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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

Catching Up With the Aggies (1-1, 0-0)

When we last touched based with New Mexico State, the Aggies were fresh off of a season-opening win over Sacramento State. Why was that win noteworthy? Looking back, it was only the program’s sixth season-opening victory since 1980: 1981, 1992, 1995, 1999, 2006 and 2007. That win looked even better come Saturday evening, after Sacramento State handed Colorado a 30-28 defeat. So a feel-good win felt even better a week later, even if that feeling was tempered by New Mexico State’s first loss on the year, a 51-24 decision at Ohio.

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    Setting Early Non-B.C.S. Conference Odds

    Technically, there are seven non-B.C.S. conference teams still in the B.C.S. mix: Boise State, B.Y.U., Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Ohio and Utah State. The number would be eight if Texas-San Antonio was eligible for postseason play, but alas – the Roadrunners, still undefeated after walloping Texas A&M-Commerce, must resign themselves to playing out the string. Unless you’re Boise State, a one-loss non-automatic qualifier is not reaching a B.C.S. bowl without some degree of divine intervention, or the sort of N.C.A.A. intervention that would leave 75 teams ineligible for the postseason.

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      Five New N.C.A.A. Rules Are Felt Early

      Each of the five new rules instituted over the summer by the N.C.A.A. were visible over the season’s opening weekend, though no one change more so than the alterations to the existing kickoff rule – kickoffs now take place from the 35-yard line, and instead of being spotted at the 20, touchbacks are now moved up to the 25. When it was first announced, the rule suggested one of two alternatives: teams could either kick it deep, going for the touchback, or kick it high and short, hoping that their coverage squads could get downfield in time to prevent a return from reaching the 25-yard line. So what route did most teams take through the first week of games?

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        Catching Up With the Aggies (1-0, 0-0)

        When we last discussed New Mexico State, I was advising the Aggies to take no prisoners, in so many words. “There’s only one thing this team can do: go out and win the whole damn thing. Beat New Mexico — again… Beat Louisiana Tech. Sail past Texas State, showing the Sun Belt what they’d be getting. Win the WAC. Earn a bowl berth. Have the best season in school history.” So far, so good. How good? The Aggies kicked off 2012 with a 49-19 win over Sacramento State, an F.C.S. program that opened last season, as mentioned earlier today, with a 29-28 upset of Oregon State. One down, 11 to go.

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          P.S.R. 1-124: Week 2 Re-Ranking

          With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, particularly with only one week in the books, so you may see one team ranked below a team it just beat — see Texas State and Houston, for example. Don’t be alarmed. Everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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            No. 26: Ohio

            Only one significant hurdle remains to be passed, and no, it’s not a national championship. There’s no amount of beer in Athens — though there’s a lot of beer, and a lot of beer drinking, in Athens — that could convince even the most optimistic Ohio fan that a national title lies in the making. But consider what Ohio has achieved over the last three seasons: not just three bowl bids but a bowl win, not just one MAC East title but two, not just one eight-win season but three, and last season, the program’s first 10-win season since 1968 – also the year of the program’s last MAC title. What’s missing, of course, is that elusive conference crown; the Bobcats have been many things under Frank Solich, but this program’s inability to seal the deal in December looms large over all of its recent success. It’s time to put an end to this, Ohio, and it’s time to do it in style.

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              Comparing Lembo to MAC’s Recent Past

              A brief history of the MAC. As it pertains to quick turnarounds, to be more specific. Pete Lembo went 6-6 in his first season at Ball State, matching the Cardinals’ combined win total over the previous two years — a period otherwise known as the Stan Parrish era. If this sort of development continues, it stands to reason that Ball State will at least make a strong challenge for the MAC West title in 2012. But rarely does this sort of progression occur in the MAC; instead, it often takes at least two full seasons before a once-moribund program can surpass the rest of the pack.

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                Zips Might Be Bad, But They’ll Be Fun

                Akron might end up being terrible. Akron might – there’s a small chance – shock the MAC and finish 4-4 in conference play, perhaps squeezing into a bowl bid with another two wins in September. The Zips should be bad, the Zips might be good, but one thing we know: the Zips are going to be fun. This team will be fun to watch operate, if only to see how Terry Bowden fares after a decade-plus away from major college football. That’s going to be fun. As will watching some parts of the old gang reunite, like Chuck Amato and Jeff Bowden, or watching a former F.C.S. backup battle for the starting role at quarterback.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.