Posted on: August 26, 2008 1:23 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2008 2:11 pm

It's on in L.A.

You were wondering about the USC-UCLA rivalry? This ad ran this week in the L.A. Times.

Here's how Rick Neuheisel answered my questions about the ad on Tuesday:

Q: How about a reaction to the ad?

"Looks like we've got our marketing program convinced huh?"

Q: Was that your idea or did you sign off on it?

"I saw it for the first time this morning. My wife said it was a nice picture, that's all I know."

Q: Were you worried about lighting any fires or that's what this is all about?

"That game, in my experience, is a game is one where everybody is going to bring their A game anyway. I don't imagine we can get their guys to play any harder than they would have.

"No, I'm not concerned about that. We've got a ways to go, but there's no use trying to hide it. That's our goal. That's our mission."


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 24, 2008 12:14 pm

Remember Miami's quarterback tradition?

It used to mean something. Now we get news a week before the opener Hurricanes' starter Robert Marve has been suspended for a game.

The Miami quarterback position might not have been this unsure in the last 20 years. Coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, it needs all the momentum it can get. In a way, it's kind of refreshing that coach Randy Shannon came down this hard after a forgettable incident last October. Freshman Jacory Harris will start in the opener against Charleston Southern. That means Marve will get his first start at Florida on Sept. 6. Good luck with that.

Check the bottom of the story. There may be some more suspensions coming. I don't know about you but I'm staying with Shannon for as long as I can if this thing starts to turn bag. Although it's easy to suspend a quarterback for a punching bag like Charleston Southern, Miami football is in a frail spot right now. It needs to get Marve as many snaps as possible. It will hurt the Canes that their No. 1 quarterback will make his debut in The Swamp.

How many coaches would have ignored last fall's incident or made the offender run stadium steps? A lot. Randy Shannon stands for something besides winning.






Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 21, 2008 11:46 pm

Cal's Jeff Tedford names a starting quarterback

Wow, should I be surprised by this? What does it say about Nate Longshore that he didn't get the starting job.
Here's the official release from Cal ...

BERKELEY – California head football coach Jeff Tedford has named sophomore
Kevin Riley as the Golden Bears’ starting quarterback for their opener
against Michigan State on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Memorial Stadium. Tedford
made the announcement following Thursday afternoon’s preseason practice
and said that senior Nate Longshore will also play in the opener.

“Kevin is going to start the first game,” Tedford said. “We feel like both
of them have had great camps, but Kevin’s going to take the first snaps
and we’ll see how it goes from there. Nate will play in the game; I don’t
know exactly when, but Kevin will start.

“We feel Kevin has had a good camp; they both have, we’re confident with
both of them. We feel like Kevin has the ability to make plays; we feel
great about Nate’s experience and knowledge and his play-making ability as
well. We want to see with the roles reversed, how that works. We’re
looking for the best chance to be successful.

“It’s so close, it’s going to continual evaluation.”

Riley saw action in four games last year as a redshirt freshman, throwing
for 563 yards and five touchdowns. In the Armed Forces Bowl last season,
Riley played the final three quarters and helped the Golden Bears erase a
21-0 deficit en route to a 42-36 victory. He connected on 16-of-19 passes
for 269 yards and three touchdowns to earn game MVP honors.

“I’m just getting ready for Michigan State,” Riley said. “It’s an honor to
be named the starter, especially after what Nate’s done at Cal. We’re in
good hands having two good quarterbacks here. I just have to prepare,
watch film and get ready for this game.

While both quarterbacks alternated opportunities working with the
first-string offense throughout camp, Tedford agreed that Riley became
more comfortable as camp went on.

“My first day with the one’s was probably my worst practice at camp,”
Riley said. “After that, I just calmed down and stopped thinking so much
and just played football. It’s continued through camp and every day I feel
like I’m getting better and better.”

Longshore ranks fourth all-time at Cal in passing efficiency (133.1),
sixth in passing touchdowns (62) and seventh in passing yardage (5,732).
He is also second all-time at Cal with 18 victories as a starting

Cal is one of just four teams in the Pac-10 with two quarterbacks
returning who have started games – UCLA (with three), USC and Oregon State
are the others. However, two of UCLA’s quarterbacks are injured and one of
USC’s has been out of action due to injury.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 21, 2008 3:58 pm

Wow, wait until you see who is No. 1!

The Football Writers Association of America just released its Super 16 for 2008.

Also, why is this rules stuff news in August? The horse-collar rule was passed in April. The story says, "Other changes announced Wednesday ..." I thought it was strange that this was a national wire story. This rule is probably the least controversial of those passed. If you've been reading the site or this blog you know how I feel about the new timing rules.

Watch for the officials to crack down big time on celebrations this season too. Self-expression is dead.  


Category: NCAAF
Tags: FWAA
Posted on: August 20, 2008 11:22 am

Marshall scandal leftovers

You don't expect a guy you're essentially ripping to call you back.

But that was the case Tuesday when Huntington, W.V. businessman Marshall Reynolds returned my call in regards to the latest Marshall jobs' scheme scandal story. I was asking him about his two-month-old deposition that casts him, Marshall, Bobby Pruett and Jim Donnan in a negative light. At stake is another possible NCAA investigation. Pruett, Virginia's defensive coordinator, already has had his ethics put in question.

Reynolds, though, answered all my questions with candor. Here's some leftovers from Tuesday's story.

Do you think there is wrongdoing here on your part?

