Archive for July, 2009

h1

Former USC standout Kenechi Udeze to retire

July 30, 2009

D041175011.JPGHello Football Fiends-

Minnesota Vikining and former USC Trojan DE Kenechi Udeze announced his retirement today. Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2008 and missed the 2008-09 season while he sought treatment for his cancer.

Udeze felt well enough to work out and attend the mini camps in the spring. He was expected to report to training camp for the Vikings on July 31st.

Udeze made a statement earlier today:

“… I am well. Unfortunately, however, I have decided to retire due to certain side effects from my pre-transplant treatment. I would like to thank the Wilf family and the Minnesota Vikings organization for their support. I would also like to thank my fans, friends and family for supporting me through everything. Last but not least, I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and staff in Minnesota who worked tirelessly to give me a second chance at life. God bless.”

Udeze was the Viking’s first round draft pick in 2004.  At USC from 2001-2003 Udeze had 135 tackles with 51 of them for a loss, 28 sacks, 14 forced fumbles,3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, and 2 blocked kicks.

I wish Kenechi the best of luck in his continued fight against and recovery from leukemia. Fight On Kenechi!

-Your Gridiron Goddess

IMG_0060

Advertisements
h1

Be a part of Gridiron Goddess. net’s newest feature!

July 27, 2009

notre-dame-sucksHey Football Fiends!

This season I am launching a feature called Love Em or Hate Em.  It is just what it says it is. Two football fans will pair off on each article. One will write about how they Love Team X and why. The other will write about how they Hate Team X and why. And we will all read and be amused, or so I hope.

First up are:

Love Em or Hate Em: Notre Dame

and

Love Em or Hate Em: Auburn

The Notre Dame and Auburn writers are hard at work on their 500-600 word pieces now and I’ll post them as soon as they are ready.

Do you have a team – College or NFL — that you feel particularly strongly about — either love or hate?  Drop me an email and I’ll get you on the Love Em or Hate Em schedule.

-Your Gridiron Goddess

IMG_0060

h1

Walker Sports: 2009 Big East Preview

July 26, 2009

Big EastHey Football Fiends!

I’ve once again teamed up with Walker Sports to bring you the best college football previews online.

2009 Big East Preview

College football is inching ever so closer and here at Walker-Sports we are continuing our college football previews. We’ve gone through the ACC, which is always near and dear to our hearts and we like hanging on the East Coast so much we figured why not talk some Big East today.

Thanks to the reorganization of the BCS conferences earlier this decade, the Big East is bigger and more exciting than ever. Unfortunately for the teams in the Big East, they are the wild west of football with no dominate power and anyone can win on any given Saturday. Granted the Big East as a football conference will never be as powerful as it is as a basketball conference. But that being said, it is just as exciting.

Pittsburgh Panthers: Dave Wannstedt is entering the fifth year of tenure at Pitt, and he is hoping all of his efforts will pay off this year. During his time in Pittsburgh Wannstedt has done a great job of acquiring talent, but his players have not been able to perform on the field. That being said, last season the Panthers got to nine wins and reached the Sun Bowl. The 2009 Pittsburgh Panthers are looking to build on last year’s success.

On offense the Panthers lost LeSean McCoy to the NFL and with that they lost a good chunk of their offensive production. At the quarterback position, Pittsburgh has a couple options with incumbent starter Bill Stull and 2007 start Pat Bostick. Stull will get the nod as the starting quarterback, but Wannstedt will not hesitate to pull the plug on him and give Bostick a chance.

The Pitt Panthers have a light out of conference schedule that will allow the Panthers to rack up some easy wins. Getting to the top of the Big East will be difficult, for Pittsburgh but they should have enough talent on their squad to navigate the choppy waters.

South Florida Bulls: The Bulls are the greatest underachieving team the Big East has ever seen. Once again South Florida is prepared to do battle in the 2009 season with some familiar faces. Matt Grothe is under center at quarterback for his final campaign. Despite having some great stats over the course of his career, Grothe will not see his tenor complete if he fails to bring home a BCS Game win. Grothe will have some help from his defense which is once again anchored by George Selvie who is a senior and a returning All American. All together the South Florida defensive line features 75 combined starts.

