Tag:Virginia Tech
Posted on: August 21, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2010 3:24 pm

Preseason AP poll analysis

His name is Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer.

In 10 keystrokes of brilliance he made himself and his newspaper more relevant. That's not a swipe, that's a salute to the only AP voter to award a No. 1 vote to Boise State. In a year when the whole seems to have turned Crimson, Giglio hopefully made us aware of the obvious.

Boise State can win the national championship. Not just because it is ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 3 in AP. True, it is positioned well to make a run -- Virginia Tech, Oregon State and the bye known as the WAC schedule.

But you have to see these guys play. I don't mean reading a preseason mag, I mean really see them play. For some not-fully-explained reason, every time Boise plays "up" it seems to win. (4-1 vs. BCS schools since 2006) I already wrote that coach Chris Petersen is upset that the Broncos aren't the cuddly underdog anymore.

Now we have to admit they are a powerhouse. What other proof do you need? They're not good because of who they don't play. You can only play the teams in your conference. You certainly can't criticize them for playing a weak non-conference schedule.

If Boise State gets to the championship game, it will have earned it. Giglio is like me. His eyes have been opened.

Other observations about the AP preseason poll ...

This is the first time since 1978, Alabama has been the AP preseason No 1. In the wire service era, Alabama is 72-8-3 in years after national championships.

The highest-ranked Big East team is Pittsburgh at No. 15. This important only because of the Panthers' schedule which has them playing Utah and Miami in the first four weeks.

To no one's surprise, the SEC has six teams in the top 25.

At No. 14, USC has its lowest preseason rank since 2002, Pete Carroll's second year.

At No. 23, Georgia has its lowest preseason AP rank since 2001.

The farthest back a team has come to win a championship in the BCS era is LSU in 2003. It was No. 12 in the first BCS rankings.

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.


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 ...

"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?

"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.


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.



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...


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.


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


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!


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





Posted on: July 25, 2010 5:30 pm

Five things about the ACC

As my annual swing through preseason media days continues I’ll be updating you on the current state of the conferences I’m covering …

1. It’s just not the same with Bobby. One of the highlights of the ACC media days is the annual sit down with Bobby Bowden. Around a circular table in a resort conference room we would jam ourselves close to Bobby to hear his dad-gum pearls of wisdom. A couple of “How ya doin’ buddy,”s and away we would go. Something was missing this year and it will never be back. Enjoy retirement, Papa Bowden.

2. Uncertainty at North Carolina. This had the looks of Butch Davis’ breakout season in Chapel Hill. Coming off a second consecutive eight-win season and armed with perhaps the nation’s best defense, Davis was overdue for that big turnaround. Sadly, Carolina is wrapped up in an NCAA agent investigation which may bring down the program for 2010 and short circuit Davis’ rebuilding. “Guys are smart to know what to do and what not to do,” said quarterback T.J. Yates. “You don’t have to read the NCAA rulebook to know the basics of it.” Apparently a few NCAA manuals are just what Carolina needs.

3. Dark horse national champion. Virginia Tech.  This wasn’t the plan when expansion plans were being made but the Hokies have become the reigning power of the new (and not-so-improved) ACC. While Georgia Tech is the defending champion and an up-and-comer, Tech has been the most consistent ACC team of the expansion era. Both its overall (41-13) and conference records (24-8) are three games better than everyone else over the past four years. The offense sports one of the deepest backfields in the country with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. The defense is being questioned but shouldn’t, not as long as Bud Foster is running the show. This year’s hopes center around the Labor Day opener against Boise State. Win that and the Hokies could enter November undefeated. Then it’s a question of whether they can get past Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami, the last two on the road.

4. BC never seems to go away. Eleven consecutive bowls. Two out of the last three Atlantic Division titles. BC is hard to shake. Despite the loss of its best player (linebacker Mark Herzlich) to cancer and breaking in a 26-year-old rookie at quarterback (Dave Shinskie), the Eagles were still competing for the division title into November. This season they get back the inspirational Herzlich, ACC defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly as well as tailback Montel Harris (1,457 yards). Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles hanging around the division race again in November on their way to a 12th consecutive bowl.

5. Florida State is back, right? It’s up to the defense which was horrid in 2009. Jimbo Fisher has brought a new energy to the Seminoles who, despite the loveable Bowden, could use it. Quarterback Christian Ponder is back from a separated shoulder. The entire offensive line returns intact. If the defense plays just average, FSU will win 10. If not, retired d-coordinator Mickey Andrews will have handed his problems off to new DC Mark Stoops. We’ll know about the Noles by the second week of October. By that time, they will have played Oklahoma, BYU and Miami.

Posted on: July 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 5:51 pm

Preseason mags' top 25

We love the polls. College football polls to be specific. Preseason college football polls to be exact.

There is the annual cry to get rid of them. Hogwash. First, the Associated Press isn't going to disappoint its subscribers by scrapping one of its most popular offerings of the year. Second, there would be no preseason magazines without preseason top 25s.

And last time I checked, the magazines aren't going away either. We need them. We want them. The likes of Athlon and Lindy's are selling better than ever. There are regional editions. Sure, some of them outdated by the time they hit the stands. (USC No. 3, Athlon? Really?) That's OK. The sport is year-round now. It's not going to stop for a printing press.

The mags' arrival officially stirs the juices. Suddenly, it's OK to break down the Sun Belt, predict the WAC. Argue about the SEC East. That's why this blog is devoted to one of my annual obsessions -- a combined poll from all the preseason magazines.

I combined five polls, from The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com. Our official preseason poll won't come out until late August. For this purpose, then, I'm using my post-spring top 25.

A few notes, rules and notifications:

*Each school was assigned a number in descending order. Twenty-five points for a No. 1 ranking, 24 for No. 2, etc.

*Schools are then ranked from highest-point total to lowest.

*I also included an average poll rank, mostly because not all the schools were named in all five polls. Example: Oregon State finished No. 25 because it got 11 points from being ranked No. 15 in The Sporting News.  The likes of Cincinnati (eight points) and Utah (five) were ranked in two polls but finished with fewer total points than Oregon State.

*Thirty seven schools received votes.

*Alabama was not a consensus No. 1. Phil Steele made some waves by picking Oklahoma No. 1.

The annual compilation:

1. Alabama: Duh. Haven't lost an SEC regular-season game since 2007. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest, No. 3 (148 points, Avg. rank between No. 1 and No. 2)

2. Ohio State: The Big Ten is back. Ohio State never left. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. 3. (142 points. Avg. rank between No. 2 and No. 3)

3. Boise State: Should be a consensus top five pick with major polls debut next month. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. No. 6. (136 points. Average rank between No. 3 and No. 4)

4. Florida: Fastest team in the country, again. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 7. (123 points. Avg. rank between No. 5 and No. 6)

5. TCU: Nation's best defense the past two seasons. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 11. (113 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

6. Nebraska: Fitting that these two are tied. They hate each other. Highest rank, No. 5. Lowest rank, No. 11 (112 points. Average rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

7. Oregon: Most talent in the Pac-10. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 15 (111 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

8. Texas: Adding physicality to offense. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. No. 11 (110 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

9. Oklahoma: Rebuilding into Big 12 and national power again. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest rank, No. 12. (106 points. Avg. rank between No. 8 and No. 9)

10. Virginia Tech: Class of the ACC until further notice. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 13. (94 points. Avg. rank between No. 10 and No. 11)

11. (tie) USC: Two-year bowl ban begins. Does the dynasty continue? Highest rank, No. 3. Lowest rank, No. 16. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

Iowa: Sexy dark horse pick in the Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 14. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

13. Wisconsin: Fresh from pounding Miami. Factor in Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 23. (82 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

14. Miami: Starting to look like Canes of old. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 14. (79 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

15. Florida State: New coach, healthy quarterback. Great prospects. Highest rank, No. 14. Lowest rank, No. 20. (60 points, Avg. rank No. 16)

16. Arkansas: Petrino starting to work his magic with Ryan Mallett. Highest rank, No. 16. Lowest rank, No. 21. (50 points, Avg. rank between No. 17 and No. 18)

17. North Carolina: Nation's best defense? Highest rank, No. 12. Lowest rank, No. 24. (48 points. Avg. rank No. 18)

18. Pittsburgh: Coming first 10 win season since 1981. Highest rank, No. 14. Not ranked by Steele. (45 points. Avg. rank No. 17)

19. LSU: Les Miles on the hot seat? Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Steele. (35 points. Avg. rank No. 19)

20. Georgia Tech:
Defending ACC champs seem to have gotten better. Highest rank, No. 13. Not ranked by Steele, Yahoo and Athlon. (30 points. Avg. rank No. 16)

21. Auburn: Chizik not ready to cede state to Alabama. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by Lindy's and Yahoo. (29 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

22. Penn State: JoePa going for No. 400. Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Sporting News. (27 points. Avg. rank No.  20 and No. 21)

23. Georgia: New AD could be the least of Dawgs' problems. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com and Sporting News. (24 points. Avg. rank No. 20)

24. West Virginia: Noel Devine could carry 'Neers to a BCS bowl. Highest rank, No. 19. Not ranked by Athlon and Yahoo. (16 points. Avg. rank No. 22)

25. Oregon State: Mike Riley always has Beavers in contention. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com, Steele, Lindy's and Athlon. (15 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

Other teams receiving votes: Notre Dame, Connecticut, Missouri, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Utah, Houston, Clemson, Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Navy.

Notes: To no one's surprise the SEC led all conferences with six teams in the top 25 (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) ... To everyone's surprise, the ACC was second with five teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech) ... The Big 12 had three of the top 10 (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska) ... The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams in the top 15 ... Every national champion since 1999 is represented in the top 25 ... Six states had multiple teams in the poll. Florida led all states with three (Miami, Florida, Florida State).


Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:38 am
Edited on: July 7, 2010 12:47 pm

Son of fresh faces

Friday I offered up 10 fresh faces to watch for 2010. Here are 21 more ...

Nick Becton, OT, Virginia Tech -- This sophomore replaces three-year starter Ed Wang at left tackle.

Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana-Monroe -- Redshirt beat out senior Trey Revell.

Clemson quarterbacks -- Depending on whether Kyle Parker signs a major-league contract. That means either fifth-year senior Michael Wade or redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd will take over.

Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn -- Alabama-Auburn is heating up again. Gene Chizik landed a top five recruit to go with new quarterback Cameron Newton.

Vidal Hazelton, WR, Cincinnati -- Transfer from USC could take over for Mardy Gilyard as the go-to guy.

Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State -- The progress of Florida State's defense under Mark Stoops will be one of the biggest stories going into '10. This redshirt sophomore is starting at rush end, a glamour position.

Skylar Jones, QB, Wake Forest -- Takes over for Riley Skinner. The junior won the job in the spring after not throwing a pass last season.

Logan Kilgore, QB, Middle Tennessee -- Transfer from Bakersfield (Calif). College, threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Dwight Dasher is the man but Kilgore could be the next man.

Dan Mason, LB, Pittsburgh -- Pittsburgh's starting middle linebacker has been All-Big East first team each of the last five years. Will Mason make it six in a row as a sophomore?

Lamar Miller, TB, Miami -- With Graig Cooper rehabbing a knee hurt in the bowl, this homegrown redshirt freshman could be a savior.

Jason Peters, DE, Georgia Tech -- Al Groh was hired to install the 3-4. There is more pressure on the ends in that alignment. Peters was one of the stars of the spring.

Tydreke Powell, DT, North Carolina -- Overshadowed on one of the best defenses in the country.

Ryan Radcliff, QB, Central Michigan -- If you're asking who will replace Dave LeFevour, this is the guy. The redshirt sophomore threw 21 passes last season.

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State -- This sophomore is replacing NCAA rushing leader Ryan Mathews in the Central Valley. Runs like Jacquizz Rodgers with similar measureables -- 5-foot-7, 185.

Rutgers Super Sophs -- Six-foot-five quarterback Tom Savage threw for 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Receiver Mohamed Sanu (51 catches) is one of the fastest players in the game.

Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois -- Redshirt freshman from high school power Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst was named starter by Ron Zook in the spring. Dual-threat guy needs to jump start Illini offense.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia -- For the first time in five years, the Mountaineers don't have an experienced quarterback returning. Smith could be great (65 percent on 49 passes in '09) but will have to come back from a broken foot in the offseason.

Josh Snead, TB, Duke -- Early enrolling freshman is a home-run hitter for a program desperate for a bowl.

Tino Sunseri, QB, Pittsburgh -- The Panthers always seem to be a quarterback away from doing great things. Coming off a 10-win season, Sunseri could be the difference in Pittsburgh getting back to a BCS bowl.






Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:13 am

Breaking down the ACC's 2010 schedule

(This is the first of an irregular offseason series breaking down the schedules of the BCS leagues.)

The ACC enters Year No. 7 since expansion still looking for an identity.

The league has won only two BCS bowl games sporting the worst winning percentage (.166) of any BCS league in those major bowls. Miami and Florida State haven't stepped up. In fact, each has shrunk from superpower status. Virginia Tech, an afterthought in the original expansion, has won the most titles (three) since 2004. While Clemson and Florida State are rebuilding, Maryland and Virginia have slipped.

Butch Davis has all the coaching chops but North Carolina hasn't made a dramatic move under him yet. The best stories will be Year One at FSU A.B. (After Bobby). Jimbo Fisher enters his first season as head coach with mounds of pressure on him.

Virginia Tech has the best program. Georgia Tech had last season's best team. Coach Paul Johnson is making everyone adjust to his option offense. In his second season, the Jackets broke through their first ACC title since 1998.

Game of the year:  (non-conference) Miami at Ohio State, Sept. 11. In a rematch of the 2002 national championship game, Miami puts its renovation project on  display against a national championship contender. Figure on this one being at night with 105,000 lubed up Buckeyes wanting blood. Why not? Ohio State has won 50 of its last 52 non-conference games at The Shoe. The winning team's quarterback could come out of this as one the Heisman frontrunner.

The Canes don't want to be pushed around by a second consecutive brawny Big Ten team. (see: the Champs Sports Bowl).

Game of the year: (conference) Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Nov. 4. Does the new boss meet the old boss? Johnson has split his two meetings with Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech has played in four conference title games and won three ACC championships since expansion in 2004.  After winning the ACC in 2009, Johnson isn't going to stand still. Beamerball and PJ will likely come into 2010 with teams projected 1-2 in the league.

Team on the spot: Florida State. Fisher has to start producing right away. Recruiting was good. The defense needs to be overhauled. There isn't much room for error, not with Oklahoma and BYU back-to-back after a season opener against Samford.

If FSU negotiates that mine field, there are back-to-back road games at Virginia and Miami in October. Will a 3-3 start be tolerated?

Toughest non-conference schedule: Once again, Miami has doused itself with kerosene and is hoping no one lights a match. It worked, sort of, last season with a 5-1 start after opening with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. But that ambitious start might have had something to do with a 4-3 finish.
This season, after an opening yawner against Florida A&M, the Canes go to Ohio State AND Pittsburgh before heading to Clemson. That's three potentially-ranked teams from three BCS conferences in 21 days. Oh, and if that isn't enough, Florida State comes to Miami on Oct. 9. South Florida comes to Land Shark/Dolphin/Sun Life/Joe Robbie for the season finale on Nov. 27. Try to find a tougher non-con in the ACC.

Easiest non-conference schedule: Virginia Tech. In a league where five teams are playing at least one SEC opponent, the Hokies follow a neutral-site opener against Boise State with home games against James Madison and East Carolina. The other non-con is a homer against significantly diminished Central Michigan. There are no true non-conference road games on the schedule and only two road games at all after Oct. 2.

Posted on: February 2, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2010 6:02 pm

Boise-Va Tech to Labor Day

Boise State's season has been moved from Oct. 2 to Labor Day night.

In a move that was widely expected, Boise's game with Virginia Tech at FedEx Field has been moved from that date to Sept. 6. ESPN had been working on moving the game for a while. It means that we'll find out quickly whether Boise is a national contender. I stress that the Broncos' season is on the line. Beat the Hokies and the Broncos could be headed for another undefeated regular season.

They should start the season ranked in the top five. It will likely take that undefeated season to get the non-BCS Broncos to the national championship game in Glendale, Ariz. where they have twice won Fiesta Bowls.

Now the trick becomes finding FedEx Field for the first time since I covered USC-Virginia Tech a few years ago. The home of the Washington Redskins and is located in unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland. Got a GPS?

Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:50 am

Florida State defensive coordinator

The list is down to four for candidates to replace Mickey Andrews at Florida State defensive coordinator, Noleinsider.com is reporting.

Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri, Arizona defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, South Carolina assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson and Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster are reportedly the final four. While several outlets reported earlier this week that Sunseri was the guy, as of Tuesday Sunseri had not been formally contacted. Sunseri could still be the guy, however.

Also, Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett is interested in the vacant Marshall job.

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