Posts Tagged ‘College’


Night after night, the number one story on SportsCenter is college football realignment.  This is great and all, but there is that beautiful thing known as college basketball.  The sport as we know it could be completely different by the time all of the realignment dust settles.  Teams like Kansas and UConn could be left out of a power conference because they aren’t traditional football powers.  Despite this, there is some good that will come out of this mess.

The Good:

With less major conference automatic bids, the regular season will mean even more.  It appears that the ACC is partially absorbing the Big East, which means teams like Syracuse and Pitt will be in direct competition with Duke and North Carolina.  This also adds pressure to potential bubble teams like

Will Clyburn
Will Clyburn, Senior Guard for the Utes

Boston College and Virginia Tech who will now have to face all of these power houses twice in a season.

Next, it will improve the talent level at schools like Utah.  Utah has been a solid team in the past decade, making five NCAA tournaments since 2001.  But in that time, they’ve only made it past the second round once (2005).  The addition of Utah to the Pac 12 (or Pac 16 depending on when you’re reading this) will help them with recruiting.  A high school senior would much rather hear, “we play two games per year in Los Angeles” than “we play the New Mexico Lobos twice per year.”  This should make for a very interesting and more parodic March.

The Bad:

All of the conference realignment is centered on football.  This means that teams like Kansas, Kansas State, and even Iowa State will be left out of the super conferences.  Kansas is one of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball.  As it should be, considering Dr. James Naismith was their first coach.  Of course, Memphis has dealt with this for years, considering they play in the C-USA.  But still, Kansas and Memphis aren’t in the same class.  Memphis wouldn’t have even gotten to the championship game in 2008 if Derrick Rose didn’t have some help taking his SATs.  At the end of the day, it’s just hard to imagine Kansas playing in the Sun Belt Conference or C-USA.

Secondly, many conference rivalries will be destroyed.  Every year, fans pack the Carrier Dome to see

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim has big expectations going into the ACC

Cuse take on Georgetown.  That game is always in January or February.  But now that Syracuse is in the ACC, Georgetown will only be able to visit every other year.  And that game would be in December.  At that point in the season, most college sports fans are focused on how flawed the BCS system is, not on who Joe Lunardi has in his latest Bracketology (no offense Mr. Lunardi).  I’m not saying that a Duke-Syracuse game at Cameron Indoor wouldn’t be exciting, but it wouldn’t be the same as Georgetown for Cuse fans.

No matter what complaints people may have, realignment is going to happen.  People just need to be aware of how it will affect other sports that aren’t football.


After all the talk of realignment, the Big 10 (excuse me, the B1G) was definitely a winner.  Even though they only added Nebraska, they were able to split into two divisions: the Leaders and the Legends.  The Legends division consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern.  Out of the gate, it looks like the Legends Division could be deeper than the Leaders.  Regardless, here is the preview.

Iowa

2010 Record: 8-5

2010 Bowl Game: Insight Bowl vs. Missouri W 27-24

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

This Hawkeye team will not resemble the team from two years ago that went to the Orange Bowl.  Iowa lost six players to the NFL Draft, including quarterback Ricky Stanzi.  They also had three defensive linemen taken.  At quarterback this year, they will start Junior James Vandenberg.  Vandenberg has three career TDs at Iowa and has already been recognized as a leader by his teammates.  He also made the Academic All-Big 10 team in 2009.  If the Hawkeyes want to have significant success this season, Vandenberg will have to lead them.

Michigan

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi St L 52-14

2011 Projected Record: 10-2

The Wolverines benefit from having one of the easiest schedules in the country.  Their first five games are all in Ann Arbor.  And this is a huge benefit for new head coach Brady Hoke.  Equally as important,

Denard Robinson
Michigan Quarterback Denard Robinson

Michigan only lost two players to the NFL Draft.  Ironically, both were picked by San Diego, the same city where Hoke coached last season.  The most important factor this season though is junior quarterback Denard Robinson.  Robinson was the clear Heisman front-runner last season when Michigan was 5-0.  Robinson will be a preseason Heisman favorite this season, especially considering two of the past four Heisman winners were dual threat quarterbacks.  Lastly, I have Michigan beating Ohio State.  This is Michigan’s time to show that they aren’t an opponent to be taken lightly and they will show it come late November.

Michigan State

2010 Record: 11-2

2010 Bowl Game: Capitol One Bowl vs. Alabama L 49-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

Like Michigan, Michigan State also benefits from an easy schedule.  But unlike the Wolverines, they’re coming of a highly successful season (minus the bowl game) and they have their head coach coming back.  Mark Dantonio will have his Spartans ready to repeat their 11 win season.  A big part of this will be quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins is coming off his best statistical season and will have a huge impact in the Spartan locker room this season. Also, junior running back Edwin Baker is coming off a 1,000 yard season and he looks to be a big part of their offense.

Minnesota

2010 Record: 3-9

2010 Bowl Game: NONE

2011 Projected Record: 3-9

Minnesota is probably the worst team in this division.  New head coach Jerry Kill is hoping to improve upon last year’s dismal 3-9 record, but I doubt he’ll be able to do anything more than Tim Brewster.  The fact that quarterback Adam Weber is now playing for the Denver Broncos does not help either.  Weber is the all-time leader in touchdown passes at Minnesota.  Junior Marqueis Gray will try to fill his shoes, but he played mostly wide reciever last season and he might have trouble adjusting to being the full time quarterback for the Golden Gophers.

Nebraska

2010 Record: 10-4 (Big 12)

2010 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington L 19-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

The newest member of the Big 10 looks like they will have a lot of success in their first season.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez started to live up to expectations last year and he looks to improve on that in his sophomore year as a Cornhusker.  Last year, he threw for 10 TDs and ran for 12 in only 13 games.  This put him on the All-Freshman team.  Another plus for Nebraska is their coach, Bo Pelini.  Pelini was

Taylor Martinez
Nebraska Quarterback Taylor Martinez

a former defensive coordinator at LSU and is very SEC minded when it comes to coaching.  Now, he’s coaching in a conference that is absolutely dreadful against SEC opponents as Michigan and Michigan State showed in last years bowl games, losing by a combined score of 101-21.  All of these things put the Huskers in a position to win this division.

Northwestern

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: TicketCity Bowl vs. Texas Tech L 45-38

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

Unlike some other teams in this division, the Wildcats have a tough schedule this year.  Despite this, I think Northwestern (better known for its academics than its football) can still get to six wins.  The Wildcats have gotten to the six win mark each of the past four seasons.  If they hope to keep this going, they will need to get another solid year out of quarterback Dan Persa.  Persa was a captain as a junior last season and he proved he was worthy, passing for 15 touchdowns in just 10 games.  Northwestern has also launched a “Persa for Heisman” campaign.  Another big factor for the Wildcats will be sophomore running back Mike Trumpy, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season.

By Taylor Frank


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m ready for college football to begin.  So I decided to preview the best division in the best conference in CFB, the SEC West.  And there is no more debating the fact that the SEC is the best confrence.  The SEC is head and shoulders above every other conference, considering they’ve won the last five National Championships.

 

Trent Richardson

Alabama Junior RB Trent Richardson

Alabama

 

 

2010 Record: 10-3

2010 Bowl Game: Capitol One Bowl vs. Michigan St. W 49-7

2011 Projected Record: 12-0 (SEC West Champions)

Alabama has a very favorable schedule this year.  They play both Arkansas and LSU at home.  This definitely helps considering they will be breaking in a brand new quarterback to replace Greg McElroy.  The QB battle between A.J. McCarron and Phil Simms will continue throughout August and possibly into the first game against San Jose State.  Luckily, Heisman candidate Trent Richardson will be able to take the load off of the new quarterback’s shoulders by running the ball.

Arkansas

2010 Record: 10-3

2010 Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio St. L 31-26

2011 Projected Record: 10-2

Like Alabama, Arkansas is losing a great starting quarterback in Ryan Mallet.  However, I expect Head Coach Bobby Petrino will have Junior Tyler Wilson ready to go against tough SEC secondaries.  Also, look for half back Knile Davis to run the ball well as an upperclassman this season.  As a sophomore, he had 13 rushing touchdowns and averaged over 100 rushing yards per game.

Auburn

2010 Record: 14-0

2010 Bowl Game: BCS National Championship vs. Oregon W 22-19 (OT)

2012 Projected Record: 5-7

Unlike Florida, LSU, and Alabama, I don’t think Auburn will make it to a bowl game after winning the BCS National Title.  To start, the loss of Cam Newton is very hard to deal with, especially with a third year coach in Gene Chizik.  However, like Alabama and Arkansas, they do have a fantastic tail back in Michael Dyer.  But he will be carrying the entire load for the Tigers, something that a sophomore will, in all likelihood, not be able to do.

LSU

2010 Record: 11-2

2010 Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M W 41-24

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

The Tigers are definitely poised to make a National Title run in 2011.  With Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson returning, the Tigers are one of the few teams in the West with returning starting QB(s).  And Les Miles always has his team ready to take on the best in the nation.  One thing that could hinder LSU is their lack of experience at running back with no juniors or seniors on roster.

Ole Miss

2010 Record: 4-8

2010 Bowl Game: NONE

2011 Projected Record: 5-7

Although I believe the Rebels will improve in 2011, I still don’t think they will make a bowl game.  Ole Miss is coming off a season in which they only won one SEC game (vs. Kentucky) and lost to FCS opponent Jacksonville State.  Luckily for Rebel fans, Coach Houston Nutt signed a top-25 recruiting class this past season.  Despite this, I doubt the Rebs will be able to replace QB Jeremiah Masoli, who was a major player in three of Ole Miss’s four wins.

Mississippi State

2010 Record: 9-4

 

Chirs Relf

Mississippi State Senior QB Chris Relf

 

2010 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Michigan W 52-14
2011 Projected Record: 8-4

The Bulldogs are coming off one of their best seasons in the past decade, finishing in the top 20 for the first time since 1999.  They are returning senior QB Chris Relf, who has the best passer efficiency in school history.  The Bulldogs have 17 other seniors on roster, including running backs Vick Ballard and Robert Elliot.  Look for Mississippi State to be playing in January again.  And don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs get to an SEC Championship game within the next five seasons.