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Tag:Iowa
Posted on: September 28, 2010 7:47 pm
 

National notes

What the hell happened to the Big East?

No one was predicting a national championship this season, but things were looking up weren't they? Pittsburgh had a bonafide Heisman candidate in Dion Lewis. UConn was going to beat Michigan and begin the end for Rich Rod. West Virginia had Noel Devine. Cincinnati wasn't 12 wins good, but it was 10 wins good. Right?

The only thing good about the league at this point is that September is ending. At least the Big East can start 0-0 in October. It was 1-10 against BCS conference schools in September. Every team in the league has at least one loss. There are no ranked teams. UConn has changed quarterbacks. There has been an APB sent out for Lewis. Syracuse? There's hope. The Orange are 3-1.

Remember, this was the league that Paul Tagliabue thought was worth saving.

Here's what went (really, really) wrong.

Brian Kelly left Cincinnati. The Bearcats were thinking the worst and hoping for the best. Turns out that Kelly did have the magic touch to get a mid-major into a BCS bowl. It also turns out that the growing pains under Butch Jones were going to be significant.  A 1-3 start means the Bearcats have one less loss than they have had in last two seasons combined (four).

Rutgers never capitalized. It was almost four years ago that Rutgers lit up the nation and New York with that magic win over Louisville. The Scarlet Knights didn't follow through to win the Big East and capture that BCS berth. Greg Schiano keeps recruiting well but Rutgers has lost that Cinderella the program had. It dropped to 2-1 Saturday with a loss to North Carolina.

Ditto for South Florida. Wasn't it just three years ago that the Bulls rose to the No. 2 in the country? South Florida was a fun story for a while under fiery coach Jim Leavitt. Then they always seemed to fade in November. Leavitt got sideways with the administration and may have struck a player. A lawsuit trying to dispel that assertion is what takes most of his time lately. Skip Holtz was the right hire but it's going to take time. Actually, the Bulls might have the brightest outlook after one month. They stuck with Florida for a half and should be 4-1 heading to Morgantown on Oct. 14.

Pittsburgh underachieved again. The Panthers were a prohibitive favorite to win the league in the preseason. They still might do it but have already lost twice. Thursday's four-touchdown rout by Miami was embarrassing. There will be no 10-win repeat.

Four of the league's eight teams have switched coaches in the last two years.
Remember, continuity is a good thing.

There's always Temple and/or Villanova. The two schools have been rumored to join the league as a way of bolstering its major-market profile if and when the Big Ten gets the expansion jones again. There was a report that the league may be interested in TCU. Makes sense for both sides, sort of. If TCU loses once in the Mountain West, it could be out of the BCS running. If it loses three times (non-conference games) while playing in the Big East, it could still get a BCS bowl.

None of that fixes what's wrong now. 

The top 10 September teams (No preseason polls involved. Strictly based on accomplishments to date)

1. Alabama -- beat two ranked teams, one top 10 team on the road. No drop off after losing nine defensive starters.
2. Boise State -- beat two ranked teams, one on the "road" (Virginia Tech). No drop off after undefeated season.
3. Stanford -- Most underrated team in the country. Andrew Luck could win the Heisman. Cardinal could win the Pac-10.
4. Auburn -- Complete team now with Cam Newton.
5. Nebraska -- Defense alone could get it to national championship game.
6. Oregon -- Scorched the earth until Arizona State, then Devils handed them a game by turning it over seven times.
7. Arizona -- Win over Iowa was biggest in years.
8. NC State -- Won twice impressively on the road (Central Florida, Georgia Tech). Suddenly an ACC favorite.
9. Ohio State -- Against the only upright opponent showed flaws but still picked off four Miami passes. Still waiting for Big Ten sked.
10. Michigan -- Can't argue with 4-0 for the second straight season. Denard Robinson emerging as Heisman favorite.

