Tag:Stanford
Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:01 am
 

The biggest shoes to fill in college football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


With teams having already started or starting spring practice over the next few weeks. there are a lot of players across the country who will be charged with replacing someone who has come and gone before them. It's an annual rite of spring in college football, when the senior quarterback from last season is putting the finishing touches on his final semester as a college student, and the sophomore who isn't even sure what he's majoring in yet realizes he's going to be majoring in Playbook 101 for the next few weeks.

Of course, while roster turnover is a common occurence in college football, there are bigger shoes to fill than others, and in this post we take a look at the ten biggest pairs looking for a new owner this spring.

10. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Ryan Broyles began re-writing the Oklahoma record books the moment he stepped on the field in his first game as a Sooner. He caught 7 passes for 141 yards against Cincinnati, both of which were freshman records. Four years later he finished his career having caught more passes than any other receiver in FBS history, pulling in 349 passes for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In other words, he's not the type of player that Oklahoma can just replace with anybody. This spring receivers like Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Metoyer will try to replicate Broyles' production in Norman. Whether it will be one of them doing it, or a group effort, Oklahoma will need it to happen if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.

9. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Understandably, USC fans were extremely excited by the news that Matt Barkley would be returning for his senior season, and many have pegged the Trojans as a title favorite because of it. What you don't want to do, however, is overlook the fact that the man who was in charge of protecting Barkley's blindside these last few years won't be back.

Though that's how life generally works for offensive lineman like Matt Kalil. As large as they are, they're often overlooked. Kevin Graf, Jeremy Galten, David Garness and Nathan Guertler will all be competing for the unenviable task of being the man in charge of making sure nothing happens to the most valuable piece of the USC offense.

8. Mark Barron, S, Alabama

One of the problems with having a defense as strong as the one we saw in Tuscaloosa last season is that you're bound to lose players to the next level, and the Crimson Tide have no shortage of beasts making their way to greener pastures. Still, the Tide have a knack for churning out defensive lineman and linebackers, but safeties like Mark Barron don't come along all that often.

Barron made 231 tackles for Nick Saban in his four seasons, including 13 for a loss, while picking off 12 passes. Barron was the type of player that could defend the pass and the run, and he won't be easily replaced. Can Robert Lester or freshman Vinnie Sunseri step up and be the next stud in the Alabama secondary?

7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Based purely on production, there may be no larger shoes to fill in the country than Luke Kuechly's. There may not have been more than 3 plays run by opposing offenses in which Kuechly wasn't in on the tackle. Kuechly finished 2011 with 191 tackles. The next highest total on the Boston College defense belonged to Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74.

As our own Chip Patterson put it, "for Boston College, replacing Kuechly is like any other team replacing 2 1/2 players." Though it's been proven that it can be done, as Kuechly himself once had to fill the shoes left behind by Mark Herzlich. Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- who has a name that would be hard to replace -- will be the two linebackers looking to repeat the feat.

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Many casual college football fans never truly appreciated how amazing a player Morris Claiborne was for LSU in 2011 simply because opposing offenses weren't dumb enough to test him all that often. Throw in some Honey Badger exploits with a bit of Les Miles being Les Miles, and Claiborne gets a bit lost in the gumbo. Still, Claiborne truly was the definition of a shutdown corner for LSU, playing a pivotal role on one of the best defenses in the country.

While Tyrann Mathieu will be back in 2012, he's not the cover corner that Claiborne was, so it will be up to Tharold Simon to fill the role. One he seems capable of considering he led LSU with 10 passes broken up in 2011 playing mostly as a nickel back.

5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

I won't lie to you. Even when Mark Ingram will still in Tuscaloosa running through SEC defenses, I always felt that Trent Richardson was the best running back on the Alabama roster. Now both are gone, and Richardson will be harder to replace than Ingram was simply because Trent can't replace himself.

Can Eddie Lacy be the next Heisman finalist in the Alabama backfield? He showed some promise in 2011, and in an offense like Alabama's, the opportunities will be there. Still, even if Lacy is extremely talented, there are only so many shoes capable of doing this.

4. Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon, QB/WR, Oklahoma State

A bit of a cheat, I know, but the truth is that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon felt like extensions of one another for the past two seasons in Stillwater. Their success was as a duo. I mean, Blackmon caught 40 touchdowns over the last three seasons, which accounted for 53% of the 75 touchdown passes Weeden threw with the Cowboys.

Now we know that Oklahoma State is going to continue putting points on the board without them, but will the offense ever be as prolific when the combination is Clint Chelf or Wes Lunt to Tracy Moore? We'll get our first clues this spring.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Maybe you think that LaMichael James isn't all that hard to replace given the weapons Oregon has in the backfield. I can see your point, but I can also point out that James nearly doubled Kenjon Barner's rushing total (1,805 yards to 939) in 2011. I mean, this is a man who rushed for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry in 2011, yet we didn't think it was so amazing based simply on the fact we'd already seen him do similar things in the previous two seasons.

We just got used to it.

Yes, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas are extremely talented backs, but the fact is there's no easy way to replace a back who accounted for 5,888 all-purpose yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons as a Duck, all at the speed of light.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Will it be harder to fill RG3's shoes, or his socks? Neither will be easy. While we all know how talented Griffin was as a quarterback for Baylor in 2011 and the two seasons before it, it's his impact on the program that will leave the biggest impression. Baylor went from a perennial bottom-feeder in the Big 12 to a team that can call itself the home of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Nick Florence will be the favorite to replace Griffin this spring, but he'll never be able to have the impact on the Baylor program that Griffin did. Instead he'd be much better served to focus on replacing the production on the field. Something that won't be easy, either, but given Art Briles' history with quarterbacks and the way Florence performed in place of Griffin against Texas Tech, it may not be that far-fetched, either.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck didn't win the Heisman Trophy like Robert Griffin did, but that doesn't diminish the impact he had on the Stanford program. In the three seasons before Luck showed up in Palo Alto, Stanford was 10-26, including a 1-11 season in 2006. In Luck's three seasons the Cardinal went 31-8, played in two BCS bowl games and became a national program.

Stanford is essentially the school Notre Dame used to be, and it's all thanks to Luck. Of course, the question now is whether or not Stanford can maintain the success they had under Luck with a new quarterback. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will all enter spring practice looking to replace the most important player in the history of Stanford football, and that's a list that includes John Elway.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:32 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Stanford



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Stanford.

Spring Practice Started: February 27

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: Six on offense, seven on defense, one kicker.

Three Things To Look For:

1. Who replaces Andrew Luck? The Cardinal enter the A.L.-era - After Luck - with five quarterbacks on the roster angling to replace the best quarterback in school history. It figures to be a two-horse race however, with sophomore Brett Nottingham and junior Josh Nunes being the two head coach David Shaw will be keeping a close eye on. Nottingham was the backup all of last year but Shaw has made it clear he has to earn the top spot with his play and in the spirit of competition, likely won't name a starter until fall camp. Both guys are big, pro-style signal-callers with good arms so this will likely come down to who has the best grasp of the playbook and is most in-sync with many of the new faces on the offense.

2. Players emerging on the offensive line and at tight end, wide receiver. While Luck was the headliner in Stanford's transformation into a top 10 team, offensive linemen like Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro also had a significant role with their play along the line. The team plays physical and with a first-time starter and stable of running backs will undoubtedly try to continue to establish the ground game and use play action to open things up in the passing game. The line will be a fluid situation until fall camp, when the Cardinal's highly regarded recruiting class arrives with players who could end up making an early impression. Wide out Ty Montgomery emerged late in the year and figures to be the top target and deep threat but he needs others to emerge alongside him at receiver and tight end if the offense is going to move the ball through the air.

3. New staff gelling. Shaw starts spring practice with one spot on his coaching staff still open but hopes to find somebody to coach inside linebackers soon. Two coordinators are new in 2012, after defensive coordinator Jason Tarver jumped across the bay to the Raiders and Pete Alamar being brought on board to handle special teams following the departure of Brian Polian to Texas A&M. The biggest loss is Tarver, who did a great job last year with a unit that suffered several notable injuries. Stanford has overcome the loss of assistants before but it's always something to keep an eye on given all of the turnover on the roster. Also notable is the sudden death of long time equipment manager Ron Yamaguchi of an apparent heart attack, shocking the team and community and leaving big void in the program.

To check in on the rest of the Pac-12 and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:04 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 7:05 pm
 

PHOTO: Buckeye poster lists Michigan's majors

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We've already learned that Urban Meyer has reclaimed the "Team Up North" euphemism for his Buckeyes' hated rivals at Michigan, possibly in response to Brady Hoke's "Ohio" euphemism for the school and team its alumni will be quick to tell you is the Ohio State University. But it turns out Meyer is interested in getting in his jabs at the Wolverines in more ways than just avoiding the name.

This is a sign that appeared in the front of OSU's Woody Hayes Athletic Center last week:

Yes, that's a list of majors for Ohio State's football players on the left, and those for the "Team Up North" on the right, with the (alleged) number of Wolverines in General Studies (and Engineering, Biology, and Business at the bottom) having been highlighted. 

We are not going to wade into the merits of Meyer's argument, one we have zero doubt is already being waged by both Ohio State and Michigan fans in various corners of the Internet as we speak. More important from our perspective is that this is an argument Meyer wants to wage, too--that he is willing to tell visitors to the WHAC (which notably include both recruits and their parents) that the "Team Up North" isn't challenging its players academically. (Incidentally, Meyer wouldn't be the first coach to make this exact argument; former Wolverine great Jim Harbaugh did the same during his tenure at Stanford.) 

It's one thing to talk about a rival as the biggest game of the year, call them by a different name, or even talk a little smack about a winning streak. But to essentially call out another school's academic handling of its players in semi-public fashion is something else. We're neither condemning nor condoning the poster; as we said, we'll leave to that to the partisans on either side.

What we can say is that whether it's Meyer, Hoke, new Michigan signee Ondre Pipkins or anyone else on either side of the rivalry, the heat between the Wolverines and Buckeyes is rapidly approaching that of the Hayes-Schembecler glory years ... and as fans of spicy college football, that much, at least, we can endorse wholeheartedly.

Photo by Kevin Noon. HT: Eleven Warriors.

It's been a busy couple of days around Columbus and Ann Arbor; Gordon Gee and his magic mouth are at it again, the Wolverines just scored the biggest single recruiting weekend in the country this year, and Meyer's Gainesville home is for sale.    

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Spring Practice Dates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Hard to believe but it is indeed time for Spring Practice to begin. It was not too long ago that Alabama hoisted up the crystal ball in New Orleans but as of now, all 120 FBS teams are equal with a 0-0 record and only themselves to face. Here's a list of notable dates for every school this spring and, as they become available on the blog, links to Spring Practice Primers (click here to see them all). Be sure and check out Dennis Dodd's preseason top 25 as well.

Spring Practice Dates
ACC First Practice Spring Game
Boston College February 18
Spring Primer 
March 31
Clemson March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Duke February 22
Spring Primer 
March 31
Florida State March 19
Spring Primer 
April 14
Georgia Tech March 26 April 20
Maryland March 10
Spring Primer 
April 21
Miami March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
North Carolina March 14
Spring Primer 
April 14
N.C. State March 23 April 21
Virginia March 19
Spring Primer 
April 14
Virginia Tech March 28 April 21
Wake Forest March 1
Spring Primer 
April 14
Big East First Practice Spring Game
Cincinnati March 1
Spring Primer 
April 14
Louisville March 21 April 14
Pittsburgh March 15
Spring Primer 
April 14
Rutgers March 27 April 28
Syracuse March 20
Spring Primer 
April 21
Connecticut March 20
Spring Primer 
April 21
South Florida March 21 April 2, April 9
Big Ten First Practice Spring Game
Illinois March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Indiana March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
Iowa March 24 April 14
Michigan March 17 April 14
Michigan State March 27 April 28
Minnesota March 24 April 21
Nebraska March 10
Spring Primer 
April 14
Northwestern March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
Ohio State March 28 April 21
Penn State March 26 April 21
Purdue March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Wisconsin March 22 April 28
Big 12 First Practice Spring Game
Baylor March 19 April 14
Iowa State March 20 April 14
Kansas March 27 April 28
Kansas State April 4 April 28
Oklahoma March 5
Spring Primer 
April 14
Oklahoma State March 12 April 21
TCU February 25
Spring Primer 
April 5
Texas February 23
Spring Primer
April 1
Texas Tech February 17
Spring Primer
March 24
West Virginia March 11 April 21
Pac-12 First Practice Spring Game
Arizona March 5
Spring Primer 
April 14
Arizona State March 13 April 21
California March 13 None
Colorado March 10
Spring Primer 
April 14
Oregon April 3 April 28
Oregon State April 3 April 28
Stanford March 27
Spring Primer
April 14
UCLA April 3 May 5
USC March 6 April 14
Utah March 21 April 21
Washington April 2 April 28
Washington State March 22 April 21
SEC First Practice Spring Game
Alabama March 9
Spring Primer 
April 14
Arkansas March 14 April 21
Auburn March 21 April 14
Florida
March 14 April 7
Georgia March 20 April 14
Kentucky March 21 April 21
LSU March 1
Spring Primer 
March 31
Mississippi State March 21 April 20
Ole Miss March 23 April 21
Missouri March 6
Spring Primer 
April 14
South Carolina March 12 April 14
Tennessee March 26 April 21
Texas A&M March 31 April 28
Vanderbilt March 16 April 14
Others First Practice Spring Game
Notre Dame March 21 April 21
Boise State March 12
Spring Primer 
April 14
BYU March 5 March 30
Air Force February 24 None
Army February 13 March 9
Navy March 19 April 14

Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

What are the chances of the BCS adopting the Big Ten's home-field semifinals playoff proposal? And if they do, how much of a good thing (if at all) is that for college football? 

Tom Fornelli: I think it's clear at this point that the playoff is coming. Whether or not it's going to be the Big Ten's proposal of the top two seeds hosting semifinal games, I'm not sure.

I do think that's the best way of going about things for the schools and fans, though. It would minimize travel costs for the schools, and it's the only way to make things fair. Hosting the games at places like the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl wouldn't be. Right now, if you're a Big Ten or Big 12 team and you land in the top two, you're not only traveling outside your home state but your entire conference footprint to play in those locations.

Plus, how exciting would it be to see a school like Florida possibly having to travel up north to play Wisconsin in Madison during December? We already know what happens to the Big Ten when it has to head south for the winter. With this proposal we'd get to see what happens to the SEC when it's forced to head north.

As for whether or not this would be a good thing for college football, I don't see how it would be a bad thing. You take a lot of the money that you've been giving to bowl games and put that cash into the schools. Plus, as long as you keep the playoff to the top four teams, get rid of the BCS AQ statuses and everything else, you can restore the bowl traditions that are so important to everybody.

Chip Patterson: I'm with Tom: I don't see how this could be a bad thing. I certainly understand there are plenty of concerns along the way, but any step in this direction is one I support.  

Allowing the top two seeds to host the semi-final games also keeps the integrity of the BCS system intact.  At its core, the system is meant only to determine the two best teams in college football.  Now those two teams will have the advantage of getting to play the gridiron's version of the Final 4 round on their home turf.    Those who are calling for a large-scale playoff would likely be appeased with this one step forward, and the bowl experience that means so much to the fans and players can continue as it has for years.  There is no rich tradition for the BCS National Championship Game itself, so altering the process at the top does not hinder the game of college football. 

Jerry Hinnen: I'm afraid I can see how this proposal could be, if not a bad thing, a worse thing than it should be. 

There's two downsides to the Big Ten's plan as presented. The first is that it proposes to yoink those top four teams out of the bowl pool entirely, meaning that the two semifinal losers wouldn't get the bowl experience at all, despite having the kind of season that would have put them in the BCS top four to begin with. If you're, say, Stanford and your postseason experience is traveling to Columbus to watch your season end in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in 25-degree weather, I'm not sure at all that's going to feel like much of a reward. I'd much prefer the semifinals be played in mid-December, with the losers still eligible for BCS selection; it's better for the teams (who get their deserved week of bowl festivities) and better for the bowls (who get better matchups). 

The other downside is an unavoidable one: that this could be the first step down that slippery slope to the sort of eight- or 12- or 16-team playoff that sees the college football equivalent of the New York Giants ride a single hot streak past more deserving teams to a national championship. This is another reason the Big Ten proposal should do more to placate the major bowls--they've collectively taken a lot of heat for their role in preserving the BCS's current status quo, but their money and influence are also a key line of defense in ensuring the "plus-one" doesn't become a "plus-six."

But whatever downsides you come up with are always going to pale in comparison to the upside. The biggest flaw of the BCS has always been the No. 3 team that deserved its shot as much as either (or both) of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams and didn't get it, the team that -- as Phil Steele has called it -- needs to be in the playoff. The squabbles over No. 4 vs. No. 5 are going to continue, yes, but that's a small price to pay for giving 2001 Miami, 2003 USC, 2004 Auburn, 2010 TCU, or 2011 Oklahoma State their shot. Giving them that shot in an electric on-campus atmosphere -- be it in the Midwest, on the West Coast, the Southeast, wherever -- makes a huge triumph for college football that much more, well, huge.

Bryan Fischer: We're moving toward change, but what form it takes certainly remains to be seen. Let's be clear that there were something like 50 proposals presented at the last BCS meeting, so what's notable is not this specific Big Ten proposal but the fact that the conference has changed its tune and is open to some sort of playoff.


Jim Delany has two things he is looking to accomplish no matter what happens with the BCS: keep the Big Ten in a seat of power and protect the Rose Bowl. This proposal does both and seems to be a win-win for just about everybody. I think we're moving in the right direction and Delany is finally going with the flow instead of obstructing it.

Having seen how well things worked out for the Pac-12 with an on-campus championship game, I'm in favor of including a home field advantage tie-in no matter what proposal surfaces. The detractors are always worried about the regular season and keeping the bowl system and a plus-one/four-team playoff would make things meaningful during the year and keep the current structure (more Alamo Bowls!) in place. The most interesting thing, to me, will be how long we'll be stuck with the system. It could be a 10-plus year deal--which is interesting if tweaks need to be made in order to ensure a better playoff system.

TF: I would think that the any deal has to be longer than 10 years, just because conferences are going to want to keep things from expanding to 8 teams or 16 teams for as long as possible. Because we all know that as soon as the four-team playoff begins, then so will the "Expand the playoffs!" arguments. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:27 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:31 pm
 

USC WR coach Gilmore headed to Oakland

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Just a few days after losing linebackers coach Joe Barry to the NFL, USC is down another staff member after wide receiver Ted Gilmore accepted the same position with the Oakland Raiders, a source told CBSSports.com.

Gilmore, 44, came to USC just a year ago from Nebraska, where he spent six years coaching receivers and four holding the role of recruiting coordinator.

A Wichita, Kansas native, Gilmore played his college ball at Wyoming before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He also had stops at Kansas, Houston, Purdue and Colorado before his stint at Nebraksa.

Under Gilmore, USC's receiving corps had a breakout year in 2011. Sophomore Robert Woods developed into a Biletnikoff Award finalist and teammate Marqise Lee was named a Freshman All-American. Whoever takes Gilmore's spot will not only have those two to work with but former prep All-American George Farmer and incoming five-star athlete Nelson Agholor.

Head coach Lane Kiffin, in addition to Gilmore and Barry's spots, is also looking for a defensive backs coach. The Trojans' Spring practice starts in just four weeks as the team likely heads into 2012 as a pre-season top two team.

The Raiders are becoming familiar with poaching Pac-12 assistants having hired former Stanford defensive coordinator Jason Tarver on Monday.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Stanford's Tarver hired as Raiders' D-coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hiring Jim Harbaugh from Stanford worked out fairly well for the San Francisco 49ers, we'd say. So it's no surprise the Niners' Bay Area counterparts have gone to the same well to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy.

The Oakland Raiders announced Monday that they have hired Cardinal co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver as their own new DC. Tarver spent only one season in Palo Alto, having spent the previous six as the 49ers' outside linebackers coach.

The Raiders will no doubt be expecting that experience with the Niners to count for more than his time with the Cardinal. Despite his title, Tarver yielded defensive play-calling duties under David Shaw to fellow co-coordinator Derek Mason, making the 2012 season with the Raiders Tarver's first in full charge of the defense. And though the Cardinal's total defense numbers were impressive -- 2nd in the Pac-12, 28th nationally -- Stanford's hyperefficient, clock-draining offense had a lot to do with that; the Cardinal finished 59th in the FBS and 5th in the Pac-12 in yards allowed on a per-play basis.

All the same, nearly every coach to receive some kind of recent promotion on or from the Stanford staff has proven himself worthy and able, whether it's Harbaugh at San Francisco, his offensive coordinator Greg Roman, or Shaw with the Cardinal. So Tarver's promotion may be a win for both sides--the Raiders and new head coach Dennis Allen get some of that Stanford magic coaching dust and Tarver's NFL experience, and Shaw gets to keep plenty of defensive continuity with the retention of Mason.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:31 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:41 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: Pac-12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and lost in the Pac-12 on National Signing Day.


WINNERS

Stanford's future backfield. We don't want to say anyone could succeed at quarterback or tailback behind a line featuring Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy, and John Garnett. Dame Helen Mirren would fail, probably. We wouldn't like Bill Nye, the Science Guy's odds. Most 12-year-olds would struggle.

But when we're talking about an offensive line class David Shaw said "could be one of the best in college football historywithout hyperbole, it's hard to rule anyone out. And when it comes to players like potential 2012 quarterback starter Brett Nottingham or new running back signee Barry J. Sanderswe think the chances of success are so sky-high as to be nearly guaranteed. Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck might be gone, but if the results of National Signing Day are any indication, the Cardinal as a program aren't going anywhere.

Players to watch: DT Aziz Shittu, RB Barry J. Sanders, OT Andrus Peat.

The checkbooks of future Pac-12 assistants. The conversions of five-star Shaq Thompson (pictured) and receiver Jordan Payton to Washington from Cal (even if the latter was only temporary) were already evidence enough for the impact of ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi's move from Berkeley to Seattle. The Huskies capping their late surge by stealing away USC commitment Pio Vatuvei and fending off a late challenge from the Trojans for quarterback Cyler Miles was just beating a dead horse, really.

Which is why any coach with bona fide West Coast recruiting connections is likely about to find himself a much hotter commodity than they were before Signing Day began. The Huskies aggressively pursued Topoi, doubled his salary at Cal with their new conference media money, and saw immediate, dramatic dividends. Topoi might have been the first coach to have his wallet fattened overnight by Larry Scott's TV negotiations, but with results like these, he won't be the last.

Washington players to watch: DB Shaq Thompson, ATH Jaydon Mickens, CB Brandon Beaver.

Jim L. MoraTo silence the doubters for good, Mora will have to win on the field as well as the recruiting trail. But there's little doubt that Mora has at least done the latterWith another high-profile Cal exile safely in the fold in Ellis McCarthy, the Bruins spent Signing Day polishing up an already impressive haul with a pair of blue-chip receivers in Payton and Javon Williams--an area of sore need with Nelson Rosario gone.

The Bruin brass appeared to be aiming to hire the next Pete Carroll when they took a chance on Mora, and though there's still a long way to go before the comparison is valid at the collegiate as well as pro level, this class is a heck of a step in that direction.

Players to watch: DT Ellis McCarthyATH Devin FullerDB Ishmael Adams.



LOSERS

Lane Kiffin's pied piper flute. Around mid-afternoon, this was shaping up to be a typical Signing Day for college football's most notorious late-game recruiter; sure, Vatuvei had gon to the Huskies, but Kiffin had also managed to pull both high-upside end Leonard Williams and No. 1 athlete Nelson Agholor (pictured) out of Florida despite each's various Sunshine State suitors. With Miles, Peat, Murphy, and Shittu all considering the Trojans and Murphy's late announcement rumored to be potentially affected by Peat's, another matching set of Signing Day coups appeared within reach.

Instead, the Cardinal swept the big linemen while Miles stuck with the Huskies. Those decisions didn't exactly make the Trojan class a disappointment--far from it, given that it finished 9th in the country while boasting just 16 (uniformly outstanding) recruits. But it does mark the first time that Kiffin wasn't able to simply snap his fingers on Signing Day and come away with a bushel of five-stars; it will be interesting to see if, in 2013, Kiffin doesn't leave things quite so late.

Players to watch: OL Zach Banner, WR Nelson Agholor, OL Jordan Simmons.

Cal. It's not that the Bears' class wasn't solid, maybe even better than solid; Tom Lemming ranked it 15th despite only having 17 signees, and the Bears did an excellent job of filling needs at both offensive line and wide receiver. It's that it was so close to being a game-changing, program-momentum-turning, spectacular class before Lupoi's defection took the air out of the sails. 

Tedford is right that the commitments at the Army All-American game from Thompson, McCarthy, and Payton didn't mean anything on the Bears' bottom line, but it's silly to think they didn't mean the Bears had a clearcut opportunity to sign all three (and others) they couldn't take advantage of. It's debatable, too, when that kind of opportunity will come again for Tedford.

Players to watch: QB Zach Kline, WR Bryce Treggs, OL Freddie Tagoloa  

Oregon State's secondary. Want another example of the impact of position coaches on current Pac-12 recruiting? Look no further than the Beaver defensive backfield, which saw no less than four players decommit after OSU secondary coach Keith Heyward -- like Lupoi -- defected to Washington. (One of them was highly regarded corner Devian Shelton, who did get Kiffined away to USC.) The Beavers recovered to still sign four defensive backs, but when even Mike Riley was admitting there were holes at corner that went unfilled, it's safe to say things didn't go as planned.

Players to watch: OL Isaac Seumalo, TE Caleb Smith, QB Brett VanderVeen  




Maxpreps photos by Gary Jones and Margaret Bowles.
 
 
 
 
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