Posted on: September 10, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 7:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
VIRGINIA TECH WON. Head coach Frank Beamer picked up his 200th victory as the Hokies' head coach as Virginia Tech held off a tough East Carolina team in Greenville, scoring the only fourth quarter touchdown and winning 17-10.
WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON: The Hokies overcame 12 penalties and a pair of turnovers with a punishing ground game and stout defense. David Wilson ran for 138 yards, quarterback Logan Thomas added 66, and Josh Oglesby did the finishing with 43 yards and two touchdowns. The Hokies passing game struggled, with Thomas completing less than half of his attempts for less yards (91) than they picked up with the 12 penalties (92).
WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: With both offenses sputtering for the entire third quarter, the Hokies pieced together their best drive of the game to open up the final period of play. Thomas, Wilson, and Oglesby ran the ball on 11 of the 13 plays that chewed up 89 yards and nearly seven minutes of game clock. The drive was pounding and methodical, and the Pirates were noticeably fatigued by the time Oglesby punched in the winning score.
WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: Beamer admitted after the game that his team was unprepared for the Pirates. Some coaches try and "learn from losses," but any coach would prefer to learn from a bad win. There are ways the Hokies can improve on the offensive line and in the passing game, and now they have 60 minutes of tape to identify the specific weaknesses and try to get them fixed.
WHAT EAST CAROLINA LOST The Pirates scratched and clawed for every advantage all afternoon. They will have a week off before starting the conference schedule against UAB on Sept. 24. Ruffin McNeill's team has played two ranked teams (South Carolina and Virginia Tech) close, and if they can use these games as building blocks they should have a shot at winning the conference.
THAT WAS CRAZY. With 2:10 remaining, ECU quarterback Dominique Davis hit Michael Bowman on a 10 yard out route near the sideline. Hokies CB Kyle Fuller made an aggressive play on the ball and missed. Bowman bobbled the pass near the sideline as he tried to turn upfield, dropping it for an incomplete pass. Because of Fuller's play, if Bowman holds on to the ball he has nothing but green down the sideline and a shot to tie the game at 17. The Pirates didn't exactly make the most of their next two attempts either, but in a game that was played so close it will be hard to look back at that near catch and run
Posted on: September 3, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 4:30 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
VIRGINIA TECH WON. The Hokies fell victim to FCS James Madison in Blacksburg last season, and certainly were not going to let history repeat itself on Saturday with Appalachian State in town. Virginia Tech took only 47 seconds to force a turnover and get running back David Wilson into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. That would be the theme of the day as the Hokies rolled to a 66-13 victory. Wilson made his first game as a starter count, picking up 162 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON: Big plays and winning the turnover battle. The Hokies forced a fumble and three interceptions while not turning the ball over once. Cornerback Jayron Hosley was stellar in the return game, picking up 97 yards on punt returns and setting up the Virginia Tech offense with great field position.
WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: This game felt like it was going to be over in the first quarter. ASU's first four offensive possessions went like this: fumble, three and out, three and out, three and out. Virginia Tech wasn't doing a ton offensively early in the game, but the field position battle and big plays put this out of reach early for the Mountaineers.
WHAT VRGINIA TECH WON: Confidence. Even though it was Appalachian State, the Hokies needed a big win to ease the doubts surrounding the 2011 season. Wilson proved he can be an every down back, Josh Oglesby looked solid in the reserve role, and a handful of receivers contributed to the passing game. Defensively they forced turnovers and put pressure on the quarterback. The only question mark still lies at the quarterback position. Logan Thomas did a good job managing the offense, but was still a little out of sync with his receivers.
WHAT APPALACHIAN STATE LOST: You schedule games like this knowing there's a possibility of getting blown out. You could argue it is a little embarrassing for a program that recently started discussing the possibilities of a jump to FBS, but other than that no harm here for ASU.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Just the before the game, CBSSports.com's Sean Bielawski reported that Frank Beamer has signed a contract extension that carries through the end of the 2016 season. This is Beamer's 25th season with the Hokies, and his 241 career wins is second among active coaches behind Joe Paterno.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 3:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Training camp is underway in college football, with teams all over the country getting a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming season. Along with the help of CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporters, here is a collection of recent observations from Virginia Tech.
