Saturday, December 5, 2015

How the Playoff Shape Up

It is hard to imagine that we are rolling into the conference championships and that the regular season has already passed us by. There have been a ton of upsets all season, and at the moment, my preseason picks for the playoffs is a cool 0 for 4. Vernon Adams couldn't pick up where Mariota left off in Oregon, Auburn struggled a lot with their new quarterback(s) and at times still had lapses in defense, TCU was decimated by injuries to their top two playmakers, and Ohio State played the worst game under Urban Meyer and was taken down by Michigan State in the second to last game. But this is part of the reason that the playoffs have been so exciting. One loss can completely shape the outcome and formatting of the playoffs. Given that we know which teams have one final chance to make their mark, here is my seeding and playoff predictions for this year's chase.

1) Clemson Tigers
Record: 12-0 (8-0 in Conference)
Best Win: 24-22 over No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Out of all of these teams, this is the one who I am most worried about going into their conference championship game. Clemson can score a ton of points, but they have let up quite a few as well. They allowed 41 to NC State, 27 to Syracuse, and 32 to South Carolina. None of those teams can stack up to the offensive firepower that UNC will bring. But the good news is that Clemson has an offense that can put up points with the best of them. Lead by Deshaun Watson, the Tigers have been averaging 37 points per game and have a very balanced attack. Watson is a very dynamic athlete, but he has better skills that he is given credit for. Just a sophomore, he still needs to improve his football IQ as he had several multi-interception games this year. But when he is able to get the offense rolling, it really is a sight to behold. What is crazy is that their best receiver went down in the first game, so they really haven't been at full strength this whole season. If they are able to take care of business against UNC, they could be a very tough out.

2) Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 11-1 (7-1 in Conference)
Best Win: 30-16 over No. 2 LSU Tigers

Running back Derrick Henry
So much for my prediction that Alabama was in for a down year. The Crimson Tide haven't looked like world beaters during all games, but they definitely seem worthy of a top four selection. We are all still waiting to see if Jake Coker can lead the offense when called upon, but so far it hasn't been as necessary. Saban is winning in his old ways, with a power run game and a stifling defense. Derrick Henry seems to be the front runner for the Heisman now given his regular season total of 1797 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has essentially been asked to carry the offense as Coker has been going through the growing pains of a newish offense and throwing primarily to freshman wide receivers. It will be interesting to see how this team responds if the run game isn't working. But defensively, this could be the best unit under Nick Saban yet which really tells you something. The secondary has had some difficulties with two true freshman playing, but they have really stepped in to their roles and have been playmakers. But the biggest strength is the defensive line which appears to have at least three future first round picks on it. This is the same line that lead the charge in stopping Leonard Fournette and has made runners fight for every single yard they earned this year. This Alabama team has a lot of similarities to the Bama team that won in 2009. Don't be surprised if this team has the same outcome.

3) Oklahoma Sooners
Record: 11-1 (8-1 in Conference)
Best Win: 58-23 over No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Linebacker Eric Striker
It is a 99% lock that Oklahoma will be in the college playoffs, so it is really just a matter of where they are seeded. I personally think that the Sooners should be no lower than second, but with Alabama getting to show themselves off one more time against Florida, the committee will likely keep the Tide at second. But right now, there is no hotter team in college football than the Sooners. This team has amazing balance on offense, combining a power run game that you will see Urban Meyer use with an air raid offense you see Texas Tech or Mike Leach run. There isn't a team out there right now that has the offensive balance and firepower that the Sooners possess. Between quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Sterling Shepherd, and the running back combo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, the Sooners can gash a defense any way that they like. How this team lost to Texas is completely beyond me, but that lone game represents the only time the Sooners have scored less than 30 this entire year. The defense has been very solid for this team, allowing an average of less than 21 points per. They have a few head scratching outings, though, like 38 points to Tulsa and almost giving up a huge fourth quarter coming a TCU squad with no Boykin or Doctson. However, this team does have plenty of talent at all levels of the defense. All everything linebacker Eric Striker has been huge every week and can do anything that is asked from him, from blitzing the passer to dropping back in coverage. The attention that he commands has allowed the rest of the team to collect 28 sacks. If the defense can generate turnovers in the playoffs, the Sooners will be the most dangerous team in the field.

4) Michigan State Spartans

Record: 11-1 (7-1 in Conference)
Best Win: 17-14 over No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes

Defensive end Shilique Calhoun
The Spartans are a competent set of officials away from being undefeated and possibly being the second seed in this year's playoff. Even if they were undefeated, they would still have to pass one final test against undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. They seem to have been having the same type of season that Ohio State was having until their big victory over the Buckeyes in the second to last weekend. They hadn't been spectacular, but they were still winning games. They beat Purdue by three, Rutgers by a touchdown, and were second away from losing to Michigan. The Spartans have talent on both sides of the ball, but is just hadn't always come together in one game until the second half of the season. Now with senior quarterback Connor Cook back to being healthy, Michigan State again has a dynamic offense that can hurt teams on the ground of through the air. He has had a great rapport with receiver Aaron Burbridge, who has collected 75 passes for seven touchdowns and 1158 yards. He was huge in the Spartans win over Ohio State when being thrown at by two first time starters at quarterback. The running game has been by committee for most of the year since they lost Jeremy Langford to the pros. LJ Scott has most of the touchdowns with 10, but has less than 700 yards on the ground. It would be ideal if one guy could break out as Connor Cook can be a bit streaky at times. Defensively, this team hasn't been nearly as formidable as they have been in the past several years. They have only given up 21 points per game on average, but they just seem to give up more points to worse teams and have given up huge chunks of yards. They have impressive players like Shilique Calhoun, but the secondary doesn't deter quarterbacks like it once did. Still, if this team can play up to its potential, they could surprise a few people.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Detroit Lions (1-7)
JR: Laremy Tunsil, OT- The Lions grab the best player in this year’s draft.  Tunsil has the footwork and quick hands that can make him a staple left tackle for years to come.

San Diego Chargers
JR: Joey Bosa, DE- Possibly the top player on most draft boards, the Chargers grab Bosa to have a monster to pair with Melvin Ingram coming off the edge.

Cleveland Browns
JR: Paxton Lynch, QB- Johnny Football is not the answer.  You need a quarterback to win, so Lynch is grabbed here and will hopefully end the embarrassing string of QBs to grace Cleveland.

Tennessee Titans
JR: Ronnie Stanley, OT-  Mariota has been sacked way too many times in his first year, not all of that can be blamed on him.  Give him a stud left tackle and watch this kid blossom into quite the quarterback.

Baltimore Ravens
JR: Jalen Ramsey, S- Safety is a necessity more and more and when you get a chance to get a true game changer at that position, you take him.

Jacksonville Jaguars
JR: Vernon Hargreaves, CB- Jacksonville has lacked a true shutdown corner since the days of Rashean Mathis.  Maybe better coverage in the secondary will translate to more sacks.

Dallas Cowboys
JR: Laquon Treadwell, WR- The best receiver in the draft falls to Dallas and Jerry Jones’s drool covers his draft card.  This would create a superb tandem at receiver for Romo.

San Francisco 49ers
JR: Jared Goff, QB- I don’t see Kaepernick being back next year so the 49ers grab a kid very close to home.  But for the meantime Blaine Gabbert can take the beating, something he is very used to.

Houston Texans
JR: Ezekiel Elliott, RB- Arian Foster’s enigmatic career is probably over.  It is obvious Bill O’ Brian needs playmakers and Zeek can do just that.

Miami Dolphins
JR: Myles Jack, LB- A special playmaker that can play every down.  With Suh clogging the middle, Jack will be able to make plenty of plays in space, showcasing his skills.  He can line up inside, cover the slot receiver or running back and can even play running back.

Chicago Bears
JR: Jaylon Smith, LB- A vicious finisher and energetic player, Smith can change the complexion of this lackluster Bears defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
JR: Tre’Davious White, CB- A very good cover corner that blankets his receivers well.  White is a good but sometimes unwilling tackler, Lovie Smith could change that.

Washington Redskins
JR: DeForest Buckner, DE- The Redskins grab a defensive lineman that can line up anywhere on the line.  Buckner did a good job against offensive tackle draft prospect Jack Conklin.

Kansas City Chiefs
JR: Robert Nkemdiche, DT- A physical specimen that is extremely versatile.  The Chiefs get a guy that can line up all along their 3-4 defense and create an unstoppable wall next to Dontari Poe.

New Orleans Saints
JR: Michael Thomas, WR- Drew Brees needs a true receiving threat.  Michael Thomas could end up being the best receiver out of this deep receiver class.  Too bad Josh Gordon isn’t there to create quite the tandem.

Oakland Raiders
JR: Su’a Cravens, S- Another piece to an up and coming defense.  Cravens can play all over the secondary and some linebacker.  He will learn under Woodson to become a consummate professional on and off the field.

St Louis Rams
JR: Tyler Boyd, WR- The Rams NEED an actual receiver.  Tavon Austin can’t be a number one.  Boyd could step in on day one and be the Rams best receiver.  He catches everything and highpoints it all incredibly well.

Philadelphia Eagles
JR: Vadal Alexander, G- Outside of Jason Peters, this offensive line is either pretty horrendous or old.  Alexander will add some push and be able to hold his own at either of the guard spots or even right tackle.

Buffalo Bills
JR: Taylor Decker, OT- Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio have not panned out exactly how the Bills have hoped.  Adding Decker can solidify the right tackle position and give McCoy a good right side of the line to run behind.

Seattle Seahawks
JR: Jack Conklin, OT- Russell Wilson’s offensive line is absolute garbage.  By trading away Max Unger, this offensive line took a deep hit.  An upgrade all along the line is needed.  Conklin would work at right tackle while Russell Okung holds down the left side.

Pittsburgh Steelers
JR: Chris Hackett, S- Pittsburgh desperately needs an upgrade at safety, along with the entire secondary.  Hackett has the ability to play corner as well but is much better when he can survey the whole field and attack the ball.

New York Jets
JR: Leonard Floyd, LB- Todd Bowles would love to add some more pass rushers.  Quinton Coples appears to be a lost cause so Floyd would surely be a welcomed upgrade.

Atlanta Falcons
JR: Corey Coleman, WR- Roddy White is done and the Falcons would love another playmaker to complete the trio of playmakers involving Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman.

Minnesota Vikings
JR: A’Shawn Robinson, DT- An unblockable mammoth that is surprisingly nimble.  I am sure by the time the draft comes around, Robinson will sky rocket up draft boards.  I am sure the Vikings would run up to hand their card in if Robinson is there.

Indianapolis Colts
JR: Derrick Henry, RB- Finally a running back for Andrew Luck.  The Colts desperately need offensive line help but Henry is too good of a player to pass up, considering the need at that position.

New York Giants
JR: DJ Foster, WR/RB- A fantastic and versatile player that can line up as running back and then motion outside and catch passes.  The Giants would love another playmaker to pair with Odell Beckham Jr.

Arizona Cardinals
JR: Scooby Wright, LB- The Cardinals could stand to upgrade over most of their linebacking core so Scooby Wright would be the perfect addition.  He can do it all as noted by his 99 tackles, 29 TFL, 14 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles in 2014.

Green Bay Packers
JR: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE- The Packers grab a player that could turn into quite the pass rusher.  Ogbah just needs to refine his pass rushing moves and he could be a force off the edge.

Denver Broncos
JR: Connor Cook, QB- I don’t think this even depends on Peyton coming back next year, the Broncos need to look towards the future.  I have seen Brock Osweiller play and I have not been impressed.  Cook just needs to sit for a while and he could eventually be thrust into a fantastic situation.

Cincinnati Bengals
JR: Nick Martin, C- Keeping Andy Dalton upright is a must and the center position has been a bit of a rough area.  Nick Martin could come in and be the starting guy from day one.

Carolina Panthers
JR: Shilique Calhoun, OLB, DE- The Panthers need to start generating more pressure off the edge.  Calhoun has been an absolute beast since he went to Michigan State.

New England Patriots – Vacated pick


You should just be thankful we waited this long before they made an appearance.

1) Detroit Lions (1-7)

DR: Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss - Stafford has rapidly regressed due to poor offensive line play and terrible coaching. Only one of those can be fixed in the draft, and luckily the top lineman is also the top prospect.

2) San Diego Chargers (2-7)

DR: Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame - This is a tad high for Stanley, but the fact of the matter is that Rivers cannot do anything with the piss poor offensive line that has been thrown together in front of him.

3) Cleveland Browns (2-7)

DR: Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State - I don't think that you can give up on a quarterback who has only started three games, so you may as well bolster the defense which is just bad. Bosa can set the edge in the run and rush the quarterback incredibly well. The Browns desperately need both.

4) Tennessee Titans (2-6)

DR: Vernon Hargreaves, Corner back, Florida - The Titans allow way too many passing yards which puts a lot of pressure on their young quarterback to score points on every drive. Hargreaves is the type of corner who can completely shut down the top receiver and be left on an island.

5) Baltimore Ravens (2-6)

DR: Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss - Questions will linger about his top end speed after a gruesome knee injury last year, but there is no doubt that Treadwell is a top tier receiver. He has got a lot of AJ Green in him and would be a tremendous addition to a woefully lackluster offense.

6) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6, lol)

DR: Jalen Ramsey, Safety, Florida State - A pass rusher could be an option here, but Ramsey looks like a truly elite talent at safety a la Earl Thomas or Eric Berry. The Jaguars are improving on defense, but a true difference maker in the secondary could send them to the next level.

7) Dallas Cowboys (2-6)

DR: Jaylon Smith, Linebacker, Notre Dame - The Cowboys are not a bad team in any sense of the word. It is just that the injury of Tony Romo has impacted this team so much that they can't stop tripping over themselves. Smith would be a great addition to a solid defense, and would probably see playing time right away with how often Sean Lee is injured.

8) San Francisco 49ers (3-6)

DR: Jared Goff, Quarterback, Cal - It isn't entirely his fault, but Kaepernick has regressed to an almost absurd level in the past two years. Goff has had a bit of an up and down year, but there is little doubt that he has all the makings of a franchise quarterback. Hopefully the Niners give him proper tools to succeed if they do take him.

9) Houston Texans (3-5)

DR: Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Ohio State - The Texans are going to have to move on from Arian Foster at some point in the near future. And there really is no point in taking a quarterback as everyone figures O'Brien will want his former quarterback, Hackenberg.

10) Miami Dolphins (3-5)

DR: Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive End, Oklahoma State - After losing Cameron Wake to a torn Achilles, the Dolphins need to add some talent to the defensive line. Ogbah is athletic enough to play the defensive end or outside linebacker position in the 3-4.

11) Chicago Bears (3-5)

DR: Su'a Cravens, Linebacker/Safety, USC - I could see the Bears moving on from Jay Cutler and selecting a quarterback, but there are no sure fire things in this draft and they'd be creating a lot of dead money by cutting him. Better to keep restocking on the defense.

12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5)

DR: Shilique Calhoun, Defensive End, Michigan State - Tampa has whiffed on some defensive end prospects over the past five years, but Calhoun could be a guy that turns it around for them. Their defense has been shredded multiple times this year, and in a division with three above average quarterbacks, pass rushers are a must.

13) Washington Redskins (3-5)

DR: Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, Ohio State - Pierre Garcon is a good receiver, but outside of him the Redskins have almost no good skill players on offense. What he lacks in elite speed, Michael Thomas makes up for in precise route running and tremendous hands.

14) Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

DR: Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis - I've tried to defend Alex Smith, but it is becoming more and more clear that the Chiefs need to move on a find themselves a young, franchise quarterback. Paxton Lynch is a fast rising prospect with great height and arm strength.

15) New Orleans Saints (4-5)

DR: Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive End, Ole Miss - A top five athlete who has shown that he needs a lot of work to be an effective pass rusher at the next level. Playing end in a 3-4 scheme might be more suited for his skills.

16) Oakland Raiders (4-4)

DR: Tre'Davious White, Corner back, LSU - The Raiders have all the fire power they need on offense, but their defense is performing at a historically bad level. White would be a perfect building block for a secondary that has been the worst unit on the defense.

17) St. Louis Rams (4-4)

DR: Connor Cook, Quarterback, Michigan State - A wide receiver could be in play her, but the Rams need to find a franchise quarterback to complement Todd Gurley. Cook isn't a finished product yet, but he doesn't have to be a world beater to complement a great defense.

18) Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)

DR: Josh Doctson, Wide Receiver, TCU - It's amazing that the Eagles are even .500 given how average their wide receivers are. Doctson has been lighting up the stat board with his size and speed and would be used in a variety of ways in Chip's offense.

19) Buffalo Bills (4-4)

DR: Leonard Floyd, Linebacker, Georgia - What was once a dominant front seven that generated loads of sacks has regressed in Rex Ryan's first year. Floyd would be be able to come in and inject some youth into an aging defensive front.

20) Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

DR: Taylor Decker, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State - There are doubts that he can play left tackle in the NFL, but Decker would at least be a very solid right tackle and shore up one of the worst offensive lines in pro football.

21) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)

DR: Andrew Billings, Defensive Tackle, Baylor - Corner back is a bigger need on this defense, but there really isn't anyone worth taking here. Billings is just too good to pass up here at a position that could use some depth.

22) New York Jets (5-3)

DR: Myles Jack, Linebacker, UCLA - Jack would be a top ten pick if it was for a knee injury that took him out for the whole season. The Jets don't have a whole lot of needs, so they might as well continue to bolster an already suffocating defense.

23) Atlanta Falcons (6-3)

DR: Carl Nassib, Defensive End, Penn State - The current NCAA sack leader would be a sight for sore eyes in Atlanta. Vic Beasley has only generated two sacks, and even if he picks up his play, the Falcons will need more pass rushers.

24) Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

DR: Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame - Fuller has stated that he will return for his senior year, but he is too talented to stay in school. A legit depth threat with some good size, Fuller needs to add some more functional strength to really succeed in the NFL.

25) Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

DR: Vadal Alexander, Offensive Guard, LSU - The Colts need to stop dicking around and get Andrew Luck a decent offensive line, as he has already been forced to play through multiple injuries all year long. Alexander would shore up the middle of the line which has been the biggest weakness.

26) New York Giants (5-4)

DR: A'Shawn Robinson, Defensive Tackle, Alabama - If an edge rusher manages to fall to the Giants, they will probably take them. Regardless, they will need to get some kind of help along the defensive line and generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

27) Arizona Cardinals (6-2)

DR: DeForest Buckner, Defensive End, Oregon - The Cardinals have seen more than their fair share of injuries in the front seven. Buckner would add versatility and a cornerstone that the Cardinals can continue to build on.

28) Green Bay Packers (6-2)

DR: Reggie Ragland, Linebacker, Alabama - Green Bay has definitely missed Jordy Nelson, but the defense has really been letting the team down in recent weeks. Ragland would be a tremendous boost in the rush defense.

29) Denver Broncos (7-1)

DR: Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle, Michigan State - This is a very complete team that really only needs a long team quarterback, but there really aren't any worthy of taking at this juncture. Best thing for the Broncos to do would be to continue to give Peyton as much protection as possible.
30) Cincinnati Bengals (8-0)

DR: Adolphus Washington, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State - If the Bengals have a weakness, it is that they need more talent and depth along the defensive line. Washington would be a great pass rushing and run stuffing tackle in the middle of the defensive line.

31) Carolina Panthers (8-0)

DR: Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver, Pitt - Boyd hasn't really been able to show it this season because his quarterback play has been awful, but make no mistake about his talent. The Panthers desperately need a true number one receiver for Cam.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Who Makes the Final 4

It is hard to believe, but we are more than half way through with the 2015 season. The past two years have brought more excitement to the sport as it has transitioned from an antiquated system to a playoff format. It was hard to predict which two teams would play for the championship, but at least you could make some guesses based on the BCS algorithm that was developed. Now, it is up to the human element to determine who gets a shot at the championship. In one of my preseason posts, I made my predictions for who would make the playoffs this year and so far I'd say I only feel confident about two of them. Actually, I know for a fact that neither Auburn nor Oregon is going to get a bid considering each has two losses. Ohio State looks primed for a selection, but TCU will need to win out which means putting away a Baylor team that has looked unstoppable this year. Let's take a look at who will be making the cut now that we've seen the teams in action. In no particular order:

Alabama Crimson Tide

The loss to Ole Miss looks worse and worse with each passing week that the Rebels struggle, but make no mistake, Alabama is still a ridiculously talented team. I still would like to see better play from the quarterbacks, but Nick Saban has shown the ability to win with a stifling defense and a dominant run game. Alabama has both of those in spades this year, as this could be the most talented front seven that the Tide have boasted under Saban. This, along with having the Tigers at home, is the primary reason that I am taking Alabama over LSU to come out of the SEC and claim a playoff spot. Leonard Fournette is by far the most talented running back in the country, but he hasn't seen a defense that can suffocate like Alabama's can. LSU stands in the way, but after that there really isn't anyone that I think is going to stop the Tide. Derrick Henry is a man-child who can completely take over games, a skill that was on display against the Aggies. As soon as they are able to get a lead, they can just hand the ball to Henry and watch him churn out yards and get first downs to keep the clock moving. Calvin Ridley is starting to come on as the team's go-to receiver, and tight end OJ Howard has game breaking ability as well. The only area that I worry about with this team is the secondary. Despite their three pick-six performance against Texas A&M, they are still playing two freshman who are athletic but raw. I don't think that this is a weakness that will be exposed during the rest of the regular season, but a team like TCU or Baylor could be a nightmare in the playoffs.

Baylor Bears

I had initially predicted TCU to grab a spot in the playoffs after sweeping the Big 12, but I'm starting to think that Baylor is the better team. Scratch that, I know that they are. Whereas this was a team that used to have completely outgun the opposition, this Baylor team is putting their opponents away with a physical defense. Now, they are still averaging 64 points per game while boasting a Heisman worthy quarterback and receiver. But the combination of Shawn Oakman and Andrew Billings is making quarterbacks' lives hell while the secondary is opportunistic. Teams like Texas Tech and West Virginia have still been able to put up five touchdowns on the defense, but consider how many times they are getting to touch the ball with how quickly Baylor is scoring. All this team needs to do is get a couple of stops on defense and the offense has a chance to blow the game wide open. I was a bit wary of how Seth Russell would perform this season, but he has lived up to the hype and has Baylor poised to reach unprecedented heights. There is no doubt, however, that he is helped tremendously by the wide receivers at his disposal. Corey Coleman has 41 catches for a whopping 16 touchdowns already halfway through the season. His acceleration and cutting ability make him a nightmare anytime, even without the ball. Opposite him, Jay Lee and KD Cannon have continued to showcase similar skill sets to Coleman which has helped them combine for 41 catches and 9 touchdowns. The dangerous passing game has also greatly benefited Shock Linwood, who is averaging 8.5 yards a carry. Games at TCU and Oklahoma State will really show if this team is ready to take the next step.

Clemson Tigers

Bleh, I don't really like this pick but I really don't have much of a choice here. I don't necessarily think that Clemson is a bad team, I just think that the ACC is a bad conference (yes, even worse than the Big 10) and that Clemson really hasn't been tested this far into season. Notre Dame is down a ton of players and it is becoming more and more clear that Georgia Tech was vastly overrated at the start of the season. Deshaun Watson is an immensely talented player, but until he cuts down on the turnovers, I can't see Clemson making it over the hump into the elite category. Watson is a very dynamic player that can elevate this team over most opponents. Watson has scored 16 total touchdowns this year, but has also thrown seven picks which includes two multi-pick games. Watson is without half of his dynamic passing offense in Mike Williams, who sustained a neck injury early in the season, but Artavis Scott is a legitimate playmaker who is Watson's go to guy. Defensively, I can't see this team really being tested until they get Florida State at home on November 7. They played Notre Dame at home, but the Irish are a team that has been decimated by injuries on offense. The Seminoles will bring a balanced attack with a top five running back who will really show how stout this defense is. If Clemson makes it past them, I can't seem anyone else in the ACC beating them. However, I suspect that once they make it to the playoffs they will be exposed on both sides of the ball.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Like it or not, Ohio State is primed for a run at a playoff spot. Now that Urban Meyer has made the change from Cardale Jones to JT Barrett, you can expect this offense to run much more efficiently. Cardale thrived on the deep ball which has been eliminated from this play book thanks to Devon Smith graduating. Now, the passing game relies on short, precise throws that get the ball to the playmakers in space and allow them to turn up field. Barrett has a much better deep ball than he is given credit for, but his ability to be pin point with the ball on passes of ten to twenty yards deep really makes all the difference in the game plan. Michael Thomas is best when running quick break routes that allow him to move the chain, while Braxton Miller and Jalen Marshall can turn any short pass into a monster gain. Barrett is also a more elusive and quicker runner than Cardale is. In Urban's offense, a mobile quarterback is an absolute must. The scramble element allows Zeke Elliott to have a lot of running room before he even gets hit. Zeke already has 988 yards and eleven touchdowns through seven games, so make no mistake that he will be the focal point of the offense through the rest of the season. This offense is at it's most efficient when the run game is able to dominate and control the opposition. The only component of this team that really worries me is the run defense. They have given up over 150 yards rushing to a single player in several games this year. The middle of the defensive line greatly missed Michael Bennett, but the pass rush is still lethal with about five guys on rotation who know how to get to the quarterback. The secondary has had a few lapses, but for the most part they have been shut down players and created a lot of turnovers. Gareon Conley has become a great number two corner opposite of Eli Apple, while Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell are great tacklers and all around sound players. The talent on this team is borderline overwhelming. I can see them getting hot at the end of the year much like they did last year right before Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 5 in Review

Apologies for missing last week. No excuse other than I was just feeling lazy and wanted to play video games as much as I could.

Most Impressive Victory
No. 25 Florida Gators beating No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels 38-10

I only got a chance to watch a small portion of this game as it was happening live but did watch a one hour summary of it on Youtube. I got to say, Florida is blowing away all expectations this year and is now firmly in the driver's seat for winning the SEC East. First year coach Jim McElwain has completely turned around the offense in less than half of a season, proving that Muschamp was even worse at commanding on offense than previously thought. Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier has wrestling the starting job away from Treon Harris and it has paid huge dividends as he tossed four touchdowns against one of the top secondaries in the SEC. The defense isn't as stout as it was under Muschamp, but that was to be expected. Still, the Gators defense is just as tenacious and fierce as it was and is only allowing 16.6 points per game. Their toughest game comes in a couple of weeks at LSU, but if they are able to beat the Bulldogs in their annual match in Jacksonville, this team could be playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.

Most Impressive Player
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Ohio State Buckeyes
23 Carries, 274 Yards, 11.9 Yards Per Carry, 3 Touchdowns

All hail Zeke. As has been the case since the Virginia Tech game, Ohio State's offense looked very sluggish in this game. After being bottled up for less than forty yards on ten carries in the first half, Zeke took advantage of some good blocking ahead of him to explode in the second half. He took three carries the distance, each becoming longer and more jaw dropping than the last. His touchdown runs are officially those of 55, 65, and 75 yards. In each one, Zeke showed the ability to one cut and hit the gas to get downfield. You could see him pulling away from defenders on all of those runs. Perhaps the most important was his second run of 65 yards that came on fourth and one when Ohio State was trailing the Hoosiers by four points late in the third quarter. Each run seemed to provide a bigger spark that this team desperately needed to get out of their funk. A performance like this has also put Zeke firmly back into the thick of the Heisman discussion. There is nothing better than having a running back who can just completely take over and dominate a game when the rest of the offense seems to be out of rhythm.

Biggest Disappointment
No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs losing to No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide 10-38 at home

"This is why you NEVER bet on Georgia in a big game" - My Dad

I love my dad for reasons like this. He never minces words and is just brutally honest about teams and head coaches. It really is incredible how Georgia loses these kinds of games annually. You could set your watch by when they completely shit the bed. Georgia is playing in the bad division of the SEC and had everything laid out in front of them, even a chance to win the SEC! But nope, as usual in a big game, Georgia comes out flat and is out of the game before their players even realize that they were supposed to get off the bus. It is going to be a lot of fun to watch Georgia get annihilated by Florida in two weeks.

Did You See That?

After beating Notre Dame on a stopped two point conversion attempt, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was all kinds of worked up. Clemson earned themselves a big victory over the Irish that is a definite resume booster, and despite the torrential downpour, Dabo just couldn't wait to tell everyone how good this Clemson team is and how big of a victory they had just achieved. Everyone seemed to be eating it up too as he just blurted out whatever came to his mind....except for ESPN. If you haven't seen this clip of what happened, check it out. I couldn't stop laughing as it happened.

Week 6 Game to Watch
No. 23 California Golden Bears at No. 5 Utah Utes

I doubt a lot of people will be up for this game since it is being aired at 10PM East coast time, but even if you can tune in for just the first half, do it. Cal boasts quarterback Jared Goff who is in the running for first overall pick this year. He has been a very productive quarterback over the last couple of seasons, but this year the rest of the team seems to have caught up to his talent. Utah is just a very talented team all around and could move up even further in the rankings with a big win over another ranked opponent. I think Utah is too much for Cal to handle and puts this one away at the start of the second half. Utes 42-28.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Week 3 In Review

Some crazy stuff happened this past weekend, and my old format is not going to do it justice. So for this, I will just be providing little tidbits and thoughts from this past weekend's action.

  • Ohio State needs to get their shit together and in a hurry. They are not going to be in real danger against a team until either Penn State, Minnesota, or Michigan State rolls into town a month or so down the road, but they are following the same script as Florida State did last year. If they keep this up, I can see them getting dropped to the three or four seed in the playoffs and have a tougher game than what they really should. The coaches need to pick a quarterback and give him all of the first team reps in practice. Splitting reps is only hurting both guys.
  • I don't know if TCU is going to make the playoffs with how many defensive players they have lost. Last I saw, they have eight guys with injuries on the defensive side. Their offense has been looking a lot better since the game against Minnesota, but I could see them losing to Texas Tech this weekend in Lubbock considering their defense will probably only have a handful of stops throughout the game. This team needs to get healthy quickly.
  • We may have found our SEC Champion in just the third game of the season. Ole Miss is playing out of their minds right now. The offensive line is performing well despite the absence of Laremy Tunsil, they have legit receivers in Evan Engram, and Chad Kelly has been playing at a very high level. The secondary needs some tweaking, but Ole Miss looks like one of the top two teams in the SEC West which is clearly the stronger division.
  • Speaking of Ole Miss, I'm pretty happy that I didn't pick Alabama to win the SEC like a lot of pundits did. Granted I bought into the Auburn hype which has been a huge mistake, but Alabama looked aggressively mediocre in their home loss to the Rebels. Their quarterbacks all suck, the secondary is still a major liability, and Lane Kiffin is still a retard who doesn't give the ball to their star running back enough. This could be the worst season for Alabama in the last five years (yeah, I know, boo fricking hoo).
  • Despite losing several key players including their starting quarterback, Notre Dame looks to be in prime contention for a playoff spot. They currently sit in the sixth spot and just had an impressive win over Georgia Tech, a team thought by many to contend and even win the ACC. They have playmakers all over their secondary and Deshone Kizer has looked a lot better than anticipated at quarterback. If they can get past Clemson in two weeks on the road, I don't see any upcoming game in which they wouldn't be the favorite.
  • While we are the topic of Clemson and Georgia Tech, does anyone look like a threat to come out of the ACC and claim a playoff spot? No one from the conference has looked like a world beater, and being a relatively easy conference, one team is going to have to step up and dominate their competition in order to get a shot. Even Florida State has looked like garbage this season as evident by their 14-0 "victory" over Boston College. 
  • Two teams from the SEC West have just flown past each other in opposite directions, and it really could not have been in any bigger display of polarity than this game. LSU completely abused Auburn, a team hanging on by a thread after their game against Jacksonville State. Leonard Fornette ran for over 200 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries including some runs that looked right out of Madden. The quarterback situation for them still isn't ideal, but they still have plenty of options at receiver and have shown a stout defense through three weeks. They have a date is Tuscaloosa that could be the signature win they need to boost themselves into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Auburn has essentially blown their chance. Jeremy Johnson proved to be anything but the reincarnation of Cam Newton, and Muschamp hasn't been able to turn the defense around as quick as everyone predicted. 
  • This weekend's game between UCLA and Arizona could be the biggest of the weekend. With USC getting embarrassed by Stanford, the winner of this game will be in a great position to win the PAC 12 South. The Bruins were struck by some really shitty news today when Myles Jack, a freakish two way player (line backer and running back), would be out for the year with a knee injury. Arizona is actually getting their leading pass rusher back from an injury in outside linebacker Scooby Wright. This game will also feature two of the most exciting quarterbacks in Josh Rosen and Anu Solomon. Definitely tune in to this one at 8:30 on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Week Two in Review

Most Impressive Victory

No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners defeat No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers 31-24 in 2OT

On the surface, this may not seem that impressive considering that Oklahoma was the higher ranked team, the favorite, and required two overtimes to eek out the victory. Dig a bit deeper, and you'll see a team that fought tooth and nail to pull themselves out of a two touchdown grave with under seven minutes to go. For fifty minutes, Tennessee was in complete control of this game and looked to make a statement win early in the season. Butch Jones was looking for that first signature victory, but Bob Stoops's team continued to claw back and forced overtime with less than a minute left. I'll be discussing their MVP from that game in a moment, but overall Oklahoma looked like a team that might be able to make their mark in the Big 12 this year. If this team manages to finish with just one loss, consider this a resume booster for their playoff hopes.

Most Impressive Player

Sterling Shepard, Wide Receiver Oklahoma Sooners
7 Catches, 74 Yards, 2 TDs

He was quiet for most of the game like the rest of the team, but completely took over when his team needed him the most. Coming down the stretch, quarterback Baker Mayfield repeatedly looked towards Shepard to make a big play when the team needed it. His first touchdown tied the game up at 17, forcing the game to go into overtime. In the second overtime, he made an acrobatic catch along the sideline in the endzone that put the Sooners up for the first time all game. The senior has been one of the most decorated receivers at Oklahoma and will likely be the most consistent target for Mayfield as this year progresses. He has shown a penchant for big plays in the past and made quite a few of them in the first game. His production should stay steady through the season.

Most Disappointing

No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks losing to Toledo Rockets 12-16

This is, by far, my favorite game all year long. First off, fuck Brett Bielema. The Razorbacks head coach had been talking shit to several different teams in the week up to this game, including calling out Ohio State's schedule. His team then got completely embarrassed by a MAC team in a neutral cite located less than 100 miles from campus. It was an amazing sense of justice and karma all delivered as painfully as possible over the course of a sixty minute game. His team managed to gain over 500 yards, almost 200 more than Toledo managed, and still managed to score only ten points! Ten! The other two were from a safety that Toledo took with less than a minute left. How the hell does that happen?! It is an amazing stroke of futility that couldn't have happened to a more unlikable coach. The fact that he would try and downgrade Ohio State's schedule and then lose to a team that was a three touchdown underdog is a fantastic bit of schadenfreude. Woo Pig!

Did You See That?

Oklahoma outside linebacker Eric Striker going ape shit on Tennessee fans after the big victory in Knoxville. Of course, he has since been forced to apologize because no player should dare show emotion or be amped out of their mind because of a big road victory. Striker is an absolute beast and insanely brash. Watch him as often as you can.

Week 3 Game to Watch

No. 15 Ole Miss Running Rebels at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

With Auburn and LSU squaring off earlier in the day, this victory could help narrow down the SEC West. Last year, Ole Miss knocked off Alabama at home and had them on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. But Alabama is catching the Rebels at home this year and has looked pretty solid in their first two games. Ole Miss has been rolling up over 70 points per game so far, so it should be an interesting matchup for an Alabama team that still has some questions in the secondary. The Tide haven't done anything very exciting on offense, so it will be interesting to see if they try and air it our more if their run game begins to falter. I'll take Alabama 27-23 in this one.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

NFC Predictions


Atlanta Falcons (9-7) – If there is one division that is up for the taking it is the NFC South.  It’s a bad division when a division winner is under .500, which is strange considering the Falcons, Panthers, and Saints are all good teams.  Just a strange year but that’s football for ya.  The Falcons have a good offense – minus a running back – but it remains to be seen if Tevin Coleman can carry the full load as a running back.  Matt Ryan has been Mr. Consistent at doing well but not enough, much like his AFC counterpart Andy Dalton.  Julio Jones is an absolute beast and it is time for him to step up his offensive prowess and become that top 3 receiver we expect him to be.  Dan Quinn came to a fantastic situation.  He has the offense, as long as Kyle Shanahan doesn’t screw it up, and he can run the defense and build it in the mold of the Seattle D.  Vic Beasley will be a building block along with young players like Ra’Shede Hageman, Paul Worrilow, and Desmond Trufant.  Although they don’t have stars on defense, watch out because some of these players will shine.

Carolina Panthers (9-7) – Another torn ACL takes away another year from a promising superstar.  Poor Kelvin Benjamin.  A rookie sensation with his season already cut short.  Something needs to be done about these ACL tears but that is for another day.  Cam Newton now needs to find another reliable target to go to and that man is … Greg Olsen.  Olsen had a fantastic year last year and I expect him to be big for the Panthers (and fantasy).  Cam’s other starting receiver is Ted “One Route” Ginn, SORRY.  I am not the biggest fan of Devin Funchess but he might develop enough to play early in the season.  The biggest X factor for this team is Jonathan Stewart.  If he can do what he did in the post season last year, AND stay healthy, he could be in line for a big season.  Luke Kuechly is back on defense and ready to rack up the stats.  Through 3 seasons, he has accumulated a jaw dropping 473 tackles.  What???...  Oh yeah and 6 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and 7 interceptions.  Outside of JJ Watt, the Boston College prodigy might be the best defensive player in football.  This Carolina defense will need big years from their high drafted players from the past few years like Kony Ealy and Star Lotulelei.  I think this Panther team just misses out on the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints (10-6) – I am going to make a bold prediction and say that Drew Brees throws for over 5,000 yards and over 40 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions, thus putting himself in contention for the MVP and into the playoffs.  Not that bold I know but too many people are trying to knock down Brees.  He had a down year last year, due in large to a nagging oblique injury, but with a lot of fresh faces on that offense and a revamped defense this team will be on the upswing.  The offensive line is better and Brandon Coleman could be in line for a breakout season.  Brandon Browner is coming into an already good secondary with Kenny Vaccao, Jairus Byrd, and Keenan Lewis.  The secondary will give Dannell Ellerbe and Cameron Jordan plenty of time to get to the quarterback in the backfield.  Rob Ryan should be one happy man this year if he can dial up blitzes from all over the field.  Watch the Saints win the NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Time to throw the rookie quarterback to the wolves again.  We have seen this fail so many times now, yet it continues to happen although Jameis Winston might be a bit different.  He comes into the league a more accomplished passer than most of the previous first round quarterbacks but only time will tell if starting him right away was the best move.  He does have two fantastic receivers to throw to in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and a halfway decent offensive line so this could be a suitable recipe for early success.  Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David are going to be leading the Lovie Smith defense again this year.  They are going to have to find ways to create pressure if they hope to survive in this division though.  Brees, Newton, and Ryan can all sling the ball with the best of them so it will be a tough division to win in without a stud pass rusher.

Chicago Bears (9-7) – Poor Chicago.  For the past few years they have had quite a good team and plenty of offensive weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte.  Only Marshall is not there anymore but they did draft Kevin White out of West Virginia, we will see what he can do when he is healthy.  But the one constant has been Jay Cutler.  He has never lived up to expectations (despite still being in the league *cough Matt Leinart and Vince Young) but maybe he can still turn it around?  Doubtful.  Once a quitter, always a quitter.  We will see what John Fox has up- his sleeves.  There is quite a bit of talent still on this team that he might be able to make some magic happen.

Detroit Lions (7-9) – No more Ndumukong Suh, big problem.  And then subtract Nick Fairley and this team just went from having a position of strength to one with a big hole and question marks.  They did draft Gabe Wright out of Auburn and signed Haloti Ngata from the Ravens.  Ngata will be key as he is coming back from an injury but he was a dominant player and leader for the Ravens, even when injured.  Matthew Stafford will be looking to reestablish a connection with Calvin Johnson as Johnson has been bit by the injury bug.  I look for both players to have huge bounce back years. Golden Tate enjoyed the double coverage shifting to Megatron as it left him open to gain huge chunks of yards all over the field.  Then the Lions made a wise move in drafting Ameer Abdullah, a smaller but sturdy running back from Nebraska that can carry the load as a three down back.  If the Lions can get Abdullah going early in the season it will force defenders to have to account for him and stack the box more, thus giving Calvin Johnson more one on one opportunities.  The same goes for Tate and second year tight end Eric Ebron.  The Detroit offense will have to carry the defense this year, but no way they can keep up with a Green Bay offense.

Green Bay Packers (13-3) – This is Aaron Rodgers’s year to prove what a bad man he is.  He has racked up the stats over the past couple years but he has to prove it when it counts, in the post season.  I’m on record as saying that Aaron Rodgers is the best passer I have ever seen.  He slings it just as well as Dan Marino and he already has one Lombardi Trophy, poor Dan.  Despite Jordy Nelson being lost for the season, the next man up is Devante Adams.  He made large strides last year as the third receiver on the team and now it’s time for him to create a connection with Rodgers and make us forget about Jordy.  The Green Bay defense is another year older but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Clay Matthews is still under thirty and it seems as though he is healthy this year and ready to get after the quarterback.  Julius Peppers may have lost a step but he is still one of the better edge rushers we have seen this generation.  I think the Packers make it to the Super Bowl and finally beat the Seahawks to get there.

Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – With one of the best running backs in my generation coming back to a young up and coming team, big things could be in line for Team Purple.  Adrian Peterson is back and is hungry to get on the playing field.  Teddy Bridgewater looked the part of an above average quarterback in his rookie season as he threw for under 3,000 yards and kept the turnovers to a minimum, for a rookie.  Insert Adrian Peterson and this offense could be a dynamic one with plenty of play action passes for Teddy B.  This is where Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson come into play.  Wallace will be open on those deep routes and Johnson, with an established relationship with Bridgewater, will be ready for those deep in and out routes and back shoulder fades.  The defense is led by Harrison Smith, an IDP savior, and Anthony Barr who came on strong at the end of his rookie season.  The Vikings just squeak into the playoffs and could very well make an impact in January.

Dallas Cowboys (10-6) – The Cowboys are a tough team to predict this year.  I believe they royally screwed up by not drafting a running back in such a deep class for that position.  That offensive line is phenomenal so it seems like Jason Garrett is content with running Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden, no idea why, but it may work.  I am trying to figure out what kind of injury Tony Romo will sustain this year.  My guess is some kind of foot injury that will get him hobbling around and then he will have to stay in the pocket.  Oh well, Dez can catch pretty much any kind of duck that Romo chucks his way.  I love Sean Lee.  I hate that he had such a catastrophic injury last year as he is likely to be hesitant for the first few games but the shift of him from middle linebacker to the weakside may prove to be the shift he needs.  He will be free to make plenty of plays and be the difference maker he was the year before.  Randy Gregory will have to be the pass rusher Dallas drafted him to be.  He appears to have bulked up enough to survive life in the trenches and hopefully he can stop smoking pot for just a few months.  Dallas makes it in as one of the wild card teams.

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – Time to see what you’re made of Chip Kelly.  You somehow got total control of the team and you now hold the fate of Philly in your hands.  Kelly has an impressive record of 20 and 12 in his first two seasons and he can pretty much throw anybody he wants in on offense and make them successful.  It’s still hard to believe he gave away one of the best running backs in the league for a very good player who shredded his knee last year but Philadelphia always does things in an unconventional way.  It remains to be seen why he grabbed two running backs who can’t stay healthy in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews.  Kelly will either fly high or will be run out of town by the pitchforks and torches of Eagles fans.  Sam Bradford could have a fantastic year in an offense tailor-made to him, but he needs to stay healthy for the first time in his unsuccessful career.  This whole team could be completely blown up next year if anything but a Super Bowl is brought back to Philadelphia.

New York Giants (8-8) – This is the Giants year, right?  Every four years they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl but not this year.  I don’t think they even make the playoffs this time around.  While Odell Beckham Jr. looked like a freak of nature last year, I don’t expect him to be the savior (not this year at least).  I base that primarily off of a few things: Eli Manning and injuries.  Eli has looked god awful this preseason, especially after supposedly making huge strides in picking up the new playbook.  He couldn’t connect with Beckham at all as they were on a different page with every drop back this preseason.  Also, ODB had that nagging hamstring injury last year and with defensive backs targeting the player who made the most spectacular catch I have ever seen, injuries could lie ahead for him.  Jason Pierre Paul was probably extremely shitfaced when he held onto a firework too long thus ending in a blown off finger and a fractured thumb.  Attaboy.  He won’t be ready for the start of the season and nobody knows when he will be or what kind of condition he is in.  I think Tom Coughlin will be done after this year after his face turns too red to the point of no return, or he gets fed up with the stupidity of too many players.

Washington Redskins (4-12) – I would love for Dan Snyder to read this one day.  You are a horrible owner and “front man”.  The perfect example why you hire people who know what they are doing to run your organization for you.  You brought in Scot McCloughan as general manager to breathe some life into the drafting process for this sad franchise.  Only time will tell if that pans out but Snyder has held onto Robert Griffin III for too long.  You can’t coddle football players and expect them to be the superstar that you want them to be.  Jay Gruden has his hands full as it is with a bare cupboard of offensive talent and a playbook that he would love to expand.  Now that Kirk Cousins has been named the starter, he might actually be able to develop but if my predicted record follows through, expect this Redskins team to be wiped clean and coaching staff fired.  If the Redskins can get something for RG3, they should do it but I can’t see any head coach wanting a player that feels entitled.  Maybe Ryan Kerrigan will get 15 sacks this year, he will definitely be spending lots of time on the field if this offense cannot get things going.

Arizona Cardinals (9-7) – I can’t get a hold of the Cardinals.  There aren’t any supremely talented players on this team, that aren’t aging, and yet they find ways to win games.  Bruce Arians has to be one of my favorite coaches for that fact.  He just wins games.  Looking back to his days with the Colts, when he took over for Chuck Pagano for a year, and in his first few seasons with the Cardinals he has made the playoffs every year.  Carson Palmer needs to stay healthy.  We saw in the postseason that this team can win anywhere at any time by playing fantastic defense and a ball control offense but when Palmer went down, so did the team’s hopes and chances of winning anything.  Calais Campbell is a mammoth in the trenches and there are some skilled players in the secondary with Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson.  But this Cardinals team is lacking an explosive offensive threat, NO Chris Johnson is NOT the answer, especially with Michael Floyd not developing into the receiver they hoped he would.  They do have a shot at making the playoffs if Larry Fitzgerald can shake off father time and hope to get some more single coverages.  The Cardinals just miss making the playoffs this year.

San Francisco 49ers (3-13) – The 49ers may have the biggest dropoff in wins this year.  When Jim Harbaugh left, so did half the team.  I am not sure what he told Chris Borland, Justin Smith, and Anthony Davis but they must have realized that something wasn’t right with their heads.  Quite ironic of the timing for all that but the show goes on.  Frank Gore is gone and now it’s Carlos Hyde’s chance to show what he can do.  If Mike Iupati can come back healthy, Hyde will be one happy running back or else Colin Kaepernick might get destroyed.  This once great defense has been decimated by injuries, retirees, and stupidity.  Aldon Smith is one dumb player. The 49ers are hoping that Navarro Bowman can return to his pre injury form.  In an already competitive division San Francisco may be looking at a very early draft pick next year, potentially number one overall.

Seattle Seahawks (12-4) – The one thing holding Seattle from two consecutive Lombardi Trophies is one bone-headed play call.  I’m sure Darrell Bevell will never be able to live that one down.  Now if the Seahawks only had a tall receiver to throw to, that play call may have been much better.  Well now they do after they acquired Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints.  Graham may not have the type of statistic impact that we are used to, but his on the field presence will be felt and known.  I have to add my two cents about something before I talk defense.  Kam Chancellor.  Why?  Two years away from your contract expiring and you are already bitching.  This is either yours or your agents fault but I really hope you hold out the whole year and owe Seattle millions of dollars as you are clearly one dumb player.  Whatever happened to team first?  They already gave you plenty of money a few years ago and you are claiming they have no loyalty, you are an expendable player.  I could go on for days about that stuff.  Thankfully Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman weren’t seeing things that way and they are ready to take on any and every offense. These two players are putting up some incredible statistics at some key positions.  Seattle wins the west with ease and makes a run against the Packers in the NFC Championship game.

St Louis Rams (9-7) – With the 49ers beginning to falter and the Cardinals beginning to show signs of aging, it’s time for the young guns of St Louis to take control of their destiny.  After being one quarterback away for the past few years, they finally obtained a halfway adequate one in Nick Foles.  While maybe not quite the upgrade from Sam Bradford, maybe Foles can stay healthy long enough to show what he can do.  An upgrade at receiver will be necessary next year as Brian Quick is the only halfway decent one on the team but when you have Todd Gurley running the rock, you may have your cornerstone on offense for years to come.  The running back out of Georgia is an athletic freak of nature.  He has the rare combination of blazing speed and ox like strength.  As long as he is brought along correctly from his torn ACL, he will be a fantastic player for years to come.  And that defense.  Oy.  I am not quite sure where one can throw or run the ball.  There are studs all over the field: Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Chris Long, Alec Ogletree, James Laurinaitis, Janoris Jenkins, and more.  This teams just needs the offense to put up some points and to dominate teams outside of Seattle and they will definitely be in the playoffs this year.  But wait!  I forgot they have Jeff Fisher as head coach.  That automatically means they will lose games they shouldn’t and that would put them on the outside looking in for another year.  Sorry Rams fans.  Maybe better luck next year in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week 1 in Review

The top ten rankings have gotten a bit too stale for me, so I am going to try something new. Let me know what you guys think!

Most Impressive Victory

Texas A&M Aggies beat No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils 38-17
Coming into this season, these teams were seen as rather opposites. Arizona State was believed to be a team that could win the PAC 12 South, possibly unseat Oregon for the conference championship, and maybe even work their way into the playoffs. A&M on the other hand was thought to be one of the bottom teams in the SEC West (although considering the depth of that division, that really isn't all that bad). They seem to have noticed the difference with new defensive coordinator John Chavis almost immediately. Ever since head coach Mike Sumlin took over, the defense has been a major liability and has really held back the Aggies from reaching their full potential. But that has completely changed with Chavis as the new coordinator. They should only improve with more practice and can really take this team over the edge. Offensively, you know that they can churn out points almost on command. Sophomore Kyle Allen had a solid but unspectacular day, but this was still just his sixth career start. The arsenal of receivers at his disposal will only help his development throughout the year. I don't know if they are good enough to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, but A&M can definitely make waves in the SEC West.

Most Impressive Player

Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA Bruins
Rosen was one of the most highly rated quarterback prospects coming out of high school in recent memory. There was little doubt that once he committed to the Bruins, he was likely going to be their starting quarterback for the first game. Rosen didn't fail to live up to the hype in their first game when he threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns against Virginia. Obviously Virginia isn't cranking out NFL players on defense at a high level, but they are still a P5 team. Rosen played a great game and showed a great range of throws for someone his age. He looks to be a natural fit in Jim Mora's pro style offense. He has some very tough road games that will really test him later in the season, but there is no doubt that he will be a great player over the next couple of years. Watch this kid as often as you can, he could be the number one pick after his junior year.

Most Disappointing

Penn State losing to Temple, 10-27
I think the only other time I've seen the hopes of a team implode so quickly was when Michigan lost to Appalachian State. This isn't quite as severe considering Michigan was a top five team then, but there were a lot of people, including myself, who thought that the Nittany Lions could win ten games this year if their offensive woes were neutralized by another year of experience and more scholarship players. That obviously wasn't the case as their offense was a downright disgrace and was completely embarrassed. Christian Hackenburg completed only 11 of 25 passes for 103 yards and one pick. Once thought to be a top NFL prospect, it is clear that he just simply isn't a good fit in James Franklin's system and maybe isn't as good as he was coming out of high school. It wasn't like he had a lot of help as his offensive line allowed him to get sacked TEN FUCKING TIMES. They let up a sack when Temple only rushed two players. It was completely embarrassing. Their defense is good, but they can only do so much to keep them in games. It is going to be another rough year for Penn State.

Did You See That?

Braxton Miller's spin move. Enough said.

It is borderline unfair that he is playing H Back now.

Week 2 Game to Watch

No. 7 Oregon Ducks at No. 5 Michigan State Spartans
Last year, Michigan State gave the Ducks quite the scare in Eugene during the first half, only to watch their lead evaporate in the second half. This should be a fantastic game. It is being played at night and is a rematch of last year's game which had some pretty significant playoff implications. This year should not be any different with Oregon the favorite to win the PAC 12 and Michigan State the biggest threat to Ohio State's supremacy in the B1G. The game starts at 8PM on ABC, so make sure you are tuned in to this game. I like Oregon 38-34.