cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
On 07/21/2012 04:21 PM in NCAA Football

Cnotes Preview of CFB Teams 2012 !

Golden Nugget Releases 111 College Football Games Of The Year

We may still be a couple of months from kickoff for the 2012 NCAA football campaign, but that isn't stopping the Golden Nugget from getting an early jump on the season by releasing early spreads for 111 Games of the Year.

The college football betting schedule begins with 16 contests on Thursday, Aug. 30, and one of the early releases from the Golden Nugget takes place the very next evening (Aug. 31) when the Boise State Broncos visit the Michigan State Spartans under the Friday night lights in East Lansing. The Nugget is installing Sparty as an early 6-point favorite.

The official release of lines comes at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on Monday, June 11, and includes listings for several individual teams, including Missouri and Texas A&M who are each beginning new eras in the Southeastern Conference. The Texas Aggies host the Florida Gators on Sept. 8 for their first SEC tilt, and the Nugget has that game a pick 'em. Missouri's first SEC contest is at home vs. the Georgia Bulldogs who are a field goal favorite for the clash.

Here's a rundown of the 111 games the Golden Nugget is releasing. Be sure to check back at Don Best Sports for all of your college football betting information throughout the summer and the upcoming season.

BIGGEST NON-CONFERENCE GAMES

Friday, Aug. 31
Boise State at Michigan State -6

Saturday, Sept. 1
Michigan vs. Alabama -12 (at Arlington)

BIGGEST SPREADS

Saturday, Oct. 20
UNLV at Boise State -35½
Colorado at USC -34

BIGGEST CONFERENCE GAMES

Saturday, Oct. 13
Texas vs. Oklahoma -5½ (at Dallas)

Saturday, Nov. 3
Alabama at LSU -2
Oregon at USC -6

INDIVIDUAL TEAMS

USC
-24 vs. Cal
-14 at Utah
-21 at Syracuse
-7½ at Stanford
-19 at Washington
-34 vs. Colorado
-27 vs. Arizona State
-14 at Arizona
-16 at UCLA
-6 vs. Oregon
-13 vs. Notre Dame

Alabama
-12 vs. Michigan (at Arlington)
-31 vs. Mississippi
-6½ at Arkansas
-14 at Missouri
-17 at Tennessee
-24 vs. Mississippi State
-18 vs. Auburn
+2 at LSU
-20 vs. Texas A&M

Oregon
-20 vs. Washington
+6 at USC
-13 vs. Stanford
-16 at Oregon State

Oklahoma
-14½ vs. Kansas State
-5½ vs. Texas (at Dallas)
-11 vs. Notre Dame
-17 vs. Baylor
-4 at West Virginia
-8 vs. Oklahoma State
-9½ at TCU

Notre Dame
-13½ vs. Navy (at Ireland)
-9½ vs. Miami (at Chicago)
-5 vs. Stanford
+3 at Michigan State
-1 vs. Michigan
-12 at Boston College
-9 vs. BYU
+11 at Oklahoma
-12½ vs. Pitt
+13 at USC

Texas
-11 vs. Baylor
-7 vs. TCU
-3 at Kansas State
+ 3 at Oklahoma State
-4 vs. West Virginia
+5½ vs. Oklahoma (at Dallas)

LSU
-7 at Florida
-21 vs. Washington
-10.5 at Auburn
-17 vs. Mississippi State
-8 at Texas A&M
-26 vs. Mississippi
-3 at Arkansas
-2 at Alabama

CONFERENCE NEWCOMERS

Missouri
Georgia at Missouri (+3)
Missouri at South Carolina (-5)
Alabama at Missouri (+14)
Missouri at Florida (-5½)
Missouri at Tennessee (-1)
Missouri at Texas A&M (-3)

Texas A&M
Florida at Texas A&M (Pick)
Arkansas at Texas A&M (+2½)
LSU at Texas A&M (+8)
Texas A&M at Auburn (-3½)
Texas A&M at Alabama (-20)
Missouri at Texas A&M (-3)

West Virginia
Baylor at West Virginia (-11)
West Virginia at Texas (-4)
Kansas State at West Virginia (-7½)
TCU at West Virginia (-6)
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-6½)
Oklahoma at West Virginia (+4)

Texas Christian
TCU at Oklahoma State (-9)
TCU at West Virginia (-6)
Kansas State at TCU (-3½)
TCU at Texas (-7)
Oklahoma at TCU (+9½)

FULL BOARD, EARLY RELEASES

Friday, August 31
Boise State at Michigan State (-6)

Saturday, September 1
Marshall at West Virginia (-20)
Michigan vs. Alabama (-12)
Auburn vs. Clemson (-2)
Navy vs. Notre Dame (-13½)

Sunday, September 2
Kentucky at Louisville (-11½)
Colorado vs. Colorado State (+6½)

Thursday, September 6
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-5)

Saturday, September 8
Oklahoma State at Arizona (-9½)
Miami at Kansas State (-7)
Iowa State at Iowa (-5)
Washington at LSU (-21)
Georgia at Missouri (+3)
Florida at Texas A&M (Pick)
Nebraska at UCLA (+7)
USC vs. Syracuse (+21)

Friday, September 14
Washington State at UNLV (+17½)

Saturday, September 15
Alabama at Arkansas (+6½)
Notre Dame at Michigan State (-3)
USC at Stanford (+7½)
Florida at Tennessee (+5)

Saturday, September 22
LSU at Auburn (+10½)
Clemson at Florida State (-8)
Michigan at Notre Dame (-1)
Kansas State at Oklahoma (-14½)
Missouri at South Carolina (-5)
California at USC (-24)

Saturday, September 29
Mississippi at Alabama (-31)
Tennessee at Georgia (-13½)
Ohio State at Michigan State (-5)
Wisconsin at Nebraska (-3)
Texas at Oklahoma State (-3)
Arkansas at Texas A&M (+2½)
Baylor at West Virginia (-11)

Thursday, October 4
USC at Utah (+14)

Saturday, October 6
Arkansas at Auburn (+4½)
LSU at Florida (+7)
Kansas at Kansas State (-20)
Nebraska at Ohio State (-1)
Washington at Oregon (-20)
Georgia at South Carolina (+2½)
West Virginia at Texas (-4)
Miami vs. Notre Dame (-9½)

Saturday, October 13
Stanford at Notre Dame (-5)
Nevada at UNLV (+17½)
Alabama at Missouri (+14)
USC at Washington (+19)
Texas vs. Oklahoma (-5½)

Saturday, October 20
UNLV at Boise State (-35½)
Stanford at Cal (+4)
South Carolina at Florida (-3½)
Florida State at Miami (+9½)
Michigan State at Michigan (-6)
BYU at Notre Dame (-9)
Alabama at Tennessee (+17)
Baylor at Texas (-11)
LSU at Texas A&M (+8)
Colorado at USC (-34)
Kansas State at West Virginia (-7½)

Friday, October 26
Mississippi State at Alabama (-24)
USC at Arizona (+14)
Texas A&M at Auburn (-3½)
Michigan at Nebraska (+2)
Notre Dame at Oklahoma (-11)
TCU at Oklahoma State (-9)
Ohio State at Penn State (+3½)
Tennessee at South Carolina (-7½)
Michigan State at Wisconsin (-5)
Florida vs. Georgia (-4½)

Thursday, November 1
Virginia Tech at Miami (+6½)

Saturday, November 3
Missouri at Florida (-5½)
Oklahoma State at Kansas State (-1)
Alabama at LSU (-2)
Nebraska at Michigan State (-5)
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame (-12½)
Oregon at USC (-6)
TCU at West Virginia (-6)

Thursday, November 8
Florida State at Virginia Tech (-1)

Saturday, November 10
Texas A&M at Alabama (-20)
Georgia at Auburn (+6)
Notre Dame at Boston College (+12)
Mississippi State at LSU (-17)
Baylor at Oklahoma (-17)
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-6½)
Arkansas at South Carolina (+2½)
Kansas State at TCU (-3½)
Missouri at Tennessee (-1)
Arizona State at USC (-27)

Saturday, November 17
Mississippi at LSU (-26)
Stanford at Oregon (-13)
USC at UCLA (+16)
Ohio State at Wisconsin (-6)
Oklahoma at West Virginia (+4)

Friday, November 23
Arizona State at Arizona (-5½)
Washington at Washington State (-3)

Saturday, November 24
Auburn at Alabama (-18)
LSU at Arkansas (+3)
South Carolina at Clemson (-3½)
Florida at Florida State (-7½)
Mississippi State at Mississippi (+10)
Michigan at Ohio State (+2)
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (-8)
Oregon at Oregon State (+16)
TCU at Texas (-7)
Missouri at Texas A&M (-3)
Notre Dame at USC (-13)

Saturday, December 1
Texas at Kansas State (+3)
Oklahoma at TCU (+9½)

Saturday, December 3
Army vs. Navy (-4½)

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:23 PM

Early Line Moves Favor Vols At Golden Nugget

The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas released early lines on 111 College Football Games of the Year on June 11, and bettors responded by wagering enough money to move 47 of them (42 percent). The Ohio State Buckeyes lead the way so far with eight max bets that moved the line on five of their games coming off a disappointing season and with a new head coach on board in Urban Meyer.

