Quentin Castille Officially Dismissed At Nebraska

August 22, 2009

Brian Christopherson from the LJS:

“Quentin Castille was not on the practice field Saturday, his third day of missed practices, and head coach Bo Pelini said following practice that he has been dismissed from the team.”

Rumors have it that it has to do with multiple failed drug tests but nobody has said for certain that was the case. If that is the case, then I’m not sure what that does to Castille’s chances of playing in the NCAA again – if they were the ones who caught him. If it was Pelini that had the final say, I assume Castille could sit out a year and play somewhere other than the Big 12. As I said, I’m not sure about any of that right now.

No doubt this will certainly send a blow to Shawn Watson’s 2009 power rushing game – especially on short yardage situations. Castille was a back that could be heavily relied upon to pick up a yard when you needed it most.

Marcus Mendoza has been back at running back, which obviously has to have something to do with this. Mendoza might be there for the time being basically to serve as a crutch to a group of running backs that has R-Fr. Collins Okafor, R-Fr. Lester Ward, So. Austin Jones, and true freshman Rex Burkhead.

Not much any of us can do about this except hope that one of these guys is ready to pick up some of the slack that will be needed to spell Helu this fall. They’re going to have to be ready.

Let the legend of Rex Burkhead begin.

**Update** via the OWH:

Pelini’s Statement:

“Quentin Castille has been dismissed from the football team. He is no longer a member of the football team. We have guidelines. We have policies that we’ve set up here. We have a culture we have set up here. It’s pretty black and white, my expectations and what we lay out as a staff. And if someone doesn’t follow those policies and guidelines, they’re no longer going to be with the football team. And that’s the case with Quentin. We wish him luck. He’s a good kid. He’s just not going to be with our program anymore. I wish him luck in the future.”

Also from Jon Nyatawa of the OWH:

“Without Castille, Pelini said Rex Burkhead was working as the clear No. 2 I-back behind junior Roy Helu.

The second-year coach declined to elaborate on the reason for Castille’s dismissal and said no NU players or other coaches would discuss the situation.”

Meet Nebraska’s Newest Recruit: DE Donovan Vestal

August 22, 2009

Donovan Vestal, a defensive end from Arlington (TX) Bowie High School, announced today (on his birthday) that he will become the Husker’s 6th commit for the 2010 season. Vestal is listed at 6’5 and anywhere from 208 to 240 lbs. and is a 3* on rivals, scout, and ESPN (77 rating.)

For his rivals profile, click here.
For his scout profile, click here.
For his ESPN Scouts, Inc. profile, click here.

I haven’t been able to dig up any video on Vestal for you yet, but he did choose Nebraska over Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Baylor, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas State, Houston and SMU.

Another interesting nugget is that Vestal’s cousin, Christian Matthews, currently plays for Kansas. In fact, as recently as July Vestal was quoted as saying, “I love Kansas. I love everything about them. I just need to visit, which will happen after July 4th sometime. I haven’t picked a date yet, and I need to speak with Coach Beaty, but I will visit.”

That’s great. Just don’t pull a Keeston Terry.

2009 Preseason AP Poll

August 22, 2009

If you would like to look at both the AP and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, then click here and compare. Both polls are very similar with most teams having a difference of only a few spots. Kansas cracks the Top 25 here at #25 to give the Big 12 five teams this time around. Not getting any love is Missouri who mustered up only three votes.

AP Top 25
1. Florida (58) 0-0 1,498
2. Texas (2) 0-0 1,424
3. Oklahoma 0-0 1,370
4. USC 0-0 1,313
5. Alabama 0-0 1,156
6. Ohio State 0-0 1,113
7. Virginia Tech 0-0 1,054
8. Mississippi 0-0 1,047
9. Oklahoma State 0-0 989
9. Penn State 0-0 989
11. LSU 0-0 914
12. California 0-0 746
13. Georgia 0-0 714
14. Boise State 0-0 659
15. Georgia Tech 0-0 593
16. Oregon 0-0 587
17. TCU 0-0 521
18. Florida State 0-0 307
19. Utah 0-0 289
20. Brigham Young 0-0 267
21. North Carolina 0-0 261
22. Iowa 0-0 229
23. Notre Dame 0-0 225
24. Nebraska 0-0 207
25. Kansas 0-0 134
Others Receiving Votes

