Posted on: July 15, 2011 4:52 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
On certain Fridays we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
THE FOUR LINKS ...
1. Sure, we love Twitter for its ability to get big news out quickly and allow fans (and, ahem, bloggers) to interact directly with their favorite athletes and coaches. But we love it even more for allowing college football players the chance to Tweet pictures of their teammates dressed up like Harry Potter:
That's Alabama offensive lineman Tyler Love, as photographed by Tide safety Will Lowery. We'll turn this whole site into a Tyler Love tribute page if, in the event Alabama wins another national title, he pulls a wand out of his sock and screams "Accio crystal football!" on the championship dais.
2. One of college football's most well-known annual charity events still isn't well-known enough. It's Penn State's yearly "Lift for Life," which last weekend raised nearly $100,000 for kidney cancer research. Over its nine-year run, the event has raised almost $600,000 and is growing each year. A video report:
Well done, Nittany Lions.
3. It was a busy week of comings-and-goings on the personnel front in the SEC. Ole Miss return man/receiver Jesse Grandy is now officially no longer a part of the Rebel roster. Georgia linebacker Richard Samuel has moved back to running back after moving to linebacker last year (and may have a better shot at playing time after Caleb King's recent departure). Former Auburn backup linebacker Jessel Curry has landed at Delaware. And new Virginia Tech lineman Brent Benedict confirmed that a conflict with Bulldog strength-and-conditioning coach Joe Tereshinski was responsible for his leaving Athens.
4. Fans of Michigan submitted designs for a Wolverine mascot as part of a contest at the Detroit News. Even though there's no way to make this work as an actual flesh-and-cloth presence on the sidelines, we thought we'd pass on our favorite anyway:
More schools should totally be represented by vaguely feminine fang-toothed anime killing machines, right? Am I right? (No, I am probably not right.)
AND THE CLOUD ...
We're not sure who's really talking up Southern Miss for an undefeated season (negotiating road trips to both Virginia and Navy in a three-week span won't be easy), but head coach Larry Fedora is surprisingly fine with that talk anyway ... Desmond Howard says Michigan should start retiring numbers again, numbers like, say, just to pick an example totally at random, Desmond Howard's ... Alshon Jeffery took to Twitter to dispel rumors he'd been arrested for a fight ... Former Tennessee receiver (and one-time Lane Kiffin recruiting coup) Nu'Keese Richardson has had another run-in with the law ... The schedule of players to be made available at the annual carnival of cray-cray that is SEC Media Days has been released ... Cam Newton made an appearance (of sorts) in a Jeopardy! Daily Double answer recently ... Mississippi State and Ole Miss play out their rivalry in a who-has-the-best-promotional-Intern
et-video battle ... and, finally, though the Syracuse version was the first college-themed "pillow pet" to catch the Internet's eye ...
you should know there's a whole zoo of the things out there for purchase.
Tags: Accio crystal football!, Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Big Ten, Brent Benedict, Cam Newton, Desmond Howard, Friday Four Links, Georgia, Harry Potter, It's Friday Friday Gotta Get Down on Friday, Jesse Grandy, Jessel Curry, Joe Tereshinski, Lane Kiffin, Larry Fedora, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nu'Keese Richardson, Ole Miss, Penn State, Richard Samuel, SEC, SEC Media Days, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Tennessee, Tyler Love, Virginia Tech, Will Lowery
Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
After getting my new copy of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 on Tuesday, I took the time to simulate the entire 2012 season to see what the video game thinks is going to happen this year. In order to make things realistic, I even went through all the trouble of updating rosters to reflect what they currently look like.
That meant moving Russell Wilson from NC State to Wisconsin, removing Terrelle Pryor -- not to mention benching the suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season -- removing WaShaun Ealey and Caleb King from Georgia's backfield and so on and so forth.
No need to thank me, it was a labor of love.
So how did things turn out?
Well, it looks as if we'll once again have a non-BCS school finish the year undefeated -- the only school to do so -- but it's not Boise State or TCU. In fact, Boise State finally got its shot at a national title, but it couldn't come through.
Let's find out. First we'll start with the conference champions (Records don't include conference championships or bowl games).
