Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: October 15, 2008 10:56 am

National notes at the halfway point

One of the best measures for an improved program is the games ahead/behind method. Look at baseball standings for an example. The NCAA includes a section in its statistics book each year that tracks the most improved teams from one year to the next. In 2007, it was Illinois which went from 2-10 in 2006 to 9-4 last season. That's an improvement of 6 1/2 games.

Hawaii holds the record improving by 8 1/2 games in 1999. Ironically, the Warriors might be on the opposite side of that stat this season.

At the halfway point, I thought it would be a good idea to figure the biggest improvements and biggest declines of the 2008 season. Remember, some of the numbers might be skewed because we've played only half a season. But this might be a good measuring stick for coach of the year candidates and provide a short list of coaches about to be fired.

Most improved

1. Minnesota +7 1/2 games (from 1-11 to 6-1)
2. Duke +5 1/2
3. North Carolina +4
4. Pittsburgh +3 1/2
5. several tied at +3

Biggest decline

1. Hawaii -5 1/2 games (from 12-1 to 3-3)
2. Central Florida, Tennessee -4
4. LSU, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Kansas - 3 1/2

Most improved by conference: Baylor, +3; ACC, Duke +5 1/2; Big East, Pittsburgh, +3 1/2; Conference USA, Rice/Marshall, +3; Mountain West, Colorado  State/UNLV, +3; MAC, Ball State/Northern Illinois, +3; SEC, Vanderbilt/Ole Miss, +3; WAC, New Mexico State, +3: Independents, Notre Dame, +3; Big Ten,  Minnesota, +7 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida International/Louisiana-Lafayette, +3; Pac-10, Stanford, +2 1/2.

Biggest decline by conference: ACC, Boston College/Clemson/Virginia, -2 1/2; Big 12, Kansas, -3 1/2; Big East, West Virginia/Rutgers, -3 1/2; Big Ten, Michigan, -3 1/2;  Independents, Western Kentucky, -2 1/2; Conference USA, Central Florida -4; MAC, Bowling Green/Ohio/Miami (Ohio), -1 1/2; Mountain West, New Mexico, -3; SEC, Tennessee, -4; Pac-10, Arizona State -3 1/2; WAC, Hawaii -5 1/2; Sun Belt, Florida Atlantic, -3 1/2.

Storylines for the second half

Will anyone go unbeaten?: It looks like the SEC and Big 12 will cannibalize each other. That leaves a bunch of one-loss powers that also could include Ohio State, Penn State, USC and Utah or Brigham Young.

Heisman race: Tim Tebow won't repeat and the Big 12 looks like it has a lock on the 2008 winner. But which player?

JoePa In the Sky With A Headset: Can Penn State's venerable coach win a Big Ten title and national championship without setting foot on the field the rest of  the way? Physical problems continue to keep JoePa in the press box. When asked Tuesday if he needed a hip replacement, Paterno answered cryptically, "I don't  know." It isn't exactly Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds but anything Joe does the rest of the season is going to be followed closely.

The non-BCS challengers: TCU, BYU and Utah are all in the mix. If Tulsa can win at Arkansas on Nov. 1 the Golden Hurricane will be a factor. The MAC is  simply too tough for Ball State (7-0) to go undefeated but you have to root for the Cardinals. Their best receiver's career is over (Dante Love) and their quarterback (Nate Davis) wears gloves.

Biggest looming controversy: If a one-loss team from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 is edged out of the BCS title game by an undefeated non-BCS school.

Next coach to be fired: Given the swiftly declining situation at Auburn it might be Tommy Tuberville. Other than that, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and  Syracuse's Greg Robinson are locks. Keep an eye also on San Diego State's Chuck Long and Central Florida's George O'Leary.

Biggest upset looming out there: Not in terms of David and Goliath but watch the Texas at Texas Tech game on Nov. 1. If both teams keep winning you're looking at No. 1 Texas vs. a Red Raiders team that should be in the BCS top five. If Texas Tech wins try to wrap your mind around Mike Leach and his Pirate  Love jumping up to No. 1.

Get out your swords and Johnny Depp movies.

BCS bowl predictions at the halfway point

BCS title game: Penn State* vs. Oklahoma*
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Alabama
Sugar Bowl: Florida* vs. South Florida*
Orange Bowl: BYU^ vs. Virginia Tech*
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC*

*-conference champ
^-non-BCS automatic qualifier

  Remember last week when Washington State held open tryouts to find a scout team quarterback? The winner of that competition, Peter Roberts, suddenly finds himself a viable backup option with the Cougars headed into the USC game.

