Tag:Georgia Tech
Posted on: September 12, 2010 11:38 am
 

The Day After in CFB

The day the ACC died: OK, maybe too harsh but it was certainly one of the worst days in ACC football since expansion.  All four ranked teams lost -- No.  12 Miami (to No. 2 Ohio State); No. 13 Virginia Tech (to James Madison); No. 15 Georgia Tech (to Kansas) and No. 17 Florida State (to No. 10 Oklahoma). The rest of the league (unranked teams) was 4-1. Overall, the ACC was 4-5.

It could get worse next week: Cincinnati plays at NC State on Thursday. On Saturday, Clemson is at Auburn, Duke hosts Alabama, BYU comes to Florida State, Maryland is at West Virginia and East Carolina goes to Virginia Tech.

Get your No. 16 jersey, while they last: If Denard Robinson isn't hot enough, check out what may be a bit of foreshadowing from the Michigan Daily.
 

YouTube sensations: The two most jaw-dropping plays of the day. Kyle Rudolph's catch and run vs. Michigan and LaMichael James' incredible run against Tennessee.

Rockin' the mic: Following an embarrassing 35-0 home-opening loss to Stanford, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel grabbed a microphone and addressed the Rose Bowl crowd. "We'll get better," he said, "We can't get any worse that we were tonight ... I promise you, we will not give up. We'll be back."

It suddenly seems like a long time since Neuheisel led a pep rally after his first game. It's been only two years.

Miami fans never cease to amaze: While there only seemed to be 3,000-5,000 in the stands at Ohio Stadium, they made themselves known. The kid at the Columbus airport was interesting. Cut into the back of his head by an enterprising barber: "U Swag"

Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:53 am
 

Son of 25 Things to Watch

These five "things" didn't make the cut ....

26. This is the best, most-inside look at Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. The Omaha World-Herald piece shows that Nebraska was tipped off in January about possibly being left out as conference shifting took place. From there, the school played a risky, clandestine mating dance with the Big Ten that resulted in the school joining on June 11.

27. Odds on winning the national championship from Bodog.com

Alabama 4-1
Ohio State 5-1
Oklahoma 15-2
Boise State 8-1
Florida 9-1
Texas 14-1
Nebraska 15-1
Miami 18-1
TCU 18-1
Virginia Tech 18-1


In case you're scoring at home, Boise State has a better chance of winning the national chanmpionship than Florida, Texas, Nebraska or Miami.

28. Just in case you need help getting into the 2010 Heisman race, Texas coach Mack Brown says the 2004 Heisman race might not be over. 

29. Most fearsome ...

Defensive line: Iowa returns four all-Big Ten starters and its top two reserves. Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Hawkeyes last year.

Offensive line: Alabama. Having the defending Heisman Trophy winner and his sidekick (Trent Richardson) to spring lose, how hard can it be?

Secondary: North Carolina. All four starters are back (for now) on a unit that allowed 175 passing yards per game.

Offensive backfield:  Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor is ready to break out. Tailback Darren Evans returns to find his spot taken by '09 freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The only question for Frank Beamer is how to split the carries.

Defensive backfield: Texas. Three starters back from a unit that picked off 11 more passes (25) than touchdowns allowed (14).

Linebackers: Michigan State. Big Ten defensive player of the year and All-American Greg Jones is in the middle. He is bookended by Spartans' No. 2 tackler Eric Gordon and talented sophomore Chris Norman. 

Receivers:
Oklahoma. Four receivers averaged at least 12 yards per catch. Watch tiny Ryan Broyles who went over 1,000 yards on 89 catches.

Special teams: Nebraska. Alex Henery handles the kicking (24 of 28 FGs) and punts (41.4). Adi Kunalic has 86 career touchbacks, 38 percent of his kickoffs. Niles Paul averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 on punt returns.

