Tag:Auburn
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:22 pm
 

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mike Slive and the SEC have stated (on multiple occasions) that the league's 2012 schedule is a stopgap solution before more permanent answers to the questions of cross-divisional rivalries and rotations are established in 2013. But according to conference official Larry Templeton, there's one thing that won't change in the schedule between 2012 and 2013: the number of games in it.

Templeton, chair of the SEC's transition team, confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Missouri Monday that the conference will not be considering moving to a nine-game schedule in 2013 ... or ever.

"We're not going to nine," he said. "The competitiveness in our league week-to-week is just too strong. It would be an easier scheduling format, but I don't think it would be fair to our players or our coaches."

In November, South Carolina president Harris Pastides said the league planned to move to a nine-game slate, but that claim was quickly shot down by the league and Slive himself, who said in December he didn't "sense any interest" from member schools in adding an additional league game.

Assuming the SEC sticks with Templeton's assertion that a nine-game schedule is off the table, the league faces a difficult catch-22. With six of the eight games already guaranteed to be divisional games (thanks to the 14-team expansion and seven teams in each division), only two will be devoted to cross-divisional contests. Make one of those a permanent cross-divisional rival and rotate through home-and-home series in the last remaining slot, and non-rival teams in opposite divisions will play each other just twice in a span of 12 years. Give both slots over to rotations, and suddenly some the bedrock rivalries of the league -- Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee, to name the two most prominent -- are no longer annual affairs.

"That is a huge question that has not been answered ... It will be an interesting debate," Templeton said. "I think anything else is on the table for discussion. We're going to have to make some tough decisions. Are we going to stay with the permanent opponent, and then how are we going to rotate that one other game?"

One possible solution would be for some teams (like the Tide and Vols, or Tigers and Bulldogs) to keep their permanent cross-division rival while the others have both their East-West games rotate. But that could prove unnecessarily complicated, and would still force those teams with permanent rivals to see opposite-division teams exceedingly rarely. 

Of course, there are some positives to sticking with an eight-game schedule; teams with annual nonconference rivalries like South Carolina (with Clemson) or Florida (with Florida State) will find it much easier to maintain those with four non-league games available, and the capacity to schedule an extra "paycheck game" will greatly aid the league's lower-rung teams in reaching bowl eligibility. 

But already, many SEC fans would say the conference's traditional powers -- say, Alabama and Florida, or LSU and Georgia, or old rivals Auburn and Tennessee -- don't play often enough. The most likely outcome of an eight-game schedule is that games between those teams would become even more scarce. Expansion may boost the league's bottom line if its forthcoming post-14-team TV negotiations prove fruitful, but it will still come at a price, and games like this past two season's showdowns between the Tide and Gators look like they'll going to be that price.

HT: Get the Picture. 

For more from the Eye on CFB on the SEC, click here.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:56 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:51 pm
 

Auburn QB Barrett Trotter forgoing senior year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whoever takes charge of Auburn's offense in 2012 -- Gene Chizik has yet to announce a replacement for Gus Malzahn as the former assistant takes the reins at Arkansas State -- will have one fewer option at quarterback after Barrett Trotter's decision to leave the Tiger program one season early.

The redshirt junior announced Monday that he would be forgoing his senior year to further concentrate on his academics. Trotter has received his undergraduate degree from Auburn in communications and is currently working on a Master's.

"My four years at Auburn have been a great experience and I'm thankful for the opportunities that I've had. However, I have decided to forgo my senior season," Trotter said in a statement. "I'm truly blessed to have been a part of winning seasons and championships during my time at Auburn."

Trotter's decision leaves the Tigers with three scholarship quarterbacks on their projected roster for 2012: junior Clint Moseley, sophomore Kiehl Frazier and Maxpreps No. 30 overall recruit Zeke PikeMoseley appeared in 10 games and attempted 108 passes (completing 61 percent for 7.4 yards a try) after wresting the job away from Trotter at midseason, but Frazier's running ability (327 yards, 3 touchdowns) will have him in the mix.

