Tag:USC
Posted on: August 21, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2010 3:24 pm
 

Preseason AP poll analysis

His name is Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer.

In 10 keystrokes of brilliance he made himself and his newspaper more relevant. That's not a swipe, that's a salute to the only AP voter to award a No. 1 vote to Boise State. In a year when the whole seems to have turned Crimson, Giglio hopefully made us aware of the obvious.

Boise State can win the national championship. Not just because it is ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 3 in AP. True, it is positioned well to make a run -- Virginia Tech, Oregon State and the bye known as the WAC schedule.

But you have to see these guys play. I don't mean reading a preseason mag, I mean really see them play. For some not-fully-explained reason, every time Boise plays "up" it seems to win. (4-1 vs. BCS schools since 2006) I already wrote that coach Chris Petersen is upset that the Broncos aren't the cuddly underdog anymore.

Now we have to admit they are a powerhouse. What other proof do you need? They're not good because of who they don't play. You can only play the teams in your conference. You certainly can't criticize them for playing a weak non-conference schedule.

If Boise State gets to the championship game, it will have earned it. Giglio is like me. His eyes have been opened.

Other observations about the AP preseason poll ...

This is the first time since 1978, Alabama has been the AP preseason No 1. In the wire service era, Alabama is 72-8-3 in years after national championships.

The highest-ranked Big East team is Pittsburgh at No. 15. This important only because of the Panthers' schedule which has them playing Utah and Miami in the first four weeks.

To no one's surprise, the SEC has six teams in the top 25.

At No. 14, USC has its lowest preseason rank since 2002, Pete Carroll's second year.

At No. 23, Georgia has its lowest preseason AP rank since 2001.

The farthest back a team has come to win a championship in the BCS era is LSU in 2003. It was No. 12 in the first BCS rankings.

Posted on: August 13, 2010 5:31 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 5:32 pm
 

Pat Haden says Reggie Bush did not apologize

Haden, USC's AD, was afraid to even take Bush's call. But Haden told the L.A. Times that Bush did not apologize during two recent phone calls contrary to what USA Today reported on Friday.

The NCAA has forced USC to disassociate itself from Bush. That's why Haden wasn't sure he could even take Bush's calls.

How this helps Bush or USC is beyond me. Bush is acting like a boyfriend who can't commit. Just say the words, "I'm sorry I screwed the entire university. I'll never be able to look myself in the mirror again."

Category: NCAAF
Tags: USC
 
Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:08 pm
 

Bryce Brown battle at Tennessee escalates

The father of embattled running  back Bryce Brown said former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin promised his son an unconditional release from his scholarship if he wasn't satisfied at the school.

Arthur Brown Sr. told CBSSports.com on Thursday that family medical issues had forced his son to request a transfer from Tennessee after his freshman season. Bryce Brown was rated the No. 1 running back in the country when he signed with the Vols in 2009. He applied for admission Wednesday at Kansas State, Brown Sr. said. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, though, has denied to release Brown from his scholarship.

"So much has happened between when Coach Kiffin recruited him and him going there," Brown Sr. said by phone from the family home in Wichita, Kan. "All the changes taking place, so many other things muddied the water. Coach Kiffin had told me personally if Bryce came there and did not want to stay there after some time, he wouldn't have a problem giving him an unconditional release."

Brown Sr. said family formally appealed to Tennessee for release on Aug. 6. The process could take up to 15 days, or until Aug. 21. There was a teleconference between Arthur Sr., Bryce and Tennessee compliance officer Todd Dooley (no relation to the coach) on Wednesday. Todd Dooley is listed on the Tennessee website as assistant AD for compliance and operations.

If the appeal is not granted, Brown would have to pay his way to Kansas State for a year before getting back on scholarship in 2011.

"It would be a setback," Brown Sr. said. "definitely a [financial] burden."

Brown Sr. added that health issues with himself, his father, his wife and her 14-year-old nephew has caused "too much stress on the family." Bryce's brother Arthur Jr., a top recruit at Miami two years ago, already has transferred to be closer to home and is enrolled at K-State.

Derek Dooley has given a variety of reasons for not releasing Brown, including wanting to meet face-to-face with the running back. In his only season at Tennessee, Brown rushed for 476 yards on 101 carries.

"Bryce has done everything that has been expected of him," his father said. "He has been a model student. He has been a real supporter of his program. I can't answer what is going through Coach Dooley's mind."

The NCAA is interested in speaking to Bryce Brown about Kiffin's recruiting practices at Tennessee, according to a report. Kiffin left Tennessee for USC in early January after one 7-6 season.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 7, 2010 4:03 pm
 

Riffing on the preseason coaches' poll...

