Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How to Cash In on the Tar Heel Opening

FanBlogs has an update on the coaching opening at North Carolina and sums up its feelings on West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez reportedly being a Tar Heel candidate with one word: Flabbergasting. We'll add this: Unlikely. What Rodriguez is doing is gaining leverage in an attempt to renegotiate his contract with West Virginia at the expense of North Carolina. Check out the message boards at 850 the Buzz. Tar Heels fans are onto Rodriguez. Also joining us in this line of thinking is Football Scoop. Now if Rodriguez were to leave, it likely would be to replace Bobby Bowden at Florida State, or perhaps Larry Coker at Miami. At the moment, there are no openings at Florida State and Miami, leaving North Carolina as the only card that Rodriguez can play this week, the biggest week in the Mountaineers' season. It's all about timing and nobody realizes this better than Rodriguez.

It's Not TV, It's 'GameDay'

Ratings for HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble" must be taking a tumble. How else can you explain the decision to examine the pandemonium that ensues each week when ESPN's College "GameDay" arrives on a campus? To HBO's credit, it does come up with some nuggets. Example: Co-host Lee Corso, 71, is a grandfather of six who also is the director of business development for pencil-maker Dixon Ticonderoga. Sharpen your No. 2s on that one. Corso also travels with two deputies for protection. "They never forget what you've said," Corso said. "Auburn's a perfect example. About 10 years ago, I picked Fresno State to upset Auburn in the opener. Auburn beat them 62 to nothing. And to this day, they'll walk up to me and say, 'Yo, sweetheart! How's Fresno State doing?' " In another move to protect Corso, ESPN is now taking away signs attacking the former coach. The segment premieres Tuesday night.

Tennessee Gets Help From the 12th Man

Tennessee assistant strength coach Roderick Moore is caught on video flattening Georgia safety Tra Battle during the Volunteers' 51-33 victory over the Bulldogs on Oct. 7 at Sanford Stadium. After the play is whistled dead, Battle continues to race up the sideline and Moore, a 6-5, 330-pound former lineman at Morehouse College, sends Battle, 5-11, 176 pounds, flying to the turf. "I was just walking down the sideline," Moore told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. ... OK, it might be a bit of a WWE move, but Battle doesn't seem to mind. He gets up and runs back to join his teammates. Georgia's Mark Richt also didn't have any complaints about the incident.

A Lasting Huddle for Cal Poly

The night of Oct. 29, 1960, will never be forgotten at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs had played Toledo earlier in the day and lost, 50-6. But sportsmanship was in play, and because Cal Poly's charter flight wasn't scheduled to leave until around midnight, several Rocket players extended invitations to the Mustangs to attend Halloween parties at Toledo sororities. "So we went for a while, met some girls. That was fun," said Mustang Bill Dauphin. Fog rolled in as the team gathered and boarded a bus for the ride to the airport. The fog was so dense that taxi service had been suspended for the night in Toledo. Dauphin remembers the team arriving at the airport and walking toward the plane. "When we walked outside the door, I remember one of the guys saying 'Where's the plane?' ... That's how foggy it was." Ted Tollner, top right, who would go on to a successful coaching career, was a player on the team. He and assistant Walt Williamson were seated near the front of the plane, but gave up their seats to receiver Curtis Hill and running back Marshall Kulju. As the plane lifted off the ground, one of the engines quit. The craft tumbled back onto the runway, burning and breaking in two. Dauphin, Williamson and Tollner survived. Hill, Kulju and 20 others died. "I was the cutoff for who lived and died," Tollner said. "Everyone in front of me died. Everyone behind me survived." Hall of Fame coach John Madden, middle right, who has long had a fear of flying, had been a member of the team two years earlier. He knew many of the coaches and players injured or killed in the crash. ... Forty-six years later, members of the Cal Poly team honor those who came before them. Linebacker Jason Relyea, bottom right, said: "The program had to suffer for many years after that and now we fight each game to bring it back together. We use that as our motivation before each game to honor those that came before us."

Crewcut Charlie: Big Man on Campus

CBS' "60 Minutes" aired a segment Sunday night on Notre Dame coach Crewcut Charlie Weis. If you missed it, you can check out part of the video and a transcript by clicking here. Correspondent Steve Kroft asked Crewcut: "One of the things that people have told me is that you have a pretty high opinion of yourself." Crewcut: "Who told you that?" Kroft: "You're not denying it." Crewcut: "In coaching, if you don't think you are good then you have no chance." Kroft: "Is there anyone in college football you think that can out-coach you?" Crewcut: "I would not give that up. I would not want to think that somebody's gonna out-coach me."

The Losses Continue to Pile Up

Bottom line: We've lost over 16 plays and trimmed approximately 14 minutes from the average game in 2006 compared to 2005. Scoring is also down over five points a game. This is the impact of rule 3-2-5-e. Thanks once again to Marty of the great cfbstats for providing this information, along with the shortest and longest games of Week 9. And a reminder to sign the resolution protesting 3-2-5-e at We Hate the New Clock Rules. Over 17,500 fans have already signed the resolution.

* missing game duration of Toledo-Ball State 10/15/2005


Year.......G.....1H Pts....1H Pts/G...2H Pts....2H Pts/G...OT

Here are the shortest games from Week 9:
Buffalo-Boston College: 2:25
Arkansas State-Florida Atlantic: 2:26
Wyoming-Texas Christian: 2:39
Minnesota-Ohio State: 2:50
Auburn-Mississippi: 2:50

Here are the longest games from Week 9:
Ohio-Kent State: 3:41
Texas-Texas Tech: 3:35
Washington State-UCLA: 3:34
Florida-Georgia: 3:33
Michigan State-Indiana: 3:32

Monday, October 30, 2006

In Kazakhstan, We Like Football Too

Reader Jim fired some exceptional shots to us from Saturday's Washington State-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl. From the top on down: It's Hollywood, and as you can see, Borat (or a Halloween look-alike) was in attendance. ... Cougar quarterback Alex Brink signals to his receivers. ... At least there's always something to keep you entertained at a Bruin game. ... UCLA offensive lineman Micah Kia stands clear of the sideline misting system. ... What is a game without the blimp? ... The Cougs and their fans celebrate the 37-15 victory. Underrated Washington State is 6-3, having lost on the road to Auburn and at home to USC and California. Not bad. ... How about sharing? If you have photos from a game you attended, please send them to dawizofodds (at) aol.com. We'd be happy to plug your site in return.

Reporters' Notebooks

John Henderson, Denver Post: A former minister-turned-stress-management-counselor, an astrophysics professor and an infectious disease scientist. And don't forget the MBA, the political scientist at the Air Force Academy and the math prof. These are the people who help determine which teams play in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune: For the second time in two weeks, an idle team jumped Notre Dame in the polls.

Manny Navarro, Miami Herald: Miami's Larry Coker: "What do [we] have left to play for? [We] have pride to play for." (registration).

Tim May, Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State will re-sod the Horseshoe for the second time in just over a month.

Thayer Evans, New York Times: Sorting out the mess that is often referred to as the BCS. Plus, a look at the top eight teams with a shot at the title game and the week ahead.

Chris Dufresne, L.A. Times: How crazy of a weekend was it? Temple now has a longer winning streak than USC.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: USC's chances of getting back in the BCS title game rest somewhere between slim and none.

Ray Ratto, San Francisco Chronicle: California in the Rose Bowl? A few second thoughts for Golden Bear fans ready to book that trip to Pasadena.

Tom Dienhart, Sporting News: He's handing out the Week 9 hardware.

Doug Segrest, Birmingham News: Snapshots from the weekend that was, starting with a look at the Heisman contenders.

Jim Mandelaro, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: A funny story about muddy shoes costing Bo Schembechler a recruit. Thanks to Kevin!

Week 10

It's a week of tricks and treats, and we get a real treat on Thursday. West Virginia and Louisville go toe to toe in the game of the year in the Big East. This one has all kinds of Bowl Championship Series implications and the winner will have an inside track to the national championship game. As a warmup, we have Alabama Birmingham at Southern Methodist on Tuesday and Fresno State at Boise State on Wednesday. On Friday, Air Force is at Army. Among the highlighted games on Saturday: Boston College at Wake Forest; Oklahoma at Texas A&M; Louisiana State at Tennessee; Arkansas at South Carolina; Missouri at Nebraska; Oklahoma State at Texas; Penn State at Wisconsin and ... Central Michigan at Temple. The Chippewas are the only team to cover the spread in every game this season and they are heavy favorites against the Owls, who are still partying after ending their 20-game losing streak with a victory over Bowling Green. We also have a Sunday night game, with Southern Mississippi playing Memphis. You can get all the numbers by visiting Doc's Sports, one of our sponsors. Doc's gave you another winner last week with Kansas over Colorado, more proof that it pays to visit the Doc.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News: USC's loss could be bad news for California because it seals off one of the two paths the Golden Bears had to the Rose Bowl.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: One (loss) and done? USC still believes it can waltz right back into the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Kevin Tatum, Philadelphia Inquirer: Bowling Green, a team that had scored 70 on Temple the past two meetings, became the first to lose to the Owls in 21 games (registration).

Mark Rosner, Austin American-Statesman: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach implied that his Red Raiders lost to Texas because of the officiating (registration).

Mike Sullivan, North County Times: Chuck Long's rebuilding project at San Diego State took a big hit. The Aztecs lost to I-AA Cal Poly, 16-14, arguably the worst defeat in San Diego State history.

Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle: North Texas' Darrell Dickey coached his first game since suffering a heart attack Oct. 13, but the Mean Green lost to Troy, 14-6.

Stephen Tsai, Honolulu Advertiser: Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan continues to fly under the Heisman radar. He guided the Warriors to a 68-10 rout of Idaho.

Matt James, Fresno Bee: Where did it all go wrong? Fresno State's 1-6 record defies explanation but hey, it could be worse.

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette: Drew Who? Iowa appears to have an up-and-coming quarterback in Jake Christensen, who replaced the injured Drew Tate.

Brandon Mellor, Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State and Bobby Bowden are in unfamiliar territory with the worst start for a Seminole team since 1976.

Columnists' Corner

Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald: We were told this was the "New Mizzou." But after watching Oklahoma dismantle Missouri, 26-10, its clear we were misled, badly.

Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times: A month ago, Washington was 4-1 and the toast of Seattle. Today, the Huskies are 4-5 and headed for another forgettable season.

Todd Schulz, Lansing State Journal: From historic comeback to another collapse for Michigan State. If John L. Smith fails to win out, he should be replaced as coach.

