Category Archives: College Football

Vols go with Cincy’s Jones as new Head Football Coach

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Host,Owner, and Founder of The Real Sports Talk

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Tennessee has struggled to replace Phillip Fulmer. First they went with Lane Kiffin. Kiffin talked a big game, and appeared to have Tennessee headed in the right direction, before bolting fo the USC job after just one season. Tennessee then went with Derek Dooley, who struggled to put together a winning formula in the SEC, and was fired after finishing off his third season with a record of 15-21.

The Vols hope that the third time is the charm in replacing Fulmer, as they are set to announce today that Butch Jones of Cincinnati will take over as their next head coach. Jones, will reportedly sign a 6-year contract, with the monetary value not yet disclosed.

Jones, who spent three years as Cincy’s head coach, went 23-14 after replacing Brian Kelly as Head coach in 2010.

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Notre Dame defeats USC 22-13-Headed to National Title! Manti Hesiman? Kiffin out in USC?

By Tim Kelly-Host,Owner, and Founder of The Real Sports Talk

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Collegiate Super-Conferences Are a Matter of When, Not If

By Akiem Bailum, host of TRST’s “10 Minutes on the Clock”

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

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The classic Yogi Berra line “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” has been repeated time and time again in the sporting lexicon.

This is where the specter of conference realignment in college sports enters the picture.

Yesterday, this became true when the University of Maryland announced that they would be jumping ship from the ACC over to the Big Ten. Rutgers also announced similar intentions to ditch the ACC in favor of the Big Ten.

It wasn’t an entirely bad day at the office for the Atlantic Coast Conference, though. The University of Connecticut announced themselves that they are planning on leaving the Big East in favor of the ACC. This same conference is said to be in conversation with Louisville, South Florida, and Cincinnati (two of which are basketball schools) about replacing Maryland.

And if that wasn’t enough, Boise State, BYU, and San Diego State are now reconsidering the Big East to remain in the Mountain West Conference.

Let’s face it, though. The only way Boise State, BYU, and San Diego State should be considered east is if the NCAA is considering adding a conference for any schools in the Pacific Ocean. We already have the Pac-12. What about the Poc-12?

There’s even talk of Georgia Tech and North Carolina leaving for the Big Ten.

Conference realignment is like the significant other whom you just had a bad breakup with and don’t see for a year. And then, you see that person out the corner of your eye for about 10 times in a month. Then it becomes obvious that the person with whom you broke up with is stalking you to try and get back in your good graces.

Or, it could be to even get back and start anew with a new relationship.

Conference realignment is back and it’s not going anywhere until all of the pieces are in place. It may not be the rumoured mega-shift that was supposed to happen last year when the Big 12 was supposed to be absorbed into 3 conferences (Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC), but these colleges are looking at one thing and one thing only.

Green. As in dead presidents with green faces.

This whole thing is all about money. Let’s take why Maryland is jumping ship to the Big Ten. There hasn’t been much money stashed away in the turtle’s shell as of late, so the Terps have been cutting back on sports recently. This is a money-chase for them as they go wherever the money is.

There’s a truckload of it in the Big Ten. Why? The answer is easy—The Big Ten Network.

This network, while much maligned for its seemingly shoddy coverage of the Penn State scandal from last year, has been a gold mine for the ten (plus 4 now) schools that occupy this conference. Unlike other conferences (notably the Big 12) that disproportionately share money between the schools, all of the Big Ten money is shared equally between the respective schools. The Big Ten Network was priority #1 in Nebraska’s decision to join the conference and it is clearly Maryland’s as well. The same scenario rings true in the case of Rutgers.

Also, with the Big Ten Network, this conference is now a media conglomerate in addition to being a conference based on competition of student athletes. Adding Maryland and Nebraska opens the Big Ten Network in two new markets—Baltimore/Washington and the New York City area.

The Big Ten (and by proxy, its network) now will get major coverage in two of the top 3 markets in the country as it already has Chicago locked. The Big Ten Conference & Big Ten Network are both headquartered in the Windy City.

It has even been suggested by some that the move is a preemptive strike by the Big Ten aimed at Notre Dame. The reasoning behind this theory starts with the fact that the Fighting Irish will be moving all sports (sans football) to the ACC and that the majority of the Fighting Irish’s football games will be in the ACC.

