Tag:Wisconsin
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:48 pm
 

My 2011 Heisman ballot

In the interest of fair play and ethics, I did actually wait until all the games were played to file my ballot on Sunday. Here, in my opinion, are the three most outstanding players of 2011 ...


1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: The Stiff Arm needs some polishing. RGIII has the shammy.

In the last year, Reggie Bush has had to return the award. There was all the controversy swirling around Cam Newton. I’ll never get out of my head, the image of Newton being escorted by eight – 8! – security guards to his Heisman press conference.

Don’t think Griffin will need that. He is smart, charismatic and absolutely the best player in America. A one-man team? Pretty darn close. Baylor isn’t 9-3 without him.

His Heisman moment came on Nov. 19 with that last-second pass against Oklahoma. His final statement was unforgettable, four total touchdowns Saturday against Texas. He is assured of going down in history regardless. Griffin leads the country in pass efficiency and if his current numbers hold up, he would set an NCAA single-season record.

 
2. Montee Ball, TB, Wisconsin: Wisconsin pumps out 1,000-yard rushers like Milwaukee pumps out beer. This one is special.

At the beginning of the season, there was more buzz about 2010 consensus Big Ten freshman of the year, James White. At the end of it, Ball become Big Ten offensive player of the year. There’s never anything wrong with Big Ten’s leading rusher playing for the Big Ten champions becoming a Heisman finalist.

In a program that specializes in sharing the ball, Ball currently leads the country in rushing yards (1,759) and total touchdowns (38). On that subject: Ball needs two more touchdowns to break Barry Sanders’ 23-year-old record for most tds in a season. They would come in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. The junior is taking nothing for granted.

“It could be the last team I play, it could be the last camera I talk to,” Ball said. “You’ve just got to embrace it.”

 

3. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: What’s a little synthetic chronic between friends? OK, that’s not fair. Honey Badger was technically suspended for the Auburn game for a violation of team rules.

After watching this kid all year, frankly, I don’t care. Bush once won a Heisman. I’ll take my chances with Mathieu and his blonde Fauxhawk. Besides, the Honey Badger takes what he wants

Mathieu combines the daring of Deion with multi-purpose ability of Charles Woodson, all in a 5-foot-9, 180-pound package. He has created the “Badger play”. In 25 career games, he has averaged at least one of these per game: interception, punt return for touchdown, fumble recovery, forced fumble.

How ridiculous is LSU’s defense? Fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne is an All-American. Mathieu is a Heisman candidate. 

Posted on: November 17, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 10:49 pm
 

Son of WWL: The Great Big 12 QB Debate

At mid-morning Tuesday, the Big 12 still hadn’t sent out its weekly football press release which was disappointing on several levels.

For the media, absolutely, who use the stats and notes to do their stories, but also for the players who deserve better. Specifically for the quarterbacks who – in these uncertain days of realignment – are the best of any conference in the country.

When the nation’s leading quarterback rusher (Kansas State’s Collin Klein) might be fourth-best at the position, there has to be some serious talent. Big 12 qb overload became an issue this week when the Heisman race suddenly became fluid.

There is no clear front-runner in the Big 12 or nationally. Andrew Luck got beat and had a mediocre game against Oregon. Houston’s Case Keenum has astronomical numbers against what some consider sub-par talent in Conference USA. The nation’s leading rusher, Oregon’s LaMichael James, has missed two games.

When informed that the last Heisman Trophy winner to miss a game was Florida State’s Charlie Ward, Ducks coach Chip Kelly quipped, “Does that mean LaMichael is going to play for the Knicks?”

Meanwhile, no one is talking about Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. The nation’s best free agent bears absolutely no responsibility for his team’s two losses – to Michigan State and Ohio State on last-second Hail Marys. Wilson continues to lead the country in pass efficiency. He quietly threw for four touchdowns and missed on one of his 17 attempts against Purdue.

Wisconsin, including coach Bret Bielema, mounted a quiet media blitz this week to make some of those facts known.

