Tag:Arizona State
Posted on: July 2, 2010 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 10:57 am

Five great players on bad teams

Mark Ingram, Terrelle Pryor and Kellen Moore are all guys that even the casual fan knows. Even on a team like Ball State, which won two games last year, most fans know who running back MiQuale Lewis.

But there are a ton of very good, even great, players around the country on bad teams that don't get noticed by most of the country. As we are only two months away from the start of the season, here are five guys to keep your eye on even if their teams end up at 3-9 this season:

Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State: The die-hard fans will know Burfict, but the average fan might not. Not much is expected from the Sun Devils this season, but the sophomore linebacker will be a beast this season. In case you missed it, he was named Pac-10 defensive freshman of the year and earned freshman All-American honors. One of the best linebackers in the nation, he won't be a name most have heard of because he plays on such a bad team out west. Look for him to improve on his numbers from last year -- 69 tackles, seven for a loss and two sacks. Burfict has already earned earned preseason first team All-American honors by the Sporting News.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State: The first-team All-Big 12 member is posed for another big season. Thomas is back for his senior season after leading the conference with 1,265 yards on 247 attempts (5.1 avg) to go along with 11 touchdowns. Kansas State hasn't played in a bowl since 2006 and it might miss the postseason again, but it won't be because of Thomas. The 6-foot-2 back has flown under the radar a bit, mostly because he plays for Kansas State and he came in last year as a junior college transfer. Be ready to know this guy as his production should increase after being involved in 34.4 percent of the offensive plays last year.

Donovan Varner, WR, Duke: It's not too often that Duke has a leader in the ACC, but the junior wide receiver led the conference with 65 catches and receiving yards per game (88.8). He became just the third player in Duke history to have 1,000 yards receiving. Against Miami (Fla.) he had eight catches for 165 yards. Varner is a definite first-team all-conference member and if he can improve on last year's numbers, he just might be able to earn some third-team All-American honors.

Duke Ihenacho, S, San Jose State: Not even diehard fans know much about San Jose State, considering its had one winning season in the past 10 years, but you need to know Ihenacho. He led the Spartans last season with six pass breakups and 89 tackles and is one of the best safties in the nation. He's also a two-time All-WAC selection and can also play linebacker. NFLDraftScout.com has the fourth-best safety for the 2011 NFL Draft. Ihenacho will be center stage for the first game of the season as the Spartans play at Alabama.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International: The Golden Panthers have never had a winning season since the progam started in 2002. And for the most part, it hasn't had any big-time players, until Hilton came to Miami. After a tremendous freshman season where he earned Freshman All-American honors as a punt return specialist by the FWAA, he struggled a bit as a sophomore due to injuries. He still led the team with 57 catches and a return average of 28.8 yards per game, the highest in school history and 13th in the nation. I'll bet the Alabama special teams unit knows Hilton as he opened the season in 2009 with a 96-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

Posted on: October 13, 2008 11:43 am
Edited on: October 13, 2008 12:52 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- Free Fallin'

How low can you go?

For a handful of teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 we are about to find out.

Preseason favorites Auburn, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Clemson all find themselves falling down the rankings in the CBSSports.com 120 with a possibility that it could get worse before the season is over.

Auburn, which we all had in our preseason Top 25, fell to No. 42 this week after losing its third game in the past four.

The Tigers started the season at 3-0 before losing a close game with LSU. They then squeaked out a 14-12 victory against Tennessee before losing 14-13 to Vanderbilt and 25-22 to Arkansas.

Auburn was expected to be alot better offensively with Kodi Burns seeing time at quarterback and a strong rushing attack with the combination of Ben Tate and Brad Lester.

But Burns and Chris Todd have combined for only 1,101 passing yards, five touchdowns and nine interceptions. Tate has had some good games, but had only 32 yards rushing against Arkansas and 45 yards against LSU.

"Offensively, we just don't have an identity and that's what we have to do this week," coach Tommy Tuberville said as Auburn prepares to face West Virginia on Oct. 23.

Now Auburn is looking at other options at quarterback, including freshman Barrett Trotter and scout-team quarterback Neil Caudle, who has three attempts in his career.

"To burn a redshirt this late, we wouldn't play [Trotter] four or five plays. We'd get him ready to go," Tuberville told the Birmingham News. "If we're going to play him, we're going to play him."

If things don't get better in a hurry, Auburn will continue to fall down the rankings. After facing the Mountaineers in two weeks, Auburn still has to play Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama on the schedule.

Another team that finds itself in the same boat as Auburn is Wisconsin. Many expected the Badgers to compete for the Big Ten title and a possible BCS Bowl, but the Badgers have lost three in a row and dropped down to No. 44.

Things have fallen apart since the Michigan loss, where the Badgers had a 19-0 lead at halftime. They followed that up with a close loss to Ohio State and then getting blown out by Penn State.

P.J. Hill is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry (191 yards on 53 carries) in the losses with just one touchdown, while quarterback Allan Evridge has four interceptions and only two touchdowns over that stretch.

Wisconsin's schedule isn't as tough as Auburn's, but the Badgers still have to face Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota.

Arizona State dropped the lowest of all the preseason favorites, falling to No. 64 this week after losing its fourth in a row. Nobody expected them to beat Georgia or USC at the beginning of the season, but they got manhandled in both.

Add in the losses to California and UNLV and the Sun Devils are now fighting just to be bowl-eligible. They still have to face Oregon and Oregon State and then UCLA and Arizona to close the season.

ACC favorite Clemson has lost two in a row, but holds steady at No. 47 after putting together a four-game winning streak earlier. Just as it looked like the Tigers were turing things around, they lost to Maryland 20-17 and Wake Forest 12-7. And now they go and fire Tommy Bowden!

Poll Notes

-- The lowest-ranked BCS team is Syracuse at No. 109. It is 1-5 with its only victory coming against Northeastern. The 'Cuse play at South Florida this week.

-- Mississippi State is the highest-ranked team with a losing record, checking in at No. 57 at 2-4. The Bulldogs moved up this week after beating Vanderbilt.

-- The lowest-ranked team with at least four wins is Arkansas State at No. 83. Their strength of schedule is 119th out of 120 schools, beating Texas A&M (No. 89), Middle Tennessee State (No. 102), Louisiana-Monroe (No. 114) and Texas Southern (FCS).

Posted on: May 6, 2008 10:48 am

Early BCS Projections, Part 2

With Dennis Dodd's updated Spring Top 25, let's take a look at part 2 of the early, early BCS projections:

BCS: Ohio State vs. Georgia. The top two teams in the nation would meet in Miami for all the marbles. Obviously this is an early projection, but for now let's assume Dodd's top 2 teams remain there all season.

The Rose Bowl would get first choice of all the replacement teams, but they love to keep that Big Ten vs. Pac-10 tradition, so expect them to take another Big Ten team if they can -- maybe Illinois or Wisconsin. Now if USC is the Pac-10 representative, I'm not so sure they take Illinois in a rematch game. Wisconsin vs. USC would be there best choice, but it IS possible for them to take a Big 12 team, not likely, but if Missouri is way up there, maybe Top 4, it could have a Missouri vs. USC game.

Now the Sugar Bowl also would lose an anchor team (SEC Champ), so it would get second choice of all the remaining teams. And you better believe if Florida is ranked in the Top 7, the Gators and Tim Tebow are heading to New Orleans.

So now we need to put the rest of the conference champs in place. ACC Champ -- projected Clemson -- heads to the Orange Bowl; Big 12 Champ -- projected Oklahoma -- heads to the Fiesta Bowl.

So this is what we have:

BCS: Ohio State vs. Georgia
Rose: USC vs. Big 10 No. 2 (Wisconsin/Illinois) or Missouri
Orange: Clemson vs.
Sugar: Florida vs.
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs.

Now the rest of the selection for 2009 is as follows -- Fiesta, Sugar and Orange. With the Fiesta getting first choice, they probably would pass on West Virginia to avoid a rematch, but could take Arizona State, if the Sun Devils finish high enough in the final standings. Now if Missouri ends up in the Rose Bowl, then Wisconsin in the Fiesta would be the most logical choice.

Next up is the Sugar Bowl, and they would snag West Virginia (Big East champs) or Missouri. West Virginia travels well, Pat White's final game or the prospects of taking the Big 12 runner up with a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Chase Daniel.

The Orange gets the final pick and still could end up with Missouri if everybody elses passes or West Virginia depending on who the Sugar Bowl takes in front of them.

Now here is the big kicker -- BYU. They could be the BCS party crasher this year. They will start out in the preseason Top 20, could easily run through their conference games. Their non conference games are Northern Iowa, Utah State, Washington and UCLA. Now, they beat UCLA last year and the game is in Provo, but still could lose and they travel to Washington on Sept. 6. If BYU qualifies, they most likely will be headed to Miami, unless the Fiesta Bowl shocks everybody and takes them with the first selection after the replacement picks.

BCS: Ohio State vs. Georgia
Rose: USC vs. Illinois/Wisconsin/Missouri
Orange: Clemson vs. West Virginia/Missouri/BYU
Sugar: Florida vs. West Virginia/Missouri
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Arizona State/Wisconsin/BYU


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