Tag:C-USA
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 14



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.

This is it, the final week of MWM in the 2011 season, and it pretty much couldn't have gone worse for me. You see, heading into last week it was a two-horse race, and I was on the verge of losing a picks competition against my girlfriend. Well, then the Machine had to go 8-2 last week while both Woman and I struggled, and guess who is now in second place?

That's right, at the moment, I trail not only my girlfriend but my Playstation as well. Pretty much as embarrassing as embarrassing can be.

On the bright side, the race is closer than ever before, which is pretty much the ideal situation heading into the final week of any competition. Yes, I'm in last place, but I'm only two games behind Woman. Machine is a game behind. So any of us can win, which makes this week the single most important week of the MWM season.

Feel free to read our final picks of the season while I pool some money together and get to work bribing teams to help me out this weekend.

South Florida (Pick 'em) vs. West Virginia - Thursday, 8pm (All times Eastern)

Man - I was originally leaning toward South Florida because they're at home, and it's the Big East, so since you have no idea what's going to happen, leaning toward the home side is usually the best bet. But then the news that B.J. Daniels probably won't be playing came along, and, well, that changes things. Pick: West Virginia

Woman - "I want to pick the Bulls  - mostly so I can watch coach Dana Holgorsen figure out a way to blame West Virginia fans for the loss (start at minute 1:10 here to see his previous efforts) - but they're too banged up, so the mundane Mountaineers will squeak by." Pick: West Virginia

Machine - West Virginia keeps its slim BCS hopes alive with a rather easy 37-20 win over the Bulls. Pick: West Virginia

Oregon (-30 1/2) vs. UCLA - Friday, 8pm

Man - That is a very big spread. One that's big enough to make me think that maybe UCLA isn't a horrible pick because once Oregon gets up by a lot, it really has no reason to pile on, the Rose Bowl is its only possible destination. But then I realized I'd be putting my faith in Rick Neuheisel, and last game or not, no thanks. Pick: Oregon

Woman - "My prediction: At the start of his final game, fired UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel will rip off his shirt to reveal his 1984 SAN ANTONIO GUNSLINGERS JERSEY, SPRINT OUT ONTO THE FIELD AND, UNFAZED BY THE BAD BURRITO HE ATE FROM A TACO STAND ON LA CIENEGA, TAKE OVER AS QUARTERBACK, THROWING TO HIMSELF FOR TOUCHDOWN AFTER TOUCHDOWN UNTIL THE UCLA BOARD OF REGENTS REALIZES ITS GRIEVOUS ERROR, RUSHES TO THE SIDELINES AND ASKS, NAY, BEGS HIM TO STAY." Pick: Oregon

Machine - The Machine sees this one as a game that might be competitive-ish for a while on Friday night. It seems to think that the Bruins will experience some kind of Rick Neuheisel bump. They still lose, but only 41-28. Pick: UCLA

Houston (-14 1/2) vs. Southern Miss - Saturday, 12pm

Man - This game is odd for so many reasons, one being that both head coaches are being mentioned as candidates at other schools, which can be quite a distraction. I want to pick Houston because they're undefeated and torched a good Tulsa team last week, but then I started thinking about the BCS. Wouldn't it just make sense that in the final weekend of the season the undefeated team from the non-BCS conference fell due to some kind of BCS conspiracy? I'm pretty sure Bill Hancock is a Freemason....ahh, screw it. Pick: Houston

Woman - "Picking blind here cuz the only Southern miss I know got wasted on SigEp punch and woke up on the 50 yard line the next morning. Wait. That was me." Pick: Houston

Machine - The Machine sees Case Keenum putting the final stamp on a terrific regular season, as he throws for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns as Houston wins 45-28. Pick: Houston

Pitt (-10 1/2) vs. Syracuse - Saturday, 12pm

Man - Man, I seriously have no idea. Maybe it's the pressure of the situation I'm in getting to me, but I stare at this spread and it may as well be the equation on the chalkboard in Good Will Hunting. It's just a bunch of numbers and letters to me. Whatever, give me the Panthers. Pick: Pitt

Woman - "Syracuse is god awful but if there's one thing I learned watching last week's Backyard Brawl it's that every Orange defenseman should just yell "Boo!" while running towards Panthers QB Tino Sunseri, then wait for him drop to the ground and start weeping. That should keep the results within the spread, at least." Pick: Syracuse

