Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Zook is now in charge
The ole chief is living large
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Vince Young and the HORNS look to win in one of the most hosile college enviros. Hook - 'EM HORNS, Baby!
Mirek's Early Longhorn / Buckeye Prediction....
I see this as a smash-mouth game. Both teams have great defenses. Ohio State brings the power and Texas brings the speed. Both are great tackling teams. We'll see if the offenses are able to keep up with that intensity this early in the season. Whichever offense gets it in gear and can sustain it for 60 minutes will probably win. I don't see this as a high-scoring game.
Look for a close one throughout. I see Texas pulling away very late in the 4th quarter with its running game and the play of Vincent Young. Troy Smith might be a little rusty since he as to sit out week one. I like the HORNS in the SHOE: 17-13. Hook - 'EM Baby!
Friday, August 26, 2005
CNN/SI's Top 15 Games of The Year (Pretty Good Ones!)
#14 Pitt @ Louisville (November 3rd).
#13 Boise State @ Fresno State (November 10th).
#12 Toledo @ Bowling Green (November 22nd).
#11 Miami @ Va Tech (November 5th).
#10 Florida vs. Georgia (October 29th).
#09 Iowa @ Purdue (October 8th).
#08 Tenn @ LSU (September 24th).
#07 Boise State @ Georgia (September 3rd).
#06 Miami @ Florida State (September 5th).
#05 Michigan @ Iowa (October 22nd).
#04 Tenn @ Florida (September 17th).
#03 Oklahoma vs Texas (October 8th).
#02 USC @ CAL (November 12th).
#01 Texas @ Ohio State (September 10th).
Wow! Can you think of a better regular season non-conference game in modern history?
Monday, August 22, 2005
Blame the BCS Mess on Bradshaw....
HARRIS POLL VOTER LIST:
Schmidt, Dr. Terry R.
Selmon, Lee Roy
Smith, Jim Ray
St. Amant, Lou
More Pre-Season Hype and Predictions:
USC (BCS No. 1) vs. Ohio State (BCS No. 2)
Virginia Tech (BCS) vs. Tennessee (BCS)
Florida (BCS) vs. Louisville (BCS)
Texas (BCS) vs. Iowa (BCS)
Michigan (Big Ten No. 2) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 2)
Miami (ACC No. 2) vs. Notre Dame (Big East No. 2)
Purdue (Big Ten No. 3) vs. Alabama (SEC)
Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC)
UTEP (C-USA champ) vs. Clemson (at-large)
Iowa State (Big 12) vs. Maryland (ACC)
Pittsburgh (Big East) vs. N.C. State (ACC)
Florida State (ACC No. 3) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Michigan State (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Arkansas (SEC)
Texas Tech (Big 12) vs. Georgia Tech (at-large)
Cal (Pac-10 No. 3) vs. Minnesota (Big Ten No. 5)
Arizona State (Pac-10 No. 2) vs. Texas A&M (Big 12 No. 3)
UCLA (Pac-10 No. 6) vs. Utah (MWC No. 2)
Penn State (Big Ten No. 4) vs. Nebraska (Big 12 No. 4)
Boise State (WAC) vs. Boston College (ACC)
Oregon (Pac-10 No. 4) vs. Rutgers (Big East)
Virginia (ACC) vs. Missouri (Big 12 No. 7)
Bowling Green (MAC No. 1 or 2) vs. West Virginia (at-large)
Memphis (C-USA No. 3) vs. Fresno State (WAC)
Southern Miss (C-USA No. 4) vs. Kansas State (Big 12 No. 8)
BYU (MWC) vs. Nevada (at-large)
Washington State (Pac-10 No. 5) vs. Wyoming (MWC No. 1)
UAB (C-USA No. 2) vs. Toledo (MAC)
North Texas (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Tulane (C-USA)
Check-Back in December.....
Jan. 4Pasadena, Calif.BCS #1 vs. BCS #2
Comment: Southern California and Iowa face off in the Rose Bowl as the top two ranked teams in the BCS.
Jan. 3Miami, Fla.BCS vs. BCS
Comment: Louisville claims the Big East title and Virginia Tech wins the ACC, landing both teams in the Orange Bowl.
Jan. 2New Orleans, La.BCS vs. BCS
Comment: Tennessee lands in the Sugar Bowl as the SEC champ. Ohio State earns a trip to New Orlenas as an at-large pick.
