Posted on: January 7, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In the flood of departures for the NFL Draft yesterday, featuring such luminaries as Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and not Andrew Luck, there was one early entrant that seemed to be unjustly overlooked: Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who multiple reports stated would be declaring in the near future.
Jenkins doesn't have a whole lot in the way of stats -- three interceptions, a handful of tackles-for-loss, some mostly nondescript punt returns -- but being named first-team All-SEC by the AP reflects how dominant Jenkins was in man-to-man coverage, moreso than any other player in the conference that wasn't Patrick Peterson. (That the SEC's coaches selected South Carolina's wobbly Stephon Gilmore over Jenkins for first-team honors is maybe the worst case of preseason-accolade inertia we've seen that hasn't involved Adrian Clayborn.)
The consensus on Jenkins is that he'll go in the first round, possibly in the top 10 or 15 picks , and given the premium on top-level cover corners on the next level (as wel las the college one), that makes sense. Maybe he's not Ingram or Mallett in terms of star power, but there's a chance Jenkins could outshine both in the league.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's one of those stories that would be edited out of a film script for being "too heavyhanded," but happened in real life Wednesday night anyway: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, playing the past two seasons under the tutelage of his school's last winner of the Lombardi Award, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, became the school's newest winner of the same award . It's not irony, but it's close enough that Alanis Morrisette would think it is.
In any case, the award's voters -- "a distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America's most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists," charged with selecting the nation's best lineman or linebacker -- weren't voting based on the headlines; Fairley was arguably the nation's most disruptive defensive force this season, leading the SEC in tackles for loss with 21.5 (for comparison's sake, one more than Ndamukong Suh totaled in 2009) and finishing second with 10.5 sacks. But Fairley's penchant for brutal hits on opposing quarterbacks -- a handful of which straddled the line between fair play and unnecessary roughness, and earned him something of a villain's reputation in some quarters of the conference -- meant his impact was felt even beyond his imposing statistics.
All that said, the Lombardi committee couldn't have gone wrong with the equally beastly Da'Quan Bowers, the Clemson defensive end who leads the nation in sacks and was one of three other Lombardi finalists (with the others Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick ). Bowers won the Nagurski Trophy over Fairley, setting up a kind of rubber match vote with the Bednarik Award , given to the nation's best defensive player later today.
Whether Bowers or Fairley triumphs in their little one-on-battle on the awards circuit (the Bednarik could also declare an effective tie by honoring LSU corner Patrick Peterson ), the real winner here is the NFL draft, which assuming Fairley declares, looks poised to have an outstanding class of defensive linemen on its hands this April.
Follow along with all the postseason college football honors at the CBS Sports Awards Watch .
Posted on: November 29, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 11:54 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As many schools have wound down their regular season, the time has come for 2010's series of accolades and awards. There will be predictable nods, deserving players snubbed, and a guarantee of AT LEAST one slightly irrational fan base being furious by the omission of their star player. The first notable All-America team was released on Monday morning, the AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team.
It is the only All-America team that is voted on exclusively by the coaches, and it was not surprising to see the team headlined by Oregon's LaMichael James and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers. Auburn fans, don't worry, your boy made the cut.
Check out all of the coaches' selections below:
A few notes on the list:
- Despite constant criticism for a "down year," the ACC has as much representation on the list (4) as the SEC and Big 12. Only the Big Ten (6) produced more players on the 2010 team.
- As Bryan Fischer pointed out, there were four Texas natives selected to the All-America team. Outside of TCU's Tank Carder, none of them even play for a school in Texas. How should that reflect on the in-state universities, particularly Texas head coach Mack Brown? I know that the 2010 Longhorns would have benefited significantly from a Kendall Hunter or LaMichael James in the backfield.
- There was little turnover from last year's squad, with Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones being the only repeat selection from 2009. However, the same could be true for next year's list. Only ten players on the list could return for 2011, and there is no guarantee that they all will.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 5:26 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
After dominating Florida in the box score, hanging with Auburn for 58 minutes on the road, and then earning a decisive victory over Alabama , LSU had finally shed the "just lucky" label that had dogged them for much of the early part of the season. But a sloppy first half defensively against Ole Miss is threatening to reapply it.
