Monday, December 31, 2012

NFL Wild-Card Preview

Cincinnati (10-6) at Houston (12-4)


When: 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday

This game will include a matchup of the two best interior defensive linemen in football: J.J. Watt and Geno Atkins. Houston drummed the visiting Bengals, 31-10, in an opening-round playoff game last season. With the Texans forced to start a rookie quarterback in T.J. Yates, running back Arian Foster carried the offense with 24 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Defensive end J.J. Watt also scored on a 29-yard interception return in the first postseason game in Texans history. In the span of a month, Houston slipped from having the AFC’s best record to squandering a first-round bye by dropping three of its final four games. Particularly alarming are the struggles of quarterback Matt Schaub, who has one touchdown pass and three interceptions in the past four games. For the first time since 1981 and 1982, the Bengals have reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The next goal will be winning in the postseason for the first time since 1990.

Minnesota (10-6) at Green Bay (11-5)

When: 8 p.m. ET Saturday

It's a quarterbacks league, and the Vikings don't exactly have a dominant defense. There aren't many bigger upsets possible than a Christian Ponder-led team beating an Aaron Rodgers-led team in back-to-back weeks. The Vikings have won four consecutive games since their Dec. 2 loss to the Packers but must snap a three-game losing streak at Lambeau Field to advance. The Weather Channel forecast calls for temperature at kickoff at around 20 degrees but with no snow. The Packers can’t ask much more from Rodgers, who threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns without an interception Sunday. Rodgers, though, did lose a fumble that led to a Vikings touchdown and was sacked five times as rookie right tackle Don Barclay struggled in pass protection.

Indianapolis (11-5) at Baltimore (10-6)


When: 1 p.m. Sunday

The Ravens have won at least one playoff game in every year of the John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era. But this is the worst defense they've had by far, and the offense was poor enough to get the coordinator fired in December. Baltimore hardly is a heavy favorite. Harbaugh has led the Ravens to an NFL-best five consecutive playoff appearances and is yet to lose an opening game since taking the reins in 2008. With negative differentials in turnovers (12) and points (30), the Colts are the NFL’s most improbable playoff team. Indianapolis, though, is among the league’s best when it comes to winning close games. Nine of 11 victories have come by seven points or less.

 

Seattle (11-5) at Washington (10-6)

When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday.



The Redskins beat Seattle, 23-17, in Week 12 last season but both teams have changed radically since then with the addition of Wilson and Griffin at quarterback. The Seahawks struggled on the road for much of the season, but their victory in Chicago was the biggest win of their season. Seattle followed that up with a blowout win over Buffalo in Toronto. The Seahawks aren't the same team away from home, but they are good enough to be the favorites next week in Washington. The Redskins simply can't match the Seahawks' defensive talents. Three rookie quarterbacks will start in Sunday's wild-card game. Two will face off in this matchup. It's the battle of the read option. It's the most intriguing game of the weekend, and it comes last.


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Discover BCS National Championship Game-Notre Dame vs. Alabama

Discover BCS National Championship Game (Miami, Fla. – Monday, January 7, 2013)
Notre Dame vs. Alabama – 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Two of the most storied programs in college football history will square off for the national championship when undefeated and top-ranked Notre Dame collides with No. 2 and reigning champion Alabama on Jan. 7 at Miami's Sun Life Stadium. Despite its unrivaled tradition, Notre Dame has not won a national title since 1988 and has not been atop the rankings since 1993. Alabama, meanwhile, will be chasing its third national championship in the past four years under Nick Saban, who has restored the luster to one of the few programs that can stand up to Notre Dame's legacy. The teams have met six times, with the Fighting Irish winning five.

The 2012 National Champion Crimson Tide are back in the BCS title game. An upset loss against Texas A&M almost prevented Alabama from making the game but their tough SEC schedule and dominant defense helped them earn their spot. The Alabama defense held four opponents scoreless while only allowing two teams over 14 points. The one lapse of the year was against Texas A&M where they allowed over 400 yards of offense and 29 points. The Crimson Tide will be happy to match muscle vs. muscle with Notre Dame's defense behind a powerhouse offensive line that averages 315 pounds per man. Alabama has a pair of 1,000-yard backs in junior Eddie Lacy and freshman T.J. Yeldon, who combined for 27 touchdowns and piled up 334 yards in the SEC title game win over Georgia. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 26 touchdowns against only three interceptions and showed he was much more than a caretaker of the offense by leading late drives to beat LSU and Georgia. His top weapon is Amari Cooper, who has 53 receptions and nine touchdowns. Notre Dame's defense has been getting all the publicity, but the Crimson Tide have their own elite linebacker in C.J. Mosley and held 10 opponents to less than 14 points while recording four shutouts.Alabama's recent experience on the biggest stage cannot be overlook. Never was that more apparent than in last season's BCS championship game, when the Crimson Tide avenged their only regular season loss with a dominating defensive effort in a 21-0 victory over LSU. And while Notre Dame always plays a schedule dotted with top programs, Alabama is part of college football's best conference in the SEC, which, by the way, has won all six BCS title games since its inception in 2006.

