Posted on: September 9, 2010 6:46 pm

Nick Saban is very opposed to booing Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Football fans like to boo. It's in their nature, and it's something that's borne out in the stands of nearly every college football stadium every fall (IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: universities with Top 20 law schools. Stanford, Michigan, Duke... yes, they'd just never). Football is such a full-throttle expression of physical potential that as we watch it, our emotions follow those same extremes. Sure, people boo at baseball games, but it's far less, well, lusty, and baseball players never get the sense that they may attacked and killed by fans. Football, though--how there's never been an all-out prison-style riot at a football game is just mind-boggling.

So when a team makes the token effort to discourage booing, usually with posted reminders and maybe a pre-game announcement about sponsorship, the concern is noted and then immediately discarded and set ablaze the first time the home team gets called for pass interference. It's football; we ignore politeness. Boooooooo.

Ah, but when the cry for fans' sportsmanship comes from demi-god Nick Saban? That gets noticed awfully quick:


"Our football program and our stadium is probably the largest window that anyone looks at in the state of Alabama and maybe the University of Alabama," he said. "And I just don't think there's any place for booing anywhere in college football, and that includes booing the other team. ..."

Penn State "is a class program with class people that have been there for 45 years and done wonderful things for college football, the game of football, and a lot of people over a 45-year period," Saban continued. "And I think it would be a (bleep) crying-(bleep) shame if we booed 'em when they come into the stadium like we did last week's team. I just don't understand that."

Saban's concern is meritous, to be sure, and the best way to express dominance has always been through the power of setting an example, not following one.

And yet, Saban's never tailgated 3/4 of the way to blindness and then sat in stands, unable to directly communicate with that jerk of a ref who just called another phantom hold and whose side is he on anyway, hey? So Saban's asking favors of people whose situation he's somewhat unfamiliar with, and that's a tenuous proposition at best. Perhaps the fans obey Saban's wishes and don't boo JoePa and his charges before the game. Perhaps. But man, if those Nittany Lions actually win down there this weekend....

Posted on: September 9, 2010 5:47 pm

Michael Irvin is a little pumped for Miami-OSU

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the smartest things anybody in radio has ever done is putting a microphone in front of Michael Irvin and keeping it there. Seriously, it goes 1. War of the Worlds, 2. Irvin gets his own show, 3. inventing FM.  Irvin's passion for the sport of football--and specifically his Miami Hurricanes--is unmatched, and lord knows the man likes to talk.

So with the Hurricanes just two days away from one of their biggest games in years, at second-ranked Ohio State, Irvin delivered a goosebump-worthy pep talk on his radio show in Miami at 560 WQAM. It's not embeddable, unfortunately, but it's worth a click if you've got five minutes.

Our favorite detail about this, as you can probably surmise, is the Phil Collins in the background. It's an Orange Bowl tradition--ostensibly due to the Miami Vice connection--so it's not like Irvin has a bizarre Phil Collins jones or anything (seriously, that would be weird). But he paces the speech beautifully with the song, hits the drum solo perfectly, and lets the song do the rest after that. Listen to it and tell us you don't want to run through a wall for Michael Irvin. It's amazing.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 9, 2010 3:49 pm

Will 9-game conference schedules affect FCS?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most immediately evident by-products of college football's switch to a 12-game regular season in the FBS is the proliferation of the FCS non-conference game as a legitimate scheduling tactic. It's been a greatly beneficial development for all programs involved: mediocre teams get a nearly automatic W en route to six wins, elite teams get glorified scrimmages to help tune up for the regular season, and FCS teams get giant payouts that are critical for investing in their programs. It's probably no coincidence that the gradual strengthening of FCS programs over the last 10 years has come as they've been readily accepted by FBS hosts for one or two games a year.

Naturally, this symbiotic relationship is something FCS programs want to preserve, as there are likely dire financial consequences if they lose their connection to the FBS. But with the Big XII going to a 9-game round robin schedule in 2011 and the Big 10 likely following suit in 2015, some FCS schools are wondering aloud if their annual beatings will come to an end:

Three Missouri Valley Football Conference teams take a step up this weekend when they go against Big Ten schools.

