Thursday, January 29, 2009

Projecting the Seeds

Quick projections on how the top four seeds will look like in the NCAA Tournament and what region they will end up in.

Joe Lunardi's got nothing on me...

Region by Region:

1. Connecticut- overall 1 seed
2. Duke
3. Memphis
4. Gonzaga

1. North Carolina
2. Pittsburgh
3. Xavier
4. Arizona St.

1. Michigan St.
2. Wake Forest
3. Marquette
4. Texas

1. Oklahoma
2. Louisville
4, Purdue

If this were the case, here would be my Final Four predictions from the regions...

UConn, UNC, Michigan St., and Louisville

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's Happened to Michigan Football?

Earlier this week there was a very suspect hiring in the Big10, in my opinion. The Michigan Wolverines solved their defensive woes by hiring Greg (the 10-27 coach from Syracuse) Robinson as their new coordinator. What the hell!?

Now I am no Michigan fan in any way but if I were a Michigan fan I'd be losing it right now. There have to be so many other coaches with better track records. Well, unless you consider him an upgrade because Syracuse hasn't lost to any 1-AA schools lately and Michigan lost to Toledo this year while Syracuse only lost to Akron!

I just wanted to point out this head-scratcher to everyone else. As an Iowa fan, however, I love this hire! And I'm sure the rest of the BigTen does too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 NFC Championship Predictions

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals
So here we have it, the 5th and 6th seeds are facing off for a Super Bowl birth. The Eagles have been there done that, but the Cards haven't. Which gives the experience factor to the Eagles. Philly has been to 5, may I repeat that, 5 NFL Championships since 2001. Now that is impressive.

Both teams have a lot of momentum right now. The Cards' pass offense cannot be stopped, but the Eagles defense are on top of their game right now. The defense has done a great job lately with pressuring the opposing QB and keeping the running game at bay. I think the Eagles secondary is good enough to not let Warner, Fitzgerald, and Co. go off. The Eagles have done a great job of getting into the redzone and putting up points, but they need to convert those field goals in touchdowns and if they can do that, and also get their running game going and get Brian Westbrook in space, there is no doubt in my mind they will win on Sunday.

Eagles 26 Cards 19

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 AFC Championship Preview/Prediction

Now that the college football season is done we can all focus on the NFL and the conference championship showdowns this weekend. Is it us or has defense been the theme of these playoffs? Pittsburgh and Baltimore (division foes) will square off in Pittsburgh for the passage to the Super Bowl (and a Browns fan's worst nightmare). While the Arizona Cardinals will host the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC’s spot in the big game. I will preview the AFC Championship while Stefan handles the NFC and his beloved Eagles.

The Steelers are a very well coached team that has play makers on each side of the ball and Vegas has them as the favorite here. The Ravens, on the other hand, have reached this round of the playoffs with a rookie QB from a FCS (Football Championship Series) school, Delaware, and a rookie coach. The Ravens offense last year average 17.2 ppg and 302 ypg, which landed them with the 22nd best offense in the league. They moved up to #18 this year scoring 24.1 ppg while producing 324 ypg. The Steelers rank 22nd in offense this year scoring 21.7 ppg and racking up 347 ypg.

However, offense is not going to be the story here. Defense is how each of these teams succeeded this year and its what will win on Sunday. The Steelers and Ravens are the top 2 defenses in the league giving up 13.9 ppg and 223 ypg and 15.2 ppg and 244 ypg, respectively. The Steelers won both matchups this year by a combined 7 points. This is a tough game to call but Baltimore will ultimately win, I just feel it.

I expect both teams to be able to establish the run on each other and the difference maker will be on defense. Look for guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to win this game for the Ravens by pressuring Big Ben on D, getting some big hits in, and creating turnovers while Joe Flacco does just enough to win the game. It will be a great game to watch as there is snow in the forecast with a high of 27 and I love me a good defensive struggle. I say Ravens and Eagles in the Superbowl. But we'll just have to see what Stefan says about that!

Prediction: Ravens 17 Steelers 13

The Sports Flow on Sporting News

So I am a subscriber to Sporting News and after the BCS National Title Game I was meandering on the SN site and decided to give my take on who should be the number one college football team next year.

They said they would pick a few to be mentioned on the site and in Thursday's edition of Sporting News Magazine and they ended up choosing mine. I had a good feeling they would pick mine to display, I mean I am a Florida Gator football expert and plus they probably felt bad for a poor North Dakotan like me.

