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MEDIA SCOPE - Sept. 16
Preseason (Aug. 24)
Week 1 (Aug. 31)
Week 2 (Sept. 7)
Week 3 (Sept. 14)
Week 4 (Sept. 21)
Week 5 (Sept. 28)

Week 6 (Oct. 5)
Week 7 (Oct. 12)
Week 8 (Oct. 19)
Week 9 (Oct. 26)

Week 10 (Nov. 2)
Week 11 (Nov. 9)
Week 12 (Nov. 16)
Week 13 (Nov. 23)
Week 14 (Nov. 30)


The mastermind BYU trio: Head Coach Gary Crowton, Offensive Coordinator Mike Borich, and Quarterbacks Coach Robbie Bosco. Some of you may remember Robbie Bosco from 1984 when he led BYU to its first and only national championship. Whatever the formula is here, other programs may want to take note. Despite losing quarterback Brandon Doman and running back Luke Staley to the NFL, the Cougars, the 2001 NCAA total offense leaders, had 615 yards of total offense last night against Syracuse. The Cougars also lost All-American Candidate Ben Archibald at the tackle spot due to a season ending injury. It is firmly believed that this trio of coaches could find a way to make Nebraska become a legitimate passing threat.

With Wake Forest’s loss to Northern Illinois in an overtime tussle last night in Dekalb, IL., the ACC has fallen off the map in the early going of 2002. After Virginia suffered an opening season loss to Colorado State last Thursday, the nationally ranked #4 Seminoles followed suit by escaping with a narrow victory against unranked Iowa State. The lack-luster defensive display was enough to send Florida State reeling with the poll voters as the Seminoles won but dropped a spot behind a team that hasn’t even played yet. This weekend’s games show ACC’s Clemson, Duke, and Maryland as underdogs and North Carolina as less than a touchdown home favorite against MAC opponent Miami of Ohio. If the odds-makers prove correct, a few bowl games may want to consider renegotiating a few of those 4th and 5th place conference tie-ins.

Syracuse Sun Dial – Last season the Orangemen looked quite stellar while closing out the season with a sound thrashing of Kansas State in the Bowl. 14 starting position losses later, the team from upstate New York looks to be in for a really long season.

This week's best cross-sectional match-up belongs to Mississippi State at Oregon. The Ducks are at home and will do battle with more than the Bulldogs. The nation is curious to see Joey Harrington’s replacement, Jason Fife. The South is curious to see if MSU still resembles last year’s 3-8 team. Tied for first is the Washington/Michigan battle in the Big House. The ESPN GameDay crew will be in attendance. Gosh, it’s good to hear that GameDay music Saturday morning.

Oklahoma Defense – Much hype has been made about this 2002 Sooner defense. has opened a new line for the Tulsa over/under, which is set at 3 points. If the Golden Hurricane can score more than a FG then we lose.

The Tappa Kegga Civil Awards – You may want to make sure you have a refrigerator full of mind numbing liquids for this weekends worst intra-state match ups. A board game of Scrabble or Rockem Sockem Robots may seem more interesting:

- Eastern Michigan at Michigan State: Last year’s 2-9 season for the EMU Eagles is sure to be put to the test. Dare we say 1-11?

- Southern Univ. at Tulane: We had to add the Univ. to the end of Southern’s name just in case you didn’t know it was a typo.

- Florida A&M at Miami FL: This one is so hot that it’s not even on the board. Las Vegas lists the game as N/L (No Line), which here really stands for Nothing Like It. This game is part of your ESPN GameDay package simply due to the fact Hurricane fans need to know just how good this brand new secondary is for the defending national champions. Don’t leave your recliner to get chips and soda in the first quarter or you might miss watching them play!

- North Texas at Texas: A DirecTV 5-star PPV game. Get your $30 out now while supplies last.