Jan. 2Tempe, Ariz.BCS vs. BCS
Comment: Florida heads to the Fiesta Bowl as the second at-large team, while Texas earns a spot by claiming the Big 12 title.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Leinart on USC
Ali would love this. Southern California has the title, the talent and the bravado. Who the hell cares what anyone else thinks?
I'm a baaaad man.
"Really, we're not concerned with any other team," says quarterback Matt Leinart. "Our focus, our goal, is to do it again."
HOT and NOT for 2005!
|Visors. Stevie Boy's is back where he belongs, on a college sideline.||Quarterbacks. College football lost a banner class of QBs. Among them: Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Jason White, Stefan LeFors, David Greene, Matt Jones, Kyle Orton and Timmy Chang. That's a lot of missing yards, touchdowns and leadership.|
|Seats. The quick coaching hooks at Florida, Notre Dame, Washington and Mississippi last year proved that winning has never been a more urgent priority. This year's endangered list includes (but is not limited to) Rich Brooks at Kentucky, Houston Nutt at Arkansas, Mike Shula at Alabama, one-third of the Big 12 and almost half of the ACC (led by perennial hot seater Tommy Bowden at Clemson).||Legends. After owning the ACC since '92, Bobby Bowden's Florida State team looks like the league's third-best in '05 -- if everything goes well. If not, we could be talking mid-pack. Joe Paterno has seven home games at Penn State -- and he'll need all of them to eke out his first winning season since 2002. Steve Spurrier inherits just nine returning starters and a sketchy team attitude at South Carolina.|
|USC. Any questions? Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush. Pete Carroll. Song girls in sweaters. Traveler galloping the sidelines. SoCal sun and fun. Currently the coolest football school on the planet.||Oklahoma. Nice to have Adrian Peterson back, but there's uncertainty at quarterback and in the swagger department. Are the Trojans' cleat marks removed from the Sooners' psyches yet?|
|The spread offense. Urban Meyer plugged Alex Smith into the spread at Utah and saw him become the No. 1 NFL draft pick. The guy Meyer left in charge two stops ago, Bowling Green's Gregg Brandon, saw his QB, Omar Jacobs, throw for 4,000 yards and 41 TDs last year in the same offense. Defensive coordinators, you are hereby challenged to find the antidote to the spread.||Soft corner coverage. More and more defensive coordinators want cornerbacks who can press receivers off the line of scrimmage, challenging the easy releases and easy short-yardage completions. The trick is finding corners big enough to be physical with wideouts and fast enough not to be burned deep.|
|The ACC. The erstwhile basketball league adds a quality 12th team (Boston College) and a championship game to shoulder up alongside the SEC and Big 12 in the Supersized Conference Category.||Conference USA. It has enough members to hold a championship game, too -- if anybody cared. The league loses marquee member Louisville and two other solid programs in South Florida and Cincinnati. The only news coming out of C-USA in '05 could be Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams' Heisman Trophy bid.|
|Instant replay. All the major conferences will dabble in it, after the Big Ten led the way.||Using TiVo for instant replay. The Big Ten's average replays dawdled along at about 2 minutes per stoppage of play according to ACC officials, in part because its on-the-cheap equipment was slow. Most leagues are using a faster computer technology this year.|
|The SEC West. Two years ago LSU rode in from outside the preseason top 10 to win half the national championship. Last year Auburn rode in from outside the preseason top 10 to go 13-0 and finish a controversial second. With some development at quarterback, either could be back in the title mix again this year -- and keep an eye on Alabama, too.||The Big 12 North. Nobody in the division finished with a winning league record last year, and nobody sees a sure breakthrough team this year, either. But don't sleep on Iowa State, which avoids playing both Oklahoma and Texas.|
|Orange. Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Virginia Tech all have it in their color schemes, and all look like top 10 teams.||Green. Matt Leinart turned down a pile of it to play one more season of college ball.|
