Gimme tha trophy…Part 1

September 8, 2011

Time to dust off this old blog of mine and allow for a little college football talk.  Since all of the college football pundits are talking and predicting these days, I thought that I’d put my picks on record as well.  So here we go!

Big East Conference

Gimme tha trophy: West Virginia-Geno Smith(2,763 yds 24/7 ly) is going to put up BIG numbers in Holgerson’s offense, really, really big numbers. If the defense can stay steady, the Mountaineers should wrap this up quickly. Tavon Austin is fast…really really fast.

Close but no cigar: Pittsburgh-the Panthers have a new outlook on life now that “the Stache” is gone. I listened to new head coach Todd Graham’s press conference before their opener, and boy was he a confident guy.

Darkhorse: USF-Head coach Skip Holtz has an athletic team that is starting to believe.  If BJ Daniels can keep his mistakes to a minimum, they’ll definately challenge.

Mountain West Conference

Gimme tha trophy: Boise State-Heisman hopeful, Kellen Moore will put up video game-like numbers again this year (3,845 yds 35/6 ly), and Chris Petersen’s group will most definately run the table.  Will the BCS finally deam them “worthy?”  Has Petersen found playmakers on the outside to replace Titus Young and Austin Pettis? I guess we’ll see quickly.

Close but no cigar: TCU-Like Petersen, Patterson is due for a big time job soon.  This will be Patterson’s first really big coaching test.  How will his team respond after graduating Andy Dalton and a ton of productive players on both sides of the ball. Sophomore QB Casey Pachall has big shows to fill.

Darkhorse: Air Force-Only because, it’s the Air Force.

Conference USA (I think they need more teams, don’t you?)

Gimme tha trophy: Houston-Chase Keenum is getting a 6th year. It seems like he’s been there for 12 years.  He’s the perfect fit for the Houston offense that bubble, slip and jailbreak screen’s people to death. Patrick Edwards is the speed demon WR that gets a lot of touches that way.  Can they win the conference and make this conference respectable in the same year?

Close but no cigar: Tulsa-Damaris Johnson is pretty unstoppable in the Tulsa offense. The Senior WR is a “do-it-all” player that rushed for 560 and had 876 receiving with a combined 11 TD’s.  They have a tough schedule though, starting with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the first three weeks.  Their reward for the tough games…Boise State in week 4.

Mid-American Conference

Gimme tha trophy: Toledo-As much as WR Eric Page gets the pub, I really like the two RB’s that the Rockets offense has.  Adonis Thomas and Morgan Williams are two versitale backs that can grind it out all day.  That will definately help the Rockets to close out games.  Coach Tim Beckman can waste little time to get the Rockets ready though, as they play Buckeyes and Boise State in weeks two and three, both on the road.

Close but no cigar: Ohio-I’ll say this again, I’m really impressed with the job that Frank Solich has done with OU.  He’s 98-55 in 7 seasons and he has the Bobcats believing and making plays. The big question mark will be if Solich’s defense can hold up.  They have only four returning starters on defense.

Darkhorse: Temple-That sounds really funny to me, because the could easily be in the “Gimme tha trophy” category. Since fomer head coach Al Golden has taken his talents to South Beach, for a destroyed Miami team, Steve Addazio steps in to kick the tires this year.  One thing Temple will be is physical.  Something the MAC usually isn’t very comfortable with.

Big 12 Conference

Gimme tha trophy: Oklahoma-Two words: LANDRY JONES.

Close but no cigar: Oklahoma State-Justin Blackmon is probably one of the best WR’s in the country, if not THE best.  Brandon Weeden could be a darkhorse Heisman candidate because of how much Okie State throws the ball.  Last year he had 3,433 yards passing 34/13.  The senior will be looking to do it big this year and definately has the December 3rd date with big brother Oklahoma circled.  This years game should live up to its nickname…Bedlam.

Darkhorse: Texas A&M-I almost didn’t put them here because I’m a little tainted with all of their jumping to the SEC bullshit, as if they are really good enough to fit into that league?  I think in his fourth year, it’s probably put up or shut up time for Mike Sherman.  Sherman is 19-19 overall, 1-4 against Top 10 teams, 3-9 against Top 25 teams, and 6-7 on the road against BCS teams. Time will tell for the Aggies.

