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Week 2 News & Notes – Part 2

September 10th, 2013 No comments

By Phil Steele

Despite playing Navy early in the year and working on the option in the offseason, Indiana had a tough time against it. Navy went 88/8pl, 34/7pl, 64/12pl, 75/6pl scoring 3 td’s and a FG in their first 4 possessions of the game and led 24-14 at the half with a 321-238 yd edge. Indiana was SOD at its own 34 and intercepted at the N3 in the half. Navy missed a 32 yd FG on the final play of the half. The first 7 possessions of the 2H resulted in 6 td’s and a FG and Navy, on 4th&1, got a FD to the IU47 with 2:00 left and ran out the clock in their 41-35 win.

Nebraska’s D was much maligned after allowing over 600 yds to Wyoming the previous week but would get not one but two IR td’s in the 1Q vs Southern Miss. The Huskers led 35-6 at the half but Southern Miss actually had a 168-163 yd edge with 3:11 left in the half before NU went 75/12pl for a 3rd&10, 21 yd td pass to lead 35-6. This was supposed to have been an SM home game but they agreed to move the game to Lincoln for $2.1 mill and Nebraska did finish with a 479-284 yd edge.

Mississippi St rolled up 30-6 FD and 556-163 yd edges vs the overmatched Alcorn St despite not having starting QB Russell who was injured. Dak Prescott hit 12-19-174, and Damian Williams 8-13-105. It was 37-0 at half with MSU holding a 325-48 yd edge.

LSU’s Zach Mettenberger had 12 td passes all of last year but already has 6 in the first two games under new OC Cam Cameron. Mettenberger hit 16-19-282 and Jeremy Hill came off a suspension to rush for 50 yds on 6 carries. UAB actually came into this game 1-0 in Death Valley as they won their only other visit back in 2000. LSU finished with a 445-296 yd edge. UAB got a 24 yd FG on the final play of the half to only trail 35-17 with LSU having a 281-127 yd edge. LSU’s final td came on a UAB 59 yd FG which came up short and Odell Beckham fielded the kick in the EZ and returned it 100 yds for a td with 2:11 left. UAB was SOD at the LSU7 at the end in the 56/17 rout.

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Week 2 News & Notes

September 9th, 2013 1 comment

By Phil Steele

FAU was only outgained by East Carolina 312-282 but I thought FAU was more impressive the previous week vs Miami, Fl than they were here. In the 1H ECU did get an 85 yd KR setting up a 12 yd td drive then an 18 yd IR setting up another 12 yd td drive and led 21-6. FAU also had a 37 yd FG bounce off the upright and ECU had 190-114 yd edge at the half. ECU got another interception returned to the FAU5 and got a 22 yd FG for a 24-6 lead. FAU went on a 12 play drive but was SOD and ECU went 57/9pl to go up 31-6. FAU fumbled at its own 29 but recovered a fumble at its own 11. FAU missed a 40 yd FG with 7:34 left as ECU put backup QB Cody Keith in with 10:40 left. FAU’s last drive went 64/11pl and on 4th&gl from the 2 Hankerson hit Dukes with a td pass which made some Owl fans’ very happy as they “only” lost by 18.

Sacramento St had only lost to San Jose St the previous week by 24 but on Thursday night was blasted by Arizona St. Sac St had beaten Colorado in ‘12 and Oregon St in ‘11. This was a ball game for the first half of the 1Q. Sac St took the opening KO at its 25. They went 59/15pl and with just 7:25 left in the 1Q, they missed a 33 yd FG. ASU would go 80/11pl, 71/6pl, 29/7pl (after fumble), 52/5pl, and 59/3pl for td’s on their first 5 possessions to lead 35-0. After their second 3Q possession, which came after a 67 yd IR to the 2, they led 52-0. ASU had 27-6 FD and 523-167 yd edges.

On the Friday night game on CBS College Sports, UCF rolled to a 38-0 shutout of FIU with a 390-173 yd edge. FIU had an excited home crowd at the start and did only trail 7-0 after the 1Q. UCF got a 44/4pl drive for a td (after 16 yd PR) and 50/8pl drive for a 37 yd FG to lead 17-0 then got a 59 yd pass keying an 80/4pl drive for a td to go up 24-0. FIU went 58/11pl but missed a 34 yd FG. FIU fumbled a shogun snap at their own 17 setting up a UCF td and UCF went 70/7pl for a td to lead 38-0 with 3:04 left in the 3Q and played their backups the rest of the game. Blake Bortles hit 12-19-214 while Jake Medlock hit 16-25-128.

