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Friday, September 28, 2007

Franchione discontinues inside info newsletter for A&M boosters

Associated Press
Updated: September 28, 2007, 1:50 PM ET

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said he has stopped selling inside information on the Aggies in a newsletter to boosters who paid $1,200 per year in subscription fees that helped finance the coach's personal Web site.

About a dozen elite boosters subscribed for the past three years to the e-mail newsletter, called "VIP Connection." It offered Franchione's candid assessments of players and specific injury information, details Franchione routinely declined to discuss publicly because, he would say, it is not "our policy" to disclose injuries.

Franchione, who coached at New Mexico from 1992-97, made subscribers sign a confidentiality agreement and said he doesn't believe any of the inside information was used for gambling, the San Antonio Express-News reported in Friday editions after obtaining a copy of the newsletter through a "third-party source."

"We asked them to sign something," Franchione said. "And for them not to do that. Most of these people are tremendously loyal Aggies."

Athletic director Bill Byrne could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press on Friday.

The newsletter was written by Mike McKenzie, Franchione's personal assistant. The two denied benefiting financially from the newsletter, although Franchione said proceeds were used to underwrite his personal Web site, coachfran.com.

In one newsletter, McKenzie wrote about six players being unavailable to play against Montana State and listed their specific injuries. A seventh player was "iffy" because he had not fully recovered from a mild concussion, according to the newsletter.

McKenzie also wrote about Franchione's assessment of the Aggies' wide receivers.

"Privately, Coach told me last night that Earvin (Taylor) and Pierre [Brown] are very steady but with average speed," McKenzie wrote. "Kerry [Franks] has great speed, but [is] inconsistent in receiving."

"The whole point of it was for them to be informed about the program, straight from the head coach," McKenzie said.

McKenzie referred to "VIP Connection" as "private correspondence between a head coach and the individuals involved."

Franchione, who makes about $2 million per year in a contract that runs through 2011, has offered refunds to the subscribers, McKenzie said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Thursday, September 27, 2007



Big Winners

Syracuse -
There was nobody who thought the Orange could possibly win this game -- as 38 point underdogs -- this was a historic win. This was the best football played under coach Greg Robinson who earned his second conference win in three seasons. The quarterback Andrew Robinson was efficient and smart, making the tough throws and the easy ones, throwing for four touchdowns. Robinson hit the big plays throwing for 423 yards including a 79-yard touchdown pass to Taj Smith to open up the game. Smith showed nice hands and big play ability catching four balls for 173 yards including a 60-yard touchdown where Smith put the moves on a couple Louisville defenders before taking it to the house for about 50 yards of YAC. Even though they gave up 35 points the ‘Cuse defense was solid and made plays. Jameel McClain has been waiting to break out and it may have started in Louisville where he recorded a sack and an interception. Syracuse forced four turnovers in a 38-35 victory, as Louisville scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes to make it close.

Connecticut -
In what was supposed to be a battle -- the Huskies just walked all over Pittsburgh on their home field. The defense for Connecticut played their best ball of the year, forcing four turnovers and holding star freshman tailback LeSean McCoy to 70 yards rushing. The defense forced quarterback Kevan Smith to his worst game of the season, which included two interceptions and a fumble which directly led to 17 points. Smith had to be taken out at halftime after only completing 3/9 passes for 23 total yards. Pittsburgh did not convert any of their first seven third downs.

Most Lost

Louisville -
The most noise in Papa John’s Stadium on Saturday was the cheers when Mario Urrutia was taken out of the game after committing a personal foul penalty. In total, Louisville’s 12 penalties cost them 105 yards. For whatever reason the offense ignored their tight ends and running game and instead just kept on throwing the ball up for grabs. Brian Brohm did throw for a remarkable 555 yards and four touchdowns but wasn’t as efficient has his opponent. The secondary was just embarrassed leaving Syracuse receivers open for big plays numerous times, twice the Orange responded after Louisville scores with quick long pass plays for touchdowns.

Setting Up a Showdown

Both South Florida and West Virginia took care of business before their much anticipated match up on Friday night. Neither of these teams looked ahead and blew out their opponents. South Florida came out strong putting up 14 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Matt Grothe threw for 230 yards and a touchdown, he also ran for 35 yards. The running game was strong rushing for a total of 192 yards, with junior Benjamin Williams led the way with 64 yards and a touchdown. The South Florida defense held North Carolina to only 85 passing yards and 164 total yards. North Carolina was four of fifteen on third down conversations and turned the over four times. Meanwhile in Morgantown, it was the Pat White show. White was an outstanding 18/20, throwing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 42 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Darius Reynaud caught five balls racking up 54 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a reverse for a touchdown and had a 12-yard run on an option play. The defense was just as good holding East Carolina to 54 yards passing in the 48-7 win.

Under the Radar

The Cincinnati Bearcats have quietly remained undefeated after a romp over Marshall 40-14. Junior Mike Mickens started the blowout with an interception and a fumble recovery to setup their first two scores. Dustin Grutza played most of the game throwing for 142 yards and was 14/20 with two touchdowns. Ben Mauk was 6/7 with 77 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Marcus Barnett caught 6 balls for 77 yards, and two touchdowns, both coming in the third quarter.



Two offensive touchdowns and positive yardage may not add up to a win, but it does soften the blow for Fighting Irish fans in what has begun to feel like the longest September ever. In Saturday’s match up against Michigan State, which the Irish dropped 31-14 en route to their sixth consecutive loss, Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four touchdown passes. By contrast, the Irish quarterback was only sacked four times – something to take note of, given that 23 sacks were allowed in the first three games of the season, and that Michigan State was leading the nation in sacks coming in to the game.

When did it get to the point that only being down by three points at the half was something to be celebrated by Irish faithful? Probably around the same time they realized the team would likely roll to an 0-8 start, despite the fact that no team in Notre Dame’s 119 season history has been 0-4 before. Despite the fact that as Michigan State went on to their own record – the first team in the nation to win six in a row at Notre Dame Stadium – the Irish were thought to be improving and not looking quite as pitiful as they have in weeks prior.

That being said, there were a few highlights, most notably sophomore halfback James Aldridge’s performance, with 18 carries for 104 yards, including a 43-yard run that led to a touchdown. Still, the Irish are going to have a hard time coming up with enough clips for the highlight reel shown to national television audiences and starry-eyed recruits. Did you notice that NBC’s intro to Saturday’s game showed more Irish players running than catching/throwing/tackling? That’s a problem Notre Dame and NBC will likely face for the next season or two. While Aldridge’s run may end up there, one or two decent plays a game just won’t be enough.



I was all ready to rip into Anthony Morelli and Austin Scott for their play during Penn State’s loss to Michigan, when I saw a clip of Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy’s press conference. Gundy lashed out at a reporter for a story she wrote criticizing Cowboy’s quarterback Bobby Reid for not being tough enough. For a second it made me step back and if nothing else – think twice about the nature of covering college athletes. On the one hand, no they’re not getting paid, they have to balance class and practice, a lot of them are good kids, and the nature of the criticism they endure might not always be fair. On the other hand, they embrace the media spotlight when they perform well, they get preferential treatment, and let’s face it, it’s kind of tough to feel sorry for guys that have girls throwing themselves at them on a nightly basis. They don’t even have to be good. I watched it at Syracuse for the last four years.

On to the Penn State loss to Michigan….