- The Hokies, who seem to be dealing with injuries at key positions every year, got bitten again early with All-ACC offensive lineman Blake DeChristopher straining his left pectoral. DeChristopher's expected recovery time was initially announced as 4-6 weeks, which would make him available sometime in September. DeChristopher was already back on the practice field this week, but wearing a blue non-contact jersey. Running back Dominique Patterson is out "a couple weeks" with a sprained ankle, quarterback Mark Leal (groin) and wide receiver D.J. Coles (hamstring) have been held out of practice and are "doubtful" for Saturday's scrimmage.
One point of concern from the injury reports are in regards to star cornerback Jayron Hosley. Hosley participated in Tuesday's practice, but was wearing a non-contact jersey. CBSSports.com's Sean Bielawski reports that the injury is "not considered serious." [Rapid Reports]
- Speaking of Hosely, his presence on the field will be a necessity for the Hokies defense. The lockdown corner is coming off a fantastic 2010 campaign, and will have an impact when every opposing quarterback drops back to pass. First-year starting cornerback Kyle Fuller knows that playing opposite Hosley will lead to plenty of looks his way.
"Teams aren't going to want to throw to Jayron [Hosley]," Fuller said. "So I think I'm going to have a lot of opportunities to make some plays this year." [Rapid Reports]
- Obviously the top question for the offense for many is how Logan Thomas will perform stepping in to a position that ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor had his hands on for four years. Beamer offered some early comparison that should encourage doubting Hokie fans.
"I think he's got a lot of the same qualities as Tyrod," Beamer said. "I think he's smart. He's competitive. He works hard. I think he's a very natural leader, great character. So, he's got a lot of the same things as Tyrod, except about four inches taller." [Rapid Reports]
- Beamer also weighed in on the Twitter debate, explaining why he will not follow the likes of Boise State, South Carolina, and Kansas in banning Twitter use during the season.
"I think you educate your kids, and then they're responsible for their actions," Beamer said. "People have got to make good decisions. Part of us as coaches is to help kids get to the position where ether make good decisions." [Rapid Reports]
For more daily updates from Virginia Tech training camp follow Sean Bielawski's Rapid Reports and the ACC Blog.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 1:31 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As defending ACC Champions, it was no surprise to see Virginia Tech pull in several preseason honors at the ACC Football Kickoff last week in Pinehurst. The Hokies were once again picked by the media to win the Coastal Division, and three players were selected to the preseason All-ACC team.
One of those players, senior tackle Blake DeChristopher, is now questionable for the start of the season after straining a pectoral muscle. According to the team's trainer, DeChristopher strained his left pectoral muscle and will be out 4-6 weeks recovering.
While the Hokies are flushed with returning talent on the offensive line, losing a player of DeChristopher's caliber is a huge blow to the unit. He has been a starter since arriving in Blacksburg, and never has the line more important than they will be protecting new starting quarterback Logan Thomas and clearing holes for junior running back David Wilson.
Either redshirt junior Michael Via or junior Vinston Painter is expected to take over DeChristopher's duties until his return.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 6:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale is entering fall camp wearing multiple hats for the Hokies. In addition to being one of the primary returning receivers, the senior has also made himself a player in the competition for the starting punter job. Coale fielded several questions regarding the possible position change, including the challenges of running a deep route on 3rd Down and having to transition right into the kicking game. Coale said he has worked on his conditioning over the Summer, but his "primary role is receiver."
Another interesting piece Coale offered was a comparison between last year's ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies' current starter Logan Thomas. "Their approach is the same, off the field and on the field," Coale explained. "Their attitude towards study is the same. When you have someone who is passionate about the game like Tyrod, that helps."
If the 6-foot-6, 245 pound sophomore can exhibit any of the creative playmaking ability of his predecessor, the Hokies will be tough to scheme against in the league this fall.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 3:16 pm
Virginia Tech sophomore Logan Thomas calls in to talk to Adam Aizer about the upcoming season and taking over the quarterback job for the defending ACC champions.
Thomas was named the Hokies' top offensive performer of spring practice and is ready to show his stuff. Thomas saw action last season in seven games, but threw just 26 passes for 107 yards and is still looking for his first career touchdown pass.
Thomas also talks about the favorite in the ACC, Florida State, but he expects Virginia Tech to be right there and compete for another ACC title.
Watch the entire interview below or download the Podcast here.
Posted on: May 26, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:57 am
By the Eye on College Football bloggers
To celebrate the 100 99 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy.