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2011 Starts Lost To Injury!

July 5th, 2012 No comments

Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury! My research has shown that teams that benefited from very few injuries, in this case 6 or less, usually have a weaker season the next year.

The bottom line is, teams that have suffered a lot of injuries the previous year will generally have a better year the next season. A lot of backups were forced to play during the injury-riddled year, gaining valuable experience and the team figures to not be so injury-prone the next year.

In a study over the last 8 years, my research shows that if a team had 32 or more starts lost to injury the prior season, they improved or had the same record the next year on 62 out of 76 occasions for an 81.6% success rate. How about teams that are really banged up? Well from 2001-2005 12 teams went through seasons of having 40 or more combined starts lost and ALL 12 had the same or better record the next season. It surprises me that 17 teams met that criteria in 2006-’07 but only 7 had a stronger record the next year and 9 had a weaker record.

In 2008, Utah was at the top of the chart with 51 starts lost to injury and they went from 9-4 to 13-0 and #2 in the country! 2010 was another solid year as 9 teams had 35 or more starts lost to injury in ‘09 and 8 of the 9 improved or had the same record (88%!). Here are the teams that suffered 32 or more starts lost to injury last year:

Most Amount of Starts Lost to Injury in 2011

Rk Team Starts Lost
1
Maryland 59
2
Boston College 55
2
Ohio State 55
4
Oregon St 54
5
Toledo 53
6
Colorado St 52
7
Army 51
8
Florida St 46
9
Memphis 44
10
Miami, Fl 42
10
Vanderbilt 42

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# of Sr, Jr, Soph, Frosh on a Roster

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

I have developed several pet peeves after covering college football for nearly three decades. Three of them concern coach speak. The first is when a new HC or a new OC or new DC is hired you always hear them say in the press conference that they are going to have a more attacking style on both sides of the ball. You never hear a HC say that the team is going to be more laid back, play more soft coverage, ease up on offense.

The 2nd coach speak comes on Signing Day. I don’t think I have ever heard a coach say that “this year we really missed the boat on several recruits and we have a disappointing class coming in.” I always hear “I really like my class” and “we addressed a lot of needs.”

My final coach speak is when I hear a coach say that we are young and inexperienced and have more underclassmen than upperclassmen. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, when you consider that most freshman end up red-shirting their freshman seasons, it is almost like having another class when you add them to the true incoming freshman class. This means you basically have five classes on a football roster (true frosh, rFr, Soph, Jr, Sr) and that means roughly 60% of your roster should be filled with underclassmen. Second, usually on signing day teams sign anywhere between 20-25 recruits on avg but after three years of injuries, transfers, early entries to the NFL draft, that class is usually down at least 5-10 players which means your senior class is smaller than your freshman class.

Today’s blog I decided to take the official rosters on all 124 teams and add up the total number of Seniors (incl 5th yr), Juniors, Sophomores and Freshman (including true and redshirts) to see if indeed there are far more underclassmen on a roster than upperclassmen.

Below is a chart of every team and naturally those numbers could be in flux due to transfers, suspensions, etc but I do think you get a reasonably accurate look at the number for each class and each team.

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Way Back When: My Proposed 4-Team Playoff in 2000.

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

With yesterday’s announcement of an official 4-team seeded playoff that will begin in 2014 and run for 12 years, I thought it would be a great day to take a step back in time and take a look at what I wrote way back in 2000 which I believe was the first significant proposal of a “Final 4” for college football. First, let me say that the champagne tasted good last night after the announcement and I am very pleased that the contract was signed for a long-term deal.

In the first two years of the BCS, I thought that the best team in the country for that year (Ohio St ’98 and Nebraska ’99) did not get a chance to play in the national title game. This prompted me to come up with a solution to include all deserving teams of a chance at taking home the title. My proposed system was to include four teams and seed them #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3. The semi-finals would include the current bowls with those games being played on January 1st and the national championship game would be played at a later date.

Naturally the main reason I chose just four teams and not eight or 16 was to preserve what I think without question is the best regular season in all of sport! You cannot give me a single plausible argument as to why teams with two or more losses should be given a chance to play for a national title. I think you will find in most years there are three teams that are fighting for those top two spots and as long as you include those teams, I don’t think it really matters as to who is the #4 or #5 team as long as the true deserving teams are in the field.

Below is the complete article that I wrote in 2000 and also make sure you are checking out my May 30 Blog which includes what I wrote in this year’s magazine 13 years later.

In the next couple of weeks, I will break down year-by-year of the BCS Era and show you which system (Current BCS, 4-team or 8-team model) would have worked best. Look for it in a future blog.

Determining the National Champ
Bowls or Playoffs?

This is a copy of the first article written way back in 2000!!!!
Read Phil Steele’s orginial thoughts! Download your copy now!

Conference Polls Are Open!

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

The Conference Polls Are Open!!!

The last couple of years I have I put up a poll for everyone to pick who would win each conference game during the year. I found these results fascinating prior to the year. When you vote in the poll, it tabulates the current % of votes for each team in each individual game. Here are the results of the fan poll from 2011.

Three years ago you guys scored a low of 121 points, which was 11 points lower than GamePlan. Some of the conferences and divisions you did the best in were the SEC East (0 pts!) SEC West (4 pts) and the Mountain West 8 points.  Two years ago you guys finished right behind Lindy’s and ATS Consultants for 4th place with 116 points.

The scores are figured by taking each publication’s forecasting accuracy by comparing the predicted finish with the actual finish of each team in the conference. Keep in mind the chart is similar to Golf scores in that the lower the score the more accurate.

If you have any questions on the scoring or need further explanation please refer to pages 306-307 of this year’s magazine or visit stassen.com or check out the May 16 Blog.

We put the polls up today for this year’s games on the homepage for four conferences and this is a great way for me to gauge how the public views each game. When you vote you have the entire conference schedule in front of you and the home team is capitalized. Get your votes in today and see how the fans think the big games like Oklahoma-Texas, Oregon at USC, LSU at Alabama and Michigan at Ohio St are going to shake out! To vote you do have register your e-mail address but this is just to make sure there is no stuffing of the ballot box. I will do a complete break down of the fan vote in a couple of weeks!

Who Will Be This Year’s Most Improved Team?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

Making my Most Improved List has generally been a blessing for teams, as they usually make big turnarounds. In 1999, the #1 most improved team in my Preseason Rankings was Hawaii and they had the NCAA’s largest turnaround on record, going from a winless season in 1998 (0-12) to 9-4 and a bowl victory one year later!!!

The year 2000 was a VERY successful season as well for my Most Improved Teams. Of the top 14 Most Improved Teams that year, TEN went from a losing season to being bowl eligible!!!! South Carolina was my #6 Most Improved Team (MIT) and they went from 0-11 in 1999 to beating Ohio St in a Jan 1 bowl to finish 8-4.

In 2001 and 2002, nine of the 20 teams on my Most Improved List list each year went from having a non-winning season to making a bowl. Colorado went from 3-8 to just missing out on the National Title game in ’01. In 2003, 8 of the top 20 teams went from a .500 or losing seasons to being bowl eligible. Memphis, my #8 Most Improved Team. The Tigers went from 3-9 to a super 9-4!!!!!

There was a total of TEN teams that did not have winning records in ’03 who improved to a winning record in ’04. NINE (90%) of them were on my list! My #1 Most Improved Team, Texas A&M, went from 4-8 to the Cotton Bowl.

In 2005, the top 16 MIT’s on my list in ’05 had a comb record of 66-111 (37%) in ’04 and improved to 102-84 (55%) in ’05. Penn State went from 4-7 to #3 AP and nearly played in the National Title game. Oregon went from 5-6 to #6 after the regular season, finishing at 10-2!!

2006 was another great year for this list. My #1 Most Improved Team was Arkansas which went from 4-7 to SEC West Champs and rose as high as #5 AP!!

2007 was another terrific year! The 22 teams on my list had a comb record of 92-177 (34.2%) in ’06 but were 145-134 (52%) in ’07.

In 2008 twelve of my top 13 Most Improved Teams went from non-winning seasons to bowl eligibility or 92%!!! Those 13 went from a combined 50-95 (34.5%) in ’07 to a 94-62 (60.3%) record in ’08!!!

2009 was another successful season with 22 teams making my list and of the 22, 12 went from a losing record to bowl eligibility. Ohio won the MAC East after going 4-8 in ’08 and SMU went from 1-11 to 8-5!!!

In 2010 my #1 Most improved team Tulsa went from 5-7 to 10-3 and #24 AP! The 19 teams that made the list had a combined record of 82-149 35.5% in ’09 and improved to a combined 132-109 54.8%!!

