Saban best ever… with another coaching great

NATTY.JPG

We are all prisoners of the moment. Knee jerk reactions aren’t silly, It’s just human nature. A player, or team has an accomplishment, it’s easy to throw out the best ever comparisons.

Monday night after Alabama’s 45-40 win over Clemson, I walked out to the field inside University of Phoenix Stadium (partly to stay awake) to think if Nick Saban is the greatest coach in College Football history. I think he’s the best coach in the college game right now (Urban Meyer, David Shaw the other two) and I think it goes without saying that Alabama is the best program in the game (Ohio St is number two).

But, is Nick Saban, THE greatest coach in the college game. He joins one coach atop the mountain (more on the other coach later). Here’s what’s made Saban’s accomplishments at Alabama all-time impressive:

 

1.Being able to adapt his game plan, and program

Alabama isn’t anywhere near the program they were when Saban came to Tuscaloosa. The game plan was even more of a run heavy, conservative, sound defense that wouldn’t make many mistakes. It worked the first few years in a big way (2009 National Title).

What’s made Saban great is being able to meticulously find every little detail before kickoff, and allowing his assistants to do the same. Case in point, the game changing onside kick Monday night.

You can go all the way back to Saban’s first National Title run  in 2009 and their win over Florida in the SEC Championship.

He can make adjustments, but he can also change as the college game changes. Would Saban have the success that he’s enjoying if he were staying true to his philosophy in 2008-09? Doubt it. He won games the last two season’s with Blake Sims and Jacob Coker, running a more up tempo attack.

 

2. Recruiting philosophy has changed

It’s one thing to stock pile elite recruiting  classes year after year in College Football. That means nothing if a coaching staff:

A) Can’t evaluate elite talent at the prep level that fit your needs schematically on offense or defense.

B) Can’t develop the talent you have once it arrives on campus.

How many programs have had top 10 classes, and can’t get 7 wins, much less a chance to win a conference or National title?

Now granted, EVERY college program will “miss” on talent over the years once on campus. That’s just the reality of  the game. Guys don’t pan out for one reason or another.

The biggest accomplishment for Saban is what he’s done to revamp his roster all while dealing with the “spread” or wide open scheme across the country and within the SEC. After the slow progression of a spread type scheme with Tim Tebow and Cam Newton at Florida and Auburn respectively to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, Nick Saban understood that he needed players on defense that were good enough to hold up in the trenches and in run support, all while being able to play in space.

The Dont’a Hightower’s, Rolando McClain’s, Trey Depriest’s of the world are a thing of the past. What Tide fans will see more of are body types like Rashaan Evans, Tim Williams, Reuben Foster, Shon-Dion Hamilton, Da’Shawn Hand, Mekhi Brown, or Adonis Thomas. Guys that can flat out run downhill, and able to make plays in open areas of the field when playing against spread attacks. Big fellas will always be needed (when dealing with more run heavy schemes),  along with rangy Safety’s in the secondary (one of, if not the most most important position on defense), it’s just that Saban understands he needs players for EVERY scheme he can or will face.

Like the other dual threat quarterbacks that Alabama has faced,  Deshaun Watson was magnificent Monday (478 yds, 4 passing TD’s). But even in the shootout, Some of those young Alabama defenders (Evans, Hand, Hamilton, Williams, Fitzpatrick) were called upon to help the veteran guys that needed a break going against such a tempo heavy scheme.

 

3. Being in the hunt every season an accomplishment in itself

Outside of Saban’s first season at Alabama (2007, a 6-6 record) he’s had the following records:

2008- 12-2

2009- 14-0*

2010- 10-3

2011-  12-1*

2012- 13-1*

2013- 11-2

2014- 12-2

2015- 14-1*

* National Championship season

 

Nick Saban has been in Tuscaloosa for nine seasons. Eight of those, Alabama has been in the hunt for a National Title, all while playing in the best conference in College Football. And if we all want to play the “if” game, “if” a handful of plays went Alabama’s way during these eight seasons, Saban  could have 5-7 National Titles total in nine seasons.

To be able to adapt his coaching philosophy, adjust his personnel, and have personnel on the field  to execute his coaching philosophy over the years, is what makes this run for Saban all time great.

Coaching record at Alabama:

100-18 overall

50-12 in SEC Play

4 National Championships

 

It makes him at this moment ONE of the two greatest coaches in College Football history. The other:

 

 

(Source: cnn.com, Getty images)

Florida State had zero. ZERO history. In comes Bobby Bowden in 1976. He had a losing season in his first season. He never had another in 34 years in Tallahassee.

From 1987 to 2000, Florida State won at least 10 games, and loss a combined 19  (along with one tie).

FSU finished in the top 5 from 1992-2000 (14 straight seasons).

Bowden “only” has two National Titles, but the reason I put him alongside Saban, is because he created a program that had no history, into one of the best programs in America, and a brand in College Football. Saban. Bowden. The very best in my opinion. There’s a coach in Columbus, Ohio that could make me revisit this a few years from now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FINALLY

It’s here. Well, almost. The college football season . Game week. The kickoff for the 2015-16 (FBS) season begins Thursday. If you love the college game, a must have during the summer:

Phil Steele’s College Football Preview magazine.

It’s become the go to for all your college football info prior to the season.

