Tag:Alabama
Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:32 am
 

Miami about to be taken down by a rat. Fair?

Isn't it odd how it's not an NCAA investigation until somebody gets screwed?

The old adage goes: It's not cheating unless you get caught. And sometimes the NCAA doesn't catch you, it seems, until the cheaters get cheated. Nevin Shapiro is serving time in federal prison for allegedly running a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He was once a Miami booster who apparently was more than good friends with more than a few Hurricane players. Shapiro told the Miami Herald this week that he'll write a tell-all book detailing Miami wrongdoing since 2001.

His motivation? Paying back some of the victims, reportedly around 60 who lost upwards of $80 million. Shapiro won't earn a dime from the book. His other motivation, he says, is payback for former players who ignored him.  

"Once the players become pros, they turned their back on me," Shapiro told the Herald. "It made me feel like a used friend."

As long as everyone was kissing Shapiro's ass, then, everything was OK. The point is, these cases don't develop sometimes until low-life reprobates blow the whistle. Lloyd Lake, who had served time for a probation violation, rolled over on Reggie Bush after Bush failed to repay $300,000 that Lake had spent on him. All Bush had to do was repay Lake, who essentially wanted to become Bush's agent, and everything was cool.

The same thing seems to be going on at North Carolina, Alabama and South Carolina. The rumor going around is that a reputable agent (or agents) alerted the NCAA and/or media about low-life agents and marketers who blatantly staged that ostentatious player party in South Beach. Had the rogue agents kept things on the down low, maybe those three 
schools aren't wondering who is going to be able to play on Saturday.

You might wonder why the NCAA listens to these guys. The association isn't held to a legal standard. It doesn't have to use due process. It cannot issue subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify. You have to wonder, though, what credibility a source like Shapiro has. Consider this recent headline: "Felon Who Stole $900 Million To Rat Out "The U".

Because of those investigative restrictions, the NCAA also has to meet a lower standard (its own) for a conviction. Remember, this is technically a non-profit organization that has been given these powers by its members. Police use "rats" like Shapiro all the time. Prisoners testify in open court. But it's up to a jury to decide on the evidence. The NCAA infractions committee is judge and jury. USC thought it was going to skate on the Bush case because it was unaware 
of the wrongdoing.

The NCAA decided that USC was guilty because it was unaware of the wrongdoing.

But it remains amazing how none of it would have happened if someone had gotten paid off or, in Shapiro's case, someone's feelings weren't hurt.

Posted on: August 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 6:41 pm
 

Scope of UNC's investigation has widened

North Carolina will announce a widening of an NCAA investigation in include "academic issues" at a Thursday night press conference, a school spokesman told CBSSports.com

The spokesman said no players' names would be revealed. However, the NCAA had been looking into possible improper agent dealings regarding defensive tackle Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little. Their names came up when it was learned about a South Beach party earlier this summer that may have included several college players. The NCAA could rule that the players received extra benefits if they attended the party.

Also reportedly at the party were Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders.

Carolina self-reported "academic infractions" to the NCAA according to insidecarolina.com. The school said an "update" would be provided at a press conference scheduled for 7:30 pm ET. Chancellor Holden Tharp, AD Dick Baddour and coach Butch Davis are expected to be in attendance.

The NCAA has been to Chapel Hill for rounds of interviews with players. Typically what happens in these extra benefit situations, players will be declared ineligible by the school which then petitions the NCAA to reinstate them. The players are allowed to practice, though, during the preseason.

The news has impacted Las Vegas betting, apparently. A spokesman for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which sets point spreads for the major sportsbooks, said only "two or three" sportsbooks had taken the UNC-LSU off the board. However, in the space of Thursday afternoon the line moved at least 2 1/2 points. Carolina had been favored by one earlier in the day. By dinnertime LSU was favored by 1 1/2-2 points. 

North Carolina opens the season on Sept. 4 against LSU.




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 18, 2010 12:06 pm
 

Mayoral candidate photoshops Saban endorsement

Need a ready-made political endorsement? There's no better way than to digitally alter a photo to include Nick Saban.

That's what Bessemer, Ala. mayoral candidate Dorothy Davidson admits was done recently to help her campaign. Claiming a friendly relationship with the Alabama coach, Davidson admitted her image was photoshopped in the place of Saban's wife Terry.

"They said we could do it this way," Davidson told the Birmingham News.

Oh really? Alabama claims no political endorsement was made.

If this flies, what's next? Watch for Florida to photoshop the team picture over that of the 2009 SEC champions.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Florida
 
Posted on: August 14, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2010 6:41 pm
 

Mailbag 8/14

This is an amazing story from Bill who grew up in Columbus, Ohio as Woody Hayes' paper boy. It is apropos of my Monday story on future Big Ten divisional alignment.

