Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 ACC Coastal game by game predictions

                                                 Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

While the ACC Atlantic division garnered most of the attention in the 2016 season with Clemson winning the conference and national titles, Florida State's Orange Bowl win and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson's Heisman Trophy, the ACC Coastal could be as entertaining for different reasons.

Virginia Tech should be even better in Justin Fuente's second season after making it to the ACC Title Game in 2016, while Pittsburgh possesses one of the more underrated defenses in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Key divisional games:

Oct. 21: North Carolina at Virginia Tech
Oct. 28: Miami (FL) at North Carolina
Nov. 4: Virginia Tech at Miami (FL)

Virginia Tech Hokies    10-2, 6-2 ACC Coastal

Sept. 3 (Sun.) vs West Virginia (Landover, MD) W 24-20
Sept. 9 vs Delaware W 55-13
Sept. 16 at East Carolina W 31-24
Sept. 23 vs Old Dominion W 35-17
Sept. 30 vs Clemson L 38-20
Oct. 7 at Boston College W 28-0
Oct. 21 vs North Carolina W 25-14
Oct. 28 vs Duke W 13-7
Nov. 4 at Miami (FL) W 28-23
Nov. 11 at Georgia Tech L 21-13
Nov. 18 vs Pittsburgh W 33-31
Nov. 24 (Fri.) at Virginia W 29-17

North Carolina Tar Heels   9-3, 6-2 ACC Coastal

Sept. 2 vs California W 42-32
Sept. 9 vs Louisville L 35-27
Sept. 16 at Old Dominion W 33-14
Sept. 23 vs Duke W 31-14
Sept. 30 at Georgia Tech W 34-3
Oct. 7 vs Notre Dame L 24-14
Oct. 14 vs Virginia W 33-10
Oct. 21 at Virginia Tech L 25-14
Oct. 28 vs Miami (FL) W 42-35 (OT)
Nov. 9 (Thu.) at Pittsburgh W 23-13
Nov. 18 vs Western Carolina W 34-14
Nov. 25 at NC State W 42-23

Miami (FL) Hurricanes      9-3, 5-3 ACC Coastal

Sept. 2 vs Bethune-Cookman W 34-3
Sept. 9 at Appalachian State W 31-10
Sept. 16 at Florida State L 17-12
Sept. 23 vs Toledo W 41-21
Sept. 29 (Fri.) at Duke W 23-19
Oct. 12 (Thu.) vs Georgia Tech W 20-13
Oct. 21 vs Syracuse W 35-6
Oct. 28 at North Carolina L 42-35 (OT)
Nov. 4 vs Virginia Tech L 28-23
Nov. 11 vs Notre Dame W 31-21
Nov. 18 vs Virginia W 45-10
Nov. 24 (Fri.) at Pittsburgh W 33-24

Pittsburgh Panthers   7-5, 4-4 ACC Coastal

Sept. 2 vs Youngtown State W 52-3
Sept. 9 at Penn State L 32-30
Sept. 16 vs Oklahoma State W 24-14
Sept. 23 at Georgia Tech W 35-21
Sept. 30 vs Rice W 45-0
Oct. 7 at Syracuse W 34-24
Oct. 14 vs NC State W 35-23
Oct. 21 at Duke L 24-14
Oct. 28 vs Virginia W 34-20
Nov. 9 (Thu.) vs North Carolina L 23-13
Nov. 18 at Virginia Tech L 33-31
Nov. 24 (Fri.) vs Miami (FL) L 33-24

Virginia Cavaliers       5-7, 3-5 ACC Coastal

Sept. 2 vs William & Mary W 45-13
Sept. 9 vs Indiana L 28-26
Sept. 16 vs Connecticut W 35-21
Sept. 22 (Fri.) at Boise State L 42-10
Oct. 7 vs Duke W 24-13
Oct. 14 at North Carolina L 33-10
Oct. 21 vs Boston College W 21-16
Oct. 28 at Pittsburgh L 34-20
Nov. 4 vs Georgia Tech W 42-14
Nov. 11 at Louisville L 28-10
Nov. 18 at Miami (FL) L 45-10