Anthony Morelli didn’t exactly instill confidence in the Penn State faithful before the Michigan game, but afterwards, let’s just say I don’t think he received a hero’s welcome on his return to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lion quarterback was 15/31 for 169 yards, no touchdowns and a huge fumble on the day. The key for the Wolverines coming in was to jump on Penn State early, as the Lions offense has struggled to get going in its last few games. The Maize and Blue parlayed Morelli’s first quarter fumble into an early touchdown and the Lions had to play catch-up the rest of the way. This allowed Michigan to grind it out with their All-American tailback Mike Hart.

It was a battle on the ground between the Lion’s nation-best rushing defense and the third best rusher in the nation. Often it seemed like it was All American PSU linebacker Dan Connor vs. Hart – as the two met repeatedly. In fact, Paul Maguire wouldn’t shut up about it. Especially with freshman quarterback Ryan Mallet under center, Hart was going to get his carries – 44 of them to be exact – so he was going to get his yards – 153, and eventually a one yard TD run. Ironically enough, it was a heads-up Mallet run that put Michigan on the board first.

Coming into the game – especially after that early Michigan score – if you had told me the Wolverines were only going to score 14 points, I absolutely would have picked Penn State. There is no question that the Penn State defense played well enough to win. To be perfectly honest with you, I expected something like 17-14 or 21-14 PSU.

Morelli didn’t play well, but he didn’t get much help from his running backs either. Scott chose an awful time for his fourth fumble in the last three games – this one at the Michigan nine-yard line in the third quarter. The Lions got the ball back at the Wolverine 35-yard line a few plays later, after a Mallet fumble, but they had to settle for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-6. Scott finished with 35 yards on nine carries, and backfield mate Rodney Kinlaw ran for 69 yards on 12 carries. Kinlaw, Morelli, and Scott are all seniors, but the latter two have not been the leaders on offense that one might expect. Scott’s inability to hold on to the ball speaks for itself, and do you think Penn State fans had any hope with Morelli under center for that last drive – not even drive, last series – for the Lions? He didn’t even give them a chance to get excited as he threw the ball away on the first two plays, and almost threw interceptions on the final two.

Penn State’s national title hopes (yea, yea they were a bit overrated) are gone, but they still have the chance to have a very good season. With upcoming match-ups against Illinois and Iowa in the next few weeks, the Lions defense should be able to carry them to a couple wins. But, they’re going to lose AT LEAST one more game if they don’t change something with the offense. It’s time to give Kinlaw the full workload, and for the Lions to see if there is a better option at quarterback.

Defense wins championships, but they need to have a lead.



When this game got underway the home crowd was in an uproar. Their beloved Crimson Tide was back. They were 3-0 and looking to make four straight with a win against the Bulldogs of Georgia. Alas…they had trouble with pass protection and missed throws by QB John Parker Wilson. The defense seemed to be in a hurry at times to get lined up before snaps like they were confused as to what play to call. On the other side of the field, the Bulldogs were looking to boost their confidence with a win here and they got it. The play calling that was criticized last week seemed to be corrected against the Tide. Because of the inexperience of the ‘Dogs offensive line coach Mark Richt called a lot of screens and quick passes to offset their lack of pass protection. This ended up helping Georgia sustain longer drives and balanced out their offensive production. It all paid off with the winning touchdown in overtime.

Key Points

1. Georgia WR Mikey Henderson’s (pictured above) game winning catch on Dawgs first play of OT.
2. Alabama QB John Parker Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown run to tie it at 10 in the third quarter.
3. Georgia K Brandon Coutu’s 45-yard field goal to give the Dogs a 10-0 lead.

Catch Happy
1.Alabama WR Keith Brown makes a nice move to break free of cornerback for big 43-yard gain. The senior had 3 grabs for 73 yards.
2. Georgia had seven different receivers catch at least a pass with two going for scores.

That Yellow Flag
1. Both teams combine for 13 penalties for 110 yards.
2. One big penalty was for pass interference on a fourth and seven that allowed Alabama to continue its comeback in the fourth quarter.

Low Ends
1. Costly penalties and poor execution put Alabama in a hole in the first half.
2. Georgia would never have had to go to OT if not for their fourth quarter meltdown that allowed Alabama to tie it in regulation.



At one point in the first half, it appeared that the momentum favored the Razorbacks. They out gained Kentucky 373-131 in yards but had only a 20-14 lead to show for it. Kentucky trimmed the lead to six points when Arkansas RB Michael Smith fumbled on a key drive. That led to a 66-yard return for a touchdown for Kentucky with 26 seconds left in the half. Then just as quick as the Wildcats took the lead in the third quarter. After giving up a safety and a touchdown to fall behind 29-21, Andre Woodson turned it on and showed his Heisman credentials. He simply took over the game and led his team to 21 unanswered points to put the game away.

Key Points
1. Kentucky’s Trevard Lindley’s 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown to cut the lead to six at the end of the first half.
2. Kentucky WR Keenan Burton’s 32-yard touchdown catch to retake the lead.
3. Arkansas scores on a 16-yard fumble return to open a 10-0 lead and momentum.

Fully Armed
1. Andre Woodson throws for 265 yards and two touchdowns and runs for another score. He engineers a fourth quarter comeback for a second straight week.

Road Runners
1. Arkansas RB Darren McFadden runs for 173 yards and the lone offensive score.
2. His running mate Felix Jones runs for 133 yards of his own on only 12 attempts.

Low Ends

1. Kentucky defense gets shredded for nearly 300 rushing yards.
2. Kentucky fumbles three times and losses all three. Gotta hold on to the ball or next time you may not get the win.
3. Arkansas gets all kinds of yards running the ball but it never amounted to the scores they needed to win the ballgame.



Well looks like the ol' ball coach Steve Spurrier found where he measures against the SEC’s best now. The Tigers used a fake field goal for a touchdown, dominated the line of scrimmage and was just flat out too fast for the Gamecocks. Did you see when he threw a notepad down when LSU converted a key third down early in the first half? As for LSU, they showed the college football world they may be worthy of being #1 in the nation.

Key “Points”

1. LSU’s Trindon Holliday’s super-fast 33yd touchdown run.
2. LSU fake field goal where QB Matt Flynn flipped the ball behind his head to kicker Colt Davis who ran in from 15 yards for the score.
3. Mike Davis’s (S.C.) one-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. It was the first time LSU had trailed this season.

Big Hits
1.The Tigers offensive line was huge. They consistently pushed South Carolina’s young defensive line back, opening huge holes for their running backs to the tune of 288 yards.
2. At one point their center blocked a defensive player on the line then went around him to hit a linebacker on the same play.
3. The defense held the Gamecocks to a net rushing total of six yards.

Low Ends
1. South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell has a woeful first half and gets benched for Chris Smelley who put up some good numbers.
2. South Carolina’s defense had no answer to the LSU’s running game or their speed.
3. Steve Spurrier was so overmatched he switched his quarterbacks a few times in the game.

Into The Minds
1. LSU coach Les Miles had to change very little in his game plan. He knew that if his defense could stop the run it would be an easy day. That and the fact that S.C. quarterback Blake Mitchell had such a bad first half -- made it an easy day for the Tigers. He even had the confidence in his team when they missed one trick play by answering it with the fake field goal for a touchdown.
2. The ole' ball coach looked like he might go to 12-1 against LSU in his career. His team was in the game and playing pretty good defense until the fake field goal made it 21-7 and took the air out of his team. He spent the second half trying to catch up to a team that’s still a league above his team.




