ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Friday, September 4, 2015

College Football Preview 2015


The 2015 season is here!!

We already ran through the Conferences so now it's time to look at the big picture.  Let's take a look at the conference winners, the final Top 25, the Playoff 4, the National Champs and the Award Winners.

Conference Champs

Big Ten: Ohio State
SEC: Alabama
PAC 12: Stanford
Big 12: TCU
ACC: Georgia Tech

Final Top 25
  1. TCU - 12-0
  2. Ohio State - 11-1
  3. Alabama 11-1
  4. Stanford 11-1
  5. Baylor 11-1
  6. Auburn 11-1
  7. USC 11-1 
  8. Georgia Tech 10-2
  9. Georgia 10-2
  10. Michigan State 10-2
  11. Clemson 10-2
  12. Minnesota 10-2
  13. Arizona State 10-2
  14. Missouri 10-2
  15. Wisconsin 10-2
  16. Oklahoma 9-3
  17. Florida State 9-3
  18. Notre Dame 9-3
  19. Oregon 9-3
  20. Mississippi State 9-3
  21. Nebraska 9-3
  22. Arizona 9-3
  23. Pitt 9-3
  24. North Carolina 9-3
  25. LSU 8-4
The College Football Playoffs

#4 Stanford beats #1 TCU
#2 Ohio State beats #3 Alabama

Ohio State beats Stanford to repeats as National Champions.

Major College Football Awards 

Heisman: Outstanding Player
  • Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State
Maxwell: Outstanding Player
  • Trevone Boykin, QB TCU
Walter Camp: Player of the Year
  • Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State
Doak Walker: Running Back
  • Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State
Davey O'Brien: Quarterback
  • Trevone Boykin, QB TCU
Fred Biletnikof: Receiver
  • Sterling Shepard, WR Oklahoma
John Mackey: Tight End
  • Evan Engram, TE Ole Miss
Vince Lombardi: Outstanding Lineman
  • Jack Conklin, OT Michigan State
Chuck Bednarik: Defensive Player
  • Jaylon Smith, OLB Notre Dame
Dick Butkus: Linebacker
  • Scooby Wright, LB Arizona
Ted Hendricks: Defensive End
  • Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
Jim Thorpe: Defensive Back
  • Adoree Jackson, CB USC
Coach of the Year
  • David Shaw, Stanford

Well there you have it.  Everything you need to remember for the very end of the year.  Let's check back in five months to see how accurate this is.  

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

ACC Conference Preview 2015



I'm somewhat conflicted about the ACC because I see talent at a few teams and a 1980s legacy that is sorely out of date at others.  There is no real threat to be in contention for the College Football Playoff here but there will be a few good games hopefully.

Atlantic:
Clemson 10-2
Florida State 9-3
Louisville 8-4
NC State 7-5
Boston College 6-6
Syracuse 3-9
Wake Forest 1-11

Coastal:
Georgia Tech 10-2
Pitt 9-3
North Carolina 9-3
Duke 7-5
Miami 7-5
Virginia Tech 6-6
Virginia 3-9

Notre Dame:
Notre Dame 9-3

Offensive MVP: James Conner, RB Pitt
Defensive MVP: Jaylon Smith, LB Notre Dame
Breakout Star: Mike Williams, WR Clemson

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Big 12 Conference Preview


The Big 12 is probably the conference most eager to start the new season after getting shut out of the playoff last year despite two teams that would have been an easy choice to include.  Outside of adding New Mexico and maybe Cincinnati,  some MAC team, or North Dakota State they will stick with 10 teams for the foreseeable future and continue to struggle finding their One True Champion.

The focus remains on TCU and Baylor as they've built very solid programs in the vacuum of Texas' recent implosion and Oklahoma's mysterious disappearance from national relevance.  What happened?

Big 12:
TCU 12-0
Baylor 11-1
Oklahoma 9-3
West Virginia 8-4
Texas 8-4
Oklahoma State 7-5
Kansas State 6-6
Texas Tech 4-8
Iowa State 3-9
Kansas 1-11

Offensive MVP: Trevone Boykin, QB TCU
Defensive MVP: Dominique Alexander, LB Oklahoma
Breakout Star: KD Cannon, WR Baylor


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Pac 12 Season Preview


The Pac 12 has been stepping up it's game lately with nearly all these schools hiring top tier coaches over the past 5 years or so.  While last year brought us some exciting games and a level of parity not often seen in power conferences, it seems this year might show some regression to the mean.  The conferences top team lost probably the best player in their history with Mariota going to the NFL, UCLA is rolling out a true Freshmen at QB, USC lost a few 1st round draft picks, Oregon State has a new head coach, etc

I think there will be some good teams but I don't think we'll see quite the same ridiculousness as we did last year when it seemed like every week there was a game that saw the underdog win in remarkable fashion.

Pac 12 North:
Stanford 11-1
Oregon 9-3
Cal  7-5
Washington 5-7
Washington State 4-8
Oregon State 3-9

Pac 12 South:
USC 11-1
Arizona State 10-2
Arizona 9-3
Utah 8-4
UCLA 6-6
Colorado 4-8

Offensive MVP: JuJu Smith, WR USC
Defensive MVP: Scooby Wright, LB Arizona
Breakout Star: Vernon Adams, QB Oregon


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SEC Preview 2015


Continuing our coverage of the 2015 College Football conference breakdown we head down east to the the former best damn conference in the land with the SEC.  While they haven't been winning championships like they used to the unimaginative pollsters haven't lost faith as the SEC is quite prevalent in this year's Top 25 polls.  A full seven teams from the SEC appear in this year's Top 25 which calls into question the ability for anyone to make an accurate assessment of what teams are any good.  By having so many teams in the Top 25, every game is automatically considered a quality win/loss and is thus a self fulfilling prophecy regardless of its' validity.  This is exactly why I harp on the fact that college football would be more fun if there were more intra-conference FBS games.  Conference games are cool but it's those matchups that get me excited.

But let's talk about the SEC.  They recruit lots of highly ranked guys and it shows in the players they put into the NFL so this is naturally a conference you should be paying attention to despite the fact that recently they just can't win the big one.  Maybe next year?

SEC East
Georgia 10-2
Missouri 10-2
Florida 8-4
Tennessee 6-6
South Carolina 5-7
Vanderbilt 5-7
Kentucky 4-8

SEC West
Alabama 11-1
Auburn 11-1
Mississippi State 9-3
LSU 8-4
Texas A&M 8-4
Arkansas 7-5
Ole Miss 6-6

Based on those results I don't think you could say too much has changed.  I've got Georgia beating Bama in the mid-season game but Bama won't lose to them twice as Saban and Co will secure another SEC championship this year.

Offensive MVP: Dak Prescott, QB Mississippi State
Defensive MVP: Myles Garrett, DE Texas A&M
Breakout Star: Jeremy Johnson, QB Auburn




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B1G Preview 2015



Time to pony up.  It's been a while since posting but the dawn of a new day approaches and that day brings us Football.  Sweet sweet regular season football.  

Here are my Big Ten predictions.

Big Ten East:
Ohio State 11-1
Michigan State 10-2
Rutgers 8-4
Penn State 8-4
Michigan 7-5
Maryland 5-7
Indiana 5-7

Big Ten West:
Minnesota 10-2
Wisconsin 10-2
Nebraska 9-3
Iowa 7-5
Northwestern 4-8
Illinois 4-8
Purdue 3-9

Offensive MVP: Ezekiel Elliot, RB Ohio State
Defensive MVP: Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State
Breakout Star: Leonte Caroo, WR Rutgers






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Friday, May 1, 2015

NFL Draft Best of the Rest Day 2

Randy Gregory, seen here disassembling Brad Kaya, dropped from a Top 10 lock to a Day 2 hopeful
The First Round is now wrapped up and in the books.  With only 32 guys unavailable there is still a huge amount of talent out there and honestly Day 2 is probably the most exciting part of the draft to me because this is where teams can really separate themselves.

