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Tag:Stanford
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: October 3, 2009 7:57 pm
 

The luck of the Irish and other storylines...

Someone please tell me I didn't see Robert Hughes' knee touch on that Notre Dame two-point conversion.

Someone please tell me the replay officials didn't even think to review it.

Someone please tell me that wasn't the difference in the game aka, the luck of the Irish in South Bend.

If you haven't seen it, you will. Hughes is the Notre Dame running back who "scored" on a two-point conversion run to make it 30-27 Irish over Washington with 1:20 left. Washington then drove down and kicked what should have been the game-winning field goal with 11 seconds left. Because of the supposed officiating glitch, the field goal only tied it.

Notre Dame won in overtime 37-30 to keep its season alive.

Hughes scored on a straight run up the middle. It was one of those deals where he kept churning his feet and the mob moved toward the goal line. But the replays seem to show Hughes' knee touching before he crosses the goal line.

Washington can make as big a deal as it wants out of this. ND is either the luckiest team in the country or destined for greatness. It has no defense to speak of. Jake Locker was great most of the game, but had one dropped in overtime that would have given the Huskies a first down on third and 19 from the ND 34.

Notre Dame (4-1) is either a last-second loss at Michigan from being undefeated or a three plays from being 1-4. Remember Michigan State and Purdue?

In other action today the top of the Big Ten looks strange with both Wisconsin and Iowa undefeated. Yes, that suddenly is a huge game two weeks from now -- Hawkeyes at Badgers. But first, Iowa goes to Ohio State and Michigan goes to Iowa next week.

Wow, it's suddenly fun to follow the Big Ten again.

Stanford is the first 3-0 team in the Pac-10 (4-1 overall) after beating UCLA.

LSU set up its showdown with Florida by squeaking out a 20-13 win at Georgia. Dawg fans no doubt will be all over the coordinators again but I don't know if Georgia could have played any harder. Charles Scott came out of a season-long funk to score the game winner on a long run.

Nice Oct. 10 looming. Alabama at Ole Miss while LSU is at Florida in a, gulp, night game. The last time the teams played in Baton Rouge, there were 50,000 people outside Tiger Stadium without tickets whooping it up. I'm going to have to leave on Tuesday to get to B.R. on time.

Watch for me on CBS College Sports next Saturday from Tiger Town.

Now it's on to Oklahoma-Miami.

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: August 25, 2009 11:28 am
 

Quarterback U.

The Altoona (Penn.) Mirror did some exhaustive research in trying to determine which was the best quarterback school.

You'll see the usual suspects (Notre Dame, Alabama, Stanford, USC, Washington), but there are some surprises too (Purdue?). The thing about this project is that it leaves it open at the end for you to make up your own mind.
Posted on: July 30, 2009 10:01 pm
 

Five things I believe about the Pac-10

Reflections on the one-day Pac-10 up do in L.A. ...

Turn it up to (Pac-)10! Nine in the morning, nursing coffee. God, do I have a hangover? No, it’s rock music blaring out of speakers at the podium 30 minutes before the media day is about to begin.

The whole thing is being streamed on the Internet. Fans are allowed to Tweet questions (and have them read to the coaches and players).

Welcome to the brave new world of new Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. The man is bald, in his 40s and has two children but he definitely wants to change the image to the staid league. Next year, Will Ferrell as moderator.

“It’s a new feel, it’s exciting,” Pete Carroll said. “There’s something different going on in the Pac-10.”


Chip Kelly is going to do just fine. Oregon’s new leader went from coach-in-waiting in December to replacing the dean of Pac-10 coaches a couple of months later. The program has transitioned seamlessly.

Not bad for being in Eugene only two seasons. Kelly is what Rich Rodriguez used to be – a spread option guru who runs a power running game.  With Kelly as offensive coordinator Oregon has finished in the top six in rushing each of the last two seasons.

“You can’t paint a spread option with a broad brush,” Kelly said. “You do everything from pass it 60 times a game to run it 60 times a game.”

Plus, Kelly had the line of the day. Sitting next to cornerback Walter Thurmond in front of hundreds of media he said: “First, I’d like you to know that myself and Walter voted for Tim Tebow for first-team All-SEC.”

Pete Carroll really used the M word. When asked about new quarterback Aaron Corp, USC’s coach actually used a vague comparison to Joe Montana.

Corp ascension to No. 1 marks the first time in six years USC has had to have a spring competition to replace a quarterback. The last time it happened was 2003 when some guy named Matt Leinart won the job.

“The guy that I hope Aaron would be like would be what Joe Montana was like,” Carroll said. “Go back to what Joe was like and hear him talk about it in his younger years. He was so resourceful and had great accuracy but always run and kill you with his legs.

“Way back when we first started recruiting Aaron that’s what I wondered. I wondered what Joe Montana would look like in high school.”