Three of those five line moves in Ohio State’s favor were two points or more, including the Big Ten rivalry game on November 24 against the Michigan Wolverines, who went from 3-point favorites to a pick ’em on the road.

The Buckeyes are looking to turn things around under Meyer following a rare losing season in 2011. Meyer sat out last year after winning two national titles with the Florida Gators.

The other team that has seen major betting action in their favor is the Tennessee Volunteers, who are still underdogs in all four of their games that have seen line moves. Three of the games moved one point with Tennessee’s home game against the Alabama Crimson Tide showing the biggest change, going from +17 to +14½ in the SEC showdown on October 20.

The defending national champion Crimson Tide have seen bettors fade them in three Games of the Year, including their battle with the Vols. The Tide have also been bet down in their season opener against the Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on September 1, going from -12 to -10.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are another popular team bettors are fading in the Games of the Year, even though they are still big favorites in two of the three that have seen line moves. The Irish seem to be a bit overrated heading into the season and have gone from -10 to -7½ in their October 20 home matchup with the BYU Cougars while seeing 1-point moves in the other two games.

A couple other college football games have seen the favorite turn into the underdog following early betting. The Florida Gators opened as 1-point road underdogs against the Texas A&M Aggies on September 8, but are now favored at -2½. Florida State had a similar move for the Seminoles' ACC clash with the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 8, going from +1 to -2 in what could be an early preview of the conference title game.

Check out all 111 of the early line releases for the Golden Nugget's NCAA Football Games of the Year by following this link. Below is a list updating those that have seen movement so far.

Friday, August 31
Boise State at Michigan State (-6½ to -7½)

Saturday, September 1
Michigan vs. Alabama (-12 to -10) at Arlington

Thursday, September 6
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-5 to -3)

Saturday, September 8
Miami at Kansas State (-7 to -8)
Washington at LSU (-21 to -22½)
Georgia (-3 to -4) at Missouri
Florida at Texas A&M (-1 to +2½)

Saturday, September 15
Notre Dame at Michigan State (-3 to -4)
USC (-10 to -9) at Stanford
Florida (-5 to -4) at Tennessee

Saturday, September 22
Clemson at Florida State (-8 to -9)

Saturday, September 29
Tennessee at Georgia (-13½ to -12½)
Ohio State at Michigan State (-4½ to -2½)
Texas at Oklahoma State (-3½ to -2)
Arkansas (-2½ to -3½) at Texas A&M

Saturday, October 6
LSU (-7½ to -6½) at Florida
Nebraska at Ohio State (-2 to -3)
Georgia (-2½ to -3) at South Carolina
West Virginia at Texas (-4½ to -6½)

Saturday, October 13
Alabama (-14½ to -13½) at Missouri
Texas vs. Oklahoma (-6 to -5) at Dallas

Saturday, October 20
South Carolina at Florida (-4 to -5)
BYU at Notre Dame (-10 to -7½)
Alabama (-17 to -14½) at Tennessee
Kansas State at West Virginia (-7½ to -6½)

Saturday, October 27
USC (-14 to -15½) at Arizona
Michigan (-2 to -1) at Nebraska
Ohio State (-3 to -5½) at Penn State
Tennessee at South Carolina (-7½ to -6½)

Saturday, November 3
Missouri at Florida (-5½ to -6½)
Oklahoma State at Kansas State (-1 to +1)
TCU at West Virginia (-7 to -6)

Thursday, November 8
Florida State at Virginia Tech (-1 to +2)

Saturday, November 10
Georgia (-6 to -5) at Auburn
Notre Dame (-12 to -11) at Boston College
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-6½ to -5½)
Arkansas (-3 to -2) at South Carolina

Saturday, November 17
Mississippi at LSU (-26½ to -27½)
Ohio State at Wisconsin (-7 to -6)

Friday, November 23
Washington at Washington State (-3 to -2)

Saturday, November 24
LSU (-3 to -4) at Arkansas
South Carolina at Clemson (-4 to -3)
Florida at Florida State (-7½ to -6½)
Michigan (-3 to Pick ’em) at Ohio State

Saturday, December 1
Texas (-3 to -4) at Kansas State
Oklahoma (-10 to -9) at TCU

Saturday, December 8
Army vs. Navy (-4½ to -3½) at Philadelphia

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:25 PM

Stanford Cardinal Begin Life Sans Andrew Luck

Throughout the summer, we’ll be previewing select college football teams and conferences for the upcoming 2012 campaign. We’ll get into the latter in August.

For the moment, however, a quick look-ahead at what appear to be some of the more intriguing teams to watch this fall. Our first look is at the Stanford Cardinal.

Life after Andrew Luck begins this fall at Stanford. Consensus opinion around the college football world is that the Cardinal are due for a drop-off sans Luck. We don’t necessarily disagree, but we’re not convinced Stanford is about to fall off the college football map, either, after back-to-back BCS bowl appearances.

True, a special player such as Luck might appear only once in a generation. But it’s not as if Stanford football hasn’t had great QBs throughout the years, or had to replace several legendary signal-callers names in the past. Luck was hardly the first star QB to grace Palo Alto in his college days.

Coming immediately to mind is John Elway, but before making a connection between Stanford post-Elway and Stanford post-Luck, consider that the Cardinal finished 5-6 in Elway’s senior season of 1982. The rot had already set into the program under coach Paul Wiggin, who was dismissed after a 1-10 mark the following 1983 campaign. Instead, the post-Luck Stanford team still has much of the veteran core from last year’s 11-2 side.

A better Stanford analogy might exist from the early ‘70s, when the then-called Indians had a QB named Jim Plunkett on campus. All Plunkett did was lead a resurgence of Stanford football in the late ‘60s into 1970 under creative and colorful head coach John Ralston. Unlike Luck, however, Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy (in 1970), and his Stanford team won the Pac-8 and went on to upset Woody Hayes’ Ohio State, 27-17, in the Rose Bowl.

In the following year of 1971, much of the college football world was as dismissive of the Indians much as they are for the upcoming 2012 version of the Cardinal, reckoning, as current onlookers are similarly projecting post-Luck, that there would be no way Plunkett could be adequately replaced. Ralston, however, had by that time developed a solid program with a talented supporting cast around Plunkett and an underrated, big-play defense that simply ceded some of the spotlight to Plunkett in 1969 and ‘70, two big years on The Farm.

Ralston had an able backup QB during Plunkett’s later years in Don Bunce, who simply needed a chance to perform so he could shine. Much of Plunkett’s supporting cast – RBs Jackie Brown Hillary Shockley, & Reggie Sanderson, and WR Miles Moore – was still on hand in 1971, and Ralston’s improved recruiting pipeline introduced new components in ‘71 including dangerous WR John Winesberry and a highly-regarded crop of offensive linemen. Moreover, much of the Stanford “Thunder Chicken” defense from 1970 was still in the fold in ‘71, including linemen Pete Lazetich and Greg Sampson, LBs Jeff Siemon and Mike Simone plus DBs Benny Barnes and Charles McCloud.

The ‘71 Indians suffered a few upset defeats (much like the ‘70 squad) but rose to the occasion in Pac-8 road showdowns vs. Washington and Southern Cal, throttling each en route to comfortably defending the conference crown. To top things off, just as it did the previous year, Stanford pulled another major Rose Bowl upset, nipping an undefeated Michigan 13-12 on a last-second Rod Garcia field goal.

There might not be a direct link of analogies between the 1971 and 2012 teams, but we suggest it might be a lot closer to what eventually transpires this fall than the doomsday, post-Luck scenario in which some Stanford critics are trying to promote in the run-up to the fall.

Second-year Cardinal head coach David Shaw knew he had a tough act to follow in 2011 when promoted from offensive coordinator to succeed Jim Harbaugh, but Shaw hardly inherited a bare cupboard in Palo Alto, with Luck and many other key contributors still in the fold from the 12-1, Orange Bowl-winners the previous season.

Similarly, even minus Luck, Stanford is not entering 2012 wearing blindfolds. Indeed, if the QB situation can sort itself out, there’s no reason the Cardinal can’t continue to appear in the national rankings this fall.

Playing the Don Bunce ‘71 role this fall will be either soph Brett Nottingham or junior Josh Nunes, a pair of 6-foot-4 gunslingers who separated themselves from pack of five contenders in the spring. Each has thrown only a handful of passes in their respective college careers, but both are well-versed in the Cardinal’s pro-style, power-oriented attack with well-defined West Coast principles.

Nottingham, due to the fact he served as Luck’s official back-up last season and played in six games, is listed as the slight favorite to win the job, but Nunes (one of the gems of the 2009 recruiting class) impressed enough in spring for Shaw and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to wait until camp reconvenes later this summer to name their starter.

If it’s Nottingham, expect a QB who has the wheels to get out of the pocket and the sort of snap and accuracy on his short-and-intermediate routes that the coaching staff desires. Nunes, well-versed in the offense entering his fourth year in the program, has impressed with his poise.

There were other key offensive weapons besides Luck who moved to the NFL in last April’s draft such as linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin,along with tight end Coby Fleener, each picked within the first two rounds. But expect the Stanford offense to again operate in a similar fashion, its pro-style looks augmented by a power running game designed to leverage the big bodies creating space up front.

