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Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: January 7, 2012 2:58 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 4:26 pm
 

BCS Championship Game Score Predictions

Posted by Eye on College Football Staff

Chip Patterson: The first Game of the Century had the feel of two teams trying just as hard "not to lose" as they were trying to win.  With so much time to prepare, I imagine the first half will be just as low-scoring.  But Les Miles' willingness to adjust on the fly and take chances will be the difference as this game is won (or lost) in the second half.  LSU runs a kick return reverse to catch Alabama off guard for the deciding touchdown. LSU 24, Alabama 17.

Tom Fornelli: I'm with Chip on this one, even if I think 41 points is asking too much. Generally I'm of the opinion that it's hard to beat a team once, and much harder to beat that same team twice, but with this game being played in New Orleans it's hard to pick against the Tigers. LSU has been the best team in college all season, and it won't change in the Superdome, as the Tigers win 20-10.

[Full 2011-2012 bowl schedule]

Adam Jacobi: Tom, LSU's certainly got the best resume, but I don't know if they're the best team. And if anyone's going to turn around their scoring fortunes from first game, I'm picking the one who got into scoring position seven times and has the best running back in all of college football. I think Alabama gets into the end zone thrice, and LSU twice, good enough for a 24-20 Alabama win.

Bryan Fischer: All year I've thought this was the best defense Nick Saban's ever had. Watching them play, I believed it. The offense had Trent Richardson and a great offensive line with solid coordinators on both sides. But, and this is a big but, I can't pick against LSU. Les Miles has a great team and it seems like their destiny is to run the table. The Tigers aren't better than the Tide 11-on-11 but they are the better team and will get things done in New Orleans like they always have. LSU 27, Alabama 24.

Jerry Hinnen: It seems crazy to doubt LSU at this point. I personally doubted them before Oregon, before Mississippi State, before the Prematch, and even once they went down two scores to Georgia. And they've made me -- and all the other doubters -- looks like fools every time. But I'm doubting them one more time, because the formula they used to beat the Tide the first time isn't consistent enough to expect it work a second time. Missed field goals, special teams mistakes, Nick Saban's general conservatism, a botched trick play in LSU territory--these are mistakes the Tide aren't going to make a second time. And down-to-down, offense vs. defense, the Tide had the upper hand. This time, I think they make that advantage count. And if not, well, I'll be the one in the corner wearing the purple-and-gold dunce hat ... again. Alabama 20, LSU 16. 

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:27 am
 

Bill O'Brien may stay with Pats past Signing Day

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State is expected to announce the hiring of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien on Saturday, according to CBSSports.com NFL reporter Mike Freeman. That brings a merciful end to the Penn State coaching search, as the PSU job was the last to be filled in all of the FBS.

The thing is, however, if reports are true, O'Brien won't be on Penn State's campus immediately -- and the wait could potentially extend past a very important deadline. According to Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter Ian Rapoport, O'Brien will remain the Patriots' offensive coordinator throughout the playoffs. And while the NFL playoffs start this weekend, the Patriots' season won't be ending so soon. New England is the top seed in the AFC, meaning the Patriots have a bye week this week, and are the favorite to make it to Super Bowl XLVI.

Penn State fans should be rooting for an early upset for the Pats, though, because if the Patriots do make it to the Super Bowl, O'Brien's going to be a member of that staff until February 5. That date is important, because Signing Day -- the first day that college football recruits can sign letters of intent with their preferred school -- is the preceding Tuesday, February 1. Now, top seeds are hardly locks to make the Super Bowl in today's NFL, but the Patriots under Bill Belichick have one of the best track records in the playoffs of any NFL franchise over the last decade or so.

O'Brien is expected to do some recruiting while he's still with New England, and he wouldn't be the first coach to pull double-duty like this; Rapoport also noted on his feed that Charlie Weis did so at New England as he prepared to take over Notre Dame, and Sylvester Croom was similarly stretched between Green Bay and Mississippi State when he was first hired. Unfortunately, as Rapoport also noted, such double duty hampered the coaches' first recruiting classes considerably, and it's also worth noting that both coaches were fired after five seasons -- right when that first recruiting class would have been full of redshirt seniors.

