Archive for the ‘College Football Predictions’ category

SEC Football 2010: An Outsider’s Perspective

July 17th, 2010
The winner of the SEC championship game has won the BCS championship for the past four years. (Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama). This year may be no different. Whether the SEC is the best conference in college football can be debated by some, but numbers speak for themselves and in the time of the BCS no other conference has been more dominant taking home six of the first 11 BCS titles. With the Big 12 in shambles, the Big Ten still having not proven to have caught up with the rest of college football, and the PAC-10 losing its biggest threat, USC, to NCAA sanctions, it seems that the trend will continue for the SEC. With Saban, McElroy, Richardson, Jones, and Ingram back, Alabama seems to be the clear cut favorite in the West, but who could dethrone the kings? What follows are my predictions for the SEC come 2010.

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SEC East: Does Georgia Have What It Takes To Beat Florida?

July 17th, 2010

The SEC East is gearing up for a football season without having to deal with Tim Tebow knocking them on their backs, but can any team in the SEC East take advantage of Florida in a perceived down year?

The SEC East is the weaker half of the SEC. Tennessee is recovering from their Lane Kiffin disaster and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are expected to be the cellar dwellers, which makes Georgia the early favorite to unseat Florida and Urban Meyer .

The following is the predicted order of finish for the six SEC East teams with a brief synopsis of their best players and their possible record in the SEC and overall.

Florida: SEC 6-2, Overall 9-4, SEC East Champs

Florida is in a down year, but in the SEC East Florida won't face much competition. Florida will lose an early out of conference game in a surprise (South Florida) and they will lose two SEC regular season games to Georgia and Alabama. In the SEC Title game Florida will lose to either Arkansas or Alabama, and it won't be close.

Quarterback John Brantley will be a solid quarterback, but it will take a year for Florida to get in sync. They still have enough talented players and they should hold their own on offense.

On the the defensive side of the ball there are plenty of issues to be addressed. The main area of concern is defensive line. Can Florida replace Carlos Dunlop and Jermaine Cunningham and keep their high pressure pass rush of years passed? Florida will be in tighter games against the less talented bottom half of the SEC.

Georgia Bulldogs: SEC 6-2, Overall 8-4, SEC East Runner-Up

Georgia was a preseason favorite to win the SEC East or at least contend in 2009 and they crashed and burned. This year will be tougher for Georgia to gain traction as they are most likely bringing in a red shirt freshman, Aaron Murray . Murray is not a guarantee at the QB position, but is the leader heading into the season.

On defense it is a complete overhaul, with a new defensive staff led by Todd Grantham coming from the Dallas Cowboys. Grantham has already begun implementation of a new scheme changing from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4.

Using one less down lineman should be an easy transition for the Georgia defense and should lead to more aggressive play in the middle of the field.

Tennessee Volunteers: SEC 4-4, Overall 7-5

New head coach Derek Dooley has his work cut out for him in his first SEC East season at Tennessee , and not just because he is replacing Lane Kiffin . Dooley has to rebuild Tennessee's damaged image in the aftermath of the Kiffin debacle.

Dooley's father once dominated the SEC while at Georgia and the Tennessee administration is hoping his pedigree is true. Look for Tennessee to beat Oregon in the second week, which will surprise many experts.

South Carolina Gamecocks: SEC 4-4, Overall 7-5

South Carolina and Steve Spurrier have languished in the SEC East for years and although the SEC East is the weaker side of the SEC, Spurrier has not been able to get over the top.

Spurrier's quarterback Protégé, Stephen Garcia , is not living up to the Ol' Ball Coaches expectations. South Carolina could surprise some big powers late in the season and sneak into second place in the SEC East.

Kentucky Wildcats: SEC 1-7, Overall 5-7

Kentucky has gone to four straight bowl games, but now with new coach Joker Phillips, Kentucky is looking to regroup in 2010. Kentucky's only possible win in 2010 is against the SEC East doormat, Vanderbilt, and that win is no guarantee.

