Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 College Football Preview: Big East

Formerly known as the Big Least the Big East conference has recovered from the losses of Miami (FL), Virginia Tech and Boston College to the ACC with the rise of Rutgers and South Florida and the establishment of West Virginia as a national power. Now the conference is at a critical point as South Florida and Rutgers must prove that they have longevity and West Virginia that they can maintain national prominence without Rich Rodriguez at the helm.

I have the top three teams being very close with the legitimate possibility of Pittsburgh (yes, Pittsburgh) being a dark horse. There is no doubt that this will be one of the best conference races to watch in 2008.

Big East Predictions

West Virginia – The Mountaineers remain on top of the conference despite only returning 12 starters from last season led by senior quarterback Pat White. The unknown factor is how much new head coach Bill Stewart will tinker with the offense. Speedster Noel Devine will replace Steve Slaton with no problems but someone will have to replace Darius Reynaud’s 12 touchdown receptions.

Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights will return 15 starters from last year and really only have one glaring question, who is going to replace Ray Rice? If Mason Robinson can give them a third of Rice’s production then they’ll be fine.

South Florida – Here’s a crazy thought the Bulls could actually run the table and be playing in the BCS Championship in January. They return 17 starters from last year and have only one true road test, when they go to Morgantown.

Pittsburgh - The Panthers could have the best defense in the conference and return 8 starters on offense including sophomore running back LeSean McCoy who finished 2nd to Rutgers’ Ray Rice in rushing yards last season. Pittsburgh has a very favorable schedule going for them as well.

Connecticut – The Huskies are returning 17 starters and much like Cincinnati benefited from some lucky breaks. They are still talented and could go a long way in this conference but the problem that I have is that UConn just doesn’t have the track record to make me comfortable picking them any higher.

Cincinnati – The Bearcats were the beneficiaries of a +16 turnover ratio and suffered virtually no injuries last year. If their luck continues they could finish higher than I have them listed but if you bet on luck you’ll lose more often then win.

Louisville – The Cardinals have to replace 8 starters on offense including quarterback Brian Brohm, leading rusher Anthony Allen and leading receiver Harry Douglas. Steve Kragthorpe is a very good coach but it doesn’t appear that he’ll have much to work with this year.

Syracuse – Someone has to finish last and the Orange are making a habit of it. This could be the 4th consecutive year that Syracuse finishes in the Big East basement. It would also make it Greg Robinson’s final season in New York.

My Pre-Season All-Conference Team

QB – Pat White, West Virginia
RB – LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
RB – Andre Dixon, Connecticut
WR – Kenny Britt, Rutgers
WR – Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers
WR – Mike Williams, Syracuse
TE – Nate Byham, Pittsburgh
C – Mike Dent, West Virginia
G – Greg Isdaner, West Virginia
G – Ryan Schmidt, South Florida
T – Anthony Davis, Rutgers
T – Ryan Stanchek, West Virginia


DE – Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers
DT – Terrill Byrd, Cincinnati
DT – Earl Heyman, Louisville
DE – George Selvie, South Florida
LB – Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh
LB – Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida
LB – Reed Williams, West Virginia
CB – Darius Butler, Connecticut
CB – DeAngelo Smith, Cincinnati
SS – Quinton Andrews, West Virginia
FS – Courtney Greene, Rutgers

Special Teams
K – Conor Lee, Pittsburgh
P – Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
KR – Max Suter, Syracuse
PR – Aaron Berry, Pittsburgh
Sound Off - Share your Big East predictions in the forum.

Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 College Football Preview: Big 12

The Big 12 has seen its conference champion upset in a BCS bowl the last two seasons but the, “Rise of the North” could bring a balance of power to the Big 12 and help it catch up to the SEC as the strongest conference in the country. We’ll most likely see a rematch of last year’s conference championship game and very possibly different results in the bowl season.

North Division Predictions

Missouri – The Tigers return 14 starters from last year’s team that saw them ranked #1 in the country going into the conference championship game. Some are picking the Tigers to play for the national championship but I’m not yet willing to go that far. I think that Tony Temple will be missed this year and the Tigers will go as far as Chase Daniel can carry them.

Kansas – The Jayhawks return 15 starters from last year but have a schedule that could have Nebraska nipping at their heels. Kansas has to play Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech in `08.

Colorado – You might need to take a double-take here but the Buffs made a believer out of me last year. They have another year of experience under their belts and the addition of running back Darrell Scott should make a significant difference. I expect the Buffs to go bowling this year.