ACC -- North Carolina 9-3 (6-2)
Big 12 -- Texas A&M 10-2 (8-1)
Big East -- South Florida 9-3 (6-1)
Big Ten -- Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)
C-USA -- Houston 12-0 (8-0)
MAC -- Western Michigan 10-2 (7-1)
MWC -- Boise State 12-0 (7-0)
Pac 12 -- Oregon 9-3 (7-2)
SEC -- South Carolina 11-1 (7-1)
Sun Belt -- Troy 10-2 (8-0)
WAC -- Fresno State 8-4 (7-0)
And how about those BCS bowl games? Well I'm glad you asked.
Rose Bowl -- Wisconsin 49, Oregon 46 OT
Fiesta Bowl -- Texas A&M 38, Ohio State 17
Orange Bowl -- North Carolina 28, Alabama 20
Sugar Bowl -- Houston 48, South Florida 13
BCS National Championship -- South Carolina 24, Boise State 22
Yes, that's right, the Ol' Ball Coach has added another national title to his resume. Boise State did have a chance to topple the BCS machine, but couldn't pull through. Trailing 24-16, Kellen Moore hit Kyle Efaw on a 16-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, but the Broncos couldn't convert the two-point conversion. The Gamecocks ran out the clock and celebrated a national title. Oh, and Stephen Garcia was the game's MVP. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute or two.
As for awards, I hope Houston quarterback Case Keenum used all that time off last season to build himself a trophy case because it looks as if he's going to need one. Keenum not only won the Heisman Trophy, but the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien trophies to boot. That's what happens when you lead Houston to a 14-0 record yet still finish second in both polls.
Now, if that's not enough info for you, let's take a look at some of the season storylines by conference.
-- Jimbo Fisher hits the sophomore slump. Florida State doesn't even qualify for a bowl berth after finishing the year 5-7 with a 3-5 mark within the ACC. FSU loses to Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Miami and Florida. And of those losses, only the loss to Florida was by less than 10 points.
-- Al Golden has Miami on the right track. Sure, the Canes only went 8-5 during the season, but they did finish 6-2 in ACC play, just missing the ACC title game thanks to a 27-17 loss to North Carolina
-- Duke goes bowling! That's right, Duke finishes the year 7-6 with a 4-4 mark in the ACC, including a two-point win over UNC. Though the Dukies do lose to Florida in the Music City Bowl. I have no idea who Steve Spurrier was rooting for while watching.
-- Boston College is the "best" team in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles finish the year 8-6 with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They even nearly beat UNC in the title game, losing 29-27.
-- Oklahoma can't handle the pressure. The Sooners started out the year 7-0 before getting shocked by Kansas State on the road -- where else? -- 24-21. They also lost at Oklahoma State 38-24 to end the regular season and kill their hopes of a BCS berth.
-- Texas won't be terrible two years in a row. The Longhorns finish the season 11-2 with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12. Though they do lose to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which stings a bit.
-- Where have you gone, Blaine Gabbert? Missouri needs you. The Tigers finished the season 4-8 with a 2-7 mark in the conference. Seems they're going to miss Colorado, Nebraska and the North Division.
-- The Big East is respectable. While no team in the conference finished the season with less than three losses (Pitt being the only with three), seven of the eight Big East schools won at least seven games, with Rutgers holding the only losing record.
-- Louisville can't finish. The Cardinals led the Big East most of the season before losing four of their last five games to finish 3-4 in the conference.
-- Casino or football field, Dana Holgorsen has a tough time winning anywhere this year. The Mountaineers went 2-5 in the Big East during his inaugural campaign.
-- Who needs Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor? Ohio State went 4-1 in its first five games of the season while so many of its playmakers sat out, and though the Buckeyes struggled in Big Ten play, they still finished the year 9-4 and got an at-large berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and they still beat Michigan.
-- Not that Michigan minded all that much, because Brady Hoke made believers out of the faithful in his first year. That Michigan loss to Ohio State? That was the Wolverines only Big Ten loss of the regular season, as they went 7-1 to win the Legends Division.
-- Wisconsin loves Russell Wilson. Wilson and the Badgers tore up the Big Ten all year long until the final week of the regular season. Then, after being 11-0 and ranked #1 for the majority of the regular season, the Badgers fell at home to Penn State 42-28. Though I guess beating Michigan 34-13 in the first Big Ten Championship Game and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl took some of the sting out of it.
-- New kid Nebraska gets picked on. The Huskers went 3-5 in Big Ten play, even losing to Minnesota. Though that wasn't as embarrassing as the 13-7 loss to Ohio -- University, not State -- in the Texas Bowl.
