Posted on: November 4, 2010 8:17 pm

Teams, bowls hoping eligibility starts at 5-7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Yesterday at the College Football Blog, we noted that multiple SEC teams were struggling to become bowl eligible with only a handful of weeks left in the season, and that this was going to be bad business for the league, the teams and maybe most of all, the newly SEC-less bowls involved. One of those teams with an uphill road to 6-6 was Ole Miss , and one of the bowls potentially affected was the Liberty Bowl .

So if you're the Rebels or the Memphis-based Liberty brass, what to do? Hopefully win three games and make the speculation moot. But failing that, as Kyle Veazey of the Clarion-Ledger writes, hope the entirety of FBS falls short in prodcuing bowl-eligible teams and the NCAA opens the door for 5-7 teams to taste the postseason for the first time:
The NCAA's approval in April of 35 bowls and the possibility of a dearth of teams to fill the 70 slots at the end of this season are making some observers wonder if the NCAA will relax its six-win requirement for bowl eligibility.

It's early still to see if that number is in jeopardy, but the margin is razor-thin. Thirty-three teams entered this week's games with six wins. Seventy-one teams qualified for 68 bowl spots last year, according to reports
Trying to project the bowl picture for all of FBS is beyond the scope of this post (that's what this is for), but remove bowl-ineligible USC from the picture, reduce the number of SEC teams available from 2009's 10 to 2010's probable nine, keep everything else the same, and you're already at 69 eligible candidates ... and those same 70 slots.

So if it comes to it, would the Liberty Bowl be above taking a 5-7 Rebels team from just down the road in Oxford?

Regardless of record, the Rebels would be an attractive team for the nearby Liberty Bowl, spokesman Harold Graeter said.
That's a no. (It's worth questioning whether this would be fair to a potential Conference USA champion whose reward for a championship season would be an SEC squad that couldn't even reach .500, but when there's rear ends to be put in seats, that's well beside the point.)

This is the kind of story that's not making a lot of waves right now, since there's still plenty of time for the FBS to hit the magic number of 70 6-6-or-better teams. (Particularly if the NCAA allows teams like Virginia to count a second victory over FCS competition.) But it will be worth keeping a close eye on the final few weeks of the season as the final tally either wheezes across the line or falls short, and as bowls left with unappealing scraps jockey for whatever halfway-interesting match-up they can find.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 12:58 pm

Shannon: Morris taking first-team snaps

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Miami quarterback Jacory Harris left Saturday's matchup with Virginia with a concussion due to a MONSTROUS hit from Cavalier defensive tackle John-Kevin Dolce, the Hurricanes began spinning the quarterback carousel.  First came second string quarterback Spencer Whipple, son of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.  After throwing two interceptions in his first six attempts, Whipple found a spot right back on the sideline next to his father.  Next in for the Hurricanes was fourth-string freshman Stephen Morris.  After three scoreless quarters, Morris was able to lead Miami to 19 fourth quarter points and nearly overcame the 24-0 deficit in the losing effort for the Hurricanes.  Morris connected on 9 of 22 passes for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while and picking up a 9 yard touchdown run of his own.

With Harris' status for Saturday's game against Maryland up in the air, Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon already has Morris taking snaps with the first-team offense in practice this week.  Shannon has yet to name a starter, as doctors continue to monitor Harris' condition after the concussion.  Shannon said that Jacory wants to play, but the fourth-year head coach said the decision will be made based on what's best for Harris' well being.  Morris did show flashes of big-play potential in the fourth quarter of the Virginia game, but he also threw two interceptions.  Some Hurricanes fans were surprised to see Morris come off the bench ahead of A.J. Highsmith (son of famous Miami running back Alonzo Highsmith), but Shannon revealed to WQAM on Tuesday that he would "probably be redshirted" due to a wrist injury.  Highsmith is also expected to switch to defensive back in the spring.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 3:22 pm

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 9

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Doctors have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but these doctors obviously didn't have the Saturday Meal Plan in mind when they came up with that load of poop.  I mean, the morning slate has been pretty light all season, but this week?  Wow, it's barren.  I wouldn't normally ever say this, but if there was ever a Saturday morning to get all those chores around the house done that you've been putting off, this would be it.  Besides, you're going to need some room in your stomach to eat all the candy you decide to keep from the trick or treaters on Sunday.

Still, if you insist on it, here are your options.


Main Course - Cincinnati vs. Syracuse - Noon - ESPNU

See?  I told you.  I wouldn't normally recommend the Big East to anybody, but this really is the most important game on Saturday morning.  Syracuse has been one of the bigger surprises of the season, and if you ever want to check them out without sacrificing better games, than this week is your best chance to do so.

Both the 'Cuse and Cincinnati are still very much alive in the Big East race, and the conference does still get that automatic BCS berth, so I guess that makes this game worth your time. 

Side Orders: I suppose that when Jacory Harris is playing quarterback for Miami there's always a chance that the Hurricanes could be upset, so I guess that's reason enough to tune into Miami and Virginia on Saturday morning.  Or you could go with Illinois and Purdue!   Oh how exciting that will be!  Though, truth be told, Illinois is one of those teams that may be a lot better than is record indicates.  I would have made Kansas State and Oklahoma State the main course, but since it's not being televised nationally, I just couldn't.  Still, if it's on in your area, I suggest finding it.


Main Course - #14 Nebraska vs. #7 Missouri - 3:30pm - ABC

Unfortunately, the two biggest games of the day will be played at the same time on Saturday afternoon.  It was tough to choose between the two for the main course, but since the winner of this one is basically a lock to win the Big 12 North, I chose this.

Missouri jumped out last weekend and showed the country that they are, in fact, a legit undefeated team by knocking off Oklahoma, but this game may be even tougher.  It's one thing to defend your home turf, it's another to go into a hostile environment and take down a strong Nebraska team.

Well, unless your Texas, but the Longhorns are stuck in some kind of bizarro dimension this season.

If the Tigers can win in Lincoln, then barring something crazy, they'll continue climbing the BCS rankings and reach the Big 12 title game undefeated with the conference and possibly a shot at the national title on the line.

Side Orders: Of course, if the Big Ten is more your thing, then you can't go wrong with Michigan State and Iowa.   This game is the last true roadblock between the Spartans and an undefeated season, as they don't have to face Ohio State this season.  Also, while the Hawkeyes lost last week, they're still in the hunt for the Big Ten title as well, but a loss in this game would wipe away all hopes.  Or maybe you'd prefer Georgia and Florida.   The game doesn't have the normal hype considering neither team is ranked right now, but whoever wins this game has a good shot to win the SEC East.  The loser is just about done.


Main Course - #24 USC vs. #1 Oregon

This is your best option on a Saturday night that is a little light compared to the last few weeks, but anytime you get a chance to watch Oregon play, you should take advantage of it.  This team is just fun, and considering the amount of smack that has gone back and forth between the Ducks and Trojans this week, it's that much better.

If the Ducks annihilate USC on Saturday night, they also have a chance to impress those computers and jump Auburn in the BCS rankings.   Also, since USC isn't allowed to go bowling this season, or win the Pac-10, they don't have much left to play for aside from possibly knocking the Ducks out of the title game.

Side Orders: ABC's other prime-time game this weekend is Ohio State and Minnesota.   Seriously, the only thing I have to say about that game is pray you get Oregon and USC in your area.  If you don't, flip on over to Ole Miss and Auburn because watching Cam Newton run over dudes is always a good time.  There's also Washington and Stanford, or you can check out Penn State and Michigan.   In other words, there's nothing fantastic, but there is plenty of quality on Saturday night.

Late Night Snack

Odds are that it won't be televised in your area, but if it is, take some time out to watch TCU and UNLV.   Believe me when I say that TCU is just as good as Boise State or any of the other undefeated teams in college football these days, they just don't get as much national television exposure.  So, if you can, do yourself a favor and find this one.  It might just change your mind about who should be playing for a national title, and who shouldn't be.
Posted on: September 13, 2010 10:39 am

Lane Kiffin says Trojans 'outcoached' by Virginia

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Through the first two games of Lane Kiffin 's reign in sunny southern California, the USC Trojans are 2-0, though neither of their wins against Hawai'i and Virginia could be called impressive victories.  Against Hawai'i the Trojans defense had a lot of trouble stopping the Warrior offense, and against the Cavaliers on Saturday night the offense struggled to put points on the board.

Which is why it isn't all that surprising to find out that even though they've won both games, Kiffin isn't very happy with his team's effort.  In fact, on Saturday, he believes his team was "outcoached."

"I kind of feel like we lost," Kiffin said. "They outcoached us today ... I would say we were outcoached.

"I hope you can tell the disappointment. We're not getting it done. It's the most miserable 2-0 locker room I've been in, which is good. We need to get better. All of a sudden we might lose a game like this."

One area Kiffin would like to see improvement from is the Trojan rushing attack.  USC managed 127 yards rushing against Virginia, but 20 of those came on a scramble from Matt Barkley .  Kiffin would like to see a better rhythmn established.

Another area Kiffin may want to consider working on is his team's discipline.  Through their first two games the Trojans have picked up 24 penalties for 240 yards.  When you're getting called for 12 penalties a game, it's not a question of if it's going to catch up to you, but when.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 7, 2010 8:07 pm

"Player of the Week" award bloat runs rampant

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Generally speaking, conference awards for "player of the week" are a good thing; bringing some extra recognition to the top individual performances from each weekend is certainly in the best interest of the conference, its teams, and their players. Certainly, we can all agree on that.

And yet, the recent proliferation of these awards is a little unsettling. Sure, there's not a ton of value in a conference handing out one award each week to the quarterback who threw the most touchdowns and calling it "offensive player of the week," but the exclusivity of it--one side of the ball, one award, maybe two if both guys are deserving--at least gives the designation a little heft. That's why we were a little disappointed to see so many weekly awards handed out over the past couple days.

For example, the ACC gave the designation to eight different players this week. EIGHT! That includes--deep breath--an offensive back (UNC quarterback T.J. Yates), three co-offensive linemen (FSU's Zebrie Sanders, Georgia Tech's Sean Bedford, and Virginia's Oday Aboushi), a defensive lineman (Maryland's Joe Vellano), a defensive back (Maryland's Kenny Tate), a specialist (Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman), and a rookie (Miami running back Lamar Miller). Now, as a line play geek, honoring offensive linemen is something near and dear to my heart, so I hesitate to call for an end to such ridiculous practices as this. But... come on. Further, shouldn't the ACC really just honor offensive lines as a whole? They function as units far more than individual blockers, after all, and each of the linemen would have been made to look a lot worse if they weren't on the same page as the linemates next to them.

The ACC's avalanche of awards makes the Big XII's decision to announce co-winners in each of the traditional three categories positively reasonable by comparison, and we barely batted an eye at "MAC West Defensive Player of the Week" when the division elected not to give the award to two other people at the same time.

Look, it's fine to bring recognition to top performers, and we won't stoop to singling out any of these players as specifically being undeserving of the awards given to them. It's just that the more of these that get given out, the closer they come to being glorified participation ribbons, and where's the glory in that?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com