Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 1:19 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The NCAA announced on Wednesday that Boise State defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who may just be the owner of the greatest name ever, has been reinstated to the Boise State football team. Tjong-A-Tjoe will be eligible to play for Boise this weekend against Air Force.
He had been forced to sit out the first six games of the season after receiving impermissible benefits that totaled $13,600 from a host family. Tjong-A-Tjoe, one of three Boise State players from Amsterdam who were ineligible to start the season, received benefits that included "housing, meals, gifts, school supplies, travel, vacation, among other items" according to the NCAA.
Tjong-A-Tjoe still has to repay the value of the benefits he received, which shouldn't be a problem at all for a kid from another country that doesn't have a job since he's playing college football.
He's the last of the three Boise State players from Amsterdam, Cedric Febis and Geraldo Boldewjin being the other two, to be reinstated.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:19 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
AIR FORCE WILL WIN IF: Kellen Moore defects from Boise State before the game. Here's a list of the quarterbacks who have beaten Boise State over the last 3+ seasons: Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton. That's. it. Two quarterbacks who have been among the most prolific and successful in their respective conferences' histories. Air Force's Tim Jefferson may be a decent enough dual threat QB, but he is no Colin Kaepernick or Andy Dalton. And with Air Force already giving up over 35 points a game so far on the season (including 59 to Notre Dame two weeks ago), setting Moore loose against this Falcon defense may be a fireworks show for the ages.
BOISE STATE WILL WIN IF: Things do not go horribly, horribly wrong. Boise State has outscored its first two Mountain West opponents 120-20 this season, and there's not much reason to think Air Force can keep the game much closer this week. Yes, the Falcon option attack is racking up yards and points this season, but nobody that the Falcons have faced -- not even Notre Dame -- has a front seven as talented as Boise State's. Look for big days from Moore, workhorse tailback Doug Martin, and emerging star wideout Tyler Shoemaker.
X-FACTOR: Style points. Boise State's currently ahead of Wisconsin in the BCS rankings at No. 5, and after the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game and the Alabama-LSU game, Boise State could very well reach No. 3 in the BCS rankings without any help from upsets. So it's going to be crucial for Boise State to continue impressing the Harris Poll and Coaches Poll voters, and the only way to do that against opponents like Air Force is to light up the scoreboard. Is that sporting? No, but it's the way of things in a sport without a playoff system, so it'll be interesting to see when Chris Peterson finally lets his foot off the gas pedal, and how Boise State looks compared to the rest of the top contenders at the end of the day.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 9:56 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
BOISE STATE WON. The first ever Mountain West conference game for Boise State went pretty much like so many of their conference games in the WAC: Jump out to a big lead using a precision offense, take advantage of the opponent's mistakes and mix in a trick play for style points late. The Broncos had over 600 yards of offense before the halfway point in the third quarter. It was a balanced attack too, with nearly equal production out of the running game as the passing game.
WHY BOISE STATE WON. Plenty of Broncos offensive players had career days against the Rams. Quarterback Kellen Moore had 338 yards on 26 of 30 passing and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Running back Doug Martin easily set a career-high, rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, including a long of 65 yards. Wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker finished the day with nine catches for a career-high 180 yards and two touchdowns. The defense was pretty good too, intercepting Pete Thomas once and held Colorado State under four yards a play.
WHEN BOISE STATE WON. 21-0 first quarters generally indicate the game is over before it even started. The Broncos allowed Colorado State to threaten a little after slowing down in the second quarter and allowing them to score 13 points before halftime. But they got the offense started after faking a punt and ending a drive with a touchdown early in the 3rd quarter. Still, this one was won as soon as the boys from the blue turf got off the bus.
WHAT BOISE STATE WON. Yet another win to keep the record perfect and their hopes of playing in another BCS bowl game alive. Speaking of which, the BCS rankings come out this weekend and most of the projections have the Broncos in the middle of the Stanford/Wisconsin/Oklahoma State pack following the elite teams in the top three. It's a longshot to play for the title with their schedule this year but that Georgia win is looking better by the week. Still, big wins like this are good for some style points with Harris and Coaches Poll voters and that can only help.