90. T.Y. HILTON, receiver/returner, FIU. Every so often, a player rises up from the lower rungs of college football to make a credible run at the Heisman Trophy: Garrett Wolfe at Northern Illinois, Steve McNair at Alcorn State, Gordie Lockbaum once upon a time at Holy Cross. And if that's happening this year, the smartest bet is on Hilton, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year and leader in all-purpose yardage.
But if Hilton does make a splash nationally, it won't be for his accolades, statistics, or even team success (though Hilton led his Golden Panthers to their first bowl berth and conference title last season, and could repeat the feat). It'll be for his electric playmaking, on full display in last year's Little Caesar's Bowl, when his 89-yard kickoff return for touchdown and 4th-and-17 conversion keyed a thrilling Panther comeback. Put a few more of those types of plays on SportsCenter (particularly in an early-season Friday night visit to Louisville), and the sky -- or more specifically, New York -- might be the limit. -- JH
89. LOGAN THOMAS, quarterback, Virginia Tech. Since joining the ACC in 2004, the Hokies have won four conference championships and four Coastal Division titles. The league's expansion might have expected to highlight Florida State and Miami, but it has been the Hokies who have most often represented the conference on the national stage. But for the last four years of that run, the Hokies were had ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor. Now Taylor is gone, and it's Thomas who's set to take his place.
The redshirt sophomore has already impressed coaches and teammates with his performance in spring practice, and the hopes are high for his first season as the Hokies starter. Standing at 6-foot-6, Thomas often looked like the big brother as Taylor tutored him throughout last season. With quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain now assuming the play-calling duties, the offense will run through Thomas. Tech has many of the pieces in place to defend their ACC championship, but they'll need Thomas to settle in quickly to get it done. -- CP
88. AT&T PARK, temporary home stadium, Cal. For the first time since 1923, the California Golden Bears will play their home games somewhere other than California Memorial Stadium. As the university enters the final stages of their $321 million retrofit and renovation project, the Bears will play their home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco - home of the Giants. The setup for football won't be entirely foreign for the venue -- it's the home of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl -- but it will be an inconvenient trip for players, students and fans so used to their home games in Berkeley.
With four critical, winnable home games on their Pac-12 slate (highlighted by visits from USC and Utah), how well the Bears adapt to their new surroundings could well determine the trajectory of Jeff Tedford's Bears tenure. After four seasons with no fewer than four losses and no league finish higher than fourth, Tedford needs a big year to avoid a make-or-break 2012 season, and given the Bears' rigorous road schedule (at Oregon, at Stanford) that simply won't happen if Cal spits the bit at AT&T Park. The stadium could be Tedford's sanctuary; it could prove to be his house of horrors. -- CP
87. VICTOR ANDERSON, running back, Louisville. In 2008, Anderson rushed for 1,047 yards and 8 touchdowns, numbers good enough for him to be named the Big East Rookie of the Year. But nagging injuries over the last two seasons have prevented Anderson from recapturing that freshman form. Now, for the first time since that promising campaign, Anderson is 100 percent healthy.
Just in time, too, for Charlie Strong's second season as Cardinal head coach. With very little chance to prove himself in 2010, some believed that sophomore Jeremy Wright might replace the dominant Bilal Powell as the 'Ville's starting running back. But after one of his best springs since stepping on campus, Anderson has reclaimed the greater share of snaps in the Cardinals' backfield. There will be a lot of pressure for Strong to repeat the success of 2010, and he's already shown his affection for the rushing game. If the Cardinals are going back to the postseason again, they'll need 2008's Anderson (or better) in 2011. -- CP
86. CASE KEENUM'S KNEE, body part, Houston quarterback. The coronation of college football's newest passing king looked to be in serious jeopardy last fall when Keenum, a senior, suffered a season-ending ACL tear during an ill-advised attempt at a tackle against UCLA. Keenum had been on pace to set NCAA records in career yards and touchdowns before the injury, but there's no progress to be made there on the sidelines.
Fortunately for Keenum, he was granted a sixth year of eligibility this January, meaning not only does he have another shot at setting those NCAA records, but he's 636 yards and three touchdowns closer. At this point, the biggest obstancle in Keenum's way is his own health. His rehab's on track so far, and he's going to be doing 7-on-7 drills with his receivers to get that all-important timing down, but how is he going to respond physically and mentally to this setback? Can he still set those records? Will his knee allow him to? -- AJ
85. LSU AT ALABAMA, potential Game of the Year, SEC. In a division where as many as four or five teams can have realistic dreams of a top-10 season and a trip to Atlanta, there's no shortage of "Game of the Year" candidates. Pair off any one of Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State -- a group featuring three of the last four national champions, a fourth team coming off a Sugar Bowl berth, and a fifth coached by a man with two national title rings himself -- and you're going to get not only a potential classic, but the game that could decide the outcome of the nation's hands-down strongest division.
But even taking into account the South Carolina-Georgia-Florida round-robin in the East, the single game most likely to produce the SEC's 2011 champion will be played between the Tide and Tigers on Nov. 5. Both teams will bring wicked defenses, explosive athletes, powerful running games (at least, if we're right about Spencer Ware) ... and potentially shaky quarterback situations that could derail either team's title dreams. It all collides head-on in Tuscaloosa, and whatever the result, the SEC season won't be remotely the same in its aftermath. -- JH
Coker -- who probably would have redshirted were it not for a slew of injuries in front of him on the depth chart -- is now the unquestioned workhorse in the Iowa backfield after the departures of every other tailback with even one down of experience. He's clearly got the physical gifts to make it work (and a talented, veteran line in front of him), but will Coker's bruising style of play hold up through an entire season in the Big Ten? --AJ
83. DANNY O'BRIEN, quarterback, Maryland. When 2010's ACC Rookie of the Year takes the field for his sophomore campaign this fall, in some ways it will feel as new as last September when the Kernersville, NC native took the conference by storm. After leading the Terrapins within a game of an Atlantic Division title, head coach Ralph Friedgen was fired, and offensive coordinator James Franklin took the head coaching job at Vanderbilt. O'Brien's favorite receiver, junior Torrey Smith, took his 1,055 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns to the NFL.
Now O'Brien returns with expectations to repeat last year's success in College Park. But this go-round he has a new head coach (Randy Edsall) and new offensive coordinator (Gary Crowton). Luckily, neither coach is lacking in experience, and there should be plenty of learning opportunities for the sophomore gunslinger. Now O'Brien must seize control of those opportunities to keep Maryland --as Terps fans expect -- in the Atlantic Division hunt. -- CP
82. DECLAN SULLIVAN, late student videographer, Notre Dame. Though Notre Dame's 2010 campaign finished on a high note on the field, the season had already been irreparably marred by the tragic October death of Declan Sullivan. Sullivan lost his life when the scissor lift he was on while filming an Irish practice toppled over in high winds. (At right, that's a picture of Oregon's D.J. Davis wearing Sullivan's photo on his handwarmer as a tribute.) Notre Dame was fined for the accident and has since taken steps to make sure it never happens again, filming practice by placing cameras at different angles around the field rather than putting students on top of lifts.
It's a practice that a lot of schools would be smart to adapt, and it's one example of how Sullivan's legacy -- we desperately hope -- impacts the 2011 season and beyond. Whether it's discontinuing the use of lifts, using better equipment to reduce the risk of injury, closer supervision of player workouts, even more regular medical check-ups for stressed-out coaches, college football must do a better job of ensuring the safety of those involved with it. The lesson from the Sullivan tragedy is that those in charge must be proactive in making the necessary changes; even if the number of deaths from lift incidents stops, forever, at one, that one is still far, far too many. -- TF
81. WILL LYLES, scouting service director, Houston, Texas. The man who runs Complete Scouting Services has become the face of one of the NCAA's latest, biggest targets: scouting services. These alleged "street agents" associated with different scouting services came under fire earlier this spring when it was revealed that Oregon paid Lyles $24,000 for his services before signing coveted recruit Lache Seatrunk. Since then, the public has slowly learned more and more about the scouting service industry.