Although they did not enter the season as a contender for a national championship, Notre Dame earned a spot in the game through their tough play and going undefeated despite a very tough schedule. Their undefeated season included wins against Michigan, Michigan State, University of Miami, Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC. They now will face their toughest opponent by far in Alabama. The Fighting Irish have been utilizing the no-respect card as a motivator throughout the season, and the oddsmakers provided them with more fuel by installing the one-loss Crimson Tide as a 10-point favorite. Notre Dame played perhaps its best game in a 30-13 rout at Oklahoma on Oct. 27 - another contest in which it was a huge underdog and the consensus was that the Irish could not compete. Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, is the heart and soul of a defense that permitted only nine touchdowns overall and two on the ground. He has seven interceptions and played behind a stellar defensive front featuring ends Stephon Tuitt (12 sacks) and Kapron Lewis-Moore sandwiching the massive Louis Nix III. Notre Dame's running back corps of Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III combined for 2,000 yards and will test a defense that allowed a national-low 246 yards. Still, Notre Dame's offense revolves around dual-threat quarterback Everett Golson. He threw for 11 touchdowns against five interceptions and had four of of his five-highest passing totals in November. Golson also rushed for 305 yards and five scores and his ability to keep the chains moving against Alabama's defense will be vital.


Notre Dame will come out and play for 3 quarters, maybe even lead for awhile. I live in and write about SEC country, so maybe I am somewhat biased, but I can't see the Irish winning this game. The close wins and a less than impressive schedule have me a little worried for Notre Dame, the fans will point to wins against Michigan, Michigan State, University of Miami, Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC. I do think OU and Stanford were great wins, but the rest were not that impressive as the season unfolded. I think that Notre Dame could pull this off, but their margin of error is almost zero. I'm gonna say 21-17 Alabama wins.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Allstate Sugar Bowl-Florida vs. Louisville

Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, La. – Wednesday, January 2, 2013)
Florida vs. Louisville – 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)


The Gators were one of the nation’s biggest surprises this season.

They followed up a 7-6 mark in coach Will Muschamp’s debut season with an 11-1 record in 2012, highlighted by victories over Texas A&M, South Carolina, LSU and Florida State. And if USC had upset Notre Dame, Florida could possibly be playing for the national title.Florida’s turnaround was led by a smothering defense, which isn’t surprising considering Muschamp’s background. The Gators rank in the top six nationally in total defense, rush defense and scoring defense and have allowed opponents to throw just five touchdown passes. Safeties Matt Elam and Josh Evans, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and linebacker Jon Bostic have had career years. The Gators have one of the most productive rushing attacks in the country, led by Mike Gillislee. The senior running back has 1,104 yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Louisville linebackers will have to stop the screen passes from QB Jeff Driskel to Gillislee, as Gillislee has the speed to break short passes for a huge gains. Florida prides its self as a defensive team, and one of the major factors its secondary will face will be the difficult task of containing Bridgewater. Junior Matt Elam is a quick, hard-hitting safety that will try to stop Louisville's big plays. Elam was named to the Walter Camp Second-Team All-American Defense after he recorded 65 tackles, four interceptions and one sack this season. Florida will be without outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who went through surgery on his right foot after breaking a bone during the last game against Florida State.


There is one player on the Cardinals that would put fear in any team—Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater has thrown for 3,452 yards with 25 touchdown passes. He is ranked sixth in the country in passing percentage at 69 percent. The 6'3" sophomore quarterback has had several Heisman-like performances this season. Whether playing hurt or under pressure, there isn't a quarterback in the country that has the poise like Bridgewater. Although he will have a broken wrist on his non-throwing arm, the Gators will do everything they can to contain the young quarterback. Louisville went into its regular-season finale at Rutgers without many people giving the Cards much of a shot to win. Rutgers jumped out to a 14-3 lead. But Bridgewater refused to be denied. Playing through his injuries, he led Louisville to a 20-17 comeback win to clinch the BCS spot. Bridgewater ended up throwing for 3,452 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season and was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the entire nation. He may have been an unknown outside the Big East before the season began; that is no longer the case. Bridgewater allowed his team to survive the loss of leading rusher Senorise Perry, who tore his ACL against Syracuse and is out for the season. He allowed his team to win games it struggled in for a large chunk of time. And he allowed his team to survive some pretty shaky play on defense. It’s safe to say that many expected Louisville to be better than it was defensively this season, particularly up front. But for a majority of the season, the Cardinals had a hard time consistently stopping the run or consistently getting a pass rush going.

