Tag:Illinois
Posted on: September 9, 2011 9:53 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 10:03 pm
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Son of Weekend Watch List

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.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:12 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

With the Big 12 media days kicking off Thursday here are five key issues to consider: 

1. The 800-pound Buckeye in the room: The world is waiting to see how the second-richest athletic department comes out of possibly its most disgraceful period in school history. Following a Watergate-like cover up, the head coach "retired" but not before allowing five players to compete while ineligible. No big deal. All it meant was that Ohio State won its sixth straight conference title and a $20 million BCS bowl. There are enough leftovers in this mess to be the subject of lectures in finance, history, ethics and sports law classes for years. While the NCAA weighs the football program's penalties, this year's Buckeyes will be the slow-down-and-look wreck on the highway. Everyone will be gawking. It is rookie coach Luke Fickell's job to unite Buckeye Nation and what is still a talented roster. Don't be surprised if Ohio State wins the Leaders Division and the Big Ten. Call it Jim Tressel's going-away present.

2. Quick, name the members of the Leaders and Legends divisions: No, really. I'm serious. All those corporate goofs talk about branding and synergy. In this case, the Big Ten paid some consultant or another six figures to confuse the public. Commissioner Jim Delany was looking for competitive balance so North-South or East-West were probably out. I get that. What I don't get is why the words "Schembechler" "Hayes" or "Grange" couldn't have been worked in there somewhere. This is a conference that is about to profit off the grainy images of old Joe Paterno coaching shows from the 1960s (on the Big Ten Network). Instead, the corporate goofs have succeeded in making the Big Ten (really 12) teams anonymous. Why is Ohio State a Leader given its current rep? Why isn't Penn State a Legend given that it is coached by one. An enterprising reporter could embarrass some coaches at the media days by asking them to name the members of each division. For now, the easiest way to remember is this: All the Ms (Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State) and the Ns (Nebraska and Northwestern), plus Iowa, are in the Legends. The Ps (Penn State, Purdue) and the remaining Is (Indiana, Illinois) are in the Leaders. That leaves Ohio State and Wisconsin to memorize on your own. A nursery rhyme, it ain't.

3. Nebraska assimilation: A tight-knit family hasn't been this charged up for a big move since the Clampetts figured California is the place they oughta be. In this case it's the Big Red loading up the U-Haul and moving to the Big Ten. Nebraska can't wait, per the wishes of Tom Osborne who had enough of Texas. Football-wise not much has changed. Some of the road trips are daunting. The Huskers move from one 12-team conference to another. They still haven't won a conference title since 1999. They still aren't "back". The Big Ten won't change those story lines. Talent-wise, Nebraska will compete just fine. It could make the Big Ten's title game in its first season. Other than that, Nebraska feels a lot better about itself having already inheriting some of that Big Ten arrogance on its way out the door from the Big 12. One thing, though: If the Big Ten is such a respected academic league why is Nebraska the only school not a member of the Association of American Universities. Expansion was not just about football. Yeah, right.

4. The rise of Sparty: In 2010, Michigan State won its first Big Ten title since 1990. (Tying with Wisconsin and Ohio State.) Next stop: The Rose Bowl. It's been 22 years since the Spartans got to Pasadena. After four seasons of steady improvement, Mark Dantonio has a chance to do it. To some, Michigan State is more than the trendy pick to win it all in the Big Ten. Kirk Cousins is one of the best pocket passers in a country in love with the spread offense. Edwin Baker (1,201 yards, 13 tds) may be the conference's best running back. A strong linebacking group must be rebuilt, although the schedule breaks Michigan State's way. It gets Ohio State in Columbus in the last game of the player suspensions. Michigan and Wisconsin come to East Lansing. Dantonio won't wow you with quotes but this is as solid a program as there is right now in the Big Ten. When the coach survives a heart attack and the team still wins 11 games something is going right. If it comes together, who knows Michigan State could get revenge on Alabama in a BCS bowl? (Bama trounced the Spartans 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl.)

