Tag:Iowa
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Luck, Stanford OL highlight All-Bowl Team

We made it.

After more than four months of college football and 100s of games, the season has finally come to an end. And after watching 35 bowl games over a three-week period (raise your hand if you saw at least part of every bowl game), it's time to remember some of the great individual performances of the past month.

Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Andrew Luck, Stanford, Orange Bowl: He had a tremendous performance against Virginia Tech, throwing for 287 yards with four touchdowns, including three in the second half to blow open a 14-13 game at halftime. Luck almost had the perfect game, completing 18 of 23 passes. Luck is joined by a few others on this team that helped him have such a special game.

RB: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State, Poinsettia Bowl: The freshman ran for 228 yards on 28 carries to lead the Aztecs to their first bowl victory since 1969. Hillman had four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1, 22 and 37 yards, while also catching a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa, Insight Bowl: The freshman was filling in for suspended starter Adam Robinson and ran for 219 yards on 33 carries with two touchdowns in the victory over Missouri in the Insight Bowl. Coker scored on runs of 1 and 62 yards.

WR: Marcus Sales, Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl: The junior had a career game, catching five passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns. He scored on catches of 52, 36 and 44 yards as Syracuse holds on to beat Kansas State 36-34.

WR: Terrence Toliver, LSU, Cotton Bowl: Jordan Jefferson threw for only 158 yards, but 112 of it came at the hands of Toliver. The wide receiver also had three touchdowns, scoring on passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards in the win over Texas A&M.

TE: Coby Fleener, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The backup tight end had a career game against Virginia Tech, catching six passes for 173 yards with three second-half touchdowns.

OL: (tie) Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter, Cody Habben, Senio Kelemete and Ryan Tolar, Washington, Holiday Bowl and Chase Beeler, Dave DeCastro, Derek Hall, Jonathan Martin and Andrew Phillips, Stanford, Orange Bowl: This was too close to call. Washington's offensive line racked up 268 yards rushing against Nebraska's great run defense, including Chris Polk's 177 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Stanford had its way with Virginia Tech's defensive line, opening up huge holes for the running game and giving Luck time to throw.

Defense

DL: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, Sugar Bowl: Heyward had a strong performance against Arkansas, recording six tackles with two sacks and forcing a fumble in the win over Arkansas.

DL: Nick Fairley, Auburn, BCS National Championship: In one of the biggest performances of the bowl season, Fairley shut down the Oregon running game, while recording five tackles, three for a loss and forcing a fumble.

DL: Bruce Miller, UCF, Liberty Bowl: The senior went out with a bang, recording eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, helping the Knights hold Georgia to just six points in the Liberty Bowl.

DL: Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois, Humanitarian: Coffman had a game for the ages, recording six tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and forcing a fumble in the 40-17 against Fresno State.

LB: Shayne Skov, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The sophomore was all over the field against Virginia Tech, recording 12 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

LB: Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Arnick had a great game against the high-powered Hawaai offense, recording 10 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Arnick returned one of his INTs 54 yards for a touchdown in the 62-35 win.

LB: Tank Carder, TCU, Rose Bowl: The stat line might not be the best -- six tackles, three for a loss, but Carder made one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, knocking down a two-point conversion to preserve the Horned Frogs' 21-19 victory over Wisconsin.

DB: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Cotton Bowl: The freshman was all over the place against Texas A&M, recording seven tackles, forcing two fumbles, recording a sack and an interception late in the game.

DB: Ahmad Black, Florida, Outback Bowl: Black had a great game for the Gators, recording six tackles and two interceptions. His returned his second INT 80 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 37-24 victory over Penn State.

DB: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, Sun Bowl: Smith was getting more wide open than the Hurricanes receivers, recording three interceptions to go along with seven tackles.

DB: Micah Hyde, Iowa, Insight Bowl: Hyde had one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, interception Blaine Gabbert late in the fourth quarter and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa a 27-24 victory. Hyde also added six tackles.

P: Dylan Breeding, Arkansas, Sugar Bowl and Brad Langley, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (tie): These two had almost identical games. Breeding had seven punts for 43.7-yard average with four punts inside the 20-yard line. He had two punts in the fourth quarter downed at the 4-yard line to help keep Arkansas in the game. Langley had seven punts, 43.4-yard average with five punts inside the 20. His last punt was knocked down at the 10-yard line with 3:06 to go.

K: Casey Barth, North Carolina, Music City Bowl: Barth not only finished the game 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points, but he hit a 39-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime and then hit a 23-yarder in OT to beat Tennessee.

KR: T.Y. Hilton, FIU, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Never mind that Hilton had the biggest play in FIU's history, converting a 4th-and-17 with the hook and lateral play. He makes this squad for his 34.8-yard average on five kick returns, including a 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter to get the FIU rally going. The Golden Panthers would eventually win 34-32.

PR: Rishard Matthews, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: It was quiet for punt returners during the bowl season, but Matthews returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to give Nevada a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

All-Purpose: Damaris Johnson, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Johnson had a career-high 326 all-purpose yards to break the NCAA career record in the win over Hawaii. Johnson finished with 98 yards rushing, 101 yards receiving, 109 on kick returns and 18 on punt returns. He also scored on a 67-yard run and a 9-yard reception.

Miss a bowl game? Recap all 35 games with the CBSSports.com individual bowl pages.

Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Luck, Stanford OL highlight All-Bowl Team

We made it.

After more than four months of college football and 100s of games, the season has finally come to an end. And after watching 35 bowl games over a three-week period (raise your hand if you saw at least part of every bowl game), it's time to remember some of the great individual performances of the past month.

Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Andrew Luck, Stanford, Orange Bowl: He had a tremendous performance against Virginia Tech, throwing for 287 yards with four touchdowns, including three in the second half to blow open a 14-13 game at halftime. Luck almost had the perfect game, completing 18 of 23 passes. Luck is joined by a few others on this team that helped him have such a special game.

RB: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State, Poinsettia Bowl: The freshman ran for 228 yards on 28 carries to lead the Aztecs to their first bowl victory since 1969. Hillman had four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1, 22 and 37 yards, while also catching a 15-yard touchdown reception.

RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa, Insight Bowl: The freshman was filling in for suspended starter Adam Robinson and ran for 219 yards on 33 carries with two touchdowns in the victory over Missouri in the Insight Bowl. Coker scored on runs of 1 and 62 yards.

WR: Marcus Sales, Syracuse, Pinstripe Bowl: The junior had a career game, catching five passes for 172 yards with three touchdowns. He scored on catches of 52, 36 and 44 yards as Syracuse holds on to beat Kansas State 36-34.

WR: Terrence Toliver, LSU, Cotton Bowl: Jordan Jefferson threw for only 158 yards, but 112 of it came at the hands of Toliver. The wide receiver also had three touchdowns, scoring on passes of 42, 2 and 41 yards in the win over Texas A&M.

TE: Coby Fleener, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The backup tight end had a career game against Virginia Tech, catching six passes for 173 yards with three second-half touchdowns.

OL: (tie) Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter, Cody Habben, Senio Kelemete and Ryan Tolar, Washington, Holiday Bowl and Chase Beeler, Dave DeCastro, Derek Hall, Jonathan Martin and Andrew Phillips, Stanford, Orange Bowl: This was too close to call. Washington's offensive line racked up 268 yards rushing against Nebraska's great run defense, including Chris Polk's 177 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Stanford had its way with Virginia Tech's defensive line, opening up huge holes for the running game and giving Luck time to throw.

Defense

DL: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State, Sugar Bowl: Heyward had a strong performance against Arkansas, recording six tackles with two sacks and forcing a fumble in the win over Arkansas.

DL: Nick Fairley, Auburn, BCS National Championship: In one of the biggest performances of the bowl season, Fairley shut down the Oregon running game, while recording five tackles, three for a loss and forcing a fumble.

DL: Bruce Miller, UCF, Liberty Bowl: The senior went out with a bang, recording eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, helping the Knights hold Georgia to just six points in the Liberty Bowl.

DL: Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois, Humanitarian: Coffman had a game for the ages, recording six tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and forcing a fumble in the 40-17 against Fresno State.

LB: Shayne Skov, Stanford, Orange Bowl: The sophomore was all over the field against Virginia Tech, recording 12 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for a loss.

LB: Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Arnick had a great game against the high-powered Hawaai offense, recording 10 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Arnick returned one of his INTs 54 yards for a touchdown in the 62-35 win.

LB: Tank Carder, TCU, Rose Bowl: The stat line might not be the best -- six tackles, three for a loss, but Carder made one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, knocking down a two-point conversion to preserve the Horned Frogs' 21-19 victory over Wisconsin.

DB: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU, Cotton Bowl: The freshman was all over the place against Texas A&M, recording seven tackles, forcing two fumbles, recording a sack and an interception late in the game.

DB: Ahmad Black, Florida, Outback Bowl: Black had a great game for the Gators, recording six tackles and two interceptions. His returned his second INT 80 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 37-24 victory over Penn State.

DB: Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, Sun Bowl: Smith was getting more wide open than the Hurricanes receivers, recording three interceptions to go along with seven tackles.

DB: Micah Hyde, Iowa, Insight Bowl: Hyde had one of the biggest plays of the bowl season, interception Blaine Gabbert late in the fourth quarter and returning it 72 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa a 27-24 victory. Hyde also added six tackles.

P: Dylan Breeding, Arkansas, Sugar Bowl and Brad Langley, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (tie): These two had almost identical games. Breeding had seven punts for 43.7-yard average with four punts inside the 20-yard line. He had two punts in the fourth quarter downed at the 4-yard line to help keep Arkansas in the game. Langley had seven punts, 43.4-yard average with five punts inside the 20. His last punt was knocked down at the 10-yard line with 3:06 to go.

K: Casey Barth, North Carolina, Music City Bowl: Barth not only finished the game 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points, but he hit a 39-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime and then hit a 23-yarder in OT to beat Tennessee.

KR: T.Y. Hilton, FIU, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Never mind that Hilton had the biggest play in FIU's history, converting a 4th-and-17 with the hook and lateral play. He makes this squad for his 34.8-yard average on five kick returns, including a 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter to get the FIU rally going. The Golden Panthers would eventually win 34-32.

PR: Rishard Matthews, Nevada, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: It was quiet for punt returners during the bowl season, but Matthews returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to give Nevada a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

All-Purpose: Damaris Johnson, Tulsa, Hawaii Bowl: Johnson had a career-high 326 all-purpose yards to break the NCAA career record in the win over Hawaii. Johnson finished with 98 yards rushing, 101 yards receiving, 109 on kick returns and 18 on punt returns. He also scored on a 67-yard run and a 9-yard reception.

Miss a bowl game? Recap all 35 games with the CBSSports.com individual bowl pages.

Posted on: November 13, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 10:59 pm
 

By the numbers: Week 11's Best Performances

As we look at all the action around the nation during Week 10, here are some of the biggest performances of the day. Follow all the action on our scoreboard and our updating college football blog.

0:16: Time remaining when Minnesota's DeLeon Eskridge scored to lift the Golden Gophers past Illinois 38-34. Eskridge scored three touchdowns on the day, the last one on a 2-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive engineered by quarterback Adam Weber. The quarterback kept it alive with a key 29-yard scramble on a third-and-10 play.

4: Number of receiving touchdowns by Luke Ashworth in BYU's 49-10 victory over Colorado State. Ashworth hauled in TD passes of 62, 7, 36 and 8 yards, one shy of the school record for touchdowns in a game. The scoring receptions were the only catches Ashworth had.

6: Ryan Mallett threw for a school-record five touchdowns and ran for another as Arkansas defeated UTEP 58-21. In what could be his final home game at Razorback Stadium, Mallett tied the school record for touchdown passes for the fourth time in his career. The junior has now set or tied 35 school or stadium records at Arkansas in less than two full seasons at the school.

37: Length of the game-winning field goal by sophomore Maikon Bonani in overtime to give South Florida a 24-21 win against Louisville as the Bulls become bowl eligible for the sixth straight season. Bonani's winning kick avenged a missed field goal that would have won the game with time running out.

83:
 Points scored by Wisconsin in an 83-20 rout of Indiana. Montee Ball ran for three touchdowns in his first career start and Scott Tolzien threw for three more. Wisconsin put up the most points by an FBS school this season and matched the highest scoring total by a team in a Big Ten conference game since Ohio State's 83-21 victory over Iowa in 1950.

201: Backup quarterback Kriss Proctor ran 20 times for a career-high 201 yards and a touchdown as Navy defeated Central Michigan 38-37.

212: South Carolina freshman Marcus Lattimore ran 40 times for a career-high 212 yards and three touchdowns to lift the Gamecocks past Florida, clinching the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division for the first time in school history.

221: Ryan Broyles broke a tie with Clayton for the school record for career receptions, breaking Mark Clayton's old record. Broyles also broke Clayton's record for career touchdown catches with 32. He finished with eight catches for 119 yards and three touchdowns in the 45-7 victory over Texas Tech. He also matched Clayton's records with eight 100-yard games in a season and 15 in a career.

318:
Yards passing by Dan Persa in Northwestern's 21-17 upset over Iowa. Persa also had two touchdowns. Persa capped a 91-yard drive with a perfect pass to Arby Fields, who beat Micah Hyde in the left corner of the end zone for a 20-yard TD with 1:22 to play.

1,009:
 Total yards combined in Western Michigan's 45-30 win over Eastern Michigan. Western Michigan's Alex Carder threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns, while Alex Gillett ran for 159 yards and passed for 214 for Eastern Michigan while accounting for four touchdowns.

 

Posted on: July 14, 2010 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 8:48 pm
 

Keenum headlines O'Brien Watch List

Houston's Case Keenum, who threw for 5,671 yards and 44 touchdowns last season, was one of 30 players named to the Davey O'Brien watch list for the upcoming season.

Keenum was a finalist last season when Texas' Colt McCoy won the award. In addition to Keenum, five 2009 semifinalists are included on the list: Matt Barkley (Jr., USC), Jacory Harris (Jr., Miami), Jake Locker (Sr., Washington), Kellen Moore (Jr., Boise State) and Ricky Stanzi (Sr., Iowa).

Overall the list features 13 seniors, 13 juniors and four sophomores.
 
The field will be narrowed down to 16 semifinalists on Mon., Oct. 25. The Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce three finalists on Mon., Nov. 22 and the winner will be announced on Thurs., Dec. 9. The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. The O'Brien honors candidates who exemplify Davey O'Brien's enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics .

The complete list of voters is listed here , and you should find a familiar name on that list ... MINE! For the first time, I will get a vote in the O'Brien Award.


Complete Watch List:
 
Matt Barkley, Soph., USC; Zach Collaros, Jr., Cincinnati; Andy Dalton, Sr., TCU; Dwight Dasher, Sr., Middle Tennessee; Ricky Dobbs, Sr., Navy; Nathan Enderle, Sr., Idaho; Nick Foles, Jr., Arizona; Blaine Gabbert, Jr., Missouri; Robert Griffin, Jr., Baylor; Jacory Harris, Jr., Miami; Jerrod Johnson, Jr., Texas A&M; Landry Jones, Soph., Oklahoma; Colin Kaepernick, Sr., Nevada; Case Keenum, Sr., Houston; G.J. Kinne, Jr., Tulsa; Jake Locker, Sr., Washington; Andrew Luck, Soph., Stanford; Ryan Mallett, Jr., Arkansas; Greg McElroy, Jr., Alabama; Kellen Moore, Jr., Boise State; Josh Nesbitt, Sr., Georgia Tech; Kyle Padron, Soph., SMU; Christian Ponder, Sr., Florida State; Taylor Potts, Sr., Texas Tech; Terrelle Pryor, Jr., Ohio State; Tom Savage, Soph., Rutgers; Ricky Stanzi, Sr., Iowa; Tyrod Taylor, Sr., Virginia Tech; Scott Tolzien, Sr., Wisconsin; Russell Wilson, Jr., NC State.

Posted on: July 13, 2010 8:22 am
Edited on: July 13, 2010 8:24 am
 

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

Ndamukong Suh did something that most defensive players never get to do ... earn Heisman Trophy votes. Suh finished fourth last season behind Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart and Colt McCoy.

He was the first defensive player to finish that high since Charles Woodson won the award for Michigan in 1997. Numerous players have earned votes, like A.J. Hawk, LaVar Arrington and Glenn Dorsey, so it is not uncommon for a player to finish in the Top 10.

Here are a handful of guys that have the best chance to earn votes for this year's Heisman, which will be handed out Dec. 11 in New York.

Adrian Clayborn, Iowa: After earning MVP honors in the Orange Bowl, Clayborn was a guy I thought could definitely be on some Heisman watch lists. He recorded 36 solo tackles with 20 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. Iowa's defense will be strong again and some experts have the Hawkeyes challenging for the national championship this year. It won't be because of the offense, so look to the defense for somebody to be the leader. Enter Clayborn. Oct. 2 vs. Penn State and Nov. 20 vs. Ohio State will be the two biggest games of the season for Iowa.

Jared Crick, Nebraska: He'll have to follow one of the greatest Nebraska defensive players in history in Ndamukong Suh, but Crick will definitely make a name for himself in 2010. The first-team All-Big 12 member recorded 9.5 sacks last season, while also having 15 tackles for a loss. He also recorded 73 tackles, including 42 solo. As great as Crick is, hopefully the voters' won't penalize him because of what Suh did last year because he deserves to be judged on his own merit. With Nebraska ranked in the Top 10 in most preseason polls, Crick could definitely follow Suh and earn votes at the end of the season. Oct. 16 vs. Texas will be the Huskers biggest challenge of the season.

Von Miller, Texas A&M: The first-team All-American might end up being the best defensive player in the nation. Listen to the season this kid had -- led the nation is sacks (17) and finished fifth in the nation in tackles for a loss. Against Texas he had 2.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and even broke up two passes. He is expected to be a finalist for numerous defensive awards, so if Miller and the Aggies can make some waves in the Big 12, I expect him to finish in the Top 10 of the Heisman voting. It all comes down to a strong finish as the team faces Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas in three of the final four games.

Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh: With the Panthers projected to be a force in the Big East, look for the senior to improve on his numbers from last season. Romeus racked up a team-high eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss. The first-team All-Big East performer and Hendricks finalist just might be able to garner some votes if the Panthers are near the Top 15 most of the year. Keep an eye on how Romeus does in the team's biggest games -- at Utah (Sept. 6), Miami (Sept. 23), West Virginia (Nov. 26) and at Cincinnati (Dec. 4).

Patrick Peterson, LSU: Peterson is a great cover corner, earning first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American honors last year. Two of the best receivers in the country last year A.J. Green and Julio Jones combined for just seven catches when covered by Peterson. The junior also ranked third in the SEC in passes defended with two interceptions. As great a player as he is, to really get the eyes of the Heisman voters, he'll need to improve the INT numbers and make some game-changing plays in the SEC. The nation will get to see Peterson right off the bat in the season opener against North Carolina on Sept. 4. Of course the clash vs. the Gators will be Oct. 9 and the Tigers play Alabama on Nov. 6.

Greg Jones, Michigan State: Here's all the numbers you need from Jones -- 154 tackles, which ranked third in the nation (11.85 per game). The consensus first-team All-American also finished fifth in the Big Ten and 30th in the nation with nine sacks and 51st with a team-high 13.5 tackles for a loss. Jones is a beast, but the problem with linebackers and the Heisman race is, too many players have great tackle numbers. Still, keep an eye on Jones, especially when he faces Wisconsin (Oct. 2), at Iowa (Oct. 30), and at Penn State (Nov. 27).

Rahim Moore, UCLA: Moore is one of the best safeties in the nation, earning first-team All-American honors after recording 10 interceptions in 13 games. It was the first time a player had at least 10 INTs since 2003. If Moore can record double-digit picks again and has UCLA in the hunt for the Pac-10 title, than he has a shot to get a few votes. The problem will be that the Bruins aren't expected to win more than 6 or 7 games with a schedule that consists of road game against Texas, California, Oregon and Washington.

Greg Reid, Florida State: The biggest long shot on my list is mostly known for his special team play instead of his secondary play. Reid led the nation with a 18.4-yard punt return average and also averaged 25.5 on kick returns. The only chance he gets some Heisman attention is to explode in the return game like Raghib Ismail did and get some interceptions on defense (had just two last season).

Posted on: February 3, 2010 12:15 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2010 1:50 pm
 

Iowa's class looks to be pretty good

Iowa, which will most certainly be ranked in the preseason Top 10 next season, is doing a pretty good building for the future on National Signing Day.

The Hawkeyes have more than 20 recruits locked up, including C.J. Fiedorowicz, who is one of the best tight ends in the nation.

Bleacher Report: Dallas Clark's success in NFL impacts Iowa's recruiting

SB Nation: Iowa players sign on the dotted line

You can watch Iowa's Signing Day press conference today at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS College Sports XXL.

For thousands of live and on-demand videos from over 120 schools around the country, sign up for CBS College Sports XXL.

Posted on: January 12, 2010 3:21 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2010 6:10 pm
 

Early Preseason Top 10 for 2010

It's a little early, but time to give my preseason Top 10 for 2010. Lots of things can change, but here is what I got for now:

Mark Ingram1. Alabama: The team will lose some starters on defense, including Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain and Javier Arenas, but there is still a ton of talent on that side of the ball. And look at all the starters back on offense. QB Greg McElroy, RB Mark Ingram, RB Trent Richardson and WR Julio Jones. The schedule works nicely in Alabama's favor too with home games against Penn State, Florida and Auburn. Three landmines which could prevent it from repeating -- at Arkansas (Sept. 25), at Tennessee (Oct. 23) and at LSU (Nov. 6).

2. Ohio State: If the Buckeyes can play like they did in the Rose Bowl, they will find themselves in the BCS championship game next year. Ten starters are back on offense, including Terrelle Pryor, the entire backfield and both wide receivers. Five starters back on the offensive line will be huge too. Ohio State gets Miami (Fla.) at home on Sept. 18 which will be the early test. The season likely comes down to the final three games of the season -- Penn State (Nov. 13), at Iowa (Nov. 20) and Michigan (Nov. 27)

3. Boise State: This is all you have to know about Boise being ranked this high: 21 of 22 starters from a team that went 14-0. Kellen Moore will be entering his junior season after one of the best seasons in college football -- 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The defense was great last season and only loses cornerback Kyle Wilson. Assuming Boise goes undefeated in conference play for the third consecutive season, there are two big games on the schedule -- at home against Oregon State and Virginia Tech in Maryland on Oct. 2. Could this be the year the Broncos get into the title game?

4. Oregon: Another team that will be loaded with returners, including all 11 on offense. The Ducks offense was very explosive last year and should be again with the return of QB Jeremiah Masoli and RB LaMichael James. Keep an eye on the defense with the return of all three linebackers. The biggest holes to fill will be on the defensive line and replacing cornerback Walter Thurmond. The Ducks get a quick test playing at Tennessee on Sept. 11. The Pac-10 schedule will be tough again, especially with road games at USC (Sept. 30), at California (Nov. 13) and at Oregon State (Nov. 27).

Ricky Stanzi5. Iowa: The Hawkeyes showed in the Orange Bowl what a difference Ricky Stanzi makes at quarterback. With him back along with running backs Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher and wide receivers Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt, Iowa will challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten title. The defense will again be one of the best in the country, especially in the secondary with Tyler Sash coming back. The schedule works perfectly for Iowa in its run to the a perfect season, getting Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State all at home.

6. Nebraska: Yes, Ndamukong Suh will be gone, but he wasn't a one-man team. One of the best defenses in the nation last year will be strong again with the return of DE Pierre Allen and DT Jared Crick. The key will be on offense if QB Zac Lee and RB Roy Helu can keep the ball moving. With the return of four offensive lineman, the Cornhuskers should be in great shape to challenge for the Big 12 Championship. Biggest game of the season will be Oct. 16 vs. Texas.

7. TCU: The Horned Frogs should be strong again with a team that returns a ton of players. It won't be easy to find a replacement for DE Jerry Hughes. With Andy Dalton back for one more season at quarterback and the return of WR Jimmy Young, the team should still be in great shape for another run at a BCS bowl. Obviously the conference has gotten better and a big game at Utah looms. So far TCU has only two non-conference opponents in Baylor and SMU, but it still has to find two more games.

8. Texas: The Longhorns won't be as good as they were this year. Too many key players will be gone, but Texas still has a nice group of returners back and should find itself in the Top 10. QB Garrett Gilbert got something to build on for next year with his appearance in the title game against Alabama. All the running backs return and a good core of wide receivers are back too. Earl Thomas is gone at safety, but Blake Gideon returns. The hardest part to replace will be the defensive line with the loss of Sergio Kindle. Oct. 2 vs. Oklahoma and Oct. 16 at Nebraska will be the season.

9. (tie) Virginia Tech: The defense lost some key players during the offseason, including Kam Chancellor and Jason Worilds, but the Hokies always just plug in newcomers and never miss a beat. The good news for Virginia Tech will be the return of sophomore running back Ryan Williams and junior Darren Evans, along with QB Tyrod Taylor. With those three back, the Hokies should be able to run all over opposing defenses. The Boise State game looms on Oct. 2 before huge road games at North Carolina and at Miami (Fla.)

Robert Quinn9. (tie) Miami, Fla.: The offense is there for the Hurricanes to make a serious run at the ACC title. QB Jacory Harris returns with wide receivers LaRon Byrd and Leonard Hankerson. A big question mark will be at running back, where Craig Cooper might miss the entire season due to a knee injury. The defense must get better at the linebacker position, but the secondary returns four strong players, including Brandon Harris at corner. Two huge out of conferences games will test Miami early -- at Ohio State (Sept. 11) and at Pittsburgh (Sept. 25).

9. (tie) North Carolina: Don't laugh, here is a team that returns nine starters on a great defense and 10 starters on offense. Defensive lineman Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin will anchor the front seven with linebacker Quan Sturdivant controlling the middle of the field. The offense must get better, so with T.J. Yates and WR Greg Little back for one more season ... this is their chance. The Tar Heels play LSU in Atlanta during the opening weekend (Sept. 4), so we'll see how good this team is.

The rest of the Top 25 (alphabetical order): Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Rutgers, Utah, USC, Wisconsin, West Virginia

Posted on: January 6, 2010 1:18 am
Edited on: January 6, 2010 8:06 am
 

Stanzi's return makes offense go

It's amazing to think what could have been for the Hawkeyes.

While Iowa was celebrating another dominating defensive performance in the win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, one couldn't help but wonder if Iowa would be proclaiming a share of the national title if quarterback Ricky Stanzi never got hurt.

The junior injured his ankle in the first half against Northwestern and missed the final two games of the regular season. Iowa ended up losing to the Wildcats 17-10 after leading 10-0 in the first quarter and dropped a heartbreaker to Ohio State in overtime.

Ricky Stanzi throws two touchdowns in the Orange Bowl.If Stanzi was in the lineup, Iowa might have beaten both those teams, won the Big Ten, played in the Rose Bowl and had an undefeated season.

"That's not something we are worried about right now," said Stanzi. "We wanted to win this game and we were able to do that."

But it didn't take an genius to see that Stanzi and the Iowa offense were a different team against Georgia Tech.

Stanzi led the team down the field with ease, throwing two touchdowns in the first quarter. The passing game opened up the running game, allowing Iowa to rush for 172 yards, including 113 by Brandon Wegher.

Without Stanzi, Iowa scored just 36 points in 12 quarters (including one overtime period) and beat lowly Minnesota 12-0 in the regular-season finale. It didn't have a 100-yard rusher in those three games and backup quarterback James Vandenberg completed only 48 percent of his passes with four interceptions.

Stanzi's return at the Orange Bowl gave the offense the jolt it needed to complement one of the best defenses in the nation.

"He's the guy you hate to miss, but if he's not there, you have to play without him," said wide receiver Marvin McNutt. "He's our leader and our Tom Brady. We want him out there."

Pretty high praise for a guy who still ended up with 14 interceptions this season. But that's the kind of respect the rest of the team has for their quarterback.

"He is such a good competitor, good leader and every time he is on the field he is going to do well," said linebacker Pat Angerer.

Iowa couldn't have asked for a better start with Stanzi opening the game 8-for-8 passing. Once the Hawkeyes put up 14 points, the defense knew their job just became a lot easier.

"It was huge," added linebacker A.J. Edds. "Especially with this kind of offense, we knew if we get them down a little bit and get them in a hole, it would give us a good chance."

Stanzi gave Iowa more than a good chance and with him healthy all season, the Hawkeyes would have had a better chance to post its first undefeated season since 1922.

 
 
 
 
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