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Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Surveying the Field: Reviewing Week 12



Posted by Bryan Fischer


On Saturday it stops.

The bylaws, the scandals, the arrests, the arguing, the issues - the scars of college football -  it's all gone and it becomes just a game. When the whistle is blown there are no rankings or underdogs, just a game between the lines, two teams with 11 on either side.

Saturday seemed like a perfect reminder of that. Looking at the schedule earlier in the week, the lack of marquee match ups - just three involving two ranked teams - made it seem more like a bye week than Week 12.

As the season made - to borrow a metaphor from another sport - its final turn and moved onto the home stretch, it was looking like we were indeed destined for a week off of drama. Wisconsin beat Illinois, Michigan State rolled Indiana, Michigan put on a clinic against Nebraska, Georgia had a close but ugly win over Kentucky, Houston beat SMU handily, Arkansas steamrolled Mississippi State and shockingly N.C. State had beaten Clemson before halftime.

Then consider what happened as night fell and some of the late games got interesting, with plays happening just about every minute. A quick sampling in case you missed the drama:

- Matt Barkley hit Randall Telfer for a touchdown to put USC up 38-14 over Oregon.
- De'Anthony Thomas returned a kickoff 96 yards, and showed why he's one of the fastest players in college football.
- Eric Gordon picked off Jordan Rodgers and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown to seal a 27-21 Tennessee win over Vanderbilt. Only there was mass confusion thanks to the officials.
-  A Robert Griffin III pass is deflected right into the arms of a streaking Kendall Wright for a 87-yard touchdown to tie Oklahoma 24-24.
- Kenjon Barner caps a 75-yard drive to pull Oregon to within 38-27 with over 12 minutes left in the game.
- Michael Rocco caps off a 75-yard drive in less than a minute to give Virginia a 14-13 lead over Florida State.
- Zach Maynard tosses a perfectly thrown pass to Keenan Allen to take a 10-7 lead over Stanford.
- Baylor retakes the lead 31-24 after a 10 play, 85-yard drive after another RGIII touchdown pass.
- Texas' drive stalls and the Longhorns settle for a field goal to trail 17-13.
- Barkley is picked off by the Ducks defense then score a touchdown. Two-point conversion is good (barely) and they cut USC's lead to 38-35 with 7:05 left.
- A crazy play involving Florida State's Bert Reed happens. He was ruled to have caught a ball but inbounds, running out the clock. A five minute replay takes place.
- Landry Jones throws an interception, setting up a Terrence Ganaway touchdown as Baylor goes up 38-24 on Oklahoma.
- Case McCoy is sacked on 4th-and-10 at midfield, Kansas State takes over but has to punt.
- The replay overturns Reed's play, ruling it incomplete. FSU sets up for a 48-yard field goal but Virginia players bark out signals drawing a flag. Shorter kick misses anyway, giving the Cavilers their first ever victory at Doak Walker as Mike London screams at his team to get to the locker room.
- The Trojans are in the red zone when Barkley and Marc Tyler fumble an exchange, leading to Oregon getting the ball back.
- Oklahoma can't convert a 4th-and-14, Baylor gets the ball back.
- Kansas State barely holds on but beats Texas 17-13.
- Cal hits a short field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 in the Big Game against Stanford.
- The Ducks march right down the field but Chip Kelly fails to use his timeouts leaving a 42-yard field goal to tie the game with five seconds left. It's no good allowing USC to escape with a 38-35 upset to further shake up the BCS.
- The Belldozer formation (with backup quarterback Blake Bell) scores a TD to make it 38-31 Sooners with six minutes left.
- Oklahoma gets the ball back then Bell scores his 4th touchdown of the night and the Sooners look like they're going for two. They don't but tie the game up at 38 with 51 seconds on the clock.
- RGIII finds Terrence Williams in the back of the end zone for a perfect 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left to give Baylor their first ever win against Oklahoma 45-38.
- Andrew Luck leads two scoring drives coming out of halftime to take a 28-13 lead over Cal.
- The Bears come right back down the field and score a touchdown, connecting on a two-point conversion to pull to within 28-21 in the 4th quarter.
- Stanford takes over seven minutes off the clock with a drive that ends in a field goal and 31-21 lead.
- Cal makes things interesting with a touchdown to pull to within 31-28 with 14 seconds left.
- Onside kick recovered, Stanford beats Cal 31-28 to win the Big Game.