Big 10 Conference

Gimme tha trophy:  Nebraska-Taylor Martinez brings the Huskers option offense of old back to life, he’s a ridiculous athlete, and the Huskers have that “black shirt” defense back.  Their defense could boast the best defensive tackle in the conference with Jared Crick.  Somehow Bo Pelini has a super pipeline to freakishly good defensive line players, and Crick is do difference.  The October 1 showdown with Wisconsin in Camp Randall is going to be racous environment.

Close but no Cigar: Wisconsin-I really, really like Wisconsin this year.  Especially now that they have Russell Wilson.  Bret Bielema’s Badgers could also be the conference winner.  Can he get his team to forget about the bowl game loss to  TCU last year? Can all his offense playmakers stay healthy.  I’m expecting Wilson and Nick Toon to have HUGE years. Especially since defense will have to pick whether they want to be beat up all night by Montee Ball and James White, or get beat deep by Wilson.

Darkhorse:Michigan State/Ohio State-These two teams have a lot of talent. Sparty has a great set of leaders with Mark Dantonio and QB Kirk Cousins.  Their power running game will be as good as ever and should beat up defenses all year.  They have a really tough October though having to face Michigan and Wisconsin at home and then go to Lincoln on three consecutive weeks.

The Buckeyes had a tumultious off season, have all types of players suspended, have a new coach and got ditched by their QB 1. I think most people are writing off Ohio State  and new head coach Luke Fickell this year.  I’m telling you that they are going to be a lot better then people think.  If they can scratch and claw their way through the first 5 weeks(which is a long time to do that), they can have enough guns to get through the Big 10 schedule and make some noise.

Ok, that’s enough for one day. I still have the WAC, SEC, Pac-12 and ACC to do.  Overall, I’m really excited for the early season match ups this year.  Teams are finally getting away from scheduling cupcakes.  We’ll see who survives and stays healthy enough for conference play.


Collect call from…

November 30, 2009

University of Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. Looks like Charlie Weis is out at Notre Dame today.

The new coaches first big selling job will be to try to convince Clausen and Tate to stay.

Here are some gentlemen that should leave their phones on today, and except the charnges.

1. Brian Kelly-University of Cincinnati
2. Brian Billick-Out of the game for now
3. John Gruden-ESPN
4. Will Muschap-Univeristy of Texas
5. Urban Meyer-University of Florida

Don’t get it twisted, all these guys have a price, and trust me when I say this, ND has the Brinks truck waiting.


Browns owner for a day…

November 22, 2009

So many of the conversations that I’ve had recently around the water cooler stem from the question, “What do you think of the Browns?”  Usually, do to the pain and agony that it gives me to actually talk about it, I say”it’s a poorly managed organization, what do you expect?”  Dodge another bullet and yet another night of crying myself to sleep at night over the potential of never seeing a Cleveland Championship in my lifetime.  My cousin Dave came up with a great idea, mostly because we are losers, to be the Browns President for a day and make all of the decisions. Now, I’ve taken it one step further and decided to build a dream team of coaches that could perhaps bring my beloved Cleveland Browns to the promise land.  I’ve also decided to post Dave’s thoughts, since he tends to be my NFL expert.  We’ll see how hard it is to really be Randy Lerner.

Front Office-You gotta have good leadership at the top to set the tone.

President-Ernie Accorsi-He’s a Cleveland Browns guy that knows how important this team is to the town.  Its a little bit of a retread since he was around in the mid-80’s for the Kosar years(I think).  Accorsi has been in contact with Lerner as the turmoil has been building.  Lerner has been itching to get him involved.  So I guess, I am to.

GM-Mike Holgrem-Holgrem has made no bones about talking about wanting to get back into football.  He’s never really said in what capacity though.  In Seattle he wanted absolute power and wanted to call the plays.  Well, I won’t let him be my coach, but I’ll let him shop for the groceries.  I’ve always liked his scheme and our current personnel fits the west coast offense better. Plus he really likes Brady Quinn and that makes me happy.