It seemed like old times for the Hurricanes as they took the Aggies out to the “woodshed” on national television Thursday night. The Orange Bowl was rocking as the home fans were treated to a performance that they have become so accustomed to over the past 25 years. The defense dominated all night long and was not fooled at all by the Aggies play action ball fakes. As usual, the linebackers led the attack and Colin McCarthy recorded an interception. The defensive front overpowered A & M’s offensive line and the secondary’s speed was no match for the Aggies skill players. The real story of the night was the re-emergence of Kyle Wright, the passing game and the overall confidence of the offense. Wright went 21/26 passing and threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He showed a lot of poise and accuracy all night. As per the season, the running combination of Javarris James and Graig Cooper was impressive and slowly but surely, the wide receivers are starting to come together as a solid unit. There is still no standout “playmaker”, but they are improving each week. It will be interesting to see if the Canes build off this big win or slip back to mediocrity.


Guess who is 3-0 in the ACC? Yes, that is right, it is the Cavaliers. UVA has rebounded after their opening game lost to Wyoming to rip off three wins and none being more important than this one at home against the Yellow Jackets. What is even more surprising is that Georgia Tech is now 0-2 in the ACC. Jameel Sewell has silenced his critics for at least one week after a strong performance (16/25, 177 yards and one touchdown). But Virginia’s strength is both its running game led by Cedric Peerman who went for 138 yards and one touchdown, as well as their defense, which is led by future first round pick Chris Long. This is Georgia Tech’s second loss in a row and they have 13th ranked Clemson coming to town on Saturday. A must win situation is starting to formulate in Atlanta for the Ramblin’ Wreck.


Butch Davis must have been reminiscing on Saturday -- what it was like when he was the head coach at the University of Miami -- when all that speed and playmaking ability that South Florida unleashed on his Tar Heel squad was on his team. Granted, UNC has 42 freshmen on their roster and if you can use the term “re-building” in college sports -- this would be the perfect scenario. T.J Yates was cooled off a bit by USF defense and was a horrid 11-27 for 85 yards and four interceptions. To be fair, the Heels have no real running game to speak of and when you play a nationally ranked team, you have to have a balanced attack. A few bright spots for the young Tar Heels were freshman running back Ryan Houston scoring a touchdown and rushing for 43 yards and freshman Marvin Austin was active and disruptive all day on defense. Butch Davis has a young, talented group. They will get better as the season progresses.


It was batting practice for the Hokies against William and Mary as they ran up 44 points in their win on Saturday. Tyrod Taylor went 6/13 for 72 yards and one touchdown as he started his second straight game. It is tough to evaluate him against a William and Mary defense, but overall, looked good. His athletic ability is overwhelmingly obvious whenever he is flushed from the pocket. Taylor must show more patience though -- and think pass first and run second, this will eventually happen with more experience. As usual, the defense was superb, combining for three interceptions. This was a good confidence building game as they are still recovering from their LSU debacle.

DUKE 43 – NAVY 46

Thaddeus “AIR” Lewis erupted for 428 yards on 23/36 attempts and four touchdowns as Duke lost to Navy by three. The Blue Devils might not win many games this year, but they sure will entertain you with an aerial assault. Lewis’ favorite target is Eron Riley, whom scored four touchdowns and had a total of 235 yards. They head down to Coral Gables next week and have to play against a secondary that is fast and full of players who all have NFL potential.



Fall is officially here, and we all know, that the Big Ten season is upon us, time to start the show. While not all played their opener – that’s just how it goes – there were eight teams that battled conference foes. Teams fire out of the gate as the autumn wind blows, so they are in good position by December snows. Each team relies on their stars to glow, some of which will shine as pros. So from Mike Hart’s power runs to Curtis Painter’s touchdown throws, let’s look back at Saturday’s game day highs and lows.

Purdue 45 Minnesota 31

A first half implosion by the Golden Gophers spelled doom for them in their conference opener against the Boilermakers. Five dropped passes, four turnovers, and four penalties dug the hole, and Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter buried them there. Painter threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, mostly to his favorite receiver Dorien Bryant, who finished with 12 receptions for 150 yards and two scores. Minnesota’s redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber rebounded nicely from a disastrous first half to lead the Gophers to 28 second half points, but it was too little, too late.

Up Next: Purdue hosts Notre Dame; Minnesota welcomes Ohio State

Illinois 27 Indiana 14

The Illini won their first Big Ten opener in 14 years with their win in Bloomington. Tailback Rashard Mendenhall had a career day against the Hoosiers with 214 yards rushing on 27 carries, scoring one rushing touchdown and adding a receiving touchdown as well. Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis (26 for 51, 263 yards, two touchdown passes) was erratic most of the day, missing on throws that would have resulted in scores. Illinois signal caller Juice Williams did not play well either, going 13 for 28 for 98 yards, but he also threw for two scores, as Mendenhall had to carry the day.

Up Next: Illinois invites Penn State; Indiana travels to Iowa

Michigan 14 Penn State 9

Michigan is gaining a second wind after a dismal start to this season by winning their Big Ten opener against the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions. Mike Hart has picked up this team and carried it the last two weeks -- his career high 44 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown are proof of that. In winning their ninth straight over head coach Joe Paterno and Penn State, freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett (16 of 29, 170 yards, interception, and touchdown run) ran his record to 2-0 as a starter. Timely turnovers by the running game and a poor performance by Lion quarterback Anthony Morelli (15 for 31, 169 yards) hastened Penn State’s demise.

Next Up: Michigan visits Northwestern; Penn State goes to fight in Illinois

Ohio State 58 Northwestern 7

Did the Wildcats even show up for this game? The Buckeyes crushed Northwestern in all phases and got out to a 45-0 at the half at the Horseshoe’s 500th game. Northwestern simply went belly-up on offense, netting 20 yards on 35 plays in the first half while falling into a 28-0 hole less than ten minutes into the game. Buckeye quarterback Todd Boeckman hit wide receiver Brian Robiskie for three touchdowns (his only three receptions on the day) in the first half and finished with 11 of 14 for 179 yards and four touchdowns. Outside of a 99-yard kickoff return to open the second half, Northwestern simply supplied the doormat for Ohio State to walk on. Chris Wells went for 100 yards on 12 carries and a 36-yard touchdown while the Wildcats mustered 120 yards of offense all day.

Next Up: Ohio State motors to Minnesota; Northwestern hosts Michigan

Wisconsin 17 Iowa 13

The ninth-ranked Badgers continue to play close games as they held off the upset-minded Iowa Hawkeyes at home. P.J. Hill scored the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to put Wisconsin up for good at 14-10. While Iowa’s run game sputtered, Hill finished with 113 yards on 29 carries in a workman-like effort as the rest of the Badger offense struggled against a stingy Iowa defense. The difference in the game was Hill, as Wisconsin could run the ball, and the Hawkeyes could not. The usually efficient quarterback Tyler Donovan completed a mere 12 of 23 for 138 yards and a three-yard touchdown to tight end Travis Beckham. Iowa gave a gallant effort after losing two more receivers (tight end Tony Moeaki and wide receiver Andy Brodell) to injury in the first quarter in this battle of defenses.

Up Next: Wisconsin hosts Michigan State; Iowa welcomes Indiana

Michigan State 31 Notre Dame 14

Although the Fighting Irish scored their first two offensive touchdowns of the year, the defense continues to struggle as they lose to the visiting Spartans. Quarterback Brian Hoyer got off to a slow start, but came on with four touchdown passes, set up by a staunch running game that totaled 219 yards on 49 attempts. Both Spartan tailbacks, Javon Ringer (26 rushes, 144 yards) and Jehuu Caulcrick (20 carries for 83 yards) bruised the Irish repeatedly and set up easy touchdown tosses for Hoyer. Having a breakout season is Spartan two-way player Kellen Davis (tight end/defensive end). He caught two touchdown passes on his only two receptions and helped pressure Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen into a woeful 7 of 13 for 53 yards. The lone bright spot for Notre Dame was halfback James Aldridge, who finished with 104 yards on 18 carries. Notre Dame is setting all-time lows each and every week as they are now 0-4 for the first time in 119 years of Irish football.

