Sunday, September 06, 2009
- The future is very bright at QB with Zac Lee and Cody Green. Zac Lee was arguably better than advertised. Tell me you weren't excited when Rex Burkhead and Cody Green were in the backfield yesterday. Said Burkhead,
"He was getting excited when he knew he was coming in, for me to be in the backfield him. It's kind of that Texas thing. It was fun to be back there with him. You develop a bond with him, and hopefully it carries on for the next few years."
- What a pleasant surprise to see one of the fastest guys in college football show a nice set of hands. Curenski Gilleylen and Zac Lee look as if they have a great connection on the field.
- This comment I made - "Nebraska has two running backs of Derrick Washington's (Missouri) caliber" - was back when Quentin Castille was still on board and of course, I was ripped by all of my friends on TigerBoard (I've even been called a ****ing cockbag there out of the blue so I wouldn't expect anything less). And for you Missouri fans, I do think Blaine Gabbert looked great. But guess what, I wouldn't trade Roy Helu for Derrick Washington right now. No way. If Roy stays healthy, there's a real chance he could be looking at an All-Conference bid in 2009. Here's your NCAA leaders after week 1:
|1. Ralph Bolden (Purdue)||21||234||2|
|2. Joe Webb (QB, UAB)||20||194||2|
|3. Montario Hardesty (Tenn.)||18||160||1|
|4. Shawnbrey McNeal. (SMU)||19||158||1|
|5. Jordan Todman (UConn)||25||157||1|
|6. Matt Asiata (Utah)||36||156||2|
|7. Roy Helu Jr. (Neb.)||16||152||3|
Best. Post-game news conference outfit. Ever. Here's the video.
- Our defense gets it. Whether or not Bo Pelini wants to admit it, this defense is much improved. How good is Cameron Meredith going to be?
- Overall, even though the statistics didn't necessarily show it, Nebraska was impressive.
Still, too many penalties. But, as I've hit on before, the turnover margin needed to improve this season and it did. It's so very important.
- Losing RB Darren Evans certainly hurts the Virginia Tech team. However, I also happen to think they're not great by any means, and I really do think Virginia Tech is beatable in Blacksburg for Nebraska. I'm not saying we are going to win - yet, but there's no question we have a chance to. In last year's game in Lincoln, the Huskers had two turnovers that ultimately cost them the game 30-35.
- Next week's opponent, Arkansas State, looked great even though it was against Mississippi Valley State. They'll be a better test than Florida Atlantic.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
And here we go again.
4* CB Anterio Sloan (West Helena, Arkansas) has opened his recruiting back up and from what he says, I wouldn't get real excited about his chances of suiting up for the Huskers next fall (link.) Says Anterio:
"Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State are on me real hard," the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Sloan said. "Those are the only three schools on me real hard. Auburn hasn't offered yet, but they've been sending me a ton of mail."
"I'm also thinking I really want to see how Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State are going to be. They are the schools recruiting me the hardest so they probably have the edge right now. I'd say it would be Auburn at the top and then Kentucky and then Mississippi State and then Nebraska. That would be my top four."
Evidently, junk mail is the way to win over this kid's heart. Nebraska's failure to recruit Anterio 'real hard' might have something to do with the fact that he committed back on April 5th. The best part about his list is that Auburn sits at the top. Not only has Anterio not visited the school, but Auburn has yet to offer him. Anterio's just one recruit and by what he just recently said, I'm not sure if he's the right fit here anyway.
With Keeston Terry recently decommitting in favor of Kansas and now Sloan on his way to the SEC, Nebraska's list for 2010 sits at a cool five. Take a look at how Nebraska compares to the Big 12 right now courtesy of Scout:
We're not exactly Iowa State or Colorado right now, but then again we don't need to be worrying about that. We do have a solid five recruits and that is reflected by the 'average ranking' there. The problem is that number is only five and right now it's not close to Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Missouri, and Kansas - never mind Oklahoma and Texas.
It's August and I know we will fill this class by February. However, take a look at the recruits we have lined up for visits this fall in Lincoln right here. 10 recruits is all and one of those is Donovan Vestal. While these other schools continue to fill up their classes while ours continues to fluctuate around five, the pool of recruits we have to choose from begins to dwindle down. Let's get the ball rolling here.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Don't tell Howard Schnellenberger that his 22-point underdog Florida Atlantic Owls don't have a chance against Nebraska on September 5th. In fact, if this video tells you anything, it's that he can't wait to get another crack at taking down the Huskers.
Until then, bear with us and we hope you enjoy the switch. See you on the flip side.
P.S. - The 'Smokeshow of the Week' will be on the main stage today (not here)...
