Tag:Virginia Tech
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 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2009 11:37 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

If Georgia Tech beats Virginia Tech this week the possibility exists that the winner of the Coastal Division could be pulled out of a hat.

If Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami each finish with 7-1 records, then the tiebreaker goes to the highest ranked team in the BCS standings unless … the second team is ranked with five spaces of the top-ranked team. Those two teams are broken out and the tie is broken by head-to-head play.

It’s something that the Big 12 thought of doing but decided against after the South Division debacle last season.

It’s not that simple, though. A Georgia Tech victory also sets up a scenario in which all three teams could be in the top 10 or 12 of the BCS, all within five spots of each other. If that’s the case, the winner is pulled out of a hat.

Here's the language from the ACC:

Three (or more) teams tie:

(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
 
Records of the tied teams within the division.
 
Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
 
Overall record for non-divisional teams.
 
Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
 
Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
 
The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.

The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

Whose call is it?: Saint Bobby says he is “leaning” toward coming back in 2010. His friend and FSU president T.K. Wetherell says the coach will be evaluated at the end of the season. Whose call is it, especially if the Noles finish 3-9 or 2-10? That’s entirely possible if you glance at the schedule which continues Thursday at North Carolina.

“I would like to finish on top,” Bowden said of his 2-4 Noles. “Right now it ain’t going too good.”

Etc: Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson is the only full-time starting quarterback in I-A not to have thrown an interception (in 228 attempts) ... How do you deny Virginia Tech national championship consideration? It is already playing its fourth ranked team ... Who's the best quarterback in the Big Ten? Daryll Clark is the league's highest rated passer at No. 35 ... Arkansas is facing is fourth consecutive opponent was is undefeated at Kickoff (Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida).

 

Posted on: October 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2009 11:37 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

If Georgia Tech beats Virginia Tech this week the possibility exists that the winner of the Coastal Division could be pulled out of a hat.

If Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami each finish with 7-1 records, then the tiebreaker goes to the highest ranked team in the BCS standings unless … the second team is ranked with five spaces of the top-ranked team. Those two teams are broken out and the tie is broken by head-to-head play.

It’s something that the Big 12 thought of doing but decided against after the South Division debacle last season.

It’s not that simple, though. A Georgia Tech victory also sets up a scenario in which all three teams could be in the top 10 or 12 of the BCS, all within five spots of each other. If that’s the case, the winner is pulled out of a hat.

Here's the language from the ACC:

Three (or more) teams tie:

(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
 
Records of the tied teams within the division.
 
Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
 
Overall record for non-divisional teams.
 
Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
 
Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
 
The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.

The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

Whose call is it?: Saint Bobby says he is “leaning” toward coming back in 2010. His friend and FSU president T.K. Wetherell says the coach will be evaluated at the end of the season. Whose call is it, especially if the Noles finish 3-9 or 2-10? That’s entirely possible if you glance at the schedule which continues Thursday at North Carolina.

“I would like to finish on top,” Bowden said of his 2-4 Noles. “Right now it ain’t going too good.”

Etc: Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson is the only full-time starting quarterback in I-A not to have thrown an interception (in 228 attempts) ... How do you deny Virginia Tech national championship consideration? It is already playing its fourth ranked team ... Who's the best quarterback in the Big Ten? Daryll Clark is the league's highest rated passer at No. 35 ... Arkansas is facing is fourth consecutive opponent was is undefeated at Kickoff (Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida).

 

Posted on: October 10, 2009 11:33 am
 

Who's going to be No. 1?

Let’s say LSU beats Florida, who is your new No. 1?


No. 2 Texas – We still don’t know a lot about the Horns. A blowout win over Colorado shouldn’t show us much. Against the only carbon-based life forms they’ve played (Texas Tech), they looked sluggish at times. Most of the Horns heavy lifting is ahead of it.

No. 3 Alabama – A big win over Ole Miss, or maybe even a little win, may vault the Tide over everyone into the No. 1 slot. They’re used to this type of stuff. They were No. 1 for five weeks last season. This is arguably the most balanced team in the country.

No. 4 LSU – Depending on how it goes down, how do you deny the Tigers? You beat No. 1, you should be No. 1. If LSU does win, it will answer a lot of questions about its quarterback, offense and running back. The defense has been fairly consistent although not quite yet up to LSU standards.

No. 5 Virginia Tech – Hello? The Hokies’ only loss is to Alabama. They’ve destroyed Miami. If Ole Miss handles Bama, The Fighting Beamers will have an argument.

No. 6 Boise State – Not likely. Off this week and already slipping in the polls. We’ll next know about the Broncos on Wednesday when they travel to Tulsa.

Game day notes: Four Tennessee true freshmen have combined for 215 all-purpose yards per game – Bryce Brown, David Oku, Nu’Keese Richardson and Marsalis Teague … UCLA (hosting Oregon) has won six of its last nine home games against ranked teams … Off week chattel: Despite losing eight starters, USC goes into its bye week third in scoring defense, fifth in rushing defense and third in pass efficiency defense. The D has not allowed a passing touchdown this season … When Tim Tebow gets a concussion, the whole world stops. That’s why you probably don’t know that Rutgers’ freshman quarterback Tom Savage will try to play this week against Texas Southern after suffering his own concussion … Some things never change: South Florida freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels leads the team in rushing. It has been that way for the previous three years under out-for-his-career starter Matt Grothe … Demaryius Thomas looks out of place in Georgia Tech’s option-based offense. That doesn’t keep him from being one of the nation’s best receivers. Thomas has caught 24 of Georgia Tech’s 35 completions for 536 yards. He is averaging 107.2 yards per game … Cal has accomplished what has been done only 10 other times in Pac-10 history. It went back-to-back games mustering only field goals against both Oregon and USC. They go for a touchdown next week against UCLA … Freakin’ Idaho, 4-1, needs two wins to become bowl eligible. The Vandals’ one and only bowl appearance came in 1998 in the Humanitarian against Southern Miss (42-35 victory). It has one winning season since then.

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 20, 2009 6:55 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2009 7:10 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

The B.S. meter was off the charts this week. Let’s sweep away the pretenders …

 Please, no more “Is Nebraska back?” talk it actually beats someone.  Saturday’s 16-15 loss at Virginia Tech makes it 16 losses in a row on the road to top 20 teams. I don’t care if it was one point. I’m sure Bo Pelini isn’t reveling in the closeness of the final score.

You don’t let scatter-armed Tyrod Taylor loose long enough to complete an 80-yard pass that Dan Marino shouldn’t have been able to complete. It’s called situational defense, ‘Skers. You secondary lines up so it can’t be beaten over the top.

Check with us later Huskers, if you happen to win the Big 12 North. As for me, I’m checking out for now.

 B.S. also on BYU. How in the name of LaVell Edwards do the Cougars not show up in one of their biggest home games in years? It was the home opener, for gosh sakes, against a Florida State team that looked outmanned.

BYU just played itself out of the BCS championship and into the Las Vegas Bowl. Even if the Cougars run the table from here on in, voters would have to think long and hard about making this a BCS bowl team.

I mean, 54-28? Five turnovers. C’mon!

 B.S. on West Virginia which blew a 27-20 lead to Auburn, losing 41-30. Jarrett Brown threw four of the Mountaineer’s five interceptions. West Virginia committed four of their six turnovers in the fourth quarter.

 I’m also calling B.S. on Texas Tech which lost another road game to a ranked opponent.  The 34-24 loss to Texas came on the heels of last year’s blowout in Norman and the embarrassment in the Cotton Bowl.

Is it me or does The Pirate’s offense just not travel well?

 B.S., finally, on Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. I know he’s an amateur and he’s just a kid and doesn’t deserve the abuse but …

Dude, that throw against Notre Dame? Only the 7-11 is open more than teammate Larry Caper was in the end zone. Cousins air-mailed a potential game-winning touchdown pass over Caper’s head. On the next play, Cousins tossed an interception at the Notre Dame 4 when all his team needed was a field goal.

The Spartans had won six in a row in South Bend. Now they’ve lost consecutive games by a combined five points.


Observation deck

Why do I get the feeling that Jimmy Clausen is going to make a heck of a run at the Heisman? He’s a gunslinger to begin with. With Notre Dame’s defense sure to give up points, Clausen and the offense are going to have to outscore just about every team they play.

The Michigan Miracle overshadowed a good game by Clausen. Against the Spartans he completed his first 10 in a row and threw for 300 yards. Clausen is second in the nation in pass efficiency having thrown nine touchdowns against no interceptions. That’s the best ratio in the country.

 Speaking of ratios, North Carolina State’s Russell Wilson now has thrown 329 consecutive passes without an interception, an ongoing record. In his career, the sophomore had thrown 25 touchdown passes and one interception.

 Georgia could join the WAC. It has given up a combined 78 points the last two weeks and won both games. Joe Cox made his own statement throwing for five touchdowns in a 52-41 win at Arkansas.

The result overshadowed school records from Arkie’s Ryan Mallett in yards (408) and touchdowns (five). Mallett leads the country in pass efficiency.

 Texas’ Colt McCoy threw only eight interceptions all last season. He has four through three games in '09. In the first six games of last season McCoy threw only 34 incompletions. He has 35 already (75 of 110) through three games.

 This is what the ACC wanted: Miami and Florida State both at the top of the conference. It hasn’t happened quite yet but it looks like it’s coming This is about the branding of a conference. The ACC needs the Hurricanes and Noles in the polls battling for a championship and BCS bowl.

 Florida now has the nation’s longest winning streak at 13. Ole Miss and Southern Miss are tied for second, each with an eight-game streak.
 
--After taking in the national scene Saturday in one big bite I get the feeling that the team lurking in the grass is Alabama. Texas gave up 420 yards passing. Florida struggled with Tennessee. USC lost.

Bama keeps getting steadily better. It opens the SEC schedule this week against Arkansas. The Tide know how to beat Florida. Monte Kiffin did them a favor offering somewhat of a blueprint on Saturday.  Bama hasn’t played its best football yet.

 The other team that has to feel good about itself? Penn State just played three dogs to start the season, is ranked fourth in the coaches’ poll and has its toughest remaining game at home (against Ohio State on Nov. 7).

Can you imagine Joe Paterno in the BCS title game? Moses might do the coin toss as a special favor to an old friend.

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

1. Tim Tebow, Florida: The Gators don’t beat Tennessee unless Superman churns for 76 well-earned yards on 24 grinding carries.

Key stat of the game: Florida converted on nine of 14 third- and fourth downs. Guess who was responsible most of the time?
“I probably said it three times on the headset, ‘Is the guy ever going to wear out?’ Lane Kiffin said. “He’s not human.”

2. Jacory Harris, Miami.  We are witnessing the evolution of the next great 'Canes quarterback.

3. Eric Berry, Tennessee. If Tebow is the best offensive player in America, Berry is the best defensive player.

Eleven tackles, an interception and one head-to-head mash up with Tebow made Berry the second-most dominant player on the field.

I wrote a story in July suggesting Tennessee use him 50 snaps a game at quarterback. If Kiffin would have tried it on Saturday, the Vols would have won.

4. Jahvid Best, Cal: A school-record five touchdowns against Minnesota. The Bears needed every one of them. Best could earn a trip to New York in a couple of weeks with a big game against USC.

5. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame: See above.

Honorable mention: Landry Jones, Oklahoma: I don’t care if it’s against air, six touchdown passes is pretty impressive. Jones set the school record against Tulsa making me think that the Sooners might be OK until Sam Bradford returns.

Check back, though, in two weeks when the OU plays at Miami.

 Finally, for those needing motivation to beat Florida. Check out Breakaway Vacations. There were a stack of flyers from Breakaway at the front desk of the Gainesville Courtyard advertising travel packages for Florida fans to both the SEC championship game and national championship game.

BCS Packages Available Now!

There is a refund if “your team” doesn’t make it.

Good Lord, it’s only September.

Posted on: September 17, 2009 10:59 pm
 

That looked a lot like Miami ...

... the old Miami. The program that had Luke Campbell as a mascot, the team that slapped around opponents then made them like it.

While watching the Canes cane Georgia Tech Thursday night I had a funny, tingly feeling deep down inside. [I've been through puberty so no wise-ass remarks.] Miami is really, really close to being back.

That was a smackdown job on Tech. Jacory Harris established himself as one of the nation's best young quarterbacks. The Florida State game was no fluke. I know the defense is rounding into form -- 1987 form -- when a late Miami interception was negated by a roughing the passer penalty.

Somewhere Jerome Brown was smiling.

I'll wait until watching Virgina Tech-Nebraska, but right now Miami looks like the best team in the ACC. Georgia Tech was revealed as one-dimensional. I mean, you have to be able throw a little bit. Josh Nesbitt doesn't scare the broad side of many barns.

South Florida will spend the next 10 days going a little bit nuts, and it should. It's been a while since Miami looked this good, this confident.

Suddenly, that death march of a schedule doesn't look so daunting. The U already proved it could win on the road. Who knows what will happen next week in Blacksburg? After that comes Oklahoma with a Heisman Trophy quarterback who may or may not play.

It's cool to be around the Canes when they're rolling, when it's all about the U.
Posted on: September 8, 2009 4:22 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2009 4:32 pm
 

Analyzing the polls

Thoughts on the first regular-season polls of the season:

If the BCS bowls started today (based on compilation of the polls and Jerry Palm’s collegebcs.com)

BCS title game: Alabama vs. USC
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Cal
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. BYU
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Oklahoma State
Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Top 10 in the BCS (Only a few of the computers are available so this is very preliminary but still interesting. These are Palm's standings from collegebcs.com.)

1. USC
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma State
6. Ohio State
7. BYU
8. Boise State
9. Penn State
10.  LSU


Strange

Florida lost two first-place votes in the AP poll (from 58 to 56) and gained three votes in the coaches poll (53 to 56).


Biggest gainers, most slippage

Brigham Young, up 12 spots in coaches (from No. 24 to No. 12)
Oklahoma down 11 spots in coaches (from No. 3 to No. 14)


Game of the week

No. 3 USC and No. 8/7 Ohio State remains a top 10 game. Ohio State has lost its last five against top five teams. That’s the second-longest streak in school history.


The penalty for playing Charleston Southern

Florida’s first-place margin shrank in both polls  -- from 74 points to 69 in AP and from 80 to 65 points in coaches.


Barely Out

Oregon State No. 26 in AP. Michigan State No. 26 in coaches

New to the AP: Missouri, Cincinnati, Miami. New to coaches: Kansas, Cincinnati, Miami.



Another take

SI's Andy Staples weighs in

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