Tag Archives: Wyoming Cowboys

The Preseason Slate of Games Made Only for True College Football Fans

College football season doesn’t truly begin until that first full Saturday of games.  This year, that’s September 1.  Some of us refuse to wait that long, though.  The good news for us is that we don’t have to wait.  It doesn’t matter that it’s Wyoming battling New Mexico State.  College football is college football (at least when it’s still August and we’re starved for it.)

So, I’m here with some reasons to dig into the seemingly unappealing and unimportant, appetite-whetting menu of taste-tester games taking place a week ahead of that most glorious of Saturdays.  While there’s not much to get overly excited about on August 25, when you’re this hungry, you’ll make do with just about anything.  At some point, you’re sure to be asking yourself, “What the hell am I watching right now?”  Well, here’s what: Continue reading The Preseason Slate of Games Made Only for True College Football Fans

Jermaine Kimbrough Makes His Case to be Cleveland State Coach

Earlier in the week, I put together an initial list of potential candidates to replace Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Gary Waters, who retired after 11 seasons with the Vikings. My list included Jerrod Calhoun, Billy Donlon, John Groce (not Jim; an error I caught too late) and Patrick Tatham.

Since that point in time, new names have emerged, many of which either have local ties or some connection to athletic director Mike Thomas.

Among the names that have been put forward have been Geno Ford, the former Kent State head coach and current Stony Brook assistant, and current Ohio State assistant coach and former Cavs assistant Chris Jent. The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto also included Ford’s current boss at Stony Brook, Jeff Boals, who is also a former OSU assistant.

While most of the names being tossed out are based on speculation at this point (with the exception of Jent, thanks to Sam Amico), one candidate has already made it known that he’s interested in the CSU job and that he’s got the credentials to turn things around.

And it’s a name that Pluto also mentioned and certainly one that Viking fans should be very familiar with: Jermaine Kimbrough.

Kimbrough, of course, was part of the core of Waters’ coaching staff, which also included Larry DeSimpelare and Jayson Gee (who left to take the head coaching job at Longwood in 2013). The trio of assistants stayed together during Waters’ first seven seasons, and that stability resulted in CSU’s resurrection from the depths of basketball obscurity.

In 2015, Kimbrough made the move away from Cleveland. He accepted the assistant coaching post at Nevada under Eric Musselman, and facilitated Musselman’s transition from the NBA, providing guidance to build a roster that has allowed the Wolf Pack to win 24 games en route to a CBI championship last season and return to prominence in the Mountain West Conference.

Currently, Kimbrough is an assistant coach at Wyoming, working with first-season head coach Allen Edwards, who came to the Cowboys after being part of two championship teams at Kentucky.

“I needed a different experience,” Kimbrough said of his recent jobs. “I wanted to have an NBA background attached to my recruitment. I learned that from Eric Musselman last year. I wanted to attach myself to Kentucky family.”

But it’s clear that after two seasons away CSU, Kimbrough is ready to make a return and, more to the point, excel at the top spot. And he is further emboldened by the success of Musselman and Edwards, who were also both first-year college coaches.

“I feel like the last two years have prepared me well for the opportunity to come back and be the head coach at Cleveland State,” Kimbrough said.

His previous standing with Cleveland State is what Kimbrough feels is one of his key selling points for the head coaching job. He spent 11 years at CSU, starting as a manager then director of basketball operations under Mike Garland and moving into an assistant role under Waters in 2006. Off the court, he worked at the university’s Office of Minority Affairs as well.

As for recruiting, Kimbrough is bullish on winning with local talent, while, at the same time, keeping an eye out nationally. He was a part of the recruitment of, among others, local products Anton Grady and Trey Lewis, as well as, prior to his departure, current players Rob Edwards and Jibri Blount.

In fact, one of the first orders of business, should he get the job, is to delve into recruiting, both in bolstering his relationship with local high schools and AAU teams, as well as looking at players like Lewis who are transferring from high major schools.

