Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't You Just Hate those Guys that Show up at the Party Uninvited

Two years ago it was Boise State.

Last year App State.

At least once a season a small time school busts onto the scene in a big way. They disrupt the college football landscape. Band wagoners come out of the wood-work and buy up every available jersey and hat they can buy. So who is it going to be this year?

Central Michigan: A few weeks ago BOTF profiled Lefevour and his Chipewas. This team has the real potential to spoil a couple of parties. They have a game against Georgia early in the season. If the Dawgs are not ready for them Central Michigan is going to march out of Georgia with a lot of new fans. Lefevour is a dark horse Heisman pick. He's not going to win but he will sure turn heads.

Fresno State: Although not flying under the radar completely, Fresno State is returning 16 starters from a team that went 9-4 last season. This appears to be the year that Fresno gains control over the WAC from Boise State and Hawaii. They open the season at Rutgers and then host Wisconsin in a game that Fresno States Coach Pat Hill is calling the biggest game in the history of Bulldog Stadium. Their biggest problem? David Carr is an alum.

Tulsa: It might be surprising but this is the nation's best offense. Although it is unclear who will play QB at this point whoever it is will pass for over 4,000 yards. They have a very favorable schedule and have a chance to run the table. Although they will need to really crush their opponents to garner an invite to a major bowl, including a game against Arkansas.

Troy: Although they lost their offensive coordinator and some top talent they have a legitimate shot to take down Ohio State at the Horseshoe. They also play LSU and Oklahoma state this year. With three bites at the apple it's hard not to believe that Troy can shatter some dreams.

Blotter: Bag of Douche edition

SEC might have their own TV network, a la Big Ten Network, in the works. [Awful Announcing]

First stop on the college gameday tour. HOTLANTA!! [Awful Annoucing]

You know if your going to steal from Wal-Mart make it something normal. [Everyday Should be Saturday]

USC Song Girl... just look. [Deadspin]

The feel good story of the 2008 NFL draft is no more [With Leather]

Tony Sopran... Greg Schiano

This site reported and praised Rutgers just the other day for their aggressive stance on their stadium expansion. Rutgers, however, does not deserve those kind words.

"Five months after agreeing to terms that will pay him as much as $2 million annually with bonuses, Rutgers University football coach Greg Schiano quietly signed a side agreement providing for an additional $250,000 a year from the university in payments made through a vendor.
In the addendum to his contract, dated July 2, 2007, the university arranged for Nelligan Sports Marketing, the exclusive marketing agent for Rutgers, to pay the coach the additional $250,000 -- keeping the payments off the school's payroll"

Well then... It appears that being one of the highest paid officials in the state is not enough these days. Another $250,000 off the books seems a little absurd... but it doesn't end there.

"The additional compensation was one of three contract changes not made public last year. The athletic department also agreed to raise its budget for assistant coach salaries and gave Schiano unlimited use of jet and helicopter services for university business."

I love the term "university business." That could mean absolutely anything. Recruiting trip to Florida? Yup! Vacation in the Caribbean? Why Not!

We are talking about tax payers money here. As a resident of New Jersey (and a RU fan) this is not exactly what you want to hear. Although I'd much rather it be something like this than athletes being paid off or cheating in the classroom.

Oh and the stadium expansion is over budget $18 million. Now the option of scaling back the project is being considered and what went from a 13,000 seat increase as well as new sound systems and all that jazz may be out the window. Also in Schiano's contract is a clause that says if the expansion isn't completed on time he can opt out of his contract.

Way to go Rutgers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Beast of an Offense

Over the past few years the spread option offense has been getting a lot of attention around college football. The spread option is a variant of the spread offense and falls between the flexbone and traditional pass-oriented offense. But what exactly makes it so deadly?

The driving force behind the offense is the theory of "defensive isolation." The formations are created in order to create mismatches which favor the offense. The offense spreads the field with three to five wide receiver sets. This is done in order to create space for the receivers. The more room they have to maneuver the better chance they can up big yards after the catch. The sets also try to get a receiver matched up against a linebacker, a mismatch which the offense can exploit. The theory is really simple. Get your fastest most athletic players on their slowest and least athletic players (minus lineman).

In order to help negate the athleticism of the defense, as well as keep them guessing, the offense usually runs double to triple options in conjunction with passing plays. This combo keeps the defense in their positions and forces them to remain on their assignments. These precious seconds that the offense gains when the defense waits to react can be the difference between a three yard loss or a touchdown.