As of Tuesday morning, that’s better than the Big 12 had done for its quarterbacks. Start with who gets the conference’s offensive player of the year award. Is it Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden who might win a conference title, and more, as a 28-year-old? Is it Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, a one-man team for the Bears who are No. 110 nationally in total defense? Is it Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, probably the league’s best pro prospect at the position?

Add them up and you’ve got three guys accounting for more than one-fifth of the Big 12 touchdowns scored this season (95 of 441). That doesn’t include Klein who has become somewhat of folk hero at Kansas State. The school sent out emails this week calling him “College Football’s Most Valuable Player”.

The senior from Colorado has accounted for 70 percent of the Wildcats’ offense and is second nationally with 34 total touchdowns (24 rushing, 10 passing). Klein recently passed Michigan’s Denard Robinson as the nation’s leading quarterback runner this season and is the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards so far. He is already assured of becoming one of only a handful of quarterbacks to both run and pass for 1,000 yards in a season.

In Saturday’s 53-50 four-overtime win over Texas A&M, Klein was, well, everything – five rushing touchdown, one passing while accounting for all but 27 of the Wildcats’ total yards.

Sound a bit old school? It is. Klein’s numbers compare favorably to Nebraska’s Eric Crouch, the 2001 Heisman winner. Crouch accounted for only 25 touchdowns the entire season (17 rushing, 7 passing, 1 receiving).

Sometimes it seems like the league doesn’t know how good it is. If Klein played at, say, Ohio State his Heisman candidacy would be in full swing. If he was at Nebraska, there would be comparisons to Crouch and Turner Gill.

At Kansas State, reporters aren’t allowed to speak to assistants. While Bill Snyder has his hand in every aspect of the program, co-offensive coordinators Del Miller and Dana Dimel deserve some credit. They have combined 56 years of experience and are doing this with their eyes wide open. Both are in their second go-around with their notorious slave-driving Snyder.

While Klein isn’t channeling Tim Tebow quite yet, he is only three rushing touchdowns away from tying Texas’ Ricky Williams Big 12 season record in that category (27). Klein needs four more rushing touchdowns to pass Navy’s Ricky Dobbs for the single-season quarterback record (also 27).

Still, it will be tough for Klein to make even honorable mention all-Big 12 in the quarterback-laden conference.

One prediction on how the Big 12’s cradle of quarterbacks will shake out:

1. Weeden, Heisman finalist, all-Big 12, Davey O’Brien finalist.
2. Jones, second-team all-Big 12
3. Griffin, honorable mention all-Big 12
4. Klein, a hearty handshake.


Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Thoughts On A Football Saturday: West Virginia

This is on Don Nehlen. Major Harris too. Don’t forget Bobby Bowden. Rich Rodriguez gets credit. Even Bill Stewart.

West Virginia joined Big 12 on Friday (beginning in 2012) because of all those folks. Nehlen, the gritty, veteran coach who put the school on the map. Major Harris, the dual threat sensation before there were dual threat sensations leading the Mountaineers to the brink of a national championship. Rich Rod, the homeboy, and his basketball-on-grass offense. And all Coach Stew did was beat Oklahoma and average nine wins a year.

You can thank Gordon Gee too. Gee was West Virginia’s president during a key time (1981-85) in the school’s history. If not for the school’s admission into the old College Football Association, it might not be here today. West Virginia was among a group of about 15 independents in that initial CFA group of 63 schools.

The CFA gained power out of the Supreme Court’s de-regulation of college football in 1984. It was the television negotiating arm for those top 63 football-playing schools.

“They [West Virginia] met all the criteria,” said former CFA executive director Chuck Neinas. “They routinely get 60,000, their stadium size, strength of schedule, certain academic commitments.”

The qualifications for the old CFA have faded into history. But they are essentially why West Virginia is in a BCS league going forward and the Big East is in trouble. West Virginia has been selected to move on as a big-time football program.

That, and cold, hard numbers. You want to know why West Virginia is in the Big 12 and Louisville isn’t? 500,000 homes. That’s the difference in the half-rating point for television that separates the two schools.     

