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 .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,NFL Draft,Draft prospects,Alabamam Ohio State,Oregon State,Oregon,USC,LSU,Tennessee,Miami,Clemson,Iowa,Penn State,Michigan,Michigan State,Virginia Tech,North Carolina State,Oklahoma,Texas,Florida,Florida State,Northwestern,Minnesota,Virginia,Stanford,Wisconsin

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland

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LeBron is gone. Gilbert is 100K poorer after being fined by the NBA for his open letter to fans. The Cavs have nothing to show for LeBron leaving except a couple of late 1st and late 2nd round picks. But as always, there is more to the story than has been reported elsewhere.

First we will look at LeBron.

LeBron said that his top priority was winning. The fact is that he realized that he could not do that alone. But he wasn’t alone in the 2009-10 season. He had the best cast he ever enjoyed since turning pro. In addition to the 08-09 team, owner Dan Gilbert brought Shaq and Jamison into town to not only help LeBron but to show him the team would do whatever it could to keep him happy. That was not enough to get past the Celtics in the playoffs.

However, many including owner Gilbert believed that the failure to win against the Celtics was not so much the fault of the supporting cast as it was a failure of LeBron himself. In the three consecutive losses to the Celts, LeBron went 7-22 for 22 points, 3-14 for 15, and 8-21 for 28. That puts his shooting percentage at 34% well below his 09-10 season average of 50.3%. Jamison hit 38% which is a little more than 10% below his season average of 46.5%. Shaq sank 59% of his shots which is well above his average of 49.6 for the 09-10 season.

One of the best indications of the offensive efficiency and effectiveness of a player is points per shot. LeBron got 1.21 points per shot. During the season he averaged 1.41 pps. Jamison got .88 pps vs his season average of 1.19. Shaq came through strong in the playoff against Boston with 1.81 pps vs. his season average of 1.37.

LeBron said the city of Cleveland should forgive him for just 5 bad games in his years on the team. He knew he was not playing up to normal. The fault may have been on his injured elbow or that may have been a good excuse to tank the series.

Why would he do that? Let’s go back to the Olympics. Not the last one but the one in 2004. Wade and James talked then about playing together. They signed short contracts to allow them to become UFAs in 2010. In the 2008 games, Bosh joined in the collusion. If the Cavs had won the title in 2009-10, how could he move to Miami saying that he wanted to win? He couldn’t.

Another possibility was that after the game 2 loss to the Celts in Cleveland, LeBron realized what some have been saying for awhile. He is not a Jordan but is rather a Pippen. He is not capable of carrying a team on his back but has to be the “other” guy that helps a real star win. He will never admit that publicly but by going to Miami he has told the world he felt like he needed a star or two to win.

Dan Gilbert:

Gilbert may have really hacked off the NBA and Commish Stern but he said what he had to in order to keep the Cavs’ fan base together. We can not forget that the people of Cleveland have been disappointed so often by their sports teams. As I said in the first article on this blog years ago, it seems like God hates the Browns. That applies to the Indians and the Cavs as well. The Browns were stolen by Art Muddle. The Indians are run by an owner with all the spirit and charisma of a pet rock. Gilbert may be a little poorer but the people of Cleveland love him for his desire to win and finally standing up to James.

Leaving was bad enough but the 1 hour “LeGone” TV special was overkill. It seems to every Cavs fan that LeBron just wanted to twist the knife after inserting it into the heart of the team. “Et tu LeBron?”

Miami:

One thing that can not be overlooked is the advantage that any team in Florida has over most states and particularly Ohio. Florida has no individual income tax. Ohio is one of the highest tax states in the country. Given the amount that the “Big 3” will earn, that fact has not been lost on them.

