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Tag:Florida
Posted on: January 11, 2009 3:34 pm
 

Florida preseason No. 1

That does it for me. Florida is the preseason No. 1 for 2009.

Tim Tebow assured his team of that fact when he told 40,000 people Sunday in Gainesville that he is coming back for his senior season. Why not? A year from now he is still going to be a questionable NFL quarterback. TT said he got mixed reviews from NFL types.

What did he expect? The guy doesn't exactly throw a spiral each time. He'll never have the weapons he has offensively at Florida in the NFL. It's the right idea to come back. A second Heisman and third national championship won't hurt his draft prospects or desire to play quarterback in the pros.

Tebow comes that latest Tyler Hansbrough or Matt Leinart or Peyton Manning who are coming back because they love everything about college.

You go, Tim. We'll see you and the Gators in Pasadena next year.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida
 
Posted on: January 7, 2009 6:59 pm
 

Final, final before BCS title game

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- How big is this game? Urban Meyer needed a security detail to go to the bathroom Wednesday morning at the Marriott Harbor Beach.

A man's gotta go when he's gotta go. The security team led Meyer through a mob of reporters after a press conference. No word on whether the coach did an Associated Press ranking (No. 1) or a coaches poll ranking (No. 2).

 Meyer is all for his former school, Utah, lobbying for the No. 1 ranking. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham, along with Texas' Mack Brown, said he will defy the American Football Coaches Association edict and vote their team No. 1.

"That's absolutely what they should do," Meyer said. "I've got news. (If) I'm representing the University of Florida, and I'm an employee of the University of Florida and I represent my players, most of all I'm going to fight like a dog to take care of them.

 

"I made a comment two years ago that the University of Florida belonged in the national championship game ... I was lobbying. I simply said that we belonged in the game. More importantly, I love my players and represent my players. You don't really understand the whole mechanics, investment and passion that these coaches have."

 Meyer on a playoff: "I think at some points it might happen now. I didn't believe that a few years ago, but I feel now the discussion is out of control."

 

 Bravo to BC AD Gene DeFilippo who told Jeff Jagodzinski to hit the road after he interviewed with the Jets. Sure it's a bold move but coaches still need to be accountable to their bosses. I wish more ADs were like Filippo.

 

It reminds me of 1989 when Bill Frieder was going to leave Michigan for Arizona State. Bo Schembechler told Frieder to hit the road and elevated Steve Fischer. All Fischer did was lead the Wolverines to the national championship game.

 They're being a little presumptuous in the Tulsa airport.

 


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 7, 2009 6:59 pm
 

Final, final before BCS title game

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- How big is this game? Urban Meyer needed a security detail to go to the bathroom Wednesday morning at the Marriott Harbor Beach.

A man's gotta go when he's gotta go. The security team led Meyer through a mob of reporters after a press conference. No word on whether the coach did an Associated Press ranking (No. 1) or a coaches poll ranking (No. 2).

 Meyer is all for his former school, Utah, lobbying for the No. 1 ranking. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham, along with Texas' Mack Brown, said he will defy the American Football Coaches Association edict and vote their team No. 1.

"That's absolutely what they should do," Meyer said. "I've got news. (If) I'm representing the University of Florida, and I'm an employee of the University of Florida and I represent my players, most of all I'm going to fight like a dog to take care of them.

 

"I made a comment two years ago that the University of Florida belonged in the national championship game ... I was lobbying. I simply said that we belonged in the game. More importantly, I love my players and represent my players. You don't really understand the whole mechanics, investment and passion that these coaches have."

 Meyer on a playoff: "I think at some points it might happen now. I didn't believe that a few years ago, but I feel now the discussion is out of control."

 

 Bravo to BC AD Gene DeFilippo who told Jeff Jagodzinski to hit the road after he interviewed with the Jets. Sure it's a bold move but coaches still need to be accountable to their bosses. I wish more ADs were like Filippo.

 

It reminds me of 1989 when Bill Frieder was going to leave Michigan for Arizona State. Bo Schembechler told Frieder to hit the road and elevated Steve Fischer. All Fischer did was lead the Wolverines to the national championship game.

 They're being a little presumptuous in the Tulsa airport.

 


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 5, 2009 7:14 pm
 

BCS title game media day!

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Just when you thought fingernails against a chalkboard were tolerable, a couple of hundred men and women gathered to talk to Gators and Sooners. Yes, there were more than a few stupid questions. Hopefully, none by me ...

Day 2 of the Dom Bomb brought the requisite reaction from Florida.

Oklahoma's Dominique Franks made trash talk news on Sunday when he said Tim Tebow would only be the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12. Florida receiver Louis Murphy said it would provide more motivation for Tebow. The quarterback himself gave a non-answer. "I'll just try to have fun out there Thursday night."