“This is my brand: This is the city’s team,” Kimbrough said. “I want people to take pride in Cleveland State’s program. We’re going to win with local kids. That is my vision.”

Kimbrough has also set a loftier goal for CSU: to get the program to where Butler was during its NCAA Tournament runs. And while some may consider that mission impossible, Kimbrough, who has CSU embedded in his DNA, thinks that as a diamond in the rough, the Vikings, through hard work, can make it to that pinnacle.

Email Bob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bobmcdonald.

Image courtesy of Jermaine Kimbrough

Show Out Games Must not be Taken Away

A thought-provoking point was brought to our attention through the Facebook post of a student-athlete at Charleston Southern University, last week.

Saturday, the Charleston Southern football program experienced what it’s like to play against the Florida State Seminoles on Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in front of 75,831 fans.

Tragically, those Buccaneers were without 14 of their teammates next to them because of CSU’s decision to suspend the players in “violation.”  32 players will serve suspensions, in total.

It’s unfortunate and the NCAA and Charleston Southern should be ashamed of themselves, but our Bob McDonald already covered that for us.  I only bring it up to help make a point.

College is all about having an experience.

Athlete or not, ages 18-21 are reserved for doing dumb (hopefully harmless) things and coming away mostly unscathed, with the best stories possible.

Going into a big-time program’s backyard and expecting to compete, let alone pull out a victory can often be classified as a dumb move.

Still, these games serve many purposes.  Power 5 teams get a “week off,” or so they think.  Small schools that struggle to support all their sports teams get their bills paid.

Best of all, the players on these underdog teams have a chance to show a national TV audience what they can do.

There were so many of these matchups in last Saturday, some dubbed it “Weak 2.”  Instead, it turned out to be quite an exhilarating day of college football.

I love the small school show out games.

Nicholls State took #9 Georgia to the brink “between the hedges,” as if that means anything anymore.  The Colonels out-scored the Dawgs 10-0 in the fourth quarter, time expiring on them still trailing, 26-24.

Controversially or not, Central Michigan upset #22 Oklahoma State, on the road, 30-27.  Look, that’s a rough way to lose a game but when you trail for extended periods and repeatedly fail to put a team away, I don’t have much sympathy.

Wyoming hung around with Nebraska until the Huskers exploded for a 28-point fourth quarter.

Ohio hit the road and thrashed a Power 5 team, even if it was pitiful Kansas.

FCS Illinois State kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired in its game at Northwestern.

Troy gave #2 Clemson much more than it bargained for.  Eventually, the Trojans ran out of gas and lost, 30-24.

Arkansas, though certainly not a small school, was not given much chance by too many at #15 TCU.  This was an absolutely unreal game, by the way.

So, yes, while mandating that Power 5 schools play only each other in early season non-conference games would create more of a buzz similar to what we saw in Week 1, it would also take away most of the David vs. Goliath magic that makes college sports far superior to the professional ranks.

Eliminating cupcake matchups denies student-athletes a unique experience that goes beyond wins and losses.

They’re not sexy, they don’t draw the same audiences, and more times than not they’re effectively over by halftime, but these games have their place.

I love watching guys with something to prove raise their game and have fun while doing it.  I enjoy seeing guys who won’t play on Sundays have career days against teams that never would’ve recruited them.  That doesn’t happen nearly as much if you take away these show out games.

I say, continue to schedule these matchups and enjoy watching smaller schools go up against the bluebloods.  Give these kids who weren’t highly recruited a taste of what it’s like playing top-tier college football.

As we saw in “Weak 2,” there’s a decent chance they’ll take advantage of their opportunity.

Tweet @GreatGatzke or e-mail Mitch at [email protected].

Photo: Wikimedia Commmons

Welcome back, old friend!

These are the dog days.  The weather is overbearing in a way that makes us simply want to wave the white flag.

But, college football doesn’t allow for that.  It doesn’t allow us to give int.  College football offers hope at the end of this hot, desolate wasteland that we know as the “offseason.”