What they have learned is that Oregon is not the only school that uses them. In fact, many schools pay scouting services for DVD's, measurements, and other information that may help in recruiting. But the dollar amounts in some cases do not exactly fall in line with "standard prices." Lyles is currently being investigated by the NCAA for his ties to Seastrunk, LaMichael James (also at Oregon), and Patrick Peterson (formerly of LSU). If the NCAA decides that Lyles helped lead them to their respective schools, he would become a booster and thus a walking violation of NCAA rules. If (or when) the NCAA crackdown on scouting services takes its next step, it will be because of the spotlight on Lyles. -- CP
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Alcorn State, Arkansas, AT&T Park, Auburn, Big East, Big Ten, Bilal Powell, Cal, California Memorial Stadium, Case Keenum, Case Keenum's knee, CBSSports.com College Football 100, Charlie Strong, Complete Scouting Services, Danny O'Brien, DeClaen Sullivan, FIU, Florida, Florida State, Garrett Wolfe, Gary Crowton, Georgia, Gordie Lockbaum, Holy Cross, Insight Bowl, James Franklin, Jarrell Harrison, Jeff Tedford, Jeremy Wright, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Lache Seastrunk, LaMichael James, Little Caesar's Bowl, Logan Thomas, Louisville, LSU, LSU, Marcus Coker, Maryland, Miami, Mike O'Cain, Mississippi State, Missouri, NCAA, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pac-12, Patrick Peterson, Ralph Friedgen, Randy Edsall, SEC, South Carolina, Spencer Ware, Stanford, Steve McNair, Sun Belt, T.Y. Hilton, Torrey Smith, Tyrod Taylor, UCLA, USC, Utah, Victor Anderson, Virginia Tech, Will Lyles
Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
We've already talked about No. 1, but the end of spring has also meant a revision of the rest of the preseason top 25, like our colleague Dennis Dodd's. What teams do you feel like might deserve a better ranking at this stage (or one at all)? What teams do you feel like might be ranked too highly?
Jerry Hinnen: There always seems to be one team from the SEC that comes from outside the preseason polls and surprises--think Mississippi State last year, Ole Miss in 2008, etc. But Dennis's 25 already includes every SEC team but Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and I'm not sold on any of those teams as poll material. (There's a case to be made for the Vols, but only if Tyler Bray takes a major step forward, and his 5-for-30 spring game suggests that step may not be imminent.)
So I'll look elsewhere for a sleeper and mention how much I like San Diego State. The Aztecs have absorbed some heavy losses in their pair of NFL-bound wideouts and, of course, the head coach-offensive coordinator pairing of Brady Hoke and Al Borges. But Ronnie Hillman is an All-American running back waiting to happen, and senior Ryan Lindley is easily the best MWC quarterback this side of Kellen Moore. Together, they're one of the nation's best RB-QB combos, and new OC Andy Ludwig (the man behind Utah's undefeated 2008 attack) should know how to get the most out of them.
Defensively, the Aztecs should be much more comfortable in the second year of Rocky Long's unorthodox 3-3-5 scheme, and the schedule also offers the opportunity for two huge statement wins since TCU and Boise State travel to San Diego. Put it all together, and I don't think the departures of Hoke and Borges will be nearly enough to stop the program's momentum towards the polls.
Bryan Fischer: One team I think is a bit under the radar is Georgia. The Dawgs get the other division favorite, South Carolina, early in the schedule--that could be key if the Gamecocks are breaking in Connor Shaw, who has all of 33 passes to his name. I'm concerned about Georgia's running game but they have a good quarterback and the defense should be markedly improved in year two under Todd Grantham.
West Virginia is another team that can really make a move. They lose a lot from last year on defense but should be solid nevertheless. They might have one of the best offenses in the country with Geno Smith running the show and get their big non-conference game against LSU at home.
Chip Patterson: I agree with Bryan that West Virginia is a team that could cause some problems this fall. Dana Holgorsen might have done the coaching job of the year in 2010 with Oklahoma State's offense; the Cowboys did not return a single offensive lineman and his scheme resulted in the third-most productive offense in the nation anyway. Now he gets a stable full of athletes that, in many people's opinions, have been underperforming under Bill Stewart. Smith is the type of quarterback who can be a threat in Holgorsen's spread, especially once he gets familiar with the reads and changing plays at the line of scrimmage. The toughest challenge on the Mountaineers' slate is an early-season battle with LSU in Morgantown (as Bryan mentioned). I think that game is winnable, and could give them confidence headed into the back-loaded conference schedule.
Virginia Tech, though, is a huge question mark in my opinion. While I'm not sure whether they will end up higher or lower than 17, there's as much of a chance of them finishing the season unranked as getting to 10 wins. Their schedule does set up extremely well, with Clemson, Miami and North Carolina coming to Blacksburg and Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State avoided completely. But Logan Thomas needs to prove himself in a game situation, and running back David Wilson will have to work without Darren Evans or Ryan Williams to compliment him. Even if the Hokies finish the season strong, the eye test does not have them as "Top 20 good" just yet.