Head Coach-Mike Shanahan-(This is my pipe dream remember)-Now you might think that Shanahan and Holgrem might conflict since they both were guys that wanted to have GM type powers as head coaches.  What I think it might do is force some synergies in the front office and allow for two coaches to get together and decide on the needs of the team.  Can you picture Shanie and Holgrem in the Browns war room talking about players and fitting them into our line ups.  Brings a smile to my face, and makes my man parts feel funny.

OC-Charlie Weis-Something tells me that his services are going to be available next year.  Weis coached Quinn into the ND record books with his offense.  Its a great Yin and Yang combo with Shanahan who has a great running game scheme.  Something that Weis’ offense lacks.  Plus it would reunite Weis and Quinn and allow Quinn to finally have solid ground underneath his feet and put him in a position to win football games. Finally, I think Charlie’s ability to scheme against teams week to week is a better fit in the NFL as its easier to do with the talent level at the pro level.

DC-Bud Foster-(DC at Va. Tech)-Another guy plucked from the college ranks.  Foster’s aggressive defense has always put Va.Tech in the top ranks in the country.  His “lunch box” mentality is something that fits the town and the team.  Browns fans want to see gritty players that play with heart.  Foster has been the guy at Va. Tech responsible for making the Hokies extremely tough and able to go anywhere and play anyone. His tough aggressive style is similar to Rob Ryan’s, but has a much better emphasis on fundamentals.

College Scout Consultant-Bernie Kosar-Bernie really wants to be a part of this organization again.  So why not let him use his skills to evaluate players and personnel that can get plugged into the system. Sure, he’d probably be wrong sometimes, but he understands the types of players needed in Weis and Shanahan’s system. He also gets the type of players that Clevelanders want to root for.

Free Agent Pick ups:NT Gabe Watson, RB Leon Washington, CB Keiwan Ratliff, OG Max Jean-Giles, WR Maurice Stovall, LB Pierre Woods

Cuts: Jamal Lewis, Derek Anderson,Rex Hadnot,Colin Cowerty, Cefric Peerman

Resign: Jerome Harrison, D’Qwell Jackson, Lawrence Vickers, Brodney Pool

Draft:  This is going to be really fun…

#3 Taylor Mays FS, USC-He looks like a stud in his uniform and USC guys are game ready from day one.  Plus, I’ve seen enough of him during the several ass beatings USC gave Notre Dame while he was there.

#34 Sergio Kindle LB, Texas- Kindle is a nice hybrid athlete that will instantly add speed to the defense.  He’ll fit great in a 34 defense or playing the WILL.

$68 Mike Pouncey OG, Florida-This underclassmen started for 3 years with Urban Meyer’s Gators.  He can grind em up and pass block.  Plus he’s played at a high level in the SEC.

#99 Sam Young OT, Notre Dame-Spent a of time protecting Brady Quinn while they were both at ND.  This would be a pick influenced by Weis as the OC.  Young is big and would fit nicely at RT. That would give us two tackles that are taller then 6’4″ and over 300 lbs. They’d look great grinding people up in Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme.

#131 Tony Pike QB, Cincinnati-He’s one of my favorite college football players this year.  He’s tall and can sling it.  Probably in the Joe Flacco mold, but a little more raw

#133 DeMarco Murray RB, Oklahoma-This would probably be a steal this low, but Murry is physical and has a ton of speed. I’d love the pedigree that he would add to our backfield. Plus he’s used to taking handoffs out of the shotgun spread-type formations.

#145 Jeff Cottam TE, Tennessee-He’s really, really tall…

#165 Freddie Barnes WR, BGSU-He’s probably going to finish the all-time leader in catches for a single season.  He’s durable, versitale and can make a big play.  His sure hands would be nice thing to see since most of our WR’s now have the drop syndrome.

We also have to othe picks, but at that point, I’m not sure they even matter.  Shanahan would probably use one of them as a “project guy” that he is always known for.  Lastly, I’d still be looking to help Foster add depth to the defense in anyway I could.

With these kind of moves and my dream team coaching staff, I like the Brownies chance to at least win the AFC North.  The Bud Foster transition from the college game to the NFL game would be the big key.


