Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morning Links for June 30th

Good morning everyone! Here are the ten morning links for today as well as yesterday's column! Make sure to follow me on twitter and join the group on facebook.

Here is yesterday's column on how Mark Richt did the right thing in letting Isaiah Crowell go.

1) ESPN's conference bloggers look at what they think the selection committee needs to do for the upcoming college playoff.

2) Texas A&M got a new A.D. from South Carolina yesterday when Eric Hyman resigned from South Carolina and headed to College Station.

3) According to a CNN report, some disturbing emails from Penn State officials prove that they actively tried to cover up the Jerry Sandusky situation back in 2001.

4) Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN and is being pursued by Fox Sports to become a sideline analyst for them.

5) Bruce Feldman does his weekly mailbag column and answers questions about Isaiah Crowell and the playoffs.

6) Matt Hinton looks at the top ten running backs from the 2011 class and notices a disturbing trend.

7) Texas A&M joins in the fun of having players with off the field issues when freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel arrested for disorderly conduct and having a fake I.D.

8) Mike Huguenin continues his preseason countdown with #49 Southern Miss.

9) Lisa Horne does a stock watch report for and looks at defensive lines for various college football teams this week.

10) Matt Hayes looks at the SEC non-conference schedules of each school and wonders if there should be a non-conference schedule tax.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Richt Made the Right Call

Early this morning, Isaiah Crowell was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, posessing a weapon in a school zone, and an altered identification. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Crowell and four other UGA players riding with him were stopped at a roadblock where the officer Kathryn Thornton smelled the odor of marijuana which led to Crowell consenting to having his car search. No marijuana was found but a 9-mm Luger handgun was found in the car with an altered serial number. This caused Crowell to immediately be arrested.

Richt had no other choice but to dismiss Crowell from the team. Yes he was a highly rated running back that was the marquee name of Richt's 2012 signing class but rumors of a marijuana problem surrounded him. Crowell was suspended for the New Mexico St. game after supposedly failing a school administered drug test. After his suspension, Crowell effort was questioned by many fans during football games. He seemed to have nagging injuries that never healed and Richt was quick to defend the freshman running back. But this arrest was indefensible for Richt and he had to dismiss Crowell from the team.

A felony arrest at Georgia is an automatic suspension from the team according to Georgia Athletic policy so there was no doubt Crowell was going to have to miss game time. But after the shooting at Auburn, the environment has changed dramatically around college football. Richt could not have his start running back arrested with an altered 9-mm. This was too dangerous and it showed a lack of judgement by Crowell.

Mark Richt issued a brief statement on Friday stating that, "We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season. Our total focus will be directed toward the team and this effort." While it was cold for Richt to not even wish for Crowell to get his life together, I do understand. A problem child of this magnitude must have been on his last nerve and this incident made it clear to Richt that Crowell needed to be dismissed.

I still think that Georgia has more than enough depth at running back to cover the loss of Crowell and do not expect it to impede their path to the SEC East title. I think Richt made the right decision and would have questioned his morals and character had he not dismissed Isaiah Crowell from the team.

Georgia fans should be very proud of the decision their coach made today.

My Appearance on the Bunn Sports Show for June 29th

Here is my appearance on the Bunn Sports Show for June 29th. 

The Morning Links for June 29th

Good morning! Here are 10 links for today plus yesterday's SEC East preview of Kentucky.

Here is yesterday's column previewing the Kentucky Wildcats and their quest to return to the postseason.

1) Kentucky had a big night last night in the NBA Draft. Anthony Davis was the first overall pick and teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went second marking the first time teammates went 1-2.

2) A lot of analysts are saying that the Hornets had the best draft last night.

3) Ted Miller says that the 3rd and 4th place teams in the BCS will be unhappy these next two years until the playoff format takes place.

4) Stewart Mandel is happy for the playoffs because it will bring back the days of spending the New Year's Day on your couch.

5) ESPN and the Rose Bowl signed a 12 year extension to their TV deal.

6) Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick announced that the selection committee will release a top 20 each week starting midseason to show where the teams fall in their eyes.

7) Mike Hueguenin enters the Top 50 of his preseason 124 and previews Northwestern today.

8) Jacob Bunn looks at the Kentucky Wildcats in his preseason SEC preview.

9) Jason Whitlock believes that the Dream Team was intentionally whitened to appeal to white America.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SEC East Preview Kentucky

The Kentucky Wildcats had a disappointing second year under head coach Joker Phillips going 5-7. One of the few bright spots during the season was ending a26 year losing streak to Tennessee. This year's Kentucky team will try to get back to the postseason but will have to navigate a moderately difficult schedule to do so. Joker Phillips enters his third year in Lexington with an 11-14 career record and a decent amount of starters returning from last year's squad. If the Wildcats can catch a few breaks, they definitely have a shot at getting to the magical 6 wins required for postseason play.

