Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Skip Holtz
Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 4:02 pm
 

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier today I posted about Big East commissioner John Marinatto saying that the conference was not going to sit around and wait for a decision from Villanova before making a possible move on conference expansion. Were the Big East decide to not make Villanova its tenth football member, the odds on favorite to receive a Big East bid would be UCF. Though there may be a problem with adding UCF, as there are some rumors that USF isn't all that enthused about sharing a piece of the pie with another school inside the state of Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote a column on Wednesday discussing the rumors.
Hopefully, all of the whispers you hear about the University of South Florida trying to block UCF from gaining an invitation to the Big East are emanating from message boards and not meeting rooms.
But I'm starting to wonder.
Really wonder.
"We have been hearing this, too," UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said in an e-mailed response to the Sentinel about USF obstructing UCF's potential path into the Big East. "We hope it's not true, because our joining the Big East would clearly be a win-win for both universities."
Here's all you need to know about Heston's response: If he is issuing a public statement of any kind on the issue, then UCF President John Hitt is clearly concerned that the Bulls may be lobbying against UCF joining them in the prestigious and profitable Big East. Heston would not issue a statement of any kind unless Hitt put his stamp of approval on it.
Then there is USF's suspicious silence on this issue. When I tried to contact USF President Judy Genshaft last week and early this week to ask her feelings about the Big East potentially inviting UCF, the university's publicity department said she would have no comment on the issue. "All Big East expansion inquiries need to be directed to Big East Commissioner John Marinatto," a school publicist said in an e-mail. "He is the sole spokesperson on this issue."
Bianchi goes on to say that the silence from USF on the matter is somewhat damning, especially in light of the fact that other Big East coaches like Louisville's Rick Pitino and South Florida's own Skip Holtz have commented publicly on the idea of UCF joining the Big East.

Now, again, nobody knows for sure that South Florida is looking to keep Central Florida out of the Big East, but given the history and silence, it doesn't seem like it's that crazy of a theory. South Florida has enjoyed the money that comes with playing in a Big East conference, and if it's going to have to start sharing that money with two new schools, I can see why it wouldn't want to share the dough with an in-state rival. Recruiting in the state of Florida is hard enough as it is, given the other programs in the state and the fact that schools all across the country come to raid the plethora of football talent the state produces.

Giving another school in the state BCS resources would only make things tougher on USF.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:56 pm
 

What I learned from the Big East (Bowl Edition)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Don't let the conference's 4-2 record fool you - While some might have boasted that the Big East's bowl record made up for a season of mediocrity, a closer look at the games on the slate do not impress quite as much. Pittsburgh and South Florida's wins were over teams that finished 6-7, and Syracuse's controversial win over Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl is far less dramatic when you realize the Wildcats only won three conference games all season. Having said that, the bowls try to make each matchup as even as possible. It would not be completely misguided to give the Big East teams credit for representing their conference well, just don't let it fool you into misjudging the caliber of performance from the league as a whole in 2010.

2. Pittsburgh impressed with focus despite distractions - Of all the teams that dealt with transition amidst the postseason, Pittsburgh entered their bowl game with the least stable situation. Interim coach Phil Bennett took over as the Panthers were forced to dismiss new coach Mike Haywood almost immediately after the former Miami (Ohio) coach was arrested for a domestic dispute off the field. Bennett did a good job of keeping the Panthers focused on Kentucky rather than the off-field speculation surrounding the vacant coaching position. Many of the Panthers players felt that Dave Wannstedt was forced out prematurely, and Pittsburgh dedicated 27-10 victory to their former coach. Instead it was Kentucky, dealing with off-field arrests themselves, who appeared distracted and uninterested in the awkwardly timed BBVA Compass Bowl on the Saturday before the BCS Championship Game.

3. Connecticut's storybook season had a sour ending - This was supposed to be a memorable season for Connecticut. After less than a decade of being in the FBS, and only having been in the conference since 2004, the Huskies found themselves sharing a piece of the Big East Championship and earning a BCS Bowl bowl bid to face Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Hardly anyone actually expected Connecticut to pull off the upset, but the fashion in which the Huskies lost and the events that followed may have tarnished a legendary season for the program. Oklahoma's defense did not shut down Connecticut completely, as they were able to rack up 335 total yards of total offense. But the Huskies inability to get an offensive touchdown, along with a pair of Zach Frazer interceptions and a non-existent defense made the Fiesta Bowl loss more frustrating than uplifting.

