Monday, December 17, 2007
What are my Top 10 programs?
1.) Michigan - they are the winninest program to date and just hired Rich Rodriguez as there new coach! While the search was poorly handled in some people's eyes, the final hire by Michigan was very good one.
2.) Southern Cal - not always at the top, but with Coach Pete Carroll bringing the Trojans back to national prominence and the fact LA has no NFL franchises... hard not to put them near the top!
3.) Oklahoma - another program that fell, but Coach Bob Stoops has elevated OU again. This program certainly may be #1, but will give Michigan props today!
4.) Texas - recruiting grounds in the State of Texas make the Longhorns program a very solid one. If Coach Mack Brown exited today, the Longhorns would find a solid replacement (see Michigan)!
5.) LSU - had Coach Les Miles left the Tigers for Michigan, there placement this high on the list would be tested, but with two BCS title appearances in the last 6 years under two different coaches places, LSU is a Top 5 program.
6.) Ohio State - the Buckeyes are under great hands with Coach Jim Tressel and the fact that Big Ten-Pac Ten are tied into the BCS, along with Tressel's success places the Buckeyes up there.
7.) Florida - hard to go against the program that is the current defending national champs. Both Coach Urban Meyer and Coach Steve Spurrier won MNC here... titles in both football and basketball in the same year... doesn't hurt the Gators!
8.) Georgia - location, location, location helps the Bulldogs as a SEC school and when it comes to recruiting. A BCS title is only missing aspect for Georgia.
9.) Tennessee - Rocky Top has the facility (100 plus stadium) and is coming up on ten years removed of a MNC.
10.) Notre Dame - the glitter in South Bend is fading a little, but with its history and NBC television contract I would be remiss not to include the Fighting Irish in the Top Ten. Replacing Charlie Weis shouldn't have the same implications as replacing Coach Ty Willingham.
Two programs that need to find there mojo again: Alabama and Nebraska. Alabama's Coach Nick Saban was a big $$$ coaching hire, but can he win another BCS title at his 2nd school? Nebraska's Coach Bo Pelini has never been a head coach before. He certainly is a better fit than Bill Callahan in Lincoln, but the Huskers haven't won a MNC for 10 years and are on their 3rd coach, since Dr. Tom Osborne retired.
Two programs that have Hall of Fame Coaches, but appear to be showing there rust: Florida State and Penn State. Both programs appear to be on a similar path as Nebraska post-Osborne?
Where's Miami-FL these days? A 5-7 record (2-6 ACC) to close 2007 and a tough road hiring a new coach after the 2006 season certainly knocked the Hurricanes out of the Top Ten.
Good luck to the young men.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Pelini is a former Ohio State football player.
He began his coaching career as GA under J. Hayden Fry at Iowa.
Coached one year as DC at Nebraska under Coach Frank Solich. Pelini served as interim coach after Frank Solich was dismissed in '03. He enters the full-time position, 1-0 as a Husker Coach, leading Nebraska to victory over Michigan State in '03 Alamo Bowl.
Pelini served a year at OU, as well as the year at Nebraska, so he will bring some experience in the Big 12 to the table. How well he will develop his staff in recruiting will be very important.
Currently DC at LSU, who will likely be heading to play Ohio State in the BCS Title Game, pending a surprise in the Final BCS Poll today.
Dr. Tom Osborne goes outside his own tree of former players and assistants to hire the first-time head coach. Certainly the boosters and fans are happy now in Lincoln.
I know a former Husker football player under Osborne and his wife here in Cedar Rapids will likely be very happy. Certainly, hindsight is 20/20, but Pelini likely needed some seasoning between '03 and '07 to get the head coaching position at Nebraska.
While the 4 years under Bill Callahan wasn't a success or Nebraska, the future is likely brighter having Callahan as a transition coach as opposed to moving Pelini up in '03 to replace Coach Frank Solich, who former AD Steve Pedersen fired, despite a winning season in his sixth year.
The Blackshirts get a defensive minded coach. Will have to wait and see how high the Huskers go under a first-time head coach. The defense needs rebuilding, but the entire program needs leadership and a direction in all three phases of the game.
OU Coach Bob Stoops played his college football in the Big Ten (Iowa) and is a native and high school product of the State of Ohio.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
USC and Ohio State should be facing one another in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Champions of the conferences should face one another each.
Ohio State will go to the BCS Championship, most likely, after Black Saturday for teams like West Virginia, Missouri and others throughout the season.
The BCS should be about #1 vs. #2 only. We need to get back the traditional bowl system, with a plus one game, with the final #1 vs. #2 in that one final game. The BCS Championship Game shouldn't eliminate the Big Ten or Pac Ten champion playing in the Rose Bowl in any year.
The Rose Bowl should be for the Champions of the Big Ten and Pac Ten. The Fiesta would likely have the Big 12 Champion, the Sugar would have the SEC and so forth.
A plus one system would eliminate a team coming off a loss from playing in the BCS Championship. It would allow everyone to play a bowl game, win in that bowl game, and than the final #1 vs. #2 always being two teams that are coming off a win.
It won't happen this year, but the '08 season should get back to traditional champions and a Plus One System. Make it happen BCS!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Iowa Football was exciting for 3 years... just not the past 3 years... if we compare the 3 year run of '02-04 to the just completed '05-'07.