Nick Saban really is questioning whether Alabama is No. 1. He apparently gave his No. 1 vote to Ohio State.

Boise State is way too low at No. 5. I expected the Broncos to start at No. 3, at least. Nevertheless, Boise carries the banner for all non-BCS schools. Its ranking gives it a realistic chance at playing in the championship game if it goes undefeated. Only three conferences are represented among the four teams above it in the poll. Either Alabama or Florida will be "eliminated" when they meet Oct. 2. Boise should be concerned if Texas and/or Ohio State go undefeated. If two BCS conference teams go undefeated that could possibly block Boise. Of course, the Broncos should be used to that by now. The point is, Boise has the best shot of any team in the 13-year history of the BCS to become a non-BCS national champion.

Was it only two years ago that Georgia was the unanimous preseason No. 1? It starts this season at No. 21.

This is the third year in a row the SEC has been the coaches' preseason No. 1.

Looking ahead to 2011: There are five teams in the top 14 (including Nebraska) that will be Big Ten members next season.

No. 14 Penn State is the first team to play three teams that won BCS bowls the previous year. All three start the season in the top 10 -- No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Iowa.

Oklahoma finished 2009 unranked. It debuts at No. 8.

No. 20 Florida State (7-6) has the worst 2009 record of any team in the top 25.

Surprise! Six SEC teams are in the poll.

Per urging from American Football Coaches Association director Grant Teaff, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier did not cast his traditional No. 25 vote for Duke, the school that gave him his first head coaching job.

No team has won back-to-back coaches' poll titles in the BCS era. USC won the AP title in 2003 and was unanimous champion in 2004. Of course, that might not last if the BCS rips the '04 title because of Reggie Bush.

It will be interesting to see where USC debuts in the AP poll. Remember, the Trojans can win a national championship in AP but cannot be considered in the coaches' poll. The Trojans could win the AP title but technically can't win its own conference. The program has been hit with a two-year bowl ban.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 11:16 pm
 

Five things about the Pac-10

The latest from my preseason media day tour...

USC’s long road back. How long will it take? How painful will it be? USC is just beginning what promises to be one of the darkest periods in its history. It might get through the crippling NCAA penalties in as few as five years. We’re talking 2015 being the first year to be able to have enough talent to compete for a Pac-10 title again. But it won’t be easy. Oklahoma suffered similar penalties and was dead for 10 years. It took Alabama eight years to win a national championship after similar penalties in 2002. Watching Lane and the boys negotiate the loss of 30 scholarships and two postseasons will be the key thing. I’m sure Kiffin has a plan – he always does – but the program has to bottom out first. The embarrassment isn’t over in regards to Bush’s Heisman and the 2004 title. Both might still be taken away. After that, the 2010 Trojans could win the league have to watch the Rose Bowl on TV. It was one of the best dynasties in the history of college football and now it’s gone. For how long, we don’t know.

The winner. Oregon might have been the favorite to defend its title until Jeremiah Masoli got stupid. USC might have been the favorite until Reggie Bush was stupid. What about Arizona, a program that has never been to the Rose Bowl? It has five of the nine conference games at home, including USC, Washington and Cal. Mike Stoops has to break through at some point. After consecutive eight-win seasons, it might be time for the Wildcats to break through.

East Coast bias. Don’t blame the media this time. There was an East Coast bias on the part of the players. This is back to being the year of the quarterback in the league. The Pac-10 took its top four quarterbacks to New York for an unprecedented media day on the East Coast – Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Matt Barkley and Nic Foles. However, only Barkley and Foles made it to L.A. for the traditional Pac-10 media day. I don’t want to hear any griping from Stanford and Washington about national honors for their quarterbacks at the end of the season. Guys, you’ve got to take care of your local media first.

Divisional alignment. It seems to be a conversation piece around here as the league decides how to divide into two six-team divisions in 2011. There is the “zipper” alignment. Example: travel partners Oregon-Oregon State, Cal-Stanford ,USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State and Washington-Washington State are split into separate divisions. There is my North-South alignment: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford vs. Colorado, Utah, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State. Whatever the plan, everyone wants to play in L.A. because of recruiting. And with USC on probation, there are going to be plenty of players available in Southern California.

Hot seat. Paul Wulff at Washington State and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State. It's almost a hopeless case at Wazoo. Erickson has to win seven just to go to a bowl. ASU is playing two I-AAs. The wolves will be out if there is not significant improvement at each school.

Posted on: July 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Preseason mags' top 25

We love the polls. College football polls to be specific. Preseason college football polls to be exact.

There is the annual cry to get rid of them. Hogwash. First, the Associated Press isn't going to disappoint its subscribers by scrapping one of its most popular offerings of the year. Second, there would be no preseason magazines without preseason top 25s.