30. Comeback player of the year

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder rebounded from shoulder surgery. Auburn's Zac Etheridge came back from a serious neck injury. Baylor's Robert Griffin ripped his ACL in the third game of the season.  Georgia Tech defensive back Cooper Taylor needed heart surgery .

They're all back in 2010 but the winner has to be Boston College's Mark Herzlich who beat cancer and inspired a nation during his recovery -- part of which was televised.

Posted on: July 25, 2010 5:30 pm
 

Five things about the ACC

As my annual swing through preseason media days continues I’ll be updating you on the current state of the conferences I’m covering …

1. It’s just not the same with Bobby. One of the highlights of the ACC media days is the annual sit down with Bobby Bowden. Around a circular table in a resort conference room we would jam ourselves close to Bobby to hear his dad-gum pearls of wisdom. A couple of “How ya doin’ buddy,”s and away we would go. Something was missing this year and it will never be back. Enjoy retirement, Papa Bowden.

2. Uncertainty at North Carolina. This had the looks of Butch Davis’ breakout season in Chapel Hill. Coming off a second consecutive eight-win season and armed with perhaps the nation’s best defense, Davis was overdue for that big turnaround. Sadly, Carolina is wrapped up in an NCAA agent investigation which may bring down the program for 2010 and short circuit Davis’ rebuilding. “Guys are smart to know what to do and what not to do,” said quarterback T.J. Yates. “You don’t have to read the NCAA rulebook to know the basics of it.” Apparently a few NCAA manuals are just what Carolina needs.

3. Dark horse national champion. Virginia Tech.  This wasn’t the plan when expansion plans were being made but the Hokies have become the reigning power of the new (and not-so-improved) ACC. While Georgia Tech is the defending champion and an up-and-comer, Tech has been the most consistent ACC team of the expansion era. Both its overall (41-13) and conference records (24-8) are three games better than everyone else over the past four years. The offense sports one of the deepest backfields in the country with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. The defense is being questioned but shouldn’t, not as long as Bud Foster is running the show. This year’s hopes center around the Labor Day opener against Boise State. Win that and the Hokies could enter November undefeated. Then it’s a question of whether they can get past Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, the last two on the road.

4. BC never seems to go away. Eleven consecutive bowls. Two out of the last three Atlantic Division titles. BC is hard to shake. Despite the loss of its best player (linebacker Mark Herzlich) to cancer and breaking in a 26-year-old rookie at quarterback (Dave Shinskie), the Eagles were still competing for the division title into November. This season they get back the inspirational Herzlich, ACC defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly as well as tailback Montel Harris (1,457 yards). Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles hanging around the division race again in November on their way to a 12th consecutive bowl.

5. Florida State is back, right? It’s up to the defense which was horrid in 2009. Jimbo Fisher has brought a new energy to the Seminoles who, despite the loveable Bowden, could use it. Quarterback Christian Ponder is back from a separated shoulder. The entire offensive line returns intact. If the defense plays just average, FSU will win 10. If not, retired d-coordinator Mickey Andrews will have handed his problems off to new DC Mark Stoops. We’ll know about the Noles by the second week of October. By that time, they will have played Oklahoma, BYU and Miami.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:37 pm
 

SEC expansion fantasy

HOOVER, Ala. -- The conflict, it will be written, started in a small conference room at a Scottsdale, Ariz. resort.

It was on that day in April that Mike Slive, lawyer-turned-revolutionary, calmly unfolded a piece of paper and began reading his manifesto to the assembled media.

"If there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm," Slive began, "the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure it maintains its position as one of the nation's pre-eminent conferences."

Cool, confident and articulate, the SEC commissioner, fired his warning shot at the Big Ten during the BCS meetings.

College sports stopped short of full-on realignmentmania this summer but Slive's words from that day endure. The point was to get his message across to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Slive was using his big words that day to issue a short message: If the Big Ten expands beyond 12, the SEC is ready to throw down. The conferences are No. 1 (Big Ten) and No. 2 (SEC) in revenue produced. They didn't get that way by being timid.