Up Next: Michigan State wings over to Wisconsin; Notre Dame plays Purdue

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Michigan St. Defeats Notre Dame 31-14

By David

The losing streak continues to mount in South Bend as Charlie Weis has now coached the Fighting Irish to a disappointing 0-4 record. In the 119 year history of the prestigious and revered university the team has never started the season this poorly.

Fortunately, a first did occur this weekend as the Irish found the endzone for their first offensive touchdown. Even though running backs Travis Thomas and Robert Hughes accelerated past the Spartans defense, it was the Spartans offense that could not be contained.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer threw for four touchdowns and running back Javon Ringer ran for 144 yards on 26 carries to guide his team to a 4-0 start. After last seasons debacle in which they lost at home to Brady Quinn and Notre Dame 40-37, head coach Mark Dantonio was fixated on pulling out the victory.

For the Irish, freshman quarterback Jimmy Claussen went 7-for-13 with 53 yards passing and was eventually replaced in the fourth quarter by Evan Sharpley. With Purdue, UCLA, Boston College and USC lined up as their next four opponents, it's not impossible to think that Notre Dame could falter to 0-8 heading into a November 3rd bout against Navy.

(21) Kentucky Upends Arkansas 42-29 For Another Major Victory

By David

The wins keep piling up for quarterback Andre Woodson and the Kentucky Wildcats.

After upsetting interstate rival Louisville at home last weekend, the Wildcats took the show on the road to Fayetteville in their first SEC bout of the season.

Behind 265 yards throwing and three touchdowns from Andre Woodson and a rushing touchdown from Rafael Little and Derrick Locke, the Wildcats defeated the struggling Razorbacks and catapulted to 4-0 to start the season.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden ran for 173 yards and one score to keep his Heisman hopes alive. Arkansas has now stumbled to 1-2 with back-to-back loses to Alabama and Kentucky.

Notre Dame Fans Blaming Ty Willingham For 0-4 Start Are Racist Or Dumb

Notre Dame is four losses and no wins, and I'm happy. It's the worst record in Notre Dame history, period. It's a record unmatched by any of Tyrone Willingham's teams. Yet people are pointing at him -- some people.

What this is showing is just how racist Notre Dame really is. It's sick to blame Weis terrible performance on someone who wasn't even there. Hey, you want to know what the real problem is? Do you?

It's this.

Weis can't teach youngsters who are below the age of 20. That's the problem. He's yelling, screaming and intimidating them, and it's not working. He's not teaching football. Plus, what he's doing is not thinking outside his own box of what he wants to do with this offense, rather than what it can do. The mark of a good coach is to get more out of less, not more out of more. It's easy to line up, try something interesting, and say we're going to go after the national championship with good players.

But Notre Dame does have good players. The trouble is the offense is predictable. It's boring, simple, and milktoast. And don't tell me that it's because they have a freshman quarterback. BS. That's not the problem.

Weis doesn't undertstand how to make formations or pass plays where people are obviously open. He's got his own agenda -- run it this way, even if it doesn't work.

Blame Weis.

Hey, when Ty was having his problems no one looked back and remarked that it was Bob Davie's fault! What's the deal now? Face it. Notre Dame screwed up in the way it treated Ty, and is now being punished for it. Let the lesson continue!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Notre Dame Facing Bevy of Problems

Notre Dame Facing Bevy of Problems

By TOM COYNE | AP Sports Writer
It's easy to understand why Notre Dame is 0-3 for the second time in school history. The Fighting Irish are last in the nation in rushing offense and total offense, are among the worst teams at stopping the run and have nearly twice as many punts as they do points.

What isn't so easy to understand is how a team went so quickly from receiving consecutive Bowl Championship Series berths to becoming the butt of late night talk show jokes.

After last week's 38-0 loss to struggling Michigan, the question the media and fans were asking is: does this Irish squad have any talent?

The answer, experts say, is yes -- but not enough in the junior and senior classes.

"I don't think they have as much talent as the teams they've played -- certainly not among the upper classmen," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Bobby Burton said.

Coach Charlie Weis said he understands why some people are questioning his team's talent level.

"Right now if I were looking at them and watching how we're playing, I can see how they can make statements like that," he said. "But I obviously feel different about this team."

NFL draft analyst Gil Brandt said he recalls a conversation with Weis at the Super Bowl in Detroit in 2006 when Weis said he was worried about the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

"Here's a guy that was coming off a great year and he was really concerned about what was going to happen because of the fact he did not think they had the guys there that could make them competitive," Brandt said.

Weis said he doesn't recall the conversation.

The Irish do have some talent among their fifth-year seniors, Brandt said. He has fifth-year senior John Carlson rated as the top tight end in next year's draft. He also has center John Sullivan and safety Tom Zbikowski highly rated and had praise for defensive end Trevor Laws.

"But they just don't have the talent levels in the juniors and seniors in my estimation that you need to play against all these good teams," he said.

The reason for that is two years of bad recruiting in Tyrone Willingham's final full recruiting class and Weis' first class when he was finishing up as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator.

On the day Notre Dame signed 17 players in February 2004, CSTV recruiting analyst Tom Lemming called it worst class for the Irish in at least 20 years. He now says it was even worse than that. The next year's class, which was a hybrid of Willingham and Weis recruiting, wasn't much better, again finishing out of the top 20.

"One bad year is real bad, but it's not disastrous. Two is disastrous," Lemming said. "When you have all your talent in your freshman and sophomore classes, you're going to suffer. And you're going to lose to real good programs."

Still, that doesn't explain how the Irish are 12 1/2-point underdogs at home Saturday to Michigan State (3-0), a program that has posted one winning season in the past five years. The only time in recent memory the Irish were bigger underdogs at home was in 2005 against No. 1 USC, when they were 13-point underdogs in a game they lost 34-31.

Two substandard recruiting years also doesn't explain why they have looked so absolutely inept. Even bad teams score touchdowns on occasion, and even bad teams manage positive yardage. Bad teams can block on at least some plays.

"You look at everyone on the offensive line, they were all highly recruited players," said Max Emfinger, editor of National Blue Chips. "Jimmy Clausen's running for his life on every play. It's like a sieve."

What might be most worrisome for Notre Dame fans, though, is that the game against the Spartans might be Notre Dame's best chance to win until early November. Notre Dame's next four games are at Purdue (3-0), at UCLA (2-1), at home against No. 14 Boston College (3-0) and at home against No. 1 USC (2-0). The Irish are surely to be underdogs in each.

Weis said there are many reasons why the Irish have struggled, but he believes the problems can be fixed.

"I didn't turn into a crummy coach overnight, my staff didn't turn crummy overnight and the players didn't turn crummy overnight either," he said. "There's a whole bunch of problems that are all involved right there. I think we're going to be judged from where it goes from here. And let's face it, it doesn't get much lower than where you are right now."

No Coach, you didn't turn into a Crummy Coach, but you knew that you were going to be working with TWO bad recruiting classes back to back, so your getting your just deserts now....bet those alums with the deep pockets aren't hanging around too much.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

College Coaches Paranoid About Spying-From The AP

College Coaches Paranoid About Spying

By PAUL NEWBERRY | AP Sports Writer

Georgia is getting ready to face Alabama in a crucial Southeastern Conference game. The Crimson Tide is coached by Nick Saban. Saban used to work for Bill Belichick.

