What to look for in this weekends college and NFL games

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football

UCLA @ #2 Oregon (Thursday) – The question here is which UCLA team will show up. If its the one that went to Texas and thumped them 34-12, this could be a real game. If it is the one that folded like a cheap suit at home against Stanford and lost 35-0, then you can be in bed by 10 PM. UCLA is better but they have not seen a RB with the speed of James. Some strange things happen on ESPN on a night game. This could be a Gotcha game with the always tough visit to USC coming up next week. But I think the Ducks win but it could be close.

#7 Michigan State @ Northwestern – NW may be 5-1 but they are a fraud. MSU wins easily.

Purdue @ #10 Ohio StatePurdue is a fraud at 4-2 despite being 2-0 in the league. OSU remembers a loss last year against the Boilers and will take out their frustrations on the improved but still not effective Purdue D.

Iowa State @ #18 Texas – Texas has two weeks to get their team ready for the tough games against #22 Kansas State and #14 Oklahoma State back to back. Texas has no problem with IS.

The Biggest games of the week

#1 Oklahoma @ #11 Missouri – The key to this game is the O of Missouri being able to run the ball. Their running game has been almost non-existent but they will need offensive balance against the Sooners. If they can not run the Sooner D line will be playing toss with Tiger QB Gabbert. Missu can’t run and the Sooners win.

#6 LSU @ #4 Auburn – Most people are looking at the running game of Auburn (6th overall) vs the D of LSU (11th in points allowed) but that is not the key. To win LSU has to be able to pass the ball. QB Jefferson threw for only 104 yards at home last week against McNeese State. He will have to do better because Auburn will do their best to keep control of Jefferson and keep him in the pocket. Auburn has played by far the tougher schedule and should win this game.

#13 Wisconsin @ #15 Iowa – After beating Ohio State last week, the Badgers have to go on the road to play a very solid Iowa team. The Badgers play much better at home. Iowa wins this game is a real slug-fest.

#16 Nebraska @ 14 Oklahoma State – The Husker O had been averaging almost 500 yards per game. Last week drops by WRs cost them the win and led to pulling Freshman QB Martinez. While the Husker O depends primarily on rushing (4th) they need to be more balanced to beat Ok St. The Huskers need to score often to keep up with an outstanding OK St. O which is 3rd in passing and 2nd in scoring. Ok St. has run up those numbers against some pretty weak competition. Even so, the pass D of the Huskers will be challenged. I predict Nebraska will win in a mild upset.

NFL Key games:

Steelers (4-1) -3 @ Dolphins (3-2) – The top ranked Steeler D (1 in scoring and rushing) will clamp down on the running game of the Fish. That will put pressure on QB Henne to throw against the only weakness of the Steelers (24th against the pass). Henne is steadily improving but the Dolphin O line is beat up a bit and that is not good against the Steelers front 7. The Dolphins are getting better but the Steelers are for real. Pittsburgh wins and covers.

Eagles (4-2) @ Titans (4-2) -3 – It looks like Titan QB Young will be able to play but Eagle QB Vick is still out. The Eagles looked very good in beating a solid Falcon team last week while the Titans blew out the Jags. The key is the Eagle D stopping the running game of the Titans. Young is going to have to run because the Eagle D did very well stopping the powerful running game of the Falcons. I don’t bet on Monday night winners so for the sake of argument I’ll take the points.

Cowboys (1-4) -3.5 @ Giants (4-2) – The Cowboys are playing like Cowgirls. This team is a loss or 2 away from imploding. Vegas thinks the desperation of the Boys is worth a TD. I don’t. The Giant D line is beginning to get back to their form and are really putting pressure on QBs. Boys QB Romo doesn’t handle pressure well. I’ll take the points and say thanks.

Best Bet: Pats +3 @ Chargers

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 this weekends games?

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football

College football

I didn’t do quite as well this past week in predicting winners in college football. This past week I went 5-3 so now have a total of 10-4.

#1 Alabama went down hard to #19 South Carolina. SC beat a top 3 team for the first time in the history of the school. They key was shutting down 2009 Heisman winner RB Ingram. The win by SC went against everything we have seen from the team for several years.

#2 Ohio State got some shocking news this week. Yesterday ESPN “BCS guru” Edwards projects that the BCS computer system shows OSU is the 10th highest rated team which is at the bottom of the undefeated group. According to him, the BCS formula would put Boise St., Oregon, TCU and Oklahoma ahead of the Buckeyes at this point in the season despite OSU being #1 in the human poll.

#3 Oregon didn’t quite put up the 50 points I predicted but did score 43 in the win over Washington St. The Oregon D showed some vulnerability to the pass and the Duck O lost WR James Rogers for the season. With all the weapons the Ducks have that should not hurt too badly but we will see.

#8 Auburn struggled on D against an aggressive 0-2 SEC Kentucky team. Ky QB Hartline went 23-28 for 220 yards and a TD. Auburn will have to do much better than that if they expect to beat Arkansas or Alabama.

Unranked Oregon State is finally starting to look like the 22nd ranked team it was projected to be in the preseason poll. As I predicted, it went to #9 Arizona and won the game 29-27. The Beavers made plays when they needed them most and were 10-15 on 3rd down conversions. Arizona was 6-11.

Two of the best games of the week pitted top 25 teams against each other in Florida. #12 LSU beat #14 Florida in a come back win scoring on the last play of the game 33-29. It took a fake field goal to convert their last 3rd down and put the Tigers in a position to score the final TD with 6 seconds left.

In Miami #23 Florida State overwhelmed the #13 Hurricanes 45-17. Miami did not look prepared for the game. It looked lethargic and uninterested.

The Pros:

For a detailed analysis of the pro game check out NFLDraftDog.com News Notes and Rumors.

The Monday night game:

The Vikings came into New York really needing a win and left without it. Frankly, I think QB Farve has arm problems. It has affected his accuracy more than velocity. Next week is Desperation Bowl between a 1-3 Dallas team and the 1-3 Vikings. The loser of that game will be virtually out of the playoffs.

Cowboys: With both the current coach Phillips and the Coach in waiting Garett on the hot seat, it is hard to predict what Owner Jerry Jones will do if the Boys go to 1-4. The Boys have never replaced a coach in the middle of a season, but JJ has made a lot of noise about wanting to be a home team for the Super Bowl which will be in Dallas this year.

Vikings: The Vikes are in better shape than the Boys for a couple of reason. First, they are in the NFC North which has been weaker than most other divisions prior to this season. At least they are not in the basement because Detroit is also in that division. Second, the Vike D is much better than the Boys D and plays more consistently. The problem has been the O in general and QB Farve in particular. He has turned the ball over WAY too much and that has led to the losses. The running game which struggles in the last half of 09 has been better this season despite losing RB Taylor in free-agency.

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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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 .

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

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football

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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