Tag:SMU
Posted on: September 14, 2009 4:34 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2009 9:54 am
 

Breaking down the polls and Heisman race

USC walks into the belly of the beast, slays Ohio State with a dramatic game-winning drive and picks up two first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. One in AP.

Obviously, Florida is still the overwhelming No. 1 in both polls but I’m already starting to wonder what it would take to pass the Gators if they keep winning. The two teams below them are from different conferences (Texas, USC) and don’t play each other. No. 4 Alabama doesn’t play Florida in the regular season.

At first glance, Florida looks safe. It has 56 of the 60 first-place votes in the AP poll and 56 of the 59 votes on the coaches’ poll. Those numbers didn't change after the Gators mopped The Swamp with Troy, 56-6. 

The other teams getting first-place votes are Texas (one in AP), USC (a combined four) and Alabama (two in AP).

The rest of the way Florida plays only two teams that are currently ranked (LSU and Georgia). Same for Alabama (Ole Miss, LSU). Texas faces five ranked teams (Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Kansas). USC plays one (Cal, Oregon State).

Alabama had a similar lead at No. 1 before it lost to Florida in last year’s SEC title game. The Tide had 58 of the 61 first-place votes going in. After Bama lost and Oklahoma and Florida won their championship games, the final regular-season coaches’ poll was the closest in the BCS era.

Oklahoma (31 first-place votes, 1,482 points) ended up one point ahead of Florida (26 first-place votes, 1,481 points). Third-place Texas had four and 1,408.

Just for grins, I figured up the top six final regular-season first-place vote getters since 2004:

1. USC, 90 1/3 points
2. Ohio State, 62
3.  Oklahoma, 49 1/3
4. Florida, 26
5. LSU, Texas, 11
6. Auburn, 9 1/3

 One of the better poll results Saturday was Florida State beating Jacksonville State. I know, I know, FSU has looked shaky and isn’t ranked.

But this is about BYU. The Cougs need FSU to win as often as possible, aside from this week when the Noles go to Provo. If FSU somehow gets back into the polls, BYU could make a more solid case for playing for the national championship. If it goes undefeated, it would have beaten four ranked teams (Oklahoma, Florida State, TCU and Utah). 

If you’re wondering where this going consider that total would be more than Florida, LSU or USC.

 If the BCS championship game were played today, it would be USC vs. Alabama according to our old friend Jerry Palm. Check out the most accurate BCS projections and collegebcs.com.

 Live by the pass, die by the pass: SMU’s nine interceptions lead the country but it has thrown four interceptions which ties for third-most nationally ... Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen has thrown the most passes this season without an interception, 76 ... Purdue is  home of the leading rusher (Ralph Bolden) and the quarterback who is tied for No. 1 in interceptions. Joey Elliott is tied Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton. Each have six.


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

Case Keenum, Houston: When he lost his coach (Art Briles who went to Baylor) everyone thought Keenum would go in the tank, or transfer. He bonded immediately with second-year coach Kevin Sumlin who might make him a Heisman finalist. Keenum threw for 366 yards against Oklahoma State as the Cougars beat a top-five team for the first time in 25 years.

Tim Tebow, Florida: Four passing touchdowns and one rushing in the rain against Troy add to the legend.

Colt McCoy, Texas: Three passing touchdowns against Wyoming in Texas’ 15th consecutive non-conference win. That ties a school record.

Max Hall, BYU: A week after beating Oklahoma, Hall gets a rocking-chair game against Tulane. Led the Cougars to scores in seven of eight possessions.

Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh: A workhorse freshman who is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.

 

 

Posted on: June 11, 2009 11:15 am
Edited on: June 11, 2009 11:15 am
 

Alabama on probation -- again

The NCAA will announce Thursday afternoon that Alabama football will suffer major penalties stemming from a textbook scandal.

According to several reports, Alabama football will have to vacate victories from the 2005-2007 seasons. There were 23 victories in those years under Mike Shula (2005, 2006) and Nick Saban (2007). A source told the Birmingham News that the number of vacated wins is at least 10.

This is the fourth time in 14 years Alabama football has been penalized by the NCAA.

