Tag:Eastern Michigan
Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Which school has the best homefield advantage?



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Every summer many college football fan's anticipate the release of Phil Steele's annual preview magazine as much as they do the college football season itself. If you're unfamiliar with Phil Steele, he's a man that enjoys doing three things: watching college football, doing math and writing about college football and the math he's done. It was these three hobbies of Steele's that helped him figure out which school has the best homefield advantage in the country.

Using a number of different factors including stadium capacity, attendance and home records, Steele was able to determine which schools have the biggest edge at their place, and it turns out that three schools are tied atop the rankings. None of which will come as that big of a surprise.

According to Steele, the three teams with the best homefield advantage in the country are Oklahoma, Oregon and Boise State. Those schools are followed by Ohio State and Virginia Tech to round out the top five. Eastern Michigan can lay claim to the worst homefield advantage in the country.

Now, while Steele's formula for figuring all of this out -- you can read all about it and see the entire list of rankings here -- is solid, I do have a small problem with it. He breaks every category down into a rating between 0 and 6. Which leads to a lot of ties in the final rankings. Personally, if I were going to do something similar, I would break the ratings down from 0 to 10. I'm sure there would be some ties, but not nearly as many as Steele currently has.

Though don't expect me to sit down and do it myself. I don't hate math, but I'm not looking to spend all of my time with it either. 
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Big Ten looking at "full cost" scholarships

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's still a long, long ways away before being put into practice. But if it is, a proposal currently being examined at the Big Ten's spring meetings could have seismic repercussions for major college football.

That proposal, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN's Brian Bennett, would increase the conference's full athletic scholarships to cover the "cost of full attendance"--not only tuition and room-and-board, but transportation, clothing, and other expenses. At approximately $3,000 per student-athlete per year, the additional cost for each league school would run into the hundreds of thousands.

But Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says (and Delany clearly agrees with him) that at the highest level of collegiate athletics, it's feasible all the same:
"The reality is that schools can afford it more than you realize," ... Smith said. "Just look at some of the television contracts that have come out recently" ...

"There are some conferences and some institutions that have higher resources than others," Delany said.
Delany's comments made it clear that while there remains "a long way between the talk and the action" on the proposal, he's not intending to abandon it just because the smaller schools of Division I might not be able to afford it:
"Forty years ago, you had a scholarship plus $15 a month laundry money," Delany said. "Today, you have the same scholarship, but not with the $15 laundry money.

"How do we get back more toward the collegiate model and a regulatory system that is based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on a level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody else can do?"
Delany (who has never exactly been shy about protecting his own conference's interests when they conflict with those of less affluent leagues) and Smith didn't shy away from the fact that the proposal's financial burden would be impossible for most conferences to carry. Assuming the Big Ten and their peers adopted it, the logical end result would be scholarships to BCS-level schools becoming some $15-20,000 more valuable over their four- or five-year duration than their non-BCS counterparts.

Thus the division between the "haves" and "have-nots" would widen even further, potentially to the point of a divisional split between the BCS and non-BCS conferences; revolutionary an idea as that might be, Smith (a former A.D. at Eastern Michigan) called it a "logical thought."

Because of that issues, expect there to be a torrent of angry pushback from smaller leagues if and when the Big Ten decides to follow through on the proposal. But when it aims to provide better living conditions for student-athletes -- and has the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert, as reported -- how much push will the non-BCS leagues really be able to muster? We may find out over the next few years, and the fate of college footbal las we currently know it could hang in the balance.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:52 am
 

FCS scheduling still on the rise

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It won't surprise anyone to learn that paycheck games pitting BCS conference teams against FCS patsies -- or non-patsies, as the occasional James Madison/Appalachian State case may be -- are becoming more and more frequent.

