NCAA Football

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Big Ten expansion timetable remains 12-18 months

April 22, 2010

The timetable for Big Ten expansion isn't accelerating, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Wednesday.

Yesterday we reported that the Big Ten was accelerating its expansion talks in hopes of finalizing candidates before the start of the new fiscal new July 1. Today, Big Ten commish Jim Delany said the Big Ten’s original timetable of 12-18 months of discussions before rendering a decision remains intact.

Delaney’s comments came at the BCS meetings in Arizona. The Chicago Tribune reported last week that Delany could reveal information about the Big Ten’s expansion agenda at the meetings. Instead, he said the Big Ten is still gathering data and has yet to hold any formal discussions with potential candidates.

For the moment at least, no news is good news. Don’t expect this topic to remain quiet for long however.

Enjoy the Big Ten while you still can.

Ohio State recruit wounded in shooting while ridin’ dirty

April 20, 2010

Turner always seems to be flirting with trouble. (Pic via BrutusReport.com)

The Ohio State Buckeyes appear to be on the verge of losing a member of its 2010 recruiting class. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Defensive end/linebacker prospect Jamel Turner was wounded in a shooting late Friday night in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.

Turner was considered to be part of Jim Tressel’s recruiting class, but at this point has yet to receive a high school diploma. He transferred to a prep school after being declared academically ineligible at Ursuline High School. Turner was subsequently dismissed from the prep school in March.

Turner is supposedly attempting to receive his degree by taking correspondence classes.

Turner was shot in the leg but not seriously injured. The driver of the car he was in, 32 year-old Ramses Terry, has a lengthy arrest record several drug-related incidents. Police found two handguns and a bag of marijuana in the vehicle.

Ohio State is said to be investigating the incident. It will be interesting to monitor the Buckeyes’ stance on Turner. It’s safe to say that admitting him into the program would certainly raise some eyebrows.

Brace yourself for Big Ten expansion ASAP

April 19, 2010

Notre Dame's Crist might be playing his games in the Big Ten sooner than later. (Pic via ESPN)

Lost somewhat amidst the talk of NCAA Tournament expansion is the Big Ten’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of multiple institutions.

The timetable for expansion has been drastically accelerated, according to a Teddy Greenstein report in the Chicago Tribune Monday.

Representatives from multiple Big Ten institutions are gathering in Washington D.C. this week in conjunction with the Association of American Universities. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is in D.C. and is expected to meet with the Big Ten delegation.

So what does this all mean?

The Big Ten made it clear it planned to investigate expansion late last year. By the beginning of the year, Delaney hinted that the Big Ten intended to determine potential candidates within 12-18 months. According to Greenstein’s report, that timetable has been shortened considerably.

In all likelihood, Delaney will make possible candidates known during the BCS meetings next weekend in Arizona.

Things could really get rolling from there. The Big Ten will likely begin formal talks with potential additions shortly in hopes of making the additions official before July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year for institutions nationwide.

The other interesting details in the Tribune report concern the number of additional members being sought after by the Big Ten.

Greenstein reported the Big 10 is looking to add up to 3 schools. Notre Dame and Texas remain the most appealing, and perhaps unlikely, candidates. If the one of those schools joins, it is possible the other might follow given the financial windfall.

Notre Dame has maintained a public desire to remain independent. However, behind closed doors, the Irish could be enticed by the financial boost joining the Big Ten would provide.

Although Notre Dame enjoys a lucrative television contract, it would receive a substantial financial boost through the Big Ten’s revenue sharing. To put things in perspective, Indiana University makes roughly 17 million annually thanks to revenue sharing, while Notre Dame makes nine million from its deal with NBC.

Stay tuned for more on this story as details continue to emerge.

BYU RB Unga leaves school after violating “code of conduct”

April 18, 2010

Unga and former fiancee Keilani Moeaki have left school after violating BYU's code of conduct by having a relationship. (Pic via Deseret News)

Harvey Unga, BYU’s all-time leading rusher with over 3, 400 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career, is leaving school with one year after a relationship with women’s basketball player violated the Cougars’ strict code of conduct.

Unga, a junior who nearly declared for the NFL draft this year, could enter the NFL’s Supplemental Draft in July or transfer to a Division II or NAIA school. Neither option would be good for Unga’s career.

Unga violated BYU’s Honor Code by having a relationship with Keilani Moeaki, younger sister of former University of Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki. The two continued a some sort of relationship even after breaking of their engagement.

