2011 MLB Playoffs Predictions: Divisional Series Picks

29 09 2011

Okay, yeah, the Red Sox collapsed, the Braves collapsed, the Giants had a touch of the World Series hangover, the Blue Jays aren’t going to the ALCS, and the Diamondbacks are in the playoffs.  Oh, and the Cubs, yet again, had a dismal year.

Sounds like it was quite the season.

Last year, we ran an early September post with our playoff predictions.  Sure, the Phillies vs. Rangers World Series call was sort of an ideal scenario where the Phillies pitching would square off against the heavy bats of the Texas Rangers, but, instead, the Giants stunned the Phillies in game six of the NLCS, ultimately crushing our predictions.

Theoretically, was the idea of a Phillies vs. Rangers World Series such a bad thought after all?  Think about it.  Let it sit and marinade for a bit.  Would it be so bad to return to the well, and hope that the baseball gods give the fans one of the greatest World Series scenarios ever?  The MLB’s best pitching going against the MLB’s best offense? That would sell television ratings, that’s for sure.

Maybe the idea of the Phillies seeking out revenge over their 2009 World Series loss to the New York Yankees is a better story line?

Or maybe a battle of the underdogs that would pit the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks against the Detroit Tigers.  Imagine the television ratings for that one?  Yikes.

The well balanced Brewers going against the well balanced Texas Rangers?  Anyone on that train yet?  We’ll put that idea in our pocket for later.


2011 MLB Post Season Predictions:

Let’s keep this short and sweet.


American League Divisional Series: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers

The grizzled Yankees go toe-to-toe with the hot Detroit Tigers.  In a series that will be decided by pitching, the edge goes to the Detroit Tigers.  C.C. Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander is a great game 1 matchup, and a game that will go to the American League’s best pitcher, Verlander.  After that, the Yankees pitching is extremely spotty.  Nova, and Garcia are not your typical Yankees dynasty pitchers, nor are they ready for the spotlight and pressures of being the top dogs in the Bronx.  The pressure will eat these young pitchers alive, and ultimately lead to a meltdown for the Yankees.

Pick:  Tigers in 5


American League Divisional Series: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers

Can the rematch of the 2010 ALDS be the perfect stage for an upset?

Tampa Bay are coming in hot, winning 17 of 27 games in September, but, have lost 5 of 9 this season to the AL West Champion Texas Rangers.

Rangers game 1 starter, C.J. Wilson is 2-0 against the Rays this season, and Derek Holland, who starts game 2, also has a victory over Tampa Bay.   On the flip side, the Rangers bats might be a little too much for the Rays to handle, again.

The clock strikes 12 as the Cinderella story that is the Tampa Bay Rays ends.

Pick: Texas Rangers in 3


National League Divisional Series: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Carpenter had a late come around for the Cardinals, but, it seems like he has really helped St. Louis in their post-season push.  Carpenter, a playoff warhorse, has an outstanding October record, boasting a record of 3-1, and a 2.93 ERA in NLDS games since 2005.  Carpenter also seems to be the most consistent pitcher on the rotation, currently.

This could be a bit of a problem going up against the talent rich Philadelphia Phillies rotation.  Cliff Lee (7-2), Roy Halladay(2-1) and Cole Hamels(6-4) have a combined 15-7 record in October games, including Halladay’s no-hitter against the Reds in game one of the 2010 ALDS.

The experience and arms of the Phillies are just too much to overlook.

Pujols has some sort of post-season voodoo curse, Lance Berkman isn’t the same Berkman that lead the Astros to the World Series in 2005, and an unhealthy Matt Holliday won’t be of much use either.

Pick: Phillies in 3


National League Divisional Series: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Upset central?

If you picked the Diamondbacks to win the National League West, chances are, you’re a liar.  Harsh?  Maybe.  The truth? More than likely.

Hell, if you check back to a post back in April you’ll see Arizona dead last.  Dead. Last.

The Brewers, well, Milwaukee are right where a lot of people pegged them to be-first in the National League Central with a red hot pitching staff, and a set of powerful bats leading the offense.  So, could this force be good enough to make it beyond the first round and avoid an upset at the hands of the Diamondbacks?

Okay, sure.  Why not?  Yovani Gallardo seems to be automatic these days as he’s come a long way from being the young pitcher that served beach balls to opposing batters a few years back.

It seems like the Brewers really got a quick, and solid return on that trade with the Blue Jays in the offseason for Shaun Marcum, and, the addition of Zack Greinke has paid of big.

Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, the depth at the plate just doesn’t seem like it can handle the Brewers arms.  For Milwaukee, Prince Fielder has a lot to play for-mainly a big contract next season.  The burly, productive first baseman is looking to have a solid post-season in hopes to land a big pay check next season from whoever.  If Fielder has a monster playoff run, chances are, he may get exactly what he’s looking for, and then some.

