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"Steveo's Salvos" - June 2012 Edition
"Salvos" is presented as the editorial content of CollegeFootballFan.com focusing on current issues surrounding college football and news about some of the teams on the CFF schedule this year. Originally from a newsletter, this web site, CollegeFootballFan.com, has evolved.
Hand me downs - From father to son, "the 'Amato' doesn't fall far from the tree!" One of the better, or at least one of the more interesting, assistant hires during the offseason to us is seeing that Terry Bowden, son of Bobby, hired his father's former defensive coordinator, albeit many years ago, in Chuck Amato. We'll watch to see how that works out. We attended several games at Carter-Finley when Amato was HC of the NC State Wolfpack. They were spirited games and Amato had some successful teams there. We're anxious to see if he can help Terry Bowden resurrect the Zips who been hiding deep in their pouches the last few years. We think this will now be a fun program to come out of nowhere, and if Chuck Amato can do what he did for Bobby at Florida State, Terry Bowden's defense under at Akron will help lead this program from underneath the MAC pile. A year ago, they finished 1-11 and 0-8 in the MAC. We don't expect things to turn quickly, but the Zips should be on their way up in a few.
Road Warriors - Us that is! I don't know if we've ever done this before, but we're going to attend 22 games in 14 states this season. 14 states in one season is a record for us. With Eric's HS schedules slated with nine Friday night games during the regular season, we'd never dreamt that we would do this this season. Of course it helps that our first three game are bundled over the Labor day weekend before his games start. We'll be in Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia that weekend to kick things off. and all Are d 1A games! Trips to Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and others within driving distance have all bee done before. We're heading to New Hampshire to see a Dartmouth home game for the firs time( as well as to Cornell which will now have allowed us to attend one game in every Ivy League venue). Our season ends with the BCS championship in Florida, and we intend to get to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC over the holidays for the first time. We hope we can keep up with all our weekly Reviews since we'll be behind the wheel a lot of Sundays during the upcoming season. Still have to get to work on Mondays.
Reverse the spell -We got to meet Ralphie, Colorado's famous mascot back in 2006 thanks to an invitation to the Rocky Mountain Showdown from CU's SID Dave Plati. The Buffs have not had a winning season since the previous year to that great experience when they finished 7-6. CU lost to in-state rival Colorado State, 14-10, the day I got to Meet Ralphie. Second year HC Jon Embree has a lot of inexperience on this year's team coming off a 3-10 season and will rely on many sophomores, a few freshman, and possibly some transfers transfers to play QB, Connor Wood from Texas or Jordan Webb, former starter at Kansas. Would love to get back out there and run with the Buffalo now that we've "seen 'em all!", but we're booked this year. Hopefully some day soon we can get out there and help Ralphie lead the charge out of this slump. Go Buffs! Being that they're the closest PAC-12 team to New Jersey, we're rooting for them!
Early No. 1- The preseason publications are out. Lindy's picked LSU. Athlon selected USC. This is where collegefootballfan is going: we're going to break up the alphabet soup - Michigan! We think the Wolverines will build on their 11-2 season in 2011 and that they made the adjustments last year to get balance to get QB Denard Robinson's skills in line with the offensive schemes of OC Al Borges. RB Fitz Toussaint ran for 1,041 yards last season and will have three returning starters in front of him on the O-Line. The defensive front is being shored up with some key losses to graduation, but three LBs and three DBs return as does PK Brendan Gibbons. We believe the key, however, is 2nd year HC Brady Hoke, who we just feel has brought a full supplement of toughness back to Ann Arbor. After a year of adjustment turned U of M (maybe I did add some more alphabet soup) from mediocrity under former HC Rich Rodriguez back to Big Ten contender, the Maize and Blue may be ready to turn it up from their new platform under their tougher taskmaster who embraces old fashioned, hard-nosed football. He did it at Ball State and at San Diego State, and if he can do it at those schools as quickly as he did... It all starts on Sept. 1 when the Wolverines play defending national champ Alabama at one of those storied neutral sites of the SEC in Arlington, Texas. Even during the summer, it's too cold for The Crimson Tide to play in the Snow Belt. Michigan wins, and watch them go from there. Along the way, they'll play at Notre Dame, home against Michigan State, at Nebraska, and at Ohio State. With Ohio State sitting out the post season for "tatoo-gate", it looks like Michigan would tussle with Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game if they can run the table. We just look for toughness tempered under Hoke to be the underlying strength of this team to lead them to the 2012 national championship.
