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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old January 17th, 2009, 16:30 Thread Starter
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NCAA 2009 The ONGOING Season

USC Sanchez tp enter the NFL Draft, Carroll NOT happy with move .

January 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Mark Sanchez made his own call, and it wasn't a big hit with coach Pete Carroll.

Coming off a record-setting Rose Bowl, the Southern California quarterback will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft -- going against the advice of Carroll.

Sanchez, a fourth-year junior, announced his plans at a campus news conference Thursday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft. The past three stars who played quarterback at USC under Carroll stayed for their senior seasons, and the former NFL coach thought Sanchez should do the same.

"We've talked at great depth and great length. We've covered this from A to Z ... going until late last night," Carroll said. "We don't see this decision the same. [But] I'm thrilled for Mark. For any of our kids to live the dream and do what they want to do with their football career, this is a great place to do this."

Carroll tried to convince Sanchez that another year of college experience would help him in the pro game, but Sanchez said he had carefully weighed all the considerations before deciding to leave.

"It has been my dream since I was just a little kid to play in the NFL and thanks to this great academic institution and football program, I have the opportunity to realize that dream," said Sanchez, dapperly dressed in a business suit and champagne-colored tie.

"It was with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to this university. But I can't tell you how excited I am for this dream to come true," he said.

In the Los Angeles Daily News, Carroll said, "He just wants to. He just wants to go do it. It didn't matter what the facts were, he just wanted to go do it. It was in his heart to go take this challenge on and that just overrode everything that was out there."

Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, along with John David Booty, all returned for their final year of eligibility with the Trojans. Palmer was the first overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft and Leinart was selected 10th in 2005.

Carroll said he considers Sanchez as talented as any of those three, but the coach won't get to see how a fifth year might have benefited the quarterback.

"The facts are so strong against this decision," Carroll said. "After analyzing all the information, the truth is there, he should have stayed for another year. He lost out on a chance to fully prepare himself. The facts are there's a 62 percent failure rate for underclassmen quarterbacks."

Before Sanchez could take questions from media, his former coach patted him on the shoulder and walked out of the room. According to the Daily News, Sanchez was surprised Carroll left because the coach insisted the two appear together at the news conference, sources said.

"I can't promise I'm going in any round or any pick or to a certain team," Sanchez said, according to the newspaper. "All I can promise is that I will work as hard as I ever have. I'll set myself up just fine."

Because 2008 Heisman winner Sam Bradford of Oklahoma, 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow of Florida and Texas star Colt McCoy all plan to return to school next season, Sanchez and Georgia's Matthew Stafford -- another junior coming out early -- will likely be the top quarterback prospects in the draft.

Mitch Mustain, who transferred from Arkansas after going 8-0 in games he started as a Razorbacks freshman in 2006, is expected to compete with Aaron Corp, Garrett Green and incoming freshman Matt Barkley for the Trojans' starting job.

Carroll, a former head coach with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, thinks another year of college experience would have greatly benefited Sanchez, who started at USC for only one full season.

"Mark is going against the grain on this decision and he knows that. He knows that coming out early is a tremendous challenge for a quarterback and the statistics don't back up that it's easy to be successful in the way that he's going about it," Carroll said.

"We've seen successes and we've seen guys come up short on this deal. We hope this works out beautifully for Mark and his family," he said.


"He's a competitive guy, a guy that's willing to take on this challenge in a way that he's going to make it happen," the coach said. "Mark clearly has the potential to be as good as any of those guys we've had. We saw it early on.

"All it is is an experience issue," Carroll said.

Sanchez ended his college career with his finest game. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder went 28-for-35 against Penn State, setting a Rose Bowl record by completing 80 percent of his passes. He threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for a score in the Trojans' 38-24 victory.

Sanchez led the Trojans to a 12-1 record and No. 3 national ranking last season after going 2-1 the previous year while Booty was hurt.

A high school star in nearby Mission Viejo who redshirted at USC in 2005, Sanchez finished last season with 3,207 yards passing, 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He threw for 695 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions in 2007.

Sanchez said he came to USC to get an education, to compete at the highest college level and earn a chance to play in the NFL.

"I'm proud to say that this spring, I'll have the opportunity to do both," said Sanchez, on track to receive his degree in communications.

His father, Nick, said he had mixed emotions about his son's decision to enter the draft.

"As a parent, I'd like for him to stay in school for another 10 years," he said. "But it's great to see a young man trying to live his dream."

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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old January 17th, 2009, 16:31 Thread Starter
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January 15, 2009

Hatch will transfer back to Harvard

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Quarterback Andrew Hatch is leaving LSU to return to Harvard.

Hatch decided the Ivy League is for him after all, and said Thursday he'll transfer back to Harvard, where he began his college career with the Crimson's junior varsity squad. He's hoping to be Harvard's quarterback for the Crimson's annual rivalry game with Yale.

Hatch transferred to LSU in 2007 and opened the 2008 season as the Tigers' starter, but injuries shortened his season and the odds of him ever regaining his starting job became slimmer with the emergence of freshman Jordan Jefferson, who started LSU's last two games.