Nebraska – I really want Nebraska to finish better than this but you really can’t blame me for being gun shy after the Huskers only won two conference games last season. The good news is that it won’t take much to improve from that.

Kansas State – The Wildcats are stocking up on JUCO’s but will strongly miss All-American wide out Jordy Nelson and could struggle with their rushing game. The should be pretty solid on defense though.

Iowa State – The Cyclones showed some serious moxie last year and have 14 returning starters but it will still a rebuilding year in Ames.

South Division Predictions
Oklahoma – The Sooners have possibly the best offensive line in the country, a Heisman candidate playing quarterback and an explosive running back. Oh yeah, they are pretty solid on defense also.

Texas Tech – More and more this seems to be the popular pick and it isn’t settling very well in Austin, TX. However the facts are that the Red Raiders could have the most explosive offense in the conference and Texas still has a lot to prove on defense.

Texas – Mack Brown has never finished below 2nd in the South but the Longhorns have the fewest returning starters (11) of any team in the South and only 4 of them are on defense.

Oklahoma State – Having to play Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech on the road could cost the Cowboys a top three finish but if the defense ever catches up with the offense in Stillwater things will change quickly.

Texas A&M – Only 10 returning starters along with new offensive and defensive schemes will be too much for the Aggies to overcome in this division.

Baylor – The Bears have a new coach this year in Art Briles but they have a lot of ground to make up still.

My Pre-Season All-Conference Team

QB – Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
RB – Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
RB – DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
WR – Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
WR – Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
WR – Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma
TE – Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
C – Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
G – Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech
G – Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
T – Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma
T – Rylan Reed, Texas Tech

DE – Ian Campbell, Kansas State
DT – DeMarcus Granger, Oklahoma
DT – Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
DE – Austin English, Oklahoma
LB – Joe Mortensen, Kansas
LB – Mike Rivera, Kansas
LB – Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma
CB – Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma
CB – Ryan Palmer, Texas
S – Nic Harris, Oklahoma
FS – William Moore, Missouri

Special Teams
K – Jeff Wolfert, Missouri
P – Justin Beantly, Texas A&M
KR – DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
PR – Deon Murphy, Kansas State

Sound Off - Share your Big 12 predictions in the forum.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 College Football Preview: Big 10

Ohio State has been the class of the Big 10 the past two seasons by representing the conference in the BCS Championship Game. After being dismantled in back-to-back title games we have to begin to question if the Big 10 is as strong a conference as we once thought it was.

That perception, whether valid or not, should change this season because Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State are all stacked and very well could all three compete for a BCS Bowl but the conference could also get pretty lean after that.

Big 10 Predictions

Ohio State – With 19 returning starters from last year’s squad anything less than 8-0 in conference should be a major disappointment.

Wisconsin – The Badgers have 17 returning starters and should pose the biggest threat to the Buckeyes.

Penn State – PSU will be led by their defense which, could be tops in the conference, but have to play both OSU and Wisconsin on the road.

Michigan – In a rebuilding season the Wolverines could actually struggle to finish above .500.

Northwestern – With 15 returning starters the Wildcats should improve from last year’s six wins.

Iowa – Don’t be shocked if you see the Hawkeyes finish above Michigan in the standings.

Michigan State – The Spartans are solid at the quarterback position with Brian Hoyer and dangerous at the running back position with Javon Ringer.

Purdue – Joe Tiller’s final season as the Boilermaker’s Head Coach will be a struggle to make a bowl birth.

Illinois – Reproducing the second place finish we say last year will be next to impossible for a team that has to play Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin on the road.

Minnesota – The Gophers were out gained by 108.5 yards per game last season.

Indiana – The suspension of quarterback Kellen Lewis puts the Hoosiers in a bad spot because they already entered the season with question marks at receiver and offensive line.

My Pre-Season All Conference Team

QB – Todd Boeckman, Ohio State
RB – Beanie Wells, Ohio State
RB – Javon Ringer, Michigan State
WR – Eric Decker, Minnesota
WR – Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
WR – Eric Peterman, Northwestern
TE – Travis Beckum, Wisconsin
C – AQ Shipley, Penn State
G – Steve Rehring, Ohio State
G – Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin
T – Eric Vanden Heuvel, Wisconsin
T – Alex Boone, Ohio State

DE – Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin
DT – Mitch King, Iowa
DT – Terrance Taylor, Michigan
DE – Maurice Evans, Penn State
LB – Marcus Freeman, Ohio State
LB – James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
LB – Obi Ezeh, Michigan
LB – DeAndre Levy, Wisconsin
CB – Donovan Warren, Michigan
CB – Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
SS – Kurt Coleman, Ohio State
FS – Anderson Russell, Ohio State