5. The traditional mob boss: And I mean that in the best possible way about Delany. He is simply -- with the possible exception of SEC counterpart Mike Slive -- the most powerful man in college sports. Delany doesn't speak often publicly but when he does, he is usually provocative. Look for more of the same when Delany speaks Thursday during his annual state of the conference address at the media days. This is the guy who deftly tried to lure Notre Dame to the Big Ten (remember the rumblings about breaking up the Big East?), then ended up with a hell of a consolation prize -- Nebraska. This is the guy who slapped down the non-BCS conferences with impunity during a December forum in New York. "The problem is," Delany told the BCS wannabes, "your big stage takes away opportunities for teams to play on the stage they created in 1902." This is the guy who created the model for the conference network. Remember, there is still no guarantee the Pac-12, Longhorn and all these other networks will succeed. Ask Delany. It was a long slog to get to this point. With all the issues in play -- Ohio State, NCAA reform, conference realignment -- expect Delany to make his opinion known this week.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 3:32 pm
 

My NCAA tournament thoughts going into regionals

Stay strong, Jay Bilas . It's not the fact that Virginia Commonwealth is in the Sweet 16, people. The fact remains that VCU didn't deserve to be in the bracket in the first place. Colorado could have gone in place of the Rams and also gone to the Sweet 16. Tell me Missouri State wouldn't have had a shot with the right matchup. 


It's a separate argument -- 1) Did VCU deserve to be in the bracket? No. 2) Does winning in the tournament justify that spot in the bracket? No. I can give you the name of five teams that could have gotten hot and won two games.


Big East flop. After the first round, the Big East was guaranteed at least two teams in the Sweet 16. That's all it got. For what is believed to be the first time in the seeding era, the selection committee knowingly made it possible for not one, but two games between conference foes in the second round. 


The committee long ago had to abandon the principle of conference rivals not being able to meet until the regional final. A 16-team Big East made the committee get rid of that principle for obvious reasons. But it was lazy that the committee didn't try to eliminate the possibility of Connecticut-Cincinnati and Marquette-Syracuse in the second round. That looks more like Big Monday than the NCAA tournament.


It wasn't fair to the Big East to have to eat its own so early in the bracket. It showed the committee didn't do its diligence. That being said, the fact that the Mountain West has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Big East (two) is embarrassing -- for the Big East.



Most entertaining regional? It isn't the Southwest where Kansas is surrounded by three mutts (Richmond, VCU and Florida State). I'll give you the Southeast with Butler still alive, again, going against the immovable force in Wisconsin. The Southeast also has Jimmer (Fredette) and Billy (Donovan).


But I'll take the West where I dare you to pick the best player in Anaheim. Is it Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard? There are so many storylines at the Honda Center, my head is spinning. 


--San Diego State is expected to take over the Honda Center. The school is less than two hours from Anaheim. "The Show" almost blew the roof off the McKale Center last week. 


--Is it possible to have too many good players? Duke barely survived Michigan while trying to integrate Irving back in the lineup. That's a problem every other team would love to have. Also, if Coach K gets to the Final Four out of this regional, he will tie a certain Bobby Knight for the Division I record in career wins, 902. Go, Mike, go! 


--San Diego State fans were chanting "We want Kemba!" after beating Temple in the second round. Be careful what you wish for, Aztecs. I'll kind of answer my previous question: Walker might be the best player in the regional and maybe the country.


--Arizona's Derrick Williams comes back home to his native L.A. As of this moment, Williams is the most important and charismatic player in the tournament. (That's different than "best".) His block in the first round against Memphis preserved the win. His and-one late against Texas on Sunday was the difference. Think Williams will be a little energized going back home playing for a spot in the Final Four?


Easiest road to the Final Four: You kidding? It has to be Kansas. If it wins, it won't face a single-digit seed until the Final Four. On the one-year anniversary of losing to Northern Iowa in 2010, the Jayhawks destroyed an Illinois team Sunday that brought to mind an obvious question: How did VCU and Illinois get in the bracket?

Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:05 pm
 

Dungeons, Dragons and Big Ten divisions

The new Big Ten has 12 teams and will start every season with two Ls.

If this has you confused, it's meant to in the new Large Dozen. The Big Ten made a big deal Monday out of revealing the names of its two six-team divisions. Then it underwhelmed us. The divisions are named Leaders and Legends. Not to be confused with Dungeons and Dragons or Abbott and Costello.

Leaders Division:  Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Legends Division:  Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern


"There's nothing, maybe, like it out there," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

That's certainly true. With all the great history and tradition available to it, the haughty Big Ten went low brow, corporate, generic. Leaders and Legends? That's the name of the trophy store down the street. What were "Gods" and "Superheroes" already taken? One thing for sure: The league won't be getting any cease and desist letters from famous people unless it's this guy. Sign ups are now being taken for summer school classes just to memorize the members of each division.