I have a hard time thinking the Cardinals can pull this off, the Gators have survived the SEC and exceeded expectations this year. It could be a long night for Charlie Strong and his Cardinals.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

AT&T Cotton Bowl-Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

AT&T Cotton Bowl (Dallas, Texas – Friday, January 4, 2013)
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma – 8 p.m. ET (FOX)



In a sparkling, 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl that will pit a couple of familiar foes in, what are now, very different places, the Sooners and Aggies undoubtedly will provide a wonderful spectacle at Jerry World this January.
Texas A&M, led by its shining freshman quarterback, produced a 10-2 mark in its first season in the SEC.
Oklahoma narrowly missed out on its eighth Big 12 title, but with quarterback Landry Jones playing in his final game as a Sooner, the Crimson and Cream will have plenty to show in Arlington.
It smells of a Big 12 showdown, but this SEC-Big 12 clash already is gathering some steam.

In their first season in the SEC, head coach Kevin Sumlin has the #9 ranked Aggies in the Cotton Bowl, ending the season with a 10-1 record in their final 11 games. What the Aggies contain is the best player in college football, with quarterback Johnny Manziel. The freshman has 3,419 yards, a 68.3% completion percentage, 24 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and on the ground, has 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns. He won the Heisman this season, becoming the first freshman to ever do so. Manziel’s two primary receivers are freshman Mike Evans and senior Ryan Swope. Evans caught 75 passes for 1,022 yards and five touchdowns, while the steady senior Swope caught 64 passes for 809 yards and seven touchdowns.The biggest strength on offense that gets overlooked is the offensive line. Led by tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, these guys are road graders and have made Manziel much more potent, especially run blocking. The Aggies have only yielded 23 total sacks on the season.

As the #11 ranked team in the nation, led by head coach Bob Stoops, the Sooners were co-champions of the Big XII. Oklahoma put up more than 6,000 yards of total offense this season, and a large part in that was quarterback Landry Jones, who has a 65.4% completion percentage, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season, along with 3,979 yards to go with it.  The Sooners were largely thought to compete for a national championship this season, as they were penciled in on several preseason ballots. But the national title shot went out the window with losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame – both home games. The Sooners finished fourth in scoring defense in the Big 12 and fourth in total defense, but the defense hasn’t exactly forced many turnovers this season. To beat Texas A&M, the Sooners will have to play contain with their front four defensive linemen, something LSU and Florida proved they could do. But can the Sooners?

These are two classic-style Big 12 teams, and it could turn into a shootout and a track meet, as the team that has the ball last could have the best chance to win. Johnny Manziel is playing some of the best football right now in the NCAA, and because of that momentum that he's riding, I'll take Texas A&M to win this one.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Outback Bowl-South Carolina vs. Michigan

Outback Bowl (Tampa, Fla. – Tuesday, January 1, 2013)
South Carolina vs. Michigan – 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)



Michigan will play two quarterbacks on offense in Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. Robinson will be used more of a runner in his final college game, thanks to an elbow injury he suffered last month. Gardner started the season at receiver, but he moved to quarterback after Robinson’s injury. Gardner has thrown for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns, and Robinson threw for 1,319 yards and nine touchdowns. Combined, these two quarterbacks have thrown for 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Neither player has taken care of the football. Jeremy Gallon and Roy Roundtree are the top two receivers on the team, as Gallon leads all receivers with 40 catches for 684 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Devin Funchess has caught a team-high five touchdowns. Michigan currently has a -8 turnover margin and has turned it over 25 times this season. The biggest problem has been the quarterbacks throwing picks in horrible situations.

The 10-2 Gamecocks could play in any of the BCS bowls because they’re that good, and they’ll suit up a defense that is as physically big and gifted as Notre Dame, who happened to beat Michigan earlier in the year 13-6. The running game consists of Kenny Miles and Mike Davis in Marcus Lattimore’s absence. Miles has toted the rock 99 times for 358 yards and two touchdowns, while Davis only has 52 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Neither are game breakers like Lattimore, but both are serviceable backs who can add punch to the running game and a balance to the offense. But South Carolina makes their money with a filthy defense. The Gamecocks haven’t missed a beat under new defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. In fact, the defense is more explosive than last season. USC leads the SEC with 40 sacks. Jadeveon Clowney alone has registered 13 sacks alone with 21.5 tackles for loss. Those are stupid numbers. The Gamecocks are fourth in the SEC and 13th overall in scoring defense, allowing opponents a little over 17.4 points per game. It’s a stingy and stout group that loves to play physical and get after the quarterback.