Actually, the 2000-04 climb from 0-8 (Big Ten) in '99 to three straight seasons at #8 nationally was a great ride! The 2000 and 2001 seasons witnessed good, bad and ugly. The 2007 season is very similar.
The Good: upsetting then #18 Illinois and an OT win over Michigan State, both at Kinnick. A much needed road win in the Big Ten at Northwestern.
The Bad: losses at Purdue and at home vs. IU.
The ugly: losses at Iowa State in September and to close the season vs. Western Michigan.
'007 doesn't need a James Bond plot to determine what happened. Iowa resembles a SNL cast... clearly a not ready for prime time player cast.
Entering 2007, you had a mix of expectations for Iowa. There was some potential, but at the same time... par for the course has become middle of the road. For now, 6-6 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten has become par for Iowa, which Iowa reached in '07. After finishing #8 nationally for three straight seasons in '02 to '04, Iowa has certainly regressed. But, after finishing 2-6 in the Big Ten in '06... a 4-4 finish in '07 shows improvements. Call them baby steps for now!
Why the demise in '07 -
1. Like many teams (ISU and Western Michigan), the difference in success and failure is often found in one key statistic... turnover difference. Why did Iowa lose 2 OOC games in '007? First, look at turnovers. Iowa, ISU and Western Michigan are prime examples of why turnovers often lead to disappointment. When you protect the football, success is possible, when you don't; like Iowa found in both OOC losses... good things don't happen for your football team.
2. You are only as good as your quarterback. Look around the country... Notre Dame won in '06 on the shoulders of their QB. Not in '07. The QB position isn't all of it, but it is a very big factor, when it comes to success in college football. Boston College, Missouri, and KU are three teams getting solid play from the QB position. In Iowa's run in '02-'04, Brad Banks, Nathan Chandler and Drew Tate were difference makers more times than not.
3. Special teams... when Iowa succeeded in '02-'04... we found execution in all phases of the game. Football comes down to execution, whether it be in the trenches, the line of scrimmage or in all phases of the kicking game.
4. Controlling the line of scrimmage... when Iowa was successful, clearly it all started here.
5. Youth... one silver lining we can take from the '007 season. Is the youth of the Iowa Football team. Iowa was clearly the youngest football team in the Big Ten, with the fewest senior starters and 31 true or redshirt freshmen players being asked to contribute to the team.
History repeated itself at the conclusion of 2007. Like in 2000, Iowa isn't going bowling and an Iowa team fell victim to Western Michigan at Kinnick. The 2000 team didn't show great success on offense nor defense. Neither did the 2007 club.
Iowa Football has potential. Often we see three year cycles... '02-'04... '05-07... but, we will have to wait to see what happens in 2008. One clear note we have seen in College Football today... it's parity.
Iowa is just another example of it. Parity is the true landscape of College Football Today. Success will not come even, whether it be in the Big Ten, OOC or at Iowa.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Remember the days of the Kickoff Classic and Pigskin Classic.
Those days are of course long gone. The Big Ten, the Unversity of Iowa, Big 12, Iowa State, Gateway and Northern Iowa... the action will return.
My wife celebrates her birthday next Saturday, so we will not be in Chicago. Soldier Field should see plenty of Black and Gold hit the Windy City next weekend.
On the TV front, the Big Ten Network will debut at the end of the week. Plenty of Big Ten action will be on the tube.
Will Mediacom here breakdown and launch the network. We'll have the wait and see. I haven't joined the DirecTV crowd yet, but I know others that have.
Less than 7 day! I guess the weather today wasn't the only sign that Fall is coming!
Could you imagine, if our world required such state of affairs?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
But, I can't say any team deserves an automatic slot in the Top 5 other than the Trojans.
The 2007 USAToday Preseason Coaches Poll is out and USC is #1, with LSU, Florida, Texas and Michigan rounding off the Top 5. I see the Iowa Hawkeyes picked up 12 votes coming off a disappointing 6-7 season in '06, including a 24-26 loss to Texas in last year's Alamo Bowl.
Is the Defending Champions ready to rebuild defensively and with a new QB under center to finish in the Top 5 again? Like Florida, LSU will have a new QB at the helm in '07.
Michigan returns plenty on offense, but must rebuild their defense. Does defense win championships? Will that theory be tested in '07?
The media's AP Top 25 Poll is out. West Virginia and Florida swap places from the AP and USA Today positions. The Montaineers are #3 in the AP Poll, while the defending national champs are outside the Top 5 at #6. The media isn't giving any props to Iowa this season!
Interesting from the AP Top 25... the runner-ups from '06, Ohio State, are outside the Top 10 at #11. All 25 teams in the coaches poll made the AP Top 25, though some positions are flipped or different.
Another great season will unfold again in under two weeks!
Colleges are getting started next week, such as UNI in Cedar Falls! The Cedar Rapids Community Schools here in Cedar Rapids start on Tuesday.
It's been a fast summer with plenty to look back on and smile about.
Kickoff of the Iowa Football Season in '07 is only 14 days away!
Soldier Field will be the venue for the '07 opener, as the Iowa Hawkeyes face the Northern Illinois Huskies in Chicago, IL. Followed up by the home opener, Saturday night, September 7th, with the Syracuse Oragemen.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The coaches have announced that Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State are the front runners entering this season. RB Mike Hart of Michigan and LB James Laurinaitis of Ohio State are the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.
