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).  

Posted on: September 8, 2008 11:10 am
Edited on: September 8, 2008 1:58 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- Movers and Fallers


Don't look now but there is more to the SEC than Florida, Georgia and Alabama. That's because the Commodores are quickly moving up the rankings in the CBSSports.com 120.

Vanderbilt had the biggest jump this week moving up 25 spots from No. 67 to No. 42 after improving to 2-0. It knocked off Miami (Ohio) 34-13 in the first week and then upset South Carolina 24-17, earning its first win over a ranked team in 16 years.

"I think tonight's win was a statement win. We showed the nation that our football team is improving and that we are becoming a winning organization. We showed that not only is Vanderbilt University a great academic school but a great athletic school as well. There are a lot of exciting things happening here at Vanderbilt and I think everyone saw that tonight," said quarterback Chris Nickson after the game.

And with games vs. Rice and at Mississippi over the next two weeks, the Commodores might find themselves reaching the Top 25 and starting the season 4-0.

Now don't get too excited Vanderbilt faithful because it could all be short lived as the meat of the SEC schedule is still on the horizon -- Auburn, at Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

And the folks in Nashville have seen this start before. Last season it started out 3-1 only to lose six of the last eight. In 2005, the Commodores did start out 4-0, beating Wake Forest, Arkansas and Mississippi, but then came the tough SEC games and they ended up finishing 5-6.

For now they are No. 42 eyeing the Top 25, but let's see how they do in the middle of the season.

Other big movers:

Minnesota -- 22 spots up -- from No. 82 to No. 60
Middle Tennessee -- 21 spots up -- from No. 111 to No. 90

Big fallers:

-- Maryland dropped 34 spots falling from No. 65 to No. 99 after losing to Middle Tennessee. Maryland might be in for a long season since their only win was a 7-point victory over FCS Delaware.

-- Memphis and Syracuse also fell as both teams dropped to 0-2. Memphis fell 25 spots from No. 68 to No. 93 and Syracuse dropped 20 spots from No. 90 to No. 110.


Posted on: April 28, 2008 3:49 pm

Some guys should have stayed in school

Alot of great underclassmen were drafted over the weekend -- Darren McFadden, Ryan Clady, Vernon Gholston -- just to name a few, but some of these guy who bolted college a year early, probably are wishing they stayed another season.

Some of the guys of note who left early, who could have used another year in school:

Adrian Arrington, Michigan, WR: With Chad Henne, Michael Hart, Mario Manningham and Lloyd Carr all leaving Michigan, it was no surprise to see Arrington leave too, but I'm sure he was hoping to go a little higher than the No. 237th pick overall (7th round). The Saints actually made a trade to grab Arrington in the final round. At 6-foot-3 he could be another big target for Drew Brees.

Xavier Lee, Florida State, QB/TE: My how the mighty have fallen. Lee was rated as one of the top-rated quarterbacks in 2004 and now he is an undrafted free agent. Lee never had a major impact at Florida State. He told the Miami Herald, "I know my athletic ability will get me to the next level. I made some mistakes -- missing classes -- but I know in my heart I didn't get a good chance" at Florida State. So far nobody has come calling.

Erin Henderson, Maryland, LB: According to the Baltimore Sun, NFL analyst Mike Mayock suggested his size and history of knee injuries cost him a chance to be drafted. Henderson thought for sure he would be drafted on the second day, but was passed over by every team. He did agree to a free-agent contract with the Vikings to join his brother E.J. Henderson.

Johnny Dingle, West Virginia, DE: The 6-2 defensive end from the Mountaineers was expected to be a second-day pick, but unfortunately for him his name was not called. Another player from a team with a coaching change. He was coming off his best season in 2007 with nine sacks, but nobody came calling. He did sign a free agent contact with the Chiefs on Monday.

Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen, Hawaii, WR: With Colt Brennan and Jason Rivers exhausting their eligiblity, these two also decided to leave school a year early, but neither was drafted. Grice-Mullen missed part of his pro day workout with cramping, but still ran a 4.3 40-yard dash. His size might of scared teams off, considering he was just 5-10, 187 pounds. Grice-Mullen signed with the Texans, while Bess, who is also 5-10, signed with the Dolphins.


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