Tag Archives: college football

Life Update: Where Is Tyler Working?

I recently started a new gig as an assistant scoreboard editor at the Chicago Tribune. I’m basically editing all the agate (stats, box scores, etc.) in the paper. I thought I’d post a couple examples of the stuff I’m doing. Here are two college football preview boxes I did for the Big 12 and Wisconsin Badgers.

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North Carolina Vacation – Day Four, Part Two (UNC Chapel Hill)

A light post outside of the Dean Smith Center at UNC Chapel Hill.

Inside of the Dean Dome. We were able to get into the stadium thanks to the Kenny Smith Basketball Camp. We actually caught a glimpse of Smith, who was wearing Carolina blue head-to-toe.

The rafters of the Dean Dome. I’m surprised they have any numbers left to give out with all those jerseys hanging from the roof.

The dome, which allows natural light in to brighten up the stadium.

Kenan Memorial Stadium. I was surprised at how much I liked this stadium. I hadn’t heard much about Kenan, but it has a gorgeous setting, with tall pine trees outlining the stadium.

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4/29 Photos Of The Day: 2011 Wisconsin Football Photo Review

Congrats to the six Badgers drafted by NFL teams this past weekend: Kevin Zeitler (Bengals), Peter Konz (Falcons), Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Nick Toon (Saints), Bradie Ewing (Falcons) and Brad Nortman (Panthers). Also, good luck to the guys who signed on as undrafted free agents, including Antonio Fenelus (Colts), Aaron Henry (Raiders), Louis Nzegwu (Falcons), Jake Byrne (Saints) and Patrick Butrym (49ers).

Thanks for your great UW careers, here are some photos I took at Badger games in 2011:

Rose Bowl; Wisconsin vs TCU, Jan. 1st

Camp Randall; Wisconsin vs UNLV, Sept. 1

Soldier Field; Wisconsin vs Northern Illinois, Sept. 17

Lucas Oil Stadium; Wisconsin vs Michigan St., Big Ten Champ Game, Dec. 3

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NCAA Tournament: Andrew Nicholson Headlines The Mid-Major Stars Worth Watching In The East

Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies to the dance for the first time since 2000.

EAST

F Kyle Casey, Harvard

2011-2012 Stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg

The junior forward will go against one of the high-major schools he turned down in favor of the Ivy League. Just 6’7″, Casey provides a big presence for the Crimson down low on defense. Casey is a strong defensive rebounder, he grabbed 22.3 percent of the available boards on defense. He also put up a block percentage of 5.3. The native Bay Stater is also a high percentage shooter, he posted a solid 55.5 effective field goal percentage this season.

Casey and 6’8″ forward Keith Wright will face a tough challenge in Vanderbilt 7-footer Festus Ezeli. The Nigerian center is one of the best shot blockers in the country. I wouldn’t mind seeing Casey put up a dunk like this on Ezeli.

G Will Cherry, Montana

2011-2012 Stats: 16.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.4 apg

Well, first off, Cherry apparently has some great taste in TV and music. According to his online bio, he loves Jersey Shore and Miley Cyrus. He also happens to be a pretty damn good basketball player, probably the second best in the Big Sky conference behind stud Weber State point guard Damian Lillard. The 6’1″ guard leads the Grizzlies in scoring and has posted double-digit in 19 straight games. He’ll put that streak on the line against the stingy defense of Wisconsin.

Cherry’s effective field goal percentage (52.6) jumped six percent from last season. While his two point field goal percentage dropped slightly (.518 in 10-11, .505 in 11-12), he shot much better from behind the three-point line this season. Cherry made .371 percent of his threes this season, compared to the paltry .225 percent he made as a sophomore.

G Matt Dickey, UNC Asheville

2011-2012 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg

Dickey, the Big South’s player of the year, is a highly efficient guard. He posted an offensive rating of 120.5 (77th in the nation) and a true shooting percentage of 63.9 (35th in the nation). Dickey is effective in getting to the free throw line, drawing 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes this season. He also happens to be one of the best free throw shooters in the country. The native Alabaman made 86.5 percent of his 208 attempts on the year.