To make matters worse, head coach Randy Edsall took a different chartered plane back from Arizona than the rest of the team. The reason was so Edsall could finalize the details on his new gig as head coach of the Maryland Terrapins, a job he accepted the next day after the Oklahoma loss. Edsall mentioned nothing of the move to the players after the game, and only addressed them through a conference call after the announcement. Now the Huskies will try to build on last season's success with veteran coach Paul Pasqualoni, hoping to make sure that last season was not a fluke.

4. Changing of the guard amongst the Big East coaching ranks - Of the four teams that picked up wins in the 2010 bowl season, three of them were led by first or second-year coaches. Big East football fans can be hopeful for the future if it continues to see success under the leadership of coaches like Syracuse's Doug Marrone, South Florida's Skip Holtz, and Louisville's Charlie Strong. All three coaches inherited teams going through disappointing and/or controversial seasons, and all three coaches guided their 2010 squads to postseason victories. The turnover has continued throughout the conference, with Todd Graham hopping on board at Pittsburgh, Pasqualoni at Connecticut, and Dana Holgorsen waiting in the wings at West Virginia. When TCU arrives in the July 2012, the transition into the next era of Big East football will be complete. The struggle will be to continuing to battle a damaged reputation that hasn't been the same since Miami and Virginia Tech left the conference in 2004.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 5:54 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Meineke Car Care Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

South Florida weathered a late charge by Clemson to win, 31-26.

South Florida

Offense: From a productivity standpoint, B.J. Daniels regressed substantially this year from his brilliant freshman campaign; his passing rating was down 20 points, and he rushed for over 500 fewer yards on the season. Not surprisingly, the Bulls' scoring dropped three points a game from last year. So it was nice to see Daniels put together a solid performance today, going 19-26 for two scores and rushing for another touchdown. At one point, Daniels completed 10 straight passes on the day. The running game was generally ineffective, with the Bulls' 38 rushes netting only 90 yards, but the ground attack helped open up passing lanes for Daniels. Grade: B

Defense: There might not be another team in the country that runs as many screens as Clemson, and to USF's credit, that screen game didn't exactly take off today. USF also swallowed up the run game, allowing just 50 yards on 27 carries. Of course, giving up 26 points isn't exactly a point of pride and there's no telling what would have happened if that last onside kick had gone another two feet before being recovered, but still. Grade: B

Coaching: There wasn't anything terribly special about Skip Holtz and his gameday coaching, which is really what fans should want to see: no surprises from the sideline. In that respect he did a good job, and the aforementioned defensive successes against the run and screen passing games indicate solid preparatory work coming into the game. Holtz probably needs to get his team's onside kick return game fixed, but he's got all offseason to work on that. Grade: A

Clemson

Offense: It's hard to say whether South Florida or Clemson fans were more upset to see Kyle Parker leave the game with broken ribs; Parker's a fine quarterback who'll probably have a stellar career with the Colorado Rockies. He also single-handedly made his touchdown pass happen by scrambling away from pressure and finding his running back wide open on a check-down for the score. And yet, he also threw two picks and was brutally inconsistent. So was Tajh Boyd in relief, but at least Boyd threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Still, Dabo Swinney needs to figure out a way to get Jamie Harper some help in the run game; he rushed for all of 34 yards today and really never got free. That can't happen in a big game. Grade: C

Defense: It's something of an oddity that Clemson gave up 31 points; the Tiger defense was fast enough to keep USF from turning the corner on the sidelines, as the Bulls tried routinely. And yet, when USF got down to it and threw the ball downfield or rushed between the tackles, it encountered little resistance. Clemson has got to tighten up on defense if it ever wants to make the leap. Grade: C-

Coaching: I was ready to praise Dabo Swinney at the half when he decided to go for it on 4th and 7 near midfield late in the half, and was rewarded with a big play and eventually a touchdown. He then kicked an extra point rather than trying to get the game to within three points at the break, which was also the right call. Those are decisions that coaches routinely screw up and Swinney got them right.