The much-maligned Tiger offense has nothing to apologize for, having put up 221 total yards and 20 points in the first half. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has enjoyed one of his best games of the season, throwing just 7 passes but completing 5 of them for more than 20 yards a completion. But the usually-reliable Tiger defense has been gashed on occasion by the Rebels, as on this 50-yard Branden Bolden touchdown on Ole Miss's first play from scrimmage:
The Rebels ran for 142 yards on just 21 carries -- 6.8 per -- and got a late Jeremiah Masoli rushing touchdown to pull within 20-17 at halftime. If Ole Miss can pull the upset, the Tigers will be officially eliminated from the national title race and could see their potential BCS bowl berth go up in smoke -- especially with much more formidable Arkansas on tap next week.
At least the Tigers can hang their hate on this: a crushin special teams block on the Rebels' Lionel Breaux that didn't spring Patrick Peterson for a big return, but got their sideline fired up all the same:
HT: @bubbaprog .
Posted on: November 17, 2010 12:10 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Nagurski Trophy is handed out annually to the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America , and if there's no slam-dunk choice for the FWAA this year like Ndamukong Suh in 2009, it's hard to argue -- depending on how you feel about the under-fire Nick Fairley -- that any of the five finalists for the award wouldn't be entirely deserving. They are:
Da'Quan Bowers, End, Clemson, 6-4, 275, Jr. (Bamberg, S.C)
Nick Fairley, Tackle, Auburn, 6-5, 298, Jr. (Mobile, Ala.)
Justin Houston, Linebacker, Georgia, 6-3, 258, Jr. (Statesboro, Ga.)
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College, 6-3, 235, So. (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU 6-1, 222, Jr. (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
You know Bowers as the nation's leading sackmaster with 13.5 takedowns of opposing quarterbacks, but he's also added 22 tackles-for-loss, second in the nation; Fairley as the SEC 's most purely disruptive defender (with possible apologies to Houston and LSU tackle Drake Nevis ), and his 18 tackles-for-loss rank first in the country amongst defensive tackles; Peterson as the nation's consensus best cover corner, the absolute prototype for the next level with his combination of size and breathtaking speed; and Houston as the SEC's leader in both sacks (11) and tackles-for-loss (18.5) from his position as a rush linebacker in Georgia 'a new-for-2010 3-4 defense.
But you may not know Kuechly at all, and not without reason; when you share not just a team or a defense but a linebacking unit with an incredible story like fellow Eagle Mark Herzlich and his recovery from cancer, it's hard to get noticed in the national press no matter what you do on the field. But as the nationa's most efficient, productive tackling machine, what Kuechly has accomplished has been no less impressive than the achievements of any of the other four Nagurski finalists. He leads the nation in both total tackles with 146 (or 14.6 per game ) and solo stops with 83; no other player in college football has yet crossed the 80 threshold. Kuechly is also the only player in the country to make 20 or more tackles in one game, and has done so twice: once against North Carolina State and again against Duke this past Saturday, when he also added two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and recovered fumble just for good measure.
So even if the most under-the-radar finalist for the Nagurski goes home with the hardware, complaints should be kept to a minimum. Though anyone other than Suh would have been a mistake a year ago, this year the FWAA cannot go wrong.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 3:42 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth. In the SEC, we'll shake down each division race first then make a mostly premature prediction. Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below.
West DivisionAuburn (9-0) (6-0)
Alabama (7-1) (4-1)
LSU (7-1) (4-1)
Mississippi State (7-2) (3-2)
Arkansas (6-2) (3-2)
Ole Miss (3-5) (1-4)
Week 9 Preview
With their convincing victory over Ole Miss last weekend, Auburn has eliminated both Arkansas and Mississippi State from the West race. Thanks to a head-to-head loss to Auburn and a second loss for both the Razorbacks and Bulldogs within the division (where Auburn finishes 4-1 at worst), it appears that's it's impossible for either team to win a tiebreaker against the Tigers, whether it be two-way, three-way, or even four-way. Since the Tigers are already two games up in the loss column with only two to play, the Hogs and Dogs cannot do better than a tie and are done where Atlanta is concerned. A share of the West will be as good as it gets.
But that's not the case for either LSU or Alabama , who will play what will very likely amount to an elimination game Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Tide could still make Atlanta after a loss by winning out, having Auburn lose to Georgia , and watching LSU drop one of their final two SEC games; they'd win the three or four-way tie at 6-2. But that's a lot of breaks to catch. LSU, on the other hand, has no way back in the event of a loss, as they'd fall into the no-way-past-Auburn boat shared by Arkansas and MSU.
