Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Toledo Got Screwed

Referees blow calls quite frequently, but usually they officiate well enough to not make bad calls that influence the outcome of a game. Well, last Saturday the refs screwed up BIG TIME and screwed Toledo out of a win that it should have had over Syracuse. The bad call was on an extra point attempt. PAT's are black and white compared to the gray areas on some pass interference and celebration penalties. There is no excuse for blowing this call. The Big East officials from this game should be fired.

See the video below. The extra point attempt by the Orange at 2:07 in the fourth quarter clearly never goes through the uprights. If the refs would have made the correct call, Syracuse would have led 29-27. Toledo would have then won the game 30-29 with the field goal the Rockets kicked on the last play of regulation. Instead, that field goal only tied the game at 30 apiece. The game went to overtime and Toledo lost.

After the game, the Big East admitted it had made the wrong call, but refused to reverse Syracuse's win. Apparently, once a game has been called, its decision cannot be overturned. Hopefully Toledo will not end up in a situation at the end of the season where it is one win short of going to a bowl game or where one nonconference loss affects the program in a conference standing tiebreaker. There needs to be accountability in the Big East's officiating. The blown call was unacceptable. Toledo got screwed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On The Hot Seat: Week 4

1. Paul Wulff—Paul Wulff has got the Cougars at 2-1 after four weeks of football. Wazzou beat FCS Idaho State 64-21 and UNLV 59-7, before falling to San Diego State in Week 3 by a margin of 18. Wulff is still 7-33 at his alma mater and needs to show he can win in the Pac-12.

2. Mike Riley—The Oregon State Beavers are 0-3 after losing to FCS Sacramento State, getting shutout 35-0 by Wisconsin, and losing at home this past Saturday to a suspect UCLA team whose coach is also on the hot seat. Riley also posted a meager 5-7 record last year after high expectations in Corvallis.

3. Neil Callaway—The Blazers are 0-3 to start the season and 0-2 in conference games. Things are not looking good in Birmingham. UAB has a tough road game against Troy next week.

4. Bob Toledo—The Green are 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Conference USA games. Things could be better, and things could be worse. Tulane needs to win games and beating Army on the road next week would help Toledo get off the hot seat.

5. Rick Neuheisel—The Bruins have started the season 2-2, which includes wins over San Jose State and Oregon State—two teams that don’t look to be too good this year. The results of UCLA’s eight upcoming Pac-12 games will determine whether Neuheisel will be out of a job or kept on.

6. Houston Nutt—After two 9-4 seasons in 2008 and 2009, Ole Miss dropped to 4-8 in 2010 including a loss to 1AA Jacksonville State. The 2011 season has started out poorly with losses to BYU, Vanderbilt, and Georgia. SEC bottomfeeder Vanderbilt beat the Rebels 30-7. The only win came over 1AA Southern Illinois.

7. David Bailiff—Rice upset Purdue 24-22 on September 10th. While the Owls are 1-2, they have yet to play a conference game yet. If the Owls can make some noise in the C-USA West Division this year, Bailiff may be still around.

8. Robb Akey—Akey is 1-3 this season, only beating FCS school North Dakota. Akey has had only one winning season and is now in his fifth year. There is little excitement in Moscow over Vandals football, depicted by the empty seats in the Kibbie Dome.

9. Frank Spaziani—Boston College started the season 1-3, with the only win coming over 1AA UMass. The Eagles have lost at home to Northwestern and Duke and on the road to UCF. Spaz is also 0 for 2 against Notre Dame during his tenure. Boston College needs to defend its reputation.

10. DeWayne Walker—Walker got the biggest win of his head coaching career against Minnesota Week 2. Other than the big upset in Minneapolis, NMSU has lost to rival UTEP, Ohio, and SJSU. Will the Aggies follow the Lobos example and hit the reset button this season?

Waiting list: Mike Price, Ron English, Steve Fairchild, Mike Stoops

Fired: Mike Locksley

Off the hot seat: Ron Zook, Dennis Erickson

We will revisit On The Hot Seat after Week 6.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Nightmare Is Over In Albuquerque

Yes, folks, what you heard was true. We have the first head coach firing of the season after just four weeks. Mike Locksley has been deservedly canned after going 2-26 in two and a third seasons. The last straw was this past Saturday when New Mexico lost to FCS school Sam Houston State in overtime 48-45. Fan support for the program had plummetted under Locksley. This past Saturday was the Lobos lowest home attendance at University Stadium in nineteen years--16,313 fans.

Also this past weekend, a Lobos recruit was arrested with charges of an aggravated DWI, minor in possession of alcohol, driving without a license, and reckless driving while in a car owned by Locksley. Keep in mind Locksley was accused of sexual harrassment of a secretary before he even coached his first game at New Mexico. During his first season, he violently attacked his wide receivers coach after a loss and was subsequently suspended for ten days.

This guy was the biggest joke of a head coach I have ever witnessed in all of the years I have been a fan of college pigskin. I had been calling for Locksley's removal on every single edition of my column On The Hot Seat since I began this blog. He is finally gone. Defensive coordinator George Barlow will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Mike Locksley is a clown

Texas A&M Officially Joins The SEC

Texas A&M officially joined the Southeastern Conference yesterday. The Aggies will begin playing in the SEC in the fall of 2012. It is unclear whether Baylor or other Big 12 schools will file litigation against Texas A&M as reported over the past few weeks. Starting next season, the Aggie will be in a different conference from their rivals Texas and Baylor for the first time in the football programs long, storied history. It is likely the Thanksgiving night rivalry game between the Aggies and the Longhorns will become a thing of the past.

Now the SEC will be unbalanced at 13 teams. I would assume they will be out to poach a 14th team to balance the divisions. Missouri  would seem to be the best match for the SEC, but it seems like the nine remaining members of the Big 12 are adamant on staying together. A six-year television rights agreement has been set with the remaining nine schools. If one of the Big 12 schools leave the conference within the next six years, all of their primetime television revenue would still go to the Big 12. It looks like the Big 12 will add anywhere from one to three teams to make itself more relevant nationally again.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Helmet Stickers: Week 4

ACC—No. 21 Clemson knocked off No. 11 Florida State 35-30, giving the Tigers their first 4-0 start since 2007. The Tigers have beaten the Seminoles five-straight in Death Valley. It was Clemson’s fourth game this season with 455 yards or more. Clemson freshman Sammy Watkins had 141 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. After beating two ranked opponents in consecutive weeks, Clemson looks like the dominant team in the ACC.

Big 10—No. 22 Michigan picked up a solid win over San Diego State in the weekend before Big 10 conference games begin. It was the Aztecs first loss of the season. Denard Robinson rushed for three touchdowns in the first half and ended the game with 200 yards on the ground. The Wolverines were very one-dimensional running for 320 yards and passing for 93 yards. Brady Hoke is the third coach in UM history to defeat the team he coached the previous season.

Big 12—Kansas State snuffed Miami’s Jacory Harris on a fourth down run on the K-State goal line with 49 seconds left to end any chance the Hurricanes had of defeating the Wildcats. Miami had the ball on the Kansas State 2-yard line on first down, but threw an incompletion. On second and third down, the Wildcats defense stopped rushing attempts. The Kansas State offense was just as good. Wildcats running back John Hubert ran for 167 yards, averaging 9.2 yards per carry. In 145 of the last 150 games where the Wildcats led at the half, they won. That is called finishing.

Big East—On Thursday night, the Cincinnati Bearcats blasted the North Carolina State Wolfpack 44-14, avenging last year’s loss. Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros threw two touchdowns and rushed for two more. Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead ran for 167 yards and accounted for two scores—one on the ground and another on a catch. The Cincinnati defense put up six sacks, forced three turnovers, and gave the Wolfpack -26 yards rushing. The Bearcats have not lost a nonconference game at Nippert Stadium since 2003.

