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

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: Sep 4th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on With Hasselbeck healthy, the question for the Seahawks is the running game.

With Hasselbeck healthy, the question for the Seahawks is the running game.

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Seattle is not a very good football team. That’s OK because they are in a division that is not very good. If the majority of ifs fall in the Seahawks’ favor, they could contend for the NFC West title.

QB Matt Hasselbeck is the keystone of the offense. With the running game probably struggling, he will be called on to generate a great percentage of the yards and scoring. He is crafty and very capable if he can stay healthy. That is a big if given the O line problems and has been a problem for him and the team. He missed more than half of last year to injury. Seneca Wallace started the last 8 games of 08 and did fine with a 87.0 passer rating and 11 TDs with only 3 interceptions.

The starter is Julius Jones but he gained only 698 yards in starting 10 games last year. The Seahawks use RB by committee. The new addition to the group is ex-Colt and Cardinal Edgerrin James. James figures to be the short yardage guy but the team usually passes near the goal line. Neither of these two are good bets for Fantasy. Owen Schmitt and Justin Griffith are still competing for the open FB spot.

The receiver group got better in the off season. The team signed Bengal pro bowl WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He will be the cornerstone of the passing offense. The remainder of the WR group is weak at best. Nate Burleson and Deion Branch both were felled with knee injuries. Both were excellent but have yet to show their speed so far this year. Deon Butler has had some outstanding catches but lacks consistency. TE John Carlson is a young and talented player with John Owens coming in when 2 TEs are used.

The O line has been a problem. That problem got a lot worse when perennial all pro LT Walter Jones went down last year. He is expected back about game 8 but don’t bet on it. He has had arthroscopic surgery on his surgically repaired left knee that he had microfracture surgery on last December. LG Mike Wahle is also coming back from an injury. He looks OK. RG Rob Sims is learning but has a long way to go. Starting C Chris Spencer suffered a torn quad and may miss the entire season. The rest are below average and there is very little depth.

There is no D in Seattle or at least there hasn’t been for a while. The best player on the D line is DE Patrick Kerney but he has been hurt each of the last 2 years. UFA RDT Colin Cole looks like a good fit. DT Brandon Mebane has the tools but not experience. The book remains open on him. Cory Redding starts at the other end and is OL. Darryl Tapp is the designated pass rusher. Rookie DE/DT Lawrence Jackson is coming along nicely.

The linebacking is the strength of the D. Rookie Aaron Curry was handed the SLB spot and has shown no indication he will give it up any time soon. He has proven to be a good blitzer and handles the run well. MLB Lofa Tatupu is outstanding particularly against the run. WLB Leroy Hill is adequate. Reserve D.D. Lewis has starting experience and is good enough to play either outside spot.

The DBs are the weakest area of the D. LCB Marcus Trufant is very good but the rest of the group had a rough time last season. At this point in his career RCB Ken Lucas is more reputation than production. With the loss of Kerney last year the team blitzed more. FS Brian Russell and SS Deon Grant were not up to the challenge. Russell is not capable of tight coverage. Grant is too inconsistent to be effective. C.J. Wallace and Jamar Adams have experience as reserve safeties.

OVERALL: Despite a lot of question marks, this team is capable of challenging for the title. Most likely, it will be 2nd in the division and on the bubble for a wild card.

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: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy football,Seahawks,Hasselbeck,Jones,James,Houshmandzadeh,Burleson,Branch,Walter Jones,Carlson,Wahle,Kerney,Trufant,Lucas,Grant,Russell,Adams

Dallas needs a new head coach to get to the next level

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I live at a lake. I see people fall off their jet skies all the time. The craft just goes around in a circle. That is what has happened to the Cowboys. They have not won a playoff game since Romo was in high school. Without a coach in control of a pro team, the franchise will not advance.

The reason that Wade Phillips is still the coach must be that Jerry Jones wants to surround himself with lackeys. We know that Jones knows a coach when he sees one because he has had a couple of the best in the history of the game. So why Phillips? Because Jones wants to be “the” star of stars in Dallas. Phillips couldn’t be a star in a basketball league of 5 year olds.

QB Tony Romo is more of a pop culture star than an NFL star. He seems to lack the discipline to move from good to great. Can you imagine him lacking discipline in a Bill Cowher or Bill Belichick locker room? Romo has “weak-itis.” He rolls up big numbers against the weak teams but folds in the big games in the 4th quarter when it counts the most. That in part has prevented the Cowboys from getting to the Super Bowl. Experienced QB John Kitna is now the backup and have drafted the QB of the future in Rudy Carpenter. The future may be sooner rather than later if Romo doesn’t play better this year.