Once again South Florida has the horses to be a contender in the Big East and on the national scene. The problem is South Florida always finds a way to shoot themselves in the foot, and collapse coming down the stretch. I find it hard to believe the Bulls will have the mental discipline to stay focus for the whole season and finish what they started.

West Virginia Mountaineers: Bill Stewart nearly stirred his high powered offense into the ditch last season, but thanks to Pat White and Noel Devine the Mountaineers were able to overcome a sluggish start and finish with a 9 win season. This year there is no Pat White, but Stewart will look to open up his offense some more by increasing his teams passing production,

Truth is told West Virginia still has some talented athletes roaming around Morgantown. The key to their season will be getting off to a strong start. With early season games against Liberty, ECU, at Syracuse, Marshall and UConn. This means WVU has the chance to jump out to a 6-1 start depending on a few games against Colorado and Auburn. If West Virginia can keep their heads straight for the opening half of their schedule, they could end up making a push for the Big East Championship.

Cincinnati Bearcats: Last year the Bearcats experienced a breakout season that earned them a Big East Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl. In 2009, Cincinnati has an outside chance of repeating that feat once again. The Bearcats experienced heavy losses on defense. It was those losses that have caused them to drop so far on our list.

Despite their losses on defense, the Bearcats cannot be counted out of the race for the Big East because of the talent they have on offense. Tony Pike is a seasoned quarterback who has a slew of weapons on the outside. The Bearcats success will be based what Pike and company can get done on offense. It would be in Cincinnati’s interest to take on a Big 12 mentality and try to outgun every opponent they face because a defensive battle will not end well for them.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights: The Scarlet Knights are returning 13 starters from last year’s squad. That’s a unit that won seven straight games coming down the stretch, including a school record third consecutive bowl game. Despite being ranked fifth in the Big East in this poll, Rutgers will still figure to factor into the overall picture. The key will play at the quarterback position. If Rutgers can find consistent play from senior Domenic Natale they could find themselves sniffing for a Big East championship when West Virginia comes to town.

Connecticut Huskies: It’s pretty obvious the Huskies lost some serious firepower on offense last season, everyone knows that. The interesting part will be how UConn handles the transition to their new offensive scheme in 2009. Like so many other teams across the NCAA the Huskies are looking to run a no huddle spread formation. This means they want to speed up the pace of things and try to open up some more scoring opportunities. When it’s all said and done, the Huskies have some talent on their squad. They will most likely win six games and make a bowl game, but it is doubtful they factor into the overall Big East race.

Louisville Cardinals: The arrival of Steve Kragthrope has done anything for the Louisville Cardinals. Since his arrival in 2007, The Cardinals have gone 11-13. This season will be all about Kragthrope and what he can do to transform his stagnant offense. Kragthrope has named himself offensive coordinator this year, and in many ways his reputation and his job are on the line. Last season Louisville went 5-7, chances are they are going to end up around that same mark in 2009. If the Cardinals are lucky they will reach the six win mark.

Syracuse Orange: Doug Marrone has come in to restore some hope to the Syracuse Orange program. Unfortunately for Marrone, the Orange fan base running rapid with aspirations of greatness, many of which exceed the reality of the situation. Much like UConn, and WVU, Syracuse will employ a spread offense. The Orange version of the spread won’t like be high power but it could prove to be deadly if the boys are able to grasp the nuances of the scheme early in the season. This is a transition year for Syracuse, but I can assure you thinks will be looking up for them. Marrone will experience some growing pains, but things are on the up and up for the Orange.

h1

Happy Birthday to GridironGoddess.net! (er, belatedly)

July 26, 2009

Football Fiends!

I missed the actual day, which was July 16th, so happy belated birthday to GridironGoddess.net. The past 2 years have been a lot of fun and I look forward to many many more here on my little corner of the interweb.