 Speaking of injuries, it's a shame that two stars at Kentucky and North Carolina recently saw their careers end. Carolina's Brandon Tate, the I-A career  leader in kick return yards, is finished because of a knee injury. Exciting Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons is done because of a knee ligament tear.


 Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I said about Texas and Texas Tech above but indulge me: The way things are shaking out, a Kansas-Oklahoma State Big 12 title game isn't out of the question. If Texas beats Missouri on Saturday then it becomes more likely. Kansas is playing better and has Texas at home later in the season. KU and Missouri meet in Kansas City on Nov. 29.


Oklahoma State is playing better than anyone in the conference (that includes Texas). That head-to-head game is Oct. 25.

 Remember this when you watch BYU and TCU on Thursday night. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall allows each special teams unit to name a captain. The captain then  names starters and backups for each unit. Wonder if that ever happens in the SEC?



Posted on: October 12, 2008 3:39 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2008 5:05 pm

Random thoughts on a football Saturday

Is Tommy Tuberville coaching for his job?

 A week away from the release of the first BCS standings there are 10 undefeated I-A teams, half of them from non-BCS conferences. The most undefeated teams we can have at the end of the season now is seven because of head-to-head matchups among the 10. Only three of the six BCS leagues are represented -- Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC.


The breakdown:

Three of the teams are from the Big 12 -- Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech.

Penn State is 7-0 for the first time since 1999.

Utah and BYU are still headed for a Nov. 22 showdown in Salt Lake City. The Mountain West rivals gave up a combined one touchdown on Saturday. Utah beat Wyoming 40-7 and BYU dominated New Mexico 21-3.

Ball State is hanging around at 7-0, although end-of-the-season battles against Central Michigan and Western Michigan are looming.

The next big SEC games are coming up with Florida-Georgia on Nov. 1 and undefeated Alabama, 6-0, going to LSU on Nov. 8.

 Halfway through the season how about these surprise conference leaders?


Pac-10: Cal, at 2-0 still has the bulk of its schedule left but still an impressive bounce back from last season at 4-1.

Big Ten: Michigan State is tied with Penn State and Ohio State at 3-0. The Buckeyes come to East Lansing this week. Michigan State ends the season with a trip to Penn State.

WAC: San Jose State is 2-0 (4-2) overall after beating Utah State.

Sun Belt: Florida International is one of four teams tied at the top at 2-0.

Mountain West: It's showdown Thursday when the BYU visits TCU. The teams are undefeated in conference play.


 Who would have known that halfway through the season that two teams from Oklahoma would be undefeated (Tulsa, Oklahoma State) and one of them wouldn't be Oklahoma?


 The last time Nebraska opened conference play with two losses was 1968. It fell at Texas Tech 37-31 in overtime. That was the Huskers' eighth consecutive loss to a ranked opponent.
 Georgia Tech tipped the game-tying field goal attempt with three seconds left to survive against Gardner-Webb 10-7. Coach Paul Johnson was down to his third-string quarterback Calvin Booker who was largely ineffective.


The defensive line combo of Michael Johnson combined for five sacks, 17 solo tackles and 51 yards in lost yardage.

 How bad is Washington State? The Cougars intercepted Oregon State's Lyle Moevao four times but lost 66-13. Wazzoo had more penalty yards (170) than offensive yards (132).


 Georgia's Matthew Stafford surpassed 300 yards passing for the first time in his career (310) against Tennessee. The Vols are 0-3 in the SEC for the first time in 20 years.


 North Carolina (5-1) is off to its best start in since Mack Brown's last season in 1997.


 USC's Fili Moala tied an NCAA record by blocking two field goals in one quarter against Arizona State.


 Wyoming used four quarterbacks in that loss to Utah.


 Is it ironic or just karma? Rich Rodriguez negotiated his Michigan contract in Toledo during the offseason. He lost to the school that represents that city on Saturday. Some called Toledo's 13-10 "stunning". After Appalachian State there is nothing that compares to stunning. The Rockets had been 1-4. Michigan had been 24-0 against MAC teams.


“I feel that we’re at a crossroads where we could either go downhill or we can hang tough and weather this storm,” said linebacker Obi Ezeh. “Hopefully, this will pass and things will start going our way. We’ve just got to be tough.”

 Texas is one game into playing four ranked opponents in a row. It's No. 11 Missouri this week after the big win over Oklahoma. Mack Brown is 10-0 in the game immediately following Oklahoma, four of those opponents have been ranked.