C-USA—A 2-1 Southern Miss team defeated a 2-1 Virginia squad 30-24 Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles avoided giving the ball back to Virginia with less than 3 minutes left and a three-point lead when Austin Davis connected with Tracy Lampley with a 41-yard completion on third and 23. Golden Eagles quarterback Austin Davis threw for 313 yards and all three of Southern Mississippi’s touchdowns. The Golden Eagles defense had three picks. Both teams had 374 yards of offense. Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in the last two meetings.

MAC—Temple defeated Maryland 38-7 in College Park. Temple had never beaten the Terrapins before or any other ACC team for that matter. Maryland was previously 6-0 against Temple, including winning the last two games by a combined 54 points. The Owls controlled the clock for 41:01 and outgained Maryland 425 to 240. Owls running back Bernard Pierce had a school-record five rushing touchdowns. Temple wide receiver Rod Streator blocked a Maryland punt in the first quarter. Maryland had not had a punt blocked in 139 consecutive games, dating back to 1999. Maryland did not score until garbage time at the end of the fourth quarter.

MWC—Colorado State punted, losing 21-13, with 2:17 left in its game against Utah State in Logan. When Utah State fumbled the punt return, Colorado State recovered the ball and punched in a touchdown four Chris Nwoke-runs later. A two-point conversion pass to Crockett Gillmore tied the game at 21-21, forcing overtime. Both teams rushed for touchdowns in the first overtime to get to 28-28. Colorado State scored 7 points in the second overtime off a 7-yard pass to tight end Crockett Gillmore. Utah State’s Robert Turbin answered with a touchdown, but Utah State elected to go for a two-point conversion for the win. The Aggies rushed Robert Turbin on the two-point conversion attempt, but the Rams defense got the stop and the 35-34 victory.

Pac-12—Arizona State downed No. 23 Southern California 43-22 at Sun Devil Stadium, ending an 11-game losing streak to the Trojans. The Sun Devils forced four turnovers and the Trojans forced none of their own. Standout middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict had an interception, and outside linebacker Shelly Lyon returned an interception for a score late in the fourth to end any hopes the Trojans could get back in the game. Brock Osweiler threw two scores and Cameron Marshall rushed for three scores after an ankle injury in last Saturday’s game against Illinois.

SEC—No. 2 Louisiana State made a mockery out of No. 16 West Virginia on primetime with a 47-21 victory. The LSU defense stopped a high-octane Mountaineer attack. The Tigers won the turnover battle 4-0. LSU punter Brad Wing averaged 48.7 yards per punt. LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne ran back a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. The Tigers have made a case for being No. 1 after beating No.3 Oregon, No. 25 Mississippi State, and No. 16 West Virginia all away from home in just the first four weeks of the season.

Sun Belt—North Texas got its first win of the season at home this Saturday over BCS-conference foe Indiana by a score of 24-21. Mean Green running back Lance Dunbar accumulated 152 receiving yards and 127 rushing yards, despite fumbling twice. Mean Green quarterback Derek Thompson threw for 201 yards, all three of North Texas’ touchdowns, and one pick-six in the fourth quarter. The Mean Green led 24-0 before the Hoosiers stormed back in the fourth quarter behind their backup quarterback Dusty Kiel. North Texas recovered an onside kick with 1:05 left to secure its first win.

WAC—San Jose State ended a thirteen-game losing streak by beating New Mexico State 34-24 Saturday at Spartan Stadium. Spartan Brandon Rutley rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first player at SJSU to rush for over 200 yards in a game in seven years. Spartan quarterback Matt Faulkner threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, both caught by tight end Ryan Otten. SJSU played a clean game, only committing one penalty for 5 yards. The Spartans got their first win since beating Southern Utah on September 18, 2010.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More FCS Upsets

Two Mountain West Conference teams were upset by FCS teams today:

Sam Houston State 48
New Mexico 45 (OT)

Southern Utah 41

New Mexico took the game to overtime but has been horrible since Mike Locksley took over. UNLV surprisingly got dominated a week after upsetting Hawaii 40-20 in the same stadium. There have been five FCS-FBS upsets so far during the 2011 season. The vast majority of the 2011 inter-division matchups have been played in the first four weeks of the season, as most games from here on out are conference games.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Helmet Stickers: Week 3

ACC—Clemson ended No. 21 Auburn’s 17-game winning streak and avenged its overtime loss to Auburn last year. The Clemson Tigers’ 624 yards was the most the program has ever put up on a SEC school. Clemson beat Auburn after losing the last fourteen meetings. It has been sixty years since the Clemson Tigers have beaten the Auburn Tigers. At one point, Clemson converted ten-straight third downs, going 13 for 18 overall on the day.

