A bad weekend for good College and NFL games.

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College:

#1 Oregon @ California – Cal struggled with Washington State last week 20-13 but plays better at home. That said it does not play well enough to make this a game. That’s OK because no one will see it because the game is on Verses. Oregon continues to win and gets this one easily.

Georgia @ #2 Auburn – Georgia is playing a little better than in earlier in the season. They have won 4 out of their last 5 but that stops Saturday. Georgia’s best hope it that Auburn is looking past them to next weeks game with Alabama. Auburn wins if Newton plays but not as big as you might think. If Newton does not play, the Bulldogs win. In any case this game will be pulled off the board at Vegas.

San Diego State @ #3 TCU – SDS is the last chance for a team to beat TCU. Next week TCU gets 1 win New Mexico State. SDS is a solid team at 7-2 but does not have enough speed to play with TCU. TCU wins and finishes the perfect season next week with a win over NMS.

Penn State @ #9 Ohio State – PS got win 400 last week. Ohio State may be looking forward to the Big game next week at Iowa but wins this one. It could be close.

#10 Oklahoma State @ Texas – Texas is 4-5 and needs a win here or in 2 weeks against Texas A&M plus an expected W against Florida Atlantic to get to a bowl game. Texas won’t get the win here. Ok St O is too good for the Texas D to handle.

#19 Mississippi State @ #12 Alabama This is probably the best game of the week. MissSt is playing well but Bama has too much talent. They will be in a bad mood after a loss last week @ LSU. Bama wins.

Texas Tech @ #16 Oklahoma – TT had a nice win last week against Missouri. Oklahoma has really struggled against the pass and TT is #8 in passing. This game will be close but high scoring. Oklahoma should win at home.

#24 Kansas St @ #17 Missouri – After going 7-0 including a big win over Oklahoma the Tigers have lost 2 in a row. Kansas St is coming off their 1st win over Texas since the Alamo. KSt is playing well but Missouri is better and wins at home.

#23 South Carolina @ #22 Florida – Both these teams have disappointed their fans for under achieving. SC caught a tired and beaten up Bama team and won. But they have lost 3 out of the last 6. Florida has struggled at QB and on D. I think Florida wins but I would not put a dime on it.

NFL:

Jets-3 @ Browns – It has been a while since the Browns were in one of the top games of the week. But they are playing well with wins in the last 2 games over the Saints and the Pats. The Jets need the win to keep the pressure on NE. I will go out on a limb and pick the Browns to cover.

Titans (5-3)-1.5 @ Dolphins (4-4) – Miami has changed QBs with Pennington replacing Henne. I have written that Pennington has the heart of lion, the head of a coach and the arm of a chicken. He is more accurate than Henne but will not throw many deep. The Titans added WR Moss. That should help a below average WR corps. The Titans depend on the run and Moss could open up the running lanes if QB Young or Collins can prove to the opponent they can get the ball deep to him. The Titans win and cover.

Patriots (6-2) @ Steelers (6-2) -4.5 – The Brown showed the league that the Pats can’t stop the run. The Steelers have trouble stopping the pass and have lost another OL player to the IR. The Pats O still can throw the ball. This is a tough game to pick but I think that the Steelers win. I am not sure they cover so I would stay away from betting this game.

Eagles (5-3) -3 @ Redskins (4-4) – HC Shanahan has added unnecessary turmoil to the locker room with his benching of QB McNabb. McNabb faces his old team. The Eagles get a rust free QB Vick with a game under his belt since his injury. The Eagles D looks like they finally have the game plan and pass rush together. The Redskins don’t. I will take the Birds as a road favorite.

Editorial: What to do about Auburn QB Newton?

Auburn has a major issue with the question of the eligibility status of star QB Newton. Earlier this week, Auburn said he would play. That was before the FBI got involved looking into the pay for play issue. As each minute ticks by more information comes out about Newton or his father asking for money to sign to play for Mississippi State. What should happen?

Auburn has no choice but to play him unless they know for a fact that he is guilty. If the NCAA vacates their wins they will be 0-8.

The NCAA MUST get the decision done before practice starts for the Championship game. If they can’t decide before the BcS title game and then declare him out Congress should investigate them.

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 .

Technorati Tags: Oregon,NCAA Football,Auburn,Newton,Florida,South Carolina,Ohio State,Penn State,Jets,Browns,NFL Playoffs. BcS Championship game,Titans,Dolphins,Eagles,Patriots,Steelers,Redskins,NCAA investigation,FBI,Georgia,TCU

What did we learn from this weekends games?

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football

College football

I didn’t do quite as well this past week in predicting winners in college football. This past week I went 5-3 so now have a total of 10-4.

#1 Alabama went down hard to #19 South Carolina. SC beat a top 3 team for the first time in the history of the school. They key was shutting down 2009 Heisman winner RB Ingram. The win by SC went against everything we have seen from the team for several years.

#2 Ohio State got some shocking news this week. Yesterday ESPN “BCS guru” Edwards projects that the BCS computer system shows OSU is the 10th highest rated team which is at the bottom of the undefeated group. According to him, the BCS formula would put Boise St., Oregon, TCU and Oklahoma ahead of the Buckeyes at this point in the season despite OSU being #1 in the human poll.

#3 Oregon didn’t quite put up the 50 points I predicted but did score 43 in the win over Washington St. The Oregon D showed some vulnerability to the pass and the Duck O lost WR James Rogers for the season. With all the weapons the Ducks have that should not hurt too badly but we will see.

#8 Auburn struggled on D against an aggressive 0-2 SEC Kentucky team. Ky QB Hartline went 23-28 for 220 yards and a TD. Auburn will have to do much better than that if they expect to beat Arkansas or Alabama.

Unranked Oregon State is finally starting to look like the 22nd ranked team it was projected to be in the preseason poll. As I predicted, it went to #9 Arizona and won the game 29-27. The Beavers made plays when they needed them most and were 10-15 on 3rd down conversions. Arizona was 6-11.

Two of the best games of the week pitted top 25 teams against each other in Florida. #12 LSU beat #14 Florida in a come back win scoring on the last play of the game 33-29. It took a fake field goal to convert their last 3rd down and put the Tigers in a position to score the final TD with 6 seconds left.

In Miami #23 Florida State overwhelmed the #13 Hurricanes 45-17. Miami did not look prepared for the game. It looked lethargic and uninterested.

The Pros:

For a detailed analysis of the pro game check out NFLDraftDog.com News Notes and Rumors.

The Monday night game:

The Vikings came into New York really needing a win and left without it. Frankly, I think QB Farve has arm problems. It has affected his accuracy more than velocity. Next week is Desperation Bowl between a 1-3 Dallas team and the 1-3 Vikings. The loser of that game will be virtually out of the playoffs.

Cowboys: With both the current coach Phillips and the Coach in waiting Garett on the hot seat, it is hard to predict what Owner Jerry Jones will do if the Boys go to 1-4. The Boys have never replaced a coach in the middle of a season, but JJ has made a lot of noise about wanting to be a home team for the Super Bowl which will be in Dallas this year.

Vikings: The Vikes are in better shape than the Boys for a couple of reason. First, they are in the NFC North which has been weaker than most other divisions prior to this season. At least they are not in the basement because Detroit is also in that division. Second, the Vike D is much better than the Boys D and plays more consistently. The problem has been the O in general and QB Farve in particular. He has turned the ball over WAY too much and that has led to the losses. The running game which struggles in the last half of 09 has been better this season despite losing RB Taylor in free-agency.

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 to look for in this weekends games.

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football

Baseball playoffs

We would like to thank the Rays, Twins and Reds for stopping by in the playoffs. Please pick up your parting gifts as you leave. The series will be between the Yankees and the Phillies.

College Football

#1 Alabama @ #19 South Carolina – The ol’ Ball Coach will wish he still had the talent from his Florida days. Bama wins

#2 Ohio State v. Indiana – Forget about the injuries on O, you and I could score the Indiana D if you were having a bad game. The OSU D stops a good Indy O and OSU wins.

#3 Oregon @ Washington St. – Oregon runs up 50+ points and makes a case for jumping over OSU into 2nd.

#8 Auburn @ Kentucky – Auburn QB Cam Newton passes a bad Ky D silly. Auburn wins big.

#9 Arizona vs. Oregon St. – Az had a major letdown after a big win over Iowa and squeaked by Cal. They had better not have a let down here because the Beavers are tough. They have lost 2 games to top 6 teams.

#11 Arkansas @ Texas A&M – Ark is banged up after getting thumped by #1 Bama. The week off should help. TAM lost a tough game last week against Oklahoma St. Arkansas should win but this could be close.

#12 LSU @ #14 Florida – This should be the game of the week. Both teams have serious flaws but play hard. LSU has to keep the turnovers down. I think Florida wins close in a minor upset.

#23 Florida St. @ #13 Miami – FSU looked bad against the only tough team they have played Oklahoma. Miami played close against #2 Ohio St and got a nice win last week against a good Clemson team. Miami wins.

NFL

Ravens -7 vs. Broncos – The Ravens are for real but could have a let down (and some injuries) from the win last week over Pit. Ravens should win and cover the spread.

Bucks @ Bengals -7 – The Bengals are better than they looked against the Browns last week. They win and cover with the running game leading the way.

Browns @ Falcons -3 – The Browns winning streak ends at 1. Falcons cover easily.

BEST BET – Saints -6 @ Cards – A change of QBs by the Cards won’t help. Saints cover easily.

BIG GAME OF THE WEEK – Vikings @ Jets -4 This is a must win for both. The Vikes are the better team but are not playing like it. The game will boil down to the play of the of the QBs. Farve will be pressured and is not having the season he did last year. The addition of WR Moss will help next week but not that much this week. The Jets had better cover Moss on the fly pattern or they will get burned. The key to the Jets is the play of QB Sanchez. As he develops, the team will get better. The Jets will not have the running game they enjoyed last week because of the Vike’s DTs the Williams brothers.

The Vikes need it more and win a close 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. 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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Niblets for September 2010

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nib

Best comment of the month:

Frederic Bernotas on What did we learn from week 2 in College Football?

After all this it is possible that the Wolverines will get into the Big 10 season with 4 wins, although subsequently, exactly what after that? Conference competition breaks along with The Hoosier’s formidable offense. Subsequently Michigan visits Michigan State, Iowa and visits to State College Pa. to face the Nittany Lions. Multiple issues in between these days and the finish of the season, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a little more cautious about making proclamations about this team and this year.

Frederic, your caution is wise. The Blue were 4-0 last year going into the Big 10 season and won only 1 more game the rest of the way.

Updates on previous columns:

Pro Football Niblets and Fantasy tips

I would like to thank my readers for not skewering me on my Pro Best bets. We will try to do a little better from now on. At least the Fantasy pickups were good. The Eagles have named Vick as their starter from now on, Ram WR Clayton remains hot and Packer RB Jackson has a nice upside.

In Dallas, things are continuing to heat up. After the interstate rivalry against the Texans this week, the team has a bye. If the Boys don’t win this week, it will almost certainly be bye-bye to HC Phillips.

What did we learn from week 2 in College Football?

Texas, Penn State, Wisconsin and Florida continue to struggle. What we saw last week was not a fluke.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

Announcement: Starting in October, the Digital Sport Network will debut on Cleveland.com.

This will be the best sports programing on the Internet and the list of personalities includes Chuck Booms who had the top show on Fox Sports Radio, Bud Shaw from the Plain Dealer, and Harry Petsanis from SportsTalk radio. I will be appearing on the broadcast talking about the Browns and the NFL 2011 draft. I will let you know when I will be on.

The NFL QB carrousel continues to spin.

Beside Vick, 7 QBs that rode the bench in Game 1 will start for their teams. The most notable is the Panthers deciding to bench QB Moore in favor of rookie Jimmy Clausen. Not that it makes any difference but Buffalo has benched QB Edwards in favor of Fitzpatrick. In another insignificant move, the Raiders will start Gradkowski over Campbell for whom they traded.

Best Bets in the Pros:

3 Colts -3 vs Broncos – The Colt O is too much for the Broncos.

2 Falcons +5.5 vs. Saints The Saints are on a short week and traveling again.

1 Pats -12.5 vs Bills – Fitzpatrick will be begging the coach to put Edwards back in at half time.

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 did we learn from week three of the College Football Season?

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football

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

and edits .

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