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Tag:Connecticut
Posted on: November 23, 2009 1:43 pm
 

Charlie Weis revealed

John Walters of Fanhouse.com sat down with Charlie Weis just hours after Saturday's loss to Connecticut.

Some interesting revelations:

Weis is particularly disturbed at the way his family has had to deal with his on-field failings. For the first time on Saturday, his wife did not attend a home game. "You think I don't know that I'm fat? Duh!" Weis said.

Senior safety Sergio Brown was in Weis' office Saturday night "bawling" after committing a key personal foul that allowed UConn to mount its comeback.

Weis has "heard" that an official may be fired over blowing the third-and-16 replay review in the Pittsburgh game. A clear incomplete pass by Jimmy Clausen was ruled a fumble. An incompletion (clearly the right call) would have set up a fourth-and-16 but still ...
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Connecticut
 
Posted on: November 19, 2009 6:00 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2009 10:48 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

It's that insane time of year when we have been asked to pick the best players in the country -- before all the games are played.

Some awards are narrowing their lists of semifinalists to finalists after Saturday's games. That would be with two weeks left in the regular season. Those kinds of deadlines are particularly unfair especially at  quarterback and running back where there are multiple candidates.

(I never understood the whole semifinalist-finalist thing anyway. It’s just a way to string out and hype the award.)

The Heisman has always been a pet peeve for me. So much can happen in bowls that sometimes the winner is diminished (see Oklahoma’s Jason White in the 2004 Sugar Bowl) or the person who should be the real winner emerges (see Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl).

But at least the Heisman gives voters enough time to wait until after all the regular-season games are played. Not so for most of the other awards, of which there are way too many.

A couple of pieces of information came across SOWWL's desk this week. The list of three finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback) are expected by 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. How, on Sunday, are we supposed to pick between Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Case Keenum, Kellen Moore, Jimmy Clausen, Andy Dalton and Bill Stull? Those are seven names that come to mind at the moment . There might be more.

Consider that McCoy and Tebow still have to play conference championship games. Moore is the nation’s most efficient passer working on an undefeated season. Dalton and Stull are among the most improved quarterbacks in the country.

I'm considering waiting at least another week to vote. If the O'Brien folks don't approve, tough spit.

The  Doak Walker Award’s list of the 10 semifinalists was released this week. The list did not include the nation’s fourth-leading rusher Bernard Pierce (Temple), the SEC's second-leading rusher Anthony Dixon (of Mississippi State, eighth in the country) or the Pac-10’s second-leading rusher (LaMichael James of Oregon).

It did include the nation’s No. 46 rusher, C.J. Spiller of Clemson who should be considered the best all-purpose runner in the country, not the best running back. 

Missouri’s Danario Alexader is fifth in catches per game and third in receiving yards per game after catching 10 balls for 200 yards against Kansas State. You won’t find him on the list of the 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award (best receiver). Three of the 10 players have been injured or left their team.

There is a safety net. Candidates can be written in, however voters are a group are traditionally lazy. They tend to vote for what is in front of them. One exception was 2007 when the Biletnikoff process was so off the mark in 2007 that Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree won as a write-in candidate.

The main reason for these incredibly early lists is college football’s awards show. It airs the Thursday after the end of the regular season. If the awards committees want to be seen on national TV, then they have to cow tow to ESPN deadlines.

Here’s another idea: How about setting yourself apart and waiting until after the bowl season? Somehow I think some network or another would still televise the Heisman ceremony.

Etc: Cincinnati is one of the few teams that could afford having a quarterback in jail. No biggie, there’s always Tony Pike …  A loss to Ohio State would doom Michigan to its worst Big Ten finish since 1962 … Iowa (vs. Minnesota) and Penn State (at Michigan State) both need to win to stay in BCS consideration … Connecticut’s Zach Frazer has a chance this week to become one of the few players in history to play both for and against Notre Dame. Frazer transferred from ND in 2007 … Receiver Jordan Shipley will replace the suspended D.J. Monroe for Texas on kick returns this week against Kansas … Texas has scored 10 non-offensive touchdowns this season (defense and special teams). That leads the nation and is a school record … Miami’s Jacory Harris (at home vs. Duke) has thrown 16 interceptions, the most of the top 100 passers rated by the NCAA.

Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:50 pm
 

How UConn will deal with tragedy

It will be a tough day, week and some tough months for Randy Edsall. The Connecticut coach has to guide the program through sad times after the stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard over the weekend.

Part of Edsall's Monday will consist of picking Howard's parents up at the airport and taking them to the hospital to speak to Howard's attending physician at the time of his death. As of Monday morning there were no arrests in the killing.

Edsall also said that a couple of players might miss this week's game at West Virginia.

"There will be guys I have to sit down and talk with," Edsall said, "at least two of our guys. One guy had Jasper in his arms. One applied pressure to the wounds. I know those guys are deeply affected."

UConn players will wear a "JH" on their helmets going forward.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 12, 2009 6:52 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2009 8:13 pm
 

Early notes at 6:50 pm ET


It happens every year. Sometimes more than once.

Michigan State became the first official MAC sacrifice of the season. Central Michigan scored nine points in the final 32 seconds to beat the Spartans in East Lansing 29-27.

The Chips scored a touchdown to draw within one with half a minute to go. Game over, right? Central Michigan executed an onside kick was well as it can be run.  The Chips recovered and drove into field-goal position.

Andrew Aguila nailed a 32-yarder with three seconds left. Michigan State used its timeouts and allowed Aguila an extra chance after jumping offsides. Aguila had missed a 47-yarder but the right end jumped.

Central’s Dan LeFevour became the MAC’s career total offense leader. Going into Saturday LeFevour had 2,000-plus more career yards than one Tim Tebow (12,166-8,914).

  Carolina is the team with the goat as a mascot. But UConn’s Dan Ryan should be the one braying or naying or whatever goats do.

Ryan, a senior offensive tackle, was caught holding in the end zone with 1 ½ minutes left. The automatic safety broke a 10-10 tie and helped avoid another embarrassing ACC loss. Not that the Huskies don’t matchup with the Tar Heels, but UConn did lead 10-0 going into the fourth quarter.

“That's why you don't see any 100-year-old football coaches,"' Carolina’s Butch Davis said.

  There are two reasons why Chris Petersen might be a lifer at Boise State.

It’s not just the quality of life. Boise is a hidden gem. It’s not solely the lack of pressure. When you’ve beaten Oklahoma, you can live off that accomplishment for 10 years, or more. It’s not only because he coaches an Amtrak. What’s an Amtrak? A train, baby, and it’s rolling in Boise.

Recruiting, winning, adoring fans. It’s all in place for a program that could post its third undefeated season in the last four years.

But none of those reasons are the big one, the main reasons why Petersen stays in Boise despite having the chops to pull the ripcord and go get himself a golden parachute somewhere.

 They are named Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins. Both had similar success in Boise. Both cashed in at the top of their game for jobs at BCS conference schools. Koetter at Arizona State, Hawkins at Colorado.

The artificial grass isn’t always greener. Koetter was a mostly middling head coach, lasting six years with the Sun Devils (40-34). He is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hawkins?

Colorado is off to an 0-2 start after an embarrassing 54-38 loss Friday at Toledo. Hawkins is now 13-26 at CU and the walls are closing in. CU AD Mike Bohn extended Hawkins a year ago so even if he wanted to fire him it would probably cost the school a prohibitive buyout.

Hawkins and Koetter were a combined 79-21 at Boise, 53-60 after leaving.

Petersen is safe, snug and successful in Boise. Why leave?

  Doubt that Joe Paterno is about to retire that all-time victories record? In the space of a week, Paterno went from leading Bobby Bowden by one (383-382), to three -- if only for a few hours.

Penn State got off to a 2-0 start after beating Syracuse 28-7. Florida State lost its opener on Monday before playing Jacksonville State on Saturday night. The race now stands 385-383 Paterno but that’s not counting the almost-certain vacating of those 14 Bowden victories by the NCAA.

  More Georgia Tech from Thursday night: The Ramblin’ Wreck was a wreck in special teams last year. The Yellow Jackets were in the bottom three in the ACC in net punting, punt returns, kickoff returns and field goals. 

It beat Clemson 30-27 with the help of a pass off a fake field goal from kicker Scott Blair.
 

  

Posted on: August 4, 2009 8:22 am
 

Five things I believe about the Big East

Random thoughts going into the Big East media day in Newport, R.I. ...

Call it the Mountain West – East. The question is why the Big East deserves an automatic BCS bid and the Mountain West doesn’t.

I can’t think of one good reason, especially this year. The Mountain West goes three teams deep (TCU, BYU, Utah). The Big East might not have a ranked team this season. After distinguishing itself after the ACC raid, the Big East, at least this season, is the Big Least.

It’s wide open. Five teams have a legitimate shot at winning the league – West Virginia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and South Florida.

That’s good for those schools, bad for the league as a whole. The Big East doesn’t have a big dog that will make a national splash. Every team has holes. Rutgers lost its quarterback and best receivers. Pittsburgh lost its top tackler and rusher. Pat White and the buzz is gone from West Virginia.

Greg Paulus will play quarterback for Syracuse ... at some point and it will make total sense. When the former Duke guard began shopping himself and when Syracuse bit, it seemed like a joke. I mean, what was next Mike Krzyzewski drawing up plays for David Cutcliffe?

Then I started thinking: Syracuse is its absolute bottom. It’s probably going to finish last again in the Big East. Paulus is a good athlete, although isn’t about time we quit slobbering over his high school quarterback exploits?

It comes down to a what-the-heck thing? Syracuse can’t do any worse. The Orange’s offense is terrible. Let’s see what Paulus can do.

These schools need to break through. Rutgers, South Florida and Pittsburgh.

Remember 2006 when Rutgers was on the cusp of a BCS bowl? It is 18-12 since beating Louisville that year. South Florida rose to No. 2 a couple of years ago but have developed a nasty habit for disappointing. The Bulls are undefeated in the past two Septembers, 7-8 the rest of the way.

Dave Wannstedt won nine games a year ago and his program seems ready to turn the corner but his Panthers have yet to do it. The likeable Wanny is two games above .500 in his four seasons.

Randy Edsall won’t be around much longer. Two years ago UConn shared the league title. Last season Donald Brown rushed for 2,000 yards, led the nation and left early for the NFL. UConn had as many draft picks as Alabama (four).

Those are signs of a big-time program.

Edsall, entering his 11th season, got some interest from Syracuse, his alma mater, but he can do much better. If he continues to win, he will.

Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:51 am
Edited on: June 24, 2009 2:12 am
 

Picking the Big East

Sometimes you feel like the smartest person in the college football world.

Sometimes you throw darts.

Welcome to the Big East where all you need is flexible wrist. Don't worry about a bulls eye. Anywhere, you throw it, you could be a winner. Since 2003 eight different schools have claimed at least a share of the Big East title. A lot of that has to do with realignment after ACC expansion. But the conference remains perhaps the most competitive BCS conference.

Last season six of the eight teams made it to a bowl. In 2006-2007, three Big East teams had made it to the top three in the polls. With only eight teams, the league had one less NFL draft pick (27) than the Big Ten's 11 teams (28).

The demise of the Big East was greatly exaggerated. In the four years since realignment it is 3-1 in BCS bowls.

A case can be made for at least four schools being good enough to win the league this season.

Picking the Big East ...

1. Rutgers -- This dart lands in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights will go to their first BCS game mostly because they have the league's most favorable schedule. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia have to come up the Jersey Turnpike.  Even though Greg Schiano loses his quarterback (Mike Teel) and two best receivers (Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood), there is enough talent to fill in. All five starters are back on the offensive line, including 325-pound NFL prospect Anthony Davis at left tackle. Schiano gave up his play-calling duties on defense, handing them over to assistants Bob Fraser and Ed Pinkham. The pressure will be on but the Knights have time to wade into the deep end. They get Howard, Florida International and Texas Southern at home before playing their second Big East game. The momentum created by a seven-game winning streak to end '08 will carry over with 16 returning starters.

2. South Florida -- It helps to have the Big East's best offensive (quarterback Matt Grothe) and defensive (George Selvie) players. The offense gets more of a pure spread with the promotion of Mike Canales to offensive coordinator. Grothe might have to use those magic legs more than ever with only one returning starter on the offensive line. Selvie can be a freak at times off the edge. He slipped back in '08 after 14 1/2 sacks in 2007. The Bulls must learn to finish. They started 6-0 in '07 and 5-0 in '08. If they are going to get off to a similar start this season they must win at Florida State on Sept. 26.

3. Pittsburgh -- I really want to pick the Panthers to win. I really do. Dave Wannstedt might have the most talented team in the league but he will have to prove it. The loss of tailback Sean McCoy to the NFL was a killer. Early enrollee Dion Lewis has a shot at the job. If senior Bill Stull doesn't hold onto the quarterback job (nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions, there's always junior Pat Bostick. The defense will be stout again with Mick Williams at defensive tackle. Linebacker Adam Gunn returns for a sixth year of eligibility after breaking his neck in the '08 season opener. Wanny has stockpiled talent with three consecutive top 25 recruiting classes. Coming off a nine-win season, he needs to take the next step and win a bowl game in his fifth year at Pittsburgh.

4. Cincinnati -- The Bearcats were lucky enough to hold onto coach Brian Kelly. The ultimate coaching ladder climber (three jobs since 2003), recently signed an extension through 2013. If Kelly sticks around long enough, Kelly could make Cincinnati into a watered down version of Miami in the old Big East, an urban school waiting to bust out. In his second full season, Kelly produced 11 wins, a conference title and an Orange Bowl berth. Injuries forced Kelly to use five quarterbacks last season. The survivor, senior Tony Pike, is back. He'll throw to Marty Gilyard, the leading returning receiver in the league.

5. West Virginia -- Sorry, West Virginians. You lose Pat White and your prospects don't improve. White was one of the Big East's best-ever players and perhaps the best player in West Virginia history. The slippery quarterback cannot be fully replaced, but Jarrett Brown will give it a shot. The senior gets his shot to start in his final season. The 6-foot-4 Brown is more of a physical dual-threat quarterback. What Brown can't do, tailback Noel Devine can. After rushing for almost 2,000 yards in his first two seasons, this could be Devine's breakout year. A Heisman run wouldn't be surprise. The Mountaineers will have to win at least nine again to make it happen. That could be a struggle.

6. Connecticut -- UConn forces you to pay attention. The basketball team has a higher profile. In a league of football overachievers, it is not the first option. South Florida is in its 13th year of existence, but UConn has been in I-A only seven years. The country had to pay attention last season.  Donald Brown led the country in rushing, the Huskies blew out conference champ Cincinnati and won eight games. Coach Randy Edsall's name continued to pop up for higher profile jobs. Edsall stayed. However, Brown is gone to the NFL so don't expect another 2,000-yard season. Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazer will take over at quarterback throwing to 5-9 Kashif Moore, the team's leading receiver.

7. Louisville -- This has to be a make or break season for Steve Kragthorpe. He is 11-13 in two years. Last season crashed with a five-game losing streak. The once powerful offense is now struggling. Tailback Victor Anderson rushed for 1,000 yards but only 207 of those came in the last four games. Louisville desperately needs something good to happen. The schedule is not kind. In consecutive weeks the Cardinals play at Kentucky, at Utah, Pittsburgh, Southern Miss, at UConn and at Cincinnati.

8. Syracuse -- If Doug Marrone's work ethic could be transformed into wins, the Orange would be back in a major bowl. Cuse Nation is excited about one of their own taking over. Still, Marrone is a rookie head coach inheriting a train wreck. The new coach has embraced Syracuse traditions. Redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib was named starter in spring practice but there is the small matter of a former Duke guard in the mix. This was a good place for Greg Paulus to land. A one-year cameo could get the Cuse back on track. Before missing last season for academic reasons, Mike Williams caught 60 passes in '07 and was second-team all-Big East. The defense finished last in the conference in total defense. Look to the Jones brothers for improvement. Senior Arthur is a defensive tackle who has 31 1/2 career tackles for loss. His brother Chandler is an end who could get into the lineup as a redshirt freshman.

 


Posted on: May 27, 2009 12:27 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2009 5:39 pm
 

Voting coaches go gutless

DESTIN, Fla. -- Bobby Johnson is a good man, an honest man, a heck of a football coach.

With all due respect, he didn't know what he was talking about Wednesday after the American Football Coaches Association decided its coaches poll would go gack to the dark ages. Starting in 2010, the AFCA will no longer reveal the final ballots of its voting coaches. It had done so the past four years bringing some credibility to a borderline corrupt poll.

Johnson, the Vanderbilt coach, is a member of the AFCA board of trustees who approved -- unanimously we are told -- the switch.

It's pretty simple: The coaches might know football, but they don't know polls. They especially don't know how to choose their consultants. The AFCA followed the recommendations of the Gallup World Poll which was called in to examine the coaches poll. Gallup takes its name from George Gallup who in 1948 was part of one of the biggest polling goofs in history. Remember "Dewey Beats Truman"? Part of the blame goes to Gallup whose organization stopped polling a month before the election.

Darn that Truman and his barn-storming tour that turned the tide in the final weeks.

"You can still make mistakes on a call," said Dr. Bob Tortura of Gallup who worked with the AFCA on the project. "That was a low point in Dr. Gallup's career, I can assure you."

So why is anyone supposed to rely on the Gallup World Poll for something as complicated and controversial as the coaches poll? That's a miscalculation that's hard to live down even 61 years later. The organization advertises itself as being "a must read for audiences that need the most accurate and up-to-date information."

Just like the coaches poll, we'll have to trust Gallup on that.

It is assumed that Johnson knew none of this when a few of us approached him here Wednesday at the SEC spring meetings.

"I can't tell you the rationale," Johnson said. "They (Gallup) do a great, I think, (job) of enlisting the top experts in the land about this situation."

Hopefully, one of them wasn't South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, one of five SEC coaches in attendance who voted in the poll last season.

"That was surprising," Spurrier said of the AFCA's announcement. "I thought we would stay public on that last vote. I sort of think we ought to stay public, keep everybody honest."

Georgia's Mark Richt, another SEC voter in the poll, agreed.

"I didn't mind opening up my vote," Richt said. "I try to make it make sense. I want to be able to defend (it) every week whether it's public or not."

One of the ideas being tossed around was actually hiding the identity of all the voters. Talk about a Star Chamber. After the past four seasons, each of the 60 or so voters (there were 61 last season) released their final ballots. That was a small concession to a system that rewards its participants with millions of dollars. Those dollars actually controlled by the participants.

Example: Coaches will still be allowed to vote for themselves.

Wonderful.

Am I the only one outraged by this? Apparently not.

"Now," Spurrier said, "There's a chance for real hanky panky."

Where's the incentive, now, for coaches to fill out their own ballots? This isn't a poll, it's a secret society that prints money.

For the past four years, the system has worked. At least it worked better, if not completely. There was transparency, accountability. The coaches' final regular-season ballots were published in USA Today. With Wednesday's announcement, they're going backward.

The best method is to release each and every ballot every week. If the coaches don't like it, don't participate. If the thin-skinned coaches who vote can't stand a little scrutiny then that's tough.  Give me $3 million a year, I'll give you my vote, my car keys and my credit card number and my underwear size.

Let's recap: This is a system that forces it coaches to vote No. 1 the winner of the BCS championship game. The AFCA essentially is legitimizing itself. The BCS would still "work" if coaches were allowed a free will after the title game.

If the Congressmen and attorney generals want some BCS source to sue, they ought to go after the AFCA. Its poll kept Utah from winning a national championship. At least the AP media voters can vote their conscience. If you recall, the AP voters thought so much of the undefeated Utes that they voted them No. 2 in the final poll.

AFCA and USA Today officials swear it has cross checks in place to keep a coach from abusing his ballot. Since we'll never see them -- just like 1948 -- we'll have to take their word for it.

A final head scratcher: The 16 board of trustees who voted to change the Division I-A poll aren't all from Division I-A. In fact, the coaches poll that makes up one-third of the BCS formula has been altered by two Division II coaches, two Division III coaches, one NAIA coach and 11 I-A coaches.

I'm sure glad the NAIA has weighed in.

Get ready for some real hanky panky. Trust me.

Posted on: March 27, 2009 10:03 pm
 

Can Thabeet hang?

Mike Anderson called him "Hassan". A Missouri beat writer called him "Hakeem." What Missouri doesn't know about Hasheem Thabeet, it is about to find out.

UConn's 7-foot-3 center is going to be the deciding factor either way when Missouri faces the Huskies in the West Regional final. Either Thabeet is going to fumble the ball away against Mizzou's withering defense or he's going to continue to dominate in the paint.  There can't be an in between.

The two-time Big East defensive player of the year is averaging a double-double in the tournament  (13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds) and has double-doubles in six of his last seven games. Against Purdue on Thursday, he went for 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

"The biggest key is we have to get that big beast to run," Missouri's DeMarre Carroll said. "We got to get him up and down the court."

Thabeet isn't exactly the most fit athlete. He was dragging in a moderately paced game against Purdue. If Mizzou can draw him out of the line to defend outside shots, the Tigers quick cutters could have an advantage.

Here's a question, then, for all of us to ponder. Could the Big East defensive player of the year play for Missouri? That would require Thabeet to run, press and practice at a frenetic pace. Hell, the Tigers run for 40 minutes before bouncing a basketball in practice.

Missouri functions so well because it has only two players taller than 6-8. The second-team All-American might not be able to function in the system he is about to face.

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