-- USC isn't on probation in virtual reality. So the Trojans were able to win the Pac-12 South division, even if they did lose to Oregon 35-14 in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.
-- Utah enjoyed their move more than Colorado. The Utes finished the season 5-4 in conference play while Colorado went 3-6.
-- Andrew Luck should have gone pro. Stanford and Luck were off to a very nice start to the season, opening 7-0. Then Luck broke his arm, missed the rest of the year and Stanford finished 10-3.
-- The East still stinks. Sure, South Carolina wins the national title, but no other SEC East team managed to win more than four games in the conference. Meanwhile, in the West, LSU had the worst season of anyone, going 7-6 with a 3-5 mark in the SEC. Les Miles needs to eat more grass.
-- Will Muschamp did OK. Florida finished the season 9-4 with a 4-4 mark in the SEC, though Charlie Weis' offense needs some work. The Gators never scored more than 21 points against a SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt.
-- Alabama needs to fire Nick Saban, PAAAAWWWWWWWL. Oh the indignity of Alabama's 2012 season. Not only did the Tide lose the SEC title game to South Carolina, but then they went and lost to North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Since when does Alabama play in the Orange Bowl, PAAWWWWL? NICK SABAN HAS GOT TO GO.
-- Auburn doesn't miss Cam Newton as much as you'd think. Even without their Heisman winning quarterback, the Tigers still manage to go 8-5 with a 4-4 mark in the conference. Not great, but not terrible either.
-- TCU would like to get to the Big East ASAP. The Horned Frogs lose twice in 2012, and not just to Boise State. Unlike 2011, TCU wasn't able to escape San Diego State, losing 33-30 at Qualcomm Stadium.
-- Notre Dame is back! The Irish finish the year 10-3, and feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. Why they're painting Brian Kelly over Touchdown Jesus as you read this.
-- BYU finds independence to be constricting. The Cougars first season free of the shackles of conferencedom does not work out very well, as BYU finishes the year 4-8 and even loses to Utah State along the way.
-- While I already went over the disrespect Houston received, what about conference mate Southern Miss? The Golden Eagles finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to Houston in the C-USA title game, and they couldn't even sniff the Top 25.
And that's it. There's the entire 2011 season right there according to a video game. I suppose at this point there's no point in even watching any of the games. Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go try and wrap my head around Stephen Garcia leading South Carolina to a national championship.
Can you imagine that party?
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Auburn, BCS National Championship, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Blaine Gabbert, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, BYU, C-USA, Caleb King, Cam Newton, Case Keenum, Charlie Weis, Colorado, Dana Holgorsen, Duke, Fiesta Bowl, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Heisman Trophy, Houston, Jim Tressel, Jimbo Fisher, Kansas State, Kellen Moore, Kyle Efaw, Les Miles, Louisville, LSU, MAC, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, MWC, NC State, NCAA Football 12, Nebraska, Nick Saban, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Orange Bowl, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Pitt, Rose Bowl, Russell Wilson, Rutgers, San Diego State, SEC, Simulations, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Steve Spurrier, Sugar Bowl, Sun Belt, TCU, Terrelle Pryor, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, USC, USF, Utah, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Video Games, WAC, Wake Forest, WaShaun Ealey, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Will Muschamp, Wisconsin
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 10:53 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
The "Watch" Watch continues on as the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club have released the first watch list for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
The award is given annually to the nation's best defensive player, as selected by FWAA All-America Committee members. Players can be added or deleted from the watch list at any time throughout the season, a player not on the list can work his way on by being name Defensive Player of the Week by the FWAA.
Check out the full watch list below. Any snubs? Who's your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.
Tags: ACC, Akron, Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Bronko Nagurski, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Defensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Year, Florida, Florida State, Fresno State, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kent State, Kentucky, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, San Diego State, SEC, SMU, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Stanford, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Troy, UCF, UCLA, USC, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:30 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's the sort of news that typically flies under the radar: Wisconsin fills out its revamped defensive coaching staff by hiring a non-AQ assistant , in this case UCF defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable, to coach the Badger linebackers. Not that big a deal, right?