It comes down to West Virginia’s average 2.6 television rating over the past five years as opposed to 2.1 for Louisville. That half-rating point equals half a million television homes. That’s according to an industry source who had the numbers in front of him for all 120 FBS schools.

The FBS average rating is 2.2 In other words, Louisville is an average TV draw. West Virginia is an above average draw.

Big 12 inventory becomes more valuable because of  West Virginia-Texas and West Virginia-Oklahoma Louisville doesn’t move the needle as much. According the industry source, that 2.1 Louisville rating was boosted significantly by a pair of two five-year-old results – games in 2006 against West Virginia and Rutgers.

Neinas, currently interim Big 12 commissioner, was CFA executive director for the 20 years of existence. It disbanded in 1997. The Mountaineers move to the Big 12 can be traced back to Neinas’ time when he guided college football through a treacherous period. West Virginia made the cut Friday because of all those things – Nehlen’s leadership, that national championship run, ratings points. But it goes back to West Virginia being leading Eastern independent when the CFA was formed.

The CFA was a precursor the current BCS (membership: 66).

So West Virginia has its nose under the tent and the Big East moves on with uncertainty. Even if it does reconstitute itself and expand to 12 teams, there is no guarantee the Big East will retain its BCS status. That issue will at least be discussed when the BCS holds its next scheduled meeting Nov. 14 in San Francisco.

For 2012 at least, the Big 12 is a 10-team conference but don’t hold your breath.

“The only thing constant in this world is change,” Neinas said. “Right now we’ve got our house in order. We’re looking forward to a very aggressive conference.”

 

National notage …

 

A closer look at how Wisconsin has blown its last two games to Michigan State and Ohio State:

In the final eight minutes of both those games the teams’ combined score has been even, 21-21. In those fourth quarters, Wisconsin’s pass defense allowed 10 completions on 17 attempts for 155 yards. Take away the two game-winning plays – Michigan State at the gun and Ohio State with 20 seconds left – and the opposition completed only eight of 15 in that span for 74 yards, 4.93 yards per attempt.

But you can’t leave out those two plays. Keith Nichol caught the winner for Michigan State from 44 yards out. Ohio State’s Devin Smith caught that 40-yard touchdown from Braxton Miller with 20 seconds left.

Essentially, Wisconsin hasn’t responded when playing tougher competition. It won its first six games by at least 31 points. Two plays have killed the Badgers. They will likely be the difference in a BCS bowl (Rose?) and perhaps a Big Ten title.

 


Case Keenum has to be the season’s most valuable player to this point.

Houston is in the running for a Big East berth (maybe) and BCS bowl (barely) primarily because of its quarterback’s right arm. The nation’s leading passer has the Cougars ranked and on the periphery of BCS contention. The memory may have faded by now but Houston beat Rice 73-34 Thursday with Keenum throwing nine touchdown passes.  Someday soon he will be the all-time leader in passing yardage.

Yes, a sixth year of eligibility has helped but look at what it has wrought: In conference realignment where your worth can be judged by what you did yesterday, the Cougars are a hot commodity – at least to the Big East. Houston could be included in a batch of teams that would stretch from BYU to Texas and back East just to keep the conference viable.

Basically, Keenum is all Houston has. That’s no disgrace considering what’s at stake. While the defense is improved over last season (from 103<sup>rd</sup> to 86<sup>th</sup>), the Cougars have won games this season allowing 34 (twice) and 42 points. It all comes back to Keenum, already the NCAA’s career total offense leader, having thrown a nation-leading 32 touchdowns.

Without him, Houston is a commuter school in media market where it is the fourth or fifth option. With him, Houston may someday be able to thank Keenum for a berth in a BCS bowl.

That brings us to this week’s top Heisman contenders ...

1. Keenum – 139 career touchdown passes. 
2. Kellen Moore, Boise State – forget his measurables. Should end up in a pro camp somewhere.
3. Andrew Luck, Stanford – Completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception and passer rating all up over last season.
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama – We’ll know more after Saturday.
5. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – Don’t blame the nation’s most efficient passer for the Ohio State loss.

