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"Steveo's Salvos" - April 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.
Slive-eastern conference - The
powers that be among the NCAA are finally getting together to discuss doing away
with its horrible BCS system that's destroying the great game of college
football and trying to come up with a more interesting, competitive, and
equitable playoff system that will help establish a true national champion for
the players and the fans by getting it closer to deciding it on the field of
play. From what we hear, we just say that at least we hope there's a
move to this. But when you read some of the comments by SEC Commissioner
Mike Slive, there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm on his part to get
things done in order to protect his "holier-than-thou" conference.
His comments indicate that he fears his membership has too much to lose here at
the expense teams of other conferences not marketed as skillfully as his own.
Too bad he can't focus on improving the game for everybody and not just his
precious SEC. Read some of the comments from recent ESPN press
releases and realize what he's really saying. 1.) Regarding the idea
of a neutral site for a potential national championship game, " ' I think maybe
it has more disadvantages than advantages,' Southeastern Conference commissioner
Mike Slive said. 'One of the disadvantages is I think when you're trying to
determine who's going to play for the national championship, what's the
competitive environment in which you put a team to play for the national
championship." In other words, the SEC does not want to play a championship game
in any state outside of SEC territory. Look at their bowl contracts.
The only non-SEC state they had a bowl contract in was Texas, but they fixed
that now inviting Texas A&M. You don't see any SEC teams venture to
California, Arizona, Nevada, or anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line come bowl
season much less any other time of year. His conference thrives on
finishing up the during bowl season in an
Poster Boy - For wearing a motor cycle helmet or for a piss-poor example of leadership - take your choice when you see the post-crash, press conference picture of battered and bruised Bobby Petrino, ex-coach of Arkansas, deservedly. You can see the result of the crash in the picture to understand the first one, but just dig into his history to tell the rest of the story. In recent months, the NFL network featured a program rating the 10 worst college coaches who gave the NFL a shot. No. 1 worst - Bobby Petrino! Never was it ever experienced by a pro team that he denied he's leaving, quits with three games left in the season, and a day or two later he's seen on TV at Arkansas whooping up a "Sooooeeeey !" with the Razorback fans. At least have the guts to stick it out to the end with the team you led to a 3-10 record until after the season ends. That's cowardice. Yes, he can win at the college level, but what kind of an example is he for all those college kids? "Hey guys, it's not about our team, it's all about me!" Look what it translated to in real life. What I don't understand is how busy I read all these head football coaches are, especially during the season. Where did he find time to text his mistress 70-90 times per day, even on a Friday before the game? Who was really coaching Arkansas? What 50-year old has the time , the patience, and the dexterity for all that texting? I guess Ms. Dorrell was worth it otherwise he wouldn't have risked his career and his family for it. Of course, give him a few years, some program will be desperate enough to give him another chance despite the life lessons he teaches his players. That's a shame if it happens. It'll be another example of what the game is becoming. Sorrowfully, it's becoming all about the money. Beside the poster boy picture, here is the other side of Petrino leaving the program "behind":
Two-fers - As in seeing a 1A school play "for" only the "second" time, Ball State will be added to that category this season. We saw the Cardinals fall to Boston College in Chestnut Hill back in 2003, 53-29. Indiana was only seen so far in our annals during Penn state's inaugural season in the Big Ten back in 1993. Amazingly in late November, the Hoosiers came into that game ranked No. 17 - two spots ahead of Penn State! The Lions won a tough one, 38-31. I particularly remember IU QB John Paci throwing a 99-yard TD pass to Thomas Lewis to tie the score 31-all late in that game - a record in Beaver Stadium. WE will see IU travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA to play UMass on September 8 to add the Minutemen as our 123rd D1A team. Another team that we'll see for the second time is when the family and I venture down to South Carolina for Parents Weekend to watch the Gamecocks take on SEC newcomer, Missouri. I got to see Mizzou at home in 2005 when QB Brad Smith set both the Tiger career rushing and passing records in the same night against New Mexico. The Lobos outdid the Tigers that night though 45-35 as WR Hank Baskett put on an outstanding show with three touchdown receptions and several other big catches from QB Cole McKamey.
