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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Truth Without Hype - Week Whatever It Is Now: Roll Tide?

It's been a long time and a stressful season. Both are winding down but there is still a lot of uncertainty in the world of college football.

Since I last blogged we have had five different times at number one in at least one poll. Three have fallen, two are unblemished, and one is a center of controversy due to a certain quarterback that may or may not be making more money than his quarterback coach. All the while, we are slowly but surely creeping up on a potential appearance of a non-BCS qualifying team in the national championship game.

Boise State and TCU sit at four and three respectively and are the only teams left unbeaten outside of the top two. At this late point in the season it is highly likely that no one loss teams will jump them, it is also unlikely that should Oregon or Auburn lose that they would remain ahead of these teams.

This puts me in a very difficult position. Because of the likelihood that Boise State will play for national championship should one of these teams lose, I will have to do something I swore I never would: Cheer for Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide.

Friday's Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama marks what has to be considered by far to be the best chance that Auburn or Oregon has to lose a game left. This means that for one day Taylor will need to remove Nick Saban owned knife from that back of his lovely Miami Dolphins jersey, throw on a crimson cap, and exclaim ROLL TIDE!!!

It is very important to me that Auburn loses, as it should be to any true fans of Boise State, TCU, BYU, Houston, Nevada, Idaho, Ball State, Fresno State, Navy, Hawaii, or UTEP. Why? Because whether it's TCU or Boise State playing for the giant crytstal faberge egg, it will break the system, and for the first time in twelve years all of these schools might just get to be judged as equals. The BCS is a joke, I know it, and if you are reading this blog, then you know it too. Because anyone who cares about college football enough to read a blog about knows the system is garbage...... unless you are an Ohio State fan, because your team is the only one to actual never get screwed by the system.

And lo' and behold the politicing started today. Ohio State University's president prclaimed that a one loss team from the Big Ten or SEC should play for the championship before TCU and BSU. LSU head coach Les Miles responded to these commented on Sportscenter by saying that he agrees, especially considering SEC teams. LSU is the top rated one loss team, sitting right behind Boise State in the standings. Coincidence? Doubtful. But is nice to see that once again, the snow is falling, and the snakes are begin to slither about the field trying to sneak their way in with words because they aren't able to do it on the field. This is all part of the system, just ask Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Miami, Washington, USC, Florida State, Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, TCU, Boise State, Utah, Auburn, or LSU fans anywhere. They all have been at the center of BCS controversy at some point in the past decade. Better yet, look at the BCS Wikipedia page. About half of it is just describing the controversies that have unfolded over a mere twelve years.

A national champion from outside a BCS qualifying conference is exactly what the BCS does not want to see and for that reason is exactly what college football needs. The irony of it all is that the BCS darling Crimson Tide can help crush the system by downing their hated rivals.

Roll Tide, Roll.

Heisman Ranking
1. Cameron Newton
2. LaMichael James
3. Justin Blackmon
4. Kellen Moore
5. Andrew Luck

25. USC - I know a lot of people would put Iowa here, but I don't believe in rewarding teams for losing only big (and all of them) and having a lot of preseason hype. The Trojans have played very well for a team that has absoltely nothing to play for.

24. Arizona - The Wildcats have fallen apart a bit late in the season, but still have exceeded preseason expectations.

23. Northern Illinois - With nine wins and an unblemished conference record, Northern Illinois is looking more impressive than anyone expected a MAC team to look this year.

22. Florida State - Still alive in the ACC title race, but more important, the 'Noles have a good chance to beat rival Florida for the first time in five years.

21. NC State - The Wolfpack will be in the ACC title game with a win over Maryland this weekend. If they lose, they will likely be the number four selection from the conference come bowl season. Either way, this has been the breakout season Tom O'Brien has needed for this program.

20. Utah - It took six quarters but the Utes have finally rebounded from the beatdown TCU gave them. If TCU ends up in a BCS bowl, Utah has now clinched the top bowl spot for the Mountain West.

19. South Carolina - The Gamecocks have a chance to win their first SEC championship next, that however does not change that there are at least 4 teams in the Western Division that are better than they are.

18. Texas A&M - The Aggies are the hottest team in the Big 12 right now and are technically still in the Big 12 title hunt, but they will have to be very convincing this week against Texas and need a Oklahoma win in the Bedlam Game.

17. Oklahoma - The Sooners have struggled to win games most of the season, but close wins are still wins. Even if the games are close, Oklahoma has led most of the way and have beat some very good teams.

16. Missouri - Ahead of Oklahoma because they beat them. They don't have the strength of schedule that the Sooners do, but I value head to head wins way more than a statistic.

15. Nebraksa - The Huskers are at the top of the 2 loss tiebreaking cycle between themselves, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

14. Michigan State - Sparty has not played well at all since beating Wisconsin in October. They have had to spark late comebacks for the last few victories, including last weeks game against a bad Purdue team.

13. Virginia Tech - The Hokies have won nine straight games and will play in the ACC championship game for a shot at the BCS. A lot of people wrote them off early after the shocking loss to James Madison. I'm one of the believers in the "Boise beat them twice" theory. The Hokies only had two days of practice for this game while coming off a huge heartbreaking loss. For strength of schedule guys, it's worth noting that the Hokies are unbeaten against BCS teams.

12. Nevada - The Wolfpack have won a few close games, but they blow out the bad teams, and have one of the best offensive units in the country. However, the whole season will be ignored by pollsters unless they pull off a huge upset over Boise State this season.

11. Arkansas - Arkansas has won some very impressive games and are still very alive in the BCS hunt. A win over LSU this week could give the Hogs a real shot at getting to the Sugar Bowl.

10. Alabama - The Crimson Tide have looked absolutely dominant in virtually every win this year. The only close win was over Arkansas, which is the best win on the schedule.

9. Ohio State - The Buckeyes have played very well since going down to the Badgers. Still, the strength of schedule is not very impressive and leaves them near the bottom of the one loss pack.

8. Oklahoma State - Everyone seems to be laughing off the one loss Pokes as far inferior to Ohio State and some SEC two-loss powerhouses. But recent events have made the victory over Texas A&M look better than anything on the Buckeye Schedule.

7. Wisconsin - The Badgers seem poised for the Rose Bowl unless Northwestern pulls of a giant upset on Saturday. As long as the Buckeyes beat Michigan, the Badgers will hold the tiebreaker throughthe BCS standings.

6. LSU - Judging LSU is difficult. On one hand, the record is outstanding and the strength of schedule is as good as it gets. On the other, the Tigers have looking convinving in no more than three wins all year. Struggling against Ole Miss at home is not the sign of a title contender.

5. Stanford - No one loss team in the country plays more complete and solid football than the Cardinal. This team should be taken ahead of any Big Ten at large team for a BCS. However, this is the BCS and it seems likely they will get to watch less deserving teams in the big games.

4. TCU - The Horned Frogs are in a bad spot. Despite sitting at three for the past few weeks, a drop behind BSU seems almost certain this weekend. It will take a lot of help to put the Toads into the title game.

3. Auburn - The Tigers have the best strength of schedule of any undefeated but their defense is playing much worse than any other unbeaten. They also have their best player as a source of controversy that could end up hurt the school exponentially. A convincing win over Alabama on Friday will put them in my top two and likely guarantee a spot in the title game.

2. Boise State - Do they have a better schedule than Auburn? No, not at all. But I think of strength of schedule as more of a tiebreaker if the teams perform equally, and Boise has a much more complete team than the Tigers based on the strength of their defense.

1. Oregon - The Ducks may have struggled against California, but that is the first time all year anyone has given them any kind of scare after halftime all year. Chip Kelly's squad is now only two weeks from sending Oregon to it's first title game.

Also Considered: Iowa, Penn State, Hawaii

Weekend Picks
Alabama 42 - Auburn 31
Boise State 49 - Nevada 14
TCU 1,000,000 - New Mexico 0
Oregon 45 - Arizona 27
Michigan 20 - Ohio State 45
Oklahoma 27 - Oklahoma State 28

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Truth WIthout Hype

Completely forgot to write my column this week and watching Gameday reminded me. No time to make it good, so here it is.

25. UTEP

24. West Virginia

23. Wisconsin

22. NC State

21. Stanford

20. Arizona

19. Arkansas

18. Air Force

17. Iowa

16. Florida State

15. Alabama

14. South Carolina

13. Missouri

12. Oklahoma State

11. Nevada

10. Nebraska

9. Utah

8. Ohio State

7. Oregon

6. Auburn

5. LSU

4. TCU

3. Michigan State

2. Boise State

1. Oklahoma

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Truth Without Hype Week 5: Lists Galore

Today is a great day for this column. After a year and a half of ranking the best teams and players, I have finally decided that it is time for some real negativity in this column. This week I kick off my bottom 5 rankings. Yes, just five, bad teams don't deserve any more attention than that. This list will be a little different in that I will openly use some conference bias in ranking the teams. Teams will be ranked based on how bad they are relative to their own conference, otherwise it will just be all MAC and Sun Belt teams every week, and I personally have better things to do with my time than write about teams that would be double digit underdogs to the Idaho Vandals on a weekly basis.

