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The Dirks Group Presents: The Big 12 Review/Preview for the 2022/2023 seasons

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What a great year for Sunny Dykes & TCU, winning the B-12, winning a CFP Game (Horned Frogs beat the Wolverines, 51-46) before falling the Georgia in the National Championship Game, 65-7! No wait a minuteTCU did not win the B-12, Kansas State beat them in the B-12 Championship Game, 31-28, & in doing so, won the B-12 in 2022. K-State finished 10-4 (losses to Tulane, 17-10; TCU, 38-28; Texas, 34-27; in the regular season, & Alabama, 45-20, in the Sugar Bowl The 3 regular seasons failures left them out of the CFP while TCU’s 12-1 record got the Frogs in, despite the lost to KSU. It is amazing how many people in casual conversation have to be reminded that Kansas State won the B-12 and not TCU, the CFP runner-up!

All that said, off-the-field is where the B-12 made most of its noise, with its announcement that OU & Texas were leaving the conference and heading to the Mighty SEC! These two “Quislings” (as B-12 folks like to call them) will not be departing until the 2024 season. So in 2023, it will be interesting, in itself, to see the greeting the Horns’ & Sooners receive in opposing B-12 stadiums? Also entering the Conference in 2023 are, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, & UCF, moving a 10 team league in 2022, to 14 members for the 2023 season, & to 16 teams in 2024 (with OU & TX departing and Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, & Utah entering)!

Above is a ‘look see’ @ the B-12 standings in 2022 (remember, unlike the B-10 or SEC, the B-12 does not play in divisions!

The web-address above is a composite view of all games played in the B-12 in the 2022 season!

So let’s take a look, at the new look, B-12 in 2023!

14. Cincinnati: The Bearcats return only 3 starters on offense, including Arizona State transfer, QB, Emery Jones (1,533 Passing Yards, 62.8% completion rate & a Ratio of 7 TDs to 4 INTs). RB will be by committee and their WR room is the biggest ? on the team! Their best returning player on offense, may be Louisville transfer, Luke Kandra (4th Team, Pre-Season All-B12), who will line up at RG. Their only returning starter on the O-Line, is center, Gavin Gerhardt. The strength of this team is, without question, their D-Line! Dontay Carleone (1st Team Pre-season All-American) & Jowan Briggs (1st Team Pre-Season All-Big 12). The LB corps will struggle to be as effective as they were a year ago and their secondary which has been exceptional the past 2 years, is down significantly! While they will have a shot (on-paper/as you know, in the real world anything can happen) to beat Houston & West Virginia, yet, both of these winnable games are on the road. Thus 14th!

13. West Virginia: The Mountaineers return 13 starters (6 {minus the QB} on Offense and 7 on D). QB is up for grabs, Gavin Greene has some experience and borders on being an elite runner, while Nicco Marchiol (Ohio State Transfer) is a lefty with a powerful arm! More to follow on QB Comp! RB, CJ Donaldson (526 rushing yards, 8 TDs, & 6.0 YPC) & Justin Johnson (430 yards, 3 TDs, & 4.4 YPC) will give WV a dangerous run game on any given Saturday! WR room is inexperience & will struggle early, yet they not without talent and should improve as the year progresses. The O-line is without question, the best unit on this squad, Athlon Sports ranks them as the 6th best O-Line in the B-12, while Phil Steele Preview ranks them 2nd, behind only Texas! On D, the defensive line is down, the LB are more experienced, yet how effective {?} TBD, and the Secondary will be improved, as they return 2 starter from 2022, and add talented transfers to fill staring spots & establish depth. The schedule is challenging early, in two of their 1st 3 games, they play Penn State (SCFP has the Lions winning the B-10 East) & Pitt, in the infamous ‘Back Yard Brawl’! Two physical games (PSU & Pitt) in which they must avoid injury!

12. Houston: The Cougars return 12 starters for the 2023 season (5 on Offense {-QB} & 7 on D). Their new starting QB has arrived from Texas Tech through the transfer portal (TP), Donovan Smith (1,505 passing yards, 66.1% completion percentage, & a ratio of 12 TDs to 8 INTs). Smith led TT to a win over Houston in last year’s game, 33-30, in 2 OTs. At RB, this year’s starter will likely be, Tony Mathis (582 yards, 8 TDs, & 4.2 YPC), a West Virginia transfer, while Stacy Sneed & Branden Campbell will add experience & depth. WR, Tank Dell (1308 receiving yards & 17 TD), an All-American … is gone, yet they do return 7 receivers with starting experience. The O-Line is led by LT, Patrick Paul (1st team All B-12 selection) and while the Cougars were set to return all 5 starters, the TP struck. After Spring practice, Cam’ron Johnson transferred to Missouri & Lance Robinson to Louisville. That said, the O-line still has a good chance to be improved over last year addition, just not as good as they were being projected to be in 2023! The defense is the major concern for the coming year. Athlon ranks their D-Line 8th best in the B-12 & has the LBs @ & DB 13th best. Houston plays WV & Cincy @ home, which is why we put them @ 12th!

11. Iowa State: The Cyclones were the team from ‘Hard Knocks City’ in 2022. They finished the season 4-8 with 6 of their 8 losses being by one score. They lost to Baylor 31-24, Kansas 14-11, Kansas State 10-9, Texas 24-21, Oklahoma State 20-14 & Texas Tech 14-10. I’d bet as soon as HC, Matty Campbell got off camera, he was pulling out his hair! ISU returns 9* starters on offense & 6 on D! QB Hunter Dekkers (3,044 passing yards, 66.1% completion rate, & a ratio of 19 TDs to 14 INTs). Dekkers will need to improve his TD to INT ratio (minimum 3 to 1) and cut his # of picks down to inside 7, if they are going to win close game in ’23. RBs, Jirehl Brock (445 rushing yards, 3 TDs, & 4.5 YPC) & Cartevious Norton (312, 2, & 3.6) are ready to go. Yet, both of these guys were hurt much of last season, as neither one reached 100 carries for the year! WR Xavier Hutchinson (1171 receiving yards & 6 TDs) is gone and will be missed, yet they enter the season with more experience in the receiving room. The O-Line is led by Jerrod Hufford, 4th team, Pre-Season All-American & 1st team pre-Season all-B-12 and may be the best unit Coach Campbell has had in his tenure @ ISU! The D-Line has good, young talent and will need to be on the ‘gain experience fast track’. As they play Iowa, Oklahoma State & OU in their 1st 5 games. The LBs play should be better, as they are more experienced & the secondary is the strength of the defense, as the unit has starting experience @ all 4 positions!!

10. BYU: The Mormon football Team has experienced rapture and ascended to heaven! Finally, after years of torment, they are now on equal footing with Utah! In the mists off all this conference realignment, the Cougars greatest fear was that Utah would win the P-12, again, and get a B-10 invite. This fear was real, as Utah is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the B-10 targets Universities that are AAU members (The B-10 recognizes that real money is in research not athletics and its B-10 Academic Alliance is made up of AAU Universities) However, P-12 members Arizona, Arizona State & Utah (Colorado joined 1st) were invited & accepted an invitation to join the B-12! This translates to a welcome fact in Provo, Utah & BYU are once again in the same conference! So all is good … aahh … maybe not, as to how it relates to BYU’s current roster and the cultural/spiritual nature of who & how they recruit players. BYU is easily the most interesting addition to the B-12 for the coming season! For a long time, Utah was a really good Mountain West team playing in the P-12, they realized that to win P-12 championships, they had to make a fundamental shift in how they were recruiting players to Salt Lake City. They did and the results speak for themselves. The question is will BYU be willing to make similar adjustments to accommodate today’s player? Their emphasis on Mission & campus morality standards, coupled with NIL and the transfer portal in building future rosters. All interesting dynamics going forward!

9. Kansas: Lance Leipold is at it again! When Leipold left Wisconsin–Whitewater, he had poster a record of 109 wins 6 losses, a conference mark of 53–3, six Division III National Championships and seven WIAC championships in eight seasons. These are video game numbers! When he accepted the job @ Buffalo (2015), the Bulls has gone 2-10 in 2010, 3-9 in 2011, 4-8 in 2012, 8-5 in 2013, & 5-7 in 2014. When Leipold left Buffalo, he had coached them up to a record of 37–33 (including 7-17 while righting the ship in his 1st 2 years), two MAC East Division titles, three bowl bids and two bowl wins. He then accepted a position @ the University of Kansas, a HC job that no one seemed to be interested in, as the thinking was ‘you can not win in Lawrence, Kansas’. Leipold won 2 games in his 1st year and then, in year 2, he won 6 games and made a bowl game. They played in the Liberty Bowl against the ‘Mighty SEC’, taking on Arkansas, a team that lost a close game to LSU (the Tigers won the SEC West), 13-10. They battled the Razorbacks in a way that no one expected, before falling, 55-53! Kansas returns 10* starters on offense and 7 on defense. QB Jalon Daniels (2,014 passing yards, 66.1% completion percentage, & 18 TDs to 4 picks) RB, Devin Neal (1090 rushing yards, 9 TDs, and 6.1 YPC), finally all of their top 8 receivers return! The O-Line is thin, yet talented … they must stay healthy! The biggest concern they have on defense, is the D-Line, KU is solid everywhere else! A huge game for then early is @ home vs Illinois! Kansas will return to the bowl season in 2023

8. UCF: We have Central Florida as the highest ranked team of the new comers (Cincinnati, Houston, & BYU). Three of the new B-12 members are from the American Athletic Conference and BYU enters the conference from the Independent ranks. HC Gus Malzahn is entering his 3rd year @ UCF, with a record 18-9, 2-0 in Bowl Games, & a loss in last year’s AAC Championship to Tulane, 45-28! The Knights return 15 starters (8* on Offense & 6 on defense) including their very athletic QB, John Rhys Plumlee (2,586 passing yards, 63% completion rate, & a ratio of 14 TDs to 8 INTs) Plumlee was also their leading rusher (862 yards, 11 TDs & 5.4 YPC). Their run game & receive room will be improved this year, as both units have greater depth! The O-Line has lost some star power (Ryan Swoboda 1st Team All-AAC) yet, it to has more depth than a year ago and the performance level of this group should remain high! UCF’s defense will be led by D-Linemen, Tre’mon Morris-Brash & Ricky Barber, who both are receiving B-12 pre-season recognition. The LB crew has star power as well, Jason Johnson (pre-Season 1st team All -B-12) & Rian Davis (2nd Team All B-12). The secondary lost 3 starters, however, Gus has re-stocked the ranks via the transfer portal and they have the potential to be as an effective unit as they were in 2022! UCF, from a ready to step in and paly & a roster perspective, appear to be the best prepared to make the jump from the G5 to the P5 of the newbies.

7. Baylor: HC Dave Aranda has done good work everywhere he has been, from Wisconsin to LSU and now at Baylor, He is entering his 4th year in Waco and is sporting a 20-16 record. In 2021, the Bears beat Oklahoma State, 21-16 to win the B-12 Championship. Coach Aranda has taken Baylor to Bowl games the past two years, winning, the 2021 Sugar Bowl, over Ole Miss, 21-7 & lost last year’s (2022) Armed Forces Bowl to Air Force, 30-15. In 2023, the Bears return 12 starters, 7* on offense and 5 on defense. QB Blake Shapen (2,790 Passing Yards, 63,3% completion Percentage, & 18 TDs to 10 INTs); he should be able to improve his #’s in 2023 At RB, Dominic Richardson returns (1020 rushing yards, 14 TD, & 4.9 YPC) & WR, Monaray Baldwin (565 receiving yards, 4TDs & 17.1 YPR) is back. The QB, RB, WR play will all be improved in 2023! The 1st chink in their armor is the O-Line, they only return one starter, RG Gavin Byers. On defense, the line is talented, yet it lacks experience. The schedule is not helpful, they play Utah & Texas in the 1st 4 weeks of the season. Both the LB & Secondary units are more experienced in 2023! They play Texas @ home and avoid OU, however the do play KSU and TCU on the road.

