Four for Thursday

After a two week break, The Clipboard is back with four thoughts heading into this week:

1. Jeremy Johnson or Sean White?

The preseason hype surrounding Auburn was as hot as this song still is right now. Fast forward to five games into the season, and the Tigers are hoping for a decent bowl game that’s warm, and a starting quarterback that can jolt the offense and gain momentum toward a potential bounce back year in ’16. Jeremy Johnson got benched, Sean White came in, and now what? It appears that Gus Malzahn’s making everyone wait till tonight to see who will start.

My two cents: I have no earthly idea who will be the starter, and I have no earthly idea what Auburn will do from here till season’s end. Fair or not, one thing’s for certain. If they look awful tonight on the road against Kentucky, Tigers fans may want something more than just a new quarterback.

2. Another shootout in College Station?

I picked Georgia to beat Alabama on October 3rd. Didn’t turn out so well. Any Alabama fan worth their hounds tooth had reservations about that game for one reason. Jake Coker. Nothing more, nothing less. Turns out Grayson Lambert was the weak link for the Bulldogs in the 38-10 drubbing.

Now it’s another game I’m picking against the Tide, and it’s at Texas A&M. The Tide defense has been outstanding, with some players even saying they have the best unit in the country. Doesn’t hurt that a Huntsville native is playing the best within the unit. I picked the other QB (Lambert) against Coker earlier this season, I’m picking the other QB (Kyle Allen) Saturday along with the 12th man to knock off the Tide. Feel free to vent your frustrations at me Saturday night if the Tide (for the 1 trillionth time) prove me wrong and win similar to last season’s victory.

3. Khaki’s. Ann Arbor’s new fashion trend.

I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan. I love Jim Harbaugh.  Much like many college football fans, it wasn’t “if” but “when” Michigan would return to relevancy. Guess we have our answer after 6 games:

5-1 (only loss to the 4th ranked team in the country).

Since that loss, the Wolverines have surrendered a grand total of 14 points.

The last three games. 31-0. 28-0. 38-0.

The biggest test is Saturday when Michigan State comes to Ann Arbor. The Spartans already short handed with a handful of key players MIA due to the injury bug.

If the Wolverines find a way to win Saturday, that hype train will keep pushing to that game on November 28th.

4. The HBC

As a tyke growing up in Kentucky, with a rooting interest  in a football team from South Bend, all while watching every Jefferson Pilot SEC televised game, I had ZERO clue who Steve Spurrier was coming to Florida from Duke of all places. Once he made his presence felt in Gainesville as a head coach (visor and all), It was a rude awakening for the rest of the league. I even remember watching college football as a teenager, and seeing a score pop up that I couldn’t ever believe I would ever see again.

Jack Jackson, Danny Wuerffel, Javon Kearse, Errict Rhett, Reidel Anthony, Jabar Gaffney, Jacquez Green, Ike Hillard, Kevin Carter, Ellis Johnson, Alex Taylor, Fred Taylor, Lito Sheppard, were some of my favorite Gators ever.

The South Carolina run was fun to watch as well (let’s forget the Redskins happened), and getting to see the HBC in person at a handful of SEC Media Days was fun also in my professional career.

Here’s to you Stephen Orr Spurrier. You’ve made this great game of college football better. I hope to see you on a sideline just one more time before you turn in your visor.

Enjoy the games this weekend everyone.

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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.

Quick Picks Week 2

Source:cbssports.com)

Quick Picks for Saturday

A great week one of the year.. a longer post to come for a MEGA week 3 (Bama/A&M anyone?)

14 Notre Dame Vs 17 Michigan

I think you will see the emergence of Greg Bryant at the Big House under the lights Saturday night. Look for the highly touted freshman to make an impact, Notre Dame’s defense will also step up and play well in the front seven.

Notre Dame  35  Michigan 14

6 South Carolina Vs 8 Georgia

I think the Bulldogs will play inspired between the Hedges.. This game is the SEASON for the Dawgs if they want to try and make it to Atlanta in December. I love the young talent the Dawgs have on D, just think South Carolina’s the best team in the East. And for anyone that questions Jadeveon Clowney’s play in week one… don’t poke the bear.. He may play out of his mind Saturday.

South Carolina 17  Georgia 14

12 Florida Vs Miami

Al Golden has done just a masterful job with the Miami program amid the NCAA’s stupidity and their so called investigation or lack thereof with the program that has went on for EVER. Duke Johnson is  star, Stephen Morris is NFL ready right now at QB… I just don’t know if the Canes can stop the run well enough… Still I think the Canes get the upset, even though Florida has the better personnel.

Miami 13  Florida 10

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Western KY over Tennessee

Why? I’m a Western Alum. And why not? The Vols do have more talent across the board than the Hilltoppers, but I think Western can run the football (Antonio Andrews), and has just enough on defense to make things interesting. If the Tops win, they could be ranked on Sunday… I can dream right?