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Which Teams Will Go 11-1/12-0?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

If you are a follower of my magazine, I am sure you are familiar with the fact that I have NINE different sets of power ratings that I create each preseason to give me 9 different ways of analyzing a team. One is based on the individual talent level and performance of each position on each team and those are added up for the rating. Another is based on my Power Plays numbers, which include rushing and passing offenses, defenses and special teams. Another is a continually updated power rating based on the score of the games and the strength of opponent. Finally a few years back, before computers became part of the BCS rankings system, there was without a doubt some flaws in the polls. Teams rated #2 or #3 in the country really were not that talented and were maybe the 5th or 6th best. One internet site decided to produce a poll of some of the top analysts and experts each week and invited me to join. I myself work 365 days a year. During magazine time (March, April, May) and throughout the football season (August through January) there are many 15-18 hour days put in and all of them are spent solely working on FOOTBALL. When they invited me to join the poll, I wanted to give them the best set of power ratings in the country to help make the poll as accurate as possible. The dilemma I had was which set?

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NFL Magazine Sneak Peek

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Three years ago, I decided to put out a full color NFL Preview Magazine and I could not have been more pleased with the results. I correctly predicted 7 out of 8 division winners which was more than any other preview magazine and I was the only magazine to predict the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South! Last year with the NFL Lockout, I waited to publish my magazine until August to have the latest and most accurate information and now in the last 3 years I have correctly predicted 16 out of 24 division winners!

This year the NFL and Fantasy Football Preview Magazine was sent off to the press earlier than ever before and today the truck showed up to our offices.

You should be able to find my NFL Magazine on the newsstands in early July but if you’re like me and want to have your hands on new information ASAP, try ordering thru the PhilSteele.com store or call our offices at 1-866-918-7711 and you will get it in your hands at least a full week before it officially hits the newsstands. The cost is just $13.25 (includes priority shipping) and we will ship it out of our offices within 24 hours unless ordered on the weekend and in that case it will get shipped 1st thing on Monday.

Unlike the College magazine where I write each of the 124 team previews myself, the NFL magazine was written by others including Erik Kuselias who wrote the Fantasy Section for the 2nd year in a row. I did do the forecast for each team using my 5 sets of Power ratings that I have for the NFL (I use 9 different sets for the colleges).

This year’s magazine is 288 pages which is considerably thicker than most NFL magazines out there. Here on the blog today I thought I would put the six pages of the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Below you can see how the pages look and click here to download the pdf version from this years magazine and this will show you all the information on each of the 32 teams that we produce. I will not go into great detail as to what is on the pages as you can see for yourself and I think you will agree that it is more information than any other NFL preview.

Download the PDF Version!

Who Will Be the Top Non-AQ Team This Year?

June 21st, 2012 2 comments

The non AQ conference WOULD HAVE HAD a berth in the National Title game just 3 years ago if Texas had missed a last second FG (vs Neb) as TCU was #3 in the BCS and would have played Alabama. In ’10 TCU came very close again and may have got there if they were one of two remaining undefeated teams. LY Boise probably would have played LSU if not for the missed FG. Many of my sets of power ratings called for Houston to go 12-0 LY and they would have been in a BCS bowl if they won the CUSA Title game at home.

In 2006, my top non-AQ team was Boise St and I PROJECTED THEM INTO A BCS BOWL and they went undefeated and got to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat Oklahoma. In 2007, I called for Hawaii to go 12-0 and grab a SUGAR BOWL BERTH and that is exactly what they did! In 2008 my top non-AQ team was Utah and while they were NOT RANKED in the preseason and no one picked them to even win the MW at the start of the year except me, they finished unbeaten and #2 in the country! In 2009 my Top non-AQ team was Boise St and when they beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl they finished #4 and the top non-AQ team in the country. 2010 it was FIVE in a row. EVERYONE had Boise St as their top non AQ team but I went against the grain and picked TCU and coach Patterson and company did not disappoint as they knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished #2 in the country, naturally the top rated non-AQ team out there (TCU #2!).

Last year I pegged the Boise State Broncos as my top non-AQ team and it did not look well when they lost to TCU at home on a missed FG. That missed FG might have prevented them from playing LSU in the Title game!!!! They did finish the year the TOP RANKED non-AQ team (#8)!! Also last year in my magazine I listed my top 6 Non-AQ teams in the following order: 1. Boise St 2. TCU 3. Southern Miss 4. Houston 5. BYU and 6. Ohio! I was simply thrilled with the final AP Top 25 rankings as each of my Top 4 Non-AQ teams finished ranked and BYU finished #26 while Ohio won their bowl game!!

That means in the last 6 years the team that I have predicated as my Top non-AQ school in ALL SIX years has finished as the best non-AQ team with FIVE of them making BCS bowls!

This year I’m going for SEVEN IN A ROW, my call is for the UCF Knights to go unbeaten in CUSA play and be the top non-AQ team in the country this year as they are my Most Improved Team!