Things to look for this week in College and Pro football.

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FOOTball

The Big East is a fraud. Despite the pollsters doing their best to get a BE team into the top 25, the league stinks this year. Several teams have crept into the top 25 only to lose and fall back out the next week. The current top team is Syracuse (6-2) who is tied for 28th in the AP. The league is recruiting BcS #3 TCU to join the league. TCU would love to get into an automatic qualifying conference. The BE desperately needs a team–any team– that can get into the top 25 and stay there. It also would love to have a TV presents in the Dallas market. The only problem is the BE basketball is 16 teams already and TCU does not have a strong basketball tradition.

#3 TCU @ #5 Utah – The loser is out of the Championship picture. The TCU D is #1 in most college stats and the O is 9th in scoring and 9th in rushing. The Utah D is 6th in points allowed and their O is 3rd in scoring. The key may be the difference in opponents. The only big time opponent that Utah has played was a badly over rated #15 Pit team in game 1 of the season. TCU beat a good Oregon State team ranked at the time and Baylor who was not ranked then but is #21 now. TCU wins due to more experience on D and at QB.

#6 Alabama @ #10 LSU – Watch out for Bama. They lost on the road @ South Carolina in their 3rd straight game against a ranked team that had a bye the previous week. I think LSU is W A Y over rated. Bama wins easily on the road.

#15 Arizona @ #13 Stanford – All the talk about this game is about the Stanford #5 scoring O against the Zona #7 points against D. But this game will be decided by the Arizona O vs the Stanford D. Zona is 12th in passing but struggles to put points on the board (#32). The Stanford D will struggle to stop the air attack of the Zona and Arizona wins on the road.

#21 Baylor @ #17 Oklahoma St. – Both passing games are outstanding. Soph QB Griffin has led the Bears to their first bowl eligibility in years and is ranked 10th in passing yards. OKSt has a bad D that is susceptible to the passing game but has the 3rd ranked passing game themselves. The key should be the running game of the Bears and the visitors should walk away with the win.

#18 Arkansas @ #19 South Carolina – Hog QB Mallett leads the 2nd ranked passing game into SC against the Gamecocks 24th ranked D. But Mallett’s passing stats are misleading. He has failed against the top teams (#1 Alabama and #4 Auburn) he has played and needs this game to prove to the scouts that he is a worthy top pick whenever he comes out. SC beat Alabama but lost in their only other game against a top team. They also stumbled against Kentucky. SC plays much better at home and wins this game.

NFL this week:

Chiefs (5-2) @ Raiders (4-4) -2.5 – This game is critical to the Raiders if they want a chance at the playoffs. The Chiefs bring in the top rushing game against the 26th ranked rush D of the Raiders. The secret for KC is not to have to depend on the arm of QB Cassel because he is not reliable. They have played only 2 good teams (Colts and Texans) and lost to both. The Raiders are coming back. The O has scored 92 points in the last 2 games. They win and cover.

Colts (5-2) @ Eagles (4-3) -3 – With the benching of QB Kolb the Eagles are taking a big gamble on keeping the locker room together. QB Vick is solid but will have some rust coming off an injury. I think the Colts cover and should win.

Buccaneers (5-2) @ Falcons (5-2) -8.5 – Buc HC Morris thinks he has the best team in the league. He doesn’t. The Bucs are 30th against the run and that is what the Falcons do best. Atlanta wins but 8.5 is a BIG number I would not touch.

Dolphins (4-3) @ Ravens (5-2) -6 – The Ravens struggled defensively against the Bills last week. Even so, the team is solid. The Dolphins won ugly against the Bengals last week. QB Henne is not having a great season and the Dolphin O line will struggle against the Raven D. The Ravens win and should cover.

Best Bet: Giants +5.5 vs Seahawks.

Is 2011 really the year of the QB? Probably not. Most mock drafts show 3 QBs going in the first round of the 2011 draft. There is no question that a lot of NFL teams need QBs but it is not at all clear that the under class guys like Mallett in Arkansas and Luck at Stanford, or even Wilson at NC State will come out. The key is going to be the Collective Bargaining Agreement. DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA and the owners need to get a deal done by declaration day in mid January 2011. There is no chance that the deal will be done by that time. I don’t see any of the under class men coming out without a deal signed prior to the declaration date. QB Locker (Washington) will go in the 1st round but that is it. Florida State QB Ponder will go in round 2, with Delaware QB Devlin and Nevada QB Kaepernick being wild cards. Their draft position will depend on the all star games and the combine.

