Wednesday on News, Notes and Rumors radio version.

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West Virginia OLB JT Thomas joins me @ 6:20 to talk about the draft & his experiences at the combine and his pro day.

At 7:20 Samantha Burten feature writer for the Bleacher Report talks about the Indians.

Special Announcement: My radio version of News, Notes and Rumors will be on air during the entire NFL draft Thursday April 28 and Friday April 29th. The show both nights will begin at 6 PM EDT and continue during every pick of the first 3 rounds. On Thursday, my co-host will be Paul Banks of SportBank.com to help cover the 1st round. On Friday, my co-host will be Kevin Arnold AKA Ziffles.

I will have a special show on Saturday beginning at 11AM and cover the draft until the middle of the 6th round or when my voice gives out whichever comes first. Ken Becks of 1stdownscouting.com will be my co-host. We will have wrap up coverage of the entire draft Saturday after the last pick and again on Monday during our regular show with Paul Banks.

Please join me and call in on the Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607 and tell us how your favorite team has done. Phone lines will be open during the broadcast.

Please join us for the latest in NFL draft information.

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 a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ or http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.

"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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Who stood out at the East West Shrine game?

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For this article I ignored the potential draft position of the players and rated their performance on the field on game day. Let me say up front that I do not agree with the “experts” that watch the practices and leave on game day. In my years of coaching, I have seen a lot of guys that looked like Tarzan in practice but when the pressure was on in a game they played like Jane.

Blair White WR Michigan State 14 points (4th round)

Blair gets open, has very good hands, and can adjust to bad balls (because he has had so much experience with bad QBs). He was a 4th or 5th projection before the EW game but with a very solid game he has moved into the 4th. The one question about him is speed. He is projected to run a 4.52. At 6-1 200 lbs, that is just OK. If he gets under 4.5 he could get into the 3rd.

Rahim Alem DE Louisiana State 13 pts (3rd)

Alem is 6-3 and 262. That is too light for a starting DE in the pros. He doesn’t really look like he can put on another 30 pounds and keep his speed. He is expected to run a 4.7 40 and depends on that speed to be effective. He could be a pass rush specialist at the next level. He had 2 hurries and caused an interception in the game. He needs work to develop something other than a one move outside rush.

Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green State 13 pts (5th)

Barnes is one of my favorite value picks. He is only 6′ and 206 and runs a slow 4.58. But he is the prototype slot receiver. Ask Tom Brady how valuable WR Welker is to his offense! Barnes is a high motor guy that will block for the run, get open on short routes, catch the ball in a crowd and will be a pain to any D trying to cover him. He was one of the few weapons at BG and still drove Ds nuts.

James Ruffin DE Northern Iowa 13 pts (5th)

Ruffin is another too light DE. But at 6-4 he has the ability to add bulk and be a starting DE. He played really well and got a hurry and a sack. He also caused a penalty and got a couple of other pass rushes. He is not good at anchoring against the run but more bulk will help. He could be a value pick in the 5th and could go higher if he puts on some good weight and still runs a 4.75-4.8 40.

O’Brien Schofield OB Wisconsin 10 pts (3rd prior to injury)

Schofield reportedly tore his ACL which is a real shame. He had never played LB until the EW game but picked up the position very quickly. He got an interception, had the speed to get wide to stretch out the run, and covered receivers well. Given the injury, he will fall to the 7th round or may not be drafted. He will be an outstanding value for someone but not until 2011.

Andrew Quarless TE Penn State 9pts (6th)

This is a very deep TE draft. As a result, Quarless may drop to the 6th. He is a decent blocker but a good receiver. He gets open, and had 3 nice catches in the game including a TD. He is 6-5 248 and should be able to run a 4.7 40. He will be a nice 2nd TE and does well on special teams.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State 9pts (7th)

Worthington was a mainstay of the Buckeye D. He had a solid EW game as well. He was doubled a number of times, got half a sack in my grading, and was solid in rushing the passer. He is decent against the run but at 275 could add some weight to get better.

