Tailgreeter Cure Bowl Preview

  • Matchup: Northern Illinois Huskies vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  • Bowl Game: Tailgreeter Cure Bowl
  • Time: December 17, 6:00pm EST
  • Location: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
  • Spread: Coastal Carolina -11.0
  • Over/Under: 63.0
  • Records: NIU (9-4) CCU (10-2)
  • TV: ESPN2
Tailgreeter Cure Bowl

Coastal Carolina Statistical Leaders

  • Passing: Grayson McCall, SO, 154/211, 73%, 2558 yards, 23 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Rushing: Shermari Jones, SR, 988 yards, 6.5 average, 13 TDs
  • Receiving: Jaivon Heiligh, SR, 59 receptions, 1034 yards, 7 TDs
  • Tackles: Silas Kelly, SR, 95 tackles, 40 solo, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBUs
  • Sacks: Josaiah Stewart, FR, 12.5 sacks, 42 tackles, 24 solo, 3 forced fumbles
  • Interceptions: Alex Spillum, SR, 2 INTs, 52 tackles, 25 solo, 5 PBUs
  • Pass Breakups: D’Jordan Strong, SR, 7 PBUs, 21 tackles, 18 solo

Northern Illinois Statistical Leaders

  • Passing: Rocky Lombardi, JR, 180/310, 58.1%, 2416 yards, 13 TDs, 8 INTs
  • Rushing: Jay Ducker, FR, 1038 yards, 5.4 average, 3 TDs
  • Receiving: Trayvon Rudolph, FR, 49 receptions, 877 yards, 7 TDs
  • Tackles: CJ Brown, FR, 103 tackles, 58 solo, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PBUs
  • Sacks: Devonte O’Malley, FR, 4 sacks, 16 tackles, 10 solo, 1 forced fumble
  • Interceptions: CJ Brown & Jaden Dolphin, FR, 1 INT, 31 tackles, 18 solo
  • Pass Breakups: Jordan Gandy, SO, 10 PBUs, 48 tackles, 30 solo

Analytics

For an explanation of each metric, please visit the linked websites from which the data was provided.
Football Outsiders F+:
Coastal Carolina: Rank: 39th, Overall F+ 0.65, Off F+ 1.25 (15th), Def F+ -0.14 (75th)
FEI: 0.24 (51st)
Northern Illinois: Rank: 100th, Overall F+ -0.71, Off F+ -0.03 (69th), Def F+ -1.24 (113th)
FEI: -0.39 (99th)

ESPNs SP+:
Coastal Carolina: Rank: 25th, Overall SP+ 12.8, Off SP+ 38.6 (12th), Def SP+ 25.0 (57th) ST SP+ -0.8 (94th)
Northern Illinois: Rank: 100th, Overall SP+ -7.5, Off SP+ 28.5 (70th), Def SP+ 35.4 (115th) ST SP+ -0.6 (84th)

ESPNs Football Power Index:
Coastal Carolina: 5.3 (43rd)
Northern Illinois: -7.5 (97th)
Coastal Carolina: 78.1% chance to win

My Picks:

Coastal Carolina -12.0, Over 63.0
Prediction: Coastal Carolina 42, Northern Illinois 28
Coastal Carolina has a highly efficient offense, and is just better in every regard than Northern Illinois. NIU is an extremely young team, with a lot of their top players being freshman. Coastal Carolina has a more experienced team with talent all over the roster. They should win the Tailgreeter Cure Bowl easily.

Only The Strong Will Survive: Texas Longhorns Offseason Edition

A Guide to Surviving 9 Months Without Texas Longhorns Football

The 2021 football season has now been over for two weeks. There has been an abundance of news to keep fans entertained these past couple weeks. However, the offseason for college football is the longest of all the popular sports in America. How do Texas fans survive nine months without watching their beloved football program? I will outline some ways that fans can keep busy in order to get through yet another long Texas Longhorns offseason.

Watch other Longhorn Sports Teams

The athletic department at the University of Texas has been very successful as of late. In fact last year, for the first time ever, Texas won the 2020-2021 Learfield IMG College Directors Cup for best overall athletic department. This year is shaping up to be another good year for Chris Del Conte’s department. The volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 last night with a dramatic victory over Washington. Their quest for an NCAA championship should not be ignored by loyal Longhorn fans.

Men’s and Women’s basketball have both started up and are off to good starts. Vic Schaefer has the Lady Longhorns off to a 6-1 start and a #11 ranking. First year coach Chris Beard has the student body energized and currently has the Men’s team ranked #7 with a 6-2 record. There are plenty of exciting games to catch against defending National Champion Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, and a returning Rick Barnes with his Tennessee Volunteer squad.