Despite those options, Auburn likely would have still preferred Trotter to remain in the program for another year. Cam Newton's former backup began the year brightly, leading the Tiger offense to 42 and 41 points in wins over Utah State and Mississippi State, respectively, while throwing five touchdowns to one interception. A deep mid-year slump cost him the starting spot, only for him to come off the bench in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and lead Auburn to the win with an 11-for-18, 9.7 yards-per-attempt, one TD performance. With Chizik rumored to be looking for more of a pro-style look in his next coordinator, Trotter's combination of experience and accuracy might have made him a contender for the starting job.

"Barrett is a great young man who ended his career in a fitting way by helping lead our team to victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl," Chizik said. "We are very appreciative to Barrett for his contributions to Auburn both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best as he takes the next step in his life."

We don't doubt that. But we also don't doubt that Chizik also wishes he had that one extra card in hand at quarterback as his offense takes the next step in its life under Chizik's watch.

Though Trotter is not expected to be drafted and doesn't appear to be considering a career in pro football, expert Rob Rang broke down Trotter's draft chances at his CBSSports.com Draft Blog. 

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:08 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:10 am
 

SEC Recruiting Reset

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Now that the 2011 season has come to an end it's time to move on to the next phase of the college football year: recruiting. With the SEC 
Recruiting Reset we fill you in on what you may have missed in the SEC and what you should expect to see between now and signing day.

TOP THREE CLASSES

1. Alabama. The new national champions continue to roll on the recruiting trail with what's currently nation's No. 1 class. The Tide already have five commitments from the Maxpreps Top 100 and 26 overall, nearly every one a blue-chipper. In particular, don't expect the passing game lockdown on display vs. LSU to change anytime soon; the highest-ranked three of those top 100 recruits are all defensive backs, and athlete Cyrus Jones (the No. 88 overall prospect) could play in the secondary as well. Sweetest of all is that much of the Tide's success has come at the expense of their SEC West rivals--the Tide just stole top safety (and No. 12 player overall) Landon Collins out of Louisiana from LSU, and flipping powerhouse running back T.J. Yeldon in mid-december was a huge blow to Auburn.

2. Florida. The bumpy transition from Urban Meyer to Will Muschamp meant that the Gators' 2011 class wasn't up to the program's usual standards, but that's not going to be an issue in 2012. Five of the Gators' 18 commitments are top 100 prospects, led by 6'6" five-star offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, No. 14 overall. Though (as always) the Gators are getting a huge boost from their home state -- as with Seffner (Fla.) five-star running back Matt Jones -- Muschamp hasn't hesitated to take the Gators national again, landing Humphries from Charlotte, linebacker Antonio Morrison (No. 76 overall) from Illinois, and tight end Colin Thompson from Pennsylvania.

3. LSU. As long as Les Miles is on the Bayou and winning games, there's going to be too much talent in Louisiana for the Tigers to not finish with one of the nation's best recruiting classes, and that's true again this year; 14 of the Tigers' 21 commitments are from their home state, with six more hailing from Texas, Georgia, or Florida. What is a surprise is that the single commitment from outside SEC country just so happens to be the headliner: top-ranked quarterback and No. 2 overall recruit Gunner Kiel, who'll be expected to solve the passing woes on display in the Superdome by no later than 2013.

TOP PLAYERS AVAILABLE

1. Stefon Diggs -- Many of the top local prospects across the Southeast have already made their decisions -- or have said so publicly, anyway -- but that doesn't mean SEC schools aren't still battling away over available prospects in other parts of the country. One of those is Olney, Md. wideout Stefon Diggs, a total-package burner who ranks as the cuntry's No. 18 overall prospect. Though Diggs has been highly noncommital about his recruitment and has discussed possibly waiting past Signing Day to sign, Auburn received one of his early visits and Florida has long been considered one of Diggs' favorites. The Tigers and Gators will have to fight off a long list of national suitors for Diggs' signature, however.