If the ACC is seen as unstable because of Maryland and Rutgers leaving the conference for the Big Ten, it could make Jack Swarbrick (Notre Dame athletic director) reconsider the ACC for the B1G.

The bottom line is that if this doesn’t convince college football (and college basketball) fans that conference realignment will lead to Super-Conferences, nothing will. It is an inevitability and not a probability. Conference realignment will not end until we are stuck with either 4 or 5 “super-conferences”, each of which with 16-20 teams. The casualties from all of this will likely be either the (not so) Big East or the Big 12.

I’ve always maintained that Texas’ Longhorn Network was only the equivalent of applying a band-aid on a gash on your forehead after being bashed in the head repeatedly with a lead pipe. Slowly, but surely, that wound is starting to open itself up again. Last year, the Big 12 was within an eyelash of closing up shop for good as the Pac-12 had its eyes on virtually every Big 12 South school not named Baylor.

The only reason the Pac-12 didn’t pull the trigger was because it wouldn’t expand without Texas. And they didn’t want the Longhorn Network interfering with their own Network(s) they launched just recently.

It’ll still happen. It may not be the so-called “seismic” shift we were supposed to see, but this is something that will happen in small drops before the ceiling collapses with water falling on everyone’s heads.

The shame of it all is that there’s a real threat to some longstanding rivalries that would result from all of this. But in a college athletics landscape that still tries to find ridiculous reasons for not paying the players, ESPN, Fox, CBS, and NBC television monies are now the preferred commodity in what was supposed to be amateur athletics.

Except the money in 2012 NCAA is anything but amateur.

Maryland, see you in the Big Ten somewhere.

UConn, see you in the ACC somewhere.

Big East (or Big 12), see you….under the grass somewhere?

#1 Kansas State & #2 Oregon upset! Is Notre Dame-Alabama National Title up next?

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Host,Owner, and Founder of The Real Sports Talk

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Jonathan Franklin powers UCLA to 36-30 upset over #16 Nebraska-TRST Game of the Week

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Editor, Host, and Founder of TRST and Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

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#2 Alabama roughts #8 Michigan 41-14-TRST College Football Game of the week

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Editor, Host, and Founder of TRST and Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

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National Title and Heisman Prediction-Will Matt Barkley take both?

Hosted by Tim Kelly-Editor, Host, and Founder of TRST and Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

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TRST Pre-Season College Football Top 25! 5-1!

By Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

Follow Nate on Twitter @NaterSarms

Click Here to read 25-21!

Click Here to read 20-16!

Click Here to read 15-11

Click Here to read 10-6

5. Oregon Ducks- The surprising departure of quarterback Darron Thomas (2493yards and 30 touchdowns) was a setback to Oregon’s chances of winning the Pac-12, but the Ducks remain the favorite to win the North Division. Sophomore Bryan Bennett (391 yards and 6 touchdowns) should be Thomas’ replacement, as he showed plentyof promise in limited action last season. Although running back LaMichael James(1646 yards and 17 touchdowns) will be missed, the one-two combination of Kenjon Barner (909 yards and 11 touchdowns) and De’Anthony Thomas (1200 total yards and 16 total touchdowns) will give the backfield plenty of talent in 2012. The defense finished fifth in the Pac-12 in points allowed, but could be even better next season returning 8 starters including All-Conference players: Defensive end Dion Jordan and Free Safety John Boyett. The Ducks have an experienced team,hungry for titles. Projected Record: 11-1

4. Louisiana State University Tigers- The Tigers were easily blown out in the national title game by Alabama, but all is not lost going into 2012. LSU has one of the top returning rosters next season, but it also features a handful of question marks. The offense will have one of the top backfields, Michael Ford (756 yards and 7 touchdowns)and Spencer Ware (707 yards and 8 touchdowns) and offensive lines, including twoAll-Conference offensive tackles Chris Faulk and Alex Hurst, in the nation, butthe Tigers will have to rely on Zach Mettenberger (92 yards and 1 touchdown) to improve the quarterback play. The defense will miss cornerback Morris Claiborne,tackle Michael Brockers, and Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, but this unit shouldstill rank among the nation’s best. The defense returns five startersincluding All-Conference Defensive end Barkevious Mingo and Free Safety Eric Reid, and All-American Defensive end Sam Montgomery. Projected Record: 10-2

