Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week One Picks: FCS Edition

Here's who were picking to win this week's FCS contests:

Eastern Kentucky over Robert Morris...W 38-6
Fordham over Rhode Island...W 51-26
Morehead State over Pikeville...L 10-13
Missouri State over Northwestern State...L 17-23
Western Illinois over Hampton...W 42-9
Delaware over Jacksonville...W 51-35
Chattanooga over UT-Martin...L 21-31
Youngstown State over Dayton...W 28-10
Drake over Grand View...L 16-21
North Dakota over Valporaiso...W 69-10
Central Arkansas over Incarnate Word...W 58-7
SE Louisiana over SE Missouri State...W 45-7
Tennessee Tech over Cumberland...W 63-7
Montana State over Monmouth...W 42-24
Portland State over Eastern Oregon...W 57-17

Thursday Totals: 11-4 (11-4 Overall, 2013)

Campbell over Charlotte...L 7-52
Albany over Duquesne...L 24-35
Wagner over Georgetown...W 28-21
UC-Davis over South Dakota...L 7-10
Holy Cross over Bryant...L 16-17
Northern Colorado over Langston...W 31-10
Alcorn State over Edward Waters...W 62-13
James Madison at C. Connecticut State...W 38-14
Richmond over VMI...W 34-0
Georgia Southern over Savannah State...W 77-9
Jacksonville State over Alabama State...W 24-22
Furman over Gardner-Webb...L 21-28
Sacred Heart over Marist...W 37-21
Mercer over Reinhardt...W 40-37
Maine over Norfolk State...W 23-6
Coastal Carolina over South Carolina State...W 27-20
Citadel over Charleston Southern...L 29-32
Stetson over Warner...W 31-3
Sam Houston State over Houston Baptist...W 74-0
South Dakota State over Butler...W 55-14
Alabama A&M over Grambling...W 23-9
Cal Poly over San Diego...W 38-16
Abilene Christian over Concord (AL)...W 84-6
Lamar over Panhandle State...W 75-0
Texas Southern over Prairie View...L 13-37
Stephen F. Austin over Weber State...L 40-50
Montana over Appalachian State...W 30-6

19-8 on Saturday (30-12 Overall 2013)

Florida A&M over Mississippi Valley State...W 27-10
Bethune-Cookman over Tennessee State...

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Week One Picks: FBS Edition

It's finally time to make my picks for the first week of the College Football 2013 season! We will be keeping tabs for the picks as we go, and these are straight up winner picks only. I will be looking at point spreads on Wednesday night right here on the blog and will give picks on Twitter (@BiloFootball) as well.

Week One FBS Picks

South Carolina over North Carolina...Spurrier gets a big win, fast start...W 27-10
Kent State over Liberty...The Paul Haynes era begins with a win over the FCS Flames...W 17-10
Wake Forest over Presbyterian...This game shouldn't even count...W 31-7
UCF over Akron...The Zips are not going to be much better in 2013, and Knights cruise...W 38-7
Tulsa over Bowling Green...Golden Hurricane gets a challenge on the road, but should win...L 7-34
Ball State over Illinois State...Pete Lembo's Cardinals should get a big win this week...W 51-28
Minnesota over UNLV...Rebels have never won on the road under Bobby Hauck...W 51-23
Indiana over Indiana State...No Surprise here...W 73-35
Southern Utah over South Alabama...T-Birds beat FBS team, but does USA really count?...W 22-21
UConn over Towson...L 18-33
Middle Tennessee over Western Carolina...Easy win for the Blue Raiders...W 45-24
Tulane over Jackson State...Confidence builder for Green Wave, but a joke of a game...W 34-7
Utah State over Utah...Aggies are still strong, even without Gary Anderson as coach...L 26-30
Ole Miss over Vanderbilt...W 39-35
San Jose State over Sacramento State...Spartans start the Caragher era out right...W 24-0
Fresno State over Rutgers...Bulldogs are loaded, Rutgers not so much...W 51-50 (OT)
USC over Hawaii...USC owns the Rainbows, home or away...W 30-13

Total: 14-3 (14-3 Overall 2013)

Samford over Georgia State...GSU is still building, so Bulldogs get an FBS upset shot...W 31-21
Army over Morgan State...This game is an embarrassment. Cadets should cruise big...W 28-12
Texas Tech over SMU...Kliff Kingsbury gets his first win...W 41-23
Michigan State over Western Michigan...Sparty should have an easy time this week...W 26-13
Miami over Florida Atlantic...Hurricanes should devastate rebuilding Owls...W 34-6
Houston over Southern...Another cupcake game. Cougars win big...W 62-13
Kansas State over North Dakota State...L 21-24
Arizona over Northern Arizona...Wildcats should have an easy night at home...W 35-0

Total: 7-1 (21-4 Overall 2013)

Wisconsin over UMass...The Badgers will have an easy time covering that 40 point spread. W 45-0
Ohio State over Buffalo...Another big opener for the Buckeyes. They love cupcakes. W 40-20
Illinois over Southern Illinois...Illini are bad, but not bad enough to fall to the Salukis at home. W
West Virginia over William & Mary...Easy opener for rebuilding Mountaineers. W 24-17
Cincinnati over Purdue...Bearcats will be challenged, but should pull out the win. W 42-7
Boston College over Villanova...Eagles should win, but Wildcats will be on upset prowl.  W 24-14
Georgia Tech over Elon...The Phoenix do not have the talent to keep up with Ramblin' Wreck. W
Florida over Toledo...Rockets are tough, but not tough enough. W
NC State over Louisiana Tech...Wolfpack gets the W to start Doeren era. W
Maryland over Florida International...Two equally poor programs face off in dud. W
Texas A&M over Rice...Aggies should win by 3 scores, but Owls challenge early. W
Air Force over Colgate...Red Raiders will be no match for Falcon attack. W
Michigan over Central Michigan...Chippewas have no shot here whatsoever. W
Northern Illinois over Iowa...Don't consider this an upset. Huskies are good, Iowa is not. W
Oklahoma State over Mississippi State...This won't be as good as some think it will. W
Notre Dame over Temple...Not the best matchup for an Irish opener, but it's a win. W
Penn State over Syracuse...Orange are rebuilding, otherwise I'd pick them. W
BYU over Virginia...Cougars should beat slipping UVA on the road. L
Oregon over Nicholls State...Ducks by 70? W
Duke over NC Central...NCC fired their coach last week. This will go well. W
UL-Lafayette over Arkansas...Gotta pick an upset and go big? This is it. L
Alabama over Virginia Tech...It won't be close. Roll Tide. W
Oregon State over Eastern Washington...Beavers should be solid, so an upset isn't likely. L
Eastern Michigan over Howard...It'll be a rare Eagle win this weekend. Expect little more. W
Tennessee over Austin Peay...Who's the moron that scheduled this? Are tickets free? W
Arkansas State over UA-Pine Bluff...Bryan Harsin era starts off with an easy win. W
South Florida over McNeese State...Bulls give Willie Taggert an easy opener to grab a win. L
Troy over UAB...This is a 50/50 pick. Both have lots to prove in the opener. W
North Texas over Idaho...Mean Green should get a huge win. Paul Petrino loses his opener. W
Oklahoma over UL-Monroe...Sooners have QB issues, and ULM will be looking for an upset. W
Marshall over Miami (Ohio)...Not the best match of the day, but Herd should get an early win. W
Southern Miss over Texas State...Eagles should find way back to winning here. L
Missouri over Murray State...Tigers get an early win, and Racers are rebuilding. W
East Carolina over Old Dominion...ODU is heading to FBS ranks, but ECU gets the win. W
Auburn over Washington State...Cougars are not ready for this challenge just yet. W
Western Kentucky over Kentucky...Toppers make it two in a row. W
Baylor over Wofford...Easy win for the Bears. W
Nebraska over Wyoming...Speaking of easy wins...W
Iowa State over Northern Iowa...Cyclones take early lead in state battles. L
San Diego State over Eastern Illinois...The Aztecs will roll, win by 5 scores. L
New Mexico over UT-San Antonio...Bob Davie beats Larry Coker. How often can we say that? L
Texas over New Mexico State...Yeah, I pick UT every time in this one. W
Clemson over Georgia...This is the biggest game of the night, and the Tigers have the weapons. W
LSU over TCU...The Tiger defense should be enough to get the win. TCU will push hard. W
Boise State over Washington...Broncos ruin the debut of the new Husky Stadium. L
UCLA over Nevada...Bruins should cover the 20 point spread at home. W
Northwestern over California...Wildcats get a huge road win as Cal rebuilds. W

Total: 38-9 (59-13 Overall, 2013)

Coming up next...FCS Week one picks!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Independent Edition

Two new independent programs enter the ranks in 2013, but the group has not been improved by the additions of New Mexico State and Idaho, and it's a one year deal as those two schools enter the Sun Belt in 2014. Notre Dame is back after an amazing 12-0 run that culminated in a 42-14 blow out loss to Alabama in the title game. That loss will sting, so the Irish will be playing with a renewed vengeance in 2013.


