Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 ACC Atlantic game by game predictions

Here is a breakdown of how the ACC Atlantic division might look like in this season's game by game predictions:

Florida State Seminoles  10-2, 7-1

Sept. 5 (Mon.) vs Ole Miss (Orlando) W 33-21 
Sept. 10 vs Charleston Southern W 41-27
Sept. 17 at Louisville W 35-24
Sept. 24 at South Florida W 21-0
Oct. 1 vs North Carolina L 35-31
Oct. 8 at Miami (FL) W 38-35
Oct. 15 vs Wake Forest W 31-17
Oct. 29 vs Clemson W 30-26
Nov. 5 at NC State W 35-0
Nov. 11 (Fri.) vs Boston College W 55-14
Nov. 19 at Syracuse W 30-21
Nov. 26 vs Florida L 28-26

Clemson Tigers  10-2, 6-2

Sept. 3 at Auburn W 38-23
Sept. 10 vs Troy W 66-0
Sept. 17 vs South Carolina State W 52-14
Sept. 22 (Thu.) at Georgia Tech L 30-28
Oct. 1 vs Louisville W 32-23
Oct. 7 (Fri.) at Boston College W 30-13
Oct. 15 vs NC State W 35-21
Oct. 29 at Florida State L 30-26
Nov. 5 vs Syracuse W 31-21
Nov. 12 vs Pittsburgh W 30-21
Nov. 19 at Wake Forest W 33-17
Nov. 26 vs South Carolina W 31-30

Syracuse Orange  8-4, 5-3

Sept. 2 (Fri.) vs Colgate W 31-3
Sept. 9 (Fri.) vs Louisville W 31-24 
Sept. 17 vs South Florida W 14-10
Sept. 24 at Connecticut W 25-15
Oct. 1 vs Notre Dame (East Rutherford) L 28-21
Oct. 8 at Wake Forest W 35-3
Oct. 15 vs Virginia Tech L 28-10
Oct. 22 at Boston College W 52-21
Nov. 5 at Clemson L 31-21
Nov. 12 vs NC State W 43-14
Nov. 19 vs Florida State L 30-21
Nov. 26 at Pittsburgh W 21-16

Louisville Cardinals   7-5, 4-4

Sept. 1 (Thu.) vs Charlotte W 35-14
Sept. 9 (Fri.) at Syracuse L 31-24
Sept. 17 vs Florida State L 35-24
Sept. 24 at Marshall W 31-14
Oct. 1 at Clemson L 32-23
Oct. 14 (Fri.) vs Duke W 31-20
Oct. 22 vs NC State W 45-13
Oct. 29 at Virginia L 38-37
Nov. 5 at Boston College W 31-21
Nov. 12 vs Wake Forest W 54-13
Nov. 17 (Thu.) at Houston L 38-37
Nov. 26 vs Kentucky W 27-25

Boston College Eagles   5-7, 3-5

Sept. 3 vs Georgia Tech (Dublin) L 13-9
Sept. 10 at Massachusetts W 31-20
Sept. 17 at Virginia Tech L 31-0
Sept. 24 vs Wagner W 30-24
Oct. 1 vs Buffalo L 31-24
Oct. 7 (Fri.) vs Clemson L 30-13
Oct. 22 vs Syracuse L 52-21
Oct. 29 at NC State W 34-20
Nov. 5 vs Louisville L 31-21
Nov. 11 (Fri.) at Florida State L 55-14
Nov. 19 vs Connecticut W 21-20
Nov. 26 at Wake Forest W 33-14

NC State Wolfpack  4-8, 1-7

Sept. 1 (Thu.) vs William & Mary W 51-14
Sept. 10 at East Carolina W 33-20
Sept. 17 vs Old Dominion W 51-23
Oct. 1 vs Wake Forest W 45-21
Oct. 8 vs Notre Dame L 35-24
Oct. 15 at Clemson L 35-21
Oct. 22 at Louisville L 45-13
Oct. 29 vs Boston College L 34-20
Nov. 5 vs Florida State L 35-0
Nov. 12 at Syracuse L 43-14
Nov. 19 vs Miami (FL) L 34-14
Nov. 25 (Fri.) at North Carolina L 45-38 (2OT)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons  3-9, 0-8

Sept. 1 (Thu.) vs Tulane W 13-10
Sept. 10 at Duke L 38-14
Sept. 17 vs Delaware W 27-6
Sept. 24 at Indiana L 21-12
Oct. 1 at NC State L 45-21 
Oct. 8 vs Syracuse L 35-3
Oct. 15 at Florida State L 31-17
Oct. 29 vs Army W 34-3
Nov. 5 vs Virginia L 20-15
Nov. 12 at Louisville L 54-13
Nov. 19 vs Clemson L 33-17
Nov. 26 vs Boston College L 33-14