The waters are calm for now but when the time comes -- and it will come -- the SEC needs to add these four schools:

Texas: I know, I know. Texas is happy for now. But how long is it going to want to travel to Ames, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri? What Texas wants, Texas gets. Why not access to the SEC riches and recruiting grounds? Arkansas would gain back its natural rival and be able to recruit again in Texas.


Miami: Admit it. The expanded ACC has been a borderline failure in football. The league has arguably lost its position as the nation's best basketball conference.

The SEC would do for Miami what the ACC couldn't. The U still holds that cache as a market (South Florida) and a brand. Get Miami in the SEC and suddenly you turn on that entire South Florida region to the SEC. Think of a conference featuring the Big Three -- Miami, Florida and ...

Florida State: Yeah, that's right. Throw the Seminoles a life line too. Florida State is run like an SEC program anyway. Tallahassee is as Deep South as it gets.

Think of Alabama, LSU and Tennessee coming through Tally on a regular basis. Florida already does. There were 17,000 empty seats (at least) at Doak last year for the Maryland game. It would never happen again.

FSU needs to become a superpower again. It isn't going to happen in the sleepy ACC.

Georgia Tech: A natural rival of Georgia and former SEC member (1933-63), Tech is the easiest fit in this scenario.

It has always been sort of awkward for the Jackets to playing in the ACC in the traditional center of the SEC, Atlanta. Recruiting would definitely improve. Imagine Tech being able to go head-to-head with Georgia in recruiting. Imagine Tech beating Georgia and being able to stay home in the SEC championship game.

Imagine Tech's academics classing up the SEC.

All this a pipe dream, you say? Who would have thought in December that Nebraska would be in the Big Ten?

Posted on: July 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Preseason mags' top 25

We love the polls. College football polls to be specific. Preseason college football polls to be exact.

There is the annual cry to get rid of them. Hogwash. First, the Associated Press isn't going to disappoint its subscribers by scrapping one of its most popular offerings of the year. Second, there would be no preseason magazines without preseason top 25s.

And last time I checked, the magazines aren't going away either. We need them. We want them. The likes of Athlon and Lindy's are selling better than ever. There are regional editions. Sure, some of them outdated by the time they hit the stands. (USC No. 3, Athlon? Really?) That's OK. The sport is year-round now. It's not going to stop for a printing press.

The mags' arrival officially stirs the juices. Suddenly, it's OK to break down the Sun Belt, predict the WAC. Argue about the SEC East. That's why this blog is devoted to one of my annual obsessions -- a combined poll from all the preseason magazines.

I combined five polls, from The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com. Our official preseason poll won't come out until late August. For this purpose, then, I'm using my post-spring top 25.

A few notes, rules and notifications:

*Each school was assigned a number in descending order. Twenty-five points for a No. 1 ranking, 24 for No. 2, etc.

*Schools are then ranked from highest-point total to lowest.

*I also included an average poll rank, mostly because not all the schools were named in all five polls. Example: Oregon State finished No. 25 because it got 11 points from being ranked No. 15 in The Sporting News.  The likes of Cincinnati (eight points) and Utah (five) were ranked in two polls but finished with fewer total points than Oregon State.

*Thirty seven schools received votes.

*Alabama was not a consensus No. 1. Phil Steele made some waves by picking Oklahoma No. 1.

The annual compilation:

1. Alabama: Duh. Haven't lost an SEC regular-season game since 2007. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest, No. 3 (148 points, Avg. rank between No. 1 and No. 2)

2. Ohio State: The Big Ten is back. Ohio State never left. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. 3. (142 points. Avg. rank between No. 2 and No. 3)

3. Boise State: Should be a consensus top five pick with major polls debut next month. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. No. 6. (136 points. Average rank between No. 3 and No. 4)

4. Florida: Fastest team in the country, again. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 7. (123 points. Avg. rank between No. 5 and No. 6)

5. TCU: Nation's best defense the past two seasons. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 11. (113 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

