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Posted on: September 1, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:25 pm
 

UCLA still hasn't named a starting QB

Posted by Chip Patterson

PrinceOn a weekend that will include a slew of matchups between FBS and FCS teams, there are only a few non-conference games on the slate between AQ conferences.  One of those will be between UCLA and Kansas State in Manhattan, and the Bruins will wait until then to name their starting quarterback.

Returning starter Kevin Prince has missed almost all of training camp with a strained oblique in his lower back.  Sophomore Richard Brehaut has been taking the first-team reps in his place, and showing plenty of promise.  The game is only three days away, and head coach Rick Neuheisel is nowhere close to naming his starter.
"Kickoff is at 2:30 Central time, game-day decision," Neuheisel said.  "I don't think there's anything (health wise) that says (Prince) can't play, it's just who gives us our best chance."Prince admits he has been a little off on his timing since returning to full practice participation on Monday, though he believes that it won't take too long to get back on the same page with his receivers.  

"You're out for three weeks and guys that have been out here have their timing down and that's something I need to catch up on," Prince said.  "But I'll get it. I've done it before. I've been with these guys, a lot of these guys for three years, so we'll get back on the same page real quick."

Coach Neuheisel insists that regardless of who starts, both quarterbacks will see the field against Kansas State.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:55 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:59 am
 

Starting/Sitting: Ole Miss, Clemson

Posted by Chip Patterson

Yesterday we found out that the NCAA had denied Jeremiah Masoli's waiver request for immediate eligibility, leaving him sidelined for the 2010 season unless Ole Miss successfully appeals the decision.  The Rebels suffered another blow to their lineup on Tuesday, being forced to sit defensive end Kentrell Lockett for the season opener with a heart condition.

Lockett, the senior team captain, was sidelined from practice with an irregular heartbeat and after undergoing tests has been ruled out for the opener against Jacksonville State with no timetable of return.  There is no timetable for his return though he is in stable condition.
Head athletic trainer Tim Mullins said Lockett has a “rhythm problem” with his heart. He began experiencing it during Saturday’s scrimmage and was immediately cared for by local doctors. He has since seen heart rhythm specialists in Memphis and now in Cleveland, Ohio.Sophomore Gerald Rivers will start in Lockett's place and coach Houston Nutt mentioned that Jason Jones could expect to see some significant time as well.

"It’s all hands on deck," Nutt said. "You’ve got to work by committee now.”



In Ingram-esque knee surgery news, Clemson starting linebacker Brandon Maye will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday and miss the Tigers' season opener against North Texas on Saturday.  Maye participated fully in practice as recently as Monday, but head coach Dabo Swinney seems confident that he will return to the lineup, possibly in time for the Presbyterian game September 11.
"Brandon just finished the best camp of his career," said Swinney. "He had some swelling on Monday and Tuesday and after an MRI it was determined he needed arthroscopic surgery."Maye will be replaced by Tig Willard at weakside linebacker.  After redshirting the 2008 sesaon, Willard made 10 tackles in 32 special teams plays last season.  Willard also has a family tradition to uphold in Death Valley, being the nephew of former Clemson defensive tackle Richard McCullough. 



   

Posted on: August 31, 2010 8:49 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:27 pm
 

BYU going independent in 2011-12; Is this wise?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The news that BYU is leaving the Mountain West and going independent in football next season is, to put it mildly, sort of a big deal, and not just for the Stormin' Mormons themselves. BYU's choice of the WCC for all its other sports is yet another blow to the WAC, who had been rumored to be the destination for BYU's other sports. Sure, WAC football wouldn't have been directly affected, but with the conference needing to replace members Nevada and Fresno State, the presence of a high-profile athletic department like BYU's in the other sports would have made the WAC (and, indirectly, its football contingent) more attractive to potential new schools.

But this news really is about BYU, and mainly their liberation from the non-BCS identity that has haunted them since, well, before the BCS even existed. Bitterness over BYU's shared mythical national championship of 1984--featuring a ludicrously easy schedule and capped by a 7-point win over 6-6 Michigan in the Holiday Bowl--has (not unfairly) lingered to this day. Boise State and Utah have faced similar criticisms recently, and those criticisms have only been muted by--as irony would have it--the BCS system's ability to keep them out of national title contention up until now.