That. Was. Fun.

We probably should have guessed something was up this week. Northern Illinois kicked a field goal with eight seconds left to beat Ball State 41-38 on Tuesday, rolling up 710 yards of offense in a little midweek MACtion. The story was much the same the next night as Ohio made a chip shot field goal as the gun went off to beat Bowling Green 29-28. Also on Wednesday, Western Michigan held on to beat Miami (Ohio) with both starting quarterbacks topping the 400 yard passing mark. Thursday produced a huge - relatively - CUSA upset as a terrible UAB team upset #22 Southern Miss to beat a ranked team for just the second time in school history.

North Carolina, with an interim head coach and not much to play for, gave Virginia Tech a fight with two touchdowns in the 4th quarter before the Hokies decided to pay attention on defense. It was an off night for David Wilson, who never could get going, but a solid one for quarterback Logan Thomas. He tossed two touchdowns and ran for a third to provide most of the Hokies scoring to setup a showdown next week with rival Virginia for a trip to the ACC championship. The late comeback from UNC should have been a warning that no one was safe, home or road, regardless of the conditions.

Oklahoma State rolled into Ames, Iowa as 27-point favorites but holding a heavy heart just a day after a plane crash killed the women's basketball coach and three others. It was an unspeakable tragedy for a school that had already suffered a similar one a decade before. Friday was supposed to be about the second-ranked Cowboys giving their fans something - anything - to cheer about.

But it's a game between the lines and though Iowa State came into the match up 2-4 in Big 12 play and winless in 58 tries against teams ranked sixth or better, head coach Paul Rhoads knows a thing or two about upsets. He had pulled off at least one shocker each year he was in charge of the Cyclones and was defensive coordinator of a lowly 4-7 Pittsburgh team four years ago that helped cause BCS chaos with an upset of then-No. 2 West Virginia. He threw a similar wrench into the Cowboys' plans in large part by shutting down the ground game and forcing five turnovers. Brandon Weeden put some big numbers - 42-of-58, a quiet 476 yards and three touchdowns - but threw three interceptions, his last in the second overtime to lose the game.

"We got a group of young men that put their hard hats on every day and just continue to go to work," Rhoads said. "I could not be prouder of the effort they put out tonight."

The field storming after the upset was well deserved, with Rhoads even getting hit by a fan who spilled his drink on the emotional head coach at midfield. The Iowa native took over the program from Gene Chizik after serving as Auburn's defensive coordinator the season before Chizik headed to the plains. Ironically, his upset sent cheers up in Tuscaloosa because no program stood to benefit more from the loss than Alabama.

It was the first of many on a topsy-turvy week that saw the #2, #4, #5, #7, #17, #22 and #23 in the BCS suffer a loss. As you can tell from the boom-boom nature of the plays listed above, the drama and action seemed to culminate in another perfect weekend in college football. Fitting, perhaps, that on the sport's supposed week off, it gave us the most drama-filled few days of the year.

As the Big Game was wrapping up late on the West Coast, I was trying to think of another time there was so much craziness, so much excitement, packed into just a few hours. It thought about the NCAA tournament but MLB's final day this year immediately popped into my mind right after. The country was glued to the television as pitch after pitch carried more meaning than the last. Four games determined two wild cards (and the eventual World Series winner) and three of them were tied. Three blown saves and two incredible walk-off wins had produced one of baseball's finest nights.

