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12.23.06: Nifong hangs on to unraveling Duke rape case ... BYU seniors realize their dream in Las Vegas ... Paulus wows homefolks, Coach K in Big Apple ... Appalachian State basking in a multi-sport roll
12.22.06: Former ECU assistant Brindise leaving coaching ... USF's Burnett apparently out for bowl ... ECU's Mills scores 24 in losing effort in Cancun
12.21.06: Cavanaugh joins Pirate baseball staff ... Lady Pirates lose opener in Cancun to Pitt ... Derek Dooley leaving Dolphins for La. Tech
12.20.06: ECU's Graham getting double exposure ... Stanford names Harbaugh as new coach ... Women's hoops contest called due to rain
12.19.06: ECU's Allison selected for Senior Bowl ... BC picks longtime ECU assistant Jagodzinski ... Television numbers up for college football
12.18.06: Former ECU aide Calloway takes helm at UAB ... Auburn suspends 3 from bowl game ... 17,000-plus watch Nebraska win volleyball title
12.17.06: Orange Bowl resets ECU-Wake hoops to Jan. 1 ... Spurrier's wife, Lawing commit infractions ... Rebs, Bulldogs shuffled on Memphis schedule
12.16.06: Appalachian State repeats as I-AA champ ... DeBerry announces retirement at Air Force ... Possible perp in Pata shooting held in Boston
12.15.06: Boone booming with football success ... All-America: Rice's Dillard and UTEP's Higgins ... Miami offensive coordinator moving to ASU
12.14.06: Grobe gets national recognition for coaching ... ECU soccer duo receives honors
12.13.06: Pirate baseball competes to get in shape ... Holy Toledo! Green Wave's search over ... Arizona State fills football coaching void
12.12.06: Garrard not complaining after Jags win ... Rutgers' Schiano named coach of year ... Wolfpack dominates Lady Pirates in Raleigh
12.11.06: Watson Brown heads home to Tennessee Tech ... Boston College names Spaziani interim coach ... Georgia Tech's Johnson wins Biletnikoff award
12.10.06: Junior Smith involved in Cox commitment ... WVU's Rodriguez says no to Bama's big bucks ... Boykin leaves Blue Devils hoops program
12.09.06: Garrard named AFC player of the week ... C-USA players of year: Kolb, Bunting, Higgins ,,, Miami elevates Shannon to head coach
12.08.06: Rivers tips off conclusion of coaching search ... Orioles' Roberts serving FCA baseball camps ... Hoops: Lady Pirates defeat UNC-Wilmington
12.07.06: Nine Pirates named to all-conference teams ... League honors four ECU freshman gridders ... Recruiting thumbnail: Rodney Cox ... ECU's Norris named to All-South 2nd team
12.06.06: UTEP's Higgins named AFCA All-American ... Memphis thumps Herd in C-USA hoops opener ... C-USA names top cross country performers
12.05.06: First-ever Gators- Buckeyes match-up a big one ... Boise State crashes BCS party in Fiesta ... Seminoles top Lady Pirates for tourney title
12.04.06: New recruiting thumbnail: Tyrell Worthington ... McFadden leads Independence into title game ... Bearcats bound for new bowl in Toronto
12.03.06: Paper: Hudson among Cincy coaching targets ... UAB ousted from NCAA volleyball by UCLA
12.02.06: Witter wins minor league baseball honor ... Millican in position in LPGA qualifying ... ECU announces challenging softball slate
12.01.06: C-USA announces football players of year ... Rice's Graham gets coach of year award ... ECU's Krug lands All-America honor
11.30.06: T.H. issues direct appeal to fans for ticket sales ... New recruiting thumbnail: Maurice Mercer ... Dougherty, Johnson first team All-Conference ... Five from ECU on C-USA All-Freshman team
11.29.06: C-USA bowl slate sends ECU to Birmingham ... SMU's Needham a finalist for Hermann Trophy ... Bearcats coach bolts for Michigan State
11.28.06: ECU's Roach on
C-USA academic team ... Wager on Clemson-South Carolina turns deadly ... Shula era comes to end at Alabama
11.27.06: C-USA title game features UH-USM rematch ... Bunting farewell to press a succinct one ... ECU announces swimming, diving signees
11.26.06: Pirates add Lugo to 2008 baseball class ... VCU prevails over ECU in women's hoops ... Tulsa gains momentum for postseason trip
11.25.06: ECU-bound Herlocker paces Charlotte Catholic ... Miami enters search mode for football coach ... BC out of ACC title contention
11.24.06: Herd takes ECU hopes to Hattiesburg ... Gonzaga has a Garden party in NIT semis ... Iowa State search eliminates two candidates
11.23.06: Yow taking leave of absence for treatment ... Marshall's Bradshaw nabs
C-USA weekly honor
11.22.06: Pirates face Houston if Marshall wins ... Former teammates push Raye for MSU coach ... SMU's Wideman named academic player of year
11.21.06: Duke, Wake athletes named Rhodes scholars ... UAB captures Conference USA volleyball ... Old Dominion stuns Georgetown on the road
11.20.06: Ohio State-Michigan rematch possible ... Video helps inspire Tar Heels to beat State ... Cords stepping down as AD at Marquette
11.19.06: Cougars to host USM or ECU in C-USA title game ... ECU falls in women's hoops to Vermont ... Pirate swimming teams in seventh place
11.18.06: ECU baseball bringing in 10-man class ... UTEP edges Pirates in C-USA volleyball ... West Virginia steamrolls Pitt
11.17.06: Pirates reschedule hoops contest with NCCU ... ECU volleyball places 3 on all- league team ... Top-ranked SMU goes down in NCAA soccer
11.16.06: Paterno's hall of fame induction postponed ... Tressel downplays his dominance vs. Michigan ... ECU softball announces pair of signees
11.15.06: Pirates control their fate in East Division ... Pinkney in star game, playing for Buddy Ryan ... ECU's Lee named special teams player of week
11.14.06: ECU-NCSU kickoff moved to 7 p.m. for TV ... Butch will succeed Bunting at UNC- Chapel Hill ... Conference USA coaches make debuts ... Pirates seeded sixth in C-USA volleyball ... Lady Pirates drop hoops opener to JMU
11.13.06: Houston clinches
C-USA championship berth ... ECU volleyball slips in regular season finale ... Grad rates: Athletes outperform student body
11.12.06: ECU announces women's hoops signees ... Miners extinguish Blazers' bowl hopes ... Mustang duo in contention for Hermann Trophy
11.11.06: Rutgers kicks Cards out of title picture ... Roach selected for district academic honor ... Krug getting it done on court, in classroom
11.10.06: Pirates prepare for Saturday hoops opener ... Houston's Kolb makes cut on O'Brien award list ... UNC-CH officials mum on Davis' status
11.09.06: Former star QB to represent N.C. in Congress ... Homicide unit probing death of Miami player ... Krog's 73 puts her in top five at Augusta
11.08.06: UK's win over Payne's charges not flawless ... SMU, UAB gain NCAA men's soccer berths ... Three C-USA women's teams get NCAA slots
11.07.06: Two Marshall players get C-USA honors ... UAB women capture C-USA soccer title ... Punter faces attempted murder charge
11.06.06: Pirate volleyball takes down Memphis ... Denny O'Brien's Harris Poll ballot ... ECU swimmers, divers perform well ... Paterno recovering from fractured leg
11.05.06: Promotions aplenty for ECU-Marshall game ...
Ex-Tulsa great Largent gets humanitarian honor
11.04.06: Dougherty a semifinalist for Ray Guy Award ... Butch Davis deal with Tar Heels imminent? ... Cardinals talking national title, again ... Honors abound for ECU women's soccer team
11.03.06: Boise State rolls past Bulldogs ... Reale, Pirates earn seconds at Kitty Hawk ... ECU softball's Kozlowski promoted
11.02.06: Mustangs a win away from bowl eligibility ... Hunt, Icenhower lead East Carolina divers ... ECU's Moore earns academic honor with 4.0
11.01.06: Kragthorpe curtails Tar Heel speculation ... Pirates in C-USA women's soccer tourney ... Backup QB Lee to start for FSU against Cavs

