Posted on: November 28, 2010 1:06 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. Cam Newton is your Heisman Trophy winner. Seriously, just give him the trophy now. Don't even invite anybody else to New York because there isn't a point. After leading Auburn to that comeback win against Alabama, after falling behind 24-0 on the road, LaMichael James -- or any other contender -- would literally have to score 80 touchdowns in a game while saving a group of children from a burning building to take the Heisman away from him. I'm not even sure I care if he did take money at this point.
2. Hogs can smell sugar. And they really seem to like it. Arkansas took care of LSU on Saturday in Little Rock, and because of it, the Hogs still have a chance to go to the Sugar Bowl. All they need is for Auburn to beat South Carolina next week and move on to the title game. That would free the Sugar Bowl up to select an SEC team, and you have to think Arkansas would get a look.
3. Florida's nightmare season can get worse. Go ahead, ask any Gators fan if they feel any better about 2010 after seeing the Gators get knocked around by Florida State on Saturday. Honestly, I don't see how Urban Meyer can consider bringing Steve Addazio back next season unless his ultimate plan is to have Gainesville burn to the ground.
4. Georgia is going bowling after all. It took longer than any Georgia fan was probably hoping for, but after beating Georgia Tech on Saturday night, the Bulldogs now have six wins and can get an extra two weeks of practice. Considering how the season started, it's a small miracle.
5. Kentucky may never beat Tennessee. Seriously, if there was ever going to be a season in which the Wildcats would finally knock off the Vols, this would have been the one, right? Sorry, not the case. Tennessee took care of the 'Cats and like Georgia, is now bowl eligible. Which is an even bigger miracle than the one Georgia pulled off.
Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:10 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 12:11 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So now that it's official and we know for a fact that Randy Shannon has been fired by Miami, I suppose it's about time we got to speculating about who is going to replace him in Coral Gables. Though the program hasn't been what it used to be, Miami is still the type of job that plenty of coaches wouldn't mind trying on for size.
After all, Florida is still a hotbed of football talent, and it's not like the ACC isn't there for the taking. So who are some of the names likely to come up in the coming weeks or months? Miami has said it will begin a national search, so just about anybody is in play.
Let's look at some of the likely suspects.
Mark Richt -- It sounded like Mark Richt would be in danger of losing his job earlier this season, but things have since calmed down at Georgia. Still, that doesn't mean he wouldn't consider leaving the grind of the SEC for the sunny beaches of Miami. After all, he liked the school so much he did decide to go to college there.
Dan Mullen -- Another SEC coach that the 'Canes may want to consider poaching. Unlike Richt, he's at an SEC school that is considered more of a stepping stone than a destination. Plus, if Mullen can do the job he's done in Starkville with a perennial bottom-feeder in the SEC, imagine what he could do at Miami.
Mike Leach -- As far as I'm concerned, there won't be a coaching vacancy anywhere that I don't think Mike Leach should be considered for. College football needs it's Pirate King, and with Miami so close to the beach, Leach will finally have a place to keep his pirate ship.
Gus Malzahn -- There won't be many schools looking for a head coach who won't give Malzahn consideration. He's been successful everywhere he's been, especially with what he has done with Cam Newton and Auburn this year. He's an offensive innovator that will get a shot somewhere, so why not Miami?
Mario Cristobal -- A bit of a darkhorse candidate here. Cristobal is currently the head coach at FIU, who just won the Sun Belt Conference on Saturday. He also happens to be a former offensive lineman for the Hurricanes.
Tommy Tuberville -- I'm sure Miami could get him if it asked, but really, why would it?
Howard Schnellenberger -- Come on, Donna Shalala. You know you want to.
Ron Prince -- A big name coach would be nice, but a power towel would be better.
These are just some of the names that are likely to come up, obviously, there will probably be many more floated around before Miami finally does settle on it's new head coach. That's what happens anytime a big-time program begins a coaching search.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: November 22, 2010 11:33 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Lost somewhat in the excitement over Georgia agreeing to play Boise State in the annual Chick-Fil-A-Kickoff game next season was the fact that both the Bulldogs and Broncos already had opponents scheduled to open the 2011 season: Louisville in Georgia's case, and Ole Miss in Boise's.
That's where the ripples from the Georgia-Boise rock thrown into the puddle of college football scheduling start, but they radiate out much, much further from there, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes by listing the incredible eight teams whose 2011 slates have already been altered to accomodate the matchup:
Georgia, Boise State, Louisville (dropped from Georgia’s schedule), North Carolina (added to Louisville’s schedule to replace Georgia), James Madison (switching dates on North Carolina’s schedule to accommodate the UNC-Louisville game), Ole Miss (moved a scheduled 2011 season opener against Boise State to 2014), BYU (replaced Boise on Ole Miss’ 2011 schedule) and Oregon State (changed dates on BYU’s schedule to accommodate the BYU-Ole Miss game).This isn't to say that several of these teams aren't happy with the changes; Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone called delaying his school's meeting with the Broncos until 2014 so it could be that year's Chick-Fil-A Kickoff "a dream come true."
But still: maneuvering this many moving pieces into place just for one high-profile made-for-TV game should tell you how much weight ESPN currently has to throw around in college football's sphere of influence. And with the WWL somewhat fortunate the Beavers could switch dates so easily and keep the daisy-chain at only eight teams, it begs the question: at what point do teams start putting their foot down and telling television that some things aren't worth the money being thrown at them? Is there such a point?
Judging by the number of dominoes knocked over to bring together Georgia and Boise, ESPN's going to find out if there is sometime soon.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 11:14 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Nothing's officially official just yet, but the tea leaves are all but screaming that Georgia will face off against Boise State in the annual Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game. Asked point-blank about the possibility yesterday, both Mark Richt and Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity offered leading no comments , and the AD for current opening-week Boise opponents Ole Miss cryptically tweeted that ESPN was delaying a "big football schedule announcement."
All of that would be enough to call the blockbuster all but a done deal, but this morning we also got the following from Georgia legend and current Atlanta radio personality Buck Belue :
As Belue's tweet indicates, between the loss of much of Boise's roster and the Dawgs' slide to their current 5-6 record, the meeting won't quite be the mega-matchup it would have been this year. But any collision between Boise and the SEC -- not to mention the South's legion of avowed Bronco skeptics -- is still must-see television.
The Bulldogs will point out that the last time Boise came east to face the Dawgs, the Broncos were run out of Athens behind a bevy of Jared Zabransky turnovers by a score of 48-13. But 2005 was a long time ago, and with a carrot like this to tempt us throughout the offseason, the minute the 2010 season is done, 2011 won't get here fast enough.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 12:10 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Nagurski Trophy is handed out annually to the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America , and if there's no slam-dunk choice for the FWAA this year like Ndamukong Suh in 2009, it's hard to argue -- depending on how you feel about the under-fire Nick Fairley -- that any of the five finalists for the award wouldn't be entirely deserving. They are:
Da'Quan Bowers, End, Clemson, 6-4, 275, Jr. (Bamberg, S.C)
Nick Fairley, Tackle, Auburn, 6-5, 298, Jr. (Mobile, Ala.)
Justin Houston, Linebacker, Georgia, 6-3, 258, Jr. (Statesboro, Ga.)
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College, 6-3, 235, So. (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU 6-1, 222, Jr. (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
You know Bowers as the nation's leading sackmaster with 13.5 takedowns of opposing quarterbacks, but he's also added 22 tackles-for-loss, second in the nation; Fairley as the SEC 's most purely disruptive defender (with possible apologies to Houston and LSU tackle Drake Nevis ), and his 18 tackles-for-loss rank first in the country amongst defensive tackles; Peterson as the nation's consensus best cover corner, the absolute prototype for the next level with his combination of size and breathtaking speed; and Houston as the SEC's leader in both sacks (11) and tackles-for-loss (18.5) from his position as a rush linebacker in Georgia 'a new-for-2010 3-4 defense.
But you may not know Kuechly at all, and not without reason; when you share not just a team or a defense but a linebacking unit with an incredible story like fellow Eagle Mark Herzlich and his recovery from cancer, it's hard to get noticed in the national press no matter what you do on the field. But as the nationa's most efficient, productive tackling machine, what Kuechly has accomplished has been no less impressive than the achievements of any of the other four Nagurski finalists. He leads the nation in both total tackles with 146 (or 14.6 per game ) and solo stops with 83; no other player in college football has yet crossed the 80 threshold. Kuechly is also the only player in the country to make 20 or more tackles in one game, and has done so twice: once against North Carolina State and again against Duke this past Saturday, when he also added two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and recovered fumble just for good measure.
So even if the most under-the-radar finalist for the Nagurski goes home with the hardware, complaints should be kept to a minimum. Though anyone other than Suh would have been a mistake a year ago, this year the FWAA cannot go wrong.
Posted on: November 17, 2010 2:53 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
As mentioned earlier, Auburn DT Nick Fairley will not be suspended for the Alabama game by the SEC after a series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties marred the Auburn-Georgia game last week. Alabama fans will no doubt be rankled by the conference's decision -- for reasons most certainly including Fairley's prodigious talent, of course -- and Auburn fans are pointing fingers at Georgia for the whole mess and calling no-foul on the decision, but Gene Chizik will get two weeks to punish Fairley in-house and then that'll be that.
Except, here's the thing: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, the target of multiple late hits by Fairley last week, still isn't practicing yet as he recovers from injuries that knocked him out of the end of last week's game. Georgia's on a bye and Mark Richt is calling his quarterback "day-to-day," so Murray's probably unlikely to miss any playing time, but the freshman is certainly injured; even with the bye week coming up, it would be insane for Richt to hold his signal-caller out of practice if Murray's able to go, what with a must-win tilt with Georgia Tech looming. And we really mean "must win;" Richt's job might be on the line if he can't get the Dawgs to .500 and a bowl game, so if Murray's not even practicing with a no-contact jersey on, there's a good reason.