But those opportunities might go away in the future when the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule in coming years.

“Mathematically, that’s a possibility,” Western Illinois coach Mark Hendrickson said on Wednesday’s Valley coaches teleconference. “There may not be too many more chances for us to play those games.”

The Big Ten will have an eight-game schedule for 2011 and 2012, but there is a push to add an extra conference game. If that happens, that’s one less nonconference game to fill on schedules.

Hendrickson is technically right, as we're not about to argue the mathematical merits of "four is greater than three." But if FBS teams--especially ones in large conferences--drop one non-con game a year, it's highly unlikely that the FCS game will be the casualty. Like it or not, the SEC's comical scheduling practices have proven beyond any doubt that nobody actually cares about non-conference strength of schedule. And considering the financial consequences of an extra loss when it comes time for BCS consideration, there's far more risk than reward in making a schedule more difficult than it has to be. 

So yes, Hendrickson and other FCS athletic directors are well within reason to want FBS teams to have as many non-conference games as possible. But in reality, they shouldn't expect to see any dropoff in invitations from their FBS brethren; it's just good business.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:32 pm

Quick Hits: UCLA, Mike Leach, Wake Forest

Posted by Chip Patterson

- UCLA will start the banged-up Kevin Prince at quarterback on Saturday night against No. 25 Stanford.  Even though he looked rusty in the Bruins' 31-22 loss against Kansas State, but Prince is convinced he will be able to perform up to par come game time. "I can make all the throws I need to make," said Prince, who injured his right shoulder in the Kansas State game. "If I didn't feel comfortable with that, then I wouldn't feel comfortable playing."  Prince has been splitting time in practice with Richard Brehaut, being kept on what head coach Rick Neuheisel is referring to as "a pitch count.

- Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was never afraid to speak his mind when he was leading the Red Raiders, and now he will have the opportunity to broadcast his thoughts to satellite radio customers all over the world.  Scary thought, right?  Mike Leach will co-host a three-hour show on weekdays on the newly launched Sirius XM college sports station.  From 12-3 p.m. ET you can hear Leach and Jack Arute on Sirius XM's College Football Playbook.  In other broadcast news, Leach will make his television broadcast booth debut for CBS College Sports this weekend when Central Florida hosts North Carolina State.

- Wake Forest return man Devon Brown was disappointed to see a flag on the field after returning the opening kick for a touchdown in the Demon Deacons' opener against Presbyterian College on Thursday.  Not as disappointed as Marcus Dean Hobson of Greensboro, N.C..  In a new promotion by the Wake Forest radio network, Hobson would have won a $20,000 car had the play not been called back for an illegal block.  In the "North Point Chrysler Jeep Dodge Run Back For A Ride" contest, if Wake Forest returns the opening kick of either half for a touchdown, a randomly selected contestant will win a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Wake Forest ended up winning the game 53-13.  Hobson?  Well he certainly didn't drive off in a new ride.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:04 am

Miami's Jacory Harris has style. Well, "a style"

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami's Jacory Harris has a certain style and flare on the football field leading Miami's offense.  In Hurricane terms, he has helped bring "swagger" back to the U.  He has a big arm, the legs to move around the pocket and extend a play but this weekend he will face one of his toughest challenges yet: the Ohio State defense.  But first, he has to finish classes for the week.  

Harris' swagger clearly doesn't stop after the football field.  When it came time to suit up for class on Thursday, he donned his full Oakland Raiders outfit (hat, overalls, and no shirt. Clearly) and made his way to campus in the heart of Coral Gables.  Man, must be tough.  (via Harris' Twitter)   

Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:44 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 9:47 am

Miles: Would consider using Peterson on offense

Posted by Chip Patterson

Patrick Peterson entered the season as a preseason pick as one of the best defensive backs in the nation.  After his performance in LSU's season opener against North Carolina, it is not hard to consider him one of the best football players in the nation.

Peterson was so good returning kicks and punts, it would not be surprising to see teams stop kicking to him.  He set a school record with 257 total return yards on punts and kicks, and his 87 yard punt return touchdown was the sixth-longest in school history.  If teams do stop kicking to him, how would the Tigers utilize that explosiveness?  Simple, use him on offense.

According to head coach Les Miles, they are not ruling out that possibility.

"We would consider using him on offense," Miles said. "The issue is the number of snaps and what you are going to get out of him at a key time on defense. The opportunity to keep him on the field and play in crunch time on the defensive side in the back end of the game also certainly has priority.
"We have thought about that. We're not ready to commit to that with the idea that his number of snaps will be a great number as we go forward."

Utilizing Peterson on offense, even if only as a decoy for some packages, would help stretch out a defense and allow quarterback Jordan Jefferson to move in the pocket to make a play.  Put him on a well-blocked end around, and you can go ahead and add six to the scoreboard for the Bayou Bengals. Despite scoring 30 points, LSU's offense was not impressive against the Tar Heels.  They were held scoreless in the second half by a defense that was missing seven starters due to eligibility issues.  If those offensive woes continue, Peterson might be the energizer to end them.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 9:24 am

Florida's Mike Pouncey working on snaps

Posted by Chip Patterson

It's tough to single out just one person for a team's offensive woes, after all there are eleven men on the field.  But when it is the starting center firing nearly a dozen snaps to the feet of the quarterback,  

Florida starting center Mike Pouncey was criticized by fans and critics alike for the double-digit bad or mishandled snaps.  The miscues were just the icing on the cake in a horrendous showing by Florida's offense.  In the first three quarters, Florida gained only 26 total yards, lost three fumbles, and turned the ball over on downs twice; hardly the typical showing of an Urban Meyer offense.

"I didn't imagine the offense's incompetence that we experienced today," Meyer said after the game.

Pouncey wasted no time trying to fix the problem, and seems confident that it will not happen again.

"It's something I wish I worked on before, but I'm glad it happened at game one instead of when we're up at Tennessee or coming up this week,"Pouncey said Tuesday morning.

He took his first step toward clearing his mind and restoring his confidence by joining quarterback John Brantley for an 11 a.m. snap workout Sunday. Pouncey said there were no issues then or at Sunday night's practice.

To help, Pouncey is enhancing his grip by moving his hand further up the ball in order to deliver the ball tighter and faster. He will also carry a towel to limit slipperiness.

Pouncey already has big shoes to fill at the center position, his brother Maurkice Pouncey was the starting center before him and has recently claimed the starting job with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  According to Pouncey, his big brother has offered some advice and encouraged him to put the game behind him.  

Florida benefited from a defense that forced four interceptions, including one pick-six from Janoris Jenkins.  They may not be able to count on such errors from South Florida to keep the Gators in the game.  If Florida expects to keep from being upset against their in-state rivals, center Mike Pouncey will need to snap out of this funk.

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:48 pm

Alabama fans keep enemies close, Boise St. closer

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Last Monday's Top 10 showdown between Boise State and Virginia Tech was a ratings smash for ESPN, posting an overnight 6.8 rating nationwide. That's sensational news for the network and up 21% from last year's Labor Day matchup between Miami and Florida State--two titans of popularity in their own right. And while the ratings increase may largely stem from the fact that Miami was unranked and FSU No. 18 at the time of their matchup, there might be more to it than just that: specifically, according to the Birmingham News, wary Alabama fans:


Birmingham, Alabama produced the highest metered rating for the Boise State-Virginia Tech game, with a 23.7, further proof that this city loves quality college football.

According to ESPN, the next-highest markets were Richmond, Va. (16.5) and Norfolk, Va. (15.7). You didn't just win, Birmingham. You blew out the competition.

One can hardly blame Bama fans, of course; the winner of the game would have a decisive first step toward BCS title aspirations, something defending champs Alabama would be acutely interested in.

Still, Boise market: you couldn't be bothered to watch your team as much as the boys from Alabama? What up with that?

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