 


While we’re speculating on coaching turnover, let’s not forget North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien.

 

After being shut out by Florida State, 34-0, the Wolfpack is 4-4 having beaten only one BCS conference program this season (Virginia). N.C. State was shut out on the road an ACC game for the first time since 1990, not to mention Wilson’s decision to let Russell Wilson become a free agent.

O’Brien is 29-29 in his fifth season, having never finished better than a tie for second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

 

 
This from the Boulder Daily CameraIt seems like it’s already time to question why Colorado was included in the Pac-12’s expansion plans.

So why was CU No. 1 on Larry Scott's expansion list?

"CU just checked all the boxes for us," the forward-thinking Pac-12 commissioner said. "CU was a fit in terms of academic compatibility, being a good geographic fit and sharing a similar philosophy and culture in terms of the role of athletics within the broader mission. And Denver is a very important market."

Colorado dropped to 1-8, 0-6 in the Pac-12 South after a 48-14 loss at Arizona State. Pac-12 newbies CU and Utah are a combined 5-12 overall, 1-10 in the league.

 


Penn State may be the worst 8-1 team you ever saw, but it has a plucky defense and, more importantly, an inside track to the Big Ten title game.

After beating Illinois Saturday, the Nittany Lions have a 2 ½-game lead over Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State in the Leaders Division with three games to go. Hold onto your Coke bottle glasses. Those final three games are at home against Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin. If JoePa somehow grabs another Big Ten title at age 84 he will have earned it.

 

Posted on: October 6, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 9:32 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List: Coaches' poll attacks?

The love-child addendum to Friday's Weekend Watch List ...

What SWWL wouldn't give to get a weekly look at the coaches' poll ballots. It just so happens this week that the coaches of the top six teams in the poll all have votes -- 1. Oklahoma (Bob Stoops), 2. LSU ( Les Miles), 3. Nick Saban (Alabama), 4. David Shaw (Stanford), 5. Bret Bielema (Wisconsin) and 6. Boise State (Chris Petersen).

In some small (or large) way they -- or any coach in the process -- could manipulate who plays in the national championship game. College football continues to stage the only championship literally controlled by the coaches competing for it.  

 

--Add Mike Stoops to the hot seat list. Arizona (1-4) goes to Oregon State having lost so many conference games in a row (seven) that the streak began in the Pac-10 and continues in the Pac-12.



--You think your life is rough? Here's a look inside Mack Brown's Longhorn Network commitments during the week.

Monday: Texas Rewind, a one-hour replay show that requires a two-hour commitment.

Wednesday: Longhorn Sportsline with Mack Brown. One-hour show that requires a slightly more than a two-hour commitment; Also 10-15-minute segment on Texas All Access.

Thursday: Game Plan with Mack Brown. One-hour show that requires a 90-minute commitment.

An interview to open coverage of live practice Tuesday and Wednesday. (5 or 10 minutes).

Home games: Texas GameDay on set, 10-15 minutes. Road: one-on-one sideline.

One-hour show every Wednesday: All-access recordes interview 10-15 minutes.

 

--Finally, SWWL can't get enough of Texas safety Blake Gideon who has been a friend of The List for three years since he dropped the potential game-clinching interception against Texas Tech in 2008.

"In reality, we're not playing for anybody in the stands," he said of Saturday's Oklahoma game. "We're playing for the brotherhood we've developed."  

Q: You're a senior what's it like to go out there in Red River Shootout for the first time?

Gideon:  "It was tough for me as a true freshman to go out there and really being overwhelmed by it for the that first series. It's hard not to get caught up. I just tell the young guys, 'It's the same game you've been playing."

 
Q: You've been on both sides, winning and losing this game. What's it like?

Gideon: "It's heartbreaking to lose, last year obviously. The first two years we played we came away with victories. It doesn’t matter how you played individually. You won, you beat Oklahoma. It's the game everybody grew up watching, at least everyone in Texas.

