Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli and Bryan Fischer
As CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported earlier on Friday, the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are consolidating into one conference. The reasoning behind it is, as CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported on Friday, the Big East is set to extend invitations to Boise State and Air Force along with Navy and UCF.
Both conferences released a statement about their partnership on Friday night:
The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have unanimously come to an agreement in principle to consolidate their member football programs into one large association.
Commissioners of the two leagues formulated this creative and innovative plan with the support of the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors. The 12 members of Conference USA and 10 football-playing members of the Mountain West will join forces for this strategic landmark in college football.
“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”
The new conference, for football only, features 22 schools in 16 different states across five time zones (including Hawaii). Both leagues will continue to function as is for all other sports but they will work jointly on governance of the football side, though no specifics were given by either commissioner. The presidents of the member schools authorized Thompson and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky to sign a memorandum of understanding earlier Friday as the first step in the process of consolidating the football programs.
"We really realized that college athletics is changing so fast and at such a rapid pace, if we're not quick to adapt we might lose some positioning," Banowsky said. "This is a structure that creates all kinds of fun, competitive opportunities. Nobody's ever put together a structure like this."
There is no name for the new venture, one of several details about the league that are still being worked out. The aim is for the conference to be operational by 2012 but they are focusing on 2013 as a more likely start date. Over the next 90 days a working group will explore how feasible it is to start next season but, given the already fluid realignment situation, nothing is assured. Banowsky said that there would likely be a two division model for the first year before moving to a mutli-divisional model down the road. There would be a football championship game no matter what the structure.
Both leaders said they have not had any conversations with the BCS about becoming an automatic qualifier conference and made it a point to say that nothing was guaranteed in terms of the BCS going forward and how it operates. The current agreement runs through the 2013-14 season with conferences reevaluated based on their membership as of December 2011.
"I don't think anyone can really predict what the future of the BCS will be or what it will look like," Banowsky said. "The idea that the BCS would simply be rebooted, as it has been in the past, I think is a significant question mark. From my perspective, this doesn't hang on that at all.
"I don't think anyone has a clear idea of what will happen in 2014," Banowsky said. "Will there even be a BCS? If there is, who will be in what conferences and what conferences will have access? Will there even be an automatic qualification?
"Our conferences will stand up together and speak with a stong voice. We will expect to have our champion recognized at the highest level."
In addition to the sheer size of the conference being an issue, the respective conference television contracts present a sticky situation. Both currently have separate deals with CBS Sports; while CUSA has partnered with Fox Sports and ESPN and the MWC has contracts with Comcast/NBC Sports. The MWC also owns and operates their own cable channel, The Mtn.
"It's all about inventory and it's all about programming" Thompson said. ""Better is better and more is better in the television industry."
"The schools that we're talking about have made significant investments in their football programs," Banowsky said of the new conference's appeal to television partners. "They're here and they're not going anywhere. The champion out of a group of schools like this is a worthy champion from my perspective."
The football only association has several models they've looked at, including as many as 24 teams participating. Adding to the already complicated setup is the fact that some of the current MWC and CUSA schools could be targets of other leagues, specifically the Big East. UCF, Boise State and Air Force leaders participated in the board of directors call early Friday morning and were part of the unanimous recommendation to proceed forward with the idea. Thompson said that the latter two had been in contact with the Big East but did not elaborate.
"Right now today, Friday afternoon, the intention is we start with 22," he said. "One of the beauties of this structure is the flexibility to accommodate additional members."
"We won't try to hold any one back if that's what they believe they want to do," Banowsky said. "As long as they're fair to the other members and they follow the rules, that's ok."
Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 7:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
NOTRE DAME WON. For the first time since a 57-7 victory over Stanford in 2003, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame eclipsed 50 points in a game as the Golden Domers had a rather easy time with Air Force on Saturday afternoon. The Notre Dame offense scored 6 touchdowns on its 6 possessions in the first half, with six different players scoring the touchdowns. Tommy Rees finished the day with 261 yards and 4 touchdowns, and the Notre Dame offense played it's second consecutive game without committing a turnover.
WHY NOTRE DAME WON. Let's all just be happy that the Air Force has jets at its disposal when it's defending the country, because if it were solely up to the Falcons football defense, we'd be pretty vulnerable right now. Yes, Notre Dame's offense looked extremely efficient in this game, totalling 560 yards, but the Air Force defense didn't exactly do much to stop it either.