Not in Conference USA, where the Knight defense Huxtable spent 2010 coaching just so happened to be the best, most dominant single unit in the entire conference (Chad Morris's Tulsa offense possibly excepted). Huxtable's charges finished the year 15th in the country in total defense at just 315 yards allowed per-game, and wrapped up their season playing as well as any defense in the nation, holding high-powered attacks from SMU and Georgia to a total of 13 points.
The end result of that brilliance was a C-USA title and a Liberty Bowl championship for UCF, despite the Knight offense only ringing up 27 points of its own in those games. Depsite the loss of six senior starters on that defense, with revelatory true freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey ready for an even bigger sophomore campaign, plenty of talent still available on both sides of the ball, and -- maybe most importantly -- Huxtable in place to reprise his exquisite defensive play-calling, the Knights would have been the easy choice to repeat as C-USA champions in 2011.
Now? Well, UCF will likely be the runaway league favorites anyway. But living up to those expectations will be dramatically more difficult with a realignment of the defensive staff simultaneous to the loss of those six starters. That goes double, too, in a conference with a collection of offensive minds as sharp as SMU's June Jones, Southern Miss's Larry Fedora, East Carolina's Lincoln Riley, etc.
In the big national picture, it's just Wisconsin hiring a position coach. But for the Knights and potentially all of Conference USA, it could be a story much, much bigger than that.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:55 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A major part of Oklahoma State's rampant offensive success the past several seasons has been head coach Mike Gundy's keen eye for spotting offensive-minded coaching talent. But after losing yet another offensive assistant to another program, it might be time to ask: has Gundy's eye been too keen for the Cowboys' own good?
Former Poke play-caller Larry Fedora was hired as Southern Miss's head coach. Fedora's one-time co-offensive coordinator Trooper Taylor just won a national title as Auburn's receivers coach. Dana Holgorsen spent just one brilliant season in Stillwater before agreeing to become West Virginia's head coach after a one-year apprenticeship. And as of today, Gundy's most recent receivers coach (and his 2008-2009 co-coordinator), Gunter Brewer, has also flown the coop; he's following his father's footsteps to Ole Miss.
As Kyle Veazey of the Clarion-Ledger reports, it sounds like Brewer was just waiting for the right time to come back to same school where his father, Billy Brewer, once served as head coach:
“It’s good to always be coming home,” Brewer said. “So I’m looking forward to the journey. Done some outstanding things at Oklahoma State, and I hope to carry that over to Ole Miss and just expand on that.”In this particular case, it's not that that success was what yanked Brewer out of Stillwater; without his family ties to Oxford, it seems clear he'd still be on Gundy's staff. Then again, it's also clear that if he hadn't put together the kind of resume under Gundy he did -- Brewer was the position coach for All-Americans like Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon -- Nutt wouldn't have bothere reciprocating Brewer's interest in the first place.
At some point, the Cowboys have to wonder just what it takes to keep their offensive staff intact for more than a year. (With T. Boone Pickens footing the bill, you wouldn't think salaries would be an issue.) The price of success is always high, but for whatever reason, it's seemed particularly steep at Oklahoma State.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 3:00 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you're a sports fan, then I'm guessing at some point over the last year you tuned in to at least one of ESPN's 30 for 30 series of documentaries. Personally, I watched just about all of them, and most were fantastic. Still, the ones that stood out the most for me were the ones on college football. In particular, The Best That Never Was, about former Oklahoma running back Marcus Dupree.
It was a fascinating story, and one that definitely had a villain. That villain being Dupree's advisor/agent, Rev. Kenneth Fairley. It was portrayed in the documentary that Fairley had helped steer Dupree away from Oklahoma following his freshman season and to Southern Miss. Dupree then made the ill-fated decision to go to the USFL.
In the documentary, Dupree says that the contract he signed with the USFL's New Orleans franchise was for $6 million, though he only saw about $300,000. Dupree also implied that Fairley may not have been all that honest with him when it came to handling the money. Well, Fairley didn't appreciate it very much, and now he's threatening to sue the cable goliath.
The Rev. Kenneth Fairley, pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, has demanded a retraction and issued a notice to sue ESPN, the Bristol, Conn.-based cable sports network that aired the documentary.
"Since the airing of The Best That Never Was..., Rev. Fairley is inundated with claims that he stole millions of dollars from Dupree. The information contained in ESPN's documentary is false and should be retracted," Fairley's attorney, Lisa Ross, wrote in the letter dated Dec. 24 to ESPN's legal office.