The Kentucky offense returns 6 starters on a unit that finished ranked 118th in total offense, 90th in rushing offense, and 114th in passing offense. Sophomore Maxwell Smith should get the starting job this year at quarterback after starting three games last year and playing in eight total. Smith threw for 819 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his 8 games of experience as a freshman. Maxwell Smith looked to be the leader for the starting job coming out of spring training. If Smith is unable to get the job done, senior Morgan Newton will be able to step into the starting job. Newton threw for 793 yards, 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while running for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior running back CoShik Williams returns at starter for the Wildcats after running for 486 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Williams emerged as a tough runner and started the final five games for the Wildcats after injuries decimated the running back position last year. Williams is joined by sophomore Josh Clemons who rushed for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. If these two can stay healthy, they should help get the Kentucky running game out of the bottom third statistically in the nation. The Kentucky wide receiver corps sees La'Rod King and E.J. Fields return as starters with Gene McCaskill starting at the third slot. King led the team with 598 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns last year while Fields had 89 yards and 1 touchdown and McCaskill had 85 yards and 1 touchdown. It's obvious that the numbers are going to have to improve on the 114th ranked passing game if the Wildcats are going to improve their record but they do have the talent there to get it done. The offensive line returns two starters in senior center Matt Smith and senior right guard Larry Warford. These two will be helping redshirt freshman Zach West at left guard, junior Kevin Mitchell who moves from left guard to right tackle, and sophomore Darrian Miller at Left Tackle. This unit will need to come together quickly if the Wildcat offense is going to have any success.

The Kentucky defense returns 5 starters on a unit that was ranked 58th in total defense, 87th in rushing defense, and 21st in passing defense. The Wildcats return 3 out of 4 starters on their defensive line with senior defensive end Collins Ukwu, junior defensive tackle Mister Cobble, and junior defensive tackle Donte Rumph. These three combined for 92 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Sophomore Alvin Dupree will start at the other defensive end position. Dupree had 21 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. If they can improve upon those numbers for last year and keep the linebackers clean from blocks it will tremendously help this defensive unit. The linebacking corps for the Wildcats will be a group of players that have had playing experience but no starting experience. Led by junior mike linebacker Avery Williamson, sophomore will linebacker Malcolm McDuffen and sophomore sam linebacker Miles Simpson will need to mature quickly to shore up the middle. Williamson was the fifth leading tackler on the team with 49 tackles. This young, inexperienced linebacking crew is going to rely heavily on the front four to open up holes for them to apply pressure to the opposition's quarterback and running backs. The Kentucky secondary will have two returning starters at the safety positions and two new startes at the corner positions. Senior safeties Martavius Neloms and Mikie Benton will direct traffic in the secondary. Neloms had 71 tackles last year and 1 interception whle Benton had 28 tackles. These two will make sure that redshirt freshman Marcus Caffey and senior Cartier Rice know where to be and what coverage to be in. Cartier had some playing time last year and recorded 9 tackles. This defensive unit has a great front four and will need them to help control the line of scrimmage while the linebackers and secondary break in new starters. 

Kentucky's schedule for next year will be a moderately tough one. The opening game at Louisville will go a long way in determining the progress of the Wildcats. After the road trip to Louisville, home games against Kent State and Western Kentucky should have the Wildcats at least at 2-1. After that, the Wildcats play a brutal seven game SEC stretch. They go to Gainesville to play Florida on September 22nd. AFter that game, they are home for South Carolina and Mississippi State. On October 13th, they travel to Arkansas and then the following week come back home to play Georgia. On October 27th, they head up to Missouri to play the newest addition to the SEC East. They then finish their brutal stretch with a home game against Vanderbilt. I honestly do not see a win for them during that stretch. They may be able to catch a team that is looking ahead to the next game but I can see them going 0-7 during this stretch. They then get a bye week on November 10th before having a late homecoming against Samford and finally finishing up at Tennessee. I think that Tennessee is the only winnable SEC game on their schedule right now. I could be wrong and this Wildcat team could surprise a good number of folks but I see this Kentucky team going 4-8 with wins against Kent State, Western Kentucky, Samford, and Tennessee. 

Morning Links for June 28th

Good morning! Here are the top ten links to get you going this morning!

1) Chad Ford and Bill Simmons break down the NBA Draft tonight and give a mock draft.

2) Mike Hueguenin continues on ranking all 124 FBS teams with 60-56 and 55-51.

3) Jacob Bunn previews Ole Miss in his SEC preview.

4) Tony Barnhart looks at what a selection committee would have done during 2007-2011 if the playoff had been in play then.

5) Jerry Palm warns all of the people clamoring for a playoff to be careful what you ask for.

