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LOCKS OF THE CENTURY: NCAA Week 3

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t want to pump my own tires, but I totally nailed the LSU vs Mississippi State game last night.  Gave you LSU as the road favorite and also took the under.  2 for 2.  Feeling pretty pretttyyy good about myself right now.  Good enough to give the people 5 more Locks of the Century for college football.

#15 Michigan State +5 @ Notre Dame

Very confusing line here.  Notre Dame is on the verge of collapse and leads the country in turnovers.  Meanwhile, Michigan State has looked strong in their first two games, albeit against weak opponents.  Vegas is practically begging people to take Michigan State with this line.  It makes no sense at all…except that it makes perfect.  This is one of the oldest tricks in the book.  Bookmakers are trying to Jedi mind-trick the public into taking Michigan State with this line.  They might have fooled a lesser man, but this isn’t my first rodeo.  The Irish can’t continue to turn the ball over like they have.  This is the week it all comes together for Notre Dame.  The Pick: Notre Dame -5

#8 Oklahoma State +13.5 @ Tulsa

Tulsa is a program on the rise and they can score in bunches, but they won’t be able to keep up with OKST.  The Cowboys have arguably the most explosive offense in the country.  Even though Tulsa is the home team, there will be plenty of Cowboy fans in this intra-state game.  Oklahoma State covers this one. The Pick: Oklahoma State -13.5

Ohio State +2.5 @ Miami(FL)

The Sanction Bowl is missing some of its star players from both teams in what would have been one of the marquee early games of the season.  Ohio State looks to be a long way from being a dominant program and could be staring a 4 or 5 loss season square in the face.  Joe Bauserman SUCKS. There is no getting around it.  Its Miller time in Ohio State, and the sooner they realize it the better.  Bauserman gives them virtually no chance to win.  The Pick: The U -2.5

Northwestern -4.5 @ Army

Is it me or is Northwestern disrespected by Vegas just about every week?  NEWS FLASH: Northwestern is good.  Persa strong baby.  The Big 10 is a deep conference and Northwestern will win 8 games again this year.  One of those 8 games will come here against Army who has struggled against weaker opponents than the Wild Cats. The Pick: Northwestern -4.5

Tennessee +9.5 @ #16 Florida

I love me some Tyler Bray.  He is the best quarterback in this game and Tennessee is a program that is getting stronger.  I don’t think Tennessee wins this game, but they definitely cover.  Florida is a team in transition is ranked #16 on the strength of their name and conference.  I like the Vols to cover and I LOVE the over/under line at 50.5. The Pick(s): Tennessee +9.5 and OVER 50.5

That is six picks in total.  parlay those if you feel like being a thousandaire by Sunday.

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Hump Day Heisman Watch: Power Rankings

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

All season long I will be posting my rankings of Heisman candidates. I am no “expert”, but this is something to read to get you through your Wednesday so enjoy.

1. Kellen Moore QB Boise State– The Heisman Trophy is often a lifetime achievement award, and Kellen Moore has had arguably the best career of any active college football player.  Moore is approaching the career wins record currently held by Colt McCoy.  In addition to that record, Moore has consistently put up outstanding numbers.  Perhaps the biggest piece to the Heisman equation is getting signature wins.  Boise State’s convincing win against Georgia in Atlanta is the biggest reason why Kellen Moore tops the initial Heisman Hump Day rankings. Current Vegas Odds: 15-1

2. Robert Griffin III Quarterback Baylor– RGIII has no real shot to win the Heisman because I can’t see Baylor winning more than 8 games.  I don’t think anybody has ever won the Heisman playing for an average football team, but Robert Griffin III is off to as good of a start as anybody in 2011.  Baylor’s exciting win against the reigning Rose Bowl Champs TCU put RGIII on the Heisman radar and in the minds of Americans.  Griffen III is the closest thing to Michael Vick and is must watch TV.  If he can somehow get Baylor to 9 or 10 wins he could be a finalist.  Current Odds: 20-1

3. Andrew Luck Quarterback Stanford– Andrew Luck is still the Vegas pick to win the Heisman. Luck is the most gifted pocket quarterback in the country and his team should contend for a conference championship.  Luck didn’t do anything wrong in week one to drop in the Hump Day Heisman Rankings, but he didn’t have the signature moments that the two QBs above him had.  Luck will be at or near the top of Heisman rankings all year barring an injury or Stanford going in the shitter.  Current Odds: 9-2

