August 16th, 2012
Never Give Up
It was a 29-yard touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLV to open the scoring on what would be another Lombardi Trophy for the Green Bay Packers. But it’s not the touchdown or the Super Bowl win….it’s the men that made it happen.
Aaron Rodgers grew up in a hotbed of high school football talent in California. From his high school alone, three players received scholarships to play college football. He and two of his teammates were given the opportunity to play for…the local community college.
That’s right. Rodgers, like several other NFL stars, did not receive one Division I offer coming out of high school. But, he did not give up on the dream. Instead, after considering giving up football, he enrolled at Butte Community College where he was discovered by California coach Jeff Tedford, who immediately signed the future Packers QB.
Rodgers had a solid career as a Golden Bear leading Cal to a 10-1 record and a top-five ranking in 2004. He decided to forego his senior season at Cal, entered the NFL Draft, and was expected to be the first pick. Didn’t happen. But he was picked by the Packers in Round 1, spent a few years as Brett Favre’s backup, and now has a Super Bowl ring…and a Super Bowl MVP.
The receiver on the other end of that Super Bowl touchdown? Jordy Nelson. Not a household name, but he never was. Like Rodgers, Nelson had no Division I offers coming out of Riley County HS in western Kansas. Nelson was a tremendous athlete–he won the 100, 200, 400, and long jump at the Kansas state track meet his senior year–but could only muster a walk-on opportunity at Kansas State. He took it.
Nelson was a free safety his freshman year before head coach Bill Snyder asked him to move to wide receiver. The move paid off. By the time Nelson was a senior, he was a Biletnikoff Award finalist and an All-American. He was a second-round draft pick of the Packers and wound up on the receiving end of that first-quarter touchdown in Super Bowl XLV.
And so the story goes…young talented athlete. Can’t get a look anywhere. But he doesn’t quit. He perseveres. And he makes it. Clay Matthews, Tony Romo, Michael Strahan, and Terrell Owens. None of them had a legitimate Division I football scholarship offer coming out of high school. But every single one of them ended up in the NFL.
August 14th, 2012
With the 2012 college football season just weeks away, there is talk already of BCS coaches who may be on the “hot seat” and need to win and win fast in order to save their jobs. Remember Mark Richt a season ago as Georgia opened the season 0-2 and hadn’t really produced anything special in a few years. Richt’s job was on the line and the Georgia Bulldogs responded reeling off ten straight victories and earning a berth in the SEC championship game.
What coaches need to do the same in 2012? Here’s a look at the top five BCS head coaches who could find themselves out of a job this year.
Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Frank Spaziani Boston College
BC hasn’t been the same since the whole Jeff Jagodzinski fiasco a few years back that led to Spaziani’s hiring. After two bowl seasons in 2009 and 2010 (both losses), the Boston College Eagles
took a step backward and finished 4-8, just 3-5 in the ACC. “The Mad Scientist” is going to have to cook up something on offense after finishing near the bottom of the BCS in most statistical categories. It won’t help that Montel Harris, the school’s all-time leading rusher, was kicked off the team earlier this year.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Randy Edsall Maryland
After building Connecticut into a full-fledged, respectable BCS program, Edsall was thought to be the guy who could do the same with the Maryland Terrapins
. He still may be the one, but a disastrous first season, along with some player dissension, leaves Edsall in a predicament. Give him credit, he replaced both coordinators and had a respectable recruiting class. Now for the hard part…win and win fast.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tommy Tuberville Texas Tech
After 10 straight winning seasons under predecessor Mike Leach, the Red Raiders
have become accustomed to winning. Tuberville put up a decent 8-5 mark in his first season in 2010, leading Tech to a win in the TicketCity Bowl. Last year…not so good. A 2-7 mark in the Big 12 left Tuberville’s squad at 5-7. No winning season. No bowl bid. Tuberville will have to get back to a bowl if he wants to stay in Lubbock and he will have the offensive weapons. Six starters return to an offense that averaged 471 yards and 34 points per game.
Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Dan Enos Central Michigan
For much of the latter half of the last decade, the Chippewas were a contender for the MAC title, winning three conference titles (‘06, ‘07, and ‘09). Enos took over after a 12-2 year where CMU won the MAC, the GMAC Bowl, and finished ranked in the final Top 25. In two years Enos has posted identical 3-9 records. The former Michigan State
QB needs to right the ship, but it’s going to be difficult. The MAC West is loaded with Northern Illinois, last year’s champion, Toledo, and Western Michigan, all bowl teams last year.
Mike Price, UTEP
Mike Price UTEP
Price enters the final year of his contract and it’s likely not to be renewed unless the veteran coach can work a miracle. The Miners have had a habit of winning three non-conference games and then finding a way to beat three C-USA opponents and squeeze into a bowl game at the end of the season. That theory backfired last year as UTEP
managed just five wins, one an overtime win over Division II Stony Brook. The Miners’ theory likely will not happen again. The non-conference slate features Ole Miss
, and Oklahoma
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August 10th, 2012
As we approach the beginning of the 2012 college football season, 27 teams will have a new head coach patrolling the sideline. Which schools made the best choice in their new mentor? Let’s take a look.
Ohio State: Urban Meyer
If ever there were a perfect fit, Meyer and the Buckeyes just might be it. Meyer, the former Florida head coach who guided the Gators to two national championships, is an Ohio native, played college football at Cincinnati, spent two years as a graduate assistant at Ohio State, and two years as the head coach at Bowling Green. To say he knows Ohio…well, he knows Ohio. And he brings a national prominence to a program that had been hit with the “Tattoo-gate” scandal and the decline of the Jim Tressel era. Meyer is the right guy. He’ll spend 2012 stockpiling talent and installing his spread option offense. The Buckeyes are not eligible for the Big Ten championship or a bowl game this year. Meyer has engineered big turnarounds before–8-3 in his first year at Bowling Green and 10-2 the first season at Utah. Look for big things in the Horseshoe in the next few years.
Mississippi: Hugh Freeze
Less than 10 years ago, Freeze was a high school head coach in Tennessee. And if you didn’t already know, one of his star pupils was Michael Oher of Blind Side fame. Fast forward a few years and you have a guy who went 20-5 in two seasons in his first college job, head man at NAIA Lambuth University, and 10-2 and a Sun Belt Conference title in his only season at Arkansas State. Freeze worked at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007 serving in the athletic department for a year before becoming the tight ends coach. Granted the competition will be much tougher in the SEC, but if Freeze can change the culture in the program and around campus, he may get his wish… “to retire at Ole Miss.”
Washington State: Mike Leach
College football’s true “pirate” moves to Pullman, WA, not necessarily a football hotbed, but that may change as one of the game’s most intriguing coaches looks to lead the Cougars out of the depths of obscurity. Leach, unlike most BCS head coaches, did not play college football, but his developments in the philosophy of offense are prolific. In 10 years at Texas Tech, Leach coached three Sammy Baugh Award (best QB in the nation) winners–Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, and Graham Harrell. He posted 10 consecutive winning seasons, nine consecutive bowls (five bowl victories), and was the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2008 when the Red Raiders went 11-2. He’ll bring his swashbuckling attitude and high-powered offense to the Wazzou who desperately need it in order to get back in the thick of things in the Pac-12.
Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin
Not only will they have a new head coach, but the Aggies made another huge decision in the off-season–moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. Sumlin arrives at the right time to help make the transition to college football’s best league more manageable. Sumlin worked as an assistant in College Station under R.C. Slocum and was the assistant head coach in 2002. Ten years later, he’ll be the one to call the shots and if it’s anything like his stay in Houston, the SEC should take notice. Sumlin went 35-17 in Houston, including a 12-1 season last year. His offenses are known for huge numbers–last year’s Cougars were first in the nation in scoring offense (49.3 ppg), passing offense (450.1 ypg), and total offense (599.1 ypg). If Sumlin can get the Aggie defense anywhere near the capabilities of the old Wrecking Crew defenses of the past, Texas A&M will be in good shape for the future.
Pittsburgh: Paul Chryst
After three head coaches in a year, the Panthers have found the right guy in Chryst, the former offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Chryst has never served as a head coach at any level, but with his pedigree he is certainly ready. The son of a high school coach, Chryst was an integral part of Wisconsin’s combined 70-22 record over the past seven seasons. His offenses have been among the nation’s best. Last year, the Badgers finished sixth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 44.1 points per game while featuring the 11th-best rushing attack with 235.6 yards per game. It’s exactly what Pittsburgh needs; a blue-collar, physical approach to the game for a blue-collar town which is a far cry from the one-and-done Todd Graham spread-and-shred offense of last season.
August 3rd, 2012
1 LSU (18)
2 Alabama (20)
3 USC (19)
7 Florida State
9 South Carolina
11 West Virginia
13 Michigan State
19 Oklahoma State
20 Virginia Tech
21 Kansas State
22 Boise State
24 Notre Dame
Others receiving votes: Washington 64, Louisville 46, Georgia Tech 35, Cincinnati 32, Texas A&M 28, Baylor 23, Utah 22, Mississippi State 21, SOUFLA 12, NCSTATE 11, Louisiana Tech 10, Brigham Young 10, Virginia 9, Houston 7, Southern Miss 6, Rutgers 5, UCF 5, Tennessee 3, Missouri 3, FLAINTL 3, Northern Illinois 2, TEXASTECH 1
August 2nd, 2012
Silas Redd USC Trojans
Penn State running back Silas Redd is transferring to the USC Trojans.
Redd, a junior and Penn State’s leading rusher in 2011, is the first starter from the Nittany Lions to leave in the wake of the heavy NCAA sanctions handed down last week. The NCAA is allowing Penn State players to transfer immediately and be eligible to play right away, provided they don’t practice with or play for the Nittany Lions in 2012.
The Trojans open up their 2012 season at the LA Memorial Coliseum against the Hawaii Warriors on Sept 1st. Some other notable games at home are the Oregon Ducks on Nov 3rd and Notre Dame on Nov 24.
See Matt Barkley Silas Red and the rest of the USC Trojans as they go for it all, we stock USC Tojans tickets for all home and away games as well as all bowl games.
July 10th, 2012
USC’s banner 2013 recruiting season just got even more superior. Michael Hutchings, one of the nation’s leading players regardless of position, fully commited to the USC Trojans on Sunday.
Michael Hutchings from football powerhouse De La Salle High in Concord, California, made a spoken commitment to the University of Southern California Trojans. The 6’2″ 210 lb linebacker was attracted by academics and athletics.
Hutchings had long already been a Trojan “lean,” but things got exciting when Washington made a big push in latest several weeks. One of the prep ratings systems had Hutchings as the 5th best football player in the region. Michael furthermore considered offers from a host of some other schools, such as Pac-12 members Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and UCLA.
He performed safet yearly on in high school prior to moving to linebacker, playing all the linebacking positions. His pace and explosiveness alongside with being a tough hitter makes him perfect for the fast if somewhat smaller sized linebackers that USC deploys on defense.
He plays for one of the greatest high schools in the state at De La Salle. Ranked near or at the top of the nationwide ratings yearly, the Spartans’ level of play is outstanding.
It had been thought Hutchings was hovering towards USC and had even been assisting to get other players though he himself had not committed. At the recent Trojans Rising Stars Camp, Hutchings lastly talked to Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin and gave his spoken promise.
Coming from a different private institution with an exceptional educational system, what eventually drew Hutchings and was quite essential to him is the entire deal. Hutchings revealed: “We’re talking academics, business opportunities and what the school has to offer location wise. Then you have the football tradition with a dynamite coaching staff.
There was no comparisons with the other schools I was considering.” He’s curious in business and hopes to be a company major. USC has one of the top business divisions in the country and is the biggest school at the university in Marshall School of Business.
For the Trojans, they get the guy they have been approaching at the position all along. In a year where the linebacker talent out west has been somewhat thin, Hutchings is the best in the region. Essentially sound, well-coached and possessing excellent physical tools, Hutchings’ skill set converts very well to the next stage, where he will likely stay at the outside position.
With his commitment, the Trojans now have 11 players accounted for the Class of 2013.
They may be obstructed by limited scholarships due to their probation but they continue to have arguably the ideal recruiting class for next season.
Tickets for all USC games are onsale now including the cross town rival game USC Vs UCLA.
June 25th, 2012
Although the start off of the 2012-13 college football season is about three months away, it is certainly not too early to estimate who will play for the 2013 national championship.
A sellout audience of 20,586 attended last year’s game, which was won 17-6 by North Dakota State beyond Sam Houston State. This was the very first year of the game being played on Saturday after traditionally being played on a Friday evening, including 2011 in Frisco. Eastern Washington conquered Delaware 20-19 in that game, which was the first of three scheduled championship games in Frisco.
People with direct knowledge of the selection tell that the semifinals of a proposed college football championship would rotate between the major bowls and not be linked to standard conference sites. They said Wednesday that under the strategy, a selection panel would help pick the schools involved in a four-team playoff. The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is made up of the conferences and institutions that compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championshi. Total of 1,281 Colleges that are members of the NCAA.
While there are the absolute favorites like Alabama, Oregon, LSU, USC, Georgia and Oklahoma, there are also some teams that have the potential to amaze some people and put up with national championship. Top five surprising teams for season 2012-13 are: Kansas St, Stanford, Michigan, Arkansas and West Virginia. These teams are not the too high favorites, but if a few points go their way, there is a chance they could find them selves playing for all the marbles in the BCS National Championship next January.
The NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee has introduced that the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game will be played at midday on Saturday, Jan. 5 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The championship game will again be organised by the locally based Southland Conference, the City of Frisco and the Hunt Sports Group.
May 16th, 2012
With spring football wrapped up around the country and the college football news ticker aching for something to liven up the news wires, leave it to some of the nation’s brightest minds to argue for the banning of college football.
Yep, that’s right. College football as we know it should no longer exist according to H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger. You may recognize the name. He’s the guy that wrote a best-seller about high school football in Texas in the late 1980s. You may remember it: Friday Night Lights. That would be the book that inspired the movie starring Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw…which inspired a TV series of the same name.
Along with Bissinger, Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author of books such as Blink!, The Tipping Point, and Outliers, argued that college football has no business in institutions of higher learning. Gladwell’s biggest argument, though, had to do with a growing concern involving the game of football at all levels–concussions.
Bissinger and Gladwell were part the Intelligence Squared debates and faced off against former Atlanta Falcons’ DE and author, Tim Green, and FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock, both of whom were not in favor of banning college football.
The primary arguments to ban the game we know and love centered around Gladwell’s claims about head injuries and Bissinger’s insistence that colleges are too focused on athletics and not on their true mission–education. Bissinger asked, “Why is the U.S. the only country in the world where colleges provide a primary source of athletic entertainment?” He claims that universities are distracted on the fun and fandom of college athletics and that we are ruining our intellectual class.
Gladwell spoke about CTE-positive head scans and the reality of head injuries. CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is a degenerative brain disease normally caused by repeated brain trauma (hits to the head). While his concerns are worthy, his opponents pointed out that the relatively small sample sizes have skewed results. Green, a former Rhodes Scholar finalist who completed law school, pointed out that there are statistics that show other activities to be as risky, if not riskier, than football (riding a bike is one of them!).
Both Whitlock, who played offensive line at Ball State, and Green, a Syracuse graduate who spent nine years in the NFL, spoke about what they learned from the game. Football teaches life lessons and prepares athletes for life. Whitlock stated that football is “the Statue of Liberty.“ It is unifying, teaching athletes to deal with diversity and helps teach tolerance. The game also offers opportunities that, otherwise, would not be available, especially for the disadvantaged.
Whitlock went on to point out that the argument to ban college football was being argued by well-intentioned people who clearly do not understand the sport. Neither Bissinger nor Gladwell, who hails from Canada, ever played the game. Gladwell, who admitted that there isn’t enough research on brain injuries yet, suggested that college football could be replaced with intramural flag football.
Clearly, this will never happen. While there may be some changes to come in the near future to help promote the safety of the game, college football is here to stay. If college football of the early 1900s (when players were killed during games) was not banned, it’s hard to believe that the second most popular spectator sport in the US (surpassed by only…the NFL!) would be banned for any reason.
May 14th, 2012
Who is the best of them all? The greatest football coach of all time…there are many to choose from, but here is your Top Ten. The best of the best college football coaches in history
10) John Gagliardi, St. John’s University (MN)
Only the purest of football fans have even heard mention of Gagliardi, who at age 85, still patrols the sidelines of the small Division III school where Gagliardi has amassed 484 wins, the most ever by a college coach at any Level. His teams have won four national championships the most recent coming in 2003. He is one of two active coaches (Nevada’s Chris Ault the other) in the College Football Hall of Fame and is known for his unique approach to coaching. He does not use a whistle, his teams do not tackle during practice, and he keeps his practice sessions to 90 minutes and under. Hey, it has worked for him
9) Bobby Bowden, Florida State University
After six years at West Virginia, Bowden inherited a Florida State program that had won just four games over the previous three years. To say he turned the program around…well, he had only one losing season, his first when he went 5-6, in the 34 years hspent in Tallahassee. Bowden took the job because he likedthe climate plus he could be closer to his family in Alabama. He spurned offers from other schools and built a dynasty. From 1987 to 2000 his Seminoles finished every season with at least 10 wins and in the top 5 of the final AP college football poll. In 1993 and 1999, he took home national championships. In 44 years as a head coach, Bowden had 40 winning seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and coached his final game on January 1, 2010, in the Gator Bowl against, ironically, his former school, West Virginia.
8 ) Wayne “Woody” Hayes, Ohio State University
In 28 years as the head coach of the Buckeyes, Hayes won five national championships, 13 Big Ten titles, and won 205 games. Hayes started his coaching career at Denison, where after struggling his first year, reeled off two consecutive undefeated seasons in 1947 and ‘48. He then became the head man at the “Cradle of Coaches” Miami (OH) University, where he went 14-5 in two years leading him to Ohio State. Hayes coached 58 All-Americans and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. His teams were well known for their toughness as evidenced by their strong rushing attacks and powerful defenses. Hayes often said that three things happen when you pass the football…and two of them are bad. Little known was Hayes post-game interview dress after losses or ties…he opted for his birthday suit. As you can, reporters didn’t stick around long.
7) Glenn “Pop” Warner
Youth football leagues around the country bear the name of this legend who helped lay the foundation for the game we love. Warner coached at six different schools and compiled a career record of 319-106-32. He won four national championships and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. He took his first head coaching job at the University of Georgia in 1895, hired for a whopping $34 per week. Warner coached quite possibly the greatest athlete of all-time, Jim Thorpe, while at the Carlisle Indian School in PA from 1899-1903. Among his many innovations that he brought to the game were the screen pass, the spiral punt (as opposed to end over end), the single- and double wing formations, and the use of shoulder and thigh pads.
6) Amos Alonzo Stagg
Another of the pioneers of college football, Stagg won 314 games, most while the head coach at the University of Chicago. His 1905 and 1913 teams, both unbeaten, were national champions. A phenomenal athlete, Stagg is not only in the College Football Hall of Fame, he is also in the Basketball Hall of Fame as well. He had such a love of the game that he coached until he was 96 years old, serving as a kicking coach at Stockton College in California. The Division III national championship game bears his name as does the Big 10 Championship trophy. Too numerous to name, the innovations he introduced to the game include the onside kick, the T-formation, the forward pass, and men in motion.
5) Joe Paterno, Penn State University
The winningest coach in FBS history with 409 wins, Paterno passed away earlier this year after spending 61 years in Happy Valley, 46 of those as the head football coach. Sure, there is the scandal that ended his career abruptly at the end of the 2011 season, but what he accomplished is nonetheless amazing. He had 38 winning seasons, five undefeated seasons, won two national championships, numerous coach of the year awards, and was the first college football coach ever named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year after leading the Nittany Lions to the national title in 1986. He coached in more bowl games (37) and won more bowl games (24) than anyone in history. Also well known is Paterno’s philanthropy–he donated more than $4 million to Penn State.
4) Eddie Robinson, Grambling State University
Robinson spent 56 years as the head coach at Grambling and, at the time of his retirement in 1997, was the winningest coach in all of college football with 408 wins. Between 1960 and 1990, Robinson coached only one losing season, going 5-6 in 1987. His teams won or shared the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship 17 times. More than 200 of his players went on to play professionally, including Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams, who succeeded Robinson as head coach at Grambling in 1998.
3) Tom Osborne, University of Nebraska
Growing up as a star athlete in Nebraska, Osborne took an assistant job under legendary coach Bob Devaney. After Devaney won back-to-back national titles in 1970 and ‘71, he decided he was going to concentrate on his duties as the AD and named Osborne his successor. What a great choice! In 25 years as the Cornhusker head coach, Osborne won at least nine games in every season and finished with 255 career victories. His teams were known for their potent running game and strong defense, but he couldn’t win the big one. In the 1984 Orange Bowl, the ‘Huskers with a 12-0 record and ranked No. 1 in the nation, faced upstart Miami. Nebraska scored late in the game to trail by a point. Osborne elected to go for two. The pass attempt was batted away and Osborne would not win a national title until 1994. And another in 1995. His teams were the first consensus, unbeaten to win back-to-back national championships since Oklahoma in the mid-1950s. His final five teams at Nebraska went an unbelievable 60-5. Osborne retired in 1997 after winning another national title and currently serves at the AD at Nebraska.
2) Knute Rockne, Notre Dame University
After immigrating from Norway, Rockne grew up in Chicago, then saved his own money to pay his way at Notre Dame. After graduating in 1914 with a degree in pharmacy, Rockne shunned the science world for an opportunity to coach. The football world is grateful. Rockne’s Notre Dame teams went a remarkable 105-12-5 in his 13 years at the helm. He coached five unbeaten teams, three national champions, and his winning percentage (.881) is the highest among all college football coaches…EVER. He introduced the “shift” to college football moving from the T-formation to the Box formation prior to the snap. He also helped in popularizing the forward pass. After winning back-to-back national titles in 1929 and 1930, Rockne was killed in a plane crash in March 1931 while on his way to participate in the film The Spirit of Notre Dame.
1) Paul “Bear” Bryant, University of Alabama
Best known as the man in the houndstooth hat patrolling the Crimson Tide sidelines, Bryant amassed almost 100 wins at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A&M before becoming the Alabama head coach in 1958. In 38 years as a head coach, he had one losing season, his first at Texas A&M. While at Alabama he won six national championships and 13 conference titles. When he retired in 1982, he held the record for most victories (323) by a college coach. Bryant started at end on the 1934 Alabama national championship team. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander while serving in the US Navy during World War II. Bryant was the National Coach of the Year three times. Rightfully so, the award now bears his name.