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The Ultimate Tim Tebow Breakdown

Tebow just keeps on winning.

In hip-hop culture one of the first things that is embedded in your brain is that haters never prosper. No one likes a hater, haters are despised. Hating on the status and appearance of others is a sin in the bible of hip-hop, and if you are marked as a hater it tarnishes your reputation wherever you go and with whatever you do.

The problem with that is that there is a long standing tradition in hip-hop of what’s known as keeping it real. Being real with yourself and your feelings at all times is a must and most rappers and followers of the culture try their best to follow  suit without looking like fools… or haters.

Rapper Common said it best in his song “The 6th Sense,” “if I don’t like it, I don’t like it, that don’t mean that I’m hating.” Sometimes the lines of keeping it real and being a hater are so paper thin that the wrong interpretation of a topic can lead you in either direction. There’s no such thing as debatable arguments in hip-hop either you’re a hater or you’re not. When you say what’s on your mind at all times you risk crossing that line of hater/ truth teller and leave yourself open to criticism.

With that in mind, I present to you Tim Tebow.

I’m sick of Tim Tebow. I think Tim Tebow is one of the worst NFL QB’s that has ever graced the planes of any stadium. He’s the most overrated, overhyped player in my lifetime that gets too much attention, gets too many passes for being mediocre and is a product of a machine that wants to make him the next big thing even though Stevie Wonder can see that he isn’t a good QB…

But he wins games.

I've been sick of Tebow since he was at Florida.

And that right there is the most frustrating part about any argument that has ever involved in Tebow, he just wins.

Scouts know that he’s bad, his own coach John Fox came out this week and said his team would be “screwed” if they ran a regular offense. But somehow in this shotgun option style offense (keep in mind the option is a college based offense that has never worked until this month somehow) Tebow has a better record than Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Mike Vick, Philip Rivers and Cam Newton.

But if you were starting an NFL franchise and needed a QB and those were the guys available, Tebow would be the last guy taken right? This is why every Tebow result is so frustrating for anyone to argue.

Take last night’s game for example. Tebow before the last drive had 68 passing yards and was 6-15 for the game. He consistently overthrew receivers, took too long with his decisions and couldn’t lead a lobster into a pot of boiling water… then all of a sudden he leads the Broncos on a 95 yard game-winning drive where he scampers into the end zone on a 20 yard touchdown and beats the Jets. His finishing line was 9-20, 108 yards, 68 yards rushing and a TD. Those are not good stats… but he won.

So now when you’re on Twitter, and watching ESPN and listening to First Take with the biggest Tebow slopper of them all Skip Bayless you have to sit back and take all of the Tebow loving because he won again, even though 95% of the league would take Kyle Orton as a starting QB over Tebow.

There are so many reasons as to why I loathe the topic of Tim Tebow and it’s a combination of football, perception and media hype.

First off is the football aspect. To me Tim Tebow gets way too much credit for his passion, and leadership ability. Yeah he wins, but it aint all him by any means. At Florida the defense lead by Brandon Spikes deserved a lot of credit for shutting down SEC offenses and putting fear in to most QB’s eyes. Yet all you saw was Tebow’s manic behavior of screaming at his teammates, running into huddles and jumping up and down waving his arms in the air and urging the crowd behind to get fired up.

The guy next to Tebow is the better QB.

It’s as if Tebow was the measuring stick for every QB at the time in college football. So leadership is based on hollering and screaming until your face is red. I don’t think that works for most leaders, ask John Wooden who was a stoic, calm figure that was a bigger winner than Tebow ever will be. Too far back? How about the QB that came before him Chris Leak?

Leak was just as talented and as good of a leader as Tebow was but never gets any credit for his skill. People always say that Tebow led Florida to two national championships at Florida… um, he was a part of two titles, Leak led Florida to the first one, Tebow just did a jump pass or two. Yet there is never discussion of how Leak led Florida to the beginning of the SEC’s dominant national title run, never talk of how he overcame massive pressure from Florida fans and the media to win offensive MVP against Ohio State in the 2007 title game, it all goes back to Tebow.

As a football fan what incenses me is how Tebow has gotten to the NFL and stayed while just as accomplished QB’s who have won just has much weren’t even given a chance to make it as quarterbacks. I loved Pat White at West Virginia, he ran a similar offense at WVU as Tebow did at Florida but was more accurate, had a better arm and better skills as a QB. But when it came time to get to the league he was only a ‘wildcat” QB and wasn’t given a proper chance to show his skill and is now out of the league.

I think you know where this leads to now when I just name dropped two accomplished black QB’s as opposed to a white one. If you don’t think race has anything to do with this than you need to find Jesus (and no his name isn’t Tebow though some Broncos would like to think differently).

Tim Tebow is the all-American, boy next door, wholesome kid that people have been waiting on for years. I’m not knocking Tebow on his faith, his way of life or him as a person; I’m sure that he’s a great person to meet and talk to and get to know. But it’s as if Tebow is the only religious, god fearing, humble guy on the planet.

There was never talk of how religious A.C. Green was during his time in the NBA. Green was a devout Christian who was notorious for being a virgin long into his NBA career and in his 30’s. We never celebrated him in the way we do Tebow now. Or how about Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Polamalu is a great family man who his very religious, hell two weeks ago the guy got fined by the NFL for calling his wife on the sidelines to let her know that he was ok after getting a concussion because he knew she was worried about him.

In case you were wondering he led Florida to the title 5 years ago, not Tebow.

But we don’t celebrate their pledge to being great family men and close with God. To the eye Tim Tebow is God. Tebow and his faith and the way he is constantly gets shoved into our face as if to say that we should be like Tebow. Unfortunately Tebow’s style of religious behavior isn’t for everyone. Some, such as myself, like to keep our faith to ourselves and be mindful of others as to not offend them. There is Lenten passage that we read every year at my church from Matthew 6:5:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

In other words let Tebow be boastful of his faith, the rest of us will do it in our own corners. Lots of pro athletes are super religious and follow their faith to the full extent of the word of God. However, it’s not all out to be put on display for the world to see and they like it like that. Todd Heap is a former Baltimore Raven and a Mormon and he is a strict Mormon. I waited on the guy several times during my days of waiting tables at PF Changs he doesn’t drink, is faithful to his wife and is a good guy. However, you never hear anything from him about his faith because that’s how he chooses to be.

