Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: August 3, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 2:38 pm

Showtime, CBSSports.com to air Army-Navy series

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Without question, one of the most storied, most heralded rivalry games in college football history has been and continues to be Army-Navy. Yes, the days of Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, and Roger Staubach are long gone, but the legacy's still there -- as are the exemplary young men that populate each roster every year.

To that end, Showtime is teaming up with CBS Sports to produce a two-hour special on the rivalry, called A Game Of Honor, to be aired December 21 -- 11 days after the Black Knights and Midshipmen lock horns on the gridiron. Better yet, there's going to be other related programs and content about the special. Here's more info:

SHOWTIME will have behind-the-scenes access to both academies and their respective football teams for six months leading up to the Army-Navy game, as well as during the game and immediately following. With so many stories to tell, SHOWTIME will air exclusive content across multiple CBS platforms including a special preview show about the making of the docu-drama on Wednesday, November 23 on SHOWTIME; with a network television premiere of the preview show on CBS Sports on Saturday, December 3. In addition, CBSSports.com will air an exclusive 10-episode weekly original web series beginning Monday, October 17. 

Look, say what you will about the football teams themselves, but when you're talking about the actual players and what they're like off the field, it'll probably become pretty clear almost immediately that these guys are the real deal. The US Military Academy and US Naval Academy are about as prestigious as it gets, and the quality of man that comes out of those academies is the proof. On the field, we'll be seeing guys like linemen, linebackers, and running backs, but they're also future generals, CEOs, and lawmakers -- and some of the most disciplined people in America.

At the same time, we are still talking about college-aged kids, and while they're not exactly going through the "normal" college experience, they're also still learning to be adults, in a sense. Further, we're talking about young men in the military during wartime. Needless to say, that's the type of thing that weighs heavily on a lot of their minds, and so to have a game like this to act as an anchor, of sorts, to their lives over here is incredibly important. 

Moreover, the football's getting better. This isn't 20 years ago, when Navy was hapless and Army wasn't a whole lot better; Army just beat SMU (in the Mustangs' backyard) in the Armed Forces Bowl to finish at 7-6 last year, and Navy's been averaging nearly 9 wins a season since 2003. Ken Niumatalolo has been a revelation as head coach of the Midshipmen, and Army brings back nearly every starting skill position player on offense. It's probably going to be a good game regardless of what level of locker room access fans get.

So to have that and this special (and all the additional content that'll be available on this website and on Showtime) is going to be truly special. These are two of the most compelling college football programs today, and A Game Of Honor ought to be a fitting reflection of that.  

Posted on: August 2, 2011 2:37 pm

Two hospitalized in Red River Rivalry knife fight

Posted by Adam Jacobi

An argument over college football escalated into a knife fight on Monday night, and now an Oklahoma fan and a Texas fan are both in the hospital -- one with severe injuries. Here's the report from NewsOK.com:

Police were called to a San Antonio Applebee's where the Sooner fan and Longhorn fan were arguing and fighting. The argument escalated and the Oklahoma fan pulled a knife and attacked the Texas fan.

Both men were stabbed in the fight and were taken to University Hospital in San Antonio. The OU fan was listed in critical condition while the Texas fan was stable.

While it's both very easy and very tempting to engage in some cheap jokes about this episode and by association the Red River Rivalry, let's remember that these guys aren't just Texas Fan and Oklahoma Fan, they're actual human beings who -- presumably -- have families who care deeply about them. To that end, seeing that the Oklahoma fan is in critical condition over this fight should be enough of a reminder that there's more to take away from this story than just a cheap punchline and a giggle.

Also, it would be useless to moralize about how stabbing people over college football is wrong, because over 99% of the population is never going to even consider that, and that other sliver of a percent who eventually will, won't do so after a great deal of forethought. Foredrinking, probably, but not forethought. That all said, gentlemen, it's a damn game, and that's all. Be safe out there.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 2:53 pm

VIDEO: Randy Moss incinerates Army's secondary

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The NFL world is a little poorer today than it was yesterday, as longtime Vikings/Patriots WR (and Marshall alum) Randy Moss announced his retirement earlier. Moss was a free agent at the time, and from the sound of it, the situation in front of him was sufficiently dire that retirement seemed like the best option.

If his retirement is permanent (and not one of those Brett Favre annual retirements), that's a bummer. Moss is 34 now, which means he's lost a couple steps, but even still, he's one hell of a wideout, one who's able to embarrass an opposing cornerback here or there.

So let's look back at a time when Randy Moss' legs were still young and fresh. Oh, and instead of an NFL defense to face, let's pit him against, let's say, late-'90s Army. 3rd and 2 for Marshall at its own 10. What's the worst that can happen?