Pick: Brewers in 4



World Series Pick:

Phillies over Rangers in 7 


College Football: Week 4 Picks- Dogs Day Afternoon Will Shake BCS Picture

24 09 2011

Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Boise State Broncos

Let’s make this short, sweet, and easy for all.

Boise State have not lost a home game since 2001, have not lost to Tulsa in their past five games, the Broncos have Kellen Moore while the Golden Hurricane have…Kalen Henderson.

In the battle of Kellen versus Kalen, we’ll stick with the prolific and highly talented Broncos quarterback to torch a struggling, lacklustre Tulsa defense.


Boise State Broncos 52 – Tulsa Golden Hurricane 17




San Diego State Aztecs at Michigan Wolverines

Denard Robinson vs. the Aztecs?

Shut down Denard, you shut down the Wolverines.

The run game of Aztecs Ronnie Hillman trumps Denard Robinson any day of the week.  What? Because Denard is statistically better than Hillman, barely?  Look at the games the Michigan Denards have played.  Western and Eastern Michigan, and Notre Dame.  Take the Irish out of the mix, and sure, Denard the Destroyer showed his might against two weak, struggling defenses.  Now, look at Denard against the Irish-114 yards on the ground.  Not very “Denard” like, now was it?

Now, look at Ronnie Hillman’s numbers.  191 yards on the ground against Washington State last week, 117 against Army in week 2, and 189 rushing yards against Cal Poly in his opening game.  Let’s not forget, Hillman is tied with Alabama’s Trent Richardson and SMU’s Zach Line for most rushing touchdowns this season with eight.

Hillman will go up against Michigan’s rush defense that ranks 103rd in the nation against the run.  Perfect.

It’ll probably be the Hillman hustle over at the Big House today.  Aztecs stick it to their old coach.


San Diego State Aztecs 34 – Michigan Wolverines 30



Arkansas Razorbacks at Alabama Crimson Tide

Will the suffocating defense of Alabama stop the explosive offense of Arkansas?

Stat Pack:  Alabama is 7-3 in its past 10 against the Razorbacks, and 19-0 in opening SEC games.


The last time Tyler Wilson saw this Alabama team, he had a miserable appearance.  Wilson stepped in during the fourth quarter in 2008, going 4-for-7, 27 yards passing, sacked twice and threw one interception/


Three years makes all the difference.  Tyler Wilson is not the same pivot as he was in 2008.

The outcome today will be completely different as the Razorbacks quarterback looks to exact revenge against this ‘Bama defense that many believe to be the best in the nation.


A tad suspect if you actually look at it.

Penn State, Kent State, North Texas?  No wonder this unit is so good-they haven’t even played anyone relevant yet.

On the flip side of the ball, Trent Richardson seems to be the only thing working on offense.  If the Razorbacks contain Richardson, things may unravel quickly for the Tide.

Anything else you need to know about this game…check the previous post HERE

By no means is this game going to be a blowout, but, instead, a death blow to Alabama’s season.

Offense over defense in this one.


Arkansas Razorbacks 31 – Alabama Crimson Tide 30



Picks Record to Date: 3-1

Upset Special: 0-2


For all other picks through out the day, follow me on Twitter and check ’em out.

College Football Week 4 Preview: Battleground SEC, Boisterous Boise

19 09 2011


Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Boise State Broncos

With a defense as bad as Tulsa’s, will Kellen Moore be found on the Boise State bench during the second half of this game, sitting on a gazillion point lead?

Okay, maybe not a gazillion, but a hefty 35-48 point margin seems to be a bit more realistic.

Hopefully there are some drastic changes this week during practices for the Golden Hurricane in their preparation for Boise State in Idaho on the smurf-turf.

This defensive unit ranks 112th in total yards against (480.3 yards per game), 116th against the pass (320.7 yards per game), and have allowed an average of 36.3 points per game, enough to be ranked 105th in that category.

Now, this defense that’s so awful goes up against the video game offense of Boise State?  Good luck, Tulsa.

Kellen Moore is off to yet another fantastic start, and has this Broncos offense running on all cylinders.  Tyler Shoemaker has become one of Moore’s favorite targets, hauling in four catches for touchdowns so far this season-three of which came this past Friday at Toledo.  The well oiled Boise State machine are currently sitting ranked fourth in the AP 25 polls, and with good reason.  Their win against Georgia was a statement, and their win against Toledo was a stepping stone, now, their game against Tulsa could be one of the biggest on their schedule.

Wait? Really?

We all know the hype surrounding the Broncos, and their quest at finally busting the BCS system.

Before Boise State take the field Saturday, surely, the Broncos will have their eyes on the Arkansas/Alabama game being held in Tuscaloosa (we’ll get to that later).  This game has upset written all over it, and if such event does happen, the spotlight will then shift to little Boise State to produce a flawless victory over Tulsa.  With the Broncos in the limelight, will their high-octane offense, and stout defense shine?  Or, will they crumble under pressure and have a repeat of their game against Nevada last season?

If the Razorbacks do stage this upset against Alabama, Broncos head coach, Chris Peterson, will have a tall task at hand in the form of keeping his players from being overly excited in this game.  Remember, over-excitement levels could play a pivotal role in Boise State’s implosion.  Check the nerves at the locker room door, boys.  That’s going to be the key in this game.

Since 2001, Boise State have won its past five meetings against Tulsa, most recently with a 28-21 road victory in 2009.

Saturday, Tulsa will be without the big arm of G.J. Kinne who is currently listed as doubtful with a knee injury he sustained last week.

Instead, freshman Kalen Henderson will lead this offense into battle.

My thoughts and prayers go out to this kid.

Henderson completed 30.4 percent of his passes against Oklahoma State, and had three of his passes intercepted.


Yeah, that “clicking” sound isn’t just the sound of G.J. Kinne’s knee on the sideline, but, more like the sound coming from the remote controls of televisions across Tulsa after the first quarter of this game.


Arkansas Razorbacks at Alabama Crimson Tide

How the (SEC) West was won.

Battlefield: SEC at Tuscaloosa could very well be the foundation for not only the SEC Championship game, but, for the BCS National Championship game as well.

So much is on the line this week when Nick Saban’s second-ranked Crimson Tide host the 12th ranked Razorbacks in one of the SEC’s biggest games of the year.

The battle of best versus best pits the SEC’s best offense in Arkansas against the SEC’s best defense in Alabama.

Alabama ranks third in the nation in total defense, fifth in pass defense, and second in scoring defense.

On the other side, Arkansas ranks sixth in passing offense, and, eighth in both passing and total offense, nationally.

So, who’s going to blink first, and often?

Sometimes it’s better to see past the smoke and mirrors and realize what’s really standing in front of you.

Yeah, Alabama, here’s looking at you.

The Crimson Tide may boast one of the toughest defensive units in the league, but, how good will this unit be if it’s constantly on the field?  Is the conditioning of this unit tough enough to endure such long outings if the offense that sees a two-quarterback rotation struggles?

Realistically, Alabama’s defensive line is a little suspect.  The defense hasn’t faced a true test yet, and if you believe Penn State is a “true test” then you’re sadly mistaken.

Against an arm like Tyler Wilson, the speed of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Cobi Hamilton, Alabama will be struggling to keep up with the run and gun Arkansas attack.

But Alabama has prolific running back Trent Richardson to keep the Crimson Tide offense afloat, right?


If the Razorbacks manage to suffocate the run, Alabama’s offense could be in serious danger.  Considering that 11 of ‘Bama’s 13 touchdowns were run-based, the focus for Arkansas’ defense will be to shut down Richardson fast and early.  Without the run, the entire offense will fail to keep up with that of their opponents.

As mentioned earlier, the lack of a true quarterback will haunt Alabama in this game.

By no means is AJ McCarron ever going to be in the conversations of best SEC quarterbacks, and neither will backup/rotating pivot, Phillip Sims.  The two Crimson Tide quarterbacks have combined for a measly two touchdown passes, and a staggering four interceptions.  Not very promising, that’s for sure.

This battle has upset written all over it.  Not only will this be a win for the Razorbacks, but, also for little Boise State who will benefit greatly from Arkansas’ hard work.  It’s a win-win situation for all.

How the Boys of Boise State Will Finally Bust the BCS

17 09 2011

Okay, so, we all know that Boise State have something magical going yet again this year.  Currently ranked in the top five in both the AP and Coaches Polls, Boise State are finally looking to bust the BCS, this time not settling for a Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or any of the BCS Bowls other than the BCS National Championship game.

Yes, the Broncos could finally do it.  Yes, for the first time in its existence, a non-AQ conference will be represented in the BCS title game.  Yes, after 10 unbelievable, consistent and productive seasons, Boise State will get its due.  Finally, yes, Boise State will get the respect they deserve after all the campaigning, fighting, and video game-esque scoring games.

However, putting the Broncos in this year’s BCS National Championship game in Louisiana come January requires a string of equations and scenarios that may seem to be as complicated as the BCS system itself, but, luckily, you don’t need to be a NASA scientist to follow along and understand.

Here’s how little Boise State get to Louisiana.