Apparently, it was love at first site for Quentin according to his mom, Wanda:
“As mom, I kind of stepped out of it because I didn’t want any influence on his decision. But I do know he talked about liking the coaching staff that was there ... and he said he felt a chemistry with the players when he got there.”Castille said that he hopes to play vs. Houston on September 5th - which is 20 miles from his hometown. The Demons are coached by Bradley Dale Peveto, who was a linebackers coach under Bo Pelini at LSU. Obviously, Bo still thinks highly enough of Quentin to refer him to a former colleague.
Maybe I'm wrong, but the direction I see Quentin taking here is the fastest, most direct path to the NFL. After this season, Quentin qualifies under the '3-year rule' and will be able to enter the NFL draft next April. I'm not seeing this move having anything to do with academics but having everything to do with getting on the field as soon as possible and dominating for a season. No question he's already in game shape and no question he has the size and speed to turn the NFL scouts' heads when he will more than likely hit the combine this winter.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
"Doesn’t matter whether it’s the beginning, end, middle. It doesn’t really matter, does it? .... We're not a real good football team right now, for a lot of reasons. No one's stepped up and taken control. Bunch of average guys running around out there right now."Video courtesy of the OWH:
- 2005 First-Team Freshman All-American (Football Writers, Rivals.com, ESPN.com)
- 2005 First-Team Freshman All-Big 12 (The Sporting News)
- 2005 Second-Team All-Big 12 (AP, San Antonio Express News, Austin American-Statesman, Kansas City Star)
- Nebraska Record for Field Goals in a Season (19)
- First Nationally Among Freshmen in Field Goal Accuracy (.826)
- Tied For 16th Nationally and Second in Big 12 in FG per Game (1.58)
- 2006 Preseason Second-Team All-Big 12 (Lindy’s)
- 2006 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Watch List
- 2006 Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll
- 2005 Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll
"Hopefully it will help me in games. I'll go in there with more confidence than maybe a guy that didn't have all the reps in games. He's going to be there all season and if I'm not doing my job, I know they're not going have any problem putting him in."Jordan was awarded a scholarship for his hard work. Can't say I won't be hoping he has a successful season with the Trojans.
"Show your true colors with Bud Light. This year, only Bud Light is delivering superior drinkability in 12-ounce cans that were made for gameday."The beer company is planning on selling 27 different color combinations of their Bud Light cans specifically targeted at certain schools and their fan bases. And although the cans don't bear the school's name, the colors just so happen to directly coincide with the school colors. I think it's a brilliant marketing idea for a company that has seen it's first decline in sales in over 25 years, but don't tell that to school administrators. Any school that has written or voiced a formal complaint has been dropped from the promotion.
And as you could have guessed, don't count on grabbing your red and white Bud Light cans anywhere in Nebraska anytime soon. Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne is leading the cause to have the Anheuser-Busch distributors not join in on the fun across the state. In fact, only one distributor in Nebraska - Sandhills Distributing in North Platte, Neb - has received a shipment of red and white cans, but they have yet to send any out.
Along with the Nebraska, so far you won't find any of these cans in Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Massachusetts - just to name a few. However, if you are planning on traveling to a game this fall in Ames, expect to get to the beer store early if you want a "Maroon and Gold" can. Rich Parizek - of Campustown Liquor near Iowa State University - said 'it was a great idea' and these cans have been 'selling like hotcakes.'
For more information on these cans, you can visit Bud Light's 'Tailgate Approved' here.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Some interesting things taken from Jon Nyatawa of the OWH after practice on Tuesday:
- Cody Green has emerged ahead of Latravis Washington and is now the #2 QB behind Zac Lee. According to Shawn Watson, Green has been "making better decisions." It should be interesting to see what type of playing time Green will get in the first two games. Obviously, the redshirt debate is over with now. How about Cody Green and Rex Burkhead in the same backfield vs. Florida Atlantic? Uh, yeah!
- Although Watson wants a group of seven receivers to rotate this season, it appears only one - Niles Paul - has cemented himself in the rotation. I still expect some of the veterans - Menelik Holt and Chris Brooks namely - to have by far their best seasons as Huskers. Also, you have to know by now that our tight ends are going to put up big numbers and take some of the burden off of this group. In fact, don't be shocked if we see Mike McNeill put up Jermaine Gresham type of numbers this season.
- It sounds as if Marcus Mendoza is already feeling comfortable back at running back. Said Mendoza,
“I had kind of talked to the coaches about it before, and then the situation (with Quentin Castille) happened, and then made the switch back.I’m not going back thinking that I earned anything just because I've been there. I know I’ve got to compete and work for a job, and that's what I'm doing."His time working with the receivers should prove to be a valuable asset when we need to rely on the passing game. I've always been a fan of Mendoza's speed and elusiveness. It's just a shame that he can't grow to 6'1, 235 lbs on third and short.
