Spread offenses and up-tempo styles have become popular in college football. Of course, coaches like Chip Kelly and Gus Malzahn are well known for their fast pace play calling.
According to a three year study by CoachingSearch.com
, Kelly finished tied at No. 7 for the most snaps per game with 77. Malzahn did not even make the top 25 while averaging just 70 snaps per game. At Auburn, his teams were a run first up-tempo style so there were not as many snaps as a team with a lot of pass incompletions. The SEC offensive styles and tough defenses may have also slowed the pace. When Auburn and Oregon last faced each other in the 2011 BCS National Championship
, the Tigers had 85 total plays and the Ducks had 73.
Most Snaps Per Game
play caller, snaps per game, school(s)
1. Neal Brown 80, Texas Tech
2. Josh Heupel 79, Oklahoma
3. Tony Franklin 79, Louisiana Tech
4. Chris Ault 79, Nevada
5. Kliff Kingsbury 78, Houston/Texas A&M
6. Chad Morris 78, Tulsa/Clemson
Based on a two to three year study of each coach.
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Record spring game attendance for Auburn
If Saturday’s spring games were a sign of things to come, then that Chick-Fil-A kickoff game on Aug. 31 between Alabama and Virginia Tech in Atlanta could see more interceptions than offensive scores.
There were interceptions galore in the two spring games on Saturday, including several pick-sixes. Thankfully coaches Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and Nick Saban of Alabama used a traditional scoring system in their respective spring games.
Other schools, like Tennessee, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Penn State and Wisconsin, used odd scoring systems that awarded points for defensive plays such as sacks and turnovers and offensive first downs.
Considering that scores simply do not matter in these games, which are used primarily to evaluate players in a gameday-like atmosphere, an alternative scoring system is needlessly confusing.
Bill O’Brien’s first season at Penn State
was an unenviable one. Coming off the sexual assault scandal of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the unceremonious dismissal of Joe Paterno and his subsequent death, O’Brien got his team to rebound from two opening losses to win eight games. After what should have garnered him national coach of the year accolades, O’Brien has now had a full season to implement his vast playbook and it was on display in Saturday’s spring game.
Using the alternative scoring system, Penn State’s Blue team defeated the White team, 67-47, in front of a record spring crowd at Beaver Stadium.
Football is alive and well in the state of Alabama
with an estimated 78,315 people in Tuscaloosa
to watch the Crimson Tide’s spring game while a record crowd of 83,401 fans were inside Jordan-Hare Stadium
final scrimmage of the spring.
Gus Malzahn may have brought a little bit of Chip Kelly with him back to Auburn. The Tigers offense was very fast in its execution and junior quarterback Kiehl Frazier looked natural running the up-tempo system. He’s a dual threat quarterback, and has the potential to be the type of playmaker Auburn had when Malzahn was the offensive coordinator and Cam Newton ran the offense.
A new rule implemented by the NCAA this season was felt during the Auburn spring game with cornerback Jonathan Mincy ejected early in the second half for targeting above the shoulders. It was a vicious hit on Tigers receiver Dimitri Reese, but appeared to be shoulder-to-shoulder contact and not worthy of an ejection. This is a problem the NCAA will face this season while trying to legislate violence out of the game and Mincy was disqualified from the scrimmage for simply making a tough football play.
The defenses were definitely ahead of the offenses on Saturday. The Virginia Tech
offenses had a combined minus-10 rushing yards at halftime while the passing game struggled. The Texas Tech offense struggled mightily to get anything going as the Red Raiders defense dominated in Lubbock. Michigan State’s
defense could be poised again for a top-10 season. The Spartans were fourth in total defense last year and sixth in 2011. The defense, led by Jamal Lyles, Max Bullough and Denzel Drone, racked up quite a few sacks in Saturday’s spring game.
One offensive player who did look really good was Notre Dame
quarterback Everett Golson, who led the Blue team to a 54-43 win over the Gold squad. While Golson completed less than half his attempts and threw an interception, he didn’t force anything and generally made good decisions while displaying the type of mobile athleticism many expect.
