ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Link to Iggles Blog - Quick & Dirty Roughing The Passer Study



If you weren't aware, yours truly is a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Which also means that I am a Michael Vick fan. So when people start destroying him before, during, after plays I get sad. But what Andy Reid and I are most upset about is that people ARE hitting Mike after the play and they ARE NOT getting penalized for it. Well Derek, one of the writers for one of the best fan sites for any team, www.IgglesBlog.com , wrote about the penalty drawing differences between QBs like Vick and McNabb vs. those like Peyton and Brady (running vs. pocket-passers.) Although he adamantly states over and over again,
"The following tables and graphs prove nothing, definitively answer no questions, and should really only be a stepping stone to a larger study. So long as we're all clear on that, let's move on."
if you are interested in whether or not Mike is getting his fair share of roughing the passer penalties called, you should read this and draw your own conclusions.

Iggles Blog - Philadelphia Eagles Blog: Quick & Dirty Roughing The Passer Study

The Civil War: 'Quizz vs. LaMike

Jacquizz Rodgers vs. LaMichael James
The Civil War is being played in Oregon today and you should be watching.  This game will feature two of the most electric running backs in college football.  I won't even get into their spectacular first names but they should be recognized for awesomeness on the field.

Jacquizz Rodgers has been fooling spellchecks and leading Oregon State in rushing for the last three years.  In the time he has racked up nearly 3,800 yards rushing and 46 TDs on the ground.  He is also a very good pass receiver with 146 career catches for 1,036 yards and 4 TDs.  Quizz, as he is known by friends, averages 5.3 yards per touch for his career.  He is also owner to highlights such as these...

                     

In the opposite backfield we find the French running back LaMichael James.  James must be one of the faster backs you'll see on the college football field today and with the rate that the Ducks run plays it's not surprising that a few times a game he just runs right by everyone on the field which explains his career 6.7 yard per touch average.  According to his immaculately sourced wikipedia page he ran a 10.5 100 meters in high school.  LaMichael is currently the 4th leading rusher in the country behind 2 FCS guys and a QB.  He is also 2nd in the country with 19 rushing TDs.  If you are interested in seeing how he scored some of those touchdowns, I'd like to suggest the video below.

                     

No matter who you are pulling for you this is a matchup you should be watching if you like fantastic running backs.  These guys are both sure to put on a show, but even if you are just in it for fancy first names you won't be let down.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Picks

The Civil War
It's our final weekend of College Football before Bowl Season begins and there are a few games that can still shake things up at the top of the standings.

Noon
-Rutgers at #24 West Virginia
on ABC
Freshman Chas Dodd will try to lead Rutgers to a huge upset win over the Mountaineers in this game.  West Virginia has to win and hope Connecticut loses for a chance at a BCS bowl berth.  Which is a joke because there are so many more deserving teams than either 8-3 WVU or 7-4 UConn.

3:30
-#2 Oregon at Oregon St.
on ABC
The Ducks have to travel to their biggest rival Oregon St and pull off a win in order to secure their spot in the BCS National Championship.  Watch for a close game early before the speed and tenacity of Oregon overwhelm the Beavers.

4:00
-#1 Auburn vs. #19 South Carolina 
on CBS in the Atlanta, Georgia Dome
The SEC Championship game pits Cam Newton and Auburn's hopes for a place in the BCS National Championship against the 'Ol Ball Coach Steve Spurrier and Freshman sensation, running back Marcus Lattimore.  Newton was recently cleared to play by the NCAA despite allegations of payoffs.  

7:45
-#21 Florida St. vs. #15 Virginia Tech
on ESPN
This is FSU's first season after legendary coach Bobby Bowden retired and Jimbo Fischer already has them competing for the ACC championship.  A win here could be the start of a new dynasty in Tallahassee however, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, and the Hokie coach Frank Beamer probably have something else in mind.

8:00
-#9 Oklahoma vs. #13 Nebraska
Big 12 Championship on ABC in Arlington, TX in Cowboy Stadium
Bo Pelini will take the Cornhuskers into the Big 12 Championship for their final game as a member of the Big 12.  Oklahoma and Bob Stoops, who have been the dominant team in the Big 12 since the league's inception, will do their best to earn the Big 12 automatic BCS bid.  





Thursday, December 2, 2010

SKOHRboard's Fantasy Notes 12-2-10


Another week with an early Thursday night game on the NFL Network.  (Note to those without the NFL Network, you can find the game streaming live at www.atdhe.net)  Tonight's game features everyone's favorite Philadelphia Eagles facing the can't break .500 Houston Texans.  Some other great games of note for this weekend include the Steelers playing the Ravens along with the Jets facing the Patriots.  All are must see games, so go watch them.  Until then you'll have to tweak your fantasy team lineups and here is some advice to help you do that.

QBs
- Mike Vick, Eagles playhome against the Texans
I think by now Vick is a must start but he is facing the league's worst pass defense tonight in the Houston Texans.  This is an easy one.
-Matt Cassel, Chiefs play at home against the Broncos
Cassel has averaged roughly 32 points a game over the last 4 games and this weekend he'll play one of the worst defenses in the league.  Look for him to light it up again with Dwayne Bowe who has been ridiculously hot lately.
-Sam Bradford, Rams play @ the Cardinals
Bradford is having a tremendous year for a rookie and has been a marginal starter for fantasy purposes this year.  However, he is coming off of a great week and gets to play the lowly Cardinals this week.  Sure it's a divisional game but Bradford must realize he has a great chance to show something this week and I think he'll do just that.



RBs
-Chris Ivory, Saints play @ the Bengals
Ivory seems to be the only healthy RB in the New Orleans lineup yet again.  They are playing against a surprisingly poor Bengals defense this week.  If the Saints can continue to play offense the way they have the last few weeks expect Ivory to really benefit.
-Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks play at home against the Panthers
Lynch has been there long enough to learn the offense and from what I can tell is the "lead" back for Seattle.  Being the lead back is very valuable in terms of fantasy points when you are playing against the Carolina Panthers who have had one of the worst defenses in the league this year.  Even if most of his carries are running out the clock carries, they still count.
-Toby Gerhart, Vikings play at home against the Bills
If Adrian Peterson is as banged up as he seems to be this could be a great week for him to take some reps off and let Gerhart handle the Bills.  There is also a good chance that the Vikings will let Peterson try to rest as much as they can and give the bulk of carries to Gerhart this week so start him if you are really in need of some RB help.



WRs
-Eddie Royal, Broncos play at home against the Chiefs
With Thomas not playing this week expect Royal to benefit greatly in Denver's pass first offense.  He could stand to catch a lot of passes this weekend.
-Santonio Holmes, Jets play @ the Patriots
Holmes is now Mark Sanchez's go to guy and against a rather porous pass defense in New England that should be a very valuable position.  Santonio also has a knack for finding the end zone in big games and there aren't many bigger regular season games for the Jets this year.
-Malcom Floyd, Chargers play at home against the Raiders
Floyd is returning from injury to be the only legitimate threat in Philip Rivers' arsenal.  Jackson hurt himself last week and will be out again and Gates is seriously banged up.  It looks like Floyd will be back out there and expect him to benefit from the Raiders missing Asomougha.

Cam Newton is Eligible


Yesterday the NCAA ruled that Cam Newton is eligible to play for Auburn this season.  Great news for both Auburn and Cam Newton.  As I'm sure you've heard, he was being investigated for shopping his services to Mississippi St. for a reported $180,000.  Well the NCAA, which has no investigative arm, decided that he had no involvement in said shopping.  

The NCAA ruled that it was his Father who was acting to get money for his Cam's commitment, not Cam himself.  Plus they said that Cam had no knowledge of any of this and therefore he was eligible to play.  How ridiculous is that?  Apparently before Cam committed anywhere he told both Mississippi St. and Auburn that the final decision was up to his Father!  But somehow the NCAA thinks that despite his Father possibly getting money from one school or another he had no influence over Cam's decision?  Yeah...

I realize that the NCAA is really a small organization that relies on schools to confess their infractions but this just doesn't make sense.  I'm not saying that he shouldn't be able to play, I think he should, I just think that the NCAA has to come up with a better reason than "his Dad did it."  What a great way for top recruits to finally get paid to play college football, just get their parents to do it!


What Cleveland Should Do: Boycott LeBron


LeBron has asked us all what he should do but I've got the answer for what Cleveland should do tonight when LeBron returns.  Boycott.  Everyone is wondering what the fan reaction will be tonight when LeBron is announced; will they boo, cheer, throw things?  Well the most powerful thing the jilted people of Cleveland can do would be to boycott the game as though LeBron doesn't even matter to them.  Imagine what a powerful image that would be when all the TV cameras can show is LeBron James playing in an empty Quicken Loans arena in his first game back after taking his talents to South Beach.

Shaq's interview with ESPN this week about what he thought in games when he returned to his former team was great.  He said that he felt the jeers were displays of respect and he's right.  If people care enough to shout, yell, and boo that means that they see him as important enough to get that riled up.  Well why not do the exact opposite?  If people in Cleveland really want to show LeBron that they don't care about him anymore the most impactful thing they could do is not show up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BCS Math: When it Pays to Lose


You might have already heard this but last weekend #3 Boise St. lost an inter-conference game to #19 Nevada.  Which seems like it would be a pretty good thing for Nevada, right?  Well maybe not.  By moving Boise St. out of the BCS games, Nevada could stand to lose millions of dollars.  You're probably sitting in your chair reading this and saying, "WHA!?"

Well that is some BCS math for you.  If Boise St. had won that game they would almost definitely be playing in a BCS bowl game either the championship or Rose Bowl game.  Which means that they would have earned $18 million.  Now they will most likely play in the Humanitarian Bowl or Fight Hunger Bowl.  Which would earn them around $750,000.  Unfortunately for Nevada, according to BCS math all of the earnings from bowl teams go to their respective conference to be divided up among that conference's schools.  Ouch.  That is a loss of about a $1.9 million for each school in the WAC.

Would it make sense for Nevada to throw the game for the cash?  Probably not because that win gave them more publicity and attention than any $1.9 million could.  However, I'm sure there is an accountant in the Nevada athletic department who would beg to differ.  Teams shouldn't have to face the possibility that they would lose such a huge sum of money for WINNING a football game.

You know what would help this?  A 16 team playoff that values good football rather than bloated records.  But that would never happen because we wouldn't want to have an open, honest, and rewarding post-season for the most exciting sport in America, would we?  We'd rather stick with antiquated traditions that funnel money to undeserving bowl representatives rather than schools with athletic depts running deficits and facing cuts.  GO BCS!!!

SKOHRboard Top 25 11-29-10























That picture pretty much says it all.  The biggest news of the weekend was definitely Boise St.'s two missed FGs.  By losing to Nevada the Broncos lose their chance at a National Championship.  If only there were some kind of 16 team playoff that allowed teams to challenge themselves by scheduling quality opponents and even losing to them but then earning their way to a National Championship game by beating other qualified teams when it matters in tournament style...  Although Boise's loss was the top news it wasn't the lone story from this college football weekend.  

Auburn was pushed hard by Alabama and came back from being down 24-0 to win in Tuscaloosa.  The Ducks churned out another high octane win by wearing out the scoreboard in the 2nd half to beat a ranked Arizona team.  Stanford's very impressive shutout win came against Oregon's opponent in next week's Civil War.  Wisconsin looked dominant again against Northwestern.  One of the biggest jumps this week comes from Arkansas who has quietly worked they way into the BCS at large discussion by adding a solid running game to their potent passing game.  Both of which were on display this weekend as they soundly beat former SEC pretender LSU.




Monday, November 29, 2010

Which Way Did They Go? TCU Moves East


TCU will go from traveling West to the red spots to East and the yellow spots when they leave the Mountain West for the Big East.  As you can see the difference is not that great.  Especially considering the maximum flights from TCU to its' most distant opponent in either conference is probably less than an hour.  Thanks to Mountain West Connection for creating this map about two months ago.  One this this map also does is show just how ridiculous the hypocrisy is when BCS spokes people talk about the prohibitive aspects of a playoffs taking kids away from school when they join conferences as spread out as this.  There certainly couldn't be any travel that is far more extreme than this which would make a playoff unfeasible.  It's all a sham, to make you think a playoff isn't doable, so the conference commissioners can keep their power and the bowl CEOs can keep their bloated pay-offs checks.

Punching is Best Left to the Professionals



This past weekend Cortland Finnegan managed to rile up Andre Johnson enough to start a fight which got them both thrown out of the game.  As you can see from the video Finnegan was up to his old tricks and Johnson had clearly had enough.  Although what you see in the video could land a normal person in jail, an NFL player only has to miss the remainder of the game and pay a $25,000 fine.  Which to both of these guys is not a crushing loss of money.  There seems to be some outrage about the seemingly light fines for such outrageous behavior.  After-all James Harrison of the Steelers has been fined over $100,000 this year for actual football hits, albeit illegal ones.  These two guys ripped each other's helmets off and started throwing hay-makers.  It seems incongruent to me.

For example, this hit by Asante Samuel cost him $40,000. My problem with the discrepancy is that Samuel's move here was essentially part of the play. Yes it was rough and he led with his helmet but he did it in the act of stopping the ball carrier, which is probably in the job description of an NFL cornerback. However, at no point in the NFL game are any players supposed to do anything close to rip another player's helmet off and proceed to repeatedly punch that player in the head.



If Roger Goodell had asked me what the penalty should be for such behavior I would have told him that both players should be suspended for 1 game.  This was his opportunity to send a message that reckless violence was no longer part of the NFL.  Unfortunately he missed his chance with this.  After watching PTI tonight Tony Kornheiser suggested that the NFL didn't want to suspend players because Houston has a prime time match-up on Thursday night with the Eagles on what else but the NFL Network.  It wouldn't really be good business for the NFL to remove one of the star players from a team right before that team plays on one of the few prime-time games the NFL Network has the rights to.  So what we are left with is a real mess.

The other problem with the light suspension that hasn't really been brought up by main stream media types yet is the discrepancy we've now seen in terms of punishment in college versus the pros.  Remember last year when Oregon lost to BCS outsider Boise St. and, up to that point future NFL draft stud, LeGarrette Blount sucker punched Byron Hout?  Well he did as you can see in the video below and was summarily suspended by Oregon for the remainder of the season all but eliminating his chances of being drafted at the level his actual talent demanded.  The kicker is that most people agreed that this was an acceptable punishment.  Well now he is the starting RB for the Tampa Bay Bucs despite going undrafted and earning MILLIONS of dollars less per year than he would if he had been drafted where he should have been, probably in the 2nd round somewhere.



Well, as my good friend Jacobean Richardson pointed out, how can the media now see Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan brawling during the middle of a game and think they deserve little more than a week suspension?  How can this inequality exist, especially in the media?  Is it merely the professionalism of the NFL that makes assault acceptable?  Isn't an "amateur" allowed the same expression of extreme emotion as a "professional?"  Something seems very wrong that people are so outraged when a college player punches another player, but when a pro does it, we tacitly approve it by such minimal punishments as $25,000.

The Slightly Bigger East


TCU will officially be joining the Big East in the 2012 season.  I postulated on why that would be a good thing earlier in the year here along with who I thought might also be joining them.  As conferences are beginning to shake up it opens the possibility that more schools look to make advantageous moves like TCU.

The Horned Frogs will be joining the weakest conference of the "automatic qualifiers."  Which will give them a much easier way into the National Championship game.  Right now it looks like the 7-4 Huskies or the 8-3 Mountaineers will get the Big East's automatic bid into a BCS game.  However TCU NEEDS their undefeated record to even have a prayer of getting into a BCS game.  Starting in 2012 all they have to do is have the best record in the conference.

TCU will also benefit from the added TV exposure.  The Big East plays many more nationally televised games on ESPN throughout the year.  Not only will they gain more exposure and an easier path to the BCS, but they don't lose any "market share" in their home recruiting territory.  Yes, some Big East programs will gain from having their games mean something to the fertile Texas high schools but that will be negated by the equal increase that TCU will get.  It's really a win for everyone involved.

What this should show schools like Notre Dame and UCF is that they can do exactly the same thing TCU has done.  Although both schools are having a good year, they really have no shot at landing in a BCS bowl for years to come unless they are able to schedule enough weak teams to dupe the current BCS system and finish the season undefeated.  Due to the unlikelihood of that happening, they should follow the forward thinking example of the Horned Frogs and join the BCS while they still have the chance.

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