Tag:Michigan
Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 6:05 pm
 

Dungeons, Dragons and Big Ten divisions

The new Big Ten has 12 teams and will start every season with two Ls.

If this has you confused, it's meant to in the new Large Dozen. The Big Ten made a big deal Monday out of revealing the names of its two six-team divisions. Then it underwhelmed us. The divisions are named Leaders and Legends. Not to be confused with Dungeons and Dragons or Abbott and Costello.

Leaders Division:  Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Legends Division:  Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern


"There's nothing, maybe, like it out there," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

That's certainly true. With all the great history and tradition available to it, the haughty Big Ten went low brow, corporate, generic. Leaders and Legends? That's the name of the trophy store down the street. What were "Gods" and "Superheroes" already taken? One thing for sure: The league won't be getting any cease and desist letters from famous people unless it's this guy. Sign ups are now being taken for summer school classes just to memorize the members of each division.

"Maybe if people don't embrace it in the first hour," Delany said, "they will in the first 24 or 36."


It's likely to take longer, if ever. If you're like me you're already wondering how the league promotes a Leaders Division showdown between Purdue and Indiana. It also prompts the question: Are the Leaders not legends and the Legends not leaders? And the alliteration thing is about as clever as a handoff to Archie Griffin. Delany was asked if the "two Ls" thing won't be associated with losses.

"You're the first one who has mentioned it," Delany said.

Apparently the commish wasn't on Twitter Monday which blew up with general mockery and disgust. A firm no doubt got six figures to "consult" on the division names and new logo. You'll love that when you see it. The league was cute with its embedded "11" in the old logo. In the new one, the "I" in "Big" has turned into "1". The "G" is meant to kind of simulate a "0". Maybe, but the "G" also looks like a "6". The league might be sending us a Da Vinci Code message on its future expansion plans.

"Now that you mention it ...," Delany said of a possible interpretation of "Big 16" in the new logo.

What is this a trademark or an M.C. Escher print?

All those names, all those (lower-case) legends and the league completely blew it. Schembechler and Hayes divisions would have been perfect. If Delany was worried about favoring individuals, then consider none of what went on Monday would have been possible without Bo and Woody enhancing the brand.

Instead the league used some of those people names for its conference awards, hyphenating them to get as many leaders and legends into the mix as possible. That makes the league's major awards look like chick-flick characters from your basic Lifetime movie. Who can forget Meredith Baxter-Birney playing Colleen Stagg-Paterno in "Looking For Love in Iowa City"?

My take on the subject wouldn't be complete without a list of suggested division names from myself and Twitter followers earlier on Monday. We got your generic right here.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:02 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Jon Gruden to Miami -- or not

If Jon Gruden has been let go by Miami, well, it's a damn shame.

The man had the job for two hours Sunday night. What the heck is going to happen to all his commits? The next coach is going to have a heck of a salvage job. Shabby way to treat a coach, Miami.

What? Wait, Gruden never was hired by Miami? You're kidding? I saw it on Twitter. I saw it from sources. I saw it in blogs. I saw in my e-mail. When a guy can't trust those outlets who can he trust?

For those of you sarcasm-impaired, calm down. We have entered a dark, confusing, dangerous age in journalism. Rumors are now stories. If we don't react to them, you do so at your own peril. Sources can send us scrambling like Top Gun fighter pilots. We have to. If we don't, we risk getting scooped. There's the same chance we also might end up chasing those wild geese.

My friend Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com added credibility to himself and his site covering the Big 12 realignment story this summer. He had a source, or sources, who turned out to be right. What happened Sunday night I'm not sure. I was getting those same texts, e-mails, blogs and scuttlebutt telling me that something was up with Gruden and Miami. Real? Not real? I see names attached to Twitter accounts. Sometimes I don't know who is at the other end of those accounts.

Just sayin'.

It was a strange week: Michigan AD Dave Brandon felt compelled to react to rumors that Rich Rodriguez was going to be fired after the Ohio State game. These days a high-ranking official like Brandon almost has react to such rumors. His silence would have lent credibility to them -- and that's sad. And until Michigan plays another game, those rumors could be true.

Also last week, film surfaced of Nebraska coordinator Carl Pelini seemingly going after a guy holding a camera on the field following the Texas A&M game. Before it could be confirmed by any reliable source, Pelini himself confirmed it by apologizing.

Whatever sources there were Sunday night in this Gruden "story" were wrong. Or at least, they were wrong for the moment. Or maybe just Gruden and Miami couldn't work something out. Thank goodness, our Clark Judge added some finality to the situation quoting a source -- one you should trust -- saying there was a "zero percent chance" Gruden would end up at Miami.

All that being said, would anyone be surprised if Gruden eventually did become the Miami coach? He issued this non-denial denial on Sunday.

"I am committed to MNF and to ESPN," Gruden said in a statement. "I enjoy working with Mike [Tirico], [Ron Jaworski] and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job."

Nowhere in there does it say, "I am not going to be the coach at the University of Miami."

Maybe that's because it could still happen.  Gruden would be a great hire for Miami. The nation is getting an inside look at his expertise each week on television. He has a Super Bowl ring. He has coached in college, though not in 19 years.

 One question, though: If Gruden is hired by the Canes would he be returning to Miami?

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Much credit to Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the work on these Joe Paterno statistics: As JoePa pursues win No. 401 Saturday at Ohio State , it's worth noting how he won a significant portion of his first 400. For the first 27 years of his head coaching career, Penn State played as an independent. The Nittany Lions regularly faced these six Eastern independents -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh and Boston College .

The Suspect Six weren't exactly national powers, at least they weren't against Paterno. Penn State was 112-14-1 against those schools before joining the Big Ten. Throw in the service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force were especially devastated during the Vietnam War -- and Joe was 130-16-1. Those 130 victories before joining the Big Ten account for more than half of his wins as an independent and 32.5 percent of his total victories ...

Who keeps track of this stuff? Michigan can win its 300th all-time game in November against Purdue ... Two backup quarterbacks go at it in Atlanta. Miami freshman Stephen Morris led a last-minute win over Maryland last week. Georgia Tech goes with sophomore Tevin Washington who replaces Josh Nesbitt , out with a broken arm ... With a win over Kent State , Army (5-4) assures that all three service academies are bowl eligible ... Syracuse (6-3 heading to Rutgers) is one of just nine I-A teams with four road wins ...

This is where playing I-AAs becomes a liability. Arizona State (4-5) must win its final three games to become bowl eligible. The Sun Devils played two I-AAs and now must sweep Stanford, UCLA and Arizona ... SEC teams are averaging 31 points per game, the most since expansion in 1992 ... Vanderbilt has attempted four field goals and 72 punts ... The Big East has no bowl eligible teams. At this point last year it had three.


Posted on: October 4, 2010 12:46 pm
 

National notes

Before we begin, here is your daily dose of Les Miles. Actually, it's the only dose of Les Miles you need for this week. If you learn anything more from this postgame video about Saturday's Unlucky 13 vs. Tennessee, let me know.


**A warning going into Week 6 ...

There is a real chance almost halfway through the season of an unprecedented logjam at the top of the BCS -- six undefeated conference champions, four of them in BCS leagues.

It's early but there is some separation and definition to the season after five weeks. Alabama is clearly the class of the SEC. Nebraska and Oklahoma are undefeated in the Big 12, and can't meet until the conference championship game. Ohio State's trip to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks suddenly looks less daunting. Boise State is going to rush through the WAC. TCU and Utah are likely to decide the Mountain West head-to-head. Oregon looks like it is going to run away with the Pac-10.

If all that happens, here is one projection of how the final BCS standings might look. Is too early? Never. The first BCS standings will be released in two weeks.

1. Alabama: With all the talk about the Pac-10's strength this season, the SEC still rules. The Tide are all but assured of playing three more ranked teams -- South Carolina, LSU and Auburn.

2. Oregon: Pollsters are already falling in love with the Ducks despite a dicey strength of schedule to this point.

3. Ohio State: Like Alabama, likely to play three more ranked teams (Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan). If you think the Big Ten's strength will carry the Buckeyes into the top two, think again. Oregon's offense is stronger and will make a stronger case, especially on the road where Jim Tressel seems to play conservatively.

4. Big 12: I am well aware that Kansas, Oklahoma State and Missouri are also undefeated making it five in this league. I'm also projecting that, regardless, this is where an undefeated Big 12 champion would end up if everyone else wins out. Among the five Big 12 undefeateds: Kansas State plays Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Missouri plays Kansas State, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Nebraska plays  Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Oklahoma plays only Missouri and Okie State. The Cowboys still have Kansas State, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

5. TCU/Utah: The Mountain West race will come down to the teams' Nov. 6 meeting in Salt Lake City. If either finishes undefeated it will most likely finish ahead of an undefeated Boise.

6. Boise State: There was bad, bad news for the Broncos on Sunday. They were jumped in both polls by Oregon for No. 3 in the rankings despite having superior accomplishments and super schedule strength to this point. Oregon has played a I-AA (Portland State) and a team that might as well be I-AA (New Mexico). Boise has played two ranked teams, one in the top 10 on the "road" (Virginia Tech at FedEx Field).

For the previous two weeks Boise, at No. 3, had gained on No. 2 Ohio State and pulled away from the No. 4 team. After one week of WAC play -- against admittedly horrible New Mexico State -- the voters have fallen in love with Oregon and are already damning the Broncos for their schedule.

There are 18 remaining undefeated teams. Five of those (28 percent) are in the Big 12. By the end of this week there will be 16 because of head-to-head meetings (Michigan State-Michigan, Nebraska-Kansas State). Also, by the end of the week a maximum of 11 teams will have the possibility of finishing undefeated because of assured head-to-head games. After this week only four undefeated teams will be alive in the Big 12; three in the Big Ten. Only one undefeated team (at most) will be able to come out of the Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC and WAC.

**Texas is out of the AP poll for the first time in 162 weeks (2000). The streak in the coaches' poll had lasted 192 weeks. Texas, 3-2, still has games left against Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M meaning it could be headed for its worst season since before Mack Brown arrived in 1997.

**TCU posted its first road shutout of an opponent in Gary Patterson's 10 years as head coach, 27-0 at Colorado State. That's significant because Patterson is a defensive wizard whose teams have finished tops in total defense each of the last two seasons.

**Speaking of the Horned Frogs, the interest in the Big East is apparently real and reciprocal. TCU could join the league as soon as next season. One reason: There is no financial penalty to leave the Mountain West.

**Poor Jaime Hill. The BYU defensive coordinator was fired after Friday's loss at Utah State. You expect that in the SEC, but at BYU? Hill joined the staff from the CFL in 2006 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. BYU, 1-4, is off to its worst start in almost four decades.

Some other d-coordinators who might want to watch their backs:

Tyrone Nix, Mississippi. The Rebs got upset by Jacksonville State giving up 49 points and got beat by Vandy, 28-14. Had to hold off Kentucky 42-35 on Saturday. Rebels allowing almost 33 points per game.

Doug Mallory, New Mexico. Not really fair because his future is tied to embattled head coach Mike Locksley. The Lobos have allowed a I-A-most 35 touchdowns and 52.6 points per game.

Co-coordinators Keith Patterson/Paul Randolph, Tulsa. The Hurricane gave up 51 points at East Carolina, losing on the last play of the game. Oklahoma State put up 65 on Tulsa which is 106th in pass efficiency defense.

Ray McCartney, Wake Forest. His defense has given up 68 points to Stanford, 24 touchdowns in five games and 36.8 points per game.

**Team Schizo: Washington has lost to the worst BYU team in years, got run off its home field by Nebraska and now has beaten USC in consecutive seasons.

**Team Schizo II: Kansas lost to Baylor by almost seven touchdowns, 55-7, in Waco. Not even the locals care about Baylor, a Big 12 doormat. There were an estimated 15,000 empty seats at Floyd Casey Stadium. It's bad when your team is intimidated by the Bears.

"When I went out there, they were bigger than I thought,” KU linebacker Steven Johnson told the Kansas City Star. “I’m just like, ‘What in the world are they eating?’ ”

Posted on: October 1, 2010 12:18 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The Pistol formation is sweeping the country, if you consider sweeping a list of about 10 schools. The variation on the shotgun was invented by veteran Nevada coach Chris Ault in 2005. It features a quarterback four yards behind center and a running back three yards behind him.

The advantage for the offense is more downhill running than in a zone read where the running back frequently is running parallel to the line. Because the backfield is essentially in an I-formation it's harder for defenses to target their blitzes. Alabama, Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA are using it in varying degrees this season.

Nevada (at UNLV) is 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1948.

Boise State (at New Mexico State) is chasing a national championship.

UCLA (vs. Washington State) switched to it to jump start its offense this season. The Pistol produced 264 rushing yards last week against Texas.

Alabama, Boise, Indiana (vs. Michigan) and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are undefeated.

"Most great ideas are born out of necessity," UCLA's Rick Neuheisel said. "We needed to run the football better. Looking at the equipment we had, it just wasn't working. We had to accept that. We were very fortunate to have been given some great advice from the University of Nevada coaching staff. We kind of poured ourselves into it. It was a little bit of a leap of faith." ...

NC State (hosting Virginia Tech)  is ranked for the first time in seven years ... In a game that might go a long way toward deciding the ACC's best quarterback (non-Russell Wilson division), Miami's Jacory Harris plays at Clemson against Kyle Parker. Each of the last three games between the teams have gone into overtime ... Former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis goes against the Vols for the first time when Tennessee visits LSU ... The problem at LSU is offense, specifically Jordan Jefferson's passing. Jefferson has yet to throw a touchdown pass and has completed less than half his passes to go with three interceptions ... A.J. Green returns for Georgia in its game at Colorado. The losing coach should check the temperature of his chair. Mark Richt and Dan Hawkins, are all but on notice about their job security ...  Florida Wildcat sensation Trey Burton is the grandson of Lawrence Burton who finished fourth in the 100 meters at the '72 Olympics, was a first-round pick of the Saints and played receiver at Purdue ...

Not surprisingly, the Big Ten and the SEC combined have almost half the teams in the top 25 (six each). You can see what this is coming down to: The Big Ten and/or SEC champion vs. Boise State in the polls/BCS/public discussion ... Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh on playing at Oregon:  "Just thinking about it, we're going to be ready to walk out of that tunnel, 80,000 screaming Duck fans. We'll have our team huddled around us beneath that stadium. It doesn’t get any better than that. I'm getting excited thinking about it." Sounds lyrical except that Autzen Stadium seats only 54,000 ... Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker will miss his fourth consecutive game because of what are reportedly complications from diabetes ...  The Sun Belt player of the year so far is Troy's Jernell Jernigan. The sophomore receiver is second nationally in all-purpose yards (208 per game). In addition to averaging almost 100 yards in receptions per game, Jernigan returns kicks and punts and lines up in the Wildcat. Troy is No. 14 in total offense and plays perhaps the Sun Belt game of the year Tuesday at Middle Tennessee ... Central Florida's George O'Leary (Wednesday vs. Alabama-Birmingham) is 1-19 against BCS teams. That's the same record as the man he replaced in 2004, Mike Kruczek. That's according to research done by CBSSports.com's Matt Brodsky.

Posted on: September 29, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2010 5:43 pm
 

Lloyd Carr says Notre Dame will join Big Ten

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has predicted that Notre Dame will eventually join the Big Ten.

Carr was speaking to an audience and said the current conference upheaval will not end in the near future. Boise State kicked off the proceedings by joining the Mountain West in June. It was quickly followed by Nebraska joining the Big Ten beginning in 2011.

Notre Dame has several game contracts going out several years, including a long-term deal to play BYU as an independent.
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 26, 2010 1:54 pm
 

The Day After in college football

As the month of September closes, Texas is out of it, Boise State is in it and Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame with a defense so suspect it ought to be arraigned.

Surprises? Shoelaces and Michigan. Oregon and its offensive napalming. Jim Harbaugh and his piling on.  Georgia slumping, Auburn soaring. "Little Giants" and one big giant -- Alabama remains No. 1 and looks like it isn't going to nudged from that spot for a while ...

**Just in time for Alabama, Florida may have found a) itself and b) a reasonable facsimile of Tim Tebow.

Celebrated freshman Trey Burton scored six times (five rushing, one passing) against Kentucky in a 48-14 win. Burton lined up mostly in the Wildcat, spurring memories of Tebow during his freshman year. The freshman had changed his number from 13 to 8. That at least gave him the mojo to go for the joy of six. Rex Grossman and Percy Harvin also wore the number. It also gives Alabama something to think about this week when the Gators come to Tuscaloosa.

More good news for the Gators: Florida is 21-4 against coaches with a national championship on their resume since Urban Meyer arrived.

**Way to wreck a Red River party: In its last two meetings to Austin, UCLA has outscored Texas 100-15 including Saturday's 34-12 decision. It was the infamous "Rout 66" in 1997 (UCLA 66, Texas 3) that paved the way for Mack Brown to come to Austin. Between the two UCLA visits to Texas, the Longhorns have been to (and won) two Rose Bowls. UCLA has been to one. Texas, of course, leads UCLA in national championships 1-0 during that time.

"I don't feel right now that we're very good at anything," Brown said after the game.

It may not get better anytime soon. Texas next two games are against Oklahoma and at Nebraska. The loss likely drops Texas out of the national championship race before the calendar turns to October. If OU wins next week, the Big 12's national championship hopes may be up to Big Ten deserter Nebraska.

**The Big Ten's lost weekend produced some predictable results -- blowouts and embarrassments. Wisconsin (over Austin Peay) and Ohio State (over Eastern Michigan) each scored 70. Purdue (to Toledo) and Minnesota (to Northern Illinois) both lost to MAC teams. Add it up and the Big Ten went 8-2 against a compilation of eight MAC teams and two I-AAs. Shameful schedule.

**Don't blame Notre Dame's Manti Te'o. After getting 21 tackles against Stanford, the Irish linebacker leads the country with a staggering 13.5 per game. ND is back, though, where it has been for the last few years in total defense -- 103rd. Only two BCS-level teams are worse, Oregon State and Wake Forest.

The No. 2 tackler is Hawaii's Corey Paredes, meaning the nation's top two tacklers are from Oahu

**Don't care if Terrelle Pryor if got six touchdowns against air (aka Eastern Michigan), he moved to the top of my Heisman list this week: 1, Pryor (four passing, one rushing, one TD reception); 2, Kellen Moore; 3, Mark Ingram; 4, Andrew Luck; 5, Denard Robinson.

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