Posts Tagged 'colt mccoy'

Heisman Dark Horse Part 5

In the fifth and final breakdown of our Heisman Dark Horse Candidates, College FootBlog takes a look at our last impact player who is not getting the Heisman hype of the usual suspects–Mark Ingram, Terrelle Pryor, Jacquizz Rodgers, etc.  In case you missed it, we covered Florida State’s Christian Ponder, West Virginia’s Noel Devine, Miami’s Jacory Harris and Wisconsin’s John Clay in our previous four dark horse articles.

Here’s a question for all of you college football buffs–Which Heisman finalist from last season finished third in the nation in total yards with the following stats:  3,579 yards passing with 30 TDs and only eight INTs, with another 506 yards rushing with eight more TDs rushing…..no, it wasn’t Colt McCoy….not Tim Tebow, either.

Most people outside the Big 12 didn't notice that Jerrod Johnson put up over 4,000 yards of offense last season (google images)

In our final edition of 2010’s Heisman Dark Horses, we take a look at why Johnson is still not getting the hype this season, and more importantly, what needs to happen for him to get some love from Heisman voters this fall.

Johnson Needs at Least Two Signature Wins in 2010:  Despite shredding one of the most dominant defenses in the nation (Texas), last season, the Longhorns ultimately prevailed in a 49-39 shootout at College Station last season.  Two weeks before that, Johnson was stifled by a dominant Oklahoma defense that held him to 115 total yards, as the Sooners thrashed the Aggies 65-10.  Johnson will get his shot at redemption against both OU and Texas, and he will also get a shot at yet another top-tier defense when Nebraska comes to town on November 20th.  If he wants to be taken seriously, he must perform in all three games, and really needs to lead his team to victory in two of them.

Will it happen?  Unless the Aggies’ defense improves tremendously, it won’t happen.  Despite getting the Sooners and Huskers at home this season, there are no real signs of significant improvement in a defense that gave up 33.5 points per game last season.  A&M finished 105th in the nation in total defense, so there is really nowhere to go but up, but in an offensive conference like the Big 12, first-year defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will have his hands full.

Unless the Aggies can produce an average defense, they will be a .500 team again this fall, and by all indications, that’s what they will be.  Unfortunately for Johnson, quarterbacking a .500 team will leave him at home again in 2010, instead of making the trip to New York.   On the flip side, if DeRuyter can work his magic and keep A&M in the game against OU, Texas and Nebraska, it will not only give the Aggies a chance to win, but it will give Johnson an opportunity to lead his team to huge, upset victories, which will only bolster his chance at a Heisman Trophy.

Johnson Must Put Up the Same Stats as Last Year, If Not Better:  If Johnson can match or break his 4,000 total yards he put up in 2009, that will force Heisman voters to keep him on their radar.  If those numbers drop, it will effectively kill his Heisman hopes because winning the Big 12 South will be next to impossible for the Aggies to pull off in 2010.  Even though OU and Texas must replace key contributors from the 2010 roster, each program has loaded up in recruiting for the last several years, and each team will make a case for a Big 12 Championship, which will likely leave A&M on the outside looking in when the dust settles in December.  If Johnson can maintain the pace he had last season, facing three of the top defenses in the nation, he deserves to be a Heisman finalist.

Will it happen?  His overall numbers should be very close to the 2009 stats.  How much better or worse they will be depends on how he performs against the big three Big 12 opponents mentioned above.  Despite the difficulty of facing Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, the rest of the 2010 opponents aren’t exactly defensive juggernauts–the Aggies open with FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin and the out of the other remaining opponents, six of them finished 60th or worse in total defense last season, including 119th ranked FIU on September 18th.

Look for the A&M coaching staff to leave Johnson in for the long-haul against the inferior defenses to help pad his stats this year for two reasons:  1)  Having a Heisman hype around Johnson will bring some much-needed attention to a program that consistently loses recruiting battles against intra-division foes OU and Texas and 2)  The coaching staff is well-aware that touchdowns could be hard to come by in the NU, OU and Texas games, so Johnson will need to rack up as much as he can against the weaker defenses.

Given the weak out of conference schedule and the likelihood that Johnson should put up arcade numbers against those defenses, A&M just needs to get upset victories against Nebraska (which would not be a shock at all) and either Texas or OU, which could happen, but not with last year’s defense.

College FootBlog wants your feedback.  Who else deserves to be on our list and why?

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2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings Part 2

In Part 2 of our three-part coverage, College FootBlog continues our breakdown of the top six BCS conferences from the 2009 season.  In case you missed it, we ranked the fifth and sixth conferences earlier this week (see link).  We continue our analysis by providing a recap of last season and an outlook for next year for conferences #3 and #4 in our Power Rankings.

4.  Big 12

 

Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh was one of very few bright spots for the Big 12 in '09 (google images)

2009 Recap:

If not for Texas making it to the BCS National Championship Game, the Big 12 would have ranked fifth or sixth in the ’09 Power Rankings.  Nebraska came out of nowhere, but their offense was anemic.  Oklahoma lost Sam Bradford and never really got on track all year.  Add in Mizzou and Texas Tech not living up to high expectations coming off successful 2008 campaigns, and the Big 12 didn’t have much to talk about beyond Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and Ndamukong Suh.

2010 outlook:  Next season will likely be more of the same for the Big 12.  Although the loss of Colt McCoy in the first quarter of the BCS National Championship was a huge blow, it provided valuable experience to Freshman Garrett Gilbert.  Oklahoma’s offense should be improved with Landry Jones having a year of experience under his belt, but their dominant defense will likely take a step back.  The Sooners lose six defensive starters, including both corners and projected first-round DT Gerald McCoy.

Texas Tech will likely take a year or two before they truly integrate to Tommy Tuberville’s system, Oklahoma State will have to replace starting quarterback Zac Robinson and will lose WR Dez Bryant to the NFL.  Mizzou loses playmakers on each side of the ball in WR Denario Alexander and projected first round linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon.  Add to that, Nebraska’s departure of Suh (who many project as the number one overall pick in April’s draft), and the Big 12 North will have trouble keeping points off the scoreboard.

3.  Big Ten

2009 Recap:  The major reason the Big Ten did not claim the #2 spot in the ’09 Power Rankings was depth.  Iowa surprised many experts by effectively shutting Georgia Tech’s offense down, thanks in large part to All-Big Ten DE Adrian Clayborn, who is planning on returning for his senior year.  Terrelle Pryor saved his best performance for last, as he dominated in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win over Oregon.

The Big Ten finished with a bowl record of 4-3, with a surprising win from Wisconsin over Miami and a Penn State victory over an offensively inept LSU team.  A more in depth look at the top two teams from the conference, however, shows a couple of teams that were far from juggernauts.

Iowa had one of the best defenses in the nation, but their offense was nothing to write home about.  The Hawkeyes struggled to beat Arkansas State at home and had to depend on two blocked field goals at the end of the game to defeat another FCS opponent, Northern Iowa 17-16 in Iowa City.

The Buckeyes nearly lost their opener to Navy at home and fell to a struggling USC team, and they later fell to 5-7 Purdue.

 

Look for Terrelle Pryor to have a huge year in 2010 (google images)

2010 Outlook:

Look for the Big Ten to make a serious run at the #2 conference in the country next season.  Jim Tressel continues to put great defenses on the field for the Bucks and the offense should take a huge step forward with the return of running backs Brandon Saine and Boom Herron.  And if Terrelle Pryor’s Rose Bowl performance was a sign of things to come, the Bucks will be the real deal come fall.

Iowa is also very young on offense–the ‘Hawks will return both freshman running backs, quarterback Ricky Stanzi and wideout Marvin McNutt, who exploded onto the scene in 2009.  Couple that with Adrian Clayborn and several returners on an already dominant defense, and the ‘Hawks could make a serious run in 2010.

Three other teams from the Big Ten to keep an eye on next year are Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is one of the most underrated coaches in the country.  Wisconsin’s John Clay took full advantage of being the work horse last year, and expect more of the same in 2010, and watch out for the Wolverines.  This will be Rich Rodriguez’ third full season in Ann Arbor, and Tate Forcier will have a spring to put some much needed weight on.  If UM can assemble an average defense, the Big Blue will be bowling again at year’s end.

Look for the breakdown of the top two conferences in College FootBlog’s countdown in the next few days…

College Football Week 7 Prediction: Red River Shootout

In this week’s edition, College FootBlog will break down the match up of one of the most intense rivalries in all of college football–the Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas.  Oklahoma’s quest for a national title was extinguished in their week 5 loss at Miami, but a Big 12 Title and a BCS Bowl game are still a possibility if they can avenge last year’s loss to the Longhorns this weekend.

For Texas, a win this weekend could bump them back to number 2 in the polls, after losing that ranking to Alabama after the Crimson Tide dominated Ole Miss last weekend.  A strong performance from Colt McCoy could also go a long way for his hopes of a Heisman Trophy and put the ‘Horns in a strong position for a run at a national championship.  Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this weekend’s match up.

College FootBlog will analyze each team’s strengths and key concerns this weekend and will make a prediction for of the winner and final score.

A win this weekend over OU could put McCoy and the 'Horns in the driver's seat for a national title (google images)

A win this weekend over OU could put McCoy and the 'Horns in the driver's seat for a national title (google images)

Texas

Strengths:  Heisman hopeful, Colt McCoy leads a Texas offense that averages 311 yard a game passing and 175 yards a game rushing.  The four-year starter’s interceptions are up from his past years and his rushing yards are not where they were last year, but they have put up a whopping 34 touchdowns in their five games this season.

If the ‘Horns are going to win this weekend, McCoy is going to have to play a solid game and distribute the ball to Jordan Shipley and company.

Key Concerns:  The Texas defense has been solid all season, but against pass-happy Texas Tech, they gave up 420 yards passing and three touchdowns.  It should also be noted that the ‘Horns held the Red Raiders to four total yards rushing in that contest. 

OU will present the only other solid passing attack that the Longhorns have faced so far this season.  The secondary will have to step up to keep the Sooners’ passing attack in check.

Oklahoma

DT Gerald McCoy leads a potent OU defensive front four (google images)

DT Gerald McCoy leads a potent OU defensive front four (google images)

Strengths: 

OU’s defense has been outstanding all season.  The Sooners have NFL talent at each level, starting with DT Gerald McCoy, who many project as a first rounder in next spring’s NFL Draft. 

Senior linebacker Ryan Reynolds  and fellow senior Keenan Clayton adds leadership in the middle and OU’s two senior cornerbacks, Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson are about as good as you can get in the country at that position.

Key Concerns:  While Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford is back and had a very solid outing last weekend against Baylor, he will see a much different defense this weekend. 

Bradford is as accurate of a quarterback as there is in all of college football, but he has not seen the speed and athleticism this year like he will see on Saturday. 

His throws last weekend looked great, but make no mistake about it–Bradford will get hit this weekend.  How he responds to that will determine how well the Sooners move the football.

Texas Offense vs. Oklahoma Defense

OU’s defense will be by far the best defense that Colt McCoy has had to go against this season.  It is probably the best defense he faces until a bowl game.  Despite the Sooners’ outstanding defense and their ability to create turnovers, the explosive Texas offense will make a few big plays.  Oklahoma will slow McCoy’s offense down, but the ‘Horns will not light things up like they have in their previous five games this season.  Slight EDGE:  Texas

Oklahoma Offense vs. Texas Defense

Bradford’s warm up last weekend against Baylor knocked off some rust and allowed the OU offense a week to get in rhythm with their start QB.  His poise and accuracy will be challenged by the swarming Texas defense.  Look for Texas Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp to mix in some new blitz packages designed to put some shots on Bradford.  Knocking Bradford down could do the trick, but it could also prove costly if the OU quarterback can take advantage of 1 on 1 coverage on the outside.  As with Texas’ offense vs. OU, the Longhorns should be able to slow OU’s offense down, but Bradford is too good to be shut down.  Slight EDGE:  Oklahoma

Special Teams

While Oklahoma has a couple of weapons in the return game in Dominique Franks and DeMarco Murray, Texas has the top kick returner in the country in DJ Monroe, who has brought back two kicks for touchdowns so far this season.  Senior Jordan Shipley had also added two touchdowns off punt returns.  The place kickers for each team have converted nine field goals on the season.  EDGE:  Texas

Prediction

As with the past match ups in this rivalry, this weekend’s game should be a great one and will likely take all four quarters to decide a winner.  In the end, Bradford’s injury could very well have an effect on the game’s outcome–not his ability to throw the ball, but his ability to withstand some hits could likely be a factor.  Also, in games like this, special teams often mean the difference, and the Longhorns have more firepower in that department.  Final Prediction:  Texas wins 31-28

 

Is Tebow Deserving of All of the Heisman Hype?

If you check the latest rankings for the favorites for this year’s Heisman Trophy, the name at the top of the list is Florida’s Tim Tebow.  While that does not pose as much of a surprise to anyone who has paid attention to college football the last four years, the statistics for Tebow and many others who are not on the watch list may be a bit of a surprise.

Tebow's charisma, not his overall performance, may be influencing Heisman voters (google images)

Tebow's charisma, not his overall performance, may be influencing Heisman voters (google images)

Going into the 2009 season, the three favorites to bring home the coveted award were the top three finishers in last year’s voting, Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma, Texas Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy and Tebow.

Bradford’s chances at a repeat fell dramatically when he was knocked out of the first game of the year and subsequently missed the next three games with a sprained shoulder.  McCoy has again put up solid numbers, but he has seen a bit of a dip slightly from his stats from a year ago.  McCoy could make a strong impression this weekend in front of a national television audience in the Red River Shootout against the hated Oklahoma Sooners, but as of now, he is second on the Heisman list to Tebow, according to most experts.

A closer look at Tebow’s stats this season, however,  begs the question:  Is the Heisman Trophy supposed to go to the best player or the most popular one?  While the Florida Gators have been the number one team in America since the preseason, Tebow’s stats are a far cry from elite, not only in the country, but in his conference and even in his own state.

Tebow’s 155 passing yards per game rank him 96th in the FBS, and eighth in his own conference.  In fact, the only great statistical game Tebow has managed was against Troy, where he completed four of his seven touchdowns on the year.  If you take out both cupcakes, Troy and lowly Charleston Southern, and focus on the three SEC opponents the Gators have faced (Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU), Tebow is averaging 124 yards passing a game with two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

On the ground, he is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and 79 yards per game.  There are 59 quarterbacks in the FBS that are averaging more than that just in passing yards.  That is an average of 203 yards of total offense. 

Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen has led an Irish team with a very average defense to a 4-1 record this season.  He is averaging 308 yards per game with 12 TDs and two interceptions, and he has kept the Irish in every one of their games, including the last second, heart-breaking loss to Michigan in week two.  

Finally, Tony Pike is getting some serious Heisman consideration (google images)

Finally, Tony Pike is getting some serious Heisman consideration (google images)

Until this week when ESPN’s Robert Smith discussed it, very few experts had mentioned Cincinnati’s Tony Pike as a threat.  Pike has led the Bearcats to a 5-0 start and is averaging  just under 300 yards per game through the air with 13 TD’s and only three interceptions.

What may be the most surprising is that Tebow is statistically a far cry from the being the best QB in the state of Florida.  Miami’s Jacory Harris has quietly led the Hurricanes to a 4-1 start.  Harris has been great in every game except the monsoon in Blacksburg when the Hokies held him to 150 yards.  In that game, not only did Harris face one of the best defensive coordinators in the country in Bud Foster, he also had to deal with Mother Nature.  The entire game was played in monsoon-like conditions with steady rain and gusting winds.  Still, Harris has 25th in the nation in yards per game.

The other QB that may surprise a lot of people due to his team’s record is Florida State’s Christian Ponder.  Through the Bobby Bowden retirement soap opera and the ‘Noles’ travesty of a defense this season, many outside of Tallahassee have not recognized what the junior signal caller has done thus far. 

Ponder currently ranks 11th in passing yards per game with 9 TD’s and only one pick.  He has added another 123 yards on the ground and more importantly, Ponder has kept his team in every game this season, despite an inconsistent running game and one of the nation’s worst defenses.

Finally, ESPN has Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike and Jacory Harris on their watch list, but they may want to check the stats before the put Tebow on top again.  Unfortunately, the very mediocre stats will be downplayed by ESPN and the rest of the media and Tebow’s leadership and charisma will be brought up. 

What should be considered instead is who is the best college football player in the nation.  Who does more for his team and does more in big games?  The stats don’t lie, but if the season plays out like it has and the Heisman race plays out like it looks like it may, ESPN’s Erin Andrews may want to see if she still has eligibility left.  Her popularity may make her next year’s Heisman front-runner.

Note to ESPN: Chill with the Tebow Lovefest…Please.

If you even remotely follow college football, you have undoubtedly experienced the man-crush that ESPN has with Tim Tebow. While I am the first to admit that Tebow is a great football player and an overall great kid, I am seriously contemplating hitting the mute button before I tune in to College Football this fall.

Over the past three years, we have seen (and heard) compliments and admiration for what is – again – a good kid, but what has happened since Tebow’s famous post-game press conference

Tebow at his post-game press conference following the 2008 loss to Ole Miss

Tebow at his post-game press conference following the 2008 loss to Ole Miss

after the Florida Gators’ loss to Ole’ Miss has been over the top. While the message that Tebow delivered after that loss was inspirational and seemed to motivate his football team, the coverage and constant replaying of it on ESPN and every other major sports outlet was overplayed and overdone. In the National Championship Pregame alone, that press conference was played a total of 8 times (or at least that’s when I stopped counting).

What Tebow did not know that day in September was that not only would that speech motivate his team to another national title, but more importantly, the inspiratinal moment would turn many sportscasters into borderline stalkers.

At one point in the BCS National Championship game, one announcer said on live television that if one spends just fifteen minutes with Tebow, his or her life would be changed forever. Really? The kid is a college football player, no Ghandi or MLK. Again, I acknowledge that Tebow is a great football player and does a ton of work off the field as well, but some of the announcers are taking it a little far.

All I can picture is Tebow’s first press conference and the camera constantly panning to Kirk Herbstreet and Chris Fowler, sobbing hysterically like the thirteen-year old girl during Sanjaya’s rendition of “You Really Got Me” on American Idol. So far, Tebow has not had to issue any restraining orders, but if this season is anything like last season, he may want to give profiles of the ESPN crew to the Gainesville Police Dept.

Not only is the lovefest annoying, but it is unbalanced when it comes to the rest of the college football world.

The bottom line is that nearly every college football program has at least one “feel good” story and/or high character/integrity player, and I am an advocate of celebrating that. Let’s just work on a little more diversity.

On May 29, 2006, Colt McCoy, the starting QB for the University of Texas, swam 300 yards across a lake to help save the life of Ken Herrington who was having a seizure on a small dock that extended into the privately owned lake (wikipedia).

Evidentally, crying at a press conference and winning a National Championship is more moving than McCoy saving the life of another human being. The McCoy story was covered well, especially right after it happened, but the major media outlets didn’t play the story over and over again like Tebow’s press conference.

I am all for recognizing Tebow’s successes on and off the field, but also recognize that there are a lot of other inspirational stories in college football that could be covered in addition to this one.  Let’s give college football fans outside of Gainesville some new material.