Tag:USC
Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Texas A&M, Notre Dame most overrated in 2011

Now that the 2011 college football season is finally completed – Bobby Hebert’s done ranting about Les Miles, right? – let’s take a look at how smart or, make that clueless,  the voters in the Associated Press poll were before the season.

I was one of the 60 voters that participated in the AP poll. Each summer we’re asked to produce a Top 25 out of thin air. And then come January, we discover we’re usually as accurate as a non-fiction piece from James Frey.

Surprisingly, though, this year we did a fairly decent job of predicting the future or, if you prefer, the teams did a decent job of living up to their preseason rankings.

First the good.

We nailed it! Of the AP’s preseason Top 25 teams, three schools – No. 7 Stanford, No. 14 TCU and No. 19 Georgia – finished with the same ranking in the final AP poll.

Missed it by this much: Of the remaining 22 teams ranked in the preseason, we were off by only three spots or less on six schools: Alabama (preseason No. 2, finished No. 1), Oregon (preseason No. 3, finished No. 4), LSU (preseason No. 4, finished No. 2), Boise State (preseason No. 5, finished No. 8), Wisconsin (preseason No. 10, finished No. 11) and South Carolina (preseason No. 12, finished No. 9).

At this point I’d like to mention of the preseason top 19 teams, nearly half (nine) finished within three spots in the final AP rankings. Not bad. Which brings me too …

Wow, were we wrong: Of the remaining 16 teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, nine schools finished in the final Top 25, but were nowhere close to their preseason rankings. No. 1 Oklahoma finished 16th, No. 6 Florida State finished 23rd, No. 9 Oklahoma State finished third, No. 10 Nebraska finished No. 24, No. 13 Virginia Tech finished No. 21, No. 15 Arkansas finished fifth, No. 17 Michigan State finished 11th, No. 24 West Virginia finished No. 17 and No. 25 USC finished No. 6.

That leaves seven schools that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but plummeted out of the rankings by season’s end because (take your pick) they choked under the pressure of a preseason Top 25 ranking, didn’t deserve to be ranked, were overrated, underachieved or all of the above.

We/they totally blew it: Here they are: the not-so-Magnificent Seven teams that were ranked in the preseason Top 25 but ended the season outside the Top 25. No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 20 Mississippi State, No. 21 Missouri, No. 22 Florida and No. 23 Auburn all finished out of the Top 25.

We never saw them coming: There were 48 schools that received at least one vote in the preseason Top 25 poll. Yet, there were four schools that did not receive a single preseason vote that still finished in the final top 25: Baylor (finishing No. 13), Kansas State (finishing No. 15), Clemson (finishing No. 22) and Cincinnati (finishing No. 25).

Three other schools received Top 25 preseason votes and were not in the preseason Top 25 but finished in the AP final poll: No. 12 Michigan, No. 18 Houston and No. 20 Southern Miss.

So who were the biggest surprises and disappointments of 2011? Look no further than the Big 12, which had the nation's two most pleasant surprises in Baylor and Kansas State and the nation's biggest disappointment in Texas A&M.

Based on their AP preseason rankings, the biggest surprises in 2011: Baylor, Kansas State, Clemson (yes, even with the Orange Bowl seal-clubbing), Michigan, Cincinnati, USC and Houston. The biggest disappointments: Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Florida, Arizona State, Miami, Utah, Iowa, Florida State, N.C. State and Oklahoma.

Listed below are the 48 schools that received a vote in the preseason Top 25 and the difference of how many spots better (+) or worse (-) it finished in the final Top 25 rankings. Following the school is each team’s preseason and final ranking. If a school started unranked and finished unranked, it was considered starting/finishing at No. 49.

Diff School (Pre-Final ranking)
+36 Baylor (NR-13)
+34 Kansas State (NR-15)
+27 Clemson (NR-22)
+26 Michigan (38-12)
+24 Cincinnati (NR-25)
+19 USC (25-6)
+18 Houston (36-18)
+15 Virginia (NR-34)
+11 Southern Miss (31-20)
+13 Northern Illinois (41-28)
+10 Arkansas (15-5)
+7 West Virginia (24-17)
+7 Brigham Young (33-26)
+6 Oklahoma State (9-3)
+6 Michigan State (17-11)
+3 South Carolina (12-9)
+2 LSU (4-2)
+1 Alabama (2-1)
+1 Wisconsin (11-10)
0 Stanford (7-7)
0 TCU (14-14)
0 Georgia (19-19)
-1 Oregon (3-4)
-3 Boise State (5-8)
-3 Nevada (46-NR)
-3 Northwestern (46-NR)
-3 Washington (46-NR)
-4 Auburn (23-27)
-4 Texas (26-30)
-5 Arizona (44-NR)
-5 Maryland (44-NR)
-6 Penn State (27-33)
-6 Tulsa (43-NR)
-8 Virginia Tech (13-21)
-8 Missouri (21-29)
-8 Hawaii (41-NR)
-9 UCF (40-NR) 5
-10 Tennessee (39-NR)
-12 Pittsburgh (37-NR)
-14 Nebraska (10-24)
-14 Air Force (35-NR)
-15 Oklahoma (1-16)
-16 N.C. State (33-NR)
-17 Florida State (6-23)
-17 Iowa (32-NR)
-19 Utah (30-NR) 25
-20 Miami (29-NR)
-21 Arizona State (28-NR)
-27 Florida (22-NR)
-29 Mississippi State (20-NR)
-31 Ohio State (18-NR)
-33 Notre Dame (16-NR)
-41 Texas A&M (8-NR)



Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:24 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 11:25 pm
 

Alabama, LSU, Okla State top my AP ballot

NEW ORLEANS – Based on Alabama’s dominating performance in Monday night’s BCS title game, the Crimson Tide are ranked No. 1 on my final Associated Press ballot.

Alabama (12-1) was ranked No. 3 on my final regular season ballot, but the Tide were impressive enough to leap LSU and Oklahoma State. LSU (13-1) may have had the most impressive regular season in college football history, but I only ranked the Tigers No. 2

Despite Oklahoma State’s victory against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, I dropped the Cowboys from No. 2 to No. 3. Their victory wasn’t dominating enough for me to keep Oklahoma State (12-1) in my top two.

Here is my final AP ballot for 2011. Last week’s rankings in parenthesis.
 
1. Alabama (3)
The Crimson Tide finished 12-1, defeating LSU in the BCS title game.

2. LSU (1)
The Tigers finished 13-1, losing to Alabama in the BCS title game.

3. Oklahoma State (2)
The Cowboys finished 12-1, defeating Stanford 41-38 in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl.

4. Oregon (4)
The Ducks finished 12-2, defeating Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.

5. Boise State (6)
The Broncos finished 12-1, defeating Arizona State 56-24 in Las Vegas Bowl.

6. Arkansas (8)
The Razorbacks finished 11-2, defeating Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

7. USC (9)
The Trojans finished 10-2 and were not eligible for a bowl game.

8. Stanford (5)
The Cardinal finished 11-2, losing to Oklahoma State 41-38 in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl.

9. South Carolina (10)
The Gamecocks finished 11-2, defeating Nebraska 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl.

10. Wisconsin (7)
The Badgers finished 11-3, losing to Oregon 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.

11. Michigan (12)
The Wolverines finished 11-2, defeating Virginia Tech 23-20 in overtime in the Sugar Bowl.

12. Michigan State (15)
The Spartans finished 11-3, defeating Georgia 33-30 in triple overtime in the Outback Bowl.

13. Baylor (13)
The Bears finished 10-3, defeating Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl.

14. TCU (17)
The Horned Frogs finished 11-2, defeating Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

15. Georgia (16)
The Bulldogs finished 10-4, losing to Michigan State 33-30 in triple overtime in the Outback Bowl.

16. Oklahoma (20)
The Sooners finished 10-3, defeating Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl.

17. Kansas State (11)
The Wildcats finished 10-3, losing to Arkansas 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

18. West Virginia (24)
The Mountaineers finished 10-3, defeating Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

19. Florida State (19)
The Seminoles finished 9-4, defeating Notre Dame 18-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl.

20. Southern Miss (21)
The Golden Eagles finished 12-2, defeating Nevada 24-17 in the Hawaii Bowl.

21. Houston (22)
The Cougars finished 12-1, defeating Penn State 30-14 in the Ticket City Bowl.

22. Nebraska (18)
The Cornhuskers finished 9-4, losing to South Carolina 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl.

23. Clemson (14)
The Tigers finished 10-4, losing to West Virginia 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

24. Virginia Tech (23)
The Hokes finished 11-3, losing to Michigan 23-20 in overtime in the Sugar Bowl.

25. Cincinnati (NR)
The Bearcats finished 10-3, defeating Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.



Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:56 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 2:57 am
 

LSU, Okla. State atop my AP ballot

STILLWATER, Okla. – With Oklahoma State’s dominating victory against Oklahoma, earning the Cowboys their first Big 12 championship, I moved OSU up to No. 2 on my final regular season Associated Press ballot.

The final AP poll will be released on Jan. 10.

Last week’s rankings are in parenthesis.

1. LSU (1)

2. Oklahoma State (3)

3. Alabama (2)

4. Oregon (4)

5. Stanford (5)

6. Boise State (6)

7. Wisconsin (11)

8. Arkansas (7)

9. USC (10)

10. South Carolina (13)

11. Kansas State (16)

12. Michigan (17)

13. Baylor (18)

14. Clemson (22)

15. Michigan State (9)

16. Georgia (12)

17. TCU (19)

18. Nebraska (20)

19. Florida State (23)

20. Oklahoma (15)

21. Southern Miss (NR)

22. Houston (8)

23. Virginia Tech (14)

24. West Virginia (25)

25. Louisville (24)

Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:55 am
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Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:54 am
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Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 10:11 pm
 

Saban says Richardson "best player in country"

AUBURN, Ala. – Alabama coach Nick Saban got right to the point when asked about running back Trent Richardson’s Heisman Trophy chances.

“To me Trent Richardson is the best football player in the country,” Saban said.

Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards at Auburn Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s 42-14 victory. Is that enough to win the Heisman? In this wild and wacky season, who knows?

“You love saying that about someone who is such a good person and someone who does so much to serve other people,” Saban said. “He is a great teammate. He is a leader. He cares about everyone around him. His performance and production pretty much speak for itself.”

Richardson has scored 23 touchdowns this season, one shy of tying the SEC’s single season record. Richardson said the fact he’s even mentioned for the Heisman is more of a team honor.

“It’s an honor to have my name mentioned in that situation and for this team,” Richardson said. “We do deserve it. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I think the offense deserves it, especially the offensive linemen.”

Does Richardson, who is averaging 132 yards per game, deserve the Heisman? I don’t think so.

There are too many great quarterbacks out there having great seasons – Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, Houston’s Case Keenum, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boise State’s Kellen Moore, USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden. But Richardson could have something that none of those quarterbacks have: and that’s a national title on Jan. 9

Posted on: July 11, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:40 pm
 

Biggest winners after major infractions

In part III of CBSSports.com’s series on cheating in college football, I found out that the majority of schools that have committed major violations in the past 25 years actually have had a better record after the infractions.

So much for penalizing the guilty.

Anyway, in my report, I listed the 10 schools that have been hurt the most by the infractions since 1987.

Here’s a look at the 10 schools that fared the best after getting nailed by the NCAA. And if I’m California, I start committing some violations immediately. Because the last two times Cal committed major infractions the Golden Bears improved drastically over the next five years.

OK, so maybe it’s not that simple. But after Cal’s 1988 infractions, they won 18 more games in the next five years than the previous five seasons. The 2002 violations brought a five-year improvement of 27 wins – more than five per season compared to the previous five seasons.

Well, maybe, it had something to do with Cal’s coaching changes. Bruce Snyder replaced Joe Kapp in 1987 and Jeff Tedford replaced Tom Holmoe in 2002.

In the chart below, the year designates the year of the infraction. The improvement in wins is the number for the five seasons after compared to the five seasons before the violation.

Year School Improvement in wins

2002 California +27
2003 Rutgers +22
2001 USC +20
1988 California +18
1990 Florida +17
1997 UTEP +13
1997 Georgia +11
1996 Miss. State +9
1993 Auburn +8
1987 Texas Tech +8



Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Presenting NCAA's most frequent cheaters club

As our series on college football’s cheaters continues today, I looked at the most frequent cheaters – at least in terms of major infractions – since SMU received the Death Penalty in 1987.

It’s a neck-and-neck race between Alabama and Texas Tech, with three major infractions each.

There are also a dozen teams – Cal, Colorado, Florida International, Florida State, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, USC and Washington – with two infractions each

Here are the remaining 42 teams with one major infraction each: Arkansas, Arkansas State, Arizona State, Auburn, Ball State, Baylor, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana Lafayette, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, UTEP, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Wisconsin.

In all 56 of the 120 FBS programs have committed a major infraction in the past 25 years, including nearly two-thirds of the automatic qualifying BCS programs.

By the way, I loved a response on Twitter from @FGrimes1 – listed as Forrest Grimes – defending Texas Tech’s three major infractions. He wrote: “Most of Techs major infractions came around the same time, way to make Tech look like a contuinously dirty program a--hole."

For Mr. Grimes’ information, Tech’s violations were not at the same time – but spaced more than 10 years apart in 1987, 1998 and on Jan. 7, 2011 – during Grimes’ current semester as a journalism major at Tech

While our two-week series is looking at whether schools can win without cheating, I think it’s important to recognize the 23 AQ BCS programs that have not committed a major infraction since 1987 … so far.

ACC–Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest.
Big East–UConn, Louisville, South Florida, West Virginia.
Big Ten–Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue.
Big 12–Iowa State, Missouri.
Pac-12–Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA.
SEC–LSU, Vanderbilt


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