Nov. 24 (Fri.) vs Virginia Tech L 29-17

Duke Blue Devils    6-6, 3-5 ACC Coastal

Sept. 2 vs UNC Central W 35-13
Sept. 9 vs Northwestern W 24-10
Sept. 16 vs Baylor L 51-34
Sept. 23 at North Carolina L 31-14
Sept. 29 (Fri.) vs Miami (FL) L 23-19
Oct. 7 at Virginia L 24-13
Oct. 14 vs Florida State W 34-24
Oct. 21 vs Pittsburgh W 24-14
Oct. 28 at Virginia Tech L 13-7
Nov. 11 at Army W 35-28
Nov. 18 vs Georgia Tech W 21-10
Nov. 25 at Wake Forest L 23-21

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets     5-7, 2-6 ACC Coastal

Sept. 4 (Mon.) vs Tennessee (Atlanta, Ga.) W 41-35
Sept. 9 vs Jacksonville State W 56-14         
Sept. 16 at Central Florida W 35-24
Sept. 23 vs Pittsburgh L 35-21
Sept. 30 vs North Carolina L 34-3
Oct. 12 (Thu.) at Miami (FL) L 20-13
Oct. 21 vs Wake Forest W 35-14
Oct. 28 at Clemson L 34-13
Nov. 4 at Virginia L 42-14
Nov. 11 vs Virginia Tech W 21-13
Nov. 18 at Duke L 21-10

Nov. 25 vs Georgia L 31-27

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pep Hamilton brings a different dimension for the Michigan quarterbacks

                                        Photo Credit: Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free Press

CHICAGO— Another season, another quarterback competition.

For third year Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, the norm has been to keep an open competition to bring out the best in his players. This season is no different as incumbent starter Wilton Speight, John O’Korn and Brandon Peters will compete for the starting quarterback spot in fall camp.

The twist is with a veteran offensive guru at their side this time around.

Insert, Pep Hamilton.

Hired on Jan. 12, the assistant coach/passing game coordinator helped shape Andrew Luck as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Stanford in 2011 and followed him two seasons later to the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League and has brought a different type of fire to Michigan in his first season.

The connection with Hamilton and Harbaugh goes as far back to the 2010 season as he served as the wide receivers coach and contributed to an Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech.

Over the years, the two would find success through different paths in the NFL with Harbaugh making it to Super Bowl 47 against his older brother and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, while Hamilton helped guide Luck to career highs in passing yards (4,761) touchdowns (40) and quarterback rating (96.5) in the 2014 season.

After a one-year stint in Cleveland last season, Hamilton found his way back into the college game at Michigan and Harbaugh believes in what he has done to build up the quarterback depth in his short time.

“(Pep) is really one of the best coaches we have out there, pro or college,” Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday. “Our players see it and are benefiting greatly. He is a jackhammer and has such a good ability to stay on point and detail. His style is not confusing or fast, but is just right.”

Family moves the needle on the Ann Arbor campus and Hamilton’s hospitality has rubbed off on not only the quarterbacks, but the other position players.

“Pep is a tremendous father and should write a book or even go on YouTube and film videos on how to parent,” Harbaugh said in a sarcastic manner. “He coaches the players on our team just like he talks to his own kids and gives the players tools to be as good as possible and holds them accountable. I can go on and on, but he is one of the more fantastic coaches in all of football.”

The Pep Hamilton File:

Born: Sept. 19, 1974, Charlotte, NC

Education: Howard University

Coaching history:

1997-98- Howard University, Quarterbacks coach
1999-2001- Howard University, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach
2002- Baltimore Ravens, Pro Personnel Intern
2003- New York Jets, Offensive Quality Control
2004-05- New York Jets, Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks coach
2006- San Francisco 49ers, Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks coach
2007-09- Chicago Bears, Quarterbacks coach
2010- Stanford University, Wide Receivers coach
2011-12- Stanford University, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach
2013-15- Indianapolis Colts, Offensive Coordinator
2016- Cleveland Browns, Associate Head Coach, Offense

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

VIDEO- 2017 Big Ten Media Days recap

We have decided to do something different this season for our college football and basketball coverage and extended video recaps of games and events will be part of the changes.

Here's a 14+ minute recap of Geno Green's coverage of 2017 Big Ten Media Days at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

0:08- FOX Sports/Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman
5:28- Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh
6:50- Penn State head coach James Franklin
8:11- Minnesota running back Rodney Smith 
8:47- Minnesota haed coach P.J. Fleck
10:29- Nebraska head coach Mike Riley
11:47- Michigan linebacker Mike McCray
12:17- Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm
13:39- Purdue quarterback David Blough

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reality television meets Row The Boat for first-year Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck

                                                         Photo Credit: Geno Green

CHICAGO— Move over Kardashians, first-year Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck is coming to reality television in primetime.

“BEING P.J. Fleck,” premieres in a four-episode series Aug. 2 on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET, which focuses on Minnesota’s off-season and will run each Wednesday. ESPN came pitched the idea to the school after being hired in January.

“First of all, they approached us. This wasn't something that we said: We're going to have a reality show; let's go find somebody to air it,” Fleck said. “They approached us, which was an honor. One thing I am hired to do is bring national exposure, national attention to the University of Minnesota. And that's what we're going to do.”

“I don't know what the show is going to be like. I don't know if this is going to be like the Kardashians or they're going to spin it that way or it's going to be a little bit tamer. But it will be a little interesting to see what comes out of the reality show.”

Whether the show will be a success or not can be debated, but one thing Fleck has sold fans and recruits on is the “Row The Boat” mantra.

The slogan helped Western Michigan gain a national identity over the last five seasons, highlighted by a Mid-American Conference championship and a Cotton Bowl trip last season, before taking the coaching job at Minnesota.

“Going back I think it was five years ago, we brought [Row The Boat] to Western Michigan,” Fleck said. “And for a university to be able to use that logo, you've got to be able to trademark it, license it, and then you also have to do it with the university's logo to use it.”

Through the lowest of lows with a 1-11 mark in 2013 to the highest of highs at 13-1 in 2016, Fleck views Row The Boat as more than a cliché, but as a way of life and how to face adversity to climb to the top of the mountain.

“I think we're very lucky, we're very honored to be able to have a slogan behind our brand and our image that means way more than football; that even football fans of football can enjoy and then people who maybe aren't necessarily fans of football can still truly connect with our culture of what row the boat means,” Fleck said.

In an era where social media is as relevant and key to staying hot, Fleck knows the job of being a coach in a Power Five conference is a constant sales pitch.

“I think every head football coach in America is self-promoting at some point,” Fleck said. “We're all selling ourselves and showing what we're like and recruiting our cultures and developing our cultures. You're the front porch of the institution.”

Expectations are sky-high for Fleck with a nine-win team inherited from last season— the most since 2003, but knows in order to become the talk of the campus, winning is a must.

“You're not the most important thing on campus, but you're the front porch of nationally what everybody sees, and you're representing a ton of people, from the faculty, to our administration, to our Board of Regents, to President Kaler, the athletic director, Mark Coyle, to our players, to our Twin Cities, to our state. You're representing so much,” Fleck said.

As the front door approaches on the season, a reality television series, the Row The Boat slogan and consistent success could make for an eventful run at Minnesota, where success has come few and far between in its history.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Gus Johnson and Bruce Feldman reflect on Ohio State-Michigan highlighting FOX Sports' deepest TV schedule ever

 Photo Credit: Geno Green

CHICAGO— As another college football season dawns, Big Ten media days serves as the ultimate bridge to the final frontier of the off-season and for the Big Ten and new broadcast partner FOX Sports, things could have not gotten off to a better start with its 2017 schedule.

At the network’s media college football breakfast on Tuesday at McCormick Place, FOX Play-by-Play announcers and Analysts reflected on its deepest coverage of games since its inception in 2011— highlighted by the Ohio State-Michigan game on Nov. 25 at Michigan Stadium.

A Detroit, Mich. native, lead announcer Gus Johnson knows about the significance of the Ohio State-Michigan game, but never got an opportunity to visit Michigan Stadium in person and relishes the chance to call the game for the first time ever.

“Whenever you get a chance to call a game like (Ohio State-Michigan), it is a benchmark for you in your career,” Johnson said.

“Growing up in Detroit, I never went to a Michigan game in Ann Arbor and it will be a first for me on a number of different levels for me. It is the greatest rivalry in all of college football and arguably sports in America and hopefully the guys will be playing for something important.”

Fox Sports sideline reporter and Sports Illustrated writer Bruce Feldman, who was elevated to the secondary broadcast team with Joe Davis (Play-by-Play) and Brady Quinn (Analyst) this upcoming season felt enthused about having an opportunity to potentially be a part of “The Game”.

“We were at a dinner with other FOX and FS1 colleagues in the off-season and everyone was talking about the possibility of us getting the game and Joel Klatt mentioned that we could be calling Ohio State-Michigan and how big that would be,” Feldman said.

“We all grew up watching the game— probably more than any other. Growing up in the Northeast, there wasn’t any real college football outside of Boston College and Syracuse. Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame would be the schools on television all the time. In an era where you can basically watch every game and just to have this one is big because the Ohio State-Michigan game is a national brand.”

Outside of the OSU-Michigan game, FOX will carry other notable games, such as Texas-USC (Sept. 16), Notre Dame-Michigan State (Sept. 23), Penn State-Ohio State (Oct. 28) and the Bedlam Series with Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Nov. 4). Also, the reinstated Big 12 championship game joins the Big Ten in the network’s championship slate on Sat. Dec. 2.

Johnson believes FOX will become a major player this season and close the gap with ESPN in terms of game inventory and brand recognition/

“Overall, I think we are really excited about our schedule given we have three of the five major conferences in college football,” Johnson said. “To have those games and to have a chance to make a statement as a college football network as the place to go watch games is something we are looking really forward to.”

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

2017 ACC Atlantic game by game predictions

                                                Photo Credit: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports

Fresh off a season which saw Clemson win the national championship in dramatic fashion against Alabama, Florida State's epic Orange Bowl victory over Michigan and Louisville's Lamar Jackson capturing the 2016 Heisman Trophy, 2017 should be another explosive season in the ACC Atlantic division.

Below are the key divisional games and the predictions for the 2017 season:

Key divisional games:

Sept. 16: Clemson at Louisville
Oct. 21: Louisville at Florida State
Nov. 4: Clemson at Florida State

Florida State Seminoles    10-2, 7-1 ACC Atlantic

Sept. 2 vs Alabama (Atlanta, Ga.) L 23-21
Sept. 9 vs Louisiana-Monroe W 45-0
Sept. 16 vs Miami (FL) W 17-12
Sept. 23 vs NC State W 31-30
Sept. 30 at Wake Forest W 14-3
Oct. 14 at Duke L 34-24
Oct. 21 vs Louisville W 28-23
Oct. 27 (Fri.) at Boston College W 31-3
Nov. 4 vs Syracuse W 42-30
Nov. 11 at Clemson W 21-17
Nov. 18 vs Delaware State W 62-13
Nov. 25 at Florida W 18-16

