Saturday, September 03, 2005BSU-Georgia LiveBlogging
-- (UGA 0, BSU 0) First play for BSU...Interception.
-- (UGA 0, BSU 0) Mark my words, the D.J. Shockley era will be so exciting people will wonder why Richt didn't make the switch two years ago. Rotating them was stupid and trying to make Shockley adapt to an offense suited for David Greene was stupider.
-- (UGA 7, BSU 0) And right away, Shockley runs the speed option for a score from 17 yards out. This could get real ugly, real quick.
-- (PSU 17, USF 7) Yeah I'm still cheating on the other game because I have money on it. Julmiste looks semi-servicable as a QB. I'm calling it right now and putting Denson at WR because they could use WRs and frankly Denson sucks a QB.
-- (UGA 7, BSU 0) The Broncos were running the ball nicely until Zabransky threw his second floater in the zone. And of course you know what happened next.
-- (UGA 14, BSU 0) Shockley decides to show off his passing skills and tosses a bomb to Ken Harris for another touchdown...Shockley 4 Heisman!
-- (UGA 14, BSU 0) The Broncs can take advantage of the mistake and get some points if Zabransky quits throwing floaters. I think he's playing as if he can enjoy the elevation that he does when in Boise.
-- (PSU 17, USF 7) The punting exhibition is becoming very exciting. Penn State's offense remains garbage.
-- (UGA 14, BSU 0) The Broncos are playing the game of "foot attrition", basically it's shooting yourself in both feet to see which falls off first. On one foot there are bad turnovers, on the other foot there are penalties.
-- (PSU 23, USF 7) I wonder if the Bulls will go with frosh Carlton Hill after this lackluster showing by the quarterbacks. Julmiste has been the better of the two today.
-- (UGA 14, BSU 0) 1.....2.....3......4 interceptions thrown by Zabransky today.
-- Night plays include USC/Hawaii Over 64.5
-- (PSU 23, USF 7) The Bulls hang tough and get a 1st and goal. Julmiste has done a better than average job and gives them something to build off of.
-- (UGA 17, BSU 0) Shockley had a ridiculous scramble called back due an illegal block.
-- (PSU 23, USF 13) Bulls score a late touchdown to guarantee my play of +21.5 will be solid. Thank you :)
-- (PSU 23, USF 13) The Bulls just got screwed out of recovering an onside kick based on...I dunno what the hell it was based on...it was a horrible call and the exact reason why instant replay is in college.
-- (UGA 24, BSU 0) Shockley throws his second TD pass of the game. This guy is going to be awesome this season.
-- (USC 0, HAW 0) Let the three-peat big begin!
-- In other scores: Florida 14, Wyoming 0 (2), Kansas St. 35, FIU 21 (F), Michigan 33, N. Illinois 17 (F), Air Force 20, Washington 17 (F), Cal 10, Sacramento St. 3 (H), Colorado 28, Colorado St. 21 (4), Virginia 24, W. Michigan 3 (2).
-- (UGA 31, BSU 0) I told you this one could get ugly.
-- (USC 7, HAW 3) The Warriors have decided that 12-minute drives will be their best defense against Southern Cal. That's nice until the Trojans build a 21-point lead.
-- (USC 14, HAW 3) So far the Trojans haven't missed a beat. Meanwhile Hawaii continues to reign supreme as the team with the best hair.
-- Programming note: We're going to be switching to ND-Pittsburgh soon so the new games will be ND-Pittsburgh and USC-Hawaii. Go to a Georgia board for more liveblogging of Georgia-Boise St.
-- (ND 0, PITT 0) Now Pittsburgh's throwbacks I can get with.
-- (USC 21, HAW 3) Bush gets a 9.1 from the judges on that landing. It was a little rough and his form could've been tighter.
-- (PITT 7, ND 0) So far it doesn't look like Charlie Weis can do much about the domers' pass defense.
-- (PITT 7, ND 7) But Weis knows his offense. You better believe he knows his offense. That drive was straight of the Patriots play book.
-- (USC 21, HAW 3) On 4th and 5, the Warriors fall for the fast count. Unbelievable.
-- (USC 21, HAW 3) Ok, everytime USC touches the ball they will score, which means they are headed for 56 points give or take a few. Usually Hawaii at home is good for 14-16 points, so hopefully this game should hit the over.
-- (ND 14, PITT 10) Notre Dame looks much more confident right now on both sides of the ball. Is Charlie Weis a miracle worker? No they will struggle. But is he winner? Absolutely, and that will rub off on his team.
-- (USC 21, HAW 3) I need points!
-- (USC 28, HAW 3) Whew...I need more...33.5 more. C'mon Trojans, where's that killer instinct? And c'mon Warriors, where's the Hawaiian punch.
-- (ND 20, PITT 10) The Irish are throwing themselves back to 1988, they are physically breaking down Pittsburgh. But it's early.
-- (ND 28, PITT 10) Holy smokes...I did NOT see this one coming. Is that the Patriots out there?
