What did we learn from week three of the College Football Season?

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football

The Good:

The Top 6 team won easily but they didn’t play the toughest competition. Except for Ohio State and Alabama we have not yet seen most of the top 10 play a really good opponent.

#6 Texas and #7 Oklahoma struggled to wins against Texas Tech and Air Force respectively. Neither of these teams look all that good yet but both have young QBs and should get better as the season goes on.

Two SE Conference teams played league games on the road and looked solid. #10 Florida beat Tennessee on the checkered field. Tennessee is now 1-2. #12 Arkansas beat Georgia but this Bulldog team is not the power house it has been. Georgia was also 1-1 coming into the game.

The Bad (and VERY Lucky):

Wisconsin got REALLY lucky blocking the extra point to win their game at home against Arizona State. Wisconsin controlled the clock but were not effective putting the ball into the end-zone. The team is going to have to improve to be competitive in the Big 10+1.

The Ugly:

#9 Iowa went to Arizona and was a small underdog. The Hawkeyes fell behind by a 27-7 score and never could catch up again. The D got 3 turnovers but was ripped for 303 yards passing. The Iowa O running game averaged 1.1 yards per attempt and the passing game was 18-33. They have always played badly west of the Rockies and this was no exception. They lost 34-27 and fell in this weeks poll.

#20 Michigan struggled with a game UMass team and finally won 42-37. The Blue D is horrid and games against any team with a good O should look like pinball scores.

#23 Houston was totally outmatched and out played by UCLA 31-13. Only a 10 point desperation output in the 4th quarter kept the score even that respectable.

Louisville went to #25 Oregon State and gave them all they could ask for in a tough 35-27 win for the Beavers.

Other notable games:

What is wrong with Notre Dame? The new administration of HC Kelly lost his second game in a row against a Big 10 team. (No wonder they didn’t want to get into the league.) It will take Kelly some time to get his type of recruits into the program and in the long term Kelly is the kind of coach that will be successful. But now he does not have the speed particularly on D that he needs to be competitive with the major powers. They will continue to give up long plays because they don’t have the speed in the back 7 to play man but can’t get enough consistent pressure on the QB to avoid blitzing. The one thing I will say on Kelly’s behalf is that he has them playing hard on every snap.

Draft notes:

Maybe I just don’t get it but having seen Washington QB Locker I can’t rate him as a sure top 5 pick let alone the top pick overall. Against a good but not great Nebraska D, he was 4 for 20 for 71 yards and 1 TD with 2 picks. I would expect Washington to lose but I don’t see any spectacular plays that I did with Bradford or even a McCoy from the 2010 draft. He has not been accurate in his previous seasons. In 09 he hit only 58% of his throws with 21 TDs but with 11 picks and 28 sacks. He may become a great pro but I wouldn’t pick him before the 3rd round as things stand now.

We will try to have some draft notes on seniors in each of our Tuesday articles about college football.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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"Welcome to Big 40 College Football"

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football

It isn’t that bad yet but nothing is out of the question. What we seem to have is a Conference game of musical chairs. Every NCAA team wants to be sure it gets a seat in a better conference (and of course the money that goes with it). Every NCAA Conference seems to be wooing schools in other conferences to come join them.

* The Big 10 may not be able to count (there are 11 teams) but now they want to go to 12 or maybe 14 or 16.

*The PAC 10 (they can count) is looking to move to 12 or maybe 14.

*The Big 12 is just trying to hold on to their teams but would like to take in 2 more as well.

*The Big East and ACC are hiding under a blanket hoping other conferences won’t find them there.

The Big 10

According to the rumors floating around, the league has invited Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers to join the league. They have been courting Notre Dame for years but the Irish have their own TV deal with NBC and think they are too good to become a member. Nebraska is not likely to leave their rivalry with Oklahoma but both Missouri and Rutgers are likely to join.

But that leaves an odd number of teams at 13. If those two join look for the league to recruit either UConn, West Virginia, Pittsburgh or Syracuse to get to 14.

