Saturday, August 27, 2005ESPN Classic :(
Instead there's around 40 hours of boxing on this weekend...I love boxing, don't get me wrong...But c'mon. And it's all Ali or Mike Tyson too.
So I check through the week and on Thursday there are a couple of FSU-Florida games (tip of the hat to Spurrier) and what about Tailgate Friday? Nothing schedule.
Hopefully with the departure of Mark Shapiro, ESPN Classic will start to revert back to its great programming, but this is VERY disappointing.
Friday, August 26, 2005Leinart Gets on the Floor...
I know a lot of people will criticize the quarterback for this, but I'm not. He's done all the necessary work to put himself in a position to have an easy semester and graduate before going to the NFL. This isn't like the Andy Katzenmoyer situation where he was taking golf and music to be eligible for his SOPHOMORE year.
Leinart is a fifth-year senior who was smart enough to plan his final semester so where he could follow NCAA guidelines and spend more time studying for his next career which will be professional sports.
And maybe he'll be invited on the second season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars".
Blogpoll Discussion #6 (??)
What criteria do you use to determine if a team and its players are good?
I tend to focus on talent, coaching scheme and their schedule. Talent is simple, the best teams have the best players. Case in point is USC. Believe me, Pete Carroll is a very good defensive coordinator and a decent head coach but he's nothing without this amazing surplus of talent he's got going through that swinging door in Los Angeles. He'll tell you himself it's not about the X's and O's but the Rexes and Beaus. Coaching scheme for me is simple: Does the team consistently play to their strengthes on both sides of the ball? Can they make adjustments on the fly and expose a team's weakness? Are the players mentally tough enough to execute everything out there? And schedule, I don't mean an easy schedule or a hard schedule, but when I look at a schedule do I immediately see three losses or do I think "if anyone can handle this treacherous road schedule, these guys can."
If you could choose one coach to build an offensive system for your school, who would it be? Conversly, who would you choose to devise the defense? Why?
I would take the offense installed at Iowa and the defense by Mickey Andrews at Florida State. I believe that dominance at the line of scrimmage conquers all and that's what the Hawkeyes do. It's a west coast system based on strong power running. I like USC's offense too and the way they would pound teams with LenDale White and plan big plays around White's running. On defense I want an aggressive scheme, I want a balls-to-the-wall approach on rushing the passer and blitzing. Andrews has a great high-risk/high-reward scheme. He loves to pin his ears back and send the defensive line straight ahead.
Describe your typical college fotoball Saturday.
My day could involve covering a game so I have to make alternate plans weekly. But in a perfect world I'd get up around 9 a.m. EST, have some fiber cereal and hit the track for about 45 minutes. I'd get back home to watch Gameday and I'd fire up the old computer and the coastal betting site and start checking lines and doing research. Usually at this point my friends are online and the amount of IMs and emails with betting information that's coming through is pretty high. Usually I'll try to flip through the 4-5 games I can get at noon and look on Sportsline to keep track of my bets. If there's a particular game I need to keep track of and its not on TV, I'll try to listen to it online if that's available.
Florida State usually plays at 3:30 and usually I'll take myself and my laptop downtown to one of the watering holes and continue to follow the games and my action there (thank god for wireless internet). Before I leave the house I might throw a couple games on the DVR that I won't get a chance to watch while FSU is playing. Hopefully the Noles won and I'm ahead on my bets. I'll come back home around 7 and make a little food in preparation for the night game and...more betting. On a good Saturday, FSN or TBS will have a nice 10:30 Pac-10 game to watch but if not I'll watch the games on DVR I missed earlier. Hopefully I'll cap the night off with a bottle of cider and ESPN's wrap-up show.
Thursday, August 25, 2005And Going the Opposite Way..
Sept. 3 – Miami (10-1, 7-1 in ACC) – Offense: The Cane offense is long on great prospects, but short on proven production. Unlike last year when the attack relied on experience over potential, players like QB Kyle Wright, RB Tyrone Moss and WR Lance Leggett have more excitement around them and have more NFL potential.
And don't forget Ryan Moore in this mix as well. This offense should be a little more explosive than the last two years under Brock Berlin as long as Wright comes around. Leggett is especially explosive at receiver, but the player that concerns me is little-known tailback Derron Thomas. He's worked his way up to #2 on the depth chart and this kid is a gamebreaker. A small back that runs under a 4.4, he's going to make plays on someone.
