October 13th, 2012
With the upcoming release of the season’s first BCS standings, there will be talk of Alabama and what other SEC teams will be in the top ten. There will be talk of the improvement of the Pac-12 and the woes of the Big Ten. But what about the bottom feeders? What about the teams at the other end of the spectrum? Here’s a look at the ten worst college football teams in the country.
10. Colorado State (1-5)
After a season-opening win over in-state rival Colorado, the Colorado State Rams have dropped five straight, including a 22-7 loss to last year’s FCS champ, North Dakota State. CSU is horrible on defense giving up 30 points per game and maybe even worse on offense where they rank 117th in scoring, just 16 points per game. The running game is one of the three worst in the nation (96 yards a game) and the team’s leading rusher, Chris Nwoke, has just 162 yards.
9. Colorado (1-5)
Football in the state of Colorado is simply not good. Head coach Jon Embree is on his last legs for sure. After the aforementioned loss to rival Colorado State to start the year, the Colorado Buffaloes proceeded to lose to FCS Sacramento State, 30-28. A second-half rally provided the team’s only victory, a dramatic 35-34 win over Washington State, but this team is on the brink of disaster. Teams that give up 41 points a game rarely win and Colorado still must play the USC Trojans, Oregon Ducks, and Stanford Cardinals, all ranked teams.
8. Kansas (1-4)
If Dorothy clicked her heels, she would awake to find the latest in futility from the Kansas football program. New head coach Charlie Weis was supposed to at least revive a sluggish offense. The Kansas Jayhawks are 111th in scoring offense putting up just 20 points a game. KU’s only win came at the hands of FCS South Dakota State in the season opener. Granted the Jayhawks have lost to two ranked teams, TCU and Kansas State, but the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia remain.
7. Akron (1-5)
Welcome back to college football, Terry Bowden. Surely, he never thought it would be this bad. The lone win was a 66-6 pounding of FCS Morgan State. The Akron Zips are already 0-2 in the MAC and the league schedule doesn’t get much easier. Akron faces Ohio and Northern Illinois, who appeared in last year’s league championship game, and then must take on a newly rejuvenated Kent State and Toledo, both of whom are currently unbeaten in league play. Akron is eighth in the nation in passing offense, but average just 123 yards a game on the ground.
6. Florida International (1-5)
A year ago, the Panthers played in their second consecutive bowl game. Head coach Mario Cristobal had this program headed in the right direction. But FIU has had serious trouble stopping anyone, giving up 38 points a game, and it’s hard to win games when you give up 38. The Panthers’ lone victory was a 41-38 overtime win over Akron. The fewest points allowed by FIU…28 in a 28-21 loss to a ranked Louisville squad.
5. Auburn (1-4)
What a difference a stud QB and a couple years make. The 2010 national champions are now one of the worst football teams in America. No more Gus Malzahn and high-octane offense. The Auburn Tigers are now an anemic, pro-style offense that puts up a whopping 15 points a game. They rank near the bottom in every major offensive statistical category. And, they play in the SEC. There are some bright spots, though. The Tigers still have New Mexico State (stay tuned) and Alabama A&M remaining on the schedule.
4. New Mexico State (1-5)
Hard to believe that an early November date with Auburn might be a battle between the Aggies and the Tigers. New Mexico State, a program with a history of losing records, has lost five straight since an opening-weekend win over Sacramento State. The Aggies can’t run the ball (86 yards a game) and can’t stop anybody (33 points a game), a bad combination when trying to win football games.
3. Eastern Michigan (0-5)
A year ago Ron English’s Eagles were looking to get into a bowl game with six wins. This year, the wins are hard to find and EMU will be lucky if it gets any. The Eagles can’t run (103rd in rush offense), can’t throw (118th in pass offense), can’t score (119th in scoring offense), and find it difficult to stop anyone from scoring (110th in scoring defense, 37 points per game). It’s a recipe for disaster as the Eagles still have to play three of the MAC’s best—Toledo, Ohio, and Northern Illinois.
2. Southern Mississippi (0-5)
After coach Larry Fedora’s exit last year after a 12-win, Conference USA championship season, Southern Miss was thought to be in good hands with Ellis Johnson. Five games into the 2012 season and the Eagles have yet to get a win. They have played some good football teams—Nebraska, Louisville, Boise State—but gone is the high-powered offense of a year ago. Southern Miss averages just 16 points a game and the passing game, a strength last year, is one of the worst in the nation averaging just 135 yards a game.
