Posted on: November 1, 2009 12:25 am
If we’re going to give LeGarrette Blount a second chance, we’re going to have to vote Oregon above Boise. It’s not a hard and fast rule in these cases. It’s who is playing better at the moment. Boise won the opener when Oregon was at the absolute bottom. Now they’re coming off one of the biggest wins in their history. Oregon over Boise in the polls, and hopefully the BCS.
Posted on: October 29, 2009 5:00 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2009 5:01 pm
New Mexico coach Mike Locksley is back after being suspended for a week for punching an assistant. After losing $29,000 in pay, Locksley returns in time for the winless Lobos to go to San Diego State ... The nation’s leading rusher, Fresno junior Ryan Mathews, is weighing his NFL options. Mathews says if he is rated in the top 40 he might go. The Bulldogs host Utah State ... The last time Georgia beat a No. 1 team was 14 years ago in the Cocktail Party, 24-3 over the Gators …
Posted on: October 23, 2009 11:24 am
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:49 am
Montana coach Bobby Hauck has disgraced his profession. Wonder why the American Football Coaches Association hasn't weighed in on this issue...Let's see, because it condones this conduct by ignorning it. Bullying students, real nice Bobby ...
• There’s tough and there’s SEC tough: Since suffering a broken jaw and concussion on Oct. 3 against LSU, Georgia tailback Caleb King has missed one game while subsisting on a liquid diet. King scored two touchdowns against last week against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are off this week before the Cocktail Party on Oct. 31.
• Whatever happened to that Sam Bradford press conference to announce his future? Love this stat: Three starting Big 12 quarterbacks have started against Texas. Three Big 12 starting quarterbacks have not finished this games.
• WWL saw USC’s Matt Barkley on some Heisman lists this week. Check the Pac-10 first. Barks isn’t even the best freshman quarterback in his own league. Stanford’s Andrew Luck has thrown for almost 1,600 yards with nine touchdowns.
• National rushing leader Ryan Mathews of Fresno State is on pace to rush for almost 2,000 yards. Four of the six rush defenses he will face the remainder of the season are ranked 98th or worse against the run (New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Illinois).
USC at Oregon. Trojans haven’t won in the state of Oregon since 2005 and need this one to stay in the Pac-10 and national championship hunt. Beavers, though, could end USC’s seven-year run of dominance with a win.
Texas at Oklahoma State. Cowboys thought they should have beaten the Horns last year in Austin. If they win in Stillwater, Pokes take control of the Big 12 South.
Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)
ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.
Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?
Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.
MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.
Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.
SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.
Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.
WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.
National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.
The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:
1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Cincinnati, Conference USA, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana-Monroe, MAC, Miami, Mountain West, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-10, Paul Johnson, Pittsburgh, SEC, Sun Belt, TCU, Temple, Virginia Tech, WAC, Washington State
Posted on: October 10, 2009 11:33 am
Let’s say LSU beats Florida, who is your new No. 1?
No. 3 Alabama – A big win over Ole Miss, or maybe even a little win, may vault the Tide over everyone into the No. 1 slot. They’re used to this type of stuff. They were No. 1 for five weeks last season. This is arguably the most balanced team in the country.
No. 4 LSU – Depending on how it goes down, how do you deny the Tigers? You beat No. 1, you should be No. 1. If LSU does win, it will answer a lot of questions about its quarterback, offense and running back. The defense has been fairly consistent although not quite yet up to LSU standards.
No. 5 Virginia Tech – Hello? The Hokies’ only loss is to Alabama. They’ve destroyed Miami. If Ole Miss handles Bama, The Fighting Beamers will have an argument.
No. 6 Boise State – Not likely. Off this week and already slipping in the polls. We’ll next know about the Broncos on Wednesday when they travel to Tulsa.
Game day notes: Four Tennessee true freshmen have combined for 215 all-purpose yards per game – Bryce Brown, David Oku, Nu’Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague … UCLA (hosting Oregon) has won six of its last nine home games against ranked teams … Off week chattel: Despite losing eight starters, USC goes into its bye week third in scoring defense, fifth in rushing defense and third in pass efficiency defense. The D has not allowed a passing touchdown this season … When Tim Tebow gets a concussion, the whole world stops. That’s why you probably don’t know that Rutgers’ freshman quarterback Tom Savage will try to play this week against Texas Southern after suffering his own concussion … Some things never change: South Florida freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels leads the team in rushing. It has been that way for the previous three years under out-for-his-career starter Matt Grothe … Demaryius Thomas looks out of place in Georgia Tech’s option-based offense. That doesn’t keep him from being one of the nation’s best receivers. Thomas has caught 24 of Georgia Tech’s 35 completions for 536 yards. He is averaging 107.2 yards per game … Cal has accomplished what has been done only 10 other times in Pac-10 history. It went back-to-back games mustering only field goals against both Oregon and USC. They go for a touchdown next week against UCLA … Freakin’ Idaho, 4-1, needs two wins to become bowl eligible. The Vandals’ one and only bowl appearance came in 1998 in the Humanitarian against Southern Miss (42-35 victory). It has one winning season since then.