- Northern Arizona at Arizona: No comment. I need to digress…


Editor’s Notes - Media Scope

Here is a new type of coverage for us here at Each week of the 2002 College Football season I will try and shed some light, both good and bad, on the media coverage itself. It is unfortunate, especially for me, but I can watch only one TV at a time since I can only afford what this job provides for me – one TV at a time. This means that I will try to cover as much as possible with my one-man set-up (no satellite dish or digital cable). Many of you will see more and/or different coverage, depending upon where you live. Therefore, I will try to make my insights, observations, and critiques from the every-man perspective rather than from a media-centric one that I just don’t have. I wish we could all be at every game…but since that’s impossible, the next best thing is to make sure the televised games are optimally covered. This e-column will let them know that we know better - that is, we know better coverage from the crappy coverage that sometimes infiltrates the airwaves. Let us know what you think: e-mail us or post you ideas on our message board.

Week 1 –
Thursday August 29, 2002 – ESPN at 7:30pm
Syracuse vs. BYU in Provo, Utah
Coverage Team: Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Mike Tirico

This game went off well paced and produced. A few major production glitches toward the end didn’t make this broadcast a failure by any means. The announcing team worked well together, with youngster Kirk Herbstreit adding extra depth and dimension to seemingly flat sequences. The boys accurately showed the parity in BYU’s first drive, revealing how seven receivers were thrown to and three back utilized in the opening Cougar scoring drive. This well-identified, multi-pronged attack eventually was responsible for over 500 yards of offense. Also sharp was a point made during an unsportsman-like conduct penalty called on senior DT Jeff Cowart in the third quarter. Herbstreit fairly commented on how unfairly this was being applied. After a sack, Cowart pumped his fist on his chest rather benignly. Herbstreit pointed out how the officials this year would be cracking down on extra-curricular celebrations to try and curb a growing trend at the college level. He didn’t question the validity of the call as it happened in this game. But he made sure to outline how teams like FSU, Miami and other perennial TOP 25 programs also need to be held to this same ultra-sensitive standard of conduct the big boys rarely follow. The CBs for Syracuse played off the line too often in the first half, often getting beat for first downs constantly – a fact we all knew thanks to these guys. They also noted how much more success Syracuse had once they tightened up in the second half. And ultimately the announcers prompted us to how crossing routes employed by BYU then succeeded against the tighter corner play of the Orangemen. Missed information graphics were verbally presented and embellished, so nothing was lost. The booth-team gets a B+.

As good as the chatter was, the production truck and ESPN home crew fared worse to get a C- for inexcusable mistakes.
Behind-the-camera personnel were late coming back from commercial breaks twice(!) late in the game. With 3:37 left in the fourth quarter, ESPN rejoined coverage from commercial in the middle of a third and 10 play; then they did it again during a play just 30 seconds later, which consequently was a TO that the viewers only got to see at the ending of the play, after the TO occurred. Luckily, the game was decided by then, so really, no harm, no foul here. This was accentuated by truck’s failure to have any quality replay of the second quarter botch/faked punt. When the announcers pointed out the punter’s completed pass was up-ended by a penalty for having too many men downfield, there was no attempt to provide the viewers a decent black-board type breakdown with a replay for reference. A big special team’s gainer came back with no visual embellishment for us viewers..ouch in today’s world of technology. One bright spot was the good visual provided to show BYU’s second quarter run for an apparent TD. The sneak into the end-zone seemed to be six points on replay. But officials called the ball out on the one yard line… is this the year the NCAA needs replay, too? Hopefully, production ends will shape up and we can look forward to Thursday night coverage as much as Saturday’s.

ESPN2 at 10pm
San Diego State vs. Fresno State in Fresno, Ca.
Coverage Team: Chris Marlowe and John Cooper

Even with the flurry of scoring at the end, this game wasn’t worth watching from a football respect, sorry to say. The coverage team and production crew did an adequate job with no major glitches, except for the game itself. There were too many bad plays that the announcers tried to make seem not-so-bad. Dropped passes, passes hitting umpteen players in the back/butt/head, and missed INTs made even the passing game boring and unwatchable. If Fresno has this much trouble with San Diego State, CSU and Utah should have field days versus the Bulldogs. If you enjoyed watching this game, this is hopefully as bad as it will get, so maybe your chin is up when you realize competitive MWC play begins soon…..please, soon! Give the whole team a B- for above average coverage of a below average level of football.