Also, this spring the defending Big XII regular season champion baseball team will begin their journey back to Omaha. Coach David Pierce will try to collect more hardware in the Big XII before the Longhorns head to the murder’s row of college baseball, the SEC.

National Signing Day and the Transfer Portal

If you are really only interested in Texas Football, there are plenty of ways to keep busy. The first thing upcoming is the early National Signing Day period. High School prospects will have their first chance to sign between December 15th and December 17th. Texas is in the running for a really strong class and should close strong. You can read more about what prospects we are in the running for here. In addition to these three dates, there will also be a signing day on February 2, 2022.

There are also plenty of intriguing players in the transfer portal that could possibly help the Longhorn football program immediately. The biggest of these names is Texas native Quinn Ewers. He will be on campus this weekend. We will be sure to update everyone if anything develops with Quinn Ewers this weekend. You can read more about Quinn Ewers here, here, and here.

Coaching Changes

Unlike what seems like most of the college football world, Texas is not having to go through a coaching search. This continuality should help the program on the field and on the recruiting trail. However, there will always be changes made to the assistant coaching staff. Who could Steve Sarkisian add to the staff to improve the defense in 2022? Names like Gary Patterson and Jimmy Lake have been floated. It remains to be seen if either are hired or what roles they would have. This is yet another topic that fans can spend hours reading up on to pass the time.

Keep Up on the News with ATB Longhorns

ATB Longhorns will be sure to keep everyone in the loop on all things Texas Longhorns. Be sure to check back for our takes on anything and everything that happens this offseason. You can read about the upcoming quarterback battle here or about how NIL is shaping the future of Texas here.

Thank you for your support. Follow me and the team on Twitter: @tn_longhorn,  @longhorns_atb@ryanmcaloon, & @michaelfarber_.

Also be sure to check out our available merchandise here. We’re always adding new styles and options, so be sure to keep up to date.

Florida Gators Head Coach Candidates

The Florida Gators head coach position is once again up for grabs. There are a few different types of head coach candidates the Florida Gators could go with. They could go with a power five head coach from a lower-end or mid-level school, a strong group of five head coach, a coordinator from a high-end power five school, a NFL assistant, or a retired head coach.

The rumor mill for this coaching hire has a variety of coaches, some of which should never be considered, while others should only be worst-case scenario hires, and some won’t even be interested.

Power Five Head Coaches

Good Hires

Potential Florida Gators Head Coach Dave Aranda
Photo by Orlin Wagner, Associated Press

Dave Aranda: Baylor, 2nd Season, 11-9 career, 9-2 season

Dave Aranda has done really well in his second season at Baylor. His first season they won just two games, but this year they have only lost twice, including beating Oklahoma.

Aranda has SEC experience, as he was the defensive coordinator at LSU for four years, including their National Championship season. Baylor’s recruiting class is ranked just five spots lower than Florida according to 247sports and eight spots higher according to Rivals.

Lane Kiffin: Ole Miss, 2nd Season, 10th overall season, 75-41 career, 14-7 @ Ole Miss, 9-2 season, 2 years in NFL, 5-15 record

Lane Kiffin has had a lot of success at four different stops in his career. He has shown the ability to succeed in the SEC, with a 7-6 year at Tennessee and also going 14-7 thus far at Ole Miss, including 9-2 this year. Kiffin currently has the 38th ranked recruiting class according to 247sports, after having the 17th ranked recruiting class the previous year.

Both of these are slightly below Florida’s rankings. While that does invite concern, the better quality of program could allow Kiffin to do better than he is at a mid-tier SEC program currently.

Mark Stoops: Kentucky, 9th Season, 57-53 career, 8-3 season

Under Mark Stoops, this Kentucky program has steadily climbed, and is currently sitting at 8-3 and 2nd place in the SEC East. They currently have 247sports 16th ranked recruiting class. Mark Stoops has been able to recruit at a consistent top 35 ranking for the past few years despite a relative lack of resources as compared to Florida.

Stoops has also proven himself to be a quality defensive mind, and could be the answer to fix that side of the ball that has struggled under Mullen except for 2019. Stoops is not a top choice, but should be on the long list.

Unlikely to Be Interested

Potential Florida Gators Head Coach Mario Cristobal
Photo by Gaelen Morse, Getty Images

Mario Cristobal: Oregon, 4th season, 10th overall season, 61-59 career, 34-12 @ Oregon, 9-2 season

Mario Cristobal would bring a lot of what the Florida program needs: offensive line competence and a great recruiter. Cristobal’s worst recruiting season was his first, where he finished 13th in the country.