I reached out to Phil earlier this month to talk. We chatted via phone, and as you would imagine working in Huntsville, a lot of the questions were SEC-centric. But we also dove into Ohio State, “surprise” teams in the SEC and a “sleeper” that could crash the four team playoff and become a National Champion.

It’s Monday. Work is overrated. Wet your football appetite just a little more.

Take a listen:

Odds and Ends:

—The College football season actually got underway between two powerhouses in FCS. Kinda like that Bob Stitt guy.

—Just seeing Jim Harbaugh, khaki’s and all, on a college sideline again, is good for the game. Should be a rocking atmosphere at Rice-Eccles Stadium Thursday.

— TCF Bank Stadium will be a great atmosphere, at least early. TCU, with their #2 ranking facing a Gopher team that has took on Jerry Kill’s hard work, grind em out type personality. Media experts think this is his best team… we’ll see.

—My alma mater, Western Kentucky University, has one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and will try to knock of Vanderbilt, who needs, REALLY NEEDS to win this game. SB Nation does the best it can to try and talk Vandy fans off the ledge heading into the season.

—TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma St are getting the headlines in the Big 12 this off season, but, I personally like Oklahoma. Glad that that Bob Stoops is getting back to the air raid, that got the Sooners on the map early in his tenure. Some new offensive lineman will need to get adjusted, but Baker Mayfield threw it around the yard at Texas Tech as a Freshman, and should (I know, he hasn’t played in a year) thrive in the offense under new Offensive Coordinator Lincoln Riley. And if for nothing else, he can move a little bit, well, a lot.

—Excited to see UCLA’s first year starter.

Picks and more picks:

Alabama over Wisconsin:

Defense rules the day for the Tide. Badgers will have less the 200 yards of offense. It only gets interesting if Alabama’s (insert here) QB struggles.

Auburn over Louisville:

The Cards shouldn’t be measured on this game. Louisville will have a good year. No clue who gets the start for Bobby Petrino, but it won’t matter. Auburn comes out smoking, with the the way-to-early-send-him-to-New-York-now Heisman hype in mid season form for Jeremy Johnson by the half.

Notre Dame over Texas:

Under the lights in South Bend, this is Brian Kelly’s best team with the Irish. Malik Zaire will have his growing pains throughout the season, will it be enough to derail some playoff aspirations? No clue there, but he should play well enough Saturday, along with a elite offense, and a defense that will hound Longhorn quarterbacks Tyrone Swoops/Jerrod Herd all night. BUT… if Swoops/Herd come out hot, The Irish haters may have some added ammunition by midnight Saturday.

Ohio St over Virginia Tech:

Urban Meyer could suspend whomever. They win the game. The Hokies will make it entertaining in spots, but it reminds me of the last time a #1 ranked talented team came to Blacksburg.

Texas A&M over Arizona St:

A sleeper in the SEC, Stewart Mandel picked the Aggies to win the league. The game Saturday in the desert won’t have anything to do with that, but could show that the Aggies have the right guy at Quarterback (Kyle Allen) and an improved defense and/or scheme (John Chavis). The Sun Devils will bring pressure from everywhere… If Allen gets it out of his hands, he may have 450 plus through the air. If he doesn’t Kevin Sumlin’s prized recruit of 2015 may be the answer sooner rather than later.

My Final Four Picks:

(1) Ohio St     Vs (4) Notre Dame

(2) TCU          Vs (3) Auburn

National Championship:

(1) Ohio St Vs (2) TCU

Winner: Ohio St

Enjoy the games this week. Football is back. Football. Is. Back.

What did we learn in Week 1? Not a dang thing.

Source: saturdaydownsouth.com

You Think You Know…..

1. Hope everyone had a awesome Labor Day. I ate enough that would make any serious food eater proud… besides the guy below.

 

Back to ball talk. I know every college fan and general  football fans (besides those who love the NFL and had to wait a week) were excited to see competitive football on TV. We watch the games and every elite team that didn’t win by 3,542 points is in SERIOUS trouble. Lets all breathe. The same thing you knew before the start of the season, is exactly what you know heading into week 2. Besides Vanderbilt. No answers for ya there.

 

OMG! (people say that still?) Whats wrong with Bama? FSU!?!?!?!

Simple answer. nothing. So West Virginia was supposed to lose by 20 plus. All we found out is that Dana Holgerson is one hell of a play caller, and that the Mountaineers have talent on offense. Are they as talented as Bama? No, but Holgerson called a solid game, and put the ball into his play makers hands to, well, make plays.

That leads us to Alabama. This team is a work in progress. Everyone (including myself) just assumed that Jacob Coker had the job simply by transferring over in late spring and early summer. He doesn’t have a grasp of the offense the way like Nick Saban would like. Can that change? Sure, it’s very possible. Lets give Blake Sims some credit. Yeah, did he wing it everywhere on the turf  last week? No. Was he inconsistent, and had some “rattled” like moments? Yeah. But the guy is a fifth year senior who two years ago was playing running back, who made his first start for not just any program, but a program where the QB position is heavily scrutinized. Memo to Tide fans. BREATHE.  This team is a work in progress, that basically went through a successful workshop a week ago, and will now prepare for a take home test this week against the Owls of Florida Atlantic. We will know alot more after four quarters of play September 20th.

