Blog Entry

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Posted on: October 18, 2009 6:27 pm

Coaches of the year at the halfway point (seven weeks down, seven weeks to go)

ACC: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. With the upset of Virginia Tech, Johnson is on track to win the league in his second season. Who says the triple option won’t work in major-college football. The Yellow Jackets completed one pass on Saturday.

Big East: Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. They were picking for the middle of the pack after losing 10 starters on defense. Kelly took a bunch of offensive players, made them linebackers and balanced a team that was going to score points with Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard on offense. The question is how long can Cincinnati hold onto Kelly if he wins the Big East again, especially if Notre Dame opens up?

Big Ten: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: No one expected 7-0, especially after an opening-day squeaker against Northern Iowa. Now the Hawkeyes are to be feared after a comeback win at Wisconsin. Don’t be surprised if they’re favored on Nov. 14 going to Ohio State.

Big 12: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State. That loss to Houston is looking better all the time.  The dude isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers but he does know how to call an offense and the addition of Bill Young on defense has made a difference. The NCAA took away Dez Bryant. Injuries took away his best running back, Kendall Hunter. The Cowboys, 5-1 and second in the Big 12 South, control their own destiny for the conference title.

Conference USA: Kevin Sumlin, Houston. Not “Sumlan” as a wire story called him on Saturday. Be assured, the Cougars’ coach is known throughout the industry. After defeating three BCS-conference teams, Houston is the favorite to win Conference USA. Kelly should be up for every major job that opens.

MAC, Al Golden, Temple: The Owls have won four in a row for the first time since 1985 and are tied for the MAC East lead. The division could come down to a Nov. 27 date at Ohio. As late as 2006 this program had lost 20 in a row.

Mountain West: Gary Patterson, TCU. Fort Worth’s favorite has the Froggers chasing their first BCS bowl and first conference title since 2005. No Heisman candidates, a great defensive end (Jerry Hughes) and Patterson’s scheming.

Pac-10: Chip Kelly, Oregon. In his first season as head coach, Kelly lost his best runner and his quarterback. All he did was win the next five after the opening-night loss to Boise. USC should be worried, very worried, when it goes to Eugene on Oct. 31.

SEC: Nick Saban, Alabama. Until Saturday, it might have been Steve Spurrier but Saban quashed that talk. In his third season, Saban has the Tide back among the elite. They control their road to the national championship; have a Heisman candidate (Ingram) and perhaps the nation’s nastiest defense.

Sun Belt: Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe. Among the lowest-paid coaches in I-A, Weatherbie has the Warhawks off a 3-0 conference start. That's the longest conference winning streak in 16 years. At a school that usually gets beaten down by guarantee games against  BCS schools, Louisiana-Monroe is 4-2 overall.

WAC: Robb Akey, Idaho. The Vandals are 29th in the first BCS which should be cause for a street party in Moscow. Idaho is nine miles away from the BCS (Pullman, Wash., home of Washington State is that close), but miles away from a BCS bowl. Still, Akey has taken a program that was picked for the bottom of the WAC to contention with mighty Boise State. Halfway through the season the Vandals are bowl eligible. Their only bowl as a I-A program came 11 years ago.

National coach of the (half) season: Check back on Wednesday.

The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. Behind Tebow, the best player in the SEC.
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Leads the country in touchdown passes (19), yards (2,464) and has beaten three BCS schools.  That’s as many as Jimmy Clausen.
3.  Jacory Harris, QB, Miami. The physical and spiritual momentum behind Miami’s rise back to the top.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh. The nation’s leading freshman runner is on pace for 1,580 yards.
5. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. Harassed by Arkansas but came through again during the game-winning drive.


Since: Oct 19, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2009 2:16 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Yes, I agree with what you say regarding how many big time colleges are in "nowhere's-ville". But, in that case, there is still something very attractive about a large state college with LOTS OF GIRLS, as opposed to a small, religious college with not quite so many girls. I'm serious. That IS an important aspect, no doubt. Truth is, if I went to a school like, oh, Oklahoma, let's say, and I knew that there were like 20,000 girls on campus with nowhere to run to on weekends, and were basically stuck on campus; well, that sounds good to me if I were a star runningback!Not QUITE sure you get that in South Bend.

Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2009 1:45 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Dennis, Dennis, Dennis...

For the record, "Sumlan" is much closer to Sumlin than "Kelly."

For Kevin Sumlin's little blurb, you open with (shocker!) aggression towards another writer by mocking the misspelling of the coach's name.  And yet, a measley 2 sentences later, you aren't even using the correct coach! 

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," Turd. 

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:11 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

BearcatsandJets I do agree with you on almost everything you posted.  All BUT....a college from "nowhere's-ville" wouldn't attract athletes.  I know you added in there the strict academics and no conference affiliation but Gainesville, FL is in the the middle of nowhere (it's a hour and a half to Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando) so that point I do disagree with.  Norman, Oklahoma and Tuscaloosa, AL, and Baton Rouge, LA and, well you get my drift.  I think the idea of having a college in a smaller market where that team is the draw is actually a better situation.  I am a Florida fan and without a doubt I love the fact that on Saturdays in the fall people (alumni, students, and fans) are all there for one see the Gators play.  That environment is hard to beat.  

Since: Oct 19, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2009 10:47 am

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Why does everyone assume that Brian Kelly will leave Cincinnati for Notre Dame?
I think that the fact that he is Irish and Catholic lead people to believe that by default, he'd be a natural fit there, or something like that.
The fact is, however, that the Notre Dame job is just not a good one anymore. Being the coach at Cincinnati is a MUCH better gig.
Look, Notre Dame has some very (very, very, very) ancient tradition on it's side. But, the value of that tradition has waned. Basically all you have is a small, religious and academically rigid institution in the middle of nowehere's-ville, IN, that has no conference affiliation. Schools such as that simply do not attract the top athletes anymore.
Not necessarily saying that there aren't better programs out there than the one at Cincinnati. However, playing in a big city, and in a state that produces some of the best recruits in the country is a pretty good deal. Besides, Kelly knows that Cinci is a program on the rise, and has the easiest track to the BCS because of the small Big East. Notre Dame does not offer that kind of guarantee and has been on the decline for two decades already. The truth is, Claussen is the only ND player whose name I feel will be remembered from recent years. Who was the last ND player to make it big in the NFL anyway?
Kelly is no dummy. There is still work to do at Cincininati from the standpoint of building a viable, sustainable program. The practice facilities still need to be built in order to keep Kelly and/or attract top coaches and recruits long-term. Also, Cincinnati still needs to overcome it's own personal stigman and that placed on the Big East conference when it come to any National Title talk.
Still, Kelly is smart enough to understand that the path of least resistance is probably where he is at right now. Afterall, he has a better chance of playing in the BCS than he would at ND or even Tennessee for example. Plus, he gets to be the architect of a program, not just a caretaker. Unless UC does not come through with the practice facilities to help Kelly expand the program further, he will stay for the long haul. Any talk of him going to ND is overblown, inaccurate, and unfounded.
Cut it out already. He already DOES coach at a BIG TIME PROGRAM.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 10:10 am

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Agreed.  How can you be second best in your conference and tops for the Heisman?  That's a head scratcher.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2009 2:33 am

ACC Coach of the Year + Heisman

I have a question about the CotY in the ACC.  Why not Randy Shannon?  Their schedule was brutal, people were saying Miami was another year away and that this was a rebuilding year.  He had an unproven QB and there was all sorts of talk about him possibly being gone.

They take the most brutal 4 game stretch in the country and go 3-1, and thanks ironically to Georgia Tech are the favorites to win the ACC (seemingly everyone who knows something about college football has said that in the event of a 3 way tie in the ACC, Miami will get the nod).  That and the fact that they are in contention for a possible BCS game.  Georgia Tech was expected to do this to a certain extent this year, Miami was not.  Shannon gets the nod in my opinion especially after the way he dismantled the Georgia Tech running game.  Not trying to attack your thoughts, just curious about your thoughts on Miami.

For the Heisman, I hate Notre Dame with a passion, but why isn't Clausen up there?  Unlike most of the other contenders, he has no defense behind him and has carried this team this year.  He willed them to come back against my Trojans and picked apart what was one of the top pass defenses in the nation.  One could definitely argue that he has been the best player in the nation right now.  If you mention Lewis, why not Ryan Williams, who has been stellar in every game he has played.  Lastly, being a teacher, I have to ask, how can you say that Ingram is the leader for the Heisman (best player in college football), yet he isn't even the best player in his own conference?

Since: Oct 19, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:50 am

Thoughts on a football Saturday

So second best in the SEC is best in the country?????  Maybe need to rethink that.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2009 11:45 pm

Thoughts on a football Saturday

Case Keenum, QB, Houston. ..... and has beaten three BCS schools.  That’s as many as Jimmy Clausen.

And Colt McCoy. And it's two more than Sam Bradford. But it's more fun for Dennis to throw a dig at Clausen and ND.

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