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Post Spring Top 25

Sports Illustrataed released their post spring top 25, which features two Mountain West teams- Utah and TCU- as well as some of their opponents.  Below will be just the opponents and schools from the MWC.

BYU just missed the cut, somewhat odd because they won 10 games for their third straight year.  With senior QB Max Hall, RB Harvey Unga, and TE Dennis Pita returning one would think BYU would be on the list.

Perhaps their defense which suffered last year is the reason, and losing WR Austin Collie to the NFL draft.

As of this list it is safe to say that the MWC will face at least these three opponents as ranked opponents in the fall.  The Mountai West is trying to beef up its schedule to get more national respect in these game.

Number 25 on the list is Notre Dame, and I do not buy it until they start winning games.

Oklahoma Sooners
2008 Record: 12-2
Returning Starters: 14 (5 offense, 9 defense)

Key returnees: QB Sam Bradford, RBs DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Mossis Madu, TE Jermaine Gresham, DT Gerald McCoy. Spring star: DE Frank Alexander. Auston English and Jeremy Beal should start, but opposing offensive tackles won’t get a break when Alexander rotates into the lineup. Spring recap: Unlike last year, the Sooners knew plenty about their defense heading into spring. This year, they needed to find four new offensive line starters to play in front of Heisman Trophy-winner Bradford and the three-headed monster of Murray, Brown and Madu. Williams has moved to left tackle, and he’ll have to lead a group that includes redshirt freshman C Ben Habern, OG Stephen Good, OG Brian Simmons and OT Cory Brandon.

Oregon Ducks
2008 Record: 10-3
Returning Starters: 12 (7 offense, 5 defense)
Key returnees: QB Jeremiah Masoli, RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Ed Dickson, LB Spencer Paysinger, CB Walter Thurmond. Spring star: C Jordan Holmes. Holmes will draw the unenviable assignment of replacing Max Unger, a first-round draft pick. Spring recap: There should be little dropoff now that Chip Kelly has replaced Mike Bellotti as head coach. Despite a somewhat inexperienced line, Kelly will have plenty of talent on offense. Defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti has an excellent group of linebackers at his disposal in Paysinger, Casey Matthews and Eddie Pleasant.
TCU Horned Frogs
2008 Record: 11-2
Returning Starters: 10 (6 offense, 4 defense)

Key returnees: QB Andy Dalton, RB Joseph Turner, WR Jimmy Young, OT Marshall Newhouse, DE Jerry Hughes, K Ross Evans. Spring star: QB Casey Pachall. The early enrollee from Brownwood, Texas, won’t unseat incumbent starter Dalton, but through no fault of his own, Pachall already has caused a mini-controversy. Spring recap: The Horned Frogs will enter the season as potential BCS busters. Hughes should continue to terrorize quarterbacks, and Newhouse should anchor a line that will help TCU hog the ball and keep its defense fresh. Last year, the Frogs led the nation in time of possession (35 minutes, 10 seconds per game).

Utah Utes
2008 Record: 13-0
Returning Starters: 11 (4 offense, 7 defense)

Key returnees: RB Matt Asiata, T Zane Beadles, DE Koa Misi, LB Stevenson Sylvester. Spring star: QB Jordan Wynn. The race to replace Brian Johnson was supposed to be between juniors Corbin Louks and Terrance Cain. Wynn, an early enrollee from Oceanside, Calif., made it a three-man race heading into preseason camp. Spring recap: The only undefeated team in 2008 faces a lot of uncertainty even after spring practice. Along with quarterback, center remains unsettled. The good news is the Utes boast plenty of depth at running back and defensive line, and cornerbacks Brandon Burton and R.J. Stanford should make fine replacements for Sean Smith and Brice McCain.

Florida State Seminoles
2008 Record: 9-4
Returning Starters: 13 (8 offense, 5 defense)
Key returnees: QB Christian Ponder, RB Jermaine Thomas, G Rodney Hudson, LB Dekoda Watson. Spring star: OT Andrew Datko, who started 11 games as a 270-pound true freshman in 2008, has bulked up and could be one of the ACC’s best tackles in 2009. Spring recap: The running game should be better with Thomas as the starter at tailback, but receiver remains a question mark. The Seminoles’ biggest disappointment this spring might have been an injury to redshirt freshman QB E.J. Manuel, who had been expected to push Ponder but wound up missing all but one practice. The defense remains a work-in-progress; freshman DT Jacobbi McDaniel and CB Greg Reid — who arrive in June — could contribute immediately.

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USA Today Coaches Poll Released

August 1st and the time has officially began for college football, at least for the casual fan.  The top 25 coaches poll was released, and there are a few surprises Steve Spurrier did not give his obligatory vote for Duke, Michigan is ranked 24th, and Kansas is ranked 13th and living off of last years success.

1. Georgia (22) 1,438
2. Southern California (14) 1,430
3. Ohio State (14) 1,392
4. Oklahoma (3) 1,329
5. Florida (5) 1,293
6. LSU (3) 1,163
7. Missouri 1,143
8. West Virginia 1,008
9. Clemson 999
10. Texas 979
11. Auburn 888
12. Wisconsin 747
13. Kansas 714
14. Texas Tech 644
15. Virginia Tech 568
16. Arizona State 560
17. Brigham Young 547
18. Tennessee 506
19. Illinois 422
20. Oregon 399
21. South Florida 350
22. Penn State 313
23. Wake Forest 203
24. Michigan 112
25. Fresno State 91

Others receiving votes

Alabama (7-6) 83; South Carolina (6-6) 64; Utah (9-4) 60; Florida State (7-6) 53; Rutgers (8-5) 53; Boston College (11-3) 47; California (7-6) 41; Pittsburgh (5-7) 34; Boise State (10-3) 25; Oregon State (9-4) 23; Nebraska (5-7) 17; Cincinnati (10-3) 13; Virginia (9-4) 12; Connecticut (9-4) 9; Michigan State (7-6) 9; Mississippi State (8-5) 6; Kentucky (8-5) 5; Notre Dame (3-9) 5; TCU (8-5) 5; Maryland (6-7) 4; North Carolina (4-8) 3; Texas A&M (7-6) 3; UCLA (6-7) 3; Central Florida (10-4) 2; Georgia Tech (7-6) 2; Louisville (6-6) 2; Arizona (5-7) 1; Colorado (6-7) 1; Oklahoma State (7-6) 1; Tulsa (10-4) 1.

BYU is the highest ranked Non-BCS and Mountain West team at 17 which sounds about right, Utah received votes and is at 28, and then TCU came in tied for 42 with 5 votes.

As for opponents the league plays this year there are many that received votes or are ranked starting with #3 Oklahoma, #24 Michigan, #18 Tennessee, Cal, Oregon State, UCLA, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Colorado, Arizona, and Tulsa.

The Michigan placement is odd, yes they always have talent and compete for a top 3 spot, within the 4th best conference this year, the Big 10.  Even in saying that they get a new coach who will be attempting run a completely different system, they lose starting players in QB Chad Henne, RB Mike Hart, WR Mario Manningham, and their top offensive line Chris Long all who were drafted in the NFL.

Respect is deserved but that many variables are hard to come by and to be ranked is questionable, it is too bad these polls decide so much in determining BCS games, but it is still very fun to speculate, so enjoy!

Previewing San Diego State Opponents: Notre Dame

Notre Dame was nothing special last year going 3-9 and Charlie Weiss is hoping that the lumps the team took last year will help this team this season.  The schedule is eased up this year from last year which should help this team improve.  This is the home opener for Notre Dame, but the Aztecs will have a game under their belt the week prior.  The Irish need improvement at every aspect of the team, especially offensively, and will this be the year that Charlie Weiss is going to prove is amazing coach gloss and able to win with his own players.  With top 10 recruiting classes for the past few years the Irish must be better, but a side note about those classes is that in my opinion recruiting services sometimes over value players if they are being recruited by big name programs.

Offense: Where to begin here?  The offense last year was just plain awful, they played multiple different quarterbacks with very little success if you want to even call it that.  The Irish return nine offensive starters and with hopes that number recruit Jimmy Clausen will live up to that hype after struggling to adjust to the college game last year.  The difference from last year to this year for Clausen is that he took all the reps with the number one offense and he added 18 pounds of muscle. 

The running back trio of Junior James Aldridge, sophomores Armando Allen, and Robert Hughes are neck-and-neck-and-neck in the race to be the Fighting Irish’s starting tailback, not because they all shined during the spring, but rather none emerged from the pack.  This is the same scenario as last year where a few showed signs of greatness, but then looked clueless at times.  The running game does not actually need a true starter or superstar, but good play and consistency.  However for the Irish to be really successful they need at least one back to emerge somewhat from the pack.  Hughes could be the darkhorse to gain the most of the reps, because he was the first Notre Dame true Freshman to rush for 100 yards in back to back games since 1982.

Wide outs are another of promise for Notre Dame starting with sophomores Duval Kamara lived up to the hype as a Freshman by setting school freshman records for receptions with 32 and touchdowns in four.  Kamara looks to improve off of those numbers last year and will look to be the go to guy for Clausen.  David Grimes and Robby Parris will round out the starting wide outs and could be a potential good set of triplets.

Defense:  The Irish were negative 12 in points allowed, and gave up 29 points per game, and needs to improve by light years to get to 6 wins.  They return six starters on defense in an effort to shore up that area in order to compete.  The schedule helps out this year and the stats should improve over last years nightmare season.  The best player on defense is Senior cornerback David Bruton a Nagurski National Defensive Player-of-the-Year Award candidate, who really turned it on from last year to this years spring game by winning defensive MVP honors.  The defensive line is another area that needs to improve and be able to get pressure to the quarterback and create turnovers which is something the Irish struggled with last year.

Early Prediction: 99.99% will pick the Irish to win this game, which is where I stand, but Irish fans should not be too confident.  With what happened last year Irish fans should be a more humble group, but the Irish should win but this game will be competitive.

Utah finalzies deal to play Notre Dame in 2010

This game is finally finalized for Utah to play at Notre Dame on November 13, 2010.  The Utes will have to postopone their series with Utah State for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  The Utes typically try to schedule home and home series with opponents and Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill said, ” but when something like this presents itself, we want to take advantage of it. What a great opportunity this offers for not only our team, but for our fans.”

The most recent times where Utah has played a one and done game is both against Michigan in 2002 and this year in 2008.  This is great news for Utah and the conference for the exposure of playing a high named profile opponent.

Utah Football deal almost finalized to play Notre Dame In 2010

University of Utah really is trying rev up its schedule with high profile opponents to gain national attention. The Utes routinely schedule big name and big conference opponents, such as Oregon State, Texas A&M, Oregon, Arizona, Michigan, Louisville, among others each year.

The deal is almost done which would be most likely a one and done scenario, well unless Notre Dame wants to  pull a Rutgers and play Utah in Denver for ‘pseudo’ home game for Utah at Invesco Field.

Utah looks to be scheduling similar to Fresno State where they are willing to play teams for a one time deal, if the opponent is the right one.  The Utes along with the conference are scheduling better opponents, such as Tennessee, UCLA, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Texas A&M, Oregon State, among others and that is just for this year.

It would be awesome if Notre Dame would come to Utah for a home and home, Air Force did so not sure why Utah can not get a return game by 2015.

Quick look of Utah’s future non conference schedule:

Sept. 5 Utah State
Sept. 12 at San Jose State
Sept. 19 at Oregon
Sept. 26 Louisville

at Notre Dame, TBD
Sept. 11 at Utah State
Sept. 18 at Iowa State
Sept. 25 San Jose State

Sept. 3 Iowa State
Sept. 10 Utah State
Sept. 17 Oregon
Sept. 24 at Boise State

Aug. 30 Washington State
Sept. 8 at Utah State
Sept. 22 at Colorado
Sept. 29 Boise State

Aug. 31 Utah State
Sept. 14 at Washington State
Sept. 21 Colorado
Sept. 28 at Boise State

Air Force is ranked #29 in the Country

Yes that is correct.  Each week I check the top 25 rankings to see if any MWC teams have votes or if the conference is lucky that a team gets in the rankings.  As for Air Force they have never had any votes this year even though they are a good team and were 7-3 before playing Notre Dame on NBC.  BINGO!!  People actually got to see Air Force play on Saturday and even though Notre Dame is a bad team, but Air Force was seen and played quite well.  This just proves that people do not know about teams because they are not easily seen, just look at what Kirk Herbstreit said on College Game Day it was either this past weekend of 2 weeks ago, where he said he does not know how good Air Force is because they have not been seen.  You hear that Craig Thompson if the conference was seen then the recognition would be coming this way.  It took just one game for a pretty good Air Force team to get votes after being on NBC.  The TV deal is a joke because CSTV is not on most systems like ESPN, but there is a little bit of progress because DirecTv now has CSTV available on  its  package and you do not have to get the Sports Package.  One thing that I have noticed though that even though CSTV is a national network highlights are never shown on ESPN for the Mountain West, and even the same can be said with Versus (unless you are the Big XII or Pac-10).   This sudden surge in votes proves that the TV deal is garbage.

Week 11 Review

27 22

This is a game that had the makings of an upset for TCU. The Horned Frogs had chances but they kicked 3 field goals in the first half and all were snapped within the 25 yard line, and if any of those field goals went for a touchdown this game could have had a different ending. BYU’s defense did do the job against TCU forcing them to go 4-14 on third downs and holding TCU to those field goals. BYU got off to an early start especially with WR Austin Collie who had over 100 yards in the first half to move the ball, but TCU did good in adjustments to limit Collie’s play making ability. The same thing has hindered TCU all year which is their offense is inconsistent and throw in that BYU has a good defense and it is a surprise that TCU was able to hang on for the win.

41 24

Air Force just keeps moving along piling up wins, and this game was no different. Notre Dame actually was able to hang around in this game, well until the third quarter when Air Force ripped off two straight TD’s to put the game out of reach. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen did have 3 touchdowns and 0 picks while throwing for 246 yards, but it was not enough. However the coolest play of the game was when big defensive lineman John Rabold scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery and along the way stiff armed the Notre Dame ‘Golden Boy’ Jimmy Clausen on his way to a touchdown. For the Falcons RB Chad Hall and QB Shaun Carney led the Falcons on the offensive side with Chad Hall who had 277 yards of total offense and 99 was on kick returns where he averaged 33 yards per attempt. As for Carney he tossed 2 TD’s and also ran for 41 yards and another score. The Irish had no answer for the run option that Coach Calhoun brought with him. This game that was on NBC actually gave the MWC to showcase a team on true national TV and in return gave the Falcons a few votes in the AP and coaches poll. This is a true statement that if seen the conference could have teams ranked. (I will rant more in the week on this) Continue reading