Posted on: October 6, 2009 3:29 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2009 3:45 pm
Don’t believe that excessive celebrations are going away.
Secretary-editor of the NCAA rules committee Rodgers Redding told me Tuesday that he will continue to push for a rule that would penalize players for excessive celebrations on their way to a touchdown. That’s right, points could be taken off the board if, say, a player shows a defender the ball on his way to the end zone.
“I’m assuming it’s going to come up,” Redding said of February’s next rules committee meeting. “If not, I’ll bring it up.”
The possibility of such a rule came up last February when the rules committee released a statement on sportsmanship. I’ve been asked several times this week if officials will go lighter in such situations after A.J. Green’s gestures were misinterpreted on Saturday in the Georgia-LSU game.
The statement should tell you all you need to know. The flags are going to keep flying on these judgment calls.
The good news is that beginning this year, rules are changed only in two-year cycles. The earliest we could see a score be “voided”, as the rules committee puts it, is 2011.
Redding is also the SEC supervisor of officials who said Monday that the penalty against Green should not have been called.• What tragic, tragic news that Juice Williams is being benched this week at Illinois.
This is a guy who led the Illini to the Rose Bowl two years ago. He has never been the same since. Blame it on losing his offensive coordinator (Mike Locksley, now at New Mexico). Blame it on Ron Zook. It’s clear something has happened to one of the more likeable kids in college sports. Now the pressure is on Zook whose team is out of the Big Ten race.
“He never was a very good passer,” one former coach said of Williams. “Even when he throws it to the right guy it’s not in good body position. The receiver is reaching behind him.
When Illinois went to the Rose Bowl the same coach said, “they had Rashard Mendenhall who could run the ball. Juice Williams could run the ball, but he was only an average passer.” Now without a legitimate running threat, it was easier for defenses to concentrate on Williams.
The senior will be on the bench when the Illini, 1-3, host Michigan State, ending a streak of 38 consecutive starts. Williams holds the school record for career total yardage.
Posted on: October 4, 2009 9:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 9:43 pm
It’s becoming apparent that Notre Dame has to beat USC in two weeks to go to a BCS bowl. I told you in Sunday’s story how lowly regarded ND is in the polls.
Here’s why: It has plenty of competition. Notre Dame is currently one of 30 one-loss teams in Division I-A. Twenty-three of the other 29 teams are from BCS leagues. Ten of the 29 are ranked. Six of those 10 have a victory over a ranked team. That's something Notre Dame doesn't have.
That means ND is one of 20 one-loss teams in I-A that are unranked. it is in a group with the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford and UCLA. Four of those teams are left on ND’s schedule – BC, Pittsburgh, UConn and Stanford.
Given that the Irish play only one more team that is currently ranked (USC), the Oct. 17 game becomes make-or-break for a BCS bowl the way I see it. It’s 11-1 or bust. The pollsters and computers simply won’t get ND high enough at 10-2 because of the quality of the remaining schedule.
In 2006, OU lost to both Oregon and Boise State by a point. In its history, OU has lost 299 games. Only 18 have come by a single point. That’s a one-point loss for every 16 losses. Since Sept. 16, 2006, four of the Sooners’ last 10 losses have come by one point.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had lost 26 games. Four have been by one point and two have been by two points.
• Which way LSU? All we can say is the that Tigers are still undefeated after sneaking out of Athens with a 20-13 victory over Georgia. Charles Scott’s game-winning 33-yard run with 46 seconds left was set up by A.J. Green’s excessive celebration penalty. You’ll read more about that from Tony Barnhart on Tuesday. My take? That kind of penalty should never decide a game. This one did.
“It was a want-to run,” said Scott who had been struggling this season. “I ran mad.”
He better run madder with Florida coming to town. I’ve trotted this out a bunch of times, but the winner of LSU-Florida has won the national championship in the last three seasons.• All that stuff about USC slipping in the Pac-10? Maybe not. The 30-3 win at Cal re-positions the Trojans for BCS bowl No. 8 in a row.
• Anyone want to take a stab at the Florida State mess? One of the most trusted and knowledgeable beat writers in the South says it’s time for Bobby to go. For most of the BC game, it looked like Bobby Bowden had lost his team. Down 21-6, the Seminoles rallied to tie, only to lose late 28-21. That marks FSU’s first 0-2 start in the ACC. It is 2-3 for the first time since 1976.
--In the battle of point guards, Syracuse’s Greg Paulus had more turnovers (five interceptions) than South Florida’s B.J. Daniels. The former Duke guard lost to the current South Florida guard (they’re both quarterbacks, by the way) 34-20.• Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards against Duke. Yes, you read that right.