  1. Randy Gregory, DE - Nebraska
  2. La'el Collins, OT - LSU
  3. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR - Missouri
  4. TJ Clemmings, OT - Pitt
  5. Landon Collins, S - Alabama
  6. Eddie Goldman, DT - FSU
  7. Carl Davis, DT - Iowa
  8. Jake Fischer, OT - Oregon
  9. Eli Harold, DE - UVA
  10. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE - UCLA
  11. Benardrick McKinney, LB - Mississippi State
  12. Jalen Collins, CB - LSU
  13. Jaelen Strong, WR - Arizona State
  14. Jordan Phillips, DT - Oklahoma
  15. PJ Williams, CB - FSU
  16. Ron Darby, CB - FSU
  17. Erik Kendricks, LB - UCLA
  18. Denzel Perryman, LB - Miami
  19. Preston Smith, DE - Mississippi State
  20. Michael Bennett, DT - Ohio State
  21. Maxx Williams, TE - Minnesota
  22. Grady Jarrett, DT - Clemson
  23. Eric Rowe, CB - Utah
  24. Paul Dawson, LB - TCU
  25. Devin Smith, WR - Ohio State
  26. Ali Marpet, OL - Hobart
  27. Danielle Hunter, DE - LSU
  28. AJ Cann, OG - South Carolina
  29. Donovan Smith, OL - Penn State
  30. Jay Ajayi, RB - Boise State
  31. Tevin Coleman, RB - Indiana
  32. Ameer Abdullah, RB - Nebraska
  33. Nate Orchard, DE - Utah
  34. Tre Jackson, OL - FSU
  35. Mario Edwards Jr, DE - FSU
  36. Henry Anderson, DE - Stanford
  37. Hroniss Grassu, OC - Oregon
  38. Brett Hundley, QB - UCLA
  39. TJ Yeldon, RB - Alabama
  40. Josh Shaw, CB - USC
  41. Clive Walford, TE - Miami
  42. Devin Funchess, TE - Michigan
  43. Jeremiah Poutasi, OL - Utah
  44. Xavier Cooper, DE - Washington State
  45. Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB - Louiseville 
  46. Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB - Washington
  47. Duke Johnson, RB - Miami
  48. Cody Prewitt, S - Ole Miss
  49. Bryce Perry, QB - Baylor
  50. David Johnson, RB - Northern Iowa
  51. Quinten Rollins, CB - Miami (OH)
  52. Tyler Lockett, WR - Kansas State
  53. Ty Sambrailo, OT - Colorado State
  54. Mitch Morse, OG - Missouri
  55. Kwon Alexander, OLB - LSU
  56. Alex Carter, CB - Stanford
  57. Daryl Williams, OT - Oklahoma
  58. Rob Havenstein, OT - Wisconsin
  59. Reese Dismukes, OC - Auburn
  60. Doran Grant, CB - Ohio State
  61. Markus Golden, DE - Missouri
  62. Jaquiski Tartt, S - Samford
  63. D'Joun Smith, CB - Florida Atlantic
  64. Steve Nelson, CB - Oregon State
  65. Marcus Hardison, DT - Arizona State
  66. Ifo Ekpre Olamu, CB - Oregon
  67. Josue Matias, OG - FSU
  68. Tyler Kroft, TE - Rutgers


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                                                                                                                                                                      Mock Draft Review 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      Redskins taking Scherff at #5 was maybe the biggest surprise of the night but probably a great pick
                                                                                                                                                                      So let's see how my picks stacked up against the real thing.  Word of caution here:  I would advise skimming this and never reading it or referencing it again.  




                                                                                                                                                                      As you can see I knocked it out of the park.  I would say that I wasn't super far off on a lot of these but mock drafting is a sport that takes an iron will and a terrible memory.  In related news, I can't wait to get all 32 picks right again next year.


                                                                                                                                                                      Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page, follow @SKOHR on Twitter, and if you enjoyed this article please Bookmark and Share it with your friends.  You can easily do all three with the links included here, the buttons just below this, and the gadgets to the right of the page!


                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday, April 30, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      SKOHRboard's Top 100 NFL Prospects 2015


                                                                                                                                                                      With the draft just days away now, I thought it would be fun to elaborate on who I think the best players in this year's draft are.  This is not where I think they'll be selected but where I think they stand with regard to NFL potential.  This list goes to 100 because that's a nice clean number but also because that is about the upper limit of the number of players selected over the draft's first three rounds.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Jameis Winston, QB - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Leonard Williams, DT - USC
                                                                                                                                                                      3. Kevin White, WR - West Virginia
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Dante Fowler Jr., OLB - Florida
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Amari Cooper, WR - Alabama
                                                                                                                                                                      6. Marcus Mariota, QB - Oregon
                                                                                                                                                                      7. Vic Beasley, OLB - Clemson
                                                                                                                                                                      8. Danny Shelton, DT - Washington
                                                                                                                                                                      9. Todd Gurley, RB - Georgia
                                                                                                                                                                      10. Devante Parker, WR - Louiseville 
                                                                                                                                                                      11. Brandon Scherff, OL - Iowa
                                                                                                                                                                      12. Trae Waynes, CB - Michigan State
                                                                                                                                                                      13. Alvin Dupree, DE - Kentucky
                                                                                                                                                                      14. Randy Gregory, DE - Nebraska
                                                                                                                                                                      15. Arik Armstead, DE - Oregon




                                                                                                                                                                      16. DJ Humphries, OT - Florida
                                                                                                                                                                      17. Ereck Flowers, OT - Miami
                                                                                                                                                                      18. Andrus Peat, OT - Stanford
                                                                                                                                                                      19. Shaq Thompson, OLB/SS - Washington
                                                                                                                                                                      20. Marcus Peters, CB - Washington
                                                                                                                                                                      21. La'el Collins, OT - LSU
                                                                                                                                                                      22. Shane Ray, OLB - Missouri
                                                                                                                                                                      23. Malcom Brown, DT - Texas
                                                                                                                                                                      24. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR - Missouri
                                                                                                                                                                      25. Melvin Gordon, RB - Wisconsin
                                                                                                                                                                      26. TJ Clemmings, OT - Pitt
                                                                                                                                                                      27. Landon Collins, S - Alabama
                                                                                                                                                                      28. Breshad Perriman, WR - UCF
                                                                                                                                                                      29. Eddie Goldman, DT - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      30. Cameron Erving, OL - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      31. Carl Davis, DT - Iowa
                                                                                                                                                                      32. Jake Fischer, OT - Oregon
                                                                                                                                                                      33. Nelson Agholor, WR - USC





                                                                                                                                                                      34. Kevin Johnson, CB - Wake Forest
                                                                                                                                                                      35. Eli Harold, DE - UVA
                                                                                                                                                                      36. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE - UCLA
                                                                                                                                                                      37. Benardrick McKinney, LB - Mississippi State
                                                                                                                                                                      38. Jalen Collins, CB - LSU
                                                                                                                                                                      39. Jaelen Strong, WR - Arizona State
                                                                                                                                                                      40. Jordan Phillips, DT - Oklahoma
                                                                                                                                                                      41. PJ Williams, CB - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      42. Ron Darby, CB - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      43. Erik Kendricks, LB - UCLA
                                                                                                                                                                      44. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT - Texas A&M
                                                                                                                                                                      45. Denzel Perryman, LB - Miami
                                                                                                                                                                      46. Byron Jones, CB - UConn
                                                                                                                                                                      47. Preston Smith, DE - Mississippi State
                                                                                                                                                                      48. Laken Tomlinson, OG - Duke
                                                                                                                                                                      49. Michael Bennett, DT - Ohio State
                                                                                                                                                                      50. Maxx Williams, TE - Minnesota





                                                                                                                                                                      51. Demarious Randall, S - Arizona State
                                                                                                                                                                      52. Grady Jarrett, DT - Clemson
                                                                                                                                                                      53. Eric Rowe, CB - Utah
                                                                                                                                                                      54. Paul Dawson, LB - TCU
                                                                                                                                                                      55. Devin Smith, WR - Ohio State
                                                                                                                                                                      56. Ali Marpet, OL - Hobart
                                                                                                                                                                      57. Danielle Hunter, DE - LSU
                                                                                                                                                                      58. AJ Cann, OG - South Carolina
                                                                                                                                                                      59. Donovan Smith, OL - Penn State
                                                                                                                                                                      60. Jay Ajayi, RB - Boise State
                                                                                                                                                                      61. Tevin Coleman, RB - Indiana
                                                                                                                                                                      62. Ameer Abdullah, RB - Nebraska
                                                                                                                                                                      63. Nate Orchard, DE - Utah
                                                                                                                                                                      64. Tre Jackson, OL - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      65. Philip Dorsett, WR - Miami
                                                                                                                                                                      66. Stephone Anthony, LB - Clemson
                                                                                                                                                                      67. Mario Edwards Jr, DE - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      68. Henry Anderson, DE - Stanford
                                                                                                                                                                      69. Hroniss Grassu, OC - Oregon
                                                                                                                                                                      70. Brett Hundley, QB - UCLA
                                                                                                                                                                      71. TJ Yeldon, RB - Alabama
                                                                                                                                                                      72. Josh Shaw, CB - USC
                                                                                                                                                                      73. Clive Walford, TE - Miami
                                                                                                                                                                      74. Devin Funchess, TE - Michigan





                                                                                                                                                                      75. Jeremiah Poutasi, OL - Utah
                                                                                                                                                                      76. Xavier Cooper, DE - Washington State
                                                                                                                                                                      77. Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB - Louiseville 
                                                                                                                                                                      78. Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB - Washington
                                                                                                                                                                      79. Duke Johnson, RB - Miami
                                                                                                                                                                      80. Cody Prewitt, S - Ole Miss
                                                                                                                                                                      81. Bryce Perry, QB - Baylor
                                                                                                                                                                      82. David Johnson, RB - Northern Iowa
                                                                                                                                                                      83. Quinten Rollins, CB - Miami (OH)
                                                                                                                                                                      84. Tyler Lockett, WR - Kansas State
                                                                                                                                                                      85. Ty Sambrailo, OT - Colorado State
                                                                                                                                                                      86. Mitch Morse, OG - Missouri
                                                                                                                                                                      87. Kwon Alexander, OLB - LSU
                                                                                                                                                                      88. Alex Carter, CB - Stanford
                                                                                                                                                                      89. Daryl Williams, OT - Oklahoma
                                                                                                                                                                      90. Rob Havenstein, OT - Wisconsin
                                                                                                                                                                      91. Reese Dismukes, OC - Auburn
                                                                                                                                                                      92. Doran Grant, CB - Ohio State
                                                                                                                                                                      93. Markus Golden, DE - Missouri
                                                                                                                                                                      94. Jaquiski Tartt, S - Samford
                                                                                                                                                                      95. D'Joun Smith, CB - Florida Atlantic
                                                                                                                                                                      96. Steve Nelson, CB - Oregon State
                                                                                                                                                                      97. Marcus Hardison, DT - Arizona State
                                                                                                                                                                      98. Ifo Ekpre Olamu, CB - Oregon
                                                                                                                                                                      99. Josue Matias, OG - FSU
                                                                                                                                                                      100. Tyler Kroft, TE - Rutgers

                                                                                                                                                                      That will do it for the SKOHRboard Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects.  Hopefully your team can get a few guys from the list!  Enjoy the festivities.  

                                                                                                                                                                      Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page, follow @SKOHR on Twitter, and if you enjoyed this article please Bookmark and Share it with your friends.  You can easily do all three with the links included here, the buttons just below this, and the gadgets to the right of the page!


                                                                                                                                                                      Tuesday, April 21, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      SKOHRboard's 2015 NFL Mock Draft



                                                                                                                                                                      The NFL draft is almost a week away and that means that it's time to see my predictive powers at work as correctly I lay out every single pick in the first round again for what will be the 5th consecutive year.  Enjoy knowing now what those around you will have to wait until Thursday April 30th to find out.


                                                                                                                                                                       


                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks to NFL.com for the fancy layout and templating.  That is something that in year's past has left our Operations team in tears.  
                                                                                                                                                                      • I also wanted to mention that it seems strange to me how little is made of Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler Jr.  For being the 2nd and 3rd overall talents on most pundits draft boards there has been just about no general interest stories about those guys.  What gives? 
                                                                                                                                                                      • The biggest surprise here was probably Mariota to the Giants.  I was surprised when I looked at their team and who was out there and came up with Mariota.  The Giants seem like a team that will bet on themselves improving, which means a worse draft selection and a smaller chance to select one of the top two QBs in a draft.  Given Eli's marginal performance over the past few seasons, the end of his contract and what looks like it could be the end of Coughlin's reign should things go sideways, drafting Mariota would be a fairly clever way to point to the future and keep the band together for another few seasons.  
                                                                                                                                                                      • You're probably wondering why the Jets wouldn't take Mariota.  I simply think that they aren't ready for a shiny new QB.  If I were a first time head coach in my first year with a one time promising but now floundering third year QB I think I'd use my first draft to surround him with talent and give him another shot.  If it doesn't work, you've now got a fairly talented roster and another high draft pick which you can use on a QB.
                                                                                                                                                                      • While the Eagles don't really NEED a defensive end, I don't see Chip Kelly passing on Armstead who fits just about every physical trait we think Chip values in players and he's obviously well aware of the potential upside he brings to the table.  
                                                                                                                                                                      • Gordon to the Cardinals would be a lot of fun to see him combine with Ellington to give a rehabbed Palmer lots of options out of the backfield.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Todd Gurley to the Ravens seems like the most Ravens pick ever.  Somehow extremely talented players always seem to fall to the Ravens.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Cameron Erving just seems to fit the bill with the Colts.  He's a versatile lineman who can be a leader on that OL and learn a ton from Herremans and Luck after having spent the last few years with Winston at FSU.  I'd really like to watch those two play together and lead the Colts into the next few years.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Devin Smith is going to be a major asset to Tom Brady.  He's a guy that is going to make Defensive Coordinators go nuts as his deep threat ability will put safeties trying to double Gronk in a no win situation as they'll have to balance that with covering him over the top.
                                                                                                                                                                      So what do you think?  



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                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday, April 12, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      SKOHRboard's annual Mock Draft is coming!



                                                                                                                                                                      Who will the venerable sports wizards at SKOHRboard select for your team in this year's mock draft?  Will they pick a future Hall of Famer, a serviceable starter, maybe a backup kicker!?  Tune in as we get closer to April 28th to find out!



                                                                                                                                                                      Don't forget to "like" SKOHRboard's Facebook page, follow @SKOHR on Twitter, and if you enjoyed this article please Bookmark and Share it with your friends.  You can easily do all three with the links included here, the buttons just below this, and the gadgets to the right of the page!


                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday, February 1, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      What to Watch this Weekend - The Super Bowl XLIX Edition


                                                                                                                                                                      It's Super Bowl Sunday!  A fun day that will leave most football fans happy but wanting more.  As an Eagles fan I'm usually left thinking about what could have been and about what if will take for next year.  Today the two most dominant teams during a majority of the season the Patriots and the Seahawks both made it to the big game and they'll square off in Arizona.  

                                                                                                                                                                      There are a number of things to watch out for in this game.  Seattle's QB Russell Wilson has really come into his own this season and in my opinion is now firmly in the Top 5 QBs in the NFL.  Not bad for a short kid who has only played three seasons.  They do not have any elite WRs but they do have one of the best Offensive Lines in the game and that goes along with the best Rushing attack in the NFL as well.  The Patriots Defense has their work cut out for them.  

                                                                                                                                                                      Some bad blood between the QBs after their last meeting when Wilson totally cheap shotted Brady.  You can see the heated words and then Brady's retaliation.  I'm sure you remember #SlapGate.  The tension filled rematch should be fun to watch.
                                                                                                                                                                      The Patriots Defense is fortunate that they are chock full of Rutgers talent.  With three Rutgers players (Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, and Devin McCourty) starting on that side of the ball they can be sure that 27.3% of their defense is going to get the job done.  It's the other 72.7% who are not Rutgers Alums that there are questions about.  Players like Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins will need to have rock solid games particularly in getting Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch on the ground when he is first hit rather than letting him bounce off and rumble for additional yards like he has so proficiently during most of the season.  

                                                                                                                                                                      On the other side of the Ball is the matchup that everyone is excited about.  It's Patriots QB Tom Brady and his rotating roster of rabble rousers competing with one of the best Defenses of the past decade.  Patriots receivers to watch include Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, not exactly murderers row out there but they get the job done.  Their Tight Ends (Gronk and Rutgers Alum Tim Wright) are the real difference makers in this game.  Noted force of NFL Nature Rob Gronkowski will be the key to this game.  His matchup against the Seahawk D will decide the outcome here.  Can Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner and the middle of the Seattle pass defense knock Gronk out of his rhythm and off balance enough to disrupt his impact?  If they can I think it could be a very long day for the Patriots offense.

                                                                                                                                                                      My feeling is at this point that the Seattle Defense will be able to slow down the Pats offense enough to get the win.  The Seahawks offense is good but not spectacular but I think they are good enough to get points against a mediocre Pats Defense today.  I'm sure Belichick will have a few tricks up his sleeve and this will be a memorably close Super Bowl but the Seahawks win 28-26.



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                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday, January 18, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      What to Watch this Weekend - Championship Weekend

                                                                                                                                                                      I like you too Dog.
                                                                                                                                                                      This settles it, the NFL is a Quarterback league.  Name the top four Quarterback's in the NFL and they will be made up of some combo of the four QBs playing today.  That is a little bit nuts that all of their teams have made it to this point but it shows that the rules created to keep them upright and healthy have worked.  Hooray rules!   Anyway, who's playing?

                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday
                                                                                                                                                                      3pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Packers at Seahawks - (Fox) Can the Packers bring their offense into Seattle and get through the Seahawks defense?  That defense is still dominant and playing at a level perhaps even better than they were during last year's run.  The biggest question here is whether or not Rodgers calf is healed enough to let him play like he did in the second half of last week's game where he looked like the best player in the NFL.  This game is very exciting as we get to watch those two match up against one another.  On the other side of the ball it's Russell Wilson and a decent if uninspiring offense against a defense that looks like it's lost it's edge with Clay Matthews moved to inside linebacker.  Meh.  I'll be looking at chips during those series.  Mmmm chips.  I really think the Seahawks will win this game but my official prediction just switched!  Packers upset the Seahawks!  Pack 30 - Hawks 24
                                                                                                                                                                      6:30pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Colts at Patriots - (CBS)  Andrew Luck cannot escape the new guard label and this game quick wins the storyline war.  Tom Brady is still on top of his game and the Patriots will continue to show that they can take away all the talent around him and still win games as Bill Belichick was seen snickering "watch what I'm going to put him through now."  Seriously though this game is all about the Quarterbacks and I expect it to be high scoring.  Fortunately for the Patriots they have a triumvirate of Rutgers defenders who will intercept all of Andrew Luck's passes as Rutgers defenders are wont to do.  Patriots win 41-33

                                                                                                                                                                      Enjoy!


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                                                                                                                                                                      Buckeyes Win the National Championship

                                                                                                                                                                      Everything comes up Buckeyes
                                                                                                                                                                      The Buckeyes beat the Ducks and Urban Meyer is a hero.  Despite being thought of as somewhat of a longshot 5th place team in the week before the Final Four was announced, Ohio State showed that the Playoff really works as they soundly outplayed the #1 seed and the #2 seed over the last two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                      After the first two Oregon drives this game was owned by Ohio.  It was surprising to see that turnaround actually.  Oregon's RB Tyner looks bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone on his few series as he exploded out of the backfield and knocked down one defender after another on those early carries.  It looked like his running was going to keep creating those wide open running and passing lanes that Mariota and this offense enjoyed all season long.

                                                                                                                                                                      But that stopped for some reason.  Ohio State's Elliot broke off a couple of longer runs and it seemed like the entire Buckeye squad realized that they could play with these Ducks despite the large spread.  Cardale Jones looked like a bigger slower Vince Young out there and just kept converting third downs.  There was no slowing down Ohio State's offense for the Ducks.  As good as Oregon's offense has been they didn't look that special after the first quarter.

                                                                                                                                                                      The big questions now are what happens with the QBs and Urbz.  There are rumors that Urban "decay" Meyer might not be long for Ohio State after another year.  The team is filled with Freshmen and Sophomores so they will likely be the favorites coming into next year and I bet that he'd leave after that to try to coach a pro team before completely failing and coming groveling back to Utah three years later.  

                                                                                                                                                                      The QBs Miller, Barrett, and Jones are all legit weapons and could easily lead this team to many wins next year.  The problem is that they will not want to split that responsibility three ways.  There is already rampant speculation that Braxton Miller will transfer to LSU, Oregon, Duke, or any number of places.  Jones just declared that he wasn't going to the NFL so we'll see how that goes.  Barrett broke his ankle so it's not like that should require much recovery once it's healed like an ACL or Achilles would.  I guess Jones and Barrett will battle it out this Spring and Summer for QB1 and QB2.  Anyway, they will have their work cut out for themselves this season as they have to play Rutgers in New Jersey next season.  Just ask Michigan how that goes.



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                                                                                                                                                                      Monday, January 12, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      College Football National Championship 2014

                                                                                                                                                                      These Ducks sure can fly!  Sorry...
                                                                                                                                                                      It's finally here.  College Football's Championship game kicks off tonight at 8:30 Eastern after the first ever Division 1 Playoff games on New Year's Day.  Those games were spectacular.  As you can see from the picture, Oregon had an easy time with overrated AAC ACC Champ Florida State.  While Ohio State, who many thought was undeserving of the 4th Playoff spot, soundly defeated the odds on favorite to win the whole thing in Alabama.

                                                                                                                                                                      Sidebar - It must be awful playing for Alabama.  Every season is Championship or bust and while they have won three in eight years since Saban has been there, the pressure to win it all must crush the joy out of every victory.  I keep hearing about NFL Head Coaches retiring after they realize that winning games is simply checking a box, while losing a game is cause for sleepless nights and I get the sense that it's the same for everyone at Alabama.  YAY!  Every single one of those players began their careers on the field because they derived some joy out of simply playing the sport and Alabama with Nick Saban will not stand for fun when they could be focused on winning games.  No thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                      Tonight we'll see the Ducks try to avenge the NFL career of Joey Harrington by winning a National Championship.  Some say that's crazy but you can see it in their eyes.  Either way, they have a tremendous team that has for the most part absolutely demolished the teams they've played this year.  Granted they played in the Pac12 which presented us with the most mish-mosh assortment of "good" football teams this season.  By good I mean teams in a power 5 conference with generally winning records.  This is not the highest standard but College Football deprives us of any serious inter conference play by which to properly evaluate relative levels of competence.  That's for another day though.

                                                                                                                                                                      Ohio State will be looking for validation as a National level program again after calls of corruption following them at pretty much every step of the way during pretty much every season.  This season is no different yet it is remarkable seeing their success despite the turnover at QB.  They approach this game with their 3rd String QB taking the helm who is maybe the most unabashedly anti-"student"-athlete we've seen on such a national stage.  He however, is direct and forthright with his intention to succeed in football and definitely not the classroom while at Ohio State, so I guess there is something to be said for that.  Hate the game, not the player?

                                                                                                                                                                      Quarterbacks don't slide, they FLY!
                                                                                                                                                                      Ohio State has a very solid defensive line with excellent Linebackers who should be quick to fill some of the massive holes created by Oregon's system.  If the Buckeyes can get their running game going and eat up the clock thus eliminating the Ducks total offensive opportunities I think they will win this game.  Oregon isn't great against the run and I think their passing defensive numbers are all skewed because so often trail and have to throw against them that they rack up useless yards, which makes their rush defense numbers stand out as a sign of precaution even more.  

                                                                                                                                                                      At the end of the day if you are not a fan of either team, this game presents an opportunity to watch the a remarkably successful run and culmination of the first College Football Playoff.  Both teams feature loads of talent on both sides of the ball, have the ability to play exciting aggressive turnover-focused defense, and have some of the most potent offensive attacks in the game which all adds up to a win for we the fans of College Football.  

                                                                                                                                                                      Ultimately Ohio wins the day and Urban Meyer can glibly smile at Nick Saban in the way that he does until the two of them spontaneously combust due to the off the charts levels of unnecessary intensity.  OSU 48 - Oregon 46.  It's a game for the ages.


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                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday, January 8, 2015

                                                                                                                                                                      Games to Watch this Weekend - Divisional Round 14

                                                                                                                                                                      It's NFL Playoff time but Yale wins the photo race!
                                                                                                                                                                      I'll be at the hockey game but keeping an eye on the NFL.  With good reason because there is a great game at 4:30 on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                      Saturday
                                                                                                                                                                      4:30pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Ravens at Patriots - (NBC)  The Patriots who have seemingly had one foot in the trainer's room all season are coming off of a first round bye here to face a threatening looking Ravens team.  Flacco looks fairly solid when he has more than two seconds to throw the ball which a lackluster Patriots DLine should provide him with unlike last week's game against the Steelers.  The Ravens defense has also looked fantastic and they were all over Big Ben last week but I am not sure if that's Rothlesomething just taking forever in the pocket as he is wont to do or the Ravens really getting after it.  Either way I think the Pats put up a better fight than the Steelers and given a slight revenge factor for what happened the last time these guys met in the Playoffs I have to give the edge to the Pats here as they will win 30-23
                                                                                                                                                                      8pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Panthers at Seahawks - (Fox)  I'll put this clearly at the top.  The Seahawks are going to obliterate the Panthers on Saturday night.  The Panthers did maybe the most backing in to a playoff spot of any team that's ever backed into a playoff spot ant the Seahawks look like a better version of the team that won the Super Bowl last year.  The Panthers are not that good.   Cam Newton hasn't looked good but most of that is because he has a rookie WR who can only outjump CBs and catch the ball a few times a game.  Their most dynamic player might be TE Greg Olsen who is a very good TE but he is not the game changer that Gronkowski is.  Their RB group despite being locked into expensive contracts is so frustrating to watch.  The Defense has looked good and I'm interested to see Kuechly face Russel Wilson.  Seattle wins 32-16
                                                                                                                                                                      Not actually Kuechly but he was probably just to the left of this photo totally not getting his face jammed in by a QB


                                                                                                                                                                      Sunday
                                                                                                                                                                      1pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Cowboys at Packers - (Fox) This game has potential but I think the Cowboys luck will probably run out after last week.  They had a season better than anyone hoped and it seems like right now the fans hopes are ripe for a crushing Romo game losing turnover.  It's finally cold out and it just feels like we're back at that time of year when all Cowboy fans couldn't be more excited and Romo just rips their hearts out.  Classic Cowboys.  Anyway, even with Rodgers hurting they Cowboys aren't particularly good at getting after the QB and that will doom the Cowboys even more than Romo's game losing turnover.  Packers win 38-24
                                                                                                                                                                      4:30pm
                                                                                                                                                                      • Colts at Broncos - (CBS) Perhaps the game with the classic storyline of the weekend and should be a very exciting game to watch.  Keep in mind that this is Andrew Luck's third season in the NFL and his best WR is TY Hilton and they are only a Touchdown underdog on the road against maybe the greatest QB of all time.  Not bad to be a Colts fan huh?  Could be a big day for Denver's Linebackers as those pinching Defensive ends will drive Luck right up the pocket to them where he is just as good scrambling as almost any QB in the league.   I'm really interested to see who wins this game and if the Broncos continue to run the ball as well as they have in the second half of the regular season.  Broncos win as the Colts just can't play mistake free and that will catch up to them against the really good teams.  Broncos 31-Colts 24
                                                                                                                                                                      Enjoy!


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