We all know Duke's bad. And that, quite frankly, is probably putting it mildly. After all, the Blue Devils haven't won more than one game in a season in over three years and they've had four winless seasons since 1996. But if you needed any more definitive proof that Duke stinks, we got it in a court of law Thursday.
While some schools avoid those early season non-conference showcase matchups like the plague - think 80 percent of the Big Ten - give Tennessee credit. The Vols have a built in excuse to play a soft non-conference schedule before their SEC slate kicks in, but they'd rather not take it easy.
Finally, we'll have our answer this week. Terrelle Pryor, the most hyped and heralded quarterback in the history of high school football, will make his decision on where he'll be attending school this fall. Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Oregon were Pryor's four finalists when he told the college football world on National Signing Day that he wasn't prepared to decide. But he's been down to two for some time. But which two?
Georgia president Michael Adams, and chairman of the NCAA executive committee, has been outspoken this week about the need for a playoff in college football. In Adams' eyes, the NCAA should create an eight team playoff, seed the teams into four bowl games and eventually crown its first football champion in the organization's history. And as he goes about trumping for big change, he's picked up one prominent supporter in Athens.
It's getting to be old hat to find the Sooners in a BCS games considering this will mark the sixth time Oklahoma finds itself in one of the season's premier bowl games over the past eight years. But it's safe to say Bob Stoops and his players haven't faced a team quite like West Virginia yet.
It doesn't seem that long ago that Boston College was flying high, up to No. 2 in the nation and only a handful of games away from a potential berth in the BCS Championship game. Then the Eagles were grounded by Florida State and eventually stumbled home with a 2-3 record over the season's final month. So much for that dream.
Quite unfairly, Jeff Bower takes to the sidelines for his final game as the Southern Miss coach. And ironically it's happening in the same city - Birmingham - that his tenure with the Golden Eagles began back on Dec. 20, 1990.
Rich Rodriguez finally received an offer he could not refuse and the West Virgnia coach is off to become Lloyd Carr's replacement at Michigan. But can the man who built the Mountaineers into the Big East's best team the past several seasons translate his success with the spread offense to Ann Arbor? That's just one of the many questions Rodriguez's hiring posses.
Back in the summer I tried predicting - as accurately as possible, not just a bunch of stabs in the dark - the matchups in each of the 32 bowl games. So now that we know who's playing who, I figured I'd look back and see if I got any even half right. The results, I have to say, are pretty. Pretty pathetic.
Few things in life are easy. And predicting, analyzing and understanding college football is not one of those things because Saturday night we saw more of the unexpected and more of the chaos that has come to exemplify the 2007 season.
The coaching carousel seems to have slowed down as the week comes to a close with no one getting the ax the past few days. But there's been plenty of other activity around the country with coaches contemplating moves to other jobs and there's one in particular that should really take a hard look at what the future may hold.
Greg Robinson has yet to turn around Syracuse in his three season in upstate New York, posting an awful 7-28 record. And from the sound of Syracuse athletic director Dr. Daryl Gross, if Robinson doesn't show some marked improvement in 2008, the Orange will be looking for another man who hopefully can.
Tim Tebow is likely your 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, but after what we saw from Chase Daniel Saturday night, I'm sure some people are going to give the Missouri quarterback more than a second thought after what they saw out of the junior.
So I guess this makes Les Miles' decision to potentially become the next head coach at Michigan a little easier considering he doesn't have to worry about missing out on his team playing for the national championship.
Lose your quarterback and you're going to lose. It was as simple as that for two teams this extended three day football weekend after watching No. 2 Oregon fall on the road Thursday night and then watching No. 3 Oklahoma follow suit Saturday.
Is this going to be Lloyd Carr's final game on the sidelines of the Big House? That's the big question on everyone's mind entering Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State meeting with the Big Ten title up for grabs in college football's premier rivalry.
So where do we find ourselves after another highly ranked team - in Saturday's case No. 1 Ohio State - lost to an unranked team for what seems like the 50th time this season? We find ourselves with a drastically altered BCS standings, one that will be void of the Buckeyes as national title contenders after Illinois ran roughshod over the Ohio State defense when they are released later Sunday.
Kansas is 9-0 for the first time since 1908 and has their sights set on not only a BCS bowl, but the national championship game if they win their remaining four games and things break right. But the first step toward the improbable starts Saturday in Stillwater where the Jayhawks take on a dangerous Oklahoma State team. Is this where it comes crashing down for Kansas? Possibly, but most especially if they play defense like they did last week against Nebraska.