Machine - The Machine nearly blew up after being forced to simulate two Big East games in the same week. Pitt wins 24-10. Pick: Pitt

Kansas State (-11 1/2) vs. Iowa State - Saturday, 12:30pm

Man - I think Iowa State has already had its big upset bid of the season, and I don't see them being able to stop Kansas State on the road this weekend. Plus, the Cyclones offense just did not look very good at all last week. Pick: Kansas State

Woman - "Game's not being played in Oklahoma? Check. Not against a team from Oklahoma? Check." Pick: Kansas State

Machine - Can't decide if this is good or bad news for Kansas State, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time all year that The Machine has picked the Wildcats. KSU wins 27-10. Pick: Kansas State

Baylor (-2 1/2) vs. Texas - Saturday, 3:30pm

Man - Robert Griffin is expected to play, and although the Texas defense has been outstanding, I just don't see the Texas offense being able to keep up with the Bears for 60 minutes. Especially on the road. Pick: Baylor

Woman - "Note to Mack Brown: A television network does not a football team make." Pick: Baylor

Machine - Sorry, Baylor, The Machine just isn't buying what you're selling this season. Texas wins 27-24. Pick: Texas

LSU (-12 1/2) vs. Georgia - Saturday, 4pm

Man - Here's how good LSU is: the Tigers could lose this game and then go on to lose the national title game, and I'd still probably put them at #1 on my ballot. Pick: LSU

Woman - "The only times I lost on LSU games this season were when I bet against you, Les. What was I thinking?  (And by the way, I've decided to start a "DRAFT LES MILES FOR PRESIDENT" Committee, if only to see the look on his face when other candidates do really dumb things.)" Pick: LSU

Machine - The Machine doesn't really see Georgia threatening LSU in this game, but it also doesn't see much offense, and Georgia gets the cover because of it. LSU wins 14-6. Pick: Georgia

Oklahoma State (-3 1/2) vs. Oklahoma - Saturday, 8pm

Man - You know that BCS conspiracy thing I mentioned with my Southern Miss pick? Yeah, well it applies here too. What's the best way to ensure that there's no debate between Oklahoma State and Alabama? Have Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State. Though I suppose that when you consider how the Sooners have dominated this rivalry through time, the conspiracy may not be necessary. Pick: Oklahoma

Woman - "This is it, Cowboys. Time to show all the naysayers why you belong in the BCS Championship. If you win, you've earned it (though it will have to be by thirty points to convince the myopic BCS voters)." Pick: Oklahoma State

Machine - The Machine sticks with the trends. Oklahoma wins 41-35. Pick: Oklahoma

Virginia Tech (-7 1/2) vs. Clemson - Saturday, 8pm

Man - Clemson has already beaten Virginia Tech by 20 earlier this season, and although the Tigers haven't exactly been a good team the last few weeks, I'm still confident that they can at the very worst cover that spread on a neutral field. Pick: Clemson

Woman - "Really? This could be the game that loses me the MWM season? Pass the Maalox while I puzzle through my choices. Yeah, they crushed Virginia last week, but I still have Hokie hesitation. I'm taking a deep breath and going with Sammy Watkins plus home field advantage. Your move, Sicilian." Pick: Clemson

Machine - The Hokies get revenge and quite a bit of it, as Tech picks up a relatively easy 27-7 win. Pick: Virginia Tech

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin (-9 1/2) - Saturday, 8:17pm 

Man - I think we've seen the best from Michigan State already this season, and now that they're facing a Wisconsin team that's once again gotten rolling on a neutral field, I'm liking the Badgers' chances. Pick: Wisconsin

Woman - "Next stop, Rose Bowl. (Hey, guys, thanks to you for reading and to Fornelli for coming up with this competition. It's been a lot of fun. Also, thanks to CBS Sports for finally shattering the glass ceiling last week, so I can now look forward to a continued future in football prognostication.)" Pick: Wisconsin

Machine - The Machine doesn't believe in God, and therefore it does not see any Hail Mary saving the Spartans this time. Wisconsin wins 31-23, but that's a cover for Sparty. Pick: Michigan State

Standings

Season Record (Last Week)

1. Woman 73-62 (4-6)
2. Machine 72-63 (8-2)
3. Man 71-64 (4-6)
Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 1:24 pm
 

PODCAST: Week 14 Preview

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's the last weekend preview show of the season -- which makes me incredibly sad as I type that, where did this season go? -- and there are quite a few big games to go over. There's the SEC Championship, the Big Ten Championship, the ACC Championship, the Pac-12 Championship and the Conference USA Championship. In other words, there are a lot of championships on the line this weekend and the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast discusses what we can expect from all of them.

Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst also go over what to look for in the jumbled Big East this weekend, along with a game taking place in Oklahoma that they call Bedlam.

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: November 28, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 11:30 am
 

So who is the real number two?



Posted by Tom Fornelli


There's an inherent flaw in the way we determine the champion in college football. When you let human beings decide which teams are the best, you allow our emotions and opinions to become involved in the process. Making matters worse, we're all pretty stubborn when it comes to how we think and feel about a certain subject.

I knew a kid in college who would only drink Mr. Pibb and refused to drink Dr. Pepper. They're the same thing. The only difference between the two is that Dr. Pepper has more student loans to pay off and has a real good time beneath underpasses. When I'd ask my friend why he insisted on drinking Mr. Pibb over Dr. Pepper he said that Mr. Pibb just tasted better.

Which is a lie, because they taste the same, but in his mind Mr. Pibb was better. He had that preconcieved notion, possibly from having it in the house as a child, and there was nothing that could happen to convince him otherwise.

It's a lot like how we view college football teams. There's a group of people who feel that Alabama is the second-best team in the country, and no matter what arguments you make on another team's behalf, that opinion's not changing. There are groups of people that feel the exact same way about Oklahoma State, Stanford, or Virginia Tech. No matter what you say to them, they're already convinced that one of these teams is the team that deserves to face LSU for a BCS title, and you won't change their mind.

Which got me to thinking around 2am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. What if there was a way to present a team's case without a person knowing who that team was? If I remove the names of the schools, I'm removing the bias. All a fan can see is "Team X" not Alabama, not Oklahoma State, not Conference USA, none of that. Just the letter "X" and some numbers.

So I decided to take a look at six different schools and compare them in five separate categories to get a better idea of who the better team really is. I'd like to share this data with all of you and then have you vote on which team you think is the team that should be playing LSU based on the numbers you see. There is no right answer, there is no wrong answer. It's still opinion, but what I've done is I've stripped any possible biases you may already have.

Here's the chart.



Now here's an explanation of the chart.

Top 20 W - This is the number of wins each team has against a team currently ranked in the top 20 of the Sagarin rankings, which are used as part of the BCS formula. Though I used Sagarin's overall rankings, not the rankings he has to use for BCS which removes point differential.

Top 40 W - This is the number of wins each team has against a team currently ranked in the top 40 of the Sagarin rankings.

Opp. Win % - Exactly what it looks like, the combined winning percentage of every FBS team each team has played. It's important to note that I did not count the games against that particular team. So for example, Team E's opponents had a .479 winning percentage in game not against Team E.

Av. Point Diff. - This is the average point differential in each team's games against FBS opponents. In other words, how many points are you winning your games by on average.

Av. Sagarin Rank - This is the average Sagarin ranking of the FBS opponents each team has played in 2011. The lower this number, the better.

So, now that you have all the info, which team is the one that should be playing LSU? Vote below, and once you vote the teams will be revealed.



So who did you vote for?

Find out here.


Posted on: November 18, 2011 4:12 pm
 

PODCAST: Big Ten/Heisman/Thursday's Games

Posted by Adam Jacobi

I'm the guest on the College Football Podcast today as we debate: Who would you rather have going forward - Denard Robinson or Taylor Martinez? We break down the Nebraska-Michigan and Penn State-Ohio State games, talk about Russell Wilson's Heisman chances and wonder why in the world I have Aaron Murray on my Heisman Ballot. Plus, we analyze Virginia Tech's win over UNC and UAB's shocking win over Southern Miss

For the record, if I had the ballot to do all over again, I'm putting Collin Klein on it instead of Murray if for no other reason than to shield myself from the withering scrutiny of Mr. Aizer. Still, we're talking about a fifth place Heisman vote; why not go a little bit off the reservation to give it to someone you don't think is getting enough recognition? It's harmless. Plus, let's not start pretending Murray isn't CRUSHING FOOLS right now. Best QB in the SEC by far, and the Boise State and South Carolina losses aren't exactly on him.

I hope Georgia pulls the SEC Title upset while Murray puts up middling stats if for no other reason than I want to see people come around on Murray even after he has his worst game of the season, then pretend the Heisman isn't all about the team record. Please. 

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.  

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: November 3, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 2:08 pm
 

Tulane interviews Jeff Jagodzinski

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There have already been a couple of big names floated as candidates for the head coaching job at Tulane in recent days, most notably Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez, but it seems Tulane is smart enough to realize it shouldn't put all its eggs in those baskets. After all, the odds of either Rodriguez or Leach deciding to start over again at Tulane aren't great.

Which is why it's not all that surprising to see the school look to catch a smaller fish as well. According to The Times-Picayune, one such fish would be former Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who interviewed for the job last week.

Jagodzinski had been at Boston College for two years and led the Eagles to an 11-3 record in 2007 before being fired in 2008 for interviewing with the New York Jets. Jagodzinski went 20-8 in his two seasons in Chestnut Hill.

He has plenty of experience in both professional and college football, having coached for East Carolina, LSU, Northern Illinois, and the Green Bay Packers at different times in his career. His latest job was with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.

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: October 31, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Tulane eyeing Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Tulane head coach Bob Toledo resigned a couple of weeks ago, and the school named Mark Hutson as its interim head coach, but it sounds like Tulane has some big plans for finding a permanent successor. The Green Wave are looking to make a splash as two of the names that have come up as candidates for the job are none other than Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez.

According to Scott Kushner, Rodriguez is one of the top candidates for the job and Leach is expected to meet with the school to discuss the job in the next two weeks as well.

As for what the odds are that Tulane could land either candidate, I'm not exactly sure. Rodriguez did spend two seasons at Tulane as offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998 before moving on to take the same position at Clemson. Would Rodriguez, who currently serves as an analyst for CBS Sports, want to take a head coaching job at a school in Conference USA that's only won 86 games in the last 20 years after having such high profile gigs at West Virginia and Michigan?

As for Leach, I think he'd be more likely to accept the job. It's well known that he'd like to get back into coaching and with his current lawsuit against Texas Tech, it's hard to believe a big school would be willing to bring him on board right now. Tulane, on the other hand, might be a perfect fit.

It could be a perfect place for Leach to showcase his abilities to build a program and possibly use it as a springboard to a bigger job elsewhere.

Personally I don't like Tulane's odds to land either Rodriguez or Leach, but I've been wrong plenty of times before.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Davey O'Brien Award semifinalists announced

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We've reached the point of the college football season where those preseason watch lists we all remember from a few months ago start to whittle down to lists of semifinalists, and today we've got the 16 remaining contenders for the Davey O'Brien Award. The Davey O'Brien Award is given out annually by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to the best quarterback in the nation, and with all the great quarterbacks we've seen so far this season, it's not easy to cut this group down.

Though when you see the 16 names who made the cut below, you'll have a hard time arguing against any of them.

Matt Barkley, USC
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Seth Doege, Texas Tech
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Case Keenum, Houston
Andrew Luck, Stanford
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Keith Price, Washington
Denard Robinson, Michigan
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Darron Thomas, Oregon
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

It's a pretty nice group, and there isn't anybody in it who I'd argue should be taken out.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:00 pm
 

VIDEO: Case Keenum's road to redemption, records

Posted by Adam Jacobi

After suffering a season-ending ACL tear last fall, Case Keenum has led the Houston Cougars to a 6-0 start. Click to watch Keenum describe his incredible journey back to the football field.

I think the process of recovery from a torn ACL doesn't really get enough respect, on account of its relative prevalence in college sports these days. This isn't like the days of Gale Sayers, where one blown knee can ruin the most talented player in the sport; medicine is far, far advanced. And yet, surgery can only get these guys so far into their recovery process; from there, it's still day after day, week after week, and month after month of agonizing rehab -- and then piling on extra conditioning as soon as your knee can handle it, just to get back into game shape. 

Past that, I definitely laughed at the players and coaches being mystified at Keenum's monogamist tendencies, long before his actual marriage. This is college we're talking about, and Keenum's not just some guy, nor just some athlete, nor just some quarterback, nor just some starting quarterback -- he's en route to being the most prolific passer in the history of college football. To stay committed to the woman who's now his wife through all that? That's a level of dedication most of us can't even contemplate. Kudos to you, Mr. Keenum. 

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