"I don't have a reaction," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "I've done this for a long time, and I'm sure that someone jammed a microphone in his face and he was having fun."

Not so much Urban. The kid brought it up on his own. Take my word for it. I was there.

 Bo Pelini didn't seem to be one of the central figures in this championship but he is, having helped both Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.

Venables flew to Lincoln in mid-December to break down film and discuss how to beat Florida. Pelini, Nebraska's head coach, offered his help after getting a feel for the Gators during his time at LSU. Venables seemed surprised that I knew the two had met when I talked to him on Monday. He didn't admit to the skull session, saying the two are just "good friends."

Mullen talked to Pelini about juggling two jobs prior to a national championship game. Mullen is balancing his last days at Florida while taking over as head coach at Mississippi State. Pelini did a similar thing last year when he stayed for the BCS title game as defensive coordinator after taking the Nebraska job.

 Redshirt freshman quarterback John Brantley will be taking over for Tebow if the Heisman-winning quarterback leaves for the NFL after this season. Brantley is a five-star prospect from nearby Ocala. If Tebow does stay, Brantley wouldn't see the field as a starter until his fourth season as a redshirt junior in 2010.

 "It doesn't bother me," Brantley said. "Me and Tim are such good friends. I don't have hate against him at all. It would be another year of learning, I guess."

 Meyer was short with a reporter Monday who asked him about his controversial Notre Dame comment last month. Meyer said that Notre Dame remains his "dream job."

 Why, the reporter asked, is Notre Dame so special?

"Next question," Meyer said.

Florida AD Jeremy Foley said that Meyer's ND comment didn't bother him. Meyer seems to be a long-timer at Florida, or least until his nine-year-old son Nate is in college. That would be 10 years. Would you take another decade, Gators?

"I don't think he'll leave," linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "If he goes, I'm pretty sure he'll turn the program around. He did it here at Florida."

  One of the few connections between the two teams is Oklahoma defensive back Brett Bowers and Tebow.

 Bowers was a junior at Trinity Catholic Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. when Tebow was a freshman. Bowers played with Tebow's older brothers at Trinity.

 The redshirt junior "really didn't know who Oklahoma was" until seeing them play on TV against his favorite, Florida State, in 2000.

"I kind of followed Coach Stoops and his career, he beat my favorite team," Bowers said. "At the time, the Florida schools started rebuilding. Oklahoma was one of my offers. My mom is from Oklahoma City. I committed early."
Bowers has played mostly on special teams.

 Murphy recently graduated with his degree in Sports Recreation and Event Management. He will fondly look back at one of his internships on a butterfly farm.

 "I learned the state butterfly is the Zebra Longwing," Murphy said.

So at least there's that.

 

Posted on: January 3, 2009 11:26 am
 

Joe Haden's 'do

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It wasn't exactly a Mohawk, but Florida's Joe Haden scored the biggest style points during the first day of interviews for the BCS title game.

Shaved into the left side of the defensive back's head is "BCS 1". Never mind that Haden doesn't know what BCS stands for ("I have no clue") or that his team is actually No. 2 in the BCS standings.

"I just put this (there) for the No. 1 game," he said.

Oooooh, we get it. Maybe.

Haden was inspired by a teammate's Mohawk to get the crop circles cut into his hair which he keeps short and tight. If you're ever in the Razor Sharp Cuts and Styles in Gainesville, see a guy named Tony. He will hook you up.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida
 
Posted on: January 3, 2009 7:36 am
Edited on: January 6, 2009 11:52 am
 

Utah is No. 1!

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- You expected a bit of a letdown for Alabama after losing the SEC championship game.

You didn't expect the Tide to be on Vicodin.

For those of you not up on your prescription pharms, that's what the dentist gives you before he removes your wisdom teeth. Yeah, it felt about like that for Alabama after one of the most humiliating losses in the program's history.

Louisiana-Monroe was bad. A two-touchdown beatdown by Utah in the Sugar Bowl is worse.

That first Bama team was rebuilding. This one was turning the corner.

Was. 

Don't give me anything about a "rebuilt" offensive line. It was missing one player from arguably the best offensive line in the country. Left tackle Andre Smith was suspended.

Sure, the Tide were down to a third-string replacement for Smith. But let's call this what it was -- a choke. Alabama-did-not-come-to-play. For Utah, this was the biggest game in school history. For Bama, it was a consolation prize after losing what was  essentially a national semifinal loss to Florida in the SEC championship game.


Still, shouldn't Alabama be able to smack Utah on 364 out of 365 days of the year?  Sure, but it's a new year, some will say a new era.

