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Dan Mullen counting on All-SEC performance from overlooked prospect

For the first time in a long time, Mississippi State will enter the fall with high expectations.  The College Football Live poll, voted on by a bevy of ESPN writers, editors, and TV analysts, has the Bulldogs ranked #21 in their pre-season poll.

Urban’s vote may have nudged the Bulldogs up one spot from #22.

Head coach Dan Mullen knows the Bulldogs are entering unchartered territory.

Mullen explained, “It’s a very different year for us -- for our team, for our fan base. We have expectations this year. Last year we went out to prove people wrong -- we wanted to prove we could be better than what they expected of us. Now we have high expectations. Now we have to prove people right this year.’’

The third-year head coach is expecting big things from running back Vick Ballard, who rushed for 968 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2010.

According to both Scout and Rivals, Ballard was a 3-star recruit coming out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.  His only other offer was from Troy University.

Mullen said, “We expect an All-SEC performance out of him this season and want him to take his game to the next level. We expect him to be a leader of our team, carry our offense and team through next season.’’

It seems as though the Bulldogs did a great job of evaluating Ballard, who seemingly was overlooked by many on the recruiting front.

Mississippi State will begin the season at Memphis, at Auburn, then host LSU on Thursday night primetime.

Pete Carroll on UW football: You can totally feel it

In 2009, Steve Sarkisian inherited a program that was coming off a 0-11 record. The Huskies have since finished 5-7 and 7-6 in Sarkisian’s first two seasons.

On Monday night, his former boss Pete Carroll, offered a nice compliment of his former assistant coach at USC during a local fundraising event.

Carroll said of Sarkisian, "He's captured a mentality. He's confident on how to do it. It's a fun environment to be around. He's as upbeat as you can get. You see all kinds of good stuff happening in every aspect of their program. You can totally feel it. And so that's something that's really familiar to me."

Sark knows that UW hasn’t arrived just yet, however.

He admitted, “We played 16 true freshmen last fall; that's a crazy number. That's the most true freshmen played in the country; when you're doing that, you're not there yet.”

"When you're there you're redshirting three-fourths of your freshmen class. You're developing players; you're playing juniors and seniors and all of those things. You have a lot of conversations in late December and early January with kids about whether it's a decision to stay or go to the NFL. We don't have many of those right now. We've still got a lot of work to do."

The Huskies play nine conference games this season.  UW will host Cal, Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon.  The road schedule includes at Utah, at Stanford, at USC, and at Oregon State.  The Huskies finish the regular season by playing Wazzu at Qwest Field in Seattle.

 

Bobby Hauck: It's been overwhelming. We may have the youngest team in college football

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck believes he will have the youngest team in the country next season.

In fact, one of the first lines in the 2011 UNLV prospectus released by the sports information department reads, “Looking for more upperclassmen?  Sorry, we’re running low.”

Additionally, UNLV faces a difficult schedule that includes road trips to Wisconsin, Washington State, Air Force, and TCU.

The home schedule includes Boise State and San Diego State.

Hauck admitted yesterday, "It's been pretty overwhelming trying to get things going here. So, we haven't had a lot of time off. But, as I like to say when our recruits are here, anywhere there are palm trees you are probably in a pretty good place.”

“We'll be one of the youngest teams in all of college football, if not the youngest next year.”

"Eventually we need to get a signature win that we can hang our hat on," explained Hauck. "We had a couple good wins last year where we beat up on some folks. But we need to get over that hump where we're winning more consistently. You know, in order to do that, we've got to grow up."

UNLV opens at Wisconsin.

Boston College AD explains tailgating issue

To start the 2011 season, Boston College will play four of five games in Chestnut Hill.  The early season schedule includes home games against Northwestern, Duke, UMASS, and Wake Forest.  Late in the year, FSU and NC State travel to Chestnut Hill.

For years, however, Boston College fans have begged for a better tailgating experience for a more enjoyable college game day experience.

Today, athletic director Gene DeFilippo explained, “Boston College is required to apply to the city of Boston to obtain an entertainment license to play our football games. The license the city grants us stipulates that we may open the gates to our parking lots two hours prior to a noon game and three hours prior to a game that starts at 1:00 or later.”

“The additional hour was granted to us last year, and it was very successful. I am thrilled that the city will give us that same three-hour period for most our home games.”

As for expansion of Alumni Stadium (44,500 capacity), DeFilippo says expansion is not expected anytime soon.

He explained, “When we sell out Alumni Stadium on a consistent basis, then we might look at expansion, but that has not been the case in the past several years, so our thinking is that Alumni Stadium will remain as is for the foreseeable future.”

The Florida State game will on a Thursday night with an ESPN broadcast.

DeFilippo did acknowledge today that Boston College does plan to retire the jersey of former quarterback Matt Ryan.  The Falcons travel to Indianapolis the week of the FSU game, so it doesn't appear likely that Matty Ice will be flying to Boston in midst of preparations for Manning and the Colts.

Andy Dalton praises entire TCU coaching staff

Defense has become the staple of Gary Patterson’s program at TCU.  Do you realize, however, that the first three players drafted from TCU this year were offensive players?

Andy Dalton (QB), Jeremy Kerley (WR), and Marcus Cannon (OT) were all selected higher than defensive backs Colin Jones and Malcolm Williams.

In fact, Jones wasn’t drafted until the sixth round, which means the TCU defense that led the nation in both total defense and scoring defense didn’t have a single player drafted until the sixth round.

Praising the TCU coaching staff, Dalton told the Star-Telegram, “TCU is such a close team. There's no individuals here. You're not doing things to help yourself, you're doing things to help this team. With team success comes individual success. It's going to make you a better player, which makes the team better, which gives you that opportunity for coaches, scouts, people in the NFL to see you.”

He added, “I think one scout during Pro Day said we tested overall better than any other school they'd seen. I think what coach Patterson and the coaching staff, and what [strength and conditioning] coach [Don] Sommer does with all the weight training and workouts and that kind of stuff, it's one of the best places in the nation.”

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that TCU lost two impact players in the 2009 NFL Draft.  Jerry Hughes was selected #31 overall and Darryl Washington was picked #47 overall.  Despite the losses, the Horned Frogs went undefeated and allowed just 12 points per game.

Obviously, the TCU staff is doing a remarkable job.

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