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January 23 2020

TIME:          US  |   UK  

WEATHER:  US  |   UK  

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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

NCAA Preview 2009
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Sun Belt
The Trojans aren't about to lose their grip on the conference, predicts Richard L Gale.

100–Word Dash:  Troy
Troy's talent is better than the other Sun Belt teams, the defensive line has NFL quality in DE Brandon Lang (and the tackles are no push–overs), and junior RB DuJuan Harris is coming off a 1000–yard season. Special teams are very good, and an efficient spread offense that just doesn't give up the ball. All is not perfect, with two new tackles on the offensive line, but 17 of the 22 starters on offense and defense are seniors. The Trojans commanded the Sun Belt 6–1 last season. A win September 26 at Arkansas State could start a 7–0 conference domination.

100–Word Dash:  Arkansas State
There is no doubt that the Red Wolves can exploit the Sun Belt's weak defensive lines as they did last season. The running game returns — including 1000–yard cert Reggie Arnold and dual–threat QB Corey Leonard — and both they and the starting receivers are experienced seniors. There's seven seniors on defense as well. Another high finish in the Sun Belt is assured. The only question is whether they can slash, reverse and batter their way past Troy in week 3, the key early fixture considering the line is in transition. At least the game's at home:  there's legitimate conference title hopes.

100–Word Dash: Florida Atlantic
Schellenberger's startup team are more than upstarts now, a legitimate beast in the Sun Belt, and who may well have viewed last year's third place finish in the conference as underachieving. Rusty Smith will quarterback the team for a fourth season, and now has Jeff Brohm as position coach. The line is mature, the receivers capable wide, tight, and out of the backfield, but when it comes to the run and stopping the run, inexperience rules. This is Rusty Smith's senior season, and everything seems set to demand big numbers from him. That may not mean a winning record, however.

100–Word Dash:  Louisiana Monroe
If a tough September allows the Warhawks to callous rather than crack up, they could surprise the Sun Belt. There are 'If's' — if a couple of suspended players are active; if new starting QB Trey Revell trusts his line after the season opener at Texas; if the defensive front doesn't leak first downs against the run. However, if junior Revell can keep his head, the running game is sound, and the defense won't give up big plays deep. A winning record in the Sun Belt isn't beyond reach, but the schedule is front–weighted and the early record could look ugly.

100–Word Dash: Florida International
A predominantly senior line and quarterback (Paul McCall) should at least translate to stability and an offense that clicks with efficiently, and the receiving corps includes flashy T.Y. Hilton, who also returns kicks. As long as nothing bad befalls him, this team looks to be mid–pack, but like so many teams down in FBS's basement division, the Golden Panthers own that combination of ho–hum rushing and a suspect ability to stop the run. At a glance, FIU look like one of the better teams in the Sun Belt, but so much depends on the 170lb Hilton remaining ding–free that success is tenuous.

100–Word Dash:  Middle Tennessee State
2007 starting QB Dwight Dasher returns under center after losing his start role in '08. In his absence, the receiving corps got hot, so now it's up to him and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin not to let it get cold again. A healthier offensive line could also spur improvement, and RB Phillip Tanner's yardage (15 TDs in '08, but no 1000 yard season) could benefit greatly from Franklin's appointment. But all this good news is tempered by what may be a poor defense. I don't buy Middle Tennessee as a Sun Belt contender — back–to–back wins may be hard to muster.

100–Word Dash:  Louisiana–Lafayette
Last year's now–graduated offensive stars managing a 6–6 record, but even with an experienced offensive line — 3 seniors, 2 juniors — the next generation at the skill positions is unproven and unclear. Rickey Bustle's squad looks like it's there to pad the win columns for Kansas State, LSU and Nebraska in September, but disciplined special teams and an improved defense may spare them the indignity of an outright slump. Nonetheless, Ragin' Cajuns fans expecting glory should hold on for 2010, when the defense will be senior–heavy and either Chris Mason or Brad McGuire have a year at QB under their belt.

100–Word Dash:  North Texas Mean Green
It's all about the pass, as Riley Dodge, son of coach Todd takes over a pass–happy offense. Even if Riley's been learning this offense since he was in a high chair, he's a redshirt freshman surrounded by a receiving corps in transition. That probably means a bit more of RB Cam Montgomery in this run–and–shoot. If the Mean Green is to do better than the 2– and 1–win seasons Coach Dodge has managed so far, both defence and special teams need to make a leap. If they do — and there'll be some senior pride — they'll still struggle for 3–4 wins.

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