 

Q: Tell me about that first series when you're so nervous.

Gideon:  "You make a tackle for a loss, half the stadium stands up and goes wild. Half the stadium is quiet. Next play they get a first down, it's completely flipped. It really hinges like that one play the entire game. The fans are on the edge of their seat, the entire game.

"From the time both teams come out of the tunnel to the whistle, it's all out emotional passion. You can't help but give everything you have and pouring everything you have into it."


Q: You cracked two vertebrae in high school. Do they ever bother you?

Gideon:  "It's sore every now and then, nothing like it was in high school. In high school, that was definitely a scary time in my life. There was numbness in my legs, excruciating pain.

"After my sophomore year [in high school], my back had been bothering me. I drove back to my house after a game. I really couldn't get out of the car because my legs were numb. I wore a back brace for nine months."


Q: What's it like being in that Cotton Bowl tunnel right before the game?

Gideon: "There's a little bit of talking going on, a lot of emotion. The past three years, the Oklahoma fans have been at that end of the stadium.. They're sending all the good lucks down to us."

 

 

Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Starting with leftovers from the Friday Charlie Weis interview.

Florida's offensive coordinator takes on Alabama Saturday in his biggest college game since leaving Notre Dame in 2009. The knee he had replaced in June is no longer an issue. I began by asking him if walking around pain-free makes a difference in his job. 

"Absolutely no effect," he said.

All righty, then. Moving on. 

Question: You've coached at the highest level. Is the SEC, in some ways, like the NFL because it is a line-of-scrimmage league?

Weis: "It's not just a line-of-scrimmage league, it's how much speed there is. There's fast guys all over the place. That's a big testament to the conference. It's not just the linebackers and defensive backs. There's a bunch of athletic lineman running around too. You have to be on guard just to give yourself the best chance."

Question: When Urban Meyer came into the league one of the first things he realized is he had to have a fullback out there. Was there any surprise about coming into this league?

Weis: "I just came from the NFL so you're used to guys who can run real fast. You see it on a weekly basis. Now especially as we're getting ready for Alabama, I look at these guys on tape. This is what you're used to playing against."

Question: Have you snuck a look at the Chiefs this season?

Weis: "I know what's happened right there. We don't have time to watch any of their games or anything. Sunday is a very busy day for us."

Question: How is your son? (The reason Weis came to Florida was because he could be with his son Charlie Jr.)

Weis: "He's an intern for the head coach. I got him away from me, so he isn't like daddy's little tag along. That's worked out very nicely.

Question: What does he do for Will Muschamp?

Weis: "He's kind of the offensive liaison. He keeps Will [Muschamp] abreast of everything we do on offense. Will is always completely up to date with everything we do on offense. He brings him our daily grades and personnel. It's been a nice role for him."


Jordan Jefferson is back:
Now that LSU's quarterback has been reinstated, could it be that in a convoluted way, that bar fight might be one of the best things that happens to LSU?

Jarrett Lee (this week vs. Kentucky) probably never would have gotten the reps, or the starting job, had Jefferson never been suspended. Now, the Tigers essentially have two starting quarterbacks. If Lee slumps or loses the job, Jefferson is in the wings. Les Miles is already saying Jefferson will play in every game as a super-backup.

WWL would never advocate violence but in a weird way, this episode has worked out in LSU's favor. Jefferson is expected to see action against the Wildcats.


The gift that keeps on giving: The NCAA's top five passers this week all have ties to Mike Leach:

Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Houston's Case Keenum, West Virginia's Geno Smith, Arizona's Nick Foles and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.

Weeden, Keenum and Smith are or were coached by Dana Holgorsen, Leach's offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2000-2007. Holgorsen has since coached at Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, Seth Littrell, played at Oklahoma under Leach. Littrell was also Leach's running backs coach at Texas Tech. Prior to Litrell, Sonny Dykes was Foles' offensive coordinator at Arizona, before going to Louisiana Tech as head coach. Dykes coached with Leach at Kentucky and Texas Tech.