1. Tulane (0-5) & UMass (0-6)
It’s dual futility at the top. In its first year as an FBS program, Charley Molnar’s UMass team just doesn’t have it figured out yet. The Minutemen have had a hard time putting the ball into the end zone. UMass is 121st in the nation in scoring offense averaging just 13.8 points per game. The only thing worse than the UMass offense? Tulane’s. The Green Wave are dead last, 124th out of 124 FBS programs, in scoring. Tulane has only been shut out once, but has averaged just nine points per game. And defensively, both teams yield over 40 points per game. Tulane now has 15 straight losses. UMass is headed in that direction.
October 13th, 2012
To remain in the national title hunt, the University of Southern California football squad cannot afford another slip up.
Yet to exhibit the greatness predicted by college football experts before the season, inconsistency plagued the Trojans through the first five games. USC rolled over Hawaii and California, struggled mightily at various points against Syracuse and Utah, and lost to Stanford. The Orange, Utes, and Cardinal all lack the raw talent of USC, but they managed to keep each contest unexpectedly close.
Possibly the only unit outperforming expectations, USC’s defensive line exhibited dominance over the first several games. Junior defensive end Morgan Breslin ranks among the top players nationally in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.5) on a defense that yields fewer than three yards per carry. As the Trojans trudge through the high-scoring PAC 12 Conference, its opposition will likely try to beat them by way of air.
Cornerback has been a major point of concern for coach Lane Kiffin. The starters struggled so much the first few weeks, speculation surfaced that Kiffin might consider shifting wide receiver Marqise Lee to the position. Though he recently denied the possibility of moving Lee over to defense, safety Josh Shaw practiced at corner this week, confirming the staff’s lack of confidence in the secondary.
But it does appear the Trojans are trending upward in recent weeks.
In a 27-9 victory over in-state foe Cal on Sep. 22, USC was able to sack Bears’ quarterback Zach Maynard seven times. And for the first time since 2008, two running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark for the Trojans—Silas Redd racked up 158, while Curtis McNeal totaled 115.
Against Utah last week, USC dug itself out of an early hole to earn a valuable conference road win. QB Matt Barkley posted perhaps his best game of the season, completing 23 of 30 passes and three touchdowns. Equally impressive, the receiving corps displayed deep threat potential all game long as the Trojans prevailed, 38-28.
As USC plows deeper into the season, the schedule doesn’t get any easier.
With a trip to Seattle to play Washington on the horizon, as well as #2 Oregon Ducks and #7 Notre Dame coming to town in November, the Trojans have plenty of boulders in their path. Also laying in the weeds is crosstown rival UCLA, a squad foaming at the mouth to avenge last year’s 50-0 embarrassment. With one loss, a national title game appearance doesn’t appear as likely as it did prior to the season, but if the Trojans do find themselves in Miami they will most certainly have earned it.
September 18th, 2012
Can Anyone Beat Alabama?
Just three weeks into the season and already the questions are buzzing around. How good are the Alabama Crimson Tide? Can they be beaten? Head coach Nick Saban is the master of minimizing the probability of losing. It’s very simple, really. Don’t turn the ball over, force turnovers on defense, run the football aggressively using zone and power run schemes, and pass out of play action, which are safer throws for the quarterback.
Is there anyone on the schedule that can defeat the Crimson Tide? Well, they all have the opportunity to beat them, but talking and doing are two very different things. How in the world can anyone win against Alabama?
Alabama has a far superior defense (giving up just 4.6 points and 58 rushing yards per game) than most. To beat it, a team will have to find an advantage that slows ‘Bama down play after play. Western Kentucky, for example, used a variety of shifts and motions to get some type of advantage by formation (didn’t work that well as they were crushed 35-0 by the Tide in week two).
An opponent must play within their system to beat Alabama. If you are a power running football team, you must stick to it and not try and become a spread offense in a week. It won’t work. And, while you’re at it, do not turn the ball over. One turnover and Saban’s troops will make you pay.
The Alabama offense is notorious for its power running game that uses zone and power runs. The offensive line is big, fast, and just plain good. And, ‘Bama has a slew of running backs that will just keep pounding on a defense. The running game sets up a very good play-action passing game where QB A.J. McCarron is very effective at making all the necessary throws. In order to beat this offense, an opponent’s defense has to sell out and take away what the offense does best. In this case, do whatever it takes to stop the run! Then you pray that the passing game doesn’t beat you.
A ‘Bama opponent can gain some knowledge by looking at some of the Tide’s past failures. For example, in wins over Florida and Tennessee last year, Saban was livid late in those games when both the Florida Gators and the Vols used a two-tight end formation and his defense could not get aligned correctly. The result? Florida and Tennessee were able to move the ball against the Tide, albeit versus mostly second- and third-teamers. Interestingly, both Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Tennessee head man Derek Dooley coached under Saban at some point.
If you plan on beating Alabama, you must have a head coach who is well-schooled in the art of JEDI mind tricks. You know, the type of narrative that Lou Holtz would deliver before his Fighting Irish would take on Navy or Rice. “I just don’t know how we’re going to beat them,” Holtz would say to reporters. If your coach can encourage that the team is outmanned and there is no way that it can win, you may have a shot.
Finally, what team has ever won without believing it could? To beat the best, which Alabama can surely lay claim to, you must believe that you can (whether you can or not). There weren’t many who believed that a bunch of amateurs could beat the world’s best in Olympic ice hockey back in 1980. But a group of young Americans and their coach believed…and they won, defeating the powerful Russian team on their way to a gold medal.
Looking at the Tide’s schedule, there is really only one opponent that has what it takes to defeat Alabama. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are not on the schedule this year and while Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas A&M are improving, they are not yet ready to compete with Alabama. And there will be the big rivalry game with Auburn on Thanksgiving weekend, but the Tigers have struggled in the first three weeks of the season.
Only the LSU Tigers, which was Alabama’s only blemish in the national championship run a year ago, has what it takes to beat the Tide. The Tigers have a defense capable of taking away ‘Bama’s running game. They will find advantages and benefit from past Alabama failures, and they will believe they can win…they’ve done it before. LSU will not attempt any drastic changes and coach Les Miles will stick to what he does best. Plus, Miles will work wonders in the media as he and Saban offer up their best versions of the JEDI mind tricks.
Can anyone beat Alabama? It remains to be seen. The Tide have another “tune-up” game with Florida Atlantic before getting into the SEC schedule. November 3rd is the date with the LSU and Saban’s squad will have to travel to Baton Rouge. If anyone can beat Alabama, LSU will have the best shot on the first Saturday night in November.
September 17th, 2012
Notre Dame moves to ACC
With the recent announcement that Notre Dame will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football, college football fans are left wondering about the landscape of their sacred game. And with all of the conference realignments and possible future conference shifts, how does Notre Dame’s move impact college football?
Well, Notre Dame still remains an independent in football, but the agreement with the ACC will allow the Fighting Irish to schedule five games against ACC opponents every year. The plus? Notre Dame can renew old rivalries with the likes of Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles, both of which played some very meaningful games against ND in the 1990s.
The negatives? Some of the Irish’s traditional rivalries, like the “battle of the Catholics” (Boston College Eagles), will likely end. Some rivalries will continue and the university has announced that it will keep its annual contests with Navy Midshipmen, USC Trojans, and Stanford Cardinals. Years ago, it was Navy that bailed Notre Dame out of a financial crisis and the Irish will never forget the gesture.
With the current 12-game schedule allowed by the NCAA, Notre Dame will play the five ACC opponents, Navy, USC, and Stanford, and still have room for four more games each year. Traditional opponents Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, and Purdue, all of the Big Ten, will likely remain on the schedule, though not yearly. Pittsburgh Panthers, which ND has played every year since 1982, is moving to the ACC and will continue to be on the schedule, though the Panthers may not be a yearly opponent either.
In scheduling opponents, it is important to the university to maintain a national awareness of the Notre Dame brand. Keeping USC and Stanford brings the West Coast, ND is already a fixture in the Midwest, and now with the ACC gig, the Irish will be able to have a presence in the largest media markets in the United States.
In the grand scheme of college football, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC really doesn’t change anything. The Irish will not be a full-fledged member of the conference and, other than facing a few new opponents each year, the schedule will not change that much. They may get a few extra wins per year playing the Marylands and Dukes of the league, but get a chance to renew some old rivalries (Miami and Florida State) and keep another (Pitt).
September 4th, 2012
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.
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.
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.