The Quarter Pole

(The best after four games. Team and player)

Best of the Big East: West Virginia, Jordan Todman (UConn)
Best of the Big 12: Nebraska, Taylor Martinez (Nebraska)
Best of the Big Ten: Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State)
Best of the ACC: NC State, Russell Wilson (NC State)
Best of the SEC: Alabama, Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
Best of Conference USA: East Carolina, Bryce Beall (Houston)
Best of the Pac-10: Oregon, Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Best of the Mountain West: TCU, Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)
Best of the Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee, Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
Best of the WAC: Boise State, Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Best of the MAC: Temple, Bernard Pierce (Temple)

Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:36 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The closest Alabama has come to the schedule it will face the next three weeks came in 1952. Bama faced No. 5 Georgia, No. 2 Maryland and No. 16 Auburn. The Tide could face three consecutive top 10 teams considering it plays No. 10 Arkansas, No. 9 Florida and No. 12 South Carolina in the next three weeks ... Oregon State is basically admitting that Boise's blue turf is in its head. You might have read -- how could you not? -- that Oregon State painted its practice field blue to get ready for Saturday's showdown in Boise. There is some thought that the blue turf blends in with Boise's blue home jerseys.  Maybe, but that still makes it hard to explain Boise's success at home -- 63-2 since 2000, which leads the nation. The Broncos haven't lost in blue (jerseys) on the blue (turf) since 2001 ...

Houston true freshman Terrance Broadway starts this week against Tulane. UCLA knocked out the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, Case Keenum (knee) and Cotton Turner (collarbone), for the season ... While Florida's offense still needs to get it together, its defense has been impressive -- a nation-leading 10 interceptions and plus-7 in turnover margin ... Is there any more cursed program when it comes to running back injuries than Iowa? For the second consecutive year, Jewel Hampton will miss the season with a knee injury ... New Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Wheeler leads the country with 11 touchdown passes. Veteran Zac Robinson, since departed, threw 15 td passes all of last season. New offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is making his mark ...

For what it's worth here are SWWL top four defenses (in random order) -- Texas, TCU, Nebraska, Alabama. Combined they have allowed 3.97 yards per play and a total of 19 touchdowns (1.18 per game) ... There's a reason Kansas may have had problem signaling in plays last Friday at Southern Miss. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that Joe Dailey, KU's on-campus recruiting coordinator, was taken off play-signaling duty prior to the game  because his role had been against NCAA rules. The NCAA states that "field level" duties are for those "who are performing a service associated with action on the field of play ..." In other words, a coach. Dailey is a former Nebraska quarterback who coached with Turner Gill at Buffalo. KU hosts New Mexico State trying to come out of the non-con 2-2 ...

Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino has not been hired by Minnesota as a consultant according to the Gophers AD. Joel Maturi denied a broadcast report that Mangino had been hired. Several outlets reported that Mangino was on the sideline during Saturday's loss to USC. Mangino resigned under pressure in December and has been residing in Naples, Fla. ... Guarantee-game fallout: Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida Atlantic are tied for the best overall record in the Sun Belt, 1-1 ... The SEC has as many teams ranked in the top 15, six, as every other BCS conference combined ... Boise is 7-17 all-time against teams from BCS conferences. Five of those wins have come since 2006 ... My picks this week. I'm really good.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 4:02 pm
 

Big Ten divisional announcement special

Give the Big Ten credit for building the hype.

The league will announce the much-awaited divisions for 2011 going forward during what is being called a "divisional alignment special" at 7 pm ET Wednesday night. There is already speculation and a report out there that Michigan and Ohio State are in different divisions.

The other key issue is when that game will be played. There is much consternation over moving "The Game" from its traditional spot during the last weekend in November. The 90-minute special will feature ADs Gene Smith (Ohio State), Dave Brandon (Michigan), Mark Hollis (Michigan State) and Tom Osborne (Nebraska).

If you want to assume that a pair of schools are being represented, go ahead. 

My divisions: 

East (or Hayes) Division

Ohio State
Purdue
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Illinois
Penn State

West (or Schembechler) Division

Michigan
Indiana
Iowa
Nebraska
Northwestern
Michigan State

It appears that the Big Ten has used the "zipper" plan that essentially separates rivals. That makes it easier for the so-called 5-3-1 model. Five games against teams in your division, a set of three rotating games against teams from the opposite division and a designated rival. That would be a game played each year.

In my divisional alignment, Ohio State and Michigan would play each year along with Purdue-Indiana, Iowa-Minnesota, Michigan State-Penn State, Wisconsin-Nebraska and Illinois-Northwestern.
 

Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:53 am
 

Son of 25 Things to Watch

These five "things" didn't make the cut ....

26. This is the best, most-inside look at Nebraska's move to the Big Ten. The Omaha World-Herald piece shows that Nebraska was tipped off in January about possibly being left out as conference shifting took place. From there, the school played a risky, clandestine mating dance with the Big Ten that resulted in the school joining on June 11.

27. Odds on winning the national championship from Bodog.com

Alabama 4-1
Ohio State 5-1
Oklahoma 15-2
Boise State 8-1
Florida 9-1
Texas 14-1
Nebraska 15-1
Miami 18-1
TCU 18-1
Virginia Tech 18-1


In case you're scoring at home, Boise State has a better chance of winning the national chanmpionship than Florida, Texas, Nebraska or Miami.

28. Just in case you need help getting into the 2010 Heisman race, Texas coach Mack Brown says the 2004 Heisman race might not be over. 

29. Most fearsome ...

Defensive line: Iowa returns four all-Big Ten starters and its top two reserves. Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Hawkeyes last year.

Offensive line: Alabama. Having the defending Heisman Trophy winner and his sidekick (Trent Richardson) to spring lose, how hard can it be?

Secondary: North Carolina. All four starters are back (for now) on a unit that allowed 175 passing yards per game.

Offensive backfield:  Virginia Tech. Tyrod Taylor is ready to break out. Tailback Darren Evans returns to find his spot taken by '09 freshman sensation Ryan Williams. The only question for Frank Beamer is how to split the carries.

Defensive backfield: Texas. Three starters back from a unit that picked off 11 more passes (25) than touchdowns allowed (14).

Linebackers: Michigan State. Big Ten defensive player of the year and All-American Greg Jones is in the middle. He is bookended by Spartans' No. 2 tackler Eric Gordon and talented sophomore Chris Norman. 

Receivers:
Oklahoma. Four receivers averaged at least 12 yards per catch. Watch tiny Ryan Broyles who went over 1,000 yards on 89 catches.

Special teams: Nebraska. Alex Henery handles the kicking (24 of 28 FGs) and punts (41.4). Adi Kunalic has 86 career touchbacks, 38 percent of his kickoffs. Niles Paul averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 on punt returns.

30. Comeback player of the year

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder rebounded from shoulder surgery. Auburn's Zac Etheridge came back from a serious neck injury. Baylor's Robert Griffin ripped his ACL in the third game of the season.  Georgia Tech defensive back Cooper Taylor needed heart surgery .

They're all back in 2010 but the winner has to be Boston College's Mark Herzlich who beat cancer and inspired a nation during his recovery -- part of which was televised.

Posted on: August 23, 2010 2:44 pm
 

Have the BCS and BYU talked regarding access?

You have to assume that BYU's schedule as an independent is not a problem. At least not as big a one as I believed in the beginning.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported last week that it was a "done deal" that BYU's football program was going indy. You don't get that far down the road without having a reasonable idea that there will be enough teams to schedule. Whether the WAC lives or dies, there's still a chance to play four to six of the remaining teams. Notre Dame could be sprinkled in every now and then. Throw in the two service academies, Army and Navy. That still leaves, at least, four games remaining.

But, again, I'm going to assume BYU has that figured out.

The real reason that BYU is in Purgatory West, rather than the Mountain West at this point is TV revenue. It's no secret the administration is not satisfied with The Mtn., the league's four-year old network which has yet to turn a profit. BYU may be talking to ESPN for both carriage of some of its games and as a partner to line up opponents as an independent.

The questions might be: What kind of deal is ESPN willing to do with BYU as an independent vs. what kind of break MWC will give BYU in terms of television exposure outside The Mtn.

Another huge reason for BYU's waffling, it is becoming clear, is its BCS access. It can line up a schedule. It can get more games on ESPN. But the only way it gets closer to a BCS bowl without having to go back to the MWC hat in hand, is to get easier access to the BCS. I have reason to believe BYU and BCS parties have talked. Could it be about improved access? As an independent BYU, along with Army and Navy, would have worst access to a BCS bowl. Those three teams would have same access point: Ranked No. 1 or No. 2, automatic. Other than, no automatic access point. Those three teams would be eligible if they finished in the top 14 of the BCS. BYU finished No. 14, its highest BCS finish, in 2009 and still was trumped by Florida, Iowa and Boise State as at-large teams.