This wasn't a fluke. Utah became the first non-BCS school to go undefeated in two seasons. You will begin to hear a cry for the Mountain West joining the BCS conferences. I can't disagree. The league was better overall than the Pac-10 in the regular season and just defeated a top-five powerhouse from the SEC.

There is some convoluted formula for "evaluating" the automatic qualifier status of BCS conferences. It won't happen any time soon but it should: Drop the ACC or Big East from the ACC and elevate the Mountain West. Now.

This should be more about Utah than Alabama. Saban and the Tide will have to deal with an enough taunts in the offseason ("Ute ought to be able to beat Utah!").

I'm looking for reasons not to make Utah No. 1. It has beaten four top-25 teams, two teams in the top 10 (TCU, Alabama). It beat the only team to beat USC (Oregon State). I will put Utah's non-conference schedule against Florida's and Oklahoma's.

Will Utah get the final No. 1 in AP? Not likely. Brand names still rule in the polls. Should the Utes be No. 1. One word: Undefeated. In this age of parity, there was only team in the whole land that can make that claim. It walked into the belly of the SEC beast and embarrassed Bear's boys.

I can't think of another team more deserving of being No. 1 right now. The Utes just took a small chunk of relevance out of that game they're playing down here in a few days.

What do they call it, the BCS title game? That sounds kind of shallow after what happened in New Orleans.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 12, 2008 10:40 am
 

Meyer/Muschamp/Grobe

Forget all this nonsense about Will Muschamp going to Auburn, the biggest news of Friday morning was Urban Meyer's comments. He told a Miami radio station that Notre Dame is still his dream job.

(Sideways cocked head like a dog that has just been shown a card trick)

Huh?

That should do wonders for Florida recruiting. Or maybe I was right when I suggested Notre Dame is waiting to make a coaching change on the chance it can shake Meyer loose from Florida.

--Jim Grobe's name has surfaced in the Auburn interview process.

The Wake Forest coach is in the midst of a 10-year contract. He talked to Nebraska last season before the school hired Bo Pelini. The question is, who hasn't interviewed on The Plains? As soon as Ball State coach Brady Hoke's name was attached to the job, he emerged on a list of finalists at San Diego State. A Mobile, Ala. Fox station reported that Will Muschamp is going to be the new coach at Auburn. Wrong!

--How is George O'Leary able to recruit?

That's the first question after Central Florida kept his job Thursday despite another player collapsing. It's never a good thing when your bosses hire an NCAA troubleshooter (for a pretty penny, no doubt) to review training methods. I love the line in this story where it is described that Central Florida interviewed 40 athletes and staff members about Brandon Davis' collapse. It couldn't talk to Davis, though, because he is still in the hospital.

Yeah, you might want to get his side of the story.

--Syracuse apparently has hired someone named Doug Marrone from the Saints. I'm sure he's a fine man and we know he is a Syracuse alum. But on the surface, the Cuse just traded a hot (at the time) NFL defensive coordinator for a hot NFL offensive coordinator.

The clock is offically ticking on AD Daryl Gross.  

Posted on: December 10, 2008 12:44 am
 

National notes

My Heisman ballot:

1. Tim Tebow
2. Sam Bradford
3. Colt McCoy

I can't give you a quantitative reason why Tebow is my No. 1. His numbers are down from '07. However, after watching him lead that fourth-quarter comeback against Alabama, it's more of a feel, an emotional reaction.

I go back to Sept. 27 when Tebow basically called his shot after the Ole Miss loss and then delivered! Nine wins in a row. Go back and at the quotes from that day. Tebow as Babe Ruth pointing his bad toward the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Until Saturday, Bradford was my guy. I had started hyping him for Heisman back when he was a freshman. How many players ever have led the country in pass efficiency two years in a row?

It's hard to vote Colt McCoy third when he took a team with a mediocre offensive line and led it in passing and rushing. The point is, I can't slide a piece of paper between the three of them.

The voters: John Adams, Knoxville News Sentinel; Tony Barnhart, CBS; Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News; Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union; Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle; Scott Ferrell, Shreveport Times; Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen; Herb Gould, Chicago-Sun Times; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Mike Griffith, Knoxville New Sentinel; Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Mark Janssen, Manhattan Mercury; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Ted Lewis, New Orleans Times-Picayune; Mike Lopresti, Gannett Newspapers; Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger; Ray Melick, Birmingham News; Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News; Brett McMurphy, Tampa Tribune.

(Two voters did not want their names used)

The rest of the national awards, etc.


MVP: McCoy

There's a difference between the Heisman winner and MVP. McCoy did more with less. Texas wouldn't be in the conversation without him.

Best quarterback: Bradford

This is getting confusing so let's just drop it.

