What did we learn from week 5 of the College Football season?

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My picks last week were pretty accurate. I was 5-1 with only NC State letting me down. Here are some thoughts about the top games last week.

#1 Alabama looked like a national champ again pounding #7 Florida 31-6 in a very physical game. This team has no visible weaknesses. No draft guys are talking about QB McElroy but I think he has pro potential in the west coast system. He does not have the great arm but makes the right decisions and processes info quickly.

#2 Ohio State struggled on O again beating Illinois 24-13. Even being a Buckeye grad, I would have ranked them behind Oregon in the poll at this point. This was the first game in the last 5 that QB Pryor did not throw for 200 yards.

#4 Oregon beat #9 Stanford going away 52-31. Even without 09 starter QB Masoli, Oregon looks better than last year. Little RB James is amazing. The scary thing about this team is that it is young.

#8 Oklahoma looked solid beating #21 Texas 28-20.

#24 Michigan State exposed the lack of a passing attack of #11 Wisconsin. MSU does not have a great D but schemed to stop the run and it worked. MSU won 34-24.

#12 LSU can’t throw a lick and Tennessee almost beat them because of the lack of O. The LSU 16-14 win at home did not score any style points.

#16 Miami looked good in a road win against a gritty Clemson team. Death Valley is not a easy place to play and the 30-21 win was solid.

#17 Iowa’s D showed the lack of passing of #22 Penn State and won impressively 24-3. Penn State is a year away from being in the top 4 of the Big 10 or 11 or 12.

#18 USC is a fraud and Washington showed them to be one. The USC D couldn’t stop a marble rolling down hill. The O is good but can’t score enough to win.

Virginia Tech beat #23 North Carolina State at NCS 41-30. Another QB nobody is talking about I really like is NCS Jr. QB Wilson. He has a lightening release, strong arm, great touch, and good footwork. He will be an above average to very good pro QB.

Oklahoma St. stayed perfect beating a better than expected Texas A&M team 38-35. The OSU D gave up a lot of yards but came up big with a pick to secure the win.

Northwestern (5-0) stumbled into the bottom of the Top 25 this week by beating a really bad Minnesota team 29-28. They need to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame because their stay in the poll will not last long.

Florida State got back into the top 25 with a win over Virginia. While FSU has looked good even against Oklahoma in a loss, they are going to be tested this week against Miami.

We will look at next week’s games on Thursday.

Scouting Report — Jr. North Carolina State QB Russell Wilson.

Another QB nobody is talking about I really like is NCS Jr. QB Wilson. He has a lightening release and great vision which is a combination that is hard to find in college football. When makes a decision, the ball is out. He also has a strong arm and can throw the 15 yard out with a flick of his wrist. He also has the great touch to drop the ball over the LB but in front of the S where the WR can get it. He has good but not great footwork.

He needs to work on dealing with pressure better. He tends to trust his arm too much when falling back from a rush. That led to picks against Virginia Tech this past week.

He may not come out this season given the possibility of a strike in 2011. He also has pro potential in baseball so there is some risk taking him too high for an NFL team. But he has a lot of the qualities I look for in a pro QB prospect.

He will be an above average to very good pro QB and has the potential to be a quality starter.

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. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org.

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,NFL Draft,Draft prospects,Alabamam Ohio State,Oregon State,Oregon,USC,LSU,Tennessee,Miami,Clemson,Iowa,Penn State,Michigan,Michigan State,Virginia Tech,North Carolina State,Oklahoma,Texas,Florida,Florida State,Northwestern,Minnesota,Virginia,Stanford,Wisconsin
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What did we learn from week three of the College Football Season?

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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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First round QBs in the NFL Draft may disappear.

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Not that long ago most NFL teams gave a rookie QB 2 or 3 years to mature and learn the game. However, that has changed in recent years and it may be changing again.

First round QBs are expected to start quickly and some of them are able to do that. The recent success of Roethlisberger (PT), Sanchez (NJ), and Ryan (AT) make us forget the list of those that have crashed and burned in recent years.

We start with 2007 because it is too soon to evaluate players being a bust from the 08 or 09 drafts.

2007-1st pick JaMarcus Russell Oakland Russell has thrown a total of 18 TDs and 23 picks since joining the league. He has a career passer rating of 65.2. In the 2010 draft the team traded for Campbell to replace him.

2007-22nd pick Brady Quinn Cleveland He didn’t get thrown into the game immediately but that still didn’t help him. In 3 years he had a rating of 66.8. He was traded to Denver this year for a bucket of water. They were so impressed with Quinn that they used a 1st round pick on QB Tim Tebow.

2006-3rd pick Vince Young Tennessee His first 2 years he was the starter and had passer ratings of 66.7 and 71.1. He got benched in 08 and the first part of 09 but came back after learning a little more about the game and had some success.

2006-10 Matt Leinart Arizona He started in game 5 of 06 and threw 11 TDs but 12 picks. He ended that year with a QBR of 74. He was named the starter in 07 but was done after 5 games with a QBR of 61.9. He has started 1 game since. He will have to fight for the job this year because the Cards traded for Anderson after Kurt Warner retired.

2006-11th Jay Cutler Denver Cutler was quite successful in his first 3 years with QBRs of 88.5, 88.1 and 86.0 before wearing out his welcome forcing a trade to Chicago. There he threw 27 TDs but 26 picks and a QBR of a mediocre 76.8.

2005-1st overall Alex Smith San Francisco Smith started the last 5 games of 05 and all of 06. But 7 games into 07 he was pulled for an undrafted FA. Even with a QBR in 09 of 81.5 his career number is 69.2. In his first 3 seasons he threw 19 TDs but 31 picks.

2005-25th Jason Campbell Washington Campbell sat out 05 but started 7 games in 06, 13 games in 07 and every game since. Despite improving his stats each year, he was traded to the Raiders this season for a 4th round pick in 2012. That is the equivalent of a 6th round pick this draft.

So in the 3 seasons we looked at, there were 7 first round QBs picked and only Cutler has been successful enough to be named a replacement pro bowler after a couple of others backed out. Young may be on the upswing after sitting for a year and a half. The rest were pretty much busts. Those busts set their teams back several seasons except the Cards that had future Hall of Fame QB Warner in reserve.

So what is the problem? There are several factors that are making the drafting of a QB in the first round less likely now and perhaps prohibitive in the near future.

The first cause is cost. The price of a QB as the 1st pick in 2010 will be 50 million in cash guarantees. Bradford will get that even if he never plays a down for the Rams. The Rams were willing to take offers to trade down but even in an uncapped year there were no serious bids for the pick.

The more pressing issue is the spread offense of the College game. More and more college teams are using a version of the spread and QBs that play 3 or 4 years in that system are not at all prepared to come to the NFL.

The pass patterns that the spread runs are very limited. The most frequent pattern is the bubble screen. There are very few teams that use the route tree like that of the NFL. The favorite pattern in the NFL is the skinny post. Very few college QBs even know what that is.

WRs are wide open in college but are not open at all in the NFL. As a result, QBs are not forced to make the throw to the back shoulder of a WR. There is accuracy in college but that does not relate to accuracy in the NFL.

The average QB is in the shotgun 90+ percent of the time. They never have to worry about the 3, 5, and 7 step drop back. Footwork is critical to accuracy and almost none of the QBs coming into the league have consistent footwork.

The CBs that an NFL QB faces every week are better than any that a college QB in his career. The college kid has seldom seen a rotating zone or combination man/zone D. Those are used every week in the NFL.

The worst part of the spread is that QBs never have to make more than 2 reads of the defense. Bradford was not even looking at the D prior to the snap. He was always looking for the coach’s call from the sideline. It takes time to learn to do pre-snap reads. An NFL QB has to know where the pressure is likely to originate and has to adjust to it.

The more the rookie 1st round QBs cost the more pressure there is to put them under center Day 1. But given the complexities of the NFL defenses and the lack of NFL offenses in college, the more expensive QB is less prepared to come into the league.

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 Draft,NFL Draft grades,Bradford,Tebow,Russell,Campbell,Roethlisberger,Sanchez,Ryan,Quinn,Young,Leinart,Cutler,Smith,49ers,Browns,Steelers,Falcons,Jets,Raiders,Redskins,Bears,Bron
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  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 18th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Editorial: USC made a HUGE mistake in picking Lane Kiffin.

Editorial: USC made a HUGE mistake in picking Lane Kiffin.