Before we get into ranking the best and worst teams in the country, I also think it is time to start busting out some Heisman rankings, 4-5 games into the season there is now enough material to judge. Since I am breaking in two new lists starting this week I figure it is only appropriate that I just go crazy with lists in general, after all I have been lazy with writing them in general. List madness starts now.

Top 5 Worst Teams

5. Duke -The Blue Devils should be used to sitting close to the bottom by now, but giving up more than 50 points to Wake Forest puts them into some really elite categories.

4. New Mexico/New Mexico State - Technically different teams but there are some similarities. Both are winless, have defenses ranked in the nations bottom five, and have lost games by 59 points or more. The state might want to consider merging the programs to save some money.

3. Eastern Michigan - 0-12 a season ago and off to a great start on repeating that feat again this year.

2. Washington State - The Cougars haven't beaten an FBS team with a win since 2007. They have posted 1 win over a AA team in each of the last three seasons, two of those coming in overtime or in the closing minutes of the game, as well as a win over an 0-11 Washington team two years ago.

1. Western Kentucky - Still looking for that elusive first win as an FBS team. Winning on the way up is tough, but seriously guys, you play in the Sun Belt, two years should be plenty of time.

Top 5 Worst NFL Quarterbacks

5. Derek Anderson - Lost a starting job in three consecutive seasons. I don't who that means is worse, him or his coaches.

4. Jim Sorgi - Once every gets past the hype on this Peyton Manning guy, he'll show us, he'll show us all.

3. Jevon Snead - At least he will be if he ever actually plays.

2. JaMarcus Russell - Still available in 100% of Yahoo fantasy football leagues.

1. Ryan Leaf - He could probably still start for Washington State at least.

Top 5 Comic Book Costumes

5. Ghost Rider - There is a certain amount of respect given to those who can just wear biker gear and call it a super hero outfit

4. Juggernaut - Looks great in orange, but looks even better in the Dolphins uniform my wife photoshopped him into a few months back.

3. Dr. Doom - The mask is perhaps the most iconic item for any villian in all of comics.

2. Spider-Man - You can't tell me the costume has nothing to do with his worldwide popularity.

1. Venom/Carnage - Their costumes are more bad-ass than most characters, baseball players, and all frat boys.

Early Heisman Standings

5. Adrian Clayborn

4. Mark Ingram

3. Kellen Moore

2. Daniel Thomas

1. Denard Robinson

And now the actual top 25 for the week

25. NC State - A tough loss to Virginia Tech knocks the Wolfpack to the bottom of my rankings, but they may still be the best team in the ACC.

24. South Carolina - The Gamecocks took a week off to prepare for a visit from the top ranked Tide. A week after Alabama killed Florida, this is the teams best chance to finally emerge as a legitimate contender in the SEC West,

23. Arkansas - The Hogs stayed home this week to lick their wounds after blowing an upset bid over a number one team in the second half for the second year in a row.

22. Iowa - The Hawkeyes may have the best defense in the country.

21. Air Force - A big win over Navy has the Falcons off to a hot start, with the lone loss coming at Oklahoma by a field goal.

20. Stanford - Getting overwhelmed by Oregon in the second half is nothing to be ashamed of, at least they led for one half, which is better than anyone else has done this year.

19. Miami - After a hard fought win over Clemson, the Hurricanes appear ready to challenge for their first ACC championship.

18. Northwestern - After struggling to beat Minnesota on Saturday, it is pretty clear who the worst team is among the unbeatens.

17. Kansas State - Enjoy your week off and perfect record, Nebraska is next.

16. Missouri - Still undefeated, still with no impressive wins.

15. Michigan - I don't care how good Denard Robinson is, if that defense doesn't get better, the Wolverines will finish in the bottom half of the Big 10 for the third straight year.

14. Utah - The schedule gets weaker every week as this team has not been challenged wince opeing day.

13. Nebraska - Yes, there is no doubt this team is good enough to be in the top 1o, but right now Idaho is the second best team they've played. MAC teams are laughing at that strength of schedule.

12. Nevada - With wins over rival UNLV, BYU, and Cal, the Wolfpack look to stay undefeated until a November visit from Boise State.

11. Oklahoma State - The Cowboys earned a hard fought win over previously undefeated Texas A&M last Thursday. With the way Texas has played and the way Oklahoma's defense has played, don't count the Pokes out of the Big 12 South race yet.

10. TCU - A drop is necessary after struggling to beat a team as bad as Colorado State

9. Arizona - The offense will have to get better than 10 points a game if they want have any chance of hanging with Oregon for the PAC-10 title, especially since they will have to play at Autzen.

8. Auburn - Now that all the non-conference garbage is done with, we can finally see if the TIgers are really good enough to hang with the heavyweights in the SEC.

7. Ohio State - See TCU.

6. Michigan State - The Spartans are undoubtedly the nations most underated team. They are now 5-0 with big wins over Wisconsin and Notre Dame, the Wisconsin game was won without the most key man to any football team: the head coach.

5. LSU - Given the way they keep winning, it is very hard to put them this high, but they have faced a schedule that is probably the second best in the country. They keep winning, even when they don't really deserve to.

4. Oregon - The offense is probably better than any defense in the PAC-10 can realistically hope to stop. The national championship game could very well be in the Ducks future, no one is going to beat them at home this year.

3. Boise State - Silently crushed New Mexico State 59-0 over the weekend, lost in all the hype of Oregon beating a ranked team for the first time this year. Boise State has already beat two.

2. Oklahoma - Most of the wins have been decently ugly and very close, but the fact of the matter is that they never trailed in any of them and have played the nations hardest schedule ot this point.

1. Alabama - After completely dismantling the Gators this weekend, even I would be hard pressed to say the Crimson Tide are not the nations best team until proven otherwise.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Truth Without Hype: Gameday in Boise

After a few weeks of letting us down, college football finally delivered us some honest to god actual competition, well outside of the Big Ten. Most teams have finished playing the cupcake portion of their schedule and are either into conference play or are actually testing themselves against some decent foes. Although there were not a lot of actual upsets, we actually what we used to call "competitive games." These are uncommon for teams in the top 25 until conference play begins as most teams prefer to save all their effort for the end of the season and let the hype carry them as far as possible. This week Boise State, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona, Penn. State, Oregon, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, West Virginia, and South Carolina actually saw themselves tested. Not all of them survived the tests. Texas was the first juggernaut of the season to fall, at one time a top five team, and with even bigger tests starting next week we actually get to see a dramatic shake up in the top of the polls.

For me, however, this all takes a back seat to what Bronco fans got experience this past weekend. College Gameday has been around for a long time and to some schools a visit from the crew may not be that big of a deal but is sure as hell meant a lot to us. For the first time in history, Gameday deemed Boise worry of the weeks best game and broadcast live from the Smurf Turf on Saturday morning. The show airs at 9 AM Eastern Time, Boise is in Mountain Time, so if you don't live here you may not have realized that meant every fan in the stadium for the show had been there well before 6 AM.

My experience started well before 6 AM. I was lucky enough to volunteer for the event, I know it doesn't sound that lucky, but trust me it was. While the majority of the 13,205 Bronco faithful stood in the audience booing viciously every time Mark May was one screen, I was setting up tables, painting signs, hanging flags, escorting VIP guests to their seats, and handing out buckets of Home Depot gift cards to every set of greedy hands in sight. Even better, I got to arrive at 4 AM to start my slave labor. I live 20 minutes from campus and if you were thinking I got to park right outside of the stadium and just waltz in, you've never been to BSU on Gameday before. To make a long story short, I merrily jumped out of bed at 3 AM to start my adventure, if you know me well, you know that I prefer that as a bedtime, not a a wake-up call.

The experience was something I will never forget. As I walked past the crowd on the other side of the gaurdrail with a box of Home Depot hard hats, fans began to cherr me like a rock star. "HARD HATS!! GIVE US SOME HARD HATS!!! ALRIGHT ORANGE SHIRTED CREW GUY!!!" I felt like the guy in the Winnie the Pooh costume at Disneyworld or Barack Obama at a trendfollowing tools rally, and all I was doing was opening a box of plastic hats. When we had finished handing them out, there were fans booing us and security begging us to find some more to give to crying disappointed children. I was then informed by the supervisors that they usual can't get rid of them all because people have no intrest in all that promotional crap. The energy was unusual even to the professionals. The signs were great as well, unfortunately, about twenty people had their Mark May hate propaganda taken away at the door, and countless more lost there sexual advances towards Erin Andrews. Here are some good ones.