Truth is that we should probably live more like Tebow, but there is this thing called free will where we want to live how we want to. That’s life, we have different opinions of how things should be done and for a lot of us, myself included Tebow’s way aint for me.

But to be fair to Tebow this isn’t exactly all of his doing. There was a point in college where me and some buddies invented the “Tebow Drinking Game,” it goes like this: watch College Gameday or a Florida game and whenever anyone says Tebow or Jesus, drink (how catholic of me I know). Let’s just say we got drunk long before Lee Corso put on the head gear or Florida started the second half.

More than anything the Media is the reason that Tebow is as big of a machine as he is. ESPN, writers, corporate America push this guy on us so much that after a while you can’t help but either love or hate the guy.

Why do you think Broncos fans were booing Kyle Orton so badly even though the misfortunes of their franchise weren’t his fault? Orton got such a raw deal in all of this because truthfully Orton is the best QB on that team. He’s more accurate, better at handling an offense and it shows in the numbers. However, once Tebow got into the last three games of last year it was over. Tebow wasn’t impressive at all except for in spurts but Broncos fans caught Gator fever and soon began calling his name and the media followed.

During the preseason there were more media members at Tebow’s locker than at Orton’s and Orton was named the starter. Fans cheered every move Tebow made and became driven to make him their QB. Fans were planning on buying a billboard urging Coach John Fox to bench Orton and start Tebow. Thanks ESPN thanks a lot.

Tebow is a flavor of the month that has last 6 years and now has endorsements. The guy appeared in three games last year and before the season started had a Nike deal and a Jockey contract, really?

Even sponsors love Tim Tebow.

This is just how it goes, advertisers and media members find someone to gravitate towards and when they find him they put him on a pedestal and when they do they shove him down your throat until you can’t take it and begin to make fun of him.

They did it with Peyton Manning awhile ago. There wasn’t a time where you could turn on your TV and not see Manning at any time of the day. He was in every commercial possible selling TV’s, phones, Direct TV, anything. The difference between Manning and Tebow is that Manning has that charisma for it all so seeing him so much didn’t really matter because he was a cool guy. With Tebow there has been a history of hearing about him so much that even though we don’t see him as much as Manning when we do its nauseating.

A month ago against the Lions a Denver newspaper billed the game as Good vs. Evil, guess who was the good? Afterwards Ndamukong Suh said tongue in cheek “evil won.” That’s why people hate Tebow. The city of Detroit has gone through more hardship than any other city in the U.S., the Lions are good once again and a great story to rally around, but they play Tebow its good vs. Evil… gimme a break.

I think that is where my disdain for Tebow mostly comes from. The media has built him up so much that his personality and the way that he is has overshadowed one very important thing when it comes to his actual job on the field…

HE’S A TERRIBLE QUARTERBACK!!!

Never mind that the guy is completing less than 50% of his passes, never mind that he can’t run a professional offense and that his coach has owned up to that, never mind that the reason that Denver is back in the AFC West race is because of a rejuvenated defense led by Von Miller who owned that Jets game last night, never mind all of that, it’s all about the good of Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow can get away with going 2-8 in an NFL and winning, he can get away with getting hammered 45-10 by a much better team in the Lions, he will get a pass from Bayless because he doesn’t have the proper weapons around him to throw the ball or hasn’t been given a chance to show his stuff. Pat White wasn’t given a chance, Jimmy Clausen didn’t have any weapons around him last year, we’ve seen Tebow for 8 games in full action and he is trash.

Mechanically he is a mess. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket, can’t run plays properly, takes too long on his delivery and is pathetically inaccurate…

But… he… wins… football… games.

As bad as he is Tebow has that clutch gene. We can say the Miami win was given to him because Miami played prevent defense in the last 5 minutes, but he won. We can say that Kansas City isn’t fully healthy and didn’t have the guys on the field they needed to win, but he won. We can say the Jets are trash (which, they really are and there might be some need to reconsider Mark Sanchez as an NFL QB), but he won.

After last night who would you rather have as your QB?

So until he losses and losses consistently we will have to hear about him more than Cam Newton who is having an amazing season or Andy Dalton who has exceeded all expectations of him or Christian Ponder who looks like the real deal at QB because Tim Tebow is winning more than all of them.

Ever since Tebow was inserted as the Denver Broncos starting QB they have gone from a 1-4 lottery team to a 5-5 team with a shot at winning the AFC West and making the playoffs. Most of the credit should go to the defense or the running game but instead it falls into the hands of Tim Tebow. If they make the playoffs the credit will go to Tebow even though we know he is the lowest rated QB in the league that cant complete a pass.

But he’s a winner and that stat shines brighter than any other on his resume.

Being a hater and keeping it real is a hard line to toe, with Tim Tebow the line is microscopic.

I hate the Tebow coverage, I hate the Tebow machine, I hate the fact that I’ll have to hear about him for a few more weeks, I hate the fact that he’s a bad QB that somehow wins games. But I cant hate the guy for being who he is and getting the job done on the field. I can’t be any more real than that.

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Higher Learning Week 6

Saturday was too much fun for Oklahoma.