Big 10—Illinois got by an improved No. 22 Arizona State squad 17-14, despite putting up 240 yards of offense and giving up 362 yards to the Sun Devils. The Illini defense stepped up when it had to, tallying 6 sacks and 2 picks against Sun Devil quarterback Brock Osweiler. Illinois led 10-7 before the first quarter was over. Early in the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils took the lead 14-10 on a 14-yard quarterback rush. A 16-yard touchdown pass to Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins put Illinois back on top 17-14 and was enough to get a big victory for a program that has struggled since going to the 2008 Rose Bowl.

Big 12—No. 1 Oklahoma’s resume for the BCS Championship Game is looking good after a 23-13 victory over No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee. The Sooners defense was phenomenal: 6 sacks and held the Seminoles to 27 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Oklahoma defensive back Javon Harris had two interceptions, while linebacker Tom Wort added another. Florida State tied the game at 13-13 in the fourth quarter, but the Sooners added a touchdown and field goal in the final minutes to get the W.

Big East—Louisville took out rival Kentucky 24-17 on Saturday. Louisville last beat the Wildcats in 2006. Louisville quarterback Will Stein left the game early in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. True freshmen Teddy Bridgewater came in to replace him and completed 10 of 18 passes for two touchdown and no interceptions. The Cardinals are 2-1 and have two weeks to get ready for Marshall at home.

C-USA—UTEP prevailed over New Mexico State 16-10 in the Battle of I-15. UTEP kicker Dakota Warren had most of the Miners’ points: field goals of 42, 47, and 37 yards. The Miners only touchdown was set up by a 60-yard run off of a fake punt. UTEP’s defense played a great game, getting 6 sacks and holding NMSU to 16 yards rushing on 29 carries. The Miners have now beaten the Aggies three straight years.

MAC—Western Michigan routed in-state rival Central Michigan 44-14. Broncos wide receiver Jordan White had 13 catches for 177 yards, while quarterback Alex Carder threw for 355 yards, going 28 for 37. The Broncos have lost to the Chippewas each of the last five seasons. If Western Michigan can go on to defeat Eastern Michigan later in the season, it will win the Michigan MAC Trophy.

MWC—UNLV pulled a huge upset over Hawaii Saturday evening at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels beat the Warriors 40-20, despite the Vegas line favoring Hawaii by 17.5 points. UNLV running back Tim Cornett ran in an 80-yard touchdown, the longest touchdown run for the Rebels in 22 years. The Rebels defense was opportunistic, recovering all four of Hawaii’s fumbles. The Rebels got their first win of the season and the biggest of the Bobby Hauck era.

Pac-12—Utah absolutely destroyed BYU in the latest installment of the Holy War. The Utes put up 54 points on the Cougars, while only allowing 10 points and 11 rushing yards with stout defense. The Utes forced the Cougars to turn over the football a whopping seven times. Young was embarrassed on its home field. Utes running back John White IV rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns. After losing 10-7 in the second quarter, Utah scored 47 unanswered points in the blowout.

SEC—Florida beat Tennessee for the seventh straight time Saturday in a 33-23 decision. Florida senior running back Chris Rainey was the MVP of the game. He rushed for 108 yards, caught for 104 yards, and blocked a punt. The Florida rush defense totally shut down the Volunteers run game. The Vols rushed for -9 yards in the contest. Luckily, solid play was able to overcome the Gators’ 150 yards of penalties.

Sun Belt—Florida International gets the Sun Belt helmet sticker for the third straight week. FIU was the only Sun Belt team to get a win over a FBS opponent, which was Central Florida this past Saturday. The Golden Panthers got by the Knights without stud wide out T.Y. Hilton. Hilton was injured. FIU is 3-0 for the first time in school history. The Panther defense put up six sacks on Central Florida’s Jeff Godfrey. One of those sacks came from FIU cornerback Tevin Blanchard late in the first half. It resulted in a fumble that was picked up by FIU defensive end Isame Faciane and returned 51 yards for the score.

WAC—Nevada defeated conference foe San Jose State by a score of 17-14. The Spartans were poised to get the go-ahead touchdown with 1:10 remaining in the game, but Nevada safety Duke Williams intercepted the Spartans’ third down pass into the end zone to clinch the victory for the Wolf Pack. Running back Mike Ball rushed for 124 yards and scored both of the Wolf Pack’s touchdowns.

Independents—The Black Knights got a quality 21-14 win over Northwestern, their first win of the season. All but 6 yards of Army’s offense came on the ground. Army quarterback Trent Steelman scored all three of the Black Knights’ touchdowns on runs, the third of which gave Army the lead with less than 3 minutes left. Victory was sealed after the defense stopped the Wildcats on 4th and 1 on the Army 33-yard line. The Black Knights controlled the clock for over 40 minutes with their triple-option offense.

Pittsburgh And Syracuse Join The ACC

Pittsburgh and Syracuse will join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Over the past three weeks, amid talks of the SEC picking up a thirteenth team, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were negociating with the ACC about membership. Both schools were voted in as members of the ACC yesterday, and it was announced this morning that the Atlantic Coast Conference would become a fourteen-team conference. The schools have to pay a $5 million exit fee and give the Big East 27 months notice before leaving according to Big East bylaws. This would mean that Syracuse and Pitt would not be able to start playing in the ACC until the 2014 season.

The Big East is now left with seven football-playing members once TCU arrives next season. It appears TCU is the biggest loser, moving to a conference that has an uncertain future, and it is still almost a year before it arrives in said conference. Rumors are circling that Connecticut and Rutgers desparately would like to join the ACC now. If this happens, the Big East would be left with just five football-playing members.

In my August 14, 2011 post, I mentioned that of the six BCS conferences, the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference have the two weakest football brands of the six, and it is clear the conference dominoes are being driven by the sport of football. Thus, if superconferences were to emerge, and it looked like with Texas A&M looking to go to the SEC they would, the Big East and the ACC would be the most likely to get carved up. The ACC knew this and made a preemptive strike and become the first fourteen-team conference in order to remain relevant. Now, all of the pressure is on a crumbling Big East.

Will other conferences move to fourteen or sixteen teams to counter the ACC?

Will the Big East survive as a football conference?

What will be the next domino to fall in this wave of conference realignment?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another FCS Upset

Yet another FBS team was upset by a FCS team today. There have been three such upsets so far during the 2011 season.

Indiana State 44
Western Kentucky 16

In Western Kentucky's defense, they have only been in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2009. This is only their third year in 1A. On the other hand, they got blasted at home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Helmet Stickers: Week 2

ACC—North Carolina squeezed by Rutgers 24-22 after forcing the Scarlet Knights to turn the ball over on downs on their final possession with 2:32 left in the game. The Tarheel run defense was stellar, holding the Scarlet Knights to 1 yard on the ground on 25 attempts. North Carolina got four sacks, while providing perfect protection for its own signal-caller. The strangest stat of the game was that the Tarheels were -5 in turnover margin, attributed to three picks and two fumbles, yet still won the game.

Big 10—No. 8 Wisconsin pitched a shutout against Oregon State in Madison, 35-0. The Wisconsin defense held the Beavers to just 23 rushing yards on 24 rushing attempts. The Badgers forced two fumbles and gave up no turnovers of their own. The Badgers dominated every facet of the game and controlled the field position battle by capitalizing on three Beaver special teams mistakes.

Big 12—In a rematch of last year’s Alamo Bowl, the result was the same and the margin of victory was one field goal off. No. 9 Oklahoma State blasted Arizona for the second time in nine months. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden was 42 of 53 for 397 yards. He started the game completing 22 of his first 23 passes. Cowboys wideout Justin Blackmon had his fourteenth straight appearance with at least 100 yards receiving. Oklahoma State’s defense held Arizona’s explosive offense to just two touchdowns.

Big East—South Florida was the only Big East team to win a game not over an FCS opponent, so the Bulls get a helmet sticker this week for a dominating 37-7 rout of Ball State. The Bulls forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, and Mark Joyce ran it in for a touchdown. Just 8 seconds into the game, South Florida was in control. The Bulls amassed 519 yards of total offense, using ten receivers, five rushers, and two quarterbacks.

C-USA—Rice upset Purdue 24-22 at home on Saturday. The Boilermakers drove to the Owls’ 14-yard line in the final minute and planned to kick a field goal on the final play to escape Houston with a win. Rice linebacker Justin Allen broke through Purdue’s offensive line and blocked Purdue placekicker Carson Wiggs’ 31-yard field goal attempt. This ended a 22-game streak of being a doormat to BCS conference opponents. The Rice Owls had not beaten such a team since September 8, 2001 in a contest against Duke. The last time the Owls beat a Big Ten team was in 1997 against Northwestern. This was a huge win for Rice.

MAC—Temple gets the helmet sticker for Week 2 since the Owls were the only Mid-America Conference team to beat an opponent that was not from the FCS. Temple rolled the Akron Zips 41-3. The Owls have started 2-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since the late 1960’s and have now beaten Akron five-straight times. Temple’s standout running back Bernard Pierce rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns on eighteen carries. Backup running back Matt Brown had 85 yards on sixteen carries.

MWC—Texas Christian rebounded after a loss in Week 1 to Baylor by beating Air Force 35-19. The Horned Frogs were balanced on offense, passing for 206 yards and rushing for 204 yards. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall had an 80% completion rate. The Horned Frogs had three new starters on defense. Kenny Cain, starting at strongside linebacker for the injured Tanner Brock, tallied seven tackles. Texas Christian has not lost a Mountain West conference game since 2008 and should make another run for the conference title this year despite many new faces.
Pac-12—Arizona State debuted its new logo in a Friday night game that went to overtime. The restyled Sun Devils took out the No. 21 Mizzou Tigers after scoring 7 in overtime and subsequently shutting down Missouri’s attempt to score. Sun Devils senior wideout Aaron Pflugrad had eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona State beat its first ranked opponent in the last eleven tries.
SEC—Auburn needed last minute heroics once again to preserve the longest unbeaten streak in the nation. After barely getting by Utah State last week, the Tigers stopped No. 16 Mississippi State, barely, on the final play of the game. Backup safety Ryan Smith stopped Bulldogs quarterback Chris Relf at the goal line to give the Tigers the 41-34 win. It was Smith’s fourth tackle of his career, and Auburn’s 17th consecutive victory. Auburn is still a legitimate contender without Cam Newton or Nick Fairley.

Sun Belt—Florida International gets the Sun Belt helmet sticker again after defeating Louisville 24-17 on the road. This was the program’s first victory over a BCS conference team and the first time the team has started a season 2-0. The Golden Panthers were all about the big play. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had touchdown catches of 74 and 83 yards. Linebacker Winston Fraser returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown. Mario Cristobal has to be a candidate for the next big head coach job opening based on what he has done at FIU.

WAC—New Mexico State picked up a 28-21 win over Minnesota in Minneapolis Saturday. The Aggies were 22.5 point underdogs. This was NMSU’s first win over a BCS conference school since 1999, when it beat Arizona State. DeWayne Walker got his first signature win as head coach against the school he played cornerback at, and the Aggies got their first win ever over a Big Ten team. With 20 seconds left in the game Minnesota head coach Larry Kill had a seizure. DeWayne Walker’s Aggie team was full of class when it gathered to pray for Larry Kill while he was being stabilized and taken to the hospital.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Helmet Stickers: Week 1

ACC—Maryland laid waste to Miami on Monday night in fashion, sporting new uniforms based off of the Maryland state flag. Maryland took a 26-24 lead with 1:39 left in the game via a field goal. With Miami driving, Maryland defensive back Cameron Chism picked off Miami’s Stephen Morris on fourth down and ran 54 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach with less than forty ticks left on the clock. Maryland sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien passed for 348 yards. Maryland avenged its 20-26 loss to the Hurricanes last year. Terrapin football is back.

Big 10—Northwestern picked up a quality win over Boston College Saturday in their opener. With Dan Persa still injured from a ruptured Achilles tendon, sophomore quarterback Kain Colter stepped up and played well. Colter completed 70.8% of passes on 24 attempts. The Eagles drove into the red zone looking to tie the game at 24 in the final minutes of the game, but senior defensive lineman Vince Browne came up with a sack on the final play to end the game.

Big 12—The Baylor Bears got the best of last year’s Rose Bowl winner in a shootout. TCU’s streak of 25-straight regular-season victories came to an end as the Bears beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2004. A field goal from Aaron Jones with 1:04 left in the game sealed the 50-48 win after the Horned Frogs came roaring back scoring 25 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take a 48-47 lead. Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III was phenomenal, passing for 359 yards and five touchdowns. After one week of play, Robert Griffin III looks to be a legitimate Heisman candidate.

Big East—South Florida upset No. 16 Notre Dame in South Bend in a game that had two rain delays. The South Florida defense forced two fumbles and made three interceptions to win the turnover battle 5-0. USF cornerback Kayvon Webster recovered a Notre Dame fumble and ran 96 yards for a touchdown to set the tone of the game just four minutes in. Despite gaining half the yardage that Notre Dame did, the Bulls played smarter football, exploiting the Irish’s mistakes and weaknesses.

C-USA—Case Keenum started his sixth season on the Houston Cougars with a quality 38-34 win over UCLA. Keenum threw for 310 yards, and wide out Tyron Carrier had 10 grabs for 138 yards. Houston’s victory avenges a loss last season to the Bruins and has moved Kevin Sumlin’s stock up as Rick Neuheisel’s stock drops.

MAC—In a game featuring the debuts of two new head coaches, Ball State came out on top of Indiana 27-20 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning was efficient, going 23 for 29 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Ball State rushed for 210 yards and controlled the rock for the majority of the second half. Ball State punter Scott Kovanda averaged 44.3 yards on three punts. The Cardinals have won their last two meetings against the Hoosiers.

MWC—The Broncos defeated Georgia 35-21 in Atlanta Saturday night. Boise State has taken down yet another BCS conference school and got its first victory over a SEC school. Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore went 28 for 34 passing, connecting with nine different targets. No. 5 Boise State looks to off to another great season and another BCS bowl game.

Pac-12—California picked up a solid win over Fresno State. It was the first time Cal beat Fresno State in three meetings. Cal quarterback Zach Maynard and wide receiver Keenan Allen are half-brothers. They connected for 112 yards through the air. The Golden Bears defense picked up 4 sacks. Despite 11 penalties, the Golden Bears were 7 yards short of doubling the Bulldogs’ modest 210 yards of total offense.

SEC— Two top 5 teams faced off on the opening weekend of college football, and LSU came out the winner over a stacked Oregon team 40-27. With starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson suspended because of a preseason brawl, backup Jarrett Lee did enough to lead the Tigers to victory. Oregon turned the ball over four times and the Tigers took advantage of the breaks, converting three Oregon fumbles into three touchdowns. LSU’s running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford outplayed Oregon’s star-studded tailbacks. LSU has won 34 straight nonconference games, the longest such streak in the nation.

Sun Belt—The Golden Panthers went to 1-0 in Sun Belt play after beating North Texas in their opener. FIU scored 28 points in the first quarter, a record for the program. Senior wide receiver had 283 all-purpose yards from receptions, rushes, punt returns, and kickoffs. Running backs Dariet Perry and Kedrick Rhodes each ran for two touchdowns. The Golden Panthers look to be a contender for the Sun Belt title.

WAC—Hawaii was the only WAC team to win in Week 1. The Warriors ran over Colorado 34-17 behind good quarterback play from senior signal-caller Bryant Moniz. Moniz, known as a passing quarterback, unleashed another dimension to his game by running for 121 yards in the opener, more yards than he rushed for all of last season. Hawaii cornerback Mike Edwards averaged 35.5 yards on two kickoff returns. Hawaii is the frontrunner to win the WAC this season.

Independents—In its first game since leaving the Mountain West Conference, BYU defeated Ole Miss in a close game by a score of 14-13. The Cougars trailed by a score of 0-13 in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Ross Apo pulled in a touchdown catch with 9:52 left. With 5:09 left the Cougars defense forced Ole Miss’s quarterback to fumble, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy jumped on top of the ball in the end zone to give BYU a one point lead and the eventual win.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

FCS Upsets

Two FBS teams were upset by FCS teams today, the first full day of college football. Getting that "sure thing" win isn't a guarantee as the Beavers and Blue Devils found out today:

Sacramento State 29
Oregon State 28 (OT)

Richmond 23
Duke 21

In about another dozen games, FBS schools narrowly got wins over teams from the lower subdivision. There are 46 more inter-subdivision matchups the next three weeks. Hopefully no more teams from the upper subdivision suffer embarrassment, but it is unlikely.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On The Hot Seat: Preseason

1. Mike Locksley—The Mike Locksley era at New Mexico is a train wreck. He is 2-22, with New Mexico getting massacred in most of those 22 losses. The Lobos ranked dead last in total offense last season and second-to-last in total defense out of 120 FBS teams. Toss in his off-the-field infractions and you have an absolutely pathetic head coach.

2. Paul Wulff—Paul Wulff is lucky to be coaching at a school that allows you to come back after going 5-32 in three seasons. Any other school, no matter what the circumstances, would not accept a .135 winning percentage. Wulff needs to turn the Cougars around 180 degrees this season.

3. Bob Toledo—The Green Wave have finished in last place in the C-USA’s West Division each of the last two seasons and have never won more than four games in a season under Toledo’s leadership. If Tulane does not become bowl-eligible, Bob Toledo is going to get kicked to the curb.

4. Neil Callaway—The Blazers have not had a winning season under Callaway, nor finished better than fourth in their division. With 15 starters returning, UAB should be able to string together wins and possibly save Coach Callaway’s job.

5. Steve Fairchild—Fairchild is heading into his fourth season, going 3-9 in both 2009 and 2010. The Rams have an uncompetitive 2-14 record in the Mountain West the past two seasons. Fairchild will get canned if he cannot produce at least a half dozen wins in 2011.

6. Dennis Erickson—This is the final year of Erickson’s contract, and if he does not win at least seven games, it is certain is contract will not be renewed. Erickson has lost 21 games over the last three seasons, making his last three years in Tempe the worst three seasons of his head coaching career.

7. David Bailiff—The Owls have gone 6-18 over the last two seasons since their great run in 2008. The Owl pass defense has been almost nonexistent. If Bailiff can get his defense to improve and put together a respectable conference record, he has a chance of coming back for a sixth season.

8. Ron Zook—The question of whether to fire Zook or not has been swirling around Urbana-Champaign over the past three seasons. By going 7-6 last season and getting the Illini’s first bowl win in eleven years, Zook seems to only be on a warm seat at the moment, but a fifth sub-.500 season will get him fired.

9. Rick Neuheisel —Rick Neuheisel’s time at his alma mater has been a subpar 15-22, with a pathetic 8-19 conference record. The Bruins have finished eighth, eighth, and ninth in the final three years of the Pac-10. Slick Rick needs to turn things around at UCLA this season, or he’s out.

10. Mike Price—The Miners have not had a winning season since 2005, Price’s second season in El Paso. With a record of 40-45, Mike Price is going to have to become bowl-eligible like last season to feel safe about his livelihood. It won’t be an easy task with 1 starter returning on offense.

Waiting list: Ron English, DeWayne Walker

We will revisit On The Hot Seat after Week 4.