As a Big Ten fan, dating back to 1974, I think this season will be one of excitement and surprise, but overall, it will be tough for any one Big Ten team to rise to the top of the BCS race in '07.
USC clearly looks to be the best team entering '07 nationally. In the Big Ten, the front runners have been announced, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some upsets and disappointments on the horizon.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
ESPN True Hoop's July 10 article on Pierre Pierce.
There is no question the former 6-4 guard for the University Iowa has some skills. But, will the character questions hold him back in his quest for the NBA?
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I thought it would be interesting to see what the skyline was like 25 years ago. Pulling information from my 1982 issue of Street and Smith Official Yearbook for College.
Opening to page 114, coverage of the Atlantic Coast. There were seven ACC teams in 1982. Georgia Tech was not eligible for the championship in 1982 and would make 8 ACC teams.
The Independents in the Atlantic Coast region were 9 teams, not all Division I-A teams today:
- Virginia Tech
- South Carolina
- East Carolina
- William & Mary
- James Madison
- Towson State
In the West (page 26), I will not mention any of the 7 teams, since they are all Division I-AA type teams. By the way, there were 10 teams in the Pac Ten in 1982.
Turning next to the Midwest on page 67. There are three independents in the Midwest:
- Notre Dame
By the way, the talk in the Big Ten was the ending of the "Ohio State-Michigan monopoly" in the Big Ten. During the 1981 season, Iowa finished first with Ohio State and won the trip to Pasadena and the 1982 Rose Bowl. Illinois was projected as the next team to watch.
Now, on to the Deep South on page 92. The SEC had 10 teams back in 1982. The Independents in the Deep South in 1982 were:
- Florida State
- Southern Mississippi
- Memphis State
- Tennessee State
Turning to the Big Eight on page 133, there were no mention of any Independents in this region, but the Missouri Valley Conference still existed with 8 teams: Wichita State, Tulsa, Indiana State, Drake, Southern Illinois, West Texas State, New Mexico State and Illinois State. fwiw
Moving to the East Section on page 148. A haven for Independents in 1982:
- Penn State
- West Virginia
- Boston College
- Holy Cross
Finally, the Rockies and again, no Independents. The Western Athletic Conference and Big Sky Conference were highlighted. BYU and Boise State, respectively, were picked as the top teams in each conference. Not much different than last year's MWC and WAC, respectively, for BYU and Boise State.
If you are keeping score:
1982 : 30 schools mentioned
Today: 3 schools, who were also Independents back in 1982
This season's top Independent schools:
- Notre Dame
Why isn't Florida still #1, they haven't been beat by anyone yet? A look at last year's best entering the 2007 season. All the love is for USC, despite the fact no one has beat the Gators yet.
- Florida (13-1) - The defending national champs, in football and basketball, no less. Twice in basketball, but it's too early to talk about that sport. The Gators were tied with Auburn as the #6 team entering last season. Ironically, the only loss was at Auburn last year, 17-27. Urban Meyer must rebuild a defense that lost 9 starters, unvail a new PK and Punter, and reload an offense under new QB Tim Tebow and 4 other newcomers to the starting lineup. A Top 10 finish is certainly a possibility, if they can rebuild a defense quick enough.
- Ohio State (12-1) - The magazines liked Notre Dame entering '06, but the Polls liked the Buckeyes. Unlike the magazines pick of Notre Dame, the polls saw the Buckeyes at the top all the way to the BCS Championship Game. However, the Buckeyes have never beat a SEC opponent in a Bowl game of any kind. The BCS Championship Game vs. Florida was no different, with the Buckeyes getting dismantled by the Gators, 14-41. The last time OSU had to replace there #1 and #2 QB was in '04, when only 5 offensive and 4 defensive starters returned. This year the offense only returns 5 again, but the defense returns 6, and the PK and P also return. It will be a tough road in the Big Ten for the Buckeyes in '07, but not likely a road like '04, when the Buckeyes were .500 in the Big Ten and 8-4 overall.
- LSU (11-2) - Entered '06 projected as the 9th best team by the national magazines. Tough losses at Auburn and at #1 Florida were on the Tigers' resume in '06. A 41-14 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl hopefully can spark the 6 offensive, 8 defensive and returning PK in '07. Coach Les Miles hopes QB Matt Flynn can replace JaMarcus Russell the way Tee Martin replaced Peyton Manning in 1998 for the Tennessee Vols. If so, the Tigers could be the next team to rise to the top and win the BCS Championship Trophy.
- USC (11-2) - Not so fast, LSU and SEC fans, the Pac Ten's elite team wants that Trophy back in Southern California, after a couple of years without it. The Trojans were picked by the magazines at #5 last year. Clearly Pete Carroll's Trojans are the front runners in '07 with 6 starters on offense, including QB John David Booty, 10 on defense and their punter returning. The Trojans need to overcome setbacks, like losses at Oregon State and at UCLA, last year. The 32-18 Rose Bowl win over Michigan may provide some solid momentium entering '07. Some project this to be Carroll's best defensive team?
- Boise State (13-0) - The Broncos were the only undefeated team in college football last fall, under first year Coach Chris Petersen, no less. Not bad for a program picked outside the Top 25 entering the season. The 43-42 OT win over Oklahoma was clearly a great example of why non-BCS conference team deserves a spot in the BCS Bowl, like last year's Fiesta Bowl. Petersen only returns 5 offensive and 6 defensive starters for the Broncos this season. Finishing #1 in the WAC in '07 may be a challange this go around.