 

The Noles are OVERRATED!!!

That’s what I heard this week. Once again. Overreaction. Florida State literally showed up, and played just good enough to pull out the win. It felt like when going back and watching the replay of the game this week, that:

A) Mike Gundy can call plays, and call them very well.

B) The Cowboys talent level is good, the Noles talent level. Off. The. Charts.

C) Yes fans, It’s  true that teams that are super talented can literally show up, go through the motions and win against most teams. Maybe not against elite of the elite, but how many teams are that?

Give credit to Oklahoma State, but in my opinion  there wasn’t a time when I thought FSU would lose. Not one. There was some moments late where there could have been some issues, Oklahoma State trimmed the lead down to 3. Then the Noles Groza Award watchlist kicker put three up, followed by Jameis connecting with Rashad Greene, and that was that. Basically, Jimbo Fisher will have his guys attention after game one. Not that it will really matter. The Noles will be 5-0 before Notre Dame comes to town October 18th

 

Gurley, Hill the truth.

Kenny Hill didn’t surprise me. The only thing that surprised me was the 511 through the air. If you said 300, OK, but 511? Beast stuff. Thought the Aggies would win if the defense played average against South Carolina, and that unit did. If they keep playing average. They win 8-9 at least moving forward. Back to A&M’s first year starter, he wants to be called “Kenny Trill” moving forward. The nickname in reference to Houston rap great Bun B (you ARE allowed to nod your head to the beat if you are at work reading this, heck it’s Friday):

 

 

As for that Todd Gurley dude. No need to say a word. Just enjoy this animal below:

 

 

Quick Hits

–Remember Larry Coker. He won a National Title at Miami in 2001, and is now trying to do work at UTSA. They played Rich Rod and Arizona Thursday, and came away with a tough 26-23 loss inside the Alamodome. Didn’t see it, besides the highlights and the tough INT by the UTSA QB Tucker Carter. A win’s a win, and a quick look at Rich Rod’s Wildcats schedule could have the ‘Zona 4-0 heading to Autzen Stadium to face Oregon October 2nd (Cal could be tricky the week before).

 

–Texas A&M Commerce 98, East Texas Baptist 20. Thursday night in Division II. A&M commerce had 986 total yards of offense.

 

–There’s this:

 

 

–And this word you need to type in. Ickeyfy. Watch Everything on Youtube after the search.

 

 

–McDonald’s. 20 piece nuggets. $5. Your life depends on it.

 

–I watch a ton of absolutely awful TV. No denying it. The worse this week. Love and Hip Hop. Basically the WWE’s version of Survivor Series on VH1, with their reunion part II. And yes there’s another part upcoming. Don’t judge me.

–Gypsy sisters as well. Once again. Don’t. Judge.

 

— Imagine if Gael Monfils actually won ANYTHING. He would be a mega star.

 

I’m back next week… I’ll talk more crazy stuff, and College football, including thoughts on the notable games of week two

 

Till next week yall.

 

Hello College Football, nice to see ya again…

Source:usatoday.com

Hello. Yeah this blog known as Carl’s Clipboard was basically extinct for..EVER. Do you blame me? The last blog post I wrote had to do with some game in Auburn, Alabama in November..

The reactions across the country…. not bad either…

Still hard to believe that an winless Tigers team a year ago in the SEC went on to win the league and then played a hell of a game against the very best team in College Football all year (yep I said all year) in Florida State. That game in Pasadena not bad either…

Since that night… alot of things have changed in the College Football World… We have a new format to determine a National Champion (CFB Playoff), and a nice trophy (As you see above). From The Power Five Conferences nearing autonomy, to Ed O’ Bannon (among others) fighting for collegiate athletes in court, there’s been plenty to talk about from January to this very Wednesday.

But now we are on the eve of another College Football year, fans (like myself) everywhere wont have to have another weekend without this great game until January, where it all comes to an end at Jerry’s Playground in Arlington January 12, 2015.

For those  6-7 people that read this blog last year, you know that I will talk CFB, along with all things pop culture and anything else that comes to mind (As you will see with some of the titles of topics relating to songs and movies I love)

So with this being  the first of many blogs for the season… Let’s talk a little “ball” shall we?

 

 

THE YEAR OF JOE KANE

There are just a few dudes that can run it and throw it. I like em all. Mariota, Marshall,  Hundley,  Golson, Winston, Petty.. and so on. Since 2000, Only two players have won the award that weren’t quarterbacks (name the two players on Twitter for me if you know who they were… @CarlPratherWAFF)

Which means the guy that throws the pill will once again be college football’s most outstanding player. The trophy has only had one repeat winner in history, could Jameis make it two?

 

I’M NOT A STAR

At SEC Media Days in Hoover, a lot of new faces representing teams. Only Georgia’s Todd Gurley was the most known guy there for the casual fan. Gone are all the QB’s that fans of the league came to love, It’s now time for some new faces to make some new history. Could that start Thursday night with A&M’s Kenny Hill leading the way for the Aggies against South Carolina?

 

WHO COULD IT BE NOW ?

Under the Radar guys that could have some big years:

Myles Jack (LB/RB, UCLA)– Beast.  The CFB world knows about him, but he can be even better this season. All this guy did was win the Pac-12 freshman Offensive and Defensive Player of The Year. The Bruins cookin up something potentially special in Westwood.

