Tag:Louisville
Posted on: July 6, 2010 7:52 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Without Henderson, what is the future of USC?

The question now has to be asked: Is there officially an exodus out of USC?

When blue-chip recruit Seantrel Henderson was released from his letter of intent on Tuesday, he was on his way to becoming the third USC player to transfer from USC since the NCAA penalties were handed down June 11. A fourth player said he was contacted by several schools about transferring.

Henderson is easily the biggest loss, though. The nation's No. 1 recruit had a chance to start as a freshman and was projected as a future anchor on the offensive line. Various reports had USC coaches traveling twice to Henderson's home in the Twin Cities in recent days in an attempt to keep him in the fold.

Releasing Henderson from his letter of intent conceivably allows him to transfer immediately and be eligible this fall. Most of the speculation has Henderson headed to Miami which was one of his finalists along with Ohio State. Henderson committed to USC live on CBS College Sports in February but didn't sign his LOI until late March, supposedly out of concern for the severity of the NCAA penalties.

The NCAA infractions committee came close to dealing USC the death penalty last month when it applied a two-year bowl ban and removed 30 scholarships over three years. The school is appealing some of the penalties saying they are too harsh.

With those kinds of penalties, USC has to be worried about staying competitive in the near term. If USC is nicked enough by the penalties, the suffering will be significant for a program still considered by some to be in the dynasty stage. The current losses already are eating into the depth. Without those 30 scholarships, Kiffin will have to play more and more walk-ons. Also, he absolutely cannot miss with the scholarships he has to hand out.

Even when all the penalties end in 2014, the lingering effects remain to be seen. And will the USC administration be patient enough with Kiffin for him to slog through what is looking like a considerable downturn?

" ... this thing regarding USC and the NCAA is to me the closest thing to death without dying," Reggie Bush told the New Orleans media last month.

For now, USC has lost Henderson, defensive end Malik Jackson (transfer to Tennessee) and linebacker Jordan Campbell (Louisville).  Both Jackson and Campbell took advantage of NCAA bylaws that allow rising juniors and seniors from programs hit by major NCAA sanctions to transfer immediately without sitting out.

We’ll see if the flow of players out of Troy continues. USC freshman sensation Dillon Baxter reportedly told the school's director of compliance last month that he had been contacted about transferring by five schools -- Florida, Washington, Alabama, Oregon and Fresno State. Florida, Washington, Alabama and Oregon denied they had contacted Baxter.

USC AD Mike Garrett contacted Florida AD Jeremy Foley recently telling Foley, Baxter "has now confirmed that he did not receiver a call from your instition." The letter, dated July 1, was obtained this week by CBSSports.com. Alabama received a similar letter according to the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register. Oregon and Washington officials expect to get a similar letter according to a source at each school.

It is considered an NCAA violation to contact a player about transferring before he has been released from his scholarship.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 9, 2010 11:11 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2010 6:20 am
 

Expand-O-Meter, Wed. June, 9

Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 176
 
Who is having the best day: The Big East. Yes, the Big East. With Nebraska seemingly headed to the Big Ten, that hastens the breakup of the Big 12. Where do the castoffs end up? Try the mortally wounded Big East. Think of a nine-team Big East that would include Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State. Is this a BCA league or not? With the collapse of the Big 12 taking away a BCS spot, how could it not be?


Who is having the worst day: Missouri. I am on campus at the moment and this place is sweating mortar rounds. With the Big Ten seemingly expanding in stages the process has a "Price Is Right" feel to it ("Come on down!"). Missouri is worried it is going to be left out having not received an invite as of Wednesday night. With its current conference all but dead, Missouri could go from Big 12 darling to Mountain West bait.

Quote of the day: "Multiple sources have indicated ..." -- multiple outlets have written in the frenzy to nail down the Nebraska-to-the-Big Ten story.
 
Link of the day:
Get used to more of this.


What's on tap: The Nebraska board of regents meet on Friday. Bring a cooler, a lawn chair and some brats. It's tailgating in June as the Huskers officially join the big Ten.

A final thought: If someone told you 15 years ago when the Big 12 formed that something called Orangebloods.com would chronicle the demise of the conference, you'd say: What's this Internet thing?

Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:21 am
 

Big East schedule breakdown

Remember the Big East. Remember it well, because it may not be long for this earth.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration but with expansion winds blowing throughout college football, maybe it isn't. Once again, the conference is on notice with the Big Ten looking to improve its television profile. If the Large Eleven picks off Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers or Pittsburgh, then the Big East has to stay viable.