Rules changes have become the norm in college football, most especially those involving tweaks to the clock the past few years. So after the NCAA's attempts to speed up the game last season were met with dismay and disgust from many of the nation's coaches, the NCAA changed the rules again this past off-season in an effort to drive down the times of these marathon-like games. But after 10 weeks it looks like it's time for the to go back to the drawing board.
UConn was picked to finish seventh in the Big East back in July when the conference's football contingent gathered in Newport, R.I. to begin in earnest the 2007 season. With a month left in the season, it turned out to be a bad pick.
Anyone remember the last time USC was an underdog in a Pac-10 game? Try seven years ago in their regular season finale of Pete Caroll's inaugural season in L.A. Well that 45-game streak comes to end Saturday when the Trojans - three point underdogs - head north to Eugene where high-powered Oregon awaits in a BCS make or break game for both squads.
CBSSports.com came out with its College Football Halfway All-America Team this afternoon, and while the CBSSports.com staff did a pretty good job putting it together, here's a case for a few who maybe should have made the team over a few who did.
The Buckeyes and the Bulls are sitting pretty after the BCS standings were released Sunday and if you had those two teams pegged as your first week leaders in the controversial ranking system then there's only one place you belong: Vegas.
It's officially The Year of the Upset. We've had a few wacky weekends and just when you think things are about to return to normal, we have the top two teams in the nation lose on the same day for the first time since Sept. 21, 1996 and scramble up the polls yet again. Just in time, of course, for Sunday's season premiere of the BCS rankings.
For a while there it was looking like Florida was right back in the thick of things. Leading the No. 1 Tigers on the road, Florida was only a matter of minutes from leaving Baton Rouge with a gigantic win and jumping right back into the national championship picture. But LSU would have none of it.
The Tampa Tribune called it the biggest game to ever take place in the city of Tampa. ESPN called it the biggest game ever shown on their Friday night broadcasts. Everyone else called it the biggest game in the short history of USF football, and everyone was right. Friday night's Big East battle between No. 5 West Virginia and No. 18 USF was everything it was billed to be and more as the Bulls pulled off a drag-em-through-the-trenches 21-13 upset win to all but secure their spot as one of the nation's top 10.
This is the game South Florida has been waiting for. Eleven years after playing their first collegiate football game (then at the I-AA level), USF has done everything anyone has asked them to do and with a 3-0 record that includes an upset win over Auburn, the Bulls are firmly in position to stop being a spoiler and start becoming a mainstay of the national scene. No. 18 USF takes on No. 5 West Virginia tonight in a Big East matchup with enormous implications. And considering USF knocked off the Mountaineers 24-19 last year, at West Virginia, don't expect that Heisman Trophy duo to run all over these Bulls without a fight.
So does anyone have any doubts about USC, most especially the Trojans running game, after their performance in Lincoln Saturday night? Tough to find a whole lot that's wrong with Pete Carroll's squad after the Trojans let everyone know they don't plan on handing over their No. 1 ranking anytime soon.
At halftime of last night's Louisville-Middle Tennessee game, anyone watching the 38-35 scoring fest was probably thinking the same thing: Oh no, not again. Another top-ten team locked in a much-too-close battle with a far weaker opponent sounded echoes that were all too clear of last weekend's miraculous Wolverine fall-from-grace at the hands of a FCS team. Last night was the same story, different ending: Middle Tennessee, last year's Sun Belt Conference champion (which is roughly the equivalent of 2006 FCS champion Appalachian State), took it to No. 8 Louisville, and at half time, the Blue Raiders had the Cardinals right where they wanted them. Luckily, Brian Brohm and the offense prevailed, avoiding the second-biggest upset story of the season by leading Louisville to a 58-42 win.
Week 1 of the college football season is usually forgettable thanks to all the blowouts and otherwise boring games that flood the schedule. This year, however, it was anything but thanks to one team from Boone, N.C. that pulled off an upset for the ages.
A few weeks after coaches around the country submitted their ballots for their own Preseason Top 25, it was the writers' turn as the Associated Press released its Preseason Top 25 poll Saturday and there's practically no difference between them.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville basked in the glory of one of their most successful seasons in program history Friday at their spring game. Reflecting on their win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl, the Cardinals handed out individual player awards from their 2006 season during halftime and enjoyed the company of a record crowd.
