Tag:South Florida
Posted on: September 13, 2008 10:12 am
 

Ohio State "doubtful" for USC game

I'm looking out of my hotel window and I don't see any scarlet and gray bodies throwing themselves off the roof here in L.A.

That's the good news for Ohio State. Other than that, it's hard to find a way the Buckeyes are going to win The Slap Fight in South Central. No running game with Beanie out (we'll see). An immobile quarterback, Todd Boeckman, facing Pete Carroll's best defense.

I'm here to get the Bucknuts off suicide watch:

About the only place Ohio State has an advantage is in the defensive secondary.  Cornerback Donald Washington and safety Jamario O'Neal both come back from suspensions today. The USC receivers still aren't an overly assertive bunch. If the Bucks can beat up the receivers and somehow -- somehow -- make USC one dimensional then they have a chance.

That said, USC has a huge advantage on defense. The three-headed tailback monster that is Maurice Wells, Brandon Saine and Dan Herron isn't going to be good enough. That brings me back to my Tuesday assessment: It's got to be Terrelle Pryor's game. He is the best hope Ohio State has of winning this game.

 

 Just when the Big East was looking for a go-to team, South Florida might be it. Jim Leavitt found a kicker (freshman Maikon Bonani) just in time to beat Kansas 37-34. What a strange game. Kansas blew a 20-3 lead. South Florida blew a 34-20 lead. Then Todd Reesing, the heart and soul of the Jayhawks, threw a crippling interception with 30 seconds left to set up the game-winning kick.

 

The Bulls (3-0) should jump into the top 15 this week. Kansas (2-1) still looks like a 9-3 team to me.

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 3, 2008 2:27 pm
 

National notes

It's early but the NCAA rules committee has seemingly gotten it right with the new timing rules.

Through the first weekend, teams are averaging 68.6 plays per game, down only 3.3375 plays per team from last season (6.6675 total per game). That's tolerable because the loss of plays is minimal and, despite that, scoring is up. 
Again, it's early but teams are averaging 30.84 points per game. If it holds up that would break last season's record of 
28.38 points per team.

The big difference is in length of game. So far games have lasted only 3 hours, 8 minutes on average. That's down 
from 3:22 last season. I've taken my shots at the rules committee in the past as being too meddling. So far its 
"fixes" have worked.  After covering two games I haven't noticed the quality or the pace of the game being disturbed.

 Everyone seems to be bashing the ACC, but what about the Big East? It went 4-4 in the opening weekend, including 
embarrassing losses by Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Louisville and Syracuse. Yes, Louisville and Syracuse. The Cardinals 
losing to Kentucky is no surprise but being run out of its own building is disgraceful. A lot of us thought the 
Orange would show better against Northwestern but Syracuse lost by 20.

 

Quoting comedian Jay Mohr: "Is that a football conference or France?"

Six of the seven teams in action this week are favored (Tennessee Tech-Louisville is off the board but we're still 
assuming the Cardinals as a favorite):

Upset alerts: Watch for West Virginia (-8) going to East Carolina and Pittsburgh (-13) at home against Buffalo. 

Also watch for Cincinnati (+21 1/2) traveling to Oklahoma. Bearcats coach Brian Kelly says this game is a measuring stick for the Big East 
season. Don't be surprised if the Bearcats play this one a lot closer than anticipated.

 This might be the mantra for the season: "The little guys are tired of being the little guys and the big guys are 
getting a little fat." That's Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater to The Sporting News after beating Rutgers. 
Not sure if Rutgers qualifies yet was one of the big guys getting fat but the quote works for me.

 

 That was Fresno's 13th victory since 2001 over a BCS conference school.

 

 Iowa State used 11 true freshmen in its season-opening win against South Dakota State. Not a big deal until you 
consider that the 11 accounted for 26 of the Cyclones' 44 points.

 


Posted on: July 29, 2008 8:24 am
 

Five things you should know about the Big East...

 

1. Can things get any better? Left for dead after the ACC expansion, the Big East has more than pulled its weight. 
It is 8-2 the past two seasons in bowls. It had four teams ranked in the AP 10 at various times in 2007. West Virginia is a national championship contender. The middle of the league is a strong as any league, except the SEC -- Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida and Connecticut. Commissioner Mike Tranghese deserves a lifetime achievement award in his final season.

2. Bill Stewart, come on down: The West Virginia assistant's surprising battlefield promotion after the Fiesta Bowl win was one of the more surprising developments of 2007. Now the former Rich Rodriguez assistant must produce. The Mountaineers are loaded this season with Rich Rod's leftovers. But Stewart has shown an ability to recruit too. West Virginia has 13 commitments and is actually slowing down recruiting in order to balance out the class. Too many skill players want to follow in the footsteps of Pat White and Steve Slaton. Stewart needs more linemen. His first recruiting class (2009) could provide the foundation for years to come.

3. The hottest of seats is at Syracuse: Along with Washington's Tyrone Willingham, Greg Robinson is considered one of the first coaches to be fired. He has won seven games in three seasons, never more than four in any year. There has been little improvement in a program that used to be a regular resident of the top 25. The only weak sister in the Big East has to play at Northwestern, West Virginia, South Florida, Rutgers and Notre Dame as well as a home game against Penn State. Where should we forward your mail, Greg?

4. South Florida is not going South: That wasn't a fluke last season when the Bulls rose to No. 2 in the country. D coordinator Wally Burnham has built a crushing unit led by returning All-American George Selvie. Quarterback Matt Grothe doesn't fit in any category, he just wins. Don't be surprised if South Florida is undefeated going to West Virginia on Dec. 6.

5. Pittsburgh is headed ... You tell me: Up? Down? The upset of West Virginia provided momentum and Dave Wannstedt has recruited well but the world is waiting to see the Panthers take the next step. A second-place Big East finish is doable, especially with under-the-radar Heisman candidate LeSean McCoy at tailback.

 

Posted on: July 14, 2008 2:36 pm
 

Some thoughts on the best coach series...

I purposefully waited until the coaching series was over to go back and dissect the numbers. When picking the 

coaches in each category, I didn't want to be influenced.

Anyway, here is how it breaks down ...

 The big winners were the SEC and Big 10. Surprise! Eighteen of the 66 coaches chosen came from the SEC (27.2 percent). The Big Ten had 13 picks (19.7 percent). Only three of the coaches came from non-BCS leagues (two from Conference USA and one from the WAC).

 Another surprise (not). Nine of the 66 coaches came from schools in Florida.

 

 The Big 12 and Pac-10 each led with three coaches on the dream staff. Norm Chow (UCLA, offensive coordinator), Pat Ruel (offensive line, USC) and Pete Carroll (head coach, USC) came from the Pac-10. In the Big 12, there were Cale Gundy (running backs, Oklahoma), Bruce Walker (tight ends, Missouri) and Brian Cabral (linebackers, Colorado). The Big Ten and SEC each had two "bests".

 USC and Florida tied for the most coaches on the list, each with five. That means that more than half the staffs at those schools are among the best in the country. That would make sense since the schools have combined to finish No. 1 in the AP poll three of the last five years.

 Thirty-five total schools were represented, including at least two programs from all six BCS conferences. Notre Dame did not have a coach on the list. However, East Carolina, Hawaii, UNLV and Tulsa did.

 The only SEC schools not represented were Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

 

 The only conferences not to have at least one coach on a list were the Sun Belt and MAC.

 

 Nine of the dream staffers have won a national championship. The only ringless member is Missouri tight ends coach Bruce Walker.

Coaches I wished could have made the list but didn't:

 South Florida defensive backs coach Troy Douglas (coached first-rounder Mike Jenkins and fifth-round Trae Williams in 2007).

 There were too many good offensive coordinators. Among those that deserve mention: Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Mike Locksley, Illinois; Joker Phillips, Kentucky; Jim Bollman, Ohio State; Steed Lobotzke, Wake Forest.

 How do you leave off defensive coordinators DeWayne Walker of UCLA and Wally Burnham of South Florida?

 

 This has nothing to do with the coaching series but I found it interesting that Texas A&M's new president Elsa Murano isn't expecting much out of Mike Sherman in his first season.

"I have great expectations for coach (Mike) Sherman. Poor guy," Murano told the San Antonio Express-News. "We all think he needs to win the championship the first year, which of course cannot possibly happen. We need to give him a chance to rebuild.”

Cannot possibly happen? You've got to love Murano's candor.

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