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Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:31 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 5:38 pm
 

Here is this week's mailbag. As always, you can send your questions via Twitter at BFeldmanCBS.

From @Mark Johnson  w SEC the best conf who do you think is the 2nd best after realignment?

There is a big drop-off between the SEC and the next-best conference. Having won six BCS titles in a row is quite an accomplishment and with four or five SEC teams expected to open the season in the top 12, it doesn't seem like anyone is close to make a move to overtake Mike Slive's league. 

  Going forward, I'd lean to the Big Ten in who I'd list as the next toughest conference. A big reason for that is Urban Meyer's arrival giving Ohio State and really the rest of the Big Ten such a jolt. On top of that you have Michigan now surging back on track, coming off a BCS Bowl win; Wisconsin coming off back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances; Michigan State coming off its best season in over a decade and Nebraska joining the league in 2011. The downside of it is the uncertainty of the direction Penn State is headed.

  The other conferences I had right there with the Big Ten are the Big 12 and the Pac-12. From an off-the-field component the Big 12 still seems fairly unstable given all of the uncertainty around it and its recent history. On the field, you've had Oklahoma State rise up with consecutive top 10 finishes. We'll see if Mike Gundy's program can sustain it. Same for Bill Snyder at K-State. Baylor had a fantastic season but figures to backslide some with RG3 gone. OU had a "disappointing" season yet still finished in the top 15 and now gets Mike Stoops back to run the defense. Texas appears to be on the way back up after two woeful seasons. 
 
The Big 12 also added two programs in WVU and TCU that are poised for big debut seasons because they both return a lot of young talent although the Horned Frogs, given this week's events and key player dismissals, definitely don't look as strong as they did a few days ago.

  Larry Scott's league is on much more solid footing than the Big 12 big picture, but it's still coming off a season where one of the teams that played in its title game, UCLA, finished with a 6-8 record. That doesn't speak well of the league when something like that happens. Chip Kelly just led Oregon to perhaps its best season ever, but the Ducks still have the Will Lyles recruiting mess hanging over the program. Stanford lost Andrew Luck and a couple of other top 15 draft picks and the Cardinal are likely to drop out of the top 20, although with the way David Shaw has recruited, it doesn't seem like this program will plummet off the national radar. USC is poised for a great 2012, but after Matt Barkley's senior year, the Trojans will have to deal with the meat of the NCAA's scholarship sanctions. After these three teams, the rest of the conference is in scuffling to get to be Top 25 caliber.

  From @Drew Conrad  what do you think about University of Utah promoting a 25-year-old to OC? 

  No question it's risky to flip the keys to a guy this young, but Brian Johnson has spent a lot of time around some very bright offensive minds, starting with Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen, going through Andy Ludwig and Norm Chow. That's a pretty interesting mix of coaches and styles. From the guys in the coaching world I've asked about Johnson, I've heard a lot of good things. Almost all of those guys keep talking about how focused and smart the former QB is.

His experience working with head coach Kyle Whittingham and knowing what he wants is also key for a new hire. Johnson's level of coaching experience isn't much less than what Kliff Kingsbury had when he took over play-calling duties at Houston, and that worked out great for the Cougars. The biggest difference there though is that Kingsbury's head coach Kevin Sumlin had been an OC before while Whittingham is a defensive guy.

  The short-term concerns here are that the team lost two very good offensive tackles and on top of that a terrific O-line coach, Tim Davis just left the program for Florida. And obviously, they need to get better at QB if they're going to be serious contenders in the Pac-12 South.

From @GoonerAggieFan Thoughts on the Staff that Kevin Sumlin has put together at A&M, including his most recent addition Terry Price?

  It is excellent. He brought one of the sharpest young offensive guys in coaching with him from UH in Kingsbury. That guy is going to be a star in this business very soon. He also brought one of his betters recruiters in the Southwest in Clarence McKinney, and landed USF D-coordinator Mark Snyder, who is one of the top defensive guys in the country. I'll have a lot more on the Aggies in a week or so. I'm heading to College Station in a few days.

  From @marty roberts  If FSU shores up OL, how far u think they can go this year? And where u think they start in rankings?

Given all of the youth and newcomers from the JC ranks they're adding into the mix, that is a pretty big if. I'd expect improvement, but can this group make such dramatic strides to go from being as shaky as they were last year to the caliber of being part of a BCS title contender? I have my doubts, especially when you consider after last season's hype, it's basically anything short of a top-five season will be seen as a major disappointment/underachieving yet again. 

