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.

It’s BACK! First Post of 2013!

To start this off right.. Enjoy below:

Now.. A TON of things have happened since my last blog post on Carl’s Clipboard. The last time I posted, Alabama was getting ready for the SEC Championship game against Georgia. Fast forward two months later, and The Tide are BCS National Champions for the third time in four years. For those that may have forgotten that beat down of Notre Dame in Miami:

(Source: aol.sportingnews.com)

Three Things I learned from the sidelines of that game:

1. Alabama is the programs of programs RIGHT NOW. Kudos to Nick Saban for finding a way to win back to back  National Titles. His last two teams have had one thing that other programs didn’t have… All time great defense (2011 Title Team Vs LSU), and an all time great offensive line (2012 Vs Notre Dame).

2. Notre Dame is relevant, but still has a way to go. Whether you love or hate the Irish, they aren’t going anywhere for a LONG, LONG time. Were they one of the five best teams in the country? Yes. Were they better than Alabama, or Oregon? No. But you’re crazy if you didn’t think they shouldn’t play for a National title undefeated. The program will never win from Notre Dame haters, because they are Notre Dame, I get it. But when you look at what Head Coach Brian Kelly has done in just three seasons, that previous coaches couldn’t do (Weis, Willingham, Davie) how can you not say that the Irish will be in the Hunt for a BCS crown, and WIN a few in the next five seasons?

3. The margin for the SEC and it’s dominance is thisclose. The morning after the game, Tide head coach Nick Saban  said the difference from his team winning a National Title and playing elsewhere, was 5 yards (Vs Georgia in SEC Title game). As great as the Tide were in spots this year, they could easily have had three losses, and played on New Years Day. The rest of the country and the rest of the SEC is catching up, and I think you will see a number of teams continue to close the gap. BUT, when you have someone like Nick Saban on the sidelines, he understands he will have to make subtle changes to continue to stay on top.

SIGNING DAY EVE!

(Source:USAtoday.com)

A ton of young men will sign their letters of intent on Wednesday to play for numerous colleges across the country. The picture of above is that of 5 star linebacker Ruben Foster. Foster who verbally committed to Alabama, de-committed and verbally committed to Auburn, got a tattoo:

(Source:the big lead.com)

and roughly three weeks ago de-committed from the Tigers and made a announcement on regional TV Tuesday night to recommit to Alabama. Got all that? I’ve listened to people on message boards, and on talk radio about Foster last night and this morning. My opinion, Foster can commit, de-commit,and ride this out as long as he pleases. Here’s why.

There are thousands of 18 year olds that are having to make the biggest decision of their respective lives. What is wrong with taking every official and unofficial visit you can possibly make? Why not be able to travel to the West coast, or go visit LSU, ALabama, USC, and everywhere in between. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these young men, to make a decision for their future. I LOVE the signing day hoopla, and all that it entails. You know why? We have college football coaches that can up and leave a university that these 18-year-old young men “commit” to for them. Coaches have agents, and can go to another destination without penalty. News flash folks. These young men go to a university for the coaches and the relationships they make with them, not because they are a fan of a school. So when Coach A goes to University B, what happens to the so-called student athletes that came there for you to lead them? One word. STUCK.  I get it, opportunities are opportunities, and we all want to make the best decisions for ourselves. BUT don’t get on a young  man who wants to explore all of their options before signing on that “X” on the Letter of Intent on signing day.

SUPER BOWL!!!!!

(Source:theblaze.com)

A GREAT game, period. AS a lifelong 49ers fan, I would have of course loved for my guys to win a World title. But, I LOVE the Ravens and all that they stand for as men, so I couldn’t be that upset. But the stars of stars of the show… well what can you say. Beyoncé was AWESOME during the halftime show:

COMMERCIAL TIME!

Time to rank my favorites of the Super Bowl:

5. Paul Harvey’s God Made A Farmer. Paul Harvey in a commercial. Priceless.

4.  Man Vs Cheetah Sketchers. Animals in the wild in commercials make me laugh. This did as well.

3. Fashionista Daddy (Doritos). If I had a daughter and my buddies were over, this would so happen to me.

2. Joe Montana Miracle Stain. As mentioned earlier, I’m a 49ers fan. I laughed out loud.

1. Old Folks at Taco Bell. The best by far in my opinion. Hands down, I was crying laughing. And if I ever have to go to pasture in my later life, this will be me.

Honorable Mention: Leon Sandcastle.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back next week to talk recruiting classes, college basketball, and reality TV (Big Rich Atlanta, watch it)! Enjoy the Week!

