Tag:Pittsburgh
Posted on: November 15, 2009 10:34 am
 

Is this it for Charlie Weis?

The wheels already seem to be turning at Notre Dame.

AD Jack Swarbrick answered an emphatic “no” when asked if economics would get in the way of replacing Charlie Weis as coach following ND’s 27-22 loss to Pittsburgh. That’s the most definitive statement out of Notre Dame this season regarding Weis’ job security.

The Sporting News reported the comment on Sunday.

Notre Dame would owe Weis $18 million buyout money left from the 10-year contract he signed seven games into his first season in 2005. There is already wide speculation that Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly would be targeted as the school’s first choice to replace Weis.

Things could get hairy with Cincinnati possibly playing in a BCS bowl for the second consecutive year. Prediction: Kelly will be Notre Dame’s next coach by the end of December.

The Irish dropped to 6-4 with games left against UConn and Stanford. 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 8, 2009 4:07 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2009 12:14 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

After watching that replay again from Alabama, how can a reasonable person rule that wasn’t an interception? I’m expecting something out of the SEC office in the next couple of days.

Why I like Alabama on game day … “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on and immediately everyone on University Ave. starts jukin’ and yellin’. Ever see 10,000 folks do the Bama version of the River Dance?

Why I like Alabama on game day II … The houndstooth 1) skirts and 2) beer coozies.

Why I like Alabama on game day III … Yes, they were taking pictures of me as I was in makeup prior to my appearance on CBS College Sports’ SEC Tailgate. You people must find some meaning in your lives.

Get ready for a noisy Boise: The way things are sorting out, an undefeated Boise State is going to be beaten out for a BCS bowl by a two-loss team from one of the power conferences, p.r. firm or not.

The BCS bowl matchups began to get into sharper focus when Iowa lost and Alabama won. Here’s out it works:

The automatic qualifiers are down these teams …

Big Ten: Iowa/Ohio State. The teams plays this week in Columbus so that will sort itself out. Both teams have lost once. Saturday's winner most likely goes to the Rose Bowl.

Big 12: Texas will play either Kansas State or Nebraska from the North Division. K-State controls its own destiny after beating Kansas. Texas might be cruising but could get some blowback at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving or from Nebraska or K-State in the Big 12 title game.

SEC: Alabama vs. Florida in the SEC title game. If they teams stay undefeated before Dec. 5, the winner plays for the national championship. The loser most likely goes to the Sugar Bowl.

ACC: Still a mess but Georgia Tech is the conference’s only one loss team and leads the Coastal Division. Clemson controls its fate in the Atlantic Division. The ACC winner most likely goes to the Orange Bowl.

Big East: Cincinnati is undefeated but still has tough games left against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. With no conference championship game to hinder it, the Bearcats could be headed to the Sugar Bowl to face the Alabama-Florida loser.

Pac-10: It looks as if Oregon, Arizona or Stanford will go to the Rose. The Wildcats and Ducks meet Nov. 21 in Tucson. Despite the letdown loss at Stanford, Oregon still seems to have the advantage. Arizona still has its toughest games to play (Cal, USC, Arizona State). Stanford has to get past USC and Cal before meeting Notre Dame in the regular-season finale,

That leaves four at-large berths. Notre Dame is out after losing to Navy. If TCU stays undefeated and ahead of Boise State in the BCS, it will go, most likely, to the Fiesta Bowl. As mentioned, the Florida-Alabama loser should gobble up a Sugar Bowl spot.  If USC wins out it could get the other Fiesta Berth at 10-2.

That leaves an undefeated Boise having to fight off a two-loss team from a major conference in order to get to the BCS. Things being what they are, which is the same for the past 50 years in this situation, the Orange Bowl most likely would pick a 10-2 Penn State to play the ACC champion.

Sorry Broncos.

Name this team: Its last conference championship came in 2003. Since then it has been a mixed bag. This program has changed coaches twice, beaten Texas twice and produced a quarterback drafted in the first round. This year alone it has given up 66 points to Texas Tech, lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and, amazingly,  is in first place in its division.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to Kansas State, 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 North after beating Kansas 17-10. In Bill Snyder’s second term as coach, the Wildcats need only beat Nebraska in its final two games to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game.

