The white alternate helmet seems to be continuing (and more are on the way). A day after catching a glimpse of Texas Tech’s supposed white helmet for the 2013 season, we now catch wind that Nevada could be the next in line for a white helmet. And, it seems, a silver helmet.
Cameron Hartsfield, a defensive back commitment for Nevada’s Class of 2013 out of Texas, shared a photo (via Twitter) of three Nevada helmets on a recent recruiting visit. In it we see Nevada’s standard blue helmet with logo. We also see what appears to be a silver helmet with the logo and a white version sits on top of the other two.
Is Nevada introducing a white and silver helmet in addition to their standard blue helmet? It looks like it.
The college bowl season is here! This weekend we get two bowl games to kick things off, with a pair of talented running backs highlighting the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and a clash of MACtion vs stout defense in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The fun is about to get started in a big way this bowl season, and we’ll try to cover as much of it as possible right here.
To kick things off here is a brief preview of each bowl game being played Saturday, along with a podcast conversation about each at the bottom.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl Saturday, December 15, 2012 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
The first game on the bowl schedule this season should be a dandy if you are a fan of running backs. This game will feature two of the top running backs in the nation, with Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey being named first-team All-American by the Associated Press and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson being named third-team All-American on Tuesday. Carey ended the regular season leading the Pac 12 in rushing with 1,757 yards and 20 touchdowns and Jefferson led the Mountain West Conference with 1,703 yards and 22 touchdowns. With both teams showing some signs of struggling up front on defense, this could be a huge afternoon for two terrific running backs.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Saturday, December 15, 2012 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) vs. Utah State (10-2, 6-0 WAC)
Utah State, last year’s leading cause of heartburn in the state of Utah, is back in Boise and looking to leave the blue turf with an elusive win. The Aggies have not won a bowl game since 1993, as a member of the Big West. With a dynamic quarterback in Chuckie Keeton leading an offense built more on methodically moving the football rather than go for the big play, featuring running back Kerwynn Williams doing a little bit of everything, and one of the stingiest defenses in the country, we should have a good battle with Toledo from the MAC. Toledo’s defense is led by linebacker Dan Molls, with 166 tackles on the year, but the secondary is among the best in the nation with 17 interceptions and four touchdowns.
Podcast, Episode 134
Previewing these two games and even briefly dabbling in a the FCS Final Four is Kyle Kensing from Saturday Blitz and Arizona Desert Swarm. Kensing is a member fo the Football Writers Association of America, along with host Kevin McGuire, and created The Detmer Award. The Detmer Award was recently awarded to Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch. We discuss the origin of The Detmer Award, Lynch’s award-worthy season and take a look at each of the four schools playing in a bowl game this weekend. We close with a quick hit on the FCS Final Four. Defending champion North Dakota State looks to move back to the championship game this weekend with a Final Four rematch with Georgia Southern. In the other match-up we have 2010 national champion Eastern Washington hosting last year’s runner-up from Sam Houston State.
You want a pairing that jumped out of nowhere in the last 24 hours? Try BYU and the Big East on for size.
Deep Shades of Blue, which I am told tends to have a decent level of credibility behind it (honestly this is the first time I have checked the site out), posted a good amount of information about future BYU scheduling, which included news of agreements to play Wisconsin, USC, Nebraska, and possibly even Penn State in the works. With BYU ditching the Mountain West Conference this upcoming season the Cougars are hard at work in securing lucrative match-ups n football in order to successfully venture in the the world of an independent.
Toward the end of the post a reference to the Big East was made, which has caused a stir in the Big East Internet world here, here and here. In it we are informed that the Big East approached BYU with the idea of joining the league as a football-only member but the administration at BYU turned down the idea.
Brett Hein from The Upset Blog was kind enough to join the podcast for his first appearance and run through the news that the Big East made contact with BYU. There really is little to get too excited about as the Big East was just doing their homework in exploring possible candidates to fill the tenth football spot in the conference moving forward, or possibly one of the 12 spots as Big East Coast Bias references.
Once we get through discussing the merits of a BYU-Big East partnership (or lack of), we dive in to the Mountain West Conference and their next phase of change. BYU and Utah are gone and TCU has one foot out the door. Boise State is ready to play and they’ll be bringing old WAC foes Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii next year. So is this conference better off now than they were last year, or two years ago? Does this conference deserve a BCS bid like the Big Ten, SEC, PAC-12 and Big 12 receive? How does this conference compared to the Big East, who is gaining TCU next season?
For everything that is happening in the Mountain West Conference, one thing is certain. They are way ahead of the WAC in terms of being relevant in college football. The WAC will lose four of their biggest members by the start of the 2012 season and the conference is scrambling for members to take their place. When the best options you have are all currently playing at the FCS level, and one of them (Montana) has turned you down, what does that say about the stability of the conference?
We touch on both conferences a bit and talk about some of the teams that should be considered on top of the evolving, or devolving, conferences out west.
Jake Locker has hype, but can he deliver? Getty Images.
A year ago Washington’s Jake Locker was considered a sure thing and was expected to go early in the 2010 NFL Draft. Faced with the dilema of possibly being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, an honor Locker kindly left uncontested for Sam Bradford from Oklahoma, Locker decided to return for his final season at Washington.
A return for his senior season was received with great praise by the Husky faithful in the Seattle area and the school saw it as an opportunity to use Locker to get their own name out in the media. Locker was heralded as a Heisman contender and given top billing on a tour to the east coast to visit with the New York media and make a round through ESPN’s “car wash”, in which a college player goes from show to show on ESPN including SportsCenter, First Take, multiple radio shows and even Ivan Maisel’s podcast. Locker was everywhere and you could not avoid it.
In his junior season Locker completed 58.2% of his passes for 2,800 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Locker added 388 rushing yards and seven more touchdowns on the ground. Though his numbers look to be pretty average scouts always thought that the fact that he was playing for a team that went 5-7 was a reason Locker was being held back in terms of overall production. His skills, scouts say, are made for the pro game and even if his college stats look average at best, the potential factor would make Locker worthy of a high draft pick.
That’s what they were saying after last season and that is what they are saying this year even though Locker’s stats went down in every major category (passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, passer rating). Locker did miss one game due to injury (Oregon) but he played in the same number of games this past season as he did the year before because of a bowl appearance in 2010.
“The bottom line is, you need one of these guys,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock says. “The hard thing is figuring out the intangibles: What kind of kid is he? What kind of worker is he? And how good is his football IQ?”
Jake Locker may be this year's Mr. Potential in the NFL Draft. Getty Images.
That is what will be scrutinized from every possible angle this week. Locker will be one of the top players to watch this week during Senior Bowl week. The Husky quarterback is the quarterback with the most to prove given his high expectations heading in. The rest of the QBs in Mobile, Alabama this week are good college quarterbacks but other than TCU’s Andy Dalton and Florida State’s Christian Ponder there are few who figure to have a great chance to make any impact in the NFL.
Although, if Caleb Hanie can find himself in a position to make a run at a Cinderella type story in the NFC Championship game, who knows what the future has in store for Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi, and Alabama’s Greg McElroy?
Noted NFL Draft analysts for ESPN Mel Kiper no longer has Locker as a first round draft pick. According to Kiper’s latest mock-draft he has the Seattle Seahawks passing on Locker with the 25th pick and drafting Ryan Mallet from Arkansas. I do not tend to take too much stock in mock drafts but I find this to be an interesting opinion. If the Seahawks, a franchise playing in the same area as the Huskies, passes on Locker after being able to watch him for years, just where would he land? For Kiper this is a big change in thinking as he declared before and after the 2010 NFL Draft that Locker would be taken first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Clearly, in terms of money, Locker should have declared for the NFL last year. After watching what I did of Locker in 2010 I fail to see what all of the hype is about. I am not alone either. Patrick Johnson from In the Bleachers agrees and says that Locker should realize he is best suited for baseball. “Sooner he accepts it, the better,” Johnson tweeted at me over the weekend. Locker was named Baseball America’s top prospect in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League in 2008 while playing outfield for the Bellingham Bells.
I close with this week’s featured poll question. Do you think Locker is worth a first round draft pick? Should the Seahawks follow Kiper’s thinking and take Mallet if given the option? Should Locker focus on baseball instead? This poll will close on Thursday evening and I will review the answers on Friday. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section as well. Some comments may be featured. Or you can e-mail your thoughts as well.