6. TCU: HC Sunny Dikes’ stars were aligned in his 1st year at the helm in Fort Worth. They won 12 games right out of the gate and marched into the B-12 Title Game @ 12-0. They took on a Kansas State team, they had beaten on Oct. 22, in Fort Worth, 38-28. For the 2nd straight year, the B-12’s championship game was the best of any of the FBS championship tilts. In 2021, the Baylor Oklahoma State game came down to less then an inch, as the Cowboy QB just missed the Phylon, as he sailed out of bounce! In 2022, the undefeated Horned Frogs came up just short vs KSU, the Wildcats found a way to knock off the unbeaten Horned Frogs, 31-28! TCU will have to replace QB Max Duggan (3,698 passing yards, 66.7% completion percentage, & a Ratio of 32 TDs to 8 INTs), a QB, who often seemed to will the Frogs to victory! RB Kendra Miller (1427 rushing yards, 17 TDs, & 6.2 YPC) has also left the house. Finally, their most productive receiver, Quentin Johnson (1059 receiving yards, 6 TDs, & 17.8 YPR), has also departed. TCU has only 10 starters back (3 on O & 7 on D). They return only 1 starter on the D-Line from the 2022 season. Yet the Frogs return 6 of their top 7 LBs and Phil Steele ranks this unit as the B-12 best (tied with Texas)! Their secondary loses, 1st team All-American & Thorpe Award Winner, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, yet they return 3 D-Backs and Athlon Sports ranks their secondary as the B-12 2nd best! If TCU is going to make championship noise in 2023, their defense will have to keep them in games in the early part of the season, until the offense gest up to speed!

5. Oklahoma State: HC Mike Gundy’s OSU returns 13 starters for the 2023 campaign (7 on offense & 6 on Defense). This year OSU must replace their QB, Spencer Sanders (2,642 passing yards, 57.6% completion percentage, & 9 TDs) their leading rusher, Dominic Richardson (543 rushing yards, 8 TDs, & 3.6 YPC) & return only 1 of their 6 leading receivers, Brennan Presley (813 receiving yards, 2 TDs & 12.1 YPR). The offensive & defensive lines are rebuilding, as are the LBs & Secondary, however these 2 rooms have more experienced players sitting in them do to the portal! So why do we have them ranked 5th? How about this as an explanation, OSU plays 6 teams 6 in 2023, who were not members of the FCS in 2022! Their schedule @ the end of the season, sets them up for success, 4 of their last 5 opponents were in a G5 conference or Independent in 22′! How about the fact that they do not play Texas and get OU & KSU in Boone Pickens! [OSU’s home stadium] At 1st glance, you might think they do not belong this high, but with a 2nd look and some schedule consideration … maybe they should be higher!

4. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders return all 11 starters on offense and have 6 back on defense. QB Tyler Shough (1304 passing yards, 59.9% completion percentage, & 4 TDs) started the last four games, all wins, including beating OU, 51-48 in OT & Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl, 42-25. RB, Tahj Brooks (691 rushing yards, 7 TDs, & 4.7 YPC) & Cam’ron Valdez make for a dynamic duo in the run game! Their best WR, Jerand Bradley (744 receiving yards, 6 TDs, & 14.6 YPR), is back, as are 8 of their top 9. Leaving TT receivers among the best in the B-12. On the O-Line, all 5 starters return, led center, Rusty Staats, a pre-season, 4th team, All-B-12, yet, Athlon Sports ranks T-Tech offensive line as the 11th best in the conference! A solid unit that lacks star power. On D, the defensive-Line lost its best player, DE, Tyree Wilson, yet the Raiders return 3 starters, coupled with good depth, they will be one of the best front 4 combinations in the B-12! At LB, what this 2023 unit lacks in experience, they will make up with their athleticism, and should improve significantly as the season progresses. Finally, in the secondary, they lose only Safety, Reggie Pearson, this position group should be improved! Texas Tech has a huge NC game early, Oregon comes a-call-in’ on Sept. 9th, in Lubbock, TX. We should get a ‘good-look-see’ of where the Red Raiders are in 2023!

3. Oklahoma: Brent Venables (former D Coordinator @ Clemson) had a tuff 1st season in Norman! A losing campaign @ OU is a rare occurrence, in fact, the last time the Sooners had a losing season was in 1998 (5-6, in HC John Blake last season @ OU). It had been 25 seasons ago / a quarter century had pasted since the Sooners had a lower # in the win column than in the loss column! In 2022, Oklahoma did not just lose in some of these games, they were pounded! TCU 55 OU 24; TX 49 OU 0; and in others, they simply played little to no defense (giving up 41 to KSU; 42 to Kansas; Baylor scored 38, & T-Tech put up 51! All of this, in the face of Oklahoma’s Admin, who hired Venables to shore up their defense? Hey, it is what it is, now comes year 2 and if he rights the ship (meaning 10 or more wins in 2023) all is forgiven! With the dominate thought being, next stop on this comeback train will be: a seeded seat in CFP’s 12 team Tourney in ’24! OU returns 13 starters for the 2023 season (7* on offense & 6 on defense). The Sooner QB, Dillon Gabriel (3,163 passing yards, 62.8, completion percentage & a ratio of 25 TDs to 6 INTs) is an All B-12, pre-season, 1st team selection. While they lose their leading rusher, Eric Gray (1,383, 11 TD, & 6.4 YPC) their depth is such that Phil Steele predicts another 1,000 yard rusher to emerge from the 4 talented backs that remain! WR, Melvin Mims (1083 receiving yards, 6 TDs, & 20.1 YPR) has left the building and he takes with him twice as many receptions as the next closest returning receiver. OU has 8 guys who can play, one or more is going to have to fill the giant void left by Mims’ departure to the NFL. Oklahoma’s O-Line lost 3 starters from the 2022 team, including All B-12, LT Anton Harrison. As a result, they hit the portal and brought three players with starting experience. Athlon Sports believes they have resolved the issue and ranks the Sooners as having the 3rd best o-line in the B-12. On SCFP we are reserving judgement (learning curve) until we see how they mesh! On D, they were simply bad a year ago. Yet, in 2023, they are rated in the upper 1/3 of the conference, in/on all three defensive levels (line, LB, & DB). I am simply not buying it, these placements (ranks) are based on perceived talent, which is not related to scheme acquisition, the discipline to play your position first (forget being a play-maker first / do your job 1st … then find the ball) or displaying mental toughness when things go side-ways. We’ll see about this defense, on Oct. 7 … @ the Texas Fair! Like others, I am victimized by their talent, that’s why they are 3rd, I just don’t trust them on defense.

2. Kansas State: The Wildcats were 10-4 last year, with losses to Tulane, 17-10, @ TCU. 38-28, Texas, 34-27, & Alabama, 45-20, in the Sugar Bowl. Tulane won the Cotton Bowl, beating SC, 46-45, TCU played for the National Championship (KSU did beat TCU, 31-28, in the B-12 Championship), & Bama finished 11-2, with last second losses to Tennessee, 52-49 & LSU 32-31 in OT! As losses go, a pretty impressive list and consistent with KSU being under the national radar for the better part of the 2022 season! It borders on bazaar, how many times in this off-season, people had to be reminded that Kansas State, not Texas Christian, won the B-12! This year, State returns 13 starters (8* on O & 5 on D), including QB, Will Howard (1,633 passing yards, 58.8 Completion percentage, & a Ratio of 15 TDs & 4 INTs). Howard must improve on his completion percentage in 2023. Since Howard will not be splitting time with Aaron Martinez, the thought is more reps in practice will result in an improved pass completion percentage! At RB, Deuce Vaughn (1588 rushing yards, 9 TDs, & 5.3 YPC) is gone and really is not replaceable, however, Treshaun Ward, a Florida State transfer (628 rushing yards, 7 TDs & 6.6 YPC) has the pedigreed to be very effective. The WR/TE room will be led by, Phillip Brooks, 3rd Team All B-12 Pre-season selection, (587 receiving yards, 4 TDs, & 13.0 YPR) and their TE, Ben Snoot, (447 passing yards, 4 TDs, & 14.4 YPR) is a 2nd team All-B-12 Pre-season selection. Their O-line is terrific, all 5 starters return and Athlon Sports & Phil Steels Preview rank KSU’s offensive line as the 2nd best in the B-12. The D-line will feature DEs, Khalid Duke, a 4th team, Pre-season All B-12 selection & Brendon Mott, who had more sacks 6 to 3 & more QBH, 7 to 4 than Duke. The ‘edge’ is the strength of the defensive line. Their LB corps is the best unit on the defensive side of the ball. WLB, Austin Moore, leading tackler from a year ago, is back, as is MLB, Daniel Green. Athlon Sports rates KSU LB’s as the B-12 3rd best. Finally, Kansas State secondary, loses 3 starters from the 2022 line-up, return only Kobe Savage @ SS, and will likely take a step back!

1 Texas: Churchill’s 1939 quote about the USSR “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” pretty much defines Texas football. Especially, when one considers their recent dismal performance vs their abundance of talent? Since going 13-1 in 2009 (lost BCS Championship to Bama, 37-21), the Horns’ have won 10 games only once (2018, 10-4) and have not won a B-12 championship since 09′! So what is the problem? Coaches: Mack Brown, 158-48 (1998-2013); Charlie Strong 16-21 (2014-2016), Tom Herman, 32-18 (2017-2020), & now Steve Sarkisian 13-12 (2021-?). If not the coaching, is it over-rated players? Are the recruiting services just getting it wrong in evaluating Texas talent? Maybe its the Texas recruits perception that once they have made it into a Texas locker room, they have nothing left to prove? Does this attitude result in a lack of player focus / effort in their preparation? In the last 5 years, the Longhorns have lost games to teams, that UT, clearly had the better roster, In (2018): They lost to WV, 42-41 & Oklahoma State, 38-35; (2019): TCU, 37-27, Iowa State, 23-21, Baylor, 24-10; (2020): TCU 33-31 & Iowa State, 23-20; (2021): Arkansas, 40-21; Oklahoma State, 32-24, Baylor, 31-24; Iowa State 30-7, Kansas, 57-56 OT, & WV 31-23; (2022): Texas Tech, 37-34 OT, Oklahoma State, 41-34, & TCU, 17-10. Since we did not count OU among the teams, that Texas should line-up and beat, the only B-12 program that UT has played according Hoyle, is Kansas State (since 2018, Texas is 5-0 vs KSU)! Another interesting fact, regarding Texas’ on-field performance, is when they play a highly ranked opponent (Top 25) they play according their talent: (2018) beat #22 USC, 22-17, #17 TCU, 31-16, #7 OU, 48-45, #18 Iowa State, 24-10, & #6 UGA, 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl; (2019): beat #20 Kansas State, 27-24, (2020) #6 Oklahoma State, 32-24, #12 Utah, 38-10, in the Alamo Bowl; (2021): beat #23 Louisiana, 38-18 & in (2022): beat #12 Kansas State, 34-27 (who won the B-12)!! Or how about this, single score losses to Top 25 teams: (2018) lost to #12 WV, 42-41; (2019): Lost to #6 LSU, 45-38, & #6 (@ the time of the game) OU, 34-27; (2020): lost to ISU, 23-20; (2021): lost to #6 OU, 55-48, #12 OK State, 32-24, & #16 Baylor, 31-24; (2022): Lost to #1 Bama, 20-19, lost #11 Ok State, 41-34, & #4 TCU, 17-10! So what does all this mean? 1) Since 2009 Texas has had the best roster in the B-12 every year, 2) Whatever the coaches & players are doing to prepare for any given Saturday’s game, needs to be rethought … as put simply, it is not working, 3) Texas is under-achieving do to fan expectations (blowing love & kisses @ at the players .. telling them their great), coaches who are refusing to hold the players accountable, & players who listen to the fans, are treated with kid gloves by their coaches, and who simply do not understand that they are ‘Texas’ and everybody they play, wants a piece of them! I am not going to add to the program’s problem, by raving about individual talent Yet, I will report out on how Athlon Sports & Phil Steele rank the 4 position elements of offense & the 3 Levels of D. On offense, Athlon Sports rates the Horns, position groups: QB, 1st, RBs, 1st, WRs, 1st, O-Line 1st; while Steele’s Preseason unit ranking go as follows, QB, 1st, RBs, 1st, WRs, 1st, O-Line 1st! On Defense, Athlon Sports thinks, D-Line, 1, LBs, 1, & DBs, 1, so what does Steele think here, D-Line, 1, LBs, 1, & DBs, 1. You now see the potential problem! At SCFP, we think there is resolution to this issue. It starts with the coaches … no more be my buddy, be my pal … that’s Bull-Spit, for them it is holding the players accountable, everyday! For the players, it is a matter of understanding how Texas is perceived by opponents, and with that understanding, a heightened focus on execution, and a fierce determination to win your assignment on every play! If they can do this, then their talent will equate to their outcome! Win the games you are supposed to win and find a way when you are in with the Bluelbloods.!

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Cloverbelt Credit Union present a Review/Preview of the SEC East Division!

Cloverbelt Credit Union was originally organized by local farmers who found it difficult to obtain financial support elsewhere. Needing an outlet through which they could borrow money as well as a savings headquarters, the credit union was born. CCU’s Articles of Incorporation were signed on October 23, 1935 and we officially opened for business on January 2, 1936. By the end of the year, assets totaled just $454.00 and the credit union had only 38 members.

Things have changed dramatically in the years since CCU first opened for business. Up until 1939, CCU served primarily farmers. But in that year, membership grew with the Cloverbelt Cooperative’s entrance into the fuel oil business, which meant it’s city customers could join too.

Today, membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Marathon, Lincoln, Wood, Portage, Clark, Langlade, Shawano and Taylor counties and membership has grown to over 17,000 people.

With a remarkable history behind them, exciting opportunities ahead, and the continued support and trust of our many valued members, CCU can look to the future with strength and confidence!

Contact information:

Georgia, as expected, rolled through the SEC East with a perfect, 6-0 record. However, it was not without its challenges, they struggled with Missouri, winning 26-22 and at Kentucky, beating the Wildcats, 16 to 6! UGA hosted the 2nd best team in the East, Tennessee, who scored 1st and lead 3-0, the Dawgs then scored 21 unanswered points, taking 21-3 lead. The teams traded FG leaving UGA up 24 UT 6 @ halftime. The Vols outplayed Georgia in the final 2 quarters, holding Georgia’s high power offense to a 3rd Quarter FG, while scoring a 4th quarter TD: UGA 27 Volunteers 13! These teams are on a collusion course in 2023, this time the game will be @ Knoxville’s, Neyland Stadium! Georgia did blast South Carolina, 48-7, Vandy, 55-0, & Florida, 42-20 on their way to winning the East Division!

The SEC East has been the ‘little brother’ of the SEC West Division, until … finally, in 2022, the East won 9 of the 15 cross division games. The SEC plays 15 cross-over games annually, one permanent opponent, one rotating team, and the Division championship game. The East Division vs the West Division, in rotating games (the 2020 season was the Covid-19 year and is not factored here as the schedule was an anomaly) over the remaining 4 years (2018, 19, 21, 22). Here are the Rotating game results; (UGA is 3-1, UT 3-1, SC 2-2, UK 2-2, UF 3-1, MU 1-3, Vandy 0-4). So no dominance is displayed by the West, the 28 games were split 14 apiece! In fact, given my thoughts going into the evaluation, the results were surprising! In the permanent rivalries (we counted 2020 season): Bama is 4-1 vs Tennessee; LSU is 4-1 vs Florida; Ole Miss vs Vanderbilt, 4-1; Arkansas is 1-4 vs Missouri; Auburn is 0-5 vs UGA; Mississippi State is 2-3 vs Kentucky, & Texas A&M is 4-1 vs South Carolina (East 16 wins West 19 wins). Finally, in the SEC Championship Games, UGA has won 1, beat LSU in 2022, 50-30 & lost 3, Bama in 2018, 35-28, again in 2021, 41-24, & LSU in 2019, 37-10. In 2020, Florida lost a wild SEC Championship game to Bama, 52-46! In SEC Title Games, the East Division in 1-4 in the last 5 years. With-in the five year parameters established here, the East trails the West in these cross-over tilts, 31-37, meaning the East has a 46% chance to beat the West on any given Saturday!

In an earlier Blog, SCFP thought that the B-10 East was a better division than the SEC’s version of East! This turned out to not be the case. The results here were equally eye-opening, as the East proved itself a lot more formattable vs the West then is often depicted in/by the media.

Georgia, is now widely regarded as the SEC best team, winning two straight SEC Titles & CFP championships. A reasonable conclusion: UGA is the SEC best team. Yet, lets take a closer look at the team that they have supposedly dethroned (Alabama) and how they have done with The Tide in head-to head games! Here are the results of the last 7 times these teams met on the gridiron! Dec. 1, 2012: Bama 32 UGA 28; Oct. 3, 2015: Bama 38 UGA 10; Jan. 8, 2018 (2017 Season): Alabama 26 Georgia 20; Dec. 1, 2018: The Tide 35 the Dawgs 28; Oct. 17, 2020: Alabama 41 Georgia 24 ; Dec. 4, 2021: Bama 41 UGA 24; (same score not a misprint) & Jan. 10, 2022: UGA 33 Bama 18! In the last 7 games, Alabama has won 6 and Saban is 4-1 vs Smart. The teams have played for the SEC Title twice, in the past 5 years, Alabama won both times & they also met for the CFP Championship twice, with the teams splitting the games! So what dominance has UGA established when it kicks it off vs Alabama? Further, given the relative strength of the respective divisions, Bama has a tougher ‘Row to Hoe’ in winning the West, then UGA has to claim the East’s top spot! So while Georgia’s Accomplishments have put them on a path to claim the SEC top spot, given their struggles with Alabama on the field, they are not there yet! All that said, this year the East will, in all likelihood, come down to the Nov.18 meeting, in Knoxville, between Georgia & Tennessee!

7. Missouri: The Tigers return 15 starters, 7* on O & 8 on D, (* means including QB), Mizzou’s QB, Brady Cook (2,724 Passing Yards, 64.7 completion rate, 14 TDs & 7 INTs) is back for 2023. This year, they draw LSU (SCFP favored to win the West) at home and are @, their permanent rival, Arkansas (where they have lost 3 straight). To make matters more difficult, winnable games vs Vandy (last year, MU survived at their home stadium, Faurot Field, 17-14) & Kentucky (lost last year to the Wildcats, @ home, 21-17) are both on the road! For the Tigers to get out of the cellar, they will need to find a way in, @ least, one of those two (2) Games. A win, @ home vs South Carolina (Oct. 21) or Tennessee (Nov. 11), is unlikely. Mizzou did beat UGA in 2013, 41-26, yet until last year loss, 26-22, they have been manhandled by the Dawgs. A win in Athens is a long shot. However, Missouri is capable of making a bowl game in 2023, to do so, they must win 3 of their 4 of the Non-Conference (NC) games (Kansas State won the B-12 last year and will be difficult), and then find a way to win 3 SEC games to reach the 6 wins required for a Bowl game!

6. Vanderbilt: Most pre-season publications have Vandy in their usual position, dead last in the SEC East! At SCFP, we really like the Commodores 2023 schedule, they open, at home, with Hawaii, Alabama A&M, & @ Wake Forest (minus, QB, San Hartmann) all winnable games! Then play two (2) critical games (Missouri & Kentucky), in Nashville, that they must win, if they are get out of the East’s cellar. Their HC, Clark Lea, played at Vandy and is committed to the program’s growth to being, not only competitive with-in the SEC East Division, but rather a contender. Vandy was close to making a bowl in 2022, winning 5 games (six (6) wins are needed to be bowl eligible), while experiencing 3 close losses, @ Missouri, 17-14, @ Kentucky, 24-21, & Florida, 31-24! SCFP’s crystal Ball has Vanderbilt winning 6 games, moving out of the bottom of the East, & playing in a bowl game in 2023 season!

5. South Carolina: HC Shane Beamer is 15-11 in his 1st 2 years in Columbia. In the previous 3 years, SC had won a total of 13 games while losing 22 in that same time frame! Beamer has taken the Gamecocks to 2 straight bowl games, beating UNC, 38-21 and falling to ND, 45-38. In 2022, SC had some impressive wins, beat Texas A&M, 30-24, Tennessee, 63-38, & Clemson, 31-30, ending a 7 game losing slide to the Tigers! Beamer’s team has a tough opening to the 2023 season, playing UNC, in Charlotte, NC, @ UGA on Sept. 16, Mississippi State, in Colombia, on Sept. 23 (MSU has13 starters who are seniors, really rare for an SEC team), & @ Tennessee on Sept. 30! WOW! The Gamecocks have a BYE on Oct. 7 and then they play host to a Florida team (Oct. 14) looking for ‘bounce back’ in 2023! South Carolina ends its season with four (4) straight home games, which will ensure the Gamecocks making their 3rd bowl game in as many years!

4. Florida: Billy Napier, Florida HC, is entering his 2nd year at the school. Napier went 6-7 in his 1st year in Gainesville, with some impressive wins. These wins included beating Utah, 29-26 (who won the PAC 12, beat USC twice & played in the Rose Bowl), Texas A&M, 41-24, @ College Station and hammered South Carolina, 38-6, at home! Coach Napier, was 41-12 @ Louisiana, including a 13-1 slate in his final season (2021) with the Ragin Cajuns. Wisconsin fans will recognize the Gators’ starting QB, Graham Mertz (2,136 yards, 57.3% completion rate, 19 TDs, & 10 INT’s). Napier believes that many of the QB issues Mertz has had in his college career are related to poor footwork and believes that these issues can be remedied. We are going to find out quickly about Mertz being ‘fixed’, as Florida plays @ Utah and has Tennessee @ home in the 1st 3 weeks of 2023 season! The Gators’ schedule is always a challenge, as they play UGA (Jacksonville, FL), LSU, & FSU every year and often play P5 opponents, like Utah (the past two years) or a Miami as in 2019! FL has been to 5 straight bowl games and SCFP predict that this streak will continue into 2023!

3. Kentucky: Mark Stoops is entering his 11th year as Kentucky’s Head Football coach and has posted a 66-59 record. Coach Stoops passed Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant as the winningest FB coach in Kentucky history (It should be noted; Bryant was 60-23-5 in 8 years to Stoops, 66-59 in 11 years)! On SCFP, we have often stated, that in our view, other then Saban & now Smart, Stoops has done the next best job in the SEC! Kentucky returns 15 starters, (10* on O & 5 on D) including NC State transfer, QB, Devin Leary. In 2021, Leary passes for 3,433 yards, completed 66% of his passes, and had a Ratio of 35 TDs to 5 INTs! He played in only 6 games last year before a season-ending injury, to his pectoral muscle, in a, 19-17, win over FSU! This will be the 2nd year in a row that Stoops will have hit the transfer portal for his starting QB, as Leary will be replacing Penn State’s Will Levis (2,406 Passing Yards, 65.4% completion percentage, & a ratio of 19 TDs to 10 Picks)! At Running Back (RB), Vandy’s, Ray Davis (1,042 rushing yards, 5 TDs & 4.5 YPC) has entered the running back room, yet, he may not be as good as departing, Chris Rodriguez. Their top 5 receivers return for the 2023 season, led by Barton Brown (50 receptions for 628 yards, & 5 TDs) . They return 4 of 5 starters and may/will be the most improved O-line the SEC! On the D-line they return 2 fulltime starters, 4 with starting experience, & 8 who played in the rotation. By osmosis, the D-Line should be better! LB is a concern and while the secondary is inexperienced, they do have great size @ CB, JQ Hardaway is 6’3 & reserve Jordan Robinson is 6’4!