The fall will prove a test for Stanford’s recent recruiting emphasis on top-notch blockers, some of whom are required to immediately step into the breach after the graduation of All-Americans DeCastro and Martin. Three starters still return on the forward wall, and Hamilton spent the spring shuffling some of the pieces in the OL puzzle. One of those, 302-lb. junior David Yankey, appeared to make a smooth transition to Martin’s abandoned yet crucial left tackle spot after starting 13 games as a red-shirt frosh last year at left guard.

Thus, expect the Stanford infantry to run effectively again after bulling for 210 ypg and better than five yards per carry in 2011. Senior RB Stepfan Taylor is an accomplished slasher who churned for 1330 YR a year ago, with another senior, Tyler Gaffney, still around for a nice change-of-pace in the more physical, Toby Gerhart-like mold after banging for 449 YR in 2011. Rugged 243-lb. fullback Ryan Hewitt is an effective H-back for the offense who doubles as a reliable receiving threat out of the backfield, reflected in his 34 catches a year ago.

Though Fleener has graduated, Shaw is still knee-deep in top-flight tight ends. A pair of mountainous juniors, 6-foot-6 Zach Ertz and 6-foot-8 Levine Toilolo, are both on an NFL career-trajectory and offer plenty of options Hamilton, including double TE sets as well as the ability of each to line up as wideouts, which might tempt Hamilton, as the Cardinal will be looking for new go-to sources at the WR spots after the graduation of last year’s starters Griff Whalen and Chris Owusu. Soph Ty Montgomery, who performed with plenty of flair when catching 24 passes as a frosh last fall, is expected to move seamlessly into a featured role. Whippet-like senior Drew Terrell is a smaller-sized option at 5-foot-11 and only 180 pounds, but could provide a spark as he does as a feared return man. He’ll get his chance to make his mark as a wideout in the fall.

Meanwhile, much like 1971's Thunder Chickens, the 2012 Stanford defense could similarly dominate. It’s not Lazetich, Sampson, Siemon and Simone, but six of seven starters return in the front seven of defensive coordinator Derek Mason’s robust 3-4 that ranked third nationally in rush defense last season, allowing a puny 3.01 ypc and 84 ypg.

The LB corps that could be really special, especially if playmaking ILB Shayne Skov is beyond last season’s knee injury that KO’d him for almost the entire season. Skov, who was held out of spring work, is expected to be ready for fall camp, although hanging over his head is a February DUI that likely causes suspension in the first game or two.

If there is a concern in the stop unit it’s in the secondary, where three starters must be replaced. As it was, the Cardinal was vulnerable to the highest tech pass attacks it faced last season, allowing at least three TD passes to Southern Cal, Oregon and Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Although a 95th ranking vs. the pass was a bit deceiving because foes couldn’t run on the Cardinal and were often playing a desperate game of catch-up a year ago, it was still the most-vulnerable piece of last year’s stop unit. But the strength of the front seven and its ability to generate a pass rush should again come in handy and allow the DBs to more concern themselves with pass-coverage chores.

The schedule has an altered look this season with the Big Game against Cal moved to a midseason slot (October 20 at Berkeley) after being a traditional season-ender for almost 90 years. A trip to Notre Dame precedes the Big Game, but otherwise the key games are well-spaced, including hosting revenge-minded Southern Cal on September 15 and traveling to Eugene to face Oregon on November 17. For all of Stanford’s success in 2010 & 2011, it has not been able to cope with the go-go Ducks, who have put 52-31 and 53-30 beatings upon the Cardinal in the last two seasons, Stanford’s only regular-season losses during that span.

Pointspread-wise, Andrew Luck’s presence was certainly a plus the last few years, as the Cardinal sported an eye-opening 27-12 spread mark the past three seasons (including 11-2 a year ago). But that mark is going to be hard to replicate this fall.

Summing up: Stanford is not likely to fall too far in 2012, as its emergence the past few seasons had other contributing elements besides Andrew Luck. Shaw, like predecessor Harbaugh, has a bit more leeway with special admits than past Stanford coaching regimes, and the talent base in the program has increased substantially thanks to some of these relaxed entrance requirements. With blue-chip talent now stockpiled in Palo Alto, Stanford might not backslide much at all this fall if either Nottingham or Nunes step up at QB. "Remember 1971" should be a battle cry heard all autumn long on The Farm.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:27 PM

Boise State In Limbo Regarding Conference Alignment

Throughout the summer, we’ll be previewing select college football teams and conferences for the upcoming 2012 campaign. We’ll get into the latter in August. For the moment, however, a quick look-ahead at what appear to be some of the more intriguing teams to watch this fall with a look at the Boise State Broncos.

For oldtimers, it has taken a while to get used to the idea of Boise State as a football powerhouse. But for more than a decade, the Broncos have been that and more. With a pair of BCS appearances since 2006 and a 50-3 straight-up mark over the past four years, Boise, not long ago a modest Big Sky rep, can be argued to have authored the most-incredible chapter of college football over the past half century.

But 2012 still rates as an important benchmark year for the Broncos program. Boise is entering a season without all-time college winning QB Kellen Moore for the first time since 2007. The Broncos are looking at massive rebuilding elsewhere as well, losing 13 starters from last year’s 12-1 side that was a mere one-point loss vs. TCU from qualifying for another BCS trip. The bulk of the recruiting bonanza that inked after that wild 43-42 OT win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl has finally graduated.

Also, in a not-unrelated development, the Broncos are preparing to leave the Mountain West just two seasons after bolting the WAC, slated to join the Big East for football-only duties next season.

But will Boise really jump?

The day June 30 is an important day in Bronco Nation, because that’s the deadline day for the school to officially withdraw from the Mountain West effective next year and avoid an extra $5 million in penalties from the Big East if Boise decides to leave thereafter. As of mid-June, BSU, unlike fellow Big East recruit San Diego State, had yet to inform the Mountain West of their official intent to withdraw from the league. It leaves only a bit more time for Boise to mull over the proposed conference switch that has enough other ramifications outside of football to cause school administrators some pause before actually parachuting out of the Mountain West.

Granted, like SDSU, Boise’s intentions to align with the Big East were nothing more blatant than a money grab But since the Broncos (and Aztecs) announced last year of their plans to transfer, enough developments have arisen to cause Boise, in particular, reason to pause.

The Broncos’ predicament is a bit different from San Diego State’s because the Aztecs were able to find a home for their other sports with the Big West. Boise, however, instead aligned itself with the WAC, but that loop has since splintered and likely disappears a year from now, which is hardly the best scenario for Boise’s non-football sports.

The thought of being homeless for other sports is becoming a very uncomfortable issue for Boise State. The Big West and the Big Sky have already told the Broncos’ brass that they are not interested in their membership. Hardly the sort of mess that Boise envisioned when making that football money move to the Big East.

And even the money equation with the Big East is under review. With the BCS apparently on its last legs, and a four-team playoff likely on the immediate horizon, the Big East’s status as an elite league could be ready to change. With the possibility of no more automatic entry into one of the big-money bowls, the Big East (which has been weathering its own round of defections) might have trouble commanding similar TV dollars in the future.

Beyond 2013-14, the Big East TV contract is in limbo, likely hinging upon where the conference lands, if it lands at all, in the new order of college football. Sources tell us that Broncos AD Mark Coyle has been making calls and looking for an independent TV consultant who can better apprise him of the TV money situation than the execs at NBC Sports or CBS College Sports, whose reports seem hard to trust.

The possibility remains that future Mountain West TV dollars might be fairly comparable to the reconfigured Big East if the latter is indeed out of the successor plan (whatever that might be) to the BCS. In that case, maybe the Broncos are just better off staying where they are in the Mountain West. Stay tuned for further developments.

On the field this fall, head coach Chris Petersen’s squad still has a veteran look with 26 seniors remaining in the fold and many of the new starters seeing action in lineup rotations a year ago. The Broncos are not as green as many believe heading into this fall.

Replacing QB Moore and Boise’s 44 ppg from last year will not be easy, but remember that the last three first-year Bronco QBs (including Moore in 2008) have recorded a combined 33-2 straight-up mark. Recent history indicates the Broncos will survive and likely prosper again this fall.

Moore’s understudy for the past two seasons, 6-foot-1 junior Joe Southwick, solidified his status as the heir apparent with solid work in the spring. While replicating Moore’s accuracy will be difficult for Southwick, his mobility is superior to Moore and offers some different possibilities for the Boise offense.

The Broncos had a school-record five players taken in last April’s NFL Draft including slashing RB Doug Martin, a first-round pick by the Tampa Bay Bucs after rampaging for almost 1300 yards and 18 TDs a year ago. But as long as senior D.J. Harper (5.4 ypc in his career) is beyond his recent knee problems, Boise’s infantry is unlikely to suffer much, if any, dropoff. Nine offensive lineman have starting experience, and four full-time starters from a year ago are back in the mix.

Southwick also has some established receiving targets on hand, led by WR Matt Miller, a possession specialist who tied for the team lead with 62 catches a year ago. Watch rangy 6-foot-4 Dutch import Gerardo Boldewijn, who has hinted at breakthroughs the past two season and regional sources suspect he could emerge as a dangerous home run threat this fall.