The Big 12

If Missouri leaves the league will be 1 short. TCU would be the most likely candidate to replace the Tigers. But if the Big 10 goes to 14, the Big 12 will want to follow. That would bring TCU, SMU, and either Rice or Houston to the fold. TCU, SMU and Rice were all part of the Southwest Conference that got raided by the Big 12.

SEC

If both the Big 10 and Big 12 got to 14 teams, the SEC will be forced to follow. There are rumors that the SEC is trying to lure Florida State and Miami out of the ACC to join their league. That would gut the football aspects of the ACC and force them to steal teams from the Big East or Conference USA.

Pac 10

The Pac 10 will want to expand as well to keep up with the other leagues. The most likely to join it are Utah and BYU. If they decide to go to 14 they would look at Utah State and either Wyoming or Colorado State.

That leaves a number of leagues with not enough teams and would undoubtedly lead to more raiding. The Big East would probably disappear unless they can raid Conference USA for teams like Memphis and Marshall. The ACC would go after South Florida (Big East) and UCF (USA).

The bottom line is that no league is safe as long as the big 3 are sniffing around for more teams. It will change the landscape of college sports and not for the better. Bigger conferences will lead to more bowl games. After all, the NCAA was thinking about having 96 team in the Basketball Championship Tournament. So what is wrong with having 48 bowl games?

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

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Lakers Rockets 2009

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

In 2009 the Lakers were thought to be the team to beat. They had won over 60 games and were second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in total wins in the NBA that year. It was thought little stood in their way between the start of the playoffs and an NBA finals appearance against the winner of the eastern conference. The experts were wrong. The Lakers Rockets playoff match up proved to be a great series and almost sent the Lakers home for the summer.

The 2009 Rockets were not considered favorites in the playoffs, in fact many thought the Lakers would beat them in five games. The Rockets were without the oft injured Tracy Mcgrady for the whole series and lost Yao Ming after game three of the series. After Yao Ming was injured many thought the series was all but over, they were in for a surprise.

Even though they were down 2-1 when they lost their superstar center, the Rockets were able to extend the series to seven games. Ron Artest was key to helping the Houston Rockets stay in this series. He played defense against anybody he was asked to cover and scored when he had to. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest seemed to have a rivalry going on with each other during the series. The Lakers Rockets series kept NBA fans nationwide glued to their television sets waiting to see who would prevail. Many fans couldn’t believe the fight that the Rockets put up without two of their superstars.

While the series ended in game seven with a 19 point Lakers victory, many people gained a great deal of respect for the game Houston Rockets and for their superstar Ron Artest who had a never say die attitude and played hard until the very end. It seems that Ron Artest grew fond of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant during their series, as he went on to sign with the Lakers during the free agency period in the summer of 2010.

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Who SHOULD the Browns draft?

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Browns

The first round of the Draft is Thursday so it is time for my “fearless” predictions of what the Browns won’t do in the draft.

Round 1: No. 7 overall There has been some talk about the Browns trading with the 49ers for their 13th & 17th picks. The value of this pick is 1500. The 13+17 equal 2100. To do the deal the Browns would have to give their 2nd pick (#38 520) and their last pick in the 3rd (#92 132). They would likely get an early 5th round back as part of the deal. In short, I doubt this deal gets made.

Another rumor is that they would trade up to 5 and give the Chiefs 7 and #72 in the third round. I don’t like this deal because I don’t see that much difference between Berry and Thomas. I would take Thomas and save the 3rd round choice.

S Earl Thomas Texas The Browns need a FS badly. It is looking like KC will take Berry or Thomas at 5 and if they pass on him the Seahawks might grab one or the other at 6. If Berry is there, they would take him. However on many draft boards, Thomas has moved over Berry. I prefer Berry as a player by the thinnest of margins due to his greater experience. But Thomas at FS is a better fit for the Browns and has a higher up side. He has better cover skills, is a more consistent tackler and can be as good a center fielder. They will not pick him but they should.

