Tag:C-USA
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Scary episode of deja vu for Marshall coaches

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It was 40 years ago this past November in which Southern Airlines Flight 932 crashed in Ceredo, West Virginia killing all 75 people on board. Those killed included 37 members of the Marshall football team, the 8 members of the Marshall coaching staff, and 25 boosters. It's one of the greatest tragedies in college sports history, and was commemorated in the movie "We Are Marshall."

On Wednesday night, Marshall experienced a rather scary case of deja vu. A plane carrying members of the Marshall coaching staff had to make an emergency landing in Lexington, Kentucky.
Around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a landing gear malfunction aboard ComAir Flight 5359 diverted a flight bound for Charleston from Atlanta to Lexington. The flight included Marshall’s entire offensive coaching staff and two of its defensive coaches.
Entering into its final descent, the landing gear finally came down on the plane and a crash-landing was averted as the coaches made their way off the flight safe and sound.
One of the coaches on the flight was tight ends coach Phil Ratliff, who described the events.

“On our way back, we kept circling flying into Charleston — three times,” Ratliff told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. “He (the pilot) went back up in the air and we knew something was wrong.
“The crew basically came back and told us that they were diverting us to Lexington. They didn’t say it but if we had to crash land, it was a bigger runway.
“You grow up hearing about this for 40 years. For this to happen 40 years later, it was just unbelievable. We were all praying. It was calm, but we were definitely praying. It was a situation that you never want to go — thinking about your family, having your life go before your eyes. It was just unbelievable.”
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:31 pm
 

VIDEO: Case Keenum talks about his 6th year at UH

Posted by Chip Patterson

Case Keenum overcame the odds by being granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after tearing an ACL in the third game of his senior season.  Keenum has arguably established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Houston football history, and is closing in on a majority of the major passing records at the NCAA level.  However, when Keenum went down against UCLA it appeared those records would stay in tact.  

But the NCAA is not going to keep a talent like Keenum off the field in order to preserve records.  He will return to the field in a limited fashion this spring, and expects to be full strength for the start of the 2011 season.  His return has made the Cougars a threat once again in Conference USA, as he will try to lead Houston back to the postseason after a five-year bowl streak was snapped in 2010.

He recently sat down during a Houston basketball game to discuss his return to Houston for a sixth year, as well as some of his talents on the hardwood back in the day.


Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:05 pm
 

Conference title games all set

J. Darin Darst

We still have a few regular season games left in the season that mean something, including Pac-10 teams trying to make a bowl (Arizona State and Washington), here is the schedule for the conference title games:

Dec. 3

MAC Championship: Northern Illinois (10-2) vs. Miami (Ohio) (8-4), 7 p.m. on ESPN2: Winner most likely goes to the Little Caesars Bowl, while the loser will be in either the GoDaddy.com or Humanitarian Bowl.

Dec. 4

C-USA Championship: UCF (9-3) vs. SMU (6-2), Noon on ESPN: Winner goes to the Liberty Bowl to most likely play either Georgia or Tennessee. If SMU loses they are probably headed to the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30. The Armed Forces Bowl is being played in SMU's Ford Stadium this year. If UCF loses, look for the Knights to play Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

SEC Championship: Auburn (12-0) vs. South Carolina (8-3), 4 p.m. on CBS: It's easy for Auburn. Win and it plays for the BCS National Championship, lose and it will be in the Orange Bowl. A South Carolina win puts the Gamecocks in the Sugar Bowl. A South Carolina loss will most likely send it to the Outback Bowl.

ACC Championship: Virginia Tech (10-2) vs. Florida State (9-3), 7:45 p.m. on ESPN: Winner goes to the Orange Bowl, while the loser probably ends up in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If the Chick-fil-A Bowl chooses a different team, than the Champs Sports Bowl vs. Notre Dame would be the next spot.