Oregon State 122, Illinois 105, Pittsburgh 103, Michigan State 100, Rutgers 83, Texas Tech 76, West Virginia 57, Cincinnati 44, Clemson 42, Miami (FL) 40, East Carolina 30, Tennessee 15, Arizona 13, North Carolina State 10, Boston College 9, Central Michigan 7, Auburn 7, UCLA 7, Northwestern 5, South Florida 3, Southern Miss 3, Vanderbilt 3, Missouri 3, South Carolina 2, Nevada 1, Arkansas 1, Houston 1, TROY 1, Tulsa 1.

Complete Rankings

College Smokeshow of the Week: Ohio U’s Becca

August 21, 2009

This week’s installment brings you a little closer to our old friend, Frank Solich. Solich will be entering his 5th season as head coach at Ohio University and has compiled a 23-26 record overall and a 17-16 record in the MAC. In the summer of 2008, Solich signed an extension that will keep him in Athens until 2013.

A member of the fan base that you can watch cheer on Coach Solich and his Bobcats is none other than this week’s smokeshow, Becca. Becca is an aspiring bikini model with an unknown major. Nonetheless, she’s in college and thus is more than qualified for this.

Nebraska’s Punt And Kickoff Returners Should Be A Strong Group In ’09

August 21, 2009

I’ve been eagerly awaiting some confirmation regarding who the candidates are to return punts and kickoffs this season. And even though it sounds like there is plenty left to be decided, it appears this unit is beginning to take shape and could/should be improved from a year ago.

According to yesterday’s OWH article, Tim Beck named five players who are competing for the roles. They are Niles Paul, Curenski Gilleylen, Alfonzo Dennard, Tim Marlowe, and Rex Burkhead.

Here is what the unit did a season ago.

2008 STATISTICS

PUNT RETURNS

  • NCAA Rank: #21
  • Returns: 31
  • Yards: 376
  • TDs: 1
  • Avg/Return: 12.13

KICKOFF RETURNS

  • NCAA Rank: #48
  • Returns: 57
  • Yards: 1245
  • TDs: 1
  • Avg/Return: 21.84

2008 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS (Huskers.com)

PUNT RETURNS          No.  Yds   Avg TD Long
--------------------------------------------
Swift, Nate 23 296 12.9 1 88
Paul, Niles 8 80 10.0 0 28
Total.......... 31 376 12.1 1 88

KICK RETURNS          No.  Yds   Avg TD Long
--------------------------------------------
Paul, Niles 41 969 23.6 1 85
Dennard, Alfonzo 8 150 18.8 0 31
Lawson, Thomas 3 31 10.3 0 20
Gilleylen, C. 2 48 24.0 0 26
Asante, Larry 2 31 15.5 0 20
Teafatiller, H. 1 16 16.0 0 16
Total.......... 57 1245 21.8 1 85

Clearly, the loss of Nate Swift will matter as he fielded 23 of the Husker’s 31 punts last season. Niles Paul fielded the other 8 to some mixed reviews, which would include the muff in the Gator Bowl. For some reason, I never got the feeling he was comfortable back there.

With that being said, the job of returning punts and kickoffs will probably be Niles Paul’s to begin the season. Said Paul yesterday about last year, “I missed a couple holes and a couple holes closed up by the time I hit them. We had a lot of missed opportunities on kick returns. But I felt like I was getting better and better as the year progressed. I started out inexperienced. It’s a different level of speed out there. I feel like this year I know what to expect now.”

Paul’s athleticism, size, and experience should be a valuable asset. However, if he’s not heads and tails above the rest, then do we really need our best receiver exposing himself to the possible injuries that come along with this job?

If there’s ever been a viable candidate on paper to return punts or kicks, it’s Curenski Gilleylen. The 6’0 ft, 210 lb. sophomore hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play (2 career receptions, 2 kickoff returns), but the fact that he has hands and was clocked at 10.22 in the 100 meter dash in high school says it all. Said Gilleylen, “when you’re in high school, you can just run and everything will open up for you. But you have to definitely hit the holes where Coach wants the holes hit. You have to set up blocks. But you have to pick up your speed and it’s not like you can be too patient.” It sounds like he’s learning and if there’s no fear factor involved, then I’d love to see other teams try to catch him.

Alfonzo Dennard had his moments last season returning kickoffs and I was surprised that he only returned 8. It sounds as if he’s getting a hard look again for 2009, but with his role sure to increase dramatically at corner this season, he might be on reserve.

I have the feeling that Rex Burkhead is going to become legendary during his time at Nebraska. Said Shawn Watson, “He’s surprised all of us with his maturity. He gets football. He’s doing things that you wouldn’t expect freshmen to do. He’s doing things that really you wouldn’t expect him to do until a year from this time. So he came here ready to play football.” In other words, he’s not redshirting.

At 5’11, 200 lbs. with a 325 lb. bench and a 500 lb. squat, Burkhead’s ready to play. There’s a good chance Burkhead could soon see himself as high as 3rd on the depth chart at running back, and I think it’s fair to say the coaches are going to play him any chance they can get if the redshirt is off the table. Special teams would be the perfect opportunity.

If by chance you haven’t seen highlights of Burkhead, then watch:

Then of course there’s Tim Marlowe, Bo Pelini’s fellow Cardinal Mooney High alum. Marlowe was voted the Offensive Scout Team Co-MVP last season and possesses plenty of athleticism to fill the job. When I think of Tim Marlowe, Josh Davis immediately comes to mind. Again, he’s another one that needs to see the field this season and special teams might be his forte.

Regardless of who plays, this group of five should be strong in 2009. As Paul stated, it took most of last season to finally get with the flow of things. The fact is that these players have been coached a year – with the exception of Burkhead – and it sounds like they are getting it. The importance of returning kicks should never be underestimated and this group should give the Huskers a good opportunity to improve on last year’s 9 wins.

Who Do You Think Will Be Nebraska’s Primary Return Man By Season’s End?(survey)

This Is Why Texas Tech Is Better Than Texas

August 20, 2009

Dear Lord Baby Jesus….

Thanks again to the Wiz!

CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25

August 20, 2009

Brian at MGoBlog is once again governing the CBSSports.com BlogPoll for 2009. And once again, we will be taking our part in this ever exciting event.

Since this is the first poll and it’s due on Monday, I went ahead and put it together. In the future, I’ll post the drafts so I can get your feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

Here’s the official DXP preseason poll:

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Southern Cal
4 Oklahoma
5 California
6 Alabama
7 Penn State
8 Notre Dame
9 Mississippi
10 Ohio State
11 Boise State
12 Oklahoma State
13 Georgia
14 LSU
15 Virginia Tech
16 Brigham Young
17 Nebraska
18 TCU
19 Iowa
20 Oregon
21 Miami (Florida)
22 Georgia Tech
23 Rutgers
24 Pittsburgh
25 Illinois

A few items I should explain:

  • I’m not exactly on the Ole Miss bandwagon this season as I don’t think they’re elite by any means. However, if you could draw up an easier schedule for any SEC team, then let me know.
  • I also struggled with putting Alabama as high as I did with only 4 starters returning on offense. Nonetheless, if they can get by a Va. Tech team minus Darren Evans in week one, then they have only 4 road games remaining with the toughest one of those being @ Auburn. A lucky break for Saban as they’ll be favored in every game with the exception of maybe Ole Miss, and that’s a big maybe.
  • Notre Dame should be favored in all but one game this season – @ home vs. USC. Most of the Top 25 would go 11-1 with their schedule. This team has talent and I think they’ll get 10 wins.
  • BYU gets a fairly high ranking despite their first week draw vs. Oklahoma that will set them 0-1 and a tough one in Provo vs. Florida State on September 19th. However, both TCU and Utah must play in the Temple this season which should put them back on top of the MWC.
  • I have Rutgers and Pittsburgh ranked. Before you second guess me, take a look at their schedules and tell me how either team won’t win at least 9 games.
  • Miami, FL‘s first four games – @ Florida State, vs. Georgia Tech, @ Virginia Tech, vs. Oklahoma – are crucial and winnable for this team with 16 returning starters. If they go 2-2, 8 or 9 wins should be expected.

