Monday, September 27, 2010

Helmet Stickers: Week 4

ACC—In Thursday night’s national spotlight game, the Hurricanes made a talented Pitt team look impotent. The Hurricanes hung up 31 points and only allowed the Panthers to get a field goal. Miami had nine tackles for loss; the Miami defense currently leads the nation in tackles for loss. Randy Shannon played linebacker under Dave Wannstedt when Wanny was the defensive coordinator for Miami from 1986 to 1988.
Big 12—In a game delayed an hour and a half due to rain, Kansas State was able to get a win, despite being outgained by UCF 344 yards to 272 yards.UCF was winning the game 13-10 with 5:14 left to play. Kansas State was able to put together a 67-yard drive for a touchdown and a 17-13 lead. The Wildcats proved their offense is more than just Daniel Thomas; Thomas was more or less held in check by the UCF defense, 76 yards and a fumble. Kansas State has its first 4-0 start since 2003. Bill Snyder has righted the ship in Manhattan.

Big East—With the Big East getting tossed around by everybody, Connecticut earns a helmet sticker this week for something fairly rare in the Big Least right now—winning a nonconference game. UConn got its first FBS win of the season over the Buffalo Bulls, 45-21. Randy Edsall’s team plays a well-disciplined brand of football, committing only two penalties for a total of 10 yards.

Big Ten—Penn State racked up its best quality win so far this season over Temple on Saturday. Temple scored 13 points in the first quarter, but the Penn State defense was able to make adjustments and shut out the Owls for the remainder of the game. Penn State was helped by the fact that Temple running back Bernard Pierce left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter. Penn State running back Evan Royster had a career day with 187 yards rushing. Penn State has not lost to Temple since 1941.

C-USA—After losing to South Carolina in their opener, Southern Miss has regrouped put together three straight wins. The Golden Eagles held off a late surge by Louisiana Tech to get a 13-12 win. The Southern Miss defense forced four turnovers, three of which were interceptions. Golden Eagles quarterback Austin Davis passed for 233 yards and ran for 69 yards. Southern Miss is well on its way to its 17th consecutive winning season.

MAC—Toledo upset Purdue 31-20. Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin threw two touchdowns and rushed for an additional two. Toledo wide receiver Eric Page had ten catches for 94 yards. The Rockets came away with their first win in West Lafayette since 1992. The Rockets look to be the team to beat in the MAC West. Toledo has won their last three contests and is 2-0 in conference play.

MWC—The Horned Frogs picked up their fourth win over a well-coached, up and coming Southern Methodist team. TCU receiver Jeremy Kerley racked up 245 all-purpose yards. Andy Dalton tied the school touchdown record with his 49th touchdown pass. TCU got its 18th straight regular season victory.

Pac-10—UCLA engineered a huge upset over No. 7 Texas. UCLA ran for 290 yards on Texas, who had the best rush defense in the FBS prior to the game. UCLA’s defense forced the Longhorns to turn over the ball five times—four fumbles and one interception. Mack Brown admitted to being embarrassed. UCLA got its first road victory against a ranked opponent since 2001.

SEC—No. 1 Alabama got all they could handle from No. 10 Arkansas. When it looked like Alabama would take a loss, the Crimson Tide buckled down and scored 17 unanswered points in the last sixteen minutes of the game. Arkansas squandered a 20-7 lead to lose the game 24-20. The Tide’s defense picked off Heisman candidate Ryan Mallett three times. Mark Ingram was reliable as usual, rushing for 157 yards.

Sun Belt—North Texas got its first win of the season in its Sun Belt opener versus Florida Atlantic. North Texas has been winless since beating Western Kentucky on Halloween last year. Third-string quarterback, and son of the head coach, Riley Dodge was 10 for 15 on the day. Running back James Hamilton amassed 122 yards. The Mean Green are perfect in conference play so far, 1-0.

WAC—I was one of those Bronco doubters, but I’ll admit that Boise State had an impressive primetime win against a good Oregon State program on Saturday. If they can run the table the rest of the way, they deserve another BCS bowl game. Kellen Moore, Austin Pettis, Titus Young, and Doug Martin could go head to head and win against just about any defense in the country. The Broncos outgained the Beavers 469 to 237, almost double. The Broncos are 6-1 against BCS conference schools since 2006.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On The Hot Seat: Week 3

1. Mike Locksley—Locksley is now 0-3 this season and 1-14 overall. New Mexico’s losses include a 72-0 rout in the opener against Oregon, a train wreck 52-17 loss to Texas Tech, and a 56-14 smack down from Utah. Supposedly, Locksley was hired because he was such a great recruiter. This clown needs to be fired ASAP.
2. Ron Zook—Zook is sitting at 2-1 this season, losing to Missouri and beating Northern Illinois and FCS Southern Illinois. The final verdict will be known when Big Ten play starts. What’s interesting is that Mike Locksley used to be Ron Zook’s offensive coordinator at Illinois. Cancer always spreads.
3. Tim Brewster—Brewster is off to a 1-2 start, highlighted by a loss to FCS South Dakota. Minnesota’s only win was against Middle Tennessee State, sans Dwight Dasher (suspension). Brewster is currently 15-26 as the Golden Gophers’ skipper.
4. Todd Dodge—If you are familiar with what Todd Dodge did as a high school football coach at Westlake Carroll in Texas, then you know he is a great coach. Three games into his fourth season, Dodge’s record is 5-34 (0-3 in 2010). Unfortunately for Dodge, 10 starters are already injured, and he is down to his third-string quarterback.
5. Paul Wulff—Wazzu is 1-2 this season so far. Their only win was against FCS Montana State and barely, 23-22. Paul Wulff has nine conference games to look forward to, and the Cougars will be lucky to win one of them.
6. Rich Rodriguez—He actually looks like he might be able to get off The Hot Seat if things keep going his way. Two things to keep in mind: 1) Michigan will derail if Shoelace gets injured. 2)Michigan started out 4-0 last year only to go 1-7 the rest of the way. Lets wait and see on Dick Rod.
7. Dan Hawkins—Dan Hawkins moves down the list a little bit for beating state rival Colorado State handily and a solid win over Hawaii.  However in Week 2, The Buffs got slaughtered 52-7 by Cal due to their own mistakes—three interceptions and two fumbles.
8. Dennis Erickson—Sure the Sun Devils are 2-1 this season, but both wins came over FCS opponents (Northern Arizona and Portland State). Dennis Erickson has a competitive Pac-10 schedule set to start this Saturday.
9. Ralph Friedgen—The Fridge has already equaled last season’s win tally with a 2-1 record. Maryland got a big win over Navy in their opener in Baltimore. With a weak ACC this year, Friedgen has the opportunity to silence the doubters and get off the hot seat.
10. Butch Davis—With two 30-24 losses and a football program under NCAA investigation, Butch Davis has come under scrutiny. With all the turmoil taking place under Davis’s watch, it may be best to just start with a clean slate in Chapel Hill.
Waiting list: Neil Callaway, Ron English, Mark Richt, Les Miles, Bob Toledo

Off the hot seat: Mike Price

We will revisit On The Hot Seat after Week 5.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Greatest Play Of The College Football Season

I attended the Michigan State-Notre Dame game. I was sitting in the northeast corner of the stadium where the above play took place. I have never seen a college stadium erupt in such wild celebration, ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Helmet Stickers: Week 3

ACC—Florida State looked impressive beating BYU big in back-to-back years. The Seminoles tallied eight sacks and held BYU to just 39 yards in the second half of the contest. Florida State proved they were able to rebound after last week’s disappointment against Oklahoma.

Big 12—Nebraska hasn’t played a legitimate team until Saturday. There were questions as to whether the Huskers were for real. The 56-21 shellacking of Washington has silenced any critics. The Cornhuskers had three rushers over 100 yards. The Nebraska defense helped provide probable No. 1 NFL draft pick Jake Locker his worst game ever. Locker was 4 for 20 with two picks. The Nebraska offense scored the most points by a Husker at an away game since 2000 Alamo Bowl.

Big East—West Virginia gets a helmet sticker by default this week. The Mountaineers were the only team in a weak Big East to beat an FBS opponent this week. They are also the only team from the Big Least to beat a team from an automatic qualifier conference. After getting no sacks in its first two games, West Virginia’s defense exploded, getting 8 sacks on the day and giving Maryland a final tally of -10 yards rushing. Bill Stewart’s team moves to 3-0 on the season.

Big Ten—Michigan State-Notre Dame had to have been the most exciting game of Week 3. With the score 28-28 at the end of regulation, Notre Dame was held to a field goal by the Spartan defense. On the Spartans possession, 4th down had them lining up for a 46-yard field goal. Instead of kicking the field goal, punter/holder Aaron Bates threw a touchdown to tightend Charlie Gantt to seal a 34-31 overtime victory. Michigan State has now beat rival Notre Dame in three of the last four years.

C-USA—UAB knocked off a solid Troy team 34-33 after Troy started the game 23-0. With 1:09 left in the game, the Blazers put together a 99-yard drive. Backup quarterback Bryan Ellis connected with wide receiver Jackie Williams on the last play of the game for a 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown and the win. UAB got its first win on the season.

MAC—Miami (OH) got a big win over the Mountain West’s Colorado State, 31-10. After trailing by a field goal to start the game, the RedHawks scored 31 unanswered points until the Rams scored a touchdown with 1:14 left in the game. Miami (OH) had no turnovers while Colorado State had four. This win marked the first time since 2007 that the RedHawks have won back-to-back games.

MWC—The Horned Frogs looked impressive in their blowout win over Baylor. The Horned Frogs amassed 558 yards of offense and gave up only 263 yards to the Bears. TCU’s Andy Dalton had a 91.3% completion rate. TCU has won six of its last seven contests against schools from BCS automatic qualifier conferences. If TCU can continue their winning ways, they will be in a BCS bowl game once again.

Pac-10—No. 24 Arizona upset No. 9 Iowa, 34-27, in Tucson. The Wildcats have struggled to win big games. After squandering a 20 point lead at the half to a 27-27 tie, Arizona was able to recover and reclaim the lead with less than four minutes left in the game. The Wildcat defense sacked Ricky Stanzi six times, four of which came on Iowa’s final drive. This win was significant for the Arizona football program, as it was the first time since 1989 that the Wildcats beat a team ranked in the top ten.

SEC—Auburn owns Clemson. Auburn’s Tigers have defeated Clemson’s Tigers in 14 straight games. Auburn was down 17-0 to start the game but was able to take the lead in the third quarter. Clemson scored a touchdown in the fourth to bring the game to a 24-24 tie. In overtime, Auburn’s Wes Byrum hit a 39-yard field goal. Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro missed a 32-yard field goal on Clemson’s possession.

Sun Belt—Arkansas State gets the Sun Belt’s helmet sticker by default this week, as they were the only Sun Belt team to get a W. The Red Wolves beat the Warhawks 34-20 in Jonesboro, getting their first victory of the season. Red Wolves senior cornerback M.D. Jennings picked off Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning twice.
WAC—The Wolfpack got another helmet sticker with their impressive 52-31 win over California. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick passed for 181 yards and ran for 148 yards. Running back Vai Taua rushed for 151 yards. California quarterback Kevin Riley was picked off three times by the Nevada defense. Nevada has scored 49 or more points in all three of its games this season.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Helmet Stickers: Week 2

ACC—North Carolina State gets the helmet sticker during a week where all three ranked ACC teams lost. NC State beat Central Florida 28-21 to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002. The NC State defense carried the day by forcing five turnovers on the Knights. The Wolfpack did not have any turnovers.
Big 12—The Jayhawks rebounded from their loss last week to North Dakota State in a big way: defeating No. 15 Georgia Tech. Turner Gill experimented with a new quarterback and running back this week. The Jayhawks ended an eight-game losing streak dating back to last year. It looks like Kansas will be alright.

Big East—In Friday night’s primetime game, the Mountaineers escaped Huntington in perhaps the most exciting game of Week 2. The Thundering Herd was beating West Virginia 21-6 in the fourth quarter. West Virginia scored 15 points to tie the game at 21-21 and force overtime. Tyler Bittencourt of West Virginia hit a 20-yard field goal on the Mountaineers’ possession. Tyler Warner of the Thundering Herd was wide right on a 40-yard field goal, heartbreaking the Marshall faithful.

Big Ten—The Buckeyes and Hurricanes both played sloppy in the rematch of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, but the Hurricanes were the sloppier of the two. Jacory Harris threw four picks, while the Buckeye did not turn over the ball once. Terrelle Pryor was effective on the ground but not so much in the air (44% completion rate). The Buckeyes ended up getting a huge win that should keep them high in the polls throughout the season.

C-USA—In a Friday night match-up, Houston got revenge on UTEP for last year’s odd 58-41 defeat in El Paso. Case Keenum left the game in the third quarter due to injury. The Houston Cougars amassed 656 yards of total offense in the 54-24 Cougar beatdown.

MAC—The Mid-America Conference suffered two losses to FCS opponents this week, making the conference look rather week. The Temple Owls, on the other hand, are rolling. Temple beat the Chippewas of Central Michigan 13-10 in overtime. Brandon McManus hit a 30-yard field goal in overtime to seal the win after the Chips threw an interception in their overtime possession. Al Golden has made Temple into a legitimate football team.

MWC—The Falcons administered a 35-14 pounding of the Cougars in front of a home crowd of 46,692. Air Force had not beaten Brigham Young since 2003. Air Force controlled the ball for 37 minutes. The BYU run defense was porous, allowing 409 yards of rushing. The Falcons also won the turnover battle, giving up one and forcing three.

Pac-10—California utterly destroyed future Pac-10 member Colorado Saturday by a score of 52-7. Cal’s defense was responsible for two touchdowns off of five Colorado turnovers. The punting average at California is currently the 10th best in the country. The Golden Bears may be a contender for the Pac-10 title in a wide open race.

SEC—No. 24 South Carolina got a big win over a No. 22 sans-AJ Green Georgia team Saturday. Steve Spurrier has failed to get the Gamecocks to the SEC championship game during his five prior seasons. This may be his breakout year. Stephen Garcia is finally looking like a decent quarterback. Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore is a beast. He ran for 182 yards on a stingy Bulldog defense. Mark Richt had never lost to the Gamecocks until Saturday’s meeting.

Sun Belt—I’m going to give a rare helmet sticker to a losing team. Troy proved they could hang with a Big 12 team, just barely losing to Oklahoma State, 41-38. Troy freshman quarterback Corey Robinson went 28 for 38, hitting ten different targets. Troy senior wide receiver Jerrell Jernigan had a 100-yard kickoff return and caught ten passes. The Trojans upset Oklahoma State in 2007, and came close to doing it again.

WAC—The Nevada Wolfpack made a mockery of the Colorado State Rams, 51-6, in front of a home crowd. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick passed for 241 yard and rushed for 161 yards. Nevada’s offense was extremely efficient, scoring on every single possession. Nevada’s defense deserves just as much praise. The Wolfpack had five sacks and one interception, while holding the Rams to 272 total yards.

More FCS Upsets

Last Sunday I hoped that no more FCS teams would upset FBS teams. During Week 2, four FCS schools beat FBS schools:

South Dakota 41
Minnesota 38

Gardner-Webb 38
Akron 37 (OT)

James Madison 21
No. 13 Virginia Tech 16

Liberty 27
Ball State 23

By far the worst loss was annual powerhouse Virginia Tech losing to James Madison. It is pretty obvious the Hokies were still mulling over last week's heartbreak loss to Boise State. This loss marks only the second time since the splitting of Division 1 in 1978 that a team from the lower division beat a ranked opponent from the higher division. The other occurence was back in 2007 when Appalachian State beat No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor 34-32.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Crowd Brawl At Miami-Florida A&M Game

Part 1

Part 2

It appears Miami fans are fighting other Miami fans. At least when fans of other schools get into brawls, they have the sense to beat up the opposition, not their own fans. There is a reason Miami's nickname is Thug U.

Helmet Stickers: Week 1

ACC—Navy was poised to score a touchdown on 4th and 1 with 34 seconds left in the game. The Maryland defense came up big and stopped Ricky Dobbs from getting into the endzone. Navy statistically dominated Maryland but would leave Baltimore regretting they did not settle for a field goal and overtime. For a team that went 2-10 last season, this was a huge victory. The Terrapin victory takes some of the heat off of The Fridge, at least for awhile.
Big 12—In front of the largest home opening crowd in Kansas State history, the Wildcats got a quality win over UCLA. Wildcat running back Daniel Thomas rushed for 235 of the Wildcat’s 377 total yards. Bill Snyder just may be able to bring K-State back to national relevance.

Big East—Syracuse won their season opener for the first time since 2003. The Orange had 431 yards of balanced offense. Syracuse is the only Big East team to beat a FBS opponent this week. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, and Pittsburgh all dropped winnable games.

Big Ten—Northwestern defeated Vanderbilt 23-21 in a game where the Commodores outgained the Wildcats. Dan Persa showed he could fill the role of quarterback for the Wildcats going 19 for 21 and rushing 82 yards.
C-USA—The first in-conference game of the season was quite possibly the most exciting of the weekend. East Carolina and Tulsa went back and forth in a game that would be decided by whichever team had the last possession. East Carolina Dominique Davis connected with Justin Jones on a Hail Mary as time expired. Ruffin McNeill’s 51-49 debut at his alma mater proves that this may not be a rebuilding year for the Pirates.

MAC—Since I don’t award helmet stickers to teams that beat up on FCS teams and no MAC team beat a FBS team this weekend, Week 1’s helmet sticker will go to Bowling Green. Bowling Green was tied with Troy 27-27, driving toward the endzone with a little over a minute left in the game until Matt Schilz was picked off by Tony Davis. Troy went on to hit a 34-yard field goal with 4 seconds left to escape with the win.

MWC—In one of the biggest matchups of Week 1, Utah upset No. 15 Pittsburgh in overtime. Tino Sunseri was picked off by Utah’s Brian Blechen during the Panthers’ possession. The Utes kicked a field goal during their possession to take the victory. Utah outplayed Pitt, gaining 405 yards to Pitt’s 266 yards.
Pac-10—The Ducks blew out the Lobos 72-0 on Saturday, setting a school record with 720 yards of total offense. Back-up running back Kenjon Barner, who was filling in for the suspended Michael James, scored five of the touchdowns. Major credit should also be given to the Oregon defense for forcing 5 turnovers and maintaining a shutout. Mike Locksley is a worthless coach and needs to be fired.

SEC—Mississippi State gave the Memphis Tigers a 49-7 beatdown Saturday. In the Mississippi State victory, the Bulldogs scored the most points in a game since the 2002 season. Dan Mullen has his program on the right track.

Sun Belt—FAU was a 13.5 point underdog but pulled out a 32-31 win over the UAB Blazers. When it looked like the Blazers would hit a 28 yard game-winning field goal on the final play of the game, the Owls blocked it and came away with the W.

WAC—Fresno State was down 14-0 against Cincinnati early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs were able to regroup and tie the game 14-14 by the half. The Fresno State defense got itself in order in the second half, and Pat Hill's team came away with a 28-14 win against a team that played a BCS bowl in January. Fresno State is looking good.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez College Football Fans?

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez at last week's Notre Dame-Purdue football game

Kansas and Ole Miss Embarrassed

The whole point of a FBS school scheduling a FCS school is to get a guaranteed win for your program. One win over a FCS program can be counted toward bowl game eligibility. There were 39 such games played this weekend. Two didn't go as planned:

North Dakota State 6
Kansas 3

Jacksonville State 49
Mississippi 48 (2OT)

Turner Gill and Houston Nutt need to redeem themselves next week or they'll be headed to the hot seat. Week 2 features 24 FCS versus FBS matchups. Hopefully we won't see more cupcakes pulling upsets.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On The Hot Seat: Preseason

1. Rich Rodriguez--Going 3-9 and 5-7 at Michigan just isn’t going to cut it. Rodriguez is going to need to win at least 7 games this season to save himself —not an easy task when you play in the Big Ten and have possibly the worst defensive backfield in the conference. With Michigan coming under NCAA scrutiny for the first time ever, Rodriguez may be finished even with a reputable record.

2. Dan Hawkins--Hawkins is 16-33 during his tenure at Colorado. With Colorado’s eminent move to the Pac 10 and Cody Hawkins playing as a senior this year, cleaning the slate may be appropriate unless the Buffs have a breakout season.

3. Ron Zook--Zook took the Illini to the Rose Bowl in 2007 season, but every other season he coached at Illini was a losing season 2-9 (2005), 2-10 (2006), 5-7 (2008), 3-9 (2009).

4. Ralph Friedgen--Friedgen is coming off his worst season by far at Maryland, 2-10. Maryland’s AD was quoted as saying The Fridge will need to win at least seven games if he expects to finish out his contract.

5. Mike Locksley--Locksley led the Lobos to a pathetic 1-11 record last year, all the while assaulting his receivers coach. Locksley also sexually harassed his administrative assistant. This guy is bad news for New Mexico. Cut out the cancer before it spreads.

6. Dennis Erickson--Arizona State is looking to be the Pac 10’s blow-up doll in 2010. The offensive line is in disarray and the quarterback situation is shaky. Look for another losing campaign similar to the previous two seasons (5-7 in 2008, 4-8 in 2009), if the Sun Devils are lucky.

7. Paul Wulff--You have got to feel bad for Paul Wulff. This guy loves his alma mater but is in a hopeless situation. With a 3-22 record over 3 seasons, Wulff is undoubtedly on the hot seat, but who wouldn’t be at Wazzu? How do you recruit talent to come play in a podunk in eastern Washington?

8. Tim Brewster--Brewster is 14-24 in three seasons at Minnesota. Brewster has led the Golden Gophers to two Insight Bowls over the past two seasons. Both bowls ended in losses. Keep in mind Mase the Ace (64-57) was fired after blowing a 38-7 lead in the 2006 Insight Bowl.

9. Bob Toledo--Toledo is 9-27 after three seasons with the Green Wave. Without improvement, he will be receiving a pink slip.

10. Mike Price--UTEP’s skipper is 34-38 over six seasons, the last four of which have been below .500. Mike Price is going to need to win more games than he loses and get to a bowl game to quell his critics in El Paso.

Waiting list: Todd Dodge, Ron English, Neil Callaway, Mike Sherman

We will revisit On The Hot Seat after Week 3.

Helmet Stickers

Welcome to the Helmet Stickers blog, a place to discuss all things FBS Division 1 football. I'll be posting as frequently as possible, while trying to hold down a day job. Regular features will include weekly helmet stickers for each conference and keeping tabs on the coaching hot seat. If you are interested in contributing regular posts of your own, contact me and you can be a part of Helmet Stickers.