"Maybe if people don't embrace it in the first hour," Delany said, "they will in the first 24 or 36."


It's likely to take longer, if ever. If you're like me you're already wondering how the league promotes a Leaders Division showdown between Purdue and Indiana. It also prompts the question: Are the Leaders not legends and the Legends not leaders? And the alliteration thing is about as clever as a handoff to Archie Griffin. Delany was asked if the "two Ls" thing won't be associated with losses.

"You're the first one who has mentioned it," Delany said.

Apparently the commish wasn't on Twitter Monday which blew up with general mockery and disgust. A firm no doubt got six figures to "consult" on the division names and new logo. You'll love that when you see it. The league was cute with its embedded "11" in the old logo. In the new one, the "I" in "Big" has turned into "1". The "G" is meant to kind of simulate a "0". Maybe, but the "G" also looks like a "6". The league might be sending us a Da Vinci Code message on its future expansion plans.

"Now that you mention it ...," Delany said of a possible interpretation of "Big 16" in the new logo.

What is this a trademark or an M.C. Escher print?

All those names, all those (lower-case) legends and the league completely blew it. Schembechler and Hayes divisions would have been perfect. If Delany was worried about favoring individuals, then consider none of what went on Monday would have been possible without Bo and Woody enhancing the brand.

Instead the league used some of those people names for its conference awards, hyphenating them to get as many leaders and legends into the mix as possible. That makes the league's major awards look like chick-flick characters from your basic Lifetime movie. Who can forget Meredith Baxter-Birney playing Colleen Stagg-Paterno in "Looking For Love in Iowa City"?

My take on the subject wouldn't be complete without a list of suggested division names from myself and Twitter followers earlier on Monday. We got your generic right here.

Posted on: November 17, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 1:06 pm
 

National notes/Illinois-Northwestern fiasco

Northwestern and Illinois are playing this week at Wrigley Field. The NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee might want to have a word.

Whoever sanctioned this mess probably came from the state boxing commission. Those folks don't care who the hell gets hurt either. Seriously, how does any adult in good conscience put an end zone up against Wrigley's right field wall? There's also precious little out-of-bounds room on one side of the field. If you haven't seen the pictures, they're here and here.

The NCAA's 15-year old principles of student-athlete welfare states, " ... It is the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each of its participating student-athletes."

Smashing one's face into a (padded) brick wall seems to violate some of those principles. Forget about the possibility of injury, both teams are going to have to alter their game plans. In other words, don't figure on seeing many skinny posts or go routes in the east end zone at Wrigley.

"They've got it padded up pretty good," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "I was jokingly [saying] to our receivers, 'Got to get you ready for the Arena League.' Obviously, there was a lot concerns and a lot of thought put into that before the decision was made."

Zook he and officials surveyed Wrigley two years ago. Amazingly, none of the participants seem to have a problem with it.

"We had risk managers out here," Northwestern AD Jim Phillips told the Chicago Tribune. "We had civil engineers, safety engineers. We had so many people look at it because nobody wants to put the student-athletes in harm's way."

Noooo, who would want that? I guess to these guys, harm's way is actually putting the end zone in the bleachers.

"It will definitely be an element in the game," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

Thoughts and prayers, Illini and Wildcats, thoughts and prayers.



* Could a heart attack be a key to BCS bowl this season?

Hang with me on this: As crass as this sounds, TCU may have been distracted Saturday during a closer-than-expected 40-35 win over San Diego State. In the first quarter offensive line coach Eddie Williamson left the field because of a reported heart attack. Williamson had a stent put in and is expected to be back to the team soon. He didn't want the players to be seen in the weakened state, so he left the field as calmly as possible.

But the players had to know eventually that one of their coaches was gone. Did it have anything to do with the Frogs losing focus? They fell behind the Aztecs and came back to lead comfortably before a couple of late touchdowns by San Diego State.

The five-point victory margin probably had something to do with Boise cutting into TCU's lead for the automatic BCS bowl berth race. TCU is currently No. 3 in the BCS standings, but Boise is right behind with three games left. TCU has only one, Nov. 27 at New Mexico. Could the Broncos eventually pass the Frogs for that No. 3 spot if they win out?