6. Nebraska: Fitting that these two are tied. They hate each other. Highest rank, No. 5. Lowest rank, No. 11 (112 points. Average rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

7. Oregon: Most talent in the Pac-10. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 15 (111 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

8. Texas: Adding physicality to offense. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. No. 11 (110 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

9. Oklahoma: Rebuilding into Big 12 and national power again. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest rank, No. 12. (106 points. Avg. rank between No. 8 and No. 9)

10. Virginia Tech: Class of the ACC until further notice. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 13. (94 points. Avg. rank between No. 10 and No. 11)

11. (tie) USC: Two-year bowl ban begins. Does the dynasty continue? Highest rank, No. 3. Lowest rank, No. 16. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

Iowa: Sexy dark horse pick in the Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 14. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

13. Wisconsin: Fresh from pounding Miami. Factor in Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 23. (82 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

14. Miami: Starting to look like Canes of old. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 14. (79 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

15. Florida State: New coach, healthy quarterback. Great prospects. Highest rank, No. 14. Lowest rank, No. 20. (60 points, Avg. rank No. 16)

16. Arkansas: Petrino starting to work his magic with Ryan Mallett. Highest rank, No. 16. Lowest rank, No. 21. (50 points, Avg. rank between No. 17 and No. 18)

17. North Carolina: Nation's best defense? Highest rank, No. 12. Lowest rank, No. 24. (48 points. Avg. rank No. 18)

18. Pittsburgh: Coming first 10 win season since 1981. Highest rank, No. 14. Not ranked by Steele. (45 points. Avg. rank No. 17)

19. LSU: Les Miles on the hot seat? Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Steele. (35 points. Avg. rank No. 19)

20. Georgia Tech:
Defending ACC champs seem to have gotten better. Highest rank, No. 13. Not ranked by Steele, Yahoo and Athlon. (30 points. Avg. rank No. 16)

21. Auburn: Chizik not ready to cede state to Alabama. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by Lindy's and Yahoo. (29 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

22. Penn State: JoePa going for No. 400. Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Sporting News. (27 points. Avg. rank No.  20 and No. 21)

23. Georgia: New AD could be the least of Dawgs' problems. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com and Sporting News. (24 points. Avg. rank No. 20)

24. West Virginia: Noel Devine could carry 'Neers to a BCS bowl. Highest rank, No. 19. Not ranked by Athlon and Yahoo. (16 points. Avg. rank No. 22)

25. Oregon State: Mike Riley always has Beavers in contention. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com, Steele, Lindy's and Athlon. (15 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

Other teams receiving votes: Notre Dame, Connecticut, Missouri, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Utah, Houston, Clemson, Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Navy.

Notes: To no one's surprise the SEC led all conferences with six teams in the top 25 (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) ... To everyone's surprise, the ACC was second with five teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech) ... The Big 12 had three of the top 10 (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska) ... The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams in the top 15 ... Every national champion since 1999 is represented in the top 25 ... Six states had multiple teams in the poll. Florida led all states with three (Miami, Florida, Florida State).

 

Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:38 am
Edited on: July 7, 2010 12:47 pm
 

Son of fresh faces

Friday I offered up 10 fresh faces to watch for 2010. Here are 21 more ...


Nick Becton, OT, Virginia Tech -- This sophomore replaces three-year starter Ed Wang at left tackle.

Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana-Monroe -- Redshirt beat out senior Trey Revell.

Clemson quarterbacks -- Depending on whether Kyle Parker signs a major-league contract. That means either fifth-year senior Michael Wade or redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd will take over.

Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn -- Alabama-Auburn is heating up again. Gene Chizik landed a top five recruit to go with new quarterback Cameron Newton.

Vidal Hazelton, WR, Cincinnati -- Transfer from USC could take over for Mardy Gilyard as the go-to guy.

Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State -- The progress of Florida State's defense under Mark Stoops will be one of the biggest stories going into '10. This redshirt sophomore is starting at rush end, a glamour position.

