Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:21 pm
 

Denard Robinson is loved, has song to prove it

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Denard Robinson has seen some tough times during his career at Michigan, joining the program as it was transitioning from Lloyd Carr's old pro-style offenses to those of Rich Rodriguez's spread attack. Robinson then had to adjust to a pro-style offense once Rodriguez was replaced with Brady Hoke, and he seemed to adapt pretty well.

While Robinson isn't the prettiest passer in the world, he did help lead Michigan out of those dark times and back to the BCS and helped pick up a victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. So, understandably, he's a popular guy in Ann Arbor.

So popular, in fact, that he's having love songs written about him.



The song was written by Pat Stansik, and performed by Ann Arbor band Mind's Eyes. Normally I'm not a huge fan of love songs about quarterbacks -- when will somebody write an ode to an offensive tackle!? -- but considering that this song somehow works in the word "dilithium" and makes it fit, I'm going to give it a thumbs up.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:59 am
 

Report: The Big 12 has eight schedules prepared

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There have been a number of times over the last two weeks in which the Big 12 was supposed to release its schedule for the 2012 season, and each one of those times has come and gone without a Big 12 schedule. As a result, it's the middle of February, and we still don't know when and where the conference's schools will be playing each other this season.

Though according to a report in The Oklahoman, the Big 12 has a schedule ready. In fact, according to the report, the conference has eight different schedules prepared, it's just not ready to release any of them yet.

The word is that the conference could release its schedule some time this week, possibly as soon as Monday, but if there are really still eight different models being considered, you have to believe we've still got some time to wait before finding out for sure.

Though at the same time, maybe the Big 12 should just announce whatever schedule it is that Texas Tech accidentally released. Last week Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he expected the schedule to be released on Friday, but the day came and went without a Big 12 schedule. That is, unless you have the official Texas Tech app on your mobile phone.

Then you would know Texas Tech's schedule in 2012.

The fact that Texas Tech accidentally released its schedule goes against the report that there are eight different schedules being considered. Maybe there had been at one point, but it seems that Texas Tech was fairly sure which schedule is going to be used.

Of course, when it comes to the Big 12's schedule these days, it's probably safest to assume nothing and just hope it's out some time before August.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook    
Posted on: February 10, 2012 4:30 pm
 

West Virginia has some new billboards

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While West Virginia is making its way to a new era in the Big 12, it's not quite ready to forget about its past. Well, at least not its recent past. 

If you've been cruising along any interstates near Morgantown in recent days, you may have noticed these nice reminders about West Virginia's recent success against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.



While this may seem somewhat insulting to Clemson fans, let's remember that the billboards are in West Virginia, not South Carolina. So it's not as if the Mountaineers are rubbing it in anyone's face.

Though a part of me does wonder if spending money on billboards is the best thing for a school that currently owes the Big East $20 million to do right now.

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Irish name Chuck Martin offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame made a few coaching announcements on Friday, including the announcement that former safeties coach Chuck Martin would be taking over as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“I’m excited about that move,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “Chuck and I have a shared vision as it relates to our offense. He is experienced and knows what I’m looking for.” 

What Notre Dame is looking for is a consistency on offense, and in order to find that, the Irish will need a quarterback to emerge. Which is something Martin talked about on Friday as well.

"You'd love to have one," said Martin. "Is it realistic? I don't know. It's going to play out in the spring. Maybe somebody takes it and runs with it and comes into their own and they've played themself ahead of the other group.

"If it's not that…then you still got a long evaluation period in the fall. For me, it would be awesome if we did have a clear-cut starter, but it won't be a big deal to me and it won't be a big deal to coach Kelly. You can name your starter the day before the first game and it can be fine, he can go and win the Heisman Trophy. There's no magical answer." 

Notre Dame went into the 2011 season much the same way, with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees battling for the job during the spring and fall before Crist won the competition. Then one bad half from Crist in the season opener against South Florida led to Rees taking the job and Crist eventually heading to Kansas.

The difference this spring is the competition is now between four quarterbacks, not just the two. Rees will be competing with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, and the prize of Notre Dame's latest recruiting class, Gunner Kiel.

So while Chuck Martin may not know who his quarterback is yet, he does have options.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:44 pm
 

Report: Big 12 schedule released on Friday

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The 2012 Big 12 football schedule has become some kind of modern day Ark of the Covenant. People seem to think they know where it is, and what's on it, but until Chuck Neinas comes down from a mountain with the dates etched in stone, nobody really knows anything.

