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Tag:Mississippi State
Posted on: December 26, 2009 10:46 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2009 10:52 pm
 

Dan Mullen leading candidate at Florida

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen may emerge as the leading candidate at Florida in the aftermath of Urban Meyer stepping down Saturday night.

The key to the new hire is the state of the Florida staff. The move must be made quickly and in the heart of recruiting season. In most cases, that means hiring a coach who would want to bring in an entirely new staff or, at least, forcing the new coach to keep the core of Meyer's staff.

That staff is in the process of landing what looks like another top 10 class. Transitioning in the middle of the recruiting season could be messy. That's why Mullen seems like the ideal answer. Florida's former offensive coordinator would be able to keep the staff and recruiting together. Mississippi State finished 5-7 in its first season under Mullen.

Mullen has been with Meyer since 2001 when he was hired as Bowling Green's quarterbacks coach. A member of the "New Hampshire Mafia", Mullen shares offensive philosophies with LSU's Gary Crowton and Oregon's Chip Kelly. All three are from New Hampshire. It was Mullen's offense that made Tim Tebow a star and made his successor John Brantely want to stick around for three years to get the starting job. The key for Florida is continuity.

Mullen is in the process of hiring a defensive coordinator after losing Carl Torbush to Kansas. One player who won't be coming with him is quarterback Cam Newton, one of top junior college prospects. Newton was being recruited heavily by Mullen. Both were at Florida a couple of years ago when Newton was thrown off the team for allegedly stealing a laptop. He has emerged from his juco experience as a five-star prospect.

Mullen just completed the first of a four-year contract that is paying him $1.2 million per season.

Other names attached to the opening include Jon Gruden, Bobby Petrino, Bob Stoops, Steve Spurrier, Kyle Whittingham and Mike Shanahan
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.

Posted on: November 6, 2009 9:43 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

If I’m Jimbo Fisher I’m raising holy hell.

Bobby Bowden picking the new defensive coordinator has to be a deal breaker for Jimbo. The job is going to be his in 13 months or so. No way he wants to be saddled with a d-coordinator who is hand-picked by Bobby.

Just to refresh: Bobby will be retired in January 2011. Jimbo Fisher has to live with his choice as d-coordinator.

Bobby’s legacy doesn’t include sticking his nose into Jimbo’s staff. This move could not only bring down the defense, it could bring down the program.

Dollar Bill: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might re-retire sooner than we think. Speaking on Kansas City station WHB this week, Snyder hinted that he is a mere caretaker until the program is in good enough shape to turn over to someone else.

“This isn’t something to do for the rest of my life,” Snyder said prior to Saturday’s game with Kansas. “I want to get it back, calm the waters and [rally] the constituency. Get it in good position for a smooth transition …

“I’ve got to spend time with my children and grandchildren. There’s going to come a time when I went to do [that] again. Hopefully that is in the not-too-distant future.”

Snyder, 70, is in the first year of his second coaching career at K-State.  Originally, he was the author of the “Miracle in Manhattan” from 1989-2005. The Wildcats are currently 5-4 and in first place in the Big 12 North heading into the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas.

SEC bowls: The SEC has only five bowl-eligible teams. The league is trying to fill what looks like a potential 10 bowls spots (eight regular bowls plus a likely two BCS bowls). Nervous? There are five other teams at 4-4 or 4-5 that have some work to do.

Three of the five teams are playing winnable non-conference games this week. Mississippi State, that 4-5 team, is off. Mississippi, 5-3, still has to win two because it played two I-AAs. Arkansas, 4-4, might face a do-or-die game at home against South Carolina. Tennessee Tech is at Georgia, 4-4. Memphis is at Tennessee, 4-4. Kentucky, also 4-4, has Eastern Kentucky at home.

Boise blitz: Boise State has hired a p.r. firm to keep the Broncos in the “forefront” of the “minds” of “pollsters”.  That smells a lot like buying voters. First, let The List express its regret that it is not a Harris or coaches’ poll voter.

No, this isn’t Daley-era Chicago. Boise isn’t going to buy votes. In fact, it is fighting an uphill battle going into Friday’s game at Louisiana Tech. All TCU (at San Diego State on Saturday) has to do is keep winning. The voters <i>and</i> computers have spoken. They like Horned Frogs better than Needy Broncos.


