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  • Published: Oct 26th, 2009
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What did we learn from the College football weekend for 10/26/09?

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The top 3 teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Texas looks to be the first to get its ticket punched by virtue of an easier schedule if they get by #14 Oklahoma State this Saturday. That will not be an easy game because the Cowboys are playing very well now since they stubbed their toe against Houston.

Texas has only a home game against Kansas and a rivalry game at Texas A&M left as a challenge after OK St. I think that Texas will go undefeated and get to the big game.

Both top SEC teams have big games this weekend. Florida takes on Georgia and Alabama hosts #9 LSU. If that game were at LSU, I would think it would be a tossup. At home, Alabama should win and probably get the top spot in all the polls based on a win over a top 10 team only if the voters forget the less than impressive 12-10 win over Tennessee at home last week. Alabama came within a fingernail of losing the game when NT Cody blocked his second FG attempt in the 4th quarter of the game.

The Vols were the sandwich game between #22 South Carolina and #9 LSU. Every national champ has a close call or 2 on their way to the title. Bama played down to the Vols level on O. The Vols D refused to let QB McElroy throw down field and Bama averaged just 4.1 per pass attempt. Bama also struggled in the red zone. They failed on 2 trips there having to kick short FGs rather than scoring TDs. They led the entire game holding the Vols to just 3 points until the 4th when the Vols had 3 drives including a TD and the 2 blocked FG attempts.

After a close call against Arkansas at home, Florida had a solid if not impressive win at Mississippi State. The most significant hurdles the Gators face to get to the SEC Title game are against Georgia, at South Carolina and their rivalry game at home against an always dangerous Florida State. Neither of those should provide an upset which of course means the Gators may lose one of them.

Of the two schedules, I believe that LSU represents more of a challenge than the group that Florida will face.

#4 in the BcS Iowa represents the biggest threat to the top 3 because the computers love them and because they still have a game on the road @ #17 Ohio State. The Hawks have to hope that the Buckeyes continue to win until that game. Given the way the OSU offense has failed to move the ball, that is not a sure thing at all. However, the Hawks overcame the crowd, and the odds makers in winning on the last play of the game. They only way they get into the big game is to be undefeated and have 2 of the top 3 lose at least one each. The voters have Iowa ranked 8th and that hurts them in the BcS.

#5 USC should jump over Iowa if they win at #10 Oregon Saturday. They also have a game against #20 Arizona on December 5 but it is very doubtful that the Wildcats will still be ranked by then because they have games against #10 Oregon and at # 24 California. So USC has to win at Oregon big to have a shot then hope that 2 of the big 3 lose a game.

#6 TCU is undefeated and is the best chance of the non-BcS league reps to get into the big game but there are a lot of chips that have to fall in their favor to do so. The computers like them as well ranking them 4th. The Frogs were outstanding in a 38-7 win at then #16 BYU. They still have a game against now #16 Utah in a couple of weeks. TCU is an outstanding team and deserves better than they will get. The Frogs will get a nice BcS bowl but have 0 chance to get to the big game.

#7 Boise State has 6 games on its schedule but no ranked teams. Their only statement win was in week 1 over Oregon. They are 5th in the polls but the computer has them 8th. They are playing well but can never get any big schools to go there and play a home and home. That hurts the teams chances to break the glass ceiling of the “BcS” leagues.

#8 Cincinnati is also perfect and has 2 games against ranked teams. They will face #21 West Virginia and # 15 Pittsburgh. Their chances were long to start with and are longer now because they have lost their QB Pike for awhile. Without him they have little chance of completing the year perfect and no chances of getting more than a crumb off the BcS table.

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

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

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Around the NFL for 10/03/09

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Top games of the week

GB @ MIN The battle of the QBs should be more than interesting. The Vikes come in undefeated getting a breathtaking pass for a win last week. Favre is playing well but he has to do just a little with the great running game of Peterson and Taylor. Taylor is going to have to increase his 2.4 per attempt average to get the ball much. Rogers is playing great and the D has come around using the 3-4 faster than expected. The Vikes win in a close game.