Big 12 Championship: Nebraska (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2), 8 p.m. on ABC: Winner goes to the Fiesta Bowl, while the loser looks headed to the Alamo Bowl. The Cotton Bowl has the next pick out of the Big 12, but appears to be taking Texas A&M, so the loser of this game falls to the Alamo Bowl.

* Big East -- Connecticut at South Florida, 8 p.m. on ESPN2: A Connecticut wins, the Huskies go to either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl for the first time in history. If South Florida wins, than West Virginia wins the Big East and most certainly will play in the Orange Bowl.

 

 

Posted on: November 10, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Bowl Blog: Catching up with latest rumors

J. Darin Darst

Checking in around the nation on the latest bowl rumors.

Penn State eyeing Florida

As reported by Pennlive.com, it looks like Penn State is headed to either the Gator or Outback Bowl. They break it down this way:

After Penn State's comeback win Saturday over Northwestern, it's hard to figure out any way the Nittany Lions will fall below the Gator Bowl. The Outback Bowl remains a possibility. The Gator Bowl, new this year to the Big Ten lineup, is slated for 1:30 on New Year's Day. It holds the possibility of being Joe Paterno's last game although we certainly can't count on it. But as of the second week of December when all the bowl invitations will be made, that allure should enter into bowl reps' thinking.

Currently, I have Penn State projected to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville taking on Florida. The Gator Bowl gets pick No. 4 or 5 from the Big Ten.

Liberty Bowl, Conference USA, SEC mess

Conference USA has sent their champion to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in every season since the league began in 1996, but there's a very real possibility that could be coming to an end. According to UCFSports.com, the 2010 C-USA Champion could be scrambling to find a new bowl, or be relegated to one of the league's lesser bowls, should the SEC not qualify enough teams to fill both their Liberty and Birmingham Bowl slots.

The Liberty Bowl's new partnership with the Big East apparently also gives first right of refusal to the SEC and they don't want to play a team from C-USA if they can help it. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Executive Director Steve Ehrhart spoke about this possibility Tuesday morning during his weekly radio segment on "Sportstime Extra with Dave Woloshin and Brett Norsworthy", which airs on 560 WHBQ in Memphis.

The early part of the interview centered around the possible SEC representative in the bowl, which includes Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Georgia or Kentucky. Assuming the SEC team would play the champion of C-USA, the show's hosts then asked Ehrhart to comment about UCF, who with a 5-0 league record is considered the current favorite to win the conference and that's when Ehrhart acknowledged a C-USA team may not go to Memphis after all.

"Not necessarily," Ehrhart said when asked about C-USA's participation in the bowl. "We may still go with a Big East team against the SEC, provided the SEC has enough teams. That's no disrespect to Conference USA. It just may work out the combinations work that way.


That's ridiculous that the conference champion might be forced to go play elsewhere. This really all comes down to whether or not the SEC gets two teams in the BCS or not. Also at play are teams like Ole Miss and Tennessee. Both are struggling to get bowl-eligible, but if they do, than there won't be a problem. Currently I project only one SEC team in the BCS, so Georgia or Kentucky would play the C-USA champion in the Liberty Bowl.

SMU or UTEP in Armed Forces Bowl

Looks like the Armed Forces Bowl is down to either one of those two from C-USA to play either a Mountain West school or Army in the Dec. 30 bowl. According to the El Paso Times, it looks like if SMU doesn't go to the Hawaii Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl comes into play. It has been moved for this season only from Fort Worth to SMU's Robertson Stadium.

Air Force almost locked to Independence Bowl

It's not a done deal, but getting close, according to the Denver Post:

It doesn't take a lot of speculation to suggest that coach Troy Calhoun should contact his travel agent about making plans for the Air Force Falcons to travel to Shreveport, La., to play in the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl. Jim Hagan, chairman of the Independence Bowl selection committee, said Monday that the Falcons are more than sentimental favorites to get the call and return to the bowl for the first time since 1984. "I think you can say that if Air Force still is on the board when we pick, it's our top choice," Hagan said. "We're going to be at their game Saturday. We're looking at them real strong."

Maaco Bowl might look to Big 12

The Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas is supposed to feature a team from the Mountain West and Pac-10, but the Pac-10 might not have enough eligible teams. If not, look for the bowl to take somebody from the Big 12. According to the Las Vegas Journal, Iowa State and Texas Tech are the Big 12's most likely at-large candidates, though Texas could find itself looking for a bowl.

Greenwood to perform at Sun Bowl

Grammy Award winning artist Lee Greenwood will headline the Hyundai Halftime Show at the 77th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 at Sun Bowl Stadium. Greenwood, who is a two-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, won a Grammy in 1984 and has charted seven No. 1 hits on the Billboard’s country chart.

Posted on: October 23, 2010 10:39 pm
 

What I learned from the non-BCS (Oct. 23)

J. Darin Darst

1. Can we please just give the Mountain West an automatic bid to the BCS instead of the Big East? Please, I beg you. Utah and TCU are easily deserving of BCS bids and I would even say Air Force is better than any team in the Big East too. One team I learned we shouldn't forget about is BYU. Most of us have written the Cougars off, but this team finally looks like its putting things together and might shape the BCS bid for the Mountain West as they have to play Utah in the final game of the season. How much would BYU fans enjoy knocking Utah off one last time before the Utes bolt to the Pac-10, knocking them out of the BCS bowl picture. They don't call it the Holy War for nothing.

2. Circle your calendars for a showdown next weekend of the two best teams in Conference USA next weekend -- East Carolina at UCF. The Pirates have won three in a row and are averaging 38 points per game over that stretch. Meanwhile, UCF has the conferences best defense, which has allowed only 11.6 points over its three-game winning streak. The winner of this game should decide the East Divison in the conference and will be the favorite to win the C-USA crown and that Liberty Bowl berth. It's going to be a great matchup in Orlando. What a weekend you could plan -- watch UCF take on East Carolina and after the game head on over to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights.

3. How good is this Hawaii team? Utah State was supposed to be a sleeper team and hung with Oklahoma, but all Hawaii did was blast them 45-7. Bryant Moniz ... has anybody else outside of Hawaii heard of this guy? He only leads the nation in passing yards and finished Saturday with another 389 yards. The biggest question we all want to know is, can the Warriors (6-2) give Boise State a game? We are going to find out soon enough -- at Boise on Nov. 6.

4. Who is the Sun Belt's second-best team? Since the conference has two bowl bids this year, somebody has to grab that second spot, right? Louisiana-Lafayette looked like it might finally grab a bowl bid, but ended up losing at home to Western Kentucky 54-21. The Hilltoppers hadn't won a game in close to three years. Maybe its Arkansas State? The Red Wolves are now 3-2 in the conference and played Troy really close (Lost 35-28). Big game for Arkansas State on Nov. 2 as it takes on Middle Tennessee. FIU was off this week, but it is 2-0 in Sun Belt play. Will somebody please step up in the coming weeks!

5. Miami (Ohio) isn't all that great and the fade is beginning. Sure the RedHawks were 3-0 in the conference, but just lost to Ohio, a key game in the East Division. They now have three of their final four games on the road, including next week at Buffalo. I'm not sure they are going to be able to win the division. Ohio and Temple are much better teams and with the conference only getting three bowl bids, Miami (Ohio) is most likely going to be left out. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois is making a HUGE statement in the West as it has now won five in a row. Get ready for the game on Nov. 9 against Toledo, which will likely decide who reaches the MAC title game.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:11 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Midseason Report: Rest of Non-BCS

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race, and in the some of the smaller conferences, it's anybody's conference crown. Here's what's happened so far and what might happen down the stretch.

MOUNTAIN WEST

The MWC crown is almost certain to come down to one game: TCU (7-0, 3-0) at Utah (6-0, 3-0) on Nov. 6. Neither the Horned Frogs nor the Utes have broken a sweat in conference play to date (the Frogs have gone three weeks without even allowing a touchdown), and with nonconference challenges like Oregon State, Pitt, Baylor, and Iowa State all collectively behind them, chances are good both teams will go into their showdown undefeated, ranked in the top 10, and ready for a mega-hyped, winner-take-all matchup for the conference title.

And if a handful of the BCS conference powers above them in the BCS standings drop games between now and then, the stakes could be even higher than that.

The only team with a realistic shot of upsetting the MWC Game of the Century apple cart is Air Force (5-2, 3-1), which will travel to TCU this week and host the Utes Oct. 30. The Falcons came within a whisker of collecting a huge scalp at Oklahoma and have the inside track on the Commander in Chief's Trophy after ousting Navy, but their 27-25 loss last Saturday at San Diego State (4-2, 1-1) means they'll likely have to sweep the TCU/Utah pairing to take the conference title. Good luck with that, Falcons.

And hey, speaking of the Aztecs, Brady Hoke 's impressive salvage job has SDSU all of six points (and two questionable calls, one each at Missouri and BYU ) away from a perfect 6-0 record. As is, they'll likely have to settle for playing spoiler against the two league powers and their first bowl berth since 1998.

The less said about the other five teams in the league -- and their combined 7-22 overall record -- the better.

C-USA

We are in for quite a race in the East with East Carolina (4-2, 3-0), UCF (4-2, 2-0) and Southern Miss (5-2, 2-1). East Carolina already beat Southern Miss but plays at UCF on Oct. 30. The Golden Knights will host Southern Miss on Nov. 13.

 UCF might be the best of the trio with a defense ranked as one of the best in the nation. The Knights have been led by defensive end Bruce Miller (seven tackles for a loss) and cornerback Josh Robinson (eight breakups). The offense has come along despite not having starting running back Brynn Harvey. Freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey has done well this season, rushing for 310 yards, while throwing for 669.

East Carolina has one of the best passing offenses with former Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis (16 TDs, nine INTs). The Pirates can pass with anybody, but the biggest problem right now is the defense. East Carolina's defense is ranked 111th in the nation and has given up 40 or more points in four of the six games.

Southern Miss will need to beat UCF and get some help after losing 44-43 to East Carolina a few weeks ago, but this is still a pretty good team. Austin Davis is having a good season (1,480 yards), but top receiver DeAndre Brown has been struggling with a leg injury all season. The Golden Eagles need him to have a shot to win the conference crown. The defense is once again strong against the run with LBs Korey Williams and Ronnie Thornton leading the way.

In the West, SMU is in the driver's seat with Houston, UTEP and Tulsa all giving chase. The Mustangs lost some tough out-of-conference games against Texas Tech and TCU, but is still undefeated in conference play. It should be no surprise that SMU has been able to pass and put up points. Kyle Padron is doing very well with 1,818 yards passing and 19 TDs. Aldrick Robinson has become Padron's favorite receiver with 580 yards receiving. SMU faces Houston this weekend and at UTEP on Nov. 6. It already beat Tulsa 21-18 on Oct. 9.

WAC

Make no mistake about it, Boise State is in total control of the WAC. It went undefeated through the conference last season as is expected to cruise through this year. Kellen Moore is once against having a fantastic season with 16 touchdown passes with only one interception. Also to nobody's surprise, Boise State ranks in the top 5 in both offense and defense, including having the No. 1 rush defense in the nation. The only games that could spell trouble for the Broncos are vs. Hawaii on Nov. 6 and at Nevada on Nov. 26.

Hawaii's passing attack and Nevada's pistol offense can be tough to defend, but it would be a major shock if Boise State lost either of those games.

MAC

This conference is wide open, but looks like it's going to come down to Northern Illinois (5-2, 3-0) or Toledo (4-3, 3-0) in the West and a trio of teams in the East.

 Miami (Ohio) has been the biggest surprise of the conference, sitting on top of the East with a 3-0 record and 4-3 overall. The RedHawks still have their toughest competition left with Ohio (Oct. 23), at Temple (Nov. 23) still on the schedule. It's also pretty amazing since Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst rushing games in the nation, gaining just 69.7 yards per game (112th). I'm not sure this team can win the East, but we'll have to keep an eye on them.

Ohio stumbled against Marshall, but has won three in a row and can take a big step toward the East title with a win over Miami (Ohio) this weekend. It would have to play at Temple on Nov. 16. Boo Jackson is doing pretty well back at quarterback with 913 yards passing and nine TDs. The defense has done a solid job, being led by Donovan Fletcher who leads the team with 42 tackles and five interceptions.

Everybody's favorite Temple is right in the thick of the race and gets to host Ohio and Miami (Ohio) later this season. If I had to pick a team to win the conference, I would pick the Owls. The passing game needs to get better, but the rushing attack has been just fine. When Bernard Pierce is healthy, he gives the Owls a huge boost over every team in the conference. And when Pierce is out, Matt Brown has stepped right in just fine.

Out West, Northern Illinois has been using a strong rushing attack, led by Chad Spann (753 yards, eight TDs) and quarterback Chandler Harnish (457, 6.4 avg) to improve to 3-0 in the conference and 5-2 overall. It will host Toledo on Nov. 9 in what will probably decide the division. Toledo's offense hasn't been all that great this year, but does have one of the top wide receivers in Eric Page (54 catches, 580 yards). Archie Donald has been fantastic at linebacker, recording 72 tackles, which ranks 18th in the nation.

Sun Belt

The conference is Troy's to lose ... again. Middle Tennessee was supposed to contend, but the Trojans did away with them 42-13. Louisiana-Lafayette put up a fight, but Troy beat them 31-24. So who's left? Keep your eye on Florida International . The Golden Panthers are 2-0 in the conference and hung with Rutgers and Texas A&M earlier in the season. That game is at Troy on Nov. 13.

Troy hasn't missed a beat with freshman quarterback Corey Robinson . He has thrown for 1,740 yards and 12 touchdowns, while RB DuJuan Harris (300 yards rushing) and Jerrel Jernigan (501 yards receiving) have also done a nice job. FIU also has a good receiving core with Greg Ellingson and T.Y. Hilton . Anthony Gaitor is one of the best defensive backs in the conference and could be a factor in their game next month.


Posted on: October 12, 2010 10:09 am
 

Case Keenum applying for medical redshirt

Posted by Chip Patterson

Houston star quarterback Case Keenum has decided to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.  Keenum's 2010 season was finished when he tore his ACL in a 31-13 loss to UCLA in the third game of the season.  He has already had a career for the record books at Houston, as the Cougars' career passing leader and fifth on the NCAA career passing yardage list at 13,587.  Keenum underwent successful surgery and now

“After talking this over with my family and people close to me, I have decided to try for another year of eligibility,” Keenum said in a statement released through UH. “This ending wasn’t exactly what I predicted for my senior year, and because I care so much about this team and this university, I would love to be able to play one more season.  I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I at least want to see the whole process through. I thank coach (Kevin) Sumlin and the athletic department for their help in this appeal.”

Clearly Keenum is upset with the way his career as a Cougar has potentially ended, but it is likely that this decision has just as much to do with the timing of the injury in relation to the NFL Draft.  Normally the recovery period for ACL surgery can last as many as eight or nine months, with the actual date of the draft falling about seven months after Keenum's operation.  Another factor in the decision is likely the dreaded collective bargaining agreement, and the threat of a lockout for the 2011 season.  Regardless of the outcome, Keenum needs to hope for a speedy decision.  He is set to graduate in December and if he is granted an extra year must rearrange his academic schedule by mid-January.  

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