WHAT COLORADO STATE LOST. The Rams fall to .500 overall and in conference play with the loss Saturday. They're likely to get to the six wins needed for bowl eligblity but have a tough stretch of games following two winnable games against UTEP and UNLV. It's possible this is the last conference game against Boise State so maybe Steve Fairchild won't have to worry about them too much longer.
THAT WAS CRAZY. It was a record-setting day for Boise State and several individuals on offense. Doug Martin set a new career-high before halftime and finished with 200 yards rushing. Kellen Moore was nearly perfect on the day and was one reason why the team racked up 742 yards of total offense, best mark in school history. In fact, they had 644 yards through three quarters, which would have been fifth best in school history.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli and Bryan Fischer
As CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported earlier on Friday, the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are consolidating into one conference. The reasoning behind it is, as CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported on Friday, the Big East is set to extend invitations to Boise State and Air Force along with Navy and UCF.
Both conferences released a statement about their partnership on Friday night:
The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have unanimously come to an agreement in principle to consolidate their member football programs into one large association.
Commissioners of the two leagues formulated this creative and innovative plan with the support of the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors. The 12 members of Conference USA and 10 football-playing members of the Mountain West will join forces for this strategic landmark in college football.
“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”
The new conference, for football only, features 22 schools in 16 different states across five time zones (including Hawaii). Both leagues will continue to function as is for all other sports but they will work jointly on governance of the football side, though no specifics were given by either commissioner. The presidents of the member schools authorized Thompson and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky to sign a memorandum of understanding earlier Friday as the first step in the process of consolidating the football programs.
"We really realized that college athletics is changing so fast and at such a rapid pace, if we're not quick to adapt we might lose some positioning," Banowsky said. "This is a structure that creates all kinds of fun, competitive opportunities. Nobody's ever put together a structure like this."
There is no name for the new venture, one of several details about the league that are still being worked out. The aim is for the conference to be operational by 2012 but they are focusing on 2013 as a more likely start date. Over the next 90 days a working group will explore how feasible it is to start next season but, given the already fluid realignment situation, nothing is assured. Banowsky said that there would likely be a two division model for the first year before moving to a mutli-divisional model down the road. There would be a football championship game no matter what the structure.
Both leaders said they have not had any conversations with the BCS about becoming an automatic qualifier conference and made it a point to say that nothing was guaranteed in terms of the BCS going forward and how it operates. The current agreement runs through the 2013-14 season with conferences reevaluated based on their membership as of December 2011.
"I don't think anyone can really predict what the future of the BCS will be or what it will look like," Banowsky said. "The idea that the BCS would simply be rebooted, as it has been in the past, I think is a significant question mark. From my perspective, this doesn't hang on that at all.
"I don't think anyone has a clear idea of what will happen in 2014," Banowsky said. "Will there even be a BCS? If there is, who will be in what conferences and what conferences will have access? Will there even be an automatic qualification?
"Our conferences will stand up together and speak with a stong voice. We will expect to have our champion recognized at the highest level."
In addition to the sheer size of the conference being an issue, the respective conference television contracts present a sticky situation. Both currently have separate deals with CBS Sports; while CUSA has partnered with Fox Sports and ESPN and the MWC has contracts with Comcast/NBC Sports. The MWC also owns and operates their own cable channel, The Mtn.
"It's all about inventory and it's all about programming" Thompson said. ""Better is better and more is better in the television industry."
"The schools that we're talking about have made significant investments in their football programs," Banowsky said of the new conference's appeal to television partners. "They're here and they're not going anywhere. The champion out of a group of schools like this is a worthy champion from my perspective."
The football only association has several models they've looked at, including as many as 24 teams participating. Adding to the already complicated setup is the fact that some of the current MWC and CUSA schools could be targets of other leagues, specifically the Big East. UCF, Boise State and Air Force leaders participated in the board of directors call early Friday morning and were part of the unanimous recommendation to proceed forward with the idea. Thompson said that the latter two had been in contact with the Big East but did not elaborate.
"Right now today, Friday afternoon, the intention is we start with 22," he said. "One of the beauties of this structure is the flexibility to accommodate additional members."
"We won't try to hold any one back if that's what they believe they want to do," Banowsky said. "As long as they're fair to the other members and they follow the rules, that's ok."