Though that could change on Friday.

That's the date Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the schedule is going to come out.

“It’s time for the schedule to come out,” Hocutt told the paper. “But at the same time even up until 7:30 (Wednesday) night we were having conversations about various adjustments within the schedule. It is going to come out (Friday) and I’m pleased with the end result. It think it will be one of the best home schedules we’ve possibly had in program history, or at least in quite some time. Unfortunately, given the circumstances we’ve faced, it’s a lot later than anyone wanted.” 

Of course, as has been well-documented, the hold up on the release of the Big 12 schedule has been implementing TCU and West Virginia into it. TCU hasn't been much of a problem, outside already having a non-conference game scheduled in the Big 12 before joining the conference. The real delay has been caused by West Virginia.

More specifically, is West Virginia going to be in the Big 12 next season.

The school has maintained it'll be joining the Big 12 this summer all along, and all signs currently point to that being the case, but as I said earlier in this post, it isn't safe to assume anything just yet. Though if the schedule is in fact released on Friday, and West Virginia is on it, I think that would be a pretty good sign.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook  
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

What are the chances of the BCS adopting the Big Ten's home-field semifinals playoff proposal? And if they do, how much of a good thing (if at all) is that for college football? 

Tom Fornelli: I think it's clear at this point that the playoff is coming. Whether or not it's going to be the Big Ten's proposal of the top two seeds hosting semifinal games, I'm not sure.

I do think that's the best way of going about things for the schools and fans, though. It would minimize travel costs for the schools, and it's the only way to make things fair. Hosting the games at places like the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl wouldn't be. Right now, if you're a Big Ten or Big 12 team and you land in the top two, you're not only traveling outside your home state but your entire conference footprint to play in those locations.

Plus, how exciting would it be to see a school like Florida possibly having to travel up north to play Wisconsin in Madison during December? We already know what happens to the Big Ten when it has to head south for the winter. With this proposal we'd get to see what happens to the SEC when it's forced to head north.

As for whether or not this would be a good thing for college football, I don't see how it would be a bad thing. You take a lot of the money that you've been giving to bowl games and put that cash into the schools. Plus, as long as you keep the playoff to the top four teams, get rid of the BCS AQ statuses and everything else, you can restore the bowl traditions that are so important to everybody.

Chip Patterson: I'm with Tom: I don't see how this could be a bad thing. I certainly understand there are plenty of concerns along the way, but any step in this direction is one I support.  

Allowing the top two seeds to host the semi-final games also keeps the integrity of the BCS system intact.  At its core, the system is meant only to determine the two best teams in college football.  Now those two teams will have the advantage of getting to play the gridiron's version of the Final 4 round on their home turf.    Those who are calling for a large-scale playoff would likely be appeased with this one step forward, and the bowl experience that means so much to the fans and players can continue as it has for years.  There is no rich tradition for the BCS National Championship Game itself, so altering the process at the top does not hinder the game of college football. 

Jerry Hinnen: I'm afraid I can see how this proposal could be, if not a bad thing, a worse thing than it should be. 

There's two downsides to the Big Ten's plan as presented. The first is that it proposes to yoink those top four teams out of the bowl pool entirely, meaning that the two semifinal losers wouldn't get the bowl experience at all, despite having the kind of season that would have put them in the BCS top four to begin with. If you're, say, Stanford and your postseason experience is traveling to Columbus to watch your season end in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in 25-degree weather, I'm not sure at all that's going to feel like much of a reward. I'd much prefer the semifinals be played in mid-December, with the losers still eligible for BCS selection; it's better for the teams (who get their deserved week of bowl festivities) and better for the bowls (who get better matchups). 

The other downside is an unavoidable one: that this could be the first step down that slippery slope to the sort of eight- or 12- or 16-team playoff that sees the college football equivalent of the New York Giants ride a single hot streak past more deserving teams to a national championship. This is another reason the Big Ten proposal should do more to placate the major bowls--they've collectively taken a lot of heat for their role in preserving the BCS's current status quo, but their money and influence are also a key line of defense in ensuring the "plus-one" doesn't become a "plus-six."

But whatever downsides you come up with are always going to pale in comparison to the upside. The biggest flaw of the BCS has always been the No. 3 team that deserved its shot as much as either (or both) of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams and didn't get it, the team that -- as Phil Steele has called it -- needs to be in the playoff. The squabbles over No. 4 vs. No. 5 are going to continue, yes, but that's a small price to pay for giving 2001 Miami, 2003 USC, 2004 Auburn, 2010 TCU, or 2011 Oklahoma State their shot. Giving them that shot in an electric on-campus atmosphere -- be it in the Midwest, on the West Coast, the Southeast, wherever -- makes a huge triumph for college football that much more, well, huge.

Bryan Fischer: We're moving toward change, but what form it takes certainly remains to be seen. Let's be clear that there were something like 50 proposals presented at the last BCS meeting, so what's notable is not this specific Big Ten proposal but the fact that the conference has changed its tune and is open to some sort of playoff.


Jim Delany has two things he is looking to accomplish no matter what happens with the BCS: keep the Big Ten in a seat of power and protect the Rose Bowl. This proposal does both and seems to be a win-win for just about everybody. I think we're moving in the right direction and Delany is finally going with the flow instead of obstructing it.

Having seen how well things worked out for the Pac-12 with an on-campus championship game, I'm in favor of including a home field advantage tie-in no matter what proposal surfaces. The detractors are always worried about the regular season and keeping the bowl system and a plus-one/four-team playoff would make things meaningful during the year and keep the current structure (more Alamo Bowls!) in place. The most interesting thing, to me, will be how long we'll be stuck with the system. It could be a 10-plus year deal--which is interesting if tweaks need to be made in order to ensure a better playoff system.

TF: I would think that the any deal has to be longer than 10 years, just because conferences are going to want to keep things from expanding to 8 teams or 16 teams for as long as possible. Because we all know that as soon as the four-team playoff begins, then so will the "Expand the playoffs!" arguments. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:40 pm
 

MWC commish 'open' to Minnesota AD job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi won't be officially retired until June 30th, but the school would like to have his successor in place before then, and one name that has come up is current Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.

Thompson, who has been the commissioner of the Mountain West since the conference was first formed in 1999, is a Minnesota graduate. He's also said he's open to the idea of returning to the school to run its athletic department.

"But there would be a million questions to learn more about the position," Thompson told the Pioneer Press. "Is there a budget deficit? Is fundraising the issue? Is the focus on rebuilding the football program? Are there academic concerns? Is there a support system to graduate student-athletes? There would be a lot more to know about the needs and wants of the athletic department before you can even think about taking the next step."

While there are plenty of questions for Thompson to ask Minnesota, there are probably just as many questions for him to ask the Mountain West. The first question being, what would Thompson's role be within the conference should it merge with Conference USA?

With the future of the Mountain West being unclear at the moment, this might be the best time for Thompson to make the next move in his career.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook 
Posted on: February 3, 2012 6:55 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 6:55 pm
 

New Wolverine already trash-talking the Buckeyes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins has been a Wolverine for roughly two days, having sent in his letter of intent to Michigan on Wednesday. Still, just because he's new, that doesn't mean Pipkins doesn't know the company line when it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Pipkins is not a fan, and he's not shy about sharing his feelings.

"Who are you talking about?" Pipkins asked in a radio interview in Ann Arbor on Friday.  "Are you talking about those people down south? I don't want to give them the time of day.

"We're going to see them Nov. 24 at that 'Shoe.' In the next couple years, we'll see them at the Big House, but it's just going to be like it was last year."

For those who need reminding, Michigan beat Ohio State 40-34 in Ann Arbor this past November, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes in their annual, season-ending rivalry game.

Pipkins didn't stop there, either, going on to talk about some of his fellow incoming freshman. Pipkins said that when Michigan signee Kyle Kalis faced Ohio State recruit Tommy Schutt in the Army All-American Game, Schutt "ate turf. He at turf the entire time."

Pipkins also talked about his matchup with Ohio State's newest offensive lineman Kyle Dodson in the same game.

"I gave a little bit to what's his name, Dodson," Pipkins said. "He ran away from me. That's what they do. They run their mouth, and then when they meet up with the belly of the beast -- I call myself that because I am -- then they run away. When it comes to reality, they want to run away."

Pipkins hasn't even spent a minute in an Ann Arbor classroom, yet it seems he's already aced "Ohio State Hating 101."

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com