While coaches use the spring scrimmages to evaluate players and positional battles, one thing teams want to accomplish is to get out of the game healthy and no players suffered any significant injuries on Saturday.
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Former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema
shocked many by accepting a new coaching job at Arkansas. Bielema accrued a 68-24 record while at Wisconsin, but was 0-2 in the Rose Bowl. Experts were also surprised, because of comments he made in February about the SEC.
Bielema said, "We at the Big Ten don't want to be like the SEC — in any way, shape or form."
Something changed his mind.
As expected by many, former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn
returned to be the War Eagle's head coach after a one year stint as HC at Arkansas State. He was the Auburn OC from 2009 through 2011 when the team averaged 33.3, 41.2, and 25.7 points per game respectively while winning the 2010 BCS National Championship. The Tigers averaged just 18.7 points per game this season. Malzahn won the Sun Belt Championship with the Red Wolves while finishing with a 9-3 record and 36.4 points per game.
Former Florida International coach Mario Cristobal
went from a hot commodity to out the door after a disappointing season. FIU was picked by the Sun Belt coaches and many media members as the preseason conference favorite, but only finished with a 3-9 record.
Just in, former Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones
has accepted an offer from Colorado. The carousel keeps going round and round. ***Update Dec 5 Wednesday 6:50 PM ET Butch Jones denies deal is done with Colorado according to SI.com.***
***Update Dec 6 Thursday 4:55 PM ET*** Head coach Sonny Dykes leaves Louisiana Tech for California. Also, Cincinnati coach Butch Jones declines offer from Colorado.
2012 Coaching Carousel
Arkansas, John L. Smith Reassigned
Arkansas State, Gus Malzahn New School
Auburn, Gene Chizik Fired
Boston College, Frank Spaziani Fired
California, Jeff Tedford Fired
Colorado, Jon Embree Fired
FIU, Mario Cristobal Fired
Georgia State, Bill Curry Retired
Idaho, Robb Akey Fired
Kentucky, Joker Phillips Fired
Louisiana Tech, Sonny Dykes New School
North Carolina State, Tom O'Brien Fired
Northern Illinois, Dave Doeren New School
Purdue, Danny Hope Fired
South Florida, Skip Holtz Fired
Southern Mississippi, Ellis Johnson Fired
Temple, Steve Addazio New School
Tennessee, Derek Dooley Fired
UTEP, Mike Price Retired
Western Michigan, Bill Cubit Fired
Wisconsin, Bret Bielema New School
Here are Spring game quarterback statistics and notes for all SEC teams.
Stats may be off some due to limited stat recording of Spring games. Top 5 Passing Yards
1.Tyler Wilson Arkansas 467
2. Maxwell Smith Kentucky 353
3. Tyler Russell Mississippi State 312
4. AJ McCarron Alabama 304
5. Zach Mettenberger LSU 272 West- Alabama
AJ McCarron 29/42, 304 yds, 2 TDs, 3 Ints
Phillip Sims, 9/12, 135 yds, 1 TD
Philip Ely, 10/18, 83 yds, 1 TD
*ESPN: "At the end of the day it's for the fans and we just want to kind of make it fun for them and make some crazy plays at the same time that we probably wouldn't do in a real game," McCarron said. "Coach always says, 'Just have fun,' and I had a lot of fun today." Arkansas
Tyler Wilson 31/41, 467 yds, 2 TDs
Brandon Mitchell 8/13, 72 yds (White), 30 yds, 1 TD (Red)*AP:The performance also left no doubt that the near future at Arkansas is in good hands with both Wilson and running back Knile Davis. Auburn
Kiehl Frazier 7/9, 92 yds
Clint Moseley 5/6, 62 yds
Zeke Pike 5/11, 48 yds
Tate O'Connor 0/1
*ESPN: Frazier finished 7-of-9 for 92 yards and showed off his ability to scramble around and make plays. Still, Chizik said the quarterback competition would extend into the summer. Clint Moseley was plagued by a sore throwing shoulder for much of the spring. LSU
Zach Mettenberger 14/25, 272 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints
*ESPN: "We're definitely going to be aggressive this coming season," Mettenberger said. "But we're going to do whatever we can to win ball games." Mississippi State
Tyler Russell 24/43, 312 yds, 2 TDs Dak Prescott
