Friday, December 9, 2011

What to expect this College Football Bowl Season- Who is ready for a vacation?

Yesterday, we looked at some teams with extra motivation entering this bowl season. Now, let us look at several teams who are ready for the season to end.

Teams Ready for a Vacation

1) Arizona St. (+14) (6-6) vs. Boise St. (11-1) - After a terrific 5-1 start to the 2011 campaign had the Sun Devils positioned perfectly for a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game, Dennis Erickson’s squad lost 5 of their last 6 to slide their way to a 6-6 finish. The late season collapse cost Erickson his job and left the players with the dreaded “lame duck head coach.” Now they must rebound to play a Boise St. team who was one missed FG each year away from being undefeated two years in a row. The talent is certainly there for Ariz. St but if they don’t bring a full effort, this could be a bloodbath.

2) Southern Miss (-6) (11-2) vs. Nevada (7-5) - Southern Miss pulled off the biggest upset of the C-USA season by thrashing previously undefeated Houston in the title game. Afterwards, they expected to be heading to the Liberty Bowl (as is customary for the C-USA champion) with their head coach Larry Fedora. Since that day, the Golden Eagles have lost their head coach to UNC and will now be playing in the Hawaii Bowl, in a move that the school’s AD called “disappointing.” Hard to imagine a great effort from this SMiss team who already won their Super Bowl in beating Houston.

3) Oklahoma (-14) (9-3) vs. Iowa (7-5) - The preseason #1 team in the country hit some injuries and several roadblocks on the way to the national title game. After starting 6-0, the Sooners finished the season 3-3 including an embarrassing loss to rival Okla St. in the season’s final week. Oklahoma entered that game still having a shot to win the Big 12 and secure a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. The loss drops them all the way down to the Insight Bowl against an unspectacular Iowa team. It’s hard to believe that Stoops’ crew will come with a full effort here and I expect Iowa to give them a tight ballgame.

4) Tex A+M (-10) (6-6) vs. NWestern (6-6) - If it weren’t for 4!! 2nd-half collapses, this season and Mike Sherman’s job could have been salvaged; nonetheless, TAMU enters this game against a feisty Wildcat squad without their coach and falling far short of their preseason expectations (#8 AP, #9 USA Today). Despite their disappointments this year, Sherman’s firing was a surprise to his players and their effort might fall short in this game without him.

5) Illinois (-2.5) (6-6) vs. UCLA (6-7) – On October 9, Illinois was 6-0 and ranked 16th in the country. Since then, they have not won a single game and head coach Ron Zook was (finally) fired. To add to their issues entering this game, OC Paul Petrino left to join the Arkansas staff. So, to summarize, Illinois is coming off a 6-game losing streak and are replacing two coaches. UCLA has its own issues (see the firing of Neuheisel) but they showed in the Pac 12 Championship game that they would at least put up a fight in a bowl game. Expect a pathetic effort from a backsliding Illini team.

Fantasy Sit/Start-Texans @ Bengals

I see this game as a potential defensive struggle, so temper your expectations on both sides of the football.  Arian Foster is a must-start every week, but he might struggle against a solid Bengals rush defense.  Still, Mendenhall was able to sneak away with a few scores last week, which is good news for Foster owners.  I wouldn't risk starting Tate, as I see Foster getting 25 carries in this game, which doesn't leave much room for Tate to be effective.  I wouldn't touch TJ Yates in this one, despite a solid outing last week.  Andre Johnson is out this week, so he is without his safety blanket, and the rest of the Texans receivers don't seem to benefit from Andre's absence.  I think AJ Green is a must-start every week.  He's proven himself enough, but I'd steer clear of Andy Dalton, unless you have no better options.  He will be a top-15 fantasy QB, but he won't break the top-10.  Both defenses are startable, but I think both teams will play a solid, nearly mistake-free game, since they have a lot riding on these next few games.  Benson and Gresham are also both startable, but I would look for alternatives.  I can't see Benson getting much going in this one, but he could steal a touchdown. Should be a great game.