This weekend, and late Saturday in particular, was not quite what that Wednesday in late September was. That night for baseball does contrast however, and serve as a reminder of how great a regular season can be with a playoff still to come. The BCS proponents out there had no problem coming out and saying the system enhanced the upsets because they somehow mean more. As baseball showed us, even after 162 games and plenty more to play, nothing takes away from the drama. We're still going to watch Baylor try and beat Oklahoma for the first time ever with RGIII taking snaps. People will still tune in to see USC make an emphatic statement to the country that their time out of the spotlight is over.

It does however make the losses that much more painful. Boise State has lost three games in three years by five points thanks to walk-on kickers missing field goals. They never get a shot at playing for the national title. Oklahoma just hopes they can beat their rival and get to the same old exhibition (the Fiesta Bowl) they're used to playing in.

'Every week is a playoff'  is the line you'll see often in BCS literature. If that's the case then, Alabama would not be sitting at No. 2 in the country and set to play LSU - again - for the national title. They lost their playoff game at Bryant-Denny in the Field Goal Festival of the Century. Talk of another rematch involving Oregon was put to bed thanks to the conquering Trojans but had they won, they should have taken note that no, they can't be playing in New Orleans after losing a game earlier in the season.

Now we are left with a BCS beauty pageant. Boise could be a top five team at the end of the year but will likely play right before Christmas. Stanford might be passed over for Michigan despite the Cardinal being in the top 10 all season. The SEC is strong at the top but weak all over - as evidenced by FCS Southern Conference teams having a combined 52-34 lead on SEC teams at one point Saturday. Alas, this is the system we have.

The modeling still isn't over with a few more weeks left in the season and that should provide clarity on the situation, especially with Arkansas traveling to Baton Rouge and Alabama playing the Iron Bowl at Auburn. There's still Bedlam and championship games. This show will go on.

But a Saturday that didn't shape up to be much ended up being quite a bit thanks to what happened on the field. It's why we all love college football and why we put up with six days of arguing and rankings. 60 minutes between the lines never looked so good in week 12.

Stat of the week

USC is the first loss Chip Kelly has suffered as head coach when the opposing team has just one week to prepare. It was also his first ever home loss and the Trojans win snapped a 19 game conference winning streak and the longest home winning streak in the country.

Stats of the week

- The SEC has 9 offenses ranked 75th or worse in the country but four of the top five defenses. The former is responsible for the latter more than the other way around.

- Wisconsin had a 12 play, 27 yard drive against Illinois that took 7:11 off the clock before Montee Ball scored a touchdown. At that point, Texas A&M had scored 44 points in 8:24 against Kansas.

- FCS Georgia Southern scored 21 points and ran for 302 yards on Alabama's defense, which led the country in just about every major defensive category. Dominique Swope had an 82-yard touchdown and finished with 18 carries for 153 yards (8.5 yd ave.). In the process, Swope became just the fifth back to rush for over 100 yards against Nick Saban in his five seasons in Tuscaloosa. Alabama's scoring defense went from 7.1 points per game to 8.36 ppg afterward and the rush defense jumped from 51.9 ypg to 74.64 just from the one game.

- This is the first time since Bo Pelini's first year that Nebraska has allowed more than 40 points in a game twice in a season.

- Oregon's 24-point deficit they faced against USC was the biggest they faced since October 4, 2008, also against the Trojans.

- Via the AP, before Miami did it yesterday, no FBS team had scored less than seven points and won a road game since Auburn topped Mississippi State 3-2 in 2008.

- Five starts for David Ash, six interceptions. Ouch.

- LSU, Alabama and Arkansas are 1, 2, 3 in the AP Poll. The only other time one conference has done that in the poll era is Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado of the Big 8 in 1971.