Oh. Ohhhh. Mach 2 Fireball Death Machine Randy Moss is the worst that can happen. For those keeping score at home, that's a juke, an even better juke, a hurdle, a stiff-arm, and then otherworldly speed, all in one play. And it wasn't even Moss' only insane TD of the day.

It's not enough to say that college football doesn't get guys like Randy Moss very often. There really hasn't been one since. The closest you could get was probably 2004 Braylon Edwards at Michigan, and while Edwards was making some sensational plays in the iconic 1 jersey for the Wolverines, well, he never came close to what Moss did there.

Of course, any discussion of Randy Moss' college career is incomplete without mentioning why it was it's no accident that Moss ended up at tiny Marshall and not a big-name program. Moss originally signed with Notre Dame, but got in a nasty fight during his senior year that ended in a felony charge -- and a denial of enrollment by the school. Moss instead enrolled at Florida State, but was ruled ineligible for his freshman year due to transfer rules. He then tested positive for marijuana during his probation for the aforementioned fight, earning him a dismissal from FSU. So while it's a shame his skills were only on display for Marshall, it was pretty much entirely Moss' fault.

That all said, Moss stayed out of trouble at Marshall, and excelled on the field as a result. For that, we've got that insane play to show for it, and a richer college football history as a whole. Happy trails, Mr. Moss. 
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:25 pm

Nebraska, Iowa unveil "The Heroes Game"

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Friday, representatives from the Iowa and Nebraska athletic departments introduced the theme of the two football teams' annual rivalry game: "The Heroes Game," a celebration of local heroes on a yearly basis. If that sounds, well, unusual, that's understandable. Here's an excerpt from the official release explaining it:

[While] the goal is the same as other "trophy games" - win the struggle on the gridiron and claim the trophy -- the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers won't use their annual meeting to determine ownership of football bragging rights for the Corn Belt exclusively. Instead, they will use the national stage that will be Nebraska's Memorial Stadium or Iowa's historic Kinnick Stadium each autumn to honor citizens of their respective states who are, according to Webster's Dictionary, "admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities," and they intend to work with a partner to do a good deed of their own.

The institutions plan to honor one citizen of Iowa and one citizen of Nebraska prior to each Heroes Game for their extraordinary act. These heroes will be nominated by friends, neighbors or co-workers and will be guests of the two teams at the game where they will be honored on-field during game day. Each will also have their name and hometown etched on the to-be-created Heroes Game trophy.

This is definitely a creative concept, if one that's not entirely football-related; there aren't many other trophies -- especially in college football -- that are interactive at all, much less to the point of etching onto it the names of people who aren't even involved with either program every year. Further, it looks like they've avoided the obvious pairing of Nile Kinnick to a hero-related Iowa football trophy. Points for that.

As for what the final product will look like they didn't unveil the trophy on Friday, either -- just the philosophical concept behind it. Hey, they don't need the trophy itself until late November. Plenty of time there.

As for the concept, this is either cool or embarrassingly schlocky -- and judging by the conference division names, the Big Ten has no compunctions about courting accusations of schlock. And yet, this trophy at the very least honors actual heroes instead of suggesting a couple of football teams from the Midwest fit that bill better than anybody else (they're too busy being Legends anyway). It'll be very interesting to see how the selection plays out, and whether the designation of "hero" starts to consistently fit into the military theme alluded to when the press release mentioned "Nebraska's Memorial Stadium or Iowa's historic Kinnick Stadium," two stadiums named to honor casualties of war.

One request, though: No politicians. Not even once. Please. We're begging you. 

Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:36 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There's a new trophy coming to college football, and it'll probably have an old name attached to it. Here's an invitation sent out by Iowa and Nebraska yesterday:

There's no way to know for sure what the trophy's going to be before the unveiling -- the Big Ten's pretty good at keeping secrets, after all -- but with the invocation of a "hero," there's nearly a 100% chance that Nile Kinnick is involved somehow. Kinnick is obviously Iowa's pride and joy, and for obvious reasons: he's a native of Adel, Iowa, he's the Hawkeyes' only Heisman Trophy winner (1939), the stadium's named after him, a statue of Kinnick is out in front of said stadium, an excerpt of his Heisman speech is played in the pregame video montage there, and Kinnick's also on the coin flipped before every Big Ten game. Quite the resume, and all that's without mentioning Kinnick's tragic death in 1943 in an airplane crash while training for World War II. Put it this way -- if this "hero" business is a reference to anybody but Nile Kinnick, Iowa fans may riot.

