright chaos, especially in the Legends Division. Should be fun to watch.

Want to subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes? Of course you do. Click here. 

Posted on: August 8, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 3:35 pm

Joe Paterno injured at practice after collision

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Scary news out of State College on Monday: Penn State head coach Joe Paterno has been hospitalized after getting run over by one of his players. Penn State announced that Paterno suffered injuries to his right arm and hip when unsuspecting wide receiver Devon Smith was running a route and ran into him. If there's any fortune involved, it's that Smith is scarcely bigger than Paterno, at 5'7" and 157 pounds. One shudders to think how much worse the collision would have been if Derek Moye (6'5", 202) had been the receiver involved instead.

Chris Fowler reported that Paterno's injuries are hairline fractures in both the shoulder and pelvis, and that neither will require surgery. That much is promising, but still: a broken bone is much worse news for Paterno than for, say, one of his players.

Now, it's not exactly news that Paterno is old. He's easily the oldest head coach in D-I football, and has been for a long time. People have been wondering if the next season would be his last for about the last decade or two. Old. Ollllld.

And yet, since Paterno's been maintaining his faculties to such a degree, continuing to coach football has been a possibility, so he's been coming back to the sidelines -- and coaching at a high level -- every year. Unfortunately, he's getting to the age where the body doesn't make much progress staying strong or healing quickly. There aren't many coaches other than, say, Pat Fitzgerald or Luke Fickell who can get trucked by an unsuspecting wide receiver and not get hurt. For an 84-year-old man, then, such a collision might be more than his body can fully recover from. And if that's the case, well, that'd be pretty lousy news.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 4:49 pm

Buckeyes ditch 'JT' wristbands after one day

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For the Ohio State Buckeyes, their freshmen were causing a stir at the team's first news conference of the season sporting some snazzy black and red "JT" wristbands -- ostensibly in support of ousted head coach Jim Tressel, unless they too want to know why Justin Timberlake hasn't been making music recently. Probably more the Tressel thing though.

At any rate, the school (predictably) found out about the wristbands, and within a flash, said wristbands were no more:

Ohio State issued a recall on “JT” wristbands Wednesday night, hours after several freshmen football players wore them to a news conference as a show of support for former coach Jim Tressel.

“They were pulled back out of concern, just being cautious,” team spokesman Jerry Emig said yesterday, adding that their use had not been run past the compliance department before their distribution.  

In other words, the athletic department wasn't concerned with the appearance of its football players supporting a recently fired coach who had probably just committed the worst NCAA violations in program history -- it was just concerned with potential compliance issues in case someone interpreted the players' actions as promoting the wristbands. Fine set of priorities the NCAA has fostered these days, isn't it?

Also, as Graham Watson correctly notes over at Y!, nobody showed up wearing a TP bracelet, nor has anyone apparently gone through the trouble of making one. Surely there must be a reason why Tressel's getting the "tragic hero" treatment while Terrelle Pryor's being left out in the cold once again, right?

[Photo via Fred Squillante, Columbus Dispatch] 

Posted on: August 4, 2011 8:20 pm

Purdue debuts new, slightly different uniforms

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Continuing a rather popular theme from this offseason, the latest team to unveil a new set of uniforms is ... (shakes Magic 8-Ball) ... Purdue! The Boilermakers had their old uniform design for five years, so clearly something had to be done. Ladies, and gentlemen, here is that something:

Yeah, that's the same color scheme, and the helmets are essentially the same (different center stripe) too. There's just three different sets of pants and two jerseys now, and the numbers have a new font. Not to be flip about it all, but that merited a press conference?

In fact, if there's one thing to be celebrating here, it's the otherworldly moustache on display by Chris Carlino, a senior backup linebacker who was almost certainly chosen for this unveiling solely for his soup strainer. That is a top-caliber, grade-A, All-American moustache. Let's see it some more.

And he's only a backup? Well, that's your problem right there, Danny Hope. You've got this moustache for the ages on your team, just waiting to be the keystone of a defense desperately in need of leadership, and it's just sitting on the sideline. Surely a school like Purdue -- one that has employed moustache aficianados as head football coaches for the past 14 years -- can appreciate the power of a well-crafted handlebar like Carlino's, no?

[VIDEO: Carlino "just gonna rock it for a while"]

Anyway, there's a whole set of pictures from the conference on Purdue's Facebook page, though there are so few noteworthy sartorial flourishes that we can't in good conscience say it'd be worth one's time to click through. And sure, when it comes to football, the uniforms pale in importance to the actual play on the field itself, so yes, this is pretty shallow criticism. But Purdue's the one who called a press conference over what amounts to different numbers and more pants, so nobody's really above reproach here.

Except for Chris Carlino, of course. 
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:52 pm

Big Ten moving to nine conference games in 2017

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big Ten conference season is going to be getting longer in a few years. Jim Delany announced Thursday that in 2017, the Big Ten is moving to a nine-game conference schedule. Yes, that means some teams get five home conference games a year, but fear not: the conference has a plan:

Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division. 