Surprising how Wisconsin got it done today. If you have said that Wisconsin was going to have so much trouble rushing the ball in the first half, yet still have a 10 point lead at the beginning of the third quarter, you would have never believed it. P.J. Hill and the rest of the running game did absolutely nothing all day and John Stocco had a little trouble taking care of the ball. But he threw a couple of TDs and the team persevered. The defense played very well, as usual, to hold on at the end.
Sometimes you leave a movie theater feeling high. Sometimes you leave a move theater feeling low. And sometimes you leave it emotionally drained, but smiling as you make your way to the exit. That was the case for me Thursday evening after I had the chance to catch a special screening of Warner Bros. new release, “We Are Marshall,” in Midtown Manhattan.
To say Lloyd Carr was perturbed Sunday night would be putting it lightly. Relegated to the Rose Bowl after Florida jumped his Michigan team in the final BCS standings, Carr was as ornery as ever with the media. Peppered with questions about the fallout of Sunday’s BCS rankings, Carr was brief with his answers and refused to say how he really felt.
There was a reason why USC came in as an 8.5 point favorite Saturday. And they showed it, in a big way, against the Irish. Simply put: USC showed that it's in a different class than Notre Dame, one that's right next to a team from Columbus, Ohio.
Chris Leak finally played well in a big spot this season. Going 7-for-8 on that game deciding drive was impressive. Leak did a great job with Dallas Baker on the drive, calling an audible at the line that resulted in a 25-yard completion to Baker and then hooked up with him for a touchdown in the back corner of the endzone that Baker made a nice adjustment to catch.
So the question now is are we going to get a rematch? There’s no doubt that Ohio State and Michigan played an amazing game Saturday, one that’s going to go down as a classic in the series and will be talked about for the rest of the year. But if you ask me, the prospects of seeing a rematch are looking ever more probable. The answer, however, we should get to rematch question is no.
If there’s one thing you’re going to come away from yesterday’s Rutgers-Louisville game is that the Scarlet Knights have one heck of a defense. Their speed and tenacity at pressuring Brian Brohm was the reason Rutgers earned the biggest win in school history.
For those who subscribe to the idea that SEC offenses are struggling this year, there’s a perfectly good explanation. It’s those stacked defenses and a glut of new, relatively inexperienced QBs manning the posts at several schools, that’s bringing the conference’s offensive numbers down.
All the talk of the college football world this week will be about West Virginia and Louisville, and rightfully so. Two undefeated, top 5 teams with national championship aspirations will face off with the loser left in the dark of title contention.
It was a great game to watch and dramatic as can be, but we shouldn’t be overly surprised that USC finally lost a game. Let’s face it. They’ve been playing with fire these last few weeks, just waiting to get burned. Saturday, they got burned.
Mr. Williams Has Landed (In The Competitive Western State Conference)
Willie Williams has apparently surfaced in California, playing for West Los Angeles Community College. In the enigmatic linebackers first game of the season (he sat out the team’s first five games of the year because he wasn’t eligible academically) he had a blocked punt,13 tackles and two sacks as his team lost 28-0.
The owners of the No. 2 defense in the nation is…Rutgers. After defeating Pittsburgh Saturday, and holding Tyler Palko and the high-flying Pitt offense to only 169 yards in the air, Rutgers defense is earning more and more respect every week. And UConn coach Randy Edsall, who will face the Scarlet Knights Sunday, knows why their defense has been so impressive, allowing 223 yards per game – second only to LSU.
It was a pretty wild Saturday that saw some history, another incredible comeback and a plethora of performances that helped sort out the national picture a little more. Here’s what I think we’ve learned and what I come away from Saturday with. . .
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - The Huskies may be keeping Steve Slaton in relative check, but that's not the case with Pat White who's running right over UConn on what's shaping up to be a big West Virginia win. On only 13 carries, White had 102 yards and a TD, includiing runs of 45 and 30 yards to set up Mountaineer scores. West Virginia has a comfotable 20-3 lead right now and it seems only inevitable that they'll add to it with regularity in the second half.
The reaction to the Miami-FIU brawl that broke out in Saturday’s third quarter was met with universal disappointment by some of the Big East coaches Monday. Played numerous times on highlight shows around the country for the past two days, just about everyone in college football had a chance to watch the transgressions of the Hurricanes and Golden Panthers and no one liked what they saw.
I don’t think I could have been more wrong about two of the biggest games Saturday. I thought we’d see USC’s A game against ASU and I expected Florida to beat on Auburn. It didn't exactly pan out that way.