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

2016 ACC Coastal game by game predictions

Here is a breakdown of how the ACC Coastal division might look like in this season's game by game predictions:

North Carolina Tar Heels  11-1, 7-1

Sept. 3 vs Georgia (Atlanta) L 34-31 (OT)
Sept. 10 at Illinois W 45-28
Sept. 17 vs James Madison W 59-21
Sept. 24 vs Pittsburgh W 33-21
Oct. 1 at Florida State W 35-31
Oct. 8 vs Virginia Tech W 35-21
Oct. 15 at Miami (FL) W 40-13
Oct. 22 at Virginia W 35-20
Nov. 5 vs Georgia Tech W 14-6
Nov. 10 (Thu.) at Duke W 33-29
Nov. 19 vs The Citadel W 52-10
Nov. 25 (Fri.) vs NC State W 45-38 (2OT)

Miami (FL) Hurricanes  9-3, 6-2

Sept. 3 vs Florida A&M W 55-0
Sept. 10 vs Florida Atlantic W 52-23
Sept. 17 at Appalachian State W 33-30
Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech W 31-21
Oct. 8 vs Florida State L 38-35
Oct. 15 vs North Carolina L 40-13
Oct. 20 (Thu.) at Virginia Tech W 17-7
Oct. 29 at Notre Dame L 30-24
Nov. 5 vs Pittsburgh W 16-10
Nov. 12 at Virginia W 33-20
Nov. 19 at NC State W 34-14
Nov. 26 vs Duke W 41-30

Virginia Tech Hokies  9-3, 6-2

Sept. 3 vs Liberty W 52-0
Sept. 10 vs Tennessee (Bristol) L 35-17
Sept. 17 vs Boston College W 31-0
Sept. 24 vs East Carolina W 30-20
Oct. 8 at North Carolina L 35-21
Oct. 15 at Syracuse W 28-10
Oct. 20 (Thu.) vs Miami (FL) L 17-7 
Oct. 27 (Thu.) at Pittsburgh W 30-23
Nov. 5 at Duke W 35-20
Nov. 12 vs Georgia Tech W 42-10
Nov. 19 at Notre Dame W 23-13
Nov. 26 vs Virginia W 41-23

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8-4, 5-3

Sept. 3 vs Boston College (Dublin) W 13-9
Sept. 10 vs Mercer W 21-3
Sept. 17 vs Vanderbilt W 27-23
Sept. 22 (Thu.) vs Clemson W 30-28
Oct. 1 vs Miami (FL) L 31-21
Oct. 8 at Pittsburgh W 25-10
Oct. 15 vs Georgia Southern W 43-14
Oct. 29 vs Duke W 30-24
Nov. 5 at North Carolina L 14-6
Nov. 12 at Virginia Tech L 42-10
Nov. 19 vs Virginia W 31-14
Nov. 26 at Georgia L 10-6

Duke Blue Devils  6-6, 3-5

Sept. 3 vs UNC Central W 45-20
Sept. 10 vs Wake Forest W 38-14
Sept. 17 at Northwestern W 33-21
Sept. 24 at Notre Dame L 42-33
Oct. 1 vs Virginia W 35-31
Oct. 8 vs Army W 54-20
Oct. 14 (Fri.) at Louisville W 31-26
Oct. 29 at Georgia Tech L 30-24
Nov. 5 vs Virginia Tech L 35-20
Nov. 10 (Thu.) vs North Carolina L 33-29
Nov. 19 at Pittsburgh L 38-34
Nov. 26 at Miami (FL) L 41-30

Virginia Cavaliers  6-6, 3-5

Sept. 3 vs Richmond W 33-31
Sept 10 at Oregon L 51-14
Sept. 17 at Connecticut W 13-12
Sept. 24 vs Central Michigan W 31-27
Oct. 1 at Duke L 35-31
Oct. 15 vs Pittsburgh W 30-24
Oct. 22 vs North Carolina L 35-20
Oct. 29 vs Louisville W 38-37
Nov. 5 at Wake Forest W 20-15
Nov. 12 vs Miami (FL) L 33-20
Nov. 19 at Georgia Tech L 31-14
Nov. 26 at Virginia Tech L 41-23

