Where’s Danny O’Brien Transferring Next Season?

Former Maryland QB Danny O'Brien Will Be Making His Decision on Where He'll Transfer Soon

After the messy divorce with Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins football team, former Terps QB Danny O’Brien still needs a new team. Unfortunately for the North Carolina kid, who can suit up immediately, all the homestate ACC squads are pretty set at QB already. So that leaves about five schools based on where he’s visited and the early rumors regarding his transfer. We rate them below based on the odds he signs there, along with some pluses and minuses of each situation (from longest shot to most likely):

Mississippi (Odds: 20/1): As appealing as a wide-open offense would appear to O’Brien, he’d likely find life in the bottom of the SEC West among the most difficult things he’s ever endured. Of course he’s a quality quarterback, but we can’t kid ourselves and pretend he’s the next Eli Manning down in Oxford, Miss. Too much pressure and a similar situation to what he had last year (new coach trying to prove his system works) spells disaster and no for Danny.

Connecticut (Odds: 17/1): Hard to peg this move as anything but spite toward former coach Edsall (who used to coach there). Also hard to see him making this choice when he may not be even be the second-best quarterback on the roster. Both Johnny McEntee and Scott McCummings showed effectiveness in 2011, making this a poor and unlikely move for everyone involved.

Penn State (Odds: 10/1): There’s no way O’Brien hasn’t heard about what’s going on there, right? With too many institutional issues and legal storms brewing, this seems like the only situation worse for him than Maryland right now. And yet, with a new regime and quarterback questions, it could also be a nice fit. Expectations would be modest, and he could grow with a new coach. That second part could also backfire (see Mississippi above). Continue reading

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 15)

Baylor's Robert Griffin III Could Be the First Player In School History to Win the Heisman

Since Heisman finalists have been named for the 2011 season, we’ll skip right to the evaluation portion, looking at where we’d rank the five candidates.

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (4,642 total yards/45 total TD/6 INT/72.4% completion): In thoroughly crushing rival Texas, Griffin managed another four touchdowns and over 350 total yards, adding to his growing legend status down in West Texas. Considered a darkhorse for all season, the way Baylor’s quarterback has performed these past few weeks might just deliver him the game’s biggest individual prize.

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3,170 passing yards/37 total TD/9 INT/70.0% completion): With a weak overall schedule, and watching other quarterbacks (Griffin, specifically) just plain putting up better numbers over the past month, Luck has finally lost his once-insurmountable lead in our rankings. Does it mean he’s played poorly of late? Of course not. And I doubt this award has any bearing on him going number-one overall in the NFL Draft either. He had his chance at a true “Heisman moment” (versus Oregon), but just couldn’t capitalize.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2,014 total yards/38 total TD): Possessing a conference title, 15 more touchdowns and just one more loss than the “favored” running back below, Monte Ball would have won the Heisman in most seasons. Yet, since many only consider him the second-best RB in this group, he gets little consideration. Why? More yards-per-carry, more touchdowns, more yards, same amount of wins. It’s all because he doesn’t play in the SEC (a theme in college football of late).

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,910 total yards/23 total TD): Richardson is a talented back, don’t get me wrong. But he’s never had any business being in the same conversation as the three players I list above him. Alabama’s defense has been the biggest key to their success, and their lopsided victories allow for more garbage-time carries. Just because your team’s playing for the national title (with debatable credentials) doesn’t mean you deserve a Heisman finalist, as you’ll see below.

5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (475 total yards/4 total TD/2 INT): Yup, you read all of those stats right. While I don’t doubt the defensive prowess of the “Honey Badger,” I have to ask — what the hell is he doing on a Heisman ballot?! See above for my thoughts on this sham of a pick, but beyond my own opinions, can anyone say he put up one of the season’s five most impressive efforts? If Mathieu finishes any higher than fifth on ballots, I’d be floored.