Finally Cleveland:

All the top drawer free agents are gone because LeBron waited so long to let the team know he was leaving. Even with LeBron, there was little chance that any one of them would come to the Cavs. Reportedly LeBron did try to convince Bosh to come but I doubt that given the background quoted above. Shaq is a UFA as well and may go elsewhere. That will leave the team with little hope for the immediate future. The only thing about which a Cavs fan can be positive is that Gilbert will do absolutely everything in his power to make the team competitive in the long and short run.

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: LeBron James,Dan Gilbert,Cavilers,Heat,Stern,NBA,NBA Championship,Celtics,Cleveland,Miami

LeBron is LeGone to Miami

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LeBron announced tonight that he is going to play for the Heat next season. It was a good decision for him but could be fatal to the Cavilers.

In Miami he will play with both Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and a cast of rejects and no names.

In Cleveland, there is a hole the size of the Pacific Ocean right in the middle of the starting lineup.

Miami now has a total of 6 guys on the roster. PG Mario Chalmers and C Joel Anthony will join the Second 3 (the first big 3 was the Celtics) as starters with utility man Michael Beasley most likely to be traded for multiple vets. James is used to playing 35+ minutes a night and unless the team can find a few cheap vets, he will have to. The starters should be among the best in the league. But very often, championships require a decent if not strong bench. This team will be DEEP into luxury tax land and will have to find a bench willing to play at league minimum. They do have a couple of rookies they can sign.

The Cavs now have enough cap room to sign a top free agent. But they won’t be able to do that. According to multiple reports, LeBron tried to recruit FAs to come to the Cavs including Bosh and G Ray Allen. According to one source he even tried to get the often injured Amar’e Stoudemire to come. He had no success. The result was the same for the Cavs new regime. The question is now that they have a championship quality coach, what will they do to rebuild the team?

The Cavs are rumored to be trying to sign Ryan Gomes, Jonny Flynn and Acie Law. F Gomes was a recent cut of Portland who started 64 of 76 games for the Timberwolves in 09-10. He averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 rebounds last year.

G Flynn also played for the Wolves and started all 81 games he played. He scored 13.5 points and had 4.4 assists per game.

G Law got a lot of airline miles changing teams in 2009-10. He played for Chicago, Charlotte and Golden State but only played in 26 games.

In addition, they have a couple of former draft choices in Europe including Christian Eyenga (1st round 09) and Sasha Kaun (2nd round 08).

The Cavs need some top draft choices. Based on their roster as of now, they will in the lottery for several years to come. New HC Scott should be able to get the most out of whatever talent he is given but I’m not sure that will be enough to make the playoffs next year.

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: LeBron James,Miami,NBA Free Agency

"Welcome to Big 40 College Football"

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football

It isn’t that bad yet but nothing is out of the question. What we seem to have is a Conference game of musical chairs. Every NCAA team wants to be sure it gets a seat in a better conference (and of course the money that goes with it). Every NCAA Conference seems to be wooing schools in other conferences to come join them.

  • The Big 10 may not be able to count (there are 11 teams) but now they want to go to 12 or maybe 14 or 16.

*The PAC 10 (they can count) is looking to move to 12 or maybe 14.

*The Big 12 is just trying to hold on to their teams but would like to take in 2 more as well.

*The Big East and ACC are hiding under a blanket hoping other conferences won’t find them there.

The Big 10

According to the rumors floating around, the league has invited Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers to join the league. They have been courting Notre Dame for years but the Irish have their own TV deal with NBC and think they are too good to become a member. Nebraska is not likely to leave their rivalry with Oklahoma but both Missouri and Rutgers are likely to join.

But that leaves an odd number of teams at 13. If those two join look for the league to recruit either UConn, West Virginia, Pittsburgh or Syracuse to get to 14.

The Big 12

If Missouri leaves the league will be 1 short. TCU would be the most likely candidate to replace the Tigers. But if the Big 10 goes to 14, the Big 12 will want to follow. That would bring TCU, SMU, and either Rice or Houston to the fold. TCU, SMU and Rice were all part of the Southwest Conference that got raided by the Big 12.

SEC

If both the Big 10 and Big 12 got to 14 teams, the SEC will be forced to follow. There are rumors that the SEC is trying to lure Florida State and Miami out of the ACC to join their league. That would gut the football aspects of the ACC and force them to steal teams from the Big East or Conference USA.

Pac 10

The Pac 10 will want to expand as well to keep up with the other leagues. The most likely to join it are Utah and BYU. If they decide to go to 14 they would look at Utah State and either Wyoming or Colorado State.

That leaves a number of leagues with not enough teams and would undoubtedly lead to more raiding. The Big East would probably disappear unless they can raid Conference USA for teams like Memphis and Marshall. The ACC would go after South Florida (Big East) and UCF (USA).

The bottom line is that no league is safe as long as the big 3 are sniffing around for more teams. It will change the landscape of college sports and not for the better. Bigger conferences will lead to more bowl games. After all, the NCAA was thinking about having 96 team in the Basketball Championship Tournament. So what is wrong with having 48 bowl games?

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 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 .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,NCAA Basketball Trournament,College football,Big 10,Big 12,SEC,Pac Ten,Nebraska,Rutgers,Missouri,Notre Dame,Syarcuse,UConn,Pittsburgh,West Virginia,Utah,BYU,Utah St.,Wyomingm Colorado State,Memphis,Marshall,South Florida,UCF,Conference USA,Big East,NCAA March Maddness,NCAA Basketball Championship Trournament,Florida State,ACC,Miami

Niblets for April 2010

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nib

Best comment of the month: 96 Teams in the NCAA Tournament is the worst idea since the BcS selection process.

Crime Scene Cleanup Tucson said “I completely agree with you..More teams is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Gotta be the money…”

CSC you hit it on the nose. The plan that came out after my editorial was that the NCAA planned to bid out every game between the 5 networks to increase the take. Check out the update below.

Updates on FPS Stories:

96 Teams in the NCAA Tournament is the worst idea since the BcS selection process.

The NCAA announced this week that they had scrapped the 96 team plan. They will add 3 play-in games for the spots to play the top seeds in each region. That is a much better solution. Let’s hope that the NCAA Executive committee stays away from the funny mushrooms.

The Steelers are having off field problems with their players.

The Ex-Steeler now Jet Santanio Holmes had another run in with authorities. According to the airline personnel he refused to turn off his iPod when the plane was landing. He claimed and the police report confirms that he turned it off but did not remove the headphones.  He was not charged but can expect another call from the Commish. He might get his suspension extended but maybe not.

Super Values in the NFL Draft 2

Several players from my list were taken. That list included O’Brien Schofield OLB Wisconsin (4th round Cardinals), Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech (6th Cowboys), and Doug Worthington DT Ohio State (7th Steelers).

Who SHOULD the Browns draft?

The Browns ended up taking Larry Asante SS Nebraska in the 5th round and WR Carlton Mitchell South Florida in the 6th. As I told radio audiences in 4 states, the draft parties for Browns fans prior to Holmgren taking over this draft were more suicide prevention support group meetings than celebrations of the Browns picks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

General thoughts about the Draft

QB was the position that fell the farthest. As I predicted Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame fell to the 2nd round 48th pick (Panthers). That pushed the other QBs down as well. Colt Coy QB Texas was taken in the 3rd round pick 85 (Browns). John Skelton QB Fordham was taken in the 5th round pick 155 (Cards); Tony Pike QB Cincinnati (Panthers 6-204), and Dan LeFevour QB Central Michigan (Bears 6-181). There is a lot less risk in taking a QB after the 2nd round.

The Bryant interview the the Dolphins

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will not punish general manager Jeff Ireland for asking WR prospect Dez Bryant about his mother’s profession. There is some difference of opinion about exactly what was asked. Ireland issued a statement of the conversation that Bryant disputed.

SS Lawyer Milloy signed a 1 year deal with the Seahawks.

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 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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