It could come down to a close game caused by a distraction caused by Williamson's heart attack. Just saying ...



* The Pac-10's dirty little secret apparently is out. The Oregonian says it has a source who confirmed faking injuries was a "big part" of the game plan against Oregon's rapid-fire offense.

I reported Sunday that had been concerns inside the Oregon program over opponents' faking injuries since late September.

Oregon fans have taken to booing opponents' injuries whether legitimate or not.

"I know what our fans reaction is when someone's  carted off the field that looks like he's going off to surgery and is back immediately on the next play," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We've played in games when three or four guys are down on a play. I think we have pretty intelligent fans at Oregon."



* There seems to be two parts to every SEC scandal -- the actual scandal itself and who ratted out the violator.

It's a conference tradition, one that commissioner Mike Slive has tried to eradicate with a code of ethics. The code requires those with knowledge of an NCAA violation to pass up the chain of command (AD to conference office to NCAA). That's obviously an issue lately with the Cam Newton situation. Mississippi State is on record as having turned in to the conference office Cecil Newton's alleged request for money for his son's services.


"The issue is you cannot turn a blind eye to misconduct," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you do you're as guilty as the misconduct. I'm comfortable with the need to create a climate of compliance. I wish it wasn't anonymous. I wish everybody knew everything there was and it was open ... Then there would no behind closed doors."

Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: November 3, 2010 11:57 am
 

National notes

There are worse coaching-change strategies: Elevate a 70-year-old former coach who has won that school's only national championship and still has the fire in his belly.

That seems to be the way it's trending at Colorado where Dan Hawkins' fifth year at the school has the adopted title of a Sean Penn movie . Bill McCartney's name is being more than floated at Colorado. Mac is practically campaigning for his former job .

"Colorado football is a sleeping giant!" McCartney told the Denver Post recently.

Mac may have it half right. The Colorado icon is interested and ready, even if it has been 17 years since we walked away from CU citing family concerns. It was Mac who survived a rocky start -- to put it mildly -- to shape Colorado into national power. The Buffs were 7-25-1 in his first three seasons which would make him shark bait in this impatient age. The administration showed faith, McCartney made Nebraska a designated rival and he began recruiting Southern California. The program then won its only national championship in 1990 (shared with Georgia Tech). I spoke to McCartney recently about the infamous Fifth Down game that made that championship possible.

Bringing Mac back would a kind of bridge hire to get the program back on track much like 71-year-old Bill Snyder at Kansas State. 

"I know this, Bill McCartney is as fine a football coach as I`ve ever known," Snyder said earlier this season. "If he wanted to go back at the age of 90, he would still be extremely successful."

Colorado definitely needs some healing. The Hawkins thing just hasn't worked out. The former Boise coach is 19-38 at CU heading into this week's Kansas game. His tenure has been sort of a warning for all coaches who might think the grass is greener. In this case it certainly has been a warning to Chris Petersen who has been wildly successful since replacing Hawkins.

CU doesn't seem to be that far away. It won the Big 12 North as recently as 2005 and won division titles four of five years beginning in 2001. Those Gary Barnett days look pretty good right now. Hawkins could save his job with a bowl but it doesn't seem likely. The Buffs, 3-5, need to win three out of their last four to get bowl eligible. If not, AD Mike Bohn needs to hit a home run for one, big obvious reason: He hired Hawkins. The Buffs are moving to the Pac-12, a new chapter in their history, and can't afford to keep languishing. Bohn might be put off by McCartney's time away from the game, but with Snyder coming back and Joe Paterno going after his 400th win experience has to count for something.


Would McCartney embrace modern notions like the spread offense? Does he have the energy to recruit? Those are questions yet to be answered. There has been speculation about the makeup of the staff. Former CU and Broncos player Dave Logan has been mentioned as an assistant. Logan is currently a high school coach in the Denver area. Other names heard as possible McCartney staff members: former CU player and assistant Jon Embree (Redskins tight ends coach) and the Buffs' career rushing leader Eric Bieniemy (Vikings running backs coach).


* The most likely way the BCS standings come into play in the Big Ten tiebreaker is if Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State all tie at 7-1. The Badgers currently lead in the BCS standings at No. 9. There is still the possibility of a four-way tie that would include Illinois, with each team at 6-2.


