Sunday, April 29, 2007

ACC Spring Review

All the ACC Spring Practices are complete. Nothing is really ever decided in Spring ball, but it is always fun to make some predictions and take a look at the position battles.

Miami
Spring Headline:
New head coach Randy Shannon and new OC Patrick Nix

Offense:
The Hurricanes were hoping to have one QB emerge as the starter after Spring ball, but it appears that neither Kyle Wright nor Kirby Freeman distinguished themselves. Wright ended last season watching Freeman lead the Hurricanes to wins over Boston College and Nevada, while the battled former starter was nursing an injury.

Defense:
Miami always has speed and talent on their defense, but they will have to replace a number of starters. With Shannon still on board, you wouldn't expect a big drop off this year.

Top Incoming Freshman:
DL Allen Bailey, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB Doug Wiggins, QB Robert Marve

Knee - jerk Prediction:
8-4

Florida State
Spring Headline:
A revitalized FSU offense with the hiring of Jimbo Fisher from LSU

Offense:
The Seminoles should be able to rush the ball this year with Antone Smith at running back. Drew Weatherford has another year under his belt and is still the starter, but Xavier Lee will again challenge for the starting position.

Defense:
Injuries decimated the Noles last year keeping some players out of spring practice. Chuck Amato is back on the FSU sideline and the Seminoles speed will make them tough to score on as usual.

Top Incoming Freshman:
OL Antwane Greenlee, CB Dionte Allen, CB Bernard Brinson

Knee Jerk Prediction:
8-4

Georgia Tech
Spring Headline:
Taylor Bennett takes over under new offensive coordinator John Bond

Offense:
Bennett showed flashes of brilliance in the Gator Bowl, but will have to find a new target with Calvin Johnson gone to the NFL. Look for Tashard Choice to have a break out season under Bond who coached Garrett Wolfe at Northern Illinois.

Defense:
The Yellow Jackets should be pretty stout again on defense under Jon Tenuta. The secondary is thin, but could be bolstered by some incoming freshman - that is if the offense doesn't get them first.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Josh Nesbitt, RB Jonathan Dwyer, DL Derrick Morgan, S DJ Donley

Knee Jerk Prediction:
9-3

Clemson
Spring Headline:
Freshman Willy Korn arrives on campus

Offense:
The Tigers will again rely on their talented tandem of backs James Davis and CJ Spiller while the QB position develops. Cullen Harper exited Spring with the starting job, but watch for Korn to get more reps and push Harper in the fall.

Defense:
The Tigers lost the stars off their defense, but they have recruited very well in the last few years. Look for Ricky Sapp to step into the Gaines Adams role at defensive end and have a very good year.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Willy Korn, CB Marcus Gilchrist
Knee Jerk Prediction:
8-4

Virginia Tech
Spring Headline:
The Hokies are the favorites to win the ACC, but were hoping to get a solid starter going into fall.

Offense:
Despite many thinking that Ike Whitaker would overtake the starting position, Sean Glennon made some big strides and held onto the QB position.

Defense:
The Hokies defense had a down year last year for them, but was making improvement during the Spring. However, the Spring Game was cancelled after the tragedy at Virginia Tech. We all hope the Hokies can use football as way to recover and heal.

Top Incoming Freshman:
QB Tyrod Taylor, OL Will Alvarez, RB Darren Evans

Knee Jerk Prediction:
10-2

Other ACC Schools:
Boston College:
Tom O'Brien is gone to NC State. Matt Ryan returns as the starter and the Eagles have enough talent to compete for a bowl, but it will be interesting to see how the new coach fares:
Knee Jerk Prediction: 7-5

NC State:
Boston College's loss is the Wolfpack's gain. O'Brien will bring much more discipline to a talented, yet mistake prone squad
Knee Jerk Prediction: 6-6

North Carolina:
There is a new sheriff in town and he has all the tools to take the Tar Heels to the top level in the ACC. The question is how long it will take to rebuild Carolina and how long Davis will stay after that.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 5-7

Wake Forest:
Defending ACC Champs. Riley Skinner is just a sophomore. Don't completely count out Wake Forest.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 7-5

Duke:
The Devils will look to win a Division I-A game this year. Next challenge is an ACC game.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 2-10

Virginia:

The Cavaliers are stuck in mediocrity. They looked they would challenge Duke for conference worst early on, but Marques Hagans really improved throughout the year giving fans hope for this year.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 5-7

Maryland:
A fashionable pick to win the Atlantic with FSU after finishing strong last year. The QB position will be a question mark with Sam Hollenbach gone, but Ralph Friedgen has options in Florida
transfer Josh Portis and Jordan Steffy.
Knee Jerk Prediction: 8-4

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SEC Coaches: These Guys Are Good

A recent article in The Sporting News ranks the current SEC football coaches. I think this list is a little unfair because the coaches are the best of the best. Four coaches have national titles to their credit (Spurrier, Fulmer, Saban, Meyer) and another has gone undefeated in the last 3 years (Tubberville).

Not surprisingly, Ed Ogeron and Sly Croom are ranked 11th and 12th respectively, but I think both have a chance to turn their programs around - although it will be tough to have two good programs within a small state like Mississippi. But to rank Les Miles number 10 seems like a slap in the face to man whose LSU Tigers probably would have given Florida a better game than Ohio State and ended the season playing as good as anyone last year (I know Florida won earlier in the year 23-10, but LSU played horrible that day).

No matter how you rank'em, somebody with an SEC Title is going to end up in the bottom half and that just shows you how good the SEC is. Maybe even tougher than the AFC East (you hear that Nick?)

Link

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Power Rankings From Stewie

It is never, never too early for some power rankings. Heck, they might even be late considering finished their Spring Practice a month ago!

The SEC representin' with 7 teams, while the ACC has just 1 (Virginia Tech).

SI's Stewart Mandel

Monday, April 23, 2007

NCAA Baseball Tournament Predictions

Still a few weekends left in the regular season plus the conference tournaments, but here a few predictions for how the seeding in the Tournament will shake out.

Rivals has 8 ACC teams with 3 playing host in Regionals and 7 SEC teams with 5 as host schools.

SE Baseball has 7 ACC teams with 3 hosts and 7 SEC schools with 4 as hosts

This is what GoGamecocks has to say about the ACC and SEC if you rank'em together.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Toughest or Best Job in College Sports?

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article got me thinking as to what were the best jobs or toughest jobs in college depending on you way of thinking.

The AJC article discussed Billy Gillespie and Nick Saban as they take over the most prestigious football and basketball programs in the SEC. A couple of different items were discussed including Billy Gillespie's lunch menu, the lack of pro sports in these states, the legends they still follow to this day, boosters, and the perks of the jobs.

Nick Saban has a tall task ahead of him. Not only is he expected to beat Auburn (this year), but also expected to win the SEC West, the SEC Championship, and a National Title. All of this should be accomplished the 2012 Presidential Election most likely. Meanwhile at Kentucky, Gillespie needs to get the Wildcats back to the Final Four. Kentucky has not made an appearance since they last won it all in 1998.

I think Saban has the tougher job and it is not even close. The SEC is a football powerhouse and with schools like Auburn, LSU, and occasionally Arkansas to fend off just trying to get to the SECCG, then you get to face Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee just to win a conference championship. Thrown in that Auburn has dominated you for the last five years and that the NCAA sanctions which left the cupboard somewhat bare, Saban will earn that $4M a year salary.

So what are the toughest... or best jobs in the country?
Football
1. Alabama
2. Notre Dame
3. Nebraska
4. Texas
5. Miami

Basketball
1. Kentucky
2. UCLA
3. Indiana
4. North Carolina
5. Kansas

Follow Up from SI On Campus on the toughest college basketball jobs this upcoming year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ACC to NFL

An interesing table on found on the Hive showing ACC NFL Draft picks since 2001. Not too surprising seeing Miami and FSU at the top. Miami has had at least one first round pick each year.
The two teams who played for the ACC title last year have a combined 15 picks with just 1 being a first rounder. NC State, with 5 first round picks, yet never making it past the Gator Bowl. Virginia is another team high on the NFL draft list, but has not achieved much under Al Groh.

Off the top of my head, I would say VT, Miami, FSU, Clemson, and Georgia Tech are the top five programs in the ACC over the last 5 years.

TEAMTOTAL PICKSFIRST ROUND
Miami4921
FSU399
VaTech303
Virginia192
NCState185
UNC182
Maryland162
Clemson132
BC113
GaTech100
Wake51
Duke10



Hoops Top 25 Next Year

A couple of predictions on the top teams for 2008 from the past few weeks. As more underclassmen declare these rankings could change drastically.

Here are my picks with who has announced they are leaving:

1. North Carolina
2. Kansas
3. Memphis
4. UCLA
5. Memphis
6. Louisville
7. Ohio State
8. USC
9. Georgetown
10. Tennessee

Other sites predictions:
Scout
AJC
CBS Sportsline
ESPN
SI

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stewart Mandel and His Lists

Stewart Mandel, who loves to rank coaches and give away free hot dogs, has ranked the top coaches in college basketball.

I thought I would take a crack at the ACC and SEC and see who I can piss off like Stewart.

I don't think they are any bad coaches in the ACC or SEC, but maybe a few who are over their head.

ACC
1. Roy Williams
Lots of people will say Kryzewski, but Duke has slipped over the last 3 years. Roy is building UNC to a level it last experienced in Dean Smith's prime.
2. Mike Kryzewski
A very, very respectable second for the three time national title winner
3. Seth Greenberg
Turned a football school into a respectable basketball program while taking a step up
4. Gary Williams
Lost a little bit since the early 90s, but still a formidable foe year in and year out
5. Al Skinner
BC never gets the top guys, but always find themselves in the Tournament
6. Paul Hewitt
Has hit a slump recently, but can recruit with the best of them
7. Oliver Purnell
Needs to learn to finish, but always of to a good start
8. Frank Haith
Done a decent job at Miami, but he will never be able to win consistently there
9. Leonard Hamilton
Just cannot get over the hump and into the post season, time may be running short
10. Skip Prosser
Early momentum largely generated by Chris Paul. Tough being #4 in your own state

Not rated due to lack of experience:
Dave Leito, Sidney Lowe

SEC

1. Billy Donovan
No comment necessary
2. Kevin Stalllings
Who would have thought Vandy would make it to 2 of the last 3 Sweet 16s
3. Bruce Pearl
Talent and effort to beat anyone, but live and die by the three pointer
4. John Brady
Lackluster season in 2007, but does have a Final 4 to his credit
5. Rick Stansbury
For a while, was the class of the SEC West
6. Mark Gottfried
Seems to do less with more sometimes
7. Dave Odom
Good floor coach, but lacks recruiting touch at football school
8. Dennis Felton
Will take Georgia to the Tournament eventually, but only if he gets the time too
9. Jeff Lebo
At Auburn, players transfer to other football schools who are better at basketball

Not Rated due to lack of experience:
Billy Gillespie, Jeff Pelphrey, Andy Kennedy,

Monday, April 9, 2007

Trying to Emulate Florida

Make that three straight titles for Florida in the sports that "count". What Florida has done (and Ohio State as well) has never been done and probably won't be done again for a long time.

The University of Florida is a football school and a very good one at that. They have every advantage you can think when it comes to football - great, in state talent, big stadium, big conference, good coaches, and lots of money pouring in from boosters.

But with back to back national titles in basketball, the Gator Nation has more to look forward after January than just Spring Practice. So how do the Gators do it? Well, to succeed in college sports today you have to have football as your main source of revenue. The money generated from football allows schools like Florida to recruit nationwide in basketball, improve their facilities, and go after and keep top coaches. If you are a dominant basketball program (i.e. Kentucky, Duke) you cannot generate enough revenue to build a dominant football program.

There are short list of schools that could repeat what Florida has accomplished. Here they are:
1. Ohio State (duh, they almost did)
2. Texas
3. Michigan (sleeping giant in basketball if they could keep the Detroit kids at home - see Fab 5)
2005 Schools Athletic Revenue/Expenses

Top 5 Revenue Schools (2005)
1. Ohio State - Football School - Made National Title in Basketball
2. Texas - Football School - Made 2nd Round, best player in the country
3. Michigan - Football School - sleeping giant in basketball
4. Florida - Football School - back to back basketball national titles
5. Wisconsin - Football School - 2 seed, fell in second round

Lets take a look at the top basketball schools in the country and compare their revenue rankings.
1. Duke - 37th
2. Kentucky - 19th
3. UCLA - 32nd
4. Kansas - 22nd
5. North Carolina - 23rd

Compare that to the top football schools
1. Florida - 3rd
2. USC - 15th
3. Texas - 2nd
4. Ohio State - 1st
5. LSU - 13th
6. Michigan - 3rd
7. Notre Dame - 17th
8. Tennessee - 6th

But wait... what about profit? Isn't it all about profit?
Top 5 Profit Schools are all football schools
1. Georgia - $23.8M
2. Michigan - $17.0M
3. Wisconsin - $15.7M
4. Texas - $15.2M
5. Alabama - $12.5M

The following schools could do it, but it would it would take a star alignment type thing:
1. UCLA - primarily basketball, but So Cal puts out a lot of football players
2. LSU - last time I check they were the only school in Louisiana worth anything in sports

3. Wisconsin - I have no clue how the Badgers are so good, but they are every year
4. Georgia - the state of Georgia gets overrun by other schools recruiters in every sport
5. Florida State - Sam Cassell isn't walking through the door, but Jenn Sterger's do every fall.
6. Tennessee - women's basketball is big
7. North Carolina - Tar Heel state produces its fair share of football talent as well





Sunday, April 1, 2007

Florida and Ohio State Domination

Could Florida really beat Ohio State for the football and basketball championships in the same year? They are the favorites on Monday Night to be the first basketball team to win back to back national titles since Duke in 1991-92 and be the first school to win the football and basketball championships within the same calendar year.

Lets give props where props are due. Both Florida and Ohio State have dominant athletic programs - they are the elite college athletics right now. Texas is up there, USC is heading there but Florida and Ohio State are in another class. Whatever the outcome, both of these schools fans, alumni, players, and coaches have a lot to be proud of.

Now onto the game. It seems the hype around this game is not that big. How often do you get a rematch of the football national championship in the basketball championship? Well, the hype is not up there because both of these basketball teams play second fiddle to football on their campuses. Neither school will be distraught if they lose this game. I will try to create some hype though...

For Ohio State to win...

Greg Oden has to have a monster game - like Michael Jordan vs Georgetown; like Mike Bibby vs Kentucky; like Carmelo Anthony vs Kansas. Oden needs to neutralize Noah and Horford on the inside. The freshman needs to have a game where people say "he has nothing left to accomplish in college".
Mike Conley, Jr needs to play as well as his counterpart Taurean Green. Green is the weakest link in the Gator starting lineup... and he still might be an NBA starter.

For Florida to win...
Just play well. If Florida plays as well as Ohio State then the Gators are going to win. They cannot turn the ball over liberally; they cannot be ice cold from the outside; Noah and Horford cannot get in foul trouble early.

The law of averages, theory of what goes around comes back around, all that tells me that Ohio State owes Florida one. All the talk of how Ohio State was going to roll Florida in Glendale is reversed in Atlanta. The Gators beat the Buckeyes - sans a healthy Oden - earlier in the year by 25 in Gainesville; will they play their hardest for 40 minutes knowing they can probably beat this team......

All Florida has to do is play well.... not spectacular, not even great, just play well. Therefore, the odds tell me Florida will win... unless you think Ohio State is due for payback.

Florida wins.

Noah is a pretty good player, but UCLA had some fun with him anyways...