Louisville Cardinals   11-1, 7-1 ACC Atlantic

Sept. 2 vs Purdue (Indianapolis, Ind.) W 41-13
Sept. 9 at North Carolina W 35-27
Sept. 16 vs Clemson W 43-34
Sept. 23 vs Kent State W 62-10
Sept. 30 vs Murray State W 59-0
Oct. 5 (Thu.) at NC State W 45-35
Oct. 14 vs Boston College W 42-30
Oct. 21 at Florida State L 28-23
Oct. 28 at Wake Forest W 35-20
Nov. 11 vs Virginia W 28-10
Nov. 18 vs Syracuse W 21-14
Nov. 25 at Kentucky W 40-37 (3OT)

Clemson Tigers   10-2, 6-2 ACC Atlantic

Sept. 2 vs Kent State W 56-20
Sept. 9 vs Auburn W 31-28
Sept. 16 at Louisville L 43-34
Sept. 23 vs Boston College W 52-21
Sept. 30 at Virginia Tech W 38-20
Oct.7 vs Wake Forest W 31-13
Oct. 13 (Fri.) at Syracuse W 32-24
Oct. 28 vs Georgia Tech W 34-13
Nov. 4 at NC State W 24-14
Nov. 11 vs Florida State L 21-17
Nov. 18 vs The Citadel W 35-0
Nov. 25 at South Carolina W 16-10

Boston College Eagles     6-6, 3-5 ACC Atlantic   

Sept. 1 (Thu.) at Northern Illinois W 17-13
Sept. 9 vs Wake Forest W 24-10
Sept. 16 vs Notre Dame L 44-13
Sept. 23 at Clemson L 52-21
Sept. 30 vs Central Michigan W 34-21
Oct. 7 vs Virginia Tech L 28-0
Oct. 14 at Louisville L 42-30
Oct. 21 at Virginia L 21-16
Oct. 27 (Fri.) vs Florida State L 31-3
Nov. 11 vs NC State W 22-20
Nov. 18 vs Connecticut W 21-10
Nov. 25 at Syracuse W 28-26

NC State Wolfpack   3-9, 1-7 ACC Atlantic

Sept. 2 vs South Carolina (Charlotte, N.C.) L 21-13
Sept. 9 vs Marshall W 25-20
Sept. 16 vs Furman W 35-3
Sept. 23 at Florida State L 31-30
Sept. 30 vs Syracuse L 24-16
Oct. 5 (Thu.) vs Louisville L 45-35
Oct. 14 at Pittsburgh L 38-28
Oct. 28 at Notre Dame L 52-23
Nov. 4 vs Clemson L 24-14
Nov. 11 at Boston College L 22-20
Nov. 18 at Wake Forest W 12-7
Nov. 25 vs North Carolina L 21-17

Syracuse Orange    7-5, 4-4 ACC Atlantic

Sept. 1 (Fri.) vs Central Connecticut State W 31-3
Sept. 9 vs Middle Tennessee W 28-23
Sept. 16 vs Central Michigan W 34-31
Sept. 23 at LSU L 45-31
Sept. 30 at NC State W 24-16
Oct. 7 vs Pittsburgh W 35-20
Oct. 13 (Fri.) vs Clemson L 32-24
Oct. 21 at Miami (FL) W 28-24
Nov. 4 at Florida State L 42-30
Nov. 11 vs Wake Forest W 21-6
Nov. 18 at Louisville L 21-14
Nov. 25 vs Boston College L 28-26

Wake Forest Demon Deacons    4-8, 1-7 ACC Atlantic

Aug. 31 (Thu.) vs Presbyterian W 23-10
Sept. 9 at Boston College L 24-10
Sept. 16 vs Utah State W 31-23
Sept. 23 at Appalachian State W 16-12
Sept. 30 vs Florida State L 14-13
Oct. 7 at Clemson L 31-13
Oct. 21 at Georgia Tech L 20-9
Oct. 28 vs Louisville L 35-20
Nov. 4 at Notre Dame L 42-21
Nov. 11 at Syracuse L 21-6
Nov. 18 vs NC State L 12-7

Nov. 25 vs Duke W 23-21