Vanderbilt Commodores: SEC 0-8, Overall 1-11

Vanderbilt is in a hopeless free fall and they will fulfill their calling in life in the SEC East in 2010, providing a virtual bye week for the better teams in the SEC.

Final Breakdown of SEC East

It is obvious Florida , while in a down year, still has the most talent in a very weak SEC East. Georgia has a shot at Florida if their red shirt freshman, Aaron Murray, can acclimate to the quarterback position and their new defensive 3-4 scheme is effective. These are the only two teams that will contend for the right to play for the SEC Championship.

Big Ten Football Preview: Ohio State Leads the Pack

July 17th, 2010

Our preseason preview moves on to the Big Ten. Here are links to the first three installments on the SEC , Big 12 and ACC if you missed them.

If we are going to call the Big 12 the Big 12-2, I suppose we can start referring to the Big Ten as the Big 11+1. Does it matter? I personally feel like the Big Ten is in a highly interesting battle between perception and reality heading into 2010. The realignment mania that the conference instigated when they began openly shopping for a 12th team which would have you think they want to compete with the track record of the SEC.

As far as I am concerned the Big Ten was struggling in non-conference play heading into 2009, especially during the postseason. They had gone 6-16 in bowl games from 2006-2008 to include an 0-6 mark in BCS bowl games. I was beginning to wonder how they kept getting two bids. Then the stars lined up and the Big Ten finished with a winning bowl record (4-3) for the first time since 2002 to include big BCS wins in the Orange and Rose Bowls. All was right in Big Ten country.

Buoyed by the highly successful Big Ten network and a splash of on field success, the league quickly snapped back into kingpin mode and started actively shopping for a 12th team. Chances are that if you are reading this you know what happened from there. So here we are. 

The Big Ten Network will be airing Nebraska games this fall and I will most likely still be thinking they just capitalized on a perfect set of circumstances to Jedi mind trick everybody into buying into their long term viability. 

There are many things at play here as history and tradition battle a southern migration of the population. The talent base attached to that population is moving with it. Each year I put together a National Talent Analysis that averages out the rivals recruiting rankings for the last five years. Argue all you want, but at the end of the day the Big Ten is a distant 5th behind the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, and ACC.  Peruse the numbers and see for yourself. 

We could debate all day about what that means, but as far as I am concerned the Big Ten faces a slew of challenges in the coming years. It is what it is and while predicting the long term viability of a conference is slippery talking about its prospects in 2010 is not quite so daunting. So is the Big Ten “back” or was 2009 a freak occurrence? Let’s take a look at what the Big Ten has under the hood heading into 2010 and see if we can figure it out.

Ohio State - The Buckeyes have become the Big Ten flagship station under Jim Tressel.  They have the most talented roster in the conference and have been a fixture in the National Title race for the last several years winning it all in 2002 and losing in 2006 and 2007. Regardless that is three appearances in six seasons and the Bucks will again control their own destiny at a title shot in 2010.Take a look.

The Bucks return nine starters on an offense that managed 29.0 pts/game in 2009 and 6 starters on a defense that only gave up 12.5 pts/game. Terrell Pryor will be back under center and has the tools to be a major player this year. That said I have yet to see the competitiveness/ killer instinct/whatever you want to call it out of Pryor that many of the greats he is often compared to demonstrated in their playing days. Perhaps I will see that this fall but I remain skeptical.

Pryor’s supporting cast is solid and the Bucks should continue to put up adequate points even if Pryor continues to play without fire. The defense is really the star of the Ohio State program but will be breaking in three new starters on the line of scrimmage and return 6 total starters.  Despite that they will likely maintain a sub 20.0 pts/game average providing sufficient room for the offense to win games.

The Bucks have three patsies and Miami on their September non conference slate but face Penn State, Iowa and Michigan in successive weeks to cap their season in November. The Miami game is a coin flip but I expect that the Bucks will roll into November either 9-0 or 8-1 before dropping one of those final three games. I see the end result as another Rose Bowl trip for Tressel and the Bucks.    

Wisconsin - The Badgers had a nice little turnaround last year and posted 10 victories.  Bret Bielema now heads into his fifth season with a little momentum. Wiscy returns 10 on an offense that put up 31.8 pts/game last season so they should remain formidable.  Team Cheese also returns 6 starters on a pretty solid defense that only gave up 21.9 pts/game in 2009.

They play a shameless non-conference sked that will produce a 4-0 start in September and Penn State is not on the conference schedule. They have a rough patch in October @ Michigan State, Minn, Ohio State, and @ Iowa. I think they will end up dropping two of those before racking up another four wins in November for another 10 win season.

Penn State - Joe Pa is still kicking and from the look of it the Nittany Lions will be too.  Their formula is very similar to that of Ohio State. They have a respectable offense that averaged 28.8 pts/game in 2009 and returns eight starters. Unlike tOSU, they will be breaking in a new QB. Expect to see heavy doses of Evan Royster early while Kevin Newsome gets snapped in as the signal caller.

Penn State returns five starters from a great defensive unit that held its opponents to 12.2 pts/game last season. Tip of the hat to the Nittany Lions for scheduling one high quality non-conference game as they travel to Alabama in week two. That is stacking up to be a HUGE weekend for the conference with tOSU hosting Miami and Michigan traveling to ND that same day. 

The Penn State vs. Bama contest could very well be a 6-3 thriller that sets a new world record for handoffs. I don’t see Penn State winning that game on the road, but they do have three other patsies lined up in September to make sure they are 3-1 heading into conference play. Once there trips to Iowa and Ohio State will provide stiff tests and they don’t play Wisconsin. Michigan State and Michigan could also be tricky, but PSU gets both of them in Beaver Stadium. I expect 9-10 wins and a solid bowl bid as the end result.

Iowa - On paper the Hawkeyes look like a pretty good football team, but I am always hesitant to put too much stock in them early. For all the love Ferentz gets his winning percentage after 11 seasons at Iowa is only 59 percent. That always gives me pause when the Hawkeyes come up.

That said the outlook is pseudo similar to Ohio State and Penn State, but with a less formidable offense. On offense they have six returning starters from a unit that put up 23.2 pts/game in 2009 which is not great. I heard one of the ESPN talking heads say the other day that QB Ricky Stanzi would put them over the top this year. I was wondering if they were talking about the same kid that threw 15 picks and 17 TDs last season. 

The Hawkeyes do have eight returning starters on a defense that only allowed 15.4 pts/gm last year so that will continue to be their strength. September non conference games against Iowa State and Arizona will tell us a lot. I don’t see either of those as a gimme for the Hawkeyes. I’m thinking 8-9 wins depending on how those two go.

Michigan State - Mark Dantonio does a great job coaching this team up. In many ways they are starting to remind me of Boston College. The Sparty roster isn’t riddled with superstars but at the same time they seem to trade punches with whoever they play every week. Sparty has seven returning starters on offense to include QB Kirk Cousins.  They managed 29.7 pts/game last year and should be in the same ball park again in 2010. 

The defense remains a bit of a question mark as they return six on a unit that gave up 26.3 pts/game in 2009. ND is their only potentially tough non conference foe and they don’t play Ohio State.  Sparty also has good spacing between ND, Wisconsin, @Michigan, @Iowa, and @Penn State on the sked which should make it slightly more manageable.  With a little defensive improvement Sparty should get back up to eight wins. If they can pull a couple of upsets they could have a really nice season.

Michigan - It has to get better right? At this point the biggest obstacle is Dick Rod himself. While I still think that in theory his system could be very effective in the Big Ten the black cloud hanging over his tenure is an undeniable distraction at this point. It isn’t easy to just come out and play when your head coach is on the chopping block. After living through the last couple of Weis years, I am more than happy to hand off the WWL hotseat watch to the Wolverines this fall.