Adam Jacobi: After the first, oh, eight teams, I've got some major concerns about nearly every team on the list. Spring is the season for questions, of course, but it's like, "Michigan State at 11? Really? Wisconsin at 12? Really? Arkansas at 13? Really?" But you look at that list, and yeah, that's about right.
The one team that stands out to me is Notre Dame, who sort of creeps in under the radar at 19. I don't expect that sterling recruiting class to make much of an impact in Year 1, but there's a lot of talent coming back for Brian Kelly to build on. They have options at quarterback with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, the passing game basically only lost tight end Kyle Rudolph (who was injured for the second half of the season anyway), and four of five starting linemen return. The defense, meanwhile, is still led by Manti Te'o and returns its top eight tacklers. There's some retooling to do up the middle of the front seven, but the leadership and experience are there for the D to take a big step forward this year.
Lastly, I really like the Irish's schedule. The only truly worrisome game is the season finale at Stanford; the rest of the games are winnable. That's not to say the Irish are definitely going 11-1 in the regular season -- that's not happening without a ton of luck -- but it's a nice very-best-case scenario.
BF: I think the top 10 is pretty much standard for everyone. Sure, you can change the order and move teams around, but you can't argue with those 10 teams much.
After that, I have an issue with Auburn at 15. I know they're the defending champions, but they lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Tigers have a very tough schedule where they could take some losses. I'm also not sold on Utah after watching them collapse down the stretch last year, and they've had a ton of guys sit out this spring with injuries. I'd swap them in the rankings with USC -- who has depth issues but also has Matt Barkley and Robert Woods throwing the ball around -- or UCF.
AJ: Here's something I want to know -- what do you do about Ohio State if you're a voter? Do you ding them since the Buckeye Five are suspended for five games? Do you un-ding them when they come back? How many spots does Jim Tressel's situation cost them? What's the protocol here?
Tom Fornelli: I would have them lower on my rankings, personally. Losing some of your best players and your head coach for five games is a big deal, even if those games are against MACifices that shouldn't prove much of a test to the Buckeyes. Either way, those players and Tressel aren't there to start the season, so we should treat Ohio State as if they're not there. And do you see Ohio State being a top-25 team with Joe Bauserman?
JH: Disagree. I don't think there's a "protocol" on how to deal with the Buckeyes' current (unprecedented) situation as it relates to preseason polls; your guess is as good as mine is as good as anyone else's. But I don't think dropping them out of the top 25 all together is fair. Until we hear otherwise from the NCAA, the Buckeye Five and Tressel won't miss any more than the first (mostly winnable) five games. Dropping them entirely -- under the mere assumption Tressel, Pryor, et al are a dead team walking -- seems to put the cart before the horse.
TF: Seriously, though, I need somebody to explain to me why Arizona State is suddenly the cool team to vote for. Do people just really like their new uniforms? Is Vontaze Burfict sitting over their shoulders as they fill out their brackets? This is a team that won six games last year, with those six wins coming against Portland State, Northern Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and Arizona. Arizona is the only impressive win on that list, and it was a one-point victory in double overtime. This is a team that may have a lot of returning starters this year, but they're returning starters from a team that wasn't exactly a world-beater last season. Also, after losing quarterback Steven Threet to injury, the guy who has to lead that returning-starter-filled offense is still new.
JH: You didn't even mention their plague of torn ACLs this spring. I wish I could disagree -- the Sun Devils have had a ton of bad luck the last couple of seasons -- but they strike me, too, as a prime candidate to disappoint.
Tags: Al Borges, Andy Ludwig, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Bill Stewart, Boise State, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, Buckeye Five, Clemson, Connor Shaw, Dana Holgorsen, Darren Evans, David Wilson, Dayne Crist, Eye on CFB Roundtable, Florida State, Geno Smith, Georgia, Jim Tressel, Joe Bauserman, Kellen Moore, Kentucky, Kyle Rudolph, Logan Thomas, Manti Te'o, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Mississippi State, N.C. State, NCAA, North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Portland State, Ronnie Hillman, Ryan Lindley, Ryan Williams, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Steven Threet, TCU, Tennessee, Todd Grantham, Tommy Rees, Tyler Bray, UCF, UCLA, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Vontaze Burfict, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin