College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 3

This is a list of every game played during week 1 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 3

Additional notes:

– I include ESPN3.com games; they are denoted as “ESPN3″.

- This season, I am also including digital network feeds provided by various conferences when they are free of charge. For some of these feeds, the audio will be a simulcast of the home team’s radio broadcast. There are also online platforms that have their own announcers (a la ESPN3).

For now, the digital networks I am including in the listings are those for the Mountain West, Big Sky, Big SouthOVC, NEC, SoCon, and Patriot League.

– The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Louisville-Virginia) can be found here: Link

– Regional nets carrying the ACC Network “regional” games of the week: Kansas-Duke and Georgia Southern-Georgia Tech. (They are also listed in notes in the document.)

– Local affiliates for American Sports Network games: Lehigh-New Hampshire, Alabama A&M-UAB, New Mexico-UTEP

– Listed in a note in the document are the regional nets carrying the UTSA-Oklahoma State game.

– ABC/ESPN2 coverage map for the noon ET games: Link

– BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

– AP Poll (FBS):  Link

– FCS Coaches’ Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I use in putting this together comes courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s remarkably comprehensive and completely indispensable site College Sports on TV, which simply cannot be praised enough. It’s a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.

Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information collectors (and in a few cases sports-TV savants) at the506.com. I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

2014 Football, Game 2: The Citadel vs. Florida State

The Citadel at Florida State, to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium, with kickoff at 7:30 pm ET on Saturday, September 6. The game will be televised on various regional sports networks around the country (list). The TV announcers for the contest will be Wes Durham (play-by-play) and James Bates (analysis), with Hans Heiserer serving as the sideline reporter.

The game can be heard on radio via the various affiliates of The Citadel Sports Network. Mike Legg (the newly minted “Voice of the Bulldogs”) will call the action alongside analyst Lee Glaze. It is also possible to listen to the action with a smartphone, using a TuneIn Radio application.

WQNT-1450 AM [audio link], originating in Charleston, will be the flagship station for The Citadel Sports Network. The game broadcast will be produced by Jay Harper, who will also provide updates on other college football action.

Links of interest:

The Citadel game notes

Florida State game notes

SoCon weekly release

ACC weekly release

Mike Houston’s 9/2 press conference

Mike Houston on the SoCon teleconference

ACC teleconference (Jimbo Fisher at the 12:50 mark)

Florida State practice report (with video)

Underlying and supporting the educational experience at Florida State University is the development of new generations of citizen leaders, based on the concepts inscribed in our seal: Vires, Artes, Mores — Strength, Skill and Character…

…Florida State’s 40,000 students are dedicated to academic excellence and providing leadership in our complex world.

Florida State University’s 16 colleges offer more than 275 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, professional and specialist degree programs, including medicine and law, covering a broad array of disciplines critical to society today. Each year the University awards over 2,000 graduate and professional degrees.

Florida State University’s origins can be traced back to a legislative plan in 1823, before Florida had even attained statehood. An academy called the Florida Institute began in 1857, and became co-educational the following year.

During the Civil War, the school was known as the Florida Military and Collegiate Institute, with a component of it dedicated to training military cadets. Some of those cadets fought in the Battle of Natural Bridge in Tallahassee.

Because of that student involvement, FSU’s Army ROTC unit is authorized to display a battle streamer with its flag. Only two other schools have authorized Confederate battle streamers — VMI (which has one for the Battle of New Market) and The Citadel (multiple streamers for various campaigns).

Tangent: some sources indicate the University of Mississippi also has an authorized battle streamer, but I have been unable to confirm this. There are two schools that have streamers for other wars — William & Mary (for the Siege of Yorktown, during the Revolutionary War) and the University of Hawai’i (for Pearl Harbor).

By 1901, the school was a four-year institution, but a big change came in 1905, when Florida’s educational system was reorganized. At that time, the University of Florida (in Gainesville) became a school for white men. The school located in Tallahassee became the Florida Female College (the same legislative act also led to the institution now known as Florida A&M).

The split also resulted in the elimination of the football program, which had started in 1902, since there were no longer any male students.

The school remained an all-women’s college until 1947, when the renamed Florida State University became co-ed again. It also re-started the football program.

After a winless 1947 season (0-5), the Seminoles would win 30 of 34 games over the next four years, competing for three of those seasons in the Dixie Conference. Florida State played in its first bowl game during this time, beating Wofford 19-6 in the 1950 Cigar Bowl (played in Tampa following the 1949 regular season).

Teams in the Dixie Conference didn’t offer athletic scholarships. FSU left the league when it began to offer athletic scholarships after the 1950 season. Florida State would remain an independent in football until it joined the ACC in 1992.

The Seminoles were 38-34-1 from 1953 through 1959, playing in bowl games in 1954 and 1958. While FSU had a few players move on to the NFL during this era, two of the more notable football alums in this time period didn’t play pro football.

The two players to whom I’m referring are Lee Corso (a fine QB/DB for Florida State from 1953-56) and Burt “Buddy” Reynolds (an injury-plagued halfback for the Seminoles between 1954-57). You’ve probably heard of them.

By 1959, Florida State had designs on an SEC invite. The school president wrote each of the twelve SEC presidents asking for admission. It didn’t happen.

The coach for the 1959 football team was Perry Moss, who left for the CFL after only one season in Tallahassee (FSU finished 4-6 that year). Florida State hired Bill Peterson to replace him.

Peterson had been an assistant at LSU under Paul Dietzel. He would be the first man to raise FSU’s profile in the world of college football, setting the stage (after a couple of coaching hiccups) for the sustained success the Seminoles would later enjoy under Bobby Bowden.

Bowden was an assistant during part of Peterson’s tenure at Florida State, one of a number of outstanding coaches to serve under “Coach Pete”. Bill Peterson’s first staff in 1960 included Don James; other coaches who would later become Peterson assistants included Joe Gibbs, Dan Henning, Bill Parcells, Earle Bruce (when Peterson was a high school coach in Ohio), and Bobby Ross (during Peterson’s one season as head coach of Rice).

Besides hiring and tutoring outstanding coaches, Peterson was also known as being something of a malaprop artist. His best known line is probably this one, addressed to his players at the beginning of a practice:

You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle

Peterson would later become known for basically introducing pro-style offense to southern college football, but in 1960 he was just trying to get a handle on a team that wasn’t quite ready for prime time. One reason Florida State hadn’t been welcomed with open arms to the SEC was its record on the gridiron against league foes. FSU had only beaten one SEC team (Tennessee in 1958) up to that point in its football history.

The 1960 season began with some promise. Florida State beat Richmond 28-0, then played creditably in a 3-0 loss to Florida. The Seminoles followed that up with a 14-6 victory over Wake Forest, a bit of an upset.

The next game on the schedule for FSU was on October 8, against The Citadel.

I’m going to spend the next few paragraphs writing about that game. Why am I writing about a game played in 1960 when this is supposed to be a preview for Saturday’s contest?

Well, why not? It’s not like anyone is reading this to find out what Florida State’s 4th-down conversion rate was last season (it was 75%, by the way; the Seminoles only went for it on 4th down four times in 14 games, converting three of them).

The 1960 matchup is almost certainly the most memorable tie in The Citadel’s long gridiron history. It’s worth taking a closer look at that game.

The Citadel had gone 8-2 in 1959, the first season of a three-year run that was up to that time the finest in school history. Included in those eight victories was a 20-14 victory over West Virginia in Morgantown to close out the campaign, perhaps best remembered for Paul Maguire’s school-record 83-yard punt.

The 1960 campaign for the Bulldogs began with a shutout of Newberry. The Citadel then lost a tough game at George Washington before slipping past Davidson the following week. Thus, The Citadel was 2-1 when Florida State came to town.

The two schools had met twice before, and neither game had been close. In 1959, FSU had beaten The Citadel 47-6. A few years earlier, in 1955, the Seminoles had shut out the Bulldogs 39-0.

Both of those games were played in Tallahassee. In 1960, however, for the first (and only) time, FSU made the journey to Charleston to play the military college.

A crowd of 11,200 on a “terribly humid” night (per The Tallahassee Democrat) gathered at Johnson Hagood Stadium to watch the action.

Bill Peterson, taking a page from his former boss Paul Dietzel, had installed “platoon” football at Florida State. The rules for substitution at the time were different than they are today; there were limitations on moving players in and out of a game.

While many of the players on The Citadel’s squad played both offense and defense, FSU had three distinct units. The first team players were known as the “Chiefs”. The other two platoons were made up of offensive specialists (the “War Party”) and defensive stalwarts (“Renegades”).

One of the things that stood out to me while looking at the statistics for this game was the lack of possessions. The Citadel’s offense appears to have had the ball for eleven drives during the game, while FSU had ten drives. A mistake could be very costly, in that each team only had so many opportunities to score with the limited number of possessions.

The Citadel took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, getting nice first down runs from both Early Eastburn and Tommy Edwards, but got bogged down in the red zone and missed a short field goal. It would be one of two times the Bulldogs moved the ball inside the FSU 20-yard line during the contest.

Florida State answered that drive with one of its own, a 20-play marathon that included two 15-yard penalties against the Seminoles (one of which negated a TD). On fourth and three from the Bulldogs’ 8-yard line, Florida State elected to throw the ball into the end zone, but the attempt fell incomplete.

FSU’s next possession resulted in a missed field goal attempt, a 33-yarder. Placekicking was not the Seminoles’ strong suit. In 1960, FSU only attempted four field goals all season — and missed all four of them.

Later in the second quarter, The Citadel again moved into FSU territory, but a penalty stopped the drive. FSU did nothing on its ensuing possession and punted the ball back to the Bulldogs. However, the half ended just as the cadets crossed midfield.

Florida State was the first team to mount a scoring threat in the second half. The Seminoles got all the way to the Bulldogs’ 16-yard line, but on 4th-and-2, FSU halfback Bud Whitehead (who later played in the AFL for eight seasons) was stuffed for a one-yard loss.

Another drive for Florida State was blunted by The Citadel at the Bulldogs’ 41-yard line, and the FSU punt that followed was short (13 yards). That led to The Citadel’s best offensive possession of the second half, which included big runs by Eastburn and . Edwards, and a pass from Jerry Nettles to Bill Gilgo.

The Bulldogs moved inside the FSU 20. At that point Bill Peterson changed platoons and brought in the Renegades. The Citadel promptly lost a fumble and the scoring chance was over.

With just over six minutes to play, Florida State got great field position after a quick kick by the Bulldogs went awry, taking over at The Citadel 38-yard line. A long pass play moved the ball to the 10.

A short run advanced the pigskin to the Bulldogs’ 7-yard line, but on the next play a pass into the end zone was intercepted by Nettles.

Florida State had one more chance to score, but after moving the ball inside The Citadel 40, the Seminoles were thwarted when Gilgo sacked the quarterback for a 16-yard loss. The game ended with the Bulldogs in possession, but in their own territory.

Both teams finished the game with 16 first downs. The Citadel outgained FSU, 278-265, but committed two turnovers to the Seminoles’ one.

Bill Peterson was complimentary to The Citadel afterwards, telling The Tallahassee Democrat that the Bulldogs “deserved the tie because [The Citadel] played better” and that “the crowd inspired them”, mentioning the Seminoles had trouble hearing signals due to all the noise in the stadium.

The reporter for the Tallahassee paper said that the Bulldogs had been “hypnotized with inspiration”.

I mention the Peterson quotes in part because over the years, I’ve heard different stories about this game, including the attitudes of Peterson and some of his players. However, I have not found any documentary evidence that Peterson was rude, demanding, and/or abrasive prior to the game, or after it was over. Maybe he was, but I’ve seen no real proof.

It doesn’t matter anyway. The tie was a fine result for The Citadel, which would finish the 1960 season 8-2-1, including a win in the Tangerine Bowl, the program’s first (and only) trip to a bowl. That win in the Tangerine Bowl is also the only victory in The Citadel’s history to have occurred in the state of Florida.

The following year, the school would celebrate seven more victories and its first Southern Conference title. One of the three defeats that year came against FSU (44-8), but that game was played after the SoCon crown had already been wrapped up.

As for Florida State, the Seminoles finished the 1960 season 3-6-1. Peterson gradually built FSU into a power, culminating in the 1964 season, which saw the Seminoles finish 9-1-1, defeating Florida for the first time in school history and beating Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl.

Some trivia about that 1960 game:

- It was the final tie game in the history of Johnson Hagood Stadium.

- The Citadel would play more than two decades of football before being involved in another tie game (28-28 at Chattanooga in 1981). At that time, the number of consecutive games without a tie was an NCAA record.

The tiebreaking non-tie game came in 1980, and any fan who wore a tie to the game could bring a friend for free.

- Eddie Teague’s only other tie in nine years as head coach of The Citadel came in his very first game in charge at the military college, the season opener in 1957 against Newberry. The score of that game? 0-0.

When Bill Peterson first got the job at Florida State, he offered an assistant position to Bill Crutchfield, who had also been offered a job at Miami. Crutchfield took the Miami job in part because “Miami had the big schedule and Florida State was still playing The Citadel”.

Since then, almost 55 years have passed, and Florida State is the defending BCS champion and on anyone’s list of elite college football programs. And what team will the Seminoles be playing on Saturday? The Citadel…

Mike Houston isn’t really excited about his squad being on FSU’s schedule.

At his press conference, he was asked, “For future schedules, would you like to see more big teams, big games like this one?”

His answer was, shall we say, abrupt:

No. Not unless I get 85 scholarships.

Of course, The Citadel isn’t really in a position to drop FBS matchups, as noted in Jeff Hartsell’s article the next day.

As was mentioned in the story, the programmatic differences between The Citadel and Florida State don’t stop with the disparity in scholarships. Just to mention one example, FSU spent over $250,000 per scholarship football player in 2012 (the most recent year compiled in the Knight Commission’s spending database). The Citadel spent slightly under $60,000 per scholarship player.

Houston seemed a bit more open-minded, if cautious, when asked about the subject in the SoCon teleconference:

If the game is something that is a positive for the program, then I’m all for it…right now with the program we’re kind of at the ground floor building…my hopes are that one day we can get the program where it can be competitive in games against some of the FBS opponents. That’s when I think you see more purpose from it. You get a game like this — I don’t know.

I can understand his point of view. However, the annual game or two against FBS opponents isn’t just about the money (although that’s a huge factor, of course). Most players enjoy competing in the games and measuring themselves against top-flight opponents. Travelling to FBS games can also be enjoyable excursions for fans of the program.

I look forward to the day when the program can “be competitive against some of the FBS opponents”. On the other hand, schools like Arkansas and South Carolina may not be quite as excited by that possibility.

Of course, Houston may not have to worry about playing FBS opponents in the future, if a few of the coaches and administrators at the “power five” conferences get their way. I hope they don’t, as I’ve written about before.

Normally I would write about an opponent’s statistics, discuss its players, etc., as they relate to The Citadel. It seems pointless to do so for this game, for obvious reasons. I’ll just make a few quick comments:

- Last season, Florida State averaged over 51 points per game. As Bill Connelly of SB Nation pointed out, the Seminoles also had (at least statistically) the nation’s best defense.

- Mike Houston suggested in his press conference that, based on watching him play on Saturday, Jameis Winston appears to be even stronger and faster than he was last year. You may not know this, but last year Winston won the Heisman Trophy.

- Only twice last year did FSU win by fewer than 27 points — against Auburn in the BCS title game, and at Boston College (and the estimable Andre Williams). Florida State still won the latter game by two touchdowns.

The fact that the Seminoles were so rarely challenged in 2013 made last week’s 37-31 victory against Oklahoma State all the more surprising. It is true FSU never trailed in the game, but it still gave people something to think about.

Florida State returns a lot of the same players that helped it win a title last year, and it’s not like there is a lack of 5-star quality athletes ready to step in for the players who left, anyway. This is not a team with anything resembling a true weakness.

That said, I think if I were an FSU fan I would be concerned about three things: 1) Winston’s health; 2) trying to find a difference-maker along the defensive line who can measure up to Timmy Jernigan (not easy, despite a surfeit of DT talent); and 3) the transition to a new defensive coordinator.

Jeremy Pruitt did a great job in Tallahassee. He’ll now be doing a great job in Athens.

Odds and ends:

- Last year, Florida State played one FCS opponent, Bethune-Cookman. The Seminoles won the game 54-6. That was the fewest points scored against an FCS team by FSU since Jimbo Fisher became head coach.

- Besides being the home opener, Saturday will be Hall of Fame day at Florida State. Included among the honorees are former football players Amp Lee and Aaron Carter.

- James Bates, the analyst for the TV broadcast of the game, was a linebacker at Florida and played for that school’s 1996 national title team. That was the year Florida beat Florida State in a rematch (in the Sugar Bowl) to claim the crown.

If the TV crew is introduced during the game, I’m sure Bates will get a warm welcome from the FSU faithful.

- Saturday’s game is officially a sellout, just like The Citadel’s game last season against Clemson. The bottom line: people all over the country want to see The Citadel in person.

This game is not exactly a must-win for The Citadel, but it definitely is for Florida State. There is no way the Seminoles can lose on Saturday and remain in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

A win by The Citadel in Doak Campbell Stadium would be the stuff of legends. There would be a movie, maybe a miniseries. Several books would be published about the game (at least one of them would be written by me).

Could it happen? Hey, anything can happen, even for a 52 1/2 point underdog like The Citadel. Is it likely? No.

All I really want to see from the Bulldogs in this game is on-field progress. Yes, there can be progress in a matchup like this.

Obviously, avoiding injuries would be high on the wish list too, but players can get hurt in any game, and in any setting. That’s the nature of the sport.

More than anything, I hope The Citadel’s players (and fans) at the game have some fun, and enjoy some kind of positive experience that they will always remember.

I also hope FSU’s check clears.

Go Dogs!

College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 2

This is a list of every game played during week 1 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 2

Additional notes:

– I include ESPN3.com games; they are denoted as “ESPN3″.

- This season, I am also including digital network feeds provided by various conferences when they are free of charge. For some of these feeds, the audio will be a simulcast of the home team’s radio broadcast. There are also online platforms that have their own announcers (a la ESPN3).

For now, the digital networks I am including in the listings are those for the Mountain West, Big Sky, Big SouthOVC, NEC, SoCon, and Patriot League.

– The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (South Carolina State-Clemson) can be found here:  Link

– The regional nets carrying the ACC Network “regional” game of the week (The Citadel-Florida State) can be found here: Link

– Local affiliates for American Sports Network games: Fordham-Villanova, Rhode Island-Marshall, and Johnson C. Smith-Charlotte

– Listed in notes on the document are the regional nets carrying the following games: SMU-North Texas, UAB-Mississippi State, Missouri State-Oklahoma State, and Northwestern State-Baylor.

– ABC/ESPN2 coverage map for the noon ET games: Link

– BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

– AP Poll (FBS):  Link

– FCS Coaches’ Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I use in putting this together comes courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s remarkably comprehensive and completely indispensable site College Sports on TV, which simply cannot be praised enough. It’s a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.

Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information collectors (and in a few cases sports-TV savants) at the506.com. I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

Game review, 2014: Coastal Carolina

Links of interest:

Game story, The Post and Courier

“Notes” section, The Post and Courier

Photo gallery from The Post and Courier

Game story, The Sun-News

WCSC-TV report

School release

Box score

Just a few thoughts, notes, etc. on the game:

- I wasn’t particularly shocked by most of what I saw during last night’s contest. Coastal Carolina moved the ball on offense, but the Dogs’ D held its own at times. On the other side of the ball, The Citadel showed flashes of a good triple option team, but couldn’t recover from a few costly mistakes.

Defensively, the Bulldogs did not get enough sustained pressure on the quarterback (one sack), which is one reason why there were only two passes defensed (out of 32 CCU attempts). In addition, The Citadel didn’t force a turnover and allowed the Chanticleers to convert eight out of thirteen third down plays.

The Bulldogs’ offense needed to be better on third down (5-13) and fourth down (1-3). One way to improve those numbers would be to not commit drive-killing personal foul penalties. I’m not worried about that happening again after watching video of Mike Houston being interviewed. Let’s just say his jaw was set.

The one thing that did surprise me was the disappointing performance of The Citadel’s special teams. There was a bad snap, a missed PAT, and an inability to catch the ball on kickoffs. All that’s got to get fixed, and ASAP.

- The Citadel fumbled eight times but lost none. That is…a statistical outlier.

- My favorite play call of the night came early in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-14 from the CCU 36, The Citadel ran the option. Jake Stenson picked up 13 yards.

That was one yard short of the first down, but it was a marker for Brent Thompson and his approach on offense. There aren’t going to be “standard downs” and “passing downs” with this team. There are just going to be downs.

The play call itself reminded me vaguely of the way Charlie Taaffe did things when he was running the wishbone at The Citadel, and that is very much meant as a compliment. Taaffe was (and still is) a very good play-caller.

Off-the-field stuff:

- Almost very alum in attendance was happy to see the corps of cadets back on the home side. Several of them also observed that the corps appeared to be larger than last year, and appropriately so (the absence of a significant percentage of cadets in the stands had been a point of contention in the recent past).

- One issue with having a full complement of cadets in attendance was that when the game started, a lot of them were still waiting to get to their seats. I think it might be a good idea to begin the marchover about ten minutes earlier, to alleviate that problem. That might also have the added benefit of getting more people (i.e. parents and friends of cadets) into the stadium prior to kickoff.

- There appeared to be an attempt to “dial down” the videoboard excesses of the last few years. I suspect this was welcomed by everyone in Johnson Hagood Stadium. It really helped the ambiance and atmosphere, in my opinion.

- Now the next step is to unshackle the regimental band, which again appeared restricted as to when it was allowed to play. There was no music to be heard from that group throughout the first quarter.

The band played at the end of the first quarter and midway through the second (the grating-but-by-now-inevitable “Hey Baby”). That was it for the entire first half, unless I missed something.

- I was caught a little off-guard when the attendance (10,828) was announced. There were more people at the game than that (possibly around 13-14K), but it may be that one-quarter of the crowd was there via free admission and weren’t counted in the official total.

- The return of the cheerleaders was greatly appreciated.

- Also appreciated: Spike The Bulldog, working the tailgates and the stadium like a champ.

- This was the first home game of the season, so it is understandable if there were some minor problems and organizational challenges. There is plenty of time to work out the kinks, given the next home game isn’t until September 27.

On a personal note, I was very happy to be at the game; that had been a goal of mine since early June. I was also pleased by the way the team played, if not the result.

Next week’s opponent, Florida State, clearly was looking ahead to the game against the Bulldogs. That can be the only reason the Seminoles beat Oklahoma State by just six points.

I’ll have a preview of the game in Tallahassee later in the week. It’s not going to be nearly as long as the one for CCU (to everyone’s relief).

There really is only so much you can say about that game, to be honest. Just for kicks, though, I’m going to throw something in for the Gold Corps. Be forewarned.

As is traditional, my game review concludes with some pictures, none of which will be winning this year’s Pulitzer. I’m not a good photographer, and I don’t have a great camera. I just click and hope.

In this set, there aren’t the usual shots of the cadets lined up on the field (because I was late getting into the stadium), and the “action” shots only lasted until around the midway point of the third quarter (due to operator error).

 

 

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College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 1

This is a list of every game played during week 1 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2014, Week 1

Additional notes:

– I include ESPN3.com games; they are denoted as “ESPN3″.

- This season, I am also including digital network feeds provided by various conferences when they are free of charge. For some of these feeds, the audio will be a simulcast of the home team’s radio broadcast. There are also online platforms that have their own announcers (a la ESPN3).

For now, the digital networks I am including in the listings are those for the Mountain West, Big Sky, Big SouthOVC, NEC, SoCon, and Patriot League.

– The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Georgia Southern-North Carolina State) can be found here:  Link

– I’ve listed the regional nets carrying the ACC Network “regional” game of the week (Wofford-Georgia Tech) can be found here: Link

– Local affiliates for American Sports Network games: Hampton-Old Dominion and Bethune-Cookman University-Florida International

– ABC/ESPN2 coverage map for the 3:30 pm ET games: Link

– BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

– USA Today Coaches Poll (FBS):  Link

– FCS Coaches’ Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s remarkably comprehensive and completely indispensable site College Sports on TV, which simply cannot be praised enough. It’s a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.

Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information collectors (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the506.com. I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

2014 Football, Game 1: The Citadel vs. Coastal Carolina

Football.

Football!

FOOTBALL!

FOOTBALL!

The Citadel vs. Coastal Carolina, to be played at historic Johnson Hagood Stadium, with kickoff at 6:00 pm ET on Saturday, August 30. The game will not be televised.

The contest will be streamed for free on the SoCon Digital Network, the league’s new streaming platform.

The game can be heard on radio via the various affiliates of The Citadel Sports Network. Mike Legg (the newly minted “Voice of the Bulldogs”) will call the action alongside analyst Lee Glaze. It is also possible to listen to the action with a smartphone, using a TuneIn Radio application.

WQNT-1450 AM [audio link], originating in Charleston, will be the flagship station for The Citadel Sports Network. WQNT will have a two-hour pregame show prior to each home football game that will be hosted by Ted Byrne. The pregame show and game broadcast will be produced by Jay Harper, who will also provide updates on other college football action.

The Citadel Sports Network — Affiliates

Charleston: WQNT 1450AM (Flagship)
Columbia: WQXL 1470AM/95.9FM
Florence/Darlington: WJMX 1400AM
Greenville: WLFJ 92.9FM/660AM
Orangeburg: WORG 100.3FM
Sumter: WDXY1240AM/105.9FM

From two weeks ago: my sort-of-preview of the upcoming season for The Citadel. There are numbers in it.

Links of interest:

- Season preview from The Post and Courier

- The Sports Network SoCon preview

- Game notes from The Citadel and Coastal Carolina

- SoCon weekly release

- SoCon media and coaches’ preseason polls

- Big South weekly release

- Big South preseason poll

- FCS Coaches poll

- Phil Kornblut (SportsTalk) interviews Mike Houston, along with Aaron Miller and Justin Oxendine

Coastal Carolina institutional quick facts:

The school opened in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College, an extension of the College of Charleston. Soon afterwards CofC got out of the extensions business, however, and Coastal briefly operated as an independent JC.

In the early 1960s, Coastal Carolina was converted into a regional campus of the University of South Carolina. Coastal began offering four-year degrees in 1974, and the school became autonomous in 1993.

Enrollment has more than doubled in the last two decades. As of fall 2013, there were 9,478 students at Coastal Carolina.

Coastal Carolina first fielded a football team in 2003, hiring David Bennett to start the program. Bennett had been a successful head coach at Catawba, and he guided the Chanticleers to a winning record (6-5) in that first season. The following year, CCU went 10-1 and won the Big South Conference (which at the time had five football members).

Bennett won nine games at Coastal Carolina in each of the next two seasons, but then alternated five- and six-win campaigns in the next four years.

In 2011, his ninth season at the helm, CCU finished 7-4. That year, Bennett also became an internet sensation after making anti-feline comments at a press conference.

It would be Bennett’s last season as head coach of the Chanticleers. He was fired December 9, 2011:

[Bennett] was coming off a recruiting trip that took up most of his week. It goes without saying that Bennett had absolutely no idea what was about to happen later in the day. Bennett was supposed to attend the Mr. Football awards ceremony, but never got there as he was summoned to a meeting with Dr. David DeCenzo and Hunter Yurachek where he was relieved of his head coaching duties…

…CCU President Dr. David DeCenzo focused on dollars and cents and poor attendance as reasons for a change.

“Of the 125 FCS schools, our spending on football operations is easily in the top 20. With that investment, we expect to annually place in the top 20 programs, with sights set on competing consistently for the FCS playoffs and national championships. That is simply not happening. In addition, when you look at our record over the past five years, we have beaten only 3 teams that had winning records. Our attendance at games has fallen sharply; we sell about 50 percent of our available tickets. It is imperative that we find a way to create excitement around our program, attract more fans to Brooks Stadium, and increase our revenues to offset our expenditures.”

…Names will get thrown around during Hunter Yurachek’s search for the next Coastal football coach. Sources [say] that one name that will be a target for the next CCU coach is Gamecocks assistant coach Steve Spurrier, Junior.

Well, I guess some sources are better than others. As a matter of fact, Coastal Carolina’s next head football coach had met with the school president (and was apparently offered the job) before Bennett was actually fired:

The university president, having generated his own ideas about what makes a successful coach, and having read media reports about a retired chief executive officer turned United Football League coach named Joe Moglia, and having heard that Moglia recently moved into his community — a prosperous subdivision of Pawleys Island known as Prince George — sent Moglia an e-mail.

“Hello from a Neighbor in Prince George,” the university president wrote in the subject line.

Two weeks later, the university president and the multimillionaire met for breakfast at a restaurant called the Eggs Up Grill. Afterward, the university president seemed convinced he had found his man. Three weeks later, the school held a press conference at which it announced the firing of David Bennett, who had gone 63-39 in nine seasons at Coastal Carolina University.

Not surprisingly, the coaching change (and the circumstances surrounding it) did not go over well in some quarters.

Joe Moglia’s story is now fairly well known (and has already resulted in at least one biography), but just a quick recap:

  • Grew up in New York, went to Fordham
  • After graduating from Fordham, spent eight years coaching high school football in Pennsylvania and Delaware
  • Was then a college coach for six years at Lafayette and Dartmouth (defensive coordinator when the Big Green won two Ivy League titles)
  • Left coaching for the financial world; worked at Merrill Lynch for 17 years, rising through the ranks (became head of municipal lending)
  • CEO at TD Ameritrade from 2001-2008
  • Unpaid assistant/”advisor” at Nebraska for two years, basically shadowing Bo Pelini
  • Head coach of the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks for one season
  • Named head coach of Coastal Carolina in December 2011; 20-8 record in two years (winning the Big South both seasons)
  • May or may not be a billionaire (sources vary), but at any rate he can afford to pick up the check

Moglia’s transition from coaching to finance to coaching again has fascinated a lot of people in the national sports media, and as a result he has been the subject of a number of profiles. USA Today‘s Dan Wolken seems particularly enamored with the coach’s background, but Moglia has also come to the attention of ESPN and Sports Illustrated (among many other outlets).

While part of Moglia’s job description is to sell people on the promise of Coastal Carolina, sometimes it appears that the relationship is the other way around — that Coastal Carolina is selling people on the promise of Moglia. It’s very much a two-way street.

Incidentally, Moglia is not just the head football coach at Coastal Carolina. His official title is Head Football Coach/Executive Director of Football. He is also the Chairman of the Coastal Carolina Athletic Division. I am not quite sure what being Chairman of the Coastal Carolina Athletic Division entails, but I assume it doesn’t affect his current status as Chairman of the Board for TD Ameritrade.

At the Big South’s Media Day, Moglia was asked by interviewer Mike Hogewood why Coastal Carolina has been so successful over the last two seasons. Moglia started his response by saying:

“I think it really begins with a philosophy. There are a lot of teams that have a lot of rules. We actually don’t have any rules in our program. We have a mission, to put a team on the field that Coastal is really proud of…”

Moglia went on to explain his “Be A Man” mantra. It’s not that he doesn’t have any rules; he has “a standard”. It’s really just semantics. Still, he might be better served not to begin answering a question by saying his program doesn’t have any rules.

Moglia did something interesting during Coastal Carolina’s spring practice this year:

[Moglia] outlawed tackling during practice.

“We want to have a culture of being physically and mentally tough,” offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said. “Trying to establish that while not being as physical is something I had to learn.”

For a football lifer like Patenaude, the plan undercut the very foundation of his coaching philosophy, but Moglia sees tradition as an inefficiency in the marketplace. Learning is like investing, he believes. Information compounds the same as interest, growing geometrically rather than linearly, but injuries derail the system. This spring, injuries were the enemy, so Coastal’s players endured just 65 minutes of tackling — 15 in the first scrimmage, 20 in the second and half of the spring game.

Now, Moglia is wrapping up the spring by distributing the results of this madness, typed, printed and passed among the room full of once dubious coaches. The team ran 400 more snaps this spring than last. Injuries in the spring game were cut in half. Practices missed due to injury declined by 250 percent.

I think this is a good idea. It reminds me a little bit of the approach taken by legendary Division III coach John Gagliardi.

Having said that, the author of the article tried a little too hard for a tie-in with Moglia’s business career. “Inefficiency in the marketplace”, “Learning is like investing”, “Information compounds the same as interest”, etc.

Also, I’m going to assume that Moglia, who holds a B.A. in Economics from Fordham and an M.S. in Education from Delaware, and who was the CEO of a major online brokerage for seven years, did not tell the writer that practices missed due to injury “declined by 250 percent”.

Per Coastal Carolina beat writer Ryan Young, the limited-contact philosophy has carried over to fall practice, with CCU having had “a couple of hard-hitting days, but most aren’t intense contact.” I greatly appreciate Young responding to my question on the subject.

Coastal Carolina played South Carolina last season and lost 70-10, with the Conway school paid $375,000 for the game. CCU doesn’t face an FBS opponent this season, and won’t face one in any other season if Joe Moglia has anything to say about it:

I don’t understand, someone has to do a better job of explaining to me the advantage of playing FBS opponents. No. 1, they don’t pay you enough. Now, the FCS hasn’t figured that out yet, but they don’t pay the FCS enough. They’re playing a guaranteed game and they have 80,000 people in their seats – they probably make $4 million that day, so they don’t pay you enough.

No. 2, what happens if early in the season you have a shot at having a pretty good season, and just because of the physical differences you end up losing two or three of your best guys [to injury against an FBS team]? You lose your season. That’s an incredible cost.

I would rather see schools go out and do a better job of raising the money, or commanding a far greater premium from the FBS schools. I don’t see what the advantage is. I don’t see any advantage…

…I might help raise the money – and I’m not going to be a fundraiser – but if there are people out there that I think might be able to help us, I’m willing to make those phone calls because I recognize I’m the one who says I’m not crazy about the [FBS games]. But I’m not funding the [money]. And that’s accurate.

CCU dropped scheduled games against Clemson, Kent State, and Georgia Southern. Not many schools would be willing to go along with such a request by a coach, but then not many schools have a coach with the ability to facilitate a $5 million gift from a major bank (a bank that may or may not be affiliated with the company for which said coach is Chairman of the Board).

Let me again quote Coastal Carolina president Dr. David DeCenzo, at the press conference announcing the firing of David Bennett:

Of the 125 FCS schools, our spending on football operations is easily in the top 20. With that investment, we expect to annually place in the top 20 programs, with sights set on competing consistently for the FCS playoffs and national championships.

Indeed, Coastal Carolina has spent a great deal of money on its football program in recent years. A look at the Knight Commission’s spending database is instructive.

From 2006 through 2012, CCU increased its football spending on a per-player basis by 190%, to $60,557. The national FCS median increase was 45% ($31,213). The Citadel’s spending per player over the same time frame increased 4%, to a number ($31,640) very close to the national median.

Coastal Carolina’s per-player spending without including scholarship expenses increased 244% over the 2006-12 time period, to $42,332. The national median in this category in 2012 was $17,499 (a 36% increase). The Citadel’s spending without including scholarship expenses from 2006-12 actually declined 3%, to $15,262.

With that kind of monetary commitment, it’s fair to ask what the future holds for Coastal Carolina’s football program, and for its department of athletics in general. In May of 2012, the school’s Board of Trustees gave DeCenzo the authority to “take all actions necessary” regarding a potential conference switch.

The Board of Trustees asked DeCenzo in February to look into whether a potential move to another conference would make sense for the university. He said exploratory talks were held with the Southern Conference and Colonial Athletic Association.

“Those two seem to be potentially good fits for us,” DeCenzo said.

The school president seemed confident CCU could find a new home with relative ease.

If Coastal Carolina ends up leaving the league, there must be a conference who wants them. And President Dr. David DeCenzo does not think that will be a problem—at least facility-wise. “With the opening of the recreation, convocation center and what we are doing with the baseball and softball facilities, I think that makes us very attractive.”

The motion by the Board of Trustees was passed more than two years ago, but Coastal Carolina remains in the Big South. Conference realignment issues certainly affected both the CAA and SoCon (a combined total of nine schools departed from those leagues over the last two years), but despite all that movement, CCU didn’t land in either conference.

The “exploratory talks” with the SoCon and CAA referenced in the first article were presumably held between February and May of 2012. Based on those talks, DeCenzo and the Board of Trustees were obviously secure in going public with the motion.

Here is what I find interesting about that. Shadesof48, a blog devoted to William & Mary athletics, filed a Freedom of Information request to W&M for any information pertaining to conference realignment, including anything related to the CAA or the SoCon. The blog received emails from June of 2012 to April of 2013, mostly having to do with the CAA.

When I was going through the information for my own blog post on the subject, one of the biggest surprises (at least to me) was that Coastal Carolina was not mentioned in any of the emails. There wasn’t even a reference to the school approaching the CAA during that time period.

Among the schools that appear in the correspondence: Hampton, Fairfield, Appalachian State, UNC-Greensboro, Boston University, Davidson, George Washington, Virginia Commonwealth, and Furman.

Elon, College of Charleston, Albany, and Stony Brook are all in the emails too — but not Coastal Carolina.

So sometime between February and May of 2012, Coastal Carolina held exploratory talks with the CAA. Beginning in June of that year and lasting at least through April 2013, though…nothing.

As for why Coastal Carolina wasn’t offered an invite to the SoCon last year, there are multiple reasons. Here are some of them:

1) Location, location, location

Some people think location is an advantage for CCU, but in terms of getting in the SoCon, it’s actually a problem.

The league already has three football-playing members in the state of South Carolina. While the conference is in essence a “bus league”, having four football schools in one small state would probably be one school too many.

CCU becoming a SoCon member wouldn’t provide any real benefit to Furman, Wofford, or The Citadel. It doesn’t do those schools any good to add another instate institution with significant differences in mission and resources.

One current advantage those three schools do have over Coastal Carolina: league affiliation. Why give that advantage up?

2) CCU’s long-term game plan

While it may not be fair, the reality is more than a few SoCon observers look at Coastal Carolina and think “Marshall II”, only with a billionaire football coach instead of George Chaump/Jim Donnan.

Coastal Carolina may not have hired Joe Moglia because it has the FBS in its sights. However, that is the perception in certain circles.

In the ESPN article I linked earlier in this post, Moglia was reported to have said that CCU had only achieved 75% of his vision. Not everyone is sure what the remaining 25% of his vision would be.

3) The SoCon membership dynamic

While the league has a few medium-sized public institutions and recently added another (East Tennessee State), those schools aren’t dramatically increasing in size. I think at this time the SoCon is content with a membership consisting of smaller private/public schools.

Hey, let’s talk about action on the field!

First, a comparison of the two teams in select statistical categories from 2013. The Citadel’s statistics are for conference games only (eight contests).

For Coastal Carolina, I debated what would work best in terms of illustrating team tendencies/strengths/weaknesses. I decided not to include the two games in which the Chanticleers were completely outclassed (South Carolina and North Dakota State). I also threw out CCU’s game against VMI, because quarterback Alex Ross did not play in that contest (not that it mattered much).

In other words, Coastal Carolina’s statistics below are for the 12 games started by Alex Ross in which the Chanticleers were competitive, which I think is a fair way to look at CCU’s 2013 season.

 

CCU The Citadel
Offense yards/pass attempt 8.82 6.40
Offense yards/rush attempt 5.87 5.13
Offense yards per play 6.92 5.41
Offense points per game 43.75 24.25
Penalties per game 6.3 2.4
Penalty yardage/game 52.2 20.5
Offense 3rd down conversion % 55.7 38.2
Offense 4th down conversion % 100.0 59.1
Offense Red Zone TD% 80.0 50.0
Offense pass completion % 65.6 52.1
Defense yards/pass attempt 7.09 7.20
Defense yards/rush attempt 4.52 4.39
Defense yards allowed per play 5.64 5.47
Defense points allowed/game 26.0 23.25
Defense 3rd down conversion % 43.1 45.0
Defense 4th down conversion % 48.3 33.3
Defense Red Zone TD% 60.8 65.6
Time of possession 28:08 33:05

[CCU offensive coordinator Dave] Patenaude said he wanted his quarterbacks to complete 65 percent of their passes. “The tempo’s going to be dictated by you,” he said. “This is a quarterback-driven system.”

Patenaude would have been pleased with last year’s completion percentage, as the above table shows. Actually, a 60% completion rate appears to be good enough to make his system work.

Last season, Chanticleer quarterbacks completed over 60% of their passes in ten of Coastal Carolina’s fifteen games. CCU won all ten of those contests. In the five games where the completion percentage dipped below 60%, the Chanticleers were 2-3.

The tempo mentioned by Patenaude could be fast-moving at times. While Coastal Carolina averaged just a few more offensive plays per game last year than did The Citadel (70.3 for CCU, 65.2 for the Bulldogs), keep in mind that the Chanticleers’ time of possession was a lot less.

Coastal Carolina averaged 2.57 offensive plays per minute last season, significantly higher than The Citadel (2.03 per minute) or, for that matter, Mike Houston’s Lenoir-Rhyne squad (2.13).

In 2013, Alex Ross cemented his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS division. For the season, Ross passed for over 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns (against only nine interceptions), and added 540 yards and six TDs on the ground.

At Montana in the FCS playoffs, Ross was 16-21 for 202 yards through the air, and picked up an additional 123 rushing yards, as the Chanticleers beat the Grizzlies 42-35 in a “statement” win for the program.

His list of preseason accolades is long and Ross is considered a serious candidate for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in FCS. He isn’t a big QB (6’1″, 205 lbs.), but he has a habit of making big plays.

Ross will have to work with a largely different cast of skill-position players on CCU’s offense. The Chanticleers are replacing a host of wide receivers and All-American running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (who rushed for 1,729 yards last season).

The new starting running back for Coastal Carolina will be Summerville High School alum De’Angelo Henderson, who rushed for 599 yards last season in a backup role (averaging 7.3 yards per carry) and who may be “the most exciting player on the field this season“. In 2010, Henderson was a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football award along with (among others) Jadeveon Clowney, Everett Golson, Justin Worley, Brandon Shell, and current teammate Quinn Backus.

While the wide receiving corps will feature four players with experience, Coastal Carolina lost its top three pass-catchers from 2013, a trio that combined for 145 receptions and 18 touchdowns. The returning wideouts expected to fill the depth chart caught a total of 62 passes last season, seven for TDs.

CCU has a lot of depth at tight end, with four players who could be part of the rotation this season, including Thomas Pauciello (three TD catches last year).

The offensive line must replace two quality linemen, including left guard Jamey Cheatwood, a four-year starter and two-time All-Big South performer. Last year’s right guard, Mo Ashley, will move over to take Cheatwood’s spot on the left side, which leaves two new starters at guard and tackle on the right side.

One of the players expected to compete for a starting role, Georgia Tech transfer Morgan Bailey, is injured and not expected to play against The Citadel. It could be argued that the right side of the OL is Coastal Carolina’s only real point of concern entering the season.

Coastal Carolina’s defense is looking to improve on last year’s campaign. The unit took its lumps at times, particularly against the run. While tough games against South Carolina and North Dakota State could be excused, allowing 323 rushing yards to Charleston Southern was a different matter.

In that game, CSU controlled possession for over 40 minutes, including the final six minutes of the contest, holding off a CCU rally after the Chanticleers spotted the Buccaneers a 25-point lead.

There were other difficult moments for the CCU defense, including allowing Liberty to run up over 600 yards of total offense and 52 points (albeit in a double-OT game that Coastal Carolina eventually won). However, it was the game against Charleston Southern that may be of the most interest to The Citadel’s coaching staff, at least in terms of approach.

This year, Coastal Carolina has made some adjustments, according to linebacker Quinn Backus:

Some of the difficult concepts that we had in the past, they’re kind of simplified now. Or the concepts that were more difficult in the past, we got rid of them and [the coaches] kind of put the plays to our strengths. Checks that used to be like three calls, it’s like one simple call now. And little things like that [so] we can [play] rapidly and be able to play faster.

Backus himself doesn’t really need to make any adjustments. The native of Greenwood is the reigning two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year and a legitimate contender for the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the top defender in FCS. Backus enters the 2014 season as the division’s active leader in tackles (314).

Other standout players on the Chanticleers’ D include safety Richie Sampson (who is currently battling an injury), cornerback Denzel Rice, and defensive end Calvin Hollenhorst.

Hollenhorst will be joined on the defensive line by Leroy Cummings, a transfer from Savannah State who has been “one of the most talked about players in preseason camp“.

Cummings is one of several transfers expected to see action for the CCU defense. Other newcomers who should be on the CCU depth chart include fellow DT Jabarai Bothwell (a transfer from Western Michigan) and defensive back Kyle Fleetwood (who was at South Carolina last year). Of the nineteen players on the Chanticleers’ roster who began their careers at junior colleges or other four-year schools, eleven are defenders.

Just a formation note: CCU tends to play two linebackers and three safeties, although that could change against The Citadel’s triple option. Then again, it may not.

Alex Catron was 10-13 on field goal attempts last season for the Chanticleers. He was the all-Big South placekicker. Catron made three field goals of 46 yards or longer last year, all on the road (including a 50-yarder against Charleston Southern).

CCU also returns its punter from last season, Austin Cain. He averaged just over 38 yards per punt in 2013, with 16 of his 56 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Cain is a good athlete capable of overcoming a botched snap (which he did against Hampton, running for a 25-yard gain) and executing a fake (a 25-yard shovel pass for a first down versus Liberty).

Devin Brown, one of Coastal Carolina’s wide receivers, is also a dangerous kick returner. He had a 95-yard kickoff return TD against VMI last year.

The Chanticleers were 16th nationally in kick return defense in 2013, allowing an average of 17.3 yards per return. CCU also finished in the top 20 in average punt return yardage allowed.

Jeff Hartsell of The Post and Courier has produced an excellent series of articles on each of The Citadel’s position groups. I see no reason to regurgitate similar information for this post; rather, I would encourage anyone interested to read Hartsell’s breakdowns of the quarterbacksfullbacks, slotbacks, offensive line (both stories), receivers, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, and kicking game.

Earlier in the post I linked my preview of The Citadel’s upcoming season. It focuses more on tendencies than specific players, and also delves a little into ball-possession/pace-of-play issues. Related to that, Mike Houston mentioned “tempo” as a key in the P+C preview, and there is also an interesting discussion along those lines late in Phil Kornblut’s interview of the coach.

Odds and ends:

- Coastal Carolina’s teams are known as the Chanticleers. The school wants to make sure everyone knows how to pronounce “Chanticleer”, so much so that a pronunciation explanation for the nickname is listed on two of the first three pages of the CCU football media guide.

The proper pronunciation is SHON-ti-clear. You may also hear Coastal’s athletic teams referred to as Chants (SHONTS) to shorten the Chanticleer nickname.

- Next season, Coastal Carolina’s football facility (Brooks Stadium) will have an artificial turf field — and the turf will be colored teal. Yes, a teal turf.

“It only made sense to be the first school in the country with a teal field,” [interim AD Matt] Hogue said.

Okay, then.

- In the Grantland article I linked earlier that profiled Joe Moglia, writer Michael Weinreb made a reference (in a footnote) to “Coastal Jersey”. That’s because, while 54% of CCU’s enrollment consists of South Carolina residents, the state with the next-highest number of students at the school is New Jersey (7% of the total enrollment).

There are almost three times as many CCU students from New Jersey as there are from neighboring North Carolina. There are also more than twice as many students at the school from both New York and Maryland than North Carolina.

Based on the CCU media guide’s numerical roster, 68% of Coastal Carolina’s football players are from out of state. Almost one-quarter of the Chanticleers are from the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast corridor (Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts).

At The Citadel, 51% of the corps of cadets is from South Carolina (as of 2013), while 48% of the Bulldogs on the current football team are from the Palmetto State.

- Coastal Carolina’s interim director of athletics, Matt Hogue, was formerly the Chanticleers’ radio play-by-play announcer. This year, Joe Cashion (previously the sideline reporter) will call football games for CCU.

Cashion is a public affairs officer for the South Carolina Air and National Guard. He missed most of the 2010 football season while deployed in Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, Cashion wrote a preview of the upcoming CCU season for the Palmetto & Pine Sports Network.

- For a CCU preview from the perspective of a conference opponent, I recommend Liberty beat writer Chris Lang’s look at the Chanticleers: Link

- After last year’s “Unigate” situation, with The Citadel’s players forced to change jerseys after warmups for the Furman game, the last thing the military college needed was another uniform to be deemed illegal. Fortunately, that didn’t happen:

The Citadel’s plan to include the words “Honor, Duty, Respect” – the motto of the military school – on the back of football jerseys this season meets NCAA rules, school and Southern Conference officials said Wednesday…

…In the NCAA rulebook, Rule 1-4-5 says that other than the player’s number, the jersey may contain only the player’s name, school name, NCAA logo, sleeve stripes, the American and/or state flag and a logo for the school, conference, mascot, postseason game, memorial or the military.

The rule also states: “By interpretation, only military service academies may substitute words such as Honor, Integrity, etc., for the player’s name on the back of the jersey … civilian institutions may not substitute other words for the player’s name.”

For purposes of this rule, The Citadel is considered a military service academy, said Jack Childress, coordinator of officials for the Southern Conference.

The interpretation lacked a little clarity in its reference to “military service academies”. When that was added to the fact The Citadel is by nobody’s definition a “civilian institution”, the Bulldogs were (correctly, I believe) allowed to wear the uniforms.

- As of Sunday night, at least one establishment in Las Vegas lists Coastal Carolina as a nine-point favorite.

It’s hard to have a good sense of what might transpire on the gridiron when it’s the opening game of the season. My own (undoubtedly faulty) analysis:

- I think The Citadel’s front seven on defense has the athleticism and intelligence to hang with Coastal Carolina’s high-powered offense. It won’t be easy, but Mitchell Jeter, Carson Smith and company should be able to ask some questions of CCU’s reconfigured offensive line.

- I am not as sure about the Bulldogs’ revamped secondary. There could be some issues in the defensive backfield, particularly given that the defense is expected to be considerably more aggressive this season.

That’s why it is imperative The Citadel gets pressure on Alex Ross. If the Bulldogs don’t do that, it could be a long day at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Opponents generally did not succeed in harassing Ross and Coastal Carolina’s other signal-callers last year. Chanticleer QBs threw 397 passes but were only sacked 20 times.

- On the offensive side of the ball, I have confidence in Aaron Miller at quarterback. The receiving corps should be excellent, if not overly used as pass catchers.

- The Citadel should be okay at the B-back position. The decision by the coaching staff to return Vinny Miller to slotback was a good sign.

- Aside from Vinny Miller, the available slotbacks on Saturday are not all that experienced. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented.

I am more than a little curious to see Cam Jackson playing the position. At the very least, he’ll be a tall target for a pitch.

- The Bulldogs’ offensive line is a work in progress. I’m concerned about how much progress can be made by gametime.

The lack of seasoning on the o-line could really be a problem against CCU’s talented defensive front.

It’s a tough matchup for the Bulldogs to begin the season, but shirking from a challenge is not exactly the ethos of The Citadel. Just the opposite, in fact.

Like everyone else wearing blue and white, I’m looking forward to Saturday. Let’s get out to the stadium, have some fun, make some noise, and root the home team on to victory.

Oh! they rambled, they rambled.
They rambled all around.
In and out of town,
Oh! they rambled, they rambled.
They rambled ’till the Bulldogs cut ‘em down

Go Dogs!

2014 Football, The Citadel: a statistical review of the past in an attempt to foresee the future

Links to a few things I’ve written about The Citadel’s football program since last season ended, if anyone hasn’t seen them yet:

Secret memo to Mike Houston

Corps Day, spring football, and some Beautiful Bulldogs

Prime SoCon football recruiting areas

Improving the gameday experience at Johnson Hagood Stadium

What teams will The Citadel’s opponents play before facing the Bulldogs?

Competing for a Crowd

Jeff Hartsell writes about “five questions” Mike Houston will have to answer as fall practice begins

Another season of gridiron activity is just around the corner, and it can’t get here soon enough. The expectations for The Citadel’s football team in 2014 may be relatively modest, but that doesn’t reduce anticipation among supporters of the Bulldogs.

I’ll link to various SoCon previews scattered across the internet when I write about the season opener against Coastal Carolina. For this post, I’m going to take a look back at certain elements of offensive and defensive play from a statistical perspective. I’ll largely be comparing last season’s team at The Citadel to Mike Houston’s 2013 Lenoir-Rhyne squad.

The idea is to get a sense, at least in general terms, of how the new coach and his staff will approach things on the field. Obviously, there is a difference between FCS and Division II, but that doesn’t mean some basic concepts and tendencies won’t carry over.

It may not be optimal as the basis for a preview, but I’ve got to hang my hat on something. I’m used to ill-fitting caps, anyway (I wear a size 7 3/4).

All of the statistics to follow (unless otherwise noted) are based on conference games only, both for The Citadel and Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bulldogs played eight games in 2013 against SoCon foes. As a reminder, those opponents were: Wofford, Western Carolina, Furman, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, UT-Chattanooga, Samford, and Elon.

Lenoir-Rhyne is a member of D-II’s South Atlantic Conference, and played seven league games versus the following schools: Wingate, Tusculum, Brevard, Newberry, Mars Hill, Carson-Newman, and Catawba.

As it happens, Lenoir-Rhyne played Carson-Newman twice last season, once in regular-season conference play and once in the D-II playoffs, winning both games (though the postseason contest was much closer). For the purposes of my review, however, I’m only including the league game between the two teams.

Some definitions:

– 2nd-and-short: 3 yards or less for a first down
– 2nd-and-medium: 4 to 6 yards for a first down
– 2nd-and-long: 7+ yards for a first down
– 3rd-and-short: 2 yards or less for a first down
– 3rd-and-medium: 3 to 4 yards for a first down
– 3rd-and-long: 5+ yards for a first down

The first number that will follow each down-and-distance category will be the percentage of time Lenoir-Rhyne ran the ball in that situation in 2013. Next to that, in parenthesis, is the run percentage for The Citadel in 2013, and that will be followed by The Citadel’s run percentage for that situation in 2012 (which will be in brackets).

For example, when it came to running the ball on first down, the numbers looked like this:

– 1st-and-10 (or goal to go): 92.1% (77.1%) [85.5%]

Thus, Lenoir-Rhyne ran the ball on first down 92.1% of the time, while The Citadel ran the ball in that situation 77.1% of the time in 2013 and 85.5% of the time in 2012.

The differential was a bit surprising, but keep in mind that game status was a factor. Lenoir-Rhyne went undefeated in SAC play in 2013 and led after three quarters in all seven contests, on several occasions by significant margins.

Meanwhile, The Citadel was 4-4 in SoCon play in 2013 and had to throw the ball more often than it wanted in some of those games as it tried to overcome a deficit. That doesn’t explain all the difference, but some of it.

As I wrote in my review of The Citadel’s 2013 campaign, the attempt to diversify the offense in spring practice/preseason simply backfired. The offense threw the ball on 22.6% of its plays. That percentage, for a run-first/second/third type of team, was too high.

Lenoir-Rhyne passed the ball on only 10.8% of its offensive plays in league contests.

Here are the rest of the down-and-distance categories:

– 2nd-and-short: 90.0% (95.8%) [86.7%]
– 2nd-and-medium: 87.7% (87.8%) [93.6%]
– 2nd-and-long: 84.1% (75.0%) [80.9%]
– 3rd-and-short: 95.8% (85.7%) [100.0%]
– 3rd-and-medium: 93.1% (90.9%) [86.3%]
– 3rd-and-long: 71.1% (54.0%) [49.1%]

A further caveat to these numbers, in terms of playcalling, is that there were a few called pass plays that turned into runs.

Few teams can claim to have been as committed to the run as Lenoir-Rhyne was in 2013. Running the ball on 37 of 52 long-yardage third-down plays, as the Bears did in conference action in 2013, is very unusual in the modern game.

Lenoir-Rhyne ran the ball in every 2nd-and-short situation it faced in its first six league games. In its final SAC contest, against Catawba, offensive coordinator Brent Thompson changed things up a bit, calling for three pass plays on 2nd-and-short. Those three plays resulted in an incomplete pass and two sacks.

Only once during the conference campaign did Lenoir-Rhyne attempt a pass on 3rd-and-short. It fell incomplete. I’m guessing that in 2014, Thompson will continue to call running plays most of the time in short yardage situations.

It should be noted that The Citadel did not fare any better the few times it attempted to pass on short-yardage plays. The Bulldogs attempted only four passes in 45 such situations in 2013 conference play.

The hope for throwing on 2nd-and-short or 3rd-and-short would be to surprise the defense and produce a long gainer. However, The Citadel was only 2-4 passing in short yardage, for a grand total of twelve yards. One of the incompletions was actually an interception in the Red Zone.

Lenoir-Rhyne averaged 6.09 yards per offensive play in SAC action, which included 5.81 yards per rush and 8.5 yards per pass attempt. Corresponding numbers for The Citadel: 5.41 yards per offensive play, 5.13 yards per rush, 6.4 yards per pass attempt.

The Bears averaged 73 plays per game and 12.1 possessions per contest (slightly more than The Citadel, which averaged 69.6 plays and exactly 12 possessions per game in SoCon play).

I wanted to mention the plays per game and number of possessions to correct a misconception, that of L-R running a “hurry up” offense. Lenoir-Rhyne ran a “no huddle” offense, but definitely not a hurry-up operation a la Oregon.

L-R had a time-of-possession edge of over seven minutes against its league opponents (33:38 – 26:22). That certainly was a benefit to the Bears’ defense (more on that unit later).

The primary benefit of the no-huddle look (at least from my perspective) was that it kept Lenoir-Rhyne opponents from freely substituting after each play. Each drive (for the most part) turned into an 11-vs.-11 battle, and clearly L-R thought that was to its advantage.

I do wonder if this particular strategy had its origins in depth issues, which could be more of a factor at the Division II level than in FCS. However, I get the impression that this coaching staff is not in the business of regularly rotating players, regardless of how many scholarship athletes are on hand.

I would expect starters to play most of the snaps this year at The Citadel, at least on offense. Among other things, it would be in keeping with Mike Houston’s stated desire to redshirt as many freshmen as possible.

Having said that, it is to the staff’s credit (and the players as well) that Lenoir-Rhyne advanced to the D-II national title game despite losing two quarterbacks to injury. Winning three playoff games with a third-string QB behind center was very impressive.

Also of interest: Brent Thompson called plays from upstairs in the coaches’ box during games at Lenoir-Rhyne, and is expected to do the same at The Citadel.

Next, a little game theory discussion, which I went into last year as well. I wanted to see how aggressive Kevin Higgins and Mike Houston were in fourth down situations.

Not included in these numbers: fourth down “desperation” or “garbage time” situations, and “accidental” fourth down tries. That means I’m not counting Eric Goins’ first down dash for The Citadel after he dropped a punt snap against Western Carolina. However, the excellent fake punt for a first down Goins ran against Samford does count.

Terms (as defined by Football Outsiders):

– Deep Zone: from a team’s own goal line to its 20-yard line
– Back Zone: from a team’s own 21-yard line to its 39-yard line
– Mid Zone: from a team’s own 40-yard line to its opponent’s 40-yard line
– Front Zone: from an opponent’s 39-yard line to the opponent’s 21-yard line
– Red Zone: from an opponent’s 20-yard line to the opponent’s goal line

- On fourth down and two yards or less to go: Lenoir-Rhyne went for it five times in the Red Zone, successfully converting four times. On a sixth 4th-and-short situation inside the 20, the Bears kicked a field goal.

In the Front Zone, L-R went for it twice on 4th-and-short, making it both times. Lenoir-Rhyne punted on all three occasions it faced 4th-and-short in the Mid Zone (in each of those instances, L-R had the ball on its own side of the field).

In 2013, The Citadel went for it on two 4th-and-short situations in the Red Zone, converting once. The Bulldogs picked up a first down on four of five tries on 4th-and-short in the Front Zone.

Against UT-Chattanooga, The Citadel twice went for it on 4th-and-short in the Back Zone while attempting to hold a lead in the fourth quarter. Both times, the Bulldogs got the first down.

- On fourth down and three to five yards to go: Lenoir-Rhyne had one fourth-and-medium opportunity in the Red Zone in league play, against Brevard (a 41-0 blowout), and elected to kick a field goal in that situation. In the Front Zone, the Bears had six 4th-and-medium plays; twice L-R decided to go for it, and it went one for two picking up the first down. The other 4th-and-medium situations all resulted in field goal attempts.

Lenoir-Rhyne punted three times when faced with fourth-and-medium in the Mid Zone. Of those three situations, the opposing 49-yard line was the furthest the Bears had advanced the ball.

The Citadel had eight 4th-and-medium situations in 2013 SoCon play that took place in the Red, Front, or Mid Zones. Of four Red Zone opportunities, the Bulldogs tried three field goals and went for the first down once (failing to make it; that came on a fake field goal attempt). The Citadel was one for two in 4th-and-medium attempts in both the Front Zone and the Mid Zone.

- On fourth down and six or more yards to go: Lenoir-Rhyne attempted two field goals when faced with 4th-and-long in the Red Zone. In the Front Zone, L-R attempted three field goals. On one occasion, the Bears punted. That came against Brevard, on a fourth-and-14 from Brevard’s 39-yard line.

The Citadel faced 4th-and-long three times in the Red Zone, and attempted a field goal all three times. As mentioned above, the Bulldogs also attempted a conversion from the Back Zone on 4th-and-long, successfully executing a fake punt against Samford.

On two occasions last season, Mike Houston was faced with this scenario: his offense had the ball on the opponents’ 1-yard line, but there was only time for one more play before the end of the first half. Go for the touchdown, or kick a field goal?

This situation first happened against Tusculum, with Lenoir-Rhyne holding a 14-3 lead, five seconds remaining in the half, and facing third-and-goal from the 1. Houston elected to go for the TD — but the Bears got stopped, and didn’t get points or momentum.

A little over a month later, versus Carson-Newman (in the regular-season matchup), almost the exact same set of circumstances came to pass. Lenoir-Rhyne led 14-3 as halftime approached, and had the ball on the 1-yard line. In this case, six seconds remained in the half and it was 4th-and-goal for the Bears.

Did Houston decide to kick the field goal, mindful of the failure against Tusculum? No. He went for the TD again, and this time Lenoir-Rhyne punched it in for six points.

Lenoir-Rhyne punted three times last season in league play while in opposing territory. Those three instances: a punt from the Brevard 39-yard line on 4th-and-14 (mentioned earlier); a 4th-and-5 from the Brevard 49-yard line; and a 4th-and-19 from the Mars Hill 44-yard line.

The Citadel punted six times in SoCon action while on its opponents’ side of the 50. The Bulldogs did so twice against Furman (on 4th-and-9 from the Paladins’ 48-yard line, and on 4th-and-7 from Furman’s 42); once versus Appalachian State (a 4th-and-9 from the App 44-yard line); once against Georgia Southern (a 4th-and-6 from the GSU 45); once versus UT-Chattanooga (a 4th-and-6 from the UTC 43, with Aaron Miller originally lining up behind center and then punting the ball away); and once against Samford.

The only dubious “short field” punting situation was probably The Citadel’s punt in the Samford game, which came on 4th-and-12 from the SU 33-yard line. However, that occurred after a delay-of-game penalty; originally, it was 4th-and-7 on the Samford 28.

That happened with about five minutes remaining in the game and The Citadel holding a 28-20 lead. I think going for it would have been the correct decision in that situation, at least from the SU 28-yard line.

As it was, despite pinning Samford back on its own 9-yard line following the punt, The Citadel still allowed a TD drive. Fortunately for the Cadets, the potential tying two-point conversion attempt did not succeed.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s most-mentioned statistic from the 2013 season was its season rushing yardage. In fifteen games, the Bears rushed for a total of 5,563 yards, an all-divisions record. Even when considering they played fifteen games, that number is striking. Lenoir-Rhyne’s rushing yards per game led Division II as well.

However, when looking through L-R’s team totals, it is clear that a high-powered offense was far from the only reason Lenoir-Rhyne went 13-2. In fact, it may not have been the biggest reason.

Here is something that might surprise a few people: Lenoir-Rhyne did not lead the South Atlantic Conference in scoring offense in 2013. It also didn’t lead the SAC in total offense, or first downs made, or red zone scoring percentage, or red zone TD percentage, or even time of possession.

Last season, the SAC was a very offense-friendly league. Six of the eight teams averaged at least 27 points per game in conference play. Newberry allowed 22.1 points per game, and that was the second-best scoring defense in the SAC.

The best? That would be Lenoir-Rhyne, which allowed only 10.7 points per contest.

That is not a typo. L-R allowed fewer than half as many points as the league’s second-best defense.

Lenoir-Rhyne only allowed 4.25 yards per play last season. The Bears were particularly stingy against the run, only allowing 2.37 yards per rush. L-R gave up more than 2.7 yards rushing per play in only one of its seven league games (though it’s only fair to point out that sacks in college football count against rushing yardage totals).

L-R gave up 6.2 yards per pass attempt last year.

The Citadel’s defense improved its yards per play numbers in 2013, from 5.75 (2012) to 5.47 (2013). The Bulldogs allowed 4.39 yards per rush in 2013.

In terms of yards per pass attempt, The Citadel was actually a little better defensively in 2012 (6.5) than 2013 (7.2).

Note: the numbers that follow for passes defensed are slightly different from those I mentioned in last year’s season review. I have corrected a small statistical error from that post.

The Citadel defensed (broke up or intercepted) 26 passes in eight league games in 2013. Conference opponents threw the ball 204 times against the Bulldogs, so the PD rate was 12.7%. This was marginally better than 2012 (12.4%).

That’s not a particularly good percentage. Now, a fair-to-middling PD rate doesn’t necessarily mean a defense is mediocre; as I mentioned in my review, Michigan State’s defense was unquestionably superb, including its dynamic defensive secondary, and its PD rate was 14.4%.

If you aren’t breaking up or intercepting passes, you have to be doing something else. That something else sticks out in a major way when comparing The Citadel’s defense with Lenoir-Rhyne’s D in 2013.

I mentioned a few sentences ago that 204 passes were thrown against The Citadel’s defense in conference action. That is a similar number to what Lenoir-Rhyne’s defense faced. SAC opponents threw the ball 212 times against the Bears.

* Number of sacks by The Citadel’s defense, league play: 12

* Number of sacks by Lenoir-Rhyne’s defense, league play: 32

Lenoir-Rhyne had more sacks in its first two conference games (fourteen) than the Bulldogs had in eight SoCon contests.

Mike Houston likes to use the words “aggressive” and “attack”, and they appear to be good descriptors for his defensive philosophy. That is the key point I got out of reviewing Lenoir-Rhyne’s statistics, and also watching some of the action from the Bears’ playoff run.

Part of that aggression may have resulted in a few more penalties, though L-R did not commit that many infractions (6.1 per game in league play). Of course, The Citadel has led all of FCS in the “fewest penalties” category for three consecutive seasons, so six penalties per game for the home team might seem like a lot at Johnson Hagood Stadium this fall.

That way of playing worked out for Lenoir-Rhyne most of the time, obviously, but every now and then the Bears got burned. Mars Hill was only 3-8 last season, but stayed in its game against the Bears thanks to two long touchdown runs (77 and 81 yards) and a 34-yard TD pass.

In its playoff game versus North Alabama, L-R’s defense allowed touchdown passes of 71 and 48 yards. West Chester also scored on a long pass play (60 yards) to take the lead in its national semifinal against the Bears (only to see Lenoir-Rhyne score 30 unanswered points).

When an opposing team got into the Red Zone, Lenoir-Rhyne was very tough, allowing only a 46% TD rate (that number is for all games, not just conference play). At times, though, the Bears were susceptible to giving up a score before the other team actually moved the ball inside the 20.

Speaking of the Red Zone: The Citadel’s offense only scored touchdowns on 60% of its trips to that stretch of turf, a disappointing percentage (again, Red Zone numbers are for all games). Lenoir-Rhyne’s offense scored TDs 73% of the time when reaching the opposing 20-yard line.

The Citadel’s defense allowed touchdowns 67% of the time when the opponent moved inside the Red Zone.

A brief word on fumbles (these numbers are for all games):

- Lenoir-Rhyne put the ball on the ground 29 times in 15 games last season, losing 14. Defensively, the Bears forced 19 fumbles and recovered 10 of them.

- In twelve contests, The Citadel fumbled 24 times and lost 11 of them. On defense, the Bulldogs forced 17 fumbles, recovering 7 of them.

There isn’t really much to gather from that, other than in terms of being fumble-prone, the two offenses were very similar.

Just a couple of notes about Lenoir-Rhyne’s kicking game from last season:

- The Bears had a solid field goal kicker, which may have caused Mike Houston to go for field goals slightly more often than he otherwise would have, because he would have had a relatively high degree of confidence in his placekicker.

It’s possible Houston might be more aggressive in fourth-and-short and/or fourth-and-medium situations inside the 30-yard line this year, dependent on how much he wants to rely on the kicking game.

- In fifteen games, Lenoir-Rhyne only allowed 28 punt return yards, which was the fourth-lowest total in all of Division II. The Bears were 26th nationally in net punting, which suggests the coaching staff preferred allowing a minimum of return yardage at the expense of a certain amount of punt distance.

When it comes to getting ready for The Citadel’s 2014 football season, I hope this post has helped those who have read it in some small way.

Given the length of this missive, you might be under the impression that I am ready for football season to begin.

You would be correct.

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