Alabama also will be put on probation for three years. There are no reports of scholarship cuts or postseason bans. It is not clear if the school will appeal.

The program has been off probation for only 16 months. On Feb. 1, 2007 it completed a five-year probation. After announcing those penalties in 2002, infractions committee chairman Tom Yeager said the program "was staring down the barrel of a gun," because of its repeat violator status.

If the NCAA determines that the textbook violations occured within a five-year window of the last probation then Bama once again could be technically eligible for the death penalty. However, it is highly unlikely that penalty would be applied. The death penalty has been used only once, against SMU in 1987. 

The NCAA defines a repeat violator this way: "An institution shall be considered a 'repeat' violator if the Committee on Infractions finds that a major violation has occurred within five years of the starting date of a major penalty."

Five players were suspended for four games in 2007 after "impermissible textbook charges" were discovered. 
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, SMU
 
Posted on: May 27, 2009 9:36 am
Edited on: May 28, 2009 5:49 pm
 

Picking Conference USA

Welcome to Big 12 Jr.

Just like its big brother, Conference USA is high scoring. The offensive talent is wide ranging. Yes, there are even Heisman candidates at this level. The Big 12 has six programs from Texas and Oklahoma. CUSA has five. Both are able to mine those areas of the Southwest for talent.

C-USA had three teams in the top 10 in total offense.  The Big 12 had five. Only C-USA and the Big 12 averaged more than 400 yards in total offense per game. C-USA finished second behind the Big 12 nationally in touchdown passes per game, points per game and plays per game.

Just don't come around here to find any defense. Just like the Big 12, Conference USA had a problem stopping the ball. Half the league finished No. 100 or lower in total defense last season.

On offense, though, six of the top seven rushers and eight of the top 10 passers return. Nine of the 12 teams have at least eight offensive starters returning. Four of the nation's top 20 players in total offense last season were from C-USA.

Houston, Tulsa, Texas-El Paso, East Carolina and Southern Miss look like bowl teams. Houston or East Carolina could be BCS busters.

Whatever happens, it will be fun to watch.

West Division

1. Houston -- Kevin Sumlin set a school record for wins by a first-year head coach (eight). Don't be surprised if the former Oklahoma assistant pumps out double digit wins this year. Sumlin's best players still haven't reached their peak yet. Quarterback Case Keenum (5,020 passing yards) should be a Heisman candidate. Tyron Carrier caught 80 balls as a freshman. If a shaky defense holds up behind CUSA defensive player of the year Phillip Hunt, the big boys better watch out. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State are all on the schedule. They're all winnable games.

2. Tulsa -- In less than a month's time Todd Graham's offense scored 77 (against Texas El-Paso) and his defense gave up 70 (to Houston). If Graham can ever balance this thing out, the Golden Hurricane are going to be a BCS buster.  Unfortunately for them, it's not going to be this year.  The offense lost coordinator Gus Malzahn to Auburn, its quarterback (David Johnson) and top rusher (Tarrion Adams, 1,523 yards). Tulsa will score will rely on a veteran defense to hold teams under 70.

3. Texas-El Paso -- This might be Mike Price's best team since he headed for the border five years ago. Four of the five starters are back on the offensive line. Some think quarterback Trevor Vittatoe could be the league's best. A defense that helped put the Miners among the top 10 in turnover margin returns seven starters.

4. Rice --  From biggest turnaround in the country (seven-game improvement from 2007) to bottom half of the West. David Bailiff has to replace 56 touchdowns produced by Chase Clement (44 passing, 12 rushing). It's not going to be easy with the first three games on the road. After that the Owls plays Tulsa, Navy, East Carolina and Houston. If Bailiff goes 5-7 with this group give him a bonus.

5. Tulane -- Bob Toledo has won only six of 24 games in his two seasons in New Orleans. The beat should go on this year. The Green Wave's only victories last season were against Louisiana-Monroe and SMU. They come into this season having lost eight in a row, the last seven by at least 17 points.

