NFL Week 12 Roundup

The parallels between a couple of the divisions in the NFL and college football are strikingly similar and different right now.  In the NFL, we have no clarity in some divisions.  Divisions where teams with losing records may win it.  There is also divisions where there are four teams with playoff capability.

In college football, the top four playoff teams didn’t change last night.  That’s a source of clarity. The committee knows who is truly worth a Playoff spot.  I did too, frankly, minus the order.  On the opposite end, a clutter of teams exist between the No.10-No.15 spots, where multiple teams with the same record are jumbled.  We see this with the AFC Playoff picture, where multiple teams are fighting for one spot, which will leave some body getting left out.

See?  There’s clutter and clarity, but that’s what makes football great, right?

Games not being written about: Titans vs. Eagles, Lions vs. Patriots, Jaguars vs. Colts, Bengals vs. Texans, Seahawks vs. Cardinals, Bears vs. Buccaneers, Packers vs. Vikings

Byes: Pittsburgh, Carolina

Oakland-24 Kansas City-20

(Homerism Possible)

When Latavius Murray ran in a 90 yard TD run to put the Raiders up 14-0 Thursday Night, I knew the Chiefs were losing.  It was the beginning of the second quarter, and I still knew it.

Murray had four carries the entire game.  He finished with 112 yards.  Now, that was in mostly due to his 90 yard run; he’s a little like one of those one-game studs.  (Like a one-hit wonder)

Kansas City was down 14-3 at halftime, having not played well at all.  Alex Smith had a pretty bad game, even though the stats show otherwise, finishing with 234 yards and 2 TD’s.  The Chiefs real problem was the running game.  But again, the stats weren’t bad.  Jamaal Charles had 80 yards, but didn’t score, and they have to feed him it.  That’s what wins them games.

Kansas City rallied in the 3rd and 4th quarters, after being down 17-3 at one point in the 3rd.  With 9:03 left, the Cheifs held a 20-17 lead, due to two Alex Smith TD’s and a field goal.  They definitely battled back, but it wasn’t enough, and against the 0-10 Raiders, it was a little embarrassing.

With 1:42 left, the Raiders scored the game-winning TD, which was preceded by a 17 play, 7:21 drive.  It was ridiculous and incredible.  Derek Carr looked great, finishing with 174 yards and TD.  The game-winning drive was phenomenal; it’s too bad they were playing the Chiefs though.

Kansas City is still a good team.  They’re making the playoffs (IMO).  I don’t want to here “The Chiefs suck”.  That’s exactly what people who aren’t knowledgeable say.  Yeah, they lost to the Raiders, but they aren’t bad.  They just get slammed by the media and get the title “You gave the Raiders their first win”.

So chill out.  Yeah, it was nasty, and I’m in no way happy about it, but they’ll move on.

San Francisco-17 Washington-13

Oh look, just another we-pulled-this-one-out-of-our-butt win by the 49ers.

This game had nothing to do with how good the 49ers are or not.  They’re decent.  They have talent, and it just won’t come together this year.  However, they’re on a three game win streak, and do have a chance to get into the Playoffs.

As for this game, it remained a little to close.  San Francisco scored first on a 30 yard bomb from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin, putting the 49ers up 7-0.  There was a low amount of excitement in this game.

Alfred Morris tied the game just after the halfway mark of the 2nd quarter; he finished with 125 yards and that TD.  San Francisco has played very good defense over the past couple weeks, though the run defense continues to struggle.  Aldon Smith had two sacks in his return, which gave the 49ers a little boost, but will hopefully give them more stability later this year.

The Redskins kicked a field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 10, and that was ALL that happened there.

The 4th though, gained more steam.  Another Redskins field goal put them on top 13-10 with 7:42 left; it was their last score of the game.

The 49ers answered on the next drive, going 75 yards on eight plays, which took a gaudy 4:43.  Carlos Hyde ran in a TD, which gave the 49ers the win.  The Redskins had a chance with 1:29 left, and they were pinned deep in their own territory, which didn’t help.

It didn’t matter though.  On the fourth play of the drive, RG3 was sacked, and fumbled.  The 49ers recovered and ended the game.

So why do the Redskins suck?  Well, it’s not all RG3.  Yeah, he’s injury-prone, and you cringe every time he gets hit, but he’s getting hit because nobody can protect him.  Washington has no offensive line.  When that happens, your QB gets hit and sacked.  When your QB is RG3, he gets hurt.  Pick your poison.

That is how I feel about the benching.  Paragraph above was written before his benching, and it still has my take on it.

Denver-39 Miami-36

Man, what a great game.

Miami had a lot to prove here.  They really did show us, even with the loss, they’re a good team, and they have proven that to me.

The first quarter put the Dolphins up 7-3, due to a Daniel Thomas TD run and a ridiculously long 7:12 drive by the Broncos, which only resulted in a field goal.

The 2nd quarter had no shortage of excitement.  Miami went up 14-3 on a Ryan Tannehill TD pass; the first of his three on the day.  Denver answered right back, with Peyton Manning leading another long drive and finding Demaryius Thomas in the end zone.  Putting the Broncos on top, Denver found themselves in a tight game the rest of the way.

Ryan Tannehill played absolutely outstanding on Sunday.  With 228 yards and 3 TD’s, he’s adding on to his great season.  He’s also proving himself to the Dolphins.

After two more scoring drives by each team before halftime, Miami led 21-17 at the break.

Do you want to tell me who C.J. Anderson is?

Just kidding, I know who he is.  But he went off on Sunday.  Carrying the ball 27 times, he ran for 167 yards against Miami.  Both teams scored a lot of points, so it wasn’t a horrible defensive day for the Dolphins, but giving up that many yards to a rarely known running backs is a little concerning.

Nothing happened in the third quarter until the Dolphins finally got something going, and ended scoring with 2:11 left in the quarter.  The Tannehill TD pass put Miami up 28-17, leaving Denver’s work cut out for them.