295 yds, 1 TD
*ESPN: It's obvious the Bulldogs have tweaked their offense to take advantage of Russell's ability to throw the ball from the pocket, and they threw it quite a bit this spring. Ole Miss
Bo Wallace 16/26, 240 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int
Barry Brunetti 4/10, 62 yds, 14 rush, 136 rush yds
*Bleacher Report: The quarterback position has been up for grabs this spring, but Bo Wallace grabbed control of the race Saturday afternoon.Texas A&M
Jameill Showers 20/31, 203 yds, 2 TDs
Johnny Manziel 13/27, 154 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int
*ESPN: Both quarterbacks had their moments, but there were also times when the offense stalled once it crossed the 50. Overall, sophomore Jameill Showers probably had the better spring, but offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury said he wasn't ready to make a decision and that redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel remained in the hunt.East-Florida
Jacoby Brissett 9/16, 233 yds, 2 TDs
Jeff Driskel 12/14, 147 yds, 1 TD(Run)
*AP: Florida's quarterback competition will continue in the fall - and without a front-runner - after Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel failed to separate themselves during four weeks of practice and Saturday's spring game.Georgia
Aaron Murray 7/17, 112, 1 TD
Christian Lemay 7/10, 154 yds, 1 TD
Hutson Mason 9/12, 133 yds, 1 TD
*GeorgiaDogs.com:"It was a great day for Georgia," Coach Mark Richt said. "I feel like everyone enjoyed the game. I thought there were a lot of offensive plays that were made today. When you look at it, the defense was scoring points, too. I thought both sides of the ball played well. It was exciting."Kentucky
Maxwell Smith 29/45, 353 yds, 2 TDs, 2 Ints
*UKAthletics.com: There were plenty of positive signs for the first team, both offensively and defensively. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith had a big day through the air, throwing for 353 yards on 29-of-45 passing. With senior quarterback Morgan Newton sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Smith shined. Missouri
Corbin Berkstresser 13/20, 187 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int
*Bleacher Report: With Franklin out, all eyes were on redshirt freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, and he had a solid afternoon
Connor Shaw 6/7, 128 yds, 2 TDs
Dylan Thompson 15/20, 168 yds
Tanner McEvoy 8/12, 132 yds, 2 TDs
*Bleacher Report:Collectively, they were 39-54 for 511 yards and six TDs. There were two INTs, but overall, the signal-callers looked good. Connor Shaw's day really stood out.Tennessee
Tyler Bray 14/26, 157 yds, 1 TD
*ESPN:Junior quarterback Tyler Bray also played much better than he did a year ago in a woeful spring game showing. He was 14-of-26 for 157 yards and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight endMychal Rivera. Bray's added maturity this spring is what earned him the most points with his coaches. Vanderbilt
Jordan Rodgers 14/29, 126 yds, 2 TDs
Austyn Carta-Samuels 6/12, 47 yds
Patton Robinette 3/9, 24 yds
*VUCommodores.com: "Last year, we did (the Wildcat) with Zac Stacy, who did some nice things, but he also made (poor) decisions throwing," Franklin said. "With a guy (Josh Grady) that has played quarterback, I think that's going to help. He can run the ball and he's a legitimate threat to throw the ball. I think that's going to help us."
Projected AP Top 4:1. LSU2. Oklahoma3. Alabama4. Boise State
Other AP Projections:
Clemson in the Top 10.
Auburn back in the Top 25.
TCU out of the Top 25.
SMU will get votes.
AP Top 25 Bubble teams :
Oklahoma State may lose the fifth spot since they are idle. Wisconsin and Stanford are teams still competing on the bubble for a top five AP ranking.
Michigan State and Kansas State may break the rankings, but are close calls.
Florida State may drop out of the Top 25.
Houston may stay just outside the Top 25.
Eight AP Top 25 teams lost in week five so there should be some shake ups in the rankings especially the lower half (Possibly more since Stanford and Arizona State are still playing as this was published).