As the calendar flipped to August, I was reminded of one of my favorite football movies, “The Best of Times,” starring the late Robin Williams.  You should put this on your list if only for the poetic diatribes and quotable lines.  When describing the anticipation of the annual rebirth of football, Williams encapsulates the anticipation, the hope of a new season.

“It’s that time of year again…when the first leaf of autumn falls forlornly to the barren ground below.”

The hope he speaks of is found in an ideal unique to college football.

Tradition. A three-syllable word that defines the phenomena that is the sport we love. It’s more than just what happens between the lines. Coaches and players come and go, and the sport encompasses more than Xs and Os.

It is tradition.

It’s the Vol Navy sterngating in the shadows of Rocky Top. It’s the Sea of Red releasing balloons when their Huskers score for the first time. It’s Army and Navy desperately trying to “sing second.” It’s doing the Hokey Pokey at halftime in Blacksburg. It’s dotting the ‘i’, screaming “Bear Down,” “Boiler Up,” and striking the Heisman pose.

It’s the sight of beloved mascots like Ralphie, Tusk, Cam the Ram and Mike the Tiger. It’s the smells filling the State Fair on Oklahoma-Texas weekend, permeating from Dreamland on Friday afternoon, and wafting across The Grove on Saturday morning. It’s the deafening cheers in The Swamp, The Horseshoe, The Doak, “between the hedges” and down on The Farm. It’s the driving melodies of Texas Fight, Fight Tiger, Tiger Rag and Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

The autumn spectacle makes this sport special. It has survived world wars, financial recessions, and national tragedies.

The passion and traditions are cultural – inherited at a young age, carried through tenure as a co-ed, embraced as a seasoned alum, and then taught to the next generation.

No other sport offers the color and pageantry quite like college football. Lucky for us, it’s that time of year again…

The Sooner Schooner serves as the live mascot for the University of Oklahoma and it rumbles across the field after Sooner scores. Photo taken from a message board and used by permission by the unnamed photographer.
The Sooner Schooner serves as the live mascot for the University of Oklahoma and it rumbles across the field after Sooner scores. Photo taken from a message board and used by permission by the unnamed photographer.

Staff Pick’em: Week 8

Since we had a pair of pickers unable to join us last week I was trying to figure out how to score them for the week so the scores wouldn’t be off. As we all know, math is not my strong suit so I was worried about finding them the average of our scores. Luckily everyone went 4-2 so problem solved! Although I’ll probably be back to edit this later because math is evil.

We did pick the Thursday game again but all picks were in beforehand so no one cheated.

David Poole (@VirgoAssassain): 4-2 (20-10)

Mitch Gatzke (@GreatGatzke): 4-2 (22-8)

Courtney McCrary (@CourtMac17): 4-2 (18-12)

Derek Woods (@D_Woods21): 4-2 (16-14)

Britt Zank (@BZank17): 4-2 (16-14)

Tim Bach (@TBach84): 4-2 (22-8)

#15 Texas A&M at #24 Ole Miss

David Poole: Both teams are coming off loses last week. Ole Miss suffered the most unexpected loss, going down to a surprising Memphis squad. A&M’s loss to Alabama was not so surprising. Having said that, A&M has a slight psychological advantage and they take it, 27-21.

Mitch Gatzke: Both these teams will be looking to bounce back from bad losses last week.  I have far more faith in Ole Miss coming out strong.  Give me the Rebels.

Courtney McCrary: Ole Miss- After Ole Miss dropped eleven spots in the pools because of their loss to Memphis last week I think they re group and beat A&m at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Derek Woods: Ole Miss may not be the team we all thought they were after there win over Alabama earlier this season. A&M get back on track this week and ends Ole Miss’ chances of winning the SEC. 

Britt Zank: Ole Miss gets back on track with a close win over A&M. This is a year the SEC just beats up on each other all year long.

Tim Bach: Now that A&M is starting to see some real teams, we’re beginning to see what they’re really made of. Ole Miss continues exposing the Aggies.

 

#3 Utah at USC

David Poole: Utah is rolling and USC is free falling. The Utes aren’t slowing up anytime soon and the Trojans are just hapless victims in Utah’s wake. Trojans fall, 34-17.

Mitch Gatzke: The Utes could very well be the best team in the nation.  The Trojans are dealing with a lot of distractions.  I’ll be shocked if Utah doesn’t win by a couple touchdowns.

Courtney McCrary: Utah- It will be a close game, but Utah should win it.

Derek Woods: Utah slips up in this match-up as USC plays its most inspired game of the season and knocks off previously unbeaten Utah. 

Britt Zank:  USC is a dumpster fire and Utah will happily enjoy adding flames to that fire. I see this as a blow out from start to finish.

Tim Bach: Remember like 10 years ago when USC was the pinnacle of college football? They were so good it was ridiculous. Now they’re going to get blown out by Utah.

 

Wisconsin at Illinois

David Poole: This one could be a toss up. Wisconsin has the better defense and momentum after last week’s victory over Purdue. Illinois is at home this week which could prove to be helpful. But in the end, Wisconsin leans on their massive offensive line and wear out the Fighting Illini. Badgers run wild, 35-24.

Mitch Gatzke: Somehow Illinois has done well this year despite canning their head coach just days before opening the season.  I’ll take the Illini over the overrated Badgers.

Courtney McCrary: Illinois- It will be a tough defensive battle but the Illini are 4-0 in their last four conference games and I think they will make it 5-0.

Derek Woods: Wisconsin is the more talented team and takes care of lowly Illinois to get a much needed victory. 

Britt Zank:  It may be a down year for Wisconsin, but even their down years are better than Illinois as the Badgers get the win.

Tim Bach: “Illinois is going to be good this season,” said no one ever. Yet here we are. Badgers are without a dominant running back like they’ve had in past years. The Illini continues to be one of the surprise teams of the Big Ten.

 

Kansas State at Texas

David Poole: Texas is coming off an emotional win over Oklahoma and K-State limps in, losers of 3 straight. Unless last week for the Wildcats was an anomaly, I expect K-State to bounce back and bring Texas back to earth. Wildcats wrangle the Longhorns 27-28 in a thriller.

Mitch Gatzke: Texas shocked Oklahoma two weeks ago.  Oklahoma belittled K-State last week.  The transitive property does not work in football.  I’m sticking with the Wildcats.

Courtney McCrary: Texas- It depends on what team shows up, but since Texas is at home they should have the edge over the Cats.

Derek Woods: Texas looked good against OU and will carry that momentum from their solid play on defense  into the rest of the season as they get another Big 12 victory over K-State. 

Britt Zank: I think Texas gets revenge for years of losing to K State when Texas was strong. Now that roles are slightly reversed the Longhorns will show the Wildcats how it feels.

Tim Bach: I’ve given up trying to figure out the Big 12. Coin flip says Texas.

 

#20 Cal at UCLA

David Poole: The Bruins couldn’t have picked a worse time to suffer significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball-which plays nicely into the right hand and arm of Jared Goff. Despite a career worst in throwing 5 picks last week at Utah, Goff still hung around to make the game interesting. Cal’s defense should be in for a test against star running back Paul Perkins and true freshman, Josh Rosen. If Cal can contain Perkins by eliminating long gains and limit Rosen to passes under 20 yards, Cal should come away with the victory. Golden Bears pull off the win 42-21, and move closer to securing a bowl bid.

Mitch Gatzke: Taking this loss to Cal is going to complete UCLA’s transition from national contender to absolute non-factor in just one month.

Courtney McCrary: Cal- UCLA has had some issues the last two games and wont be able to correct enough this week.

Derek Woods: Cal is a much better matchup on paper than Stanford for was for UCLA. Josh Rosen will play one of his best games and get a victory over Cal. 

Britt Zank:  I like Goff at QB for Cal, but he’s not a superstar. I think UCLA wins this home game knocking Cal back out of the top 25

Tim Bach: Remember back when UCLA was supposed to make the playoffs? Those were good times. I like Goff at Cal and UCLA is too banged up to keep him under wraps. Go go Golden Bears.