-- (USC 28, HAW 10) That's more like it boys!
-- (USC 35, HAW 10) Oh yeah baby...Give me more...I want more points!! 64.5 is what I need!
-- (USC 49, HAW 10) ONE MORE SCORE! ONE MORE SCORE!
-- (ND 35, PITT 13) Not sure why I'm so surprised by this considering Weis has been coaching circles around Wannstedt for about five years now.
Waiting for BSU-Georgia...
-- (PSU 17, USF 0) Not much to report here, Penn State returned a fumble for a touchdown and an interception set up another short turnover. Their offense hasn't done much, but it's a hell of a lot more than what USF has done. The Bulls have rotated between Pat Julmiste and Courtney Denson, both of whom suck. And even if they didn't suck the receivers couldn't catch a cold running around nude in Alaska.
-- (CSU 7, CU 3) This is the other game on my work TVs. Don't get how CU either gets the home game or neutral site game in Denver in this rivalry, seems a bit unfair, but Colorado State almost likes it. They live for this game.
-- (PSU 17, USF 0) I love watching these local Jim Leavitt highlights. The guy has never brushed his hair in his life. He looks like that cousin you have with a drinking problem but he's too funny and goofy to tell him about it. I love that guy.
-- (Rut 27, Ill 27) 52-yarder is wide and we're going to overtime!
-- (TCU 17, OU 10 !!!) 2:10 remaining and TCU fails on a third and long. Should be an easy punt situation, I have no faith in the Sooners' ability to move down the field.
-- (Rut 27, Ill 27) The best overtime in football. I'm torn between these two games, so I'll do picture in picture :)
-- (TCU 17, OU 10!!!) The Sooners are running the two-minute offense with the execution of a city boy herding cattle. I wonder if the coaches even practiced the hurry up.
-- (Rut 30, Ill 27) Ok, I need a touchdown from Illinois to win my early bet. 1st down play, smart QB draw for eight. I love the college overtime because you can run a basic offense. Damn penalty will make it 2nd and 7 though.
-- (Rut 30, Ill 27) Big play for the Illini sets up 1st and goal at the two. You've gotta love the resilency of Zook. His teams never stop trying.
-- (Ill 33, Rut 30) It's over! Great start for Ron Zoon in Illinois!
-- (TCU 17, OU 10) BIG TIME SHOCKER!!!
Early Game LiveBlogging
-- (BG 7, Wis 0) Some throwbacks are better left in the past. Wisconsin's helmets should be included in that bunch. However, I like the potential of Brian Calhoun in that offense, he should be able to do great things.
-- (TCU 0, OU 0) The Horned Frogs are driving, but they face a 3rd and 11 at the OU 38. Playing armchair QB, I'll call a screen. Instead they miss badly with a fade.
-- (Mia OH 0, OSU 0) The Redbirds are using a rare 1-1-9 defensive formation to put sextuple coverage on Ted Ginn Jr. So needless to say Zwick tosses a 20-yard fade to the REAL receiver on the team (Santonio Holmes) and scores a touchdown.
-- (Ill 0, Rut 0) Already not liking the looks of this bet. You'd think after years of Zook's teams screwing me in Gainesville I'd know better. Right now Illinois looks like they are still in 'thud' practice.
-- (BG 13, Wis 0) Yowzers. I mean pundits have been calling this upset for four months, you think the Badgers would be prepared.
-- (Rut 3, Ill 0) Not sure who this Illinois QB is, but if he keeps throwing floaters like that, he needs to sit down.
-- (Rut 3, Ill 0) Total yards: Rutgers 114, Illinois 6....Six yards against Rutgers!!? Oh well interception just led to a missed field goal.
-- (Rut 3, Ill 0) The Illini have driven to a first and goal while I grabbed my laundry. Let's see if Zook has improved at all in goal-line coaching. First play is a bobbled snap. Why did I place this bet? Why? Why? Why?
-- (OSU 10, Mia OH 0) The Redbirds innovative assortment of bubble screens and inside draws haven't caught Ohio State off balance just yet.
-- (Ill 7, Rut 3) Oh yeah baby, touchdown Illinois...I knew Zook wouldn't let me down.
-- (Wis 21, BG 20) Well it looks like this game is going to hit the over. Meanwhile it appears that TCU has taken a 7-0 lead. I love this game baby!
-- (Rut 13, Ill 7) Not sure what I feel about either of these teams. Both have some noticable talent, but both should be conference bottom feeders.
-- Ok, I have to go move (!%@%) My mid-day plays are:
South Florida (+21.5) over Penn State
Boston College (-2) over BYU
Florida/Wyoming total points over 58.5
My Noon Plays
Illinois (+2.5) over Rutgers
Michigan St. (-21) over Kent.
Still considering a +25 play for TCU over Oklahoma. Must do more research.
Around the State/ACC
FAU at Kansas: With 20 starters from last year's squad gone, this is the best chance to kick Howard Schnellenberge while he's down. Kansas 38-7.
FIU at Kansas St.: Hmmm, this is an odd coincedence. Unlike FAU, Don Strock has 18 starters returning from last year's team. That's good. The bad is they aren't as talented as FAU's crew. Kansas St. 37-8.
Around the ACC
Duke at East Carolina: If the Blue Devils want to be taken seriously in year three of the Ted Roof era, they will have to defeat poor teams like East Carolina. ECU 24-21.
Boston College at BYU: Odd choice for an opener, but I expect the Eagles to fly until that Sep. 17 meeting against FSU. BC 28-10.
Western Michigan at Virginia: Another year for All-Overrated linebacker Ahmad Brooks to show me that he's more than a healthy poor man's LaVar Arrington (I'm talking the pro version of Arrington). Virginia 44-7.
Maryland vs. Navy: Navy lost Kyle Eckels, who according to my friend Cesar is irreplaceable. I doubt that, but if it means Maryland will win easily fair enough. Maryland 20-13.
Texas A&M at Clemson: The Tigers struggled on both sides of the ball last year and Tommy Bowden made changes in order to save his job. Can the new defense contain Reggie McNeal? Can the new offense move the ball? No and maybe. Texas A&M 27-17.
Georgia Tech at Auburn: A new year and a new team for the Tigers. Both defenses will be excellent, but Georgia Tech's offense is more experienced behind Reggie Ball and ready to pull an early upset. Georgia Tech 20-13.
Friday, September 02, 2005USF-Penn State
The Game: South Florida finally joins the world of the BCS elite and still has to travel to Happy Valley with no return game in sight. Oh well it’s no big deal for the Bulls at this point. South Florida has a QB situation – there’s Pat Julmiste, the returning starter and the Auburn transfer Courtney Denson. USF coach Jim Leavitt says both will play. I say they can’t win with Julmiste. Meanwhile Penn St. would like to find offense from anywhere it can come.
The Players: Andre Hall is the Bulls best (read as only) offensive weapon. The running back was All-CUSA last year and should match or better his 1,300-yard output from 2004. The Lions have Michael Robinson, a dual threat quarterback who also has issues with his passing.
The Numbers: Penn State didn’t give up more than 21 points in a game last season and still finished 4-7. South Florida hasn’t beaten a team from a BCS conference since a memorable upset over Pittsburgh in 2002.
The Line: Opened with Penn State by 20 and has risen to 21.
The Forecast: Both teams have questions on offense and while USF has the more established talent in Hall, Penn State will have the more established players in the positions on defense.
The Pick: Penn State 21, USF 10.
The Game: It’s Urban Meyer’s debut in Florida and by all intents and purposes he is the greatest thing period. Better than white bread, better than a slice of N.Y.’s finest. He is already the best coach in the SEC. His spread option offense is the most unstoppable force since the mid-1980s Hulk Hogan and he should easily win a national title this year and next year as well. As a matter of fact there’s already been government proposals to rename the major airports and seaports in this great state after Meyer. As for Wyoming, who cares…It’s the place where Al Simpson and that Olympic wrestler dude are from.
The Players: Dude it’s Urban Meyer’s team, it doesn’t matter who the players are because they are now All-Americans just because the anointed one says so. Chris Leak, who’s never come close to winning an SEC title or hell winning nine games in a season should now be considered a Heisman frontrunner.
The Numbers: Florida rarely loses openers because they don’t play anyone of note. Previous opponents have included San Jose St., NE Louisiana, SW Louisiana, Louisiana Tech., Louisiana Southern, Louisiana Bible and Palatka High School.
The Line: Opened at around 23 for the Urbans and it’s currently sitting at 23. The over/under is 58.
The Forecast: I expect Urban the Great to bring his hand down from the thunderous sky and bless all of those who have drank his grape kool-aid during this long offseason. As for the game, the Gators will kick their ass.
The Pick: Florida 52, Wyoming 17
Thursday, September 01, 2005UCF-South Carolina Gibberish...
-- Houston 14, Oregon 6. I think it's safe to say USC doesn't have much to worry about with the quack attack.
-- *wipes tears from his eye* football is back...someone gimme a hug.
-- Spurrier's first play -- TB dive gains a yard.
-- My guess is Blake Mitchell doesn't finish this game, but his first pass was nice and for a first down.
-- Mitchell goes up top and touchdown city. I'd say Spurrier's still got it.
-- Not sure what UCF is going to have to do offensively, but three and outs won't work. In actuality they had the right idea by trying to run.
-- The screen play is still the most unpredictable play in sports. Could get blown up or it could be explosive.
-- TE delay gives the Cocks a 14-0 lead. A lot of teams still look good against UCF.
-- Total yards: South Carolina 164, UCF 33..
-- On the bright side Steven Moffett does look like he's turning the corner as UCF's quarterback, he looks MUCH more confident than last season.
-- UCF finally gets on the board.
-- Right now I would say that UCF's main problem appears to be pass defense and stopping drives. They need to stop this third down to curb this momentum.
