Posted on: April 27, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Tornado runs by Bryant-Denny Stadium

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Needless to say, there are things going on in the state of Alabama today, and all through the south, that are a lot more important than college football. Tornadoes have been all over the area, with some towns like Huntsville, Alabama reporting that five tornadoes had touched down within the city's limits at the same time.

Then there's this video, taken by Clay Hasenfuss of Tuscaloosa showing his view of a tornado from his apartment. You'll notice the large structure in the background just in front of the tornado. That would be Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Thoughts and prayers go out from everybody here at CBSSports.com to all those in Alabama and everywhere else dealing with the devastating force of Mother Nature today.

Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:07 pm

SEC ref: no 'borderline' unsportsmanlike flags

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Aside from possibly Cam Newton (in locales outside of East Central Alabama, anyway), there's nothing college football fans despise more than an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with the game on the line. There's not a fan alive who wouldn't prefer officials keep their flags in their pocket whenever possible, and given the emotion, competitiveness and spectacle of a big college football game, it's almost always possible to let a touchdown celebration to go unpunished.

Which is why the NCAA's decision to potentially make those penalties even more damaging in 2011 -- by making them a live ball foul when committed before the whistle, thus able to take an otherwise legitimate touchdown off the board -- has already become the most criticized, most hated rules change in recent memory.

But one SEC official says the furor is going to be much ado about nothing. Speaking to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the SEC's John Wright assures fans the zebras aren't going to deploy the nuclear unsportsmanlike option unless they have to (emphasis added):
Wright ... says conference officials won’t be “nitpicky.”

“If somebody turns a flip or flips a bird at somebody, a team should be penalized,” he said. “But if somebody does something borderline, we will not call it. Everybody in the stadium will know (that it was an unsportsmanlike act) if we call it.

“The way we have been told (by the SEC), these things have to jump out at you. If a guy stands over somebody and beats his chest, we know that’s a foul.”
SEC supervisor of officials Steve Shaw echoed Wright's statements, saying the league has made those calls a point of offseason emphasis and that "we don't want to be too technical" when applying the rule.

But we already knew the SEC doesn't like overzealous unsportsmanlike flags. Remember A.J. Green getting penalized for this in the dying minutes against LSU?

The league subsequently admitted the call had been blown, but by then the Bulldogs had already lost. And even if the SEC is doing its best to prevent needless unsportsmanlike calls, what about the leagues whose officials have been responsible for this ...

... or this* ...

If there's any silver lining to this collection of horrors, it's that even in 2011, none of these flags would have negated the touchdowns in question. But that lining doesn't remove the giant black cloud that suggests that given the power to unnecessarily alter the score over perceived unsportsmanlike conduct, some official somewhere will.

So we appreciate Wright's reassurances. But until/unless we actually reach the end of the 2011 season without some new outrage perpetrated by this rule, we're going to continue believing this to be a terrible, terrible idea.

*Incidentally, this was the officiating decision which Lou Holtz would later decry as a "shavesty of justice." Just so you know.

HT: DocSat.

Posted on: April 25, 2011 1:37 pm

VIDEO: 32 years of college football intros

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Already feeling like you'd hit your own mama, Chris Paul- style, if it meant college football season started tomorrow? Want to feel even more desperate for a kickoff that's still an agonizing four-plus months away?

Of course you do. So watch the following video from YouTube user (and Michigan fan, if it wasn't obvious) "WolverineHistorian," which spends an amazing five-plus minutes documenting 32 years of college football broadcast intros from ABC, ESPN, and of course CBS:

If we could register one minor complaint, it's that the video doesn't include any of the "SEC on CBS" intros of recent vintage, which both we (and we know a number of college football fans) are rather partial to. (Though it makes sense, of course, since none of those broadcasts have featured Michigan.) So to make up for that omission, here's the SEC on CBS intro from the 2006 season:

And now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to find some way of going into suspended animation until mid-August.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Michigan, SEC, video
Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 1:27 pm

Vontaze Burfict's brand of leadership

Posted by Tom Fornelli

To a man, all of us here at the Eye On College Football blog had a bit of a chuckle when we came across a headline we saw in the Arizona Republic on Friday morning. That headline was "ASU's Vontaze Burfict embracing leadership role." Don't get us wrong, it's not as if any of us don't think Burfict is a very good football player; we know he is. It was just, given his penchant for personal foul penalties, we wondered if having Burfict as your defensive leader on the field is really the smartest decision for Arizona State to make.

I mean, is this really the kind of example you want your team to follow?

And that's just one incident, head on over to YouTube and watch all the others for yourself if you like. Just know that Dennis Erickson benched Burfict for his behavior on the field last season. And now he's going to be the leader on defense? So, eventually, the discussion amongst us turned to possible headlines we may see about Arizona State next season, and they were too good not so share with the rest of you.

Just remember that it's all in good fun. So, here you go.

Week 4: "Arizona State falls to USC; Matt Barkley unsure whether he'll press charges"

Week 6: "Utah announces its return to Mountain West after victory over Arizona State"

Week 7: "Devils embracing Burfect leadership; Oregon assistant to be released from hospital tonight"

Week 8: "Chicago gang decides to stop wearing Arizona State merchandise following visit from Vontaze Burfict on Devils' bye week"

Week 10: "Sun Devils stand behind Burfict, say hospitalized umpire 'had it coming'"

Week 12: "Devils refuse to give up hostages, ATF says cafeteria 'impregnable" for time being"

January 2012: "NCAA unanimously approves 'Burfict Rule'"

So, as you can see, it should be an interesting season at Arizona State.

Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:17 pm

Iowa State getting its own giant scoreboard

Posted by Tom Fornelli

That photo above is an artist's rendering of what the new scoreboard that Iowa State began working on this week. As you can see, the giant scoreboard will be built to tower over the school's Jacobson Athletic Building at the north end of Jack Trice Stadium. The plan is to have the scoreboard up and running before Iowa State plays its first home game this fall.

“With the Regents’ approval last month, we can now move forward expediently to have the video display and sound system ready to go when the Cyclones hit the field this fall,” Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said. “The amazing display and the versatility of the board will be a huge enhancement to the game-day enjoyment for fans. It’s like adding a huge flat screen HD television to your home.

“The impact of this structure on our football program is hard to quantify, but its size, quality and versatility will significantly enhance Jack Trice Stadium. Beyond a significant upgrade of entertainment possibilities, it also helps us maximize marketing potential within the stadium.”

The scoreboard will measure 36 feet high by 79.5 feet wide, and of course will feature a HD screen. Still, the question is, what should be the first video that Iowa State shows on it's new scoreboard? A highlight reel of the 2010 season? Possibly even an advertisment? These are good ideas, but I think we all know there is only one true possibility.

Posted on: April 20, 2011 11:57 am

Breaking: Matt Barkley gets angry

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Honestly, when I hear the name Matt Barkley, this is the first thing that comes to mind.

This isn't because I harbor any kind of resentment toward the USC quarterback, but only because I find that video infinitely entertaining. Plus, who doesn't want to just rock out to some Ace of Base once in a while? Don't lie to to me. You heard "The Sign," and it opened up your eyes to a beautiful life. 

No doubt it is a beautiful life for Barkley. I mean, he's the starting quarterback at USC, how bad can things truly be? Well, apparently being the quarterback at USC can be a bit frustrating at times as well, which the Los Angeles Times was all too happy to point out on Tuesday.

After four weeks of mild frustration, USC quarterback Matt Barkley apparently could not help himself.

An inexperienced offensive line has been unable to fuel a consistent running attack or stem a pass rush during spring practice. The receiving corps has been thinned on various days by injuries and disciplinary issues.

So on Tuesday, Barkley momentarily steamed.

The junior uncharacteristically barked at a teammate after a walk-on receiver ran the wrong route during a scrimmage drill. Nothing unusual, perhaps, for some quarterbacks, but the perpetually upbeat Barkley has rarely raised his voice in two years as the starter.

Seriously? This is news? A quarterback barked at one of his wide receivers? Stop the presses! Listen, I know that covering spring practices can be a bit boring. Though there isn't much going on, college football fans are hungry for information, and as the major newspaper in the region, it's your job to get it to them.

But to base a whole story on Matt Barkley yelling at a wide receiver for running the wrong route? If you're that desperate for a story, do what anybody covering USC should do when they need a story. Ask Lane Kiffin some questions. Any questions. At some point Kiffin will say something that you can use, like maybe taking a dig at Oregon. It shouldn't be this hard.

Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:48 pm

Northwestern and Notre Dame renew rivalry

Posted by Tom Fornelli

That video is from 1995, and it shows what happened the last time Northwestern and Notre Dame met on a football field. During that game, Northwestern shocked the world by upsetting ninth-ranked Notre Dame in the season opener by a score of 17-15. It was the first game of what turned out to be a dream season for Northwestern, as the Wildcats finished the year 10-1 and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1949.

At that time, Pat Fitzgerald was Northwestern's middle linebacker. Now that he's the team's head coach, Fitzgerald will get his chance to not only beat Notre Dame as a player, but as a coach as well. It was announced on Thursday morning that the Irish and Wildcats would be rekindling the series. Northwestern will return to South Bend in 2014, while Notre Dame will make the trip to Evanston in 2018.

“We’re excited about having Notre Dame make its first visit to Evanston since 1976,” said Northwestern AD Jim Phillips in a press release. “This is really an exciting time for Chicago’s Big Ten team as we continue to upgrade our nonconference schedule. With schools such as Boston College, California, Syracuse and Vanderbilt visiting Ryan Field in future years, combined with Nebraska to our division in the Big Ten, there’s no better time to be a Wildcat.”

Phillips also worked in Notre Dame's athletic department from 2000 to 2004. While the schools haven't played since that 1995 shocker, they have played a total of 47 games against one another.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:24 pm

The offseason is just one large shining moment

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's the first day of April, which means it's been nearly three months since we've had a college football game. Since then, however, the world of college football has been able to keep the four of us here at Eye On College Football busy. There are arrests to cover, coaching changes being made and, of course, all the fun NCAA violations and investigations. From Jim Tressel being the best coach in the country to share a secret with, to John Junker being the Elagabalus of bowl CEOs, and finishing with Willie Lyles' Football Star Emporium and Car Wash.

All of this has already happened, and we still have five more months of offseason to go before we get another college football game! Why, it's possible that so much will happen between now and September, we won't even remember half of the stuff that's already gone down. Which is why we're grateful to Ty and Dan of The Solid Verbal. They were kind enough to put together a lovely video for all of us, so we can look back on these memorable days and smile whenever we need to.

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