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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What to look for this weekend

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football

College Football

#1 Ohio State -3.5 @ #18 Wisconsin – The Bucks go into the Badger Den to play a talented team in a nasty mood after being upset by Michigan State 2 weeks ago. The key to the game will be the Badger running game which is 11th in the nation (241 yards a game) against the 5th ranked OSU D. Look for the Bucks to run the ball more against Wisconsin to keep RBs Clay and White off the field. OSU has changed RBs with RB Saine becoming more of a receiver and RB Herron becoming the runner. Too much of the running game has been QB Pryor. The Bucks have to get better run blocking from the O line. OSU got an additional incentive when ESPN projected the team 5th in the BCS rankings. OSU wins and covers.

#5 Nebraska -9.5 vs. Texas – The Horns have not lost 3 games in a row since George Washington was inaugurated or it seems that long. Texas want the game more than Nebraska but has too many holes to win the game. Nebraska has nightmares about last years Big 12 Championship game they felt was stolen by Texas. The Huskers are 1 dimensional ranking 2nd in rushing but 106th in passing yards. The key is can Texas stop the run. Nebraska faces their toughest test in the next 3 weeks. After this game, they go to #20 Oklahoma State, then host #21 Missouri. The Huskers win but it could be very close.

#12 Arkansas @ #7 Auburn -4 – Auburn may be the most under rated team in the top 25. They were ranked 22nd and 23rd in the preseason polls. The next 2 game will tell us a lot about them. After hosting the Hogs they host #9 LSU. Then at the end of the season they go to Alabama. Given the fact they play in the SEC and they have such a tough schedule, they are in a position to challenge for a spot in the BCS Championship game. Auburn has already beaten #10 South Carolina. Arkansas lost to the only ranked team they have played. Auburn will use QB Newton to challenge the Hog D which is 13th in points allowed. The Hogs will use their 3rd ranked passing game with QB Mallett. The Hogs passing game threatens the Auburn D but Auburn wins.

#15 Iowa -3 @ Michigan – The Michigan O ranked 14th in points faces the #1 D in points against. The Blue will find the Iowa D too tough. The Blue running game is way too dependent on QB Robinson and the very tough Iowa D line will limit him. The Iowa O takes maximum advantage of the non-existent Blue D and Iowa wins and covers.

UPSET ALERT:

Illinois @ #13 Michigan State -7 – MSU has come through a very tough and emotional period with the wins over Notre Dame #11 Wisconsin and #18 Michigan and the heart problems of their coach. Now they face an under rated Illini D that gave OSU problems. Illinois is 21st in points against. This is the kind of game the the Spartans have struggled with in previous years.

NFL Key games:

Ravens (4-1) @ Pats (3-1) -3 – The Ravens lead the NFC North and bring a top D against a Pats O that has struggled. Take the points.

Eagles (3-2) E @ Falcons (4-1) – The Falcons got a gift last week vs the Browns. Now they get the Eagles D that will be blitzing every chance they get. The Browns got some pressure on QB Ryan. The Birds will get more. But without QB Vick, the Eagle O won’t go. Falcons win.

Saints (3-2) -4.5 @ Bucs (3-1) – The Saints need to win this division game badly particularly after a bad loss against the Cards last week. The O has moved the ball in the air (5th in passing yards) but is 31st in rushing yards and all their RBs are hurt. They can not take another division loss. The Bucs have had a lucky season so far. That luck ends and the Saints win.

Colts (3-2) -3 @ Redskins (3-2) The Colts D has been MIIA (Missing In In-Action). They are 3rd in scoring but 16th in scoring D. They also don’t seem to win the close games anymore. The running game has fallen and can’t get up. It is 28th in yards. The Redskins have been playing well but the Colts win.

Teams in trouble:

Chargers (2-3) -7.5 @ Rams (2-3) – SD needs to start winning if they want to get into the playoffs. They are notoriously slow starters and this is about the time they kick into gear. They will get pro bowl LT McNeill back but not WR Jackson. The problem has been the D which is 21st in scoring D. LB Merriam is on “minor injury” IR and must be cut when he recovers. The team is not getting a good pass rush. That should not be a problem against the Rams. SD wins.