"I have had an outstanding experience at LSU, and feel grateful to have been a part of such a proud tradition," Hatch said. "I appreciate the coaches, teammates, and other support staff I have had the good fortune to work with, and I wish them and the program continued success. I would also like to thank the fans for all the support, and I look forward to attending games in Tiger Stadium in the future."

Hatch, who grew up near Las Vegas, was recruited by LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton when Crowton was with Brigham Young. Hatch chose Harvard, but left school after his freshman year for a Mormon mission. He injured his knee playing soccer in Chile and returned home to recuperate. That's when Crowton, having since moved on to LSU, encouraged Hatch to come down to the bayou.

Hatch was the third-string quarterback for the Tigers' 2007 national championship team. After senior Matt Flynn turned pro and Ryan Perrilloux was dismissed before his junior season, Hatch won the starting job last August and began the year in a platoon system with redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee.

Hatch, an adept scrambler, was sidelined by a concussion against Auburn. He returned a couple weeks later, only to see his season end with what LSU officials described as a lower leg injury during a loss to Georgia on Oct. 25.

For the 2008 season, Hatch appeared in six games and was 26-of-47 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 129 yards and two scores.

"Don't underestimate what Andrew Hatch did for our football team in 2008," coach Les Miles said. "He filled a void for us at quarterback in 2008 and his play on the field allowed us to start the season off on a positive note."

LSU won its first four games, with Hatch playing in the first three, but wound up 8-5.

"Even though an injury kept him out of action for the last half of the season, he still played a tremendous role in the success of our team," Miles said. "Andrew has a bright future and we wish him continued success both on the field and in the classroom."

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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old January 21st, 2009, 10:17 Thread Starter
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Notre Dame shoots down Gruden rumors..

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (TICKER) —After three days of silence, Notre Dame finally addressed the rumor that fired Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden could be replacing Fighting Irish football coach Charlie Weis.

Brian Hardin, Notre Dame’s director of football media relations, shot down the rumor by telling Blue & Gold Illustrated that he needed to respond.

“It’s ridiculous that this rumor has even gained the traction it has over the past few days,” Hardin said. “I hesitate to respond because by dignifying this ‘report.” I set myself up to be forced to set the record straight on future rumors.”

After seven seasons in Tampa Bay, Gruden was fired on Friday following a late-season collapse in which the Buccaneers lost their final four games to miss the playoffs.

It did not take long for the Notre Dame rumors to surface as the New York Daily News, citing a source close to the Buccaneers, reported that Notre Dame would consider buying out Weis after he completes his recruiting class and hire Gruden.

“It’s obvious that some people out there are trying to sabotage our recruiting efforts and it’s unfortunate that their agenda has been published and reproduced in recent days,” Hardin said.

Weis has come under fire after posting a 10-15 record the last two seasons - the worst two-year mark in Notre Dame’s storied history. However, he received a vote of confidence from athletic director Jack Swarbrick on November 12.

That was before the Fighting Irish suffered a stunning 24-23 home setback to Syracuse on November 22, which marked the first time Notre Dame had ever lost to a team with eight losses.

The Fighting Irish (7-6) finished the season with a winning record after defeating Hawaii, 49-21, in the Hawaii Bowl to snap their NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak.

Weis, just 29-21 in his first four seasons at Notre Dame, has seven years remaining on a 10-year contract he signed in 2005.



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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old January 25th, 2009, 19:26 Thread Starter
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The South Rules !!!! aka El Sur la Lleva !!!!!

White leads South to 35-18 Senior Bowl win

A local hero from Daphne, just outside Mobile, White led two scoring drives and passed for 95 yards as the South defeated the North 35-18 in the Senior Bowl, a showcase for many of college football’s top prospects.

“I’m just happy I had the opportunity. This was a great coaching staff that taught me a lot in a week,” White said. “I’m looking forward to keeping working, trying to get better.”

The most prolific running quarterback in major college football history, White stood out among a group of high profile signal callers and was the most valuable player of the game that featured many top NFL prospects.

If there were doubts about the strength of White’s arm, he tried to erase them in the third quarter when he stretched the South’s lead with an impressive 39-yard scoring toss to Mississippi’s Mike Wallace in the corner of the end zone.

“I just wanted to give him a chance to catch the ball,” White said. “He told me any time he had a go route, throw it out there and he was going to go get it. That’s what he did.”

Alabama’s John Parker Wilson also played well, completing 7-of-13 passes for 56 yards and scoring on a four-yard scamper in the first quarter.

Wilson was named offensive player of the game, while Robert Ayers of Tennessee was named the game’s outstanding defensive player.

The South was coached by Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and his staff. Del Rio said he was impressed by his squad.

“We had a good week of practice, the guys really worked hard and had fun. We got after it pretty good, especially early in the week, came out tonight and kind of let it all out and had a good time competing,” Del Rio said.

Even though it was just a all-star game, Del Rio said the win felt good.

“I like winning—winning at anything. To cap off a really good week of work and evaluations with a win, it’s good,” Del Rio said.

The South led 21-10 at halftime and stretched it to 28-10 with White’s scoring pass midway through the third quarter.

