Sports Buffet for 05/04/10

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SptsBuf

The Sports Buffet will be a regular feature of FPS.

NFL

UFA S FS Darren Sharper (NO) is reported to have had microfracture knee surgery during the off season according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sharper was a key part of the Saints D and their playoff run. The typical recovery time for that procedure is 18-24 months. That would also explain why he had such a delay in getting a contract offer. He has signed back with the Saints on a 1 year deal for 1.5M.

The Jones formerly known as “Pacman” is still shopping his services around the league. He went to Detroit last week and visited the Bengals recently. There was no interest by the Lions but the Bengals are at least considering an offer.

The 49ers signed LB Patrick Willis to a new 5 year deal worth 50M with 29M guaranteed.

With the draft of QB Tim Tebow, QB Brady Quinn could be on the move again. The Jags are reported to be interested in obtaining the former Browns 1st round pick.

NBA

There is a very fine line between a veteran team and just an “over the hill” team. Teams can go from one side of that line to the other in a single playoff series. The problem is that there is no way back except to blow the roster up and rebuild. After building a 11 point lead in game 1 vs. the Cavs, the Celts looked like they crossed the line at half time by losing the game by 8. However, they came back in game 2 and now have stolen home court advantage. The most interesting part of that game was that the “old” Celts outscored the Cavs 31-12 in the 3rd quarter. There is an old adage, in the NBA it isn’t a series until a home team loses a game. Now that the Celts have smacked the Cavs up side the head, it will be interesting to see if the Cavs can recover.

MLB

It is still VERY early in the season but there are a couple of things we can see now. The Red Sox are reeling. At 12-14 they are digging themselves a hole that will be very hard to crawl out of. They look old and done. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has gotten off to a really good start. It is hard to see them challenging the Yanks all year but they are playing well now. My two favorite teams are looking forward to high picks in this year’s draft–The Cubs and Indians.

NHL

The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a new coach AGAIN! Is there anyone out there that can turn what seems to be a team with a couple of very good players into a winner. If not, the city of Columbus will let the team leave. Central Ohio will not support a loser and that is all the CBJ have done. In their history they have had just 1 sniff of the playoff coffee beans.

College Football

The new NCAA rule changes include the right of a ref to take a TD off the board if the player “showboats” on his way to the endzone. Having spent some time in zebra stripes myself, I must give the officials some advice. Be VERY careful how and when you make that call. If it were made against the home team at Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame or any number of CFB hotbeds, it might result in a tumult that would make the Hundred Years War seem like a minor disagreement between two 3 year old girls at a church picnic.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Saints,Bengals,Lions,Sharper,Jones,Tebow,NBA,Celtics,Cavilers,NBA Championship,NBA Playoffs,MLB,Tampa Bay,Red Sox,Indians,Cubs,NHL,College Football,NCAA,RULES
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What did we learn from the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs.

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nfl

Cardinals 14 @ Saints 45

Cards

The O line let QB Warner down. It had played so well last week but folded under the pressure of the Saint D this week. The WRs didn’t have time to get open. Warner went 17-26 for just 205 and no TDs. That was not enough to offset the Saint O.

After a single run 70 yards the Saints shut the run down. With the Cards forced to pass on every down, the D line just opened up and rushed the passer.

The Cards D was unable to cover the Saint receivers early. When the Cards fell behind by 14 in the first quarter, the D couldn’t stop the run. Injuries to key players also contributed to the Saints scoring 45 points.

Saints

The Saint O had struggled in the last few games. In the last three games all of which were losses the Saints O scored only 44 total points. But someone flipped the switch for the playoffs and the O came alive. The passing game got them up by 14 after the 1st quarter and they did whatever they wanted after that. QB Brees was 23-32 for 247 and 3 TDs. RB Thomas carried 13 times for only 52 yards but RB Bush had 5 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. The O line kept the ball moving by excellent pass and run blocking. The Card D was exhausted.

The Saints D was outstanding as well. They had played well in the losses at the end of the season but were let down by the lack of O. They allowed only 67 points in the 3 losses. Against the Cards they caused 3 fumbles (recovering 1) and a pick. The Cards just could not move the chains and keep the ball.