Not even the setting sun could make this broadcast worth watching. Kudos for trying to give us two games on an August Thursday, but even ESPN should know how to keep us wanting rather than force a boring watching experience this early into the season. Isn’t that why we have professional baseball? And without baseball, don’t games such as this define just how boring broadcast sports can become without us tuning out? More College Football is good, don’t get me wrong. This was just an unlucky choice so early in the year. When it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s this boring, bad football should be tuned out. Click.


Ranked #13 in the AP Poll, the Buckeyes lived up to their role this past Saturday in a home rout of Texas Tech. The running game was superb, the passing and patience of quarterback Craig Krenzel (11-14 for 118 yards) was a pleasant sight, the defensive back coverage against one of the nation's premier passing schemes did exceptionally well early on in the ball game, and the run defense dominated statistically. Never to be considered overachievers in the rushing department, the Red Raiders played the part by rushing for 31 yards on 20 carries. Ohio State looks primed - the patience and poise of starting QB Krenzel could prove to be a difference between good and great. And there is much rejoicing in Columbus.

With so few games this opening preseason classic weekend, the Buckeyes make a clean sweep in the team/player awards. We talked about freshman Maurice Clarett last week in our EDGE Breakdown segment. In his first game as a collegiate athlete, straight out of high school as the 'Mr. Ohio Football Award winner', the 230-pound tailback worked his way for 175 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the evening. Some credit gets handed to the offensive line as the Buckeyes rolled up 317 yards on the ground. People in Ohio know their football, they knew who Maurice Clarett was at this time last season, and just in case they didn't know yet, they definitely know now. Early in the third quarter, after his 45-yard scamper for a touchdown, the attending crowd of 100,037 started a chant that Buckeye opponents are going to become familiar with: "Mau-rice! Mau-rice!"

BEST GAME TO WATCH: Florida State vs. Iowa State
If any of you turned this one off late in the second quarter after Florida State took a commanding 31-7 lead, you blew it. The gritty play of Iowa State and the superb running/passing skills of Seneca Wallace were worth every watching moment. The Cyclones battled back for a chance to tie the game with just :04 seconds left and the ball in Seneca Wallace's hand - the score tells the rest. But the #3 ranked Seminoles were lucky to crawl out of this one alive. If there was a comeback award given out at the end of the season, this game would be your first nomination. Coming in a close second was the game not many fans got to see across the nation. The Thursday night season-opener came down to the next to last play of the game, when Virginia quarterback Marques Hagan fumbled the ball away at the half yard line with ten seconds left.

BEST SURPISE: Fresno State QB Jeff Grady
The junior quarterback, who replaced David Carr -the top pick in the NFL draft, completed 21 of his 42 passes for 262 yards in Wisconsin on Friday night at Camp Randall. Grady injured his hip just before halftime and coaches were forced to abandon play-action calls. "He was very immobile," Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill said. "He had a gutty performance. He played on one leg." What also should be mentioned is that the inexperienced quarterback had to do without the services of his well know wide receiver, Bernard Berrian, who went down early with a knee injury. Fresno State coaches may want to consider fine-tuning the running game, as the Bulldogs hampered Grady's cause with a paltry 34 yards on 19 carries. Ugh! And the Wisconsin defensive front lost every single starter from last year with the exception of one man. The Bulldog scouting report on Wisconsin was either ignored or incorrect.

OXMORON OF THE WEEK: Florida State defense



The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
Eight months ago we were sure of one thing – Nebraska’s program was quickly going downhill. And after this first weekend, things really have not changed. So, has Florida State’s defense improved, as it is supposed to have during the off-season? Hmmm.

Memorial Stadium, 7:45
The debut of Nebraska's new field general, Jammal Lord, arrived with much anticipation. Although he did what was expected, I could not help but notice how unimproved the rest of Nebraska seems. Not only did the offense still look unimaginative, but the execution was shaky as well. Even though 48% of the offense is now catching balls for the St. Louis Rams, it still is no excuse for the lack-luster performance from Nebraska’s OL and All-Big 12 running back Dahrran Diedrick in the first half.

Defensively the Huskers did have some shining moments, and they have at least three difference-makers (Dejuan Groce, Demorrio Williams, and Chris Kelsay) in each of their respective units. Still, how much stock do we put in their 10-point defensive performance? Remember - they were playing a very young, below average Pac-10 team, but give them credit. Many folks thought maybe this ASU offense was going to go into Memorial Stadium and make the Cornhuskers look silly for the first 30 minutes. But in a bizarre twist of events, it was the Arizona State defense that seemed strong in giving up only 10 first half points. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, their own mistakes were their undoing in a strong performance from the Nebraska special teams. Before you knew it the floodgates were open and the Huskers rolled to what was overall an unimpressive 38-point victory by the #8 team in the country.

Arrowhead Stadium, 8:30
Bobby's boys came out lock, stock, and barrel, with guns-a-blazing. They were ready to let everyone know that this team was not only determined to prove last year's problems were solved, but that this team is legitimately back to its old mid 90's form. That is, until we saw second-quarter cracks in the Nole’s armor. Before you knew it, the invincible Seminoles were not looking so unstoppable. In fact, the Cyclones' second half momentum was turning this season-opening classic into exactly that, a Classic! So much so that the blow-out predicted by FSU's Chris Rix was turning into football's version of ‘Rocky’. Fortunately for FSU, Anquan Boldin's big-play-ability is back, and it was the difference in a 31-yard touchdown strike. That score gave Florida State a much-needed 14-point cushion that would end up being just enough to hold back the Balboa-like Cyclones.

So what are we supposed to think as fans after watching what could easily end up being one of the better games of the year? FSU's defense did not improve, like most thought it would, and this problem is starting to look like a lack of talent rather than just a lack of experience. Again, FSU’s DL failed to apply consistent pressure on the QB. The defensive backs struggled to cover an average group of WRs. Anyone who thought this Nole team was National Championship material might want to reconsider that opinion. As for those who are ready to bury Bobby's boys - I'd be cautious of gloom and doom predictions. This team has obviously shown some improvement in its offense (a sturdier Greg Jones, a healthy Anquan Boldin, and a more efficient Chris Rix). These factors/players should help this offense be more consistent than last year. Pessimistic Nole fans have no worries, mate. Even if the defense fails to improve as the year wears on, this team is still on track to be BCS-bowl bound. Expect the Noles to be that much harder to beat now that they have felt a little humility.

Sixx Thoughts
I don’t have an AP vote myself, but if any voter is reading this, I strongly suggest giving Iowa State a Top 25 ranking, even at 0-1. I know they lost and an "L" will be in their result column. But it’s not hard to realize the 2002 Cyclones are not only a good football team, but better than at least five or six teams that are grossly overrated, yet in many preseason Top 25 polls.

1. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that not much will change this 2002 college football season -
I predict that Chris Simms will not improve or even be close to becoming Heisman-material. I don't care how big or strong his arm is. But he is a good QB and that is the best compliment he will ever get from me.

The same goes for Carson Palmer, who has been living off of high school hype as well for his five-year stay at USC. And don’t expect Oklahoma's offense to be much improved, as most think. They’re as vulnerable to a loss as they were last year.

2. Don't expect Florida to fall off the face of the earth. In fact, bet that they will find themselves in the top 5 sometime before this season is over.

3. When you turn your tube on to the Michigan/Washington game this weekend, don't be surprised if you see yet again a team being out played, but still finding a way to win

4. I know it was just Arkansas State, but that game was just more proof that Ronyell Whitaker is probably the third best defensive back at Virginia Tech.

5. It's still a few weeks away, but if Marshall's Byron Leftwich can win at Virginia Tech, I will proclaim him the nation's best QB. Ken Dorsey and Rex Grossman can take a back seat.

SIXX. There has been lots of talk about who is over-rated and who is under-rated. The reality is the polls are pretty much right. The problem comes when comparing a #2 team is to a #5 team. To make things easier, let me break it down simply: Teams #1, #2, and maybe #3 (Texas) are presently head and shoulders above teams from #4 to #12 - there really is not that much difference between #4 and #12! Hopefully, this clears up any confusion about the rankings and the (il)logic they pose.



Weekly Preview

Editor: Dave Hershorin