Notre Dame: It would be understandable to look at the Irish as overrated in 2013, with the loss to Alabama, the loss of Golston at QB, and the loss of Te'o on defense. The thing is, I believe that with Tommy Rees taking back the QB job, and a load of talented up and comers on defense, the Irish, even if they don't go 12-1 again, are a team worth buying into long term. Brian Kelly has never spent this many years in a row in the same place, so continuity has been embraced, even if he did flirt with the Philadelphia Eagles last winter. I will just keep on buying in until I get stung on this team.


Navy: I'd like to buy in to Navy right away, but common sense tells me to hold out for just a little bit so that I don't get stung with a bad purchase here. The schedule is loaded with mines, and there are questions at QB and along the line on offense. There are major holes at LB, and a lack of overall viable playmakers across the spectrum on the defensive side. If these situations get shored up, Navy is always a team worth a few surprises, so I will be watching closely.

BYU: I was lined up to buy into BYU for 2013, and then the injuries started mounting in camp, especially in an already thin secondary. That concerns me deeply. The schedule is loaded all over the place, including games against Texas, Boise State, Wisconsin, and Utah State, and that concerns me as well, as does a new starting QB in Taysom Hill, and there are health issues at RB as well. I am holding off on doing anything here just yet. Anything could happen.


Army: The Cadets are one of America's best rushing teams, and bring back Raymond Maples, who is the star here. They do lose four year starter Trent Steelman at QB, and trying to break in a new QB in the wishbone offense is always tricky. Steelman is a huge loss. The schedule isn't impossible to navigate, but I have a problem buying into a run heavy option football team in the modern era.

Idaho: What can we say about this abysmal program other than to say there's always rebuilding. rob Akey is out as head coach, and Paul Petrino is in, but it will be a long while before we see any results here.

New Mexico State: Rather than wait out his probable firing, DeWayne Walker quit for an NFL assistant job. That's some serious crap, but then again, so is this football program. Doug Martin takes over having never been a winning coach. I think the misery continues in Las Crucas.

Buy, Pass, Sell: Sun Belt Edition

It's been a Summer of big change in the Sun Belt, but it is possible that the conference is just as good after the loss of North Texas, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee, as they were before the departures. None of the bowl teams in the conference left, and only one had a winning record. The conference sits at eight member for 2013, and will go to 12  in 2014 with the additions of Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, New Mexico State, and Idaho.


Western Kentucky: There has been a tremendous amount of loss heading into 2013 for WKU, which will also be their final season in the SBC before moving on to Conference USA. Willie Taggert is gone as head coach, as is team leader QB Kawaun Jakes. In comes Bobby Petrino, he of notable motor cycle and 25 year old whore fame. Nobody ever said that Petrino can't coach, he just seemingly has the ethics and morals of an alley cat. He will bring instant buzz to this program, and his offense should be explosive right away. There is some talent to build around here, especially in all everything RB Antonio Andrews, who rushed for 1728 yards last season.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Mark Hudspeth is a first rate head coach, and has built a solid foundation with the Ragin' Cajuns. QB Terrance Broadway is primed for a big season if he can stay healthy. Jamal Robinson will be his go to receiver after racking up 116 yards in the bowl game win. Look for the Cajuns to push for the conference crown, especially if the defense can improve, and that will be imperative. There is no reason on the schedule to doubt that this team will match their 9 wins from last season.

Louisiana-Monroe: QB Kolton Browning could be the best QB in the conference, but he has to stay on the field, which was an issue in 2012. It all starts and ends with him in 2013, and he should be able to find someone on the current roster to step up for the loss of leading receiver Brent Leonard. The first month is brutal on the schedule with games against Oklahoma and Baylor on the slate, and the rest of the slate isn't exactly easy. ULM may be the SBC spoiler, and that's ok with me.


Arkansas State: I like this program, but there are two major gaps that have me passing for now. The loss of Gus Malzahn at head coach, and Ryan Aplin at QB are problems to solve. Bryan Harsin takes over as head coach, and there are several QBs in the battle to replace Aplin. If these issues iron out early, I may be buying in a month. The September schedule is not difficult, so a fast start is a must.

Troy: The Trojans lost several close games last season, and Larry Blakeney must start finding a way to win those games. The offense won't be a problem, as Corey Robinson returns at QB after three straight 3000 yard passing seasons. His numbers are dipping as far as yardage is concerned, but he is becoming more effective overall, so it's a good trade off. Shawn Southward is gone at RB, but there should be able replacements, even if Troy has to go with a committee. The problem with Troy is the close losses, and a defense that couldn't pressure a kitten last season. If the defense is shored up, I buy in late September, if it doesn't, I sell.


Texas State: I don't really find Dennis Franchione to be a likable guy, but I guess people like him in San Marcos. He was by far the most stand off coach at WAC Media Days last year, and nobody came close. There isn't a lot to be able excited about this season, as there are only four wins that I can ID on the schedule. At least that matches 2012, but it's not good.

South Alabama: There is still so much work to be done in Mobile to get this program to where it needs to be. It's a start up, and I never buy into start ups. It's going to be years until this team is worth buying on the open market. Leave them alone until further notice.

Georgia State: GSU is another start up program, and they had a great coach in place in Bill Curry. Curry is now gone, replaced by former Indiana State head man Trent Miles. Miles certainly has brought in a solid OC in Jeff Jagodzinski. There are several open jobs heading into the season, and still an amazing amount of building to do. GSU may be ahead of South Alabama in development terms, but this program is still a ways off the mark. I will watch the development of this program with keen interest.

Coming up next...Buy, Pass, Sell: Independent Edition

Buy, Pass, Sell: SEC Edition

The SEC is largely thought to be the class of college football by virtue of Alabama and LSU cashing in on all of their. It is truly amazing to think about what they have done in the last decade. However, top to bottom, I am not buying this crap about the SEC being the best overall conference in America. Sure, there is strength at the top, but the bottom half of the SEC is as bad as any conference in America. Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky, and Arkansas were absolutely putrid last season, and hey, Missouri is about as bad an add on as one will find. Mizzou was hardly competitive in the Big 12 the last few seasons before joining the good ole boy club, so how were they ever going to compete here? With all of that in mind, here are my choices for Buy, Pass, and Sell in the SEC for 2013.


South Carolina: This should be the year that Spurrier puts it all together to take the SEC East and challenges for an SEC title outright. It should be...but how many times have we heard this before at USC? We heard it under Lou Holtz as well, so it's not just Spurrier, to be fair. The tools should be all on the table to make a serious run as a dark horse contender in the SEC this fall. Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive player in America, and Connor Shaw may be the most underrated QB. I am buying in, but this is a risk/reward pick based on previous failures to live up to billing.

Georgia: There is no doubt in my mind that Aaron Murray has some of the best tools of any QB in the SEC. Now is the time to shine for Murray, Richt, and Friends, and the roster looks loaded. There is one glaring issue that I see in front of the Bulldogs going into the season, and that's the September schedule, which includes games against Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU. The back half of the schedule looks like a day at the park, so it's all about surviving the first 4 weeks that has only one guaranteed win on the slate in North Texas. Again, this is a risk/reward pick.

