Friday, August 31, 2012

Breakfast Game in USA from Dublin, Ireland on Saturday morning; while B1G moves to 2-0

A typical Saturday in the Fall is highlighted by football starting at 11:00 a.m. Central Time.  But, the first Saturday in 2012 offers up a 8 a.m. breakfast start in the USA Central Time, with a TV broadcast from Dublin, Ireland.

Saturday, September 1st  

Navy vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland) 8:00 a.m.CBS (HD) /

After dominating this series for 43 years, Notre Dame was without a blemish vs. Navy.  But, Navy has beat Notre Dame 3 out of 5 the past five years. Last season, Notre Dame won 56-14.

Can Navy pull off the upset, like South Florida in '11 @ Notre Dame?  The Fighting Irish hasn't lost two straight season openers, since 1985 - 1986.

Saturday's game in Dublin is being tabbed the Emerald Isle Classic.  The game will be played in Vivian Stadium, a nice 50,000 stadium for the American game.

Notre Dame won the last game in Dublin in '96 over Navy 54-27.  Nice to root for Midshipmen, but Fighting Irish should win.  It could be close, with redshift freshman Everett Gilson leading Irish at QB.

On Friday night in East Lansing, #12 Michigan State closed out their season opener in the fourth quarter, with a 17-13 win over # 17 Boise State.  The Big Ten opens season 2-0, over MWC, after Minnesota beat UNLV 30-27 in 3 OT in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

There will be plenty of college football action Saturday, with Notre Dame vs. Navy kicking things off.

Can the Big Ten move to 2-0 vs. Mountain West opponents on Friday?

Friday, August 31st

North CarolIna State vs. Tennessee (Atlanta) 6:30 p.m.ESPNU (HD) / espn3

#17 Boise State at # 12 MIchIgan State 7:00 p.m.ESPN (HD) / espn3

San Jose State at #9 Stanford 9:00 p.m.PAC-12 Network (HD) /

Villanova at Temple 6:00 p.m.espn3

Wagner at Florida Atlantic 6:00 p.m.espn3

Minnesota had to use 3 OTs to hold off UNLV on the road Thursday night to open the 2012 College Football season. Now on FrIday nIght, the defending Legends division champion, #12 Michigan State hosts #17 Boise State in the first Top 25 battle of the opening weekend.

Tonight's picks are North Carolina State, #12 Michigan State, #9 Stanford, Temple and Florida Atlantic.  It should be an exciting and interesting Week 1 of college football.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Looking forward to the 2012 College Football season?

On Thursday night, we will see the 2012 College Football season kickoff as ESPN, CBS Sports Network and other networks that you will likely find on your sports package help kickoff the first Week of College Football.  Sadly, some games will have to be rescheduled, due to Hurricane Issac.  Other schools are seeing practices disrupted, as we get ready to kickoff the season Thursday through Labor Day!

Thursday, August 30th - TOP GAME

Times listed are Central Time

  • #8 South Carolina at Vanderbilt 6:00 p.m. ESPN (HD) / espn3 - the Gamecocks are on a three game winning streak and own a 17-4 mark in this series dating back to 1961.  The Gamecocks should take care of business on the road to open SEC and 2012 play as Junior Marcus Lattimore returns from last year's knee injury ...

ESPN Goal Line ... Live look-ins on espn3 games @ 6:30 p.m.

I began following College Football in 1974.  The 2012 season welcomes more new head coaches, since 1974.  Plenty of story lines will likely unfold in 2012.

Other Games on Thursday
  • UCLA at Rice 6:30 p.m. CBSSN (HD) - The Bruins square off against the Owls for the fifth time in the series.  UCLA leads 4-0 and this is only the second game in Houston.  UCLA only won that game 27-24 in 1966, so will the Jim Mora era in Westwood begin on a bright note?
  • UMass at Connecticut 6:30 p.m. SNY / ERTV (cable) / espn3 - UConn will host UMass, who is one of the four new members moving up to FBS in '12, joining the MAC this season.  UConn
  • Sacramento State at New Mexico State 7:00 p.m. ALT (HD) / AggieVision / espn3 - Do the Aggies get it done in the 2012 opener?
  • Washington State at BYU 9:15 p.m. ESPN (HD) - Only the fourth meeting between these two schools with the same nickname, Cougars.  Washington State begins the Mike Leach era as they travel to Provo to face BYU.  BYU is favored, while WSU leads the series 2-1. with the first in the Holiday Bowl in '81.  High scoring and close games in the past ...
  • Minnesota at UNLV 10:00 p.m. CBSSN (HD) - The Jerry Kill era at Minnesota begins Season 2, as the Gophers and Running Rebels square off in football for the first time.  Senior Marquis Gray leads the Gophers and an outstanding dual-threat quarterback.
  • Eastern Michigan at Ball State 6:00 p.m. espn3 - Two MAC teams square off in the 2012 season opener and Eastern Michigan leads the series 25-12 and has won 6 of last 7 games, including '08, when Michigan coach Brady Hoke lead Ball State to 12-2.  May regret this pick ...
  • Eastern Washington at Idaho 8:00 p.m. espn3 - Neighbors battle in this FCS vs. FBS showdown!
  • McNeese State at Middle Tennessee 6:30 p.m. espn3 -
  • Northern Arizona at Arizona State 9:30 p.m. PAC-12 Network (HD) - the Sun Devils open 2012 with one of the four new coaches in the Pac 12, as coach Todd Graham takes the helm in Tempe ...
  • Northern Colorado at Utah 6:15 p.m. PAC-12 Network (HD) - a good start in 2012 for coach Kyle Whittingham could lead the Utah Utes to a Top 25 position, as they open year two in the Pac 12 with a non-conference game ...
  • Southeast Missouri State at Central Michigan 6:00 p.m. espn3 - Week 4 Central Michigan will travel to Iowa City ...
  • Southern Utah at Utah State 7:00 p.m. KMYU (cable) / espn3 - A FCS-FBS battle in Utah ...
  • Towson at Kent State 6:00 p.m. CSMA (cable) / espn3 - Coach David Hanzell opens second season at helm for Golden Flashes ...
  • UCF at Akron 6:00 p.m. espn3 - C-USA vs. MAC - Central Florida travels to Akron to face a team that ranks #124 by many among the 124 teams in FBS in '12. A Zips win would be a major surprise of the first weekend, but they lead series 3-2 ...
Weekend Watch - Top Game:
  • Sept. 1, #13 Michigan vs. #1 Alabama at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas. "The annual opener at Jerry Jones' funhouse has had some great matchups in the past. This one could be the best of the bunch." - the AP's John Marshall is likely right on this one.
A look at other games in 2012 ...