The recent problem for the offense, however, has been the kicking game, which dates back to normally-reliable Kyle Brtozman hooking two makeable attempts in the 2010 regular season finale loss at Nevada that kept the Broncos out of the BCS. Brotzman’s successors couldn’t even hint at competence a year ago, as Dan Goodale and Michael Frisina could combine for only six made field goals, with none longer than 32 yards.

Meanwhile, while the 'O' gets most of the headlines, in fact the Bronco stop units have also been consistently among the nation’s highest-ranked in recent years, with 2011 no exception when ranking a solid 12th in scoring defense (18.69 ppg) and a respectable 18th in overall “D” a year ago (321 ypg). Though Petersen and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski lost nine starters from last year’s defense, several returnees saw extensive work in rserve roles last season, including several on the DL, where an all-new front starting four readies for the August 31 opener at Michigan State. A pair of thick 300-pounders, senior Michael Atkinson and junior Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, finally get their chances to shine at DT, and sources also say to watch juco DE Demarcus Lawrence, who opted for Bosie over Tennessee, Kansas State and others was one of the stars of spring work.

The same theme continues at the LB spots and secondary, where a collection of redshirts and other reserves finally get a chance to show their stuff. The secondary seemed to be drawing the most raves in spring, with plenty of experience among the four new starters in the Broncos’ 4-2-5 looks. Senior CB Jamar Taylor has started the past two seasons, and some believe the combo of Taylor and senior Jernell Givins on the flanks could become one of the premier shutdown CB tandems in the country.

The Broncos’ toughest tests are in the first month of the season. Following the aforementioned opener at Michigan State, Boise gets BYU and Southern Miss before September is complete. By that time we should know if Petersen has another BCS contender.

Spread-wise, note that Boise’s long-established “blue carpet magic” disappeared a year ago when the Broncos failed to cover all six of their home games. But imposts had become so burdensome that the pointspread regression was inevitable. If nothing else, the graduation of Moore likely means the Broncos won’t be looking at such mountainous spreads to overcome at home, at least until further notice.

Summing up: Boise has been such a big winner over the past decade that it is hard to imagine the Broncos slipping too much, even without QB Moore and other graduates from a year ago. Southwick has enormous shoes to fill after Moore’s departure, but Boise has won with many different signal-callers over the past decade, and regional sources say some of Boise’s recent reserves and redshirts are capable of continuing the program’s unmistakable momentum.

Boise also doesn’t have TCU to worry about in this year Mountain West, in which the Broncos seem to be the consensus favorite. Whether they circle back and remain in the Mountain West beyond this season is another question that might be answered sooner rather than later.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:28 PM

Florida State Set For Strong 2012 Campaign

This is a tricky period of time for the ACC, which wonders about its place in the new order of college football after the recent announcement of a playoff format for the 2014 season. That doesn’t materially alter the postseason too much, but the dissolution of the BCS as we know could be a big blow to the ACC (and Big East), which no longer will have automatic entry to one of the big money bowls. Stay tuned for further developments.

Which is why recent word that Florida State might be receptive to a call from the Big XII has sent alarm bells ringing across the ACC, which once made a bold addition when liberating the Seminoles from independent status in 1992, and later helped disarm the Big East as a football factor over the past decade.

The threat, legitimate or not, of Florida State jumping ship shook the ACC to its core. Despite a relatively barren patch of recent form (at least by the Seminoles’ standards), FSU, along with perhaps in-state Miami, remains the flagship football program in the conference. Departures of one or both would likely signal the end of the ACC as a major football power broker.

What has also caused the fuse to be lit in Tallahassee has been reported dissatisfaction from FSU (and perhaps Miami as well) at the recently-signed ACC television deal, which involves a healthy bump in revenues for each school but the bulk of which will not be paid until late in the nine-year contract after the "elevator clauses" are triggered.

FSU has backed off the move rumors over the past month, but regional sources note that where there is smoke in such matters, there is usually fire as well. Keep an eye on those developments as we move into the fall.

In the meantime, there’s football to be played in Tallahassee this fall. And perhaps a chance for the Seminoles to make a move in the national picture after emerging as nothing more than a false alarm a year ago, when an early three-game losing streak shut down the national title talk and effectively ticketed FSU to minor bowl status by midseason.

Many ACC insiders, however, always believed that 2012 was a more-likely breakthrough year for the 'Noles than 2011, when expectations might have been raised unnaturally high after the previous season’s Chick-fil-A Bowl win over South Carolina.

A slew of injuries and inexperience curtailed the effectiveness of the offensive line last fall and caused a regression of the running game that head coach Jimbo Fisher thought had rediscovered itself the previous year. That shortcoming made it too difficult for FSU to make a serious case for national honors and even prevented it from winning the ACC Atlantic Division, although when the smoke cleared the 'Noles had posted a representative 9-4 record and beaten old foe Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Again, it’s along the OL where FSU must improve for it to make a move into the upper-tier of the rankings. A repeat of last year’s anemic rushing game that ranked a sorry 104th in the country and gained only 3.3 ypc would most likely prevent the Seminoles from emerging as a national title contender.

Which would be too bad, because the rest of the FSU roster looks like it could finally make the old-line, Bobby Bowden-supporting 'Noles faithful come to embrace Fisher, whose ascension to his designated role as Bowden’s successor in 2010 nearly ripped apart Seminole nation, and whose support base is still lukewarm at best from the old Bowden crowd.

Spring work showcased a revamped OL that Fisher hopes will be able to open a few more holes for runners and protect QB EJ Manuel a bit better than a year ago. As many as four new starters could open in Jimbo’s new-look forward wall, including converted DE Cameron Erving, who wowed observers in spring when the staff moved him to a tackle spot, where touted juco Daniel Glauser has also arrived to hopefully plug the leaks along the OL dike.

There is already lots of excitement building in Tallahassee for ballyhooed frosh recruit RB Mario Pender, who combines power and speed in a frightening package. Along with soph scooter Devonta Freeman, who gained nearly 600 YR as a frosh, the potential is in place to at least improve upon last year’s anemic ground game. Still, the ground game hardly moved in the spring game when gaining less than 2 ypc. The jury thus remains out until September.

Any help from the infantry would certainly help jumbo-sized (6-foot-5, 238 lbs.) senior QB Manuel, now 13-4 in his career as a starter. Any upgrades along the OL would also be most welcomed by Manuel, as the 'Noles also allowed a whopping 41 sacks last season, ranking a poor 110th nationally. Manuel, whose shoulder injury caused him to miss action during the team's early-season slump, hinted at a real breakthrough last fall when passing for 2666 yards and 18 TD passes, but he needs help from his supporting cast (namely the OL) to emerge as the sort of difference-maker Fisher envisions.

Redshirt soph Clint Trickett, who filled in when Manuel had his shoulder problems in 2011 and enjoyed a solid spring, now provides some experience in the backup QB role, although some ACC sources are alerting to the presence of true frosh Jameis Winston who seems destined to be the QB of the future.

The passing game indeed flashed some real upside last season and hinted at better things to come in spring. Five of the top six pass catchers return from last season, led by explosive soph WR Rashad Greene, who caught 596 yards worth of passes and seven TDs as a frosh despite missing four games. Rangy 6-foor-6 senior Rodney Smith also caught 36 passes a year ago, but sources say the real breakthrough might come from another 6-foot-6 target, redshirt frosh Kelvin Benjamin, who opened several eyes in spring, including those of QB Manuel, who said that throwing to Benjamin was like “throwing an alley-oop to LeBron James.”

We’re speculating about improvements from the strike force because we have little concern about an FSU defense that should again be one of the best in the country. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops’ attack-minded platoon returns seven starters and adds several high-profile newcomers from a stop unit that ranked second nationally in rush “D” (82 ypg), fourth in total (275 ypg) and scoring (15 ppg) defense, and eighth in sacks.

Defense was also the highlight of a high-profile recruiting haul by Fisher that landed a slew of five-star recruits who could immediately step in and contribute to another expected lights-out “D” this fall. Included are the top-rated DE (Mario Edwards) and CB (Ronald Darby) in the country, while 315-lb., but remarkably quick-footed, DT Eddie Goldman was ranked fourth in the land at his position by Scout.com.

The DL was voracious in 2011, and Stoops’ “Sack Patrol” returns senior DE Brandon Jenkins (who resisted the temptation to declare for last April’s NFL Draft) and junior DE Bjoern Werner, who combined for 15 sacks a year ago. The addition of frosh Edwards figures to further augment the pass rush, while Goldman joins a rotation of DTs paced by 301-lb. senior run-plugger Everett Dawkins.

The back seven in Stoops’ 4-3 should again be robust, led by an experienced secondary that returns three starters, including CBs Xavier Rhodes and Greg Reid, the latter also one of the nation’s top return threats. Ballyhooed frosh Darby likely gets baptized in nickel formations but is expected to make a greater impact as the season progresses.

Stoops spent the spring experimenting and juggling at the LB spots, partly because of senior MLB Vince Williams’ leg injury. But the move of former SS Nick Moody to OLB went smoothly, as did the switch of super-athletic senior Christian Jones from a strong-side to a weak-side LB spot, where his playmaking bent is expected to further shine.

