Posts Tagged ‘Iowa Hawkeyes’

This weekend the opening of controversy season got under way for college football, with the initial Bowl Championship Series polls were displayed to the public. While these are always open for debate, along with various interpretations of the BCS abbreviation (in many cases I ignore the “C” and switch words on the B and S, but I digress).

While the formula for this poll is up for debate between purists and statisticians, it is indisputable that it gives teams something to play towards. It also gives me something to answer on opinion on my texts, Twitter and even dinner with family time. To bring all of that to the middle, I sat down with the two main pure polls (AP and USA Today), along with the BCS poll, each teams schedules and the most reliable of all these methods, my opinion. Here is my interpretation of how it should look now and what’s going to weigh into where it ends up.

1. Oregon Ducks (6-0, #2 BCS, #1 USA Today, #1 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 54.3 PPG, 16 PAG

Key wins: @ Tennessee (48-13), Stanford (57-31)

Lowdown: They are blowing teams out right now and are in a conference where they only have to play one more ranked team in Arizona, and that’s at home. They are a track meet of a running team, and have yet to be able to be held under 40 points yet.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, #1 BCS, #3 USA Today, #3 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 19 PAG

Key wins: Florida State (47-17), Texas (28-20)

Lowdown: Oklahoma is moving ahead by staying undefeated in a power conference, despite having many close calls. They destroyed Florida State early and survived a down year Texas team in the River River Shootout. Somehow these slight wins were enough to boost them to #1 in BCS minds, despite being the consensus #3 otherwise. They feature an immediate test to this throne, going into Columbia, Missouri against a tough Mizzou defense.

3. Boise State (6-0, #3 BCS, #2 USA Today, #2 AP)

Profile: WAC; 47.5 PPG, 12.3 PAG

Key Wins: Virginia Tech (33-30), Oregon State (37-24)

Lowdown: They beat a top 15 team in Virginia Tech to open the season to prove they can play under the bright lights. Many critics say they don’t play on an even level with other Top 10 teams. I say don’t put them automatically in the Top 2, which could walk them into the BCS Championship and let them continue to play, and if they win out, be the first team to move into the Top 2 if one of the team loses. They deserve a shot.

4. Auburn Tigers (7-0, #4 BCS, #5 USA Today, #5 AP)

Profile: SEC; 40 PPG, 24.4 PAG

Key Wins: South Carolina (35-27), Arkansas (65-43)

Lowdown: Auburn has steadily rose up the standings all year and have beaten several quality teams convincingly, including three currently ranked foes. However, they’re fate is destined with Alabama, who they face in the season closing rivalry game. However, both of their signature wins have come against teams that have pushed Alabama, including the Gamecocks, who knocked them from number one.

5. LSU (7-0, #6 BCS, #6 USA Today, #6 AP)

Profile: SEC; 26.7 PPG, 14.4 PAG

Key Wins: North Carolina (30-24), West Virginia (20-14), @ Florida (33-29)

Lowdown: LSU has had a bit of a rabbit’s foot and have had a lot of things work out perfectly so far, as they have won several very close games to maintain their undefeated record. With back-to-back match ups with Auburn and Alabama, it will be shown very soon if they are legit or not.

6. Michigan State (7-0, #7 BCS, #8 USA Today, #8 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 16 PAG

Key Wins: Wisconsin (34-24), @ Michigan (34-17)

Lowdown: They have played several close games and have simply out-toughed all of their opponents and beating Wisconsin and Michigan consecutively have proven them as the  class of the Big 10 early on.

7. Alabama (6-1, #8 BCS, #7 USA Today, #7 AP)

Profile: SEC; 33 PPG, 12.9 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Arkansas (24-20)

Key Loss: South Carolina (35-31)

Lowdown: Everybody’s #1 coming into the season has hit some tough speed bumps, with Arkansas and South Carolina pushing them as far as they can go, with South Carolina finally knocking them off. Even with the L, they still are the best of any one loss team and if they keep winning deserve to move up first, even before other undefeated clubs, because they still are plain better.

8. TCU (7-0, #5 BCS, #4 USA Today, #4 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 40 PPG, 9.3 PAG

Key Win: Oregon State (30-21)

Lowdown: This is the team that has just moved along all season and are over ranked for what they have done. They did beat a quality Oregon State team, but otherwise there is nothing here that says they deserve to be high ranked than a BCS conference undefeated or even some one lose clubs. While they are top 5 in all major polls, I can’t give them that credit unless they beat Utah in two weeks.

9. Ohio State (6-1, #10 BCS, #10 USA Today, #11 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 39.6 PPG, 13 PAG

Key Wins: Miami (36-24)

Key Loss: Wisconsin (31-28)

Lowdown: The Buckeyes easily moved along beating every team convincingly in route to ascending to #1 for a week, just to never take the fight to Wisconsin in their first tough road game of the season. They are still a quality team, and can easily move back up towards the top 5 with a strong finish.

10. Utah Utes (6-0, #9 BCS, #9 USA Today, #9 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 45.8 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Win: Pittsburgh (27-24)

Lowdown: Similar to conference mate TCU, they’re road to the a high BCS vote has been dictated against impressive wins versus underwhelming opponents. They’re match up for the MWC crown versus TCU is what they’re entire season is built around. For now, this is about where they should be placed.

11. Stanford Cardinal (5-1, #12 BCS, #14 USA Today, #12 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 43 PPG, 23 PAG

Key Wins: @ Notre Dame (37-14), USC (37-35)

Key Loss: @ Oregon (52-31)

Lowdown: Stanford has played an impressive early schedule and has been solid every week, but a blowout versus Oregon pushes them down the poll. They have played well every week otherwise and could have a seat in the Rose Bowl if Oregon shoots above it in to the BCS Championship game.

12. Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, #13 BCS, #11 USA Today, #10 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 36 PPG, 18 PAG

Key Wins: Ohio State (31-28)

Key Loss: @ Michigan State (34-24)

Lowdown: Wisconsin is one of the teams that can play the biggest part in the Big 10, and by default BCS, picture. They fell to Michigan State, yet came back and knocked Ohio State from the top spot. They have been competitive all year, and because of this, they will be able to move up freely if they beat Iowa and win out.

13. Missouri Tigers (6-0; #11 BCS, #16 USA Today, #18 AP)

Profile: Big 12, 34.5 PPG, 10.8 PAG

Key Wins: Illinois (23-13), Texas A&M (30-9)

Lowdown: The Tigers take this position as the top representative of the Big 12 North, but they have yet to face a big name opponent on the season for a truly signature win. They have only traveled once outside Missouri, yet won convincingly. They have ascended to this spot by doing what they are supposed to do, but the show-and-prove part of their season is coming up and most of it is on the road. Mizzou will either shoot up the standings or settle out rather quickly.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1; #15 BCS, #12 USA Today, #13 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 13.2 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Michigan (38-28)

Key Loss: @ Arizona (34-27)

Lowdown: They have played tough matchups all season, and save for a bad second half versus Arizona, they would be undefeated to this point. A gritty win in Ann Arbor versus Michigan and a convincing defeat of Penn State cement them as a solid contender for the Big 10 title. With back-to-back matchups with Michigan State and Wisconsin it remains to be seen how big of a player Iowa is in the season’s events.

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1 #16 BCS, #13 USA Today, #14 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Wins: @ Kansas State (48-13), @ Washington (56-21)

Key Loss: Texas (20-13)

Lowdown: The Huskers were one of the most dynamic teams in the season, reaching half way up the Top 10 until falling to Texas last weekend. For them to fall out of the Top 15 BCS teams is odd to me, because while Texas has been inconsistent they are a solid team that was the #6 team in the nation at a point, so they shouldn’t be severely punished for falling to them. The bottom line is that they have looked better winning five games than they were in losing one by seven points, and they have plenty of chances of to climb again.