AP Top 25 teams that lost in week five: Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida, Texas A&M, Baylor, South Florida, and TCU.
LSU will hold the top spot this week. Oklahoma and Alabama should be a close call once again for second. I believe the Sooners will pull it out, but the Tide and SEC faithful voters may keep that from happening. However, Oklahoma demolished Ball State and next up is the Red River Rivalry versus Texas; the media may keep them ranked at second for that upcoming game. Boise State should hold fourth after their domination over Nevada.
The fifth spot will once again be a toss-up, but Oklahoma State is the most likely to lose their spot since they were idle this week. Wisconsin had a dominating win over Nebraska that left Madison Jumping Around. Stanford was leading UCLA as this was published.
Clemson will be ranked in the top 10 after their win versus 11th ranked Virginia Tech since teams ranked ahead of the Tigers being Nebraska, South Carolina, and Florida all lost.Auburn will make another appearance in the AP Top 25 after the Tigers beat 10th ranked South Carolina today. Jon Solomon, Sports columnist and reporter at The Birmingham News, tweeted, “Bad clock management by Spurrier. Say what you want about Auburn, they are incredibly tough-minded.”
Michigan State may also break the Top 25 after their defensive led win over Ohio State since they were the 26th ranked team in week five. But I’m unsure if they will due to the volatility of this week’s games and Auburn should make it in over them since they beat a higher ranked team. Florida State which was ranked 23rd for week five was idle so they may drop out. Kansas State after their win over ranked Baylor will also be another team that will either break the Top 25 or remain just outside. Houston was another bubble team just outside the rankings for week five, but their close win over large underdog UTEP may hold them just outside.
The TCU Horned Frogs will drop out of the AP Top 25 beginning week six of this college football season after their overtime loss to SMU for the Iron Skillet. After losing to Baylor week one, the Frogs dropped 11 spots in the poll from 14 to 25 so they will easily fall out of the rankings since they were ranked 20th coming into this week. SMU’s contingency in Texas such as former player and commentator Craig James will ensure them some votes in the poll, but I’m unsure if they will break the top 25.
Alabama (13-0) 21.35
Auburn (9-3) 14.475
LSU (8-4) 13.4
Mississippi State (7-5) 12.563
Arkansas (8-4) 9.835
Ole Miss (4-8/5-7) 9
Florida (11-2) 15.033
South Carolina (6-6) 10.2
Georgia (8-4) 8.811
Tennessee (5-7) 7.286
Kentucky (7-5) 6.853
Vanderbilt (2-10) -1.975
*Conference Championships are included in projections.
*Games against FCS teams were not projected. However, teams were given a win for FCS games to show a better depiction of the projected season record, but this does not help in accuracy since FCS teams do win some games.
*Bowl games are not projected.
This is the second set of the Burnette Power Rankings called the Preseason Momentum Rankings. This type of ranking is for preseason only and will be done again next year. I did not include the formula or process of the ranking due to its complexity and I plan to add further to it next year. However, the factors that determine the team’s Momentum score and projected record include:
· Five year trends for wins, points scored, and points allowed.
· Schedule Strength including home and away games.
· Recruiting during the offseason.
· Returning starters and returning quarterback.
· Coaches leaving (only successful coaches that left for desired positions or necessity are factored in but retirement does not qualify.)
The five year trends for wins, points scored, and points allowed are the most significant factors. I found in my extensive research of the last five college football seasons’ data that recruiting is a much more significant factor than returning starters or returning quarterbacks. Next year, I plan to do more research to see the effects of the coaching carousel. However, I noticed that the most glaring impact of a coaching change is if a coach leaves a program for a better job such as Brian Kelly did when leaving Cincinnati to go to Notre Dame. The Bearcats went from being 12-0 with Kelly in 2009 to 4-8 in 2010 without him.
This blog I just posted the SEC conference and I will post the other BCS conferences this weekend. I will also try to get some of the non BCS teams posted before the season starts. The first thing you may notice is that some teams have a higher Momentum score than teams with a better projected record. The projected record takes into account home, away, and neutral site scores that I developed. Also, teams may have a negative Momentum score as in Vanderbilt.