Special Teams
K – Austin Starr, Indiana
P – Jeremy Boone, Penn State
KR – AJ Wallace, Penn State
PR – Andy Brodell, Iowa
Sound Off - Give us your Big 10 Predictions in the Forum.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2008 College Football Preview: ACC

Oh yeah! It’s that time again. College football players begin reporting for camp in just over a week and the season is just a little over a month away from starting. Over the next several weeks we’ll take a look at the players and teams that will make 2008 a great season. We are going to begin with conference breakdowns beginning with the ACC.

Atlantic Division Predictions

Clemson – Much like Georgia in the SEC the Clemson Tigers were playing better football than just about anyone in the conference but just barely missed the conference title game. They return 16 starters this season!

Wake Forest – 14 returning starters could make the best Wake Forest team Coach Grobe has had yet.

Florida State – Seminoles have a favorable schedule along with 15 returning starters this season.

Boston College – Quarterback Matt Ryan will be sorely missed in 2008.

Maryland – The Terps still to gain some experience but will have a feisty team in `08.

NC State – Losing 5 of their 6 top tacklers will be difficult to adjust to.

Coastal Division Predictions

Virginia Tech – The Hokies are the defending ACC champs and only return 10 starters but will be still be the best team in a weaker division.

Virginia – The Cavaliers get North Carolina, Miami and Clemson at home giving them an opportunity to capitalize on a very favorable schedule.

North Carolina – Butch Davis has 18 returning starters in his second season.

Miami – The Hurricanes don’t have a quarterback on their roster who has thrown a pass in college.

Georgia Tech - The Yellow Jackets have every card imaginable stacked against them.

Duke – 0-24 in conference play the last three seasons should be all I need to say here.

My Pre-Season All Conference Team

QB – Cullen Harper, Clemson
RB – James Davis, Clemson
RB – Josh Adams, Wake Forest
WR – Aaron Kelly, Clemson
WR – Hakeen Kicks, North Carolina
WR – Eron Riley, Duke
TE – Ryan Purvis, Boston College
C – Thomas Austin, Clemson
OG – Nick Marshman, Virginia Tech
OG – Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
OT – Eugene Monroe, Virginia
OT – Rodney Hudson, Florida State

DL – Everette Brown, Florida State
DT – Dorell Scott, Clemson
DT – Marvin Austin, North Carolina
DL – Ricky Sapp, Clemson
LB – Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
LB – Antonio Appleby, Virginia
LB – Dave Philistin, Maryland
LB – Clint Sintim, Virginia
CB – Patrick Robinson, Florida State
CB – Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
SS – Michael Hamlin, Clemson
FS – Chris Clemons, Clemson

Special Teams
K – Sam Swank, Wake Forest
P – Graham Gano, Florida State
KR – CJ Spiller, Climson
PR – Preston Parker, Florida State

Sound Off - Give us your ACC Predictions in the forum!

Monday, July 21, 2008

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dolphins Trade Jason Taylor To Redskins

Who knows what the end result of the Bill Parcells era in Miami will be but I have to tell you at this point I’m not really that impressed. He didn’t necessarily do a bang up job as the head coach in Dallas and now taking over as the GM of the Dolphins you have to say that he is off to a questionable start at best. Sure it is a process and Rome wasn’t built in a day so we must be patient and watch what happens but the Roman Empire never traded off their best defensive player.

I hold to the opinion that Jason Taylor earned the right to appear on Dancing With The Stars and the only reason it was an issue is because Bill Parcells is a pompous power-hungry egomaniac. Miami was so eager to trade the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year that they settled for 2nd and 6th round picks IN SEPARATE YEARS!!! The Washington Redskins stole Taylor for their 2nd round pick in `09 and 6th round in 2010. Call me crazy but I just think that is ridiculous.

Again, I’m reserving judgment until at least after one season but I’ve got to tell you I’m extremely frustrated and very unimpressed to this point.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Randy Shannon Staying With Multiple Quarterbacks

Stubbornness and genius aren’t separated by very much and while it is still too early to tell Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Randy Shannon is walking that fine line. After last year’s dual quarterback experiment yielded a 5-7 record Shannon is going down the road of multiple quarterbacks again in 2008.

Robert Marve, Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith are all competing for the starting job while another will be chosen for spot duty in order to get game experience. The reason why is because Miami was left with a stable of young quarterbacks after the graduation of Kyle Wright and the transfer of Kirby Freeman to Baylor.

“Whichever quarterback that we name, we’re going to play the other one,” Shannon said earlier this week noting that he needs experience at the position.

“We need depth at every position on the field and that’s the one position that we don’t have depth at because they’re young. They’re good quarterbacks, but they’re young. “We can’t go into the season not getting this other guy any experience and then have something unforeseen happen, like it always does in football,” Shannon added. “So we’re going to make sure both get reps.”
The problem with this approach is that there is a very real possibility that one guy could be having an off-day while the backup makes some plays during his spot duty. From that point on you have fans making the backup the most popular guy on the team and a starter who begins to look over his shoulder with every mistake. With young guys this is a situation that could leave irreparable damage.

The best thing that could happen for the Hurricanes is that there is some significant separation among the three quarterbacks by the time the season starts on August 28th. That way there is less of a chance that a backup would get playing time during any crucial moments of a game.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rich Rod Giving Michigan That Mountaineer Look

The Michigan Wolverines new uniforms were unveiled this week. It sure looks like I’ve seen them some somewhere before though. I’m not saying. I’m just saying.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hard Knockout Life For Jose Canseco

So a former Major League Baseball player with an over inflated ego and steroid abused body thinks he can make it in the world of MMA after he masters the world of armature boxing. Well, Jose Canseco career as a fighter got off to a very rough start after he was knocked out by former Philadelphia Eagles return man Vai Sikahema in their celebrity boxing match Saturday.

The fight didn’t make it past the first round and Sikahema said that he was surprised that it actually lasted longer than 30 seconds. Sikahema showed no fear of Canseco in the ring and no respect for him out of it.

"He's a very impressive-looking guy. But the guy is a walking corpse, because he's rotted inside out. He's a pathetic figure."
Who knows maybe this will inspire Canseco to write a book about how he influenced the boxing world with steroids.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Favre Puts Packers In No Win Situation

Brett Favre has left the Green Bay Packers hanging in the lurch more than a handful of times the past few off seasons but when the organization needed a minute to weigh their options after their former Pro-Bowl quarterback said that he now wants to un-retire it was unacceptable. Favre has held Green Bay and the Packer Backer’s hostage with his indecision about his future in the sport and now it appears that Title Town may be done with their hero and Favre done with them. He has requested to be released.

The team’s general manager, Ted Thompson, said that the team wasn’t going to release Favre, but he could come back in a “different role than he was” because the team is committed to going forward with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. How can you blame them? Favre had an emotional press conference back in March where he said that he was done with the game and the Packers have been game planning for Rodgers ever since. Now, on the verge of training camp opening up Favre is asking the Packers to scrap those plans to make room for him again or let him go.

How much leeway does three MVP trophies and two Super Bowl appearances get you? The Packers are in a no win situation here. If they bring Favre back and place him under center in 2008 then they are most likely going to lose their future quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. If they stick with Rodgers then he’ll be over criticized with every interception and the fans could revolt. If they trade Favre then they are guilty of trading off one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era.

Favre is in a tough spot as well because should he return then anything less than a Super Bowl is unacceptable and the Packers aren’t going to send him to a team like the Vikings or Bears who are only a quarterback away from being contenders. That means Favre either winds up dividing a contending team or winding up with a team that has no chance.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Madonna Helping A-Rod Find The Light

Last summer New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was given the label “Stray-Rod” after he was photographed entering a hotel with a stripper. Now, this summer Rodriguez has looked to Pop Star Madonna and her cult religion kabbalah for spiritual enlightenment. A-Rod’s soon to be ex-wife isn’t the least bit thrilled because the All-Star’s “spiritual cleansing” includes dumping her and their two children, one of which is a newborn, for a relationship with the Material Girl.

According to close friend and godfather of Rodriguez’s children, Dodd Romero, the family feels that A-Rod has been brainwashed by the cult ruining the family unit.

"Alex, God bless him, is lost," A-Rod's ex-pal lamented. "I think he got pulled in by the dark side, if you can say that nicely. He's totally brainwashed."

"She believes it's what ruined her marriage," Romero added.

They say, “to each his own” which basically means that every person has the right to do whatever they want just as long as it doesn’t endanger or take away from the lives of other people. What happens though when the actions of a person robs two girls of their daddy all in the name of religion? While my opinion is that kabbalah isn’t a true religion I’m not sure we can credit this decision to any religion at all. Rather, selfishness is to blame above all else here.