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Tag:NC State
Posted on: March 29, 2011 9:20 am
 

Eye on Coaching: NC State's Tom O'Brien

Posted by Chip Patterson

In just his fourth year as the N.C. State head coach, Tom O'Brien delivered a 9-win season and brought the Wolfpack within a game of the ACC Championship. On Monday I got a chance to visit Coach O'Brien at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to talk spring practice and the state of Wolfpack football.

CBSSports.com: Reflecting back on 2010, down the road what are some of the things that will stand out from last season?

Tom O'Brien: Well I think it was the first time we won here. We had all those injury problems the previous years, a depleted squad, and really never had a chance. We went into the year feeling we'd be very competitive. It was the first year we almost were all scholarship guys with no walk-on's in the two-deep. We got Nate Irving back, who did a great job for us, was our Most Valuable Player last year. Played one full-year finally in five years of play, it was kind of a snapshot of where had been in the previous three years. I think last year, as far as building a program and moving forward, was a huge step.

That fact that we won five conference games, that hadn't been done a lot here. Nine wins is the second-most in school history, and to be ranked in the Top 25 at the end of the year is really important to show where we can go with this program.

CBSSports.com: You mentioned moving forward, obviously one of the big topics of the spring has been moving forward at the quarterback position, with [Mike] Glennon. Fans got to see him last spring, in the spring practice and spring game, what are some things this spring that he's doing particularly well, and where do you think there is still room for growth?

TOB: Well I think he's better than he was a spring ago, and that's just a matter of experience of having played being through another season and going into another spring practice. The only thing I think he needs to do is get in a game and play. He needs game experience. He certainly has enough ability to be an all ACC caliber quarterback. He's just got to get there and get into game situations next year, experience those things. But, he certainly has enough talent to be a really good quarterback for us.

CBSSports.com: The rest of the team embracing him coming in and taking that role?

TOB: Oh certainly, you know he's been around. He's going into his fourth year of school, so he was part of the first real recruiting class we had here. Generally speaking, when you're in that situation those guys have bonded. They came in with a purpose to make the program different, to make the program better. They're all moving up, all those redshirt juniors now, and he's part of that group.

CBSSports.com: What about your philosophy of spring practice? It seems like you have a unique view compared to many other programs, you even said "spring practice is about getting better as individuals." Could you talk about your mentality?

TOB: Well that's what I learned from Coach Welsh, all those years. That was the focus all the time, starting in spring practice and heading into fall camp. As individuals improve, your football team will improve. We spent a lot of time on the basis of "football." Blocking, tackling, fundamentals, getting better as an individual; building and putting it all together.

There is no sense at this time worrying about a lot of X's and O's, I mean you have to do it so you can test what your people can do. We're more worried about getting better individually. As each position player gets better, then we you put it together your football team is better.

CBSSports.com: You'll get to face Coach London and Coach Spaziani this season, do you feel like you are building your own coaching tree?

TOB: You know I've never looked at it that way. I've been very fortunate to have great assistant coaches, and I've been fortunate to keep a lot of great assistant coaches. Certainly their ambitious is to be coordinators, then be head coaches. I'm very happy for them to have that opportunity. Maybe I can Golden in the championship game.

CBSSports.com: Here in Carter-Finley, the fan base has really embraced you in this program. You were 5-1 at home in 2010, with 7 games on the schedule in 2011. How important has this stadium become as a home field advantage?

TOB: No I think it's huge, we have tremendous fans. They love their football, they love their team. They show up as soon as the tailgate lots open, some of them before the tailgate lots open You know we had third largest crowd in history last year and set a single-season attendance record. I think it speaks volumes to their passion for the Wolfpack football team and I think our kids feed off that.

CBSSports.com: If you were to make your sell for Nate as a player in the NFL, what do you think about his game will best translate to the next level?

TOB: Well what I've been telling coaches is that he hasn't had a lot of hits on his body. He's only played one full year of football. On the previous four years he missed one year because of the accident, he missed one year because of injuries, the year before that we didn't know who or what he was as a redshirt freshman and didn't play him till the month of November when we changed the team around, and the year before that he was redshirted. So really his best days are ahead of him. He's really a smart football player, and he's an explosive football player, and somebody is going to get a really good player for many, many years in the NFL.

CBSSports.com: Is there anything from spring practice that has surprised you?