The North narrowed the lead to 28-18 early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Eric Kettani of Navy and a 2-point conversion run by Oregon’s Jeremiah Johnson. But any hopes of getting closer were dashed with 8:47 to play when All-American defensive tackle Peria Jerry of Mississippi fell on a fumble in the North end zone for the final South score.

The South dominated in the first half as three different quarterbacks directed impressive scoring drives.

North defensive back Louis Delmas said the South seemed like the faster team.

“I think they just came out more prepared than us. They came out faster … and I think we reacted kind of slow,” Delmas said.

Wilson started the scoring with a 4-yard run from out of the shotgun formation with 7:28 to play in the first quarter. Wilson’s score ended a 16-play, 80-yard drive in which he completed four passes for 37 yards.


The first quarter ended with the South ahead 7-3 after the North got on the board with a 38-yard field goal by Utah’s Louie Sakoda.

White showed what he could do early in the second quarter, leading an eight-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Quinn Johnson of LSU. The drive included a 33-yard pass from White to North Carolina State running back Andre Brown.

Then it was Clemson’s Cullen Harper’s turn behind center and he took the South 59 yards in eight plays, with Brown scoring on a 1-yard run with 3:35 to play in the half. The drive was sparked by a 32-yard pass from Harper to Arizona’s Mike Thomas.

The North narrowed the South’s lead to 21-10 with 1:02 to play in the half as Central Arkansas quarterback Nathan Brown completed a 4-yard pass to Johnson.

Neither team was able to launch much of a running attack. The leading rusher was the South’s Rashad Jennings of Liberty College in Virginia, who carried nine times for 41 yards.

The North’s Juaquin Iglesias of Oklahoma was the leading receiver with six catches for 90 yards.




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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old February 3rd, 2009, 12:15 Thread Starter
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FAU’s Joseph shines as Nation beats Texas, 27-24

EL PASO, Texas (AP)

—Florida Atlantic’s Frantz Joseph returned an interception 26 yards and a fumble 32 yards to set up scores and the national team won the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game 27-24 on Saturday.

Texas trailed 20-17 after a 27-yard field goal from UTEP’s Jose Martinez on the first play of the fourth quarter. But Joseph returned an interception to the Texas 31 on the next Texas possession. Purdue’s Chris Painter then threw a 9-yard scoring pass to San Jose State’s Yonus Davis for a 27-17 lead.

With 37,054 watching at the Sun Bowl, the Nation scored two touchdowns and a field goal off three Texas turnovers in the third annual game, which pits collegiate players with Texas ties against the rest of the U.S. and Canada.

Tulsa’s David Johnson threw two touchdown passes for the Texas team.

Texas closed to 27-24 with 1:08 left on a 22-yard pass from Johnson to Northwestern (La.) State’s Dudley Guice, but the Nation recovered the onside kick.

Joseph’s fumble return helped give the Nation a 6-0 lead when UAB’s Swayze Waters made the second of his two field goals on the first play of the second quarter.

Florida Atlantic’s Howard Schnellenberger coached the winning team, and his player, Joseph, was the defensive MVP.

Hartwick College’s Jason Boltus connected with Stanford’s Anthony Kimble on an 8-yard touchdown pass that put the Nation ahead for good at 13-7 in the second quarter.

Buffalo’s Drew Willy threw a 5-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to East Carolina’s Davon Drew in the third quarter for the Nation’s other score.

For Texas, New Mexico State’s Chase Holbrook threw a touchdown pass to UNLV’s Frank Summers in the second quarter and Johnson threw a 28-yard touchdown to Abilene Christian’s Johnny Knox in the third quarter.

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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old February 5th, 2009, 10:56 Thread Starter
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  1. Alabama-LSU rivalry heats up on signing day

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/footbal...v=ap&type=lgns

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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old February 19th, 2009, 10:26 Thread Starter
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South Florida finds final opponent for 2009


South Florida's search for a fifth non-conference opponent ended Tuesday when it announced a one-game agreement with Charleston Southern to complete the 2009 schedule. However, this could hurt USF's chance at gaining a fifth consecutive bowl appearance. Charleston Southern &mdash which will come to Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 19 &mdash is the second Football Championship Subdivision opponent on the Bulls' schedule, which means one of the two games will not count toward bowl eligibility. The other, Wofford, will travel to Tampa for a game Sept. 5. "Our staff was very thorough and diligent in its efforts to find another FBS opponent on Sept. 19," said USF Director of Athletics Doug Woolard. "We contacted dozens of schools directly, conference commissioners from around the country and other college football officials in our effort to schedule an FBS opponent."Unfortunately, due to the position we were put in at this extremely late date, we were not able to achieve that objective."Florida International canceled its Sept. 19 game with a $200,000 buyout, which put the Bulls in a scramble to find a quality opponent. With USF facing Miami and Florida State &mdash and a tough Big East schedule &mdash it will be trickier to become bowl eligible next season. Woolard said he was happy to find a team to schedule at this time. "We feel fortunate that a quality opponent was available at this late date, and that Charleston Southern was willing to adjust its schedule," he said. "We are happy that our fans will be able to see six home games at Raymond James Stadium this season &mdash which was our primary consideration in filling the unexpected void in our 2009 schedule."USF is 4-0 all-time over the Buccaneers. Their last was a 55-7 win Oct. 18, 2003. USF travels to Florida State on Sept. 26, hosts Miami on Nov. 28 and will play West Virginia, Cincinnati and Louisville at home in the Big East next season.