South Carolina’s front four on defense gives the Gamecocks the edge against Michigan. The Wolverines have played five close games in which the outcome was ultimately decided by a touchdown or less, so they’re comfortable playing close games. And Michigan has done a particularly good job protecting the quarterback, as they have only surrendered 15 sacks all season. South Carolina will look to exert their will on whichever quarterback lines up in the backfield, but I’m just having a hard time seeing Michigan consistently putting drives together against the Gamecocks’ defense.


Saturday Down South Original Article by Jon Cooper

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla. – Tuesday, January 1, 2013)
Georgia vs. Nebraska – 1 p.m. ET (ABC)

So now we come down to one of the biggest game of the season.  Nebraska vs. Georgia, neither team had a pretty win to make it through the championship games in their respective conferences.  So, who do I think will win this game, I think there is no way ever that Nebraska will beat Georgia.  I think Nebraska doesn't even have what it takes to be on the same field with Georgia.

Nebraska hasn't yet faced a team with the same kind of quarterback that Georgia has,  he has passed for more than 3400 yards and 31 touchdowns.  He is a straight drop back kind of player.  So Murray will give them a challenge that they haven't yet faced, and he's coming into this game ranked no. 2 in the nation completing over 65 percent of his passes.  Nebraska will have a hard time with any kind of containment on him!

Georgia may have some trouble with Taylor Martinez, but I'm sure they will make the adjustments quickly to contain any big runs that he might have gotten in any other game.  In the championship game out of 282 yds. total, most of them came from a 76 yd scramble that Martinez made, but he won't be enough to carry the team past the Georgia Bulldogs.

Nebraska's front 7 will really have to step it up to do anything with the running game that Georgia has got going on, they will have to show less hesitation, better tackling skills, and a better burst off the ball to even compete with what Georgia is going to bring.


So, I'm saying Georgia Bulldogs all the way, I think Nebraska will feel like they have been steam rolled!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, Ga. – Monday, December 31, 2012)
LSU vs. Clemson – 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)



Clemson lost their only two games against ranked opponents – Florida State and South Carolina.  So, we really don’t know how good this team really is.  The offense is electric behind Tajh Boyd, but they only managed 17 points against the Gamecocks.
 The ACC’s Player of the Year is Boyd.  He’s thrown for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns, committing only 13 interceptions, and he rushed for 492 yards and nine touchdowns.  He has two formidable receivers in Watkins and Hopkins.  Ellington, the 1,031-yard rusher, is a burner in the open field.

The Tigers posted another 10-win season, and it’s getting boring watching LSU win at least 10 every year.  The passing game never quite lived up to expectation, and the running game carried the offense once again.  
The running game stayed true to form, with its bruising and physical style.  Freshman Jeremy Hill emerged as the Tigers’ biggest playmaker.  The freshman Hill finished with 631 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns.  The Tigers finished 5th in the SEC in rushing.
John Chavis once again authored a great season as the leader of the defense.  Chavis had to replace three starters in the secondary and two at linebacker. Linebacker Kevin Minter led the defense, and he had a bigger impact than Sam Montgomery or Barkevious Mingo.  Montgomery and Mingo combined for just 11 sacks.
Clemson will attack the secondary behind Boyd’s arm, and LSU finished 6th in pass defense.  To attack the LSU defense, the Clemson’s offensive line has to play well and provide time for Boyd in the pocket.

To say that Clemson will be able to handle the Tigers’ speed rushers on the edge is assuming a lot, especially seeing the success FSU and South Carolina both had. Clemson will have to take care of LSU in the trenches and Tajh Boyd will have to have a great game for the ACC’s Tigers to pull off the upset.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BBVA Compass Bowl

BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala. – Saturday, January 5, 2013)
Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh – 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)


These two teams both have first year coaches and 6-6 seasons. Ole Miss started the season winning against #24 (FCSCentral Arkansas, and then losing every other game against ranked opponents until their last game with rival #25 Miss State, winning 41-24. First year head coach Hugh Freeze has done a good job this year, taking over a team that went 2-10 and winless in the SEC. This will mark Ole Miss' first bowl game since the 2009 season, when they beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Although Ole Miss won 6 games this year and was competitive in most losses, their wins aren't overwhelmingly impressive.

Pitt, on the other hand, does have some good wins. The Panthers beat #13 Virginia Tech 35-17, #19 Rutgers 27-6, and playing current #1 Notre Dame to a 3OT loss. This is the 3rd year in a row for Pitt going to Birmingham in the Compass Bowl. Pitt beat Kentucky in the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, but fell to SMU last year.

