Posts Tagged 'maryland'

College FootBlog Week 1 Recap

Robert Griffin III lit up the TCU defense in a huge opening week upset (photo courtesy of collegesportsmadness.com and google images)

The first week of the 2011 college football season is officially in the books, and while the January bowls are still months away, we did manage to learn quite a bit from opening week.  Here is College FootBlog’s Breakdown from Week 1.

Another year, another over-hyped Notre Dame team:  A lot of hype surrounded the hiring of former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly.  Because of the dismal state that Charlie Weis left the program in, the expectations were not too high last season.  This season was a different story.  Most preseason polls had the Irish in the top 25, and last weekend’s loss to USF in South Bend was proof yet again that the Irish are not a dominant program.  Much credit needs to go to USF and Skip Holtz, but once again, Notre Dame folded in the face of pressure and played like a team that was afraid of losing, instead of a confident team that expected to win.

RG3 is good.  Very good: While most people who watched TCU fall to Baylor are discussing the fall of TCU from the nation’s elite, we prefer to look at the unbelievable play of Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.  The junior signal-caller did everything except park the cars and sell the popcorn in Baylor’s amazing 50-48 victory over the Horned Frogs.  Griffin III has somewhat flown under the radar because of other NFL prospects in the Big 12 like Blaine Gabbert, Josh Freeman and Landry Jones to name a few, but last weekend was not a fluke.  RG3 came into the season with 41 career touchdown passes, versus only 11 picks.  This will not be the first time you hear from Griffin or the Bears this season.

Auburn could be in for a long season:  The 2010 BCS National Champs had to recover an onside kick and score with less than a minute in their nail-biter against visiting Utah State last weekend.  Much has been made of the Tigers’ holes vacated by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and 13th overall NFL selection Nick Fairley, and the cynics got it right this time.  Auburn could not slow down the Utah State, who racked up 227 yards rushing and 448 total net yards.  With a healthy dose of SEC West opponents, it is only going to get more difficult, and the Tigers will have to fight to be bowl eligible this season.

The SEC is still King.  Just ask the Oregon Ducks:  After Nick Fairley dominated the Oregon offensive line, this year was the Ducks’ opportunity to get respect for themselves and the newly expanded Pac 12, but LSU stood in the way of that, dominating Oregon in the first bigtime match up of the young season.  Despite only getting 98 yards passing from Jarrett Lee, the Tigers stuffed last year’s leading rusher in all of college football, holing LaMichael James to an anemic 54 yards.  Until Oregon can score against the SEC, they can rack up as many yards and points as they want–it just won’t get them back to a title game.

Maryland trumps Oregon in most hideous uniform challenge:  If you watched the Miami vs. Maryland game on Monday night, you may have thown up your hot wings.  The Terps’ uniforms rivaled the uni’s from “Any Given Sunday”–if you’ve seen that horrible movie, you understand the comparison.  Previously, Oregon’s all-fluorescent yellow uniforms took the cake, but Maryland trumped those on Monday.  If nothing else, new head coach Randy Edsall has people (including us) talking and writing about Maryland football, which hadn’t been on the radar since Al Davis, in his infinite wisdom, took former Terp wideout Darirus Heyward-Bey with the Oakland Raiders’ first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Advertisements

2010 College Football ACC Preview (Atlantic Division)

The summer time is rapidly approaching, and that means fun in the sun for most, but for college football enthusiasts, it’s like entering a bit of a black hole.  Summer workouts begin, but until two-a-days begin in August, coaching staffs are not allowed to be directly involved with the player drills and workouts (unless, of course, Rich Rodriguez is at the helm…sorry, we couldn’t resist). 

As we enter this dead period, College FootBlog will take a look at each major conference and will provide preliminary power rankings.  Our first conference breakdown will be the ACC.  We first take a look at the Atlantic Divison, and we will take a peek at the Coastal Division later in this week. 

All-American guard Rodney Hudson anchors FSU's offensive line, which will be one of the top OLs in the nation (google images).

1. Florida State:  After several years of underachieving, look for FSU to back it up this season.  The Seminoles return all starters on the offensive line, which has two All-American candidates in guard Rodney Hudson and tackle Andrew Datko.  The issue that needs to improve is the Seminole defense, who finished last season 108th nationally in total defense.  While a revamped coaching staff on that side of the ball will probably not lead to a top 25 defense, there is every reason to believe that they will be much improved this fall.  Throw in Heisman Trophy candidate Christian Ponder at QB, and the ‘Noles should have the inside track at representing the Atlantic Division in this year’s ACC Championship Game.

2.  Clemson:  The loss of the electric running back, CJ Spiller will leave a huge void in the Tigers offense.  We will find out in a few weeks whether or not quarterback Kyle Parker will be taking snaps this fall, or if he will pursue a professional baseball career.  The question marks on offense are somewhat offset by the playmakers on the defensive line, most notably DE Da’Quan Bowers.  The other thing going against Clemson is that they play ACC Atlantic favorite Florida State in Tallahassee this year.

After missing all of last season, Mark Herzlich is now cancer-free (google images)

3.  Boston College: The big story out of BC is the return of 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Mark Herzlich, who is now cancer free.  The offense that struggled quite a bit last season returns four of five starters, and after some growing pains last season, quarterback Dave Shinskie will be looked upon to provide more consistency to an offense that ranked 93rd in passing offense last season.  Everyone will be rooting for Herzlich to have a good season, but it may be difficult to return to his ’08 form this quickly after aggressive treatment of the illness that forced him to miss all of last season.  Still, he should provide a jolt to a solid defense that ranked 26th nationally last year.

4.  NC State:  Defensively, the Wolfpack lose seven starters, which includes all four starters on the defensive line.  The good news for the ‘Pack is that linebacker Nate Irving, who missed all of last season due to injuries sustained from  car accident is back and participated in spring ball this year.  His absence last year, however, actually helps the depth going into this year, as some younger players gained valuable experience filling that void.  The strength of NC State should be at quarterback.  Head coach Tom O’Brien already knows what he will get from althetic QB Russell Wilson, and because Wilson used this spring to focus on baseball, back up Sean Glennon got valuable reps all spring to help with depth.

5.  Wake Forest:  As great as head coach Jim Grobe has been at Wake, he has his work cut out for him this season, after the loss of Riley Skinner, who started four years at quarterback in Winston-Salem.  The Deacons also have to replace three senior starters on the offensive line and five senior defensive players, including cornerback Brandon Ghee who went in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.  Grobe is a great coach and has added some talented recruiting classes, but this year’s youth and inexperience will be a difficult hill to climb.

6.  Maryland:  There is a very good possibility the head coach Ralph Friedgen will not make it to see the 2011 season, at least in College Park.  Much of Maryland’s issues last season could be attributed to the poor play of their offensive line, which gave up three sacks a game last season.  The outlook for this season is pretty bleak, with the loss of Bruce Campbell.  The ‘Terps are coming off a miserable 2009 campaign that resulted in a 2-10 record, and unfortunately for Maryland fans, all signs point to another sub-.500 year this fall.

Look for College FootBlog’s breakdown of the ACC Coastal Division later this week!

ACC College Football Breakdown Part II: Atlantic Division

A couple days ago, College FootBlog provided a breakdown of the ACC Coastal Division as part one of two brekdowns of the ACC’s college football season.  In part two of College FootBlog’s breakdown of the ACC in the early stages of this season, we will provide power rankings for the Atlantic Division and cover some of the key strenths and concerns for each team.  Here is our list from what we feel are the teams in this division from top to bottom.

1.  Clemson

Senior DE Ricky Sapp will be playing on Sundays next year (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Senior DE Ricky Sapp will be playing on Sundays next year (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Srengths:  The Tigers have a great defense, particularly their front four led by senior DE Ricky Sapp.  The Clemson defense had issues with Georgia Tech, but who hasn’t?  If you take out that game, the Tigers have given up an average of 247 yards per game, with their most dominant outing coming against Boston College when they held the Eagles to 54 total yards.

Key Concerns:  After what was a very promising start to the season, freshman quarterback Kyle Parker has struggled as of late. 

In Parker’s last two games, he has completed less than 47% of his passes (30/64) and is averaging less than 150 yards passing per game.  Possibly the more telling stat in those two games is the zero touchdowns and two interceptions.  If he does not turn it around quickly, head coach Dabo Swinney will have to make a change.

 
Strengths:  College FootBlog has been high on Chrisitian Ponder all season, and he continues to impress.  Even in last weekend’s loss to the South Florida Bulls, Ponder went 25-37 for 269 yards, and he did so with some key drops and horrible protection from what was supposed to be the best O-line in the ACC.  Overall, Ponder’s dramatic improvement over last season and his poise has been the only thing that has kept FSU in games this season.
 
Key Concerns:  Florida State’s pass defense has been atrocious this season.  Even in their stunning win over BYU, the Seminoles managed to give up 365 yards to the Cougars, despite the fact that FSU dominated the time of possession, leaving Max Hall and company just over 20 minutes to work with.  Overall, the ‘Noles rank 115th nationally against the pass.  If that does not improve, FSU will have no shot at winning the Atlantic Division as many predicted would happen this year.
 
Quarterback Russell Wilson has 12 TD's and no picks in 2009

Quarterback Russell Wilson has 12 TD's and no picks in 2009

 
Strengths:  Quarterback Russell Wilson led the Wolfpack shocked a lot of the “experts” last week when the stunned Pittsburgh by lighting up what was supposed to be a solid Panther defense.  Wilson showed why he was first team All-ACC as a freshman last year.  Here is a stat for you–so far this season, Wilson has 12 touchdown passes with ZERO interceptions.  His athleticism and gamebreaking abilities could help NC State shock a lot of people before season’s end.
 
Key Concerns:  The running game minus Wilson is still a bit of a question mark.  Senior tailback, Toney Baker has been pretty solid this season, averaging  just over five yards per carry, but his 48 carries are only 16 more that Wilson.  Last game against Pitt, Wilson led the team in rushing with 91 yards on ten carries.  If Wilson has to continue to be that important in the running game, the chance for injury goes up substantially, especially when the Wolfpack gets into the thick of their schedule, which really begins in October.  If Wilson goes, so does NC State’s offense.

 4.  Boston College 

Strengths:  Quarterback Dave Shinskie has been solid in his first year as BC’s starter.  After a dismal performance against Clemson a couple weeks ago, Shinskie bounced back last weekend, throwing for 228 yards and three touchdowns last weekend against Wake Forest.  He will have a good shot at matching or improving on those numbers this weekend when the Eagles welcome FSU’s pourous secondary (see above).
Key Concerns:  The entire defense has struggled when faced with a true FBS opponent.  In those games (which only include the last two), offenses have really had their way with BC’s defense, who lost their two dominant DT’s, including first round NFL Draft selection BJ RajiWake Forest, who has had their share of offensive issues, put up 496 yards against the BC defense last weekend.
 
 
Strengths:  Staying with the theme here, quarterback, Riley Skinner has not been as effective as he has in year’s past, but he is still the leader of this Deamon Deacon squad.  Even in a somewhat down year so far, the four-year starter has still managed to complete just under 66% of his passes and eight touchdowns. 
Key Concerns:  The Deamon Deacons lost some subtantial pieces to their defense from last year, most notibly LB Aaron Curry, who was drafted number four overall last year and CB Alphonso Smith, who was drafted early in round 2.  Wake is really missing the impact that these two players brought.  Last week, against a struggling Boston College offense, the Deamon Deacons surrendered 398 yards, which included three TD’s through the air.
 
 
Strengths:  N/A–after struggling to beat FCS opponent James Madison by three points in week 2, the Terrapins fell to Middle Tennessee for the second year in a row.  As for the two games against FBS opponents, the Terps have been dominated 52-13 to Cal and 34-13 against Rutgers.
Key Concerns:  Name it.  The Terps have been horrible in nearly every facet of the game this season.  It looks like it will be a long two months for Ralph Friedgen.