WHEN NOTRE DAME WON. When Cierre Wood's 8-yard touchdown run gave the Irish 5 touchdowns in its first five drives and expanded the Notre Dame lead to 35-9 it was pretty evident that Air Force wasn't going to be able to get back into this one.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WON. A lot of confidence on offense heading into the annual showdown with rival USC. The Notre Dame offense had been able to put yards on the board all year, but over the last two weeks, not only has Notre Dame picked up yards but it's also scored 97 points and hasn't turned the ball over a single time.
WHAT AIR FORCE LOST. A chance to be one of the many teams that has come into South Bend and upset the Irish the last few seasons. It's not a conference game, so this loss doesn't hurt Air Force in the Mountain West, but this still would have been a nice win for the Falcons.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Notre Dame rushed for 266 yards against Air Force on Saturday, but it's leading rusher was backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix. Yes, the sophomore saw his first action in a Notre Dame uniform on a few plays in the first three quarters, and he took over for Tommy Rees late. He ended the game with 111 yards rushing on 6 carries, including a 78-yard gain that set up Notre Dame's final touchdown of the day.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 4:30 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
To listen in a pop-out player, click here. Otherwise, hit play below.
Personally, I'd love to see Wisconsin and Oklahoma have it out on the field -- as would I with the Badgers and Boise State, Alabama, LSU, Stanford, you name it. The fact is that Nebraska has not been a very good team at any point this season, and Wisconsin is sufficiently good that it needs a legitimate Top 5 opponent to play before we can accurately figure out where the Badgers stand in the pecking order. They're likely to go undefeated, but then so is whoever wins between Alabama and LSU on November 5, and it wouldn't surprise me if at least two teams out of the trio of Boise State, Oklahoma, and Stanford did too.
Now would be as good a time as any to remind fans that college football has always aggressively opposed the type of playoff system that could help more accurately solve this dilemma, because that's not really what the powers that be have ever been interested in.
If you enjoyed this podcast -- and let's be honest, you did -- be sure to subscribe to the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast on iTunes.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:56 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.
Woman, she is proving to be a tough nut to crack. After her dominance in Week 1 of MWM, I chalked it up to beginner's luck. Then when she had another strong performance in Week 2 I didn't mind that much because I had a better week. But then she went and had another winning week last weekend, which means she's yet to get more games wrong than right.
This is becoming somewhat worrisome. Sure, it's still early in the season, but I've had to deal with her walking around talking smack for those three weeks, and it starts to wear on you. Which is why I'm clinging to the fact that after getting 11 games right in the first week, she picked 7 correct the next week and 6 last week. That's a downward progression! There is hope!
Could this finally be the week where she suffers the pain of a losing week, and has to hear me boast all day and all night? God I hope so.
Michigan (-8 1/2) vs. San Diego State - Saturday 12pm (All times Eastern)Man - It's hard for me to truly predict what Michigan is going to do on any given weekend because I'm just not sure how serious Brady Hoke is about making Denard Robinson a passing quarterback. Yes, he makes some nice throws from time to time, but it's like buying a Ferrari and then only using it to go to the grocery store. That being said, I'll still take the Wolverines at home in this one. Pick: Michigan
Woman - "What better payback for the coach who deserted you than beating him up in his new house? Unfortunately, he's the same coach who personally recruited you and designed your playbook. Don Corleone > Sonny Corleone." Pick: Michigan
Machine - Machines do not experience human emotion, so The Machine has no concept of Brady Hoke calling off the dogs against his former players as the Wolverines roll 45-17. Pick: Michigan
Alabama (-12 1/2) vs. Arkansas - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - Tyler Wilson and the Razorbacks offense has had a nice start to the season, even without Knile Davis. Which makes that spread seem so very large, but at the same time, Arkansas hasn't faced a defense anywhere near the caliber of Alabama's. I'm not entirely comfortable with this pick, but I'll take the Tide defense at home and give up the points. Pick: Alabama