Connection to Jones: Oklahoma's co-offensive coordinator is Josh Heupel who was coached by Leach in 1999 as OU's OC.


This gets a WWL mention because we are a quarter of the way through the season and, well, it matters:
 Temple is No. 1 in scoring defense. The Fighting Addazios (3-1, hosting Toledo) have given up four total touchdowns playing an FCS (Villanova), a conference rival (Akron) and two BCS programs (Penn State and Maryland).


This week's Power Poll
1. LSU
2. Oklahoma
3. Boise State
4. Alabama
5. Wisconsin
6. Virginia Tech
7. Oklahoma State
8. Stanford
9. Nebraska
10. Oregon
11. South Carolina
12. Texas A&M
13. Clemson
14. Baylor
15. Florida
16. Georgia Tech
17. Michigan
18. Kansas State
19. Illinois
20. Michigan State
21. TCU
22. Arkansas
23. West Virginia
24. Arizona State
25. Ohio State



Piling on: George Barlow makes his head coaching debut for crippled, battered, embarrassed New Mexico. The Lobos, 2-26 under Mike Locksley, try to salvage some pride in a rivalry game against New Mexico State. Barlow was New Mexico's defensive coordinator before Locksley was fired on Sunday. That defense is 116th nationally having allowed 24 touchdowns, the most in the country ... Look who is the No. 1 running back in the country. After a slow start against LSU, Oregon's LaMichael James has 613 yards. James is coming off a school-record 288 yards against Arizona. The Ducks play Cal on Thursday ... We'll see how that K-State defense defends its manhood after defending the goal line last week against Miami. Baylor's Robert Griffin threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns last season against K-State in a 47-42 win ... Half of the Big 12 (actually five of 10 teams) are ranked No. 17 or higher in the coaches' poll ... Joe Paterno coaches his 700th game this week as a part of the Penn State staff (at Indiana) ... If South Carolina's Stephen Garcia doesn't get it going this week against Auburn he never will. Steve Spurrier's much-cussed quarterback is ranked second-worst among the 100 quarterbacks rated by the NCAA. Auburn's secondary has allowed opponents to complete almost 68 percent of passes ... LSU is No. 1 for the first time since November 2007.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 10:02 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Team/coach/player/name of the week: Iowa State/Paul Rhoads/Steele Jantz. In his three seasons the Cyclones' coach Rhoads has picked off Nebraska, Texas and, last week, Iowa in overtime.

The plucky Cyclones are guided by Jantz whose All-American name is only slightly less noticeable than his quarterback talents. Jantz went to high school in California, played scout team for a season at Hawaii, then went to City College of San Francisco before winning the job at Iowa State.

As for the name, Steele's grandmother started the tradition that carried over with his father (Fox), a brother (Wolf) and an uncle (Truk).

Rhoads has become the toast of Ames as Iowa State goes to Connecticut Friday night with a chance to go 3-0 for the first time since 2005. The former Missouri Western defensive back grew up a few minutes from Jack Trice Stadium. When Iowa State called him at Auburn following the end of the 2008 season, Rhoads would have crawled to Ames.

With conference realignment swirling, he may be single-handedly holding the program at the BCS level.


The road to Atlanta for the SEC title game goes through Nashville: Or another way to identify surprising 2-0 teams.

Vanderbilt: The administration whiffed on Gus Malzahn. James Franklin has brought a steadying hand. A 3-0 start is doable with the SEC opener at home against Ole Miss.
Kansas: A shootout win over MAC power Northern Illinois sets up Jayhawks for a trip to Georgia Tech. Two of the top passing teams in the country.
Northwestern: Dan Persa's injured Achilles could have wrecked the season. Instead the Wildcats have rallied around backup Kain Colter heading into Army.
Illinois: One of the more entertaining games of September Saturday night in Champaign vs. Arizona State.
Colorado State: For the first time since 1941 the Rams plays Colorado with a record of 2-0. For the first time since 1939, the Buffs come into this game 0-2 or worse.
Eastern Michigan: The Eagles first 2-0 start since 1986 gets a test -- a big one -- at Michigan. At least Eastern won't have to travel far from Ypsilanti to get whipped.
Washington State: Lose starting quarterback? No problem, Cougs lead the country in scoring offense.
Florida International: After beating Louisville, Mario Christobal is the nation's new "it" coach.