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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Week 8 College football results — What did we learn?

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wilson football

This week I went 5-1 in top game calls losing only the Texas/Baylor debacle. That puts the total to 22-10 for a 69% correct.

In the pros I went 3-2 which puts the against the spread at 14-8 which is 64% correct.

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College Football

#1 Auburn 51 Mississippi 31 – The Auburn D struggled to control the Rebel O and that is going to be a problem. They will be safe with all but the Iron Bowl where Alabama looks like the winner at this point.

#2 Oregon 53 USC 32 – This was the biggest threat that the Ducks had faced all season. They have two more tough games against #15 Arizona and at Oregon State to close the regular season. They should win both and be in the BcS Championship game.

#18 Iowa 37 #5 Michigan State 6 – After a home loss against Wisconsin, the Iowa D was back in a big way and stuffed the Spartan O completely. Ohio State had better watch out when they visit the Hawkeyes.

#14 Nebraska 31 #6 Missouri 17 – The Tiger O could not match the speed of the Nebraska D. Nebraska is the best team in the 10-15 range and will give the Big 12 South winner nightmares in the league title game.

#8 Utah 28 Air Force 23 – The Utah D struggled to control the running game of the Air Force but few teams run the ball as well as they do. This was a tough game and next week Utah gets a visit from #3 TCU an easy win over UNLV. One of those non-BCS teams will be eliminated from the race. They also have to play @ Notre Dame and finish the season against BYU.

#9 Oklahoma, #11 Ohio State, and #13 Stanford all had easy wins against inferior competition. But all three face some tough games coming up. A big game in the Big 10+1 will be the OSU Iowa game on Nov. 13th. But they face an up and down Penn State team next week that could be a trap game.

#15 Arizona 29 UCLA 21 – The Arizona D was pushed around a little by a very inconsistent UCLA O. The Wildcats have a tough finishing schedule including @ Stanford next week followed by a home game vs. USC, a visit to #1 Oregon and a home game against rival Arizona State. They will not survive that gauntlet and will lose 2 of the 4.

The NFL

Colts 30 Texans 17 – The Colts now have the O running on 5 of 6 cylinders and were able to control the game against the upstart Texans. This team is starting to look like a playoff tough out.

Pats 28 Vikings 18 – The Pats looked good and the Vikes are dead man walking. Farve is not the only Vike that will not make it to 2011. Check out my comments on both the release of WR Moss and the Vike situation on my News, Notes and Rumors page on NFLDraftDog.com.

Packers 9 Jets 0 – The loss caused the Jets to fall out of my Top spot. The problem is the O that could not run when the passing game failed to produce. A loss to the NFC is not as costly as one to another AFC team in positioning for the playoffs. Still, the Jets need to get their O back on track. The Pack stays alive in a very winnable NFC North. All the other teams in that division are imploding.

Jaguars 35 Cowgirls 17 – The Girls looked pathetic against one of the weakest teams in the league. The Girls are in serious trouble. One draft guru has them picking 8th and selecting a QB with that pick. The Jags are struggling in every aspect of the game including selling tickets. This will help but Vince Lombardi couldn’t win regularly with this roster.

Dolphins 22 Bengals 14 – While everything fell the Bengals way in 09 it is falling apart in 2010. The O has been a major disappointment. The passing game has not produced anything close to what was expected. The Dolphins survived in a game where they did not play particularly well.

The Raiders, Lions and Rams all won and are getting much better.

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 .

What to look for in this weekends college and NFL games

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football

UCLA @ #2 Oregon (Thursday) – The question here is which UCLA team will show up. If its the one that went to Texas and thumped them 34-12, this could be a real game. If it is the one that folded like a cheap suit at home against Stanford and lost 35-0, then you can be in bed by 10 PM. UCLA is better but they have not seen a RB with the speed of James. Some strange things happen on ESPN on a night game. This could be a Gotcha game with the always tough visit to USC coming up next week. But I think the Ducks win but it could be close.

