Thursday TV

Thursday TV.

All times are eastern


No games


Virginia at Miami (FL) - 8 - ESPN

Rice at Houston - 8 - FSN

Augustana (DII - SD) at Minnesota State Mankato (DII) - 8 - CBSSN

High School:

Aledo (TX) at Birdville (TX) - 8 - ESPNU

Madison Central (MS) at Northwest Rankin (MS) - 7 - Fox Sports 

We like how Tubs thinks

With the recent conference realignments, Tommy Tuberville was asked his thoughts on adding a few teams to the Big 12.

Tubs led off by saying that he would favor adding Louisville over West Virginia based on travel.  Louisville would also add a bigger TV market than Morgantown does as well.

"A lot of people would think I’m crazy, but I would go after San Diego State and I’d go after Tulane. They both have great stadiums. Both would grow immensely if they went to a conference like this. I know right now, one, San Diego State is doing pretty good. Tulane is not, but they’ve got the Superdome, they’ve got New Orleans for people to go in and out. I think you look at things like that and TV markets".

In a study of the 210 media markets, New Orleans ranked #52 in the "number of TV households", and San Diego ranked 28th. Louisville is ranked 50th, and after a thorough search, we couldn't find Morgantown anywhere on the list (which means it ranks below both Juneau, and Fairbanks, Alaska).

At the end of the day coaches aren't driving the decisions, but it's always fun to hear Tubs take on pretty much anything. San Diego and New Orleans sure do sound like more fun that some of the other alternatives.  

FIU is putting together a nice season

Mario Cristobal and FIU started the season with 3 straight wins, but had lost 3 of their last four games before last night's win over Troy. FIU had the lead going into the 4th quarter in two of those losses, and was only down 5 with 14:06 left against Louisiana-Lafayette .  

Last night defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and the defensive staff did an impressive job against Troy holding them to 3-14 on 3rd down conversions and putting the defense in great position to get off the field. Leading up to last night's game, Troy was running an average of 92 plays per game.  FIU held the Trojans to a third of that, only allowing them to run 59 plays.

Cristobal has made some impressive progress at FIU since being hired in 2006, and has a great opportunity to build on this season with his final 4 games coming against teams with losing records. If Cristobal is able to win 3 of those next 4 it would get FIU to 8 wins and would mark the best season since joining the FBS, topping last seasons 7-6 record.

Value of the special teams coordinator

Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech team is 6-2. He doesn't have a coach on staff whose primary role is special teams coordinator, in fact he never has.

Unfortunately, this season, Tech's special teams haven't been all that special (currently ranked in the bottom half of all FBS teams in net punting (93rd), punt returns (68th) and kickoff returns (102nd) and have only blocked one kick through 8 games). 

Johnson was recently grilled on special teams decisions and schemes after the Miami loss, and the question of having a designated special teams coordinator was asked.

"The whole thing is ridiculous. Guys calling for special teams coordinators don’t have any idea. You know how many teams in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten have special teams coordinators that don’t coach another position? Six. You know who it is in our league? Boston College – which is helping them a lot – and N.C. State. And the Big Ten, it’s Purdue. In the Big 12, it’s Kansas State. I think it’s Coach (Bill) Snyder’s son. Most staffs are set up the same as ours.

Johnson noted that his staff went this past off-season and spent two days with the Atlanta Falcons staff. "We're doing the same stuff they're doing. It's the same schemes, it's the same stuff."

In his 32 years coaching, Johnson said that every staff he's every been on has always split the special teams duties up amongst the whole staff. As Johnson put it "Sometimes you're better than others."

Well, we know where Johnson stands on this issue; and we certainly know other coaches who feel the exact opposite way about this.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below. 


The most improved defense in the country

Earlier today we saw a good article by Bruce Feldman that pointed out that Michigan's defense has moved up 100 spots in scoring defenses going from 108th in 2010 to 8th this season. Any time you improve 100 spots, that's newsworthy.

Greg Mattison's main focus this season has been on limiting missed tackles. The goal for the defense is to finish the game with less than eight missed tackles per game, and right now the defense is averaging about six.  In their lone loss to Michigan State, the Wolverines had 18 missed tackles.

Mattison and the defensive staff have also clearly put an emphasis on turnovers this season as well.  The Wolverines are tied at the top of the country in fumble recoveries, recovering 14 fumbles out of 16 loose balls. Michigan had 7 recoveries out of 12 loose ball opportunities all of last year.

Michigan's five remaining games are all against teams with winning records, starting on Saturday as they take on Purdue (4-3) in Ann Arbor.


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