Posted on: September 9, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 10:03 pm
This is all the stuff that spilled over from Weekend Watch List ...
There will be plenty of opportunity for Jimbo Fisher to massage the roster in preparation for Oklahoma next week. Florida State hosts Charleston Southern which lost last week to Central Florida, 62-0...For the first time in 18 years Illinois is coming off a game in which it did not commit a penalty. It is one of three teams to go into Week 2 without a penalty. Navy and Eastern Michigan are the others ... TCU (at Air Force) hasn't started 0-2 since 1999 ... Can this be right? Virginia Tech (at East Carolina) hasn't started 2-0 since 2001...Hawaii (at Washington) is looking to start 2-0 against the Pac-12 after beating Colorado in the opener...Utah goes into the USC game with heavy hearts. The wife of Utes' defensive lineman Ron Tongaoneai was killed in a car accident following last week's season-opening win over Montana State ... With Colorado having shifted conferences, that means receiver Toney Clemons, a Michigan transfer, has played in three conferences...Iowa State has scored one touchdown against Iowa in the last 18 quarters going back to 2007...
One more thing about the new taunting rule: Taunt your opponent on the way to the end zone and the points are taken off the board. We know that. What a lot of folks don't know is that the penalty counts as a personal foul. Two PFs and you're out of the game.
Players will be reminded of this, no doubt, but they're reminded of a lot of things: Like, how not to associate with prostitutes and greasy jock-sniffers who pop for $500 lunches. In the spirit of everything personal and foul, here are the five teams most likely to first get points taken off the board this season.
1. Arizona State: Linebacker Vontaze Burfict's nickname is not Choir Boy.
2. Baylor: Achieved a rare quadruple-quadruple -- 1,000-yard rusher (Jay Finley) and 1,007 yards in penalties to lead the country.
3. Troy: No team caused more laundry to be dropped on the field (110 penalties).
4. Ohio State: Off-field conduct carries over.
5. Miami: Do you even have to ask?
Noble pursuits: With Jim Tressel having taken a colossal fall from grace at Ohio State, WWL thought it would be interesting to compare other recent major-college coaches who are out of the game. Compare Tressel's quality control position with the Colts (after a suspension that followed him from college) to these other accomplished coaches.
Urban Meyer (resigned December 2010), last coaching job: Florida. Currently, ollege football analyst, ESPN. NCAA reformer.
Mike Bellotti (resigned to become Oregon AD 2008. Left that position 2010), last coaching job, Oregon. Currently: ESPN analyst.
Mark Mangino (resigned under pressure, December 2009), last coaching job, Kansas. Currently, residing Naples, Fla.
Mike Leach (fired December 2009) last coaching job, Texas Tech. Currently, author of best-selling book Swing Your Sword, daily satellite radio show on SiriusXM
Jim Leavitt (fired January 2010) last coaching job, South Florida. Currently, linebackers coach, San Francisco 49ers
Dan Hawkins (fired after 2010 season) last coaching job, Colorado. Currently, ESPN analyst
Butch Davis (fired, July 27, 2010) last coaching job, North Carolina. Currently, unknown.
Tags: Air Force, Arizona State, Baylor, Central Florida, Colorado, East Carolina, Eastern Michigan Charleston Southern, Florida, Florida State, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Montana State, Navy, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-12, San Francisco 49ers, South Florida, TCU, Texas Tech, Troy, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, Washington
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:59 am
A drive-by reaction to the preseason coaches poll released Thursday. If nothing else, it is another sign that we are closer to actual football.
• Oklahoma is No. 1 in a preseason poll for only the second time in the BCS era (2003 was the other). The Sooners got 42 first-place votes. Alabama is a distant second with 13 first-place votes but is only 40 points away from No. 1 (1,454-1,414). That 1-2 slotting probably will last at least to Game 2. In Week 1, Alabama hosts Kent State. Tulsa goes to Oklahoma.
That also means the winner of No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU in the Jerry Dome isn't likely to jump into the top two.
• Speaking of which, still researching the last time two top five teams met on a neutral field in a season opener. Your input is welcome.
• At least seven of the 25 teams are on probation or are being investigated by the NCAA for major violations: Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, LSU, Boise State, Auburn.
• Of the 11 teams to win championships in the BCS era, eight are in the preseason poll: Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State. Missing: Tennessee, Miami, USC (not eligible).
• You want an early opinion on the season? Ask Tulsa's rookie head coach. Bill Blankenship. His Hurricane play three teams in the top eight in the first month -- No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 7 Boise State and No. 8 Oklahoma State.