Skylar Jones, QB, Wake Forest -- Takes over for Riley Skinner. The junior won the job in the spring after not throwing a pass last season.

Logan Kilgore, QB, Middle Tennessee -- Transfer from Bakersfield (Calif). College, threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Dwight Dasher is the man but Kilgore could be the next man.

Dan Mason, LB, Pittsburgh -- Pittsburgh's starting middle linebacker has been All-Big East first team each of the last five years. Will Mason make it six in a row as a sophomore?

Lamar Miller, TB, Miami -- With Graig Cooper rehabbing a knee hurt in the bowl, this homegrown redshirt freshman could be a savior.

Jason Peters, DE, Georgia Tech -- Al Groh was hired to install the 3-4. There is more pressure on the ends in that alignment. Peters was one of the stars of the spring.

Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina -- Overshadowed on one of the best defenses in the country.

Ryan Radcliff, QB, Central Michigan -- If you're asking who will replace Dave LeFevour, this is the guy. The redshirt sophomore threw 21 passes last season.

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State -- This sophomore is replacing NCAA rushing leader Ryan Mathews in the Central Valley. Runs like Jacquizz Rodgers with similar measureables -- 5-foot-7, 185.

Rutgers Super Sophs -- Six-foot-five quarterback Tom Savage threw for 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Receiver Mohamed Sanu (51 catches) is one of the fastest players in the game.

Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois -- Redshirt freshman from high school power Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst was named starter by Ron Zook in the spring. Dual-threat guy needs to jump start Illini offense.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia -- For the first time in five years, the Mountaineers don't have an experienced quarterback returning. Smith could be great (65 percent on 49 passes in '09) but will have to come back from a broken foot in the offseason.

Josh Snead, TB, Duke -- Early enrolling freshman is a home-run hitter for a program desperate for a bowl.

Tino Sunseri, QB, Pittsburgh -- The Panthers always seem to be a quarterback away from doing great things. Coming off a 10-win season, Sunseri could be the difference in Pittsburgh getting back to a BCS bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:13 am
 

Breaking down the ACC's 2010 schedule

(This is the first of an irregular offseason series breaking down the schedules of the BCS leagues.)

The ACC enters Year No. 7 since expansion still looking for an identity.

The league has won only two BCS bowl games sporting the worst winning percentage (.166) of any BCS league in those major bowls. Miami and Florida State haven't stepped up. In fact, each has shrunk from superpower status. Virginia Tech, an afterthought in the original expansion, has won the most titles (three) since 2004. While Clemson and Florida State are rebuilding, Maryland and Virginia have slipped.

Butch Davis has all the coaching chops but North Carolina hasn't made a dramatic move under him yet. The best stories will be Year One at FSU A.B. (After Bobby). Jimbo Fisher enters his first season as head coach with mounds of pressure on him.

Virginia Tech has the best program. Georgia Tech had last season's best team. Coach Paul Johnson is making everyone adjust to his option offense. In his second season, the Jackets broke through their first ACC title since 1998.

Game of the year:  (non-conference) Miami at Ohio State, Sept. 11. In a rematch of the 2002 national championship game, Miami puts its renovation project on  display against a national championship contender. Figure on this one being at night with 105,000 lubed up Buckeyes wanting blood. Why not? Ohio State has won 50 of its last 52 non-conference games at The Shoe. The winning team's quarterback could come out of this as one the Heisman frontrunner.

The Canes don't want to be pushed around by a second consecutive brawny Big Ten team. (see: the Champs Sports Bowl).

Game of the year: (conference) Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Nov. 4. Does the new boss meet the old boss? Johnson has split his two meetings with Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech has played in four conference title games and won three ACC championships since expansion in 2004.  After winning the ACC in 2009, Johnson isn't going to stand still. Beamerball and PJ will likely come into 2010 with teams projected 1-2 in the league.

