Hello Football Fans,
There is not much fluff in the attached newsletter.
The college season is 10 days away, and there are some preseason rankings, rule changes, coaching changes, selected games for the first week starting August 30th, plus some minutia for your reading pleasure.
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL, on the lam from the gambling police.
Following is the Preseason Top 25 according to the USAToday Coach’s Poll, with number of 1st place votes in parentheses (the Associated Press Poll – sportswriters – is not out yet).
In the 2nd column are projected rankings from www.CollegeFootballTalk.com .
In the 3rd column are projected rankings from Phil Steele’s magazine.
In the 4th column are the projected rankings from Lindy’s magazine.
In the 5th column are current (not sure exactly how current) odds to win the BCS title game from www.TheSpread.com
NR = not ranked NE = not eligible
Today CFT Steele Lindy Odds
Coaches’ TOP 25:
LSU (18) 1 4 3 1 5/1 Before CB T. Mathieu dismissal
Alabama (20) 2 3 5 3 5.5/1
USC (19) 3 1 4 2 3/1
Oklahoma (1) 4 2 2 4 10/1
Oregon 5 7 6 5 11/1
Georgia 6 6 8 6 14/1
Florida State (1) 7 10 1 8 12/1
Michigan 8 5 22 7 25/1
South Carolina 9 11 23 11 30/1
Arkansas 10 15 16 9 20/1
West Virginia 11 8 25 10 30/1
Wisconsin 12 9 9 17 50/1
Michigan State 13 14 19 12 60/1
Clemson 14 12 14 13 33/1
Texas 15 13 7 19 28/1
Nebraska 16 22 17 25 40/1
TCU 17 20 36 15 50/1
Stanford 18 23 18 21 Field-40/1
Oklahoma State 19 NR 12 16 80/1
Virginia Tech 20 16 24 18 30/1
Kansas State 21 NR 37 22 75/1
Boise State 22 21 26 24 65/1
Florida 23 19 10 20 50/1
Notre Dame 24 NR 21 33 28/1
Auburn 25 NR 29 31 60/1
Today CFT Steele Lindy Odds
Ohio State NE 17 11 14 NE
North Carolina NE 18 13 45 NE
Louisville NR 24 34 23 Field-40/1
Virginia NR 25 24 34 200/1
Central Florida NE NR 15 38 NE
These preseason polls don’t mean much, since results on the field will shake up these initial thoughts.
Commentary will be deferred until after the season starts.
Keep in mind that college football is still under the BCS system for 2012 and 2013 (same formula as last year). The new playoff system doesn’t start until 2014.
COLLEGE RULE CHANGES
The main college rules changes for 2012 are:
1. The change in the NFL kickoff rules got quite a bit of press last year, and now college has adopted the same rule whereby kickoffs will be from the 35-yard line instead of the 30-yard line. However, the new college rule will have the ball come out to the 25-yard line on a touchback (it had always been the 20-yard line, and still is in the NFL). The exception will be when the ball rolls or is fumbled into the end zone, in which case the ball comes out only to the 20-yard line. Also, I understand that punts that result in a touchback come out only to the 20-yard line.
2. College has adopted NFL rule changes on blocking, such as the “defenseless player” rule being expanded to penalize crack-back blocks to the head and/or neck area (Hines Ward Rule) and also expanded the restrictions on blocking below the waist. Also, players will be penalized for leaping over blockers in an attempt to block a kick/punt.
3. Several rule changes have been implemented to reduce the chance of concussions, mainly on special teams’ plays. For instance, if a player loses his helmet that is not caused by a penalty (e.g., facemask grabbing), it will be deemed an injury to the player and he must leave the game for one play. And, if it happens inside the last two minutes of each half, 10 seconds will run off the clock.
This is quickie refresher, and let me focus just on 2012.
Still 10 teams this year, and no divisions and no conference title game.
TCU and West Virginia are in, Missouri and Texas A&M are out.
Expanded to 14 teams; two divisions of seven.
Texas A&M added to West Division, and Missouri added to East Division.
Still 12 teams in conference this year, but two are ineligible for post-season play. Net =10.
Two divisions of six, with conference title game between Legends and Leaders winners.
Same as last year; two divisions of six.
Same as last year; two divisions of six.
Difference is that USC is now eligible to win the South Division and play in the conference title game.
Still 8 teams, but there was a shuffle.
West Virginia is out; Temple is in.
The name of the conference changed from Mountain West Conference to Mountain West (not sure why).
The MW expands from 8 to 10 teams.