Round 2: No. 38 overall DT/3-4 DE Brian Price UCLA There is a better than average chance that Rogers will be the guest of the Federal Government in 2010. The team needs another NT badly. Price is 4th on my DT list but is not quite big enough yet to be a NT but he will grow into it. He is young and athletic enough to play DE in the 3-4 as well. He is a trouble maker for the O with a great motor and quickness to get into the backfield. He forces fumbles and interceptions. Watch him vs USC.

Backup plan: Cam Thomas DT North Carolina Thomas has the size and the athleticism. I question his motor but that is not unusual for big men. He can rush the passer and is a rock in the middle of the line against the run.

Backup plan: DT Lamarr Houston Texas He is rising as more people watch tape. He can be disruptive but is not as consistent as Price. If you can get into his head he has everything to become a very good pro.

Backup plan: NT Terrence Cody Alabama Cody is the last resort because he looks disinterested despite his physical abilities. I am concerned about Cody’s dedication to football but if anyone can handle him it is DC Ryan. There is a real risk of him eating his way out of the league.

Round 3: No. 71 overall QB Dan LeFevour Central Michigan The team needs a QB that can throw the ball through the winds of Cleveland in December and hopefully someday in January. Almost every mock has them taking McCoy in the 2nd round. I believe NT is a much more pressing need than QB. Lefevour has above average arm strength and size. They might be able to wait to pick 85 to take him but to be sure they need to take him here.

Backup plan: QB Tony Pike Cincinnati I like Pike almost as much as LeFevour but Pike is a little less constant.

Backup plan: ILB Navorro Bowman Penn State Bowman is rising fast. He is a solid run stopper in the mold of Dan Connor from PS now with the Panthers.

Round 3: No. 85 overall CHANGE: WR Carlton Mitchell South Florida This is a tough pick because it is just below the end of the second level of players. If they could trade this pick for a 2nd next year that would be a good move. However, if not Mitchell has deep speed and can stretch the field. He has great instincts and has fallen a little in 09 because he lost his Senior QB at USF to injury.  He needs work on running patterns but which WR doesn’t.

Backup plan: TE Anthony McCoy USC McCoy is the best available here that also fits a need. McCoy is a good receiver and willing blocker. He is one of the top combo TEs in the draft.

Round 3: No. 92 overall LB Jason Worilds Virginia Tech Worilds is a DE that will transition to OB in the 3-4. He has the speed to attack the QB and enough quicks to cover when needed. He is solid against the run and has the instincts to attack it. He could play IB or OB.

Backup plan: Javier Arenas CB Alabama Arenas is rising again. Originally he was the guy and Jackson was the “other” corner for the Tide. But his speed in the 40 drove his draft potential down. He got a lot of action because Bama was ahead so often and has good instincts. His 4.6 40 has pushed him into the 3rd round.

Round 5: No. 134 overall SS Larry Asante Nebraska Asante is a solid player against both the run and the pass. If the Browns pick FS Thomas, Asante could be the perfect compliment at SS. He is a great special teams player with the kind of up side that suggests that he could step in to start in 2011. The team has only 1 S on the roster with any experience.

Backup plan: Riley Cooper WR Florida Coop is not fast but gets open and catches everything.

Backup plan: Greg Hardy DE Mississippi He led the SEC in sacks in 08 and is big enough and quick enough to play DE in the 3-4. He needs to work on lower body strength and use his hands better. He has a history of injury which is why he may be available in the 5th.

Round 5: No. 146 overall OT Ed Wang Virginia Tech Wang his a value here but should still be on the board. He is a RT that can drive block with the best of them but is needs to improve his technique on pass protection. He has good awareness and the ability to get to the second level blocking. He can play G as well as RT. He is a natural knee bender with real pop at the point of attack.