For the winner of LSU-Alabama, though hope remains very much alive. LSU would need a pair of Auburn losses, but if they got them they would control their own destiny for Atlanta. Things would be even rosier for the Tide, who control their own destiny already and would be only two home games away from the divisional title.
Which is why Auburn will be rooting hard for LSU (not, of course, that they wouldn't be anyway). A Bayou Bengal win would mean that after dispensing with FCS Chattanooga this week, Auburn would have the golden opportunity to clinch the division at home next week against Georgia. The opinion here is that they won't get it, however; unless Patrick Peterson can produce some game-changing plays in the return game, it's hard to see how LSU's feeble passing attack makes enough hay against the Tide's defense to put a game-winning number of points on the board.
Week 10 West winners: Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss
West Favorite: Auburn
East DivisionSouth Carolina (6-2) (4-2)
Florida (5-3) (3-3)
Georgia (4-5) (3-4)
Vanderbilt (2-6) (1-5)
Kentucky (4-5) (1-5)
Tennessee (2-6) (0-5)
Week 9 Preview
Thanks to form holding in the South Carolina vs. Tennessee , Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas, and Kentucky vs. Mississippi State games, what once appeared to be an incomprehensible mess will almost certainly come down to one game: South Carolina at Florida, Nov. 13, for all the division's marbles.
It's "almost" because there's one remaining possible fly in the ointment: Vanderbilt, who hosts the Gators at noon Eastern this Saturday. If the Commodores can pull off the shocker, Carolina will go into their evening game against Arkansas knowing that a win will send them to Atlanta for the first time in the program's history.
Much more likely, of course, is that the Gators take care of business and render the tilt between the Gamecocks and Razorbacks completely meaningless where the East title is concerned. Even in the event of a Gator win and Carolina loss -- a likelihood, given the downtrodden state of the Carolina secondary and the skills of Ryan Mallett -- the Gamecocks will still have the tiebreaking upper hand if they can win in the Swamp, and Florida will have no way past that tiebreak after that fourth loss. It will be 100 percent winner-take-all.
(Note that Georgia has been eliminated; even the Vandy-over-Florida / Arkansas-and-Florida-over-Carolina / Georgia-over-Auburn series of events that leads to a three-way tie at 4-4 doesn't help them, since Florida would take it on the strength of head-to-head wins over both the Dawgs and Gamecocks.)
Week 10 East winners: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee
East Favorite: Florida
Mostly Premature SEC Championship Game Prediction - Auburn 34, Florida 28
Posted on: November 2, 2010 6:56 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If there's been one defining, overarching narrative to the 2010 season to date, it's been ... well, maybe it's been the upheaval at the top of the polls that's seen preseason outsiders Oregon and Auburn seize control of their national championship destiny with four weeks remaining in the season. But if there's been two co-defining narratives, the second, without question, would be the rise of non-AQ teams like Boise State , TCU , and Utah into not only the BCS bowl picture but the BCS national championship picture.
So it's perhaps something of a shame that the lists of semifinalists for the Lombardi Award and the Thorpe Award -- given to the nation's best down lineman or downhill linebacker and best defensive back, respectively, and both announced within the past week -- do little to acknowledge that rise. The lists:
Lombardi AwardSam Acho, Defensive End, Texas, 6-3, 260, Sr., Dallas, TX
Jeremy Beal, Defensive End, Oklahoma, 6-3, 267, Sr. Carrollton, TX
Da'quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson, 6-4, 275, Jr., Bamberg, SC
Adrian Clayborn, Defensive End, Iowa, 6-4, 285, Sr., St. Louis, MO
Jared Crick, Defensive Tackle, Nebraska, 6-6, 285, Jr., Cozad, NE
Nick Fairley, Defensive Line, Auburn, 6-5, 298, Jr., Mobile, AL
Cameron Heyward, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State, 6-5, 288, Sr., Suwanee, GA
Rodney Hudson, Offensive Guard, Florida State, 6-2, 282, Sr., Mobile, AL
Greg Jones, Linebacker, Michigan State, 6-1, 240, Sr., Cincinnati, OH
Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue, 6-4, 263, Sr., Muncie, IN
Jake Kirkpatrick, Center, TCU, 6-3, 305, Sr., Tyler, TX
Drake Nevis, Defensive Tackle, LSU, 6-5, 285, Sr., Marrero, LA
Thorpe AwardPrince Amukamara, Sr., Nebraska
Mark Barron, Jr., Alabama
Chimdi Chekwa, Sr., Ohio State
Brandon Harris, Jr., Miami (Fla.)
