Tag:Al Golden
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Al Golden is tired of talking about 'swagger'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Emptying out the notebook from the ACC Football Kickoff earlier this week:

Miami head coach Al Golden on "Swagger":

"I'm so tired of talking about 'swagger.,'" Golden answered. "Swagger, as it was said to me by Alonzo Highsmith and so many of the other former players, was the by-product. It wasn't the product, it was the by-product.

"Just like throwing up 'the U' is the by-product, someone's making money off that. They sell t-shirts on that. For us, the swagger was developed from demonstrated performance, having a chip on your shoulder, and from work ethic. From being the hardest working team and being a tough team, playing with passion. All of the sudden you have people saying Miami plays with swagger.

"It only takes a couple years where you have kids that think you put on the uniform and automatically get swagger because you wear 'the U.' But they don't want to do the other things that made the U special. We have to get back to that, we have to get back to doing all those little things."

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall on his practice philosophy, and how the Terps reaction to the new speed:

"I'm not one of these guys that likes to waste a lot of time in practice," said Edsall. "Our practices are high tempo. I think if you ask our kids I think that was a shock to them, in terms of how we practice and how fast we practice. It's an up-tempo practice where we are going to get a lot of reps in and we're going to coach them on the run. Do our explaining in the meetings, but on the field we're constantly moving."

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson on the defensive struggles in the unit's first year under Al Groh:

"I think there were growing pains. With guys learning the terminology and the expectation level. But I'm excited about it, I think Al's [Groh] got a package. He's got a great reputation as being a defensive coach, and it's pretty evident if you're around the man for long he understands defense. I think that we'll have a good defense, their going to get better."

For more ACC Coverage, including much more from the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst cruise over to the ACC Blog.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Miami 'buying in' to Al Golden's new culture

Posted by Chip Patterson

PINEHURST, N.C. - Miami head coach Al Golden is not an unfamiliar character to the college football scene. The former Penn State tight end has surrounded himself with football his entire life, never taking a year off from being a player, graduate assistant, assistant or head coach. But his arrival in Coral Gables to coach the Hurricanes marks his first stop as the head coach of a FBS program, not to mention one with the reputation of Miami.

Golden has no direct ties to the University of Miami, unlike his predecessor Randy Shannon. Shannon played for and coached for the Hurricanes for 21 years, most notably being a starting linebacker on the 1987 championship team. But once promoted to head coach, the Hurricanes began to slide into an uncommon mediocrity. Shannon's recruiting classes were among the best in the country, but his career record was just 28-22. Shannon was a great defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes, and will likely find himself on the sidelines again in the future. But what intangibles will Golden bring to the job to jump-start a sputtering Miami program?

"He's a disciplinarian, but he's a players' coach as well, explained senior center Tyler Horn. "He expects a lot from us, but none of his expectations are out reach. There's no reason we can't do things like go to class, and there is a zero tolerance policy."

Saying things like "going to class" seem foolish is correct, but it's also pretty foolish to be one of the most penalized teams in the nation. Last season, the Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot time and again because of a mental lapse that resulted in a costly flag. Golden is willing to accept a few holding penalties here and there, but the flagrant flags and personal fouls is where the Hurricanes' new coach draws the line. He believes that discipline is a big part of those penalties, and in order to develop proper technique and eliminate those lapses it will take some time and hard effort.

"I'm very process-oriented," Golden said. "I believe in putting my head down and going to work, doing the things that we need to do on a daily basis as an organization to improve."

For the Hurricanes, that process began in spring practice. Former Hurricanes like Michael Irvin traveled down to South Florida to help Golden kick-start the new attitude for Miami football. That hard-nosed attitude continued after spring practice as the Canes went through a rigorous offseason training program. There were horror stories floating around players' circles about guys running and working harder than ever, often pushing themselves to the point of having to stop to vomit. This kind of story happens at football camps everywhere, but it was apparently noteworthy enough to be pointed out by the players. Senior linebacker Sean Spence did not have any puke stories, but he did say on Sunday that he feels the team is in the best shape of their lives right now.

That team, particularly Spence and the senior class, is made up of All-Everything-caliber recruits. It's a class that was heralded upon arrival, but has yet to see a season with double-digit wins. Golden said that he's been through four different regime changes since he started coaching, and more than any other situation, this group of Miami seniors have shown total support for the new staff.

"The seniors are usually the ones that spit you out, who don't buy in, are skeptical and mistrust," said Golden. "This group pretty much has said 'since we got here, here's what we came here to do. We haven't done it, we're running out of time, show us how to get there. We'll do whatever you need us to do.'"

Golden's description of the seniors' attitude echoed the sentiments from Tyler Horn the day before.

"We realized last year 7-6 just wasn't going to cut it," Horn said. "Obviously we were doing something wrong. We realize that now."

So here is their chance. Players like Horn, Spence, Jacory Harris, Travis Benjamin, Harland Gunn, Ramon Buchannan and so many more won't have another chance to accomplish their goals in a Miami uniform. Since 2006, Miami has never even finished higher than 3rd place in the Coastal Division. With Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech looking to break in new quarterbacks and re-stock defenses; Miami could be a dark horse for their first Coastal Division crown in 2011.

Miami has played for, and won, more national championships than any team in the ACC. The only problem is that none of it has happened since joining the ACC. No one expects the Hurricanes to be title contenders in 2011, but competing for a conference crown can certainly be a great start.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Golden: QB decision coming Aug. 19-22

Posted by Chip Patterson

It took no time at all for new Miami head coach Al Golden to get a question about the ongoing quarterback battle between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The battle had no clear-cut winner in the spring, and Golden announced before the offseason that it would continue into spring camp. Although the question is the same, at least this time Golden was able to give Hurricanes fans an idea of when the decision would be made.

"I think we're going to allow the quarterbacks to continue to compete, and we'll make a determination sometime between 19th and 22nd of August," Golden explained to the assembled media at the ACC Football Kickoff on Monday. "If one distinguishes himself prior to that time I'm not afraid to name one sooner. I'm going to let them compete and go from there."

The reason for that deadline is that it coincides with the beginning of school and the end of fall camp. Miami's first matchup will be a Labor Day primetime showdown against Maryland, and the staff would like to have decided on a starter by the time game preparations begin.

While the beginning of fall camp at Miami will re-start the quarterback battle, it will begin likely without two big-name lineman who have been dealing with injuries. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston is still recovering from surgery, but there were some question as to why offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was also included in that group.

"Seantrel has a back issue that has been bothering him since the middle of March, Golden explained. "That's something that we've been dealing with."

Apparently, that back problem has been an issue that has been connected to his weight. Golden was pleased to report that Henderson was down to 341 pounds (from 388), and has developed some maturity as he has been faced with these health issues. According to Golden, both players will be out 7-10 days.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
 

The entire 2011 season simulated on NCAA 12

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.

Who did?

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.

ACC

-- 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.

Big 12

-- 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.

Big East

-- 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.

Big Ten

-- 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.

Pac-12

-- 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.

SEC

-- 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.

Non-BCS

-- 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?
Posted on: July 5, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Temple recruits: Move to Big East coming soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

July 1 marked the first day in the house for recent conference jumpers like Utah and Nebraska. As the conferences continue to realign, eyes continue to turn to the 8-team Big East. With TCU arriving in 2012 and the negotiation of a new media deal on the horizon, it is assumed that the conference will be making more moves in the near future to increase membership. Jason Brewer, of SB Nation Philly, pulled together some interesting quotes from Temple recruits that suggest the Owls rumored move back into the Big East could come as soon as after this season.

First came quotes earlier from Temple Football Forever, which included TE Tanner Kearns sharing his excitement for the potential to play in Lincoln Financial Field and "knows" the Owls "plan on moving to the Big East soon." The father of Temple commit CB Tavon Young took it a step further, stating his son will be close to home and "in the Big East in 2012." Add those quotes to the recent statements from LB Michael Kalaman and TE Jameson McShea and you've got to assume that there there is something going on behind the scenes in Philadelphia.

Temple spent 14 years in the Big East before their departure in the exodus of 2003-2004. Since then current Miami head coach Al Golden worked to rebuild the program from within the MAC, bringing the Owls their first postseason appearance in 30 years in 2009. After his departure to the Hurricanes, the hiring of Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has helped continue the momentum that Golden started in Philadelphia.

But Temple is not the only team that has been discussed in possible Big East expansion. The conference nearly gave one bid away to Villanova before discussions took a turn in another direction, many believe that UCF is a football powerhouse in the making that could benefit the conference geographic balance, and recently the addition of Army and Navy has been discussed. I doubt that Temple's staff would be outright lying to recruits, so they at least have some reason to believe that Temple's invitation to the BCS ranks could be coming in time to join along with TCU.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto told CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy that there is no "best model" for Big East expansion, but there is certainly an end date. By September 2012, the conference needs to be set in their membership in order to capitalize on the negotiation of a new media deal when their current one with ESPN expires. ESPN has already made moves to try and begin those talks, but the conference still has some moves to make before they are comfortable presenting their future product. Temple's potential addition would bring the conference to ten teams heading into the 2012 season, but what would that mean for their Philadelphia brethren Villanova? The Wildcats, already a member of the conference in every sport but football and women's lacrosse, would be one of the easier additions logistically. If the Big East brings in both schools to the football conference, that leaves only one spot left to finish with the magical 12-team count needed to hold a conference championship game. With UCF, Army, Navy, Houston, and East Carolina all likely interested in making the jump, someone is going to get left out. Again.

With all of the other five conferences securing new media deals in the last couple years, the Big East gets to be the prettiest girl at the dance for the next several months. Sure, the schools left aren't exactly the lighting up the BCS standings (only UCF and Houston have ever been ranked); but there is still a lot of potential value for a conference looking to make a statement on the national scene.


Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:11 pm
 

Storm Johnson heads north, lands at UCF

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Former Miami running back Storm Johnson has decided to take his talents from South Beach and transfer to UCF, multiple outlets reported Friday night. The talented back toured campus in Orlando earlier in the day and felt comfortable enough to commit shortly thereafter.

"Yes sir, Storm committed today and he will start classes on the 22nd," Wesley Johnson, Storm's father, told The Orlando Sentinel. "It actually feels quite good just to get the pressure off and be able to resume his college career. He starts off with a clean slate. Coach [George] O'Leary met with us today and coach felt good about [Storm] and Storm felt good about being there."

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Johnson was third on Miami's depth chart following spring practices and with a new coaching staff, felt it was best to move on to a better situation. A Georgia-native, he was restricted as to where he would be able to transfer to by Hurricanes' head coach Al Golden and many thought UCF and USF were the favorites to land him.

Johnson rushed for 119 yards on nine carries last season as a freshman and was also featured as a kick returner on special teams. He was a big part of Miami's recruiting class of 2010 and was an Under Armour All-American coming out of Loganville (Ga.) High School. All three of the Knights current running backs will be upperclassmen this year and the situation should allow for Johnson to be a featured part of the offense when he becomes eligible in 2012 after sitting out a season.

"UCF is on an upward swing and doing some great things and we just hope Storm can help them out," the elder Johnson told the paper. "We just thank Coach O'Leary a lot for his diligence and his understanding of some things that have happened. He understands Storm is 18 years old and things happen."

Once he is allowed to play next year, Johnson will be a redshirt sophomore and have three years of eligibility left following his transfer.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Ex-Cane thinks Miami needs attitude adjustment

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Miami cornerback Ryan Hill's college football career came to an end with the team's loss in the Sun Bowl in December, but like many Miami players before him, just because he'll no longer be suiting up for the team on Saturdays, that doesn't mean he's going to stop caring about the program. In an talk with the Miami Herald, Hill expressed his concerns over the state of the program, and what he thinks will need to change under Al Golden if the Hurricanes are ever going to climb to the top of the college football mountain once again.

Hill first expressed his feelings following that Sun Bowl loss when he said that Miami had a lot of players that "act like little boys." He expanded on those comments in the Herald.

“When I made that comment,” he said, “what I meant is some guys are really immature.”

How many? More than a dozen, Hill said.

“In my early years at UM, there were guys who were freshmen who acted like adults — Jon Beason, Teraz McCray, Greg Olsen,” Hill said. “When I was a senior last year, some sophomores and juniors acted like freshmen. Guys would do silly stuff like pulling their pants down, wearing crazy stuff.

“Guys would come late to meetings. They would schedule appointments and not show up or listen to iPods in class. I was always told by academic advisors to talk to [teammates]. Some kids got worse after they got here. People were purposely doing stuff to mock Randy Shannon or do their own thing.

“Coach Shannon tried to make sure guys went to class and presented themselves well. But as soon as he turned his back, they would do what they wanted. There are a lot of guys who didn’t produce, and how they act off the field has a lot to do with it. That has to change.”

The low point was the Sun Bowl.

“I don’t want to name names, but there were a couple of receivers having a snowball fight on the sideline when we’re down 21-0,” Hill said. “ Brandon Harris and I got upset. We were already upset because we’re losing, and now we’ve got to go over and break up a fight. These guys have to grow up. I hope Coach Golden is instilling that. Without growing up, you will never be successful.”

Hill didn't stop there, either, going on to say that players who weren't starters weren't exactly busting their tails to become one. He also talked of marijuana use amongst his teammates, with marijuana reportedly being the reason several Hurricanes have been suspended for the season opener against Maryland. Hill says that Miami has random drug testing every week and that he would get tested once about every three weeks, while the NCAA only tests once a year.

Still, even with the drug testing, Hill said that teammates were able to "beat the system."

Personally, while I understand Hill's concerns about his teammates' behavior, I'm not sure what exactly can be done. The behavior he describes sounds like the type of behavior you expect from college kids, which is exactly what his teammates are. There will always be some who are more mature than others. How Al Golden is supposed to solve this, I have no idea.

Posted on: June 2, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:54 am
 

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 50-41

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 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.

50. COWBELLS, traditional noisemakers, Mississippi State. On the one hand, yeah, it's just a bell with a stick attached to it and (usually) a State logo affixed to one side. But on the other, it's a huge reason why trips to Starkville have become a gigantic thorn in the side of SEC favorites since Dan Mullen took over the Bulldog helm. The cowbells create a tremendous amount of noise during their designated usage periods (touchdown celebrations, timeouts, etc.), but there's plenty enough State fans willing to use them during non-designated periods that Davis-Wade Stadium can become just as loud and disruptive as SEC stadiums with twice its capacity.

And in 2011, how loud Davis-Wade can get will matter. A lot. The Bulldogs will play host to both of the consensus SEC West favorites and the closest thing the preseason has to an SEC East favorite--LSU visits Sept. 15, South Carolina Oct. 15 and Alabama Nov. 12. A State victory in any one of those three games could immediately turn the entire conference on its head--and given that this is Mullen's most experienced team yet, the guess here is that thanks in part to those cowbells, the Bulldogs will come away with at least one of those scalps. -- JH

49. DOAK CAMPBELL STADIUM, home venue, Florida State. The Seminoles' home field will play host to one of the biggest non-conference matchups of the season--and it takes place on the third weekend of football. On September 17, Oklahoma -- expected to be one of the top-ranked teams in the nation -- will visit Doak looking to repeat last year's thumping of FSU in Norman. The Seminoles return 17 starters from last year's team that finished the season as the ACC runner-up and Chick Fil-A Bowl champion, though, leading many to tap Florida State as the 2011 ACC frontrunner. It's safe to say head coach Jimbo Fisher has brought the hype back to Tallahassee in just his second year.

So the two juggernauts will collide in Doak Campbell Stadium. A win for Oklahoma would be a huge confidence boost after struggling in a few crucial road games over the last couple years. A win for Florida State would not only bring the Sooners' title hopes to a screeching halt, it would transform the home team from ACC favorite to national title contender. The 'Noles also get Maryland, N.C. State and Miami all at home, making Doak not only a key destination for the national title picture but the key venue for the ACC Atlantic race. If the Seminoles can escape the month of September undefeated, it could be their race to lose down the stretch. -- CP

48. AL GOLDEN, head coach, Miami. The Hurricane coaching search was heavily publicized and tossed around flashy names like Jon Gruden and Dan Mullen, but the final decision was on the decidedly less-flashy, hard-nosed Golden. Since joining the program, Golden has talked about changing the "culture" of Miami football. After watching the team prepare for the Sun Bowl, Golden said he wanted to practice faster, hit harder, and increase the toughness up and down the roster. His winter conditioning program produced players' tales of being worked harder than ever, and his gritty demands continued well into spring practice.

But Golden needs to be more than a strength coach and philosopher for the Hurricanes. He needs to be the face of the program moving forward, and the team needs to believe in his word. There is a roster full of talent in Coral Gables that has not come close to sniffing a conference championship. Since joining the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes have yet to produce so much as a Coastal division title. Golden's arrival has brought a lot of excitement back to The U, but also the expectations for winning. If Golden is going to get the trust of Randy Shannon's team, he will need to show them that his "culture" produces championship-caliber football. -- CP

47. THE BIG TEN THANKSGIVING DINNER, new-and-improved rivalry weekend, November 25-26. The Big Ten, for better or worse, has always been unusually staid about its traditions--that means Saturday conference games only, no conference games after November 25 (which usually ends the season before Thanksgiving), and Michigan-Ohio State to end the conference season, always. That has worked out pretty well for the Big Ten for the most part, although Buckeye fans in particular have long rued the six weeks of layoff between a pre-Thanksgiving conference finish and a January BCS bowl game (since the SEC and most other conferences would only have four weeks).

Say goodbye to that disparity, though, because the Big Ten has moved the end of its regular season to Thanksgiving weekend. That decision plus the conference championship game equals football in December in the Big Ten, just like everywhere else. And what a regular season finale week the Big Ten has lined up for its fans this year: Michigan-OSU is still there, as fans demanded en masse when scheduling was going on, but now it's not the only show in town. Iowa and Nebraska have set up a season-ending rivalry for the next four years (one expects this to be made permanent if fans respond well to the new rivalry), and breaking with all sorts of conference tradition, it'll be on Friday. There's also a key showdown with Penn State at Wisconsin, and if Ohio State's not in contention for the (sigh) Leaders Division title, PSU-Wisconsin will likely have heavy implications for that bid to the championship. Same goes for Michigan State at Northwestern in the Legends Division. That's a heck of a way to spend a Thanksgiving weekend, isn't it? -- AJ

46. KELLEN MOORE, quarterback, Boise State. Kellen Moore's career thus far seems to have taken an arc we usually only see in TV shows. Last season was the "championship run" season, where Boise State was as poised as it ever was to crash the BCS Championship before fate conspired to take down the heroes. And make no mistake, Moore was a hero last year, leading the nation in passing efficiency and racking up 35 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He may not have had a chance to overtake Cam Newton for Heisman consideration, but his fate was sealed in the Broncos' 34-31 loss to Nevada--even though Moore threw a downright miraculous 53-yard bomb to Titus Young that put Boise in position to win the game.

If last season was all about the team taking its best shot at the title, this year's all about Moore; his top two receivers, Young and Austin Pettis, are both off to the NFL now, and key reserve RB Jeremy Avery is also gone. The Broncos find themselves in a tougher conference, too, though they still look to be favorites to win the Mountain West championship. If there were ever a time for Moore to erase the last of the doubts about his ability to play quarterback, this'll be it, and with any luck, this season'll end on a much more crowd-pleasing note for Moore and the rest of his teammates. -- AJ

45. THE PAC-12 HOT SEAT, conference furniture, Pac-12. When Pac-12 media days roll around next year, there's a good chance there will be a few different faces from this year's edition. While every conference has their fair share of coaches on the hot seat, it seems as though the Pac-12 has a hot couch with so many people to fit on it. Washington State's Paul Wulff, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel, Arizona State's Dennis Erickson and Cal's Jeff Tedford are those that are feeling the heat ... and a bad year by USC's Lane Kiffin could find him starting to sweat as well.

The coach with the best chance to get off of the seat is Erickson, who has a team full of upperclassmen and is primed to make a run at the first ever Pac-12 South title. Erickson is just barely over .500 in his time in Tempe and has only finished in the upper half of the conference standings once. Needless to say, it's put up or shut up time. Wulff's winning percentage is well south of the Mendoza Line (.135 entering 2011) and he probably needs to get the Cougars close to a bowl game in order to get another year. Neuheisel and Tedford both have upset fan bases and a really bad year will likely mean they're out; financial considerations might be the only thing that could keep them around. The hot seat is crowded in the Pac-12 and it should be fun to see who gets off of it this season -- one way or another -- first. -- BF

44. OKLAHOMA'S BUMPY ROAD, scheduling hurdle, Oklahoma. Oklahoma seems to be the popular pick to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, which gives the Sooners an edge in its pursuit of a national championship. All it has to do is go undefeated -- that's it! -- and the Sooners will find themselves in the BCS Championship Game. Obviously, winning every single game on the schedule is not an easy thing to do, particularly when you've got that giant target on your back ... and things could be even tougher for Oklahoma when you look at their schedule.

Over the last two seasons, Oklahoma has played nine games on the road -- not counting neutral site games -- and the Sooners have gone a distressing 3-5. Last season the Sooners won two games on the road, against Cincinnati and Oklahoma State, but only won those games by a combined eight points. This season two of Oklahoma's toughest games will be on the road, as it travels to Florida State during the second week of the season and will finish the year against those same Cowboys in Stillwater. Then there's the neutral site battle with Texas. It wouldn't be a shock to anybody if the Sooners came away from those three games with at least one loss on the marker. And given that there's no longer a Big 12 title game that could help boost the Sooners' profile at the end of the year, that loss could singlehandedly derail the team's 2011 title hopes. -- TF

43. WILL MUSCHAMP, head coach, Florida. In some ways, Muschamp will have less pressure on him this season than the other two head coaches in the SEC East's "Big Three"; Mark Richt is firmly in win-or-else mode, and Steve Spurrier has to know his career won't last long enough to see talents like Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery come around again. Muschamp, meanwhile, may need a couple of seasons to get his favored pro-style offense working and his aggressive defense completely in place.

Then again, this is Florida. And Muschamp is replacing a coach with three SEC East titles and two national championships in the last five seasons alone; transition or no transition, a second straight year bumbling around the 7-5 mark with an offense barely fit to wear the same jerseys as the Spurrier Fun n' Gun or the Tim Tebow/Percy Harvin spread juggernaut won't go over well at all. The easiest way for Florida to improve, fortunately, is Muschamp's specialty: defense. The Gators have all the athletes needed to dominate on that side of the ball, and if Muschamp's going to extend his coaching honeymoon past the season's first month, they'd better. -- JH

42. BIG EAST CONFERENCE TIEBREAKERS, potential title-deciders, Big East. Since 2003, the Big East title has been split four times. Two of those times were between at least three teams, most recently last season when Connecticut won the tie-breaker over West Virginia and Pitt. As the conference's front office continues to eye expansion and the addition of a conference championship, the eight teams participating in conference play this fall will all be fighting for the BCS berth awarded to number one team in the standings.

With the seven game conference schedule (which is backloaded, for most teams), there are less games to separate the teams in the standings. Unless one team goes undefeated (West Virginia in 2005, Cincinnati in 2009), there is a good chance that there will be a tie at the top of the standings. In the final month of the season the Big East title hunt will become a wild collection of if/then scenarios, with each conference game carrying a tie-breaker significance. -- CP

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41. ROBERT GRIFFIN III, quarterback, Baylor. Last season the Baylor Bears finished the season 7-6 and played in their first bowl game in 16 years, a 38-14 loss to Illinois in the Texas Bowl. While there are plenty of reasons to help explain the turnaround in Waco the last few seasons, no person has had a bigger impact on the program than quarterback Robert Griffin III. The kid known as RG3 has not only been a star in the classroom, but on the field as well, accounting for 4,145 total yards and 30 touchdowns in 2010. Make no mistake about it: while the Baylor defense cost the team some games, Griffin kept the Bears in just about all of them with what he brought on offense.

As a redshirt junior in 2011, Griffin will be playing his fourth season with the Bears, and should be better than ever--a scary proposition for Big 12 defenses already struggling to stop him. While Baylor's defense will likely keep it from having a real shot to win the Big 12 this season, odds are that RG3 is going to have a big say in who ultimately does win the conference ... meaning that he could have a big impact on the national title picture as well before the year is finished. -- TF

The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61 and 60-51. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.



 
 
 
 
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