From: Bill

Dennis, I like your thinking on this. This has been one of my big worries about a Big Ten Championship Game. I have always worried it will make the OSU-Michigan game lose its luster. I know Michigan is down but they will come back in time. This seems to be a great way to make sure it doesn't. I also wanted to share a story about "The Game" and what it has meant to me over the years.

Growing up in Upper Arlington two streets over from where Woody lived was very special. I was also his paper boy for four years. Back then Columbus had two newspapers -- the Columbus Citizen Journal and the Columbus Dispatch. The CJ was the early morning paper and this was the one I delivered. Coach would be waiting for the paper every morning as I delivered it at 6. If the paper was late coach was not in a very good mood. It didn't matter if it was my fault or the paper's fault. His quote was always the same, "Damn it Billy, where is my paper?" I always got a chuckle out of coach bitching about the paper being late.

All through high school I still kept in touch with coach. I would stop by and say hello and ask about the team. Even after he was fired and I had left for college I would stop in and see him when I was home at break. Coach was a very big fan of military history. When I left for the Marine Corps he gave me an hour-long history lecture of the history of the USMC. One of his best friends was General Lewis Walt who at one time was commandant of the Marine Corps. Coach told me about his visits to Vietnam in the late 60s and 70s.
 
When coached passed away in March of 1987 I was stationed in Central America. My parents were still in Florida for the winter and Mrs. Hayes got a hold of my mom. Mrs. Hayes wanted to make sure I made it back for the funeral. My mom explained that I was overseas and she really didn't know how to get a hold of me fast.

 At the time I was doing drug interdiction missions all over Central and South America. I would be out for 30 days at a time and in for two weeks. Mrs. Hayes told my mom she would take care of that problem.

Another one of coach's best friends was Richard Nixon. In fact he gave the eulogy at coach's funeral. Mrs. Hayes called Richard Nixon, who called President Regan's office, who called the commandant of the Marine Corps Office, who called US Central Command in Tampa. I was in the field at the time and I received a radio message that my team was to be extracted. When my helicopter landed I was met by my commanding officer who told me there was a death in my family and I needed to be sent home. He did not know the details but in an hour they put me on a Navy jet to McDill AFB in Tampa. When I got off the jet a Marine full bird colonel was waiting on me.

Now, in the Marine Corps a full bird colonel is god. I could not imagine why a full bird was waiting on me. He came up to me and asked me how I knew Richard Nixon. I told him I didn't and that he must have me mixed up with someone else. I told him I was going home for a death in family. I still had no information on who had passed away. The colonel explained to me that coach had passed way and Richard Nixon had made some calls to get me home for the funeral. They put me on another jet and I flew back to Columbus landing at OSU Airport.

 When I landed there was a car waiting for me. The door opens and it's Bo Schembechler. The pilots of the Navy Jet get out of the plane and have him sign autographs. I am in shock. We get back to the Hayes house on Cardiff Rd. My parents aren't back from Florida yet and Mrs. Hayes wanted me to stop by. I am sitting at the kitchen table with Bo, Richard Nixon, and Mrs. Hayes. I am in uniform and Mrs. Hayes says, "Billy would you would like a glass of milk." Bo looks at me, then at President Nixon and says to Mrs. Hayes, "Ann, I think Billy needs something stronger than a glass of milk." I thought Richard Nixon was going to have a heart attack right there on the spot.

That is my connection to "The Game". I have not shared this story with one soul. Can't tell you why, I guess I wanted to keep it for myself. I know you're a reporter but I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself. I wanted to share it with you because covering the Big Ten you know the history and meaning of the OSU-Michigan game.


From: Scott

I like your plan, except for the division names. Given the manner of Woody Hayes's departure, and the fact that he was always viewed as arrogant and abrasive by the rest of the conference, there is no way the Big 10 will name a division after him. Bo is an acceptable choice, more respected around the league but I think they will choose to go with players. Unfortunately for greats like Archie Griffin, I also think they will go for pre-war players. Grange is a shoo-in, and the other division will likely be named for someone like Nagurski or Kinnick.

Divided We Stand:

Forget that, how about the Harbaugh Division and Kern Division?

From: Tad

Dennis, I have one issue with your Big 10 divisional alignments. In my opinion, there are 16 college football blueblood programs. A few could be argued, but for the most part, the following programs are the cream of the crop:

USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Nebraska and Penn State.

 Every one of these programs has a primary rivalry with another school within this group. While some schools have bigger rivalries (Alabama-Auburn). they still have a huge rivalry with another school on this list. In Alabama's case, LSU is an annual rivalry game. Nebraska and Penn State have no real rival, let alone a rival within this list. Nebraska lost their primary rival to Texas at the inception of the Big 12. I contend that Nebraska and Penn State deserve each other as huge year-end rivals. The Big 10 could stage a Michigan-Ohio state and Nebraska-Penn State doubleheader every Thanksgiving weekend.