Game Week: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz meets with media ahead of Season Opener in Chicago vs. Northern Illinois

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Game week is officially upon the University of Iowa football team, and head coach Kirk Ferentz is both eager and anxious heading into the season opener against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field.  Iowa finished 7-6 in 2011, while Northern Illinois won the MAC title and finished 11-3.  The Hawkeye coach meet with media on Tuesday to discuss the season opener on Saturday.

"You're always anxious, excited, but anxious," said Ferentz during Tuesday's press conference inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. "That's probably where we're at right now. I'm sure Northern feels the same way.

"It's going to be interesting, but that's why you work. That's why you practice. Now we'll see how things start to come together."

Ferentz says the Hawkeyes closed the preseason with strong workouts, and the team is ready for the next challenge.

"They've done a great job the last couple of years. They've beaten Big Ten teams in recent history, and there's no saying it couldn't happen again this week. That's our No. 1 thing, focusing on them." - UI head coach Kirk Ferentz

"We've had a productive preseason," he said. "The past three weeks the guys have worked hard, had a good attitude and gotten some things done. Now it's another step for us with it being the first game week."

The Hawkeyes head to the Windy City to face a Huskie team that has won nine consecutive games, the longest winning streak among Football Bowl Series teams in the country. NIU has won 22 games over the past two seasons and 15-of-its-last-16 Mid-American Conference games.

"They've done a great job the last couple of years," said Ferentz. "They're an excellent football team. They're very experienced on defense and special teams."

"They've beaten Big Ten teams in recent history, and there's no saying it couldn't happen again this week. That's our No. 1 thing, focusing on them."

Iowa is 7-0 all-time against Northern Illinois. The series began in 1985, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies, 16-3, in 2007 -- the last meeting that was also played at Soldier Field.

Following the season-ending injury to freshman running back Barkley Hill on Aug. 18, Ferentz said all three running backs -- sophomore Damon Bullock and freshmen Greg Garmon and Michael Malloy -- will see action Saturday.

"We're down to three guys we can envision going into the ball game," he said. "Damon is the most experienced, and he has played, but he's hardly a seasoned player. All three of those guys will be in there and we'll go from there."

Ferentz is hopeful that the Hawkeyes can get off the "rollercoaster" when it comes to the Iowa special teams, but he realizes there could be some bumps in the road with true freshman punter Connor Kornbrath.

"That's one of our goals," said Ferentz. "There's going to be some in the punting game. Probably no different than when Eric Guthrie started a year ago and Donnie (Ryan Donahue) four-or-five years ago. We think Connor has that kind of potential to end up being a really good player."

Kornbrath is one of four true freshmen who are expected to play Saturday, along with Garmon, Malloy and defensive back Kevin Buford.

During the course of camp, Ferentz has seen progress from his inexperienced defensive line, and he expects it's going to be a collective effort against Northern Illinois and throughout the season.

"The guys are working hard and have a good attitude," said Ferentz. "I would envision us playing six, seven, eight guys during the course of the game. I'm not sure we have somebody that can go out there and play 70, 75, 80 snaps right now. It's going to be a collective effort."

Ferentz says it is a win-win situation for both the players and fans when playing a neutral site game in Chicago.

"Our fans seemed to enjoy it and embraced it, which is good," said Ferentz of the previous meeting in 2007. "I don't want to say it is a convenient game, but at least it's a lot better than going to the West Coast in my mind."

"You're playing in a pro stadium, which is exciting to the players. They like that opportunity based on some of the bowl games we've played in pro stadiums. To me, it just makes sense."

Ferentz announced that the leadership group selected senior quarterback James Vandenberg, senior center James Ferentz, senior defensive back Micah Hyde and junior linebacker James Morris as this week's¬¬ team captains.

Saturday's game is set to begin at 2:32 p.m. (CT) inside Chicago's Soldier Field. The game will be televised live on ESPNU with Tom Hart and John Congemi calling the action

Iowa appears have a very young team from a standpoint of seniors and seniors starting.  However, with only four true freshmen likley playing on Saturday, it doesn't appear that Iowa is going to draw upon the freshmen class at the same rate as other seasons under Kirk Ferentz.

Iowa lost key players from 2011:

  • WR Marvin McNutt has departed, after a record setting season in 2011.  Look for senior wide receiver #6 Keenan Davis to step up from the #2 spot at WR, into that top spot.
  • DT Mike Daniels lead Iowa in sacks and tackles for loss last season.  During Spring Drills, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle #90 Louis Trinca-Pasat to step up as a new starter on the new defensive line for Iowa.
  • CB Shaun Prater was a three-year starter and was twice recognized as a first-team all-Big Ten performer.  Junior CB #19 B.J. Lowery will be the new starter, but senior #18 Micah Hyde returns as the top corner for Iowa.  He is a returning second-team all-Big Ten performer.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Iowa Hawkeyes Kickoff Season in Chicago, Sept. 1

The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-6, 4-4 in Big Ten Legends in '11) will kickoff the 2012 football season in Chicago on September 1 at Soldier Field, vs. the Northern Illinois Huskies (11-3, 7-1 MAC West).  The Huskies are the defending MAC champions and finished 2011 with a 38-20 win in the Bowl over Arkansas State, the Sun Belt champions.

The game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m., Central Time on ESPNU.  NIU is ranked #1 in our MAC West rankings released on Sunday.  The Hawkeyes enter 2012 as the 4th rated team in the Legends Division behind Michigan State, Michigan and Nebraska.

The season opener will be the second time Iowa will play in Soldier Field; Iowa beat Northern Illinois, 16-3, in Chicago in 2007.

Game One: Iowa Depth Chart & Game [PDF] 

Our Cidsports Preseason Top 25 ratings for the 2012 College Football Season

How should preseason polls be judged?

Should the defending champ be judged differently?
Should teams have to earn there way back up the Top 25 ladder, after a poor season(s)?
Should the preseason rankings be based on today or how the season should finish in January?

Are there 10 teams worthy of a spot in the Top 10 heading into 2012? Over the past couple of seasons, we would say "no" and this season actually doesn't look any different. Hard to say any Big Ten team is worthy of a Top 10 ranking, with the questions each program has heading into the 2012 season.

Early ratings are often premature, just look at preseason rankings, since 1989. There are plenty of programs who are often overrated or underrated year in and year out. Top Five typically over hyped annually heading into the College Football Season:

Notre Dame - No different this year, with the coaches ranking the Irish #24 coming off 8-5 year?

Oklahoma - Bob Stoops is 108-27 the past 10 seasons, but hasn't won a BCS title, since '00!

