Monday, January 23, 2006

My Apologies

I am sorry for not posting on this blog. I have been devoting most of my attention to the Fresno State Football Blog. I invite all my readers to check it out. After signing day, Feb 1, I will start breaking down the conferences heading into spring. Now with all the early entries to the NFL official, finalizing the recruits and the 2006 schedules is all that is left before "better" predictions can be made.

Friday, January 20, 2006

NFL Early Entries

Underclassmen in 2006 NFL draft

Player School Pos. Year
Darnell Bing USC S Jr.
Cornell Brockington UConn RB Jr.
Reggie Bush USC RB Jr.
Brian Calhoun Wisconsin RB Jr.
Antonio Cromartie Florida State CB Jr.
Vernon Davis Maryland TE Jr.
Maurice Drew UCLA RB Jr.
Ray Edwards Purdue DE Jr.
Anthony Fasano Notre Dame TE Jr.
Charles Gordon Kansas WR Jr.
Willie Hall Middle. Tenn. St. OT Jr.
Devin Hester Miami-FL RS/DC/WR Jr.
Santonio Holmes Ohio State WR Jr.
Chad Jackson Florida WR Jr.
Omar Jacobs Bowling Green QB Jr.
Cornell Johnson Indiana State RB Jr.
Marquis Johnson Texas Tech WR Jr.
Johnathan Joseph South Carolina CB Jr.
Winston Justice USC OT Jr.
Brandon Kirsch Purdue QB Jr.
Greg Lee Pittsburgh WR Jr.
Laurence Maroney Minnesota RB Jr.
Richard Marshall Fresno St. CB Jr.
Derrick Martin Wyoming CB Jr.
Fred Matua USC G Jr.
John McCargo North Carolina State DT Jr.
Stanley McClover Auburn DE Jr.
Tony McDaniel Tennessee DT Jr.
Derek Morris North Carolina State OT Jr.
Haloti Ngata Oregon DT Jr.
Kai Parham Virginia LB Jr.
Bobby Payne Middle Tennessee DE Jr.
Bernard Pollard Purdue DS Jr.
Leonard Pope Georgia TE Jr.
Drouzon Quillen Louisiana-Monroe WR Jr.
Cory Rodgers Texas Christian WR Jr.
Ko Simpson South Carolina S Jr.
Ernie Sims Florida State LB Jr.
Daniel Smith Idaho WR Jr.
Rob Smith Tennessee OG Jr.
Stephen Tulloch N.C. State LB Jr.
Marcus Vick Virginia Tech QB Jr.
Dee Webb Florida CB Jr.
LenDale White USC RB Jr.
Donte Whitner Ohio State S Jr.
Mario Williams N.C. State DE Jr.
Ashton Youboty Ohio State CB Jr.
Vince Young Texas QB Jr.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Really Early Top 40

It's never too early to start talking about next year. My really early top 40 is just a knee jerk poll heading into LOI signing day. This poll will change after February 1, again after spring ball, again at the start of summer, and etc. Take it for what its worth, just one guy's opinion.

  1. Auburn- Kenny Irons the best back in America?
  2. Ohio State- For once the defense is suspect.
  3. USC- Just reloading.
  4. LSU- Could be most talented team in the nation.
  5. West Virginia- Will be everyone's trendy pick for national title.
  6. Texas- Vince Young is irreplaceable.
  7. Michigan- A healthy Hart will go a long way.
  8. Notre Dame- Brady Quinn for Heisman.
  9. Florida- Meyer's second year is his best.
  10. Boston College- The sleeper pick.
  11. Oklahoma- Bomar and Peterson are a tough combo.
  12. Miami- New staff= no more 3 loss seasons?
  13. Virginia Tech- Loss of "thug" drops Hokies from top 5.
  14. Georgia- Best stable of running backs in the country.
  15. Texas Tech- Cupcake schedule needs to stop.
  16. Florida State- Special Teams, Special Teams.
  17. Penn State- Robinson will be missed.
  18. Oregon- QB play needs to improve.
  19. Clemson- A very dangerous team.
  20. Louisville- Brohm, Bush and Urrutia. Wow!
  21. Alabama- Need to find a QB.
  22. Iowa- Bucks visit Iowa City.
  23. Arizona State- Is Sam Keller the best QB in America?
  24. Cal- Could win 9 games.
  25. TCU- Good shot to crack BCS top 12.
  26. Nebraska
  27. South Carolina
  28. Iowa State
  29. Utah
  30. Tennessee
  31. Pittsburgh
  32. Georgia Tech
  33. Purdue
  34. UCLA
  35. Wisconsin
  36. Fresno State
  37. Oklahoma State
  38. Tulsa
  39. Kansas
  40. Navy