Boise State Must Stay True To Itself

For any of this to happen, Chris Petersen’s bunch cannot have a repeat of their 2010 collapse against Nevada late last season.  The Broncos wouldn’t have made the BCS title game regardless, but, it’s still worth mentioning.  Because Boise State are in a weaker conference, every game is as important as the last.  Winning by close margins against programs in the Mountain West are going to eventually hurt the Broncos, so, unfortunately, style points are going to play a huge factor in how the BCS system score them.

The premiere games left on Boise State’s schedule include home games against Air Force (October 22nd) and TCU (November 12th) and a road matchup against San Diego State (November 19th).  If the Broncos run TCU off the field convincingly, and score marginal victories against the highly explosive Air Force program, San Diego State may be an easy task.  Again, no program should be taken lightly.

The key to this success will be Kellen Moore.  If Moore can be…well…Moore, then there should be no problems.  Doug Martin is establishing himself as one of the premiere playmakers in the nation and with Moore beside him, this offense will be completely unstoppable as it has been in the past.

Run the table, rack up the points, keep the opposition’s score below 21 points per game and Boise State should cruise all the way to Louisiana…with some help.


Boise State’s Best Case Scenarios

Here’s where it gets complicated.  Again, no need for the calculators, or the long division, complex fractions, ratios and quadratic formulaic equations.  Let’s break it down using the current national standings (as of September 17th, 2011) where Boise State are currently ranked fourth.  This is where the Broncos are heavily invested in games as mere spectators.  Each game ultimately creates a domino effect that will eventually award them with the highly coveted BCS title game berth.  So, let’s flick the dominos.


Oklahoma Sooners at Florida State Seminoles

Florida State Loss: If the Sooners pull off the road victory against Florida State, then the Seminoles BCS National Championship dreams would be shattered and instead, be left playing for an Orange Bowl berth.  This Seminoles loss also means they no longer see themselves nipping at the Broncos heels.

Florida State Win:  If the Seminoles seal off a home win, and get their revenge against the Sooners, then, Oklahoma drops in the standings, and Florida State will leapfrog Boise State into third place.   A ‘Noles win also puts them in cruise control until the ACC title game where they’re projected to take on Virginia Tech.

What’s best for Boise State?

Well, it’s a tough call.  A Florida State loss ultimately shakes the Seminoles from the BCS talks and pushes them down the standings with close to no chance of regaining ground.  An Oklahoma loss doesn’t eliminate the Sooners from the BCS picture completely, but, it would mean the Sooners would have to win outright, win convincingly, and then need their own set of scenarios to propel them back into the mix.

Ideally, the Boise State Broncos want Florida State to win its game against Oklahoma.


Because, Florida State is more likely to drop games against the Florida Gators, the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC title game, or, both.  A tw0-loss Seminoles team will definitely be nowhere near the BCS title game.


Wisconsin Badgers

The Wisconsin Badgers are in complete control of the Big Ten and don’t seem ready to swerve off the road to the BCS National Championship game.

Hmm…Well, this could pose a major problem for the Broncos if Oklahoma runs the table in the Big 12.

Now, remember, LSU and Alabama do play each other this season, and have the toughest schedules in the nation.  One will fall, and Wisconsin could be the ones to take the loser’s spot, ultimately leapfrogging Boise State to take control of that position.

But, how can Boise State ensure they don’t let this happen?

Well, the first thing that automatically comes to mind is…Playoff system.  Oops.  Didn’t mean to open THAT can of worms.

Pretend you didn’t read that.

Let’s try this again.

For Wisconsin to get eliminated from the BCS title picture, Boise State will rely heavily on fellow “underdogs” to assist them.

Hopefully, lightening strikes twice for Michigan State who will look to stage an upset against the Badgers in East Lansing on October 22nd.  If the Spartans can’t get the job done, who’s left?

Another wacky scenario would see the Badgers losing to Ohio State on October 29th or even Penn State on November 26th.  Either case could potentially be the proverbial “kill shot” that Boise State may be looking for.  With the amount of ground Wisconsin would need to make up after such a loss, the Broncos would be poised to recover Wisconsin’s BCS berth fumble, and run it all the way to Louisiana.

Realistically, Wisconsin are be the biggest pain in Boise State’s behind.

Theoretically, the only way Wisconsin and Boise State could coexist is if Oklahoma loses to either Oklahoma State, Baylor, or, Texas-all more plausible scenarios than Wisconsin losing to any Big Ten program at this current time.


Alabama Crimson Tide

Currently ranked second in the nation, the Crimson Tide may have the toughest road to the national title game than any program in any conference.

Here, Boise State will rely heavily on Arkansas’ offense that mirrors their own to thwart Nick Sabban’s plan of taking Alabama back to the BCS National Championship game.  If, and that’s a big if, ‘Bama make it out of Fayetteville alive, then, they must go on the road to Florida, visit the Jekyll and Hyde-esque Auburn Tigers (who knows which Auburn team shows up that day) and, host LSU.  However you want to look at it, Alabama are not the same team that won the 2010 BCS National Championship.  This team will lose two or more games this season, and find themselves on the outside looking in.

How will this all pan out?

Alabama losses to Arkansas on September 24th, and or to Florida on October 1st will cause a chain of events that push the Tide out of the title picture for good.


LSU Tigers

Currently ranked third, Les Miles’ Tigers are right in the thick of things in regards to the national title picture.  Yes, LSU were heavily considered in the preseason as national title contenders,but, after the suspension of quarterback Jordan Jefferson, talks of the Tigers actually making it all the way to the big game sort of tailed off.  For Boise State, LSU’s schedule, just like Alabama’s, favors the Broncos.

With games against Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and West Virginia, it doesn’t look like an undefeated season are in the cards for the Tigers.

LSU will suffer defeat to Arkansas or  Florida. Considering the Tigers struggled against Mississippi State, a lesser SEC program, the run and gun style that the Razorbacks bring will catch the Tigers off guard.

In the grander scheme of things, this basically means neither Alabama or LSU can make the SEC title game.  If Arkansas takes the SEC West, then chances are, Boise State are almost a lock to get a BCS berth.

LSU and Alabama’s schedules are just too tough to give either program an undefeated, or even a one-loss record.  Both the Tigers and Crimson Tide will lose two games, ultimately eliminating them from the BCS picture.

That just leaves…

The PAC-12

Andrew Luck is poised to take the Cardinal to the BCS National Championship game, but, it will be Oregon who stops him and Stanford short.  Because this loss will come so late in the season, Stanford won’t be able to gain any sort of make-up momentum that will slingshot them back into the thick of things.

As for the Ducks, they already have one loss on the year, but, they are still technically in the hunt.

Historically, we all know that one-loss programs have gone to the BCS National Championship game, keeping the Broncos from busting the system, but, this season, a one-loss program will not keep Boise State out.

Oh, hey, USC, we forgot about you.  Wait, you’re not eligible yet to contend for a bowl game, that includes a BCS National Championship.  Sorry, Trojans.  An undefeated season doesn’t put you anywhere except on Boise State’s “no need to worry about them” list.

So, the final calculation?

Boise State’s BCS Brain Buster

Boise State’s undefeated season, + Florida State’s win over Oklahoma, + Florida and Arkansas victories over LSU and Alabama, ÷ by the SEC, + Oregon’s win over Stanford, x Big Ten Upset projections, -Wisconsin=  Boise State busting the BCS


Boise State’s undefeated season, + an Oklahoma win over Florida State, + an Oklahoma State or Baylor win over Oklahoma,  ÷ by the SEC, + Florida and Arkansas wins over LSU and Alabama, + an Oregon win over Stanford, x Big Ten upset projections, -Wisconsin= Boise State busting the BCS

Any questions?

College Football: Week 3 Picks- Off to the Zoo! Eye of the Tigers, Humbling Cougars, No Sleeping Owls

17 09 2011


Washington State Cougars at San Diego State Aztecs

Washington State are 2-0 to start the season.  That matches their entire win total from 2010, and the Cougars still have 10 games still to play.  Everything seems to be looking up for Paul Wulff’s program.

The Cougars have the top-ranked offense in the nation (61.5 points per game) and are fourth in total offense (600 yards per game).  Wow, what a turn around.  Okay, wait.  Let’s all be honest here.  The Cougars have played Idaho State from the FCS, and UNLV-a program that is 0-2.

This week, Washington State will get their first taste of legit competition in San Diego State.

The Aztecs (2-0) are still trying to get their offense in gear after struggling to get on the same page in their 23-20 edging victory over Army last week.

Ryan Lindley is itching to shine, but, it’s his inexperienced and young receivers that are holding him back.  Hopefully this week, everyone on San Diego State’s offense find some chemistry.

Washington State better draw up something to stop the explosive Ronnie Hillman.  The Aztecs’ running back has been making a mockery of opposing defenses, rushing for an average of 153 yards per game.  Ranked second in the nation on the ground, Hillman will be expected to keep the offense rolling if the receivers and Lindley can’t jell.

This game, on paper, is a complete mismatch.  The hype around Washington State will end tonight at Qaulcomm Stadium.  The Cougars, who rely heavily on the passing game, will finally face a tougher foe that will give senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael a taste of what a real defense looks like.  Remember, the Aztecs are ranked sixth in the nation against the pass.

Stat Pack: San Diego State are 0-19 since 1995 against PAC-12 opponents.

All streaks come to an end, and boy, will it ever come to a halt today.


San Diego State Aztecs 38 – Washington Cougars 23


Auburn Tigers at Clemson Tigers

Everyone wrote the defending national champion Auburn Tigers off at the start of the season, but, the resilient Tigers of Auburn just keep finding ways to win.

In week one, Auburn came from behind late to avoid the upset to Utah State, then, in week two, they managed to stop Mississippi State on the goal-line on the last play of the game.  Auburn really know how to produce thrilling games, and, week three will probably be no different.

Clemson, on the other hand, have struggled early.  The Tigers trailed both Troy and Wofford at halftime before squeaking out victories.

Barrett Trotter may not have the flashy smile like Cam Newton, or the star power, but, this Auburn quarterback is just as explosive and talented.  Trotter shows composure and patience in high-pressure situations, and manages to provide true leadership when his team needs him most…late in the game staging comebacks.  Yes, today may be just like the last two weeks where Auburn will need their quarterback to string together a series of fourth quarter comeback plays.

On the flip side of the ball, Auburn’s defense just isn’t there.  The Tigers have given up 72 points in their first two games, and are ranked in the bottom 100 in three defensive categories-total yards (112th), rushing yards (118th), points allowed (104th).

Stat Pack: Auburn Tigers have won 17 games in a row, and, have won 14 straight against Clemson.


Auburn Tigers 28 – Clemson Tigers 27



Penn State Nittany Lions at Temple Owls

All hands on deck!  The ship that is the Nittany Lions’ season is about to sink today against Temple.

Last season, the Owls had Penn State against the ropes at then end of the first half, leading 13-6, but, couldn’t close it out, losing 12-23.

This year, Temple came in as perennial favorites to take the MAC, and as for Penn State, well, Joe Paterno’s squad were projected to be mediocre at best, and everything seems to be coming true.

Penn State have proven that they can’t hang with the big boys after another stomping against Alabama, so, today, they will try and prove they can still compete against the little guys. Temple, on the other hand, are looking to make an example out of their in-state rivals, and, prove they have the potential to be in the new class of BCS-busters (okay, yeah, Penn State may not be currently ranked, but, you get the point).

Today’s game will be won in the trenches as Temple’s ground game will showcase their prized running back Bernard Pierce.  Pierce already has six touchdowns and 297 yards rushing- this output almost doubles that of Penn State’s Silas Redd (169 yards, three touchdowns)

Temple’s run game ranks 15th in the nation against Penn State’s 61st-ranked rush defense.  Mismatch much?


Temple Owls 27 – Penn State Nittany Lions 24


Picks Record to Date: 2-0

Upset Special: 0-1

College Football Week 3 Preview: Landscape of the Top 25 Ready to be Shaken Up

12 09 2011

Oklahoma Sooners at Florida State Seminoles

It looks as if the Seminoles have eaten their fair share of cupcakes this fall by feasting on Louisiana Monroe, and, Charleston Southern.  Now, Florida State, who are the fifth-ranked team in the nation (first time being ranked in the top five since 2005) will put down their box of treat games, and get into their more challenging ones with a visit from top-ranked Oklahoma.

For Florida State, this is a game that will make or break the Seminoles season.  Win, and Jimbo Fisher’s group will be seriously considered for a shot at the BCS National Championship, but, a loss would be devastating, sending the Seminoles tumbling down the Top 25, and potentially settling for a Orange Bowl bid, at best.

Last season, Landry Jones exposed a poor Florida State defense, torching them for 380 passing yards, and four touchdowns.  Wide receiver Ryan Broyles had a fantastic game, too, hauling in 12 catches for  124 yards, and one touchdown in the Sooners 47-17 dismantling of the Seminoles.

Now, a lot has changed since the beat down in Norman.

The Seminoles defense is ferocious and hungry this season.  This unit definitely does not want a repeat of what happened last year.  Considering the defense is comprised mostly of personnel that were on that 2010 team, look for a totally different approach this time around.

Defensively, the Seminoles currently rank 4th in the nation against the pass (77.5 yards per game).  Stout pass defense could pose a problem for gunslinger Landry Jones and his yard munching bandits.

On the outside looking in are Boise State who are heavily invested and involved in this game, even though they are but mere spectators.  The Broncos benefit regardless of the outcome in this game.  A loss by Florida State means Boise State no longer have a top-tier program nipping at their heels.  A loss by Oklahoma, on the other hand, would push Florida State above Boise State, but, at the same time, it slightly betters the Broncos chances at finally busting the BCS.  Remember, Florida State still has Florida, and a possible ACC Championship game to play in.  The odds are in Boise’s corner there.


Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators

Like Florida State vs. Oklahoma, the Florida vs. Tennessee matchup this Saturday should provide a shakeup, not just in the Top 25, but, more importantly, this game will have major implications on the foundation of the SEC East.

Both programs are 2-0 to start the 2011 season, however, it’s Tennessee’s victory over Cincinnati this past week that seems to be more important than Florida’s two victories over fluff programs like FAU and UAB.

The Volunteers struggled early against the Bearcats, but quickly turned it around mid-way through the first quarter.  Shutting down the high powered spread attack Cincinnati brought forth was a huge accomplishment for this very young Vols defensive unit.

Next up, Tennessee will look to mirror their performance from last week against John Brantley and the Florida Gators.

Let’s be honest, Florida’s offense isn’t the best in the nation by any means, but, it seems to be clicking well.  Brantley still needs to work on his mechanics though.  Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is not going to cut it during the long haul of this season.  If the Gators want to contend in this game, and in the SEC, more will be needed from their quarterback.  It’s understandable that former pivot Tim Tebow left some pretty big shoes to fill, and it would take time to fill them, but how long do Gators fans have to wait to have a prolific passer again?

On the other side of the ball, Floirda have really shined.  Ranked 1st in points allowed (1.5 points per game), 6th in total yards per game (174.5 yards per game) and 10th against the rush (50.5 yards per game), the Gators defense looks to be a major force to be reckoned with.  Their only weakness seems to be through the air which could be at Tennessee’s advantage.

Can a young football player ever say they’re better than Payton Manning without being laughed at?

Well, Tyler Bray can.

Bray brought his streak of consecutive games with two touchdown passes or more to eight games in the Volunteers drubbing of Cincinnati, surpassing Payton Manning’s school record of seven games.  Also, Tyler Bray’s 83.5 percent completion rate bested Manning’s 77.5 set in 2007.

Bray’s stats are proving that this sophomore pivot may be one of the best to ever dawn a Vols uniform.

Last season, Brantley lead Florida to a 31-17 win over Tennessee on the road, which seemed to be one of the lone bright spots for the Gators 2010 season.  This weekend, Brantley and company play host to the Vols at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium, a place where Tennessee have not won in since 2003, losing their past three games in the Swamp.


Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

What is going on in South Bend?

First, in the Irish’s opening game against South Floirda, the defense was missing in the first half, but were stellar in the second.  Then, in Notre Dame’s week 2 game against Michigan at the Big House in Ann Arbour, the Irish defense was stout in the first half, then collapsed in the fourth quarter, allowing the Wolverines to score 28 unanswered points to shock the Irish 35-31.

Remember when the Irish were projected in the preseason as being a BCS Bowl caliber program?

Hmm.  Take it back.

Now, the Irish have found themselves 0-2, searching not only for answers as to where things are going wrong, but, also their identity as a football program.

If the meltdown at Michigan wasn’t enough, this week, Notre Dame hosts the high scoring, defending Big Ten co-champions, Michigan State Spartans.

Yikes.  Can Brian Kelly salvage the Fighting Irish’s season Saturday?

Something in the air suggests that if Notre Dame drops another game, Kelly may be on the hot seat.  With talent like Tommy Rees at quarterback, wide receivers Theo Riddick, and Michael Floyd, and running back Cierre Woods, there should be no reason why Notre Dame is sporting a winless record.

It’s apparent that the turnovers are killing Notre Dame.  Rees has thrown four interceptions in his two appearances this season, which have been costly.  Better judgment on his part could have saved the Irish from their loss to rivals Michigan.

This week’s task is no light duty.  Michigan State come in ranked 3rd in points allowed (3.0 points per game), 4th in total yards (151.0 yards per game) and 2nd in pass defense (76.0 yards per game).  If the Sparty defense is as good as they’re billed to be, Brian Kelly may be in for a long afternoon.  Will we see a newly discovered shade of red emanating from Kelly’s face?

Michigan State have won six of the last ten meetings between the two programs, and the last two times they met, the game was decided by three points.  Could we be in for a nail-bitter in South Bend this Saturday?  We’ll soon find out.

College Football: Week 2 Review- Turn On the Offense, Turn Off the Defense

10 09 2011

Man of Steele

Nothing could stop Steele Jantz and the Iowa State Cyclones in their thrilling 44-41 triple overtime stunner over in-state rivals, Iowa.  Nope, not even the Hawkeyes defense.

