Don't overlook the NCAA's ruling that LSU DE Kirston Pittman can return for a sixth year of eligibility. For all the publicity and double teams that Glenn Dorsey received last season - which he rightfully deserved - because he was able to stay healthy Pittman created the most havoc for opposing offensive lines over the course of the Tigers 14 games last year and now he will anchor the LSU defense next season.
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.
Bowl season gets underway tonight so get ready for 32 games, nearly all of them meaningless and many of them unappealing, as college football continues to reward teams for mediocre seasons. But with that in mind, Navy and Utah present our first matchup of the postseason in the Poinsettia Bowl. So prepare yourself for the last helping of the triple-option until next September.
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.
Saturday will mark the 108th time that Army and Navy have faced off on the football field and Navy coach Paul Johnson is quite cognizant of the fact his Midshipmen have a chance to do something that has never been done in the long and storied history of the "greatest rivalry in all of sports."
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.
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 last time Navy beat Notre Dame was 1963. But with the Irish down on their luck, and seemingly at its lowest point in recent memory, could this be the year the Midshipmen put an end to its NCAA-record losing streak against Notre Dame?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps the biggest race in college football these days doesn't involve a fight for a division title, a battle for some recruit or sprint to raise more funds. The biggest race may very well be the race between cities bidding to host future ACC Championship Games and it seems like a new entrant is emerging every week.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Everyone knows that Tom Zbikowski isn't just one of the more athletic safeties and dangerous return man in the nation. He's also a pretty good boxer having already fought professionally and won. But what people may not know about Zbikowski is just how generous the Irish senior is.
To see Jeff Samardzija go the route of professional baseball - over professional football - shouldn’t have come as a total shock. For the sake of health and money, he made a smart, smart decision to go with a career in baseballl. The Cubs signed the former Notre Dame wide receiver for $10 millions over 5 seasons Friday, putting an end to his football career that was destine for the NFL.
NEW ORLEANS - It was a decidedly pro-LSU crowd in the Superdome. Even before kickoff, the Tigers fans were deafening with their chants and boos, especially when the Irish came onto the field to warmup. Entire sections of the stadium were filled with purple and yellow with some spare Notre Dame. The Superdome was packed to capacity with an announced crowd of 77, 781, the fourth largest crowd for the Sugar Bowl since 1984.
Throwing for 3,278 yards and 35 touchdowns on a 10-2 Notre Dame team was good enough for a third place finish for Irish QB Brady Quinn in the Heisman Trophy voting. While we all knew it was a foregone conclusion that Ohio State QB Troy Smith was going to win the award Saturday, learning the final statistical breakdown of the voting - that revealed Quinn's finish - provided the most intrigue and suspense on the night.
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.
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.
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.
Temple got its first win of the season, and its first win in a long, long time, against Bowling Green. Congratulations to Al Golden. First time since Nov. 2004 that the Owls won a game. So how bad does that make Bowling Green? The Falcons losing to Temple: Urban Meyer must be ashamed.
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.
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. . .
Just when we thought the Irish were dead, they came back to life. Golden boy Brady Quinn resurrected what looked to be a dead Irish team with less than two minutes to go. That was Heisman material stuff from Quinn, leading that 80-yard drive and connecting with Jeff Samardizja for the winning TD. Voters are going to remember that. It wasn’t a great day for the receivers, but in the end, they came through when needed and Quinn’s main man, Samardizja, is about as reliable and dependable as it gets. Who wouldn’t want to have Samardizja on their team? No one.
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.
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.
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.
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.