Diane Lamb, an ESPN spokeswoman, said Wednesday the company isn't going to comment about the letter.
Ross also went on to say that ESPN has ten days to "broadcast a full and fair correction, apology and retraction" for airing the documentary.
Sounds like the actions of somebody who ran out of Dupree's money to me.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 6:47 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2010 10:27 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Why to watch: These teams have already started to tussle, with Southern Miss getting disrespected by their former conference rivals , and there has already been promise of payback on the field. Additionally, the game pits former colleagues against each other. Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and Louisville's Charlie Strong served on the Florida coaching staff together from 2002-2004. The Golden Eagles are entering their ninth straight postseason appearance, while Strong has succeeded in getting Louisville back into the bowl schedule for the first time since 2006. Both teams have a lot of pride on the line, and with these early bowls "showing up" sometimes is more than half the battle. I expect both teams to show up ready to play on Tuesday.
Keys to victory for Louisville: Louisville's best performances all season involved a heavy dose of the running game. Mostly that will be anchored by running back Bilal Powell (120.9 yards per game), but even when Powell was banged up reserves Jeremy Wright and Victor Anderson carried the ball well behind the Cardinals offensive line.
Running the ball will be key to keeping the high-scoring Southern Miss offense off the field, as well as setting up the play-action down the field. It would not be surprising to see both Adam Froman and Justin Burke at quarterback for Louisville, and both of them should have no trouble finding an opportunity to take advantage of a Southern Miss secondary that gave up an average of 248.8 yards per game through the air in 2010.
Keys to victory for Southern Miss: West Virginia was one of the few teams to really shut down Louisville's rushing attack, holding Powell to zero yards in one half of play and getting the Cardinals' leading rusher sent to the bench at the break. The Golden Eagles are no West Virginia, but they can try to do just enough to create drive-ending stops. If they can keep the Cardinals from getting in the end zone, Austin Davis and the offense should be able to do work on Louisville's defense. Strong has improved the Cardinals defense, but they were inconsistent across 2010.
Davis was very consistent under center for Southern Miss, throwing for 2989 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. He has plenty of weapons, and the offense scheme stretches the defense to leave seams open for the running game. If Davis can get comfortable and hit a rhythm, and the aforementioned Golden Eagles secondary can keep from giving up the big play, Southern Miss could answer Louisville's pre-game taunts with a bowl victory.
The Beef 'O' Bradys St. Petersburg Bowl is like: Hot Tub Time Machine - I mean, it is kind of absurd. A collegiate bowl game named after Beef 'O' Brady's. No respectable game should have that many apostrophes in the official title. But similar to Hot Tub Time Machine , there is some promise to the game. It may come in the form of cheap thrills (fights, wacky turnovers, etc.), but there is enough on the line for both teams to know that they will at least be fired up to play. It will likely not be the game we remember the most come January (or Wednesday), but there is enough intrigue to sit down and check it out.
Tags: Adam Froman, Austin Davis, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Preview, Big East, Bilal Powell, Bowl Bonanza, Bowl Preview, Charlie Strong, Conference USA, Jeremy Wright, Justin Burke, Larry Fedora, Louisville, Southern Miss, Southern Mississippi, St. Petersburg Bowl Preview, Victor Anderson
Posted on: December 20, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 2:14 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As the lead paragraph to this fascinating story out of St. Petersburg correctly observes:
Events leading to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl are supposed to be fun-filled activities for the teams, their families and fans to participate in.But with a beginning like that, you can also guess that some activity or other wound up not so fun-filled. And that's the case here, as a poolside dance competition included in the bowl's "Beachside Bash" resulted in some serious trash talk between players from participating teams Louisville and Southern Miss, rising tensions, and eventually the intervention of Florida state troopers to prevent a full-on brawl from breaking out in front of what must have been some seriously horrified Card/Eagle fans.
As for how things got that heated, the players explain:
See? We told all you layabout whippersnappers out there that nothing good was going to come out of this "Dougie" funny business.
But here's the good news: after Saturday's lackluster slate of action -- in which UTEP, Fresno State, and Ohio didn't seem half as jacked-up for their actual bowl games as these teams seem to be for their just-for-fun dance competitions -- the acrimony in St. Pete promises to give us something worthwhile to watch Tuesday night, even if it's just some postgame "service" applied to the losers.