But it might surprise some just how rapidly they're increasing, particularly in the domain of the formerly FCS-light Pac-12. Research by the Oregonian shows that such games have increased by a factor of nearly six out West:
Games between FBS and FCS teams have spiked 70 percent since a 2005 NCAA rule change made the games more attractive, according to analysis by The Oregonian. The matchups have increased nearly 600 percent in the Pacific-10 Conference and 358 percent in the Big Ten, even adjusting for conference expansion.
Look at that again: 600 percent. Why? You get one guess:
Athletic director Rob Mullens of Oregon, which plays FCS team Missouri State next fall, said he schedules the games for two main reasons: to have an extra home game and to combat skyrocketing prices for FBS nonconference teams making onetime visits.

"They'll want $900,000 or a million," Mullens said. "And we pay in the $400,000 range for an FCS opponent. That's a big difference."
Thanks to that economic reality (and, more immediately, Washington scheduling defending FCS champion Eastern Washington), only three FBS teams have still never stooped to an FCS game: Notre Dame, USC, and UCLA.

Kudos to them. But with the exception of schools that have doubled up on their FCS snacky-cakes ration, it's tough to be too harsh on the rest of FBS; when Eastern Washington costs substantially less than Eastern Michigan and your fans can't tell the difference, it doesn't make any sense to schedule the latter. Until the NCAA adds some kind of disincentive for scheduling the first FCS game as well as the second (which doesn't count towards bowl eligibility), don't expect the trend line to head in the other direction any time soon.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 11:52 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Arkansas

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Nebraska , who opened spring camp on Saturday.

Spring Practice Question: There's no Ryan Mallett. So what is there, exactly?

We'll go ahead and spoil what we expect to be answer this spring: a whole heck of a lot.

But first, let's look at what the Razorbacks are missing without college football's most famous modified razor scooter -user. First and foremost, they'll be missing -- as Mallett himself said when asked how he'd respond to questions about his college career -- "seven thousand-plus yards and 60 touchdowns in two seasons." Those kind of numbers, and the attendant fear they (and Mallett's gatling-gun arm) put into the shell-shocked defenses he faced aren't easily replaced ... if they're replaced at all.

But it's possible that if the numbers and the arm strength aren't coming back, in ascendant junior Tyler Wilson the Hogs will welcome a few new things that even Mallett couldn't offer them. For all his intimidating talent, it's telling that Mallett summed up his resume for the pros with statistics rather than wins-and-losses or championships; while his two years were immensely successful both personally and from a team standpoint (the program's first-ever BCS bowl berth is nothing to sneeze at, to say the least), Mallett never did shake the nagging feeling from many observers he could have been even better than he was. In 2009, he pulverized the Eastern Michigans on the Hog schedule but too often tried to make the spectacular throw rather than the sensible one, resulting in a 39 percent combined completion rate in Arkansas's four games against ranked opponents (all losses). Mallett was much more consistent in 2010, but Hog fans still have to wonder: what if he hadn't had that three-interception meltdown at home against Alabama? What if the final throw of his college career hadn't been another game-ending boneheaded pick in the Sugar Bowl?

So what could Wilson offer that Mallett didn't? A little more poise down the stretch of big games, and maybe even a little more within-the-offense conservatism when necessary against deep coverage. It's worth remembering three other things in Wilson's favor here, too:

1. Bobby Petrino no doubt helped make Mallett the star he was, but he doesn't need an tree-sized, cannon-armed quarterback to be successful, as he proved with players like Stefan LeFors and Brian Brohm at Louisville;

2. Wilson looked outstanding in his one relief performance of Mallett last season, hitting 25-of-34 against Auburn for 332 yards and four touchdowns, nearly leading the Hogs out of a sizable deficit for what would have been a season-defining victory;

3. He won't have to carry the offense himself, and in fact won't have to carry much of it at all.

Per point No. 3, why not? Because in emerging workhorse running back Knile Davis (who topped 1,000 yards in the last nine games alone) and the senior wide receiving trio of Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, no quarterback in the SEC (and maybe the country) should receive more support from his fellow skill position players that Wilson. He doesn't have to be Mallett to replace him.