Snyder is getting some run for Big 12 coach of the year. We’re fairly sure no COY has lost to Texas Tech by 54 and lost to a fourth-place Sun Belt team in the same season.


USC decline: Before Saturday’s 14-9 victory over Arizona State, USC had allowed 110 points in its last three games. That’s the most in a three-game stretch ever. The Trojans had allowed 113 points combined in the previous 14 games.


Breaking down the big boys: Now that a Florida-Alabama rematch is assured, here’s the three-minute eval of the SEC title game slightly less than a month away.

Advantage Alabama: A better running game (I think) and the revenge motive for last year’s classic loss in Atlanta.

Advantage Florida: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. As long as he’s taking snaps, Florida has a chance.

Advantage Florida: Defense. By a hair. This is going to be another matchup of the ages. Charlie Strong vs. Nick Saban/Kirby Smart. At this point Florida’s unit seems a bit more active.

Advantage Alabama: Special teams. With Javier Arenas returning kicks and Terrence Cody blocking them, give the Crimson Tide the edge. Kicker Leigh Tiffin is more than reliable. If you’re looking for an edge, this is it. Games like this tend to turn on special teams.

Stuff: SMU needed three blocked kicks to beat Rice and move to within one win of bowl eligibility. The Ponies last went bowling pre-death penalty in 1984 … Alabama hasn’t been 9-0 in consecutive seasons since 1973-74 … In its last 39 home games, Cal is 0-7 against Oregon State and USC, 32-0 against everyone else … My God, did you see Cal’s Jahvid Best suffer that concussion while diving into the end zone? Coach Jeff Tedford actually said his guy was “OK.” No, coach, he’s not OK. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Best’s season is over … Who knew UCLA had lost seven conference games in a row before beating  Washington?

The right now, no B.S., up to the moment Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston. Another last-second win, this time over Tulsa. In his last two games Keenum has thrown for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. Any questions? My goal in life is to get this kid a trip to New York. He’s earned it. In a perfect world, he’d win the Stiff Arm but because he plays at a Conference USA school it probably isn’t going to happen.

2. Mark Ingram, Alabama. It’s the KIIS system – Keep It Ingram, Stupid. After throwing 25 passes in the first half, Nick Saban changed tactics and had Ingram carry it 16 games in the second half against LSU. The result was 144 yards.

3. Colt McCoy, Texas. It was only Central Florida but McCoy continued a recent uptick with 469 passing yards. McCoy was removed from the game with nine minutes left four yards shy of the school passing record (Major Applewhite, 473 yards in the 2001 Holiday Bowl).

Funny thing, Applewhite might have the school record but because the NCAA didn’t recognize bowl stats back then it officially doesn’t exist. What makes things more annoying is that a few years ago the NCAA started counting bowl stats. I still contend that an intern at each school in the country could go back and add in all the bowl numbers.

The NCAA explains that current record holders would have their names expunged if records were updated. Tough! You count all the numbers, not just some of them.

4. Toby Gerhart, Stanford. Coach Jim Harbaugh is preaching physicality. Gerhart pounded Oregon for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-42 win.

5. C.J. Spiller, Clemson. If the Tigers are going to win their first ACC title in 18 years, Spiller is going to be the reason. He went for a school-record 312 all-purpose yards against Florida State.

Posted on: November 1, 2009 8:52 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Stunning stat of the day: At least one former Miami player has scored a touchdown in 112 straight weeks of NFL play dating back to week 15 of 2002.

BCS ramblings: Iowa is a heartbeat away from the presidency at No. 4 in the BCS. Here’s how it gets to the title game: LSU upsets Bama this week (Tigers have won five of the last six overall and the last three in a row in T-town) and then beats Florida in the SEC championship game. That opens up a spot for the Hawkeyes vs. Texas.

It’s looking worse for Notre Dame, 6-2. At 22, the Irish are the second-lowest ranked two-loss team in the BCS top 25. It will get some bump for beating No. 13 Pittsburgh, but that’s about it. It has to get to No. 14 in the final standings to be “eligible” which for Notre Dame would mean a BCS bowl bid.

It doesn’t help that eight of the nine teams above Notre Dame all have a chance to run the table. That could block out the Irish even if they win out.

 If you don’t vote Case Keenum No. 1 this week for the Heisman, you’re high.