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Early 2006 Outlook

This a knee jerk prediction for 2006. Early NFL draft lists are not complete and the recruiting season isn't over. Coaching changes are still possible, as well, there is always some players that don't make it to fall. Without further question my early picks for 2006.

Red- National Title Contenders
Green- BCS contenders
Orange- Top 25 caliber
Purple- Bowl Eligible
*- predicted conference champ
@-surprise team


Boston College@
Florida State
North Carolina State
Wake Forest

Georgia Tech
Miami FL*
North Carolina
Virginia Tech


South Florida

West Virginia*


Michigan State

Ohio State*
Penn State

BIG 12

Iowa State@
Kansas State

Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Texas Tech


East Carolina
Southern Miss



Bowling Green
Kent State
Miami OH

Ball State
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Northern Illinois

Western Michigan@


Air Force
Brigham Young
Colorado State@
New Mexico
San Diego State

PAC 10

Arizona State

Oregon State
Southern California*

Washington State


South Carolina

Louisiana State
Mississippi State


Arkansas State*
Florida Atlantic@
Florida International
Middle Tennessee
North Texas


Boise State*
Fresno State
Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
San Jose State
Utah State@


Notre Dame*

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Final Blogpoll Top 25 Ballot

  1. Texas (2)
  2. Southern Cal (1)
  3. Penn State (3)
  4. Ohio State (4)
  5. West Virginia (10)
  6. Virginia Tech (9)
  7. Louisiana State (11)
  8. Georgia (6)
  9. Alabama (13)
  10. Wisconsin (21)
  11. Auburn (5)
  12. Florida (14)
  13. TCU (18)
  14. Notre Dame (12)
  15. Oregon (7)
  16. Miami (Florida) (8)
  17. UCLA (nr)
  18. Clemson ( 20)
  19. Florida State (15)
  20. Oklahoma (nr)
  21. Boston College (22)
  22. Texas Tech (23)
  23. Louisville (19)
  24. Nebraska (nr)
  25. Tulsa (nr)

out- Geogia Tech(16), Michigan(17), Northwestern(24), Iowa(25)

ALL MDG Team: BlogPoll All-American Team Ballot Entry

The innagural Blogpoll All-American team will be voted by the blogpoll voters. The rules for the team are as follows:

1. Pick two teams of players as follows:

- One QB
- Any combination of five skill players (RBs, WRs and TEs)
- Five offensive linemen (preferrably divided by specific position - two
tackles, two guards and a center)
- Three or four defensive linemen (again, preferrably divided into ends and
- Three or four linebackers (must jibe w/ the number of D-linemen to equal a
front seven, i.e., you can't pick four linemen and four linebackers)
- Two cornerbacks
- Two safeties
- One kicker
- One punter
- One kick returner
- One punt returner

2. Each first team vote is worth two points; each second team vote is worth one.
Final teams determined by most points at each position (duh).

3. Voters can't vote for players they didn't see play. Highlights don't count.
For example, I missed out on West Coast teams Oregon, Washington State, Oregon
State and UCLA this season, so I can't vote for Haloti Ngata, Jerome Harrison,
Mike Hass or Maurice Drew. If a voter somehow didn't see USC, he can't vote for
Reggie Bush or Prince Leinart.

This does NOT mean that the player you're voting for had to have an All-America
type game when you watched him; virtually every offensive lineman would be
disqualified if voters were required to specifically have noticed every player
and ignore all media hype. Statistics and other information outside of direct
observation will be required for the vast majority of picks.



WR-Mike Hass, Oregon State
WR-Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame
TE- Garrett Mills, Tulsa
T- Marcus McNeil, Auburn
T- D' Brickshaw Ferguson, Virginia
C- Kyle Young, Fresno State
G- Max Jean-Guilles, Georgia
G- Taitusi Lutui, USC
QB- Vince Young, Texas
RB- Reggie Bush, USC
RB- Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin


DE- Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College
DT- Haloti Ngata, Oregon
DT- Rodrique Wright, Texas
DE- Elvis Dumervil, Lousiville
LB- A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
LB- DeMaco Ryans, Alabama
LB- Paul Pusluszny, Penn State
CB- Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech
CB- Kelly Jennings, Miami
SS- Micheal Huff, Texas
S- Greg Blue, Georgia


K- Mason Crosby, Colorado
P- Dan Sepulveda, Baylor
PR- Maurice Drew, UCLA
KR- Steve Breaston, Michigan



WR- Dwayne Jarrett, USC
WR- Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
TE- Leonard Pope, Georgia
T- Eric Winston, Miami
T- Sam Baker, USC
C- Ryan Kalil, USC
G- Will Allan, Texas
G- Dan Mozes, West Virginia
QB-Matt Leinart, USC
RB- Laurence Maroney, Minnesota
RB- LenDale White, USC


DE- Tamba Hali, Penn State
DT- Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech
DT- Jesse Mahelona, Tennesee
DE- Manny Lawson, NC State
LB- Jimmy Contrell, New Mexico State
LB- D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland
LB- Aaron Harris, Texas
CB- Aaron Gipson, Oregon
CB- Allen Zemaitis, Penn State
S- Dwayne Slay, Texas Tech
FS- Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame


K- Alexis Serna, Oregon State
P- John Torp, Colorado
PR- Devin Hester, Miami
KR- Adam Jennings, Fresno State

Super Young!

It was a pretty sloppy first half by both the Trojans and Longhorns. Note to Reggie Bush, don't pitch to the white guy. After trailing 16-10, USC would make its second half adjustments, as always, and come away with the win, right? Unlike, Oregon, Arizona State, Notre Dame, or Fresno State, Texas has Superman Vince Young. Is Reggie Bush, really the best player in college football?

On the biggest stage in college football history, Bush had a good game, but no where near the magnitude of Young's. USC had seemed to pull away in the fourth quarter after Bush's leap into the endzone and Dwayne Jarrett's stretch across the endzone put the Trojans ahead 38-26. In between Texas added a field goal, but were slowly fading away like every team that plays the Trojans. However, with under 9 minutes to go and Young under center, he showed the nation just how good he is.

USC coach Pete Carroll had a decent defensive plan, but still could not contain Young. In fact the blame could be put on the offense, not the defense, for the loss. The Trojan offense has been the ringl leader of their run for a third national title, the defense was nothing more than a side show all year. With a fourth and short near mid-field with under two minutes to play in the game, Carroll relied on his offense to pull out the win. But bruising back LenDale White, who had punished the Longhorn defense all night long, could not get the first down. Did Carroll have too much faith in his offense or no faith in his defense? Either way, USC did not make the plays all game long to win.

The Trojans had Texas on the ropes in the fourth. Down 38-26, the Longhorn sidelined looked distraught except for one person, Young. Young answered USC's challenge and cut the lead to 38-33. Matt Leinart, Bush, White, and Jarrett had the game in their hands after the ensuing kickoff. They had scored a touchdown on every drive in the second half and the Texas defense had fear in their eyes. But the magic that beat Notre Dame would stop in Pasadena.

After stopping White on fourth down, Young went to work. Like a renowned surgeon he slowly dissected the USC defense on the game winning drive. Facing a fourth and five with :24 to play, Young walked into the endzone like he has done all season. Up 39-38, and only :19 left in the game, Texas decided to go for two. This could have backfired. If Texas would have turned the ball over on the two-point try USC could have returned it for two points and lead. But there was no doubt who would have the ball in his hands. Behind his great offensive line, Young bullied his way into the endzone on the quarterback draw.

Leinart would have :16 to try answer Young's go ahead score after the kickoff return. With the ball at 30, his first pass was dumped off to Bush. He scampered into Texas territory and got out of bounds with 8 seconds to go in the game. Leinart failed to get USC near field goal range on the next play. He scrambled away from pressure only to throw the ball away as time expired.

The Rose Bowl is Vince Young's playground. His two most remarkable games have come on this field. If he comes back for his senior, you can pencil in the Longhorns for the Fiesta Bowl. The defense does lose a lot of key players, but Young proved last night he is Superman.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It All Comes Down to This

I find it funny that ABC analysts and just about everyone associated with the Disney is stating that they can not remember a national championship game more anticipated than this year's. Are they stupid, or did they just forget about all the hype heading into last year's Orange Bowl between USC and Oklahoma. If I remember correctly, most college football experts were divided on who would win last year's BCS title game. The only thing that put a damper on the pregame hype was 12-0 Auburn on the outside looking in.

That game aside the most anticipated national title game, prior to this year's, that I can remember was the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. Unbeaten Florida versus unbeaten defending national champion Nebraska. The game has some similarities to this year's Rose Bowl. Nebraska was on the cusp of its second national title, but was very close to winning the national title back in 1993, losing to Florida State on a last minute field goal. Nebraska was as dominant as any team ever in college football during the 1995 season. Florida on the other hand, was the trendy favorite heading into the Fiesta Bowl. The Gators were headed to their first national title game under 6th year head coach Steve Spurrier.

USC has been won two AP national titles in a row and are on the cusp of unprecedented third. Mack Brown has Texas in its first national title game in his tenure, and many are calling for a Longhorn win, despite being a touchdown underdog. Last year's national title game was supposed to be a great game. Few thought USC could dominate the Sooners on both sides of the ball. Many thought, Oklahoma's speedy defense would contain USC's offense and that Oklahoma would be able to move the ball with their balanced offense. USC laid the smack down, 55-19, and it was not even that close.

Texas is a better team than Oklahoma last year for one reason only, Vince Young. I underestimated Texas this year. I didn't think the Longhorns could duplicate last year's 11 wins since they had to replace their two best players, Cedric Benson and Derrick Johnson. But it was not Texas I underestimated, but Vince Young. I totally overlooked the emergence of Vince Young from a mobile quarterback to a complete quarterback that can beat you with both his arm and legs.

The Rose Bowl breakdown comes down to basically two questions.

1. Can USC move the ball and score on the Texas defense?
2. Can USC stop Vince Young?

The answer to both questions is yes. That should equal an easy Trojan victory, right? Not necessarily, Texas is more than Vince Young. Just because USC will be able to move the ball on the Longhorn defense, does not mean the defense will not make plays. Special teams will play a vital part in tonight's national title game. USC is not great in this area, and Texas will score at least one special teams touchdown. If you give USC head coach Pete Carroll a month to prepare for an offense, his defense will be ready. That will be the difference. The USC offense will score points, but the defense will step it up just enough to contain the Texas offense.

Much like the way Nebraska-Florida played out in 1996, USC should come away with a dominant win led by their offense. The scoreboard will not look like the 62-24 massacre ten years ago, but there will be no doubt about the outcome. The Longhorn defense and special teams will score some points making the outcome seam closer than the game really was. Like Florida in January of 1996, Texas will dust themselves off after their loss and point to next year as their year to win it all, as they should. USC 38, Texas 27.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Conference USA Refs Suck! Iowa Robbed!

Just as Alabama was kicking the ugliest game winning field goal I have ever seen, CUSA officials robbed Iowa a chance at comeback win. With a 1:24 left and down 31-24, the Hawkeyes attempted a successful onside kick and recovered the ball inside Florida territory. However, the side judge threw a flag which usually is offsides, which it was. Wrong! After seeing the replay, there was no way in hell, Iowa's Chad Greenway was across the line as the ball was kicked.

It might have been close, but there was no reason for that ref to throw that flag with the game on the line. If instant replay is going to be used in college football. The NCAA should do the NFL one better and be able to overturn bad calls by officials. I hate when a ref directly determines the outcome of the game. Iowa got a second chance to attempt the onside kick, but successfully converting consecutive onside kicks is near impossible. The Hawkeyes may or may not have scored the tying touchdown, but we will never know. Florida recovered the second attempt and ran out the clock, Iowa had no timeouts and could not stop the clock. Hawkeye coaches, players and fans have a legitimate reason to be upset. They were robbed by inept CUSA officials at a chance to win the game.


Too bad Barry's swan song will be a blowout loss.

Not since the 1988-89 bowl season has there not been bowl games played on New Year's Day. It did not even feel like New Year's Eve on Saturday because I knew I was not going to awake from my hangover to the start of the Outback Bowl. I didn't even eat any Menudo on New Year's Day, couple that with no Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl, man that's sacrilegious. The Rose Bowl Parade was not even on TV yesterday. Everything that does not get started until today.

Just about everybody has the day off, but there are a few that have to return to work like any other Monday. Luckily, I am not one of them. There are 8 bowl games left, and 6 of them will be on today. I am going to start my delayed New Years Day tradition at 8 am PT by watching the Cotton Bowl. The Outback Bowl usually has been the first bowl game for years even back when it was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl. When FOX took over the rights of the Cotton Bowl from CBS some years back they moved the start of the game to 11am ET. Now it goes head to head with ESPN's Outback Bowl.

This year the matchups are good in both games. The Outback has Florida vs Iowa, but the Cotton has a very interesting Alabama vs Texas Tech. I will try to flip between the two, but what makes it difficult is that Comcast Digital in my area does not have FOX HD. So I have to flip on the cable box to flip to ESPN HD for the Outback then flip back to over the over the air HD for the Cotton. I could just flip back and forth from the analog FOX on the box, but once you watch a game in HD, analog pales in comparison.

If Mike Leach and Texas Tech want to be taken seriously and get over the hump they have to beat Alabama. Last year's rout over top 5 Cal led to a 9-2 season, but the only win of significance this year was the last second controversial 23-21 victory over Oklahoma at home. If they can pass and score over the great Alabama defense then Tech will have its big win and give the Red Raiders their first 10 win season in over 25 years. Easier said then done, Alabama wins 23-16.

After the Cotton Bowl I will tune in to catch the second half of the Capital Bowl blowout win by Auburn. Tigers 52, Badgers 24, Wisconsin defense sucks, too bad for Barry Alvarez. Then it will be time for the game of the day, the Fiesta Bowl. I like Ohio State to shut down the Notre Dame offense. The Stanford game was no fluke, the Irish could be in real trouble if their defense doesn't show. Ohio State is good on both sides of the bowl, but the defense will be tested by Brady Quinn and the Shark. Ohio State 38, Notre Dame 27.

Finally, the nightcap is the most underrated bowl game of the year, West Virginia vs Georgia from the Sugar Bowl in Atlanta. West Virginia is better than most give them credit for. Freshman quarterback Pat White is a player and the second coming of Major Harris. The Bulldogs have fought through some adversity to get here. Senior leader quarterback D.J. Shockley has had a good year, and a Sugar Bowl win would be a nice way to end his career. Georgia last won the Sugar Bowl in Shockley freshman year against a huge underdog, Florida State. The Mountaineers are huge underdogs, but no Bulldog win this time. West Virginia in the upset, 24-21.