The Broncos didn’t let it get to them though.  They scored three straight TD’s on three possessions, and by the time that was over, the Dolphins were down 39-28 with 3:13 left in the game.  It was a Denver offensive explosion, not a Miami defensive collapse.  Two of the TD’s were Manning passes, and the other was C.J. Anderson’s run.

Basically, Denver proved to us they’re still super good, and Miami told us that they can hang with anyone and will make your life tough.  Sounds like playoff teams.

San Diego-27 St. Louis-24

I’ve said this before.  The Rams will ruin your weekend, or come close to it.  Sunday, they came pretty close to it.

After a 3-3 first quarter, the Rams got something more exciting going in the 2nd.  Philip Rivers threw a pick six, which went 99 YARDS for a TD.  Yes, Rivers threw that pick on the one yard line, when they were just about to score.

The Chargers kicked a field goal to close out the first half, giving the Rams a 10-6 lead.

Shaun Hill started this game for St.Louis, and didn’t do so great, but really, no one has for the Rams this year.  Hill went 18/35, 198 yards, a TD, and two picks.  Hill is not good, but he’s doing just enough to keep fans of their opponent scared.

The Chargers came out of the half blazing, and scored two unanswered TD’s, which put them up 20-10 with 9:29 left in the 3rd.  The second TD, occurred off of a Shaun Hill fumble.

St.Louis though, never backed down.  Tavon Austin ran in a TD with 6:18 left in the third.  They never go away; it’s ridiculous.

Really, the Chargers did control the rest of the game.  Scoring with 8:09 left, they went up by 10 points.  The Chargers playoff fate is still very undecided, since a rise of Miami has booted them out. They’re still in the thick of things, but have to play better football the rest of the year.

Cleveland-26 Atlanta-24

This was just insane.  Absolutely insane.

It was also ridiculous.  These are two possible playoff teams, who suck.  And they showed it on Sunday, both of them.

Oh yea! Julio Jones caught a TD pass! It was the first score of the game, and led 7-0 about halfway through the 1st.  The Browns answered right after, on a TD run by Isaiah Crowell with a minute left before the end of the quarter.

The Browns really showed their inability to produce on offense when they opened the 2nd quarter with two field goals.  Brian Hoyer played awful, going 23/40, 322 yards, and three picks.  It was an awful showing.

The Falcons scored right before the end of the half on a Jacquizz Rodgers TD catch, putting Atlanta up 14-13 at halftime.

One thing worth noting: Josh Gordon returned for this game, and even with his QB’s struggles,  he hauled in 120 yards on eight catches.  He also threw a pass, strangely.

The second half, oh boy.  This game was just ridiculous, filled with turnovers, mistakes, bad coaching (like really bad coaching).

The Browns held all the points in the third quarter, kicking a field goal early, and Isaiah Crowell running in a long TD.  The two scores put them up 23-14 at the end of the quarter, which set up the final one.

The Falcons really couldn’t run the ball on Sunday, but it’s not like we’re shocked they didn’t.  They haven’t been able to all year!  They ran for 63 yards as a team, which isn’t good considering who’s on their roster.

Matt Ryan threw for 273 yards and 2 TD’s against the Browns.  I will say this: He is not the problem with the Falcons.  He is a very good QB, who has no offensive line and no running game to help him.  Trade him or help him, please.

Atlanta though, lit it up in the 4th.  Scoring a TD with 9:31 left, it kept the game close for the Falcons, at 23-21.  Then, with 2:42 left, Matt Ryan led what was supposed to be the game-winning drive, and put the Flacons on top due to a Matt Bryant field goal.

With 44 seconds left, the score being 24-23 Falcons, the Browns got the ball back, led by the miserable Brian Hoyer.  Four pass plays of over 10 yards helped move the Browns down the field, and Billy Cundiff hit a 37 yard field goal as time expired, giving Cleveland the 26-24 win.

Ridiculous.

Baltimore-34 New Orleans-27

Definitely the better one of the Monday Night games, this game was exciting and confusing.  At this point, these two teams both play in weird divisions, and are both trying to make the playoffs.

And both knew and played like they were fighting for a playoff spot.  The Ravens got on the board first on a Steve Smith TD catch, with the Saints answering back with a Jimmy Graham TD catch.  Smith had a big day with 89 yards on four receptions with that TD.

In the second quarter, Justin Forsett ran in a TD six minutes in, putting the Ravens up 14-7.  Forsett has had up&downs this year, but he went off on Monday Night.  Rushing for 182 yards, he only added to his large season total at 903.  He’s really been a very nice replacement for Ray Rice.

New Orleans answered back, however, and took a 17-14 lead at halftime, due to a field goal and a beautiful TD pass to Marques Colston.

Baltimore dominated the 3rd quarter, opening with a field goal to tie the game, and a WILL HILL PICK SIX! WILL HILL!

YES! THE GUY WHO TWEETS ABOUT HIS BOWEL HABITS AT AIRPORTS!

Anyways, that was highlight of the 3rd.  A Will Hill pick six of Drew Brees put the Ravens up 24-17 heading into the 4th quarter.  That is all.

Joe Flacco had a great game, going 18/24, 243 yards and a TD.  Drew Brees on the other hand; his night wasn’t so good.  Brees did throw for 420 yards and 3 TD’s, but threw the costly pick-six, and was caked four times.  Overall, it shows you who had the better night, not only as a player, but as a team.

The Ravens kicked a field goal to give them a 10 point lead early in the 4th.  The Saints answered with one of their own, cutting the deficit to one possession.  With 2:43 left though, Justin Forsett made his major statement of the game, with a 20 yard TD run that put the Ravens up two possessions.  That was the dagger.

The Saints are now 4-7, and will probably end up winning the NFC South.  So this is supposed to be “competitive” football?

The Ravens find themselves fighting for the AFC North with the Bengals, who are anyone’s guess right now.  The North is impossible to figure out.  Some think there’s four playoff teams (in terms of talent and record) and some think there is one.  It just depends on who ask, and that’s what this generation is about, right?

On to Week 13….