Posted on: October 11, 2011 12:27 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Memphis has been looking for an invitation to the SEC (really) but they're not the only program looking to take a big step up in competition.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego State is all but begging for an invite to the Big 12. Athletic director Jim Sterk has passed information about the school and surrounding television market to Big 12 officials, including interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.
“We’ve been proactive as far as getting information out and just making sure their folks know what a valuable commodity San Diego State is,” Sterk told the Union-Tribune. “We’ve been able to show how well we capture the San Diego television market in the last couple of years and have a program that’s really on the rise and have a lot of things going for it. We’re a member of the Mountain West Conference, and we think it’s a very good conference. But if things realign, you never know how the sands are moving.”
The Big 12 officially welcomed TCU to the league on Monday, adding the school in the wake of Texas A&M's departure to the SEC in 2012. The league may continue to expand, possibly back to 12 members, or choose to remain at 10. Leaders are still waiting on a decision from Missouri, which is mulling their conference affiliation options and could choose to follow the Aggies to the SEC.
BYU, Louisville and West Virginia are the schools frequently brought up if the Big 12 is to expand again but Sterk wanted to make officials aware that San Diego State is just as close geographically to schools such as Texas as BYU is.
“If they look west, who knows what happens?” Sterk said.
Neinas is familiar with the school, having advised former athletic director Jeff Schemmel to hire football coach Rocky Long in 2006 as part of his consulting business.
Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 7:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
NOTRE DAME WON. For the first time since a 57-7 victory over Stanford in 2003, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame eclipsed 50 points in a game as the Golden Domers had a rather easy time with Air Force on Saturday afternoon. The Notre Dame offense scored 6 touchdowns on its 6 possessions in the first half, with six different players scoring the touchdowns. Tommy Rees finished the day with 261 yards and 4 touchdowns, and the Notre Dame offense played it's second consecutive game without committing a turnover.
WHY NOTRE DAME WON. Let's all just be happy that the Air Force has jets at its disposal when it's defending the country, because if it were solely up to the Falcons football defense, we'd be pretty vulnerable right now. Yes, Notre Dame's offense looked extremely efficient in this game, totalling 560 yards, but the Air Force defense didn't exactly do much to stop it either.
WHEN NOTRE DAME WON. When Cierre Wood's 8-yard touchdown run gave the Irish 5 touchdowns in its first five drives and expanded the Notre Dame lead to 35-9 it was pretty evident that Air Force wasn't going to be able to get back into this one.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WON. A lot of confidence on offense heading into the annual showdown with rival USC. The Notre Dame offense had been able to put yards on the board all year, but over the last two weeks, not only has Notre Dame picked up yards but it's also scored 97 points and hasn't turned the ball over a single time.
WHAT AIR FORCE LOST. A chance to be one of the many teams that has come into South Bend and upset the Irish the last few seasons. It's not a conference game, so this loss doesn't hurt Air Force in the Mountain West, but this still would have been a nice win for the Falcons.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Notre Dame rushed for 266 yards against Air Force on Saturday, but it's leading rusher was backup quarterback Andrew Hendrix. Yes, the sophomore saw his first action in a Notre Dame uniform on a few plays in the first three quarters, and he took over for Tommy Rees late. He ended the game with 111 yards rushing on 6 carries, including a 78-yard gain that set up Notre Dame's final touchdown of the day.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 6:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
They say he who laughs last laughs best. And in this week's war of words between TCU's Gary Patterson and cross-town rivals SMU, we're awarding the Mustangs the last, best laugh.
That's not for lack of effort on Patterson's part. In the wake of SMU's 40-33 overtime victory Saturday, Patterson lashed out at everyone and everything involved in the game that wasn't Frog-related, including SMU, SMU "people," SMU head coach June Jones, former SMU head coach Phil Bennett, SMU receiver Darius Johnson, the Conference USA officials that worked the game, and Conference USA itself.
"We’ve let them come over and talked about how we do things academically and how we do things with the stadium and everything to try to make their program better and their way of thanking us for that is to cut us down," Patterson said in one typical quote. "I don’t think they should ever look for anymore help from anybody from over here ever again."
