Tag:New Mexico
Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:09 pm
 

SDSU's Long calls Boise blue turf 'unfair'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Say this for first-year San Diego State head coach Rocky Long: he's not a man to hide what he's really think.

Just ask BYU. Or as of yeterday, his Aztecs' new conference rivals at Boise State, since Long made it beyond clear he doesn't think much of the Broncos' famous Smurf Turf:

"I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf. I think it's unfair," said Long, the former New Mexico coach ...  

When asked to expand, Long said, "it takes the visiting team a quarter or two to get used to that different field."  

Long said players "track the ball differently" on the blue turf, particularly since Boise State traditionally wears all-blue uniforms on the blue turf.

Long isn't the first coach to grumble about the Boise field's effect, though he might be the first to do so so publicly. We encourage him to continue, since the Aztecs' home game against the Broncos already shapes up to be one of the best in the 2011 Mountain West and should only get spicier from here. (Boise's Chris Petersen unfortunately wasn't willing to play along, politely saying his players don't notice any effects from the blue field "because we see it every day.") 

But is there any truth to Long's claims? The Broncos did go 40-0 at home in their 10 years in the WAC and are (as the Idaho Statesman points out) an incredible 69-2 on the blue turf since 2000. 

But the simpler explanation for BSU's success, of course -- and it's one we wish Petersen had made in retort -- is that the Broncos have been really, really good, and traveling all the way to Boise to play those good teams is very, very hard. Maybe Long is right that the combination of the field and the Broncos' blue uniforms is unsettling enough that it doesn't make for an entirely even playing field (and to be fair to Long, he does have personal experience with the Smurf Turf, having taken the Lobos to Boise in 1999), but whatever advantage Boise gets isn't nearly so big as the advantage of simply having the better team.

In short: with all due respect to Mr. Long -- and to the thousands of retinas scarred annually by the blue turf in high definition -- Boise shouldn't feel obligated to tear up the turf anytime soon.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.


FOUR LINKS ...

1. National champions Auburn might not have enjoyed the HBO expose that aired this week, but they got plenty of love from more official channels, with the Alabama state House honoring Gene Chizik with a resolution and Cam Newton getting similar treatment from the legislature in his home state of Georgia. But for Auburn fans, the biggest honor of the week was the news that NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip will be driving this car at Talladega April 17 to commemorate the Tigers' achievement:



2. Sounds like Florida's going to have a friend in the broadcast booth this year as Jon Gruden attended Will Muschamp's first Gainesville coaching clinic and called the Muschamp-Charlie Weis coaching tandem "the best in college football." Also in attendance despite the rumors that he and Muschamp had not always seen eye-to-eye in Austin: former Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

3. You may have seen this already:



Even if you haven't, you know that there is only one coach who would put up a motivational chart with a "World of the Uninvested" and a "Circle of the Untrustables." Houston Nutt explains the chart and its genesis to the Clarion-Ledger here.

4. Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen doesn't sound like he's bearing any real grudge towards former head coach Dan Hawkins and his son, fellow (ex-)quarterback Cody Hawkins, but he does say Hawkins the Elder's handling of his son did include "a little nepotism." Which is why the whole situation sounds more than a little awkward.

... AND THE CLOUD

Jimbo Fisher is asking fans for their prayers and thoughts as his son Ethan battles an undisclosed health issue ... Former Texas Tech running back and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal guest columnist Baron Batch has a pretty amazing story to tell ... After $100,000 raises for each, Alabama coordinators Kirby Smart (defensive) and Jim McElwain (offensive) are earning a combined $1.36 milllion ... Speaking of contracts, Mike Locksley has renegotiated his New Mexico deal in a fashion that makes it easier for both parties to part ways ... Two reserve linemen for Michigan State have been knocked out of spring practice (and maybe longer) with injuries ... Marcus Davis, a backup safety at Oregon who'd transferred from Texas, has left the Duck program ... Colorado reported one secondary violation to the NCAA from their recent recruiting cycle, but since it's for feeding the 10-year-old brother of a visiting recruit, we doubt they're too ashamed about it ... Mississippi State has a new announcer for their radio broadcasts, always a big deal anywhere college football's a big deal ... Joe Bauserman is taking the first-team snaps at Ohio State quarterback while Terrelle Pryor recovers ... And here's video of Notre Dame's quarterbacks donning a helmet-cam for practice. Thus the indomitable sprit of the World League of American Football lives on.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: TCU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at TCU , who began practice over the weekend.

