ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Games to Watch this Weekend 14.15

The Battle for America - Saturday is the Army Navy Game
This weekend is the final regular season College Football game of the year and probably one with just as much pomp, circumstance, and tradition as any other.  The annual Army Navy game saw a dropoff in attention and quality for a while but has really made a comeback as both programs continue to invest in themselves to compete on the field and for attention off the field.  It's the only football game on Saturday and you would do well to tune in.

This weekend will also bring us the Heisman trophy award ceremony and while media companies will try to build up some suspense, Marcus Mariota has pretty much had this thing in the bag since week 2.  Dak Prescott made a very solid run through the first half of the season but his stellar play dropped off just enough that he lost relevance as Mariota and notably Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper really separated themselves.

NFL teams have only three games left close out the regular season and the recent emphasis on divisional games to end the regular season is starting to kick in right about now with a bunch of really good material games this weekend.

Thursday
8:25pm
  • Arizona at St. Louis - (NFL)  As you've probably heard the Rams are the best 6-7 team in the history of the NFL.  You may have also heard that the Cardinals own the NFL's most surprising record and divisional lead.  Both teams are loaded with young talent but no clear star QB which as you might also guess makes them serious underdogs in any playoff scenario.  The Cards are almost definitely going to get into the playoffs by virtue of the big cushy record they have although they are now playing with their backup QB Drew Stanton, their backup RB Marion Grice, a banged up WR Larry Fitzgerald, and their star DB Tyrann Mathieu is out for three weeks with a broken thumb.  Oof.  The Rams can best be described as plucky.  They have a RB in Tre Mason who looks like the real deal, their OLine is young but talented, their DLine is young and extremely talented but the rest is maybe not so much.  I think the Rams can pull this one out at home against a Cardinals team that is struggling with injuries.  St. Louis 27 - Arizona 20
Saturday 
3:30pm
  • Army Navy Game - (CBS)  Not much to say about this one other than Army lost to Yale this year which was the first time an Ivy League school beat an FBS opponent and Navy played Ohio State tight and had a lead against Notre Dame with about five minutes to play.  I think Navy wins this one handily.  Navy 35-13
Sunday
1pm
  • Green Bay at Buffalo - (Fox)  The Bills face an awfully tall task here but they are at home and their best asset is their DLine who will be charged with getting the NFL MVP front runner out of rhythm.  Buffalo is also still in the hunt for the playoffs and they'll have to win at least two of their remaining games which unfortunately are against the Packers, the Raiders not so bad, but they close at the Patriots.  The Bills could really use this one.  They don't get it though Packers win 37-19
Manziel getting coached up by WR coach Mike McDaniel
  • Cincinnati at Cleveland - (Fox) It's basically a playoff game.  Both teams are fighting with the rest of the entire division to win it and the loser here is almost definitely out.  Cincy started hot then lost AJ Green and struggled a bit but now he is back and they are looking good.  The Browns on the other hand were essentially playing without any elite offensive weapons all season but have gotten Josh Gordon back, Cameron Jordon should be playing, and Sunday will be Johnny Manziel's first NFL start at QB.  This is maybe the most exciting late season Browns v Bengals game in 1,000 years and I am not exaggerating.  !.  Dalton has been on a hot streak since Green has been back but I just don't feel like that is a very sustainable thing.  Browns win 24-20  
4pm
  • Denver at San Diego - (CBS)  San Diego just keeps hanging in there and Denver is starting to get healthy again after struggling with injuries through the middle of the season.  We all know Peyton is 84 years old and needs that sunshine to keep moving so this is not much of a home field advantage for the Chargers.  As much as the Chargers have a nice record I don't think they are a great football team and shouldn't really win this game.  I feel like the pass rush is going to have a major impact on Philip Rivers too, he hates funny guys like Von Miller so he's going to get all hot and bothered as soon as Miller sacks him for the first time.  Broncos win 32-24
  • San Francisco at Seattle - (Fox) Seattle seems to have gotten it's grove back and meanwhile the 49ers appear to be utterly collapsing.  Could the Harbaugh just up and leave for Michigan if they Seahawks destroy the 49ers on Sunday?  I doubt it but it's not THAT crazy is it?  I think Seattle's now healthy defense totally smothers a 49er team with no real offensive weapons.  Seattle wins 27-13
8pm
  • Dallas at Philly - (NBC)  The Eagles absolutely destroyed the Cowboys during their last meeting and while nothing would make me happier than to see basically a repeat of that game, I just don't think that will happen.  The Eagles are going to put a lot of pressure on Romo and force him into decisions he probably doesn't want to make.  That said, his best decision so far this year has essentially been "OMG, DEZ CATCH!"  If I'm Chip Kelly I would seriously put three guys on Bryant.  Make some other pass catcher beat you and let the LBs key on Murray.  I don't know the stats but from watching a few Cowboy games this year I honestly don't remember another offensive player impacting the game for them in any way.  The Eagles have had a rough couple weeks here with the blowout loss to the Packers and a much less obvious crushing by the Seahawks and they could really use a turnaround performance here and what better way than by beating the Cowboys which would also essentially seal their fate in the playoffs.  Philly wins 35-27



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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

College Football Weekly Digest 14.15

Remember when everyone thought the Big12 was going to blow up?  
The College Playoff is now set and the Big12 was definitely the Biggest Loser.  Despite having two teams totally worthy of consideration for the Top 4 spots, they are left with none.  TCU was probably playing better football than Florida State but the unbeaten record of the Seminoles made it really hard to drop them out of contention even if they aren't one of the four best teams.  What really messed things up aside from the Big12's lack of Championship game was that Baylor, their other contender beat TCU in a wild comeback win rather than a decisive one and for most of the year TCU was ranked better than them despite that head to head game.

The Playoffs
Now that the regular season is over it's Award Season for College Football.  Awards season in College Football is stupid.  That could just be my general disdain for awards though.  They basically just hand the awards to the players who have gotten the most media attention throughout the season.  Surprise!  Not.  

Either way it's time for the SKOHRboard Heisman unveiling!

Marcus Mariota wins the 2014 SKOHRboard Heisman!  Henceforth called the SKOHRsman Award!
Amari Cooper comes in 2nd 
Melvin Gordon comes in 3rd

Mariota was the driver of the most dominant team in College Football this year and most of the past two years as well.  He makes that team a ton of fun to watch and from what we read about him, Mariota seems to be a stand up guy as opposed to last year's winner and his Playoff Semifinal opponent Jamies Winston.

The Penultimate Top 25 Rankings
  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU
  4. Ohio State +1
  5. Baylor +1
  6. Florida State -2
  7. Michigan State
  8. Mississippi +3
  9. Mississippi State +4
  10. Georgia Tech +2
  11. Missouri +3
  12. Arizona -3
  13. Georgia +2
  14. Auburn +2
  15. USC +2
  16. Louisville +2
  17. Arizona State +2
  18. Kansas State -10
  19. Wisconsin -9
  20. UCLA +1
  21. LSU +2
  22. Clemson +2
  23. Minnesota -3
  24. Stanford +1
  25. Nebraska (NR)
Dropouts: Oklahoma
Also in consideration: Utah, Texas A&M, Florida

Picks from last week
  • P: Oregon 31 - Arizona 23 A: Oregon 51 - Arizona 13
  • P: TCU 58 - ISU 17 A: TCU 55 - ISU 3
  • P: Alabama 24 - Mizzou 20 A: Alabama 42 - Mizzou 13
  • P: Kansas State 42 - Baylor 40 A: Baylor 38 - KState 27
  • P: GT 28 - FSU 23 A: FSU 37 - GT 35
  • P: Wisconsin 35 - Ohio State 31 A: Ohio State 59 - Wisconsin 0
  • P: Indianapolis 37 - Cleveland 28 A: Indy 25 - Cleveland 24
  • P: Philly 27 - Seattle 24 A: Seattle 24 - Philly 14
  • P: Dever 32 - Buffalo 16 A: Denver 24 - Buffalo 17
  • P: Arizona 24 - KC 20 A: Arizona 17 - KC 14
  • P: New England 34 - San Diego 20 A: New England 23 - SD 14

This week: 7-4
On the season: 50-40



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