2. Josh Clemons -- This 6'5" safety/wide receiver prospect (and the nation's No. 54 overall recruit) hails from Valdosta, Ga., only minutes from the Florida-Georgia border. So it's no surprise the two schools believed to be battling it out over Clemons are, you guessed it, Georgia and Florida. The Gators may have a slight edge, but in a race still far too close to call, expect Clemons to take his decision down to the wire.

WORK TO DO

1. Ole Miss. No one will blame Hugh Freeze if the Rebels don't boast a top-25 class after their miserable 2-10 season and coaching overhaul, and early signs -- like the commitment of highly prized in-state defensive end Channing Ward -- are good. But he still needs to find a way to get his first class's numbers up; the Rebels are currently sitting on an SEC-low 12 commitments.

2. Auburn. The Tigers currently check in at No. 16 in the Maxpreps rankings and have four top-100 recruits, so it's not as if there's alarm sirens going off for Gene Chizik or anything. But with just 15 commitments as of Tuesday, Auburn is banking on a big finish with lots of big names choosing the orange-and-blue. If those names go elsewhere, Chizik could be left with the league's eighth- or ninth-best class.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:23 pm
 

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Did you watch Alabama beat LSU 21-0 to win the BCS Championship last night? If not, you weren't alone in finding your television entertainment elsewhere.

The overnight ratings for the BCS National Championship Game show that last night's rematch between Alabama and LSU was the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS, bringing in a 13.8 overnight rating, a 14% drop from last year's game between Auburn and Oregon. The previous low had been set in 2002 when Miami played Nebraska for the title and the game brought a 14.3 rating.

There are a few factors that were no doubt in play here. First of all, it seems many college football fans were serious when they said they didn't want to watch a rematch of a game they'd already seen, particularly one that ended 9-6 the first time and didn't exactly provide a lot of excitement. Another factor to consider is that the game was broadcast on ESPN, which is available on cable packages and previous BCS games had always been broadcast on national networks.

The low ratings for the title game followed the trend of the other four BCS bowls as well, as the average rating of all BCS games dropped 10% from the 2010 season and 21% from the 2009 season. Again, this is likely a combination of the games now being broadcast on cable and college football fans who are tiring of the bowl system.

The good news is that with all the momentum that already seems to be in place for the BCS to add a plus-one system in the coming years, the drop in ratings may provide an additional kick in the pants. 

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:00 am
 

BCS National Championship Game stats of note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A few stats of note and records from Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU to capture the BCS National Championship.

- First shutout in BCS title game history.

- Alabama had 384 total yards to LSU's 92.

- LSU crossed the 50 yard line just once, late in the 4th quarter.

- Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.'s opening kick return vs. Florida gained more yards and points than LSU did this entire game.

- It wasn't until A.J. McCarron's 13 yard scramble with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter that Alabama, as a team, passed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's total yardage from last year's championship game. The Crimson Tide finished the game with just 55 yards more than Newton had last year and just 27 more than what Oregon's Darron Thomas had in 2011.

- LSU still wound up gaining 10 more yards than Ohio State did against Florida in 2007.

More on BCS Championship
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- Jordan Jefferson's 29 yards passing was the fewest in the BCS National Championship game and second fewest out of all BCS games played.

- This was the first ever shutout in a BCS game, the previous fewest points scored was Florida State's two versus Oklahoma in 2001.

- Georgia Southern gained more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU did in two (331).

- Every recruiting class Nick Saban has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship.

- LSU will have beaten the Pac-12 and Big East champions as well as the National Champions during the regular season.

- The Tigers will drop to 4-1 in BCS bowls. West Virginia will take over top spot for wins without a loss at 3-0 after their Orange Bowl victory.

- Marquis Maze's 49 yard punt return is the longest against LSU since Javier Arenas' 61yd TD return on Nov. 3, 2007. On Maze's punt return alone, LSU allowed eight times the number of yards they've given up total all season on punt returns.

- The SEC is now 8-1 in the championship game, with the lone loss coming to... the SEC.