Cliff Harris, Soph., Oregon
Tejay Johnson, Sr., TCU
Joe Lefeged, Sr., Rutgers
Rahim Moore, Jr., UCLA
Patrick Peterson, Jr., LSU
Tyler Sash, Jr., Iowa
Congratulations are in order for all 22 of these players, each of which is, without question, an outstanding college football athlete and certainly deserving of the honor of becoming a semifinalist.
But it feels remiss not to note that in this year of unprecedented prominence for non-AQ programs, only two of those 22 players represent a non-AQ team, and those two -- TCU 's Jake Kirkpatrick and Tejay Johnson -- each represent the same team. The other 53 teams? Nothin'.
This can be explained, to some extent, by the undeniably true fact that most of the game's best athletes and players ply their trades in BCS leagues. But no one on the Boise State defense that currently ranks third in both scoring and total defense (or Utah's, which ranks sixth in both categories) is worthy of inclusion? Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry , tied for third nationally with 9.5 sacks and seventh nationally with 13.5 tackles for loss (one of only four players to rank in the top 10 in both categories) can't get a nod? Strong safety Domonic Cook of Buffalo leads the country in both passes broken up and interceptions; there's not room enough for him here?
There's no question that it's always going to be an uphill climb for non-AQ players who rarely play on national television and even more rarely receive the sort of fawning from scouts and writers that helps buoy campaigns for national honors, and that's fine. But it's worth wondering whether, in a season like this one, if the climb ought to be quite this steep.
Pictured: Boise State defensive lineman Ryan Winterswyk.
Tags: Adrian Clayborn, Boise State, Brandon Harris, Cameron Heyward, Chimdi Chekwa, Cliff Harris, Da'quan Bowers, Drake Nevis, Greg Jones, Jake Kirkpatrick, Jared Crick, Jeremy Beal, Joe Lefeged, Lombardi Award, Mark Barron, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara, Rahim Moore, Rodney Hudson, Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Winterswyk, Sam Acho, TCU, Tejay Johnson, Thorpe Award, Tyler Sash, Utah
Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:15 pm
Posted by the College Football Blog Staff
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles would look like the endgame genius against Urban Meyer and Florida? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore sprains his knee when he trips while running onto the field during pregame ceremonies, and all of a sudden, the Broncos must face San Jose State with a brand new quarterback. Boise coach Chris Peterson blames San Jose State and their groundskeeping for the mishap, and feeling untold amounts of shame, SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre forfeits the game. Moore recovers fully for the Broncos' next game, and Boise's march to a 12-0 regular season continues unabated. -- Adam Jacobi
As the closing seconds count down on the scoreboard at Ross-Ade Stadium, Tim Brewster looks up at it to see the final score: Purdue 37, Minnesota 13. Knowing that these are probably the last few seconds that he'll spend on a sideline COMPETING and FIGHTING with the Gophers, his emotions get the best of him. Danny Hope begins to make his way to midfield to meet the coach, but instead Brewster bursts into tears and sprints off the field. He then hides in a supply room deep within the bowels of the stadium, refusing to come out until eventually Minnesota AD Joel Maturi lures him out by promising he's not going to fire him. Brewster then opens the door and comes out, his face red and blotchy, covered in tears. "Really?" he asks Maturi. "No, you're totally fired," says Maturi before kicking him in the groin. -- Tom Fornelli
Arizona's slide continues after falling to Oregon State despite getting some help from the replay officials. This time, facing Washington State, the home officials give the Wildcats a taste of their own medicine and refuse to replay a game-winning touchdown that was actually an incomplete pass. Mike Stoops has no timeouts, and the Cougars quickly kick the extra point to pick up that elusive first conference win. It is later revealed that the replay official was Washington State alumnus Drew Bledsoe, who emerges from the booth in full Wazzu regalia and facepaint. The Pac-10 finds no fault in this. -- Chip Patterson
