Tag:Navy
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Army at Air Force

Posted by Chip Patterson

AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: Air Force was able to bounce back from a three-game losing streak to finally notch their first conference win against New Mexico. The Falcons will be looking to capture their second-straight Commander-in-Chief's trophy with a victory over their rivals from West Point. Having defeated Navy in a 35-34 overtime thriller earlier in the season, their sixth-straight victory over Army would seal the 18th outright win in the annual battle between the service academies. The Falcons will need their patented option-rushing attack to help build a big lead early, as neither team has an offense that has shown the ability to mount a fast comeback. With starting quarterback Tim Jefferson's status still unknown, I expect senior running back Asher Clark to step up with an increased workload and production in the rivalry game. If the Falcons run their offense and avoid turnovers, they should emerge victorious again in their first home game since Oct. 13.

ARMY WILL WIN IF: Statistically Army's rushing attack puts up slightly better numbers than Air Force (Army leads the nation with 369.0 yards per game, Air Force is third with 326.88), but the Black Knights will find opportunity for victory if they can force the Falcons to turn the ball over. Air Force turned the ball over 8 times during their three-game slide in October, and it has been the one weakness to the Falcons' offensive attack all season. Army's secondary might find that opportunity through the air, where Air Force quarterbacks have thrown at least one interception in any game where more than 15 passes are attempted.

X-FACTOR: Health of Air Force starting quarterback Tim Jefferson. Jefferson left the Falcon's 42-0 victory over New Mexico with a reported injury to his nose. He was back on the practice field on Monday, but head coach Troy Calhoun did not offer any official comment on his status for Army. The good news for the Falcons was his backup, sophomore Conner Deitz, played exceptionally in his absence. Deitz entered the game and finished as the team's leading rusher with 87 yards on six carries - including a 39 yard touchdown rush to put Air Force up 35-0 before halftime.

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 29, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Brian Kelly apologizes to his players

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been a rough week for Notre Dame and Brian Kelly. Following Notre Dame's loss to USC last weekend, amidst a barrage of USC players saying that the Irish quit, Kelly promised that this week would not be fun for his players. The Irish held long practices all week, but on Thursday Kelly made some comments that bothered his players more than the extra work.

"You can see the players that I recruited here," Kelly said on Thursday after practice. "You know who they are. We've had one class … that I've had my hand on. The other guys here are coming along. But it's a process. It can't happen overnight. They're getting there. We're making good progress." 

As you'd expect, the players on the Notre Dame roster who Kelly didn't recruit didn't exactly enjoy hearing these comments, and even took to Twitter to vent. All of the tweets have since been deleted, but players like Trevor Robinson, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Manti Te'o tweeted about Kelly's remarks.

Te'o tweeted "playin for my bros and that's it!!!"

Well, on Friday players reportedly addressed Kelly about his comments in an effort to clear the air, and Kelly apologized to his players for the remarks.

Whether there are still some tension between the players and their coach remains to be seen, but the best way to heal any divide in the locker room would probably be a win against Navy on Saturday afternoon.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: October 26, 2011 11:37 am
 

Irish lose Lewis-Moore for the season

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame suddenly has more problems than just back-breaking turnovers.

Starting defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered an MCL injury during Notre Dame's loss to USC on Saturday night, and he is going to miss the rest of the season. Making matters worse for the Irish defense, the defensive line was already missing its other defensive end Ethan Johnson, who suffered a high ankle sprain against Purdue and hasn't played in three weeks.

Johnson isn't expected to be back for Notre Dame's game against Navy this weekend, either.

Which means that the Irish will have to play two freshman at defensive end in Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch. Both are highly-touted recruits who have received plenty of playing time this season, but it's been as part of a rotation. Both Chase Hounshell and Kona Schwenke should see plenty of time against Navy as well. How an inexperience line will fare this weekend against the option attack of Navy, remains to be seen. USC rushed for 217 yards against the Irish last weekend, and the option attack of Air Force rushed for 363 yards on them two weeks ago.