Desperation Bowl:

Cowboys (1-3) @ Vikings (1-3) -2.5 – Boys owner Jones said he would not fire HC Phillips “as of now.” If that doesn’t scare Phillips, nothing will. The Boys have been finding new ways to lose. They are not mentally tough enough to win the close games this year. I did an analysis of what is wrong with the Boys on this weeks edition of NFLDraftDog.com’s News Notes and Rumors.

The Vikes have problems of their own. Their 89 year old QB Farve has elbow trouble. They are 21st in passing yards and 29th in scoring O with just 15.8 points a game. The D has been playing well and are in the top 7 in total yards and scoring. The Farve turnovers have killed key drives and ended the team’s chance to win games.

The Vikes are mentally tougher than the Boys and win the Desperation 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. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Another BCS #1 bites the dust. Who will be next?

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football

In college ball last week I went 5-3 bring my total to 17-9. Before you laugh at that remember I pick the toughest games not the best bets.

In the pros I went 1 and 1 with a push and the Giants/Cowboys to be determined.

College football:

#1 Oklahoma 27 #11 Missouri 36 – Missu put up 16 points in the 4th quarter to beat the Sooners for the first time since Moses was a teenager. The Sooners were the third team in 3 weeks to be knocked off after becoming #1. Missu is not a super power type team and could well lose against Nebraska next week.

UCLA 13 #2 Oregon 60 – The Ducks totally dominated a very up and down UCLA team. This past Thursday they were down–way down. If the Ducks can get a win next week at USC, they could well end up in the BCS Championship game. The only other tough teams they will face will be #15 Arizona and Oregon State.

#6 LSU 17 #4 Auburn 24 – Auburn got by one of the two toughest games they will face this year. They have won 3 games over ranked teams in the last 5 weeks. The one roadblock they have on their schedule is at Alabama in the last game of the regular season. The SEC West has crushed the East all year so the SEC Championship game probably against South Carolina should not be a problem. I believe at this point Alabama wins at home against the Tigers.

#13 Wisconsin 31 #15 Iowa 30 – The Iowa coaching staff had a brain cramp that cost them the win. They were in field-goal range but after a time out QB Stanzi scrambled for a first down on 4th and 1. Rather than setting up a spike in the time out, the coaching staff called their final TO. Then rather than throwing the ball away, Stanzi got rushed and flipped it to his RB who was caught in bounds as the clock ran out. Had they spiked the ball after the scramble, they would have had a shot at a FG. Wisconsin probably will not lose again and must hope the Hawkeyes beat Michigan State to get a share of the Big 10 title.

#16 Nebraska 51 #14 Oklahoma State 41 – Like Alabama, Nebraska looks like the team to beat in the Big 12 North if they can beat Missouri next week at home. The OSU Cowboys put up a good fight but just did not have the speed to keep up with the Huskers.

Washington 14 #18 Arizona 44 – The Arizona D was solid against Washington. Husky QB Locker struggled to find anyone open and was 17-29 for just 183 and 1 TD. In my opinion Locker is not a top QB prospect. Arizona has a tough schedule ahead that includes Oregon, USC, and Stanford.

NFL:

The Browns came up with a great win. Check out my column on NFLDraftDog.com on the team page.

Check out the NFL News, Notes and Rumors on NFLDraftDog.com.

TOP 5 NFL TEAMS

1 Jets – They are 5-0 since a 1 point loss to the Ravens. They are #4 in both scoring and points against.

2 Steelers – They are also 4-1 and survived the suspension of Roethlisberger losing only to the Ravens.

3 Ravens – Only the Pats beat them. They beat themselves against the Bengals.

4 Patriots – They are playing better than their talent. When the young guys on D get more experience they will move up.

5 Falcons – I had to have at least 1 NFC team.

BOTTOM 5

5 Broncos – When you give up 59 points to the Raiders, what do you expect?

4 Lions – This team is going in the right direction. They have talent and need to get it up to speed.

3 49ers – This team just is a mess. Nobody could get them to play much better.

2 Panthers – This team has nothing except a good coach and they will let him go at the end of the year.

1 Bills – “With the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft the Bills select…”

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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