Tag:Penn State
Posted on: July 29, 2008 8:24 am
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Five things you should know about the Big East...

 

1. Can things get any better? Left for dead after the ACC expansion, the Big East has more than pulled its weight. 
It is 8-2 the past two seasons in bowls. It had four teams ranked in the AP 10 at various times in 2007. West Virginia is a national championship contender. The middle of the league is a strong as any league, except the SEC -- Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida and Connecticut. Commissioner Mike Tranghese deserves a lifetime achievement award in his final season.

2. Bill Stewart, come on down: The West Virginia assistant's surprising battlefield promotion after the Fiesta Bowl win was one of the more surprising developments of 2007. Now the former Rich Rodriguez assistant must produce. The Mountaineers are loaded this season with Rich Rod's leftovers. But Stewart has shown an ability to recruit too. West Virginia has 13 commitments and is actually slowing down recruiting in order to balance out the class. Too many skill players want to follow in the footsteps of Pat White and Steve Slaton. Stewart needs more linemen. His first recruiting class (2009) could provide the foundation for years to come.

3. The hottest of seats is at Syracuse: Along with Washington's Tyrone Willingham, Greg Robinson is considered one of the first coaches to be fired. He has won seven games in three seasons, never more than four in any year. There has been little improvement in a program that used to be a regular resident of the top 25. The only weak sister in the Big East has to play at Northwestern, West Virginia, South Florida, Rutgers and Notre Dame as well as a home game against Penn State. Where should we forward your mail, Greg?

4. South Florida is not going South: That wasn't a fluke last season when the Bulls rose to No. 2 in the country. D coordinator Wally Burnham has built a crushing unit led by returning All-American George Selvie. Quarterback Matt Grothe doesn't fit in any category, he just wins. Don't be surprised if South Florida is undefeated going to West Virginia on Dec. 6.

5. Pittsburgh is headed ... You tell me: Up? Down? The upset of West Virginia provided momentum and Dave Wannstedt has recruited well but the world is waiting to see the Panthers take the next step. A second-place Big East finish is doable, especially with under-the-radar Heisman candidate LeSean McCoy at tailback.

 

Posted on: July 28, 2008 10:59 am
Edited on: July 28, 2008 11:00 am
 

Five things you need to know about the Big Ten...

 

1. Ohio State is really, really good: The rest of the league, not so much. In building up to this point, the Buckeyes have played in the last two BCS title games. This is the team that was supposed to win it all. As long as the SEC doesn't show (Ohio State is 0-9 vs. the conference in bowl games) the Bucks should win the national championship.

Meanwhile, the rest of the league has slipped in recent years. While Ohio State is chasing its fourth consecutive conference title (third outright), no team has stepped up to challenge it. It certainly isn't Michigan (lost six of the seven to Ohio State). Iowa and Purdue have declined. Northwestern is Northwestern. The Big Ten was 2-5 in bowls last season. Only 28 players were drafted, fifth-best among I-A conferences.

2. Illinois is the IT team: It's not all about trashing the rest of the league. The Illini fired a shot across Ohio State's bow by winning in Columbus then advancing to the Rose Bowl. Ron Zook wants his previously scatter-armed quarterback Juice Williams to complete 70 percent of his passes. (Williams says he can do it). The defense should be the strength even with the loss of linebacker J Leman. If Illinois gets past Missouri in the opener this could be a special year.

3. However, Wisconsin will finish second: Bret Bielema has won 12 and nine games in his two seasons in Madison. He is loaded again this season and gets Ohio State at home. The only question is at quarterback which never seems to matter at Wisconsin. Going back to 2004, the Badgers are 25-1 at Camp Randall. Look for another January bowl.

Wisconsin is one of only three teams to play in that month each of the last four seasons. The others are USC and West Virginia.

4. JoePa doesn't know: He spelled it out at Big Ten media days when asked (again) how long he's going go. "I-D-O-N-T-K-N-O-W". The Nittany Lion In Winter is working without a contract this season. That's going to make it easier for president Graham Spanier to make a change after the season. The next question (and battle) is whether the replacement comes from inside or outside the staff.

5. Rich Rod takes off: With no proven quarterback, tailback or receiver Rich Rodriguez brings his zone read spread option to Ann Arbor. Piece of cake, right? Well, the last "outsider" at Michigan (Bo Schembechler) seemed to do OK.

Rodriguez has been well received and should finish 8-4 or 7-5 in his first season. Watch out, though, in Years 2 or  3.

  

 

Posted on: April 10, 2008 12:49 am
Edited on: April 10, 2008 1:22 am
 

CFB national notes

Trying to sort out college football while wondering if Doyel scares small children sporting that dead beaver on his head ...

 Just wondering if Bill Self accepts that crazy/sick/monster money from Oklahoma State, what it does to the football side.

