Tag:Nick Saban
Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 4:27 pm
 

SEC RapidReport roundup, 8/15: Wilson on fire

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Running down everything you need to know from the weekend's news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters.


ARKANSAS: Maybe that Knile Davis injury won't hurt the Hogs as badly as expected? That might be the lesson from Tyler Wilson's scorching fall camp, which continued through the weekend after a 16-of-20 performance in the scrimmage in which Davis was injured. Saturday, Wilson hit all 10 of his passes in a skeleton drill and had newly-anointed starting tailback Ronnie Wingo singing his praises. "“He’s taken control of the offense," Wingo said.

Wilson's progress has been helped by a new film system in which the Hogs' practice is shot from a camera at the top of a pole positioned behind the offense. More good news for the Hogs: starting lineman Grant Cook is back at practice and JUCO linebacker Alonzo Highsmith appears to have a starting position locked up.

GEORGIA: True freshman outside linebacker Ray Drew was expected to contribute early and often after picking the Dawgs over offers from nearly every school in the country, but that job became harder Sunday after Drew sprained his shoulder in a scooter accident. He's considered day-to-day.

But the much bigger injury crisis for the Bulldogs is taking place in the backfield--three of the first four tailbacks on the depth chart were forced to miss practice Saturday, including potential starters Richard Samuel and Isaiah Crowell.

LSU: Michael Ford arrived at Baton Rouge as a much-hyped running back prospect, but he was not among the four tailbacks mentioned by Les Miles as being in the starting mix for the Tigers. Those would be Spencer Ware (the favorite), Jakhari Gore, Alfred Blue, and true freshman Terrence McGee, who Miles singled out for some praise. "It's who's got the hot hand a little bit, and right now it would be those four," Miles said.

ALABAMA: Nick Saban sounded less than thrilled with his running game's iffy performance in the Tide's Saturday scrimmage. "At some point in this camp, we need to develop some cohesion,” he said. “I feel like we have power up front, and we should be a better running team." The passing game still has to yet to begin working with one of its key pieces, too, as receiver Duron Carter has not yet begin practicing as the school waits to solve a transcript issue.

But the Tide defense rolls on as expected; Mark Barron is 100 percent after last year's pectoral injury and redshirt freshman OLB Adrian Hubbard drew praise from Saban -- no easy task -- for his pass-rushing potential.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Via the Clarion-Ledger's Brandon Marcello, Dan Mullen was not happy with his team's Saturday practice and was even more disgusted with the Bulldogs' Monday morning effort, calling the offensive showing "pathetic." Also: though Clemson transfer linebacker Brandon Maye has been expected by many to occupy one of MSU's three vacant starting linebacker positions, Mullen said Maye "has a long way to go to get a spot."

ELSEWHERE: Jadeveon Clowney collected a pair of sacks in South Carolina's weekend scrimmage, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says he's not in line for a starting position just yet ... Florida do-everything tight end Jordan Reed got a look at punt returner over the weekend--and from the sound of things, came away with a shot at the job ... Speaking of punt returns, Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor said he'd take some heat this year if the Tigers' lackluster returns on his watch didn't improve. "It needs to get better or somebody else will be here talking to you," he said. "I'll be spraying fruit at Walmart" ... Tennessee is poised to start a pair of true freshmen linebackers in Curt Maggitt and A.J. Johnson. And while Derek Dooley was pleased with the improved "efficiency" of the Vol offense under Tyler Bray, Bray still completed just 12 of 26 passes (46 percent) in Saturday's scrimmage ... And speaking of errant passing, the three quarterbacks dueling for the Ole Miss job went a combined 7-of-24 in the Rebels' weekend scrimmage.


Posted on: August 10, 2011 11:49 am
 

SEC RapidReport Roundup, 8/10: Dooley unhappy

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Running down everything you need to know from the day's news in the SEC, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters.


TENNESSEE: Derek Dooley was less-than-thrilled with the Volunteers' first scrimmage of fall camp, saying of the offense "they just weren't working together, they looked like 11 individuals out there." And though quarterback Tyler Bray had his moments, Dooley wanted more out of his sophomore signal-caller.

"He made some throws, made a couple of big plays," Dooley said. "But the consistency was nonexistent, it's enough to drive you crazy." For the scrimmage, Bray went 13-of-29 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Former blue-chip receiver Da'Rick Rogers had a productive scrimmage, catching six balls for 77 yards and a touchdown.

GEORGIA: The Bulldogs have named their three new starters on the offensive line, joining senior holdovers Cordy Glenn at tackle and Ben Jones at center: sophomore guards Kenarious Gates (left) and Chris Burnette (right), and senior left tackle Justin Anderson. Of thre three, only Gates made a start in 2010; Anderson was playing on the defensive line.

Two names impressing in the early going are converted linebacker Richard Samuel at running back -- at 6'2, 243 now a much more imposing physical presence than in his first stint at RB -- and wide receiver Marlon Brown. "“Coach (Mark) Richt asked me the other day if I could name one receiver that’s caught my eye," said quarterback Aaron Murray. "I said Marlon. He’s having a tremendous camp. He’s making plays, looks fluid and is real consistent.”

But the highlight of yesterday's practice? 6'4", 330-pound nose tackle Johnathan Jenkins taking an interception back for a score. Also, starting CB Brandon Boykin and potential starting S Jakar Hamilton continue to be held out of practice with hamstring inuries.

AUBURN: Gene Chizik confirmed yesterday that after offseason shoulder surgery, five-star linebacker signee Kris Frost will miss the entirety of the season. Frost likely would have began his Auburn career on the two-deep at outside linebacker. He becomes the second five-star Tiger recruit in as many seasons to miss his freshman year, following tackle Shon Coleman's leukemia diagnosis in 2010.

It doesn't sound like fan favorite fullback Ladarious Phillips will be a major contributor anytime soon for the Tigers; Chizik said he hasn't "bought any stock in his development yet" and that Phillips "has a long way to go."

ALABAMA: To hear wide receiver Brandon Gibson tell it, the rest of the Tide offense isn't taking sides in the QB battle between A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims. " “They both come out with a great attitude, they help each other out, and they're both competitive," Gibson said. "So with either one of them, we're going to be fine.”

As for third quarterback Blake Sims, Nick Saban said he could see the field as the Tide's designated Wildcat quarterback, or even at tailback. After missing Monday's practice with a leg injury, backup offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio (brother of five-star Tide tackle signee Cyrus Kouandjio) participated in drills Tuesday.

AND ELSEWHERE: Starting senior guard Grant Cook was held out of Tuesday's Arkansas practice with a leg injury, but Bobby Petrino doesn't believe the injury is serious. True freshman Brey Cook (no relation, we think) is filling in with aplomb ... At South Carolina, No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice after a one-day absence due to a "personal matter." Clowney ran with the Gamecocks' first-team line in practice ... The Florida offensive line wants under-fire quarterback John Brantley to know they've got his back. And though we're not sure about the thoughts of speed-backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on the switch, Gator powerback Mike Gillislee likes the move to a pro-style scheme ... Sixth-year defensive end Kentrell Lockett sat out Tuesday's practice as Rebel coaches exercised caution with their oft-injured star. Houston Nutt also praised JUCO quarterback transfer Zack Stoudt, saying that after his spring game suspension he had done what he needed to do over the summer.

Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whatever you think about preseason polls -- such as the USA Today Coaches version, released earlier today -- the one thing you cannot argue is that they don't matter. For Oklahoma and Alabama, the news became official today that if they win all their games this 2011 season, they will be in the BCS national championship game--no ifs, ands, or buts. And though they'll start the season No. 4, the same can now be said of LSU, since they'll face two of the three teams ranked ahead of them.

So with that fact about their importance in mind, it's time to break down where each of the SEC's 12 teams landed in (or outside of) the first Coaches Poll of the year, and decide whether the pollsters placed them too high, or too low, or just right:

ALABAMA (No. 2): So much for defense winning championships, apparently. The Tide allowed a full half-yard less per-play than the Sooners did in 2011 (ranking seventh in the FBS to Oklahoma's 33rd) and return 10 defensive starters, while Oklahoma has said good-bye to All-American safety Quinton Carter and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Beal. There's also the little matter of Nick Saban's recent defensive pedigree over the much, much iffier Sooners'.

Given that Saban is still deciding between two inexperienced quarterbacks while the Sooners return Heisman candidate Landry Jones, we can understand the coaches' thinking here. But we don't agree with it.

Verdict? Even at No. 2, too low.

LSU (No. 4): It's not often you see the nation's 86th-ranked offense rewarded with the No. 4 ranking the following season, but such is the buzz surrounding the Tigers after their bludgeoning of Texas A&M in last year's Cotton Bowl.

But until Jordan Jefferson proves he's as improved as he appeared to be that night in Dallas and the new (and, unfortunately, newly reshuffled) offensive staff prove they're genuinely capable of putting all the Bayou Bengals' weapons to use, we're still foreseeing a lot of tight, competitive, coin-flip-style ball games. And as excellent as Les Miles is in those kinds of contests, that's still not the recipe for the one-loss season required to finish in the final top-five.

Verdict? Top 10 makes sense, but top 5 is too high.

SOUTH CAROLINA  (No. 12): There's no question that with Stephen Garcia back in the fold, the Gamecocks have the talent to live up to this lofty billing. And the schedule, while difficult, isn't that difficult; no LSU or Alabama means trips to Georgia and Arkansas are the trickiest dates on the slate. If Carolina can survive the week 2 trip to Athens, a 10- or even 11-win season beckons.

Of course, the Gamecocks have also been the kind of program that traditionally loses trap games like their roadies at Mississippi State or Tennessee, so it's also possible they drop three or four regular-season games and wind up nowhere near No. 12. Splitting the difference seems reasonable.

Verdict? About right.

ARKANSAS (No. 14): We'll make this simple: a talented, veteran defense opposite a Bobby Petrino offense featuring his long sought-after plowhorse running back and the nation's best wide receiving corps? They're going to be really, really good. 10-2 good, second straight BCS bowl berth good, we're thinking.

Verdict? Too low.

AUBURN (No. 19): As we mentioned earlier today, the old adage that you shouldn't drop the previous No. 1 until they lose might suggest the Tigers have been slapped in the face being as low as No. 19. And indeed, no defending national champion has been ranked this low to start the season since Minnesota went unranked in the 1961 preseason top 20.

But almost none of those defending national champions have faced either the kind of talent exodus the Tigers do or the savage slate that sees Auburn face all seven of the other SEC teams in the poll. If Gene Chizik can win the nine games that are likely necessary to finish the season in the top 20, he'll have done nearly as good a job as he did in 2010.

Verdict? It's a nice gesture towards the defending champs. But performance-wise? Too high.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (No. 20): Dan Mullen's Bulldogs will be good enough (and will have enough opportunity, with home dates against Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina) to impact the SEC race and make the top 25. They don't seem to have enough horses (particularly in a graduation-damaged front seven) to actually challenge for a title in a division as completely stacked as the West. 20 is jus tabout where we'd have them, too.

Verdict? About right.

GEORGIA (No. 22): Mark Richt's Bulldogs, on the other hand, are the SEC's biggest 2011 wild card. They might start 0-2 and collapse in an under-.500, Richt-finishing heap. They might start 2-0 and ride the league's cushiest schedule all the way to an undefeated regular season. (Seriously. Look at their slate and tell me which game after the Carolina tilt they won't be favored in if they can get past the Gamecocks.)

That would suggest a cautious 22 might be about right, but we're betting Richt has turned the tide with this spring's "Dream Team" recruiting class and the focus that comes with a make-or-break season.

Verdict? Too low. We think. Maybe.

FLORIDA (No. 24): It's easy to forget that for all of the disappointment and frustration of Urban Meyer's final season in Gainesville, the Gators still won eight games--and could have even snagged a few more if not for some unfortunate bounces against teams like LSU and Mississippi State. So even though we're firmly in wait-and-see mode where the John Brantley-Charlie Weis shotgun marriage is concerned, having the SEC's second-best defense from a year ago getting the added boost of Will Muschamp's arrival seems like reason enough to take a flyer on the Gators at the bottom of the ballot.

Verdict? About right.

THE OTHER FOUR (n/a): Tennessee pulled seven voting points to land in the "Others receiving votes" category at "No. 41" overall, with none of the other three SEC teams receiving even a token vote. We're surprised the Volunteers didn't get a little more love -- after their late-season surge in 2010, there was some measure of buzz pegging them as 2011 sleepers -- but after Tyler Bray's up-and-down spring, we don't blame the pollsters for their skepticism.

Verdict? About right.


Posted on: July 22, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:15 pm
 

Mark Ingram uninjured in car accident

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While all the eyes of Tuscaloosa were on coach Nick Saban at SEC Media Days on Friday morning, there was some scary news for the Alabama family as well. Former Tide running back and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was involved in a car accident with an 18-wheeler on Friday morning in Huntsville.

Police said Ingram's 2008 Infiniti was traveling southbound on Leeman Ferry Road when it collided with an 18-wheeler driven by Paul Clewis. Ingram's girlfriend was also in the car.

Police said both airbags deployed in Ingram's car, but neither Ingram nor his girlfriend were hurt, and neither was the truck driver. 

Police spokesman Harry Hobbs said the preliminary accident report indicated that alcohol or drugs were not involved in the wreck, which happened at the intersection of Leeman Ferry and Metro Circle.

Thankfully, everybody was OK, because in an accident involving a car and an 18-wheeler, many times things can turn out tragically. 

Ingram, who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints this spring, was picked up at the scene by friends. He had been in Huntsville on Thursday night with former Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones for a meet and greet in which he and Jones posed for photos with fans and signed autographs.
 

Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Alabama's Nick Saban at SEC Media Days

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama coach Nick Saban is a football guy. The first man on the microphone Friday at SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Saban deflected many of the "policy" questions of the week and instead kept his focus on the game itself.

The Crimson Tide were announced today as the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC, and some have speculated they could even start the season as the top-ranked team nationally.

Want to know why?

Just take a look at the nine Preseason All-SEC First Team selections, a conference record. But Saban acknowledges there are question marks, and one of the biggest ones is at the quarterback position. Sophomore A.J. McCarron and freshman Phillip Sims have been competing for the position, which still does not have a clear-cut starter.

"We're gonna continue to manage those guys through fall camp," Saban said. "Neither guy has a tremendous amount of experience, we have a lot of trust and confidence in both of their abilities. It will be interesting to see who plays better in a game, because we feel like both guys have done a really good job and both guys are talented enough to be very, very successful quarterbacks for our team."

Other highlights from Saban's time on the podium:

-- Saban used the word "consistency" or "consistent" 11 times during the press conference. Alabama identified two major issues from its 2010's campaign: play better fundamentally and eliminate mental errors. There is no doubt the Crimson Tide are going to be good this fall, but you get the feeling that Saban believes they have the possibility to really be great. They were picked to win the SEC West again last year, but in the opinion of the coaching staff, the aforementioned issues kept them from that goal.

-- There was a good amount of dialogue on the affairs in the state of Alabama. First, it was many thanks to those who have assisted the state with tornado relief efforts, then it turned to Auburn-Alabama relations. Toomer's Corner was never expressly mentioned, but Saban went out of his way to address the intensifying rivalry between the two schools:

"I think we have a lot of wonderful people, a lot of wonderful people who support those institutions in a very positive way, Saban said. "I think our state is very, very important. I think the respect that we have for each other is very, very important, and in no way should affect the competitive rivalry we have with each other.

"But I also think that some of the things that have been negatives are not really good. And I think there's just a small number of people who probably create this - on both sides. This is not a criticism of one or the other. I would like to see our fans show class in terms of how we represent our institution and our state and our athletic programs. That would be really, really appreciated."

-- Listening to Saban talk X's and O's is just. so. cool. More than any other coach this week, Saban dove into the intricacies of his 3-4 defense. In case you missed it, here's a recap of Saban's answer for the clipboard junkies.

I think philosophically you have to be able to manage circumstances and understand what you're getting into because you need bigger guys to play nose and defensive end. So you have to have outside backer types who can pass-rush when you get into all the spread stuff and nickel stuff that you have to play.
But it's probably a little bit overstated because we actually played a 3-4 last year about 20% of the time. That's dictated and determined by the offense that we play. Because when we play nickel and dime, we're playing more 40-type defense. I know Will will be the same way, most of the people in the league are the same way, because you're going to get in the best pass-rush front you can have.
I think the greatest advantage philosophically of playing a 3-4 is it gives you the best opportunity to play a seven-man front and play split-safety coverages rather than having to be in an eight-man front to stop the run. You have to have the right kind of players to do it. But philosophically I think that's why you see more and more of that defense.

After months of violations, allegations, and lots of other -tions, we have football talk!

-- Basically, every coach has been asked to give an opinion on the proposed changes from SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Saban has no interest in making comments on the issue, but instead expressed his desire for there to be "dialogue and discussion" with the rest of the coaches and commissioners before changes are made to the game. As a self-appointed "proponent for college football," Saban believes the game does a lot of good for people, and seemed to wonder why there was so much negativity and call for change.

"I'm sort of proud of our profession and I'm proud of what we do to help young people have a better chance to be successful in life," Saban said. "So I'm not necessarily ready to jump out there and support or not support whatever changes we make."

Keep it here at the Eye On College Football for more updates from media days from all conferences in the upcoming weeks.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Derek Dooley at SEC Media Days

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Tennesse head coach Derek Dooley hasn't been at Tennessee all that long, but he's routinely one of the more entertaining coaches to listen to every summer during SEC Media Days. Much like his father, Vince Dooley, Derek isn't exactly afraid to speak his opinion on a subject, particularly when he feels strongly about something.

When Dooley faced the media on Thursday, there was one topic that sent him off onto a long, thoughtful answer. Dooley was asked what he thought about the SEC's new policy of having a uniform discipline policy when it comes to players, and also on the idea of one-year renewable scholarships to multi-year scholarships.

Dooley started by addressing the scholarship issue.

"You know, I get a kick out of a lot of these issues. They're fun to read about. A scholarship is a contract. I mean, that's what it is. It's a contract between two parties. Both parties have obligations to do things to continue the contract.

"I hear about how it's so awful when a player gets a scholarship taken away. I'm sitting there going, Universities give academic scholarships all the time, and if a student doesn't meet certain academic requirements, they take it away from them.

"It's no different to me in athletics. We have a commitment to them, and they have a commitment to us. So we're giving them a benefit and they're giving us a benefit. That's why it's a contract.

"So I think how we have things is good, it's fair. It is one year. It's renewable. I think the market takes place when a team is abusing that situation. If a coach is just taking away scholarships, kicking people off the team, the market is going to take care of it in recruiting. Who is going to want to go play for the guy? Allow the market to act."

Obviously, there are some differences between academic scholarships and athletic scholarships. For starters, while both can be taken away, academic scholarships come with set guidelines for what you need to do to keep that scholarship. Athletic scholarships have a lot more gray area. Still, Dooley did make some interesting points in his response.

Just like he did when he tackled the player discipline issue.

"It goes back to what you believe philosophically. Are we going to allow the institutions and programs to set their rules, then allow the market to handle which way they go and the success they have, or are we going to take over and define what everybody does all the time? I think it's absurd to have across-the-board disciplinary measures when you're talking about dealing with young people.

"Otherwise what we need to do is get off the campuses and form us a little college league like the NFL if we're going to go in that direction. Then it's one group, we represent the college football league, not the school, we're all the same, we all wear the same sideline gear except the color of everything. It's all uniform.

"That's what makes college unique. We got programs that have $100 million competing with programs that have $10 million. Things aren't level. Things aren't equal. That's just the way it is. I think that's a unique thing, fun. Makes great fodder for the fans, brings pride to the institution because of their uniqueness. I don't think that's something we should be ashamed of."

Dooley then finished his answer in typical Dooley fashion, drawing a laugh from the entire room.

"I don't even know if I answered your question."

No doubt Dooley's comments about forming "a little college league like the NFL" caused a few ears across the country to perk up, as there are some who believe that may be the direction that college sports are taking. The idea that sometime in the not-too-distant future, the BCS will separate from the NCAA entirely to form its own league.

Some other highlights from Derek Dooley's session:

On his relationship with Will Muschamp - "Will and I are good friends. Of course, we talked a lot. I know he told you guys that prior to him getting the job at Florida. We still stay in touch. Not as much, obviously. We certainly don't talk about the same things we did before." 

"Of course, I had mixed feelings. I was proud of him. He deserved it. He's earned it. But I'd rather him been at Texas because he's a friend of mine. I mean, that's just how it is. "

On Tennessee's search for a new athletic director, and the performance of interim AD Joan Cronan - "Yeah, I've had a lot of contact with Joan. Joan has been phenomenal. When Joan took over at interim athletics director, I thought it was very important to try to define for her three or four things where she could help us before we hired a new athletics director. She has responded beautifully. She has done a phenomenal job of kind of running the ship in the interim phase. "

"I am not involved in the hiring process, nor should I be, because it's going to be my boss. I've appreciated Dr. [Jimmy] Cheek's communication with me at every step, which he has. I've appreciated his asking questions on what I thought was important. I know that he's going to make a great decision for Tennessee." 

On recruiting services - "The biggest role they play is providing video to evaluate players. You know, in the old days, I say 'the old days,' I'm a young guy. The old days were like 10 years ago to me. You got your film from a high school coach. So when you went to the schools, you would share video.

"With technology, with digital, it's been a lot easier. There's a better way where the high school coach can one time send his games to a service, and then that service can send it out to all the colleges."

"We spend a lot of money on it. I don't apologize for that. We recruit across the country. We have to stretch our wings out pretty far and need to get video from a lot of areas to build our board.

"But we do try to stay fiscally responsible that the services we are using are giving us a little return on the back end." 

On the SEC East's decline compared to the SEC West - "I don't have a theory other than to say I've been watching SEC football all of my life, as you guys know, and everything goes in cycles, it always does. Programs have their great runs. Programs have their bumps along the way. I don't think that's ever going to change. I mean, that's the competitive nature of our sport.

"So certainly the east looked a little different last year than it has in the past. But we'll see how it turns out this year." 

"Here is what I do know: every time you think a team is down, they emerge and they whip your tail. Every time you think a team's on top, things probably don't go their way.

"What I can't do is concern myself with where the other programs are. We have to concern ourselves with where we are as a program, and each week try to figure out a way to beat that team because we only have to be better than them on one day of the year. That's what our focus is."

SEC Media Days will conclude tomorrow with Nick Saban, James Franklin, Houston Nutt and Les Miles all scheduled to address the media. Keep reading CBSSports.com and the Eye On College Football Blog for continued coverage.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
 

The entire 2011 season simulated on NCAA 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

After getting my new copy of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 on Tuesday, I took the time to simulate the entire 2012 season to see what the video game thinks is going to happen this year. In order to make things realistic, I even went through all the trouble of updating rosters to reflect what they currently look like.

That meant moving Russell Wilson from NC State to Wisconsin, removing Terrelle Pryor -- not to mention benching the suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season -- removing WaShaun Ealey and Caleb King from Georgia's backfield and so on and so forth.

No need to thank me, it was a labor of love.

So how did things turn out?

Well, it looks as if we'll once again have a non-BCS school finish the year undefeated -- the only school to do so -- but it's not Boise State or TCU. In fact, Boise State finally got its shot at a national title, but it couldn't come through.

Who did?

Let's find out. First we'll start with the conference champions (Records don't include conference championships or bowl games).

ACC -- North Carolina 9-3 (6-2)

Big 12 -- Texas A&M 10-2 (8-1)

Big East -- South Florida 9-3 (6-1)

Big Ten -- Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)

C-USA -- Houston 12-0 (8-0)

MAC -- Western Michigan 10-2 (7-1)

MWC -- Boise State 12-0 (7-0)

Pac 12 -- Oregon 9-3 (7-2)

SEC -- South Carolina 11-1 (7-1)

Sun Belt -- Troy 10-2 (8-0)

WAC -- Fresno State 8-4 (7-0)

And how about those BCS bowl games? Well I'm glad you asked.

Rose Bowl -- Wisconsin 49, Oregon 46 OT

Fiesta Bowl -- Texas A&M 38, Ohio State 17

Orange Bowl -- North Carolina 28, Alabama 20

Sugar Bowl -- Houston 48, South Florida 13

BCS National Championship -- South Carolina 24, Boise State 22

Yes, that's right, the Ol' Ball Coach has added another national title to his resume. Boise State did have a chance to topple the BCS machine, but couldn't pull through. Trailing 24-16, Kellen Moore hit Kyle Efaw on a 16-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, but the Broncos couldn't convert the two-point conversion. The Gamecocks ran out the clock and celebrated a national title. Oh, and Stephen Garcia was the game's MVP. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute or two.

As for awards, I hope Houston quarterback Case Keenum used all that time off last season to build himself a trophy case because it looks as if he's going to need one. Keenum not only won the Heisman Trophy, but the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien trophies to boot. That's what happens when you lead Houston to a 14-0 record yet still finish second in both polls.

Now, if that's not enough info for you, let's take a look at some of the season storylines by conference.

ACC

-- Jimbo Fisher hits the sophomore slump. Florida State doesn't even qualify for a bowl berth after finishing the year 5-7 with a 3-5 mark within the ACC. FSU loses to Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Miami and Florida. And of those losses, only the loss to Florida was by less than 10 points.

-- Al Golden has Miami on the right track. Sure, the Canes only went 8-5 during the season, but they did finish 6-2 in ACC play, just missing the ACC title game thanks to a 27-17 loss to North Carolina

-- Duke goes bowling! That's right, Duke finishes the year 7-6 with a 4-4 mark in the ACC, including a two-point win over UNC. Though the Dukies do lose to Florida in the Music City Bowl. I have no idea who Steve Spurrier was rooting for while watching.

-- Boston College is the "best" team in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles finish the year 8-6 with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They even nearly beat UNC in the title game, losing 29-27.

Big 12

-- Oklahoma can't handle the pressure. The Sooners started out the year 7-0 before getting shocked by Kansas State on the road -- where else? -- 24-21. They also lost at Oklahoma State 38-24 to end the regular season and kill their hopes of a BCS berth.

-- Texas won't be terrible two years in a row. The Longhorns finish the season 11-2 with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12. Though they do lose to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which stings a bit.

-- Where have you gone, Blaine Gabbert? Missouri needs you. The Tigers finished the season 4-8 with a 2-7 mark in the conference. Seems they're going to miss Colorado, Nebraska and the North Division.

Big East

-- The Big East is respectable. While no team in the conference finished the season with less than three losses (Pitt being the only with three), seven of the eight Big East schools won at least seven games, with Rutgers holding the only losing record.

-- Louisville can't finish. The Cardinals led the Big East most of the season before losing four of their last five games to finish 3-4 in the conference.

-- Casino or football field, Dana Holgorsen has a tough time winning anywhere this year. The Mountaineers went 2-5 in the Big East during his inaugural campaign.

Big Ten

-- Who needs Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor? Ohio State went 4-1 in its first five games of the season while so many of its playmakers sat out, and though the Buckeyes struggled in Big Ten play, they still finished the year 9-4 and got an at-large berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and they still beat Michigan.

-- Not that Michigan minded all that much, because Brady Hoke made believers out of the faithful in his first year. That Michigan loss to Ohio State? That was the Wolverines only Big Ten loss of the regular season, as they went 7-1 to win the Legends Division.

-- Wisconsin loves Russell Wilson. Wilson and the Badgers tore up the Big Ten all year long until the final week of the regular season. Then, after being 11-0 and ranked #1 for the majority of the regular season, the Badgers fell at home to Penn State 42-28. Though I guess beating Michigan 34-13 in the first Big Ten Championship Game and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl took some of the sting out of it.

-- New kid Nebraska gets picked on. The Huskers went 3-5 in Big Ten play, even losing to Minnesota. Though that wasn't as embarrassing as the 13-7 loss to Ohio -- University, not State -- in the Texas Bowl.

Pac-12

-- USC isn't on probation in virtual reality. So the Trojans were able to win the Pac-12 South division, even if they did lose to Oregon 35-14 in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.

-- Utah enjoyed their move more than Colorado. The Utes finished the season 5-4 in conference play while Colorado went 3-6.

-- Andrew Luck should have gone pro. Stanford and Luck were off to a very nice start to the season, opening 7-0. Then Luck broke his arm, missed the rest of the year and Stanford finished 10-3.

SEC

-- The East still stinks. Sure, South Carolina wins the national title, but no other SEC East team managed to win more than four games in the conference. Meanwhile, in the West, LSU had the worst season of anyone, going 7-6 with a 3-5 mark in the SEC. Les Miles needs to eat more grass.

-- Will Muschamp did OK. Florida finished the season 9-4 with a 4-4 mark in the SEC, though Charlie Weis' offense needs some work. The Gators never scored more than 21 points against a SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt.

-- Alabama needs to fire Nick Saban, PAAAAWWWWWWWL. Oh the indignity of Alabama's 2012 season. Not only did the Tide lose the SEC title game to South Carolina, but then they went and lost to North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Since when does Alabama play in the Orange Bowl, PAAWWWWL? NICK SABAN HAS GOT TO GO.

-- Auburn doesn't miss Cam Newton as much as you'd think. Even without their Heisman winning quarterback, the Tigers still manage to go 8-5 with a 4-4 mark in the conference. Not great, but not terrible either.

Non-BCS

-- TCU would like to get to the Big East ASAP. The Horned Frogs lose twice in 2012, and not just to Boise State. Unlike 2011, TCU wasn't able to escape San Diego State, losing 33-30 at Qualcomm Stadium.

-- Notre Dame is back! The Irish finish the year 10-3, and feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. Why they're painting Brian Kelly over Touchdown Jesus as you read this.

-- BYU finds independence to be constricting. The Cougars first season free of the shackles of conferencedom does not work out very well, as BYU finishes the year 4-8 and even loses to Utah State along the way.

-- While I already went over the disrespect Houston received, what about conference mate Southern Miss? The Golden Eagles finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to Houston in the C-USA title game, and they couldn't even sniff the Top 25.

And that's it. There's the entire 2011 season right there according to a video game. I suppose at this point there's no point in even watching any of the games. Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go try and wrap my head around Stephen Garcia leading South Carolina to a national championship.

Can you imagine that party?
Posted on: July 1, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 7:17 pm
 

If Lyles is telling truth, Chip Kelly must go

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As reported earlier, controversial scouting service owner Willie Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that he received money from Oregon to indirectly steer recruits to Eugene, and that the infamous obsolete scouting report was sent in order to make the $25,000 payment appear more legitimate. Lyles also told Yahoo! that he met with the NCAA in March, and that he withheld details at that meeting that he would later reveal to Yahoo!.

Oregon's options at this point are simple: dispute heavily Lyles' version of events, or fire head coach Chip Kelly.

If Lyles isn't telling the truth, obviously, that's not Oregon's fault, nor should it necessitate any discipline for Kelly. That said, Oregon had better be on the offensive about that right now, and have a paper trail to back it up. Simply repeating that Oregon doesn't think it did anything wrong isn't going to fly anymore -- not with Lyles' statements out there and the litany of NCAA violations possible here. Lyles said what just about everybody was thinking -- that the "scouting report" was a sham, and that the money was really for some sort of indirect coercive influence -- and he's got the ambiguously worded cards from two different Oregon coaches (including Kelly) to back it up.

That all said, the existing evidence as of right now paints Kelly and Oregon as brazen flouters of NCAA rules, to the point that the best thing Lyles said about recruiting arrangement was that he wasn't directly influencing the prospects' decisions. That appears to be a distinction without much of a difference, however. Look at what Lyles said about getting five-star RB recruit Lache Seastrunk to Oregon:

Lyles said Oregon's assistant director of football operations, Josh Gibson, had direct knowledge – and played an ancillary role – in Lyles helping [...] Seastrunk petition to have his grandmother, rather than his mother, sign his national letter of intent with the Ducks in February 2010. Seastrunk's mother, who expressed opposition to her son about attending Oregon, otherwise could have blocked the signing.

Lyles then says outright that it was an indirect but pivotal role in getting Seastrunk to Oregon, but... that sounds pretty direct. And as for the amount of influence was involved here, Lyles basically says outright that Oregon went around the wishes of Seastrunk's mother. To see Seastrunk not only calling out Alabama head coach Nick Saban at Toomer's Corner while being recruited by Auburn in 2009, but still talking fondly of the Tigers in the lead up to the BCS Championship Game, it certainly appears that a significant amount of work was put into getting Seastrunk to Oregon instead of Auburn. Whether that was legal work is for the NCAA to decide.

Here's how bad the situation is for Oregon: the best argument Kelly and the Ducks can make is that the $25,000 couldn't have been used to land Seastrunk and the other recruits, because if there's one thing the Cam Newton ($180,000) and Patrick Peterson ($70,000) situations showed us, $25,000 is far below asking price for even one high-profile player. And they'd be right. It still doesn't answer the question of what the $25,000 was really playing for, though, and that's the question that may derail Oregon's program and Kelly's career right as both were getting good. 

 
 
 
 
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