I could easily get side tracked here and start rambling about all the factors that ultimately painted Rodriguez into a corner but I will try and restrain myself. In short, I think as the Head Coach of any major program you have to first embrace the stewardship that comes with the position. A public recognition that you are simply the caretaker of something much bigger and more important than yourself is required. From there you embrace the culture, become part of it, and implement your way of doing business within the existing framework. As far as I’m concerned that is where Rodriguez went off the rails early.  Think Callahan at Nebraska. Same thing.

With that here is what the Wolverines will be working with this fall.  They averaged 29.5 pts/game on offense and return seven starters to include the self proclaimed “QB Force.”

That said Rodriguez has hinted that Denard Robinson and freshman Devin Gardner might also be in the mix. Having three QBs means you have no QBs and that isn’t good. The defense returns eight on a unit that wasn’t stellar in allowing 27.5 pts/game in 2009.  Greg Robinson took over as DC last year, but it didn’t help matters much. The Wolverines shifted to a 3-4 in 2009, but were playing with the old Rodriguez standby 3-3-5 in the spring which doesn’t bode well either. 

The Wolverines open with UCONN and a trip to South Bend. So an 0-2 start isn’t inconceivable. Those two games are vital to Michigan which will make the ND game that much more fun. If they drop both of them Rodriguez will already be marking time when the Wolverines start conference play.  With Michigan State, Iowa, @ Penn State, Wisconsin, and @ Ohio State all on the sked a .500 season is a distinct possibility. They do have the second most talented roster in the conference and that could be the one thing that pulls 2010 out of the fire and gets Rodriguez over the hump. I think they will ultimately manage to win seven with a few flashes of positivity making the decision on keeping Rodriguez as muddy as possible. 

Northwestern - Pat Fizgerald put together 17 wins in the last two seasons and the Wildcats return thirteen total starters. Their offensive and defensive production was almost even last year at 25.9 pts/game and 24.5 pts/game respectively. They tend to play to the level of their competition and end up in a lot of close games. They play a weak non conference sked and don’t have Ohio State or Michigan on the slate in 2010 so another 7-8 wins with a bunch of smart kids you never heard of is a very likely scenario.

Purdue - The Boilers are a tough call in 2010. Last year Danny Hope took over and went 5-7 with two new coordinators. Gary Nord remains OC and has five returning starters to work with but picks up QB Robert Marve who sat out last year after he transferred from Miami. Marve is a legit athlete that could get the Boilers back above 30 pts/game. A suspect defense returns six starters from a unit that gave up 29.1 pts/game in 2009 and will remain the linchpin in any potential success. The Boilers open at ND then play three patsies and don’t have Iowa or Penn State on the schedule. As a result seven wins is possible.

Illinois - The Zooker lives. After nine wins and a Rose Bowl in 2007 the Illini have only won eight games in the last two seasons combined. I don’t see any miracle turnarounds in the works for 2010. I don’t expect Illinois will see the upside of .500 and Zooker will likely go back to being an assistant somewhere after the season.

Minnesota - The Gophers return 9 starters from a below average offense and 2 starters from a mediocre defense.  They open with Middle Tennessee and Dwight Dasher might hang 50 on them. They have USC in week three which could get ugly then roll into a conference slate where they will likely be underdogs in every game. It doesn’t look good for the Gophers this fall.

Indiana - Like Minnesota the Hoosiers have nine returning starters on a below average offense and 4 returning starters on a bad defense. This team will continue to struggle in 2009.

Big Ten Wrap Up- This is really Ohio State’s conference to lose. Penn State, Wisconsin, and Iowa will be nipping at their heels and I also expect that Michigan State will make some noise. This is a big year for the Big Ten, and it will be well worth keeping a close eye on the conference as a whole. They appear poised for another good showing that could go a long way towards helping them maintain their momentum as they transition to a 12 team format in 2011.


From the FanTake blog: One Foot Down

Follow on Twitter: @OneFootDown

ACC Football Preview: This Year’s Most Curious Conference

July 17th, 2010

The ACC remains a curious case.  The overall talent level within the conference is on par with the Big 12 and Pac 10, but the ACC has continued to struggle on the national stage.   Since Boston College joined as the 12th team in 2005, the six ACC Champions have yet to make an appearance in the BCS Championship game and only one of them (2008 Virginia Tech) went on to win their BCS Bowl game. Are the prospects for an ACC title shot any better in 2010?  I don’t think so, but the conference does have a half dozen quality teams that will provide us with some good college football to watch this fall.