 

3. Oklahoma Sooners-The Sooners were one of the favorites to win the national title in 2011,but slipped to a 10-3 record and a fourth-place finish in the Big 12. Althoughit was a disappointing season for Oklahoma, they should finish back in the top10 this year. The offense never recovered after an injury to receiver Ryan Broyles (1157 yards and 10 touchdowns), but the passing attack should be better withan offseason to sort everything out. Dominique Whaley’s (627 yards and 9 touchdowns) return from a broken ankle should help bolster the rushing offense and help totake the pressure off of quarterback Landry Jones (4302 yards and 28 TDs). The defense returns eight starters including All-Conference Cornerback Demontre Hurst. Also the addition of former Arizona coach Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator figures to only help this group get better in 2012. Projected Record: 12-0

2. Alabama Crimson Tide- After claiming the national title, Nick Saban and his coaching staffhave some work to do in order to get this team back to No. 1 by the end of nextseason. The Crimson Tide suffered some key losses on both sides of the ball, but Saban has recruited well and this team should be able to reload by midseason. AJ McCarron (2400 yards and 16 touchdowns) had a breakout performance in the national championship against LSU and will be expected to build upon that game in 2012. Losing Trent Richardson is a huge blow to the offense, but Eddie Lacy (631 yards and seven touchdowns), Kenny Bell (255 yards and 2 TDs), and Jalston Fowler (385 yards and4 TDs) are a capable group. The offensive line is verystrong with four returning starters including All-Conference Offensive GuardChance Warmack and All-American Offensive tackle Barrett Jones. Six startersare gone off the nation’s best defense, which returns five experienced starters including four seniors. The defense will be tested early with games againstArkansas and Michigan in September. Record: 12-0


1. University of Southern California Trojans- If any team is going to end the SEC’s run of dominance, the Trojans are going to be that team. Quarterback Matt Barkley(3528 yards and 39 touchdowns) decided to return for his senior year and will be throwing to one of the top receiving corps in the nation. Also the Trojans added ex-PSU running back Silas Redd (1241 yards and 7 touchdowns) after the sanction fallout at PSU. Replacing offensive tackle Matt Kalil will be one of the biggest question marks for Coach Kiffin.The defense showed improvement last year, but must replace four starters,including all-conference selection defensive end Nick Perry. The defense still has talent though with four All-Conference players: Defensive End Wes Horton,Strongside linebacker Dion Bailey, Cornerback Nickell Robey, and Free Safety T.J. McDonald. The Trojans won’t have the depth of LSU or Alabama, but there’s plenty of talent coming back to Los Angeles for a run at the national title next year, the Trojans return two All-American players and seven All-Conference players for 2012. Record: 12-0 and 2012 NCAA National Champions.

 

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TRST Pre-Season College Football Top 25! 10-6!

By Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

Follow Nate on Twitter @NaterSarms

Click Here to read 25-21!

Click Here to read 20-16!

Click Here to read 15-11

10. Arkansas Razorbacks- Arkansas’s offseason started with turmoil, after Head Coach Bobby Petrino was dismissed for a very public affair, the Razorbacks got back to football. As they got back to football, it became very apparent that the Razorbacks are closing in on the reign of Alabama and LSU, and that they will have a good chance to make some noise in the  SEC this year. All-Conference Quarterback Tyler Wilson (3422 yards and 22 TDs)turned down the NFL for another season with the Razorbacks, and the offense will get a boost with the return of running back Knile Davis (1322 yards and 13TDS in 2010) who returns from a leg injury that prevented his participation last season. The running back position will be a battle for Davis though because while he was out  Dennis Johnson was All-SEC last year gaining 670 yards and 3 TDs. The receiving corps must be revamped, but wide receiver Cobi Hamilton (542 yards and 4 TDs) and tight end Chris Gragg (518 yards and 2 TDs) provide a solid foundation to rebuild around. New defensive coordinator Paul Haynes will have his work cut out for him in 2012, as the Razorbacks will be replacing three of their top players; Defensive end Jake Bequette, linebacker Jerry Franklin and safety Tramain Thomas. That taken into consideration, seven starters are returning to the Razorbacks defense. All-Conference punter Dylan Breeding will also stay for his senior year. Projected Record: 10-2