Cowboys 3 @ Vikings 34

Cowboys

This is the Boys we have come to see in the playoffs. They couldn’t get out of their own way. They couldn’t protect QB Romo. He was running around like a butcher shop delivery boy surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. Romo was 22-35 for 198 and a pick. The over rated Boy O line was unable to either open holes for the running game or protect their QB. RB Jones broke one run for 17 yards but had 13 attempts for 52 yards otherwise. Barber got just 8 attempts for 14 yards. The O committed penalties, missed assignments, and were unable to handle the D line of the Vikes.

The Boys D was equally inept. They did do a reasonable job against RB Peterson holding him to 63 yards on 26 attempts. But time after time, Favre hit a pass that moved the chains and kept the Boys D on the field.

Vikings

This game was why the Vikes had to sign Favre. He was the difference in this game as he had been in so many of the Vikes wins before. He was only 15-24 for 234 yards but threw 4 TDs. When the Vikes got a 14 point lead, the game was over. The O just kept the ball away from the Boys and wore the Cowboy D to a frazzle. It was a perfect combination of passing keeping the chains moving. The 14 point explosion in the 4th quarter was due to a totally defeated D giving up because the Boys O was totally outclassed by the Vikes.

One problem exists that will prevent the Vikes from getting to the Super Bowl–The O line has to be able to get Peterson running room. If they can not run the ball against the Saints, they will lose.

The Vikes D did what was expected. They harassed Romo and prevented the run from hurting them. They sacked Romo 6 times and made the tackle when he completed a pass. The Boys got just 3.8 yards per pass attempt. That is not nearly enough to get a win. They held the run to just 3.8 per attempt. This D is the real thing. The Vikes have had the D, O line, and running back to win in previous years. They one thing they lacked was a QB to get it done. With Favre they have that now.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl football,fantasy football,nfl playoffs,Super Bowl,Cardinals,Saints,Warner,Brees,Cowboys,Vikings,Romo,Favre
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What to look for in the Sunday Divisional round games.

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nfl

Cowboys @ Vikings

Cowboys

Prior to this season the Boys folded in December. When JJ issued his threat to blow up the team and the coaching staff this season unless the Boys got into the playoffs and did well, the team got the message. This team has played a lot better than they did in previous seasons but I am not on the Boy bandwagon yet.

The O has been solid but the last two games were played against an Eagle D that seemed to give up after being in a position to win the NFC East. In the upset win over the Saints, QB Romo had a QB rating of 104. In the two games against the Eagles he had ratings of 86.1 and 106. That is a great improvement over last year when he finished the year with ratings of 44.9, 66.2 and 55.8 in the 3 losses. The improved Romo is the key to difference in this years team. The Boys will need as much passing as he can generate because they will not be able to get much on the ground against the Vikes.

RB Jones ran for 148 yards but that is misleading. Take out the two long runs and he had a 4 yard average. That is VERY average. Starter Barber is probable but is coming off a knee and won’t be close to 100%.

The other key to the turnaround is the play of the O line. The line had been living on an undeserved rep. In the latter part of the season they started to play up to that rep. They will have to against an outstanding D line of the Vikes.

The Cowboy D has also had the habit of playing up or down to the competition. The key will be pressure on QB Favre. If they can pressure him, they will have a chance. The pass D ranked 20th giving up over 200 yards per game. Balanced offenses give them problems. The Vikes can be very balanced when they chose to be.

Vikings

The Vikes tend to throw too much on O. That habit tends to get them in trouble. QB Favre can light up the scoreboard but can also throw enough picks to kill the team’s playoff hopes. The Vikes ended the season just 2-3 in December including an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. Favre had a passer rating of 73.7 in that loss. The team ranked 8th in passing.

The running game is solid with the leagues best back Peterson. But he has 1 100 yard game in the last half of the season. The O line had not been opening holes for the running game and Peterson has gotten beaten up. Peterson has to get over 100 yards for the Vikes to win. That is going to require the O line to play at a higher level. G Hutchinson is probable for the game. He would help the O line a great deal.

The Viking D is solid as well. It ranks 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass. The key to the Vikes winning the game is shutting down the Boys running game and forcing Romo into mistakes. Given enough pressure, he will make errors.

This is a very hard game to call but I think the Vikes have just enough to beat the Boys. The Cowboys will not be able to run and will not be able to keep up with Favre and the Vikes.

