What to look for this weekend

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football

College Football

#1 Ohio State -3.5 @ #18 Wisconsin – The Bucks go into the Badger Den to play a talented team in a nasty mood after being upset by Michigan State 2 weeks ago. The key to the game will be the Badger running game which is 11th in the nation (241 yards a game) against the 5th ranked OSU D. Look for the Bucks to run the ball more against Wisconsin to keep RBs Clay and White off the field. OSU has changed RBs with RB Saine becoming more of a receiver and RB Herron becoming the runner. Too much of the running game has been QB Pryor. The Bucks have to get better run blocking from the O line. OSU got an additional incentive when ESPN projected the team 5th in the BCS rankings. OSU wins and covers.

#5 Nebraska -9.5 vs. Texas – The Horns have not lost 3 games in a row since George Washington was inaugurated or it seems that long. Texas want the game more than Nebraska but has too many holes to win the game. Nebraska has nightmares about last years Big 12 Championship game they felt was stolen by Texas. The Huskers are 1 dimensional ranking 2nd in rushing but 106th in passing yards. The key is can Texas stop the run. Nebraska faces their toughest test in the next 3 weeks. After this game, they go to #20 Oklahoma State, then host #21 Missouri. The Huskers win but it could be very close.

#12 Arkansas @ #7 Auburn -4 – Auburn may be the most under rated team in the top 25. They were ranked 22nd and 23rd in the preseason polls. The next 2 game will tell us a lot about them. After hosting the Hogs they host #9 LSU. Then at the end of the season they go to Alabama. Given the fact they play in the SEC and they have such a tough schedule, they are in a position to challenge for a spot in the BCS Championship game. Auburn has already beaten #10 South Carolina. Arkansas lost to the only ranked team they have played. Auburn will use QB Newton to challenge the Hog D which is 13th in points allowed. The Hogs will use their 3rd ranked passing game with QB Mallett. The Hogs passing game threatens the Auburn D but Auburn wins.

#15 Iowa -3 @ Michigan – The Michigan O ranked 14th in points faces the #1 D in points against. The Blue will find the Iowa D too tough. The Blue running game is way too dependent on QB Robinson and the very tough Iowa D line will limit him. The Iowa O takes maximum advantage of the non-existent Blue D and Iowa wins and covers.

UPSET ALERT:

Illinois @ #13 Michigan State -7 – MSU has come through a very tough and emotional period with the wins over Notre Dame #11 Wisconsin and #18 Michigan and the heart problems of their coach. Now they face an under rated Illini D that gave OSU problems. Illinois is 21st in points against. This is the kind of game the the Spartans have struggled with in previous years.

NFL Key games:

Ravens (4-1) @ Pats (3-1) -3 – The Ravens lead the NFC North and bring a top D against a Pats O that has struggled. Take the points.

Eagles (3-2) E @ Falcons (4-1) – The Falcons got a gift last week vs the Browns. Now they get the Eagles D that will be blitzing every chance they get. The Browns got some pressure on QB Ryan. The Birds will get more. But without QB Vick, the Eagle O won’t go. Falcons win.

Saints (3-2) -4.5 @ Bucs (3-1) – The Saints need to win this division game badly particularly after a bad loss against the Cards last week. The O has moved the ball in the air (5th in passing yards) but is 31st in rushing yards and all their RBs are hurt. They can not take another division loss. The Bucs have had a lucky season so far. That luck ends and the Saints win.

Colts (3-2) -3 @ Redskins (3-2) The Colts D has been MIIA (Missing In In-Action). They are 3rd in scoring but 16th in scoring D. They also don’t seem to win the close games anymore. The running game has fallen and can’t get up. It is 28th in yards. The Redskins have been playing well but the Colts win.

Teams in trouble:

Chargers (2-3) -7.5 @ Rams (2-3) – SD needs to start winning if they want to get into the playoffs. They are notoriously slow starters and this is about the time they kick into gear. They will get pro bowl LT McNeill back but not WR Jackson. The problem has been the D which is 21st in scoring D. LB Merriam is on “minor injury” IR and must be cut when he recovers. The team is not getting a good pass rush. That should not be a problem against the Rams. SD wins.