The Seminoles’ 2012 schedule is made for a run to the BCS, although FSU should be docked some votes for scheduling a pair of FCS foes, Murray State and Savannah State, out of the chute. Revenge games follow vs. Wake Forest and Clemson, also both at Doak Campbell, and the first road trip is only a bus ride to nearby Tampa for a September 29 date vs. South Florida, when FSU likely has half of the crowd.

The toughest tests are likely to be ACC road dates at North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, especially with the annual regular season-ender vs. Florida played in Tallahassee this season.

Totals followers will note that Jimbo’s FSU, with a defense-minded theme, has resulted in a 17-8-1 'under' mark the past two seasons.

Summary: Is this the year FSU reappears as a national title contender? We’re reluctant to go that far when projecting 2012 until the leaky offensive line demonstrates significant upgrades from a year ago. Still, with the voracious defense, QB Manuel, an intriguing collection of skill-position weapons and a favorable schedule, FSU looks to be in position to at least earn its first BCS berth since the 2005 season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:30 PM

BYU Cougars Could Sneak Into BCS Picture

When BYU QB Riley Nelson began his college football career, George W. Bush was still in the White House, Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House and Barack Obama was still a senator from Illinois who had yet to announce his candidacy for the presidency. And it was two years before we started to hear the bad news about Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Those were the days when Nelson was a freshman QB at Utah State in the fall of 2006. Now it’s 2012, and having stretched NCAA eligibility requirements beyond recognition, Nelson continues playing college football, only now he is taking snaps in Provo for Brigham Young instead of in Logan, and having the benefit of a two-year LDS mission and a medical redshirt season to allow him one more year of life on the college level.

And BYU is sure glad that Nelson has one more stab this fall, as coach Bronco Mendenhall’s Cougars plot what could be a stealth mission that, if all goes to plan, could see BYU knocking on the door of the BCS.

A key could certainly be the playmaking Nelson, who wrested the starting job from then-soph Jake Heaps a year ago and proceeded to lead the Cougars on a hot run down the stretch and into the Armed Forces Bowl, where BYU beat Tulsa in a 24-21 white-knuckler.

The final verdict on the Cougs’ move to football independence remains elusive, as BYU enters its second season minus a conference affiliation this fall. The Cougs bolted the Mountain West following the 2010-11 school year, believing the independent route was their best path going forward for the football program (other sports have affiliated with the West Coast Conference).

Television rights were one consideration for the school, which retains its own network, available in millions of homes across the country. Specifics regarding TV rights with the Mountain West were another bone of contention between BYU and its former league.

Still, the independent way continues to be subject of debate in Provo. Sources report that BYU AD Tom Holmoe has been lamenting about the problems the independent Cougs are confronting as they look to fill their schedules in upcoming years. Which is one reason why BYU continues to be a popular subject in conference realignment gossip.

There were negotiations between the expansion-minded Big East and BYU late last year that were eventually tabled. The Provo school also remains a favorite subject regarding possible Big XII expansion, although those possibilities seem to have cooled. Stay tuned for further developments.

BYU’s path to the BCS is hardly a clear one even if the Cougs should run the table this fall. At the least, expect BYU to qualify for its eighth bowl (this year it would be San Diego’s Poinsettia) in as many seasons for the classy Mendenhall, who has brought stability and success to a program that had lost both in the immediate aftermath of longtime head coach Lavell Edwards’ retirement 12 years ago.

Nelson is an easy subject with which to begin Cougar discussions regarding 2012, but if BYU is indeed going to make a long shot run at the BCS, Mendenhall’s defense is likely to be key.

Mendenhall, who has done double duty as the team’s defensive coordinator since the middle of the 2010 season, retains a form of the unorthodox 3-3-5 defensive alignments that Bronco first learned at New Mexico when working under Rocky Long. BYU also shifts into more-basic 3-4 looks that will highlight a collection of rugged returning starters in Kyle Van Noy, Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga, all honors candidates and part of seven returning starters who form the core of the Cougar stop unit.

The 'D' could be even better than it was a year ago when it placed among the national leaders in total (ranked 13th at only 313 ypg) and scoring (ranked 20th at 20 ppg) defenses. Up front, the Cougs figure to be menacing, especially with nose tackle Romney Fuga (all 321 pounds of him) anchoring the middle, and another rugged Polynesian, Eathyn Manumaleuna, lining up beside him.

Mendenhall also believes 6-6, 270-lb. Ghanian Ezekiel Ansah, a physical specimen who originally attended BYU on a track scholarship but has the tools to dominate at either DE or LB. Standout senior CB Preston Hadley and junior SS Daniel Sorenson are also a couple of potential postseason honors candidates.

Yet it was Nelson’s emergence in the second half of the 2011 campaign that fueled the Cougs to wins in nine of their last 10 games and caused the aforementioned former blue-chip recruit Heaps to transfer to Kansas after last season. The exciting Nelson, a BYU version of Tim Tebow, is fearless and apt to take off and run from the pocket at the first opportunity, gaining 392 rush yards a year ago. But offensive coordinator Brandon Doman still believes Nelson can be an even more effective passer out of the Cougs’ West Coast offense after passing for 19 TDs and only seven picks last season.

If there is a concern at QB, it’s behind Nelson, where there is little experienced depth. Unless emergency circumstances arise, expect touted frosh QB Tanner Mangum to be redshirted in the fall before likely taking over from Nelson next season.

Nelson also has established and lanky receiving targets in 6-foot-4 wideout Cody Hoffman, who caught the winning TD pass from Nelson with just 11 seconds to play in the bowl thriller vs. Tulsa, and 6-foot-3 Ross Apo (who should be ready in the fall after sitting out spring drills after shoulder surgery), combined for over 1400 yards worth of catches and 19 TDs last fall.

Mendenhall also believes his infantry should improve in the fall despite the loss of RBs J.J. DeLuigi and Bryan Kariya to graduation. The new RB group is reportedly the fastest in memory at the school, and slashers Mike Alisa and Josh Quezada have hinted at breakouts in the past. Watch speedy frosh RB Jamaal Williams, who starred as a prep in California (Fontana). The special teams also look encouraging, with both kickers (PK Justin Sorenson & P Riley Stephenson) back in the mix.

The Cougs, as mentioned earlier, already have a postseason destination secured in the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl, where, ironically, BYU would be facing a Mountain West rep. But the schedule is built for a BCS run, as the Cougs figure to have real chances in their toughest road games at Utah, rebuilding Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Win those, and the Cougs could get into the BCS discussion.

Spread-wise, note that BYU roared down the stretch last season behind Nelson, covering its last seven games on the board. Mendenhall also enters 2012 having covered 14 of his last 18 on the board since late in the 2010 season.

Summary: Riley Nelson has proven himself a worthy successor to the great BYU quarterback pedigree, an exciting playmaker with an ability to raise the level of play from his teammates, as demonstrated down the stretch last season. As long as Nelson stays healthy, the pieces are indeed in place on both sides of the ball for BYU to easily qualify for its eighth bowl in as many seasons for Mendenhall...and maybe even emerge as a dark horse BCS candidate. Fun times in Provo!

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:31 PM

Mike Leach Set To Lead Washington State Cougars

He’s back!

The resurfacing of ex-Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach as the new boss at Washington State looks like it could be a marriage made in gridiron heaven. Leach’s act always figured to play best at a remote locale off of the beaten track. And Pullman, Washington is about as far off the beaten track as any place this side of Saskatchewan.

Leach’s return had been rumored at a variety of destinations since he ran afoul of Texas Tech administrators in 2009 and was forced to resign as a result of allegations brought forth by WR Adam James. Leach eventually brought suit against Texas Tech for wrongful termination, and though most of those claims have been dismissed, what remains of the lawsuit has been working its way through the Texas appeals system.

Now, however, Leach can concentrate on football once more.

Leach’s many peculiarities (including his fascination with pirates) are easily overlooked in the remote Palouse, and especially by WSU backers who probably wouldn’t care if Leach insisted that Captain Kidd replace Butch the Cougar as the Wazzu mascot. Besides, Washington State has had enough of its share of helpless editions throughout the decades that the support base is usually going to be satisfied with a competitive product that usually (but not always) competes for bowl berths and makes only an occasional run at conference honors and the national rankings.

Leach, it would seem, should be able to meet those minimum expectations better than predecessor Paul Wulff, who admittedly inherited a carcass of a program from predecessor Bill Doba but could do no better than last year’s 4-8 mark in his four years in charge.

Toward the end of the Wulff regime, however, green shoots began to appear on the long-barren Pullman landscape, which Leach hopes to further cultivate in the fall. Leach, his own offensive coordinator, wasted no time installing his new attack in spring as the roster began to get a feel for the new staff and terminology.

Leach inherits a strike force that actually ranked a respectable 33rd nationally in total offense last fall and ninth in passing, though much of those numbers were piled up at the expense of overmatched early foes Idaho State and UNLV. Leach even added some new wrinkles to his pet 4-WR, Air Raid looks. With ex-Nevada and UCLA offensive assistant Jim Mastro now on staff, Leach introduced some variations to his 'O' that included Nevada-influenced 'Pistol' looks, multiple RB sets, and motion with the same out of the backfield, plus some play-action and 'pop' passes that had rarely been part of Leach’s former bag of tricks at Texas Tech.