-- Great sack by UCF, it leads to missed field goal. Great recovery by the Knights.
-- Midway through the second and the game has settled in. UCF has sort of recovered from the early rally and they have shown they can move the ball. Meanwhile South Carolina could benefit from a better rushing attack at this moment.
-- While South Carolina is wining 17-3 at the half, I've flipped to this barnburner in Houston, where the Cougars are up 21-20 on Oregon.
-- Houston's offense is a total dishelved mess that somehow generates an odd balance of big plays. Kevin Kolb has to be a halfway decent QB to figure this thing out.
-- Can I say that eliminating Lee Corso from the announcing booth for the Thursday night game was a MAJOR plus.
-- Houston goes for a 4th and 3 inside the Oregon 10 and doesn't make it. Boy that was a stupid call in a close game and yes if they would've made it it still would've been a stupid call.
-- Oregon takes the lead as UCF misses a field goal and ruins an excellent drive.
-- While I was on the phone, South Carolina drove and scored. Mitchell has been nothing short of brilliant in his debut.
-- I was getting slammed with phone calls so a quick closer. South Carolina has a lot to work on, they seemed to lose focus quickly and Spurrier needs to work on a stronger running game to complement the great passing.
UCF can build off of the second half, they were a couple of plays away from winning this thing. Moffett has turned the corner as a QB and I believe the Knights can win 5-6 games this season if they can survive the first wave.
Lawrence Maroney has 159 yards and two scores in less than a quarter. That's why he's on my Heisman watch list.
FSU Lands Prized Recruit...
Rolle, a 6'2, 214 lb defensive back from The Hun School in New Jersey was the most sought after recruit in the nation and is considered to be a major prize due to his influence on several other blue-chippers
Count the Reasons...
But the people eat these things up so I'm giving away one more numbers column (besides the crap written by Dodd), this from Ed Barkowitz on the 50 things to watch for in '05 [Philly News].
Most of the column is written straight and it's kind of boring, but it's full of facts, which I can appreciate.
8 Trivia I: Can you name the six USC players who have won a Heisman?
Hint: All have come since 1965. Answer later.
Lemme guess. Hmmm The Juice, Charles White, Marcus Allen, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and....and.... Ricky Bell??
17 Answer I: Mike Garrett (1965), O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979), Marcus Allen (1981), Carson Palmer (2002) and Matt Leinart (2004) are the six USC players to have won a Heisman.
Uggh...Who cares about Mike Garrett anyway.
Well he hits on this Texas-Oklahoma game, which is supposed to be close this year for some reason...Maybe Mack Brown isn't coaching.
11 Texas will beat Oklahoma and end a 5-year (and very ugly) losing
streak to the Sooners; at least that's the prevailing thought down in Austin. "Texas has a fabulous team," Oklahoma offensive lineman Davin Joseph points out, "so if they're picked ahead of us, I won't argue. But the game still has to be played." Circle the date: Oct. 8. It's the 100th meeting of the two teams.
12 By the way, in the interest of political correctness, the colorful name of the OU-Texas game has changed from the Red River Shootout to the Red River Rivalry. Good grief.
Actually Red River Rivalry makes more sense to me. I wonder if SBC still sponsors the game. I remember they tried to pull that with OSU-Michigan last year, but OSU wouldn't have it. I guess it's hard enough saying "Bucks vs. Wolves" for those at tOSU, so "SBC presents Bucks vs. Wolves" would've been a two-credit class.
19 The most unusual offseason malady was contracted by Florida State
quarterback Wyatt Sexton, who will miss the season because of an dvanced case of Lyme disease. Bobby Bowden will rotate two redshirt freshmen - starter Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee in relief - and said he will use whoever screws up the least. Gotta love Bobby Bowden.
Right now the over-under for Weatherford's consecutive series against Miami is four. And I'm guessing he'll have one first down in those four drives.
28 Trivia II: Derek Hagan is in line to break Arizona State's records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Which college football Hall of Famer and favorite target of former San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts currently holds those marks?
Hmmm it's either Charlie Joiner or Kellen "Senior Soldjah" Winslow. We'll go with the latter.
43 Answer II: The Arizona State receiving records Derek Hagan is chasing belong to John Jefferson.
Boy I suck at this.
31 One of the reverberations of Boston College's move to the ACC is that
the conference may someday soon play its postseason baseball tournament in Fenway Park and its basketball tournament at the TD Banknorth Garden, home of the Celtics.
Yeah, the former AIN'T gonna happen pal, not in my lifetime.
41 Clemson senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who entered 2004 as a Heisman dark horse, will hope that new offensive coordinator Rob Spence (from Toledo) can reverse last season's dismal seven touchdown passes and 17 picks.
If Whitehurst entered the 2004 Heisman race as a darkhorse, he enters the 2005 Heisman race as a mule.
44 Urban Meyer's first order of business was restoring discipline within
Florida's program, a move that seems to have worked. "I don't know what kind of Florida Gator team you're going to see, but it's going to be crazy," said safety Jarvis Herring, a former troublemaker and now a team leader.