 Remember, there are only four available at-large spots (out of 10) for independents. The other six spots (seven if Notre Dame qualifies) are taken up by the BCS conference champions.

The feeling is that BYU would have gone independent and placed its minor sports in the WAC had Craig Thompson not plucked Fresno State and Nevada. Now BYU has to determine if it wants to put its minor sports in the WAC (what WAC?), the West Coast Conference or the MWC. In the case of the last option, it's doubtful the MWC would allow BYU to put its minor sports in its league if football was independent.

Right now, no one has full leverage. BYU can't find enough games, improved access or more television money at the moment. The MWC doesn't want to lose BYU because it might lose The Mtn. Thompson wouldn't confirm there is language in the contract that allows The Mtn. to dissolve if Utah and/or BYU leave. That, however, is the assumption.

We are in Day 5 of a strange standoff.

For entertainment purposes only here are BYU's games already scheduled through 2014 (source: San Jose Mercury News).

2011

Utah
Oregon State
Texas
Utah State
Games needed: 8

2012

Oregon State
Utah State
Boise State
Hawaii
Utah
Games needed: 7

2013

Texas
Boise State
Hawaii
Utah
Games needed: 8

2014

Texas
Boise State
Utah
Games needed: 9

Posted on: August 14, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2010 6:41 pm
 

Mailbag 8/14

This is an amazing story from Bill who grew up in Columbus, Ohio as Woody Hayes' paper boy. It is apropos of my Monday story on future Big Ten divisional alignment.

From: Bill

Dennis, I like your thinking on this. This has been one of my big worries about a Big Ten Championship Game. I have always worried it will make the OSU-Michigan game lose its luster. I know Michigan is down but they will come back in time. This seems to be a great way to make sure it doesn't. I also wanted to share a story about "The Game" and what it has meant to me over the years.

Growing up in Upper Arlington two streets over from where Woody lived was very special. I was also his paper boy for four years. Back then Columbus had two newspapers -- the Columbus Citizen Journal and the Columbus Dispatch. The CJ was the early morning paper and this was the one I delivered. Coach would be waiting for the paper every morning as I delivered it at 6. If the paper was late coach was not in a very good mood. It didn't matter if it was my fault or the paper's fault. His quote was always the same, "Damn it Billy, where is my paper?" I always got a chuckle out of coach bitching about the paper being late.

All through high school I still kept in touch with coach. I would stop by and say hello and ask about the team. Even after he was fired and I had left for college I would stop in and see him when I was home at break. Coach was a very big fan of military history. When I left for the Marine Corps he gave me an hour-long history lecture of the history of the USMC. One of his best friends was General Lewis Walt who at one time was commandant of the Marine Corps. Coach told me about his visits to Vietnam in the late 60s and 70s.
 
When coached passed away in March of 1987 I was stationed in Central America. My parents were still in Florida for the winter and Mrs. Hayes got a hold of my mom. Mrs. Hayes wanted to make sure I made it back for the funeral. My mom explained that I was overseas and she really didn't know how to get a hold of me fast.

 At the time I was doing drug interdiction missions all over Central and South America. I would be out for 30 days at a time and in for two weeks. Mrs. Hayes told my mom she would take care of that problem.

Another one of coach's best friends was Richard Nixon. In fact he gave the eulogy at coach's funeral. Mrs. Hayes called Richard Nixon, who called President Regan's office, who called the commandant of the Marine Corps Office, who called US Central Command in Tampa. I was in the field at the time and I received a radio message that my team was to be extracted. When my helicopter landed I was met by my commanding officer who told me there was a death in my family and I needed to be sent home. He did not know the details but in an hour they put me on a Navy jet to McDill AFB in Tampa. When I got off the jet a Marine full bird colonel was waiting on me.

