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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Football's back, baby!


Fairmont (WV) State Fighting Falcons vs Clarion Golden Eagles  [6:00 PM Eastern on Root Sports Pittsburgh]


From Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com:

50 things to ponder about college football


THE KANSAS STATE quarterback had his first completion in July. LSU is pledging to have a more vertical attack in an offense that was mostly horizontal in the BCS title game. And somebody get coach Brian Kelly a road map. He's taking Notre Dame some place it hasn't been in nearly 50 years.

As the annual 50 things to know about college football report rolls through, it's OK to stop and wonder which conference West Virginia is in.

1 Oklahoma State's quarterback in the Fiesta Bowl was 28-year-old senior Brandon Weeden. He has been succeeded by 18-year-old true freshman Wes Lunt, who had a 590-yard game for Rochester (Ill.) High School last year.
 
2 Top-ranked Southern Cal, led by Heisman hopeful quarterback Matt Barkley, hosts fifth-ranked Oregon on Nov. 3 in the Pac-12's most attractive game. The Trojans open the season with a visit from Hawaii on Saturday.

3 Hawaii's new head coach is Norm Chow, who was the Trojans' offensive coordinator during the Matt Leinart/Reggie Bush glory years.

4 The first interesting game of the year is Michigan-Alabama at the Jerry Jones dome on Saturday. It's the first meeting between the two since Tom Brady and the Wolves beat the Tide in the 2000 Orange Bowl.

5 Auto racer Brad Keselowski is a huge Wolverines fan, so he probably will make some enemies among the crowd at the Oct. 7 NASCAR race should Michigan pull the upset. "I don't know how I will be received in Talladega," he told Michigan's athletic website. "If we win that game, I am going to wear my 'M' hat. That should be interesting." A real fan would wear the hat regardless of the outcome. Alabama is a two-touchdown favorite.

6 Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein married former K-State basketball player Shalin Spani in July. Shalin is the daughter of Gary Spani, a former Wildcats linebacker who is in both the College Football and Kansas City Chiefs halls of fame.

7 "Nothing against [starting center] B.J. Finney," wrote Austin Meek, of the Topeka Capital-Journal, "but Collin Klein's new roommate is significantly better looking."

8 Any school that actively tried to poach Penn State kids must forevermore call its players athlete-students instead of student-athletes.
 
9 Illinois, one of those teams, set up shop in State College seeking transfers and one, lineman Ryan Nowicki, took them up on it. "If you're from our conference and you're going to try and steal our players and then wish us well, then I got a serious problem with that," said PSU linebacker Michael Mauti. The Lions play at Illinois on Sept. 29.

10 Look for Silas Redd, Penn State's most coveted transfer, to start off splitting carries at USC with Curtis McNeal. The Trojans are coming off a 2-year bowl ban and are the Associated Press preseason No. 1.
 
11 Kickoffs have been moved up 5 yards to the 35-yard line and touchbacks will be placed at the 25 instead of the 20. Mark it down: Because of their violent nature, kickoffs someday will be eliminated.

12 Kansas coach Charlie Weis is at his fourth job in the 8 years since he left the Patriots after the 2004 season. He hasn't found a home and the Pats haven't won a Super Bowl without him.

13 Quarterback Dayne Crist followed Weis from Notre Dame to Kansas, which allowed the Los Angeles Times' Chris Dufresne to observe, "Crist's Notre Dame experience wasn't 'Rudy.' It was 'Chucky.' "

14 Clemson has talent at the skill positions, including quarterback Tajh Boyd, but will there be any hangover from the 70-33 thrashing by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl? Clemson hits the ground running with a game against Auburn, but will be without splendid wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is suspended two games for an offseason arrest for marijuana.

15 Good luck to the "Honey Badger" with whatever demons he's fighting.

16 Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu started playing football in ninth grade because "I got tired of just watching it." Attaochu is on the Lombardi watchlist.

17 The BCS championship streak for the Southeastern Conference is at six. The league has six teams in the AP Top 25, including No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU.

18 The Big 12 also has six teams ranked by the AP, including No. 4 Oklahoma and newest additions TCU (20) and West Virginia (11), which is located east of everybody else in the league.

19 Arkansas hosts LSU and Alabama and is a national-title darkhorse with the return of all-league quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis, who missed 2011 with a broken ankle.
 
20 The Razorbacks have a new coach this season after Bobby Petrino wrecked his motorcycle and his career in the same accident in the spring. John L. Smith, best known for building high-flying offenses at Louisville, is now in charge.

21 LSU, which couldn't move the ball with a Sherman tank against Alabama in the BCS Championship game, feels it has a bona-fide slinger in quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

22 Metterberger started his career at Georgia, but was kicked off the team following a 2010 arrest. He pleaded guilty to sexual battery for allegedly touching the breasts and buttocks of a woman, but kept himself clean during two concurrent 1-year probation periods. LSU does not play Georgia during the regular season.
 
23 Duke junior guard Dave Harding led a humanitarian mission to Africa with 11 teammates. "We saw a lot of poverty, things that even seeing a picture of doesn't include: the smells and things," he told Fox Sports. "So, struggling through that, talking about that, really helped us all become stronger."

24 Vanderbilt, fresh off a 6-7 season that ended with a loss in the Liberty Bowl, has renovated its stadium to include a giant video scoreboard and a new artificial surface.

25 "If you think of pro sports, we're that small-market team, even though in the SEC we're in the biggest city [Nashville]. We're the small-market team. We're the only private school. We've got the smallest enrollment. We've got the smallest alumni base. It's more expensive to go here. It's harder to get in, so we're kind of that small-market team, that engine that keeps having to say, 'I can, I can, I can.' And we're doing it. But make no mistake. We want to be better." - Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams.

26 Nebraska is wearing all-red unis for its home night game against Wisconsin on Sept. 29. It's wearing black helmets for the first time, too. A bit contrived, but it should be quite a scene in Lincoln.

27 "There's no such thing as a [transition] year in college football, certainly not at Ohio State and certainly not with myself and our staff and our players," said new coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes, 6-7 last year, are coming off their first losing season since 1988.

28 On the one hand, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Penn State's harsh punishment was "to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of education, nurturing and protecting young people."
 
29 On the other, Fox and ESPN signed a 12-year deal with the Pac-12 worth about $3 billion.

30 Then again, if college football wasn't so popular, the Daily News wouldn't be devoting an entire week to previewing the season.

31 Montee Ball, the Wisconsin running back who sustained a concussion after being attacked by five males on Aug. 1, is fine for Saturday's game against Northern Iowa. Ball needs 18 touchdowns to break the career record of 78 held by Miami-Ohio running back Travis Prentice (1996-99). Marshall Faulk, Ron Dayne and Ricky Williams are among those he'd pass on the way to Prentice.
 
32 What started as the Blockbuster Bowl, and became the Carquest, Micron, Mazda and Champs Sports bowls is now known as the Russell Athletic Bowl. It's Dec. 28 and will match teams from the ACC and Big East.

33 Michigan State again should have the best defense in the Big Ten. Massive end William Gholston (6-7, 278), a cousin of Jets 2008 first-round pick Vernon Gholston, is among eight returning starters.

34 Sparty has a murderous four-game stretch starting Oct. 13 against Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

35 Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn took the head-coaching job at Arkansas State, so the Tigers will use more traditional offensive sets than Malzahn's no-huddle/heavy-shotgun formations. Former Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler is Auburn's new OC.

36 Toledo senior safety Mark Singer (Holy Cross H.S.) is back after missing all of 2011 with a torn labrum. The last action Singer saw was in a heartbreaking loss to Florida International in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl when he had a career-high eight tackles.

37 This time last year, the CyHawk Trophy, given annually to the winner of Iowa State-Iowa, was universally ridiculed because it was changed to a goofy bronze sculpture of a corn farmer and his family. It was changed again for 2012, this time depicting each team's mascot. Hilarious. This year's game is Sept. 8.

38 Former Penn State wide receiver Justin Brown landed at Oklahoma and will be counted on to contribute immediately. The Sooners have a Heisman candidate in quarterback Landry Jones, but an inexperienced offensive line.

39 Notre Dame, on Oct. 27, will play at Oklahoma for the first time since 1966, when the top-ranked Irish put a 38-0 hurting on the 10th-ranked Sooners.
 
40 Alabama's Barrett Jones won the Outland Trophy as a left tackle last season, but he has been moved to center. Jones has started 35 games heading into his senior season, including 25 at right guard his first two seasons. That's remarkable versatility.

41 Mike Leach, who guided Texas Tech to 10 straight bowl games, has taken over for Paul Wulff at Washington State. Wulff was 9-40 in four seasons. "We'll just do the best we can and try to win one game a week," Leach said simply.
 
42 Georgia has nine starters back on defense and also returns Andy Murray, who set the school record with 35 TD passes last season.

43 Missouri hosts Georgia in its first SEC game on Sept. 8. "It's going to be mammoth," Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said. "It's going to be very historic . . . It will be wild."

44 The addition of Missouri, along with LSU and Auburn, gives the SEC three schools with the nickname "Tigers." Throw in the Kentucky Wildcats and the league has more cats than the old lady who lives down the street.

45 Texas A&M hosts Florida, also on Sept. 8, in its SEC debut. The Aggies close the regular season at home against fellow Big 12 defector Missouri.

46 Hope the Florida coaches are able to move lineman Sharrif Floyd back inside. Floyd started 11 games at defensive end last year out of necessity, and held his own. But his more natural spot is at d-tackle where he was ranked No. 1 coming out of George Washington High School 3 years ago. Gators freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (St. Joseph's Prep) isn't likely to see much time yet.

47 Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson is arguably the most exciting upperclassman in the nation. Among underclassmen, there's nobody more electrifying than Oregon sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas.

48 Notre Dame opens the season in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday at 9 a.m. EST. "Notre Dame" Harvey's annual kickoff party at Keenan's in North Wildwood starts an hour earlier that morning. Proceeds from this year's event benefit the Billy Dunphy scholarship fund for St. Gabriel's grade school in South Philly. Stop in if you're at the shore - and awake.

49 Terrific Irish linebacker Manti Te'o is entering his senior season. "A successful year for me will be when I run out of that tunnel for the last time, and people are crying," he told the Chicago Tribune. "That'll show me I made an impact on lives here. When I see that happening - when I see people standing and crying - that's when I'll know I had a successful year."

50 The pick: There is no doubt that Tyrann Mathieu will be missed, but LSU has enough to compensate for losing their dynamic playmaker. Getting out of the SEC is never easy, but the Tigers have a reasonable schedule with South Carolina and Alabama at home. The trip to Arkansas at the end of the season (Nov. 23) will be an adventure, but Zach Mettenberger will take control of the offense and LSU will beat Southern Cal to win another BCS title for the SEC.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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