And last time I checked, the magazines aren't going away either. We need them. We want them. The likes of Athlon and Lindy's are selling better than ever. There are regional editions. Sure, some of them outdated by the time they hit the stands. (USC No. 3, Athlon? Really?) That's OK. The sport is year-round now. It's not going to stop for a printing press.

The mags' arrival officially stirs the juices. Suddenly, it's OK to break down the Sun Belt, predict the WAC. Argue about the SEC East. That's why this blog is devoted to one of my annual obsessions -- a combined poll from all the preseason magazines.

I combined five polls, from The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com. Our official preseason poll won't come out until late August. For this purpose, then, I'm using my post-spring top 25.

A few notes, rules and notifications:

*Each school was assigned a number in descending order. Twenty-five points for a No. 1 ranking, 24 for No. 2, etc.

*Schools are then ranked from highest-point total to lowest.

*I also included an average poll rank, mostly because not all the schools were named in all five polls. Example: Oregon State finished No. 25 because it got 11 points from being ranked No. 15 in The Sporting News.  The likes of Cincinnati (eight points) and Utah (five) were ranked in two polls but finished with fewer total points than Oregon State.

*Thirty seven schools received votes.

*Alabama was not a consensus No. 1. Phil Steele made some waves by picking Oklahoma No. 1.

The annual compilation:

1. Alabama: Duh. Haven't lost an SEC regular-season game since 2007. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest, No. 3 (148 points, Avg. rank between No. 1 and No. 2)

2. Ohio State: The Big Ten is back. Ohio State never left. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. 3. (142 points. Avg. rank between No. 2 and No. 3)

3. Boise State: Should be a consensus top five pick with major polls debut next month. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. No. 6. (136 points. Average rank between No. 3 and No. 4)

4. Florida: Fastest team in the country, again. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 7. (123 points. Avg. rank between No. 5 and No. 6)

5. TCU: Nation's best defense the past two seasons. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 11. (113 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

6. Nebraska: Fitting that these two are tied. They hate each other. Highest rank, No. 5. Lowest rank, No. 11 (112 points. Average rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

7. Oregon: Most talent in the Pac-10. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 15 (111 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

8. Texas: Adding physicality to offense. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. No. 11 (110 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

9. Oklahoma: Rebuilding into Big 12 and national power again. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest rank, No. 12. (106 points. Avg. rank between No. 8 and No. 9)

10. Virginia Tech: Class of the ACC until further notice. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 13. (94 points. Avg. rank between No. 10 and No. 11)

11. (tie) USC: Two-year bowl ban begins. Does the dynasty continue? Highest rank, No. 3. Lowest rank, No. 16. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

Iowa: Sexy dark horse pick in the Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 14. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

13. Wisconsin: Fresh from pounding Miami. Factor in Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 23. (82 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

14. Miami: Starting to look like Canes of old. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 14. (79 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

15. Florida State: New coach, healthy quarterback. Great prospects. Highest rank, No. 14. Lowest rank, No. 20. (60 points, Avg. rank No. 16)

16. Arkansas: Petrino starting to work his magic with Ryan Mallett. Highest rank, No. 16. Lowest rank, No. 21. (50 points, Avg. rank between No. 17 and No. 18)

17. North Carolina: Nation's best defense? Highest rank, No. 12. Lowest rank, No. 24. (48 points. Avg. rank No. 18)

18. Pittsburgh: Coming first 10 win season since 1981. Highest rank, No. 14. Not ranked by Steele. (45 points. Avg. rank No. 17)

19. LSU: Les Miles on the hot seat? Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Steele. (35 points. Avg. rank No. 19)

20. Georgia Tech:
Defending ACC champs seem to have gotten better. Highest rank, No. 13. Not ranked by Steele, Yahoo and Athlon. (30 points. Avg. rank No. 16)

21. Auburn: Chizik not ready to cede state to Alabama. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by Lindy's and Yahoo. (29 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

22. Penn State: JoePa going for No. 400. Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Sporting News. (27 points. Avg. rank No.  20 and No. 21)

23. Georgia: New AD could be the least of Dawgs' problems. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com and Sporting News. (24 points. Avg. rank No. 20)

24. West Virginia: Noel Devine could carry 'Neers to a BCS bowl. Highest rank, No. 19. Not ranked by Athlon and Yahoo. (16 points. Avg. rank No. 22)

25. Oregon State: Mike Riley always has Beavers in contention. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com, Steele, Lindy's and Athlon. (15 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

Other teams receiving votes: Notre Dame, Connecticut, Missouri, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Utah, Houston, Clemson, Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Navy.