As Jones himself noted Wednesday, Patterson's outburst has already helped the Mustangs, by helping ensure that 2012's SMU-hosted "Battle for the Iron Skillet" draws far more attention -- and theoretically sells far more tickets -- than it would have otherwise. But the ensuing coverage has also helped get the word out about Mustangs' new offer for fans looking to purchase tickets to SMU's remaining 2011 home games. We'll let the official SMU athletic site explain the "Iron Skillet Special":
If you're keeping track, that's three different repetitions of the numbers "40" and "33" in just two sentences.
Patterson is more than welcome to air his grievances over the officiating and Jones' and Johnson's comments. But in the end, those two numbers are what both he and the Mustangs are going to ultimately remember about the game, and kudos are due SMU for going out of their way to remind their fans (and TCU's) of that.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 4:41 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
I respect you all too much to lie to you, so I'll be upfront about the fact that outside of our dinner menu this week, we're a little light on the calories this weekend. Yes, having a matchup between two ranked non-conference opponents to kick things off in the morning is a wonderful way to start you day, but after that, it's kinda thin.
Of course, none of this means you shouldn't eat lunch. Many times the simplest meals turn out to be the best ones of the day. So keep an open eye while perusing this week's Meal Plan.
#18 Arkansas vs. #14 Texas A&M (in Dallas) - ESPN 12pm ET
The final meeting between these two schools as non-conference foes, and both teams are coming into the game with a bit of a limp. Texas A&M blew a halftime lead at home against Oklahoma State last weekend, and Arkansas did not enjoy its trip to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. What better way to move on from a defeat than by beating one of your oldest rivals? It's not often that we're given a matchup like this so early in the morning, so take advantage of it while you can. - Tom Fornelli
#24 Illinois vs. Northwestern - ESPN2 12pm ET
You want points? You're going to get points. Northwestern finally welcomes 2010 dynamo Dan Persa back from his Achilles injury, and the Illinois pass/option attack led by Nathan Scheelhaase has led the Illini to over 32 points a game -- and a 4-0 record. Both teams are looking to make a darkhorse run at their respective Big Ten division crowns, and each would welcome a hard-fought win to begin the conference slate. I know it's an early kickoff, but don't sleep on this game. - Adam Jacobi
Navy vs. Air Force - CBS 12pm ET
Restaurants of all kinds tend to offer "alternative" meals for customers, so think of this matchup of two of our nation's military branches to be our vegan offering of the week. Just replace animal products with passing game, and that's exactly what this is. When these two teams meet it's like looking through a window back in time as both teams employ option attacks. - TF
#10 South Carolina vs. Auburn - CBS 3:30pm ET
Neither team enters this game feeling particularly good about itself, not after the Tigers wheezed their way past an awful FAU team 30-16 and Carolina watched Stephen Garcia throw four hideous interceptions against Vanderbilt. But given Auburn's persistent tackling issues, even Garcia shouldn't be able to keep Marcus Lattimore from racking up another Heisman-type day on the ground. - Jerry Hinnen
Kansas State vs. #15 Baylor - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
I don't think many people saw this game on the schedule at the beginning of the year and envisioned a battle of unbeatens in Manhattan, but that's exactly what we're getting. Even if that weren't the case, this one would still be worthy of your attention for the prospect of seeing Robert Griffin play football for three hours on its own. It's the first time Griffin and Baylor have had to venture outside of Waco this season, so it'll be interesting to see how he performs in hostile territory. - TF
Ohio State vs. Michigan State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
The Big Ten's night game is going to get all the attention, but this game could prove to be the most ruinous for whoever loses it. Michigan State is reeling after seeing its vaunted offensive attack shut down by Notre Dame's, um, inconsistent defense. Meanwhile, OSU hasn't looked great since Week 2, and if Braxton Miller can't get the Buckeyes moving against the MSU defense, that QB controversy is firing right back up and we haven't seen the last of Joe Bauserman. - AJ
N.C. State vs. #21 Georgia Tech - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET
The days of Paul Johnson's offense being defined as "three yards and a cloud of dust" are long gone in Atlanta. The Rambling Wreck lead the nation in plays of 30 yards or more, and they passed their first conference test putting up 312 rushing yards against North Carolina's touted front seven. N.C. State did not pass their first conference test, allowing 438 yards of total offense against Wake Forest. The Wolfpack are banged up on defense, and enter the game with only one of their top three running backs (not good for keeping the opposing offense off the field). But Tom O'Brien's squad had their number a year ago in Atlanta, forcing some turnovers and blocking a punt on the way to a 45-28 win. Unfortunately for the struggling Wolfpack, the Yellow Jackets remember that game all too well. - Chip Patterson
#11 Virginia Tech vs. #13 Clemson - ESPN2 6pm ET
Two undefeated Top 15 ACC foes face off under the lights in Lane Stadium, and both have a lot to prove in this game. The Hokies haven't been tested by any kind of noteworthy competition, and the development of sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas has taken a bit longer than some expected. Clemson, on the other hand, is trying to win their third straight game against a ranked opponent - something an ACC member school has never done. But the Tigers' undefeated record has all come in the comfy confines of Death Valley. Before anyone anoints Dabo Swinney's squad as contenders, they need to prove themselves on the road. Chad Morris' offense against Bud Foster's defense. The young Dabo Swinney against the winningest active coach in the conference. It's the premiere game in the conference and should live up to the hype. Make sure you tune in early for a chance to see "Enter Sandman" in action. - CP
Iowa State vs. #17 Texas - FX 7pm ET
Another battle of unbeatens in the Big 12 takes place in Ames on Saturday night. Normally a matchup between Texas and Iowa State wouldn't seem like something you'd want to try, but remember that Iowa State went into Austin last season and beat the Longhorns. So Texas is going to want to return the favor this season, and if either team wants to have any legitimate chance to win the Big 12 this season, then this is one they'll have to win. - TF
#12 Florida vs. #3 Alabama - CBS 8pm ET
Another week, another serious challenge to Alabama's potential national title campaign. And given the environment (as hostile as you'll see in college football this season, most likely), the weaponry on the opponent's defensive line (Ronald Powell, Jaye Howard, Sharrif Floyd, etc.), and the big-play capability represented by Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, the Gators should prove an even more substantial challenge than Arkansas did. But it's going to take the performance of John Brantley's life to keep the Tide from collapsing on Demps and Rainey, and something similar from the Gator back seven to keep Trent Richardson from uncorking another 60-plus-yard game-changing run. Are they up to it? - JH
#7 Wisconsin vs. #8 Nebraska - ABC 8pm ET
Saturday is the day of reckoning for one of the Big Ten's two divisional favorites; Nebraska is ranked eighth, but has not looked like a world-beater in any of its non-conference games, whereas No. 7 Wisconsin has rolled in early play, but against clearly inferior competition. Wisconsin's the only team of the two that's been able to run and pass at will, but with Nebraska's defense at its healthiest all year, it remains to be seen whether the Badgers can move the ball reliably this week. What a great way to finish the first week of Big Ten play. - AJ [Video Preview]
LATE NIGHT SNACK
#6 Stanford vs. UCLA - FSN 10:30pm ET
Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel said earlier in the week that one of the biggest differences between his program and what the Cardinal have been doing is easy: Andrew Luck. No doubt Rick, no doubt. The Heisman front runner should enjoy facing a UCLA defense ranked 98th in the country. This is also Stanford's first game without linebacker Shayne Skov so keep an eye on how they handle UCLA's Pistol offense. - Bryan Fischer [Video Preview]
Tags: ACC, Adam Jacobi, Air Force, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Braxton Miller, Bryan Fischer, Bud Foster, Chad Morris, Chip Patterson, Chris Rainey, Clemson, Dabo Swinney, Dan Persa, FAU, Florida, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa State, Jaye Howard, Jeff Demps, Jerry Hinnen, Joe Bauserman, John Brantley, Kansas State, Logan Thomas, Marcus Lattimore, Michigan State, Mountain West, N.C. State, Nathan Scheelhaase, Navy, Nebraska, Non-BCS, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Paul Johnson, Rick Neuheisel, Robert Griffin, Ronald Powell, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Sharrif Floyd, Shayne Skov, South Carolina, Stanford, Stephen Garcia, Texas, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Tom O"Brien, Trent Richardson, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wisconsin