TCU is out, but the conference added Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii.
The conference tried to get “automatic qualifier” (AQ) status for the next two years, but was denied. That means the winner of the MW will not automatically qualify for one of the BCS Bowl invitations.
There are six AQ conferences – Big 10, SEC, PAC-12, ACC, Big East, and Big XII.
Same as last year; two divisions of six.
Same as last year; ND, BYU, Army, Navy
Still a 13-team conference with two divisions.
In the East division, Temple is out, but Massachusetts is in (a newcomer to FBS/Division 1-A).
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The WAC was 8 teams, and is now a 7-team, watered-down conference.
Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii exited; entering this year are FBS newcomers University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Texas State (in San Marcos, TX).
This conference will be eliminated next year, currently leaving just Idaho and New Mexico State without a home for 2013.
Idaho will likely either become an independent for football or join the FCS Big Sky Athletic Conference.
NM State hasn’t announced plans yet.
Expanded from 9 to 10 teams, adding FBS newcomer South Alabama (in Mobile, AL).
SELECTED GAMES FOR THE FIRST WEEK (42 lined games total)
Thursday UTSA +5h at South Alabama Two new FBS teams meet
Aug. 30th WA State +13h at BYU
South Carolina -7 at Vanderbilt SEC divisional game early
Texas A&M -7 vs. LA Tech at “neutral” Shreveport, LA
Massachusetts +24h at UConn
Friday BIG GAME: Boise St +7 at Michigan State (Steele predicts: 30-20 MSU)
Aug. 31st Tennessee -3h vs. NC State in Atlanta
San Jose State +25h at Stanford
Saturday BIG GAME: Michigan +12h vs. Alabama in Cowboys Stadium
Sept 1st (Steele predicts: 31-17 Roll Tide)
Notre Dame -16h vs. Navy in Ireland (“Leprechaun” Stadium?)
Marshall +24h at West VA
Miami.FL +1 at Boston College Early ACC conference game
Iowa -8 vs. Northern Illinois at “neutral” Chicago’s Soldier Field
Colorado -6 vs. Colorado State at neutral site in Denver
Clemson -3 vs. Auburn at neutral site in Atlanta
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin No line, UNI Panthers are FCS#15
Texas State +37 at Houston
Tulsa -1 at Iowa State
Sunday Kentucky +13h at Louisville
Sept 2nd SMU +10h at Baylor
Monday Georgia Tech +7 at Virginia Tech
Wednesday FIRST NFL REGULAR SEASON GAME
Sept 5th Dallas at NY Giants 8:30PM Eastern
COLLEGE STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
One way to measure 2012 strength of schedule is to compare a team’s opponents based on their records from 2011. But Phil Steele goes one step further and uses 2012 projected records instead of last year’s historical results. Here is Steele’s partial listing of teams’ toughness of schedule for this year, based the expanded analysis and his projections:
#1 Notre Dame; includes road games vs. Oklahoma, USC, and Michigan State. Last year Irish had #20 toughest schedule
#2 Mississippi; Last year #5 toughest (Steele’s analysis based on 2011 actual results)
#3 Iowa State Cyclones had the #1 toughest schedule last year
#4 Michigan Last year #34 toughest
#5 Florida Last year #19 toughest
#7 Baylor Last year #4 toughest
#8 Texas A&M Welcome to the SEC
#9 Miami of Florida
#14 Arizona Last year #6 toughest
#20 Oklahoma Last year #8 toughest
#21 Michigan State Last year #74 toughest
#28 Alabama Last year #17 toughest
#29 LSU Last year #15 toughest
#30 USC Last year #22 toughest
#56 Wisconsin Last year #88 toughest
#68 Iowa Last year #72 toughest
#70 Florida State
#71 Boise State Last year #56 toughest
#81 BYU Last year #102 toughest
#100 San Diego State
#114 Colorado State
#120 South Alabama
#121 Western Michigan
#122 Northern Illinois
#123 Ohio U
COLLEGE COACHING CHANGES
Copy-and-paste, ain’t it great.
Out Team In
Rob Ianello Akron Terry Bowden (from N. ALA)
Mike Stoops Arizona Rich Rodriguez (from MICH)
Dennis Erickson Arizona St Todd Graham (from PITT)
Hugh Freeze U MISS Arkansas St Gus Malzahn
Steve Fairchild Colorado St Jim McElwain
H. Schnellenberger FAU Carl Pellini
Pat Hill Fresno St Tim DeRuyter
Greg McMackin Hawaii Norm Chow (lifetime OC )
Kevin Sumlin TX A&M Houston Tony Levine
Ron Zook Illinois Tim Beckman
Turner Gill Kansas Charlie Weis (prior ND, NFL)
Larry Porter Memphis Justin Fuente
Kevin Morris Massachusetts Charley Molnar
Houston Nutt Mississippi Hugh Freeze (from ARK.St)
Mike Locksley New Mexico Bob Davie (old ND coach)
Butch Davis North Carolina Larry Fedora
Luke Fickell interim Ohio St Urban Meyer (prior Utah, FL)
Joe Paterno Penn St Bill O'Brien
Todd Graham AZ St Pittsburgh Paul Chryst
Greg Schiano TB Bucs Rutgers Kyle Flood
Larry Fedora Southern Miss Ellis Johnson
Mike Sherman MIA Fins Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin
Tim Beckman Toledo Matt Campbell
Bob Toledo Tulane Curtis Johnson
Neil Callaway UAB Garrick McGee
Rick Neuheisel FFHL?? UCLA Jim Mora
Paul Wulff Washington St Mike Leach
COACHES ON THE “HOT SEAT”
Using the efforts of Phil Steele again, here is a quick list of coaches that are on the hot seat. Coaches that have gotten on his list from 2008 through 2011 had an 83% chance of either being fired/let go or doing what they had to do (having to do mainly with the team’s performance) to keep their jobs for the next year. This is a nasty list to publish, but Phil can do the dirty work. Go to www.philsteele.com and then check out his “Blog Archives” for more details, but here is the quickie list (in order of likelihood):
ARKANSAS - John L. Smith. This was a stop-gap hire after Petrino firing
TENNESSEE - Derek Dooley. 19 starters back; should improve record and keep job
TEXAS TECH - Tommy Tuberville. 17 returning, but offense goes from spread to run-first
BOSTON COLLEGE - Frank Spaziani. 17 returning; last year was 1st losing season since 1998
RICE - David Bailiff. 3 straight losing seasons; team needs at least 5 wins in 2012
KENTUCKY - Joker Phillips. Rebuilding year, but still need to avoid 3-9 or worse season
IDAHO - Robb Akey Going independent next year, but still need 4 wins
OREGON STATE - Mike Riley. 15 returning starters; team needs to make bowl game
CALIFORNIA - Jeff Tedford. Not Top 25 since 2006; cannot have 3rd straight 6-or-more loss season, and should be able to avoid this in his 11th year
NOTRE DAME - Brian Kelly. Even with brutal schedule, a losing season could be doom
TEXAS - Mack Brown. Brown was on list last year, but produced 8 wins. Another 8-win season may not be enough this year.
CENTRAL MICH Dan Enos
CENTRAL FL George O’Leary
FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS
QUESTION #1: Who holds the all-time record for most wins as a head coach in NCAA Division I history?
QUESTION #2: Which sanctioned teams are not eligible for post-season play in 2012?
I’ve got to pose this question for a third time, as I left out one other team that is ineligible this year.
Ohio State, UNC, and Central Florida have already been identified in prior quizzes. There is one more school (at least one to date), and maybe Miami of Florida later.
HINT: Not sure why I drew a blank on this one, but it is fairly obvious if you follow college football.
Grambling’s Eddie Robinson is now Division I’s winningest coach with 408 victories.
Bobby Bowden is back into the record books for Division I-A, after Joe Paterno was stripped of 111 victories in the wake of the Sandusky “scandal”. Penn State was forced to vacate all 112 wins from 1998 through 2011, all but one which belonged to Paterno. His 409 wins have been reduced to 298, putting him at 7th on the all-time list.
Bowden has 377 wins, as revised, after he was forced by the NCAA to vacate 12 wins from his total as part of the school’s sanctions in 2009.
85-year old John Gagliardi of St. John’s University in Minnesota holds the Division III record with 484 wins. He is still the head coach, and could reach 500 wins during the 2014 season.
Penn State, who got slapped with a four-year bowl ban and other stiff penalties. What a mess. The football team has lost some key players to transfer recently, including its best RB Silas Redd to USC and best WR Justin Brown to Oklahoma. Another projected starting WR Devon Smith transferred to Marshall.
Penn State is trying to change its image in light of the Sandusky connection to the Nittany Lions’ football program. The no-frills uniforms with no names on the jerseys had long been a trademark for PSU football and symbolized the “plainness” and team concept portrayed during the Joe Paterno era. This year, players’ names are being added to the jerseys along with blue ribbons to show support for victims of child abuse.