Beaver milestone: As the 300th game at Beaver Stadium looms, let’s review the previous 299 games …

Penn State has a 241-58 record (80.6).

There have been 15 unbeaten seasons.

The Nittany Lions are 216-40 at Beaver with Joe as head coach. Fourteen of those undefeated seasons have come under Paterno.

Penn State is 32-3 in its last 35 at home. The only setbacks have come to No. 4 Michigan in 2006, No. 1 Ohio State in 2007 and Iowa on Sept. 26.


Paterno has been around for all of them.


  The North is 3-9 against the South Division. Two of those wins are against Baylor, in last place in the South.

  Kind of tells you something when Oklahoma-Nebraska gets relegated to the WWL blog. The teams now only meet twice in any four-year period.  A Husker win in Lincoln would give Nebraska a huge boost in the North.

  Does Colorado AD Mike Bohn have the $3.2 million he’ll need to buy out Dan Hawkins? Some more contributions might be added to the pot if the Buffs, 2-6, lose Texas A&M, 5-3

  Something has to give. Navy (34 minutes, 18 seconds) and Notre Dame (33:19) are 1-2 in time of possession.
 
  South Carolina is 7-10 after Nov. 1 under Steve Spurrier. USC is 27-0 in the month under Pete Carroll. 


Personal rant: The decision on player suspensions needs to be taken away from the school, the athletic director, maybe even the school president. SEC commissioner Mike Slive stepped in a week ago to issue his edict about critical coaches. Then Urban Meyer criticized officials and wasn’t punished. Yet. It seems like commissioners basically exist these days to pursue the best television contracts and shake hands with bowl reps.

The call here is for leagues to put in their constitutions (or whatever they’re called) language that gives the commissioner (or some league panel) the sole power to hand out discipline. Then the commissioners need to have the you know what to follow through.
.

 

Posted on: November 4, 2009 5:35 pm
 

Bill Saum out

A notorious figure is reportedly out at the NCAA. Bill Saum, the person formerly in charge of agents and gambling, is gone as the NCAA's eligibility center director.

For those of us who follow the NCAA this is huge news. Saum was an old acquaintence and a fun source who once famously said of Rick Neuheisel, "He should have known better." Those were during the days when The Slickster was being investigated for the NCAA Tournament pool in his neighborhood. Saum was involved in some of the biggest cases of the last decade.

Lately, he was involved in eligibility cases involving Kentucky's John Wall and Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney in basketball.


I say "notoriously" not in a negative way, but in an NCAA infamous way. It was not a good day when Bill Saum was assigned to investigate your ***.
 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 28, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: October 28, 2009 3:47 pm
 

National notes

This is why we love college football

 Absolutely no regrets for Sam Bradford. Great kid, great athlete. We’ll miss you, buddy.

Strange that Blake Griffin is one of Bradford’s closest friends and the two have been injured together again. They both suffered concussions while in college. Within a few days of Bradford making his announcement, Griffin was knocked out with a broken kneecap suffered in a Los Angeles Clippers preseason game.

 What exactly is the threshold for the SEC to get into coaches pockets for some of the recent criticism of officials. In the past week Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen have been reprimanded for criticizing league officials.

All three seemed to have a gripe as the league deals with what seems to be a growing crisis of credibility with its zebras. But there is only one thing that will silence coaches – fines. For commissioner Mike Slive, the crisis is getting out of hand. The Marc Curles crew that was suspended for the Florida-Arkansas debacle returns in two weeks. Given today’s viral media society, that occasion is going to be treated in the South like the bankruptcy of the Waffle House chain.

It ain’t going to be popular.

Here are some compelling comments from SEC officials’ supervisor Rogers Redding who appears on “The Tony Barnhart Show” this week on CBS College Sports.

“We understand that people are going to make mistakes. We’re human, we make mistakes.  It’s fair game to question the officials’ judgment.  It’s fair game to question their knowledge of the rules.  It’s fair game to question their mechanics that they use in terms of where they are on the field. 

“But when you question their integrity, that crosses the line.  That’s where I part company with those who are criticizing football officials, because the integrity is absolutely there.  We manage it.  We insist on it.  And I would put the integrity of every football official I know now or have ever known up against any other profession or anybody in the world...I think criticism of integrity is over the top and it’s unacceptable.” 
 

