Posts Tagged 'usf'

College FootBlog Week 6 Recap

Mark Richt may have gotten himself off the hotseat last weekend (photo courtesy of blogs.ajc.com)

Week 6 of the college football season is in the books, and once again, College FootBlog brings you a complete recap of the week that was.  Check out our breakdown of five key bits of info you can’t do without as we continue through the 2011 college football season.

No Florida Schools in the Top 25: Florida State was supposed to be the bell cow of the ACC and the state of Florida in 2011, but after suffering their third straight loss to Wake Forest last weekend, the ‘Noles are out of the top 25.  Much hype was surrounding the Florida Gators, but back to back games against Alabama and LSU would be enough to drop anyone.  The Gators were hammered 41-11 by LSU, and the second-straight loss was too much to keep them in the rankings as well.  Miami, USF and UCF have all been mentioned in the top 25 at different points this season, but all have lost critical games this season, and all are on the outside of the polls looking in.

Red River Blowout:  Many (including myself) thought Texas was way overrated coming into this game–the Longhorns were ranked as the #11 team in the nation, but very few predicted the kind of beat down the Sooners would deliver last weekend.  The OU defense outscored Texas in this one, accounting for three touchdowns.  The fast-paced OU offense did their damage as well, on their way to a 55-17 blowout victory for Oklahoma.

Michigan off to the quietest 6-0 start in history: The dominance of Wisconsin and the implosion of Ohio State have been the main topics of discussion this season in the Big Ten.  That has overshadowed a fantastic start by first year head coach Brady Hoke’s perfect start in 2011.  Hoke has done a lot with very little, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the Wolverines aren’t getting much love.  A win at rival Michigan State this weekend would not only make the Wolverines bowl eligible in mid-October, it would also serve as notice to the college football world that, while Michigan is still not a top 10 team, Hoke has cleaned up Rich Rod’s mess much faster than anyone could have imagined.

Mark Richt gets 100th win: After starting the 2011 season with a loss against Boise State and a heart-breaker at home to South Carolina in week 2, the Bulldogs won their third straight game last weekend at Tennessee.  The win was head coach Mark Richt’s 100th as a head coach in Athens.  Richt, who came into this season on the hot seat, has Georgia playing better than any team in the SEC East.  A win against rival Florida on October 29th could buy him an extra year and vault the Dawgs into an SEC Championship Game.

In a stunning revelation, Ohio State is the “poster child” of compliance:  I was under the impression that massive suspensions of key players, the untimely departure of a hall of fame coach amid controversy, inappropriate dealings with boosters and free tattoos and gifts from a known Columbus drug dealer were signs that an athletic program wasn’t keeping very good tabs on its student-athletes.  Fortunately, for people like me, who were completely misunderstanding the situation at OSU, their president Gordon Gee took the liberty of clearing up that slight misconception.  Gee informed the Ohio State faculty last week that OSU is the “poster child” of compliance.  In the wake of that announcement, Charlie Sheen is expected to announce that he is the poster child of child care, Lindsay Lohan is expected to announce that she is the poster child of sobriety, and Carrot Top is expected to claim he is the poster child of comedy.

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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.

2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings Part 3

In our first two pieces, College FootBlog ranked the third through the sixth ranked BCS conferences from the 2009 season (see link).  In this three-part breakdown, we analyze the results from each conference from the 2009 college football season, and we also give an outlook for the upcoming 2010 season.

Without further adieu, here are our top two BCS conferences from our Power Rankings.

2.  Big East

2009 Recap:  There was a time when analysts argued if the Big East should even have the right to an automatic BCS bid for its champion.  That is no longer the case.  Most people left the Big East for dead when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left for what was believed to be the greener pastures of the ACC.  While the ACC has fallen from respectability, the Big East has consistently raised the bar over the last three years.

Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard was one of the most explosive players in all of college football in '09 (google images)

Dave Wannstedt has Pitt back on the national scene and they gave Cincinnati all they could handle in a stunning 45-44 loss that was one of the best (if not the best) college football games all season.  Overall, the Panthers finished with ten wins on the year, West Virginia and Rutgers racked up nine wins and USF and UConn each pulled in eight victories on the year. 

2010 Outlook:  Coaching changes could have a significant effect on the Big East next season.  The Departure of Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly for Notre Dame and the firing of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt will put a lot of pressure on new head coaches Butch Jones and Skip Holtz.

The good news is that each of those two programs will have a proven quarterback.  Cincy did not lose a beat when Tony Pike was lost temporarily due to injury because of the great play of Zach Collaros.  And USF will have leader Matt Grothe back next fall, but they now have a proven back up in BJ Daniels.

The issue for the Bulls is going to be replacing future NFL defensive ends George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul.  Pitt will have to replace quarterback Bill Stull, but running back Dion Lewis will take a lot of pressure off the new starter at QB.

Overall, it will be difficult to keep the #2 Power Ranking in 2010, but the coaching and talent will continue to gain well-deserved respect from college football.

1.  SEC

2009 Recap:  As much as some fans would like to see a changing of the guard, the SEC simply will not allow that to happen.  All the SEC did this season is send ten of their twelve teams to bowl games, and they won six, which included the Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship.

When the dust settled, the SEC combined for a whopping 97-59 record in ’09, making it by far the deepest conference in the country.  Led by Alabama’s national championship team and the Florida Gators, whose only loss came at the hands of the Crimson Tide, the SEC once again imposed its will on the rest of college football.

Mark Ingram's punishing running-style led the Tide to the BCS Title (google images)

2010 Outlook:  Look for much of the same with the SEC dominating college football.  Flordia will have a bit of a rebuilding year after the loss of Tim Tebow and likely NFL first rounders, LB Brandon Spikes, TE Aaron Hernandez and CB Joe Haden.

The scary part is that the other top teams could be and should be even better this fall.  That includes ‘Bama, who returns the running back tandem of Ingram and Richardson, but they also return WR Julio Jones and QB Greg McElroy.

Head coach Gene Chizik will look to build on the momentum he created at Auburn, and with Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead, the SEC could possibly have a pair of first round quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Just to recap, College FootBlog’s 2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings are as follows:

  1. SEC
  2. Big East
  3. Big Ten
  4. Big 12
  5. ACC
  6. Pac 10

Please feel free to post your own power rankings and give your feedback.  Also, look for College FootBlog’s analysis of the recruiting season in a couple of weeks.

College Football Week 4 Preview: USF at Florida State

For the first time ever, the South Florida Bulls will take on the Florida State Seminoles.  While the Bulls will be fighting for respect for themselves and their conference, the Seminoles would like nothing more than to ride the momentum from their dominant performance over the #7 ranked BYU Cougars.

College Footblog will provide a breakdown of this match up, highlighting the strengths of each team.  We will also analyze the match ups on offense, defense and special teams, and we will conclude with a score prediction.

Ponder has established himself as top tier QB so far this seaon (google images)

Ponder has established himself as top tier QB so far this season (google images)

Florida State

Strengths:  This will sound like a broken record, but the biggest strength for FSU has to be the emergence of Christian Ponder.  Ponder was known last year for his ability to run the football, but it has been a much different story this season.

While he still has the ability to run, as evidenced by his 77 yards and touchdown run against BYU last weekend, he has taken his passing game to a completely different level.  Ponder averaged just over 150 yards passing per game in 2008 and completed a little over 55% of his attempts.

In the young 2009 season, he has completed over 65% of his passes and is averaging 271 yards per game.  These solid statistics have come against a very fast and athletic defense in the Miami Hurricanes, and they have also come against the smart, disciplined BYU defense.

Another strength for the ‘Noles is offensive line.  All five starters and several key back ups have returned from 2008’s team.  They had to return because they are all underclassmen.  O-line coach Rick Trickett has once again shown why he is known throughout college football as one of the best (if not the best) offensive line coaches in the nation.  They worked much of the off-season on pass protection, and that work is paying dividends.  Last weekend’s game against BYU showed that the big uglies did not forget how to run block, either.  Not only did they protect Ponder, but for the first time this season, the ‘Noles dominated the ground game, amassing over 300 rushing yards.

USF

George Selvie leads one of most experienced defenses in the nation (google images)

George Selvie leads one of most experienced defenses in the nation (google images)

Strengths:  The experience of the entire defense for USF has been a factor so far this season, and it will continue to be a big factor for the rest of the year.  Led by dominant DE, George Selvie, the Bulls’ defense starts ten seniors and junior.  Despite taking on three less than stellar opponents this season, USF has dominated like they should, limiting their opponents to 20 points in three games, including a shut out last weekend vs. Charleston Southern.

The other major strength for the Bulls is their fiery leader at quarterback, Matt Grothe.  He is what makes the offense click by throwing and rushing.  Unfortunately, it was announced on Sunday that Grothe tore the ACL in his left knee in Saturday’s win over Charleston Southern.  That injury will require surgery and will keep Grothe out for the rest of the season.

That puts a lot on the shoulders of redshirt freshman BJ Daniels, who has only seen limited action so far this season.  Daniels has proven to be a great athlete, currently ranked as the second leading rusher for the Bulls, but USF will miss the leadership of Grothe.

USF Offense vs. FSU Defense

The Bulls will look to spread FSU out with their four-receiver sets, but if FSU continues to stop the run, as they have done in the first three weeks this season, it could be a long day for USF.  The Florida Gators have given FSU fits with their spread attack, but BJ Daniels is no Tebow and USF does not have a speed advantage with their running backs like the Gators have.  FSU will likely load up against the run and force the Bulls’ rookie quarterback to beat them with his arm.  This should give the Bulls opportunities for big plays in the passing game, but FSU has shown that while they still have significant holes in the secondary, they also have some playmakers like true freshman Greg ReidEDGE:  FSU

FSU Offense vs. USF Defense

One would think that with USF’s experience on defense and the pass rushing ability of Selvie, that the Bulls may be able to get after Ponder.  While the Bulls will provide some challenges, FSU’s O-line and Christian Ponder have proven that they can perform against speed and athleticism against Miami, but they have also proven that they can play solid, fundamental football like they did against a very mature and experienced BYU team.  Look for offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher to try to continue the ‘Noles’ success on the ground.  EDGE:  FSU

Special Teams

FSU has a few explosive returners in Greg Reid and Bert Reed, but the rest of the Seminole special teams has been far from “special” this season.  The kickoff coverage has been very poor and after starting his career with a 52-yard field goal against rival, Miami, freshman kicker Dustin Hopkins has struggled to make extra points, let alone field goals.

USF has not had to rely much on their special teams because the offense has been so efficient.  In fact, kicker Delbert Alvarado has only one field goal, but he has drilled 14 extra points so far this season.  Marcus Edwards and Jerome Murphy are both solid returns for the Bulls as well.  EDGE:  USF

Prediction

Despite USF’s dominance in the first three games, they have yet to play a quality Division I opponent until this weekend.  The Bulls’ offense has been very efficient, but probably the biggest driver of that success has been Grothe.  With his season-ending injury, the Bulls will rely on a freshman quarterback, and opening his starting career at Doak Campbell Stadium against a Seminole defense that is looking for respect will be a tall order, to say the least.

If Christian Ponder can continue to lead the FSU offense, and if Jimbo Fisher is able to balance the offensive attack with a solid running game like they did last week, FSU will probably be too much for the Bulls to handle.  I expect USF to fight admirably and keep it relatively close in the first half, but FSU should start taking control of this one midway through the second quarter.  Prediction:  FSU wins 34-21