I love incriminating comments that aren't meant to be incriminating comments.
49 After watching its defense finish 117 out of 118, Hawaii hired former NFL coach Jerry Glanville as an associate head coach and defensive coordinator. His first assignment is Saturday against Southern Cal, where he'll find that NCAA can also stand for "No Chance At All."
Ok, THAT was funny.
50 The pick: Taking USC is too easy. The weight of the three-peat expectations and the loss of so many key assistant coaches is bound to catch up with the Trojans. These are college kids, after all. That's why the pick here is Texas over Michigan in a rematch of last year's Rose Bowl. If Roy Williams can win in hoops, Mack Brown can win on the gridiron.
What you forget is that the Tar Heels won in SPITE of Roy Williams. If Illinois connects on the open jumping in the final minute, they win. In college you can't win titles in spite of coaches.
UCF at South Carolina, Tonight, 7 p.m.
The Game: Well obviously it's Steve Spurrier's return to college football, a game he should have never left unless he could get $10 million from the pros....hmmm nevermind. UCF has a 15-game losing streak and comes into this game with one of the lowest ranked offenses in the nation.
The Players: Blake Mitchell is the Gamecocks' new quarterback. He's a sophomore and he still needs quite a bit of seasoning in Spurrier's offense. Steven Moffett returns at QB for the Knights, but remember he had an offense ranked 113th in the nation last season. The Knights will try to run behind Dontavious Wilcox.
The Numbers: UCF is 1-9 against the SEC and 0-2 against South Carolina. Spurrier has won 87% of his games in the SEC and has never lost an opener.
The Line: Opened at -18.5 for South Carolina and has jumped to -21.
The Forecast: I think UCF will play tough for a half and stay within the points. South Carolina isn't ready for primetime yet and I have to believe that the Knights will make some progress in season two under George O'Leary.
The Score: South Carolina 31, UCF 17
Evacuees Raid Tallahassee...
Florida State vice president Lee Hinkle said Wednesday that the school
believed there was no shortage of rooms. She said the school spoke with the Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and called all types of hotels, "and all had some room availability.''
"It is not Florida State's intent to displace any refugees who are in town for hurricane relief,'' Hinkle said, noting the school has been in touch with state agencies and Gov. Jeb Bush's office.
Just a recommendation. Don't stay at the Prince Murat hotel. By no means. Believe me, I've been there and I....well I've been there.
Citron said the pressure on rooms reminded him of the 2000 presidential recount when Tallahassee was swamped with journalists from the around the world and hundreds of lawyers as well.
"If we can manage that, I'm confident we can get through this weekend as well,'' he said.
As a reporter on the scene for that event, I'm wondering how they would describe manage? If manage means "one big clusterfuck" than yes, they managed the situation quite well.
Meanwhile with the option of USC vs. the field, Bill Curry takes the field [ESPN.com] Bold move there Bill...bold move.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005Gators Earn a Game Ball...
Proceeds from Florida's pay-per-view telecast against Wyoming on Saturday night will be donated the American Red Cross, giving the charity $75,000 to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
"We in Florida certainly know what it's like to cope with hurricanes and their aftermath, and our neighbors have been generous during our times of need," school president Bernie Machen said in a statement.
Good for the Gators, nice to see the Floridians stepping up for our fellow Gulf states.
Bowden Finally Names QB...
"It looked from about the third scrimmage on that Drew would be the guy you'd start,'' Bowden said Wednesday. "He has all the tools to be an outstanding quarterback.''
Meanwhile Miami will still prepare to play against two QBs as Bowden still hints that both Weatherford and fellow redshirt freshmen Xavier Lee will see playing time.
"I think it's a good possibility we'll see both,'' Coker said.
Meanwhile around the state, South Florida isn't as convinced who will be their starting QB and it looks as if returning starter Pat Julmiste and Auburn transfer Courtney Denson will split time.
"Both Courtney and Pat are ready to play,'' Leavitt said. "They have both worked very hard and are more than capable. Will we play both of hem? We may.''
Dodd Gives Us a Quarter...We Give Him Change
There are now 12 schools playing college football at various levels in the state of Florida.
This is news because the two latest additions to Division I-A -- Florida International and Florida Atlantic -- each join the Sun Belt this year. Both programs were basically started from scratch by two Miami-area
legends -- Don Strock (Dolphins quarterback) at FIU and Howard Schnellenberger (Miami coach) at FAU.
Schnellie's Owls actually tied his old school and Florida State for
having the best record in the state last year (9-3).
At the other end of the scale, Central Florida (0-11) was the only
winless program in I-A.
The home of college football? Texas, California and Pennsylvania will disagree, especially after the 12 schools combined to finish 64-65. Going into the season, Florida is the state's best program but mostly based on the arrival of new coach Urban Meyer. The Gators are coming off a 7-5
record that was bad enough to get Ron Zook fired during the season.
Florida is the state's best program based on Meyer? Well considering his one BCS bowl to Coker's four and Bowden's seven and his....zero BCS conference titles to Bowdens 12 and Cokers four and his...well zero BCS championships to Bowden's two and Coker's one.
I can see Dodd's point. Let Meyer win his first SEC game before he's annointed as the next coming of Lombardi please and give Miami the credit that's due. They are the best program in the state and have won their last ten games against FSU and Florida.
Now he goes to his upsets and he's talking about the Big XII. Being a Mizzou grad and a Kansas City native, you'd think he'd have a clue about the Big XII, but he's a little lost there too.
Oklahoma over Texas on Oct. 8: No matter what the 'Horns do at Ohio State, they are likely to be favored in the Red River Shootout. Doesn't atter. Oklahoma knows it can win. Texas hopes it can break a five-game losing streak.
Really. No matter what Texas does at OSU they will be favored? And this is based on what logic? Texas' past success against Oklahoma? I'd say if they lose substanially to Ohio State in two weeks, the bettors won't be rushing to make the Horns favorites over a team that has owned them.
Between that and a frightening obsession with Meyer and the spread option, I'd say Matt Hayes disease has taken over another one.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005The FSU Preview (Defense/ST)
Defensively the team has suffered the loss of its best interior linemen to grades and its shutdown cornerback to an ACL injury. The depth at line is a little young, but very talented and well-coached...and hungry. The linebackers are too good and the secondary is full of question marks...So it's a mixed bag.
Defensive Ends: Kamerion Wimbley has one side locked down while Darrell Burston seems to have the other side. Wimbley is an experienced pass rusher, really quick off the ball. Burston is more of a technique guy, good against the run and can handle blockers. Eventually Alex Boston will probably take over for Burston and he's a manimal, a world-class athlete with unmatched skills. Grade: B
Depth: The depth is ok. D.J. Norris and Willie Jones are excellent speed rushers who are coming off of injuries. Anthony Kelly is a JuCO transfer and original FSU signee that should also contribute. Freshmen Everette Brown and Neefy Moffett will either redshirt or be seen primarily on special teams. Grade: C
Defensive Tackles: The loss of Clifton Dickson stings. Dickson has the potential to be an overwhelming force in the middle and his loss forces redshirt freshman Andre Fluellen to jump into the action. At nose guard Broderick Bunkley is a two-year starter and has been on the two deep since he was a freshman. A strong leader to bring stability to a young line. Grade: B
Depth: The good thing is that Aaron Jones and Emmanuel Dunbar were top 20 defensive linemen nationally in 2004 and Letroy Guion and Kendrick Stewart were top 20 nationally in 2005. The bad thing is none of them have played a down. I expect all of them to play this year and it will be feast or famine. Grade: C
Linebackers: Whoa momma, we got some studs here. Ernie Sims, A.J. Nicholson and Buster Davis make up the best linebacking corps in the nation. Nuff said. Grade: A
Depth: It just gets better. The cupboard is chock full of experienced veterans like Marcello Church and Sam McGrew and superstar underclassmen like Jae Thaxton, Lawrence Timmons and Rodney Gallon. And incoming freshmen Geno Hayes and Derek Nicholson are reportedly as good as the hype they walked in with. It's going to be a beautiful four years in the middle of the defense. Grade: A
Cornerbacks: Ugghh. Antonio Cromartie was an All-ACC performer as a backup and would've been high on the All-America list this season. But he's gone with an ACL. In his place is senior Gerard Ross and redshirt freshman Tony Carter. Ross is so questionable in coverage that FSU reverted to its old way of designating corners with a 'field' corner and a 'boundary' corner. Ross is apparently strong on the boundary, good against the run but not the type of guy you want covering anyone man-to-man. Carter will take the field position, which is the showcase spot, he's extremely small (5'9, 160 pounds) but he wraps himself up with the receiver well. He's not lacking confidence either as he moved from third to first on the depth chart in a few months. Grade: C-
Depth: Trevor Ford and J.R. Bryant are the backups and probably the two best corners on the team. Both have been hurt and lost opportunities to start right away, but I expect they will be there midway through the season. Both guys are over six feet and have lock down potential. Futher on the chart freshmen Michael Ray Garvin, Jamie Robinson and Joe Manning will be solid with repetitions. Grade: B
Safeties: Pat Watkins is an All-America candidate. Kyler Hall is the most popular teammate on the team and a senior captain. He's also slow and has a history of taking bad angles. He's good against the run, however, and plays his best against Miami. He also had the worst game in safety history back in 2002 against Clemson. Kyler is just Kyler and the hope is that he plays smart and keeps everything in front of him. I hope Hall succeeds because he is one of the real good guys. Grade: B- ('A' for Watkins)
Depth: Roger Williams has made great strides and held down Watkins' starting spot for much of the summer and through two-a-days. Anthony Houllis and Darius McClure provide more young depth. 6'6 Kenny Ingram is an interesting player and should see the field in obvious passing downs. Grade: C
Kickers: Chris Hall is a three-year starter at punter. Meanwhile there's a three-way battle going on for placekicker and none of them seem to want it. Sophomore Gary Cismescia is the favorite, having the edge on distance and accuracy. True freshman Graham Gano can kick the ball all kinds of far but lacks accuracy. And sophomore Chase Goggans is money inside of 37 yards and completely short at 38 and farther. Right now it looks like Cismescia will handle most of the duties, but Goggans may become the "short" guy. Either way I'd like more stability here. Grade: C
Returners: A speed team like FSU rarely has a problem in this department. Punt returns will be handle by seniors Willie Reid and Leon Washington, both of whom are lightning in a bottle. FSU will go with an assortment of kick returners including Reid, Kenny O'Neal and Antone Smith. Speed and more speed. Grade: A
Coaches: Mickey Andrews is a longtime defensive coordinator and remains as ornery and fiery as ever. Odell Haggins (defensive tackles) and Kevin Steele (linebackers) flank him and are two of the best position coaches in the nation and master recruiters. Steele was Rivals.com recruiter of the year an he and Haggins have revitalized FSU's prominence with recruits in South Florida. James Colzie is a former player who has joined the staff as an apprentice and works with the secondary. The only weakness on the defensive coaching staff would appear to be Jody Allen (defensive ends), who has taken criticism for his weight limits for defensive ends that make them too small to go against elite linemen and leaves them too tired for solid pass rushing in the later parts of the game. Grade: A-
The FSU Preview (Offense)
Overall the slogan for the offense should be "The New Breed", these guys are short on experience, but long on talent. At virtually every position on the offense there are highly-touted talented freshmen as a result of back-to-back top 5 recruiting classes. Many of these freshmen will be thrown into the fire early at important positions like quarterback and the interior offensive line.
Quarterback: Although coach Bowden won't call it yet, Drew Weatherford will start Monday night against Miami. More than likely Xavier Lee will get a couple of series in the first half as well. Both quarterbacks are redshirt freshmen. Weatherford has the reputation of being a film junkie, which immediately makes him more prepared for Miami than Chris Rix ever was. Grade: B-
Depth: Xavier Lee is a former Mr. Florida football and all-time passing leader. At 6'4, 234 pounds he's a big guy and a terrific athlete. As he gets more used to the offense the popular belief is that he'll eventually past Weatherford. Behind Lee there isn't much, Tommy Keane and Jared Whipkey are walk ons and Keane has the most snaps of any quarterback, getting nine snaps against North Carolina in garbage time. Tight end and former H.S. quarterback Matt Henshaw would probably be an emergency QB. Grade: C-
Running Backs: Here's a great area of strength for the Seminoles. Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker are as good as any 1-2 punch in the country. Washington is a great RB and Booker is very good. Fullbacks James Coleman and B.J. Dean are super blockers and could possibly get a handoff around the goal line. Grade: A
Depth: Antone Smith is a true freshman and has jettison up a depth chart full of highly-touted prospects like Lamar Lewis and Jamaal Edwards. FSU is roughly seven deep at tailback and third-string fullback Joe Surratt is more versatile than the upperclassmen ahead of him. Grade: A
Wide Receivers: This is one of those areas where the talent will shine more in the multiple wide out sets than with the starting two. Willie Reid has been the subject of the "Free Willie" campaign since 2002. Between his injuries and being buried on the depth chart, Reid has proven to be a realiable playmaker. This year the Georgia native finally gets his opportunity and I think he will be successful. On the other side is junior Chris Davis. When he stepped on campus Davis was said to be a clone of Peter Warrick. It hasn't happened. Davis is one of the few receivers who records negative YAC because he runs from side-to-side so much. Luckily as the season progressed (and after a demotion) Davis started taking his routes down the field and had a strong game against Duke and a strong Gator Bowl. Grade: B-
Depth: Here's where it gets good. De'Cody Fagg, Greg Carr and Fred Rouse are three of the best receiving prospects of the state. Rouse was the best receiving prospect in the nation. And then there is true frosh Richard Goodman, who came from out of nowhere to earn major PT with the multiple sets. Kenny O'Neal, a speedster from California will be dangerous on special teams. It'll be tough for talented prospects Rod Owens and Joslin Shaw to see the field. All in all this receiving corps could become the best in FSU history. Grade: A
Tight Ends: Donnie Carter is the starter and he's the best blocker of the three. Alledgedly he can catch passes too, but FSU doesn't throw to the tight end. Grade: C+
Depth: Matt Root and Matt Henshaw are both better receivers than Carter and will be used in goal line situations. Neither can block as well as Carter and since FSU doesn't pass to the tight ends, both of these guys need to improve in that area. Grade: C
Offensive Line: Guard Matt Meinrod and Center David Castillo return from injury to anchor the interior of the line along with sophomore Jacky Claude. Cory Niblock moves from left guard to left tackle and becomes the big question mark there while sophomore David Overmyer will start at right tackle. FSU changed tackle designations from split/tight to right/left to join the latter 20th century and will also be implementing a zone blocking scheme behind new OL coach Mark McHale. Right away I expect this line to be better than last year's based on coaching alone. Grade: B-
Depth: Mario Henderson is probably a better tackle than Niblock, but he'll backup Overmyer for a while. John Frady is a reliable backup at both guard and center. Overall the depth is thin after striking out on most of the state's top recruits in the winter. The little depth that's there is very good but too many injuries will be devastating. Grade: D+
Coaching: Jeff Bowden will forever be under fire on offense. He and quarterback coach Daryl Dickey failed to get Chris Rix to correct his many shortcomings and often showed public disgust in his decision making and in Bobby Bowden's loyalty to him. Running backs coach Billy Sexton is solid as long as his son's health isn't a distraction. Mark McHale joins the staff and will contribute in the playcalling. He is a tremendous upgrade over former FSU OL coach, Jimmy Heggins. Jeff Bowden will also coach the wide receivers. Grade: C+
My Fight for ESPNU
Well the first set of emails were send and the response wasn't particularly encouraging.
I would like to ask (plea, beg) for you to add ESPNU to your digital lineup or sports pak so I can have the opportunity to view the channel.
With the college football season here, I think it would best serve your financial interests to carry ESPNU either in the digital lineup or sports pak because of the great volume of college football fans in the area.
FYI, Both South Florida and Florida State have games being shown on ESPNU in the next two weeks. Thank you for your consideration and your reply is appreciated.
*** and my response ***
Hello Mr. Long.
I am checking with our Divisional Offices, to get the latest update on possible negotiations with ESPNU.
I will get back with you just as soon as I receive a response, which should be tomorrow. We do our best to provide the newest, best and most diverse array of programming for our customers. We review our channel lineups on a regular basis and we periodically make changes as new networks are launched.
We also take input and comments, such as yours, into consideration as we make programming decisions. Your opinions are valuable to us and will be considered, as we make sure we provide the best programming possible.
Thank you so much for taking the time to communicate to us your programming preference.
Bright House Networks
Right now I'm waiting for a response, but I know a stock answer when I see one. I am in a position to write a column about this one pretty soon. The fans of college football in Central Florida should not be denied!!
Harmon Forecast Released...
He calls Miami a 17-16 winner over FSU in his game of the week and his logic is simple -- Miami has won the last six.
He calls Boise State to upset Georgia 30-24 and Clemson to "upset" Texas A&M, 21-19 (At least I'd call it an upset).
Otherwise read and enjoy it, the guy hits arund 80% so who can argue with him :)
Monday, August 29, 2005Random Thoughts...
USC's schedule doesn't include a team ranked in the Top 25. So what. I give the Trojans credit for scheduling Arkansas and Fresno St. in a crunch to toughen their schedule. Fresno St. especially because it comes during a stretch run in November. The reason I have no problem with USC's schedule is because no one's clamoring to face the Trojans. No team wants to go through what Oklahoma went through last year or what Auburn went through two years ago. I seriously doubt the two-time champs are ducking the competiton.
The South Carolina hype has begun. Yesterday the line on Thursday's game against Central Florida was 18.5, today the line has jumped to 21 points. It's not to say that the Gamecocks can't beat the Knights by 21 points, believe me they are more than capable. It's just that the faith that Spurrier will run up scores is still very high.
The 'Herbies' Were Released. [ESPN.com] Typical Herbstreit fair as he still has a hard time balancing his outlandish homerish for Ohio State. For example he has Ted Ginn Jr. as one of the top 5 receivers in the nation when he's probably the second best receiver on his team. I can't believe the disrespect Santonio Holmes gets. And Marshawn Lynch is a top 5 running back? Over Michael Hart or LenDale White? I dunno about that Herbie.
He shows some promps for FSU, especially linebacker Ernie Sims and he shows love for FSU's home uniforms. My personal faves as well. He also says that Ole Miss has the prettiest co-eds and trust me, he ain't lying. As a matter of fact, the SEC, as good as it is in the female department, the whole conference must bow to Ole Miss. It's not even fair.
If you can get past the occasional homer comments, Herbie's writing are twenty times better than anything Matt Hayes puts on paper.
Sunday, August 28, 2005Week 1 Lines Released
CONNECTICUT -18 (-110)
OREGON -8.5 (-110)
EASTERN MICHIGAN (-110)
CINCINNATI -10 (-110)
WAKE FOREST -9.5 (-110)
CENTRAL FLORIDA (-110)
SOUTH CAROLINA -18.5 (-110)
ARIZONA ST -26.5 (-110)
WASHINGTON ST -27.5 (-110)
MINNESOTA -15 (-110)
Off hand, I'm all over Minnesota and the points against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes can't stop a pop warner rushing attack much less a legitimate superstar like Laurence Maroney. Otherwise the lines are really big. 18.5 for South Carolina seems like too much. I might watch that line climb and take UCF.