Atlantic Coast Convos BCS Projections (Week 14)

The SEC Could Celebrate Another Title Before the Game Is Even Played

Rather than an in-depth rundown of all of this weekend’s championship games, we’re just going to look at the end-game — what happens after league titles are decided, and it’s time to hand out bids to the big money bowls. Along with each game below, we’ll include a brief explanation of the matchup, and how we got there. For our longer ACC Championship Game preview, however, please head over here.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. West Virginia Mountaineers — Orange Bowl organizers, forced to take the eventual Big East champion, actually end up with a pretty favorable scenario here. A regional matchup between these two former conference-mates also allows them to put the Black Diamond Trophy up for grabs in a battle of one staunch defense against another high-powered offense.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers — The Rose Bowl gets its wish this season, getting back to tradition by pitting the Pac-12 champ against the Big Ten champ. Oregon shouldn’t have much of a problem getting here, but the Badgers will face a tough contest this weekend against Michigan State. Both sporting high-scoring offenses, it’ll be an interesting test of wills between UO’s LaMichael James and UW’s Montee Ball to see who can run the ball more effectively.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Stanford Cardinal — On paper, this one’s an exciting matchup between two of the top five schools in the country. However, the returns may not end up that way. OSU’s offensive tempo is similar to Oregon’s, and while the Cowboys’ defensive quickness may not compare to the Ducks’, the speedy passing attack will keep the Cardinal off-balance all day.

Sugar Bowl: Houston Cougars vs. Michigan Wolverines — If the SEC and Big Ten title games shake out the way they’re supposed to, organizers will likely have to choose between Kansas State and Michigan in this one to see who faces Houston. With the guiding logic that UM will draw more TV viewers, it’s too obvious the Wolverines (by that point in the BCS top 14) will be headed to New Orleans.

BCS National Championship: LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide: Rumor has it that even if the Tigers are somehow upset in their conference title game, there’s little standing in the way of a big SEC West rematch in the national championship game. We’re hoping for a higher-scoring affair than last time obviously, but with two quality programs and a nearly-undisputed 1 v. 2 matchup, it would promise to be a great game (unlike many title games before it).

ACC Heisman Watch (Week 14)

Montee Ball's Imrpessive Stat Line is Starting to Get Heisman Attention Again

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

With no ACC player even near the Heisman Trophy conversation, let’s just get on to the nation’s top five candidates, in order:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3,170 passing yards/37 total TD/9 INT/70.0% completion): Say what you want about Stanford’s schedule (just one win over a ranked team — USC), but is it really their fault the Pac-12 isn’t up to par? Luck has performed admirably this season and is the main force behind the Cardinal’s 11-1 record. Even without an additional chance to prove himself in the Pac-12 title game, I still believe the Heisman belongs to Andrew Luck.

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (4,726 passing yards/46 total TD/3 INT/73.2% completion): Houston is blowing out opponents lately, but even in shortened action, Keenum has been incredibly impressive. With over 300 yards passing in every game this season, a 12-0 record, and a conference title and BCS berth on the line, it’ll be hard to ignore Keenum’s resume when the votes are finally tallied. Frighteningly, 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards are both within reach.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (1,870 total yards/34 total TD): If Montee Ball played for Alabama or LSU, he’d be the overwhelming favorite to win this award. Since Wisconsin has two losses in a down year for the Big Ten though, his 34 total touchdowns have gone virtually unrecognized on the national stage until his recent four-score performance against Penn State. As I’ve said before — I don’t care who you’re playing for. These numbers are impressive at any level, against any opponent.

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,910 total yards/23 total TD): Richardson rushed the ball extremely well against rival Auburn, racking up 203 yards on just 27 carries. What he’s lacked though is a real signature game against a worthy opponent. Still, his team is 11-1, plays in the SEC and their only loss was in overtime to the nation’s number-one school. Taking all of that into account, it’s not hard to see why he’s been moved to the top of several mock ballots, however debatable his credentials may be in comparison to his peers.

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (3,528 passing yards/41 total TD/7 INT/69.1% completion): Avoiding the “what if” game with Barkley’s chances and USC’s postseason ban, just examine his statistics on their own. The junior quarterback has accounted for 18 touchdowns in the past four games — a staggering total. He’s gotten more impressive and poised as the season’s progressed. He has dominated and embarrassed teams in recent games. And all for a team that had no chance to go anywhere at the end of this season. As the Trojans’ leader, he proved himself worthy of Heisman consideration and should get at least an invite to New York.