And while most of the attention from Razorback fans this spring will likely center on whether the offense keeps humming, the Arkansas defense could be preparing for its best season yet under Petrino. Linebackers Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson both return for their senior seasons after finishing 1-2 on the team in tackles and 1-3 in tackles-for-loss a year ago; end Jake Bequette dominated in flashes last year, totaled a team-leading seven sacks, and could be poised for an All-SEC season; and the safety-corner combo of Tramain Thomas and Darius Winston look ready to pick up where last year's tag-team of Ramon Broadway and Rudell Crim left off.

So: the defense should be better. The running game and the receivers are in place. Which will turn all eyes towards Wilson this spring to see if he can deliver on the promise he showed against Auburn. If he can, even the loss of a wunderkind like Mallett might not be the kind of blow his reputation the past two seasons suggested it would be.

Posted on: February 9, 2011 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 3:36 pm
 

OK State hires Todd Monken as new O-coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Not many coaches left behind bigger shoes to fill this offseason than Dana Holgorsen, the man behind the Oklahoma State offense ranked No. 3 in the country last season. Now we know the man who's going to do his best to fill them.

The Cowboys and head coach Mike Gundy announced today that that man is Jacksonville Jaguars assistant coach Todd Monken, who had coached the Jaguar wideouts for the previous four seasons and had just been promoted to the team's quarterback coaching position for 2011. Monken has experience in Stillwater, having coached receivers for Les Miles from 2002 to 2004 before moving with Miles to LSU.

While Monken's position coaching resume (and Big 12 and SEC experience) is impressive, he's only spent two years as a coordinator at the college level, running the Eastern Michigan attack all the way back in 1998 and 1999. Going 12 years between calling plays might mean that Monken will have to knock some of the rust off. Monken also comes to OSU without a single firm offensive identity; as he says in this Q&A , he's worked in several different offensive systems and is "flexible" above anything else.

But the good news for Cowboys fans is that if Gundy believes Monken can adapt to the Cowboy's trademark spread and help keep it humming, there's an excellent chance he'll do just that. Gundy's track record as a hirer of offensive coordinators is outstanding, with Larry Fedora and Holgorsen both moving onto head coaching jobs after smashingly successful tenures in Stillwater. Between Gundy's expertise, Monken's experience, and weapons like Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys shouldn't see too big a slip on offense ... no matter how big Holgorsen's shoes might be.


Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Headset Reset: Five new faces in the MAC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the five new head coaches in the MAC.

DON TREADWELL, Miami (Ohio) (pictured)

Why him? Because few assistant coaches in the country had a better 2010 than Treadwell, who turned a collection of average-looking talent into one of the Big Ten's most effective offenses at Michigan State and added a couple of victories as the Spartans' interim head coach to boot. For 2011, Treadwell needs to: capitalize on the momentum built by Mike Haywood's amazing 9-win turnaround in Oxford. A second straight MAC title isn't a necessity, but the pieces are in place for the kind of solid, winning season that would stamp the RedHawks as a contender for years to come. By 2014, Treadwell needs to have: won the MAC. With so much coaching turnover, there's a power vaccum at the top of the conference, and no reason Miami can't fill it. Chances Treadwell gets what he needs? Good-to-very good. Haywood left behind an excellent foundation and Treadwell's work in East Lansing suggests he's just the man to build upon it.

PETE LEMBO, Ball State

Why him? At just 40 years of age, Lembo already has 10 years of head coaching experience (all at the FCS level, no less) and just finished resuscitating a truly rotten Elon program. For 2011, Lembo needs to: just move the Cardinals in the right direction. Stan Parrish's dreadful two-season reign-of-error means Lembo has to get the program walking towards, say, not losing to Eastern Michigan before it runs towards bowls and league titles. By 2014, Lembo needs to have: put the Cardinals in position for a postseason berth; the Brady Hoke era showed it's far from impossible for the right coach. Chances Lembo gets what he needs? Not bad. BSU's not an easy gig, but Lembo's energy and FCS success mean he could be a sneakily good hire.

