While a good number of teams settle into conference play around the country, we still have a few marquee non-conference games that will grab everyone's attention. As for the game of the week? Pick your poison. Right now, nothing really jumps out at you. There are some very good, and very important games, but there isn't one that rises above the rest. Maybe that changes if the season's first four weeks play out differently than we expect.
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.
Forty-three days ago, on National Signing Day, Terrelle Pryor sat before a contingent of media in his high school gym in Jeannette, Pa. and told them he needed more time to decide where he'd play next fall.
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?
Oklahoma is in the middle of spring practice right now, but the 2008 season will be put on the backburner for Tuesday as the Sooners host their pro day for all prospective NFL Draft selections to make on final impression on scouts.
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.
Rich Rodriguez went on the record Tuesday saying he doesn't expect Mario Mannigham and Adrian Arrington to return to campus. But the bigger news from Ann Arbor, and Rodriguez's mouth, was the other name the new Michigan coach does not expect to stick around campus.
Few, if any, would have picked Ohio State to be playing for the BCS Championship after losing so much talent from last year's national runner-up squad. But lo and behold the Buckeyes, thanks to some good fortune, find themselves playing in their third BCS Championship Game in six years. And with the memory of their drubbing at the hands of Florida still fresh on so many minds, Ohio State faces an SEC team with speed, power and strength - just like the Gators. So with that in mind how does Ohio State matchup with LSU and will the Buckeyes prove their many doubters wrong this time out?
Illinois has been in this situation before. Big underdog, in an environment that's going to be anything but friendly, against one the best defenses in the nation. And the last time Illinois found itself in a game like Tuesday's Rose Bowl they did the unthinkable.
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.
Les Miles is a gambling man and he proved that this year by having his Tigers go for it on fourth down 15 times, almost always with the game hanging in the balance. So where did he get the impetus to go for it so often? Maybe it was high school.
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.
Just when you think the "Les Miles to Michigan" talk is a thing of the past the LSU coach issues a statement Tuesday declaring that the rumors about supposed conversations with his alma mater are nothing to get all hot and bothered about.
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.
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.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Michigan tackle Jake Long is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's top interior lineman. But what might catch some by surprise is that Long, if he wins the award over LSU DT Glenn Dorsey and Kansas tackle Anthony Collins, would be the first Wolverine to take home the Outland in the program's illustrious history.
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.
The expectations for Todd Boeckman weren't particularly high heading into the season, especially since he was tabbed to replace the Heisman Trophy winner. And while he's not going to make any Buckeyes fan forget Troy Smith anytime soon, Boeckman has surprised many with his steady, and at times spectacular, play that has Ohio State atop the polls and the BCS rankings.
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.
Another week, another set of upsets. And we had more than a few in the Top 10 again. We saw No. 6 South Carolina lose, along with No. 10 Cal and No. 8 Kentucky Saturday. But in all actuality, we only had two upsets because Kentucky's loss was not an upset.
If you're not running the spread these days, you're as old school as "Blue." But just because it's become the in vogue scheme doesn't mean it's necessarily here to stay, if you ask one of the coaches whose success has been so closely tied to the offense.
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.
Urban Meyer remembers his first loss as Florida head coach quite well. It happened two years ago to the same team his Gators face Saturday - LSU - and it was game that left Meyer humbled unlike any before.
The rules change that saw the NCAA move back kickoffs from the 35 yard line to the 30 hasn't had the drastic effect everyone predicted it might so far this fall. And if you ask one of the rule's most ardent opponents, he'll tell you another rules change has had a much bigger impact.
Forget JoePa. Just call him GQ Joe from now on. The Penn State coach, all 80-years old of him, was featured in the latest issue of GQ that hit newsstands this week as the magazine marks its 50th anniversary.
Everyone knows that Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were punished over the now notorious Spygate incident that transpired during Week 1 of the NFL season. But could something like that heppen in the college game?
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.
Swagger is something that's been missing from the Washington sidelines for some years now as the once mighty Huskies have fallen on hard times. But the tide seems to be turning in Ty Willingham's third season in Seattle with the Huskies off to a 2-0 start.
Michigan's 0-2. So is Notre Dame. The good news is one will come away with its first victory Saturday when the two rivals meet in Ann Arbor. And the even better news for Lloyd Carr and his beleaguered Wolverines defense is that they'll face a team whose offense is as woefully inept as it gets.
Oklahoma and Miami haven't played each other in 20 years, but that all changes Saturday when two of the top programs in college football, who just happen to be in very different positions this season, meet in Norman.
The talk of the college football world continues to be Appalachian State after the Mountaineers pulled off the shocking, and historic, upset of Michigan last Saturday. But it didn't come as a complete surprise to Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer.
Three days removed from arguably the greatest upset in college football history, and without a doubt the most embarrassing loss in program history, Michigan is still licking its wounds with Lloyd Carr more than slightly concerned about the Wolverines ability to stop an Oregon team that some would say is a vastly more talented Appalachian State this weekend.
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.
The Atlanta Sports Council has broached the idea of having Duke play its game against Alabama in 2010 in the Georgia Dome. The experience of playing in an NFL stadium is one thing, but why would the Blue Devils even think about losing a home game against the Crimson Tide when they need all the support they can get?
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Not everyone lives up to the kind of hype that surrounded Arrelious Benn coming out of high school, but the early enrollee at Illinois seems to be doing so 13 practices into his Illini career.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State's offense figures to get the majority of the attention as spring practice winds down and the summer brings training camp. But quarterback Brian Hoyer really likes what he's seen out of the defense in April.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Chad Henne is firmly entrenched as the Wolverines quarterback for next season as he enters his senior campaign. But a lot of the talk following the end of Michigan's 15th and final practice of the spring revolved around his backup.