Richard Croome, Bryan-College State Eagle: The best-kept secret in the Big 12 is Texas A&M, which is 8-1 after winning its third consecutive conference road game.

Berry Tramel, Oklahoman: The Mike Gundy era at Oklahoma State takes on a whole new look after a stirring comeback that dropped Nebraska, 41-29 (registration).

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Kansas may have salvaged a season, but the cost was high, with coach Mark Mangino pulling the redshirt off freshman quarterback Todd Reesing (registration).

Dave Joseph, Orlando Sentinel: Four turnovers, six sacks, eight penalties. Larry Coker's Miami Hurricanes continue to amaze.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Press-Register: It's time for Florida State coach Bobby Bowden to retire.

Geoff Calkins, Commercial Appeal: Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron might get the last laugh.

Gordon Monson, Salt Lake Tribune: Brigham Young is a couple of plays from an undefeated season. "It kills me," said linebacker Bryan Kehl, "because we'd be headed to a BCS bowl game."

How USC's Loss Shakes Up the BCS

USC's stunning defeat to Oregon State has left the Bowl Championship Series standings in a state of confusion. Now instead of waiting until Fox decides it is good and ready to announce the standings on Sunday, you can pay a visit to the BCS Guru and get the standings right now — commercial-free we might add. According to the Guru, here are the top 10 teams, in order: 1. Ohio State; 2. Michigan; 3. West Virginia; 4. Auburn; 5. Florida; 6. Texas; 7. Louisville; 8. USC; 9. Tennessee; 10. Notre Dame. Obviously, Thursday night's West Virginia-Louisville game has taken on added importance because of USC's loss. The Mountaineer-Cardinal winner will have an inside track to the BCS title game because Michigan and Ohio State have yet to play. The Wolverine-Buckeye matchup is shaping up as an elimination game. But we leave all things BCS to the Guru, because after all, he is the Guru. He will be updating his site throughout the day on Sunday and we urge you to check it out.
Update: Link to the complete standings.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

'That's Kinda Gay'

We're told this is Brian Kinchen, announcing the Northern Illinois-Iowa game. He talks about "caressing the ball." Then says "that's kinda gay." After that comes the dead silence. ... That's kinda funny. Thanks to Jacob for this!
Update: Video removed because of copyright restrictions. Try this link (thanks to the anonymous reader who posted the new link!), or simply click on the window below and the video magically appears! Also Kinchen has been taken off the air this week by ESPN officials, the Des Moines Register reported (thanks to Big Lead and Deadspin). And remember to check out the rest of our fine blog!

Hot Seats in the Heartland

The heat is on Iowa State's Dan McCarney and Kansas' Mark Mangino. Their bosses made that much clear this week. McCarney, the dean of Big 12 coaches, has a new boss in Jamie Pollard, and the athletic director has already fired basketball coach Wayne Morgan and bumped wrestling coach Bobby Douglas for Olympian Cale Sanderson. It's clear Pollard means business, and he is upset with the Cyclones' 3-5 record. Lew Perkins, Mangino's boss, declined say whether the big man's job is in jeopardy after a 3-5 start. "We're all disappointed in where we are right now," Perkins told the Kansas City Star. "But you don't overreact in the middle of the year. That would be foolish." Would firing McCarney or Mangino really help? Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News says Pollard and Perkins would be smart to consider their surroundings. Simply, Ames and Lawrence are not the easiest places to win. McCarney has guided the Cyclones to bowl games five of the past six seasons. Mangino's Jayhawks won the Fort Worth Bowl last season.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Snyder Ready to Coach Again?

Former Kansas State coach Bill Snyder might not be a former coach much longer. Snyder, 67, sounds like a man who has the itch to get back in the game. He told the Kansas City Star that he has been contacted by a couple of teams gauging his interest in making a comeback in 2007. "I've had a call or two," he said, declining to name the teams that contacted him. "I'm going to wait till the season's over and see how I feel about it. At this point, I'm comfortable. I have no anxiety attacks." Snyder also wrote an open letter telling Wildcat fans to get behind coach Ron Prince. Kansas State fans are restless because the team has lost four of five. "Ron and his staff are doing marvelous," Snyder said, "and they're on the right track." Snyder said the letter was his idea and Prince knew nothing about it, but not everybody thinks it was such a grand idea (some registration).

Game of the Week

His name is Mark Mathis. Television broadcast talent, public speaker, actor, former Baylor scout team quarterback, YouTube cult figure and — most important — the Wiz's pigskin prophet (video). It took weeks of negotiations to secure his talents for our humble little site, and we must say, it has been well worth it. His record is a sparkling 7-1, and it's even more impressive when you consider that we've given him the toughest of games. No gimmes in this neighborhood! Now Mark has promised to shake things up around here, and being a Texan, you could see the gleam in his eyes when we told him the game of the week was Oklahoma at Missouri. You know how those Texans feel about Oklahoma. So let's see what he has to say about this Big 12 matchup:

"Poor Oklahoma ... first Barry Switzer now Bob Stoops! Stoops makes Switzer look like Joe Paterno. I mean if Oklahoma had an NFL team, the Sooners would be the second-best pro team in the state! You know the reason Sherman, Texas is so windy? Because Oklahoma sucks!

"What does an Oklahoma graduate and a tornado have in common? A. They both will end up in a trailer park.

"What do you call the sweat on two Sooners having sex? Relative humidity.

"How do you get an Okie cheerleader into your room? Grease her hips and throw in a twinkie.

"You know you're from Oklahoma if: You've ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister's honor.

"OK, I hate to admit this, but Oklahoma will win, 28-24. Mostly sunny with a kickoff temperature of 50 and northwest wind at 15. As for the forecast, I am 8-0."

Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune: Missouri's run defense has slipped badly in recent weeks, and now the Tigers will be without career sacks leader Brian Smith.

Mike DeArmond, Kansas City Star: Missouri has to overcome some traditional obstacles, including Oklahoma, which has not lost to the Tigers since 1998 (registration).

Jim Ross, O.U. Insider: The WWE commentator and Sooner honk cuts to the Chase. Oklahoma has to stop Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel.

John Helsley, Oklahoman: Super story here. Sooner defensive tackle Carl Pendleton will skip his senior season to care for his 10-year-old brother Kierstan (registration).

Crystal Ball

Double D, Boston Herald: There's money to be made laying the points and taking Alabama against Florida International, which is taking only 56 players to Tuscaloosa and starting seven freshmen.

Betting Fool, San Francisco Chronicle: He'll put down a rather large wager of 70 simoleons, take Notre Dame and give the points to Navy.

Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal: Reno's best have a 7-1 record the past two weeks. As for this week, it's USC. The Trojans, with two weeks to prepare, are taking the Beavers out behind the woodshed.

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News: He stands 21-21-3 and this is a big week if he hopes to finish over .500. His selections: Louisiana Tech, Ohio State, Rutgers, Oklahoma and USC.

Fan IQ: A look at who the experts like this week. Plus the IQ crew sent along word that Jack Nicklaus will dot the "i" in script Ohio. A YouTube look at the tradition.

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News: The Wiz will toast anybody who still calls the Georgia-Florida game the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." He also picks the winner.

Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione, Doc's Sports: A rather entertaining point/counterpoint on this week's games.

Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal: The 'Book. Tell the West Virginia media that the 'Book will talk to them any time. He's 43-29-2 against the number.

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: Notre Dame should have no trouble brushing aside Navy.

For the latest lines, check with Doc's Sports. They're fresh off hitting their Big Ten game of the year. And thanks to Hester Graphics for all the help with the site. If you need to spiffy up your site, or want to add some Flash, check him out.

Time to Get Dialed In

We know the feeling. It's sometimes difficult to sleep the night before a big game. The blood is pumping and the anticipation becomes so powerful that you end up tossing and turning most of the night. If you find yourself in this predicament, or if you simply are a nighthawk or driving overnight to a game, there is a place to take off the edge. It's called "Sports Overnight America" on Sports Byline USA. The fun starts around 2:30 a.m. (Eastern) on Saturday. Lonnie White, UCLA beat writer for the L.A. Times, is scheduled to join our conversation at 3 a.m. You can listen over the Internet, American Forces Network or better yet, on Sirius 122. And here are the listings for this week's games to be broadcast by Sirius and XM.
Update: Also joining us tonight on "Sports Overnight America" will be Sam of the site BCS Guru. He is scheduled to be a guest at 2:15 a.m.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reporters' Notebooks

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: Scalpers are already asking $4,270 for a lower-level club seat to the Nov. 18 Michigan-Ohio State game at Columbus.

Doug Lesmeries, Plain Dealer: Ohio State has replaced the turf at Ohio Stadium, but Buckeye receiver Ted Ginn says the new sod is worse than the surface it replaced.

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: The must-read conference calls. A league-by-league collection of information and observations on this week's games (registration).

Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Big 12 Insider. Why Texas Tech could be in a good spot to pull an upset against Texas. (registration).

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times: Former Miami linebacker Willie Williams has restarted his career at West Los Angeles College and is drawing interest from UCLA.

C.L. Brown, Louisville Courier-Journal: Louisville's "Nate Harris Rule" — making player interviews off-limits to reporters who cover opposing teams — has riled up West Virginia reporters.

Mark Craig, Star Tribune: Former Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney says Golden Gopher coach Glen Mason can utilize his talent better.

Iliana Limon, Albuquerque Tribune: If New Mexico wants to play in the hometown New Mexico Bowl, it will have to win three of its final four games.

Blogger Blues

Our apology for the sporadic postings the past few days, but once again, Blogger is giving us (and everybody else on the network) fits. And Blogger is scheduled to once again be taken down Thursday afternoon. This latest round of Blogger trouble has reaffirmed our plans to take the site off the network in the offseason. We will give everybody plenty of notice before we flip the switch on this move. Thanks again for your patience.

Cranking Up the Coaching Carousel

He's rested, he's ready and he's available. Butch Davis wants back into coaching, and hiring the former Cleveland Brown and Miami Hurricane coach should be a snap. There is no athletic director to approach for interview approval. No bowl game or playoff game to end. No buyout clause to sort through. All of these factors put North Carolina in a unique position. The school has already announced it will part ways with John Bunting at season's end, so right now the Tar Heels can make a move before other jobs become available. If North Carolina waits, then the negotiating power likely would shift to Davis, who should be a contender for any vacancy. As for other potential coaching moves, the site Football Scoop lays out some possibilities. If Larry Coker and Miami part ways, Georgia's Mark Richt and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville would be on the wish list. If Michigan were to win it all and Lloyd Carr decided to step down, look for San Diego's Jim Harbaugh to be the No. 1 candidate. And it's getting ugly at Florida State, where boosters are taking sides in the Bobby Bowden debate. Who might replace Bowden? Try Louisville's Bob Petrino (some registration).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Taxi Cab Confessions