6) Jen Floyd Engel also believes that the playoff is nothing but smoke and mirrors for big time college football.

7) Mr. SEC looks at the good and bad of the new playoff for the SEC.

8) Sports Illustrated looks at 20 schools that could have benefited from a playoff.

9) Andrew Luck talked to the media after yesterday's rookie symposium and says he's sure his contract will be done eventually.

10) Jonathan Vilma is saying he will file an injunction to block his suspension if Commissioner Goodell does not rescind the suspension.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Morning Links for June 27th

Good Morning to you! Hope you are doing well. Make sure you follow me on twitter and join the fan group on facebook. Here are today’s top ten links and a link to yesterday’s playoff column.

Here’s yesterday’s piece on the confirmation of the College Football Playoffs.

1) Gene Wojciechowski declares the playoff agreement as one of the top five documents in the history of America.

2) Dennis Dodd doesn’t like the new playoff setup and believes it eliminates the Non-AQ schools from a shot at the title.

3) Andy Staples says that the new playoff system isn’t perfect but it’s better than what we had.

4) Dan Wetzel is happy that the BCS is dead but is leery of the bowls and their influence.

5) Les Carpenter thinks that the presidents will not expand the playoffs to more than four teams.

6) Bryan Curtis holds a funeral for the BCS and lists five positive things it has done.

7) The BCS denied the Mountain West AQ status for the final two years of the BCS.

8) Gregg Doyel believes the NCAA shouldn’t punish Penn State and that the should courts handle it.

9) Texas A&M is going to have a ceremonial flag raising to announce their membership to the SEC.

10) UGA’s Assistant Coach John Lily who oversees the punt coverage unit reflects on the SEC Championship Game punt coverage meltdowns.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The College Football Playoffs Are Here For the Next 12 Years

Today history was made official. College football will have a playoff starting in 2014 and going through 2025. The playoffs will involve four teams with the semifinals rotating through 6 traditional bowl sites and the championship game bid out. 

The 11 Conference Commissioners and the Notre Dame athletics director presented their idea to 12 university presidents and within three hours, the playoff was approved. The presidents endorsed the idea of rotating the semifinals through the 6 unnamed bowls and bidding out the championship game to a neutral site. My guess is that Dallas, New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Orlando are salivating at the chance to host the championship game. The championship game will be managed by the conferences and not be called a bowl game.  Virginia Tech president Charles Sterger said, “A four team playoff doesn’t go too far, it goes just the right amount. We are very pleased with this arrangement even though some issues remain to be finalized.” 

The issues remaining to be finalized are who will be on the selection committee, how the selection will weigh the qualifications for the 4 teams, and how the revenues will be distributed. 

The biggest item of concern for me is the selection committee. I’m guessing that the selection committee will be composed of athletic directors, school presidents, and former players and coaches. The selection committee will consider the win-loss record, strength of schedule, whether a school is a conference champion, and head-to-head results. No one knows how significant each one of these factors will be. The basketball committee's standards change from year to year and I for one would appreciate the standards to be set in stone. I can tell you that some conference champions wouldn’t cut the mustard in the Pac 12, SEC, or Big XII (I’m looking at you Big Ten and ACC) so I think this is just a way to prevent one conference from getting two schools in the playoffs. 

The revenues will probably be weighted towards the bigger conferences such as the SEC, Big XII, Pac 12, and Big Ten. The ACC and Big East are praying that they can have a dominant team emerge like a Miami in the its Big East days or FSU in the ACC before 2007. 

While there is much celebrating to be had, we still need to see what happens with the rest of the rules and standards for the the playoff system. I'm hoping that the powers that be don't screw up something that a lot of people have been clamoring for. 

Morning Links for June 26th

Good morning! Here are the links plus yesterday's Clemson preview for you this morning!

Monday, June 25, 2012

#10 Clemson

The 2011 Clemson Tigers came out of nowhere to win the ACC last year but ended the season on a very sour note. This offseason has been up and down for the Clemson faithful with head coach Dabo Swinney getting a three year extension but all everything Sammy Watkins was arrested for marijuana possession. No one knows what the suspension will be or when it will come down. After losing to West Virginia 70-33, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was fired and replaced by Oklahoma's Brent Venables. Venables is considered to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation and will be switching the Clemson 3-4 to a 4-3. The expectations are high in Death Valley and the pressure is building on Dabo to continually make Clemson a contender in the ACC. 

Clemson's offense was ranked 26th in total offense, 59th in rushing, and 21st in passing. The offense returns 7 starters including all three wide receivers, two offensive lineman, running back Andre Ellington, and quarterback Tajh Boyd. Tajh Boyd started out strong for the Tigers having a great run until the Georgia Tech game. Boyd had a great year statistically by throwing for 3,828 yards and 33 touchdowns as well as running for 218 yards and 5 touchdowns. Boyd ended up throwing 9 interceptions in the final 6 games after only throwing 3 through the first 8. His dual threat status tended to make him a passer only through the last few games and may have caused him to wear down towards the end of the season. If Boyd can get his accuracy back to where it was the first 8 games, he will lead one of the best offenses in the nation. The starting three receivers at Clemson are Sammy Watkins, Jaron Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins. These individuals return to form the the second best receiving corps in the nation. Watkins had 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns as well as running for 231 yards. Brown had 31 receptions for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns and Hopkins had 72 receptions for 928 yards and 5 touchdowns. Look for Watkins to continue to put up huge numbers and have a serious shot at a Heisman campaign if the suspension isn't too severe for his arrest. Andre Ellington returns for his senior year after having a great 2011. Ellington ran for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. He was able to capitalize on many misdirection plays with the defense concerned about Sammy Watkins. Look for him to put forth another yeoman like effort this year and be a dark horse Heisman contender. The offensive line returns two starters in left guard turned left tackle Brandon Thomas and center Dalton Freeman. Junior Tyler Shatley will start at right guard while sophomore Kalon Davis will be the left guard. Sophomore Gifford Timothy will be the starting right tackle. If these three new starters can continue to protect Boyd, this offense will be explosive.

The one side of the ball that Clemson struggled with mightily down the stretch was their defense. The Tigers finished ranked 71st in total defense, 83rd in rushing defense, and 50th in passing defense. New defensive coordinator Brent Venables will be switching the Tigers to a 4-3 scheme and will look to make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with. The Tigers return 7 starters including all three linebackers.  The biggest loss for Clemson will be defensive end Andre Branch who had 78 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. Malliciah Goodman will need to improve upon his 55 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks if Clemson is to have success on the defensive line. Goodman is the only returning starter for the defensive line who break in sophomore Grady Jarret at nose guard, sophomore DeShawn Williams at defensive tackle, and sophomore defensive end Corey Crawford. At lot of the focus will be on Goodman early until these new three prove themselves. The linebacking corps is solid with three returning starters. Sophomore Tony Stewart will start at the sam, sophomore Stephone Anthony will start at the mike, and senior Corico Hawkins will start at the will. These three combined for 126 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and only 2 sacks. Look for Venables to step up the blitzes with these three and their numbers to vastly improve from last season. The secondary returns three starters with sophomore Bashaud Breeland at corner, senior Rashard Hall at strong safety, and senior Xavier Brewer at free safety. Rashard Hall led the team in tackles last year with 81. Breeland led the team in passes broken up  with 11 and was second on the team with 2 interceptions. This secondary will have to make more plays if they are going to make this defense an elite one in the ACC.

Clemson has a legitimate shot at repeating as ACC Champions. They will get there if they can overcome a big non-conference hurdle in Auburn to start the season in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff. After Auburn, they play two cupcake games against Ball State and Furman before getting their biggest test of the year by heading to FSU. After FSU, they go to Boston College and then are home for Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has been a perpetual thorn in the side for Dabo and he must get over that hump. After a bye, Clemson hosts Virginia Tech who will want to avenge their only two regular season losses from last year. Back to back road trips to Wake Forest and Duke follow Virginia Tech before the Tigers come home for three straight games starting against Maryland. N.C. State follows their homecoming game against the Terrapins before the Tigers host archival South Carolina. South Carolina will be going for 4 straight victories over the Tigers which hasn't happened since 1951-1954. Clemson has a lot of talent on the offensive side returning but a lot of question marks on the defense. I really feel that their offense can save them for the first few games as they feel out their defensive responsibilities. I like Clemson to go 10-2 this year with their only two losses coming to FSU and Georgia Tech. That would put Clemson second in the Atlantic Division. Will that be enough to satisfy a rabid Clemson fanbase? I don't know.  

Morning Links for June 25th

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend Here are the top ten links for you this morning! It's very college football heavy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Week in Review for June 24th

Here are the columns from this week in case you missed them!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Morning Links for June 23rd

Good morning! Here are the top ten links for the day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Morning Links for June 22nd

Good Friday morning to you! Here is yesterday's column plus ten links to get your day going!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Playoffs Are Coming! The Playoffs Are Coming!

Yesterday was a historic day in the history of big time college football. The BCS Commissioners have all agreed to a four team playoff that will start in 2014 with the four teams selected by a committee. This is epic. This is monumental. This is only the beginning.

A four team playoff is just going to be a gateway to a larger playoff. Remember that the NCAA Basketball Tournament started out with only 8 teams participating in it and has now ballooned to 68. True the change was a gradual one in the beginning but we've seen it expand 8 times since 1978. That's an average change 4 years. This is going to open the doors to an eventual 16 team playoff. I guarantee that the playoffs will expand at least twice in the next ten years because they will want more teams in and more television revenue. I think they need to stay at 4 teams and not dilute the playoffs with a team that happens to get hot at the right time like we've seen in the NFL and MLB Playoffs as well as the NCAA Tournament. The more teams you put in, the more likely you will have this occur.