Pittsburgh Panthers  4-8, 1-7

Sept. 3 vs Villanova W 42-21
Sept. 10 vs Penn State W 25-20
Sept. 17 at Oklahoma State L 35-20
Sept. 24 at North Carolina L 33-21
Oct. 1 vs Marshall W 20-10
Oct. 8 vs Georgia Tech L 25-10
Oct. 15 at Virginia L 30-24
Oct. 27 (Thu.) vs Virginia Tech L 30-23
Nov. 5 at Miami (FL) L 16-10
Nov. 12 at Clemson L 30-21
Nov. 19 vs Duke W 38-34
Nov. 26 vs Syracuse L 21-16

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Big Ten coaches relish the uniqueness of season openers on the gridiron

                                                   Photo Credit: Geno Green

The uniqueness of not playing an exhibition slate and starting out of the gate in the regular season makes college football stand out from any other sport in North America.

For coaches old and new in the Big Ten conference, the importance of players knowing the significance of regular season openers never gets taken for granted. Tuesday's teleconference provided different insights on how several coaches approach season openers.

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio knows the significance of prioritizing the opening game in his tenth season as head coach, regardless of who the opponent is on the field.

"It is very important that everyone understands the beginning of the season starts with the first game naturally, but it is the first start for many of our seniors who have seen little playing time beforehand," Dantonio said. 

"Even some of the freshman who won't play get the opportunity to run out of the tunnel for the first time and it gives them a life experience. You also have to have a great attention to detail and be able to execute. Mistakes will be made in the first game, but you have to be able to rally and overcome."

In his 11th season at Northwestern and the second-longest tenured coach in the conference next to Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Pat Fitzgerald knows the work must be produced in spring and fall camps in order for success to occur in the month of September.

"This is my 11th opener and the key is to making sure you get the work done in training camp that gets the team ready to play for not just the opener, but for the season," Fitzgerald said.

"You have to balance that with keeping the team as healthy as possible, so you don't go into the first quarter of the season with a banged up football team, emotionally and physically. We have been fortunate in openers going 9-1, but you learn and tweak what you do no matter the result."

Each off-season in college football sees players come and go, but coaches are not immune either as Rutgers' Chris Ash and Illinois' Lovie Smith begin new frontiers with their respective teams in 2016.

Through various position coaching jobs over the last three decades in college football, Ash starts sees some similarities and differences in preparing for the first game as the primary coach.

"The time commitment and demand are the same, but the things you have to focus on are different because this is the first season of our staff being together as one," Ash said. 

"There is more involvement when it comes to the aspects of trip planning, such as flying out a day early on Thursday for Washington. Also, being involved with things defensively on top of other responsibilities makes it different than if you were in charge of only running the defensive unit."

After spending 11 of the last 12 seasons as a National Football League head coach for the Chicago Bears (2004-12) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15), Lovie Smith embraces the change of managing a team as game-week practices are limited to 20 hours per week, with a maximum of four hours per day, according to NCAA rules.

"Time has been the biggest challenge because let's face it, the guys are student-athletes and is different from [NFL] training camp," Smith said. "We have that small four-hour block each day to really get a game plan in for our opponent and has been another adjustment in the transition."

From all walks of the country, the one thread these coaches share is that each starts with a clean slate at 0-0 as a new season rises on Thursday.

Buckle up, fellow college football fans and enjoy the storylines and roller coaster rides this season.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hawaii/Michigan time machine: Nov. 28, 1998


Welcome to a new feature from CSO which will be released each and every Monday this season and that is the time machine of the week's spotlight game.

We kick things off with the last meeting between the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Michigan Wolverines from Nov. 28, 1998.

A lot of things have changed since the last meeting between the two schools and let's list a few things that stood out:

-The Apple iPod did not exist as the Sony Walkman CD and cassette players were the ultimate source of music on the road.

- The average price of gas cost $0.97 per gallon.

- MTV's Total Request Live was the "A" show for popular artists to make appearances and perform on.

Highlights from Michigan/Hawaii on Nov. 28, 1998:

- Fresh off a 31-16 loss to eventual Sugar Bowl participant Ohio State, Michigan had one more chance to go into bowl season on a high note at Hawaii and did so with a convincing 48-17 win.

- Michigan running back Anthony Thomas used the Hawaii game as a coming out party with a career-high 183 yards rushing on 13 carries and four touchdowns.

- Wide receiver Tai Streets also had a day to remember with five catches for 90 yards and two TD's.

- Right tackle Jon Jansen tied the school record for most consecutive starts at 49. Jansen broke the record in his final game in the Citrus Bowl against Arkansas on Jan, 1, 1999.

- Forgotten in the game was the debut of freshman Hayden Epstein as a dual threat position player on special teams as a punter, to go along with placekicker duties.

Here is a video recap from Honolulu with Dave Barnett and Bill Curry on the call for ESPN2:

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 SEC West game by game predictions

Here is a breakdown of what to expect in the SEC West in this season's game by game predictions:

Alabama Crimson Tide  10-2, 7-1

Sept. 3 vs USC (Arlington) L 35-21
Sept. 10 vs Western Kentucky W 66-10
Sept. 17 at Ole Miss W 31-27
Sept. 24 vs Kent State W 72-6
Oct. 1 vs Kentucky W 59-31
Oct. 8 at Arkansas W 43-14
Oct. 15 at Tennessee W 17-16
Oct. 22 vs Texas A&M W 40-24
Nov. 5 at LSU W 34-21
Nov. 12 vs Mississippi State W 43-21
Nov. 19 vs Chattanooga W 75-0
Nov. 26 vs Auburn L 34-31 (OT)

Ole Miss Rebels  9-3, 6-2

Sept. 5 (Mon.) vs Florida State (Orlando) L 33-21
Sept. 10 vs Wofford W 44-10
Sept. 17 vs Alabama L 31-27
Sept. 24 vs Georgia L 42-31
Oct. 1 vs Memphis W 27-17
Oct. 15 at Arkansas W 43-30
Oct. 22 at LSU W 28-23
Oct. 29 vs Auburn W 45-23
Nov. 5 vs Georgia Southern W 56-17
Nov. 12 at Texas A&M W 63-40
Nov. 19 at Vanderbilt W 31-27
Nov. 26 vs Mississippi State W 45-10

LSU Tigers  9-3, 5-3

Sept. 3 vs Wisconsin (Green Bay) W 20-14
Sept. 10 vs Jacksonville State W 54-24
Sept. 17 vs Mississippi State L 34-32
Sept. 24 at Auburn W 24-10
Oct. 1 vs Missouri W 31-28
Oct. 8 at Florida  W 32-20
Oct. 15 vs Southern Mississippi W 55-7
Oct. 22 vs Ole Miss L 28-23
Nov. 5 vs Alabama L 34-21
Nov. 12 at Arkansas W 33-20
Nov. 19 vs South Alabama W 55-6
Nov. 24 (Thu.) at Texas A&M W 33-24

Mississippi State Bulldogs  8-4, 4-4

Sept. 3 vs South Alabama W 45-13
Sept. 10 vs South Carolina L 20-15
Sept. 17 at LSU W 34-32
Sept. 24 at Massachusetts W 51-21
Oct. 8 vs Auburn W 35-30
Oct. 14 (Fri.) at BYU W 45-21
Oct. 22 at Kentucky W 34-23
Oct. 29 vs Samford W 65-10
Nov. 5 vs Texas A&M L 33-32
Nov. 12 at Alabama L 43-21
Nov. 19 vs Arkansas W 38-31
Nov. 26 at Ole Miss L 45-10

Arkansas Razorbacks  6-6, 4-4

Sept. 3 vs Louisiana Tech W 51-30
Sept. 10 at TCU L 35-13
Sept. 17 vs Texas State W 44-13
Sept. 24 vs Texas A&M (Arlington) W 34-14
Oct. 1 vs Alcorn State W 55-21
Oct. 8 vs Alabama L 43-14
Oct. 15 vs Ole Miss L 43-30
Oct. 22 at Auburn W 21-15
Nov. 5 vs Florida  W 35-30
Nov. 12 vs LSU L 33-20
Nov. 19 at Mississippi State L 38-31
Nov. 25 (Fri.) at Missouri L 41-28

Texas A&M Aggies 5-7, 4-4

Sept. 3 vs UCLA L 37-31
Sept. 10 vs Prairie View A&M W 74-21
Sept. 17 at Auburn L 45-42
Sept. 24 vs Arkansas (Arlington) L 34-14
Oct. 1 at South Carolina W 45-28
Oct. 8 vs Tennessee L 43-41
Oct. 22 at Alabama L 40-24
Oct. 29 vs New Mexico State W 35-0
Nov. 5 at Mississippi State W 33-32
Nov. 12 vs Ole Miss L 38-10
Nov. 19 vs Texas-San Antonio W 33-21
Nov. 24 vs LSU L 33-24

Auburn Tigers  5-7, 3-5

Sept. 3 vs Clemson L 38-23
Sept. 10 vs Arkansas State W 51-10
Sept. 17 vs Texas A&M W 45-42
Sept. 24 vs LSU L 24-10
Oct. 1 vs Louisiana-Monroe W 33-14
Oct. 8 at Mississippi State L 35-30
Oct. 22 vs Arkansas L 21-15
Oct. 29 at Ole Miss L 45-23
Nov. 5 vs Vanderbilt L 28-21
Nov. 12 at Georgia L 22-10
Nov. 19 vs Alabama A&M W 45-21
Nov. 26 at Alabama W 34-31 (OT)

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Northwestern proves its grit in a come from behind win at DePaul

                        Photo Credit: Northwestern Athletics

In an eight-minute stretch in the second half, the No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats (3-0-0) showed why they are worthy of being ranked against crosstown rivals the DePaul Blue Demons (0-1-1) at Wish Field.

Northwestern’s goals from Brenna Lovera (78th minute) and Kassidy Gorman (86th minute) proved to be the difference in a 2-1 win over DePaul on Thursday.

The winds of change began in the early stages of the second half as Northwestern attacked DePaul’s zone, but DePaul stood tall to the task as the advantage remained 1-0 off of Kelli Hubly's first goal of the season.

“Scoring in the first five minutes was big because it gets a team on its toes early and the high energy early helped us throughout the first half,” Hubly said.
Northwestern coach Michael Moynihan knew adjustments had to be made at intermission.

“We were really frustrated at the half and there is a lot of things that we have been working on, but have played stretches thus far this season,” Moynihan said. “I don’t yet know what the reasons for the inconsistencies are, but a lot of our players have a ton of fight in them and we have to calm them down at times when they get to jazzed up.

The payoff for the Wildcats came as Maria Fayeulle delivered a splendid leg pass to Lovera as she came untouched from the left side and scored to even the score at 1-1 in the game’s 78th minute.

Eight minutes later, Fayuelle made another clutch kick to an in-sync Kassidy Gorman to go ahead 2-1 and would not look back.

“In the second half, we made a few changes and it benefited us as we took over the game with great energy,” Moynihan said. “Both of the goals were nice build-ups and some really pretty soccer.”

“The first goal started with Kassidy Gorman, who played a really nice ball to Maria and she had her back to the goal, then Brenda was overlapping, so she did a heel pass on the defender and got it to Brenda for the goal and it was a well put together play overall.”

Northwestern goalkeeper Lauren Clem came into the game with 24 career shutouts, which was one short of the school record, but Hubly ended any opportunity of history being made as she opened the scoring in the fourth minute off an assist from Avery Hay for the half’s only goal.

Prior to the game, DePaul changed its alignment to a 4-3-3 scheme with midfielder Alexa Ben out and defender Adrian Walker taking her spot in the lineup.

The move paid dividends in the midway point of the first half as Walker made the save off a kick from Northwestern's Mary Erikson from the left hash.

Northwestern’s biggest scoring chance of the first half came in the 43rd minute produced three scoring chances off a corner kick, but the last shot from Rachel Zampa came the closest as DePaul goalkeeper Lauren Fresca stopped the threat.

The Blue Demons went into locker room with a 1-0 advantage, but committed seven fouls compared to the Wildcats’ 3.

Northwestern attacked DePaul’s zone out the gate in the second half, but DePaul stood tall to the task as the advantage remained at 1-0.

The goals from Lovera (third of the season) and Gorman (first) proved to be the difference for Northwestern and DePaul coach Erin Chastain felt like her team blew some golden opportunities towards the latter stages of the first half.

“We were playing with a lead and Northwestern started to throw numbers forward for the tying goal and I don’t think we handled that scenario in the best way,” Chastain said. “We still had some chances that we missed throughout the game that could have seen us go up 2-0. We didn’t capitalize and Northwestern did by scoring goal two goals in the second half and it is about us playing 90 minutes with a lead.”

Game Note:

With Thursday's win, Northwestern moves to 7-1-0 in the all-time series against DePaul. DePaul's only win came in 2009 (3-2 at Wish Field).

Looking Ahead:

Both teams are on the road on Aug. 28 as Northwestern looks to stay undefeated against Kentucky for a Noon kick, while DePaul travels to take on William & Mary.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Year's Six preseason projections based on the CSO CFP mock Top 25

                                     Photo Credit: Geno Green

We are less than a week away from the first college football game kicking off between California and Hawaii in Sydney, Australia.

Before the start of the 2016 season occurs, he are the first CSO College Football Playoff mock committee projections, enjoy!

CFP Semifinal (Fiesta Bowl) Dec. 31:

(3) Oklahoma vs (2) Clemson

Most of the talent remains from the 2015 teams and this one could be more epic the second time around and from a historic standpoint, the first time two schools would play each other three straight seasons in bowl competition.

The quarterback matchup is mouthwatering enough with Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Clemson's DeShaun Watson.

CFP Semifinal (Peach Bowl) Dec. 31:

(4) Florida State vs (1) Alabama

This could easily fly as the LSU bowl as coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban were once on the same staff in Baton Rouge, which saw Saban capture a share of the National Championship in 2003 as Fisher served as the offensive coordinator.

The familiarity could serve as an epic way to close out 2016.

Orange Bowl (Dec. 30):

(8) Michigan vs (17) North Carolina

Since this game falls on Dec. 30 as a standalone outside of New Year's Eve and the Jan. 2 games, Michigan and North Carloina would be a great draw to get viewers to tune on a Friday night.

Remember the last time these schools squared off in football/basketball postseason play? 

Cotton Bowl (Jan. 2):

(9) Notre Dame vs (12) Houston

Remember the Chicken Soup game from 1979?

Joe Montana's heroic performance long lives in Cotton Bowl history and these two teams would be ripe for another meeting– this time around at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

The coaching matchup between Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Houston's Tom Herman is one to watch for as this matchup could serve as a program-changing win for one of these schools.

Rose Bowl (Jan. 2):

(6) Stanford vs (5) Ohio State

Easily the best game outside of the semifinals as potential Heisman Trophy candidates in running back Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and quarterback J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) would be the showcase players to watch for.

Don't forget the winning pedigree of coaches David Shaw (Stanford) and Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and you have a great main course on the second day of 2016.

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2):

(7) LSU vs (19) TCU

LSU and TCU in New Orleans could represent two contrasting styles colliding in primetime. 

TCU loves offense, offense and more offense in the fast-paced Big 12, while LSU produces the majority of its scoring through defensive turnovers.

One thing for sure is that we are in for another fun college football season.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fordham and DePaul battle to a 1-1 draw in the season opener

                Photo Credit: Steve Woltmann/DePaul Athletics

With the sun beaming directly on a summer afternoon at Wish Field in Chicago, The Fordham Rams and the DePaul Blue Demons left everything on the field in a 1-1 draw on Friday to open the regular season for each team.

Fordham opened the scoring on a fluke deflection from DePaul goalkeeper Lauren Fresca as Claire Paoletta scored on an empty netter in the 20th minute for the game's first goal.

In a seven-minute stretch from the 26th to 33rd, DePaul made three substitutions in an effort to shake up its offensive attack.

The substitutions did not improve the Blue Demons' scoring opportunities, but in the 39th minute on a free kick, a header from defender Avery Hay went over the crossbar as Fordham went into halftime in full control at 1-0.

DePaul coach Erin Chastain knew things needed to change after Fordham controlled possession for the majority of the first half.

"Fordham outworked us in the first half and looked like they really wanted to win the game more than we did," Chastain said.

DePaul showed more assertiveness in the early stages of the second half with scoring chances from midfielder Alexa Ben (55th minute) and forward Kelli Hubly (58th minute), but those shots went wide and up top of the net, respectively.

Defender Kassandra Cerda went untouched on the left side of the field for DePaul on a scoring chance in the 65th minute as goalkeeper Megan Fitzgerald made the timely save to keep Fordham ahead by a goal.

One of the things the Blue Demons wanted to address in the off-season were the lack of execution on corner kicks. In the 80th minute, forward Franny Cerny anchored both of the plays as the first opportunity proved to be unsuccessful, but seconds later, the other chance resulted moments later in a penalty kick.

DePaul forward Abby Reed took the shot and drilled the ball past a diving Fitzgerald to even the score at 1-1 in the 80th minute.

"We worked on penalty kicks the previous day, so I was ready for the moment and was focused because I knew there was not much time left in regulation," Reed said. "We were getting so close to scoring and I thought it was a great opportunity." 

Chastain gave credit to the Blue Demons for getting six corner kicks overall, with four coming in the second half.

"We did a good job in earning corner kicks and then getting on the end of them and creating problems for other teams," Chastain said.

The goal helped push DePaul into the first overtime at 1-1 and Reed almost struck again in the last five seconds of the period with a wicked 40-yard shot from the center, which went above the top of the crossbar off the tip of Fitzgerald's glove.

"I knew time was running out, so I figured I might as well take a hit on goal and it actually ended up being a really good shot," Reed said.

Each team finished with a shot on goal in the second overtime session as the game finished in a draw.

Looking Ahead:

Fordham will stay in Chicago and head further north to play Loyola on Aug. 21 at 1 p.m., while DePaul hosts crosstown rival Northwestern on Aug. 25 at 3 p.m.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee pre-season rankings

Why wait until the first week of November for the initial College Football Playoff rankings when we can start before the season starts.

Here are the preseason Top 25 mock committee rankings with help from Bill Bender (NFL/College Football writer at The Sporting News), Sean Baligian (760 WJR in Detroit), Terry Foster (97.1 The Ticket in Detroit), Jeremy Rosenberg (Former EMU Athletics columnist/beat writer at Eagle Totem), Ryan Larimore (Founder of Sports Talk 313) and DaVaughn Lucas (CSO contributor):

      Team                Points

1 Alabama               174
2 Clemson                167
3 Oklahoma             154
4 Florida State         147
5 Ohio State             146
6 Stanford                130
7 LSU                      129
8 Michigan              127
9 Notre Dame          118
10 Tennessee           112
11 Michigan State   106
12 Houston                92
13 Ole Miss               91
14 Georgia                 67
15 USC                      62
16 Iowa                      61
17 North Carolina      57
18 Washington           48
19 TCU                      45
20 Oklahoma State    42
21 UCLA                   35
22 Oregon                  33
23 Louisville              28
24 Florida                   26
     Baylor                    26

Others receiving votes:

Miami (FL) 12, Mississippi State 9, Boise State 5, Wisconsin 5, Utah 4, Arkansas 3, Texas 2, Texas A&M 2, Washington State 1, Penn State 1

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Friday, August 12, 2016

2016 SEC East game by game predictions

Here is a breakdown of what to expect in the SEC East in this season's game by game predictions:

Tennessee Volunteers  11-1, 7-1

Sept. 1 (Thu.) vs Appalachian State W 55-10
Sept. 10 vs Virginia Tech (Bristol) W 35-17
Sept. 17 vs Ohio W 52-14
Sept. 24 vs Florida W 33-14
Oct. 1 at Georgia W 31-20
Oct. 8 at Texas A&M W 43-41
Oct. 15 vs Alabama L 17-16
Oct. 29 at South Carolina W 33-23
Nov. 5 vs Tennessee Tech W 66-0
Nov. 12 vs Kentucky W 41-20
Nov. 19 vs Missouri W 59-23
Nov. 26 at Vanderbilt W 19-17

Georgia Bulldogs  10-2, 6-2

Sept. 3 vs North Carolina (Atlanta) W 34-31 (OT)
Sept. 10 vs Nicholls State W 69-3
Sept. 17 at Missouri W 31-23
Sept. 24 at Mississippi W 42-31
Oct. 1 vs Tennessee L 31-20
Oct. 8 at South Carolina W 35-10
Oct. 15 vs Vanderbilt W 43-21
Oct. 29 vs Florida (Jacksonville) L 41-31
Nov. 5 at Kentucky W 52-23
Nov. 12 vs Auburn W 22-10
Nov. 19 vs Louisiana-Lafayette W 52-21
Nov. 26 vs Georgia Tech W 10-6

Florida Gators  9-3, 5-3

Sept. 3 vs Massachusetts W 55-13
Sept. 10 vs Kentucky W 31-10
Sept. 17 vs North Texas W 53-30
Sept. 24 at Tennessee L 33-14
Oct. 1 at Vanderbilt W 42-21
Oct. 8 vs LSU L 32-20
Oct. 15 vs Missouri W 34-12
Oct. 29 vs Georgia (Jacksonville) W 41-31
Nov. 5 at Arkansas L 35-30
Nov. 12 vs South Carolina W 24-20
Nov. 19 vs Presbyterian W 54-17
Nov. 26 at Florida State W 28-26

South Carolina Gamecocks  7-5, 4-4

Sept. 1 (Thu.) at Vanderbilt W 31-24
Sept. 10 at Mississippi State W 20-15
Sept. 17 vs East Carolina W 56-31
Sept. 24 at Kentucky W 43-20
Oct. 1 vs Texas A&M L 45-28
Oct. 8 vs Georgia L 35-10
Oct. 22 vs Massachusetts W 34-0
Oct. 29 vs Tennessee L 33-23
Nov. 5 vs Missouri W 41-20
Nov. 12 at Florida L 24-20
Nov. 19 vs West Carolina W 59-7
Nov. 26 at Clemson L 31-30

Missouri Tigers  6-6, 4-4

Sept. 3 at West Virginia L 38-34
Sept. 10 vs Eastern Michigan W 72-0
Sept. 17 vs Georgia L 31-23
Sept. 24 vs Delaware State W 55-12
Oct. 1 at LSU W 31-28
Oct. 15 at Florida L 34-12
Oct. 22 vs Middle Tennessee State W 34-24
Oct. 29 vs Kentucky W 55-20
Nov. 5 at South Carolina L 41-20
Nov. 12 vs Vanderbilt W 50-17
Nov. 19 at Tennessee L 59-23
Nov. 25 (Fri.) vs Arkansas W 41-28

Vanderbilt Commodores  4-8, 2-6

Sept. 1 (Thu.) vs South Carolina L 31-24
Sept. 10 vs Middle Tennessee W 18-13
Sept. 17 at Georgia Tech L 27-23
Sept. 24 at Western Kentucky L 30-24
Oct. 1 vs Florida L 42-21
Oct. 8 at Kentucky W 45-28
Oct. 15 at Georgia L 43-21
Oct. 22 vs Tennessee State W 45-10
Nov. 5 at Auburn W 28-21
Nov. 12 at Missouri L 50-17 
Nov. 19 vs Ole Miss L 31-27
Nov. 26 vs Tennessee L 19-17

Kentucky Wildcats  3-9, 0-8

Sept. 3 vs Southern Mississippi W 30-23
Sept. 10 at Florida L 31-10
Sept. 17 vs New Mexico State W 44-23
Sept. 24 vs South Carolina L 43-20
Oct. 1 at Alabama L 59-31
Oct. 8 vs Vanderbilt L 45-28
Oct. 22 vs Mississippi State L 34-23
Oct. 29 at Missouri L 55-20
Nov. 5 vs Georgia L 52-23
Nov. 12 at Tennessee L 41-20
Nov. 19 vs Austin Peay W 38-33
Nov. 26 at Louisville L 27-25

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A new leaf turns for DePaul women's soccer

                Photo Credit: Steve Woltmann/DePaul Athletics

In any collegiate sport, roster turnover tends to be the norm, but for the DePaul Blue Demons women’s soccer team, the 2016 season follows the norm.

The graduation of Elise Wyatt, Alex Godinez, Brianna Ryce and the most notable change with Sarah Gorden playing for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League.

On the flip side, the addition of Kentucky transfer and fifth-year senior Kelli Hubly, along with Preseason All-BIG EAST selections senior Abby Reed, junior Alexa Ben and sophomore Franny Cerny will be counted on to provide stability for the Blue Demons.

Hubly’s move from the Southeastern Conference back home to the Chicagoland area (Elk Grove, IL) in the BIG EAST for her final season has been aided with redshirting last season and getting the opportunity to be one of the leaders for DePaul this season.

“It has been nice being back home over the last season, but it is very easy being able to finally play for DePaul this season," Hubly said. "The chemistry has been amazing in terms of being able to get along with each other on and off the field."

Cerny led the returning players for DePaul with 17 points last season, while Ben accounted for seven assists and Reed led DePaul last season in game-winning goals with three and hopes the clutch genes will rub off on her teammates.

"When you are an underclassman, you look up to the older players to lead and coming into that position now, you have to depend on the ability to inspire other people because other players will start looking up to you and not the other way around," Reed said.

Blue Demons coach Erin Chastain likes the progress of the young team throughout the summer practices.

“The focus has really been coming together as a team with chemistry given it is a small roster,” Chastain said. "It is a tight group and they all play for each other."

DePaul will look to build upon a second-place finish in the BIG EAST in 2015 (6-1-2, 20 points) and use its season-ending first-round loss in the conference tournament to Providence as motivation as Chastain acknowledged free kicks and corner kicks being DePaul's achilles heel last season and has made it a priority in the off-season.

“We talked about being more disciplined in those key moments of games, whether it is a defensive corner kick or a defensive set piece, it is about taking ownership of whatever your role is,” Chastain said. "It is something we will continue to emphasize with our group as the season approaches."

Before diving into BIG EAST play on Sept. 25 at home against Xavier, DePaul’s non-conference slate features four NCAA Tournament teams from last season, highlighted by the season opener at Wish Field on Aug. 19 against Fordham and a home meeting against crosstown rival Northwestern six days later.

"Obviously, our group will only be focused on the Fordham game for the next week. Our schedule does include some challenging teams like Northwestern and William & Mary," Chastain said. "Fordham also had a great season in 2015 also, so the idea is to challenge our group and see where we will be once conference play starts up."

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.