- Kansas has - by far - the worst defense in the country. It is dead last in three major categories and is giving up 45.55 points per game and 531.45 yards per game. A sampling of the worst defenses since 2001 for comparison:

2001: Idaho 45 ppg, (Worst BCS defense: Duke 44.6 ppg)
2002: Eastern Michigan 47.2 ppg, (Kansas 42.3 ppg)
2003: Mississippi State 39.3 ppg
2004: San Jose State 42.6 ppg, (Baylor 36.9 ppg)
2005: Temple 45.3 ppg, (Illinois 39.5 ppg)
2006: Louisiana Tech 41.7 ppg, (Duke 33.8 ppg)
2007: North Texas 45.1 ppg, (Nebraska 37.9 ppg)
2008: North Texas 47.58 ppg, (Washington State 43.85 ppg)
2009: Rice 43.08 ppg, (Washington State 38.5 ppg)
2010: New Mexico 44.33 ppg, (Washington State 35.83 ppg)

Tweet of the week

"Down 22-7 in Q1, Gators DE Sharrif Floyd told teammates, "Listen it's Furman. No disrespect but it's Furman."

- Via Jason Lieser, Palm Beach Post.

Fisch's Finest

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma State

4. Arkansas

5. Stanford

6. Boise State

7. Houston

8. USC

9. Oregon

10. Virginia Tech

Where we'll be this week

Dennis Dodd will be at two games this week, starting with the big showdown on CBS between Arkansas and LSU on Friday and Missouri-Kansas on Saturday, the final game in the second-longest rivalry west of the Mississippi. I will cover two games as well, with the final Texas-Texas A&M game on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and end with the crosstown showdown between USC and UCLA. Brett McMurphy will be at the Iron Bowl as Alabama looks for revenge on Auburn and to keep their name in the national title race.

Leaning this way

Penn State at Wisconsin

This is for a trip to the Big Ten title game and there's no doubt that commissioner Jim Delany hopes Wisconsin can win and hopefully cover the two touchdowns+ spread. Penn State's offense showed signs of life in the first half against Ohio State but managed to throttle back down to nothing in the second half against an ok defense. Montee Ball and Russell Wilson have this thing over early though and the Nittany Lions can't claw their way back.

Alabama at Auburn

The Tide are ranked second in the country, the Tigers are unranked. Normally that doesn't matter when these two get together but that's just one indication of how good/bad these teams are. Neither team looked impressive against FCS foes so you wonder if they were saving a few things for this game. Still, hard to see an upset when Alabama is in the top three in the conference in every major category.

Arkansas at LSU

BCS chaos can rain supreme if the Razorbacks are able to go into Baton Rouge and pull off the upset. They will certainly be the best passing offense LSU's fantastic secondary has faced but the key will come down to protecting Tyler Wilson. If LSU turns it over a few times there is certainly a chance at a loss but it all seems unlikely for 'The Hat' to lose this close to taking a trip to Atlanta.



Posted on: November 19, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 3:58 pm
 

BYU accepts Armed Forces Bowl invitation

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The regular season is winding down and that can mean only one thing: a deluge of bowl invitations being accepted by schools who have managed to reach the magical .500 mark to become post-season eligible.

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl extended an invite to first year independent BYU and the Cougars have accepted, the school announced on their website Saturday afternoon.

“We are pleased to officially extend this invitation to BYU,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the bowl. “Our goal is always to attract schools with a national presence to help us honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, and BYU is a great fit as it is a nationally recognized institution with an outstanding fan base.”

The Dallas-based bowl will pit BYU against a Conference USA team. CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm currently predicts SMU will fill the other spot in a game played at the Mustangs' home field, Gerald J. Ford Stadium, on December 30th.

“With the great year that Conference USA is having, the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl should be a terrific match up,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “BYU is excited to return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to face a tough C-USA team. We are also honored to play in a game that pays tribute to the brave men and women of our armed forces.”

BYU signed a deal with the bowl back in April which gave them an automatic invite if they became bowl eligible and were not under consideration for a BCS game.