9. South Carolina Gamecocks- After finishing 11-2 and sweeping the SEC East for the first time in school history, Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks look to repeat in 2012. Although Georgia is favorited over the Gamecocks in the SEC East, they will have to battle the Gamecocks in South Carolina. Quarterback Connor Shaw (1218 yards and 12TDs) played well at the end of the season, and the offense will get a boost with running back Marcus Lattimore (818 yards and 10 TDs) returning from a torn ACL. Replacing receiver Alshon Jeffery is the biggest question mark facing the offense in 2012. The Gamecocks will have some stability though with Wide Receiver Ace Sanders (338yards and 2 TDs) and TE Justice Cunningham (142 yards and 1 TD) returning. The Gamecocks finished third nationally in total defense in 2011, but suffered somekey departures, including end Melvin Ingram and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.They return 7 starters including All-Conference Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.The future also looks bright at the QB position with the recruitment of PA Gatorade Player of the year and State Champion Quarterback Brendan Nosovitch. Projected Record: 11-1

8. Michigan Wolverines- With Ohio State ineligible for the Big Ten title, the balance of power in the Big  Ten is clearly resting in the Legends Division. The Wolverines are the early favorites, thanks to the return of quarterback Denard Robinson (2056 yards and 18 TDs) and an improving defense. Coach Brady Hoke’s first year in Ann Arbor was a success, as Michigan won 11 games and played in a BCS game for the first time since the 2007 Rose Bowl. For the Wolverines to crack the top five, Robinson has to cut down on his interceptions (15) and improve his completion percentage (55%). The defense showed big progress under coordinator Greg Mattison, but will be replacing two key starters on the line. The Wolverines will have one of the nation’s best secondaries led by J.T. Floyd. Also middle linebacker Kenny Demens looks to surpass 100 career tackles this year. The Wolverines won’t have an easy schedule next year, as Alabama and Notre Dame await in their non-conference play, while they have conference road games against Ohio State and Nebraska. Projected Record: 10-2

 

7. Florida State Seminoles- This Seminoles did not have the big season most expected in 2011, but the pieces are in place to win the ACC Championship in 2012. And when youconsider the losses at Clemson and Virginia Tech, Florida State becomes an evenbigger favorite to win the ACC. The defense should be among the best in thenation with returning All-Conference players such as Defensive end Brandon Jenkins and Free Safety Lamarcus Joyner, while the young talent on offense should be improved with another offseason to work with quarterback EJ Manuel(2417 yards and 16 TDs) and running back Devonta Freeman (531 yards and 8 TDs).How well this young offensive line can develop will determine just how high Florida State can climb next season.Projected  Record: 9-3

 

6. Georgia Bulldogs-It’s not crazy to think Coach Mark Richt could go from almost losing his job  after a disappointing 2011 to contending for the national title in 2012. The Bulldogs have the pieces to contend for a top-five finish this year, starting with quarterback Aaron Murray(2861 yards and 33 TDs) and a defense that returns nearly everyone including All-Americans OLB Jarvis Jones and FS Bacarri Rambo. Improving the rushing attack, Isaiah Crowell (847 and 5 TDs), was one of the priorities during preseason practices. The offensive line will have to replace two key stalwartsin left tackle Cordy Glenn and center Ben Jones. The receiving corps looks solid with the return of starters Malcolm Mitchell (665 yards and 4 TDs)and Tavarres King (705 yards and 8 TDs). Projected Record 11-1

 

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TRST Pre-Season College Football Top 25! 15-11!

By Nate Sarmir-TRST College Football Analyst

Follow Nate on Twitter @NaterSarms

Click Here to read 25-21!

Click Here to read 20-16!

15. Texas Longhorns- The Longhorns aren’t quite the favorites for the Big 12 title, but they are definitely setting themselves up for a run at title in the near future. After a rough couple of years, really since Colt McCoy graduated, Texas appears poised to put themselves back in National landscape in 2012. The defense should impress, as seven starters return. This unit will be led Senior Defensive End Alex Okafor and Junior  Cornerback Carrington Byndom, who were two rare bright spots on the Longhorns in 2011. The offense has to make great strides in 2012 if the Longhorns are to compete for the Big 12 title. While Ash didn’t blow anyone away in the regular season last year with just four touchdowns to eight interceptions,  Ash appears to have earned the No. 1 quarterback spot after his great performance in the Holiday Bowl last year.  Numerous Longhorns offensive coaches, believe that Ash’s made huge strides on his poise in the pocket this offseason. A more poised Ash, should help the Longhorns improve an offense that wasn’t very impressive in 2011. At the running back position, Malcom Brown appears to have emerged as the feature back for the Longhorns heading into 2012.. Annually Texas has a great recruiting class. But to be successful in 2012, the Longhorns need some of their younger players to step-up and take control of the offense if they wish to win big in 2012. Record: 9-3

14. Clemson Tigers- The defending ACC champs are in position to compete for a second straight ACC title. Quarterback Tajh Boyd (3,328yards and 33 TDs) and receiver Sammy Watkins (82 catches, 1219 yards, and 12 TDs),will form one of the top pass-catch combinations in the nation. Running back Andre Ellington (1,062 yards and 10 TDs) looks to, (and should), top 1,000 yards for a second straight season in 2012. While there’s no shortage of weapons in the back field, the Tigers might have some trouble after losing three starters on the offensive line, to graduation.  The defense allowed nearly 400 yards a game in 2011. Defensively many seniors graduated, which leaves the Tigers with a very young defense. Despite great skill position talent, the Tigers won’t successfully be able to defend their ACC  Title because of a young defense and inexperienced offensive line.  Record: 7-5

13. Michigan State Spartans- After back-to-back 11-win seasons, the Spartans look to gain that elusive 12th win and a perfect season in 2012. The Spartans should be the biggest challenger to Michigan in the Big Ten, but they will have to replace star quarterback Kirk Cousins and the team’s top three wide receivers. Andrew Maxwell (171 yards and 1 TD) will replace Cousins and will have two young Wide Receivers ,Tony Lippett (Sophomore) and Bennie Fowler (Junior), as targets. With all the questions surrounding the consistency of the passing attack, look for the offense to lean more on running back Le’Veon Bell (900 yards and 11 TDs) and a strong offensive line that returns four starters. If the Spartans are able to finally get that 12th win, it will likely be because Le’Veon Bell was able to lead the offense, with over 1,000 rushing yards.  Losing defensive tackle Jerel Worthy was a tough blow, but defensive end William Gholston is back after registering 12 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2011. The linebacking corps could be among the best in the nation, with Denicos Allen, Max Bullough and Chris Norman all returning. Their schedule isn’t lacking any exciting games, as Michigan State hosts Boise State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Nebraska in East Lansing, while playing Michigan and Wisconsin on the road. Record 11-1

12. Wisconsin Badgers- There’s a lot of new faces stepping into key positions, not only on the field, but also on the coaching staff for the Badgers in 2012.  The biggest loss is quarterback Russell Wilson, who turned in a terrific senior year and led the Badgers to another Rose Bowl appearance after transferring from NC State. With Wilson departing,the offense will lean on running backs Montee Ball (1759 yards and 32 TDs) and James White (683 yards and 6 TDs). Ball is certainly a Heisman candidate after finishing in the top  five in voting in 2011. However, the offensive line will be replacing three starters. Wilson’s replacement, Joe Brennan, was impressive in preseason camp, but needs to prove himself in a game situation. The defense ranked 15th nationally in yards allowed and mostof the core will return in 2012. Senior Mike Taylor and Junior Chris Borland will form one of the most exciting linebacking duos in the nation as the Badgers look to win the Big Ten. Record 10-2

11. West Virginia Mountaineers- A conference change in 2012 didn’t change the fact that this team will be a factor on the national scene this year. Quarterback Geno Smith (3798 yards and 25 TDs) will lead one of the top passing attacks incollege football, especially with receivers Tavon Austin (1186 yards and 8 TDs), Stedman Bailey (1279 yards and 12 TDs) and Ivan McCartney (585 yards and 3 TDs) returning in 2012. While the passing game shouldn’t be an issue, the rushing attack and offensive line must show improvement. Losing defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel to Arizona was a tough blow for West Virginia’s defense.The bigger question on this defense is whether the Mountaineers can replace Julian Miller and Bruce Irvin, linebacker Najee Goode and cornerback Keith Tandy. Record: 10-2

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