Jets @ Chargers

Jets

The Jets beat a Bengals team that was inexperienced in the playoffs. That is not the case with the Chargers. The game will depend on how hot Jet QB Sanchez can get. The Jets took advantage of an easy schedule and even then needed gifts from both the Bengals and the Colts to get into the playoffs. The O has the top ranked running game. That is a good thing because in the last 3 weeks of the season, Sanchez had passer ratings of 49.7, 78, and 60.2 and threw just 1 TD with 9 picks. That is not going to scare experienced playoff teams. RB Thomas is their top guy but he had only 3 100 yard games in the last half of the season. He is 31 and they hope it is not an indication that he is showing his age.

The Jets are going to have to be able to throw better than that to win.

The Jet D ranked 1st in scoring D, passing D and yards. They are 8th against the run. They have been playing very well under Coach Ryan. However, they have not beaten an O like they will against the Chargers.

Chargers

QB Rivers has had an outstanding season. He has a passer rating of 104. The running game is ranked 31st which caused Rivers to throw a lot. The passing game is ranked 5th. He has a solid group of receivers WRs Jackson and Floyd and TE Gates. The running game has Tomlinson but he is a shadow of what he was a few years ago. Neither he nor RB Sproles has gotten the running going. The Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles. That was a mistake because he will never be able to be a starting RB. The O line came together after recovering from early season injuries. It still can not run block.

The Charger D is middle of the road in terms of yards but ranks 11th in scoring D. NT Scott is their 3rd guy in that spot but has come on nicely. The loss of All Pro NT Williams has reduced the ability to stop the run and the team ranks 20th in that department. They are 11th against the pass and have a pair of pro bowl LB in Merriman and Phillips. They have not played up to their rep this season. The D backfield is led by CB Cromartie. The D can play at a very high level but is inconsistent.

Given all that, the Chargers should be able to score on the Jets through the air. I am not sure that QB Sanchez can keep up with Rivers. The Chargers win.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

26-7.

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: NFL,NFL Football,nfl playoffs,divisional round,Cowboys,Vikings,Favre,Peterson,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Colts,Thomas,Thomlinson,Sproles,Rivers,Sanchez
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What to look for Saturday in the Wild Card round.

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nfl

The Coaching Carousel

Seahawks—Mora is out and rumors are flying that USC Coach Carroll will be his replacement. I believe that will happen. However, in compliance with the NFL policy of requiring an interview of at least one minority candidate, the team has asked to interview others. The Hawks were 10-6 and in the playoffs in 07 but stumbled to 4-12 last year under then lame duck coach Holmgren. Mora had been named “HC in waiting” in the 08 pre season and took over to begin the 09 season. He went 5-11.

Raiders—The Cable will be cut. HC Tom Cable is hanging on by a thread. And worse yet, Owner Davis is standing above him with a pair of scissors. Cable doesn’t have much respect in the locker room or in the bosses office. He asked for a meeting with benched former 1st pick over all QB Russell but the later blew his coach off and left town. Cable will be gone soon.

Jets @ Bengals

The Jets beat Cincy 37-0 in week 17. That will not be the case in the Wild Card round. There is no chance that Bengal QB Palmer will cooperate like he did in that game completing just 1 out of 11 attempts. Also, Cincy RB Benson was held out of that game. He will play Saturday.

Jets

The Jets will rely on the running game because they don’t trust their rookie QB Sanchez. He has not thrown a TD in the last 2 games. Since week 8 he has thrown 4 TDs and 10 picks. The running game is built around 2 pro-bowl players (C Mangold and G Faneca) on the line and RB Jones carrying the rock. He has scored 14 TDs (because they didn’t trust Sanchez throwing in the red zone) but has only averaged 4.2 per attempt. The Bengals held Jones to 2.9 per carry in the game last week. That was similar to his production against the Falcons where he was held to 2.7 per attempt. If he can not reach 4 per carry, the Jets will lose. The danger is that they will fall behind without passing and be forced to throw the ball. That will cost them a win as well.

The Jet D has played well over their heads. HC Ryan has inspired the D to become the #1 D in the league. However that ranking is a bit misleading. They had a schedule where the teams against whom they played were not up to their 08 level. In their division neither the Bills nor the Dolphins were healthy enough to reach their 08 performance. Their non-division opponents like the Panthers were down as well. CB Revis is a pro-bowl player and is the classic shut down corner. He will be on WR OchoCinco. But there are 2 big questions. 1 Can the Jets get pressure on Palmer and 2 can they stop the running of Benson and company? To win they will have to do both.