Football Cake Sm

-Your Gridiron Goddess

IMG_0060

h1

Have no fear Mitch Mustain, you may have a career yet…

July 25, 2009

Hey Football Fiends,

Check out this article about former USC (and New England Patriots) back up QB Matt Cassel.  Cassel is a career backup who is now about to get his chance to show everything he learned while sitting behind  Heisman winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC  and Superbowl winning QB Tom Brady at New England.

When Brady went down last season with injury, Cassel got a chance to show off his skills.  During the off season Kansas City came calling. Cassel has not officially been made the starter at KC, but with a $15 million salary for this season and the franchise tag, that announcement can’t be too far off.

Career Backup Cassel Gets His Shot as a Kansas City Chief

-Your Gridiron Goddess

gridirongoddesssmaller1

h1

Top Prep QB commits to USC

July 25, 2009

Hey Football Fiends!

USC has scored another top prospect off the ESPNU 150 Watch list with Lakewood (CA) High’s Jesse Scroggins.  Scroggins commited to USC on Thursday. Other schools he was considering include Florida and Tennesseee.

Scroggins will enter USC in the Fall of 2010 and vie for the QB job with current Freshman Matt Barkely.

-Your Gridiron Goddess

IMG_0060

h1

Harem of the Goddess: Byron with the 2009 SEC Preview

July 23, 2009

20070817-SEC logoHey Football Fiends!

For the 3rd year in a row my Vol pal Byron is here to provide us with an SEC Preview. So without further ado, I’m turning the reigns over to Bryon Earnheart for the day:

2009 SEC Preview

by Byron Earnheart (one Vol fan who has not yet drank the Kiffin Kool-Aid)

Well college football fans, the time of the year we’ve been looking forward to is drawing nigh.  That’s right, it’s college football time!!  I don’t know about you all, but it couldn’t get here soon enough!  When I’m finding myself actually caring about baseball, I know I’ve been without my football for way too long.  Sadly, golf isn’t even doing it for me anymore…I just need my fix.  I need my Bloody Marys and my “Game Day” and my nachos and my BBQ sandwich and my Miller High Life and my couch and my wife to put up with me lounging on the couch all Saturday.  It’s time sports fans…it’s time.

Since the last SEC preview, I’ve found myself in a bit of a different situation…I got married.  Now, thankfully, she likes football and is somewhat conversational on the subject.  She knows enough about the BCS to pull for the teams for which we need pulling.  She got as excited as I did last year during that TX Tech/Texas game…not that we had anything to gain…but WHAT A GAME!  Every once in awhile, I have to explain to her some rule or why a coach would call a certain play at a certain time in the game, but that’s understandable…and, at least, she puts up with me sitting around hollering at the TV.

So, with the marriage as a theme, I’d like to go through the SEC with some quick-hit thoughts.

Something Ole: Well, not quite “something old…”, but you get the gist.  I’ll say more on this later, but if there’s a team in the SEC (not named Florida) who has the opportunity to excel this year, it’s Ole Miss.  That’s right…Ole Miss.  Great, proven QB…decent coach (my personal opinion of Houston Nutt aside)…favorable schedule…probably a top 15 national ranking.  “Wait”, you may be saying “what about LSU and Alabama?!  Saban is one season away from curing cancer and completely reinventing Western Civilization!”  Well, all of that may be true…but he and Miles both have unproven and young QB’s (not a good thing in this league usually) AND they have to go to Oxford to play.  While Oxford is not as intimidating as Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge, it’s still a road game…and Ole Miss does not have to travel to those aforementioned sights this year.  So, in my opinion, the West is Ole Miss’ to lose.  Will they choke?  Probably so at some point along the way…it’s almost inevitable in this league.  That said…at this stage of the year…it’s their division to lose.

Something New: 3 new coaches are in the SEC now…not to mention the 2 “new” coaches last year (Both Nutt and Petrino seemed to come into situations that were not their making…so, they’re still new to me).  Lane Kiffin, USC’s offensive coordinator when they ruled the world, is at UT and is writing checks that I HOPE his butt can cash.  Dan Mullen is at Mississippi State now hoping to “spread” some of the special sauce that he and Urban Meyer have cooked up over the years.  Gene Chizik joins the SEC at Auburn after he managed to completely stink up Iowa State.  This had to be the most bone-headed hire in the history of the SEC (and I am counting Ed Orgeron in this!), which leads me to my next point…

Something Borrowed: Time and Trouble.  I get the distinct impression that teams now are just borrowing trouble from some of these hires.  Gene Chizik…really?  Why do I get the feeling this has got “Ron Zook” written all over it…maybe even worse.  In the interest of fairness, I’ll throw my beloved Vols here as well.  If Kiffin doesn’t work out, we’re screwed.  Bad.  And when you think about it, that’s two solid programs with a great deal of history that’ve gotten kicked in the nether regions over a dumb hire.   (Gridiron Goddess says: Gee sort of like USC in the 1990s) All of this being said, if they pay off…they’ll pay off huge.  It’s sort of like getting in on a good stock.  If it takes off, you’re a flippin’ genius.  If not, then the bank is coming for your home and Little Junior is not going to college.

Now, why do I care about this in a Preview column?  Because that’s what the fans of these schools with new coaches are watching for.  We want to see improvement.  Most UT fans (the reasonable ones who a) actually went there and b) don’t have “Rocky Top” as car horn or doorbell) aren’t expecting a 12-1 season.  But, perception is on trial this year for at least 5 teams in the league.  We really have no idea what 4-5 teams are going to look like once they step out on the field.  The Court of Public Football Opinion, Southeastern District, is cruel.  Fans are going to want to see improvement.  They’ll want to see close games.  They’ll want to see their teams “in” games that they should not even be in.  We all want what Florida has, what Alabama is building, and what LSU is probably losing…but it can’t happen to everyone…so, someone is borrowing trouble!

Something Blue: So, I’m going to go ahead and spoil the fun and pick Florida and Ole Miss in Atlanta…and you have no idea how much that crawls under my skin.  I hate these two teams passionately.  Why?  I just do.  And what team has a more crystal clear path to the National Championship than Florida?  Let’s review…their ENTIRE D is coming back; they have Tim Tebow who rivals Chuck Norris in freakish talents, and an easy schedule.  Sure, they have LSU in Baton Rouge but, trust me on this, LSU’s Def. Coordinator wouldn’t know what to do with Florida’s offense if he was handed the playbook and given a month to study.  Sure, it’ll be a tight game for 3 quarters but Chavis will start giving the receivers nice 8 yard cushions.  It’ll be so nice to watch another defense implode on itself and not have the accompanying arm pains and shortness of breath.  So, with all of that…Gators, yet again, it’s all you.

So, here, in my predicted order of finish by division, is the SEC.

WEST:

1) Ole Miss:  I think I’ve explained my reasoning above for this.  I just like a team that’s got a great QB, good depth, able D, good coaching, and a favorable schedule.  Now, they may choke.  But at this point in the year, I just can’t bring myself to say they can’t win the West.

2) Alabama:  Yes, I know Nick Saban is God’s gift to mankind in the South and is the reincarnation of Bear Bryant.  But without a proven QB, even the Bear didn’t win every game.  I like everything about this team but the Ole Miss game and the young QB.

3) Arkansas: Bobby Petrino has proven he can win games, in my opinion, when he’s got the QB.  Mallet is that type of QB if you watched any of his Michigan games.  He’s got the skills (to pay the bills…sorry, couldn’t help it!).  There are some questions on Defense…like are they any good…but, I think the offense could save the team a few times.

4) LSU: I’ve just seen John Chavis’ defenses crumble too many times in the presence of teams that can pass the ball to get too excited.  In addition, Jarrett Lee did nothing to impress me.  I’m going to go out on a limb here…a REALLY big limb…and say that 2009 could be the beginning of the downward slide of LSU.

