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  1. 2011 Dec 04

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Championship Week

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - No one should suggest that Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin’s head was in the CUSA Championship Game. Feel kinda bad for Case Keenum if no one else.

    - LSU is the epitome of sportsmanship. What other team spots their opponent two scores before smashing their skulls in?

    - It was impressive how Oklahoma State took down Oklahoma with the subtlety and grace of a Viking raid.

    - If you told someone that the ACC Championship Game would be 10-10 at the half before one team outscores the other 28-0, they’d likely believe you. If you told them it would be Clemson instead of Virginia Tech, you’d likely be 100 dollars richer.

    - Despite the heart-breaking loss to Kansas State, Paul Rhodes is the best thing to happen to Iowa State since the Morrill Act of 1862.

    - Thought Wisconsin would get revenge on Michigan State. Didn’t think the score would be so close.

    - Badgers running back Montee Ball for Heisman

    - Baylor is 9-3? Clearly college football has ripped open time and space allowing the sport to be swallowed by a separate time rift in which Waco demands only the finest of athletic specimen.

    - Seriously, quarterback Robert Griffin III for Heisman (RG3 if you’re nasty)

    - Still lobbying for the MAC to get a BCS berth over the Big East. You know it’s the right thing to do.

    - Final Bowl Prediction of the Week: Outback vs. South Carolina

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    Tags: houston, lsu, oklahoma state, clemson, virginia tech, kansas state, iowa state, paul rhodes, wisconsin, montee ball, heisman, baylor, robert griffin, south carolina

  2. 2011 Nov 11

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Eleven

    3,755 views

    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

  3. 2011 Nov 03

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Ten

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It looks like we have ourselves the biggest week of the century of the season as there is a great No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup that we all will watch with inquiring minds. Before we get to this week, let’s review what was. The ecstasy and the agony from last week include -

    Winners:

    Oklahoma: Even though the loss to Texas Tech is still bitter in the Sooners' mouths, they showed up in Manhattan ready to kick butt and prove that Kansas State was in over their heads. The win keeps Oklahoma in the chase for Big 12 title with Bedlam looming in the distance.

    South Carolina: A number of people (myself included) think the Gamecocks are too weak without All-Everything running back Marcus Lattimore and the stumbling, bumbling Stephen Garcia to win the SEC East. They pulled out a good victory in Knoxville against a Tennessee team that’s better than many give them credit for.

    Stanford: A slugfest that went into triple overtime at the Coliseum how you want to make a living every week, but the Cardinal toughed out against Southern California and, most importantly, got the win. Oregon is just down the road. If Stanford defeats the Ducks, they’re in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

    West Virginia: The Mountaineers had a big comeback in the snow against Rutgers, but the biggest winner in that game was…

    Eric LeGrand: For the first time back on the sideline since being injured and paralyzed last October, you sure made it dusty in a snowstorm.

    LOSERS:

    Texas A&M: It’s not that the Aggies lost to Mizzou, it’s that they blew a double digit halftime lead…for the third time this year.

    Baylor: A lot of yards, but not a lot of points. This isn’t a good mix.

    Iowa: How did the Hawkeyes con people into thinking you could win the Big Ten this year? The TicketCity Bowl could be head coach Kirk Ferentz’s swan song.

    Kansas: Not a lot of yards, no points, and no one watched.

    Clemson: Everyone sort of knew a letdown was coming, but the Tigers did fight hard. Clemson’s a good team. They just need to keep their eyes on the prize of an ACC Championship and BCS bowl.

    Florida, Ole Miss, Illinois, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt:

    Brady Hoke is going to give you all all of the advice he can muster for your respective teams to turn things around:



    On to the weekly festivities! (All times Central)

    Texas A&M at No. 6 Oklahoma – (2:30 PM, ABC)

    The Aggies, fresh off of another embarrassing loss after blowing a two-score lead, head north to Norman to take on a Sooners team hell-bent on not losing another game this year.

    Bob Stoops had his team ready to go last week as they pasted Kansas State in the Sunflower State, which is better than the previous week as Texas Tech dished out a whooping of their own on the Sooners at Gaylord Family/Memorial Stadium.

