Archive for year 2011
The third-ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs concluded a perfect 2010 season by outlasting the fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the 97th Rose Bowl Game, 21-19.
Wisconsin had an opportunity to tie the score with 2 minutes remaining in the game, but a Scott Tolzien two-point conversion pass attempt was knocked down at the line of scrimmage by Frog linebacker Tank Carder. More >
Circle Sept 3 on your calendar for LSU at Oregon … A Duck win and it’s clear sailing to the national title game with only a Nov 12 road trip to Stanford blocking their path. No team in the Pac-12 South can match up with the Quackers in the inaugural conference championship. Conversely, a win by LSU means a lot, but they’ll still need to get past West Virginia on the road and then the SEC’s three A’s – Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas.
2011 Key Regular Season Showdowns By Conference …
SEC: LSU at Alabama, Nov 5 and South Carolina at Arkansas, Nov 5
Big Ten: Nebraska at Wisconsin, Oct 1 and Iowa at Nebraska, Nov 25
Pac-12: Arizona State at Oregon, Oct 15 and Oregon at Stanford, Nov 12
Big XII: Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, Sept 24 and Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Dec 3
ACC: Miami at Florida State, Nov 5 and North Carolina at Virginia Tech, Nov 17
Big East: Pitt at West Virginia, Nov 25
Independents: USC at Notre Dame, Oct 22; ND at Stanford, Nov 26; BYU at Texas, Sept 10; BYU at TCU, Oct 28
MWC: TCU at Boise State, Nov 12 and Boise State at San Diego State, Nov 19
WAC: Fresno State at Hawaii, Nov 19
CUSA: UCF at East Carolina, Nov 19 and Houston at Tulsa, Nov 26
MAC: Northern Illinois at Toledo, Nov 1 and Miami (Ohio) at Temple, Nov 9
Sun Belt: Troy at Florida International, Oct 25
Nothing is worse for a college football program than finding out the NCAA Infractions Committee wants to throw a little party on your campus. The next worst thing is losing your key players to academic ineligibility or some other bone-headed behavior. Here’s a collection of the top 8 scandalous issues that jolted the college football world during the 2011 off-season:
- Miami’s program got sucker punched by former Hurricane groupie-turned-convict Nevin Shapiro with a host of allegations that players and coaches accepted thousands of gifts from him over the past decade. Unlike the NCAA’s investigation in the Reggie Bush/USC case, most of Shapiro’s squeal is backed up by hard evidence. News sources are reporting that eight Miami players (including QB Jacory Harris and All-ACC LB Sean Spence) have been ruled ineligible for receiving improper benefits. When all is said and done, Miami could be hit by the stiffest penalties the NCAA has administered since the death sentence was applied to SMU back in 1987. You have to feel for new head coach Al Golden, who was not informed of the NCAA’s investigation when he was hired back in January.
- Oregon is under intense NCAA investigation for paying Will Lyles – a one-man recruiting (read: middleman) service known as Complete Scouting Services – $25,000 for recruit information (read: access and influence with recruits). Two of the most prized recruits that Lyles influenced, Texas high school running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk, signed with Oregon. (Seastrunk has recently been granted an unconditional release from the program and is now on the Baylor roster). When asked for proof of what the Ducks paid more than four times the going rate in recruit info, they produced outdated profiles of 140 recruits from 2009. The smoking gun is Lyles’ admission that his recruiting information was a sham and that Oregon was paying for his influence with the recruits they wanted to sign. Don’t expect Chip Kelly to survive this one after the smoke has cleared.
- Ohio State can thank Shapiro and Lyles for knocking their investigation down a couple notches in relative importance … In reality, the charges against the Buckeyes are a far cry from what the NCAA will find when they run the Miami and Oregon stains through the wash. At least they better hope so. Six players, including Terrelle Pryor, who recently signed with the Oakland Raiders after the NFL’s supplemental draft, received impermissible benefits (for trading their bowl game and other team memorabilia for tattoos). It remains to be seen how the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will rule on the Buckeye program after Ohio State offered to serve two years probation and vacate all of their 2010 wins. The killer violation was unethical conduct by Jim Tressel for attempting to cover up the player infractions, and it cost him his job. That’s what hurts the university more than anything – at least in the short term.