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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old February 19th, 2009, 10:28 Thread Starter
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Florida: Brandon James Had Foot Surgery

Update: Florida announced on Tuesday that James had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot, the Associated Press reports.

Recommendation: James, the SEC’s special teams player of the year, is expected to make a full recovery by the start of training camp in August.

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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old February 21st, 2009, 13:10 Thread Starter
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Michigan lowers price of football tickets


By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
Feb 19, 2009

Michigan season-ticket holders are getting a price break for the 2009 football season.

Athletic director Bill Martin told The Associated Press on Thursday a season-ticket holder will pay $50 on average for a ticket after paying $53.57 last year.

“In this challenging time economically, this is our way of thanking our fans who have supported us for decades,” Martin said. “Unlike most schools, we had an opportunity to lower prices for football tickets.”

Ohio State and Michigan State both announced earlier this month they were slightly increasing ticket prices for 2009.

Tickets for Michigan’s eight-game schedule will cost $400, the same price as 2007 when Michigan hosted eight games. Student tickets will cost $200, a decrease of $1.43 per game compared to 2008.

The school plans to mail renewal applications to season-ticket holders in April with a May 8 deadline.

Tickets for individual games will cost $65 for marquee games against Ohio State and Notre Dame and as low as $50 for other matchups at the Big House.

Michigan opens the season Sept. 5 against Western Michigan. The Wolverines lost a school-record nine games in Rich Rodriguez’s debut with college football’s winningest team.

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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old March 6th, 2009, 10:58 Thread Starter
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Alabama admits to NCAA violations over textbooks

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)—The University of Alabama has told the NCAA that athletes improperly got free textbooks for other students and that the school failed to adequately monitor distribution.

The university said Thursday that the hearing before the Committee on Infractions was held on Feb. 20. The university reported the violations after uncovering them during the 2007 football season, when five players were suspended.

The university admitted in its 67-page response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations that infractions occurred in several sports and that it didn’t adequately monitor its distribution of textbooks to athletes.

The NCAA letter, dated May 19, 2008, said the allegations against Alabama were potentially major. They included allowing athletes to improperly receive textbooks and other supplies, failure to monitor textbook distribution and to provide adequate education on the rules to athletes and employees at the university bookstore.

The violations allegedly occurred from the 2005-06 school year through the fall of 2007, which means the university could be punished as a repeat violator. The football program was placed on probation on Feb. 1, 2002.

“Compliance with NCAA and SEC rules is of the utmost importance to the University of Alabama and our athletics department, and I am pleased with the way our compliance officers handled this situation,” Alabama President Dr. Robert Whitt said in a statement. “UA works diligently to ensure that integrity and a commitment to excellence are the hallmarks of our athletics program.”

Alabama suspended five football players for four games for using their athletic scholarships to get free textbooks for others. The names of the football players and other athletes and sports involved were blacked out in documents made public Thursday because of federal privacy laws. The university said some athletes intentionally broke rules.

“These intentional wrongdoers knew that they were taking advantage of the university and its Supply Store,” the university said in its response to the NCAA. “However, these student-athletes believed that because the textbooks were either returned to the Supply Store or charged to them if not returned, no NCAA rules were implicated by their conduct.”

The university said none of the textbooks or materials were used for profit or to get items not related to academics, and that the athletes involved who still have eligibility remaining have had to pay restitution.

Alabama said it has since required NCAA compliance officials to be present during all periods for student-athletes to pick up textbooks.

The violations were uncovered after an Alabama Supply Store employee noticed that one athlete had more than $1,600 in charges for the fall semester of 2007.

The hearing was first reported by The Tuscaloosa News Thursday.

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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old March 12th, 2009, 10:48 Thread Starter
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FSU to respond to sanctions Tuesday
New deals keep BCS bowl lineup intact
Ex-TCU RB Hobbs gets 10 years in prison
Missouri settles wrongful-death lawsuit
Vols open first practice under Kiffin
Missouri promotes Steckel to run defense
Ernie Davis statue back at Syracuse

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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old April 14th, 2009, 10:48 Thread Starter
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04/11/2009
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Signs One-Year Agreement With Conference USA
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Courtesy of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

HONOLULU – ESPN Regional Television, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today that the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl and Conference USA have signed a contract for Conference USA to participate in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl in 2009.

This year’s game will feature a team from the Western Athletic Conference against a team from C-USA. Kickoff is slated for Thursday, Dec. 24, at 3 p.m. (8 p.m. ET). The University of Hawai‘i will represent the WAC if the Warriors are bowl eligible.

“The Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, since its inception, has enjoyed a great partnership with Conference USA,” said Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl Executive Director David Matlin. “Four of the five games between the WAC and C-USA were decided by six points or less, and two of those matchups were overtime thrillers.”

The Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl was slated for the Pac-10’s seventh selection this year, but because the Pac-10 had only five bowl eligible teams in 2008, all parties mutually agreed to void the Pac-10 Conference selection for 2009. This opening created an opportunity for Conference USA to send their conference championship game runner-up or a preferred selection team, as mutually agreed upon by C-USA and ERT, to participate in Hawai‘i.