Can you figure out where this is going?

Yep, for the first time in his seven years as the Bulldogs coach, Mark Richt has totally closed practice for the week leading up to a game.

While doing his best to persuade skeptical reporters that it has nothing to do with Saban's tactics, Richt seemed downright paranoid Tuesday when going over his reasons for the lockdown.

"Things have changed in the last few years. It's not like it used to be. It's so easy for information to travel so fast," Richt said. "Maybe if we had an indoor facility where no one was walking around or looking in the window, we would all feel better. The reality is: What we do is big. People care. Winning and losing has a profound effect on people's careers."

Richt is hardly alone in sounding like a CIA wannabe.

While Belichick's sideline videotaping has brought cheating to the forefront in the NFL, it has long been a concern at the college ranks, where cloak-and-dagger coaches worry that opponents are spying on practices, stealing signals and using all sorts of nefarious tactics to get an edge -- apparently with good reason.

Vince Dooley used to hear of cases every year while serving as chairman of the ethics committee of the national coaching association, which has guidelines against illicit spying.

"It's nothing new," said Dooley, who coached Georgia for 25 years before retiring after the 1988 season. "There's just an awareness of it now because of what's happened (with Belichick)."

Dooley remembers one team sent someone to spy on an opponent from the sixth floor of the school's library, which happened to provide a clear view of the practice field.

"He was sitting up there writing away," Dooley said, without naming either school. "It was just a blatant violation of the rules."

For years, coaches have suspected that someone is lurking in the shadows, charting formations, checking for trick plays and learning if any key players were injured.

"I wouldn't put it past some guys," said Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, one of the more suspicious coaches in the country.

The Sooners run practices as though they're guarding state secrets. All workouts during the season are closed. The field is surrounded by high fences and shrubbery. Security guards in golf carts patrol the perimeter, pouncing on anyone who has the nerve to even walk by slowly.

Sometimes when Oklahoma lets in fans for a preseason scrimmage, Stoops will order one side of the stadium closed so the coaches' backs are to everyone sitting the stands. In explaining his reasons, he sounds like a holdover from the Cold War.

"I don't want someone sitting out here watching one of our scrimmages and we're just sitting here giving it all (away)," Stoops said. "We put our back to everybody so if we're signaling, I know no one's over there on the west side. Hopefully no one's snuck up in the press box and paying attention to what we're doing."

In Miami earlier this season, new Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon dispatched security officers to a parking garage next to the practice fields after allegedly seeing someone with a video camera. People in the program suspected it was case of spying, since detailed stories about what went on in practice kept showing up on Web sites and message boards.

"That is a discouraging thing, when you are trying to do something and somebody is at practice," Shannon said. "You don't know who they are or who they're working for."

It's not just the major schools, either. Two Alabama teams from the former Division I-AA got into a tiff before their season opener.

Alabama State coaches accused a local high school assistant and former Jacksonville State graduate assistant of spying during a scrimmage that was open to the public. They even confiscated his notes and handed them over to the local newspaper. Jacksonville State denied the allegations.

Then there's top-ranked Southern Cal, which takes a different view of practice: "The more people, the better," said coach Pete Carroll, who believes that dealing with distractions during the week helps his team cope better on Saturdays.

Carroll allows local media to attend all practices, from start to finish, and the sidelines also are crowded with family, friends, boosters and the occasional celebrity who might turn out in star-studded Los Angeles. The coach said he's not worried about what might get out.

"I know that when I'm standing on the sidelines at a game, I can't tell what the heck is happening out there half the time," the coach told a reporter. "I know you guys can't, either."

Richt usually allows family members and former players to watch practice, and he would also let in the media for the first half-hour before the team got down to its serious work.

Not this week with the No. 22 Bulldogs (2-1) preparing for a trip to Tuscaloosa.

"If it were up to me and I could get away with it, I would just as soon close it down (permanently)," Richt said. "There's not much that decides between winning and losing. A lot of times, it's one play. If the other team gets a one-play advantage, it could cost you."

Saban, who's guided No. 16 Alabama to a 3-0 start in his first season, worked four years as Belichick's defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. In an interesting twist, the Saban-coached Miami Dolphins were accused of stealing signals from Belichick's New England Patriots last season, but the NFL found no wrongdoing.

"We never did it," Saban insisted this week. "We didn't have any video cameras. We never had anybody's signals. We had somebody watch their signals and try to figure them out, which we were never smart enough to do."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 after the team had someone videotaping signals on the New York Jets sideline during the season opener. The team also will have to forfeit draft picks, depending on how well it does this year.

"I hear people say in the business world sometimes, 'We're always trying to create a winning edge,'" Saban said. "In sports, we'd all like to try to do that. But we all have to be careful that we always do that with full respect for the rules."

Richt said he's more concerned about information getting out over the Internet than he is about another school sending someone to Athens on a spying mission. It might be something as innocuous as a student assistant telling a friend about a particular play. The next thing you know, the friend has posted the info on a MySpace page.

And don't forget the countless fan blogs that have popped up in recent years.

"When you're out there practicing, doing whatever it is you're doing, it wouldn't take a veteran coach to understand what's happening," Richt said. "You wonder who might see it and who say something about it. It might even be your own people."

So, who's barred from practice this week?

"Any face," Richt said, "that we don't really recognize."


Ok so everyone knows this has been going on for decades, but no one does anything to stop it. My good friend Mike Ingram from Blackathlete.com and suave magazine, a former player himself, has posted an article this week on how the boat was missed, so to speak. The Pats Should be fined 100 Million Dollars(Mike Myers voice) so no one ever does it again, period. In college, if your program gets caught, your team should be suspended from PLAYING for 2 years, this way no one will do this again.......

Ohio State LB's Terry and Grant Overshadowed By MLB Laurinaitis

I was asked to look at the performance of three Ohio State seniors -- Terry Curtis and Larry Grant at linebacker and Kurk Barton at Offensive Tackle. But the only person I ended up paying a lot of attention to was Middle Linebacker Laurinaitis, James -- er James Laurinaitis.

He's the team leader in tackles and one may say that he should be as MLB -- not so. Ohio State puts him in a position to make plays and he does. But to be frank, he's impressive. He roams the middle well on passes and really understands how to disguise his blitzes when called on to do so. He got an interception that way.

As for Terry and Grant, they were basically non-factors. Washington did their best running damage off tackle and on pitches, where the outside backers roam. In fact, Ohio State was lucky to win this game, and the final score doesn't indicate how close the game really was. The Huskies won, then lost, this game. But one of the main factors was the play of Mr. Laurinaitis in the middle.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Experience: Erik Ainge, a starter for most of his now four seasons in Knoxville, has seen action in 31 games and made 25 starts, while this is Tim Tebow’s first ever start in an SEC game…that has to count for something. On defense, Jonathan Hefney has 38 career starts, one less than the entire Florida defense has entering the season. In all, the Gators have played 26 freshmen (17 true) and 21 sophomores this season. They are as young as you can get with 73 percent of their roster either freshmen or sophomores.

To read the rest of Daniel Mogollon's game preview, as he breaks down when both teams have the ball, as well as tells you who is going to come out on top, click on the CFI logo to sign up for the weekly newsletterhttp://collegefootballinsiders.blogspot.com/ .