- Boise State was investigated for providing inappropriate benefits to recruits in football and other sports and placed its athletic program on a voluntary three-year probation. The NCAA has yet to rule if other penalties will be imposed. This led to the recent termination of A.D. Gene Bleymaier, the man behind the wacko 1986 marketing
idea to install the unsightly “smurf blue“ “turf in BSU’s football stadium. But what really galls Bronco fans is the revelation that the university agreed to prohibit the football team from wearing their traditional all-blue uniforms for all home conference games in order to join the Mountain West Conference.
- Auburn is still under the NCAA investigation regarding Cam Newton that commenced last fall. According to Danny Sheridan of USA Today, investigators think they have located a “bag man” who acted as a third party to funnel up to $200,000 to Cecil Newton and his church in return for Cam suiting up as a Tiger. Now, the interesting twist is that it appears Auburn didn’t have any idea money was changing hands because the payment was layered from the financier through an alleged third party. The hurdle the NCAA faces is getting anyone to talk. Both Cecil and Cam have refused to talk with NCAA investigators.
- North Carolina was a legitimate ACC title contender last year when North Carolina self-reported widespread academic fraud involving several key starters. A wave of suspensions gutted the Tar Heel depth chart and the result was a lackluster 7-5 regular season finish. Earlier this year, a second wave of allegations rocked the program; this time it was about players receiving free jewelry and free trips to Miami. The dust has yet to settle with an ongoing NCAA probe, but highly touted head coach Butch Davis has already been canned.
- LSU … As if Les Miles’ didn’t have enough to worry about while trying to prep his team for its September 3rd showdown vs. Oregon’s turbo-charged Quack Attack, arrest warrants were issued for starting QB Jordan Jefferson and linebacker Josh Johns after they participated in a barroom brawl last week. Witnesses claim Jefferson kicked one of the victims in the face. With search warrant in hand, Baton Rouge police confiscated 49 pairs of athletic shoes from Jefferson’s apartment, as well as taking a DNA sample from the QB’s mouth. Jefferson and Johns were both suspended by Miles, pending the results of the felony investigation.
- Oregon. Again? Yep. Starting quarterback Darron Thomas claims he was asleep in a car driven by teammate Cliff Harris earlier this summer when Harris was pulled over by law enforcement for driving 118 mph on Interstate 5 near Albany, Oregon on June 12. Hold on, there’s more to this story scandal. It turns out Harris was driving on a suspended license and the vehicle he was driving was a rental car provided by a school employee. On top of that, the arresting officer claimed he smelled marijuana in the car, but Thomas denies he was smoking anything. Right. Last year, Thomas was in the car driven by Jeremiah Masoli when the former Duck QB was pulled over for a traffic violation and marijuana was found in his car. But wait – there’s more! Thomas was also a passenger in a vehicle driven by linebacker Eddie Pleasant in 2008 when Pleasant crashed while street racing in Springfield, Oregon.
Much has been written about BYU’s bold move into the realm of college football independence since last summer when the university announced it was leaving the Mountain West Conference. At first, most pundits thought it was a suicidal move for the Cougars, but as A.D. Tom Holmoe methodically cobbled together the program’s first indy season schedule with the help of broadcast partner ESPN, perceptions slowly began to change.
It’s a much stronger schedule than what they’d face if they were still in the MWC.
BYU’s 2011 schedule starts impressively – on the road at Mississippi and Texas, then back home for Utah, Central Florida and Utah State. Three additional tough road games are tossed into the mix with Oregon State, TCU and Hawaii. Technically, the TCU game is considered to be at a neutral site – Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Fort Worth. This game is minutes from the Horned Frog campus and it’s considered a neutral site? Right.
The rest of the Cougar schedule features Idaho, Idaho State, New Mexico State, and San Jose State, giving the team eight solid games and four that provide a little breathing room during the back stretch of the season. We don’t consider Utah State a breather because it’s a rivalry game, even though BYU has owned the Aggies for decades (27-8 record since
1970). Every team gets up for playing BYU and Bronco Mendenhall can’t afford to let his squad take any opponent lightly.
H.B. Arnett of Cougar Sportsline (a subscription newsletter for BYU sports fans) is so high on this year’s Cougar football team that he’s predicting a BCS berth.
Quote: “… this is the year that BYU breaks into a BCS bowl. I’m not stupid. I know that means an undefeated season for the Cougars. That’s how stupid good this BYU team can be.”
We’d be inclined to agree with Arnett if Brigham Young’s new OC Brandon Doman already had a year of calling plays and total interaction with the offensive players and coaches under his belt. There is a lot of talent on this team and they appear to be unified and excited to take on the world as an independent.
New coaches Ben Cahoon (receivers) and Joe DuPaix (running backs) complement the move assistant head coach Lance Reynolds made to shore up a nationally touted (out of high school) group of tight ends in Austin Holt, Richard Wilson and Devin Mahina. (Note: Mahina is now out for the season with a fractured neck).
Cahoon has senior McKay Jacobson, soph Cody Hoffman, and redshirt freshman Ross Apo headlining a solid group of receivers, while DuPaix has senior sparkplug J.J. DiLuigi, second year bruiser “Juice” Quezeda, and senior Bryan Kariya to handle the rock out of the backfield.
Mark Weber’s offensive line is as solid as it’s ever been with Outland Trophy candidate Matt Reynolds holding down left tackle, and Braden Brown, Braden Hansen, Houston Reynolds, Terence Brown, and Ryker Matthews manning other ports
of call at the scrimmage line. They’ll protect soph signal caller Jake Heaps who is poised for a big year, and solid backup QB James Lark. Dual threat southpaw QB Riley Nelson will be utilized in the Cougar offense, but not as Heaps’ backup, should that need present itself.
Defensively, the linebacker corps is experienced, swift, and highly underrated with three NFL-quality studs in Uona Kaveinga, Jordan Pendleton and Kyle Van Noy. Barring injuries, they’ll be considered one of the top units in the nation by the end of this season.
The defensive line depth looks solid, especially now that senior DE Matt Putnam has been cleared academically to rejoin the team. The addition of Putnam’s experience and wingspan, not to mention the psychological lift of returning to his teammates, cannot be overlooked. It should take him a few weeks to get up to speed with the line platoon of Romney Fuga, Travis Tuiloma, Graham Rowley, Eathyn Manumaleuna, and USC transfer Hebron Fangupo.
The defensive backfield finally has solid with Daniel Sorenson, Travis Uale and Mike Hague handling safety duties and Corby Eason, Preston Hadley, Joe Sampson, and DeQuan Everett handling the corners. This group just needs some real game-time experience and you’ll see them gel nicely as a unit.
Prediction: 10-2 regular season, Armed Forces Bowl win, Top 15 ranking
BYU has a new OC and defensive backfield to break in. Look for them to lose close games on the road to Ole Miss and Texas the first two weeks of September and then rattle off 10 straight wins. Although they’ll be deserving of a Tier 2 bowl bid by season’s end, without the strength of a major conference affiliation they’ll be stuck playing in a Tier 4 bowl game.