Ohio State is tied for the top spot in the Big Ten with a team it does not play, Michigan State (each are 4-1). Wisconsin is at 3-1 having beaten Ohio State and Iowa and losing to Michigan State. Either Iowa, also 3-1, or Ohio State probably will be eliminated from the race when they meet Nov. 20 in Iowa City.
 
The Buckeyes are gunning for a conference record-tying sixth consecutive Big Ten title. Ohio State has the toughest road to the Big Ten title if you consider combined conference records of remaining opponents (6-6).  Wisconsin has the easiest road (5-11). Michigan State hasn't won the league since 1990. For Wisconsin, it has been since 1999. Iowa hasn't won it since 2004.

 Even if the Large Eleven is out of the national championship picture, the league has played in the most BCS bowl games (21) and will probably get two teams in again this season.

* Phil Fulmer is the latest name to surface at Minnesota, mostly because Fulmer himself all but expressed interest at Minnesota recently.

“Minnesota has great potential, and with its new facilities it’s a place you could recruit to,’’ Fulmer told the Knoxville News Sentinel . “I believe it’s a place where you can compete.’’

Other names mentioned for the job include Mike Leach, former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, former Kansas coach Mark Mangino, Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Canadian Football League coach Marc Trestman.

It looks like a slow offseason for coaching changes. Colorado may be the biggest job that opens up assuming that Georgia doesn't do anything with Mark Richt.


Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:47 pm
 

National Notes

All Cam Newton all the time? Seems like it especially with the question of the week that has risen up on various talk shows, Twitter accounts and in my brain:

Is Cam Newton better than Tim Tebow? At this point in time the answer is yes. Cammo is bigger (6-feet-6, 250 pounds), stronger (watch him bulldoze those linebackers) and faster than the Gainesville god known as Tebow. Newton won't approach Tebow's numbers because this might be his one and only season at Auburn.

The irony is that Florida had him and let him get away. Actually, Newton admits he let himself get away. The laptop incident didn't help but Newton was being redshirted and had an ankle injury in his final semester with the Gators. Tebow and John Brantley were ahead of him on the depth chart, making it easier for Newton to transfer.

After becoming the national juco player of the year, Newton found the perfect coach (offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) with the perfect offense at Auburn. The rest you've watched each Saturday. The latest accomplishment was setting the SEC season rushing record by a quarterback -- with four games left.

"He's the best facilitator of the football as a college quarterback," said Pete Cordelli, a former Notre Dame assistant. "He runs his football team like he's a point guard. It's Showtime on the Plains. Who can you take and put on the other 119 teams  and make them better? Can you imagine him at Oregon or Oklahoma? Imagine if he was at Penn State, we wouldn't be talking about Paterno retiring. Imagine him at Ohio State?"

That's a lot of imagining but only one team has him. 


* The next question is whether Newton will go Prince on us and change his name to a symbol: N - mg = ma

(The equation is deciphered below)

* By the way, don't blame Urban Meyer. He's got enough problems. Critics want the Florida coach to get rid of lawbreakers (you might have heard there have been quite a few), but they want to blame him for letting Cam I Am for "getting away."

* If the top of the polls look unfamiliar, they should. Oregon is No. 1 for the second consecutive week in the AP poll. Other than USC, the last Pac-10 team to be ranked No. 1 in the AP poll was Washington in 1992 (five weeks). No. 2 Boise State is the highest ranked WAC team since BYU won the national championship in 1984.

* Boise rant of the week: At what point do 47-point beatdowns of WAC teams in some way equal a seven-point win over LSU. That's why I think Boise could win the SEC East, Big 12 and Big Ten.

* During this Alabama bye week, Nick Saban visited the Touchdown Club of Memphis. One snarky attendee  gave Nick his props and summed up the season properly -- at least from an Alabama perspective: "Congratulations on winning the BCS national championship last year and producing a Heisman Trophy winner. I know expectations are high in the state of Alabama and people expect another national champion and another Heisman winner. Fortunately, those expectations appear to be in reach. Auburn is No. 1 in the BCS and Cam Newton appears to be the leading candidate for the Heisman."

* What's the antidote for arrogance? Mack Brown is trying to figure that out. According to him, that's what Texas has been playing with for too long. Brown who called out his players after the Iowa State loss and, in the process, might have indicted his own motivation skills.

There is no excuse with bowl-bound Baylor coming in. The Longhorns roster routinely is comprised of the best players in Texas, some of the best in the country. Try to explain, then, how Baylor leads the Big 12 South eight weeks into the season. You can't.


