Posted on: August 14, 2008 6:57 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2008 7:32 pm

Quarterback quandary at Cincinnati

Cincinnati apparently is ready to move on without Ben Mauk.

Bearcats coach Brian Kelly told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he won't allow last year's starting quarterback on the field before his legal wrangling is cleared up. Mauk obtained a temporary restraining order on Thursday allowing him to practice and play for Cincinnati. The NCAA had declared Mauk's career over again last week after multiple appeals by the quarterback to obtain a sixth year of eligibility.

The hearing on the injunction is Aug. 22. Kelly pointed out that his program could be in trouble for playing an ineligible athlete if he allows Mauk to practice.

"Now if he goes to court -- I've never heard of it -- but if they beat the NCAA on something and he's cleared, sure we'd bring him back under those circumstances," Kelly told the Enquirer. "But I think you've got a better chance of me losing 20 pounds in the next three weeks."

Big East associate commissioner for compliance Joe D'Antonio told that the issue comes down to Mauk's two years of non-competition. In 2003 he wasn't able to play at Wake Forest due to injuries. In 2006, he transferred to Cincinnati after being knocked out of Wake's opener with a broken arm. D'Antonio said the NCAA was looking for evidence that Mauk missed both 2003 and 2006 because of medical issues.

Mauk was seeking a waiver to the five-year eligibility bylaw, 30.6.

"He lost a year due to injury. He lost a year when he transferred," D'Antonio said last month. "You have to show that two of the years you lost were because of incapacitating injury. He can't show that. That's what they (Mauk) were trying to present is that there were extenuating circumstances."

Kelly said last month that if Mauk won his appeal he would immediately be made the starter. The coach spoke with No. 1 quarterback Dustin Grutza standing next to him at Big East media day. That was also before Mauk filed the restraining order.

Mauk would be a huge boost to the Bearcats who are coming off their first 10-win season since 1951. He threw for 31 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards in 2007.

If Mauk somehow becomes eligible on or after Aug. 22, that would give him less than a week to prepare for Cincinnati's Aug. 28 opener against Eastern Kentucky.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 14, 2008 1:34 pm

A legend passes away

Jim Brock was college football. The old Cotton Bowl director was a throwback to the old days when cigars were smoked, deals were brokered and alchohol was drunk.


Unfortunately, most of the key demographic of this (and all) sports websites didn't know Jim Brock from Lou Brock. Too bad. He was a great man, a great bowl executive and a great drinker. Here is his obit. Please say a prayer for him.


 DALLAS – Jim “Hoss” Brock, the longtime Executive Director of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association (CBAA), passed away early Thursday morning, August 14, at a Dallas area health care facility. He was 74.

  Brock had been hospitalized since February 14 after sustaining the first in a series of strokes. He passed away in his sleep at 3:00 a.m., at the Prestonwood Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Plano, north of Dallas.   A native of Fort Worth and a graduate of Texas Christian University, Brock served as the Executive Director of the CBAA for 14 years, from 1979-1992. He then assumed the role as Chairman of Team Selection for one year in 1993 before his retirement. Hoss was elected to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2005.   “We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Jim Brock,” said Rick Baker, the President of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. “There was no such thing as a stranger to Jim. He knew everyone in the world of sports, and everyone knew and respected him.   “Brock’s greatest passion was college football, and most of all he loved the Cotton Bowl,” said Baker. “His name was synonymous with the bowl industry. Texas hospitality was his chief commodity and nobody did a better job of selling it than Jim ‘Hoss’ Brock.”   Brock wore many hats during his tenure with the Cotton Bowl Classic and he was regarded as the bowl industry’s premier public relations man. Hoss was literally on a first-name basis with the rest of the world. He was the master at working his way through press boxes all around the country with his celebrated Cotton Bowl charm. His primary goals were to always promote the game of college football, the city of Dallas, and New Year’s Day.   In addition to his work with the Cotton Bowl Classic, Brock served as the Sports Information Director at his alma mater, TCU, and at SMU, before moving to the CBAA. He also served on numerous influential committees at the highest level of college football. Among them were the Davey O’Brien Foundation in Fort Worth and The Doak Walker Award in Dallas.   Brock worked in a volunteer capacity with the United States Olympic Committee as a media relations coordinator. He was a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America, and the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, the civic organization that annually produces the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 14, 2008 1:26 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2008 7:16 pm

Don't forget to keep watching the SEC on CBS

Good news for me. CBS and SEC have hooked up for the next 15 years.

Bad news for Fox. To my knowledge, there are no major-conference TV contracts up there for renewal. The Fox mothership remains in a somewhat awkward position of televising five college games a year -- the BCS games minus the Rose and the Cotton Bowl. When I talked to Fox Sports president Ed Goren in April he reiterated that the network was still looking for a regular-season piece.

For now, the SEC was the last, most lucrative piece, available.


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Fox, Rose Bowl, SEC
Posted on: August 12, 2008 7:28 pm

Five things you should know about the ACC


1. It's now a 900-pound gorilla: The polite thing to say would be the ACC has an image problem. Yes, the ACC is 1-9 
in BCS bowls. It's lone win was almost nine years ago (Florida State over Virginia Tech in 2000 Sugar Bowl). In 
2006, conference teams were 4-9 against BCS conference schools. After last season, the ACC was 2-6 in bowl games.

There were 35 ACC players taken in the draft, but that's almost an indictment. Why hasn't that talent translated to 
the field?

2. Yes, Clemson there is a lot of pressure: If Tommy Bowden doesn't do it this year then he never will ... No, we 
won't go there. Anything is possible in the fluid ACC but you get the feeling that a window is closing at Clemson. 
Miami and Florida State aren't going to be down forever. Virginia Tech is tough every year. The Tigers are loaded on offense and the schedule sets up right considering the Tigers don't play their first true road game until Oct. 9. If Clemson doesn't beat Wake Forest that night in a key Atlantic Division game, the dream could be over.

3. No Miami, No FSU: Another year, another season without the league's two power teams being a factor. Both programs are rebuilding. If you had to pick between them, take FSU. The offense has to get better in Jimbo Fisher's second  season (doesn't it?). When was the last time Miami went into a season with this much uncertainty at quarterback?

4. Duke will be better: The Blue Devils are 1-31 in the league since expansion but you get the impression that David Cutcliffe is about to accomplish something special. The administration is finally getting the hint that football 
doesn't have to be an embarrassment. They're paying Cutcliffe and paying for better facilities. Cutcliffeville, 

5. When in doubt, pick Virginia Tech: Beamerball is one of the most consistent things in college football. The Hokies are always in the hunt and always play tough. They're 27-5 in conference play over the last four years.


Posted on: August 11, 2008 11:02 am

Five things you should know about the WAC

1. Don't expect Fresno State to imitate the baseball team: That would be winning a national championship. Football 
Fresno would settle for a BCS bowl. Again, not likely. Fresno gets orange juice only if it can win at Rutgers and 
UCLA and beat Wisconsin at home. That's for starters. The Bulldogs also have to go to Toledo and Boise State.

They start the season ranked on the fringes of the top 25. It's hard to believe Fresno hasn't won an outright 
conference title since 1989. This is Pat Hill's best team in years and the Bulldogs will be favored to win the WAC. 
But it won't be good enough to get to the Orange Bowl.

2. The team formerly known as Hawaii will drop off your radar: Colt Brennan and all his best receivers are gone. So 
is the coach (June Jones) who made it all happen. Quarterback Tyler Graunke faced academic problems early on. Oh 
yeah, and the Warriors start the season like they ended it -- in the belly of the SEC beast (August 30 at Florida).

3. Dead: That's what San Jose State football was before Dick Tomey took over in 2005. Since then the program has won 17 games and gone to a bowl. Three BCS conference transfers will help the Spartans challenge for a second bowl in 
four years. Cal transfer Kyle Reed will be in the fight at quarterback. Former Parade All-American and USC player 
Jeff Schweiger will do the same at defensive end. Corner Koye Francies comes over from Oregon State.

4. Vanderbilt is no New Mexico State: If you think the Commodores are having a tough time going to a bowl (its last 
was in 1982), check out the Aggies who haven't been to the postseason since 1960. That's the longest bowl drought in the country. Hal Mumme -- remember him? -- has 16 returning starters including productive quarterback Chase 

5. The Louisiana Tech coach would have to fire himself: That's theoretically the case in Ruston, La. where coach 
Derek Dooley is also the AD. Vince Dooley's son raised hopes in his first season guiding the Bulldogs to a 5-7 
record. The quarterback situation is especially interesting with Auburn transfer Steve Ensminger and Georgia Tech 
transfer Taylor Bennett battling with holdover Ross Martin.

Posted on: August 10, 2008 10:43 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2008 10:48 pm

A plague strikes L.A. quarterbacks

Ben Olson went to UCLA injured. Then football interfered.

At least it seems that way after the Bruins fith-(or is it sixth-,seventh-,eighth-) year quarterback broke his right foot for the second time in less than four months. The injury occured in Saturday's practice. The announcement that Olson would be out eight weeks didn't come until Sunday night. To say that Olson has been hurt a lot in his career is like saying Fat Bastard likes cake. No, Olson is no F.B., just an unlucky one.

The 25-year-old senior had the world by the, uh, tail when Norm Chow was hired. I said at the time that the hiring just got Olson into an NFL camp. That was before the quarterback gushed positives when I named Chow the best offensive coordinator in the country. Rick Neuheisel was his head coach. Chow, Olson's fourth OC in four years, his position coach. What could be better?

Now there's a chance L.A. will be without a starting quarterback when the season starts later this month. USC's Mark Sanchez is day-to-day after dislocating his kneecap. The Trojans are in much better shape with the undefeated Mitch Mustain (8-0 as a starter at Arkansas) backing up. UCLA will go with juco transfer Kevin Craft. The only other quarterback with "experience" is redshirt freshman Chris Forcier.

The weird thing there are some that thought Mustain had outplayed Sanchez in the spring. Across town, a lot of folks that Craft was going to start over Olson, at least eventually. Mobility was always an issue with Olson. He told me last month that his calf had atrophied from his previous injury (broken foot in April) and that he had to work on his mobility.

Anyway, here's the last quotes from Olson you'll read for while (taken from a July interview):

On Chow:

"I'm very excited. When it comes to offensive coordinators and developing quarterbacks you can't argue with his reputation. He did obviously very well at BYU. He recruited me at USC.

"Coach Chow he's got a very simple mentality. It's simple, yet complex. He wants to make it easy for us to play fast and be able to execute what he asks us to do."

On his starting status:

"You always have to compete for your job ... My mentality is I am the guy and I'm preparing to be the guy."

On what he would tell young players:

"I would just tell them, you never know what's going to happen. You can't predict you're going to be in the NFL in three years. Life throws you a curve ball. That's what is interesting. I've looked at every quarterback who has done anything. Everybody has gone through tough times. It's one of those things where you've go to be mentally strong enough. It's how you react to it. Look at Tom Brady being drafted in the sixth or seventh round. Look what he's done now."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 9, 2008 6:08 pm

These teams had the five best offseasons

A minimum of off-field knuckleheadedness and nothing but positive vibes for these five programs ...

Florida Atlantic: The head coach is coming off a conference title, bowl win and contract extension at age 74. If the Good Lord is willing, Howard Schnellenberger will go until he is 84 and somehow get the Owls into a better league by the time he's done. Eighteen starters return from an 8-5 team. The first four weeks include trips to Texas, Michigan State and Minnesota. Am I crazy for thinking the Owls will beat (at least) one of those teams?

North Carolina: Butch Davis should have the Heels in a bowl in his second season. The top eight rushers and top nine receivers return along with quarterback T.J. Yates who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Assistant John Blake already is showing his worth in recruiting.  The Heels lost six games by seven points or less last season. There's no Clemson, Florida State or Wake Forest on the schedule. A second-place finish in the Coastal Division isn't out of the question.

Ohio State: Duh, right? The thing that gets me is that 13 juniors explored their draft worth in the offseason. Only one, Vernon Gholston, left. That means there are at least 12 other players on the roster who would at least be in an NFL camp at this point. Then The Vest landed the nation's best recruit (Terrelle Pryor). You know I love the Bucks on paper (No. 1 in preseason top 25). A third BCS title game berth looks likely, even if they lose to USC.

Ole Miss: Ed Orgeron recruited like a mother. Unfortunately, the talent didn't translate to wins in time. Houston Nutt inherits a team that could be the surprise of the SEC West. The defense gets back its top 14 tacklers. Texas transfer Jevan Snead is ready to go at quarterback. One-time five-star recruit Jerrell Powe got eligible a couple of weeks ago. Coming off its first winless SEC season since 1982 don't be surprised to see the Rebels in a bowl game. 

Thanks, Ed.

Texas Tech: Yeah, I know. The Red Raiders are everybody's darling. Mike Leach's spread option might be the most productive in the nation. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are a year older and wiser. But the defense has been upgraded too (you only need a little in the Big 12) and Texas has to come to Lubbock. Anything less than 10 victories should be considered a disappointment.

Posted on: August 7, 2008 9:02 pm

SI Jinx strikes early

This is going to be a real challenge for the four-letter. Does it go with Brett Favre or Aaron Hernandez?

As you know by now, Favre has been jammed down our throats like Alien laying her eggs. But what does ESPN do about Hernandez, a Florida tight end and native son of Bristol, Conn.? Now that Favre has been traded maybe Hernandez shoots to the top of the overkill charts.

Florida was settle for a capable tight end. Hernandez, a sophomore, just got a higher profile when Florida teammate Cornelius Ingram went down with a torn left ACL. It looks like Ingram's season -- and possibly career -- is over. Too bad because Ingram was one of the best tight ends in the country and part of a top receiving corps.

But if there is a place where Florida can afford a major injury this is it. Florida's offense was/still is loaded. What Florida will lose is experience and depth, not the SEC. Yet. Hernandez was the No. 1 rated tight end by a couple of services coming out of Chris Berman Tech. Oh wait, no, that was Bristol Central.

The kid had a bright future just not this quick. He started three games in '07 catching nine passes for 151 yards. His brother D.J. is a starting receiver at UConn (30 catches, 404 yards last season).

This also bumps up redshirt senior Tate Casey. Casey is more of the blocking type. You might remember him from 2006 when he caught the famous jump pass from Tim Tebow against LSU.

SI hit my mailbox today. Florida is one of the regional covers. It's obvious the jinx has hit early.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, LSU, UConn
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or