By moving to an independent slate, then, BYU can have greater control over its schedule and, more importantly, its television rights/revenue in a crowded but population-light MWC. Whether going independent will have a positive effect on BYU's actual national standing, however, depends on its ability to cultivate long-term scheduling pacts with high-level competition. Notre Dame, Army, and Navy are obvious candidates for yearly play, and we don't see any reason why they can't make a similar deal with Utah.

But past that, whom? BYU managed to spurn both the MWC and WAC with this move, and we can't imagine many schools in those conferences would be eager to schedule a date with the Cougars in the near future. Meanwhile, the Big Ten schools are already upgrading their schedule difficulty by adding Nebraska to the fold (and going to a 9-game conference slate in 2015), and the SEC is allergic to quality non-conference play. We're not saying BYU can't find 12 opponents a year, but they're not picking from a very big pool--especially when it comes to finding quality competition.
Posted on: August 31, 2010 6:56 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:33 pm
 

Who will start at QB for Penn State?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome looked to be a prohibitive favorite at quarterback coming into 2010; he was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school two years ago, and he was the first quarterback off the bench as a true freshman last year. Granted, it was all garbage time, but he was still clearly being groomed for a 2010 starting spot. Moreover, Newsome's competition for that starting role is a former walkon redshirt sophomore and a couple true freshmen.

And yet, Newsome still hasn't won the starting role; even at a teleconference today, Joe Paterno couldn't pin down any of his QBs as his signal-caller going forward:
"I've got to be honest with you. We've got some kids who we really like, and [we] think they are going to be good, and there's more than one," Paterno said. "But at this stage, I couldn't tell you which one is going to come to the front as THE guy to lead the team, or whether we have one who can handle the kinds of situations that the quarterbacks are going to have to handle as this season goes on."
It's important to note, of course, that JoePa had similar deliberations about whether to start Daryll Clark or Joe Devlin in 2008, and that worked out well enough. JoePa's not going to let on any amount of confidence he may have in any of the QB candidates if he doesn't have to.

Still, something definitely seems to be awry; as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (via Dr. Saturday), Paterno has never opened a season with a true freshman or walk-on (current or former) under center on week one. Not once, not in any of his 44 years. Also, the game's just a few days away; if he's slow-playing anything, now's the time to cut the charade and not continue freaking fans out. So let's put some fears at ease and examine the candidates:
  • Kevin Newsome: Has the most in-game experience and arguably the most physical talent of the likely QBs. Still, if he were the guy, we should know that by now. Every day he spends sharing time with the first team in practice is more valuable experience lost.
  • Matt McGlouin: Is in his third season with the program, but lacks the physical tools of his counterparts. However, if all Paterno wants his quarterback to do this year is hand off to Evan Royster and not try to impress anybody with his arm, McGlouin might be the guy.
  • Robert Bolden: Only a true freshman, but has received rave reviews for his play in practice after joining the team early. May be the most gifted pure passer, but does he have any chance of knowing the playbook well enough to threaten the Alabama defense in week 2?
  • Anthony Morelli: Starting experience in... hey, wait, get the hell out of here, Anthony Morelli! You graduated years ago! Jeez!
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:31 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 5:48 pm
 

Starting/Sitting: Tennessee, South Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Good news for Tennessee fans as they will get to see prized recruit Justin Hunter in the Vols season opener against Tennessee-Martin.  Hunter was awaiting a decision from the NCAA Clearinghouse after being benched August 19 when an online summer class was called into question.  Now cleared for the 2010 season, Hunter will begin his freshman campaign as the No. 2 receiver for the Volunteers.

One of Derek Dooley's first recruits, Hunter chose Tennessee over LSU late just weeks before National Signing Day.  He has made quite the impression on the coaching staff this fall, and should have the opportunity to make an impact immediately.  An Olympic caliber high-jumper with a 6-4 183 pound frame, it's hard to imagine he won't.

SaundersWhile it has long been expected, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier confirmed that TE Weslye Saunders will not play in the Gamecocks opener on Thursday against Southern Miss.  Saunders has been suspended since August 23 for matters unrelated to the current NCAA agent investigation, and Ol' Ball Coach reiterated his distaste for the matter to ESPN.com's Chris Low on Tuesday.

"He's not on the team. He won't play Thursday," Spurrier said.

His suspension is reportedly a result of lying to coaches about missed meetings as opposed to the open investigation regarding his trip to Miami and its funding.  Either way, the senior tight end is not doing himself any favors in the eyes of the program by continuing his missteps.

Saunders might not end up being the only Gamecock with off-field issues, as Coach Spurrier is waiting to hear back from the NCAA regarding the misuse of hotel rooms by several South Carolina players.  

Saunders, defensive backs Akeem Auguste and C.C. Whitlock could be facing punishment from the NCAA for their reduced-rate stay at a swanky Columbia hotel that lasted for months.  
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:34 pm
 

Jeremiah Masoli's football waiver denied by NCAA

Earlier today, we mentioned that Houston Nutt and Ole Miss were still awaiting word on the eligibility of embattled Oregon transfer QB Jeremiah Masoli; Masoli had filed a waiver with the NCAA that would allow him to play football right away, on account of his new graduate school major being unavailable at Oregon.

The good news is that the ruling on Masoli came well in advance of Ole Miss's first game. The bad news--well, you've seen the headline, you already know the bad news:
Jeremiah Masoli has had his waiver to play football for #olemiss in 2010 denied. Ole Miss will appeal
That's from Oxford Enterprise sports editor Ty Allushuski, and that's also bad, bad news for Masoli; he doesn't have a year of eligibility left, so unless Ole Miss's appeal is successful (unlikely), Masoli's college football career is now over.

No word yet from the NCAA as to what, specifically, they objected to with Masoli's waiver; while the entire situation seemed to be a pretty naked attempt to get back on the football field, it looked as if Masoli had jumped through all the requisite hoops. Hence, we suppose, the impending appeal.
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:54 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:35 pm
 

Ingram undergoes knee surgery, will miss opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: Dennis Dodd breaks down the implications of Ingram's injury on the beginning of Alabama's schedule.

While Alabama is currently sitting atop most major preseason polls, there certainly are some doubters as to whether the Crimson Tide will still be there at the end of the season.  There are questions on defense, particularly in the secondary, but at least Alabama could count on an offense headlined by Julio Jones, Trent Richardson, and 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram.

But the Tide suffered their first major scare of the 2010 season when Mark Ingram went down with a knee injury in Monday's practice.  Head coach Nick Saban addressed the issue in an official release from the university.

"Mark Ingram sustained a left knee injury late in Monday's practice. It was a situation where everyone involved thought it would be better to take care of now, so he would not have any issues with it later in the season.

"Mark had an arthroscopic procedure this morning with Dr. Cain and Dr. Andrews and it was successful. We have full confidence in our medical staff and we know the doctors and athletic trainers will do an outstanding job in taking care of Mark and assisting him in his rehab.

"Mark will definitely be out for this week's game against San Jose State and we will manage this on a week to week basis beyond this week. We will make every decision in the future based on what's best for Mark and his career as we consult with Dr. Cain and Dr. Andrews on his progress. This is not an injury that will affect Mark's future ability to make a full recovery in a relatively short time frame."


Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:37 pm
 

So what's the deal with Butch Davis and UNC?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's a rather precarious situation in Chapel Hill these days. UNC coach Butch Davis is under heavy fire for allegations of academic impropriety, evidence of which was uncovered while the NCAA investigated a separate issue: whether some Tar Heels had received improper benefits from agents. Not good.

The academic allegations just came down last week, and now as many as a dozen unnamed players are in limbo as the school awaits the results of NCAA investigations. The NCAA doesn't have long--the Tar Heels' season starts on Saturday against No. 21 LSU, so every second that UNC can get with the final verdict known helps their preparation for the game.

Thus, shouldn't North Carolina take the precautionary step of indefinitely suspending every athlete involved until they're cleared (or, y'know, not) by the NCAA? Yes, in some sense, that's a presumption of guilt before innocence, but that's the position the school's basically forced to take. After all, if the Tar Heels win but use even one guy who's found to be ineligible, that game's getting forfeited--and make no mistake, the NCAA will likely not be in the mood to grant UNC the luxury of merely "vacating" the win.

So why not prepare like they're all shelved and make a public stand in defense of your academic department's integrity? Granted, "UNC and academic impropriety" is a bell that's not getting unrung, but the redemption's got to start sometime--it might as well be as soon as possible.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com