This is a non-bias formula ranking. For example, if I went by my own bias then I would have projected Arkansas with at least 10 or more wins since they are my favorite team, but they are projected at 8-4. However, from my analysis three of their four projected losses are close and any team from the SEC with a score above eight could have a chance to play in the BCS championship. Auburn came out of no where last season to win it. Overall, there were many closely projected games in the SEC. Ole Miss' record has two different projections due to their game with BYU being projected as a tie. Alabama is the only strong favorite. A couple of wins for Florida are projected to be very close and the same with a couple of the losses for LSU. The two big out of conference games in week one for the SEC in Boise State vs. Georgia and Oregon vs. LSU are both projected losses for the SEC.
The SEC West should be renamed to the Dirty South Division, because it’s just plain Nasty. Five out of the six teams are top 25 teams. Alabama, Arkansas, and LSU are the top contenders for the division. Mississippi State is also in the picture as well as Auburn with a longshot chance. Ole Miss is the only weak team, but they still brought in a top 25 recruiting class. I believe the winner of this division will once again play in the BCS national championship.
Alabama returns ten starters from a stout defense that only allowed 13.5 ppg last season (4th overall). Safety Robert Lester was second in the FBS in interceptions last season with eight and he is just one of many talented players coming back on defense including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron. The question mark for the Crimson Tide is at quarterback, but they do return on offense playmaker tailback Trent Richardson (6.3 ypc) which reportedly bench presses 460 lbs and runs a sub 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. Coach Saban also brought in top recruits on both sides of the ball with Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix at Safety and Cyrus Kouandjio (6’7 325lbs) at offensive tackle.
The Hogs come into this season with the most feared offense in the SEC. Quarterback Tyler Wilson looks to continue their offensive success after the departure of Ryan Mallett to the NFL. They bring back the top SEC rusher Knile Davis (1322 Rush Yds) and a stacked stable of wide-outs in which five receivers each had 600 yards or more last season (4 of 5 return this season). Coach Petrino also recruited 3 four star offensive linemen including Brey Cook (6’6 295lbs) which will need to contribute right away after losing much of last year’s O-line. The Razorback defense will also look to continue its improvement with eight starters back from last season’s Top 50 defensive squad (23.4papg) anchored by DE Jake Bequette.
LSU will have a strong defense and rushing offense which led to most of their success this past season. Despite losing Patrick Peterson, the Tigers still boast an elite secondary coming into 2011 led by hard hitter Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Clairborne (5 ints last yr). Even though the Purple & Gold Cajuns return experienced quarterback Jordan Jefferson (7tds 10ints last yr), his ability to be a successful QB is questionable. Running back Spencer Ware played good during the spring and had a breakout game in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M with 10 carries for 102 yards. Coach Miles also managed to haul in another top 10 recruiting class with high rated recruits in DT Anthony Johnson and OT La'El Collins.
As for the other possible division contenders, Dan Mullen will have the much overlooked Bulldogs well prepared for another successful season. Mississippi State brings back eight starters on offense including dual threat quarterback Chris Relf (1789 pass yds & 713 rush yds last yr) and returns seven starters from a top 25 defense last season (19.8 papg). Auburn will have to overachieve this season in order to have anywhere close to the success of this past season. The Tigers bring back the fewest returning starters of any FBS team (7 total), but brought in a slew of elite recruits for this season including a five star and 15 four star recruits according to ESPN. Ole Miss returns nine starters on offense and recruited some talent in the off season. However, they still have more improving to do after a 1-7 finish in the SEC and the competition is only tougher this year.
The SEC West should once again produce a national championship finalist. Brian Fremeau projected on ESPN.com that “it isn’t likely” that a SEC team will go undefeated. That may be true, but he also projected that only one team, Alabama, would have a double digit winning season in both divisions. I very much doubt that since four teams had 10 or more wins in a very competitive SEC West division last year. But looking closer at this year’s schedules, the West will have some challenging non-conference games on top of tough conference games. Despite all the teams beating up on each other, I still expect to see multiple SEC teams highly ranked at the end. The real question is not will the SEC West make it to another BCS championship, but will any team be able to beat the Dirty South in the BCS Championship?