For comparison, Mullen’s best seasons recruiting were 2019 and 2020, where he finished 9th both years. If they were able to get him, it would be a very good hire, but it would take a lot to pull him away from a good job with great facilities and a much easier path to the College Football Playoff. However, Cristobal does have a lot of roots in the south, and particularly Florida.

Cristobal played in college at Miami, was a graduate assistant there, and later a tight end and offensive line coach. He spent six seasons as FIU’s head coach, and before he went to be an assistant at Oregon, spent four years as an assistant head coach for Alabama.

Matt Campbell: Iowa State, 5th season, 9th overall season, 76-48 career, 41-33 @ Iowa State, 6-5 season

Iowa State has been a solid program under Campbell. However, he hasn’t had as much success as a lot of the other coaches in terms of recruiting, and that is a must for whoever Florida hires. He turned around a very bad program, but he just is not the best option for Florida.

James Franklin: Penn State, 8th season, 11th overall season, 91-47 career, 67-32 @ Penn State, 7-4 season

James Franklin has had a successful tenure at Penn State after having relative success at Vanderbilt. However, it looks like Franklin has peaked and can’t get over the hump that is Ohio State. He is a good recruiter, but just is not a very good game day manager. It’s hard not to feel that if he were to come to Florida, he wouldn’t face similar issues with Georgia as he does currently with Ohio State.

Worst-Case Scenario

Jeff Hafley: Boston College, 2nd season, 12-10 career, 6-5 season

Jeff Hafley has had moderate success given his circumstances, and was a quality assistant coach. However, he just does not have the experience or the track record to justify Florida hiring him.

Dave Clawson: Wake Forest, 8th season, 22nd overall season, 139-126 career, 49-47 @ Wake Forest, 9-2 season

Dave Clawson has been .500 or better at all four schools he has coached at. However, he has just barely hit that mark. While his teams have improved year-over-year and eventually hit their peak as a program, he just hasn’t shown the ability to recruit at a higher level. The best path to a high-end job would be to take a minor step up (say a Virginia Tech or Miami) and then prove himself there once again.

Group of Five Head Coaches

Potential Florida Gators Head Coach Billy Napier
Photo by Scott Wachter, USA Today Sports

Good Hire

Luke Fickell: Cincinnati, 5th season, 6th overall season 52-21 career, 46-14 @ Cincinnati, 11-0 season

Luke Fickell struggled in his one year as interim head coach at Ohio State, but after spending six additional seasons as the defensive coordinator there, he has turned around a Cincinnati program that was struggling to replace Brian Kelly. After going 4-8 his first season, they have won double digit games every year except for the COVID-shortened 2020 season where they only lost one game.

On top of that, they are currently undefeated and look to be in playoff contention. While he doesn’t have experience in this part of the country, he would still be a good hire.

Billy Napier: Louisiana, 4th season, 38-12 career, 10-1 season

Billy Napier looks to be the favorite in the clubhouse as the end of the season nears. Napier has been a very successful coach in his four years at Louisiana. He has had the top recruiting class in the Sun Belt the past three years. Prior to Louisiana, he spent a year as Arizona State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and before that was Alabama’s wide receivers coach for four years.

Not only has he been a great recruiter, but he has had offensive success at multiple schools. On top of this, he was able to change the way the program was built at Louisiana to help with recruiting due to a larger staff. He would be a great hire if they chose him.

Worst-Case Scenario

Jamey Chadwell: Coastal Carolina, 4th season (1 interim), 12th overall season, 88-54 career, 28-19 @ Coastal Carolina, 9-2 season

Chadwell has had mixed success over the years at multiple stops. As of late, Coastal Carolina has been successful and Chadwell has recruited well, including being projected to have the top recruiting class in the Sun Belt. However, inconsistencies and a lack of experience at a high level make it a very risky hire for anyone at a large program.

Power Five Assistants

The assistants will probably be discussed and possibly given a look, but it is very unlikely that Florida goes this route unless they miss out on several of their top options.

  • Mike Elko: 4th season as Texas A&M defensive coordinator, no head coaching experience
  • Bill O’Brien: 1st season as Alabama offensive coordinator, two seasons at Penn State, 15-9 career, seven seasons w/ Houston Texans, 52-48 career
  • Todd Monken: 2nd season as Georgia offensive coordinator, three seasons at Southern Miss, 13-25 career
  • Pete Golding: 3rd season as Alabama defensive coordinator, no head coaching experience
  • Dan Lanning: 3rd season as Georgia defensive coordinator, no head coaching experience
  • Holmon Wiggins: 3rd season as Alabama WR coach (1st as assistant head coach), no head coaching experience

NFL Assistants

Both NFL assistants with a background at Florida, it is unlikely that either of them wish to make a return to the college ranks. If one were to do it, Brian Johnson would be more likely, but probably not at Florida.