• Stanford, 4-1, is off to its best start since 1995.
• Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher stuck it to Wisconsin fans by wearing a Brett Favre jersey during the Badgers’ 31-28 victory in Minneapolis. Let’s hope Goldy is not on scholarship because that would be a waste of good polyester.
Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:14 am
Edited on: September 30, 2009 8:10 pm
The best of September
Who would have thought by the end of the month …: USC would lose to Washington a week after a heart-stopping, game-winning drive at Ohio State? [Ok, maybe by now there are a few of you.] … Unranked the preseason, the Big East would have two marquee teams – Cincinnati and South Florida … Houston would have the best Big 12 record [2-0 after beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech] … Two Heisman winners would be knocked out of games … NC State’s Russell Wilson would have a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 29-1 … Auburn’s Chris Todd would lead the SEC in touchdown passes  … Not that the SEC would have three teams in the top 10 in total defense but the Pac-10 would have two … The only three teams yet to allow a touchdown pass would be winless Eastern Michigan, undefeated South Florida and USC [3-1].
Coach of the month: Oregon’s Chip Kelly. On the night of September 3, his world was falling apart. LeGarrette Blount threw a punch and almost started a riot after Oregon looked punchless losing its season opener to Boise State.
Almost four weeks later, the Ducks might be the team to beat in the Pac-10. They have won three in a row, two over ranked teams and have a new lean-on tailback in redshirt freshman LaMichael James.
Team of the month: Miami. Playing September schedule in the country, the Hurricanes beat two ranked teams [Florida State, Georgia Tech] and showed signs of being its old self. Losing to Oklahoma this week wouldn’t be a disgrace. Coming out its death march 2-2 could be a jumping off point for an ACC title.
Player of the month: [tie] You’re gagging on this by now but Florida would not not undefeated with Tim Tebow. His 24 rushes for 76 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 19 were the difference.
LSU safety Chad Jones is this season’s Charles Woodson. Against Mississippi State on Saturday, he single-handedly stopped Tyson Lee on back-to-back plays inches from the goal line. He also provided the eventual game-winning 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Worst conference: Based on previous accomplishments, it’s the MAC. The nation’s largest conference [13 teams] has only one team with a winning record coming out of September. [Central Michigan, 3-1]. The league is 13-29 in the non-conference, 7-27 against I-A competition and 3-19 against BCS conferences.
Best conference: SEC by a hair. The Big 12 has six ranked teams vs. the SEC’s four. But the SEC is 23-2 in the non-conference, a national best 6-2 against BCS conferences.
If you think the SEC has padded its schedule with I-AA teams, actually only the Sun Belt and Pac-10 have played fewer games against “inferior” competition. The SEC is 5-0 against I-AAs. The Big 12 is 9-0. Almost a third of its non-cons have come against I-AAs.
Best trend: Smaller offensive linemen. Boise has been doing it for a while but the Broncos are soaring toward a BCS berth with a line that averages 285 pounds. Remember those hog mollies at Michigan? They weigh in at a svelte average of 295 under Rich Rod who likes ‘em lighter and lively.
Worst trend: This month it had to be the coaches’ poll. It went into the season not exactly on the same page with the BCS commissioners. As long as the coaches are going to go completely underground [hiding all their ballots] beginning in 2010, the possibility exists that the poll will be jettisoned from the BCS process next year.
As for now …
Steve Spurrier gave us a glimpse of his voting habits in July when he admitted that his football ops guy had filled out his preason all-SEC ballot. That caused a huge stir when Spurrier/ops guy didn’t make Tebow a unanimous choice. Spurrier/ops guy picked Ole Miss’ Jevan Snead but was allowed to change to Tebow after it became an issue.
Following convincing wins by No. 3 Alabama and No. 2 Texas on Sept. 19, Florida got all the first-place votes  for the first time this season after struggling to beat unranked Tennessee.
Then, there was this week. What a mess.
No. 12 Oklahoma State is ranked three spots ahead of Houston, which beat the Cowboys by 10.
Cal, which just lost to Oregon by 39, is ranked seven spots ahead of the Ducks.
Penn State had beaten doggies Syracuse, Akron and Temple. After losing at home to Iowa it is No. 13, four spots ahead of the unbeaten Hawkeyes.
Keep it coming, fellas, can’t wait to see how this effects the BCS standings.
Team schizo: Florida State. Do you have to have it explained?
Say goodbye to: BYU [in the BCS], Al Groh, Ralph Friedgen, Steve Kragthorpe.
Tags: Akron, Alabama, Auburn, Boise State, BYU, Cal, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Idaho, Iowa, LSU, Miami, MIchigan, Michigan, Mississippi State, NC State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon, Penn State, South Florida, South Florida, Stanford, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin