Tag:Ball State
Posted on: November 17, 2008 1:02 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 1:05 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- QB trio leading the MAC

Don't look now, but here comes two more teams from the MAC moving up the charts.

While Ball State holds steady at No. 15 in the latest CBSSports.com 120, two teams from Michigan are starting to make some waves.

Central Michigan (8-2) moved up to No. 34 this week, while Western Michigan (9-2) checks in at No. 35. Add in Ball State's 10-0 record and that's three teams in the same division with a combined record of 27-4.

All three teams are living up to the conference of great quarterbacks joining the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Chad Pennington, Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye.

Ball State's Nate Davis (8th), Western Michigan's Tim Hiller (15th) and Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan (24th) are all ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA's passing efficiency. Only the Big 12 (eight) and Conference USA (four) have more players from one conference ranked in the Top 25.

Davis has thrown for 2,647 yards and 20 touchdowns, including four touchdowns in the victory over Northern Illinois. Of all the quarterbacks in the conference, Davis has the most potential at the NFL level.

According to a column on yahoo.com, two scouts said should he choose to turn pro, Davis likely would be the third-best quarterback prospect in this year’s NFL draft.

"[Georgia’s] Matt Stafford would be No. 1 and [Florida’s] Tim Tebow would be No. 2 if he decides to come out," one scout said. "But (Davis) isn't that far behind. He's got the size, he's got the strength and, most of all, he can make every single throw."

While Davis might have the best NFL career, Western Michigan might have the most impressive story. After throwing 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year, Hiller has improved on his numbers with 33 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

In Western 23-17 victory over Illinois two weeks ago, Hiller threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns. In the season-opening loss to Nebraska, Hiller still played great, throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns.

"We have the right game plans, we have the right people who are able to execute, we've got a ton of skill-position guys who are great, and we have an offensive line that's very cohesive," Western Michigan offensive lineman Phillip Swanson said. "And if you give Tim Hiller a chance to throw the ball anywhere, we've got a chance to beat anybody in the country." 

Meanwhile over at Central Michigan, LeFevour is doing it with his arm and his legs. Despite missing two games with an injury, he has thrown for 13 touchdowns and ran for five more. He now has 2,093 yards rushing in three seasons to go along with 8,501 yards passing.

Things get as crucial as they can get in the MAC as Ball State's quest for a perfect season is about to get alot tougher. The Cardinals will both Central Michigan (Nov. 19) and Western Michigan (Nov. 25) the next two weeks to determine who is the true king of the conference.


... The crazy ACC. The conference has the most teams ranked in the Top 40 with seven. The Big 12 has six, while the SEC and Big Ten each have five. Here are the seven ACC teams -- Maryland (No. 20), North Carolina (No. 25), Georgia Tech (No. 26), Boston College (No. 27), Florida State (No. 28), Miami (No. 29), Virginia Tech (No. 36)

... Houston made a big jump this week after beating Tulsa. The Cougars moved from No. 65 to No. 50. Despite the win, Houston is still only 6-4 overall.

... South Florida took a big tumble, falling from No. 38 to No. 53 after losing to Rutgers. Even though the Bulls are 6-4 overall, they are just 1-4 in the Big East.

... In one of the biggest games between losers is this weekend, featuring No. 110 Washington State (1-10) vs. No. 112 Washington (0-10).

Posted on: October 6, 2008 11:50 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 2:01 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- UNC making its move

For a school known for Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and four national championships in men's basketball, football is now getting the attention in Chapel Hill.

With its 38-12 victory over previously unbeaten Connecticut, North Carolina has jumped into the CBSSports.com 120, moving up 15 spots to No. 21.

They also cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001, sliding into the No. 22 ranking. The Tar Heels won eight games that year and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Being ranked is quite an accomplishment for a team that usually finds itself at the bottom of the ACC, winning a few games a season.

But thanks to second-year coach Butch Davis, two very good offensive weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, and a defense allowing 19 points a game, the Tar Heels find themselves in position to win double-digit wins for the first time since Mack Brown's team in 1997.

UNC's only loss is a three-point defeat to Virginia Tech. Since the Hokies are in their division, it will be hard for the Tar Heels to get to the ACC title game, but moving up the rankings and improving their bowl standing are definitely possible.

They don't have Wake Forest, Florida State or Clemson on the schedule and it gets Georgia Tech (Nov. 8) and Boston College (Oct. 25) at home.

"This team is headed in the right direction," said quarterback Cam Sexton. "All the pieces are in place. Last year we were just feeling each other out. But we did not come here to win four games. We're not where we want to be. The only thing we have to do as a team is to remain focused. I think this team has a lot of potential, and the leadership needs to keep us focused."

It has one more non-conference game this weekend ... vs. Notre Dame. The Irish moved up to No. 38 this week in the CBSSports.com 120 poll.

The only other ACC team ranked higher than the Tar Heels right now is Virginia Tech, checking in at No. 17. Wake Forest is ranked No. 23.

Oklahoma State (No. 18), Pittsburgh (No. 22) and Northwestern (No. 25) also joined the Tar Heels in the rankings this week.

Other notes

-- Two undefeated schools are just outside the Top 25. Tulsa (5-0) is No. 26 and Ball State (6-0) is No. 27. Strength of schedule is definitely hurting these two schools as Tulsa's is 104th, while Ball State's is 88th.

-- The strange case of Maryland. What can you say about this team? The are up and down every week. After losing to Middle Tennessee State, the Terps fell, but then jumped back up with victories over California and Clemson. Things should have been easy against the worst team in the ACC, but Maryland got shut out 31-0 to Virginia! Maryland fell back to No. 52.

-- Fresno State fell out of the Top 25 and all the way down to No. 43 after losing 32-29 to Hawaii. Every time I pick Fresno to win the WAC, I curse them. Me and every other media member that falls into the preseason hype.

-- The team with the best record ranked the lowest -- Western Michigan (5-1) at No. 58. Despite having five wins, they dont have won impressive victory. The Broncos beat Northern Illinois (No. 99), Idaho (No. 119), Tennessee Tech (FCS), Temple (No. 93) and Ohio (No. 118).

-- Only two winless teams remain -- Washington (No. 103) and North Texas (No. 120).  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com