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  1. 2012 Jan 10

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Nick Saban and Bo Pelini Remain Worlds Apart

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    Folks in Husker land watched the BCS National Championship last night with probable disgust. Alabama, a team many say didn’t deserve to be there, shut out the LSU Tigers 21-0 with a defense that could yell bark off a tree and an offense that had no penalties, suffered only one sack, and was efficient throughout the night.

    While most fans of the Big Red were annoyed at their team not being able to win a game that way, what they should have been doing was seething in jealousy over what Nick Saban has.

    The fact is, what Saban does is something that any school could very easily do, including Nebraska.

    Bo Pelini and Saban preach to us the process of becoming winners, and there is no doubt that there is a process that has some parallels no matter where you go. However, that’s where the similarities start and end between Nebraska and Alabama.

    Saban has his detractors, but he fights through them with results. There are a few things that make him great that has either missed or not addressed since he became the head coach of Alabama.

    This includes things like:

    An Athletic Department That Demands Excellence: When you become the head coach of a SEC school with the history of the Crimson Tide, excellence is demanded from you in every aspect. You absolutely must compete every year for the division and conference championships. Anything less is considered a failure in the eyes of the media, fans, and your superiors.

    This is not true at Nebraska. Nine wins continue to be enough for some, but that standard earned the Cornhuskers the No. 24 spot in both polls today. Does anyone truly consider that successful? Not in Tuscaloosa. There is no reason it should be the case in Lincoln, either.

    Coaching and Player Development: When Saban first won a title at LSU in 2003, his offensive coordinator was current Florida State head coach Jimbo Fishere. His defensive play-caller was none other than Will Muschamp, the man who was revered at Auburn and Texas before landing at Florida.

    Saban does have a masterful defensive system, one that Muschamp and Kirby Smart have studied and ran well. However, Saban lets his people coach and make their own decisions, especially on offense.

    He admitted that offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who is leaving to become the head coach at Colorado State, had the entire gameplan centered around a quarterback (AJ McCarron) who he trusted. Saban felt McCarron could manage the game and move the ball down the field against a Tiger defense that was staunch against the run, but occasionally shaky against the pass.

    Considering that Carl Pelini just left for his own head job at Florida Atlantic, it’s not fair to do the coaching tree comparisons quite yet. On the other hand, how much confidence has Bo shown in either Shawn Watson or Tim Beck? Both coaches have shown the ability to sit on two-score leads instead of getting aggressive with their attacks.

    On several occasions, Bo has either not shown the ability to prod his offensive coordinator or has ordered them to rein in the playbook. This frame of mind has cost Pelini victories the last few years, including this season’s Capital One Bowl. Sometimes getting out of your own way or helping your assistants get out of theirs the best thing you can do.

    Player development has been an advantage that all SEC schools have had over everyone else, so it’s really not fair to compare Pelini and Saban there. Oversigning and massive roster attrition is essentially a pass that SEC commissioner Mike Slive has given his coaches without considering the perception of national media.

    Not that they would hear it, considering the southern press’ indelible love of football drowns out most anything else anyone says. This is not to say that Bo shouldn’t take a look at Saban’s nonstop recruiting efforts, though.

    Every member of every class Saban has signed since 2000 has a national championship ring. His staff works non-stop, all year, until National Signing Day to get the best players on that campus and secure their commitments.

    Imagine if Alabama’s head man wouldn’t focus on things until the end of the Auburn game or have less than 30 official visits take place over the course of the regular season. Mal Moore, the Tide’s athletic director, wouldn’t tolerate that and neither would the fans.

    The environment around Saban demands that even right after his second national title in three years, he’d better get right to work on the next one. That is part of the process that drives him. Nebraska fans can only dream that the same environment existed in Lincoln to essentially force Bo to become that same brand of coach.

    Nebraska’s athletic department has paid the bills thanks to the football program and winning conference titles. Fans scoop up national championship swag years after any conference title’s shirts stop printing. There is no reason that the same demands made of Saban shouldn’t be made of Pelini.

    Alabama’s head man makes $4.2 Million, Pelini just a shade under $3 million. They are both the most respected men in their state, and their every move and word is put under a microscope.

    The coach that embraces those ideas most is the one who hoisted a crystal football in the Bayou following a de facto home game for his opponent. The one that fought them saw his team give another lead away in Orlando over a week ago.

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    Tags: nick saban, alabama, bo pelini

  2. 2011 Dec 15

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Audible Audibles Feat. Adam Kramer of Kegs N' Eggs

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    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker's Brandon Cavanaugh sits down with some of the biggest and brightest minds in college football with the site's newest feature: Audible Audibles.

    This week, Adam Kramer, the founder and head writer of Kegs N' Eggs, the USA Today of college football news, views, hilarity and wagering (for entertainment purposes only) stops by.

    Topics include:

    - Kramer's take on Nebraska
    - The Capital One Bowl and who Kramer likes to take it
    - The Big Ten's bowl bonanza
    - Whether the Game of the Century II should be happening
    - The Annual BCS Controversy®
    - Playoff possibilities

    Finally, the handicapping Hawkeye goes Three and Out. Will Kramer answer the three questions given or call an audible?

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.



    Follow Adam on Twitter: @KegsnEggs
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    Tags: capital one bowl, big ten, lsu, alabama, bcs, playoff

  3. 2011 Nov 11

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Eleven

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    Week 11 has that feeling of a season soon coming to a close. Outside of the proceedings in State College, there are some very good games out there, as well as a few more coaches on the hot seat, not to mention one burned to a full crisp. As always before we look to the future, we must pull a Marty McFly and go back in time. Last week’s ups and downs were as follows -

    Winners:

    Houston: The Cougars has quietly gone undefeated and quarterback Case Keenum has made his case for the Heisman. Look for more attention to come their way if they keep winning.

    Arkansas: The Razorbacks took on South Carolina in a game that was anticipated to be rough and made their way through to set their sights on a hard-hitting matchup with LSU.

    LSU: Went 15-plus rounds in a slugfest with Alabama and came out on top. Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good. The Tigers were both on Saturday night thanks to the Crimson Tide’s fantastic special teams.

    Oklahoma State: Also a survivor of a surprising belt-to-bell bout. It’s hard to not wonder if they can stay focused enough to get all the way to Bedlam without a loss. If they do, their chances at a national title bid get significantly better.

    UCLA: The Bruins notched an unexpected win against Arizona State. The prize is an outside chance to attend the Pac-12 title game and save Rick Neuheisel’s job.

    Losers:

    Alabama: Defense played very well, but too many blown opportunities doomed the Tide. Now there’s more than likely no chance to go to Atlanta to represent the SEC West.

    Arizona State: Such a bad game played last week. Now the Sun Devils need hope the Pac-12 South title isn’t out of reach. Assuming they don’t keep dropping games, of course.

    Michigan: Had the Legends division by the you-know-what’s, and now... welp...

    Missouri, Arizona State, Pittsburgh:



    On to this week’s festivities! All are times are Central:

    No. 20 Auburn at No. 15 Georgia – (2:30 PM, CBS)

    This week’s nationally-televised afternoon SEC battle has Gene Chizik’s gang heading between the hedges to take on the revitalized Bulldogs who are looking to punch their meal ticket to Atlanta.

    For Auburn, a sloppy passing attack and the inability to win outside Alabama makes this game difficult. Georgia’s offense has been good this year, but their defense has performed surprisingly well, giving up less than 20 points per game.

    Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray has shown the ability to dissect any defense that comes into the Dawgs’ house. Considering how Auburn has played on the road this year on the road, look for the Bulldogs to cruise and set up a game with Kentucky. The game would be a mere formality between Georgia and the SEC West title.

    No. 7 Oregon at No. 4 Stanford - (7:00 PM, ABC)

    "Game of the Week" status hovers over Northern California again, as Chip Kelly’s Ducks fly into Palo Alto to take on the steamrolling Cardinal. While Stanford has gone unblemished, Oregon has been grinding through their schedule ever since the debacle in Arlington against the No. 1 LSU Tigers.

    This game features two of the top five scoring offenses in America, with players on both sidelines that are top-notch. You know about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and the Oregon Duck duo of quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James for the Ducks. The Cardinal defensive is only giving up 11 points per game, while Oregon is No. 26 nationally giving up almost 20 per game.