Some thoughts about LAST Thursdays game…

November 9, 2009

First off let me start by saying I folded and washed a crap load of laundry that night. As I did so, I fancied myself watching the Va.Tech vs. East Carolina game.
Of course, I have a few thoughts…So here goes…

Tyrod Taylor has come a long way. He looks eriely like a more refined Mike Vick. Taylor has really developed a smooth looking deep ball, but his magic happens with his Houdini acts in the pocket.

Ryan Williams WILL BE the Freshmen of the year.

Va.Tech still isn’t THAT explosive.

Rock Carmichaels INT in the 4th period with about 2 minutes to go was filthy. By far the sickest INT by a guy named Rock Carmichael EVER.

ECU has done a good job recruiting RAW athletes. Skip Holtz might have a tough go next year without 6 yr Senior Patrick Pickney.

I wonder how Pickney will be evaluated by pro scouts. He’s got TONS of tape to go off of to build a case. At the end of the day, he’s s system guy.

Ryan Williams is really good, did I mention that?


A win, a defense, and a Heisman candidate

October 9, 2009

Wow, what a finish. Last week the University of Notre Dame and the University of Washington tangled in a game for the ages.  Neither team was ranked, but both hoping to continue to step forward in their seasons and make a giant leap for their programs.  U-Dub was coming down from their win against USC just a few weeks prior. While the Irish have played 3 straight defribulator games with a defense that was having trouble stopping people. It was a game on the Irish schedule that despite the Huskies record, might have made some Irish fans wince a little.

What I’m amazed at is that the media is talking about “how close” Washington is from really being a good football team and not that the sometimes swiss cheese-like Irish defense stopped them on 12 plays inside the 5 and 8 plays inside the 1.  Now, I will say, Washington is extremely athletic and definately is a lot closer then people think.  As usual, Ty Willingham didn’t leave the cubords empty and Steve Sarkisian just had to change the culture there.  Coming off an 0-12 season, obviously isn’t a small task.  In my humble opinion they are propbably 2 years away from really making noise in the Pac-10.  As an Irish fan, I’ll be happy to see them leave the schedule. But I’ll challenge any fan that says they’ve seen 3 goal line stands in one game, by one team.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been extremely critical of the Irish defense.  Especially their front 7.  They have been soft on the run, and haven’t been able to control the line of scrimmage without having to send 7 or 8 guys and selling out the secondary.  This game was totally different.  The front 7 played as gutsy as I’ve ever seen a Notre Dame defense play in a while.  John Tenuta shuffled guys in and out to keep them spelled, and they all worked to dominate. Leading the way was freshman phenom Man’ti Te’o, who lead them with 10 tackles in his first start. News flash to all of college football, this kid can flat out play. Kapron Lewis-Moore and John Ryan did a great job setting the edges and pursuing Jake Locker all day.  The linebackers almost never seemed out of position and were hitting people all day long. If you didn’t see the double goal line stand I’ve left the link above.  My hat goes off to that crew for not giving up despite the offenses early sputters and continuing to play hard.

So what about Jake Locker.  I’ll maintain that he’s one of the best jake_lockerquarterback’s that no one is talking about.  He had three throws in the game that were big time.  Two before the half and one in the third quarter that showed touch and power.  Locker also showed some ability with his legs that was impressive.

080927_JimmyClausen_widecSpeaking of impressive, let the Jimmy Clausen Heisman campaign begin.  Clausen proved to me that he is deadly accurate, a leader, and tough. His 422 yards were filled with big plays to Golden Tate and Kyle Rudolph. He also showed a shifty abilty and pocket presence that bought his receivers time to get open.  I’m sorry, but no defensive back can run with a receiver for more then 4 seconds, and certainly not if that receiver is Golden Tate.  Clausen has proved that he can be cool under pressure and lead his team through tough times.  More impressively, he’s shown that he is tough and can play through pain.  The turf toe injury did cause him to slip a few times since its on his plant foot.  Clause was still able,even in the rain to stay composed and deliver the football.  If the past three weeks haven’t put him in at least the Heisman conversation, then its a crock.  Right now, the top front runners have to be Tebow, McCoy and Clausen.