Lindsey Witten DE Connecticut 8pts (4th)

Witten was one of the higher rated players at the EW game. But he is another of the underweight DEs in college. At 264 he needs weight to be a potential starter. But he uses his speed (4.7) to get to the QB. He may not be able to add the weight and keep the speed. At 6-4 he could be a LB conversion as well.

Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech 8pts (5th)

Wall will give you a great play then screw up badly. He scored 14 points with 3 excellent pass breakups but lost points with bad coverage and a penalty. At 5-10 with 4.5 speed, he is going to have to improve his coverage skills to make a team. He will contribute on special teams but will be a risk to draft even in the 5th round.

Reggie Carter IB UCLA 8pts (5th/6th)

Carter is a high motor guy with good instincts and the ability to stop the run. At 243 he will likely end up outside and should be OK there if he runs the 4.7 that he is expected to do at the Combine. He covers receivers fairly well and can contribute on special teams.

Alric Arnett WR West Virginia 8pts (6th)

Drafting a WR from a running team is always a little risky. But Arnett may be the exception. He has decent speed (4.49) good hands and can catch the bad pass. The question is can he get open regularly? He looked good in the game.

Greg Hardy DE Mississippi 8pts (1st or 2nd)

Hardy led the SEC in sacks and came into the game with a low 1st early 2nd round evaluation. I was not that impressed in this game. He played a lot better against Florida and Georgia. He got a sack, and had 2 other nice plays but allowed himself to get caught up in the wash too often against the run. He is an outstanding athlete but didn’t make enough plays in the game. He is going to have to add some weight to be a regular. But that could hurt his speed. At an expected 4.58 in the 40, he need his speed. He too may be a LB conversion prospect but taking a conversion that high is a huge risk.

Stevenson Sylvester OB Utah 8pts (FA)

Sylvester really popped early then disappeared. He attacks the run with great instincts, but he is too small and too slow but showed a great motor early. I have not yet decided how I feel about him but I will let you know when I get deeper into player evaluation.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl draft,projected draft choices,East West Shrine Game,All star game,College Football,Michigan State,Louisiana State,Bowling Green,Northern Iowa,Wisconsin,Penn State,Ohio State,UConn,Texas Tech,UCLA,West Virginia,Mississippi,Utah
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  • Published: Dec 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

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football

OUTBACK BOWL Northwestern 8-4 Auburn 7-5

This game pits the Big 10 vs. SEC. NW wins over two ranked teams (Iowa and Wisconsin) in the last two games gave them hope they can break a 6 bowl losing streak. This is the first New Year’s day bowl since 97. QB Kafka has thrown for 2898 yards but only 12 TDs and 7 picks. He has to produce the majority of the O because the running game has struggled. RB Fields has averaged just 3.0 per attempt this year. The NW D is solid and is led by DE Wootton who should be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft. The NW D will have to find a way to contain the Auburn running game or it will be a long day.

Auburn had its usual fast start 5-0 only to lose 5 of their final 7 games. QB Todd had a nice season with 2377 yards 21 TDs and just 6 picks. He was able to take advantage of opponent defenses focused on stopping the 13th best running game in Division 1. RB Tate is the key. He ran for 1254 yards at a 5.8 per attempt and scored 8 TDs. He should be a 3rd round pick in the draft.

The Tiger D is led by LB Coleman and DT Ricks both of whom are good draft prospects.

Auburn is the better team that played a better schedule and will win.

GATOR BOWL Florida St. 6-6 #16 West Virginia 9-3

This is the last game on the sideline for legendary coach Bowden. He is second in all time Div. 1 wins. Bowden’s problems in the last few years have been on D. He has not gotten the super athletes on D to be competitive at the highest level. This year’s D has 3 draftable players. CB Robinson is a 1st round prospect. OB Watson is a 3rd round prospect. I really like SS Rolle and he would be a steal in the 5th round. QB Ponder is hurt but had a good year. His replacement Manuel has thrown more picks (6) than TDs (2). The running game is capable with RB Thomas averaging 5.2 per attempt.

WV has won 4 straight bowl games. They took advantage of a below average Big East to get to 9-3. QB Brown is supposed to be 4th round prospect but don’t expect that. He has struggled this year an the team has averaged 211 per game passing which ranks a dismal 84th. On O also watch OT Capers who may be a 2nd round pick.

On D the team has been good but has no senior super stars. The FSU team will play their hearts out for Bowden and despite being the underdog, I expect a close game and maybe an FSU win.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL #12 LSU 9-3 #13 Penn St. 10-2

LSU should have at least on player taken in each of the 7 rounds of the draft. Potential 1st round pick WR LaFell is 6-3 and is the prime target in the endzone for LSU. Look for OT Black and RB Scott to be picked in 2nd and 4th round respectively. Scott is a slasher who averaged 4.7 per attempt but injuries held him to just 116 carries. He is questionable for the game. The Tiger O ranks 108th which is not good looking at a solid Penn State D. The LSU D is led by SS Coleman (3rd or 4th round) and DE Alem (4th or 5th). While the D started out well, it has struggled to get off the field in the last 4 games giving up over 380 yards a game.

PS QB Clark was the leading passer in the Big 10 but tended to throw picks at the worst times against the toughest competition. His 2009 performance has dropped him from a possible 4th round pick to undrafted Free Agent status. Junior RB Royster has yet to decide if he will enter the draft. He averaged 5.9 per attempt and would be a 2nd round pick most likely.

The strength of PS is the D which is led by DT Odrick (1st round), ILBs Lee (2nd) and Hull (5th) .

The line is PS by 3 and that looks about right. If Scott doesn’t play it could be a lot worst than that.

ROSE BOWL #7 Oregon 10-2 #8 Ohio State 10-2

OSU Coach Tressel has suspended 3 players for the game including WR Small. That won’t help an O that has struggled this year. They have only 1 draftable Senior on O—C Cordle. The O line has been bad and QB Pryor has run for his life rather than running for first downs. The Bucks have the 106th ranked passing O. Pryor has not improved in his 2nd year as starter. In fact, he has become less accurate with worse mechanics than last year. The running game ranks 19th with a gagle of backs contributing including Pryor.

The OSU D ranks 5th in rushing D. That D will be tested often by the Ducks who rank 6th in rushing. S Coleman and DT Worthington are both prospects in the last half of the 2010 Draft.

Oregon’s RB James hides in the back pocket of the Duck O line then bursts out to rip off big gains. USC never could find him let alone tackling him close to the line. James replaced RB Blount who was suspended for hitting a player after the Boise State game. QB Masoli has a passer rating of 130 and has a great target in TE Dickson (2nd or 3rd round). The Ducks are 7th in scoring and will give the Buckeye D all they want.

Big 10 teams usually lose the Rose Bowl but that has been against USC most often. But the line is Oregon by 5. It shouldn’t be that close. However the best bet here is the under at 51.

SUGAR BOWL #3 Cincinnati 12-0 #5 Florida 12-1

The big question in this game is which Bearcat team will show up? Their coach is on his way to South Bend. This is big game not only for Cincy but for the Big East. This is their chance to show the football world that they are just as good as the big boys. Cincy is ranked 6th in total O and scoring but that was not against the kind of D speed that Florida has. They will depend on QB Pike (2nd or 3rd) to WR Gilyard (top 20). The Cincy O ranked 7th in passing despite the loss of Pike for a good deal of the season. RB Pead has average 6.6 per attempt. They won’t have that success against the Gators.

On D, Cincy has been solid led by DE Daniels and SS Webster both late round prospects. The team has been good against the run but a little soft vs the pass.

Florida has coaching questions of its own. Coach Meyer announced he was leaving the sideline but a day later that it was only a leave of absence. QB Tebow has been the bell cow of the team and is the spiritual leader. No other player in the draft has as many different views of his pro potential than Tebow. Experts rank his anywhere from top 3 to the middle of the 4th round. I will have a detailed scouting report later. He has 2413 yards passing with 18 TDs and 5 picks. He added another 859 yards rushing with 13 TDs. WR Cooper (3rd or 4th) is solid. The O line has been a little shaky but has blocked enough to allow RB Demps to average 7.7 per carry.

The Florida D is led by LB Spikes (1st) DE Cunningham (3rd) and OB Stamper and Doe. Look for them to keep the pressure on Pike all day.

Florida is a 13 point favorite and it shouldn’t be that close. But Cincy has fooled teams before.

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: New Year’s Day Bowls,NFL,NFL Draft,Outback,Northwestern,Auburn,Gator Bowl,Florida State,West Virginia,Capitol One Bowl,LSU,Penn State,Rose Bowl,Ohio State,Oregon,Sugar Bowl,Cincinnatim Florida

What to look for this weekend in football

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College

Pac10 Championship—sort of

Oregon beat Oregon State 37-33 for the league title and the Rose Bowl ticket. In the end, it was the running and passing of the Ducks that won the game. The Ducks will give Ohio State all they want.

SEC Championship We finally get to see #1 Florida against #2 Alabama. It should be a defensive struggle again this year like it was last season. However, Bama seems to have a little more explosiveness to their O than the Gators. The game will be determined by turnovers and will be low scoring and close. The Bama D is as good as the Florida D so the game will depend on the QB’s ability to move the ball on the opponent. Most experts think that Bama will win but I can’t go against Tebow. When the game is in the balance he always seems to find a way to win.

Big12 Championship

#3 Texas will have their way with a good but too young #22 Nebraska team in this game. The game will be the showcase for QB Colt McCoy and should elevate him to a Heisman award as much for his body of work as for this season. The Huskers are a year away from challenging for a B12 title.

#5 Cincinnati @ #15 Pitt

The Bearcats are playing for a BcS game and should win. Pitt looked very ordinary last week in a loss to West Virginia. I expect the Cats’ D to be too much for the talented but turnover prone Panthers.

USA Conference Championship

If you haven’t seen Houston QB Keenum, take a look at this game. He is fun to watch. The Houston O is a wide open passing game that will throw the ball all over the East Carolina D. Nobody is going to want to get paired with Houston in a bowl game.

NFL

Eagles @ Falcons

QB Vick makes his return to Atlanta but won’t be a factor. Both teams are chasing after a playoff spot. The loser will likely be out of the race. The Falcons play well at home but the Eagles should win.

Titans @ Colts

QB Young will have his winning streak ended with a thud but most likely it won’t be his fault. The Titan D has been playing better with Young at QB because he has been able to keep drives alive with his legs. The problems in the pass D of the Titans will be exploited by Manning. The Colts won’t blow them away because they tend to play down to competition but the Colts will win.

Cowboys @ Giants

Well, it’s December and time for the Boys to take their annual dive. Everything points to a Boys win but Romo doesn’t play well after Turkey day. The Boys need a win to keep up on the Eagles. I have to think that the Boys will find a way to lose rather than Giants winning the game.

Vikings @ Cards

IF QB Warner plays, this should be a good close game filled with offense. But I don’t think he will and the Vikes will win. QB Leinart couldn’t beat the Titans last week and folds under a good pass rush. The Vikes turn up the heat on D and win the game.

Ravens @ Packers

The Ravens have struggled in the last couple of weeks but should find the Pack D a little easier to run on. But in the end, the Pack O will be too much for an aging Raven D. Pack wins in a close game.

Seattle fires their GM.

Tim Ruskett, the GM that replaced Coach Holmgren in that role. Some people are assuming that Holmgren will come back to take that job along with the Presidency of the team. I don’t think that will happen. Holmgren didn’t have a great history drafting players. Check out my analysis of his draft history on NFLDraftDog.com.

Browns lose all hope.

The Browns lost their best player on D—NT Rogers and best player on O—RB Lewis to the IR. What will hurt even more, their best player overall in Mr. Everything, Cribbs. Cribbs let a kickoff free ball lay in the end zone against the Bengals. That was not a brain cramp; it was a signal that he has given up on the team, the coaching staff and his chance for getting the contract that he was promised. Again, I will comment on this more in my weekly article on NFLDraftDog.com.

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: Oregon State,Oregon,Pac10,NCAA Football,Rankings,BCS,BCS Championship game,Ohio State,Florida,Alabama,Texas,Nebraska,SEC Championship game,Big 12 Championship game,Cincinnati,Pitt,Houston,East Carolina,Eagles,Falcons,Titans,Colts,VICK,Cowboys,Giants,Vikings,Cardinals,Ravens,Packers,Browns,Seahawks,Holmgren

What did we learn in the College football last weekend?

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football

Both Weis and Bowden are fired.

Weis used the players recruited by Tyrone Willingham for his early success. The experience at ND proved that as head coach, Weis was one step beyond his level of competence. ND will likely never again be a regular contender for a national title. It may wander close from time to time but no matter who is the next coach, the team will not regain the status that both the administration and the fan base assume is their natural right.

Bowden is an entirely different story. Florida State was a joke prior to him becoming head coach. The “what have you done for me lately” group of FSU fans don’t seem to remember that. He had 14 straight top 5 finishes, 2 national championships, 12 conference championships, a bowl record of 21-10-1 and the second most wins in division 1 college football history. He is still loved by both his current and former players and the parents of those players. Now he has decided to retire the way that former USSR heads of state did—by threat of force. That is not the way that a great coach should end his career. FSU will have some problems getting a better coach. That is a hard act to follow.

The BcS is busted.

This season there are 6 undefeated teams going into the last week of the regular season. Either Florida or Alabama will drop from that list next week. Even so, it is clear to anyone that has watched TCU and Cincy are capable of playing with anyone. But until the pinhead college presidents get a kick in the butt from major donors that will suspend their gifts until Mr. Pinhead votes for a playoff, nothing will change. The fans are being cheated by a system that takes all meaning out of the regular season.

The big boys struggle with lessor competitors

#2 Alabama struggles to beat rival Auburn 26-21.

The Tide didn’t roll in the annual Iron Bowl. They looked sluggish and incapable of taking advantage of an Auburn D that was depleted by injury. They did show good fortitude coming back to win with less than 2 minutes left. But some cracks were obvious. The Tide managed only 73 yards rushing. RB Ingram who was considered a top Heisman prospect looked very average with 16 carries for 30 yards. They will have to play better than that to beat Florida.

#3 Texas D allows 39 by Texas A&M.

The strength of the Texas team was supposed to be the D beside QB McCoy. But TAM QB Johnson threw for 342 yards against the Texas D while McCoy could manage only 175. TAM WR Fuller ran through the Texas D so wide open it was like he was contagious with the H1N1. Something that should concern all Horn fans is that TAM lost to Oklahoma 65-10 and Colorado 35-34 in the last couple of weeks. Texas did not look good on either side of the ball.

#6 Boise State almost gets Kaepernicked.

Boise went into the game against Nevada with one thought—stop QB Kaepernick. They jumped out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter. Even so, they were forced to score in the 4th quarter to win over a team with one threat—Big K. Kaepernick is a great runner and a better passer than most think. As always, he put the team on his back and almost pulled off the upset of decade for his school. The Boise D was so focused on K that they allowed a much less talented team to get back in the game.

#7 Georgia Tech gets lost in the hedges.

As I have said for several weeks, the way to beat GTk is to get in front quickly and then hold on for dear life. Georgia found its running game and used it to keep the GTk O off the field. Tech scored 17 points in the 2nd half but fell short 30-24.

#9 Pitt gets upset by West Virginia.

Pitt had to score 10 points in the last 8 minutes just to get the game into overtime. They were in a position to challenge for a BcS bowl but not now. WV took revenge for Pitt knocking them out of a potential BcS Championship game a couple of years ago.

#12 Oklahoma State looked inept against an angry Sooner team.

Perhaps the biggest turkey of the weekend was OkS that looked totally outclassed by a wounded and angry Oklahoma team. OkS was shown to be a pretender not a contender.

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: NCAA Football,BCS,BCS Championship,Flroida State,Notre Dame,Weis,Bowden,Alabama,Auburn,Texas,Texas A&M,Boise State,Nevada,Georgia Tech,Georgia,Pitt,West Virginia,Oklahoma State,Oklahoma

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