That's getting ahead of the carnage, er, story. For now, the Big East will continue with new coaches (Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida) and the same old story in places like Syracuse. The conference will continue to promote itself with 14 weeknight games (six on Thursday).

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh once again look like the class of the league. UConn is one of the quietest success stories in football. Charlie Strong finally gets his chance at Louisville. The Skip Holtz era begins at South Florida. West Virginia hasn't gone away under Bill Stewart.

Their schedules are finalized except for Syracuse which is still looking for a non-conference game. Might we suggest a Big Ten opponent? Could count in both leagues' standings.

Just kidding.


Game of the year:  (non-conference)  Miami at Pittsburgh, Sept. 23. These old Big East rivals are both standing at the altar of BCS bowl contention.  Neither current coach has broken through. Dave Wannstedt still hasn't won that conference title after a heart-breaking end to last season. Randy Shannon is still in rebuilding mode. It doesn't help that Jacory Harris (hand) and Graig Cooper (knee) will miss spring practice. That doesn't tell us much about seven months from now.

This game will go a long way toward proving if Wanny and the Panthers are worthy of that BCS bowl.  Same for Shannon who is 7-9 on the road.

There is a bit of history for those of us who can remember all the way back to 2003. In the regular-season finale at Heinz, Miami won an Orange-Bowl-or-bust game 28-14. That was the Canes' last Big East game.

Game of the year: (conference) Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Dec. 4. Three in a row for the Bearcats? Brian Kelly has left enough talent for Butch Jones to get to a third consecutive BCS bowl. Last year's snowy matchup in Pittsburgh was a classic decided by a botched extra point.

This season's game will be impacted by a couple of high-profile replacements. Pat Bostick and Tino Sunseri will battle it out in the spring to replace Bill Stull as Pittsburgh quarterback. The mouthy Mardy Gilyard will be missed at Cincinnati but only until one-time USC five-star recruit Vidal Hazelton takes over as Zach Collaros top target.

Team on the spot: Rutgers. Whatever happened to Greg Schiano's magic? The Scarlet Knights have finished above third only once since the 11-win season in 2006. That was a three-way tie for second in 2008. Are we expecting too much? This is, after all, Rutgers but the '06 ride was such a tease.

The offensive line underachieved last season even though tackle Anthony Davis could be a high draft choice. Quarterback Tom Savage showed flashes as a freshman but needs to make that leap to difference maker as a sophomore. The most exciting player in the conference might be Mohamed Sanu who was effective out of the Wildcat and at receiver.

Toughest non-conference schedule: Hard one because the schedules are so balanced in the Big East and Syracuse is still looking for a  game, but Pittsburgh seems to be in the most peril. It opens at Utah, then gets I-AA power New Hampshire nine days later. The Miami game comes to Pittsburgh after an open date. The Miami and Notre Dame games are sandwiched around a home game against Florida International.

Wanny and AD Steve Pederson are putting the program out there playing two BCS teams and a team that is in a de facto BCS league (Utah). That could be a season killer. It also could lift the Panthers into that BCS bowl.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Rutgers. As much as the Knights need to get back on national scene, they've got the schedule to do it. Norfolk State, Florida International, Tulane and Army don't exactly strike fear into hearts. The only sweat-breaker is North Carolina which comes to New Jersey on Sept. 25. Win that and Rutgers should start 6-0 before going to Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.
Check back in November, though. Beginning Nov. 3, Rutgers plays at South Florida, Cincinnati and West Virginia in its final five games.

 

Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:29 am
Edited on: December 9, 2009 10:38 am
 

Louisville gets Strong

Louisville has called a 4 pm ET press conference to announce the hiring of Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

Louisville officials were in Gainesville Wednesday morning to pick up Strong and take him back to campus. There, he will meet with the board of trustees.

Strong is expected to coach in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati. Considered one of the brightest defensive minds in the game, Strong comes to a program with an offensive heritage. However, after the disasterous three-year reign of Steve Kragthorpe athletic director Tom Jurich went straight for the best coach available.

The 49-year-old Strong said at last year’s BCS title game media day that he believed race was a factor in his not getting a head coaching job. Strong becomes the fourth African-American since Thanksgiving to be hired at a I-A program.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:28 am
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Posted on: November 17, 2009 10:56 am
Edited on: November 17, 2009 2:47 pm
 

Leach and Louisville

The latest from the coaching rumor mill is that there is a mutual interest between Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Louisville.