D-2 Kutztown on board - Updating our schedule to
see our much anticipated Delaware-Rhode Island "where it all started" game from
the October 27 date we mistakenly had to the actual game date of October 20 not
only helped us plan a tailgate fundraiser for the Lenape Valley Regional HS (NJ)
Patriot football team that day, but we also don't miss out on our chance
originally planned on the 20th to see Dan Morgan lead the Kutztown Golden Bears
during his senior season as we'd been hoping to do. We're now booking our
November 3rd date to see the Bears host C.W. Post-LIU in a Pennsylvania State
Athletic Conference game. We actually saw C.W. Post host a game back in 1980
against the alma mater, Juniata, for a 27-10 win. Rob Ash, now the Head
Coach at Montana State, made his coaching debut at JC that season. We
attended that game as the first of a double header topped off by a nightcap when
Montclair State hosted East Stroudsburg. Looking back on that date now,
three of the four coaches we saw that day all have over 200 wins and still coach
today. Rick Giancola is still at Montclair ( who featured Sam Mills,
future NFL great, at LB that day), and Denny Douds still coaches East
"Surfboard" alumni? - Ok. We all know
about Notre Dame's subway alumni who will show up anywhere in the nation to see
the Irish play and fill venues in the big cities hosting Notre Dame games
at "neutral" sites, and you know the majority of these fans are filling the
seats to root for the Irish. The Trojans of Southern Cal just struck a
deal recently with ESPN to broadcast all the USC games nationally on the ESPN
radio network. I find it hard to believe that USC fans are spread so
vastly throughout the country that there's such a demand for them to be heard on
radios in all 50 states. Between college fans attending games, games on
TV, and radio broadcasts of local teams and Notre Dame football on a
national basis, I just don't envision a lot of people outside of Southern Cal
tuning into the Trojan radio broadcast. I could put a lot of other schools
ahead of USC from other parts of the country for that matter that would
draw more attention than the Trojans
Blair Kiel - In 1981 with about a dozen Notre Dame die-hards Including one of my Juniata roommates, Tony Lagratta, who organized the trip for us, we ventured out together in a mobile home to attend the Notre Dame-LSU game, the opening game of the season that gave us first gander at "The Bold Experiment." Former Moeller "Steamroller" HS Head Coach Gerry Faust started his new collegiate career as the Notre Dame HC. The starting QB for this game was sophomore QB Blair Kiel out of Indianapolis. The Irish beat the Bayou Bengals that day, 27-9, to vault past Michigan to Number One in the nation. The ND scoring started with a 7-yard TD pass by Kiel to Larry Moriarity. With a 20-0 lead at the half, Faust cleared his bench throughout the second half which included playing time for in his former Moeller QB, Tim Koegel. Kiel finished the day with one TD pass and two INTs among his six pass attempts. Faust, the Irish fans, and the pollsters looked beyond his mistakes as well as others and celebrated an Irish victory. It all started to unravel the following weekend with a loss to Michigan, and the Irish finished the season at 5-6. We saw the Irish beat Navy in The Meadowlands a year later, 27-10, but in the midst of a mediocre 6-4-1 season where the Irish lost their last three games. They returned to the Meadowlands a year later ( where I had 100+ friends and family for our biggest tailgate ever) and the Irish whipped a lousy Army team, 42-0. Struggling to seven wins that year, Faust turned the controls over to Steve Beuerlein to replace Kiel as the starting QB for this game as well as others. None the less, Kiel stuck around in the NFL for a number of years. All thought he would make a greater mark as a typical star QB at Notre Dame when he was recruited and would excel beyond. He never made it to the top at ND though he lasted as a journeyman in the NFL. For me personally though, he brings back a lot of memories to the days when this whole adventure got started 30 years ago. Blair Kiel passed away last week at the age of 50. May he rest in peace. His nephew, Gunnar, steps in at ND to fill the legacy his uncle expected to achieve. We and his uncle will be keeping an eye on him to see what he can do to bring The Glory back to Notre Dame.
BCS - yes! - We don't know who will be playing in the BCS championship game on January 7, 2013 in Miami, though we'll be making predictions before the season and following closely, but we'll definitely be there! Tickets on order and a hotel room booked - we're in because we invested in a package two years ago to guarantee us the BCS title game this year. Hopefully it will make up for the last two Orange bowls. We didn't go to the ho-hum Stanford-VA Tech game two years ago because we already had tickets to the dreadful Fiesta Bowl where Oklahoma whipped UConn, 48-20. Then we got to our first Orange Bowl last season to see WVU set the bowl scoring record with a 70-33 thumping of Clemson. As part of this year's package, we had to take the Orange Bowl tix (Jan. 1) to get to the the BCS. Now we hope that Rutgers finally wins the Big East. Tickets will be in demand since Scarlet Knights will be looking to celebrate New Year's in Miami for the first time ever. For any of you RU fans, I'll have a deal for you! Stay in touch.
Roof cave-in? - A lot of focus in State College, PA is what Bob O'Brien can infuse into the Nittany Lions' recently anemic offense. We can only imagine it getting better with a new and better philosophy from their new coaching staff and eventually some improvements at the QB position. But, where is the defense heading? At least two primary defensive coaches return from Paterno's staff. Larry Johnson continues to lead the D-Line, and Ron Vander Linden handles the Linebackers. New defensive coordinator Ted Roof can talk all he wants about "multiple aggressiveness", but this is Linebacker U, known for the Hero position and its dominant defenses which always made the Nittany Lions a team to be reckoned with. PSU has had a Top 20 defense in seven of the last eight years. They need that trend to continue to compete in what should be an improved Big Ten. Roof was on his way out of Auburn last season after three years and on his way to Central Florida when O'Brien hired him as his DC. Despite a National Championship at Auburn in 2010, his Tiger defense yielded 358 points in the SEC known more for defense than for offense. The previous year, his D allowed 337 points and last season the 8-5 Tigers let up 376 points. When he last served as Big Ten DC at Minnesota in 2008, the Golden Gophers allowed 29.1 ppg in eight Big Ten games for a 3-5 conference record (7-6 overall). His team allowed 42 points in the 42-21 loss to Kansas in their bowl game. As Head Coach at Duke prior to Minnesota, his overall record was 6-45. Granted Duke doesn't recruit the same caliber of players who roam the turf of Beaver Stadium, but Auburn does. Hopefully retaining two stalwart defensive coaches will have significant influence to maintain PSU's defensive stature, but Lion fans should be concerned about their historically stifling defense.
D-3 happenings - Can any team in this division terminate the division's seven-year purple dominance of the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks and the Purple Raiders of Mt. Union who have met each other in the D-3 National Championship for seven straight years? Some folks think Wesley College of Delaware has an outside chance, but the Hawks and Raiders are heavy favorites once again according to polls taken by D3Football.com. UWW got 39% of the votes, MU 15%, and Wesley 7% as of April 7, but 37% of the fans who voted just hope someone else can win it all! We note in the local New Jersey Athletic Conference that geographic outlier Buffalo State moved out to the Empire Eight which opened up a slot for each NJAC member to schedule another non-conference game. Kean University, winner of the NJAC last year, will travel all the way to Texas to play Mary-Hardin Baylor, another perennial D3 playoff team. UMHB will also visit aforementioned Wesley, a team that Kean, who finished ranked No. 10 last year, knocked off Wesley in their first game. Buffalo State who moved on to the E8, stepped up and scheduled Wisconsin Whitewater in their revamped schedule. As far as our D3 options this season, one possibility is the Kean-Montclair State game on November 10, but that depends on if we'll be attending a NJ high school playoff game that day (hopefully LVRHS will play on Friday night), and if we are headed out on an annual business trip overseas at about that time, the good thing is that Kean U. is a 10-minute drive to Newark Liberty Airport. The game winner of Kean-MSU could decide that conference winner and the automatic playoff bid for 2012. If only we could say the same about the big schools. The alma mater, Juniata College, enters the 2012 season on a one-game winning streak beating Susquehanna in its season finale to finish 1-9 for the third year in a row. Good luck to 2nd year HC Tim Launtz and the Eagles to finally turn things around.
Should have happened a long time ago - It was definitely a change for the better and the right thing to do when the NCAA determined years ago that players from the FBS teams could play right away when they transferred to down to play at a lower division school. Recently, Nash Nance, a QB at Tennessee, announced that he will leave the Vols and continue to pursue his education and play football right away at D-3 Hampden-Sydney in Farmville, VA. Like others who have made this move down to play right away (like Joe Flacco from Pitt to Delaware) , players get antsy and just want to get a chance to play before they're through with four years of college, and who can blame them? I just wish that rule was in effect back in the 70s. It was even more restrictive back then! I went to the Naval Academy for two years and made the 150-lb (now Sprint) football team. Never able to get down to the limit my plebe year, I never got to suit up ( we had a powerhouse team any way) for a game. When I transferred to play at D3 Juniata, despite not having played Navy varsity football, I still had to sit out a year before I could play. I practiced with the team any way my first year to play RB weekly on the Scout team. My fellow scout-teamers, mostly freshman, and I referred to ourselves as "Scout team All-Americans". Us Indians at the time finished the '76 season 7-3. I got to work as a "spotter" in the press box during the home games my first year looking forward to two years of eligibility. Still ineligible for varsity sports in the spring, I played club lacrosse and was elected captain though it was the first year I ever played. I basically did it to get in shape for football (best shape I was ever in), but a hyper-extended knee tearing my ACL and MLM in our first game, eventually ended my football playing days even though I was basically healthy enough to play again tow years later. But stuff happens. If only the play right away rule was in effect back then. I should at least get some eligibility reinstated! I'm glad that they changed the rule later on for others any way. College players should enjoy experiencing playing the game for as long as they can.
Blasts from the past - We don't realize how long we've been doing this until we start perusing web sites for games we plan to see in the upcoming 2012 season. First of all it turns out that the game we want to see to keep up with our goal to "see 'em all!" got moved up to Thursday night August 30. It's going to make for a long weekend of Southern football to kick things off, but it can't get much better than that! In that game, the UT San Antonio Roadrunners are coached by Larry Coker. The last time we saw Larry he was guiding the Miami Hurricanes their last Big East game at Pitt in 2003 which they won 28-14 and finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation. His Roadrunners finished last season at 4-6. By the way, we also saw Larry's head coaching debut in 2001 when he opened with a dominating win over Penn State in Beaver Stadium by a score of 33-7. He guided the Canes to a National Championship that season. On the South Alabama sideline, the Jaguars will be coached by former All-SEC wide receiver Joey Jones of Alabama who played under Bear Bryant in the early 80s. He caught 8 TD passes in his junior season of 1982 which still ranks third all-time for the Crimson Tide, more known for its powerful running game. We didn't see him play in person, but in 1980 we attended two of his games when he stood along the sidelines. We saw the Tide beat Rutgers at The Meadowlands, 17-13, and we watched them beat Auburn at Legion Field in the Iron Bowl, 34-18. We'll be in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile on August 30 to see which coach performs better along the sideline in this opening FBS contest for both teams!
RU-tude - Rutgers is looking for financial compensation from the Big East for losing a "potential" home game. They finally booked a legitimate non-conference game starting this season in a home and home series with Arkansas which will be played at Fayetteville this year. That's good. However, because Boise didn't break their ties with the MWC, RU claims it lost a home game they were promised. The have six home and six away this year. Granted they lose a million dollars plus by not having another game, but if they look at the new make up of the Big East, once Pitt and Syracuse leave, they are the longest running Big East football program (and still without a title). If not for efforts on Big East Commissioner John Marranatto, they wouldn't be in a conference. No one else invited them despite their attempts to sell themselves with their market and their media to the Big Ten and the ACC. If not for those very diverse efforts of the Commissioner to hold together a football conference with a BCS bid, the Scarlet Knights would be scrambling not only for FBS competition, but for home games. Shut up and go play ( and try to finally win a championship!).
They ain't what they used to be - Rivalries that is. As a traditionalist who wants to see the overall quality of college football improved in some areas without killing some of the traditions that made it all so great and memorable, look what we're losing in the ever-changing world of big time college football. No more Backyard Brawl between Pitt and West Virginia. Just the name conjures up the intensity when many my age were playing tackle football without pads on cold, crisp fall afternoons in a neighborhood back yard or on a school field. It's gone like the real backyard rivalries because all the young kids now get involved in organized sports at too young an age! Nebraska-Oklahoma - 1971's game of the 20th century. A rivalry played close to Thanksgiving weekend that meant something for the Big Eight title and national championship over many years. Johnny Rogers, Greg Pruitt, Rich Glover, Troy Aikman, the Wishbone, the Black Shirt defense, Boomer Sooner and a lot of scarlet and white all on the same field every year. The Missouri-Kansas Border War - a rivalry sprung from the days of the Civil War. Texas and Texas A&M - who are the Aggies going to build their bonfire for now? Give credit to Navy, before joining the new "Big East", they salvaged the games out of conference that meant the most to their traditions - Army, Air Force, and Notre Dame. We wish some of these others had done the same.
"Wisced" away - In 2011, Danny O'Brien started at QB for the Maryland Terps and we watched him guide this team to a 32-24 opening game victory over the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium in College Park , Maryland. Before the game, we even met Danny's Dad in the front row at our seats behind the Terp bench. He told us new Head Coached Randy Edsall was breathing new life into the program. He claimed the kids really liked their new head coach. After the win everyone in Terp Town seemed happy, but after we left, the waters the Terps were swimming in became murky to say the least They won only one more game the rest of the season, and after it was over, about a dozen players decided to transfer out of UMD including O'Brien who was injured half way through the season and never regained his status as starting QB. There were issues with Coach Edsall when he decided to transfer as his former mentor blocked him from transferring to Vanderbilt where his former QB Coach James Franklin was now head man. After much media pressure, O'Brien was free to choose where he wanted to go. He was seen wearing a Penn State ,jacket at a spring practice in State College where former Tom Brady QB coach Bob O'Brien now runs the Nittany Lions. After all that, Danny, who has two years of eligibility remaining, will follow Russell Wilson, a former QB at NC State, to Wisconsin with a shot at eventually starting there. If he enters as a grad student, he could be playing for the Badgers next season which means we may get to see him in action in State College after all because we plan on attending the Penn State - Wisconsin game there on November 24.
"All the wrong moves" - As opposed to the Tom Cruise football movie of the early '80s by former RU Head Coach Greg Schiano. Not only does he take two more coaches away from the former RU staff belatedly from his former program (nobody else will leave their former program to go play for him -wonder why?), but he hires former UNC HC and his mentor Butch Davis after Davis sent the Tar Heels back with his lack of control when he was at Chapel Hill landing the Tar Heels some heavy probation. No one at the collegiate level was willing to touch him. Too bad the pros offer asylum to the offenders at the college level. Seems like there should be a spirit of legal cooperation here. Funny thing is that twice we saw Davis embarrass his former assistant from Miami when his Heels ran roughshod over Schiano's RU squad. The first was in 2008 on at Thursday night game, 44-12. Granted, UNC had the services of now well-known NFLers in QB T.J. Yates and WR Hakeem Nicks, and they picked apart a secondary featuring future NFLers like the McCourty brothers. But in 2010, we saw Davis field a defense missing six defensive starters due to the NCAA violations the Heels were eventually punished for, and Schiano's wildcat offense was feeble in the 17-13 loss to depleted UNC. To paraphrase an old saying in football terms, "When you can't beat 'em, hire them for your new staff."
2012 Big Tailgate Party - For $50, we're running a bus trip out of Boonton, NJ to travel up to West Point to attend the Army-Boston College game on Saturday, October 6. The money covers the bus and the game ticket. Contact me through this website for more info if interested. Plans may unfold for a second Big Tailgate party in 2012 for the Army - Air Force game. Check here for updates.
124 in 2012? - Update - see our Home page!
Top 17 Poll - Bill Rogan of KNUS AM Radio 710 in Denver has invited me as a pollster for Artificial Turf's Top 17! If you check out Bill's web page at www.turfsports.net , you'll see that his poll started back in 2005 when Texas won it. For some reason, there was no poll in 2010. Each finished with an SEC at the top of course. We'll see if that streak will end this year. When we asked Bill, "Why 17?" Basically because no one else has one. Good enough for us! Looking forward to it.
Watch for more Salvo updates throughout the season!
- Steve Koreivo, ed.