Chuckie Keeton (QB, Utah State)– He played six games last year before getting injured, but is expected to pick back up where he left off in Aggies land. Tennessee (ahem) don’t sleep this weekend.

Matt Johnson (QB, Bowling Green)- If you get a chance to catch one of those mid week MAC games… go watch the Falcons and Johnson. He leads an attack that can put up points in a hurry.

Jonathan Williams (RB, Arkansas)– There will be a ton of other backs in the country that are elite, Williams may not even be the best  back on his team (Alex Collins). But the combination of toughness, size, and speed could help the Hogs get back to respectability this season… maybe.

 

WHO CAN BE THE ESU TIMBERWOVLES? (Sorry had to make another reference… Loved that movie)

Florida- It was a dumpster fire in Gainesville in 2013. It was bad. Georgia Southern at home bad. Will Muschamp had 25 guys… 25! that missed a combined total of 126 games, 13 guys lost for the season.. They had a guy lost for the year after falling off a scooter. It. Cant. Get. Much. Worse. Got a feeling it will be happy times again in the Swamp, with just maybe a trip to Atlanta in early December.

Georgia- Speaking of snake bit, Georgia had to deal with a rash of injuries as well. Only 3 starters returned in ’13, so youth wont be served as much heading into this season. I have NO clue about Hutson Mason at QB,but that Gurley dude along with some freshman (Nick Chubb, Sony Michel) can help matters. If Mason is steady, look out.

USC- You better get this team now. The sanctions are over, and the elite talent will be back, depth wise in a hurry. Steve Sarkisian knows the program, and understands what it takes to win at the level Trojans fans are accustomed to. Their first teamers are as good as anyone in the country, with a sure fire top 5-10 pick in the ’15 NFL Draft (Leonard Williams). Not saying they go to the CFB Playoff, but a big year in ’14 could pave the way for a ton of expectations in ’15.

 

PREDICTIONS…. WHY NOT?

I have no clue about who will make the 4 team playoff. But I love to ALWAYS make a prediction, no matter how far off (which is 100% of the time) I am.  And it goes a little something like this:

Florida State– If you think they are losing to anyone, you’re crazy. Well, I’ll give you a pass if you say they lose once.  This team was a year ahead of schedule by winning it all a year ago. Even if they didn’t win it last season, They more than likely would have been the preseason favorite anyway. They are loaded. Everywhere. Pick a spot where they have a weakness. There isn’t one. The only weakness potentially is complacency. That’s it. They even have the best kicker in college football returning. They may win all their games by at least 21. For real.

Auburn– Yea. I know their schedule is brutal. But IMO, they have the least amount of questions of any team in the entire SEC. Some of my media pals (along with fans) wonder about their defense. I actually think it will be worlds better with a second year in Ellis Johnson’s 4-2-5 scheme.  And the offense. I think will set records this season. Think the West Virginia days of Pat White, Steve Slaton, and company. Back to the schedule. Kansas St, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Auburn, yes, I know tough. I think the Tigers will be up to the challenge.  A loss along the way? Maybe. But it will still be good enough to head to the CFB Playoff.

Oregon– I HAVE to eventually get this team right!  Stanford has been the land mine for the last couple of seasons… I think they beat the Cardinal this year (I’ve said this for the past few years). The problem? Hosting Michigan State, and possible playing UCLA twice this season, with the latter (Pac 12 title game) for a ticket to the CFB Playoff. I think Marcus Mariota stays healthy all season, and the front seven will FINALLY hold up to get them to the Final Four.

Oklahoma– No team this preseason has gotten the “overrated” moniker more than the fighting Jim Rosses (Look him up). The Sugar Bowl win a year ago was great, which of course jump started the preseason hype two months after… But is Trevor Knight the answer? He was average throughout last season with Blake Bell, but caught fire against Alabama. The schedule sets up great, outside of the matchup with Texas (where they were smacked around a year ago). Baylor and Kansas State could be landmines, but I expect Boomer Sooner to survive.

AND THE WINNER IS…..

Florida State. Too much talent across the board, along with the best QB in college football, along with this guy…

Source:reddit.com

Will be  too much… the Noles go back to back.

If you like the picks, let me know on Twitter:@CarlPratherWAFF

OR

hit my Facebook fan page :CarlPratherWAFF

**Email me for my Clipboard mailbag that I will start next week. Ask anything. Food. Music. Sports. Pop Culture. Life. Whatever. I’ll pick a few and answer…cprather@waff.com**

 

Hope you were bored enough to read while pretending to work. Enjoy the season.

And It’s Back!! College Football Talk and other quick Hitters

(Source:nydailynews.com)

Yep, We’ve waited and waited, and now It’s here… I feel like I should play this song before each season..

So now it’s on to tonight the start of the college football season, some great games to get us started before the full slate begins on Saturday… Here’s what we saw a ton of during the off season….

That video above never, NEVER gets old… What about this guy? He came out of nowhere, right?

And then it was Manziel mania…. Oh yeah, I forgot, Bama wins AGAIN.