|Sophomores ready to break out. Cal running back Marshawn Lynch averaged 8.8 yards per carry backing up J.J. Arrington. Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm (right) completed 67 percent of his throws backing up Stefan LeFors. Miami tight end Greg Olson averaged 17 yards per catch backing up Kevin Everett. USC outside linebacker Keith Rivers had 2.5 sacks backing up Matt Grootegoed.||Senior QBs trying to prove themselves. Georgia's D.J. Shockley has seemingly been waiting forever for his shot. Ole Miss' Micheal Spurlock couldn't handle his opportunity to replace Eli Manning, but gets a second chance under Ed Orgeron. Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst went from celebrated sophomore to castigated junior after a 7-TD, 17-pick season. BC's Quinton Porter is the key to a big ACC debut season for the Eagles. Colorado State's Justin Holland was a higher-rated recruit than Alex Smith, but he's been inconsistent and injured. Colorado's Joel Klatt can look unstoppable or terrible, sometimes in the same game. North Carolina's Matt Baker hasn't played much in three years, but coach John Bunting is high on him.|
|Louisville. One of the aspiring BCS Busters from last year is now a BCS Insider. The high-octane Cardinals could go undefeated in their first season as a Big East member and lobby for the Rose Bowl.||Utah. The school that actually did bust the BCS paid the price for its success, losing its coach (Meyer), quarterback (Smith) and offensive coordinator (Mike Sanford, now the head coach at UNLV). Back to reality for the Utes.|
|Two-way players. Boston College's converted cornerback Will Blackmon will start at WR and play nickel back, in addition to returning kicks. BC linebacker Brian Toal will see time as a short-yardage fullback. Miami's Devin Hester will play DB and perhaps some WR, in addition to being the scariest kick returner this side of Ohio State's Ted Ginn.||Jim Tressel's conservative use of Ginn last year as a true freshman. Speaking of Ginn: he'll start at WR and run back kicks, and could also play some DB. In other words, he'll get the ball much more often this year -- or Tressel will have to fight his way out of Ohio Stadium.|
|The WAC at the top. Boise State and Fresno State both look like Top 25 teams, and both have shock-the-world opportunities: Boise at Georgia Sept. 3 and Fresno at USC Nov. 19.||The WAC at the bottom. Losing UTEP to C-USA hurt, and new additions Idaho and Utah State won't add much.|
|ACC defensive linemen. Mathias Kiwanuka at Boston College. Darryl Tapp at Virginia Tech. Eric Henderson at Georgia Tech. Mario Williams and Manny Lawson at NC State. Baraka Atkins and Orien Harris at Miami. No league will be sending more front-four heat at QBs.||SEC quarterbacks. The league's coaches voted a quarterback who last year threw for less than 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns (Jay Cutler of 2-9 Vanderbilt) as its preseason first-team all-conference choice. Seems like a few SEC coaches must think Florida's Chris Leak (3,197 yards and 29 TDs last year) is overrated.|
|The passing game at Notre Dame and the running game at Georgia. Charlie Weis is polishing up Brady Quinn with a sharp new attack. The Bulldogs return all five OL starters, three talented RBs and install a running threat at QB.||The passing game at West Virginia and the running game at Oregon State. The Mountaineers lost QB Rasheed Marshall and his backup, and their top four pass catchers. The Beavers averaged just 2.2 yards per carry last year and lose everyone who ran for more than 20 yards in 2004 -- but they like Florida transfer Jimtavis Walker at RB.|
|Big 12 September scheduling. In an era in which nobody wants to go play anybody on the road, check out these early nonconference trips: Texas A&M at Clemson, Sept. 3; Texas at Ohio State, Sept. 10; Oklahoma at UCLA, Sept. 17; Colorado at Miami, Sept. 24.||Texas Tech's September schedule. The Red Raiders apparently didn't get the league's memo. Their nonconference slate consists of home games against Florida International, Sam Houston State and Indiana State. Yes, the Big 12 South is murder, but for a school riding a streak of 12 straight non-losing seasons, that's pathetic.|
|Black quarterbacks. It might only still be an issue to Rush Limbaugh, but Phil Steele's preview magazine rates African-Americans as five of the nation's top six QBs: Vince Young of Texas; Reggie McNeal of Texas A&M; Chris Leak of Florida; Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green (above); and Brad Smith of Missouri.||Black coaches. Three quit or were fired last season, and only three will coach this season: Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom, Washington's Tyrone Willingham (above) and UCLA's Karl Dorrell.|
|Familiar old faces in obscure new places. Say hello again to Frank Solich (Ohio), Dick Tomey (San Jose State) and Hal Mumme (New Mexico State).||George O'Leary. The familiar old face went 0-11 last year in his obscure new place, Central Florida. Year 2 greets him with an upgrade to a tougher conference (C-USA from the MAC) and seven road games, including the opening act of the Spurrier Era in South Carolina Sept. 1. Thanks for nothing.|
|Media pullouts from the BCS. AP doesn't want its poll to be an accomplice to mayhem, and ESPN doesn't want its name on a coaches' poll that clings to secrecy until the final pre-bowl ballot.||The BCS. Can't wait to see how the annually tweaked formula blows up this year, and who the aggrieved parties will be. Meanwhile, the Harris Poll -- motto: ???? -- should be interesting.|
|Famous family names in key spots. Skip Holtz, son of Lou, takes over as coach at East Carolina. Marcus Vick, brother of Michael, follows in Mike's very fast footsteps as starting QB at Virginia Tech after being suspended last year.||Nick Saban sideline shots. The guy the cameras seemed to love is off making grown men cry in the NFL now.|
ESPN POWER 16 - WEEK 1
|ESPN.com's Power 16 Week 1|
|1||USC (15)||13-0||268||Doubt USC's dominance? Cue up the first half of that 55-19 smashing of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, then get back to us.|
|2||Texas (1)||11-1||228||QB Vince Young and RB Selvin Young will rack up yardage. But to win the Big 12 and beyond, the 'Horns need help from the passing game.|
|3||Michigan (1)||9-3||200||Michigan is again loaded at wideout with Steve Breaston and Jason Avant. But the best chance to stop this team is to shut down running back Mike Hart.|
|4||Virginia Tech||10-3||193||The wait is over. The Marcus Vick Era has begun. Vick still has to win over Hokie Nation, however.|
|5||Ohio State||8-4||190||Expect the Buckeyes to lean heavily on true freshman Maurice Wells, who rushed for 5,955 yards and 55 TDs in his high school career.|
|6||Tennessee||10-3||166||For a team with BCS aspirations, ranking 98th in kickoff returns and 104th on punt returns is laughable. But CB "Inky" Johnson may stave off further embarrassment.|
|7||Miami||9-3||162||You'll hear this a time or two (or more) this year. Don't kick it to Devin Hester, especially on punt returns.|
|8||Florida||7-5||151||Chris Leak has shown he's a great passer. Give him time in the pocket, and he'll pick you apart with those receivers.|
|9||LSU||9-3||149||LSU is going to have to throw the ball to have success. Right now, that means opposing secondaries have the advantage.|
|10||Oklahoma||12-1||146||If they're going to make another BCS run, you'd figure settling of a QB would be a top priority. Then again, how hard is it to turn and hand off to Adrian Peterson?|
|11||Iowa||10-2||120||A young defensive line could be a key for Iowa. All four starters from the line are gone, and their replacements had zero sacks and nine tackles last year.|
|12||Louisville||11-1||101||Quarterback Brian Brohm's potential is why Louisville has been tapped to top the Big East, despite losing six players to the NFL draft.|
|13||Purdue||7-5||38||Purdue's five losses last year were by a total of 14 points. That needs to change this season.|
|14||Georgia||10-2||37||Georgia's wideouts are unproven, which means the heat will be on quarterback D.J. Shockley.|
|15||Florida State||9-3||35||If he were at any other school, senior RB Leon Washington would be a Heisman candidate. Instead, he'll split carries with Lorenzo Booker.|
|16||Texas A&M||7-5||27||Coach Dennis Franchione knows what he wants: a multiple offense, an aggressive defense and toughness on both sides. He's still working on the last two.|
|Others receiving votes: Auburn, Cal, Texas Tech, Boise State, Boston College, Arizona State, NC State, Bowling Green, Virginia, Alabama, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, Wyoming.|
YOUR 2005 AP Pre-Season Top 25!
|The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2004 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and final ranking:|
|1.||Southern Cal (60)||13-0||1,619||1|
Friday, August 19, 2005
Zook in the pool at Rantoul!