- Louisville (12-1) - A loss at Rutgers cost the Cardinals dearly last year as the top team in the Big East went on to the Orange Bowl to defeat the top team in the ACC, Wake Forest, 24-13. The Cardinals were picked by the magazines as the #2 team and #11 overall, so despite the one disappointment, a solid season. QB Brian Brohm returns along with 7 other offensive starters, 6 defensive starters, their PK and Punter. The most interesting newcomer will be new head coach Steve Kragthorpe, from the University of Tulsa. The road includes back to back visits to West Virginia and South Florida in November and a final home game vs. Rutgers.
- Wisconsin (11-1) - First year Bret Bielema did everything he was asked. However, the home opener at Michigan was a 13-27 loss for a Badger team picked #7 in the Big Ten by the magazines entering '06. The Badgers closed '06 with a Capital One Bowl win over Arkansas, 17-14. High expectations may be in order, but the Badgers didn't face Ohio State or Michigan State in '06. They will be on the schedule this year, with Northwestern and Purdue, now absent. Nine starters on offense, 7 on defense and both kickers return, but will the losses of QB, top OL, both safeties and #1 tackler slow momentium for the Badgers as they look for their first BCS bowl this decade?
- Michigan (11-2) - Coach Lloyd Carr won a share of the MNC for the Wolverines in '97 (tied w/ Nebraska). So, ten years have now past and while the Wolverines win games... winning the biggest games have been difficult. After being picked #14 by the magazines last year, the Wolverines were 11-0 entering their showdown with Ohio State in Columbus. Now, the Wolverines enter '07 on a two game losing streak, with back to back losses at OSU and vs. USC in the Rose. Carr returns 6 on offense, including top QB, RB and WR, 4 on defense, and punter. But, can Carr avoid losing 4 in a row to OSU's Coach Jim Tressel in Ann Arbor this fall? Michigan has lost 4 straight bowl games, as well. '07 could be a special year, but it also could return some nay sayers.
- Auburn (11-2) - Coach Tommy Tuberville knows how to win some big games in the SEC, such as games with Florida and LSU at home. The Tigers beat Nebraska 17-14 in the Cotton Bowl, but losses at home, vs. Arkansas and Georgia seperated them from the very best. Now, Tuberville's 5 returning starters on offense, 7 on defense and all other newcomers will have to hit the road for those 4 tough SEC opponents. QB Brandon Cox leads the Tigers as they open with the Big 12's Kansas State Wildcats in '07.
- West Virginia (11-2) - Rich Rodriguez's Mountaineers were picked #4 by the magazines and considered the best team in the Big East entering '06. Losses at Louisville and vs. South Florida bumped them off the top perch in the Big East. Revenge from '06 and the Gator Bowl win over Georgia Tech 38-35 will hopefully fuel a team built around 7 returning starters, including QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton, on offense, 8 on defense and the return of both kickers.
- Oklahoma (11-3) - The Sooners were picked as the Top Big 12 team by the magazines, despite only being picked #8 nationally entering last year. Last year was a rocky season with 2 offensive players dismissed at the beginning of fall camp, a loss controversal loss at Oregon, a loss to #1 rival Texas and the upset loss in the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State. Coach Bob Stoops returns 8 offensive, 7 defenseive and both kickers from a team that still has some holes to overcome, but a fresh start should aid the effort. Health helped OU win in 2000. A young QB, RB and DT are expected to help in '07.
- Rutgers (11-2) - Coach Greg Schiano's 6th season at Rutgers was extremely special for a program that had never won a bowl game before. Picked 4th by the magazines in the Big East, the Scarlet Knights won nine straight before their first loss, 11-30 at Cincinnati. An OT loss at West Virginia closed out their regular season, but a 37-10 win in the Texas Bowl over Kansas State capped the Scarlet Knights best season ever. Schiano returns QB Mike Teel and 6 other starters on offense, 6 starters on defense and their PK. Rutgers will help continue to raise the bar for the Big East, who were well respected last year.
- Texas (10-3) - Despite the loss of QB Vince Young entering '06, the magazines had Texas at #3 nationally, though not necessarily #1 in the Big 12. QB Colt McCoy is going to be an outstanding player, if he remains healthy. The 7-24 home loss to Ohio State wasn't a surprise, but back to back losses at K-State and vs. A&M are grounds for some concern. Of course, a healthy McCoy at QB remains a key and Texas is coming off a 26-24 win in the Alamo Bowl, where McCoy showed to be in good form. In '05, Ohio State took the momentium of an Alamo Bowl into the next season and a BCS Bowl Bid. Can Texas repeat it fueled by 7 returning starters on offense, 6 on defense and the return of their PK?
- California (10-3) - The magazines just missed on the Golden Bears after picking them #13 in '06. The Golden Bears finished strong in '06 with a very solid 45-10 win over Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, after losses at Tennessee 18-35 (season opener), at Arizona 20-24 and at USC 9-23. QB Nate Longshore and 7 other starters return on offense, as do both kickers and 5 on defense. Cal hosts Tennessee to kick off '07 along with 9 Pac Ten match ups, with only 4 at home for Coach Jeff Tedford's Golden Bears.