So enough about last year.. time to talk this year and time to talk big games starting on Thursday night:

North Carolina Vs (6) South Carolina

The skinny:  The college football world has talked Jadaveon Clowney and that hit (and rightfully so) a ton, now the Gamecocks and Steve Spurrier have one of the most talented rosters in history, and hope to make a run to a BCS game or possibly more, North Carolina on the other hand wants to shock the football world early with a win tonight on the road.

What will happen: This game could go either way. Lost in all the Clowney talk, is that the Gamecocks lost some experienced play makers on defense, and will be breaking in some new linebackers tonight.. not a good recipe for the Tar Heels potent offense led by senior Brynn Renner. I think the Tar Heels will scare the Gamecocks throughout, and could play well late into this game, before the Gamecocks makes a play of two, on Defense to get the win at home.

North Carolina 17  South Carolina 28

Ole Miss Vs Vanderbilt

The Skinny: This game is HUGE for both teams moving forward. After tonight’s game, Ole Miss has a layup against South East Missouri and then  will play at Texas, Alabama, Auburn, and then at home against Texas A&M. Vandy on the other hand will have a layup against Austin Peay, but then a big one with South Carolina after that… meaning that either team could gain some serious momentum with a win tonight.

What will happen: Vanderbilt will have a new QB at the helm in Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels.  A Source that watched a ton of Fall Camp at Vandy  told me that he’s struggled and been inconsistent throughout fall camp, which could mean trouble for wideout Jordan Matthews tonight early on. I think Samuels has talent, but this is not the type of game you want to get your feet wet in. Hugh Freeze and the Rebels will score, in bunches and two step out of Nashville with a win.

OIe Miss 35   Vanderbilt 17

Saturday Games

1 Alabama Vs Virginia Tech

The Skinny: Alabama is number one, what else is new? The Tide come into their game in Atlanta a heavy favorite to blow out the Hokies. Heck, even longtime Hokies coach Frank Beamer has said this is the best Alabama team he has ever faced (cue the no one believes we can win inside the Tech locker room prior to the game talk). The Tide have to replace three parts to an all time great offensive line, but returns the best skill position talent in the history of the program.

What will happen: Three months ago, I would have said that this game would be close, and that Alabama would win a close one. But Tech has lost some key parts on defense including top corner back Antone Exumm, and a few other players on what would have been a salty and stingy D. So now that  means the Tide don’t win close, but big, as September 14th becomes more of a a reality.

Alabama 49  Virgina Tech 13

Washington State VS Auburn

The Skinny: It’s the Gus Malzahn era at Auburn, he brings his offense back to the Plains that was responsible for that 2010 BCS National Title.  Like Auburn, Washington State was terrible a year ago in Mike Leach’s first year. Two offenses that like to go fast, what defense will get the job done is the key.

What will happen: Mike Leach’s group will get hit early by Tigers newcomer Nick Marshall at QB who’s as athletic as they come under center (Marshall a former DB at Georgia… Bulldogs starter Aaron Murray said he’s the best athlete he’s ever seen), will make some highlight plays early on to excite the night crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Cougars will show signs of improvement from a year ago, but the 4-2-5 of Ellis Johnson will get some pressure on the Cougars to force some turnovers.

Washington State 13  Auburn 31

5 Georgia Vs 8 Clemson

The Skinny: The game of the weekend. the Bulldogs head to Death Valley to face a Clemson team that’s thinking National Title.  Clemson is everyone’s “hot” team heading into the season, while Mark Richt’s group has questions on Defense, but his best offense ever in Athens.

What will happen: I’ve went back and forth.. and back again on this game. In the end, I have to stick to my first thoughts. Aaron Murray will shine on Saturday night with a really, really good offense, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will have success running the football. The problem is that it’s hard for me to think that a young and very talented Bulldogs D can withstand blow after blow by Clemson and their offense. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and that hurry up implemented by offensive Coordinator Chad Morris is a lot to handle already. Add in National TV, at night, at Death Valley, and it becomes that much tougher. One things for certain. Clemson needs this game more than Georgia does. Clemson loses this game, It could spell disaster for the rest of the season. Georgia wins this game, they’re playing with house money with South Carolina coming between the hedges next week.

Georgia 17 Clemson 24

Quick Picks for Week 1:

USC over Hawaii

LSU over TCU

Utah St over Utah

Fresno St over Rutgers

Western KY over Kentucky

Oklahoma St over Mississippi St

Washington over Boise St

The other two Louisiana schools

Would it be a shock if three Louisiana programs go 3-0 after week 1? I picked LSU to beat TCU… But what about UL- Monroe over Oklahoma, and UL-Lafayette over Arkansas? I’m not sayin, but just sayin…. keep an eye out for those two games.

Quick Hitters:

–Did anyone really think Johnny Manziel would get “hammered” by the NCAA? I was shocked he got even a half game suspension.

–You want to see a really good QB and RB? tune in to Utah State against Utah and check out Chuckie Keeton and Joe Hill. the Aggies have a ton of starters returning from an 11-2 team a year ago. Auburn fans remember Keeton and Hill who almost pulled off the upset in 2011.

–Another QB you haven’t heard of? Fresno State’s Derrick Carr. He threw 37 TD passes a year ago, and is poised for an even bigger year through the air (4,104 yards in ’12) this season. Fresno State could be this year’s “BCS buster”.

–Im ready to see this guy. I miss you, good sir.