Another layer to the offense is the QB read. This play requires an speedy QB who is not afraid to run around. During the play the QB "reads" the defense (usually the safetys and linebackers) and decides whether to hand it off or tuck it under and run themselves. This play was run to perfection by Vince Young three years ago.

The spread option has a number of variations. Wake Forest employs a number of reverses and double reverses in order to open up big plays. Urban Meyer has perfected his spread option, which lead him to a national championship. Meyer runs almost every play out of the shotgun and gives his QB (Tim Tebow) the freedom to do anything with the ball.

Terrelle Pryor was this year top QB recruit because he has the ability to run the spread option

Some football purists are still skeptical of the offense but it is really taking over the college game. From the top tier teams like Florida and Michigan to lowly division III schools the spread option is becoming a force in college football. Heck, this years top football prospect, Terrelle Pryor, was regarded so highly because he has the rare combo of speed and arm strength to run this type of offense.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Hit Wonder? Or Big Time Contender?

After a breakout year last fall South Florida is looking to finally solidify themselves as a real contender on the national landscape. Monster wins over Auburn and West Virginia catapulted the Bulls into the top 5 and even the national championship conversation.

It may have been too soon for the young team because they completely imploded and lost three in a row to Rutgers, Cincy and UConn. They dropped out of sight and soon out of mind. That experience will be a huge factor for this team because these players know what it is like to have a target on their back. They will understand what it takes to produce every single week and not just peak for half a season.

The team is returning 16 starters this year (10 offensive, 6 defensive) which includes their All-American defensive end, George Selvie and their QB Matt Grothe. Although they have to replace their star linebacker, Ben Moffitt, and two cornerbacks, Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams.

One interesting freshman to watch is David Bedford, a potential big-time talent that chose the Bulls over West Virginia and Kansas. Their hope is that he will garner enough attention to take some heat of George Selvie on the line.

The Bulls schedule is going to be a tough one to wade through. They take on Kansas at home in the third week of the year which will be an interesting game. Kansas, like South Florida, is trying to prove that last season was no fluke. South Florida also takes on Rutgers at home late in the year and then the travel to West Virginia in the last week of the season. With the Big East emerging as a big-time conference there are no easy games in that conference. Most believe there are no clear favorites in the conference and that any team could take this conference.

All Eyes on Tallahassee

With a pair of 7-6 seasons the once mighty Florida State Seminoles are under a close watch. Bobby Bowden the 79 year old wonder coach is nearing the end of his lif... career in the eyes of most fans. While he did lead them to the promised land on numerous occasions many just feel his time has come.

Bowden feels differently. He is "not interested in getting out" and he believes the team is "heading in the right direction."

This report comes just a day after Seminoles QB, Drew Weatherford spoke about his team. Weatherford believes that the team had an "identity crisis." He feels that the became cocky and believed that having Florida State on their jerseys meant that they would be handed wins.

There is no doubt that Florida State is not living up to their potential. They have had top 10 recruiting classes pretty much every year. Somewhere along the way their talent is falling through the cracks. College football is much more than just getting the players onto the campus. Those players need to translate the hype into trophies. When players of such a high caliber fails to succeed on the field the blame usually falls on the head coach. A number of behavior issues, such as the cheating scandal last spring, over the last few seasons have also put Bowden on the hot seat.

This is going to be a critical year for the 'noles. They are losing their recruiting edge as they move further and further away from the glory days. Jimbo Fisher, the offensive coordinator, is waiting in the wings. Unless Bowden shows he still has it than hes going to be hitting the old dusty trail very soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Whose Now? Not TitleTown

The rejects over at ESPN have reached a new low. "TitleTown" may actually be the dumbest of all their summer creations ( Although lets not forget "Whose Now?" whatever the hell that means). How desperate does Sportscenter/ESPN have to get to do Titletown? Are they actually that desperate to interview Captain Clutch and other washed up stars. Or I guess they just want to get Erin Andrews on the screen as much.

UCLA and USC have almost 200 combined national titles. LA=Titletown. Problem solved.

Tim Tebow Can Finally Rest Happy

Florida Quarterback, Tim Tebow, can finally slip on his Josh Hamilton Pajamas (I stole this joke) and get a good nights rest because he has an ESPY. Maybe the most prestigious award in all of sports, the ESPY stands for an athletes greatness (How much money they make for ESPN) and represents their talent (marketability). Relax Tim Tebow this ESPY for "Best Male College Athlete" satisfys the hunger left over from the Heisman.

Just because you have a TV Channel Doesn't mean your cool

Watching Ohio State get absolutely trounced in the BCS championship game the last two years should have showed all college football fans the true path. The Big-Ten is overrated.