Moeaki, a junior forward, has also left school.

Far be it from me to question the beliefs of others, but this honor code is truly absurd. It is only permissible for BYU students to have a sexual relationship if they are married; otherwise they are subject to dismissal at any point.

Hopefully, the school allows Unga and Moeaki to re-enroll should they decide to go that route. Otherwise, the BYU administration will be guilty of severely hindering two people’s lives.

Urban Meyer yells at reporter, defends Tim Tebow

March 26, 2010

Fresh off his brief indefinite leave of absence, Meyer took the opportunity to rip Orlando Sentinel reporter Jeremy Fowler following spring practice Wednesday in Gainesville.

Meyer was apparently upset over a quote that appeared in Fowler’s article detailing receiver Deonte Thompson’s plans to have a big 2010 season–thanks primarily to John Brantley being behind center instead of good ole Tim Tebow.

“You never know with Tim. You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

To his credit, Fowler hasn’t backed down from his story. Meyer has maintained a good relationship with the media–National Championships can be very empowering–but it will be interesting to see if this incident changes things.

Meyer is unusually protective of Tebow, in a slightly creepy way. He gets very defensive whenever Tebow’s skills are questioned, perhaps in an effort to continue brainwashing the masses regarding the character, integrity, and talent of his golden child.

The only one who really hurts in all of this is Thompson, who hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations with the Gators. Meyer claimed he was defending Thompson, but we all know he was merely trying to protect Tebow’s reputation.

I’ve had enough of Tebow and Meyer. Keep doing what you’re doing Jeremy.

Extreme QB makeover: Tebow’s last chance

February 22, 2010

Last week video surfaced of Tim Tebow’s new throwing motion in what seemed like well-timed pitch to get the attention of NFL scouts. In case you were on another planet last week, here is the clip ESPN showed roughly 2,345 times:

Impressed?

I’m certainly no QB guru, but it doesn’t look much different. He holds the ball higher than before, but still demonstrates the long, looping delivery that Brian Billick pointed out repeatedly throughout the Fiesta Bowl.

Tebow won’t throw at the NFL Combine, but he is set to debut his new technique at Florida’s pro day. He has roughly three weeks to completely recreate his mechanics.

It’s been done before and is certainly possible. Aaron Rodgers held the ball high at Cal, then plummeted down the draft board because of it. He recreated his throwing motion in Green Bay and has torched NFL secondaries ever since.

Rodgers’ transformation took months, and he looked overwhelmed during his brief appearances in his first and second seasons.

It all comes down to talent. Rodgers has a cannon and the athleticism to scramble when facing pressure. Tebow has an average arm, bad footwork, and no experience in a pro style offense.

Tebow’s dreadful Senior Bowl week undoubtedly made several GM’s cringe. His practice performance, initially chastised for being lackluster, ended up being much stronger than his game performance, where he failed to take advantage of those wonderful intangibles college football fans were constantly reminded of during the last four years.

Still, NFL owners desperate for a financial boost or character upgrades will probably still take a chance on him against the advice of their player personnel–think Wayne Weaver and Al Davis. Tebow will get a chance to play somewhere, but clearly his shortcomings make success as an NFL QB beyond unlikely.

Say hello to a bigger version of Eric Crouch. Like Crouch, the prideful Tebow probably won’t give up his quarterbacking dreams without a fight.

February 22, 2010

How much would you pay for Joe Pa’s glasses?

February 22, 2010

Brace yourself for a new Joe Paterno next fall. The 83 year-old is losing his trademark goggles and going with a sleeker look thanks to surgery to correct his vision.

No longer in need of the spectacles, Paterno put them on the auction block with proceeds benefiting Penn State Public Broadcasting. A Baltimore couple paid a whopping $9,000 to acquire them, with an original maximum bid of $10,500 dollars.

It must be nice to have some extra cash laying around to spend on tacky memorabilia. Personally, I would never blow that much cash on something that has been on a strange man’s face for decades.

More trouble for the Ducks: Oregon’s James arrested following domestic dispute

Feb. 17th, 2010

Things just went from bad to real bad for the Oregon football program.

Oregon running back LaMichael James was arrested early Wednesday morning in Springfield, Oregon following a domestic dispute, KEZI-TV first reported.

James has been charged with fourth-degree misdemeanor assault, strangulation, and menacing and is being held in the Lane County Jail.