So here’s what we learned this week:

  1. Either Oklahoma is being undervalued or Texas was overrated. Either way last Saturday’s Red River beat down was very telling any way you look at it. after being leapfrogged in the polls by both LSU and Alabama Oklahoma had its nerve tested as people began touting the two SEC powers as the best in the land, then the Sooner defense made life a living hell for Case McCoy and Connor Ash by forcing five turnovers and scoring three touchdowns. Add  on Landry Jones typical monster day and Texas never stood a chance in their 55-17 loss. The Longhorns close wins over Rice and BYU may have gotten them a little more hype than they deserved and this loss puts their accomplishments into a more realistic perspective. They are a young team still trying to grow into a contender. As for Oklahoma? They are a contender, one that LSU or Alabama should keep a close eye on.
  2. Nebraska had their nerve tested. They were on the verge of starting 0-2 in the Big Ten and their two losses would have been disastrous. Then they received a blessing in the form of a Braxton Miller ankle injury and stormed back from a 27-6 deficit and added to Ohio State’s  awful season by beating them 34-27. Once Miller went down and Joe Bauserman entered the tide turned for the Huskers. Taylor Martinez rebounded from a miserable week in Madison by throwing two scores and racking up 300 yards of offense and the Husker defense buckled down and stopped the OSU offense in their tracks. Instead of looking at an embarrassing start to their Big Ten tenure the Huskers can now look at beginning their trek to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
  3. To say that Steve Spurrier’s decision to start Connor Shaw over embattled Stephen Garcia is an understatement. The fun-n-gun days of Florida came back in a big way for Spurrier as his Gamecocks ran up 639 total yards and pounded Kentucky 54-3. Shaw chopped up the Wildcats for 311 yards and 4 td’s. Maybe Spurrier has found the cure for his ailing offense. We shall see over the next few weeks.
  4. Wake Forest is 4-1 after a 35-30 win over Florida State and is looking to return back to the glory days of Riley Skinner from a few years ago (yep I just wrote that… just keep reading). Head coach Jim Grobe has his Demon Deacons back in contention for the ACC title but this time instead of being lead by a stout defense it is a potent offense lead by running back Josh Harris  who ran for 136 yards against the Noles and QB Tanner Price who threw three scores. Save for a close loss to Syracuse the Deacons would be 5-0 right now and ranked. If they beat Virginia Tech at home this week they might be.
  5. Kansas has the worst defense in the FBS. You can throw on them, pass on them, anything you do will get you a ton of yardage. After getting mangled by Oklahoma State 70-28 the Jayhawks now hold the crown for allowing the most points per game in college at 45 a game… and they still have to play Oklahoma coming up. Maybe Turner Gill should’ve stayed at Buffalo.

THE GOOD

Connor Shaw might make Steve Spurrier's Qb quandry and non-issue.

 

Boise State sent a message to Fresno State by forcing 4 turnovers and stomping them 57-7. So much for a tough trip to California.

THE BAD

The state of Florida has no teams in the top 25 for the first time since 1982 after the Gators 41-11 loss to LSU and Florida State’s 35-30 downer in Winston-Salem.

THE UGLY

Texas A&M beat Texas Tech 45-40 then the Red Raider faithful smeared their bus with manure. Sore losers much?

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Oklahoma defense. They allowed 256 yards had 8 sacks, forced five fumbles, five turnovers and scored three touchdowns versus Texas.

EMBARASSMENT OF THE WEEK

How disappointing has Arizona’s year been so far? They lost to Oregon State on Saturday (who hadn’t won all year including a loss to FCS Sacramento State) and that cost Mike Stoops his job Monday. Yikes.

TOP 5

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

HEISMAN TOP 5

  1. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
  2. Kellen Moore, Boise State
  3. LaMichael James, Oregon
  4. Andrew Luck, Stanford
  5. Trent Richardson, Alabama

Lots of big games this weekend including #11 Michigan vs. #23 Michigan State, #20 Baylor vs. #21 Texas A&M, #6 Oklahoma State vs. #22 Texas, and #18 Arizona State vs. #9 Oregon.


Higher Learning Week 4

Things are all rosy in Baton Rouge.

So what did we learn in college football this week?

  1. Your top two teams in college football are from, dun dun dun…. The SEC. LSU’s late blowout of West Virginia and Alabama’s drubbing of Arkansas put both teams at numbers 1 & 2 in the coaches poll and have set up our first “playoff” scenario of the 2011 season. One of these two teams will be playing for the national title this year no doubt it and one can knock the other out of the race for the title on November 5th when they clash in Tuscaloosa. I’m not shocked by Alabama’s performance as much as I am LSU’s.  With so much controversy surrounding the Tigers at the beginning of the season with the incident involving Jordan Jefferson the Tigers have put it in the rearview and put together impressive victories against Oregon in Dallas and West Virginia in Morgantown. If there was an NCAA comeback player of the year award then it should go to Jarrett Lee. Lee was a one-time starter before the arrival of Jefferson. Ever since Jefferson was suspended for the season opener Lee got his job back and has a strangle hold on it. Also let’s give Les Miles some credit. We call him the ‘Mad Hatter” due to his questionable decision making on the sidelines but he has had his boys ready to play for a full 60 this year. they play their best ball late in games as well as the scored the last 20 points in the 4th quarter to put WVU away and 24 straight in the second half against Oregon.  LSU and Alabama play tough ones against Florida in the next month, but nothing should stop them from a possible 1 vs. 2 matchup in Saban Bowl 3. Mark your calendars folks.
  2. If Texas A&M can’t put away an Oklahoma State team that plays absolutely no defense then what will they accomplish in the SEC? after Saturday’s 30-29 loss to the Cowboys you have to wonder just what will happen to the Aggies once they begin SEC play. It’s been well documented that Oklahoma State plays no defense but that didn’t stop the Cowboys from shutting down the Aggies for almost 2 quarters as Oklahoma State score 27 unanswered after being down 20-3 in the third quarter on the road. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were stellar once again in leading the Cowboys back from the dead. However, the focus is on Texas A&M’s lackluster finish. if they couldn’t put away the Cowboys and were turnover prone against their defense what will happen next year when they face LSU, Auburn and Alabama? Mike Sherman’s bunch had an opportunity to make the Aggies last year in the Big 12 a memorable one; instead the Aggies are staring uncertainty in the face as they make their departure.
  3. Before all is said and done the Arizona State Sun Devils may have a say in the Pac-12 race. Their 43-22 win over USC featured a tremendous performance by their defense, which put Matt Barkley in bad positions all day forcing him into two interceptions and 4 turnovers overall for the Trojans. Running back Cameron Marshall finally got the running game going with a 3 touchdown, 141 yard performance to match Brock Oswilers passing proficiency. After a slipup in Champaign, Illinois last week the Sun Devils were able to right the ship in impressive fashion. The road for the Devils doesn’t get any easier with trips to Salt Lake City to face Utah and then they head to Eugene the next week to face the Ducks. They might not win the Pac-12 but they will be a team to watch.
  4. The Big Ten, like most conferences had its top tier, middle of the road and bottom feeder teams. That was more than on display this weekend as the upper echelons strived, the middle of the pack struggles and the bottom feeders looked bad. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa all rolled to victory, So did Ohio State but their passing game looked ineffective and Illinois had trouble putting Western Michigan away. Then there was Indiana and Indiana who lost to North Texas and North Dakota State… yep. As conference play begins this weekend it will be clear to see who belongs where in this conference.
  5. You should put Houston Nutt on the ax watch. Ole Miss is 1-3 with losses to BYU and Georgia at home and an embarrassing showing at Vanderbilt last week. Nutt was

