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Tag:Sun Belt
Posted on: February 13, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 12:53 pm
 

North Texas coach Dan McCarney suffers stroke

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



North Texas 
head coach Dan McCarney has been hospitalized and is undergoing tests to address "medical difficulties" encountered this past weekend.

Those medical difficulties were rumored to have been a stroke, rumors which McCarney confirmed to the Des Moines Register on Tuesday.

"I was just sitting down to eat a sandwich when my left side went numb," McCarney told the paper. "Talk about a scary feeling. Something happened on the left side in the back of my brain. My left side -- all of a sudden everything went numb."

"I've got too much Irish in me to stay down very long. I feel good right now. I've got a little tingling feeling, but hey, if that's the worst of it, I'd say I'm a pretty lucky guy. Nothing wrong with me that a little Grey Goose won't cure."

McCarney is 58 years old and coming off his first season as head coach of the Mean Green, in which he led them to a 5-7 record (their best season since 2004) and 4-4 Sun Belt mark. He is best known for his 12-year tenure as head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones, where he finished 56-85 between 1995 and 2006.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:25 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:58 pm
 

Rutgers talks fall through; Cristobal to stay put

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reports that Rutgers and FIU head coach Mario Cristobal were never on the same page with regard to possible contract terms, and Cristobal will remain with the Panthers.  Scarlet Knights' interim head coach Kyle Flood expected to "be the beneficiary" of the fallout.



With National Signing Day rapidly approaching, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has been on the move to try and replace head coach Greg Schiano as quickly as possible. Pernetti has already interviewed multiple candidates for the job, reportedly including interim head coach/offensive line coach Kyle Flood, Temple head coach Steve Addazio, and FIU's Mario Cristobal.

Tom Luicci, of The Star-Ledger, reported that Cristobal spoke with the Rutgers athletic director on Sunday. Pernetti reportedly requested and received permission from FIU to speak with Cristobal, which a person with knowledge of the search process said "went well." Multiple reports from Philadelphia indicate that Steve Addazio plans to stay put at Temple, narrowing Rutgers' apparent wish-list to Flood and Cristobal.

When Pernetti addressed the media after Schiano's departure on Thursday, the athletic director indicated his intentions to have a new head coach named no later than Wednesday - National Signing Day. Rutgers has already lost out in-state athlete Devin Fuller, who said on Sunday Schano's decision to leave "made a big difference" in his choosing UCLA over the Scarlet Knights.

Defensive end Darius Hamilton, one of New Jersey's top in-state recruit, plans to make his announcement on Tuesday night. One would assume Pernetti hopes to have his coach in place in time for Hamilton to make his decision. With the dead period now in place until Wednesday, the only best way to end uncertainty is make headlines with a coaching hire.

Cristobal is one of the hottest rising coaches in college football, taking over the FIU program in 2007 after spending time on Schiano's staff at Rutgers (2001-2003) and Larry Coker's staff at Miami (2004-2006). Cristobal led the Panthers to their first winning season in program history in 2010, winning the Sun Belt Championship and the Little Caesars Bowl. FIU finished 8-5 in 2011, falling to Marshall in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
 

A first look at 2012's returning starters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never, ever too early to talk about the next college football season once the previous one has passed. But it's a lot less too early once the deadline for NFL Draft declarations has passed and teams can enjoy an accurate -- or at least semi-accurate -- gauge of what their returning talent will look like next season.

Thanks to data-cruncher Phil Steele, we can enjoy that same semi-accurate gauge. As he does every January -- among the teams predicted for big things at this time last year were Michigan, Alabama and Vanderbilt -- Steele has released a comprehensive list of FBS returning starters for 2012, ranking each team 1-123. Yes, 123, thanks to the arrivals of UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass; Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners even top the list with 23 total returning starters (11 offensive, 10 defensive, and both specialists) as they ready for their first WAC season.

But of course, UTSA has its work cut out for it to make an impact, no matter how experienced its players might be. Among programs college football fans are more familiar with, here's the numbers and teams from Steele's data that stand out:

  • Sharing the lead amongst all BCS programs are Texas Tech and Tennessee with 20 starters each, including quarterbacks Seth Doege and Tyler Bray, respectively. If Red Raider and Volunteer third-year coaches Tommy Tuberville and Derek Dooley can't turn that kind of experience into a better year 3 than their collective Year 2's, neither one should be surprised if they don't receive a Year 4.
  • Never say never with Chris Petersen still around, but this looks like the season Boise State's incredible run of dominance and top-10 finishes comes to a halt. The Broncos rank dead-last, rock-bottom, with just 6 starters coming back--3 offensive 2 defensive, and (infamous) kicker Dan Goodale. (Then again, in the newly TCU-less Mountain West, will anyone stop them regardless? The league leader in returning starters is Colorado State, with no other MWC program ranked higher than Fresno State at 29th.)
  • It's possible Badger fans will rue their back-to-back failures at the Rose Bowl even more than they do already; with just 10 returning starters, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten and 116th overall. Big Ten fans should instead gear up now for an even-more-critical Ohio State-Michigan game than usual; the Buckeyes are second in the league behind Indiana with 18 starters, and the Wolverines are tied with Nebraska for third with 16.
  • The Vols, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt top the SEC list -- with 18 starters or more, all rank among the nation's 19 most experienced teams -- which means the league could see a more topsy-turvy season than usual; despite their cavalcade of young talent LSU returns just 5 defensive starters, national champions Alabama just 4. Despite major losses on the offensive line, Georgia looks poised to field the conference's best defense, with nine starters coming back for a unit already ranked fifth in the FBS.
  • Why is USC getting so much early preseason love? Pretty simple: of the 10 teams listed in Bruce Feldman's early-bird top 10, the Trojans are one of just two to have as many as 17 returning starters. The other is Oklahoma, and since the Sooners finished the year getting chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma State while the Trojans were busy upsetting Oregon in Eugene and annihilating UCLA, it's not hard to see why voters might go for the former.
  • Poor Al Golden: not only is his Miami team still laboring under the weight of the Nevin Shapiro allegations, not only do they rank 96th nationally and tie for next-to-last in the ACC with 12 returning starters, but according to Steele's data the Hurricanes are -- amazingly -- the only ACC team to not return its starting quarterback for next season. 
  • Gus Malzahn is going to be one of the FBS's most closely watched mid-major head coaches after his move from Auburn, and with six returning starters including QB Ryan Aplin on offense, the Red Wolves should be fine on that side of the ball. But with just three starters back on defense, ASU ranks 116th overall and last in the Sun Belt in total starters returning. Opposite Malzahn's punishing up-tempo attack, we'd like to place an early wager on the Red Wolves as one the nation's statistically weakest D's in 2012 ... and on Malzahn needing at least two years to return ASU to last year's championship perch.

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:07 am
 

QUICK HITS: N. Illinois 38 Arkansas State 20



Posted by Tom Fornelli


NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON. Things looked to be going Arkansas State's way early after the Red Wolves jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, but it was all Northern Illinois from that point on. The Huskies scored 31 consecutive points after that and cruised to victory in the GoDaddy.com Bowl to finish the season 11-3.

Chandler Harnish finished a strong career with the Huskies by throwing for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns, and receiver Martel Moore was easily his favorite target on the night. Moore finished the game with 8 receptions for 225 yards and a touchdown. For Arkansas State, quarterback Ryan Aplin had a tough night, throwing for 352 yards, but also throwing 3 interceptions.

WHY NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON. Simply put, after falling down 13-0 in the first quarter, the Northern Illinois defense just put the Arkansas State offense on lockdown. The Huskies outscored the Red Wolves 38-7 from then on. Mix in 3 interceptions by Ryan Aplin and 5 turnovers from Arkansas State, and you get a relatively easy victory for Northern Illinois

WHEN NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON. Arkansas State showed signs of life in the fourth quarter with a touchdown to cut NIU's lead to 31-20, but with 8:19 to play Aplin threw his third interception of the game and Dechane Durante took it 36 yards to the house to make it 38-20. Everything from that point on was just cosmetic.

WHAT NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON. The Huskies put a nice cap on a season that saw the school win its first MAC title, and also a nice end to a great career from quarterback Chandler Harnish. The Huskies also showed that they didn't lose a step under Dave Doeren took over for Jerry Kill following last season, and Northern Illinois looks like a school that will be a force in the MAC for the next few seasons.

WHAT ARKANSAS STATE LOST. This was a very good season for Arkansas State, going 8-0 in the Sun Belt to win the conference, but this wasn't the way the Red Wolves wanted the season to end. Still, with Gus Malzahn coming from Auburn to take over for Hugh Freeze -- and possibly bringing Michael Dyer with him -- the future still looks bright for the Red Wolves.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Giving your right arm for Gus Malzahn.



BOWL GRADE: C. I had high hopes for this one, as two fast-paced, high-scoring offenses were going to battle in Mobile, but there was never much doubt in the outcome. After Northern Illinois erased a 13-0 deficit with 31 straight points, even when Arkansas State got back into it in the fourth quarter, you never really got the sense that the Red Wolves would climb all the way back. So because of that lack of drama, it's hard to justify giving this one anything higher than a "C." 

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune 
Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:50 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:51 pm
 

GoDaddy.com Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could determine the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State defense

Northern Illinois' offense is averaging 481.8 yards per game in 2011, good enough to place the unit ninth in the nation. Quarterback Chandler Harnish finished the season eighth in the country in total offense, averaging 332.6 yards of total offense per game. All of which means Harnish was accountable for 69% of the Huskies offense this season.

So, as you can see, as Harnish goes, so go the Huskies.

Harnish did all of this with both his arm and his legs, averaging 245 yards through the air and 115 yards on the ground per game. With a dual threat like that at quarterback, to stop him it will be up to the entire Arkansas State defense, not just its defenslve line, linebackers or secondary. Not an easy task, but one that Arkansas State's defense seems up to. This unit, which finished 14th in the nation in total defense, is easily the best defense statistically that Harnish will face this season.

The best way for Arkansas State to do this would be to make Harnish one-dimensional. Whether that be by forcing him to throw to beat them, or taking away the passing game, that's up to the Red Wolves. This defense is strong in both areas. What matters is that they execute their game plan and force Harnish to be predictable because Northern Illinois' defense -- which gave up 31.1 points per game -- is going to give up a lot of points. So if Arkansas State can slow Harnish down and keep the Huskies from putting up a ton of points, then Arkansas State should win this game rather comfortably.

Check out all the latest updates on Northern Illinois and Arkansas State right up until kickoff at the GoDaddy.com Bowl Pregame 

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:00 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:23 am
 

Report: Michael Dyer seeking transfer from Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not official just yet. But it looks more and more like All-SEC running back and 2011 BCS title game MVP Michael Dyer has played his last game for Auburn.

CBSSports.com RapidReporter Jay Tate reported Wednesday that Dyer has asked for his release from the Auburn program and plans to transfer. The hotly-rumored destination for his services is Arkansas State, where former Tiger offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was recently named the Red Wolves' head coach.

According to one Internet report, Dyer has already filed enrollment paperwork at the Jonesboro, Ark., school, but that report has been disputed by spokespersons at both Auburn and Arkansas State as well as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. An Arkansas native whose family still lives in the Natural State, Dyer could conceivably apply for a hardship waiver in order to play for the Red Wolves without sitting out the standard transfer penalty. (Whether such a waiver would be granted remains highly debatable.)

In Mobile, Ala. for the GoDaddy.com Bowl, both Arkansas State athletic director Dean Lee and ASU interim head coach David Gunn told the local Press-Register they had no information on any plans by Dyer to transfer to their program.

"There's nothing I can confirm or deny," Lee said. "I have no knowledge of anything in that regard."

Whether he lands with Malzahn at ASU or not, however, at this stage it seems unlikely Dyer will ever return to Auburn. Transfer rumors have dogged him ever since he was suspended for the Tigers' Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over Virginia, and with their volume reaching fever pitch Wednesday, it seems only a matter of time before Dyer, Gene Chizik or both make some kind of official announcement of their parting of ways. 

A former five-star recruit out of Little Rock, Dyer ran for 1,242 yards as a sophomore in 2011, his second straight 1,000-yard season.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:13 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 11:13 pm
 

Report: FIU working on extension for Cristobal

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Wednesday night it was reported that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst had become the frontrunner to land the Pitt job. News that was somewhat surprising because FIU's Mario Cristobal had been rumored to be the lead candidate for the position. Well, we may now know why Cristobal's name suddenly dropped from the discussion.

According to the Miami Herald, FIU has been working to sign Cristobal to an extension. In fact, the paper calls them "aggressive negotiations." While I try to get the image of members of FIU's athletic department literally punching Cristobal in the face with contract offers, it should be pointed out that Cristobal did just get an extension from the school earlier this year.

That extension lasts through 2016.

While there's no word on how long this latest extension will be, it's pretty clear that Cristobal is a coach FIU values and really wants to keep around for as long as possible. And it's hard to blame them for it.

The program has only been around for a decade, and its rise under Cristobal has been remarkable. The Panthers won the Sun Belt Conference last season and finished the year with a win over Toledo in the Little Caesar's Bowl. While 2011 wasn't as successful, the Panthers still did reach a bowl game for the second consecutive season, losing to Marshall in the Beef O'Brady Bowl on Tuesday night.

Combine all that with 19 of 22 starters returning in 2012, and it's easy to see why FIU wants Cristobal around.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:30 am
 

QUICK HITS: Beef O'Brady's Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MARSHALL WON. The Marshall Thundering Herd capitalized on multiple FIU miscues in the fourth quarter, and Marshall came away with a 20-10 victory. Rakeem Cato had a productive second half and finished with 224 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air for Marshall, and FIU was held to just 246 yards of offense on the day.

HOW MARSHALL WON: Marshall had six blocked punts coming into this game, so let's make it seven. Zach Dunston blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and were it not for a litany of penalties after the block, he would have scored a touchdown on the recovery. As it was, Marshall stayed close enough to the end zone to kick a go-ahead field goal with under six minutes left, and that was enough to take the lead for good.

WHEN MARSHALL WON: After Marshall's go-ahead field goal, FIU still had more than enough time to drive down the field, but T.Y. Hilton coughed up the football -- his second fumble of the day -- and Marshall recovered near midfield. The Thundering Herd would hang onto the ball until there was under a minute to play ... at which point Cato reared back on a 4th and 5 on the FIU 35 and found Aaron Dobson for a long touchdown pass to seal the win. Yes, Marshall called a deep pass play on 4th down with a 3-point lead to protect. That is play-calling con gusto.

WHAT MARSHALL WON: Marshall was widely regarded as the worst bowl team of the 70 with bids this year, so coming away from the Beef O'Brady's Bowl with a win anyway is a major plus for Doc Holliday and the program. Rakeem Cato came on strong and still has three years of eligibility left, so Marshall fans ought to be pleased with having their QB situation settled until 2014.

WHAT FIU LOST: It stinks to see T.Y. Hilton be such a big part of the offense in his final game, only to have him fumble away the team's last shot at scoring. But really, what's more important than even this game itself is whether FIU loses Mario Cristobal to Pittsburgh or if Pitt goes in a different direction. Cristobal's not the only person capable of winning at FIU, in all likelihood, but he is literally the only person to be head coach of FIU thus far, and undoubtedly the FIU brass would prefer Cristobal stays home for as long as possible.

THAT WAS CRAZY: On the final play of the game, Marshall defensive lineman Marques Aiken and FIU offensive lineman Giancarlo Revilla engaged in some extracurricular activity, including Revilla tearing off Aiken's helmet and Aiken throwing at least one punch at Revilla. Guys, guys, guys. Please don't have beef with each other. Beef has no place in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl!

FINAL GRADE: C-. Sloppy play abounded in this game, and only the late touchdown throw by Cato saved this mess of a game from getting into D-level territory. 



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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