- Alabama's defense finished the season by allowing just 106 points. They only gave up nine touchdowns all year, three on the ground and six through the air.

- 2001 Miami allowed 103 points and 2000 TCU allowed 106 in 11 games. Alabama allowed 106 with one extra game and finished the season giving up just 7.57 points per game.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:55 pm
 

Report: Ted Roof hired as Penn St. D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Ted Roof's tenure as defensive coordinator as UCF has proven to be a short one. 

According to reports, the recent Auburn assistant has joined Bill O'Brien's staff at Penn State and will serve as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator, replacing longtime Penn State DC and interim head coach Tom Bradley. Roof was hired at UCF by George O'Leary just less than a month ago after a disappointing season at Auburn.

Despite Roof's struggles on the Plains, his move to Happy Valley has been rumored since nearly the moment O'Brien was hired. The new Nittany Lion head coach worked as Roof's offensive coordinator during the latter's ill-fated head coaching tenure at Duke from 2003 to 2007. Just last Saturday, O'Brien referred fondly to the pair's shared time at Durham and called Roof "one of my closest friends."

Though few at Auburn were disappointed to see Roof move onto UCF -- and despite his professional ties to O'Leary, the lateral move has been widely rumored to be a de facto dismissal from Gene Chizik -- Roof's career is not without a number of high points. He helmed several top-30 defenses for O'Leary during Georgia Tech's early-Aughts run as an ACC contender, sparked massive improvements for both the Blue Devils and Minnesota in one-year stints as defensive coordinator, and of course helped Chizik's Tigers to the national title a year ago with the SEC's No. 1 rush defense. Roof's specialty has been shutting down run-first pro-style schemes, a plus when considering the presence of Wisconsin in the Nittany Lions' division.

That said, Roof was still the coordinator of this season's 80th-ranked total defense and a unit that seemed particularly at sea against strong passing attacks. (Even in his 2000 Georgia Tech season, when Roof was nominated for the Broyles Award, the Jackets finished 114th out of 114 in pass defense.) If O'Brien has let his personal friendship cloud his judgment of Roof's capacity to lead the Nittany Lion offense, that may not be the best sign for Penn St. going forward.

Though Roof is the most high-profile of the new Nittany Lion assistants, O'Brien made two other hires Monday. Ball State offensive line coach John Strollo has been hired to lead the Nittany Lion offensive line; a 30-year coaching veteran, Strollo also worked with O'Brien and Roof at Duke. Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Stan Hixon has also reportedly been hired, filling the receivers coaching position previously staffed by Mike McQueary.

For daily real-time updates on Penn State football, follow our Nittany Lion CBSSports.com RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush right here. 

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:48 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 5:52 pm
 

FWAA releases 2011 Freshman All-America team

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Monday, the Football Writers Association of America released the 2011 Freshman All-America Team. The group, selected by an 11-person panel of FWAA writers, is made up of the best true freshman and redshirt freshman from the 2011 FBS season.

The panel also names a first-year coach to the FWAA Freshman All-America team. This year's selection was West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.

USC and Kansas State were the only schools to have two players named to the team, while the SEC and Pac-12 led the way in terms of conferences with five players apiece. Several players from the list below were also named to CBSSports.com's Freshman All-America team, though there are some noticeable differences in the two lists.

Let us know what you think about the group in the comment section below, hit us up on Twitter, or drop a line at the Eye On College Football Facebook page.

OFFENSE
QB - Sean Mannion, Oregon State
RB - Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
RB - Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
WR - Matt Miller, Boise State
WR - Marquise Lee, USC
WR - Sammy Watkins, Clemson
AP - De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
OL - Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL - B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL - Chaz Green, Florida
OL - Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
OL - Jake Smith, Louisville

DEFENSE
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DL - Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
DL - Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame
DL - Marcus Rush, Michigan State
LB - Dion Bailey, USC
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB - Jeremy Grove, East Carolina
DB - Blair Burns, Wyoming
DB - Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
DB - Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB - Merrill Noel, Wake Forest
DB - Eric Rowe, Utah

SPECIALISTS
P - Brad Wing, LSU
K - Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
PR - Scott Harding, Hawaii
KR - Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

COACH
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 4:25 pm
 

RapidReport Roundup: LSU vs. Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Rounding up all the latest from CBSSports.com Alabama and LSU Rapid Reporters Jim Dunn and Glenn Guilbeau ... and what it might mean for the big game.