HAPPY COLLEGE FOOTBALL EVERYONE!!! ENJOY WEEK ONE!!!!!!

The Top 25, Manziel, and 28 Days Till Kickoff

Source: trackingsi.com

The Top 25 Is FINALLY HERE!!

Please you over the top, enthusiastic college football fan. DO NOT act like you didn’t get excited that the first USA Today Top 25 came out Thursday. Ok… maybe it was just me, but still…

Seriously, whatever some may think, polls have always been a  staple with college football. They make things fun throughout the season, and of course mean a lot when we get toward the latter part of the year with titles on the line. So let’s Look at the list, and yours truly will try to give a few words on each team in the poll:

1. Alabama- Can they Three-peat? That will be the talk all during fall camp. Alot has to do with that one game on September 14th, against the team at number 6.

2. Ohio State- They were the only undefeated last season, now with the pressure of having a chance to play for it all, can Urban Meyer lead the Buckeyes to Pasadena? They need Carlos Hyde, and the D to help out Braxton Miller.

3. Stanford- David Shaw has taken over nicely for Jim Harbaugh and in my opinion, elevated the program even more. Can they take the next step of being a BCS title contender?

4. Oregon- They dodged NCAA sanctions, and now the Ducks are poised to finally get back to the title game. They will be as explosive as anyone in the country on offense with DeAnthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota, and a much improved D ran by Nick Aliotti.

5. Georgia- The Best offense in Mark Richt’s tenure at Georgia. Can they reload on D, without Alec Ogletree, Bacari Rambo, and Jarvis Jones, among others. They get tested right out the gate in Death Calley against Clemson.

6. Texas A&M- I hope we can talk about the best quarterback in the SEC (yes Tide fans, I said BEST) and football instead of Manziel and his college hi jinks (that I, and you should care less about..more on him later). Are they a National Title team? We will know when they host the team ranked #1 September 14th.

7. South Carolina- Steve Spurrier’s best team in Columbia. Dylan Thompson may be the for sure answer at QB, but Connor Shaw hasn’t done anything to keep himself out of the lineup. Number 7 on D will be in Beast Mode all year, along with his uber talented teammates on that side of the ball.

8. Clemson- Does Clemson and offensive Coordinator Chad Morris have the best offense in the country? Hard to argue with Tahj Boyd, Sammie Watkins and company. Can the Defense take another step under Brent Venables?

9. Louisville- They have a soft schedule, BUT I can hold that against Charlie Strong and his program. Why? They had Texas A&M scheduled, and the Aggies..OPTED OUT. Not the Cards fault that they tried to boost the resume and they couldn’t get anyone to play them. Manziel may be the best QB in the SEC, Teddy Bridgewater is the best QB in the COUNTRY.

10. Florida- Will Muschamp must retool that dominant D, but he’s trying to build his program the way Saban does it in Tuscaloosa. The D should be fine, Can Jeff Driskel continue his progression as a vertical threat at QB?

11. Notre Dame- Yep.. the last time we saw the Irish, they were bludgeoned to death by Alabama in Miami. Everett Golson is out after being expelled from school (Should be back in ’14), in his place Tommy Rees, who MUST take care of the football. Notre Dame’s D will be dominant again, Rees will be the difference in a 10-2 year or another trip to a BCS National Title appearance.

12. Florida State- There are rumblings in Tallahassee that Charlie Ward 2.0 will lead the Noles to a BCS bowl game and possibly much more. Jameis Winston hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in his career on the gridiron, but has shown Jimbo Fisher and his teammates that he’s poised to make the quarterback position deadly. If he’s Ward 2.0, the Noles could be on their way to starting a championship dynasty Bobby Bowden could be proud of.

13. LSU- shhh… no one is talking about the Mad Hatter and his Bayou Bengals. Les Miles may like it that way. Jeremy Hill is needed to take the running game to a different level (hopefully he can get past legal issues). Zach Metennberger has some weapons to throw to in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Even losing 11 underclassmen wont keep the Tigers from playing in some high stakes games late in the season.

14. Oklahoma State- T Boone Pickens keeps forking over the money, Mike Gundy keeps building the Cowboys into a consistent winner. The Cowboys should win the Big 12, if they do that, they could be in the hunt for a surprise trip to Pasadena. If that’s the case, T Boone may pay for the entire state to go.

15. Texas- A make or break year for Mack Brown? I think that if the Longhorns struggle, Brown will retire. It could all go bad with a early visit from the Ole Miss Rebels. Or, we could have a possible rematch of the 2009 BCS Tile game… It’s either peak or valley for Brown on the 40 acres in 2013. Nothing in between in my opinion.

16. Oklahoma- Bob Stoops will hope  that Blake Bell is the answer at QB. If he’s not, the Sooners could not even make a New Year’s Day game. a lot of question marks with this group.

17. Michigan- Brady Hoke is slowly building something special in Ann Arbor (as his verbal commitments in ’14 and ’15 show). Most of his players are being acclimated to his system and we could see more of his pro set principles this season. Watch for super freshman Derrick Green at RB.

18. Nebraska- It was a disaster in that Big 10 title game a year ago against Wisconsin. Bo Pelini has Taylor Martinez at QB (who has been in Lincoln since Tom Osborne was on the sidelines it seems), and his best offense since during his tenure. Martinez must become a more efficient passer, to score points and help bring along a young defense.