• Four of the top five teams play each other in the first three weeks. (LSU-Oregon, FSU-Oklahoma).
• Boise State is the only school in the top eight not playing another school in that group. If the Broncos get into championship contention again, you can already hear the haters.
• The SEC has eight teams in the top 25. That's up from six to end last season. What are the odds that the Strength Everywhere Conference will claim a sixth consecutive national championship? Answer: Good. Very good.
• The SEC (eight), Big 12 and Big Ten (five each) account for 18 of the 25 teams.
• To the surprise of no one, 20 of the 25 teams who ended ranked in 2010 are ranked to begin 2011. Missing: Maryland, Utah, North Carolina State, Central Florida, Nevada.
• The dividing line comes at Arizona State. Penn State is No. 25, three points ahead of the Sun Devils, the first of "others receiving votes."
• The Big East was shut out of the top 25. The highest-ranked BE school is West Virginia at No. 27.
• Defending champion Auburn (No. 19) is by far the lowest-ranked defending champion in the preseason coaches poll in at least nine years. LSU was previously the lowest at No. 6 in 2008 during that period. Others: Alabama, 2010 (No. 1), Florida, 2009 (1), Florida, 2007 (3), Texas, 2006 (2), USC, 2004-2005 (1), Ohio State, 2003 (2), Miami, 2002 (1).
• Fifty teams, 42 percent of FBS, received votes.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:48 pm
Much credit to Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the work on these Joe Paterno statistics: As JoePa pursues win No. 401 Saturday at Ohio State , it's worth noting how he won a significant portion of his first 400. For the first 27 years of his head coaching career, Penn State played as an independent. The Nittany Lions regularly faced these six Eastern independents -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh and Boston College .
The Suspect Six weren't exactly national powers, at least they weren't against Paterno. Penn State was 112-14-1 against those schools before joining the Big Ten. Throw in the service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force were especially devastated during the Vietnam War -- and Joe was 130-16-1. Those 130 victories before joining the Big Ten account for more than half of his wins as an independent and 32.5 percent of his total victories ...
Who keeps track of this stuff? Michigan can win its 300th all-time game in November against Purdue ... Two backup quarterbacks go at it in Atlanta. Miami freshman Stephen Morris led a last-minute win over Maryland last week. Georgia Tech goes with sophomore Tevin Washington who replaces Josh Nesbitt , out with a broken arm ... With a win over Kent State , Army (5-4) assures that all three service academies are bowl eligible ... Syracuse (6-3 heading to Rutgers) is one of just nine I-A teams with four road wins ...
This is where playing I-AAs becomes a liability. Arizona State (4-5) must win its final three games to become bowl eligible. The Sun Devils played two I-AAs and now must sweep Stanford, UCLA and Arizona ... SEC teams are averaging 31 points per game, the most since expansion in 1992 ... Vanderbilt has attempted four field goals and 72 punts ... The Big East has no bowl eligible teams. At this point last year it had three.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 11:56 am
The new Pac-12 divisional alignment is expected to be announced by commissioner Larry Scott during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
USC AD Pat Haden may have revealed the alignment speaking last week to a Trojan booster group. Haden reportedly told the boosters that the divisions would be split along what seem to be north-south lines. In one division would be Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Cal. In the other division: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.
There is no word on the conference scheduling alignment. The SEC uses a 5-2-1, eight-game conference schedule with one designated rival from the opposite division. The Big Ten adopted the same scheduling model beginning in 2011. It will eventually go to a nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 is expected to stay with its current nine-game conference schedule when it splits into divisions next season.
The conference is still determining the location of the conference championship game. Scott will speak at 2:30 pm ET in San Francisco.
Posted on: October 10, 2010 11:24 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 10:44 am
Les Miles is going to hell. The man has obviously traded his soul for football wins.
That's the only logical conclusion after what we saw Saturday night. A fake field goal led to the eventual winning touchdown for LSU at Florida. Not just any fake field goal. With less than a minute to go, holder Derek Helton flipped the ball over his head to kicker Josh Jasper. The ball bounced once and, amazingly, right into the hands of Jasper who ran for the first down.
There was so much wrong with the play that it seemed finally Crazy Les had outfoxed himself. First, there was the question of whether Helton's flip was a forward pass. By the slimmest of margins, it was ruled a backward pass which was a key distinction. A fumble on fourth down can only be recovered by the fumbler. But since the ball was ruled a backward pass it can be advanced. Helton, the holder, was not ruled down even though his knee was on the ground for the attempt. There is a special exemption on such plays for holders who can initiate a backward pass while still being on a knee.