Leach developed a succession of prolific triggermen at Tech, and whoever takes the snaps in the Coug version of the spread is likely to rank among the nation’s passing leaders. After spring work, it appears as if oft-injured senior holdover Jeff Tuel is likely to start the challenging September 1 opener at BYU. With last year’s late-season sensation, soph Connor Halliday, recovering in spring from a lacerated liver, Tuel took almost all of the reps with the first team in spring and enters fall with a clear lead in the QB derby, though Leach is withholding an official announcement on his starter until later this summer.

The spring game served as an early warning for Cougar foes as Leach’s spread functioned with barely a hitch. Tuel completed his first 15 passes and tallied 285 aerial yards on the afternoon, which admittedly could also be an indictment of the defense. Still, excitement was hard to contain among long-suffering Wazzu backers who had trouble comprehending what they were actually seeing from the Leach offense.

If he’s healthy, Tuel would seem a good fit for Leach’s pass-happy offense that also features plenty of quick reads and slants, each designed to get rid of the ball quickly and hopefully make Tuel less of a target in the pocket for opposing pass rushers who were often on top of him in his deeper drops and longer-developing reads from the Wulff days, contributing to some of Tuel’s various injury problems the past three seasons. Cougar QBs were sacked a whopping 40 times last fall, ranking a poor 116th nationally.

Tuel, or maybe Halliday, will have the benefit of having one of the Pac-12's, if not the nation’s, top wideouts in smooth-striding 6-foot-4 junior Marquess Wilson, who wowed observers in April and drew further attention in the spring game when hauling in an 84-yard TD pass from Tuel. Wilson, who caught 82 passes worth almost 17 yards per catch and 12 TDs a year ago, could post even bigger numbers in the Leach offense. Converted senior TE Andrei Lintz made the switch to WR in spring and developed a quick rapport with Tuel. Plenty of underclassmen with blazing speed similar to Leach’s many receiving targets at Texas Tech are also on hand.

The backs also have to catch the ball in the Leach offense, and last year’s leading rusher, soph Ricky Galvin (611 YR), seems to have the hands to make things work after catching 26 passes from Tuel, Halliday and graduated Marshall Lobbestael a year ago.

The OL improved a year ago after being a (very) weak link in Wulff’s first few seasons, but still had problems protecting the QB, reflected in the aforementioned sack stats. Three starters return, with junior LT John Fullington a possible honors candidate.

Reliable PK Andrew Furney is also back after hitting 14-of-16 FG tries a year ago.

Defense, however, always took a backseat for Leach in his Lubbock days, and this is no LSU-like stop unit that leach inherits in Pullman. Although the Cougar 'D' improved a year ago from the weakling versions the previous three seasons for Wulff, WSU still allowed 31.8 ppg a year ago, ranking 95th in scoring defense, while its pass efficiency defense ranked 111th, numbers even worse than those Leach’s stop units posted at Texas Tech.

Leach thus authorized new defensive coordinator Mike Breske to implement a change to 3-4 alignments from the recent 4-3 used by Wulff’s recent teams. But a pair of returning starting LBs, C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi, were dismissed in spring due to disciplinary reasons. Along with the graduation of 2011's inspirational leader, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, it leaves Wazzu pretty thin at the LB spots, where several speedy newcomers (watch soph Chester Su’a and RS frosh Darryl Monroe on the inside) will get their chances this fall.

Also note that Travis Long, a three-year starter at DE with 36 career starts for Wulff’s teams and having recorded 12 tackles for a loss last season, has been moved to a hybrid LB/DE spot in the Breske defense. The new DL could be ornery if RS frosh Xavier Cooper fulfills his promise at a DE spot, and there is experience and depth at the NT spot.

Whatever the combinations in the front seven, Breske’s new-look 3-4 must generate a better pass rush after the Cougs generated only 17 sacks all of last season, ranking 94th nationally.

On the plus side, there’s plenty of experience in the secondary, where returnees have a combined 95 starts in their careers. Senior SS Tyree Toomer will be a four-year starter in fall, while junior FS Deone Bucannon emerged as the star if the secondary last fall. One new face to watch could be true frosh Gabriel Marks, an L.A.-area product and touted WR prospect but whom Breske believes might make a more-immediate impact as DB, where Marks also starred as a prep.

The schedule is manageable and the Cougs will be heavy favorites in two of their three non-league games (home vs. nearby Eastern Washington and at UNLV), although anticipation is already growing for the challenging opener at rugged BYU, a game that has been already moved to Thursday, August 30 as one of ESPN’s featured games on the first night of the college season.

Note that Wulff’s Cougar teams covered seven of their last nine at Pullman and were hardly a pushover vs. the line, although Wazzu was routinely undervalued by oddsmakers and the wagering public and received benefit from many inflated lines. Leach’s reputation might have the opposite effect, as WSU can be expected to instead be slightly overvalued at the outset. Still, be aware that Leach’s Red Raider teams generally performed well as a favorite, especially when laying seven points or more, standing 30-19 vs. the spread.

Summary: Leach’s new presence, plus improvements shown last season by Wazzu, suggests the Cougs could make a quick ascent, especially in a Pac-12 that looks a bit suspect beyond loop favorites Oregon and Southern Cal (the latter not on WSU’s 2012 slate). If he can stay healthy, expect senior QB Jeff Tuel to post some big numbers this fall. As has often been the case with Leach’s past teams, the defense can be expected to lag behind, which could keep a bowl game just beyond the reach of this season’s Cougar edition.

But maybe not. The recent days of WSU being a pushover look to be in the rear-view mirror, and we wouldn’t bet against Leach breaking Wazzu’s 9-year postseason drought this fall.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:33 PM

Penn State Faces New Beginning In 2012

In recent months, we have had a lot to say about what went on at Penn State late last year, in the period of time in and around the dismissal of iconic head coach Joe Paterno. Time and space do not permit us from embellishing too much further on the entire situation that began to unravel once former assistant Jerry Sandusky was arrested, and eventually convicted, of child abuse and deviancy. We’ll save extended commentary on this sordid affair for another place and time.

For what it’s worth, however, we were on the record long before the Sandusky developments became public knowledge that something else had been amiss in Happy Valley for several years, with Paterno’s program acting as sort of a halfway house for troubled youths. The fact is that over the past several years, Paterno’s Nittany Lions had turned outlaw, with police blotters long enough to shame even those wild Cincinnati Bengals teams of earlier in the past decade.

We spoke at length at how the national sports media, long intent on affixing labels of its choosing, mostly ignored the many transgressions within the Penn State program. Even the media outlets that did go to lengths to uncover the shenanigans somehow allowed Paterno to escape unscathed.

Of course, all of that changed last November when the Sandusky story broke. In the aftermath, Paterno was forced out, and suddenly the national media decided to dog pile on “Shades” after choosing to look the other way when other developments invited heavy scrutiny. Only when Paterno eventually fell ill did the national media pull away from the Happy Valley icon, who passed away from the advancing cancer earlier this year. What a sad way for a life to end.

No matter, we suggest that Paterno’s shadow cast so large in the state that his quest to break the all-time winning record for coaches had more than a bit to do with the timing of the original Sandusky arrest, coming as it did during a bye week and right after “Joe Pa” had finally set the career win mark. We have some oceanfront property in Phoenix to unload to anyone who thinks that sort of timing was just a coincidence.

We could talk forever about this subject, but there is football again to be played at Beaver Stadium this fall. And for the first time since 1965, when Rip Engle still roamed the Nittany Lion sidelines, someone other than Paterno will be the head coach in Happy Valley.

Meet Bill O’Brien, most recently the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, who, if reports are to be believed, was hardly the first choice of the Penn State brass to lead the post-Paterno era. But after being turned down by countless coaches – including Virginia’s Mike London and Miami-Florida’s Al Golden, a Penn State alum, and a handful of others – the Nittany Lions landed on O’Brien, whose only link to Penn State is that he attended the same undergrad, Brown, as did Paterno.

Succeeding coaching icons is never easy, but succeeding disgraced ones is a different ballgame. For that reason alone, O’Brien’s appointment differs from many in recent memory who have followed legendary coaches. About the only parallel we can draw involves Ohio State after Woody Hayes’ ouster following the 1978 Gator Bowl, when slugging Tiger defender Charlie Baumann after the latter’s game-saving interception was simply the last straw for Buckeye administrators.

Hayes’ transgressions, of course, paled against what forced Paterno out of his job last season, but, as we said, it’s the closest example we can recall. Even then, the Buckeyes replaced Hayes with Earle Bruce, who had served on Woody’s Ohio State staffs and done a good job establishing himself as a top-flight head coach at Iowa State before getting the call from Columbus. Bruce proved a good fit, too, almost leading his first Buck team in 1979 to an undefeated season, before eventually running afoul of the jaded Buckeye boosters, who forced him out after the 1987 campaign.

No other past replacement of a legend carried anything close to the dynamics of the O’Brien-after-Paterno situation at Penn State. Bear Bryant retired from Alabama after the 1982 season, but gave his endorsement and blessing to successor Ray Perkins, one of his star Crimson Tide players in the ‘60s who had cut his teeth as head coach of the NFL New York Giants the previous four years, and had taken the G-Men to the playoffs with Scott Brunner as his QB in 1981. That alone seemed to suggest Perkins, like the Bear, could walk on water. Bryant died only a month after his retirement, and Perkins only had modest success in four seasons before leaving for a return to the NFL and the Tampa Bay Bucs.