 Did Larry Scott, then, overreact? Judge for yourself whether the Pac-10 commissioner was fair in suspended an official for “missing” this penalty against Oregon State.

In real time, it’s hard to determine how James Rodgers’ helmet comes off. With so many helmets flying off these days, it’s almost less likely that USC’s Taylor Mays would have ripped it off. On the replay you can see what happened.

My question is, would Scott have suspended the official had not all these shenanigans been going on in the SEC?


 As long as we’re on the subject of assistant coaches of the year (see Wednesday's notes lead), let’s do the top five:

1. Monte Kiffin, Tennessee – If Lane gets anything going on offense in future years, Monte is going to work ‘em silly. Thanks mostly to Monte’s ability to hold the Vols in games, Tennessee has lost to the SEC’s two best teams by a total of 12 points on the road. Bama and Florida have been held to a combined average of 17.5 points. The last time a Volunteer defense was that successful against its two big rivals was 2006.

2. Mark Whipple, Miami – This is not the place to come if you want to read a bad word about Miami’s new offensive coordinator. The journeyman assistant has single-handedly made Jacory Harris a legitimate Heisman candidate. Everywhere he goes offenses improve. Don’t blame him for the Clemson loss. The Canes lost for only the second time 115 games when scoring at least 37 points.

3. Dick Bumpas, TCU – Spoke at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday and one of the first questions was how soon Arkansas could hire TCU’s defensive coordinator. The veteran defensive guru is at the top of his game. While he doesn’t call a defense that head coach Gary Patterson doesn’t sign off on, Bumpus gets credit for assembling four consecutive top 15 defenses (currently No. 5). Defensive end Jerry Hughes is a slam-dunk All-American.

4. Charlie Strong, Florida – You’ve read here and other places why Strong should be a head coach. The game’s institutional prejudice continues.  But Strong has stayed strong with what might be the nation’s best defense. Odd, that with Tebow, Harvin and others in the past, Florida might win its third title in four years because of defense.

5. Will Muschamp, Texas – So tired of d-coordinators skipping town, Texas paid Muschamp $900,000 a year and made him Mack Brown’s coach-in-waiting. Muschamp is so white hot that some school might buy him out from Texas and make him a head coach before Mack, who shows no sign of slowing down, retires. With Muschamp calling plays, this has a chance to be one of Texas’ best defense in – decades?

Three to think about …

Ron Powlus, quarterbacks coach, Notre Dame – Yeah, yeah Charlie calls the plays but Mr. Two Heisman deserves credit for getting Jimmy Clausen’s head around the minefield that can be being Notre Dame’s quarterback.

Jeremy Bates, quarterbacks coach, USC – Matt Barkley is a 6-0 as a freshman starter.

Norm Parker, defensive coordinator, Iowa – The Hawkeyes are challenging for a Big Ten and national championship because of a dominant defense.

 If Oklahoma State upsets Texas this week, we might be looking at an Oklahoma State-TCU Fiesta Bowl. Bet the BCS commissioners never thought of that possibility, in a major bowl, when they created the system.

 Anybody hear anything from Orrin Hatch this week? Boise and TCU both have a shot a national championship. They still need teams above them to lose but in that respect nothing has changed from the pre-BCS days. The fact is that without the BCS, those schools wouldn’t even be in the title discussion this late in the season.

 

Posted on: October 23, 2009 11:24 am
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:49 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Montana coach Bobby Hauck has disgraced his profession. Wonder why the American Football Coaches Association hasn't weighed in on this issue...Let's see, because it condones this conduct by ignorning it. Bullying students, real nice Bobby ... 

Let’s see, the SEC officials blew in the Florida-Arkansas game. Then, Bobby Petrino is reprimanded for reminding them that they blew it. The SEC can’t suspend the officials and reprimand Petrino at the same time. Only the SEC can tell Marc Curles he is wrong?

 There’s tough and there’s SEC tough: Since suffering a broken jaw and concussion on Oct. 3 against LSU, Georgia tailback Caleb King has missed one game while subsisting on a liquid diet. King scored two touchdowns against last week against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are off this week before the Cocktail Party on Oct. 31.

 Whatever happened to that Sam Bradford press conference to announce his future? Love this stat: Three starting Big 12 quarterbacks have started against Texas. Three Big 12 starting quarterbacks have not finished this games.

