Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boise State: Where Do These Guys Come From?

Former Wisconsin Head Coach Barry Alvarez once said when discussing how he was going to build the Badger program 'our heart will come from Wisconsin but our hands and feet better come from somewhere else' (or something very similar).

Boise State is located in Boise, Idaho but much of their talent comes from elsewhere. Here is a state by state breakdown of the Bronco roster.

California (32)
Idaho (25)
Texas (12)
Oregon (7)
Washington (5)
Arizona (5)
Colorado (3)
Nevada (3)
Canada (3)
Netherlands (3)
Florida (2)
Montana (1)
Hawaii (1)
Wyoming (1)
Georgia (1)

Georgia vs Boise State 2005 Highlights: We Know 2011 Will Be Different But By How Much?

I think Jared Zabransky may have melted in the heat in Athens that day.

We know Boise State has a better program now, but how much ground have they made against the SEC? UGA is probably not as good as in 2005, but how much ground have they lost? The Bulldogs went on to win the SEC Championship that season.



Georgia Tech vs Western Carolina Preview

Georgia Tech opens its season Thursday against FCS school Western Carolina from the Southern Conference. The game will be the fifth meeting between the two schools and the Yellow Jackets have won the previous four.

Who Is Western Carolina?
Located in Cullowhee, NC (about a 3 hour drive from ATL) the Catamounts are coming off a disappointing 2-9 season a year ago. Their head coach Dennis Wagner is in fourth season having compiled a 7-27 record thus far. The Catamounts last made the FCS playoffs in 1983.

Going along with a trend in college football, WCU will be operating out of the Pistol formation on offense this season. Wagner and his staff visited with the creator of the offense, Nevada's Chris Ault, in the offseason.  Defensively, the Catamounts will run out of a 4-2-5 look or a 4-3 alignment.

Western Carolina has 13 starters returning, including nine on offense. In total they have 41 of 62 letterman returning from a year ago.

The Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson graduated from Western Carolina in 1979 and was 5-0 against his alma mater while at Georgia Southern.

Predicting the Outcome
WCU only played one FBS team last year and it was NC State losing 48-7 in week one.
However, playing in the Southern Conference the Catamounts also played Georgia Southern who is lead by former Georgia Tech assistant Jeff Monken.

Against WCU, the Eagles scored 28 points, about their season average. They rushed for 277 yards which was 16 yards above the season total and passed for 136 well above their average. GSU put this game away on third down converting 57% of their chances while hitting just 43% on the season. Southern was also more explosive than usual hitting 6.6 yards per play versus just 5.2 during the season. While more explosive, GSU was also less efficient on offense having to grind out 14.8 yards per point vs WCU to just 12.6 during the season.

Defensively, the Eagles were very stout against the Catamounts holding them to just 6 points in the victory. GSU allowed just 68 yards rushing to a team that ranked last in the Southern Conference.

All of this bodes very well for Tech in their opener. They will have some film to see how WCU could line up against the Jackets and are facing a team that was finished second to last in the Southern Conference stopping the run and returns just four starters.

Defensively, Tech is hoping to be much better at stopping the run this season. If they cannot do that against WCU then it could be another long season on the Flats.

Statistical Notes
WCU was outscored 119-21 in the third quarter last season.

The last time Georgia Tech played Western Carolina was 1994. The Yellow Jackets finished that season with a 1-10 mark, the lone winning coming over WCU.

Line
Georgia Tech is favored by 35 in this game according to VegasInsider.com.

Tech has beaten FCS teams in the opener in each of Johnson's three seasons in Atlanta. Last year, it was a 31 point win over SC State, two years ago a 20 point win over Jacksonville St, and in 2008 a 27 point win over Jacksonville St.   Each of the previous three opponents was better than Western Carolina is projected.

Check out this article and others by me on ChuckOliver.net

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If Isaiah Crowell Doesn't Pan Out Then Another Elite Running Back is Headed to UGA Anyways

The Bulldogs have signed eight "elite" running backs since 2006 according to this list compiled by FSU Blog Tomahawk Nation

School Total
Georgia8
Miami (FL)7
Florida6
USC6
Auburn5
LSU5
Oklahoma5
Tennessee5

And UGA is likely to keep signing top backs as the state of Georgia produced 15 "elite" players at the position since 2006 and is 3.72 times more likely to produce an "elite" runner than the average state.

The Bulldogs are hoping to sign their 9th elite back this February in Keith Marshall.

Bruce Pearl Discusses His Show-Cause Penalty, Getting Into Broadcasting

Pearl was on with his friends on 790 The Zone's Mayhem in the AM last week. The former Tennessee coach is good friends with host "Steak" Shapiro and previously gave the show his first interview after being fired as Volunteers head coach.

A show-cause penalty does not preclude a school from hiring Pearl in the next three years, but... "both the school and coach are required to send letters to the NCAA agreeing to abide by any restrictions imposed, and report back to the NCAA every 6 months until the end of employment or the show-cause, whichever comes first." [Show-cause penalty]

Audio (Right click to download)

Who is Yahoo's Charles Robinson Investigating Now?

But like Danny Sheridan he cannot say whom he is looking into in this interview with Atlanta's 790 The Zone. He is also avoiding South Florida in the backlash from the Miami story.

Any ideas on who Robinson may be looking into?

Maybe this allegation levied by Dan Wolken about an elite college basketball program "straight-up paying players."

We have had the Alabama clothing store broken by Outkick the Coverage and detailed further by Sports By Brooks, the Auburn "Bagman" identified by Danny Sheridan, Oregon and Will(ie) Lyles

I would normally say look at who has finished at the top of college football the last few years and start from there but as we saw with Miami even seven or eight win teams may have significant NCAA trouble.

Audio (Right Click to Download)

NC State Head Tom O'Brien Faces Raised Expectations in Raleigh

The Wolfpack Head Coach was on Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone discussing what he likes and what needs improvement heading into the 2011 season.

O'Brien hitched his wagon to Mike Glennon at QB telling potential All-ACC QB Russell Wilson he would be the backup if he returned for fall practice. Wilson subsequently transferred to Wisconsin where he could lead the Badgers to a B1G title.

After two disappointing seasons, State had a breakout year in 2010 with Wilson playing a big role. I think O'Brien's long term future in Raleigh could depend heavily on how Glennon pans out as the replacement at QB.

Audio (Right Click to Download)

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Am Just Going To Leave This Here

I am kinda over all the Texas A&M talk to the SEC until it really happens....but if you want more info here is an interview (audio) with Billy Luicci of Texags.com

Billy Luicci of Texags.com

FSU is Unanimous Selection for ACC Champion on Gameday Set

Desmond Howard even picked the Seminoles to win the BCS Championship with QB E.J. Manuel as the Heisman winner.

Category Corso Herbstreit Howard
ACC FSU FSU over VT FSU over VT
National Champs OU over LSU Oregon over Bama FSU over Bama
Heisman* L. Jones (OU) L. James (Oregon) E.J. Manuel (FSU)

(h/t to SEC Blog: Team Speed Kills for the table)

ESPN GameDay Likes UGA to Win the SEC East

Lee Corso and Desmond Howard both picked Georgia to win their division in the shows preseason picks.

Kirk Herbstreit was the only analyst to pick South Carolina to win the East.

Suprisingly, all three have a team other than an SEC squad winning the BCS Championship.

Category Corso Herbstreit Howard
SEC LSU over UGA Bama over USC Bama over UGA
National Champs OU over LSU Oregon over Bama FSU over Bama
Heisman* L. Jones (OU) L. James (Oregon) E.J. Manuel (FSU)

(h/t to Team Speed Kills for the snazzy table)

Georgia Tech Finally Wises Up When Dealing With The NCAA

The Yellow Jackets have enlisted the legal services of Lightfoot, Franklin & White out of Birmingham (what there no good lawyers in Atlanta?) per AJC beat writer Ken Sugiura

Among this law firm's list of talented attorneys is Gene Marsh who just happened to be on the NCAA Infractions Committee from 1993-2006 serving as chairman from 2004-2006.

You may remember Marsh's name from recent events as he was Jim Tresel's lawyer for the NCAA COI meeting with Ohio State earlier this month.

Tech is only appealing the vacating of the 2009 ACC Championship Game in the penalties levied on July 14th; the $100k fine and four years probation will remain regardless of the appeal.

While Marsh will have a good idea of how the NCAA COI works, the appeal process has changed recently to make it much harder to win (somewhat thanks to GT's successful appeal of penalties in 2005).

Still Marsh should miles ahead of Randy Nordin who was Georgia Tech's legal counsel during the NCAA investigation. Nordin blatantly defied the NCAA's requests, was combative to NCAA officials, and basically let his ego get in the way according to a close friend with knowledge of the counsel's activities. Nordin was fired after the investigation much to the pleasure of more than just the Athletic Department.

Dan Wolken: An Elite College Basketball Program Is 'Straight-Up Paying Guys'

Fresh off the Danny Sheridan/Auburn bagman saga we may have a similar story brewing in college basketball.

In an interview with The Big Lead, Daily columnist Dan Wolken made a claim that a major basketball program is "straight-up paying guys"

"I hate the whole white hat-black hat thing in college basketball when the truth is we’ll never know for sure how most stuff gets done in recruiting. Of the top 15 players in this recruiting class, I’ve heard stories, rumors, innuendos about 14 of them. But if one of those kids signs with Duke or Carolina, most people (and probably most journalists) will assume it was clean. Take the same kid and have him sign with Baylor and message boards will light up about how it must have been a dirty deal. Just stop with the mythmaking already. There’s on particular program right now – an elite program that most fans wouldn’t ever guess – that everyone in basketball knows is straight-up paying guys. Will they get caught? I don’t know, but the more this stuff gets exposed, the more we can shatter these ridiculous media-fueled notions about who’s dirty and who isn’t."

(h/t to @BryanDFischer and @AndyHutchins)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How is Boise State Preparing For Noise in the Georgia Dome?

From Broncos beat writer Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman:

The Broncos are planning to practice at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex next week with the canned crowd noise cranked up to prepare for the Georgia Dome.

The crowd actually will be smaller than for last year’s game against Virginia Tech but the dome might make it louder. The Georgia Dome holds 71,959 fans. The crowd at FedExField was 83,587.

Boise State only received 7,500 tickets for the Georgia game, so that leaves 60,000-plus cheering for the Bulldogs.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to prepare for the noise in practice so when we get there we’re not overwhelmed by it,” senior offensive tackle Nate Potter said.

The Broncos used the canned noise at times during fall camp, too. When they practice indoors, some of the coaches wear earplugs.

“That noise is painful,” coach Chris Petersen said, “but it’s part of the process.


More pictures of the Caven-Williams Sports Complex

How does Boise State have an indoor practice facility and the most profitable athletic department in the SEC not? Got a feeling Greg McGarity will fix that problem sooner rather than later.

Georgia - Boise State: Report From Broncos Beat Writer on the Tumultuous Offseason in Idaho

Broncos Beat Writer Chadd Cripe talked with Atlanta's 790 The Zone about the most tumultuous offseason Boise State head coach Chris Peterson has faced yet in preparing the biggest regular season game his team has ever played.

Audio (Right Click to Download)

UGA Kick Returner Brandon Boykin Calls Out Boise State


College Football is getting close...

UPDATED:
As Boise blog One Bronco Nation Under God points out, fans of the orange and blue are hoping they kick the ball to Boykin alot (because kickoffs mean points).

Five Most Important Players To Make or Break Georgia Tech's 2011 Season

The Yellow Jackets open their 2011 season on Thursday, September 1st and are hoping to improve dramatically from a disappointing 2010. These five players will have a major impact on how successful Tech's season is.

5. Trey Braun - G
The true freshman has a good chance to start at Guard in the opener against Western Carolina. The moving of Jackson to the outside tells me that Head Coach Paul Johnson feels more comfortable with the freshman Braun at Guard than the current options at Tackle. If Braun can hold the position it may allow Freshman All-American Will Jackson to stay at tackle, which is the weakest position on the Tech's offensive line.

4. Julian Burnett - ILB
Johnson described Burnett as 'probably the best player on the team' back in the Spring and that statement still holds true. One of Tech's many ills on defense last season was stopping the run. If the Jackets don't do a better job stopping the run then it will be very hard to improve defensively.

Burnett is the best tackler on the team and his play at Inside Linebacker needs to be remembered by every team the Jackets play; Burnett needs to be a household name with ACC fans (and Georgia, Kansas, MTSU, and Western Carolina as well).

3. Tevin Washington - QB
Washington enters this season as the starter at QB. The importance of Washington's play obviously affects this season, but it could greatly affect the future too.

If the redshirt Junior can command the starting job all season then it lessens the need to play true freshman Vad Lee. Johnson has been very impressed with Lee's understanding of the offense, but he also knows the North Carolina native will have a much bigger impact in his fifth year than his first.

2. Logan Walls - NT
The 3-4 Defense Tech runs requires a player at nose tackle who can demand double teams and disrupt the backfield. Walls struggled at times last season, but has been praised as the leader of the defensive line thus far in Fall Practice. In his second season in this defense, Walls must step up and control the point of attack for the Jackets defense to improve.

1. Stephen Hill - WR
A wide receiver is the most important player for Georgia Tech's success in 2011? Without a reliable threat down field, defenses can stack the box against the run and force Tech to grind out drives increasing the chance for turnovers. Georgia Tech has failed to complete 50% of its passes in any season under Paul Johnson, but in the 11 win* 2009 season, the Jackets ranked 12th in passer rating despite being 116th in total passing yards. Any good engineer knows the need for efficiency and that is what Tech's passing game has to be.

Last season Hill said he was pressing to replace First Round Draft Pick Demaryius Thomas instead of being himself. For the Yellow Jackets offense to take off this season then Hill needs to make his own name at the receiver position.

Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Attaochu - OLB
Like Burnett, Attaochu needs to be a household name with ACC fans this season if the Jackets are going to improve dramatically on defense.

You can find this article and others by me at ChuckOliver.net

Friday, August 26, 2011

And The 14th Member of the SEC Is.....

After discussing the multiple reasons why Texas A M would want to join the SEC as the 13th member, who would be the 14th school?

Pete Thamel of the New York Times discusses the potential additions beyond the Aggies (Right Click to download audio) on Paul Finebaum's radio show.

In addition to dropping knowledge on conference expansion we also find out that Thamel actually lives in Boston, not New York, and more Danny Sheridan/Cam Newton/NCAA fodder.

By the way, I agree with Thamel's suggestion of who the best fit would be as the 14th member.

I Can't Think of a More Appropriate Name to Cover LSU

Glenn Guilbeau talks about the recent "incident" at Shady's possibly involving LSU football players and how police are conducting the investigation on 790 The Zone's Barnhart and Durham

Audio (Right Click to Download)

Mr. Guilbeau also talks about this game that the Tigers are playing against an upstart team from the Northwestern US named Oregon in just over a week.

So Why Exactly Does Texas A&M Want to Join the SEC?

I can think of only two reasons:

1. To spite the University of Texas

2. For the opportunity to finish somewhere between 3rd and 6th in the SEC West every year.

Texas AM Notifies Big 12 of Conference Exploration

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Did A Miami Fan Admit Another NCAA Violation While Trying To Rip Apart Charles Robinson's Story?

Canesport.com, part of the Rivals network, did an interview with Yahoo's Charles Robinson allowing Hurricane fans to ask questions to the reporter about his story.

Most of the questions attempt to discredit Nevin Shapiro's accounts of the incidents, but one question in particular caught my eye.

Q. Olivier Vernon watched the Miami-Florida State game in my suite while he was senior in high school. It was a bad, raining, horrible soaked game. I remember we were there until almost midnight. This page from Shapiro's October 2008 American Express Platinum card statement shows a charge of $1,610.51 which the booster identified as a tab for alcohol in his VIP section at Cameo following Miami's home loss to Florida State that season. Shapiro said he entertained at least five players in his section that night, including Robert Marve, Randy Phillips, Jacory Harris, Dedrick Epps and Gavin Hardin ... These are statements on Yahoo's accounts of Robert Marve and Olivier Vernon...how is it that BOTH of these happened at the same time? Is it possible that he was at Dolphin Stadium with Vernon until midnight, and was ALSO at the VIP of Cameo that mapquest.com says is 18.3 miles and 26 minutes away. During the time that he was with Vernon until almost midnight he still rang up a charge of $1,610.51 all before midnight (as the charge shows up on the date of 10/04/2008 and if the charge had been rung up after midnight would have shown up as 10/05/2008). I would love for Yahoo! to explain this.

"Olivier Vernon watched the Miami-Florida State game in my suite while he was senior in high school."

Maybe this guy is not a booster of the University of Miami, but if so..

...why does he have a suite in Dolphins stadium with a Miami recruit in it?

...and why would he have a pay subscription to a Hurricanes sports website?

UGA AD Greg McGarity's Chat with Local Police Helps Bulldogs Curtail Arrests

Georgia beat writer Seth Emerson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer writes about the meeting McGarity had with Clarke County and UGA Campus Police regarding the rampant arrests within the athletic department and especially amongst the football team.

Last fall, as the Georgia football program was seemingly mired in an arrest problem, McGarity requested a meeting with the police chiefs at UGA and Clarke County. The idea, according to both sides, was for the law enforcement agencies to tell McGarity what the athletics department and the football team could do to stem the problems.

The meeting included McGarity and some other athletics department staff members, but no coaches. UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson and Clarke County police chief Joseph H. Lumpkin were also in attendance.

About a month ago, I pondered why the UGA football team has had so few arrests (actually 0) since early last season. One of theories I had was McGarity had met with local police to discuss the situation.

Despite the large reduction in arrests, many some UGA fans still think the local police are out to get football players.  Why can't they be like law enforcement in Knoxville and Oregon?

"I told him from my perspective that they weren't doing what other students weren't doing," Williamson [UGA police chief] said.

Maybe it was just that the football players arrests made the news, while John Doe: Communications major didn't.

Williamson went to describe a recent incident with a police officer and athlete.

"I know the other day a player was cited for not having his seat belt on. He was cited for that, but that was it. I know in years past that may not have been the case, he might have had something else that came up when the officer ran his record.

I think one day Bulldog fans will look back and say that a pair of red panties turned the fortunes of the UGA Athletic Department.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ole Miss Rebels Commit Better Than Calvin Johnson Was

Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss Rebels might have got themselves an absolute gem when they gained the commitment of RB Mike Hilton.

Hilton plays at Sandy Creek HS in Tyrone, Ga. for head coach Chip Walker who described Hilton as "the best we’ve had around Sandy Creek since Kedric Golston [defensive end with the NFL's Washington Redskins], and he has been in the league for six years."

Walker's comments caught my eye because in addition to Golston, who signed with UGA in 2002, Sandy Creek also produced Calvin Johnson in 2004. Three years after leaving Walker's program, Johnson was the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

If Hilton is as good as his head coach says then Houston Nutt will be doing a lot more winning of Cotton Bowls than losing to Jacksonville State.

Friday, August 5, 2011

South Carolina Fans and the Month of August

Every fan base is excited once preseason practice starts and most fan bases also feel their team will overachieve beyond expectations.

No fan base in the South exemplifies this more than the South Carolina Gamecocks.

But this season, as Gamecock blog Garnet and Black Attack writes, South Carolina fans actually have something back up the hype in the form of Alshon Jeffrey, Marcus Lattimore, and vastly improved play on the line of scrimmage.

Some oldtimers may cite teams from historical lore, but to compare the athleticism of, say the 1969 ACC championship team, to the team the Gamecocks will field in 2011 is absurd. South Carolina has made considerable strides in recruiting since the arrival of Steve Spurrier in 2005, reeling in three straight South Carolina Mr. Football honorees. Locking up the best of the state's recruits has been critical to the Gamecocks surge on the field.

Steve Spurrier's chances of winning an second straight SEC East title will be heavily influenced by what happens on September 10th in Athens, Georgia. The losing team in this game has NEVER won the East.

An Interesting Look At What Notre Dame Is Doing To Help Brian Kelly Succeed

In addition to this, the Notre Dame administration is giving the football program some unprecedented breaks in order to return to the level of an elite program as the Chicago Tribune writes

Perhaps at no point in Notre Dame football history has there been greater cooperation across campus and more abundant resources proffered in the name of sustaining a multi-multimillion-dollar operation and winning football games. Now all Brian Kelly has to do is win them.

"He's in a very enviable situation," former Irish coach Bob Davie said. "Because we all had the same pressure to win. We just had to do it in a probably more difficult manner."

The article discusses changes in misconduct discipline, training regiment, ability to offer scholarships, and special admittance standards.

Now most Irish fans reading this are going to think this is an attack on Notre Dame football.

It is the exact opposite.

Its the applauding of a school that desperately wants win BCS bowl games and national title realizing they cannot win at an elite level with one arm tied behind their back.

P.S. If you want to know who the Irish newcomer is that scored a 17 on the ACT, just ask a Florida State fan.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Again...LSU May Be Over the 85 Scholarship Limit

This is how LSU Blog And The Valley Shook sees it.

And now for the scholarship count. First up is the loss of WR Alonzo Lewis. He apparently did not qualify and will head for a JUCO, with Coach Miles adding that LSU would keep an eye on him. Then, eagle-eyed Saturday Night Slant noticed that Chris Tolliver, DB Ryan St. Julien and RB Kellen Theriot are all missing from the Roster (which is being updated through the day as players take physicals). Tolliver is no surprise as he told a paper in Monroe a few weeks back that LSU would not allow him to continue due to his repeated concussions. Theriot and St. Julien were both attrition candidates when Paul took a look at our scholarship count last month. Those losses put us right at 85 scholarship players by our count, with no room for FR DL Mickey Johnson, who hasn't yet passed the NCAA clearing house.

The Tigers had an ugly incident with freshman Elliott Porter last season. Porter met with Head Coach Les Miles and was told the team had no vacancy. Porter was obviously upset feeling he was blindsided.

He transferred to Kentucky, but has left the Wildcats for...............wait for it...

LSU!

I think over signing is wrong, but until the conferences or NCAA get tougher on it (setting a limit of 25 per year is not getting tough) then why shouldn't coaches do it? They are paid to win football games, not hold promises.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Vince Dooley and UGA Missed Out on Deion Sanders

"Prime Time" is set to enter the NFL Hall of Fame this weekend as an Atlanta Falcon.

But before he was a Falcon he was a Seminole.

During his recruitment, Sanders took a visit to UGA but after sitting down with head coach Vince Dooley he crossed the Bulldogs off his list.

"I went to the University of Georgia," Sanders said. "On my recruiting trip, Vince Dooley is the head coach. I had just witnessed them getting their butts kicked against Georgia Tech.

"They got their butts kicked, and I went to Vince Dooley's office. And he says, 'Well, I'm sure you're going to contribute for us. I want you to redshirt and learn the system.' And I said, 'Redshirt?'

"And that was it. He's talking about redshirting, and I know what I've got. So that was it. I crossed him off the list."

Deion also visited Florida, but they had promised #10 to another recruit and that eliminated the Gators.

What won the sweepstakes for Sanders?

FSU Cafeteria food that tasted like Golden Corral.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How Many SEC Schools Can Claim At Least 8 Wins Over the Last 8 Seasons? The Same Number as the Service Academies

One.

And its LSU.

The same number of schools in the ACC can claim this feat with only Virginia Tech making the cut. The Hokies have the longest streak of 10 win seasons outright.

Seven other schools can also claim 8 wins over the last 8 seasons. Can you name the other 7?

I will give you some hints: 1) each BCS conference has at least 1 representative 2) two of the teams are not BCS automatic qualifiers 3) Look back at the post title for the biggest hint

..............

Here is the list: Virginia Tech, Boise State, Oklahoma, Louisiana State, Ohio State, West Virginia, USC, Texas Tech, and Navy.

(h/t) The Wiz of Odds () who is running a series on team posters