Top Out of Conference games to Watch for the SEC West:
Sept 3: LSU
vs Oregon at Arlington, TX (Cowboys Stadium)
Sept 3: BYU at Ole Miss
Sept 10: Alabama
at Penn State
Sept 17: Auburn
Sept 24: LSU
at West Virginia
Oct 1: Ole Miss
at Fresno State
Oct 8: Arkansas
vs Texas A&M at Arlington, TX (Cowboys Stadium)
Here are a few links:
ESPN blog with a SportsNation poll on “which of these teams is most likely to win the SEC in 2011?”:http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/22746/sec-champion-poll
Fan poll on College Football Universe for “will a team from the SEC win the 2012 BCS championship?”: http://www.collegefootballuniverse.com/page14.html
"Undefeated SEC champ? Not in 2011" by Brian Fremeau from Football Outsiders on ESPN.com: http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/insider/news/story?id=6533481&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fncf%2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d6533481
I also posted this blog at http://www.hogblog.org/
1. Oklahoma2. Oregon3. Alabama4. Boise State5. Stanford6. Oklahoma State7. Florida State8. Arkansas9. LSU10. South Carolina11. TCU12. Ohio State13. Wisconsin14. Nebraska15. Texas A&M16. Mississippi State17. Michigan State18. Auburn19. Notre Dame20. Missouri21. Florida22. Virginia Tech23. USC24. West Virginia
The rankings are based on overall merit encompassing a variety of factors. The CFU Top 25 is not a prediction of other polls or of the season's final rankings. I will be posting the top 50 soon with further analysis and all rankings are still subject to change.
I also posted these rankings on a blog at http://www.hogblog.org/.
Cam Newton went number one as expected. I think it was a wasted pick, but Carolina may sell some more tickets. Hell, from the boos I heard at Newton they may sell more tickets if he fails. I'm sure plenty of college football fans would enjoy seeing him get knocked around in the NFL.
Five out of the top six players selected played in the SEC and a total of ten in the first round. Picks 2 thru 6 were some of the best selections in the draft: 2) Von Miller LB Texas A&M, 3) Marcell Dareus DT Alabama, 4) AJ Green WR Georgia, 5) Patrick Peterson CB LSU, 6) Julio Jones WR Alabama.
The first small shock was when former Mizzou teammate of Blaine Gabbert, Aldon Smith, was picked before Gabbert by San Francisco at seven. But the first real stunner came at pick eight when Jake Locker of Washington was selected by the Tennessee Titans. I think Locker is too inaccurate, but maybe I'm wrong since Gruden really loves him. Gabbert went to the Jaguars at 10 so the suspense of Blaine waiting was over then.
An even more unexpected stunner came at pick 12 with Florida State QB Christian Ponder going to the Vikings. Ponder was good passer for the Seminoles ,but he seems to have the injury bug. The importance of a signal caller in the NFL showed early in the Draft especially since four quarterbacks were selected in the top twelve picks and this was a down year for QB draft talent.
Nick Fairley slipped to pick 13 of Detroit. I'm unsure of Fairley and how his attitude will transition. If he lives up to draft expectations, then he should strive playing next to Suh. We'll see.
Baltimore had an awkward moment with the 26th pick when the draft clock expired and Kansas City ended up picking at 26. The Ravens were stalled by a potential trade, but they did select the 27th pick in time.
I was personally disappointed to see the Pittsburgh Steelers select Cameron Heyward of Ohio State. That's because the Steelers are my favorite NFL team and my favorite college team is Arkansas. Heyward strongly contributed to the victory for Ohio State over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. He's a talented player, but I don't want to root for him. Oh the conflicts of being both a college and NFL football fan.
Another thing, I understand Ingram is emotional about his father, but at least start bringing some tissues Mark.
Andy Dalton and Da Quan Bowers are a couple big names still left on the board. I'll be watching.