And yet, he also called two punts in the fourth quarter -- one on a 4th and 1, which, WHY?! -- and his decision to go for two on Clemson's first touchdown of the fourth quarter trying to get the Tigers to within 10 meant Clemson couldn't afford to kick a field goal for the rest of the game. Yes, Georgia would have eventually needed that conversion, but conversions should be delayed until necessary in order to keep as many scoring options on the table during a comeback. And last, kicker Richard Jackson is apparently Clemson's onside specialist, and he put up two absolutely beautiful onside kicks in the fourth quarter. And with a weapon like that on special teams, why not use him all the time? Serious question. If you can reliably recover half or even a third of your onside kicks, that is an absolute game-changer. Do something with it! Grade: C

Final Grade

Today's game was about what people should have expected coming in: a slapfight between two physically talented but inconsistent and untrustworthy teams. Nothing was particularly impressive about the game, short of Clemson's near-comeback thanks to Boyd and Jackson. In fact, I'm still bitter that Swinney doesn't use Jackson on every single kickoff. It's like playing make-it-take-it! C'mon, Clemson! Grade: B-

Posted on: November 7, 2010 12:23 am
Edited on: November 7, 2010 12:26 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Nov. 6)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Good things can come to those who wait - South Florida running back sixth year running back Moise Plancher has dealt with a torn ACL, dislocated elbow, and shoulder surgery since enrolling in Tampa, but finally saw his hard work pay off on Wednesday night against Rutgers.  Plancher rushed 21 times for a career-high 135 yards, leading the Bulls in their 28-27 squeaker of a victory in Tampa.  It was ironic that the youngest team in the FBS (South Florida) collected the 100th program victory against the oldest team in college football, but for first-year coach Skip Holtz it was perfect timing.  The Bulls are now 5-3. and with four games left in conference play have plenty of time to make their case for a favorable bowl bid.  

2. Louisville's rushing attack is interchangeable - Heading into Saturday's matchup with Syracuse, Cardinal fans were nervous about facing the Orange defense without leading rusher Bilal Powell.  Powell leads the Big East and ranks among the top five nationally, but backup running back Jeremy Wright had no trouble filling in and picking up Powell's usual production.  Wright rushed 19 times for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns to anchor Louisville's offensive attack against the Orange in the Carrier Dome.  With the win, first-year coach Charlie Strong came one game closer to bowl eligibility, a feat for a team that looked destined for disappointment earlier in the season.  

3. Pittsburgh may have been off, but their hold on the conference was threatened - The Panthers were off this week, securing their undefeated conference record for another week.  But what we learned in the Big East this week was a little bit more about some teams the Panthers have in their future.  Pittsburgh still has to face West Virginia, Cincinnati, South Florida, and Connecticut to before claiming any conference accolades, and after seeing the Bulls in action against Rutgers that might be more difficult than expected.  Louisville proved that there is no "elite" status in the conference, and the Panthers are no exception just because they have yet to lose a game in league play.  Any of Pittsburgh's remaining opponents have the talent on board to knock off the Panthers, so there are no guarantees in the final weeks of Big East play.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 10:11 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 10:13 am
 

South Florida reaches program milestone with win

Posted by Chip Patterson

With four straight seasons of at least eight wins and a 3-1 bowl record in that span, a shortsighted college football fan can forget at times just how new the South Florida program is to college football.  Started in 1997, the Bulls are the nation's youngest BCS program.  In just 14 seasons, South Florida has jumped from Division I-AA, to I-A Independence, to Conference USA, and now a member of the BCS automatic qualifying Big East.  

On Thursday night, South Florida defeated Rutgers 28-27 for the program's 100th victory.  Interesting that it came against one of the competing teams in the first college football game ever.  Rutgers defeated Princeton 6-4, and the 141st anniversary of that game will be on Saturday.  But Thursday night would be an evening for the youth.  For first-year head coach Skip Holtz, it was a win that also put the Bulls just a game away from their sixth straight season of bowl eligibility.  After a rocky 3-3 start,  there was some doubt in Tampa if the streak would make continue into Holtz' tenure.

So it is only fitting that on the historic night for the South Florida program, the Bulls were led by one of their oldest players.  Sixth-year senior running back Moise Plancher rushed 21 times for a career high 135 yards, ending a four-game losing streak against the Scarlet Knights.  Plancher has suffered through a torn ACL, dislocated elbow, and shoulder surgery since enrolling at South Florida, making Thursday night a special night for the 23 year-old senior as well.  

South Florida is likely out of the Big East title hunt, but after turning around an 0-2 conference start with two straight wins the Bulls have a chance (though it is a long shot) to match the 8-win seasons of 2008 and 2009.  The Bulls now have a long week ahead before traveling to Louisville to face the Cardinals November 13.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Previewing Week 10 in the Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Big East has been busy making headlines this week with the announcement of planned expansion to ten football-playing schools.  The announcement solidifies many reports and has started speculation on everything from school selection, to timeframe, and even the potential changes to the college football landscape.  Seems fitting that the Big East would choose this week to make their most significant off-field announcement, because there is very little action on the field in Week 10.

Last week, Pittsburgh and Syracuse separated themselves from the rest of the conference by picking up their third conference victory.  Behind them is 1-1 Rutgers, and the rest of the conference is tied at 1-2.  The Panthers are not only a half-game ahead of the Orange, but also own the tiebreaker against Syracuse and Rutgers thanks to victories earlier in the season.  With only a month left in conference play the conference race is not over, but PIttsburgh does carry their own fate from here on out.  It would require two conference losses for the Panthers to be in jeopardy of losing the automatic BCS berth, and even then another team would have to win out.    

But the conference still holds six bowl ties, and every team is still technically capable of making the postseason at this point.  Most of the games left on the schedule are all conference games, and with seven teams 4-4 or better, each game will hold extra importance to anyone hoping to play football in December.  So while it may be hard to chase down conference-leading Pittsburgh, there is still plenty to play for.  The Panthers get Week 10 off, as does West Virginia, Connecticut, and Cincinnati.  

Wednesday - Rutgers at South Florida -  While they try to keep their focus on the field, it is impossible to ignore the health of defensive tackle Eric LaGrand, paralyzed while making a tackle against Army on October 16.  Thankfully, LaGrand was transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation center on Wednesday, which as about as good as news will come on that front.  With a win, South Florida could come within a game of bowl eligibility.  It has been an up and down season for first-year head coach Skip Holtz, and a postseason berth would put a happy ending on his trial run with the Bulls.  I expect quarterback B.J. Daniels to build on his four TD performance against Cincinnati with another big outing.  PICK - South Florida 28, Rutgers 21 

Saturday - Louisville at Syracuse - Louisville could be without Bilal Powell, the conference's leading rusher, but will get backup Victor Anderson back for the first time in three games.  The Cardinal rushing attack is ranked among the top 25 in the nation, but they will face their greatest challenge against the Syracuse defense.  In the six Syracuse victories, the Orange have held their opponents to 14 points or less.  They have complimented that defense with a patient and effective rushing attack of their own, headed by Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey.  Syracuse has been clicking recently, and already looks like a different team than the one that got throttled 45-14 by Pittsburgh.  The Orange have been successful on the road, and I do not see them changing their execution at home.  PICK - Syracuse 19, Louisville 14   
Posted on: October 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Lou Holtz to Minnesota?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The coaching corpse of Tim Brewster hasn't even begun rotting yet, but there's already been plenty of movement to find a replacement in Minnesota.   The Gophers wanted Tony Dungy, Dungy said no thanks, but he'll help.  He then offered up Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Lesley Frazier, to which I replied Mike Leach, and then this morning interim head coach Jeff Horton said the school should look at Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

But what if the Gophers wanted to go the crazy route?  What if they actually wanted to look outside the state of Minnesota for a replacement?  Apparently there are some within the schools who have set their eyes on a crazy old man in Bristol, one who just might have the prescription to make Minnesota football all better.  That's right.  Dr. Lou.
There was some talk Tuesday that some local dreamers will try to bring Lou Holtz , 73, back as Gophers football coach, with a master plan that Holtz's son Skip, the coach at South Florida, would succeed his dad at Minnesota.

The late Leroy Gardner, who worked for Holtz as an academic adviser at Minnesota, described Holtz as "the most sophisticated (fibber) he had ever seen."
Lou Holtsch back to coach the Minneshota Golden Gophersh?  Shufferin' shuccotash!

Holtz spent two years at Minnesota before leaving to take over the job at Notre Dame, leading the team to the Independence Bowl.  The Gophers beat Clemson in that game, but Holtz had already left for South Bend by then. 

Personally, I don't know that hiring Holtz would really make all that much sense for the Gophers.  He is 73 years old, and he seems pretty content with his television gig.  Besides, I don't want Minnesota's football team being the only people in this country privy to Holtz' pep talks and life advice.  That wouldn't be fair to the rest of us.

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