If Dickey and the Bulldogs pull off a monumental 16-over-1 upset of Syracuse, I hope it ends on a play like this.

PF Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure

2011-2012 Stats: 18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg

Nicholson is a high percentage scorer, strong rebounder and adept shot blocker. He led the Atlantic-10 in scoring (18.4 ppg) and ranks in the top 50 nationally in both effective field goal percentage (60.2) and true shooting percentage (64.0). Nicholson rebounds well on both sides of the court, grabbing 11 percent of available boards on offense, and 23 percent on defense. His block percentage of 7.73 was the 77th best mark in the nation.

Nicholson showed off all his skills in the A-10 tourney final, posting 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks as the Bonnies knocked off Xavier. The native Canadian’s strong performance down the stretch elevated his NBA draft prospects. DraftExpress has the 6’9″ forward ranked as the No. 6 senior, and projects him as an early second round pick in this year’s draft. The highly-skilled, and intelligent (Physics major), big man might sneak in to the late first round. Scouts will be very interested to see how Nicholson performs against Florida State’s trio of trees (6’10” Bernard James, 6’11” Xavier Gibson and 7’0″ Jon Kreft).

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Win or Lose Tonight, LSU Still Deserves A National Championship

The Honey Badger gets all the attention, but Morris Claiborne has been LSU’s best defender this season.

A lot will be at stake tonight when LSU and Alabama face off in the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans. Legacy, pride, the aforementioned BCS Championship, the No. 1 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, and of course, all the Allstate Insurance.

One thing that should not be decided tonight is the AP National Championship. Win or lose, the Bayou Bengals deserve a share of the national championship.

Why? Because the Tigers would still own the best resume in college football.

LSU beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa back on Nov. 5th in “The Game of the Century.” To me, that victory is more impressive than a hypothetical Alabama victory in the BCS Championship Game. Not only did LSU manage to win on the road, they did so in the middle of the regular season, not after a 36 day layoff.

And as so many proponents of the silly BCS system like to preach, the college football regular season is sacred. So shouldn’t a regular season victory hold more weight than a bowl victory?

But LSU’s season was a whole lot more than that one game, even if it was “the game of the century.” As of right now, Les Miles’ team has earned victories over the champions of two BCS bowls (Oregon, Rose and West Virgina, Orange). And if Alabama wins the BCS Championship Game, it means LSU would have beaten three of the five 2012 BCS bowl winners. LSU also beat Arkansas, the champion of the Cotton Bowl, which this year was of higher quality (No. 6 Arkansas vs No. 8 Kansas State) than the Sugar Bowl (No. 11 Virginia Tech vs No. 13 Michigan).

LSU managed to beat eight bowl teams during the regular season, and six of those teams went on to win their bowl games (Alabama is still TBD, of course). The Tigers’ success wasn’t the product of home cooking. They beat Big East Champion West Virginia and National Semifinalist Alabama on the road, and PAC-12 Champion Oregon at a neutral site (albeit, Dallas is much closer to Louisiana than it is Oregon).

While a victory over LSU would obviously boost their resume, Alabama’s credentials would still be lacking in comparison to LSU. Nick Saban’s squad’s best regular season win was a 38-14 home victory against Arkansas (LSU beat the Razorbacks at home 42-17). The Crimson Tide’s best non-conference win a 27-11 road victory against Penn State, a team with an embarrassing offense. I’m honestly surprised the Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and the Nittany Lions managed 11 points against the outstanding Alabama defense.

There has been some debate over whether Oklahoma State could earn a split of the National Championship should LSU trip up tonight. While Oklahoma State had a great season, I have no idea how the Cowboys could earn a split title over LSU. Oklahoma State has some impressive victories (Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor), but they lost on the road to unranked Iowa State. LSU’s one loss would be to No. 2 Alabama, a team they also beat.

A No. 1 AP vote for the Cowboys would be illogical, but as we all know by now, there’s not much logic in college football, so who knows what will happen.

