College Football's Worst


By Kelso Sturgeon

One can debate forever whether Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M will be the nation's best football team this coming season and never reach a consensus. That is not the case at the bottom of the spectrum of 123 NCAA Division I college teams. Memphis will be unchallenged as the worst college team in 2011.

The formerly proud and polished Tigers went 1-11 last season and can duplicate that record on September 17 when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference doormat Austin Peay, an NCAA I-AA team, in the 63,380-seat Liberty Bowl. It has little chance to beat any of the other 11 teams on its schedule—not even the weakest Texas-El Paso team in years.

The problems facing Memphis are real.

First of all the team has little talent—the main required ingredient for winning—and certainly less than it had last season when its only win came at the hands of Middle Tennessee State, 24-17 as a 6-point underdog. Middle Tennessee was without its starting quarterback that day.
Last season's team had no offense, averaging 14.4 points (119th among 123 teams) and 285.0 yards on offense (117th). This season it will be worse, with just three starters returning—two wide receivers and an offensive lineman. Ryan Williams who started 10 games last season as a true freshman ducked out and has transferred to Miami

The 2011offense will be worse.

Last season's team had no defense, giving up an average of 39.8 points (117th) and 460.7 yards (115th) yards per game. Four starters return and two freshmen have already been penned in to start.

The 2011 defense will be worse.

Also of note is the fact Memphis ranked 120th in punt returns and 117th in kickoff returns but has some chance to improve on those categories simply because the Tigers would have to work overtime to get worse.

Then there is second-year coach Larry Porter, a Memphis grad, who took over after serving as assistant head coach and head recruiter under Les Miles at LSU, primarily working with the running backs. Tiger fans learned quickly Memphis is not LSU and Porter is not Miles. In fact, no Division I college football team in the country was more poorly prepared to play last season than was Memphis.

Porter does not have a clue and that is why that Sept. 17 date with Austin Peay looks so shaky.

It was absolutely embarrassing to a school with a long history of field good football teams run by good coaches. Former coach Tommy West who went 49-61 and took four Memphis teams to bowl games was fired after a 2-9 season, and after complaining about the lack of first-class player facilities, even had to feel sorry for his successor.

For the record, West had a point about the facilities, especially when the school's main recruiting rivals are Mississippi, Mississippi State, LSU, and, of course, Tennessee.

Spook Murphy, the brains and builder behind modern day Memphis football, and one of only two of the 21 coaches who have headed the Tigers to leave with a winning record, had to turn over in his grave.

If Memphis has one thing for which to be thankful it is sophomore punter Tom Hornsey who was a freshman All-American last season, averaging 42.7 yards per kick. Needless to say the former Australian Rules Football player will have plenty of opportunities to improve on that.

As the old saying goes, when your best player is a kicker….well, you know the rest.

AD At New Mexico Has Death Wish

It was always reasonably easy to get good football players to go to Memphis—I give you Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and the great St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce as two examples—but it has never been easy to get them to plant their talent in Albuquerque at New Mexico.
Rocky Long did an excellent—maybe even a miraculous—job for the Lobos when he was the head coach (he is now the head coach at San Diego State), grinding out wins with marginal Division I players and always fielding respectable teams.

When he resigned, he told school officials the reasons behind his departure was the simple fact he knew he was not the man who could build a big-time winner there and mediocrity was not his game. To Long it was all about talent and his inability to corral it in Albuquerque. The athletic administration at New Mexico must have taken him to heart and reached out for a long-time assistant who was supposedly the offensive and recruiting brains at Illinois. Enter Mike Locksley, a self-proclaimed genius and miracle man.

Locksley went 1-11 in his first season, with the Lobos beating only Colorado State, 29-27.
Locksley went 1-11 in his second season, beating only Wyoming, 34-31.

Since it would have cost a fortune to tell Locksley, 'thank you and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out', he is back for season three.

A win at home Sept. 24 against I-AA Sam Houston State appears possible and that means Locksley is in line for his third straight 1-11 season. It is difficult to keep a program such as this competitive and Locksley's return makes one wonder if the school has a death wish on the football program.

There's little here for bettors this season, unless they intend to pick their spots and bet against the Lobos.

Getting Ready For Football

Let this serve as a reminder that, if you have not yet begun to get ready for the college football season, you are already behind schedule. With 123 NCAA Division I teams to analyze, an early start is a must, since only fools will bet the beginning weeks of the 2011 season off what happened last year. That is a bad habit that will cost you a fortune.

I have been working for weeks on the coming football season an d know already that I will release my first 100-unit play of the college season on Thursday night, Sept. 1. And you can bet all you want.

For the record, you can sign up for the college and National Football League season right now for $199, and get free Best Bet Club baseball selections every day until the season begins. The Best Bets Club Package, which also includes four 100-unit game of the year plays, plus my 200-unit college game of the year, will later sell for $349.

Sign up now online or call my office toll free at 1-800-755-2255 and start winning in baseball right now. All major credit cards are accepted. Best Bets Football Club membership at this early-bird price of $199 is the bargain of the year. Keep in mind, the baseball you receive in this package is worth $199.

As I have noted in this space, and on my football videos on this website, there will be an NFL season. Insider reports I have received say the lockout will end as soon as the small market teams such as Buffalo get a little more than is currently being offered.

The NFL regular season will start on time.

Please tune in this Friday and Saturday for two more insightful and informative football handicapping classes on the video page on this website. As you did last week, bring a pencil and take the notes that will help you get ready to win.

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