Now, in the Marine Corps a full bird colonel is god. I could not imagine why a full bird was waiting on me. He came up to me and asked me how I knew Richard Nixon. I told him I didn't and that he must have me mixed up with someone else. I told him I was going home for a death in family. I still had no information on who had passed away. The colonel explained to me that coach had passed way and Richard Nixon had made some calls to get me home for the funeral. They put me on another jet and I flew back to Columbus landing at OSU Airport.

 When I landed there was a car waiting for me. The door opens and it's Bo Schembechler. The pilots of the Navy Jet get out of the plane and have him sign autographs. I am in shock. We get back to the Hayes house on Cardiff Rd. My parents aren't back from Florida yet and Mrs. Hayes wanted me to stop by. I am sitting at the kitchen table with Bo, Richard Nixon, and Mrs. Hayes. I am in uniform and Mrs. Hayes says, "Billy would you would like a glass of milk." Bo looks at me, then at President Nixon and says to Mrs. Hayes, "Ann, I think Billy needs something stronger than a glass of milk." I thought Richard Nixon was going to have a heart attack right there on the spot.

That is my connection to "The Game". I have not shared this story with one soul. Can't tell you why, I guess I wanted to keep it for myself. I know you're a reporter but I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself. I wanted to share it with you because covering the Big Ten you know the history and meaning of the OSU-Michigan game.


From: Scott

I like your plan, except for the division names. Given the manner of Woody Hayes's departure, and the fact that he was always viewed as arrogant and abrasive by the rest of the conference, there is no way the Big 10 will name a division after him. Bo is an acceptable choice, more respected around the league but I think they will choose to go with players. Unfortunately for greats like Archie Griffin, I also think they will go for pre-war players. Grange is a shoo-in, and the other division will likely be named for someone like Nagurski or Kinnick.

Divided We Stand:

Forget that, how about the Harbaugh Division and Kern Division?

From: Tad

Dennis, I have one issue with your Big 10 divisional alignments. In my opinion, there are 16 college football blueblood programs. A few could be argued, but for the most part, the following programs are the cream of the crop:

USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Nebraska and Penn State.

 Every one of these programs has a primary rivalry with another school within this group. While some schools have bigger rivalries (Alabama-Auburn). they still have a huge rivalry with another school on this list. In Alabama's case, LSU is an annual rivalry game. Nebraska and Penn State have no real rival, let alone a rival within this list. Nebraska lost their primary rival to Texas at the inception of the Big 12. I contend that Nebraska and Penn State deserve each other as huge year-end rivals. The Big 10 could stage a Michigan-Ohio state and Nebraska-Penn State doubleheader every Thanksgiving weekend.

 Contrary to your statement, Ohio State and Michigan playing the final weekend has no more bearing on who would play in the BIG 10 Championship game than if they played earlier in the season. The main point is that every other school on this list has a primary rivalry with someone else on the list, except Penn State and Nebraska. They deserve each other....1982 and 1994 are the foundation on which the rivalry has begun...all we need to do is add a little wood to the fire.

Tadpole:

I've heard about this Nebraska-Penn State thing and I don't get it. There is no rivalry there, plain and simple. There is lingering anger from Nebraska fans for having lost a close game in Happy Valley years ago but that doesn't constitute a rivalry. As for lumping those two games together on the last weekend of the season. That's the last thing you want to do. There's a chance that one or both games might make a difference in the Big Ten championship game, but what happens when neither game means anything?

What you want to do is spread out your good games to keep fans (and TV networks) interested. Putting two "rivalry" games (again, Nebraska-Penn State doesn't do anything for me), on the last weekend of the regular season is not the way to do it.


From: Tony

Please stop with the suggestions of calling the future Big Ten divisions the Bo and Woody divisions. Why do you keep on insisting in honoring these two? Hayden Fry won with a fourth of the talent that they did, and he had to win in a more competitive Big Ten when scholarship reductions would have shown that Woody and Bo weren't the end-all, be-all. The '70s are over - and so should the Bo-Woody lovefest.

Ten Year Bore:

Fry Division? Sounds like the people in charge of researching potato quality at McDonald's corporate.