 Florida's Tim Tebow is two rushing touchdowns shy of Emmitt Smith's school record of 34.


 Texas and Oklahoma combined to score each of the 11 times they were in the red zone on Saturday. For the season, OU has cashed in all 28 red-zone visits. Texas is 32 of 33.


 Forget about Gary Pinkel going to Washington. The Missouri coach's next job is the hot gossip in the industry considering the Tigers are a national title contender and the Washington job will be open. Pinkel coached for 12 years at U-Dub under mentor Don James.


"I don't know why he'd even want to consider coming out here, with the facilities he's got and the way he's got it going," James told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I wouldn't know why anybody would want to leave Missouri now. It would be a tough, long haul."

 Tis the season. First Tony Franklin at Auburn, now Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper. Harper was demoted last week after a 12-7 loss to Wake Forest on Thursday. Hot-shot recruit Willy Korn will take over for the preseason ACC player of the year.


 The weird things you see at the Texas State Fair...


Spam quesadillas ... Wine coolers. Who the hell drinks wine coolers anymore? ... Sign outside the Cotton Bowl: Pass Out Only At Halftime ... Fried ice cream ... Fried Avocado Chunks ... Gregg Doyel's cousin.


Posted on: October 8, 2008 10:39 am
Edited on: October 8, 2008 11:11 pm

National notes

One day closer to the ultimate comeback by Mitch Mustain.

If you've forgotten him, get in line. Mustain was the uber-recruit from Springdale, Ark. who signed with the 
hometown Hogs, went 8-0 as a freshman starter then transferred to USC amid the Houston Nutt shenanigans. The 
transfer to USC looked curious from the start. Mark Sanchez was there. So was highly regarded Aaron Corp.

At one point this season, Mustain dropped to fourth on the depth chart. Now with Sanchez nursing an injured knee 
Mustain might get his first start with the Trojans. I have no idea the amount of rust on Mustain but it says 
something that he rose up the depth chart to be in position to take over when Sanchez got hurt against Oregon.

The latest from Tuesday's practice: Sanchez threw lightly but did not practice. With three days to go before the 
Arizona State game, that's a positive sign for Mustain.

 It looks like Joe Paterno is going to be around for a while.

This is news because 1) the Penn State coach broke his leg two years at Wisconsin, the same place Penn State will 
play on Saturday 2) the reports coming out of State College lately have painted a bleak picture of his current 
health. Paterno was noticeably limping Saturday at Purdue and had to coach again from the press box. The 81-year-old 
has been seen at practices getting around in a golf cart.

The story, often repeated, is that Paterno injured his knee attempting an onside kick during a drill. However, after 
the Purdue game he was seen wearing two different shoes and was steadying himself at the podium while speaking to 
reporters. JoePa has taken to doing his weekly coach's show from his home.

"We're a little worried," quarterback Daryll Clark said after the 20-6 victory. "His leg's been bothering him for a 
little while now. But he's still there at practices doing what he can."

Joe being Joe, he shot down speculation that he is anywhere near the end of his career.

"I can't walk like I used to walk all the time," he said. "I used to love to get up and walk five, six miles. But I 
can't do that and still go out and go to practice for a couple hours. It just wears down on me. But what I have can 
be fixed, so we'll work on it.

"I'm going to have to live with it for a couple of weeks, maybe more. But hey, that's why I get the big money."

There is an increasing vibe that when Penn State eventually makes a change that the new coach might now come from 
the current staff. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and defensive line coach Larry Johnson are the most likely 

Just to be clear, I'm not saying Joe is going anywhere. A Big Ten title or national championship run will give him 
more reason to stick around.

 Ole Miss continues its up and down season. A week after winning at The Swamp, the Rebels lost an emotional game to 
South Carolina, 31-24. That leaves them 1-2 in the SEC West with a bye week before going to Alabama on Oct. 18.

I spoke to Houston Nutt recently.

Was there any temptation to shove it in Arkansas' face after that Florida win?

Nutt: I really deep down inside haven't thought about that (like) 'Look at us now.' "

OK, so how sweet was it?

Nutt: It was very sweet. We played Florida in the championship game in Atlanta (while with Arkansas). I thought we 
had 'em there. You beat Texas, you beat Tennessee, you beat Alabama, but this one ranks so high. It was 629 days 
since this team had won an SEC game."

After beating Georgia, Nick Saban mentioned the day-by-day grind that it takes to win at this level. You have to 

Nutt: "The constant grind, that's why you need three weeks of the summer to get totally away from it"

How close are you guys to turning it around?