Of course, Miles knew on this before extending his contract with the devil that promises his soul to Lucifer in exchange for some extremely good fortune on the field. Right? Is there room on Broadway for "Damn Tigers"?
**Nebraska is back in a familiar spot, No. 2 in national rushing. Most of the improvement is because of redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez who is quickly becoming one of the program's best quarterbacks. Here is a glimpse at Martinez' dramatic effect on the offense:
Nebraska's 21 rushing touchdowns have covered 668 yards, an average of 31.8 per run. That rushing yardage surpasses the team's total on all 36 scoring plays from scrimmage last season (555 yards).
Also last season, Nebraska had six touchdown runs of 10 or more yards. This season they have 15 TD runs of 10 or more yards, 11 of 20 or more yards.
**In leading the country in total offense (567 yards) and scoring offense (54.33 points), Oregon is averaging more than seven touchdowns per game. There are still three teams that haven't accumulated seven touchdowns all season (Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and San Jose State). At the current pace, the Ducks would surpass Oklahoma's modern-day record of 702 points in a season set in 2008. Oregon is on pace to score 706.2 points in one less game (13) than OU did in '08 (14).
Despite missing a game due to a suspension, Oregon tailback LaMichael James is leading the nation in rushing (169.6 yards per game) and is on pace to run for 2,000 yards. James is also the active career leader in yards per game (133).
**After losing to New Mexico State it's hard to find another victory on the schedule for New Mexico coach Mike Locksley (career record, 1-17). New Mexico (0-6) still has to play ranked teams Air Force and TCU in the Mountain West.
**Arizona State is the worst BCS conference team in the red zone. It has scored on only 22 of its 32 drives inside the 20. Only 15 of those have resulted in touchdowns.
**Army is the only team not to have thrown an interception this season.
**In the last two seasons, Boise State's Kellen Moore has thrown 53 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
**Texas (3-2) will be trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 1999 when it plays at Nebraska this week.
Posted on: September 28, 2010 7:47 pm
What the hell happened to the Big East?
No one was predicting a national championship this season, but things were looking up weren't they? Pittsburgh had a bonafide Heisman candidate in Dion Lewis. UConn was going to beat Michigan and begin the end for Rich Rod. West Virginia had Noel Devine. Cincinnati wasn't 12 wins good, but it was 10 wins good. Right?
The only thing good about the league at this point is that September is ending. At least the Big East can start 0-0 in October. It was 1-10 against BCS conference schools in September. Every team in the league has at least one loss. There are no ranked teams. UConn has changed quarterbacks. There has been an APB sent out for Lewis. Syracuse? There's hope. The Orange are 3-1.
Remember, this was the league that Paul Tagliabue thought was worth saving.
Here's what went (really, really) wrong.
Brian Kelly left Cincinnati. The Bearcats were thinking the worst and hoping for the best. Turns out that Kelly did have the magic touch to get a mid-major into a BCS bowl. It also turns out that the growing pains under Butch Jones were going to be significant. A 1-3 start means the Bearcats have one less loss than they have had in last two seasons combined (four).
Rutgers never capitalized. It was almost four years ago that Rutgers lit up the nation and New York with that magic win over Louisville. The Scarlet Knights didn't follow through to win the Big East and capture that BCS berth. Greg Schiano keeps recruiting well but Rutgers has lost that Cinderella the program had. It dropped to 2-1 Saturday with a loss to North Carolina.
Ditto for South Florida. Wasn't it just three years ago that the Bulls rose to the No. 2 in the country? South Florida was a fun story for a while under fiery coach Jim Leavitt. Then they always seemed to fade in November. Leavitt got sideways with the administration and may have struck a player. A lawsuit trying to dispel that assertion is what takes most of his time lately. Skip Holtz was the right hire but it's going to take time. Actually, the Bulls might have the brightest outlook after one month. They stuck with Florida for a half and should be 4-1 heading to Morgantown on Oct. 14.
There's always Temple and/or Villanova. The two schools have been rumored to join the league as a way of bolstering its major-market profile if and when the Big Ten gets the expansion jones again. There was a report that the league may be interested in TCU. Makes sense for both sides, sort of. If TCU loses once in the Mountain West, it could be out of the BCS running. If it loses three times (non-conference games) while playing in the Big East, it could still get a BCS bowl.
The top 10 September teams (No preseason polls involved. Strictly based on accomplishments to date)
1. Alabama -- beat two ranked teams, one top 10 team on the road. No drop off after losing nine defensive starters.
The Quarter Pole
(The best after four games. Team and player)
Best of the Big East: West Virginia, Jordan Todman (UConn)
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Conference USA, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Houston, Iowa, MAC, Miami, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Mountain West, NC State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Pac-10, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, SEC, Stanford, Stanford, Sun Belt, TCU, Temple, Troy, UConn, WAC, West Virginia
Posted on: September 15, 2010 10:27 am
Edited on: September 15, 2010 10:31 am
Don't tell anyone but we didn't learn much from Showdown Saturday except that Virginia Tech would have a hard time winning the Colonial Athletic Association.
For the most part, Showdown was a letdown.
Mark Twain could have replaced Mark Ingram and Alabama still would have beaten Penn State. OK, Ingram has better top end speed than Twain but you get my point.
Alabama's season is boiling down to three-week stretch during which Bama plays at Arkansas (Sept. 25), at home against Florida (Oct. 2) and at South Carolina (Oct. 9).
Miami still has work to do in its long-awaited comeback. Jacory Harris has a lot of work to do with his judgment. After throwing four picks vs. Ohio State, Harris is tied for second nationally (at least in the NCAA top 100) with four interceptions. Last year Harris was No. 2 in picks (17) behind Ole Miss' Jevan Snead (20).
Tennessee put up a good fight for a half against Oregon.
Florida State didn't even make it that far.
Player of the week besides the obvious (Denard Robinson)? South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore who looks like a combination of George Rodgers and Herschel Walker for the OBC. More on him later in the week.
On the lack of mercy given to outgunned opponents:
"If my third offense went in and we were up on them, we weren't going kneel on the ball. We were going to try to score. The reason we were going to try to score is because I spend all my time teaching that offense to score, not to sit and evaluate the feelings of the other team."
On his not having Alabama in his top five:
"A lot of folks are frontrunners and if you win last year they assume you're going to win this year and the next year. If that was the case, everybody was going to win the thing 20 years in a row. I'm prepared to be proven wrong."
Leach also said he had a standing $500 bounty on shady agents hanging around Texas Tech. Supposedly, that was for players to turn in those shady agents. Problem though: Wouldn't paying off that bounty be a possible NCAA violation?
Leach is also an analyst for CBS College Sports.
1. Robinson, 442.5 yards per game
Posted on: July 29, 2010 11:16 pm
The latest from my preseason media day tour...
USC’s long road back. How long will it take? How painful will it be? USC is just beginning what promises to be one of the darkest periods in its history. It might get through the crippling NCAA penalties in as few as five years. We’re talking 2015 being the first year to be able to have enough talent to compete for a Pac-10 title again. But it won’t be easy. Oklahoma suffered similar penalties and was dead for 10 years. It took Alabama eight years to win a national championship after similar penalties in 2002. Watching Lane and the boys negotiate the loss of 30 scholarships and two postseasons will be the key thing. I’m sure Kiffin has a plan – he always does – but the program has to bottom out first. The embarrassment isn’t over in regards to Bush’s Heisman and the 2004 title. Both might still be taken away. After that, the 2010 Trojans could win the league have to watch the Rose Bowl on TV. It was one of the best dynasties in the history of college football and now it’s gone. For how long, we don’t know.
The winner. Oregon might have been the favorite to defend its title until Jeremiah Masoli got stupid. USC might have been the favorite until Reggie Bush was stupid. What about Arizona, a program that has never been to the Rose Bowl? It has five of the nine conference games at home, including USC, Washington and Cal. Mike Stoops has to break through at some point. After consecutive eight-win seasons, it might be time for the Wildcats to break through.
East Coast bias. Don’t blame the media this time. There was an East Coast bias on the part of the players. This is back to being the year of the quarterback in the league. The Pac-10 took its top four quarterbacks to New York for an unprecedented media day on the East Coast – Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Matt Barkley and Nic Foles. However, only Barkley and Foles made it to L.A. for the traditional Pac-10 media day. I don’t want to hear any griping from Stanford and Washington about national honors for their quarterbacks at the end of the season. Guys, you’ve got to take care of your local media first.
Divisional alignment. It seems to be a conversation piece around here as the league decides how to divide into two six-team divisions in 2011. There is the “zipper” alignment. Example: travel partners Oregon-Oregon State, Cal-Stanford ,USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State and Washington-Washington State are split into separate divisions. There is my North-South alignment: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford vs. Colorado, Utah, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State. Whatever the plan, everyone wants to play in L.A. because of recruiting. And with USC on probation, there are going to be plenty of players available in Southern California.