TOB: Not really, we are only into day five - with three in pads. We're trying to emphasize in team meetings this morning "the fundamentals." If you can't tackle you can't play defense, if you can't block you can't play offense. I mean it's pretty simple; let's go back to the fundamentals. The guys that can block and tackle the best are going to put themselves in position to get on the football field, and we're still searching.

That's why we have an Organizational Chart [instead of a depth chart], I don't care if you are playing offense or defense right now. If you're the best player and you stand out, we'll find a place for you - and we're still searching.

Click here to check out N.C. State's Spring Practice Primer


Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:59 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 12:11 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: NC State

Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at N.C. State , who started spring practice last Friday.


Head coach Tom O'Brien is prepared to repeat 2010's success without Russell Wilson, but are Mike Glennon and the rest of the Wolfpack ready?

For the last three years, N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson has been the face of the football program on and off the field. Even splitting time and missing games due to injury, Wilson has been the favored signal-caller since his arrival on campus. In 2008 Wilson was named Rookie of the Year and selected to the All-ACC first team. In his three seasons, Wilson racked up 8.545 yards and 76 touchdowns and wrote himself into the NCAA record books by completing 389 consecutive passes. He has also served as a perfect ambassador for the program, an active member of the N.C. State community.

But #16 will not be on the field for the Wolfpack this spring. Wilson has not ruled out returning for his senior season, but for now he is playing with the Colorado Rockies organization. Wilson maintained this fall that his goal is to play major league baseball and NFL football, but his indecision is not something that head coach Tom O'Brien wants to wait on moving forward.

“We just can’t sit here and say, ‘OK, we’re going to wait for Russell to come back,’ O’Brien said. “We have to move forward.”

So now the reigns have been handed to redshirt junior Mike Glennon. Glennon, ranked a top 5 quarterback coming out of high school, is also the younger brother of former Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon. He spent last spring with the first-team while Wilson was playing baseball, but now enters spring practice expecting to be the man under center come September.

O'Brien has an impressive list of quarterbacks that have succeeded under his tenure, dating back to the Hasselback brothers at Boston College. Glennon hopes to add his name to that list with two years of eligibility left with the Wolfpack to prove himself as much more than "the guy after Russell."

 It takes little to no time to point out the initial contrasts to Wilson. While the 5-11 Wilson tormented defenses by extending the play, the 6-6 Glennon is much more of a traditional pocket passer. With the sightline to scan the whole field and impressive arm strength, Glennon has all of the tools to be just as successful as Wilson. The question will be whether he can still put them to use in a game after three years on the sideline.

One uphill battle that Glennon faces is the departure of Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams, and Darrell Davis. Wilson benefited from having big targets that he could rely on to get up and catch it over defenders. Spencer and Williams were the leading receivers in 2010, combining for 1,625 yards and 9 touchdowns.  One piece that Glennon does get back is senior tight end George Bryan. Bryan has had at least 35 receptions and 350 yards receiving in his last two seasons, and the 6-5, 265 pound Castle Hayne, NC native began to generate some draft buzz among scouts.

"I considered [declaring for the NFL draft] pretty good for a little earlier," Bryan told PackPride.com. "I talked to some people but we just felt like, my family, coach Bridge, coach O'Brien, all the coaches felt like it would be a better fit for me to come back because I still have stuff to work on. "There is no rush. I love playing for the Wolfpack, and I want to graduate as a Wolfpack."

That kind of leadership and dedication is something the 2011 Wolfpack will find necessary in 2011. Don't be surprised if Bryan becomes a frequent checkdown for Glennon if he can't get his first reads. It will only benefit Glennon's confidence knowing he has that big reliable target underneath when things get uncomfortable in the pocket.

Spring Practice Primers

But there are some fundamental differences in the way O'Brien runs his spring practice that will benefit both sides of the ball, not just the offense.

"As long as I'm the head coach, our focus in spring will be to get better as individuals," O'Brien explained. "Spring practice is still about being a better fundamental football team. Everybody can improve at something, players and coaches. The benefit of having experienced players and more depth is that you can hone in on the things that are really important, but the goal is still the same."

O'Brien does not even release an official spring depth chart. He releases what he refers to as an "organizational chart." Even then, don't expect everyone to be in the exact same position in a few months. Even with eight returning defensive starters, O'Brien will do some shifting before the season kicks off. With almost guaranteed plans of mixing things up, it only further supports his method of focusing on individual players instead of general scheming in the spring.

"We like to bring versatile people in - guys who can play multiple positions," O'Brien added. "Then as we grow as a football team and they grow as individual players, we can decide what each individual's best position is and how he can best help the team."

