Posted on: November 1, 2009 9:48 am

Early BCS standings

The top three teams in the BCS standings seemingly will remain that way when the rankings are released Sunday night.

Jerry Palm was projecting Sunday morning that Florida will be No. 1, followed by Alabama and Texas. Once again, the order of the top three doesn’t matter as long as they keep winning. Alabama and Florida are on track to play in the SEC championship game. Texas cleared its last, most significant hurdle with a 41-14 victory at Oklahoma State.

Iowa looks like it is going to remain fourth after a win over Indiana that featured six turnovers. The biggest news might be how Boise State and TCU end up. TCU beat UNLV 41-0 but Boise State might vault the Horned Frogs this week because of Oregon’s success. The Broncos will continue to get a schedule strength bump as long as the Ducks keep winning.  Boise State beat Oregon on opening night 19-8.

Oregon, 7-1, should be the highest ranked one-loss team. Palm had the Ducks at No. 8 Sunday morning.

Palm's updated top seven before the human polls were released later on Sunday:

1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Texas
4. Iowa
5. Boise State
6. TCU
7. Cincinnati

Fox will reveal the new BCS standings in a 10-second flash tonight between 7:15 pm.-8 p.m.

Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: October 28, 2009 3:47 pm

National notes

This is why we love college football

 Absolutely no regrets for Sam Bradford. Great kid, great athlete. We’ll miss you, buddy.

Strange that Blake Griffin is one of Bradford’s closest friends and the two have been injured together again. They both suffered concussions while in college. Within a few days of Bradford making his announcement, Griffin was knocked out with a broken kneecap suffered in a Los Angeles Clippers preseason game.

 What exactly is the threshold for the SEC to get into coaches pockets for some of the recent criticism of officials. In the past week Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen have been reprimanded for criticizing league officials.

All three seemed to have a gripe as the league deals with what seems to be a growing crisis of credibility with its zebras. But there is only one thing that will silence coaches – fines. For commissioner Mike Slive, the crisis is getting out of hand. The Marc Curles crew that was suspended for the Florida-Arkansas debacle returns in two weeks. Given today’s viral media society, that occasion is going to be treated in the South like the bankruptcy of the Waffle House chain.

It ain’t going to be popular.

Here are some compelling comments from SEC officials’ supervisor Rogers Redding who appears on “The Tony Barnhart Show” this week on CBS College Sports.

“We understand that people are going to make mistakes. We’re human, we make mistakes.  It’s fair game to question the officials’ judgment.  It’s fair game to question their knowledge of the rules.  It’s fair game to question their mechanics that they use in terms of where they are on the field. 

“But when you question their integrity, that crosses the line.  That’s where I part company with those who are criticizing football officials, because the integrity is absolutely there.  We manage it.  We insist on it.  And I would put the integrity of every football official I know now or have ever known up against any other profession or anybody in the world...I think criticism of integrity is over the top and it’s unacceptable.” 

 Did Larry Scott, then, overreact? Judge for yourself whether the Pac-10 commissioner was fair in suspended an official for “missing” this penalty against Oregon State.

In real time, it’s hard to determine how James Rodgers’ helmet comes off. With so many helmets flying off these days, it’s almost less likely that USC’s Taylor Mays would have ripped it off. On the replay you can see what happened.

My question is, would Scott have suspended the official had not all these shenanigans been going on in the SEC?

 As long as we’re on the subject of assistant coaches of the year (see Wednesday's notes lead), let’s do the top five:

1. Monte Kiffin, Tennessee – If Lane gets anything going on offense in future years, Monte is going to work ‘em silly. Thanks mostly to Monte’s ability to hold the Vols in games, Tennessee has lost to the SEC’s two best teams by a total of 12 points on the road. Bama and Florida have been held to a combined average of 17.5 points. The last time a Volunteer defense was that successful against its two big rivals was 2006.

2. Mark Whipple, Miami – This is not the place to come if you want to read a bad word about Miami’s new offensive coordinator. The journeyman assistant has single-handedly made Jacory Harris a legitimate Heisman candidate. Everywhere he goes offenses improve. Don’t blame him for the Clemson loss. The Canes lost for only the second time 115 games when scoring at least 37 points.

3. Dick Bumpas, TCU – Spoke at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday and one of the first questions was how soon Arkansas could hire TCU’s defensive coordinator. The veteran defensive guru is at the top of his game. While he doesn’t call a defense that head coach Gary Patterson doesn’t sign off on, Bumpus gets credit for assembling four consecutive top 15 defenses (currently No. 5). Defensive end Jerry Hughes is a slam-dunk All-American.

4. Charlie Strong, Florida – You’ve read here and other places why Strong should be a head coach. The game’s institutional prejudice continues.  But Strong has stayed strong with what might be the nation’s best defense. Odd, that with Tebow, Harvin and others in the past, Florida might win its third title in four years because of defense.

5. Will Muschamp, Texas – So tired of d-coordinators skipping town, Texas paid Muschamp $900,000 a year and made him Mack Brown’s coach-in-waiting. Muschamp is so white hot that some school might buy him out from Texas and make him a head coach before Mack, who shows no sign of slowing down, retires. With Muschamp calling plays, this has a chance to be one of Texas’ best defense in – decades?

Three to think about …

Ron Powlus, quarterbacks coach, Notre Dame – Yeah, yeah Charlie calls the plays but Mr. Two Heisman deserves credit for getting Jimmy Clausen’s head around the minefield that can be being Notre Dame’s quarterback.

Jeremy Bates, quarterbacks coach, USC – Matt Barkley is a 6-0 as a freshman starter.

Norm Parker, defensive coordinator, Iowa – The Hawkeyes are challenging for a Big Ten and national championship because of a dominant defense.

 If Oklahoma State upsets Texas this week, we might be looking at an Oklahoma State-TCU Fiesta Bowl. Bet the BCS commissioners never thought of that possibility, in a major bowl, when they created the system.

 Anybody hear anything from Orrin Hatch this week? Boise and TCU both have a shot a national championship. They still need teams above them to lose but in that respect nothing has changed from the pre-BCS days. The fact is that without the BCS, those schools wouldn’t even be in the title discussion this late in the season.


Posted on: October 27, 2009 10:16 pm

See ya, Dez

Well, it wasn't a white lie, that's for sure -- an innocent, inadvertent, teeny, weeny twisting of the facts.

Dez Bryant apparently told a whopper. That's apparently what the NCAA decided when it suspended Oklahoma State's junior receiver Tuesday for one year. That friendly meal with Deion Sanders? Apparently there is more to it, or maybe the NCAA frowns on being lied to. For now that's what this is about. We don't know if Bryant interacted improperly with Prime Time. We do know he will do time -- sitting out -- after lying to the NCAA.

The news impacts everything from Saturday's showdown with Texas to Sanders to Bryant to Oklahoma State. Suddenly, the Cowboys are crippled without arguably their best player. Sure, they're used to playing without him by now but it just got a lot harder to beat Texas. The school still doesn't know if NCAA rules were violated so there's that pleasantry to look forward to. 

Best guess: The NCAA is determined to keep Sanders out of any interaction with college players. From the looks of things, Sanders has become a glorified runner and recruiter for his agent Eugene Parker. By suspending Bryant, the NCAA has fired a warning flare to stay away from Sanders.

Bryant is in a tough spot. He can declare for the draft, but what has he really proven? That 87-catch, 1,000-yard season in 2008 gets older with each passing day. Bryant's best move is to come back next season and try to have a monster season to enhance his draft value. Or maybe Prime Time taught Bryant everything the kid needs to know about beating coverage.

Too bad that in this case the NCAA is heck of a cover corner.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 23, 2009 11:24 am
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:49 am

Son of Weekend Watch List

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 ... 

Let’s see, the SEC officials blew in the Florida-Arkansas game. Then, Bobby Petrino is reprimanded for reminding them that they blew it. The SEC can’t suspend the officials and reprimand Petrino at the same time. Only the SEC can tell Marc Curles he is wrong?

 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.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis (fourth in rushing) is the only freshman in the top 22 in rushing.

 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).

Looking ahead to next week:  Florida-Georgia in the Cocktail Party. Dawgs get to rest up this week. Florida is at Mississippi State. Tebow plays his last Georgia game.

 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 21, 2009 12:18 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2009 12:28 pm

BCS commissioners weigh a CEO/coordinator dude

If you read Wednesday’s AP story, you know that the BCS commissioners don’t know what they want.

The title of “coordinator” of the Bowl Championship Series has been a sentence, not a position. The commissioners look forward to the one-year term of BCS coordinator about as much as a trip to the NCAA infractions committee.

They’ve talked intermittently about hiring an outside person to take over the day-to-day administration of the controversial system. They sure as hell don’t want to do it. What does that say about the system itself? You could put a pistol to my head and I couldn’t tell you what the “BCS coordinator” does. It’s a title emptier than Bud Selig’s head when it comes to replay.

The issue was coming to a head because Big East commissioner John Marinatto is due to take over as coordinator in January. He is a “rookie”, in his first year as commissioner. His fellow commissioners don’t want a rook taking over but that’s part of the problem. The Pac-10 and Big Ten commissioners don’t want the title at all. That eliminates three of the six BCS commissioners.

The Big Ten’s Jim Delany and just-retired Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen never served. Like a lot you, their league presidents are adamantly opposed to the system.

