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Tag:Bowl previews
Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:02 pm
 

PODCAST: Bowl Previews (Jan. 6-9)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Bowl season rolls on unabated, and the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast rolls on as well with its bowl previews. On the show today the guys go over the bowl games being played from January 6th through the 9th, though not that one game that features Alabama and LSU. They'll have much more on that one later.

Instead they break down some interesting matchups in the Cotton Bowl, the BBVA Compass Bowl and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Can Arkansas' Tyler Wilson have the same kind of success against the Kansas State defense that Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones had before him? Can Arkansas stop Collin Klein and Kansas State's rushing attack? Then there's talk about how SMU and Pitt match up with one another, and about a bowl game that may be a diamond in the rough between Northern Illinois and Arkansas State.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Sugar Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Sugar Bowl. 

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan vs. Virginia Tech defense

When it comes to stopping the Michigan offense, you essentially have to cut the head off the snake, and Denard Robinson is clearly that head. When considering that Robinson is a dual-threat, it's up to your entire defense as a whole, not just the defensive line, linebackers or secondary. Since Robinson can beat you in so many ways, it takes all 11 players on defense to stop him. Something that isn't very easy to do considering that Robinson finished the regular season averaging 268.3 yards per game.

The best way for Virginia Tech to keep Robinson in check would probably be to force him to throw the ball more often than not. While Denard threw for 2,056 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, he also threw 14 interceptions and completed only 56% of his passes. So while his arm is dangerous, it's not nearly as dangerous as the legs that help him scoot down the field at lightning speed.

How do you do this? Well, it starts with the defensive line. First and foremost, the Hokies have to shut down Fitzgerald Toussaint and put Michigan in passing situations. If they can do that, then the focus turns on to how to handle Robinson.

When facing a quarterback like Robinson, it's probably better not to get too much pressure on him. Yes, that seems to be counter-productive to what a defensive line's job is on passing plays, but the fact is, if you pressure Robinson he's fast enough to get away, and you generally leave a lot of open lanes for which he can escape through. Then once he gets into the open field against your linebackers and secondary, well, advantage Robinson. So more so than penetration, the Virginia Tech defensive line will be better served to maintain gap integrity. If he wants to scramble, make him go outside where linebackers and defensive backs can try and force him toward the sideline.

Better yet, if you give Robinson time to throw then he's a lot more likely to throw. And while time is not a defensive back's best friend, Robinson's accuracy issues make up for some of that. Yes, you may get beat in coverage but Robinson still has to put the pass on target.

For an example of this, look at Michigan's loss to Iowa. The Hawkeyes followed many of these same principles and let Robinson throw the ball 37 times. He completed only 17 of those passes and rushed for only 55 yards on 12 carries. The result was a 24-16 victory for Iowa.

Now, obviously, you can't afford to give Robinson all day to pass even with his accuracy issues as sooner or later the Wolverines will begin going to short underneath passes, so occasional blitzes need to be part of the game plan as well. If for no other reason than to keep Robinson guessing. Odds are that Bud Foster has more than a few types at his disposal and ready to use.

While it won't be easy for Virginia Tech to keep one of the most dynamic players in all of college football in check for a full 60 minutes, if the Hokies use some of these methods to at least slow him down and limit his effectiveness, then it will go a long way toward a Virginia Tech victory. If not, it may be a long night. 
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Sugar Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

MICHIGAN WILL WIN IF: While both offenses in this game are pretty balanced, the Wolverines proved to be more potent on offense throughout the season, and generally did so against better defenses than the Hokies this year. Which should be good preparation for the Virginia Tech defense that Michigan will be facing in New Orleans. Statistically, the best defenses Michigan faced this season belonged to Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State and Notre Dame. In those four games the Wolverines averaged 30 points per game. A good sign going into a game against a Virginia Tech defense that's allowing only 17.2 points per game this season, which is good enough for 8th in the country.

The true test for the Wolverines will be running the ball against a Hokie defense that allowed only 107.7 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry on the season. Still, considering that Michigan's strength on offense is running the ball with both Fitzgerald Toussaint and Denard Robinson (the duo combined for 2,174 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011) it wouldn't be in the Wolverines best interest to change things up now. Also, whie the Hokies were successful stopping the Georgia Tech run game this year, Georgia Tech doesn't present the passing threat that Michigan brings. No, Denard Robinson is not a great passing quarterback, as he completed only 56% of his passes this season, but he did throw for 2,056 yards and 18 touchdowns. What Robinson lacks in accuracy, he can make up for with the deep ball once Virginia Tech safeties begin creeping toward the line of scrimmage to stop the run. 

VIRGINIA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Virginia Tech offense is similar to that of Michigan, though it's a bit more proficient when it comes to moving the ball through the air thanks to Logan Thomas. That being said, Virginia Tech averaged only 28.5 points per game this season, which is pretty middle of the road, and nearly 6 points less per game than Michigan. So how will Virginia Tech make up for those 6 points against a defense that is just as sturdy as its own? It's a good question and one that's tough to answer because Michigan is the best defense the Hokies will face this season. 

Still, there is some reason to be optimistic about Virginia Tech's chances. The only defense that compares to Michigan that the Hokies faced this year would be that of Virginia's, and the Hokies posted 38 points and 410 yards of offense against their state rivals at the end of November. The best way for Virginia Tech to repeat that performance against Michigan may be to put the ball in the hands of running back David Wilson. Wilson finished the season with 1,627 yards rushing and averaged over 6 yards per carry. While Michigan's defense was solid as a whole, against the run it was rather mediocre. The Wolverines may have allowed only 129.1 yards per game on the ground, but they did so while giving up 4.07 yards per carry, which is only good enough to be 57th in the nation. So Virginia Tech would be well-served to use Wilson and the run game to set up Logan Thomas and the passing game.

X-FACTOR: While there are plenty of people upset by the fact Michigan and Virginia Tech are playing in this game rather than higher ranked teams like Boise State and Kansas State, the fact is, this matchup should be pretty interesting. These two teams are incredibly similar to one another, which could lead to a pretty exciting and close game. And anytime that's the case, you tend to look at the special teams, as a field goal could very well be what decides this contest. Unfortunately, that's another area where these two teams are essentially the same. 

At least, they were during the regular season. Since then, however, Virginia Tech kicker Cody Journell has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with breaking and entering. In a game like this that should be close, being without Journell could be the deciding factor and tilt things in Michigan's favor.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Alamo Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Alamo Bowl

Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor vs. Washington pass defense

Though some of you may have not been familiar with him before the season started, every college football fan in the world knows who Robert Griffin is now. Winning the Heisman tends to increase your visibility. Of course, knowing who Robert Griffin is is a lot easier than having to stop him, and that's what Washington will be dealing with down in San Antonio during the Alamo Bowl.

It sounds incredibly simple because it is: Washington is not going to win this game if it can't corral Griffin. Easy to know, hard to do.

Even harder when you realize that the Washington pass defense hasn't exactly been good in 2011, allowing 283.8 yards per game with a defensive pass efficiency of 136.05. Both of those numbers put Washington's pass defense in the bottom third of the country. The Huskies also only managed 10 interceptions on the season, while allowing 21 passing touchdowns, so the idea that they'll be able to get Griffin (he of the 6 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio) seems to be a silly one.

Still, in order for Washington to have a good chance of winning this game, the Huskies will have to figure something out. Whether that means playing their safeties incredibly deep and forcing Baylor to dink and dunk down the field or some other strategy, they have to do something.

If not, well, then Griffin's final game as a college quarterback should be one to remember. 
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Alamo Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

BAYLOR WILL WIN IF: This may be a perfect matchup for Baylor. Not only is the game being played only a few hours away from the school's campus, but the Bears will also be facing a defense that hasn't shown much ability to stop anybody this season. Against the top three scoring offenses in the Pac-12 (Stanford, Oregon and USC) the Huskies allowed an average of 46.33 points a game. Which is music to the ears of a Baylor offense that finished the season averaging 43.5 points per game and has the Heisman Trophy winner handling the ball on every snap. This could be Robert Griffin's final game in a Baylor uniform, and he's going to want to end his college career with a bang. Washington will present him with a great chance to do so. Of course, as is usually the case in Baylor games, if the Bears want to win then the defense is going to have to make some stops.

We know the Bears will score points, but while Washington's offense isn't on the same level as Baylor, it can put points on the board too. So a Baylor defense that has given up 35.7 points per game this season is going to have to play a bit better than that if the Bears want to finish the season with 10 wins.

WASHINGTON WILL WIN IF: The Huskies are going to need to have their best defensive effort of the season to pull this one off, or at the very least, force enough turnovers to keep themselves in the game. Facing a passing attack like Baylor's is not good news for a Washington pass defense that has allowed opponents to complete 62% of their passes at 7.5 yards per attempt. Which means that the best way for Washington to slow RG3 will probably be to get pressure on him, which won't be easy given Griffin's mobility and the fact that the Huskies haven't had a great pass rush this season. Further complicating things is the fact that the Huskies defense has allowed over 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs this season as well, so even if Washington can keep Griffin in check, it'll still have to deal with a Terrence Ganaway and a Baylor offense that averages 215 rushing yards a game.

So the best bet for Washington in this one may be to get into a shootout and hope it has the ball last. Scoring points is something that Washington has shown it's capable of this season, with both Keith Price and Chris Polk proving to be hard to stop. The problem is that while the Huskies averaged 35.6 points per game in their first 8 contests, they averaged only 23.25 points a game over their last 4, so it's no surprise that Washington lost 3 of those games. The good news for Washington is that Baylor's defense has a unique ability to make your offense look a lot better than it is.

X-FACTOR: Chris Polk. We've already gone over Washington's run defense, but the truth is Baylor's is probably worse. The Bears allowed nearly 200 yards a game on the ground this season, and gave up 5.18 yards per carry. This is good news for Chris Polk, who rushed for 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. The best thing Washington can probably do for its defense to slow down Baylor would be to keep Robert Griffin and company off the field as much as possible. The best way to do this will be to utilize Polk and sustain long drives.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:34 pm
 

PODCAST: 12/31 Bowl Previews w/Dennis Dodd

Posted by Tom Fornelli

What? You thought we were finished with all the bowl preview podcasts? Well you were wrong, my friend. The CBSSports.com College Football Podcast is previewing ALL of the bowls this season. If there's a bowl game being played, we're on it. In today's episode of the podcast, Adam Aizer is once again joined by Dennis Dodd as they discuss all the bowl games that will be played on New Year's Eve.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and the delicious Chick-Fil-A Bowl, they're all here. Find out what you can expect in each matchup.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:31 pm
 

PODCAST: Bowl Previews (Dec. 30) w/Dennis Dodd

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We've been posting podcasts with bowl previews all week, and that won't be changing today. Our own Dennis Dodd joins Adam Aizer on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast to discuss the matchups in the Armed Forces, Pinstripe, Music City and Insight Bowls. Also, if those games aren't enough to whet your appetite, they talk about other things as well.

In particular, the latest at Ohio State following the NCAA's decision on Tuesday. Did the NCAA do enough? Is a bowl ban worse than reduced scholarships? Answers to these questions and more, so be sure to listen.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: December 20, 2011 7:23 pm
 

PODCAST: Bowl Previews (Dec. 27-29)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Monday we went over the five bowl games from December 20th through the 26th, and today on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst go over the six bowl games between the 27th and 29th. You know, the days where you actually start to recognize the teams that are playing in the game.

So give it a listen and learn everything you need to know about the Little Caesar's, Belk, Military, Alamo and Champs Sports Bowls.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

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