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Tag:West Virginia
Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:47 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 11

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

I know you couldn't tell if you have been following the news in college football this week, but there are actually games to be played on Saturday.  I know, I didn't believe it either, but it's true.  There's more to college football than just off the field issues concerning agents, players asking for money, and the NCAA possibly punishing those players because the only people allowed to make money from this sport are the NCAA, not those punk kids who make it for them.

But I promise you, there are games ON the field as well.  Here are some of the best ones for you to watch on Saturday in between updates on what Cam Newton may or may not have done.

Breakfast

Main Course - Northwestern vs. #13 Iowa - Noon - ESPN

Looking at this game on the surface, it doesn't seem all the impressive.  Northwestern is currently in eighth place in the Big Ten, and has lost three of its last four games.  What's the big deal?

Well, Iowa isn't out of the Big Ten title hunt.  This game means a lot to the Hawkeyes for both their BCS aspirations and it provides therapeutic value.  You see, Northwestern has been a thorn in Iowa's side for years now, as Northwestern has won four of the last five meetings.  That includes last season when the Wildcats knocked Ricky Stanzi out for the last three games of the regular season, and handed Iowa its first loss.  Which eventually led to Stanzi missing the Ohio State game and a chance to win the Big Ten.

Side Orders: Not a lot of great choices this morning, but not as terrible as it has been in recent weeks.  There's Missouri and Kansas State who both have a remote chance to win the Big 12 North, but a loss in this game would kill either's chance.  There's also Miami taking on Georgia Tech, and the 'Canes can't afford to lose if they want a chance to play for the ACC title.  If those don't do it for you, I guess you could watch West Virginia and Cincinnati in the latest installment of "The Big East Presents: Something That Is Supposed to Resemble Football."

Lunch

Main Course - #2 Auburn vs. Georgia - 3:30pm - CBS

Listen, you've spent all week hearing about Cam Newton anyway, so why wouldn't you want to actually watch him play this week against Georgia?  I mean, when you think about it, you can't really be sure how many more chances you'll get to see Newton play at Auburn, so you should probably take advantage while you still can.

Oh, and there's also the fact that Auburn is still alive for a national championship, and with a win against Georgia, the Tigers would wrap up the SEC West and a trip to Atlanta.

As for Georgia, hard as it is to believe given the way it started the season, is only one win shy of being bowl eligible.  What a better way to do it than by knocking off the top team in the conference and destroying any chance they have to play for a national title?

Side Orders: There are some other quality non-Cam Newton related games going on during the afternoon as well.  Ohio State hosts Penn State, looking to keep hopes alive for a Big Ten title and trip to the Rose Bowl.  Oklahoma looks to right the ship at home against Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech can just about wrap up the ACC Coastal with a win at North Carolina.

Dinner

Main Course - #24 Florida vs. #22 South Carolina - 7:15pm - ESPN

The SEC East has been wide open all season long, but finally, it all comes down to one game on Saturday night in Gainesville. 

Even though it's been a down season for Florida compared to recent standards, the Gators still have a chance to get to Atlanta and win another SEC title should they get past the Gamecocks. On the flip side, Steve Spurrier still has a chance to win the SEC East and the SEC for the first time as head coach at South Carolina.

South Carolina hasn't played well since knocking off Alabama last month, but it still has a chance to salvage the season if it can knock off the Gators.

Side Orders: Plenty of other good games going on Saturday night if you prefer to look elsewhere.  Alabama can shake off the disappointment of last week's loss against LSU by knocking Mississippi State down a peg, and speaking of disappointment, Texas can boost its morale with a win over Oklahoma State as well.  There's also Oregon looking to stay undefeated at Cal, Arizona hosting USC and Stanford rolling in to Arizona State in the Pac-10.

Late Night Snack

Listen, I've developed a slight infatuation with Colin Kaepernick this season.  It's just every time I see him running down the field I can't help but think of an ostrich, and this amuses me to no end.  Why?  I don't know, it just does.  Tune in to see Kaepernick and Nevada take on Fresno State on Saturday night and find out if you see it too.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 2:59 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Fun with charts: The Big East title hunt

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Connecticut's upset of the first-place Pittsburgh Panthers on Thursday night, a seemingly closed Big East title race has been officially re-opened. The Panthers could have put significant space between them and the rest of the conference, with a 1.5 game lead over second-place Syracuse AND owning the tie-breaker against the Orange. The Orange could have pulled away from the rest of the pack last week, but instead fell short 28-20 to Louisville.

 So now the entire Big East is within two games of first place with each team having at least two conference games left on the schedule, with some having as many as four. Such a tight race in a conference like the Big East would not seem like a big deal on the national scale, but when there is a BCS bowl berth at stake everything chances.  Let's take a look at the weeks ahead in the Big East.


(click here to enlarge image)

Now a few thoughts...

1. Pittsburgh still the team to beat - Despite the upset to Connecticut, Pittsburgh will be the only team in the conference with one loss at the conclusion of Week 11.  The number of two-loss teams will be cut down to four by Sunday, thus pushing three teams basically out of the race entirely.  Also, the teams with the easiest remaining schedule (according to the combined conference record of opponents) are all teams that Pittsburgh has defeated.  The most crucial of which is second-place Syracuse.  Win out, and the BCS Bowl berth will belong to the Panthers.  But nothing is certain, particularly with trips to Tampa and Cincinnati left on the schedule.  Don't forget about those Mountaineers...

2. Three (1-2) teams the most dangerous - With four conference games left on the schedule, even the teams at the bottom of standings have a chance to create the most havoc.  Pittsburgh has yet to play West Virginia and at Cincinnati, two teams that have not lived up to the standards of recent years but are still very dangerous.  Rutgers also hosts Syracuse on Saturday, and could continue to muddle the standings with an upset of the Orange.  They may have the toughest battle to win the conference, but they have the best chance to spoil the fun for the favorites.  Pittsburgh needs at least a game of separation heading into the finale at Cincinnati, because that game is anyone's to win - no matter what the records say.

3.  Looking for a dark horse?  Try Louisville - The Cardinals are fresh off an impressive upset of Syracuse, and they have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the conference.  Also with wins over Connecticut and the Orange, they have positioned themselves well in the event of the likely possible tie-breaker.  Last week the Cardinals showed that the success of the rushing game is not dependent on Bilal Powell, and being able to dictate tempo with the ground game will help significantly down the stretch.  First-year coach Charlie Strong has seen his fair share of obstacles this season, but if he can muster up any kind of home-field advantage at Papa John's Stadium in the next two weeks the Cardinals could find themselves in the Big East title hunt come December.      

Posted on: November 1, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Rodriguez plan for improved D is more Rodriguez

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The CBS College Football Blog wrote multiple times last week that Michigan 's visit to Penn State was a make-or-break game for Rich Rodriguez and his much-much-much -maligned defense, which couldn't ask for a better scenario than having a bye week to prepare for the Big Ten 's bottom-ranked offense playing without its starting quarterback. As you know by now, the Wolverines broke in spectacular fashion , giving up 435 yards and 41 points to a Nittany Lion attack that barely scored that many points total (46) in games against MAC cupcakes Kent State and Temple .

Naturally, this was the cue for yet another round of recriminations and rumormongering out of Ann Arbor Sunday, with most of the whispers centering on the continued employment of defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and the rest of Rodriguez's defensive staff. So loud had the rumors become by Monday that Rodriguez had to be asked about them directly , and responded as you'd expect:

Rodriguez said he has not made any changes to his defensive staff. He said he first heard of the rumors about a half-hour before meeting with the media.

His reaction?

"Laughed," Rodriguez said. "We've dealt with quite a few (rumors) over the last few years, haven't we? That happens in sports and life in general. You deal with it, so I don't mind answering the question ...

"How does this happen?" Rodriguez said of the rumors. "I don't know how these rumors get started. Everybody is frustrated on defense, our staff is frustrated, but it's always a collective effort when you win, and a collective effort when you lose, collective effort when you play well and a collective effort when you play poorly."
That's not what Michigan fans hoping for Robinson's head -- or anything that might signal a change-in-approach from the current disaster -- would want to hear, but Rodriguez's next comment might be even more bone-chilling:

Rodriguez said Monday he intends to spend more time on defense the next few weeks.

"Because I probably should do that because we have more inexperienced players over there," Rodriguez said ...

"I have a critical view of everything — every coach, every player, everything in our program every day," Rodriguez said. "That's what we do. That's what head coaches do."
This would make sense if Rodriguez had more experience (does he have any?) in coaching college defense from something more hands-on than the head coaching position. Multiple Michigan bloggers have noted since the disaster in Happy Valley that the Wolverine defense's problem likely isn't that Rodriguez hasn't been involved enough; it's that he's been too involved, asking Robinson (as well as previous coordinator Scott Shafer , now enjoying a highly successful season under Doug Marrone at Syracuse) to run the unusual 3-3-5 defensive scheme operated by Jeff Casteel under Rodriguez during his West Virginia tenure. Neither Shafer nor Robinson had any prior experience with the 3-3-5 before being asked to run it by Rodriguez, however, and the results have been predictably muddled.

If this is indeed the root of the defense's problem, Rodriguez may be better served by going in the opposite direction, by fully ceding control of the defense to his coordinator and allowing Robinson to run whatever scheme and make whatever playcalls with which he feels most comfortable. No one can blame Rodriguez for making moves out of desperation at this stage, but Michigan fans have to be worried that in this case, Rodriguez's cure could prove to make even worse an already program-wrecking disease.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 9:32 pm
 

What I learned from the Big East (Oct. 30)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. West Virginia has been giving away their season, one turnover at a time - Just three weeks ago, West Virginia was "leading" the Big East. They toted a 5-1 record and a national ranking, as well as a top ranked defensive unit that was holding opponents to less than two touchdowns per game. But while the season was at a midpoint, the conference schedule was just getting started. But in the last two games, turnovers have almost cost the Mountaineers their shot at a BCS bowl berth. The eye test said that the Mountaineers were cruising on easy street down to Miami, until they decided they were tired of taking care of the ball. Against Syracuse West Virginia turned the ball over three times, all of which were turned into points for the Orange. Saturday's matchup with Connecticut was more of the same from the Mountaineer offense. West Virginia racked up 414 yards of total offense, but four lost fumbles prevented them from scoring more than 13 points on the Huskies defense.  If the Mountaineers avoid coughing the ball up, they could be 3-0 in conference play and looking down the road to a potential BCS bowl game.  But instead of the Mountaineers, it is the Pittsburgh Panthers.  Speaking of...

2. Lewis has reclaimed the favor of the Pittsburgh coaching staff - Earlier in the season, Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis was struggling to get his season going.  His yards per carry were down from his 2009 Rookie of the Year campaign, and he was sharing many of his carries with backup Ray Graham.  Now that conference play has begun, Lewis has emerged as the clear-cut but first stringer in the Panther backfield.  After a phenomenal performance last week against Rutgers that included 17 rushes for 130 yards and a touchdown, Lewis appeared to have regained the starting job despite Graham continuing to lead the team in rushing by a convincing margin.  In the win over Louisville, Lewis carried the ball 18 times compared to Graham's nine attempts.  Earlier in the season, that was much more of a 50-50 divide between the two backs.  Now Lewis must make the most of his increased opportunities in order to hold that spot. 

3. Syracuse's tenacious second half defense is a key to their success - In five of the Orange's six victories, the defense has shut out the opponent in the second half.  Syracuse's offense has relied on a dominant running game led by Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey.  The smash mouth brand of football under second year head coach Doug Marrone has turned last season's 1-6 conference record around to 3-1 at the midpoint of the conference schedule.  Syracuse has only been to a bowl game twice since since 2000 and not at all since 2004, but the 2010 Orange are already bowl eligible at 6-2.  A conference championship may be out of reach after the loss to Pittsburgh, but anything is an upgrade from the way things have been at Syracuse.
Posted on: October 24, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: October 24, 2010 11:43 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Oct. 23)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Eight teams still have a shot at BCS berth - As crazy as it sounds, the perfect storm of circumstance has brought about a wide open Big East conference race.  The first major factor has been the scheduling.  For the most part, each team backlogged their conference schedule.  So while we are at the midpoint of the regular season, six of the eight teams in the conference are only two games into league play.  Even the seemingly hapless Connecticut Huskies are a Pittsburgh upset from climbing back into the race.  Knock the Big East as much as you want, but at the wide-open race will at least make each game interesting coming down the stretch.  
  
2. Syracuse isn't flashy, but they are getting it done - After getting throttled by Pittsburgh at home, Syracuse bounced back to stun West Virginia in Morgantown.  The Orange got right back to the same kind of tough football that helped them rattle off three straight wins, with aggressive defense and a solid running game.  When Delone Carter left the game with a hip injury, backup running back Antwon Bailey stepped and delivered a season high 94 yards on the ground.  The defense kept West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith guessing all day, disguising their coverages and blitzes to force a season high three interceptions.  Syracuse hasn't put together impressive victories (particularly not scoring a point after halftime) but if they can continue to stack the W's, the Orange could find themselves bowling in 2010.

3. Tino Sunseri has arrived - After a somewhat shaky start, Sunseri has come into his own as the leader of the Panthers offense.  The rushing attack has not been what it was a year ago in Dion Lewis' breakout season, but the sophomore signal caller has stepped it up through the air in conference play.  After five touchdowns in the first five games, Sunseri has connected with his receivers for seven scores in the last two weeks.  If he can continue to find playmaking wide receiver Jon Baldwin, like he did for 139 yards against Rutgers, Pittsburgh could be a difficult team to beat down the stretch.

4. There is some hope in Tampa for South Florida - To reiterate the earlier point, South Florida's 38-30 victory over Cincinnati on Friday kept the Bulls from falling all but out of the Big East hunt.  Not only did first year head coach Skip Holtz avoid starting 0-3 in the conference, but he got the best performance of the season from quarterback B.J. Daniels.  If Daniels' performance was more than just a flash in the pan, South Florida can do a lot to make up for the rough start.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: October 23, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Syracuse just turned the Big East upside down

Posted by Chip Patterson

And just like that, the Big East has been blown wide open.  

We figured that it could happen, just weren't all that positive that it would.  But with Syracuse's 19-14 victory, West Virginia has been knocked off their post as the Big East front runner and the conference is now up for grabs.  Syracuse forced West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith into three first half interceptions that the Orange turned into points, and the Mountaineers weren't able to climb back from the halftime deficit.  In fact, after a very exciting back and forth first half of play, neither team scored scored a point after the break.  

Syracuse dominated West Virginia on the ground, racking up 183 rushing yards on one of the best statistical defenses in the nation.  Running back Delone Carter left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury after racking up 75 yards, but backup Antwon Bailey was just as effective for the Orange.  Bailey carried 19 times for 94 yards, career high's in both categories, and Syracuse shed a new light on the Mountaineer squad that many had already penciled in for the conference title. 

Pittsburgh has now jumped into the conference lead with their 41-21 dismantling of Rutgers.  After the 2-0 Panthers stand Syracuse, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville as teams with one loss.  That list will be shortened after the completion of the Huskies-Cardinals game, but the argument will still be valid for 3/4 of the conference to be considered legitimate contenders.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 1:55 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 1:58 pm
 

Geno Smith unraveling in Morgantown

Posted by Chip Patterson

After throwing only two interceptions in his first 196+ attempts, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown three picks in the first half of Saturday's conference match up with Syracuse.  The Orange have been able to capitalize on the mistakes, and lead 19-14 in Morgantown at the break.  Syracuse has been unintimidated by the West Virginia defense, running right at the top ranked unit for 132 yards on the ground.  The Mountaineers entered the game ranked third in scoring defense, but have not had an answer for Syracuse's rushing tandem of Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey.  

Smith's interceptions have given Syracuse short fields for three scoring drives, but the Mountaineers have been able to hold them to field goals each time.  If Smith can keep the ball out of the hands of the Orange, they should be able to pull back in this game.  Until then though, we have an UPSET ALERT!

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear

Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain

Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain

No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear

No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms

Evening kickoffs

No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms

Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms

Late night kickoffs

Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy


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