    From previous weeks, you know the players to watch on both sides on offense, but do take note of the Sooners’ defense, which has been pretty hot and cold over the last month. The secondary was a liability against Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raiders, which doesn’t bode well going against Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill.

    Considering that the Aggies’ season is on the brink of complete collapse, they will come out swinging and try to get into a track meet with Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Ryan Broyles.

    That’s not a good idea, though. Oklahoma still has national championship dreams and need a quality win to show to the voters that the Texas Tech debacle was a fluke. Look for Oklahoma to flex their muscle and get the win at home.

    No. 9 South Carolina at No. 7 Arkansas – (6:15 PM, ESPN)

    The second biggest game in the country (and in the SEC, for that matter) takes place in Fayetteville, as The Ol’ Ball Coach’s Click-Clack Gang head west to take on Bobby Petrino’s high flying Razorback attack. Both teams gutted out victories on the road last week.

    Some wonder about the ability of the Gamecocks to win out to get to the SEC title game (this author included), however if South Carolina has a good defensive showing as they did last week, they have a shot at SEC glory. Arkansas ranks as one of the top 10 FBS passing attacks, and features a top 20 scoring offense, so something has to give. Since is a home game under the lights, Arkansas has the edge, but don’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire.

    No. 14 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma State – (7:00 PM, ABC)

    The Bill Snyder family is licking its wounds due to the whipping that the Sooners laid on them last week. In an effort to rebound, they’ll try to slow the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium, which is far easier to suggest than do.

    Last week, Oklahoma State took the spurs to a Baylor team that moved the ball but couldn’t score. Kansas State can actually throw the ball well (No. 20 nationally at 210 yards per game), but their passing attack pales in comparison to Brandon Weeden and his merry men with hands of glue.

    It’s hard to see the Wildcats doing very well in this type of game, especially at night where Boone Pickens Stadium is a rough place to play. Look for the Cowboys to keep the pistols firing on the way to the No. 2 ranking Sunday’s polls.

    No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama – (7:00 PM, CBS)

    The game all true college football fans have been waiting for is finally here as the Tigers head into Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. Shockingly, this is the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular season matchup in SEC history. Both teams come in off of a bye week, so what’s lacking in injury issues is made up for with schemes and game preperation.

    Both teams are all about ball control on offense and stifling defenses. LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee has had a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, however Nick Saban’s defense hasn’t allowed one second half point since September. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, while the Tigers are No. 3.

    This game will be decided by who can run the ball better. LSU doesn’t really shock you with how they do it, but one of Nick Saban’s core defensive ideals is shutting down the run come hell or high water. We all have been told that Jarrett Lee is much better at making decisions, and he will have the biggest spotlight to prove it under.

    The Tigers’ receivers will not find as much open space as they have been. Personally, I feel that no one has brought their best game against LSU all year. The team that came closest was West Virginia, who decided that defense was optional. Everything seems to point to Alabama on this one. The winner will be the nation’s undisputed No. 1, and essentially punches their ticket to New Orleans.

    Games to keep an eye on include:

    Louisville at No. 24 West Virginia – The Cardinals are getting better. Can Dana Holgorsen’s group not fall asleep due to the early kickoff time?

    Texas Tech at No. 21 Texas – With the quarterback issues in Austin, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege could tear this Longhorn team up and cause a riot in Austin. Bonus: People will actually be watching this game.

    No. 4 Stanford at Oregon State – A possible trap game for the Cardinal? The Beavers aren’t good by any stretch, but this is FBS college football. Anything is possible.

    No. 19 Arizona State at UCLA – The Sun Devils have the inside track to the Pac-12 title game through the South division. Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel needs this win to potentially save his job.

    No. 8 Oregon at Washington – *UPSET ALERT* Washington is good enough to give Oregon fits on both sides of the ball. Night games in Seattle cause the oddest things to happen.

    And now, a word from the “Head Coaches Whose Pants Are on Fire” department:

    Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Same song and dance, coach. A loss to Auburn was seen coming by many. Can you and your incompetent team beat Kentucky?

    Neil Callaway, UAB – I didn’t know how much of a stacked deck UAB had, but after reading this piece by Pre Snap Read, the Blazers job makes the Memphis tilt sexy.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – How was it growing young men who get their asses stomped in Austin? Did that help these guys grow into fine, upstanding people? The Jayhawk boosters need a bake sale to get your butt out of that job.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA – See above and against USC’s Kiffykins on how to keep your job.

    Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – A new entry this week, Sherman has to be feeling some pressure after his team dismantled themselves again against Missouri. For having such promise coming into the season, things have spiraled quickly. Then again, Sherman can guide his team to the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day vs. Iowa to make them feel better.

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State – Russell Wilson wasn’t needed at all, keep reminding yourself of this.

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    Tags: oklahoma, south carolina, stanford, west virginia, eric legrand, texas a, m, baylor, iowa, kansas, clemson, florida, ole miss, illinois, texas tech, vanderbilt, brady hoke, houston nutt, neil callaway, turner gill, rick neuheisel, mike sherman, tom obrien

  4. 2011 Oct 27

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Nine

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    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    It’s week nine, ya’ll! There are only a few marquee games this week as the push to the finish line kicks into high gear. Last week’s thrills and spills include -

    Winners:

    Texas Tech: An impressive start and great win in Norman, especially after the weather delay. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege had his coming out party and the whole team played fantastically from top to bottom.

    Southern California: A great win in South Bend. Even though the Trojans have nothing to fight for at the end of the year, they’re still showing up week in and out.

    Arkansas: A tremendous comeback from the depths of Hades against Ole Miss to win (Don’t worry, the statement on Houston Nutt is worthwhile this week)

    Syracuse: Coming back from the depths of the Greg Robinson mistake, the Orange impressed a national crowd with a win against West Virginia.

    Michigan State: We called it here last week. Sparty wins conference games that shouldn’t be close with heart-stopping theatrics.

    Losers:

    Oklahoma: What was that, Sooners? A letdown game? There’s no excuse for that.

    Illinois: A few people called it (including our editor-in-chief and newbie James Stevenson). We all got Zooked.

    Missouri: Not only could the Tigers not come close to matching Oklahoma State’s offense, but the Missouri faithful couldn’t sell out a game featuring the No. 4 team in the country.

    Kansas, Auburn, Georgia Tech and SMU:



    On to our Pre-Halloween fun (All times Central):

    Baylor at No. 3 Oklahoma State (2:30 PM ABC Regional)

    The Art Briles Bears head north up I-35 to take on a white-hot Cowboys team. Mike Gundy’s crew is still undefeated, headed towards a possible Big 12 title and national championship bid. For Baylor, it always starts and ends with Robert Griffin III at the helm throwing to wide receiver Kendell Wright.

    Last week, Baylor had a bye week after their pasting from Texas A&M while the Cowboys took care of business in Columbia against Missouri. The defenses will be tested well in this ballgame, with Baylor ranked No. 101 in points allowed.

    Oklahoma State is a more pedestrian No. 65. This is a game that should scare OSU coach Mike Gundy, as RG3 has been slowed down, but never completely stopped.

    However, the Cowboys' money combo of quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon is just too much, especially when in the friendly confines of Boone Pickens Stadium.

    No. 9 Oklahoma at No. 8 Kansas State (2:30 PM, ESPN)

    This becomes a do-or-die game for Bob Stoops against a surprising Kansas State team. Bill Snyder has his team playing hard with a fierce running game and a defense playing far better than expected allowing just less than 20 points per game.

    Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and running back John Hubert have rushed for over 600 yards each already, and the defense has been good enough to hold up their end of the bargain. Oklahoma looked lethargic on offense and even less inspired on defense against Texas Tech, especially in the secondary.

    Stoops shut off media access to his team this week. He’s angry, as he well should be. A pissed off Sooners team is not a welcome sight. Look for a close game, but Oklahoma will prevail.

    No. 22 Georgia at Florida (2:30 PM, CBS at EverBank Stadium – Jacksonville, FL)

    Shine up your stirrers! The World Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party attendees renew their love in north Florida when the Bulldogs and the Gators meet in their annual tilt. Georgia has become the front runner for the SEC East title after starting their season fighting for Mark Richt’s job. Florida, on the other hand, has played hard but have a three-game losing streak thanks in large part to injuries.

    The Gators have said that John Brantley will start at quarterback, although there are whispers that he’s not ready to get back under center. Regardless, Georgia is the better team right now and can help their case for a division title with a win.

    They are out of the SEC Championship Game for now unless South Carolina loses (a likely prospect). Georgia takes this game as Florida is just not playing well right now, especially on offense.

    No. 6 Stanford at Southern California – (7:00 PM, ABC)

    The final featured game of the week pits Andrew Luck against Matt Barkley and Lane Kiffin’s de facto Pac-12 title game due to postseason ineligibility.

    The Trojans made a statement last week against Notre Dame, while Stanford rolled Washington at home. The defenses are going to be tested like they will be in Stillwater, however there is much more at stake for Stanford than there is for USC.

    If the Cardinal wins this one in Los Angeles, they set up a big game for the North division against Oregon in Palo Alto. That becomes a revenge game for last year’s whooping in Eugene. Coach Kiffykins and his quarterback have their hands full going against a defense that only gives up 12 points per game, No. 5 overall.

    Luck has to live up to his billing over the next few weeks for Stanford being taken seriously in case teams slip and a spot in the national title chase opens up. Expect a good game and for Stanford to squeak by.

    Other games of note across the 48 states of the Union include:

    No. 25 West Virginia at Rutgers – WVU’s Big East title hopes are on life support. They need this win badly.

    Ole Miss at No. 24 Auburn – A regeneration game for Auburn. Let’s see how much they can improve.

    Kansas at No. 24 Texas – This should be a tune-up for Texas. For the 38 of you that can actually watch it, let us know how it goes.

    No. 5 Clemson at Georgia Tech – *MAJOR UPSET ALERT* Georgia Tech is angry, at home, and Clemson is due to have a bad game on the road.

    No. 15 Wisconsin at Ohio State – Wisconsin will play better against the Buckeyes, but expect Ohio State to come out guns blazing.

    Coaches that have a Three Mile Island burn going on the back of their pants include:

    Turner Gill, Kansas: People are now realizing that Turner is in over his head at a school that should have never hired him. Remember when there were rumors that Auburn wanted Gill? Who knew that Gene Chizik would have been the better option?

    At least there will only be (how many people have the Longhorn Network again? Oh, right.) 38 people watching th Jayhawks get stomped.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA: You got stomped by an Arizona team that has been a train wreck all season long. How does that treat you? At least Cal will only beat you at home in front of a third’s capacity.

    Kevin Wilson, Indiana: Mr. Wilson is now included on this list for the simple reason that he’s not very impressive right now. Furthermore, the loss of one of the country's top recruits (quarterback Gunner Kiel) doesn’t help matters. I like Wilson, but he needs to get his team back to basics. Fundamentals win ballgames, kids.

    Jerry Kill, Minnesota: Only this school would give a contract extension with a decent sized buyout to a guy that admits he’s over his head. Bravo. Maybe the FireJerryKill.com guy isn’t so off the mark after all, eh?

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi: I’m saving the final bullet for you.



    This is video of Houston Nutt’s post-game press conference last week when his no talent Rebels gave up 29 unanswered points to Arkansas snagging defeat from the jaws of victory. 30 seconds into this video, he goes after Ole Miss’ Rivals.com writer Neal McCready for his prediction that Ole Miss would lose 49-10 to the Razorbacks.

    Obviously, if you cover the spread, it’s a victory in Houston's eyes. Moral victories don’t count in the win-loss column, Nutt! This is your team, your staff, your fourth year!

    Let me guess, if McCready didn’t write that piece, it wouldn’t be as satisfying to lose by only 12 points in your 10th consecutive conference loss, would it?

    Let’s review your tiresome crusade to justifying over-signing: Throwing others under the bus when you lose such as your offensive coordinator, the NCAA for putting recruiting restrictions in place, and the kids you wanted until you realized during summer conditioning that they weren’t as good as you thought.

    Not to mention the upperclassmen that you dump on the side of the road because you have a freshman that you don’t want to redshirt. It’s all their fault, isn’t it Houston? Anyone but you.

    You are the poster child for everything wrong with college football. When things go wrong, it’s someone else’s issue, except when you win. I despise Bobby Petrino with a passion, but thank goodness that Arkansas hired him and not you.

    I hope you lose out and Pete Boone fires you in the tunnel after Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen embarrasses you. Then, I’d like to see you try to get another FBS job and pull these stunts, because fans across the nation will come after you wherever you may roam.

    There might a spot opening up in Lawrence after this year, so why not be the joke in the Big 12? You’d do a fine job taking the place of Colorado as the conference’s laughing stock.

    Then again, the thought of you being on the field with Gary Pinkel with both of you trying to outwit the other…that’s how black holes are made, isn’t it?

    Rant over.

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    Tags: texas tech, usc, syracuse, michigan state, oklahoma, illinois, missouri, kansas, auburn, georgia tech, smu, oklahoma state, kansas state, florida, stanford, turner gill, rick neuheisel, kevin wilson, jerry kill, houston nutt

  5. 2011 Oct 21

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Eight

    1,266 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Week eight has arrived with the Halloween season (and Christmas decorations BAH HUMBUG), and everyone’s conference season is in full tilt. The BCS standings are out, and bowl bids are starting to be sized up. Lets take a look at the ups and downs from last week -

    Winners:

    Michigan State: A nice little upset at home versus the Wolverines. Can’t say that anyone needed to be punched, though.

    Oklahoma State: Did a good job taking care of business against Texas. Keep working towards Bedlam.

    Clemson: What a comeback against Maryland! The Tigers can’t afford to live on luck every game, though.

    Oregon: No LaMichael James and a hurting Darron Thomas? No problem! However, the quicker they can get healthier, the better.

    Losers:

    Indiana: A bad loss to Wisconsin, and just a hint of advice: Don’t kick punts into the butt of your personal protector.

    Michigan: Live by Denard, die by Denard. The defense lived up to expectation, but the offense…meh!

    Georgia Tech: a loss to Virginia? Really?

    Kansas: Congratulations, you covered the spread! A moral victory!

    Texas, Maryland, Iowa State, Arizona State and Florida:



    And now here’s something we think you’ll really like (all times Central):

    No. 20 Auburn at No. 1 LSU – (2:30 PM Saturday, CBS)

    The LSU/CBS network carries the Battle in the Bayou between Gene Chizik’s Tigers against Les Miles and his Ragin’ Cajun Tigers. As for Auburn, they earned a well-fought victory against Florida last week, while LSU decapitated Tennessee in Knoxville.

    The main focus of this game is the suspension of three LSU players, most notably starting Safety Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu. Even with one of their better safeties out, the Bayou Bengals shouldn’t have an issue with the anemic Auburn offense. Look for Les’ group to have the most fun between the two Tiger teams on Saturday afternoon.

    No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 16 Michigan State (7:00 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson and the high octane Badger offense (that’s odd to type, to be honest with you) roll into East Lansing for a primetime night game. They’ll face the best defense on their schedule thus far as Sparty tries to ride a wave of momentum after defeating Michigan.

    This is the first time all season that Wilson will be tested outside the friendly confines of Camp Randall. He has to pass this test to get people to believe in both the Badgers as true national title contenders and himself as a legitimate Heisman contender. Something has to give between the FBS’ highest scoring offense and the No. 4 scoring defense.

    Don’t forget that the team which plays the most complete game usually wins these high-profile affairs. Michigan State can’t score enough points to outdistance Wisconsin, but don’t be surprised if the final score is much closer than you think. Over The last few years, Michigan State has made a living by winning nighttime Big Ten games at home that most think they shouldn’t

    No. 25 Washington at No. 8 Stanford – (7:00 PM Saturday, ABC)

    It’s "Sark Week" in Northern California as the Huskies go down to Napa Valley to take on Andrew Luck and the undefeated Cardinal. Luck has been rolling along this year, while Keith Price has been a pleasant surprise as Jake Locker’s replacement for Washington. The only loss of their season was in Lincoln earlier this year.

    Stanford is the most complete team in the Pac-12 right now with both the offense and defense ranking No. 5th in the FBS, a model of efficiency. Washington has been good on offense, but they give up 28 points per game. That’s not what you to throw at Andrew Luck. Stanford takes this one in a high-scoring bout.

    Other games to keep an eye for this week include:

    No. 4 Oklahoma State at Missouri – A big time upset alert. That said, Mizzou can’t even sell this game out?

    No. 9 Arkansas at Ole Miss – Bobby Petrino’s gang wants more blood and the Rebels are hemorrhaging it.

    No. 22 Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) – The Yellow Jackets were embarrassed by Virginia. They’ll be going against a Miami squad that can fall asleep at times.

    No. 10 Oregon at Colorado – How will the Ducks fair in the altitude minus both LaMichael James and maybe Derron Thomas?

    Tennessee at No. 2 Alabama – The Crimson Tide needs to find consistent some offense before LSU, and if you don’t think so, Saban could give…well, he doesn’t care.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Bob Toledo, Tulane - WHOOPSIE. Apparently when you’re 15-40 over your career with the Green Wave, it’s time to call it a legacy (if you can). It’s hard not to feel for Tulane.

    With the effects of Hurricane Katrina still taking their toll on the school’s athletic department, there’s not much that can be done. Barely getting 10,000 people per game in the Superdome and having LSU/Louisiana-Lafayette winning doesn’t help either.

    Turner Gill, Kansas and Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – We put these two together not because they are joined at any coaching hip, nor do we think that either school will win this week.

    We're putting them together because no matter how many losses Houston or Turner will end up with this year, there is a good possibility that both coaches will not be fired at the end of the year.

    Both have buyouts that are pretty hefty and it will take a lot of money being ponied up to get them to hit the road. For Gill, this saves him for another year. Kansas has shown time and time again they don’t know how to run a football program. However, for Ole Miss, there’s a far better chance that some wealthy booster can put up the money necessary.

    Nutt only has one year left on his deal after this season, though. For the Rebels’ program, it’s simply a question of if they want to pay the penalty as opposed to lose one more season to a guy that has shown he has no clue.

    Jeff Tedford, Cal – Utah is pretty similar to the Golden Bears and has the same record. That does mean Cal can beat them...right?

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA – A two game stretch against Arizona and Cal. Welp, good luck against the Golden Bears.

    Tom O’Brien, North Carolina State - Good luck against Virginia, a team that should be easier than you thought after the euphoric win over Central Michigan last week.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: michigan state, oklahoma state, clemson, oregon, indiana, michigan, georgia tech, kansas, texas, maryland, iowa state, arizona state, florida, auburn, lsu, wisconsin, stanford, bob toledo, turner gill, houston nutt, jeff tedford, rick heuheisel

  6. 2011 Oct 14

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Seven

    2,436 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Week seven has arrived in the 2011 season. While some match-ups this week should be entertaining, there’s a plethora of good games down the line. However, we can’t get to the future until we visit the present. Let's examine the week that was -

    Winners:

    Oklahoma – Questions, anyone? The woodshed built on the 50-yard line of the Cotton Bowl should remind you why this team is a legitimate national title contender.

    Virginia Tech – Survived a shootout with Miami in a game that both teams needed to win.

    Arkansas – As much as I dislike Petrino, they showed up and took care of business versus Auburn.

    Baylor – A good bounce back performance after the loss to Kansas State.

    Losers:

    Texas – Mack...sit David Ash. He’s not good.

    Fresno State – The Bulldogs were shelled at home before halftime on national TV. Not good.

    Minnesota – Destroyed...by Purdue? Really?

    Missouri – The Gary Pinkel Effect strikes again.

    Memphis, Arizona, Kansas, Colorado - Everyone hum along!

    On to this week’s meetings! All times Central:

    No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State – (11 AM Saturday, ESPN)

    East Lansing is the site for this year's battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy. Last week, Michigan survived a shootout in suburban Chicago vs. Northwestern while the Spartans enjoyed a bye week.

    Michigan State comes into this game with a defense allowing only 10 points per game (No. 3 nationally). They will need to flex every bit of that defensive muscle against Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and this high-octane Wolverine offense.