Overall, I think that this is a marquee win for Charlie Weiss. Up to this point, everyone would say that the “Bush Push” game was the Weiss marquee game, but it was a loss.  This was a fantastic environment the entire game and the crowd was electric. Although I will say for the first time ever I did have an empty seat next to me. Don’t get me wrong, for anyone who has been to Notre Dame Stadium, it was wonderful to have the extra room.  A few folks in my section and I were able to get groups of people up to cheer on the defense all day.  And thanks to my $.97 poncho that I bought at Meijer the night before, I was dry the entire time.


Callin’ it

October 2, 2009

College football can be a real joke for the first couple of weeks.  So finally this week we see some actual matchups of note.   All good games, all will have an impact on conference championships and even the BCS.  So, we here at Frank-ly sports wanted to wait to pick the conference.  I’ll even take a stab at the Heisman.

Big Ten-Penn State

JoePa’s team really has a two game season this year, both at home.  Illinois and Ohio State will come to Happy Valley and take on the loaded Lions offense.  They could also have the conferences top offensive threat in Daryl Clark.

Darkhorse: The Ohio State University-The loss to USC was early which has proved to be ok in the BCS.

Team I’m obsessed with: Michigan-I might be the only person that Rich Rod imagesand the gang are going bowling this year, and they could even give the Buckeyes fits.  Tate Forcier has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.

Pac-10-USC

Yes I know they just lost to Washington after a win against OSU, but they are still the best team in the conference.  They have to go to Cal later in the year which should be an EPIC battle, but Pete Carroll’s crew will be WAY better by then, you can count on that.  The loss probably takes them out of title contention right now, but again an early loss isn’t a bad thing.  As Matt Barkley matures, Carroll will give him more and more responsibility.  SC is by far the closest thing to an NFL team in college football this decade.

Darkhorse:

Team I’m obsessed with: USC-mostly because I want ND to beat them.  Matt Barkley is an intriguing storyline for this team.  When will he make his “freshmen” mistake.

SEC-Florida

SEC Championship game:  Florida vs. Alabama

We all know that Tim Tebow is great. But this team is loaded folks.  I meantim_tebow really, really loaded. Brandon James, Chris Rainey, and Emmanual Moody give Tebow a ton of speed in his running scheme. Let’s not forget 18 returning starters.

Darkhorse: LSU-The Bayou Bengals got kicked around last year, and that rarely happens twice.  Jordan Jefferson is a year older but will have to prove that he can make a big play in the through the air.  LSU is sure to have a tough defense.  If they don’t stumble along the way they could end up in the National Title hunt. Les Miles’ group finds a way to win, and that will always keep you alive in a very tough conference

Team I’m obsessed with: Alabama-Julio Jones could be the best WR in the Country(58 catches 948 yds).  Nick Saban always has his defense cranked up, and last years loss to Utah has the Tide looking to roll everyone. Greg McElroy has been a gigantic surprise

Big 12-Texas

Big 12 Championship: Texas vs. Nebraska

3387884412Colt McCoy is really good.  On this very site I have mentioned that he should have taken the money and jumped to the NFL.  He’s proving my point so far this year.  McCoy is a for sure heisman finalist(forshadow), and he and Mack Brown have a national title lined up in their sights. I look for his main weapon and roommate Jordan Shipley to be ripping people all year for the horns. He averaged 11.9/catch and had a long of 68 yards last year.  He can flat out fly.

Darkhorse: Kansas-the North side of the conference is weak, and Todd Reesing works extremely well in the Kansas spread. He was in the top 5 of the conference in total offense last year. If Nebraska doesn’t take care of business, I think that Ralk Chalk can fill in nicely.

Team I’m obsessed with:  Texas Tech-I’m an ex-high school wide receiver, of course I want to see 100 WR’s on the field and people chucking it 65 times.

ACC-Virginia Tech

ACC Championship: Virginia Tech vs. FSU

Va. Tech has dominated this conference since they added teams.  Frank Beamer’s team will be more experienced this year with16 returning starters. Tyrod Taylor will need to prove that he’s more then just a runner to get that tough Hokie defense some leads to hold.  The Hokies were horrible last year because they were so young.

Darkhorse:  North Carolina State-Russell Wilson is a pretty nice player for the Wolfpack.  This conference is so watered down, someone is always capable of sliding in the back door.  NC State is probably the 5-6 best team in this league, but you never know.