Texas - Both preseason polls have Longhorns #15, despite 8-5 and 5-7 in '11 and '10... #19 is too high!

Florida State - What has the ACC done lately? Seminoles were 9-4 last year, but '05 since last BCS bowl!

Nebraska - The Cornhuskers finished 5-3 in Big Ten Legends division and 9-4 overall and now 11 years, since they played in a BCS bowl...

Typically, preseason polls like named BCS teams year in and year out. No different in 2012...

So, who should be #1 heading into the 2012 College Football season?

1. Alabama (12-1, 7-1 SEC West) - The Crimson Tide have won two of the past three BCS titles under coach Nick Saban entering his sixth season in Tuscaloosa. Junior QB AJ McCarron is back, with five other offensive starters and what should be the nation's Top OL. Only five defensive starters return with all-American skills from last year's national title team, but both specialists are back for the Tide! Season Opener: vs. Michigan on 9/1 in Arlington, TX.

The SEC rules the BCS, with six straight titles ...

2. LSU (13-1, 8-0 SEC West) - The Tigers are the last team to beat Alabama (9-6 ot '11 regular season). The Tigers are the defending SEC champions, but lost the BCS Title game 0-21 to Bama. Junior JC transfer Zach Mettenberger steps into the QB position, which is one reason the Tigers haven't won a BCS title, since '07. Both kickers are back along with seven offensive and six defensive, as Les Miles enters his eighth season at the helm in Baton Rouge. Biggest non-conferece tilt: vs. Washington on 9/8.

3. Oregon (12-2, 8-1 Pac12 North) - The Ducks are playing for their fourth straight conference title in '12. The Ducks are also coming off a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. They lost 19-22 to Auburn, the previous year in the BCS title game, so there is plenty of excitement for '12. Coach Chip Kelly is entering his fourth season in Eugene, with likely redshirt frosh Marcus Mariota at the helm at QB and senior Kenjon Barner back at RB. Both kickers are back, with five offensive and defensive starters returning. Key game: @ USC on 11/3.

4. USC (10-2, 7-2 Pac12 South) - The Trojans are coming off NCAA bowl sactions, as coach Lane Kiffin enters third season as head coach in Los Angeles. The Trojans still face scholarship sactions and depth is a concern heading into 2012. Senior QB Matt Barkley returns with eight other starters on offense, including the top 3 receivers. The Trojans defense returns seven starters and both kickers. The Trojans have won four straight bowls, since the BCS title game loss to Texas during '04 season. Conference opener: @ Stanford on 9/15.

5. Arkansas (11-2, 6-2 SEC West) - The off the field dismissal in Fayetteville of coach Bobby Petrino may make this pick a little high? But, senior QB Tyler Wilson returns along with six other offensive starters. The defense returns six starters from a squad that beat Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton. Both kickers also return for the Razorbacks. Interim coach John L. Smith was only 1-6 in previous bowl games. Key game: vs. Alabama on 9/15 in SEC opener.

6. Oklahoma State (12-1, 8-1 Big 12) - The Sooners are the defending Big 12 champ, coming off a 41-38 ot win over Stanford in the Fiesta; beat Oklahoma 44-10 in the season finale. A true frosh Wes Lunt is projected as #1 QB. Senior PK/P Quinn Sharp returns along with four offensive and eight defensive starters as coach Mike Gundy enters eighth season at the helm in Stillwater. Key OOC game: @ Arizona on 9/8.

7. Oklahoma (10-3, 6-3 Big 12) - Bob Stoops is entering his 14th season at the helm in Norman. The Sooners are coming off a 31-14 win over Stoops' alma mater, Iowa in the Insight. Senior QB Landry Jones is one of eight offensive starters back, along with both kickers and seven defensive starters. Injuries have been an issue for the Sooners over the last several seasons. Odd start the season with two bye weeks in September and the season opener @ UTEP. Big 12 opener: vs. K-State on 9/22.

8. South Carolina (11-2, 6-2 SEC East) - The Gamecocks enter 2012 with coach Steve Spurrier opening his eighth season in Columbia. Injury to junior RB Marcus Lattimore cut short a solid season. In '10, the Gamecokes won the SEC East for the first time, but lost the SEC championship to BCS champion Auburn. Junior QB Connor Shaw returns with five other offensive starters and five defensivie starters from the 30-13 win over Nebraska in the Capitial One game. Season/SEC opener: @ Vanderbilt on 8/30.

9. Stanford (11-2, 8-1 Pac12 North) - The Cardinal enter the second season in Stanford with coach David Shaw at the helm. The Cardinal must replace QB Andrew Luck and junior Josh Nunes will get the nod. He will have six offensive starters back, along with their placekicker and seven Cardinal back as starters on defense. Key Pac 12 division game: @ Oregon on 11/17.

10. West Virginia (10-3, 5-2 Big East) - Good bye Big East, hello Big 12, as the Mountaineers enter the 2nd season under coach Dana Holgorsen at the helm in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are coming off a 70-33 Orange Bowl win over Clemson as they move West to the Big 12. Senior QB Geno Smith returns along with seven other starters on offense, both kickers are back, along with six defensive starters. Key back to back Big 12 road trips: @ Texas on 10/6, then @ Texas Tech on 10/13.

Big Ten teams may develop into a Top 10 program in 2012, but at the present time, we don't see one worthy of Top 10 as the season kicks off in the coming week ...

11. Wisconsin (11-3, 6-2 Big Ten Leaders) - The Badgers have won back to back conference titles, including the first title game under coach Bret Bielema, now in his 7th year as head coach in Madison. Bielema is bringing in another ringer at QB, this time with junior Danny O'Brien from Maryland, after Russell Wilson departed for the NFL. Only five starters are back on offensive, while six starters are back defensively. The specialists will be new in '12. Key game: @ Nebrasaka on 9/29 in Big Ten opener.

12. Michigan State (11-3, 7-1 Big Ten Legends) - The Spartans are coming off a 33-30 3ot win in Outback over Georgia, as MSU finally gets a win in a bowl game for the first time, since '01. Coach Mark Dantonio returns eight starters on defense and both kickers, but only five return on offense and junior Andrew Maxwell will be the new QB. Season opener: vs. Boise State on 8/31.

13. Michigan (11-2, 6-2 Big Ten Legends) - Can 2nd year coach Brady Hoke in Ann Arbor do what Bob Stoops at OU or Gene Chizik at Auburn did in year two at there schools? Each lead there respectives teams into the BCS title game in their second season. The Wolverines were down prior to Hoke's arrival for three years. The Wolverines are coming off a 23-20 overtime win over Virginia Tech the Sugar. They are lead by senior QB Denard Robinson, five other offensive starters, seven defensive starters and both kickers are back. Key game: @ Ohio State on 11/24.