The team enjoys a cool break in the pool at the Rantoul Water Park after concluding 2 weeks of good practice.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Main-man EB Halsey takes a cold-one after practice at camp Rantoul. He is going to carry the load with Thomas and Davis this year in the Illini back-field.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
ESPN / ABC College Football Schedule
|ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN Classic 2005 College Football Schedule|
|DATE||GAME MATCHUP||TIME (ET)||NETWORK|
|Thu., Aug. 25||Benedict at Morehouse||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Sept. 1||Vanderbilt at Wake Forest||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Sept. 1||Oregon at Houston||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Sept. 1||Central Florida at South Carolina||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Sept. 1||Minnesota at Tulsa||10:15 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Fri, Sept. 2||Indiana at Central Michigan||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Sept. 2||Arizona at Utah||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Bowling Green at Wisconsin||Noon||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Rutgers at Illinois||Noon||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Ohio at Northwestern||Noon||ESPNU|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State||Noon||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||TCU at Oklahoma||Noon||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Alabama State vs. South Carolina State||3:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 3||South Florida at Penn State||3:30 p.m.||ESPNU*|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Northern Illinois at Michigan||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Boston College at BYU||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Washington vs. Air Force||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Boise State at Georgia||5:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 3||USC at Hawaii||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Delaware St. at Florida A&M||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Texas A&M at Clemson||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Notre Dame at Pittsburgh||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 3||Georgia Tech at Auburn||8:45 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 3||UCLA at San Diego State||10:15 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 3||UTEP at New Mexico State||10:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sun., Sept. 4||West Virginia at Syracuse||1:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sun., Sept. 4||Louisville at Kentucky||3:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sun., Sept. 4||Tulane at Southern Miss||4 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sun., Sept. 4||Virginia Tech at NC State||7:15 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Mon., Sept. 5||UNLV at New Mexico||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Mississippi at Memphis||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Mon., Sept. 5||Miami at Florida State||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Thu., Sept. 8||Oklahoma State at Florida Atlantic||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Sept. 8||Alcorn State at Southeastern Louisiana||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Sept. 9||Pittsburgh at Ohio||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Fri, Sept. 9||Washington State at Nevada||10 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Kansas State at Marshall||10:30 a.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Clemson at Maryland||Noon||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Temple at Wisconsin||Noon||ESPNU*|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Notre Dame at Michigan||Noon||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Army at Boston College||12:30 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Colorado State at Minnesota||2 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Hawaii at Michigan State||3:30 p.m.||ESPNU*|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Iowa at Iowa State||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 10||North Carolina at Georgia Tech||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 10||California at Washington||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Northern Illinois at Northwestern||4 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Sat., Sept. 10||South Carolina at Georgia||5:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 10||The Citadel at Florida State||6:45 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Southern Miss at Alabama||7:45 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Texas at Ohio State||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Arizona State at LSU||8:45 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 10||Weber State at Fresno State||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Sept. 15||Utah at TCU||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Sept. 15||Hampton at North Carolina A&T||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Sept. 16||Houston at UTEP||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Oregon State at Louisville||Noon||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Virginia at Syracuse||Noon||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Eastern Michigan at Michigan||Noon||ESPNU*|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Baylor at Army||3 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Ohio at Virginia Tech||3:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sat., Sept. 17||San Diego State at Ohio State||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Pittsburgh at Nebraska||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Oklahoma at UCLA||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Kentucky at Indiana||6:45 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Connecticut at Georgia Tech||6:45 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sat., Sept. 17||Wisconsin at North Carolina||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Sept. 17||UNLV at Nevada||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Wed., Sept. 21||Bowling Green at Boise State||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Sept. 22||Air Force at Utah||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Sept. 22||Louisiana-Monroe at Florida Atlantic||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Sept. 23||Iowa State at Army||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Fri, Sept. 23||Cal at New Mexico State||10 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Notre Dame at Washington||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 24||USC at Oregon||4 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Michigan at Wisconsin||7 or 7:45 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPN|