Desperation Bowl:

Cowboys (1-3) @ Vikings (1-3) -2.5 – Boys owner Jones said he would not fire HC Phillips “as of now.” If that doesn’t scare Phillips, nothing will. The Boys have been finding new ways to lose. They are not mentally tough enough to win the close games this year. I did an analysis of what is wrong with the Boys on this weeks edition of NFLDraftDog.com’s News Notes and Rumors.

The Vikes have problems of their own. Their 89 year old QB Farve has elbow trouble. They are 21st in passing yards and 29th in scoring O with just 15.8 points a game. The D has been playing well and are in the top 7 in total yards and scoring. The Farve turnovers have killed key drives and ended the team’s chance to win games.

The Vikes are mentally tougher than the Boys and win the Desperation Bowl.

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

and edits .

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Another BCS #1 bites the dust. Who will be next?

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football

In college ball last week I went 5-3 bring my total to 17-9. Before you laugh at that remember I pick the toughest games not the best bets.

In the pros I went 1 and 1 with a push and the Giants/Cowboys to be determined.

College football:

#1 Oklahoma 27 #11 Missouri 36 – Missu put up 16 points in the 4th quarter to beat the Sooners for the first time since Moses was a teenager. The Sooners were the third team in 3 weeks to be knocked off after becoming #1. Missu is not a super power type team and could well lose against Nebraska next week.

UCLA 13 #2 Oregon 60 – The Ducks totally dominated a very up and down UCLA team. This past Thursday they were down–way down. If the Ducks can get a win next week at USC, they could well end up in the BCS Championship game. The only other tough teams they will face will be #15 Arizona and Oregon State.

#6 LSU 17 #4 Auburn 24 – Auburn got by one of the two toughest games they will face this year. They have won 3 games over ranked teams in the last 5 weeks. The one roadblock they have on their schedule is at Alabama in the last game of the regular season. The SEC West has crushed the East all year so the SEC Championship game probably against South Carolina should not be a problem. I believe at this point Alabama wins at home against the Tigers.

#13 Wisconsin 31 #15 Iowa 30 – The Iowa coaching staff had a brain cramp that cost them the win. They were in field-goal range but after a time out QB Stanzi scrambled for a first down on 4th and 1. Rather than setting up a spike in the time out, the coaching staff called their final TO. Then rather than throwing the ball away, Stanzi got rushed and flipped it to his RB who was caught in bounds as the clock ran out. Had they spiked the ball after the scramble, they would have had a shot at a FG. Wisconsin probably will not lose again and must hope the Hawkeyes beat Michigan State to get a share of the Big 10 title.

#16 Nebraska 51 #14 Oklahoma State 41 – Like Alabama, Nebraska looks like the team to beat in the Big 12 North if they can beat Missouri next week at home. The OSU Cowboys put up a good fight but just did not have the speed to keep up with the Huskers.

Washington 14 #18 Arizona 44 – The Arizona D was solid against Washington. Husky QB Locker struggled to find anyone open and was 17-29 for just 183 and 1 TD. In my opinion Locker is not a top QB prospect. Arizona has a tough schedule ahead that includes Oregon, USC, and Stanford.

NFL:

The Browns came up with a great win. Check out my column on NFLDraftDog.com on the team page.

Check out the NFL News, Notes and Rumors on NFLDraftDog.com.

TOP 5 NFL TEAMS

1 Jets – They are 5-0 since a 1 point loss to the Ravens. They are #4 in both scoring and points against.

2 Steelers – They are also 4-1 and survived the suspension of Roethlisberger losing only to the Ravens.

3 Ravens – Only the Pats beat them. They beat themselves against the Bengals.

4 Patriots – They are playing better than their talent. When the young guys on D get more experience they will move up.

5 Falcons – I had to have at least 1 NFC team.

BOTTOM 5

5 Broncos – When you give up 59 points to the Raiders, what do you expect?

4 Lions – This team is going in the right direction. They have talent and need to get it up to speed.

3 49ers – This team just is a mess. Nobody could get them to play much better.

2 Panthers – This team has nothing except a good coach and they will let him go at the end of the year.

1 Bills – “With the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft the Bills select…”

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 https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn from week 4 of the College Football Season?

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football

The Big 10 (+1) knows how to schedule pre-league games.

Whether it is #2 Ohio State vs. Directional (Eastern) Michigan or #18 Iowa vs. Ball Corporation State, with just a few exceptions the Big 10 has played mostly easy opponents. Even so, a few teams had problems with the sisters of the poor. Northwestern struggled to defeat another Directional Michigan (Central) 30-25. Worse yet Purdue lost badly to Toledo of the MAC.

A few good games

#1 Alabama went to #10 Arkansas and came from behind in the 4th quarter to win 24-20. The game may have hurt QB Mallett’s pro prospects because he suffered 3 picks only one of which was not his fault.

#3 Boise St. beat #24 Oregon State 37-24. Except for a game against the current #25 Nevada, this was Boise’s last chance on a national stage to impress the voters and the computer of their case for inclusion in a National Championship game. Their win over Virginia Tech looked good until VTk lost to James Madison. The computers are killing Boise due to the “strength of schedule” factor to the point that I don’t think Boise can get into the Big Game.

#5 Oregon looked good beating a good Arizona State team 42-31. But Oregon is going to have to play better D if it wants to win the PAC 10.

Perhaps the best game was #12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn with the home team winning on a 14 point 4th quarter comeback 35-27. They battled all game and both lost a large number of players some of which will likely not be ready for games this week.

Another game between top 25 teams pitted #22 West Virginia at #15 LSU. LSU held off WV and won 20-14 in another very physical game.

#14 Arizona has a great D but very little O. It struggled to beat Cal 10-9.

#19 Miami played well against one time ranked Pitt and won 31-3.

Interesting games this week and what to look for:

#7 Florida at #1 Alabama – Last year this game was all about Gator QB Tebow. This year watch Bama Senior QB McElroy. He is not highly ranked in the NFL draft but has some pro potential. Look for Bama to win in a hard fought game.

#9 Stanford @ #4 Oregon – The Cardinal won a tough game against Notre Dame last week and Oregon had a tight game against Arizona State. This game is critical in the PAC 10 since USC is not eligible for the league championship. The O of Oregon will be too much for Stanford and the Ducks win.

#11 Wisconsin at #24 Michigan State – Both teams are coming off big wins against inferior competition. Wisconsin is over rated and do not play as well away as at home. Both Ds are solid but Wisconsin have only had 1 tough game at Arizona State. They need to get RB Clay working early to win. The Spartans should win.

#21 Penn State @ #17 Iowa – Penn St looked terrible against Temple last week. The passing game is non-existent and the running game is too easily challenged by stacking the D line. Iowa has the front 7 to bottle up PS and should win.

Virginia Tech @ #23 N. Carolina St. – This is a chance for Tech to win back some credibility. They were badly over rated in the preseason and exposed by their 2 losses. NC State is under rated and a better team than most expect. NCS wins.

The Red River challenge is next week.

Both Texas (#7 last week) and #8 Oklahoma were looking ahead and it showed.

The Sooners displayed a lot of flaws in their 31-29 win at Cincinnati. The Bearcats are not close to the team that won the Big East last year. On both sides of the ball, the Sooners look vulnerable.

Texas was drilled at home by a UCLA team that was crushed 35-0 by then #25 Stanford in week 2. UCLA beat Texas in every aspect of the game and cruised to a 34-12 win. Texas fell from 7 to 21 after the loss.

Both Oklahoma and Texas have major problems and their game this week will be interesting. Even with the problems Oklahoma has, they should 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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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