There’s no argument that the Big East isn’t what it used to be without the likes of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. But the conference is garnering some respect around the country with improved play and some non-conference wins, especially over the hated ACC.
A big day of college football and there’s a lot to take it. But there are certainly a number of things that I think we learned today and a lot of it comes out of the SEC.
Georgia is not anywhere close to a Top 10 team. Despite scoring as many points as they did against Tennessee in their loss, they still have questions on offense and apparently their defense doesn’t stand up much against some actual competition.
Should we now look forward to a winner take all, Armageddon-esque game between Michigan and Ohio State Nov. 18? I think so. With Ohio State’s easy schedule from here on out. Michigan’s slate is more than manageable until the season finale meeting. So the only teams that are going to defeat Ohio State and Michigan is Ohio State and Michigan. It only seems inevitable - considering the way these two teams are playing - that the winner is going to play for the national championship. Consider:
An observation from yesterday: Rutgers may be ranked in the Top 25, but let’s be clear about one thing: the Scarlet Knights are not a Top 25 team. They’re not better than Penn State. They’re not better than Boston College. And they’re not better than Miami, or Arizona State, all teams that are not ranked.
It doesn’t get much worse than 2-9 finish in Year 1 for a coach taking over a former Pac-10 perennial power. But Tyrone Willingham has gotten his Huskies off to a surprising start in Year 2 with Washington staked out to a 3-1 record. With wins already over San Diego State, Fresno State and UCLA, it didn’t take long for Willingham to surpass 2005’s win total.
There was no official moniker for this Saturday, but Survival Saturday was more than fitting. I think it’s safe to say that we saw that there really isn’t an overly dominant team out there right now.
The top unbeaten teams - Ohio State, USC, Michigan, Florida and Auburn - didn’t have particularly inspiring performances today. And some other top tier teams hung on in their respective games after facing some stiff competition from their opponents early on like Virginia Tech, and most notably, Georgia. But they all survived, and national championship and BCS berth hopes are still intact for nearly all who entered the weekend with big time postseason hopes.
Well, was that 37-yard TD from Troy Smith to Brian Robiskie a Heisman-caliber moment, or what? That was some play Smith made – with his feet – during an otherwise less than stellar performance out of the Buckeyes offense. It was a weird game.
In light of the attention the Reggie Bush controversy has brought upon USC and some accusations that members of the Trojans coaching and athletic staff new about supposed NCAA violations, UConn coach Randy Edsall said Monday that it was preposterous to hold coaches responsible for controlling every aspect of their players lives.
Where to start on a Saturday like this, I’m not sure. There was measuring stick game after measuring stick game all over the country and several teams rose to the occasion in the seven games that featured ranked teams against each other.
The Wolverines are off to one heck of a start in a must-win game for Lloyd Carr. Turnovers are just killing the Irish as they find themselves down 20-7. We'll really see what kind of coach Charlie Weis is soon, I guess. I don't think its possible for Brady Quinn to have worse first quarter stats than he has and the Irish right now have more penalty yards than rushing yards. Things better pick up soon.
It should be pretty clear now who the No. 1 team in the nation is. Ohio State, behind quarterback Troy Smith, showed the country they are the best team with a 24-7 win over the Longhorns on the road and I think it's safe to say we learned some things from this game.
What to make of Rutgers? They are absolutely smoking Illinois right now. I know Illinois isn’t some big time Big Ten team, but they’re making the Scarlet Knights look like a Big East beast. 30-0 at halftime - Ron Zook’s Illini are getting blitzed right out of Piscataway.
The rules changes went over without any major gripping or complaining from the majority of Big East coaches Monday. No one felt the rules were a hindrance or a pain, but some noticed more of a difference than others.
Well, a win’s a win and that’s what the Irish got Saturday. It wasn’t pretty and the offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but Charlie Weis’ squad got the job done. They won and survived, lived to face Penn State next without a loss hanging over them and still one of the favorites to make it to the national championship game. For that, they should be satisfied. For other reasons, there should be concern.
Since the season is officially here, I figured it was time to do what everyone else around the country has done: make the obligatory predictions. This way, I’m on the record and I’ll be able to look back in amazement about how poorly - or precisely - I predicted things would pan out.
The Louisville contingent of Brian Brohm, Michael Bush and Nate Harris just left the Viking, officially putting an end to Big East Media Day in Newport. Overall impressions: Big time kudos to the Big East for putting together two straight days of excellent events.