Team I’m obsessed with: Clemson-mostly because CJ Spiller is electric.  Other then that they have obnoxious fans and ALWAYS underachieve.

tony-pike-ncThe Big East sucks, so I’m not even going to waste my time.  Cincinnati’s QB, Tony Pike is phenomenal.  He has a big time arm, and that team is going to be good for a while.

National Championship: Florida vs. Texas

An easy one I know. Oklahoma is going to struggle to beat Texas, especially if Sam Bradford isn’t 100%. Plus, I can’t pick that game, it happend last year. In that match up, I like the Gators, but in a close one. McCoy is too good not to keep his team in it.

 

Heisman Trophy(As of right now)

Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Jahvid Best, Jimmy Clausen

This really is a two man race between Tebow and McCoy.  If Tebow doesn’t play this week against LSU it could give McCoy the edge right away.  The Heisman voters only want one Archie though…

Colt McCoy is your winner….


First thoughts on week 1 for the Irish

September 6, 2009

3517959Well if all it took was a billboard, then someone get me the phone number for Lamar advertising.  It’s true though, the 2009 version of the Fighting Irish came out ready to play.  A huge difference from Domer teams in the past.  Coach Charlie Weisshowed off his teams  depth, new attitude, and explosiveness.So, what a better time to be critical and get some ideas down.

Offense-Lot’s of weapons.  Jimmy Clausen looked like he’s got complete control of the offense.  He hardly had any pressure on him all day and was able to step into and deliver some very clean footballs.  His best throw resulted in a touchdown to Kyle Rudolph in the first half on a 3 and 9.  He hit the 6 foot 6 TE high and outside, only where he could get it.  I mean that guy hit 9 out of 10  in the first half.

The O-line seemed was able to grind some meat and run the football.  Which they’ll need for their next few Big Ten opponents.  I saw several occasions when Sam Young was fired up, finishing blocks and telling people about it.  This is the kind of attitude people have wanted in a Notre Dame Football team for a long time.  We’ve wanted that “it,” we’ve wanted that swagger. Today, they had it.

The wide receivers and running backs showed that they can and will make big plays.  Golden Tate and Michael Floyd made their case for being one of the best receiver tandems in the country.  This will surely get better, as teams roll coverages  toward Floyd, Tate will get one-on-one coverage more often. The best part is, the Irish have about 5 viable targets for Clausen at that position, so he’ll be able to spread it around.

Defense-There is a small concern for me here.  The defense gave up 153 yards rushing at a 5.3 yard per carry clip.  That’s not gonna get it done against Michigan’s spread option, USC’s power attack, or even Navy’s triple option.  At times the defensive line got a little manhandled.  Vai Taua had close to 120 yards rushing himself.  Particularly Ethan Johnson, who usually can hold his own.  A few times he was caught on roller skates or giving up leverage.  The Irish will have to get some additonal depth at the front four in order to keep fresh and make plays.  Sean Cynwar did see some playing time late. Johnson, Williams and Cynwar would be a nice lineup to rotate in and out.

The secondary did a good job, picking off  Colin Kaepernicktwice and keeping the clamps on him.  Kyle McCarthy led the way with an INT and several tackles.  The defensive backfield is the most exciting position for me at NotreDame right now.  They are easily 7 deep on guys that can step in and play.  It’s that kind of depth and athleticism that will allow ND to shape up tons of different schemes, coverages, and blitzes in John Tuneta’sscheme.  It’s that same depth that can get them to double digit wins, or at least close.

F562226Best of all with this win is that Weiss got to play some of his highly touted Freshmen and Sophomore talent.  Dayne Crist was the signal caller for most of the 4th period.  Shaquelle Evans, Theo Riddick, Zeke Motta, Jamoris Slaughter,Deion Walker, Manti Te’o, and Kapron Lewis-Moore all saw extended time.  Good news for the Irish faithful.  That time is so valuable as the season goes on.  That is the kind of time that helps get big plays in tight games when the money is on the line.

Overall the Irish took a nice step forward in week one.  They have a first class opponent in Michigan next week, who is cominf off a thrashing of Western Michigan.  Its shaping up to be another great week for college football.