Monthly Archives: October 2011

It’s Miller Time In Columbus

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4 years ago I sat in the north end zone row AA at a night time tilt between Ohio State and Penn State. It was the kind of game that would’ve made Bo and Woody proud, it was a 10-6 ugly defensive struggle that drained every ounce of energy and alcohol from my body.

The lasting memory of the game was watching Terrelle Pryor, the overhyped freshman sensation from just outside of Pittsburgh, PA hoist a bomb in the end zone only to have it intercepted right in front of me.

Pryor was a cocky cat who wasn’t used to failure much in his high school days and the end result had him crying with his helmet on as he sat on the OSU bench as time expired.

Pryor never did match his hype at OSU. Sure he won two BCS games and went 31-4, but in the big games when we needed a boost Pryor couldn’t provide it. He was a great numbers QB but you couldn’t count on him in the clutch (ahem Purdue game).

Fast forward to this past weekend. Same scenario for the Buckeyes but different situations. These Buckeyes were not a top ten force like they had been in the Pryor era. They were a 4-3 team trying to make something out of a season that started with scandal and morphed into a nightmare. They were facing a Wisconsin team that was coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Michigan State yet still had a shot to win the Rose Bowl.

The game was reminiscent of the Bucks loss to Nebraska earlier in the year, they looked better than their opponent but had allowed them back into the game thanks to poor defensive breakdowns that led to two Wisconsin scores in two minutes and a 28-26 deficit.

As the offense took the field for the last time I finally got a look at Braxton Miller the much ballyhooed QB from southwest Ohio who was a four-star recruit but lacked the national appeal that Pryor had. I had heard a little bit about him but hadn’t really seen him due to my work schedule (not having saturdays off sucks). He seemed decent but his stat sheets showed that he wasn’t a good passer at all (hence that 1-4 classic versus Illinois that OSU somehow won). Yet here he was taking the field trying to salvage what little bit of a season OSU had left.

With under a minute left Miller guided OSU into Wisconsin territory and set us up with a first and ten with under 40 seconds left. Miller took the snap dropping back deep, he felt the pressure collapsing around him and spun out and began to run for the first down as he approached the line of scrimmage Miller slowed up and right before he crossed the line of scrimmage he tossed a perfect bomb into the end zone that landed in freshman wide receiver Devin Smith’s hands. To say it was nuts at the bar I watched the game at would be an understatement. Pandemonium ensued and OSU was back on top for good thanks to a defensive stop in the last 20 seconds.

Miller saved our season but he did so much more than just that.

Miller did something no OSU QB since Craig Krenzel of all people could do, he came through in the clutch and in the process gave the Buckeyes hope for the future whether it’s next week or two years from now.

Miller came of age under the lights as a freshman and began his legacy. Unlike Pryor who was made off of his name alone Miller has done something to warrant the hype that is about to surround him at one of the biggest football schools in the country.

He put the team on his back for the final drive of the game, made a dazzling play and gave the Buckeyes a win and if they play their cards right the Buckeyes can still find themselves in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game and Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Not bad for a kid who I wasn’t even sure was able to run an offense two days ago.

Honestly I like Miller more than Pryor, and not because of the scandal and backlash. He’s quicker, has a better arm and doesn’t seem hesitant in his decisions where as Pryor likes to take off at the first sign of danger. Miller seems like a natural at the position. If he can put the passing together next year then Miller could find himself as a darkhorse Heisman trophy candidate.

He has a long way to go interns of production numbers before he starts dreaming about awards but after this past Saturday he’s off to a great start.

Miller did what Pryor couldn’t do under the lights at The Shoe. He led the Buckeyes back from the dead and gave us all a reason to party until four in the morning.

Pryor got his hype from his name, Miller is about to get his from his play. The stories have already begun too. Just before he took the field Miller apparently looked at embattled coach Luke Fickells and winked at him before leading the winning drive.