N.C. State's outlook for the fall is difficult to predict with no official knowledge of Russell Wilson's decision. But my assumption is that Glennon will be the man under center for the Wolfpack in September. O'Brien may prefer to focus on individual players in the spring, but only one will be held under a microscope by the fan base. This is Glennon's second spring practice with the first-string, but it has a whole new feeling with the ball coming his way in the fall.

Click here for more Spring Practice Primers
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 1:05 pm
 

2011 College Football HOF Ballot Announced

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The National Football Foundation released its list of the 79 players and nine coaches who are eligible for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday, and the list of first-time nominees includes some big names. Names like former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, NC State running back Ted Brown, Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens, and Michigan State running back Lorenzo White are just a few of the first-timers on this year's list.

You can see the entire ballot here.

"It's an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.79 million people have played college football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell in the official release. "The Hall's requirement of being a First Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,900 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today's group of 79 names means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names today." 

The ballot has already been sent out to the more than 12,000 voting members of the NFF, and their selections will then be sent to the NFF Honors Court. The Honors Court, which has 13 members, will then deliberate and select the newest Hall of Fame classed based on the votes. The newest inductees will be announced at a May press conference in New York, and the class will be inducted on December 6.

As for who should be in this year's class, while I'm too young to remember seeing a lot of names on the ballot play, I do remember seeing Derrick Thomas and Tommie Frazier. And from what I saw of those two in their careers, if they weren't Hall of Famers, then I don't know who is.
Posted on: February 14, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 6:21 pm
 

2011 ACC regular season schedule released

Posted by Chip Patterson

The ACC lost their chance at one of their last big recruits of 2011 when Jadeveon Clowney left Clemson hanging at the altar on Monday morning.  Perhaps a reason to sweat that matchup with the Tigers a little bit less.  Go ahead and start projecting your favorite team's win count, because the 2011 regualar season schedules were released today.

OBSERVATIONS

- As recently as last week, there was buzz about Florida State and Miami opening their seasons with a primetime showdown on Labor Day in Tallahassee.  We mentioned some of the scheduling complications, and one of those reasons likely kept the game from making the final slate.  Instead new coach Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins will host Miami on Labor Day evening, facing a Miami team also in their first year under new head coach Al Golden.  The two relocated coaches will provide a decent storyline for the national media, and it will provide the stage for Maryland to make a statement in 2011.

- Many people believe that Ralph Friedgen left the pieces for a bright future under Randy Edsall, and the Terps will have a chance to prove their worth in the first month of the season.  Maryland does not have to leave College Park until October 8, and there will be several opportunities for big wins in that first month.  In addition to the home opener against Miami on Labor Day, West Virginia and a Steve Addazio-led Temple squad should both be good tests for the new look squad.  I think Maryland is a team to keep an eye on in 2011, but we'll know for sure by the end of the September.  

- Dabo Swinney pulled several big wins for Clemson on the recruiting trail in early 2011, but the Tigers may find wins more difficult near the start of their regular season schedule.  After hosting Troy and Wofford, Clemson faces Auburn (defending National Champion), Florida State (defending ACC runner-up), and travels to Virginia Tech (defending ACC champion) with no break between games.  Swinney has some fresh faces on staff and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, but with that schedule the new talent may not be able to prevent a 2-3 start for Clemson.   


PREMATURE PREDICTION

- If Florida State can upset Oklahoma and beat Clemson in Death Valley, they will be in the national title hunt on November 1.  The Seminoles have already been slated by many as a Preseason Top 10 team already, and knocking off the Sooners will be a fast way to jump up a few spots.  After Clemson (and an open date), Florida State will face Wake Forest, Duke, then host Maryland and N.C. State.  Under Jimbo Fisher's leadership, the Seminoles could start 8-0.  But Oklahoma should be very tough to beat in the coming season, and there are very few free road wins in the ACC.  But if Florida State can pull off both wins, they should be a national contender as the season winds down.

Click here to see the .PDF from the Atlantic Coast Conference



Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:56 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Bowl Edition)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Florida State is an early favorite for 2011
- After dropping back-to-back games to North Carolina State and at home to North Carolina, Florida State looked like they had not completely shaken the consistency issues that have plagued the Seminoles in the last couple of seasons. In order to have a shot at the ACC title, Florida State would need to win out the final month of their ACC schedule. Not only did first-year coach Jimbo Fisher get his team to the ACC Championship Game, but they put up an impressive performance against Virginia Tech then followed it with a convincing win over South Carolina, the champions of the SEC East.

