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Friday, November 19, 2010

SKOHR's Weekend Picks: College Football


This is a huge weekend in College Football.  In some cases it is the last weekend of real conference games before the bowls are determined.  Let's take a look at all the exciting games to keep your eye on over the weekend.

Noon
-#7 Wiconsin at Michigan -ESPN
A week after putting up a ridiculous 83 points on Indiana the Badgers take their #7 national ranking up to Ann Arbor to face Rich Rod and his sieve like defense.  I'm not a gambler but the over under in this game could reasonably be 150 if the Wolverine's QB Denard Robinson is fully healthy.  Watch for freshman RB Montee Ball of Wisconson to step right in for injured star John Clay again this week.

3:30pm
-#6 Stanford at Cal
After a missed field goal kept them from upsetting the #1 ranked Oregon Ducks at home last week, look for the Cal Bears to bring everything they have when Stanford visits this weekend.  Expect this year's possible #1 overall NFL draft pick, QB Andrew Luck to keep his hot streak going and lead this Cardinal team to another victory in hostile territory as he has been doing all season long.

Game of the week
-#9 Ohio State at #20 Iowa
Iowa has been embarrassed after losing the last 2 weeks.  This will be the final home game for many of Iowa's top players including DE AdrianClayborn and QB Ricky Stanzi.  Expect their defense to get after QB Terrelle Pryor in a Big-10 battle that will have huge BCS implications.  If Iowa pulls out the upset, Wisconsin could very well be in the driver's seat for a Rose Bowl berth.

-#16 Virginia Tech at #24 Miami
Virginia Tech has really turned things around after losing their first two games of the year to Boise St. and James Madison.  They bring their streak of 8 wins down to Miami to face the healthy QB Jacory Harris and their breakout WR Leonard Hankerson.  Hankerson is currently tied with former Hurricane Michael Irvin for the Miami record most TD receptions in a season at 11.  It should be a great matchup with the Hokies always stellar DBs.

8:00pm
-#8 Nebraska at #19 Texas A&M
Great game of match-ups here.  Nebraska's playmakers RB Roy Helu Jr, and Freshman QB Taylor Martinez will have to get past tackling machine OLB Von Miller and a formidable Aggie run defense.  While the A&M QB, Ryan Tannehill, was a starting WR just two weeks ago.  He will get to face possibly the best pass defense in college football which includes standouts CB Prince Amukamara and DT Jared Crick.

As always, enjoy the games!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poor Old Greg Oden


Poor Greg Oden.  It was announced earlier today that Greg Oden will miss another season in the NBA due to injury.  This is only his 3rd season and it's also his 3rd that has ended prematurely due to knee injury.  At 56 years old in his rookie year he suffered a right knee injury and had season ending microfracture surgery.  His second NBA season, at 63 years old, ended with a fractured patella in his left knee.  The 75 year old suffered another left knee injury just two weeks ago and will need to have microfracture surgery to help rebuild and regrow the damaged cartilage.

Seriously though you really have to feel bad for this guy.  He has incredible size and athletic ability but these injuries keep happening.  Oden was also sat out for the beginning of his one year stint at Ohio State while he recovered from a writs injury.  Despite his Wikipedia page currently saying that he is 30 years old he is actually only 22 and still has years left to play once he hopefully fully recovers and gets his body ready to play basketball again.  The question is, can he?

Is a 7' frame capable of handling the stress that his 280 pounds put on it while playing an intensely athletic sport over an 82 game regular season?  Right now we'd have to say, no.  Maybe it does take a very very rare physique to withstand something like that.  Shaq is one of the few real big guys who has been able to stay relatively healthy while playing at a high level over the course of an extended NBA career.  Although even now you can see the toll it's taken on his knees, he can barely elevate these days.


Hopefully he is able to fully recover and finally showcase the ability that made him the first overall pick in the NBA draft just a few years ago.

SKOHRboard's Fantasy Notes 11-18-10 (Part 2: NFL)

This is your weekly guide to becoming a fantasy football wizard.  Use it or lose it.  As I said in Part 1, this is clearly the first Fantasy Football post for SKOHRboard so please let me know what you like, don't like, want to see more of, or less of.  LET'S DO THIS THING!


Glamour shot
QBs to start
-Philip Rivers at home against Denver.  Rivers is the top fantasy QB right now and he'll be playing at home against one of the worst defenses in the league.
-Peyton Manning at New England.  The Colts have 5 running backs on their roster and they are all questionable.  The one thing that means is more passes for P.E.Y.!  It will also help him that the Pats have been playing pretty bad pass defense this year.
-Drew Brees at home against Seattle.  Brees has had an up and down year but it seems like the Saints are finally starting to come around.  They are coming off a bye and get to play at home against a young Seattle defense who has given up a lot of points this year.

*(Update)*  It has been brought to my attention that my QB and RB suggestions were about as lame as could be.  I'll throw in an extra 3 QBs to start this week.  Josh Freeman at San Francisco, Matt Cassel home against Arizona, Mark Sanchez home against Houston.  All of these guys are facing poor defenses and have shown huge improvement in their game from the beginning of the season.  Doubtful that they are all taken in your league so go get one if you have a bad matchup for the week.

QBs to sit
-Mike Vick at home against the New York Giants.  Vick put together one of the best fantasy performances of all time last week against the Redskins but I don't think he is going to do it again this weekend.  I've been an Eagles fan for a long time and these game always seem like they are 17-20 slugfests, not fantasy scoring expos.  Plus the Giants have knocked just about every starting QB they've face this year out of the game.
-Eli Manning at Philadelphia.  The Eagles defense has really turned it up in the past few weeks and should really get after Eli this weekend.  He is also missing his 2nd favorite guy and really the guy who helps make this offense go in Steve Smith with a torn pectoral.
-Ryan Fitzpatrick at Cincinnati.  The Bills are coming off of their first win of the year in which Fred Jackson finally got it going running the ball.  The Bengals are coming off of a crushing defeat to Indy and their 6th in a row.  They have to view this game as one they should go out and dominate.  Expect the young and talented DBs at Cincy to be all over the Bills WRs.

Smile!
RBs to start
-Frank Gore at home against Tampa Bay.  Gore has been on fire this year and facing one of the worst run defenses in the league makes playing him a no brainer.
-Chris Johnson at home against Washington.  I can't imagine that you'd sit Chris Johnson but I expect him to have a huge game this week.  The recently embarrassed Washinton D will be all over newly acquired Randy Moss and leave just a few too many slivers for CJ to take advantage of.
-Peyton Hillis at Jacksonville.  After a very tough loss to the Jets, expect the Browns to come out angry.  Actually the Jags just pulled off a Hail Mary win and I have to expect some self satisfaction to make them come out soft.  Watch for a very hard runnin' day from Hillis.

*(Update)*  It has been brought to my attention that my QB and RB suggestions were about as lame as could be.  Here are 3 additional RBs to start this week.  Knowshon Moreno at San Diego.  He's finally healthy and will see a lot of work if their offense can come close to last week's production.  Felix Jones home against Detroit.  If they keep playing up to their "talent" the Cowboys could put big points on the board.  I also think that Jason Garrett will try to utilize Jones a lot more than Phillips did due to his positional flexibility and speed. LeGarrette Blount at San Francisco.  Seriously pick this guy up if you still can.  He is definitely their top RB and this offense is young but getting better every week.

RBs to sit
-Michael Bush at Pittsburgh.  McFadden is back to being the primary back but Bush is still an ok 2nd RB or flex but not this week.  They are going to be playing in Pittsburgh who I'd imagine would be just slightly ticked off after last week's crushing loss to the Pats.  Expect lots of hitting in this matchup of two hard-nosed teams.
-Matt Forte at Miami.  The Dolphins know they need to step up their D this week with their 3rd string QB Thigpen starting.  Expect the 'phins already good run defense to get after Forte and force Cutler to try to beat them.
-Ryan Torrain at Tennessee.  Even though it sounds like he is going to be playing this week with the emergence of Keiland Williams last week I can't see Torrain getting the lion's share of carries.  Besides it doesn't look likely that any of the Redskins running backs will be able to get much going against the Titans.

*Bonus*  DeAngelo Williams, RB Carolina is on IR.  Please cut him or move him to IR if you are in a keeper league and think he is going to be amazing next year (you are wrong, he won't be).

In yo FACE!
WRs to start
-Marques Colston at home against Seattle.  Colston has finally gotten over the injuries that plagued him to start the year.  His health combined with the total lack of running game should have Colston taking advantage of a weak Seahawk secondary.
-Mike Thomas at home against the Browns.  I think the Browns are going to be heading to Jacksonville looking for a fight and will take it to the Jags early.  Meaning there will be plenty of passing going on to catch up and it's become clear that Thomas is the new favorite target for QB David Garrard.
-Mike Williams (Seattle) at New Orleans.  The Saints have started to dust off their offense lately and I expect the huge numbers of targets that Williams has seen lately to hold steady this week as they keep throwing the ball to try to keep the game close.

WRs to sit
-Santana Moss at Tennessee.  If last week's display of complete ineptitude of Santana Moss I don't know what was.  He is far from McNabb's go to target and Tennessee has been playing good defense this year.
-Davonne Bess at home against the Bears.  With Thigpen starting expect lots of passes going to Brandon Marshall and Anthony Fasano.  It's my opinion that backup QBs love their tight end as a check down and put blind faith in their stud WRs.
-Derrick Mason at Carolina.  Mason is coming off of his two best games this year, but unfortunately it's with a broken finger.  As admirable it is that he'll play with it, I can't imagine Flacco or Harbaugh calling his number very often against over the over-matched Panthers.  This is going to be a big day for Ray Rice, not Derrick Mason.

SKOHRboard's Fantasy Notes 11-18-10 (Part 1: College)


I've been thinking about writing articles on fantasy football for a while now and after some encouragement over the past week or three I've decided to go for it.  This article will be in flux as we get things ironed out here so let me know what you would like to see more or less of in this weekly article coming out Thursdays.

We'll tackle College Fantasy Football first.

Projected Top Players for Week 11
Because this is the first fantasy article here on SKOHRboard there is a bit more to discuss because we are almost done with the College Fantasy season.  Most leagues should be starting their playoffs this week.  I'll quickly go over the "must starts" at each position then detail who you should consider outside of those elite players who put up massive points every week.  I'm also only going to cover QBs, RBs, and WRs because if you need help with those other guys, you need way more help than I can give you here.  

QBs
-Cameron Newton, Auburn Bye
-Dominique Davis, ECU @Rice
-Denard Robinson, Michigan home against Wisconsin
-Colin Kaepernick, Nevada home against New Mexico St.

-Landry Jones, Oklahoma @Baylor
Landry has been on fire lately.  Despite a game at Texas A&M where he had his season low QB rating 2 weeks ago he has thrown for over 1,050 yards and 10 TDs in the last 3 games.

-Alex Carder, Western Michigan home against Kent St.
Over the last 4 weeks Carder has put up 140 points while completing 15 TDs.  Kent has had a good defense but this guy is riding a hot streak and if you need to pick up someone, according to CBS he is owned in only  7% of leagues.

-David Piland, Houston @Southern Miss.
The Cougars have the 10th best offense the College Football right now and Piland has been the starting QB over the last 6 games or so.  Their passing offense is also ranked 9th in College Football.  

RBs
-LaMichael James, Oregon Bye
-Jacquizz Rogers, Oregon St. home against USC
-Kendal Hunter, Oklahoma St. @Kansas
-Demarco Murray, Oklahoma @Baylor

-Jay Finley, Baylor home against Oklahoma
Finley has been the starting RB at Baylor for the last 5 weeks and has put up 20 pts or more in 4 of them. 

-Mikel LeShoure, Illinois home against Northwestern
LeShoure has been the hottest RB in the league over the last 3 weeks putting up 98 pts over that span.

-Mark Ingram, Alabama home against Georgia St. 
Georgia St. is the plucky first year team featured in ESPN magazine a few months ago and they are playing Alabama.  With Trent Richardson banged up Ingram could stand to rack up the yards as they continue to run the ball and run out the clock.

WRs
-Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St. @Kansas
-Randall Cobb, Bye
-Ryan Broyles,  Oklahoma @Baylor
-Lyle Leong, Texas Tech plays home against Weber St.

-Dwayne Harris, East Carolina @Rice
Harris has been the standout WR for an explosive ECU offense over the 2nd half of the season.  They are up against Rice who ranks 116 in the nation in points against.  Bad for Rice, good for Dwayne.

-Leonard Hankerson, Miami plays home against Virginia Tech
Despite the questionable QB situation in Miami right now it seems Hankerson is safe.  They are playing the Hokies this week so it should be a competitive game which means passing.  With the new QB Morris, it's been clear that Hankerson is his favorite target and should see plenty of action.

-Alshon Jeffrey plays home against Troy
Troy does not have a very good defense and this game should get out of hand which normally turns into a running backs big day.  However Jeffrey is so big and fast that he is a threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field.  I think he'll get a few chances for big plays against Troy.







Wednesday, November 17, 2010

College Football and MMA Analogy


A friend of mine, we'll call him Jeremiah Wontsay, recently brought forth his distaste for Boxing with a great comparison to MMA.
"This is exactly why mma [is greater than] boxing: because the top fighters actually WANT to fight each other. The only reason that Mayweather won't fight Pac is because he does not KNOW that he will win the fight. I'm not saying that he couldn't, just that it isn't certain. The boxers at the top don't feel like testing themselves, they want the sure win to preserve their legacy. MMA fights are usually charged because both combatants know that they are going to war, but they don't know who will come out on top. They want to see for themselves, and the only way to find out who is better is to see who wins in a fight."

What a great synopsis of the difference between boxing's fading star and MMA's rise.  Then as I was doing my internet reading and generally thinking about College Football, it dawned on me that this is eerily similar to what is happening with the BCS vs. Playoff debate now.

The BCS is to a Playoff as Boxing is to MMA.

Doesn't the regime in charge of the BCS sound just like that of Boxing?  They are trying to hold on to power by creating a false front.  Don't many "Top" college programs regularly schedule very easy games against obviously inferior opponents so they can be sure to win?  Admittedly they are only doing it because the BCS forces them to do whatever they can to arrive at the end of their regular season with an undefeated record.  How they get there doesn't really seem to matter to the powers that be and help decide the combatants in the National Championship game.  Which is basically impossible to get to with even a single loss on a teams record.

If we look at the other side of this, the MMA side if you will, we will find people interested in honestly testing their might to determine who is the best.  This is the side where two men or two teams face each other and fight as hard and as best they can to win.  There is a theory out there that says you can only get better by challenging yourself against the best and this is the side of the argument that it would come under.  Teams can play against one another in an open quest to determine who is better and knowing that they can possibly become a better team in a hard fought loss than they can in a dominant win.

What if every team in college football tried to schedule games against the very best teams each week, then after that, there was a ranking of teams 1 through 16 and a playoff based on those rankings?  Well that sounds like we would arrive at a much more realistic National Champion than we currently do with the BCS.

NFLPA Releases Their Demands


In a report by Chris Mortensen on ESPN late yesterday, the NFLPA has released their counterproposal for the impending CBA renewal.  If you've been following the NFL this year you've probably heard about the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring this coming Summer.  While that may be the case and there is plenty of talk about a lockout if a new agreement isn't, well, agreed to before the start of next season.

The NFL's major push during this season has been to rally everyone behind the idea of an 18 game season.  It seems that the NFLPA realizes the inevitability of this movement and has already started bargaining to help their hand once the actual negotiations take place.  Mortensen was able to get a hold of the latest counterproposal and some of the issues that DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA's Executive Director, will be pursuing.

According to ESPN:

The highlights of the union proposal:
• Voluntary offseason workouts would be reduced from the current 14 weeks to five weeks or 20 days (four days a week, four-hour maximum per day).
• Significantly reduced contact between players during training camp with four practices a week consisting of helmetless and padless periods.
• Two in-season bye weeks.
• Expanded rosters from the current 53 to 56 or 57, in addition to practice squads.
• Increased pro-rated salaries for players under contract.
• Reduction of the amount of games players need to become vested to qualify for post-career health care and pension benefits.

As you can see they are trying to ease the physical toll on players.  Adding an extra 2 games to a 16 game schedule is a significant amount of action and the NFLPA would like a corresponding amount of down time for players.  By including an extra bye week, additional active players, and reducing training camp's intensity Smith is actively negotiating for the long-term health of the players.  Let's hope that this gets worked out because nobody wants a lockout and everyone wants more (and safer) football.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Death to the BCS


Just received my copy of "Death to the BCS" in the mail and can't wait to read it.  I'm in the midst of two other books right now but this book has already jumped to 2nd in my Non-Fiction book list.  It's right behind "Moneyball."  I know I can't believe I haven't read Moneyball yet either.  You too can check out "Death to the BCS" by clicking on that link.

Here is a synopsis from the website:
Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series, from award-winning reporters Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan, turns the system inside out and finally gives answers as to why the corrupt system remains in place — and exactly how to get rid of it.


It's Already March?


No it's not March, which is misleading because it's hard to think of any other reason why ESPN is inundating me with College Basketball coverage.  OH!  It's the tip-off for the College Basketball season... So why are 2 year old pictures of Blake Griffin all over this post?  Well that's easy.  I don't know any current college hoopsters.  None.  And if you look at these pictures you'll realize just how awesome they are and agree with me that they deserve to be posted in this space.


Today's lineup includes games from a few ranked teams and I guess I'll take a look to see what teams are going to be any good.  For some reason, I have a sneaking suspicion that Kentucky, Duke, Michigan St., and North Carolina will be at or near the top when all is said and done though.


According to this schedule it seems like there are some pretty decent games on ESPN.  All of these games are on ESPN and if you can't get in front of a TV to watch you can find them here at www.ATDHE.net
  • 4:00 PM #24 Virginia Tech vs. #3 Kansas St.  
  • 5:30 PM Marist vs. #7 Villanova   
  • 6:00 PM #5 Ohio State vs #10 Florida
  • 7:30 PM Miami of Ohio vs #1 Duke
  • 10:00 PM South Carolina vs #2 Michigan St.
I'll close with a shot of John Wall, last year's top NBA draft pick, dunking at an incredibly high speed against North Carolina last year.



There Has To Be Penalty For This, Right?

             

That is one vicious tackle.  It's NC State's Nate Irving destroying Wake Forests Michael Campanaro.  So helmet to helmet hits and intentional hits to a defenseless player are illegal but what about MONSTER SUPLEXES?  Holy jeez that guy looks like a rag doll.  This at the very least is a roughing the passer right?  Relatively speaking Campanaro is basically always in a defenseless state when compared to Nate Irving, so this should have drawn a flag.  Wow, I can't stop looking at it in awe, then fear, then hoping his head is still attached.  Maybe if I saw a little yellow flag fly in at the end I'd feel better?


Thanks to EDSBS.com and RiddickandReynolds.wordpress.com



Vick's Big Day


Mike Vick had a big day yesterday.  Ironically it came on the same day that his predecessor in Philly (and that evening's opponent), Donovan McNabb, got a new $78 million deal. Vick passed for 333 yards and 4 TDs while also running for 80 yards and 2 TDs.  He was the first player in NFL history to have a game with 300+ passing yards, 4+ passing TDs, 50+ rushing yards, and 2+ rushing TDs.  Yeah, pretty good day as the Eagles hung 59 points on division rival Redskins.  



Every sportswriter in the country is expounding about "possibly one of the best games a QB has ever had" but it seems to me that every story has a "what happens next" element to it.  Although maybe that's just my inner Eagles fan reading too much into these articles.  Either way, let's discuss.  Or rather, I'll just write what I think and you can accept every word.

The Eagles will get a new contract worked out for Vick.  Whether that happens during the season or after the season nobody knows.  It would be better for the Eagles to do it sooner and it would be better for Vick to do it closer to free agency.  Keep in mind that if negotiations do fall through the Eagles will have the final trump card in this case with the option of placing the franchise tag on him.  Although that is clearly the worst case scenario.  Vick has already said that he'd like to continue playing for the team that gave him his first opportunity after his incarceration and will give them every chance to sign him long term.  

The other question that this brings up is, what about Kolb?  Do the Eagles keep Vick AND Kolb or do they trade him for like 85 1st rd picks and a few Pro Bowl CBs and DEs?  According to Chris Mortensen on ESPN this morning, they can actually keep both of them.  Apparently the contract extension Kolb received this Summer was really more of a roster bonus with another 2 years tacked onto his existing deal.  Mort said that Kolb is only scheduled to receive about $1.8 million next year.  Which in my opinion is a pretty easy to swallow contract for a team's backup QB.  However, as we all know the Eagles are a team that likes to exploit values which means that they'll be tempted to trade him to someone looking for a real franchise QB.  Maybe Minnesota, Miami, KC, or Arizona.  Shoot after last night it looks like Washington might be looking for a new QB.  

This might be a bold prediction considering all the "Where will Kolb end up speculation" going on today, but I think the Eagles will keep him on as the backup.  The aggressive play that makes Vick such a dangerous weapon, also makes him very injury prone as we've seen already this year.  If the Eagles keep Vick they'll need a highly capable backup and as Andy Reid has said over and over again this year, he is very happy having two very good Quarterbacks on his roster.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Donovan's New Deal

Cheesin'

Donovan is currently "cheesing" in more ways than one.  He just signed a 5 year $88 million deal with the Redskins.  Yes, the very same ones that benched him last week for being too fat (lack of cardiovascular endurace) and dumb (doesn't understand the 2 minute offense).  Wow!  What a difference a couple weeks off makes huh?  Now he is their shiny new QB again, who will surely lead their team to glory for the next 5 years or at least for tonight.  It's Monday Night and Donovan's preparing to face his former team of 11 years, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Crazy.  If anyone knows his agent Fletcher Smith's phone number, please send it my way - I am looking for representation too.  I've always been a fan of Donovan and think his body of work over the last decade plus should earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame.  But after the first 8 games of this season, it is hard to imagine that Dan Snyder was happy with this trade with the Eagles.  This is by far the worst year of Donovan's career (not only because he is with the Redskins).  Maybe they just see his ability in practice and realize that there are many many holes to be filled before they can see all of his potential.  

Either way, congrats Donovan.  You definitely earned it with the 3rd most wins for any QB over the last 12 years.



BCS Overshadows Great College Football


How do the outcomes of the final games for Hawaii and San Diego St. impact the race for the National Championship?  Read the latest article by Ralph D. Russo to find out just that and more.  He explains why the BCS has us fixated on only the unbeaten Top 4 schools right now.  Meanwhile there are some very compelling conference races happening all around the country not to mention many other great College Football stories hidden by the all the attention focused on the race to be #1.

Another point he brought up that got me thinking was his mention of how a 16 team playoff would actually make these late in the season games much more exciting if there were more than 4 teams playing for the National Championship.  At this point there are really only 2 weeks of College Football remaining this year, in some cases 3, but what that means is that there are about 8 games left that will have any ability to shape who gets to play for the national championship.  Now if there were a 16 team playoff there would be 32 or 48 games left that would "matter."  However the BCS is interested in making money for itself, not the colleges.  If the college presidents and conference boards only realized the money making potential available in making these late season games "matter."   It would make more people watch the games, which would translate to more money from their tv deals and advertisers.  Then maybe, just maybe, they would begin to realize that they don't need to depend on the BCS and their huge bowl payouts.  Here's hoping.

SKOHRboard Top 25 11-14-10


Although this weekend didn't look like it was going to be a very exciting one going into the weekend there were more than a few surprises when everything was said and done.  Oregon survived a real battle in Berkley.  TCU was surprised with a tight game against up and comer San Diego St.  Auburn defended their position in the SEC with a very sound win over Georgia.  Yeah all that might have happened but Wisconsin put up 83 points on Indiana.  83!!  That is more than an over matched high school game.  Unbelievable.  Apparently Bucky the Badger got so tired of doing push-ups for each point they put up, they had to switch our the actual guy in the suit to another guy with fresh arms.  573 push-ups will do that.  That's impressive.

Sure the BCS Top Ten might not have changed but the SKOHRboard rankings are very liquid.  We take all kinds of things into consideration.  This list isn't determining who the best team is for the whole season it is defining who in my mind is the Top 25 for THIS WEEK only.  For example, I didn't have Miami ranked last week with Jacory Harris out but they played well and now they'll get him back.  As always, let me know what you think in the comments.




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