Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ask the Professors #1

     I have been promoting our new series for a couple of weeks now, and I am glad to announce that it begins tonight. I am proud to announce a team has been put together to take on questions and give you answers to hot button college football topics. This team, as I have told you, comes from all over the country and from different fields. Every one of the contributors to this report has been specially selected due to their strong abilities, knowledge base, and their outside of the box qualities. I sincerely hope that you enjoy this series, this group of new Professors that have kindly agreed to lend themselves to the Bilo Campus. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long friendship and alliance.
Let me introduce tonight's contributors.
     Our first contributor is Sean Baker. You may know him on Twitter as @nittanylines. Sean is a huge Penn State fan with ties to Ohio State, NC State, Penn State, and D3 power Mount Union.
His knowledge base is incredible, and he has been a driving force in the production of this piece.
     Our second contributor(s) are already a force in their own right. You know them as The Upset Blog. You will see a link to their incredible blog on our site in the next 24 hours in the right hand column of this blog. We are thrilled to be working with these guys. The Upset Blog is dedicated to college football and men's basketball in the West, primarily the non-AQs, mid-majors, have-nots, or whatever other acceptable moniker that describes the non-BCS conferences that doesn't offend you (people get up in arms about our word choice!). The site was created and is maintained by Zach Bloxham and Brett Hein, both graduating from Weber State University this year, Zach in Political Science, Brett in Communication. Join us in welcoming Zach and Brett to our site, and visit theirs often!
      The next of the Professors is Cory Hedin. You may follow him on Twitter as @Ute_Red_Zone. Awesome follow, and his depth of knowledge of Utah athletics and the Mountain West Conference. One of our favorite follows, as is everyone else in this group. Welcome Cory, and follow him on Twitter!
      Matt Chandik joins the group. Matt is a  writer for the Delaware County Daily Times covering high school sports, but his passion is all things Michigan football. Matt is a graduate of West Chester University, and is a strong up and comer in the sports journalism business.
     Kody Brannon's blog is known as Kody's Sports Korner. Kody has a strong following on Twitter as well. His passions in college ball include TCU, LSU, Texas, The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. His bio is as follows: My name is Kody Brannon, and I am just a simple sports fan who has a passion for all sports, but an intense passion for college football. I have been writing a sports blog since 2007, and have been able to write and share my opinions with the world. Please feel free to check out http://kodyssportskorner/
     And then there is me, Scott Bilo, co-founder of the Bilo College Football Report. If you are just finding this site, welcome. I have a background in sports radio and TV that dates back 20 years. I left main stream media because, let's be real about it, it sucks. I like to say what I want, and I like to say it when I want to. You may not always agree, but I'll make you think about it. This blog is my free zone, and I'll give it to you as I see it, and I don't worry about who gets mad about it. I am not all about pissing people off, as I like to educate and entertain, and most of all, I like mixing it up with passionate fans all over America. Welcome and enjoy.
     Bilo Report co-founder Keith Harding is our research specialist. He and I have known each other for over 30 years, and he is an expert at analysis and research of all things football. Keith serves as the moderator for this series, and as such, he asks questions relevant to today's college football landscape.
     I welcome our first council of "Professors" to the site, and I look forward to working with each and every one of our contributors in the future.And as is always the case, please send all of your own questions to us here at and get the answers to all of your inquiries. Let the new era of college football coverage begin!!!

Question #1: Former Michigan QB Tate Forcier is unlikely to attend an FCS level school in 2011, and thus will sit out the 2011 season as a transfer, what's a good landing spot former the Wolverine starting QB?

The Upset Blog: San Diego State would be a great place for Forcier to go. It's probably the best weather destination on his transfer list, and he would get to play in an NFL stadium every week (okay, so they don't fill it or get even close, but the Aztec fan base is now slightly rejuvenated with a bowl win. Current SDSU QB is Ryan Lindley, who will be a senior in 2011. While Forcier sits out the mandated year, he can learn the new offense (with new OC Andy Ludwig) and study it with Lindley, who is a pretty talented QB. Forcier would also get at least one year with running back phenom Ronnie Hillman, who would then be a junior when Forcier steps in. Granted, Hoke and his recruiting are gone, so this isn't as much of a home-run as it otherwise would be (although the offensive talent like Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson weren't Hoke's recruits). But Rocky Long is a good coach. I'd go to San Diego State.

Cory Hedin: I think San Diego State is his best bet at this point. Ryan Lindley will be a Senior next year so it would give Forcier a full year to learn the offense and build a relationship with his teammates before competing for the starting role the following year. Tate is said to be considering transfering to an FCS school to avoid sitting out a year. Personally, I think that would be a mistake. While San Diego State is no Michigan, it is a program on the rise and he could make a name for himself there.

Matt Chandik: Whatever school can handle an average backup QB with an ego befitting an All-American. Forcier took a shot at new coach Brady Hoke and the UM administration on his way out the door, saying that Michigan gave up on him after he flunked out. Right, Tate. Common logic says that if Forcier is to indeed stay in the FBS ranks, it will be a school closer to his San Diego home. San Diego State would be a logical place for him, thus completing a several coaches for backup QB trade. It's a step down from the Big 10 but still FBS, it's close to home and it offers him a good chance to start after his transfer season expires and current Aztec QB Ryan Lindley graduates.

UCLA could be another option as well. The Bruins have a pair of sophomore quarterbacks that would be seniors when Forcier is eligible again in Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince, but well, Brehaut's play was underwhelming last season and Prince simply isn't an FBS-caliber QB. As a redshirt sophomore, Forcier could take his chances with beating out the two and hopefully have better luck than his brother Chris had.
Wherever Tate goes, he isn't likely to make a positive impact on the program unless he becomes an entirely different player and person. As a true freshman, he dazzled Michigan fans with come-from-behind wins against Notre Dame and Indiana and racked up a solid 13:10 TD:INT ratio. However, injuries both to him and the rest of the team derailed a promising start to the season as the Wolverines finished 5-7. Additionally, it was evident that Forcier's ego ballooned out of control as the headlines began to pile up.
In the summer of 2010, Michigan defensive back Troy Woolfolk called Forcier out publicly for a lack of work ethic while fellow sophomore Denard Robinson was putting in hours and hours of extra work. The move paid off for Robinson, a sensational Floridian speedster who couldn't hit the broad side of the barn as a freshman, as he entered the Michigan record books from his first start on and capped it off with a Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year and Chicago Tribune Silver Football award.
While Robinson's dedication to the game is to be admired and saluted, a bigger question is how Forcier allowed a guy who completed a mere 45.2 percent of his passes as a freshman while posting a 2:4 TD:INT ratio to rocket past him in the quarterback derby. Robinson's running ability was never questioned, but it was clear as fans watched his improvement that he was willing to put in the work that Forcier never would. Robinson, while not perfect, improved dramatically as a passer as he completed 62.5 percent of his passes and threw for 18 touchdowns. Robinson would also rush for 1,702 yards and 14 touchdowns.
On the flip side, Forcier struggled most of the time he replaced a banged-up Robinson. He did the same things that caused him to lose his job. He carried the ball lazily, almost like a loaf of bread. He tried to improvise way too often instead of making the simple play. Forcier is a high-risk, medium-reward player with his current style and until he learns to make adjustments, he won't get better. Forcier has to compensate for his lack of size and arm strength with good accuracy and decision-making, much like a young Drew Brees did. The difference is that while Brees took chances, Forcier is simply reckless and doesn't think things through before acting upon them.
Maybe a move to a new school and a redshirt year will do Forcier some good. It better, because there's no way that he can be a successful starter with his current mix of a bad work ethic, enormous ego and mediocre physical skills. Forcier never developed physically as a collegiate player should due to the aforementioned lack of work ethic and never bothered to dedicate himself to his craft.
Good luck to whomever gets him, but he's a player that coaches should avoid.

Kody Brannon: I can't really pin point a spot for Forcier to land, but it wouldn't surprise me if he landed at a school that has a really solid QB need in 2012 and forward.

Sean Baker: While some believe all signs point to Tate Forcier going to his hometown San Diego State, I disagree. In fact, I don’t think he belongs in any of the BCS-affiliated programs
on his list.
Ryan Lindley isn’t impromptu and neither is the SDSU offensive scheme. Al Golden doesn’t need a bandage in 2012—he’s on the clock to get his own guy immediately once Jacory Harris bounces. Washington has Nick Montana (yes, son of that Montana) and Keith Price in the queue for next season. After starting a full year, neither of them will want to take a backseat for
a year-only experiment with Tate. Middle Tennessee State seems attractive for a team who thrived with Dwight Dasher, no? The problem still rests in Forcier having to forfeit a year of eligibility. What does running around on the Sun Belt Conference (or not) prove to scouts? Tate needs a program that can cater to his academic issues and, to some degree, build around him,
if that’s at all possible. He needs time to slip away from scrutiny, though, I still suspect his ego will place him with another lousy offensive line and fighting for his wings—or hype—again in summers to come.

Scott Bilo: There is no doubt that Forcier has the talent to win for someone, but at Michigan, it appears to be his own diva attitude that buried him. He has to learn that going to class is part of the game, and that is part of his attitude issue, as he is a guy used to having everything handed to him on a silver plate. Once Denard Robinson showed his worth, that plate was taken away.
Tate is a SoCal kid, so one does have to ponder San Diego State (his hometown) as a landing spot, but don't count out all FBS schools avoiding him like the plague, as with Tate comes the Forcier family, and they can be difficult. San Diego of the FCS could be a landing spot, but Tate's ego likely is to big for the campus. Rick Neuheisel could take a flyer at UCLA, but nobody seems to want to go there, and the staff is sold on incoming freshman Brett Hundley, who is already enrolled in school. Other possibilities could include Arizona State, Arizona, Northern Arizona, UNLV, and any number of Big Sky, Mountain West, or WAC locales. I still think that an FCS landing spot could be best for him.

Question #2: Current Tennessee Titans and former USC Trojan HB Stafon Johnson is suing the University over a September 2009 weightlifting accident, is there any merrit to this lawsuit?

The Upset Blog: I won't comment on the merit of his suit against USC as far as official legal merits go, but I will say that sometimes unfortunate things just happen. Maybe I don't know the full details of Stafon's lifting accident, but sometimes bad things happen and nobody involved could have done anything to stop it. Unless I'm missing facts about what happened, I'm not sure there was any negligence on USC's part.

Cory Hedin: NO! All athletes (college, professional or weekend warrior average Joes like myself) understand that there is an inherent risk in any kind of athletic endeavor. Should every college athlete who sustains an injury of any kind be able to file suit against their University over the injury. No! The only way this lawsuit would be justified would be if it were to come out that somehow USC was somehow forcing its players into workout regimens that would be deemed excessive, unhealthy and potentially dangerous by a medical professional. Unless that is the case, this lawsuit should be thrown out before it can give the judge a serious paper cut, after which the judge may be entitled (at least in my mind) to file a lawsuit against Johnson for exposing him to unjustified risk.

Matt Chandik: Yes, there is. USC is responsible for whomever is in the weight room. The weight room belongs to USC and the supervising coaches are paid by USC, so it's natural that Johnson would blame the Trojans. While it's tough to say for certain who was at fault in the actual slipping of the bar, it is still USC's responsibility to look out for Johnson's personal safety and health.

Kody Brannon: I don't think there is any merit to the lawsuit since it is taken into account they have to ensure they do everything to protect themselves. It was an accident that wouldn't be prevented whether or not he had the entire strength and conditioning staff standing over him. It was a freak accident, plain and simple.

Sean Baker: First and foremost, I felt extreme pity for Stafon Johnson following his weightlifting injury. He was a stud back at USC who ran with a chip on his shoulder every time he got in (behind Joe McKnight, mind you).
The whole incident was sad. Nevertheless, like most people who sue a year or more after an incident in which they were allegedly hurt, Stafon is currently in a long-term financial pickle.
Albeit young, his pro career outlook is mostly cloudy; injuries unrelated to the barbell accident only mounted in his first season in Tennessee. At this point, with no promise of making it to spring camp, it seems fitting that Johnson would suddenly deem the weight room mishap a negligent foul.
He needs an financial insurance policy, does he not? For over a year we’ve been told that the tragedy was an accident on Johnson’s part; not a single player or coach has echoed Stafon’s new story. This is Stafon Johnson wanting to cash up to the court to determine if Johnson’s now-changed story is worth the undisclosed amount of money he’s after. I think not.
Did the freak accident hurt his draft stock? Of course. But Johnson was never the No. 1 back at USC (McKnight was), and, if he had forced the issue, could have received
another year eligibility for medical hardship. Had Stafon tried to return to USC in 2010,
his draft stock would most likely have been greater than it was when he departed last
year. There’s nothing lower than undrafted status, which is what Johnson was.
At the end of the day, I think Stafon receives something from his alma mater. Alas, it’ll

Scott Bilo: I hate suits like this. It just screams greedy to me, as I am sure it will be to most folks on the street. First of all, the accident was his fault, and he is on record as having said so. He walked into the weight room as an adult, and he knew what he was doing. Here is a young man who had a tragic accident, and he cannot come to terms with the fact that he will never make NFL millions, and will likely be on the waiver wire shortly and begging for a shot at a job in the UFL or the CFL come April. He needs money, and USC is a nice, fat target for him to go after to make his fortune. USC would be foolish to even attempt to settle out of court, as they did nothing wrong here. As a judge, I would be tempted to toss this case out of my courtroom.

Question #3: Former Michigan Wolverine Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has signed with the CBS College Sports Network as guest analyst for national signing day. Will he be a Head Coach on the FBS level in the near future or join his numerous former coaching colleagues and join Broadcasting ranks full time?

The Upset Blog: Despite what happened at Michigan, Rich Rod should be able to land a job in FBS soon. It kind of felt like he would never be successful at Michigan, like he was set up to fail. Michigan's problem was that their defense was terrible, but Rich Rod is an offensive coach (as in, he coaches the offense. LOL.). But his offenses have always performed. He always seems to snag the right QB to run his offense. At Tulane, it was Shaun King. West Virginia was Pat White, of course. And Nard-Dog Robinson was the ideal spread QB. Because of this, I think schools will be willing to hire Rodriguez. Whether or not he is successful will depend on if he can employ a good defensive coordinator, and with that coordinator, recruit solid defensive talent. He is proven on the other side of the ball.

Cory Hedin: Rich Rodriguez will most definately be coaching again in the near future. The question is when. My guess is that he may take a year off unless he receives a really good offer during the off-season. However, being that most of the premier jobs vacancies seem to have already been filled this year, my guess is that his name will be a hot one come next off-season. After his disappointing career at Michigan, I doubt he would get an offer to coach a premier program again right off the bat. However, if anyone can ever lure Chris Peterson or Gary Patterson away from their respective schools, they might be anxious to bring a seasoned coach like Rodriguez on board to help keep their programs going.

Matt Chandik: With the amount of teams moving to or currently using a spread offense, it's almost inconceivable that Rodriguez would not be a head coach again. Some down-on-its-luck school will offer him a job and he'll take it. He's probably going to sit out 2011 and collect more money from Michigan that he doesn't deserve, but he should land at an FBS school in time for the 2012 season.

If an elite school decides that Rodriguez deserves a head coaching job, point at that university and laugh uncontrollably. Fortunately for Rodriguez, he should be able to land a job in a conference like the Big East, WAC or MAC. For Rodriguez to experience the success that he had at West Virginia instead of the disaster that he created at Michigan, a few things will be vital. First of all, he must not be allowed to hire a defensive coordinator in any fashion, shape or form and must not be allowed to even “suggest” things like the 3-3-5 defense, dropping multiple defenders into the same zone or hiring Tony Gibson as a coach.
Furthermore, Rodriguez must learn to make in-game adjustments. There were several instances where Michigan competed with teams for a quarter or two only to be ripped apart in the second half. Rodriguez holds the mentality that because he doesn't make changes, no one else does. That's not how it works. A wide receiver screen on 3rd and 20 is still unacceptable. A handoff up the middle to a 5'6”, 160-pound running back is still a terrible idea. A handoff on first down 95 percent of the time is not a good thing. More importantly, Rodriguez must overhaul his offensive strategy. While it sounds good in theory to have a lot of speed on the field, having multiple 5'8” running backs and slot receivers who fumble if the defenders breath on them isn't going to cut it. Rodriguez would be wise to hire an offensive coordinator who can go with multiple looks.
In conclusion, Rodriguez will be back and making more money than he should. His teams' offensive success is well-known, but it will ultimately be his next defensive move that determines his future success.

Sean Baker: I’m interested in watching how Rich Rodriguez does on the CBS College Sports Network on signing day, and I think he’ll be fine. He’s too compassionate not to be a good television personality.
I expect the broadcasting gig to be short lived though. Unless the stars align perfectly
via some off-the-wall firing or late retirement, Rich Rod won’t be roaming any FBS
sidelines in 2011. But he’ll be back. Being an analyst is just a interim job for a lot of
these guys (yes, even Mike Leach—he’ll get a job... one day), and the same holds true
for Rich. He has good years ahead of him still.
As much as I picked on the guy, I felt Rich deserved a 4th year at Michigan. It would
have been a team of mostly his own recruits, yes, but also a team with 20 returning
starters (Denard Robinson included)—most of any team in the Big Ten. It’s too bad
Rich never had the opportunity to coach in Ann Arbor with a mostly-veteran squad.

Scott Bilo: If you have been reading this site for a while now, you know that I was no fan of the firing of Rich Rodriguez. My stance has softened somewhat with the hiring of one of my favorite coaches in the game in Brady Hoke. That being said, I would hire Rodriguez in a minute. He was never going to succeed at Michigan with an administration, boosters, and fans that derided him from day one. It was a marriage made to fail along the lines of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards. Rodriguez did the unspeakable, which was he attempted to remake Michigan in his own image. Blasphemous.
Rodriguez can coach, and Michigan would have gotten there if he had been allowed to complete his work, but alas, he was not a Michigan man, and never was a good fit for the Wolverine culture. Rodriguez will be entertaining on signing day, as he is nothing if he is not fun to listen to at times.
He will coach again, and that will come in 2012. Whoever hires him has to let him roll his way. People attack his lack of defense at Michigan, but he had some good ones at West Virginia. His offense has been emulated in many places around the country, and it can work. Let's not forget that this dude went 12-0 at freaking Tulane with a midget QB named Shaun King. Hell, I'd fire Rick Neuheisel right now if it meant hiring Rodriguez at UCLA.

And this concludes this first episode of "Ask the Professors". I hope that you all enjoyed it. There are still more contributors being added, so watch for growth of this segment. A HUGE thanks to all who worked so hard to this piece!!! Until next time...

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