If one of the chief concerns for the Seminoles in 2011 is replacing Christian Ponder, then fans should feel very confident in their chances with E.J. Manuel at the helm. Manuel filled in for Ponder on three different occasions near the end of the season, culminating with his Chick Fil-A Bowl performance that helped seal the 26-17 win for Florida State. Additionally, all three of Florida State's top rushers (who combined collected 1,863 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns) are all returning next season. Florida State not only looks like an early ACC favorite, but perhaps a national favorite as well heading into the 2011 season.

2. If Russell Wilson is done, he went out in style - Russell Wilson was assumed to be as good as gone by many at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The junior quarterback has already been drafted by the Colorado Rockies, is engaged, and would be able to graduate in May if he chooses to do so. But after N.C. State's 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wilson hinted that he may have interest in playing football professionally as well.

"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," Wilson said to reporters after the game. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."

The January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and if Wilson decides he wants to rejoin the Wolfpack after participating with the Rockies in Spring Training he will still have that option. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker did the same thing heading into the 2010 season with the Tigers. However, if Wilson decides to join the Rockies and start cashing in on his baseball career, he will wrapped up his college football career with a nearly flawless 275 yard, 2 touchdown, 0 interception performance that earned him Champs Sports Bowl MVP honors.

3. Virginia Tech can't shake the big game curse - The Hokies have been incredibly dominant in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, but they have struggled to match that superiority with big-time wins on the national level. Virginia Tech has won the conference title four times in the last seven years, and appeared in four of the six ACC Championship Games. But against teams ranked in the top 5 nationally, the Hokies are 1-27 all-time and 1-19 during Frank Beamer's tenure in Blacksburg. Many figured that the Orange Bowl would be a chance for the Hokies to shake the stigma of failing to perform against top teams, and at halftime it looked like they might have a chance to pull the upset.

But in the second half Andrew Luck picked apart Bud Foster's defense while Stanford held Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense scoreless while the Cardinal ran away with the 40-12 victory. However, it is important that Hokies fans don't dwell on the failures against the top 5 heading into 2011. With the kind of turnover Virginia Tech is expecting on both sides of the ball, defending their conference title will be a difficult task on its own.

4. ACC Coastal dropped the ball - This is more of a season-long lesson, but the ACC Coastal continued to be the less impressive division through the end of the bowl season. In the preseason polls, there five ACC teams in the Top 25, with four highest ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) all coming from the Coastal Division. Not only did the balance of power appear to shift towards the Atlantic Division during the season, the bowl records from the postseason also indicate that the Atlantic may be the superior division.

Coastal teams went 1-3 during the postseason, with only North Carolina squeaking out their double overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Atlantic, on the other hand, saw Florida State, Maryland, and N.C. State all pick up impressive victories in their bowl games. With the talent that Florida State and Maryland are bringing back, it would be surprising to see the media side with a new division heading into the 2011 season.

5. Ralph Friedgen left Randy Edsall a winning squad - Friedgen had an emotion al final game as Maryland's head coach, as his team bludgeoned ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl. The players dedicated the beatdown to their head coach on his way out, capping off an impressive finish to the season that saw the Terps climb one game away from an ACC Championship Game appearance. But the time has come and gone for Ralph Friedgen fans to be upset with his dismissal from Maryland. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been hired, and the Terps are moving forward. What Friedgen did leave was a young and talented Maryland squad that will be a real threat in 2010. Edsall was a safe hire for athletic director Kevin Anderson, and the former Huskies head coach brought in some firepower with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

The last couple seasons have not been pleasant for Crowton, catching the blame from LSU fans for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2009 and 2010. But he saw his most successful season in his first year with Matt Flynn under center, and Terps fans will hope that a talented quarterback like ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien will recreate that success of the 2007 LSU offense under Crowton's direction.

Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:43 am
Edited on: August 20, 2011 8:59 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

N.C. State rides Russell Wilson's 275 yard, 2 TD performance to a 23-7 win over West Virginia


N.C. STATE

Offense: Russell Wilson has been the cornerstone of the NC State offense since he took over the position as a freshman.  Tuesday was one of those better performances that NC State fans will fondly remember for years.  The Wolfpack have only been to three bowl games since 2003, and the 2010 team was determined to leave their mark.  Particularly after falling one game short of the ACC Championship Game, NC State now gets to end the season on a good note.  Wilson and the offense was a big part of that.  GRADE: B+

Defense: NC State's linebackers lived up to their hype against West Virginia, bringing the heat on West Virginia's Geno Smith.  On several big third downs, the Wolfpack dialed up pressure from the linebackers and forced a bad pass/checkdown that led to a punt.  When Geno Smith put the ball on the ground, the Wolfpack always had a man there to fall on the ball.  While nothing was stunning, the NC State defense was opportunistic.  Clearly outmatched at some positions, the defense simply came to play while West Virginia's offense did not.  GRADE: B
  
Coaching: NC State has to be happy to have Tom O'Brien on board in Raleigh.  He was able to give the Wolfpack fans a 9 win season, something that hasn't been done since 2002 and ranks as the second best finish in program history.  In the same game, O'Brien picked up his 100th career win.  Props to the rest of the coaching staff for spreading West Virginia's tough defense out of the 3-3-5 to cover Wilson's many threats.  All in all, good day for NC State football fans. GRADE: A-  

WEST VIRGINIA
 
Offense: How many different ways can I hint at different forms of excrement?  The West Virginia offense is obviously the problem that needs to be fixed.  Mountaineer fans are particularly excited about incoming coach-to-be Dana Holgerson after watching the offense cough the ball up five times against NC State.  Geno Smith put together several strong performances near the end of the regular season, but he could not keep his hands on the ball - fumbling two hand off's and throwing an interception.  The offense was horrendous, and that has to be awfully difficult to swallow after the standard set by Pat White less than a half-decade ago. GRADE: F

Defense: West Virginia has thrived on their defense here in the second half of the season, but when Russell Wilson hit his rhythm the Mountaineers had no answers.  The key to shutting down Wilson was to avoid letting him get comfortable and try to disrupt the timing by getting to him in the backfield.  The Mountaineers put Wilson on his ground a few times, but he still used short passes to slowly move the ball on West Virginia. But the turnovers by West Virginia's offense put the defense in pretty difficult spots, and they did do a good job of forcing kicker Josh Czajkowski to beat them.  GRADE: C

Coaching: It feels lazy to try and put some of the blame on the whole Bill Stewart/Dana Holgerson situation, but you can't deny that West Virginia just looked a little confused on the field.  NC State doesn't do a lot of tricky things on the field, and you have to guess that the off-field distractions might have something to do with that.  Feel bad penalizing only head coach Bill Stewart on this one, but if "Coaching" includes the entire administrative staff - we gotta lay the hammer here.  GRADE: F

GAME GRADE: The game was a bit of a snore at times, with offenses exchanging punts a good bit in the first half.  It was good to see Russell Wilson have a strong performance in what might likely be his last football game ever.  If Wilson does decide to forego his senior year of football to join the Colorado Rockies basketball organization, at least he will know that he finished his football career in style.  The turnovers at the end of the game reached a point of being absurd in the fourth quarter.  Feel pretty bad for Bill Stewart, who I've always considered one of the more likable coaches in the Big East, and hopefully West Virginia will send him off with a successful 2011.  GRADE: B-
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:10 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Basics: West Virginia faces NC State, 6:30 PM Tuesday

Why You Should Watch: Both West Virginia and NC State fell just a game shy of an opportunity to play for a BCS bid, and they will each be looking to turn that disappointment around and finish the season strong.  The game is also loaded with exciting playmakers - Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Russell Wilson, Nate Irving - to name a few. Both offenses have had high scoring performances this season, though West Virginia's defense ranks among the best in the NCAA in scoring defense.  While Wilson still has one year left of eligibility, many believe that Tuesday will the be his final game in a Wolfpack football uniform.  He has already signed a contract to play with the Colorado Rockies, who he has already bypassed one year for his junior season.  Wilson has been part of Tom O'Brien's success at NC State, and I expect he will be looking to cap his career off with another performance.  West Virginia also has an interesting storyline with the awkward announcement that Bill Stewart will be phased out before the 2012 season.  Basically a sitting duck until Dana Holgorsen takes over, Stewart will fire up the Mountaineers for their seventh ACC bowl opponent since 2002.    
 
Keys to victory for West Virginia:  While Geno Smith has had an impressive second half of the season, the Mountaineers are living on the play of their defense.  West Virginia's defense, particularly in the second half, simply refused to give up the big play against their opponents.  Russell Wilson has a tendancy to wear a defense down with lots of pitch and catch, so West Virginia cannot let him get in a rhythm.  If NC State keeps this game close, I have a feeling it's going to be a shootout.  If the Mountaineers can shut down Wilson, Geno Smith should find it easy to catch the NC State secondary napping for a big play or two.

