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  • Published: Nov 6th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
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What to look for this week in College football

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#9 LSU @ #3 Alabama – 7.5

Alabama dropped a spot in the BcS last week on a bye. They get it back this week against a good but over matched LSU team. Bama QB McElroy has to be effective throwing the ball because the LSU run D is outstanding. In the last 4 games he has failed to throw for 150 yards. He must do better than that against LSU to keep the Tigers from loading up the D line. This will be another real test of the Bama O line.

LSU QB Jefferson, also a 1st year starter, has struggled to get the ball down the field. He is completing almost 64% of his passing but only for 7.36 per attempt. RB Scott is not producing as much as they had hoped at just 4.5 per attempt and has scored only 4 TDs. The LSU O will struggle to keep the ball and let their D rest.

Look for a very low scoring game with Bama winning but struggling to cover the spread.

#17 Ohio State @ #11 Penn St – 3.5

People around Ohio are thinking Rose Bowl—not so fast my friend. That would require that the Bucks win at PS and then beat #4 Iowa next week plus a win at Michigan to end the regular season. That dream ends Saturday. The Bucks have no offense and are not sure where it went. QB Pryor has regressed and now is struggling with mechanics and reading defenses. The result is he may hit a couple of big plays.

PS has gotten solid production out of QB Clark and RB Royster. Clark has a rating of 149 and 18TDs to 7 Ints. Royster is averaging nearly 6 per carry. The D is solid but not special.

The Bucks will be trying FGs with a backup kicker while PS is scoring TDs. PS wins and covers the spread.

#7 Oregon @ Stanford – 7

This is a classic LET DOWN game for the Ducks. They looked unbeatable last week against USC at home. Now they face an up and down Stanford team that can be dangerous at home. They have not lost there. Oregon’s O is the most improved unit in all of college football. The running game is much better with RB James than it was against Boise St. He has the speed and change of direction to make the stretch play work to its maximum. The running game has made QB Masoli extremely effective with play action.

The only hope that Stanford has is that the Duck head are so big they can’t get their helmets on. Oregon should win and cover but stay away from this one due to the chance of a let down.

#24 Oklahoma @ Nebraska + 5.5

How far has this once great rivalry fallen? To the point that no one really outside of those two states cares who wins. Sooner QB Jones has done better than anyone could have hoped taking over from the injured Bradford. He has a passer rating of 142 with 17 TDs and just 6 picks. Their problem is the lack of a running game. RB Brown is averaging just 4.3 per attempt and the team struggles moving the chains. They are just trying to get into a decent bowl after losing 3 games this year.

The Huskers was quietly having a nice season at 4-1 until they lost in each of the last two games including a bad loss against Iowa St last week 9-7. The D has played better than it did last year and the O has good numbers but the latter is misleading. The O has let them down in their 3 losses scoring just 32 points in those games.

The Sooners are the better team and should win and cover but who cares?

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 .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,BCS Rankings,BCS,Alabama,LSU,Ohio State,Penn State,Iowa,Michigan,Oregon,Stanford,Oklahoma,USC,Nebraska,Rose Bowl,Bowl game,NFL Draft
  • Author:
  • Published: Oct 19th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
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What did we learn from the College weekend 7?

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Ohio State is struggling badly on offense. The problem is 65% the O line or absence of one and 35% QB Pryor. The O line has been a problem for the last 5 years. The lack of pass protection has been a major contributor to Pryor regressing this season. He loses his mechanics because he is running for his life even against a 1-5 Purdue team. The lack of run blocking has put much more pressure on the passing game. The 5 man blocking sled is pushed up against the wall of the OSU practice facility. It’s way past time that it gets used a lot. If the Bucks could generate any kind of running game, the pass rush would be slowed and Pryor would become more accurate.

Alabama looked a lot more impressive than Florida this weekend. Florida struggled with a hot but unranked Arkansas team and most of their problems were self inflicted. Bama rolled over 22 South Carolina 20-6 but the game was not that close. Alabama is good but I wonder if they can get over the hurdle of beating Florida in the SEC Championship game.