  • Dan Quinn: 1st season as Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, six seasons as Atlanta Falcons head coach, 43-42 record
  • Brian Johnson: 1st season as Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach, no head coaching experience

Retired Coaches

  • Bob Stoops: 18 years as head coach at Oklahoma, 190-48 career record

Head Coach Hire Tiers

Tier One: Home Run Hires

Mario Cristobal: Head Coach, Oregon

Billy Napier: Head Coach, Louisiana

Luke Fickell: Head Coach, Cincinnati

Tier Two: Good Hires

Dave Aranda: Head Coach, Baylor

Lane Kiffin: Head Coach, Ole Miss

Tier Three: Decent Hires

Mark Stoops: Head Coach, Kentucky

Bob Stoops: Retired, Former Head Coach, Oklahoma

Tier Four: Shaky Hires

James Franklin: Head Coach, Penn State

Jamey Chadwell: Head Coach, Coastal Carolina

Dave Clawson: Head Coach, Wake Forest

Bill O’Brien: Offensive Coordinator, Alabama

Matt Campbell: Head Coach, Iowa State

Tier Five: Bad Hires

Jeff Hafley: Head Coach, Boston College

Dan Quinn: Defensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys

Mike Elko: Defensive Coordinator, Texas A&M

Todd Monken: Offensive Coordinator, Georgia

Pete Golding: Defensive Coordinator, Alabama

Dan Lanning: Defensive Coordinator, Georgia

Brian Johnson: Quarterbacks Coach, Philadelphia Eagles

Holmon Wiggins: Wide Receivers Coach, Alabama

USC at Notre Dame Prospects Stock Watch

Which players from the Trojans and Fighting Irish should get hard looks at?

Saturday evening I was able to attend one of the most historic rivalries in college football, USC and Notre Dame. Both teams have plenty of NFL Draft prospects to examine. Southern California has been down for the past several years, firing their head coach earlier this season exemplifies that.

Notre Dame has been on the other end of the spectrum for “blue blood” CFB programs. They’ve made it to two College Football Playoffs in the past three seasons. Although it looks like they will be out of this upcoming playoff, they still boast a (6-1) record, with their one loss coming at the hands of #2 Cincinnati.

Even with these two programs seemingly on different spectrums, this rivalry proves to always show a good game. So without further ado, here are my game notes for some of the top 2022 NFL Draft prospects from USC at Notre Dame.

USC at Notre Dame Prospects

Stock Up

Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC

Drake London was an absolute menace for USC against Notre Dame. London was used mainly as USC’s “X” receiver, but spent time in the slot as well. As USC’s alpha wide receiver, London accumulated 15 catches and 171 yards receiving. That’s good for 56% of USC’s receptions and 57% of USC’s passing yards, in this game!

London displayed incredible yards after the catch ability all night, highlighting his incredible “wiggle” for his size (listed at 6’5” — 210 lbs.).

Cam Hart, Cornerback, Notre Dame

Cam Hart has been someone on my radar since his incredible game against Wisconsin at Soldier Field about a month ago. He continued to show great technique and awareness all night last night. Hart completely locked down his side of the defense.

In his two reps against Drake London he recorded a pass breakup on one and was in his hip pocket the entire route on the other, forcing Slovis to throw the ball away on a roll-out. It is still too early to tell how high Hart can go in this upcoming draft, but he is a name draft fans should be aware of before testing in Indianapolis this spring.

Drake Jackson, Edge Rusher, USC

Drake Jackson was held in-check for most of the night against Notre Dame. Tommy Rees (Notre Dame’s Offensive Coordinator) chose to run away from Drake Jackson’s side of the field often. This is proving smart as Kyren Williams tallied 25 rushes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.

However, Jackson still continued to show why he’s a first-round talent while recording a sack using incredible bend and speed. I would still love to see Jackson add a counter move to his game, a few times Notre Dame’s tackle’s would “catch” Jackson and let him run around the pocket while ushering him away from Jack Coan or Tyler Buchner.

Stock Down

Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame

This has absolutely nothing to do with what Kyle Hamilton did on the field, but has everything to do with him getting injured early in the second quarter of the game. Hopefully, it is not a season ending injury and he’s able to come back and prove to NFL scouts and teams that he’s 100% and ready to dominate the NFL.