"Obviously, the answer to that question is no. I'm not sure what it is ... I think (plaintiff Dave Ridpath is) doing this to embarrass Coach Pruett."

What about this e-mail from NCAA investigator LuAnn Humphrey which alleges a "cover-up" at Marshall?

LuAnn Humphrey is a pretty sharp lady. I only talked with her a couple of times. Certainly her elevator went to the top floor. Unfortunately, our president's (Dan Angel) didn't. I don't think there's anything here. I don't think it amounts to a hill of beans."
Do you consider what Donnan allegedly did, getting those three or four non-qualifiers jobs every year, an NCAA violation?

"Absolutely not, neither does the NCAA."

Did they know about it though back in 1990, though?

"Gee, I don't know.

That's the end of it. Probably poor old Dave Ridpath, this is the only time he's been noticed. He's trying to hang out there a little bit ... It will never get to court. Ridpath realized ... he'll lose in court.
"Unfortunately, there's very little justice in America today.  Coach Pruett's been embarrassed once. He shouldn't have been."
 It seems as if the Ridpath trial might be continued now until Dec. 2. There was an original Oct. 21 trial date but one of the lawyers may have a conflict because of kidney transplant surgery.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 18, 2008 2:13 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2008 3:54 pm

Bob Pruett responds

Local reporters talked to Bob Pruett on Monday about my story posted on Sunday.

Question: There's a story that appeared on CBS that court
documents were filed Friday alleging that you had direct involvement
in academic fraud and overpayment of athletes while at Marshall. Were you aware of that and how to respond to it?

Pruett: I haven't seen the article, wasn't aware of it. That's an
eight-year on-going legal procedure and legal procedures you can't
comment on things like that. Those are accusations; that's the reason
that you're hopefully one day you'll get your day in court and we'll
see what happens.

Back to me: There is a trial date for this thing. The plaintiff is hoping for a November or December date, which could impact Pruett's and Virginia's season. I'm also trying to find out if Virginia knew about the lawsuit and/or they knew these accusations could be coming when they hired Pruett.

Also, the NCAA said Monday afternoon it did not have any comment on the story.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 18, 2008 10:40 am

Five things you should know about the Pac-10...

1. The Slickster: He's back and he's here to stir up Westwood, L.A., That School Down The Road and the Pac-10. Rick 
Neuheisel will be the freshest thing to hit the league since, well, Pete Carroll. Get ready for the USC-UCLA rivalry to reignite.

2. Curse of the Trojans: A dislocated knee is one thing (quarterback Mark Sanchez) but it's getting ridiculous at 
USC. Offensive lineman Jeff Byers is being treated for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Running back Joe McKnight 
smashed his fingers in a doorjamb last year (ouch!). Don't forget an outbreak of jock itch.

3. Curse of the Trojans II: USC has developed a nasty habit of a conference loss that defies explanation. Last year, it was Stanford. The year before that it was Oregon State. Put a shotgun (formation) to my head and I'd have to say 
the Oct. 25 game at Arizona qualifies as this season's head scratcher.

4. Intersectionals: Never let it be said the Pac-10 is ducking the competition. It plays that brutal nine-game 
round-robin league schedule. It doesn't fill the non-cons with cream puffs either. The Pac-10 was 5-3 against BCS 
conference schools in non-conference games last season (No. 1 in the country). We'll know a lot about the Pac-10 
(and a lot of other conferences) early on. Consider these intersectional doozies ...

USC at Virginia, Aug. 30
Oregon State at Penn State; BYU at Washington, Sept. 6
Oklahoma at Washington, Ohio State at USC; UCLA at BYU, Sept. 13
Georgia at Arizona State, Sept. 20

A case can be made for the Pac-10 being favored in only two of those games, both USC games (Ohio State, Virginia).

5. The end of an era: Commissioner Tom Hansen ends more than a quarter century of service when he steps down after 
this academic year. An NCAA veteran of 16 years, Hansen joined the league in 1983. Things have been great -- the 
re-emergence of USC -- and embarrassment -- the recent officiating snafus -- but Hansen always added class and dignity to a tough job.

His replacement could signal a small crack in the staunch Pac-10 position against a plus-one depending on who is 
hired. The short list: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, WAC commissioner Karl Benson and former 
Pacific/Dartmouth/Stanford AD Ted Leland.

Posted on: August 14, 2008 11:11 pm

More "Things"

If 25 wasn't enough, here are three more "things" to watch in '08 ...


No, this isn't a new Justin Timberlake disc. Remember when Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden used to be about who was going to retire the all-time victories record?

Now it's about which exit is going to be more ugly. Paterno is going Wallenda this season, working without a net, er, contract. Bowden has a succession plan in place but there is little buzz about his program this season.

Why do I get the feeling that both guys will still be coaching in 2009?

Overrated, underrated

Overrated:  Spring. Spring games are now televised.  Some whack marketer tried to conduct a series of concerts/pep rallies leading up to the games at several schools. Note to fans: These are practices. By the time the season rolls around you will have learned nothing. Sitting in the sun on a lawn chair sipping Michelob Ultra isn't bad, though.

Underrated:  These coaches who will soon have big-time jobs -- Al Golden (Temple); Brian Kelly (Cincinnati); Bronco Mendenhall (BYU); Mark Dantonio (Michigan State).

Just rated

Here's how the conferences stack up for 2008, 1-11

1. SEC
2. Big 12
3. Big Ten
4. Pac-10
5. Big East
6. ACC
7. Mountain West
8. Conference USA
9. WAC
10. MAC
11. Sun Belt

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