The ACC Coastal will have four very good football teams this fall. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami could all be good enough to win the Coastal Division title. While this can sometimes be a nice problem to have, in the case of the Coastal division, it will most likely result in a self elimination scenario for the conference in the national title race. If you are an ACC Coastal fan, you should probably get familiar with the ACC division tie breaker rules now . Take a look.

Virginia Tech - I think the Hokies have the inside track on both the division and the conference and it has nothing to do with the extensive amount of time that I spent with my Hokie fanatic brother-in-law The Deer Hunter last fall.  It is simply due to scheduling. 

The Hokies open the season with a huge game against Boise State at FedEx Field in a Monday night showdown chock full of national title implications.  If you don’t want to see the Smurf turf crew crashing the BCS Championship game you should probably be sporting a Fighting Gobbler tee on September 6th .  A Hokie victory will derail the Broncos title shot and provide the Beamer Ball crew with some great momentum heading into the season. 

I expect the Hokies to beat Boise State and cruise to an 8-0 record as they plow through three non-conference patsies and a favorable draw from the Atlantic that includes BC, Wake Forest, and NC State.  Then in November, trouble comes into paradise as the Hokies stare down a slate of Georgia Tech, @ North Carolina, and @ Miami before finishing up with another beat down of UVA.  I think a reasonable expectation would be for the Hokies to drop one during that brutal three game stretch.

The Hokies return eight starters on an offense that averaged 31.8 pts/game but only four on defense. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, Darren Evans, and the rest of the offense will carry the load early while Bud Foster’s defense gets it sea legs. I suspect the Hokie defense will be born again hard by the time they head into that rough November slate.  Beamer ball will continue on special teams and the Deer Hunter’s boys should have a great shot at picking up their fourth ACC title.

Georgia Tech - I always give Paul Johnson and his offense the benefit of the doubt. He always seems to fare better than anyone thinks he will year in and year out. The Jackets won the conference last season and return 6 starters from a unit that averaged 33.8 pts/game. Josh Nesbitt remains under center and will continue to thrive running Johnson’s option offense. The Jackets also return eight starters on a pseudo respectable defense that should improve upon the 24.8 pts/game they allowed last season.

The Jackets have two interesting non-conference games against Kansas and what should be a very tough Georgia squad. They also draw NC State, Wake Forest, and Clemson from the Atlantic division. While I don’t expect GT to run the table they will be in the thick of the division race heading into November and could very well repeat as division and conference champs.

North Carolina - Butch Davis has quietly assembled a solid group of football players in Chapel Hill and I expect that the Heels will also be in the thick of the Coastal Division race this fall. North Carolina doesn’t do anything flashy on offense, but they play solid fundamental football, focus on a strong rushing attack and boast a great defense that should be even better in 2010. The Davis formula resembles that of Saban very closely.

The Heels return 10 starters on offense to include QB T.J. Yates, RB Shaun Draughn, and WR Greg Little. They will definitely improve upon the 23.9 pts/game they produced in 2009. On defense nine starters return to a unit that only allowed 17.1 pts/game in 2009 and expects to be even better in 2010. I anticipate the Heels to have a great season playing some of the least exciting football you will ever watch. It may not be flashy, but Davis knows what he is doing and he is about to reap the fruits of his labor. 

The Heels open with an interesting matchup against LSU then have a second week bye before facing Georgia Tech. They are capable of winning both of those big games and if they do they will carry a lot of momentum into later matchups with Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. I think UNC will improve on the eight wins they posted last season and be right there with VT and GT in the chase for the Coastal crown.

Miami - The Canes are a sexy pick to win the ACC and possibly more heading into 2010, but I’m not quite buying into it for two reasons. For starters the Canes play a very difficult schedule that includes non conference tilts against Florida A&M, @ Ohio State, @ Pittsburgh, and USF.  They also draw Florida State from the Atlantic on top of VT, UNC, and GT from within the division. 

I am also not convinced that Randy Shannon has found the formula for the secret sauce.  On more than one occasion last season the Canes just didn’t show up. Virginia Tech and the bowl game against Wisconsin come to mind.

No matter how much talent Shannon has amassed on the roster without a serious attitude adjustment from somewhere within the program, the Canes will likely self destruct more than once again this season. I know they are making a concerted effort to bring back “The U” of old but I expect them to have a hard time matching the nine wins they picked up last season.

Virginia - UVA capped off the Al Groh era with a 3-9 mark in 2009 and starts from scratch this year with Mike London at the helm. London led Richmond to an FCS title in 2008 and now has a chance to really make a name for himself in a much bigger ACC pond. 

The Cavs have a talent base similar to BC, Georgia Tech, and NC State so four years of recruiting won’t necessarily be required to improve quickly. I don’t expect any miracles, but I won’t be surprised if the Cavs double their 3 win total from last season and sneak into a lower tier bowl game.

Duke - David Cutcliffe is a great coach, but it will take nothing short of a miracle to make the Blue Devils competitive. Duke does return nine starters on an offense that averaged 25.2 pts/game in 2009 but may not improve as they have to replace QB Thaddeus Lewis.  The Blue Devil defense has six returning starters on a unit that gave up 28.3 pts/game last season and will continue to be the linchpin in the win column. With non-conference games against Bama and Navy improving on the five wins they posted last season will be difficult.

Florida State - Jimbo Fisher takes over for living legend Bobby Bowden this season and has the ACC’s most talented roster to work with. The Noles are a sleeping giant as they have completely underachieved the last four seasons. In many ways they resemble Miami but with the staff change I am more optimistic that they will be able to right the ship. The Noles return nine starters on offense to include QB Christian Ponder and should be at least as productive as the 30.1 pts/game they produced last season.

On defense the Noles struggled last year allowing 30.0 pts/game and Fisher brought in Mark Stoops as DC during the off season to fix it. I expect that Stoops will quickly whip the defense into shape and take some pressure off the offense. The Noles travel to Oklahoma in week two which will be a great early season litmus test. They also draw Miami and North Carolina from the Coastal Division and close out the season hosting Florida at Doak Campbell. The schedule is too gruesome to run the table but I expect to see a 9-10 win Seminole team in the ACC Championship game.

Boston College - BC is the jinx, and at this point I find that predicting anything but success for them is is futile. The Eagles are a blue collar football team that doesn’t exactly jump off the page but at the end of the day you don’t really want to play them either. OC Gary Tranquill returns eight starters on offense to include junior RB Montel Harris and 26 year old soph QB David Shinskie. I expect that BC will improve on the 24.8 pts/gm they put up in 2009. 

The Eagles have six starters returning to a solid defense that only gave up 19.8 pts/game in 2009 and gets the added bonus of Sam Linebacker Mark Herzlich returning to the lineup. The Herzlich story is great and will no doubt be featured on the new three hour College Game Day every single week. The Eagles have a non-conference slate of three patsies and Notre Dame and draws VT, Duke, and UVA from the Coastal Division. 

After a bye in week three the Eagles host VT and ND in back to back weeks and have FSU at the end of October.  Those are the only three games they may not be favored in.  As a result I expect BC to put up at least 9 wins and push FSU to win the Atlantic Division.

Clemson - Dabo Swinney enters his third full year at the helm of a program that is in a strange spot. The Tigers entered 2008 with high expectations then instantly flamed out leading to the resignation of Tommy Bowden mid season. Swinney took over and last season the Tigers made it to the ACC title game in the most unspectacular fashion possible. Now what?

Clemson returns seven starters to an offense that produced 31.1 pts/game in 2009 but QB Kyle Parker is still trying to decide whether or not he will jump to MLB. Without Parker and departed all world HB/ return man C.J. Spiller, the Tigers offensive production will most likely drop off. The defense returns six starters and was solid in 2009 only giving up 20.4 pts/game. With non-conference games against Auburn and South Carolina and a Coastal draw of North Carolina and Georgia Tech, I see the Tigers having a 8-9 win ceiling.   