Can't be that bad - Both aforementioned preseason publications put a hurting on the quality of our schedule which looked pretty solid by rating the four new FBS additions this year as the bottom four schools in their rankings of all 124 FBS tams. Ok, they all have to start somewhere, but we don't think that is where they will all finish. Texas State will compete in the WAC, and after a 6-6 record as an FCS Independent last year, the Bobcats can't be automatic wins for the likes of New Mexico State and Idaho. Even San Jose and out of conference New Mexico, who they will play coming off a 1-11 season under new HC Bob Davies who last coached Notre Dame ten years ago, could be teams that TSU can surpass in their first season. South Alabama may have only won games at the FCS level the last three seasons, but some of the Sun Belt teams are no better despite about reading about their supposed improvements. Florida Atlantic posted a 1-11 record last year under their venerable, outgoing HC Howard Schnellenberger who is being replaced by Carl Pelini, younger brother of Bo whose only HC experience was at the high school level. USA's HC, former Alabama WR Joey Jones who played for Bear Bryant, should have the upper hand in this one. Middle Tenn, Troy, North Texas, Western Kentucky? Four or five wins from last season at those schools could be considered flashes in the pan at those programs. UMass has a solid past of contention at the FCS level in that divisions toughest conference of all, the Colonial Athletic Conference. Despite a new HC who was previous OC at Notre Dame and for six years under Brian Kelly, Charley Molnar's squad returns its starting QB, most of his O-Line and the front seven of his defense. Akron, Buffalo, and Central Michigan, MAC foes this season, probably couldn't have made the FCS playoffs if they played in the Colonial last season. Larry Coker's second-year squad at Texas -San Antonio finishing 4-6 a year ago could have the toughest task of all four this season. Wins over Bacone (?) and Minot State are difficult to scale up against teams in the WAC. But enough returnees on both sides of the football may be enough for the Roadrunners to compete against Idaho and New Mexico State in the WAC. Local rival Texas State and South Alabama are fellow newcomer s to the FBS on the UTSA slate, but both are probably a more prepared than Coker's squad this season. We'll see how the upstart Roadrunners compare to the upstart Jaguars on Thursday evening on August 30. Last season, The Jags defeated the 'Runners in San Antonio in OT, 30-27.
Hope for Petrino - Don't think Bobby Petrino's coaching
career is done after
what we just saw how he made a fool of himself hiring a staff member to use for
personal extracurricular activities before the two of them ended up flying off
the road in a motorcycle accident. Arkansas regretted letting him go
because he had the Razorbacks ranked back up among the Top 5 teams in the
nation. College football can be
very forgiving, or very forgetful over time. Or, they sometimes just stick
their head in the sand and hope for the best. Schools always
Ball State Blockers - College football analyst Phil Steele gives credence to teams' strengths based on the experience of their offensive lines. We also know if you bring back a starting QB behind an experienced offensive line, you definitely deserve some consideration for a very successful season. The Ball State Cardinals under second-year coach Pete Lembo returns the most experienced O-Line in the nation as his returnees have combined for 115 starts. In addition, the Cardinals return Junior QB Chris Wenning who started 22 games during his first two seasons. Last season, he threw for 2,786 yards and 19 TDs. We also Pete Lembo successfully coach at Lehigh before he turned around the FCS program at Elon prior to last year's rebuilding 6-6 season at Ball State. We plan to see BSU play once and maybe twice during the 2012 season. On October 27, we will definitely see them play Army at West Point when we travel up by bus with friends, families and player of the Lenape Valley HS Patriot football team for one of our two Big Tailgate Parties! Last season, they defeated Army at home, 48-21. We may get to see the Cards play later in the season at Toledo if our travels permit. The Cards may have the weapons up front and at QB to compete for the MAC's West division in 2012.