Sit:  Dalton, Tate, Jerome Simpson, TJ Yates, Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones

Start In Deeper Leagues: Benson

Start: Foster, AJ Green

If You're Desperate:  Owen Daniels hasn't had over 50 yards in a month, but he was second on the team in targets last week to Andre Johnson, who is out this week.  Gresham is still the better play, but if you need to pick someone up off waivers, Daniels is not a bad option.

Fantasy Sit/Start-Colts @ Ravens

One has to think the Ravens will run away with this one, but to what extent?  The Colts looked strong last week, but I can't see them keeping up the aerial attack against a vicious Ravens defense.  I don't like Flacco in this one, because I never do, and you should expect the Ravens to get a lead and sit on it.  Of the two Ravens receivers, I like Boldin better in this matchup.  Torrey Smith will have trouble getting past that Colts Cover 2.  Roll with the Ravens defense, they should be one of the best fantasy defenses this week.  Ray Rice should have another career day--I'm predicting 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.  In terms of Colts, if you're desperate for a tight end, Jacob Tamme is not a bad play (although the Ravens cover the tight end well), and Garcon is OK, but I'd stay away.  Don't let Reggie Wayne's stat line from last week fool you--he's not worth starting.

Sit: Wayne, Flacco, Donald Brown, Delone Carter, all your Colts.

Deeper League Start: Garcon, Torrey Smith

Start: Rice, Baltimore D, Boldin

Potential Sleeper: Ed Dickson could have a good game, as we all saw what Gronkowski was able to do last week.  Then again, it is Rob Gronkowski.

If You're Desperate:  Ricky Williams could score a touchdown, if you need an injury plug-in.

Kansas drops Turner Gill after 2 years for Charlie Weis?

Kansas was applauded in 2009 for their hiring of Turner Gill as their new head coach after he led Buffalo to the 2008 MAC championship. He was a young, up and coming, minority coach with a background in the Big 12 where he thrived as the star QB at Nebraska. After 2 years and before he could even bring in his own players, they unceremoniously dumped him for Charlie Weis. Granted, Gill was just 5-19 in his two seasons with the Jayhawks, but two campaigns is not long enough to judge the long-term potential of a coach. Kansas decided to go for the big name...the sexy hire.

Every sports fan is aware of Weis' unquestionable success in his time with the New England Patriots, but even the biggest Weis supporters couldn't argue he has been successful in either of his college jobs. As the head coach of Notre Dame, he alienated the fan base with his smarmy demeanor and non-stop fade patterns while stumbling to a pedestrian 35-27 record. This past season as the Florida OC, his offense struggled to maintain consistency, despite having talent at the skill positions, finishing 72nd in the FBS scoring 25.6 points per game. In their 5 games against ranked opponents (all losses), they managed just 10, 11, 6, 20, and 12 points. They concluded the season with an embarrassing 7 point output against rival Florida St. Not exactly the numbers expected for an "offensive genius."

Congratulations, Kansas. He's yours now. Good luck in your next job, Turner Gill. You got a raw deal.

Chris Paul Trade Happened, then Didn't Happen.

Last night we, as NBA fans, received an early Christmas present, only to see it taken away by Scrooge himself, David Stern.  We heard the news break, "Chris Paul traded to the Lakers."  Then a mere hour later, "The NBA says, 'NO.'"  We were left scratching our heads.  Why did this happen?  As we have been hearing a lot this morning, the Hornets are owned by the NBA, but this trade veto has to run much deeper than that.  It has to.

A little timeline--
Last week, Chris Paul says he wants out of New Orleans this year, preferably a trade to the Knicks.  It seemed as though any other big market team would suffice.
New Orleans obliges, knowing he can freely leave after this year, and they would like to avoid a Carmelo situation.
The phones are ringing, as they have for the past five months--this situation seemed inevitable even in June.
The Lakers strike a deal, one in which they come away in a much worse situation than they had been before the trade.
The Hornets, who want to get some trade value out of Chris Paul, end up winning the deal by a landslide for a player they would basically be leasing for the next six months.
The NBA nixes the deal, namely David Stern, saying Chris Paul must finish the season in New Orleans.