The speedy freshman burst onto the scene with 1,546 yards and 14 touchdowns last season after he replaced the suspended LaGarrette Blount in the lineup.

James’ arrest is the latest of several off-field incidents involving Oregon players in recent weeks.

Earlier Wednesday, kicker Rob Beard was charged with fourth-degree assault following his role in what sounds like a insane brawl in January. Beard allegedly struck a young woman during the fight, and was later hospitalized in critical condition. He underwent facially surgery following the incident.

Defensive End Matt Simms was dismissed from the team after he punched a man who he believed to have been involved in the attack on Beard.

Lane Kiffin coming to a jr. high near you

February 9, 2010

This little kid named David has verbally committed to USC to play quarterback in 2014. Yikes.

Lane Kiffin just can’t keep himself out of the news for long. Last week the goofy USC coach offered a scholarship to a 13 year-old from Delaware named David Sills.

Apparently because he is some sort of phenom, Sills is working with a QB guru named Steve Clarkson, who has tutored the likes of Matt Barkley (worse than advertised) Jimmy Clausen (pretty good) and Matt Leinart (awful).

I have never seen Sills play and will not bother attempting to penetrate the forcefield surrounding his highlights on YouTube, but supposedly he has a strong arm and really good skin for his age.

Let’s not forget that Lane has already entered the halls of middle schools; having offered a scholarship to 14 year-old Evan Berry last June while laying the groundwork for his tenure at Tennessee.

That kind of made sense, considering Berry’s older brother Eric’s pedigree as one of the most talented and productive safties to ever play in the SEC.

But this? Stupid on all accounts.

Sills is 13, plays a position that places a premium on continued physical and mental development. Sure, it could happen. He could also stop growing, get really awkward, and fall in love with video games and goth chicks.

Young David eagerly accepted the scholarship offer and verbally committed to USC, so eagerly in fact that he most likely didn’t get any of the perks traditionally made available to Trojan commits: cash, cars, and girls.

Maybe he will show up to the homecoming dance with Hannah Montana on his arm. That would certainly raise some eyebrows.

Who knows what Lane Kiffin will do next. Whatever it is, it will most likely make people despise him even more.

Let the beat go on.

Star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry were involved in a robbery at a frat house in late January. Although no charges were filed, Embry has been dismissed from the team. Masoli, of course, remains on the roster.

Stay tuned for more details on this story as it continues to develop.

Breaking down the Big 10 recruiting classes

February 5, 2010

The dust has settled and the hype-machine is winding down. Signing day has come and gone, complete with the usual circus surrounding the big-name schools and the annual discrediting of the Big Ten’s classes. The Boo-Ya network spent much of it’s recruiting process ripping Ohio State for losing out on Seantrel Henderson and Jordan Hicks–and ignoring the impressive work by Michigan and Penn State. Typical.

I don’t believe in ranking classes; I have not seen many of these guys play, and who knows how they will develop. Don’t fool yourself; the ESPN College Football Analysts don’t know either. I will assign grades based on how each school did given the talent pool available to them, but I’m not assigning rankings–that’s stupid.

Let’s take a closer look at the Big Ten classes:

Ohio State

Summary: Much was made of what OSU didn’t do in recruiting, but what they did do was land some pretty solid prospects. Christian Bryant could be the next great pro prospect to play in the Bucks’ defensive backfield. WRs James Louis and Corey Brown add much-needed depth on the outside. Bradley Roby is raw but can fly–allegedly runs a sub 4.4 40–and could see playing time at corner next season if he can put on some lbs.

Sleepers: Tyrone Williams (6’5″, 215) could blossom as a receiver or tight end down the road. Keep an eye on linebackers Scott McVey and Jamel Turner. McVey could be the next great angry white dude to emerge at Ohio State.

Shortcomings: The Bucks signed only one offensive lineman (Andrew Norwall) and missed out on a couple others. There is a fair amount of depth on the line, but Tressel certainly wanted more line help from this class.

Analysis: As usual, Ohio State landed a bevy of talented recruits. There were more 3 star signees than usual, but that could be a good thing.