Team on the spot: Florida State. Fisher has to start producing right away. Recruiting was good. The defense needs to be overhauled. There isn't much room for error, not with Oklahoma and BYU back-to-back after a season opener against Samford.

If FSU negotiates that mine field, there are back-to-back road games at Virginia and Miami in October. Will a 3-3 start be tolerated?

Toughest non-conference schedule: Once again, Miami has doused itself with kerosene and is hoping no one lights a match. It worked, sort of, last season with a 5-1 start after opening with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. But that ambitious start might have had something to do with a 4-3 finish.
This season, after an opening yawner against Florida A&M, the Canes go to Ohio State AND Pittsburgh before heading to Clemson. That's three potentially-ranked teams from three BCS conferences in 21 days. Oh, and if that isn't enough, Florida State comes to Miami on Oct. 9. South Florida comes to Land Shark/Dolphin/Sun Life/Joe Robbie for the season finale on Nov. 27. Try to find a tougher non-con in the ACC.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Virginia Tech. In a league where five teams are playing at least one SEC opponent, the Hokies follow a neutral-site opener against Boise State with home games against James Madison and East Carolina. The other non-con is a homer against significantly diminished Central Michigan. There are no true non-conference road games on the schedule and only two road games at all after Oct. 2.

Posted on: November 8, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2009 12:14 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

After watching that replay again from Alabama, how can a reasonable person rule that wasn’t an interception? I’m expecting something out of the SEC office in the next couple of days.

Why I like Alabama on game day … “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on and immediately everyone on University Ave. starts jukin’ and yellin’. Ever see 10,000 folks do the Bama version of the River Dance?

Why I like Alabama on game day II … The houndstooth 1) skirts and 2) beer coozies.

Why I like Alabama on game day III … Yes, they were taking pictures of me as I was in makeup prior to my appearance on CBS College Sports’ SEC Tailgate. You people must find some meaning in your lives.

Get ready for a noisy Boise: The way things are sorting out, an undefeated Boise State is going to be beaten out for a BCS bowl by a two-loss team from one of the power conferences, p.r. firm or not.

The BCS bowl matchups began to get into sharper focus when Iowa lost and Alabama won. Here’s out it works:

The automatic qualifiers are down these teams …

Big Ten: Iowa/Ohio State. The teams plays this week in Columbus so that will sort itself out. Both teams have lost once. Saturday's winner most likely goes to the Rose Bowl.

Big 12: Texas will play either Kansas State or Nebraska from the North Division. K-State controls its own destiny after beating Kansas. Texas might be cruising but could get some blowback at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving or from Nebraska or K-State in the Big 12 title game.

SEC: Alabama vs. Florida in the SEC title game. If they teams stay undefeated before Dec. 5, the winner plays for the national championship. The loser most likely goes to the Sugar Bowl.

ACC: Still a mess but Georgia Tech is the conference’s only one loss team and leads the Coastal Division. Clemson controls its fate in the Atlantic Division. The ACC winner most likely goes to the Orange Bowl.

Big East: Cincinnati is undefeated but still has tough games left against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. With no conference championship game to hinder it, the Bearcats could be headed to the Sugar Bowl to face the Alabama-Florida loser.

Pac-10: It looks as if Oregon, Arizona or Stanford will go to the Rose. The Wildcats and Ducks meet Nov. 21 in Tucson. Despite the letdown loss at Stanford, Oregon still seems to have the advantage. Arizona still has its toughest games to play (Cal, USC, Arizona State). Stanford has to get past USC and Cal before meeting Notre Dame in the regular-season finale,

That leaves four at-large berths. Notre Dame is out after losing to Navy. If TCU stays undefeated and ahead of Boise State in the BCS, it will go, most likely, to the Fiesta Bowl. As mentioned, the Florida-Alabama loser should gobble up a Sugar Bowl spot.  If USC wins out it could get the other Fiesta Berth at 10-2.