Photo by BYU Graphics
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:03 pm
 

PODCAST: College Football Insider Brett McMurphy

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Brett McMurphy tells us why the bowls will be hesitant to take Penn State, if Bronco Mendenhall would be a good fit for the Nittany Lions, what he's looking to see at the SMU-Houston game and much more. We also touch on expansion, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, coaching salaries and Bob Davie's new job.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.  



Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 11:55 am
 

Surveying the Field: Reviewing Week 11



Posted by Bryan Fischer


The build up wasn't quite as big as that tussle down in Tuscaloosa but there was no denying that Saturday's game between Oregon and Stanford was the biggest conference game in years. Two top six teams, a packed crowd at Stanford Stadium, a visit from GameDay, and even an appearance by the new Pac-12 championship trophy.

People who normally wouldn't be caught dead at a Stanford football game showed up in droves and ticket scalpers were quite desperate to talk to anyone who had tickets. Duck fans brought plenty of kegs and the Cardinal fans opened up a few more bottles of wine than they normally do. The atmosphere wasn't Autzen or Husky Stadium or the Coliseum but there was a noticeable buzz in Palo Alto.

And then Oregon came in and unleashed their familiar blitzkrieg on offense and literally and figuratively ran away from Stanford in a final score, 52-31, remarkably similar to last season's game in Eugene. Say what you want about Chip Kelly's struggles in bowl games or non-conference match ups but he owns the Pac-12 in a way that not even Pete Carroll did, winning his 19th consecutive conference game - all but three by double-digits.

The storyline Saturday during the game was the play of the Ducks' defense, who forced Andrew Luck to be a mere mortal by throwing into coverage most of the night, fumbling and tossing a pick-six. Credit longtime coordinator Nick Aliotti for several weeks of great game plans, shutting down Washington's offense with six sacks and two picks the game before. Breaking in several new starters this year, it took awhile for the unit to gel in the first half of the season but they've come on strong as of late. The secret to their success lies in part on the offense, who are so quick scoring that it forces opposing offenses to wear themselves out trying to play catch up. Mix in some pressure from the front seven, which Aliotti loves to do, and Oregon has more than a solid defense.

The storyline after the game (or, at least, beginning in the middle of the third quarter) was the sudden emergence of the Ducks back in the national title race. For all the talk of an Alabama-LSU rematch in New Orleans, suddenly that wasn't the only possible one on the table. As Dennis Dodd wrote after the game, for pure entertainment value it has to be the Ducks.

"I feel we should have a chance to play LSU again," speedster DeAnthony Thomas said.

Thomas, no doubt, wants some measure of redemption against the Tigers after fumbling in the opener and contributing to the lopsided 40-27 score. Were the Ducks closer than that margin indicated? Sure. The margin is what it is however and a great deal more than Alabama's three point loss in overtime.

As Kelly made his way to the post-game set for a television hit, plenty of Oregon fans had gathered in the section of stands near him to celebrate their beloved "Big Balls Chip." Euphoric after beating the Cardinal, everybody clad in green (or yellow or silver or lighting yellow or black…) was excited about the possibility - albeit slim if examined closely - of a rematch with LSU in the national title game.

Column after column was filed from the press box bringing up the same point. Plenty of Oregon fans on Twitter began discussing their resume. With the South division a mess, the win essentially gave Oregon the the conference title in what was the defacto Pac-12 Championship game.

Yet all anybody could talk about was the possibility of another trip to the title game. Two words I didn't hear from anybody affiliated with Oregon: Rose Bowl. Everybody and their mother were putting the cart before the horse or, to be more apt in this case, the Rose before the Mardi Gras beads.

Sure, everybody wants to play for the national championship. Ducks fans not only want a shot of redemption against LSU, but want one in response to the agonizing last second loss to Auburn in Glendale. Still, it's hard to fathom that no one is excited over playing THE bowl game against the weakest Big Ten opponent in years. Beating Stanford established Oregon as a likely double-digit favorite in the granddaddy of them all and yet that wasn't on anybody's mind this weekend.