Spring Practice Question: Do the Horned Frogs have the offensive firepower to slam the door in the Mountain West's face on their way out?

Remember how when NBA legends like Julius Erving would announce their retirement, their final season would be a long series of tearful goodbyes as the legend-in-question would be showered at each road venue with gifts and well-wishes? And you know how this is TCU's final season in the Mountain West, the conference it's won three times and helped shape into a national power on the cusp of an automatic BCS bid? Yeah, that season is going to be the complete opposite of that NBA thing.

Because the Mountain West has done all it can to skip the bouquets and send the Horned Frogs off to the Big East with a giant kick in the pants. Not only did the league unilaterally force TCU to forgo their biggest home game of the year in exchange for a brutal road game at Boise State, they ignored the Frogs' choice for a bye week in favor of giving them weeks off before New Mexico and UNLV ... two miserable teams the Frogs could have swept in a doubleheader the week after going to Boise if they had to. It's safe to say there's nothing the MWC wants more than to see TCU flail their way out of a league that spent the year proving it didn't need them; it's equally safe to say there's nothing Gary Patterson would like more than to say good-bye with the raised middle finger of a third straight conference championship.

But entering spring practice, the odds look much longer than they did in either 2009 or 2010. While part of that is the enhanced schedule -- even the Frogs' undefeated showdowns with Utah the past two seasons won't present nearly the challenge of taking on the Broncos on the blue turf -- the much larger part is facing down that schedule with so much lost on offense. Eight starters are gone from the unit that helped bring home a Rose Bowl title, a group headlined by four-year quarterback starter and career 10,000-yard passer Andy Dalton.

But the losses go much deeper than that. The Frogs' second-, third- and fourth-leading receivers are all departed, including top go-to possession wideout Jeremy Kerley and the reliable Jimmy Young. Bookend 6'6" tackles Marcus Cannon and Zach Roth have both graduated. In the interior of the line, the Frogs must replace 300-pound guard Josh Vernon and 308-pound All-American center Jake Kirkpatrick, only the 2010 Rimington Trophy winner.

The good news for TCU is that particularly at the skill positions, they seem positioned to weather the storm. Quarterbacking heir-to-the-throne Casey Pachall was one of Patterson's most highly-regarded recruits, has drawn rave reviews in practice, and should be more than ready as a redshirt sophomore. The tailback tag-team of juniors Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker -- who combined for 1,787 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 2010 -- returns intact. Top receiver Josh Boyce is back after a breakout redshirt freshman season that saw him average an eye-popping 19 yards per reception.

But there's only so much all that skill-position talent can do if the four new starters up front aren't up to the task. Spring camp should give Patterson and the TCU fans an excellent chance to gauge their progress across from one of the perennially best-coached defensive fronts in the country (not to mention Tank Carder). If the line shows potential, Pachall lives up to the hype, and some member of the Frog receiving corps steps up to provide some measure of balance across from Boyce, it won't be too early to start dreaming about yet another BCS season.

But if not? Boise's going to start licking their chops (to say nothing of teams like BYU, San Diego State, Baylor, etc.), and the MWC bigwigs can start their dreaming about having the last laugh.


Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:47 pm
 

Kouandjio payoff talk is baseless, embarrassing

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As most people are by now aware, Cyrus Kouandjio is officially a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, signing with the team days after briefly committing to Auburn on Signing Day. Alabama had long been the favorite to land Kouandjio, while Auburn was a relatively late player in his recruitment. Other schools being conidered were Iowa and, oddly, New Mexico.

Any time there's wavering from a top recruit over his commitment, especially in close proximity to Signing Day, there's always going to be some doubt that everything was on the up-and-up. When a school pops up seemingly out of nowhere in the recruiting battle, like Auburn did, it becomes basically common knowledge among partisan fans that someone was being paid illegally -- even when absolutely no evidence surfaces of any wrongdoing.

That's a shame, really. It's not a shame in that a particular school's integrity is being impugned; that practice is as old as the sport itself, and an integral part therein. Who doesn't enjoy needlessly slandering a rival team or its fan base? It's the type of devilish, puerile fun that helps make being a fan such a rewarding experience. No, the problem is not what the rumors say about the schools in question; it's what they say about the recruits.