19. Boise State- Remember the Broncos? They have seem to become an afterthought, since Kellen Moore and crew left. With that talent, it’s easy to see it may have taken some time to get back to that elite level. The Broncos may have to hold off a team (Utah St) to win the Mountain West.

20. TCU- Gotta give credit to Gary Patterson. Year in and year out he plays some of the best non conference schedules in the country. This year no different with LSU in Arlington at Jerry World (or Cowboys Stadium, whichever you prefer). His group wins that game, another BCS bowl berth could be in the works.

21. UCLA- Jim Mora has some pieces to work with on offense (Brett Hundley, Shaquille Evans) and on defense (Anthony Barr future 1st round pick in ’14 NFL Draft). He will miss James Franklin at running back, who was super reliable. Can Mora take this group to the next step of vying for the top of the Pac-12 standings?

22. Northwestern- Could we have a Stanford of the Midwest soon? Pat Fitzgerald is showing that you can win with high academic standards in Evanston, Illinois. Could the Wildcats shock the world and pull the upset this season against Ohio St? Do that and the program could be smelling roses for the first time since 1994, when Fitzgerald was in uniform.

23. Wisconsin- This program has big fellas up front, and will always run the football. Brett Bielema is in the SEC, in comes Gary Anderson from Utah State, who like Bielema will ground and pound. Can they develop more of a vertical threat? That will be the difference for the team to have staying power under his watch.

24. USC- #1 last year in the preseason, now at #24.. and that’s being generous. Lane Kiffin’s heat is up to 250 Degrees, but a 7-8 win season with reduced scholarships would make a happy AD in Pat Haden. The Trojans have weapons, and blue chippers all across the roster, just not as many in number as Kiffin would like. If  Max Wittek shows promise, man child Marquise Lee continues to destroy opposing corners, and the defense can bend and not break, the groundwork could be laid for an ever better 2014 season.

25. Oregon State- Mike Riley had Corvallis rocking to start the first half of the 2013 with that 6-0 start. The Wheels fell off after, but still Riley managed a 9-4 record to close things out.  Some experienced guys return on offense (Sean Mannon, Cody Vaz, Brandon Cooks), and the defense will hope to keep scoring points and forcing turnovers.

Source:espn.com

Mr Manziel

So, the college football off season has centered around the Heisman trophy winner. Johnny Manziel has, partied while in college, left the Manning Passing camp in Thibedoux, La early (AJ McCarron was his roommate and apparently couldn’t wake him up), two articles have come out about Manziel and his family, (by Wright Thompson and Andy Staples which are great reads), along with countless other opinions on sports talk radio, about the downward spiral of Manziel.

My take: I don’t care. Whether people want to believe it or not, EVERYTHING that has happened to Manziel (which I’m still trying to figure out that’s broke the law, outside of drinking underage), we have all either known someone in our college/youthful years that have did it, or done them ourselves.

Does Manziel have a different life comparable to other college students in the country, of course. He’s a Heisman trophy quarterback, that electrified the football world last season. I ask this. If he were the third string QB at Joe University, none of this would be an issue. It would be a non news story. He’s been the center of attention during what I call the “silly season” in college football (the time when there is nothing to talk about, because no games are being played and we’re thirsty for any news), for as number of reasons:

1. He beat Alabama, mostly single handily- 99.9% of Alabama fans give him props for what he did on that day last season. the problem like EVERY fan base in the country, is that it’s hard for one to believe this kid came out of nowhere and beat your team. It happen. Can’t change it. Get over it.

2. He Can do a ton of cool things that others can’t- You mean to tell me that if you had the chance to go to a NBA Finals game, hang out with Drake (or your favorite musician), throw out a few opening pitches at Major League baseball games, you wouldn’t? Stop lying to yourself.

3. Like Tebow, He will never win- So what happens if A&M and his team gets blown out against Alabama September 14th? You will hear so many “I told ya so’s” everywhere. But here’s a thought. What happens if the Aggies beat The Tide again? What happens if this team wins the league? Like Tim Tebow, no matter what he does on and off the playing field, people will have something to say. Tebow was everything you wanted in a “model football citizen”, and he was lambasted to this day. And he’s never even had any controversy like Manziel. It’s just this simple. Both have had a ton of success in their football careers, and people just don’t like it. If there’s another reason, I would love to know.

4. What were you doing at 20?- If you are his age, and have all this celebrity coming at you 220 mph, could you handle it? Some could, that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person because of this. His father in the ESPN article earlier this week said that, “Yeah, it could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.”  How many parents don’t worry about their kids while in college or in high school when going to parties, hanging out with friends, much less when you are the face of an entire University, and you can go and come as you please? My take, Johnny Manziel will have peaks and valleys in his life, even on the football field, all while trying to find his way as a young man in a world where his every waking move is out in public on display.

5. He deals with Social Media-  If we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Smartphones, would this even be an issue? Yes he was arrested (misdemeanor) for a fake ID. If There were none of the social media outlets that dominate our world today, would this be an issue? What if Twitter and Facebook were around in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s? Johnny Manziel would be a saint compared to the craziness that went  on. Heck, ask Riley Cooper if he wished no one had a Smartphone to record video.

