Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Through the first two games of the season Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd had 25 receptions for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns. Given the way that the Irish began the season with 10 turnovers and 2 losses, Floyd was one of the lone bright spots in South Bend. His numbers dipped a bit in a 31-13 win over Michigan State, as he "only" had 6 catches for 84 yards to lead the team, and those numbers dipped even further against Pitt, when he made 4 catches for 27 yards.
In that game against Pitt, only 1 of Floyd's receptions came after the first quarter. As you'd expect, once the Pitt defense -- one that came into the game as one of the worst pass defenses in the country -- figured out a way to neutralize Floyd, the Notre Dame offense did not look very pretty, though it did enough to win the game.
Well, Brian Kelly isn't all that interested in winning ugly, and he's looking to make sure that Floyd doesn't have another game like the Pitt one anytime soon. Which is why the Irish have been working on ways to make sure it doesn't happen again this weekend against Purdue.
"There are going to be some games as it unfolds that he's not going to get 10 passes," Brian Kelly told the Chicago Tribune. "It's just the nature of the game. That doesn't mean we're not going to continue to look at ways to get Michael the football.
"Certainly we're going to do that, and I think there's a number of ways that we can continue to make sure that he gets the appropriate amount of touches. But we just don't want (the Pittsburgh game) to be a consistent kind of scenario more than anything else."
The question is, should they?
While Michael Floyd is the most prolific receiver in Notre Dame history, there's an alarming trend for the Irish and Floyd when he's making so many receptions. In his four years in South Bend, Floyd has caught 10 or more passes in a game six times. In those six games Notre Dame has gone 1-5, the lone win coming against USC last season when Floyd had 11 receptions for 86 yards.
And it's not as if Notre Dame is being blown out in these losses, causing the team to have to throw the ball more and feature Floyd. In the five losses, the Irish have lost by a combined 13 points, with one of those losses coming in overtime. So Notre Dame was in every single one of these games.
One way to explain this could be the fact that up until the second half of last season, following a 28-27 loss to Tulsa -- in which Floyd caught 11 passes for 104 yards and 2 scores -- the Irish defense wasn't very good. For every touchdown the Irish offense would ride Floyd to, the defense would give it right back.
Still, even since the defense improved, Notre Dame is still 1-2 in the three games Floyd has made at least 10 receptions. Most of that is the fault of turnovers, but either way, it's an alarming trend.
While it may not sound right, the numbers show that Notre Dame may be better off not relying so heavily on their biggest playmaker.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: September 28, 2011 11:48 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills has spent a lot of time on the sidelines this season. He missed Oklahoma's opener against Tulsa due to a suspension, and was held out of the Sooners win against Missouri on Saturday due to a concussion. In between he did play against Florida State and made the game-winning touchdown catch, so when he's been able to get on the field, he's been productive.
Which is bad news for Ball State, because Stills will be playing for Oklahoma this weekend. He also has a new plan of how to deal with injuries so that he doesn't have to miss any more time this year.
He's going to keep his mouth shut.
"I learned a lesson. I should keep my mouth shut. If I want to be in the game I shouldn't be saying anything. I want to be on the field at all costs," Stills joked on Tuesday.
Stills complained of headaches last week, which is what led Oklahoma doctors to hold him out of the game with the concussion despite Stills begging to play. He made the statement about keeping his mouth shut with a smile on his face, so hopefully he doesn't actually mean he'll hide injuries from the doctors in the future.
Though if we see him wandering aimlessly on the field during a game, I guess we'll know he wasn't.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 3:55 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Big 12 fared, from the top of the polls to its bottom, and what it means.
The Sooners can no longer lay claim to being the undisputed poll champions of the universe this week as they're knocked down a spot in the AP poll to make room for LSU. Which, if you've been reading these in recent weeks, is the right thing to do. LSU has three wins against ranked opponents already this season, and none of them have come in Baton Rouge. Oklahoma has a nice win on the road against Florida State, but its other two wins against Tulsa and Missouri just don't compete with what LSU has done. I'm also encouraged to see that the media has taken this into account, unlike the coaches who will only move a team down if it loses.
5/6. Oklahoma State
The Big 12 belongs to the state of Oklahoma, as both of the state's teams are ranked no worse than 6th in any of the polls. What's hilarious to me here, however, is that while the Cowboys jump two spots in the AP poll after beating a Texas A&M team that was ranked 8th last week, the coaches keep Oklahoma State at 6th. They are very impressed with your win on the road, Oklahoma State! Just not enough to actually make any changes. They're still much more impressed by Stanford's wins over bad teams like San Jose State, Duke and Arizona. I won't complain too much about Boise State being ahead of the Cowboys here, but that's debatable as well.