    With the game at home, Stanford looks like the more comfortable team. However, Oregon’s ability to control the tempo of a game so quickly and efficiently, this Pac-12 fight is a tossup. It seems that Stanford has the edge, but with the way that Oregon shut down Stanford last year in the second half, it’s a tough call.

    Other games of note include:

    No. 17 Michigan State at Iowa – If the Spartans wins against the Hawkeyes, it looks like they can punch their ticket to Indianapolis.

    No. 16 Texas at Missouri – A measuring stick for the Longhorns. Texas has looked comfortable lately, but going to Columbia will test that comfort level.

    TCU at No. 5 Boise State – The Broncos’ last true test to pass with flying colors to get into the national title picture.

    Miami at Florida State – Remember when this game appeared to be a treat at the beginning of the season?

    Maryland at Notre Dame – Come for the uniforms, stay to see if the Irish stay on course. Try not to go blind.

    Arizona State at Washington State – A huge game for the Devils’ conference title hopes.

    Now for some of the coaches that have pants which could defrost an iced-over pond:

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Finally! Be gone! Nutt isn’t going to be retained by the university after this year. While there are some who aren’t fans of that, it’s refreshing to see that the Rebels athletic administration finally got sick of Nutt after losing 10 SEC games in a row.

    Houston wants you to think that his oversigning is the true problem and the lack of quarterback maturation isn’t. Someone will trust Nutt with their program. Here’s hoping they realize what they are getting.

    Paul Wulff, Washington State – Had a great start to this year, but the wheels have come off. Beating Arizona State would be help his cause, but parting ways with the Cougars may be a foregone conclusion.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – Held Iowa State to 13, but couldn’t do more than that? Baylor is going to pummel you hardcore at home. Then again, it’s the last home game in Lawrence this year. Hopefully the Jayhawks can finally say “goodbye”.

    Randy Edsall, Maryland – They fired Ralph Friedgen for you? The uniform combinations are what you’re known for at this point.

    Jon Embree, Colorado – The Buffs fired Hawkins for this?

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    Tags: houston, lsu, alabama, arkansas, oklahoma state, arizona state, auburn, georgia, oregon, stanford, houston nutt, paul wulff, turner gill, randy edsall, jon embree michigan, missouri, pittsburgh

  4. 2011 Sep 28

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Five

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It’s hard to believe that there are football games happening outside of Madison this week (GASP!). This is where you find out what else is going down and where it’s going down at. Last week’s winners and losers include -

    Winners:

    Georgia: Congrats Bulldogs, you kept your heads out of the guillotine just long enough by embarrassing someone else for a change. Then again, considering it was Ole Miss, that wasn’t a difficult project.

    Oklahoma State: You battled back from trailing Texas A&M early on the road to pull out a big win. Take care of everything before December, and you’ll have your opportunity to make the big time.

    LSU: The Tigers took the potential of getting ambushed in Morgantown very well. Les Miles’ offense bailed out the defense for once, and The Hat just keeps on winning.

    Arizona State: Save the Illinois stumble, the Sun Devils have been the biggest surprise out of the Pac-12 so far this year. They had a fine win against Team Kiffykins.

    Losers:

    Pittsburgh: For the second week in a row, the Panthers snared defeat from the jaws of victory. The Big East won’t feel bad for them at all though.

    Toledo: The Rockets were flat out jobbed by an incompetent officiating crew from ref to replay official. What an awful way to lose a game.

    Arkansas: The Razorbacks had their chance, and proved they were in over their heads again. If things don’t improve this week…well, let’s wait on that thought.

    West Virginia: A good performance by quarterback Geno Smith, but the Mountaineers had no answer for LSU’s offense. WVU will get better though, at least if no one is faking injuries.

    Ole Miss, Memphis, NC State: This is fitting:



    Onto this week’s dandies! All time CDT, of course.

    No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas – (11:00 AM Saturday, ESPN)

    Yours truly will be in Jerryworld to watch the first SEC conference game for the Aggies as they take on the fighting Hogs. Both teams lost last week, Texas A&M with a disappointing second half versus Okie State, while Arkansas really wasn’t ever in the game against Alabama. Arkansas quarterback Trevor Wilson was efficient last week, but nothing spectacular. “Efficient” isn’t going to beat Saban’s team.

    While A&M doesn’t have the defense that Nick Saban possesses, the Aggies are stout. Running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr. has to put up better numbers than last week for Arkansas to improve. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was alright last week, but RB Cyrus Gray wasn’t and didn’t help the A&M effort once they started to struggle.

    Don’t think that head coach Mike Sherman didn’t notice the success Alabama had running the ball with Trent Richardson. Arkansas has won the two games against A&M in Arlington so far, but there’s no reason to think that the Aggies won’t take this one. Texas A&M’s defense will be the difference in 2011.

    No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    Who'd have thought that this game would have Big 12 conference championship implications at the beginning of the season? Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12) this year, and has shown that he’s definitely worthy of Heisman consideration. Baylor rolls into Manhattan, Kansas to play Bill Snyder’s Wildcats, who pulled off a semi-shocking, convincing win against Miami (FL).

    Junior quarterback Collin Kline hasn’t been great for the Wildcats, but he’s going to have to start putting together longer drives to keep RG3 off the field. The Kansas State defense is only giving up 10 points per game, but it was given a stern test against the Canes and the Bears could run roughshod over it.

    Look for Griffin to struggle a touch more than he has, but he will still have a great game and Baylor should win setting up an October with some big games for the Bears to prove they belong in the upper tier of the Big 12.

    No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech – (5 PM Saturday, ESPN2)

    A potential ACC title game preview goes down in Lane Stadium Saturday evening when Dabo Sweeney takes the surging Tigers to face Frank Beamer’s Hokies. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has played well for the Tigers, who are off to a fantastic start. Running back David Wilson has been the star for the Hokies on offense, but Virginia Tech hasn’t faced a true challenge thus far.

    While Bud Foster’s defense has been great for the Hokies, Virginia Tech has been in much tighter games than expected. Clemson has only played at home during their great start, and this is one of two major road tests for the Tigers.

    With the wave of momentum that Clemson is riding, their chances are better than people think, and it’d be no surprise if they walk out of Blacksburg with a win. If the Hokies do go down, they can’t lick their wounds for long, as the Miami Hurricanes will be visiting next week.

    No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida – (7 PM Saturday, CBS)

    The other Game of the Week takes place in the warmth of The Swamp. Nick Saban goes from one big game to another and Will Muschamp finally gets to be the head man in a big time SEC conference showdown. The Crimson Tide comes off a game where running back Trent Richardson played out of his mind again, and a swarming defense took the wood to a respectable Arkansas offense.

    Florida’s offense has evolved into an unstoppable monster under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are the fastest one-two punch in the SEC, and quarterback John Brantley has taken his game to another level. These two teams have rock solid defenses, so this one will come down to who can win a three-plus hour chess match.

    Saban pulls everything out of his kids in this type of atmosphere. Can Muschamp coach at his level? The game will be low scoring. The winner’s tough to call, but Alabama seems to be the appropriate lean right now. Check the weekly Husker Locker predictions to see who is ultimately chosen.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico: Whoops! The axe finally fell on Mike this weekend after a “recruit” stole a car registered to Locksley and his wife. It didn’t help that this young man was underage and hit the sauce hard. If this was the final straw for Mike, that’s a sad statement from the New Mexico athletic department. Such is life though, and the interstate game vs. New Mexico State is here. For the families, folks, for the families.

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: In a game where the loser may have gotten fired on the way back to the showers, you no-showed again in the second half. Also, you didn’t even talk to the media after the game. Instead, you send out offensive coordinator David Lee to take the bullet for you. Do you think Fresno State will care if you feel bad and pull punches?

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State: How’s Russell Wilson treating you? Wait, nevermind.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: A win over Burfict’s boys in the desert? Not likely.

    Danny Hope, Purdue: Beating Notre Dame would save your job for the season. Not beating them would be both terrible and is expected.

    Larry Porter, Memphis: Really? SMU runs you out of your own stadium?

    Mike Stoops, Arizona: In a shocker, the Wildcats were beat down by Oregon and will be beat down by Southern Cal. Why? Because that’s the norm for Arizona football.

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    Tags: georgia, oklahoma state, lsu, arizona state, pittsburgh, toledo, arkansas, west virginia, ole miss, memphis, north carolina state, texas a, m, baylor, kansas state, clemson, virginia tech, alabama, florida, mike locksley, houston nutt, tom obrien, mike riley

  5. 2011 Sep 21

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Four

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    As the season officially turns to fall, time once again to take a look at last week’s winners and losers, and a look forward to this week’s games.

    To start us off again, the biggest gains and losses from last week

    WINNERS:

    Oklahoma – Went into a tough environment against a gritty team and found a way to win. Time to focus on running the Big 12 as it currently exists.

    Notre Dame – They needed a big game versus Michigan State and got it.

    Clemson – Things came together for the Dabo gang versus Auburn. Don’t celebrate too long though Tigers (the ones that won), as things don’t get easier.

    Miami (FL) – Very impressive how the Canes took control of that game against Ohio State.

    LOSERS:

    Arizona – Another big game for the Cats under Mike Stoops, another egg laid. Stanford ran them out of their own house.

    Michigan State - What? Why? Where did you go, D’Antonio?

    Mississippi State - That’s the best the Bulldogs can do on offense? Dan Mullen, you didn’t even give your team a chance. Let us all know when you think you can be relevant without ducking out on the big stage again.

    Ole Miss, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Auburn - May I introduce napalm to erase those bad memories?



    To this week’s watch list! All times Central:

    No. 14 Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama – (2:30 PM Saturday, CBS)

    Another week in the life of head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, another ranked SEC opponent coming into Bryant-Denny Stadium for their enjoyment. The Arkansas Razorbacks come to Tuscaloosa for a afternoon meet and greet. Head coach Bobby Petrino brings in an offense that is ranked No. 8 in the FBS in both passing and points per game. The most surprising stat is that Arkansas ranks No. 17 in points allowed, giving up a hair over 12 per game.

    Granted, their games haven’t been against teams better than Missouri State and Troy, so take those numbers for what they’re worth. The Tide is ranked No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing less than a touchdown per game, so this should be a great matchup for both teams. The fact that Petrino has junior quarterback Tyler Wilson and not All-SEC Ryan Mallet will be the difference here.

    Mallett was adept at making necessary passes, and Wilson won’t have seen a defense this good all year. Saban lives for these high-pressure home games, and Petrino tends to field a team that folds like a cheap tent when away from War Memorial Stadium. This contest shouldn’t be too high scoring, but Alabama will win comfortably. If Arkansas does lose, they can’t hang their heads for long, as a battle with Texas A&M looms the next week.

    No. 7 Oklahoma St. at No. 8 Texas A&M – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC)

    This game will crown the main challenger for Oklahoma’s Big 12 championship bid. The Cowboys had a very late, interesting game against Tulsa last week, while the Aggies wore out Idaho at home. Two of the top three passers in both the conference and FBS will be on display, as Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden goes will be looking for All-American wide out Justin Blackmon. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be taking center stage for the Aggies.

    While both offenses are stellar, the Aggies’ defense is doing their part, only giving up 10 points per contest, although they’re just two games into the season. The difference will be a Cowboy defense that looked shaky at times against Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulsa.

    Head coach Mike Gundy’s team doesn’t fear anyone, and they seem to play well with an “us against the world” mentality. This game will be close no matter what, and it’s very tough to call a winner. Regardless, the loser is not out of the conference race, but they’ll need help.

    No. 11 Florida State at No. 21 Clemson (2:30 PM Saturday, ESPN, ESPN3, etc.)

    The ACC conference slate kicks off for both teams with a visit to Death Valley for the Seminoles. Last week, Clemson played a very tough game versus Auburn, while Florida State gave Oklahoma all they could handle. FSU Quarterback E.J. Manuel has a bruised shoulder, and is questionable at best. His dual-threat abilities gave the Sooners fits, but if he isn’t ready to go, expect Clint Trickett to air it out, as the Noles proved their running game is far from effective.

    Clemson doesn’t really impress on the stat sheet, but they’ve played very well as a unit. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Andre Ellington have been impressive at times for the Tigers, but in order to win this game and grab a hold of the sit at the head of the ACC Atlantic’s table, Clemson has to prove they can stop the pass. Look for the Tigers to come away with a somewhat ugly, yet convincing win, and for Florida State to go back to the drawing board.

    No. 2 LSU at No. 16 West Virginia (7:00 PM Saturday, ABC)

    The final game of the night will be live from Morgantown, when the Bayou Bengals travel to the Smoky Mountains. LSU comes into the game with their #2 ranking, but they haven’t been truly tested by anyone yet. Quarterback Jarrett Lee has managed the offense well enough to let the defense do their thing against teams like Oregon and Mississippi State.

    West Virginia comes into the game with the high-flying Dana Holgorson offense that has been more misses than hits through the season so far. While the Mountaineers’ offense, led by quarterback Geno Smith has been good, but not as great as it can be, the defense has been a tad tepid and that’s being kind. Don’t forget, this is the same team that had Maryland driving for the go ahead score late in the game last week.

    While this should be the biggest test for the LSU defense to date by far, the offense should be able to put points on the board, again without Lee doing much. West Virginia will score, but they won’t be able to be effective enough. LSU should prevail once again, but the score should be closer than people may give the Mountaineers credit for.

    Either way, it will be the most festive in-game atmosphere you may ever see, as the allowance of alcohol sales inside the stadium should bode well for the both Tiger and Mountaineer fans who likes to enjoy the occasional adult beverage…or three.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat

    Turner Gill, Kansas – That was bad, Turner. Georgia Tech just destroyed your charges. Texas Tech arrives in two weeks, and your Jayhawks had better be ready.

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Vanderbilt ran you off the train tracks, sir! That’s right, Vanderbilt! I’d expect to see you bomb this week yet again, but you get to go against..

    Mark Richt, Georgia - Georgia vs. Ole Miss this week in Oxford. At least if Richt loses, he may not be fired in the tunnel going back to the locker room after the game. Houston Nutt on the other hand...

    Rick Neuheisel - UCLA, Mike Riley - Oregon State – UCLA vs. Oregon State. The winner gets to live. For how long, who knows? At least the players’ families will be watching.

    Mike Stoops, Arizona – This is getting old, sir. Your team wasn’t prepared and you were outcoached..again. Oregon comes to town this week, so I recommend drafting excuses right now.

    BONUS: Dan Beebe - Big 12 Commissioner (for now) – It was really your fault after all, wasn’t it Dan?

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    Tags: oklahoma, florida state, miami, ohio state, notre dame, arizona, michigan state, mississippi state, ole miss, kansas, pittsburgh, auburn, arkansas, alabama, oklahoma state, texas a, m, clemson, lsu, west virginia, turner gill, houston nutt, mark richt, mike riley, dan beebe

  6. 2011 Sep 07

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Two

    2,343 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    What a great week to start off the season!. Before we move on to week two, let’s review last week’s winners and losers.

    Winners:

    Boise State – The Broncos went to Atlanta and throttled the Georgia Bulldogs. For a team that isn’t supposed to be able to hang with the worst of the SEC because of the conference’s supposed superiority, their performance was pretty impressive.

    LSU – Their performance against Oregon wasn’t fantastic, but they took advantage of several Oregon errors and managed the game well enough to make the final score look like a blowout.

    BYU – Starting the season in unfriendly confines for the second time in three years and winning a slugfest speaks volumes about the Cougs.

    Baylor- Robert Griffin III is the real deal.

    Losers:

    Auburn – The Tigers needed an onside kick and what appeared to be favorable clock operation to beat a team from the WAC? Really? Aim for the Independence Bowl, Auburn, because it’s the best you can hope for. A special round of applause goes to Tiger fans who decided to rush to the gates.

    Congratulations on leaving your team lying in the lurch before clapping and celebrating a win on your way out. Apparently the national championship shirts are getting difficult to wear from swelling heads.

    Notre Dame – The weather delays were a sign. You’re doing it wrong.

    Georgia and Ole Miss – A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? -



    Here are your week two dandies. All times listed are in CST.

    Arizona at No. 9 Oklahoma State (7 PM Thursday, ESPN)

    The fantastic duo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon take on the Wildcats in a Thursday night tilt in Stillwater. Arizona comes into town following a beat down of Northern Arizona while Okie State took care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles returns for what seems to be a ninth season, and has a talented receiver to go to in Juron Criner.

    The Wildcats did shut out Northern Arizona while Oklahoma State had some issues stopping the Raging Cajuns and Weeden did throw a pick-six. However, Weeden also threw for 388 yards. Blackmon helped pick up 144 of those. OSU sophomore Joseph Randle ran for 129 yards at 5-plus yards per carry, too.

    Boone Pickens Stadium has provided solid home field advantage for Mike Gundy, and with the knowledge that a Mike Stoops team doesn’t play well on the road, look for the Cowboys to roll to a win.

    No. 21 Missouri at Arizona State – (9:30 PM Friday, ESPN)

    Gary Pinkel takes his Tigers back to the site of the 2010 Insight Bowl debacle as Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson and linebacker Vontaze Burfict welcome them into the desert heat. Mizzou didn’t impress anyone last week with a lackluster win over Miami of Ohio. Quarterback James Franklin didn’t look remotely as poised as his predecessors Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniel did.

    For the Sun Devils, quarterback Brock Osweiler did well against UC-Davis until a cramp sidelined him in the third quarter. This game will depend on Franklin’s ability to improve. Defeating a MAC team at home is one thing. Going against defenders like Burfict on the road is a completely different task. Arizona State wins barely because they can run the ball better. If it’s up to Osweiler to save the day, expect struggles by both teams.

    No. 3 Alabama at No. 23 Penn State – (2:30 PM Saturday, Regional)

    Alabama played very well last week versus Kent State. Sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron will more than likely getting the starting nod again. While Nick Saban’s offense was merely efficient, the defense is back to their ball-hawking selves. Penn State didn’t get a proper test from the Indiana State Sycamores as Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin split time at quarterback.

    Joe Paterno has a difficult decision with those two. Bolden is a great talent, but McGloin seems to be the more efficient choice. Regardless, Alabama won’t be scared of Beaver Stadium. The game may be close early, but the mental toughness that Saban instills will be a huge benefit. The Crimson Tide pulls away at the end.

    No. 16 Mississippi State at Auburn – (11:21 AM Saturday, SEC Network (JP)/ESPN3.com)

    Hopefully Gene Chizik realizes that the Bulldogs are legitimate and are far from a WAC team. Dan Mullen brings his boys into Jordan Hare Stadium hoping to get a jump on the SEC West race. Mullen has quarterback Chris Reif and running back Vick Ballard, two seniors with live game time against SEC opposition.

    If freshman wide receiver Jameon Lewis can replicate the numbers he did against Memphis, Mississippi State could be dangerous. Auburn, on the other hand, played down to their competition and looked lost on both sides of the ball. Unless the Tigers improved dramatically in the span of six days, expect the Bulldogs to do well and stake their claim as legitimate SEC competition.

    BYU at No. 24 Texas – (6 PM Saturday, ESPN2)

    The final preview takes us to Austin where the Mighty Mormons invade to take on the Longhorns. Bronco Mendenhall takes super sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps into a second-straight brutal environment. On paper, the Cougars and Longhorns appear to be equals. Texas didn’t look great early on against Rice, but looked far more polished in the second half.

    The locals were not impressed and know that BYU is a very dangerous team to test quarterback Garrett Gilbert and wide receiver Mike Davis against. With running back Malcolm Brown toting the rock, the Longhorns are talented, but young on offense. Jake Heaps is very raw but incredibly talented, and will likely outperform Gilbert. Don’t be shocked if BYU wins, possibly by more than a score.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi: Well done, coach. You apparently didn’t take another home opener seriously, and BYU made you look silly. The pick-six thrown on 3rd and 23 cemented that. Your game against Southern Illinois is a must win.

    Mark Richt, Georgia: Fans across the nation knew you might be in trouble against Boise, but Aaron Murray should give you hope. That said, starting the season 0-2 by losing to South Carolina would be near-fatal.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA: San Jose State is a welcome sight at the Rose Bowl. You’d better beat them so that people might forget how good you made Case Keenum look last week.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: Sacramento State? You lost a lot, but come on, man. Wisconsin is going to destroy you this week.

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico: The good news is that you kept Colorado State to 14 points. The bad news is that you could only muster 10. Bobby Petrino can easily hang 70 on your nose.

    Bonus Conference Official – Dan Beebe, Big 12 Commissioner: It’s not your fault that Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Colorado left you or that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State want new partners. Repeat that while staring into the mirror and it just might be believable.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: college football, boise state, lsu, georgia, ole miss, auburn, notre dame, brandon weeden, justin blackmon, nick foles, joseph randle, mike gundy, mike stoops, gary pinkel, missouri, arizona state, brock osweiler, james franklin, chase daniel, blaine gabbert, vontaze burfict, miami of ohio, alabama, penn state, aj mccarron, nick saban, rob bolden, matt mcgloin, indiana state, joe paterno, gene chizik, mississippi state, texas, byu, houston nutt, mark richt, rick neuheisel, mike locksley, dan beebe, big 12

  7. 2010 Sep 27

    Husker Heartbeat 9/27: Bolosophy

    426 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *LJS Sipple sees Bo growing into a calmer persona. We'll see.

    *LaVonte David gets a helmet sticker from ESPN.

    *Saturday was still a great night for Jim Ebke, who attended South Dakota State for a semester.

    *Is a close win actually better than a blowout?

    *Mark Mangino and Kevin Cosgrove - both on the Minnesota payroll.

    *Husker Mike's SDSU Report Card.

    *Many universities - not Nebraska - are raising student fees to support athletics.

    *Does Alabama force certain players into medical hardships to clear scholarship space?

    Tags: husker heartbeat, steve sipple, bo pelini, sdsu game, mark mangino, alabama

  8. 2010 Jul 15

    Husker Heartbeat 7/15: Asante, Wistrom, More Red Out and Win Forever!

    459 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    This photo from Getty Images

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!


    *Larry Asante inks a 4-year, $2 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.

    *Want to watch Grant Wistrom head into the College Football Hall of Fame?

    *Nebraska further tries to clear up the Red Out video.

    *Rivals and Scout have a new competitor: 247 Sports.

    *Pete Carroll further insists that he knew nothing of Reggie Bush’s many perks while at USC.

    *Oklahoma’s 2010 football poster.

    *Alabama is suing an artist for painting scenes of Bama football games and not paying the Tide royalties.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, larry asante, grant wistrom, pete carroll, oklahoma and alabama

  9. 2010 May 21

    Husker Heartbeat 5/21: Big Ten, Bama and Baseball

    442 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!


    *ESPN’s Pat Forde - a Mizzou grad - still favors Nebraska as that one team the Big Ten should most consider inviting.

    *Nothing of any - and we mean any - import occurred at the Big Ten meetings in Chicago, but OWH’s Tom Shatel still filed a 1,200-word column about his conclusions from it. Our favorite line:

    “It's going to be a long, hot summer of Big Ten speculation. It's probably smart and safer to refrain from speculating. But what fun would that be?”

    Probably not much. But we’re not sure “fun” is the appropriate threshold for whether something newsworthy. (Yes, of course, Shatel is mostly kidding.)

    *BRN reviews the meetings, too. And the LJS crew, too.

    *Alabama focuses on building the offense in the offseason.

    *Husker recruit Tyler Evans looking to finish with a bang in track and field.

    *Nebraska baseball seniors vow to play hard vs. Texas Tech. Boy, howdy!

    *An Iowa State starting offensive lineman was dismissed for violation of team rules.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big ten expansion, tom shatel, baseball, alabama, tyler evans, iowa state

  10. 2010 Apr 15

    Husker Heartbeat 4/15: A Special Zeeb and Rollin Tide

    446 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    Cool? Cool!


    *ABC announcer Ed Cunningham will work as a side judge in Saturday’s spring game. This is college football’s attempt to convince TV announcers how hard their job is. Because zeebs get so much criticism from talking heads as it is now, right?

    *DN: Concussions forced Blake Lawrence to quit football, but it opened different corporate doors for him, too.

    *NU is touting its new traditions lobby and you know what? It’s worth a look. TO spiffed it up pretty good. It’s not as foreboding and septic over at North Stadium like it used to be.

    *OWH: Mitch Sherman talks Husker baseball in a chat.

    *Matt Barkley surges ahead in USC’s phony quarterback competition.

    *Alabama’s best offense ever? Could it be?

    Tags: husker heartbeat, springtime with bo, blake lawrence, usc, alabama, mitch sherman

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