ACC commissioner John Swofford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive -- guys who actually served -- have had a hard time being coordinator. They have presidents within their conferences who are opposed to the BCS – Florida State president T.K. Wetherell in addition to Florida’s Bernie Machen and Georgia’s Michael Adams.

If the commishes do hire an outsider, they’ve got to decide to spend the money. Take it from me, they’re going to get some blow back from the schools if they pay someone like Archie Manning or Condoleezza Rice half a million a year. The money they’re producing is supposed to go directly to the schools.

What could an Archie or Condie do, really? They would be figureheads trying to sell snow to the Eskimos. But at least they’d be figureheads who could push the BCS with a clear conscience. That’s something Condie couldn’t do with her Bush Push of the presidential agenda.

We’ve already heard “No New Taxes”. Pardon us if we ignore cries of “Know Your Texas”.

I’ll take Archie as the first father of football. As a parent, he produces great quarterbacks. As a BCS flak, he'd probably become just as confused as the rest of us.

That’s why the commissioners don’t know what they want to do. It’s a job they don’t want, but who does?

Stat package

(Stuff that didn't fit on Wednesday's story on the halfway point)

These are your leaders in these categories halfway through the season:

Rushing: Nevada, 292.83 yards per game
Passing: Houston, 431.5
Total offense: Houston, 560.3
Rushing defense: Texas, 35.8
Passing defense:  North Carolina, 125.1
Fewest turnovers: Air Force, Cincinnati, Oregon State, four each
Most turnovers: Miami (Ohio), 26
Individual rushing: Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, 162.3
Pass efficiency:  Kellen Moore, Boise State, 171.8
Receiving yards per game: Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas, 134.2 yards
All-purpose running: Torrey Smith, Maryland, 207.71
Tackles: Carmen Messina, New Mexico, 13.33 per game
Interceptions: Robert Johson, Utah; Earl Thomas, Texas; DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson; Rahim Moore, UCLA; Tyler Sash, Iowa, all tied with five


Posted on: October 21, 2009 10:24 am

The future of Sam Bradford

The rumors are flying ...

Sam Bradford is done with college. Sam Bradford will have surgery. Sam Bradford will return next year.

All we know for now is that Oklahoma's injured quarterback will adress the media at approximately 7 pm ET after practice on Wednesday. There has been speculation since he re-injured his shoulder on Saturday that Bradford might have played his last college game. He expressed his extreme frustration at being injured again.

A call to Bradford's father Kent was not immediately returned.

"I'm flying as blind as you into this thing," said one Oklahoma source when asked about the subject of tonight's media availability.

If this is it for Bradford it would be a tragedy. He was a deserving Heisman Trophy winner and a great kid. Make that "is" a deserving Heisman Trophy winner and a great kid. Bradford is still expected to be a first-round draft choice despite the injuries.

Bradford's latest injury came Saturday on Oklahoma's ninth play against Texas. He was sacked by Texas defensive back Aaron Williams. Bradford landed on the same shoulder he sprained September 5 against BYU.

It has already been announced that Bradford will miss Saturday's game at Kansas. Landry Jones will start for the fourth time in seven games. Going forward, Oklahoma has gotten a commitment Blake Bell, a highly sought after prospect from Wichita, Kan. Bell, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, recently reaffirmed his commitment after Jones, a redshirt freshman, took over for Bradford.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 17, 2009 11:37 pm

Early BCS projection

Best guess on the early BCS standings: 1. Florida; 2. Alabama; 3. Texas;  4. USC; 5. Cincinnati; 6. Iowa.

1. Florida – Barely survived a supreme effort by Arkansas. Won’t lose the top spot for playing it close.
2. Alabama – Impressive, head-knocking 20-6 win over South Carolina.
3. Texas – Still lots of questions about this offense.
4. USC – Why can’t USC schedule Notre Dame ever year? Wait, it does.
5. Cincinnati – Most impressive win of the weekend among the contenders over South Florida on the road.
6. Iowa – Annoyingly good.

  Alabama has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. It might be developing one with tailback Mark Ingram. Bear would have been proud of Ingram’s Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards.

  Line of the night (not from me): Notre Dame wins, 27-34!

  Kansas State became the first team I can remember that gave up 60 points one week (66-14 loss to Texas Tech) then followed it by scoring 60 points (62-14 over Texas A&M).

  Cardiac Jimmy Clausen is now 3-2 in cardiac games. Feel free to weigh in. Can Notre Dame get to the BCS with a 10-2 having beaten no ranked teams? Doubtful.

  Team of the week: At 6-1, Idaho is bowl eligible. Coach Robb Akey would like to give a shout out of Tom Cable who put the Fightin’ in Fightin’ Vandals. Cable coached Idaho from 2000-2004 (11-35).