Most of the match-ups this week are pretty clearcut. I’m going out on a limb and picking Maryland at home over a demoralized Miami squad. I’m also breaking from the crowd and picking Army to upset Northern Illinois in DeKalb. If Dan Persa was healthy enough to play at full speed – he is doubtful this week – I would pick Northwestern over Boston College and their thin secondary without any hesitation. As it is, I am doubting my decision to call for a Wildcat win.
|Todd Erickson College Gridiron 365.com||Gerry Ahern Yahoo College Sports||Tom Dienhart Rivals.com
|Mike Huguenin Rivals.com|
|2010 Regular Season||188-82||186-84||189-81||182-88|
|TCU at Baylor||TCU||TCU||TCU||TCU|
|Miami (OH) at Missouri||Missouri||Missouri||Missouri||Missouri|
|Northwesternat Boston College||Northwestern||Boston College||Boston College||Boston College|
|Minnesota at USC||USC||USC||USC||USC|
|UCLA at Houston||Houston||Houston||Houston||Houston|
|W. Michigan at Michigan||Michigan||Michigan||Michigan||Michigan|
|So. Florida at Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|BYU at Mississippi||Mississippi||Mississippi||Mississippi||Mississippi|
|Fresno State at California||Cal||Cal||Cal||Cal|
|Colorado at Hawaii||Hawaii||Hawaii||Hawaii||Colorado|
|Army at No. Illinois||Army||NIU||NIU||NIU|
|Tulsa at Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|East Carolina at S. Carolina||So. Carolina||So. Carolina||So. Carolina||So. Carolina|
|Oregon at LSU||Oregon||Oregon||LSU||LSU|
|Rice at Texas||Texas||Texas||Texas||Texas|
|Boise State at Georgia||Boise State||Georgia||Georgia||Boise State|
|Louisiana Tech at So. Miss||So. Miss||So. Miss||So. Miss||So. Miss|
|Marshall at West Virginia||WVU||WVU||WVU||WVU|
|SMU at Texas A&M||TAMU||TAMU||TAMU||TAMU|
|Miami at Maryland||Maryland||Miami||Miami||Maryland|
Top 5 Quirkiest Match-ups This Season:
BYU at Mississippi
Why? Bronco Mendenhall told CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy this summer that the current corruption in college football “absolutely” can be attributed to the huge amount of money made by coaches, especially the SEC, where 10 of 12 earn more than $2 million a year.
Oregon vs LSU
Why? Both Les Miles and Chip Kelly paid Texas based recruiting consultant (read: middleman) Will Lyle for recruiting information. Miles paid just over $5 grand for a report Lyle generated. Kelly paid $25 grand for similar information, and ended up signing a couple blue chip Texas high school athletes that Lyle claims he influenced. Kelly also bought himself a sweet NCAA investigation in the deal.
SMU at Texas A&M
Why? The Aggies are leaving the Big 12 and the Mustangs are begging the conference to let them take A&M’s place.
San Diego State at Michigan
Why? Brady Hokes left the Aztecs at the end of last season and now they’re coming to haunt him in Michigan Stadium.
UCLA at Utah
Why? Former UCLA and BYU offensive coordinator Norm Chow hosts his former employer in Salt Lake City.
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Is this Tailgate Heaven?
Well, it just might be if you hear this traditional Rebel Yell:
ARE YOU READY?
Hell yes! Damn Right!
Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty!
Who the hell are we? Hey!
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
OLE MISS, BY DAMN!
This is what Ole Miss fans enjoy every home game and BYU fans are about to experience this Saturday …
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Bruce Feldman Leaves ESPN for CBS Sports
“Swing Your Sword” by Mike Leach and former ESPN college football columnist Bruce Feldman is a great read, thanks to Leach’s offbeat stories and Feldman’s skillful writing.
Feldman was suspended by ESPN for taking part in the book – after they approved his involvement! Now, he’s with CBS College Sports, writing and commenting on camera. Get the scoop on ESPN’s behind-the-scenes manipulations regarding the Leach lawsuit and book.
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Why Didn’t Texas A&M Start Their Own TV Network?
I don’t know about you, but I’m scratching my head and wondering, “Why didn’t Texas A&M just start their own TV network like Texas did? Why does it seem they like they’re having a meltdown in the sandbox and don’t want to play with the neighborhood kids anymore?”
This article claims Texas invited the Aggies to join them in creating a TV network several years ago and A&M rejected the idea. By the time they changed their minds, Texas had determined they could make it work on their own.
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