    As you examine this Michigan team, be sure to note that the Wolverine defense has only allowed 12 points per game (No. 8 nationally). Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver B.J. Cunningham will find ways to put points on the board, but look for "Shoelace" to help outscore the Spartans and beat little brother.

    No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M - (11:00 AM Saturday, FX)

    History suggests favoring the over on points scored (for entertainment purposes only, of course) in College Station this week, as RG3 and the Bears roll down Highway 290 to face the Fightin' Aggies. Both teams put up points last week as Baylor visited Iowa State and Texas A&M tripped to Texas Tech.

    For A&M, quarterback Ryan Tannenhill has to match Robert Griffin drive for drive this week, and he's capable of doing so. However, Texas A&M needs to complete a 60-minute game, and playing Baylor is an affair where A&M can't afford to let up again.

    Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett’s unit has matured well for the Bears, and has a chance to put on a third-straight eye-opening performance. This is a must-win game for Baylor, as the loss to Kansas State allows no room for error in their remaining games. If the Aggies lose, look for the chirping for Mike Sherman’s job to get much louder.

    No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas – (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC Regional)

    The Cowboys visit Austin for a second straight year due to the shrinking of the Big 12. The Longhorns host Gundy’s crew following the lancing provided by the Oklahoma Sooners last week just three hours up I-35. Everyone knows about the Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon connection for Oklahoma State.

    For Texas, quarterback Case McCoy should be taking snaps for the Longhorns until death, injury or eligibility do they part. That's not to say David Ash isn’t a good quarterback, but last week's drubbing showed that McCoy is the man. It won’t matter who Texas starts though, because the Cowboys will have their pistols firing against a defense that can't stop the bullets all day long.

    No. 18 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon - (9:15 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    The final big game of the day takes place at the hostile Autzen Stadium as the Sun Devils and Ducks meet for a major Pac-12 tussle. Last week, Oregon ran California out of the building while losing LaMichael James to a dislocated elbow. Meanwhile, Arizona State barely broke a sweat dismantling Utah.

    For the Sun Devils, quarterback Brock Osweiler has been solid for the offense. The defense has been alright giving up less than 20 points per game. Arizona State's defenders will need to feed off of linebacker Vontaze Burfict as the Ducks's offense has found its rhythm following the debacle in Arlington against LSU.

    Oregon’s offense is averaging a shade over 50 points per game, but will feel the effects of losing James for at least a few games. This will likely be a good game, but the Ducks are almost invincible at home. Look for Oregon to notch another win.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Mike Stoops, Arizona – WHOOPSIE! Looks like the axe finally fell on Stoops. When your only win is against Northern Arizona, and you’ve given up no less than 37 points per game to FBS teams, you're not doing well regardless of schedule strength. Adios, Mike. Maybe one of your brothers has a bunk or guest house to crash at.

    Turner Gill, Kansas – Did the state of Oklahoma get a deal on woodshed materials at Lowe’s last weekend? Oklahoma drags Texas behind one, and the Cowboys do the same with Kansas. The Sooners are coming. Be very afraid.

    Neil Callaway, UAB – Having the No. 120 offense and No. 96 in the FBS isn’t helping. Neither will the upcoming game against Tulsa.

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi – The good news: You didn’t lose last week! Bad news: You’re going to get bombed by Nick Saban and Alabama!

    Jeff Tedford, California – The Bears played well for a half against Oregon, but forgot to show up for the second. Then, Southern Cal topples them for the eighth straight time. Feel the heat.

    Kirk Ferentz, Iowa – All you can muster is a field goal versus Penn State? Your offensive genius got you three points? BAH!

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: oklahoma, virginia tech, arkansas, baylor, texas, fresno state, minnesota, missouri, memphis, arizona, kansas, colorado, michigan, michigan state, texas a, m, oklahoma state, mike stoops, turner gill, neil callaway, houston nutt, jeff tedford, kirk ferentz

  7. 2011 Sep 28

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Five

    5,482 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    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.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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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

  8. 2011 Sep 21

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Four

    2,049 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    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?

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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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

  9. 2011 Sep 07

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Two

    2,344 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    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
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    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

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