6. SMU -- This is exactly where Hawaii was 11 years ago -- at the bottom, 0-12 under Fred vonAppen. June Jones blew into the islands in 1999, going 9-4 in his first season. It's going to take a little longer at SMU. Jones went 1-11 in his first season at SMU. He has most of his offensive talent returning but this is still SMU, losers of 17 consecutive CUSA games.


East Division

1. East Carolina -- The Pirates are loaded with 16 starters returning a CUSA championship team that beat Virginia Tech and West Virginia. While opponents are more wise to the ways of quarterback Patrick Pinkney, it's hard to scout takeaways. The Pirates had 33 of them last year, including six against Tulsa in the conference title game.
 
Skip Holtz stayed put after becoming one of the hottest coaching commodities around. That means the Pirates could once again take a run at a BCS berth if they are able to defeat West Virginia and North Carolina in back-to-back weeks on the road.

2. Southern Miss -- Larry Fedora has 19 starters back from a team that won its final five games. The Golden Eagles might have the best running backs, receivers, offensive line and defensive backs in the league. The difference might be Nov. 28 when Southern Miss has to go to East Carolina for a division showdown.

3. Memphis -- Jucos usually need a year to get acclimated. Tailback Curtis Steele came in from Northwest Mississippi and ran for 1,223 to become conference newcomer of the year. If the Tigers can stay healthy at quarterback then senior receivers Duke Calhoun and Carlos Singleton should have big seasons. Calhoun has caught a pass in 37 consecutive games. The 6-foot-8 Singleton is tied for the school career receiving touchdown record (19). 

4. Marshall
-- Mark Snyder is under pressure to produce a bowl game. Marshall hasn't been to the postseason in his four seasons. Snyder is 16-31 and is coming off a 4-8 finish in '08. If he doesn't get it done with 16 returning starters including All-American prospect Cody Slate at tight end, then it might be time to freshen up the resume.
 
5. Central Florida -- George O'Leary has alternated winning and losing seasons in his five seasons. The pieces are in place for an above .500 finish but that's about it. Last season's offense was last in I-A. It's going to take more than the return of 15 starters to rebound from a 4-8 downer. O'Leary loses only left tackle Patrick Brown (All-CUSA) on offense. The problem will be scraping out seven wins in the ultra-competitive East Division.

6. Alabama-Birmingham -- This is Neil Callaway's best team in Birmingham. The Blazers, though, have to play seven road games (in a nine-week stretch).  Joe Webb was No. 3 rushing quarterback (1,021 yards) in the country.

 


Posted on: April 16, 2009 4:25 pm
 

Notes on the biggest weekend of the spring ...

More than 50 schools will be playing spring games this weekend. Enjoy this pupu platter of cfb appetizers ...  

 You know things are going good for the national champions when the biggest news to come out of the spring involves a plaque.

Tim Tebow's words following last season's Ole Miss loss have been immortalized near the football offices.

 With Lane Kiffin on the eve of his first spring game at Tennessee, the next on-field hurdle is for the new coach to find out what it's like between the lines in the SEC.

" Yeah I do (understand how tough it is)," Kiffin said.  "It is so competitive. But being in the NFL, how can someone tell me that the NFL not competitive? That's the highest level. People are fighting for their jobs, for their paychecks, for their families. Is it different than the Pac-10? Sure it is. There's more balance. Top to bottom it's better. But go be a head coach in the NFL. That's as cut throat as it gets up there."

 Houston receiver Patrick Edwards might sue Marshall after suffering a compound fracture in a game last season in Huntington, W.V.

Edwards was injured when he ran supply cart in the back of the end zone chasing a pass. Amazingly, Edwards has participated enough to take part in non-contact drills during the spring.

 Ohio State assistant Dick Tressel probably wasn't thinking when he evaluated option offenses recently.

"The evolution of this quarterback-off-the-line-of-scrimma
ge kind of football, where backs are running laterally and they're reading things, and [the quarterback is figuring out] when to give it to him and when not to, the defenses have caught up to that, bottom line," Ohio State's running backs coach told the <em>Cleveland Plain Dealer<.en>. "They know where you're going just like that."

Does Tressel even know the Buckeyes open with Navy which has led the country in rushing four consecutive years?