20 Oklahoma v 3 Texas was everything we hoped it would be. But as I said before the draft this year QB Bradford made a mistake by not going pro. Unfortunately he was hurt again in the game. Every injury costs him millions of dollars in guaranteed money because the NFL will be less and less comfortable with his injury status. The two injuries that the scouts worry about the most are concussions and injuries to the passing arm/shoulder/elbow of a QB. A perfect example of this is Pennington. His 3rd shoulder injury may well end his career. Each operation has reduced his already below average arm strength. The shoulder capsule injury is difficult to judge and any doubt will hurt Bradford’s draft status.

Texas looks OK on D as does Oklahoma. The game was a defensive struggle all day. Texas QB McCoy averaged only 3.3 yards per throw with 21-39 for just 127 yards. In addition the running game averaged 3.6 per attempt. That is not enough O to win against either of the SEC teams. The Sooners hung in the game very well but did not have enough O with QB Jones at the helm to win.

4 Virginia Tech let 22 Georgia Tech jump out to a 14-3 lead. When they can continue to run the ball and pass when they want to, the Jackets are very hard to stop. VTk fell to the Jackets and are out of the Championship game race with 2 losses.

5 Boise St. has not impressed me much. They have one really nice win over Oregon at home. That is all. They do not have any other big game on the schedule. Frankly even if they do win out, I would take a 1 loss SEC or Big 12 team over an undefeated Boise club.

6 USC seems to play down to the level of their competition. They let the 25 Notre Dame hang around way too long and almost let them come back to win. Early in the 4th USC was up 34-14 but let ND score twice and threaten a 3rd time. That did not impress me. The USC D is over rated and the win over Ohio State is looking less and less impressive. Both QBs looked OK but the difference was the USC running game. But the USC D let ND QB Clausen march the ball into the red zone at the end of the game.

I do like 8 Cincinnati, 9 Miami (FL) and 11 Iowa. All three look good and have chances to improve their position with big game coming up. Iowa really needed Ohio State to win until they play to get the maximum advantage from a schedule against the weak Big 10.

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 .

Technorati Tags: Ohio State,Pryor,Purdue,Alabama,Florida,Oklahoma,Texas,Bradford,McCoy,Jones,Virginia Tech,Georgia Tech,Boise State. Oregon,USC,Notre Dame,Cincinnati,Miami,Iowa,Clausen
  • Author:
  • Published: Oct 17th, 2009
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What to look for this weekend in College Football.

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Arkansas @ 1 Florida

The Gator D shut the LSU O down last week to 3 points and less than 100 yards passing. This week Arkansas brings in another very hot offense led by former Michigan QB Mallett. The Hogs beat Auburn last week but this team plays much better at home. Look for Gator QB Tebow to look more comfortable and do more passing. The Hog D is playing better but is no match for Tebow et. al. The Gators win comfortably.

22 So. Carolina @ 2 Alabama

Alabama went to Mississippi and pummeled the Rebs 22-3. The score should have been a lot worse except for the inefficient passing game. Bama QB McElroy was only 15-35. But next to the over hyped Reb QB Snead he looked great. Snead was 11-34 with 4 interceptions. The Bama D is outstanding.

SC is much better at home where it beat then #4 Mississippi 16-10. They do not play well on the road but have a solid O led by QB Garcia (134 qb rating) and 3 good RBs. They are going to have a tough time moving against the Bama D. SC squeaked out a win last week at home against Kentucky but they will not leave Bama with one. Alabama wins.

20 Oklahoma VS. 3 Texas

This is the game of the week. The key will be how well Sooner QB Bradford really is. He was not tested too much last week against a very weak Baylor team. He will get a lot more pressure from the Texas D front 7. The Sooner running game is supposed to be outstanding but so far has not produced as advertised. Instead, they have depended on the passing game. Bradford was hurt against BYU but came back last week and looked good (27/49 389yds 1TD 0 int). That was Baylor but this is Texas.

Texas has looked steady but not spectacular against only 1 good team. They were asleep last week against Colorado until the second half. That will get them beaten badly this week. But this game is “THE” game for both teams. The Texas running game is not as good as expected either. The Oklahoma O line and the young WRs are the weak points. They won’t run the ball well and Texas wins in a tough game.