Bengals

This team has to have a short memory because they stunk the place up last week. But they were resting a number of their top players. The motivation will be significantly greater this week. Palmer has to be more accurate. But more than that, the receivers have to catch the ball. Out of his 10 incompletions last week he had 5 drops.

Benson will be the key to the game. If the O line can give him just a little room, the Jets will be chasing Benson all day long. That is the key to keeping the D honest and giving Palmer time to throw.

Defensively, they need to force the Jets into 3rd and long. That means shutting down the run on 1st and 2nd down.

Even though the Jets won easily last week, I am picking the Bengals to win. I don’t think Sanchez is up to the challenge of the playoffs.

Eagles @ Cowboys

Eagles

The Birds laid an egg last week in Dallas or this game would have been in Philly. The biggest question of all is the health of RB Westbrook. If he is healthy or even 90%, the Birds have a good chance to win. If not the Boys will get to the divisional round. Philly needs him in the passing game as much as they need him to run the ball. He takes a lot of heat off of WR Jackson and opens up the passing game. He is also the relief valve for QB McNabb. The Birds allowed 4 sacks in each of their last 2 games and that has to stop if they are going to win. Westbrook had 20 catches in last weeks game.

Pass protection is critical against a revitalized Boys D.

The Eagle D has played well but rested several of their key player last week. They have to get in Romo’s face and stop the run to win. DTs Patterson and Bunkley have to keep the blockers off MLB Trotter to be successful.

Cowboys

The O has been playing much better down the stretch than they did in the past few seasons. Romo has not thrown the picks he has in the past after Dec. 1. After following their previous script losing the first 2 games, they won the last 3 including last week 24-0 over the Eagles. Romo has thrown 9 TDs with just 2 picks since 12/1. That is significantly better than he has done in the last 3 years when he was the starter. The running game has gotten better in the second half of the season as well. From week 11 on RB Barber has carried at least 14 times a game. He is averaging 4.4 per attempt. Romo needs the running game to work in order to be effective.

The Boys D has been different in the last few weeks also. HC Phillips took over the D and made a great difference. The Boys blitz more and have been more effective at getting to the QB. The D shut out both the Redskins and Eagles in the last 2 weeks. CBs Jenkins and Newman have to keep WR Jackson in their sights. When the Boys blitz, they will have to cover Jackson man to man. That can burn them.

The D won’t have to worry too much about the run because the Eagles won’t run much.

I have believed that the Boys would fall on their face in December 09 and they fooled me. But I no longer believe in the Eagles. The Boys will win.

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: NFL,NFL FOOTBALL,NFL Playoffs,Seahawks,Mora,USC,Raiders,Davis,Cable,Jets,Bengals,Eagles,Cowboys,Romo,Phillips
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What to look for in the BcS Championship game.

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bcsX

#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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  • Published: Dec 28th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
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What to look for in College Bowl games upcoming.

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football

INDEPENDENCE BOWL Texas A&M 6-5 Georgia 7-5

This is the battle of the bad defenses. TAM’s D gave up 33 points per game. Georgia has already fired all of their D coaches and is giving up 26 points per game. The key to a win will be which O takes maximum advantage of the faltering D.

The Dogs have finished up wining 3 of their last 4 but have had a bad year overall. Their O depends on the ability to run the ball. The Georgia RBs Early and King keyed the upset of Georgia Tech gaining over 300 yards rushing between them. QB Cox has been up and down throwing 22 TDs but also 14 picks. He had only 76 yards passing against GT.

TAM QB Johnson is outstanding. He has thrown for over 3000 yards with 28 TDs and only 6 picks. WR Nwachukwu is the deep threat averaging 18 yards per catch and 6 TDs. The question is can the O line protect Johnson long enough to let Nwachukwu go long.

Georgia has had a slightly better season and should win in a shootout.

EagleBank BOWL UCLA 6-6 Temple 9-3

Temple coach Al Golden has the team in its first bowl game in 30 years. He is now a very hot coaching prospect for “real” football schools. The Owls ripped off 9 straight wins before losing to Ohio U in their last game. They depend on the ground game to move the chains. Freshman RB Pierce is the star. Despite missing a chunk of the year from a shoulder injury he gained 1308 yards and scored 15 TDs.