|Sat., Sept. 24||Hawaii at Idaho||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sun., Sept. 25||Miles vs. Stillman||3 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Tue., Sept. 27||Toledo at Fresno State||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Wed., Sept. 28||Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio)||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Sept. 29||Air Force at Colorado State||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Sept. 29||Southeast Missouri State at Samford||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Sept. 30||Pittsburgh at Rutgers||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Oct. 1||Nevada at San Jose State||4 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 1||Notre Dame at Purdue||7 or 7:45 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPN|
|Sat., Oct. 1||BYU at San Diego State||10 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Tue., Oct. 4||Troy at North Texas||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Wed., Oct. 5||Miami (Ohio) at Northern Illinois||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Oct. 6||NC State at Georgia Tech||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Oct. 6||South Carolina State at Norfolk State||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Oct. 7||Syracuse at UConn||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Minnesota at Michigan||Noon||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Oklahoma vs. Texas (Cotton Bowl)||Noon||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Iowa at Purdue||4:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Ohio State at Penn State||7 or 7:45 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPN|
|Sat., Oct. 8||Fresno State at New Mexico State||10 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Oct. 13||Clemson at NC State||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Oct. 13||Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Oct. 14||UTEP at Tulane||8 p.m.||TBD|
|Thu., Oct. 20||Virginia Tech at Maryland||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Oct. 20||Florida International at Troy||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Oct. 21||Southern Miss at UAB||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Oct. 22||Purdue at Wisconsin||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 22||Penn State at Illinois||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Oct. 27||Boston College at Virginia Tech||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, Oct. 28||Colorado State at New Mexico||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Oct. 29||Washington State at USC||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 29||Fresno State at Hawaii||4 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Oct. 29||Michigan at Northwestern||7 or 7:45 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPN|
|Tue., Nov. 1||UAB at Memphis||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Wed., Nov. 2||Connecticut at West Virginia||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Nov. 3||Pittsburgh at Louisville||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Nov. 3||Southern at Texas Southern||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Nov. 4||Toledo at Ohio||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat, Nov. 5||Army at Air Force||3:30 p.m.||ESPN Classic|
|Tue., Nov. 8||Southern Miss at Marshall||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Wed., Nov. 9||West Virginia at Cincinnati||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Nov. 10||Morgan State at South Carolina State||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Nov. 10||Boise State at Fresno State||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, Nov. 11||Rutgers at Louisville||8 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Nov. 12||Arizona State vs. UCLA||4 p.m.||ABC|
|Tue., Nov. 15||Bowling Green at Miami (Ohio)||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Tue., Nov. 15||Ohio at Akron||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Wed., Nov. 16||Northern Illinois at Toledo||7:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Nov. 17||Miami at Wake Forest||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thu., Nov. 17||Stephen F. Austin at Northwestern State||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Fri, Nov. 18||Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Texas Southern||8 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Sat., Nov. 19||California at Stanford||4 p.m.||ABC|
|Mon., Nov. 21||Miami (Ohio) at Ohio U.||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Tue., Nov. 22||Toledo at Bowling Green||7 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Wed., Nov. 23||Western Michigan at Northern Illinois||1:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Nov. 24||Kent State at Akron||10 a.m.||ESPNU or ESPN2|
|Thu., Nov. 24||Tuskegee at Alabama State||2 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thu., Nov. 24||Pittsburgh at West Virginia||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, Nov. 25||Texas at Texas A&M||Noon||ABC|
|Fri, Nov. 25||Nebraska at Colorado||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Fri, Nov. 25||Wisconsin at Hawaii||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thu., Dec. 1||2005 MAC Championship||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fri, Dec. 2||Louisiana Tech at Fresno State||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Sat., Dec. 3||2005 Big 12 Championship||1 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Dec. 3||UCLA at USC||4:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Dec. 3||2005 ACC Championship||8 p.m.||ABC|
|Sat., Dec. 3||2005 C-USA Championship||TBD||ESPN|
|Sat., Dec. 3||Louisville at UConn||TBD||ESPN|
Pur - Who?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Ranking the Conferences Top to Bottom!
Ivan goes first then you'll see Pat Forde's:
1. Big Ten. Not often do you have four teams from the same league mentioned as top-five teams. Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue are all getting pub. 1. Big Ten. Three national title contenders in Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, plus possibly a fourth in Purdue, thanks to the scheduling gods. Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin aren't too bad, either.
2. SEC. Six teams in the first coaches' Top 25, and Steve Spurrier to boot. Power ebbs and flows in most leagues -- not this one. 2. SEC. Should have six very good teams: Florida, Tennessee and Georgia in the East; LSU, Auburn and Alabama in the West. The question is whether anyone in that group is a Rose Bowl team. And returning Steve Spurrier to the mix is never a bad thing.
3. ACC. It will be interesting to see how the teams adjust to divisional play. Virginia Tech-Miami is destined to become an even greater rivalry. 3. Big 12. The only thing seriously hurting this league is the dramatic imbalance in divisions. The South is loaded: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are all Top 25 caliber. The North needs someone -- anyone -- to step forward as a viable champion.
4. Big 12. Three top teams in the South, and maybe, in Texas Tech, a fourth. The North? Well, there are three top teams in the South, and maybe, in ... 4. ACC. Breathing down the Big 12's thick neck. Coastal Division mates Miami and Virginia Tech look like top-10 teams. FSU is the big question mark after a tough summer, and could be pushed by BC in the Atlantic Division.
5. Pac-10. On the upswing. Look for improvement from Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA. USC will have more tough conference games than it's had since Pete Carroll's first season (2001). 5. Pac-10. Unfair to call it USC and nine pencil necks -- but tempting. If Cal sustains last year's success after major turnover, or Oregon rebounds, or Arizona State makes a smooth transition at QB, or UCLA finally lives up to expectations, this league will have some second-tier quality. If not, the Trojans' toughest opponents might be Fresno State and Notre Dame.
6. Big East. Louisville brings credibility and a top-10 presence. Dave Wannstedt at Pitt and Greg Robinson at Syracuse can help restore the league's stature, too. 6. Big East. Adding Louisville gives the beleaguered Big East a top-15 team and dark horse national title contender. The rest of the league is in flux: new coaches at Pitt and Syracuse, new quarterbacks at West Virginia and UConn, new blood from South Florida and Cincinnati. Same old paralysis at Rutgers.
7. MAC. Quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski of Toledo, Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green and Josh Betts of Miami make this league the best of the rest. 7. Mountain West. Talk about a league in transition. Utah gave the MWC a year to remember -- then virtually disbanded. With three new head coaches and a new member (TCU), it's tough to say who rises to the top. But the top and bottom shouldn't be too far apart this year, which will make things interesting.
8. Conference USA. UAB, Memphis, Southern Miss and UTEP provide a solid foundation in the new two-division format. Getting Marshall up to speed quickly will help. 8. WAC. There's a huge disparity between the top and bottom here. Fresno State and Boise State are Top 25 teams, while San Jose State, Idaho and Utah State could be outside the top 100. But it's better to have a couple of teams of national consequence than none at all.
9. Mountain West. The afterglow of Utah's run last season helps. So do the rise of Wyoming and the ongoing renovations of BYU and UNLV. 9. MAC. Similar to the WAC. Bowling Green, Toledo and Miami look very strong at the top, but it's a long way down the line to the lower levels of this 12-team league. Losing Marshall and Central Florida helps geographic continuity.
10. WAC. After Boise State and Fresno State, the league drops off. Keep an eye on Dick Tomey at San Jose State. All he did at Hawaii and Arizona is win. 10. Conference USA. Probably better at the middle and bottom than the WAC or MAC -- but why get caught up in the middle and bottom of a league? The top is what matters, and C-USA is pretty soft there. A league with no teams in the top 50 doesn't command much attention.
11. Sun Belt. Two best teams, North Texas and Middle Tennessee State, play at LSU and at Alabama, respectively, in paycheck games Sept. 3. That will be a good barometer. 11. Sun Belt. The plucky little league has made two improvements: Members have stopped scheduling eight road games, and the Belt has closed down its Rocky Mountain Bureau, settling more sensibly into the Southeast. Still waiting for someone to dethrone North Texas.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Pre-Season Illini Hype - How Far Will We Go?
And then there was the ruling this week by the NCAA on hostile and abusive names. Long - live the NCAA and their rules committees. Even the native-americans are pissed off at this decision. They claim it's another case of the white-man telling the red-man what to do and what to think. At least Florida State has it right by taking the NCAA to court. Come - on! Even Governor Jeb Bush (George's little brother) had something to say about this one, "I think it's offensive to native Americans ... the Seminole Indian tribe who support the traditions of FSU," Bush said on his way into a Cabinet meeting. "I think they insult those people by telling them, 'No, no, you're not smart enough to understand this. You should be feeling really horrible about this.' It's ridiculous".
That put aside for now (sure to come back here later), ILLINOIS can expect some good things in 2005. We will win more than 3 games this year. Book - it!
Zook's offensive philosophy is to spread things out quite a bit. We have two of the best running backs in the BIG 10 in Thomas and Halsey. Getting them as many touches as possible is going to be key especially early in the season.
Our defensive secondary will also have to step - up and provide early season leaderhip on that side of the ball. We return a wealth of talent at all 4 positions. Not to mention three of the first four games are at Memorial Stadium. We also don't play Michigan or Minnesota this year and that should help some too.
The first real big test is against Michigan State at home in late September. Zook has the Illini Nation talking the 'B' word for the first time in a few years - yes BOWL GAME! Can you say 6 wins? I can....but going 6 and 5 this year is going to be tough. Nonetheless, count on at least one major upset by this young and motivated bunch. Oskee - WA WA! Hail to the Chief!