 

While $3 million is the new $2 million, college football has only one $4 million man in Alabama's Nick Saban. Does Oklahoma State's impending offer possibly cross sports and raise the bar for everyone. I'm told that hoops coaches around the country are hoping Self takes the money from OSU for obvious reasons. It would help everyone.

 Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly added this nugget on how hard it is to evaluate talent: "All of us have only three weeks in December and three weeks in January (actually parts of November and February too for in-person contact). It's such a restrictive calendar, how are you evaluating someone that you're going to invest $150,000 in (in scholarship money) when all you have is bad high school film."

 

 Fresno's Pat Hill wasn't as upset as I thought when I called. Kansas State recently pulled out of a game to host the Bulldogs in September. It's almost unheard of do something like that less than six months until the beginning of the season. It was a heck of a message K-State coach Ron Prince was sending his players: We aren't good enough to beat a third-place team from the WAC in our own stadium.

 

"What can you say? It irritates me. (But) it worked out good for us," Hill said.

Thanks to a chance meeting with Greg Schiano at a Nike event, Hill started to find a replacement. A cable network getting involved and Fresno found Rutgers to replace K-State, in what will be one of the better early-season non-conference games. K-State picked up Montana State, an automatic W, to replace Fresno. Prince might be feeling some pressure to produce after sinking to 5-7 last season and lost the AD who hired him. Tim Weiser recently went to the Big 12 as a deputy commissioner.

Hill is used to such schedule shenanigans. His program long ago became too good for most I-A powers to play in non-conference games -- on the road or at home. Fresno is 12-14 against BCS-conference teams this decade but that's only half the point. Hill's anyone-anytime-anywhere philosophy means the Bulldogs have played an average of 3.25 BCS-conference schools each season since 2000.

Coming off a 9-4 season with 16 starters returning, Fresno arguably has the best chance of any non-BCS program to make it to a BCS bowl. The schedule gives them a chance. The season kicks off on Labor Day night at Rutgers. Wisconsin comes to Fresno on Sept. 13 before the Bulldogs visit UCLA on Sept. 27.

Hill has done himself no favors by battling some of the teams for which his team is supposed to roll over. USC had to fight to wire to win 50-42 in 2005 at the Coliseum. Fresno started 8-0 in 2001 beating Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. Since 2004, Kansas State has lost twice to Fresno, including last season's 45-29 thrashing.

"If we were playing a real weak schedule, it would be a lot easier," said Hill who is entering his 12th season. "That's our niche, though. Not many West Coast teams are going home-and-home with us, and we're not going to play a bunch of I-AA games."

It's a Catch-22. Hill would have a better chance of going undefeated if he played an easier schedule, but that would make it harder to get a high BCS ranking. Playing a tough schedule gets the Bulldogs attention and a ranking, if they win. That's a big if.

Playing a weak schedule worked for WAC rival Hawaii last season. The difference was the Warriors at least were ranked going in (No. 23 preseason in AP).

"Lose and we just fall off the map," Hill said. "We just hate it."

 Notre Dame recently issued a tersely-worded e-mail to media covering the Irish. It basically warns media to stay away from recruits while they're on campus. Fair enough. Interviewing or photographing recruits while they are on campus can land a program in NCAA hot water.

 

Where ND stepped over the line is this passage: " ... any attempt by you or your staff members to contact ... any prospective student-athlete while they are in the South Bend area for the purpose of visiting our campus may be cause for sanctions ..."

Let's see, would that include a certain publicity-hound quarterback who called his own press conference "in the South Bend area" (College Football Hall of Fame, actually) to announce his commitment? We're talking about Jimmy Clausen who  sought the attention two years ago, coming to the press conference with an ESPN camera crew in tow.

ND has overstepped its authority with that last passage. On campus, we understand the concerns. Other than that, we can call recruits, we can call their parents, we can drive to their houses to interview them. We can talk to them when they come to campus -- just not on campus. Remember, these are recruits, public figures, not the property of Notre Dame.

If the school wants to keep us from interviewing the Jimmy Clausens of the world, tell the Jimmy Clausens to stop seeking the limelight.

 The play calling will stay in the family but Steve Spurrier is ready to delegate duties. http://www.charleston.net/news/2008
/apr/05/spurrier_its_time_delegate3
6233/

 

 A former big-time recruit at San Diego State is facing murder charges.

 

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sport
s/aztecs/20080408-9999-1s8azfoot.ht
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 This Joe Paterno contract situation might come to an end soon. One resolution being talked about is that JoePa goes on a year-by-year contract. Paterno doesn't seem to be concerned about the recruited repercussions. His current contract expires after this season.

 

 What kind of country club was being run at Michigan previous to Rich Rodriguez? Part of the reason given by offensive lineman Justin Boren for leaving the team is that linemen had to run to the line out of the huddle. 

 

 

 

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