Kapron Lewis-Moore currently leads all Irish defensive lineman with 32 tackles, including 4 for a loss.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Notre Dame vs. Navy

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WILL WIN IF: Take care of the ball. It's that simple with the Fighting Irish. After committing ten turnovers in their first two games and starting the season 0-2, the Irish were finally able to limit the turnovers over the next four weeks and, not surprisingly, went 4-0 in that span. Then the turnover bug returned against USC on Saturday night and lo and behold Notre Dame's winning streak came to an end. There's no question that the Irish have more talent on both sides of the ball than Navy, so as long as it doesn't turn the ball over repeatedly, then there's no reason Notre Dame shouldn't win this game.

NAVY WILL WIN IF: Navy doesn't have a complicated formula for success against anybody, and it's a formula that involves controlling the time of possession and wearing down opponents with its option attack. Air Force proved earlier this season that an option attack can find success against Notre Dame, as it rushed for 363 yards and scored 2 of the 3 rushing touchdowns that the Irish defense has allowed this season. So Navy will have to have similar success in order to keep the Irish offense on the sideline, because the problem for Navy this season has been a defense that's allowing 30.3 points per game. I'm not sure Navy can stop the Irish offense, so its best bet will be to keep it off the field.

X-FACTOR: Cierre Wood. During Notre Dame's loss to USC last weekend, I felt one of the biggest reasons the Irish lost was because it abandoned its ground game too early. There's no way that Cierre Wood should only carry the ball 5 times in a game, and Brian Kelly needs to establish a rushing attack early against Navy and keep going to it for 60 minutes. Yes, Notre Dame will have success throwing the ball on Saturday, but when this team becomes one-dimensional on offense, that's when it runs into trouble. 
Posted on: October 22, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 5:59 pm
 

ECU QB Davis sets consecutive completions record

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

At 2-4, East Carolina isn't having a season for the history books. But Dominique Davis has given the Pirates something to remember all the same.

Davis completed all 26 of his first-half passes in ECU's game against Navy before missing on his first attempt of the second half, setting a pair of NCAA records. His 26 consecutive completions in a single game breaks the record shared by Tennessee's Tee Martin and Cal's Aaron Rodgers, both of whom hit 23 in a row.

And by hitting his final 10 passes a week ago against Memphis, Davis's overall streak hit an incredible 36 passes--shattering the previous mark of 26, held by Rodgers. As this post "goes to press," Davis now stands at 30-of-33 for 293 yards and two TDs. (You can follow his day on our live Gametracker here, or watch the game live on the CBS Sports Network.)

Not surprisingly, Davis's record-setting day has given the Pirates a big boost. After losing to Navy 76-35 in 2010, ECU is on their way to gaining some measure of revenge, up 24-14 on the Midshipmen in Annapolis with under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Big East will discuss realignment Tuesday

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Big East conference invited media members to join Commissioner John Marinatto on a conference call Tuesday afternoon, the league announced on Monday. The release from the conference office stated the purpose of the call would be to discuss current information on Big East realignment. The call suggests Marinatto has an update regarding their efforts to replace Syracuse and Pittsburgh while pursuing a 12-team model for football.

As previously reported by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, one of the challenges in attracting new members to the Big East has been an apparent lack of commitment by the six remaining football members. One of the highly contested topics reportedly of concern to potential members like Navy, Air Force, or Boise State has been the league's exit fees - currently around $5 million. It is believed that an agreement to increase the exit fees by the current members would display the stability needed to appear attractive to potential members.

On Monday afternoon, The Charleston Gazette reported that West Virginia is expected to vote in favor of raising the exit fees from $5 million to roughly $10 million. If the proposal passes during Monday evening's conference call, Marinatto should have some good news to report to the media on Tuesday. The league needs 11 of the 14 member schools to vote for a hike in fees in order to change the bylaws, and West Virginia's commitment could end up being a crucial piece to keeping the conference together.

The Mountaineers have been mentioned frequently during realignment talks as possible targets for the SEC or Big 12. Louisville, believed to be a candidate for the Big 12 if Missouri departs for the SEC, reportedly may sit out the call. If the Cardinals pull their vote from consideration, West Virginia's vote could end up being decisive in the exit fees proposal.

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 16, 2011 2:33 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 3:05 am
 

Big East Winners and Losers: Week 7


Posted by Chip Patterson


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Greg Schiano

Rutgers' head coach was struggling with his running back rotation, and not getting enough production out of Chas Dodd as the Scarlet Knights started the season. Contrary to the desires of many Rutgers' fans, Schiano dedicated many of the rushing attempts to sophomore Jawan Jamison instead of highly-touted freshman Savon Huggins. Jamison's early season experience paid off in the 21-20 comeback victory over Navy, as he delivered his first 100+ yard performance of his short career. Schiano also made the right call making a quarterback change, giving freshman Gary Nova his first career start against the Midshipmen. Nova also stepped up to the challenge, completing 23 of 31 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. There is room for improvement with Nova (like the two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown) but it is clear he is the quarterback of the future for the Scarlet Knights.

LOSER: South Florida's Big East title hopes

After starting conference play with two straight losses, South Florida has made the task of claiming their first Big East title much more difficult. It is not impossible, Connecticut accomplished such a feat just a year ago, but it is particularly challenging with USF's schedule. In order to put themselves in a position to finish atop the league standings, they will need to run the table in conference play and get some significant help. After starting the season 4-0, the Bulls were ranked in the top 20 and getting buzz as Big East frontrunners. Now they stare down Cincinnati, Rutgers, Syracuse (on a short week), Louisville, and West Virginia needing five wins and some help in order to reclaim that buzz surrounding the program in September.

WINNER: Mistake-prone Bearcats

Cincinnati started flat against Louisville on Saturday, and some Bearcats fans will even tell you they arguably deserved to lose the game. The only turnover was a Zach Collaros interception returned for a touchdown, but Cincinnati fumbled the ball four times. Thankfully the ball was recovered by a Bearcat in each of the four instances, but Butch Jones' squad had that kind of luck against the Cardinals. After all, it was Louisville penalties and failure to execute that opened the door for the 18-0 second half run to deliver Cincinnati a victory in their Big East opener. At 5-1 the Bearcats have already surpassed the win total from Jones' first season, and find themselves as one of the new favorites in the hunt for the conference title.

LOSER: Pittsburgh's "no-octane" offense

Head coach Todd Graham has tried everything with Pittsburgh's offense, but with the exception of their explosion against South Florida the Panthers have been painfully ineffective with the ball. Starting quarterback Tino Sunseri still looks uneasy trying to push the ball down the field, and even a change of pace quarterback like Trey Anderson hasn't been able to get anything started for Pittsburgh. The 26-14 loss to a visiting Utah squad was embarrassing, but the offense's inability to score a single point against the Utes was downright shameful. Pittsburgh instead had to get their points with defense and special teams, while their no-octane offense definitely sorts them into the "loser" column for Week 7.

WINNER: West Virginia

Even though the Mountaineers had Week 7 off, they emerge as a winner in the Big East. More conference infighting has revealed vulnerability in West Virginia's opponents in the quest for a conference title. South Florida started the season as one of the early candidates to challenge for the crown, but after Skip Holtz's squad dropped their second conference game and Pittsburgh failed to score an offensive touchdown things are looking good in Morgantown. Their stiffest competition will likely either come from Rutgers and/or Cincinnati. Both games will be road tests for the Mountaineers, and now become the unsuspecting "games to circle" in the Big East conference schedule.

LOSER: Louisville and their self-hating ways

Louisville entered the game as the Big East's most penalized team, averaging 8.6 flags per game. On Saturday they lived up to their reputation, committing four penalties on one drive as the Cardinals held a 16-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter. While Charlie Strong's squad kept the total number of penalties down, that frustrating possession was enough to swing the momentum away from the inexperienced Cardinals. When Cincinnati got the ball back, it only took two plays for Isaiah Pead to break loose for 50 of his 151 yards rushing and a touchdown to take the lead away from Louisville. For the third week in a row, the Cardinals suffer a close loss. A game that could have easily ended differently if not for some crucial mental errors.


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 14, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:25 pm
 

C-USA and MWC to join forces in football

Posted by Tom Fornelli and Bryan Fischer

As CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported earlier on Friday, the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are consolidating into one conference. The reasoning behind it is, as CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported on Friday, the Big East is set to extend invitations to Boise State and Air Force along with Navy and UCF.

Both conferences released a statement about their partnership on Friday night:

The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have unanimously come to an agreement in principle to consolidate their member football programs into one large association.

Commissioners of the two leagues formulated this creative and innovative plan with the support of the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors. The 12 members of Conference USA and 10 football-playing members of the Mountain West will join forces for this strategic landmark in college football.

“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”

The new conference, for football only, features 22 schools in 16 different states across five time zones (including Hawaii). Both leagues will continue to function as is for all other sports but they will work jointly on governance of the football side, though no specifics were given by either commissioner. The presidents of the member schools authorized Thompson and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky to sign a memorandum of understanding earlier Friday as the first step in the process of consolidating the football programs.

"We really realized that college athletics is changing so fast and at such a rapid pace, if we're not quick to adapt we might lose some positioning," Banowsky said. "This is a structure that creates all kinds of fun, competitive opportunities. Nobody's ever put together a structure like this."

There is no name for the new venture, one of several details about the league that are still being worked out. The aim is for the conference to be operational by 2012 but they are focusing on 2013 as a more likely start date. Over the next 90 days a working group will explore how feasible it is to start next season but, given the already fluid realignment situation, nothing is assured. Banowsky said that there would likely be a two division model for the first year before moving to a mutli-divisional model down the road. There would be a football championship game no matter what the structure.

Both leaders said they have not had any conversations with the BCS about becoming an automatic qualifier conference and made it a point to say that nothing was guaranteed in terms of the BCS going forward and how it operates. The current agreement runs through the 2013-14 season with conferences reevaluated based on their membership as of December 2011.

"I don't think anyone can really predict what the future of the BCS will be or what it will look like," Banowsky said. "The idea that the BCS would simply be rebooted, as it has been in the past, I think is a significant question mark. From my perspective, this doesn't hang on that at all.

"I don't think anyone has a clear idea of what will happen in 2014," Banowsky said. "Will there even be a BCS? If there is, who will be in what conferences and what conferences will have access? Will there even be an automatic qualification?

"Our conferences will stand up together and speak with a stong voice. We will expect to have our champion recognized at the highest level."

In addition to the sheer size of the conference being an issue, the respective conference television contracts present a sticky situation. Both currently have separate deals with CBS Sports; while CUSA has partnered with Fox Sports and ESPN and the MWC has contracts with Comcast/NBC Sports. The MWC also owns and operates their own cable channel, The Mtn.

"It's all about inventory and it's all about programming" Thompson said. ""Better is better and more is better in the television industry."

"The schools that we're talking about have made significant investments in their football programs," Banowsky said of the new conference's appeal to television partners. "They're here and they're not going anywhere. The champion out of a group of schools like this is a worthy champion from my perspective."

The football only association has several models they've looked at, including as many as 24 teams participating. Adding to the already complicated setup is the fact that some of the current MWC and CUSA schools could be targets of other leagues, specifically the Big East. UCF, Boise State and Air Force leaders participated in the board of directors call early Friday morning and were part of the unanimous recommendation to proceed forward with the idea. Thompson said that the latter two had been in contact with the Big East but did not elaborate.

"Right now today, Friday afternoon, the intention is we start with 22," he said. "One of the beauties of this structure is the flexibility to accommodate additional members."

"We won't try to hold any one back if that's what they believe they want to do," Banowsky said. "As long as they're fair to the other members and they follow the rules, that's ok."

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