Bowl wishes - After our BCS Championship game this season, we came up with a list of remaining bowl games that we'd still like to attend. We question if all of them will continue to operate for the long-term, will the conference contracts remain, and how significant will each game be? We have a desire to see some of the more historical bowls that offer games in some places we haven't been to yet. Our wish list: 1.) Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Big 10 vs. SEC; 2.) Capital One Bowl, Orlando, Big Ten vs. SEC; 3.) Chick-Fil-A, Atlanta, SEC vs. ACC; 4.) Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX, ACC vs. PAC 10; and 5.) Independence, Shreveport, LA, ACC-MWC. We're leaning to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte this season as it's played the same day as the Military bowl this year and we've been there three times. We've seen all the other major bowls at least once. As far as others we haven't seen, they can discontinue them as far as we're concerned except maybe the Hawaii Bowl. It's just too far for us to go during the holidays.
National Champs - guaranteed!!! - At least I know I am guaranteed to see this year's FBS title team as I already ordered my tickets for the BCS Championship game on January 7 at Miami Gardens, Florida. We haven't seen a D1 National Champ since 2001 when we watched Miami (F.) defeat Penn State in the season opener for both at Beaver Stadium, 33-7 (the Hurricane HC was Larry Coker, who we'll see coach UT-San Antonio in their FBS debut on August 30 against South Alabama). However, since then, I've seen three other NCAA national football champs compete during subsequent championship seasons. In 2006, Eric and I attended the D3 National Championship game when Mt. Union defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater, 35-16, in Salem, Virginia. In 2009, I sat in a cold, wet snowstorm when eventual FCS champion Villanova defeated New Hampshire in a second round playoff game, 46-7. In 2010, Steve Ciesla and I watched Wisconsin-Whitewater defeat Wesley of Delaware in a semi-final D3 game, 27-7, before defeating perennial D3 championship foe Mt. Union in one of seven consecutive match ups. Maybe we'll go again this year so we're guaranteed to see two NCAA football champs in 2012!
For the love of Ivy - This will be a banner season for us! First, we're attending the FBS championship game (and now maybe the D3 Championship as well). We're targeting the four new FBS teams though we can only lock into three of the four right now. But another opportunity to achieve a goal came up since the one Saturday game my son Eric's team was scheduled to play is being moved to Friday, October 12 since purportedly the opponent is installing a new turf field with lights that will be ready for play this season. With that, I'm planning to head up early Saturday morning to Ithaca, NY to attend my first game at Cornell's Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red will be hosting the Monmouth Hawks, a good NEC program we saw for the first time last year when they hosted Lehigh in Long Branch, NJ. Two weeks prior to this game, we've already slated our first game up at Dartmouth's Memorial Stadium where the Big Green will host the Penn Quakers in a traditional Ivy League contest. Attending games at these two venues for the first time will have given us the experience of attending at least one game played at all eight Ivy League schools - another fun achievement during this ongoing adventure.
New views - As a matter of fact, this year, we will attend games played in at least seven new stadiums for us. There are these two Ivy League stadiums among four campus visits, Ladd-Peebles in Mobile where we welcome UTSA and South Alabama to the FBS, and Kutztown University Stadium in Pennsylvania where we hope to see a very competitive D2 game between Kutztown and C.W. Post. Our other three locations will be played in non-campus facilities. We'll be at the Georgia Dome for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff between Clemson of the ACC and Auburn of the SEC. On September 8, we'll be at Gillette Stadium, the new home of the new FBS UMass Minutemen when they host Indiana, and on December 27, we hope to make it to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC. There may be at least one later edition to a regular season game on a new campus for us, and depending on what playoff games we can add in December, maybe we'll visit some other small school sites.
Early decision - It's been reported that new PSU Head coach Bill O'Brien has selected his starting QB for the 2012 season so that he can focus on developing his primary signal caller for the first game of 2012. He will go with Matt McGloin as his starter. He did not start every game of 2011 (probably should have), but took the most snaps. Soph Paul Jones will be his backup, and Rob Bolden, who started his freshman season two years ago, will be third. Based on what we saw during this year's spring game, this makes sense, but we thought a forth QB deserved Bolden's spot. This makes sense as the position needs a lot of improvement for the Lions, so focus on your best option now to get him ready to lead this team. Hopefully, O'Brien can speed up the much needed development at the position for the Lions. We just hope the defense doesn't take a big step backwards.
Watch for more Salvo updates throughout the season!
- Steve Koreivo, ed.