Season pick record on the Clipboard: 11-3 (after week 1)

Enjoy the weekend!

Final Four Weekend, A Song I Can’t Get Out of My Head, And other Randomness

(Source: gamedayr.com)

SO Hows Your Bracket?

So if anyone read my post a few weeks ago on the NCAA Tournament and teams I thought can win it… I’m 2 for four in the Final Four!!! Problem is….my picks for my bracket only has ONE team in the Final Four. Does it surprise me that Michigan and Louisville is there? Nope. I picked VCU over Michigan, but thought the winner of that second round game would head to the Final Four, I just picked the Rams. As for Louisville, They have been one of the two best teams in the regular season, and the best team in the Tournament, and they were my pick to win it all anyway.

CINDERELLA WHERE ARE YOU?

(Source: thedailybeast.com)

So who had Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet Sixteen? You’re lying if you did. Who thought they would beat Georgetown  You’re REALLY lying to me now.  But if you look more into their roster and see who they beat this season (Miami on the road), you can see they were capable of surprising someone. Add to the fact that they have an up tempo style, versus the Hoyas Princeton offense, you could see that happening… With all that said I didn’t see that coming, nor did you. And Please be honest with yourself.

CINDERELLA WAS PAST CURFEW

Prior to the great story of Florida Gulf Coast, hoops fans and media types alike were talking how crazy this tournament was going to be… It wasn’t. There are no George Masons, or no VCU’s that had to play a first four game and reach the Final Four. 99.9% of the time, the chalk always cuts the nets down. Think about it, who outside of NC State  (1982-83) surprised the field and won it all? Butler did MAKE the NCAA  Title Game two straight years…. But didn’t win it. At the end of the day, a program has to win 6 or 7 games to win it all. There will be a team that is a “True” Cinderella that will indeed win it someday (Just law of averages, like a 16 seed beating a 1), But 9 out of 10 times, the Kansas, Louisville’s, and Kentucky’s of the world will win it the majority of the time.

STYLES MAKE FIGHTS

College basketball and boxing are similar in their approach. Styles make fights, meaning an up tempo style, against a methodical approach poses great games and problems for either said team. Syracuse and their 2-3 zone poses problems for the likes of Indiana. Louisville’s pressure is hard to deal with when you play teams that have NEVER seen any sort of style like that. The list could go on and on. The College game is the style game more than any other sport in the country. That’s why we see the quintessential upsets in tourney games and during a regular season.. and yes other factors go into it (like shooting the basketball, poor shooting nights, injuries), but when you see contrasting styles on paper, it should give you reason to pause… at least for a second.

RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM THE LAST TWO WEEKS

(Source:bleacherreport.com)

—Two stories have dominated over the last two days in college athletics… the Auburn Tigers article written by Selena Roberts was the huge headline late Wednesday night and all day Thursday. A ton of scathing news from former player Mike McNeil and allegedly others in the report about some of the things that were going on at Auburn. For those that haven’t read it, copy and paste the link below:

http://www.roopstigo.com/reader/auburns_vainted_title_victims_violations_and_vendettas_for_glory/

I don’t know how much is truth, how much is false, But I have to think we are somewhere in the middle… the next week or so should be interesting.. I’ll have more on the state of college athletics in the coming weeks in my blog post.

(Source:nj.com)

–The guy above had to go. Mike Rice fired after a 30-minute video and reports surfaced of him physically and verbally abusing players. I love intensity, and a in your face coach that demands the very best from student athletes. But there’s a line that should NEVER be crossed. Throwing basketballs at players knees and heads, and using verbal slurs is that line of oblivion. Mike Rice knew that before hand, and knew it all the way up until that tape was made public by the Worldwide Leader. Tim Pernetti, the AD also knew, and unfortunately most times you are guilty by association. Pernetti hired Rice as his first big hire as AD, he suspended him three games last season and fined him 50K… so that tells me he knew this craziness was going on… He’s gotta be let go as well. End of Story.

–I’m excited about the NFL Draft… so much intrigue with every pick from the first round down to seventh. Should be fun at the end of the month… More on that as the Draft moves closer.

CRAZY Randomness….

I love this song… and when it comes out on iTunes or wherever.. i have to have it. Plus it’s an introduction to one of the greatest inventions EVER made in the food world.

Some of my Favorite reality shows have really brought it as well…

(Source:mstarz.com)

These ladies are wild. And I’ve only watched the first two episodes, and they are AWESOME.

Also can’t forget about the Ladies from Beverly Hills… the two-part reunion, very good, the first episode of

(Source:bravoratings.com)

Also very good. I miss my girls in Coto.

Also the first few episodes of

(Source:geekmundo.net)

Has also been very strong…

–I can’t forget Game of Thrones, Nashville, Smash, the list could go on and on… But I must say, the hottest show on Cable has to be…

(Source:realscreen.com)

I laugh hysterically at all times when I watch. and as you would imagine, SI is my guy… JACK!

Have a great weekend everyone.