Most of the best ones didn't make it in but such is the way of television. My reward for all this? I didn't get paid, I didn't really get to watch the entire show, and I certainly didn't get a full nights sleep. I did however get to rub up against Desmond Howard's Super Bowl ring, do a Heisman pose on the Gameday set, and follow Erin Andrews out of the stadium for about 500 feet (and I didn't even get maced by the two cops with her). Also, these pictures speak for themselves.

Thanks for coming guys, I made sure to thank every hand I shook, and with any luck they'll be back next year.

25. Arkansas - There are no longer 25 undefeated teams in the country, so I can now show some love for some one loss teams. Sometimes, a loss speaks more about how good you are than a win does. That was the case for the Higs this weekend, losing a heartbreaker to the top ranked Crimson Tide.

24. Miami - The lists other 1 loss team. The Hurricanes haven't played an oustanding schedule but they have destroyed everyone but Ohio State so far, and lets be honest, they outplayed the Buckeyes. If Jacory Harris knew how to throw the ball to his own guys in the big games, the Canes are the national title hunt.

23. USC - No undefeated team in the country has been less impressive than the former powerhouse out of LA. The defense has been very shaky and the strength of schedule boasts the worst team from three different BCS conferences. Yeah, they killed Washington State this week, but all that proves is that they aren't a 2-A team.

22. Texas A&M - The Aggies haven't been a whole lot better than the Trojans but they are undefeated. This weeks contest against OK State will start to show who belongs in the top haf of the conference and who goes back to the bottom.

21. Oklahoma State - The week one blow of Washington State looks a little bit impressive every time a 2-A team hangs thirty on them. The offense looks great but has yet to face any real tests.

20. Northwestern - The Wildcats are not overly impressive, but they have simply one every week. That isn't a big deal for some teams but for the Wildcats it is huge.

19. Nebraska - The Cornhuskers struggled quite a bit against South Dakota State this week. Which begs the question: How bad is the Washington Huskie defense?

18. Missouri - Are you seeing a theme here? The Big 12 has 4 undefeated teams without a single impressive win. At least Missouri is consitantly doing it big though.

17. Kansas State - The trend continues.......

16. Florida - Is the offense back after looking like Florida again this week against an overmatched UK team? It might be, but only because Urban Meyer gave up on his new starter in the red zone already and has Tebow lite running the option at the goal line every time down the field.

15. Wisconsin - Another case of who have you played but I'll be damned if this weeks game against Austin Peay wasn't impressive. The Arizona State win looks a littel better in hindhight as well after the Sun Devils put a scare into Oregon this week.

14. Michigan State - A big win over anybody when your head coach isn't at the game is really impressive. The Spartans face Wisconsin this week, one will move up, and the other probably will fall out of my top 25.

13. Nevada - The California blowout looks even better after the Bears really beat and Arizona team coming off a huge win over Iowa. The Wolfpack now enter WAC play unbeaten and could be unbeaten when they clash with Boise State in a suddenly very big game the day after Thanksgiving.

12. LSU - It may not be very pretty, butthe Tigers a quietly 4-0 against two SEC teams and two ranked teams out of conference. Granted those teams aren't really great right now either, but the schedule deserves some respect.

11. NC State - Only one team still stands undefeated in the ACC. A victory over the reigning champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets has the Wolfpack thinking BCS.

10. Ohio State - I don't care how many points they scored, call me when they play somebody. For all the criticisms that BSU and the SEC teams get for their soft scheduling, the Buckeyes have played one of the easiest slates in the nation to this point.

9. Oregon - The strenth of schedule doesn't look much better than OSU's after Tennessee needed 2 overtimes to get past lowly UAB this week. Arizona State put a scare in them, the Ducks just might be mortal after all.

8. Arizona - The Wildcats came out cold this week against Cal but a late rally showed for the second straight week that they can win in the fourth quarter against good teams.

7. TCU - The Horned Frogs didn't look terrible against SMU on Friday, but if they want to be in the national title picture, they need to look better.

6. Utah - Quietly sneaking back towards the top after another blowout, the schedule is trash until late October though, so don't expect them here for very long.

5. Oklahoma - The wins keep coming, and even though the margins are small, the Sooners probably have faced the nations toughest schedule to date.

4. Auburn - The Tigers have really proven how tough they can be, coming back twice in the fourth quarter in as many weeks against some really good teams. With Cam newton can QB, this team can beat anyone, including archrival Alabama.

3. Stanford - The Cardinal just keep cruising past everyone on their schedule, making Notre Dame just look like any other team in a rout in South Bend Saturday. This weeks showdown with Oregon will go a long way towards deciding the PAC-10.

2. Alabama - The Tide impressed in a second half rally at Arkansas. I hate them, but they keep winning for a reason: they are really good.

1. Boise State - A second win on the year over a ranked team makes the Broncos one of only two undefeated teams in the country to do so. At this point in the season, the schedule is in the Broncos favor. Enjoy it while it lasts. A side note, I forgot about Michigan until I finished writing the list and don't want to go back and edit it. You can put them in around 14.

Also considered: South Carolina, Air Force

Dropped from rankings: Texas, West Virgina, Temple, Fresno State, South Carolina

Picks of the week:
Alabama 28 - Florida 10
Oklahoma 17 - Texas 16
Stanford 47 - Oregon 41
Miami 32 - Clemson 23
Wisconsin 24 - Michigan State 22
Miami 37 - New England 28
Baltimore 20 - Pittsburgh 9
Washington 17 - Philadelphia 30
Chicago 31 - New York Giants 16
Tennessee 20 - Denver 13

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Truth Without Hype: Week 3 - What Happened to the Drama?

Does anyone remember all the upsets that we got to enjoy early in the season last year? I really, really miss them right now. Three weekends in we have barely seen any upsets at all, this past weekends Iowa/Arizona contest may have been the most important of the year and those teams were ranked 9th and 24th, hardly a large difference. Last year, a top five team lost in each of the first seven weeks of the season, this year, top five teams are still undefeated. The only one that even came close to losing was Boise State in week one and they were playing a team ranked sixth in the coaches poll. There has been one big upset, James Madison over Virginia Tech, but that team was already outside of the top ten and virtually no one actually got to watch. It strange to say this, considering that the gap between big programs and the FCS has never looked more narrow, but the gap between the top ten and everyone else has never looked wider. Florida doesn't even have to play decent to win by double digits anymore, seriously, the team looks like garbage every week and is never even challenged in the fourth quarter, and the same has gone for Texas so far. I just miss the drama, hopefully, we can actually see some teams start falling soon now that conference play is starting for many, and the mismatches should be over.

25. Florida - The Gators still are struggling quite a bit on offense, yet they still keep winning by double digits. The last two wins came against decent teams, so they've earned a vote even if the team isn't preforming well as a whole.

24. Fresno State - The Bulldogs were simply adequate in beating Utah State on Saturday, then again again, they were more convincing against this team than Oklahoma was.

23. Temple - A big win over UConn has many thinking that the Big East could very well be worse than the MWC, MAC, and WAC.

22. West Virginia - The Mountaineers became the first team from the Big East this season to win a game against another BCS conference team. They are the killer whale in a small pond.

21. Texas - The Longhorns still looked pretty lost on offense but they still look absolutely dominant on defense. Through three games, other teams defenses and special teams are outscoring their offenses against Texas.

20. Oklahoma State - The Cowboys offense has not been slowed by anybody yet but that defense is looking like it may not be up Big 12 standards once conference play starts.

19. NC State - The Wolfpack beat two-time defending Big East champion Cincinnati pretty badly this past week, giving them a 3-0 start.

18. Michigan State - The most exciting win of the weekend launches the Spartans into the top twenty. Unfortunately for the Sparty, the win was so exciting, it just might keep their head coach sidelined for a while, he had a minor heart attack just hours after the game ended.

17. Nevada - A previously unbeaten Cal team had no answer for QB Colin Kaepernick on Friday night and all of a sudden, BSU's conference schedule doesn't seem to be filled with automatic W's. The Wolfpack host BSU late in November.

16. Michigan - It's amazing how much one week can change things. It was almost Appalachian State all over again, as the Wolverines struggled to beat FCS foe UMass. The losses of both Notre Dame and UConn to underdogs didn't do their strength of schedule any favors.

15. Arkansas - Yes, the win over Georgia was big, but it was also very close. The Razorbacks still only have one significant win on the year but they most assuredly jump into the top ten if they can top Alabama this coming Saturday.

14. Kansas State - Quietly 3-0 with wins over two BCS teams. If only those teams weren't Iowa State and UCLA, they might even have a prayer at the top ten.

13. South Carolina - The Gamecocks struggled against Furham but those first two wins still look pretty good.

12. Utah - The Utes kept the momentum going with a demolition of the lowly Lobos of New Mexico.

11. LSU - This is the Tiger team people expect to see. After struggling against Vanderbilt and a barely there UNC team in the first two weeks, the Tigers crushed Miss. State.

