Noles News 06.29.11

Really a tremendous collection of links today for you to enjoy.

FSU

Ranking the ACC's defensive ends - ACC Blog - ESPN

2. Br andon Jenkins, Florida State: He finished sixth nationally last year with 13.5 sacks, and 12th in TFLs (21.5). He was a first-team all-conference selection as a true sophomore in his first season as a full-time starter. He also had five two-sack games in 2010, including one against rival Florida.

I am fine with Jenkins at #2, but Werner is better than at least a few on this list.  I do not, however, expect HD to know this yet because she is tasked with covering all 12 teams.

ACC Football Attendance Analysis - Shakin The Southland
Fan attendance is a discussion topic and is often seen as a reflection of fan support and program success.  Today we will look at attendance figures along with several other items among schools in the ACC in 2010.

Things I noticed:

- As I've said before, Clemson has the only fanbase capable of matching the fanbases at the big SEC schools.  

- FSU still has good attendance numbers and there's no doubt that a lack of proximity to other schools and major population centers hurts FSU here.

- Even when you go by the bogus official attendance numbers reported by Miami, the 'Canes still saw about 1 of every 3 seats remain vacant during home games.

Rivals

Florida lost the baseball national championship last night.  That they were able to get there is directly related to FSU's continued employment of an awful baseball coach and recruiting coordinator for many years.  Much like Meyer did when FSU continued to let Bowden hang on, UF cleaned FSU's clock in recruiting.  That should change somewhat with Mike Bell as the new pitching coach.

Eye on the U | UM picks up verbals from LB Northrup, TE Holifield, 2012 class up to 18 commitments

The Hurricanes picked up two more verbal, non-binding commitments on Tuesday. The first, 6-2, 215-pound outside linebacker Reggie Northrup from Jacksonville First Coast is considered the 26th best at his position according to ESPN. The other, Tallahassee Godby receiver/tight end Brandon Holifield (6-6, 216), just started playing football three months ago and isn't even the best pass catcher on his team.

FSU did offer Northrup. The 'Noles did not offer Holifield. Holifield is a very good track and basketball player, but he has never played football aside from this Spring.  He held zero offers from BCS schools.  

Such has been the story this summer with Golden's second recruiting class. For every highly-regarded recruit he's landed a commitment from, there's another player recruiting analysts sort of scratch their heads at. Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services said he likes the players UM has offered and received commitments from, but thinks Golden and his staff are "taking a lot of kids they can wait on."

Indeed. Finding a few gems is likely if a staff is good at scouting. But having a class of mostly "sleepers" and projects is not a winning formula.

"I don't think they're doing a bad job, I just think they're taking a lot of kids that are going to need time to develop, not instant impact type guys," Fishbein said. "That's not necessarily a bad thing. But when you're losing as many guys as they're losing, you need a few that can play right away. The teams they're trying to catch aren't waiting for kids to develop. They're reloading."

Fishbien nails it! It is well documented that Al Golden will have a huge rebuilding project in year two since Miami loses 21 scholarship seniors, including 12 starters and 6 key reserves. In fact, we started beating this drum before anyone.  We were the first to establish how deep a trouble Miami is in for 2012 because of the huge failures of the 2010 recruiting class (33% attrition after only two semesters!)  And we said that Miami needs to have one of the best classes of the decade if it is to avoid a disaster in 2012 (think 7-5 or 6-6 with 28,000 people in the stands). Miami is not doing that. The 'Canes are simply bringing in a good class. It's not anything close to the classes being signed by Jimbo and Muschamp.

ESPN recruiting insider Corey Long said while UM's 2012 class "isn't going to win the 2012 recruiting national championship, they're loading up on athletes -- and some of them are real good."

Miami needs to win the 2012 recruiting national championship. A class of 30 players that simply ranks in the top 7 or 8 will not do it. The 'Canes need 4-5 immediate freshmen starters at key positions to come from this class.