Best running back: Shonn Greene, Iowa

The nation's No. 2 rusher came on in the second half of the season to surpass Michigan State's Javon Ringer and UConn's Donald Brown as the most consistent ground force in the nation.

Best receiver: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech


Do back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards do anything for you? An NFL star in waiting.


Best tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

This was tough. I recently shifted away from Missouri's Chase Coffman who was too injured at the end of the season to back up a spectacular first eight games of the season.

The 6-foot-6 inch Gresham gets opens, is hard to tackle and has speed. Need anything else?

Best offensive lineman: Andre Smith, Alabama.

He is what coaches look for when they recruit left tackles. A case can be made for Smith, the likely Outland Trophy winner, being Bama's MVP. Without him protecting John Parker Wilson and carving out holes for Glen Coffee, the Tide don't start 12-0.

Defensive player of the year: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

From a troubled beginning, this voracious tackler became the foundation for one of the best statistical defenses in history.

Best defensive lineman: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Ask BYU's Max Hall what he thinks of the nation's sacks leader In their October matchup, Hughes sacked Hall three times.

Best defensive back: Eric Berry, Tennessee.

Lane Kiffin should be at Berry's house right now making sure he's happy, comfortable and ready to take 20 snaps a game on offense.

Best special teams player: Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati

You won't find many other All-Americans on the best Cincinnati team in history that won 11 games and the Big East. We'll give it to Huber who bombed 20 punts more than 50 yards and dropped 20 punts inside the 20.

Remember when Cincinnati used to be a basketball school?

Freshman of the year: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

How did he get from Texas to Corvallis?

Coach of the year: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Staff of the year: Penn State

The Broyles Award is doing a disservice to Penn State. The honor goes to the assistant coach of the year. Not only were there no Penn State assistants among the finalists, the Broyles folks didn't do the right thing and pick the entire Penn State staff.

With JoePa ailing, his staff basically took over and led the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title. Big ups to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno. They were the glue.

Biggest disappointments: Georgia, Notre Dame, South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, the ACC, the Pac-10.

Biggest surprises: Oregon State, Ball State, Alabama, Buffalo, East Carolina, Rice, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech.

Sometimes you just live right: Charlie Weis almost got run out of town after a 6-6 season. His reward? A trip to the Hawaii where he can continue to recruit linebacker Manti Te'o. 

Don't give me any of this stuff about a dead period. Te'o will be a captive audience as the Irish take over Oahu.

Best games: Texas 45, Oklahoma 35, Oct. 11 in Dallas.

The winner usually wins the Big 12 South and competes for the national championship. Right? Right?

Texas Tech 39, Texas 33, Nov. 1 in Lubbock.

Not to pick on the Horns here but the reason they are playing Ohio State instead of Florida is Crabtree's game-winning catch with one second left.

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT) Sept. 1 in the Rose Bowl.

Tennessee's defense held UCLA's Kevin Craft to only four interceptions in the first half. Then, in his best performance of a long, long season, Craft rallied the Bruins in the second half.

Rick Neuheisel led a post-game pep rally.

Florida 31, Alabama 20, Dec. 6 at the SEC championship game.

The BCS was smiling as the closest thing to a national semifinal was played out in front of the largest Georgia Dome crowd in history.

Whine of the year: Pete Carroll and USC

You lost to a team you weren't supposed to (Oregon State). You paid for it in the polls. Deal with it. Maybe the difference between that and Florida losing to Ole Miss? Urban Meyer has made a habit lately of winning the big ones <em>and</em> the little ones.

Best stories:

Six teams ranked No. 1 during the season (the most since 1984)

Alabama arriving a year early (at least) under Nick Saban

Utah, TCU and BYU making a huge statement by the Mountain West: The BCS doesn't belong to the six power conferences.

Notre Dame's collapse from 4-1 and Weis barely hanging on for another year.

Oregon State beating USC and chasing its first Rose Bowl in 44 years.

Coaches in waiting.

Coaches waiting in line ("resigning" in the middle of a season).

The end of a Bowden (Tommy).

The continuation of a Bowden (Bobby).

The longing of a Bowden (Terry, to get back in the game).

Joe's hip.

Charlie's knee.

Nate Davis' gloves.

Jay Jacobs' "shock" over Tommy Tuberville's "resignation."

Tennessee goes from old school to youngest coach in the country.

The (sad) state of Washington. (Combined records of the Huskies and Cougars, 2-22).

Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 offenses.

Big 12 top 10 games each week.

The Big 12 surpassing the SEC, if only for a moment, as the best conference in the country.

The tie in the Big 12 South.

The cry that followed.

Politcking.

Text messages.

The high road.

Running it up.

Calling off the dogs. 

Flyovers.

"To me that's a little ridiculous," Bradford said.

That's a good way to end it, for now.

 

 

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