Woman - "The Tide rams and jams to a victory but Bobby Petrino's got a score to settle from last season, so I'll take the points. (Some stormy personalities. You may be want to watch this from the comfort of your root cellar.) " Pick: Arkansas
Machine - The Machine sees a big upset this weekend, as Arkansas comes into Tuscaloosa and takes down Nick Saban's squad 35-24. Pick: Arkansas
Texas A&M (-3 1/2) vs. Oklahoma State - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - This is one of the tougher games to figure out this weekend. You have a high-powered offense in Oklahoma State going against a Texas A&M offense that has been incredibly efficient so far this season. It's somewhat of a coin toss, and when that's the case, I have to go with the team I think has the better defense along with homefield advantage. Pick: Texas A&M
Woman - "First time in over 35 years that two top 10 teams meet at Kyle Field. Aggies coach Mike Sherman knows that revenge for an 0-3 record against OSU is best served red hot in front of 82,000 rabid fans." Pick: Texas A&M
Machine - The Machine has a lot of respect for Justin Blackmon and his tendency to destroy secondaries without remorse. Blackmon blows up for 189 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Cowboys say goodbye to Kyle Field and win 41-31. Pick: Oklahoma State
Clemson vs. Florida State (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pmMan - With the question mark surrounding E.J. Manuel's availability this week, along with Florida State's recent track record in Death Valley, I have a very hard time giving up points with the Seminoles this weekend. I have to go with Clemson. Pick: Clemson
Woman - "With FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel questionable (and a ground game that's even more questionable), I have to take home field advantage + residual Tiger swagger from last week's victory + points." Pick: Clemson
Machine - This game was simulated with Manuel playing for Florida State, and it didn't matter. Clemson wins big, 38-14. Pick: Clemson
South Carolina (-16 1/2) vs. Vanderbilt - Saturday, 7pmMan - Every part of me feels like I should pick South Carolina in this matchup because Marcus Lattimore is an absolute beast, and Vanderbilt is freaking Vanderbilt. But so far this year Vandy has looked pretty stout on defense, and the Gamecocks are giving up 33 points a game. Football gods help me, but I have to go with the Commodores. Pick: Vanderbilt
Woman - "Not sure how a team that's ranked 10th nationally in defense ends up with this spread.. Maybe it's a point for every three minutes Vandy's D is going to be on the field? Regardless, I'll take 'em." Pick: Vanderbilt
Machine - The Machine recognize machines, and it does not care about this new Vanderbilt. Lattimore runs for over 200 yards and the Gamecocks roll 45-17. Pick: South Carolina
Kentucky vs. Florida (-17 1/2) - Saturday, 7pmMan - Giving up that many points as a road team in an SEC conference game? That's insane, right? No, it's not because I've seen Kentucky play football this season, and insanity would be watching it again. Pick: Florida
Woman - "I hate these picks. Will Florida win by two touchdowns? Three? Ten? It's like playing roulette. C'mon, lucky 18, 19, 20..." Pick: Florida
Machine - Bloodbath in Lexington. Florida wins 54-10. Pick: Florida
Oklahoma (-21 1/2) vs. Missouri - Saturday, 8pmMan - This spread seems abnormally large to me given that Missouri isn't some doormat, and the Tigers did beat Oklahoma last season. That being said, I don't see a lot of the passes James Franklin completed against Arizona State a couple weeks ago finding their way to the hands of his receivers against this secondary. Plus I just don't see Oklahoma's offense struggling two weeks in a row. So I guess it's Boomer Sooner. Pick: Oklahoma
Woman - "Missouri, you and your bonnie Prince Gabbert kept Oklahoma from achieving its rightful place as heir to the BCS throne last season. Well, it's time for you to apologize." Pick: Oklahoma
Machine - The Machine doesn't think Oklahoma will have too much trouble with Missouri this week, but it does feel that spread is a bit ridiculous as Oklahoma wins 34-21. Pick: Missouri
West Virginia vs. LSU (-6 1/2) - Saturday, 8pmMan - Forget the actual game, I just wanna hang out with Les Miles and Dana Holgorsen for a night. You know that would be a good time. As for the game, though, I've seen what LSU's defense can do to high-powered offenses before, so I'm reauxling with the Tigers. Pick: LSU
Woman - "I'm gonna be honest with y'all. I don't care who it is, until the Tigers lose, I'm picking Les." Pick: LSU
Machine - West Virginia's offense will definitely struggle against LSU, but the Mountaineers keep it close in a 24-20 loss. Pick: West Virginia
Arizona vs. Oregon (-16 1/2) - Saturday, 10:15pmMan - I've seen Arizona play a few times already this season, and to be honest, I'm just not nearly as impressed with Nick Foles and the offense as I have been before this season. I just have a hard time believing that from what I've seen so far that this Wildcats offense can hang with Oregon for a full 60 minutes. Pick: Oregon