- With DJ Jones pushing Marcel Jones at right tackle and Andy Christensen battling Ricky Henry at guard, the offensive line is proving to be deep. I'd still be very surprised, however, if Ricky Henry and Marcel Jones don't start.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Theaters in Columbus, OH, Hartford, CN, Hurst, TX, and the Galen Center on the USC campus will be showing the game in 3D and the only way to watch is to win tickets through the ESPN radio affiliate in those cities.
In fact, ESPN will have its own 3D crew - Bob Davie and Mark Jones - as well as have the regular 2D crew of Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters on ESPN and ESPN HD.
Will a three-dimensional Erin Andrews be coming to a home near you? Very likely...
Besides Thunder's friends, guess who else is a bunch of snitches?? That's right, Tennessee.
This is just one more opportunity to show one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time from the DXP archives. That's right, it's the 'I Hate Tennessee' Alabama fan. Unlike Thunder's buddies, you gotta love this guy.
Monday, August 24, 2009
"A Douglas County jury has found former Nebraska running back Thunder Collins guilty of first-degree murder and other charges.
The panel of six men and six women, who began deliberating Friday afternoon, returned the verdict about 2 p.m. today.
Prosecutors had urged the jury to convict Collins of first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and three counts of weapon use. He was found guilty on the murder and assault charges.Collins attorney, Steve Lefler, said that prosecutors failed to prove their case, contending they rushed to judgment and relied on drug dealers, thieves and liars to build their case against Collins.
Timothy Thomas, 38, died after being shot while cutting cocaine out of an SUV in the garage of a home near 70th Circle and Military Avenue on Sept. 23, 2008. His cousin, Marshall Turner, was wounded in the shooting.
Prosecutors told the jury that Collins had the two California drug dealers bring cocaine to Omaha to make quick and easy money. Collins and another man then pounced, shooting the men on Sept. 23 during an attempt to rob them of more than a kilo of cocaine, according to trial testimony.Collins did not testify during the two-week-long trial. Lefler suggested that Collins' one-time friend, Ahmad Johnson, was the mastermind of the robbery, nothing that Johnson has a previous robbery conviction."
Some quotes taken from Sherman's post:
Tom Inman, Burkhead’s former basketball coach:The nicknames for Burkhead are going to plentiful to begin with, but I just wonder what's going to stick.“I remember five years ago when everybody told me Rex Burkhead was going to be a middle school stud, high school dud. I told them, ‘You’re crazy.’ For all those people who say he’s overrated, just wait four more years until he’s turned that Nebraska program around. You don’t know how much Rex would just love to be a kid named Rex from Texas. Those days are gone, but he is still so amazingly uncomfortable with all the attention.””Harvard defensive end Reid McCann, Burkhead’s former prep foe at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas:"I’ll tell you right now, you don’t ever doubt Rex Burkhead. Call me in four years, because I’m sure people will doubt that he’s going to do it in the NFL. But he’ll always prove you wrong. I’m a huge Rex Burkhead fan, because I know that no matter what, he wants it more than you do.”
So how crazy is Dr. Lou?? There's no question he's out of his mind most of the time and his history of picking Notre Dame in every game the past few seasons shouldn't make you believe otherwise. However, he's not as far off on this topic as some are making him to be and I can try to tell you why.
The other day Corn Nation brought up the question of whether Notre Dame should even be ranked to Irish blogger Rakes Of Mallow. I believe Rakes Of Mallow put it best by saying, "As an Irish fan, I'm trained not to be optimistic, but dammit, this team could be good. I'm also completely and totally prepared for the team to lose to Nevada, but you should have them ranked."
I'm on Rakes' side here.
Before you roll your eyes, let's look at a few points regarding the Irish for the upcoming season that I probably should have explained before in my BlogPoll post.
First, Notre Dame has it all coming back. 15 starters return for a team that went 7-6 last season. And in that 2008 season, Notre Dame blew 3 double-digit leads - North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse - that could have put them at 10 wins depending on what bowl game opponent they might have faced.
Along with Qb Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame returns their entire backfield with Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, James Aldridge, and Jonas Gray (remember him, Husker fans?). Also back are WR's Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, and Duval Kamara as well as TE's Kyle Rudolph and Mike Ragone. That's easily one of the best receiving groups in the country that Clausen has the luxury of throwing the ball to. And all but one of those aforementioned skill position players (only one senior in the group) were rated in the Top 13 for their positions out of high school - the only one who wasn't was Golden Tate. Also returning on offense is what many consider by far their best O-line of the century that includes 8 of the top 10 on the depth chart from a year ago - including 4 starters. The offense should be great.