It would then behoove Penn State to retain Tom Bradley (the defensive coordinator-turned-interim coach who has led the team since the Penn State Board of Trustees fired longtime coach Joe Paterno on November 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal) and offer him his old position as defensive coordinator, much in the same way that Ohio State has honored interim head coach Luke Fickell since the hiring of Urban Meyer. That way, Bradley can also focus his efforts on recruiting and salvage a Penn State class that by Big Ten standards is mediocre, and by Penn State standards is subpar.

It does not portend well for Bradley's future with Penn State, however, that the only word from him was that he had not been told of any hiring plans by the school as of Thursday night, according to Blue White Illustrated. If Bradley is not motivated to remain committed to the recruiting trail for Penn State while O'Brien tries to balance recruiting and coaching the Patriots for however long New England's season lasts, Penn State's recruiting class will undoubtedly suffer, and that's another hurdle that this suddenly flailing program does not need to have added to the race ahead.

For more breaking news on Penn State, follow the team's RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:51 am
 

What's to be done about 'rogue' AP voters?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

A report came out Wednesday night that some AP voters were prepared to vote LSU as the national champion even if Alabama beats the Tigers at the BCS Championship on January 12. There are conditions, of course; if 'Bama wins handily, there's not going to be much doubt who the deserving national champion is. But still, if the title game is another close, unconvincing affair that this time tilts in favor of Alabama, there are people on record who are at the very least open to the prospect of sticking with LSU.

"Awarding a championship to a team that loses its final game is beyond counterintuitive and may be un-American," said David Teel of the Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Va. "But if LSU loses narrowly, I will absolutely consider (voting the Tigers No. 1). That's how good the Tigers' regular season -- five wins over the top 25, four away from Death Valley, including at Alabama -- was." Another voter in Albuquerque told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd that Alabama's win "would have to be like 63-0 or something" before he'd consider voting for the Tide over LSU.

[Doyel: Splitting BCS national championship 'stupidest idea ever']

The conundrum Teel raises along with his supposedly "rogue" compatriots is a real one, and one that cuts to the core of polling as a college football institution. At the end of the day, though, Teel is not only well within his right to wonder aloud about this game's effect on his final ballot -- if the conditions are right, he should follow his gut and go with LSU to win the title.

First, it's important to understand why polling even needs to exist in college football (which it does!) in the first place. The validity of determining a Top 25 in college football is dramatically hindered by two factors:

1) We just don't have much data to work with. Assuming one of the central maxims of college football and the BCS is correct -- that the most important determinant in whether one team is better than the other is what happens when they play each other -- then in order to justify a two-team playoff out of a 120-team league, we would likely need way more than 12 or 13 data points for each team (especially with two-thirds of nearly every schedule dedicated to common games with a highly consolidated group of conference opponents). Baseball uses 162 games in a 32-game league, and this year, it needed all 162 just to determine an 8-team playoff setup.

Now, the point can be made that MLB didn't actually need all 162 games to determine its playoff participants -- nobody was screaming about major league baseball's illegitimacy when the season was 154 games long (or less) for the first 85 years of the league's existence, after all -- but if we extrapolate college football's rate of missing opponents to the MLB, the season would be four games long, three of the games would be dedicated to intra-division play, and the fourth game would be for one non-division opponent. And then two title game participants are chosen. If MLB commissioner Bud Selig proposed this, he would be fired. He would be quadruple-fired. Then the riots would begin.