We can only hope the HBO cameras were rolling early Sunday in Seattle. Reserve Washington running back Michael Houston, a transfer from Texas, was arrested on suspicion of auto theft. Specifically, a cab. According to police, Houston, two other men and a woman were picked up by an Orange Cab at a Deja Vu strip club. As the cabbie drove them to a McDonald's, the woman allegedly spit on a window. When the cabbie stopped the vehicle, got out and called 911 on his cell phone, it is alleged that Houston jumped from the back seat to the front and drove away. A short time later, police spotted Houston exiting the parked cab from the driver-side door. He was arrested and has a bail hearing Wednesday morning. Houston, who said he had difficulty getting his release from Texas because he had to pay off parking tickets and some loans he "probably shouldn't have taken out," has been suspended indefinitely from the team.

Fire Karl Dorrell? Sorry, It's Taken

You can see by the top photo why somebody could fall in love with the Notre Dame campus. It was sent to us by reader Jack, whose work appears at Beat S.C. And what a Saturday afternoon it was for UCLA — for 59 minutes. UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowen, making his second start, was sharp (middle images) and connected with Marcus Everett on a 54-yard touchdown pass (bottom image), the Bruins' longest scoring play of the season. Then the world came crashing down on UCLA, with Notre Dame's Brady Quinn engineering a three-play, 80-yard drive that drove a stake in the heart of the Bruins. Notre Dame 20, UCLA 17. The fall guy in all of this has been Bruin coach Karl Dorrell. He was ripped (as were Notre Dame and its "genius" coach Crewcut Charlie Weis) by L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers. The good folks over at Bruins Nation have been on a rant all week, and angry fans have been flooding the forum at the Bruin Zone. All this got the Wiz thinking: Who owns the domain, Fire Karl Dorrell? We found out, but have agreed to keep his identity a secret. But what we can tell you is this: He claims to be a graduate of USC and would like to pass the following message to UCLA fans: "I am the registered owner of firekarldorrell.com. At this time, I do not wish to reveal my plan for the site. I would like to see UCLA keeps its current head football coach for many more years. Mr. Karl Dorrell has always been a calm gentleman whether his team loses by three points or six touchdowns."

Partying Down at Chestnut Hill

Football has a way of bringing everybody together, and Todd Heustess of Outsports found that to be the case during his tailgate stop at Boston College for the Eagles' Oct. 12 game against Virginia Tech. For generations, a climate of homophobia has existed at Chestnut Hill. The Princeton Review ranked Boston College as the No. 3 most homophobic university in the country. Although the atmosphere on campus is far from perfect, a movement has improved the climate for all students, Heustess said. As for the party scene, Heustess writes: "The mix ... after the game was pretty much the same, equal parts guys and girls, the 15-20 [gay and lesbian] students mixing easily with all their straight counterparts. None of the non-GLS students I talked to seemed to care that I was writing a story for a gay sports site. They just thought it was cool that a freelance writer from L.A. was there to write about the game and the tailgate scene."

Reporters' Notebooks

Robbie Neiswanger, Clarion Ledger: Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron won't say why he dismissed one player and suspended four others. Only 15 players from the 20-member 2005 signing class remain on campus.

Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio State's Jim Tressel to the Cleveland Browns? The coach says no ... well, maybe.

Tim May, Columbus Dispatch: Could the Michigan-Ohio State game on Nov. 18 be a warmup to a BCS title game between the teams?

Art Aisner, Ann Arbor News: Michigan receiver Adrian Arrington was arraigned on a count of misdemeanor domestic violence.

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star: Indiana hasn't drawn more than 33,000 this season for a home game, but coach Terry Hoeppner wants 50,000 for Saturday's homecoming against Michigan State.

Andy Hamilton and Pat Harty, Iowa City Press-Citizen: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is expressing displeasure with a columnist and instant replay.

Eric Petersen, Ames Tribune: Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard says the next four games will determine the fate of coach Dan McCarney.

C.L. Brown, Louisville Courier-Journal: Louisville is considering a 21,000-seat expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times: Ben Malcolmson, the Daily Trojan-sportswriter-turned-receiver, is ready to rejoin the USC team after shoulder surgery.

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star: Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood says coach Mike Stoops will stay, but something needs to be done about the Wildcats' struggling offense.

Columnists' Corner

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: Two words of warning for anyone and everyone who wants to fire Mike Shula and fire Watson Brown and retire Bobby Bowden: Ed Orgeron.

Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal: Man Law No. 1: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks needs to beat either Georgia or Tennessee to keep his job.

Bob Lutz, Wichita Eagle: You give Kansas coach Mark Mangino a 150% raise and this is what happens.

Pete DiPrimio, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Don't count Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn out of the Heisman race.

Jay Heater, Contra Costa Times: It took a crazy cart ride around Memorial Stadium to get California tailback Marshawn Lynch some national publicity.

Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal: What a difference a victory makes. Can Michigan State win out and earn a bid to a Florida bowl?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Lost Season

Marty of the terrific cfbstats has the latest numbers regarding how rule 3-2-5-e has impacted the time of games and reduced the number of plays. Of course, fewer plays mean less football and less scoring. And less football is not a good thing. We do want to thank everybody for trying to help us out regarding the time of the Toledo-Ball State game. Unfortunately, it appears no "official" time was logged on the game. So to keep the purity of the data, the time of that game has been left out. Here are the numbers:

* missing game duration of Toledo-Ball State 10/15/2005


Year.......G......1H Pts...1H Pts/G...2H Pts....2H Pts/G...OT

Here are the shortest games from Week 8:
Air Force-San Diego State: 2:39
Tulsa-Memphis: 2:39
Buffalo-Ohio: 2:39
Oregon State-Arizona: 2:46
Stanford-Arizona State: 2:50
Tulane-Auburn: 2:50

Here are the longest games from Week 8:
Colorado State-Wyoming: 4:05
UCLA-Notre Dame: 3:35
Boise State-New Mexico State: 3:32
Alabama-Tennessee: 3:30
Hawaii-New Mexico State: 3:26

Reporters' Notebooks

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: CBS and ESPN have agreed to drop references to the Florida-Georgia game as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." (registration).

Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach Post: Bobby Bowden, answering his critics, says his tenure at Florida State will have a happy ending.

Andy Hamilton, Iowa City Press-Citizen: It appears an injury to his left thumb will sideline Iowa quarterback Drew Tate.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Iowa State's Dan McCarney, the dean of Big 12 coaches, said he's not worried about losing his job.

Shannon Shelton, Detroit Free Press: Michigan State and bowl game? Hard to believe, but the Spartans need only two more victories.

Curt McKeever, Lincoln Journal Star: Big 12 stock report. Who's hot and who's not.

Jeff Caplan and Mike Jones, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Big 12 notebook. Texas A&M is flying high, but Baylor is gearing up to pull an upset.

Columnists' Corner

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: Mike Hart, the heart and soul of unbeaten Michigan, deserves serious consideration for the Heisman.

Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star: Has Joe Tiller grown resigned to Purdue's mediocrity?

Mike Huguenin, Orlando Sentinel: If Notre Dame earns a bid to a BCS bowl, it can thank UCLA coach Karl Dorrell.

Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer: Now that North Carolina has fired John Bunting, it must decide the importance of football (registration).

Guy Junker, Tribune-Review: Penn State and Pittsburgh could be headed for 8-4 seasons, but really, each team has gotten fat playing losers.

Dave Hickman, Charleston Gazette: The question seems a bit silly, but what is wrong with Louisville's offense?

Steve Politi, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers is not only the best story in college football, the Scarlet Knights are very, very good.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Marshawn Lynch's Wild Ride

California running back Marshawn Lynch takes the injury cart for a spin after the Golden Bears defeated Washington, 31-24, in overtime. Thankfully, he didn't hit anybody, and we will give Lynch the award for originality. But risky it was because we haven't seen this many people on the field since "The Play," when the Stanford band flooded the turf. Of course, around Palo Alto "The Play" is simply called the "Screw of '82."

Turns Out, a Good Weekend for the Dogs

Tennessee mascot Smokey looks harmless enough, but try telling that to Alabama freshman receiver Mike McCoy. Smokey bit a hole in McCoy's uniform during pregame warmups for Saturday's game at Knoxville. "He drew blood," Crimson Tide coach Mike Shula said. Dipal Chaudhari, Smokey's handler, told the Birmingham News that Smokey was at least six yards off the field having pictures taken when McCoy chased after an overthrown ball. He stepped on Smokey, who snapped at McCoy. Thanks to Rolling Tider!

Week 9

Ohio State might be the No. 1 team in the country in the eyes of most people, but our knowledgeable readers know that's simply not the case. Central Michigan is No. 1 where it really counts — Las Vegas. That is where the "official" record is kept, as in who is covering the spread and who isn't. The Chippewas are 8-0 against the number and the last team with an unblemished record. The mighty Buckeyes? A mere 7-1. Good luck catching Central Michigan. The Chippewas don't play this week, so they will retain their top spot until the Nov. 4 round of games. Now just because our No. 1 Chips are not in action, that is no reason to fret. We still have some exceptional games, with the action starting Thursday when Clemson travels to Virginia Tech. Friday brings Texas El Paso at Tulsa (another good cover team), then we jump into the meat of the schedule. Here's a sample of Saturday's games: Texas at Texas Tech; Tennessee at South Carolina; Georgia and Florida (at Jacksonville ... think cocktails); Miami at Georgia Tech; Oklahoma at Missouri and Nebraska at Oklahoma State. Get all the updated numbers from trustworthy Doc's Sports, one of our sponsors.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Uniforms, Same Result

Here's a look at the all-black uniforms Florida State broke out for Saturday's game against Boston College. Note the word "Unconquered" on the pant leg, a tribute to the Seminole Tribe, which has never had a treaty with the United States. At game's end, Florida State's hopes for an Atlantic Coast Conference title had faded to black. The Eagles beat the Seminoles, 24-19, dropping Florida State into last place in the Atlantic Division (registration). Thanks to Kevin!

Where the Hell Is Joe Lee Dunn?

We have watched this about five times already and can't stop laughing. Chris Vernon of 730 ESPN in Memphis posted this music video titled "Cowbells Ain't Ringing Anymore." Be advised if you're a Mississippi State fan: Don't go there. Vernon earlier posted a similar video titled "Colonel Reb Is Crying," which pokes fun at Mississippi Madman Ed Orgeron.

This Was a Real 'Shocker'

We understand that Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was upset with the officiating in the Hawkeyes' 20-6 loss to Michigan on Saturday (third item), and we can see why. The referee is clearly caught here doing the Shocker on the ABC telecast. Naughty, naughty! Now just because the Wolverines won doesn't mean the team is without trouble. Receiver Adrian Arrington has some sort of legal issue, with a police report having been filed, but as of yet, no charges have come down. This didn't stop Judge Lloyd Carr from rendering a verdict, however, which allowed Arrington to play. Said Carr: "There's an issue, and I'm not going to discuss it except to say that I take any allegation of this type very seriously, but I do not think the allegation is supported by the facts." Translation: We were playing the last serious challenger on our schedule before Ohio State and we needed Arrington in the lineup, especially with receiver Mario Manningham still on crutches."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Game of the Week

Now there's plenty to see outside of Texas, but if your a freshman on the Longhorn football team, you wouldn't know that. Texas has built a 6-1 record and has yet to leave the state. The Longhorns have played five games in Austin, one in Houston and another in Dallas. But the home cooking is over Saturday because Texas travels to Lincoln and takes on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. It's freshman quarterback Colt McCoy's first serious road game and if the season plays out the way we expect it will, the teams will meet again in the Big 12 title game. It's our game of the week, and we bring on Mark Mathis, who knows a little something about Big 12 football having been a scout team quarterback at Baylor. Mathis suffered his first loss of the season last week when the referees conspired to ruin his pick of Florida over Auburn. But champions bounce back in a big way, so let's hear what he has to say about Texas' chances at Lincoln:

"Come on! This is the about as close to a Division I-A and Division I-AA matchup we have had. Watch me blow this one as well! But as I sit here in an airport waiting to catch a flight, I can only think that the Horns don't let the Huskers sneak up on them. It's a blowout at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Look for the Horns to take this one, 38-14! By the way, what's the deal with air travel these days? They sure don't make it fun....

Weather in Lincoln: Look for some scattered showers and cold. The weather will most likely favor the Horns. They are bigger and stronger and will run all game long. I predicted the score before I checked the upper air flow charts so might have to drop the Horns score just a bit, but they still will win. Cold, with a kickoff temperature of 40, some rain and a north wind at 15. Hook 'Em!!!

Big Red Network: All things Nebraska. Where else on the Internet can you print out a pocket guide to the game?

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News: This nugget from his Big 12 Insider: The Longhorns and Cornhuskers have each won nine of their last 10 games.

Texas Trifecta: We don't want to shortchange any of our blogging friends from Texas, so here's links to Bevo Sports, Burnt Orange Nation and Mean Horn.

Corn Nation: Now how can you not like a site with a name like that? Besides, they provided the picture of the Cornhusker cheerleaders.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Best Things in Life Are Free

It offers a breathtaking panorama of the Bay Area, from gleaming San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge to sparkling Marin County to the north. From this perch, which also overlooks the bowl of Memorial Stadium, California fans can catch a glimpse of the Golden Bears. The price for this precious seat is nothing, and for that reason it's called Tightwad Hill. Generations of Bear fans have made the trek up the hill for games, and even some out-of-town spectators have been known to occupy Tightwad. A few years ago before a game against Utah, two people wearing red — the Utes' color — were spotted watching the Bears practice. Bud "Dog" Turner, who is in charge of security at the stadium, sent and assistant to check on what the men were doing. "He came back and said, 'All they're doing is smoking pot,' " Turner said. "It's very Berkeley up there, believe me. We send some student managers up there, and maybe they see some sights they shouldn't see."

Reporters' Notebooks

Wendell Barnhouse, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: A collection of information and observations on this week's games (registration).

David Davis, Los Angeles Times: Thirty-six years after USC played an unintegrated Alabama team, authors are still trying to gauge what kind of effect the game had on race relations in the South.

Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union-Tribune: Jim Harbaugh and Chuck Long together again? Almost. The former Big Ten quarterbacks are coaching in the same city. Thanks to Mary!

Joe Henderson, Tampa Tribune: Do you know the way to Poplarville, Miss? College coaches do. It's one of the nation's leading football factories.

Michael DiRocco, Florida Times-Union: Florida's Urban Meyer is upset because the Gators were limited to only 45 plays in the loss to Auburn (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia is out of the top 25 for the first time in five years. Here is why the Bulldogs have slipped (registration).

Mike Kern, Philadelphia Daily News: The first Bowl Championship Series standings set up several scenarios that could once again bring shame to the system.

Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Michigan has unveiled its plans to renovate the Big House.

Jack Bogaczyk, Charleston Daily Mail: West Virginia can set a team record of 14 consecutive victories if it wins Friday night at Connecticut.

Kevin Gorman, Tribune-Review: The Big East got rid of two headaches when bad boys Miami and Virginia Tech moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

David Woods, Indianapolis Star: Ball State and other Mid-American teams are doing all they can to draw fans to games.

Scott Cacciola, Commercial Appeal: Mississippi's Ed Orgeron is gambling with his playcalling in an attempt to get the Rebels out of their funk (registration).

Peter Hockaday, Casper Star-Tribune: Mountain West notebook. Parity means Texas Christian can climb back in the conference race.

Anthony Gimino, Tucson Citizen: Romance helped keep Arizona quarterback Kris Heavner on the team.

Crystal Ball

Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal: San Jose State has won four in a row, but the streak will end in a blowout loss at Nevada.

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News: West Virginia, which is trying to claw its way up the BCS standings, will win big at Connecticut.

Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News: A Nebraska victory over Texas would put Bill Callahan's team back in the national spotlight. Don't look for it to happen.

Fan IQ: Georgia Tech has a tough game at Clemson, but the Yellow Jackets have the best player in Calvin Johnson. Plus a look at how the experts fared last week.

Double D, Boston Herald: Another opinion on the Georgia Tech-Clemson game. The underdog has covered the past 11 games between the teams.

Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal: This is shaping up as a big weekend for the favorites.

For the latest lines, check with Doc's Sports. And thanks to Hester Graphics for all the help with the site.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

'What a [Expletive]'

Perhaps nobody embodied the spirit of the renegade Miami Hurricanes of the 1990s quite like Lamar Thomas. From the swagger to the trash talk, Miami became the most hated team in the land, backing it up by winning and winning big. So when the former Hurricane receiver turned broadcaster was fired this week because of his comments during the brawl between Miami and Florida International, many people took interest, including Heath Bray, a former safety whose Arizona Wildcats played and lost to Thomas and Hurricanes, 36-9, in 1991 at Tucson. Early in that game, quarterback Gino Torretta caught Arizona in a blitz and found the speedy Thomas in one-on-one coverage. Torretta lofted a pass to Thomas, who beat his defender and raced down the sideline. But as he reached the goal line, Thomas stopped completely, put his toe over the goal line and placed the ball in the end zone. "I had blitzed from the right side and hit Gino in the mouth as he was throwing the ball," Bray told the Tucson Citizen. "We're both on the ground on our backs ... and we see him running down the field and just place the ball in the end zone. Gino turns to me and says something to the effect of, 'What a [expletive].' " ... Bray and Torretta maintain a friendship today, but the former Arizona player still burns over Thomas' antics. "That play colored the way I have thought about Miami for 15 years," Bray said. "It will take something monumental to change it." The photo of Thomas' 1991 touchdown against Arizona was taken by Xavier Gallegos of the Tucson Citizen.

Putting Your Teams on the Map

There's not much to cheer for if you live west of Lincoln, Norman or Austin. This map, provided by Map Game Day, shows locations of the teams in the first Bowl Championship Series standings. The next time somebody talks to you about a bias toward West Coast teams, explain to them that there is no bias. The reality is that power base in college football currently resides in the Eastern half of the country. Map Game Day also offers an AP map, a Sagarin map and a BlogPoll map. Or once one of the maps is loaded, you can flip through the other selections by selecting the check boxes on the left.

Reporters' Notebooks

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Here's one thing that can cover Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson. It's called insurance (registration).

Bob Thomas, Florida Times-Union: Atlantic Coast Conference teams can do more than brawl. They have some of the best kickers in the land (registration).

Mobile Press-Register: The Southeastern Conference sent a written warning to Auburn for blaring music between plays during the game against Florida.

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald: It's looking more and more like Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan's injured left foot and ankle could keep him on the sidelines against Florida State.

Paul Strelow, Columbia State: The story of Clemson cornerback Ray Ray McElrathbey and his 11-year-old brother is headed for — you guessed it — "Oprah."

Robbi Pickeral, Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina, which plays at Virginia on Thursday night, has options regarding the future of coach John Bunting. And if it fires Bunting, who might be in line to get the job? (registration).

Ted Miller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Pac-10 notebook. UCLA's Patrick Cowan is the latest conference quarterback to be silenced.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: Another USC player is in trouble. Linebacker Rey Maualuga was disciplined after becoming aggressive at a fraternity party.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blacksburg, Site of the Next Blowup

While everybody is picking over the remains from "The Backyard Brawl" between Florida International and Miami, we turn our attention to another Atlantic Coast Conference powder keg. Yes, we're talking about Blacksburg, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies. It has been another busy season for Frank Beamer's team. Arrests, personal fouls, attitude on the field and sidelines. ... Our money is riding on something ugly happening soon at Blacksburg, and judging by letters to the Roanoke Times, others are too, including ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, who was (kind of) defending his Hokie rant from last week. Now Beamer promises an end to the shenanigans and says this time he means business. As for the ACC, things are ugly enough. What does it say about the league when a struggling Miami can lose 13 players to suspension and still be a 17.5-point road favorite over Duke?

Where's Fox News When You Need It?

Is Minnesota's Glen Mason taking responsibility for his team's 2-5 start and 0-4 record in the Big Ten? What about that graduation rate for his players, which is last in the Big Ten? The mundane weekly press conference received an unexpected dash of spice when Mason was asked by an out-of-town reporter about the growing criticism of him and his program. Mason, in the first year of a five-year contract extension that pays him a base salary of $1.65 million this season, made it clear he took offense to fans booing the Gophers in a loss to Penn State on Oct. 7 at the Metrodome. A section of students chanted "Fire Mason" and then booed his team as it left the field at halftime. Mason brushed off the criticism, saying that alcohol might have contributed to the negative reaction from fans. "I'll probably get criticized for saying this, but a lot of drinking goes on in there," he said. "We serve alcohol in that stadium. Not many college stadiums do that. I was at one game, looking up there, I thought, 'Where's Fox News? There's a lot of underage drinking out there because I know that guy ain't 21.' Right?" (registration).