Wherever you look every Big-Ten team is getting trounced by SEC and Pac-10 squads. Michigan losing to Oregon (and App State). Illionois' loss to USC in the Rose Bowl was an insult to college football. Illinois was selected because the Rose Bowl is traditionally Pac-10 vs Big Ten, not because they were the best team for the job. Heck Ron Zook is an SEC reject.

A recent poll on shows how ignorant fans still are. The Big-Ten garnered third best overall conference beating out the Pac-10 and Big East and ACC. I would take teams like West Virigina, USC (Who will be playing Ohio State Sept. 13th), Rutgers, Clemson and V-Tech maybe even Wake Forest and over any team in the Big-Ten. And oh ya, they have their own TV network. The Big Ten Sucks.

Read This: God Save the Fan

Anyone who follows sports blogging knows the name Will Leitch. His rise from lowly sports fan to king of the blogging universe has become well known to all since his move from editor/creator of Deadspin to New York Magazine.

His book, God Save the Fan, is a smart collection of sports essays about players, coaches, owners, the media and fan. His rants about ESPN and capitalist owners can shift the focus of even the most well read sports fans out there. He reveals the real evils in sports and why you should strive to be no more than a fan.

I gurantee you won't agree with all of his essays but there is no doubt that you a couple will hit close to home. I also promise you that Leitch will make you realize that you actually hate watching the Olympics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Quarterback U" solves QB crisis.... Kinda

Without a single QB on their roster that has ever taken a collegiate snap, Miami, has said that both of their young, highly touted, QBs will play during the season. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris, will split time this season. Coach Randy Shannon has said that one of these players will emerge as the starter and the "other will play at certain times to get a feel for game action."

Now both of these QBs had distinguished high school careers.

Marve, a redshirt freshman, led his high school team to a 15-0 record and a state championship in 2006. He threw for 48 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards.

Harris, a true frehsman, also led his team to 15-0 record in his senior year. Threw for 49 touchdowns and almost 3,500 yards his senior year.

Miami is going to have their hands full with this issue. Without one QB with experience they are in a tough situation. If they start one guy and he goes down their backup has zero experience. A two QB system might sound ideal but it is not easy to manage. There are always problems with the relationship of the two players and you have to worry that the locker room doesn't get divided into two camps. Recently Tim Tebow and Chris Leak made it work but that is because their styles differed and that Leak had 3 years of experience on Tebow. The system only really works if the backup is "change of pace" player who can do things that the starter cannot. When both players are young and ready to play it will not be easy to stick one into the backup role and keep him happy.

With Miami's offense struggling over the last few years Quarterback U is hoping they find two players that can follow in that long line of greats.

People actually want to go watch Rutgers Football

A few years ago, Pre-Schiano, Rutgers was the laughing stock of college football. Their lone highlight was the first college football game in 1869. A lot has changed since then. Rutgers has had their eyes on bowl games, championships and five star recruits. They went from drug-addicted Josh Hamilton to home-run bashing Josh Hamilton (I freaking love this guy) in just a few short years.

Now Rutgers is trying to capitalize on their recent success with some stadium improvements. By 2009 13,000 seats will be added to the stadium that attempts to look like they actually house a top-25 program. The changes will cost Rutgers over 100 mil but it is something that needs to be done. The school has not had much to cheer or revel in since 1869.

With the hiring of Greg Schiano eight years ago RU committed to taking this program to the upper levels of college football. As more and more big time recruits visit the school they need to show them an impressive arena one that will attract them to the school.

Kudos to RU.

Oregon Player Drowns

It is a sad story to come home to but thats how it goes:

Oregon redshirt freshman Todd Doxey drowned on an inner-tube trip with his teammates earlier this week. It is said that he tried to swim across the river and against the current but tired quickly to the point where he couldn't keep his head above water. The young player was pulled out of the water by a nearby boat and they administered CPR. He passed away a few hours later.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Site Update

The Band is On the Field will be taking a short two week break. Feel free to comment and what not while away. Can't wait to get back to it and look for more posts as we inch closer and closer to the season.


Heisman Watch

The Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious award in college football. To win the Heisman means your name will be in the same class as Reggie Bush, Herschel Walker, Barry Sanders, Archie Griffin, Danny Weurfel, Eric Crouch and of course Mr. Chris Wenkie. Every week we will spot light one player who is on that short list of Heisman hopefuls.