The prognosis seems very encouraging here, I expect this will be the last time we see Kyle Hamilton on anyone’s “Stock Down” lists. Hamilton is a Top-5 talent in the draft when healthy.

Kedon Slovis, Quarterback, USC

Kedon Slovis had one of the best true-freshman seasons in recent memory, battling with Joe Burrow for the title of most accurate quarterback in college football. Slovis then had a rough sophomore season, which some attributed to a shoulder injury that was bothering him all season.

Now in his junior year, Slovis had to prove he’s a legitimate option for NFL teams as their franchise-altering quarterback. Slovis has failed to prove that this season and it continued Saturday evening.

Kedon Slovis has a few good playmakers at his disposal, including star receiver Drake London, but he continues to struggle to get the ball out on-time and in rhythm. This also could be a coaching knock, but USC’s offense against Notre Dame was basically all Drake London (as shown above by his receiving stats and percentages).

Slovis also had to deal with USC starting two freshman tackles, but if he wants to be a round one quarterback in the NFL draft, he needs to be able to play through that and make his team around him better.

Slovis has talent, he also has hustle. At the start of the second quarter Kedon Slovis had a batted pass that resulted in an interception. Notre Dame’s Bo Bauer had a free 88-yard pick-six, but Slovis busted his tail and tackled him just short.

Notre Dame’s Offense would fail to score. Slovis saved USC four points because of that tackle, that means something to me. Slovis may not be a round one quarterback, but I believe he has a spot in the NFL still.


Make sure to keep a look-out for more articles about the NFL Draft and every other sport at atbnetwork.com. Any questions or writing inquiries please DM me, @ryfootballscout on Twitter!

Check Out My Other 2022 NFL Draft Content here:

2022 Quarter-Season Mock Draft

Tyler Linderbaum Summer Scouting Report

Jarrett Patterson Summer Scouting Report

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Tennessee football looks to continue momentum as they host #13 Ole Miss

Photo courtesy of Vol Football on twitter

Tennessee football plays host to 13th ranked Ole Miss in what has become the most anticipated match up the Vols have played all season. The Vols play host to the ghost of their past: Ole Miss head coach, Lane Kiffin. Kiffin coached the Vols for only one season in 2009 and is considered a main part in the downfall of Tennessee football. Since Kiffin’s departure in 2009, Tennessee has beat Florida once and has yet to beat Alabama. What does Tennessee have to do to exorcise this demon? I have your answers.

The defense must force turnovers.

Tennessee Football
Photo courtesy of Vol Football

So far in the season, Tennessee’s defense has been exceptional in stopping the run; however, Ole Miss offense revolves around quarterback Matt Coral. Coral has thrown for 1,497 yards and 12 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception; add in Coral’s 8 rushing touchdowns and he has an astounding 20 touchdowns in just 6 games this season. If Tennessee is going to come out the victors in this pivotal matchup, they’re going to have to limit Coral’s production and force his first interception of the season.

The offense has to dominate the run game.

Photo Courtesy of Vol Football

Tennessee has been running the ball at will so far this season. That starts with JUCO transfer running back Tiyon Evans. Evans has rushed for 486 yards and 6 scores, including a 92-yard sprint at Missouri in the Vols’ SEC opener. QB Hendon Hooker has also been a focal point to Tennessee’s rushing attack. The red-shirt senior has piled up 282 yards and 3 touchdowns in 4 games as a starter. Tennessee has been without Jabari Small for the past 3 weeks and it appears that Small will be back for this game against the Rebels.

The injury bug is ceased.

Tennessee played last Saturday’s game against South Carolina with a plethora of injuries. Cooper Mays, Jabari Smalls, Trevon Flowers, and Daneiko Slaughter were just some of the guys that were missing and who are set to make their return to the field this weekend. You never want to have injuries, but the time couldn’t have been better for the Vols. Tennessee got to play Missouri and South Carolina while undermanned. As Tennessee begins to get back healthy, it does so at the best time possible. In the next four games Tennessee plays: #13 Ole Miss, @ #5 Alabama, @ #11 Kentucky, and #1 Georgia. I’m not saying Tennessee will win all of these games, but it will feel good to Heupel and company to have all of their guys back to try and pull off some upsets.

Tennessee football announced that Neyland Stadium has been sold out and will be checkered for the first time since 2017. A lot of excitement is going into this game and could be looked back at as a key win for Heupel and company as they work towards bringing the Vols back to their rightful spot atop the SEC. The Vols can move 5-2 headed to Alabama next weekend and I think that is exactly what will happen.

My score prediction: Tennessee 48, Ole Miss 31.