The Boys took the “excuse” of Terrell Ownes away. But in doing that, they also took the best WR on the team away as well. What the Boys are left with are two “maybe’s.” The starters are Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Williams has yet to prove he can be the #1 guy. Crayton will make an unbelievable catch then drop two easy ones. He also has difficulty getting open. The bench consists of Miles Austin, Sam Hurd and a group of rejects and newbies.

The one guy that Romo can count on is all pro TE Jason Witten. He is consistent, tough, and seems to always be open. 6-7 Martellus Bennett is his backup.

The Boys might be better off being a run first team. They are loaded at RB. Marion Barber is a top back and Felix Jones isn’t far behind. Add to that Tashard Choice and Keon Lattimore and you have a stable of very good RBs.

Three starters on the O line are fine. G Leonard Davis and C Andre Gurode should be probowl players again. RT Marc Colombo is OK and can be good if he applies himself. The left side of the line is the potential problem. G Kyle Kosier is coming off of an injury in his foot. LT Flozell Adams is no where close to what he was and seemed to get old in a hurry. He needs to be replaced this year but there is no replacement on hand. He will be gone next season for sure.

On the D line, the questions are at end. LE Marcus Spears has shown flashes of great ability but is consistently inconsistent. He is in the final year of his deal and will produce or move on. Ex-Charger Igor Olshansky replaces UFA Chris Canty. Igor is average at best but there is no quality depth. The NT is pro bowler Jay Ratliff. He collapses the pocket and had 7.5 sacks last year. He needs help at E. His backup will be Junior Siavii orTim Anderson.

The backers include sack master DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer who replaces Greg Ellis and is questionable. ILB Keith Brookings is fine and fellow ILB Bradie James is adequate but a little old. The depth is very suspect.

The only solid player in the secondary is CB Terence Newman. His running mate will be either Mike Jenkins or Orlando Scandrick neither of whom has proven himself. The safeties are Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh. Hamlin fell off last year and needs to rebound. Sensabaugh replaces Roy Williams who was a nightmare in coverage. There is little behind the starters but potential.

OVERLL: Teams that put a lot of their salary cap in a few players will always lack quality depth. That has hurt the Cowboys in the past. The biggest reason that they will not make it to the Super Bowl in 09 is lack of both preparation and discipline. The team commits penalties at crunch time then makes key mistakes that keeps them from challenging for a title. Sooner or later even Jerry Jones has to realize that Wade Phillips is not up to the job.

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: Cowboys,Jones,Phillips,Super Bowl,NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Romo,Belichick,Cowher,Ownes,Witten,Crayton,Ware,Williams,Hamlin

Now that Payton is Payton again will the Colts win it all?

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In discussing the attempt to return to the game of Mike Vick, Payton Manning described the problems he had just by missing training camp last year due to an infection in his knee. He said it took him until the middle of the season to really get the timing and feel of the pocket back. The statistics prove it. Prior to game 9 Payton threw 9 ints and 10 TDs. From game 9 to the end of the season he threw 17 TDs and only 3 picks.

The Colts are just beginning to see their window to the Super Bowl start to close. Payton is 33. He is the key to the Colts offense. Two of his critical protectors are on the wrong side of 30 as well. All pro C Jeff Saturday is 34 and RT Ryan Diem is 33. WR Marvin Harrison is gone. The Colts will only go as far as their O takes them.

Payton is poised to have his typical MVP quality season. He will miss WR Harrison but has Reggie Wayne to run deep patterns and former 3rd WR Anthony Gonzalez and always reliable TE Dallas Clark to run underneath routes. The battle for 3rd WR will be something to watch.

The running game has not missed a beat with Joseph Addai replacing long time starter Edgerrin James in 06. But injuries have slowed Addai in 07 and 08. Addai has to return to the explosive style he had in his rookie year or he might get replaced by 1st round pick rookie Donald Brown. Brown has great football smarts and catches the ball out of the backfield well. Mike Hart tries to return from an injury that ended what had been an impressive rookie campaign in 08.

The line is solid but there are question marks. C Saturday is healthy and well paid with an extension. LT Tony Ugoh stepped in and played very well. He and RT Diem are well above average. The questions are at G. G Ryan Lilja is coming off surgery. His return would go a long way to answer the issues at G. Both projected starters Charlie Johnson and Mike Pollak had injuries cut into their 08 seasons. If the Gs are healthy, the line will be fine. If not, Payton will have to depend on his pocket awareness more than usual.

The Colts D line had a ton of problems last couple of seasons. Their super pass rusher Dwight Freeney was out for half of 07 with injuries. He was used a little more sparingly in 08 and started 14 games. DT Ed Johnson, the undrafted rookie that played so well in 07 was cut in 08 for extreme stupidity. He was arrested for speeding and police found marijuana in the car. He is back on double secret probation by the team.