2) The data we do have is highly contradictory anyway. Even if we had a season with dozens upon dozens of games, upsets are so prevalent that the rankings would still be a relatively poor predictor of future games. We all like to believe that if one team beats the other, it's better than the other team, but here's the full list of the Associated Press Top 25* teams that have not lost to a team ranked below them: LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and Penn State. In other words, even among what voters have determined to be the best 25 teams, 76% are ranked ahead of a different team that beat them during the season, and it took only 12-13 games to get to that point. For the next 25 teams, the ones with even more losses than 1-3 on the year, there would be utter carnage in trying to only rank teams ahead of the ones they beat. Consider that the next time somebody makes the all-too-prevalent argument of "How can Team X be behind Team Y in the rankings when Team X beat Team Y?" 

Now, even though college football is filled with game-changing factors that hinge on chance (weather, injuries, fumbles) this pattern of teams routinely losing to worse teams is not a phenomenon unique to the sport. Going back to baseball, losses are so prevalent that even the best teams rarely win more than two-thirds of their games. In professional football, the teams with the best regular-season record are barely more likely to make the Super Bowl than the average playoff-bound team. But those two leagues (and every other professional team sport) feature multi-round playoffs, so the contradictions are rendered meaningless through the process of the playoffs -- even as said playoffs routinely eliminate teams that would take a BCS Championship bid if such a system existed in the league.  

College football does not have the luxury of expanding its schedule to adequately address either of the the above factors, especially in light of the FBS' mammoth number of programs -- football is debilitatingly brutal as it is, plus the prospect of trying to turn a profit in the postseason is prohibitively difficult for athletic departments even with a one-week schedule -- so it has to make do with its small, weak set of data in order to determine championship participants. In must step pollsters to interpret that data in their own way, and generally, those pollsters do a very good job of contextualizing the data and putting together a (temporarily) coherent Top 25 -- at least in the poll's weekly aggregations. So given the limitations of college football scheduling, there's really no other way to delineate between specific programs than by subjective ranking.

The rankings are each pollster's individual interpretation of the entire season, and if there's any doubt about that, regard the amount of teams that find themselves ranked second in the season's very final poll without playing in the BCS Championship because they won their bowl games while ranked third while the BCS Championship loser was thumped so soundly it couldn't hang onto the second-ranked spot. Those votes as No. 2 aren't protest votes to suggest that the BCS took the wrong team to challenge the top-ranked team or that a plus-one needs to be enacted immediately, they're reflections of each team's work on the season as a whole.

So given that, it's particularly backwards of the BCS and Coaches Poll to require that the winner of the BCS Championship be voted as national champion while allowing the loser to be ranked lower than second if need be. The season as a whole is what it is, and if AP voters determine that a potential slim Alabama victory over LSU at a (semi-) neutral site in the BCS Championship doesn't constitute enough of a reason to like Alabama's season more than LSU's, those voters should absolutely rank LSU first in their final ballots. They should be prepared to defend the decision, of course, but they should do it; otherwise, what's the point of being granted a vote in the first place?

*The AP Top 25 was chosen because the Coaches Poll and BCS exclude Southern California for reasons that are not germane to this particular topic.
 

Keep up with all the latest results and preview the rest of the bowls at CBSSports.com's Bowl Pregame. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:45 pm
 

Montee Ball still undecided on NFL status

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Montee Ball, the standout Wisconsin tailback who tied Barry Sanders' season mark for most total touchdowns this year with 39, may not be off to the NFL quite yet. Ball, who finished fourth in Heisman voting this year, has not announced his plans for next season, and although he's got a touchdown streak of 20 straight games and rushed for 6.4 yards per carry this season, he's not a lock to go pro.

On Wednesday, Ball took to Twitter to (somewhat) clear the air about his status. "Lots of speculation out there, leaning one way but just not ready to make an announcement yet, appreciate everyone's patience," tweeted Ball.

That's a departure from Ball's earlier plans. Even as of late Tuesday night, Ball had told Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal that his announcement date would be Wednesday.

Ball [NFL draft profile] is currently the sixth-rated running back prospect on CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang's Big Board, and the 80th-best prospect overall. That would theoretically place Ball in the middle of the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, but individual NFL teams' valuations of prospects begin to vary widely past the first round, so Ball could end up considerably higher -- or lower -- if he were to declare for the draft.

