Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year!!

December 31, 2006


Enjoy the Holiday and be ready to rally for a 10:30 am (CST) kickoff tomorrow. I’d tell everyone to be safe, but I know that would ruin the evening for many of you who follow the site.

Cotton Bowl Preview Video and Last Minute Stuff

December 31, 2006

Well, the game is sneaking up on us and I didn’t give it nearly the attention it deserves. I’ll chalk that up to time well spent catching up with friends and family. Here is a pretty nice preview video to help get you fired up as you enjoy the game from home, as seemingly no Husker fans have made the trip to Dallas.

Anyway here are just a few things to keep an eye on Monday:

· Much of the pregame chatter has concerned Auburn’s running game. Perhaps for good reason. The Tigers have thrown for more than 200 yards just four times all season. In addition, only two of those games came against BCS conference foes, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

· If the O-line protects Zac Taylor, Nebraska wins the game. In home losses to Arkansas and Georgia, Auburn had zero sacks.

· After averaging over 4 yards/carry in Big 12 play, does Nebraska have a running back healthy enough to produce like that versus Auburn?

· How might the lack of a healthy RB affect the playcalling? More throws? The emergence of the tight end as a legitimate receiving threat? New wrinkles or trick plays?

· Auburn beat Florida without scoring an offensive touchdown. Which team’s special teams are more special? Can our offense be our best defense?

Quick Hits

December 28, 2006


The girls are a tribute to FSU’s big Emerald Bowl win. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

· Speaking of which, EDSBS has a piece which traces the origins of the Seminoles’ recent demise.

· In Cotton Bowl news, Auburn is taking a more business-like approach to this year’s bowl game.

· Husker Mike examines the apparent fan apathy surrounding Nebraska’s trip to Dallas. I’ve noticed this too, but can’t put my finger on the reason.

· The Blue Gray Sky has an interesting look at Nebraska coaching “legend” Bo Pelini. It is a nice treatment of his work with LSU.

· Finally, stop what you are doing and go out and buy Blindside by Michael Lewis. I received it as a Christmas gift (thanks Dad), and read it in virtually one sitting. It will also give you a better understanding of webgems like this.

DXP Bowl Pick’Em Top 20 Update

December 27, 2006


In case you haven’t checked your entry lately, here are the standings through 8 games (click to enlarge). There are several names I recognize on there and more that I do not. There are a ton of games left, so there is plenty of time for a strong finish. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Separated at Birth?

December 27, 2006


Nebraska’s Stewart Bradley arriving in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl and famed comedian Gallagher. I just hope Stew brought his Sledge-O-Matic to drop on Auburn.

*Stewart Bradley Photo Credit: HuskersIllustrated.com

Auburn Preview

December 26, 2006


Location: Auburn, AL
Enrollment: 23,000
Conference: SEC
Stadium: Jordan-Hare Stadium (Capacity: 87,451)
First Year of Football: 1891
All Time Record: 648-379-47 (.625)

Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville
6th year as head coach at Auburn: Career record at Auburn 51-24
.

Team Overview

Last Season: Despite losing Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, the Tigers barely missed a beat in 2005. They finished 9-3 in 2005 after losing in the Capital One Bowl 24-10 to Wisconsin.

This Season: Auburn comes into the Cotton Bowl with a 10-2 record. The Tigers started the season 5-0 before losing at home to Arkansas 27-10. Auburn then reeled off 4 more wins, including a 27-17 victory over Florida. The Tigers finished the season with another home loss to Georgia and a win over archrival Alabama.

On Offense: Although it is not the most productive unit in the country, Auburn’s offense is one of the most balanced attacks. The Tigers rank 68th in the nation in total offense while producing 155 yards rushing/game and 178 yards passing/game. Auburn’s quarterback is the left-handed Brandon Cox. Cox has completed 153/250 of his passes for 2087 yards 13 TDs and 9 INTs. Cox is capable of being extremely accurate when given time, but often breaks down under pressure. He has also been forced to battle through nagging injuries, but should be healthy for the bowl game. Despite his own injury issues, the Tigers’ rushing attack is led by senior Kenny Irons. Irons is not the most physical runner, but is also difficult to bring down one-on-one. He excels in the open field and makes the most of running lanes. Irons has rushed for 861 yards and 4 TDs in 2006. Irons’ backup during the season has been sophomore Brad Lester who has produced 523 yards and 9 TDs. Lester will not be available for the Cotton Bowl, however, after being suspended for a violation of team rules. In Lester’s place expect to see true freshman Ben Tate. Tate who is Maryland’s all-time prep leader in rushing, has 369 yards rushing this year and averages a robust 7.4 yards/carry.

Auburn’s receiving corps entered the season as a talented, but inexperienced group. The Tiger receivers are deep as a unit and also possess a great deal of speed. The Tiger’s leading receiver is senior Courtney Taylor. Taylor is a big, strong receiver who is difficult to bring down in the open field. He has 48 catches for 634 yards and 2 TDs on the year. Behind Taylor is the athletic Rodgeriqus Smith. Smith has caught 26 balls for 452 yards and 4 TDs. Two other targets to look for are Prechae Rodriguez and TE Gabe McKenzie. Rodriguez is 6-4 with great deep speed and should develop into a consistent deep threat for Auburn. Tight end Tommy Trott is also a capable receiver who has 10 catches and 2 TDs in 2006. In addition, senior TE Cole Bennett may return from a broken ankle, which forced him to miss most of the season.

The Auburn offensive line came into 2006 with the need to develop depth behind a fairly solid starting unit. The Tigers’ biggest man up front is 6-8, 320 pound LT King Dunlap. Dunlap was known as a talented run blocker, who is continuing to improve at pass protection. The RT is senior Jonathan Palmer. Palmer is the most experienced member of the Tiger O-line. The guards are Tim Duckworth and Ben Grubbs. Grubbs is a good athlete and a dominating run blocker, while Duckworth is an all-conference performer. The center spot is manned by Joe Cope, a former walk-on who more than holds his own in the middle.

On Defense: The Tigers rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense (13.9 points) and 25th in total defense (297.5 yards). For the past few years they have relied upon the play of a group of undersized, but quick linebackers and 2006 has been no different. Auburn’s best defensive player is SLB Will Herring. Herring moved from FS to LB this season to take advantage of his speed and experience. Herring leads the team with 65 tackles, and is second on the Tigers with 7.5 TFL. Karibi Dede fills the MLB spot for Auburn. He is smallish at 6-0, 216, but is generally able to hold his own against the run. He has 56 tackles and 1 sack on the year. The WLB spot is held down by sophomore Merrill Johnson. He is another LB known for his speed and has shown an ability to get in the backfield. Johnson has 32 tackles and 3 QBH in 2006.


Headed into the season, Auburn thought it might have the SEC’s best secondary. David Irons and Jonathan Wilhite, who are among the best hitting DBs in the country, man the CB spots. Irons, who is the brother of RB Kenny Irons, has 45 tackles, 2 INT and 6 PBU on the year. Wilhite is steady, but has been known to take his share of risks. He has 24 tackles and 1 forced fumble this season. The safeties are Eric Brock and Aairon Savage. Savage has the size and speed of a corner, but is third on the team in tackles with 48 and also has 1 INT on the year. Brock is the team’s biggest DB at 6-1 213 pounds. He is tied for the team lead in INTs with two.

The Auburn front four is young and starts just one senior across the line. They are led by junior DE Quintin Groves. Groves finally became more consistent this season at getting into the backfield. He leads the team with 12 TFL and 9.5 sacks. The other DE spot is filled by senior Marquies Gunn. Gunn is physical and quick and has 7 TFL and 3 sacks. The DTs are Josh Thompson and Sen’Derrick Marks. Thompson the NG, is extremely powerful. He has 3.5 TFL, 1 sack and 2 QB hurries. Marks a RFr, is still raw, but has 8.5 TFL and 3.5 QBH.