Nutt: "The disappointing thing is, we're still sitting at 73 scholarships. A lot of names you heard the last three 
years aren't here. You're good at defensive line, you're good at receiver. There are some holes. The biggest hole 
was the mindset."

 More on the greatest stat of the season so far ...

D&E told you earlier this week that No. 3 Missouri had not had a three-and-out this season with Chase Daniel at 
quarterback. In those 48 possessions, Mizzou has scored 33 times (28 touchdowns, five field goals). The 15 "misses" 
include five punts, four lost fumbles, three series turned over on downs, two missed field goals and one 

 Brouce Mompremier has been cleared to do conditioning a couple of weeks after he was one of three players involved 
in Black Saturday. The South Florida linebacker was among the three who each suffered serious spinal or back 

 As mentioned in today's main story, Ball State's Dante Love will never play football again after being injured against 
Indiana. He is rehabbing and is expected to make a full recovery. Washington State quarterback suffered a 
non-surgical spine fracture.

Mompremier's got back on the practice field on a limited basis on Tuesday. His injury has been defined as 
nueroproxia, which is temporary failure of nerve conduction in the absence of structural changes, due to blunt 
injury or compression.

 Cincinnati (vs. Rutgers) and New Mexico State (at Nevada) will be the last two teams to open conference play this 

 Georgia Tech freshman Jaybo Shaw completed nine of 13 passes in his first career start against Duke, all to  
Demaryius Thomas for 230 yards. That's the second-highest receiving total in school history.

 Big week for punt blocks involving guys named Carter: North Carolina's Bruce Carter blocked three punts against 
Connecticut. Navy blocked two punts resulting in touchdowns against Air Force. Navy's Blake Carter blocked a punt in 
the first half that was returned for a touchdown. In the second half, he picked up a punt blocked by teammate Bobby 
Doyle. Navy had not blocked a punt in nine years.

  Rutgers has dropped to 1-4 leading coach Greg Schiano to say he might have overestimated his talent. Maybe his 
schedule has been overrated. The Scarlet Knights have beaten two ranked opponents since Schiano took over in 2000. 
That's as many ranked teams as Vanderbilt has beaten this season.

  Texas' Mack Brown on the Big (Scoring) 12: "Every time we look up, the most phenomenal thing is to see 50 points 
in this league. Nobody is surprised. At one time, you said, 'God they scored 58.' Now people are pulling them out  
to keep it to 58.' "

  Seeing the scoring explosion a different way: The nation's top scoring team is Tulsa. Factor in time of possession and  
the Golden Hurricane are averaging a point every 28.7 seconds. No. 2 Missouri is averaging one every 28 seconds.

 How important is Oklahoma-Texas this week? Eight times in the previous 12 games during the existence of the Big 12 
the winner has gone on to win the South Division. Two other times, the loser has played for the conference title. 
The other two South Division titles have been won by Texas A&M.

 Oklahoma is the only team in the country not to lose a fumble this season.

  Washington is 0-5 for the first time in 39 years and one of only two winless teams in I-A. North Texas is the other.

  Name the 12 teams averaging both 200 yards passing and rushing and you win a sucker. Answer below.

  More about Ball State:

 It is located in Muncie, Ind. where basketball is king. The 1990 Ball State team went to the Sweet 16 before losing 
to UNLV. Muncie Central High School has won eight state championships.

When radio voice Morry Mannies went to school there in the 1950s tuition was $150 and enrollment was 4,000. Today 
there are 18,000 students

The last MAC team to be ranked was Bowling Green in November 2004.

The school was shut down three times before 1917. At that point it was bought out of foreclosure by the Ball family. 
It was originally known as Eastern Indiana Normal School. 

The famous "Boom, goes the dynamite" guy, Brian Collins, is from Ball State.

 The 12 incredibly balanced teams referred to above: Oklahoma State, Nevada, Oregon, Penn State, Tulsa, Arkansas 
State, Louisville, Illinois, Indiana, Fresno State, LSU and Southern Miss.


Posted on: September 30, 2008 7:57 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2008 7:59 pm

National notes

Some observations as we round the quarter pole of the season (most everyone has played at least four games):

Updated BCS bowl predictions

BCS title game: Oklahoma vs. Alabama
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC
Fiesta Bowl: Missouri vs. BYU
Sugar Bowl: South Florida vs. LSU
Orange Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest

Three teams to watch:

 South Florida -- Everyone else is trashing the Big East. Some team has to win it. No one is talking about the 
Bulls. They're in the top 10 and have only three road games remaining. All the sudden the Dec. 6 game at West 
Virginia doesn't look that tough.