If Bell were to stay, his monster 2011 season leaves him in prime position to challenge for several NCAA records. He would need 19 total touchdowns to break former Miami University standout Travis Prentice's career recrd of 78 total TDs, and Ball would need 20 rushing touchdowns to top Prentice's mark of 73 career rushing touchdowns. Ball is 11 games with one TD away from breaking Prentice's record of 35 games with scores, and seven multi-score games away from breaking Prentice's mark of 25 games with at least two touchdowns. Yes, Travis Prentice holds basically every major scoring record for running backs in FBS history.

At the same time, the shelf life of tailbacks at the highest levels of football is generally short, and it may not be in Bell's best interests to stay in college and not get an NFL salary while he subjects himself to the wear and tear of being the focal point of a rushing offense for another year. So this is a tough, tough decision on his part, and it's not hard to see why the final call is taking Ball longer than he anticipated.

Will Ball stay or go? Keep up on the latest developments for him and the rest of the Badgers at CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports page, and check out the rest of the news on early NFL draft entrants here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview 
Posted on: January 2, 2012 7:06 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Florida 24, Ohio State 17

Posted by Adam Jacobi

FLORIDA WON. The Florida Gators used two special teams touchdowns to break the Gator Bowl open, and Ohio State's late rally wasn't enough to bring the Buckeyes back in a 24-17 Florida victory. Andre Debose, seen at right, was named Gator Bowl MVP after he took a kickoff 99 yards to the house, and fellow Florida speedster Chris Hainey later blocked a punt that was returned 15 yards for a touchdown.

HOW FLORIDA WON: As mentioned before, Florida made big plays on special teams that turned the tide of this game, but it should also be noted that the reason OSU only scored 17 points was that Florida effectively bottled up Braxton Miller on the ground. Miller led the Buckeyes with 15 rushes, but he was only able to get 20 yards total on the ground, and Florida's six sacks on defense were a huge part of that. Ohio State depends heavily on its run game, so when Florida held that ground game to under four yards a pop, half the Gators' work toward getting the W was done.

WHEN FLORIDA WON: The Gators had held a healthy lead for most of the game, but Braxton Miller found Jordan Hall on a swing pass late in the 4th quarter, and about five jukes later, Hall was in the end zone and OSU was within seven points with under a minute left. Alas, Drew Basil's onside kick found its way into the arms of Florida WR Stephen Alli, and that would be all.

WHAT FLORIDA WON: If nothing else, it was enjoyable to see an SEC team win the way SEC teams win: SPEEEEEEEEEED. What Florida did not do, however, is move the ball reliably and turn first downs into scoring drives with any regularity. Florida avoids its first losing season in over 30 years with the win, and Will Muschamp has a bowl win over the Big Ten's historical powerhouse on his resume already, so although six-loss seasons aren't going to be tolerated in Gainesville for very long, this is at least a high note for the Gators to end on and to keep the mood at Florida congenial -- for now.

WHAT OHIO STATE LOST: This isn't goodbye for interim head coach Luke Fickell, who's going to be the co-defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer next year, but this was his swan song as Ohio State's head coach, and if anybody deserved to be carried off the field on the team's shoulders this year, it was Fickell. This wasn't a good Ohio State team. Urban Meyer wouldn't have been able to get more than seven or eight wins out of it. So for Fickell to just go out as a sub-.500 head coach at the end of the year would unfairly obscure the work he did. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: In the first quarter, Ohio State knocked the ball out of Florida QB John Brantley's hands as he was passing it. The ball bounced and hit OSU LB Ryan Shazier, who tried to recover it, but his effort was unsuccessful and shortly thereafter the officials blew the play dead as an incomplete pass before anybody else recovered the ball. The play was sent to further review... at which point the replay official awarded the ball to Ohio State for recovering the ball. The fumble was a good call; the recovery was not. Fortunately for Florida, OSU did not convert the turnover into points.