  The line was a mess last year. FSU was 110th in sacks allowed and 104th in rushing. You can't be an elite team no matter how tough your defense is being so bad in both those stats. 

The other big key is E.J. Manuel also needs to take a significant step forward and become much more consistent. Part of his struggles, no doubt, were due to the inexperienced O-line and to his injuries, but you look at just how much he and the Noles struggled in their regular season finale at UF and it's clear this is still a team with a lot of work ahead.

As far as where the Noles will open the season, I'd expect them to begin around No. 11 or 12. On paper, there is a lot of reasons for enthusiasm: returning QB coming off a pretty good first season as a starter with a gifted young group of receivers, an outstanding defense returning and the influx of (another) touted signing class. The problem: it seems like we've heard much of these same reasons why FSU is finally poised to compete for a BCS title again before, almost annually in fact, and for a variety of reasons, it hasn't came true and things fizzled out. And, why I used the word "problem" is that I suspect that notion isn't something only the media now believes, it's something players on the team hear about so much that it's a challenge to not let that mindset seep into the locker room: 'O.K., what's going to creep up and muck things up for us this time?'

From @Omer Subhani how good/bad was recruiting job by All Golden considering circumstances? TheU

  The recruiting job Golden's staff at Miami did this year, considering the circumstances of the avalanche of publicity the Nevin Shapiro story got, and the fact that there is an on-going NCAA investigation still hanging over the program, was remarkable.

As I said on our Signing Day Central show, I think there were three big keys to this class: the first was having a local star hold firm on being very public about his desire to be a Cane as Duke Johnson, perhaps the most dynamic running back prospect in the country, did. The second was stocking up on depleted positions (WR, D-line and DBs) with scholarship restrictions looming. The third was finishing with a flourish to build up that momentum going forward, and by reeling in Tracy Howard, the nation's top CB recruit, Golden did that in a big way. Remember, Howard was a kid who just a few weeks earlier was said to be a long-shot for Miami. Highly touted DE Tyriq McCord was another big late pick-up who many top programs chased hard.

If Golden can land a class this deep and talented in the face of all of the Shapiro stuff/NCAA player suspensions, it'll be interesting to see what he can do at Miami once the NCAA's ruling finally is known.

From @djr98 wat do u think of arkansas for 2012? 

  I like the Hogs chances to be a top 10 team, but I don't like their chances to win the SEC West and compete for a BCS title. Reasons for a top 10 run: Tyler Wilson is back, along with Knile Davis and they do get LSU and Bama at home this year. Reasons why I don't think they can win the SEC: I'm not sold on the defense. It wasn't good enough in 2011 and they're losing most of the best players they had on that D to the NFL.

From @joe king Who's gonna be next years Sammy Watkins,An can Hugh Freeze recruit well enough after Mullin has dominated the State this yr.

  I'll go with Dorial Green-Beckham being the biggest impact freshman wideout. He has freakish athleticism at 6-6, 225 and will play in a wide-open offense at Mizzou with a promising young QB (James Franklin) where they run the ball well enough to stress defenses. That should enable DGB to have a lot of big-play opportunities.

  Freeze is an ultra-aggressive recruiter and a good salesman. He also knows the area around Ole Miss as well as any coach they could've hired. I suspect he'll probably end up offering more scholarships before the summer than any coach in the country. I have no doubts he will get some talented players to Oxford. He was able to nab a couple already.

The on-field product is going to be mediocre for a few years, though. Freeze inherited a complete mess from Houston Nutt. Recruiting there had really tailed off save for Nitt's final class there. The program was in disarray and that won't be mended overnight. Dan Mullen just put together a very strong class, especially on the D-line and at linebacker. There is a pretty sizeable gap for Freeze to try and close.
Comments

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:25 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Soesashed wrote: "So I guess the only thing the SEC does better than the Pac-12 is its defensive linemen and linebackers. By the way, your safetys and cornerbacks should not be making tackles on runnning plays." Do tell. This is maybe a criticism of their defensive philosophy? You do know, I hope, that there are NFL DC's who've made fine livings assigning either their corners or their safeties a significant role in run support. Or maybe football has passed you by?



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:27 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

They do play a confrence championship....but I guess that does not count. Until someone beats them in a title game, they are the number one conference. As for not playign pass defense...The most dangerous player in the country plays at LSU..I do not like LSU but he is the most dynamic and he plays corner. I will agree that the PAC 10 and Big 12 have more prolific offenses than the SEC but they cannot beat the SEC when it counts. I personally think SEC #1, PAC 12 #2, Big 12 #3 and the Big 10#4, If the ACC can get Miami and FSU back they can jump two #2 quicky, thaey have lost of the middled of rad teams but no great teams leading the way...minus VA Tech..who cant win the big game either.



Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:52 am
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

    

Alabama beat Penn State who wasnt that good, and Arkansas who only beat South Carolina who only beat Geogia who beat nobody. And we wonder why the SEC always has a team playing in the championship game. They play nobody so come bowl games they have a full healthy team while the Big ten plays bruiser football and has star players out with serious injuries.

No team in the SEC would have come out of Michigan States 4 game set undefeated BUT NO SEC TEAM in the top of the standings played 2 ranked games in a row. In fact the toughest schedule belongs to Tennessee.   

      
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   lol, really? Regardless of what you want to say, the Big 10 has been repeatedly spanked by the SEC for the past 2 seasons. Including a what? 49-6 demolition that saw a 3 loss Alabama team putting in their backups in the 3rd quarter. Just face it, the SEC is riding high right now ...it'll be someone elses turn down the road.  Not to mention 6 straight National Championship wins ...If the SEC was as mediocre as you say ... one of those other so called great conferences could have at least won 1 game.     
      
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Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:38 am
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

No conference has ever suited up and played a game against a different conference.  Until that happens, I'll continue to snore over debates like this.  



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:25 am
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Alabama beat Penn State who wasnt that good, and Arkansas who only beat South Carolina who only beat Geogia who beat nobody. And we wonder why the SEC always has a team playing in the championship game. They play nobody so come bowl games they have a full healthy team while the Big ten plays bruiser football and has star players out with serious injuries.

No team in the SEC would have come out of Michigan States 4 game set undefeated BUT NO SEC TEAM in the top of the standings played 2 ranked games in a row. In fact the toughest schedule belongs to Tennessee.
I spit my coffee out reading a MSU fan talking trash about Bama.  Please, in your best stretch of the BCS era you were absolutely throttled by 3 loss Bama.  Somehow, this would make your team better then BCSNC Bama?  I think you have had one too many Sparty Kool-Aids.  Kudos for beating UM a few years in a row, but until the Big consistantly wins big games on the National scene, trying to diminish other conferences resumes seems silly.  In your SEC beat nobody spill, you convienantly left out LSU who beat everybody OOC. 


The Big 12 has really fallen from what? It has been the 2nd best football conference for most of the last decade. Last year, even though it lost Colorado and Nebraska, it still had 6 teams in the BCS top 25 and had a 6-2 bowl record (8 out of 10 teams qualified for bowls, even though they play a 9 game conference schedule). And they replace Missouri with West Virginia (stomped the ACC title holder in a BCS bowl) and Texas A&M with TCU (6-6 versus 11-2 albeit in the Mountain West). I would say the Big 12 is better football wise in 2012 than in 2011. I agree, you can't replace Nebraska's resume (4th all time victories, 5 NCs, 3 Heismans, etc) but the Big 12 still remains firmly in 2nd to the SEC.
It is almost as if the writer is taking historical results and mixing it with current events.  No question the Big 10 has as good a collection of traditional powerhouses as any conference if not better.

B1G -  UM, OSU, PSU, Nebraska
Pac - USC
B12 - Texas, OU
SEC - Bama, Tenn
ACC -FSU? Miami? 30 years or so make a program all time dominant?
BE - Syracuse?
Notre Dame

(Forgive me if I left your beloved team off of the All-Time list)

In an all time context the B1G is the clear winner, but what does that have to do with 2012 Football?  OSU will win 10 games, but is banned from post season this year so they are out.  I think UM will stumble early verse Bama, but even if they don't that is a tough schedule to navigate they are likely out.  Wisc, MSU both lose great QB play, so hard to say where they will be this year.  I completely agree with the other posters that the B1G isn't in the discussion right now as top 3, the B12 or Pac would be my choice above the B1G.





Since: Feb 20, 2012
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:47 am
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

Right , Alabama beat Penn State which wasnt that good, but one short year ago thay also beat MSU unmercifully in the bowl game. Gosh I cant wait for a playoff system. If you think the SEC owns the BCS system now then you aint seen nothing.



Since: Oct 29, 2006
Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:44 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

beer is great wrote : "....The BIG 12 has really fallen...."

Fallen from what?   The Big-12 this past year was as good, or better, from top to bottom than any conference including the SEC.    A more truthful description would be that the B-12 has been failing....... failing to fend off other gluttonous money-hog conferences from stealing some of its less than honorable members.

and he with the beer-fogged-mind also wrote: "...The SEC is leaps and bounds above everyone else...."

At doing what? .........Oversigning?...... covertly paying players? ....... being over-hyped by the national media? The SEC is the #1 conference in a great many catagories, but they would prefer not to advertise they're leading in most of those catagories.

It is very evident that the author of this article, Bruce Feldman, has to be a closet Big-10 fanatic. For him to even remotely suggest the Big-Tin conference is the 2nd strongest conference is sheer folly. It is not even the third strongest, and probably not even the 4th strongest conference. The most consistantly strong team in the Big-Tin, Ohio State, would be in about the middle of the pack if it was in the SEC, Big-12, PAC, or the ACC. The Big-10 relies upon the sports-media over-hyping the relative strength of it's over-advertised teams even more than the SEC does.




Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:02 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

The PAC 10 is better than the Big Ten.  The BIG 12 has really fallen.  The SEC is leaps and bounds above everyone else


Not clear on the justification of some of these comments. The top 3 teams in the Pac-12 are typically better than the top 3 teams in the Big 10. But the Pac 12 has no depth. You can still trot out a Michigan State, Nebraska, or Penn State on the Big 10 side. Who do you have in the Pac 12? Washington? UCLA? Utah?. Overall the Big Ten is still a better football conference. That may not hold for the future with the recent coaching hires and recruiting success of the Pac-12.

The Big 12 has really fallen from what? It has been the 2nd best football conference for most of the last decade. Last year, even though it lost Colorado and Nebraska, it still had 6 teams in the BCS top 25 and had a 6-2 bowl record (8 out of 10 teams qualified for bowls, even though they play a 9 game conference schedule). And they replace Missouri with West Virginia (stomped the ACC title holder in a BCS bowl) and Texas A&M with TCU (6-6 versus 11-2 albeit in the Mountain West). I would say the Big 12 is better football wise in 2012 than in 2011. I agree, you can't replace Nebraska's resume (4th all time victories, 5 NCs, 3 Heismans, etc) but the Big 12 still remains firmly in 2nd to the SEC.



Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:50 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

The Big 10 is not even close to the Pac 12 when it comes to competition.  Let's look at what they have accomplished.  They went 4-6 in their Bowl Games last season, including a win against a team that lost 8 games.  The Big 10 has a 28-41 Bowl record over the past 10 years.  That is the worst record of any AQ Conference.  This is because the Big 10 plays so many soft non-con games, and then beats up on terrible Bgi 10 teams like Indiana (3-21 vs the Big 10 in 3 years), and Minnesota (4-12 in the past 2 years).  The Big 10 is probably ahead of the ACC, and definately ahead of what is left of the Big East, but that is about as far as it goes.  The SEC is still way ahead of them, as is the Pac 12 and Big 12.



Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:35 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: Big Ten ready to flex muscle?

I think the best thing the SEC does is pat itself on the back.  First, the SEC needs to play 9 conference games before it starts bragging about its dominance.  If they want to say they are dominant, they need to back it up with that extra league.  Until then, they will always be remembered as the conference that touted LSU as "The Greatest Defense in the History of College Football".  Turned out that all their all americans couldnt defend the pass.  Defending the pass is something that every school in the Pac-12 can do...There is such a big drop off between the Pac-12 pass defense and the SEC.  In addition, the Pac-12 has much better offenses than the SEC.  So I guess the only thing the SEC does better than the Pac-12 is its defensive linemen and linebackers. By the way, your safetys and cornerbacks should not be making tackles on runnning plays. 
Yes, I know  LSU played Oregon on the first game of the year last year.  That is an old trick and something Oregon should not fall for again.  As you know, Oregon has a complicated offense and the most dangerous player in the nation last year was De Anthony Thomas, who saw little action in his first college football game.
Next, you will be writing the New York City will be underwater by 2010.


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