Sucks To Be You Column: A Bum Weekend It Was

I wrote on Friday that we shouldn’t have expected anything crazy this weekend.  There was only a couple of good games, and only one of them lived up to the hype.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers were coming off a an impressive win of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and that win gave them the No.25 spot in the Playoff rankings.

The Gophers fell behind early, and things weren’t looking up for Minnesota at halftime.  Both teams had a strong day running the ball, as expected.  The Gophers ran for 281 yards, with 110 of them from QB Mitch Leidner.

Nebraska, with the hot start, also ran for a decent amount.  Ameer Abdullah had 98 yards and a TD, which came early in the game.

The 2nd quarter was a odd one.  Nebraska had scored with 10:57 left, putting them up 14-7.  The next Gopher drive was a great one, only they couldn’t get into the end zone, then had their field goal attempt blocked, and returned 85 yards for a TD.

Minnesota rallied furiously, and came out of halftime hot, and scored just like that, making it a 21-14 game.  Their star running back David Cobb was injured on that play, he being the one to score on a run.  He never returned.

Nebraska then scored a field goal on the next drive, and neither team was giving up.  This game was back&forth the entire way.  It was all Minnesota the rest of the game, though.

Towards the end of the 3rd, Minnesota cut the lead to 24-21, with a 19 yard TD run.  At this point, it was a ballgame.  With one quarter left, one team or the other had to do something.

That team wasn’t Nebraska, even though the Gophers didn’t score the game-winner until there was 3:25 left in the 4th.  In a great Gopher drive, which took up 5:09, Mitch Leidner ran in a TD, which ended up sealing the upset win.

The loss puts Nebraska out of any BIG 10 title hopes, and definitely drops them out of a New Years Six game.  The huge win for the Gophers sets them up for a showdown with Wisconsin, and that will decide who plays Ohio State in the BIG 10 title game.

I’m feeling Ohio State now.  They’ve looked really good, but I don’t think their playoff worthy, yet.

This next upset, I don’t have much to say, BESIDES THAT I CALLED IT FRIDAY!

YEA.  YOU HEARD ME.

Anyways, what a disaster for Ole Miss.  Total disaster.  Not only were they dominated, but they didn’t even score! 30-0 was the final score!  I said Friday that if Arkansas got Bad Bo Wallace, they would be in bad shape.  Not only did the Razorbacks get two interceptions off of him, but forced SIX Rebels turnovers.  SIX.  Three picks and three fumbles!

I mean good lord Ole Miss!  I’m not sure anyone has had a worst past couple weeks then them.  They falling, a lot.  Be prepared.

Arkansas isn’t great, but they’re a spoiler.  They will ruin you’ll weekend.  They’ve pulled big time upsets before, but this didn’t only do them good, but it really trashed Ole Miss.

Playoff Poll

1. Oregon

2. Alabama

3. Mississippi State

4. Florida State

5. Ohio State

6. Baylor

Heisman Poll

1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

2. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

3. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

5. Amari Cooper, Alabama

 

Yep, short column.  Again, there wasn’t a whole lot this weekend.

What To Watch For: College Football Week 13

After an incredible streak of great games every weekend, Week 13 is a bum one.  A very bum one.  Three games between ranked teams are the spotlight.  None of the teams playing though, are top eight.  Most of the games this week are rivalry games, as seen below.

However, there are some very interesting upset possibilities, and hopefully, those can clean the murky waters.

No.19 USC vs. No.9 UCLA

The battle of LA is upon us.

First off, though,there is no way UCLA is the ninth best team in the Nation.  I’d take Kansas State, Michigan State, Auburn etc…. over them.  C’mon, lets try to stay away from a power ranking format.

Anyways, this has very interesting PAC-12 implications to it.  These two teams and the Arizona teams are in a cluster at the top of the South.  UCLA needs this win, and a win next week to against Stanford to play Oregon for the PAC-12 Championship.

The other teams have very tough paths, though USC could possibly sneak in.  The Sun Devils; I don’t want to talk about it.  It’s not looking good.

As for this game, the Bruins have rejuvenated themselves after an odd, but good start to their season.  Brett Hundley has been great, and has the Bruins ranked with the 32nd best offense in the country.  Hundley has a maximum of four games left in his college career.  Go out there and make a statement.  Sling it around!

The Trojans though, have a stingy defense that isn’t great on paper, but does make great plays, and sets up the offense very well.  The USC offense is their spotlight.  The passing game featuring Cody Kessler is phenomenal! He’s thrown only three interceptions this whole year!

The rushing attack doesn’t stand out, mostly due the explosiveness of the passing game.  This match-up will be decided by passing.  Who can throw the most?  Prediction: UCLA-38 USC-32

No.15 Arizona vs. No.17 Utah

I actually know a little more about this Utah team now, after they’ve burned in every prediction I’ve gave them.

(Homerism Possible)

I don’t care how good the Wildcats are doing.  I’m thrilled, yea,  but Anu Solomon scares me.  i really don’t think he is good.  It’s a deception thing.  His accuracy and decision-making is awful, honestly.

But hey! They’re winning!  Solomon has put up huge numbers, and does have a great arm.  His weapons around him are producing, and the offense is taking off.  The passing game is insanely explosive, until Solomon decides to lob a ball or throw it to a defender.

Arizona really doesn’t play defense, but with the type of offense they run, it really doesn’t matter.

Utah, on the other end, is a very balanced team.  They’re offense is good, and so is their defense.  None of which is better than the other.  In a game against a good team, they’l give up points, but have answered back.  Their running game is the driving force of the offense; they average 177 yards a game.  QB Travis Wilson isn’t a playmaker, and looks like a biker-dude, but does get the job done.

Arizona just needs to score.  If they can do that, and make some good defensive stops, they set up well for this game.  Prediction: Arizona-35 Utah-28

No.25 Minnesota vs. No.23 Nebraska

Man, the Cornhuskers really got A) Beat up by Wisconsin B) Punished by the committee.

The real match-up of this game will be between the Cornhusker offense and Gopher defense.  Minnesota’s defense is exceptional against the pass, ranking 27th in the Nation.  The run defense though, isn’t as great, and that’s where the problems occurs.

Last week, I defended Nebraks and Ameer Abdullah.  I claimed Abdullah was better overall than Melvin Gordon, and that made me look really smart after Saturday :(.  Anyways, the committee hammered Nebraksa, sending them way down the charts.

However, this week, they’re out to defend themselves.  Playing a not-so great run defense, Abdullah can run all over the place.  He could go off somewhat similar to Gordon last week.  And that’s what will carry the Cornhuskers to a win.  Prediction: Nebraska-24 Minnesota-7

NFL Week 11 Roundup

I’m not sure what to think anymore.  I really don’t.  There weren’t a whole lot of good games on Sunday, which kinda sucks.

Anyways, the Rams are a team that will ruin your weekend, the Cardinals are unbeatable (oops), and the NFC South and AFC North are a cluster.

Read below.

Games not being written about: Texans vs. Browns, Vikings vs. Bears, 49ers vs. Giants, Buccaneers vs. Redskins, Falcons vs. Panthers, , Chargers vs. Raiders, Dolphins vs. Bills, Packers vs. Eagles, New England vs. Indianapolis

Byes: Dallas, New York Jets, Baltimore, Jacksonville

St. Louis-22 Denver-7

This was a really, really weird game.

Denver didn’t even score until close to halftime, when Peyton Manning threw a bomb to Emmanuel Sanders for a TD with 2:22 left in the 1st half.  The Rams took a early 13-0 lead, led by Shaun Hill, who was returning from injury.  Hill had a good day, throwing for 20/29, 220 yards and a TD.

Even though the Broncos got stomped on, Peyton Manning did still throw for a whole bunch of yards (389).  Two picks though cost the Broncos. Denver just couldn’t run the ball at all.  AT ALL.  28 yards as a team isn’t good.  The Rams do have a good run defense, but c’mon, your the best team in the league, play like it.

All St. Louis did was add another crazy, odd wins to their resume.  They’ve beat San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver.  Their a team that will ruin your weekend.  All their trying to do is screw other teams up.

Arizona-14 Detroit-6

(Homerism Possible)

(Hold on, let me get something out of the way)

9 AND 1.  ARE YOU PUMPED?  I’M PUMPED!  I’M STILL SAD ABOUT ASU, BUT MAYBE ANOTHER ARIZONA FOOTBALL TEAM CAN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.  MAYBE TWO?

(Resume)

Well, homer-me got a little excited today.

I don’t know what it is.  It seems like the Cardinals can beat anyone right now.  Anyone.  They’re on fire, yet they can’t blow anyone out.

Sunday, the Cardinals put up another great performance.  The only thing is, they can’t score.

14 points isn’t going to work in the Playoffs.  Detroit has a great defense, but the offense has be more explosive.  There isn’t a whole lot going on.

An example of this is: The Cardinals only points of the game came in the first quarter.  They didn’t score the rest of the game, and that’s a little concerning.  It’s not like Detroit answered, though.

Matthew Stafford threw for 183 yards and pick.  Not great.  The Cardinals defense literally shut down the Lions, though Joique Bell ran for 85 yards.  The Lions offense was broken.  Nothing went their way, and that’s why they lost.

Drew Stanton didn’t have a great game himself.  He had 306 yards, but threw two picks.  Those pick were ugly.  I don’t want to talk about them.  He did throw 2 TD’s, being the Cardinals only points of this game.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Cardinals got it done.  Their defense looks better than ever.  It’s a little odd were saying that based on preseason odds.

Kansas City-24 Seattle-20

(Homerism Possible)

So much for people blowing off Kansas City.  I knew they were going to do this.  They don’t go away.  Andy Reid has these guys focused (that’s a first).  Alex Smith is doing fine, as usual, but the Chiefs are making things happen.  Odd things.

Like Sunday.  Alex Smith threw for 108 yards, but they didn’t need him anyways.  Jamaal Charles had a day.  Rushing for 159 yards, Charles scored the first TD of the day, and from there, I knew he was going off.

This game was close the entire way.  Back&forth they went.  It’s not like it was exciting though.  I mean, Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals which kept Seattle in the game.  That’s not what you want to see from a possible playoff team.  The Seahawks lack explosiveness this year; completely different from last year’s Super Bowl run.  It’s why the Percy Harvin trade still makes no sense to me.

Marshawn Lynch, even with the middle finger to the media and the rumors about him and the team breaking up, continues to produce and get me fantasy points (9-2 this year!).  Another chunk day for Lynch gave him 124 yards on 20 carries.  If the breakup rumors are true, he’ll be a hot commodity, even though someone will overpay for him.

One more point about this game: Even though Russell Wilson didn’t have a spectacular day (20/32, 178 yards, 2 TD’s), and hasn’t had a great season, nor his team, he is still incredible.  He is a speciality in this league.  There aren’t many people like him.  In five years, he may be a top five QB in this league.  I don’t care about his contract situation or whatever.  The kid is special.  And that says a lot coming from me.

Cincinnati-27 New Orleans-10

I’m not sure what to think here.  The AFC North is absolutely impossible to figure out.  All I know is, Cincinnati embarrassed the Saints in New Orleans.  Embarrassed them.

Jeremy Hill ran for 152 yards in the dominating win.  It’s what powered the Bengals.  The Saints couldn’t stop it. They couldn’t stop Andy Dalton either.  He threw for 220 yards and 3 TD’s.

This game had no excitement at all.  The Bengals were up 13-3 at halftime, and up 20-3 in the third.  I don’t have to many more words on this.  It’s just so bland.

I will say that, the NFC South is very similar to the AFC North, not record wise, however.

We can’t figure out any of these divisions.  We have no clue who is winning each one.  Their both crapshoots.  As for the Saints, they look awful.  I’m worried, that if they play like this, they won’t win their division, and that, would be pathetic.

Pittsburgh-27 Tennessee-24

Who expected this to be a good game?

It was the battle of the Bergers.

Zach Mettenberger, Titans QB, had a decent game for his first primetime matchup.  Throwing for 263 yards and 2 TD’s, he kept the Titans in the game.  Tennessee let him throw it around, because Bishop Sankey only had 38 yards rushing, though he did score a TD.