FINAL GRADE: D. This wasn't much like the Ohio State team we'll see next year, thanks to the impending arrival of Urban Meyer. So a game featuring three total offensive touchdowns, two limited offensive performances, one play's worth of end-game drama (a failed onside kick, at that), and zero lead changes isn't exactly going to be exciting. Bah.

Posted on: January 2, 2012 6:56 am
 

Keys to the Game: TicketCity Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

PENN STATE WILL WIN IF: Rob Bolden is a different quarterback when he's not looking over his shoulder. Rob Bolden was a highly touted quarterback recruit for Penn State, and when he became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Penn State in the 2010 season, the primary reaction was one of excitement and not, say, the revulsion that Penn State fans have felt whenever Bolden has come into a game this season as part of the QB rotation. Bolden has completed under half of his 107 passes and has only one touchdown to his name on the year, so we're talking about a level of (non-) production that few quarterbacks who have attempted over 100 passes in a season can match. And now, Bolden is the unquestioned starter, as starting QB Matt McGloin has been ruled out as he continues to recover from the concussion he suffered when WR Curtis Drake knocked him out in a December fight. Perhaps Bolden just needs to get into a groove and not stand on the sidelines for 2/3 of a game. Perhaps he's got a big game dialed up. Perhaps. 

HOUSTON WILL WIN IF: Case Keenum can stay upright for 90% of his pass plays. Case Keenum, the NCAA's leading passer in all of history, is obviously very good at throwing the football, and he's got a host of talented wideouts. What he's also got in the TicketCity Bowl is an opposing defense that ranked fifth nationally (and first in a stingy Big Ten) in pass efficiency defense, and that fact stems from Penn State having both an outstanding secondary and a top-notch defensive line. Houston's offensive line needs to keep the Nittany Lion pass rush as far away from Keenum as possible, because a pass offense as predicated on timing as Houston's is can ill afford to have its QB flushed from the pocket or taking sacks. The cleaner Keenum's jersey stays, the better a chance Houston has of winning this thing.

X-FACTOR: Both teams are working with an interim head coach right now; Penn State has been using defensive coordinator Tom Bradley ever since Joe Paterno was fired mid-season, and Houston's special teams coordinator Tony Levine has been heading the Cougars since Kevin Sumlin was hired by Texas A&M. Penn State's approach has been largely similar to Joe Paterno's tendencies, though the quarterback rotation was quickly scrapped, and it'll be interesting to see if there's any substantial difference between a Kevin Sumlin offense and a Tony Levine offense. Regardless, both Bradley and Levine are basically auditioning as head coaches, as both men are potential candidates for the job, and there should be no shortage of motivation for either of them to put together a winning gameplan. 
Posted on: January 1, 2012 6:28 pm
 

Matt McGloin will not play in TicketCity Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier this week, Penn State announced that Curtis Drake, the sophomore wide receiver who sent QB Matt McGloin to the hospital with head injuries after a fight, would not join the team for the TicketCity Bowl. Now, McGloin will miss the game as well.

According to PennLive.com, Penn State head coach Tom Bradley said on Sunday that McGloin would be out for the TicketCity Bowl against Houston, and that means Rob Bolden will be under center for the Nittany Lions instead. Bolden and McGloin had been in a QB platoon for most of the season, and it was only after Joe Paterno was fired that McGloin was named the full-time starter.

McGloin was knocked out in the fight, and according to his father, he suffered a seizure and a probable concussion as an aftermath of the fight. He has been with the team in Dallas, but not practicing; McGloin was meeting with area physicians last week.