And with the odds in Las Vegas, I’m kind of leaning on a Penn State vs. California title game. Cal’s schedule and Penn State’s schedule are ridiculous.

Tim Griffin’s Big 12 Preview

August 19, 2009

Nothing real exciting here, but it’s worth a watch. Besides, anytime ESPN isn’t covering the SEC it must be worthy of something.

Florida Opens Up At -73 Points Over Charleston Southern; Everyone (but the fans) Is Laughing All The Way To The Bank

August 19, 2009

10 touchdowns, 10 extra points, and 1 field goal. That’s what the Florida Gators have to score to at least push with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers on September 5th. That’s it according to Danny Sheridan of USA Today.

Ron Morris of ‘The State’ newspaper in South Carolina posted an online column yesterday which explained Charleston’s reasoning for accepting this massacre vs. Florida:

“The good things to happen to Charleston Southern – other than maybe covering the point spread – will be the tremendous national exposure it gets and the $450,000 check it will receive from Florida.

Leading up to the game and all day Sept.5, Charleston Southern’s name will be displayed on ESPN. No school, particularly one with an enrollment of 3,201 students, can afford to purchase that kind of publicity.

With the $450,000, Charleston Southern plans to add a field house at CSU Stadium. It will include an academic resource center for athletes and enough locker room space so its teams no longer must share lockers.”

The Wiz of Odds explains why the BCS needs a stronger ‘strength-of-schedule component’ in its rankings as well as how it’s the fans that are getting taken advantage of here:

“These issues impact you, the fan. Aren’t you tired of paying higher prices for tickets and getting less? And if you want decent seats, you have to give money to the alumni association. All this in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. What are you getting in return? Charleston Southern?

College football has become nothing short of a scam, with coaches making millions of dollars and abusing fan rights by scheduling creampuff opponents in order to 1) go to a bowl game and 2) get another year on a rollover contract. Athletic directors, whose employment is often tied to the success of the football program, simply play along.

The excuses given for such behavior are 1) the conference schedule is so brutally tough, we have to schedule a couple of creampuffs and 2) we need a seventh or eighth home game to pay the bills.

Cry me a river. It’s a man’s sport, so try acting like one and play somebody. As for paying the bills, try exercising some fiscal responsibility, especially when it comes to awarding multimillion dollar contracts to coaches.”

The Wiz also probes a little deeper into the Gators by saying, “Florida last played an out-of-state regular season nonconference game in 1991, a 38-21 loss at Syracuse. The Gators last played a regular season game west of the Mississippi in 1983 when they traveled to USC and battled the Trojans to a 19-19 tie.

Earlier this week, Paul Gattis of the Alabama Times had some interesting things to say about the non-conference schedules as a whole for the SEC:

***Ten of the 12 teams scheduled at least one Division I-AA opponent. Ole Miss scheduled two I-AAs.

***Of the 48 SEC non-conference games, only six (12.5 percent) are against teams in the USA Today coaches Top 25 preseason poll. Three of those six are against Georgia Tech — who is an honorary member of the SEC this season.