Jantz lead the Cyclones to a late fourth quarter touchdown that tied the game after a series of big third down conversions.  The question wasn’t “why is this kid so good at what he does?”, but, “where was the Iowa Hawkeyes defense during this entire drive?”  Well, to be honest, it was nowhere to be found.  Instead, lifeless bodies wearing white Hawkeyes jerseys scattered the field at Jack Trice Stadium, allowing the Cyclones drive to continue late in the fourth quarter.

Blown coverages, Hawkeyes safeties absent in pass coverage, and Jantz’s cannon arm that torched the secondary  for 59 yards during that drive setup the Cyclones deep in the Hawkeyes territory.  After a series of botched plays, Steele checked his nerves, and converted on a two-yard run on 4th and 1 that then lead to a four-yard touchdown pass that sent the Cyclones faithful in Ames into a frenzy.

Overtime was needed to decide the winner of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Trophy.

This is where Jantz really shined.  

In the first two overtimes, both sides traded touchdowns, but after a Hawkeyes field goal in triple overtime, Jantz, the “Man of Steele”, again schooled the Iowa defense as he tossed a floater to Darius Darks for a first down, which then set up James White’s four-yard run to not only steal the victory for Steele and the Cyclones, but, snapped Iowa State’s three game losing skid against Iowa.

So where did it go wrong?

The Hawkeyes defense showed that they are a unit that could easily be replaced by that of a high school team, or even a Pee-Wee football team.  Missed tackles, blown coverages, costly penalties, and just sitting back, hoping Iowa State would make mistakes on their own was the style of defense Iowa displayed.

Is this how they run a football program at the University of Iowa?

Clearly the Hawkeyes have a lot to work on this week at practice as they gear up for their matchup against Pittsburgh.


Badgers Cruise.  On Bridge From Madison to …Louisiana?

Another week, another squash by the Wisconsin Badgers.

So, is it time to start including Wisconsin as part of the BCS National Championship picture yet, or is this topic like discussing Christmas shopping in September?

Regardless of how skewed the national title picture is, the argument is there for the Badgers as they dominated Oregon State on both sides of the ball in their 35-0 victory in Madison.

The Badgers explosive running back duo of Montee Ball and James White were shut down early by the Oregon State defense, but, managed to take advantage of that unit who seemed worn out and exhausted early in the third quarter.  Montee Ball had another great game as he carried the ball for 118 yards and rushed for three touchdowns.  Ball seems to be a solid dark horse candidate for the Heisman, but, he may see some competition from a familiar face.

Everything seems to be coming up Russell these days as the senior transfer is adjusting extremely well in his new digs at Wisconsin.  Wilson again showed why he is a complete quarterback, and, arguably the best in the nation with yet another solid performance as he threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

On the flip side of the ball, the defense was absolutely lights out, posting the first shutout since a 37-0 victory over Purdue on October 1st, 2009.  As the season plays on, this defense looks to be getting better and better.  Next week, this unit will see their toughest test on the Badgers non-conference schedule as they visit Soldier Field in Chicago to take on Chandler Harnish and the Northern Illinois Huskies.  The Huskies are much more talented than that of the Oregon State and UNLV offenses they’ve seen thus far, but, if they continue to be stymie, Northern Illinois and the rest of the Big Ten will be in a heap of trouble.

It’s just a matter of time before Wisconsin’s name gets thrown around in those BCS talks.  The bridge to Louisiana runs through Madison, Wisconsin, and it seems as though the Badgers are in the driver’s seat with their foot on the gas, cruisin’ on their way to the Louisiana Superdome.


We’re Going Streaking in the Quad

Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs collided in a high scoring affair that saw the Tigers staving off a last minute comeback by their opponents for the second straight week.

Mississippi State had the ball on the Tigers one-yard line, but on the final play of the game, Bulldogs quarterback Chris Relf went low to sneak into the end zone on an option play to tie the game, but, was met by Tigers’ backup safety Ryan Smith on the goal-line.  The stellar defensive play preserved Auburn’s upset win over their SEC West foes, but, more importantly, kept the Tigers’ 17-game win streak intact…for now.


Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes preserved their win streak over Ohio-based football programs to 91 years with their narrow 27-22 victory over Toledo.  This game was on upset-watch all afternoon as the Buckeyes struggled early against the Rockets, even trailing at times.

Toledo had Ohio State painted into a corner late as they had the ball on the Buckeyes 21-yard line with just over three minutes on the clock and down by six points.

With an upset in their sights, the Rockets looked to hot hand of their quarterback Terrance Owens to seal the deal, however, it seemed like the big moment pressure got to the sophomore quarterback as he threw three consecutive incomplete passes, including that on fourth and six on the Ohio State 17-yard line.  Luckily, the Buckeyes defense stood tall and showed extreme patience against the pass, ultimately holding strong and squashing the upset-in-the-making.