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August 24, 2009
'Fatal flaws' could be costly for contenders
We're less than two weeks away from the start of the season, which means fans everywhere are expecting big things from their teams this season. After all, dreaming big is easy to do before the season begins.
Alas, we're here to throw a wet rug on all those expectations. We look at the top 12 teams in our preseason poll - the only ones that truly appear to have a chance at the national title - and we'll point out the main reason your team won't win the championship. We'll mention the biggest reason for fans to be optimistic, but we'll also delve into why fans should be at least a little pessimistic, too.
6. Virginia Tech
7. Ohio State
8. Ole Miss
9. Boise State
10. Oklahoma State
12. Penn State
Bolt's incredible 9.58 clocking in the 100 meters should have an affect on how recruitniks now look at 40 times.
A former colleague passed along a "biomechanical analysis" of Bolt's run, which included his times at 20-meter intervals. He ran the first 20 meters in 2.89 seconds, the first 40 in 4.64 seconds, the first 60 in 6.31 seconds and the first 80 in 7.92 seconds before finishing in 9.58.
Forty yards equates to 36.58 meters, which means Bolt's 40-yard dash time in a race in which he ran the fastest 100 meters ever was about 4.28.
Think about that the next time you hear about some 17-year cornerback who supposedly runs a 4.31 40.
USF faced some offensive questions going into the season, but they have been magnified of late. Projected starting running back Mike Ford will miss the first two games for violating team rules, and backup Jamar Taylor is out for up to 10 weeks with a knee injury. Running back was a concern, anyway, and this certainly doesn't help new offensive coordinator Mike Canales in his quest to take some pressure off quarterback Matt Grothe. Too often, USF's offense has been "Let's see what kind of play Grothe can make." USF's first two games are against Wofford and Western Kentucky, and the Bulls should cruise in both even if Jim Leavitt's neighbor starts at running back. But missing Ford and Taylor will hurt as the offense tries to gain some continuity.
Weird medical merry-go-round at Oregon State. Early last week, it was thought wide receiver Darrell Catchings - who was considered the Beavers' likely go-to guy this fall - would miss a month with a broken hand. Then, a few days later, it was feared he would miss the season. But later in the week, coaches announced that he might miss just the opener. Coach Mike Riley told the media that "an old fracture that had healed" was what doctors originally saw on Catchings' X-rays and that the latest injury was tendon and ligament damage. That's great news for a Beavers offense that needs a wide receiver or two to step up to take some of the load off running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
What does it say for the recruiting of former coach Greg Robinson that Greg Paulus - who hasn't played football since he was a high school senior in 2005 - can win the starting quarterback job at Syracuse? It's unbelievable. There's no quarterback on the roster who can't beat out a guy who has played basketball for the past four years?
Bad news for Illinois in that cornerback Miami Thomas will miss the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. You feel especially bad for Thomas because he missed last season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Thomas was in the mix for a starting job and at worst would've been the Illini's nickelback.
Everyone knows about Memphis having to vacate 38 wins and its Final Four appearance in the 2007-08 season. But don't blame Derrick Rose. In a statement released by his attorney Thursday, Rose said "it is satisfying to see that the NCAA could find no wrongdoing on my part in their ruling." Hmmm. In its ruling, the NCAA pointed out that Rose's SAT was fraudulent and thus he was ineligible to play college basketball. To me, a fraudulent SAT - i.e., cheating was involved - means Rose did have a role in some wrongdoing.