***Georgia is the only SEC team to face two teams in the USA Today coaches Top 25 preseason poll.

***And most embarrassing: The SEC seeks out the weakest programs in Division I to beat up on. Not only does the SEC feast on Division I-AA cupcakes, apparently they love to snack on the minnows of Division I. According to Sports Illustrated, which ranked all 120 teams in Division I, SEC teams have scheduled:
No. 120 — Western Kentucky
No. 119 — North Texas
No. 116 — Louisiana-Lafayette
No. 115 — Florida International (2 SEC teams)
No. 114 — Eastern Michigan
No. 113 — Miami (Ohio)
No. 112 — UAB
No. 110 — Louisiana-Monroe
No. 109 — Middle Tennessee
No. 107 — Rice
No. 106 — Tulane
No. 102 — Army
No. 98 — Memphis (2 SEC teams)
No. 93 — Florida Atlantic

This is what the monster known as the BCS has come to. It has come to having an elite conference such as the SEC schedule nothing but guaranteed wins in the non-conference that will ensure them a stronger BCS ranking in the end as well as a paycheck that will be just as profitable vs. a team like Eastern Michigan as opposed to a Top 30 or 40 team. Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s not going to matter what you or I think about this. We still pay money to see these games and if we don’t, someone else will.

Maybe it’s me, but I just can’t make sense of any of this:

  • The NCAA expanded the schedule to 12 games because…?
  • The Big 10, Pac-10, and Big East won’t play a conference championship game because…?
  • By creating a playoff in Division 1, the NCAA would interfere with the student-athletes’ academic schedules how…?
  • The student-athletes in Division 1-AA, 2, and 3 have time for a playoff because…?

None of it makes any cents sense.

**Update: Thanks to Dr. Saturday‘s diligent fact checking (and a trip to the paper stand), the line on the game is 63!**

Take Florida.

Dr. Bob Stoll Joins DXP To Bring You Statistical Analysis & Free Gambling Advice This Fall

August 18, 2009

“Oh man… You better hold on to the coin you flipped. Because this game keeps up like this, I’m going to have to borrow it.” – Walter Abrams, Two for the Money, 2005

Whether you like to gamble or not, it’s always interesting to take in some gaming angles from some of Vegas’ finest sports handicappers – especially in college football.

Consider this my early holiday present to you, football gamblers and statistics enthusiasts alike.

DXP and Dr. Bob Stoll from ‘Dr. Bob Sports‘ will be forming a partnership throughout the fall that will feature in-depth angles and wagering advice on Husker games, Big 12 games, and a few other select games from around the country each week.

About what he will bring you here:

“Dr. Bob is widely considered the most influential sports handicapper in the nation, and his betting recommendations regularly move point spreads by several points. Bob Stoll has been analyzing professional and college sports since his days studying statistics at UC Berkeley in the mid-80’s and his advanced mathematical models and knowledge of personnel allow him to forecast the outcomes of games with incredible accuracy. In 2007, both the Wall Street Journal and ESPN E60 ran stories describing his success, and he has also appeared twice on CNBC as well as on ABC and KTVU.

Useful not only within the sports betting realm, his write-ups also bring a unique, quantitative perspective to the casual fan. While most analysts value teams on what they’ve done, Bob works to find the hidden stories behind the statistics that describe what is most likely to happen in the future.

In fact, the average annual return on investment playing his Best Bets in football and basketball is an incredible 73% over the last 10 years.

Dr. Bob has a very realistic approach to sports betting (you will never hear him refer to a game as a “Lock”) and, in the long run, if you follow his Best Bet advice and use a disciplined money management strategy YOU WILL WIN.

We look forward to posting his thoughts on some of College Football’s biggest games.”

If you aren’t buying into that, then read “The Man Who Shook Up Vegas” from the Wall Street Journal and watch this ESPN E60 story:

Dr. Bob’s website can be accessed by clicking on the link and there you can look a little deeper into his past to view his credibility. You can also view other television interviews as well as samples from last season. You are also given the opportunity to purchase single game and season packages – if you so choose – which are very reasonable. Take a look for yourself.

This is going to be a win-win for everyone here. If it wasn’t, trust me I wouldn’t put it here. This will no doubt be an exciting opportunity to have an extremely credible sports handicapper join us this fall with his statistical models and analysis.

Just win, baby.