4 Virginia Tech @ 18 Georgia Tech

Since the opening loss to Alabama, no team has looked better than VTk. They beat 2 ranked teams back to back and are playing outstanding D. QB Taylor looks better each week and is making good decisions with the ball. He has a passer rating of 159.

GTk has to get out to a quick start to have any shot. They have a great running game but VTk will load the D line to take the running game away. The it will be up to GTk QB Nesbitt to move the ball in the air. He has a passer rating of 160 but is completing only 50.7 percent of his throws. Most of the TDs have been long runs after the catch because the opponent is playing the run. Nesbitt will have to complete some passes early in the game and on 1st and 2nd down because he will be blitzed heavily on 3rd and long. He will not be able to complete enough to score against VTk. VTk wins easily.

6 USC @ 25 Notre Dame

The difference in the game will be the USC D. It will stymie the ND O and harass QB Clausen. He will have to get rid of the ball very quickly which means that his WRs will have to get open. WR Rudolph has big shoes to fill due to the injury of Floyd. RB Allen is OK but the O line is no match for the USC D front 7. ND struggled to beat Washington last week.

USC has had 2 weeks to prepare for the game and QB Barkley is back. That gives USC a lift. The D has played very well despite losing a number of players last year. Forget all the talk around ND that “this is THE year.” It is not and USC 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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Around College Football this week.

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USC’s Coach Carroll made a critical mistake.

I openly wondered that if Sanchez was such a good QB, why didn’t he beat out John David Booty who was very average on his best day. When Carroll said before the draft that Sanchez should stay in school because he wasn’t ready to go pro, I scratched my head again. Given how the two Sanchez replacements have played, it is obvious why Carroll wanted him to stay. Now that Sanchez has proven his readiness and we have seen USC lose to a less than average Washington team (1 and 17 in the last 18 games), I can come to only one conclusion—Carroll screwed up.

I can’t believe that Sanchez wasn’t better than Booty but Carroll started the incumbent. That could cost Carroll a prime recruit in the future. There should be no favoritism in football. I couldn’t care less if a QB was blue and yellow with pink spots and stood 2’6. If he was the best guy he started. Parents of quality high school QB prospects will take notice of the clear difference between Sanchez and Booty. They may decide to go elsewhere if the incumbent starter has an edge despite ability. Had he started Sanchez over Booty in 07, maybe Sanchez would have stayed in 09.

The Florida Offense isn’t as good as last year.

There is no question that Daddy Kippen did a great job planning and executing his D to stop the Florida O. However, this Florida O is not nearly as explosive as last years model. The difference is the WRs. Tennessee committed 8 guys in the box much of the time to stop the Florida running game including Tebow. Last year, Tebow would have made them pay by taking advantage of the man to man coverage of the wideouts. But on Saturday, that did not happen often. The wideouts struggled to get open even with man coverage with one safety over the top. When the Vols stuffed the run, the Florida O struggled.

Ole Miss @ South Carolina (Thursday) This game matches 2 over rated teams. OM is living off a 1 point victory against Florida last year. They did not lose too much in the off season and return 16 starter including their QB Snead. Snead has the potential to become an NFL QB. But Old Miss has yet to play any significant opposition.

SC beat NC State but lost against a Georgia team (41-37) that had already been shown to be just a little better than average. The old ball coach Steve Spurrier gives the team credibility but his runs to national championships were a long time ago and in Florida not SC. He has not been able to get the top recruits to come to SC.

Old Miss will win but don’t expect it to be the West division winner. In my opinion, Alabama still has the best team in that half of the league.

The one thing that Ohio State lacks to become a contender in the national championship chase is a solid O line.

One of the key differences between the offense of USC and that of OSU in their big game week 2 was the O lines. The OSU offense will not generate anything close to what it could giving the talent of QB Pryor. The O line will continue to give the Bucks just enough O to win games against lower level teams but will falter against true power teams.

Texas v Texas Tech

Texas QB Colt McCoy reportedly had the flu last week and felt lethargic during the first half of the game. That could explain the closeness of the game at half time. We will see. In my opinion, the difference between those two teams was the quality of depth that Texas had that TT lacked. Oklahoma has the same quality of depth that Texas does so we will see if the O really is as good as it is billed.

Oklahoma QB issues

There are a lot of opinions on when QB Sam Bradford will return to the Sooner lineup. One paper reported it will be 3 to 4 more weeks. The team has “hoped” he will be ready to play some next weekend against the upstart U of Miami. The Sooners need Bradford for both the game against the U and against Texas. A lot of the hype of the Red River game will be gone if the Sooners have 2 losses. In my opinion, the Sooners will not cover the spread against Miami without him and could easily lose that game.

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: Sep 18th, 2009
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What to look for this weekend.

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College football key games

#20 Miami 33 #14 Georgia Tech 17 The D of the U played outstanding football. The secrets to stopping the option game of GT are first to force them into a lot of 3rd and 6+ and to jump out early to take them out of their running game. Miami did both and won the game. Miami is much better sooner than anyone thought. Look for them to win the ACC Coastal.

Tennessee @ #1 Florida – Revenge served cold tastes best. Ex-Raider current Vols coach Lane Kiffin has made a lot of disparaging remarks about the Florida football program. Florida will get even Saturday. Florida will hang 50 on Tennessee who is struggling on offense. With all 22 starters from last year’s national championship team returning, look for Florida to score continually until some time Monday afternoon.

Texas Tech @ #2 Texas – This is another revenge game. Last year TT knocked Texas out of the Big 12 Championship game. The TT O is contacting unsigned SF WR Crabtree to see if he wants to come back for this game. The TT defense is going to be tested by QB Colt McCoy. This is the second most important game in the Texas schedule. Look for Texas to win big.

Florida St @ #7 BYU – FSU doesn’t leave the deep south too often. This game will give them another reason to stay home. The game is critical to BYU. They not only need to win but win big to prove they belong in the national championship conversation. They win but not big. The FSU D saves the team from a big loss.

Tulsa @ #12 Oklahoma – The Sooners don’t have QB Bradford but sub Jones will do fine. Tulsa QB Kinne can run. Given the pass rush he will face from Okl D, he will do a lot of that. Oklahoma covers the 17.5 point spread.

# 19 Nebraska @ # 13 Virginia Tech – VT won at Nebraska last year by stopping the running game. This year Nebraska goes to the air with first year starter QB Lee. The VT D is in the top 10 nationally despite giving up 34 against Alabama. Nebraska wins in a minor upset. VT is not the same team without their star RB Suggs.

#23 Georgia @ Arkansas – This is a must win for Georgia if they want to be considered for a BCS bowl. Georgia QB Cox needs to complete more than 60% he is averaging now and for more than 6.72 yards per attempt. Georgia wins but it won’t be by a lot.

The Pros

NO @ PH Eagle QB Kolb proves once and for all that he is not an NFL quality player. NO wins easily and Brees makes his fantasy owners very happy.

CR @ AT The Panthers lose again and QB Delhomme extends his run of horrible games to 3. Coach Fox calls real estate agents right after the game because Delhomme is ending his run in Carolina.

PT @ CH The Steelers win again. Cutler runs for his life because the O line fails to protect him.

NG @ DA The Giants make the opening game at JJ’s new digs something not to remember. The Cowboy O line shows it age. Giants win.

SD @ BA Tomlinson sits more than he plays because of his ankle and the Ravens D. Sproles gets to know LB Lewis REALLY well. The right side of the Charger line struggles with the pass rush. Baltimore wins.

MI @ IN The Colts will struggle with the Dolphins run game but Miami gives up the run because Indy puts up too many points against their D. Indy wins at home.

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: Sep 8th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
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Tuesday Morning QB: What we learned from the NFL Preseason.

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The 4th preseason game was a preview of the 09 Lions and the UFL.

There were a lot of players in the last preseason game that will end up cut by their current teams. Several of those were picked up by the Lions on waivers. Some of the most notable included Yamon Figurs (WR), Kevin Hobbs (CB), Copeland Bryan (DE), Marcus McCauley (CB), and Cletis Gordon (CB). McCauley (Mn) has started in the league and may start for the Lions.

The UFL has been scouring the cut lists to get players. Expect them to sign as many “name brand” NFL players as possible. Teams have also been stocking their practice squads with young players (2 full years playing credit or less). Any team can sign a player to its 53 man roster from another teams practice squad.

Quarterback starters are named except in Cleveland.

The Jets named rookie Mark Sanchez the starter. Sanchez is not ready to start. He has the same problems that all rookie QBs. See the detail of these issues below.

Tampa Bay has picked vet Byron Leftwitch as their starter. Leftwitch won the job as a seat warmer for QB of the future rookie Josh Freeman. That seat won’t be warm for a while. If the Bucs fall out of the playoff chase, Freeman may take over. However, he is much further away from be ready to start than Sanchez. The Bucs traded Josh McCown.

The Lions are going to start rookie Matthew Stafford. Stafford is going to have a very rough season unless the O line comes together.

Then there is the Browns. Coach Mangini has not announced which QB will start. Everyone assumes it will be Quinn. If he is hoping that keeping the starter a secret will give him a competitive advantage in game 1. Based on how the Vikes D and the Browns O looked, whatever advantage that might be is not going to be nearly enough.

Why do so many rookie QBs that start end up failing?

There are 3 areas that even the best rookie QB has to get experience in before he can be successful. First, the speed of the NFL game is many times that of college. Patterns develop faster. The rush gets to the QB faster. The DBs close on receivers faster. A QB has to adjust to that and the adjustment takes time.

Second, the defensive players are all better and smarter than the best college player that they ever faced. They bait rookies into interceptions and hide coverages much better than college D ever could.

Third, the complexity of the O and D playbooks in the NFL. A typical college playbook is 100-150 pages. The average NFL playbook is closer to 1000. A college QB has never faced the combinations of man/zone coverages, zone blitzes, and rotating zones that he will in the NFL.

Why did Matt Ryan (AT), Ben Roethlisberger (PT) and Joe Flacco (BA) succeed when so many others failed?

All three of those above had a couple of things in common. The most important was a great running game. They were not asked to win games. Rather they were asked to keep the chains moving and not lose the game. All three had solid O lines. You don’t get a good running game without a good O line. The other thing each had was an above average D. Pittsburgh and Baltimore had outstanding Ds. Atlanta’s D was better than most think.

In the case of most of the failures, the teams had none of those qualities. When you ask a rookie to be the QB, he will not succeed without some of those factors around him.

College Football snippets.

Ohio State has to play better on the O and D lines than they did against Navy if they want to win vs. USC.

The Buckeyes were unable to run up the gut against a lighter D line. They were also unable to protect the passer effectively. The Midshipmen were able to run the ball at will against what was supposed to be a great OSU D. If they play the same way against USC, it is going to be a very long game.

BYU makes a statement to be included in the BCS.

Those that didn’t watch the Oklahoma BYU game may have thought that the upset by BYU was due to the injury to QB Sam Bradford. That is not the case. Even when Bradford was in the game, the BYU team was putting pressure on him, stopping the run, and moving the ball against the Sooner D. The way BYU played indicates they are a very solid team. Even if they go undefeated, they will lose out to a 1 loss SEC or BIG-12 team for consideration for the national championship game.

Bradford’s injury shows the danger for a top junior player skipping the draft.

Had Bradford been part of the 08 draft, he would have been the #1 pick. Upside is that he and his family would be set for life financially. Downside is he would have to play for the 0-16 Lions. I wrote that Bradford was making a mistake by not going into the draft. He had nothing left to prove to NFL scouts. Now that he is hurt and his team has a loss in non league competition, the chances for the Sooners making the national championship game are reduced by half. The news about the injury is promising and we all hope he gets back to action soon.

Virginia Tech is not ready to compete for the NCG.

The game vs. Alabama was a must win for VT to have any claim on a spot in the big game.

Talk of Rutgers being a national power is at best premature.

A above average Cincinnati team spanked Rutgers. So much for preseason rankings. Does anyone remember Georgia being #1 in the preseason polls of 08?

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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