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Thursday, August 31, 2017

No. 16 Louisville comes in as a heavy favorite, but not taking Purdue lightly














Going into Saturday’s game as a near-four touchdown favorite at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, No. 16 Louisville knows the lofty expectations, but can’t take Purdue as an exhibition game.

Defending Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to shoulder more of the load with wide receiver Devante Peete out for the season with an undisclosed injury. On top of the added pressure on offense, the Louisville defense could face as many as three Purdue quarterbacks on Saturday.

Despite the increased responsibilities, Jackson appears to be better than ever and coach Bobby Petrino believes the sky’s the limit for the junior.

“One of the neat things about Lamar right now is that a play will take place and he’ll turn around to me and say: ‘He needed to snap that’ or ‘He needed to run out of his break’, and I’ll say: ‘Go tell him.’ Petrino said in Monday’s press conference. “He’s seeing it, he’s understanding that the receiver needs to do this better, and that is a huge step from two years ago when he first got here. I think that says a lot right there.”

The running back position appears to be a toss-up as former quarterback/wide receiver Reggie Bonnafon, Jeremy Smith and Malik Williams will likely get close to an equal amount of carries depending on how the tempo of the game goes.

Louisville’s biggest question mark will be the offensive line and how it gels after losing three starters from last season. Junior offensive tackle Lukayis McNeil anchors the line and has started 21 games in his first two seasons.

Familiarity rings supreme for Purdue first-year coach Jeff Brohm as a former Louisville quarterback (1989-93) and QB/assistant coach (2003-08) returns to go against his alma mater in Indianapolis.

Brohm’s main priority will be coming up with various ways to slow down Jackson and has used ample practice time simulating specific play calls.

“Of course, we've watched a lot of video. We've seen the teams where he's ran all over and seen a few other teams that maybe have corralled him to a certain degree, and I think we have to do that,” Brohm said in Monday’s weekly Purdue teleconference.

“So I think we need to give him different looks. You have to make sure you don't rush past the quarterback in a passing situation. You've got to make sure, when your quarterback is doing all the quarterback runs, which they do a heavy dose of it, you've got to know that he has a chance to have the ball. You've got to contain him.”

David Blough’s status remains in the air after suffering a shoulder injury in fall camp two weeks ago, but if cleared to play, will take the majority of the snaps with the possibility of sophomore Elijah Sindelar and redshirt freshman Jared Sparks having a select package of plays, which could keep the Cardinals on their toes for all four quarters.

Junior Markell Jones spearheads the Boilermaker backfield and amassed 1,491 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016. His speed and shiftiness could give Louisville’s defense fits.



Louisville/Purdue fast facts:

-      - Saturday’s game is the second time in school history in which Purdue will play the winner of the previous season’s Heisman Trophy winner.


-      - This is the second meeting all-time with the first ending in a 22-22 tie in 1987.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Geno Green Experience- Sean Baligian







On this edition of The Geno Green Experience, WJR 760 and Fox 2 Detroit's Sean Baligian comes on to talk about the Week 1 slate of college football games and cider mills.




Topics:

1:34 College Football Week 1 preview
16:22 Baligian shares his love for the cider mills in Michigan















Social Media:


Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Fleck embraces the challenge of playing in a city surrounded by pro teams


                                                            Photo Credit: Geno Green



CHICAGO— In the game of life, most are afraid to leave their comfort zones.

First-year Minnesota Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck went outside the box, going from a small school in Western Michigan, which is the only game in town in Kalamazoo, MI, to a vibrant, urban area in Minneapolis.

Few Power Five schools can boast about playing in a big city, where Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium sits right in the middle of a booming campus, where state of the art apartments and campus bars surround the facility.

Expectations are very lofty after Fleck inherited a nine-win team from last season, but with blue bloods Nebraska and Wisconsin standing in the way in the Big Ten west division, the Gophers have their work cut out as their season starts in earnest on Thursday against the Buffalo Bulls.