2. Tennessee: Last year, Tennessee, beat up on the SEC’s West Division ‘Bad Boys’. The Volunteers over-whelmed Bama’s defense, 52-49, and tamed the Bengal Tigers (LSU), 40-13! No small feat! Then came the inconsistency in the final 3 weeks of the season? They beat Mizzou, 66-24, lost to South Carolina, 63-38, and then pounded Vandy, 56-0! Joe Milton, began the season as the Vol’s QB, he was injured in the Pitt game and then comes Hendon Hooker (3,135 Passing Yards, 69.6% Completion Percentage, & a Ratio of 27-2). Hooker was the Offensive Player of the Year in the SEC!. However, Hooker was injured in the South Carolina game and back comes Joe Milton (971 Passing Yards, 64.6% Completion Percentage, & a Ratio of 10 TDs to 0 INTs) Hooker is gone yet, Milton returns! RB Jaylen Wright (875 Rushing Yards, 10 TDs, & 6.0 YPC) and Jabari Small (746 Rushing Yards, 13 TDs, & 4.7 YPC) are back as is, Dylan Sampson. UK’s RB room is loaded & ready to roll in 2023. WR Jalin Hyatt (1,267 Receiving Yards, 18.9 YPR, & 15 TDs) & Cedrick Tillman missed 7 games with injury, to understand his talent. here are his 2021 numbers (1081 Receiving Yards, 16.9 YPR, & 12 TDs), while the 2023 WR Room is talented, it simply does not have the same star power of recent years! The O-line returns 3 starters, led by Center, Cooper Mays. Phil Steele Preview & Athlon Sports both rank this unit as the 6th best O-Line in the SEC! While they lose significant talent on the D-Line, via the transfer portal and D-line injuries in 2022, they return 8 players with starting experience. This LB(ing) group is the weakest unit on their defense, that said, their #1 Tackler, MLB, Aaron Beasley, returns. The secondary loses only FS, Trevon Flowers and should be an improved unit in 2023! People who think this team can’t beat UGA in 2023, you should ask Bama (beat Georgia 6 of the last 7), whose vaunted defense could not stop the Tennessee offense or LSU (Who lost to the Vols, 40-13 {-27} while falling to Georgia 50-30 {-20}), if they think that Tennessee can play with and/or beat Georgia? The SEC East will likely come down to Nov. 18, in Knoxville, with the Game Day Crew ‘in the house’ & all of college football tuned in as Tennessee welcomes Georgia to Rocky Top!

1. Georgia: The Dawgs enter 2023 season with a chance to be the 1st team since the 1934, 1935, & 1936 Minnesota Golden Gophers, to win 3 straight National Championships. Their schedule is favorable to that end. Georgia plays its 1st 4 games @ Home (UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, & UAB) and so do not leave the state of Georgia, until they travel to Alabama, to take on Auburn, on Sept. 30. Their other divisional crossover game is with Ole Miss, meaning they avoid, Alabama, LSU. & Texas A&M during the regular season. UGA returns 13 starters (7 on offense & 6 on defense), yet they lose their QB, Stetson Bennett and top runner, Kenny McIntosh. It is likely, that sophomore, Carson Beck (6’4 215) will win the QB job and Kendall Milton (593 rushing yards, 3 TD, & 7.0 YPC) will replace McIntosh as the featured runner. They return their 2 leading receivers, TE, Brock Burrows (63 receptions for 942 yards, 7 TDs, & 15.0 YPC) and Ladd McConkey (58 receptions for 782 yards, 7 TDs & 13.1 YPR). On the O-line, UGA has 3 starters back and 10 other, 4 or 5 stars, ready to step into the other 2 spots. Athlon Sports ranks Georgia offense line as the best in the country. On defense, the Dawgs play a 3-4 and return 2 of their 3 starters up front and 3 of their 4 starting LBs are back for 2023. In all likelihood, their front 7 will be as productive as they were in 2022 (allowing just 77 rushing yards per game while adding 35 QB sacks). Their secondary lost their 2 best players (AA Safety, Chris Smith & 2nd team all SEC CB, Kelee Ringo). They were torched in 2 of their 3 final games in 2022, LSU’s Jayden Daniels & Garrett Nussmeier passed for 502 yards in the SEC Championship game and Ohio state’s CJ Stroud ‘lit them up’ for 348 yards in the CFP semi-final. This is their weakest unit on D and will be tested given the difficulty to run the ball vs this defense! In 2023, Georgia will not be tested, from a talent perspective, until they travel to Nashville, to take on Tennessee. This is where Georgia’s 2023 season will get ‘Rocky’!

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Travel Leaders of Wausau Presents: SEC West Review / Preview for 22 / 23 seasons

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In the last 14 years Alabama has won the West division 9 of 14, LSU has won three (3) titles, while Auburn has won two (2) West Divisions Crowns! Here are the last 14 SEC West Division Champs (Bama’s 9 in bold) by year & record: 2009: Alabama; 9-0; 2010: Auburn 9-0; 2011: LSU 9-1; 2012: Alabama 8-1; 2013: Auburn 8-1; 2014: Alabama 8-1; 2015: Alabama 8-1; 2016: Alabama 9-0; 2017: Alabama 8-1; 2018: Alabama 9-0; 2019: LSU 9-0; 2020: Alabama 11-0 (Covid-19 played only a conference schedule); 2021: Alabama 8-1; 2022: LSU 6-2.

Last year, LSU & Alabama had identical records (6-2) in division/conference play, the Tigers lost to Tennessee, 40-17 & Texas A&M 38-23, while Bama was out scored by Tennessee, 52-49 and fell to LSU, 32-31, in OT. Georgia beat LSU in the SEC Championship game, 50-30. The Tide & Tigers were the only teams in the West that had winning records; the Mississippi schools were 500 @ 4-4, Arkansas 3-5, while Auburn and Texas A&M rolled up-hill, finishing 2-6! Of note: Tennessee beat both Bama & LSU!!

The West, had a losing record vs the SEC East Division, 6-8! For the 1st time in the 8 year history of the CFP, the West Division of the SEC, failed to have a member qualify for the tournament and only the 2nd time, they were absent from the Championship Game! A failure (Failure in this sense … if they are who they like to think they are … Elite) This absence is a fact that will be rehashed many times, in the thoughts & actions of coaches and players, as they prepare for their return to the CFP in 2023.

7. Auburn: The Tigers return 17 starters (8* on offense & 9 on defense) and their QB, Robby Ashford (passed for 1,613 yards, completed 49% of his passes, & has a ratio of 7 TDs / 7 INTs) his/these numbers will need to significantly improve, if Auburn is to get out of the SEC’s cellar! While their D is experienced, it lacks the star power of recent Auburn defenses, while they certainly will be improved, to what extent, remains the question? HC Bryan Harsin was dismissed, on Oct 21, after a 41-27, loss to Arkansas. Harsin was a ‘Gone Gosling’ almost from the beginning of the season and his absence will end the ‘weekly coach drama’ that plagued the team’s focus in 2022. Enter new HC, Hugh Freeze, an experienced coach, who had a good run @ Ole Miss, minus some bazaar off-field decisions. The key to their season will be how they recover from a difficult, four week/three game slate (@ Texas A&M, UGA @ Home, a BYE, & at LSU). If they are still playing hard when they emerge, the next five games; (@ home vs the Mississippi schools, {Ole Miss & State}, @ Vandy, @ Arkansas, & New Mexico State @ home, are all winnable! Then comes the Iron Bowl & Alabama, the Tigers are 2-4 in the last six games, including a 2-point loss in 2021 (24-22), translated, to a shocking fact, Auburn is an eyelash away from being 500 vs Mighty Alabama in the last 6 Iron Bowls! SCFP is predicting Auburn will make a bowl game in 2023!

6. Mississippi State: Any conversation about MSU in 2023, has to begin with a moment of reflection for Coach Mike Leach, who unexpected passed away this past December 12, 2022. The MSU Coach experienced a massive heart attach and died @ the University of Mississippi Medical Center! Mike Leach, a quirky, blunt-spoken head coach at three universities (Texas Tech, Washington State, & Mississippi State) who constructed an innovative, high-powered, often miss identified as pass-happy, Air Raid offense. His attack insights have and continue to influenced football offenses from Pop Warner thru the N.F.L. Leach passed at the young age of 61! To carry on Coach Leach’s offensive legacy, I could not imagine a better person/player then Will Rogers. Rogers is the only freshmen in Leach’s long career to master the intricacies of his offensive schemes and start as a freshmen! In 2021, Rogers threw for a record setting 4,739 yards, completing 74% of his passes, with an impressive ratio of 36 TDs to 9 INTs! Last year, his numbers dipped to 3,975 yards, 68% completion rate, and a ratio of 35 to 8! Unlike many of the high powered programs in the SEC, the Bulldogs have 8 seniors starting on D and 6 more on O! While they may not have the star power of other programs in the SEC West, they will more then outmatch them with their experience in the coming season. Playing for their fallen coach and coupled with their seasoned roster, MSU can be the most dangerous team, on any given Saturday, in all of the SEC!

5. Arkansas: QB KJ Jefferson (6’3 & 242) is a true duel threat, who passed for 2,648 (68% completion rate & 24-5 ratio) and rushed for 640 yards (9 TDs & a 4.1 YPC). Unlike many of his contemporaries, KJ played thru injuries in 2022, which hurt his overall stats, yet, clearly helped the Razorbacks win some of those games! RB, Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders ( 1,443 yards, 10 TD & 6.5 YP) is a preseason, 2nd team All-American and a 1st team all SEC pre-season selection! Their WR unit could be an issue, that said, they have size @ this position, Jaedon Wilson is 6’3″, Andrew Armstrong is 6’4″, & Bowling Green transfer, Tyrone Borden is 6’7″. The D line has 10 players back with playing experience & Coach Pittman thinks this is the best D line he has had as the Hogs HC! The LB have zero returnees & lost one of the great names in all of college football: ‘Bumper Pool’! While they did hit the transfer pool, this unit will be down from a year ago! The secondary has 4 transfers that will have to help immediately. The defense has a number of questions and as a result, the offense will need to play well early as the D gains experience in the back seven (7)! QB, KJ Jefferson & RB, Rocket Sanders are great places to start!

4. Ole Miss: Lane Kiffin is back for his 4th year, despite all the ‘noise’ about his defection to Auburn! Kiffin announced that he was staying in Oxford on Nov. 25 and the next day, the Rebels lost the Egg Bowl, 22-20, to arch-rival Mississippi State! These coach change speculations mid/late season are always major distractions. Yet, to Kiffin’s credit, he never came out and said he was staying @ Ole Miss, honorable, as he did not know if he was staying and did not want to mislead anyone. Many coaches in these types of situation do (mislead), to simply quiet the chatter, they state: ‘I’m staying’ here, blessed to be here … and then leave the next week! Lets give Pecks Bad Boy some credit, Lane was honest!! The Rebels return 9* starters (* means QB is back) on offense & 7 on defense. QB, Jaxon Dart had a ratio of 20 TDs to 11 INTs in 2022, way to many picks, if Ole Miss is going to challenge in the West in ’23. That said, RB Quinshon Judkins (1,567 Yards, 16 TDs, & 5.7 YPC, all Ole Miss records) is the best back in the SEC and one of the top 3 in all of college football! They return 4 of their top 6 receivers and restocked their receiver room with three transfers. All three of these transfers accounted for over 600 receiving yards in 2022! Their O-Line returns 4 of its 5 starters and should be a Joe Moore (best O-line award) finalist! New defensive coordinator, Pete Golding, will be changing the defense configuration from a 4-3 set to a 3-4 look. The D-line returns 2 starters, 5 more who were in the rotation, and added 3 transfers, who will provide depth. At LB, they will be playing 4 (switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 look) and while they return only 1 starter, they have added 3 transfers, who all have starting experience! Their secondary, also returns only one starter, however they have added 5 transfers and have a shot at being as good or better than a year ago! We should get a good insight into this team on Sept. 9, as the Rebels travel to New Orleans, to take on Tulane, who beat USC, in last year’s Cotton Bowl, 46-45!

3. Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher is entering his 6th year in College Station, while he has won big in the living room (recruiting) evidenced by the fact that A&M is currently the 7th best recruiting program on SCFP (3 sites/4 year average) recruiting page. Yet, his winning percentage of 65%, the 25th best in the country is not reflective of his success on the recruiting trail. Fisher is 39-21 overall & 23-18 in the SEC. This discrepancy (recruiting & games won) coupled with Fisher annual salary is 9.15 million & his buyout in 2023 @ 76,800,000, let me say that again, 76.8 million, WOW! These facts essentially mean two (2) things, he is failing in his HC role and he will not be fired! For perspective, incoming Texas A&M President, M. Katherine Banks, was offered a salary $925,000, who, because of the the affects of the pandemics, Banks negotiated her salary down to 575,000 to help with A&M’s recovery! Wonder it the football staff will do something similar? Hopefully they have! Sorry , I cannot talk about A&M football, without leading with the absurdity of Fisher’s contract! The Aggies return 20 starters for the 2023 season! Ten (10) on offense, including their QB, Conner Weigman (started last 4 games, 896 yards, 55% completion rate. & a ratio of 8 TDs to 0 INTs). While the offense has talent (especially on the O-line), their defense has the 2nd best D-line & secondary in SEC preseason rankings, while the LBs are ranked 3rd. Finally Fisher has hired Robby Petrino as his new Offensive Co-Ordinator (OC), which should bring a new level of energy to the Aggies offensive! The interesting thing about A&M is tanking them 3rd may be to low or to high with equal accuracy? Last year they hammered LSU, 38-23 and in 2023 are capable of beating the Tigers, Baton Rouge and the Tide in College Station (lost last year on the last play of the game, 24-20); while they could fall to Auburn, the Mississippi schools & the Hogs and no one would be shocked!

2. Alabama: Saban enters hid 17th year at Alabama (194-27 over-all & 112 -18 in the SEC), he has won 6 National Championships @ Bama, 8 SEC Championships, & 13 West Divisions Crowns (if you include LSU, his #’s increase to 7, 10, & 15 respectively)! Saban will make 11.7 million in 2023, while the President of the University of Alabama, Stuart Bell, salary in 2021, was $698,407! Apparently Saban had a better year @ an institution whose primary function is Academics, a little strange that a coach would make 16.75 times as much as the academic leader in an academic environment! Ok, I’ll shut about salary! Bama returns 10 starters (5 on offense & 5 on defense) and is breaking in a new QB (who, is yet TBD & were in August). That said, per-usual, the Tide has abundance talent & un-usual for them, a scarcity of experience … as they enter the 2023 season! Their game on Sept. 9, in Tuscaloosa (that’s right; not a neutral site game … a Non-Conference (NC) home game … WOW that a-boy Nick)! As a result, the average, ‘blue collar’, Alabama Fan(s) do/does not have to mortgage the house to fly to ‘Moscow‘, (many of them would consider it) to see the game! This year, he or she gets to see Texas run on to the field @ Bryant-Denny! This Texas game, winning this game, will be critical to Bama’s return to the CFP! Early drama for the Tide! In 2023, Alabama travels to A&M (OCT. 7), plays host to LSU (Nov. 4), & the ‘Iron Bowl’ is at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium! Last year, Bama was a few plays away from losing 5 games, (Texas 20-19, A&M 24-20, & Ole Miss 30-24 / + losses to Tenn. 52-49 & LSU 32-31) In 2023, the Tide’s journey is going to be really interesting to follow and fun to watch! I cannot speak for you, yet, if I were you, I would ‘Tune-In’ , Alabama’s 2023 season will be one of the best stories in all of college football!

1 LSU: The last three coaches @ LSU have all had winning percentages over 70%. Nick Saban (2000-2004 / 48-16) 75%; Les Miles 2005-2014 / 114-34) 77%; & Ed Orgeron (2016 2021 / 71-51) 74%! Brian Kelly has hit the field running, winning the best division in football (SEC West), going 10-4 in doing so, and winning 72% of the games he coached in 2022! The Tigers took down Alabama, 32-31 in OT! The Tide scored 1st in OT, to go up, 31-24. LSU then scored cutting the lead to 31-30 and instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, they elected to go for 2, made it, and beat the Tide, 32-31! LSU, after the Alabama win, at least in part, lost some their focus. They survived Arkansas, 13-10, they did hammer UAB, 41-10, before losing to A&M, 38-23 & UGA, 50-30, in the SEC Championship Game! The Tigers, re-grouped, ending their season on a high, blasting B-10 runner-up, Purdue, in the Citrus Bowl, 63-7! This year the Bengal Tigers return 15 starters (8* on offense & 7 on D), including their QB, Jayden Daniels (2913 yards, 68.9% completion rate and a ratio of 17 TDs to 3 picks). The Tigers hit the transfer portal for an upgrade @ Running Back and landed, ND’s Logan Diggs (824 Yards, 4 TDs & 5.0 YPC), a Louisiana native and their projected starter @ RB. Last year QB, Jayden Daniels, was their leading rusher (885 Yards, 11 TDs, & 4.8 YPC). LSU’s leading receiver, Malik Nabers (1017 Yards, 14.1 YPR, & 3 TDs), a pre-season 1st team all SEC & a 2nd team pre-season All-American, is back. They also return three (3) other receivers, who combined for 93 receptions and over 1,000 yards! The O-Line returns 4 players with starting experience and is regarded as one of the best in the SEC. The strength of their 2023 defense is in the front seven. D-Line is led by DT Mekhi Wingo (3rd team All American) & DE Ovie Oghoufu, while the LB position features, a pre-season All American, SLB, Harold Perkins & 3rd team All- SEC, Omar Speights. The secondary returns only one starter, SS, Greg Brooks, however, they have added 5 transfers, who, on paper, appear to be better then those who departed the program. The Tigers open up against Florida State, while the game has impact zero on their SEC asperations it will have major implications within the CFP landscape! In November, the Tigers play Bama (NOV. 4), crossover rival. Florida (Nov. 11) & Texas A&M on Nov. 25th! A stretch that should determine who wins the West!

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Webko of Wausau & SCFP Predict B-10 East in 2023

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I like to think that the B-10 East is the 2nd best division in all of college football, behind only the SEC West! I know folks ‘down South’ will be sharping their swords about the SEC’s East being better then the B-10 East! Alright, let’s take a peek!

In the last five years the three best programs, by record, in the Big Ten’s East Division are, OSU (55-7), Michigan (46-14), & PSU (42-19), while in the SEC’s East, it’s UGA (60-8), Florida (41-23), Kentucky (40-23)! While their are/were no surprises with the B-10 East line-up, I initially thought Tennessee would be in the SEC East top three, so Kentucky was unexpected.

Finally, in head to head encounters the past 5 years, UGA has beaten OSU, 42-41, in the CFP & Michigan, 34-11, in the Orange Bowl. While Florida beat Michigan, in the Peach Bowl, 41-15 and Kentucky beat PSU, 27-24, in the Citrus Bowl! Shockingly, the B-10 East has zero wins vs the SEC East, in this five (5) year time-frame!

So what about the remaining teams in both of the divisions? Here is a look @ the B-10 East, ranked, by record over the past 5 years; Michigan State (32-26), Maryland (25-30), IU (25-32), & Rutgers (14-43); while the SEC East has Tennessee (34-27), Missouri (31-30), South Carolina (28-33) Vanderbilt (16-42)!

The composite win/loss result favors the SEC East’s bottom four programs, with a record 109-132 and 45% winning percentage to the Big Ten’s 96-131 (42%).

In the head to head scenario here is what has happened in the last 5 years, with these bottom four teams: Tennessee beat IU, 23-22, in the Gator Bowl, South Carolina beat Michigan, in the Outback Bowl, 26-19, Florida blasted Michigan, 41-15, Peach Bowl, Missouri won @ Purdue (regular season), 40-37, in 2018, Vanderbilt lost @ Purdue, 42-24, in 2019. The SEC East bottom four programs, in the past 5 years are 4-1 vs their counterparts in the Big Ten East Division!

In fact, the SEC’s East weakest programs are 2-0 when playing a top 3 B-10 program, Michigan, during the period!

So in-spite of what things may look like on paper or what SCFP thinks! On the field, the SEC East is better then the B-10 East! While one could argue that B-10 East is the superior division in 2023, they certainly have not been over the last five years!

That resolved, let’s take a crystal ball to the B-10 East for the 2023 season!

7. Indiana: in 2022, IU has become the 1st team, in Division I history, to lose 700 games (504-704), they currently have a whopping 200 more losses then wins! HC Tom Allen is entering his 7th year @ IU and has an overall record of 30-40, a B-10 slate of 17-35, a 13-5 Non-conference tab, and an 0-3 bowl experience. Coach Allen win/loss journey the past 2 seasons has been a struggle, 2-16 and is returning only 8 starters, 3 on defense and 5 on offense. A good season for the Hoosiers in 2023 would be to make a bowl, yet a NC date with Louisville, divisional crossover games with Wisconsin, Illinois, & in-state rival Purdue, and the B-10 East version of ‘murders row’ (Michigan, OSU & PSU), 6 wins may beyond their grasp! We’ll keep an eye on their weekly progress!

6. Rutgers: Coach Greg Schiano has won more football games (80), @ Rutgers, then any other coach in the Scarlet knight history! That said, his Rutgers’ experience in the B-10 has been a challenge, 3-6 in 2020, 2-7 in 2021, and 1-8 in 2022, a 6-20 conference record in his 1st three years in the league! This year, they return 14 starters, 6 on offense, including QB, Gavin Wimsatt and 8 on D, led by CB, Max Melton. Rutgers will have to play the toughest schedule in the B-10, the East Division and crossover tilts @ Iowa & @ Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes & the Badgers are the two best teams in the West! To earn a bowl bid, the Knights will have to win all three NC games, which includes beating Virginia Tech, win a crossover game vs Northwestern & beat East Division foe, IU, and then, find a way vs to beat MSU or Maryland. Both the Spartan & Terrapin games are in New Brunswick.

5. Michigan State: HC Mel Tucker is beginning his 4th year @ MSU and has been on a rollercoaster ride in his 1st three seasons. In 2020, Tucker went 2-5, he then hit the Transfer Portal hard in 2021 and won 11 games, and last year, he missed a bowl game going 5-7! This year the Spartans return 13 starters (6 on O & 7 on D). For reasons known only to God (& NBC/Peacock $$$) the Spartans have given up one of their home games to play PSU @ Ford Field in Detroit. This means they play Michigan on the home, OSU in the Shoe, and what should have been a 2nd home game vs ‘Murders Row’, is now being played @ a neutral site! If the Spartans are to return to the ‘Bowl Season’ in 2023, they must win 2 of their 3 NC Games (Washington & QB Michael Penix come to Spartan Stadium on September 16, a win here would be a bonus). This season, 2023, is an odd year, which means two (2) of the three (3) divisional crossover are played in West Division Stadiums. MSU has to travel to Iowa & Minnesota, tuff places to win. The Spartans best shot @ 6 wins is to win 2 of 3 NC games, take down Rutgers & IU, both road games, & get after Maryland & Nebraska in East Lancing. A bowl game, while reachable, is by no means, a given!

4. Maryland: HC Mike Locksley begins his 5th year @ Maryland with a record of 21-28, yet, Locksley has put together back to back winning seasons, 7-6 in 2021 & 8-5 in 2022! This year the Terps return 11 starters, 5 on offense & 6 on defense. QB, Taulia Tagovailoa, is ranked as the 2nd best signal caller in the B-10 behind only Michigan’s, JJ McCarthy. RB, Roman Hemby has been identified as the B-10’s 5th best, given the League’s talent at this position, this a fact that Maryland’s opponents will need serious prep to slow down Hemby! Their receiving corps which is often rated as the B-10 2nd best, is led by Jeshawn Jones. That said, both their O & D lines are inexperienced, however, their LB unit and secondary are both experiences & talented! The Terps Divisional Crossover games are favorable, as they play @ Northwestern & Nebraska, while they get an improving Illini in College Park. Two of the three games vs ‘Murders Row’ are @ home (Michigan & PSU), OSU is at the Shoe on Oct. 7th! Two games they must find a way in are @ MSU, (Sept 23) & @ Rutgers, (Nov 25). Maryland should equal or surpass last year’s record of 8-5 and qualify for their 3rd straight bowl game.

3. Ohio State: This is where the fun begins! OSU has the best talent in the B-10 and the third best roster in the country, behind only Alabama & Georgia! Ryan Day’s, 45-6 record makes him the winningest HC, percentage-wise, in all of the FBS @ 88.2%, while Bama’s Nick Saban has a win/loss record of 194-27 and the second best winning percentage at 87.5%. So why are we picking the Bucks third in their own division? In the past two seasons the Buckeyes are looking more and more like Oklahoma (lets play in space not in a phone booth) then the defensive-minded, physically tough, three yards and a cloud of dust OSU teams of the past … those teams wanted to play in the meat-house! In the past two Michigan games, the Wolves outrushed the Bucks, 291 to 64 yards in 2021 and in 2022 ran over them again, 252 to 143! The Wolverines dominated the line of scrimmage in the 2nd half, in both of these games! This year OSU, PSU & Michigan are all ranked in the Top10 in preseason publications (Phil Steele has Michigan 3, OSU 5, & PSU 6; Athlon Sports: Michigan 2, Ohio State 5, & Penn State 8, and finally, Lindy Sports; Wolverines 2, Buckeyes 3 & Nittany Lions 8). SCFP has OSU beating Penn State, @ home, on Oct 21, losing to Wisconsin, in Mad-town, on Oct 28, and losing to Michigan, again, on Nov. 25, in the ‘Big House’! Bucks will finish 7-2 in Conference play! Their game in South Bend, vs Notre Dame, will have B-10 CFP implications!

2. Michigan: The two time defending B-10 champion opens their 2023 season vs East Carolina (8-5), UNLV (5-7), & Bowling Green (6-7), This marks the 2nd year in a row, the Wolverines do not play a power 5 opponent in their non-conference schedule! While it was not a factor in their making the CFP in 2022, the weakness of their NC schedule will come into play for the 2023 college playoffs. SCFP has the wolves lone loss, coming on Nov.11, in Happy Valley, during one of the best white out experiences in PSU history! Michigan’s weak NC schedule and a CFP berth may come down to the Buckeyes beating the Notre Dame on Sept 23 and then ND beating USC @ home & Clemson on the road. As Michigan will have no significant wins outside the B-10 and if OSU beats ND coupled with the Irish beating a potential ACC champ (Clemson, in the other, Death Valley) & P-12 champ (USC & defending Heisman winner, Caleb Williams, in ND Stadium), could be the road map that gets UM into the CFP with one loss!

1 Penn State: I know we are the minority with this pick, the Lions, in the last five (5) years are 0-5 vs OSU and 2-3 when taking on UM! So why the pick? Penn State is breaking in a new QB, Drew Allar (a former 5 star recruit), who has the talent to improve on departed QB, (an up & down performer) Sean Clifford’s 2022 numbers ( 2822 passing yards, 64% completion rate, and a ratio of 24 TDs to 7 INT) & consistency. One of the glaring similarities of the 3 teams, is their star power at RB! Michigan’s, Blake Corum & Donovan Edwards, Ohio States’, TreVeyon Henderson & Miyan Williams, & Penn State’s, Nate Singleton & Kaytron Allen, these teams may have the best, one & one A depth, @ RB, in the nation! While the Nittany Lions lose 3 of their top 4 receivers, they brought in (via the transfer portal) All MAC receiver, Dante Cephus (48 receptions, 744 yards,15.5 YPC, & 3 TDs) from Kent State & Malik McClain, a Florida State transfer (17 receptions for 244 yards & 3 TDs) and return, WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith (24 receptions for 389 yards, 16.2 YPR & 4 TDs). Given more consistancy @ QB and the untapped talent, this group should produce at a higher level then the 2022 addition! As far as the O-Line is concerned, start with the fact that PSU has the best left tackle, Olu Fashanu, in the country! While their center, Hunter Nourzad, is getting all B-10 pre-season recognition. PSU defense, as ranked by Phil Steele, has the #1 D-Line (tied with UM & OSU), the #1 LB unit (tied with OSU, UM & UW) & the best secondary in the B-10 (all by their lonesome)! On the national stage, Steele has PSU with the 3rd best D-Line (followed by OSU, Iowa, & Michigan 4 thru 6), The 4th best LB crew in the country (followed by Michigan {5} & {6} Wisconsin), & the #1 secondary in all of America (followed by Iowa @ 6 & Michigan @ 7)!

This is the last year for divisional play in the B-10 and, in my opinion, these two (East & West Divisions) could be the best Divisions in the history of B-10, dating back to the Leaders & Legends Divisions!

In the West, the Iowa vs Wisconsin show down in Mad-Town on Oct. 14 should set the table for the division winner to close out the B-10 West championship! For Badgers fans, what an experience awaits them! Beginning with the Iowa game on the 14th, followed by an away game in the ‘Land of Lincoln’, to take on Bielema & Leonhard (who is somewhere out there, if not on the field) and then Fickell, Tressel, and Bucky, take on Brutus, Ryan Day, and the Buckeyes on Oct. 28 @ Camp Randall. Man. how cool is that!

Then, of course, the B-10 East, where three teams have an excellent shot at the CFP in 2023. The head to head match-ups begin with PSU @ OSU, on Oct. 21st, @ the Horse Shoe! SCFP has Ohio State winning @ home & forcing the Lions into can’t lose again play-off mode! Then the next week, Brutus travels to Madison, as does the Game Day Crew, and shockingly, falls to Bucky and a ‘bombed’ Wisconsin crowd, that thinks its December 5, 1933 and that the 21st Amendment has just been enacted (an ‘I’ll have one’ mentality permeates the stadium)! The Bucks’ loss leaves Michigan alone a atop the Big Ten East! That is until Nov. 11th, when the Wolverines travel to Happy Valley to do battle with the Nittany Lions. SCFP says it’s UM, not ‘Daniel, in the Lion’s Den’, the Lions have dinner as PSU knocks Michigan from the unbeaten ranks and creates a 3-team gridlock, atop the B-10 East! Then comes ‘The Game’ Nov. 25th, OSU heads north to the “Big House”, and loses to UM, for the third year in as many and suffers its 2nd lost in the B-10. This leaves PSU & Michigan tied for 1st with one loss apiece. This tie favors Penn State as they won the head-to-head and removes the Bucks from CFP consideration.

This translates to, (if the Lions beat the Badgers in the B-10 Championship Game) PSU is in the CFP! But what about the Wolves? Where does it leave a one loss Michigan? To answer that, we need to travel back in time to Sept. 23rd, review the OSU/ND result, and then consider what the Irish did coming forward in time. Michigan fans should cheer, as painful as it may be, for the Bucks in that South Bend encounter and then for the Irish vs USC & Clemson. As those teams are favored to win and likely will win their respective conferences. This would leave UM & ND (assuming the Irish win out) with an identical record of 11-1. That said, Michigan would have beaten OSU, who in this scenario, would have given the Irish their only loss. If SC wins the PAC 12 & Clemson the ACC, again all good for the Wolves, via ND beating those conference champs & the OSU/ND & OSU/UM outcomes! While Michigan is still dependent to what happens in the Mighty SEC and to a lesser extent, on B-12 results (Texas @ Alabama game for one). These results give the B-10, a 2nd opportunity to have 2 teams in the CFP, in as many years!

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eXp & April Rosemurgy Present: Big Ten’s 2022 Races & 2023 West Predictions

This Blog is brought to you by eXp Realty / April Rosemurgy Realtor. As a life-long Wisconsinite and resident of central Wisconsin for close to 30 years, April knows and loves this community. She is familiar with each neighborhood and can appreciate what an area has to offer to match your lifestyle. Whether you are selling or buying, April will take the time to research and get to know your priorities. You can count on 100% of her efforts to meet or exceed your housing needs. For realty that’s simply trustworthy, it’s gotta be Rosemurgy.  Contact information: E-Mail: / Cell Phone: 715-574-4698 / Web Address:

The B-10 West & East Divisions both came down to to the final week of the 2022 season. In the West, all Iowa (7-4) needed was to beat a 3-8 Nebraska team @ home. The Hawks had beaten the Huskers seven (7) straight times and it looked like the Hawkeyes were a lock to be heading to Indianapolis. Yet Nebraska rolled into Iowa City, outgained the Hawks 329 to 274, forced 4 turnovers, & won the game, 24-17.

As a result, Purdue, who had lost to Iowa, in West Lafayette, 24-3, was now in the drivers, a win over Indiana, and the Boilers would be in the B-10 Championship Game. IU outgained the Boilermakers 421 to 388 and were better on 3rd down, 6 of 18 to 2 of 9, however Purdue was the more opportunistic team and won the game, 30-16, and the West!

Per usual, the Big Ten East had more at stake then just a B-10 Championship, as both teams were in position for a CFP berth! Michigan marched into the ‘Horse shoe’ @ 11-0 and OSU, also 11-0, was looking for payback after losing to the Wolves in the ‘Big House’ in 2021, 42-27! The Buckeyes were up 20-17 @ half time and looked to be set for their 15 win in 17 games vs UM! Yet Michigan had a different perspective as they outscored the Bucks, 28 to 3 and won the game, 45-23!

Michigan scored 5 TDs from outside 45 yards (3 passes for 69, 75, & 45 yards and two runs of 75 & 85 yards) the most scores from outside 45 yards in the history of 102 game series!

The Wolverines, the East Division winner, advanced to the B-10 Championship Game, to take on the Boilermakers, winners of the West. Michigan led only 14-13 @ halftime, yet, outscored Purdue, 29 to 9 in the 2nd half, winning 43-22! The East Division has never lost a Big Ten Championship Game to the West. The West Champion will have one more shot to beat their East counterpart, as divisional play will end beginning with the 2024 season!

So who does SCFP think will be playing in that final B-10 Division Championship Game?

Let’s start with the West:

7. Northwestern: The Cats are in disarray, to say the least, 4-20 the past two years and their highly regarded coach of 18 years, Pat Fitzgerald, was unceremoniously dismissed for/with cause. The new HC, David Braun, (just hired as the DC, spent the past 4 years as the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State and in all likelihood, does not even know the players names ,,, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Just when we thought things could not get worse for NW, they did, considerably worse!

6. Purdue: Jeff Braun has moved on to his alma mater, Louisville and Illinois’ DC, Ryan Walters has been hired as the Boiler’s new HC! This is the 1st time Purdue has hired a head coach, whose prior experience was not on the offensive side of the ball, in two (2) decades. Purdue has 6 starters back on offense (not QB) and 5 players return on defense. If NW HC, Pat Fitzgerald, had not been dismissed, Purdue would have been picked here to finish dead last!

5. Nebraska: This is the 3rd program in the West Division that will kick off the 2023 season with a new coach! Matt Rhule has had successful stints at Temple, 10-4 in both his last two (2) years, then @ Baylor (a mess when he arrived) he went 1-11 in his 1st season, 7-6 in year two , and then 11-3 in 2019, reaching a national ranking of 6th during that season! Rhule is the right guy for this program and has a chance to make a bowl game in 2023, given the existing talent!

4. Illinois: Brett Bielema has done an outstanding job at Illinois as he enters his third season. The Illini were 5-7 in his 1st year and 8-5 in year two! It was widely regarded that U of I was the best team in the West in 2022 and shocking, when they lost back to back games, @ home, in November to MSU, 23-15 & Purdue, 31-24. Illinois returns 12 starters, 6 on both sides of the ball, yet have lost significant talent @ QB, RB, & in their defensive secondary! Look for the Illini to be a factor in the West Division race and to make a bowl game in 2023! One final thought, Bielema has hired former UW Coach, Jimmy Leonhard, as a Senior Football Analysts! While Leonhard can have no contact with the players, his interaction with the coaches will most certainly help the Illini in the 2023 Season!

3. Minnesota: PJ Fleck has resurrected the Golden Gopher football program. Prior to his arrival, the Gophers had lost 14 games in a row to their arch-rival, Wisconsin. Since then, Minnesota has won 3 of 6 and two in a row vs the Badgers, while going 44-27 in Fleck’s 1st 6 years in the Twin Cities! In their two (2) critical divisional games, UM has Iowa on the road and Wisconsin @ home, yet will struggle in their divisional crossover games, as they have drawn Michigan, in Ann Arbor and Ohio State, & Michigan State in Minneapolis!