  This Bobby Petrino is coming along nicely. The Hogs did it with defense in The Swamp -- Six sacks, four forced fumbles.

  Looks like Terrelle Pryor ran into a bunch of Ndamukong Suhs: five sacks, two interceptions, two fumbles.

  After beating Colorado State 44-6, TCU is 57-1 under Gary Patterson when holding the opposition to 17 points or less. That one loss came last year in Utah, 13-10.

Posted on: October 14, 2009 6:22 pm

National notes

Thank you Florida State for releasing the 695-page transcript of the school's hearing with the NCAA earlier this year.

What the school gained in transparency, it lost in embarrassment. In the transcript we found out that one academic advisor said a player had a 60 IQ and was unable to read. Gee, what was he doing at Florida State then?

 Jan. 1 used to be a holy day of obligation. Hook up an IV of beer, spread out the snacks, let the belt out a notch and veg in front of the TV.

Lately, our day of football daze has been denuded of significance. The calendar for Jan. 1, 2011 now shows at least six games. Six! The announcement of the Dallas Classic beginning in 14 months further degrades what used to be the best football day of the year.

Just what the world needs, a No. 7 team from the Big 12 vs. some slug from Conference USA. Jan. 1 used to be special. All the majors played on the same day. Now the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange are so spread out you need a GPS to locate them all.

In addition to the Rose and Sugar, this year we’ll get the Gator, Capital One and Outback. The roster swells next year because Dallas felt the need to replace the Cotton Bowl game it is losing to the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The new Dallas Classic will be played in the Cotton Bowl.

Can’t wait to see the attendance in the 92,000 stadium which is essentially used twice a year. The other time being for Texas-Oklahoma. Got a birthday or a bar mitzvah coming up, the Cotton Bowl is available.

The Rose Bowl has been the Jan. 1 stalwart. We could always look forward to seeing the parade and the San Gabriel Mountains each New Year’s Day. Nurse that hangover, suck on a Bloody Mary. It was all good. In recent years, even the Rose has been moved around in years it is in the BCS championship rotation.

The game itself has become almost an afterthought with the Big Ten having lost seven Grandaddys in a row.

Sure, it’s a national holiday and advertisers know we’re going to be home to watch, but we want our NYD back. The beer is going flat.

 Expanding on the Ndamukong Suh angle. If the Nebraska defensive tackle is on top of the list, here are the other top five defense players in the country.

2. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee. The SEC defensive player of the year hasn’t backed off. Berry has an incredible 50 tackles and one interception of Tim Tebow.

3.Tyler Sash, S, Iowa. Tied for the national lead in interceptions with five.

4.Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida. The fastest, meanest linebacker around playing for the No. 1 defense. Thirty-two tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

5. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama. Bama has the No. 2 defense in the country. McClain is the center of it with 42 tackles, 5 ½ for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.

  This week’s Scripps Howard Heisman poll which yours truly votes in.

            (10 voters. First-place votes in parentheses.)
            1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. 40 points (8).
            2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 25.
            3. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati, 13.
            4 (tie). Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame;
            Case Keenum, QB, Houston, 12.
            Others receiving votes: Nebraska DT Ndamukong, Suh, 7; Miami QB Jacory Harris, 6; Texas WR Jordan Shipley 5 (1); Kansas QB Todd Reesing 5 (1); Alabama RB Mark Ingram 5; Stanford RB Toby Gerhart, 2; Boise State QB Kellen Moore, 2.
 Weird meeting of the headsets Thursday in South Florida.

Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly fired defensive coordinator Joe Tresey after last season. Tresey was then hired by Bulls’ coach Jim Leavitt. South Florida enters Thursday’s showdown fifth in scoring defense (9.4 points per game) after allowing 20 per game last season.

Advantage Tresey who knows Cincy’s personnel and whose team is at home? Not exactly. Kelly’s new d-coordinator Bob Diaco has the Bearcats at No. 10 in scoring defense (13.8 points).

 Props to Lousiana-Monroe which has its longest conference winning streak (three games) since 1992. The Warhawks have one of the smallest budgets in I-A and are coached by the coach thought to be the lowest paid in the division, Charlie Weatherbie.

 The WAC is at it again. Idaho’s Tre’Shawn Robinson was reprimanded by the conference after throwing a punch against San Jose State. Reprimanded, not suspended. Sound familiar, Boise State?

 We’ll know more next week but Washington looks to be the most improved team in the country at the halfway point. The Huskies are 3-3 heading to Saturday’s game at Arizona State. That’s a net improvement of six games over last season’s 0-12 record. The season reaches its halfway point on Saturday.

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