So since Murray is clearly injured at some level, if Georgia were playing a game this week, there is a significant (if not necessarily ironclad -- we don't really know) chance that if Georgia had a game this week, Murray would be too injured to go. And if Nick Fairley had indeed knocked an opposing quarterback out of not only the Auburn game but also the following week and with multiple instances of dirty play, there's absolutely no way the SEC would have left his eligibility up to Auburn's discretion for the following week.
Ah, but Murray and Fairley both have the week off, and neither is likely to miss any time, so this is all largely an academic question. Still, it's worth wondering -- is Nick Fairley's conduct always going to be at least implicitly condoned by the SEC like this, or was his status for the Iron Bowl the result, in part, of some measure of scheduling luck?
Posted on: November 16, 2010 5:01 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Linemen, defenders, running backs, and quarterbacks have all had their day in the "award announces smaller list of potential winners from larger list" sun, so now it's time for the guys that catch the ball. First, the 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award , given to the nation's outstanding wide receiver:
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
A.J. Green, Georgia
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Julio Jones, Alabama
Aldrick Robinson, SMU
Greg Salas, Hawaii
Jordan White, Western Michigan
And the eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award , due the nation's top tight end:
George Bryan (Jr., North Carolina State)
Michael Egnew (Jr., Missouri)
Ladarius Green (Jr., Louisiana)
Daniel Hardy (Sr., Idaho)
Lance Kendricks (Sr., Wisconsin)
Allen Reisner (Sr., Iowa)
Luke Stocker (Sr., Tennessee)
D.J. Williams (Sr., Arkansas)
What's interesting about contrasting the two lists in how many names pop off the firts list and don't pop off the second one. Of course, of course, the first is wide receivers and the second is tight ends. But whereas Green, Jefferey, and Jones are all universally considered first-round talents and players like Blackmon, Broyles, Salas, and White are all putting together flatly ridiculous statistical seasons (oh, and Cobb is only leading the nation in all-purpose yardage, and incredible talents like Michael Floyd and Jeff Maehl didn't make it), the tight ends are ... well, they're around. The No. 1 TE in receiving yardage is Egnew, followed by Green, and neither is exactly a household name. The early draft projections don't feature any of the tight ends listed above ... or any at all.
It's probably a one-year fluke. But as with the lack of workhorse running backs among the nation's top offensive skill players , it also speaks to how dominant the spread offense has become in college football. There just aren't as many traditional tight ends playing college football ... and it appears to be having an impact on the quality of the position overall.
Tags: A.J. Green, Alabama, Aldrick Robinson, Allen Reisner, Alshon Jeffery, Arkansas, Biletnikoff Award, D.J. Williams, Daniel Hardy, George Bryan, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Jeff Fuller, Jordan White, Julio Jones, Justin Blackmon, Kentucky, Ladarius Green, Lance Kendricks, Louisiana, Luke Stocker, Mackey Award, Michael Egnew, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Randall Cobb, Ryan Broyles, SMU. Greg Salas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:05 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College football fans (not to mention poll voters, BCS administrators, exhausted reporters, etc.) hoping for some movement forward on the Cam Newton investigation appear to be getting their wish today based on a series of reports out of the South. Two of those are recapped here , namely:
-- Former Mississippi State quarterback and Bulldog supporter John Bond met with the FBI today, according to Bond's attorney; Bond was the player (allegedly) originally approached as a possible source of funds by ...
-- Kenny Rogers , another former State player and agent who has claimed Cecil Newton asked him to arrange payment for his son's services; according to a Dallas radio host, Rogers is speaking to NCAA investigators as we type.
But that's not all. Notorious Alabama radio personality Paul Finebaum has added a new name into the mix of potential Newton informants and NCAA interviewees: Jody Wright , currently an Alabama graduate assistant and formerly a State director of football operations, who Finebaum reported was interviewed yesterday.
Obviously, the NCAA isn't going to confirm or comment on any of this. But to disregard all of these reports (not to mention the ones out of Birmingham that Auburn met with NCAA officials before the Georgia game) would be trying too hard. Whispers from the Auburn-colored corners of the Internet are even suggesting that a ruling could come as early as this week .
Since that would be a decision-making process of nearly unprecedented speed for an organization universally panned for its methodical approach, it seems unlikely the NCAA will make a move quite that soon. But clearly, the NCAA is on the case and moving with what appears to be all possible haste. Early estimates that placed a conclusion to the Newton case early next year -- following a BCS championship game which may or may not include Auburn, depending on their performance in the Iron Bowl grudge match with Alabama -- look at this moment to be on the pessimistic side.
Considering how much is at stake -- not only for Auburn but for all of college football, should its biggest individual award and national championship be awarded to a player later found to be ineligible -- that may not be surprising, even for the NCAA.