What did we learn from week 4 of the College Football Season?

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The Big 10 (+1) knows how to schedule pre-league games.

Whether it is #2 Ohio State vs. Directional (Eastern) Michigan or #18 Iowa vs. Ball Corporation State, with just a few exceptions the Big 10 has played mostly easy opponents. Even so, a few teams had problems with the sisters of the poor. Northwestern struggled to defeat another Directional Michigan (Central) 30-25. Worse yet Purdue lost badly to Toledo of the MAC.

A few good games

#1 Alabama went to #10 Arkansas and came from behind in the 4th quarter to win 24-20. The game may have hurt QB Mallett’s pro prospects because he suffered 3 picks only one of which was not his fault.

#3 Boise St. beat #24 Oregon State 37-24. Except for a game against the current #25 Nevada, this was Boise’s last chance on a national stage to impress the voters and the computer of their case for inclusion in a National Championship game. Their win over Virginia Tech looked good until VTk lost to James Madison. The computers are killing Boise due to the “strength of schedule” factor to the point that I don’t think Boise can get into the Big Game.

#5 Oregon looked good beating a good Arizona State team 42-31. But Oregon is going to have to play better D if it wants to win the PAC 10.

Perhaps the best game was #12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn with the home team winning on a 14 point 4th quarter comeback 35-27. They battled all game and both lost a large number of players some of which will likely not be ready for games this week.

Another game between top 25 teams pitted #22 West Virginia at #15 LSU. LSU held off WV and won 20-14 in another very physical game.

#14 Arizona has a great D but very little O. It struggled to beat Cal 10-9.

#19 Miami played well against one time ranked Pitt and won 31-3.

Interesting games this week and what to look for:

#7 Florida at #1 Alabama – Last year this game was all about Gator QB Tebow. This year watch Bama Senior QB McElroy. He is not highly ranked in the NFL draft but has some pro potential. Look for Bama to win in a hard fought game.

#9 Stanford @ #4 Oregon – The Cardinal won a tough game against Notre Dame last week and Oregon had a tight game against Arizona State. This game is critical in the PAC 10 since USC is not eligible for the league championship. The O of Oregon will be too much for Stanford and the Ducks win.

#11 Wisconsin at #24 Michigan State – Both teams are coming off big wins against inferior competition. Wisconsin is over rated and do not play as well away as at home. Both Ds are solid but Wisconsin have only had 1 tough game at Arizona State. They need to get RB Clay working early to win. The Spartans should win.

#21 Penn State @ #17 Iowa – Penn St looked terrible against Temple last week. The passing game is non-existent and the running game is too easily challenged by stacking the D line. Iowa has the front 7 to bottle up PS and should win.

Virginia Tech @ #23 N. Carolina St. – This is a chance for Tech to win back some credibility. They were badly over rated in the preseason and exposed by their 2 losses. NC State is under rated and a better team than most expect. NCS wins.

The Red River challenge is next week.

Both Texas (#7 last week) and #8 Oklahoma were looking ahead and it showed.

The Sooners displayed a lot of flaws in their 31-29 win at Cincinnati. The Bearcats are not close to the team that won the Big East last year. On both sides of the ball, the Sooners look vulnerable.

Texas was drilled at home by a UCLA team that was crushed 35-0 by then #25 Stanford in week 2. UCLA beat Texas in every aspect of the game and cruised to a 34-12 win. Texas fell from 7 to 21 after the loss.

Both Oklahoma and Texas have major problems and their game this week will be interesting. Even with the problems Oklahoma has, they should win.

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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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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B I G News in football!

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College football:

As the Big 12 sinks slowly in the west and sun pulls away from the shore we say goodbye to another college conference.

If you want to know where college football is going–follow the money! Nebraska will sign with the Big 10 Friday. That will allow the league to become the Big 12 because the majority of other teams in the conference formerly known as the Big 12 are deserting like rats from a sinking ship. Colorado has already gone to the PAC 10. It is expected to be followed by the Texas and Oklahoma teams soon. The PAC 10 will become the first “Super” conference with 16 teams.

The question is why is all this change going on? The answer is money. Nothing is more greedy than the college presidents around the country. That is why not only do they regularly demand more money from the state legislature but college fees to students have increased at 10 times the rate of inflation over the last 25 years.

The Big 10 gets 88 cents for every subscriber to the conference TV network. With the addition of a big name football school like Nebraska, look for that fee to go up. The viewers in Nebraska are out of the “primary” market so the conference will get only 8 cents for each subscriber there. However, the Big 10+2 will likely vote the newcomer a full share of the booty.

The Big 12 had a lousy TV contract. The teams that are leaving to go to the PAC 10+6 believe that conference will get a REALLY good TV deal under the new configuration.

Look for the ACC to bring Miami into their league plus someone else.  That would help them be less likely to be savaged by another league.  The funny thing is that had Notre Dame agreed to be the 12th Big 10 team, none of this might have happened.

The one thing you won’t see ANYWHERE else.

When the Big 10+2 becomes 16 and the PAC 10+6 get together, they will be able to put a great deal of pressure on the NCAA.  Most media people are complaining about the demise of the Big 12.  This change could well get us closer to the NCAA BcS Playoff that we all want.  The super conferences are going to be in a much more powerful position to push the NCAA into making changes to help the game.

USC gets its comeuppance!

The NCAA has hit the USC football program with a 30 scholarship reduction and a 2 year ban on bowl games as a result of the 5 year study into their lack of institutional control. When you lose 10 scholarships each year for 3 years, it will greatly impact your program.  This will really take USC out of the running for the top athletes for the next 2 years because a top 100 kid would not want to be banned from a shot at a bowl.

The USC basketball program was excluded from the NCAA tournament for a single year.  That was served last year by the team with a self-imposed penalty.

The NFLPA sues the NFL over the TV deal in 2011.

This is another “I told you so.” Over 6 months ago, I predicted that the NFLPA and DeMaurice Smith would sue over the TV deal that will pay the league even if there is no football in 2011. I will keep an eye on this for you but you can bet the farm that it will not move the league and the union any closer to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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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"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 .

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What to look for in the BcS Championship game.

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#1 Alabama

This is the year that Bama needs to win it all. They have 14 senior player that will be given serious consideration in the 2010 NFL draft 9 of whom should be drafted. They have as always some nice underclass talent but with that many guys leaving, a number of the key juniors will likely declare for the draft as well. They can not replace that many front line guys without taking a step back next season. This is their best chance to win the big prize.

Bama O

Bama can throw the ball but make no mistake about it—They need to run the ball to win. RB Ingram (So.) won the Heisman trophy and is outstanding. He has great vision and a very quick first step. He has decent speed and very seldom goes down at first contact. He is patent and uses blocks as well as any back in college. Those qualities are not developed. You either have them or you don’t. He is a good receiver and gets to the edge on screens often. He has 30 catches this year for an average of 10.2 yards which is a lot higher than most RBs.

QB McElroy has a passer rating of 142 but that is a little misleading. He has taken advantage of Ds that played 46 guys at the line of scrimmage to stop the run. He has thrown 17 TDs and has had just 4 picks. He throws a catchable ball with accuracy. He does not throw well under pressure and that could be a problem against Texas.

The Tide has good but not excellent receivers. Soph WRs Jones and Maze are the stars. Jones (6-4) is the big guy over the middle and has 42 catches and 4 TDs. Maze (5-10) is the speed guy with 30 catches for a 17 yard average and 2 TDs. TE Peek (3rd round) is a combo end with the ability to catch and block for the run. He has 26 catches and 3 TDs.

The O line is outstanding. It is led by All American Johnson (2nd) and Davis (6th). The team run blocks as well as any O line in recent years. They pass block well but were recruited to block the run.

Bama D

The D that stopped Florida is led by 2 All Americans (AA)—Butkus winner LB McClain (Jr.) and S Arenas (2nd). Arenas and SS Woodall (3rd) give the Tide the best pair of safeties in college. McClain was suffering from stomach problems but he is fine now. DT Cody (top 20 1st round) anchors the D line. He is the 4th rated DT in the draft. He fights through double teams to create havoc in the O backfield.

The D stuffs the run and lets the back line make up for any mistakes covering receivers. Given the quality of the back line, that has worked well. But against Texas, they are going to have to be more concerned about getting pressure on the QB and stopping the pass.

Texas

Texas will go as far as AA QB McCoy (1st) takes them. The team has depended more on his arm than on the run and the D put together.

Texas O

McCoy came back this year to win a championship. Texas was 18th in passing but 55th in rushing on O. McCoy has thrown for 3512 yards with 27 TDs and 12 picks. Because the running game has under produced, this year McCoy has taken more chances throwing the ball into coverage than he did last year. That accounted for more picks this year.

McCoy had more rushing attempts than leading RB Newton. Newton averaged 5 yards per carry on 102 attempts. AA second team WR Shipley (late 1 early 2) is by far the leading receiver with 106 catches and 11 TDs. The next highest is WR Williams (So.) with 38.

The O line is led by AA C Hall (4th), OT Ulatoski (3rd) and late round prospect G Tanner. The line pass blocks very well. They have not been as successful run blocking. This year the running game has not been up to usual Texas standards. When they have had a close game, they have struggled to close out the game by running.

Texas D

The Texas D may be the most under rated part of this game. The D held Oklahoma to 13, and T exas Tech to 24. They also saved the year for the Horns by keeping Nebraska to 12 points when the O struggled big time. The key to the team on D is the line. DT Houston (2nd) is the key along with DEs Jones and Acho who are both juniors. Houston keeps at least 2 OL guys busy and that frees up the LBs to attack the ball. OB Kindle (1st) is a force rushing the passer or stopping the run. He is also dangerous in pass coverage. His running mates Norton (late or FA) and Muckelroy (2nd) are returning starters and are under appreciated.

The D backfield is good but not great. CB Beasley (FA) is the bell cow but all 4 starters returned this year.

Prediction

I expect a low scoring game. I don’t see either team exploding offensively. The over/under is 45 and the under is the best bet. The line is Bama by 4. I expect them to win but it may be closer than that.

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 to look for in the Saturday January 2nd bowl games.

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PAPAJOHNS.com BOWL South Carolina 7-5 Connecticut 7-5

Despite losing a key player to tragedy and being out-manned regularly, UConn has played a handful of ranked teams close only to lose heartbreaking game after game. Starting CB Jasper Howard was murdered on Oct. 18th. The team carries his memory and his jersey as a rally flag. The heart and hard work was rewarded with an overtime win over Notre Dame followed by a couple of wins to end the season.

UConn’s O scores 31 points per game and is fairly balanced between the run and the pass. The running tandem of Todman and Dixon provide a good ground attack despite not having even an average O line. QB Endres took over half way through the year and has done fairly well completing 64% with 6 TDs and 4 picks. His favorite target is WR Easley (5th round). The D has gotten better over the year but still is young. It is led by DE Witten (4th) and FS Vaughn (5th).

The Ol’ Ball Coach Spurrier still throws the ball all over the place. “Running backs, we don’t need no stinkin’ running backs” seems to be the game plan for SC. QB Garcia has a rating of 124.5 with 2733 yards and 17 TDs. He has had 394 attempts while the top 2 running backs had a total of 211 carries.

The SC D has been very erratic. They allowed 41 points to a bad Georgia O and then held a highly rated offense of #4 Mississippi to just 10. The D is led by OB Norwood (late 2nd) and SS Stewart (6th).

While UConn has won 3 straight, SC has lost 3 of their last 4. SC is a 5 point favorite but I doubt they will win that big. This could be another upset.

COTTON BOWL #19 Oklahoma St. 9-3 Mississippi 8-4

Ole Miss QB Snead needs to have a good game to impress NFL scouts. He came into the season as a top QB draft prospect but has fallen to the point he would be better off to stay for his senior year. He has completed only 54% with 20 TDs and 17 picks. RB McCluster (3rd) is just 5-7 169 and will have to play WR in the NFL. WR Hodge (6th) and G Jerry (5th) are also prospects on the Rebel O.

The Rebel D has been inconsistent. They held the high powered O of Arkansas to 17 then let a below average O of Miss St. score 41. DE Hardy (1st or high 2nd) is the highest rated player on the team but FS Lewis should be a late round pick.

Oklahoma St. had a disappointing season as well. They were expected to compete for the Big 12 South title but lost to Houston in the pre-league schedule then had lopsided losses to Texas and Oklahoma. QB Robinson is a 3 year starter but had a less than expected senior year. He had a passer rating of 135 but that was down from 149 in 07 and 167 in 08. He is a late round prospect. The O line is led by top OT prospect Okung (early 1st) and G Lewis (6th). RB Tolson (6th) averaged 5.4 with 11 TDs.

The OSU D features CB Cox (2nd) and safeties Sexton and Antoine who are marginal prospects in the 7th round.

Mississippi is a 3 point favorite but expect OSU to win in an upset.

LIBERTY BOWL East Carolina 9-4 Arkansas 7-5

Hog QB Mallett led the team to the 10th best passing game in division 1. He threw for 3425 with 29 TDs and just 7 picks. His top receiver Childs had only 45 catches. Mallett spreads the ball around. G Petrus (4th) heads up his protection.

The Hog D is horrible. It allowed 33 points to LSU in their overtime loss. Only DT Sheppard has a chance to be drafted from that group.

EC’s D will challenge Mallett. It is led by DE Wilson (3rd), DT Ross (7th) and S Eskridge (6th). The D has played very well this year and seem to be getting better each week. The O is led by RB Lindsey. Most experts don’t believe he is a pro prospect but at 5-10 200 he is big enough. Behind an average line he averaged 5 per carry. I like his toughness.

The line is Hogs by 8 but I don’t think so. Take the points and EC may win outright.

ALAMO BOWL Michigan State 6-6 Texas Tech 8-4

This game will be ugly quickly. MSU had a horrible pass D even before the suspensions of several starters on D. TT G Carter (5th) and T Winn (fa) will protect QB Potts. He will be throwing the ball without concern for the MSU d. TT is an 8 point favorite. MSU will be very lucky to keep it that close.

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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