Tag Archives: south carolina gamecocks

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.


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 5

The Big Ten is Wisconsin's for the taking

This is going to be a quick version of higher learning so here we go:

  1. Everyone said that Wisconsin didn’t play anyone, that they were untested, that you couldn’t gauge them until they played a worthy opponent… then they spanked Nebraska 48-17… so now what? Wisconsin’s beat down of Nebraska caught plenty of national attention and rightfully so. They took it to the Huskers and gave them a welcome to the Big Ten that they won’t soon forget. In the process Russell Wilson may have become the front runner for the Heisman after a stellar performance that began to make his legacy grow in Madison. Now at 5-0 and ranked 4th in the nation the Badgers look like a dark horse national title candidate. If they can pass upcoming road tests at East Lansing and Columbus then the title talk will grow louder.
  2. I don’t care what conference you play in or are going to, to have back to back collapses against evenly matched opponents in back to back weeks is embarrassing. Texas A&M has blown two huge leads in consecutive in marquee matchups that have all but killed their BCS hopes. What’s even more embarrassing is the that they both came in the second half. Their inability to close versus Arkansas and Oklahoma State in consecutive games shows why if they leave the Big 12 it won’t be too big of a deal. They may have a rabid fan base but they aren’t a big time program. If they were then they would be 5-0 with a top ten ranking getting ready for Oklahoma and Texas in future games.
  3. No matter what happens in the world it looks like things will never change. Grass will stay green, winters will stay cold and Steve Spurrier will continue to be frustrated with Stephen Garcia. After South Carolina’s ugly 16-13 loss to Auburn Spurrier decided to bench Garcia for his ineffective play… again.  Garcia looked awful going 9-23 with 2 interceptions. The fifth year senior who has been benched, suspended or otherwise before, just can’t seem to do anything right in Columbia and may have played his final game for the Gamecocks. Funny thing is that even with their loss they still look like the team to beat in the SEC East with Florida losing John Brantley and Georgia is still trying to find themselves. It’s a small consolation for yet another disappointment.
  4. Raise your hands if you had Kansas State at 4-0, ranked in the top 25 and as a candidate for the Big 12 title at the beginning of the year then raise your hands… exactly. However, that is the case at the moment as the Wildcats pulled off a shocking upset of no. 15 Baylor 36-35 thanks to a late interception of Robert Griffin III. Bill Snyder is bringing the Wildcats back to the mid-90’s when the Cats were relevant last. This is their best start since the days of Michael Bishop, Elle Roberson and company and they look to continue them this week against Missouri. The Wildcats won’t go undefeated but it is a nice story.

    Andre Brown and Kansas State are looking good.

  5. Ladies and gentlemen… it looks like the Clemson Tigers may finally be living up to the hype. After years of futility in disappointing finishes the Tigers look like a legitimate BCS team after their 23-3 beat down of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Head Coach Dabo Swinney calls it the ‘Shock The World” tour as the win against the Hokies comes after huge wins against Florida State and defending champion Auburn. QB Tahj Boyd looked poised in a hostile environment leading their offense while Andre Branch was dominant against the Hokie offensive line with 3 sacks. Clemson’s toughest remaining opponent is at Georgia Tech on the 29th of this month… is this the year Clemson finally gets it done?

THE GOOD

SMU ended a string of bad luck versus TCU and won its annual battle for the Iron Skillet 40-33 in overtime. It also ended TCU’s home winning streak, and knocked them out of the top 25 for the first time in 46 weeks.

THE BAD

USF was supposed to be a Big East fave… then they got stomped by 27 in Pittsburgh. Yuck!

THE UGLY

Maybe Jerry Kill should stay at home instead of watch his Minnesota Gopher team get worked like they did in Ann Arbor 58-0.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Russell Wilson: 14-20 255 yards and 2TD’s along with a rushing TD to help Wisconsin roll Nebraska 48-17

EMBARRASSMENT OF THE WEEK

The Ohio State offense. Less than 150 yards and sacked 9 times in a 10-7 loss to Michigan State.

It's been a rough year for the Buckeyes.

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. Andrew Luck, Stanford
  4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
  5. Trent Richardson, Alabama

The marquee matchups this week are Boise State headed out to California against Fresno State, Florida taking on LSU, Auburn against Arkansas and the big one in Dallas, The Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas.


Random Thoughts, Vol. 4

BYE BOSTON!!!

Guess what time it is… this random thoughts should be fun.

The Red Sox blew it… hahahahaahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaahahahah

So did Atlanta (on behalf of my buddy Brian Scully who’s a huge Phillies fan… hahahahaahahahahaahhaahahahaahahahahaha)

Two SEC teams atop the NCAA rankings… shocker

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3… hahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahah

(side note: I know I’m putting lots of bad karma on my side by making fun of my enemies but I don’t care because this is funny. Also a message to Steve Smith, how’s Philly treating you :-P?)

Matt Moore, Josh Collmenter, Ivan Nova and Max Sherzer are all rookies that have won playoff baseball games… Cliff Lee, Zach Greinke, and C.C. Sabathia haven’t, um….

Ohio Staters Dan Herron and Devier Posey were suspended for benefits… again… please fire Gene Smith I’m begging you.

Texas A&M has led their last two games by a combined 55-20 at the half, and lost both of them.

Jordan Jefferson wants his job back at LSU… Les Miles would be stupid to say anything other than kick rocks.

Tony Romo blew a fourth quarter lead in week 1, led the Cowboys to overtime win with a punctured lung in week 2, seemed like the only competent Cowboy in week 3, then threw away week 4… at this rate Jerry Jones will be in ICU by week 9 from all of these heart attacks.

Mark Sanchez is trash…

It hasnt been a good year in Indy

… so is his offensive line.

You think the Seahawks should’ve resigned Matt Hasselbeck?

The one team that can beat Boise State is Fresno State… the game’s in Fresno… I’ll be nervous all Friday night.

Albert Pujols better not leave St. Louis…

… same for Prince Fielder in Milwaukee

(think about it for a second, why go somewhere else to play for more money when, if your Pujols, you can stay in St. Louis and be greater than Stan Musial, or if you’re Prince, stay in Milwaukee and be the ring leader of the most fun clubhouse and atmosphere in baseball? They should both learn from Carl Crawford who took more money to play in Boston and had a miserable season there when he wanted to play for the Angels. Money isn’t everything, you have to enjoy where you play and I don’t see how Boston, New York, Washington, L.A., or anywhere can compare for either of these cats.)

Ryan Roberts has too many tattoos.

Why doesn’t the Big Ten add Toledo? They’re much better than Indiana.

Missouri in the SEC? TCU in the Big East? When did NCAA realignment become like the NFL?

All of these passing yards in the NFL are nice, wait until it gets cold and you have to run the ball more and we’ll really see who the best team in the NFL is.

Is it wrong that every time I see Calvin Johnson I do the Transformers transforming noise?

Donovan… it’s over.

South Carolina had to change their uni’s because the referee couldn’t make out the numbers because the camouflage blended in with the black… Under Armour is really failing at trying to be Nike.

Speaking of South Carolina, Steve Spurrier and Stephen Garcia = George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin?

Can't wait for Saturday.

David Stern is starting to cancel games… uh oh.

When did Jesse Palmer get so much clout on ESPN?

The Rangers demoted Sean Avery to the minors, so now what do we do with these Armani vanity glasses?

Rex Grossman has a better record than Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan… I need a drink.

The Colts are really bad without Peyton Manning.

(I always knew Manning was important to the Colts success, I just didn’t know he meant this much. I mean this team could beat Purdue. The fact that Manning means this much to the Colts is a mix of crazy and sad. Think about when Tom Brady went down with a torn ACL, the Pats went 11-5! Bill Belichick just plugged Matt Cassel in there and the Pats still won games. The Colts tried with Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins and it doesn’t matter it’s just not the same. If this doesn’t prove that Manning is the most important player in the league to his team then I don’t know what will.)

If Serena has one more unwarranted blowup I’m done.

Red river is this Saturday… I’ll be looking at the sidelines more than the game. Texas and Oklahoma girls… yessir!!!

You do realize that the Yankees threw the last game of the season so the Red Sox wouldn’t make it right?

Even still, that was the greatest ending to the regular season ever.

(how great was that ending? I couldn’t stop watching the Yanks-Rays or Sox-O’s at the same time. The single fact that Red Sox lost in the manner that they lost was pure poetry. To go 7-19 in September and have a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 9th on the last day of the season only to watch Jonathan Papelbon be as sketchy as ever as he gave it away to the last place team in the division and three minutes later watch Evan Longoria line a fastball over the left field wall to clinch a berth for the Rays was movie magic. You couldn’t ask for a better script or a better ending. The best Yankees loss ever: Red Sox lost the game, the Wild Card, Terry Francona wasn’t brought back as manager and Theo Epstein might skip town too. All I need is David Ortiz on steroids and it’ll be perfect… wait a minute.)

Last one: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Thomas Eberle might be the next Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier.

Crazy? Yes. But damn they look good already.

So happy hockey’s back.


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


The Issue With National Signing Day

Here's to hoping Jadeveon Clowney matched the hype.

I used to wonder who in the world these young recruits were that being hailed as the next saviors of their program. I wondered how do guys like Carmelo Anthony, Jason Williams, Tim Tebow and Reggie Bush get all of this pub and hype when a fraction of the population in their state has seen them.

I wondered how guys like Ron Powlus and Felipe Lopez were considered huge busts after their collegiate careers when I never understood the hype to begin with.

Let’s just that now that National Signing Day has become the most pointless new day in sports I kind of wish I still felt the way I used to.

Signing Day has moved past the NFL Draft Combine as the most pointless and overhyped sporting event in sports. You run out a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds who are being touted as the next big thing BEFORE PLAYING A COLLEGE GAME! These guys are made deities before they step out on the field on Saturdays and are expected to become superstars immediately. Anyone else see something wrong with that?

Take today for example: the nations #1 recruit Jadeveon Clowney held a press conference two weeks after Signing Day to make his decision on which school he was attending. He sat in front of the media with three hats his mother and brother and in LeBron James fashion decided that he was taking his talents to Columbia, South Carolina and be a Gamecock. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my head.

All this does is bring extra attention to a young man who we don’t even know will make it past the college game and into the NFL. This is the scenario for a guy like Terrelle Pryor who was an incredibly hyped player who was set to be the next big thing at Ohio State and now probably won’t be an NFL quarterback because he isn’t that good.

Mitch Mustain was supposed to be the next big thing... unfortunately it never worked.

It’s not only the case for Pryor but the top 150 as well. The Rivals and ESPN 150 is nothing more than a sad dose of reality when you analyze all of those can’t miss talents and see where they are. When you look at these lists you see guys like Cam Newton who matched his expectations and Nick Fairley who exceeded. Yet the cases of who didn’t make are much more striking.

A few years ago Mitch Mustain was to be the next big thing at Arkansas as the local boy who was going to carry the Hogs to new heights. Four years later his eligibility is done after transferring to USC and failing to rise up the depth chart and last week was arrested for possession of marijuana. Not that glamorous is it?

Blame ESPN for all of this and Sports Illustrated for that matter. This whole new movement started with the fascination behind LeBron James as a high school senior. Before the SI cover high school seniors were like diamonds in the rough. They were treasures that were concealed waiting for that chance to shine in the right way and that’s in the actual game. After the SI cover James’ high school games were being featured as a prime-time event on ESPN with Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas. Then came ESPNU games featuring high school talents like Gerald Henderson, Wayne Ellington, Greg Oden and others. Then came National Signing Day and then came questions like today when Tom Luginbill was asked about his potential draft status in the NFL in three years… LET THE GUY PLAY VANDERBILT FIRST THEN LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NFL!!!

If the NCAA says it’s about protecting players and the student athlete itself, then why are they allowing players and programs to do this self promotion with teenagers and push their product? It’s allowing agents and other forces to come in and get in these kids ears early and puts these programs at risk for sanctions by the NCAA. It’s a show that leaves these kids open to larger amounts of scrutiny and failure.

When Kwame Brown fell flat on his face in the NBA as a draft bust it was ok because he was a professional and he knows that his face will be in the limelight as a high draft pick. Subjecting high school athletes going to college to that same potential treatment is unfair because of their amateur status.

Unfortunately were past that point. This is the new era of high school athletics. Were now looking for the next LeBron James, Bryce Harper or Jadeveon Clowney and when we find them, no matter the age, were going to see them on magazines and on ESPN. I kind of wish I didn’t know until these guys put the jerseys on with their colleges on the front again. It was better that way.


Full Exposure

The Overrated dont last long at number one coach.

Congratulations Ohio State, thanks to Wisconsin you have been exposed as a fraud. The soft schedule and lack of a true early season road test all came to head this weekend in Madison as the Buckeyes got beaten up by the Badgers 31-18 in their first and only week as the nation’s number one team in the country.

The game was over before it truly began. The Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead thanks to a kickoff return by David Gilreath and two John Clay scores. In fact the Badgers running attack is what really did Ohio State in. James White, John Clay and the Badgers offensive line completely controlled the line of scrimmage and pushed back the now overrated defensive line of the Buckeyes  for 184 yards on the ground and Clay become the first runner in 30 games to gain 100 yards on the Buckeyes.

So once again the Buckeyes fail in a game of great importance for their program, OSU should be used to it by now. However Buckeye faithful keep those chins up, because you have plenty of company in the house of frauds this week in both the NCAA and NFL. This weekend was the weekend of the exposed as many teams that we thought we really good were really overrated and their performance showed it.

OHIO STATE

Not to beat a dead horse but Jim Tressel your play calling is quite suspect. Look at the second quarter drive with the Buckeyes inside of the Badgers 10 yard line down 21-0.  Three runs, one up the middle, one QB option and a wildcat formation with Dan Herron at the QB position. Three plays, no points. I guess Tressel forgot about that 6’3 receiver named Devier Posey that he has on the outside and forgot that throwing the ball in that area is a neat option.

However, what really irks me about Ohio State is the lack of fixing the problems that they already knew existed. The special teams was horrible versus Miami and coach said that he would take a big look at it. Guess it wasn’t too good a look after the Gilreath touchdown that put the Buckeyes from behind from the beginning of the contest.

Personnel isn’t the problem it’s the way they play the game and that falls on the coaching staff. The fact that the Buckeyes don’t have a reliable short yardage runner or an intermediate passing game falls on Tressel. You can only live so long with Terrelle Pryor running options and chucking the ball downfield all game.

NEBRASKA

So much for that revenge against Texas.

Well, there goes the Taylor Martinez for Heisman talk and the talk of Nebraska looking to avenge that loss to Texas last year. Texas came in and punched the Huskers in the mouth and sent them off to the Big Ten with a not so lovely parting gift.

As talented as Martinez is the Huskers relied on him a little too much during their first few games and their lack of offensive depth showed as Texas slowed them to a standstill and built up an insurmountable 20-3 advantage.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gee, thanks Steve Spurrier. After I give you all of those props for closing out the defending national champs at home. You go on the road and can’t hold a 28-17 fourth quarter lead against the SEC’s perennial underachiever in Kentucky.

How does a defense that kept Alabama in check let Kentucky rack up 401 total yards? How does Stephen Garcia go from looking like he turned the corner to throwing two costly picks and the offense struggling with 4 turnovers after running over the Crimson Tide? Take back what I said last week.

NEVADA

I mean I didn’t expect them to get to the Fiesta Bowl, but I did expect them to set up a good undefeated matchup with Boise State in Reno in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately Colin Kaepernick and company couldn’t get that dominant run game going and now we get to not talk about Nevada again for awhile.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

I mean it’s not their fault that the entire team seems as though its injured, but to lose a ten point lead in Washington after dominating most of the game and then to come home and lay an egg like they did?

This isn’t the work of a Super Bowl contender. The Packers should have done a better job looking for a backup to Ryan Grant so their running game wouldn’t be abysmal. Also Mike McCarthy’s game management right now is starting to rival Les Miles in Baton Rouge. Maybe they exchanged notes or something.

THE CHICAGO BEARS

I guess that Giants game wasn’t an aberration, that offensive line is poor. Matt Forte is back to being that unproductive running back that teased us with an awesome rookie season. I can’t blame Jay Cutler for being a burden to this team, its every area but the quarterback position this year. He’s probably wishing that he didn’t hurry back from that concussion.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS

Funny story; after watching the Philadelphia Eagles jump to a 21-0 lead with Kevin Kolb slinging the ball all over the Falcons I sent my buddy Scully a text that said that Atlanta was trash, he responded by saying that, you’re only saying that because we’re (the Eagles) are winning. After further review this is not so.

Who do I have to yell at to get us going?

The Falcons can’t defend the pass. Kolb and company turned the game into a track meet and ran all over the field against these guys. They don’t seem like they have the personnel to keep up with speedy playmakers.

Also, this is a horrible road team. Forget the Saints win for a minute, the Falcons in the Matt Ryan era are two games under .500 and routinely come out flat. If they want to win the NFC (which they won’t) then they have to get more focused on the road.

THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Ugh. It doesn’t get any uglier than this team. Contract disputes, lack of a running game, an immature and volatile quarterback and a defense that underachieves like no other.  Watching the Chargers on Sunday made me realize how truly dysfunctional this team is. They seem to lack leadership and direction.  They were constantly out of position on defense and the offense couldn’t get a continuous flow going.

With all of that said they still may win the AFC West because the Chiefs may have finally come back down to earth and no one in that division really has any consistent game plan week in and out to make that next step. Still the Chargers are no threat to go anywhere this year, well except Norv Turner. He might be fired in three weeks.

See Buckeyes you weren’t the only contender that laid an egg this week. So cheer up as you and the rest of these teams watch your game film and wonder what went wrong. Also watch as you get passed by every other team in the standings and miss out on another title shot. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Buckeye in the last four years it’s that no one gives an underachiever a shot, especially when they get it wrong by overrating you to begin with.