STEVE ADDAZIO, Temple

Why him? Not his efforts running the Florida offense, that's for sure, but his top-notch recruiting expertise, Northeast ties, and Urban Meyer -trained CEO skills won him the job all the same. For 2011, Addazio needs to: put together a coaching staff -- particularly at the coordinator positions -- that can take advantage of Addazio's good work on the recruiting trails. Maintaining Temple's perch near the top of the MAC East would be a nice signal that Al Golden's tenure wasn't a fluke, too. By 2014, Addazio needs to have: gotten the Owls back to a couple of bowl games; anything else would be a terrible waste of Golden's remarkable work. Chances Addazio gets what he needs? Better than you'd think. There's a reason Meyer tabbed Addazio as his replacement during his sabbatical; he's got the leadership skills necessary to head up a successful program ... if he can just find someone to call his plays for him.

DAVE DOEREN, Northern Illinois

Why him? NIU can't ask for a whole lot more than a long-time successful Big Ten defensive coordinator fresh off a visit to the Rose Bowl. For 2011, Doeren needs to: win the MAC? Those are high expectations for a first-time head coach, but the Huskies were the league's best team in 2010 and their offense returns almost entirely intact. By 2014, Doeren needs to have: won the MAC, no question mark. With the offensive talent left behind by Jerry Kill and Doeren's defensive acumen, the Huskies should find a way to finish what they started in 2010. Chances Doeren gets what he needs? Solid; none of the other new MAC coaches steps into a situation quite this friendly, and Doeren's defensive pedigree is promising.

DARRELL HAZELL, Kent State

Why him? No one the Golden Flashes could have hired knows the Ohio recruiting scene better than the longtime Buckeye receivers coach and recruiting ace. For 2011, Hazell needs to: find a difference-maker or two. KSU's been close to getting over the bowl hump, going 5-7 each of the past two seasons; if Hazell can recruit just a handful of actual play-makers, he could get them there in short order. By 2014, Hazell needs to have: reached the postseason. It would be a huge milestone for woebegone program that's had just two winning seasons since 1977, and has never played in a bowl as an FBS program. Chances Hazell gets what he needs? Like Addazio, it'll depend on who Hazell can hire for his staff, since he has no coordinating experience. But the talent level in Kent should definitely rise on his watch.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Gee comments off the mark

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Particularly for an academic, Ohio State president Gordon Gee has never been shy about expressing his opinions on athletics, popular or not.

And it's a safe bet that the opinions he expressed today in an interview with the AP are going to be most decidedly unpopular in Boise and Fort Worth. Writing off entire conferences as the "Little Sisters of the Poor" isn't particularly becoming for the president of the nation's largest university, and criticizing TCU and Boise for their schedules is more than a little hypocritical when one advanced rating puts the Buckeyes' schedule strength barely above the Frogs' or Broncos' and both non-AQ teams have played a more challenging nonconference slate than the Buckeyes' lineup with Marshall , Eastern Michigan , and Ohio .

But as infuriating as Gee's viewpoint might be to those who'd agree the non-AQ teams are far more deserving this season than the 10-1 Buckeyes (whose best win until last week's triumph at 7-4 Iowa was a home win over either 7-4 Penn State or 7-4 Miami ), at the end of the day it's just another warmed-over rehashing of the same arguments that have surrounded Boise and TCU all season (and for much of the past two). Where Gee is really, truly wrong is in his comments on expanding the football postseason to ensure that we don't have to have these same tired debates:

Gee, long an admirer of the BCS and the current bowl system, said he was against a playoff in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'What are you going to do about a playoff system [if] the BCS system as it now exists goes away?' I would vote immediately to go back to the bowl system," he said.

