Winners & Losers: A 'No. 1' Hindenburg'd again

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WINNERS

Auburn football: it’s Cam-tastic!We pretty much summed up our feelings on Auburn’s win over LSU right Eric LeGrand.jpg Pitt & their fansThe fact that Pittsburgh nearly doubled-up on Rutgers 41-21 is of no import whatsoever.  How the Panthers went above and beyond the call of
duty in the class department in a show of solidarity for paralyzed Scarlet Knight player Eric LeGrand is something that should be acknowledged and roundly applauded.  It was the first game Rutgers has played since an injury left LeGrand with no movement from the neck down, and the show of support via buttons and banners and all other manner of empathy was certainly appreciated by all those involved in the football program.  And something that was very, very good to see from the outside looking in.

Doug MarroneWhile we take a shot at his conference a little further down, there’s no denying that the Syracuse coach deserves plaudits for what he’s doing with the Orange.  With five games left in 2010, the ‘Cuse sits at 5-2; just once in the last six years has the football program hit the mark for an entire season.  Yes, it’s just the Big East, but for all the suffering Syracuse fans have gone through of late, they deserve to feel good about their football program.

LOSERS

Iowa guilty of clock-icide; charges pendingApparently, Kirk Ferentz graduated summa cum laude from the Les Miles School of Clock Management at some point this past offseason.  How else do you explain his heinous butchering of a poor, defenseless game clock at the end of the Wisconsin-Iowa game?  Down by what would be the final of 31-30 and sitting at the Badgers’ 39-yard line with a fresh set of downs, the Hawkeyes could’ve stopped the clock at around :12 by spiking the ball.  Instead, Ferentz inexplicably blew Iowa’s final timeout.  The next play after the timeout was a completed pass, but the receiver failed to get out of bounds and the final seconds ticked off the clock as the Hawkeyes were helpless to stop it.  Iowa may or may not have made what would have been a lengthy field goal, but it was ridiculous that the kicker was never given the opportunity.  And, no offense, but it was just as ridiculous that Ferentz downplayed the final sequence in the postgame.

Losing to UCLA and Iowa State in the same season?

clapclapclapclap…deep in the heart of Texas…

The Big EastAfter knocking off West Virginia — the conference’s only ranked team coming into this weekend — Syracuse is now a half-game behind league-leader Pittsburgh, which has lost to Miami by four touchdowns and Notre Dame for the love of God.  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Big East football leaders!

(Writer’s note: the above was not meant to disparage Marrone and the turnaround he’s in the midst of at Syracuse.  Rather, it was meant to disparage the conference as a whole and further cement the fact that it’s an embarrassment the Big East gets an automatic bid and the Mountain West does not.)

The Blighting IrishI was debating amongst myself whether to put the Navy win in the winners or the Notre Dame loss in the losers.  With all due respect for what the Midshipmen do for our country, it feels so much better to go with the latter.  After dominating the series for 43 consecutive games, the Irish have now been pwned by the Middies three of the last four years, with this year’s being the worst of the trio.  The previous two losses came by a total of four points; today’s loss was an embarrassing 18-point beatdown that was actually worse than the final score indicated.  Navy absolutely pounded the Irish defense into submission, not only rushing for 367 yards but averaging 6.1 yards every time they ran it.  Certainly Brian Kelly has a lot residual ineptness left over from the Charlie Weis era to slog through and will enjoy a significant honeymoon, but losing by nearly three touchdowns to a military academy will significantly cut into the goodwill he’s garnered despite what’s now a 4-4 start.

Yeah, good luck filling that vacancyIf Minnesota is going to find an experienced, quality replacement for Tim Brewster, it’s patently obvious that they’re going to have to open the checkbook and pay above whatever number it is they have in their minds right now.  Not only did the Gophers hand a rebuilding and struggling Penn State team their first Big Ten win of the season, they allowed the Nittany Lions to do it with a former walk-on replacing their injured starting quarterback.  Cha-ching, Gophers.  Cha-ching.

Jane, stop this crazy thing!In addition to today’s 50-17 win over Arizona State, Cal has won games by scores of 52-3, 52-7 and 35-7.  Their two losses have come by the score of 52-31 and 48-14.  The Bears’ only sane game was a 10-9 loss to Arizona.  What do all of these numbers mean?  I have no freaking clue.  And, I’m betting, neither does Jeff Tedford.

Mississippi State Bull…What, you thought we were going to let this slide even though they won?  You trail UA-freaking-B in the fourth quarter, and you’re a ranked team this late in the season, you deserve a spot down here amongst the dregs.  29-23 at home against an under-.500 Conference USA school?  That’s not gonna cut it in the big boy leagues, Dan Mullen.

Bowling Green might wanna try a new sportLike, well, kegling.  The Falcons of the MAC were held to -10 yards rushing in their 30-6 loss to this past week’s Lotto winners, Kent State.  BGSU is now 1-7 on the season, with their lone win coming against Marshall by 18 points.  Shame on you, Herd.  Shame on you.

Gary DanielsonI understand you were just mentioning something that you have heard people discuss, but Cam Newton, as brilliant as he’s been in eight games, has a long, long, long way to go before he should even be mentioned in the same book, let alone the same sentence, as Bo Jackson.  Please don’t contribute to the dumbing down of this country, Mr. Danielson.  Thanks in advance.  (Man, I hate it when people go overboard in praising these players…)

GUESS WHAT?  IT’S BONUS TIME!!!While we won’t even hazard a guess as to how the BcS will shake out, we will take a stab at how we think the coaches’ Top Ten will look when USA Today releases their poll Sunday afternoon.  And, after you read our piece, go state yours by voting on who you think should be the No. 1 team in the country by clicking HERE.

(Again, this is how we think the coaches’ poll will look, and is not a reflection on our own personal opinion as to how it should look.)

1.) Oregon2.) Boise State3.) Auburn4.) TCU5.) Michigan State6.) Alabama7.) Missouri8.) Oklahoma9.) Utah10.) Wisconsin

BYU linebacker looking to transfer to Utah after being forced to redshirt

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When BYU announced this week that linebacker Francis Bernard was going to redshirt this season, only a few people seemed to think anything was really amiss. That does not seem to be the case anymore just a week before the Cougars start their season.

The Salt Lake Tribune talked with Bernard’s brother, James, about the matter and it appears the family is not too happy over the situation and is now looking to transfer. While that wouldn’t normally be much to write home about, the fact that the younger Bernard wants to move up the road to Holy War rival Utah is bound to raise some eyebrows.

“Just to be clear: My brother wants to transfer, regardless,” James Bernard told the paper. “We talk almost every day. He just doesn’t want to stay there any more.”

He went on to say that the reason that first prompted the redshirt announcement was not related to academics or playing time but a potential Honor Code issue with the school. What exactly that violation was however, is not exactly being made clear by the program to the family.

Bernard was suspended from the team’s bowl game last year for an unspecified violation of team rules but was given every indication that he would be back in the good graces of the team prior to preseason camp. That is obviously not the question and it appears a brewing transfer battle to move from Provo to Salt Lake City will soon be taking place between two bitter rivals over the junior linebacker.

Ohio State starting RB still dealing with hamstring injury but expects to play in opener

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Ohio State’s newish looking offense is expected to lean on the ground game early in 2017 but a key cog in that machinery might not be 100 percent healthy heading into the Buckeyes’ opener against Indiana.

Starting tailback Mike Weber has dealt with a lingering hamstring injury he suffered over the summer and hasn’t participated at all in the team’s preseason camp. Despite that bit of concerning news, it seems both the running back and the coaching staff is expecting him to be good to go in less than two weeks when the team kicks off the 2017 campaign.

“I’m getting close,” Weber said Friday, according to Cleveland.com. “They’ve been holding me back all camp to make sure I don’t have problems with it during the season. … I talk to the trainer a lot and it’s looking pretty good. I’m not at full speed yet, but I’m going to get there and I should be ready for the first game.”

Weber rushed for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns last year as a redshirt freshman and will see an increased load carrying the ball with Curtis Samuel off to the NFL. True freshman J.K. Dobbins has apparently slid into the backup role but running backs coach Tony Alford told reporters that the starting job is Weber’s when it comes time to go against the Hoosiers.

We’ll see if that eventually holds up given how finicky hamstring injuries are for tailbacks but at least the prognosis is good enough that Buckeyes fans can breathe a little easier as camp winds down in Columbus.

VIDEO: Indiana hands scholarship to walk-on WR after singing school fight song

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Some training camp traditions are better than others but one universal truth every fall is that coaches will bring up players to sing the school fight song in front of the team. As you can expect, often times hilarity ensues because players either don’t know the words or are so off-key with the notes that you can barely recognize what they’re singing.

Indiana coach Tom Allen joined in on the act this week by putting a few players through the same paces by having them belt out the lyrics to ‘Indiana Fight’ in front of both the team and cameras. The school naturally released video of the event on Friday, including a very special message at the end for one of the players signing:

That would be now-former walk-on Luke Timian, a projected starter this season who received a brand new scholarship from the Hoosiers and was mobbed by his teammates after the message flashed on the screens. The junior was involved in every game last year for Indiana and caught 19 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown.

As cool as the unveil was for Timian though, it’s a good thing he’s now a scholarship player at IU because it seems pretty clear that American Idol is not in the kid’s future. We’re all still suckers for videos of coaches handing out scholarships to walk-ons though and this is certainly one of the more unique ways to let a player know the school is picking up the check this semester.

Alabama reportedly in talks to play Miami in 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

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Mark Richt may no longer be in the SEC but he still might have to go toe-to-toe with Nick Saban one more time in Atlanta.

The Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Alabama is in negotiations to return to Atlanta for the 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and play none other than Miami for a compelling matchup between two powerhouse programs and do quite a bit to stir up nostalgia for some of a different era in college football. As is the case for the future high-profile season openers as part of the series, the contest is set to be played at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is nothing new for the Crimson Tide, as they open this year against Florida State in Week 1 and are scheduled to return to Atlanta in 2019 to take on Duke as well. The school has typically opened their season in such high-profile neutral site games but don’t have anything on the books for such a matchup starting in 2020.

Miami is also coming around to the idea of starting out the year at a big time NFL stadium for their opener and have set dates at AT&T Stadium in Arlington (against LSU) for 2018 and against in-state rival Florida in Orlando for the 2019 campaign. Adding Alabama to the slate in 2021 will just about lock up their non-conference schedule for that year, with home games against Appalachian State and Michigan State also on the docket.

Should the series eventually be confirmed (and there’s little reason to think it won’t), it will certainly be a welcome clash between two national title-winning programs. The pair last met on the field in the 1993 Sugar Bowl, when No. 2 Alabama topped No. 1 Miami 34-13 to deliver Gene Stallings and the Tide a national championship. The two current head coaches also have a bit of a history playing against each other when Richt was coaching at Georgia and staged a thrilling SEC title game in Atlanta back in 2012 that eventually sent the Tide on their way to another championship.

Hopefully everybody is still around when the time comes in 2021 because matchups like Miami and Alabama don’t seem to happen all that often.