It is almost a certainty that Cardinals’ coach Steve Kragthorpe will be relieved of his duties after this, his third season. Louisville is 4-6 with games left against South Florida and Rutgers. It needs to win those to have a chance to go bowling for the first time since 2006. Kragthorpe is 15-19 at Louisville.

The school is already assured of its first consecutive non-winning season since 1987. 

Leach just went through a bitter contract extension negotiation earlier this year. But he emerged with a who’s-your-daddy chip after a battle with AD Gerald Myers. Leach owes no buyout if he leaves. The Red Raiders are 6-4 which ties for their worst 10-game start since 1999, the year before Leach was hired.

The colorful coach is known to have a wandering eye. He interviewed with Washington last year and was reportedly interested in the opening at UCLA  before Rick Neuheisel took over in 2008.


"If there are communications [from Louisville], it's not been with us," said a Leach representative on Tuesday.

Louisville AD, Tom Jurich, is one of the more aggressive ADs in the country. He got Rick Pitino to coach basketball and moved quickly after Bobby Petrino left to coach the Atlanta Falcons after the 2006 season. At the time, Kragthorpe was one college football’s hottest coaching properties.

Such a move would make sense. Texas Tech is coming off its best season in Leach’s decade-long stay. It went 11-2, losing to Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl in 2008.

The Big 12 South Division is one of the most rugged in the game with annual powers Texas and Oklahoma in control. A move to the less competitive Big East would allow Leach better access to a conference title and BCS bowl.

Leach is in the first year of the extension which pays him $2.8 million this season. That includes an $800,000 bonus he will be paid on Jan. 1 if he is still at Texas Tech.

Posted on: November 15, 2009 9:44 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2009 10:21 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Here’s why Rich Rodriguez is an odd fit for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh is an odder fit for Stanford … 

Because Harbaugh and Michigan could be close to being engaged to be married right now if it weren’t for those niggling things like contracts.

The same reason that Notre Dame needs to reach out to Brian Kelly right now is the same reason Harbaugh should be playing footsie with his alma mater. But it can't happen for Harbaugh right now. As painful as the transition has been at Michigan, Rodriguez deserves another year. He has only 71 scholarship players (for a variety of reasons), the offense shows promise and, well, Harbaugh isn’t available.

It’s just not a good time. After the second-biggest victory Saturday in his short three years on The Farm – remember USC in 2007? – Harbaugh is hotter than July.  Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby is hurrying to complete a contract extension that would tie up Harbaugh through 2014 at $1.25 million per year.

“Tie up” is a relative term these days. Because of the awkward timing, Michigan/Stanford could lose Harbaugh to another college or NFL team by the time it is ready to make a change after next season. The $1.25 million salary makes Harbaugh one of the highest paid coaches ever at Stanford. It’s also about half of what Harbaugh is currently worth on the open market.

What makes the Cardinal so interesting is that Harbaugh has installed a toughness gene. He talked before the season about playing physical. Sorry, but the words “toughness” and “Stanford football” seldom appeared in the same sentence ever. Until now.

Tailback Toby Gerhart has run for 401 yards the last two games. If he isn’t on the top of every Heisman list this week something is wrong. Owen Marecic started at linebacker and fullback on Saturday. Marecic already has broken a couple of helmets this year.

All of it sounds sooo like Michigan and sooo unlike Stanford that you’d figure that Harbaugh would be in Ann Arbor soon. But it’s too early for Michigan pull the trap door on Rich Rod and too early for Harbaugh to leave.

Here's why USC isn't done: At some point next month, the Trojans will wake up in El Paso and wonder how the hell they got there. It’s called the Sun Bowl, fellas, and it this rate you’re going to be playing in it.

The popular thing this week will be to bash USC and say that Troy has crumbled before our eyes. That would be true if some other team were out there to take control. Oregon leads the Pac-10 for now but still has to go to Arizona and beat Oregon State in the Civil War.

Arizona botched a great opportunity Saturday, losing at Cal which without Jahvid Best.  Stanford, the hottest team in the league, has lost three times, one of them to Wake Forest. Suddenly Oregon State is in the mix.

This is not to say it isn’t bad. It’s real bad at USC right now.

“You could see that everything was not there,” Stanford’s Richard Sherman told the L.A. Times. “They didn’t run as hard. They didn’t play as hard.”

Ouch.

The 55 points were the most given up in the 121-year history of USC football. You never thought you’d see the day where a Pete Carroll team would lose that toughness groove. When you’re bitching about a run-it-up two-point conversion, which the Trojans were in the fourth quarter, that’s just deflecting bigger problems.

The quarterback (Matt Barkley) is a freshman and playing like it.  The defense, led (?) by senior two-time All-American Taylor Mays, has been embarrassed. Turnovers are coming in bunches.

