Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Cincinnati
Posted on: October 12, 2009 12:21 am
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Now that that’s over get ready for the biggest weekend of the season featuring five games involving ranked teams.  By the end of the weekend, the Big 12 could be out of the national championship race (if Texas loses), either South Florida or Cincinnati could be a fraud and Charlie Weis could have his signature win at Notre Dame only five years into the job …

 Get to YouTube or somewhere and catch UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers’ pick and score against Oregon.  It is guaranteed to be the play of the year and we still have half a season left.

Ayers chased Oregon quarterback Nate Costa to the back of the end zone. Costa threw off his back foot, Ayers jumped, intercepted the ball right in his face, secured and got a foot down for the score. Amazing.

 Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes caught 22 passes for 278 yards in a one-point win over Kent State a week after dropping the potential game-winning touchdown pass. Barnes has 28 more catches than the next living human in I-A football.

Take it from a guy who witnessed the best receiving game in history – Louisiana Tech’s Troy Edwards vs. Nebraska in 1998 – Barnes is a freak. The 22 catches  were one off the single-game record. Edwards? All he did was catch 21 balls for 405 yards – in one game.

 

 Oh he didn’t: Just when you thought Lane Kiffin had put a kill switch on his mouth, Tennessee’s coach yapped before the Georgia game.

 

That’s a cheap way of getting into Eric Berry’s freaky Heisman rap. Berry had 5 1/2 tackles, two passes broken up and a fumble (unofficially) recovery against Georgia. Put that up against Suh who on Thursday had six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, two pass break ups and an interception at Missouri.

 Nah, it’s not the system at all at Texas Tech. Mike Leach has had two quarterbacks each throw for seven touchdowns in a game, Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield.

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

1. Todd Reesing, Kansas: If he played anywhere -- and I anywhere -- but Lawrence he’d booked for New York right now. He’s hidden in a program that would be ranked higher if tooted its own horn more.  All Reesing did was throw for 442 yards and four touchdowns. Kansas needed every bit of it in a 41-36 victory over Iowa State.  We’re looking at the best quarterback ever for a program that counts John Hadl among its greats. Along with Kerry Meier (16 catches, 142 yards) and Dezmon Briscoe (12 catches, 186 yards), this is the best set of “triplets” in the country. Sure, the defense stinks but who cares? This is Texas Tech without all the Leach preening.


2. Case Keenum, Houston: Sick.  Keenum had 434 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. His 2,130 passing yards and 17 touchdowns lead the country. Only three other quarterbacks are more accurate. By the way, TCU and Boise State are posers. What non-BCS team has accomplished more than Houston which has victories over three BCS schools (Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State)?

3.  Ndamakong Suh, Nebraska: The best performance, maybe ever, by a defensive tackle against Missouri on Thursday night.

4. Tony Pike, Cincinnati: Steadily percolating until Thursday night against South Florida.

5.  Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame: Go figure, Clausen’s team has a bye week and moves into both major polls. Clausen has a bye week gets dropped down from No. 1 to No. 5. A big game against USC might clinch a trip to New York for the nation’s most efficient passer.

6. Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green: See above.

 

Posted on: October 8, 2009 4:13 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2009 9:59 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

So was it the rain or was it Nebraska?

You've got to give credit to the Huskers for persevering in some of the most miserable conditions in recent memory Thursday at Missouri. The 27-12 victory puts Nebraska squarely in the drivers' seat for the Big 12 North title. The program that was doubted for its long drought against ranked teams on the road, pushed through with 27 fourth-quarter points in Columbia.

In a steady downpour, the Huskers just kept shucking. Ndamukong Suh, an All-American's All-American, provided the turning point with an early fourth-quarter interception that led to the go-ahead touchdown. Columbia has to be in shock right now. Missouri fully expected to win this game given that that it had scored 41 points in each of the last three meetings at home against Nebraska.

The rain was the equalizer -- for Nebraska. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert injured his ankle early on which limited mobility. That allowed the Nebraska pass rush, which was significant, to take straight lanes to a statue quarterback. Gabbert, fourth nationally in pass efficiency, completed only 17 of 43 passes.

This changes everything in the Big 12 North. Missouri is virtually eliminated. It would have to have Nebraska lose twice to pass the Huskers. That's without mentioning Kansas, which hosts Nebraska later in the season. The difference is that Kansas has a much harder conference schedule.

If Nebraska takes care of business it will be in the Big 12 title game in Bo Pelini's second season. Well done, Huskers. Gutty win.

 A billboard has gone up near downtown Tampa that proclaims South Florida is now part of the “Big 4”. Miami, Florida and Florida State are commonly referred to as the Big Three in the state, but after the Bulls victory over FSU, some fans apparently have gone a big ga-ga.
"I haven't seen it, I had nothing to do with it, I don't know how it got up and I don't know who put it up,'' coach Jim Leavitt said.

It’s a good week to be off before a Thursday showdown against Cincinnati.

 Anything to get on the field, even if it's a baseball diamond for USC quarterback Mitch Mustain.

 Bad week for "mentors" of Big 12 receivers -- MC Hammer (Michael Crabtree) and Deion Sanders (Dez Bryant). Now it looks like Bryant is in bigger trouble that we originally thought. The latest story suggests that Bryant might have played while ineligible. Somewhere Hart Lee Dykes is laughing.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 5, 2009 11:19 am
 

Heisman Watch

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

1. Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame:
The Irish's magic man just keeps winning games (except for Michigan). Magic? Irish? Yes, those two words have linked in the past. The nation's most efficient passer (12 tds, two picks) gets two weeks to get ready for USC.

2. Jacory Harris, Miami: All the sudden there is national championship talk because of Jacory's right arm.

3. Tony Pike, Cincinnati: The Bearcats have a defense too!

4. Tim Tebow, Florida: Can the Gators win without him at LSU?

5. Chad Jones, LSU: Twenty-three tackles, two picks and a threat as a punt returner.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:14 am
Edited on: September 30, 2009 8:10 pm
 

National notes 1/4 of the way through the season

The best of September

Who would have thought by the end of the month …: USC would lose to Washington a week after a heart-stopping, game-winning drive at Ohio State? [Ok, maybe by now there are a few of you.] … Unranked the preseason, the Big East would have two marquee teams – Cincinnati and South Florida … Houston would have the best Big 12 record [2-0 after beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech] … Two Heisman winners would be knocked out of games … NC State’s Russell Wilson would have a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 29-1 … Auburn’s Chris Todd would lead the SEC in touchdown passes [11] … Not that the SEC would have three teams in the top 10 in total defense but the Pac-10 would have two … The only three teams yet to allow a touchdown pass would be winless Eastern Michigan, undefeated South Florida and USC [3-1].

Coach of the month: Oregon’s Chip Kelly. On the night of September 3, his world was falling apart. LeGarrette Blount threw a punch and almost started a riot after Oregon looked punchless losing its season opener to Boise State.

Almost four weeks later, the Ducks might be the team to beat in the Pac-10. They have won three in a row, two over ranked teams and have a new lean-on tailback in redshirt freshman LaMichael James.

Team of the month: Miami. Playing September schedule in the country, the Hurricanes beat two ranked teams [Florida State, Georgia Tech] and showed signs of being its old self. Losing to Oklahoma this week wouldn’t be a disgrace. Coming out its death march 2-2 could be a jumping off point for an ACC title.

Also considered: Texas A&M, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Florida, Stanford, UCLA, Idaho.

Player of the month: [tie] You’re gagging on this by now but Florida would not not undefeated with Tim Tebow. His 24 rushes for 76 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 19 were the difference.

LSU safety Chad Jones is this season’s Charles Woodson. Against Mississippi State on Saturday, he single-handedly stopped Tyson Lee on back-to-back plays inches from the goal line. He also provided the eventual game-winning 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Worst conference: Based on previous accomplishments, it’s the MAC. The nation’s largest conference [13 teams] has only one team with a winning record coming out of September. [Central Michigan, 3-1]. The league is 13-29 in the non-conference, 7-27 against I-A competition and 3-19 against BCS conferences.

Best conference: SEC by a hair. The Big 12 has six ranked teams vs. the SEC’s four. But the SEC is 23-2 in the non-conference, a national best 6-2 against BCS conferences.

If you think the SEC has padded its schedule with I-AA teams, actually only the Sun Belt and Pac-10 have played fewer games against “inferior” competition. The SEC is 5-0 against I-AAs. The Big 12 is 9-0. Almost a third of its non-cons have come against I-AAs.

Best trend: Smaller offensive linemen. Boise has been doing it for a while but the Broncos are soaring toward a BCS berth with a line that averages 285 pounds. Remember those hog mollies at Michigan? They weigh in at a svelte average of 295 under Rich Rod who likes ‘em lighter and lively.

Worst trend: This month it had to be the coaches’ poll. It went into the season not exactly on the same page with the BCS commissioners. As long as the coaches are going to go completely  underground [hiding all their ballots] beginning in 2010, the possibility exists that the poll will be jettisoned from the BCS process next year.

As for now …

Steve Spurrier gave us a glimpse of his voting habits in July when he admitted that his football ops guy had filled out his preason all-SEC ballot. That caused a huge stir when Spurrier/ops guy didn’t make Tebow a unanimous choice. Spurrier/ops guy picked Ole Miss’ Jevan Snead but was allowed to change to Tebow after it became an issue.

Following convincing wins by No. 3 Alabama and No. 2 Texas on Sept. 19, Florida got all the first-place votes [55] for the first time this season after struggling to beat unranked Tennessee.

Then, there was this week. What a mess. 

No. 12 Oklahoma State is ranked three spots ahead of Houston, which beat the Cowboys by 10.

Cal, which just lost to Oregon by 39, is ranked seven spots ahead of the Ducks.

Penn State had beaten doggies Syracuse, Akron and Temple. After losing at home to Iowa it is No. 13, four spots ahead of the unbeaten Hawkeyes.

Keep it coming, fellas, can’t wait to see how this effects the BCS standings.

Team schizo: Florida State. Do you have to have it explained?

Say goodbye to:  BYU [in the BCS], Al Groh, Ralph Friedgen, Steve Kragthorpe.

Posted on: September 27, 2009 7:06 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2009 7:07 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

That was a heck of a Heisman race wasn’t it?

Sam Bradford trying to go back-to-back. Tim Tebow trying to win his second stiff-arm. Now what? The only thing that links them at the moment is the memory of splitting headaches. The Heisman race is not over with damage suffered by both superstars, the race will have concussions as a subtext.

Bradford suffered his a couple of years ago against Texas Tech. It was more than painful. The subsequent loss to the Red Raiders knocked OU out of the national championship race.

Florida was able to survive Saturday against Kentucky, 41-7, but it lost its leader and most inspirational player to a concussion.

These things never go away meaning that once you suffer a concussion you are incrementally more likely to get another, and another, and another. Ask Troy Aikman who had to retire because of them.

Superman finally showed he is vulnerable. We never thought we’d see it. The thing is, the college football season is still linked to Bradford and Tebow. If Tebow hurts his head again, it’s curtains for the Gators. Their offense already is reduced with the loss of Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin. Oklahoma may get Bradford back this week from his separated shoulder.

Only Texas’ Colt McCoy remains fully healthy from the preseason Three Amigos storyline. Bradford hopes to return against Miami, which would be a good sign. He absolutely has to be ready by Oct. 17. Despite the loss to BYU, everything is still on the line with the Texas game looming that day.

Tebow spent part of the night throwing up into a trash bag. His, and the Gators’ future, a bit cloudier.

 Kentucky’s Rich Brooks on Taylor Wyndham, the kid who hit Tebow:

“I just told him that these things happen in football and you can’t feel responsible. What you did is make a clean football play. I don’t feel any better about it myself.”

Brooks knows a little bit about concussions and quarterbacks. In 1995 he was head coach of the St. Louis Rams. The team got off to a hot start but quarterback Chris Miller suffered a concussion. The Rams finished 7-9.

“That,” Brooks said, “was the beginning of the end.”

Dick Vermeil took over in 1997.

 Chip Kelly clinched the coach of the year award – for September.

OK, that doesn’t quite make sense but remember where Oregon was at the beginning of this month? LeGarrette Blount was punching out the opposition and teammates. The public and media were screaming for his head.

They got it, but which way were the Ducks headed? Up, it turns out. In Saturday’s 42-3 victory over pretender Cal, Oregon set itself up as the next-best team in the Pac-10. A challenger, maybe, to USC’s death grip on the conference.

But back to Kelly. He somehow held the team together after it lost its best running back, then pointed the Ducks back on the field. They followed the Boise State – which doesn’t look that bad by the way – with wins over Purdue, Utah and Cal. The last two teams were ranked.

The Ducks now have a personality – and it’s a good one. Nick Aliotti’s defense held Heisman pretender/contender Jahvid Best to 55 yards on 16 carries. Jeremiah Masoli, slammed by fans recently, completed 21 of 25. Blount even contributed playing Best last week on the scout team.

For once Oregon’s throwback jerseys didn’t make you throw up. They were kind of cool. So is Kelly who has Oregon in the thick of the conference race four games into his head coaching career. The intense little coach is a mix of schemes and desire.

Asked before the game how his team could possibly knock off powerful Cal, he responded:

"They've got to knock us off.”

 It’s 1967 and counting for Indiana. A soul-crushing 36-33 loss to Michigan means the Hoosiers haven’t won in The Big House since Sgt. Peppers.

• What are we to make of Ralph Friedgen? His time at Maryland is coming to an agonizing end. The thing is, coach-in-waiting James Franklin doesn’t exactly look like the answer. Fear the Future. Rutgers stomped the Terps 34-13. Maryland now has more turnovers [13] than touchdowns [11] this season.

 Fire up fireronzook.com. Ohio State destroyed Illinois 30-0 in a rematch of the Illini’s epic 2007 upset at The Shoe. This one was epic only in the way Illinois has slumped since then. The Buckeyes churned to a 13-0 halftime lead Saturday without completing a pass.

Preseason All-American receiver Arrelious Benn of Illinois has one receiving touchdown in his last 11 games, none this season.
 
“It’s like a nightmare,” Illini quarterback Juice Williams said, “a nightmare from which you can’t ever wake up.”

 Auburn quarterbacks combined for 1,985 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Through four games this season, Chris Todd alone has 1,012 yards passing and 11 touchdowns.

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

1. Chad Jones, LSU: I told you Saturday it’s time they establish a new award in this kid’s name [The Chad]. All the Tigers safety did was stop Mississippi State twice from the one-inch line with the game on the line. Oh, and did I mention the College World Series star also scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 93-yard punt return?

2. Tim Tebow, Florida: Superman finally blinked. After almost four years of pounding, it seems that Tebow’s body wore down just a little bit with what seems to be a concussion. Still, he piled up more than 220 yards in total offense in less than three quarters.

3. Colt McCoy, Texas: It was only Texas-El Paso, but McCoy stayed red hot throwing for three touchdowns.

4. Tony Pike, Cincinnati: The shining reason why the Big East matters this year. Cincinnati is unbeaten because Pike has developed into a top flight quarterback.

5. Case Keenum, Houston: 38 of 58 and the game-winning touchdown [rushing] vs. Texas Tech. What can’t this kid do?

 

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

Posted on: September 7, 2009 10:06 pm
 

What the hell just happened to Rutgers?

That was the old Rutgers.

The really old Rutgers.

In 2001, West Virginia beat the Scarlet Knights 80-7. That was Greg Schiano's first season. The former Miami defensive coordinator said things would get better. They did, slowly and surely. Three years ago the program was competing for a BCS berth. But what happened Monday afternoon was scary for those who remember 80-7.

It looked like retro-Rutgers. Cincinnati embarrased the Scarlet Knights 47-15 in a game that seemed to set the program back to 2001. Rutgers used three quarterbacks. It couldn't stop air on defense. Worst of all, the result sucked the air out of a crowd that was ready to explode, celebrating Rutgers' shiny new stadium renovation -- $102 million worth to be exact.

Rutgers seems to be headed back to the swamps of Jersey from which Schiano dragged it.

"In all my career in the NFL, in college, I haven't seen holes like this," ESPN analyst Brian Griese said at one point.

Cincinnati had 510 yards with 1:10 left in the third quarter. It ended with 574. Quarterback Tony Pike should rightfully move to the top of Heisman lists after throwing for 362 yards and two touchdowns. That was almost understandable. Cincinnati has one of the better offenses in the Big East. Defense? Ten new starters coached by a new coordinator.

Rutgers barely averaged four yards per play. Schiano began last season 1-5, winning his last seven in a row. That's not a plan you want to follow.

While Schiano has to dig in, quick, Brian Kelly should have one foot on an airplane. Even though Cincinnati signed him to an extension in the offseason, there is no way the coach is going to stick around for long. Washington and Tennessee took shots at Kelly during the offseason. It wasn't exactly the best of times to be going to Washington or Tennessee. That's why Kelly stayed, but for how lo
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:51 am
Edited on: June 24, 2009 2:12 am
 

Picking the Big East

Sometimes you feel like the smartest person in the college football world.

Sometimes you throw darts.

Welcome to the Big East where all you need is flexible wrist. Don't worry about a bulls eye. Anywhere, you throw it, you could be a winner. Since 2003 eight different schools have claimed at least a share of the Big East title. A lot of that has to do with realignment after ACC expansion. But the conference remains perhaps the most competitive BCS conference.

Last season six of the eight teams made it to a bowl. In 2006-2007, three Big East teams had made it to the top three in the polls. With only eight teams, the league had one less NFL draft pick (27) than the Big Ten's 11 teams (28).

The demise of the Big East was greatly exaggerated. In the four years since realignment it is 3-1 in BCS bowls.

A case can be made for at least four schools being good enough to win the league this season.

Picking the Big East ...

1. Rutgers -- This dart lands in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights will go to their first BCS game mostly because they have the league's most favorable schedule. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia have to come up the Jersey Turnpike.  Even though Greg Schiano loses his quarterback (Mike Teel) and two best receivers (Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood), there is enough talent to fill in. All five starters are back on the offensive line, including 325-pound NFL prospect Anthony Davis at left tackle. Schiano gave up his play-calling duties on defense, handing them over to assistants Bob Fraser and Ed Pinkham. The pressure will be on but the Knights have time to wade into the deep end. They get Howard, Florida International and Texas Southern at home before playing their second Big East game. The momentum created by a seven-game winning streak to end '08 will carry over with 16 returning starters.

2. South Florida -- It helps to have the Big East's best offensive (quarterback Matt Grothe) and defensive (George Selvie) players. The offense gets more of a pure spread with the promotion of Mike Canales to offensive coordinator. Grothe might have to use those magic legs more than ever with only one returning starter on the offensive line. Selvie can be a freak at times off the edge. He slipped back in '08 after 14 1/2 sacks in 2007. The Bulls must learn to finish. They started 6-0 in '07 and 5-0 in '08. If they are going to get off to a similar start this season they must win at Florida State on Sept. 26.

3. Pittsburgh -- I really want to pick the Panthers to win. I really do. Dave Wannstedt might have the most talented team in the league but he will have to prove it. The loss of tailback Sean McCoy to the NFL was a killer. Early enrollee Dion Lewis has a shot at the job. If senior Bill Stull doesn't hold onto the quarterback job (nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions, there's always junior Pat Bostick. The defense will be stout again with Mick Williams at defensive tackle. Linebacker Adam Gunn returns for a sixth year of eligibility after breaking his neck in the '08 season opener. Wanny has stockpiled talent with three consecutive top 25 recruiting classes. Coming off a nine-win season, he needs to take the next step and win a bowl game in his fifth year at Pittsburgh.

4. Cincinnati -- The Bearcats were lucky enough to hold onto coach Brian Kelly. The ultimate coaching ladder climber (three jobs since 2003), recently signed an extension through 2013. If Kelly sticks around long enough, Kelly could make Cincinnati into a watered down version of Miami in the old Big East, an urban school waiting to bust out. In his second full season, Kelly produced 11 wins, a conference title and an Orange Bowl berth. Injuries forced Kelly to use five quarterbacks last season. The survivor, senior Tony Pike, is back. He'll throw to Marty Gilyard, the leading returning receiver in the league.

5. West Virginia -- Sorry, West Virginians. You lose Pat White and your prospects don't improve. White was one of the Big East's best-ever players and perhaps the best player in West Virginia history. The slippery quarterback cannot be fully replaced, but Jarrett Brown will give it a shot. The senior gets his shot to start in his final season. The 6-foot-4 Brown is more of a physical dual-threat quarterback. What Brown can't do, tailback Noel Devine can. After rushing for almost 2,000 yards in his first two seasons, this could be Devine's breakout year. A Heisman run wouldn't be surprise. The Mountaineers will have to win at least nine again to make it happen. That could be a struggle.

6. Connecticut -- UConn forces you to pay attention. The basketball team has a higher profile. In a league of football overachievers, it is not the first option. South Florida is in its 13th year of existence, but UConn has been in I-A only seven years. The country had to pay attention last season.  Donald Brown led the country in rushing, the Huskies blew out conference champ Cincinnati and won eight games. Coach Randy Edsall's name continued to pop up for higher profile jobs. Edsall stayed. However, Brown is gone to the NFL so don't expect another 2,000-yard season. Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazer will take over at quarterback throwing to 5-9 Kashif Moore, the team's leading receiver.

7. Louisville -- This has to be a make or break season for Steve Kragthorpe. He is 11-13 in two years. Last season crashed with a five-game losing streak. The once powerful offense is now struggling. Tailback Victor Anderson rushed for 1,000 yards but only 207 of those came in the last four games. Louisville desperately needs something good to happen. The schedule is not kind. In consecutive weeks the Cardinals play at Kentucky, at Utah, Pittsburgh, Southern Miss, at UConn and at Cincinnati.

8. Syracuse -- If Doug Marrone's work ethic could be transformed into wins, the Orange would be back in a major bowl. Cuse Nation is excited about one of their own taking over. Still, Marrone is a rookie head coach inheriting a train wreck. The new coach has embraced Syracuse traditions. Redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib was named starter in spring practice but there is the small matter of a former Duke guard in the mix. This was a good place for Greg Paulus to land. A one-year cameo could get the Cuse back on track. Before missing last season for academic reasons, Mike Williams caught 60 passes in '07 and was second-team all-Big East. The defense finished last in the conference in total defense. Look to the Jones brothers for improvement. Senior Arthur is a defensive tackle who has 31 1/2 career tackles for loss. His brother Chandler is an end who could get into the lineup as a redshirt freshman.

 


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