Moss and Leggett have given a glimpse of what they can do, but Wright, or Kirby Freeman, has to show the maturity and poise to handle one of college football's most glamorous and highly scrutinized positions. The offensive line will be more than solid, but it needs Eric Winston and Tyler McMeans to return to pre-injury form.
Miami's offensive line should be top 3 in the nation. And that's a concern because FSU's defensive line is returning one starter. The winner of this game is traditionally the team that runs the ball better. As good as I feel about FSU's running game and the new offensive line coach, Miami's core is still better.
Defense: This will be one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best. The only concern is with a run defense that was surprisingly soft last year allowing 155 yards per game. If that's tightened up, this will be a killer with 11 players returning who started six or more games last year.
Some say it was injuries, but that's hogwash, the fact is Miami got punked last year at North Carolina because they underestimated them and they never recovered. The offense started going into the tank and teams figured out how to run on the defense and take Antrel Rolle out of the game. Will they be better against the run this year? I don't know. The front four is stout but the back seven had some holes last season, experienced or not.
That doesn't include superstar Devin Hester taking over the full-time job at one of the corners. The linebacking corps has the potential to be one of Miami's best ever.
Can you say hyperbole? I thought you could. Linebacking corps the best ever? No. It's not better than the Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams and Darrell McClover group. No it's not better than the Bermuda Triangle of Jesse Armstead, Darrin Smith and Micheal Barrow. No it doesn't have the potential to be better. Say Miami's linebacking corps could be very talented and leave it at that. No need for this "best ever" crap. Not even close. Leon Williams might be the worst Miami linebacker against the run since their days under NCAA sanctions.
As for Devin Hester at cornerback? When it comes to him fielding punts, I'm scared. When it comes to him covering receivers, I'm happy.
CFN Scans FSU-Miami...
So they are breaking down schedules for each team and naturally I'm interested in what they have to say about Florida State-Miami. So I check Miami's schedule and here's there skinny on the Noles [Link]
Sept. 5 – at Florida State (projected finish 8-3, 6-2 in ACC) – Offense: Is this the weakest Florida State offense in since 1981? The starting quarterback situation is a potential mess with Xavier Lee not looking ready for primetime this spring, Wyatt Sexton suspended and Drew Weatherford hurt.
They probably should've updated this since it's all but certain that Weatherford will start and Lee, thanks to being forced to do the majority of the QB/receiver work alone this summer, has a dead arm. It's hard to say if either QB will be ready until the ball snaps. However, with the running backs and young receivers I doubt this will be FSU's weakest offense since 1981. BTW, I have no clue how weak FSU's offense was in 1981 or if they were just pulling a number out of their ass. Greg Allen was on the team in 1981 and they defeated Ohio State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh on the road that year.
The best receivers are true freshmen, and the line doesn't appear to be anything special. What the Noles do have are two fantastic running backs with Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker needing to carry the offense until Lee gets his feet wet.
Actually the best receiver in the offseason is a sophomore (De'cody Fagg) and the best receiver right now is Willie Reid, who happens to be a senior. Now don't get me wrong, the young receivers might be the best to ever come through Tallahassee. As for the line, it should be a lot better with a new coach and a new zone blocking scheme. Yes the FSU coaches are finally joining the 21st century and using zone blocking.
Talent-wise, there's enough here to be explosive after fighting through a ton of growing pains, but the jury is out on whether or not Jeff Bowden is enough of a top-shelf offensive coordinator to be able to lead the attack to a better season after finishing 61st in the nation in total offense.
Well this is better. Jeff Bowden is still in a situation where he should have to prove his worth as an offensive coordinator. Of course if his last name is still 'Bowden', he's not going anywhere so it's not as if his job is on the line.
Defense: The linebacking corps is among the best in America and safety Pat Watkins is a first round draft pick, but the rest of the defense is a major question mark after finishing seventh in the nation and fourth in scoring defense. The loss of rising star NG Clifton Dickson to academic problems and CB Antonio Cromartie to a knee injury is a huge hit for the rest of the D. The secondary will turn out to be fine if the star recruits of last year can quickly progress.
I can't argue with much here. The linebackers are the best in the nation (yes they are better than Ohio State's and Phil Steele agrees) and pat Watkins is a constant in the secondary. Losing Cromartie hurts worst than losing Dickson, but it's really all relevant because they were the two best defensive players on the team.
The good news is FSU has a ton of talent, the bad news is they are short on experience. The secondary features two first-year starters at corner and a big inconsistent question mark at rover. Kyler Hall is a great leader and teammate, but he's not good at defending the pass. As for the secondary, Gerard Ross was regularly burned last season so I expect to see hotshot freshman Trevor Ford sooner than later.
Overall CFN didn't do a bad job on this short writeup. Let's check out their full preview next week.
Harris Poll Loses Four...
Yeah, this is going to work.
My Heisman Preview...
The graphics didn't show up on the online adaptation of the page (which was designed beautifully), so my top five is Leinart, Bush, Reggie McNeal, Laurence Maroney and Adrian Peterson in that order.
Don't Sleep on McPherson
Despite the fact that he did not play last weekend, and despite speculation to the contrary, the Saints are not going to be releasing fifth-round pick Adrian McPherson, whom the franchise thinks could be their quarterback of the future. He has a roster spot locked up. McPherson has looked lost this summer, even lining up behind guard on one snap. But his talents are too incredible to ignore. He's got a rocket arm, and has worked very hard, showing up at the Saints training facility most every day before training camp to study film.
The Saints quarterback in trouble is Kliff Kingsbury, who spent parts of the past two seasons with the New England Patriots. Kingsbury is practice-squad eligible, and the Saints would like to bring him back there. He's talented -- just not as talented as McPherson or No. 2 quarterback, Todd Bouman.
Ha! So take that R.D. :)
Drink Milk: 6 games/Use Steroids: 10 Days
A batboy who accepted a dare Sunday by trying to drink a gallon of milk without throwing up has been suspended by the Marlins for his actions.
The unidentified batboy will not be allowed to work the upcoming, six-game homestand at Dolphins Stadium against the Cardinals and Mets from Aug. 29 through Sept. 4.
It's a double whammy too, because the kid didn't win the dare, which would've given him a cool $500. Personally I wonder if the Marlins were more upset that the batboy was socializing with former Marlin Brad Penny, who orchestrated the dare.
''It's ridiculous that they worry about stuff like that,'' Penny said. "It shows they [the Marlins organization] don't know anything about the game. That kind of stuff goes on everywhere. It didn't affect the way he worked, the way he did his job.''
I have to agree, anyone who's watched a dugout will see the visiting team often busting the batboy's chops in between innings or during a blowout. It's fun and it's got to be cool for the kids who take part in it.
Hopefully the Marlins will reconsider.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005Holtz's Statement on South Carolina/NCAA
"The major violation was when our strength coach conducted summer workouts as all other schools do and five athletes felt these workouts were not voluntary.
"In hindsight, I should have dismissed the players from the team and taken their scholarships away. Is this how the NCAA thinks you should handle the situation? This rule should be changed because the coach is in a no-win situation."
Spurrier Saves SC..
It's hard to make a guess why the NCAA decided to take it easy on the repeat offenders, but I believe the hiring of the ol' ball coach had something to do with it.
The full violations are:
1. - A three-year period of probation.
2. - A reduction from 56 to 50 expense-paid campus visits by recruits in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
3. - A loss of two scholarships a year for 2006-07 and 2007-08.
4. - Violations report sent to school's academic accrediting agency.
5. - A four-year show cause order on former South Carolina administrator Tom Perry.
Around the Horn...
As for Xavier Lee, he is suffering from a case of dead arm. It's bad luck for the kid as he was forced to do the majority of the QB work over the summer while Weatherford recovered from ankle surgery and while Wyatt Sexton was doing...whatever he was doing.
As it is both QBs will probably play against Miami unless Weatherford is just on fire. Bowden isn't going to buy into great practices anymore, he did that for four years. Lee will probably miss Friday's scrimmage as well, deciding to rest his arm until Monday and just get ready for the season.
Meanwhile for other related teams. The Gators depth chart on defense has taken a major hit as Dee Webb will miss the season-opener against perennial powerhouse Wyoming and top-flight linebackers Brandon Siler and Earl Everett are also missing time. [Sentinel]
Prop 48 slidee Reggie Nelson is also out. Meyer admits he's panicking, but he's hopeful that none of the above mentioned will toss a keg on someone's face with recooperating.
I would expect all four players to be in the pit, which is Meyer's little way of disciplining players who can't practice. The Pit is where the kids have chains wrapped around their necks and carry small boulders around...Very 19th century there. No word if the players also hum "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".
One of LSU's starting linebackers will miss 4-6 weeks [AP] and Tennessee finally gets around to retiring some numbers, most notably Peyton Manning and a posthumous retirement for Reggie White [AP].
Tuesday, August 23, 2005FSU QBs Old and New...
Ummm please join my college football fantasy league...I'm damn near begging...Email me here if interested. It's like totally automated and free. How can you go wrong?
Still I must move on..
Interesting news at Florida State camp today in the QB battle. Drew Weatherford was on fire, throwing for over 400 yards in the scrimmage (both regulation scrimmage and situationals). The bad news is that his competition, Xavier Lee, was injured and never really got out of the gate.
I don't know how I feel about this competition. I am big on both QBs but I'm afraid one is the practice QB and one in the gamer. However the same person could be both. Right now Weatherford is definitely the practice QB, but he also might be the gamer. I wonder if FSU's offense is made for Lee. It's hard to say. In the end I expect both will see the field against Miami and we'll know pretty quickly which one has the moxie.
In other FSU quarterback news, apparently the Saints are on the verge of cutting Adrian McPherson, their fifth round draft choice. This is according to a Miami Herald report that says the Dolphins will pounce on the former Arena League player of the year if he is available [Link].
I wonder if this is a McPherson move or a Saints move. It's not out of the question for a third/fourth-stringer to ask for an early cut if they feel they can have a better opportunity elsewhere. In Miami, McPherson would be behind A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte on the depth chart, but that's not a very formidable pair.
BREAKING NEWS: The NCAA caves into FSU on the use of the name Seminoles [ESPN]
Monday, August 22, 2005Stealing Five Questions From the AJC
How will Alley Broussard's injury affect the SEC West race?
I agree with Barnhart here. It won’t and it shouldn’t as long Justin Vincent is the third tailback on the depth chart. It’s safe to say that LSU is loaded at many positions and super loaded at tailback. An injury to Broussard just opens up the spot for the next guy to rush for 1,200 yards.
Which NFL transplant will have a bigger impact — Dave Wannstedt (Pitt) or Charlie Weis (Notre Dame)?
I think immediately it will be Wannstedt because he’s got the two thoroughbreds in Palko and Lee that will get the job done. In the long run it’s hard to say. Mediocre NFL head coaches seem to succeed in college because they are better at building talent than teaching schemes (see Carroll, Pete & Erickson, Dennis). Weis is probably the better coach of the two, but Wannstedt has already gotten a jump in on the recruiting area. In the college game it’s not about the X and O but who gets Rex and Bo.
Also ND’s schedule is nothing short of brutal so I think seven wins would be quite the success for the Irish.
Whom should Phil Fulmer start at QB for Tennessee?
I would say Rick Clausen. He closed strong, he never was given a real serious look at the job to begin with. In the long run Ainge is the better QB, but this particular team looks like it needs veteran leadership up top to be successful.
Clausen was 3-1 in his stint with the team last year and I think given the opportunity he could win the SEC East for the Volunteers. If he stays healthy there’s a good chance the Vols can even redshirt Ainge and get him stronger for runs in 2006 and 2007.
Who's the best player in the country the average fan has never heard of?
Barnhart makes the right choice with Omar Jacobs. He’s the best in the mid-majors this season. I really can’t argue or find anyone better. The backfield at North Texas with Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas will put up some big numbers too.
Does Utah disappear now that Urban Meyer and Alex Smith are gone?
I say nine wins and another Mountain West title unless TCU has something to say about it. Utah is becoming a sexy school. A popular choice for West coast recruits who don’t get love from USC or Cal and highly-touted JuCo transfers. I expect the Utes to be first in line to join the Pac-10 once it expands as well. Utah isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
BCS-Related Poll Releases Voters...
Names of note.
Lee Roy Selmon
Pat Hayden and Lou Holtz (obviously for the ND block)
Sunday, August 21, 2005More on Herrion
The autopsy was not able to give a cause for death. Here's a wire story on the young man [Link]. He sounds like a very nice guy who had to work pretty hard to get his opportunities and it's tough to read it without sniffling a little at a the thoughts of a kid dying at 23.
"I'm just trying to do whatever I can do to make the team," Herrion said while wiping sweat from his enormous upper torso. "After the way it went last year, everybody on this team is hoping for a fresh start. I just want to find a spot, something I can do to help out. When (starting center Jeremy) Newberry got hurt, I wanted to tell them I'd snap it."
College Football Fantasy...
I need more participants. If you're interested throw me an email and I'll send you an invite. Hurry up though, draft date is August 25.