With a win tonight, LSU will wrap up one of the greatest seasons in the history of college football, and we’ll all be spared another silly debate bred by the illogical BCS system.

But even if LSU can’t get their hands on all the Allstate Insurance tonight, the Bayou Bengals should still be recognized for their outstanding achievements in the regular season.

EPILOGUE:

I. Was. Wrong.

Alabama totally dominated LSU tonight. A 21-0 loss looks bad, but in all honesty, it was worse than that. LSU was never close to scoring. The offensive play calling was pathetic. Those screen passes were not going to work tonight. Neither was the speed option. LSU didn’t get the memo, they kept running them into the fourth quarter.

Alabama’s defense put on one hell of performance, and the Crimson Tide offense and special teams should be commended for not allowing LSU to score. The only way the Tigers were going to reach the end zone tonight was through a turnover or punt/kick return.

I just did not expect LSU to get dominated like they did tonight. I figured if they lost it’d be by a touchdown or less. But, as the game turned out, there is really no way LSU can say they deserve a share of the National Championship. The Tigers had the opportunity to prove to everybody that they were the best team in the country and they couldn’t deliver.

Congratulations to Alabama for being CONSENSUS National Champions. You guys earned it.

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RG3, The Heisman and SEC Arrogance

Robert Griffin III is the clear favorite to win the Heisman, and for good reason, his numbers are flat-out ridiculous (3998 passing yards, 36-6 TD/INT ratio, NCAA -record quarterback rating of 192.3, 644 yards and 9 TDs rushing). But apparently some people don’t find RG3 worthy of the Heisman, or even a spot on the three deep Heisman ballot, for one reason: Baylor isn’t a member of the SEC. Here’s a tweet that radio personality Paul Finebaum sent out this morning:

“Much heat leaving RG3 off my Heisman ballot. Nice player- but SEC defenses would have eaten him alive. Haters get a clue.”

There is so much wrong with this, starting with the fact that someone over the age of 13 used the word “hater.” The SEC has reigned over college football recently. They’ve won the last five BCS National Championships, and the conference is guaranteed a six consecutive title next month as LSU and Alabama will battle for all the Tostitos (or is it Nokia cellphones this year?) next month in New Orleans.

No one will argue the fact that LSU and Alabama have elite defenses. Each squad is loaded with future NFL draft picks, and feature stars like Morris Claiborne, the Honey Badger, Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron. Georgia also rode a strong defense to the SEC East title, and almost every SEC roster features at least a couple future NFL defensive players (well, maybe not 2-10 Ole Miss…).

That said, to claim that Griffin would have gotten eaten alive by SEC defenses is idiotic, uniformed and delusional.  Geno Smith, Kellen Moore and the Georgia Southern rushing game all faced off with SEC defenses this season and lived to tell their tales.  West Virginia’s Smith put up 486 yards passing on the Bayou Bengals in September. Georgia Southern, of the FCS, rushed for over 300 yards against the Crimson Tide in November. Boise State’s Moore tallied 286 yards and 3 TDs through the air against Georgia in the season opener.

Those are just some of the performances against the SEC’s best defenses, a look at the rest of the SEC reveals a lot of mediocre teams that hardly put any fear in opposing quarterbacks. Defending National Champion Auburn gave up 236 total yards and 2 TDs to Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton in his very first college game. Two weeks later, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd embarrassed the Tigers with a 386 yard, 4 TD performance through the air.

Let’s also not forget that Cam Newton, a QB with similar tools to Griffin, ate up SEC defenses last year on his way to the Heisman. Griffin may not be as talented as Newton, last year’s first overall pick, but Griffin possesses Olympic sprinter speed and a rocket arm and is projected to be a first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

The SEC has been home to some great football players and teams over the last decade, but let’s not carried away. The SEC is not home to the 12 best teams in college football every season. Ole Miss was putrid this season, losing to BYU and Louisiana Tech. Kentucky lost to Louisville, Florida struggled to beat FCS Furman, and Auburn needed a great comeback to top Utah State.

All in all, it’s time for Paul Finebaum to get a clue.

 

 

 

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