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Posts Tagged ‘Vanderbilt’

P.S.R. 1-124: Week 5 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, even if we’re now four weeks into the year. As promised, everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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    Wisconsin, Nebraska Leave the Picture

    Well, when your marquee win comes against Vanderbilt, as highly as we all think of the Commodores, you haven’t had a good day. It was a terrible day for the Big Ten, actually – one of the conference’s worst non-conference weekends in recent memory, trumping last weekend, which was defined by only one bad loss, not multiple losses. It was one weak game after another, beginning at noon, gaining steam around midday and then culminating, at nearly midnight, by an unforgivably bad performance from a program once defined by the pride it took in getting stops on the defensive side of the ball. From this entire group, a clutch of sour showings tinged with feel-good victories, two losses stand out above the rest.

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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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        No. 66: Vanderbilt

        The last time there was this much hype surrounding the Commodores it was the Roaring Twenties, and Don McGugin was closing out the back end of his illustrious three-decade turn as the winningest coach in school history. Perhaps I exaggerate — though not by much, I swear. Those ear-to-ear smiles you see are grounded in optimism, and optimism of a sort never seen in the program’s modern era; not only is Vanderbilt fresh off a bowl berth, the fifth in school history, but last year’s trip came in James Franklin’s debut season. This is optimism squared: normal, everyday optimism – albeit optimism not often seen in Nashville – doubled by the idea that Vanderbilt’s best days lie ahead. Add in what many believe to be the finest recruiting class in program history and you have what some might call SEC-level optimism, a fairly unknown sight at one of the conference’s original members.

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          SEC Approves 6-1-1 Conference Schedule

          Following a brief, closed-door discussion at the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., SEC athletic directors approved a proposal for running the conference schedule along a 6-1-1 split: six games against divisional opponents, one game against a rotating opponent from the opposite division and one game against a permanent cross-divisional rival.

          The plan will take effect in this coming season, helping the league accommodate the arrival of Missouri and Texas A&M. For the league, unpalatable alternatives included a 5-2-1 split — which would have caused each team to miss one divisional opponent, creating the opportunity for a multiple-team tie — or moving to a nine-game conference schedule; the latter option would have maintained the SEC’s prior practice of having each team play two opponents from the opposite division.

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            Georgia Suspends Rambo and Ogletree

            As reported late this evening by DawgPost.com, Georgia will suspend free safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree for at least two games, and as many as four games, for a violation of team rules. That duo joins another pair of would-be starting defenders, cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Branden Smith, who have either already been suspended or face a future suspension for offseason arrests. Commings, who was arrested in January on charges of domestic violence, will miss the first two games of the season. Smith has yet to have his suspension formalized after he was arrested on misdemeanor drug possession charges earlier this month.

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              O’Brien’s Transfer Path Leads to Wisconsin

              The early leader for Danny O’Brien’s services was Vanderbilt, thanks to O’Brien’s connection to James Franklin, his former offensive coordinator at Maryland. That Randy Edsall and the Terrapins denied O’Brien an opportunity to transfer into Vanderbilt, and then accused the university of tampering with its former quarterback before O’Brien announced his decision to transfer, only lent further credence to the idea that Vanderbilt was the team to beat. More recently, thanks to two visits within two weeks, Penn State seemed to hold the lead for O’Brien’s signature. Eventually, however, O’Brien chose the school that made the most sense for all parties: Wisconsin.

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                A Second Visit to Penn State for O’Brien

                From Feb. 14, in a post detailing a few of the potential destinations for Danny O’Brien, the former Maryland quarterback who opted to transfer after the end of last season:

                Don’t forget about the relationship between Ralph Friedgen, who recruited O’Brien to College Park, and new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, who worked alongside Friedgen at Georgia Tech and under him at Maryland. One thing we know about the Nittany Lions heading into the fall: Matt McGloin is a nice player, but he’s not the sort of quarterback who can lift the offense above its recent mediocrity. Bill O’Brien will get more out of Penn State’s returning quarterbacks, whether the starter is McGloin or Rob Bolden — or another quarterback, though the Nittany Lions don’t go deep at the position. It’s clear that Penn State could use a proven college starter with a basis in an N.F.L.-style offense. O’Brien, meet O’Brien.

                So where do all involved parties stand today?

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                  The Countdown

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