Corp is a redshirt sophomore from Villa Park, Calif.  Who has thrown three career passes. He won the job in the spring after not committing a turnover in any of the spring practices or scrimmages.

Something happened to all those arms. The Pac-10 returns five 1,000-yard rushers this season including Heisman candidate Jahvid Best from Cal.

Where have all the quarterbacks gone? It’s one of those cyclical things. Only five starting quarterbacks return (not counting Cal’s Kevin Riley who split time last season).

“I don’t know if you’d call it a smash mouth league but it’s very physical,” Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson said.

Jim Harbaugh is still the funniest coach this side of Mike Leach. In the middle of a serious discussion Thursday, the Stanford coach relayed a story about his dual-sport star Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart could be a possible draft choice in both football and baseball. One day while playing left field at Sunken Diamond, Gerhart heard a voice behind him.

“Toby, Toby it’s me, Coach Harbaugh,” said the coach who was behind the outfield fence. “We had a conversation for about an inning and a half.”

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 19, 2009 12:43 pm
 

Picking the Pac-10

It's never been like this in the Pac-10.

The conference that gave us Elway, Leinart, Plunkett, Aikman and Fouts, also has given us Best, Blount, Rodgers, Gerhart, and Grigsby. The first set of five names you recognize as some of the best quarterbacks in Pac-10 history. The next five represent another bit of history. According to the conference, there have never been five returning 1,000-yard rushers in the Pac-10.

They are:

Jahvid Best, Jr., Cal -- Despite missing a game, Best rushed for 1,580 yards last season and will be on everyone's Heisman list. Or should be.

LeGarrette Blount, Sr., Oregon -- Chip Kelly has made Oregon into an offensive powerhouse, particularly on the ground. The Ducks have finished in the top six in rushing each of the last two seasons. Kelly lost one 1,000 yard rusher (Jeremiah Johnson) and gets another. The punishing Blount ran for 1,002 yards.
 
Jacquizz Rodgers, Soph., Oregon State -- The Pac-10's offensive player of the year ran for 1,253 yards as a freshman despite missing two games. How could we forget that Thursday night against USC?

Toby Gerhart, Sr., Stanford
-- Set the school rushing record with 1,136 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in '08.

Nic Grigsby, Jr., Arizona -- The Cats' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2001.

Picking the Pac-10 ...

1. USC -- Expect at least a share of an eighth consecutive Pac-10 title. Expect an eighth consecutive BCS bowl (probably Rose). Don't expect me to tell you the starting quarterback. Aaron Corp started the spring game, but true freshman Matt Barkley has made tremendous strides. Corp may start the season but Barkley might be the guy by the end. The defense and offensive line (Pete Carroll's best ever at USC) can hold the Trojans in the national championship race if the qbs struggle.

2. Oregon -- Kelly has gone from New Hampshire offensive coordinator to Oregon head coach in less than three years. He will take over officially on July 1. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli started as a fifth-stringer, then accounted for 23 touchdowns under Kelly in 2008. Normally, a head-coaching change would signal a drop in the standings. But Kelly has had enough time in the program to get familiar. Don't forget the Ducks were a top 10 team last season. Welcome to the big time, Chip .The season kicks off at Boise.

3. Cal -- Jeff Tedford has brought stability to Berkeley, but no Rose Bowls. It's been 50 years and counting for the Bears since their last trip to Pasadena -- for a bowl game. Tedford, the quarterback wizard, has been pumping out running backs in recent years while quarterback play has slipped. Aaron Rodgers was the last serviceable signal caller. That was five years ago. Inconsistent Kevin Riley gets the job this season. Best will have to relieve the pressure.

4. Oregon State -- Twenty-eight victories the past three seasons. Two wins over USC. Never, ever doubt Mike Riley. Even though his defense has to rebuilt, the Beavers are going to be a pain again this season. Four of the five starters on the offensive line are back. Rodgers' shoulder is healed. Lyle Moevao is a veteran quarterback. Expect at least eight wins.

5. UCLA -- The Bruins could be the most improved team in the Pac-10. Interception machine Kevin Craft is gone. In his place is redshirt freshman Kevin Prince. Sixteen starters return and defense is not the problem. The Bruins had the second-best total defense in Pac-10 play. Until Neuheisel actually performs in Westwood, though, I will relegate them to this spot.

6. Arizona State -- The Sun Devils (5-7) were one of the most disappointing teams in the country last season. Don't be surprised if Arizona State repeats that record. The strength lies with the defense where end Dexter Davis has 10-plus sacks each of the past two seasons. Chris McGaha is a fine pass catcher who led the Devils two years ago (830 yards).  Dennis Erickson must first get some consistency out of an offensive line that has surrendered a staggering 89 sacks the past two seasons.