Here's the link: Sporting News article

Here's my take on why Florida is number one for 2009 and what I submitted.

"Florida is the top team for 2009. They could return 19 total starters, including at least 10 starters on the best defense in the nation. Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes could return, and it is likely Tebow will.

Even if the others leave, they still have plenty of playmakers in Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and Aaron Hernandez on offense and Carlos Dunlap, Ryan Stamper, Major Wright and Joe Haden on defense. Add in another valuable recruiting class to one of the top coaching staffs, and you have the making of college football's next dynasty."

So there it is, I've always wanted to have something of mine on a major sports media publication such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or Sporting News and it finally happened.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gators Chomp Sooners

Oklahoma flapped their mouths. CB Dominique Franks said Tim Tebow was the 4th best QB they've faced all season and it didn't take as much preparation for him as the others.

Well, looks like you awoken a sleeping giant Sooners!

I think Tim Tebow resolidified himself as the best college football player last night. He was even better than Heisman winner Sam Bradford. Tebow took his team on his back and dominated the second half. He made the plays, completed 6 of 6 passes in the final drive. He threw two touchdown passes and carried the ball the final six plays to lead Florida to its 2nd national title in three years.

Tebow outplayed Bradford and showed why he's the best player in college football and why the Gators are the national champions.

The game was not out of Oklahoma's hands though. They had their chances, they were stopped twice inside the 5 yard line, including an interception after a dropped pass by the WR. True champions take advantage of these opportunities, which the Sooners did not.

The Florida defense stepped up when it needed to. They pressured Bradford at times, but although their run defense wasn't the best, they still made enough plays in the end to get it done. The plays on the goal line and the two costly interceptions by Major Wright and Ahmad Black I think clinched it in the end, along with Tebow's play.

Looking Ahead to 2009
It's never too early to look ahead to the 2009 College Football season, so here's my early top 5 teams for now:

1. Florida Gators
Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, and Brandon Spikes could all leave, but it is likely Tebow will return. 19 starters could still be back in all and at least 10 will be back on defense. If Harvin is to leave, sophomore speedsters Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey will help fill the void. The defense will be strong as ever with Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham up-front, Ryan Stamper and AJ Jones anchoring the middle, and the next big ball hawk safety in Major Wright and Joe Haden leading the way in the secondary.

2. Texas Longhorns
Colt McCoy is coming back and should lead another potent offensive attack. WR Jordan Shipley is back as well. It will be interesting to see how the defense responds after losing some key starters, but that's why they have d-coordinator Will Muschamp.

3. USC Trojans
USC returns a lot of talent. If QB Mark Sanchez returns they will have 11 starters back on offense. The defense will need to reload though, but they have backups that can step up.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide
It's scary to think what Nick Saban will do with this team. He will have them contending with the Gators for another SEC Championship and yet another national title. The defense returns 9 starters and the offense returns both RBs and one of the best WRs in the nation in Julio Jones.

5. Mississippi Rebels
Ole Miss looked incredible down the stretch. They manhandled a potent team in Texas Tech. They return load of talent and depth. QB Jevan Snead has the potential to be one of the best in the country.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

BCS National Championship Preview: Florida vs. Oklahoma

3 Reasons why Florida will win:
1. Speed
Florida is easily the fastest team in the country. Oklahoma needs to account for everybody that Florida puts out on the field with the threat to take one all the way at anytime. That's Percy Harvin, Jeff Demps, Louis Murphy, Chris Rainey, Emmanuel Moody, and Brandon James.We know Urban Meyer will try to spread the field and use their speed to his advantage and also try to get his speedsters the ball in space.

2. Defense
Florida has one of the best defenses in the country. Oklahoma has faced some poor defenses all season long in the Big 12. Florida creates a ton of pressure up front and their LBs are among the best in the nation lead by Brandon Spikes. Don't count out the secondary, they have some speed as well and will fly around and smack you in the mouth.

3. Tim Tebow
Tebow's already won a Heisman and more importantly, a national title. It doesn't help that OU has been talking some trash, more specifically at Tebow. He's the guy you don't want to mess around with. Tebow will beat you with his legs and even his arm. He's a better QB than he's ever been and he can hurt you in so many ways.

3 Reasons why Oklahoma will win:
1. Offense
Oklahoma can spread you out as well. They have some big-time playmakers on their side and Sam Bradford can pick you apart all day. They can throw in front of you or even go long. Jermaine Gresham is arguably the best TE in the country and could pose some match-up problems for the Florida defense. The Sooners have some quality skill position players and will use it to their advantage.

2. The Trenches
Specifically on the offensive end, OU has one of the best lines in the country. Lead by All-American OT Duke Robinson and Big 12 1st-teamers C Jon Cooper and OT Phil Loadholt have dominated all season long. They've only given up 11 sacks all season. I give them a slight advantage over the Florida D-Line.

3. Senior Leadership
Florida only has two senior starters, both on offense and only two starters back from the 2006 BCS National Championship team (LT Phil Trautwein and Percy Harvin); plus, only a handful of players back whom actually played in that game. OU has 8 senior starters. Safety Nic Harris will start the 50th game of his career and the o-line has a combined 170 total starts. Experience is always a big key.

Florida 34 Oklahoma 20

Oklahoma hasn't seen a defense as good as Florida's all season long. Florida's speed could offset just about everything else in this game. Florida is ready and Tim Tebow is furious after losing the Heisman to Bradford and the comments coming from the Oklahoma players. Florida has an advantage just about everywhere in this game. They have better depth, coaching, speed, special teams, defense, and even offense. Plus, RB DeMarco Murray and DT DeMarcus Granger are both out.

The Big XII is overrated, as has shown this bowl season. Texas squeaked by Ohio St., Texas Tech got pounded by Ole Miss and Oklahoma St. was upset by Oregon, while the SEC is sitting 5-1 in their bowl games. The SEC has definitely shown they are the best conference once again and they haven't lost in the BCS National title game with a 3-0 record. Look for that trend to continue after Thursday night.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NFC Divisional Playoff Predictions

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
The Cards could be a good choice right now, but they did face an inexperienced team with a rookie QB in the Falcons. Plus, they're a pretty good team at home. Arizona is obviously a great passing team with Kurt Warner and a trio of WRs in Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. But Carolina is amazing at home; they're unblemished, a solid 8-0 in Charlotte. I think the Panthers are on a mission to finally get something done. Jake Delhomme has picked up his game compared to the last few seasons and DeAngelo Williams has been very impressive running the ball for Carolina towards the end of the season. Defense has been a question sometimes, but at times they've also looked very stellar. The Panthers have enough firepower and some defense to shoot the Cards.

Panthers 31 Cards 23

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
A lot of people are jumping on the Eagles bandwagon and that could be easy for me to do. They have a lot of momentum right now. Donovan McNabb is looking as good as he's been in several years, and their defense is phenomenal right now. The Giants are also a little banged up; the two-headed monster in the backfield are both less than 100%. Brandon Jacobs could be the key, if he isn't his normal self, I think the Eagles have a great chance. Also, remember no Plaxico, which is something the Giants didn't have in their last game vs. the Eagles, in which they lost. Can the Giants defend their title? Or will the Eagles continue to ride the wave of momentum?

Eagles 27 Giants 24

Monday, January 5, 2009

AFC Divisional-Round Playoff Predictions

Pittsburgh Steelers over the San Diego Chargers
I don't like doing this because when it comes to predicting the NFL playoffs I go by which team is hottest. It's also worth mentioning the last 3 SB winners have come from wildcard weekend. This is going to be a great game no matter what. The Chargers are hot right now without question. But, with an injured LT things become questionable. Darren Sproles carried the work load and did a magnificent job of it against the Colts, but it will be another challenge entirely to do it against the Steelers and the leagues best defense. The weather looks to be in the high teens and snowing, playing into the Steelers favor. The Chargers will make it a game no doubt. But I think the Steelers are just the better team, and will (hopefully) play like such but I'm not overly confident.
Steelers-17, Chargers-13

Baltimore Ravens over the Tennessee Titans
The Ravens are red hot right now and Joe Flacco's got me thinking about the year when the Steelers won the Super Bowl with Roethlisberger at the helm as a rookie. I feel like the extra time off hurts the Titans here too especially how hot the Ravens are right now. The Ravens have the D to shut down the run and make Collins beat them with the pass. Kerry Collins might be old but if forced to he can still beat teams....just not the Ravens. Flacco is plenty good enough to take advantage of the field position given to him by his D and gets some help along the way. I forsee a very defensive game.

Ravens-10 Titans-6