Woman - "Another year, another dogfight. Question is, will it be like the 2009 squeaker or the 2010 2nd half blowout? I'm picking Wildcats QB wonderboy Nick Foles to keep it close. Oregon wins but doesn't cover." Pick: Arizona
Machine - Yeah, The Machine is pretty sure you're going to want to stay up late and watch this one. It's going to be rather fun to watch. Oregon wins 45-42. Pick: Arizona
Arizona State (-2 1/2) vs. USC - Saturday, 10:15pmMan - I remember watching this game last season, and it was one of the crazier, more entertaining games of the year. USC eventually squeaked by with a 34-33 win, which was their 11th straight win over Arizona State. Five of those wins have come in Tempe, so as close as a lot of these games have been in recent years, until Arizona State proves to me that it can actually beat USC, I can't go any other way. Pick: USC
Woman - "Here's a sure bet: Most Silicone At Any Football Game This Season. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils haven't beaten the Trojans since 1999. I'll go with that streak." Pick: USC
Machine - The Machine does not see a game like the one we all witnessed last year, as the Trojans win rather easily 27-14. Pick: USC
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Bobby Petrino, Brady Hoke, Clemson, Dana Holgorsen, Denard Robinson, E.J. Manuel, Florida, Florida State, James Franklin, Justin Blackmon, Kentucky, Knile Davis, Les Miles, LSU, Man vs Woman vs Machine, Marcus Lattimore, Michigan, Mike Sherman, Missouri, Mountain West, MWC, Nick Foles, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Tyler Wilson, USC, Vanderbilt, West Virginia
Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
Admittedly the menu this week is not as artery-clogging as last week's, but that's probably a good thing. After the five-day all-you-can-eat buffet that was the first week of the season, we should all eat a bit lighter this week. Of course, just because we won't be feasting on meals guaranteed to shorten our life spans, that doesn't mean there aren't some tasty entrees at our disposal.
Let's take a look at what we have to dine on this Saturday.
#8 Wisconsin vs. Oregon State - ESPN 12pm ET
It's hard to imagine two seasons starting in such opposite directions. Oregon State dropped an overtime thriller to Sacramento State, while Wisconsin breezed to victory over UNLV. If these teams play at the same level tomorrow, this could be a historic blowout. And we all like watching touchdowns by the bucket, don't we? - Adam Jacobi
#17 Michigan State vs. FAU - ESPN2 12pm ET
Howard Schnellenberger's five-game road trip to kick off his farewell season rolls into Detroit to face a Spartan team looking to rebound from a sluggish start. This was supposed to be a home game for FAU, but with the $70-million stadium in Boca Raton still under construction the contest was moved to Ford Field. After coaching from the press box last week due to complications from hip surgery, Schnellenberger will return to the sideline and try to inspire more than 137 yards of offense for the Owls. Michigan State fans will also want to see more cohesion out of the Spartans, who committed eight penalties and never really hit their stride against an inferior Youngstown State squad. - Chip Patterson
Auburn vs. #16 Mississippi State - SEC Network 12:21pm ET
It won't have the divisional title implications of the Georgia-South Carolina matchup, but both the Tigers and Bulldogs will be fighting every bit as tooth-and-nail for a victory here as their Eastern counterparts will later in the day. Dan Mullen's State team wants to cement its status as a legitimate West division factor but simply can't without a win over the brutally inexperienced Tigers; Auburn, meanwhile, is in desperate danger of being branded a one-year wonder if they follow up their escape from Utah State with a loss in one of the most winnable games on their SEC slate. - Jerry Hinnen
#23 Penn State vs. #3 Alabama - ABC 3:30pm ET
If Penn State fans want some respect from the national media for this team, the Nittany Lions are going to have to earn it on the national stage, hosting No. 2 Alabama. The Tide is loaded again this year, but like PSU, there's some QB drama at Bama. Watch to see if McCarron or whoever else the Tide throws out there on Saturday can handle what promises to be a maniacally loud Beaver Stadium. - AJ
#13 Oregon vs. Nevada - FX 3:30pm ET
After getting embarrassed by LSU's defense in the opener, I expect Mark Helfrich to have the attack meter all the way turned up against the Wolf Pack. Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, and Co. have not derailed from their 2010 form, it just seems these massive SEC defenses are the Ducks' kryptonite. After a frustrating loss, coaches will want to take advantage of every single snap against their next opponent. You will want to watch this game because Oregon will put the foot on the gas pedal (Cliff Harris!) and never let up for four quarters. - CP