 Texas -- Oklahoma is No. 1. We're all assuming the Sooners are going to beat the Horns in Dallas. Don't discount 
Texas so easily. Colt McCoy is playing at an all-time high and the pass defense has to get better doesn't it?


 Kentucky -- This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. It's looking like a 9-3 year. The Wildcats are off to a 4-0 
start and have allowed only 22 points. We'll know more when they go to Alabama this week, but having a strong 
defense in the SEC isn't a bad thing.


Three shocking developments to come:

 Mid-season firings -- Watch for either Virginia's Al Groh, Syracuse's Greg Robinson or Washington's Tyrone 
Willingham to lose their jobs during the season. Syracuse AD Daryl Gross seems especially fidgety.


 Tim Tebow will not make it to New York -- Forget consecutive Heismans. I'm not a hater. Any casual follower of the 
sport has noticed Superman's downturn in production. The fourth-down stop against Ole Miss was a shining example. 
And the Heisman is all about production.


That, plus the glut of candidates nationwide, looks like it will keep Tebow out of Times Square.

 The upsets have just begun. OK, so that isn't so shocking.


Projected award winners:

Outland: Andre Smith, Alabama
Biletnikoff: Jarett Dillard, Rice
Thorpe: Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
Davey O'Brien: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
Nagurski/Bednarik: George Selvie, South Florida
Groza: Louie Sakoda, Utah
Heisman: Chase Daniel, Missouri

Coach of the year: Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt

(Outland, best interior lineman; Biletnikoff, best receiver; Thorpe, best defensive back; Davey O'Brien, best 
quarterback; Nagurski/Bednarik, best defensive player; Groza, best kicker; Heisman, best player)


 CBS' Spencer Tillman on Pete Carroll: "After the Ohio State win, because of the relative weakness of Pac-10, Pete 
Carroll's coaching challenge totally shifted. He needed to become Dr. Phil. Be basically Nick Saban, Nick can piss a 
lot of people off. That's what he needed to."


 Clemson's loss to Maryland marked the eighth time in the Tommy Bowden era that the Tigers lost to an unranked 
opponent at home. The others:


2006 -- South Carolina 31, No. 24 Clemson 31-28

2006 -- Maryland 13, No. 19 Clemson 12

2004 -- Georgia Tech 28, No. 20 Clemson 24

2001 -- North Carolina 38, No. 13 Clemson 3

2001 -- Virginia 26, No. 19 Clemson 24

2000 -- Georgia Tech 9, No. 5 Clemson 3


 Is there is any question whether BYU can play for the national championship consider that BYU debuted at No. 7 in 
Harris poll and moved up to No. 9 in the coaches' poll. Jerry Palm has BYU 10th in his weekly BCS standings 


 Texas Tech has put up a website mimicking a presidential campaign for their stars Graham Harrell and Michael 
Crabtree. Here's an idea Mike Leach, trying bringing both guys to the Big 12 media days so hundreds of reporters can talk to them in person.

 Lloyd Carr to Syracuse?



Posted on: September 28, 2008 6:09 pm

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

Before we proceed, today's blog is dedicated to the memory Paul Newman, one of the two coolest guys ever. He and 
Steve McQueen were the male ideal throughout their lives, professional and personal. They taught us it's not about 
having a drink or a cigar or driving a hot car or chatting up a beautiful woman. It's about doing it in style.

The great Newman passed away Friday with a body of work that will be unmatched: Hud, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and 
the Sundance Kid, Absence of Malice, The Color of Money, just to name a few. I will make it a must that young Jack 
add Cool Hand Luke to his movie collection immediately. This is an anti-hero, Jack, showing grace, style and guts 
under pressure. Sure, it's only a story but it's an American story, an American male story.

Newman will be remembered not only as an action icon but also for his charity work, racing and making a heck of a 
salad dressing later in life. Thoughts and prayers, Joanne. Your husband is a legend.

 Gutty Little Tar Heels: Down to backup quarterbacks, down 17-7 at Miami and just plain down after blowing a 
two-touchdown lead against Virginia Tech last week, North Carolina beat the Canes 28-24. Other than that it wasn't a 
good day for the Carolinas. Wake Forest, East Carolina and Clemson all lost to unranked teams.

 Duke broke a 25-game ACC losing streak with a 31-3 victory over Virginia. Can't remember where this came from but 
the headline was perfect: Duke and North Carolina win. Is it basketball season?

 Two conferences without an undefeated team: ACC and Pac-10. Elsewhere, there are 13 undefeated teams among the six 
major conferences, five of them are in the Big 12 (Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State). Four of 
those are in one division, Big 12 South.

 Bad timing: East Carolina announced Saturday that coach Skip Holtz had received an extension through 2013 hours 
before the former BCS busters got blown out at home by Houston.

 After watching Connecticut's Donald Brown on two consecutive Fridays, it's obvious this guy is the real deal. The 
nation's leading rusher has amazing feet and cutting ability. Playing in the East in the Big East and being on 
national television several times, I can see Brown getting a Heisman invite if he keeps it up.

 If Tennessee and Clemson do make moves on their coaches, they're going to be expensive ones. It could cost 
Tennessee upwards of $6 million to get rid of Phil Fulmer, not to mention the cost of hiring a new staff. Clemson 
would have to start by scratching a check for $4 million. That's the amount of Tommy Bowden's buyout. Both coaches 
got raises/extensions in the offseason. Their teams are a combined 4-5.

 If Notre Dame keeps this up they're going to get ranked and go to a BCS bowl while Jimmy Clausen gets some Heisman 
mention, as far-fetched as that sounds. ND, 3-1, matched its 2007 victory total with a 38-21 victory over Purdue.

Clausen seems to be turning some kind of corner after completing 20 of 35 for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

"I know I'm capable of doing stuff like that," Clausen said. "It was just a matter of time and practice preparation 
to get to this point."

 Rice's Chase Clement hooked up three more times with receiver Jarrett Dillard setting an NCAA record for career 
scoring passes between teammates (41). North Texas (0-4) was the victim, 77-20.

Let the debate begin about the worst I-A team. Washington State (1-4 after a 63-14 loss to Oregon) or North Texas.

 Northwestern is 5-0 for the first time in 46 years after beating Iowa 22-17.

 Utah kicker Louie Sakoda chipped in 13 points during the Utes' 37-21 victory over Weber State becoming the 
school's all-time leading scorer. Funny, all along I thought it was Andre Miller.

 Penn State's Derrick Williams scored touchdowns rushing, catching and returning against Illinois.

 Weird play of the day: Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell threw an apparent 97-yard touchdown pass to Terrance 
Turner against Michigan State. Instead, it was called back. Indiana was called for holding in the end zone and the 
Spartans were awarded a safety.

 Did anyone else notice that Dolphin Stadium was half full, at best, for Miami's game against North Carolina? The 
announced attendance was 35,830.

 Navy beat its first ranked team in 23 years, 24-17 over Wake Forest.





Posted on: August 31, 2008 5:39 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2008 8:53 pm

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

As long as I'm piling on the ACC couldn't resist this one ...

Well, it's not an ACC error per se but why not kick a mediocre league while it's down. It seems that Duke officials 
were shocked when parachutists descended into Wallace Wade Stadium with the game ball about an hour before Saturday's 
James Madison game. One problem. Duke hadn't ordered a game ball. However, North Carolina, eight miles away, did.

 Will we look back on this as the football equivalent of The Beatles playing the Cavern Club? In other words, the 
modest beginning for a monster talent? Terrelle Pryor looked more than capable in his career debut against 
Youngstown State, 35 yards passing, 52 yards rushing and a touchdown.


For up-to-the-minute updates go to Pryor's 24-hour webcam. You've got to see the archived stuff of him having the 
Caesar salad for lunch on Friday. Classic.

 Appalachian State won! The third quarter, 7-3 over LSU.


 Nothing like patience. This from a Detroit columnist: "(Michigan quarterback) Steven Threet needs to start based on his performance 
(against Utah)." After watching that mess in The Big House does it matter?


 Hawaii AD Jim Donovan is a smart, smart man. There are no more SEC teams on the Warriors schedule for the 
foreseeable future. The last two outings against the SEC have resulted in combined losses of 97-20 to Georgia and 


 If you want to put a new name atop the hot seat list, feel free to add San Diego State's Chuck Long. We did get 
our designated I-AA upset late Saturday although it wasn't the earth shaker you might think. Cal Poly beat the Aztecs 
for the second time in three seasons. This time it was 29-27. A San Diego columnist the program "reached the bottom of its existence."


 Big 12 starting quarterbacks threw a combined 20 touchdown passes on Saturday. That's an average of 2.2 per man without two of the  nine starters throwing for a score. The breakdown:  Kansas' Todd Reesing (three), Missouri's Chase Daniel (three), Nebraska's Joe Ganz (four), Kansas State's Josh Freeman  (three), Texas' Colt McCoy (three), Texas' A&M Stephen McGee (none), Texas Tech's Graham Harrell (two), Oklahoma State's Zac  Robinson (none) and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford (two).


 Five years ago to the day Dennis Franchione started his Texas A&M career with a 26-11 victory over Arkansas State. 
Franchione's replacement, Mike Sherman,wasn't so fortunate losing to the Red Wolves 18-14 in his first game as 
Aggies' coach. The usually staid Associated Press called it "one of the most embarrassing losses in A&M history."  

 Nebraska recovered a fumble against Western Michigan. That brings the Huskers to one-third of their total for all 
of 2007.

 Pittsburgh is now 5-13 since starting 6-1 in 2006. 

 How important are those Virginia Tech special teams? Huge. The Hokies had won 17 consecutive games when blocking a 
kick. Ironically, East Carolina's T.J. Lee blocked a punt and scored the game-winning touchdown in a 27-22 Pirates' 
victory. East Carolina became the only team below the BCS level that beat a top 20 team. The other teams 
with a win over top 20 wins on Saturday were Missouri and Alabama.


The Pirates became the first Conference USA team to beat back-to-back ranked teams. They had defeated Boise State in 
last year's Hawaii Bowl. That says more about Conference USA than it does East Carolina. Conference USA is 13 years 

 Injury watch: Georgia's monster defensive tackle Jeff Owens is out for the season with a knee. How many more injuries can UGA stand?...There are varying reports about the severity of Jeremy Maclin's injury late Saturday. Missouri's all-purpose 
king apparently twisted an ankle (X-rays were negative).


 Novenas are being said in Columbus for tailback Beanie Wells. Ohio State's tailback has some sort of right foot 
problem. Again, X-rays were negative. Even if he is 100 percent look for Jim Tressel to seriously limiting Wells' 
playing time this week against Ohio. The Bucks need him healthy for USC in two weeks. We should know something on Monday.


 Most impressive on opening weekend? It had to be USC which slapped around Virginia. Pete Carroll looked like he 
was sandbagging us during the preseason. Three weeks after dislocating his knee, quarterback Mark Sanchez looks 
ready and able to become the new Leinart after throwing for a career-high 338 yards.


"Everything happened just right," Carroll said. "Too bad we let them score."

 If you're looking ahead to Tennessee-UCLA on Monday night consider UCLA's Kevin Craft. The juco transfer 
quarterback faces some uphill odds. The last juco transfer qb to lead a team to a Pac-10 title was USC's Tim Green in 

 Hurricane Gustav's impact is being felt all the way to Alabama. Tulane has already gone threat ahead of the storm 
in preparations for this week's game at Alabama. Troy goes over to LSU in a game that could be a prime candidate for 
cancellation. The Category 3 storm is expected to hit Louisiana on Monday.


 OK, so there is no Terrelle Pryor 24-hour webcam but if you got down this far believing it, gotcha!


Posted on: August 9, 2008 6:08 pm

These teams had the five best offseasons

A minimum of off-field knuckleheadedness and nothing but positive vibes for these five programs ...

Florida Atlantic: The head coach is coming off a conference title, bowl win and contract extension at age 74. If the Good Lord is willing, Howard Schnellenberger will go until he is 84 and somehow get the Owls into a better league by the time he's done. Eighteen starters return from an 8-5 team. The first four weeks include trips to Texas, Michigan State and Minnesota. Am I crazy for thinking the Owls will beat (at least) one of those teams?

North Carolina: Butch Davis should have the Heels in a bowl in his second season. The top eight rushers and top nine receivers return along with quarterback T.J. Yates who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Assistant John Blake already is showing his worth in recruiting.  The Heels lost six games by seven points or less last season. There's no Clemson, Florida State or Wake Forest on the schedule. A second-place finish in the Coastal Division isn't out of the question.

Ohio State: Duh, right? The thing that gets me is that 13 juniors explored their draft worth in the offseason. Only one, Vernon Gholston, left. That means there are at least 12 other players on the roster who would at least be in an NFL camp at this point. Then The Vest landed the nation's best recruit (Terrelle Pryor). You know I love the Bucks on paper (No. 1 in CBSSports.com preseason top 25). A third BCS title game berth looks likely, even if they lose to USC.