It's also worth pointing out, however, that Kinnick wasn't an Iowa resident his entire life; while Nile was in high school, his father had to move to Nebraska for work, so Kinnick actually graduated from Benson HS in Omaha. He's a member of the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame, which is quite the accomplishment for one year of residence in the state. So Kinnick does have a Nebraska connection.

That said, it's a pretty flimsy connection, so unless the Big Ten follows the pattern of dual-naming the trophy like with the conference awards, Nebraska fans are probably going to be a little furious that their Huskers are going to be playing for a trophy that's 99% about the Hawkeyes. And even if it is dual-named, Nebraska doesn't really have a corollary to Nile Kinnick in its history (few programs do, obviously), so whoever gets picked for the Huskers would probably be overshadowed by Kinnick in terms of relevance.

And yet, that should make the trophy even more alluring for the Cornhuskers. Remember, Nile Kinnick is Iowa football. He's practically a saint in Iowa City and the rest of the state. His legend grows by the day there. It may be revealed that he once admitted to chopping down an apple tree, then saying "I cannot tell a lie." So if the trophy means more to Iowa than it does to Nebraska, how great is it going to be the first time Nebraska takes it from the Hawkeyes? It's like the sports equivalent of stealing somebody's wife. That should be enough to kickstart a rivalry, no?

And if that's the case, then welcome to a real conference rivalry, Iowa. For the duration of the Hawkeyes' involvement in the Big Ten (and all its earlier iterations), they've never had a mutual primary rival in the conference. Minnesota and Wisconsin have both been fine rivals over the decades, but the Gophers and Badgers have had each other first and foremost (it's FBS' most-played rivalry ever, at 120 games), and that rivalry was specifically protected by the Big Ten in the switch to divisions while Iowa was handed a protected annual game against Purdue. Iowa and Purdue have as much of a rivalry as the Saskatchewan Roughriders and... well, Purdue.

So clearly Hawkeye fans must have been thrilled to see the annual game with Nebraska given the season-ending spot, effectively replacing Nebraska's rivalry against Colorado with something even more geographically (and culturally) immediate. Nebraska-Colorado may have been a compelling rivalry on the gridiron, but the most passionate rivalries are so closely geographic that they can make fans hate immediate family members. Iowa-Nebraska is that, if for no other reason than Lincoln is 200 miles closer to Iowa City than to Boulder, CO -- and Omaha and Des Moines (the two states' primary population centers) are not only even closer, but on the same direct route between the two campuses. This is a rivalry begging for regional conflict. Involving the venerable Nile Kinnick is going to make things even spicier. 
Posted on: July 26, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Pryor ineligible, gets 5-year campus ban from OSU

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Any lingering uncertainty there may have been to Terrelle Pryor's status with Ohio State -- and there was some, as far as the NFL was concerned -- has been put to rest, as Ohio State has dropped the hammer on its former quarterback.

Here's the latest news on Pryor from the Ohio State RapidReports feed:

The QB's attorney, Larry James, received a letter from AD Gene Smith on Tuesday stating Pryor would have been ineligible for the 2011 season and that he’s barred from having any contact with the program for five years.

This is good news for Pryor (seriously!). As of yesterday, Pryor still technically had eligibility remaining with Ohio State, and his situation didn't fit the NFL's definition of the "extenuating circumstances" that would allow a player to be taken in the supplemental draft. That, clearly, has changed now.

Of course, the down side is the punishment itself; Pryor is now a pariah of sorts, and being disallowed from contact with his old program for five years pretty much stinks for him. At the same time, there's still a lingering, often nasty resentment among Buckeye fans of Pryor for his role in Jim Tressel's departure, so Pryor might feel more welcome somewhere else for the next few years anyway.


Posted on: July 26, 2011 6:15 pm

'Unofficial' Big Ten poll puts Nebraska at top

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coming into this year's media gathering, the Big Ten decided not to hold its annual media poll with the usual preseason player of the year, predicted order of finish (heretofore limited to the top three finishers), and all of that. It seemed odd, but from the Big Ten's perspective, it wasn't exactly a vital aspect of the whole operation.

Funny thing, though; just because the Big Ten isn't holding a poll doesn't mean it's not going to happen. So lo and behold, 24 beat writers from around the conference -- two per school -- got together and held their own poll anyway.

Here's the breakdown from the Detroit Free-Press, listed with the total amount of voting points (six for first, five for second, on down the line) with first-place votes in parenthesis.