2. Iowa: The Hawks have a stale taste in their mouths from the close of the 2022 season; losing, @ home, their final game and the divisional title to Nebraska, 24-17, a team the Hawkeyes had beaten 7 times in a row! This loss opened the championship door for Purdue, a team they had beaten, 24-7, in West Lafayette! Iowa took out their frustrations on the SEC, shouting-out Kentucky, 21-0, in the Music City Bowl. The Hawks return 16 starters, and have added former Michigan QB, Cade McNamara, who will be under center for the Hawkeyes in 2023. Phil Steele rates the 2023 Iowa D-Line as the nation’s 5th best (between Ohio State 4th & Michigan 6th) while their secondary is the country’s 6th best and #1 in the B-10!

1. Wisconsin: The Badgers are the or one of the most interesting storylines for the coming season. 1st: Wisconsin’s AD. Chris McIntosh fired Paul Chryst, after an embarrassing loss to Illinois, 34-10! Chryst won 72% of his games (67-26), including 3 Big Ten West Division titles (2016, 2017, & 2019). Chryst also won the 2016 Cotton Bowl, beating an undefeated W. Michigan, 24-16, the 2017 Orange Bowl, beating Miami, 34-24, and then lost the 2019 Rose Bowl, 28-27, to Oregon. 2nd: McIntosh decides not to hire fan favorite, DC Jimmy Leonhard, and 3rd: shocks the college football landscape by hiring the hottest coach in all of football (Pro or college), Luke Fickell! Coach Fickell better win & here is why he will!

In all the excitement of the Chryst firing, the failure to hire Leonhard, the hiring of Fickell and all the conversations since; three names have been flying under the radar, Phil Longo, Mike Tressel, & Tanner Mordecai. New Offensive Coordinator (OC) Phil Longo is an Air Raid guy, philosophically aligned to Mississippi State’s, Mike Leach (sadly & recently deceased)! The Air Raid is often misunderstood as being a pass happy offense, while it can be, Longo is all about balance! At UNC last year, the Tar heels passed on 526 occasions and ran the ball 506 times. In 2021, the Heels ran it 513 and had 382 pass attempts. Two thoughts about Longo 1) he will play fast (no huddle) and 2) his offense will adjust to the talents of the players he had inherited. UW’s pass attack is no longer dependent on play-action! Mike Tressel will play a 3-3-5 as opposed to Leonhard 3-4-4 although JL would use multiple fronts! Tressel’s challenge will be to get the Badger defense to the level Leonhard had it during his tenure (2017: 1st in Total D & 3rd in points per game (PPG); 2019: 8th in Total D & 1st PPG, 2020: 5th in Total D, & 2021: 1st in Total D & 2nd nationally in YPP @ 4.17) Finally, Tanner Mordecai, a Transfer Portal arrival from Southern Methodists University (SMU) is now in Madison! Mordecai 1st transferred from OU (Oklahoma) to SMU after the 2020, won the QB job in 2021 and passed 3628 yards with a 39/12 TD to INT Ratio and in 2022, he passes for 3524 yards with a Ratio of 33/10! While I know Badger fans are fired up about ‘Luke’ … Longo, Tressel & Mordecai are the likely suspects in determining UW’s winning the West and finally, beating the East in the B-10 Championship Game!

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Bucks Golf Shop Presents: 131 FBS Teams Ranked by Winning Percentage Thru 2022

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Buck has been working in the golf business since 1976, been a PGA member for 38 years and has been teaching the game of golf for over four decades. An outstanding coach whose philosophy has always been to work with the individual golfer, focusing on their current skill sets, and then teaching them the way to improvement. Buck’s interactive style is all about FUN & Fundamental! His intent is to make the game enjoyable, while teaching the fundamentals from the Tee Box to the Cup!

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UNIVConf Win Loss Ties Game W T W % Rk
1. OSU B10965331531349992 0.7350 1
5. B StMW 48218026644830.72745
TX B129363903313599530.70097
10 TNSEC8674105313308940.671810
PA StB108084074112568290.659613
15 LSU SEC8334314713118570.653315
Ap StSB6553512810346690.647016
M FLACC6563821910576660.629617
FL SEC7554384012337750.628518
20 Clem ACC7894684513028120.623320
GA S.SB420252106824250.623221
25 A&MSEC7714974813167950.604125
AR StP126354152410746470.602426
MI StB107264804412507480.598428
30 WVB127745194513387970.595330
M OHMAC7134814412387350.593731
C MIMAC6424433611216600.588832
Fr StMW6364412711046500.588333
35 WIB107355125313007620.585835
AK SEC7365314013077560.578439
40 PittACC7585514213517790.576640
S MSSB6104522610886230.572644
45 COP127195373612927370.570445
50 BCACC6885203712457070.567550
55 MS SEC6985453512787160.559955
60 W MIMA5924742810946060.553960
TX TB-125914743210976070.553361
Tulsa AA6325132711726460.550862
65. UHAAC468386158694760.547265
70 N ILMAC6045215111766300.535370
Ok StB126275684812436510.523774
75 ULACC5404921710495490.522975
MD B106696194313316910.518879
80 UVAAC6806334813617040.517380
TX StSB5264942510455390.515381
Baylor B126275934412646490.513483
NC StACC629595551279656.50.513384
85 B StMAC472448329524880.512685
Ohio MA5935804812216170.505388
UT StMW5695593111595850.504389
90 ILB106276185012956520.503590
N TXUSA5375343311045540.501493
95 MemAA5235343310905400.495095
MS StSEC5896043912326090.493996
Duke ACC5305503111115460.491098
100 ASUSB4895193710455080.4856100
Vand SEC6176555013226420.4856101
105 MSIND5776305012576020.4789105
OR StP125566245012305810.4724107
110 CSUMW5346093311765510.4681110
KS StB125616664212695820.4586112
IA StB125606714612775830.4565113
115 TUAAC4916085211515170.4492115
E MIMA4846164711475080.4425118
120Rice USA4866443211625020.4320120
UNLV MW26136346282630.4188124
125 LMSB32345487853270.4166125
K StMA365584289773790.3879128
130 GSTSB531010154530.3442130
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Carmelo’s Restaurant Presents: A look ahead to SC & UCLA’s B10 Schedules for the 2024 / 2025 Seasons

This Blog is brought to you by Carmelo’s Restaurant, one, if not, the best restaurant(s) in all of Central Wisconsin. Carmelo and Joan Oliva started Carmelo’s in October of 1986. The Oliva family began with and has maintained the philosophy that everyone is treated like family, a fact, that is obvious to even the most casual of observers. The chef-driven menu highlights seasonal ingredients in simple, handcrafted dishes served straight out of kitchen. Add even more to your experience with a selection from their full service bar and trust me—save room for dessert.

Carmelo’s is entering its third generation of providing excellence in the restaurant industry. Three generations have and continue to provide a family atmosphere and a fine dining experience. The core values Carmelo & Joan started 34 years ago!

Start your weekend right by dining at Carmie’s on Friday Nite! Contact info: Phone; 715-845-5570 or Web-site Address

College football seems to be running a one sport show with conference realignment these days. The old conference geographic locales are being picked up and blown away in a money driven whirl-wind with programs landing in some unfamiliar places.

While earning the TV dollars in FB & men’s BB, it seems likely that those sports can afford the travel costs, yet, what about the non-revenue sports? Makes one wonder why athletic administrators are not being more innovated for the so-called, Olympic Sports? Does it make sense for the Trojans or Bruins to fly across the country to play Northwestern, in a beach volleyball game, on the shores of Lake Michigan? When one considers that the Pacific Ocean is their backyard!

You know they have had to consider these elements in making the move, yet on the surface, it looks to be more driven by money than what is best for their student athletes.

Conferences are becoming more and more spread-out across the country. The American Athletic Conference (AAC), has teams in Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, & Pennsylvania while C-USA has teams in New Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, & Kentucky

The Big Ten will be coast to coast league in 2024; beginning on the East Coast of U.S., in the Garden State, New Jersey (Rutgers), rolling down to Maryland, then one heads west out to Ohio, on to Iowa & Nebraska, and finally across the continent, to the US’ West Coast, ending its expanse in the Golden Bear State, California.

I must point out, that California (home state for USC & UCLA) is the only state in the union that proudly flies its state flag celebrating an Animal that went Extinct on their watch. Somewhere in the 1920’s, the Grizzle Bear (Ursus Arctos) became extinct in the Great State of California. Usually, when that happens, the state tries to keep it quiet, not Cal, they made the Golden Bear their state animal in 1953 and the University of California (Berkley) has retained (established in 1895) the Golden Bear as their mascot? Maybe the State’s flag should/could use the Latin phraseology: requiescat in pace (rest in peace) as the best way to recognize/honor Ursus Arctos!

I lived in California for a year back in the 70’s and enjoyed my time there, however, I an not sure the Midwest is mentally or spiritually ready for the California Experience or for that matter, vice versa? We will see!

Oregon, Washington, UCLA & USC will begin B-10 play in 2024!

Oregon & Washington Schedules TBD

UCLA, in year one, will take on Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, & USC all in the Rose Bowl (Home Stadium for the UCLA). The Bruins will travel to Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, & Rutgers. In 2025, UCLA will play, @ home, vs Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers, & Wisconsin and hit the pavement (airways) to battle Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, & USC. The Bruins will have played every team in the conference in their 1st two years in the league!

USC in 2024 the Trojans will take on the following teams in/@ the LA Coliseum; Illinois, Iowa, Michigan & Wisconsin while ‘packing their bags’ for Maryland Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, & UCLA. In 2025, SC will welcome, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, & UCLA to the Coliseum and then come back east, to challenge Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers, & Wisconsin!

For more info on these games and how the B-10 will protect existing rivalries, go to FB Schedules

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Subway/Shadow Lake Enterprises Presents: Ranking the Power 5 Recruiting Class

This Blog is brought to you by Shadow Lake Enterprises INC & Jimmy Milkowski, proud owner of four (4) Subways, in the great City & State of Wausau, WI! For the best in Service, Menu Varity, Catering, Order Pick-up, Order Delivery, and Rewards & Deals; contact any one of Jimmy’s Restaurants … @ one or all of the following locations: (A) 1819 W. Stewart Ave (715) 845-6485), (B) 300 E. Bridge St. ( 715-849-2323), (C) 4300 Rib Mountain Drive (715) 355-1214), & 1609 Merrill Ave (715) 675-0966). Keep your Day Light & Breezy by Eating Fresh @ Subway

The recruiting chart presented below is a 4 year composite of ESPN’s, 247 Sports, & Rivals’ respective scoring systems.

The recruiting classes used were 2020 thru 2023.

We take each site and calculated a 4 year team average, specific to that site’s criteria used to evaluate a program’s recruiting. As a result, Rival’s evaluation scores were calculated independently and are, in fact, different from the rankings of ESPN &/or 247 Sports.

The number listed is the average rank a team earned on that site over a 4 year period. Thus, Alabama’s average class rank in Rivals during that time frame (2020 – 2023) was 1.75 / best on Rivals and remained the highest/best recruiting program in the country, when 247 Sports (1.5) & ESPN (1.75) are factored into the Matrix! Georgia (UGA/Dawgs), in that same time frame, earned a 2.25 average rank on ESPN, 2.25 according to 247 Sports calculations, 3.0 on Rivals, and settling on a composite score of 2.50 … 2nd best in the nation! These Southeastern powers were followed by Ohio State, with a composite of (4.2), LSU (6.6), & Clemson rolling in @ 5th place with a composite score of (7.4). That said, do not overlook the Transfer Portal, as it can significantly impact a roster & a season’s result! Michigan State went 2-5 in 2020 and then a shocking 11-3 in 2021, with only the 42nd ranked recruited class, on ESPN, for the 2021 season. So how the growth? Simple, the Spartans brought in 20 plus transfers and it changed everything about their roster, allowing them to go from 2-5 to 11-3!

Ok, so now with that in mind! Now back to our assessment of Recruited Classes! We then take the three independent scores and calculated a three site/four year composite.

Please note, the teams listed below are Power 5 Conference teams only, with Army & ND added into the count. The Southeastern & Big Ten Conferences identify these two (2) teams as power 5 programs for scheduling purposes. As a result, we added Army (ND was a founding member) creating a total of 70 teams that are assessed!

UniversityConf. ESPN 247 RivalsTotalComposite
1. AlabamaSEC1.751.51.7551.7
Ohio StateB-1053.83.7512.554.2
5. ClemsonACC7.57.37.2522.057.4
Teaxas A&MSEC6.510.36.2523.057.7
Notre DameIND9.311.512.2533.0511.0
10. OregonP-1215.59.811.2536.5512.2
Penn StateB-1014.810.815.7541.313.8
15. UNCACC12.31716.545.815.3
Miami FLACC1517.816.7549.516.5
Florida StateACC21.320.823.7565.8522.0
MS StateSEC26.52621.57424.7
20. KentuckySEC23.7527.823.2574.7524.9
Nebraska  B-1026.324.52575.825.3
Ole MissSEC22.252631.2579.526.5
S. CarolinaSEC3225.834.7592.5530.9
25 USCP-123136.326.593.831.3
Michigan StB-1031.334.83399.133.0
30 MarylandB-1034.7530.534.2599.533.2
35. UCLA P-1234.83944117.839.3
OK StateB-1242.537.338.75118.639.5
West VirginiaB-1241.254037.7511939.7
40. L-villeACC42.255139.5132.844.3
Virginia TechACC46.835.852134.644.9
NC StateACC45.543.347.2513645.3
Iowa StateB-1246.547.542.5136.545.5
45. VandySEC49.2546.540.75136.545.5
Georgia TechACC48.754346.75138.546.2
HoustonB-1267 677213968.7
Texas TechB-1244.34946.25139.646.5
50. IndianaB-1052.2543.348.75144.348.1
55. CincyB-1250.755248.5151.350.4
Kansas StateB-1250.858.548.75158.152.7
60. UCFB-125458.852164.854.9
Arizona StateP-1245.361.559.25166.0555.4
Wake ForestACC60.35962181.360.4
Washington StP-1267.559.858.5185.861.9
65. IllinoisB-1062.56559186.562.2
Oregon StateP-125966.878203.867.9
70. ArmyIND76121.375.25272.5590.9

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Big Fat Design Presents: New FBS Coaches for the 2023 Season

The college football information provided below was/is made possible by “Big Fat Designs” you have a small idea or a big idea … we can get you to the right idea. For the best in web & Graphic Design, contact BFD @ the Web-address provided above or call @ 715-845-5409. Big Fat Designs is located @ 609 Gray Place in Wausau WI.

There are 24 new coaches for the 2023 season that are currently involved in spring practices across the country at the writing of this blog. Every Power 5 conference will have at least one (1) coach making his debut in 2023.

The B-10 has 3 new looks, Matty Rule / Nebraska, Ryan Walters @ Purdue, & Luke Fickell heads to Wisconsin.

The SEC welcomes two new bodies, Hugh Freeze @ Auburn and Zack Arnett / Mississippi State, while ACC also adds two changes, Brian Key @ GT & Jeff Brohm / Louisville.

The PAC 12 has landed Deion Sanders @ Colorado, Kenny Dillingham arrives in Tempe (ASU) and Troy Taylor at Stanford. Finally, the Big 12 is welcoming 4 new teams (Cincinnati, Houston, Central Florida, & BYU), that said, only one of the new arrivals has a different coach from the 2022 season, Cincinnati’s, Scott Sutterfield. For a total of 11 new coaches in the in the Power 5 Conference.

Group of 5 will have 13 different leaders roaming their respective sidelines in 2023!

Kenny DillinghamArizona StatePAC 12
Hugh FreezeAuburnSoutheastern
Scott SutterdieldCincinnatiAmerican
Tim BeckCoastal CarolinaSBC
Deion SandersColoradoPAC 12
Tom HermanFlorida AtlanticC-USA
Brian KeyGeorgia TechACC
Kenni BurnsKent StateMAC
Jamey ChadwellLibertyIndependent 
Jeff BrohmLouisvilleACC
Zack ArnettMississippi StateSoutheastern
Brian NewberryNavyAmerican
Matty RhuleNebraskaBig Ten
Eric MorrisNorth TexasC-USA
Ryan WaltersPurdueBig Ten
Alex GoleshSouth  FloridaAmerican
Troy TaylorStanfordPAC 12
G.J. KinneTexas StateSBC
Kevin WilsonTulsaAmerican
Trent DilferUABC-USA
Biff PoggiUNC CharlotteC-USA
Lance TaylorWestern MichiganMAC
Like FickelWisconsinBig Ten
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Trapp River Golf Presents: FBS Coaches Winning Percentagýe & where they Rank through 2022

The information on FBS Coaches Winning percentages thru 2022, provided below, is brought to you by the Trapp River Golf Course! An excellent 18 hole course, located @ 243124 County Road WW in Wausau, WI. For tee times or lessons (ask for Kerry) call 715-675-3044 between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more detailed information, when calling, ask for Andy! (Hi-lite web-address and right click to arrive @ the Trapp River Site)

1 Ryan DayOhio StateB Ten4565188.2% 1
Nick SabenAlabamaSEC1942722187.7% 2
Sunny DykesTCUBig 121321586.6% 3
Kalen DeBoerWashingtonP 121121384.6% 4
5 Kirby Smart5GeorgiaSEC80159584.2% 5
Curt CignettiJ MadisonSBC4184983.6% 6
Dabo SwinneyClemsonACC1613920080.5% 7
Lincoln RileyUSCP 121131478.5% 8
Dan LanningOregonP 121031376.9% 9
10 Luke Fickell1CincyAAC57187576.0% 10
Jeff TraylorUTSAC-USA30104075.0% 11
Jim HarbaughMichiganB Ten74259974.7% 12
Paul ChrystWisconsinB Ten67269372.0% 13
Jeff Tedford Fresno StMWC1041471.4% 14
15 Brian Kelly1LSUSEC1041471.4% 15
Mike ElcoDukeACC941369.2% 16
Josh HeupelTennesseeSEC1882669.2% 17
James FranklinPenn StateB Ten783611468.4% 18
Hugh Freeze2 LibertyIND 34165068.0% 19
20 Whittingham 2UtahP 121557422967.6% 20
Mike GundyOK StateBig 121567523167.5% 21
Shawn ClarkApp StateSBC26133966.6% 22
Gus MelzahnCentral FLAAC1892766.6% 23
Andy Avalos Boise StMWC1792665.3% 24
25 J Fischer2TX A&MSEC39216065.0% 25
M FreemanNotre DameIND951464.2% 26
David ShawStanfordP 12965415064.0%27
Jason CandleToledoMAC55318663.9%28
J ChadwellCoastal CarSBC39226163.9%29
30 Lane kiffin3Ole MissSEC23133663.8%30
Bill ClarkUABC-USA56328863.6%31
B AndersonUtah StateMWC17102762.9%32
Kalani SitakeBYUIND 56349062.2%33
PJ FleckMinnesotaB Ten44277161.9%34
35 Kirk Ferentz3IowaB Ten18611530161.7%35
Charles HuffMarshallSBC16102661.5%36
Joey McGuireTexas TechBig 12851361.5%37
Troy CalhounAir ForceMWC1217819960.8%38
Tyson Helton4 W-ern KYC-USA32215360.3%39
40 Pat Narduzzi4PittACC624110360.1%40
Chris KliemanKansas StBig 1230205060.0%41
Brady HokeSan Diego St MWC36246060.0%42
K WommackS AlabamaSBC15102560.0%43
Mack Brown4UNCACC99.5 67.5 16759.5%44
45 S BeamerS. CarolinaSEC15112657.6%45
D HolgersonHoustonAAC27204757.4%46
Dave DoerenNC StateACC725412657.1%47
K Niumatalolo NavyAAC1098319256.7%48
R Silverfield MemphisAAC21163756.7%49
50 Jeff Monken5ArmyIND 644911356.6%50
H EdwardsArizona StP 1226204656.5%51
Mel TuckerMichigan StB Ten 18143256.2%52
J SummerallTroySBC27214856.2%53
Dave Aranda5BaylorBig 1220163655.5%54
55 Jake Dickert5Wash StP 121192055.0%55
Clay HelronGA S-ernSBC761353.8%56
Jerry KillN. Mexico StIDN 761353.8%57
Rhett LashleeSMUAAC761353.8%58
Jim McElwain Cent. MIMAC24214553.3%59
60 Mike Norvell6Florida StACC18163452.9%60
Mark StoopsKentuckySEC665912552.8%61
Sam PittmanArkansasSEC19173652.7%62
Mike LeachMiss StateSEC19173652.7%63
Dave Clawson6WFACC595311252.6%64
65 M Campbell6Iowa StBig 1246428852.2%65
Tim LesterWestern MIMAC36336952.1%66
Pat FitzgeraldN-westernB Ten11010121152.1%67
Bret BielemaIllinoisB Ten13122552.0%68
S SatterfieldLouisvilleACC26245052.0%69
70 S Sarkisian TexasBig 1213122552.0%70
Jeff BrohmPurdueB Ten36347051.4%71
Rick StockstillMiddle TNC-USA109 103 212 51.4%72
Shawn ElliotGA StateSBC37367350.6%73
Tim Albin7Ohio MAC13132650.0%74
75 Seth LittrellNorth TexasC-USA44458949.4%75
Willie FritzTulaneAAC43458848.8%76
Chip KellyUCLAP 1227295648.2%77
Craig BohlWyomingMWC525610848.1%78
Mike Houston8East Car.AAC22244647.8%79
80 Greg Schiano8RutgersB Ten808916947.3%80
E DrinkwitzMissouriSEC17193647.2%81
Neal BrownWest VABig 1222254746.8%82
Jim MoraConnecticutIND671346.1%83
Billy Napier8FloridaSEC671346.1%84
85 Desomeaux8LouisianaSBC671346.1%85
B VenablesOklahomaBig 12671346.1%86
J SmithOregon StP 1226315745.6%87
Justin WilcoxCaliforniaP 1230366645.4%88
Willie Taggart9FAUC-USA15183345.4%89
90 Montgomery 9TulsaAAC43539644.7%90
M LinguistBuffaloMAC11142544.0%91
Sean LewisKent StateMAC24315543.6%92
Chuck MartinMiami OHMAC455910443.2%93
C Creighton9E-ern MIMAC4661107 42.9%94
95 Bryan Harsin9AuburnSEC9122142.8%95
Jeff HafleyBCACC15203542.8%96
Tom AllenIUB Ten 30407042.8%97
Mike LocksleyMarylandB Ten21284942.8%98
M Cristobal1Miami FlACC571241.6%99
100 Dino Babers1SyracuseACC36518741.3%100
Mike NeuBall StateMAC33488140.7%101
Terry BowdenLA MonroeSBC8122040.0%102
Will HallS-ern MissSBC10152540.0%103
Will HealyNC CharlotteC-USA17264339.5%104
105 B BrennanSan Jose StMWC27426939.1%105
T HammockNorthern IlMAC17274438.6%106
Ricky RahneOld Dom. SBC9162536.0%107
Karl DorrellColoradoP 128152334.7%108
Scott Frost NebraskaB Ten 16314734.0%109
110 MacIntyreFIUC-USA481233.3%110
Lance LeipoldKansasBig 128172532.0%111
Scott LoefflerBowling Gr.MAC13294230.9%112
Tony ElliotVirginiaACC371030.0%113
Dana DimelUTEPC-USA17405729.8%114
115 Bloomgren1RiceC-USA16385429.6%115
Clark LeaVanderbiltSEC7172429.1%116
Brent PryVA TechACC381127.2%117
Jake SpavitalTexas StateSBC13354827.0%118
Geoff Collins1GA TechACC10283826.3%119
120 Jebb Fisch1Arizona P 126182425.0%120
Jay NorvellColorado StMWC391225.0% 121
S Crumbie LA TechC-USA
391225.0% 122
Sran DraytonTempleAAC391225.0%123
M Arroyo1UNLVMWC7233023.3%124
125 T Chang1HawaiiMWC3101323.0%125
D GonzalesNew MexicoMWC7243122.5%126
Butch JonesArkansas StSBC5192420.8%127
Joe MoreheadAkronMAC2101216.6%128
Kenny WilsonNevadaMWC2101216.6%129
130 Jeff Scott1South FLAAC4293312.1%130
Don BrownU-MassIND111128.33%131
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