Color me confused, especially when you consider the school has only been to 24 bowl games total and has a 9-15 record in them. Oregon has been to Pasadena only twice in 50 years and have just one trophy from the game - from 1917.

When USC went on their run under Carroll, there was plenty of talk coming out of Troy about being disappointed playing in "another" Rose Bowl. It seems like Ducks fans have the same mentality despite the lack of trips to the game or the wins.

BCS proponents often state, every week in the college football season is a playoff. The Ducks playoff game? They lost it. The Crimson Tide's playoff game? They lost it. The talk of a rematch needs to be saved for another day.

Is the Rose Bowl technically an exhibition/consolation prize? Yes, but it's the best consolation prize in college football. So forget about a rematch, Oregon should be excited about the possibility of a Rose Bowl win at the end of the year, not arguing their worthiness for the title game. That's the takeaway from Saturday's win people need to focus on.

Stat of the week

Vanderbilt's 38-8 win over Kentucky was the school's most decisive SEC win in four decades. The Commodores are now three point favorites over Tennessee, who they beat seemingly once a century. Strange times.

Stats of the week

- Every SEC team has scored a defensive touchdown this season. South Carolina has five alone while Alabama leads the country in all major defensive categories.

- Quarterback Connor Halliday set a Washington State freshman record after throwing for 494 yards and four touchdowns against Arizona State. The mark was the sixth most yards the Sun Devils have ever given up.

- Just some amazing numbers with Boise State's loss to TCU this weekend. The Broncos are college football's winningest team over the past four years (46-3) and all of their losses are by a combined five points (1, 3 and 1). The loss to the Horned Frogs was Chris Petersen's first at home as head coach and the team's first home conference loss since 1998. According to Brian Murphy, the last home conference loss was to Idaho, 36-35 on a 2-point conversion. Boise State lost to TCU 36-35 thanks to a 2-point conversion.

- Missouri held Texas to single digits for the first time since 2006, a span of 61 games. The last time the Longhorns scored just five points was a 5-6 loss to Sewanee in 1911.

- South Carolina held Florida to fewer than 14 points for the first time since 1939.

Tweet of the week

"We just had a marriage proposal at midfield during halftime. So at least one Red Raider is going to score today."

- Aaron Dickens, editor of RedRaiderSports.com during Tech's 66-6 loss to Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders have been outscored 159-33 in three losses following their upset of Oklahoma.

Fisch's Finest

1. LSU

2. Oklahoma State

3. Alabama

4. Oregon

5. Oklahoma

6. Arkansas

7. Stanford

8. Boise State

9. Clemson

10. Georgia

Where we'll be this week

Columnist Gregg Doyel will be in Columbus to see Ohio State's final home game against Penn State while Dennis Dodd will see Oregon again as USC travels up to Eugene. Brett McMurphy will be in Houston as SMU comes in with hopes of pulling a BCS-sized upset.

Leaning this way

Nebraska at Michigan

This an elimination game for the loser as both have an outside shot of going to the Big Ten championship game with a win and some help by Michigan State's opponents. Michigan has not been terribly sharp the past few games while Nebraska has been in back-to-back close games. This is at the Big House which might be the biggest advantage the Wolverines have.

SMU at Houston

A potential stumbling block for Houston as they continue to march their way to the Conference USA title game and a BCS berth. The best offense in the country has been rolling up points - 73 last week for the second time this season - but faces their stiffest competition yet with the Mustangs, who have one of the better defenses in the conference. Still, SMU isn't a special team and this should be a chance for Case Keenum to impress Heisman voters some more with a big spotlight game.

USC at Oregon

Is USC better equipped defensively to handle the Ducks? Yes. Do they have more talent on offense than anybody else Oregon has faced? Yes. But that still doesn't make up for the fact that the Trojans haven't won in the state of Oregon in years. Oregon continues their march to another conference championship in front of a raucous Autzen crowd.


Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:42 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Boise State vs. TCU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

BOISE STATE WILL WIN IF: Kellen Moore continues to be Kellen Moore. That's not to say that this game is an easy win for Boise State, because it's not. This will easily be the toughest test that the Broncos have faced since opening the season against Georgia in Atlanta. It's also incredibly important in the Mountain West standings as both of these teams are unbeaten in conference play and the winner will likely win the conference. In order for that to happen for Boise State, Kellen Moore and the offense will have to look at what Baylor and SMU did earlier this season to defeat TCU. This Horned Frogs defense has been good this season, but it's not as good as the unit we've seen the last few years, particularly in the secondary. While it isn't giving up a lot of yards through the air, the fact is that the TCU defense has allowed 18 passing touchdowns this season with only 7 interceptions. With Kellen Moore's accuracy and career ratio of 5.33 touchdowns for every interception thrown, this is something that the Broncos can and should take advantage of.

TCU WILL WIN IF: It can figure out how to stop Kellen Moore and this offense. Which not many teams have been able to do in the past four years. The key to doing this will be to get pressure in Moore's face and try to force him into making throws he either doesn't want to or shouldn't make. Of course, even if you can get some pressure on Moore, Boise's offense is still going to find ways to score, which means TCU will have to play well on offense. The Horned Frogs don't have a strong passing attack this season, but if there's good news it's that you're probably better off running against Boise anyway. The Broncos only allow 140.4 yards per game on the ground, but they also have the lowest amount of rushing attempts per game in the Mountain West. The number that TCU should pay attention to is the fact that Boise is allowing over 4 yards per carry. So a healthy dose of Waymon James, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker could go a long way.

X-FACTOR: Bronco Stadium. You may remember that this game was originally supposed to be played in Fort Worth, but then suddenly after TCU announced it would be leaving the Mountain West for the Big East -- which became the Big 12 -- the game was moved to Boise. A factor that can't be overlooked in this contest considering that Boise State hasn't lost a regular season game on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium in a decade.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 6:04 pm
 

SEC Poll Reactions, Week 10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the SEC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

1/1. LSU

The only poll-related question following the Tigers' win in Tuscaloosa Saturday night was this: would they be unanimous No. 1's, or would there be a few stray Stanford or Oklahoma State zealots? Surprise surprise: the Bayou Bengals went 59-for-59 on first-place votes for the Coaches, but one random attention-seeking media voter went for Boise State at No. 1, keeping LSU's AP total at 59/60. We're big Boise fans around here, but there's simply no logical, reasonable explation for looking at both team's schedule's and deciding that the Broncos have done more to deserve the No. 1 spot.

(You can read our Eye on CFB Poll Attacks to find out the identity of said voter. We're not dignifying his efforts here.)

4/4. ALABAMA

The Tide can't ask for much more, can they? Not only do they still sit ahead of fellow one-loss wonders Oklahoma and Oregon (fair, considering that the Sooners lost to much weaker team and that the Ducks weren't nearly as competitive vs. LSU), but Alabama's still comfortably one spot ahead of the undefeated Broncos, too. That's more debatable, and if it ultimately comes down to picking one of these schools or the other to play LSU for a national title, we'd like to see what Boise could do. But for now, Boise's schedule is so weak -- Georgia, and then a whole lot of barely-more-than nothing -- it makes sense to have the Tide a notch ahead.

8/8. ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks' on-field play improved dramatically this week as they pulled away from one-loss South Carolina for a decisive 44-28 win, but it wasn't enough to force any change in the polls; the Hogs stayed a firm eighth behind Oklahoma. Given that the Sooners (and similar one-loss competitors Oregon) have played better football the past two weeks and now have a list of victims comparable to Arkansas's, the Hogs can't have any real gripes about staying put, though.