He said the current system is better for the student-athletes.

"It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism," he said. "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very well."

Gee isn't just arguing that Boise and TCU don't deserve a title shot this year; he's arguing that college football should entrench a postseason system that would ensure that they never got that title shot. What his argument (and similar diatribes against "playoffs") misses is that college football already has a playoff; it selects a number of teams, pairs them off, and the winner is automatically declared the champion. Where the BCS playoff differs from every other playoff in existence is that it only includes two teams. To frame the debate in terms of some nebulous future "playoff" against a current BCS system that varies from that bogeyman only in terms of the number of teams involved is to rig the debate permanently in the BCS's favor.

Gee's desire to preserve what amateurism and respect for academics remain in college football is admirable. But there's a point at which even those concerns have to give way to basic fairness. And surely the permanent exclusion of the TCU's and Boise's of the sport from national title consideration represents that point; what Gee proposes is to draw a line between college football's haves and have-nots, one based on conference affiliation, and declare that the latter can never cross it. It's elitism and snobbery of the highest order.

Now, a show of hands: who's in favor of Wisconsin blowing their season finale against Northwestern and setting up a showdown between Gee's Buckeyes and either the Frogs or Broncos in the Rose Bowl ? Is that everyone (Badger fans excluded)? Yes, we think that's everyone.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:24 pm
 

What the end of a 2-year losing streak looks like

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Entering last Saturday's date at fellow MAC struggler Ball State , Eastern Michigan had lost 18 straight games, the second-longest losing streak in the nation. Second-year head coach Ron English 's record at the EMU helm? You guessed it, 0-18. And with the Eagles down 21-0 in the second quarter on the road, it looked like 0-19 was fast approaching.

That's when Eagle quarterback Alex Gillett went to work. He would finish with 414 total yards (189 rushing, 225 passing), driving EMU into overtime tied at 35, and then he did this:




That's tight end Ben Thayer who appears to nearly pay for his game-winning catch with his life, but I don't think he minds too much.

But even as you watch EMU celebrate, remember that when an 18-game losing streak ends, that means another team has just lost to a team that came in on an 18-game losing streak. No, really, remember that. And that the pain of that fact probably wounds even more deeply when that team rampaged through a 12-0 regular season just two seasons ago and has gone a miserable 4-17 since with losses not only to EMU but FCS teams New Hampshire and Liberty. Just ask a Ball State fan, like Alan of Ball State fan blog Over the Pylon :

After each and every loss since this blog was started back in 2008 we’ve implored people to stay positive. We’ve begged people to not give up. We’ve assured folks that better days were coming. Today, all that positivity, all that fear calming, all that hope and optimism for this program in the near future appears for naught. I’m not sure what rock bottom is, but I fear that the Ball State football program is venturing dangerously close to it ...

The box score and recap for this particular contest is equal parts confusing and humiliating. EMU outplayed the Cardinals in nearly every facet, from time of possession to total yards ... To have a winless team mired in a significant losing streak rack up a 490-243 yard advantage is absolutely ridiculous ...

I never thought I would be saying this again after 2008 and the magical undefeated season we witnessed, but there is nothing positive to take away from this game and nothing that I can point to as a life vest in this abysmal era of failure and disappointment.
Alan certainly doesn't find that life vest in BSU head coach Stan Parrish ; after two years in charge of the Cardinals, the one-time Kansas State head coach has compiled an unbelievable 6-46-1 all-time record as a Division I head coach.

It's a portrait of a program suddenly awash in misery as abject as EMU's joy was, er, joyous. Even at the fringes of FBS football, every emotional high --no matter how high -- still has its corresponding low.

HT: Pre-Snap Read , who points out via Twitter that EMU's happiness isn't likely to be long-lived; in the past decade, the Eagles have never won three games in a row and won two in a row only five times.
 
 
 
 
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