Did it happen? Who knows. But with the result of the game it’s a hell of a story to tell people and a great way to begin a career.

I wish I was in the south end zone this time to see it.

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October Lull Announcement

So as you have seen my blog was dormant all week. Working 60 hours sucks and has slowed the creative juices. Fear not things get back to normal next week. Expect a ton of posts and some new tweaks. Higher learning will return, plus I will have random thoughts, nfl power rankings and some other goodies. Thanks for reading as always and stay tuned.


NFL Picks

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Not to brag (whenever someone says that they really are trying to brag) but I went 12-1 last week… Let’s see if it can continue

SEATTLE VS. CLEVELAND

it’s the Holmgren bowl as the Browns GM faces the last team he coached. Colt McCoy has had an up and down year but he should straighten it out here

Cleveland 20- Seattle 17

ATLANTA VS. DETROIT

Coming off of a disappointing performance against San Fran the Lions should outmuscle the inconsistent Falcons.., unless Michael Turner has a huge day against the 31st ranked run defense in the league

Detroit 31- Atlanta 24

HOUSTON VS. TENNESSEE

This was supposed to be the Texans year, after this game it’ll be the Titans division for the taking.

Tennessee 23- Houston 13

DENVER VS. MIAMI

It’s Tebow time in the Andrew Luck playoff game. This one will be ugly.

(side note: why are the Dolphins honoring the 2008 National Champion Florida Gators with Tim Tebow on the opposing sidelines? Why not honor Michigan for it’s 1999 Outback Bowl win over Alabama next time Tom Brady’s in town?)

Denver 16- Miami 7

SAN DIEGO VS. NEW YORK JETS

The Jets didn’t look good on Monday and this is normally the time of year the Chargers start to turn it up. Something tells me this time Rex Ryan wrote a check his team won’t be able to cash.

San Diego 27- NYJ 14

CHICAGO VS. TAMPA BAY IN LONDON

Were still playing games there? Josh Freeman plays Wayne Rooney, and the Bears secondary plays the Queens Park Rangers goalie.

Tampa 20- Chicago 16

WASHINGTON VS. CAROLINA

Let the Redskin swoon begin. Cam throws for 325 in a win.

Carolina 28- Washington 17

KANSAS CITY VS. OAKLAND

KC has awoken after a dismal start, their hit streak should continue as Carson Palmer tries to get in sync with his née teammates.

KC 21- Oakland 17

PITTSBURGH VS. ARIZONA

I’m so not sold on Pittsburgh, no consistency on offense and breakdowns on defense. Beanie Wells runs for 100 yards and the Cardinals pull the upset.

AZ 30- Pittsburgh 23

ST. LOUIS VS. DALLAS

Cowboys win… With three Tony Romo picks

Dallas 26- STL 20

GREEN BAY VS. MINNESOTA

Christian Ponder meet Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. Vikings secondary watch Aaron Rodgers run it up on you.

Green Bay 42- Minnesota 20

INDIANAPOLIS VS. NEW ORLEANS

Peyton Manning’s neck messed up the Colts season and fans interest in these primetime games.

New Orleans 35 – Indy 17

BALTIMORE VS. JACKSONVILLE

Why is this a Monday night game? Ugh, Ravens D gives Blaine Gabbert nightmares…

FLEX GAMES PLEASE!!!!

Baltimore 24- Jacksonville 3


College Football Picks

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College pick time…

NO THANKS I’LL PASS

(11) Kansas state over Kansas

(23) Illinois over Purdue

(9) Arkansas over Ole Miss

(12) Virginia Tech over Boston College

(17) Texas A&M over Iowa State

(5) Boise State over Air Force

(10) Oregon over Colorado

(19) Houston over Marshall

(2) Alabama over Tennessee

SURE I’LL GIVE IT LOOK SEE

(3) Oklahoma over Texas Tech

(21) Penn State over Northwestern

(4) Oklahoma State over Missouri

(7) Clemson over North Carolina

UPSET SPECIALS

Syracuse over (15) West Virginia

Miami over (22) Georgia Tech

BEATDOWN SPECIAL

(13) Nebraska over Minnesota (40 point win… Seriously)