* Sometimes we write too much about the winners, the BCS, bowl games, NCAA reprobates. This space is dedicated to the feel-good stories of late October.

Baylor clinched a bowl berth for the first time in 15 years after that Kansas State win. The season looked encouraging but Bears fans had learned not to assume anything. Quarterback Robert Griffin was coming off a blown-out knee. It lost at TCU by 35 earlier in the season.  Griffin now is arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12.
 
Western Kentucky broke a nation-leading 26-game losing streak in beating Louisiana-Lafayette. Akron and New Mexico now share the national lead; each have lost eight in a row. Oh, and another warning for the next Vince Lombardi at Minnesota: The Gophers are next with a seven-game losing streak.

Remember when Ron Zook was on the hot seat? Illinois' coach is a respectable 4-3, having beaten Penn State in the process. Its three losses are no disgrace, to Michigan State, Ohio State and Missouri. Those schools have a combined record of 22-1.

No shame either for Iowa State's Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are now 4-4, chasing a bowl after beating Texas. Their four losses are to Iowa, Kansas State, Utah and Oklahoma. Combined record: 23-5.

Seven games into his second season, Syracuse's Doug Marrone has the Orange at 5-2, in second place in the Big East, a half-game behind Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh has beaten Syracuse already so it has the tiebreaker)

For only the second time and for first time in six years Baylor and Iowa State won a Big 12 Conference game on the same day. Also for only the second time in Big 12 history, Texas and Oklahoma lost on the same day when coached by Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

* Why could Cameron Newton nickname himself "N - mg = ma"? That is more or less the mathematical representation of Newton's first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. If I were Newton, Cam not Sir Isaac, I'd copyright that sucker.

 


Posted on: October 14, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 1:31 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Watch Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon at Texas Tech. He just might be the best receiver in the country. The problem is OSU is 0-6 in Lubbock during the Big 12 era. Overall, the Cowboys haven't won in Lubbock since 1944 ... The remaining 59 teams in I-A will have played half of their regular-season schedules after this weekend, including USC which will play its seventh of 13 games ... If Ohio State is able to hold on to the No. 1 ranking for four more Sundays this season it would pass Oklahoma to become the most-frequent No. 1 in AP poll history. The Bucks became No. 1 for the 94th time this week. Only Oklahoma (97) and Notre Dame (95) have been No. 1 more often ... If anyone had told you Louisville would be 4-2 halfway through its first season post-Kragthrope would you have laughed? The Cards would be just that if they win Friday night against Cincinnati...

Miami (3-2) reaches the halfway point in its season this week at Duke a candidate for the nation's most disappointing team. The record isn't terrible, it's more where the program stands right now -- No. 3 in the state. Jacory Harris has been uneven. FSU ran the Canes out of their own building. You look at the talent and just think Miami should be better. You can have your argument between Florida State (5-1) and Florida (4-2) right now but it's clear the Hurricanes -- in the middle of a comeback -- are in danger of finishing back in the pack in 2010's in-state race ...

Bad game of the week: Eastern Michigan (0-6) at Ball State (2-4). The teams are a combined 4-32 since the beginning of 2009 ... Army and Rutgers play the first college game in new Meadowlands Stadium ... Utah (at Wyoming) has scored at least 56 in three consecutive games ... Jim Tressel is the first Big Ten coach to win 100 games in 10 seasons ... Alabama continues a rather remarkable streak not having allowed a 100-yard rusher in 40 consecutive games ... Mississippi State (at Florida) is shooting for its first four-game winning streak since 1999 ... Something to consider while boarding the South Carolina bandwagon: Stephen Garcia is 11-2 at home, only 1-5 on the road heading to Kentucky ... Steve Spurrier is 18-0 vs. the Wildcats combined at Florida and South Carolina ... Oregon State has lost one turnover this season ... TCU is back in a familiar spot leading the nation in total defense. That's where the Frogs finished the last two seasons ... Denard Robinson's Heisman season -- and maybe Michigan's season -- hangs in the balance. Robinson is facing the country's No. 2 rush defense in Iowa ... Michigan State (vs. Illinois) is going for its first 7-0 start since its 9-0 start in 1966 ...

I thought we'd gotten over this: The replay official in last week's controversial Oregon State-Arizona game was an Arizona grad. How can that be?

 

 
 
 
 
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