Thursday, April 30, 2009

Catching up: Indiana won't be good

* I wrote last month about the pointlessness of Indiana moving QB Kellen Lewis to receiver, but his athleticism might have made him a respectable threat (even if there was nobody to throw him the ball). Unfortunately, we'll never know. Lewis was dismissed Wednesday for the classic "violation of team rules," meaning that what was probably going to be a horrendous offense just got ... well, horrendous-er. I can't really blame Bill Lynch for the dismissal, though, as this was already Lewis' second chance (he was suspended last spring for missing classes and team meetings). You've gotta draw the line somewhere.

* This apparently isn't new, but it's been revealed in numerous places recently that the Big Ten does not allow November games to be scheduled at night. I can't imagine that there'd be too many instances in which a school would want to schedule a night game in November -- trust me, even the day games at that time of year are freezing -- but I also don't see why the Big Ten needs to regulate that. If a situation did arise that called for a prime-time game (Ohio State's visit to Penn State on Nov. 7 comes to mind), shouldn't it be an option? It seems that for a conference that's struggled on the big stage in recent years -- and has lost some prestige because of it -- it'd make sense to showcase your top teams and games on at least an occasional basis late in the season.

* Pitt receiver T.J. Porter, who was suspended for spring practice, won't return to the team. As I mentioned at the time of his suspension, with LeSean McCoy and LaRod Stephens-Howling now in the NFL, Pitt desperately needs the passing game to step it up this year in order to have any semblance of an offense. With fifth-year senior Bill Stull at QB, stud sophomore Jonathan Baldwin and senior Oderick Turner at receiver and the talented Nate Byham at tight end, the pieces are in place -- even without Porter -- for former Cal offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti to work his magic. But a team that couldn't put a single point on the board against Oregon State in the Sun Bowl has a long way to go, and losing last year's third-leading receiver certainly won't help.

* Speaking of bad offenses, UCLA named redshirt freshman Kevin Prince the starting QB after a spring game in which he started, um, 0-for-7 with an interception. Apparently he played well later in the game, but that still left him 24-for-57 passing for 280 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in three spring scrimmages. It'd be hard to play any worse than the injury-riddled, interception-prone rotation of 2008, but it's also hard to envision much of a step forward from last year's horrific 17.7-point-per-game performance -- especially when the coaches are saying things like this:
"I just think we need guys to step up," Neuheisel said. "They've got some of the best coaches in the land. It's time now to grow up."
* Congratulations to Tim Brown, Gino Toretta, Chris Spielman, Grant Wistrom, Major Harris, John Robinson and the 12 other former players or coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. It's easy to forget about guys of the past with all the focus on recruiting and transfers and so on and so forth, but keeping in touch with the tradition and history of the game makes college football what it is. I just have one complaint: If Toretta was worthy, how do you explain Desmond Howard and Eric Dickerson being left out?

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