Tag Archives: Michigan Wolverines

College Football Midseason Report

Halfway into the 2012 college football season, let’s take a look at some of the big surprises, some not-so-surprises, and biggest flops yet so far. After winning a national title and losing four players to the first round of the NFL Draft, Alabama was thought by many to have lost just a little too much to continue their dominance. At the midpoint of the season, the Tide is clearly the best team in the country with a bruising running game, solid QB play from A.J. McCarron, and the nation’s best defense.

Surprisingly, the Florida Gators are not far behind and are looking to make a run through the SEC East in order to take the Tide for the SEC title come December. Coach Will Muschamp, in just his second year, has brought the Gators back into the national title picture with a strong dose of RB Mike Gillislee and what may be the nation’s second-best defense. In a 44-11 blowout win over then No. 7-ranked South Carolina, it was the Florida defense and special teams that forced four turnovers. The Gators are already 5-0 in SEC play, with three of those wins coming on the road against ranked opponents.

Notre Dame (6-0) surely has surprised many sweeping Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, then destroying Miami and beating a very good Stanford team in overtime. And the Irish did all of this with some pretty shaky quarterback play. The Irish still have two big tests remaining on their schedule (Oklahoma, USC), but could find themselves in the thick of the BCS championship picture at season’s end.

Maybe the two biggest surprises are Oregon State and Kansas State. Both are unbeaten, but the Beavers are coming off a disastrous 3-0 campaign a year ago. So far, they have beaten Wisconsin, hammered BYU and have destroyed three Pac-12 opponents. Kansas State, which has always been good under Bill Snyder, has just been phenomenal. Quarterback Collin Klein may be the nation’s best player and the Wildcats play great defense and just don’t make many mistakes. KSU still has some big games remaining, but they are another team that could find themselves in that BCS title picture should they win out.

On the other end of the college football stratosphere is Auburn. Just two years removed from a national championship, head coach Gene Chizik finds his Tigers sitting at 1-5 with one of the country’s worst offenses. Their QB play has been horrendous and the Tigers may have trouble winning another game this season.

Right beside Chizik is John L. Smith at Arkansas. The Hogs were ranked in the preseason Top Ten and after former coach Bobby Petrino’s bout with motorcycle mayhem cost him his job, Smith walked in ready to ride Petrino’s wave to an SEC title. Five weeks into the season, Arkansas stood at 1-4 losing to mid-major Louisiana-Monroe, then getting trounced at home by Alabama the following week. The Hogs are now 3-4 with consecutive wins over Auburn and Kentucky, neither of which is very good.
With the recent success of school’s like Michigan State and Wisconsin, and even Michigan’s 11-2 season a year ago, one would have thought that the Big Ten might rival the SEC for college football dominance. Not so. Michigan and Wisconsin each have two losses thus far and Michigan State sits at 4-4 going into the ninth week of the season. Northwestern has been a surprise, rattling off six straight wins to start the season, but from top to bottom, the conference is nowhere near the SEC or even the Big 12.

With another eight weeks to go, there is still plenty of football left. What remains to be seen is how the BCS title picture plays out and, who will move to the forefront in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

Tide Roll to No 1 In AP Poll

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide are the new No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, moving past Southern California after its resounding victory against Michigan.

The Crimson Tide swayed more than enough voters with its 41-14 win Saturday night in Texas to overtake the preseason No. 1 Trojans, who beat Hawaii 49-10. USC entered that game a 40-point favorite at home.

Play for Pay – Making Ends Meet in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Savannah State traveled to Stillman, Oklahoma, last Saturday only to be shellacked by 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 84-0, in a virtually meaningless college football game. And next week, the Tigers will likely face another drubbing at the hands of another ranked FBS school, Florida State.

In the world of college football, what seems like a meaningless tussle between two schools at opposing ends of the spectrum, is really what the game has become–a business deal. For schools like Savannah State, an FCS school, and those like San Jose State and San Diego State–both FBS schools but not in BCS conferences–the cold reality of college football is that they must schedule games against more talented FBS schools to pay the bills.

These “payday” games have been around for years. A “lesser” opponent will agree to travel to a “greater” opponent in return for an agreed upon amount of cash. The result is usually a drubbing on the football field, but the payday can help fund a football program or, in some cases, an entire athletic department.

Take San Jose State, for example, who in 2010 made $1.825 million by playing Alabama and Wisconsin on back-to-back Saturdays. They “won” at the bank despite getting beat on the field by a combined score of 75-17. San Diego State has played 23 “payday” games since 2000. Their record in those games–0-23. Last year, the Aztecs received a little over a million dollars to play at Michigan. That equates to ticket sales for an entire season at SDSU.

Schools cannot make huge increases in ticket prices nor can they force more people to buy tickets in order to generate higher revenues. A school can only sell so many t-shirts and other apparel items and schools cannot force donors to write big checks. So, with 12-game schedules the norm now, it only makes good business sense to take a few lumps on the field, cash in, and then continue on with the remaining league games.

The Southland Conference, made up of FCS schools, typically plays several “payday” games every season in order to finance its schools’ athletic budgets. Nicholls State, for example, will play Oregon State, South Alabama, and Tulsa this year. The games will be a good test against better competition and help prepare Nicholls for league play and ultimately, a spot in the 24-team FCS playoffs.

Payday games will continue as the major BCS schools look for additional games that can be used as a “tune-up” for the rest of their schedules. What all the schools involved hope to avoid are injuries that can affect play later on in a season. And, for the big BCS schools, they surely will want to avoid a shocker like 2007’s Michigan upset by Appalachian State. Regardless of what happens on the field, though, as long as there are bills to pay, schools will agree to play for pay.