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Let me put it this way. If you are being audited by the IRS, would you call a convicted tax cheat to represent you? I don’t think so.

There is no doubt that USC is in for some heavy penalties from the NCAA for recruiting violations. RB Bush’s parents reportedly got free housing, OJ Mayo reportedly got paid for a job he never did, and now there is the case of RB McKnight. The basketball program announced “self inflicted” penalties. That is like sending your 10 year old to his room for not doing his homework when he has his play station, lap top and television to keep him entertained. Nice idea but it doesn’t hold water.

So what did the pinheads at USC do? They hired the walking talking poster boy for foot in the mouth Lane Kiffin to be the new HC. Understand that this is the same Kiffin that got a reprimand from the NCAA for mistakenly claiming that Florida had committed a violation by contacting a player on a visit to Tennessee. This is the same Kiffin that after the first year of his tenor at Rocky Top has the NCAA starting an official investigation into his recruiting practices. This is the same Kiffin regime that is being looked at already for contacting recruits committed to Tennessee after he was named the pick of USC. Those calls were supposedly made by some of the staff he is taking with him. He has only been the USC guy for a week and already he is being checked out by the NCAA.

I hate to break the news to the folks at USC but hiring Kiffin is just going to make the NCAA mad.

That will hurt their chances of preventing stiffer penalties not help convince investigators they are doing their best to correct previous problems.

Given the number of investigations into multiple sports, there is clearly an institutional problem at USC. The Kiffin hire is going to throw gas on a fire that has already consumed most of the Trojan house. You can bet that Kiffin will stumble into another few violations before the NCAA is finished with their investigation. Most of the rest of the College football world is hoping that Kiffin will give himself and USC just enough rope to hang the future of the team for years to come. No matter what happens, by hiring Kiffin the school deserves whatever it gets.

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 has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: USC,NCAA,Investigation,violations,Kiffin,Tennessee,Taxes,IRS
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  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 12th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in the NFL for week 14.

What to look for in the NFL for week 14.

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Saints @ Falcons The Saints are undefeated and were rolling until they had a lucky win over the Redskins. If the Saints play the same way they did last week, the winning streak could end. Otherwise if QB Ryan is not playing for the Falcons, this game will be over quickly.

Packers @ Bears Both teams are struggling to overcome injuries. The Pack will be missing NT Pickett and might be without DE Jolly and LB Barnett. The Bears lost MLB Urlacher early in the season. In addition they may be without WR Hester, OT Pace, LB Briggs and DL Harris.

The Bears have not gotten the production out of QB Cutler that they expected. Part of that is his fault but part is due to a lack of a running game, below average protection, and drops by a lesser group of receivers that he had at Denver.

The Pack has playoff hopes and must win this game to keep their wild card chances alive. The D has been playing well particularly in their win last Monday against the Ravens. They still have to play at Pittsburgh and Arizona. They need this game in case they lose one or both of those games. Packers will win but it could be ugly.

Broncos @ Colts The Colts looked good against Tennessee last week after struggling to pull out a win over the Texans the week before. The Colts seem to play up or down to the competition but are still perfect. They have clinched their division and have only home field to worry about now. They have an easy schedule the rest of the way.

The Broncos are a game behind the Chargers in the division. Their 6-0 start is a distant memory since they have lost 4 out of the last 5. The win last week against a very weak Chiefs team was little help. The Broncos have an easy schedule after this game but need to stay close to top of the division but at 8-4 they are in good shape for a wild card. The big question for them is will QB Orton be playing? If not, it will get ugly for them quickly. Either way, the Colts should win at home.

Chargers @ Cowboys Both teams need this game to stay on top of their division. It should be a very fun game to watch. The Chargers are up by 1 game and the Boys are tied with the Eagles. Both have injuries. The key for the Boys will be containing the passing game of the Chargers. The visitors must pressure Boy QB Romo to slow down a good O. The Chargers should win if LB Merriman is healthy enough to play. Otherwise it’s a tossup.

Eagles @ Giants The Birds need a win to keep pace with the Boys. The Giants are a game behind both and need to win out to insure a shot at the post season. Giant QB Manning is limping on a bad foot but the O seems to play better at home.

The Eagles won 40-17 in their earlier meeting. But they had Westbrook then and he is sidelined with a concussion. After a disaster in week 10 against the Chargers, the Birds have won 3 straight. They looked very good last week against the Falcons.

While the Birds need this game but the Giants need it more. But the O fails the Giants who are struggling to run the ball this year and the Eagles win on the road.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Bengals @ Vikings This is a key game for Cincy. It is a chance to prove that they are a contender not a pretender. A win over the NFC North leader will clinch the AFC North for Cincy. But even more important is the ability to prove that they are among the very best in the league. The key for Cincy will be run blocking. If they can manage to run the ball against the Vikes, it will slow down the pass rush and allow the Bengals to balance their O.

The Vikes have looked solid except for a bad game last week at the Cards. The last 4 game are critical for the Vikes if they want to get the 2nd seed and a bye week in the post season. The game should be close but I can’t see the Bengals pulling it out. The Vikes win by a field goal.

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 Football,NFL Playoffs,Saints,Falcons,Redskins,Packers,Bears,Ravens,Cardinals,Steelers. Ravens,Broncos,Colts,Titans,Texans,Chargers,Cowboys,Romo,Eagles,Giants,Bengals,Vikings,Westbrook
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  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 3rd, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Around the NFL after week 12.

Around the NFL after week 12.

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The Colts struggle to keep perfect.

The Texans had a 14-0 lead on the Colts at the end of the 1st quarter. Indy seems to play down to the level of their competition for the first 3 quarters then play like the devil in the 4th. Almost half of the Colts wins have come on the last drive. The D is struggling due to injuries but the O is operating at a very high level most of the time. They will beat Tennessee this week but won’t go undefeated.

The Saints are a real threat to go all the way.

Two games against the Pats by the Saints and Colts show the difference between the two undefeated teams. The Pats had the Colts beaten until Belichick made a key mistake and handed Manning the win. The Saints on the other hand totally thwarted the Pat O and had WRs running through the Pat D like children in a field of flowers.

The Saints O has more weapons than the Colts and is better balanced with a credible running game to go with an outstanding air attack. The Saints D is also better than the Colts is without S Sanders and the other wounded Colts. The Saints will have an excellent shot at a perfect regular season. They will be a tough out for any team because they are good and will have home field through the NFC playoffs.

The Giants will not make the post season.

The Giants are dead. The loss to a falling like a rock Broncos was the final blow. They now have 5 losses and with their schedule it is very unlikely they will get into post season. QB Manning’s foot problem is a lot worse than has been admitted. It will end his season before game 16 and the team can not win without him.

The Titans are pretenders not contenders.

It’s a great story—QB Young bringing the team back. But don’t believe that Young is the answer to get a team that got old all at once back into the playoffs. It won’t happen. The Young O is easy to defend and the NFL is a great copycat league. The D coordinators will force Young to throw from the pocket and he will disintegrate.

The Eagles are limping toward the playoffs. The question is will they make it?

QB McNabb is up and down. RB Westbrook is out for the foreseeable future with a concussion. The injuries are beginning to pile up on the other side of the ball. Even so, the Birds have a good chance of making the playoffs due to the weakness in the NFC East and great coaching.

The Coaching firing watch is on.

Cleveland—Mangini is as good as gone. Owner Lerner doesn’t have the guts to do it but will hire a “football guy” to can him. There is no question that the team is much worse than last year and the 1-10 record is the worst in Browns history.

Dallas—Jerry Jones issued a call to arms this week saying that Coach Phillips must win a playoff game to keep his job. But when a couple of name brand coaches come calling, Phillips’ post season 09 won’t matter. He will not be back. This is a very talented team that should have been much better for the last few years. Phillips is the reason that the team loses in December.

Washington—Coach Zorn is history as well. The team is 3-8 and is rudderless with QB Campbell under center. The team needs new leadership.

Houston—Coach Kubiak can’t get this team over the .500 mark and that will do him in this year. It is a good team that only a Cowher could carry much above 8-8.

Tampa Bay—Coach Morris is clearly in over his head as head coach. In January 09 he was hired as Offensive Coordinator then went to get a haircut. When he came back, he had been named Head Coach. The Ownership may choose to bring in an experienced Assistant HC to help him or fire him and try again depending on who is available.

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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