I like Pitt in this game, Ole Miss just can't match up with what the Panthers have done this year.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Mississippi State vs. Northwestern

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla. – Tuesday, January 1, 2013)
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern – 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)


The Mississippi State Bulldogs are going to a bowl for the 3rd strait year, for the first time since 2000. The Northwestern Wildcats have been to a bowl 7 out of the last 8 seasons. Both of these teams were ranked in the Top 25 at some point in the season, Northwestern currently holds the #20 ranking.. The Bulldogs started out the season winning seven strait games and gaining a #18 national ranking, then lost to Alabama the next game. The Bulldogs also lost their last game to hated rival Ole Miss, the first time this has happened in 3 years, then again to LSU and A&M. The Bulldogs finished the season at 8-4, 4-4 in the SEC. Northwestern began the year looking good beating 7-5, 5-2 Syracuse on the road 42-41 and downing 2-10, 1-7 Boston College and 8-4, 5-3 Vanderbilt at home, but then falling to No. 18 Michigan 29-28 and against No. 16 Nebraska 38-31 in overtime. The Wildcats finished the season at 9-3, 5-3 in the Big 10. MSU is favored by 2.5, but they haven't really beat anyone that is very good. I like Northwestern in this game, probably by a slim margin. I just haven't seen anything this season that makes me think MSU can get it done.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nine SEC Teams In Bowl Games This Season

The SEC has nine teams in bowls this year, which is just another reminder of the superiority of this conference. I have decided to look at each one of the match-ups over the next few days.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn. – Monday, December 31, 2012)
Vanderbilt vs. N.C. State – 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)


Vandy has had a great season, 8-4 and get to go across the street to play N.C. State. I sort of feel sorry for the team, they had the best season in decades and don't even get to leave the state for their bowl. James Franklin has done wonders for the Commodores and this is a very winnable game for Vandy. NC State is going through a transition after firing Tom O'Brien, but they made a great hire in Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois to replace him. NC State finished the season with a 7-5 record and 3rd in the ACC. Vandy had some big wins over Ole Miss and rival Tennessee, NC State knocked off Florida State. Vandy has played a much tougher schedule than NC State, although beating Florida State was very impressive. Not much to see here unless you are a fan of the schools or nothing else is on, but I do think it will be a very competitive game and could be worth turning to occasionally. All in all I think this will be a good game, but in the end I think Vandy holds the advantage and gets the win.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Butch Jones, The New Face Of The Tennessee Vols.




Butch Jones

It looks like the coaching search is winding down and Butch Jones will be the next head coach of the University of Tennessee. This isn't what the fan base was hoping for, nothing against Jones, but Athletic Director Dave Hart really done a terrible job on this search. There were many better candidates who could have took the job, let me rephrase that, there were better unemployed coaches who WOULD have took the job(Petrino). Butch Jones turned down Kentucky and Colorado waiting on UT to call, but Kentucky isn't very good and Colorado was the worst team in the FBS last year. One other thing, the worst coach in UT history(Dooley), beat the guy by three touchdowns. But the UT fans will eventually get behind him and hopefully not be let down again.
Butch Jones previously coached at University of Cincinnati from 2010 to 2012 and Central Michigan University from 2007 to 2009. A Michigan native, he played college football at Ferris State University. Jones and his wife, Barbara, have three sons -- Alex, Adam, and Andrew. He currently holds a 50-27 overall record. He won the Big East Title last year and won the Liberty Bowl against Vanderbilt, he was also named Big East Coach of the Year.
So at 2:30 today UT will introduce Jones as the new head coach. The fans expect certain things, things he hasn't done yet in the Big East. They also expect him to retain running back coach Jay Graham and go get wide receiver coach Tee Martin from USC. The fans will eventually get behind him, but he will have to win to keep his dream job.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

This Just Sums It All Up

It's Officially a Dumpster Fire.

The great University of Tennessee's coaching search has now turned into an embarrassment for the fans and players. Turned down by Strong, Gundy, and Gruden, it is officially a dumpster fire. The Vol message boards and radio show callers are calling for AD Hart's head. Last night the hashtag #turneddowntennessee was trending worldwide on Twitter. UT is being left behind again, just like the Dooley hire. The University of Tennessee has rich tradition, excellent facilities, a huge stadium, and passionate fans. The only thing that can be happening is the administration is botching it, and that's sad. UT is going down the toilet, a once great program on the verge of being destroyed by people with absolutely no ties to UT. It's now time to salvage the situation and go get someone quick. Another gamble hire, just like Dooley was, but this hire could be the end of big time football at UT. UT is the laughingstock of the nation, and deserves it. This administration has problems, some fans have unrealistic expectations, but if UT can't hire a coach from a lesser school in a lesser conference, that's terrible. It's time for the AD to get someone in here, and can't afford to be hung up on getting perfection. UT has to put this fire out now, Petrino is available, Butch Davis is available, Jim Tressel is available, all winners who can be hired. UT has to get back to winning, this list is the easiest way. They might not be the most popular hires, but can UT afford to be picky at this point? No they cannot.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Offers Reportedly Made

I'm not gonna go deep into this because it hasn't been confirmed, but it is being reported that Charlie Strong of Louisville and Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State have been offered the job as the University of Tennessee head coach. In my opinion, AD Hart's guy is Gundy and Strong is the safety net. I am satisfied that Strong is the guy at this point, Gundy just wants a raise. Vol message boards are going stupid about this whole thing, mostly because its about 99.999999% chance that the coaches name won't be Gruden. It's pathetic and embarrassing for fans who are actually living in the real world. UT fans have to get behind their guy and support him!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bret Bielema to Arkansas

It appears the Arkansas Razorbacks have hired Wisconsin Badger coach Bret Bielema. It's quite shocking actually, this is the same coach who was quoted as saying he would never come to the SEC. Not to mention the totally different styles of play he has compared to Razorback former coach John L. Smith. Bielema is a run first, big lineman, pound the rock kind of coach, Arkansas has come to be known for their high flying pass game.
A few things about him:
It appears to be a good hire on paper, but his name came way out of left field. This is just one of the many coaches rumored to be hired by Arkansas, this does appear to be confirmed though. In the SEC, Tennessee has still not named a coach but the list has been thinned down to Charlie Strong and Mike Gundy. The Auburn Tigers are still looking also, although they are rumored to be close to hiring Gus Malzahn, head coach of Arkansas State.

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Charlie Strong

Louisville's head coach Charlie Strong is one of the final candidates for Tennessee's open head coaching position. He is a defensive minded coach with experience in the SEC. Charlie Strong was born in Batesville, Arkansas. After lettering for four years (1980–1983) at the University of Central Arkansas, Strong joined the Gators coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1984. He later served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 1985. His first full-time coaching job was at Southern Illinois in 1986, where he coached wide receivers. He later assumed defensive coaching duties at Florida, Ole Miss, and Notre Dame. He also received a master's degree and education specialist degree from the University of Florida. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
In 1999, Strong joined the South Carolina Gamecocks as defensive coordinator, becoming the first African American coordinator in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history. His stifling defenses and charismatic personality created buzz that he would be possibly the first black head coach in the SEC, but job offers were slim. Sylvester Croom eventually broke the color barrier in the SEC coaching ranks.
Strong was hired as defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators before the 2003 season. Florida head coach Ron Zook was fired midway through the Gators' 2004 season, but continued to coach until the bowl game; Strong served as interim coach of the Gators for one game, the December 2004 Peach Bowl. Florida lost the game, 27–10, to the Miami Hurricanes. Florida credits the regular season to Zook and the Peach Bowl to Strong. When Urban Meyer was hired as Florida's head coach, Strong was the only assistant coach retained from Zook's staff.
In a January 2009 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Strong expressed his belief that race played a large part in the reason that he hadn't been offered a head coaching job at that point. Strong, whose wife is white, especially cited prospective employers' discomfort with his interracial relationship.
He became the 21st head football coach at the University of Louisville on December 9, 2009[2]. In a telephone interview that day with ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, himself African American, said of Strong, "When they see what he can do, you're probably going to have a lot of people disappointed they didn't hire him sooner."
I'm not necessarily sold on this guy yet, he's only been a head coach for 3 years in a weak conference. He's also choked a couple of games away against inferior opponents this year. The UT fan base is sold on him already, most everyone wants him to be UT's next coach. I could support him, but he is coming into a bad situation for a new coach. UT isn't Louisville and things are 100 times more difficult in the SEC. He does have the Cardinals playing in a good bowl against his former Florida Gators team, and he has built Louisville into somewhat of a contender. For UT his experience and inability to put inferior teams away should be an issue, on the other hand he has a great defensive mind, something UT has lacked in the last half decade.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Mike Gundy

It appears Mike Gundy has interviewed with Tennessee. I admit I'm not as familiar with him as I should be. He is the current coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys and has a 66-35 overall record. He isn't very media friendly, most notably his "I'm a man, come at me, I'm 40". This doesn't bother me at all, most the inside reporters here in Knoxville deserve it. He done very well in 2011 finishing 12-1, this year he is currently 7-5 and has an upcoming Heart of Dallas bowl game against Purdue.

This is Wikipedia's 2011 season entry:

2011 season

The Cowboys entered 2011 with their highest expectations since the 1980s. They opened the season ninth in both major polls. Gundy's Cowboys didn't disappoint, starting the season 10–0, the best start in school history. Gundy has had a hand in four of Oklahoma State's five 10-win seasons (two as quarterback, two as head coach). With a 52–45 win over Kansas State, the Cowboys rose to second in the AP Poll and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings, the highest national rankings in school history. On November 18th, Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State in double overtime 37–31, all but dashing their national title hopes, but remained in the BCS hunt with a series of upsets in the following weeks, along with a convincing 44–10 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on December 3, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the Bedlam rivalry. It was also Gundy's first win over Oklahoma as a player or a coach at Oklahoma State; he'd gone 0–4 while the Cowboys' quarterback.
On December 4, it was announced that Oklahoma State had earned a spot in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, being barely eclipsed out of the BCS National Championship game by second-place Alabama by the smallest margin between #2 and #3 in BCS history. Many AP voters hinted that if the Cowboys were to beat Stanford as they did the Sooners, and Alabama upset SEC West rival LSU in the BCS Championship Game, the Cowboys could earn a split title with an AP Poll #1 ranking (this is opposed to the USA Today & Harris Coaches polls which are contractually bound to vote the winner of the BCS title game #1).
The #3 Cowboys beat the #4 Stanford Cardinal 41–38 in the Fiesta Bowl, marking Oklahoma State's first BCS bowl win, and first outright Big 12 Conference title in the same season, though it was not enough to convince voters to give OSU a split title.

I could get behind him I suppose, but I don't think he will actually come. I would dare to say he is just lobbying for a raise, and that's OK, I don't blame him. He's not known for having a good defense, which is what we need the most. Apparently, he has had some issues with the AD, which could sway his interest. I have respect for him, I think he's a great coach, I'm just not so sure he's the right fit at UT.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

SEC Championship Game Preview


From teamspeedkills.com

Making the right comparison, the three key players, and why UGA won't score more than 24 points.
Alabama is understandably the favorite in the 2012 SEC Championship Game, so many previews I've seen have been focused on how Georgia can pull in elements of Texas A&M's offensive game plan. It's only natural, given that the Aggies are the only team to have defeated the Crimson Tide this year while also putting up the most points Bama has given up on the season.
While I get where that approach is coming from, it's not the best thing UGA could be doing with its time. Georgia's best chance is to dance with the one who brung it. Aaron Murray does have some wheels, but he's not Johnny Manziel. With Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown out for the season, it wouldn't be wise for the Bulldogs to suddenly start lining up in four- and five-wide sets nearly every play. We won't be seeing Mike Bobo bust out the diamond formation either. Georgia is a pro-style team, with lots of running out of the I-formation and most formations having at least one tight end on the line.
And while Texas A&M scored the most points on Bama, LSU is the one that gained the most yards. LSU was also the only SEC team to hold the Tide under 400 total yards at 331 on the game, while Bama outgained the Aggies in their contest. The Tigers had Alabama beat until A.J. McCarron led a furious two-minute drill in which the Bayou Bengals' defense inexplicably fell apart. Had LSU cashed in on some opportunities better earlier in the game, we'd be previewing a rematch of last year's SEC Championship Game right now.
Replicating LSU's success will heavily rely on Murray and Todd Gurley. Murray will have to be sharp like his former teammate Zach Mettenberger was, as the latter picked Bama apart with a controlled passing game. Gurley, who has been more consistent than his backfield mate Keith Marshall, will need to do a good Jeremy Hill impression to keep the chains moving. LSU had a time of possession lead of 19:30 over Alabama, a big factor in how the Tigers controlled the game. A team like Oregon doesn't care about time of possession, but teams like Alabama, LSU, and Georgia certainly do.
I ran a score projection for this game using my usual method (which excludes I-AA action). It came out with a 30-20 Alabama win with the Tide outgaining Georgia 390-311. That outcome would make a ton of sense, and I'll stick with it for my pick. It's true that UGA has a fantastic offense, but relative to opponents' season averages in total yardage, the LSU game is the only bad game Bama's defense had. Every other opponent got held to more than 100 yards under their typical rate. Every team also scored at least 12.5 points under their season averages for points scored. Using the latter heuristic and UGA's 37.36 points per game rate, UGA's maximum point total is right at about 24.
I don't know if 24 points is enough for Georgia to beat Alabama. While it's true that the Bulldogs' defense has finished strong, it's also true that Ole Miss, Auburn, and Georgia Tech don't make up a murderer's row. They're going to need Jarvis Jones to take over the game like he did against Missouri and especially Florida, but Alabama won't be doing stupid things like running sweeps to his side or having a quarterback-turned-tight end try to block him. He's the best singular defensive talent in this game, a dominant force the likes of which Alabama doesn't have. Bama's tackles are big, but they might not be fast enough to contain him.
I certainly do give Georgia a chance to win this game. It would make for a fantastic story about persistence for Mark Richt and mean that Nick Saban would, believe it or not, have only one conference championship in his first half dozen years in Tuscaloosa. It's not what I'm picking, but it could happen.
Alabama (-7.5) over Georgia 30-20

My Favorite NFL Moment of 2012 
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Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Finally Over!

It's over, the great University of Tennessee has been turned down by King Chucky. Sad, sad day in Knoxville. I wrote an article about my top 3, just exclude the Gruden part. It has been a fun ride so far, but now it's time to get serious and get a new coach.

Bobby Petrino
He's a winner and he is my first choice. If you have been living on the moon for the last few years, he is not well liked. He has deserted two teams and been fired from another, but he wins like crazy everywhere he goes. The University of Tennessee needs wins now, and Bobby can get it done, quick. UT fans worry about him leaving in a few years, but if he wins for 3 or 4 years, what's the problem? This guy is unemployed too, making him very affordable to hire. I get bashed for supporting this hire, everyday, his record and coaching ability cant be overlooked though.








Jimbo Fisher
Oh Jimbo, your parents must have hated you, but Florida State does not. 10-2 this season with the ACC title game and a BCS bowl game to go, impressive to say the least. Why would he leave Tallahassee? We aren't really sure, he doesn't get along with the AD down there, so the rumor goes. He is on UT's list, he is close to UT's Athletic director, and he is interested. Jimbo's a good coach, but he is a great recruiter, UT needs that right now. Knoxville and Tennessee in general isn't the best or easiest place to recruit so it puts him high on the list. I'm high on Jimbo, not only for his name, we have to have a good recruiter.









Greg Roman
Hey, its Peter Griffin! Not really, it's Greg Roman, offensive coordinator for Jim Harbaugh's led San Fransisco 49ers. The 49ers are pretty good in case you didn't know, and Roman's wife is from Tennessee. So UT's Athletic Directer Dave Hart said he wanted a current head coach, but this guy is a home run hire in my book. He was over the offense at Stanford from 09-10, he has been in the NFL several years prior, and followed Jim Harbaugh to the 49ers after Stanford. He has been successful everywhere he has been, now its time for him to take a head coaching job.

This is who I think would be the best fit at UT, there have been so many names relating to this it's hard to keep track. I will keep you updated! Look at some of my other Yahoo articles below and comment on what you think.

UT Basketball Preview
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A New Twist

Well, there is a new twist to the Gruden saga. Apparently a Chattanooga based newspaper has learned that Gruden has in fact been made an offer and he is considering accepting. This is getting good, the article cites two unnamed sources who say the problem is assistant pay and control issues.Here in Knoxville it is all you hear, all day long. Which isn't a huge deal except when it dies down, you can bet the next morning a story like this will be released. Don't get me wrong, it is exciting, but our AD is losing control fast. The Vol fans need a statement quick or it could go into apocalypse mode here.

In other news, Monte Kiffin will leave USC. He and his boy Lane aren't very popular here, but leave it to Vol fans to link him to the UT job. Since he announced his leaving USC, it apparently means he is now on Grudens' staff. Good Stuff in my opinion. ESPN sorta addressed this when Mark May said we had a better chance of getting Madden, he isn't very popular around here either.

I have some new articles on Yahoo not pertaining to(at least not as much)Gruden. Check it out.

UT Coaches Who Could be Hired.
Biggest Sports headlines of 2012.
Sports New Year Resolutions For 2013

Thursday, November 29, 2012

So Here is the Newest Update on the Coaching Search:



It appears Jon Gruden is asking for a ton of money not just for him but for his assistants also. The report is somewhere around 36million over 6 years with a 3million dollar budget for his staff, not to mention he wants to have full control of the football program. Remember that this guy hasn't coached since 2008, and has never been a head coach in college. There are other names being mentioned now, Al Golden, Charlie Strong, Larry Fedora, and about 1,000 other people. It's not looking good for the fans in Knoxville, a revolt could be coming if a bad hire is made. Honestly, this is the most excited I've been for UT football in 3 years!
C7PEXETTYYA7

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Jon Gruden

So I am a huge college football fan, and here in TN we just fired our coach. We now have an internet phenomenon called #Grumors. It is the most insane thing I have ever seen, Mr. Jon "Chucky" Gruden, former Tampa Bay Buc Superbowl winning coach. He is the #1 choice for for the fans, rumors are now running rampant on Vol message boards and Twitter. I cant relay the insanity just in words, Google Gruden to Tennessee and laugh your ass off. The fact that anyone that isn't Gruden and gets hired is a huge letdown now will drive any good coach far, far away from UT. Anyone who isn't directly related to this area is not going to understand, and I apologize for that, because you are definitely missing out on all the fun.

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