4. Montee Ball Running Back Wisconsin– Montee Ball lost some weight in the summer and it has made all the difference.  The guy looked quick, explosive, and powerful against UNLV in the season opener.  Wisconsin could be national championship contender and the presence of new QB Russell Wilson should prevent teams from stacking 9 guys in the box.  Perhaps Ball’s biggest obstacle will be his teammate James White.  White getting touches could prevent Ball from putting up the numbers he needs to be a Heisman finalist.  Montee Ball got the majority of the burn against UNLV. If that ratio of touches stays consistent through the year Ball could be the second Badger to win the Heisman. Current Odds: 80-1

5. Michael Floyd Wide Receiver Notre Dame– One of the few positive aspects of Notre Dame’s loss to USF was the play of Michael Floyd.  Floyd had a career high 12 catches and also brought in two TDs.  The Irish were not overhyped, they just had a game where everything went wrong.  Floyd will be the focus of Tommy Rees going forward for the Irish, and the Senior could put up record numbers.  If Notre Dame rebounds, and Floyd keeps racking up numbers like he did on Saturday, then he could very well be a Heisman finalist. Current Odds: 40-1

 

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Crist vs Rees Debate: I Need a Do-over

September 6, 2011 2 comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about why I thought Dayne Crist should be the starter over Tommy Rees. The four reasons I cited were talent, learning curve, advanced metrics, and the future of the program.  I felt like the combination of those four points gave Crist the edge in what many(including Coach Kelly) said was an extremely even quarterback competition.  Well…when you are wrong you are wrong and I was certainly wrong about this.

I underestimated Rees’s edge in accuracy and perhaps undervalued his intangibles.  Rees may not have NFL arm strength like Dayne Crist, but he does a much better job of putting the ball on his receivers.  After rewatching the broadcast there were several examples of Rees’s accuracy being well beyond Crist’s.  Crist missed Michael Floyd on simple curl and comebacks routes that stall drives and kill momentum.  Rees was able to execute the offense much more effectively because his accuracy put the Irish in 3rd-and-manageable situations.

While the accuracy disparity became evident, it’s the intangibles that ultimately separates the two quarterbacks.  Crist seems to be a bit of a front-runner.  He led a terrific drive on the opening possession before Jonas Gray fumbled the ball away for a score.  On Crist’s next redzone possession he made a terrible throw and a terrible decision that ended in an interception in the endzone.  Crist’s body language was noticeably different after that play.  His throws became even less accurate and he seemed to shrink in the moment when the team needed him to be the leader.  Compare that sequence to Rees’s first interception that went off of TJ Jones shoulder as he wasn’t looking(seriously…WTF TJ?).  Rees came back on the very next possession and led the Irish to a 66-yard touchdown drive.  Rees certainly wasn’t perfect. He seemed to be too locked into Floyd at times and did throw the INT that essentially ended the game, but Rees did enough to merit being the starting quarterback for Notre Dame going forward.

Rees looks about 11 years-old, he doesn’t have a big arm, he isn’t very athletic, but he just has ‘It’. Intangibles, a winner’s mentality, a calmness, leadership, what the french call a certain…I don’t know what.  Flashback about ten years ago and you’ll see another quarterback controversy that is eerily similar to this one.  The New England Patriots had a highly touted, veteran, quarterback with all the physical tools you would want in a quarterback and he was backed up by a young and gangly 6th round draft pick.  Drew Bledsoe, like Crist last year, lost his job to injury and was replaced by the younger Tom Brady.  Brady and Rees aren’t going to wow anybody with measurables, but they both have a quality that can’t be taught.  The Patriots decided to go with Brady even when Bledsoe was cleared to play.  Brady led the Patriots to the AFC Championship before injuring his ankle and being replaced by Bledsoe.  Bledsoe was ready and his performance gave the Patriots a win and place in the Superbowl.  Notre Dame can only hope that Dayne Crist handles this situation with the same class and professionalism as Drew Bledsoe.  Crist’s job is still to help the Irish win games.  He needs to be a leader on the sidelines, in the classroom, in practice, and in the locker room.  The Irish, like the Patriots did in 2001, may need to call on Crist again should something happen to Rees.

PS: While I wouldn’t want Crist to transfer, I think Notre Dame should give him his release should he ask for it.  Crist still has another year of eligibility and should be awarded a 6th year if he appeals to the NCAA for a medical redshirt.  Crist provides depth at the position, but if he wants to leave the program for a school like Cal or UCLA then he should be allowed to do so.

PPS: I still agree with Coach Kelly’s decision to award Crist the starting position.  Crist is the veteran, Crist has better physical tools, and Crist originally lost his starting position due to injury.  Crist worked extremely hard to rehab from two major knee surgeries and he deserved the chance to prove he could lead the team on Saturdays.  It’s unfortunate that this decision resulted in a loss for the Irish, but Kelly made the correct call by giving Crist a chance…and is also making the correct decision now by awarding the starting job to Rees.

PPPS: I want to see some Everett Golson packages.

PPPPS: To all the commentors from the Crist blog who wanted Rees….You were right, I was wrong.  You’re smart, I am stupid. You’re good looking, I am…not attractive.

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College Football Week 1 Quick Hits

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

The most memorable things from the first weekend of college football

1.  Hey Erin Andrews…you’ve got company.  Samantha Steele explodes on to the hot ESPN sideline reporter scene.

Just blue Steele all over the place.  Samantha Steele so hot right now, Samantha Steele.

2.  What the hell was going on with those Maryland uniforms?  Those are by far the ugliest things I have ever seen.  They looked like they should have been playing at Midevil Times in Rosemont.

3. To all of the people who disagreed with me about Dayne Crist…you were right, I was wrong.  You’re smart, I am stupid. You’re good looking, I am…not attractive.

Rees needs to be the starter going forward with some Everett Golson sprinkled in.

4.  Who knew games could be called for lightning?

I still can’t believe that not finishing games is an option in football.  The West Virginia and Michigan games being called cost me money as both games were deemed a push because they didn’t play a full 60 minutes.  Notre Dame did it right.  Delay the game for as long as needed, then head back out and finish the game.  This was something lacrosse or soccer would do…not football.

5. Russell Wilson makes Wisconsin really effing good

Be afraid BigTen, be very afraid.  Wilson didn’t even look all that sharp, but he is clearly the best QB the Badgers have ever had.  Wisconsin could very well be a National Title Contender if they can get their run defense tightened up.

 

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NCAA going soft on violations. Booster can now provide cream cheese for bagels

August 18, 2011 1 comment

(Yahoo Sports)–Hoping to correct one of the NCAA rulebook’s great injustices, the Big East has proposed a rule change that could go into effect as soon as next August. No, the conference isn’t pushing for more consistent penalties for programs guilty of major violations or a later early entry decision date for potential NBA draft prospects. The Big East simply wants to ensure its student-athletes no longer have to endure post-workout dry mouth as a result of eating complimentary bagels with no spread. Proposal No. 2011-78 would permit institutions to offer spreads such as “butter, peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese” with bagels they already may provide to student-athletes at any time. It’s by far the most inane of the 91 potential rule changes the NCAA legislative council will have to consider next January. Believe it or not, current NCAA legislation enacted in 2009 only allows schools to provide bagels, fruits and nuts to student-athletes, which means that a complimentary butter or jam packet would be a minor violation. Schools couldn’t provide athletes any food except energy bars prior to that rule change.

Somebody needs to give the NCAA a copy of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” immediately.  With all the controversy surrounding college athletics and improper benefits, this is no time to start legalizing more perks for scholarship athletes.  I think its fair to assume that if you give an athlete cream cheese, next he’s going to want a pizza bagel, and if you give an athlete a pizza bagel…he’s going to want sex parties on a yacht.  You have to draw the line somewhere NCAA.

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Notre Dame QB Battle: Four Reasons Why Dayne Crist MUST Be The Starter

August 17, 2011 10 comments

The four-man quarterback competition taking place this fall at Notre Dame is getting plenty of media coverage and everyone seems to have an opinion.  It is easy to get into Tommy Rees’s corner.  The kid went 4-0 down the stretch with wins against “quality” opponents like Utah, USC, and Miami, while Crist went 4-4 with embarrassing losses to Stanford and Navy.  Having said that, Dayne Crist MUST be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame.  Giving the nod to Dane Crist is the best move for the Irish in both the short and long-term.

Crist is just better. Even though it often looked like Coach Kelly hated Dayne Crist on the sidelines, the truth of the matter is that Crist gives the offense a greater ceiling than Tommy Rees.  Crist has far superior physical skills that enables the Irish offense to threaten defenses both vertically and horizontally.  As much as I like Tommy Rees, there are certain throws that he simply can’t make.  Notre Dame’s offense will be far less predictable with Crist running the show.  Crist is also the superior athlete, and all reports are that he has regained his mobility after his second major knee surgery.

Year Two in the System. If Dayne Crist looked completely lost on the field at times last year, it’s because he was.  Crist and Rees had essentially the same amount of time to learn the new system as both quarterbacks participated in the 2010 spring practice.  Crist’s participation was even somewhat more limited than Rees’s due to his knee surgery.  However, being the upper classman, Crist had much more of the playbook thrown at him in comparison to Rees.  By the time Rees became the starter, the 10 other guys on the field were also more comfortable in the new system.  Crist had to deal with not only his learning curve, but that of his teammates as well. 

Numbers Don’t Lie: Crist actually faced tougher competition.  Rees certainly knocked off some impressive names, and ND fans everywhere will remember him as the starting QB who finally beat SC.  The truth of the matter is that the Irish faced much tougher teams in the beginning of their season.  Crist played against 6 teams that played in bowl games including two conference champions in Michigan State and Stanford.  Advanced metrics show that Crist played much higher quality defenses than Rees.

The Future of the Program: No matter who wins the starting job this fall, neither Dayne Crist nor Tommy Rees are the future of the position.  I believe that title will belong to freshman Everett Golson.  Golson is the most mobile of any quarterback on campus, but Golson isn’t just an athlete.  Golson has an explosive arm and was rated as the most accurate high school quarterback when he attended the ELITE 11 camp.  If Golson were 6’3″ and 210lbs, he would have been the top rated player in the country coming out of high school.  Golson has all the tools to be a great college quarterback that can lead the Irish to a national title.  He is a Troy Smith clone who seems to have been born to play in the Kelly spread offense.  If Rees becomes the starter this season, that could stunt not only the growth of the program, but the growth of Golson.  The quarterback position would be again unsettled next season and possibly the 2013 season as well.  Allowing Crist to be the bridge to Golson is the best route for the future of the Notre Dame football program.

wake up the echoes. Go Irish

 

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Notre Dame Putting Up a Dan Devine Statue? WTF?

August 11, 2011 3 comments

 

 

(South Bend Tribune)–A sculpture of former University of Notre Dame football coach Dan Devine will be dedicated Oct. 7 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish play Air Force the following Day. The dedication will take place at Gate A. Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna created the sculpture. Devine served as head coach of the 1977 consensus national title team and also won two of the most dramatic postseason bowl games in Irish annals – the 1978 Cotton Bowl victory over top-rated Texas and the ’79 Cotton Bowl triumph over Houston that featured a stirring second-half comeback from a 34-12 deficit.

Can someone please explain to me why the hell Notre Dame is building a statue for Dan Devine? I am pretty sure this guy is the biggest asshole ever to set foot on campus.  I mean what does Rudy have to do to make the dress list on Senior Day?  Good thing Roland Steele organized a mutiny and told Devine to suck it.  Then when he dressed Rudy so the team wouldn’t quit on him, he refused to put him in until 80,000 people started chanting his name.  I hate Dan Devine. He had no soul.  Easily my least favorite ND coach of all time not named Ty Willingham. Yeah…Devine won a National Title in 1977, but that thing was on cruise control.  He was just riding Ara’s players to glory.  Bill Walsh also said that Dan Devine hated Joe Montana and just ran his name through the mud when NFL teams asked about him.  And the  speech he gave before the Georgia Tech game was probably the worst thing I have ever heard.  Really, that’s supposed to fire me up? That’s the best you got?

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