Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: September 1, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:39 pm

PODCAST: Brett McMurphy talks Week 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Senior CBSSports.com college football writer Brett McMurphy will be providing coverage from a pair of games this weekend: the sneakily intriguing South Carolina-East Carolina matchup on neutral ground in Charlotte, and embattled Miami traveling to take on aesthetically-challenged Maryland. In his first appearance on the College Football Podcast, McMurphy breaks down each of those games and what might be in store for the Hurricanes in the future--are their days as a national FBS force finishes?

Listen below, download the mp3, or use our popout player to keep browsing. For more from the College Football podcast, subscribe on iTunes or click here.

Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:27 pm

Say hello to the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After only a year of sponsorship from Progressive Insurance, the Gator Bowl has a new title sponsor. And as the kids say, it slays.

Bowl representatives announced Thursday afternoon that the 2012 Gator Bowl will be sponsored by TaxSlayer.com, a tax preparation wesbite. The sponsorship is a multi-year agreement.

"We are extremely proud to be associated with such an outstanding company that shares the Gator Bowl’s commitment to college athletics," Bowl chairman Greg Smith said in a statement. "As the country’s 6th oldest Bowl game, we believe that TaxSlayer.com further enhances the Gator Bowl’s image as one of the premiere Bowl games in the nation.”

As with last year's game pitting Mississippi State against Michigan, the 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl will feature teams from the SEC and Big Ten. The game is scheduled for Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. EST.

TaxSlayer.com is the bowl's sixth sponsor and third in three years after Konica/Minolta let their sponsorship expire following the 2009 season and Progressive recently declined a second year.

The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl joins the GoDaddy.com Bowl and the TicketCity Bowl as bowls sponsored by Internet sites. We at Eye on CFB  asked CBSSports.com management if they were interested in picking up a sponsorship, but they decided they'd use the money on other things instead.

Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 5:56 pm

SEC Interrogation: Week 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Each Thursday we demand the SEC give us answers to its most pressing questions. Here those are:

Steve Spurrier: are you really going to voluntarily saddle his team with a full-blown quarterback controversy? The Ol' Ball Coach has always done things his way, and it's safe to say very few other coaches' ways would include telling a fourth-year senior starter he's going to share snaps in a potentially challenging season opener, threatening to bench him if his competition outplays in said opener, and publicly declaring said competiton has outplayed him in preseason scrimmages.

Stephen Garcia has seen and heard it all from his head coach before, of course, and given his off-field history, it makes a certain amount of sense for Spurrier to keep Connor Shaw's confidence and focus at its highest possible point at all times. If the Gamecock schedule gave the team a few weeks' worth of breathers, it would make sense to keep Shaw engaged and Garcia on his toes.

But Spurrier doesn't have that luxury; East Carolina isn't Western Carolina, and the Gamecocks' critical trip to Georgia arrives right on its heels in Week 2. If Shaw (pictured) plays well enough Saturday to force another week's worth of Spurrier waffling, Carolina is going to enter the single most important game of its entire season with a colossal question mark still hanging over the team's collective head. And though we're not Steve Spurrier, we retain serious doubts as to whether that's the best way for it to prepare.

Jarrett Lee: can you avoid making the killer turnover? We won't hide from it: when we wrote in this space not long ago that Les Miles had failed his LSU team by not finding a better replacement for Jordan Jefferson than Zach Mettenberger in his first year out of JUCO or fifth-year senior Lee, yes, that was a knock against Lee. To this point, Lee's career -- a 53.5 career completion percentage, those nation-leading 16 picks in 2008 -- is the sort which, frankly, has to be knocked.

But if Lee has matured into the kind of under-control, safety-first game manager that always seems to be under center at LSU's rivals at Alabama, there's nothing stopping the Tigers from being, well, Alabama; the overpowering line, breakout running back (we see you, Spencer Ware), and lockdown defense are all in place.

Now we just have to find out about Lee, and fortunately, we won't have to wait long. Oregon forced 37 turnovers a year ago, the second-highest total in the nation; even without Cliff Harris, if Lee is loose with the ball, the Ducks are going to take it the other way.

Georgia: how comfortable are you in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense? Much of the pregame chatter regarding Georgia's chances against Boise State have revolved around whether Isaiah Crowell can live up to his considerable hype, and there's no question Crowell's potential impact would give the Dawsg a huge boost.

But just as key -- if not moreso -- will be how the Bulldog defense handles a Bronco offense that's going to come out guns blazing. Chris Petersen and his staff have always been at their best with extra time to prepare, and if the Bulldogs haven't shored up what was an improved-but-hardly-airtight defense from 2010, Kellen Moore and Doug Martin are going to punish those leaks with a quickness. Some of the Dawgs' personnel issues with the 3-4 have been resolved (starting with the ascension of nose tackle Kwame Geathers and the shift of hard-hitting safety Alec Ogletree to inside linebacker), but that doesn't mean all the kinks are ironed out just yet.

And if there's one or two too many kinks remaining, the Broncos could be up big before the Dawgs even know what hit them, much as Virginia Tech discovered a year ago. The Hokies were able to mount a full comeback behind Tyrod Taylor, but with an angry Dawg crowd "behind" a psychologially-fragile 6-7 team, Mark Richt may not be so lucky. Grantham's unit had best be prepared.

Also worth asking: What can Ole Miss accomplish in the air, either offensively or defensively? (Some measure of competence from Barry Brunetti and the rebuilt Rebel secondary would go a long way towards SEC competitiveness.) Does Kentucky have any offensive playmakers? (No Randall Cobb, no Derrick Locke, no Mike Hartline, no Chris Matthews. What's left?) Quarterbacks: how do they look? (In addition to Ole Miss and LSU, there's some level of uncertainty at Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt ... the number of teams in the league that know what they're getting from under center are vastly outnumbered by the ones that don't.)

Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:40 pm

PODCAST: Doddcast Season Preview

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

What's even better than a podcast? A Doddcast, i.e., senior college football writer Dennis Dodd sitting down with our Adam Aizer to talk Big 12 expansion, LSU-Oregon, preseason conference picks, and our eventual 2011 national champion.

Listen below, download the mp3, or listen while you browse with our popout player. You can subscribe to the College Football Podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Enjoy:

Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:42 am

Report: BYU in discussions with Big 12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Wednesday, BYU officials released a statement condemning conference expansion "conjecture" involving the Cougars as a "distraction" its football program didn't need. We're going to humbly suggest, however, that the Cougars simply get used to it.

Because after this report from the Salt Lake Tribune, it's safe to say that conjecture is only getting started. According to the Tribune, BYU officials and representatives from the Big 12 have already met for discussions regarding "what conditions and assurances [BYU] would need to make the jump" to the soon-to-be Texas A&M-free conference.

Among those "conditions" would be how the Big 12 might coexist with BYU's existing television network, BYUtv, not to mention the rest of BYU's athletics programs; currently, the Cougars are scheduled to join the West Coast Conference in sports other than football beginning with the 2011-2012 athletics season. The Tribune reported that "some of the discussions involve the possibility of BYU joining the Big 12 for football only."

Also reportedly offering "input" to the talks? Representatives from Notre Dame, BYU's "partner" in independence who have an six-year football series scheduled with the Cougars. ESPN's football contract with BYU was also a point of discussion.

All of this makes yesterday's statement seem even more misleading. Before, its omission of any actual denials regarding the Cougars' conference affiliation might have simply been an oversight. But now, it's obvious those omissions were intentional; the rumors linking BYU to the Big 12 have legs, and thickly-built legs at that.

It's still too soon to say BYU-to-the-Big 12 is a done deal, or even likely; with rumors also abundant that a bundle of Pac-12 invitations will have the Big 12 dissolved by Halloween, BYU may not wind up with anywhere to make the jump to. But as far as the Big 12's survival goes, sitting down at the table with a name-brand program like BYU isn't a bad first step at all.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 10:47 am

Tulsa's Damaris Johnson charged with embezzlement

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Tulsa's Damaris Johnson was poised to become one of 2011's best stories. But it now appears he'll become one of its most cautionary tales.

Tulsa law enforcement issued a warrant for Johnson's arrest Wednesday, according to the Tulsa World. He will be charged with felony embezzlement following an incident in which Johnson's girlfriend Chamon Jones, a department store cashier, allegedly sold Johnson more than $2,600 worth of clothing for a fraction of its true cost.

Jones was arrested August 26 and Johnson suspended indefinitely by the Golden Hurricane shortly thereafter. As of early Wednesday evening, Johnson had not yet been arrested.

Already in the NCAA record books as the NCAA's all-time leader in both all-purpose yardage and kick return yardage, Johnson was set to put both marks virtually out of reach during his senior season. By padding both numbers and leading Tulsa into a Conference USA title chase, Johnson likely would have become the nationwide star his eye-popping numbers suggest he ought to have been already.

But now the Golden Hurricane have an unfillable hole in their lineup and Johnson has much bigger problems than anything having to do with football. Though he remains innocent until proven guilty, Wednesday's events make it entirely possible that Johnson's stunning career will end just as stunningly after only three years.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 7:37 pm

BYU issues statement on expansion "distraction"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With an open spot (or possibly spots, plural) now available in the Big 12, rumors have begun flying as to what team (or teams) might fill it (or them). One of the teams frequently mentioned is BYU, whose long tradition of football success, devoted following, and current independence could make it an interesting fit.

In response to that "speculation," BYU issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
There is much speculation right now regarding conference affiliation that seems to change by the hour. Commenting on such conjecture is not productive and creates a distraction for our program. As we enter the 2011-12 athletic season, BYU is focused on the opportunities ahead. We are excited about our relationship with ESPN as a football independent and our [other sports'] affiliation with the West Coast Conference.
Of course, by releasing the statement, BYU has confirmed that such speculation exists and arguably creates a greater "distraction" than simply not issuing any statement at all. (Would we be writing this post if the Cougar administration had said nothing at all? No.) That the statement notably declines to say "we will not be joining the Big 12 or any other conference" or  "BYU will remain an independent" or something along those lines will likely only fuel the rumor mill's fire, too.

We sympathize with schools (like Virginia Tech, whose spokesman angrily commented on SEC-centric rumors earlier Wednesday) caught up in the maelstrom of expansion talk, just as their 2011 football seasons are ready to get underway. Their frustration is understandable. But in this case, expressing that frustration may end up doing more "distraction" harm than good.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:38 pm

PODCAST: Previewing Week 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's always going to be a metric ton of excitement surrounding the first week of the season. But 2011's first week ought to cause even more than most Week 1's: Oregon vs. LSU. Georgia vs. Boise State. Notre Dame's newest Return to Glory taking on Lou Holtz's own son from USF. Wounded Miami traveling to Maryland. Baylor's electric Robert Griffin taking on Tank Carder and TCU in Friday primetime. And more.

It's somehow all happening this weekend, and our Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst break it all down for us right here on the College Football Podcast. Listen below, download the mp3, or listen in a popout player to continue browsing. And -- if you like what you hear -- subscribe to the CFB podcast on iTunes.


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