14/13. Texas A&M
As you'd expect, the Aggies tumble in the polls this week following the loss at home against Oklahoma State. It's a logic that is rather hard to really argue against, though I suppose there are a number of undefeated teams below A&M in the polls that could raise a fuss if they wanted to. The real question for the Aggies at this point though is how far will they climb or fall in the polls after facing Arkansas this weekend. They weren't able to get the Oklahoma State monkey off their back, can they get the Razorback off their monkey? (That's a terrible joke, but I'm not going to apologize for it.)
Well look who is moving on up. Yes it's odd that pollsters are showing more respect for Baylor following a win against Rice than they did for the win against TCU, but I don't think Baylor is going to complain. The fact that they appear in a poll is good enough for the Baylor faithful as it is, the fact that the Bears keep on climbing is like a dream. This team goes as high as Robert Griffin wants to take it.
Sometimes taking a week off can work to your benefit, and that's exactly what happened for Texas this week. It was able to just sit on the sidelines while a couple of teams ranked above it lost, and the Longhorns get the bye week bump because of it. While the win over UCLA last week made me a lot more optimistic about the Longhorns this season than I had been, as I've said for weeks, this ranking is a bit to high for my tastes. We'll have to wait and see what happens when the Longhorns head to Ames this Saturday looking for revenge.
Others Receiving Votes
Iowa State also received a bye week bump this week, which is somewhat rare for teams that weren't already ranked to begin with. Voters tend to forget about you when you weren't already on the ballot and didn't play. Still, the Cyclones manage to creep ever closer to having that heralded number next to their name, and if they pull off a win against Texas this weekend, I have a feeling they'll finally get it.
How do you get voters to notice your 3-0 start to the season? You go down to South Beach and beat Miami, that's how. Things have really turned around since the opening week of the season when the Wildcats struggled to beat Eastern Kentucky 10-7. At the moment, receiving a few votes here and there is exactly where Kansas State deserves to be, but if it can pull off a win against Baylor on Saturday, it might sneak into the rankings next week.
Posted on: September 25, 2011 1:00 am
Edited on: September 25, 2011 1:01 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. It's deja vu all over again. You can change the location of the game. You can change the Texas A&M starting quarterback. Hell, you can even change Texas A&M's conference affiliation, but it seems you can't change the Aggies' ability to implode against Oklahoma State. Last year in Stillwater, Texas A&M had a 21-7 lead over the Cowboys heading into halftime, but the second half was a barrage of Jerrod Johnson interceptions that quickly turned into 28 unanswered points by Oklahoma State. A&M would battle back to tie the game, but a last second field goal by Dan Bailey gave OSU the 38-35 win.
On Saturday Texas A&M again dominated the first half taking a 20-3 lead into the locker room. Then the second half came, and so did the barrage of turnovers and the 27 unanswered points from Oklahoma State. The only difference was that this time around the Aggies never completed the comeback, and the last second points were given to A&M by Justin Blackmon on a safety. All of which means that Texas A&M won't get the ultimate last laugh of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC as the defending conference champions.
2. Oklahoma State is a legit threat to win the Big 12. There's no guarantee that the Cowboys are going to run the table for the rest of the regular season, as their history has proved to us time and again. Still, the chance remains that when Oklahoma comes to Stillwater on December 3rd, both teams will be 11-0 and the winner might not only be playing for the Big 12 title, but for a berth in the BCS championship game as well. Do you remember Bedlam last season? Yeah, now just picture that game with all of that on the line. Sounds pretty fun, no?
3. Justin Blackmon is mortal. Seriously, Justin, I do nothing but talk about how amazing you are to anybody that asks. Critics respond by saying that "he's not a polished route-runner" and I just laugh it off. So you're not the best route-runner, you're still the best everything else in the land. But then you go and do something like this on Saturday, and I can't defend that, man. Come on, help a guy out.
4. Oklahoma isn't at its best yet, but it's above average is still pretty good. The closest that Oklahoma has looked to perfection was in its opener against Tulsa, and that was a somewhat rusty season-opening performance. Since then we've seen the offense struggle against Florida State, and the defense not have the best of nights against Missouri. Through all of this, though, the Sooners are 3-0 and still on course to win the Big 12. If Landry Jones stops turning the ball over, and the defense plays up to its ability, then this team could be downright scary. At the moment, however, I would put both LSU and Alabama above the Sooners on my ballot.
5. Robert Griffin is the truth. I'm running out of superlatives for this kid, seriously. Just another night of RG3 completing 88% of his passes and accounting for 389 yards and 6 touchdowns in three quarters of work. Yaaaaawn. (I know, I know, let's see what happens when Baylor has to face Oklahoma and company.)
6. Who needs Bryce Brown? Coming into the year I thought Kansas State would surprise people thanks to Bryce Brown replacing Daniel Thomas at running back. Well, I was half right. Kansas State is surprising people thanks to a 28-24 win over Miami on the road this week -- does this mean Kansas State is better than Ohio State? -- but it's John Hubert doing the work. Hubert had 166 yards on 18 carries for the Wildcats against the Hurricanes on Saturday while Bryce Brown never touched the ball. If Hubert keeps playing like that, Brown won't be touching the ball any time soon either.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 12:44 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Up north, fans at their tailgates are shivering, seeing their breath, and calling it "football weather." Down south, the fans are chanting "SEC! SEC! SEC!" Can't blame 'em. We have a loaded slate of afternoon games this week, which means it's right in the sweet spot for weather this time of year. Don't forget, though -- in a month or so, all these 3:30 games are going to be ending under the lights. Onward!
As always, all times listed are Eastern.
North Carolina at No. 25 Georgia Tech, 12:00, Atlanta, GA: Low 70s, clear
San Diego State at No. 22 Michigan, 12:00, Ann Arbor, MI: Low 60s, cloudy, showers
Portland State at No. 20 TCU, 2:00, Fort Worth, TX: Low 90s, clear
No. 11 Florida State at No. 21 Clemson, 3:30, Clemson, SC: Low 80s, partly cloudy
No. 13 Virginia Tech at Marshall, 3:30, Huntington, WV: Low 70s, partly cloudy
No. 14 Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama, 3:30, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 70s, clear
Western Michigan at No. 24 Illinois, 3:30, Champaign, IL: Mid 60s, cloudy, storms
South Dakota at No. 6 Wisconsin, 3:30, Madison, WI: Upper 50s, cloudy, showers
No. 7 Oklahoma State at No. 8 Texas A&M, 3:30, College Station, TX: Low 90s, clear
No. 15 Florida at Kentucky, 7:00, Lexington, KY: Mid 60s, partly cloudy
UTEP at No. 18 South Florida, 7:00, Tampa, FL: Upper 70s, mostly cloudy, storms
Rice at No. 17 Baylor, 7:00, Waco, TX: Low 90s, clear
Vanderbilt at No. 12 South Carolina, 7:00, Columbia, SC: Upper 70s, mostly cloudy, storms
No. 9 Nebraska at Wyoming, 7:30, Laramie, WY: Low 70s, clear
No. 2 LSU at No. 16 West Virginia, 8:00, Morgantown, WV: Low 60s, mostly cloudy
Missouri at No. 1 Oklahoma, 8:00, Norman, OK: Low 70s, partly cloudy
Tulsa at No. 4 Boise State, 8:00, Boise, ID: Mid 80s, clear
Late night kickoffs
No. 23 Southern California at Arizona State, 10:15, Tempe, AZ: Upper 90s, partly cloudy, storms
No. 10 Oregon at Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Low 90s, partly cloudy, storms
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, Kickoff Weather, LSU, Marshall, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Portland State, Rice, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, South Dakota, South Florida, Southern California, Tailgate Weather, TCU, Texas A&M, Tulsa, USC, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Weather Updates, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Posted on: September 21, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 12:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
You know, there were other things that Oklahoma did on Tuesday that didn't just involve wanting Dan Beebe to be fired, or saying that it knew the Pac-12 didn't want the school to join even though it had just held a meeting on Monday in which it gave David Boren the power to seek a new conference. I guess that was just a practice run.
Anyway, somehow, amidst all of this, Oklahoma was still able to find the time to suspend wide receiver Trey Franks. Oklahoma announced the suspension on Tuesday afternoon, saying it was for a violating unspecified team rules.
Franks had 7 receptions for 74 yards in Oklahoma's opener against Tulsa, but didn't play a role in the team's win over Florida State last weekend. As a freshman in 2010, Franks had 29 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown.
Dejuan Miller, who started for Kenny Stills when Stills was suspended for the Tulsa game, is likely to get most of Franks' snaps while he's suspended, though Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson could see some time as well.
Posted on: September 19, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 4:41 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The new polls came out on Sunday, so let's take a look at which schools in the Big 12 get to continue putting a number next to their name this week, and discuss whether they should have that number or not.
Oklahoma (AP:1/Coaches:1) - The last few weeks I had some questions about whether or not Oklahoma truly deserved to be the top-ranked team in the country since the Sooners had only won one game against Tulsa, while LSU went out and beat Oregon to start the season. Well, I can keep my mouth shut now because Oklahoma went on the road -- something it's had trouble with the last few years -- and took down Florida State in front of a very hostile crowd in Tallahassee. The majority of the credit for the win, however, has to go to the Oklahoma defense. It wasn't exactly a wonderful night for Heisman hopeful Landry Jones, as he threw for only 199 yards and 1 touchdown while also throwing 2 interceptions. Not exactly the kind of performance a Heisman Trophy winner has in big games.
Oklahoma State (7/6) - The Cowboys jump up a spot in each poll, and a part of me has to laugh at this a little bit. Not because I don't feel that Oklahoma State deserves the ranking, but only because I have serious doubts about how many voters in both polls actually watched Oklahoma State's victory over Tulsa early Sunday morning. I'd also bet that most of them turned in their ballots before the game even started under the impression of "They're gonna kill Tulsa, so let's rank 'em a bit higher this week." Truth be told, Oklahoma State's defense did not have it's best night/morning of the season, but I'm going to give the unit a break seeing as how most of the points it surrendered came after 2am. I know this because I actually watched the game. Why? I don't know. I have a problem.
Texas A&M (8/8) - Much like the Cowboys, the Aggies also enjoyed the fruits of Oklahoma's victory by climbing up a spot following Florida State's loss. The Aggies haven't exactly faced a team that can truly test their top ten status in their first two games, but they've gone out and filled the role of what a team with this ranking is supposed to do with inferior competition thus far. So it's hard to argue with A&M's ranking, but a pretty large game looms on the schedule this weekend when Oklahoma State comes to town. Only one of these two teams will be in the top ten next week.
Baylor (17/19) - I'd like to take a moment to congratulate the voters of the coaches poll. Sure, seeing Baylor beat TCU on the first weekend of the season wasn't enough for you to justify putting Baylor ahead of TCU in your rankings the first two weeks, but after seeing the Bears take care of mighty Stephen F. Austin this weekend, you finally took them seriously. Good for you.
Texas (19/18) - Longhorns, I hadn't been all that kind to you in the poll reactions the last two weeks. It was my feeling that the only reason you were ranked was because you were Texas, and not because of anything you'd done on the football field. Well, that has changed thanks to a very nice win on the road against UCLA this week. Am I convinced that you're a top 20 team? No, the quarterback situation is still a bit iffy, even if it does seem more stable at the moment. However, you definitely deserve to be ranked, but I'd have you more in the 21-25 range.
Drop Outs: None.
Receiving Votes: Iowa State showed up on a few more ballots in both polls this week after beating UConn on the road Friday night, but it didn't get enough to gain entrance to the top 25. Which is probably right. Iowa struggling at home to beat Pitt kind of lessened that win for Iowa State last week, and UConn isn't exactly a powerhouse, but Iowa State should be happy with what it's done and where it is. The Cyclones have a week off before hosting Texas in their next game. Win that one, and we'll see you up above.
Then there's Missouri, which bounced back from its loss against Arizona State with an easy 69-0 win over Western Illinois. Of course, how many votes Missouri gets next week after travelling to Norman this weekend, we'll have to wait and see.
Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 11:48 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Odds are that you didn't watch Tulsa's game against Oklahoma State this weekend. That's because the game did not start until after midnight local time thanks to storms in the area delaying the game for more than three hours. Tulsa would lose the game 59-33 but it wasn't the only loss the Golden Hurricanes suffered in the contest.
Quarterback G.J. Kinne left the game after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter and never returned. Kinne had scrambled for a 23-yard gain before he was hit late out of bounds by Oklahoma State's Daytawion Lowe, drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty. It was then discovered on Sunday afternoon that Kinne had suffered a Grade II MCL tear in his left knee, and he's going to miss two to four weeks.
“(After 2-4 weeks), you can heal enough where you can put someone in a brace and play them safely,” Keith Stanley, a sports medicine physician at Tulsa Bone and Joint Associates told the Tulsa World. “You still have to be reevaluated because people heal at different rates. It can be two weeks or four weeks. Occasionally, it will take longer.”
Kinne had thrown for 525 yards and 5 touchdowns this season before suffering the injury, and he's coming off a season in which he threw for 3,650 yards and 31 touchdowns for Tulsa. He'll be replaced by freshman Kalen Henderson, who completed 6 of 20 passes for 104 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions after stepping in for Kinne on Sunday morning.