 WWL saw USC’s Matt Barkley on some Heisman lists this week. Check the Pac-10 first. Barks isn’t even the best freshman quarterback in his own league. Stanford’s Andrew Luck has thrown for almost 1,600 yards with nine touchdowns.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis (fourth in rushing) is the only freshman in the top 22 in rushing.

 National rushing leader Ryan Mathews of Fresno State is on pace to rush for almost 2,000 yards. Four of the six rush defenses he will face the remainder of the season are ranked 98th or worse against the run (New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Illinois).

Looking ahead to next week:  Florida-Georgia in the Cocktail Party. Dawgs get to rest up this week. Florida is at Mississippi State. Tebow plays his last Georgia game.

 USC at Oregon. Trojans haven’t won in the state of Oregon since 2005 and need this one to stay in the Pac-10 and national championship hunt. Beavers, though, could end USC’s seven-year run of dominance with a win.

Texas at Oklahoma State. Cowboys thought they should have beaten the Horns last year in Austin. If they win in Stillwater, Pokes take control of the Big 12 South.

Posted on: October 12, 2009 12:21 am
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Now that that’s over get ready for the biggest weekend of the season featuring five games involving ranked teams.  By the end of the weekend, the Big 12 could be out of the national championship race (if Texas loses), either South Florida or Cincinnati could be a fraud and Charlie Weis could have his signature win at Notre Dame only five years into the job …

 Get to YouTube or somewhere and catch UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers’ pick and score against Oregon.  It is guaranteed to be the play of the year and we still have half a season left.

Ayers chased Oregon quarterback Nate Costa to the back of the end zone. Costa threw off his back foot, Ayers jumped, intercepted the ball right in his face, secured and got a foot down for the score. Amazing.

 Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes caught 22 passes for 278 yards in a one-point win over Kent State a week after dropping the potential game-winning touchdown pass. Barnes has 28 more catches than the next living human in I-A football.

Take it from a guy who witnessed the best receiving game in history – Louisiana Tech’s Troy Edwards vs. Nebraska in 1998 – Barnes is a freak. The 22 catches  were one off the single-game record. Edwards? All he did was catch 21 balls for 405 yards – in one game.

 

 Oh he didn’t: Just when you thought Lane Kiffin had put a kill switch on his mouth, Tennessee’s coach yapped before the Georgia game.

 

That’s a cheap way of getting into Eric Berry’s freaky Heisman rap. Berry had 5 1/2 tackles, two passes broken up and a fumble (unofficially) recovery against Georgia. Put that up against Suh who on Thursday had six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, two pass break ups and an interception at Missouri.

 Nah, it’s not the system at all at Texas Tech. Mike Leach has had two quarterbacks each throw for seven touchdowns in a game, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield.

The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:

1. Todd Reesing, Kansas: If he played anywhere -- and I anywhere -- but Lawrence he’d booked for New York right now. He’s hidden in a program that would be ranked higher if tooted its own horn more.  All Reesing did was throw for 442 yards and four touchdowns. Kansas needed every bit of it in a 41-36 victory over Iowa State.  We’re looking at the best quarterback ever for a program that counts John Hadl among its greats. Along with Kerry Meier (16 catches, 142 yards) and Dezmon Briscoe (12 catches, 186 yards), this is the best set of “triplets” in the country. Sure, the defense stinks but who cares? This is Texas Tech without all the Leach preening.


2. Case Keenum, Houston: Sick.  Keenum had 434 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. His 2,130 passing yards and 17 touchdowns lead the country. Only three other quarterbacks are more accurate. By the way, TCU and Boise State are posers. What non-BCS team has accomplished more than Houston which has victories over three BCS schools (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State)?

3.  Ndamakong Suh, Nebraska: The best performance, maybe ever, by a defensive tackle against Missouri on Thursday night.

4. Tony Pike, Cincinnati: Steadily percolating until Thursday night against South Florida.

5.  Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame: Go figure, Clausen’s team has a bye week and moves into both major polls. Clausen has a bye week gets dropped down from No. 1 to No. 5. A big game against USC might clinch a trip to New York for the nation’s most efficient passer.

6. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green: See above.