With 3:42 left in the third, the Titans lead 24-13.  They didn’t score again.

The Steelers exploded for 14 points int he fourth.  LeVeon Bell had 204 yards rushing and a TD at the beginning of the 4th.  I said on Twitter before the game that Bell was going to explode tonight, as his first couple runs were already bulldozers.

Then, just three minutes later, another Pittsburgh TD put the Steelers up by three, and that score held until the end of the game.

The other Berger, Ben Rothlisberger, had 207 yards and a TD in the win.  His favorite target Antonio Brown, had 91 yards and a TD catch.  Pittsburgh didn’t make a statement like they should have, but they added another win, and in a tough division, that’s what they need.

On to Week 12….

Sucks To Be You Column: Some Clarity, But Not Much

Well, we know coming into every Saturday that some kind of crazy upset will occur.  Seven occurred this past weekend, but at this point, it’s about who loses, and whether their playoffs hopes are dashed or not (slowly shedding a tear over ASU).

No.1 Mississippi State, No.6 Arizona State, No.9 Auburn, No.16 Nebraska, No.17 LSU, No.18 Notre Dame, and No.21 Duke all lost Saturday in upset format, including No.24 Texas A&M, but that wasn’t an upset in my opinion.

Now that were at this point in the season, I’m writing about the upsets that matter.  Like the NFL, we know who’s in it.  We know what matters.

So instead of writing about all seven, I’m taking:

Mississippi State, Arizona State, Auburn, Nebraska

Three of those teams still had some shot at the Playoffs heading into Saturday, and one of them still does, even with their loss.

What a weird game between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide.  At the end of the 1st quarter, it was 5-0 Alabama, a baseball score, as Verne Lundqvist put it.

My previous Heisman front-runner Dak Prescott had a horrible 1st quarter, and overall a horrible game.  He didn’t turn the ball over until the second quarter, but could barely complete a pass in the first half.

Both teams ran the ball decently, with Prescott being the Bulldogs leading rusher.  82 yards was his total.

This was a surprisingly boring game, with Alabama leading 19-3 at halftime.  Blake Sims didn’t have a great stat line, finishing with 211 yards and a TD, but the guy can make plays happen at the right time.  He did just enough to get the job done.

The Bulldogs though, didn’t let Alabama extend their lead much.  Dak Prescott threw his first TD pass early in the 4th, which made it a ball game all of the sudden.  The Tide were now up only 19-13.  They needed some kind of a spark.

Blake Sims led a 15 play, 76 yard drive that took 6:07 minutes that resulted in a T.J. Yeldon TD run with 8:09 left.  It was huge.  It put the Tide up by 12, as the two point conversion failed, but definitely put the Bulldogs in a hole.  It was a hole they couldn’t get out of.

No.5 Alabama pulled off an upset against the best team in the Nation.  It wasn’t a shocker, giving Alabama was favored by 10, but I did pick the Bulldogs to win.  Dak Prescott let me down.  He finished with 290 yards, 2 TD’s, and three really costly interceptions.  The turnovers killed Mississippi State.

As for Alabama, it’s quite possible they take over the Bulldogs spot.  That though, is up to the committee, and me at the end of this column.  Mississippi State shouldn’t and won’t (in my poll) fall out of the Playoffs.  This is an okay loss.  Their still a great team; they have to play like it the rest of the season though.

The second big upset of the day was actually one of the last games on.

I’m crying as I write this.  (Homerism Possible)

The dream is over.  It’s such a bummer.  I don’t know what it is with ASU.  They always have such a big opportunity for something great, and they just can’t get it done.  We saw it last year with them, but this year is different.  It’s the fact that at this point in the season, all the games are must win.  Last year, I didn’t expect us to be in the BCS Championship.  We were playing for a trip to the Rose Bowl.  With the new playoff system this year, it actually helped our chances.  Win out, and you have a good shot.

The one game though, that you’d expect Arizona State to win, is against Oregon State.  Now, the Beavers have some talent.  But overall, they aren’t great.

 

The Beavers struck first on a 78 yard TD run by Storm Woods, which didn’t set a good tone for the Sun Devils.  The first quarter was pretty exciting, but at the end of it, it wasn’t going the Devils’s way.  Another ridiculously long run by the Beavers put them up 14-3 with five minutes left, but ASU answered with just over a minute before the 2nd quarter.

ASU dominated the 2nd.  Scoring twice, the Sun Devils had a 24-14 lead at half-time.  A Taylor Kelly TD pass started it, and a Beaver fumble recovered by Antonio Longino went back to extend the lead.  I was feeling pretty confident by then.

Then the 2nd half came, and, well….

Arizona State scored a field goal the entire second half.  The offense did absolutely nothing.  The Beavers had cut the lead to three by the 4th.  Mannion threw a bomb with 10:55 left, giving Oregon State a 28-27 lead.  Sean Mannion had a great game for the Beavers, with 251 yards and 2 TD’s.

By then, I knew we weren’t winning.

The Devils did have a great opportunity with 2:59 left, but that drive ended when Taylor Kelly threw a pick-six on the fifth play of the series.  I was so mad.  That was our last hope.  It ended the Playoff dream.

As for how far the Sun Devils will slide, it will probably be out of the top ten, but then again, it may be No.9.  I’m expecting the worst, but it’s not like it matters anymore.

The Auburn Tigers were a team that I defended last week.  I had them at No.6 last week after their upset loss to Texas A&M.  But Saturday, they hit a new low.

This was supposed to be about scoring, that’s it. It didn’t work out that way.  One team scored, the other didn’t.  Auburn’s offense just didn’t play.  Like literally, they didn’t play.  Nick Marshall had 112 yards passing and a pick.  Cameron Artis-Payne had a good statistical game, but he didn’t help his team out.  It was a disaster.