For those of us who haven't seen the trade logistics already, The Rockets, Lakers, and Hornets involved themselves in a three-way deal sending Gasol to the Rockets and Paul to the Lakers.  The Hornets would receive Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick in 2012.  How is that not fair?

The reasons this trade was vetoed must be speculated, as the NBA isn't capable of giving a straight answer to the basketball-watching public.  But David Stern cited that Chris Paul has to finish out the season in New Orleans, and it might be a strong effort to keep one of the NBA's struggling franchises afloat.  After all, the NBA, along with fellow owners, had to buy out the Hornets a few years ago, but clearly stated they would have no say in personnel decisions.  Well, they are having their say.  David Stern felt pressured--pressured by owners, pressured by New Orleans, and pressured by money.  The Lakers don't need Chris Paul, financially speaking, because 1111 S Figueroa Street will sell out as is.  But New Orleans?  They have been losing money for the past three years, even with Chris Paul, and the NBA can't let them lose their only star player.  David Stern had to come in and say, "Not if I have anything to say about it."

But is this decision strictly financial?  If the Lakers acquired Chris Paul, and then, hypothetically, were able to deal for Dwight Howard, it would make the regular season meaningless.  The Heat and Lakers would be in the NBA Finals every year, and the Lakers' big three would be head-and-shoulders above the Heat's.  Lebron James is the so-called poster child of the NBA, although most everyone hates him outside of South Beach, where he so notoriously took his talents last offseason.  The NBA wants him to win a title, although we are not sure why, and Paul and Howard in Los Angeles would directly hinder that.

But let's not, even for a second, compare this Chris Paul situation to Lebron's.  Paul has gone about this all the right ways--he doesn't want to be lost in obscurity in a small NBA market, so he simply requested a trade to a bigger one.  Lebron put on a show for his decision, trying to make himself bigger than the sport, eventually being brought down to earth by the general reception of "The Decision."  If Paul can't lobby for his trade, after being as gracious as one can in a moment like this, then who can?

Eventually, in the next week, I expect Stern and the NBA executives to reverse this decision, as it is a complete injustice to all the teams involved, especially the Hornets.  Stern isn't thinking long-term, and in his effort to save this Hornets franchise, he is actually killing them.  Rather than receiving four good players and a draft pick for Paul, they would be left with nothing at season's end.

If Scrooge doesn't reverse his decision, then I have lost what little interest I have left in the NBA.

Redskins - Patriots Preview

Redskins - Patriots Preview

(NB: Maybe just to piss off John and Kyle, but I will be writing a Redskins gameday preview every week.)

Tom Brady and the Patriots are coming to FedEx, and honestly this should be a blood bath.  I was up at the game a few years ago in Foxboro where the Patriots absolutely destroyed the 'Skins.  I don't think it will be as bad as 52-7 this time around, but it will be bad.

Key Matchups

Skins Secondary vs. Patriots receivers. The big question here is who's gonna stop Wes Welker?  The answer, no one.  Welker in the slot is a matchup from hell.  If Barnes ends up on him, it's game over; though, frankly, I doubt Deangelo Hall and Josh Wilson would fair much better.

Gronk/Hernandez vs. LB's and Safeties.  Again, matchup nightmare for just about any defense. Gronkowski is doing record-setting things this year, and Hernandez is an unbelievably versatile TE too.  OJ Atogwe should be able to hold is own, but "holding your own" against Gronkowski this year isn't saying much.  Doughty, on the other hand, has no chance of limiting anything that these guys do.  Look for the Patriots to absolutely expose him.

The Skins Pass Rush vs. The Pats Oline.  The Redskins have one of the better pass rushes in the league.  Kerrigan and Orakpo are animals with non-stop motors who have been wreaking havoc on QBs all year.  The problem is that the Patriots have one of the best offensive lines around.  I've watched Brady on numerous occasions this year literally stand in the pocket for extended periods of time.  However, if Orakpo and Kerrigan have a great day, look for the Patriots to be slowed down a little bit....just a tiny bit.

The Skins Offense vs. The Pats Defense.  So this is pretty interesting.  Belichick is known for his defenses, right? But the Patriots haven't really been playing too much defense the past few years.  I know there's an argument to be made for what they're trying to accomplish defensively.  As in, teams are moving the ball with ease on them, but they do force a lot of turnovers.  The problem with that philosophy this year, is that teams are getting into the endzone against the Patriots defense when they aren't forcing turnovers.

Too bad the Redskins won't be doing that.  With the suspensions of Trent Williams and Fred Davis, the few bright spots of this miserable offense will be MIA.  The offensive line has struggled tremendously without the anchor and best player out of the lineup, so it should be even more of a disaster versus an intricate Belichick pass rushing scheme.  And, of course, Alligator Arms Grossman will most likely throw 7,000 interceptions.

At the end of the day, the Redskins have one of the best defenses in the league. Top 5 in my opinion, and theres plenty of statistical evidence to back that up.  They're healthy with the exception of Landry, and London Fletcher is ageless. For that reason, you have to give the Redskins a chance of pulling something out in most games.  This game is not the case.  The Patriots have too much offensive firepower, and the Redskins offense, minus Davis and Williams won't be able to do anything.

Positive Notes - 1) Roy Helu has been awesome to watch in his rookie year, and he should impress this Sunday too; 2) The Redskins linebackers always play well, always play hard - Fletcher, Orakpo, and Kerrigan are great players.

Final Score: Patriots 34, Redskins 1

Brandon Roy We Barely Knew Ya

Brandon Roy, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard is retiring because of degenerative knee problems.  He played 5 seasons, and never a full one.  Career average of 19.0 ppg.  I was a huge Brandon Roy fan because I thought he played with grit despite having talent.  Tough to see this type of thing happen to such a good player.

Ultimate Fantasy Football Lineup for Week 14

QB- Aaron Rodgers: 36 points (Projected Total)
RB- Ray Rice: 29 points
RB- Marshawn Lynch: 26 points
WR- Calvin Johnson: 28 points
WR- Greg Jennings: 22 points
Flex- Ryan Mathews: 25 points
TE- Jimmy Graham: 18 points
K- David Akers: 16 points
Def- Seattle Seahawks: 23 points

What to expect this College Football Bowl Season- Who is Motivated?

Over the next 2 weeks, we will be previewing every single bowl game from a fans and bettors perspective. But first, let’s look at which teams will come into their bowl match-ups with terrific motivation.
Teams Ready For a Battle
1) Purdue (-2.5) (6-6) vs. WMichigan (7-5) - After an inauspicious start to the season with a 24-22 road loss to Rice in game 2, Purdue rebounded in Big Ten play to finish .500 in conference and clinch bowl eligibility with a road win at Indiana. When Purdue suits up against Western Michigan, they will be playing their first bowl game since the 2007 Motor City Bowl against Central Michigan. These players and Coach Danny Hope will be ecstatic to play in their first bowl game and will come with a tremendous effort.
2) Baylor (-9) (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5) - Beyond playing better than any other team in the Big 12 over the past month and having the potential Heisman winner at QB, Baylor has much to prove this bowl season. After being perennial bowl watchers, they were embarrassed last year in their home state in the Texas Bowl by Illinois, 38-14. The fact is, many people still do not regard this Baylor team as legitimate, and they will be out to prove everyone wrong.
3) Northwestern (+10) (6-6) vs. Texas A+M (6-6) – Every year, the Wildcats sneak into a bowl game as huge underdogs and always show up with a terrific effort. They have had 3 straight tight losses (all 3 spread covers and 2 OT losses) to superior Texas Tech, Auburn, and Missouri teams. This year, in a season where their starting QB and best player, Dan Persa, battled injuries throughout, they won 4 of their last 5 just to make a bowl game. Expect another great effort from Pat Fitzgerald’s squad.
4) Vanderbilt (-2.5) (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3) - After a two-year bowl absence, this underrated Commodores squad enters this game with 4 of their 6 losses coming by less than a td against strong competition. In order to earn bowl eligibility, Vandy needed a win at Wake and they blasted the Deacons 41-7. If this Vandy squad were named Florida, they would be favored by a touchdown against a Cincy team struggling to replace their injured star QB, Zach Collaros. No doubt this group will show up to prove to everyone that they are legit.
5) Kansas St. (+8) (10-2) vs. Arkansas (10-2) – All year, the pundits awaited the Wildcats “inevitable” slide. The only problem is it never happened. If you take away the poor losses to two tough squads, Oklahoma and Okla. St., this team has an impressive resume of victories over difficult competition. In addition, Bill Snyder has played up his team’s underdog role all season long. No doubt he will continue to preach about his squad’s lack of respect against a heavily favored Arkansas team.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Favorite Plays In College Football History