Grade: B

Iowa

Summary: Iowa is exhibit A for recruiting being over-hyped and overrated–see Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark, Shonn Green, etc. This year, the Hawkeyes landed a very solid class, including Iowa City native A.J. Derby and enormous TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. It’s going to be annoying to spell F-i-e-d-o-r-o-w-i-c-z for years to come; he should be an absolute beast with an excellent chance to have a long NFL career–I’m getting ahead of myself now. But his size (6’6″ 240) and athletic ability (offered basketball scholarships by Indiana and Wisconsin) combined with Iowa’s lack of depth at TE means he should see a ton of playing time next season. Bruising RB Marcus Coker and OL Andrew Donnal should have a big impact in Iowa City down the line.

Sleepers: James Morris could push for playing time at linebacker next season, most likely in the middle. Anthony Ferguson is an athletic DT prospect. Iowa raided LB Austin Gray and WR Kevonte Martin-Manley from Michigan; both could emerge as key contributors.

Shortcomings: Not many as far as position depth. Iowa could have used some cornerback prospects and will need to address that area in recruiting this year.

Analysis: Most people who have seen Derby play say he throws an ugly ball and believe his size and skills would make him a solid linebacker. But he wants to play QB and the Iowa coaches want him to play QB. Don’t expect him to see the field for two or three years unless he changes positions.

Grade: B+

Penn State

Summary: Highly-touted linebacker prospects usually pan out, so expect Khari Fortt to be the next star at Linebacker U. QB Robert Bolden could be in the mix for playing time next season, and RB Silas Redd and LB Mike Hall will likely see extensive playing time right away. The Lions also signed four talented defensive linemen; Dakota Royer, Kyle Baublitz (great name), Evan Hailes, and C.J. Olaniyan.

Sleepers: Kevin Haplea could emerge as a big-time TE down the line. WR Levi Norwood and O-Line prospect Luke Graham could develop into solid contributors.

Shortcomings: Plenty of linebackers and defensive ends, but absolutely no secondary depth was added. Much like Iowa, Penn State will need to hit that area hard next year.

Analysis: Joe Pa is old balls but apparently can still recruit–or somebody at PSU can. The Lions are stockpiling talent and adding to what is already a very deep team.

Grade: A

Wisconsin

Summary: Wisconsin didn’t land many big names, but still put together a balanced class. Frank Tamakloe could be the next great Badger safety. Madison’s own Marquis Mason will have an impact right away, while Jameson Wright could team with Tamakloe down the line to form a talented safety duo.

Sleepers: When you’re (listed) at 6’8″, 346, it’s hard to go unnoticed. But Rob Havenstein didn’t get much interest from big-name programs, aside from Penn State. Havenstein could be the next Aaron Gibson–the college years. That’s a good thing. WR Isaiah Williams could be a good finds, along with linebackers Cody Byers and Josh Harrison could be good finds.

Shortcomings: Wisconsin and Iowa typical land a bunch of three star type guys who develop and emerge in couple years; along with a can’t-miss guy here and there. I’m not sure Wisconsin has that can’t-miss this year.

Analysis: The class addressed numerous positions and looks to be pretty solid, even if it takes some time for its members to see the field. UW is starting to make it’s mark in Florida, inking five players from the Sunshine State this year.

Grade: C

Northwestern

Summary: Who wouldn’t want to play for Pat Fitzgerald? One of the most underrated coaches in CFB is becoming a good recruiter, landing Trevor Sieman from Florida and three talented defensive line prospects–Chance Carter, Sean McEvilly, and Will Hampton.

Sleepers: WR Jimmy Hall might be one of the few Wildcats play as a true freshman. Collin Ellis and Paul Jorgensen need time but could emerge as stars in a couple years.

Shortcomings: Northwestern faces all sorts of obstacles in recruiting, and signed a small class this season. The Wildcats are dangerously thin at running back–Adonis Smith was the lone RB signed.

Analysis: The running back position is a big problem that wasn’t addressed, but the rest of the class appears to be pretty solid

Grade: C+

Gholston figures to be a star from the start, at either DE or OLB. (Pic via scout.com)

Michigan State

Summary: William Ghloston headlines a class that could feature four or five players starting as soon as next season. Gholston will probably play defensive end for the Spartans, but for right now is listed as a linebacker. Max Bullough could compete for a starting job at outside linebacker. Look for Mylan Hicks and Isaiah Lewis to see the field right away.

Sleepers: Michigan State needs help at receiver, and Keith Mumphery and Tony Lippert should be able to bolster the Spartans on the outside. Joe Boisture is an enormous QB a could push his way into the lineup. RB Nick Hill has drawn comparisons to Mike Hart; short, compact, and really tough to tackle.

Shortcomings: MSU could have used more help at reciever and running back, but overall this is a strong, deep class.

Analysis: The Spartans have had off-field issues that might make things a bit rough early next season. The uncertain status of a number of key players, including leading returning reciever B.J. Cunningham, might force a handful of players into action too soon.

Grade: A-

Purdue

Summary: Sean Robinson could become one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten as soon as next season–he is that good. Robinson can really throw it and is a very good runner with strength and speed. I have a feeling many of the top programs around the country will regret not pursuing him. Two Florida boys, WR O.J. Ross and CB Ricardo Allen bring speed and quickness and should play a key role.

Sleepers: A number of defensive players that could develop into starters, led by DT Bruce Gaston and Joe Gilliam.

Shortcomings: This class looks promising, but it will take awhile until it transalates to success on the field.

Analysis: Danny Hope and his magic ‘stache took a big step in rebuilding a program lacking depth. I’m telling you, Robinson will be a star.

Grade: B-

Minnesota

Summary: There is a chance Seantrel Henderson could end up being part of the class; he hasn’t officially signed with USC and Minnesota would be his likely destination if he backs away from the Trojans. Unlike Northwestern, Minnesota got the running backs it needed, signing LeMonte Edwards, Donnell Kirkwood, and Devon Wright. Jimmy Gjere would most likely end up playing offensive line and could crack the lineup next year.

Sleepers: Could be a bunch here, led by S James Manuel and LB Willie Tatum

Shortcomings: The Gophers could use a quarterback and needed reciever help. Aside from running backs and lineman, the offensive side of the ball didn’t get much help from this class.

Analysis: I remember watching Minnesota struggle against faster teams a few years ago–Tim Brewster has done a great job adding speed to his defense. I don’t see a dynamic offensive player among the 2010 class.

Grade: C

Michigan

Summary: Rich Rodriguez has found the going much easier in recruiting than he has on the field. Eventually, his highly-touted recruits should make a difference–unless he is the next Ron Zook. Difference-makers in this class include QB Devin Gardner and defensive backs Demar Dorsey, Marvin Robinson and Richard Ash.

Sleepers: Kickers never get much pub in recruiting, but Michigan landed a good one in Will Hagerup. Gibreel Black and Davion Rogers will be productive defensive players in the future, and WR Jeremy Jackson could be a star.

Shortcomings: Michigan’s enormous class featured only one offensive lineman. The Wolverines have struggled in the trenches for the last couple seasons and didn’t get enough help in recruiting.

Analysis: The man who coached Pacman Jones and Chris Henry at West Virginia has never hestitated to recruit players with questionable character, so it was no surprise Rich Rod went after Dorsey. The Florida native has been involved in three burglaries and appears to be a risk, creating a testy press conference on signing day. Winning cures all, and Rodriguez needs to win–now.

Grade: A-

Illinois

Summary: Ron Zook is losing his recruiting magic, along with continuity in his staff and soon–his job. Zook lost a number of key recruits last fall, but did land QB Chandler Whitmer and Darious Milliness.

Sleepers: Expect 25 year-old Trulon Henry and Earnest Thomas to play somewhere next season in the defensive backfield. WR Anthony Williams is a project but could be a very good player in a couple years.

Shortcomings: This was Zook’s lowest-rated class and doesn’t seem likely to add much substance to an already thin Illini squad.

Analysis: Zook has always gotten less out of more, but now needs to get more out of less. Always considered a great recruiter, the Zookster fell short this year–way, way short.

Grade: D

Indiana

Summary: The Hoosiers signed three JUCO players, including defensive backs Andre Kates and Lenyatta Kiles, that should help the defensive side of the ball right away. Kofi Hughes doesn’t have a clear position but is certainly a good find. LB Ishmael Thomas looks to be the cream of the crop and will certainly play next season.

Sleepers: At 6’5″, WR Logan Young was a steal. Matt Zakrzewski projects as a MLB and could see the field early.

Shortcomings: Offense wasn’t the problem last season, but could be in the future. The Hoosiers loaded up on defensive players and might regret not adding depth to the offense.

Analysis: Bill Lynch did a nice job filling needs with the three JUCO defensive players he signed and added several nice prospects. Indiana was competitive last year and should be an improved team next season, possibly playing into bowl contention.

Grade: B-

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