Air Force vs. #25 TCU - Versus 3:30pm ET
You can be sure that TCU didn't exactly enjoy having the entire country see Baylor tear its defense apart last Friday, and the unit is going to look to save some face against Air Force on Saturday afternoon. This game will also mark the beginning of the final year of Mountain West conference play for the Horned Frogs, and I'm sure they'd like to go out with quite a bang. - Tom Fornelli
Georgia vs. #12 South Carolina - ESPN 4:30pm ET
Well, this is it: the defining game of Mark Richt's Georgia tenure. Lose it, and any shred of momentum from the "Dream Team" offseason or hope of a divisional title (most likely) is gone. Win it, and the Dawgs suddenly sit in the East catbird seat with the SEC's easiest schedule on tap. It's either the miserable end for one of the sport's most visible coaches, or the giddy start to a stunning reclamation project, with no in-between ... and Stephen Garcia's involved, too. A must-watch. - JH
#24 Texas vs. BYU - ESPN2 7pm ET
The Big 12 of the future! Does BYU win the game in hopes of gaining a Big 12 invite, or does it show its true Big 12 street cred by allowing Texas to walk all over it? Tune in to find out! Seriously, though, this will be a much better indication of how improved Texas is this year than last week's game against Rice. BYU is fresh off a nice road win against Ole Miss and should provide a much tougher test for the Longhorns. - TF
USC vs. Utah - Versus 7:30pm ET
The Pac-12 officially kicks off conference play and it should be a good one as former BCS busters Utah will try and prove they can play with the conference's most storied program from the get-go. USC's record-setting pair of quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods won't have much time to throw the ball around as the Utes have a very good front seven this year. Old friend Norm Chow also returns to the Coliseum, this time with a solid quarterback in Jordan Wynn, so it should be a fun league opener. - Bryan Fischer
Michigan vs. Notre Dame - ESPN 8pm ET
The first night game in the history of the Big House has plenty to offer everyone. How will Michigan's defense perform this week now that it might have to play an entire 60 minutes, and do so against a Notre Dame offense that features a lot more weapons than Western Michigan's did. Also, will Denard Robinson have an encore performance of his game against the Irish last year? That's the one that made him a household name last September when he accounted for 502 yards of total offense and 3 touchdowns. - TF
LATE NIGHT SNACK
UCLA vs. San Jose State - 10pm ET
Rick Neuheisel cares. He might be the only one at UCLA who cares, but he really does care passionately about his alma matter. The Bruins hope to turn things around after their disappointing loss to Houston in which the defense looked like a mess. San Jose State isn't the most appealing opponent but it's the only late night game on Saturday and the Bruins should get the offense going no matter who's in the backfield. - BF
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Air Force, Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Bryan Fischer, BYU, Chip Patterson, Cliff Harris, Dan Mullen, Darron Thomas, Denard Robinson, FAU, Georgia, Howard Schnellenberger, Jerry Hinnen, Jordan Wynn, LaMichael James, LSU, Mark Helfrich, Mark Richt, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Mountain West, MWC, Nevada, Norm Chow, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Rice, Rick Neuheisel, Robert Woods, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, South Carolina, Stephen Garcia, TCU, Texas, Tom Fornelli, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Utah, Utah State, WAC, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Youngstown State
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:32 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Coming into the season off yet another undefeated season and victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, the biggest question mark surrounding TCU was quarterback Casey Pachall. Namely, would he be able to fill in the shoes of former Horned Frog signal-caller Andy Dalton? Well, following TCU's 50-48 loss to Baylor on Friday night, the quarterback position is no longer the biggest question mark in purple and black.
No, that would be the TCU defense. The unit that led that entire country in defense last season, and in five of the last eleven years, was putrid on Friday night. Robert Griffin and the Baylor offense were able to tear the TCU defense apart for 564 yards and 50 points. To put that in perspective, TCU hadn't given up more than 35 points in a game -- gave up 35 in a loss to Oklahoma in 2008 and again against San Diego State in a win last season -- since the 2007 season when it beat Stanford 38-36.
Baylor had 34 points at halftime on Friday night.