This would be cause for bigger alarm if USC couldn’t get it back, quickly. They can in the same way Carroll began storming the conference in 2002, by playing some of the best defense in the country. It seems laughable to think that now, but the recruiting isn’t going away and, until further notice, the conference isn’t exactly slipping away.

Carroll has lost one game -- one -- in November while at USC (28-1). Barkley is going to get getter. The defense can’t get any worse.  If an 82-year-old man can lead Penn State within sniffing distance of its third BCS bowl in five years, if a small, private school in Fort Worth that doesn’t sell out its games can go undefeated, believe me, USC can get it back.

A lot of fingers will be pointed this week – at coaches and players. Remember this whole thing started with a wake up call in Sin City in 2001 at the Las Vegas Bowl for USC. Waking up in El Paso might be the shock to the system the Trojans need. 

Yes, that’s SMU in first place in Conference USA’s West Division: The Mustangs beat Texas-El Paso becoming bowl eligible for only the third time since their last bowl in 1984. You might remember that the little thing called the death penalty that intervened.

The scuttlebutt is that the Ponies will play in the Hawaii Bowl. June Jones will triumphantly return to the scene of his greatest glories, this time to boost attendance at the Hawaii-less bowl.

Congratulations Ohio State but …:
Until the Luckeyes backed into that Iowa win, an interesting note was developing. Had the Bucks lost, consider that in the games that decided the Rose Bowl berth each of the last two seasons, Terrelle Pryor (and Ohio State) would have been beaten by two backup quarterback – Penn State’s Pat Devlin and Iowa’s James Vandenberg. Devlin came in for Daryll Clark and directed the game-winning drive last year for Penn State. He is now at Delaware.

Vandenberg, a freshman subbing for the injured Ricky Stanzi, led the Hawks back from a 24-10 deficit only to lose in overtime, 27-24.

Not another one!: SEC officials blew another one in the third quarter of the Florida-South Carolina game. Florida’s Brandon James clearly went to knee to field a punt near midfield. It didn’t matter as block in the back nullified James’ long return. Caleb Sturgis eventually missed a 54-yard field goal.

More incredible was the replay official in the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game. Notre Dame had its final possession cut short when Jimmy Clausen was ruled to have fumbled while trying to throw. The replay clearly showed Clausen’s arm going forward as he was it. The ball came out at an odd angle, but it still came out while he was throwing.  That was one of the more egregious rulings this season.

Stingy Blackshirts: Nebraska allowed its first rushing touchdown allowed in 14 quarters. Big deal. The Huskers rebounded to beat Kansas 31-17 and take the lead in the Big 12 North.

BCS trivia: In case you’re wondering, in the BCS era no unbeaten team from one of the power conferences has been knocked out of the BCS title game by a team with one loss. That possibility still exists for Cincinnati if Texas, Alabama or Florida lose.

Heisman hit: Going to be hard to justify Heisman mention now for Case Keenum. Houston’s two losses have come to Texas-El Paso and Central Florida. Can’t remember the last Heisman winner to lose to two directional schools. Keenum threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-32 loss to Central Florida.


Philly excellence: Temple, Villanova and Penn are a combined 24-5. The last time all three had a winning record was 1986 then they finished a combined 24-6. Temple, though, had to forfeit six victories for using an ineligible player (Paul Palmer). Not counting that year, you have to go back to 1951 when the Philly Three finished a combined 16-11.

Heroism: Rowan (Division III) defensive end Matt Hoffman missed his team’s season-finale against The College of New Jersey. On Thursday, Hoffman began donating blood marrow to a 52-year-old man who is dying of lymphoma. Hoffman was one of seven matches found through a search of the national registry.

Dog of the day: Louisville beat Syracuse 10-9 in the dog game of the day. Somehow we’ve missed the fact that the once mighty Cardinals had lost nine Big East games in a row.

The no B.S., up-to-the-minute, not-what-they-did-last year, right now Heisman list

Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford: Hottest skill player in the country. Gerhart has Stanford in the Rose Bowl conversation after running for 178 yards against USC.

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Stayed consistent running for more than 140 yards against Mississippi State.

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Best quarterback in the country right now.

Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh: Ran for 152 yards including the game-winning 50-yard touchdown run.

C.J. Spiller, AP, Clemson: The most dangerous player in the ACC. Heisman voters usually don’t recognize all-purpose players but Spiller deserves mention especially after adding to his accomplishments with a 17-yard touchdown pass against NC 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