Tag:MAC
Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:58 pm
 

NIU gains, loses new coordinator in 24 hours

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Rutgers assistant P.J. Fleck appeared to have had the softest of landings after Greg Schiano took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job--only to spurn his alma mater after less than 24 hours for what he may feel is an even softer landing.

A former star receiver for Northern Illinois, Fleck was announced as NIU's offensive coordinator Thursday after former OC Matt Canada took the same job with Wisconsin. The job would have been his first as a coordinator, and would have put him in charge one of the nation's most productive offenses in a program and city with which Fleck is highly familiar. 

But Fleck was nonetheless in the post for less than a day, as according to the Chicago Tribune, he called NIU head coach Dave Doeren Friday morning to tell him he was resigning the position. A source told the Tribune that Fleck's reasoning in the call with Doeren was that he "wasn’t comfortable with the coordinator’s role." 

But while we don't doubt that discomfort may have played a role, Fleck's reasoning may have also been influenced by the presence of a second job opportunity, one alongside his old boss in the NFL. According to reports, Fleck will instead sign on as the new Tampa Bay wide receivers coach, the same position he enjoyed in Piscataway with the Scarlet Knights. Fleck worked with Schiano for the past two seasons.

Despite putting his program back at square one, Doeren (pictured) was philosophical about Fleck's decision, at least in print.

“Everything happens for a reason and the result of this will make NIU Football even better,” he said.

We don't blame Doeren for taking that approach. But finding a candidate with Fleck's resume who's as likely to say yes at this late date will be a challenge for a program like NIU, no doubt making this kind of decision from one of their own doubly hard to take. 

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:53 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 10:00 pm
 

Report: Tressel could take a job at Akron

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Just when the day seemed to belong to Urban Meyer and Ohio State's newest recruiting class, former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel's name popped up in the news.

According to a report in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Tressel may be close to accepting a job at Akron. Tressel will not be joining the school as a coach, however, instead he'll be filling an administrative role within the school's athletic department.

"When Jim Tressel and other alumni assisted us in our search for a football coach last December, we began to engage in dynamic conversations about Jim's professional goals outside of athletics," the school told the Plain-Dealer. "We share a common interest in innovative programs for student success. Our discussions continue." 

Akron has an announcement scheduled for Thursday at 10am.

It wouldn't be the first job Tressel has taken since leaving Ohio State. He spent the 2011 season as an advisor with the Indianapolis Colts, and even interviewed to be their next head coach before the Colts hired Chuck Pagano to fill the role.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 4:58 pm
 

Report: Ex-Ohio St. commit charged with rape

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former Ohio State recruit Roger Lewis has been charged with two counts of rape.

The wide receiver from Pickerington Central turned himself in to Pickerington, Ohio police on Wednesday after being contacted by the police on Tuesday according to ThisWeekNewspapers

According to the report, Lewis has been charged with two counts of rape of an 18-year old woman. Both charges are first-degree felonies. It's alleged that Lewis raped the alleged victim twice, once in December and once on January 6th. According to Pickerington police commander Matt Delp, it's believed that the alleged victim is an acquaintance of Lewis.

The police also say that Lewis has been under investigation for over a month. Earlier in January he had been pulled over and cited for speeding and driving under suspension in the alleged victim's vehicle with the alleged victim as a passenger. It was after Lewis was pulled over with the alleged victim that she first reported the incidents to the police.

Lewis had been a member of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class until earlier this week. That's when the Columbus Dispatch first reported that Lewis would be exploring other options when it came to where he would play football in college. Ohio, Marshall and Bowling Green were all mentioned as possible landing spots for Lewis in the story.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 8:20 pm
 

Auburn hires Temple's Loeffler as new OC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Gene Chizik has made his choice to replace Gus Malzahn--and it's a name that won't be unfamiliar to SEC fans.

Auburn has announced that it has hired away Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. Loeffler spent five seasons as the Michigan quarterback coach and also has stints with the Detroit Lions and Central Michigan, but is best known for having served as Florida's quarterbacks coach for two seasons--including their 2009 undefeated regular season with Tim Tebow

“Auburn is one of the special jobs and special places in college athletics with a tremendous amount of history and tradition," Loeffler said in a statement. "It’s an honor to be joining Coach Chizik’s staff and I’m very appreciative of this opportunity. I’m excited to get started and look forward to beginning recruiting, meeting the players and staff, and interacting with the Auburn family.”

"Scot is a rising star who has worked with some very good quarterbacks, and has achieved a tremendous amount of success," Chizik said. "He is a tireless worker, is an outstanding recruiter and knows the rigors of competing in this conference."

Chad Henne was one of multiple quarterbacks to have flourished under Loeffler's tutelage in Ann Arbor. 

Despite those qualifications, Loeffler, 37, remains an unproven quantity when it comes to running an SEC-level offense; his single year at Temple (having followed ex-Gator coordinator and current Owl head coach Steve Addazio) is his only one as a play-caller. The Owls finished 63rd in total offense but a much-better 35th in yards-per-play, with the ground game particularly impressive; behind Bernard Pierce's 1,481 yards, the Owls finished 7th in the FBS in rushing.

Between Loeffler's track record of quarterback coaching, his effective 2011 run-scheming, and an age and energy level that should play well on the recruiting trail, it's easy to see why Chizik would be interested. (That Loeffler may be able to install some of Urban Meyer's spread concepts along with his bread-and-butter pro-style running attack could help ease the transition from Malzahn's spread   philosophy.) But a coach with as little play-calling experience is a huge gamble all the same--and it's one that after an iffy 7-5 season, Chizik likely can't afford to lose. 

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:05 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
 

PODCAST: 2011 College Football Season Wrapup

Posted by Adam Jacobi

J. Darin Darst and Adam Aizer give some final thoughts on the BCS Championship Game and the 2011 season as a whole. The SEC dominated again, USC is back and conference expansion is annoying. The guys also look at some recent coaching news. Will Brent Venables be a good hire for Clemson? Did Wisconsin take a risk by hiring Matt Canada as offensive coordinator? 

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.

You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Wisconsin's new OC: Northern Ill. OC Matt Canada

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Wisconsin continues to shore up its coaching losses from the departure of Paul Chryst to Pittsburgh and various other hirings, and on Tuesday the Badgers announced that Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Canada had agreed to become Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.

"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players." 

Canada was only one year into his second stint as NIU's offensive coordinator; he had been rising through the ranks at Indiana from 2004-2010, starting as quarterbacks coach and finishing as offensive coordinator, before Kevin Wilson came to Bloomington and cleaned house. Canada coached Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and both were highly productive in their times under center: Lewis was a first-team All-Big Ten QB before his career derailed, and Chappell holds Indiana single-season records in every major passing category.

Fortunately for Northern Illinois, Canada was able to put together a dynamite offense in his first year back, as the Huskies went 11-3, won the MAC Championship, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 over Arkansas State, and scored over 42 points per game in the process. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC offensive MVP in 2011, and his numbers backed it up: he threw for 2,942 yards, 26 TDs, and only five interceptions on 219-348 passing (good enough for the 15th-best passing efficiency in the nation), and he rushed for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs on 185 carries (leading all FBS quarterbacks) to back it up.

That kind of overall quarterback production doesn't come out of a pro-style offense, of course (but don't start hyperventilating just yet, Badger fans). Check out this video of the different ways Harnish used his quarterback, and how many different formations NIU used in the process. There's even a John Moxon Oop-De-Oop formation in there.



That's some serious offensive creativity, and completely outside the bounds of how Wisconsin has made hay for the last 15+ years as a rushing powerhouse. But fear not: as Bielema mentioned in his statement, Wisconsin will stay with a pro-style offense. Bielema's no fool. Really, he's not.

It'll be interesting to see, then, what details of Canada's style of offense survives the assimilation into the Bucky Borg. Surely Bielema wouldn't have hired an offensive coordinator he's coached against in eight games in one way or another (twice when Canada was at NIU, six times with him at Indiana) if he wasn't interested in that coach's offensive acumen in some significant respect. Until we find out what that entails, though, opposing defensive coordinators may feel free to peruse the offensive performances of Canada offenses, and if the color starts draining from the DCs' faces in the process, well, that's to be expected.

For more up-to-the-minute Badger news, subscribe to CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports by Tammy Madsen.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Toledo WR Eric Page entering 2012 NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

Toledo all-purpose wide receiver Eric Page has had a change of heart, and plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. After the Rockets' 42-41 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28, Page gave the impression that he would return for his senior season. After receiving more information on his potential draft position, the 2010 All-American return man has decided to forego his senior season and turn pro.

“It’s always been my dream to play in the NFL and I think right now is a great opportunity for me,” Page said. “This would have never been able to happen without my teammates, coaches and my family.”

CBSSports.com currently has Page listed as the sixth-best wide receiver in the 2013 class, but the junior informed the Toledo Free Press that his projection is between the third and fifth round in the 2012 NFL Draft. All-purpose threats like Page often can improve their draft stock in combines, using their speed and athleticism to wow NFL scouts.

Page leaves Toledo as the school's all-time leading receiver with 306 career receptions, tied for most in Mid-American Conference history with Jordan White (Western Michigan 2007-11). He earned All-American honors in 2010 as a returner and was a 2011 finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football. Page averaged over 172 all-purpose yards per game this season, finding the end zone 12 times in 13 games.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

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