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Category:NCAAF
Posted on: January 6, 2010 1:18 am
Edited on: January 6, 2010 8:06 am
 

Stanzi's return makes offense go

It's amazing to think what could have been for the Hawkeyes.

While Iowa was celebrating another dominating defensive performance in the win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, one couldn't help but wonder if Iowa would be proclaiming a share of the national title if quarterback Ricky Stanzi never got hurt.

The junior injured his ankle in the first half against Northwestern and missed the final two games of the regular season. Iowa ended up losing to the Wildcats 17-10 after leading 10-0 in the first quarter and dropped a heartbreaker to Ohio State in overtime.

Ricky Stanzi throws two touchdowns in the Orange Bowl.If Stanzi was in the lineup, Iowa might have beaten both those teams, won the Big Ten, played in the Rose Bowl and had an undefeated season.

"That's not something we are worried about right now," said Stanzi. "We wanted to win this game and we were able to do that."

But it didn't take an genius to see that Stanzi and the Iowa offense were a different team against Georgia Tech.

Stanzi led the team down the field with ease, throwing two touchdowns in the first quarter. The passing game opened up the running game, allowing Iowa to rush for 172 yards, including 113 by Brandon Wegher.

Without Stanzi, Iowa scored just 36 points in 12 quarters (including one overtime period) and beat lowly Minnesota 12-0 in the regular-season finale. It didn't have a 100-yard rusher in those three games and backup quarterback James Vandenberg completed only 48 percent of his passes with four interceptions.

Stanzi's return at the Orange Bowl gave the offense the jolt it needed to complement one of the best defenses in the nation.

"He's the guy you hate to miss, but if he's not there, you have to play without him," said wide receiver Marvin McNutt. "He's our leader and our Tom Brady. We want him out there."

Pretty high praise for a guy who still ended up with 14 interceptions this season. But that's the kind of respect the rest of the team has for their quarterback.

"He is such a good competitor, good leader and every time he is on the field he is going to do well," said linebacker Pat Angerer.

Iowa couldn't have asked for a better start with Stanzi opening the game 8-for-8 passing. Once the Hawkeyes put up 14 points, the defense knew their job just became a lot easier.

"It was huge," added linebacker A.J. Edds. "Especially with this kind of offense, we knew if we get them down a little bit and get them in a hole, it would give us a good chance."

Stanzi gave Iowa more than a good chance and with him healthy all season, the Hawkeyes would have had a better chance to post its first undefeated season since 1922.

Posted on: January 1, 2010 9:45 pm
 

Tebow wins CLASS award

Time for Tim Tebow to make some room in the trophy case, because he was just awarded the Senior CLASS award.

CLASS stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School and focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

"This award means so much because it's not just how you play on the field, it's not just what you do in the classroom, but it's what you do as a leader and someone who is going to serve your community," said Tebow. "That's what's most important about this award, because all these guys are great players and they're extremely intelligent, but more importantly, they're good people. They help their community and they make a difference in this world."

The award was chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I coaches, national football media and fans.

The five member "CLASS First Team" was Missouri OL Kurtis Gregory, TCU DE Jerry Hughes, Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour, Texas QB Colt McCoy and Tebow.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 6, 2009 9:12 pm
 

EagleBank Bowl: Last bid to be decided Dec. 12

While Temple has received a bid to play in the EagleBank Bowl, it doesn't know which team to prepare for yet -- Army or UCLA

That will all be decided Saturday, Dec. 12 on CBS.

If Army beats Navy, the Black Knights will earn their first bowl bid since 1996. Army had a contract at the beginning of the season that if it got to 6-6 (bowl-eligible) it would play in Washington D.C.

If Navy wins, UCLA will earn the spot. The Bruins are 6-6 and bowl-eligible, but the Pac-10 had only six bowl spots and seven bowl-eligible teams.

So UCLA must wait.

"In either scenario, we feel we have a great matchup for this year's EagleBank Bowl," said Steve Beck, Executive Director of the EagleBank Bowl. "We look forward to hosting the players, coaches and their fans for a tremendous week of fun in the nation's capital."

Meanwhile, Temple will be making its first bowl appearance since winning the 1979 Garden State Bowl over California.

The EagleBank Bowl will be played on Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium.

 
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 6, 2009 5:00 pm
 

Stanford, Oklahoma to Sun Bowl

Oklahoma and Stanford both accepted invitations to play in the Sun Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 31 at noon on CBS.
 

“We are excited to invite Stanford University, which has one of the hottest head coaches in the nation in Jim Harbaugh and one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy in Toby Gerhart,” said committee chairman John H. Folmer. “On the other side, how can you ever go wrong with Oklahoma? Everybody in college football would die for an opportunity to have a dynamic head coach like Bob Stoops and Oklahoma play in their bowl game.”


With Arizona's victory over USC and California's loss to Washington, the Sun Bowl was able to select Stanford, which 
tied for second in the Pac-10 and is the only school to beat league champion Oregon.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 1, 2009 12:52 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2009 4:35 pm
 

Bowl bids are coming....

We still have a big weekend of college football left, but with the BCS announcing which teams remain in consideration for BCS bowl berths today, the rest of the bowls are starting to make their selections.

The two biggest bids to come out so far are the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Dallas Morning News is reporting Oklahoma State and Mississippi will be battling on Jan. 2. The game will be a rematch of the 2004 game and a return trip for the Rebels, who beat Texas Tech.

GoVolsExtra.com is reporting that it will be Virginia Tech and Tennessee meeting in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. It was widely thought that the Vols would land in the Outback Bowl, but that invitation went to Auburn, according to AL.com.

June Jones is heading back to Hawaii for the Hawaii Bowl. It's no surprise for SMU as Jones coached at Hawaii two years ago. If Hawaii beats Wisconsin, the Warriors will be the opponent. Otherwise, look for Nevada or Fresno State to play SMU.

Another C-USA team, UCF, will be headed to the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Knights accepted the bowl bid at a press conference today and the school has already launched www.UCFBowl.com for fans to get all the info. UCF will play a team from the Big East, which will most likely be South Florida, Rutgers or Connecticut.

This blog will update throughout the day and you can check out all my projections here.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS, bowl bids
 
Posted on: November 30, 2009 4:54 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2009 12:58 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Solich guiding Ohio


Frank Solich has done it again.

For the second time in four seasons, Solich has guided Ohio to the MAC Championship game. Pretty good for a program that hasn't seen much success since joining Division I-A in 1983.

Not only that, Ohio jumped to No. 40 in the latest CBSSports.com 120 rankings. It will take on Central Michigan for the conference title on Dec. 4.

The season didn't start out strong for the Bobcats. After falling short in a 23-16 loss to Connecticut, it needed overtime to beat one of the worst teams in the nation, getting past North Texas 31-30.

But the Bobcats have won seven of their last eight and clinched the East Division with a win over Temple on Saturday.

"I think the early part of the season was telling for us," said Solich. "We didn't get off to a great start against Connecticut -- they are a very good football team -- but we hung in there and then the next week on the road at North Texas, with bad weather, we found a way to win that football game right at the very end. I think our team felt all along that we had the capability of being a very good football team and capability of winning football games, but it started to generate some action there (at North Texas) and I think I started to truly believe."

The victory was the 28th win for the Bobcats' senior class, which is the school's winningest since 1963, when that group won 29 games from 1960-63.

"I'm as proud of these guys as I've ever been of any team that I've been associated with," added Solich after the Temple game. "You look back and there have been a lot of great games. This one is as good as it gets. This team has been truly amazing as to how they kept battling back in games throughout the course of the entire season."

Two players that have been key to Ohio's success is the wide receiver tandem of Taylor Price and LaVon Brazill. Price has 51 catches for 733 yards and Brazill has 49 catches for 670 yards. The duo has combined for 11 touchdowns.

Two guys on defense are ranked in the top 15 of the nation in their perspective categories. Linebacker Noah Keller is 14th in the nation with 122 tackles, while freshman defensive back Gerald Moore has six interceptions (8th in the NCAA).

Now it all comes down to the game against Central Michigan, which is ranked No. 25 in the CBSSports.com 120.

"Central has been there the past couple years and has gotten a lot of national exposure. We want to get our program going that direction, and we feel like we've got the talent here," said linebacker Lee Renfro. "It's going to be another hard game, but if we keep getting better every week, I like our odds."

Matchups of other conference title games:

ACC: No. 11 Georgia Tech vs. 27 Clemson

Big 12: No. 2 Texas vs. No. 19 Nebraska

Conference USA: No. 21 Houston vs. No. 52 East Carolina

SEC: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 3 Alabama

Notes

... Eastern Michigan finished the season at 0-12 and is ranked No. 119. Western Kentucky is No. 120 at 0-11, but has one game remaining against Arkansas State.

... Hawaii has quietly moved up to No. 75 and is eyeing a bowl bid. If the Warriors beat Wisconsin on Saturday, they would be headed to play in the Hawaii Bowl, mostly likely against SMU. The Mustangs are coached by former Hawaii coach June Jones.

... The lowest-ranked team with a winning record is Northern Illinois at No. 68. Despite being 7-5, the Huskies have the 119th ranked schedule. The highest-ranked team with a losing record is Mississippi State at 5-7. The Bulldogs have not only played a tough SEC schedule, but lost to Houston (10-2) and beat Middle Tennessee State (9-3).

Posted on: November 25, 2009 12:49 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2009 1:30 pm
 

Where does Boise go if it is left out of the BCS?

If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma and Boise State beats Nevada, the Broncos will most likely be left out of the BCS.

The Fiesta will most certainly take Oklahoma State to replace Texas and match it up with TCU. The Sugar Bowl is projected to have the loser of the Alabama/Florida game vs. the Big East champion, while the Orange Bowl will match up Georgia Tech/Clemson winner against either Penn State or Iowa. The Rose will have the Pac-10 champion vs. Ohio State.

So what happens to Boise State?

The Poinsettia Bowl, where the Broncos played last year, was talked about a few weeks ago. Boise State would replace a Pac-10 team, but that can't happen now because the conference has seven bowl eligible teams.

It could take one of its WAC bowls -- Hawaii, Humanitarian or New Mexico Bowl, but neither of those bowls have very appealing matchups for the No. 6 ranked team in the country.

The best option for the Broncos is to grab one of the at-large spots available in the GMAC, Little Caesars Pizza, EagleBank or potentially the International Bowl (if UConn doesn't get bowl-eligible).

"I would assume like in most in years, a Boise State or any highly ranked team that gets left out of the BCS, it is going to want to play the best available team," said Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and International Bowl Executive Director Ken Hoffman. "The Mid-American Conference is going to have a couple of them that are very good, in particular Central Michigan, Temple and Ohio are likely to have strong records and likely ranked at that point."

Boise State could take on the MAC Champion in either the GMAC or Pizza Bowl. Temple is 9-2, while Central Michigan has one of the most exciting players in QB Dan LeFevour and is also 9-2.

"I would think there will be a real good option for Boise State to play a 10- or 11-win team out of the MAC in one of those locations. I can speak for Toronto and Detroit, we would be very interested in that. And I'm absolutely certain Mobile would be interested in that."

Another solution for the Broncos and the WAC is to maybe trade a tie-in with another bowl.

"In the past we've looked at trading teams and trading bowls," said WAC Assistant Commissioner for Media Relations Director Dave Chaffin. "A few years ago Boise State went to the Liberty Bowl ... we had no tie-in to that. That type of situation could happen again this year. We just to have to wait to see what happens."

After this weekend, things will get much clearer.

Posted on: November 23, 2009 2:04 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Nevada making history


History is being made at Nevada.

And with a win at Boise State on Friday, the Wolf Pack will make the Broncos' BCS hopes history.

With both teams undefeated in conference play, the WAC basically ends up with a conference title game, which will be played the day after Thanksgiving.

Beating Boise on the blue turf won't be an easy task, but the Wolf Pack are one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, winning eight consecutive, while averaging 51.6 points per game during the stretch.

Nevada blasted New Mexico State 63-20 this past weekend, moving up to No. 42 in this week's CBSSports.com 120. It has also scored 70 against Idaho, 62 against San Jose State and 52 against Fresno State in recent weeks.

That's quite a difference from a team that started 0-3, including a 35-0 loss to Notre Dame in the season opener.

"We're taking a lot of momentum," Nevada coach Chris Ault said about playing at Boise State. "We have to ... They're the target that everybody shoots for. I'm proud we're playing for a championship. You can't ask for anything more. I'm really proud of this football team. To win eight straight and get to the championship game, this is exciting."

Nevada entered into the record books this weekend becoming the first team in NCAA history to have three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has 1,129 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns, running back Vai Taua has 1,185 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, while Luke Lippincott has 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns.

The school even has a cool little video on its website to recognize the accomplishment.

"It's a compliment to our backs and our offensive line and our quarterback. Things like that don't happen because of one person," added Ault.

Overall, the Wolf Pack's "Pistol" offense leads the nation with 373.2 yards rushing per game and a 7.7-yard average. Georgia Tech is second with 314.1 yards per game, while Navy is third at 282.6.

The pistol offense is a hybrid of the shotgun and single back where the quarterback lines up in a shotgun, with the running back directly behind him. There are also three wide receivers in the formation with one tight end.

"We ran the ball but nothing like what we are seeing with this offense," said Chris Vargas, a former Nevada quarterback told the MercuryNews.com. "It is pretty special what these guys are doing this year. Even in the heyday of 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust-the Oklahoma Sooners and running the wishbone and all that type of stuff-you never saw a team that had three guys go for a thousand yards."

Nevada will need its high-powered offense to be clicking to beat Boise State, which comes into the game with its own lethal offense. The Broncos are ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring, averaging 44.4 points per game.

The Wolf Pack have also never won the WAC outright, only sharing the conference title with the Broncos in 2005.

Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish continue their freefall, dropping to No. 54 after losing to Connecticut. They have lost four consecutive and are on the verge of missing a bowl game. At 6-6, they aren't guaranteed a slot and might get passed over if Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette or Bowling Green pick up their seventh win. Rules state seven-win teams must be selected over six win teams.

Army

The Black Knights are on the verge of making a bowl (if it beats Navy) for the first time since losing in the 1996 Independence Bowl, but according to CBSSports.com, they have the worst schedule in the nation.

The 120th-ranked schedule features Eastern Michigan (0-11), Duke (5-6), Ball State (1-10), Iowa State (6-6), Tulane (3-8), Vanderbilt (2-10), Temple (9-2), Rutgers (7-3), Air Force (7-5), VMI (FCS team) and North Texas (2-9).

That is five opponents ranked in the bottom 18 and three in the bottom five -- Vanderbilt (No. 102), Tulane (No. 106), North Texas (No. 115), Ball State (No. 117) and Eastern Michigan (No. 119).

Notes

... Despite not being ranked in the AP Top 25, Nebraska (No. 24) and Northwestern (No. 25) cracked the Top 25 of the CBSSports.com 120. Nebraska beat Kansas State to reach the Big 12 title game and Northwestern knocked off Wisconsin.

... Three nine-win teams are not in the Top 25, but are on the verge of getting in. Houston is ranked No. 30, Central Michigan is No. 31 and Temple is No. 33.

... The highest-ranked team with a losing record is Wyoming at No. 69. The 5-6 Cowboys can become bowl-eligible with a victory over Colorado State in the regular-season finale on Friday.

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