That leaves an undefeated Boise having to fight off a two-loss team from a major conference in order to get to the BCS. Things being what they are, which is the same for the past 50 years in this situation, the Orange Bowl most likely would pick a 10-2 Penn State to play the ACC champion.

Sorry Broncos.

Name this team: Its last conference championship came in 2003. Since then it has been a mixed bag. This program has changed coaches twice, beaten Texas twice and produced a quarterback drafted in the first round. This year alone it has given up 66 points to Texas Tech, lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and, amazingly,  is in first place in its division.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Kansas State, 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 North after beating Kansas 17-10. In Bill Snyder’s second term as coach, the Wildcats need only beat Nebraska in its final two games to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game.

Snyder is getting some run for Big 12 coach of the year. We’re fairly sure no COY has lost to Texas Tech by 54 and lost to a fourth-place Sun Belt team in the same season.


USC decline: Before Saturday’s 14-9 victory over Arizona State, USC had allowed 110 points in its last three games. That’s the most in a three-game stretch ever. The Trojans had allowed 113 points combined in the previous 14 games.


Breaking down the big boys: Now that a Florida-Alabama rematch is assured, here’s the three-minute eval of the SEC title game slightly less than a month away.

Advantage Alabama: A better running game (I think) and the revenge motive for last year’s classic loss in Atlanta.

Advantage Florida: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. As long as he’s taking snaps, Florida has a chance.

Advantage Florida: Defense. By a hair. This is going to be another matchup of the ages. Charlie Strong vs. Nick Saban/Kirby Smart. At this point Florida’s unit seems a bit more active.

Advantage Alabama: Special teams. With Javier Arenas returning kicks and Terrence Cody blocking them, give the Crimson Tide the edge. Kicker Leigh Tiffin is more than reliable. If you’re looking for an edge, this is it. Games like this tend to turn on special teams.

Stuff: SMU needed three blocked kicks to beat Rice and move to within one win of bowl eligibility. The Ponies last went bowling pre-death penalty in 1984 … Alabama hasn’t been 9-0 in consecutive seasons since 1973-74 … In its last 39 home games, Cal is 0-7 against Oregon State and USC, 32-0 against everyone else … My God, did you see Cal’s Jahvid Best suffer that concussion while diving into the end zone? Coach Jeff Tedford actually said his guy was “OK.” No, coach, he’s not OK. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Best’s season is over … Who knew UCLA had lost seven conference games in a row before beating  Washington?

The right now, no B.S., up to the moment Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston. Another last-second win, this time over Tulsa. In his last two games Keenum has thrown for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. Any questions? My goal in life is to get this kid a trip to New York. He’s earned it. In a perfect world, he’d win the Stiff Arm but because he plays at a Conference USA school it probably isn’t going to happen.

2. Mark Ingram, Alabama. It’s the KIIS system – Keep It Ingram, Stupid. After throwing 25 passes in the first half, Nick Saban changed tactics and had Ingram carry it 16 games in the second half against LSU. The result was 144 yards.

3. Colt McCoy, Texas. It was only Central Florida but McCoy continued a recent uptick with 469 passing yards. McCoy was removed from the game with nine minutes left four yards shy of the school passing record (Major Applewhite, 473 yards in the 2001 Holiday Bowl).

Funny thing, Applewhite might have the school record but because the NCAA didn’t recognize bowl stats back then it officially doesn’t exist. What makes things more annoying is that a few years ago the NCAA started counting bowl stats. I still contend that an intern at each school in the country could go back and add in all the bowl numbers.

The NCAA explains that current record holders would have their names expunged if records were updated. Tough! You count all the numbers, not just some of them.

4. Toby Gerhart, Stanford. Coach Jim Harbaugh is preaching physicality. Gerhart pounded Oregon for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-42 win.

5. C.J. Spiller, Clemson. If the Tigers are going to win their first ACC title in 18 years, Spiller is going to be the reason. He went for a school-record 312 all-purpose yards against Florida State.

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