Vanderbilt: I am buying in on Vandy simply because I believe in James Franklin at head coach. It's all about getting off to a fast start, because the first month is tough. The Commodores open with Ole Miss at home, which is a huge opportunity, and the visit South Carolina in week three. I believe that, like Northwestern in the Big 10, Vandy could spoil someone's season. One other item to watch will be the play of Austin Carta-Samuels, the former Wyoming transfer. Will he play like he did as a freshman, or will he flop like a fish like he did as a sophomore before bailing out of Laramie? I probably should be passing on Vandy until the end of September, but hey, what's a little risk?

Alabama: If you are not buying in on Bama, you are probably high on some really bad crack. Until proven otherwise, the Tide will be the best team in the country with the best coach in the country in Nick Saban. Alabama will load up on talent once again, and has as effective a QB as there is in the nation leading them in AJ McCarran. Alabama will truly blast Virginia Tech in the opener.

LSU: Never bet against Les Miles and company, unless they are playing Alabama. LSU would be rolling in BCS titles by now if they never had to play the Tide. Here's my issue with LSU...offensively, they don't have the talent of Alabama. QB has been an ongoing problem for the Tigers for a while now. I don't believe that Zach Mettenberger is going to be the man. There is enough talent around him and on defense for LSU to make another huge run this season, and challenge Alabama in the West.

Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze has been quietly building a miniature empire in Oxford, and recruiting is at an all time high. It's only a matter of time before the roof blows off, and the Rebels are threatening everyone in the league that comes across their path. The days of easy wins against this program are over.


Florida: The offense stinks. That is why I don't know what to do with the Gators right now. There is no real viable QB in the program right now, so no, I don't believe in Jeff Driskell right now, or ever for that matter. The Gators are looking for a new RB, but this is not a very productive unit overall. The defense is great, but eventually, you have to score points to win.

Tennessee: Butch Jones is going to get it right in Knoxville eventually. Will Tennessee be good enough to make the East uncomfortable in 2013? That remains to be seen. I can see myself selling on the Vols at the end of September, with the expectation to possibly buy in for 2014. We'll see.

Texas A&M: The Aggies have the biggest quotient for falling backwards in 2013. Johnny Manziel has been an off-field circus this year, and his head doesn't seem to be in the game, but rather trying to strike on his ego while the iron is hot. That could be a problem, and if the NCAA suspends him for Autograph-gate 2013, the Aggies could be in trouble. I am waiting a little longer to make a decision, so passing for now is a good idea.

Arkansas: John L. Smith was at the core of the mess that was the Razorbacks in 2012, as was the Bobby Petrino disaster. Bielema should be a decent fit in Fayetteville, but will he be likable enough and fit in to the system in place there. Likability has always been an issue with the guy. Look at how that worked with Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, and with Smith and Arkansas last season. Bielema has some work to do with the roster, but he has some time to make it work. The Hogs could be better than expected, but I am not ready to make a decision just yet.


Missouri  It's a make or break year for Gary Pinkel, and the schedule is brutal. That's not a good sign for a team that completely lacks an identity heading into 2013. If you thought that the Tigers were an afterthought in the Big 12, they are invisible in the SEC. It would be even worse if they were in the West instead of the East. I have already committed to the sell, but the only thing that would have kept me on Pass mode would have been if I could trust the health of QB James Franklin. The problem is, I don't.

Kentucky: Joker Phillips was an abject disaster as head coach in Lexington. That should be a cautionary tale of naming a coach in waiting, as that almost never works. Phillips was Rich Brooks' guy when Brooks walked away from coaching, and Brooks is left looking like a bad judge of talent. Enter Mark Stoops, as the Stoops family has more brothers I think than the Baldwin family. If Bob Stoops is the Alec of the family, then the rest can only so far compare to the Stephen and Billy factor, which is far less talented and accomplished. Mark has the chance to blow that concept out of the water, but it won't be now. I am probably two years away from being able to think about buying into UK, and even then it'll be a maybe at best.

Auburn: The Tigers may struggle to reach 6 wins in the first year of the Gus Malzahn era. There is no established QB, the three top receivers are gone, and there are no go to options right now. The defense should be better, especially with Ellis Johnson running the unit. Auburn needs playmakers, and they will only come through recruiting later.

Mississippi State: Much like Iowa State in the Big 12, the Bulldogs are a middling program that are usually happy to get to a third tier bowl. The receiving corps has been decimated, and the schedule, especially in November, is just heinous. There is depth on defense, but I don't see that MSU has enough talent to run with the big dogs in the West, and Dan Mullen will be answering some questions as to how they will get said talent by the end of the year.

Coming up next...Buy, Pass, Sell: Sun Belt Edition

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Pac-12 Edition

The Pac-12 should be the conference for QBs in 2013, with at least 6 schools coming in with established QB options, and every one of those options being just about top flight choices. Stanford has Kevin Hogan, Oregon runs with Marcus Mariota, Oregon State has 2 options in Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, Washington has Keith Price, UCLA has the reigning passing leader in Brett Hundley, and Arizona State has the most underrated guy in the group in Taylor Kelly. Hogan, Mariota, Hundley, and Kelly are all sophomores or juniors, so this QB capital trend could continue for some time. That being said, we are not looking at individuals, but overall team values here, and there's plenty to like in the Pac-12 in 2013.


Stanford: A viable national championship contender, Stanford looks loaded across the board, and they get UCLA and Oregon at home in conference play. David Shaw is 23-4 as head coach, has won a Rose Bowl, and has Stanford on a long term development program with a long term contract in hand. Kevin Hogan is only going to get batter at QB, and there is depth at RB that matches any program in the country. That group is so deep that RB Kelsey Young has moved to WR, and he could be the best of the group there, but receiver is the weak link to the offense. Then again, when have the Cardinal ever boasted major stars at receiver? The line is loaded, especially with David Yankey at RG. The defense only allowed 97 yards per game rushing last season (5th nationally), and led the nation with just over 4 sacks per game. Every spot on defense boasts star power. Buy in as soon as you can.

Oregon: In Eugene, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Chip Kelly has moved on as coach, but Mark Helfrich stuck around to lead the program with little transition needed. Scott Frost takes over at OC, and that really changes little as well. Marcus Mariota is as explosive a QB as there is in the nation, and De'Anthony Thomas may be one of the fastest human beings that I have ever seen run. Oregon is loaded across the board, and like Stanford, there are stars all over the defense. I predict that Whomever wins that battle against Stanford in Palo Alto on November 7th will be playing for a national title, with the loser playing in the Rose Bowl. That's a great thing.

Oregon State: The Beavers have come back from the abyss of a couple of seasons ago. Mike Riley has the luxurious problem of having two starting caliber QBs. If Oregon and Stanford were in another division, the Beavers would easily be competing for Rose Bowl births yearly. As it is, OSU could be playing a major spoiler role, much like Northwestern in the Big 10. This team should be strong once again.

UCLA: I almost decided to pass on the Bruins for now, but at the last second, I decided to pull the trigger and lock in on the buy. The Bruins should win the South Division, but the schedule is brutal, with Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon, and USC all on the road, and only 6 home games, one of which being Arizona State. The Bruins lose one of their best athletes in Jonathon Franklin at RB, but they have enough depth there to more than compensate. Brett Hundley should be the best overall QB in the conference this fall, and he broke a bevy of UCLA records last fall. There is youth along the line, but many of the young linemen played last season as freshmen, so there is experience. Defensively, the Bruins have a guaranteed top 8 pick in LB Anthony Barr, who may be the best LB in the nation in 2013. Eric Kendricks led the conference in tackles last fall, and is joined by underrated Erick Zumwalt at ILB. The Bruins have lost Owa Odighizuwa at DE for the year, but there is more than enough depth up front to make up for that, especially with the ruling that DT Eddie Vanderdoes will be immediately eligible after cutting out on his commitment to Notre Dame. The good news about being so young at CB is that the freshmen who are looking for playing time have had a big camp, and they look ready to go. My only concern is that schedule.

Arizona State: Every season is supposed to be the year for the Sun Devils, but the Devils are lined up to give UCLA a challenge in the PAC-12 South. Taylor Kelly went blow for blow last season with Brett Hundley when ASU lost narrowly to UCLA in Tempe, and is poised for a huge 2013. ASU goes four deep at RB, and TE Chris Coyle may be one of the best in the nation at that position. WR is a concern, but this is an opportunity for Kelly to make that position better, which is what great QBs do. The defense look to be solid, and they have the talent up front to rush off of the edge on a regularity. ASU has a big opportunity to win this fall, and the good news is that Todd Graham didn't bolt as coach after one season...again. That's always good.


Washington: The Huskies have under-performed the last few seasons. Steve Sarkisian walked into a loaded cannon when he took this job, but he's been here a while now (5th season), so it's time to get this program cracking. Keith Price is a very solid QB, and has had huge games during his career. He only has one season left with the Huskies, so the time to win is now. With Stanford, Oregon, and Oregon State in the division, there will be challenges ahead for sure. Unfortunately, the Huskies don't seem prepared to make a run at those guys. The rebuild of Husky Stadium looks great, so that may be a chip to play alone. I am not ready to sell just yet.

Arizona: The Wildcats will breeze through the first three games with what should be easy wins against Northern Arizona, UNLV, and UT-San Antonio. After that, UA gets Washington and USC. There is no established QB after Matt Scott departed, but Ka'Deem Hardy is a huge talent at RB. Austin Hill is also a very talented WR. If the QB (BJ Denker most likely) situation is taken care of early on, the Cats could surprise. The first month may tell the tale, but October may be more telling.


California: I am a big Sonny Dykes fan, as he built up Louisiana Tech quickly. I got some time to pick his brain last summer at WAC Media Day, and came away very impressed with his philosophies about the game. The reason that I am selling is that Cal appears a couple of years away developmentally, and has to play in a division with Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington ahead of them. Winning may come, but it's an uphill battle that the program is hardly prepared to win right now. One note Bear fans, I will be at the Rose Bowl to watch your Bears take on UCLA on October 12th.

Washington State: Mike Leach has had a year to bleed out the dead weight (see Marquess Wilson) and start to toughen up this fairly weak minded and weak spirited program. There were several wasted years under Paul Wolff and Bill Doba, and Leach was a huge get for the administration. The program has the same disadvantage that Cal has, and so development is all relative this year. There is not enough here to buy just yet, but I do look forward to seeing some development of QB Connor Halladay.

USC: I am not sure why everyone is so disturbed nationally that UCLA has taken LA from USC. The Bruins owned the Trojans in the 80's and late 90's. The Trojans are once again going to be relinquishing the city crown, and may be more overrated than Texas nationally speaking. There is no QB, no real solid option at RB other than the overrated Silas Redd, and Marqise Lee is banged up a bit. He will be double teamed every down. The defense was a leaking disaster last season, and doesn't look to be much improved through camp this season. Expect a huge disappointment this season, and expect a new coach in 2014.

Utah: Kyle Whittingham is trying to stock the roster with a BCS level of talent. The Utes are not there yet, but I am not betting against Whittingham long term. Sophomore QB Travis Wilson is going to be fun to watch, and could join the above mentioned group this season. Overall, Utah could finish as high as 3rd in a watered down South this season.

Colorado: Mike McIntyre takes over as coach, and he is a talented guy with amazing coaching philosophies. He has a ton of work to do, and this is year one. If you can win big at San Jose State, he'll be able to do it at Colorado eventually, but they aren't there yet. Expect a bumpy ride in 2013, and probably 2014 as well. Beyond that, things could be changing.

Coming up next...Buy, Pass, Sell: SEC Edition

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Mountain West Edition

The Mountain West got great news for the season when Boise State and San Diego State pulled out of joining the ill fated Big East to remain in this conference. The conference also adds San Jose State and Utah State, both of which add more than respectable depth to the MWC, excluding the fact that both lost their head coaches after their final campaigns in the deceased WAC. The league will have 12 teams this fall and will play a championship game for the first time. Being that I hate conference championship games, I don't see that as a benefit, other than some extra TV money. With all of that in mind, if there is a separation of conferences to form a higher division, as has been discussed, the Mountain West should be included in that group. There is quality here.


Boise State: Some will argue about who they have played, but Boise wins. They just do. Chris Petersen is one of the finest coaches in the country, and his loyalty to this program has been something to be amazed by in the modern era. Joe Southwick is finding his way at QB, and RB DJ Harper is doing his best Doug Martin routine. The only question on offense is the line, which returns just two starters. I have to believe that Petersen is prepared for that. The defense is loaded up front, and teams couldn't pass very well at all against this unit. The opener against Washington on the road will be a major challenge, and if the Broncos get past that, they could have another amazing run.

Utah State: A lot of why I am buying in with the Aggies is because of the work that Gary Anderson had put into the program during his tenure. Anderson leaves, with Matt Wells taking over, but the pieces are still in place to challenge for a birth in the first MWC title game. Chuckie Keaton is one of the best dual threat QBs in the nation and every starting lineman returns. The defense gave up only 15.4 points per game last fall, buying into Anderson's persona. The competition level increases big time this fall, but the Aggies are up for it.

Fresno State: If anyone is in position to take down Boise State, it's the Bulldogs. Derek Carr is one of the best QBs in the country, and Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the nation. Robbie Rouse is gone at RB, but there is talent around to step up. The secondary is as solid as it gets, and they benefit from a very talented defensive line. Fresno State could be a team on the verge of an impressive run.


Air Force: The Falcons sank late last season, and finished at 6-7. Troy Calhoun was upset about the finish, and he should be. I believe that he will have some pressure on him this season, as the Falcons have been flirting with mediocrity the last few seasons. The schedule is difficult, and there are so many new faces, that I can't see buying in on the Falcons this fall. I am not ready to sell yet either. With games against Boise State and Utah State in September, I am guessing that I will be selling at the end of the first month.

San Diego State: The Aztecs will try to open up the offense by bringing in Bob Toledo to help this unit evolve. Adam Dingwell still makes too many mistakes at QB, but Toledo should fix that. If he can do so, SDSU may be a buy at the end of September. The scheduke is workable for 8 wins, but some items must fall into place.

San Jose State: The Spartansmade huge strides under the leadership of the super imaginative Mike McIntyre as head coach. McIntyre moved on to Colorado after winning 11 games last fall, but enter Ron Caragher arrives from a very successful run at San Diego, which is the school that provided Jim Harbaugh to Stanford. This may have been a brilliant hire, but the schedule is brutal in September with games against Stanford, Minnesota, and Utah State all coming after an opener against improving Sacramento State. The rough September has me passing for now.


Wyoming: The Cowboys are sliding to the bottom of an ever improving MWC. They dropped from 8 wins in 2011 to 4 in 2012, and Christensen finds himself firmly on the hot seat. He certainly has a great QB in Brett Smith, but the offense could be better. The defense applies about as much pressure as a girl scout troupe, so that will be the undoing of this team. The Cowboys will not have the talent to compete with the upper half of the conference. Period.

Colorado State: The Rams have a disaster of a defense, and they are in just year two of Jim McElwain's tenure. They have too much work to do to buy in just yet. I am selling for at least one more year.

New Mexico: The Lobos made major strides by winning 4 games last season (they had won 3 the previous 3 years). There is still work to be done, so I am selling for now, but Bob Davie is getting the job done so far. I may be looking at the Lobos as a stock to buy into next year.

Nevada: Brian Polian takes over, and has some rebuilding to do. The Wolfpack opens against UCLA and is a 20 point dog heading in, and a trip to Florida State follows two weeks later. This team could be a beat up mess when October starts. Selling for now.

UNLV: Bobby Hauck's Rebels have not won a road game during his tenure, and it's win or get out this season. I don't see where the improvement comes from, but there is a talented piece in RB Tim Cornett.

Hawaii: Norm Chow was a mistake hire. The Rainbow Warriors are in for another long year, and could be 0-5 heading into a contest against UNLV on October 12th. They open with USC and Oregon State...brutal.

Coming up next...Buy, Pass, Sell: Pac-12 Edition

Buy, Pass, Sell: MAC Edition

The MAC may be one of the most stable conferences in the country, having only had three changes in the last decade involving two programs (added and then lost Temple, added UMass). There has been slow and steady development capped by a major appearance by Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl last season, a spot that Kent State nearly grabbed. Kent State was one of the worst programs in the country for decades. Almost half of the programs in the MAC can be looked at as quality programs now, with a couple more who could be with some effort, and that was never the case before.


Ohio: With Mickey Tettleton back at QB along with RB Beau Blankenship to lead an offense that returns 7 starters overall, Ohio will be better than people are giving them credit for. Frank Solich has done a fine job in Athens, and the Bobcat program is running on a high. The defense is in a state of flux in the front 7, but when your offense scores 31.7 points per game like they did last fall, that may not be so much of an issue.

Northern Illinois: Do I really need to say anything other than mention QB Jordan Lynch? I do? Ok...Rod Carey was promoted to replace the departed Dave Doeren at head coach, and he has a loaded platter heading into 2013. There are stars on defense in DT Ken Bishop and DE Joe Windsor as well. Mark my words, as the Huskies could have two wins over Big 10 teams by the end of September (Iowa and Purdue, both on the road).
Toledo: If Toledo didn't have Northern Illinois with them in the MAC West, they would be cleaning up titles. Terrence Owens will be the sole QB this season, and he is a good one. David Fluellen is one of the more underrated RBs in the MAC. The defense has to replace 8 starters, but this program has really bounced back in the last few years, and Matt Campbell is a rising star of a head coach.


Bowling Green: Many feel like the Falcons could win the East this season, but I am not entirely onboard with that assessment. Matt Schilz is solid at QB, but doesn't always make the best decisions, with a low completion ratio. I could be buying at the end of September, but I don't see more than 6 wins total right now. I think the Falcons could be in for a let down.

Kent State: The surprise of 2012, the Golden Flashes may be due to slip a little this season as they have to replace both QB Spencer Keith and Head Coach Darrell Hazell, who left for Purdue. Paul Haynes takes over as coach, and he is a Kent State man to his core, and understands what it took to get the program where it is now. He has the respect and the passion for the school that will be necessary to keep Kent State headed in the right direction towards a conference title that they have not won since 1972. Dri Archer will be the most entertaining player to watch in this conference next to Jordan Lynch at NIU.

Ball State: Pete Lembo has done a solid job for the Cardinals. The Keith Wenning to Willie Snead pass catch combo should be fun to watch, and the Cardinals have a solid RB in Jahwan Edwards. The line has 4 starters coming back. The problem is a defense that gave up big plays and got pushed around fairly regularly. If the defense can shore up, I could definitely see myself buying in after the first month.


Buffalo: Turner Gill took the Bulls to a bowl game once, and the Bulls have never returned under Jeff Quinn. I don't see that changing this season, and I am not a believer in Quinn.

Miami (Ohio): The Red Hawks (still want to call them the Redskins) have fallen on some hard tomes as of late, and Don Treadwell has won only 8 games heading into his 3rd season as head coach. With just our MAC home games and a defense that runs in circles most days, Miami will likely play with clipped wings in 2013.

UMass: It is year two of the ill-advised move to FBS football for the Minutemen, who play home games 90 minutes from campus at cavernous Gillette Stadium. Charlie Molnar is trying to win at a place that was passable to average as an FCS football program before joining the upper division. It's not going to get much better this fall.

Akron: Terry Bowden may be the coach, but I don't care if it were Bobby Bowden. This program is a mess, and progress comes in small countable ways. Look for another dark season in LeBron's back yard.
Central Michigan: Dan Enos has not been able to get the Chippewas anywhere near where prior coaches had taken them. It's not heading there in 2013 either. With just 13 wins heading into the 4th season of Enos' tenure, there is a huge amount of pressure to win now. That pressure will be met with a resounding thud.

Western Michigan: The Bronco administration gave Bill Cubit two years too many, and the program has suffered due to that decision. Cubit should have been let go two years ago, and all of that loyalty failed to pay off with keeping the Broncos relevant in the MAC. PJ Fleck arrives as the new head coach, and has never been a head coach before. He certainly has his work cut out.

Eastern Michigan: In 2011, Ron English looked like he was turning this program around. In 2012 it was back to the same old crap. English has to please a brand new AD, and we know how that usually works out. This is an easy sell.

Coming up next: Buy, Pass, Sell Mountain West Edition

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Conference USA Edition

Conference USA is a conference that is more in flux than just about any other conference in the country. Six new schools enter the conference this season, with a clump of schools leaving for other avenues. East Carolina and Tulsa, the two power players this league had left, will depart for the AAC next season, so expect much more coming and going. For now, we will take a look to see what's worth buying, passing on, or selling in this mix up of a blender created mash up.


East Carolina: Despite the Pirates ranking 106th in pass defense last season, I am buying in this season. Four linemen return, and the trio of playmakers (QB Shane Carden, RB Vintavious Cooper, and WR Justin Hardy) all come back as well. There is more than enough offense to keep up the tempo while new DC Rick Smith reworks the flailing defense. The schedule sets up the Pirates to have a nice run, and upsets over Virginia Tech and North Carolina are both possible.

Middle Tennessee: I have probably lost my mind, but I will buy in to Middle Tennessee for the 2013 season. Yes, I know that Rick Stockstill is on my Hot Seat list, but the man has a 43-44 record in 8 seasons, and more off-field issues than I can count in the last half of that. All of that considered, The offense is loaded, and despite a secondary that gives up big plays like candy given out on Halloween, the front seven could cover enough ground to create pressure that could protect the DBs. Look out for Logan Kilgore to have his best season yet.

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane has averaged 9 wins over the last five seasons. There is absolutely no reason to figure that this trend will fail to continue with Cody Green and company. Tulsa should win the conference in their final go as a member of this conference before joining the AAC in 2014.

Rice: I can see an increase from 7 to 9 wins this season for Rice, but the bad news for the Owls is that they will be in the same division as Tulsa. Tyler McHargue is due for a big season, and Rice is headed to another bowl game. If they fail to get there, David Bailiff could be shown the door, as his record sits at 30-44 heading into his 7th season.


Marshall: Rakeem Cato is one of the better QBs in the conference, and is probably the best. Despite having a QB who passed for 4201 yards, the defense gave up the goose on their end by giving up 43.1 points per game. The defense is the reason that I will pass this season, but the offense will be too good to sell on. Chuck Heater comes in at DC to fix the defense and help this club get over the hump. I do see an increase in wins from 5 last season to 6 this year.

UAB: I should be selling on the Blazers, but I am choosing to take a pass instead for the time being. Garrick McGee is building fast, and UAB could move from 3 to 6 wins in 2013. Austin Brown is a talented young QB, and this team is improving fast. I could see a bowl bid in 2014, so I will likely be buying next year, barring a complete collapse in development this season.

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs lose a huge load of talent and their head coach. Skip Holtz comes in after getting canned at South Florida. This program still has some talent, and Holtz has had success in the league at East Carolina, so Tech should not be down for long.


Southern Mississippi: Even though I believe that the Eagles jump from 0 wins to 5 this season, I am still selling due to the entirety of complete change that will take place in 2013. Everything changes due to the administration moving on to a new coach after the previous coach had been in Hattiesburg for exactly one season. Until things settle down, I am selling.

Florida Atlantic: The Owls really are not in position to move up to CUSA from the Sun Belt. Hell, they were hardly equipped to go up against the Sun Belt last season. FAU is lacking the talent and the ability to go big this season, and it's going to take some time. They may actually be worse this season than last.

Florida International: Former Illinois coach Ron Turner takes over, but this will still be a mess of a program for a bit. I see a drop from 3 wins down to 1, and this could be repetitive for a while. FIU is in way over their heads in CUSA play.

UTEP: The Miners may actually be better by attrition with a new coach (Sean Kugler) and a new overall group of players at the skill positions. UTEP hasn't been to a bowl in forever, and the losing may continue, but things can only get better. I may be buying in 2014.

North Texas: The Eagles are stuck on the win total of 4 games per year. I see that continuing once again. No movement upward means that I sell.

Tulane: The Green Wave may actually drop in wins, which would be hard to do. Curtis Johnson and crew are not nearly to the point of showing any real development heading into year two, so I will sell hard here.

Texas-San Antonio: Larry Coker is a great coach with a great QB in Eric Soza. There is nowhere to go but up for this fledgling program, but they are climbing the ladder much too quickly. The Roadrunners need some time to develop, so I will sell for now. I like this program, and look forward to a time when I can buy in.

Coming up next: Buy, Pass, Sell MAC Edition

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Big 12 Edition

Once again, we have another mathematically challenged collection of institutions of higher learning with the 10 team Big 12! That old joke aside, the Big 12 should be loaded in 2013, with several teams looking to make upwardly mobile movements on the college football scene. Like any other conference, there are a few clunkers to go with the top tier, but this conference is stacked. Let's see who we should buy, pass on, or sell.


Oklahoma State: We all know the offense will be there, but will the defense be? I believe that the Cowboys will improve on their 8 wins from last season, and could win as many as 10. The defense may be the key that loses the Big 12 title however. Most publications love OSU to take the conference, but I have reservations on that much. I still will be buying in on OSU, because nobody plays much defense in this conference anyway.

Baylor: The Bears are my dark horse candidate to be playing in a BCS bowl this January. All reports indicate that Bryce Perry is better than Nick Florence, who put up better numbers than RG3 the year before. Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin are one hell of a one-two punch at RB, and the receivers are deep and talented. Let's also not forget the defense that the Bears started to play in the last half of last season. This team seems ready to shock the landscape and make an upset run for the Big 12 title.

TCU: I never bet against the Frogs, especially with Casey Pachall back at QB and a defense that may be the best in the Big 12. Gary Patterson is an amazing coach who gets the most out of his program, and the Frogs are ready to make some noise in the Big 12 in year two. They are probably not ready to take the conference title yet, but they may have a say in who does.


Texas: I will go out on a limb and guarantee that Texas will be the most overrated team in the nation when the season kicks off. By mid-season, most will realize their mistake in thinking that the Horns will improve on their 9 win season of last year. That's not going to happen. David Ashe and Case McCoy are not great QBs, and the Horns will fail to establish a pattern of winning that will be enough to satisfy an angry fan base enough to save Mack Brown's job. As harsh as I am being, I a not ready to sell out, just pass on for now.

Oklahoma: Until we know for sure who will be pulling the trigger at QB, I will choose to pass. I am not overwhelmingly excited about either Blake Bell or Kendal Thompson enough at this juncture to buy in, as I find flaws with either choice. I have a feeling that the Sooners may just disappoint.

Kansas State: There is a battle brewing at QB between Daniel Sams and JC transfer Jake Waters that has not been settled yet. The winner will have a solid duo at receiver to go to in Tyler Lockett and Tramine Thompson. With both QB Klein and LB Arthur Brown gone, it's hard to imagine that kind of leadership being easily replaced. I see the Wildcats slipping a bit this fall, but not far enough to sell just yet.

Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury has brought some excitement back to Lubbock that was lacking under Tommy Tuberville. Expect some variation of the Air Raid offense to continue, as Kingsbury was an assistant under Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M last season. The Red Raiders have some work to do to get the engine cranked over, however, so my advice is to pass with an option to buy in later. This team may be a definite buy in 2014.


Iowa State: If you like bottom tier bowl games and average .500 seasons, than by all means, go ahead and buy into the Cyclones. If winning and competing for titles is more your speed, than sell on the Cyclones for someone who is crazy enough to pay your price. ISU has to play 5 conference games on the road, and so this could be a letdown year even for the average at best Cyclones.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers tanked in the second half of last season, and now they have lost all of their best players from a team that was far from at their best in 2012. Consider this a rebuilding season, and sell hard.

Kansas: Once again, the Jayhawks bring up the rear in the Big 12. At least fans will have James Sims at RB for one more season. That's something, but it's also all there is. Expect another disaster.

Buy, Pass, Sell: Big 10 Edition

Expansion is on the horizon for 2014, but the league stays at 12 for this fall. Obviously, I would be selling on the math skills of this conference for insisting on holding onto the Big 10 name. Clearly, academics in this conference have a long way to go to bring sanity back to basic math in naming. The conference does boast a national title contender this season in Ohio State, and the Buckeyes also present a Heisman contender in QB Braxton Miller. Let's see who we will choose to buy, pass on, or sell in the Big 10 for 2013.


Ohio State: I guess that I gave my intention away in the above paragraph, but why would anyone have to think on buying into Urban Meyer's Buckeyes in 2013? This team has one of the most exciting QBs in the game in Braxton Miller, and the schedule is built for a 12-0 run, with trap games against Northwestern and Michigan standing in the way. Losing Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby will hurt some, but there is talent and depth to make up for the losses. Jordan Hall should fill in for Hyde, while Eli Apple and Armani Reeves (both freshmen) should step up for Roby.

Michigan: It should be November before the Wolverines are challenged on the schedule, and then they get Nebraska, Northwestern, and Ohio State. With Devin Gardner at QB, and my favorite OC (Al Borges) working with him, the Wolverines are finally stable at QB (pardon me for saying that Denard Robinson was more of a sideshow than an actual QB). The Wolverines should increase their win total from a year ago, and at least give Ohio State a run for their money this fall.

Nebraska: Taylor Martinez has to cut back on his epic mistakes that he has a tendency to make, but he has weapons around him to make that work. The receiving corps is one of the best in the country, and Ameer Abdullah should benefit from running behind All-American candidate Spencer Long at RG. The defense has to show some heart after giving up 115 points in their final two losses to Wisconsin and Georgia. Matching 10 wins should not be a challenge.

Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats will be the spoiler of the ball this fall. Kain Colter is as versatile and team oriented as a player can be, and Northwestern is a team that someone will not prepare enough for, thereby possibly making some team's dream season become a nightmare. I think that the Cats fall short of matching 10 wins, but with a spoil or two, who knows? This team intrigues me.

Wisconsin: The Badgers made a smart hire in Gary Anderson, whom I got to spend some time with at WAC media day last year. Anderson is a smart, passionate coach who turned Utah State into a major winner. He is a man with a plan, and I believe that the Badgers will be better this fall than last. Of course there are holes to fill with the loss of Montee Ball, but James White is a perfect front line back in Anderson's system. The Badgers must pass better, and that falls on Curt Phillips, but JC transfer Tanner McEvoy may steal the show.


Michigan State: I love Mark Dantonio and the Spartans program, but there are questions too deep to answer at this time to make me a buyer or a seller. The Spartans very well could run their regular season win total from 7 last fall to 8 this season, but other than on the line on offense, there are issues everywhere. There looks to be a committee at RB, an uneven performer at QB, and receivers who can't make the big play. The defense may carry the day once again, but is it enough?

Penn State: Bill O'Brien did a wonderful job last fall, and I do see a matching 8 wins on the schedule, but there are major questions across the board, especially at QB, so that win total is dependent on many things at this point to be solid on. I would pass now with an option to buy later.


Minnesota: The Gophers have issues all over the roster, and probably don't have enough talent to even challenge the upper half of the conference. Jerry Kill has had his hands full in Minneapolis, and the job is far from done. I see 6 wins on the slate, so there will probably be a minor third tier bowl bid available to them, but do we really care about that?

Iowa: The Hawkeyes are picked last by most in the Legends division, and Kirk Ferentz is on my Hot Seat list. This program looks from a distance like it has no direction, and the ship is sinking. The Hawkeyes should really consider another direction if the season falls flat, which I think it will.

Purdue: Darrell Hazell turned thing around at Kent State, and they were just short of playing in a BCS bowl. Hazell has his work cut out at Purdue, and it'll not be evident as to how things are progressing here until late this season, or early next.

Indiana: Kevin Wilson has the Hoosier headed in the right direction, but they may only be able to increase the win total from 4 to 5. Progress is slow, and the Hoosiers appear to be a year or two away from bowl contention, and forget about Rose Bowl aspirations altogether. That's just too far off to see.

Illinois: Tim Beckman is probably wishing he were still at Toledo right now. He'd have a better program. Everything went wrong last season, and the recruiting class that followed offered very little in the way of hope.. Talent is missing, and so is the hope to have a surprise season. Sell as fast as you can on the Illini.

Next up...Buy, Pass, Sell: Big 12 Edition

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: ACC Edition

This edition of “Buy, Pass, Sell” will look at the ACC, which increases to 14 members with the edition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse this fall. Maryland leaves after 2013 to join the Big 10 (ACC gains by attrition) and adds Louisville next year (see what I mean?). Overall, Clemson and Florida State hold all of the power this fall, and depth of solid top 25 programs are lacking. Let’s take a look at who to buy, who to pass on, and who to sell in 2013.



Clemson: The Tigers are loaded for a run at the ACC title, and with some luck, could be in line to compete for a national title. Everyone knows about Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins, but talent is deep, and the program finally feels ready to play big time football. The opener against Georgia will tell all, but I am betting on the Tigers to grab the win and go on a run. Buying all in.

Florida State: Circle October 19th on the calendar, because that’s when the Seminoles will clash with Clemson in Death Valley. That game should dictate who wins the ACC, and heads to the BCS bowl game. Let’s not kid ourselves, as Jamies Winston will be the QB, and if he shines, the Seminoles will try to block the ACC title path.




NC State: I’d feel better about the Wolfpack had they made a hire of a more established coach than Dave Doeren, who has only been a head man for two seasons. That said, Doeren did a fantastic job at his previous stop, so I expect NC State to follow in time. That time is not likely to be now, but a fringe bowl is possible. I choose to pass as of now.


Miami: I am not buying in here either, but I am not exactly selling either. I am not a Stephen Morris fan at QB, and Al Golden has not exactly earned my praises either. The Hurricanes are expected to contend for the Coastal Division, but it’s not a strong division. The Canes could win now, but it’s not a show of strength to do so in a watered down environment.


Virginia Tech: Last season’s struggles may bleed into this season. The Hokies didn’t exactly burn it up recruiting, and the offense is a small disaster. Scot Loeffler was hired to run the offense after an awful show at Auburn, so there’s that to be worried about as well. Logan Thomas completely under performed last fall, and despite a solid defense, there is not enough here for me to buy. I am passing for now, with an asterisk that I could buy at a later date if the offense surprises.


North Carolina: The Sporting News has referred to Larry Fedora as the best coach in the ACC. I think that they were smoking crack when they came up with that assessment. UNC is still under investigation, and even though Bryn Renner is an underrated QB, the Heels don’t have nearly the talent that Clemson and Florida State have, and they don’t have nearly the caliber of coach that those programs have either. Renner is the only reason that I am not selling yet.



Maryland: I am not a believer in Randy Edsell, and Maryland looks to miss a bowl for the third consecutive season under him. If everything collapses again, Edsell could be out in December.

Syracuse: Doug Malone is gone as head coach. Ryan Nassib is gone at QB. This smells like a rebuild in 2013 off of a structure that wasn’t entirely solid to begin with. Life will get tougher in the ACC than it was in the Big East, so there’s that to remember as well. I am selling.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are looking at a downward trend that could finally cost Jim Grobe his job after 13 seasons. Suspensions happened last season, and that is not a Wake Forest trait on the norm, and like Phil Fulmer at Tennessee years ago, it is a sign of a coach who is losing his program. The talent isn’t there, and the ability to get to a bowl is limited at best.  Sell.

Boston College: Steve Addazio is the wrong hire at BC. Expect more of the same to happen for the foreseeable future on the heights, as the Eagles administration failed to find a splashy enough hire to make a city care about a program that they really have not cared about, well, ever.

Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson has hit the wall, as has his option offense. There may be a better QB in place this fall with Vad Lee handling the job, but everyone is ready to stop the triple option in FBS football. Johnson just hasn’t figured it out yet.

Pittsburgh: I like Paul Chryst a lot. I think that he is a solid coach. The reason that I am selling is that Tom Savage has been named the starting QB. Yes, the same Savage that failed to hold down a job at either Rutgers or Arizona. That’s always a bad thing, and with no solidity at QB, I have to sell.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have trended upward the last two seasons, but they seem to be in line with a sinking sensation for 2013. Every publication has the Cavs sinking back towards the bottom of the Coastal Division, and I feel content to follow the crowd on this one, even though I usually don’t. I am pulling for the Cavs to prove me wrong this fall.

Duke: The Blue Devils lost both Shawn Renfree and Connor Vernon after last season, and David Cutliffe is just 21-40 during his tenure in Durham. The defense must improve, but where is the talent and depth? Duke looks to be slipping back to the depths after playing in the Belk Bowl last fall (I know, the Belk Bowl is a joke) so the majority opinion here is to sell, and sell fast.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: American Athletic Conference

Welcome to our new series entitled "Buy, Pass, Sell." In this edition, I will take you through which teams that I am buying into, passing on, and which teams that I choose to sell on in the AAC (formerly the Big East). The conference lost it's name, and lost members, while adding other members from Conference USA and the MAC. In essence, this conference has lost its' essence, and will lose it's only viable championship contender after 2013 in Louisville, who joins the ACC in a brilliant move for the school, both athletically and academically. Let's take a look at By, Pass, and Sell.


Louisville: As mentioned above, the Cardinals are the only viable contender for a BCS birth out of this conference, and they have a major Heisman candidate in QB Teddy Bridgewater, who is one of the best players that you will see this season. This is the final season in the AAC for Louisville, and they will go out with a bang. Louisville, if they make an undefeated run, may be playing for the final BCS title in January, but they will need some help.


Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights will leave as well after this season for the Big 10. That's not nearly the loss that Louisville is for the AAC, as Rutgers always seems to come up short in the end. Nothing about this program excites me this season, nor does it any other.

UCF: The Knights won 10 games last fall. If George O'Leary's record has been any indication, they will struggle this season. That is the history of this program, one on and one off. There is a decently talented core to this team, but history tells me that I should sell. I will just pass instead.

Cincinnati: I am not a Tommy Tuberville guy, and his hiring by the UC administration after Butch Jones bolted for Tennessee left me wondering about general sanity. Tuberville had not taken on Texas Tech by storm, and was a bad fit in Lubbock. The Bearcats are built for a spread offense, but Tuberville likes a traditional I formation offense, which the Bearcats are lacking the parts for. I am passing for now, but am leaning toward selling.


Connecticut: There is no way that I am buying into the Huskies right now. Especially not as long as Paul Pasqualoni is coaching this program. Some publications have the Huskies as high as 4th in the AAC this season, but strangely enough, I only see 4 wins total on the year, with 3 in the first month. I am left unimpressed.

SMU: June Jones has a problem at QB in Garrett Gilbert. News flash: No matter how much people keep pushing this kid as someone who will break out, he still makes too many mistakes to ever be a quantifiable star, and makes Jones' pass happy offense a liability. With holes all over the field to fill, I choose to sell on SMU.

South Florida: I love the Willie Taggert hire, but he has his work cut out for him. Jim Leavitt got this program respectable, but they never achieved greatness, and Skip Holtz bombed out. Bobby Eveld will likely be the QB, but this unit, which was anemic at best last fall, needs rebuilding. The defense tanked last season as well, and so there is just too much work here to do to simply buy or pass on, so I will be selling.

Temple: The Owls have their 3rd coach in 4 years in Matt Ruhle. There is a transition into a new offense taking place, and a total overhaul is coming. There is not much hope for a bowl, and I see only 5 wins on the horizon. I may be buying in a year, but right now, I suggest a sell off on Temple stock.

Memphis: Why would anyone buy Memphis stock? This program has been in the tank for decades, and it's not going to change now. This is just a no brainer sell.

Houston: This program was in great shape a couple of seasons ago. Now they are selected to finish last in a fairly weak AAC. Tony Levine is in trouble as the head coach, and this program is headed in the wrong direction. What a mess.

Coming Next: Buy, Pass, Sell ACC Edition

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Coaches on the Hot Seat: 2013 Edition 1

The Bilo College Football Report returns for the 2013 season with our first edition, Coaches on the Hot Seat. We return after taking some time on hiatus in 2012, and there will be some changes to our format in 2013. That being said, we will strive to bring you the most informative and entertaining material that we can provide for you during the college football season, from the opener on August 29th, through the final bowl games in January.

We begin the 2013 campaign with Edition 1 of Coaches on the Hot Seat. If you are unfamiliar with this series, we select a group of coaches using both national sources and our own informed opinions on which coaches across the country will have the most pressure on them to win now. Those who fail to meet early expectations will be shifted into our Coaches Swimming in the Dead Pool series, which will begin in early September. We hope that you will enjoy this post, and all that come after it. Let us begin...

