Tag:Houston
Posted on: June 5, 2009 3:36 pm
 

Predicting the bling ...

We're all Heisman candidates in June. Mom, dad, the plumber, the cat. Well, maybe not the cat.

This is the time of year to salute every swinging hick who dares to dream of a trip to New York. With that in mind, here are my Heisman rankings.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas -- It's his time. Among the Three Amigos, it's his turn.
2. Tim Tebow, Florida -- Voters will be wary of making Superman a two-time winner. There has only been one.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Back-to-back ain't happenin' either.
4. Jevan Snead. Ole Miss -- This year's Matt Stafford.
5. Jahvid Best, Cal -- No. 3 rusher last season, should be the nation's leading rusher in 2009.
6. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech -- The hoss in Paul Johson's option offense.
7. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 1
8. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 2
9. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State --  Cowboy No. 3
10. Case Keenum, Houston -- 5,000-yard passer.

The others -- Arrelious Benn, Illinois; Eric Berry, Tennessee; Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas; Daryll Clark, Penn State; Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; Aaron Corp, USC; Noel Devine, West Virginia; A.J. Green, Georgia; Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma; Max Hall, BYU; Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; Jerry Hughes, TCU; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Julio Jones, Alabama; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; MiQuale Lewis, Ball State; Jake Locker, Washington; Taylor Mays, USC; Kellen Moore, Boise State; DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma; Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State; Todd Reesing, Kansas; Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State;  Charles Scott, LSU; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog; The Kobe and LeBron puppets; Zach Galifianakis; Conan O'Brien; Lassie; David Letterman; Iron Man; Alex Trebek, Tina Fey, shall I go on?

 

Bednarik/Nagurski Award (best defensive player): Jerry Hughes, TCU

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver): Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State

Broyles Award (best assistant coach):  John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator

Groza Award (best kicker): Kai Forbath, UCLA

Ray Guy Award (best punter): Derek Epperson, Baylor

Lombardi Award (best lineman): Greg Hardy, Ole Miss

Mackey Award (best tight end): Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback): Colt McCoy, Texas.

Butkus Award (best linebacker):  Brandon Spikes, Florida

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman):  Ciron Black, LSU

Rimington Trophy (best center): Kristofer O'Dowd, USC

Eddie Robinson Award (coach of the year):  Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Thorpe Award (best defensive back): Eric Berry, Tennessee

Doak Walker Award (best running back):  Jahvid Best, Cal

 

 

Posted on: May 27, 2009 9:36 am
Edited on: May 28, 2009 5:49 pm
 

Picking Conference USA

Welcome to Big 12 Jr.

Just like its big brother, Conference USA is high scoring. The offensive talent is wide ranging. Yes, there are even Heisman candidates at this level. The Big 12 has six programs from Texas and Oklahoma. CUSA has five. Both are able to mine those areas of the Southwest for talent.

C-USA had three teams in the top 10 in total offense.  The Big 12 had five. Only C-USA and the Big 12 averaged more than 400 yards in total offense per game. C-USA finished second behind the Big 12 nationally in touchdown passes per game, points per game and plays per game.

Just don't come around here to find any defense. Just like the Big 12, Conference USA had a problem stopping the ball. Half the league finished No. 100 or lower in total defense last season.

On offense, though, six of the top seven rushers and eight of the top 10 passers return. Nine of the 12 teams have at least eight offensive starters returning. Four of the nation's top 20 players in total offense last season were from C-USA.

Houston, Tulsa, Texas-El Paso, East Carolina and Southern Miss look like bowl teams. Houston or East Carolina could be BCS busters.

Whatever happens, it will be fun to watch.

West Division

1. Houston -- Kevin Sumlin set a school record for wins by a first-year head coach (eight). Don't be surprised if the former Oklahoma assistant pumps out double digit wins this year. Sumlin's best players still haven't reached their peak yet. Quarterback Case Keenum (5,020 passing yards) should be a Heisman candidate. Tyron Carrier caught 80 balls as a freshman. If a shaky defense holds up behind CUSA defensive player of the year Phillip Hunt, the big boys better watch out. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State are all on the schedule. They're all winnable games.

2. Tulsa -- In less than a month's time Todd Graham's offense scored 77 (against Texas El-Paso) and his defense gave up 70 (to Houston). If Graham can ever balance this thing out, the Golden Hurricane are going to be a BCS buster.  Unfortunately for them, it's not going to be this year.  The offense lost coordinator Gus Malzahn to Auburn, its quarterback (David Johnson) and top rusher (Tarrion Adams, 1,523 yards). Tulsa will score will rely on a veteran defense to hold teams under 70.

3. Texas-El Paso -- This might be Mike Price's best team since he headed for the border five years ago. Four of the five starters are back on the offensive line. Some think quarterback Trevor Vittatoe could be the league's best. A defense that helped put the Miners among the top 10 in turnover margin returns seven starters.

4. Rice --  From biggest turnaround in the country (seven-game improvement from 2007) to bottom half of the West. David Bailiff has to replace 56 touchdowns produced by Chase Clement (44 passing, 12 rushing). It's not going to be easy with the first three games on the road. After that the Owls plays Tulsa, Navy, East Carolina and Houston. If Bailiff goes 5-7 with this group give him a bonus.

5. Tulane -- Bob Toledo has won only six of 24 games in his two seasons in New Orleans. The beat should go on this year. The Green Wave's only victories last season were against Louisiana-Monroe and SMU. They come into this season having lost eight in a row, the last seven by at least 17 points.

6. SMU -- This is exactly where Hawaii was 11 years ago -- at the bottom, 0-12 under Fred vonAppen. June Jones blew into the islands in 1999, going 9-4 in his first season. It's going to take a little longer at SMU. Jones went 1-11 in his first season at SMU. He has most of his offensive talent returning but this is still SMU, losers of 17 consecutive CUSA games.


East Division

1. East Carolina -- The Pirates are loaded with 16 starters returning a CUSA championship team that beat Virginia Tech and West Virginia. While opponents are more wise to the ways of quarterback Patrick Pinkney, it's hard to scout takeaways. The Pirates had 33 of them last year, including six against Tulsa in the conference title game.
 
Skip Holtz stayed put after becoming one of the hottest coaching commodities around. That means the Pirates could once again take a run at a BCS berth if they are able to defeat West Virginia and North Carolina in back-to-back weeks on the road.

2. Southern Miss -- Larry Fedora has 19 starters back from a team that won its final five games. The Golden Eagles might have the best running backs, receivers, offensive line and defensive backs in the league. The difference might be Nov. 28 when Southern Miss has to go to East Carolina for a division showdown.

3. Memphis -- Jucos usually need a year to get acclimated. Tailback Curtis Steele came in from Northwest Mississippi and ran for 1,223 to become conference newcomer of the year. If the Tigers can stay healthy at quarterback then senior receivers Duke Calhoun and Carlos Singleton should have big seasons. Calhoun has caught a pass in 37 consecutive games. The 6-foot-8 Singleton is tied for the school career receiving touchdown record (19). 

4. Marshall
-- Mark Snyder is under pressure to produce a bowl game. Marshall hasn't been to the postseason in his four seasons. Snyder is 16-31 and is coming off a 4-8 finish in '08. If he doesn't get it done with 16 returning starters including All-American prospect Cody Slate at tight end, then it might be time to freshen up the resume.
 
5. Central Florida -- George O'Leary has alternated winning and losing seasons in his five seasons. The pieces are in place for an above .500 finish but that's about it. Last season's offense was last in I-A. It's going to take more than the return of 15 starters to rebound from a 4-8 downer. O'Leary loses only left tackle Patrick Brown (All-CUSA) on offense. The problem will be scraping out seven wins in the ultra-competitive East Division.

6. Alabama-Birmingham -- This is Neil Callaway's best team in Birmingham. The Blazers, though, have to play seven road games (in a nine-week stretch).  Joe Webb was No. 3 rushing quarterback (1,021 yards) in the country.

 


Posted on: April 16, 2009 4:25 pm
 

Notes on the biggest weekend of the spring ...

More than 50 schools will be playing spring games this weekend. Enjoy this pupu platter of cfb appetizers ...  

 You know things are going good for the national champions when the biggest news to come out of the spring involves a plaque.

Tim Tebow's words following last season's Ole Miss loss have been immortalized near the football offices.

 With Lane Kiffin on the eve of his first spring game at Tennessee, the next on-field hurdle is for the new coach to find out what it's like between the lines in the SEC.

" Yeah I do (understand how tough it is)," Kiffin said.  "It is so competitive. But being in the NFL, how can someone tell me that the NFL not competitive? That's the highest level. People are fighting for their jobs, for their paychecks, for their families. Is it different than the Pac-10? Sure it is. There's more balance. Top to bottom it's better. But go be a head coach in the NFL. That's as cut throat as it gets up there."

 Houston receiver Patrick Edwards might sue Marshall after suffering a compound fracture in a game last season in Huntington, W.V.

Edwards was injured when he ran supply cart in the back of the end zone chasing a pass. Amazingly, Edwards has participated enough to take part in non-contact drills during the spring.

 Ohio State assistant Dick Tressel probably wasn't thinking when he evaluated option offenses recently.

"The evolution of this quarterback-off-the-line-of-scrimma
ge kind of football, where backs are running laterally and they're reading things, and [the quarterback is figuring out] when to give it to him and when not to, the defenses have caught up to that, bottom line," Ohio State's running backs coach told the <em>Cleveland Plain Dealer<.en>. "They know where you're going just like that."

Does Tressel even know the Buckeyes open with Navy which has led the country in rushing four consecutive years?

 Navy will be led by one Ricky Dobbs, a mercurial quarterback who wants to become president by 2040.

Dobbs is only 6-feet-1 but has the "it" factor when it comes to being a leader -- a huge factor at a place like Navy. Dobbs ran for 224 yards and four touchdowns last year in a spot start against SMU. In his spare time he ran for vice president of his class.

He was known for calling the Douglasville (Ga.) High School administration even after he got to Navy. The ebullient Dobbs is known for having a unique handshake for teammates and friends. In his first career start last fall, he led the Mids to a 16-0 victory over Northern Illinois becoming he sixth Navy quarterback to rush for 100 yards in his debut.

 How does San Jose State impact the entire bowl structure? If there is even one school penalized by the NCAA for not achieving a 925 APR (basically a 60 percent graduation rate) it could mean a bit of chaos. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams, a bowl could be forced to petition the NCAA to take a team with a losing record.

San Jose State is reportedly among a few schools who could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA in May. The school could receive waiver but you better believe the NCAA football issues committee is watching. With 68 slots to be filled among 34 bowls, there isn't much margin of error.

The last three years there have been 72, 72 and 71 bowl eligible teams. That means an average of 3.6 bowl-eligible teams did not get invites. The school could receive a postseason ban from the NCAA for underperforming in the APR (basically achieving a 60 percent graduation rate).

 OK, these spring games are officially getting ridiculous. Southern Miss is holding a pep rally before Saturday's game.

 Alabama is slipping. Saturday's spring game is expected to draw 70,000-75,000. That's down 20,000 from the Nick Saban lovefest two years ago.

 It's SEC spring day on Saturday. Eight of the 12 teams, including all six teams in the SEC West, will stage spring games.

Posted on: September 28, 2008 6:09 pm
 

Deep thoughts on a football Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Posted on: August 6, 2008 10:38 pm
 

Five things you should know about Conference USA

Five things you should know about Conference USA

1. Central Florida's off-field problems: What happened to coach George O'Leary and the defending Conference USA champs shouldn't be wished on anyone. The fallout from the tragic death of player Ereck Plancher is just beginning. 

There has been criticism from outside the program. O'Leary refused to talk to an Orlando Sentinel reporter at the conference media days. Plancher's family has said it will file a wrongful death suit.

How will any of this impact the Knights? It remains to be seen but Central Florida is favored by many to win the East Division again.

2. New coaches: The league got a boost in name recognition when Southern Miss hired Larry Fedora, Houston got Oklahoma's Kevin Sumlin and SMU was lucky enough to sign June Jones. Combine those talents with Mike Price (UTEP),  Bob Toledo (Tulane), Skip Holtz (East Carolina) and O'Leary and you've got a Library of Congress full of football knowledge.

3. It's possible to make Warriors out of the Ponies: SMU didn't hire Jones for his blitz schemes. The Mustangs haven't been to a bowl since the rocks cooled but the hiring of the former Hawaii coach is meant to at least get people excited about the program again. Balls will be flying. We'll see if SMU takes off.


4. There is a dark horse Orange Bowl candidate: In this age of offense-first, why not Tulsa? Crazy-go-nuts coach Todd Graham is one of the leading purveyors of the spread option. He needs to find a replacement for quarterback Paul Smith but the schedule sets up for the Golden Hurricane to possible go 11-1.


5. There is hope for everyone: There have been seven Conference USA champions in the last six seasons. How is that possible? TCU and Cincinnati shared the 2002 crown followed by Southern Miss (2003), Louisville (2004), Tulsa (2005), Houston (2006) and Central Florida (2007).

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