 Contrary to your statement, Ohio State and Michigan playing the final weekend has no more bearing on who would play in the BIG 10 Championship game than if they played earlier in the season. The main point is that every other school on this list has a primary rivalry with someone else on the list, except Penn State and Nebraska. They deserve each other....1982 and 1994 are the foundation on which the rivalry has begun...all we need to do is add a little wood to the fire.

Tadpole:

I've heard about this Nebraska-Penn State thing and I don't get it. There is no rivalry there, plain and simple. There is lingering anger from Nebraska fans for having lost a close game in Happy Valley years ago but that doesn't constitute a rivalry. As for lumping those two games together on the last weekend of the season. That's the last thing you want to do. There's a chance that one or both games might make a difference in the Big Ten championship game, but what happens when neither game means anything?

What you want to do is spread out your good games to keep fans (and TV networks) interested. Putting two "rivalry" games (again, Nebraska-Penn State doesn't do anything for me), on the last weekend of the regular season is not the way to do it.


From: Tony

Please stop with the suggestions of calling the future Big Ten divisions the Bo and Woody divisions. Why do you keep on insisting in honoring these two? Hayden Fry won with a fourth of the talent that they did, and he had to win in a more competitive Big Ten when scholarship reductions would have shown that Woody and Bo weren't the end-all, be-all. The '70s are over - and so should the Bo-Woody lovefest.

Ten Year Bore:

Fry Division? Sounds like the people in charge of researching potato quality at McDonald's corporate.

From: Tom

Mr. Dodd- more is not necessarily better. I suspect I'm older than you are, and can remember when baseball decided that two All-Star games per year would make things twice as nice. And that didn't last very long- four years, to be exact, because the second game didn't garner the expected interest. If Ohio State-Michigan is so important, then don't dilute it. Don't ask the Big 10 to repeat MLB's mistake of 50 years ago. Christmas is great. How would it be if we had it twice a year? Thanks for reading this.

Santa Pause:

Christmas twice a year? All for it. More socks and underpants from grandma!

From: Paul

Why are these big BCS schools afraid to play against Boise State? Are they scared they're gonna lose against a mid-major school at home? What is your professional opinion?

Paulie Bronco:

Part of it is the big boys not wanting to play Boise. The other part is Boise refusing guarantee games for the most part. AD Gene Bleymaier says plenty of teams will play the Broncos in non-conference games but only at their place. For example, Boise is traveling to Ole Miss next season but not returning the game. Not only does Bleymaier believe his program is beyond having to play those one-and-done games, but he plans to introduce NCAA legislation to mandate return games.

Paulie, the quality of your question has rated explanations from Bleymaier and Boise president Bob Kustra ...

Kustra:
"We're doing a study of non-conference scheduling in Division I football. There is a fairly compelling case to be made that the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-10 over the years have controlled the scheduling. All the large conferences ... What Gene will tell you, there's an overwhelming number of home games for the big guys but no home-and-home. We've been able to get a home-and-home with Oregon and Oregon State. We want to propose to the NCAA a mandated home-and-home scheduling arrangement for I-A non-conference football games. Why should Boise State go to Georgia, but more than likely they're not going to return it?

Bleymaier:
"I think we've really dropped the ball as an organization. The NCAA could mandate this at any time. Oregon, Oregon State are return games. Ole Miss (next year), Washington, Arkansas and Arizona State are not. It's so simple to legislate.

"We'll play anybody in the country home-and-home. You've got to do a better job of scheduling. You want us to go play three non-conference games on the road and they don't have to come here. Texas isn't going to do that, Oklahoma isn't going to do that, USC isn't going to do that, Florida isn't going to do that, Ohio State isn't going to do that, nobody's going to do that."

By the way, Bleymaier looks at the opener against Virginia Tech as a road game even though it is being billed as a neutral site game in Landover, Md. "I'd rather play a neutral-site game than a guarantee game like we're playing the following year at Ole Miss. I'd rather play Ole Miss in Atlanta, than Oxford," Bleymaier said.

Another reminder that Virginia Tech is the "home" team. It is getting $2.6 million in guarantee money from the game. Boise is getting less than half that, $1.25 million.


From:
Corey

Dennis, I have been reading you for years and respect your outlook on a lot of aspects of college sports. However, I find little excuse as to why the West Virginia University Mountaineers were left of your Super Schools list for Best Football/Basketball schools. I was a little alarmed that Pittsburgh made the list over the Mountaineers, then completely shocked to find the Wisconsin Badgers at No. 4?!? Under what credentials do the Badgers possibly outmatch WVU in this scenario? The Mountaineers have done more in the last 5 years in both sports than Wisconsin has done in the last ten. Those two schools aren't even comparable, and it's a shame the nod didn't go to WVU.