Backup plan: Eric Olsen C/G Notre Dame Olsen is a perfect backup interior lineman. He is technically sound with the feet to pull from either G or C and block on the edge. He is also a knee bender and uses leverage effectively.

Round 5: No. 160 overall WR Armanti Edwards Appalachian State The former AS quarterback is the guy that let the upset Michigan in 07 as a Soph. He understands routes and runs a 4.41 40. He is an outstanding smart athlete and the team can use all of those they can get.

Backup plan: Andrew Quarless TE Penn State He has decent speed and great upside. If the team hasn’t gotten a TE he would be a great value here.

Backup plan: ILB Phillip Dillard Nebraska Phillips is one of the top IB prospects but is lower ranked due to a history of injury. He is a downhill player with good instincts and had 11 tackles for loss in a tough Nebraska D.

Round 6: No. 177 overall LB O’Brien Schofield Wisconsin Schofield probably won’t be able to play in 2010 due to a knee injury in the Senior Bowl practices but he has outstanding instincts and a non-stop motor. He is quick enough to blitz and is a knee bender. He could become an all pro in the future. At the EW Shrine game he was outstanding at OB after just a couple of practices at the position. If he was healthy he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.

Backup plan: OB Arthur Moats James Madison Moats is another transition with a great motor but very green. At this point, teams are looking for a player with one above average skill. Moats’ skill is the ability to rush the passer but he is a year or 2 away.

Backup plan: A.J. Edds OB Iowa or OB Kavell Conner Clemson Both of these guys
are run stuffers with enough speed to rush the QB.

Round 6: No. 186 overall OB Keenan Clayton Oklahoma Clayton is listed by almost every expert as undraftable. But when you watch him play he is outstanding. He can cover the TE down the field with quick hands to knock the ball away but then stuff the run after taking out the blockers. He has great instincts. Take a look at the OU Texas game and you will see what I do.

Priority Undrafted Rookies:

Jacob Hickman C Nebraska He is not a great athlete but at C he doesn’t have to be. He is a very hard worker with above average technique and a mean streak. He gets to the LB and runs hard to get blocks down field on runs.

Brandon Minor RB Michigan He is a tough guy that can move the pile up the gut. He has outstanding vision and balance even when hit.

Cordarrow Thompson DT Virginia Tech He is athletic with a good motor. He is not as instinctive but gets through double teams to put pressure on the QB and collapse the pocket.

Jevan Snead QB Mississippi I am not sure he will be undrafted but if he is he deserves a look. He had a very bad 09 but coming into that year he was considered one of the top 3 QBs. He had an outstanding 08 and is much better than he showed in 09.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State He is a rotational player that can make some plays in both the pass and the run. He can play DE in the 3-4 as well. I believe in football or basketball, you never have enough good big guys. If the coaching staff can keep him focused and his motor going, he can help a team.

Donovan Waren CB Michigan He is able to cover man to man effectively. He has decent speed and fluid hips. He handles multiple moves effectively without losing contact with the receiver. He has quick hands and is effective at knocking the ball away. He plays his best in big games.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What to look for in the BcS Championship game.

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#1 Alabama

This is the year that Bama needs to win it all. They have 14 senior player that will be given serious consideration in the 2010 NFL draft 9 of whom should be drafted. They have as always some nice underclass talent but with that many guys leaving, a number of the key juniors will likely declare for the draft as well. They can not replace that many front line guys without taking a step back next season. This is their best chance to win the big prize.

Bama O

Bama can throw the ball but make no mistake about it—They need to run the ball to win. RB Ingram (So.) won the Heisman trophy and is outstanding. He has great vision and a very quick first step. He has decent speed and very seldom goes down at first contact. He is patent and uses blocks as well as any back in college. Those qualities are not developed. You either have them or you don’t. He is a good receiver and gets to the edge on screens often. He has 30 catches this year for an average of 10.2 yards which is a lot higher than most RBs.

QB McElroy has a passer rating of 142 but that is a little misleading. He has taken advantage of Ds that played 46 guys at the line of scrimmage to stop the run. He has thrown 17 TDs and has had just 4 picks. He throws a catchable ball with accuracy. He does not throw well under pressure and that could be a problem against Texas.

The Tide has good but not excellent receivers. Soph WRs Jones and Maze are the stars. Jones (6-4) is the big guy over the middle and has 42 catches and 4 TDs. Maze (5-10) is the speed guy with 30 catches for a 17 yard average and 2 TDs. TE Peek (3rd round) is a combo end with the ability to catch and block for the run. He has 26 catches and 3 TDs.

The O line is outstanding. It is led by All American Johnson (2nd) and Davis (6th). The team run blocks as well as any O line in recent years. They pass block well but were recruited to block the run.

Bama D

The D that stopped Florida is led by 2 All Americans (AA)—Butkus winner LB McClain (Jr.) and S Arenas (2nd). Arenas and SS Woodall (3rd) give the Tide the best pair of safeties in college. McClain was suffering from stomach problems but he is fine now. DT Cody (top 20 1st round) anchors the D line. He is the 4th rated DT in the draft. He fights through double teams to create havoc in the O backfield.

The D stuffs the run and lets the back line make up for any mistakes covering receivers. Given the quality of the back line, that has worked well. But against Texas, they are going to have to be more concerned about getting pressure on the QB and stopping the pass.

Texas

Texas will go as far as AA QB McCoy (1st) takes them. The team has depended more on his arm than on the run and the D put together.

Texas O

McCoy came back this year to win a championship. Texas was 18th in passing but 55th in rushing on O. McCoy has thrown for 3512 yards with 27 TDs and 12 picks. Because the running game has under produced, this year McCoy has taken more chances throwing the ball into coverage than he did last year. That accounted for more picks this year.

McCoy had more rushing attempts than leading RB Newton. Newton averaged 5 yards per carry on 102 attempts. AA second team WR Shipley (late 1 early 2) is by far the leading receiver with 106 catches and 11 TDs. The next highest is WR Williams (So.) with 38.

The O line is led by AA C Hall (4th), OT Ulatoski (3rd) and late round prospect G Tanner. The line pass blocks very well. They have not been as successful run blocking. This year the running game has not been up to usual Texas standards. When they have had a close game, they have struggled to close out the game by running.

Texas D

The Texas D may be the most under rated part of this game. The D held Oklahoma to 13, and T exas Tech to 24. They also saved the year for the Horns by keeping Nebraska to 12 points when the O struggled big time. The key to the team on D is the line. DT Houston (2nd) is the key along with DEs Jones and Acho who are both juniors. Houston keeps at least 2 OL guys busy and that frees up the LBs to attack the ball. OB Kindle (1st) is a force rushing the passer or stopping the run. He is also dangerous in pass coverage. His running mates Norton (late or FA) and Muckelroy (2nd) are returning starters and are under appreciated.

The D backfield is good but not great. CB Beasley (FA) is the bell cow but all 4 starters returned this year.

Prediction

I expect a low scoring game. I don’t see either team exploding offensively. The over/under is 45 and the under is the best bet. The line is Bama by 4. I expect them to win but it may be closer than that.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: BCS Championship game,BCS,National Championship,NFL Draft,Alabama,Texas,McCoy,Ingram,Heisman trophy,McElroy,point spreads
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What to look for in the Saturday January 2nd bowl games.

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PAPAJOHNS.com BOWL South Carolina 7-5 Connecticut 7-5

Despite losing a key player to tragedy and being out-manned regularly, UConn has played a handful of ranked teams close only to lose heartbreaking game after game. Starting CB Jasper Howard was murdered on Oct. 18th. The team carries his memory and his jersey as a rally flag. The heart and hard work was rewarded with an overtime win over Notre Dame followed by a couple of wins to end the season.

UConn’s O scores 31 points per game and is fairly balanced between the run and the pass. The running tandem of Todman and Dixon provide a good ground attack despite not having even an average O line. QB Endres took over half way through the year and has done fairly well completing 64% with 6 TDs and 4 picks. His favorite target is WR Easley (5th round). The D has gotten better over the year but still is young. It is led by DE Witten (4th) and FS Vaughn (5th).

The Ol’ Ball Coach Spurrier still throws the ball all over the place. “Running backs, we don’t need no stinkin’ running backs” seems to be the game plan for SC. QB Garcia has a rating of 124.5 with 2733 yards and 17 TDs. He has had 394 attempts while the top 2 running backs had a total of 211 carries.

The SC D has been very erratic. They allowed 41 points to a bad Georgia O and then held a highly rated offense of #4 Mississippi to just 10. The D is led by OB Norwood (late 2nd) and SS Stewart (6th).

While UConn has won 3 straight, SC has lost 3 of their last 4. SC is a 5 point favorite but I doubt they will win that big. This could be another upset.

COTTON BOWL #19 Oklahoma St. 9-3 Mississippi 8-4

Ole Miss QB Snead needs to have a good game to impress NFL scouts. He came into the season as a top QB draft prospect but has fallen to the point he would be better off to stay for his senior year. He has completed only 54% with 20 TDs and 17 picks. RB McCluster (3rd) is just 5-7 169 and will have to play WR in the NFL. WR Hodge (6th) and G Jerry (5th) are also prospects on the Rebel O.

The Rebel D has been inconsistent. They held the high powered O of Arkansas to 17 then let a below average O of Miss St. score 41. DE Hardy (1st or high 2nd) is the highest rated player on the team but FS Lewis should be a late round pick.

Oklahoma St. had a disappointing season as well. They were expected to compete for the Big 12 South title but lost to Houston in the pre-league schedule then had lopsided losses to Texas and Oklahoma. QB Robinson is a 3 year starter but had a less than expected senior year. He had a passer rating of 135 but that was down from 149 in 07 and 167 in 08. He is a late round prospect. The O line is led by top OT prospect Okung (early 1st) and G Lewis (6th). RB Tolson (6th) averaged 5.4 with 11 TDs.

The OSU D features CB Cox (2nd) and safeties Sexton and Antoine who are marginal prospects in the 7th round.

Mississippi is a 3 point favorite but expect OSU to win in an upset.

LIBERTY BOWL East Carolina 9-4 Arkansas 7-5

Hog QB Mallett led the team to the 10th best passing game in division 1. He threw for 3425 with 29 TDs and just 7 picks. His top receiver Childs had only 45 catches. Mallett spreads the ball around. G Petrus (4th) heads up his protection.

The Hog D is horrible. It allowed 33 points to LSU in their overtime loss. Only DT Sheppard has a chance to be drafted from that group.

EC’s D will challenge Mallett. It is led by DE Wilson (3rd), DT Ross (7th) and S Eskridge (6th). The D has played very well this year and seem to be getting better each week. The O is led by RB Lindsey. Most experts don’t believe he is a pro prospect but at 5-10 200 he is big enough. Behind an average line he averaged 5 per carry. I like his toughness.

The line is Hogs by 8 but I don’t think so. Take the points and EC may win outright.

ALAMO BOWL Michigan State 6-6 Texas Tech 8-4

This game will be ugly quickly. MSU had a horrible pass D even before the suspensions of several starters on D. TT G Carter (5th) and T Winn (fa) will protect QB Potts. He will be throwing the ball without concern for the MSU d. TT is an 8 point favorite. MSU will be very lucky to keep it that close.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Bowl games,NCAA Football,NFL Draft,PAPAJOHNS BOWL,South Carolina,Connecticut,COTTON BOWL,Oklahoma St.,Mississippi,LIBERTY BOWL,East Carolina,Arkansas,Mallett,ALAMO BOWL,Michigan State,Texas Tech,suspensions
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