5) Mississippi State:  As this is my 2nd favorite team in the league, I’m pumped about this year.  This is one of those teams that have to show improvement.  Perception is the name of the game here.  Mullen should bring a great deal of excitement to the team, and, coupled with a punishing RB (pending his DUI situation) and very serviceable D…it might be a decent year…look for them to sneak in the bowl picture.

6) Auburn: Crash and burned, huh Mav?  I just can’t find anything good to say about this team, I’m sorry.  I don’t hate the Tigers.  I just can’t find any reason to put them ahead of anyone in the division.  Gene Chizik?  Really?  That’s who you thought could do a better job than Tuberville?  Last year, Kodi Burns didn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.  It was embarrassing.  So, has it gotten better now that you got the Chizik?  The only good thing I can say, seriously, about Auburn, is that acquiring Gus Malzahn will probably save their butts some.  But if he doesn’t have the tools (and Burns did NOTHING to prove that he has the skills), it won’t matter.

EAST:

1) Florida:  Ok, save me the energy here…does anyone really argue this?  We can argue it if you want to…but you’re wrong.  This team reminds me of stacking your team on NCAA Football on PlayStation, turning it to JV level, and start getting top 5 recruiting classes each year…it’s almost not fun to watch.  And, TRUST ME…this praise is not because I like the Gators.  I hate them passionately!  But they’re really freaking good.

2) Tennessee:  Now, before this gets attacked, let me just say that UT, UGA, and South Carolina (maybe even Vandy) could make a bid here.  Neither of these teams have great QB’s, some have better D’s, some have more favorable schedules.  This really is a testament to how far down the East will be this year.  That said, I am going with my biases here.  While I trust UT’s QB about like I’d trust Simon Cowell to break a smile and say something positive (Dang, my wife’s got me watching American Idol…I’m sorry!).  Crompton just…I can’t even type his name without feeling the bile rise up.  However, the offense is supposedly easier to understand (It’d better be…God knows he shorted enough 5 yard passes last year.  Confusing stuff, I know!!).  The D should be good, and some good RB depth should give us a fighting chance.

3) Georgia: Again, not much difference here in UGA and UT.  Good depth, probably a more suspect D…unproven QB.  But UGA is one of the best coached teams in the league.  They lost a TON of talent though that they can’t easily replace coming out of the gate.  They have the talent…but it’ll take time to develop.

4) South Carolina:  Well, it looks like Garcia’s finally been paroled and allowed to play football again.  I know that was a cheap shot…but given all the crap that Satan…I mean…Spurrier’s dealt over the years, payback’s a mother!  Their D should be fairly solid, however.  I’m very impressed with Norwood as a LB.  He’s probably one of the most underrated players in the league.

5) Vanderbilt: Coming off the bowl win was HUGE for this program.  They always have a fairly decent D but lacking in the skill spots on offense.  Well, this year, they’re bringing back the team leaders in passing and rushing and 2/3 of the leaders in receiving.  Look for them to make some splash…possibly another bowl bid.  Also, as I said above, don’t count them out to be higher than this.  Last year, this team gave Mississippi State and Georgia all either team wanted.  While I’m not a big believer in “moral losses” since you still lose the game…Vandy’s the kind of team with the kind of talent that can slip up on most any team at any time.

6) Kentucky: I sort of miss those few years where Kentucky was good.  Now, I just don’t see it.  I will say that they had a heck of bowl game.  They’ll win games.  They won’t get creamed in every game they play.  A small running game and an average QB won’t move you up this list too much, I’m afraid.  Lost some key defensive players, as well.

So, that’s the year in preview.  I see Ole Miss and Florida going to Nashville with Florida beating them senseless.  Revenge is a tough pill to swallow.  Then, Florida will probably take on the winner of the Texas/Oklahoma game for the national title.  Who will it be?  I don’t care enough about the Big 12 to even begin to guess that.  Both of those teams are good and it’ll probably be a great game either way.

I wish everyone’s team good luck!