"I think in general some Miami fans are wondering what's going on," Long said. "But you look at some of the players they've gotten [mentions several good players." "It might not be the sexiest group of kids, but the guys they're recruiting and getting commitments from players they're seeing up close and have a plan for. They're doing their due diligence. If a coach sees a player and believes he can play at the level they want him to and the level they'll be facing, he'll take them. That's anywhere. Al Golden has his own level of evaluating talent. Every coach sees something different. They're inviting kids to camp, watching them and taking the ones that stand out. That's what they're supposed to do."

Some Miami fans might think Golden is still recruiting for Temple. Even if Golden is an excellent evaluator of talent, he isn't at such a level where Jimbo and Muschamp and other coaches at elite schools are simply missing the opportunity to offer most of Miami's commitments.

Rivals250 DE Martin Aiken Commits to Clemson - Shakin The Southland
Clemson is the only ACC school even sniffing FSU's recruiting right now.

Summer Wake Forest Football Overview: Schedule - Blogger So Dear
2011 Wake Forest Football Schedule Preview and Overview

WRAL: NCAA Clears Coples " Tar Heel Fan
Quinton Coples is perhaps the ACC's best player. So him being cleared by the NCAA is a huge deal for the conference.

The Boston College Football Marketing Challenge - BC Interruption
The unique challenges of marketing a college football program in an NFL market were among the topics discussed at the Big City Marketing Summit. Hopefully Boston College's AD was taking notes.

Mandate for Change: Randy Edsall takes on the Maryland rut - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Edsall's appeal, like Friedgen's, is that he's the kind of "high floor" guy who can build a foundation that delivers winning seasons in the six to nine-win range in perpetuity; he could have stayed at UConn forever winning eight games a year. He's not going to let the bottom fall out, and he's not going anywhere else anytime soon. Bet that he's still around in five years, probably with a winning record.

But unlike UConn, he's not the architect of Maryland's rise to respectability, and sooner or later, just holding the line comes with its own frustrations of the "low ceiling" variety, usually beginning with a lack of trophies. Friedgen delivered an ACC championship at the beginning of his tenure and still couldn't elude the ax with a winning season in the end. Barring an unforeseen, unprecedented upgrade in the overall talent level, a conference title on Edsall's watch will be a minor miracle, just as it was in 2001. If he manages to avoid the stagnation and apathy that did in his predecessor, it will be a major one.

This goes well with our next item...

More Commitments Pouring in For Maryland Football: Riddle, Liddell, Maybe More Pull Trigger - Testudo Times

A big week for Maryland football recruiting just got a lot bigger: a host of new recruits committed to the Terrapins, with two confirmed and another two rumored. If all four are Terps, that makes it seven commitments in the past five days, a rate Maryland fans aren't used to.

And they aren't of the quality it takes to beat FSU.  As I wrote the other day, Maryland should try to consistently make a bowl game.

USC, UNC, and Ohio State: A Compendium of NCAA Violations - Along The Olentangy
A complete table containing USC, UNC, and Ohio State's NCAA violations along with punishments.

General CFB

Amnesty In College Football To Work Towards A Solution?
Would this work?

2011 Season Preview: Independence, Improvement And The BYU Cougars - SBNation.com

BYU has always had an obvious independent streak. In 2011, they commit fully to their independence, striking out on their own with a series of tough, high-visibility road games. They unquestionably improved later in 2010; can they sustain that momentum in trips to Oxford, Austin, Corvallis and Dallas?

It's worth repeating: BYU played like a Top 25 team over the final two months of the season, and a lot of the reasons why -- good offensive line, potentially great defensive line, quarterback who gets his bearings, skill positions with improving depth -- will remain reasons for optimism in 2011. If they weren't suddenly shaky at the safety position, I'd absolutely think of them as a Top 25 team heading into this fall. BYU is suddenly shaky at safety, though one has to wonder if the early opponents on their schedule can take advantage. Ole Miss and Texas were not exactly known for their passing proficiency (or even their offensive proficiency) last year.

With no conference title to chase, it's easy to begin looking at BYU with the long-focus lens. Heaps, Hoffman and company are super young, and the Cougars have access to a seemingly unlimited supply of quality linemen. That alone is a nice base of talent, though seeing their recruiting rankings above, one quickly comes to understand that the overall base of talent might still need a little work. Enter new recruiting coordinator (and running backs coach) Joe DuPaix, who appears to potentially be looking to expand BYU's recruiting base beyond its LDS framework. In theory, this makes sense -- it's not like Notre Dame recruits only Catholics -- but we'll see how things take shape in practice. BYU is aiming incredibly high with their move to independence, and a nice season in 2011 could mean good things when combined with extra visibility. I see eight wins as the Cougars' baseline, though the ceiling gets raised quite a bit if they win a couple of their early, high-visibility matchups before settling in against WAC opponents late. The future could be bright for BYU, but the present has a chance to be pretty good as well.

I have to ask then: was FSU's top-15 rating boosted by beating the eventually-good BYU when the Cougars were quite bad?

Pre-Snap Read: #64 Baylor

Baylor’s going back to bowl play in 2011. Could you have imagined that Briles would succeeded where so many others have tried and failed? Well, he has, putting the Bears into yearly bowl contention by rebuilding this offense, landing some very impressive talent and now, with Bennett’s arrival, doing his best to put forth a defense on an even level with a potent scoring attack. Bennett’s a great coach, but it does seem as if Baylor will again be carried by this offense. Griffin is in the Heisman mix, though his team’s record is probably going to prevent him from being too viable a national candidate. The offensive line looks very good, even without Watkins at left tackle, and the receiver corps features five targets with extensive experience. Baylor might be even more potent offensively than it was a year ago, in fact. But the defense is a question mark: replacing Taylor will be a chore, and Baylor needs several sophomores – those ends, Kent, Holl and Dixon, for example – to step up and produce in major roles. They have the talent do so, but the defense might be a year away. There’s also the schedule; count Baylor among those teams who don’t adore the new nine-game Big 12 slate. But there are only four true road games, even if the Bears do end the year with Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas. Still, it doesn’t look like a schedule conducive to great success – three or four years ago, this is a schedule that would point towards a nine-loss season. But this isn’t the Baylor of 2006 or 2007; this is the Baylor of 2011, which has the talent and coaching to go toe-to-toe with the rest of the Big 12. There are some issues to address, but I’d be very surprised if Baylor doesn’t get to at least six wins and return to bowl play.

2011 Season Preview: Last Impressions And The Michigan State Spartans - SBNation.com

Michigan State didn't make the most of its last impression in 2010, but the Spartans still won 11 games and played as consistently well as almost any team in the country. State is built for winning close games, but with a thinner offensive line and a defense reliant on sophomores stepping up, they might be a year away from returning to the land of double-digit wins.

One would think that a major conference team that managed to win 11 games despite an overall ranking of 30th (and despite getting obliterated by the best team on its schedule) got some lucky bounces along the way. And to be sure, a 4-0 record in close games suggests the same (after all, the genius fake field goal against Notre Dame was only genius because an Irish defender fell down). But in all, they weren't quite as lucky as you might think. Their YPP margin is balanced out slightly by what was rather poor fumbles luck, and as their Adj. Score suggests above, they really were quite consistent. State succeeded in ways they can duplicate in the future -- punishing run game, play-action, and an aggressive, fundamentally sound defense. But while there is a lot to like about the offense (basically the same things one would have liked last year, minus some line depth), the defense looks as if it is probably a year away from regaining its 2010 form. You can succeed counting on sophomores, but it's difficult to plan on it.

We have just about finalized our Football Outsiders 2011 projections, and it appears as if the Legends division is going to be a complete free-for-all, with Nebraska, State, Michigan and Iowa all having a chance at the crown. State gets Michigan at home but has to head to both Lincoln and Iowa City, and that will probably preclude them from taking the title. But with underclassmen in the backfield and a super-young defense, State should be able to build for making serious noise in 2012.

