Monday, August 20, 2012

FFHL COLLEGE 10 day KICKOFF

PRE-SEASON RANKINGS AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

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

                                        USA                                 BCS
                                        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

USA                                 BCS
                                        Today CFT    Steele Lindy  Odds
 SELECTED OTHERS:
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.

CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
This is quickie refresher, and let me focus just on 2012.

BIG XII
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.

SEC
Expanded to 14 teams; two divisions of seven.
Texas A&M added to West Division, and Missouri added to East Division.
BIG 10
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.

ACC
Same as last year; two divisions of six.

PAC-12
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.

BIG EAST
Still 8 teams, but there was a shuffle.
West Virginia is out; Temple is in.

MOUNTAIN WEST
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.

CONFERENCE USA
Same as last year; two divisions of six.

INDEPENDENTS
Same as last year; ND, BYU, Army, Navy

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
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.

SUN BELT
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
Sept 3rd

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
#6      Washington
#7      Baylor           Last year #4 toughest
#8      Texas A&M             Welcome to the SEC
#9      Miami of Florida
#10     Kentucky
Others:
#14     Arizona                   Last year #6 toughest
#20     Oklahoma               Last year #8 toughest
#21     Michigan State        Last year #74 toughest
#25     Nebraska
#28     Alabama                 Last year #17 toughest
#29     LSU                        Last year #15 toughest
#30     USC                       Last year #22 toughest
#49     Clemson
#54     Illinois
#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
Easiest Five:
#120   South Alabama
#121   Western Michigan
#122   Northern Illinois
#123   Ohio U
#124   UTSA

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.

Honorable Mention:
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.




ANSWER #1:
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.

ANSWER #2:
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.
 

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