  
  

Don't expect a blowout. “Every game I think we played against LSU in the last five games comes right down to the wire, some kind of way," Nick Saban said Sunday, and he's not exaggerating. Those five games -- all since Saban took over in Tuscaloosa, transforming what had been your average SEC blood feud into something even more intense between his former and current teams -- and have been decided by a total of 28 points, with two games going into overtime and none featuring a margin greater than 2009's nine. Whether or not the rematch lives up to the hype of the first meeting from an aesthetics standpoint (and there are those, of course, who will argue the first meeting already did), there's little doubt the final minutes will be as dramatic as ever.

Optioning away from the option? One of the key factors in LSU's win in the Prematch was their success with an option play featuring Jordan Jefferson and Michael Ford, a look which -- thanks to Jefferson's reduced role as Jarrett Lee started -- the Tigers had barely shown entering the game. The usually uber-prepared Tide defense seemed to be caught off guard, but Ford isn't expecting that to be the case the second time around.  "Alabama will be better against it this time," Ford said. "So we've just got to trick 'em -- act like we're going to run the option and run something different. When me, (tailback/fullback) Kenny Hilliard and Jordan Jefferson are in there, it's scary. It opens everything up. We can run between the tackles with Kenny. We can go option with me. Or we can throw it. You don't know what's coming at you."

That's not wrong, and both Jefferson's ascension and Hilliard's late-season charge are two reasons that the Tigers can hope for more offensive success than they saw on Nov. 5. But with the Tide knowing that LSU knows they might have to move away from the option, we might encourage the Tigers to stick with it--big plays against the Tide defense are precious, and proper execution might give them one against a defense that's looking for the change-up away from it.

First opponent: the layoff. Saban has never lacked for confidence in his coaching approach (and why would he, given the results), so it was somewhat surprising to hear him admit Sunday -- even after taking his Tide to the BCS national championship game in 2009-10 -- he isn't entirely sure how to handle the lengthy span between the end of the regular season and the title game. “When you have this much time between games, obviously you're always wondering as a coach. 'Are we practicing enough? Are we practicing too much?'" Saban said.

One could argue that uncertainty has played itself out in Saban's bowl record--his 6-3 mark is well above-average, but it's included a couple of clunkers, like the 2008 Tide's inexplicable blowout loss to Utah. (Miles, meanwhile, is 5-1 at LSU.) That's probably too small a sample size to make any firm conclusions, and it's not like the Tide haven't had several impressive bowl wins under Saban, too--last year's utter demolition of Michigan State being Exhibit A. But if we had to pick a team that might come out a little less certain than the other, especially in New Orleans, we'd lean towards Alabama.

Other tidbits. Miles says his team is ready. "They're a team that loves to play. The lights come on, and they want it. This will be a game that will be very representative of that" ... Saban said win or lose, there's one change coming Monday. “Every time we play LSU, I've got to change my phone number because people blow up my phone,” he joked ... Judging from the reaction to games like the Alamo Bowl and Rose Bowl, we're not sure fans are really clamoring for another field goal-decided slugfest. But Ford disagrees. "I don't think that's a game," he said of the pinball bowl games. "I think people get tired of seeing all those points on the board. They want to see a hard-fought game" ... LSU isn't a bigger rival for Alabama than Auburn, but Mark Barron says the gap is shrinking. “This is a rivalry that's grown over the years here recently due to the level of competition. I wouldn't say it's bigger than the Auburn rivalry, but it's growing slowly." After two No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups in the space of three months, here's wondering if by the end of the night, it's moved far past growing "slowly."

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