It’s Big Game Saturday! Rumblings from this weeks HUGE Matchups

(Source: bleacherreport.com)

This Week’s Big Ones:

(5) Notre Dame (7-0) Vs (8) Oklahoma (5-1)

The Sooners to me looked shaky at best in their opener against UTEP.. and it all came to a head in their home loss to Kansas State. The Irish are in the top five and Irish fans have a reserved sense of excitement. The reserve is because this is the Irish biggest test to date. QB Everett Golson will get the start after a concussion sidelined him over the last two weeks or so… The Irish D is elite, they have  playmakers on offense, and a guy on special teams that has yet to break out but could Saturday in Devonte Neal.

In my opinion: The Sooners have really picked it up over the last two weeks, especially on offense, as evident of their 60 plus output against Texas. Notre Dame could win this game if they have some early success by way of turnovers, a quick score or two or even a special teams play by Devonte Neal. I just think that the Sooners and Landry Jones will have success in the air against a young Irish secondary to come away with the win… But it’s Notre Dame, and the hype machine could go into overdrive with a victory.

(Source:gamedayr.com)

(2) Florida (7-0) Vs (11) Georgia (6-1)

There will be a lot of fans having a good time at the World Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party that you can’t call the Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. The Gators have really took on the personality of their coach Will Muschamp… run the ball, play great Defense and ask very little of a young QB (Jeff Driskel). Georgia on the other hand went through the motions last week at Kentucky, with the Cats running for over 200 yards in Lexington.

In My opinion: I love Florida. I love their coach. They will play for a BCS Title, sooner, rather than later. Just not this season. I like Georgia in this one, I think they will be up for this one, and force the Gators out of their running game comfort zone, and force Jeff Driskel to throw the football in situations he has not had to thus far in the season.

(Source: usatoday.com)

(11) Mississippi St 7-0 Vs (1) Alabama 7-0

The media folks are saying that this is the biggest test to date for the Crimson Tide. But haven’t they said that a few times this season? Last week it was supposed to be Tennessee, and while the Vols had chances to make the game interesting, they couldn’t capitalize on opportunities in Knoxville. So here we are, the Tide number one and facing an upstart Mississippi State team that’s undefeated under Dan Mullen, and riding a wave of confidence. The Bulldogs though had a tough test on the road at Troy early in the year and even the Auburn Tigers had chances to beat them in Starkville. And don’t forget Tennessee pushing the Bulldogs to the limit two weeks ago as well.  Still, Dan Mullen is saying this is a championship game for his program, and rightfully so. Win this game and they will build a statue in Starkville Sunday morning.

In my opinion:   I think the Bulldogs have one of if not the best secondary in the SEC led by Jonathan Banks, I just think that Tyler Russell will be forced into same mistakes in this one. The Bulldogs will have to play the very best game in the Dan Mullen era to have a chance . Even though I think Alabama hasn’t had as many tests as they did during last years National Title run, I do think they win this game going away, setting up that HUGE game with LSU next week in Death Valley.

Other streams of consciousness:

—If you don’t know if Kansas State’s for real, watch this Saturday. The Wildcats defense is legit, which will slow Tommy Tuberville’s bunch from Texas Tech.

—And if you don’t think Tuberville isn’t one of the very best coaches in America, I hope you realize it now. He has literally transformed the Red Raiders into a pass happy team, into a pass happy team that has teeth in their defense.

–Louisville beats Munchie Legaux and Cincinnati this Friday. The Cards have a little bit of everything, and to me is the best team in the Big East.

–Let’s show some love to the MAC conference. And more importantly, the MAC Western Division.  Northern Illinois, Ball State, Toledo, Kent St, Ohio,  and Bowling Green are a combined 37-9 this season, with Frank Solich’s bunch at Ohio ranked in top 25 and in the BCS standings.

—I don’t know why I laugh at this… enjoy below:

—How many points does Oregon score this week against Colorado? Over or under 256?

—My dance of the month below:

—ON another note, Pablo Sandoval. BEAST MODE.

—If you haven’t been to a Magic City Classic in your life, make the trek to Birmingham Alabama to do so. Great food, great bands, and a great game between Alabama A&M and Alabama St. I’ll be there this Saturday…And the bands are AWESOME:

— On the reality TV front…the Real Housewives of Miami have been great, kinda luke warm on Basketball Wives LA, miss the Kardasians, and miss the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders show. I can’t wait till the Beverly Hills and the Atlanta ladies return to Bravo. AND the reunion shows for New Jersey were epic, with the New York reunion VERY solid. Great work Bravo and Andy Cohen.

That’s it for this week, enjoy the games, enjoy the weekend, and I’ll chat back with you next week!  PEACE!

THOUGHTS ON HUMP DAY

In honor of Wednesday, AKA… Hump Day…

So What did college football fans learn from Last Weekends games?
OKLAHOMA SHOULD HAVE LOST TO UTEP ALONG WITH  K-STATE:

(Source:crimsonandcreammachine.com)

Yep, when I saw Bob Stoops and Company on that late Saturday night in week one against UTEP, I just knew this could be a shaky year. UTEP had plenty of chances to win that game, Landry Jones looked like he was making his 2nd career start and the defense looked lost without Brent Venables at the helm.  That all came true this past Saturday as the ageless one Bill Synder worked his magic in Norman coming away with the 24-19 win. Look, a top program will lose a game here or there, but that just doesn’t happen to a Stoops program at home. Landry Jones had issues, Blake Bell fumbled some TD’s away, Sooner land just doesn’t look right. And at 2-1, Can you totally believe that they will win games against Texas, West Virginia, or Notre Dame? Gonna be interesting. Oh, almost forgot, The Mask has to get some love:

ARE THE GOLDEN DOMERS BACK?

(Source:Toledoblade.com)

I have no clue if Notre Dame will even win another game this season. What I do know after 4 games is that this program is different. No not just one thing, but rather, from top to bottom. From Jack Swarbrick, to Brain Kelly, to his coaching staff, to his players on the field. It’s just different. Anyone that has watched their games thus far can see it. And any objective Notre Dame fan can see that this process has been going on the day Brain Kelly made his way to South Bend. Go check his resume. He’s won everywhere he’s been. Look at what he’s done in his third year and beyond at each of his coaching stops. He’s been smart enough to realize that in order for the Irish to one day compete at the BCS Title level they should be at, YOU MUST GET GREAT PLAY FROM BOTH LINES OF SCRIMMAGE. The Irish have recruited and secured a pretty solid defense (with some youngsters in the secondary) that will only get better as each game passes by. And once Devonte Neal gets some room on a punt return, he will be as electrfying as any player in the country  down the line. Once again, alot of work still to be done, which includes the maturation of Everett Golson (who will be a star), and the offense, but you have to like what you see from the Irish as a team after 4 games.

IT WAS ALL ABOUT LSU, NOT AUBURN:

(Source:espn.com)

Before this game even kicked off, many may have thought that the LSU/Auburn game would be a complete blowout. And Honestly I have no problems with that. Auburn had look putrid to that point, limping into their home opener 1-2, LSU had punched each team they had faced thus far in the mouth (albeit against inferior opponents). But to me from the get go, This was all about LSU. Zach Mettenberger is an upgrade at QB for the Tigers. Still, he has never started a road game in the SEC. You add a division game, on the road, that’s at night, at Jordan-Hare Stadium, a hell of a place to play, with a team that has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and Suprise! You have a tougher game then expected. Remember LSU had a chance to go up 7-0 before a fumble at the 1 in the 1st Quarter, resulted in a safety by the Tigers later in the game. Yes Auburn had their chances to come away with the upset, but like I had thought, Mettenberger needed to get his feet wet in a hostile environment, and did as he played his best late (which included that Spencer Ware completion late in the 4th). He will be better for it down the line.

THOSE NOLES LOOKED GOOD, BE AFRAID COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORLD:

(Source:sports.yahoo.com)

This entire season could turn upside down on it’s head by the time we reach November, but to me there are only about 8-9 teams that I can see winning a National Title. Florida State is one of them. I think any college football fan can see that after the big win over Clemson Saturday night. It’s like everything has finally come together for this team. They have a sudden explosive offense (EJ Manuel-482 yds of offense, 4 TD’s, Chris Thompson, James Wilder Jr, Greg Dent, Rodney Smith) and we knew about that grown man of a defense. NOW… there should be no let downs whatsoever between now and a big game in Blacksburg against Va. Tech November 8th, and Florida to close the regular season. From what the country has seen thus far, The Noles are legit… and legit teams don’t lose games they should win in blowouts, PERIOD.

REALITY SHOW RUMBLINGS:

Anyone that follows this blog knows that I watch Reality TV, especially any and all of the Real Housewives shows on Bravo. the RHONY (Real Housewives of New York for those that aren’t down with the lingo) episode that aired Monday, was like a freestyle rap battle from start to finish. You Had Aviva going hard in the paint at Ramona at a restaurant… literally everything came out between the ladies, and I was all in. Yep 29 year old married man, all in on Monday night with this barrage of insults and comebacks between two ladies that I don’t know on Bravo. Good stuff… and I CANT WAIT for part one of the RHONJ (Figure those initials out on your own) reunion show this Sunday. Even with watching some reality shows Monday, You better believe I didn’t miss what the heck happen up in the Pacific Northwest:


No words. And the problem I have honestly besides the obvious of Green Bay getting jobbed out of a game, is that the NFL thinks that the common fan, much less anyone that covers or watches the NFL is ignorant to the fact that we can’t see blatant mistakes being made across the league since Week 1. I was one that thought for the most part the replacement refs were doing an OK job, but the last two weeks of the season, has just been sickening bad. Nothing else to really say. Just terrible that this is happening, and now we are seeing calls, horrendous calls influencing wins and losses that could ultimately cost a team a Wild Card or playoff berth. Man, man, man.

Will be back Friday for a CFB Week 5 preview!