#7 Michigan State @ Northwestern – NW may be 5-1 but they are a fraud. MSU wins easily.

Purdue @ #10 Ohio StatePurdue is a fraud at 4-2 despite being 2-0 in the league. OSU remembers a loss last year against the Boilers and will take out their frustrations on the improved but still not effective Purdue D.

Iowa State @ #18 Texas – Texas has two weeks to get their team ready for the tough games against #22 Kansas State and #14 Oklahoma State back to back. Texas has no problem with IS.

The Biggest games of the week

#1 Oklahoma @ #11 Missouri – The key to this game is the O of Missouri being able to run the ball. Their running game has been almost non-existent but they will need offensive balance against the Sooners. If they can not run the Sooner D line will be playing toss with Tiger QB Gabbert. Missu can’t run and the Sooners win.

#6 LSU @ #4 Auburn – Most people are looking at the running game of Auburn (6th overall) vs the D of LSU (11th in points allowed) but that is not the key. To win LSU has to be able to pass the ball. QB Jefferson threw for only 104 yards at home last week against McNeese State. He will have to do better because Auburn will do their best to keep control of Jefferson and keep him in the pocket. Auburn has played by far the tougher schedule and should win this game.

#13 Wisconsin @ #15 Iowa – After beating Ohio State last week, the Badgers have to go on the road to play a very solid Iowa team. The Badgers play much better at home. Iowa wins this game is a real slug-fest.

#16 Nebraska @ 14 Oklahoma State – The Husker O had been averaging almost 500 yards per game. Last week drops by WRs cost them the win and led to pulling Freshman QB Martinez. While the Husker O depends primarily on rushing (4th) they need to be more balanced to beat Ok St. The Huskers need to score often to keep up with an outstanding OK St. O which is 3rd in passing and 2nd in scoring. Ok St. has run up those numbers against some pretty weak competition. Even so, the pass D of the Huskers will be challenged. I predict Nebraska will win in a mild upset.

NFL Key games:

Steelers (4-1) -3 @ Dolphins (3-2) – The top ranked Steeler D (1 in scoring and rushing) will clamp down on the running game of the Fish. That will put pressure on QB Henne to throw against the only weakness of the Steelers (24th against the pass). Henne is steadily improving but the Dolphin O line is beat up a bit and that is not good against the Steelers front 7. The Dolphins are getting better but the Steelers are for real. Pittsburgh wins and covers.

Eagles (4-2) @ Titans (4-2) -3 – It looks like Titan QB Young will be able to play but Eagle QB Vick is still out. The Eagles looked very good in beating a solid Falcon team last week while the Titans blew out the Jags. The key is the Eagle D stopping the running game of the Titans. Young is going to have to run because the Eagle D did very well stopping the powerful running game of the Falcons. I don’t bet on Monday night winners so for the sake of argument I’ll take the points.

Cowboys (1-4) -3.5 @ Giants (4-2) – The Cowboys are playing like Cowgirls. This team is a loss or 2 away from imploding. Vegas thinks the desperation of the Boys is worth a TD. I don’t. The Giant D line is beginning to get back to their form and are really putting pressure on QBs. Boys QB Romo doesn’t handle pressure well. I’ll take the points and say thanks.

Best Bet: Pats +3 @ Chargers

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 5 of the College Football season?

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football

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 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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The DOE complains about graduation rates in College Basketball

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DOEX

This week US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that the NCAA should ban teams from the NCAA Tournament that do not maintain a minimum graduation rate for their players. WHAT?????

Don’t forget that this pinhead is the guy that was so effective as the CEO of the Chicago Public School System he was named to his current post by Obama. Forget the fact that the Chicago public schools are at the very bottom of the heap nationwide in graduation rates and standardized test scores. What it does rank at the top of the nation in is in-school violence, teen age pregnancy and dropouts. I guess he is just another “do as I say not as I do” guy in Washington.

But beyond the fact that the speaker is totally incompetent to say anything about graduation rates, there are other factors over which the NCAA and individual colleges have little or no control.

Prior to the NBA requiring that a player be 1 year out of school before applying for the NBA draft, those players (often between 20 and 40 a year) would go from high school directly into the pros. Now, those players go to college for 1 year and then on to the pros. They have little or no interest in college. It is a means to an end–to get a pro contract. We all know that the vast majority of these players will go to a basketball factory like Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, etc. The result is that the best programs have the worst graduation rates. DAH!!!!

In college football 5 guys that leave early have very little impact. There are 80+ on the team. However, if you have 2 guys that leave early out of a basketball roster, statistically it has much more impact.

I do not believe that players should have to play 1 year in college before getting a chance to go pro. No one would complain about a brilliant chemist that leaves Podunk U for a multimillion dollar contract. Why put legal restraints on basketball players most of whom come from very poor backgrounds and are minority. I hope someone will challenge the rule.

Is a year of college bad for a kid? Not necessarily. In a single year, the far left professors can give a non-political kid enough liberal babble that it should last him for a lifetime. But the people that are looking for intelligent life on other planets should try to find some in Washington DC first. Based on what I have seen coming out of there lately, there is very little intelligence and no common sense.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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.

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 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 .

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As usual, the drive bye media misses the point about the FSU scandal.

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football

There is no question that a number of wins by the Florida State football team under Coach Bowden will disappear due to the educational assistance scandal being investigated by the NCAA. But there is a much bigger and more significant issue here than FSU, Bowden wins, for college football. The situation is a indictment of the US educational system in all grades and those that we pay with our tax dollars to run it.

The public schools in general, particularly those in the inner cities of our nation, are a joke and represent the greatest single challenge to our nations future we face. The cry we here from our politicians in both parties is “we need more money for schools.” That is also a joke. Year after year we give them more and more money without any significant  improvement. The popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Private schools around the country educate our children far better at a fraction of the expense. How? Because they are not unionized and can terminate a bad teacher instantly rather than letting them stay because they have union protection. The private schools also do not have large bureaucracies, multiple levels of management, automatic salary increases based on longevity rather than ability, and indirect overheads like costly health care programs that come with a negotiated contract.

In the inner cities, our politicians have promised for the 62 years I have been around that if we vote for them they will fix what is wrong with our schools. But at best they just throw more money at the problem and claim they have done what they could. But when the parents ask for school vouchers to use their tax money to send their children to private school, the elected officials refuse—that would hurt the teachers unions which are providing re-election funds to those very politicians.

Slow learners far too often are either passed on to the next grade or ignored because it takes too much time to bring them up to the level of the rest of the class. Great athletes in this category like those that were admitted to FSU and many other universities around the country were passed on because the high school wanted to give them a chance to take advantage of their unique abilities. Then colleges want to help themselves and the players by allowing them to participate in their sport. But colleges are not equipped to take a player from a 2nd or 3rd grade educational level to a point where they can do college work.

The biggest frauds in the system are those at the NCAA that are “shocked” that such things are going on. Who are they kidding? Have they talked to recent graduates of big city schools? Have they spent any time watching what happens on a daily basis there? I have taught at the high school and college levels. I have seen the problem from both sides of that fence. It isn’t pretty.

So what do we do about this mess? First, throw the bums out. If the politicians are not part of a real solution, they are part of the problem. Second, support those candidates that call for educational vouchers. Vouchers create real competition which will force bad schools to improve or close. Either alternative is fine with me. Third, the NCAA has to recognize the problem and make special categories for those players that have the talent to play college sports but are not educationally advanced enough to do the work. Last, the colleges must be limited as to how many of these athletes they can accept and must provide them the special help they need. The schools must be held accountable for helping these players get the basics they need to be able to do college work within a reasonable time frame.

Football is the largest single area where this problem is the most obvious. There is no effective “developmental” league that is not educationally based where a player that either is not able to or is not at all interested in doing college work. If the NFLPA really wants to help future players, let both the league and the union put money into a football school. Several young men mentioned in the ESPN “Outside the Lines” program have become successful NFL players. Give them the football, social and financial education they need and forget forcing them to go to college. The NBA established the developmental league but then showed an unbelievable level of hypocrisy by requiring players to be out of high school 1 year before being eligible for the draft. That has caused the “one and done” fiasco putting more youngsters that only want a professional athletic career to pretend they are college students.

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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