 

Spread pick: Wyoming +34.5 at Boise State

David Poole: Despite the Wyoming’s woeful record, I’m going to take a chance and say that the Cowboys play inspired football and make the game a lot closer than odds makers would predict. Cowboys lose the game. However, Boise doesn’t cover the spread either. It’s a win-win, sort of.

Mitch Gatzke: Take the points!  Don’t fall for the old “name recognition” trick.  Boise State isn’t that good this season and Wyoming can score enough to keep this closer than a five touchdown spread.

Courtney McCrary: I don’t think that Boise will cover the spread. Wyoming offense will score enough points even if the Wyoming offense can’t stop the Broncos.

Derek Woods: I’m taking Boise State in this matchup by 28 with a final score of 42-14. Wyoming covers.

Britt Zank: Boise loves running up the score and I think they do that to Wyoming. I’m taking Boise to win by over 40.

Tim Bach: I almost said something about how this isn’t your father’s Boise State but back when my father was my age and watching college football no one knew that Boise State was a school outside of Idaho. This isn’t my Boise State I guess. Wyoming gets just enough to cover the spread.

The Climb Wyoming Faces

CraigBohl

WHEN STARTING AT 7200 FEET HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO CLIMB UP?

This 2014 Wyoming Football season is about to start and there are many questions. One of which is, what is the ceiling of a football team that has a mostly new coaching staff in place? While the acquisition of Coach Bohl is a definite move in the right direction, with his recent history of success, what can we the fans of Poke football truly expect in the season to come?
With a new coaching staff in place comes the installment of new offensive and defensive schemes. To think that these installments are going to come seamlessly would be naïve. On both sides of the ball the Cowboys under Coach Bohl’s tutelage will be taking a more pro-style approach. This will come with a learning curve that must be weathered. In addition to learning new systems the Cowboys must also get the right personnel for the positions. Unlike in the NFL there is no waiver wire to address any roster shortcomings, so if the answer is not currently on the roster, only time and recruiting can fix that.
The new defensive scheme will be a pro-style Tampa-2 defense that will but a lot on the linebacker corps collective plate. The change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense is a schematic change that has proven in years past to be one that is difficult to accomplish in just one year. One interesting note to look forward to be that Coach Bohl’s previous 2 teams led in defensive scoring.
On the opposite side of the ball a NFL-style West-Coast offense with a power running scheme is being installed. The most challenging phase of the installment will be getting the offensive line up to snuff. What is noteworthy with this change is that although the previous regime did not use or highlight tight end, the Cowboys will going forward, and in order to do so they must find the right player.
In addition to the installation of new schemes on both sides of the ball, a new single caller must take over the reins of this offense from the now CFL bound Brett Smith. As any coach will tell you a capable QB is detrimental for any successful team. This change alone at the helm of the offense may have been enough to put in doubt the ability of the Cowboys to dare I say contend this year.
While considering the implementation of pro style schemes on both sides of the trenches, an addition of a TE position, the change of QB, changing from a 3-4 to a 4-3, the realigning of the offensive line and new coaches and practice styles coming in, I cannot see a reasonable fan talking themselves into believing this year will be a guaranteed success. Now, I do not mean to damper anyone’s excitement with the new Cowboys but it is important that we must temper expectations until all changes are able to be accomplished.
In conclusion I would like state that I do believe that we the fan base of the Cowpokes can believe in a heightened enjoyment and pride for our team in the future, just not the near future. I truly do believe that the coaching staff is on the road to “building something special” to put on display at Jonah Field. The combination of philosophies of playing tougher and finishing games paired with recruitment and schematic scheme changes will prove to be the winning formula.
Feel free to join in the conversation in the comments section or even suggestions for future articles. Over the next few weeks I do intend to get a little more in depth with personnel on the offensive and defensive sides and what will be asked of them and who to watch out for to be big contributors.