    No Houston they're not walking you out of Oxford... yet.

    impressive in his first season leading the Rebels to a 10 win season and a Cotton Bowl win. Ever since then it has been one disappointment after another. If Ole Miss could fire a coach after a 10 win season (hi Ed Oregeron) how do you think they will treat Nutt?

THE GOOD

Florida’s run game. They have been a pass oriented program for the last few years but not against Kentucky last weekend. The Gators ran for over 400 yards including 157 from Jeff Demps and 105 from Chris Rainey in a 48-10 beat down.

THE BAD

Pittsburgh’s offensive line (I meant the school but after last night’s win in Indy you could include the Steelers too). They gave up 6 sacks to Notre Dame in a 15-12 defeat. Todd Sunseri had no time to throw and the Panthers suffered for it.

THE UGLY

This is usually reserved for the Maryland Terrapins uniforms (and they were hideous) but how about some hate for the actual game play. Falling behind 31-0 to Temple… TEMPLE!!!??? Yeah Pitt and Syracuse made a great decision in joining the ACC.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

LaMichael James, Oregon: 23 carries, 288 yards and 2 TD’s in Oregon’s 56-31 stomping of Arizona.

EMBARASSMENT OF THE WEEK

To the referees in the Toledo-Syracuse game… everyone saw that extra point for Syracuse sail wide left and you called it good even after replay confirmed that you were wrong? Even that call would’ve been made properly then Toledo would’ve had a win. Looks like the Big East officials are practicing ACC standards already.

TOP 5

After further review... it's still no good.

 

  1. LSU
  2. ALBAMA
  3. OKLAHOMA
  4. BOISE STATE
  5. OKLAHOMA STATE

HEISMAN TOP 5

  1. KELLEN MOORE, BOISE STATE
  2. ANDREW LUCK, STANFORD
  3. LANDRY JONES,  OKLAHOMA
  4. TRENT RICHARDSON, ALABAMA
  5. LAMICHAEL JAMES, OREGON

Next week has some interesting matchups on tap. Texas A&M takes on Arkansas in the TEXARKANA battle at Cowboys Stadium, Nevada travels to Boise as the Broncos look for revenge for last year’s BCS busting loss at Reno. Michigan State takes on Ohio State in the Big Ten opener for both. Clemson travels to Virginia Tech in a ACC battle. But the two big ones are Florida-Alabama and Nebraska-Wisconsin both at night.


Your Scandal-Free College Football Preview

Way to continue the trend Jordan.

You know why I started to watch sports as a kid? Because every time I watched the regular news all I saw was murder, poverty and scandal. After a while you get sick of looking at poor kids starving in Africa, someone shot in Brooklyn or some greedy CEO going to jail for screwing over his company.

In my head sports was simple and true. Just guys scoring goals, touchdowns and making shots. There was no greed in athletics, no horrible occurrences and no death. Was I naïve? Of course I was but I hadn’t hit 10 yet.

The harsh reality of sports hit me in 1992 when Mike Tyson went to jail for rape. I couldn’t really fathom how it happened and even today still can’t. How can an athlete do something wrong I thought? All he does is box. What does rape have to do with sports and who would do something like that?

Once Tyson went to jail Michael Irvin got caught with cocaine, Rae Carruth killed his baby mother and hid in his trunk and the steroid scandal began. Naivety went out of the window, sports is no different than any other thing in life. Athletes and institutions screw up just as much as the guy that robbed the 7-11 last night and looked into the camera, that’s just a reality.

The worst culprit of all I’ve come to realize is college sports in particular college football. As much as I love the pageantry and craziness of football on Saturdays it might be the most corrupt association in all of sports.

I’ve given the notion that no school is clean and everyone cheats. With all that’s at stake in job security, getting the best players and getting to a BCS game AD’s, boosters, coaches and players do what they can to make sure that they win whether it’s pay for play, turning the other cheek when your players commit crimes, taking benefits or whatever. You have to win, winning keeps you employed, winning makes recruits want to come there, then when they get there they have to be happy hence the benefits of cars, tattoos and free bar tabs.

I’ve come to accept this in the last ten years or so, but honestly after this year it is getting out of control.

Even without the guy on the right Luck has Stanford ready to compete.

How many scandals can the NCAA have in one year? dating back to October of 2010 Auburn has had a pay for play scandal with Cam Newton, Georgia and Florida have had issues with arrests, USC was sanctioned for the Reggie Bush scandal, Tennessee has had ongoing investigations due to violations under Lane Kiffin, Ohio State… (I won’t get into this any further 5 blogs on them is enough), Oregon suspended its top corner Cliff Harris after an arrest, North Carolina is still awaiting its punishment for its players receiving improper benefits, Miami’s scandal looks like an episode of Miami Vice and now LSU is in hot water after Jordan Jefferson and company got into a huge bar far in Baton Rouge and he’ll miss time including opening night versus Oregon…

AND THIS IS IN ONE YEAR!!!

College football is at its opening weekend and there is barely any talk of the games being played but the scandal that surrounds it. Big time matchups will not have marquee names, the eye of the NCAA is fixed everywhere and honestly, I’m watching ESPN everyday to see who slips up next.