NC State - NC State is a tough nut to crack. In 2009, there was no telling what you were going to get from the Wolfpack on any given week. They beat a couple of good teams, lost to a couple of bad ones, and found themselves on both ends of a blowout. NC State was actually pretty good on offense 30.3 pts/game and equally bad on defense giving up 31.2 pts/game. Tom O’Brien picked up Jon Tenuta in the offseason to help shore up the defense as an LB Coach. That will be interesting to keep an eye on. Despite having only five returning starters, I suspect their defense will improve enough for the pack to get back to 6-7 wins and a lower tier bowl.

Wake Forest - Jim Grobe consistently does more with less and he is going to have to do it one more time to get bowl eligible. After opening with Presbyterian and Duke the Deacons hit a rough patch @ Stanford, @ Florida State, Georgia Tech, Navy, and @ Virginia Tech. That looks like a likely 2-5 start to me. The Deacons might be able to pull it out of the fire and win 4 of 5 to close out the season and get bowl eligible but another 5-7 finish is more likely.

Maryland - The Terps return only 12 starters from a team that went 2-10 in 2009. Ralph Friedgen is marking time and that is always a bad scenario for any team to try and play though. Expect the struggles to continue in 2010 starting with a beat down from Navy on opening weekend.


From the FanTake blog: One Foot Down

Follow on Twitter: @OneFootDown

The Eyes of Texas: Recruiting Malcolm Brown a Must for Texas Longhorns

July 17th, 2010

The Eyes of Texas is a weekly column composed by T.J. McAloon.  At “The Eyes of Texas” I'll be looking at a variety of topics regarding the University of Texas' football program.  This week I focus on the importance of's only five star recruit in the 2011 class, Malcolm Brown.

Malcolm still has a year to decide where he wants to play his freshman year of college football.  He is herald as the top player in the state of Texas, and has the scholarship offers from various other schools.  Brown has turned his focus towards two schools though.

Who is his top two?

One is the school that he grew up watching, the University of Texas, and the other school is the University of Alabama. 

Texas always seemed to be Brown's choice for college football. This is until a summer trip to Tuscaloosa that sent Brown's interest level in the Crimson Tide to new levels.  Here he met with Coach Saban and had a chance to tour the university and see what he could become in following the footsteps of Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram Jr.

For Texas, this should send warning shots that its prized recruit could be lost to the Crimson Tide.  Losing Brown not only would derail what could be one of Texas' best recruiting class, but would also keep Texas from fixing a weakness it'll have this season in running back.

The kid is just a senior in high school, and could (God forbid) get injured this year. But looking at the depth chart that Texas will have if Brown would join in 2011, there is no doubt that he (Brown) would be its best option.

In Brown's last year at Cibolo Steele, he rushed for 2,170 yards and 33 touchdowns on 201 carries. What really separates Brown from other running backs in the state of Texas and country are his yards per carry.  Last year Brown averaged 10.8 YPC. Oh, and he did this in a normal college season of 12 games.

What does Texas have to do to help sell Brown on the school?

Well, for starters, it should hammer home the allure of playing in his home state.  Brown was the focus at one of June's football camps. Brown did visit Austin Wednesday to focus clearly on academics and his personal life should he attend next year. 

Brown admitted that the he could be making a decision very soon.

"I'm still going to try and do it before the season," Brown said in an interview.

Can Mack Brown and his coaching staff woo Malcolm into coming to Texas?

If it was any other coach trying to recruit this player I would have to give Brown the upper hand.  This is Nick Saban and the powerful conference of the SEC that he's going up against.

If you’re a Texas fan, then you better pray that Malcolm Brown is wearing a University of Texas hat whenever he makes this very important decision.  Because if he dons the crimson and white of Alabama, then it’s back to the drawing board for the Texas running game. 

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