Neither McGloin nor Bolden have been particularly productive for the Nittany Lions, but McGloin eventually established himself as the more effective of the two QBs. McGloin went 125-231 for 1571 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions on the year for an underwhelming 118.3 QB rating, but that production vastly outpaced Bolden's effort: 46-109, 548 yards, one touchdown, four picks, and an 80.1 QB rating. Bolden was a highly-rated QB recruit and the first true freshman to ever start a game at quarterback for Joe Paterno, while McGloin was a former walk-on, but it's become readily apparent that McGloin has been the better quarterback over the last two seasons. 

For all the latest on Penn State's coaching search and preparation for the TicketCity Bowl against Houston on Jan. 2, follow Nittany Lions Rapid Reports.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter.
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Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:11 am
 

QUICK HITS: Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14



Posted by Adam Jacobi

OKLAHOMA WON. It took longer to put away than the Sooners would have expected, but Oklahoma topped Iowa, 31-14, in the 2011 Insight Bowl. Landry Jones threw for his first touchdown since All-American WR Ryan Broyles went down with a torn ACL against Texas A&M on November 5, and short-yardage specialist QB Blake Bell rushed for three touchdowns on the day to help make Oklahoma's lead insurmountable.

HOW OKLAHOMA WON: Perhaps the complexion of the game would have been different if Iowa still had starting tailback Marcus Coker, who was suspended before the game for an unspecified conduct code violation. Alas, the Hawkeyes did not, and as a result the offense sputtered as it featured true freshman Jordan Canzeri instead. With Iowa struggling to move the ball, Oklahoma took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter, and although the Hawkeyes rallied late to push the score to 21-14 with about seven minutes left, OU slammed the door shut late.

WHEN OKLAHOMA WON: As mentioned before, the game appeared well in hand when Oklahoma led by three scores going into the fourth quarter. Iowa QB James Vandenberg came alive with a shift in offensive strategy in the second half, though, and it took a Michael Hunnicut field goal with 2:28 left to push the lead back to 10 points and effectively silence the Iowa rally. 

WHAT OKLAHOMA WON: There was no shortage of disappointment for Oklahoma to go from legitimate national championship contenders to Insight Bowl participants in the span of about a month, and the Sooners' extremely slow start on offense (7 yards in the first quarter) seemed to reflect that. But the Sooner offense gained momentum and finished strong to leave no doubt who the better team was in this game. That's an important reassurance for the players as they head into the offseason, and with a little help from some teams higher in the ranking, OU might even be able to parlay this win into a Top 10 finish just yet.

WHAT IOWA LOST: Iowa lost this game as soon as Coker was suspended, and the fact that Canzeri managed about three yards a carry even with a pretty good performance by his offensive line should drive that fact home. OU's defensive front was ripe for giving up a big day, and that just didn't happen when Iowa didn't have a legitimate tailback to run the ball. Still, Iowa's effectiveness throwing the ball out of the spread in the fourth quarter just underscored how futile it was to give the 172-pound Canzeri over 20 rushes (including 13 in the first quarter) and left Hawkeye fans wondering why Iowa spent so much time running a conservative offense in the first three quarters.

THAT WAS CRAZY: With 2:22 left in the fourth quarter as Iowa prepared for its first play from scrimmage on its last drive, ESPN's SkyCam unexpectedly fell to the field. And while the camera itself was never in danger of hitting any players, the wires on which the camera moves through the air nearly decapitated Marvin McNutt and three other Iowa players. Watch the insane video here.

BONUS CRAZY: On the drive that would end in the aforementioned Hunnicut field goal, OU faced a key 3rd down near midfield, and gave the ball to fullback Trey Millard. Millard went off-tackle right into the path of big-hitting safety Jordan Bernstine, who went low to take out Millard's legs. The result, as seen in the picture at the top, was a beautiful hurdle from Millard and a first-down run, and OU wouldn't look back for the rest of the game.

FINAL GRADE: D+. There wasn't much drama in this game, and neither team was at full strength in its offensive skill positions. As a result, neither team gained even 300 yards -- Iowa actually outgained OU, 292-275, as a matter of fact -- and all the fireworks were limited to pregame introductions. Hard to justify staying up late for this one.

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