10. Oklahoma - Yeah, it was close, but the Falcons are much better than anyone gives them credit for. The Sooners still have one of the nations better strength of schedules.

9. Auburn - An impressive come from behind win over Clemson, coupled with an early SEC win, make Auburn one of the most underrated 3-0 teams in the nation.

8. Boise State - The Broncos didn't miss a beat after 12 days off, crushing the Cowboys 51-6 in their own stadium in a game that didn't feel nearly as close as the score looks.

7. Stanford - The Cardinal look to have one of the best offenses in the nation after hanging 68 on Wake Forest.

6. Ohio State - The Buckeyes cruised past in-state "rival" Ohio. Maybe it's just me, but when they blow out nobodies, it just seems to lack a certain top-fiveness. I suspect they'll be blowing out somebodies soon though.

5. Nebraska - Jake Locker can kiss those Heisman votes goodbye after the Husker made him look absolutely terrible at home this week.

4. Arizona - A big win over Iowa, coupled with blowouts over a few nobodies makes the Wildcats the most surprisingly impressive team in the nation thus far.

3. TCU - Another week, another murder. Thats just how these Horned Frogs roll.

2. Alabama - No one has slowed the Tide to this point, the only reason they are not number one is because of the way Penn. State struggled against Kent State, thus slightly cheapening their only win over a decent team thus far.

1. Oregon - Speaking of not being slowed at all, the Ducks are averaging more than a point a minute after three games. Yes, two of those games were against garbage but a win at Tennessee is the third game and anyone scoring like this against decent competition deserves major props.

Also considered: Northwestern, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and USC.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Week 2

The Good

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson - I didn't see him at all this week and considering the luck of the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, his chances of getting a new contract seem better than they have at any point since his holdout began. Phillip Rivers played a fine game, but his receivers let him down, dropping two passes in the red zone in the fourth quarter Monday and then were completely ineffective again on the last drive in the loss at Kansas City. Also, if a trade can be worked out by next week, he'll see a two game reduction in his suspension. Good week for a football player who never left his house.

The Houston Texans and RB Arian Foster - The Texans entered Sunday 1-15 against the Colts in their franchise's history. Behind a 230 yard, 3 TD game for their new starting RB, the Texans look ready to take the AFC South over, despite allowing Peyton Manning to throw for over 400 yards.

The Kansas City Chiefs Defense - The Chiefs have royally sucked over the last three years, and while the offense didn't look much better this week, the defense specifically DL Glenn Dorsey looked outstanding in holding the four time defending division champion Chargers to only 14 points.

The New England Patriots - I predicted a fall from their tower atop the AFC East this year and they made me look stupid in the season opener against Cincinnati in a game that was never close.

The Tennessee Titans - Sure it was the Raiders but still, 38-13 is a great start for a team that had a ton of questions entering the season.

My Career - I finalized my internship this week and should be rolling into some real professional work this coming week, in addition to getting a resume professionally written for thanks to an opportunity through one of my teachers. Things look good for me right now, now if only anyone was actually hiring......

New England Patriots WR Wes Welker and Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown - Both players were coming off of serious injuries in the second half of last season. Ronnie Brown looked great in the win over Buffalo and Welker scored two TD's early in the game against Cincinnati. There were plenty of concerns about both entering the season and all of them look unfounded as of now.

Daredevil - This book is just so damn good it's unbelievable. Shadowland has been brilliant so far, and the fact that this book stays amazing through all the changes to the creative team is just unheard of. I'm excited to see how this ends, although not stoked to see that Marvel is apparently "ending" the series. Look for an all new Daredevil #1 on the shelves by next September.

The FCS - Formerly known as division II-A football, these teams are started to close the gap between themselves and the monsters on top of the college football world. The FCS featured wins over Virginia Tech, Akron, Minnesota, and Ball State on Saturday, bringing their total to six for the season.

Alabama - Really this is no surprise as Penn State didn't really have the firepower to hang with a top ten team, but the way they ended any suspense by halftime on a very talented Nitany Lion defense was very impressive.

Scarlet - The latest Icon creation of Brian Michael Bendis has been brilliant through two issues. I have really questioned his books lately because I don't like the way he writes team books and he is behind most of the Avengers titles currently, but give this man a good artist and a solo character book and he is absolutely golden.

Oklahoma - They crushed Florida State this weekend in a way no one has since 1992. People can stop worrying about the shaky performance against Utah State to open the season.

Half-Off Appetizers - Every Sunday at Chili's if you sit in the lounge, which means I have a new Sunday night hangout. All the food you can eat for under twenty bucks for two people is something you just can't beat. Southwestern eggrolls, spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, chili fries, bottomless chips and salsa, fried cheese, and bean dip for about eighteen dollars. Awesome.

Denard Robinson - Can you say Heisman? If he keeps these numbers up, he'll win the award in a landslide, he currently has more total yards on the season than Texas or Florida as a team.

The Return of Doctor Octopus - I have been eagerly awaiting the return of Doc Ock since Amazing Spider-Man #600 and this week I got it. This storyline is off to a great start and looks to be one of the best Spidey stories in quite some time.

South Carolina Defense - No TD's allowed against a Georgia team coming off their highest scoring game in four years. The Gamecocks look like they're for real this season.

DTV's New NFL Commercials - These are just hilarious, naturally my favorite is the one with the Dolphins fan in New England, but they are all good.

The Bad

USC - A seven point win over Virginia to follow up a 12 point win against Hawaii really makes the Trojans look like a shell of the team we saw over the last decade. Forget the PAC-10 title, I don't know that this team will be bowl eligible, no that it really matters.

Amazing Spider-Man's Art - It is so simple that it no longer looks like a modern comic. It isn't awful, just a little behind the times.

My Fantasy Football Teams - I went 13-13 this week. Yes, you read that right, I have 26 teams. .500 isn't technically terrible but I have high standards for myself as I am usually near the top of every league I'm in. The worst part is I lost to my archrival Jeremy twice and my Uncle Dave. I can accept losing to random people in random leagues I sign up for but losing to people I have to talk smack to every week is unacceptable.

Laurence Maroney to Denver - I just don't see why the Broncos would make this trade, I think Bill Belichick is taking advantage of his former protege.

Obama's Education Speech - I have no problem whatsoever with Obama making these speeches and really can't defend anyone who says that their children shouldn't be exposed to the president of their own country. My problem is that the speech was boring, uninspiring, and lacked charisma. There is only one thing I expect from Barack Obama, it's not good politics, it's good speeches.

The Dallas Cowboys - When you literally lose on a penalty, things can't get much worse. No one on this team looked bad expect for the offensive line, unfortunately for Dallas, your O-line loses games faster than anyone else if they perform poorly.

BSU's Title Hopes - Thanks to Virginia Tech's loss to James Madison and Ohio State and Alabama winning their biggest tests out of conference for the year, the Broncos title hopes are on life support. They aren't over yet, as it's still easily possible that everyone else could lose and let them in but this weekend certainly derailed any momentum they had coming out of the big Labor Day win.

The Ugly
Referees - I told you it wouldn't take long for the zebras to find their way into this column. The easy criticism is to rip them for the horrific call that ruined the Lions week one upset of the Chicago Bear but I can't. It's a stupid rule, but according to the rule they made the right call. The terrible calls I am referring to are in college football. Last week I ripped apart the new rule that automatically penalized players flipping into the endzone. This week, Alabama star WR Julio Jones did it and so did a Oklahoma player that I can't remember the name of, neither were flagged. I guess like all college football fouls, they are subjective to how good your team is supposed to be.

The ACC - I could go on forever about this, if want to see the full rant, you can read my last post.

The Big East - This conferences automatic BCS qualification will likely come under heavy scrutiny after this season. The conferences only ranked team struggled to beat a MAC team in overtime this past weekend. They are still probably worse than the ACC, it just isn't a surprise to anyone when they underwhelm anymore.

J-E-T-S - I could post all the stats telling you how much they suck, or you could just look at the box score. Virginia Tech looked more impressive this weekend than the Jets did.

The San Fransisco 49ers - I predicted big things for the niners in my preseason preview. They rewarded my by absolutely dominating the game...... for about nine minutes, the rest of the way was all Seahawks earning a 31-6 victory. Alex Smith awful, Crabtree looked worse, and the o-line and Frank Gore didn't do a lot to help them.

The Wall Street Journal - Today marks my eighth day of my subscription, it also marks 8925th straight day of my life that it wasn't delivered to my home. A cancellation is now pending.

The Arbiter - Honestly, I could write about how bad our student newspaper is but you can read it online and see for yourself. Imagine Fox News' bias with high school talent writers, and CNN's actual bias. I was under the impression our student fees didn't have to support this garbage anymore this year.

Cleveland Browns QB Jake Delhomme - I don't understand why Cleveland signed him, I don't understand why they traded anyone who could possibly beat him out for the starting job, and I don't understand how they plan to win with him this year. Ne looked just like the guy who led the NFL in turnovers for Carolina last year.

LaRouche PAC - Where do I start with this guy? He shows up on campus last year with posters showing Obama with a Hitler mustache, justifying it with talks of how his budget is killing NASA funding? I fail to see how this relates to the holocaust. Guys like this are why people just hate people like me. Just because I am a conservative who considers my political views very tea partyesque does not make me a racist, a homophobe, or a muslimphobe. This guy makes all Obama haters look bad. Then I look him up online and he is a democrat? What an idiot.

Finally here are my picks for the week, hopefully they go better than last week.

Clemson 35 Auburn 31
Iowa 31 Arizona 30
Notre Dame 27 Michigan State 14
UPSET SPECIAL: Tennessee 20 Florida 14
Nebraska 28 Washington 13
Oklahoma 24 Air Force 21
Boise State 50 Wyoming 7

Cincinnati 17 Baltimore 14
UPSET SPECIAL: Minnesota 24 Miami 27
New Orleans 31 San Fransisco 20
Indianapolis 37 New York 23

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Truth Without Hype: The ACC - Awful Coast Conference

I have said many bad things about many conferences depending on their performances the week before in my top 25 countdown's short life to this point but none of them compare to what happened in the ACC this week. Many have suggested that the BCS system for automatic qualifiers given to certain league champions, generally directed at the Big East, but after this week one could argue the ACC is worse than the Big East, Mountain West, WAC, MAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, and maybe even the top 25 of the FCS. The ACC entered the week with four ranked teams, guess how many won. I'll give you a hint, the number matches the number of Idaho Vandals jerseys I own. That's right, a big fat zero. Two of those losses are justifiable, Miami's loss at the Horseshoe was certainly expected and Florida State's loss to Oklahoma was also no surprise, what was a surprise was how they lost.

The Miami Hurricanes were expected to make the move up to BCS contenders this season and while losing to Ohio State is nothing to be ashamed of, handing them the game on a silver platter is. Miami QB Jacory Harris tossed four picks in th loss, all of them in Buckeye territory on the way to a 12 point loss. 12 points by the way, is the same number of points the Canes would have had if they had simply turned each of those possessions into field goals.

The Hurricanes were still the most impressive of these teams this weekend. Next we move onto Florida State, again a loss to Oklahoma is nothing embarrassing, but having over thirty points rolled on you by halftime on the way to a thirty point loss is, especially when you score fewer points against the Sooners than lowly Utah State managed a week earlier.

Then there is Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets struggled to stop a Kansas offense that managed only three points against FCS squad North Dakota State just a week earlier. Coming of the worst offensive performance in a decade to a out of conference team and a loss to a FCS team, the Jayhawks beat the Yellow Jackets.

Finally there is Virginia Tech, oh my dearly disappointing Virginia Tech, you bastards have ruined everything. Virginia Tech opted not to make the intelligent move to take the week off like Boise State did after their Labor Day classic, instead they took the field against FCS powerhouse James Madison just four days after their heartbreaking loss to the Broncos. The result? A loss that more or less made the Broncos win look worthless and barring a gigantic turnaround by this team and a BCS run, the Broncos shot a national title may have come to an end at the unlikely hands of James Madison.

As a result of all these games, I have seen people in their 70's come out of strokes looking stronger than the ACC, and have seen Gazelles look more competitive against lions on the discovery channel.

Don't worry though, the winner will still get an automatic BCS berth, just like the Big East champion (a conference that to this point has not beaten a team from a conference better than the MAC). Meanwhile Boise State, TCU, and Utah will all end up fighting over at most two BCS spots. Reason #3429 why the BCS sucks.

25. Clemson - The Tigers are literally hunting well below their spot on the food chain but they have looked dominant in doing so.

24. Arkansas - The Razorbacks have rolled to any easy 2-0 record but like the Tigers haven't beaten anyone even decent yet.

23. Oklahoma State - The Pokes offense doesn't look like it has dropped off at all since the last few years even though this was supposed to be in a rebuilding year. Troy made it close this week, which makes it official, after the blowout of Washington State in week one, we can determine that the Cougars are no better than an average Sun Belt team.

22. Michigan State - The Spartans have beaten bad but at least a FBS team thus far, this week they face a real test against Notre Dame.

21. Kansas State - The Wildcats win over UCLA looks a lot less impressive after the schallacking the Bruins got this past weekend.

20. Iowa - A beat down of the rival Cyclones gave us a look at how good the Hawkeyes could be this year. They will likely end up much higher than this once conference play starts.

19. Fresno State - The Bulldogs win over Cincinnati is still impressive, but after an idle week, they are a win behind the rest of the pack.

18. Houston - Don't look now, but the Cougars can suddenly run the ball. Be afraid, be very afraid.

17. Missouri - Still haven't beaten any great teams but there is something to be said for being 2-0 and winning against a Big Ten team.

16. LSU - An idle does nothing to move the Tigers one way or another.

15. Arizona - After a few destructions against MAC and FCS squads, the Wildcats will get the chance to really prove themselves against Iowa this week.

14. Air Force - A big upset over BYU this week seems to indicate a moving up in the pecking order in the MWC this season.

13. Auburn - 2-0 with a win against a decent SEC squad, puts them in good position against a flurry of teams with incredibly week schedules.

12. Maryland - The win over Navy is still impressive a week later and although they don't have a huge win yet, it's pretty great for the Terps to have already matched last years win total.

11. California - An absolute slaughter of Colorado this week made the Bears look a lot better than I expected, even if Colorado is no better than most of the MAC.

10. Stanford - An annihilation of in-state rivals UCLA 35-0, coupled with the win one laugher against some nobody has the Cardinal looking like a real contender in the PAC-10 early.

9. Boise State - After a week off, the Hokies loss drops the Broncos big, Virginia Tech is better than 0-2 but the win can only mean so much right now.

8. Oklahoma - No matter how ugly the defense was in week one, the blowout of the Seminoles this week looks absolutely outstanding. The Sooners can't sleep on Air Force this week, the Falcons run the ball really well and have been among the top teams in the nation stopping the pass for a few years running now.

7. Utah - This weeks win meant nothing but the week one upset of Pitt is good enough to keep them high on the list.

6. South Carolina - an upset of Georgia may signal a change in the food chain in the SEC East.

5. Ohio State - They looked good in the win over Miami but I have a hard time putting them any higher because the Hurricanes didn't make them try very hard, Jacory Harris played like a FCS QB.

4. TCU - A 62-7 laugher coupled with a win over Oregon State has the Horned Frogs looking great early on.

3. Alabama - The win was very impressive but even though Penn State should be good again this year, no one really believed they had enough firepower to make this one close.

2. Oregon - Weeks one's biggest blowout was followed up by delivering Tennessee their largest home loss to a non-conference opponent in team history. A very nice start for the Ducks.

1. Michigan - Only one team has recorded two wins over BCS teams and the Wolverines deserve this spot right now. QB Denard Robinson has more yards than 87 teams do right now and eight of those teams are ranked.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NFL Season Preview

I don't have time for any real lead into this but here are my picks for the NFL season kicking off tonight.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys - The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and enter the season with high expectations. This isn't always a good thing as owner Jerry Jones loves to create drama with his team and if they don't get off to a hot start, Jones could crush the team by spitting rumors of firing head coach Wade Phillips. The offense is stacked and could be the best in the league this year. History says they won't play in the Super Bowl as no team has ever played one in their home stadium.
Prediction - 10-6 Division Champions. They are better than this record but a ridiculously tough schedule will keep them from doing much better.