On the defensive side of the ball, 6 starters are back from a team that finished #39 in total defense a year ago. In the secondary, Notre Dame returns 3 of 4 starters including the team's leading tackler in S Kyle McCarthy. Not included there is CB Darrin Walls, a former US Army All-American that sat out last season with injury. At LB, the Irish will have one of the top overall recruits out of high school from a year ago - Manti Te'O - as well as one of the top linebacker recruits from two years ago - Steve Filer. The defensive line will return only two starters, but will add Ethan Johnson (#2 DE in the 2008 recruiting class) into the lineup. This group will improve dramatically on their #45 rushing defense and their #50 ranking in sacks.
Consider the recruiting classes that are there right now.
- In 2006 - 8th ranked recruiting class.
- In 2007 - 8th ranked recruiting class.
- In 2008 - 2nd ranked recruiting class.
- In 2009 - 21st ranked recruiting class.
No fewer than 16 players from the very highly-touted 2007 and 2008 classes (juniors and sophomores) are projected to start this season. Remember that Notre Dame (for the most part) doesn't redshirt players so these players have had only one and two years in the program before this season. This season will be their second and third years which will obviously make an enormous difference.
On paper, it's all there.
Second and most importantly, you MUST consider this schedule.
2009 Notre Dame Football Schedule
Sept. 5 NEVADA
Sept. 12 at Michigan
Sept. 19 MICHIGAN STATE
Sept. 26 at Purdue
Oct. 3 WASHINGTON
Oct. 10 Open Date
Oct. 17 USC
Oct. 24 BOSTON COLLEGE
Oct. 31 vs. Washington State (at San Antonio, Texas)
Nov. 7 NAVY
Nov. 14 at Pittsburgh
Nov. 21 CONNECTICUT
Nov. 28 at Stanford
Go ahead and pick out one game other than USC where they wouldn't be a favorite in Las Vegas right now. You can't.
And before you're quick to write off that October 17th USC game in South Bend, remember that the Trojans return only 3 starters on defense as well as they must replace Mark Sanchez with either Aaron Corp or Matt Barkley - neither of whom have ever thrown a pass in college. In the 2005 "Bush-Push" game where USC escaped with a 34-31 win, you saw a much better USC team than you'll see this season.
The rest of the schedule has only 4 true road games. Furthermore, if you eliminate USC from that miserable group, the best team they'll play is #28 and #30 ranked Pittsburgh - who is still coached by the 'Stache.
So what has talent at Notre Dame done for Charlie Weis thus far? Absolutely nothing. In fact, Notre Dame's 15 losses the past two seasons are the most in school history. Furthermore, Weis' overall winning % in 4 seasons is lower than Ty Willingham's and Bob Davie's.
Why should we expect anything different from the Irish in 2009 as opposed to 2008? We shouldn't. However, understand that this is without a doubt the most talented team Weis has had and they're going to win at least 9 games this season based on the combination of experience and weaker opponents.
If Notre Dame would finish 11-1 would they deserve to be in the BCS title game? Probably not if there's another one loss team, but there's a good chance that they might play in it regardless. And guess what? If they do lose two games somewhere in that schedule, then they'll still probably go to a BCS game. That's the 'rule' with Notre Dame as they did so in 2005 and 2006.
Part of the preseason speculation involving this sport and the arguments that ensue from sometimes absurd predictions are what helps make this the best game in America. Sometimes you're a genius and sometimes you're an idiot. The bottom line is that you just never know.
I'll get back to you in October.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The 1919 Black Sox
The infamous tale of the 1919 Black Sox is perhaps the most well-known sports betting scandal of all time. For that year, the Chicago White Sox played the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. After the series, it was discovered that eight of the White Sox players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, had intentionally lost the series. Purportedly, the games were thrown in exchange for money, paid out by New York gangster Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein, naturally used the thrown Series to earn a tidy sum in illegal sports bets.
Point-Shaving in College Basketball
In 1951, a vast point-shaving scam was uncovered in the NCAA. Point-shaving is a type of sports betting scandal that requires players to intentionally miss shots or otherwise orchestrate game play to ensure that his team does not score enough points to cover the spread. Thanks to the investigation, it was determined that at least 86 college basketball games between the years of 1947 and 1951 had been fixed.
In the fallout of the scandal, 20 college players were indicted, convicted and banned from ever being able to play in the NBA. Several coaching careers were also ruined.
Pete Rose was banned in 1989 for illegal sports betting. At the time, he was the general manager for the Cincinnati Reds. Though he initially denied ever betting on baseball, Rose eventually admitted to the scandal. Even later, he admitted to betting on virtually every Reds game during the time in question. Though no proof exists that Rose ever bet against the Reds, he nevertheless was banned for life from the MLB. Beyond losing a promising career as a manager, Pete Rose also lost eligibility for entry into the Hall of Fame (an honor that would have been inevitable).
Saturday, August 22, 2009
"Quentin Castille was not on the practice field Saturday, his third day of missed practices, and head coach Bo Pelini said following practice that he has been dismissed from the team."Rumors have it that it has to do with multiple failed drug tests but nobody has said for certain that was the case. If that is the case, then I'm not sure what that does to Castille's chances of playing in the NCAA again - if they were the ones who caught him. If it was Pelini that had the final say, I assume Castille could sit out a year and play somewhere other than the Big 12. As I said, I'm not sure about any of that right now.
No doubt this will certainly send a blow to Shawn Watson's 2009 power rushing game - especially on short yardage situations. Castille was a back that could be heavily relied upon to pick up a yard when you needed it most.
Marcus Mendoza has been back at running back, which obviously has to have something to do with this. Mendoza might be there for the time being basically to serve as a crutch to a group of running backs that has R-Fr. Collins Okafor, R-Fr. Lester Ward, So. Austin Jones, and true freshman Rex Burkhead.
Not much any of us can do about this except hope that one of these guys is ready to pick up some of the slack that will be needed to spell Helu this fall. They're going to have to be ready.
Let the legend of Rex Burkhead begin.
**Update** via the OWH:
"Quentin Castille has been dismissed from the football team. He is no longer a member of the football team. We have guidelines. We have policies that we've set up here. We have a culture we have set up here. It's pretty black and white, my expectations and what we lay out as a staff. And if someone doesn't follow those policies and guidelines, they're no longer going to be with the football team. And that's the case with Quentin. We wish him luck. He's a good kid. He's just not going to be with our program anymore. I wish him luck in the future."Also from Jon Nyatawa of the OWH:
"Without Castille, Pelini said Rex Burkhead was working as the clear No. 2 I-back behind junior Roy Helu.
The second-year coach declined to elaborate on the reason for Castille's dismissal and said no NU players or other coaches would discuss the situation."
For his rivals profile, click here.
For his scout profile, click here.
For his ESPN Scouts, Inc. profile, click here.
I haven't been able to dig up any video on Vestal for you yet, but he did choose Nebraska over Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Baylor, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas State, Houston and SMU.
Another interesting nugget is that Vestal's cousin, Christian Matthews, currently plays for Kansas. In fact, as recently as July Vestal was quoted as saying, "I love Kansas. I love everything about them. I just need to visit, which will happen after July 4th sometime. I haven't picked a date yet, and I need to speak with Coach Beaty, but I will visit."
That's great. Just don't pull a Keeston Terry.
|AP Top 25|
|1. Florida (58) 0-0 1,498|
|2. Texas (2) 0-0 1,424|
|3. Oklahoma 0-0 1,370|
|4. USC 0-0 1,313|
|5. Alabama 0-0 1,156|
|6. Ohio State 0-0 1,113|
|7. Virginia Tech 0-0 1,054|
|8. Mississippi 0-0 1,047|
|9. Oklahoma State 0-0 989|
|9. Penn State 0-0 989|
|11. LSU 0-0 914|
|12. California 0-0 746|
|13. Georgia 0-0 714|
|14. Boise State 0-0 659|
|15. Georgia Tech 0-0 593|
|16. Oregon 0-0 587|
|17. TCU 0-0 521|
|18. Florida State 0-0 307|
|19. Utah 0-0 289|
|20. Brigham Young 0-0 267|
|21. North Carolina 0-0 261|
|22. Iowa 0-0 229|
|23. Notre Dame 0-0 225|
|24. Nebraska 0-0 207|
|25. Kansas 0-0 134|
Others Receiving VotesOregon State 122, Illinois 105, Pittsburgh 103, Michigan State 100, Rutgers 83, Texas Tech 76, West Virginia 57, Cincinnati 44, Clemson 42, Miami (FL) 40, East Carolina 30, Tennessee 15, Arizona 13, North Carolina State 10, Boston College 9, Central Michigan 7, Auburn 7, UCLA 7, Northwestern 5, South Florida 3, Southern Miss 3, Vanderbilt 3, Missouri 3, South Carolina 2, Nevada 1, Arkansas 1, Houston 1, TROY 1, Tulsa 1.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A member of the fan base that you can watch cheer on Coach Solich and his Bobcats is none other than this week's smokeshow, Becca. Becca is an aspiring bikini model with an unknown major. Nonetheless, she's in college and thus is more than qualified for this.
According to yesterday's OWH article, Tim Beck named five players who are competing for the roles. They are Niles Paul, Curenski Gilleylen, Alfonzo Dennard, Tim Marlowe, and Rex Burkhead.
Here is what the unit did a season ago.
- NCAA Rank: #21
- Returns: 31
- Yards: 376
- TDs: 1
- Avg/Return: 12.13
- NCAA Rank: #48
- Returns: 57
- Yards: 1245
- TDs: 1
- Avg/Return: 21.84
PUNT RETURNS No. Yds Avg TD Long
Swift, Nate 23 296 12.9 1 88
Paul, Niles 8 80 10.0 0 28
Total.......... 31 376 12.1 1 88
KICK RETURNS No. Yds Avg TD Long
Paul, Niles 41 969 23.6 1 85
Dennard, Alfonzo 8 150 18.8 0 31
Lawson, Thomas 3 31 10.3 0 20
Gilleylen, C. 2 48 24.0 0 26
Asante, Larry 2 31 15.5 0 20
Teafatiller, H. 1 16 16.0 0 16
Total.......... 57 1245 21.8 1 85
Clearly, the loss of Nate Swift will matter as he fielded 23 of the Husker's 31 punts last season. Niles Paul fielded the other 8 to some mixed reviews, which would include the muff in the Gator Bowl. For some reason, I never got the feeling he was comfortable back there.
With that being said, the job of returning punts and kickoffs will probably be Niles Paul's to begin the season. Said Paul yesterday about last year, "I missed a couple holes and a couple holes closed up by the time I hit them. We had a lot of missed opportunities on kick returns. But I felt like I was getting better and better as the year progressed. I started out inexperienced. It's a different level of speed out there. I feel like this year I know what to expect now."
Paul's athleticism, size, and experience should be a valuable asset. However, if he's not heads and tails above the rest, then do we really need our best receiver exposing himself to the possible injuries that come along with this job?
If there's ever been a viable candidate on paper to return punts or kicks, it's Curenski Gilleylen. The 6'0 ft, 210 lb. sophomore hasn't had much of an opportunity to play (2 career receptions, 2 kickoff returns), but the fact that he has hands and was clocked at 10.22 in the 100 meter dash in high school says it all. Said Gilleylen, “when you're in high school, you can just run and everything will open up for you. But you have to definitely hit the holes where Coach wants the holes hit. You have to set up blocks. But you have to pick up your speed and it's not like you can be too patient.'' It sounds like he's learning and if there's no fear factor involved, then I'd love to see other teams try to catch him.
Alfonzo Dennard had his moments last season returning kickoffs and I was surprised that he only returned 8. It sounds as if he's getting a hard look again for 2009, but with his role sure to increase dramatically at corner this season, he might be on reserve.
I have the feeling that Rex Burkhead is going to become legendary during his time at Nebraska. Said Shawn Watson, “He's surprised all of us with his maturity. He gets football. He's doing things that you wouldn't expect freshmen to do. He's doing things that really you wouldn't expect him to do until a year from this time. So he came here ready to play football.” In other words, he's not redshirting.
At 5'11, 200 lbs. with a 325 lb. bench and a 500 lb. squat, Burkhead's ready to play. There's a good chance Burkhead could soon see himself as high as 3rd on the depth chart at running back, and I think it's fair to say the coaches are going to play him any chance they can get if the redshirt is off the table. Special teams would be the perfect opportunity.
If by chance you haven't seen highlights of Burkhead, then watch:
Then of course there's Tim Marlowe, Bo Pelini's fellow Cardinal Mooney High alum. Marlowe was voted the Offensive Scout Team Co-MVP last season and possesses plenty of athleticism to fill the job. When I think of Tim Marlowe, Josh Davis immediately comes to mind. Again, he's another one that needs to see the field this season and special teams might be his forte.
Regardless of who plays, this group of five should be strong in 2009. As Paul stated, it took most of last season to finally get with the flow of things. The fact is that these players have been coached a year - with the exception of Burkhead - and it sounds like they are getting it. The importance of returning kicks should never be underestimated and this group should give the Huskers a good opportunity to improve on last year's 9 wins.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Since this is the first poll and it's due on Monday, I went ahead and put it together. In the future, I'll post the drafts so I can get your feedback and make adjustments accordingly.
Here's the official DXP preseason poll:
A few items I should explain:
- I'm not exactly on the Ole Miss bandwagon this season as I don't think they're elite by any means. However, if you could draw up an easier schedule for any SEC team, then let me know.
- I also struggled with putting Alabama as high as I did with only 4 starters returning on offense. Nonetheless, if they can get by a Va. Tech team minus Darren Evans in week one, then they have only 4 road games remaining with the toughest one of those being @ Auburn. A lucky break for Saban as they'll be favored in every game with the exception of maybe Ole Miss, and that's a big maybe.
- Notre Dame should be favored in all but one game this season - @ home vs. USC. Most of the Top 25 would go 11-1 with their schedule. This team has talent and I think they'll get 10 wins.
- BYU gets a fairly high ranking despite their first week draw vs. Oklahoma that will set them 0-1 and a tough one in Provo vs. Florida State on September 19th. However, both TCU and Utah must play in the Temple this season which should put them back on top of the MWC.
- I have Rutgers and Pittsburgh ranked. Before you second guess me, take a look at their schedules and tell me how either team won't win at least 9 games.
- Miami, FL's first four games - @ Florida State, vs. Georgia Tech, @ Virginia Tech, vs. Oklahoma - are crucial and winnable for this team with 16 returning starters. If they go 2-2, 8 or 9 wins should be expected.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Florida Opens Up At -73 Points Over Charleston Southern; Everyone (but the fans) Is Laughing All The Way To The Bank
Ron Morris of 'The State' newspaper in South Carolina posted an online column yesterday which explained Charleston's reasoning for accepting this massacre vs. Florida:
"The good things to happen to Charleston Southern – other than maybe covering the point spread – will be the tremendous national exposure it gets and the $450,000 check it will receive from Florida.
Leading up to the game and all day Sept.5, Charleston Southern's name will be displayed on ESPN. No school, particularly one with an enrollment of 3,201 students, can afford to purchase that kind of publicity.With the $450,000, Charleston Southern plans to add a field house at CSU Stadium. It will include an academic resource center for athletes and enough locker room space so its teams no longer must share lockers."
The Wiz of Odds explains why the BCS needs a stronger 'strength-of-schedule component' in its rankings as well as how it's the fans that are getting taken advantage of here:
The Wiz also probes a little deeper into the Gators by saying, "Florida last played an out-of-state regular season nonconference game in 1991, a 38-21 loss at Syracuse. The Gators last played a regular season game west of the Mississippi in 1983 when they traveled to USC and battled the Trojans to a 19-19 tie."
"These issues impact you, the fan. Aren't you tired of paying higher prices for tickets and getting less? And if you want decent seats, you have to give money to the alumni association. All this in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. What are you getting in return? Charleston Southern?
College football has become nothing short of a scam, with coaches making millions of dollars and abusing fan rights by scheduling creampuff opponents in order to 1) go to a bowl game and 2) get another year on a rollover contract. Athletic directors, whose employment is often tied to the success of the football program, simply play along.
The excuses given for such behavior are 1) the conference schedule is so brutally tough, we have to schedule a couple of creampuffs and 2) we need a seventh or eighth home game to pay the bills.Cry me a river. It's a man's sport, so try acting like one and play somebody. As for paying the bills, try exercising some fiscal responsibility, especially when it comes to awarding multimillion dollar contracts to coaches."
Earlier this week, Paul Gattis of the Alabama Times had some interesting things to say about the non-conference schedules as a whole for the SEC:
This is what the monster known as the BCS has come to. It has come to having an elite conference such as the SEC schedule nothing but guaranteed wins in the non-conference that will ensure them a stronger BCS ranking in the end as well as a paycheck that will be just as profitable vs. a team like Eastern Michigan as opposed to a Top 30 or 40 team. Nothing more, nothing less.
***Ten of the 12 teams scheduled at least one Division I-AA opponent. Ole Miss scheduled two I-AAs.
***Of the 48 SEC non-conference games, only six (12.5 percent) are against teams in the USA Today coaches Top 25 preseason poll. Three of those six are against Georgia Tech -- who is an honorary member of the SEC this season.
***Georgia is the only SEC team to face two teams in the USA Today coaches Top 25 preseason poll.***And most embarrassing: The SEC seeks out the weakest programs in Division I to beat up on. Not only does the SEC feast on Division I-AA cupcakes, apparently they love to snack on the minnows of Division I. According to Sports Illustrated, which ranked all 120 teams in Division I, SEC teams have scheduled:
No. 120 -- Western Kentucky
No. 119 -- North Texas
No. 116 -- Louisiana-Lafayette
No. 115 -- Florida International (2 SEC teams)
No. 114 -- Eastern Michigan
No. 113 -- Miami (Ohio)
No. 112 -- UAB
No. 110 -- Louisiana-Monroe
No. 109 -- Middle Tennessee
No. 107 -- Rice
No. 106 -- Tulane
No. 102 -- Army
No. 98 -- Memphis (2 SEC teams)
No. 93 -- Florida Atlantic
It's not going to matter what you or I think about this. We still pay money to see these games and if we don't, someone else will.
Maybe it's me, but I just can't make sense of any of this:
- The NCAA expanded the schedule to 12 games because...?
- The Big 10, Pac-10, and Big East won't play a conference championship game because...?
- By creating a playoff in Division 1, the NCAA would interfere with the student-athletes' academic schedules how...?
- The student-athletes in Division 1-AA, 2, and 3 have time for a playoff because...?
**Update: Thanks to Dr. Saturday's diligent fact checking (and a trip to the paper stand), the line on the game is 63!**
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Whether you like to gamble or not, it's always interesting to take in some gaming angles from some of Vegas' finest sports handicappers - especially in college football.
Consider this my early holiday present to you, football gamblers and statistics enthusiasts alike.
DXP and Dr. Bob Stoll from 'Dr. Bob Sports' will be forming a partnership throughout the fall that will feature in-depth angles and wagering advice on Husker games, Big 12 games, and a few other select games from around the country each week.
About what he will bring you here:
If you aren't buying into that, then read "The Man Who Shook Up Vegas" from the Wall Street Journal and watch this ESPN E60 story:Dr. Bob's website can be accessed by clicking on the link and there you can look a little deeper into his past to view his credibility. You can also view other television interviews as well as samples from last season. You are also given the opportunity to purchase single game and season packages - if you so choose - which are very reasonable. Take a look for yourself.
"Dr. Bob is widely considered the most influential sports handicapper in the nation, and his betting recommendations regularly move point spreads by several points. Bob Stoll has been analyzing professional and college sports since his days studying statistics at UC Berkeley in the mid-80’s and his advanced mathematical models and knowledge of personnel allow him to forecast the outcomes of games with incredible accuracy. In 2007, both the Wall Street Journal and ESPN E60 ran stories describing his success, and he has also appeared twice on CNBC as well as on ABC and KTVU.Useful not only within the sports betting realm, his write-ups also bring a unique, quantitative perspective to the casual fan. While most analysts value teams on what they’ve done, Bob works to find the hidden stories behind the statistics that describe what is most likely to happen in the future.
In fact, the average annual return on investment playing his Best Bets in football and basketball is an incredible 73% over the last 10 years.
Dr. Bob has a very realistic approach to sports betting (you will never hear him refer to a game as a “Lock”) and, in the long run, if you follow his Best Bet advice and use a disciplined money management strategy YOU WILL WIN.
We look forward to posting his thoughts on some of College Football’s biggest games."
This is going to be a win-win for everyone here. If it wasn't, trust me I wouldn't put it here. This will no doubt be an exciting opportunity to have an extremely credible sports handicapper join us this fall with his statistical models and analysis.
Just win, baby.
On a somewhat related note, let's hope Bo's brother, Barrett, can continue to excel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. In Barrett's first three seasons in the NFL, he has recorded a total of 325 tackles - including a career high of 137 last season.
Monday, August 17, 2009
"5. Matt Davison -- Nebraska wide receiver, 1997-2000And in case you didn't know, Forde is a 1987 graduate of the University of Missouri. Go figure.
Hated by: Missouri, Michigan.
Claim to Infamy: Davison was the previously anonymous guy on the receiving end of the flea-kicker, a pass that altered the course of the 1997 season. Trailing 38-31 against Missouri on the last play of regulation, the pass flew from Cornhuskers quarterback Scott Frost to wingback Shevin Wiggins -- who did not catch it, instead kicking it into the air as he fell to the ground. Davison then dove in out of nowhere to cradle the ball inches above the ground for the tying touchdown. Nebraska went on to win in overtime and share the national championship with Michigan, which would have had the title to itself if the officials had correctly called the play an illegal catch after the kick."
Let me help Forde out as I think he might have omitted one from the 'Hated By' list up there. It's the kid at the Nebraska-Oklahoma State basketball game last February in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Said Sean Callahan:
"Somebody from the crowd was given the chance to shoot a halfcourt shot for money and their option was they could shoot it or Davison could. The winner chose to shoot himself and missed ... they gave Davison a shot just for fun, and he nailed it. Some guys are just clutch I guess."
Gotta love Davison running around and high-fiving the crowd. That kid was pissed.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Every number - 'other than Nos. 20, 60 and 64 (permanently retired jersey numbers for Johnny Rodgers, Tom Novak and Bob Brown) and Nos. 61, 72 and 97 (numbers not currently assigned)' - will go to the highest bidder (minimum $500) and by the looks on things so far, you better be ready to pony up. For example, although Ndamukong Suh has already sweated through his #93 jersey, his uniform is currently sitting at a cool $1,700 as of this post and there are still 51 days to go.
If you want to make a bid or if you want to simply see how the auction is going, click here and have at it. 'Funds generated from this auction will directly benefit University of Nebraska student-athletes.'
And no, the winners of DXP's college pick 'em contests will not be getting a throwback uniform.