Steveo’s Salvos – December 21, 2015

Does this statement bother anybody else? : “Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has suspended All-American defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche for the Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma State. The suspension will end Nkemdiche’s college career, as he announced that he will enter the NFL draft.” For one thing, crime evidently does pay. Secondly, pro football once again demonstrates disdain for the schools that develop their players. It rewards rather than supports the disciplinary problems that the colleges face with the players they attract to get them a shot at playing professional football. There are other points to be made here in depth as well, but in reality, the NFL is really starting to bore me with their indifference to everything except for making money…According to the all-American team this year, we’ll have seen an eyeful of some of the best talent anywhere in the nation by the time this season comes to an end. This includes players seen a year ago, during this regular season, and also while attending the upcoming bowl games we plan to see when we get back on the road for four great games next week. On offense, we’ll get to see Soph QB DeShaun Watson, one of this year’s top Heisman candidates, lead the Clemson Tigers against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Capital One Orange Bowl. RB Leonard Fournette of LSU ran for over 100 yards in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl we attended last season in a 31-28 loss to Notre Dame…

LSU Frosh RB Leonard Fournette (7) scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and on an 89-yard run in last year's Music City.

LSU Frosh RB Leonard Fournette (7) scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and on an 89-yard run in last year’s Music City.

Speaking of Notre Dame, OT Ronnie Stanley helped pave the way to ND’s 24-20 win we attended against Temple. We have two guys to keep an eye on when we see the Baylor Bears (9-3) play in the Russell Athletic Bowl when they will face a tough challenge against the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2). WR Corey Coleman and OT Spencer Drago will be lining up on offense for the Bears who averaged 48 points per game. Their schedule early on was somewhat questionable, but we’ll see what they can do against UNC who averaged 40+ themselves on offense, but only allowed 22.6 per game over the course of the season. .. On defense, Clemson and Baylor come in with some All-Americans as well on the defensive line. Shaq Lawson is a stalwart for the Tigers and Andrew Billings is a key stopper for the Bears. S Jayron Kearse will be looking to stop the Sooners passing attack when we’re at Miami Lakes for the CFP opener… We saw the entire defensive front four of’s All-American team as Penn State’s Carl Nassib, winner of the Lombardi Trophy, and Joey Bosa of Ohio State, who we saw play this year and last against Michigan and Navy respectively, both made big plays from their DE positions this season. Temple LB Tyler Matakevitch, First-Team All-American, Nagurski and Bednarik award winner, and the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, led the Owls to their first win over Penn State since 1941 and kept the Notre Dame offense in check including an INT near his goal line in a hard fought loss when we saw him play this year. We think he’s going to make a name for himself at the next level. Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey had a good game against Syracuse when we saw the ‘Noles win up at The Carrier Dome last season. CB Desmond King starred for the much improved Iowa Hawkeyes this year, but when we saw his team play Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl last season, well, we couldn’t say that we were impressed by anyone on the Hawkeye team, but things changed this year evidently. Jeremy Cash, Safety at Duke, played in the Blue Devils’ drubbing of Army, 44-3, that we attended this season. We certainly got to see a great cross section of All-American talent this season at West Point…South Florida opened the bowl season among all the teams we saw play this season and got handed a 45-35 defeat against Western Kentucky (11-2) to finish 8-5. We’re looking forward to seeing probably the best bowl matchup (on TV) among the non-Power Five conferences on Tuesday night when Temple and Toledo meet in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. Don’t miss this one. Watch Matakevitch if you haven’t seen the Owls play this year. Junior RB Jahad Thomas is a key cog in the Owl running game…

The Owls swarmed the Lions defensively from the second period on when the defeated PSU for the first time in 74 years.

The Owls swarmed the Lions defensively from the second period on when they defeated PSU for the first time in 74 years.

Shepherd University fell to Northwest Missouri State in the D2 championship game, 35-7, nixing our chance to have seen two national championship teams this season. We had an eye out on this game for a while at a dinner in New York City at a restaurant on Eighth Avenue called the “Houndstooth Pub”. Auburn grad Carlie Miller who joined us was a little perplexed that it may be the fall Saturday hangout for local Crimson Tide alum. But no proof of that. Great food and service… We think Rutgers new head Coach Chris Ash is going to learn quickly that the media in the New York –New Jersey metropolitan area is going to be completely different than what he’s anticipated based on his limited experience as a HC and what he’s seen his former mentor, Urban Meyer, tolerate. The pressure pot is brewing already. The Newark Star Ledger alone has three beat writers covering Rutgers football every day, and they won’t be playing again until September 3 (at Washington). Ash is still coaching the Ohio State defense going into the Battle Frog (?) Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame while hiring his new staff, recruiting players, wooing New Jersey high school football coaches, moving his young family, and just getting the lay of the land while back and forth to Columbus and then on to Arizona for New Year’s Day. With no current Jersey connections and recruiting against the likes of Jim Harbaugh (who’s got four top Jersey schoolboy commitments already), Urban Meyer, James Franklin, Mark D’Antoni , and Matt Rhule of Temple (seriously) who has a roster full of Jersey and Pennsylvania kids, among others, he’s not only got his work cut out for him, but people in good old NJ are going to want to see results quickly. For 35 years since RU joined the ranks of the majors, people have said, “If Rutgers could keep all the best players in New Jersey coming to Rutgers, we’ll have a great team.” It hasn’t happened. Greg Schiano (former RU HC and Ash’s replacement to be at Ohio State as defensive coordinator) came closest in 2007. Even students not playing sports from New Jersey want to go someplace else to live and learn for four years. With a new head coach with no head coaching experience and a new AD with no football background (Chris Hobbs from Seton Hall), I don’t see much improvement coming to RU’s football program any time soon. The press is playing nice now, but if the results don’t come fast and furiously to compete among the Big Ten mainstays, they and the fans will all be asking why not. I already know the answers…

Rutgers played without suspended HC Kyle Flood against Michigan State and played a close game, losing 31-24.

Rutgers played without suspended HC Kyle Flood against Michigan State and played a close game, losing 31-24.

Mount Union returned to the Top of D3 for the 12th time after two years as runner-up. In the semifinal, they defeated six time champ and nemesis Wisconsin-Whitewater, 36-6. In the final, they defeated St. Thomas of Minnesota, 49-35. Congratulations to HC Vince Kehres and the Purple Raiders (15-0) who will most likely be in the D-3 hunt again next season…Former UW-Whitewater HC Lance Leipold, winner of six D-3 national championships there, finished his first season at Buffalo with a 5-7 record, 3-5 in the MAC. Not bad for a guy who had no time to recruit on the short notice he had to make things happen in upstate New York. Especially for a guy whose entire roster at UWW came primarily from just the “Cheesehead” state. We now look forward to what he can do more than ever. With more opportunity for recruiting and more offseason coaching to be done from his side, he’ll put the Bulls in the thick of the MAC race in short period of time. He had a good win over Ohio U, 41-7, and some tough losses against some solid conference foes like Bowling Green and Northern Illinois. His team was beaten the worst by Central Michigan. Overall, it shows that he prepares his team well and can coach a team effectively during a game. I think he’s going to do well here at UB and end up with something even more significant later on where his program to be will be challenging for the FBS championship.

We can't believe how the Iowa Hawkeyes improved so much after one season.  They had no speed when we saw Tennessee crush them in last season's TaxSlayer Bowl.

We can’t believe how the Iowa Hawkeyes improved so much after one season. They had no speed when we saw Tennessee crush them in last season’s TaxSlayer Bowl.

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