New York Giants - The Giants have picked up this preseason exactly the way they ended last year, with tons of players getting hurt. The IR and injury report are in midseason form already and I think will hurt the team a lot this season. Brandon Jacobs has looked awful in the preseason and the running core of two years ago may just be a single back system with Ahmad Bradshaw by seasons end.
Prediction - 9-7

Philadelphia Eagles - McNabb gone, Westbrook gone, Dawkins gone. The core that helped this team dominate the NFC for so much of this decade is gone. Kolb is good but definitely isn't as good as McNabb yet, I'm not sold on LeSean McCoy yet, and no receiver has proven to be an every down threat yet. The defense is solid but not scary, I think this team disappoints a lot of people.
Prediction 7-9

Washington Redskins - I've heard a lot of people project Washington as a playoff contender. Last I checked the only thing this team did this offseason was add a past his prime running back and a past his prime quarterback who is already dealing with injury issues and has shown issues picking up the offense thus far. McNabb will make them better but this team needs a few good drafts before they can even think about playoffs.
Prediction 6-10

AFC East

Buffalo Bills - This team is bad, really, really bad. They went into the offseason needing a wide receiver, a good left tackle, a few guards, a lot of defensive lineman, and of course were still looking for a consistent quarterback. They spent the ninth overall pick on a running back. At least they'll be picking early next year again, maybe now they'll get that QB.
Prediction - 2-14

Miami Dolphins - My boys did a great job of filling weaknesses this offseason, the biggest move being the acquisition of WR Brandon Marshall form the Denver Broncos. The addition of Karlos Dansby at linebacker and a great pickup of Jared Odrick in the draft should make the defense better right away. The running offense is already great and with a year of starting experience under his belt and a real threat at WR, I think Chad Henne will make big strides this season.
Prediction - 10-6 Division Champions

New England Patriots - I really think the dynasty is over in Foxsboro. Last seasons team underwhelmed all season long even with a healthy Tom Brady and then got blown out by the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. The division is just getting to good and the defense is just way too old to keep up. They have Brady, Moss, and Welker, and not much else.
Prediction - 7-9

New York Jets - Are the Jets all hype? I think so and apparently I'm not alone, ESPN's panel of sixteen experts featured exactly zero picks with the Jets in the Super Bowl this year. Revis is likely to take three or four games to get back to his best and Mark Sanchez probably won't be much better than last year. The loss of Thomas Jones also hurts a lot as Shonn Greene has yet to prove he can be a every down back in the NFL.
Prediction 9-7

NFC North

Chicago Bears - The Bears made a big splash the first day of free agency, adding Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor. The personal has improved but I'm not sure that the coaching has. Lovie Smith has the hottest seat in the league and with Mike Martz as the brain of the new offensive system, it kind of scares me that Jay Cutler is still throwing so many picks. The defense looks worse every year and I don't see this season turning it around.
Prediction - 5-11

Detroit Lions - Call me crazy but I don't hate this Lions team. The offense has a ridiculous amount of young talent. Matt Stafford should be a lot better this year if he stays healthy, Calvin Johnson is always a beast and is also healthy again and having Nate Burleson as the new WR no. 2 should take some pressure of him each week. Jahvid Best and Ndomukong Suh may be the two most explosive rookies in the league.
Prediction - 6-10

Green Bay Packers - The Pack enter the season with high expectations and I believe they will live up to them. Aaron Rodgers should be just as good again this year and the line should be improved with the addition of Iowa great Bryan Bulaga. The defense is not likely to repeat what it did last year but will be more than good enough to keep the offense ahead most of the time.
Prediction - 11-5 Division Champions

Minnesota Vikings - This team is really hard to figure out. Satan does not look healthy enough to last the entire season and even if he does, there is simply no way he repeats his performance from a year ago. He is missing his favorite target for at least half the season and Percy Harvin is having unpredictable injury issues. The team is getting old on both sides of the ball and that is also a concern. With all that said, there is so much talent here that the only way the Vikings miss the playoffs is if the devil goes down really early in the year and Tarvaris has to lead all season.
Prediction - 10-6 Wild Card

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals - Despite all the drama, all the players with off the field issues, and all the history that says don't ever bet on the Bengals, I am betting on the Bengals. I think Benson repeats his success this year, Owens makes the passing game considerably better, and the defense is even better than a year ago. Lets just say I trust the coaches.
Prediction - 11-5 Division Champions - First Round Bye

Cleveland Browns - Things never really seem to change for this team.
Prediction - 5-11

Baltimore Ravens - This team has to love that they just got to add Housh for less than a million dollars this season. The offense is loaded, with Joe Flacco's development continuing rapidly, new receivers in Boldin and Housh, adn Ray Rice should continue be great running the rock. The defense is tough against the run but looks rather thin in the secondary, with one starter gone for the year already and Ed Reed starting the year on the PUP list. I think this concern keeps them from making a deep playoff run.
Prediction - 11-5 Wild Card

Pittsburgh Steelers - This team will go only as far as the defense lets them. The D was a huge letdown last year and kept the team out of the playoffs. I know the Big Ben suspension is the point of conversation for this team, and it will cost them a game or two, but a tough division and a still somewhat shaky defense will have them at home in January.
Prediction - 9-7

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons finished their second consecutive winning season a year ago for the first time in franchise history. This year with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner back to full strength, the team looks to do even bigger things. I think they make it back to the postseason but the defense needs more playmakers before they will get any further than round one.
Prediction - 11-5 Wild Card

Carolina Panthers - This team runs the ball really well, unfortunately, that is all they do well. The defense is just incredibly average in every way and the jury is still out on incumbent QB Matt Moore. The Panthers will never be an easy win but they will not be a winning team either.
Prediction - 6-10

New Orleans Saints - Coming off the teams first ever Super Bowl, the Saints face great expectations again this season and they can score well enough to rise up to them for a second straight year. The defense is a work in progress and it will have a very hard time repeating what it did a year ago. That being said, no way does Drew Brees not take this team back to the playoffs again.
Prediction - 12-4 - Number 1 Seed in NFC

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Watch out Buffalo, 2-14 may not guarantee you the top pick.
Prediction - 2-14

AFC South

Houston Texans - The offense should be just lights out all year long. Andre Johnson is the best WR in football, QB Matt Schaub is a star on the rise, and Adrian Foster looks ready to be a dominant RB. If the defense is decent, I expect this team to finally turn the corner and get their first playoff birth.
Prediction - 10-6 Wild Card

Indianapolis Colts - Do I even have to explain why they'll be good again this year? You should be used to it by now. Here's a short list of why they will be: Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Joseph Addai, Anthony Gonzalez, Donald Brown, Austin Collie, Jeff Saturday, Gary Brackett, Dwight Freeney, and Bob Sanders all healthy.
Prediction - 13-3 Number 1 Seed in AFC

Jacksonville Jaguars - The hardest team in the league to predict. MJD is a beast, the entire rest of the team is one big question mark. I think there are too many uncertainties for this team to compete week in and week out.
Prediction - 4-12

Tennessee Titans - This team did absolutely nothing to improve themselves this offseason and in the NFL that means you got worse. This team is not bad but not good enough to surprise anybody.
Prediction - 8-8

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals - Everything this team did over the last two years needs to be forgotten, this is a terrible football team. The QB situation downgraded from Kurt Warner to Derek Anderson, ouch! The team also traded away it's second best WR, Anquan Boldin, for virtually nothing and two of their three best defensive players left in free agency. Forget about owning the NFC West, that is over for this team.
Prediction - 5-11

San Fransisco 49ers - This team has a shot to go really far. QB Alex Smith finally looks ready to play NFL football, so does TE Vernon Davis, and WR Michael Crabtree has a shot to be a top ten receiver with a full training camp under his belt. The defense just may be the best in football and Patrick Willis is my front runner for Defensive Player of the Year. Frank Gore is a stud running the ball and the offensive line got some massive upgrades in the draft this year.
Prediction - 12-4 Division Champions, First Round Bye

Seattle Seahawks - There isn't a lot to say about his team right now, they aren't bad, but all of their best players are too young to win games for the team yet. Matt Hasselbeck is made of glass and if/when Charlie Whitehurst takes over, the Hawks will really struggle to win games.
Prediction 5-11

St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford makes the Rams two games better this year, whether anyone in St. Louis is actually grateful for a 4 win season is unknown, but at this point they should be.
Prediction - 4-12

NFC West

Denver Broncos - There is nothing great about this team. Nothing. Sorry Denver fans but Kyle Orton is the best player on your team and none of your recent draft picks have managed to stay healthy through training camp. Your best defender is already on IR. Look for a top five draft pick next year.
Prediction 4-12

Kansas City Chiefs - Another bad team that I think will surprise people on offense. Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, and Dwayne Bowe make a solid if unspectacular offense that will sneak up on people all season long. The key additions this offseason were to the coaching staff, adding Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as the offensive and defensive coordinators respectively.
Prediction 7-9

Oakland Raiders - The team has improved and suddenly looks to have hope for the future, not by getting great players, but by releasing JaMarcus Russell. There is however, no playmakers anywhere on this offense. The D will be good enough to make the Raiders more competitive but the wins will probably be about the same.
Prediction 5-11

San Diego Chargers - The division is still theirs to lose but the holdouts of Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson will significantly affect this team. The playoffs will be there again but don't expect any wins, no matter how good Phillip Rivers is.

Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round
Dallas over Minnesota
Green Bay over Atlanta
Baltimore over San Diego
Miami over Houston

Divisional Round
Green Bay over New Orleans
San Fransisco over Dallas
Indianapolis over Baltimore
Cincinnati over Miami

Conference Championships
Indianapolis over Cincinnati
Green Bay over San Fransisco

Super Bowl
Indianapolis over Green Bay

League MVP: Peyton Manning - He is always the smart bet, winning the award five times in a twelve year career.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Week 1

Yes, I have decided to undertake a new column to write on a weekly basis in addition to the rankings column. I am currently enrolled for 19 credits, working an internship, and managing over 25 fantasy football teams, so I figured if I didn't give myself enough writing responsibilities I might have enough time to actually sit and enjoy the games. No, I have found a way to incorporate everything in life into a simple format. All goings-on in my life are split into three categories, good bad, or ugly. Some might say "what about neutral? don't you tink dat you're being a little bit pessimistic?" First of all, learn how to use grammar, the space I allotted to your quotation that I made up looks absolutely terrible, and second of all, the three categories I have work perfectly because there is more negative in the world than good and needs more categories. I mean have you watched news this year? This decade? What natural disaster is our president busy speaking at an anniversary rally for today instead of actually, you know, addressing matters that mean a damn? So yes, two negatives to one positive works just fine and dandy for me thanks.

The idea came to as a way to break down individual characteristics of football games, so I can address teams and players that have no business on my top 25 list, and I'm giving it a shot. WAIT!!!! Football haters, don't run, the inspiration was football and there will be a football emphasis but this column will be packed with that good ol' pessimistic Taylor charm to life in general. So without further ado, let's see how bad this can be......


The USC Offense: The Trojans did not miss a beat throwing or running the ball this week, compiling over 500 yards in the debut of the Lane Kiffin era. There had to be good news eventually right?

USC WR Ronald Brown: Speaking of the Trojan O, WR Ronald Brown had a career game, grabbing three touchdowns through the air, and returning a punt for another. He is my first addition to the Heisman watch list for the season.

University 106 Logic Path: Picture bubble wrap with lines drawn from one bubble to another as to outline a pattern. This was my assignment for this class. Pointless and silly for a senior to have to do? Absolutely, but my teacher pointed mine out as the best and gave me props in front of all the silly freshman around me, so hooray for being old enough to know how college works.

Hawaii WR's: These guys grabbed everything within a three foot radius of them for four quarters against a previously elite defense, making it look silly in the process. The Warriors racked almost 600 yards of offense and it's because the plays the receivers made. Greg Salas is the known weapon but Keahola Pilares also racked up over 200 yards on the night, making his team look very good in the process.

The South Carolina WR's: Big, strong, fast, and just mean enough to flatten a hapless Southern Miss defender like kitten beneath a steamroller.

South Carolina RB Marcus Latimore: The top recruit of the Steve Spurrier era in SC finally hit the turf on Thursday night, racking up 54 yards on 14 carries and scoring on two drives. It's not Heisman worthy but a good start for a true freshman with a putrid offensive line in front of him.

South Carolina Defense: See South Carolina WR's and change the word defender to offensive player.

Griffin: My dog has been cuter than ever this week, finding a bird outside with a broken wing, chasing it down, and then licking it like a wounded member of her own pack.

Missouri CB Carl Gettis' interception vs. Illinois: This play has to be seen to be believed, I accidentally stumbled across it while channel-surfing for a better game. Gettis jumps for the ball early, reaches backwards while falling the opposite direction and grabs a perfectly thrown ball with his left hand and pulls into his body as he falls down to his right. It made no highlight rels though, because we aren't supposed to car about Missouri.

Michigan QB Denard Robinson: The worries at Michigan has been silenced thanks to a QB that looks ready to run at the Heisman, add him to my watch list as well. He was something like the third player ever to run and throw for more than 185 yards in a game. It sounds impressive but I have to wonder, what kind of cut off number is 185? That stat was clearly spat out to impress somebody in the press box and will never spoken of again.

UNC QB T.J. Yates: After an offseason of listening to everyone say that UNC can't win the ACC because of how much this guy sucked, he went out on the field, and gave the world the finger. With his top two receivers and running back suspended for the game, Yates nearly won the game by himself, throwing for 400 yards and a few TD's. He took a team with 12 suspended stars and brought them within two yards of a win over a ranked team.

TCU Offense: That option they were running looked nasty and Oregon State had no answer for it, I don't think this weeks opponent, Tennessee Tech, is likely to fare much better.

Facebook chat: Had anyone else forgotten this even existed? I spend a lot of time on Facebook avoiding homework and never, ever think to check that little bar at the bottom. This week I took procrastinating to the next level, checking the bar, and reconnecting with friends I never talk to, and even a few relatives.

Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas: Thomas was always thought to be one of the nations top backs on a team that doesn't deserve him. This week he proved us all right. Thomas dragged the Wildcats to a two point victory over UCLA, running for over 200 yards and a couple scores, while the passing game generated a whopping 64 yards.

Boise State's run defense: The defense snuffed out the run game altogether, Ryan Wiliams and Darren Evans never got going, if Tyrod Taylor had not made some great scrambles, the vaunted unit would not have even whiffed 100 yards combined. Williams ran for negative yards 8 times out of 24 carries a year after running for almost 1700 yards.

Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor: The one player I said could not beat almost made me look like a chump. Don't let the close score fool you, Taylor is the only reason this game wasn't a complete blowout. The offensive line was a Jell-O wall against the BSU pass rush and let every guy through all game long. Taylor bought time scrambling and while under heavy pressure, was often just too fast for the linemen to catch, proving receivers time to get open. The run game never got going, but Taylor carried the Hokies all game long by running around like a maniac anyways.

My Fantasy Football Teams: I have way, way too many, and there is legitimately no chance I can win with them all. I won't have time. But I am in good position to win most of them, led by my discovery that I am king of the auction draft. One of my teams is so deep, I cut Justin Forsett when I wanted a free agent because he was legitimately the worst player on my team.

Referees: Give the zebras a break if only for once in the year. I watched 12 games this weekend and the stripes didn't ruin a single one, sure they got a few calls wrong, but I didn't see one that was terrible and more importantly none that decided a game. Give it time, SEC play starts this week, and I can already see flags flying over a high five for excessive celebration. Well, if its the underdog high-fiving.

Geico: I'm sure some of you are surprised to see this company on my good list, I'm a little shocked myself. For about, oh I think eight years now, I have despised Geico. Since the birth of the caveman commercials, there has been nothing on TV that I dread seeing more. This week, they made me chuckle. No, it wasn't a caveman commercial, but the new one with the CEO trying to figure out how the gecko carries his cell phone around.

Boise State QB Kellen Moore's Heisman Chances: Kellen Moore did not have a statistically incredible evening, actually, if you watched the game you know he threw a few big clunkers. But the Heisman trust doesn't generally vote on stats, they vote on importance to a top five team most of the time, and Moore's two minute drill Monday night gave the trust a defining moment to look at. 3 TD's to no picks looks pretty good too.

Watching Big Games With Close Friends: When Kellen Moore hit Austin Pettis for the game-wining score with just over a minute left, the room exploded. There were suddenly about eight bodies leaping around screaming, hugging anything in sight, and scaring the shit out of my poor dog for about three minutes. I didn't even see the extra point. Emotions were high, and Jeremy cracked a smile for the first time since halftime.

The WAC: Generally the WAC watches Boise State take an early lead in the conference race, because everyone else plays a top 25 team and starts 0-1. This year the WAC looked great in week one. Hawaii put a good scare in USC, Utah State also scared number 7 Oklahoma, and Boise State and Fresno State scored huge wins over BCS conference heavyweights. Sure San Jose State got rolled by Bama, but we all knew they were among the worst teams in the nation anyways.


South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia's Shoulder Fade: Garcia played a pretty good game but it was a sad sight every time he threw one of these up in the air. I counted five and only one made it within about ten feet of a wide receiver.

The South Carolina Offensive Line: The squad needs to improve on their pass blocking, this unit was thought to be shaky all offseason, and if Thursday's performance against Southern Miss is any indication it's not ready for SEC play. Garcia was under constant pressure and the Golden Eagles aren't exactly known for their defensive presence.

Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz' downfield accuracy: I had never heard of Moniz prior to watching this game and I'll give him props, the dude has a cannon for an arm, throwing balls down the field sixty yards with virtually no effort. The problem is that it's so easy, he seems to do it even when his receivers are only 45-45 yards downfield. The deep threat was open all night, if he had any accuracy at all on big plays, Hawaii would have won.

ESPN Production Values: All weekend, every game I watched got that irritating lag effect you see from time to time, and a few black screens. ESPN needs to remember that going to 3D doesn't mean you should give up on the 300 million still watching in 2D.

The Heisman Hopes of Mark Ingram, Dion Lewis, Ryan Williams, Jake Locker, and LaMichael James: Ingram missed a game and his backup made him look very replacable, which is really bad in the voter's eyes. James is in the situation, his backup ran for 4 TD's and caught one more in the first half alone, so get ready to split carries. Williams and Lewis both just did not play very well in big games and Locker won't win anything if he doesn't start winning any more games.

Marvel Previews: I hate to say it but it looks like this Heroic Age is going to kill my interest in the Marvel Universe at least short term. This months previews weren't awful but nothing in there got me excited and for a fan that used to buy 60+ books a month that is bad news.

Miami (OH): You held the fifth ranked team in the country to under 200 yards until their last offensive possession and got blown out. Why are you even playing football if you can't stay within twenty of a team that looks terrible.

TCU Secondary: The Horned Frogs had one big weak spot in Saturday nights clash of ranked powers, they gave up a lot of big plays. James Rodgers was open all night, scored one long touchdowns, and was open for two more that his QB missed. TCU has a decently easy schedule but Baylor will look scary if they keep letting wideouts get open like that, not to mention Utah and BYU.

The SEC: The conference that likes to remind you that it deserves to be in the national title game even if the champ goes 8-4. In their minds that conference is just unbeatable and the title game is always supposed to be number two versus their best squad. This week LSU was a questionable no-call on PI from the 2 yard line from losing to a team with 9 suspended starters, Ole Miss lost at home to a FCS team, and Florida took until the fourth quarter to put away a MAC team that went 1-11 a year ago.

Griffin at a football party: My dog spend the majority of Monday nights BSU-VT game curled in a ball hiding from as many people as she could. Everyone was nice to her, but there was just too much screaming for my little cowards ears.

Colds: My wife and I both got one, which sucks, especially having to miss school during the second week of classes.

Weight Loss: Yeah, I'm supposed to be working on shedding some of my marriage weight right now, but then I got a cold, which is a really good excuse not to work out. Then football season started on Thursday, giving me no motivation whatsoever to leave the couch, or to stop eating as much junk food as I could justify force feeding to myself.

Navy Coach Kenn Niumatalo: I have never seen a man so clearly rip a referee a new one before. On the way into the locker room at halftime, Niumalato stopped to scream at the referee, getting nose to nose with him and grimacing with a look that would give children nightmares. How he avoided getting thrown out is beyond me.

Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams: Williams ran for under 50 yards on 24 carries, ignore the three touchdowns, Williams had a bad game and if this continues the Hokies can kiss their ACC title hopes goodbye.

Thunderbolts: This weeks issue is easily the worst issue I have read since Warren Ellis first took over the reigns in 2006. Disjointed, paced way too fast, and just lacked cohesiveness in general. This has been one of my favorite books in my time reading comics and I really hope this was just a one issue blunder.

Randy Moss: Starting to complain about his current contract situation. The Oakland Raiders have advised me to trade him off all my fantasy teams if that doesn't change by week three.


Oregon State QB Ryan Katz: The new starter for the high hopes Beavers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn on Saturday night's premiere matchup in college football, going just 9 of 25 with 159 yards. Yes, he threw two touchdowns but there wasn't a corner within 5 yards of his reciever one of them. A bad start for a squad that hopes to win the PAC-10 this year.

X-Men Legacy: Every time I try to read this book, I put it down half way through and say to myself "Taylor, why do you keep trying to read this garbage?" I don't have an answer for that. After three years Mike Carey has finally lowered the book to the point where every time I pick it up, I put it down thinking I can't read any X-Men books anymore, even though it's the only onw I don't like. I swear I'm done now until the author changes.

Southern Miss: The whole team. I thought this team had a chance to pull off the seasons first big upset Thursday evening, instead they were dominated in every way. Vanderbilt could have crushed these guys, hell, Idaho State may have humiliated them.

Defense in the USC-Hawaii Game: Yes, these teams did actually field defenders. Both teams racked up over 500 yards of offense, on one play I watched a USC RB run straight past seven Hawaii defenders completely untouched. People expect this kind of game from Hawaii but the USC faithful might be getting a little worried.

Hawaii Kickoffs: I really don't know what these kicks were supposed to be. Throughout the entire second half, Hawaii kicked what looked like an onside kick, but it traveled about thirty yards and USC returned it every time. Announcers couldn't tell if this supposed to be a pooch kick or a terrible attempt at an onside kick. I'm still trying to figure it out.

South Carolina's Mascot: It's supposed to a rooster but that stupid costume just turns into a giant red cone at the bottom. I know that mascots are supposed to be a bit silly but they might want to redesign the damn thing to actually look like a Gamecock.

The Redhead on the New 5 Hour Energy Commercial: She is just hideous. This chick has eyes wider than Jay Leno's chin. She gives me the chills every time this commercial comes on.

Forearm Shots in Football: Bryant Moniz was knocked out of the game against USC when a USC linebacker tackles him by throwing a forearm into his head. Leaving him woozy and knocking him out of the game, I am completely lost as to how this could not be a penalty.

Being UNC: This team is very, very talented but with the NCAA deciding to hold an investigation on the team, half of their starters will watch from the bench while they figure everything out. If the Reggie Bush investigation is any indication, the Tar Heels should get their guys back on the field at some point in 2014. North Carolina's season now looks completely lost.

Mark May: When a commentator makes a comment about Boise State being in the national title hunt, May replies with the simple comment "Yeah, but the Broncos are probably going to be 0-1 on Tuesday morning so we can probably leave them out of the conversation." Good to see that one week in and he has already committed to completely bias again this season.

Running Out of Options: Florida is committed to running the ball but if Saturday is any indication, they will be hunting for a QB to run the option again by November. The line was pitiful but the backs did absolutely nothing to bail the team out and Brantley did not look ready to throw every down.

UConn, LSU, and Ole Miss: All of these teams looked really bad this weekend, LSU actually won their game, but struggled against a terrible offense missing half their starters. The Huskies were my pick to win the Big East but they looked like a bottom tier C-USA team in getting clobbered by Michigan. As for Ole Miss, well the score speaks for itself.

BSU Event Parking: Dave Matthews Band poisoned the Boise atmosphere with their live music last week and as a result, I was informed that my money was wasted. I parked in a metered spot near the SUB, paid for the spot, and then turned to find a parking employee rushing towards yelling that I could not park there. I informed her that I had already paid for the spot and her response was "I'm sorry, but you have to move anyway." There were no signs posted but she insisted that they needed to leave the spot available to place people for the concert. After a short but heated argument, it was determined that I had spent my money, which would not be refunded, to park off campus and walk to the SUB.

The Big East: Two time defending conference champion Cincinnati lost to a WAC team that wasn't Boise State, conference favorite Pitt lost to Utah to start the season, and UConn got destroyed by Michigan. The other team that is supposed to be good, West Virginia, beat an FCS squad 31-0 and didn't put the game away until late and Rutgers didn't hit double digits against their FCS squad until half way through the third quarter. Criticisms that this conference gets an automatic BCS bowl bid and the MWC doesn't have never been more legitimate.

Penzoil Advertising: They have been running the same commercial, I mean exactly the same, every football season for eight years. You know the one where cars go slow due to engine sludge and the cop guesses how slow the car is going and the other cop turns to him and goes "YEAHHAHAHA" in the worlds hokiest laugh ever. Time to move on guys.

Fun? No, You Must Be Thinking of Some Other Sport: Apparently now it is an automatic 15 yard penalty for excessive celebration if a player does that silly little flip into the end zone at the end of a touchdown run. Really? That is going to far? It doesn't even delay the game at all. The NCAA is slowly moving to the day when players will be suspended for jumping in the air and doing a chest bump, or hoisting their coach on their shoulders after a big win. Hey, maybe while we're at it should ban the Gatorade bath, and take away scholarships for gives post game interviews in excess of 30 seconds.

The MWC's TV Contract: I am one of the hundreds of millions of US citizens that still has cable instead of satellite, so I can't watch MWC games. That means no Utah-Pitt, and no BYU-Washington. Epic fail.

Virginia Tech cheerleader Amanda Tompkins: I swear this girl found a way into every sideline shot the entire game, consistently crowding referees while they reviewed plays, and hiding behind coaches during sideline interviews. She is not easy on the eyes, boasting a smile that could make a baby cry.

Zack Theander's Fantasy Football Team: I was in my final draft of the season this week and my first with my good friend Zack. Unfortunately for Zack, he was at work, and his team got autodrafted. Autodraft teams are generally not great, but having Jeremy Maclin as your top WR is just brutal, I felt bad for him but will still gloat while I kick his ass all year long.

NFL Cuts: Dear Seattle Seahawks, T.J. Houshmanzadeh thanks you for his release. He also thanks you for the nearly eight million dollars it will cost you, now he is free to sign with the Super Bowl contender Baltimore Ravens for virtually nothing, instead of playing on a likely 4-5 win team.

Thus concludes my first shot at good, bad, and ugly. Since I forgot to post picks in my top 25 column, here are some now for this weekends games.

Michigan 24 - Notre Dame 20
Ohio State 27 - Miami 14
Alabama 35 - Penn. State 17
UPSET SPECIAL: South Carolina 21 - Georgia 20
Florida State 31 - Oklahoma 24
Oregon 41 - Tennessee 21

Miami 30 - Buffalo 13
New Orleans 31 - Minnesota 17
Indianapolis 33 - Houston 27
UPSET SPECIAL: Cincinnati 27 - New England 17