Georgia, on the other hand, dominated on offense.  In Todd Gurley’s return, the running game was outstanding.  Gurley had 138 yards and a TD, while Nick Chubb had 144 yards and 2 TD’s.  Gurley left the game late in the 4th with a knee injury

I had 250 words about how great the combination of Gurley and Chubb was, but-

That knee injury turned out to be a torn ACL.  In a absolutely tragic way, Gurley’s season ended.  After the suspension, and now this injury, it just wasn’t his year.  Yea, he made a mistake with the autograph investigation, but that’s a dumb rule anyways.  He was suspended four games, came back, rushed for 138 yards and had a great game, then blows out his knee with five minutes left and ends his college career.  Can you imagine what that would be like?  I feel so bad for him.

I will say this:  Someone come late April is going to have a steal in the 2nd round of the draft with Todd Gurley, and that’s if he falls that far.

Meanwhile,

The loss easily put Auburn out of playoff consideration, and who knows how far they will fall.  Being No.3 a week ago is stunning when you see how bad this team has been playing.  It’s possible their in the 20’s.

Georgia is going to move up, a lot.  I bet you they’re a top ten team tomorrow night.

The last big upset of the day went down early Saturday, and really, it wasn’t much of an upset.  I’m writing it about because a record was broken.  A pretty big record.

I kinda ripped on Melvin Gordon Friday.  I claimed that Ameer Abdullah was better than him, and he was more of a stats guy.  Well, that made a whole lot of sense.

Gordon ran for 408 yards Saturday.  408.  He broke Ladainian Tomlinson’s record by two yards, set in 1999 at TCU.  Gordon ran all over the place.  It was completely ridiculous.

Oh yeah, did I mention he did it THREE QUARTERS?

THREE QUARTERS.  25 CARRIES, 408 YARDS, 4 TD’S, THREE QUARTERS.

That’s all you need to know about this game.

I usually don’t throw news into my columns, but University of Florida fired head coach Will Muschamp  yesterday.

It was time for Muschamp to go.  I said right before the Georgia game earlier this year he was living on a week-to-week basis.  This was the final stand.  The way they lost to South Carolina Saturday was so bad, yet so hilarious.

Muschamp will coach the final two games of the season, and his tenure will end as soon as the team’s last game takes place.  Rumors have floated about possible options to replace Muschamp, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.  Most of the candidates whose names are being floated have a good shot at the Playoff this year.

As Aaron Rodgers said: RELAX.

Playoff Poll (My opinion)

1. Oregon

2. Florida State

3. Alabama

4. Mississippi State

5. Baylor

6. TCU

Heisman Poll

1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama

4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

5. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

What To Watch For: College Football Week 12

Writing an intro for this column every week is a struggle.  

Well, this past week’s College Football Playoff Rankings were a little shocking.  Not necessarily in the Top Four though.  The shockers came between numbers 7-15, where some teams got tons of love, and some got none at all.

This weekend, we have five ranked vs. ranked match-ups, one of them being top five.  It’s very possible that, this weekend, we’ll see who’s got a shot, and who doesn’t.  Some of these games-loser leaves town.

No.19 Clemson vs. No.22 Georgia Tech

The Tigers have had a rough season, even though they remain at 7-2, and are fighting for a ACC Championship Game spot.  They got out on a hot hand, with QB Deshaun Watson having an incredible four weeks.  Clemson was a team that many people wrote off, giving how much talent they had lost to the NFL over the past two years.  Watson broke his hand against Louisville earlier this year, and had missed the past three games.

Watson comes back tomorrow.

Clemson now has a tough test versus the Yellow Jackets tomorrow.  Georgia Tech’s rushing attack is third in the country, averaging 335 yards a game.  The Tigers though, have the country’s fourth best rushing defense, which should give them an advantage.  This is the biggest key to the game.  The question is, who executes?  Prediction: Clemson-24 Georgia Tech-14

No.8 Ohio State vs. No.25 Minnesota

This is the Gophers biggest game in awhile.  Their home, playing the Nation’s No.8 team (not by my standards) and are ranked.  If they can pull it off, it would be incredible.

Though, Ohio State has been on fire lately.  They haven’t loss since the devastating Virginia Tech upset, and replaced Michigan State’s spot in the Rankings after upsetting them last week.  J.T. Barrett has been playing incredible football, throwing for 26 TD’s this year, and rushing for eight.

Minnesota’s biggest test will be stopping the Buckeye passing attack.  The Gophers passing defense is 25th, but will have to play better than that.  I would like to say Minnesota doesn’t have a chance, but barring a huge defensive performance, it’s possible.  Prediction: Ohio State-45 Minnesota-17

No.1 Mississippi State vs. No.5 Alabama

The biggest game of the day, and possibly one of the biggest this year is upon us.  Two SEC teams, fighting for a Playoff berth and a Championship Game spot, will battle it out in Tuscaloosa.  It’s going to be an incredible game.

Alabama played a tough game last weekend in Baton Rouge, but they got it done, barely.  Alabama, after that scare, has to play the Nation’s best team.  The Bulldogs have dominated everyone this year, and have really had only one scare.  Dak Prescott is my Heisman pick currently, having an outstanding year.  He is a hassle to deal with.  A big guy, who has a cannon and can escape pressure, evades defenders so well.  He’s impossible to bring down.

Alabama’s defense though, is one that has the ability to shut Presscott down.  With the Nation’s third best run defense, they don’t get sacks, but can defend Presscott’s running abilty.  The Bulldogs offensive attack, minus their star QB, is still incredible.  The Tide will have to cover their tall receivers, and stuff the running gaps.  The game’s biggest match-up will be the Bulldog offense vs. the Tide defense.

Alabama’s offense isn’t great.  It’s totally overrated.  Blake Sims is a game manager, and personally, in big games, you can’t have that.  It’s just not going to work.  Though, Mississippi’s State defense isn’t great on paper, but their good enough to stop Blake Sims, but stopping Amari Cooper&Company is a different story.

This game all about match-ups.  If one thing goes right and the other goes wrong, you may just win.  Or you may just lose.  Prediction: Mississippi State-33 Alabama-27

No.16 Nebraska vs. No.20 Wisconsin

If you like running backs and high rushing totals, this game is for you.  The Nation’s two best running backs are on display in this one.  Really, I don’t know what else to talk about with this game.

Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah have both had incredible seasons, and both are on my Heisman Poll.  Statically, Wisconsin is ranked higher in rushing, being 5th, while the Cornhuskers are 10th.  Those though, don’t matter in this one.  It’s simply about who’s going to rush more than the other.

So who’s the better running back? Well, Gordon has had the better year statistically, with 1,501 yards and 19 TD’s.  Abdullah, with 1,250 yards and 17 TD’s, is more explosive, and is more of a breakaway guy.  He’s going have a rush of 25+ yards a game, and that’s where the difference is.  Abdullah is more of a receiver, too.  Abdullah has the skills, Gordon has the stats.  Prediction: Nebraska-35 Wisconsin-27

No.9 Auburn vs. No.15 Georgia

With Todd Gurley coming back, this game becomes a lot more interesting.  Nick Chubb did a great job holding down the fort for Gurley, and Georgia did well without him.  Gurley returns just in time for this game, and it’s massive.

After losing in upset fashion to Texas A&M last week, Auburn plummeted from No.3 to No.9 in the Rankings.  I believe they fell to much, and received no love from the committee.  This is redemption; win this game and your right back in the conversation, even though they have two losses.

What this game will come down to is who going to score more.  Auburn’s offense is a display; it’s incredible to watch and is unguardable.  They come from everywhere and can score in an instant.  ANYONE can score for the Tigers, which adds a difficult element for the Bulldogs to defend.  Georgia’s pass defense is 15th in the Nation, which helps when your playing against Nick Marshall.  Again, if you score more than the other team, you win.  This game has nothing to do with defense.  Throw it out the window.  Prediction: Auburn-52 Georgia-48

Upset Alert

No.17 LSU vs. Arkansas

The last time I had Arkansas upsetting someone, well, let’s not talk about that.

LSU is coming off of a crazy, insane game against Alabama, where they almost pulled off an upset.  Basically, this game will come down to who runs the ball better.   Looking at the stats and the backfield itself, both teams will put up heavy rushing numbers.  Arkansas is ranked higher in total rushing yards per game, but the Tigers with Leonard Fournette provide more explosiveness.  Fournette been disappointing so far, giving how much hype there was.  This isn’t the biggest game of his career, but it may be one he wants to forget.  WOO PIG SOOIE!!!!!

Missouri vs.No.24 Texas A&M

Uh oh.  Here we go again.  One team pulls a massive upset, then the committee falls in love and ranks them.  C’mon, this isn’t power rankings.

Anyways, Missouri’s getting this done.  They haven’t lived up to my expectations, though.  Their a super average team, but can run the ball significantly better than A&M.  I’m not saying that’s going to decide this game though.

Four seconds left.  Ball on the 45 yard line (closest to the end zone).  Tie game.  Who wins?

Did The MLB’s Awards Go To The Right People?

Now that things have settled down since the World Series, the MLB Awards are handed out just a couple weeks after.  We are now in the free agent frenzy, where many prominent guys are available, and will most likely get over-paid.

Anyways, the awards come out right as the frenzy begins, and really, the timing is very convenient.  The awards I am covering are the ones that were released earlier this week and just a few minutes ago.

I cover both AL and NL.

  • Rookie of the Year
  • Manager of the Year
  • Cy Young Award
  • MVP

The Gold Glove and Silver Sluggers were released last week, and those usually go out to the right people.  This year, regarding the four topics above, some of them I don’t agree with.

However, all of the winners are all well deserving of their awards.  Though I may not agree with some, the winners did prove they are the best at what they do.

Rookies of the Year

NL: Jacob deGrom

deGrom was drafted by the Mets in 2010, and had worked his way up through the Minor Leagues until early May, when the Mets called him up.  He was pitching for the Las Vegas 51’s of AAA, and had started 4-0 with them, with an ERA of 2.58.

The Mets were going to have him serve as a reliever, but bumped him to the starting rotation due to Dillion Gee’s injury.  Let’s just say that the promotion paid off.

deGrom had a great first start.  It really couldn’t have gone better, for him at least.  Yankees rookie Chase Whitley was making first career start on the other side, also.

deGrom pitched seven innings, gave up only four hits, and allowed one run in the 1-0 Mets loss. Even with the negative outcome, he pitched phenomenal.  Unfortunately, it took him and his team awhile to get going.  Out of deGrom’s seven first starts, four were losses, and three were no desciions.  It left the rookie at 0-4 on the season, but he didn’t care.  deGrom only got better, and by the end of July, he had worked his W-L to 5-5.

He lost one more game the rest of the year, and easily deserved this award.  deGrom has a bright future.  He’s on a team that has some interesting pieces, but is probably a couple years away, and really, he could be a couple years from being a complete pitcher.

AL: Jose Abreu

No. Brainer.

This guy, oh boy, this guy, he didn’t even play like a rookie this past year.

Gives me chills talking and writing about him.

And really, he wasn’t.  He’s 27; not really a kid.  Abreu had played since 2003 professionally in Cuba, and had already caught the eye of many peole down there.  He was named MVP of his Cuban league in 2010, know for his amazing home run hitting, which he totally displayed this year.  Abreu had played on Cuba’s National team for the 2013 World Basbeall Classic, and hit three home runs during that event.

Last October, he left Cuba, knowing that many MLB teams had eyes on him.  Abreu signed a monster six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox, and would play first base for them.

Even from the start, Abreu looked like all he was going to do was hit the baseball.  In his 8th career game, he hit two HR’s in a 15-3 win over Colorado.  On the 25th of April, in another two home run game of his, he hit a walk-off grand slam, giving the White Sox a 9-6 win over Tampa Bay.

Really, their isn’t much to say.  He finished the year with 36 HR’s and 107 RBI’s, batting .317.  He lead the AL in slugging with .581.

Oh yea, did I mention his defense?  He fielded 99.4% of ball coming to him, and turned 105 double plays.  His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was 5.5 this year, which isn’t insane, but is substansional.

Look, he’s got a chance to become a star.  Some people saw this coming.  36 HR’s isn’t a bad way to start a career, so, just let it continue!

Manager of the Year

NL: Matt Williams

This was totally the right call.  The voters really did get it right here.  Though the Nationals had a disappointing NLDS loss to the Giants, they held the NL’s best record this year, and really got people jumping about next year.

I’m totally biased.  Williams played for the Diamondbacks, my favorite baseball team, during their championship run in 2001.  Obvisouly winning, it was his final team before being hired by them seven years later to coach third base, which is what he played.

Williams received some heat early in the year.  Bryce Harper didn’t “hustle” on a ground ball, and turned off the base path when he knew he wouldn’t make it.HarperNoHustle041914

 

Williams benched him for the remainder of the game.  Harper was nursing a quad injury, and really had no chance, so it did deserve criticism.

Though, Matt Williams was establishing himself as a no excuses or tolerance manager.  He wanted his players to give it their all, which really, is what all managers should do.

Besides that incident, Williams knows how to coach a team.  He’s a champion and a accomplished veteran.  He knows what he’s doing, and if you look at the odds, people agree.

AL: Buck Showalter

We see this in basketball.  Their is one coach in the league who should be awarded Coach of the Year every year.  His name is Gregg Popovich.  Just give it to him every year, no else is better than him.

In baseball, Buck Showalter is always up there.  Really, we should just just give it to him every year, and give someone else 2nd and count that.

However, this year, I didn’t believe he deserved it.  The Orioles had a great year, but (going into College Football Playoff Committee mode) look at their division!  Who’s good in that division? There’s an automatic 30 wins to add because your better than everyone else.

Now, I’m not saying Ned Yost deserved it, either.

I tweeted that.

I was talking about Showalter winning in the first sentence.  

I’m not going to go on about who I thought should have won it.  For now, let’s talk about why Showalter did deserve it.

(Wait, didn’t I already talk about this?)

The O’s won 96 games this year, and held a 12 game lead over the 2nd place Blue Jays at the end of the season.  They dominated before losing in the ALCS to the storybook Royals.

It’s funny because, I hated them going into the Playoffs.  I thought their injuries would overcome the team, and that the Tigers would knock them out early.  But Buck kept them rolling.  He steered that ship.  They caught the wrong team at the wrong time.

Cy Young Award

NL: Clayton Kershaw

I think it was pretty obvious who was going to get this one.  Clayton Kershaw isn’t only the NL’s best pitcher, but he’s the MLB’s best pitcher.  Kershaw has an incredible range of pitches and velocities, while putting up ridiculous numbers.

This past season, Kershaw went 21-3, and had a 1.77 ERA.  21 wins and his ERA was the best in the NL this year.  Other statistics he led in were FIP and WHIP.  He had six complete games, which ALSO was first.  He dominated everyone this year.  Three losses is ridiculous.  He is ridiculous.

Though, he has never pitched well in the Playoffs.  This past year, the Dodgers relied on him heavily, and Kershaw didn’t live up to it.  He lost two games, going 0-2, and had a miserable ERA of 7.82.  He got some heat for it, and really, he should have.  The league’s premier pitcher had a awful time when it mattered most.  You deserve that criticism and heat, no matter how good you really are.

Even with Kershaw’s struggles, the regular season stats don’t lie.  His WAR wound up at 7.5, which is a ton for a pitcher who plays in 30 games a year.  He’s in his prime.  That’s no doubt.  Kershaw’s got a lot of baseball left, and is still chasing that oh-so glorious ring.  He’ll get it, eventually.  Trust me on that.

AL: Corey Kluber

I found this shocking, but in the end, I realized it was the right choice.  For any average baseball fan, (for example the kids who find it boring, yet think they know a whole lot come October) Kluber may have been an afterthought, or maybe haven’t even been heard of.

Kluber though, had a incredible season.  After going 11-5 in 2013, Kluber broke out over the summer, winning a AL high 18 games.  He didn’t lead every category like Kershaw, but it was how Kluber won his games.  After June, he only lost three games, and in all of his wins, he pitched over six innings, most of them going into the 8th and 9th.

He doesn’t blow games.  Kluber is someone who you can rely on for at least seven innings.  That’s what gets you a Cy Young.  He earned it.

Statistically, Kluber had a ERA of 2.44.  He only led the AL in wins, starts, and FIP, but it’s not that his stats were bad.  C’mon, don’t complain about it, there still amazing.

As I said at the top, I was surprised when Kluber’s name was announced, but it’s nice for a  change, and if you break it down, his numbers were better than Felix Hernandez’s.  Feilx is still the king, but the next big-time pitcher in the AL may be upon us.

MVP

AL: Mike Trout

It’s kind of hard to believe this is Mike Trout’s first MVP, but it’s also kind of hard to believe that this past season was only Trout’s 4th.  He is so good, it’s hard to put in words.

The vote was unanimous.  30 out of 30 voters picked him, making Trout the youngest to ever win unanimously.  This past year, he had 111 RBI’s, which led the AL.  Trout also led his league in runs (115) and total bases (338).

And to mention his outstanding defense, he caught 99.4% of balls hit at him.  Those catches though, didn’t come easy.  We’ve seen Trout make ridiculous catches in the past, and this year, it just continued.

Shaking my head.
Shaking my head, just like Kendrick Morales.

The dude earned it.  Seeing Michael Bradley win would have been cool, but Trout just had the better numbers and the credibility.

Trout is only going to get better.  He may not be in his prime yet.  Think about that.  A little scary, eh?   This may just be the start, and he’s already the best player in the AL.  I wonder what he will be in five years?  20?

NL: Clayton Kershaw

I obviously already wrote about Kershaw, because he won the NL Cy Young Award.  I’m not going copy and paste what I already said, but I believe it’s little unfair to Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen.  The Cy Young is a pitcher’s award.  The MVP is open to everyone.  Let’s switch it.  Again, any position player who’s up against Clayton Kershaw is going to lose.  Kershaw plays 30 games a year!  Just saying.