14/16. GEORGIA

We're not sure when beating the pants off of New Mexico State became so impressive, but apparently "when" was in fact "this week"; the Bulldogs' thrashing of the Aggies was good enough for a healthy four-spot jump in both polls. So enamored were AP voters with the UGA win that they moved the Dawgs a spot ahead of the Gamecocks--even though both teams have the same record and Carolina beat Georgia head-to-head in Athens. Usually it's the Coaches that get up to these kind of shenanigans (please note that Virginia Tech is currently ranked ahead of Clemson for no reason whatsoever), but not this week.

15/15. SOUTH CAROLINA

The past three weeks have gone like this for the Gamecocks: 1. 14 points scored in hideous win over SEC underdog 2. 14 points scored in less-hideous-but-still-pretty-ugly win over SEC underdog 3. 16-point loss at Arkansas. And the Gamecocks' home loss to Auburn is still far worse than most of the losses suffered by the glut of two-loss teams after consensus No. 12 Penn State. But then again, at Georgia is still a far better win than most of those teams have, too. So we don't know if 15 is such a terrible overranking, especially when what we do know is that if the Gamecocks are 15th, Georgia's 16th.

24/25. AUBURN

The Tigers remain the only three-loss team in either poll, showing a certain amount of respect for their rigorous schedule. But would you blame the Tigers for wondering if the gap between themselves and the Gamecocks ought to be nine slots when the Tigers have the head-to-head win in Columbia and the difference in win-loss can be chalked up exclusively to Auburn playing Clemson out-of-conference while SC was taking on East Carolina, Navy and the like? And as for why TCU is a spot above the Tigers in the coaches -- when their best win is Air Force and their losses are to Baylor and SMU -- we don't really have a clue.

Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 11:54 am
 

Longhorns WR Chris Jones to transfer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Texas announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Chris Jones has been released from his scholarship and plans to transfer. Jones came to Texas in 2010 as a 4-star recruit, but after redshirting the 2010 season he was yet to see the field in 2011.

“This was a very tough decision, but I want to get closer to home for personal reasons with my family,” said Jones in a release. “I love Texas, and I’ve been with these guys for two years, and we’re family, but things don’t always go according to the plan that you make. I’ll still text them, joke with them, talk to them and everything we do now.” 

“We appreciate everything Chris has done for the program,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He felt he needed to be closer to his family and we understand and respect that. We wish nothing but success for him in the future.”

It's not a huge blow to the Longhorns since Jones wasn't playing to begin with, but considering that Texas is still waiting for one of its receivers to step up and be a go-to guy, they now have one less option.

It isn't known where Jones will end up, but if he wants to be closer to home than Baylor -- which offered him a scholarship in high school -- is an option, or Jones could possibly join Garrett Gilbert at SMU.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Report: Garrett Gilbert transferring to SMU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert will transfer to SMU in January with plans to play football, according to a local report.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting the former Longhorns starter plans to enroll in school for the spring semester, and will be eligible to play for the Mustangs in 2013. Gilbert could potentially apply for a medical waiver for an extra year of eligibility after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery after just two games of action. Without the waiver, Gilbert will be a redshirt senior eligible for only the 2013 season.

Gilbert was 7-7 as a starting quarterback in Austin. His career started with a last-minute call to replace the injured Colt McCoy against Alabama in the National Championship game his freshman year. He started every game the following season, a disappointing 5-7 campaign for the defending Big 12 Champions. Gilbert lit up the stat sheet with 2,700 yards but his 10 touchdowns to 17 interceptions proved to be more harm than good for the Longhorns. Between the surgery and a new offensive coordinator appearing to hand the reigns to younger talent, Gilbert decided it was time to take his talents elsewhere.

Gilbert visited SMU practice a few weeks ago after declaring his intentions to leave Texas, and the Mustangs reportedly are comfortable with the idea of potentially only having Gilbert for the 2013 season.

The Mustangs find themselves in the news this week as they reportedly await the official invitation to join the Big East. John Marinatto announced the official approval from league presidents on Tuesday, and SMU is expected to accept the invitation to join the conference in all sports.

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