A few reports in recent days indicate that the Big Ten may be looking to possibly push their season back a week or two in response to Michigan and Ohio State's relative no-shows in their respective bowl games. Both teams had a boatload of time off between their annual regular season-ending matchup and their bowl games and, apparently, conference officials think it really hurt the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
The Red Zone is coming live from the CSTV Green Room at Chelsea Piers where we're taking in the game with Crystal Ball's Brian Curtis, Brian Jones and Trev Alberts. Already the comments are flying left and right and talk has veered from football to politics with pot shots at John McCain.
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.
All tied at the half between Tennessee and Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Anthony Morelli is throwing the ball a lot and that’s always fun to see. And how about that stiff arm from Tennessee’s LaMarcus Coker on that touchdown run?
For Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley, his choice of colleges came down to two. It was either head to Los Angeles and play for USC, or stay considerably closer to his native Saginaw, Mich. and head to Ann Arbor and become a Wolverine.
As far as suspense goes, this year’s Heisman Trophy race has been about as dull as a butter knife. The quarterback of the No. 1 team in the nation, who performed his best in the biggest games, is on the verge of collecting one of the most prestigious individual honors in all of sports. We've basically seen this coming since September.
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.
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.
Well, first half impressions? Looks as if the better team is rising to the top. Troy Smith is 30 minutes away from locking up the Heisman Trophy and the Buckeyes are on their way to a win if things continue as is.
So Michigan and Ohio State got their scares today against two unlikely opponents. I guess what we saw was a case of Michigan and Ohio State simply overlooking their opponents. Troy Smith didn’t have a huge day and the Wolverines basically won thanks to their defense making the late stop that it did.
Just when you thought it would be JaMarcus Russell who would cost the Tigers their game against Tennessee (and he nearly did), the enigmatic QB was the catalyst for LSU’s 4th quarter comeback and its big road win over the Vols.
Wisconsin has basically assured itself of a third place finish in the Big Ten with its win over Penn State today as the Badgers quietly continue to have a very successful season that no one is paying attention to. They got it done, thanks to P.J. Hill who ran for 148 yards and toughing it out after not playing much last weekend against Illinois.
Michigan has been sans their deep threat wide out since Mario Manningham injured his knee against Michigan State and underwent arthroscopic surgery. And after watching the Wolverines without him, there’s no doubt that Michigan’s offense has suffered.
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.
Jim Tressel could well be on his way to winning his second national championship in his six years at Ohio State. But the success of Tressel with the Buckeyes and the subsequent continued disaster that is the Cleveland Browns has caused speculation to reign that the next head coach of the Browns could come from Columbus. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported earlier this week that if Browns coach Romeo Crennel were to be fired at the end of the season, Tressel could be a leading candidate to take over the job.
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. . .
How do you get a roughing the passer penalty on the last play of the game? Stupid play on Brian Orakpo’s part. The Longhorns are just fortunate that it didn’t lead to disaster, but they escape - big time - with a win in Lincoln.
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.
Can we officially say that Auburn has been exposed? Florida is doing a number on the Tigers defense, running through Auburn because the Tigers have missed tackle after tackle. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says his defense is confused. I guess it thinks its good or something.
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.
JaMarcus Russell is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country right now after his performance against Mississippi State last week. And heading into LSU’s critical matchup against Florida, Russell figures to be the key to the Tigers ultimate success. But the question on many people’s minds is whether the junior can get the job done?
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.
Talk about dodging a bullet. Georgia barely beats Colorado. Colorado, the worst team in the Big 12. Colorado, the team that dropped its opener to Montana State. This from one of the country's best defensive teams, but it certainly wasn't their fault.
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.
There are plenty of intriguing matchups in Saturday’s Notre Dame-Michigan game. Can Brady Quinn stand tall against the Michigan defensive line and better counterpart Chad Henne? Can CB Leon Hall keep in check WRs Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnights? Between Charlie Weis and Lloyd Carr, whose calls will be the right ones.
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.
Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny signs his autograph for a fan at the Big Ten's annual kickoff in Chicago. The senior was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by the media after winning both the Bednarik and Butkus Awards last season.
Bucky Badger, the mascot of the Wisconsin Badgers, showed up at the Big Ten autograph session on Wednesday in Chicago. Team mascots were present for this event, which gave fans the opportunity to get autographs and pictures with players and coaches.
The Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon is now underway. The autograph session and group photo session ended a short while ago before a sellout crowd of fans who have shown up today to attend the Big Ten's kickoff festivities.
With a new quarterback stepping into the mix this year, the Penn State players attending today's media day seem to be confident in their new starting QB Anthony Morelli and have recognized his talents.
The second and final day of the Big Ten Media Days has kicked off from the Hyatt here in the Windy City. Players and coaches will be speaking to the media this morning. That will be followed up by an autograph session where the fans attending today's luncheon will be able to get autographs from both coaches and players. After that, the coaches and players gather for group photos. Then, the two-day event will conclude with the Big Ten's 35th annual kickoff luncheon.
New Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has a huge task in front of him trying to replace Barry Alvarez, but when asked about the challenge and if age is at all a factor, the 36-year-old coach seemed to be very confident and up to the challenge, as Bielema is hoping to bring his youthful energy to the Badgers.
All media professionals here at Big Ten Media Day are supplied with a nice blue bag that is labeled with the Big Ten name on it. In this bag are the media guides for all 11 schools. As you can probably imagine, I'm getting quite the workout today lugging this thing around.
Big Ten Media Day is currently rolling from the Hyatt here in Chicago. Five coaches have spoken so far and there are six more to go, as well as Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. Stay tuned to "The Red Zone" for coverage of the day's events.