News Nuggets, 12.24.06
 —  —  —  —  —

Compiled from staff and electronic reports
© All rights reserved.

Returnees yield No. 1 baseball ranking for Rice

Led by the return of all-America selections Brian Friday, Tyler Henley, Aaron Luna, Cole St. Clair and Joe Savery, the 2007 Rice baseball team has been picked as the number one team in the nation by Collegiate Baseball in its annual preseason poll for the upcoming year. The publication announced its preseason poll of the country's Top 40 teams from its headquarters in Tucson, AZ.

The five Rice standouts are part of a talented squad of 18 lettermen returning from the 2006 team that compiled a 57-13 record and finished tied for third at the College World Series.

The top spot is the Owls' highest preseason ranking since the 2004 team was coming off the national championship season of 2003. Collegiate Baseball had Rice fifth in the preseason a year ago and the Blue & Gray responded by reaching the semifinals of the College World Series in Omaha.

Under the direction of head coach Wayne Graham, now in his 16th season at the helm of the Rice baseball program, Collegiate Baseball cited the Owls' returning star players, pitching depth and offensive firepower as factors in its choice for the top ranking.

Graham has seven starters returning to the regular lineup as well 11 experienced pitchers back in 2007. The newcomers making their Rice debut in 2007 were tabbed as among the best recruiting classes in the country by a host of baseball publications.

The Owls already had a challenging schedule in place for 2007 well before the number one ranking. Rice is scheduled to play 19 games against nine teams in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Rice gets the new season underway on Feb. 3, at home in Reckling Park against Central Missouri State.

Rice baseball has won 11-consecutive conference championships spanning three different leagues. Collegiate Baseball's full 2007 preseason poll:

Rank School ('06 Final Record) Points Final '06 Rank
 1. Rice (57-13) 497 3
 2. Clemson (53-16) 492 5
 3. South Carolina (41-25) 490 12
 4. Arkansas (39-21) 488 25
 5. North Carolina (54-15) 487 2
 6. Miami, Fla. (42-24) 483 6
 7. Texas (41-21) 482 17
 8. Vanderbilt (38-27) 479 -
 9. Nebraska (42-17) 477 22
10. Virginia (47-15) 474 20
11. Georgia Tech. (50-18) 472 8
12. Cal State Fullerton (50-15) 469 4
13. Florida State (42-21) 467 24
14. Arizona State (37-21) 464 -
15. Texas Christian (39-23) 462 -
16. Tulane (43-21) 459 27
17. Wichita State (46-22) 456 -
18. Tennessee (31-24) 453 -
19. Pepperdine (42-21) 450 30
20. Mississippi (44-22) 448 11
21. Baylor (37-26) 447 26
22. Georgia (47-23) 444 7
23. Stanford (33-27) 441 15
24. Oklahoma State (41-20) 438 23
25. Southern Cal (25-33) 435 -
26. UCLA (33-25) 433 -
27. Arizona (27-28) 431 -
28. Evansville (43-22) 429 19
29. Oral Roberts (41-16) 426 14
30. Long Beach State (29-27) 424 -
31. Louisiana State (35-24) 421 -
32. Mississippi State (37-23) 420 -
33. Houston (39-22) 417 21
34. Oklahoma (45-22) 414 10
35. Troy (47-16) 412 -
36. San Francisco (39-23) 409 -
37. Winthrop (46-18) 407 -
38. Michigan (43-21) 406 -
39. Notre Dame (45-17-1) 403 -
40. Ohio State (37-21) 401 -

Other Teams Receiving Votes: Oregon State, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Hawaii, McNeese State, Missouri State, Jacksonville, Maine, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, UC-Irvine, Fresno State, San Jose State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Missouri, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama, Stetson, North Florida, Washington, Washington State, California, Western Carolina, College of Charleston, Rhode Island, Louisville, Minnesota, Cal Poly-SLO, UC-Riverside, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, Memphis, Central Michigan, Kent State, Ball State, Creighton, San Diego State, Samford, Army.

Owls wings clipped again at Superdome

True to his defensive pedigree, Rice coach Todd Graham spent his week in the Big Easy beaming with pride over the Owls' impressive turnover margin, according to a Houston Chronicle report.

The Owls' ability to force turnovers at crucial junctures was the foundation of their frantic finish to the regular season. Also important during the six-game winning streak the Owls carried into the New Orleans Bowl was their penchant for avoiding critical errors.

Their thrill ride seemed primed for completion against Troy, which strolled into the Crescent City ranked 107th in turnover margin.

But whether injuries, suspensions or the four-week hiatus since the conclusion of the regular season were to blame, the Owls looked anything but opportunistic Friday. In fact, they committed a season-high five turnovers in a 41-17 loss at the Superdome.

"For whatever reason, we did a poor job of preparing," Graham said. "We turned the ball over, made stupid penalties on offense — just stuff we hadn't done all year long. If you turn the ball over and make stupid penalties, you're not going to score. That killed us."

Owls quarterback Joel Armstrong, subbing for injured starter Chase Clement, endured a nightmarish outing, tossed a career-worst five interceptions. He was undone by the Owls' inability to generate a ground attack, a forgettable performance by his offensive line, the Trojans' overwhelming athleticism and his own poor decision-making.

As they did in their previous Superdome appearance, a ragged 38-24 loss to Tulane on Oct. 7, the Owls (7-6) appeared listless in their first postseason outing since the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl. They struggled to muster momentum offensively and execute basic fundamentals on defense.

"The entire game seemed like a miscommunication," Owls linebacker Marcus Rucker said. "It reminded me of Tulane. It was almost identical the way the game was going. Everything was out of whack. It was crazy. It had to do with miscommunication."

Rice trailed 14-0 just 5:10 into the game, victimized by a pair of scores by Troy quarterback and New Orleans Bowl MVP Omar Haugabook, who encountered scant pressure in the pocket thanks to an offensive line that picked up the blitz with ease.

Air Force alum succeeds DeBerry

Houston Texans offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun has agreed to become the head football coach at the Air Force Academy.

Calhoun, a 1989 Air Force graduate, is the sixth head coach in school history and first graduate to hold the position. He replaces Fisher DeBerry, who retired last week after 23 seasons as coach.

Calhoun is completing his first season with the Texans as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak brought Calhoun along with him from the Denver Broncos where he served as the assistant to the head coach in 2005.

Calhoun has become a well-rounded NFL coach, working as a defensive assistant, special teams assistant and offensive assistant with the Denver Broncos prior to this season. He began his NFL coaching career by serving as the defensive assistant under defensive coordinator Larry Coyer in 2003. He was a part of the NFL's fourth-ranked defense. The Broncos defense ranked seventh against the run and sixth against the pass. Denver's defense yielded a mere 17.6 points per game as they made the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

From 1995 to 2002, Calhoun served on Jim Grobe's staffs at Ohio and Wake Forest.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from electronic services and other sources. Copyright 2006 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:54 PM


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