Think about it. When an Auburn fan gets on the radio and accuses Alabama of paying off Kouandjio, the insinuation is that the Kouandjios don't care at all about Cyrus' well-being, or what school offers the best experience for him on and off the field. No, in a paranoid fan's eyes, all that Alabama (or Auburn, or Iowa, or New Mexico) needed to do was wheel out an SUV from some anonymous booster and the recruiting was done. That's a pretty lousy thing to assume about a family, especially when the father, Jean Claude Kouandjio, was on record encouraging his son to take his mind off the process for a day or two. To assume that this display of good parenting is just some act that belies a great misdeed would necessarily require a good deal of evidence, otherwise it's just plain mean-spirited.

And on the front of evidence, there is none in Kouandjio's case. Nobody has proffered any examples of conspicuous spending or shady deals made with any member of the family or anything of the sort. To make that claim anyway is to make a work of fiction, and when local media agencies report on these rumors even under the guise of "fans speaking out," they smear the public record. Our standards ought to be much higher.

Posted on: February 4, 2011 11:32 am
 

SDSU's Long isn't playing nice with BYU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, remember when a botched replay call seemed to bring San Diego State and BYU within one sternly worded press release of meeting in an abandoned warehouse somewhere for an Anchorman- style rumble that would settle things once and for all? (Or, at the least, a really intense water balloon battle?) The Mountain West's ruling on the matter seemed to quiet things down for a while, but new Aztecs head coach Rocky Long made it clear yesterday that he's not interested in calling a truce anytime soon between his team and the newly-independent Cougars:
“They’re saying they don’t need us, and they’re saying they can do a whole lot better without us, so you don’t make their scheduling easy,” Long said ...

“After five or six years or something, I think they’ll be in a conference,” Long said. “But after five or six years, if they’re still independent, I wouldn’t mind playing them at all. But I don’t want to play them (until then) because I think they treated the league the wrong way.

“There has to be a period of time when we don’t play them, because I don’t like the way they treated the league.”

Why Long is holding this kind of grudge against BYU but not fellow MWC ship-jumpers Utah and TCU isn't entirely clear ... well, not until Long does make it clear that he doesn't think much of BYU's reliance on players who have spent two years away on Mormon missions (emphasis added):

“I’ve had several players who have played in our program who have gone off on missions,” Long said. “The positives really outweigh any negatives from their going on missions. We can talk about a certain school -- but I’m not going to talk about any other school but ours -- how the maturity factor and age factor gives you a huge advantage . When [new Aztec signee Sam Meredith ] comes back, he’ll potentially be a much, much better football player than we leaves on his mission.”
Hearing that, it's hard to think that Long's anti-Cougar scheduling slant actually stems from BYU's treatment of the MWC or Replaygate or anything else specific; it's just good ol' run-of-the-mill hate forged from Long's (long) years of battling BYU as the head coach at New Mexico and an assistant at SDSU.

Which, as a follower of college football, is the kind of hate we can totally support. Here's to hoping BYU and SDSU decide to tangle a lot sooner than Long would like.
Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Thompson tells bottom of MWC to shape up

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It was just yesterday that UNLV's reported upcoming stadium announcement gave us an excuse to look at the Runnin' Rebels' sorry 2010 season, one that finished at 2-11 with zero victories that didn't come at home against Wyoming or New Mexico, Vegas's partners in mediocrity at the bottom of the Mountain West standings. Between the three of them, the Rebels, Cowboys, and Lobos combined to win just one game against the rest of the conference, Wyoming's season-ending blowout of Colorado State, a team that itself won just one game against teams that weren't MWC bottom-feeders.

All together, the bottom four teams in the Mountain West went a staggering 2-34 against all other FBS competititon, the only victories Wyoming's five-point win at Toledo and Colorado State's two-point escape against Idaho.

So it's no surprise that as his conference scrapes and claws for a BCS automatic bid, with every game its members play either helping or hurting its argument, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson isn't real pleased with how his bottom three teams are performing. He said as much in an interview yesterday with ESPN's Andrea Adelson , where few words were minced (emphasis added):
It’s never been an issue at the top. We’ve been in the Top 10. We’ve played in BCS games, but I read a recent Q&A with John Swofford of the ACC. Their strength is 12. I am not badmouthing any of our teams, but we need to have our six, seventh and eighth finishing teams have better seasons, period.
Well, no offense Commish, but that seems like you kind of are badmouthing those sixth, seventh, and eighth teams (i.e. CSU, UNLV, and Wyoming). (Why the No. 9 Lobos are spared, we're not sure, unless Thompson has joined the rest of the country on simply giving up on the Mike Locksley's train wreck of a program.)

But that's fine; their 2010 efforts deserve some badmouthing, especially when -- as Thompson's Q&A makes clear -- they're such a major stumbling block to a BCS bid that for now looks just slightly out of reach. The MWC needs to come in at sixth or better in the BCS polls and the BCS computer rankings to qualify for the bid, and in the 2008-2011 evaluation period, Thompson says they've hit that bar in the polls but don't have the computer juice (finishing seventh). Where the 2010-2013 period is concerned, they've cleared it in 2010, but just barely--and how much better will things get without Utah, BYU or TCU?

Without the necessary rankings, the MWC would have to apply for a waiver from the current BCS conferences, and though Thompson doesn't dismiss the possibility the guess here is that such a waiver will be granted when pigs rule the skies. The league's best bet is to put together a smashing 2011 that puts them in the top six for 2008-11, and they simply can't do that if the bottom four teams can't pull some tiny measure of their weight.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Report: UNLV to get domed stadium

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There aren't many FBS programs more downtrodden than UNLV, who haven't had a winning season or played in a bowl game since 2000 and have won more than two games only twice in the past seven seasons. Clearly, the Runnin' Rebels are in need of something big to turn the program around.

Fortunately, it looks like that something may be on its way. The Las Vegas Sun has reported that plans will be unveiled next week to build a "multipurpose sports and entertainment complex near campus," one that will include a domed stadium and be funded by Los Angeles billionaire Ed Roski as part of a "public-private partnership."

No timetable for the completion of the project (or its groundbreaking ,for that matter) appears to be set at this time.

The stadium will replace the off-campus Sam Boyd Stadium as UNLV's home football venue and -- one would have to assume, though the report doesn't raise the issue -- could take over as the host for the annual MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. It could prove to be a huge boon to the Rebels on several fronts; not only will the new facilities no doubt be a huge help for recruiting purposes, but a lively crowd and better atmosphere in a stadium much, much closer to campus could tip a few close home games in the Rebels' direction that tipped elsewhere at Sam Boyd.

Then again, the current edition of the Rebels -- 2-11 in Bobby Hauck's first year, with the only wins coming at home over fellow MWC sad-sacks Wyoming and New Mexico -- wouldn't be able to win if Jerry Jones had built his Dallas football space palace on their doorstep. It's going to take a lot more to revive UNLV football than a shiny new building.

But there's also no doubt that Hauck will take whatever help he can get, and certainly a state-of-the-art facility like the one Roski is proposing would be an awful lot of help indeed.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Texas Tech ditches TCU game...again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems as though nobody wants to play TCU these days.  The school is in a bit of a bind with its 2011 schedule as both BYU and Utah will be leaving the Mountain West, leaving two open dates, and Boise State is trying to get its date with the Horned Frogs moved from Fort Worth to Boise.  Then there's Texas Tech.  Texas Tech was scheduled to play TCU in 2010, but when ESPN decided it wanted to air Tech's game with Texas on the same day, the Red Raiders dropped the game.  ESPN then helped set up TCU's game against Oregon State.

Well, Texas Tech's decided it enjoyed not playing TCU so much in 2010, it's going to do the same thing in 2011, as the Raiders have once again dropped TCU from the schedule.  News that TCU AD Chris Del Conte doesn't sound all that thrilled to hear.

"It's a done deal for sure," Del Conte told the Star-Telegram. "Nothing has been determined for the future; we're negotiating that right now."

"To me it was a little late in the game [to change the schedule]. They knew Nebraska was going to the Big Ten eight months ago. We would have had more time [to find a new opponent] if they had told us earlier. It's disappointing we couldn't make the game work. I did everything possible."

The reason Texas Tech backed out of the game is because the new Big 12, the one with ten teams, will be playing a round robin conference schedule in 2011.  Which means the amount of conference games increases from eight to nine, and that eliminates one non-conference game.  So when looking at its slate of non-conference games next season, Tech saw TCU, New Mexico and Nevada and decided to say sayonara to TCU.  

Texas Tech says it hopes to reschedule the game sometime in the future.  No doubt it's hoping that TCU is a bit weaker by then.
 
 
 
 
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