When Darrell Royal retired at Texas, Fred Akers, a former Longhorn aide who had turned around the program at Wyoming, was a fairly well-received successor, especially since Akers’ first UT team in ‘77 finished the regular season ranked atop the polls and featured Heisman winner Earl Campbell. The same year, Frank Broyles retired at Arkansas, succeeded by Lou Holtz, who had just abandoned the New York Jets after a solid run at NC State. The Holtz hire was not as well-received initially, but Lou quieted the critics with an 11-1 mark in his first year and an Orange Bowl upset over Oklahoma.

In other words, we’re entering some new territory at Penn State with the scenario surrounding O’Brien taking over for Paterno (or, technically, former defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who served as the interim coach late last season after the Paterno ouster). O’Brien inherits what might have been the worst 9-win team in the country last season, but only eight starters are returning from that side that understandably lost three of its last four, including a Ticket City Bowl beating administered by Houston. O’Brien inherits an offense that ranked in the bottom three of Big Ten stats in offense, scoring and passing efficiency.

The focus of O’Brien’s pro-style attack is likely to be TB Silas Redd, a punishing charger who slashed his way for 1241 yards rushing in 2011. Redd, though, is only one of three returning full-time starters on the strike force, which is likely to have the same problems as some of Paterno’s final teams...more specifically, finding a quarterback.

Spring work was inconclusive as none from among past starters Matt McGloin and Ron Bolden, plus Paul Jones, established himself, although O’Brien (who will call his own offensive plays) has reluctantly named McGloin as his tentative starter heading into fall. McGloin performed with a bit more consistency a year ago than Bolden after the latter completed just 39 percent of his passes with a mere two TDs last fall. Jones, ineligible the last two seasons, could be an intriguing alternative if McGloin struggles.

Five of the top six receivers from last season have departed as well; only wideout Justin Brown, who caught 35 passes a year ago, returns. Expect massive 6-foot-6, 277-lb. TE Gary Gilliam, or perhaps another jumbo-sized TE, true frosh 6-foot-7 Jesse James (we like the name already), to perhaps become integral features in the O’Brien offense.

Four new starters must also be plugged into the OL, which could impede Redd’s progress if the new-look forward wall takes time to coagulate.

Defensively, new coordinator Ted Roof (once the head coach at Duke, where he employed O’Brien as an assistant) hopes a high-risk, high-reward scheme will pay dividends after the Nittany Lions were mostly a read-and-react platoon under Tom Bradley. Penn State returns five starters to the platoon – counting LB Michael Mauti, who went down for the count in the fourth game a year ago vs. Eastern Michigan – that allowed only 16.8 ppg in 2011, good for fifth in the country.

Roof’s major concern is a rebuilt secondary that must replace all of its starters from a year ago. Former WR Curtis Drake was converted to a cornerback spot, where he likely starts on the other side from senior Stephen Morris, but not much was accomplished with the DBs in spring as minor injuries curtailed the involvement of many.

As usual, the Nittany Lions should have a robust front seven. The reappearance of Mauti, alongside returning starters Glenn Carson and Gerald Hughes, signals another solid linebacker corps (the 'Linebacker U' tag should stick for at least another year post-Paterno). An all-upperclass defensive line features DT Jordan Hill and DEs Sean Stanley and Pete Massaro, all honors candidates.

Summary: It is probably a good idea for Penn State to have cut ties with the Paterno regime as decisively as it did, and bring in an outsider as the new coach. If ever a program needed some new blood, this was it. Whether O’Brien, a creative offensive strategist but in his first head-coaching assignment, is up to the task, remains to be seen. We’ve seen a lot of decorated coordinators fail as head coaches in the past. If O’Brien can smooth the offense and upgrade the QB production, the strike force could improve, and Penn State is rarely caught short on defense.

Still, the Nittany Lions probably orbit outside of the rankings this season and settle for another minor bowl assignment, while we wait a few more years to deliver a verdict on the O’Brien hire.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:34 PM

Nevada Wolf Pack Ready For MWC Debut

Welcome to the Mountain West!

This would not be earth-shaking news at most college football locales but it certainly is a headliner in Reno, where the Nevada Wolf Pack have escaped the burning building that is the WAC and finally landed in their long-term destination of the MWC. Where, among other things, the Pack will be reunited with sister school UNLV in the southern part of the state.

Indeed, for the Nevada athletic program, affiliation with the Mountain West is akin to hitting a jackpot at one of the slots at the nearby Silver Legacy or Harrah’s.

The Pack seems to have picked a good year to make the jump to the MWC where it is also being joined by another couple of former WAC refugees, Fresno State and Hawaii. With TCU leaving for the Big XII and Boise State looking at significant graduation depletion before it heads (supposedly) for the Big East next year, the Mountain West race looks wide open, and Nevada can feel justifiably confident that it has a chance to steal the league crown in its first trip around the new track.

Of course, the Wolf Pack is going to feel pretty confident in whatever league it plays as long as “The Little General” himself, coach Chris Ault, is still stalking the sidelines. Ault, who had already been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame before he took over the Nevada program for a third time in 2004, has again resurrected the Pack to the point where they are now bowl regulars, having competed in the postseason for seven straight seasons. Not to mention occasionally making noise in the national rankings, as was the case two years ago when the Pack fashioned a 13-1 mark and finished ranked 11th in the final polls.

Although we suggest that Nevada backers enjoy Ault while they can, as regional insiders are suggesting that The Little General might only have a couple of years to go before hanging ‘em up for good. Replacing Ault has already proven to be a tricky exercise two previous times, when Ault temporarily hung up the coaching whistle to concentrate on AD duties at the school. But Ault, who has been in Reno almost all of his adult life after starring as a Wolf Pack QB in the ‘60s, and was named Nevada’s head coach for the first time in 1976 when just 29 years of age, is not going to be coaching forever.

Ault, however, has always made the most of his situation, and the Pack is hardly outgunned as it enters its new league this fall. Ault’s pet “Pistol” formation, which has been copied by a variety of coaches around the country, continues to churn out big numbers for annually-explosive Nevada offenses that consistently rank among the top rushing and scoring teams in the nation.

Nevada ranked sixth nationally in total offense (507 ypg) and eighth in rushing offense (248 ypg) while scoring a hefty 32 ppg in 2011. We doubt much changes in all regards this fall.

Although the Wolf Pack regressed a bit a year ago from the Colin Kaepernick-led side that finished 13-1 in 2010, Nevada still got back to the postseason on the heels of a 7-5 regular-season mark prior to a bitter 24-17 loss to Southern Miss in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, and many key elements return to the Nevada mix.

Importantly, Ault discovered a viable heir apparent at QB to the prolific Kaepernick when then RS-frosh QB Cody Fajardo burst open the scene last fall, taking over for senior Tyler Lantrip as the starter at midseason and immediately proving a perfect fit for the Pistol when he rushing for 694 yards and 11 TDs while passing for another 1707 yards (and 69% completions).

Expect the exciting Fajardo to post even bigger numbers in 2012, although it’s worth noting that Pistol QBs are expected to take much punishment (which, in retrospect, made Kaepernick’s durability even harder to comprehend), and Fajardo was temporarily KO’d late last season. That is why Ault took a careful look at his backup QBs, neither of whom had taken a college snap, in spring. But RS frosh Tanner Roderick and juco addition Devin Combs appear to have plenty of intriguing upside should either be called upon if Fajardo goes down at some point this fall.

Ault has been plugging in varieties of different RBs to his Pistol since first installed in 2005, and we hardly believe the departure of last year’s top two rushers Lampford Mark and Mike Ball (who combined for over 1600 rush yards in 2011) is going to slow the attack. Junior Stefphon Jefferson (6.1 ypc last year) has been anxiously awaiting his turn in line the past couple of years, and regional sources say soph pinball Kendall Brock and punishing 225-lb. RS frosh Tony Knight, a legit pile-driver, should forge another seamless transition to a new set of Nevada runners.

The Pistol figures to get a few new wrinkles this fall with the addition of offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, not long ago a productive QB for June Jones at Hawaii and most recently the coordinator for Red Gun attacks on the islands for HC Greg McMackin, who was forced out in Honolulu after last season. Rolovich figures to add a few more aerial tricks to the offensive package without altering the Pistol’s focus upon the infantry.

As usual, another experienced well-coordinated 'The Union' OL should open up holes for a variety of backs and keep Fajardo fairly well-protected, although Ault and Rolovich spent spring closely monitoring the development of soph C Matt Galas, quick but a bit undersized at 275 pounds and taking the place of graduated starter Jordan Mudge. Three seniors, including an obliterating left side of the line featuring T Jeff Nady and G Jeff Barker, plus RG Alex Pinto, provide the veteran leadership up front, while MWC sources believe soph T Kyle Roberts could eventually be the best of the bunch.

Expect Fajardo to far surpass the six TD passes he threw a year ago, especially since WR Brandon Wimberly, considered an NFL prospect before a suffering a life-threatening gunshot wound early in 2011, is now back in the fold. If back near 100 percent, the 6-foot-3, 210-lb. Wimberly (with 94 career catches) could emerge as a field-stretching threat. The emergence of soph Aaron Bradley (28 catches as a frosh) as 2011 progressed as a secondary-distorting threat bodes well for Fajardo and the aerial games.

Meanwhile, the kicking game uncovered a surprise contributor last fall in walk-on Allen Hardison, an Orange County, Ca. product who displayed a strong leg when hitting 8-of-11 FGs after first-stringer Anthony Martinez went down with a leg injury.

Although Ault’s defense usually lags behind his offense, there have been several impact players populating the Wolf Pack stop unit in recent years, and a few of those were among Nevada’s record four picks in last April’s NFL Draft (LB James-Michael Johnson by the Browns in the 4th round, LB Brandon Marshall by the Jags in the 5th round, and CB Isaiah Frey by the Bears in the 6th round; DE Brett Roy was a FA signee by the Jets).

With much of last year’s stop unit spending the summer in NFL camps, the pressure is on defensive coordinator Mike Bradeson to fill in an uncommon number of high-profile gaps on defense.

The main area of concern is along the DL, where the graduated Roy provided much of the pass rush last year. MWC scouts do say that the new-look line is loaded with athleticism, however, with 270-lb. RS frosh DT Rykeem Yates and juco DE Tyler Houk most impressive in spring work. An all-senior LB corps should feature plenty of pressure from the edge with last year’s juco find Jeremiah Green and DeAndre Broughton, who missed all of 2011 with a broken leg.

The strength of the platoon is likely to be in a veteran secondary that features honors candidates in hard-hitting senior SS Duke Williams, who recorded 83 tackles a year ago, and CB Khalid Wooten. Remember, the Pack allowed only 48 percent completions in 2011 and ranked near the middle of national pass defense stats after placing 98th the previous year. As with the LB corps, Bradeson likely employs an all-senior secondary for the opener at Berkeley.

Pointspread-wise, Ault’s teams have historically been a good bully at home, but inflated numbers (a carryover from the Kaepernick years) have made overcoming those hefty imposts a bit harder the past two seasons. The Pack, which was 19-4 for Ault as Mackay Stadium chalk from 2004-09, is only 5-6 as a favorite in Reno the past two years.

Summary: Nevada has emerged as one of the nation’s most-exciting and entertaining teams over the past several years and we see no reason that should change with the Pack’s move into the Mountain West this fall. Fajardo is likely to post Kaepernick-like numbers (at least 1000 YR and 2000 YP) if he stays healthy, and the Pistol should again post eye-popping stats.

How soon some new playmakers emerge on the stop unit (especially within the front four) should determine if Nevada can contend for a conference title in its first trip around the Mountain West track. Even if falling short of that goal, expect Ault’s Wolf Pack to make an eighth straight bowl appearance in December.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24992 Followers:33
07/21/2012 04:36 PM

Notre Dame Unsettled At QB Entering 2012

Ready for a game of musical quarterbacks at Notre Dame? As if the Fighting Irish don’t have enough to be worried about these days.

But as Notre Dame enters a potentially-pivotal third season of the Brian Kelly era this fall, it does so without clear knowledge of who might be calling the signals on the field for the September 1 opener in Dublin vs. Navy. And most college gridiron observers agree that the Irish are going to need better QB play to break the 8-win ceiling of Kelly’s first two somewhat-disappointing seasons in South Bend.

That Kelly would be having QB problems at Notre Dame comes as a surprise to many after he turned Ben Mauk and Tony Pike into stars during his years at Cincinnati. To this point, however, the QB dilemma has been a sticking point during Kelly’s brief regime in South Bend.

Kelly exited spring with no idea who from among four candidates – junior Tommy Rees, RS soph Andrew Hendrix, soph Everett Golson, or true frosh Gunner Kiel – would be taking the majority of snaps for the Fighting Irish this fall. Some are suggesting that Kelly could be tempted to use two, three or perhaps all four QBs as the situations dictate. Others believe Kelly would like to name one starter and simply go from there, although available evidence indicates none of the candidates has come close to emerging as a clear-cut number one choice.

Rees, who started much of last season and late in the previous 2010 campaign, remains the favorite, although he might be looking at an early-season suspension pending mid-July sentencing on four misdemeanor charges after being arrested following a South bend party on May 3. Rees is 12-4 as a career starter and has passed for 32 TDs and nearly 4000 yards in his career, but has been mistake-prone, tossing 22 career picks.

Kelly could also opt for Hendrix, a Cincy Moeller product who has the arm strength and running ability to effectively operate Kelly’s spread. Hendrix also has some experience, relieving Rees at times a year ago. Golson, a dual pass-run threat, outperformed the others in the spring game.

And then, then there’s Kiel, the ballyhooed true frosh who reversed course on an earlier commitment to LSU and instead picked South Bend, where he enrolled early to participate in spring drills. Regarded as having more upside than the others, Kiel’s candidacy for a starting role this fall still seems like something of a long shot, especially in the early going, although more than a few Domers believe he’ll eventually be the answer.

Whoever takes snaps will not have the secondary-distorting threat provided by departed WR Michael Floyd, who caught 100 passes last fall and was a first-round choice of the Arizona Cardinals in last April’s NFL Draft. The latest in a long line of high-profile Notre Dame TEs, 6-foot-6 senior Tyler Eifert, caught 63 passes as a reliable underneath weapon a year ago.

Still, the QBs will miss Floyd’s downfield threat unless some other wideouts emerge. The best bet looks to be RS soph DaVaris Daniels, who starred in spring. Returning WRs John Goodman, T.J. Jones and Robby Tomas have yet to demonstrate homerun ability (the trio combined for just 638 yards on their 64 catches a year ago).

Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin did some personnel experimenting in spring, with senior Theo Riddick, who has performed with some flair as a slot-back in the past, and soph RB George Atkinson III, who displayed coast-to-coast ability as a frosh (particularly as kick returner, a role in which he scored 2 TDs last year), being used at both RB and wideout positions.

Look for Riddick to steal some carries from functional senior RB Cierre Wood, who provided the bulk of the infantry attack in 2011 when rushing for 1102 yards.

Kelly’s O-line returns three senior starters from a forward wall that paved the way for runners to gain almost five yards per carry in 2011. Overall seven starters, plus several backups who saw action in 2011, return on "O" this fall.

As for the defense, coordinator Bob Diaco received a present in January when senior LB Manti Te’o decided not to enter the NFL Draft and instead return for one more season in South Bend. After recording 261 tackles the past two seasons, he’s the unquestioned leader of the platoon. Although Diaco also took a blow when DE Aaron Lynch, who led all Irish defenders with 5½ sacks last season as a frosh, transferred to South Florida.

Last season’s ND stop unit, with better foot speed than many recent Irish defenses, was rarely overwhelmed after a late-game collapse in September at Michigan. Notre Dame allowed only 20.7 ppg, good for 24th in the country and impressive considering the many high-powered attacks the Irish faced a year ago.

Still, Diaco has some playmakers to replace in the secondary, including SS Harrison Smith, who was a first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings, and both of last year’s starting CBs (Gary Gray and Robert Blanton).

Yet even with Lynch’s premature departure, Diaco likes what he has up front in his 3-4 looks, with plenty of experience in the projected starting lineup (DEs Kapron Lewis-Moore and Stephon Tuitt, and NG Louis Nix III, combined for 107 tackles and 11½ tackles for loss a year ago). The Te’o-led LB corps is full of playmakers.

Diaco, however, is entering fall looking for some answers in the secondary, especially after the availability of junior Austin Collinsworth (Chris’ son), whose emergence as a safety provided Diaco with several options, is now in question after June shoulder surgery. Versatile senior FS Jamoris Slaughter, the only returning starter in the secondary, could be moved as needed to the corner or pass-rushing LB spots as Diaco saw fit, if Collinsworth were available. Last year’s backup CBs, juniors Lo Wood and Bennett Jackson, are being counted upon to deliver this fall.

Turnover issues also must be corrected if the Irish are to make a serious move toward the BCS. Rees’ interceptions were only part of the problem in 2011; the Irish also conceded length-of-field fumble return TDs in the midst of rallies last season in eventual losses to South Florida and USC, and the Irish were among the worst in the country (-15, ranked 118th) in turnover margin.

Kelly, once a winning pointspread proposition in days at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, is only 11-12-3 vs. the number the past two seasons at ND, covering only four of 13 home games. Note, however, how the Irish have been a solid "under" play (16-8-1) in Kelly’s first two years.

Summary: Notre Dame provides interesting subject matter as usual, and might emerge from the post-BCS landscape even further entrenched in its independent role (which has been challenged by many Domers who believe it’s time for the Irish to join a league); if ND secures a future deal with the Orange Bowl, the join-a-conference debate in South Bend is likely tabled for another decade. But it’s also been a long time since the Irish were among the nation’s elite, and this fall’s schedule is no picnic, with the first trip to Oklahoma since 1966, plus a couple of other preseason top ten teams in Michigan and Southern Cal, and six other bowl teams from 2011, is daunting to say the least. Even if Kelly solves his QB dilemma, the schedule should preclude any BCS conjecture.

Looks like another minor bowl for the Irish, the new norm in South Bend, and it might not be long before the natives become as restless with Kelly as they were with Charlie Weis, Ty Willingham and Bob Davie.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: