Tag:Penn State
Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:44 am
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:45 am
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National notes

It only seems like Alabama obsessed all offseason about facing six SEC opponents coming off bye weeks.

The SEC schedule wasn't finalized until late summer as the school and league tried to move opponents around to keep from the dreaded six-pack. The Tuscaloosa News had revealed that over a three-year period Alabama had faced more bye-week opponents (17) than any SEC school. The best Bama could do was move Georgia State from a Saturday to a Thursday in November, thus allowing nine days before the Nov. 26 Auburn game.

That doesn't help things now. The Tide are on the brink of falling out of national championship contention after Saturday's loss to South Carolina. Their fall from No. 1 to No. 8 in the AP poll is the second-biggest fall for an in-season No. 1 since 1996. (Nebraska fell to No. 8 that year after losing to Arizona State). While Bama can still win the SEC and compete for the national championship, the final six conference opponents are going to be well rested. At least one columnist said the schedule already has caught up to the former No. 1.

Meanwhile, Nick Saban is trying to turn that offseason obsession into an in-season footnote. After 19 consecutive victories that included a national championship, Saban said this week his team may have believed a bit too much in itself.

"It's drinking the Kool-Aid, thinking that just because they say it on ESPN, it's so. Reading the newspapers all week. Just because you beat Florida 31-6, people start talking about you being the best team in the country. We're not the best team in the country. We had the best team in the country last year, and we proved it. We proved it over 14 games.

"This team hasn't proved s---."

Rhymes with spit.

Hey, that's the best Sabanator outburst since my question led him to the famous "pimp" line in July. 
 
"Excuse my language," Saban immediately told reporters on Monday. "That's how I feel about it. I'm really upset that I used bad language."

Anything colorful from Saban is always appreciated. It beats "behind-the-scenes" mini-docs where the only thing behind-the-scenes is what you don't see. This was raw emotion, a glimpse at Saban's soul at this point in the season. The message got through. Saban won't be taking bye weeks as an excuse going forward. It's clear that playing three consecutive top-19 opponents (in the AP poll) took something out of the Tide. Now they have to play Mississippi, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn coming off byes. Both teams will have a bye coming into the Nov. 6 meeting at LSU.

"Everybody out there assumes that having a bye week is an advantage," Saban said last week. "I've always answered that question by saying, 'I don't know if it's an advantage or disadvantage.'"

Maybe we're starting to find out.

 


**There is a dicey situation developing at Penn State where Joe Paterno is approaching his 400th career win.

But when?

The Nits are 3-3 after a depressing home loss to Illinois. Joe needs three more wins to become the third coach ever to win 400. There is growing doubt, though, that JoePa doesn't reach that mark this season. And what if he doesn't? What does that do to the program if Joe holds on (or is held over) for 2011?


In one sense, a 5-7 season can be written off as rebuilding year. Quarterback Rob Bolden is a true freshmen and has loads of upside. In other sense, there has to be concern. This is the first time in a long time, Penn State hasn't had at least one playmaker on either side of the ball.

The (mostly) cushy non-conference schedule has gotten Joe halfway to those six he needs, but the road ahead is littered with broken glass -- or at least formidable Big Ten opponents. Penn State still has to play the Big Ten's top three teams -- Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Assuming losses in those, Joe will have to win at Minnesota, at Indiana and at home against Northwestern to get to 6-6, 400 wins and a bowl game.

Is that a sendoff or a rebuilding year?



**
I'm starting to get intrigued by Oklahoma State. Coach Mike Gundy has ridden new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to a 5-0 start, the team's third such beginning since 2004.

The problem with OSU is that its schedule is typically backloaded with second-half meetings with Big 12 South heavies Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, Gundy has never beaten the LongSooners, or is it the SoonHorns? (Combined 0-10 against the two schools and 21-23 after Oct. 1.) Holgorsen has been the difference this year with his version of the spread option,  getting the most out of new quarterback Brandon Weeden, established tailback Kendall Hunter and breakout receiver Justin Blackmon.

The problem remains a defense which has finished above 89th nationally only once in Gundy's previous five seasons. This season's unit is marginally better in its second year under coordinator Bill Young. It is No. 88 nationally allowing more than 400 yards per game.

The difference is Holgorsen, a 39-year-old Mike Leach discipline who spent eight seasons at Texas Tech as an assistant, the final three as offensive coordinator. Holgorsen came to Okie State after a couple of seasons tutoring Case Keenum at Houston. Keenum is out with a season-ending injury but is seeking a sixth year of eligibility in 2011 during which he could become the NCAA's career passing yards leader.

Weeden, who turns 27 this week, is a former minor-league pitcher who is finding a new career playing pitch and catch out of the shotgun. Almost halfway through the season, Weeden has the fourth-most passing yards in the country leading the No. 2 scoring unit.

"[Weeden] was just a poor practice player," Gundy said. "There's a reason why we changed offenses. He can't execute [OSU's 2005-09] offense. It wasn't set up for him. ...We thought he could function at a high level, but we didn't know."

 

 

Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 9:06 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Judgment time: More than half of Division I-A (61 teams) will reach the halfway point of the regular season having played six games after this week. The season reaches its official halfway point after the games of Oct. 16. Seven weeks down, seven weeks to go on the college football calendar ...

Strangely, the end of Saturday's LSU-Tennessee game was similar to the conclusion of the Fifth Down, at least in the confusion category. If you're looking for link between the two it's LSU third-string quarterback Chase McCartney. Chase is the grandson of former Colorado coach Bill McCartney who was the Buffs' coach against Missouri 20 years ago. Missouri and CU meet for the final time as Big 12 opponents Saturday in Columbia ... What's the big deal about Turner Gill's curfew which doesn't allow Kansas players to see women after 10 p.m. during the season? With all the mistreatment of women in sports, this is a bold, positive step. The alternative is Florida (30 arrests in six years). Gill was asked if his curfew would hurt recruiting. "I guess it could. But we can explain it. It's not that big a deal." The Jayhawks host Kansas State on Thursday ...

Sometimes you just feel pity. Purdue (2-2 going to Northwestern) has lost its quarterback (Robert Marve), best receiver (Keith Smith) and top running back (Ralph Bolden) to season-ending injuries ... Penn State is 114th in red zone offense, worst among BCS conference schools ... Florida State (25) and Miami (17) are 1-2 nationally in sacks. Best of luck to Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder ... Baylor (4-1 vs. Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl) is trying for consecutive wins away from Waco for the first time since 1996 ...

Stay away from this trend, gamblers. Toledo is 0-2 at home but 3-0 on the road heading to ... Boise. Oh no. ... What's your deal? USC will try to stay within 34 (margin of loss in last year's meeting) when it travels to Stanford ... Who needs BYU in the Mountain West for BCS strength? The Cougars (1-4 and hosting San Diego State) are off to their worst start since 1973 ...  UNLV (at West Virginia) hasn't played in the Eastern Time Zone since 2004 ...

WAC commissioner Karl Benson is the latest source to want coaches' poll ballots made public. His former school, Boise State, was jumped last week in both polls by Oregon. "My guess is that there are coaches who voted Boise State in double-digits," Benson said. "Boise State, unlike any other team in the country, has won the games that they're supposed to win."

Benson brought into question the process which was further muddied by New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, whose team lost to Boise 59-0 last week. Walker wasn't sure if he had a coaches' poll (he doesn't), but "I usually let my assistant coaches handle that stuff." Let's hope he never gets a vote ...

Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:05 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 12:09 pm
 

National notes

Heart attacks can happen to anyone. Young, old. Physically fit, physically decrepit. That's why our thoughts and prayers should rightfully go to Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

But the idea that coaches face any more stress than the rest of us is laughable. If anything, coaches should be healthier than the general public. They control their hours. They are around trainers, doctors and elite athletes all day. There is a weight room right around the corner. Sure Dick Vermeil coined the term "burn out" but most of us don’t' have the luxury of quitting our jobs, doing TV for 16 years and getting into wine collecting.

Take a moment and think about the poor slob, trying to make the mortgage and putting two kids through college. He's burned out every day.  He doesn't get a trip to Hawaii from Nike in the offseason. Heck, he doesn't have an offseason. So let's not go nuts here. There are some coaches, Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops among them, who don't believe that more is better.

Dantonio's heart attack spurred a rash of cliché coaches-need-to-take-care-of-themse
lves stories this week. Thankfully, in general, most coaches responded the same way as Michigan's Rich Rodriguez.

"There are a lot of stressful jobs out there," he said.

**On June 11, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and AD Tom Osborne stood before the Nebraska board of regents and ranted.

"One school leaving a conference does not break up a conference. Two schools leaving a conference does not break up a conference," Osborne said. "Six schools leaving a conference, breaks up a conference. We have not had a hidden agenda, we have not dealt with more than one conference."

They were talking about Texas. It was half theater (the board voted unanimously for Nebraska to join the Big Ten) and half political. In that same meeting, Perlman added that his school didn't owe the Big 12 a dime for leaving the conference. Remember, this was in the middle of the Pac-10's failed raid on half of the Big 12.

From a legal standpoint, Nebraska wanted to position itself as having been pushed out of the Big 12 because of the wandering eyes of Texas and the five other schools pursued by the Pac-10. Colorado and Nebraska left the Big 12 on consecutive days. The next order of business was determining how much each school owed the Big 12 for departing. League bylaws state that a school that gives only one year's notice, it must sacrifice 80 percent of its conference revenue share.

Perlman knew there would probably come a day when his school would negotiate some sort of exit fee. When it did, Perlman wanted to save as much money as possible. He was already on record as saying his team was forced out.  Nebraska no doubt would have cited Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's assertion, on the day Nebraska left for the Big Ten, that the Big 12 would be better off with 10 teams. The Big 12's case would have been bolstered by a report that Nebraska had been sending feelers to the Big Ten since January. 

Faced with the prospect of a protracted court battle, what happened Tuesday was a mutually negotiated divorce. A mediator was brought in work with Colorado, Nebraska and the Big 12 over a two-day period, according to the Boulder (Colo.) Camera. As late as Saturday Colorado apparently still hadn't taken advantage of a standing Pac-10 offer to "finance" the Big 12 buyout by withholding future Pac-10 revenues. The Pac-10 had offered up to a $10 million loan to help CU with the exit fees, the Camera reported.

The Big 12 settled for only half of the money owed it when Nebraska agreed to pay the league $9.2 million. Colorado paid less, only $6.9 million, because it had said all along it was joining the Pac-10 in 2012. Plus, its revenue take in the Big 12 was less than Nebraska's.

Remember this when you next read about buyout clauses and exit fees. They mean little. They are meant to compensate current members, not keep schools in a league. If a school really wants to leave, it will leave. Everything can be negotiated. If it isn't, there's always court.

**The news last week that Penn State is adding hockey had an interesting Notre Dame twist.

With Penn State there are now six Big Ten teams that sponsor men's hockey, the NCAA minimum. Commissioner Jim Delany has been enthusiastic about forming a Big Ten hockey league. The other five Big Ten hockey members compete in NCAA power conferences -- Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State in the CCHA; Wisconsin and Minnesota in the WCHA.

Notre Dame also competes in the CCHA. The hockey Irish might have no choice but to join the Big Ten in hockey if Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State decide to leave the CCHA. In essence, it would be the hockey version of the recent college football realignment. Would Notre Dame playing Big Ten hockey be part of a larger move for all of the Irish's sports? The school already plays in three other leagues (Big East, CCHA and Midwest Fencing Conference) for its other  sports.

**How underachieving has Florida's offense been to this point? Mississippi State, which threw five interceptions against LSU, is ranked significantly higher (No. 70) than the Gators (92nd) in total offense. Only five other BCS conference schools average fewer yards than Florida -- UCLA, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Oregon State and Maryland.  That's after the Gators have played Miami (Ohio), South Florida and Tennessee.

**So much for losing nine defensive starters. Alabama is back in the top 10 (ninth) in total defense.

Posted on: September 15, 2010 10:27 am
Edited on: September 15, 2010 10:31 am
 

National notes

Don't tell anyone but we didn't learn much from Showdown Saturday except that Virginia Tech would have a hard time winning the Colonial Athletic Association.

For the most part, Showdown was a letdown.

Mark Twain could have replaced Mark Ingram and Alabama still would have beaten Penn State. OK, Ingram has better top end speed than Twain but you get my point.

Alabama's season is boiling down to three-week stretch during which Bama plays at Arkansas (Sept. 25), at home against Florida (Oct. 2) and at South Carolina (Oct. 9).

Miami still has work to do in its long-awaited comeback. Jacory Harris has a lot of work to do with his judgment.  After throwing four picks vs. Ohio State, Harris is tied for second nationally (at least in the NCAA top 100) with four interceptions.  Last year Harris was No. 2 in picks (17) behind Ole Miss' Jevan Snead (20).

Tennessee put up a good fight for a half against Oregon.

Florida State didn't even make it that far.

Player of the week besides the obvious (Denard Robinson)?  South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore who looks like a combination of George Rodgers and Herschel Walker for the OBC. More on him later in the week.


*
Interesting stuff here regarding Jeremiah Masoli's transfer to Ole Miss. Masoli contends he was given his release to transfer from Oregon before he was dismissed from the team. The NCAA initially ruled that Masoli would not get a transfer waiver to Ole Miss because he had been kicked off the team.


*
Not sure if I want Mike Leach back in coaching. Not because he isn't good at it. It's because he might be better as a radio pirate. Leach let loose on his satellite radio show.

On the lack of mercy given to outgunned opponents:

"If my third offense went in and we were up on them, we weren't going kneel on the ball. We were going to try to score. The reason we were going to try to score is because I spend all my time teaching that offense to score, not to sit and evaluate the feelings of the other team."

On his not having Alabama in his top five:

"A lot of folks are frontrunners and if you win last year they assume you're going to win this year and the next year. If that was the case, everybody was going to win the thing 20 years in a row. I'm prepared to be proven wrong."

Leach also said he had a standing $500 bounty on shady agents hanging around Texas Tech. Supposedly, that was for players to turn in those shady agents. Problem though:  Wouldn't paying off that bounty be a possible NCAA violation?

Leach is also an analyst for CBS College Sports.


*
USC might be the most unimpressive 2-0 ranked team. The Trojans have committed 24 penalties for nation-leading 240 yards in two games. Lane Kiffin's solution? Silence.


*
Three quarterbacks who have taken snaps at Michigan are in the top 10 in NCAA total offense this week:

1. Robinson, 442.5 yards per game
T6. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas, 351.0
10. Steven Threet, Arizona State, 322.5



*
Joker Phillips is first head coach to start his Kentucky career 2-0 since Bear Bryant in 1946.


*
Phillips might have the most versatile player in the country to this point. Through two games receiver/returner/holder Randall Cobb has scored a touchdown four different ways -- rushing, receiving, passing and on a punt return.


*
Steve Spurrier, a longtime playoff honk, on Boise State:  "The only way to settle those kinds of situation is a playoff. They aren't going to play the kind of completion that SEC schools play. We settle it with voting."



*
Thoughts and prayers for Arkansas kick returner Dennis Johnson who suffered what was termed a painful "bowel injury" returning a kick vs. Louisiana-Monroe. Here's the video


*
Who will coach Northern Illinois this week against Illinois? Huskies coach Jerry Kill was hospitalized Sunday after complications resulting from surgery earlier this month. Kill underwent surgery on Sept. 3, a day after Northern Illinois lost its season opener to Iowa State. Initial reports stated Kill, who had a tumor removed from a kidney in 2005, was suffering from dehydration this time. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys could take over if Kill can't go.

 

Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:18 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Mark Ingram "probably" out for Penn State

Alabama coach Nick Saban waffled a bit but said that his Heisman-winning tailback could miss the Penn State game.

Ingram missed last week's opener after undergoing arthroscopic surgery.


"Mark's improving every day ...," Saban said, "if he can continue to progress he's probably not going to be ready to play this week."

Saban added that Ingram could be healthy by Saturday but won't "be able to practice to get ready to play."

Two questions ...

Does Ingram really need to practice all week to be ready for Penn State?

And is Saban sandbagging and going to run Ingram 25 times against the Nittany Lions?
Category: NCAAF
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 12:52 pm
 

Panic in the streets of T-Town: Ingram out

Scratch another Heisman for Mark Ingram?

Alabama's Heisman Trophy winning back will miss Saturday's season opener against San Jose State after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on his left knee. Ingram hurt the knee in Monday's practice. After Saturday, he will be listed week-to-week.

"We will make every decision in the future based on what’s best for Mark and his career as we consult with [the doctors] on his progress," Nick Saban said in a press release.  "This is not an injury that will affect Mark’s future ability to make a full recovery in a relatively short time frame.”
 

After San Jose State, Alabama faces Penn State on Sept. 11, followed by Duke and Arkansas to close out the month.  In the case of minor arthroscopic surgery, it is conceivable Ingram could be back for the Penn State game.

"It was a situation where everyone involved thought it would be better to take care of it now, so he would not have any issues with it later on in the season," Saban added.

Chasing another Heisman is probably down on the list of concerns for Ingram at this point. Alabama is well stocked at the position. Sophomore Trent Richardson, a preseason all-SEC pick by the media, will likely start in Ingram's place.

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.

 

 

 

 

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