Now, you can say that the TCU defense played a lot better in the fourth quarter, and numbers wise, you'd be correct. TCU did force Baylor into a couple three-and-outs to get the Frogs back into the game, and then a fumble by Griffin set up the field goal that gave TCU the lead back. Of course, it could also be pointed out that Baylor made the mistake of going into the "prevent offense" on two of those drives. The Bears gave up on the passing game that had shredded the TCU secondary all night in favor of trying to run out the clock.
When Baylor was trailing and needed to move down the field to get in position for the game-winning field goal,though, it didn't have a lot of trouble doing so.
Now, as alarming as it may seem, we must remember that this is only the first game of the year. Upsets are common in the first week, and the TCU defense has plenty of time to get its act together and could still finish the season as one of the nation's best units. Still, even if that does happen, you have to think that this loss against Baylor puts a serious dent in TCU's chances to get back to a BCS bowl game this January, and a national title may already be a lost cause.
In other words, the TCU defense gave up a lot more than 50 points on Friday night.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:13 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
BAYLOR WON. For the first time since 2004, Baylor picked up a victory over a ranked opponent by defeating No. 14 TCU in Waco on Friday night. Robert Griffin III sparked a Baylor offense that racked up 564 yards against the nation's best defense in 2010, throwing for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns. The majority of those yards going to Kendall Wright, who finished with 12 receptions for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
WHY BAYLOR WON. Baylor tried to lose. The Bears entered the fourth quarter with a 47-23 lead but 25 unanswered points later TCU had retaken the lead with 4:27 to go. Thankfully for the Bears, after the offense got a bit too conservative in the fourth, things picked up again on a final drive that finished with a 37-yard field goal from Aaron Jones that proved to be the winner.
WHEN BAYLOR WON. Originally it felt like Baylor had the game won early in the third quarter when it took a 40-23 lead, but this one wasn't over until Mike Hicks intercepted a Casey Pachall pass in the closing seconds.
WHAT BAYLOR WON. Respect, pure and simple. Yes, the Bears went bowling last season, but not many people were giving them a chance against the defending Rose Bowl champions. Sure, they just held on, but a win over TCU is a win over TCU and it's one of the bigger wins in recent Baylor history, including last year's victory against Texas.
WHY TCU LOST. TCU turned things on late and were able to take a lead in the fourth quarter, but the hole it dug in the first three quarters was just too much to overcome. While the defense played much better late, it was still torn apart for the first 45 minutes and it's something TCU will have to address in the coming weeks.
WHAT TCU LOST. The Horned Frogs lost some credibility on Friday night. A team that many felt deserved a shot at the national championship the last few years, the odds of TCU returning to a BCS bowl game may already be erased after losing to Baylor. The good news is that there's still a lot of games left in the year, and memories are short, so if the Frogs can win the Mountain West and beat Boise State, they could find themselves back in the BCS this January.
THAT WAS CRAZY. The entire 60 minutes. Honestly, trying to pick out one insane moment in this game is impossible. The 60 minutes of football played on Friday night in Waco were exactly what make college football the greatest sport in the world. Thank goodness it's back.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.
So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.
#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET
So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi
#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET
Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen
Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET
You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson
#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET
Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli
#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET
Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer
Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET
It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ
Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET
Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF
#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET
The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH
#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET
The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF
#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET
It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH
#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET
Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET
This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF
Tags: Aaron Murray, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Akron, Alex Carder, Andre Williams, Auburn, B.J. Daniels, Barrett Trotter, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Brett Favre, Brian Kelly, Bryan Fischer, Bryant Moniz, BYU, C-USA, Chase Rettig, Chip Kelly, Chip Patterson, Cliff Harris, Colorado, Conference USA, Damaris Johnson, Dan Persa, Darron Thomas, Denard Robinson, Diondre Borel, FAU, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Hawaii, Isaiah Crowell, Jarrett Lee, Jeffrey Whitaker, Jerry Hinnen, Jerry Kill, Joe Bauserman, John Brantley, Jordan Jefferson, Kellen Moore, Kenneth Carter, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, LSU, Luke Fickell, Luke Kuechly, MAC, MarQueis Gray, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Minnesota, Montel Harris, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Russell Shepard, Sam Montgomery, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Southern Miss, Sun Belt, Todd Grantham, Tom Fornelli, Tulsa, Urban Meyer, USC, Utah State, WAC, Western Michigan, Will Lyles, Will Muschamp