I’ll be back next week for another post as we get close to kickoff of the college football season… Have a great weekend!

The Honey Badger can run, and March Madness is close

Source:whodatdish.com

The Honey Badger Returns

After more than a year away from the LSU/National/College Football world… Tyrann Mathieu.. AKA The Honey Badger showed up at the NFL combine to show that he hasn’t missed a beat as far as football conditioning and skills. Did he ever show up… Mathieu ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and wowed all NFL personnel with his on field drill work. I don’t know where the heck he plays in as a DB (island cornerback, or a nickel), but I know that he is a pure FOOTBALL PLAYER, that can make plays anywhere on the field, including special teams. Although Alabama’s Dee Milliner ran a 4.3… I think that Mathieu was the best overall defensive back in Indy on Tuesday.

Source:gadome.com

ONE SHINING MOMENT

I LOVE college basketball. I’m from the great state of Kentucky, and nope, not a UK, UL or even Indiana fan. I’m a Duke Bludevil fan much to the chagrin of almost everyone in my family (and my friends who think I stink and I’m crazy). Many media experts believe that this years tournament is wide open, meaning anyone can win. When’s the last time we have heard of any “off the radar” team winning a title. Butler was as close as it came to winning one… and as a Duke fan.. those last final seconds had me nervous

http://youtu.be/SB00wfyuQjY?t=5m47s

Who can Win it?

I think there are a handful of teams that can cut the nets down in Atlanta in April, I just don’t think it’s as many as college hoops fans think. Remember, you have to win 6 games to get there, and you gotta have a team, that can do the following:

1. Win a game when you can’t shoot the ball well

2. Players that can come off the bench and give you a spark

3. Doing one thing Very well outside of scoring (defense, defensive pressure, 2nd chance points, etc)

4. and having more than one star on your team.

5. If you don’t have number 4, then you MUSt have at least two Really, Really good go to players.

So who qualifies for that in my opinion that can win it all?

1. Indiana- Talent, Talent, Talent. I’m taking that above all else in the tournament. They have a little bit of everything. Size on the interior (Cody Zeller) they have shooters that can extend the defense (Christian Watford, Will Sheehey) and a flat-out stud that can take over games when needed (Victor Olidipo). They play good enough defense, which equals a deep run into March and possibly much more. And yes I know they lost to Minnesota Tuesday night Gophers are a good team). I don’t care. They’re still elite.

2. Louisville- They just impose their will on teams. I know they reached #1 this season, and followed that up by losing three straight. I could care less. It’s very hard in this new college hoops world to not have a lapse in a season. It happens. This team is far better than the one that reached the Final Four a year ago. Russ Smith can go off for 30 at anytime, while Chene Behannan and Gorgui Dieng can pound the post with their scoring and defensive ability. And even when they can’t get a much-needed bucket, they can  just absolutely smother you with their varying defenses. From a full court man, to a trapping 3/4 court, to a matchup zone, the Cards can easily break of a 15-0 run before a team can blink.

3. Michigan- The Wolverines are playing in the toughest league this season (Big Ten), a league that could easily have two of the four Final Four Teams in Atlanta this season. Like Louisville they have had their hiccups, but 3 of their four loses were to ranked teams within the Big Ten, along with a OT loss to Wisconsin. This team will be a force to reckon with, elite guards in Tim Hardaway Jr, and Trey Burke, along with a versatile freshman wing in Greg Robinson III, that can have a tournament run that could carry the Maize and Blue. Add a capable post in Mitch McGary, and a shooter that can shoot from the hashes (Nik Stauskas), The Wolverines can be deadly

4. Duke- And yes I’m a Duke fan, but this team can win it all… IF and a big IF Ryan Kelly can return to form and play a reasonably high level. Kelly has missed the last month due to a foot injury. The Dukies have dropped 3 games, two of them to ranked teams (Miami, NC State) and another to a team that could make the big dance as well (Maryland). They are athletic enough to be able to score from the perimeter, and Mason Plumlee is playing at a Wooden award level. Ryan Kelly will be key, If they have them, they can win it, if they don’t.. they can still head to the Final Four, but just would like to have him in the lineup if possible.

Other teams that can cut the nets down:

Arizona, Kansas, Florida

**And yes I know there are some other teams out there can you may think can win it.. Leave a comment and let me know, I’ll answer during next weeks blog post***

 

Top College Football Jobs in America

These are according to Athlon sports. Take a look. And nope, Alabama is not number one, or even number two…

http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football/ranking-college-footballs-coaching-jobs-2013

 

Reality News stream of consciousness

— The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the best set of Housewives on Bravo

-The ladies of Beverly Hills an d New Jersey are tied for my second favorite.

-I have not missed an episode of Kourtney and Kim take Miami. Nor will I  ever.

-I’m upset with myself for  not watching this seasons The Bachelor

-The Gypsy sisters are AWESOME on TLC. Great TV.

-The Real Husbands of Hollywood. Great Stuff. Shout out to Kevin Hart.

-Shahs of Sunset great TV too, can’t wait till they return next season. Lily is my openly secret crush. My wife knows and understands.

-Swamp People. Watch it.

-Big Rich Atlanta. Watch it.

That will do it for this week… See you all next week… until then, enjoy a little Uncle Drew. I. Get. BUCKETS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvwMsbgVNoY