August 31, 2006

Very low Over/unders

I don't have the empirical data, but a quick perusal of the opening college football betting lines surprised me that the totals were set so low.

I know that the new rules in place for 2006 are designed to make games shorter, but 41 for Florida State at Miami? 44.5 for Memphis at Mississippi?

Look at the other extreme where neither Northwestern nor USC have their game total in the 60's - Trojans and Razorbacks set at 59, as are Northwestern at Miami (OH).

Folks, there may be some booty made this weekend by not falling for the hype surrounding the rules changes.

What games get your attention?

August 23, 2006

Calvin Johnson doesn't lack for confidence

Nor should he. The freakish Georgia Tech Yellowjackets wide receiver was profiled in the Sporting News Perfect Player series this week and gave a window into his ego:

TSN: What kind of cornerbacks give you the most trouble?
CJ: Mmmm, I haven't had too much of a problem with any of them.
And no, they didn't ask what kind of numbers that he would put up with any quarterback not named Reggie Ball.

This one sent me to YouTube for the clip - thank God for free video...

TSN: What's your most memorable play at Tech?
CJ: N.C. State, freshman year, I caught a ball one-handed, behind my back. I was going over the middle, and the ball was behind me. I just reacted. Was I surprised I came down with it? Probably so.

Love that guy...

August 21, 2006

Dirk Koetter: "See, what I meant was..."

If you hadn't heard, the Arizona Head Coach Dirk Koetter named senior QB Sam Keller the starter on Friday evening after an off-season long battle with soph Rudy Carpenter.

That all changed Sunday night.

The Arizona Republic reports
that Keller now considers transferring after Carpenter was given the nod as starter. There are now six pages of fan commentary, but nothing of substance.

Devils Digest takes it a bit deeper with Carpenter himself.

You can read the fantasy college football perspective at Fantasy College Blitz.

Stay tuned - this just got a little weird.

August 17, 2006

Speaking of Katie Hnida...

I thought I was so fresh remembering Hnida in yesterday's post about female football players.

Looks like she is ready to hit the PR circuit to promote her memoirs...Gary Barnett is furiously trying to contact his attorneys as we speak.

ESPN reports that Hnida wrote a book of her memoirs, published by a division of Simon and Schuster. You may remember her as the kicker who left C0lorado U after detailing sexual abuse, then walked on at New Mexico to score the first points ever for a female in major college football.

The article highlights that Hnida took some time to heal emotionally from all the events at CU, so it is great to see her receiving awards from NOW as she speaks around the country urging women to come public after sexual abuse.

August 16, 2006

Oklahoma State strikes gold

There is money, and then there is money.

Oil baron Boone Pickens dropped a nice donation in the Stillwater, OK basket this summer - $165 million earmarked specifically to athletics according to USA Today today.

For perspective, I thought of my place of worship, and wonder how many people put $165 in the basket each week - probably not many.

This gift from Pickens immediately puts OSU near the top of Big 12 food chain.

I highly recommend this article to get a feel for the immense amount of cash that is gifted to both small and large colleges around the country. Many ancillary ethical and appropriateness questions are raised, and there is a very thought-provoking sidebar interview with NCAA Prez Myles Brand.

As Bob Marley sang, "You make me feel like a sweepstakes winner..."

August 15, 2006

No kicking for this girl

Nick Mangold, the first-round draft pick out of Ohio State, has a sister who has caught the football bug. Holley Mangold is no Katie Hnida kicker however - based on a number of different variables.

No body doubles here....

For one, Holley might have punched Gary Barnett in the face if she would have endured the same treatment at Colorado like Hnida.

Holley Mangold plays on the offensive line, a 5'9" 300 lb menace to the rest of the junior varsity teams that she faces. mentions that Holley has won a couple of awards at the Ohio State football camps, if so we may see little Mangold on the varsity soon.

I was particularly struck but Ms. Mangold's commentary on kickers...
I've always thought kickers were not really part of it," she said. "They are a big part of the game but they don't get that rush of being out there. That's what I love about football, that's what kept me playing is being able to hit, and being able to run into somebody."
I wish Holley well on her football journey, but honestly her future as a shot-putter or discus athlete needs to be nurtured more for her own sake. Bless her for doing what she loves, I just hope she doesn't leave a track scholarship on the table.

August 11, 2006

ESPN: Good for the MAC?

Of course it is, but a recent story by Kyle Nagel of the Dayton Daily News suggests that Northern Illinois Head Caoch Joe Novak searches his soul for direction on the MAC's propensity for playing non-Saturday games...

"We're prostituting our programs, in a way," Novak said. "And I hate to say that."
But ya did. How about this - I wouldn't know Joe Novak from any other fat college coach if it weren't for ESPN. You, George O'Leary, Pat Hill - all just roadblocks on the buffet line if it weren't for all the TV games. Of course, Mark Mangino is in the obese class of one, so he isn't grouped in here.

Now, I know Novak as a guy who goes for two when down one with no time remaining like at Northwestern last year. I know him as a coach who took a 20-game losing streak and turned the Huskies into legit conference and bowl contenders every year. I know Novak as a guy who cultivates tremendous running back talent, like Michael "the Burner" Turner, Thomas Hammock, and now Garrett Wolfe.

If not for the inconvenience of playing on Thursdays, I wouldn't have known squat about him.

Nagel does his homework and talks to the right people in the MAC to get their opinion, and the nationwide exposure more than makes up for the incovenience. MAC commissioner Rick Chryst says that last season, the MAC had the fifth-highest viewership of conferences on ESPN2 broadcasts, ahead of the Big Ten, Mountain West and Conference USA. More than the Big Ten people - I call that a victory even if that means they only outdrew the Illinois-Indiana matchup.

So for those of you who feel that the weekday games fly in the face of the academic ideals of intercollegiate athletics, I ask you "Where do you think the money comes from to pay for all the test tubes and beakers?" That's right, college football does.

August 09, 2006

Where do I start? Maurice Clarret arrested

I am amazed my readers didn't have a Maurice Clarett angle on "College Football Headlines that wouldn't surprise me" in July.

Seems Mo made the first move for inclusion by doing a Denzel in Training Day imitation while all you Wolverine fans slept on the opportunity .

Clarett was arrested in Columbus after being pulled over for erratic driving. Then it all went wrong. Horribly wrong...

I will admit to a jaded response when this story started on ESPN Radio this a.m. - Yeah, Clarett in trouble again. Yeah, he had a loaded gun. So far, nothing too out of the ordinary for Ohio-based athletes.

Officers removed Clarett forcefully after several requests were made for him to exit the vehicle. Needing to exhibit force to subdue Big Mo, the officers use the Taser - to no effect. Mo strapped on a bullet-proof vest that the 200,000 volts could not penetrate! Multiple officers were needed to bring down Clarett and handcuff him.

Next, Clarett is placed in the paddy wagon, then a search of the SUV he was driving yielded a startling inventory:

  • one opened bottle of Grey Goose Vodka
  • not one, not two, not three, but FOUR LOADED guns - one assault rifle and three pistols.
  • a hatchet (no doubt for close quarters hand-to-hand combat, or is it a trophy like the Little Brown Jug)
At this point, I became a menace on the highway weaving through lanes as I laugh heartily at this former football star who helped Ohio State secure a National Championship just three years ago.

Now Mo flexes with full armor and rolls with a GAT just miles from the Big Horseshoe. Only thing not in the Urban Assault Vehicle were an underage girl, porn on the DVD, or bomb blueprints. Fo Shizzle.

Some of the better lines I have heard or seen today:
  • He was just preparing for tryouts with the Cincinnatti Bengals-ESPN
  • It appears he was on his way to a 50 Cent concert - grungedave on DeadSpin
  • "Who is the fuckin' soldier now!" Signed, Kellen Winslow - PH as in Phat
  • New definition for Under Armour - PhillyMike
Clarett should be on the homeland Security lists at this point. It seems so long ago when things were going his way after the Ohio State incident.

Open Questions:
Do you still blame The Ohio State University, even though he (allegedly) attended for a year?
What is next on the Maurice Clarett Tour?
WTF was he going with this arsenal? (UPDATE: USA TODAY reports Clarett was driving a few blocks from the home of a woman who was set to testify against him next week, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.)

August 08, 2006

Odds to win the Heisman

Thanks to for the lines - perhaps I need to change my poll to the right?

Name (School) Odds:1

Brady Quinn (Notre Dame) 2.5
Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma) 3.5
Troy Smith (Ohio State) 7
Chris Leak (Florida) 15
Mike Hart (Michigan) 15
Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State) 15
Steve Slaton (West Virginia) 16
Darius Walker (Notre Dame) 20
John David Booty (USC) 20
Michael Bush (Louisville) 20
Marshawn Lynch (California 22
Chad Henne (Michigan) 25
Kenny Irons (Auburn) 25
Drew Tate (Iowa) 30
Kenneth Darby (Alabama) 31
Brian Brohm (Louisville) 35
Blake Mitchell (South Carolina) 50
Derrick Williams (Penn State) 50
Drew Stanton (Michigan State) 50
Drew Weatherford (Florida State) 50
Kyle Wright (Miami FL) 50
JaMarcus Russell (LSU) 70
Reggie Ball (Georgia Tech) 75
Willie Tuitama (Arizona) 80
I might like Booty and Bush (quiet out there, double entendre not meant!) and Lynch in the 20:1 area. Good potential ROI if I didn't think the media has wrapped it up for Quinn already!

Position Breakdown:
  • 14 QBs
  • 8 RBs (Hart? I'll give those odds to any takers, we' ll hold at a friend's PayPal address - cool?)
  • 2 WRs (none named Johnson - damn shame.)

Please paste other books you find, or comment on any names here - I am also shocked that AP is so high with all the offensive turmoil.

August 06, 2006

The OCF Pre-Season Top 13 College Football Rankings

If I truly want to be a college football guru/expert/sensai, then it is obligatory that I submit a pre-season list for all my readers. It has already undergone a couple revisions before press time, but I feel quite comfortable with this as my working list.

And why 13, rather than the traditional 20, 25, or 35? My rationale points to:
Let us make haste:

1) Auburn Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles
Strengths: Tommy Tuberville crafts a top five team each year, and a great case can be made that they should have been in the title game in 2004. Regardless of the coordinator, Tigers simply put incredible defenses on the field. Offensively, RB Kenny Irons and a strong offensive line will ease QB Brandon Cox maturation. All the tough games are at home (only four road games!)
Weaknesses: Receivers have either underachieved or are true freshman, since top three graduated. Three games lack big-time opponents (Buffalo, Tulane, Arkansas St.), so many will point to the strength of schedule (SOS) again as a weakness for the program. Nevertheless, this is my pick for the SEC Title game and beyond.

2) USC Trojans
Strengths: No team is better prepared to deal with massive graduation, as former uber-recruits John David Booty and Chauncey Washington step in to the backfield.
Weaknesses: Sneakily difficult non-conference slate (Arkansas, Nebraska, Notre Dame)...don't be shocked if they lose one of them.

3) Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Strengths: This is probably the highest you will see the Canes on any lists - I am banking on the defense carrying them through the challenging early schedule. Kyle Wright is as good as any QB in the land
Weaknesses: Head Coach Larry Coker is fighting for his coaching life, having turned over the staff and now dealing with suspensions and shootings. VERY possible 1-2 start could lead to effigies of Coker burning in the streets of Miami next to Fidel Castro.

4) Oklahoma Sooners
Strengths: Adrian Peterson is the best RB, and the Sooners have my #1 defense in the land. A bevy of talented receivers will help the new QB. Watch the Vegas lines, I predict the over/unders will consistently be low.
Weaknesses: They were my original pre-season #1 until the losses due to stupidity. Offensive line is the only thing keeping AP from 2000 yards. For a quarterback, Paul Thompson is a good WR - the offense could unravel in a hurry. I reserve the right to move them down as the season progresses.

5) Ohio State Buckeyes
Strengths: Troy Smith, a very talented offense overall, and one of the better special teams in the nation. They should be the opposite of Oklahoma with lots of high scoring games.
Weaknesses: Only two returning starters on defense raises the caution flag, but like USC, Texas and Oklahoma these programs simply reload. September 9 matchup with Texas will give us all more clarity.

6) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Strengths: Charlie Weis awakened this Lazarus-like program. Quinn to Smardzija is the top pitch-and-catch combo in the nation, plus the Irish return all of the line and RB Walker. Imagine 11-0 as they travel to USC on November 25 - HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL FOOTBALL FANS!
Weaknesses: Ah, the defense and that schedule. Touchdown Jesus forbid if Georgia Tech's Reggie Ball actually becomes a good QB in the opener and starts the Irish down 0-1, but that is unlikely. The defense can't get worse, can it?

7) Texas Longhorns
Strengths: 13 returning starters, they get Oklahoma at home, and the offense returns all players except...
Weaknesses: No Vince Young! I can't think of any other weak spots. Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead are both highly-regarded athletes, but either is a downgrade.

8) Louisville Cardinals
Strengths: Double trouble on offense with QB Brian Brohm and RB Michael Bush, plus studs like WRs Urrutia and Carter. Phil Steele's College Football Preview says Louisville will have the second best Margin of Victory (20 ppg, just behind Texas) Schedule is very conducive to an unbeaten season and their moving up this chart.
Weaknesses: As I mentioned for Miami (FL), the Week 3 matchup will go a long way to legitimize the Cardinal chances for a BCS Bowl berth. L'ville traditionally performs poorly a couple times per year, like WVU and USF last year and the Canes in crunch time in 2004.

9) Florida State Seminoles
Strengths: One of the best defenses in the nation gets a very manageable schedule, except for the bookend games (Miami to start, Florida to end). QB Drew Weatherford grew up while receiving OJT, and is surrounded by talent.
Weaknesses: OC Jeff Bowden gets heat for offensive production that underwhelms given the talent, and rightfully so. A couple more bad seasons and maybe "Dad' will have to send Jeff out of the sandbox.

10) Virginia Tech Hokies
Strengths: Special teams, a defense that creates opportunities, and a stable of talented running backs have Coach Frank Beamer smiling ear-to-ear when looking at this schedule that should start 8-0.
Weaknesses: The Marcus Vick graduation and the Ike Whitaker suspension leave the QB position thin. The Gobblers have never been a passing team except for the Jim Druckenmiller days, and the WR corps is unproven.

11) California Golden Bears
Strengths: Great RB depth may allow for two 1000 yard rushers in Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. If not for USC, this would be the top defense in the Pac Ten.
Weaknesses: QB questions again, as Nate Longshore and Joseph Ayoob continue to battle for the top spot in the new spread offense. Schedule is no picnic, starting with road game in Rocky Top and trips to Arizona and USC.

12) Boise State Broncos
Strengths: I put Broncos at #12 because I expect them to make a bid for the BCS Bowls. Eighteen returning starters with a ridiculously easy schedule. No reason that they shouldn't finish undefeated in the WAC, and perhaps overall if they beat Oregon State on the Blue Turf and Utah away. Coach Dan Hawkins moves on, but understudy Chris Peterson will hit the ground running. Defense is stout as are the special teams that rival VT in their ability to block kicks.
Weaknesses: I hate to do it, but QB Jared Zabransky has shown little regard for ball security (35-29 TD/int ratio) and must play at a top notch level - his mouth is writing checks that his stats can't cash. Three of the top four rushers graduate.

13) Florida Gators
Strengths: Enough about Tim Tebow - this is Chris Leak's offense and it is loaded with talent, especially with the healthy return of WR Andre Caldwell. Urban Meyer's grand lab experiment of the spread offense in the SEC will be the discussed much more than the amazing defense led by DC Charlie Strong and LB Brandon Siler.
Weaknesses: Schedule is a bitch - at Tennessee, at Auburn, at FSU. The 100th year of Gator football may be remembered for another 9-3 season, but it could be 11-1 as I expect them to lose to Auburn.

Also on radar...
14) Georgia Bulldogs, 15) Michigan Wolverines, 16)West Virginia Mountaineers, 17)Arkansas Razorbacks 18) Clemson Tigers, 19) Texas Tech Red Raiders, 20) Utah Utes, 21) TCU Horned Frogs.

Hit me with the feedback. I can take it.

More arrest than tackles for Willie Williams?

Can I say it is time to pull the alarm on this guy, like he did on his Gator recruiting visit?

KC in his comments earlier mentioned that former super-recruit Willie Williams could find no suitors after announcing he is leaving the Miami Hurricanes.

You knew that wouldn't last long.

The Palm Beach Post reports that Troy University made contact with no decision yet. Remember also that West Virginia was denied the chance to talk to Williams.

Really, when we all stopped being surprised that perceived talent will always outshine off-field issues will be when we have a much better balanced life. It doesn't always work out for the punk-thugs, er, student-athletes. Stay tuned.

Where else would Williams be a good fit? Besides in an orange jumpsuit, I think he could immediately help Texas A&M or UCLA. Other defenses in need of talent upgrades are Stanford, Northwestern, Duke and Rice - I cannot speak for Williams academic standing, but feel confident that those schools will not be calling.

August 02, 2006

Later, Sooner: Bomar out at Oklahoma

Following up strongly after alcohol-related issues last year, USA Today reports quarterback Rhett Bomar was permanently dismissed from the University of Oklahoma on Wednesday after receiving "extra compensation" while working at a car dealership.

Seems that while hawking cars at Big Red Sports and Imports (sounds like trouble already), Bomar and his roomate JD Quinn made too much money given the time they were there. The school hasn't named the players, but their absence from the team roster speaks volumes.

So much for that title run! While Adrian Peterson is healthy and the defense may be the best in the nation, one of the reasons that the Sooners were a sexy pick for a national title was the emergence of Bomar as a freshman. Fantasy sites like mine were looking at him as a sleeper for a fantasy backup position. No more. Hell, I have to move WR Malcolm Kelly down my board too, and probably Peterson too since another offensive lineman is out.

While researching the story, i found at that A-P alarmed the Sooners administration in April while purchasing a car from the same dealership.

In April, Oklahoma cleared standout running back Adrian Peterson, who purchased a vehicle from the dealership before securing financing, drove it for several weeks and then returned the car. Oklahoma investigated the situation, but ruled Peterson did not violate rules because the dealership said it was normal business practice.

Is Norman geographically close to Sodom or Gommorrah?

Did you notice my lack of surprise to this story? Just a week ago I hinted at Bomar being a trouble maker, and here we go. At least that took the spotlight off Miami for a while...