DE Raheem Brock and DTs Eric Foster and Keyunta Dawson will likely join Freeney on the D line. The Colts have added depth with Johnson, Adrian Grady, Marcus Howard, Antonio Johnson, Curtis Johnson, Robert Mathis and Fili Moala just to name a few. There is enough talent there to provide a good rotation on the D line.

The linebacking group will provide the most interesting training camp contests. None of the three positions is a lock. MLB Gary Brackett has the best chance of holding his spot but the outside backer positions are up for grabs. Clint Session started at SLB last year but could be moved to the other side. Tyjuan Hagler and Freddy Keiaho were allowed to test free agency but were resigned on the cheap. Either of them might start. Philip Wheeler looked good in OTAs and will get a chance at starting.

The star among the DBs is SS Bob Sanders. He hits so hard he often hurts himself as well as the player on the business end of his tackles. He is the key to the Colts stopping the run. FS Antoine Bethea had a below average season last year and had better return to form. If not he will lose his spot to any one of the outstanding safeties in waiting including Melvin Bullitt, Brannon Condren, Matt Giordano and Jamie Silva. All 4 can play either safety position. The Colts hoped that both FA Kelvin Hayden and injured Marlin Jackson would return. Hayden was resigned and Jackson looks fine. That pair is as good as any in the AFC. If he has recovered from surgery Michael Coe should be the nickel. If not, Brandon Anderson or Brandon Foster will play it.

OVERALL: There is no doubt that the Colts will return to championship form. 5 key games will determine if the Colts have home field or have to play on the road in the playoffs. Wk 2 @ Miami, Wk 3 @ Arizona, Wk 5 @ Tennessee, and Wk 13 vs Tennesee are key. But the Wk 10 vs New England is the game that should decide home field between these two major super bowl threats in the AFC.

I think the Colts will be better but not good enough to beat NE and will not make the Super Bowl.

.

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

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Colts,Payton,Manning,Vick,injury,NFL,NFL Draft,Patorits,Titans,Cardinals,Dolphins,Freeney,Harrison,Johnson,Ugoh,Saturday,Addai,Brown,Lilja,Mathis,Sanders,Bethea,Super Bowl

Niblets for July

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nib

Note: We will continue our preview of the NFL teams on Monday.

Comment of the Month: From Steve on Vegas projects the Browns to win 7 games(???)

Go Browns!!! I think the Browns have more potential this year than the Bengals. The Bengals have had the same team in the past and can’t win. The Browns do have new systems but new is better than old and crappy.

Steve: I am a recovering Browns fan and have the receipts for a number of new TV sets to prove it. The TVs got so depressed with the Browns play that they committed suicide.

I hope I am wrong but I don’t like what I see from Mangini. The Bengals will be better on D with Rivers coming back and Palmer will make the difference. I still will bet the under.

Updates on Previous Columns:

The world vs. Lance Armstrong

Despite an outstanding effort, it looks like Lance is not going to win this Tour. He has announced that he will compete for the Radio Shack team next year.

What should the NFL do with Mikey Vick?

Mikey met with Comm. Goodell this week. The rumor is that he will be allowed to practice with a team but will face a suspension of between 2 and 6 games. First he has to find a team. So far not a single NFL team has expressed interest. The UFL has said he would be welcome to play for them.

Niblets fresh off the Cob:

Pro sports leagues and the NCAA files suit against the State of Delaware for single game betting law.

The NFL finally got the support of the NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA in opposing the recently passed single game betting plan that Delaware enacted to help reduce that state’s budget deficit. The suit was filed in Federal Court in Delaware.

The NFL makes the 2010 Draft a TV mini-series

On Thursday the NFL announced that the 2010 Draft would conduct round 1 on Thursday April 22 at 7 PM Eastern Time. Rounds 2 and 3 will be done on Friday with the remainder held on Saturday. I hope none of the players that attend the draft will fall out of the first round. Does Madison Square Garden serve breakfast?

Is FA WR Marvin Harrison on an NFL black list or just a victim of age?

Harrison is still a free agent despite several teams needing WR help. The question is why? There was the problem with a man that was shot with Harrison’s custom gun outside the receiver’s bar. The victim was shot again and is in stable condition.

According to his agent, several teams have expressed some interest in Harrison. Don’t believe it. He may catch on (excuse the pun) during training camp if an injury happens but don’t bet on it. Harrison will be 37 before the start of the 09 season and has lost a lot more than a step.

The Vikings are doing more than waiting for Favre (and you thought this was a Favre free site!)

The Vikes have signed a new deal with pro bowl DB Antoine Winfield. Winfield will continue to play LC this year. At 32, his days at CB may be limited. But he is a key to the Vikes D and could play safety in the future.

NBA Water Cooler talk

The Cavs offered LeBron James an extension the second they were allowed to by league rules. Don’t expect him to jump to sign it. However he said he was considering it. That is good news for the Cavs.

Allen Iverson is without a contract. He thinks he has been blacklisted. No Allen, it is the economy. He was offered a 5 million mid level exception by Memphis in July but there is a difference of opinion whether the deal is still on the table. Memphis has not commented. Look for the 2010 free agent pool to be a lot more shallow than some think. The money just will not be there for many clubs to offer maximum contracts.

Minnesota’s 5th overall pick Ricky Rubio has told his team in Spain and the NBA that he wants out of the Spanish league ASAP. That should reduce Rubio’s buyout and get him into the NBA.

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: NFL,NFL Draft,Browns,Mangini,Armstrong,Vick,Goodell,Harrison,Vikings,NBA,LeBron,James,Cavilers,Iverson,Timberwolfs,Rubio

LeBron is good as LeGone—Unless…

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Cavs

The facts:

Fact 1: Given the debacle of 08-09, unless the Cavs do something spectacular, LeBron is LeGone. The Magic were better than the Cavs this year and the Magic will be significantly improved with the return of PG Jameer Nelson next season. The Magic’s key players are getting better.

Fact 2: The Cavs are likely to be worse next season unless they make some spectacular and admittedly desperate moves. Ben Wallace has already mentioned retirement. Despite his efforts, he is no where near the player he used to be. If some team offers Anderson Varejao a deal, he is likely to go. While he is not the answer for the Cavs, his departure will hurt the Cavs more than his arrival will help another team.

Fact 3: Mike Brown is not the kind of coach that is likely to be able to convince LeBron than the Cavs have a future. The Cavs should look for a high energy high profile offensive minded coach immediately.

Fact 4: Cleveland without LeBron could not attract a free agent offering a magic carpet ride through Shangra La. The ONLY hope the Cavs have for any kind of future is to do whatever the team can to try to keep LeBron.

Fact 5: The salary cap for 2008-09 was $58.680 million. The Cavs had one of the highest salary totals in the league last year. It was around 94 million.

Fact 6: Any team that goes above the salary tax level of 71.15 million pays a dollar for every dollar above that level. That meant that the Cavs had to give the league around 23 million in tax penalty payments.

Fact 7: There were only 2 teams, Miami and Portland, under the salary cap. And they were only popcorn money below the cap.

Plan 1 Amar’e Stoudemire (Pheonix 2008-09 Statistics PPG 21.4 RPG 8.10 APG 2.0)

Stoudemire is coming off an injury and there is reason to believe that the Suns are thinking about reworking their team. There are also rumors about the Suns needing to drop payroll to get under the tax level. Stoudemire is only 27 and is a consistent 20+ point 8+ rebound guy. Having another shooter to draw attention is critical. He would make Zydrunas Ilgauskas better by giving the team a 3rd rebounder. Stoudemire would create a very tough front line match up for opponents and someone that could slow down Dwight Howard.

Plan 2 Hedo Turkoglu (ETO) (Orlando 2008-09 Statistics PPG 16.8 RPG 5.30 APG 4.9)

The Turk has already announced he plans to opt out of the contract with the Magic. If the Cavs could land him, he would not only help Cleveland but hurt their prime opponent. A great thought if they could pull it off. Don’t hold your breath. Turk is looking for BIG money. He may not find it but other teams have a better chance of giving it to him than the Cavs.

Plan 3 Shaquille O’Neal (trade only) (Pheonix 2008-09 Statistics PPG 17.8 RPG 8.4 APG 1.7)

There has been a lot of talk about the Suns trading Shaq to the Cavs for Aleksandar Pavlovic and Ben Wallace. Shaq MIGHT be willing to take that trade for one reason—to beat Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in a final. Shaq has only 1 or 2 seasons left at best. He would be a short term fix that would not entice LeBron to stay. But it might get LeBron a title as a thank you for what he has done for the Cavs.

The bottom line: No team can afford to lose a key player and stay competitive. Because they are all over the salary cap, they have only a mid level exception to bring in a free agent. That is expected to be around 6 million next season. The teams will do whatever it takes including overpaying marginal stars because they can’t afford to take any big money free agents.

The only chance the Cavs have is to make a trade but they just don’t have much to trade with. The Cavs have to do something but there are very few options. Look for them to try but I can’t see them being able to do much.

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: NBA,NBA Draft,NBA Playoffs,Cavilers,LeBron,James,Suns,Varejao,free agent,trades,Wallace,NBA Salary Cap,Miami,Portland,cap tax,Stoudemire,Turkoglu,Shaquille O’Neal,Shaq,Pavlovic,Kobe,Bryant,Lakers,Magic

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