14. Georgia (10-4, 7-1 SEC East) - Both the Coaches and AP Poll rank the Bulldogs #6 coming off a 30-33 3OT loss to Michigan State in the Outback. The Bulldogs do return starting QB Aaron Murray and six other offensive starters. They will break in new kickers and nine defensive starters are back, but the Bulldogs appear to be a perfect example of a program that needs to earn a Top 10 ranking. SEC opener: @ Missouri on 9/8.

15. Florida State (9-4, 4-4 ACC Atlantic) - The Seminoles are lead by senior QB EJ Manuel and seven other offensive starters and placekicker. The defense returns nine starters from the 18-14 win in the Champs Sports over Notre Dame. Coach Jimbo Fisher begins third season at the helm in Tallahassee. The Seminole open '12 with back to back FCS games. Top OOC game in September: @USF on 9/29.

16. TCU (11-2, 7-0 MWC) - The Horned Frogs leave the MWC for the Big 12 as coach Gary Patterson enters his 12th season in Ft. Worth. Senior QB Casey Pachall leads five other returning starters on offense. Five defensive starters return from the team that beat Lousiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia to win for their 7th bowl win in eight outings. Season finale: vs. Oklahoma on 12/1.

17. Boise State (12-1, 6-1 MWC) - The Broncos enter the seventh season under Chris Peterson in Boise with a rebuilding effort in the works, with only five starters on offense and 2 starters on defense returning from the squad that won 56-24 over Arizona State in Las Vegas to end '11. Junior Joe Southwick will step into the void at QB, with Kellen Moore's departure.

18. Virginia Tech (11-3, 7-1 ACC Coastal) - The Hokies open the 26th season under coach Frank Beamer in Blacksburg in 2012. Junior QB Logan Thomas highlights the three starters back on offense, but nine defensive starters are back, along with both kickers. The Hokies have played in four BCS bowls the past five seasons. Season Opener: vs. Georgia Tech in ACC opener on Labor Day 9/3.

19. Texas (8-5, 4-5 Big 12) - The Longhorns enter the 15th season under coach Mack Brown in Austin. After a BCS title game in '09, the Longhorns fell to 2-6 in the Big 12 in '10, but rebounded last year, with a nice 21-10 win over California in the Holiday. The QB position needs to have better production, as sophomore David Ash returns, along with eight other offensive starters. Six starters are back on defense, with newcomers on special teams. The Red River Shoutout on 10/13 is game 3 of the Big 12 season. Key game: @ Okie State on 9/29 in Big 12 opener.

20. Houston (13-1, 8-0 CUSA West) - The Cougars came up short in the CUSA title game, but rebounded with a 30-14 win over Penn State in the TicketCity. Tony Levine took the one game interim tag into the bowl game and landed the job as the new coach at Houston replacing Kevin Sumlin, who moved to Texas A&M. Only five starters return on offense, while seven starters are back on defense, along with both kickers. Sophomore QB David Piland redshirted last season, but he filled in as a starter for injured and now departed Case Keenum for 8 starts in '10 as a true frosh. Key OOC game: @ UCLA on 9/15.

21. Clemson (10-4, 6-2 ACC Atlantic) - Coach Dabo Swinney enters his fifth season in Clemson. Seven offensive starters return, including junior QB Tajh Boyd, seven starters are back on defense, along with the #1 placekicker. The Tigers are the defending ACC champions, but must rebound from a 33-70 loss in the Orange to West Virginia. Open season in Atlanta vs. Auburn on 9/1. Key game: @ Florida State on 9/22 for ACC opener.

22. Florida (7-6, 3-5 SEC East) - Coach Will Muschamp enters year 2 at helm in Gainsville. The Gators return seven offensive starters, 10 defensive starters and both kickers off of 24-17 Gator win over Ohio State. The QB position needs better production. Key back to back SEC road games: week 2 @ Texas A&M on 9/8 and week 3 @ Tennessee on 9/15.

23. Missouri (8-5, 5-4 Big 12) - The Tigers move from the Big 12 to the SEC East in 2012, as coach Gary Pinkel opens his 12th season in Columbia. The Tigers are coming off a 41-24 win over North Carolina in the Independence. Junior QB James Franklin lead six starters back on offense, while six defensive starters return and senior Trey Barrow takes over PK duties for '12. The Tigers will play a strong OOC schedule with a trip @ Central Florida on 9/29 and two other BCS conference opponents. Key game: @ South Carolina on 9/22.

24. Nebraska (9-4, 5-3 Big Ten Legends) - The Cornhuskers finished year one in the Big Ten with a winning record, but it has been over ten seasons now, since Nebraska played in a BCS bowl game. The Cornhuskers closed '11 with a 13-30 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One. Junior QB Taylor Martinez and senior RB Rex Burkhead lead the seven starters back on offense. Senior PK/Punter Brett Maher returns, along with seven defensive starters for '12. Season opener: vs. Southern Miss on 9/1.

25. Kansas State (10-3, 7-2 Big 12) - Though he took some time away from the head coaching position, Bill Snyder enters his 21st season at the helm in Manhattan. The Wildcats have enjoyed back to back bowl games over the past two seasons, but still looking for first win, since '02 Holiday ten seasons ago. Senior QB Collin Klien leads eight starters back on offense, while both kickers return, along with six starters on defense lead by senior MLB Arthur Brown. Key OOC game: vs. Miami-FL on 9/8.

Out of the polls (finished last season in the final AP/Coaches Poll):

13/12. Baylor (10-3, 6-3 Big 12) - Coach Art Briles enters fifth season at the helm in Waco, without QB Robert Griffin III, as the Heisman Trophy winner moves onto the NFL. The Bears have enjoyed back to back bowl seasons, including a 67-56 win over Washington last year in Alamo. Senior Nick Florence brings some experience to the table at QB, as six starters return on offense, both kickers and eight starters on defense return for the Bears. Season opener: vs. SMU on 9/2.

20/19. Southern Miss (12-2, 6-2 CUSA East) - The Golden Eagles are the defending champions of the C-USA heading into 2012 and are coming off a 24-17 win over Nevada in Hawaii. Former South Carolina DC Ellis Johnson replaces Larry Fedora in Hattiesburg, as Fedora exited after four seasons, taking the job at UNC. Junior Chris Campbell is projected by many at QB, but has lost practice time this preseason. Six starters on offense, a punter and four defensive starters return from last year. Key game: @ UCF on 10/13.