Pre-Snap Read: #67- Connecticut

The Huskies always outplayed their expectations under Edsall, with 2010 only the most recent example of this trait. It was almost like clockwork: UConn would enter the year overlooked, underrated and under-the-radar but would more often than not end ahead of more talented teams in the Big East. Can Pasqualoni have the same impact? There’s no way to know: Pasqualoni was a winner at Syracuse, but whether he can do the same with the Huskies remains to be seen. I think he’ll keep UConn in the conference mix, that’s for sure; whether there’s a B.C.S. bowl in the program’s future is impossible to predict, though the Big East remains open to nearly all comers every season. One thing I do feel safe in predicting: UConn is not going back to the B.C.S. in 2011. I also don’t think UConn is winning another eight games in the regular season, though the Huskies are ahead of Rutgers, Louisville and Syracuse – the latter only slightly – in the conference standings. But there are some major issues, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The quarterback situation is a mess, though it’s important to note that UConn has gotten by without solid quarterback play for years. There are a lack of options at running back, even if Shoemate has talent. The interior of the line needs work, and while there is depth at receiver there is not a tremendous amount of talent. The good news: the defense is definitely good enough to lead UConn back to bowl play. But it won’t be a pretty season, in my mind – a year full of low-scoring, tight wins and losses. I think UConn gets back to bowl play but not by much: at least six wins, perhaps seven, but not in the Big East title picture.

Pre-Snap Read: #66 Oregon State

There are reasons for concern. There’s another tough schedule, one that sends Oregon State to Wisconsin, Arizona State, Utah and Oregon. The Beavers also host B.Y.U., Stanford and Washington. While not quite on par with last year’s slate, which started and closed with a bang, there are not very many games on the schedule where can immediately pencil in a win – that’s as of today, though there’s a lot of time until September. Then there are the roster issues: running back, receiver, defensive line and linebacker. The Beavers will need at least two, perhaps three backs to help recoup the production lost when Jacquizz Rodgers left for the N.F.L. a year ahead of schedule. If the injury issues are resolved, the receiver corps will be in fine shape; unfortunately, there’s no way to know if James Rodgers and Halahuni will be back by the start of the season – it seems unlikely that Halahuni will be back for September. The defense has significant holes to address along the front seven, especially along the interior of the line. Glover is a nice prospect at end, but I’m worried about his ability to handle the punishment he’s due to take at tackle. Now, keep this in mind: with last season as one of the few exceptions, Oregon State seems to play beyond its means under Riley. So perhaps returning to an underdog role will be just what the doctor ordered for the Beavers in 2011. I do think this is important, and it’s perhaps the main reason why I think O.S.U. will return to bowl play this fall. But I don’t think this team is going to be great, even if Riley always seems to make something out of less than something. It’s going to be tough to make waves in a deadly Pac-12 North, but O.S.U. could challenge California and Washington for the third spot in the division.

Riley is an excellent coach.

Pre-Snap Read: #65- Ole Miss

Houston Nutt had said that 2010 looked like a rebuilding year, but I don’t think any of us believed it. This was a team that had all the pieces in place on defense, one thought, and with the arrival of Jeremiah Masoli had the sort of quarterback tailor-made — again, one thought — for what Nutt wanted to do offensively. Well, that wasn’t the case: Ole Miss was rebuilding, surprisingly so, and suffered the consequences in the win column. What’s a little frightening is that this season’s prospects look far less rosy than they did at this point a year ago. This much-maligned defense has very significant holes along the front seven, particularly along the interior of the line. The secondary returns most of last season’s pieces, but this is a group that couldn’t get stops or force turnovers in 2010. The quarterback position remains unsettled and there is a complete lack of proven play-makers at wide receiver. And then there’s this schedule — oh, this schedule — which again leaves little to no time for these Rebels to rise up for air. So there’s the bad news. The good news? The offensive line is superb. Mackey, though inexperienced, has the talent to make things happen under center. The defense, even with these concerns, can’t be much worse. It may just be a matter of pride for Ole Miss: take something from last year’s embarrassment and turn it into motivation to turn things around. I think the Rebels will do that, but it will only take this team so far. The year hinges on how Ole Miss fares against the roughly-equal-to-lesser teams on the schedule: Southern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Fresno State, Auburn, Kentucky and Louisiana Tech. Ole Miss goes bowling if it wins five of those six. Go 4-2 and it will be slightly more difficult. I think Nutt pulls out a bowl bid, but it’s going to be close: 6-6 is a safe prediction, but I doubt Ole Miss can do better than 7-5.

And that's it for today, folks.  

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