Keys to victory for NC State: Match West Virginia's intensity on defense.  While not one of the superior defensive units in the ACC, NC State's linebackers are the cream of the crop.  Led by Nate Irving, they will have an opportunity to create big plays to slow West Virginia's momentum.  When NC State is blitzing the quarterback, they mask their shortcomings in the secondary.  If they allow West Virginia's offense to keep them on their heels, the Pack will struggle mightily to play keep-up. 

The Champs Sports Bowl is like: The third place match in international competition.  Both teams fell just a game short of their conference championship hopes, and now this is their consolation.  Much of this game will be decided by who decides to really "bring it."  If both teams do, it could be a thrilling game in Orlando. 
Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Saturday Meal Plan: Week 12

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.

We're less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and apparently the NCAA has taken that into consideration with this week's schedule.  It seems they're kind enough not to give us anything too heavy this weekend so that we're able to gorge ourselves to death on Thursday.

The NCAA: always concerned about the fan and their digestive limitations.

Breakfast

Main Course - Michigan vs. #6 Wisconsin - Noon - ESPN

Listen, people, if Bret Bielema can put up 83 points on Indiana, then surely he can do the same against a Michigan defense that has been the polar-opposite of stout this season.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Badgers shoot for 100 this weekend.

First of all, they need a win a win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and second of all, the Badgers have some BCS computers to impress.  What's more impressive than 100 points?

There's also the fact that Bielema has already gotten Tim Brewster fired this season, and may have added Bill Lynch to his tally last week as well.  Why wouldn't he take a shot at Rich Rodriguez?

Side Orders: Not much else of importance on Saturday morning, but there are options.  Oklahoma State goes to Kansas looking to stay atop the Big 12 South division, and West Virginia will try to keep its slim BCS hopes alive on the road against Louisville.   There's also the battle of North Carolina when the Tar Heels take on N.C. State.   Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State looks to maintain its spot on top of the Big Ten hosting Purdue.

Lunch

Main Course - #21 Iowa vs. #8 Ohio State - 3:30pm - ABC

We have a couple of games featuring ranked teams during the afternoon, but in my opinion, this one should grab top-billing.  Iowa saw its chances at winning the Big Ten ruined by Northwestern last week, so what could be better for the Hawkeyes than to ruin Ohio State's chances?

After all, it was Ohio State that beat the Hawkeyes last season and ended their hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, so why not return the favor?

If nothing else, it's just another chance for Ricky Stanzi to spread the message of loving America and hating hippies throughout the country.

Side Orders: The other ranked game this afternoon features Miami and Virginia Tech.   Miami has a very slim chance to win the ACC Coastal division, but in order to keep those hopes alive, they have to knock off a Hokies team that's won eight straight since dropping that game to James Madison.    There's also some Les Miles fun on the mothership when LSU hosts Ole Miss, and seriously, after all that's gone on surrounding the game, how can you not tune in to Illinois and Northwestern at Wrigley Field?  I'll be at that game witnessing the insanity from the press box.

Dinner

Main Course - Maryland vs. Florida State - 8pm - ABC

The game that would decide the ACC Atlantic! 

Who saw this one coming?  Essentially, the winner of this game will be going to the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks.  Now, while seeing Florida State in this position doesn't come as much of a shock, the fact that Maryland is here is rather surprising.

Though that's just the way the ACC rolls these days.  One minute you're terrible, and then the next you still aren't very good, but you're good enough.  Seriously the ACC should adopt the motto of "Hey, at least we aren't the Big East!"

Side Orders: If ranked teams are more your thing, then you can check out Texas A&M and Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers look to hold on to their ticket to Dallas while the Aggies -- who have done a 180 this season -- still want a chance to buy one.  Mississippi State and Arkansas will be going at it in Starkville as well.  Also, if you're into football games being played in baseball stadiums that use two end zones, Notre Dame and Army continue their annual rivalry on Saturday night, but this time from Yankee Stadium.  Show up and chant Derek Jeter's name for no reason!

Late Night Snack

Utah has not had a good November.  One week its getting pasted by TCU at home, and the next it's getting beat up on the road by a mediocre Notre Dame team missing half of its offense. Now they get to take on a San Diego State team that played TCU much better than the Utes did.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com