The Pac10 has struggled in the Bowls so far. UCLA is not a great representative but should win this one. They have been a very inconsistent team this year in part due to injuries. They have talent but too often make critical errors leading to defeats. They went 3-0 to open the year only to drop their next 5.

Their D is led by 3 All Americans S Moore, CB Verner and DT Price. The talent on D should be too much for the Owls and UCLA wins in a close one.

MPS SPORTS BOWL 15 Miami 9-3 25 Wisconsin 9-3

This is one of the more interesting matchups. It will match the Badger running game with RB star John Clay against an improving Hurricane D. The Badgers will have to put pressure on Miami QB Harris who has come a long way since the beginning of the season. He has become a threat but in the last couple of games has been bitten by the turnover bug. Miami is favored but I think Wisconsin grinds out a win by keeping Harris and company off the field.

HUMANITARIAN BOWL Bowling Green 7-5 Idaho 7-5

Idaho has to stop the passing game of Sheehan to Barnes. WR Barnes has been outstanding with 1551 yards in receiving with 16 TDs. Sheenhan has become a potential draft choice in his final year with the help of Barnes.

Idaho has lost 3 of the last 4. The Vandals depend on their O to offset an inconsistent D. QB Enderly has been solid with 2666 yards, 18 TDs and 9 picks. RB Woolridge has scored 16 TDs with an 5.8 yard average.

Look for BG to win the game.

HOLIDAY BOWL 20 Arizona 8-4 22 Nebraska 9-4

The Huskers were a questionable call by a zebra from the biggest upset in the storied history of the school against Texas. The Nebraska D held the Texas O in check most of the game. They won the Big 12 North for the first time since 06. They are second in scoring D allowing just 11.8 points per game.

The Huskers sputter on O depending on the Black Shirt D to keep the score low. The team is 84th in the country in scoring. All American DT Suh should be a top 3 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Arizona was in the Rose Bowl picture until a last minute loss to Oregon on 11/21. Then the win over Arizona State and USC was a positive end to their regular season. Arizona’s O is 40th in yards and is scoring nearly 30 a game. Both the passing of QB Foley and running of Antolin will be contained by the Husker D. Nebraska wins by more than the 1 point line.

SUN BOWL Oklahoma 7-5 21 Stanford 8-4

The Sooners have had a disastrous season after losing QB Bradford. Jones has filled in but has been erratic throwing 23 TDs and 13 picks. RBs Brown (4.1) and Murry (4.5) have not been able to replace the passing of Bradford. The Sooners are scoring 30 points per game. The Sooner D will have to try to slow down one of the best running games in the country in Stanford.

The Cardinal is 11th in rushing. RB Gerhart is averaging 5.6 per attempt and has scored 26 TDs. QB Luck is a better runner (5.8) than passer but takes maximum advantage of the opponent’s focus against the run. He has thrown for 2575 yards and 13 TDs with just 4 picks. The O needs to score a lot because the D gives up points like the Congress passes out money.

Oklahoma should be better in bowl games but have lost 5 of their last 6. But they are 10 point favorites. Look for them to shut down the running game and make Luck throw. The Sooners will win but it could be closer than 10.

INSIGHT BOWL Minnesota 6-6 Iowa State 6-6

This game could be the least interesting of the bowl season. Neither of these teams lived up to what the experts thought they would do this year. The Gophers are 3 point favorites but don’t look for a lot of top level offense. ISU is 102nd in scoring and the Gophers are 79th. Take the under at 49. Both QBs throw about as many TDs as picks and neither running game is solid.

Chick-fil-A BOWL 11 Virginia Tech 9-3 Tennessee 7-5

The best part of this game might be the Chick-fil-A commercials. The Vols have won 5 of 6 games since giving Alabama all they wanted in their game losing 12-10. The Vol D is coached by long time NFL DC Monte Kiffin. He has gotten a lot more out of the D than anyone expected. The D is led by S Berry, the Thrope winner. The O depends on the passing of QB Crompton who has thrown for 2565 yards and 26 TDs but has 12 picks.

VTk has played well and depends mostly on their rushing attack. They are 15th in the nation rushing and 32nd in scoring. RB Williams has averaged 5.7 per attempt and has scored 19 TDs.

VTk is a 6 point favorite but this game will be closer than that. The Kiffin D should hold the score down but Virginia Tech wins.

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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