To see Louisville RB Michael Bush in person kind of makes you stop in amazement. How can this guy, who weighs about 250 lbs. and is 6-foot-2 (at least) run so fast? It's kind of mind-boggling. TV doesn't do any justice to how big Bush is in person. The guy is just humungous. There's really no other way to put it. And defenders better beware this year; Bush says he's in the best shape of his life and is more trim and cut than ever before.
Funniest thing about Big East Media Day? The players practically running to get out of their suits and sportcoats and change into street clothes. Once they're done with their interviews, they're gunning for the nearest bathroom or changing room, suitcase/garment bag in hand, ready to ditch the wool for cotton. Since it's hot here in Newport - just like every other area of this country - the clothes of choice are shorts and t-shirts. Very casual dining here at the Viking.
The addition of a 12th game to the schedule starting this season doesn't seem to be bothering anybody. In fact, the coaches and players seem to be in favor or it. After all, if they love what they're doing, why wouldn't they be in favorite of adding another game? It gives players the opportunity to suit up for another game, while it gives coaches another gameday to prepare for and coach.
Best Coach: Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia
Rodriguez was extremely accommodating to everyone, answered all the questions asked of him in his West Viriginia accent, and didn't just give cliched coaching answers for everything. I wish Louisville coach Bobby Petrino could have followed Rodriguez's lead and opened up a little more.
West Virginia - to no one's surprise - was picked to finished first in the Big East by the media. The Moutaineers received 18 of 24 first place votes, coming off of their 11-1 season and Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia. The media thinks this is how the conference standings will look when it's all said and done.
1. West Virginia
5. South Florida
There's a buzz in the air here in Newport, Rhode Island at Big East media day about the growing strength of this conference, especially coming off of West Virginia's Sugar Bowl victory in January. "They represented our conference in a way that I think we all appreciated," Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson said about the Mountaineers. Rutgers head coach Greg Shiano chimed in adding, "I think our league is only going to get better."
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said that Mike Teel is their guy to replace Ryan Hart at quarterback. "Right now, Mike is our starting quarterback", Schiano said, adding that Teel had a very good spring and that Mike was a natural leader. Schiano also spoke about the Scarlet Knights' bowl trip last season, saying that it was one of the most memorable moments of his career.
Willie Williams - the talented, but disappointing linebacker from Miami who is looking to transfer - has surfaced here in Newport. Not in person, but in name. Sources here have said that Williams - who has looked at several Big East schools as a landing point - will not be given his release to Louisville, even though the Cardinals would love to have him. Apparently, Miami doesn't want to release Williams because they play Louisville Sept. 16 in Louisville, even though Williams would have to sit out this season because of transfer rules. Williams, according to published reports, looked into transferring to West Virginia, but coach Rich Rodriguez isn't exactly enticed with the possibility of bringing him on. It also may be a case where Miami is just looking to stick to the Big East, still apparently bitter over the whole legal proceedings regarding their departure to the ACC a few years ago.
The coaches are done with, heading out to conduct their television interviews in some the ballrooms here at the Viking. The Big East gives you only an hour to talk with all eight coaches. It should be more like two hours at the least. By the time you spend 10-15 mins at two tables, you're scrambling to even get a question or two to the other coaches. So that's my first gripe with the Big East over these past two days. Hopefully, it'll be my last.
Just got finished speaking with Louisville's Bobby Petrino and West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez. And Rodriguez was out defending the Big East big time: saying, "top to bottom, the Big East is better than people think," among other things about the league. Obviously he can say that in good confidence with his team picked to not only win the Big East over Louisville, but also compete for a national title.
Big East Media Day is off and running at the Hotel Viking, a beautiful place on Bellevue Ave. here in Newport. Plenty of media have gathered, ready to pepper questions at coaches and players about the upcoming season. If you have any specific questions you'd liked asked, let me know and I'll fire them away at the respective parties.
Not much news from the front nine. I'm with the Louisville SID, so hopefully I'll be able to coax some inside information from him on the back nine about the Cardinals. My group could have a chance to steal this scrambles event. Combining our handicaps with our score, we could pull out an upset, but a few more birdies would definitely go a long way. I'll check in after the round.
Well, we're up and running here with "The Red Zone" at Big East Media Day's golf outing in Newport, RI at the Newport National Golf Club and the girls here have been extremely accommodating with me setting up for a day of blogging. It's supposed to be a nice course and the girls in the clubhouse here are buzzing over a possible Doug Flutie sighting.