ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Games to Watch this Weekend 14.4

Bears QB Jay Cutler seen here doing it wrong
On paper, Week 4 had far more exciting matchups than Week 5 appears to have.  Hopefully that is just on paper though and we get some surprisingly exciting games this weekend.  Somehow the only College game with two ranked teams took place on Thursday night when Arizona State got destroyed at home when UCLA decided to act like a ranked team for the first time this season.  Granted ASU's QB didn't play due to injury so they were far from 100%.  However, they gave up 62 points and despite the kickoff return and the interception return for a touchdown, it's hard to win games when you give up that many points which is something that Sundevil QB Taylor Kelly couldn't have done much to stop even if he had played.

So who's playing Saturday and Sunday?

Saturday
12pm
  • Tulane at #1 (In our hearts) Rutgers - (ESPN News) The Scarlet Knights are heavily favored and if they win here they have a 4-1 record as they prepare to face Michigan in New Jersey at 8pm the following weekend.  But nobody is looking ahead...
Rutgers seen here looking ahead to Saturday and definitely not all the way to Michigan
  • Tennessee at #12 Georgia - (ESPN) This has the feel of one of those classic SEC games that's 11-8 with the underdog Vols leading at the 3 minutes to go mark in the 3rd Quarter before Mr. Todd Gurley and the Bulldogs take the next four possessions for unanswered TDs and win by like 26 points.  Classic SEC.
  • Wyoming at #9 Michigan State - (ESPN2)This game is only interesting because it's the first game that MSU's RB Jeremy Langford will reportedly be healthy for.  If you see him pop off a few big time runs and show some burst I think you can safely switch back to the other Noon games.
1:30pm
  • Maryland at Indiana - (BTN) A classic Big Ten East rivalry here.  Admittedly both teams seem to have enough talent to really ruin a ranked team's Playoff dreams this year but not enough to inspire any of those dreams for their own fanbases.  Could be a fun game to watch though.  Indiana's RB, Tevin Coleman looks like the real deal.
  • Arkansas at #9 Texas A&M - (CBS) If the A&M defense can slow down the Razorbacks highlight reel RB Alex Collins, it could turn into a long day for the Fayetteville faithful.  A&M's QB Kenny Hill and a menacing lineup of future NFL WRs (Seals-Jones, Kennedy, Noil, and Reynolds) are about as imposing an offensive attack as there is in College Football.
6:00pm
  • Cincinnati at #22 Ohio State - (BTN) Cincy is a team that has been horrendously underrated for years and I think they have a real chance to hang in there with the other slightly more notorious college football program in the State.  If the Buckeyes don't bring their A game on Saturday it could very easily turn into another Loss.  Would the faithful start rumbling about Urban Meyer's job if they take a loss to the Bearcats and their highly touted nomadic QB, Gunnar Kiel?  Probably not.
8:20pm
  • #7 Baylor at Iowa State - (Fox)  This game should finish with a score of something close to 97-24.  Baylor will have their full slate of offensive weapons on the field for the first time this season on Saturday.  Let's just say this offense is explosive.  The backups have put up over 1,200 receiving yards, over 17 yards per completion, and the 18th most total offensive yards of any team in College Football, and they've only played in three games so far.
There are many photos of Baylor football players parading into the End Zone by themselves

Sunday
1pm
  • Green Bay at Chicago - (Fox) Could the Packers really start out 1-3 and 0-2 in their division?  Not exactly the return to glory season that Packers fans had hoped for if they lose to a pretty solid looking Bears squad on Sunday.  Packers RB Eddie Lacy has looked lost out there so far and really needs to start taking his carries to the next level if this team is going to start winning games.
  • Buffalo at Houston - (CBS) The return of Mario Williams game?  The Ryan Fitzpatrick game?  Eh...  Both teams have shown more pluck than probably anyone thought they would so far this season and could surprise some folks in the long run but this game appearing here is more due to a very light week of exciting matchups.  This is where College Football's excitement through numbers really shows up.  
4pm
  • Philadelphia at San Francisco - (Fox) #TheNickFolesExperience continues.  They'll play a bit stiffer defense this week as they travel across the country.  As an outsider, I'd assume they might try to not fall behind by multiple touchdowns for the first time all season this week but Chip Kelly gets to make those plans and he makes millions of dollars to do it, while I get paid in exhausted (and sometimes "I can't believe there is still football on our TV") looks from my wife.
  • Atlanta at Minnesota - (Fox) Let the Teddy Bridgewater era begin!  Unfortunately for Matt Cassel and his minions, he somehow exploded his foot last week and will most likely not be returning to the field this season.  Fortunately for the Bridgewater Brigade, they get to see Teddy full time probably sooner than anyone really wanted.  The Falcons Defense looked gangbusters last week but if I had a guess, and this is my blog so I get all the guesses, I'd say that a large part of that performance was due to the Bucs being a below average NFL team.
8pm
  • New Orleans at Dallas - (NBC) The Saints very well might put up 50 points against a ripe for exploiting Cowboys defense.  That said, the Cowboys are somehow 2-1 after a miraculous comeback last week against the St. Louis Rams so maybe there is more to the 'boys than meets the eye.  Probably not though.
Monday
8pm
  • New England at Kansas City - (ESPN) Two old chums face off here as Andy Reid plays host to William Belichick.  They will ceremoniously rip the sleeves off of one another's sideline approved coaches wear before the game, trade current players and prospective draft picks at half time, and take turns mumbling then clearing their throats through the press conference afterwards.  It should be thrilling.  Two things to look for during actual game play here include Tom Brady being fully healthy and getting into classic Tom Brady making incredible throws at the most opportune times form and Chiefs RB Jamal Charles recovering from an early season ankle sprain to get this offense going.
That'll do it for this week.  Enjoy the games!



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Friday, September 26, 2014

College Football Quarterbacking

What does not look like the others?
How many good QBs are there this year?  ESPN can't stop telling me about Jamies Winston who really seems to be wildly immature and dangerous to a team/program if given leadership responsibilities but after watching a few weeks I think it's clear that there are way more QBs worth watching out there than just Mr. Winston.  Let's list these guys out by order of hype.

Under Hyped QBs:
  • Jake Waters, Kansas State (He put on a show against Auburn)
  • Conor Halliday, Washington State
  • Shane Carden, Eastern Carolina (Torched UNC last weekend)
  • Clint Trickett, WVU (Gave his team a legit chance against 2 of our Top 4 teams already this season)
  • Rakeem Cato, Marshall (Has been the most successful and most underrated QB in college football for three years now)
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  • Connor Cook, Michigan State
  • Kevin Hogan, Stanford
  • Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
  • Travis Wilson, Utah
  • Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Hyped QBs
  • Taysom Hill, BYU (His hype started three games ago, this guy is on fire)
  • Dak Prescot, Mississippi State
  • Everett Golson, Notre Dame (Is it possible for a previously suspended and now reinstated QB from Notre Dame to be anything but over-hyped?)
  • Nick Marshall, Auburn
  • Kenny Hill, Texas A&M
  • Christian Hackenburg, PSU
  • Cody Kessler, USC
    Over Hyped QBs:
    • Jamies Winston, FSU
    • Brett Hundley, UCLA
    • Marcus Mariota, Oregon
    • Bryce Petty, Baylor
    • Blake Sims & Jacob Coker, Alabama
    • Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
    That's 25 QBs who make any game fun to watch.  While I haven't done this "analysis" in years past it sure seems like that is more than normal.  Out of those 25 it seems that there are only 2 who are not draft eligible next year!  Not all of them will move on from college but that's a lot of QB talent we can all enjoy each week.





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    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    College Football Weekly Digest 14.4

    Alabama is back on top.  Cheers!
    After soundly defeating yet another "quality" opponent the Alabama Crimson Tide find themselves yet again atop the College Football world.  Kudos giant red Elephants.  Texas A&M continues to obliterate opponents of any qualification and that is good enough for #2 in our weekly rankings.  While the Ducks continue to win their games convincingly, they struggled for the first time this past week and showed some potential deficiencies that I suspect some teams more athletic than the Wazzou Cougs might be able to exploit.  Time will tell but for now the Ducks are safely #3 in the all important Top 4.  The fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoffs if I were the committee and the vote was this week would be given to the Oklahoma Sooners.  Not only did they slow down a potent West Virginia passing game but they were able to dominate on the ground with a freshmen running back who was filling in for the top two RBs on the depth chart who were dealing with injuries.  

    Meanwhile Florida State finds themselves on the outside looking in this week after a win but a very close call to Clemson who basically outplayed Florida State all night despite the final score.  Clemson just couldn't help themselves and made critical mistakes at the very worst possible moments.  Example below.


    Outside of the Top 4 though, how fantastic was this weekend for College Football watching?  Wow!  Rutgers looked great against Navy despite an inability to totally shut the door in the 2nd half.  Mississippi State looked great and their QB Dak Prescott had a coming out party as they were the first non #1 ranked to beat LSU at night in Baton Rouge in like a decade or something.  Auburn didn't look like a Playoff team but they did hold on to beat a very good Kansas State team on the road.  Speaking of Kansas State, their QB Jake Waters looks like the real deal too.

    Speaking of QBs, let's take a look at how SKOHRboard sees the Heisman race playing out after 4 games.

    Heisman Candidates:
    1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
    2. Taysom Hill, QB, BYU
    3. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
    4. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
    5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
    6. Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame
    7. James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh
    8. Shane Carden, QB, Eastern Carolina
    9. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M
    10. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
    SKOHRboard's College Football Top 25
    1. Alabama +1
    2. Texas A&M +1
    3. Oregon -2
    4. Oklahoma +1
    5. Florida State -1
    6. Auburn +2
    7. BYU +3
    8. Ole Miss +1
    9. Mississippi State +10
    10. Baylor -3
    11. Notre Dame
    12. Michigan State +6
    13. West Virginia -1
    14. Kansas State +9
    15. South Carolina -1
    16. Georgia
    17. LSU -11
    18. Wisconsin +2
    19. Clemson (NR)
    20. East Carolina +2
    21. Nebraska (NR)
    22. USC -7
    23. Arizona State -10
    24. Stanford -7
    25. PSU (NR)
    There you have it.  With some big matchups in the SEC and Pac12 this weekend we should hopefully start to see teams separate themselves one way or the other.  





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