Country Roadie:

It was close, real close, between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. I could argue either way, but I couldn't, like you, say it was a slam dunk in West Virginia's favor. In the biggest game in its history, West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh 2 1/2 years ago. At home. Pittsburgh has won a national championship. Yes, it was more than 30 years ago but there is something about a program that has won a championship. It hopes and plans and recruits to win another championship. OK, so it's taken Pittsburgh a while but when you think of the school you think of both football and basketball. I can't say that's the case at West Virginia.

Remember also that the criteria not only were recent success, but future outlook. Even though he has won 19 games in two seasons (plus a bowl game), I think anyone would agree that Bill Stewart doesn't have the program at the same level as Rich Rod did. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is reaching a high point under Dave Wannstedt.

As I said, it was close. Call it Pittsburgh 5A and WVU 5B.

 

From:
David


I still can't believe u think the call in the Ohio State-Miami game in the 2002 title game was legit. What have u watched to change your original opinion? And better yet, what drugs do u smoke in order to think a penalty should have been called on Glenn Sharpe. Dude, open your eyes and watch the footage...u and your stupid opinions suck...sorry, but it's true, you are a homer...


Hurrican't:

There was definitely a call there to be made. If you read my story from seven years ago, there was holding off the line by the Miami defensive back. A reasonable person could have called pass interference (or not). Your argument is with the mechanics of back judge Terry Porter. He threw the flag extremely late. I'd say at least five seconds late because I remember the fireworks going off celebrating an Ohio State win. Then, Porter signaled both holding and pass interference. While Porter might have right about both, he didn't look like he knew what he was doing because he waited so long. Keep reading. I've got an interesting story coming on Porter during the season.


From: Brian

I just don't get it. Urban Meyer had a fake heart attack, told everyone he was retiring for his family, only to come back THE NEXT DAY because he liked the way his team practiced. Damn the family all of the sudden. He threatens and bullies a reporter who did NOTHING WRONG, and has a team that has had over 25 arrests on his team since his tenure and yet another media member kisses his a--.
 
UNREAL!!! You must have been threatened by him too. Please someone expose this moron!! I guess just because he has won he gets a free pass. If they were 8-4 or worse every year, NO WAY you are writing such fluff for this clown. Does any reporter have any balls anymore????

Tennessee Fan:

I've taken my shots. We've all taken our shots. I've called Meyer a diva. I've called him out for trying to intimidate that Orlando Sentinel reporter. I've tried to shame him for all those arrests.

However ... the series was about the best football and basketball schools. Florida wouldn't be on the list without Urban Meyer.


From: Billy

Dennis: I am amazed at your media guys with rankings. LSU has been recruiting in the top 5 the last 5 years and you are ranking them 4th in the West. Funny, but the guys that really know are the (SEC) coaches and they are ranking LSU as 2nd ahead of both Auburn and Arkansas. I think ya'll just get caught up with the fact that Arkansas has a big name QB and Auburn had a good recruiting class for a change so you chose to disrespect LSU just 2 years removed from the BCS Championship by ranking them 4th.

I can flat guarantee you are wrong and I hope you and your associates have the nerve and honesty to stand up and admit your wrong when this season is over.

Tiger Fate:

It's not about "disrespect" or being wrong. It's an opinion before the season. Using your logic, you owe me an apology if LSU finishes below third. I'll take mine straight up with olives. Make it Ketel One, please.


From: Barret

Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have, but if you could send a message up the ladder that the CBS telecasts have way, way too many commercial, I'd appreciate it. LSU has 5 CBS games this year and I don't think I can survive that many 6- and 12-hour marathons. This is really a serious issue they need to address. It kills the game.

Commercialized:

You could have stopped after the first sentence: Hey Dennis, I don't know what kind of pull you have.



From:
Mookenberg

Love your writing and your tweets, but I have one complaint. Can you please put an image of some sort up on your twitter account? It looks bush league with the generic green twitter logo. C'mon Dodd, you're better than that!

Mookie:

Trust me, for the children's sake, you wouldn't want to see that.

 

 

 

 

Posted on: August 11, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Come to Alabama, don't get seen by the NFL

Nick Saban banning NFL scouts from practice, while seemingly noble, is a bit self-serving and totally symbolic.

It's not like the NFL won't see enough of Saban's players. Every one of their games is on television. There will be enough leaks out of practice too. This ban will last a few days or until Saban starts hearing from a prospect that a rival recruiter said the kid won't get seen by the NFL at Alabama.

Also, if Saban really wants to make a statement he might want to cut out the 15 pages in the media guide that refer to Alabama as a "pipeline to the NFL," the school's NFL draft history, a list of NFL hall of famers and reference to the program's pro day. That should be interesting ... a pro day where no one is allowed to work out players.

Oh, and by the way, it won't do a thing from keeping scummy agents from trying to contact his players.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama
 
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: 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.

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