What to look for in post 1/1 Bowl games.

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FIESTA BOWL #6 Boise St 13-0 #4 TCU 12-0

Most people think this game is all about the O. Look for the D to dominate. TCU is the top D in the country. Boise is #15. Both teams hoped they would be matched against a “major” power. Frankly, no major power wanted to play them. That is why they have such trouble trying to get games against big name teams. Oregon found that out when they played BS.

TCU is the better team but the experience that Boise has in BcS games gives them a slight advantage.

This should be the most fun game to watch of the bowl season.

ORANGE BOWL #10 Iowa 10-2 #9 Georgia Tech 11-2

Iowa’s two losses came without their starting QB Stanzi. He is back after being injured and now is ready to help the Big 10 get a positive bowl record. Just his presents will help along with RB Robinson. The two have been the keys to the Iowa O. Watch the Iowa OTs Bulaga (Jr) and Calloway (2nd round). TE Moeaki is a 3rd round talent. He is an outstanding blocker with just enough speed to threaten the deep middle.

On D, Iowa is big and physical. They will have to hold their positions to combat the option. LBs Angerer and Edds should both be picked in the late 3rd or early 4th.

GT has the second leading rushing attack in the country. When they have been able to get out front and continue to run the ball, they are unbeatable. The key to stopping the Jackets is to put them in 3rd and long often. They do not have the passing attack to come back from a major deficit. GT runs the option which is something that Iowa has not seen this year. Watch RB Dwyer. He is the key runner for Tech and is a load. QB Nesbitt is not a high percentage passer but can be effective when he wants to throw rather than when he has to.

The line is GT by 5 but I expect Iowa to steal a win.

GMAC BOWL Cent Michigan 11-2 Troy 9-3

My question is how did this game get pushed past Christmas? The games after 1/1 should be big matchups. CM QB LeFevour (3rd or 4th) may be the next big name to come out of the MAC. He has thrown 27 TDs with only 6 picks.

Troy has its own pro prospect in QB Brown. Brown has a better arm but LeFevour has more pub. The best bet here is the Over at 61. CM is a slight favorite but don’t bet on it.

National Championship game—Tomorrow.

Around the NFL Thursday

What to look for in the Wild Card round Friday

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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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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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

What to look for in College Bowl games upcoming.

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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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 22nd, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The pressure is on Delhomme to take the Panthers to the next level.

The pressure is on Delhomme to take the Panthers to the next level.

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t

It’s hard to find many holes in the Carolina Panthers but there is one Empire State building size question mark—Can Jake Delhomme take the team deep into the playoffs? Delhomme enters his 11th season but he has only 6 seasons starting (not counting his 3 games in 07). He is a slightly above average QB but not the guy that can get a team over the hump to the Super Bowl. In 04 and 05 he threw 53 TDs and only 31 picks. He made the pro bowl and looked like he was about to become a star. That star faided quickly because in 06 he was back to throwing about as many TDs (17) as Ints (11). 07 was a lost year with injuries. Last season was another average season (15TDs and 12 Ints). What was worse, he blew up in the playoff game giving away the hard earned home field advantage and throwing his team right out of the playoffs.

This year will decided if he is the guy or if the team will try to get a starter of the future in what is expected to be one of the all time great QB drafts in 2010. That will be hard without a 1st round pick next year. My projection is that he will not get back to his 04/05 level and will be replaced. The team has Matt McCown who has started but doesn’t scare anyone.

The RB combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart is excellent. Williams is under rated and is a good bet for Fantasy football this year. He very quietly had 1,500 yards with an astounding 18 TDs and 5.5 yard average. WOW! One reason was he got some relief from rookie Stewart who ran for over 800 yards. This combination needs Delhomme to be more consistent so that the opponents don’t load the D line against the run. The team added rookie Mike Goodson in the 3rd round. FB Brad Hoover is a solid blocker and can catch and run as well.

Delhomme’s problems are not due to a bad group of WRs. Steve Smith not only can land a punch (for which he was suspended for the first 2 games in 08) but passes like few others. He averaged 100 yards per game and went to the pro bowl again. It seems like Smith had been doing that since 1950 but he is only 30. His running mate is Muhsin Muhammad. He was the #1 WR in Chicago before coming to be Smith’s wing man. At 36 he has lost a little speed but still has the hands and runs sharp routes. Dwayne Jarrett is a solid #3 WR and the team has a few candidates for the 4th guy.

TE is a question mark as well. Jeff King starts because he is a very good blocker and reliable receiver. Gary Barnidge and Dante Rosario who is coming off injury will try to unseat King again.

The O line is one of the great strengths of the team. LT Jordan Gross is consistently playing at a pro bowl level. C Ryan Kalil and RT Jeff Otah are both very young but growing into stars. LG Travelle Wharton is a little over rated but consistent. RG Keydrick Vincent is starting quality but still has upside. The depth was hurt by losing players to free agency due to salary cap concerns.

The D line took a huge hit when DT Maake Kemoeatu was injured and put on IR. He will be missed from a D that had trouble last year stopping the run and getting off the field verses top teams. Franchised E Julius Peppers will have to be most of the pass rush again. The team brought UFA Tyler Brayton in last year but he is over rated. RDT Damione Lewis is OK nothing more. The team traded their 2010 #1 pick to move up to get DE Everette Brown. So far, Brown has not dazzled anyone. The team also has Charles Johnson and Hilee Taylor both of whom can rush the passer.

The linebackers are WLB Thomas Davis, MLB Jon Beason and the always challenged SLB Na’il Diggs. The team has been trying to replace Diggs for several years but finally realized he is fine. Beason has developed into a very good pass defender and can blitz effectively. He made the pro bowl in his 2nd season. The depth consists of MLB Dan Connor and WLB Landon Johnson. Both are good and would start on a lot of teams.

LCB Chris Gamble, RCB Richard Marshall, FS Charles Godfrey and SS Chris Harris start for the Panthers in the D backfield. Gamble says he is a top corner. So far he has been good to very good. Marshall replaces CB Lewis and is a bit of a concern. He has been with the team for 3 seasons and has talent. The safeties are fine but not extra special. CBs Sherrod Martin and C.J. Wilson back up the corners. Reserve Nate Salley at safety really came on last year but was hurt.

OVERALL: The Panthers are as good as any team in the NFC with the exception of QB. That will hold them back again this year and even with a very good record in the regular season, they will be bounced out of the playoffs by Delhomme.

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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