7. Arizona
-- The Wildcats have the worst Pac-10 record this decade (24-51) but seem to be on the rebound. Despite losing firestarter Willie Tuitama, coach Mike Stoops could make it to a second consecutive bowl. He will have to deal with a non-conference trip to Iowa, plus having only four conference home games (five away). Either Matt Scott or Nick Foles, both sophomores, will replace Tuitama. They have 11 career pass attempts between them.

8. Stanford -- Jim Harbaugh might be the most coveted 9-15 coach in the country. His name continues to come up when other jobs open up. The Cardinal have improved, coming within a season-finale loss to Cal of being bowl eligible. Gerhart and Andrew Luck give Stanford a chance this season. Luck, a sophomore, threw five touchdowns in the spring game. They're here because the Cardinal open with back-to-back road games (Washington State and Wake) and have to play seven teams that won bowl games.

9. Washington -- Steve Sarkisian can't lose. Well, he can but certainly at the level of last season's worst Husky team ever. Sark starts his head coaching career with Washington on a 14-game losing streak. Three wins would make him the mayor of Montlake. The Huskies have the talent to go 5-7. A healthy Jake Locker will make a difference under Sark. Everyone is looking forward to redshirt freshman tailback Chris Polk. Part of Sarkisian's job is getting the Huskies to believe they can win. The streak breaker should come in Week 2 against Idaho.

10. Washington State -- The Cougars won twice last season (one of them against Washington) but are in worse shape than their rivals. This could be one of the nation's worst programs again this season. Second-year coach Paul Wulff loses five starters from one of the worst defenses in Pac-10 history. That might be a good thing. The offense turned it over a staggering 25 times and gave up 43 sacks.

 

Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:04 am
 

Daniel Hood and the coaches poll

Tennessee's newest football signee claims he had interest from 27 schools until they found out his criminal past.

My question is, how did it even get to that stage? It's shameful that apparently 27 schools got to the recruiting stage of Hood. Any reasonable effort to check his background would have produced his sordid past. One recruiting site said among the schools recruiting Hood were Florida State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UCLA and Stanford. Stanford?

How many of those schools stayed on Hood after they found out about him? Here is evidence that Hood had at least two offers as long ago as 14 months.

This kind of reminds me of the case of Colt Brennan. The Hawaii quarterback served one week in jail after being convicted of burglary and felony trespassing while at Colorado. Brennan was able to reshape his life and become a Heisman contender.

But once again, felony trespassing is a loooong way from sexual assault. We can only hope that Hood makes Tennessee proud. I still say that UT doesn't need Hood given its recent past, its controversial present and its reputation in the future. Yes, give the kid a scholarship -- somewhere else.

I'm wondering how many kids are dying to attend UT but can't for financial reasons. I want Hood to tell them why he deserves the scholly more because he plays a mean defensive line.

  The Gallup Poll apparently has discussed the coaches in the coaches poll completely hide their ballots.

This came consultation with Gallup by the American Football Coaches Association.

If it happens, welcome back to the stone age. Gallup seems to think that there would be less pressure on coaches if the public didn't know how they voted, or even their identity. Currently, the 61 coaches release their ballots at the end of the regular season. At least we know who the 61 voters are. Now, even that shred of info might be hidden.

So let's recap: The national championship might be decided by 61 anonymous men who may or may not be actually voting, may or may not be voting their friends (or themselves) unethically high (or low) and who, no matter how this turns out, will continue to line their pockets with BCS bowl money based on their poll.  

Where do we sign up?
Posted on: March 24, 2009 5:48 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2009 12:48 am
 

Curveball from the Pac-10

Who is Larry Scott? He just got named the new commissioner of the Pac-10. I read the release and I still don't have a clue.

Apparently, Scott is well accomplished as head of the Women's Tennis Association. What, Billie Jean King wasn't available? When I think of women's tennis, I don't think WTA. In fact, I don't think at all. I usually switch the channel unless Maria Sharapova is playing.

You know where this heading don't you? Submitted for approval, a list of organizations more relevant than the WTA.

Major League Lacrosse ... The National Intramural Co-ed Inner Tube Water Polo Association ... The Belinda Carlisle Fan Club ... The Arena League Football Players Association ... Quilters International ... Midwest Angus Breeders Association ...

Do I need to go on?   

I'll cut Larry a break. This isn't on him. He applied for the job and got it. I'm sure the Stanford tennis coach is happy. It's the Pac-10 I don't understand. It was talking to San Diego Padres GM Sandy Alderson. It twice offered the job to the guy who runs the NCAA Tournament, a wonderfully qualified guy named Greg Shaheen.

We know now that Scott wasn't exactly a first choice. Now he has to learn the BCS, which is slightly more complicated than tennis' tiebreaker.

Maria Sharapova is Maria Sharapova. Whether she belongs to the WTA or not is meaningless to me. She's hot, OK? Now it's up to L. Scott to prove to me that he matters.

 

 

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