The upshot of this is that unless there's a 13th regular season game about to be added (which seems unlikely right now), Big Ten teams are going to be left with three non-conference games to be filled. And being that college football programs still covet home games and bowl bids above all other things, those three non-conference games are probably going to be almost exclusively home dates against cupcakes. Those programs with regular non-conference rivalries (namely Iowa-Iowa State and Michigan-Notre Dame) are going to have to coordinate the schedules so that the road games don't come in years with the extra in-conference road game, otherwise that's only six games at home for the season -- a Big Ten athletic director's worst nightmare.

That all said, nine conference games is still nine conference games, and it's going to make the conference even more fiercely competitive. Say what you will about the Big Ten not being the SEC, but there really aren't that many cupcakes to be found. Between the regular season and the conference title game, whoever the Big Ten champion is will have had to face 10 Big Ten opponents to get there, and at least seven of them will have been teams other than Minnesota, Indiana, or Illinois. That's pretty rough. 

All in all, it's a bold move for the Big Ten. and if there's one thing I would change, it's the distribution of home and away games. While it evens out over time, the division races are going to be unfairly tilted toward the three teams given five home games. Penn State probably can't expect to win many division titles in odd-numbered years when it has five road games and Ohio State's over there with five home games. I'd rather see it alternate between entire divisions (Legends host the protected inter-divisional rivalry game in even-numbered years, Leaders host it in the odds), so at the very least divisional crowns are decided on more equal footing.

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


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 3, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 4:02 pm

PODCAST: Top 5 running backs of 2011

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Who's in your Top 5 for the best tailbacks of 2011? CBSSports.com experts J. Darin Darst and Adam Aizer sat back down today to hammer out their top fives, and the answers may shock you!

Well okay, they probably won't shock you, unless you've got an unusual amount of hope in, say, Bryce Brown putting it all together at Kansas State.

If you don't have nine minutes to listen (which, yes you do, but whatever), here's each podcaster's top five.


5. James White, Wisconsin

4. Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky

3. Trent Richardson, Alabama

2. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

1. LaMichael James, Oregon


5. Chris Polk, Washington

4. Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky

3. Knile Davis, Arkansas

2. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

1. LaMichael James, Oregon

Briefly, I don't have a whole lot of problems with the top of either guys' list, but I think they're putting too much stock in the 2010 stats of each guy -- specifically Trent Richardson. Yeah, Richardson had only 700 yards last year, but if we're talking about 2011, he's easily a better Heisman prospect than Chris Polk or Bobby Rainey. Moreover, if you had Richardson, Polk, and Rainey in the same backfield (and keep in mind Auburn had RBs Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Brandon Jacobs in 2003, so it's not an impossibility), you're probably starting Richardson before Polk or Rainey, right?

Anyway, if they'd asked me for my five, it'd go James at the top, followed by Richardson, Lattimore, Davis, and then Rainey. Trepidation about Lattimore not handling a full workload might be fine in August, but by September or October I think it's going to be pretty obvious that Richardson is a freakish manbeast of the highest caliber. James is the best candidate for a 2,000 yard season so that's why he's my number one, but really, we're arguing about relatively small levels of difference in quality when we're talking about this highest echelon of running backs, so keep that in mind for this debate.

Who's in your Top 5? 

Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 5:31 pm

Humanitarian Bowl now Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the more disturbing trends of the college bowl system recently has been the proliferation of bowl games named after things that don't go in bowls. Oranges, sugar, and roses all can go in bowls (though your roses might prefer a vase -- little gardening pro tip there). Bluebonnets, poinsettias, peaches, all fine things to put into a bowl. Even the Peach Bowl's new namesake is Chick-Fil-A, and if you're out of clean plates at home, hey, why not serve the Chick-Fil-A in a bowl? Totally fine.

But the other bowl namesakes, especially of late, have been a point of dismay. The Alamo doesn't belong in a bowl; it belongs right where it stands, on the ground. Music City Bowl? Nashville's way too big to fit in a bowl. Illogical. Independence Bowl? Independence is a concept, and concepts don't belong in bowls, they belong up here, in your mind.

Then we have this Humanitarian Bowl. Look, we can all agree that humanitarians are good folks, but you shouldn't put them in bowls, even if they're very small humanitarians, like the size of gummy bears or something. No, I don't know how they got that small, but you're the one putting them in bowls, so they must have gotten that way somehow.

Anyway, the folks up in Boise have rectified this unpleasant situation by just renaming the Humanitarian Bowl. Its new name is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl -- named by and for the main sponsor, the Idaho Potato Commission -- and that is a majorstep up. Potatoes can go in bowls, no questions asked. Especially if they're mashed.

The other details of the detail are basically the same. It's still being held at Boise State's Bronco Stadium, on the famous blue turf. It's still tied to the WAC and MAC. It'll still be on Saturday, December 17, at 5:30 EST. It's just a potato-themed bowl now, and that's fine, because let's face it: football and humanitarianism always had a tenuous-at-best relationship to begin with anyway. 

[2011-12 Bowl Schedule] 

What really sets this bowl reboot on a high level, though, is the logo, at upper right. Look at that thing. They made the football a baked potato, then put chives on it. Read that sentence again. What would you call that, a baked footato? A pigspud? Either way, Salvador Dali would be proud of your revisionist approach to reality, sirs and mesdames.

It would stand to reason, then, that there's a slightly crazy mascot that'll be at the game too. Probably an anthropomorphic potato with crazy eyes and limbs sticking out, and probably a funny hat. There's no trademark against that already, right? ...Oh.

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