Despite being surrounded by professional sports teams from the NBA (Timberwolves), NFL (Vikings), NHL (Wild), MLB (Twins) and WNBA (Lynx) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Fleck believes an opportunity can be created by flocking fans across the river to TCF Bank Stadium and sees the potential of the Gophers to become a consistent winner in the Big Ten Conference.

“That’s what people’s perception of the Twin Cities is and I don’t believe it. I believe that it is to our advantage,” Fleck said in July's Big Ten media days in Chicago.

“We are not here to compete against each other, but to be together. We are Minnesota. It is not the Minneapolis this and the St. Paul that, it is the Minnesota Wild, Vikings, Timberwolves, Twins and Lynx. We are all together with this and have to start looking at it that way. I am here to do whatever I can to connect all of our sports teams and make it a powerful force.”

Chicago native and senior defensive tackle Steven Richardson has embraced the atmosphere of Minnesota's campus over the years as one of the primary leaders. Richardson recorded 31 tackles (11 for loss) and seven sacks last season and credits the effort to an easy transition from one big city to another.

"I am from Chicago, so being in Minneapolis is a nicer version and can never complain about having a bad day given the atmosphere here," Richardson said.

In order to see the process play out, Minnesota needs better results in its rivalry games against Iowa and Wisconsin— where it is a combined 1-9 in the last five seasons. Fleck knows that getting over the hump will not be easy, but envisions the success aligning with other sports teams in the area.


“Can you imagine what the twin cities if all of the pro teams and the Gophers were contending for championships all at once?," Fleck said. "That is why our staff came here to Minnesota because of the surrounding teams in the area and to create something different. I love that our players can walk a half a mile across the river and go watch a pro game. If you are ever bored in our city, then there is a problem.”

The energy and enthusiasm of rowing the boat is in full effect in Minneapolis, but only time will tell to see if it can transfer to wins on the gridiron.



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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Green's takeaways from Week Zero


                                            Photo Credit: Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times



Welcome to a new post called Green's takeaways where I give a rapid recap of the top moments of each college football week.

What better way to kick things off than with Week Zero's top takeaways:



1) South Florida impresses big at San Jose State:


If the No. 19 South Florida Bulls are to have any slim hope of making the College Football Playoff on New Year's day, then they must run the table and impress the committee and Saturday's 42-22 win at San Jose State proved to be a good starting point, despite a sluggish start.

USF gave up the first 16 points to SJSU before regaining its mojo scoring 42 of the last 48 points behind 18 carries on 70 yards and a touchdown by quarterback Quentin Flowers, to go along with 11-of-22 from the air for 212 yards and two TD's.



2) Colorado State's offense exceeds with ease:


Third-year coach Mike Bobo faces a lot of pressure with high expectations and CSU took the first step in becoming an outside contender for the Group of Five New Year's Six spot with a commanding 58-27 win against Oregon State out of the Pac-12 conference.

Colorado State will get a stiffer test on Sept. 1 as it squares off with in-state rival Colorado in Denver.



3) BYU passes FCS test as a brutal stretch draws near:


The BYU Cougars passed their de facto dress rehearsal in a 20-6 win over the Portland State Vikings. While the win was not a typical blowout of epic proportions, the BYU defense looked in mid-season form as it held Portland State to six points.

Running back Squally Canada put together a solid effort for BYU with 13 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars will know by the end of September whether they are contenders or pretenders with games against SEC power LSU, in-state rival Utah and Big Ten stalwart Wisconsin.



4) Hawai'i flew 5,000 miles and slithered past UMass, 38-35:


Any road trip for Hawai'i is no easy task as it always adjusts to various time zones— this time around in the Eastern time zone.

Despite the jet lag, Hawaii powered past UMass courtesy of a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dru Brown to Metuisela 'Unga with 48 seconds left.


The Rainbow Warriors showed no signs of wear and tear as it amassed 503 yards of total offense.



5) Stanford served plenty of blooms and onions down under:


With running back Christian McCaffrey a fleeting memory from the past, No. 14 Stanford needed to groom a replacement and appeared to find one in Bryce Love. Love produced a first half to remember with 11 carries on 176 yards— the most for a Pac-12 player on less than 11 carries since 2004.

Love finished with two touchdowns, with help from the offensive line creating the gaping holes left and right.

After going up 38-0 at halftime, Love and most of Stanford's first-string offense saw limited action in the second half on its way to a 62-7 win over Rice.



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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Pick Six- Week Zero edition








Hello again and welcome to the second season of Pick Six. Sean Baligian, Ryan Larimore and DaVaughn Lucas will pick five of the premiere games each week, along with a wild card game.

Baligian won the inaugural season of Pick Six by a landslide, but a new campaign is here with a clean slate.









Week Zero picks:                                                Baligian            Larimore            Lucas


Oregon State at Colorado State                   Colorado State   Colorado State  Oregon State

Portland State at BYU                                        BYU                     BYU               BYU

Hawaii at UMass                                             Hawaii                 UMass           Hawaii

South Florida at San Jose State                  South Florida       South Florida    South Florida

Stanford vs Rice                                             Stanford                 Stanford          Stanford


Wild Card Pick:

Chattanooga vs Jacksonville State (FCS)    Jacksonville St.  Jacksonville St. Jacksonville St.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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




We are less than 48 hours away from the first college football games kicking off in week zero of the schedule, highlighted by South Florida and Stanford.

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





Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal):


4) Florida State vs 1) Alabama

With Power Five schools beefing up their schedules, FSU and Alabama meet out the gate in Atlanta with a College Football Playoff-like atmosphere, which makes this preseason bowl projection stand out.

No matter the result of the season opener, expect the Seminoles and Crimson Tide to contend for the CFP in the 2017 season.




Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal):


3) USC vs 2) Ohio State

This matchup screams tradition and the best part is despite the Rose Bowl being a national semifinal, the Pac-12-Big 10 tradition could be preserved.

Imagine quarterbacks Sam Darnold (USC) and J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) putting up gaudy numbers on a late afternoon on New Years Day in Pasadena. 


Other New Year's Six projections— Cotton Bowl (Dec. 29):

11) Louisville vs 8) Oklahoma

  
Orange Bowl (Dec. 30):

6) Penn State vs 5) Clemson


Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 30):

19) South Florida vs 7) Washington



Peach Bowl (Jan. 1):


12) LSU vs 9) Michigan



Social Media:


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Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 CSO Mock College Football Playoff committee pre-season rankings


                                                            Photo Credit: Getty Images



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


Here are the preseason Top 25 mock committee rankings with help from this season's committee members:



Bill Bender, National college football writer at The Sporting News 
Sean Baligian, Detroit Lions studio host for 760 WJR in Detroit
Terry Foster, Legendary Detroit sports personality formerly of 97.1 The Ticket and The Detroit News
Al Willman, Sports writer for The Paducah Sun
Jeremy Rosenberg, CSO college football/basketball writer 
Ryan Larimore, Host of the Larimore Podcast 
DaVaughn Lucas CSO contributor
Jeff Hauser, Colorado Buffaloes sports writer for SB Nation's The Ralphie Report 
Jon Opiela, CSO football/baseball/basketball writer 
Devin Larkins, CSO football/basketball writer




      Team                                    Points


1) Alabama (5)                              197

2) Ohio State (1)                           187

3) USC (1)                                    183

4) Florida State                            178

5) Clemson (1)                             168

6) Penn State                               157

7) Washington                             148

8) Oklahoma                               147

9) Michigan                                130

10) Oklahoma State                    112

11) Louisville                              107

12) LSU                                      103

      Georgia                                103

14) Auburn                                 102

15) Wisconsin                              94

16) Stanford                                84

17) Florida                                  67

18) Miami (FL)                            61

19) South Florida                         52

20) Kansas State                           39

21) West Virginia                          36

22) Texas                                      30

23) Virginia Tech                         25

24) Tennessee                              21

25) Washington State                  18



Others receiving votes:

Colorado 16, Utah 12, TCU 7, Boise State 6, Pittsburgh 3, Northwestern 3, Toledo 2, UCLA 1, Memphis 1


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