From: Tom

Mr. Dodd- more is not necessarily better. I suspect I'm older than you are, and can remember when baseball decided that two All-Star games per year would make things twice as nice. And that didn't last very long- four years, to be exact, because the second game didn't garner the expected interest. If Ohio State-Michigan is so important, then don't dilute it. Don't ask the Big 10 to repeat MLB's mistake of 50 years ago. Christmas is great. How would it be if we had it twice a year? Thanks for reading this.

Santa Pause:

Christmas twice a year? All for it. More socks and underpants from grandma!

From: Paul

Why are these big BCS schools afraid to play against Boise State? Are they scared they're gonna lose against a mid-major school at home? What is your professional opinion?

Paulie Bronco:

Part of it is the big boys not wanting to play Boise. The other part is Boise refusing guarantee games for the most part. AD Gene Bleymaier says plenty of teams will play the Broncos in non-conference games but only at their place. For example, Boise is traveling to Ole Miss next season but not returning the game. Not only does Bleymaier believe his program is beyond having to play those one-and-done games, but he plans to introduce NCAA legislation to mandate return games.

Paulie, the quality of your question has rated explanations from Bleymaier and Boise president Bob Kustra ...

Kustra:
"We're doing a study of non-conference scheduling in Division I football. There is a fairly compelling case to be made that the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-10 over the years have controlled the scheduling. All the large conferences ... What Gene will tell you, there's an overwhelming number of home games for the big guys but no home-and-home. We've been able to get a home-and-home with Oregon and Oregon State. We want to propose to the NCAA a mandated home-and-home scheduling arrangement for I-A non-conference football games. Why should Boise State go to Georgia, but more than likely they're not going to return it?

Bleymaier:
"I think we've really dropped the ball as an organization. The NCAA could mandate this at any time. Oregon, Oregon State are return games. Ole Miss (next year), Washington, Arkansas and Arizona State are not. It's so simple to legislate.

"We'll play anybody in the country home-and-home. You've got to do a better job of scheduling. You want us to go play three non-conference games on the road and they don't have to come here. Texas isn't going to do that, Oklahoma isn't going to do that, USC isn't going to do that, Florida isn't going to do that, Ohio State isn't going to do that, nobody's going to do that."

By the way, Bleymaier looks at the opener against Virginia Tech as a road game even though it is being billed as a neutral site game in Landover, Md. "I'd rather play a neutral-site game than a guarantee game like we're playing the following year at Ole Miss. I'd rather play Ole Miss in Atlanta, than Oxford," Bleymaier said.

Another reminder that Virginia Tech is the "home" team. It is getting $2.6 million in guarantee money from the game. Boise is getting less than half that, $1.25 million.


From:
Corey

Dennis, I have been reading you for years and respect your outlook on a lot of aspects of college sports. However, I find little excuse as to why the West Virginia University Mountaineers were left of your Super Schools list for Best Football/Basketball schools. I was a little alarmed that Pittsburgh made the list over the Mountaineers, then completely shocked to find the Wisconsin Badgers at No. 4?!? Under what credentials do the Badgers possibly outmatch WVU in this scenario? The Mountaineers have done more in the last 5 years in both sports than Wisconsin has done in the last ten. Those two schools aren't even comparable, and it's a shame the nod didn't go to WVU.

Country Roadie:

It was close, real close, between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. I could argue either way, but I couldn't, like you, say it was a slam dunk in West Virginia's favor. In the biggest game in its history, West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh 2 1/2 years ago. At home. Pittsburgh has won a national championship. Yes, it was more than 30 years ago but there is something about a program that has won a championship. It hopes and plans and recruits to win another championship. OK, so it's taken Pittsburgh a while but when you think of the school you think of both football and basketball. I can't say that's the case at West Virginia.

Remember also that the criteria not only were recent success, but future outlook. Even though he has won 19 games in two seasons (plus a bowl game), I think anyone would agree that Bill Stewart doesn't have the program at the same level as Rich Rod did. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is reaching a high point under Dave Wannstedt.

As I said, it was close. Call it Pittsburgh 5A and WVU 5B.

 

From:
David


I still can't believe u think the call in the Ohio State-Miami game in the 2002 title game was legit. What have u watched to change your original opinion? And better yet, what drugs do u smoke in order to think a penalty should have been called on Glenn Sharpe. Dude, open your eyes and watch the footage...u and your stupid opinions suck...sorry, but it's true, you are a homer...