Scorching SEC: Now the Strength Everywhere even leads the country in scoring offense averaging 39.12 points per team. Two of the top four scoring teams include Arkansas (51.5 points) and South Carolina (50.5). The Big 12 is second at 36.66 points per team.

Best wishes: Minnesota's Jerry Kill is expected to coach Saturday against Miami (Ohio) after suffering seizures last week during the New Mexico State game. Kill has a history of seizures, one of which led to the discovery of his kidney cancer in 2005


More Bobby Bowden on Jimbo Fisher and Florida State: "Jimbo is an excellent football coach. A lot of people forget I was the one that hired him. I've known him since he was a child. He played for my son Terry in college. Terry told me 20 years ago this kid is going to be a great coach.

"I do not feel like Oklahoma's players they're superior to Florida State's. They might be more mature.
"We've been out of that [national picture] for the last 10 years. During the '90s we were up there every year. During the 2000s, we'd gone 10 wins every year for 14 years. Then we fell to eight, went to nine, went to 10. I said, 'Oh boy, we're back.' But instead we went kind of down."


Quote of the week: Tennessee's Derek Dooley describing what it means to go into SEC play (this week against Florida). "How many scars do you have?"


Meaningless stat: Wisconsin and Georgia Tech are first and third nationally in passing efficiency this week. Russell Wilson you can kind of understand making a difference for the ground-based Badgers. But Tech starter Tevin Washington has passed only 21 times in two games. (The Jackets have thrown 26 passes overall.)

Two traditional rushing powerhouses, Georgia Tech finished first and Wisconsin was 12th in that category in 2010.


Signal-stallers: Going into Week 3 Miami, Texas, Penn State and Notre Dame all have quarterback issues. Those schools have produced a total of four Heisman-winning quarterbacks.


Noting: Georgia Tech (hosting Kansas) has five plays of at least 70 yards. No other conference has produced that many ... USC (vs. Syracuse) has outscored its opponent in the fourth quarter only twice in the last 11 games ... Didn't you used to be the Holy War? Utah and BYU meet early this year due to the Cougars' move to independence and the Utes migration to the Pac-12. Something has been lost in this rivalry with no conference implications ... Jimbo Fisher claims that Doak Campbell Stadium has the most bricks of any building in North America. Will Oklahoma be another brick in the wall?


Heisman picks going into Week 3: 1. T.Y. Hilton, FIU: 2. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 3. Robert Griffin, Baylor; 4. Kellen Moore, Boise State; 5. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 11:49 am
 

National notes

Since I didn't get around to predicting the BCS bowls before the season actually started, let's just call this a BCS bowl preview (after one week).

BCS championship in New Orleans: Alabama* vs. Oklahoma*

Did nothing in Week 1 to change my opinion of the two best teams in the country.


Rose Bowl:
Oregon* vs. Wisconsin*

Oregon suddenly not a prohibitive favorite in the Pac-12.


Fiesta:
Texas A&M vs. Stanford

Fiesta gets supposed Heisman winner (Andrew Luck) against Big 12 runner-up.


Sugar:
LSU vs. Florida State

Tigers make it back to Sugar, but not the big one.


Orange:
West Virginia* vs. Virginia Tech*

Tech makes a return trip to South. Mountaineers giddy over return to BCS bowl.

*-automatic qualifier


--One reason why we saw all those games delayed or postponed by weather:

Lawyers, or the threat of them if even one person was injured, never mind or killed. Our society is so litigious that even one person slipping on a staircase could cost a school millions. That's why you saw 80,000 people evacuated from stadiums in a short period of time. It's obvious by the speed at which these teams were cleared that schools have prepared for this occurrence.

I can remember seasons when we didn't see this many weather-related delays. Now schools are erring on the side of safety. Who can blame Notre Dame for clearing the stadium twice after it lost a student videographer last season?


--Give Miami's Al Golden credit for not whining about his predicament at Miami.

"Eight of the 110 kids on our team had a significant issue for something they did three years ago?" Golden said. "We're moving on right now. I've been to the deepest depths in the NCAA."

Those depths would have been inheriting a roster with 54 scholarship players at Temple as well as NCAA and APR problems. The difference, as Golden has pointed out, Temple was shooting for a winning record. Miami wants to win championships.


--Yes, it's early and it probably means nothing but here's where you'll find last year's returning Heisman finalists in the current NCAA stats after one week.

Andrew Luck, Stanford: The Heisman runner-up threw for a modest 171 yards against San Jose State in a 57-3 blowout. He is 39th overall in pass efficiency.

LaMichael James, Oregon: Not listed in the top 100 after rushing for 54 yards in 18 carries against LSU. In his last two games, both against SEC superpowers, James has rushed for 103 yards on 31 carries.

Kellen Moore, Boise State: 21st in passing efficiency after completing 28 of 34 against Georgia. How does that get him to 21st after one of the biggest wins in Boise State history? Think of it this way: Moore is first on that list among quarterbacks who played a BCS-conference opponent in the first week.


--Weird stat of the week: Of Oregon's 83 scoring drives last season, it was forced to go more than 11 plays only five times. Oregon had to go 79 yards in 19 plays to score its first touchdown of the season against LSU. What looked at the time like a turning of the tide against the Tigers, turns out to be another reason to like LSU's defense.


--Baylor isn't likely to lose in the month of September. After this week's bye, the Bears have Stephen F. Austin and Rice at home. The conference opener is Oct. 1 at Kansas State and that's looking easier by the moment.

Look for more deserved Baylor hype. The Bears could be 5-0 heading into Texas A&M on Oct. 15.


--Way too early Heisman ballot:

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Best quarterback in the Big 12 after beating TCU. Felt like Friday Night Lights in Waco.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: It's good to have a playmaker. It's great to have a playmaker on defense. It's almost impossible to have a game changer in the secondary.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Now, only the NFL has to take notice.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Bielema takes (veiled) shots at Ohio State

CHICAGO -- It took until the second coach in the lineup Thursday to start laying down some Ohio State smack at the Big Ten media days. Wisconsin's Bret Bielema took some not-so-veiled shots at the Buckeyes during his time on the podium.

Among the highlights: "If someone willingly and knowingly violates a rule, I don't see anything wrong with a substantial penalty."

Bielema obviously is feeling good about his program, having beaten Ohio State last year and going to the Rose Bowl. Depending on who you read, the Badgers are favored to win the Big Ten Leaders Division over the Bucks and play in the first Big Ten title game.

The only way to deter cheating, he went on to say, "is to get rid of people." "Hammer the guys that don't do things right."

Later, Bielema said "those comments aren't directly made at Ohio State." OK indirectly.

"More of those comments I was referring to recruiting," he added. "When you have people who are knowingly breaking rules or are doing things that aren't over the table, that is very frustrating ... It's very hard to trace. I've been in conversation with the NCAA over the last six months [more than] any other time in the coaching profession. It's very, very upsetting when things don't come down and people aren't hammered the way they should be. "

--"I love to get into a magazine, a newspaper article, internet article to hear about change of other programs," Bielema said. "To me the more you change, the more you have the opportunity to fail. At Wisconsin we're kind of boring, we do the same thing every day. For us it's been very, very successful."

--"We've been knocking on the door at Ohio State a couple years. To finally go through it last year the way he did, there wasn't any question about who won that football game. The only bad part about Terrelle [Pryor] leaving [is] he kind of claimed the week after it was a fluke ... To me, we really wanted to play that game against him. Unfortunately, we won't."

--"There is not a coach in this profession that treated me or helped me better than Jim Tressel. He was a guy who grabbed my hand the first time I walked in a room."



Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
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