25/21. Cinicinnati (10-3, 5-2 Big East) - Can the Bearcats fill the void of Big East champion West Virginia exit to Big 12? Only four starters return on offense, while both kickers and seven starters return for Cincinnati, as coach Butch Jones enters third season at the helm. The Bearcats are coming off a 31-24 win over Vanderbilt in the Liberty. Season opener: week 2 vs. Pittsburgh on Thusday 9/6.

Not ranked (though ranked in the preseason AP/Coaches Poll):

18/NR Ohio State (6-7, 3-5 Big Ten Leaders) - The Buckeyes may be the best team in the Big Ten this season under first year coach Urban Meyer. NCAA probation will leave the Buckeyes in Columbus for the Holidays this season. Sophomore QB Braxton Miller highlights the six starters back on offense. Nine defensive starters are back, along with both kickers. The Buckeyes are in Columbus for four straight OOC games to open season, then Big Ten opener @ MSU on 9/29. Key game: @ Wisconsin on 11/17.

25/NR Auburn (8-5, 4-4 SEC West) - Coach Gene Chizik enters fourth season at the helm in Auburn. The Tigers won the BCS in '10 and have three bowl wins under Chizik, including a 43-24 win over Virginia last year in the Chick-fil-A. The Tigers return six offensive starters, both kickers and nine defensive starters in '12. Sophomore QB Kiehl Frazier brings speed to the position, but questions remain. Key game: vs. LSU on 9/22.

NR/24. Notre Dame (8-5 as Independent) - Coach Brian Kelly enters his third season at the helm in South Bend with a bowl win in '10 over Miami-FL and a bowl loss in '11 vs. Florida State. The Fighting Irish return eight starters on offense, punter and six starters on defense. The 2012 season opens in Dublin, Ireland on 9/1 as the Fighting Irish open vs. Navy as redshirt freshman Everett Golson is named starting QB. Key game: @ Oklahoma on 10/27.

NR/25. Louisville (7-6, 5-2 Big East) - Coach Charlie Strong enters his third season at the helm in Lousiville coming off a 24-31 loss vs. North Carolina State in the Belk. Sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater is among the seven offensive starters back, with eight returning on the defensive side of the ball for the Cardinals. Season opener: vs. Kentucky on 9/2.

Division and Conference Power Ratings:

The SEC is the #1 conference again!

SEC West: 1. Alabama, 2. LSU, 3. Arkansas, 4. newcomer Texas A&M, 5. Auburn, 6. Mississippi State, 7. Ole Miss.

SEC East: 1. South Carolina, 2. Georgia, 3. Florida, 4. newcomer Missouri, 5. Tennessee, 6. Vanderbilt, 7. Kentucky

Big Ten Leaders: 1. Ohio State (probation), 2. Wisconsin, 3. Purdue, 4. Illinois, 5. Penn State (probation), 6. Indiana.

Big Ten Legends: 1. Michigan State, 2. Michigan, 3. Nebraska, 4. Iowa, 5. Northwestern, 6. Minnesota.

Big 12: 1. Oklahoma State, 2. Oklahoma, 3. West Virginia, 4. TCU, 5. Texas, 6. Kansas State, 7. Baylor, 8. Texas Tech 9. Iowa State, 10. Kansas.

Pac 12 North: 1. Oregon, 2. Stanford, 3. California, 4. Washington, 5. Oregon State, 6. Washington State.

Pac 12 South: 1. USC, 2. Utah, 3. UCLA, 4. Arizona State, 5. Arizona, 6. Colorado.

ACC Atlantic: 1. Florida State, 2. Clemson, 3. North Carolina State, 4. Boston College, 5. Wake Forest, 6. Maryland.

ACC Coastal: 1. Virginia Tech, 2. Georgia Tech, 3. North Carolina, 4. Miami-FL, 5. Virginia, 6. Duke.

Big East: 1. Cincinnati, 2. Rutgers, 3. Louisville, 4. South Florida, 5. Pittsburgh, 6. Temple, 7. UConn, 8. Syracuse.

MWC: 1. Boise State, 2. Nevada, 3. San Diego State, 4. Air Force, 5. Wyuoming, 6. Fresno State, 7. Hawaii, 8. Colorado State, 9. UNLV, 10. New Mexico.

C-USA East: 1. Southern Miss, 2. UCF, 3. Marshall, 4. East Carolina, 5. UAB, 6. Memphis.

C-USA West: 1. Houston, 2. Tulsa, 3. SMU, 4. UTEP, 5. Rice, 6. Tulane.

Independents: 1. Notre Dame, 2. BYU, 3. Navy, 4. Army.

MAC East: 1. Ohio U., 2. Miami-OH, 3. Bowling Green, 4. Kent State, 5. Buffalo, 6. Massachusetts, 7. Akron.

MAC West: 1. Northern Illinois, 2. Toledo, 3. Western Michigan, 4. Ball State, 5. Eastern Michigan, 6. Central Michigan.

WAC: 1. Louisiana Tech, 2. Utah State, 3. San Jose State, 4. Idaho, 5. New Mexico State, 6. UT-San Antonio, 7. Texas State.

Sun Belt: 1. Arkansas State, 2. FIU, 3. Lousiana-Lafayette, 4. Western Kentucky, 5. Louisina-Monroe, 6. North Texas, 7. Troy, 8. Middle Tennessee, 9. South Alabama.

Let the Games of 2012 begin!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Big Ten Football Preview Tour makes its 1st stop in Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It didn't take long for three Big Ten Network personalities to spout shining reviews of the University of Iowa football program following their visit to campus Wednesday.

"Best indoor facility in the Big Ten," BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo said.

"(Freshmen running backs) Greg Garmon and Barkley Hillcaught my eye this morning," said Tom Dienhart, senior writer for

"One thing you always know about the Hawkeyes when you look at them -- you're going to see a quality team," BTN analyst Howard Griffith said.

The Big Ten Network was in town for the first of its annual 12-stop tour around the conference for the Big Ten Football Preview Tour. Iowa's segment will be aired on the BTN on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 9 p.m. (CT).

"This is always a great stop," DiNardo said. "It's a fun place to come and (head coach) Kirk (Ferentz) and his staff treated us well. Practice didn't look much different; the names change, but we always say when we leave, that is one of the best practices we'll see during camp with the way it is organized and run. It was another great Iowa practice."

"This is always a great stop. It's a fun place to come and (head coach) Kirk (Ferentz) and his staff treated us well. Practice didn't look much different; the names change, but we always say when we leave, that is one of the best practices we'll see during camp with the way it is organized and run. It was another great Iowa practice." - Gerry DiNardo, Big Ten Network analyst

The Hawkeyes worked out inside their new indoor facility which provided an added treat to the BTN crew.

"First of all, the indoor practice facility is unbelievable," Griffith said. "It is well put together and well-designed."

"I know Kirk Ferentz pined for an upgrade facility-wise and he got it," Dienhart said. "I'll tell you what, this is spectacular."

Iowa returns 12 starters from a team that went 7-6 last season (4-4 in the Big Ten) and advanced to the Insight Bowl. The 2012 squad is heavy with underclassmen (81) and light at the upper end (40).

"If Iowa can answer questions at running back and along the defensive line, it could allow for a fast start to build momentum," Dienhart said. "If they can get the 4-0, 5-0 start, then they could be a dark horse in the Legends Division this year."

"If they can fix some of those (road) ills they had last year, there is no reason they shouldn't be right in the thick of things," Griffith said.

All eyes will be on a Hawkeye offensive backfield that returns running backs Damon Bullock (10 carries, 20 yards) and Brad Rogers (3 carries, 8 yards). True freshmen Hill and Garmon are already on the depth chart.

"(Garmon and Hill) hit the hole extremely fast," Dienhart said. "I saw them in some pass protection drills, going 1-on-1 with some of the linebackers and they stood up pretty well. For true freshmen without fully-developed bodies, they look like they have good strength to them, and their quickness was very apparent."

"They are going to be solid at the running back position, it's just a matter of time," Griffith said. "Clearly two freshmen are going to have an opportunity to contribute, and with freshmen, the key is to not put the ball on the ground, be able to pick up the blitz in the pass protection game, and catch the ball out of the backfield."

"My general feeling is there is talent there," DiNardo said. "It is hard to tell who is going to emerge based on one practice."

To read a recap of day by Dienhart, click HERE. To watch post-practice videos of Hawkeye players and coaches click HERE.

The University of Iowa football team will stage its annual "Kids Day at Kinnick" on Saturday, Aug. 11. Gates to Kinnick Stadium open at 11 a.m. (CT), with the team's practice scheduled to begin at noon. Iowa's 2012 Kids Day is presented by UI Children's Hospital and Kohl's Keeping Kids Safe.

The Hawkeyes kick off the 2012 College Football season on September 1st in Chicago's Soldier Field, as Iowa faces Northern Illinois for a 2:30 pm (CT) kickoff on ESPNU.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012-13 Iowa Hawkeyes non-conference men's basketball schedule announced

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The UI Department of Athletics and head coach Fran McCaffery have announced the 2012-13 nonconference men's basketball schedule. Iowa will play nine non-league regular-season contests on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, three neutral site games, and one true road contest.

Iowa will not face in-state rival Drake this season, with the creation of the Wells Fargo Arena Big 4 doubleheader with Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Ilinois.  Iowa will play UNI this year, while Iowa State will play Drake. Next year, the match ups will reverse for Iowa and Iowa State.

Iowa will hit the hardwood with three returning starters and five newcomers for the 2012-13 season.

Hawkeye fans will get their first glimpse of the new squad in the re-engineered "Black and Gold Blowout" on Oct. 19 and in an exhibition against Quincy on Nov. 4.Iowa's Big Ten schedule, game times and television information will be announced later this summer.

Nov. 9 vs. Texas-Pan American
Iowa opens its 2012 campaign against a team from the Great West Conference on a Friday night. The Hawkeyes are 3-0 all-time against the Broncs, with all wins coming in Iowa City and the last coming in 2006 (62-46). Iowa is 7-0 all-time against current Great West Conference members.

Nov. 12 vs. Central Michigan
The Hawkeyes will square off against the Chippewas for the first time. A familiar face will be returning with Central Michigan in former Drake head coach Keno Davis. Keno, who is the son of former Iowa head coach Tom Davis, enters his first season as head coach at Central Michigan.

Nov. 15 vs. Howard
The first of two Cancun Challenge preliminary games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It will mark the first time the Hawkeyes will have faced Howard. The Bison are a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, where the Hawkeyes boast a perfect 10-0 record against current members.

Nov. 17 vs. Gardner-Webb
The second preliminary game of the Cancun Challenge and Iowa's fourth game in nine days to open the season. Iowa has never faced Gardner-Webb, who is a member of the Big South Conference. The Hawkeyes have only played four previous contests against members from the Big South, winning three.

Nov. 20 vs. Western Kentucky (Cancun, Mexico)
Iowa's first game away from home comes in Cancun against an NCAA tournament team from a year ago. The Hilltoppers won four consecutive games in the Sun Belt Tournament and topped Mississippi Valley State in the First Four before falling to eventual national champion Kentucky in the round of 64 last spring. This will be another first-time opponent for the Black and Gold. The Hawkeyes are 16-2 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt. This also marks the UI men's basketball team's first-ever trip to Cancun.

Nov. 21 vs. DePaul/Wichita State (Cancun, Mexico)
Iowa will play DePaul or Wichita State in the championship or consolation game of the Cancun Challenge. The Hawkeyes are 4-4 all-time against the Shockers, having played them as recently as 2009 in Kansas City. Iowa and DePaul have only played three times, most recently in Moline, Ill., in the 1995 postseason NIT. Wichita State lost to VCU in the NCAA Round of 64 a year ago, while DePaul did not compete in a postseason tournament.

Nov. 27 at Virginia Tech 
Iowa will meet Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the third time, most recently playing in Iowa City in 2009. The Hokies have defeated Iowa in both previous meetings. Iowa lost at Blacksburg in the Challenge in 2006 in its only visit to Virginia Tech. This is Iowa's first and only true road game of the nonconference schedule.

Dec. 1 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Iowa returns to Iowa City and will play its final six non-league contests in the state of Iowa, five coming on its home court. Iowa and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will meet for the first time. The Islanders are members of the Southland Conference, which the Hawkeyes are 4-1 against current league members.

Dec. 4 vs. South Dakota
The Hawkeyes will host South Dakota for the first time since 1964. Iowa is 10-0 all-time against the Coyotes. South Dakota is a member of The Summit League. The Hawkeyes are 28-3 against current members of The Summit League.

Dec. 7 vs. Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)
Iowa and Iowa State renew their in-state rivalry for the 66th time; Iowa leads the all-time series 42-23. The Cyclones have won the last two meetings. Iowa is 26-6 against the Cyclones in Iowa City. This will be one of the events in the 2012 Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

Dec. 15 vs. UNI (Des Moines, Iowa)
After a week of final exams, Iowa travels to Des Moines to play UNI in the inaugural Big Four Classic. This will mark the second straight year the Hawkeyes will have played in Wells Fargo Arena; Iowa played Creighton at the venue in November, 2011. Iowa leads the all-time series, 33-9, and has won three of the last four. This will be the first time this in-state match-up will be contested on a neutral court.

Dec. 19 vs. South Carolina State
Iowa returns home for two games in three days. First, the Hawkeyes host South Carolina State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Hawkeyes last played the Bulldogs in 2009, winning 82-69.

Dec. 22 vs. Coppin State
The Hawkeyes' final nonconference game comes against their third opponent from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Iowa is 2-0 all-time against the Eagles, with the two teams previously playing in 1998 and 2006.

The 2012-13 season will be the third season under McCaffery.  Iowa is looking to compete for a shot at the NCAA Tournent.  Iowa hasn't danced over the past six seasons, so Hawkeye fans are hoping for a breakout season in 2012-13.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Can the Iowa coaching staff put the puzzle together for 2012?

Iowa is entering the 14Th season under head coach Kirk Ferentz.  The Hawkeyes should reach Ferentz's 100th career victory at Iowa during the 2012 season. 

The real question is can Iowa's coaching staff find a way to put all the pieces together for Iowa to challenge for a Big Ten Legends division title and a birth in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis this December?

On Monday, the 2012 players and coaches meet with the media for Iowa's 14Th Media Day under Kirk Ferentz.  Only the true freshman were not in front of the media.  Ferentz keeps them off limits, until their second season on campus.

In 2000, a senior quarterback named Drew Brees helped lead a young Purdue Boilermaker team to a Big Ten title and a birth in the Rose Bowl.

In 2012, Iowa will look for a senior quarterback and a young Hawkeye football team to attempt to achieve the same.  James Vandenberg (pictured) will lead Iowa again, after becoming Iowa's #1 signal caller in 2011.  Vandenberg lead Iowa in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2009, as well.

Iowa also has 28 underclassmen on the preseason depth chart heading into 2012.

"This is our youngest team. That's documented if you look at the number of seniors and projected senior starters, which is still up in the air. But, hey, that's college football. We've got a lot of guys that have been in the program, and when they get the opportunity, they'll do a fine job," said head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Vandenberg is a proven commodity as the team's starting quarterback, having thrown for 3,022 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior in 2011, but who will be his top running mate in the back field is unclear. Sophomore Damon Bullock is the team's top returning rusher with 20 yards, leaving the door open for anyone and all.

"Basically anybody that's in the backfield position, maybe outside of Jonathan Gimm right now, is going to get a look at carrying the football to see if they can help us out in some way," said Ferentz. "We have guys out there that are capable. We have enough talent out there, and hopefully we can bridge the experience gap as well."

Freshmen Greg Garmon, Barkley Hill and Michael Malloy are all in the mix at running back after entering training camps following strong prep careers. Who will line up behind Vandenberg in Soldier Field will play out over the next month in practice.

"Everybody looks pretty good right now, but you'd expect that," said Ferentz. "Over the course of time usually the picture becomes a little clearer. The first hurdle is going to be what do we get done in camp, and who looks the best. We'll try to get that lined up correctly and see who they respond once we go to Chicago, and that'll be the next phase."

Ferentz has liked what he has seen from the 34 freshmen newcomers early in camp.

"So far, so good," said Ferentz, who played 10 true freshmen in 2011. "You're always a little cautious to say too much about anybody on the first blush, but they run around and look like they all belong on the field in their given spots for the most part.

"Everybody on the team has an opportunity; whether they show us they can contribute on special teams, be a backup or earn starting jobs too... we're open to anything."

Putting the pieces in place involves a lot of hard work and Ferentz knows it is not a process that is done overnight, it's done over time.

"We have a long road ahead of us right now, but we have a great opportunity to have a good season," he said. "As we move forward the keys are going to be improvement and developing consistency. Those things are a lot easier to talk about than do."

Iowa opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field. The game will begin at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and be televised on ESPNU.

Iowa Hawkeye Media Day: Year 14 of the Kirk Ferentz era

The University of Iowa held media day for the 2012 Iowa Football team in Iowa City on Monday afternoon. Head coach Kirk Ferentz is entering his 14Th season as head coach.  Ferentz was also offensive line coach from 1981-89, under former head coach J. Hayden Fry.

The Hawkeyes will kick off the 2012 season at Soldier Stadium in Chicago vs. Northern Illinois, with a 2:30 pm start on ESPNU.

After the visit to the Windy City, Iowa returns to historic Kinnick Stadium for four straight home games including the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series event against Iowa State on Sept. 8. That first of seven home games is sold out, however, a limited number of tickets remain for the next two home events of the Hawkeyes: Sept. 15 against intrastate rival Northern Iowa and Sept. 22 against Central Michigan. 

The Hawkeyes kick off Big Ten play on September 29Th vs. Minnesota at Kinnick.  It will also be the 2012 Homecoming Game for Iowa.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Who Should Be #1 in College Football this Preseason?

The USA Today Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll was released last week, with LSU #1.  Phil Steele has Florida State #1 in Phil Steele's 2012 College Football Preview, while Athlon Sports Top has USC #1.  Ever since the end of the 2011 season, when Alabama beat LSU in the BCS title game, the early Top 25 polls/ratings for 2012 have been available.

Who should be #1?  The team that is best right now or the team that is projected to win the BCS title in 2012? 

Should any conference team other than from the SEC be given a #1 ranking, based on the past six years?  No non-SEC has won the BCS title, since the 2005 season, when Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl.  Since the BCS title game became its own final game, only the SEC have won.
  • 2011 season - Alabama
  • 2010 season - Auburn
  • 2009 season - Alabama
  • 2008 season - Florida
  • 2007 season - LSU
  • 2006 season - Florida

Should it be last year's winner, until someone knocks them off?  At the beginning of the 2011 season, no one would place Auburn #1.  Heck, they were a reach for making them a Top 25 program, heading into the preseason season following their first BCS title, due to the loss of QB Cam Newton to the NFL.

Is Alabama worthy of #1?  Well, Alabama has won two of the last three titles in FBS College Footbal1, so if any program is worthy of #1, it may be Bama?  Head coach Nick Saban has three BCS titles, including the 2003 season, when he coached at LSU.

The LSU Tigers have two previous BCS titles, one under current coach Les Miles and the one under former coach Saban.  The Tigers finished #2 last year, losing 0-21 to Alabama, after beating the Crimson Tide 9-6 in OT on the road in the regular season.  Both teams will face each other on November 3Rd in Baton Rouge in what will be an important SEC West showdown again.  Popular pick, since they are a SEC team, but after last year's performance... earn it!

The Florida State Seminoles haven't won the BCS title, since the 1999 season, when they won the 2000 Sugar Bowl 46-29 over Virginia Tech.  Now, both schools are in the ACC and the ACC hasn't been relevant in the BCS title hunt for some time.  Florida State may have a very favorable schedule, but are they really worthy of a #1 ranking at this time?  Third year head coach Jimbo Fisher was LSU's offensive coordinator during the 2007 season, so he has been a part of a BCS title team, but not on his own.

USC was a dominate program in the early part of the last decade under head coach Pete Carroll.  The Trojans won the 2004 season, with a 55-19 blowout in the Orange Bowl over Oklahoma.  Carroll bolted back to the NFL in 2010, while the Trojans have enjoyed NCAA sanctions the past two seasons under new head coach Lane Kiffin.  Will USC find the right mojo in 2012, coming off NCAA probation?  Kiffin was a part of the Trojans success, under Carroll, as an assistant.  However, coming off NCAA probation and the recent success of both Oregon and Stanford in the Pac 12... earn it is applicable for the Trojans, dispite the 10-2 record last year, with losses at Arizona State and in 3OT vs. Stanford.

The Oklahoma Sooners are always worthy of some talk under head coach Bob Stoops, now in his 14Th season in Norman.  But, the Sooners haven't won the BCS title, since the 2000 season, a 13-2 win over the defending BCS champs, Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  The Sooners have played for the title game multiple times, but clearly 2000 was Stoops' year.

The Texas Longhorns are the last program outside the SEC to win a BCS title, when they defeated USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl during the 2005 season.  However, the past two seasons, the Longhorns have not finished in the Top 25, after finishing #2 during the 2009 season in a 21-37 loss to Alabama.

So, who should be #1 in College Football this Preseason?  The right choice appears to be the defending champion: the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Yes, they have lost talent, as have others.  But they are a clear cut Top 5 program, who open the 2012 season in Arlington, Texas vs. the Michigan Wolverines, who are coming off a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas.

LSU opens with North Texas at home in 2012.  After home games in September vs. Washington and Idaho, a September 22Nd road trip to open the SEC at Auburn should determine, whether LSU is a solid contender or not.  The QB position for the Tigers held them back in 2011.  Has anything changed in 2012?  The Tigers are hoping a JUCO transfer pays dividends, like Auburn in 2010?  Also, Penn State QB junior Rob Bolden has transferred to Baton Rouge, as well.  The QB position holds a lot of the keys to LSU's success in 2012.

USC opens 2012 hosting Hawaii in Los Angeles, then hits the road out East, for a non-conference game vs. Syracuse in East Rutherford, NJ.  Then the real season begins, as the Trojans open Pac 12 play at Stanford on September 15Th.  The Trojans are very much in the hunt in 2012, but will they get it done?  Senior QB Matt Barkley returned for his final season for a better bowl/final game win than the 2009 Emerald Bowl, during his freshman season?

Florida State finished #23 in both major polls last year.  They open with two back to back FCS programs in 2012: vs. Murray State and vs. Savannah State.  Next!  The Seminoles haven't earned anything yet!

The Big 12 welcomes TCU and West Virginia as members, as Missouri and Texas A&M join the SEC.  Oklahoma State was the top dog in 2011.  Can Oklahoma and Texas get back to battling for 1-2 again?  Or, will

The Big Ten takes a huge hit with two programs with NCAA sanctions for 2012.  Ohio State is on probation for one year and they may be the Big Ten's best program, but they will not be able to play in the Big Ten title game or go to a bowl game?  Penn State is now on a five year probation, with four seasons without bowl participation. Tough penalties from the NCAA, as PSU joins IU and MSU, as programs hit with heavy sanctions from the Big Ten.

Opportunity knocks for Wisconsin, who are 0-2 in the Rose Bowl under coach Bret Bielema the past two seasons.  The Badgers kick off the 2012 season with a FCS top 25 program, the UNI Panthers, but only compete with Illinois, Indiana and Purdue for the Leaders division title in 2012.  The Legends division race should be interesting, with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern all eligible for the title game.

Is Oregon the other team to watch in the Pac 12, as the season moves forward?  The defending Rose Bowl champ is now two years removed from the BCS title game during the 2010 season, which resulted in a 19-22 loss to Auburn?  The Ducks return 61 letter winners for fourth year coach Chip Kelly.  A light non-conference schedule of Arkansas State, Fresno State and FCS, Tennessee Tech, then a Pac 12 opener at home with Arizona kicks off the Ducks 2012 campaign.

A good look at some of the Top Teams in College Football heading into 2012Our #1 is Alabama, since the defending champions don't lack much more than what other programs do at this time?  Sure, it is business as usual in Tuscaloosa, as Crimson Tide reload from losses to the NFL...

Less than 30 days until the kickoff of the 2012 College Football Season

We hope everyone is have a Jolly Good 2012 ... as the Summer XXX Olympic Games are in full gear in London this August 2012! After beginning blogging back in 2007 or so, we have taken some time off to enjoy Life, Liberty and other Pursuits of Happiness in our life.

College Basketball was interesting in the beginning of 2012. It was great to see the Creighton Bluejays win The Valley and make the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Greg McDermott's second season at the helm on the Hilltop. It was great to see a victory over Alabama in the Second Round and a tough Third Round loss at North Carolina, as well.

With all-American Doug McDermott back for his junior season in 2012-13, the Creighton Bluejays should be a Top 25 College Basketball team again. Down in Iowa City, coach Fran McCaffery should have a better brand of Iowa Basketball for 2012-13, as he enters his third season at the helm for the Hawkeyes.

The Heartland has been hot, hot and dry, dry throughout the Summer of 2012.  We hope you have all enjoyed the Dog Days of Summer 2012 style!  It hasn't been hot like this, since the Summer of 1988, when we moved back to Cedar Rapids.  Of course, weather like this year is causing some people to reflect on the dust bowl days of the 1930s ...

In less than 30 days, the 2012 College Football season will kickoff on Thursday, August 30Th.  The first game up will be a SEC showdown on ESPN with South Carolina at Vanderbilt.  There will be some outstanding games the first weekend of the 2012 season.  Plenty of questions in 2012:

  • Who should be #1 preseason team in College Football in 2012?
  • Did the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll get it right?
  • What teams are in the hunt for the first BCS title outside the SEC, since the 2005 season?
  • Wisconsin is going for three in a row in the Big Ten - who stands in the way in 2012?
  • Top non-conference games of 2012?
  • Hot conference races of 2012?
  • 124 FBS programs for 2012 in College Football - what?
  • Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and other previews into College Football for 2012 ...
We hope you find our blog fun, as we get ready to enjoy another outstanding College Football season ...