- Arkansas (10-4) - The Razorbacks were unranked by most magazines entering '06. The blow out loss at home 14-50 to USC didn't warm many, but the Razorbacks climbed the ladder fueled by OT win over Alabama and upset win at Auburn. Three straight losses to LSU, Florida and to Wisconsin in Capital One Bowl may point to concern, since the Razorbacks entered '06 coming off a 5-6 and 4-7 season in '04 and '05, respectively. QB Casey Dick, RB Darren McFadden return with 4 others on offense, with 6 also returing on defense.
- BYU (11-2) -The Cougars entered '06 unranked and considered the #3 team in the MWC by most magazines. After a season opening loss at Arizona 13-16 and a 2OT loss at BC 23-30, the BYU Cougars ran the table at 8-0 in the MWC capping off the season with a 38-8 win in the Las Vegas Bowl over Oregon. Coach Bronco Mendenhall will have open '07 with a new QB surround by 6 returning starters on offense and 7 on defense. BYU hosts Arizona in opener on September 1st.
- Notre Dame (10-3) - Why many of the magazines had Notre Dame #1 in the preseason still amazes me, as I reflect on '06. Coach Charlie Weis is respected for his work in the NFL under New England's Bill Belichick, but it can be a tough road coaching at your alma mater. Coach Weis will have to replace #1 QB Brady Quinn along with a host of others. Four starters return on offense, 5 on defense, along with the #1 punter. The LSU loss in the Sugar 14-41 was the seventh bowl loss in row, dating back to January 1995 for the Fighting Irish. Michigan and USC were the Irish's other two losses. Best quality win was vs. Penn State 41-17. It should be interesting to see BC return to South Bend on October 13th, after being off the schedule the past 2 seasons.
- Wake Forest (11-3) - Most preseason magazines had Wake picked dead last in the Atlantic Division of the ACC entering '06. Coming off a three straight losing season and back to back 4-7 records, Wake Forest won the ACC title, despite losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech at home. While they lost the Orange Bowl game to Louisville, hats off to Coach Jim Grobe with a freshman QB under center. QB Riley Skinnner and 8 others return on offense, while 5 on defense and dual kicker return. The ACC could be stronger in '07.
- Virginia Tech (10-3) - The Hokies entered '06 at about #17 according to the magazines. Back to back losses to Coastal Division Champ Georgia Tech and at BC in the ACC cost the Hokies in the regular season. The Hokies were knocked off by Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl 24-31 to close the season. But, the campus shooting this spring was clearly the biggest setback for the Hokie Nation and this country. Coach Frank Beamer and his Hokies will work to rebound qith QB Sean Glennon and 7 other starters returning on offense, whil 8 return on defense. Hokies first road test comes in week 2 at LSU.
- Boston College (10-3) - Many magazines expected a bigger slip by BC in '06 having the Eagles unranked. BC benefited from 2 early OT wins over Clemson and BYU. The 3 losses came in the ACC at NC State, at Wake and at Miami. Coach Tom O'Brien closed out his final game for BC with a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl 25-24 over Navy. New Coach Jeff Jagodzinski returns QB Matt Ryan and 6 others starters on offense, with 9 returning on defense along with #1 punter. Strangely, BC opens with 3 straight ACC games right off, including 2nd week vs. former coach Tom O'Brien and NC State.
- Oregon State (10-4) - Most magazines had the Beavers unranked entering '06, after a 5-6 record in '05. The Beavers lost 3 of their games in the first half of the regular season at Boise State, vs. California and Washington State. The Beavers went 7-1 the rest of the way, falling at UCLA 7-25, but including a 39-38 win over Missouir in the Sun Bowl. Coach Mike Riley must replace his #1 QB, but 8 starters do return on offense, along with 8 on defense and both kickers. 5 of 9 Pac Ten games are on the road.
- TCU (11-2) - The magazines had TCU at #24 and the top team in the MWC entering '06. However, losses to BYU and at Utah to open the MWC were the Horned Frogs only set backs. The Horned Frogs took out their frustrations on Northern Illinois 37-7 in the Poinsettia Bowl. While Coach Gary Patterson will have a new #1 QB, 5 starters do return on offense, along with 9 on defense and the #1 PK. Games with Baylor and at Texas should make for an interesting start for the Horned Frogs fans.
- Georgia (9-4) - The magazines had the Bulldogs around #16 entering '06, so finishing 4-4 isn't what they had in mine. A win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl over Virginia Tech 31-24 took away a little sting, but losses to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Florida in back to back weeks, with 3 at home isn't what Coach Mark Richt and the Bulldog fans expect. QB Matthew Stafford after going 6-2 as a frosh starter last year. He will have 6 other offensive starters, 4 on defense and his PK returning for '07. Georgia kicks off '07 hosting the Big 12's Oklahoma State in Athens.
- Penn State (9-4) - Most of the magazines had Penn State, coming off a Big Ten title, at #18 nationally and #4 in the Big Ten. Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions closed out the campaign with a sound 20-10 win over Tennesseee in the Outback Bowl. Losses came at Notre Dame, at Ohio State, vs. Michigan and at Wisconsin. The schedule drops Northwestern and Minnesota in the Big Ten, by adding Indiana and Iowa back on. Joe Pa returns QB Anthony Morelli and 7 other offensive starters, 6 on defense and their PK.
- Tennessee (9-4) - Most magazines had the Volunteers ranked at #23 in '06 and coming off a 5-6 record in '05. The Volunteers were improved, but lost to Florida, LSU, at Arkansas and in the Outback Bowl vs. Penn State. Coach Phillip Fulmer returns starting QB Erik Ainge, 5 others on offense, 5 on defense and P Britton Colquitt. A trip to Cal to open the season will be a stern test.
- special mention - Hawaii (11-3) - The Warriors were ranked in the final coaches Top 25 (#24, instead of Georgia, who was only in the AP final 25). The preseason magazines had Hawaii #4 in the WAC entering '06 and unranked nationally. The Warriors opened with a loss at Alabama and in the 3rd game at Boise State. The only other loss was to Oregon State to close the regular season. The Warriors capped off the season with a Hawaii Bowl win over Arizona State 41-24. QB Colt Brennan returns for Coach June Jones in '07, along with 5 other offensive starters, 8 defensive starters and the #1 PK. The Warroirs close the WAC season hosting Boise State, which may settle the WAC title this year.
- C-USA mention - Houston (10-4) - Most magazines entering '06 didn't have the Cougars pegged to win the C-USA title game, let alone their division title. Houston beat Oklahoma State, then narrowly missed at Miami, FL. The other 3 losses came vs. Louisianna-Lafayette, at Southern Miss and in the Liberty Bowl vs. South Carolina. Houston won the title game 34-20 over Southern Miss. Coach Art Briles rebounds in '07 with 6 returning on offense, 7 on defense and with the #1 PK. Houston visits Oregon to kick off the season on September 1.
- MAC mention - Central Michigan (10-4) - The preseason magazines didn't have the Chippewas pegged for division title in '06. But, now departed coach Brian Kelly lead the Chippewas to the MAC title, before heading to University of Cincinnati to coach them in them in their bowl game. Losses came vs. BC, at Michigan, at Kentucky and at Northern Illinois. The Chippewas won the Motor City Bowl over the Sun Belt's Middle Tennessee 31-14 to capture their first bowl win ever in 3 tries. New Coach Butch Jones will have 7 starters on offense and defense, plus punter. Included is the #1 QB Dan LeFevour, who was last year's MAC frosh of the year.
- Sun Belt mention - Troy (8-5) - Most magazines had Troy pegged at #4 and not at the top of the Sun Belt in '07. Troy closed out the '06 season with a solid 41-17 win in the New Orleans Bowl, for their first bowl win ever in 2 tries. Losses came at Florida State, at Georgia State, at Nebraska, at UAB in four straight games, then a loss vs. Arkansas State for the only loss in conference for the season. Coach Larry Blakeney returns #1 QB Omar Haugabook and 4 other starters on offense, plus 8 on defense and #1 PK. Troy will host Oklahoma State on September 14th after road trips to Arkansas and Florida.
- Missing from Top 25 at season's end in '06 - These teams were ranked by the magazines in last season's preseason rankings, but failed to finish in the Top 25 at the end of the season (preseason ranking shown): #10 Florida State (7-6) - beat UCLA in Emerald Bowl 44-27, #12 Miami-FL (7-6) - beat Nevada in the MPC Computers Bowl 21-20, #15 Iowa (6-7) lost to Texas in the Alamo Bowl 24-26, #19 Nebraska (9-5) - lost to Auburn in the Cotton Bowl 14-17, #20 Texas Tech (8-5) - beat Minnesota in OT in the Insight Bowl 44-41, #21 Clemson (8-5) - lost to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl 20-28 , #22 Arizona State (7-6) - lost to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl 24-41 and #25 Oregon. (7-6) - lost to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl 8-38.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
- Appalachian State opens September 1 @ Ann Arbor vs. University of Michigan... after last year's game vs. Ball State... a closer than not game against the Wolverines could arise!
- Montana opened last year @ Iowa, but this season... no Division I-A opponents listed.
- New Hampshire travels to C-USA's Marshall this year, after knocking off the Big Ten's Northwestern 34-17 in '06!
- North Dakota State will join the Gateway in '08... get another crack with the Big Ten's Minnesota Gophers, after close 9-10 loss in '06 in Minneapolis.
- Northern Iowa will travel to Ames again, this time, to welcome the Gene Chizik era for the Big 12's Iowa State University... it's been awhile since UNI pulled an upset on the Cyclones in football.
- McNeese State visits the Sun Belt's Louisiana-Lafayette on September 15th.
- Delaware visits Navy on October 27th.
- Illinois State will visit the Big 12's Missouri in Columbia on September 22nd.
- Portland State will travel to the MWC's San Diego State on September 22nd too... the Aztecs fell victim last year to Cal Poly 14-16, so Portland State will get their chance.
- Youngstown State will open season on September 1st at Ohio State, which will be a kind of homecoming of sorts, since Buckeye coach Jim Tressel was a former YSU headman.
In 2005, Maine sprung a big upset on the SEC's Mississippi State. Last year, Northwestern and San Diego State were victims, as was Colorado, who fell victim to Montana State in a 10-19 loss to open the season.
With 12 games now in Division I-A football, there are more games arising between teams from the Bowl Championship Division with teams from the Playoff Championship Division. I-A vs. I-AA... bring it on!
Around the Big Ten, Wisconsin will host The Citadel, Purdue hosts Eastern Illinois, Illinois faces Western Illinois, Northwestern opens with Northeastern, while Indiana kicks the season off with in-state Indiana State. Around the Big 12 North, K-State hosts Missouri State, while Kansas will face SE Louisiana in '07.
Current Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz was a former head football coach at Maine prior to his years in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.
In 2005, Maine upset the SEC's Mississippi State Bulldogs 9-7 in Starkville in MSU's Sylvester Croom's first season as head coach. Ironically, Croom defeated #20 Florida 38-31 to seal Ron Zook, now Illinois head coach's, career in Gainsville.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy Independence Day to you!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Today's Gazette front page headline reads "Golf Slice". The online version reads "Council to discuss selling Twin Pines Golf Course" or at least part of the 155 acre golf course.
Clearly, the article points out mismangement in the City's current golf department operations. It appears the City Manager is now testing the City's stewardship responsibilities as he nears his first year in our community.
As one council member stated, it is appropriate to review City assets and determine how to best use them. Further, how best to provide services is another important factor.
So, what is with the trail balloons coming out from the City Manager and one of council members prior to the review?
I am concerned when the City appears to be putting the cart before the horse. Why stir up the emotions within the community with trial balloons prior to going through a thoughtful review process. Let's review our City assets. Let's determine how to best use them.
We have an outstanding community. Quality of life is a very important and does impact economic development and jobs. Recreation services are important for our community. If you survey golfers in the community (ie: taxpayers and citizens), you likely will find many wanting the City to outsource management of the golf courses to professional contractors.
You don't have to go outside Linn County to get good feedback. The article pointed out when they asked Marion Mayor John Nieland, "saying he'd keep the course and turn it over to private management before selling it for some other purpose.He noted he can play more cheaply before 10 a.m. at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion and St. Andrew's Golf Club in Cedar Rapids, both private courses, than at Twin Pines."
He's on the road pitch hitting for an ill colleague, so he is missing his Tuesday/Thursday lacrosse league this summer. Talk about a sport that seems to be on the upswing?
My wife isn't much of a sports fan and she was spoiled attending her first Iowa Football game ever. In 1985, #1 vs. #2, Iowa vs. Michigan at Kinnick Stadium, with the Hawkeyes winning on Houghlin's FG as time expired, 12-10.
In getting started on putting together my first blog, I was admiring the artwork of HawkLax6 that he was sharing with people on the Hawkeye rivals network. Turns out, he is a former member of the University of Iowa's Lacrosse program, small world, after spending my Friday discussing a sport that you don't catch all that often in Cedar Rapids.
Here's my salute to those post-graduate lacrosse players this week. Like Rugby, what a sport to enjoy on your off-time.
Call me a wimp, since basketball, softball, golf and bowling are about all I work in these days on my off-time. For those rugby and lacrosse players, we salute you for continuing your passion!
"Nice. They have a lot of old Creighton tourney games as well as soccer and some baseball too. I would like to get some of those old school basketball games. Like some classic Jordan. The Bird vs Magic championship game. Those tight shorts are brutal though. At $25.00 each, the NCAA sure knows how to make $$$$$."
I could insert a picture, but for the sake anyone reading, I'll pass!
Watch an example of NCAA On Demand: 2000 College Cup Championship. Or, if you prefer a little basketball... here's a sneak of Nick Porter in CU vs. Nevada in 2007.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Cedar Rapids' very own, Zach Johnson, will be on the cover of the upcoming issue of Golf Magazine. The July 2007 issue will feature insight from Zach and more. Check it out at newsstands soon.
The Masters Champion exclusive will talk about how to "Make More Birdies" in an article for Golf Magazine.
- How to control your wedge
- Make the putts that count
- Stiff your full irons
Further, the magazine will have a British Open Preview.
Both Zach Johnson and NFL pro QB Kurt Warner are graduates of the former Regis High School in Cedar Rapids. Regis is no longer a high school, but former high school has two famous athletes (Johnson and Warner) and one infamous celebrity of late (A-Rod's girlfriend).
The new Catholic high school in Cedar Rapids, Xavier, will celebrate it's 10th anniversary this fall. Former Catholic high schools, Regis and LaSalle, are now used as Catholic middle schools in Cedar Rapids.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Which Magazine is the Best?
While Street & Smith's has been a favorite of mine over the years, Phil Steele's College Football Review clearly is a fan favorite. As his magazine states, it's Jampacked With Information!
1. PHIL STEELE
4. The Sporting News
5. Street & Smith
6. Joe Freist (a magazine I pass on every year)
7. Game Plan
8. ATS Consultants (another one of those betting varieties)
9. Football Action
10. Blue Ribbon
Of course the list and rankings above can be found on page 307 of Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Review. In stores now!
The Internet has certainly brought about a wealth of information, but the old college football propaganda from these various publishers is always good for a laugh, conversation and to fill the void of no college sports during those dog days of summer.
Interesting enough, many of the magazines seem to up the publication dates each year, so some of the information can be a little lacking, when player departures or sad to say in the Big Ten, the past two seasons, deaths, impact the outlook of the coming season.
For over 20 years, I have a good friend who has been heading over to Omaha each year to catch the series. Attendance continues to grow.
If you have not attended a College World Series before, it's well worth the trip. The City of Omaha puts out the red carpet each year for the Series.
Occasionally people ask where they would rank the Big Ten teams in football tradition, so I pulled this out in some free time. This is cumulative from 1980 through last season. Penn State has been a member since 1993.
1. Michigan (173-43-4 .795 Big Ten, 247-78-5 .756 overall, 13 titles, 14-13 bowl games)
2. Ohio State (157-57-4 .729, 243-82-5 .744, 9 titles, 12-12 bowls)
3. Penn State (69-43 .616, 116-54 .682, 2 titles, 8-2 bowls)
4. IOWA (126-87-5 .589, 193-126-6 .603, 5 titles, 9-10-1 bowls)
5. Wisconsin (103-113-4 .477, 176-141-5 .554, 3 titles, 10-5 bowls)
5. Michigan State (103-113-4 .477, 151-159-5 .487, 2 titles, 5-8 bowls)
7. Illinois (100-115-5 .466, 141-164-6 .463, 3 titles, 3-8 bowls)
8. Purdue (97-119-4 .450, 143-165-5 .465, 1 title, 4-7 bowls)
9. Minnesota (74-145-2 .339, 134-174-2 .435, 0 titles, 4-5 bowls)
10. Indiana (70-149-1 .320, 121-182-3 .400, 0 titles, 2-4 bowls)
11. Northwestern (66-154-1 .301, 100-205-3 .330, 3 titles, 0-5 bowls)
If you're wondering how the Hawks have done against each team over the same period, here you go.
Northwestern 19-6 .760
Wisconsin 18-6-1 .740
Purdue 16-6-1 .717
Indiana 14-7 .667
Michigan State 13-7-1 .643
Minnesota 17-10 .630
Penn State 6-4 .600 (also went 1-1 before they were a conference member)
Illinois 13-10 .565
Michigan 6-15-1 .295
Ohio State 4-16-1 .214
Also, Iowa State 18-9 .667
I want to thank message board poster: Cliffo...Clavin from the Rivals Network for sharing the information on the Iowa Football Message Board.
In 1981, Coach J. Hayden Fry helped eliminate the Big Ten's Big 2 dogma. In 1981, after 19 straight non-winning seasons, the University of Iowa won the Big Ten Conference Football Title and represented the Big Ten in the 1982 Rose Bowl. Iowa won the 1957 and 1959 Rose Bowls.
Since 1981, every team, but IU and Minnesota, have won a Big Ten title in football. Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993. Indiana's last Big Ten football title was in 1967, while Minnesota's last title was 1960.
Absolutely... getting your brand on TV is very important.
The Big Ten Conference is one of the premier sports brands among all NCAA conferences.
The SEC is now looking into a possible channel for the SEC. The Big Ten's concept is a good one. It will be an excellent way to get non-revenue and revenue sporting events on the air to alumni and fans everywhere. Further, non-sporting event content can be presented as well.
For schools like IU and Minnesota, it is a vehicle to get more games on TV. If it will work for the NFL and MLB to have their own networks, why not for the Big Ten, SEC and other conferences?
As discussed today on XM, the also ran games will make it first. But, just like when ESPN2 was launched, a solid match up will likely be thrown in there to help develop the network.
Right now DirecTV is on board. It it will be interesting to see how the rest of the providers, cable and other satellite, work things out for the Big Ten Network. As a Medicom customer, I will be very disappointed, if the two parties don't get matters sorted out before the end of August, when the Network is launched.
I am looking forward to the Big Ten Network and more Big Ten sporting events available on TV and likely through the Internet in the future. The Internet and TV are certainly crossing lines more and more.peace
For Hawkeye Sports, two boards come to mind for me, though there are others I have visited over the years... or offer fans an outlet!
Hawkeye Report is the bigger one. Tom Kakert and the folks over at Hawkeye Report do a very good job keeping us up to date with Hawkeye Sports as part of the Rivals Network. Yahoo has bought the Rivals Network recently, so it will be interesting to see how things shake out.
Hawks Turf is another site I have enjoyed over the years. A free site that has weathered the storms over the years of the big paid sites. crhawkeye does a very good job from his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Rivals Network is my favorite. It is a shame that some sites don't offer a free spot or at minimum, an open spot, for premium members from rival teams. Examples of closed sites are Missouri and Colorado. With a former Cedar Rapids Washington athlete on the Colorado football team, it is disappointing not to be able to get some news from the message board on Maurice Cantrell, the starting fullback for CU.
I enjoy hitting various sites around the Big Ten and Big 12. Iowa State's site is only for premium members within the Rivals Network. At least, ISU offers something better than the other two.
A favorite closer to me personally is the Bluejay Cafe. A great site to catch up with Creighton University athletics. The Bluejays offer solid programs in men's and women's basketball, soccer and baseball. Making the NCAA Tournament this past season in all 3 men's sports and losing out in the Women's MVC Basketball Tournament in a heartbreaking OT loss.
The SAPR can provide recruits for college football or college basketball a way to measure a programs success in athletics with that schools ability to deliver a quality college degree.
Some of my favorite programs in both football and college basketball fair well in the recent SAPR rankings. The Iowa Hawkeye football program ranked 12th, tied with Oklahoma. The Creighton Bluejay basketball program finished 20th in the most recent basketball SAPR rankings.
Former Governor Tommy Thompson wins Linn Country Republican Straw Poll and speaks to locals at event this weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Back long ago, I would be enjoying the major league baseball season, but the dog days of summer have passed me by, when it comes to MLB.
Less than 100 days until college football season kicks off!
So, I thought I would try my first official blog.
As a huge college football fan, it will be likely geared towards college football. But, you never know what may be thrown in. A little politics! A little more college sports here and there. We will just have to wait and see.