Notes: To no one's surprise the SEC led all conferences with six teams in the top 25 (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) ... To everyone's surprise, the ACC was second with five teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech) ... The Big 12 had three of the top 10 (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska) ... The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams in the top 15 ... Every national champion since 1999 is represented in the top 25 ... Six states had multiple teams in the poll. Florida led all states with three (Miami, Florida, Florida State).

 

Posted on: July 6, 2010 7:52 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Without Henderson, what is the future of USC?

The question now has to be asked: Is there officially an exodus out of USC?

When blue-chip recruit Seantrel Henderson was released from his letter of intent on Tuesday, he was on his way to becoming the third USC player to transfer from USC since the NCAA penalties were handed down June 11. A fourth player said he was contacted by several schools about transferring.

Henderson is easily the biggest loss, though. The nation's No. 1 recruit had a chance to start as a freshman and was projected as a future anchor on the offensive line. Various reports had USC coaches traveling twice to Henderson's home in the Twin Cities in recent days in an attempt to keep him in the fold.

Releasing Henderson from his letter of intent conceivably allows him to transfer immediately and be eligible this fall. Most of the speculation has Henderson headed to Miami which was one of his finalists along with Ohio State. Henderson committed to USC live on CBS College Sports in February but didn't sign his LOI until late March, supposedly out of concern for the severity of the NCAA penalties.

The NCAA infractions committee came close to dealing USC the death penalty last month when it applied a two-year bowl ban and removed 30 scholarships over three years. The school is appealing some of the penalties saying they are too harsh.

With those kinds of penalties, USC has to be worried about staying competitive in the near term. If USC is nicked enough by the penalties, the suffering will be significant for a program still considered by some to be in the dynasty stage. The current losses already are eating into the depth. Without those 30 scholarships, Kiffin will have to play more and more walk-ons. Also, he absolutely cannot miss with the scholarships he has to hand out.

Even when all the penalties end in 2014, the lingering effects remain to be seen. And will the USC administration be patient enough with Kiffin for him to slog through what is looking like a considerable downturn?

" ... this thing regarding USC and the NCAA is to me the closest thing to death without dying," Reggie Bush told the New Orleans media last month.

For now, USC has lost Henderson, defensive end Malik Jackson (transfer to Tennessee) and linebacker Jordan Campbell (Louisville).  Both Jackson and Campbell took advantage of NCAA bylaws that allow rising juniors and seniors from programs hit by major NCAA sanctions to transfer immediately without sitting out.

We’ll see if the flow of players out of Troy continues. USC freshman sensation Dillon Baxter reportedly told the school's director of compliance last month that he had been contacted about transferring by five schools -- Florida, Washington, Alabama, Oregon and Fresno State. Florida, Washington, Alabama and Oregon denied they had contacted Baxter.

USC AD Mike Garrett contacted Florida AD Jeremy Foley recently telling Foley, Baxter "has now confirmed that he did not receiver a call from your instition." The letter, dated July 1, was obtained this week by CBSSports.com. Alabama received a similar letter according to the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register. Oregon and Washington officials expect to get a similar letter according to a source at each school.

It is considered an NCAA violation to contact a player about transferring before he has been released from his scholarship.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 10, 2010 10:56 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2010 8:35 am
 

Expand-O-Meter, June 10, 2010

Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 177
 
Who had the best day: Turns out the Pac-9 had to expand. Down a team after the hydrogen bomb dropped on USC by the NCAA, commissioner Larry Scott wisely offered Colorado on Thursday. What CU lacks in national championships, it more than makes up for in grungy loners on Boulder's Pearl Street walking mall.

Who had the worst day: TMZ. At the end of business on Thursday, Oklahoma State still hadn't joined the Pac-10 contrary to reports from the oddly obsessive electric celebrity hounders. On a more positive note, though, TMZ is reporting that Lindsay Lohan has been released from rehab and has begun seeing Mike Gundy.
 
Quote of the day: "Are the junior and senior USC Song Girls eligible to transfer?" -- anonymous text.

Link of the day: While you were texting your buddy about the latest expansion vomit, Auburn suddenly improved its national championship chances. From 2004. In light of Thursday's penalties, the Football Writers Association of America will review USC's championship from that year. The Grantland Rice Trophy has been awarded to the FWAA's national champion for the last 54 years. A group of FWAA members vote on the winner each season. We're researching right now to determine which team finished No. 2 that year. If Auburn was second, then the Tigers might be elevated to a national championship six years after the fact.

What's on tap: The Nebraska board of regents meet Friday to discuss the latest summer styles, ITunes hits, cool wine bars and, oh yeah, joining the Big Ten.

 

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