“We have had a great relationship and some exciting bowl games with Conference USA teams. The possibility of not having an eligible Pac-10 team was very real,” said University of Hawai‘i Athletics Director Jim Donovan. “I think in the long run it is better for us to be matched up against a high-placed C-USA team than an at-large team.”

“We look forward to the excitement that Conference USA will bring to the already successful Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl,” said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President & General Manager, ERT. “Conference USA was one of the original partners of this game, and we’re pleased to have them return in 2009.”

Conference USA’s most recent appearance in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl was in 2007, when East Carolina pulled out a 41-38 win over the WAC’s Boise State.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl and to have the fantastic opportunity for one of our football programs,” said Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky. “The Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, as well as all the bowls managed by ESPN Regional Television, are among the best experiences for student-athletes, coaches and fans. We look forward to continuing this relationship.”

In 2008, six teams from C-USA played in bowl games: Tulsa (11-3), GMAC Bowl; Rice (10-3), Texas Bowl; East Carolina (9-5), Liberty Bowl; Houston (8-5), Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl; Southern Miss (7-6), New Orleans Bowl; and Memphis (6-7), St. Petersburg Bowl. Other C-USA teams include: Marshall, SMU, Tulane, UAB, UCF, UTEP.

The Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, is played at Aloha Stadium (50,000). The inaugural game was played in 2002, when Tulane defeated Hawai‘i, 36-28. Hawai’i won the next two bowl games, a 54-48 triple overtime victory in 2003, and a 59-40 win over UAB in 2004. WAC member Nevada defeated Central Florida, 49-48, in overtime in 2005

The sponsor of Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl is Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Hawai‘i.

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No surprise, media favors Florida

By SECSports.com

Jul 24, 2009

Preseason All-SEC Team Announced


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
07/24/2009 |



Florida and Alabama have most selections; Gators predicted to prevail over Tide in SEC Championship Game

HOOVER, Ala.—Defending SEC and national champion Florida Gators had a league-high 12 representatives on the 2009 All-Southeastern Conference Media Days Football Team, while defending Western Division Champion Alabama had eight total selections in a vote of media attending the 2009 SEC Football Media Days, held July 22-24 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.

The 64 voters also selected the Gators to play the Crimson Tide in the SEC Football Championship Game on Dec. 5 in Atlanta.

The Gators were on 63 of 64 ballots for the winner of the SEC Championship Game and were on all 64 ballots to win the Eastern Division. Ole Miss was the only other team to receive an SEC Championship vote. Filling out the Eastern Division, Georgia was predicted to finish second, South Carolina third, Tennessee fourth, Vanderbilt fifth and Kentucky sixth.

Florida is the first team to be a unanimous selection to a division since the league started divisional play in 1992.

Alabama had 33 first place votes in the Western Division, while Ole Miss had 16 and LSU had 15. Filling out the votes in the Western Division, LSU was second, Ole Miss third, Arkansas fourth, Auburn fifth and Mississippi State sixth.

Ten of the 12 SEC Schools had a member on the first-team All-SEC squad. Each SEC school had at least one student-athlete on either the first or second team.

Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss each had five student-athletes on either the first or second team followed by Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee with three each.

Florida had the most first-team selections with eight followed by Alabama with six. Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss had two each.

There were no unanimous selections on the All-SEC team. The leading vote-getters were Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry (62), Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (61) and Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes (61).

The 2009 SEC Media Days Pre-Season All-SEC Football Team and predicted order of finish is listed below.




2009 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS PRE-SEASON ALL-SEC FOOTBALL TEAM
(#-Ties) (Total Votes in parenthesis)

Pos. Name, School Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC—OFFENSE
TE D.J. Williams, Arkansas (38) 6-2 251 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.
OL Ciron Black, LSU (60) 6-5 325 Sr. Tyler, Texas
OL Mike Johnson, Alabama (55) 6-6 305 Sr. Pensacola, Fla.
OL John Jerry, Ole Miss (49) 6-5 350 Sr. Batesville, Miss.
OL Mike Pouncey, Florida (35) 6-5 312 Jr. Lakeland, Fla.
C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida (39) 6-5 312 Jr. Lakeland, Fla.
WR Julio Jones, Alabama (58) 6-4 210 So. Foley, Ala.
WR A.J. Green, Georgia (53) 6-4 207 So. Summerville, S.C.
QB Tim Tebow, Florida (61) 6-3 240 Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
RB Charles Scott, LSU (59) 5-11 233 Sr. Saline, La.
RB Michael Smith, Arkansas (48) 5-7 176 Sr. Tallahassee, Fla.

SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC—OFFENSE
TE Aaron Hernandez, Florida (18) 6-3 255 Jr. Bristol, Conn.
OL Clint Boling, Georgia (12) 6-5 297 Jr. Alpharetta, Ga.
OL Trinton Sturdivant, Georgia (8) 6-5 306 So. Wadesboro, N.C.
OL Lee Ziemba, Auburn (6) 6-8 285 Jr. Rogers, Ark.
OL Zipp Duncan, Kentucky (4) 6-5 291 Sr. Magnolia, Ky.
C Josh McNeil, Tennessee (12) 6-4 280 Sr. Collins, Miss.
WR Brandon LaFell, LSU (9) 6-3 209 Sr. Houston, Texas
WR Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss (6) 5-8 165 Sr. Largo, Fla.
QB Jevan Snead, Ole Miss (2) 6-3 215 Jr. Stephenville, Texas
RB Mark Ingram, Alabama (6) 5-10 215 So. Flint, Mich.
RB Anthony Dixon, Miss. State (5) 6-1 235 Sr. Jackson, Miss.

FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC—DEFENSE
DL Terrence Cody, Alabama (55) 6-5 365 Sr. Fort Myers, Fla.
DL Greg Hardy, Ole Miss (53) 6-4 265 Sr. Millington, Tenn.
DL Carlos Dunlap, Florida (46) 6-6 290 Jr. North Charleston, S.C.
DL Antonio Coleman, Auburn (32) 6-3 250 Sr. Mobile, Ala.
LB Brandon Spikes, Florida (61) 6-3 245 Sr. Shelby, N.C.
LB Rolando McClain, Alabama (50) 6-4 249 Jr. Decatur, Ala.
LB Eric Norwood, South Carolina (38) 6-1 252 Sr. Acworth, Ga.
DB Eric Berry, Tennessee (62) 5-11 203 Jr. Fairburn, Ga.
DB Trevard Lindley, Kentucky (50) 6-0 179 Sr. Hiram, Ga.
DB Joe Haden, Florida (45) 5-11 185 Jr. Ft. Washington, Md.
DB Javier Arenas, Alabama (23) 5-9 198 Sr. Tampa, Fla.

SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC—DEFENSE
DL Geno Atkins, Georgia (21) 6-1 290 Sr. Pembroke Pines, Fla.
DL Malcolm Sheppard, Arkansas (12) 6-2 280 Sr. Bainbridge, Ga.
DL Jermaine Cunningham, Florida (10) 6-3 257 Sr. Stone Mountain, Ga.
DL Charles Alexander, LSU (7) 6-3 310 Sr. Breaux Bridge, La.
LB Rennie Curran, Georgia (25) 5-11 222 Jr. Snellville, Ga.
LB Rico McCoy, Tennessee (4) 6-1 220 Sr. Washington, D.C.
#LB Micah Johnson, Kentucky (3) 6-2 258 Sr. Ft. Campbell, Ky.
#LB Jamar Chaney, Miss. State (3) 6-1 245 Sr. Fort Pierce, Fla.
DB Ahmad Black, Florida (20) 5-9 190 Jr. Lakeland, Fla.
DB Chad Jones, LSU (12) 6-3 214 Jr. New Orleans, La.
DB Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt (12) 6-2 205 Sr. Pompano Beach, Fla.
DB Major Wright, Florida (7) 6-0 200 Jr. Miramar, Fla.

FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC—SPECIALISTS
PK Leigh Tiffin, Alabama (31) 6-1 199 Sr. Muscle Shoals, Ala.
P Chas Henry, Florida (43) 6-4 215 Jr. Dallas, Ga.
RS Brandon James, Florida (35) 5-7 186 Sr. St. Augustine, Fla.

SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC—SPECIALISTS
PK Joshua Shene, Ole Miss (26) 5-8 170 Sr. Oklahoma City, Okla.
P Clinton Durst, Auburn (10) 6-1 192 Sr. Destin, Fla.
RS Javier Arenas, Alabama (21) 5-9 198 Sr. Tampa, Fla.





POSITIONS BY SCHOOL

School 1st Team 2nd Team Total
Alabama 6 2 8
Arkansas 2 1 3
Auburn 1 2 3
Florida 8 4 12
Georgia 1 4 5
Kentucky 1 2 3
LSU 2 3 5
Ole Miss 2 3 5
Mississippi State 0 2 2
South Carolina 1 0 1
Tennessee 1 2 3
Vanderbilt 0 1 1




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SEC PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
64 total votes

SEC Champions - Florida (63), Ole Miss (1).

No. School Votes
Eastern Division
1. Florida (64) 64
2. Georgia 133
3. South Carolina 217
4. Tennessee 258
5. Vanderbilt 317
6. Kentucky 355
Western Division
1. Alabama (33) 109
2. LSU (15) 145
3. Ole Miss (16) 149
4. Arkansas 245
5. Auburn 309
6. Mississippi State 387

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Improved ACC hopes to produce title contender

By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer


GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP)—Greg Boone beamed Sunday when he showed off the bulky, glittering ring he earned last season for helping Virginia Tech win the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Then the tight end wondered how heavy a national championship ring might be.

For the first time in a while, it’s not a stretch to think he and the Hokies could find out.

No, there’s not quite as much laughing at the ACC these days. Not after the super-sized league set an NCAA record last year by sending 10 teams to bowls, and not after its champion finally broke through to win a Bowl Championship Series game for the first time in nearly a decade.

“That (Orange Bowl win) took a lot of pressure off the conference,” Boone said.

The league built on its basketball powerhouses is looking to take another step toward finally becoming the football heavyweight many expected a few years back when it expanded to 12 teams.

“People (used to) say our league is a weak conference, but there’s no way you can feel that way when you have the Virginia Techs, the Miamis, Florida State,” Clemson running back C.J. Spiller said. “I really think our conference is the best in the country.”

It’s been a while since someone from the ACC could make that claim with a straight face.

The league took blow after blow in recent years after the football-fueled additions of the Hokies, Hurricanes and Boston College failed to produce much national prestige. Eight consecutive losses in the BCS games that followed the 2000-07 seasons mirrored downturns by its traditional powers and led to a wait-‘til-basketball-season buzz.

That all changed last season, when every team but Virginia and Duke wound up making the postseason. In the league’s marquee bowl matchup, Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl for the ACC’s first victory in a BCS game since Florida State topped the Hokies in the national title game that followed the 1999 season.

That was the last time an ACC team won a national championship. The Seminoles reached the title game the following year before losing to Oklahoma, but the league hasn’t played for a title since.

“If you really step back and take a look at the conferences, a year ago, top to bottom, we may well have been the deepest conference in the country,” commissioner John Swofford said. “What we didn’t have is a team or two involved in the national championship race down the stretch, and I think that has a lot to do with how a conference is perceived competitively—maybe more than it should.

“Have a team or teams involved in the national championship race, as we move through the season, and win certain games outside of the conference,” he added. “And when those things happen, I think then our league will receive the kind of respect that I think it deserves.”

The ACC won’t have to wait long for its first such test. The Hokies—who return 16 starters from their fifth straight 10-win team—will find out quickly if they’re championship caliber when they open against Alabama in Atlanta.

Last year’s preseason favorite, Clemson, faced a similar neutral-site challenge but were routed by the Crimson Tide 34-10 and ultimately slipped into disarray that led to Tommy Bowden’s midseason ouster.

“I’d just tell those (Hokies to) go out there and do the best they can and, hopefully, get the ACC a win,” Spiller said.

Of course, there’s more to the ACC this year than just the Hokies.

Every school but Boston College returns a quarterback who has made at least one career start. And in Spiller and Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer— the league’s reigning offensive player of the year who flourished in coach Paul Johnson’s run-based option offense—the ACC has a pair of the nation’s most explosive rushers.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons throughout the ACC, and we’ve got a lot of national contenders for different awards and everything, so I definitely think throughout, the talent in the ACC is getting better and better every year,” North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates said.

And in a glaring sign of progress, even the league’s worst team during the past several years—Duke—is thinking big as the Blue Devils enter coach David Cutcliffe’s second season after a better-by-Duke-standards 4-8 finish in 2008.

“In the back of our hearts, we believe that this is a stepping stone,” fourth-year starting quarterback Thaddeus Lewis said. “We don’t want to be mediocre. We don’t want to settle for mediocrity. So in order to have a successful season, we have to do better than we did last year.”

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Florida is No. 1 AP preseason Top 25

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer

Aug 22, 2009

NEW YORK (AP)—As Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators prepare to make a run at their third national title in the last four seasons, the defending champions have already made some history.

Florida is No. 1 in The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 released Saturday, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Southern California and Alabama. But the Gators are in a class by themselves, the most overwhelming preseason No. 1 in the history of the media poll.

Florida received 58 of the 60 first-place votes, or 96.7 percent. Texas got the other first-place votes.

The previous highest percentage of first-place votes for the AP preseason poll, which started in 1950, was 95.4 percent for USC in 2007. Those Trojans got 62 of 65 first-place votes—and didn’t play for the national title.

Ten preseason No. 1s have won the national championship. If the Gators can become the 11th, they will have put together one of the great runs in college football history. Only one program since 1950 can claim three national championships in four years; Nebraska won it all it 1994 and 1995, then earned a split title in 1997.

With expectations soaring in Gainesville, Fla., coach Urban Meyer has been on a mission to keep his team’s eyes on the small prizes—to heck with history.

“There’s a lot of guys getting patted on the back and being told how good they are,” Meyer said in a recent telephone interview. “Their only focus is on survival to the next day and working hard in practice.

“I don’t want them to even think about that kind of stuff. Our goal is to get to Atlanta” for the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The rest of the top 10 includes two Big Ten powerhouses (No. 6 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn State) and the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion (No. 7 Virginia Tech).

No. 8 Mississippi is in the preseason top 10 for the first time since 1970, when the Rebels were ranked fifth.

Oklahoma State is tied with Penn State for No. 9, the Cowboys’ highest preseason ranking since No. 16 in 1985, when Thurman Thomas was in the backfield.

Florida is preseason No. 1 for the third time (1994 and 2001), and the Gators are the 20th defending national champ to start the season on top.

From the moment Florida wrapped up its 24-14 victory over Oklahoma in the BCS championship game in January, talk of a repeat started.

And when Tebow a few days later announced at a rally on campus celebrating the national title that he would come back for his senior year, there was no doubt the Gators would be the runaway preseason No. 1.

Florida’s rugged, multidimensional quarterback won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and finished third behind Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy last year.

As good as Tebow is—he has a chance to end his career as the most decorated player in college footbal history with three national title rings and two Heismans—Meyer sees areas for improvement.

“I’d say in the passing game he can certainly improve some things,” Meyer said. “Leadership-wise he used to get angry when he felt other guys weren’t working as hard as he was. Now he gets those players to play at that level.”

While Tebow leads an offense with plenty of speedy gamebreakers, All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes—another guy who passed on a chance to enter the NFL draft to return for his senior season—leads a defense that has potential to be the best in the country.

All 22 players on the defensive depth chart for the BCS title game are back. Among the standouts are defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden.

All that experience will allow defensive coordinator Charlie Strong to good deep into his playbook.

“Our defense has been installed at a much greater pace than ever before,” Meyer said. “That allows you to put in a lot more different packages, three down (linemen) and four down.”

The Gators are one of five SEC teams ranked in the Top 25, matching the Big 12 for the most from any conference. Joining Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss are LSU at No. 11 and Georgia at No. 13.

No. 23 Nebraska and No. 25 Kansas are the other Big 12 teams, along with Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Utah, which finished No. 2 last season and was the only undefeated team in major college football, is ranked 19th to start this season. But the Utes aren’t even the highest ranked team from the Mountain West Conference.

That distinction belongs to No. 17 TCU, while No. 20 BYU gives the MWC three ranked teams to start the season, as many as the Big Ten and Pac-10 and three more than the Big East, which was shut out.

No. 14 Boise State is the highest ranked team from a conference that does not automatically qualify for the Bowl Championship Series. The Broncos, the champions of the Western Athletic Conference, play the season’s first big game, facing No. 16 Oregon on Sept. 3.

Notre Dame is back in the rankings for the first time since the final poll of the 2006 season. The Fighting Irish, coming off a 7-6 season, are No. 23.

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Miami’s early schedule may define season

By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)—Central Florida opened its season with four consecutive opponents ranked among the AP Top 25 in 1999. Notre Dame did the same in 2000.

Miami, take note: No one has done it since.

“There might be a reason,” Miami coach Randy Shannon said.

Maybe so, but Shannon isn’t lamenting how the Hurricanes’ 2009 schedule worked out.

Unless there’s some substantial shifting in polls over the next month, the Hurricanes will become only the third team in at least the last 15 seasons to open with four ranked opponents. When Notre Dame did it nine years ago, Fighting Irish officials said they could only find one other instance of such a schedule abnormality—and that was Central Florida doing it the previous season.

“We’re taking this as an opportunity. We’re taking this the right way,” left tackle Jason Fox said. “If we can come out of those first four games with a positive start, that can mean big things for our season. We’ve been working hard all summer to get there.”

The run starts next Monday at No. 18 Florida State, and it could get progressively tougher each week. No. 15 Georgia Tech visits Miami Sept. 17, the Hurricanes play at No. 7 Virginia Tech Sept. 26, then host No. 3 Oklahoma on Oct. 3.

The rankings will change along the way, but there’s little argument about which team has the toughest opening stretch in the nation.

“We’ve just been talking about the opportunity that we’re going to see,” cornerback Chavez Grant said. “All the first four teams are ranked and ranked pretty high. So for us, it’s an opportunity to show people that we’re ready to play. It’s a big opportunity.”

The last two teams to try something like this didn’t exactly fare so well.

Central Florida went 0-4. Notre Dame went 2-2, and the Hurricanes know plenty of prognosticators won’t be surprised if they emerge from their opening stretch with an ailing record.

“Let them throw the 0-4 and 2-2 things around at us,” defensive back Randy Phillips said. “Just come back and holler at me after the fourth game. We’ll see how that goes.”

It’s really the first three games that might be most significant to Miami.

Central Florida played as an independent in 1999, Notre Dame still is independent, so neither had to worry about conference standings. Miami’s first three games are against Atlantic Coast Conference rivals, meaning the ‘Canes could take control of the league race—or be out of the picture—before September ends.

“I like it,” quarterback Jacory Harris said. “I can’t wait, actually.”

Miami’s own recent history suggests this might be a problematic stretch.

Starting with the 40-3 loss in the 2005 Peach Bowl to LSU, the Hurricanes have lost 11 of their last 13 games against ranked teams, beating only No. 18 Boston College 17-14 to end the 2006 regular season, then topping No. 20 Texas A&M 34-17 on Sept. 20, 2007.

The 11 losses? Ugly.

Only four of those defeats were by seven or fewer points, and the last five losses—starting against Oklahoma in 2007—have come by 38, 48, 30, 14 and 23 points, respectively. Despite all that, though, the Hurricanes sound undeterred.

“We’re still confident. It’s coming from hunger,” wide receiver LaRon Byrd said. “If we do the things we’ve got to do right, all 11 players on offense, all 11 players on defense execute to their full potential, I don’t see how we can lose. We’ll know soon, is winning the ACC possible, is the BCS possible. We’ve got to clear those first games out of the way first.”

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Postgame punch mars Ducks' loss in Boise
No. 19 Utah extends win streak to 15
UCLA to play at Rose Bowl despite fire
South Carolina tops N.C. State 7-3
Oklahoma TE Gresham to miss opener
USC LB Brown reinstated for opener
Florida's James vows to score on kickoff
Temple blows lead, loses to Villanova
John Glenn to dot the 'i' for Ohio State
North Carolina WR Jones out vs. Citadel

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