Special Teams: The Tigers have one of the country’s best kicker and punter combinations. The kicker is Jon Vaughn who rebounded from a poor 2005 season to hit 19/23 FG attempts. Kody Bliss is the punter and averages 46.1 yards/punt, including placing 12 attempts inside the 20 yard line. In the return game, Tristian Davis is a dangerous kickoff returner who averages 26.4 yards/return.

Random Notes

Series History: This marks the fourth meeting between the two teams. Nebraska leads the all-time series 3-0.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either: Auburn is 5-5 all-time against teams from the Big 12. The Tigers record is 1-3 versus Big 12 teams in bowl games. Their lone win was a 24-3 Gator Bowl victory over Colorado in 1972.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either – Part II: Auburn’s first bowl game was the 1937 Bacardi Bowl, in which they tied Villanova 7-7. The Bacardi Bowl was played six times in Havana, Cuba. The 1937 game was the only one pitting two American CFB teams against one another. The previous games matched an American team with a team from Cuba. The Cuban teams went 1-4 against US college teams.

Six Degrees of Beano Cook: Beano is feeling optimistic. Nebraska beat Missouri. Missouri beat Ole Miss. Ole Miss beat Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt beat Georgia. Georgia…beat Auburn.

College Football Blog Awards – The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All

December 21, 2006

The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All

“The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All is designed primarily to spread the love in case it doesn’t naturally happen some other way and to serve as the season’s Round Up of Round Ups. Each blogger, no matter who they are, must identify their three best posts of the year.”

Ok, so here is where I had to nominate my three “best” posts of the year. I didn’t get any help from my loyal readers, and I assume that was because it was impossible to pick just three. As a result, I selected three that were either really fun to write, brought on a lot of commentary from others, or received a “hey, I enjoyed that piece”, from people I respected.

Here goes nothing:

What’s Eating at Coach Callahan?

Husker Urban Legends Part I

NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse

Home For The Holidays

December 19, 2006

I am leaving this morning for ten days back in Nebraska for the holidays. I plan on continuing to post and to get started on my Cotton Bowl preview while I’m back. I also wanted to take this time to thank all of my readers for their patronage and their contributions to the site. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Oh, and I’m also switching to the new (beta) version of Blogger. I have no idea how the switch will go, so the site may be unavailable at times.

College Football Blog Awards: Blogger Championship Series

December 18, 2006

I am continuing my nominations for the first annual College Football Blogger Awards.

Readers note: Nominating blogs is open to everyone, not just CFB bloggers. To nominate blogs for any of the categories, simply go to the Nomination Page and appoint your blogs of choice.

Blogger Championship Series

…it’s just like that other BCS except completely different. We’ll be handing out Best Blog awards for each of the BCS conferences, plus one for mid-major coverage (including all independents other than Notre Dame), and one for more general, national coverage blogs. After long debate we decided to put Notre Dame blogs in with the Big East, as the “non-BCS” category is supposed to be an award for mid-majors, which Notre Dame is certainly not. Since ND shares bowl affiliations with the Big East and plays the rest of their sports there, it seemed the logical choice.

ACC: Eagle In Atlanta – Makes reading about Boston College entertaining. Not an easy task my friends.

Big 12: BON – If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, BON should feel more than a little flattered. Perhaps the most frequently emulated blog in CFB (see my formatting for these very awards).

Big East: Card Chronicle – One of my new favorites, this blog covers Louisville in great depth.

Big 10: MGoBlog – Perhaps the most competitive conference for blogs, but Brian is still the king.

Pac 10: Bruins Nation – This UCLA blog seems to be updated constantly with outstanding Bruin coverage making it the best out West.

SEC: EDSBS – Another competitive conference, but another easy choice.

Mid-Major: SMQ – Somewhat unfair to put this USM fan in with this group, but SMQ is damn good at what he does.

Huskers Matriculate…

December 18, 2006

Nine current members of the Husker football team received their diplomas Saturday in Nebraska’s Winter Commencement Ceremony. The players graduating were:

Zac Taylor
Adam Carriker
Brandon Rigoni
Matt Herian
J.B. Phillips
Stewart Bradley
Ola Dagunduro
Newt Lingenfelter
Will Otto

Congratulations and good luck in your futures (especially the Cotton Bowl).