Ole Miss: Ed Orgeron recruited like a mother. Unfortunately, the talent didn't translate to wins in time. Houston Nutt inherits a team that could be the surprise of the SEC West. The defense gets back its top 14 tacklers. Texas transfer Jevan Snead is ready to go at quarterback. One-time five-star recruit Jerrell Powe got eligible a couple of weeks ago. Coming off its first winless SEC season since 1982 don't be surprised to see the Rebels in a bowl game. 

Thanks, Ed.

Texas Tech: Yeah, I know. The Red Raiders are everybody's darling. Mike Leach's spread option might be the most productive in the nation. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are a year older and wiser. But the defense has been upgraded too (you only need a little in the Big 12) and Texas has to come to Lubbock. Anything less than 10 victories should be considered a disappointment.

Posted on: April 3, 2008 11:05 am
Edited on: April 3, 2008 6:07 pm

Off to San Antonio, a couple of things on my mind

This was going to be all basketball-related until Ryan Perrilloux decided to go knucklehead again this week. This is from the student newspaper at LSU about an alleged altercation at a Baton Rouge restaurant ...

Another employee at Kona Grill confirmed Wednesday (April 2) that Ryan Perrilloux was involved in a verbal altercation at the restaurant, saying the junior quarterback called a server "Osama."

The employee agreed to speak to The Daily Reveille under the condition of anonymity and said the incident occurred Sunday around 10 p.m.

Another Kona Grill server, Drew Watson, said he knew "all about the incident" but "already agreed to management not to comment."

Perrilloux entered the restaurant with an unidentified former LSU football player and three employees from Crazy Horse Cabaret, the anonymous employee said.

He said the group sat in the cocktail area and began drinking. Perrilloux, the employee said, began yelling obscenities and racial slurs to their server.

After some time, the employee said the server spoke to a manager and asked him to address the rowdy group.

The employee said a manager asked the group to leave, and after the manager threatened to call the police, the group left.

The employee said a manager e-mailed the LSU Athletic Department and said he would not serve any more LSU players until he received a formal apology from Perrilloux.

Kona Grill allegedly received phone calls from LSU coach Les Miles, an assistant athletic director and Perrilloux apologizing for the incident, employees said.

Watson is not the server who spoke about the incident nor the server who was harassed.

LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette said no such incident occurred at Kona Grill.

"We don't have anything to say," Bonnette said.

The Daily Reveille contacted Assistant General Manager Scott Aldridge on Tuesday evening, and he said he did not have a comment regarding the incident.

"I've been receiving a lot of calls about that and would like to stop receiving calls at the restaurant," Aldridge said.

The Advocate reported Wednesday that Aldridge said "Perrilloux was at the restaurant Sunday evening but didn't cause a scene."

Casey Hicks, public information director for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, said the Sheriff's Office was not called out Sunday evening to Kona Grill.

Perrilloux's suspension from the football team was lifted this past week, and he was expected to return to practice Monday.

WJBO reported Tuesday that Perrilloux "will not be participating in Spring practice at all this year" because of "an incident at a local restaurant over the weekend."

Our favorite suspended quarterback appears to be done for the spring which is kind of a big deal considering the spring game is on Saturday. Link

I'm told the fact that Perrilloux will miss the rest of spring isn't related to the alleged restaurant incident, but stay tuned.

 When will people (meaning you, Doyel) get off the Tyler Hansbrough train?

I'm not here to trash the kid. He's really, really good. But to continually harp on his "effort" and his "trying real hard" makes me sick. To say Hansy tries harder than everyone else is an insult to everyone else. Does he play harder than Kevin Love? No. Does he play harder than Derrick Rose? No. The point is, those guys aren't exactly slackers.

Let's go ahead and assume that most players give maximum effort. Hansbrough just happens to have bulging eyes that makes him popular with the Sam Peckinpah crowd. Let's not confuse talent with effort. Hansbrough has both but he's not the most competitive mammal on the planet.

Try taking a dead mouse away from a wolverine. I don't know why I wrote that, I'm just passionate about the subject.

Mike Freeman's America-loves-a-tough-white-guy column  is still the defining word on the issue.

  A colleague this week asked me to rank the top 10 college basketball programs at this moment. Came up with this. 1. North Carolina 2. UCLA 3. Kentucky 4. Duke 5. Kansas 6. Louisville 7. Florida 8. Georgetown 9. Texas 10. Memphis

That was before Indiana hired Tom Crean. So let's wait and see if the Hoosiers can claw their back into the at-this-moment top 10.

  Joe Paterno doesn't need a contract? Careful, Joe, you might get what you wish for. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com