Armanti Edwards

Everyone remembers the Appalachian-State Michigan upset like it was yesterday. Biggest of all time, ya we know. But what was lost in the shuffle was a quarterback who threw for 227 yards and had four total touchdowns. Probably even more important was the kid's poise. It is not easy to take on the intensity of the Big House but Edwards handled it like a champion. His ability to execute the spread option to perfection is what gave his team the chance to win. Then in the FCS playoffs against Richmond he ran for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns as well as throwing for 192 yards and three more scores. In his first two years at App-state he has won the Division IAA (FCS championship) twice.

Returning for his junior year Edwards has to be considered for the Heisman. If he does not garner serious consideration than the Heisman trust is showing their narrow-sighted views yet again. It is bad enough that the Heisman has turned into the Best QB-RB award but to hold it against Edwards that he is in the FCS is just unfair. The AP has opened their poll to Division IAA which is the proper thing to do. App-State opens their season playing the other national champion, LSU. If Edwards indeed lives up to the hype this year there is no doubt he should be sitting in NYC for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nothing Says 4th of July Like Rudy

So they throw quite the party in Laporte Indiana. Turns out on the fourth of July they will roll out the red carpet for Samwise himself, Sean Astin. He will be the grand marshal of the parade in its 62nd year of existence. I don't know what the grand marshal is but it sounds like some KKK shit to me.

You can be a National Champion With Just 1 Easy Payment

A 1999 FSU National Championship ring has sprung up on eBay. For $3,899.99 you can own a real championship ring. TJ the deal describes this ring as "HOT HOT HOT." Ya....

Orignally from Fanblogs

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Blotter: Georgia Edition

So college football players have nothing to do in July. Except commit crimes.

-Georgia guard Justin Anderson and tackle Trinton Sturdivant have been arrested on minor misdemeanor charges. Defensive end Michael Lemon apparently beat the hell out of someone.[ESPN]

-University of Arkansas linebacker Freddy Burton, 19, was arrested for a DWI. I'm actually somewhat surprised they have cops in Arkansas [Northwest Arkansas Times]

-Georgia Tech (man Georgia seems like a fun state) CB Jerrard Tarrant has been charged with rape and sodomy [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

-Clemson (its close to Georgia) safety DeAndre McDaniel has been arrested for covering his girlfriend's head with a comforter and choking her. Why use a comforter? [Espn]


Central Michigan: The best team you have never heard of.
Dan Lefevour: The best QB you have never heard of.
Bryan Anderson: The best WR you have never heard of.

The Central Michigan Chipewas are being touted as the best Non-BCS team (see State, Boise). Hailing from the MAC, CMU started turning heads late last season. Their Motor City Bowl victory, a shootout with Purdue, showcased their explosive talent. Dan Lefevour, the lighly recruited dual-threat QB, had 6 total touchdowns. Lefevour is one of the few QBs ever to rush for 1,000 and throw for 3,000 (I Hate Vince Young). Over two years he has 6,683 yards passing, 1,643 yards rushing and 79 total touchdowns. 2,000 of those passing yards have gone to junior reciever Bryan Anderson. Anderson, who picked up 1,132 yards last year and 10 touchdowns, stands at 6-5 and can really go up and snatch the ball.

What could be CMU's down fall is their defense. Last year opponents averaged over 300 yards passing on the shaky secondary. They are returning 7 starters but the three defensive players to earn all-conference honors have departed. If the defense wants to have any chance Frank Zombo, junior end, has to have a monster year.

CMU has three games against "Big Six Teams" this year. September 6th against Georgia, Sept. 20th against Purdue and Nov. 1 against Indiana. If CMU can take 2 of 3and run the table in their conference they will no doubt break the top-25 this year.

Straight Outta New Brunswick

The Scarlet Knights, Jersey's pride (kinda) is in the midst of one hell of a recruting class coming on the horizon. With some downtime between signing day and the start of the season coaches are focusing in on the class of 2009. I guess grease trucks really bring in the big-time recruits. These two players look like they will be the Knights' future:

Leading the class is Tom Savage, a pro-style QB from Springfield PA. He picked Rutgers over Georgia, Miami, Tennesse and Louisville. He will be attending the Elite 11 camp with the best QBs across the nation. He is noted for having one of the strongest arms in the nation. Can anyone say Mike Mcmahon?

Right behind Savage is Desmond Scott, an all-purpose back from Durham, North Carolina (Suck on that Duke). Schiano is planning to use Scott out of the backfield and line him up in the slot.

You can see videos of him here.

One important note is that both of these players come from out of state. It looks like Greg Schiano's decision to stay in Jersey is really paying off for RU.