With the first week of revealed BCS standings about to start up, it remains to be seen how long these stand revelevant. However, it is clear there are some teams being slighted, while others are being given a bit too much credit. But as always, all they can do is take it to the field and let the B(C)S take care of the rest, for better or worse.


With July being at its halfway point, College Football practice has already started around the country. Within a month it will be everywhere again and is a welcome sign that the fall is approaching again (well not for students so much, but definitely for us post-grads who just watch our alma mater’s over participating in them still).

There are tons of things to look for coming into the this season and some interesting side plots as well. There is a returning Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram. The Alabama Crimson Tide is firmly positioned as the #1 team in the country, will they be able to go wire-to-wire and defend their 2009 BCS Championship? How will USC fare, knowing there is no postseason awaiting them? Urban Meyer will take the Florida Gators to the field without Tim Tebow for the first time in 4 years, will there be growing pains? How will the last season of the Big 12 play out?

Ingram is brought his Heisman-winning talents back to school, but will have a fight to add to his mantle again.

There is a lot to pay attention to, but it always starts on the field with the players and that’s what were looking at today. There are so many diverse talents remaining in college football, even after the depletion of one of the deepest NFL Drafts in recent memory. Coming into the season here are the top guys in the college game now, including a deep quarterback year that features potentially 3 top 10 NFL prospects, 2 of which will keep TV sets tuned into the late West Coast games every Saturday.

15.  Ryan Williams-RB-Virginia Tech (Sophomore): A quick, burner of a runner that can make something out of nothing quickly. Teamed up with QB Tyrod Taylor, Williams will make Virginia Tech a must see ACC team on offense this season. (NFL Comparison-Steve Slaton)

14. Jonathan Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh (Junior): At 6’5, Baldwin is a physical specimen for the Panthers. Has the vertical skills to be a matchup nightmare for any corner in the country. There are some questions about his speed, but none about his ability to stretch the field and move the chains. (NFL Comparison-Marques Colston)

13. Marvin Austin-DT-North Carolina (Senior): The Tar Heels defense may be the most talented in the country this year and Austin in the linchpin on the front line of that attack. His main problem is that he turns too much of his guaranteed talent into potential by not going hard all the time. With more intensity he moves up this list easy. (NFL Comparison-Justin Smith)

12. Cameron Heyward-DE-Ohio State (Senior): With an NFL pedigree supporting him (son of Craig “Ironhead”  Heyward) and solid system in Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes, Heyward is sure bet. When this know-how is combined with him versatile abilities in any defensive set, look for him to be all over the field every Saturday. (NFL Comparison-Darnell Dockett)

11. Julio Jones-WR-Alabama (Junior): A big physical presence that has been one of the biggest names in the college ranks since before he even set foot on campus, Jones is a game breaking receiver. Runs good routes and has strong hands to make plays in the red zone. Speed is a question, but he gets in position to finish plays like a go-to receiver should. (NFL Comparison-Terrell Owens)

10. Gabe Carini-T-Wisconsin (Senior): With almost 40 starts under his belt, Carini is an experienced anchor for the Wisconsin attack. He’s a grinding run blocker in the mold of exactly what is typical of Big 10 blockers. While not the prospect Joe Thomas was for the Badgers, he should join him as a first rounder in April (NFL Comparison-Jared Gaither)

9. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas (Junior): After transferring from Michigan, this big 6’7 slinger blossomed in Bobby Petrino’s system last year. Makes plays in flashes that very few QB’s can make in the college game and has unquestionably the strongest arm in the country. With a bit more consistency, Mallett has the talent to be the best of the many great QBs this year. (NFL Comparison-Joe Flacco)

8. Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina (Junior): Coming of an 11 sack sophomore year, Quinn is one of the premier pass rushers in all of the NCAA. Has the athleticism to make just as many plays against the rush, as his 19 tackles for a loss indicate. Sky is the limit for Quinn’s talent and he could crack the top 5 of April’s Draft if he continues to mature at his current rate. (NFL Comparison-Julius Peppers)

7. Jacquizz Rodgers-RB-Oregon State (Junior): He has been one of the most productive runners in all of the NCAA, with 2,693 yards and 32 TDs in his first two seasons. He will be called on to do even more this season and the 5’7 dynamo shows no indications of not being able to continue to blind Pac-10 defenses. (NFL Comparison-Maurice Jones-Drew)

6. Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa (Senior): The perfect storm of overall athleticism and technique. Clayborn is consistent on top of it all and will be the biggest disruptor of any defender in the game this year. Guaranteed to make an impact somewhere in every game. (NFL Comparison-Osi Umenyiora)

St. Louisan Clayborn will make for a lot of bad Saturday afternoons this year.

5. Anthony Castonzo-T-Boston College (Senior): An athletic anchor for BC’s line, he is aggressive and can move with each match up. Combining his 6’7 frame with the ability to move with the attacker from the point of contact, Castonzo makes it easy for his quarterback to focus on delivering down field. (NFL Comparison-Jordan Gross)

4. A.J. Green-WR-Georgia (Junior): This sensationally athletic receiver is a match up nightmare due to his separation speed and size (6’4, 205 lbs). One of the few players in the country that can go the whole way every time he touches the ball. The guaranteed top receiver off the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. (NFL Comparison-Randy Moss)

Georgia's Green is the cream of the crop in a loaded receiver crop.

3. Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford (Sophomore): As a redshirt freshman last season, Luck played off of Stanford’s Toby Gerhart-heavy run attack, yet made a name for himself as a threat. At 6’4 and 235 pounds, he can move in the pocket still and create for his receivers still. Is very polished and has outstanding accuracy to be only a sophomore. (NFL Comparison-Eli Manning)

2. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama (Junior): He surprised the world by coming on, and never relenting, in 2009 and leaving with both a Heisman Trophy and a BCS Championship. In 2010, look for more of the same as Ingram will still be the featured option in a system that has so much talent around him you cannot focus solely on stopping him or you’ll be burned everywhere else. Equaling his 1,600-plus yards and 17 TDs may not be a stretch for him. (NFL Comparison-Michael Turner)

1. Jake Locker-QB-Washington (Senior): In 2009, Locker was considered as being every bit as eligible for the #1 overall spot in the NFL Draft as Sam Bradford before deciding to come back to the Huskies. Much of this way based on potential that could bloom in the NFL, but look for that potential to be unleashed on unfortunate Pac 10 foes instead. He made the most of supporting cast that actually improved to a 5 win season last year and should continue to head up the standings this season. Locker’s mixture of pocket presence and athleticism (7 rushing TDs), make him a dynamic threat to all parts of a defensive plan and should land him at the top of most draft boards after his senior season. (NFL Comparison-Aaron Rodgers)

Locker turned down a certain fortune to return to the Huskies, will it pan out?

Others to watch: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama, Devier Posey-WR-Ohio State, Quan Sturdivant-LB-North Carolina, Bruce Carter-LB-North Carolina, Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU, Matt Barkley-QB-USC, Chris Galippo-LB-USC, Janorvis Jenkins-CB-Florida, Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri, Aaron Williams-CB-Texas, Greg Jones-LB-Michigan State, Travis Lewis-LB-Oklahoma, Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State

The landscape of collegiate sports seems to be changing with each second and each hit of keyboards around the sports world. The reshaping of the Big 12  is grabbing the ear of the sports world at large. For some sports fans it’s an exciting new horizon and a revolution to the shape of the sports world. However, for some it is and exercise in extended stress and a nerve-racking experience about the future (or potential lack thereof) of their universities and favorite sports programs. The University of Missouri and it’s fans, students, administrators and alumni are in the latter of these two groups.

As an alumnus of the University of Missouri, I scale the fence between both. I make it my business to know the ins and outs of the sports world and relay them. I am an avid sports, so the possibility of new conference alignments and matchups is exciting for me in theory. However, in reality I also hold a strong alliance to the University that I spent some the best years of my life at, so I want the best for it. Currently, it’s tough to see where that can be found. There are so many different rumors, possibilities and scenarios around the University’s athletic alignment that it’s hard to separate the salt from the pepper.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany holds Mizzou's best possible fate in his hands. How he plays his hand is make or break for MU.

One thing I am sure of is that the University of Missouri and it’s Tigers are both a quality school and a devoted athletic department and deserves a suitable conference alignment that reflects this. However, the non-committal statements and air of confusion from all avenues in Columbia seem to relay a feeling of justifiable worry and loss from the University as a whole, which almost yells “We don’t know where we are going to land, bring a parachute just in case.”

The Big 12 fell behind in the times and got overran, there is nothing that can change that now. Both the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado have proven this with their departures to more lucrative conferences on back-to-back days. The powerhouse programs of the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners most likely will not be far behind, toting with them the other universities in their local areas as well. In the midst of these power programs in formerly Big 12, sits the Mizzou, who is a bit of an anomaly in comparison.

The University of Missouri is a program that doesn’t bring the tradition of Texas, Nebraska or Oklahoma. Nor does it have a highly attractive singular program such as Kansas’ basketball program. In regards to attraction to other potential conferences, Mizzou is a tough spot in the current picking season from other conferences. The Pac 10 is not interested as it wants the programs further west and to the south for its expansion (they don’t even want Kansas or Kansas State). The SEC is also looking to stay south and to move along the Atlantic coast. This leaves the Big 10 as the next suitor, and this is also where it gets simply complex.

The Big 10 and Mizzou rumor has been the one with the longest legs. Mizzou was actually at the core of the first rumor that tabbed them accompanying Nebraska out of the Big 12. Time has passed and only half of that initial scenario has proven true. If the rest of the Big 12 breaks apart, which is virtually a vision waiting to made clear, Mizzou is a perfect fit for the Big 10. The Big 10 is based in the midwest and is a strong academic conference. Missouri fits both of these models well. But the concern is that the Big 10 isn’t interested in what Mizzou has to offer the overall growth of its conference. The Big 10 is looking to even further expand its reach and media capabilities into other areas of the U.S. The only place for them to look is to the east coast, with programs such as Rutgers or Syracuse in the New Jersey/New York area. Despite Mizzou carrying the St. Louis media area in full, it pales in comparison to the hopes acquiring northeastern media exposure. Also, there is always the possibility of saving a dance ticket for Notre Dame if they choose to join, which is a no brainer for the Big 10.

Another issue is that hand is the what happens if the Big 10 decides that they are good enough at 12 overall (the Big 10 was only that in title, as they have had 11 programs since 1990). Mizzou would be left to find its own way, which is a scary proposition for both the administration and fans alike. Mizzou cannot afford to go independent, it’s best bet would be to form an alignment with the Mountain West Conference, which is growing in reaction to major conference acquisitions and is a rumor to be willing to accept the remaining Big 12 schools. This is an uncertainty at best and puts the school in unknown territory and in a lesser viewed market that ever, sharing space with the states of  Utah, New Mexico and Idaho. The Mid-American Conference (MAC) or Conference USA would be closer regional fits, but carry even less weight than the MWC.

My hope is that Missouri finds a place in the Big 10’s plan. If the conference decides to expand to 14 schools, it could be well served acquiring a school of the Missouri’s stature, as well as it’s growing and competitive athletic department. The focus of the St. Louis and Kansas City media coverage would be an asset to the Big 10’s growth and would lock the entire midwest for its span. The increased revenue from participation in the conference (each school in the Big 10 cleared over $19 million in 2009 thanks to its Big Ten Network deal) would help to foster growth across the entire University, athletic and academic. Missouri already participates annually with the University of Illinois in both football and basketball to large crowds and nationally televised audiences. This could be further grown with competition with Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan and maintaining the 100-year-old rivalry with Nebraska.

For the time being I’ll place my trust in Chancellor Brady Deaton, President Gary Forsee and Athletic Director Mike Alden to send a message out telling us to leave our parachutes at home.