With the Heisman awards show coming up, I started thinking about the greatest plays in NCAA history.  You know, those defining moments during the season that the greatest Heisman winners had.  Every year we see that Heisman moment, with the exception of this year.  I find a hard time finding one for the guys on this year's ballot.  Tyrann Mathieu had his punt return against Georgia to start the rout, but he really has no chance of winning the award.  Robert Griffin III has put up some monster games, but I couldn't pinpoint a play in particular, besides maybe this one (pretty lucky, though).  Or this one.  These plays are great, but they lack something special.  So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite Heisman moments.

5) Cam Newton run vs. LSU.  Just an incredible effort, and the acceleration at the end was incredible.  This play was shown ad naseum during Cam's Heisman season, and for good reason.

4) Reggie Bush vs. Fresno St.  This run was just part of an incredible game in which Bush amassed 513 all-purpose yards, and it solidified his Heisman hopes (which were subsequently vacated a few years later).

3) Desmond Howard Heisman pose.  The play itself is incredible, but striking the Heisman pose in the endzone was the icing on the cake.  And I'm not sure what I enjoyed more,  Desmond's pose or Keith Jackson making the "Hello, Heisman" call.  They had to have planned it.

2)  Charles Woodson.  Woodson gets two plays on this list, as his Heisman season is arguably the most impressive of all-time.  As we have all heard a thousand times, he's the only primarily-defensive player to ever win the Heisman, and he did it with plays like this and this.  That interception against Michigan State might be the greatest play I've ever seen in college football.

1) Doug Flutie hail mary.  With help from the football gods, Flutie was able to solidify his Heisman season more emphatically than anyone in history.  This play was very lucky, but as the great Seneca once said "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."  Give Flutie all the credit on this one.

Fantasy Sit/Start-Browns @ Steelers

This game should be pretty one-sided, so I don't particularly like anyone on Cleveland's offense.  I wouldn't even start a Cleveland running back, as this Steelers defense has been as solid as they come as of late.  Having said that, you have to go with Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace in this one, but don't expect as much as you normally get out of them.  Actually, if I have a choice between Wallace and Antonio Brown for this game, especially in PPR formats, I'm going with Brown.  It'd be a tough call to make, and a very bold one, as Wallace has been great this year, but Joe Haden is the most underrated cornerback in this league.  Mendenhall should have a field day tonight, and I see the Steelers getting back to the Steelers we were used to five years ago, smash-mouth football.

Sit: All your Browns (If you have any to begin with)
Start: Mendenhall, Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Wallace (but temper expectations), Steelers D

If You're Desperate:  Isaac Redman could have a good day, especially if the Steelers are up by a lot.  They should come out running, and they've been trying not to over work Mendenhall this year.

Picking Every Week 14 NFL Game ATS

Pick in CAPS

Browns (+14) @ STEELERS

Part of me wants to say the Browns will cover in this one, especially when they are getting 14 points.  But the Steelers looked too strong last week at home against a better Bengals defense.  This one should get out of hand quickly, even with the Browns solid secondary.  Look for Joe Haden to neutralize Mike Wallace and the Browns to struggle moving the ball.

Steelers 31, Browns 10

Colts (+16.5) @ RAVENS

Don't be fooled by the colts offensive explosion in garbage time against the terrible New England secondary.  The Ravens are another bird entirely (and literally).  Look for the Ravens to run all over the Colts, just as they did the Browns.  The Colts will be looking to build off last week's mild successes, and their aspirations will come crashing down early.  This one's getting out of hand.

Ravens 28, Colts 3

Texans (+3) @ BENGALS

The Bengals have lost three out of four, but they are a good team.  With Dalton and AJ Green on the field, they can usually play with anyone, but last week was a bad week for these guys.  I think the Bengals will be able to stop the run, and TJ Yates will be forced to beat them.  He looked serviceable last week, but this Bengals defense is stronger.  Expect these guys to score a defensive touchdown, and this one will probably come down to 7 or less, in favor of the Bengals

Bengals 21, Texans 17

CHIEFS (+9) @ NY Jets

This Kansas City team is very bad on offense, and the Bears/Chiefs game last week was painful to watch.  Despite this, the team knows how to play defense, and they have been able to turn games against good teams into low scoring, sloppy affairs.  The Jets have been playing well on offense the past few weeks, but I see it as an aberration.  The Jets will win this game, but they won't cover, and Sanchez will make some mistakes.

NY Jets 16, Kansas City 10

SAINTS (-3.5) @ Titans

New Orleans has been on fire offensively, and I don't see the Titans stopping this.  While they aren't as effective outside of the Superdome, the Titans don't have the defense to stop Drew Brees.  I was actually pretty surprised about the spread on this game.  I still expect Chris Johnson to have some success, but not enough to overcome the Saints offense.

Saints 34, Titans 24

Eagles (+3) @ DOLPHINS

If you told me at the beginning of the season that the Eagles would be preparing for a trip to Miami as three point underdogs, I would've called the psychiatric ward.  But come December, that's exactly where we stand.  This Dolphins team has strung together some great games, a last-ditch effort for Tony Sparano to keep his job.  Even with the return of Michael Vick, the Eagles' problems are much deeper than that, and this defense cannot stop the run.  Look for Reggie Bush to have a great day, and the Dolphins to win another game.

Dolphins 27, Eagles 20

PATRIOTS (-8) @ Redskins

I can guarantee you that Bill Belichick wasn't happy about the way his team played in the 4th quarter of last week's game against the Colts.  Unfortunately for the Redskins, that anger will be taken out on them.  The Redskins struggled against a below-average Jets offense, and the Patriots are leaps and bounds better.  This one could get ugly, and Grossman isn't the type of quarterback who can throw all over this secondary, even if Dan Orlovsky is.

Patriots 34, Redskins 16

FALCONS (-3) @ Panthers

I've got to be honest, I have been very unimpressed with this Falcons team this year.  Coming off a great season last year, I thought they were one of the teams to beat in the NFC.  Instead, they have taken a backseat to the Saints in their division, and the continue to lose winnable games and beat mediocre-to-bad teams.  Having said that, there's no denying Atlanta's recent domination of the Panthers, and I see this trend continuing, as Atlanta is built to stop the run.  Cam Newton will have a good game once again, but he will come up short as there is very little talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Falcons 27, Panthers 21

49ERS (-4) @ Cardinals

The Cardinals have the ability to play teams tough at home, but this spread is too small to pick them.  The 49ers defense beat up on the Rams last week, and I see this game being no different.  The Cardinals will struggle to score points, so it won't matter that the 49ers can only kick field goals.  This team is still playing for a first round bye, so they will be fired up.

49ers 23, Cardinals 6

Bears (+3.5) @ BRONCOS

I would be a fool to pick against Tebow, even though the spread is slightly more than a game-winning field goal.  This guy proved that he can do it with his arm last week, although I have no idea what the Vikings were doing on defense (I guess you could call it a Cover 2).  The Bears don't have their two best  offensive players, and they will really struggle to move the ball.  They still play good defense, but it won't be enough

Broncos 20, Bears 10

Raiders (+11) @ PACKERS

The Raiders lost to Miami by more than 11 last week.  This week they play the Packers.  Need I say more?

Packers 42, Raiders 24

BILLS (+7) @ Chargers

I'm not buying the Chargers.  They had lost 6 straight before that win on Monday against the Jaguars.  Now they are 7 point favorites against another 5-7 team with a long losing streak.  I see this game as a toss-up, and I'm taking the Bills on the spread, but the Chargers on the scoreboard.

Chargers 24, Bills 23

GIANTS (+3) @ Cowboys

The Giants looked back in rhythm last week against the Packers, and the Cowboys let one slip away against the Cardinals.  Keep in mind that the Cowboys have only beaten one team with a winning record, and it was on a fluke play against the 49ers.  I have to take the more battle-tested team that is getting points here, and Tony Romo's December woes continue.

Giants 27, Cowboys 24

Rams (+6.5) @ SEAHAWKS

The Rams are awful at stopping the run, and the Seahawks are running the ball very well.  Marshawn Lynch is going to run all over this defense, and the Seahawks defense isn't too bad either.  Not to mention, the Seahawks are at home in this one, one of the better home-field advantages in the NFL.  Also, there are murmurings that Tom Brandstater might be starting for the Rams.  Who?  Exactly.  This one has Seahawks written all over it.

Seahawks 31, Rams 7

Come by tomorrow for Playoff Predictions and Fantasy Football picks for Week 14

Robert Griffin III

With the Heisman trophy Presentation upcoming on Saturday, Robert Griffin III is on every sports fan's mind.  But rather than talk about his college football prowess, I would like to address his transition to the NFL, whether it be 2012 or 2013.  We saw last year's Heisman trophy winner, Cam Newton, enjoy immediate success in the NFL, and while I don't think Robert Griffin will have that easy of a transition, I think he is the best NFL quarterback in this upcoming draft class.  Yes, better than Andrew Luck, the greatest thing since sliced bread (or Peyton Manning).  Yes, better than Matt Barkley, who reminds me much more of Mark Sanchez than Steve Young.  And while it's nothing against Andrew Luck's skill, as he will develop into a fine NFL quarterback, Robert Griffin has the skill-set to be a phenomenal dual-threat quarterback in the NFL.

Griffin's poise in the pocket, athleticism, and confidence in his throwing arm have all stood out to me during this Heisman season.  Couple that with his relative inexperience as a quarterback, and you have the potential for something special.  In a recent interview with Aaron Rodgers, he was asked what he thought was the single most important quarterback trait.  Without hesitation, Rodgers said "confidence."  It's something that Brady has, Rodgers has, Favre had (and has, pending another comeback).  It's this confidence not only in themselves, but in their teammates to make plays.  And with this confidence, they are able to make the game much simpler than anyone else.  They make the easy plays, rather than forcing throws, and confidence builds.  You see quarterbacks every year who have confidence and know they can make every throw, and then quarterbacks who don't (see Jones, Landry).

Robert Griffin's stats are impressive.  His passer efficiency rating of 192.3 is the highest of the past 10 years.  His 36:6 touchdown to interception ratio is impressive, but even more impressive is his 72.4% completion percentage, a great barometer for how well a quarterback could transition to the NFL.  Andrew Luck is also excels in completion percentage, a large reason why scouts have fallen in love with him.  Some might be saying, "Well, Griffin throws screens and dump passes in the spread offense, that's why his completion percentage is so high."  And these people couldn't be more wrong, as Robert Griffin also has the highest yards/attempt of any quarterback in NCAA history.  That says alot--Robert Griffin is throwing the longest passes on average in NCAA history and he is completing over 70% of those passes.  

Scouts have worried about quarterbacks coming from spread offenses in the past, but there is no need to worry about Griffin.  If you sit down and watch the kid play, you immediately realize how special he is and how great he could be in the NFL.  Not to mention, Griffin is a class act, just like Andrew Luck.  I think both of these guys are going to be great NFL players, but if I had the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III would be called by Roger Goodell.  But I don't, and I see Andrew Luck as the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall by Indianapolis.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

11 on 11

Meeting your needs for everything football related.  We will have posts regarding predictions, betting lines, fantasy football advice, and much more.  Basically, anything we feel like writing about, we will write about.  Check back everyday for the latest in 11 on 11.