 Navy will be led by one Ricky Dobbs, a mercurial quarterback who wants to become president by 2040.

Dobbs is only 6-feet-1 but has the "it" factor when it comes to being a leader -- a huge factor at a place like Navy. Dobbs ran for 224 yards and four touchdowns last year in a spot start against SMU. In his spare time he ran for vice president of his class.

He was known for calling the Douglasville (Ga.) High School administration even after he got to Navy. The ebullient Dobbs is known for having a unique handshake for teammates and friends. In his first career start last fall, he led the Mids to a 16-0 victory over Northern Illinois becoming he sixth Navy quarterback to rush for 100 yards in his debut.

 How does San Jose State impact the entire bowl structure? If there is even one school penalized by the NCAA for not achieving a 925 APR (basically a 60 percent graduation rate) it could mean a bit of chaos. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams, a bowl could be forced to petition the NCAA to take a team with a losing record.

San Jose State is reportedly among a few schools who could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA in May. The school could receive waiver but you better believe the NCAA football issues committee is watching. With 68 slots to be filled among 34 bowls, there isn't much margin of error.

The last three years there have been 72, 72 and 71 bowl eligible teams. That means an average of 3.6 bowl-eligible teams did not get invites. The school could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA for underperforming in the APR (basically achieving a 60 percent graduation rate).

 OK, these spring games are officially getting ridiculous. Southern Miss is holding a pep rally before Saturday's game.

 Alabama is slipping. Saturday's spring game is expected to draw 70,000-75,000. That's down 20,000 from the Nick Saban lovefest two years ago.

 It's SEC spring day on Saturday. Eight of the 12 teams, including all six teams in the SEC West, will stage spring games.

Posted on: August 6, 2008 10:38 pm
 

Five things you should know about Conference USA

Five things you should know about Conference USA

1. Central Florida's off-field problems: What happened to coach George O'Leary and the defending Conference USA champs shouldn't be wished on anyone. The fallout from the tragic death of player Ereck Plancher is just beginning. 

There has been criticism from outside the program. O'Leary refused to talk to an Orlando Sentinel reporter at the conference media days. Plancher's family has said it will file a wrongful death suit.

How will any of this impact the Knights? It remains to be seen but Central Florida is favored by many to win the East Division again.

2. New coaches: The league got a boost in name recognition when Southern Miss hired Larry Fedora, Houston got Oklahoma's Kevin Sumlin and SMU was lucky enough to sign June Jones. Combine those talents with Mike Price (UTEP),  Bob Toledo (Tulane), Skip Holtz (East Carolina) and O'Leary and you've got a Library of Congress full of football knowledge.

3. It's possible to make Warriors out of the Ponies: SMU didn't hire Jones for his blitz schemes. The Mustangs haven't been to a bowl since the rocks cooled but the hiring of the former Hawaii coach is meant to at least get people excited about the program again. Balls will be flying. We'll see if SMU takes off.


4. There is a dark horse Orange Bowl candidate: In this age of offense-first, why not Tulsa? Crazy-go-nuts coach Todd Graham is one of the leading purveyors of the spread option. He needs to find a replacement for quarterback Paul Smith but the schedule sets up for the Golden Hurricane to possible go 11-1.


5. There is hope for everyone: There have been seven Conference USA champions in the last six seasons. How is that possible? TCU and Cincinnati shared the 2002 crown followed by Southern Miss (2003), Louisville (2004), Tulsa (2005), Houston (2006) and Central Florida (2007).

Posted on: July 8, 2008 6:01 pm
 

Notre Dame AD search

It's Tuesday (7/8) and a little bird told me a new Notre Dame AD could be announced as soon as Wednesday.

We know that SMU AD Steve Orsini (former ND player) is interested. So is MAC commissioner Rick Chryst, an under-the-radar type who has the respect of everyone, as far as I can tell, in college athletics.

Other names to consider: Bubba Cunningham, Tulsa AD and ND grad; Missy Conboy, current interim AD; Sandy Barbour, Cal AD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Cal, Notre Dame, SMU, Tulsa
 
 
 
 
 
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