This year could be a wide open year as far as the race for a national champion goes and you wouldn’t even know it. Florida State is back in the top 10, Nebraska is in the Big Ten, Utah is in the Pac-12, Texas A&M is acting like a spoiled child, Syracuse might be back, Oklahoma could run the table and it’s all about scandal.

Well I’m sick of it. let’s talk about the football people because that’s all that matters. this is a scandal-free college football preview where football is the only discussion. let’s talk about who’s number one, who can contend and who can take down the SEC (hopefully someone because I’m sick of the SEC.)

ACC

The conference is the worst of the big 6 (yes worse than the Big East), however it looks to get better this season.

Florida State is back in the top 5 coming off of a 10-3 season and has high hopes for a run at the national title behind QB E.J. Manuel. Once mainstays in title hunt the Seminoles have had it rough in the last ten few seasons but clearly have the edge in the conference this year.

One team to look out for is Maryland. Returning QB Danny O’ Brian is a beast under center and new head coach Randy Edsall should whip this defense into shape.

It’s still a weak conference (hi Wake Forest and Duke) but Florida State’s returning star power should give the conference something to hang its hat on

Non-conference game of the year: FSU-OKLAHOMA

Conference game of the year: Conf Champ. Game VT-FSU

Conference winner: FSU

Player of the Year: Danny O’ Brian

BIG EAST

You all know I’m overly geeked that Syracuse is good again (and you especially know this after they came back to beat Wake Forest last night) but the conference is on its way up again with TCU entering next season.

Yeah, I'm excited for SYracuse football too.

West Virginia returns QB Geno Smith, who is a dark horse candidate for the Heisman trophy and Louisville may finally have a defense that can keep up with its offense.

The key to the success of the conference this year lies in its top 4 though. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Syracuse have big non-conference games that can showcase whether or not this conference is truly worth being a BCS conference.

However… THE CUSE IS BACK!!!

Give me reason to have hope after a 8-5 season, a huge win last night and the possibility that Ryan Nassib can have some magic in that arm of his. In a conference that has been mired in mediocrity it needs Syracuse to be good again. The Orange may be neck and neck with West Virginia for best football history in the conference and it needs to rekindle its rivalries with WVU and Penn State. You have to cheer for the Cuse to come back the conference needs it.

Non conference game of the year: Syracuse-USC, South Florida-Notre Dame, West Virginia-LSU, Pitt-Iowa

Conference game of the year: Pitt-WVU

Conference winner: WVU

Best Player: Geno Smith

BIG 12

The best team in the country resides in Norman, Oklahoma; the best offense resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The team that could make noise more than any school is in College Station, Texas. Sure the conference cut two teams, but it made the conference better.

Oklahoma at number one followed by Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, combined with an underrated Missouri, a comeback year for Texas and a growing threat in Texas Tech makes this the second best conference in the country.

They have the best arms in the nation in Landry Jones and Brandon Weeden, a great hybrid QB in Robert Griffin and don’t forget about Kansas State getting Bryce Brown, who transferred from Tennessee.

The question is can anybody in the conference finally play some defense?

Texas A&M lost standout linebacker Von Miller, Oklahoma won’t have its leading tackler Travis Lewis for Florida State and the Cowboys (and every other team in the conference for that matter) can’t stop anyone.

Catch us if you can.

If the Big 12 wants to climb past the SEC and be the big dog on Saturdays then one of these teams has to allow less than 35 points a game and get physical up front. Until that happens, as much as I like this Oklahoma team, I can’t pick them to win the national title… but I can pick them to get there.

Non-conference game of the year: FSU-Oklahoma, Texas A&M-Arkansas

Conference game of the year: Texas A&M-Oklahoma

Conference winner: Oklahoma

Best player: Landry Jones

BIG 10

The Big Ten has been Ohio State’s personal punching bag for the last ten years… not anymore.

With Nebraska and monster defensive tackle Jared Crick coming to the conference it’s a new day in the Midwest. Nebraska comes off a disappointing finish to last year where it looked like the Cornhuskers were going to ride Taylor Martinez to the Fiesta Bowl. However, as with most freshmen QB’s he faded.

This year however he and the Huskers are reloaded and ready to contend for a national title… if they can get by Wisconsin.

After watching last night’s beat down of UNLV it looks like new QB Russell Wilson will fit right in at Madison. Behind a monster offensive line and Monte Ball in the backfield the Badgers, if they don’t make it to New Orleans, could still find themselves in Pasadena.

Watch out for Northwestern too (yes, Northwestern) they are primed to make a run to the top with Dan Persa returning from an Achilles injury. Also, Michigan might be making a comeback with new coach Brady Hoke at the helm. The days of a punch less Michigan defense might be over.

(Ok so I have to say a few words about Ohio State. This year is such a disappointment already even though there hasn’t been a game played yet. when Joe Bauserman was named the starter yesterday it hit me that this is what’s left at Ohio State.

The scandal has left the team spinning and it hasn’t stopped. Three more players were suspended for the opener against Akron for accepting improper benefits adding to the four suspended starters from the tattoo scandal and Terrelle Pryor going AWOL to the NFL. All that’s left is Carlos Hyde, Bauserman and Block O.

It’s been such an embarrassing turn of events leading into what was supposed to be a legendary new beginning to the Big Ten. The Buckeyes were supposed to collide head on with the Huskers for supremacy of the conference early on. It was supposed to be a new rivalry brewing that would decide the Big Ten for the next however many years. Now Ohio State is a non-factor., an afterthought, and it’s hard to swallow.

College scandals were way easier to deal with when it wasn’t the school that you went to.)

Non-conference game of the year: Penn State-Alabama

Conference game of the year: Wisconsin-Nebraska

Conference winner: Nebraska

Best player: Jared Crick

PAC-12

LaHeisman?

 

Welcome to the conference Colorado and Utah… now watch Oregon blow by all of you.

Much to the contrary belief that this is a two team race I highly disagree. Stanford is highly overrated thanks in part to Andrew Luck (though it is a good reason because Luck is a beast). Stanford lost a lot on both sides of the ball and they may need Luck to throw up 40 points a game to have a chance at winning 10 games…

And 40 won’t be enough to beat Oregon.

They only lose Jeff Maehl on the outside  and Casey Matthews on defense, however LaMichael James, Chip Kelly’s silly cards and the most high octane offense in the NCAA is all back. Getting through the Pac-12 will be a little bit of a problem, but just a little problem.

Non-conference game of the year: Oregon-LSU

Conference game of the year: Oregon-Stanford

Conference winner: Oregon

Best player: Andrew Luck

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY SEC

Were the 2 mighty’s necessary? Um… they’ve won the last five national titles so yes. I’ve finally given in and given the SEC its props and rightfully so. It’s the best conference in the country by a mile, no one recruits as good as them, is as fast them or as tough on defense as them.

Their top 6 teams year in and out could win any conference by a game or two, they routinely run over competition and make the best in another conference look bad (hi, Big 10 and Big 12) and they are bigger and faster than anyone in the nation.

However there are some concerns all over the conference. Besides the LSU hiccups there are issues in Georgia as they come off of their first losing season since the 80’s, Florida adjusts to a new coach in Will Muschamp and people in Gainesville are still skeptical of John  Brantley, Auburn and Alabama have to replace national champion QB’s and Tennessee is still trying to climb its way back to respectability.

However the news is all rosy in Starkville, Mississippi and Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Bulldogs are looking to build on a 9-4 season as Dan Mullen enters his third year as coach, and the Razorbacks are a dark horse national title pick. Bobby Petrino has to reload at QB after losing Ryan Mallett but Tyler Wilson should ease some concern for fans of the Hogs if his year mirrors his 332 yard 4 TD performance versus Auburn last year.

The wildcard here is South Carolina. Steve Spurrier after 6 years finally has the Gamecocks in position to win the SEC and make a claim as one of the best teams in the conference as well as the nation. Troubled QB Stephen Garcia looks like he’s getting his last shot at redemption and with the help of the best defense in the SEC (which gets better with the freakish Jadeveon Clowney coming to Columbia, SC) and Marcus Lattimore who is gaining buzz for a run at the Heisman.

If South Carolina can survive road tests “Between the Hedges” and at Arkansas then they should be dancing to Atlanta for the SEC title game and to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.

Non-conference game of the year: Arkansas-Texas A&M, LSU-Oregon, Florida-Florida State

Conference game of the year: LSU-Arkansas

Conference winner: South Carolina

Best player: Marcus Lattimore

South Carolina may finally be the cream of the SEC crop.

 

As for the Non-AQ schools it’s all about Boise State. TCU is in its last year in the Mountain West before runs through the Big East and Boise looks like the only challenger to a BCS bowl game. However, a number 5 ranking after losing Titus Young, Austin Pettis and half of your defense is tough. As much as I like the Broncos (and Kellen Moore especially) I don’t see them getting to the BCS this year even if they beat Georgia this Saturday. TCU even without Andy Dalton is still no slouch and they have to travel to Fresno to take on a always frisky Bulldog team. it looks like this will be the first year without a BCS buster in sometime.

So with all that said who plays in the national title game? Oregon and Oklahoma.

Yeah I know the SEC is the best conference and that they’ve won the last five titles but it’s got to end at some point. Last year while watching Oregon-Auburn I saw Oregon not only keep up with the Tigers but they beat them in certain areas. If that game were played a week or two after the end of the season then the Ducks would’ve been national champs.

I like the Sooners but I don’t know if they can stop anybody outside of their conference on defense. Landry Jones will have a huge year and look like a first round draft pick under center, but do they have the speed to keep up with a team from the SEC or Oregon? I don’t think so.

So there it is the Oregon Ducks will win the national title and Puddles the Duck will be doing celebratory pushups in New Orleans. Hopefully that’s what we’ll remember this season for is the action that takes place on the field and not the calamity and chaos that happens off of it.

ACC- FLORIDA STATE (DARK HORSE- MARYLAND)

BIG EAST- WEST VIRGINIA (SYRACUSE)

BIG 12- OKLAHOMA (OKLAHOMA STATE)

BIG 10- NEBRASKA (NORTHWESTERN)

PAC 12- OREGON (UTAH)

SEC- SOUTH CAROLINA (FLORIDA)

HEISMAN- LAMICHAEL JAMES

BCS CHAMP GAME- OREGON VS. OKLAHOMA

ROSE BOWL- NEBRASKA VS. STANFORD

SUGAR BOWL-  SOUTH CAROLINA VS. WEST VIRGINIA

ORANGE BOWL- FLORIDA STATE VS. WISCONSIN

FIESTA BOWL- TEXAS A&M VS. FLORIDA


Florida Is Proving Their Worth

Note to self, Florida might be the best team in the southeast bracket of the NCAA.

We all doubted Walker and the Gators... oops.

After holding off UCLA 73-65 in front of a Florida dominated crowd  the Gators have positioned themselves as the team to beat in that region.

Not bad for a squad that was considered by many as a team that got a fluke two seed.

The man mostly responsible for Florida’s longest tourney run since the Joakim Noah title teams of the 2000’s is Erving Walker.

After Jai Lucas bolted Gainesville for Austin, Walker stepped right in and stepped up way past his diminutive 5-8 height.

Against UCLA Walker made all of the plays necessary to hold the Bruins at bay. He scored 10 o the Gators last 12 points, hit a three that put them up for good an hit and unreal circus shot in the paint over 6-10 305 pound Josh Smith that will require multiple replays to gain understanding for what he just did.

Walkers clutch play more than made up for the lack of production from Chandler Parsons and Kenny Boynton who couldn’t find their shot all day.

What they couldn’t get on offense they more than made up for on the defensive end holding the Bruins to 41% shooting including 23% from three. The shots that the Bruins got against the Spartans were non-existent today with the perimeter play and inside presence of Alex Tyus who neutralized Smith on the boards.

All of the bad momentum that followed Florida from the SEC tournament has been erased in two games including the 79-51 beat down of UCSB. The Gators have taken control of the weakest bracket in the field and look to be a serious Final Four contender.

The rest of the bracket gives them more fuel for their optimism.

Up next are possible matchups with either BYU or Gonzaga. Without Brandon Davies in the middle there isnt an answer to hold Tyus and Florida is more than capable of limiting Jimmer Fredette. And while Gonzaga does have athleticism they’re not as disciplined as the Gators on offense or defense.

So you can pencil the Gators into the elite 8. What most experts perceived to be a short stay in the tourney might be a long one. Florida has proven themselves to be worthy of that controversial number two seed and could bring back the glory days of just 4 years ago with another run to the Final Four.

Not bad for a team that was supposed to be done before the beginning of spring. Continue reading


An Afterthought On The Mark May Interview After The NCAA’s Decision On Ohio State’s Suspensions

Here is a quick afterthought on the comments made by ESPN’s Mark May about the Ohio State suspensions.

Mark May gets it wrong... again.

 

May appeared on ESPN on Christmas Eve to blast the NCAA for their handling of the situation and called the Big Ten and the Pac-10 the NCAA’s “sacred cows” because in his eyes they are always protected by the NCAA while the SEC is constantly harassed.

 

There are two ways that I can address this; 1. I can be very professional and offer a different take than May, or 2. I can be a complete jerk and curse May out. How about a combination of the two.

 

For May to say that the NCAA protects the Big Ten and the Pac-10 is the dumbest thing I’ve heard from his mouth (and there is a lot to choose from). Apparently he wasn’t paying attention to the USC sanctions which are hurting the football and basketball programs and have left them as crippled for more than what their two-year probation would indicate.

 

Yeah Ohio State got away clean virtually, but how about Auburn and Cam Newton? How can he be ruled ineligible for one day then eligible the next because there wasn’t any conclusive evidence to tie him to the pay for play scandal? What about the constant issues in recruiting violations and legal issues at Tennessee, and the constant spotting on police repots at Georgia under Mark Richt and Florida with Urban Mayer?

 

Why didn’t the NCAA make it mandatory for Jeremiah Masoli to sit out a year because A. he transferred from Oregon, and B. why didn’t they address his two arrests in six months that got him kicked out to begin with?

 

In reality the SEC gets away with many more violations than the Big Ten or Pac-10 do on a good day. May is just another example of the favoritism to one side that he is supposedly raging against. To blatantly ignore the reality of the NCAA’s ignorance in favor of pushing his own agenda is both infantile and ignorant of Mark May.

 

Viewers of ESPN know that May is a blowhard and says things with the intent of stirring the pot or coming off as a big shot, which he is not. May has garnered a reputation of being narrow-minded as well as a hater, which he shows off very well in his diatribe last Friday.

 

My advice for May is to get off of your high horse and look at the facts for what they are instead of choosing to ignore the truth to tell your version of it. Ignorance is bliss and Mark May seems to love basking in his.


The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (NCAA Basketball Preview)

The Dukies look to go back-to-back for a second time.

In all of my madness and melancholy of covering football from college to the NFL I almost forgot what time of year it was… THE START OF THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON!!!

It happened last night as I was watching the Bengals season go down in flames (still can’t believe I picked them to win it all), I look over and what do I see? Number 4 ranked Pittsburgh taking on Rhode Island. Hmm, I love the excitement of the crowds, the college kids from the Oakland Zoo to the Little Apple to The Kennel all going crazy with the prospectus of their team somehow going for the glory come March.

You see college basketball trumps the NBA to me in so many ways; 1. The atmosphere, there are no places in the NBA like Cameron Indoor Stadium, Rupp Arena or Hinkle Field house. The crowds are right on top of you and the energy is surreal. Even when watching it on TV at half volume you can feel buzz, the stadium shaking, and the kids going bonkers. Maybe Madison Square Garden and maybe Arco Arena do that in the NBA and that’s it.

2. The rivalries. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kansas-K-State, Syracuse-UCONN or Duke-Maryland, every time interstate enemies or inter-conference rivals go at it its must see TV. Last year I watched Memphis play Tennessee in a down year for both programs and t didn’t matter. The game was still full of energy and passion and don’t turn your head away action that made for an awesome night especially when you’re procrastinating as to stall yourself from studying for a meaningless exam. Not that I ever did that in college.

Kansas- K-State. One of the many rivalries that make college basketball so awesome.

(speaking of which, the greatest sporting event from my college years had to be the 6 overtime marathon between the Cuse and UCONN about 20 months ago. I was struggling through that quarter of school badly, I’m talking Carolina Panthers quarterback situation badly, and I absolutely needed to focus on getting at least a 2.0 that quarter and it was finals week. So what did I do instead of study for an Italian final or write my medieval poetry final paper, I watched Jonny Flynn, A.J. Price and a cast of thousands go hard for nearly 4 hours of grueling basketball that left my roommate Ian wanting to kill me for yelling so loud at 1230am and had me up until 4am watching highlights and trying to figure out what the hell just happened. That one game is the reason you watch college basketball, because the unexpected is always bound to happen. You never know when the next ESPN Classic moment will happen. Side note: I did pass all of my finals that quarter but it wasn’t pretty. I blame the referee for blowing the Eric Devendorf call on the three that was clearly good before the buzzer and the fact that St. Patrick’s Day fell during finals week.)

3. The fact that college basketball is changing. The elite programs are still there… sort of. Last year UCLA, Arizona, UCONN and North Carolina DID NOT MAKE THE TOURNAMENT. Yeah you read that properly, four of college basketball’s best programs didn’t even sniff the tournament. There was a point in the tourney where we were looking at a final four that could’ve consisted of Northern Iowa, Butler, Xavier (hi Sean Miller) and Baylor. Yeah that’s where we are at. Granted UNC won it all in 2009 and Duke took home the crown last year, but the game itself is no longer the top heavy huge program dominated juggernaut it has been for the last 20 years.

The top 3 teams expected to make a run at the crown for this year are Duke, Michigan State and… KANSAS STATE! Yes the same Kansas State who you couldn’t name one single player from their roster for a 20 year period. The same Kansas State who wasn’t even a factor in the BIG 12 until Bob Huggins convinced a guy named Michael Beasley to come to Manhattan, Kansas three years ago and then left before Beasley arrived. The same Kansas State that was Kansas’s whipping post for every season that I’ve been alive and they are now viewed as the best team in Kansas. Time’s they are a changing.

What Frank Martin has done at K-State is amazing, he got great results from Beasley and Bill Walker and he is now able to bring in excellent recruits to Manhattan and leave the folks in Lawrence feeling a little salty. Led by Jacob Pullen and his beard and guys like Wally Judge and Curtis Kelly, the Wildcats have what it takes to overpower the Jayhawks and get to the Final 4. Yep, Kansas State, believe it.

Then of course there is last year’s darling the Butler Bulldogs who were two inches away from pulling off one of the greatest upsets sports has ever seen against Duke in the title game. The Dogs proved that they belong in the hunt for the crown for a long time to come with a run that stunned everyone in the sport that included wins over K-State, Syracuse and Michigan State. They return with no Gordon Haywood but pretty much same team from Ronald Nored and his tough defense and Matt Howard and his inside post game. They have replaced Gonzaga as the best little guy in the game and will be a tough draw in the tourney for anyone.

(With that said Gonzaga is ranked higher and with Robert Sacre at center they still aren’t a team to be messed with. Also the recruiting class they have for 2011 is stupid silly good. You think Mark Few is happy he stayed at Gonzaga instead of take the Kentucky job a few years ago? Yeah, me too.)

So what about the big dogs? Oh they’re just fine thank you. Ohio State behind one of the silliest recruiting classes including Jared Sullinger since the “Thad 5” is primed to go toe-to-toe with Sparty for the Big 10 and the national title. They have a date in November with SEC rival Florida which finally seems to have shaken the title hangover of a few years ago and are expected to rule the SEC this year behind do it all forward Chandler Parsons. They still have Kentucky hanging around in the background however. Yes they lost John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe and Enes Kanter is still awaiting eligibility pending an NCAA investigation (hmmm, another investigation involving John Calipari? No way), however they get another top flight point guard for John Calipari to groom in Brandon Knight and swingman Terrance Jones from Oregon. They’re young again but if anyone knows how to get the best out of a young squad then its John Calipari.

Now I know what you’re wondering, Kevin, you haven’t even begun to wax poetic over the Mighty Big East yet. You know the conference you love so much that you’re willing to through any other program under the bus when playing them. You know the conference that you think is so much better than everyone else but last year underachieved in mostly every big out of conference matchup. Yeah yeah yeah I know. I know they struggled last year with off years by UCONN, Georgetown and Louisville and honestly past Syracuse, Villanova and Pittsburgh every team is the same. G’Town, Marquette and Seton Hall all have shots to make an impact behind guys like Austin Freeman, Jeremy Hazell and others and Steve Lavin may finally bring St. John’s back to where it belongs in the picture of college basketball. Yet I’m not sold that the conference is better than the Big 10 who have 3 teams who could make a Final 4 run including Purdue who I think is getting undervalued because of the loss of Robbie Hummel. In the Big East I think only Syracuse and maybe Pitt has a shot at the Final 4. However, even though it might be a down year for the conference the games will still be a blast to watch.

Something about the words Melo and Syracuse just sounds good together.

(Side note: I really like this Syracuse team. They are deeper than last year’s squad and they have a guy in the middle that will be a huge problem for everyone in the future, Fab Melo. Hmmm, an impact freshman in Syracuse named Melo? Smiley face.)

However with all of that said, from the little guys to the big ones, from the “Thad 5” part two to the beard, from Indianapolis to Spokane the two teams to beat come from tobacco road and (ugh) the ACC, Duke and UNC.

Duke brings back everyone from last year’s team including the soon to be player of the year Kyle Singler and they get Kyrie Irving, a lightning quick guard, and Seth Curry, yep there’s another one of them running around. Plus the Plumlee twins return to roam the middle with their size and athleticism which is going to be a problem for anyone to handle.

As for UNC you knew that last year’s flame out was only an aberration. Roy Williams returns with a team that has a year of experience under its wing, a healthy Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes one of the most talked about freshmen in the nation. Barnes as well as Reggie Bullock should help shoulder the load left by Ed Davis and the Wear twins who transferred to Stanford.

Both Duke and UNC should have little trouble running the ACC with one exception, Maryland might be back. Gary Williams has escaped the firing that seemed eminent years ago and has his best team since the Steve Blake, Juan Dixon days.  Sean Mosley and Jordan Williams provide a great in and out game and Mychal Parker and Pe’Shon Howard will provide some pop off of the bench.  If he can find the right rotation for this team then it should be happy times in Gary-land for the Terps.

With all of this said who should be playing in the Final 4 come March? How about Duke, Ohio State, K-State and Syracuse with Ohio State winning it all. No it’s not a cop out because I went to OSU it’s because OSU has the best mix of under classmen and youth of any team in the nation. David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale and Willie Buford all return to blend with the aforementioned Sullinger, Jordan Siebert and Deshaun Thomas. I think Michigan State is a tad overrated with no Kalin Lucas and the Buckeyes should steamroll through the tough Big 10 behind their talent level and Thad Motta’s defensive scheme.

So there you go, even in the changing landscape of college basketball where the little guys are getting bigger, the top dogs still reign supreme. However, don’t be surprised if everything I said gets blown to smithereens and the landscape changes again. That’s the beauty of the college game, and I’m so happy that it’s back.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR- KYLE SINGLER

BIG EAST WINNER-SYRACUSE (SLEEPER: VILLANOVA)

ACC- DUKE (MARYLAND)

BIG 12- KANSAS STATE (TEXAS)

BIG 10- OHIO STATE (ILLINOIS)

PAC 10- WASHINGTON (ARIZONA)

SEC- FLORIDA (TENNESSEE)

THE NEXT BUTLER- San Diego STATE

ATLANTIC 10- XAVIER (mark my words; you will take the A-10 seriously again. The league is too good to be considered a mid-major)