BA @ NE The Ravens may be the best team in the league. QB Joe Flacco has a qb rating of over 100 and the combination of rbs have moved the chains. The goal line back McGahee has scored 5 TDs in just 3 games and is making his fantasy owners very happy. The Pats are OK on O but their D has deteriorated badly from age and neglect. The Ravens win and it might not be close.

NJ @ NO The Jets get exposed as a good but not great team. The Saints have always mistreated scoreboards around the league with one of the most potent Os in recent memory. The D has been a problem but is playing much better. Ex-Jet MLB Vilma has been looking forward to this game for a long time. He has stabilized the D getting everyone in the right spot. The D makes Jets rookie QB Sanchez look like a rookie and the Saints win.

SD @ PT This game is a must win for the Steelers. They will know if the Ravens win their game against the Pats before the kickoff. At 1-2 the Steelers can not afford another early loss in the conference. The Chargers should get LT back this week at least for part time duty. They have to generate a rushing game to go with QB Rivers passing O. The blame for a lack of running is shared by the backs and the O line that has not been getting the push they need. Pitt is tough to run the ball against and win the game in a low scoring squeaker.

DA @ DV Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” No team has been as lucky as Denver. Their D is much less than suspect and their O is depending on QB Orton because the running game has been invisible. Dallas is better than it has played and needs to show us something by beating a very over rated Bronco team. Dallas wins.

Stinker of the week – As usual, there are a lot of candidates for this “award” in the week 4 schedule. CN @ CL will make the battle of Little Big Horn look close. DT @ CH will insure the Lion winning streak ends at 1. OK @ HO who cares?

But there is one game that the league should have to pay the fans to watch—TB @ WA When you lose to a team that has not won a game in over a year, you deserve to be ranked among the rankest in the league. TB isn’t much better. I feel sorry for the announcers in this debacle. It will be a very long afternoon with the ineptness broken only by plays that will show up soon in Football Follies.

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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The Ravens will be different but will they be better?

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There is no question that the window for the Ravens to win another Super Bowl is closing. The D is getting older and there are still questions on O. The Ravens will be different but there is serious doubt that they will be better or worse than in 08.

The D will be a little younger. The Ravens jettisoned their expensive and injury prone pro bowl CB Chris McAlister and brought in FA Domonique Foxworth. He had better work out because they are spending 27 million for the next 4 years with over 16 mil guaranteed. The other corner will be ex Raider Fabian Washington. Samari Rolle who was a starter came back on a backup contract and will be the key replacement. FS Ed Reed is older than dirt but played at a high level last year. He had better be just as good this season. The SS spot is up in the air. The Ravens have their fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that Dawan Landry can come back after missing all but 2 games from a neck injury last year. There isn’t much behind him so he had better get well soon.

The linebacking will get new look as well. Tavares Gooden replaces Bart Scott inside next to Ray Lewis. He needs to be more physical than he has shown up to now. Lewis is older than rock but got it done last year. He is on the down side of a Hall of Fame career. Jarret Johnson is unknown but has started for 2 years and is getting better with every game. Terrell Suggs wanted to be paid like a DE but got top OB money—63 mil over 6 years. The Ravens hope he plays with as much abandon as he did in his contract year.

On offense, TE Todd Heap will get a heap of passes thrown his way. The WR situation went from critical to life support when their only consistent receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement. If he doesn’t come back, they are going to have to find another starting quality WR. Mark Clayton starts on the other side but has caught over 50 passes only once in the last 4 years.

Joe Flacco has developed nicely. He will yield to Troy Smith for more wild cat type O than they used last year. The RB will be by committee. Last year starter Willis McGahee and the versatile Ray Rice will split carries. Rice may start over McGahee who is coming back from injury again.

The O line is physical and nasty. All pro FA Matt Birk takes over at C and gives the team real leadership. The left side is solid with LT Jared Gaither and LG Ben Grubbs. Both are young and talented. They will only get better. The right side is a question mark. Rookie Michael Oher and vet Adam Terry will battle for the RT spot. Oher should win. They hope that RG Marshal Yanda has recovered from his knee injury. If not, that will be a trouble spot for the Ravens.

Overall—The Ravens have enough to be a playoff team but unless they get all the right answers from those coming back from injury and find a solution to the WR spot, they will be second again looking over their shoulder at the Bengals coming on hard from behind.

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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