Brian Kelly is in his first year as head coach at the University of Cincinnati. He enters this week with a record of 140-51-2, including a MAC Championship last season at Central Michigan, as well as back-to-back National Titles at Division II Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003.

CFI: Hey Coach. So two games in you’re 2-0 with a pair of impressive victories. Would it be safe to assume you couldn’t be happier?
COACH KELLY: (Laughs) You’re talking to a football coach. We’re happy for about 20 minutes after the game and then we’re back to reality.
CFI: With new schemes being implemented would you say you are ahead of schedule in terms of progress?
COACH KELLY: I’d say that we’re doing some things that I didn’t think we could do this early in the year offensively. Defensively, I expected us to play very well. I think what’s surprised me defensively is how well we’ve taken the ball away.
CFI: How about the negative plays? Five plays and 16 tackles for a loss with 15 different players involved on those negative plays.

To read the rest of this interview, as well as exclusive CFI interviews throughout the season, click on the CFI logo to sign up for the weekly newsletter (http://collegefootballinsiders.blogspot.com/).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Notre Dame Visits Michigan In Epic Battle - Mallett v. Clausen

This is shaping up to be an epic battle. Yeah, both teams are 0 and 2, but so what. It's the FIRST TIME both have been. Both are starting Freshman QB's, so it's an even game.

Here's more from Robert Nicolais of UHND:

The legend is as much a part of college football lore as Bear Bryant’s hounds tooth hat and Lou Holtz’s grass picking addiction; Michigan taught Notre Dame how to play the game, the Irish taught Michigan how to win.

And win they have, placing first and second on the all time win list with almost identical percentages (Michigan leads with a .00151% advantage over the Irish). Combined the two squads claim 1681 wins, 20 National Championships and 10 Heisman Trophy Winners, but in the 248 years of football the game’s two most prestigious programs have played, never have both started off a season with 0-2 records. Until now.
Saturday’s match up will provide the first win of the year for one of these teams while the losing side will continue on with their “O-fer” season. Either the mighty Michigan Wolverines or the legendary Fighting Irish will pass through the middle of September without a victory.

Their paths to winlessness have been fairly diverse. Michigan hasn’t been able to stop anyone, whether the foe be Division 1-AA (excuse me, Football Bowl Subdivision) giant-killer Appalachian State or fashion novelty Oregon. Notre Dame, on the other hand, hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in their first two games. The defense has held strong for the most part, but by the end of games they grow tired and worn down from carrying the offense for three quarters.

As Lou Holtz once said (possibly in between blades of grass) “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond”. Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English will try to find players who can stop speed while Lloyd Carr will try to keep Les Miles from stepping on the heels of his Pauly Walnuts styled white slip-ons (with the zipper on the side). The spread offense has killed Michigan, but the only teams in the Big-11 that run the Wolverine kryptonite on offense are Northwestern, Michigan State, and Purdue; none of which have beaten Michigan since 2001 (Michigan State). It still isn’t out of the realm of possibilities to see Michigan vying for a conference championship this season.

The Irish, however, are still fighting through the first portion of their scheduled gauntlet. The offense has shown improvement last week under Jimmy Clausen, but dropped passes in the end zone and an emptied hamper of yellow laundry kept the Irish from breaking into the end zone for the second straight week. The old joke may start to seem like a reality for some Irish fans: There was an unknown white substance found on the practice field in South Bend this week. Upon further review, officials declared it to be the goal line.

The truth is that the Irish, similar to the Wolverines, still hold a reason for optimism despite the frustrating start. A young offense will improve as it continues to learn on the job and simple discipline (what’s with the personal fouls?) will reduce the miles of penalty yardage. Eventually the light at the end of the schedule will appear, not in the form of an oncoming train but rather in Duke, Stanford, and St. Mary’s School for the Blind.

When week three of the college football season is finished, the mighty Michigan Wolverines and the legendary Notre Dame Fighting Irish will combine for a 1-5 record, a far cry from the 1681-551 record they hold combined. However, as we’ve quickly learned in the first two weeks, history doesn’t do much for you on the field.

Penn State Kid Dances At PSU - Notre Dame Game

This is totally funny because this little boy, dressed in PSU colors, knows not to "five" any fan dressed in green, but does "five" a Penn State fan. Look at this carefully. Also, the kid's got moves!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

(2) LSU 48, (9) Virginia Tech 7

LSU proved to the nation on national television that they are the team to beat in college football, not USC.

By BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer
September 9, 2007

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU didn't need any small-school sacrificial lambs on its early season schedule to post a couple of gaudy blowouts. The tenacious Tigers made Virginia Tech look like a pushover instead of the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

Keiland Williams ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Matt Flynn led LSU to scores on four of its first five possessions as the Tigers cruised to a 48-7 victory over the uncharacteristically hapless Hokies on Saturday night.

The performance was so overwhelming that head coach Les Miles tried to dissuade people from pumping up his players.

"You can save the accolades. We've just won two games and we have a lot of football to play," Miles said. "Don't make too much of this. It's all about what we have to get done in the future."

But there was little Miles could say to undercut what everyone saw -- LSU (2-0) looked awesome in handing Frank Beamer his most lopsided loss since he took the head coaching job at Virginia Tech in 1987, and the national title talk will only ramp up among Tigers fans.

The vaunted Virginia Tech defense, the best in the land the past two seasons, got pushed around. Tech hadn't given up that many points in a regular season game since a 52-21 loss to Syracuse in 1996. They also allowed 52 in a 2003 loss to Cal in the Insight.com Bowl.

By contrast, LSU drove Virginia Tech starting quarterback Sean Glennon from the game midway through the second quarter.

"Virginia Tech's always had one of the top defenses. We weren't playing against their defense, but in a way we were," said LSU safety Craig Steltz, whose first-half interception set up a field goal. "We just came out and made a statement about how special this defense really is."

Williams highlighted a stunning first half for the Tigers with a career-long 67-yard run for a touchdown.

LSU had a 24-0 lead after the first 18 minutes and outgained Tech 327-40 in the first half -- a week after its 45-0 dismantling of Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi State.

Williams added a 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Jacob Hester had 81 yards rushing, scored LSU's first touchdown, and also caught a pass for 28 yards.

Flynn didn't last the whole game either, but only because there was little need for him to play much beyond the third quarter. He ran for a touchdown early in the game and wound up with 217 yards passing.

Brandon LaFell, who had six career catches entering the game, had seven against Tech for 125 yards, including a 56-yarder on LSU's second scoring drive.

"What a football team. They really took it to us," Beamer said. "We're certainly disappointed in how we played, but certainly, give LSU a lot of credit for that. ... They got us good."

The Hokies can still hope for an Atlantic Coast Conference title, but their national title chances are pretty much gone.

Virginia Tech (1-1) did not score until 4:38 remained in the third quarter, when backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran in from a yard out.

That made it 27-7, but LSU got those points back when backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux found Early Doucet wide open for a 34-yard TD. Perrilloux also connected with freshman Terrance Tolliver for a 28-yard score.

The Hokies and their fans received an unusually cordial welcome to Tiger Stadium after a week in which Miles and LSU team captains published a letter asking fans to be mindful of the shootings at Virginia Tech's campus last April. The venomous chants of "Tiger Bait!" that normally greet visiting team buses outside the stadium were all but muted while many fans clapped respectfully instead.

Shortly before kickoff, the record crowd of 92,739 stood in applause as public address announcer Dan Borne asked them to "celebrate the resiliency and pride of the Virginia Tech community."

Then a trio of sky divers landed on the field, one flying a banner of Virginia Tech orange and maroon with a red ribbon in the center.

Then, for the first time in the 114 years of football at LSU, the Tiger marching band played the visiting team's alma mater before the national anthem.

The Southern hospitality ended there.

LSU bolted to a 14-0 lead in the first nine minutes on methodical drives of 87 and 86 yards. Hester and Flynn capped the Tigers' first two possessions with short rushing touchdowns, while LSU's defense did not allow a first down in the first quarter.

Blitzing safety Curtis Taylor set the tone when he put Glennon flat on his back three plays into Tech's first drive.

Williams showed off LSU's breakaway speed on offense, taking an option flip from Flynn and hurdling a tackler before accelerating down the sidelines, then cutting across the field, for his long touchdown.

Glennon lasted one more unproductive drive before Beamer replaced him with more mobile Taylor with about six minutes remaining in the first half.

"We felt like we needed some change, and Tyrod can run away from some of those guys," Beamer said. "I think we have the makings of a good football team. But we have a lot of work to do to get there, and that's the bottom line."

The only question for the Tigers is how much they close the gap in the polls between themselves and top-ranked Southern California, which was off this weekend.

Not that Tigers players will admit to dwelling on that yet.

"We don't worry about the rankings or anything like that," Curtis Taylor said. "USC -- that's future stuff."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Preview of #16 Nebraska At Wake Forest

By David

The #16- ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina this weekend to face off against the defending ACC champion Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Nebraska is coming off of a week one thrashing of Nevada (52-10) and must increase their level of play this week if they intend to enter next Saturday's showdown against USC undefeated.

Wake Forest will utilize the services of a new quarterback for the second straight season in starter Brett Hodges who is replacing the injured Riley Skinner. Skinner separated his shoulder in last week's 38-28 loss to Boston College.

It will be a tremendous test for the sophomore signalcaller who will be opposed by the vaunted Huskers defense which permitted a mere 185 total yards to Nevada last week.

If Jim Grobe's team is to have any chance at pulling the upset they will have to improve upon the two yards of rushing they accumulated last week. "It was kind of a wake-up call on Saturday for our entire offense," Hodges said.

(8) Louisville 58, Middle Tenn. St. 42

By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
September 7, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Brian Brohm expects to score every time Louisville has the ball.

Middle Tennessee almost made sure the eighth-ranked Cardinals had to on Thursday night.

Brohm threw for a career-high 401 yards and five touchdowns and running back Anthony Allen ran for a school-record 275 yards and two scores as Louisville survived a major scare 58-42.

"We deal with adversity well," Brohm said. "I think these guys kept their heads up and on offense we said, 'Keep scoring.' That's going to be our motto all year."

If Louisville's defense can't play better than it did against the Blue Raiders, it better be.

Despite Brohm being at his efficient best, the Blue Raiders (0-2) -- who managed all of 217 yards in a season-opening loss to Florida Atlantic -- nearly matched the high-powered Cardinals in a game that featured 1,284 yards from scrimmage, 13 touchdowns and little defense from either side.

''We can't tackle the way we did tonight and be a good team," said Louisville defensive end Earl Heyman.

Still, the Cardinals (2-0) escaped because the defense managed to right itself enough in the second half to allow Louisville to extend the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 20 games.

"We made the big plays when we needed to make them," said Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe. "It's not exactly the way we wanted to play in every phase, but the bottom line is winning."

Joe Craddock threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns and Phillip Tanner added 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Blue Raiders, who never backed down against a Louisville defense trying to replace seven starters.

"We are going to fight and never give up," said Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill. "We didn't spend a lot of time looking at the scoreboard."

Good thing, it might have given him whiplash.

"We are going to fight and never give up," said Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill. "We didn't spend a lot of time looking at the scoreboard."

Good thing, it might have given him whiplash.

Mario Urrutia, Gary Barnidge and Harry Douglas all topped 100 yards receiving as Louisville rolled up 729 yards of total offense and held onto the ball for more than 38 minutes.

With a showdown against archrival Kentucky looming next week, Kragthorpe placed mouse traps around the team's locker room to remind his players not to get caught looking past the Blue Raiders.

The Cardinals may have avoided the traps in the locker room, but the defense spent most of the first half stepping in them on the field.

"We weren't getting lined up quickly enough and they weren't ready to make plays," Kragthorpe said.

When Louisville opened the game with an 81-yard touchdown pass from Brohm to Barnidge on the first play from scrimmage, it took the Blue Raiders all of three plays for Craddock to hit DeMarco McNair for a 78-yard score. It was the opening salvo in a dizzying first five minutes that saw five touchdowns.

"They scored on their first play (and) it could be easy, maybe, to hang our head. But we're not going to do that," Stockstill said.

Things never really slowed down. Louisville scored on its first six possessions, but led only 38-35 at the break as the Blue Raiders baffled a Louisville defense that seemed out of position most of the time and unable to get its hands on the slippery Tanner.

Middle Tennessee kept responding so quickly that the Cardinals changed tactics, opting to grind it out behind Allen for most of the second half.

Allen, finally grabbing hold of a running back battle that's been up for grabs since training camp, responded with the best game of his career. Churning through the defense time and again, Allen appeared to grow stronger as the game wore on. His 35 carries were the most since Michael Bush ran 37 times against West Virginia in 2005.

"I thought I was a power runner," Allen said. "I run to the hole and try to run over people."
A 48-yard run in the fourth quarter set up a short touchdown pass from Brohm to Douglas, and Allen allowed the Cardinals to run out the clock after Malik Jackson picked off Craddock in the end zone with less than seven minutes to go.

While the Cardinals will head into next week's game against Kentucky undefeated, the Blue Raiders raised serious concerns about Louisville's defense. Middle Tennessee piled up 555 yards of total offense and averaged 10.1 yards per play.

"We had to fight to get the win," Allen said. "Our thing the whole week was to not fall into the trap. We didn't, and that's really all that matters."

Rutgers Running Back Ray Rice Shatters Team's All-Time Rushing Record

By David

Heisman trophy candidate Ray Rice entered Rutger's history books last night as he eclipsed Terrell Willis' rushing career record of 3,114 on his second carry of the night.

Rice ran all over Navy's defense to the tune of 175 yards and three touchdowns in the Scarlet Knights 41-24 victory over the Midshipmen.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Big Ten Network gets dramatic game in first weekend -- but who saw it?

By RACHEL COHEN, AP Sports Writer
September 2, 2007

A bad loss for the Big Ten might have been a big win for the Big Ten Network.

The fledgling channel received a priceless advertisement for the entertainment value of the games it televises when Appalachian State shocked No. 5 Michigan during its inaugural weekend.

"It was very exciting," said Elizabeth Conlisk, the network's vice president for communications, before quickly adding, "Certainly disappointing that Michigan lost."

All that drama wasn't available in the homes of many fans in Big Ten country, though. The network has yet to reach agreements with several major cable providers.
Fans may perceive Saturday's stunner as evidence that they need the network -- or that they've been hurt by its creation.

Michigan fans are accustomed to being able to catch their school on TV. The team has had 145 consecutive games televised dating to 1995. Of course, those who saw the upset loss might've wished they hadn't.

For now, the impact of the new network depends on where fans live and what cable or satellite system they subscribe to. And it won't affect the conference's marquee matchups. Those will still air on ABC/ESPN. At least 35 games will be shown on the Big Ten Network this season, compared with up to 41 on ABC/ESPN.

The network's national contract with DirecTV gives some viewers outside the region an opportunity to watch games they didn't have access to before. The network is available in about 17-18 million homes around the country. By comparison, HBO, a premium channel, is in about 30 million households.

Nick Farrell, a Michigan fan in the Bay Area with DirecTV, was pleased that he was able to watch Saturday's game without paying extra money for a college football package, which he had to previously.

For other fans, some games that used to be available on free TV now require a trip to a bar or restaurant.

Last year's matchup between the Wolverines and Central Michigan was aired by ESPN Plus and picked up in the Detroit area by WXYZ. The local ABC affiliate reaches more than 1.9 million households. In the conference's entire eight-state region, the Big Ten Network is available in fewer than 3.5 million homes.

The WXYZ switchboard was peppered with calls from confused viewers on Saturday, wondering why the game wasn't on.

Mark Anderson, a Michigan alum living in Cincinnati who subscribes to Time Warner cable, had to watch Saturday's game in a bar packed with fans of rival Ohio State. His eyes covered as the Wolverines attempted a winning field goal in the final seconds, he knew his team had lost by the cheers of other patrons.

In Chicago, Mark Papazian, class of 2001, also went to a bar. He has Dish Network and doesn't plan to switch because of the Big Ten. He described the attitude of Michigan fans toward the network as "fairly negative, but not to the point of outrage."

To Mark Chen, a 2001 Michigan grad in Dallas, the new network has little effect on his viewing habits. He went to the bar frequented by members of the local branch of the alumni association, just as he did before. Chen, who has cable, would switch to DirecTV if his apartment complex
allowed it, but he would do it for better service and value, not because of the Big Ten Network.

Conlisk said the network remains open to negotiating with cable providers. Big Ten officials have said they understand it may take time to make the network available to a larger segment of the country.

Packed bars around Big Ten country Saturday demonstrated the network's broad appeal, Conlisk said, and the Michigan-Appalachian State game refuted criticism that the network's offerings aren't appealing.

"The stunning upset is going to forever be associated with the first national broadcast on the Big Ten Network," she said. "That's huge for us. It just goes to show you can't always predict in June what's going to be a white-knuckle finish in September."

AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pittsburgh Quarterback Bill Stull Out Indefinitely After Suffering Injury

By David

In his first career start, junior Quarterback Bill Stull suffered a debilitating injury when his thumb was bent backwards on a handoff exchange in the third quarter.

Before Stull left the game, he went 14-of-20 for 177 yards and a touchdown to give the Panthers a 21-3 lead over Eastern Michigan. The former high school star was the backup to Tyler Palko last season and was awarded the opportunity to be Dave Wannstedt's starter after working extremely hard during the off-season.

Stull's injury will keep him out of next week's contest against Grambling and the following week at Michigan State. If the recovery process takes even longer it's highly likely that he could be out for an extended period of time.

In the mean time, 6-foot-3 freshman Pat Bostick is the front runner to receive the starting job, instead of fellow freshman Kevean Smith who went 2-of-4 for 18 yards in the absence of Stull.

Notre Dame Clobbered By Georgia Tech 30-3 - Largest 1st Game Loss In ND History

Without Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, and Darius Walker, all Tyrone Willingham recruits, Notre Dame took its largest opening day loss in school history. Here are the details...

NY Times....

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Sept. 1 — Once Saturday’s game began, Notre Dame’s optimism turned to angst, and some of the pertinent questions surrounding the Fighting Irish received preliminary answers:

How much would they miss their former quarterback Brady Quinn, now with the Cleveland Browns? In a humbling season-opening 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech, the Irish passing game produced only 130 yards, and their quarterbacks were sacked nine times.

Would the Notre Dame defense be tougher under the new coordinator Corwin Brown? Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice pounded the Irish for 196 yards on 26 carries.

Is Coach Charlie Weis worried? After this kind of performance, name a coach who would not be. Looking at the Fighting Irish on the field, and looking at their schedule, it is difficult to picture a feel-good season. Notre Dame’s next two games are at Penn State and at Michigan, followed by a home game against Michigan State.

From ESPN:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Tashard Choice helped Georgia Tech fans forget about the loss of Calvin Johnson. Notre Dame's three quarterbacks had Fighting Irish fans longing for Brady Quinn.

Choice rushed for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns and the Georgia Tech defense had little trouble with Notre Dame's new passers, forcing two fumbles by Demetrius Jones, sacking Evan Sharpley seven times and keeping Jimmy Clausen from doing any damage in a 33-3 victory Saturday.

"I did not see this coming," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "I thought we would play pretty well defensively. I did not know we would run the ball as well as we ran it today."

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis didn't see it coming either. He said one of the biggest problems was the Irish weren't ready for the speed of the game, and blamed himself for not having the team prepared.

"Who else are you going to blame but yourself? I'm the head coach," he said. "It's my responsibility."

It was just the 15th season-opening loss in Notre Dame history and the most lopsided, surpassing the 31-10 loss to Pittsburgh to start the 1976 season. It's also the first time the Irish failed to score a touchdown in a season opener since a 20-12 loss at Michigan in 1985.

#23 Hawaii Wallops Northern Colorado 63-6

By David

Hawaii enters this season with very high expectations after being ranked in the preseason top 25 for the first time in school history. The team's offense was certainly up to the task as they scored four times in the first eleven minutes to take a commanding 28-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

Senior quarterback Colt Brennan threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns in the first half to lead the high-powered Warriors past the Bears of Northern Colorado.

Wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullen caught nine first half passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns and Davone Bess followed up with two touchdowns of his own to give the Warriors a 42-0 lead heading into halftime.

Last season, Brennan excelled under June Jones's offense as he threw for 5,549 yards and an unheralded 58 touchdowns in a mere 14 games. At the pace he's on in 2007 it looks like he will surpass the numbers he posted a year ago and position himself very well heading into the NFL draft.

Top Rankes USC Cruises To Victory Over Idaho

By David

Heisman Trophy contender John David Booty threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns to lead # 1 ranked USC past Idaho by the score of 38-10.

At times, the Trojans did not look impressive on both sides of the ball as they struggled to find consistency on countless occasions. Towards the end of the second quarter the Vandals defense forced USC to punt the ball away twice and this stirred up several boos from the crowd of 90,917.

During the first half, the premier defense in all of College Football gave up 182 yards of total offense and was only able to force one turnover. Conversely, the Trojans had three turnovers of their own and that is something that head coach Pete Carroll was not happy with. ''I'm really disappointed we turned the ball over three times. The turnover thing is always going to be the No. 1 issue for us.''

For Southern California, Stafon Johnson ran the ball 22 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and C.J. Gable, Vidal Hazelton and Stanley Havili all had touchdown grabs. The team will have a week off to prepare for a tough matchup September 15th in Lincoln against the twentieth ranked Cornhuskers.

Appalachian State Upsets #5 Michigan

By David

Appalachian state entered Saturday's game against Michigan as the number one ranked team in Division I-AA and the favorites to win the Football Championship Subdivision. Couple that with a 15 game win streak(longest in the nation) and the fact that the Wolverines had lost two straight games and they were still a major underdog.

The Mountaineers didn't let skepticism get in their way as they entered the Big House and took complete control of the game from start to finish en route to a 34-32 victory. After a go ahead 24-yard field goal from Julian Rauch with 26 seconds remaining, Corey Lynch blocked a 37-yard attempt as time ran out to cement what it being called the biggest upset in College Football history.

For head coach Lloyd Carr and seniors Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long to suffer their first lose so early in the season, it all but eliminates their National Championship aspirations and most likely their run at a Big Ten title. If the Wolverines can't defeat a small football program from Boone, North Carolina, how can they compete with powerhouses such as Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State?

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