With Texas trailing Nebraska 24-7 just before halftime, Mack Brown makes his way over to Colt McCoy who is watching the game from the sidelines. "Listen, I need you to come to the locker room at halftime. Give these boys a pep talk." McCoy agrees, but Brown was lying. Instead Brown locks Garrett Gilbert in a shed -- hey, it's popular in Texas -- and convinces McCoy to put on Gilbert's uniform. McCoy then goes out and leads Texas to a comeback victory, finding James Kirkendoll for the game-winning touchdown with, you guessed it, one second left on the clock. -- Tom Fornelli
Michigan's defense pitches a shut out against Iowa. The Big House rocks as Denard Robinson totals 600 total yards of offense and the Wolverines bounce back from the loss to "Little Brother" with a performance for the ages as the Wolverines reclaim a spot in the Top 25 with a 48-0 win over the Hawkeyes. Adrian Clayborn, struck with grief, eats 400 cheeseburgers on the ride home and gives up on the NFL for a career in the lawn and garden industry. Turns out Clayborn is quite the green thumb. -- Chip Patterson
The Kansas football team shows up to an empty Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Head coach Turner Gill and his Jayhawks were under the impression that their game would be played on Saturday, and thanks to various elaborate pranks by Kansas State fans, they had no idea that they had been scheduled to play on Thursday night. KSU coaches, upon finding out that Kansas had not appeared for the game, dressed their scout team in KU colors and had them put up token opposition. Somehow, they also had a scout team Turner Gill. The garbage-time touchdown Kansas State allowed to its double agents was a sublime touch. -- Adam Jacobi
McNeese State trots into Death Valley on Saturday night and shines under the lights. LSU quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combine for an NCAA-record 11 interceptions, five of which are returned for touchdowns. The other six picks are hideous arm-punts that prevent the Tigers from finding the end zone once. Patrick Peterson returns 4 kick offs for touchdowns, but LSU falls 35-28. -- Chip Patterson
Emboldened by reports that he was coaching with his job on the line, Tim Brewster leads his team to an emotional 35-34 victory over a frisky Purdue squad... then rips off five more wins to finish the season, culminating in a 55-0 revenge win over Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota's 7-5 (6-2) record and a host of other conference losses among the rest of the Big Ten vault the Gophers into the Rose Bowl, making them the first five-loss team to earn a trip to Pasadena. A month before the game, Brewster announces that he's leaving the Gophers to coach his beloved Texas Longhorns; Mack Brown has retired, as expected, but the program was stunned when defensive coordinator (and presumptive next head coach) Will Muschamp pulled a simultaneous "sympathy retirement." The Gophers hire Mike Leach on the spot, and the new Pirate Gophers stun Oregon on January 1st, 45-31. -- Adam Jacobi
There's nothing out of the ordinary taking place in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. It's early in the fourth quarter and the Alabama Crimson Tide have a healthy 24-6 lead over the Rebels, but then suddenly a bright, white light can be seen in the sky. Those who notice it assume that it's a comet or meteor passing by the planet, but it keeps getting bigger and bigger before everyone suddenly realizes it's coming right for them. As it gets closer, it becomes clear that it is some kind of UFO, in fact, the space ship actually looks like a piece of fried calamari. It lands at the 50-yard line, and out comes Admiral Ackbar. Knowing immediately what's taking place, the new Ole Miss mascot makes a break for it before he is apprehended by members of the Rebel Alliance. The Rebel Alliance then holds a trial on the field, determining whether or not the Bear shall live. This does not please Nick Saban. After a few minutes Saban walks briskly up to Admiral Ackbar, takes his gun, and executes the Bear himself before saying, "There. NOW GET THE HELL OFF OF MY FIELD." Ackbar and his soldiers sheepishly retreat to their ship and take off. Not even the Rebel Alliance wants to mess with Nick Saban. -- Tom Fornelli
Tags: Admiral Ackbar, Adrian Clayborn, Alabama, Alien Invasions, Arizona, Boise State, Chris Peterson, Colt McCoy, Danny Hope, Denard Robinson, Drew Bledsoe, Garrett Gilbert, Insane Predictions, Iowa, Iowa, James Kirkendoll, Jarrett Lee, Joel Maturi, Jordan Jefferson, Kansas, Kansas State, Kellen Moore, Kirk Ferentz, Les Miles, LSU, Mack Brown, McNeese State, Michigan, Mike Leach, Mike MacIntyre, Mike Stoops, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Ole Miss Mascot, Oregon, Oregon State, Patrick Peterson, Purdue, San Jose State, Texas, Tim Brewster, Turner Gill, Urban Meyer, Washington State, Will Muschamp