Tag:LSU
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:57 pm
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National notes: Source of Missouri's indecision

We're starting to get a clearer picture of the momentous decision Missouri has to make.

The school could make as much as $12 million more per year in the SEC according to this Monday Associated Press story

The AP obtained the document that was shown to the school's board of curators last week. It contains details about academics but the juicy stuff is the money. As reported previously, Missouri would face a significant exit fee if it leaves for the 2012 season.  The document pointed out Missouri would make approximately $2 million less in revenue staying in the Big 12 compared to the average SEC school in fiscal 2012 ($19.25 million-$17.16 million).

The real money is in the future where the SEC is two years into its 15-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and CBS. At issue seems to be how that additional $12 million could be made.

I talked to multiple TV sources who could come up with, at most, an $8 million-$10 million increase for Missouri. That includes the extra money gained from the SEC title game. Also, there is normal yearly escalation in the contract that is currently paying that $19 million per year to SEC members.

The document could be referring to the back end of that 15-year deal. Typically, long-term contracts are "back-ended" where an escalating amount of money is paid at the end of the deal. That's one of the reasons why CBS partnered with TBS and Turner on a new NCAA tournament basketball deal. It was easier to redo the deal than to pay the bigger rights fees at the end of the old contract.

The other possibility is a much-discussed "SEC Network". Technically, that's the description of the current ESPN deal that distributes the conference across multiple platforms. What's being speculated, though, is a new revenue generator -- a bundling of the conference's third-tier rights to form a new cable entity. That theoretically would include one non-conference game from each school.

Each SEC school gets the rights to that one a year to telecast on a pay-per-view basis. The conference would have to negotiate to reclassify those rights so that they could be bundled.

As far as a windfall for the SEC by merely expanding to 14 teams, slow down. I'm told that the increase in revenue would be negligible. Remember, that additional revenue from expansion would be a negotiation. If the parties (ESPN, CBS) can't come to an agreement with the SEC on a new number then the issue goes to arbitration.

ESPN and CBS will rightly argue that they're already in Texas, where the SEC already does well in the ratings. The SEC will counter that it has added value. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said Monday he doubted the $12 million figure, adding that Missouri will be a Big 12 member for 2012-13.

Neinas said for Missouri to gain an extra $12 million per year, the SEC would have to increase their TV revenue by $168 million.

Missouri never seems to be able to do anything privately when it comes to these matters. Remember, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who is blamed by many for touching off this latest round of realignment. There have been dueling "leaks" starting with an anonymous Missouri official last week saying that the Big Ten was the school's first choice.

Monday's AP story seems to counter that by stating how rich Missouri could become by moving. In the end, it points up how divided Missouri is on the subject. There is no clear consensus. Does the SEC want that?

Missouri is obviously concerned about the instability of the Big 12. The league is basically guaranteed to stay together for only the next six years. The SEC could be a lifetime decision.

The Big 12's newest head coach already has some advice for Missouri.

"Stay in the Big 12," TCU's Gary Patterson said. "It's a better fit. Same with me as far as [speculation about] taking jobs. I know what my plusses and minuses are here. Everybody thinks it's going to be a better place if they change conferences."

 


Is Texas soft?

The question has been asked so often -- accusingly -- over the years that it is part of the Longhorn hater's talking points. But the issue has come up again this week as the depth and breadth of Texas' loss to Oklahoma starts to settle in.

Saturday's 38-point win was the largest for Oklahoma in the Red River series since 2003 and the fifth-largest margin in the history of the rivalry. OU had eight sacks for 84 negative yards, 113 yards in tackles for loss. Texas' 259 total yards was three more than OU had in sacks, tackles for loss and fumble/interception returns.  Defensive end Frank Alexander had a career day with three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, a quarterback hurry and six total tackles.

"This was my last one," Alexander said. "I wanted to go out with a bang."

"It's not like we were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, right?" Bob Stoops said.

That's to be debated. Any encouragement Texas got from starting 4-0 had to be diminished as the Horns go into the Oklahoma State game. One Dallas columnist went back to a season preview magazine to one of those quotes from an anonymous coach sizing up Texas before 2011.

"The guys they are taking are good-character kids, and good for them. But they don’t' get a lot of kids who have overcome a lot of adversity. How tough are they?"

We're about to find out. Mack Brown is 13-0 in games immediately following Oklahoma.

 

 

Did the state of Florida just detach from the United States?

Seems that way. It's clear that something is wrong in the Sunshine State. There was no team from the state in the top 25 for the first time since 1982. But there are rational reasons. Miami and Florida have new coaches. Florida State has been on a downturn for a decade.

What's new? Nothing much in the SEC. LSU and Alabama continue to be two of the most dominant teams in the country. Florida just got done playing them back-to-back.

"You can't get any tougher than LSU and Alabama," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said.

Miami was hurt by suspensions. It will be hurt by coming NCAA penalties in the Nevin Shapiro case. Florida State is the biggest surprise, rather disappointment. After the hype leading up to the Oklahoma game, the Seminoles have been one of the biggest underachievers of the season.

It will get fixed. All three schools won't be down for long. Florida has tremendous injury problems at quarterback. Miami has lost to Maryland, Kansas State and Virginia Tech by a combined 15 points.

 


Mike Stoops can now be himself. Expect Arizona's just-fired coach to surface quickly as an assistant somewhere. His name has already been attached to Kansas which is dead last in total defense.

KU would owe sitting coach Turner Gill the $6 million left on his contract if it fired him after this season. In one of the biggest potential boat races of the season, Kansas hosts No. 3 Oklahoma Saturday night.

Bob Stoops said he would be willing to hire his younger brother: "Sure, if I got enough money to. He's going to have a lot of opportunities. I know that."

 

One more on Arizona: AD Greg Byrne got out ahead of the competition by making the move on Mike Stoops in midseason. If nothing else, he can pursue a successor with a clear conscience without sneaking around behind his coach's back.

That puts Arizona ahead of UCLA, among others, which has a decision to make on Rick Neuheisel.  

 


TCU AD Chris Del Conte admits that his program's inclusion into the Big 12 gives it a boost in recruiting against in-state big brother Texas. But as Patterson pointed out, the coach was already recruiting against Texas in some instances.

Del Conte, in a strange way, reiterated Patterson's ability to develop players.

"We overanalyze five-star recruits. The greatest player when I was growing up in Taos, N.M. was a giant," Del Conte said. "but he was 5-7 in eighth grade. I was the only guy [back then] who took my shower with my underwear on. It was like, 'Whoa guys, I'm not ready for that.' "

 

 

My Heisman top five this week:

1, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU -- Best in this category since Charles Woodson?

2, Andrew Luck, Stanford -- Plays like Peyton Manning. Now, in the NFL.

3, Trent Richardson, Alabama -- Never thought he'd be a workhorse like this.

4, Russell Wilson, Wisconsin -- Look for Russellmania to explode this week against Indiana. 

5, Robert Griffin, Baylor -- Legitimacy of candidacy should be decided this week against Texas A&M. 

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

Son of Weekend Watch List: Coaches' poll attacks?

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

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

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

 

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

 

 

Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:31 pm
 

National notes: What now Missouri?

What now Missouri?

While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.

"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.

As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.

Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.

"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.

The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.

Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?



Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.

 


It's been discussed before
but Slive also said there would be discussions about rescinding the two-team limit per conference for BCS bowls. Now that the SEC is the first major conference to grow to 13, it may think it deserves more BCS access.

"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."




Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.

The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit

Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."

The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.

The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.

The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.

What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.



There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.

That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.

Rubbish.

A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.

A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.

There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.

Alabama
LSU
Florida
Arkansas
Texas A&M
Auburn
South Carolina
Georgia
Tennessee
Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Kentucky
Vanderbilt



The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.

Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.

Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.

Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game): 

Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.

If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.



Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.

Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.

David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.

Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.

Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.

Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.

Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.

David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:31 pm
 

National notes: What now Missouri?

What now Missouri?

While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.

"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.

As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.

Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.

"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.

The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.

Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?



Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.

 


It's been discussed before
but Slive also said there would be discussions about rescinding the two-team limit per conference for BCS bowls. Now that the SEC is the first major conference to grow to 13, it may think it deserves more BCS access.

"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."




Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.

The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit

Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."

The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.

The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.

The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.

What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.



There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.

That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.

Rubbish.

A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.

A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.

There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.

Alabama
LSU
Florida
Arkansas
Texas A&M
Auburn
South Carolina
Georgia
Tennessee
Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Kentucky
Vanderbilt



The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.

Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.

Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.

Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game): 

Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.

If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.



Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.

Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.

David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.

Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.

Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.

Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.

Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.

David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.
Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm
 

On A Football Saturday: UNM considering Leach?

So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.

Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.

Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.

Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?



--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:

Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.

"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.

Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time

Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.

Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.

Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?

South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.

Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.



--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...



--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...

Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...

Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.


--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.


If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami? 
Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 10:02 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

National notes

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

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

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


Rose Bowl:
Oregon* vs. Wisconsin*

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


Fiesta:
Texas A&M vs. Stanford

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


Sugar:
LSU vs. Florida State

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


Orange:
West Virginia* vs. Virginia Tech*

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

*-automatic qualifier


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


--Way too early Heisman ballot:

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Best quarterback in the Big 12 after beating TCU. Felt like Friday Night Lights in Waco.
2. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: It's good to have a playmaker. It's great to have a playmaker on defense. It's almost impossible to have a game changer in the secondary.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Now, only the NFL has to take notice.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 1:42 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Quarterback not key issue with LSU going forward

A promo banner across the top of LSU's website Friday could have passed as a taunt considering the current state of the program.

Who's Next?

At the moment -- and check back frequently for updates -- LSU goes into its mega-match with Oregon in eight days diminished and disgraced. Once again, updating from two seconds ago, LSU ...

--is currently under NCAA investigation because of its dealings with Will Lyles.

--will be missing its fastest player and best big-play threat Russell Shepard against Oregon due to suspension.

--has no idea whether starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and backup linebacker Josh Johns will ever play again. Both were suspended indefinitely Friday within an hour of warrants being issued for their arrest. The two were expected to be charged with second-degree felony assault stemming from the infamous Shady's bar fight.

--in the middle of all this, awarded coach Les Miles with a contract extension on Friday. Before the outrage boils up, be advised this just happened to be a serendipitous convergence of events. School officials were already scheduled to meet Friday to rubber stamp the deal.

Get your heads up, Tiger Nation. This is what passes for closure. This is what many of you wanted. Your team went 11-2 last year and you blamed Jefferson. At best, he was the most experienced quarterback on the roster. At worst, he had become a huge distraction. Law enforcement decided the issue. 

Who's next? Senior Jarrett Lee. He's not a difference maker. Don't worry, it's not like LSU has been churning out top draft choices at the position, but fans being fans they're always looking toward the next best thing. Some of the more uncaring had tagged Lee "Pick Six." Can't imagine why. This is the same guy who in an eight-game stretch in 2008 threw 10 interceptions. Five of them were returned for touchdowns. That includes a four-pick performance in an overtime loss to Alabama.

Lee is now perceived as somewhat of a savior. First, because he's the only guy on the roster with any notable experience. Second, he's not Jordan Jefferson. It's easier now to remember Lee's heroics last season against Alabama (key third-down pass) and Florida (game-clinching touchdown pass to Terrence Tolliver).

Closure might not be the right word. LSU might actually be better without Jefferson. But that's not the point either. Whether LSU beats Oregon or wins the SEC probably wasn't going to hinge on the quarterback. The Tigers have won national championships with a former minor league catcher (Matt Mauck) and with a savvy guy who shows up nowhere among the school's top 10 career passers (Matt Flynn).

Lee is serviceable, which is all LSU needs right now. There isn't that much of a drop off between him and Jefferson. The difference is Lee is committed having lost 30 pounds and, well, eligible to play. Transfer Zach Mettenberger is the guy on the come but still third-string.

As mentioned, it's not like the program has been producing top NFL quarterbacks lately. But it has been winning -- big.

Miles didn't earn that extension because of his grass-eating ability. He won 62 games in six seasons in the toughest conference in the country. His name continues to pop up for big-time jobs, especially at Michigan. LSU has won under Miles (and Nick Saban before him) with two time-worn SEC strategies -- running the ball and playing defense.

And talk about clock management, Les is a changed man. Barely 30 minutes passed before Miles suspended the two players after word came down about the arrest warrants. 

So in a strange way it is a more stable LSU program heading into the season opener. We know for certain that Jordan Jefferson is an accused felon right now. That doesn't mean he's responsible for what is reported to be the battery of a bar patron. It doesn't mean he's guilty or will serve jail time.

It means that we know his situation going forward. LSU and Les can move on. The coach knows he has been betrayed. Miles went to wall in defending his inconsistent senior. It looks like Jefferson has repaid him with a slap in the face.

It's not like Oregon has its Ducks in a row heading to Arlington. The program has had its own unfortunate dealings with Lyles. Defensive back Cliff Harris is suspended himself having successfully proven it's possible to get a rental car up to 118 mph on I-5 while driving with a suspended license.


Who's next? Maybe a lawyer and an NCAA investigator at the 50 for the coin toss.

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