Hurrican't:

There was definitely a call there to be made. If you read my story from seven years ago, there was holding off the line by the Miami defensive back. A reasonable person could have called pass interference (or not). Your argument is with the mechanics of back judge Terry Porter. He threw the flag extremely late. I'd say at least five seconds late because I remember the fireworks going off celebrating an Ohio State win. Then, Porter signaled both holding and pass interference. While Porter might have right about both, he didn't look like he knew what he was doing because he waited so long. Keep reading. I've got an interesting story coming on Porter during the season.


From: Brian

I just don't get it. Urban Meyer had a fake heart attack, told everyone he was retiring for his family, only to come back THE NEXT DAY because he liked the way his team practiced. Damn the family all of the sudden. He threatens and bullies a reporter who did NOTHING WRONG, and has a team that has had over 25 arrests on his team since his tenure and yet another media member kisses his a--.
 
UNREAL!!! You must have been threatened by him too. Please someone expose this moron!! I guess just because he has won he gets a free pass. If they were 8-4 or worse every year, NO WAY you are writing such fluff for this clown. Does any reporter have any balls anymore????

Tennessee Fan:

I've taken my shots. We've all taken our shots. I've called Meyer a diva. I've called him out for trying to intimidate that Orlando Sentinel reporter. I've tried to shame him for all those arrests.

However ... the series was about the best football and basketball schools. Florida wouldn't be on the list without Urban Meyer.


From: Billy

Dennis: I am amazed at your media guys with rankings. LSU has been recruiting in the top 5 the last 5 years and you are ranking them 4th in the West. Funny, but the guys that really know are the (SEC) coaches and they are ranking LSU as 2nd ahead of both Auburn and Arkansas. I think ya'll just get caught up with the fact that Arkansas has a big name QB and Auburn had a good recruiting class for a change so you chose to disrespect LSU just 2 years removed from the BCS Championship by ranking them 4th.

I can flat guarantee you are wrong and I hope you and your associates have the nerve and honesty to stand up and admit your wrong when this season is over.

Tiger Fate:

It's not about "disrespect" or being wrong. It's an opinion before the season. Using your logic, you owe me an apology if LSU finishes below third. I'll take mine straight up with olives. Make it Ketel One, please.


From: Barret

Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have, but if you could send a message up the ladder that the CBS telecasts have way, way too many commercial, I'd appreciate it. LSU has 5 CBS games this year and I don't think I can survive that many 6- and 12-hour marathons. This is really a serious issue they need to address. It kills the game.

Commercialized:

You could have stopped after the first sentence: Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have.



From:
Mookenberg

Love your writing and your tweets, but I have one complaint. Can you please put an image of some sort up on your twitter account? It looks bush league with the generic green twitter logo. C'mon Dodd, you're better than that!

Mookie:

Trust me, for the children's sake, you wouldn't want to see that.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: August 7, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Riffing on the preseason coaches' poll...

Nick Saban really is questioning whether Alabama is No. 1. He apparently gave his No. 1 vote to Ohio State.

Boise State is way too low at No. 5. I expected the Broncos to start at No. 3, at least. Nevertheless, Boise carries the banner for all non-BCS schools. Its ranking gives it a realistic chance at playing in the championship game if it goes undefeated. Only three conferences are represented among the four teams above it in the poll. Either Alabama or Florida will be "eliminated" when they meet Oct. 2. Boise should be concerned if Texas and/or Ohio State go undefeated. If two BCS conference teams go undefeated that could possibly block Boise. Of course, the Broncos should be used to that by now. The point is, Boise has the best shot of any team in the 13-year history of the BCS to become a non-BCS national champion.

Was it only two years ago that Georgia was the unanimous preseason No. 1? It starts this season at No. 21.

This is the third year in a row the SEC has been the coaches' preseason No. 1.

Looking ahead to 2011: There are five teams in the top 14 (including Nebraska) that will be Big Ten members next season.

No. 14 Penn State is the first team to play three teams that won BCS bowls the previous year. All three start the season in the top 10 -- No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Iowa.

Oklahoma finished 2009 unranked. It debuts at No. 8.

No. 20 Florida State (7-6) has the worst 2009 record of any team in the top 25.

Surprise! Six SEC teams are in the poll.

Per urging from American Football Coaches Association director Grant Teaff, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier did not cast his traditional No. 25 vote for Duke, the school that gave him his first head coaching job.

No team has won back-to-back coaches' poll titles in the BCS era. USC won the AP title in 2003 and was unanimous champion in 2004. Of course, that might not last if the BCS rips the '04 title because of Reggie Bush.

It will be interesting to see where USC debuts in the AP poll. Remember, the Trojans can win a national championship in AP but cannot be considered in the coaches' poll. The Trojans could win the AP title but technically can't win its own conference. The program has been hit with a two-year bowl ban.

Posted on: August 2, 2010 9:38 am
Edited on: August 2, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Five things about the Big Ten

Sizing up the Big Ten going into the Big Ten media days in Chicago...

Divisional set up. Conference officials will begin talking this week about how to split the Big Ten in two beginning in 2011. That would be two six-team divisions and staging a championship, which is all but a certainty as league officials meet this week in Chicago. In a league that believes Dockers are a fashion statement, expansion to 12 teams is a radical step. Traditional rivalries are at stake. What do with the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana-Purdue)? More importantly, what to do with Ohio State-Michigan? Competitive balance is first on commissioner Jim Delany’s list of priorities. But today’s slug (Michigan) could be tomorrow’s power. Don’t screw this one up, fellas. You’ve got a good thing going as it is. We don’t want too many Iowa-Northwestern championship games.

Joe goes for 400. No one is talking about it, but Joe Paterno is six victories away from 400 career victories. Only two other college coaches have made it to that number (Eddie Robinson, 408 and John Gagliardi, 471). The way the profession is structured today, it’s doubtful anyone will ever get to 400 again. Incredibly, JoePa has gotten better with age. His teams go to BCS bowls. He keeps recruiting with fervor. His staff stays mostly intact. We’re talking a modern miracle here, folks. Joe has been under the weather during the offseason with an intestinal disorder so it will be interesting to see how he looks at the media days. The Lions become the first team ever to play three teams that won BCS bowls the previous year. Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa are all on the road. Penn State hasn’t won in Iowa City since 1999 and has lost six of the last eight to Ohio State. Still, save the date: The way the schedule shapes up, win No. 400 will come on or around Oct. 30 against Michigan.

Malaise and blue. This is either the last year of the Rich Rodriguez era or the takeoff point for Michigan getting back on track. There is no in-between with a new athletic director in place and pending NCAA penalties on the horizon. Rich Rod is going to have to win – big, it says here -- to save his job. With the school trotting out a $225 million refurbishment of the Big House this season, another losing season won’t be tolerated. The angst starts Sept. 4 against UConn.

Define “pause.” That’s the term Delany used on June 11 to describe the current state of Big Ten expansion.  That was also the day Nebraska formally announced it had joined the league. That means college athletics still is sitting with a tack on its chair. There’s this uncomfortable feeling that things aren’t settled. Notre Dame could decide tomorrow it wanted in and we’d be in for another round of expansion turmoil. Texas could spend two years in the 10-team Big 12 and decide it doesn’t want to go to Waco and Ames anymore. Those two scenarios aren’t likely but Delany isn’t closing the book on expansion either. Going into Monday’s media days, he hasn’t quite defined what hitting the pause button means. For now, the Big Ten, which has an 11 in its logo, will expand to 12 beginning in 2011. 

Ohio Statement. After winning its first Rose Bowl in 10 years, the Big Ten is on a roll. It beat four top 15 teams in bowls last season. Even in losing, it proved its worth. Northwestern gave Auburn a tussle in the Outback Bowl.  Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn may be this season’s Ndamukong Suh. Wisconsin seems to have the running thing down (a 1,000-yard rusher in 15 of the last 17 seasons). It’s up to Ohio State, though, to complete the comeback. The Buckeyes won their first Rose Bowl in 14 years, have a Heisman candidate in Terrelle Pryor and most probably will start the season ranked No. 2.  This season is a success in Columbus and around the Big Ten only if Ohio State plays for in a third national championship game in nine years.
 

 
 
 
 
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