 

Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:14 am
Edited on: September 30, 2009 8:10 pm
 

National notes 1/4 of the way through the season

The best of September

Who would have thought by the end of the month …: USC would lose to Washington a week after a heart-stopping, game-winning drive at Ohio State? [Ok, maybe by now there are a few of you.] … Unranked the preseason, the Big East would have two marquee teams – Cincinnati and South Florida … Houston would have the best Big 12 record [2-0 after beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech] … Two Heisman winners would be knocked out of games … NC State’s Russell Wilson would have a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 29-1 … Auburn’s Chris Todd would lead the SEC in touchdown passes [11] … Not that the SEC would have three teams in the top 10 in total defense but the Pac-10 would have two … The only three teams yet to allow a touchdown pass would be winless Eastern Michigan, undefeated South Florida and USC [3-1].

Coach of the month: Oregon’s Chip Kelly. On the night of September 3, his world was falling apart. LeGarrette Blount threw a punch and almost started a riot after Oregon looked punchless losing its season opener to Boise State.

Almost four weeks later, the Ducks might be the team to beat in the Pac-10. They have won three in a row, two over ranked teams and have a new lean-on tailback in redshirt freshman LaMichael James.

Team of the month: Miami. Playing September schedule in the country, the Hurricanes beat two ranked teams [Florida State, Georgia Tech] and showed signs of being its old self. Losing to Oklahoma this week wouldn’t be a disgrace. Coming out its death march 2-2 could be a jumping off point for an ACC title.

Also considered: Texas A&M, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Florida, Stanford, UCLA, Idaho.

Player of the month: [tie] You’re gagging on this by now but Florida would not not undefeated with Tim Tebow. His 24 rushes for 76 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 19 were the difference.

LSU safety Chad Jones is this season’s Charles Woodson. Against Mississippi State on Saturday, he single-handedly stopped Tyson Lee on back-to-back plays inches from the goal line. He also provided the eventual game-winning 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Worst conference: Based on previous accomplishments, it’s the MAC. The nation’s largest conference [13 teams] has only one team with a winning record coming out of September. [Central Michigan, 3-1]. The league is 13-29 in the non-conference, 7-27 against I-A competition and 3-19 against BCS conferences.

Best conference: SEC by a hair. The Big 12 has six ranked teams vs. the SEC’s four. But the SEC is 23-2 in the non-conference, a national best 6-2 against BCS conferences.

If you think the SEC has padded its schedule with I-AA teams, actually only the Sun Belt and Pac-10 have played fewer games against “inferior” competition. The SEC is 5-0 against I-AAs. The Big 12 is 9-0. Almost a third of its non-cons have come against I-AAs.

Best trend: Smaller offensive linemen. Boise has been doing it for a while but the Broncos are soaring toward a BCS berth with a line that averages 285 pounds. Remember those hog mollies at Michigan? They weigh in at a svelte average of 295 under Rich Rod who likes ‘em lighter and lively.

Worst trend: This month it had to be the coaches’ poll. It went into the season not exactly on the same page with the BCS commissioners. As long as the coaches are going to go completely  underground [hiding all their ballots] beginning in 2010, the possibility exists that the poll will be jettisoned from the BCS process next year.

As for now …

Steve Spurrier gave us a glimpse of his voting habits in July when he admitted that his football ops guy had filled out his preason all-SEC ballot. That caused a huge stir when Spurrier/ops guy didn’t make Tebow a unanimous choice. Spurrier/ops guy picked Ole Miss’ Jevan Snead but was allowed to change to Tebow after it became an issue.

Following convincing wins by No. 3 Alabama and No. 2 Texas on Sept. 19, Florida got all the first-place votes [55] for the first time this season after struggling to beat unranked Tennessee.

Then, there was this week. What a mess. 

No. 12 Oklahoma State is ranked three spots ahead of Houston, which beat the Cowboys by 10.

Cal, which just lost to Oregon by 39, is ranked seven spots ahead of the Ducks.

Penn State had beaten doggies Syracuse, Akron and Temple. After losing at home to Iowa it is No. 13, four spots ahead of the unbeaten Hawkeyes.

Keep it coming, fellas, can’t wait to see how this effects the BCS standings.

Team schizo: Florida State. Do you have to have it explained?

Say goodbye to:  BYU [in the BCS], Al Groh, Ralph Friedgen, Steve Kragthorpe.

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