Coaches on the Hot Seat: Edition 1

Paul Pasqualoni: UConn (10-14, 3rd Season)
Pasqualoni was never a great hire in Storrs, and came off as a truly desperate move when Randy Edsell bolted before a Fiesta Bowl appearance for Maryland. While Edsell has been nothing short of a disaster at Maryland, Pasqualoni has failed to keep the Huskies moving in an upward manner as they were a couple of seasons ago. There is no buzz on any moves with the Huskies in the near future, but another lackluster effort in 2013 could increase the heat factor significantly. Being that the national consensus has the Huskies finishing in the lower half of the AAC, Pasqualoni should start to sweat early.

Tony Levine: Houston (6-7, 1st Season)
Levine has only had one full season with the Cougars, and some people have high hopes for the future. I am not entirely buying in. After what Kevin Sumlin, and Art Briles before him, were able to build up, the pressure is amazingly high to keep up momentum, and the return on 2012 fell well short of that standard. Both coordinators are brand new, and the defense seems to be the area that will go through the most transition, and the defense was never strong to start with. The schedule doesn't seem to be very high on the brutality factor, so there is a manageable expectation that Houston can succeed this year. If they don't, there could be issues.

Al Golden: Miami (13-11, 3rd Season)
There is no doubt that Golden has had one of the most difficult jobs in America. From NCAA scandal to apathetic fan support, the Hurricanes are not enjoying one of their golden eras. That being said, expectations are extremely high this season, with an ACC title that seems to be within reach. I am not buying in on Miami, nor am I buying in on Stephen Morris at QB. Golden needs to win, but he will survive in 2013 no matter what happens, because it's not likely that the Hurricanes could find anyone else dumb enough to step into the fire in the midst of all of the legal issues that the program has going on. Had Golden knew what was happening before accepting the job, he never would have come either.

Jim Grobe: Wake Forest (73-74, 13th Season)
Grobe has been in Winston-Salem forever, but that run could be coming to a close if he cannot recapture the magic of earlier runs to the Orange Bowl. Talent is thin on the roster, and expectations for 2013 are extremely low. Grobe has been given a long rope at Wake Forest, but if the Deacons want to be a player in the ACC in an era where championships are the goal, Wake may need some flash, and they have none of that in Grobe. The offense was a mess last fall, and the defense was a sieve. Add poor special teams, and you have the makings of an upcoming train wreck.

Randy Edsell: Maryland (6-18, 3rd Season)
Edsell came on to "save" the program after a rather successful run under Ralph Friedgen. That hasn't worked out very well. Look at the record after the last two seasons, and you really have to see very little else to explain why Edsell makes it to the list. There are at least 6 losses on the schedule before we even begin, so improvement to match long term expectations may be difficult to come by. Edsell was the wrong guy for this job, and the Terps fired the guy who was right for them.

Mack Brown: Texas (150-43, 16th Season)
We all know that college football has become a game of "what have you done for me lately". That is nowhere more evident than in Austin, where Mack Brown may literally have to win at least 10 games this season to retain his job. The Horns finished 9-4 last fall, and had to come from behind to beat Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, something that has Horns fans nervous. The defense was a complete mess last season, so that will have to be shored up if Brown wants to stay alive in his position. The schedule is full of pot holes and challenges, so anything can happen.

Charlie Weis: Kansas (1-11, 1st Season)
Weis has walked into a train wreck of a program. He was a bit of a mess at Notre Dame, so is he really the correct guy to take on this challenge? The answer is yet to be revealed, but I am betting against him, and I am not alone. The Jayhawks are picked to finish 10th in the Big 12 this fall, which, strangely enough in a new math fashion, is last. Remember that the Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 game since 2010, and that was against a team no longer in the conference (Colorado).

Kirk Ferentz: Iowa (100-74, 15th Season)
How seriously stale does this program have to get before people finally wake up and realize that Ferentz needs to go? There have been numerous missed opportunities, numerous off-field issues, and numerous wasted seasons. The only consistency under Ferentz has been, at best, mediocrity in what was a previously proud program. Iowa has been chosen to finish last in the Legends division, and the schedule shows as many as 8 losses this season. Come on people, it's time...

Norm Chow: Hawaii (3-9, 2nd Season)
2012 was a mess in Honolulu. Chow was a terrible hire, and I don't see anything getting any better moving forward. Hawaii was such a mess that I often called for Chow's head in his first season. I normally don't believe in moving a coach so early in their tenure, but sometimes the mistake is obvious. The Rainbows don't show a win for the 2013 season until October 12 against UNLV, and that's not a guarantee.

Dave Christensen: Wyoming (22-28, 5th Season)
Christensen had a very public blow up last fall after a loss to Air Force, where even his daughter was begging him to shut his pie hole. He went nuclear meltdown, and I figured he was as good as gone after last season. Somehow, he managed to survive one more season, but if indications are correct, it could be his last. The schedule is in the Cowboys' favor, and so the pressure could be extra high for 8 wins this fall. If they don't get there, Christensen could be looking for work.

Troy Calhoun: Air Force (47-31, 7th Season)
Calhoun is well liked at the Academy, and he has had chances to leave. The problem is that the Falcons have been falling lately, and the goodwill is bound to run out. Here is the problem for 2013...the schedule could be very difficult, and I see 6 losses on the slate. If the Falcons can turn some of those mid season contests into some wins, Calhoun could reduce some heat. I don't really see him going anywhere after 2013, but a poor showing could make him a prime Dead Pool candidate in 2014.

Bobby Hauck: UNLV (6-32, 4th Season)
Hauck is in major trouble this fall, and has not won a road game in 3 seasons (0-20). Expectations are not high in Vegas at all, but even saying that, wins have to come, and this program his bleeding money by the truck load. Hauck was so good at Montana, so why has it gone so wrong in Vegas? The Rebels were 2-11 last fall, and that's not going to cut it.

Lane Kiffin, USC (25-13, 4th Season)
Kiffin is a mess. USC is a mess. They have no QB. The only proven receiver, Marquise Lee, is banged up in camp. The defense was a mess last fall, and UCLA is overtaking the Trojans in LA under Jim Mora. Kiffin recently got the dreaded vote of confidence from AD Pat Haden, but there is no program in America that is more overrated nationally than the Trojans right now. Kiffin has to beat UCLA, win 10 games, and win the Pac-12 South to stay in his job.

Gary Pinkel: Missouri (90-61, 13 Season)
All you need to know is that Texas A&M flourished in season 1 in the SEC, while Mizzou flailed wildly (5-7). Pinkel has struggled to keep Missouri relevant in recent years despite the highly publicized move to the SEC, but if you make bold moves, you have to back it up, and the Tigers are far short of that. Pinkel needs a huge season to make this work, but the schedule from October forward may be preventing anything good from happening.

Dan Enos: Central Michigan (13-24, 4th Season)
Enos is a good guy. He is out of his league coaching the Chippewas. His record has been a mess, the output of this program has fallen steeply since he took over, and there is massive pressure to get back to the top of the MAC. I only see 4 wins on the 2013 schedule, so this could lead to a dark finish this fall.

Ron English: Eastern Michigan (10-38, 5th Season)
English had turned things onto the right track in 2011, saving his job. In 2012, the Eagles completely collapsed and returned to their losing ways. 2013 is do or die for English, and there will be no excuses. The bad news is that there are low expectations, as the Eagles are expected to finish last in their division. A new AD will be in place during the 2013 season, so if the team does not amp up to bowl eligibility, The AD will likely bring in their own guy for 2014.

Rick Stockstill: Middle Tennessee (43-44, 8th Season)
Stockstill actually won 8 games last season, but that's not why he is on this list. Off-field issues are starting to become a normal thing for the Blue Raiders, and four more players were kicked out of school and are on trial for rape as we speak. This kind of activity kills good coaches, as it shows that Stockstill does not have control over his kids and his program. If the Raiders win big this season (they are expected to compete for a spot in the CUSA title game in their first season), people may turn a blind eye. With that in mind, Stockstill has also had a knack for under performing in years in which expectations were high.

Please join us for our next installment for 2013, a new series that we call "Buy, Pass, Sell".