There, I said it. The kid has accomplished more than Jimmy Clausen and is more consistent than Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy. The Houston quarterback’s Heisman moment came Saturday in the final minute when he tossed the winning touchdown pass to beat Southern Miss.

That ended one of the best games by a quarterback this season. Keenum completed 44 of 54 game for 559 yards and five touchdowns. Oh yeah, he’s the second most accurate passer in the country too.

The Cougs also ran for 191 yards. That’s 750 yards in total offense. I know it probably isn’t going to happen, but I’d love to see Houston in a BCS game against a defense like Texas’. The Longhorns beat Texas-El Paso 64-7, the only team that has defeated Houston. Strange.

2. Ryan Mathews, Fresno State – The nation’s leading rusher went for 185 yards against an aggressive Utah State defense to keep the national rushing lead. Mathews was able to return after a third-quarterback hit that reportedly bruised his ribs. “Probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit,” he said.

Mathews has run for 1,316 yards despite not playing a couple of fourth quarters.

3. Iowa defense – Your offense turns it over six times. Your quarterback throws four interceptions in one quarter. The Iowa D deserves some sort of recognition for a couple of pick sixes that might have been the difference in the Hawkeyes’ 42-24 win over Indiana.

Las Vegas should just get it over with and list Iowa as a pick ‘em in every remaining game. Team Turnover is that flaky.


4. Tim Tebow – The question is not whether Tebow can play in the NFL. The question is whether he will be alive to play in the NFL. You saw my Saturday column. I love the kid, but good Lord, 84 rushes in four games after a concussion? His excellence against Georgia proved once again that Tebow is pretty much all Florida has on offense, or at least that’s what the coaching staff believes.

Two rushing touchdowns by Superman shot him past Herschel Walker for SEC lead in career rushing touchdowns, 51.

5. Kellen Moore, Boise State – A trip to New York would be Boise’s consolation prize for missing out on a BCS bowl in consecutive years. Moore has 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Also consider Golden Tate. He's still the best Notre Dame player, not Jimmy Clausen. Had an effective game against Washington State.

 A Tennessee radio guy FOI’d (Freedom of Information Act) the Mike Slive letter to Lane Kiffin on Friday. The contents of it are out there. It’s good reading.

In case you missed it, the SEC commish brought the hammer down on Friday threatening suspensions and fines if there is any more criticism of league officials. He seemed to call out Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin who is going from the reprimand hat trick. Remember him erroneously saying that Urban Meyer “cheated” in the recruiting of Nu’Keese Richardson?

``It is your responsibility as a coach to comply with the policies of the Southeastern Conference and to know the football playing rules …,” Slive wrote.

``Since it is clear from your public comments that you believe this letter `mean(s) nothing,' let me be equally as clear to you. The next time you, or a member of your staff, make public comments of this nature, you will be suspended from all coaching duties for one or more games, and the institution may be subjected to a substantial fine … ''


``I also remind you that this is your second public reprimand in your brief tenure as Tennessee's head football coach, and on both occasions, you were wrong about the applicable rules.''

Bam, zing, boom!

 

Posted on: October 25, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2009 7:05 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Oh, Good Lord, are we going to do this again? SEC officials are suffering a crisis of confidence.

 In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, it might be time to rip Tim Tebow.

The Chosen One refused to speak to reporters after throwing two pick sixes in Saturday’s 29-19 victory. Tebow has been so good for so long to everyone – especially the media – that it’s hard to question him but players only have one chance to get it right win or lose. You either show up and face the journalistic music or you look bad.

To be fair, the postgame setup at Mississippi State is bad. It was hard to sequester Tebow because he was being surrounded by fans and even security personnel who wanted autographs. But … he is arguably the best player in the country.

Tim, if you were pouting, get over it. Life, and football, are going to get a lot tougher. Enjoy college while you can.

 In football terms, don’t blame the national media for being tough on suddenly vulnerable Florida. Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley summarized things on Sunday after an ugly win over Mississippi State.
.

I can’t explain why the players made bad decisions.
I can’t explain why this team is hard to watch.
I can’t explain why Florida only throws the ball to two receivers.
I can’t explain why Tebow still takes sacks out of the pocket instead of throwing it away.
I can’t explain how Tebow could score more points for the maroon and white than he did for the orange and blue.

 Wait until Lane Kiffin gets everything in place. The Great Gum Flapper has lost to supposedly the two best teams in the country by a total of 12 points, both on the road.

And I don’t want to hear about positioning the ball better for Daniel (one for four) Lincoln. If you would have offered any Tennessee fan before the game a chance at a game-winning 44-yard field goal at the gun, he/she would have taken it.

 Clemson and Miami have gone into overtime in their last three meetings. Clemson won in 2004, Miami took a three-overtime decision in ’05 and the teams played that epic on Saturday night.  The upshot of Clemson’s 40-37 win this weekend: The ACC might have lost a second BCS bowl.

 Here are my 12 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback, not in any order)

Case Keenum, Houston
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Tim Tebow, Florida
matt Barkley, USC
Darryl Clark, Penn State
Colt McCoy, Texas
Andy Dalton, TCU
Tony Pike, Cincinnati
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Jacoby Harris, Miami
Bill Stull, Pittsburgh
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State

 Bob Griese straddles the racist remark line.

 Playing it close: What is Notre Dame’s margin of error? Almost nothing. In its last six games Notre Dame has outscored the opposition 175-169. It is even in yards 2,559-2,559.

 Northwestern is Notre Dame Jr. It has had four games decided by six points or fewer after sneaking out a 29-28 win over Indiana.

 Same old thing for South Florida which is in the middle of its usual October Swoon. Since entering the polls two weeks ago, the Bulls have been outscored 75-31 against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Panthers haven’t been 7-1 since 1982. Dan Marino was a senior and Pitt – it was known as that then – was ranked No. 1.

The no B.S., etc., etc., blah, blah, you know the drill, Heisman Watch

1. Case Keenum, Houston – Steady in 23-point victory over SMU. Still the most important quarterback in the country (sorry Tim Tebow)
2. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh – 111 yards against South Florida overshadowing emerging teammate Bill Stull.
3. Colt McCoy, Texas – Horns can’t run and play defense pretty well. Without McCoy they wouldn’t be undefeated. Three touchdowns vs. Missouri
4. Golden Tate, Notre Dame – Somebody has to be catching all those Jimmy Clausen passes. Tate is one of the most sure-handed receivers in the country.
5. C.J. Spiller, all-purpose, Clemson – The ACC’s career leader in that category went for 300 yards all-purpose to help upset Miami.
 

Posted on: October 23, 2009 11:24 am
Edited on: October 24, 2009 9:49 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Montana coach Bobby Hauck has disgraced his profession. Wonder why the American Football Coaches Association hasn't weighed in on this issue...Let's see, because it condones this conduct by ignorning it. Bullying students, real nice Bobby ... 

Let’s see, the SEC officials blew in the Florida-Arkansas game. Then, Bobby Petrino is reprimanded for reminding them that they blew it. The SEC can’t suspend the officials and reprimand Petrino at the same time. Only the SEC can tell Marc Curles he is wrong?

 There’s tough and there’s SEC tough: Since suffering a broken jaw and concussion on Oct. 3 against LSU, Georgia tailback Caleb King has missed one game while subsisting on a liquid diet. King scored two touchdowns against last week against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are off this week before the Cocktail Party on Oct. 31.

 Whatever happened to that Sam Bradford press conference to announce his future? Love this stat: Three starting Big 12 quarterbacks have started against Texas. Three Big 12 starting quarterbacks have not finished this games.

 WWL saw USC’s Matt Barkley on some Heisman lists this week. Check the Pac-10 first. Barks isn’t even the best freshman quarterback in his own league. Stanford’s Andrew Luck has thrown for almost 1,600 yards with nine touchdowns.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis (fourth in rushing) is the only freshman in the top 22 in rushing.

 National rushing leader Ryan Mathews of Fresno State is on pace to rush for almost 2,000 yards. Four of the six rush defenses he will face the remainder of the season are ranked 98th or worse against the run (New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Illinois).

Looking ahead to next week:  Florida-Georgia in the Cocktail Party. Dawgs get to rest up this week. Florida is at Mississippi State. Tebow plays his last Georgia game.

 USC at Oregon. Trojans haven’t won in the state of Oregon since 2005 and need this one to stay in the Pac-10 and national championship hunt. Beavers, though, could end USC’s seven-year run of dominance with a win.

Texas at Oklahoma State. Cowboys thought they should have beaten the Horns last year in Austin. If they win in Stillwater, Pokes take control of the Big 12 South.

Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)

ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.

Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?

Big Ten: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: No one expected 7-0, especially after an opening-day squeaker against Northern Iowa. Now the Hawkeyes are to be feared after a comeback win at Wisconsin. Don’t be surprised if they’re favored on Nov. 14 going to Ohio State.

Big 12: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. That loss to Houston is looking better all the time.  The dude isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers but he does know how to call an offense and the addition of Bill Young on defense has made a difference. The NCAA took away Dez Bryant. Injuries took away his best running back, Kendall Hunter. The Cowboys, 5-1 and second in the Big 12 South, control their own destiny for the conference title.

Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.

MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.

Mountain West: Gary Patterson, TCU. Fort Worth’s favorite has the Froggers chasing their first BCS bowl and first conference title since 2005. No Heisman candidates, a great defensive end (Jerry Hughes) and Patterson’s scheming.

Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.

SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.

Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against  BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.

WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.

National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.

The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Leads the country in touchdown passes (19), yards (2,464) and has beaten three BCS schools.  That’s as many as Jimmy Clausen.
3.  Jacory Harris, QB, Miami. The physical and spiritual momentum behind Miami’s rise back to the top.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh. The nation’s leading freshman runner is on pace for 1,580 yards.
5. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. Harassed by Arkansas but came through again during the game-winning drive.

Posted on: October 4, 2009 9:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 9:43 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

It’s becoming apparent that Notre Dame has to beat USC in two weeks to go to a BCS bowl. I told you in Sunday’s story how lowly regarded ND is in the polls.

Here’s why: It has plenty of competition. Notre Dame is currently one of 30 one-loss teams in Division I-A. Twenty-three of the other 29 teams are from BCS leagues. Ten of the 29 are ranked. Six of those 10 have a victory over a ranked team. That's something Notre Dame doesn't have.

That means ND is one of 20 one-loss teams in I-A that are unranked. it is in a group with the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford and UCLA. Four of those teams are left on ND’s schedule – BC, Pittsburgh, UConn and Stanford.

Given that the Irish play only one more team that is currently ranked (USC), the Oct. 17 game becomes make-or-break for a BCS bowl the way I see it. It’s 11-1 or bust. The pollsters and computers simply won’t get ND high enough at 10-2 because of the quality of the remaining schedule.

 Oklahoma has lost a pair of games by a point in the same season twice. Both have come in the last four years – 2006 and 2009 following Saturday's 21-20 loss to Miami. That followed a 14-13 opening-night loss to BYU.

In 2006, OU lost to both Oregon and Boise State by a point. In its history, OU has lost 299 games. Only 18 have come by a single point. That’s a one-point loss for every 16 losses. Since Sept. 16, 2006, four of the Sooners’ last 10 losses have come by one point.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had lost 26 games. Four have been by one point and two have been by two points.

  Which way LSU? All we can say is the that Tigers are still undefeated after sneaking out of Athens with a 20-13 victory over Georgia. Charles Scott’s game-winning 33-yard run with 46 seconds left was set up by A.J. Green’s excessive celebration penalty. You’ll read more about that from Tony Barnhart on Tuesday. My take? That kind of penalty should never decide a game. This one did.

“It was a want-to run,” said Scott who had been struggling this season. “I ran mad.”

He better run madder with Florida coming to town. I’ve trotted this out a bunch of times, but the winner of LSU-Florida has won the national championship in the last three seasons.

 All that stuff about USC slipping in the Pac-10? Maybe not. The 30-3 win at Cal re-positions the Trojans for BCS bowl No. 8 in a row.

 Anyone want to take a stab at the Florida State mess? One of the most trusted and knowledgeable beat writers in the South says it’s time for Bobby to go. For most of the BC game, it looked like Bobby Bowden had lost his team. Down 21-6, the Seminoles rallied to tie, only to lose late 28-21. That marks FSU’s first 0-2 start in the ACC. It is 2-3 for the first time since 1976.

--In the battle of point guards, Syracuse’s Greg Paulus had more turnovers (five interceptions) than South Florida’s B.J. Daniels. The former Duke guard lost to the current South Florida guard (they’re both quarterbacks, by the way) 34-20.

 Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards against Duke. Yes, you read that right.

 Stanford, 4-1, is off to its best start since 1995.

 Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher stuck it to Wisconsin fans by wearing a Brett Favre jersey during the Badgers’ 31-28 victory in Minneapolis. Let’s hope Goldy is not on scholarship because that would be a waste of good polyester.

 

Posted on: September 16, 2009 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2009 8:09 pm
 

National notes leading with Russell Shepard

Is  Russell Shepard being hidden?

LSU’s freshman has Tigers fans’ mouths watering, but didn’t play in the opener at Washington. He played handful of snaps last week against Vanderbilt showing how good he can be and how young he is.

Operating in the Wildcat on LSU’s eighth offensive play, Shepard ran around left end for 13 yards. On the next play he caught an eight-yard pass from Jordan Jefferson, then immediately fumbled. Later, Shepard ran for eight yards on the option keeper.

“We’ve have to get him some more touches and some more experience,” Les Miles said. “The second time with the ball in his hands, he coughs it up. He didn’t understand how important it is to get the yards and go down. Going down is OK as long as you have the ball.”

Shepard has been compared to everyone from Tim Tebow to Percy Harvin. Miles still hasn’t been clear on how his prize  eventually will be used. There is still time to tinker against Louisiana-Lafayette this week before the SEC schedule starts against Mississippi State.

So is Shepard being hidden? More like getting used to hot water. LSU ran only 48 plays against Washington so there were few opportunities for him to get in. Against Vandy, he had three touches for 29 yards which was a tease for those who can't wait for more.
 
“According to people I’ve talked to, his (off-field) abilities are Tebow-esque … On the field what he can do is similar to Percy Harvin,” said CBS network analyst Tim Brando.

CBS game day analyst Gary Danielson said it would be a mistake to throw Shepard in at quarterback for any legnth of time: “If Russell Shepard is the leader of this team, they are not going to be a good football team. If Florida would have hung it on Tebow, Florida would not have been good the first year either.”

CBS’ Spencer Tillman added this: “His talent is literally off the charts. This kid is more gifted than Vince Young was at this point in time.”

Shepard has some of those Tebow qualities, agreeing to a magazine cover shoot in high school but not without teammates. After committing to LSU in June 2008, he then began recruiting other players for the Tigers. One was five-star safety Craig Loston, a cousin.

This is probably not the week to be raising Terrelle Pryor’s name but Shepard has been compared favorably to Ohio State’s quarterback.

“I admire the way Tim Tebow handles himself off the field,” Shepard told the New Orleans Times Picayune . “I took a liking to that. He says, ‘God bless you,’ after every interview. He’s amazing … I want to be known like that.”

You can read more about Shepard here .

 USC might have the best quarterback situation in the country if Matt Barkley doesn’t go on Saturday. It still has its most experienced quarterback on the bench. If Aaron Corp starts for USC against Washington, that puts the forgotten Mitch Mustain a tweaked ankle away from being under center. Mustain might the most talented No. 3 quarterback in the country. He was 8-0 as a freshman starter at Arkansas in 2006. Don't forget that Corp won the job coming out of spring.

 Loved this anecdote from the Michigan press box. Announcing Central Michigan’s upset win over Michigan State, the press box announcer at Michigan Stadium said, “No cheering in the press box, but we will make an exception right now.”

  Joe Paterno his team being ranked fifth in both polls: “Are we No. 5? I take the paper and go to the bathroom. I scan it. First, I see who died.”

 After two weeks, the Pac-10 has the best record (4-2) against the Big Six major conferences and Notre Dame. Not surprisingly, the Sun Belt has the worst mark (1-8). The MAC has played the most games against the major conferences, 14, and gone 2-12.

 If SMU beats Washington State this week it will be 3-0 for the first time since pre-death penalty days in 1984.

 Tulsa has allowed one defensive touchdown in its first two games. Get ready for that to change. The Golden Hurricane travel to Oklahoma.
 
 Just warning all those BCS lovers out there: Florida is 11th in the Sagarin Ratings. That’s not the worst of it. The Colley Matrix  has Florida No. 35 and USC No. 13. Wes Colley’s top five – 1. Pittsburgh, 2. LSU, 3. Wisconsin, 4. Texas, 5. UCLA.

You shouldn’t have to be reminded that those are two of the six computer indexes used in the BCS standings.

 


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