Thursday, September 20, 2012

Catching up is the mac daddy of popsicles

That's the ticket: Wisconsin is yanking Danny O'Brien:
Redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave will get his first start for Wisconsin on Saturday against UTEP, Badgers coach Bret Bielema confirmed after practice Thursday.

Stave replaced Danny O'Brien in the second half of last week's win against Utah State, completing 2 of 6 passes for 15 yards in a 16-14 win. 
Oh ... OK. O'Brien has been decent this year -- a lot better than the O-line by default -- although he was as crappy as the rest of the offense against Utah State, going 5 for 10 for 63 yards. Still, Stave was even worse; his only real contribution (other than the two meaningless completions) was handing off to Montee Ball on every play of Wisconsin's one second-half touchdown drive, and that's his only game experience to date after coming in last year as a preferred walk-on. I'm not sure what O'Brien's done to warrant a benching in favor of a guy who's probably gonna be less effective in the short term; maybe there's an assumption that things can't get any worse? I dunno. Things could get worse if the running game continues to be nonexistent and the quarterback play goes from respectable to bad.

Man down for TCU: Waymon James is done for the year:
TCU's leading rusher, Waymon James, will miss the rest of the season for the 17th-ranked Horned Frogs because of a knee injury.

School spokesman Mark Cohen said Wednesday that James has a season-ending injury.
James and Matthew Tucker have been splitting carries almost 50-50 for a while now (Ed Wesley also got an equal number last year but has since graduated); James has 19 carries so far this year, Tucker has 17. James has averaged more per carry in both of the last two seasons but doesn't represent a significant talent upgrade from Tucker, who should be more than adequate as a full-time-ish guy. I say "full-time-ish" because TCU obviously prefers to rotate its backs to some extent. Freshman B.J. Catalon has 15 carries already and will probably pick up some of those that had been going to James, albeit not as many as Tucker (Gary Patterson has readily acknowledged as much). Either way, the running game shouldn't be downgraded significantly as long as Tucker is healthy; it's really the depth that's now an issue.

It's probably worth noting here that Casey Pachall leads the country in pass efficiency right now and was quietly very good last year. The question is whether he can keep doing that against the real teams TCU has to play this year, especially if the offense gets a little less balanced (due to the aforementioned injuries) and a little more reliant on Pachall going for 300 yards and three touchdowns to keep up with the West Virginias/Oklahomas/Oklahoma States/Baylors of the world.

A very informative presser: The video of Lane Kiffin's 29-second press briefing, which ended in hilarious fashion when somebody asked about in injury (OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN):

I bet the USC beat is amazing and not at all aggravating. FWIW, I don't think Kiffin should be required to answer injury-related questions but do think he should be required to not be such a #$(*#@! when reporters try to do their jobs.

BTW, this might be the best non-Onion headline ever:
USC coach Kiffin talks to media without incident

Nebraska dudes be gone or back: The bad news first:
Zaire Anderson, the junior newcomer who received his first start at linebacker this past Saturday, has torn the ACL in his right knee and is done for the season.

Bo Pelini told reporters that an MRI showed the tear.
Anderson was a juco transfer over the offseason; Nebraska expects him to get a medical redshirt and have two years of eligibility left going forward.

The good news:
Nebraska sophomore defensive tackle Chase Rome has returned to the team a week after leaving.

Huskers coach Bo Pelini said Thursday that Rome has been practicing with the team all week and will be available for Saturday's game against Idaho State.

Rome left the team following a Sept. 8 loss to UCLA, and Pelini said last week that the lineman's "personal goals and personal perception of where he should be on this football team doesn't match the team goals."
Rome was a nominal starter who will presumably be back in the D-line rotation right away. That's obviously helpful seeing as how depth was a definite issue there with Rome gone, although the front seven was pretty uninspiring even with him in there. I'm not sure whether his return and Anderson's loss are cumulatively any better than a net zero for the defense.

The not-good-but-not-unexpected news:
Former Nebraska offensive lineman Tyler Moore informed Florida head coach Will Muschamp Thursday of his intention to transfer to Florida, according to Brian Moore, Tyler's father.
Moore was a true freshman starter at left tackle last year but left school right before the start of the season and wasn't really expected back. FYI, Moore's from the Tampa area and reportedly wanted to be closer to home, which explains the Florida/Florida State interest. He'll take a redshirt this year and have three years of eligibility left starting in 2013, when he'll have a pretty good shot at taking over Florida's left tackle job.

Worst game ever? Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich went 4 for 22 with a touchdown and two picks Wednesday night against Kent State. That's really bad; the touchdown is the one thing that saves him from having arguably the worst stat line of any quarterback in modern history.

According to The Mathlete (who has ALL OF THE DATA), that you-don't-want-that-record record goes to Kansas quarterback Brian Luke, who put up the following line in a 19-3 loss to a not-that-great Oklahoma team in 2005: 11 for 30 for 86 yards with no touchdowns and three picks to go along with -40 rushing yards. Yeah.

MOAR TEAMS: The Big East wants them:
New Big East commissioner Mike Aresco confirmed Thursday that the conference wants to add a 14th member for football, and is planning to have a championship game after next season.

Aresco spoke with reporters Thursday night before Connecticut's football game with Massachusetts.

"We're looking at a 14th," he said. "I'm not talking about which ones. There are some obvious candidates, but we're not talking about raiding anyone and there are some independents that might potentially want to be a member."
Those "obvious candidates": (a) BYU and (b) Army and Air Force, with all three being a possibility if the Big East wants to be perfectly set up for a Mountain West-style split in about five years.

Whether any/all of those schools want in is another matter; according to Brett McMurphy, all three have already turned down the Big East within the last year. But that was before the Big East had a worthwhile TV deal, which will probably exist within the next 60 days (that's when ESPN's negotiating window closes). That's a significant variable in the financial equation that could/will justify some reconsideration and probably motivate at least one of the aforementioned schools to sign up to be part of the Big East's West (or whatever) Division.

Of course there are tweaks: The playoff-type thing has existed for three months and therefore must be modified so as to avoid staleness and whatnot:
Conference commissioners are considering the possibility of adding another game to be part of the semifinal rotation for the new college football playoff.

The postseason plan approved by university presidents in June called for the national semifinals to rotate among six bowl sites. ...  The plan might be tweaked to give teams that don't make the playoff more chances to play in high revenue games.
Upshot: There might be five non-playoff BCS games rather than four so as to increase access for the schools/conferences that are legally obligated to complain about a lack of access. Whatever; nobody's really gonna care about those four or five games anyway.

He's only like $24 million short: This is impressive, even for John L. Smith:
Arkansas coach John L. Smith is trying to wipe away $25.7 million in debt in bankruptcy court and hang onto $1.2 million in retirement accounts and some personal property.

Smith was coaching Louisville when he began investing in real estate, which he has said was profitable until land values took a nosedive. Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Sept. 6, and court papers filed Wednesday detail the depth of his financial losses.

Smith, 63, listed just $300 in cash on hand and $500 in his checking account in a court filing Wednesday, according to USA Today.
That $850,000 salary just doesn't go as far as it used to.

Speaking of Arkansas: Word on the interwebs is that the guys at Arkansas who hire/fire coaches there are intrigued by Butch Davis and would like to subscribe to his newsletter:
According to sources, Davis, the former Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end from Springdale, has had plenty of support from prominent boosters and trustees as Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long surveys the land for a new head coach.
As noted, Davis is an Arkansas alum. He also escaped the UNC cratering without any NCAA penalties since there was no documentation of his involvement in the agent/tutoring shenanigans, making him a plausible candidate for the various jobs that come open in December, one of which will be at Arkansas.

FWIW, I don't think the North Carolina stuff is gonna be much of a hindrance for him; the SEC exists. Being almost 62 by the time next season rolls around might be more of an issue. And as for Arkansas, the list of better-than-Davis candidates will be way shorter than the list of definitely-not-better-than-Davis ones that will be topped (bottomed?) by John L. Smith.

Better juice boxes, too: I ... uhh ... I dunno:
(Rich Rodriguez) gets animated as he explains one of the first things he did upon arrival, another important part of Arizona's football culture that needed changing:

“I don’t want to give out average Popsicles,” he said. “We give out them bomb Popsicles. You know, the ones as a kid you love to have?”

He goes on to describe the familiar red, white and blue rocket-shaped treats, provided to players after practices, and adds:

“These things are the mac daddy of Popsicles,” Rodriguez continued. “We’re giving out BCS-level, playoff-bound rocket Popsicles. And if they come out with a better one, we’re going to get a better Popsicle."
Rich Rodriguez: master motivator.

How did I miss this: Wisconsin-Whitewater lost Saturday. This is newsworthy because Wisconsin-Whitewater had won 46 straight games en route to three straight D-III titles. This was the fourth-and-19 play that allowed Buffalo State to keep its final drive alive and score the winning touchdown (the only touchdown of the 7-6 game) a couple plays later with about 30 seconds left:

WOW. That's a hook-and-double-lateral, with the second lateral being the difference between "game over" and "oh hai 20 more yards." Well played, Buffalo State coaching staff.

LOL media: There is an AP story that exists about Texas Tech's "turnaround" on defense, which seems pretty remarkable on a very superficial level: According to the raw stats, Tech is second nationally at 120 yards allowed per game and eighth nationally at 10 points allowed per game. TUBERVILLE LOVEFEST SUCK IT LEACH.

The problem: Texas Tech has thus far played Northwestern State (an FCS team), Texas State (a provisional FBS team) and New Mexico (just a bad team). Allowing 10 points a game to that assortment of awfulness means nothing. Evidence: Last year's version of Texas Tech, which finished 114th in yards allowed and 117th in points allowed, gave up an average of 11.5 points (albeit on 334 yards) in its first two games against ... umm ... Texas State and New Mexico.

More awesome stats: Geno Smith has as many touchdowns as incompletions (nine of each). I bet that ridiculousness doesn't last as long as RGIII's did last year, though; he had more touchdowns than incompletions until the fourth quarter of Week 4, when Baylor lost to Kansas State.

Even more awesome stats: Via Matt Hinton's Twitter feed: "Through three weeks, Texas is averaging 49 points on 514 yards per game and neither number ranks in the top half of the Big 12." Ummm ...

The most Tennessee thing ever: Srsly:

I know.


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