MUST SEE TV

(8) Stanford over (25) Washington (the huskies will be a challenge but Andrew Luck and company will take care of biz)

(6) Wisconsin over (16) Michigan State (a Big Ten classic under the lights in East Lansing where Russell Wilson will boost his Heisman bid)

(20) Auburn over (1) LSU (maybe I’m overvaluing the suspensions of Tyrann Mathieu and Spencer ware, or maybe I think Auburn is finally coming together after a shaky start… We shall see)


The Price Is Wrong For Palmer

The Raiders paid a hefty price for Carson Palmer.

Let me tell you bad of an idea it is that the Oakland Raiders gave up so much for Carson Palmer:

First of all look at Carson Palmer’s production last year. he threw for over 4000 yards again but most of it came in garbage time as the Cincinnati Bengals limped to a 4-12 record and a massive overhaul in the offseason. Palmer was deceptively horrible as he consistently overthrew receivers, threw horrible interceptions and killed more Bengals drives then I can remember. People want to blame Chad Ochocinco for all of the issues in Cinci last year but it’s not his fault that Palmer couldn’t hit him, Terrell Owens, Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley or any of their 89 talented receivers at all.

Palmer should’ve taken most of the fall for that season because it was all on his shoulders. Ever since his knee injury in the playoffs against the Steelers years ago Palmer hasn’t been the same QB. Maybe he’s scared to get hit but the simple fact is that he wasn’t losing accuracy and arm strength and couldn’t get the ball up the field at all.

Speaking of blame here’s reason number two; Palmer’s attitude towards the Bengals was a joke. People kept making excuses for Palmer’s behavior saying that it was because Bengals ownership is extremely cheap (which is a fact) and that they didn’t want to build a winner. Reality is that the Bengals were building something and all of Palmer’s backers didn’t want to see it.

The team had just come off of a AFC North title and added players through the draft and gave Palmer more weapons than you could imagine. It was up to Palmer to make it work and he didn’t. instead of bearing down and going at it again he whined, complained moaned and wanted out of Cinci. He told ownership that he would rather retire than play another game in Cinci and bragged that he had $80 million in the bank to work with.

So Bengals Owner Mike Brown did what most GM’s should do in this situation, he told Palmer to stay home, drafted Andy Dalton and moved forward.

(side note: let’s give props to Mike Brown for not punking out to a player’s demands. Brown isn’t the most liked guy in Southern Ohio but he showed gumption in pressing ahead and not giving in to Palmer’s demands and did what was right for the team. what he got was a steal of a deal and more insurance for the Bengals future as the team looks like it’s getting better by the week.)

Andy Dalton is doing just fine in Palmer's place in Cinci.

That brings us to point three; do you see the Bengals without Palmer in the locker room? When the Colts lost Peyton Manning they fell flat on their face and haven’t gotten up since. The Bengals have thrived with Dalton who looks like the real deal and A.J. Green who is a beast of a wide receiver and will only get better. If Palmer is such an elite QB then why is a his now former team, who were supposed to be terrible, 4-2 and talking about the playoffs?

There have been whispers about how the locker room is much more peaceful and fun without Palmer (or Ochocinco) in it. is this really a guy you want to carry your team to the playoffs.

The final point is this; the Raiders gave the Bengals 2 possible first round picks in this year and next year’s draft to get Palmer. That’s insane.

No other team in their right mind would pay that much for a QB especially now that draft picks are much cheaper and when you look at the fact that scouts all say that Palmer isn’t the same QB as he was before 2005.

I don’t care how good of a relationship Palmer has with head coach Hue Jackson, or the fact that you needed a QB, the price was too high for a QB that is not elite, has arm and accuracy issues, and hasn’t played a game all year long.

Also think about his, you gave up a 3rd round pick in the supplemental draft to get Terrell Pryor and make him your QB of the future. That’s three picks you handed off for QB’s and one might never see the light of day in Oakland. if the Palmer deal doesn’t work then the Raiders just killed themselves for two years in the draft and could fall right back to the 5 or 4 win plateau in no time.

This experiment gets started this weekend as Palmer will get his first start of the season against the suddenly awoken Kansas City Chiefs. Palmer will have to get to know his receivers quickly and get the offense down just as quick.

If he does and the Raiders are successful then forget I ever wrote this blog…

But if he doesn’t then the Raiders will pay dearly, and Mike Brown will reap the rewards of it.


Higher Learning Week 7

This aint good for Oregon.

Not an exciting week in college football but Here’s what we learned last week:

  1. Oregon’s injuries are becoming a serious issue. First LaMichael James went down with an injury to his elbow and now Darron Thomas is questionable after a leg injury marred a 41-27 win over Arizona State. Oregon doesn’t have to worry about James or Thomas’s health this week at Boulder to face Colorado nor will they against Wazzu in two weeks. But with big games coming up against Stanford and Washington you have to wonder if the Ducks will be strong enough to handle the dark horse national title contenders in Palo Alto or the upstarts in Seattle.
  2. Georgia Tech certainly can disappoint can’t they. One minute they look like a clear cut ACC favorite, the next they’re losing to Virginia. Last week’s stinker comes at a bad time as the Jackets begin a stretch against Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech and another loss could kiss their Orange Bowl hopes good-bye. One way that they can stop another swoon is passing the ball better. 2-8 and 2 picks is totally unacceptable even for the triple option.
  3. Michigan State might be for real after beating previously unbeaten Michigan 28-14 in East Lansing last weekend. Their defense continues to impress as one of the nation’s best as they shut down Denard Robinson in impressive style limiting him to 42 yards on the ground and forcing him into a 9-24 day and sacking him 7 times. If this Spartans team is truly for real then they will prove it against Wisconsin this week.
  4. The West is certainly best in the SEC. As Auburn, Alabama and LSU keep rolling SEC East powers South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee all continue to struggle. South Carolina looks like it’s safe to make it to the Georgia Dome for the SEC title game but a 14-12 win over disappointing Mississippi State gives us all reason as to why they won’t win against any of the 3 West powers. Connor Shaw came back down to earth and they lost Marcus Lattimore for the rest of the season. The Gamecocks should be safe against the Gators coming up but don’t expect much out of them after.
  5. Illinois disappoints… again. After a promising start they lost to the offensively inept Ohio State Buckeyes this week and looked  just as bad. The Illini turned the ball over three times and never got a good flow going. Losses like these are no wonder the Illini never can get over the hump in the Big Ten.

THE GOOD

That blur was Senquez Golson... ouch.

 

Ryan Tannehill took advantage of Baylor’s poor pass D to the tune of 415 yards and 6 td’s in a 55-28 in College Station.

THE BAD

The Big East was rejected by Army, Navy and the Air Force last weekend for admittance… they also contacted Boise State… yeah this won’t end well for the Big East.

THE UGLY

Sure Ohio State won this past weekend, but they had one completion… one. Even Tresselball wasn’t this conservative.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Brooklyn Buckeye man crush Kellen Moore: 26-30 for 338 yards and 4td’s in a 63-13 win for Boise over Colorado State.

EMBARASSMENT OF THE WEEK

Senquez Golson of Ole Miss… what Trent Richardson did to your ankles was horrible. YouTube that please.

TOP 5

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Boise State
  5. Wisconsin

HEISMAN TOP 5

  1. Kellen Moore, Boise State
  2. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
  3. Trent Richardson, Alabama
  4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
  5. Andrew Luck, Stanford

The best matchups this weekend includes #20 Auburn vs. #1 LSU,  #25 Washington vs. #8 Stanford and #6 Wisconsin vs. #16 Michigan State.


The Decision: Jim Harbaugh Style

 

Harbaugh had a tough decision after his best moment as coach at Stanford.

THIS BLOG WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PUBLISHED BACK IN JANUARY BUT I GUESS I GOT SIDE TRACKED AND FORGOT ABOUT… FAIL!!! ANYWAY ENJOY IT NOW ONLY TEN MONTHS TOO LATE…

Of course Stanford people all feel that Jim Harbaugh should come back to Palo Alto. How would you feel about a guy that took over a 1-11 program at the bottom of the PAC-10 and took them to 12-1, an Orange Bowl win and a dark-horse national title contender in 2011?

With Andrew Luck returning for his junior year (redshift) earlier today all Harbaugh needs to do is sign a new deal and Stanford has it’s two main ingredients to make a charge to New Orleans in 2012.

The problem is that Harbaugh, unlike most sought after coaches who ditch their programs for greener pastures (Randy Edsall) is not under contract. Harbaugh can technically do what he wants to do. There are no obligations, no buyouts and no ditching bailing out on the responsibilities of the program he signed on with.

He’s a free agent, if you noticed he hasn’t asked to go anywhere because everyone is coming to him. The Miami Dolphins flew in to see him, Oakland and San Fran drove to his house to speak to him, he’s having his own LeBron James moment right now.

So the question in that sense truly is “What should he do?” Should he be like Gary Patterson and be loyal to the program he built up to it’s current glorious position and continue to build? As great as that sounds shouldn’t he also factor in the Greg Schiano factor?

Schiano is the Rutgers head coach who could’ve left while the iron was hot and taken the Miami or Michigan jobs when they were available. What he did instead was stay in Piscataway to try an build on the success that he had recently acquired from a 10-2 campaign in 2006. The result? Rutgers has returned to it’s mediocre ways and finished 4-8 this year and Schiano is stuck there.

Should he go back to his alma mater in Ann Arbor and resurrect Michigan?

Harbaugh chose San Francisco and hasnt looked back.

He played quarterback there and seems like the perfect guy to lead the maize and blue with his pro-style offense and tough demeanor. The problem is that the players currently in place are meant for a spread offense and his defense is… well… non existent. He has one big rebuilding job to in Ann Arbor that will be tougher to do than at Palo Alto due to the legacy and tradition at Michigan. He’ll have more room to breathe than Rich Rodriguez ever had but the pressure will be fierce no less.

What about the NFL? The 49ers and Raiders are a stones throw from his house and he’ll have to very young and talented teams at his disposal.

He has the backs (Frank Gore and Darren McFadden), the receivers (Vernon Davis and Jacoby Ford) and two pretty strong defenses, all each team needs is a QB and he should be set.

Except would you want to work for Al Davis in Oakland or the York family in San Francisco? The York clan has all but destroyed a once great franchise with their cheapness and ineffective way ls of running a franchise. As far as Davis goes… ask Art Shell, Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable how trying to work with the walking corpse turns out.

Miami? Eh. You’re QB is a Michigan man in Chad Henne, but he’s a bum. Then there’s the lack of a running game and questions in the middle of that defense.

What about Carolina? You get Jimmy Clausen… ok scratch that.

You see the myriad of decisions facing Harbaugh. He could stay at Stanford and contend for a title in the immediate future, resurrect one of the greatest college programs ever, return two legendary NFL teams to glory and duplicate the success of his brother John in Baltimore or who knows what.

Whatever his decision is it ain’t going to be an easy one. It’s a gift and a curse to be this wanted. Everyone adores you, but the wrong decision could set you back for a long time (Schiano, Rich Rod and Dan Hawkins). Harbaugh’s decision is way bigger than LeBron’s because it could affect two separate divisions of football at once. Heisman and a title, hail to the victors, or commitment to excellence… what should he do?