1. Nebraska (19) 139
2. Michigan State (4) 118
3. Iowa 82
4. Michigan (1) 71
5. Northwestern 69
6. Minnesota 25


1. Wisconsin (22) 141
2. Ohio State (1) 113
3. Penn State (1) 95
4. Illinois 76
5. Purdue 52
6. Indiana 27

Title game matchups:
Nebraska over Wisconsin (10)
Wisconsin over Nebraska (7)
Wisconsin over Michigan State (3)
Nebraska over Ohio State (1)
Nebraska over Penn State (1)
Wisconsin over Michigan (1)
Michigan State over Wisconsin (1)

First of all, there are scant few surprises herein. Nebraska's the class of the conference, Wisconsin's next, and there's a pretty big dropoff after that. That said, whoever decided Michigan was going to win the Legends Division in Brady Hoke's first year -- the rebuilding period right after another rebuilding period -- should stop sending joke ballots and ruining it for the rest of the readers. Another demerit for whoever decided to put somebody below Minnesota, since the Gophers are just a mess right now.

As for the Leaders Divison, no surprises here, aside from a preposterous first-place vote for Penn State. Ohio State would be worth a look here if Terrelle Pryor were still on the five-game suspension, but with Joe Bauserman (or whoever else) under center, the Buckeyes are decidedly inferior to Wisconsin -- so long as Russell Wilson's healthy, anyway.

Speaking of quarterbacks -- this would be the year to celebrate them. The top three offensive players are all QBs, according to voters, and five of the 10 players who received votes were QBs. Here's the breakdown (again, with first-place votes parenthesized):

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (14) 52
2. Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern (4) 26
3. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State (2) 18
4. Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State (1) 16
5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (1) 14
6. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (2) 9
7. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska 4
8. James White, RB, Wisconsin 2
9. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State 2
10. Derek Moye, WR, Penn State 1

Yes, that's two different Wisconsin tailbacks on the list, and at least one will likely be in the top five of voting at the end of the season. As for the leading vote-getter, it's worth pointing out that Robinson's most dangerous weapon is still his feet... and Michigan's planning on limiting his carries this season. Yes, that's a wise move for keeping Robinson healthy, but the more he's standing still in the pocket and throwing, the less he's playing to his strengths. He'll still make it work, in all likelihood, since it's Denard flippin' Robinson we're talking about here, but those gaudy numbers we saw last season may be coming down a bit. Just a bit.

In other voting, Jared Crick dominated defensive player of the year voting, and Bret Bielema was named the top coach in the Big Ten over close runners-up Kirk Ferentz, Bo Pelini, and Pat Fitzgerald (in that order). Crick is a fine choice, and the four coaches who led voting deserved to. One could make a good case for Pat Fitzgerald to be higher, but these are small quibbles; we're not talking about Ron Zook ending up in second place or anything.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 7:32 pm

Michigan AD: Fans too intense for night game?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Now that Michigan's off in the (sigh) Legends Division of the revamped Big Ten, it faces an unusual situation where its biggest rival -- Ohio State -- is off in another division, which means that even though the Wolverines and Buckeyes play each other every year, they're not playing for the same divisional crown or against all the same conference opponents. This will likely make the squabbles between both fanbases even more obnoxious, but that's how all good rivalries ought to be. I digress.

That means of Michigan's new divisional opponents, its most obvious rival -- from both a geographic and historical perspective -- are the Spartans over at Michigan State, and there is absolutely no love to be lost between these two fanbases. How intense is the rivalry? So much so that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon would much rather not even contemplate a night game between the two teams:

Brandon was more cautious about the possibility of the heated rivalry game being played at night at either stadium.

"I don't even know if I want to do that at home," Brandon said. "I think the passion and the excitement of the crowd, to energize that with a night game, may be more than either one of us can handle. I think we'd have to be very careful about that. But we'll see. You never know what the future holds."

Wait! Stop the party! Dave Brandon doesn't wanna hurt nobody!

If we're being honest, Brandon is right, even if he's forced to speak in euphemisms to describe the real issue here: alcohol. You get tens of thousands of football fans drinking for 10 hours straight before the biggest football game of the year, and there's going to be a few public safety headaches. Now, Brandon can't come right out and say "some people will be too drunk and will cause problems for lots of other people," because nobody ever likes to be told that they can't handle their booze, and that just sends the discussion down a contentious and unproductive path.

It would be a little insane if Brandon gave those reasons for not wanting a night game and he wasn't referring to the alcohol, though, wouldn't it? Like he legitimately thought his fans would be too passionate to handle a night game? That would a ferocious insult to the Wolverine fans and their sensibilities. Fortunately, the euphemisms being used are so widely known that we all know what Brandon really means, and he's probably got a point.

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