I am glad that we will finally be able to settle it on the field between the top 4 teams in the nation as long as we stay at 4 teams. My only concern is that a selection committee will screw this up royally. I understand that a block of commissioners (Big Ten, Pac 12, and Notre Dame) all wanted to have non-conference schedules and conference championships weigh more than conference reputation. I think the strength of schedule should be factored in not just non-conference games. Some conferences are much harder than others. Would you really argue that an undefeated Big East champion deserves a bid over a one loss SEC team?

Another problem with the selection committee is how are you going to select who is on it? Everyone has a bias whether they will admit it or not. Mike Bellotti doesn't like Oregon State. Gene Stallings doesn't like Texas or Auburn. Voters tend to have regional biases. Don't believe me? Check out the 2009 Heisman voting. The human element would exist and allow a group of individuals to collude to screw a team out of a shot at playing for the national title.

I have said it before and I will say it again: The computer rankings work better than the human rankings but you will need to make the formulas transparent. When the error was found in Wes Colley's BCS formula it was because it had been made public. Now the results didn't affect the top 2 at all but it did switch a few teams around.  Because of this transparency people felt more comfortable with Colley because he was held accountable. That's all I ask for from the other 5 computer polls. I think more people would be okay with the computers selecting the top four if they knew this. Computers don't have a bias towards their alma mater. Computers don't get upset when a player goes to a university after some shadiness. Humans are incapable of being objective. Computers only do what they are programmed to do.

I'm glad that we will finally see a playoff and avoid situations like 1994, 2003, 2004, 2006-2009, and 2011. This is much needed progress. I am only scared that the powers that be will turn this 4 team playoff into a 32 team mess that rivals that of the basketball tournament. Will they? Probably. But let's be happy with what we have right now and worry about the future later. Right now we should all be screaming from the rooftops, "The Playoffs are coming! The Playoffs are coming!"

Good Morning! Here are the 10 links plus yesterday's column for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Emergence Of a King

I am not a LeBron James fan. I have despised him since he came on the scene as a high school senior trying his best to be like Michael Jordan. I loathed him in Cleveland and when he made The Decision to "Take My Talents To South Beach." I flat out don't like him. I used to not respect him. I used to think that he had taken his talents for granted and wasn't trying to become the ultimate player he had been hyped up to be. I used to think that he was an immature individual who was content with riding the coattails of Dwyane Wade to a ring and playing second banana. Now, I think LeBron has turned the corner.

LeBron breezed through the first round against the Knicks this year and was never really challenged. Yes they lost Game 4 in New York but that was a mere anomaly. The Heat quickly came back and dispatched the Knicks in Game 5 and moved on to play the Pacers. It was in the Pacers series that the new LeBron emerged. His team was down 2-1 heading into Game 4. Chris Bosh was out with a strained abdominal muscle and all the momentum was with Indiana after the Pacers destroyed the Heat 94-75. LeBron came back in Game 4 scoring 40 points, grabbing 18 rebounds, and dishing out 9 assists. LeBron looked like he finally got what he was supposed to do: Play like a king. Lebron scored 30 and 28 in the final two games of the series. The Heat moved on to the Conference Finals to face a resurgent Celtics team that felt like this was going to be there year.

The Heat came out in typical Heat fashion in Games 1 and 2. They won impressively and didn't really look like they were going to have to try too hard to win the series. Then Game 3 in Boston shocked the Heat. The Celtics came out playing like a team possessed and built a 20-point lead. The Heat bench was able to cut the lead down to 10 by the final whistle but momentum had shifted. Game 4 was a dogfight and when it came down to the final shot, the ball was in Dwyane Wade's hands, not LeBron's. Dwyane missed the shot and the series was tied 2-2 heading back to Miami. The Heat shockingly lost a third game in a row to the Celtics and were down 3-2 heading back to Boston. Most people, including myself had written off the Heat and declared the Celtics the winner. I believe the only person who had any confidence in the Heat was the, "Good Job! Good Effort!" kid. Then Game 6 happened and LeBron played the best game of his career.

Going into Game 6 LeBron knew that this game was going to define his career and either silence his critics or give them more ammunition. LeBron came out on fire and never looked back. He finished with 45 points and 15 rebounds. He was not going to let anybody decide that game for the Heat except for himself. He played the greatest game of his career in a seminal moment. He finished off the Celtics with an amazing 4th quarter where he scored 9 of the Heat's 28 4th quarter points. LeBron was determined.

LeBron has been playing at an elite level every game of the Finals. He is averaging 29.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. He is using every skill he has to dominate and show the young Kevin Durant how it is done. Barring the Thunder getting new life and figuring out how to shut down LeBron, this may be the beginning of a historic Heat run that could back up Lebron's promise. I am a LeBron hater. Always have been and always will be. But I will say that with this amazing playoff run, he's starting to earn my respect. Let's see if he can do this on a consistent basis and become the greatest player of his generation.

Morning Links for June 20th

Good morning! Here are the top ten stories for this morning and a link to yesterday's preview!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#11 Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Badgers are back to back Big Ten champions and primed for another run. The only downside to those championships are back to back Rose Bowl defeats. Russell Wilson's transfer to Wisconsin last year had them in the thick of the BCS race until they lost two straight heartbreakers to Michigan State and Ohio State on the last play of the game. Bret Bielema has amassed a 60-19 record in his 6 years and has another chance at a ten win season. While the Badgers are losing half of their starters, they have the depth to replace them.

Wisconsin's offense last year was a well oiled machine last year finishing ranked 14th in Total Offense, 11th in Rushing Offense, and 61st in passing. Wisconsin will return 5 starters on offense and are breaking in a new quarterback. The Badgers had great success with an ACC transfer quarterback Russell Wilson last year and have another ACC transfer as a starter this year in Davey O'Brien. Davey O'Brien was a two year starter at Maryland while throwing for 4,086 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. Wisconsin won't have to rely on O'Brien too much though as Montee Ball and James White return at running back. Montee Ball came on late as a Heisman candidate. Ball ran for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns and White ran for 713 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Ball will once again be leaned on heavily for the Badgers until O'Brien and a receiving corps mesh. The only returning receiver with significant experience is Jared Abbrederis and tight end Jacob Pedersen. Abbrederis had 933 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns while Pedersen had 356 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns. The offensive line only returns center Travis Frederick and Outland Trophy Watch List Candidate Ricky Wagner. Ricky Wagner is arguably one of the best if not the best left tackle in college. If the offensive line can come together and open up holes for Montee Ball, this offense can be a bruising force that can run roughshod on the Big Ten.

The Wisconsin defense was a ferocious one in the Big Ten last year. They finished ranked 15th in Total Defense, 60th in Rushing Defense, and 4th in Passing Defense. Leading tacklers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland will return to the defense. These two combined for nearly 300 tackles on the season as well as 28 Tackles for Loss and 4.5 sacks. Taylor and Borland will be the heart of this defense. The defensive line will return two starters with Brendan Kelly at defensive end and Ethan Hemer at defensive tackle. These two as well as Junior defensive tackle Beau Allen and Junior defensive end David Gilbert will need to win the battle for the line of scrimmage. The Badgers were unable to generate much of a pass rush last year and only generated 25 sacks last year which landed them at 71st in the nation. Marcus Cromartie returns at cornerback and Shelton Johnson returns at strong safety to shore up the secondary. Dezmen Southward had experience at free safety but didn't start and Devin Smith only played in two games last year at cornerback. If Southward and Smith can continue to help the secondary stay on top of their game, they will be able to blitz more. Unless the defensive line shores up that pass rush and keep their linebackers clean, the Badgers will be unable to move up higher in rushing defense and sacks.

The schedule for the Wisconsin Badgers is a very favorable one. The first four non-conference games are not that challenging with three of the four at home. The only away game in the first four is a trip to Corvalis to play Oregon State. Norhtern Iowa, Utah State, and UTEP make up the rest of the non-conference schedule. The Big Ten schedule starts with a road game to Nebraska in what should be the Badgers only test in their first 8 games. If the Badgers get by that, they will have perennial loser Illinois at home, a road game at Purdue, and then home for Minnesota. A homecoming game against Michigan State is up next and revenge will be on the mind after a last second loss last year to the Spartans in the regular season. After that, the Badgers head to Indiana and then come home again to try and avenge their other last second loss to Ohio State. The Badgers finish the year with a trip to Penn State. Looking at this schedule, a minimum of 10 wins should be expected. The only three games on the schedule that should be of concern are Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State. If the Badgers can get through those games, an undefeated season is not out of the question. I see Wisconsin going 10-2 but I wouldn't be shocked to see a better season out of Bret Bielema and the Badgers.

Morning Links for June 19th

Good morning! Here's the morning Links for June 19th!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Morning Links for June 18th

Good Morning! I hope you had a great Father's Day Weekend. Here are Ten Links to get your morning going!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Morning Links for June 16th

Good Morning Everybody! I hope you're having a great weekend! Here are Ten Links to get your morning going!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Bare Minimum

The Jerry Sandusky trial should have its first half over on Monday when the prosecution rests and the defense begins. As more details have come out about this case, the more disgusted I am not only with him but the whole Penn State football and administrative staff. There are so many instances where the Penn State powers that be could have stepped in and ended this before Sandusky victimized any more children but they chose not too. Instead they tried to cover it up or just do the bare minimum.

Joe Paterno was the most powerful man in State College, Pennsylvania. All he had to do was ask for something and it would be done. We have heard countless stories of his generosity and great character. He always seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty for his players, fans, and coaches. But when he was approached by his then Graduate Assistant Mike McQueary of a heinous act occurring inside his own football facility, he did the bare minimum.

Paterno followed protocol and talked to his superior about the sexual assault of a young boy and never followed it up. This assault occurred in 2002. Sandusky didn't get caught until 2011. I'm sure that during many of his fall camps in State College he called upon his players to give an extraordinary effort and push themselves farther than they thought they could go. Give the maximum effort and push past that. But when a defining moment came into his life on that day in 2002, Paterno gave the bare minimum.

I will always think that Joe Paterno was an excellent football coach and a man who should have been admired. But this huge dark mark on his record will never go away. His name and Sandusky's will always be linked together because of what occurred in 2011. Paterno was content in coaching the Nittany Lions until he died. He thought he had earned the right to exit on his own terms. But Paterno should have known back in 2002 that when you give the bare minimum to anything, it will always come back to bite you. Paterno was on pace to have an amazing season in 2011. When he was fired he had only one loss to the eventual BCS Champion, Alabama. Then when Sandusky was arrested and the story came out how he did the bare minimum, it was all gone. His career. His lifeblood. His supposed great character. All gone when the report came out Mike McQueary had approached him and Paterno did the bare minimum.

As the trial nears a close, we are given a chance to look back on everything that occurred during Sandusky's reign of terror. The way that administrators for Penn State secretly conspired to make this go away. The "punishment" of Sandusky by taking away his privileges to the football facility. (That punishment lasted for maybe two minutes because he was still working out there days before his arrest.) How Joe Paterno's defenders found themselves in a Catch 22 situation when they argued he didn't know what was going on. (If he didn't know what was going on in his own facilities, should he still have been the head coach?) The way the Penn State student body rallied around Joe Pa and how it made the entire group look like calloused individuals. The Phil Knight eulogy of Joe Pa that looks even more ridiculous now.  All of this could have been avoided if Paterno would have done more than the bare minimum.

There is one important lesson that we all must learn from this Sandusky Scandal. When you have an opportunity to right a wrong, do more than the bare minimum.

Morning Links for June 15th

Here are Ten Links to help get your morning going:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Possible Return to the BCMess

While the BCS meetings have wrapped up for a while, a disturbing rumor has come out that would put 3 conference champions and a wild card in the four team playoff instead of the top four teams. Bruce Feldman said this on Paul Finebaum June 12th. If the powers that be decided to go with this model, it will make the outcry from the opponents of the BCS even louder and more profane that it is now.

This is an outrageous idea being pushed down the throats of the BCS by Jim Delaney of the Big Ten, Larry Scott of the Pac 12 and the Rose Bowl. The alliance between these three is so strong that they are willing to do anything to preserve the "sanctity" of the Rose Bowl. They are worried that if the top four teams are taken by the BCS in a four team playoff little to no attention will be paid to the Rose Bowl.

While the Rose Bowl is worried about falling into irrelevance, Jim Delaney and Larry Scott are also worried that the SEC will continually get two teams in if the top four teams are taken. The SEC has recently become a force to be reckoned with in the BCS era winning 8 of the 14 titles. Their ultimate nightmare was realized when the title game was an all SEC affair. But if they went with the three conference champion model they would actually end up hurting more than just the SEC.

If you go back to the BCS Computer Ratings taking the top four, it would look like this:

  • 1998: #1 Tennessee, #2 FSU, #3 Kansas State, #4 Ohio State
  • 1999: #1 FSU, #2 Virginia Tech, #3 Nebraska, #4 Alabama
  • 2000: #1 Oklahoma, #2 FSU, #3 Miami, #4 Washington
  • 2001: #1 Miami, #2 Nebraska, #3 Colorado, #4 Oregon
  • 2002: #1 Miami, #2 Ohio State, #3 Georgia, #4 USC
  • 2003: #1 Oklahoma, #2 LSU, #3 USC, #4 Michigan
  • 2004: #1 USC, #2 Oklahoma, #3 Auburn, #4 Texas
  • 2005: #1 USC, #2 Texas, #3 Penn State, #4 Ohio State
  • 2006: #1 Ohio State, #2 Florida, #3 Michigan, #4 LSU
  • 2007: #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, #3 Virginia Tech, #4 Oklahoma
  • 2008: #1 Oklahoma, #2 Florida, #3 Texas, #4 Alabama
  • 2009: #1 Alabama, #2 Texas, #3 Cincinnati, #4 TCU
  • 2010: #1 Auburn, #2 Oregon, #3 TCU, #4 Stanford
  • 2011: #1 LSU, #2 Alabama, #3 Oklahoma State, #4 Stanford

When looking at these results, you can see that in 2001 (Nebraska and Colorado from the Big XII), 2004 (Texas and Oklahoma from the Big XII), 2005 (Penn State and Ohio State from the Big Ten), 2006 (Florida and LSU from the SEC and Ohio State and Michigan from the Big Ten), 2008 (Oklahoma and Texas from the Big XII and Florida and Alabama from the SEC), 2010 (Oregon and Stanford from the Pac 10), and 2011 (LSU and Alabama from the SEC) all had years where two teams from the same conference would have been in the top four. In two years, 2006 ad 2008, two conferences dominated all four slots.

If the three conference champions and a wild card had been used, we would have had these results:

  • 1998: #1 Tennessee (SEC Champion), #2 FSU (ACC Co-Champion) #6 Texas A&M (Big XII Champion), and Wild Card #3 Kansas State
  • 1999: #1 FSU (ACC Champion), #2 Virginia Tech (Big East Champion) #3 Nebraska (Big XII Champion), and Wild Card #4 Alabama (SEC Champion)
  • 2000: #1 Oklahoma (Big XII Champion) #2 FSU (ACC Champion) #3 Miami (Big East Champion), and Wild Card #4 Washington (Pac 10 Co-Champion)
  • 2001: #1 Miami (Big East Champion), #3 Colorado (Big XII Champion), #4 Oregon (Pac 10 Champion), and Wild Card #2 Nebraska
  • 2002: #1 Miami (Big East Champion), #2 Ohio State (Big Ten Co-Champion), #3 Georgia (SEC Champion), and Wild Card #4 USC (Pac 10 Co-Champion)
  • 2003: #2 LSU (SEC Champion) #3 USC (Pac 10 Champion), #4 Michigan (Big Ten Champion) and Wild Card #1 Oklahoma
  • 2004: #1 USC (Pac 10 Champion), #2 Oklahoma (Big XII Champion), #3 Auburn (SEC Champion), and Wild Card #4 Texas
  • 2005: #1 USC (Pac 10 Champion), #2 Texas (Big XII Champion), #3 Penn State (Big Ten Co-Champion), and Wild Card #4 Ohio State (Big Ten Co-Champion).
  • 2006: #1 Ohio State (Big Ten Champion), #2 Florida (SEC Champion), #5 Louisville (Big East Champion), and Wild Card #3 Michigan
  • 2007: #1 Ohio State (Big Ten Champion), #2 LSU (SEC Champion), #3 Virginia Tech (ACC Champion), and Wild Card #4 Oklahoma (Big XII Champion)
  • 2008: #1 Oklahoma (Big XII Champion), #2 Florida (SEC Champion), #5 USC (Pac 10 Champion) and Wild Card #3 Texas
  • 2009: #1 Alabama (SEC Champion), #2 Texas (Big XII Champion), #3 Cincinnati (Big East Champion), and Wild Card #4 TCU (Mountain West Champion)
  • 2010: #1 Auburn (SEC Champion), #2 Oregon (Pac 10 Champion) #3 TCU (Mountain West Champion) and Wild Card #4 Stanford
  • 2011: #1 LSU (SEC Champion) #3 Oklahoma State ( Big XII Champion), #5 Oregon (Pac 12 Champion), and Wild Card #2 Alabama

Most of the years the top four would be in the picture but in 2006, 2008, and 2011 the fourth place team would have been left out. This would have meant two SEC teams were left out and a Pac 12 team would have been left out. Would a fifth place team jumping a fourth place team make everyone happy? I seriously doubt that. People would be crying foul just as they are now.

The biggest factor involved in these BCS negotiations will be the television money. ESPN will want the largest television audience possible with viewers from all over the U.S. Would that mean they'd push for four conference champions and the potential to not have the top four teams in the nation? It would give their talking heads more than enough fodder to complain about the way the system screwed some deserving team out of a shot at a BCS Title. At least this version would allow us to have a team that is ranked in the top four to be a wild card if they are not a conference champion. But I still think that the best way is to take the top four teams and retool the BCS computer system. They need to just have more transparency with the way the formulas are composed.

While they are making progress with the BCS system, the new system must be in place by September 1st for ESPN to bid on it. the time is closing in faster than we think. The best interest of the fans will not be seen until we get a clear cut playoff with the top four teams taken regardless of their conference champion status. But when was the last time the powers that be of big time college football did anything that benefited the game and the fans?

Morning Links for June 14th

Good Morning Followers! Here are the top 10 stories according to me!