Monday, August 20, 2012

Catching up will start at Wisconsin next year

Wisconsin picks a starter: It's Danny O'Brien. Level of surprise on a scale of 1 to 10: -7. There really were no other options, which is why Danny O'Brien ended up at Wisconsin in the first place. I'm pretty sure there will come a point in the future when Wisconsin will have to play a quarterback without significant starting experience. Probably. And that guy won't get to hand off to Montee Ball a bajillion times a game. So ha.

ASU picks a starter (kind of): And by "picks a starter (kind of)" I mean "picks a very nominal and possibly temporary starter":
Arizona State coach Todd Graham ended the speculation at quarterback Monday by by naming redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly the starter for the season opener on Aug. 30.

As expected, Graham also indicated that athletic redshirt freshman Michael Eubank will play situationally.
I'm gonna be honest: I thought it'd be Mike Bercovici based on what I saw last year. Kelly is probably the most accurate of the three but isn't particularly decisive and doesn't have much of an arm, and Eubank looks/plays vaguely like Cam Newton but has a hilariously inconsistent arm and doesn't really seem ready to be doing anything other than making linebackers look like high schoolers. Bercovici probably wasn't much more "ready" but didn't lack for decisiveness or a rocket arm.

The things Kelly brings to the table: the aforementioned accuracy, decent mobility and a notable lack of turnovers (in camp), all of which will be damaging this year to a team that's probably 50/50 to get to a bowl game. ASU's offense won't be sexy but wasn't going to be anyway, although Eubank would make things pretty sexy if he actually becomes Cam Newton. That'd be cool. It's also unlikely.

Anyway, Kelly's hold on the starting job will be tenuous; it wouldn't be at all surprising if he's relatively unproductive and (a) Bercovici becomes the de facto starter or (b) Eubank is productive to make giving him the starting job and saying "eh, why not?" a decent option.

Relevant quotes from Todd Graham:
“This is just the beginning, and it will be a process. We’ll see where we end up. ...

“You have to put your faith in someone and go,” Graham said.

Rutgers picks a starter: It's Gary Nova.
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova has won the starting quarterback job, coach Kyle Flood announced Monday.

Nova beat out veteran Chas Dodd, who went into last season as the starter. Both played in 2011 and were involved in a tough competition for the starting job between spring and fall practice.
Nova and Chas Dodd were basically the same player last year: Nova was a 51.1 percent passer with 11 touchdowns and nine picks (mostly in the second half of the year) and Dodd was a 56.7 percent passer with 10 touchdowns and seven picks whose playing time varied based on performance. Nova was reportedly slightly better in camp, and with Kyle Flood saying he didn't want to have two guys splitting snaps again, he obviously had to pick one. What's interesting is that Dodd threw 39 passes (with four touchdowns) and Nova threw 13 (with three touchdowns) in a scrimmage over the weekend; the volume apparently didn't mean much.

FWIW, Nova's only a sophomore and thus might have had a slight building-for-the-future advantage over Dodd, who's now a junior.

A chunk out of the middle: Patrick Larimore is done with football:
UCLA middle linebacker Patrick Larimore will take a medical retirement because of multiple concussions, coach Jim Mora said after practice Monday during training camp at Cal State San Bernardino.

Larimore, a senior who was a team captain last season, suffered a concussion in April and sat out the latter portion of spring practice. He returned for the first two days of training camp, but had another concussion Aug. 6 and hasn't been back since.
Yeesh. Larimore was a two-year starter, UCLA's leading tackler last year and the defensive captain going into a camp in which Jim Mora and Lou Spanos were installing a 3-4. His loss will be damaging despite the existence of inside linebacker Eric Kendricks (a sophomore) and outside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (a junior), both returning starters. FYI, UCLA's defense wasn't good last year even with Larimore (96th nationally in rushing yards, 89th in total yards) but was supposed to return eight starters.

Thankfully, this news has not resulted in 700 columns about football and concussions and THINK OF THE CHILDREN and whatnot.

This could be problematic: Notre Dame corner Lo Wood is done for the year:
Notre Dame's already thin group of cornerbacks took a big hit Monday, as projected starter Lo Wood went down with what is likely season-ending Achilles injury, a source confirmed to
Ouch. Wood was a backup last year as a sophomore and a projected starter this year due to both Robert Blanton and Gary Gray shuffling off the eligibility coil. Without him, Notre Dame has two scholarship corners (!!!), which is utterly absurd. Bennett Jackson will be the starter at one spot; the other will be filled by either safety Janoris Slaughter or one of the various young DBs on the roster, none of whom will be ready since Wood and Jackson were taking all the first-team reps.

This tweet says it all:

Good luck against Oklahoma and USC. Srsly.

This is just getting ridiculous: I seriously don't understand how this keeps happening: Iowa freshman running back Barkley Hill blew out his knee in Saturday's scrimmage, making him the 6,733rd Iowa running back struck down by a horrifying injury or career-ending malfeasance in about the last five years. Details from the Cedar Rapids paper:
The true freshman from Cedar Falls suffered a injury to his left knee while crossing the goal line for an 8-yard touchdown during Saturday’s open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium. Hill, 6-0, 210 pounds, had crossed the goal line when fullback Jacob Reisen and cornerback Torrey Campbell banged into him. Hill’s knee buckled and he feel to the FieldTurf, where he stayed for several minutes.

He couldn’t put weight on the leg and was carted to the locker room.
The AIRBHG jokes aren't even jokes anymore; they're more like threats looming over whoever happens to be lining up behind quarterback with a lightning bolt aimed directly at his knee.

Anyway, Hill was one of three viable options at running back along with de facto starter Damon Bullock and freshman Greg Garmon, who has narrowly avoided disaster a couple times already since committing. There are now two viable options. Beware.

A possible problem for Bama: Alabama running back Eddie Lacy suffered an injury of debatable severity in Saturday's scrimmage. According to Nick Saban, said injury was a combination of a couple not-that-severe sprains:
Alabama starting running back Eddie Lacy sprained his ankle and a knee in Saturday's practice.

“Not a serious thing. Probably going to be day to day but probably be a little bit slow next week," coach Nick Saban told "I think in five to six days he’ll probably be ready to go."
According to a rumor floating around the abyss of, those not-that-severe sprains are actually DOOM:
i know a guy with lacy right now at the hospital its a torn ACL he wont be back this season sucks what a big lost to bama
I would significantly discount the credibility of anyone using the phrase "what a big lost" if this were a fanbase other than Alabama's. Plausibility: unknown.

Assuming Saban is telling the truth (which isn't necessarily a reasonable assumption), a hiatus of "five to six days" would still give Lacy sufficient time to be ready for Michigan. If it turns out to be more serious than that, redshirt freshman uber recruit Dee Hart and freshman uber recruit (because it's Alabama) T.J. Yeldon would presumably get most of the playing time in his absence. We'll see.

Speaking of running backs in Alabama: Auburn running back Jovon Robinson was ruled ineligible the other day in an even-less-surprising development than Danny O'Brien being named Wisconsin's starting quarterback.

Auburn freshman Jovon Robinson has been ruled ineligible to play in 2012.

Robinson has not practiced with the Tigers since Aug. 10, when a high school guidance counselor at Wooddale High School in Memphis admitted to changing one of the running back's grades. The counselor has since resigned, and on Friday Robinson's ineligibility was made official.

The NCAA has not implicated Auburn in any way for the grade alteration.
I already wrote about this in terms of what it means for Auburn, which is basically "not a lot," although it's worth pointing out that Robinson is one of only five scholarship backs on the roster and one of only two over about 180 pounds. He probably would've gotten a few carries just due to a lack of numbers/size but will be replaceable.

As for Robinson, it's pretty likely that he'll end up at a juco or prep school since he reportedly wouldn't have qualified without the grade change in question. SEC lol.

Farewell to another Texas guy: DeSean Hales was a big-time recruit four years ago who went to Texas and did basically nothing until this spring, when his light bulb supposedly came on and he put himself in the running for a starting spot opposite Marquise Goodwin. That's all irrelevant now:
With two weeks to go before the start of the season, Hales has decided to quit the team.

"Coming to this decision wasn't easy, but I've talked to my family and have decided that it would be best for me to focus on my degree and my career for the future," Hales said in a release.
Hales' career totals: 13 catches for 87 yards. At least he's staying in school to graduate.

As for Texas, his loss probably won't be of significance given the pure volume of relatively talented receivers who are still around, but this stat is amazing:
Hales is the 19th player to be removed, voluntarily or not, from the Texas roster in the past 15 months.
Wow. That's basically an entire recruiting class gone in one freakin' year. I mean ... yeah.

Alternate history: According to Ralph Russo, LSU would've been No. 1 in the AP poll if not for the Tyrann Mathieu-shenanigan-related revote:
After Mathieu-gate: USC received three more 1st place votes and 12 more points. Alabama was the big winner. Tide gained 8 1st and 18 points. 
Add it up and the numbers would look like this:

1. LSU (27)  1470
2. USC (22)  1433
3. Alabama (9) 1393

Interesting. What's really interesting is that Alabama had the most votes of any of the three in the coaches' poll, which came out before the Mathieu stuff. A discrepancy: There is one.

Revisionist history: Alabama's media guide is totally accurate:

That imaginary win allowed them to claim three additional national titles.

Because it's only a couple years away: The dudes with top hats and monocles and whatnot are about to start hashing out more playoff details. At the top of the agenda is splitting up the ginormous pile of money, which undoubtedly will go well and result in no objections whatsoever. After that: pickin' sites.

There's also this tidbit I keep seeing ...
The (committee) members will not only choose the playoff teams but also the participants in the other four major bowls.
... that's confusing because of the tie-ins. I suppose the playoff teams will almost always come from the major conferences, thus eliminating the relevance of the tie-ins with some/all of the Rose Bowl, Champions Bowl and Orange Bowl, but not all the games will be shuffle-able to create preferable matchups since at least one of them will still have a contractual agreement in place with a non-playoff conference champ. Idk.

Yes plz: This is from the same story and is the best idea EVER:
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit has his ideas. He believes committee members -- whether they're former coaches, ex-officials or administrators -- must be passionate about football and follow it nationally.

"A lot of these former coaches I talk I have such respect for, but they're dialed into their region," Herbstreit said. "They don't know anything about some of these other conferences."

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez threw out Herbstreit's name as a committee member.

"If I wasn't doing what I was doing, I'd love to be chairman of that group," Herbstreit said. "If there's a way to do it and it's not a conflict of interest, I would love to do it because I love the sport. I don't claim to necessarily have all the answers or that I'm right. But at least I watch and I'm educated. I'm not just watching a highlight. When you're engaged, it makes it very easy to have an educated opinion."
Seconded. I've been calling for some as-unbiased-as-possible national media members for a while now, and Herbstreit would be at or near the top of my list. Make it so.


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