Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Those who feel that the Big XII is better than the SEC at this point feel so because Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State should all be rated in the top ten of the national polls when they are first released before week one of the season. That's great, three teams in the top ten overall, it couldn't possibly get any better, right?
Wrong. Florida will be your preseason number one and they still reside in the Southeastern Conference. After the Gators, Alabama is nearly a shoe-in to be in the top ten despite losing the majority of their offense from a year ago. Ole Miss has an excellent chance to be the third SEC team ranked in the top ten to start the season which would match the three that the Big XII is able to offer.
Oklahoma and Texas are pegged as teams that just need to get by each other in order to reach the BCS National Championship Game while people see Alabama or Ole Miss as an upset or two away from being able to. I won't argue that I think that both Oklahoma and Texas are better than Alabama or the Rebels but with Florida being #1 in everyone's eyes at this point the Sooners and Longhorns get canceled out.
Both conferences will have three teams in the preseason top-10 in all likelihood. With that said, Nebraska will probably be the only other member of the Big XII in the top-25. A case can be made for Kansas but it will be a close call. The SEC will see Georgia and LSU without a doubt in the top 25 giving them one more in the first set of rankings than the Big XII.
So many people want to come out and say that the Big XII is the elite conference this season when in turn they are actually closer to being on par with the Pac-10 (who will have USC, Cal, and Oregon in the preseason top 15) than they are the SEC just yet.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
A year ago I wrote my most viewed article to date, an article previewing where the ESPN College Gameday crew would broadcast in 2008. I started the season by correctly picking six of the first eight locations but struggled down the stretch, ending with only 8 of 14 Gameday sites correctly picked. This year brings another season and another chance for me to improve where these guys will be headed, so lets get started...
Only two real contenders here, both being early out of conference matchups. Georgia travels west to play Oklahoma State while Alabama meets VaTech in the Georgia Dome, the second year in a row the Tide start the year versus the ACC in Atlanta. OKState has a couple chances to be included on the show as they host Texas and travel to Oklahoma. Don't forget the potential of playing in the Big XII Championship. This may be the one of only two chances all year for ESPN to feature a game with Alabama or Virginia Tech. With both teams likely being ranked in front of OK State and Georgia, I have to guess Gameday starts in Atlanta for a second straight season.
Pick: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama in Atlanta, GA
There isn't a whole lot of question to this one so why waste all the suspense? Sure Ohio State has layed an egg on the big-stage over the past three seasons but having and OSU/USC matchup is still a match up made in heaven for all parties involved. This will be a prime time game in Columbus and you better believe the Gameday crew will be there that morning.
Pick: USC at Ohio State
The first week of the season there isn't a real clear cut first or second choice for the four letter network. The biggest games of the day include Florida traveling to take on Lane Kiffin and the Vols at Neyland and Texas playing host to Texas Tech. I understand that Kiffin has given the Gators plenty of reason to develop dislike for the lighter shade of orange in the SEC East but Tennessee lacks talent this year, much like Texas Tech. The Vols aren't the draw in 2009 that they normally are, Texas Tech should be 2-0 against the 2-0 Longhorns at this point and ESPN wouldn't skip a chance to go to Austin, especially after how this one ended a year ago.
Pick: Texas Tech at Texas
There are certain weeks that lack an extremely "sexy" match up and as of right now, this weekend is one of those weekends. Ohio State hosting Illinois will be a great game that could go a long way in deciding the Big Ten but if OSU gets blown out by USC there is no way the Boo-Yah's are back in Columbus two weeks later. I fully expect USC to beat the Buckeyes again so throw this one out. Other match ups feature Penn State hosting Iowa and VaTech hosting Miami (FL). Since I feel that VaTech will be taken care of in week one I'll bet that ESPN heads to Happy Valley for this one.
Pick: Iowa at Penn State
A month in and the season is starting to take shape. A couple upsets will have taken place and some teams thought of as contenders just weeks ago are now battling for a chance to even make a January bowl game. What does today bring? Once again I feel there are two main parties that could host Gameday this morning. Once again, I feel that the Fighting Illini of Illinois will be passed over. I feel Illinois will have a great chance to go to a BCS game this season but this early in the year the hype won't be around the Fightin's as much as it needs to be to host Gameday. Instead an undefeated match up with Cal hosting USC out west will take the cake, even if the Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini are both unbeaten at this point.
Pick: USC at Cal
This is one of those weekends that guns are a blazing in the SEC. Alabama at Ole Miss, Florida at LSU, Georgia at Tennessee? Also be weary of Florida State hosting Georgia Tech as both seem primed for runs at the ACC crown. If LSU gets by Georgia the week before the Tigers and Gators should both be unbeaten on October 10th when they meet in Death Valley which would be impossible for ESPN to pass up.
Pick: Florida at LSU
The last week of the year with multiple unbeatens battling for positioning in the BCS Standings? Not a certainty but a strong possibility. The odds on favorite for this is the Red River Shootout in Dallas as both Oklahoma and Texas should be ranked in the top five. If either is to fall early then my money would be on Notre Dame hosting USC as both could very likely be undefeated at this point. Until the Irish beat USC they will lack the hype and I doubt the Longhorns or Sooners fall before this date.
Pick: Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, TX
If you are going to miss a weekend of college football then this may be the weekend to step away and catch your breath. Looking ahead I can almost guarantee I predict this week incorrectly. As of now I do not see any two top 25 teams playing each other this week which will make picking a "Game of the Week" nearly impossible. Because I have to pick one I'll say Kansas hosting Oklahoma could feature teams who could very well both be unbeaten or only have one loss between the two. If the Sooners win the Shootout the week before this almost a guarantee...
Pick: Oklahoma at Kansas
Happy Halloween, what is the treat for today? These aren't the dead weeks but there is no doubt this is a stretch of the season that really does lack a true "marquee game". Depending how Georgia holds up early on their match up with Florida may be picked as the choice. I don't expect the Bulldogs to have a great season which will take eyes away from this game, I instead have this week staying in Big XII country.
Pick: Texas at Oklahoma State
Finally we are back on track with getting a huge game in the Midwest occurring this evening. The SEC lacks a killer match up and ESPN will want to get out of the Big XII after spending almost a month straight there. I have Penn State hosting Ohio State this week as the game that decides the Big Ten champ with a strong likelihood that at least one of the two is undefeated at this point.
Pick: Ohio State at Penn State
I'm conceding already, this week is nearly impossible to find a stellar match up in. This will be a week that a lesser major conference is put on display. Cal at Arizona could be a big game but it has the equal chance to have one team in it who has been a major disappointment to this point. Auburn and Georgia seems like the biggest SEC game, don't expect the coverage to be happening there. Instead, this week will go outside the BCS conferences with a couple of teams who look to crash the BCS party later in the season.
Pick: Utah at TCU
It's starting to come to an end as we only have two weeks of regular season action left. Penn State could clinch the Big Ten this week on the road in East Lansing. Oregon and Arizona has the potential to be a meaningless game as well while Florida is playing FIU so count the Swamp out of this one. My bet will be for this week to be in East Lansing as the last two times Joe Paterno won the Big Ten, ESPN has been done Gameday from the game's location.
Pick: Penn State at Michigan State
The final regular season weekend of the year and there are multiple places we could end up. Oklahoma/Oklahoma State could decide who represents the Big XII South in its conference title but the biggest game of the day will be an out of conference battle in the Southeast. No, I'm not talking about UGA/GTech, I'm talking about Florida/Florida State. I expect the Noles to have more of a "Bobby Bowden type year" and be in contention for a BCS game at this point. Unless major injuries I see Florida being unbeaten as well, a game that Gameday would not miss if its of this magnitude.
Pick: Florida State at Florida
There you are, my picks as to where College Gameday will be broadcast from each of the Saturday's this fall. I struggled the first time I did this, going only 8 for 14 in regular season games, hopefully I improve this year. Agree or disagree with my predictions? Feel free to comment away!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
1. I like underdogs...The first college campus I ever set foot on was Rutgers, and that's where my love of teams that shouldn't have a chance started. There's nothing that gets my adrenaline rushing more than seeing the upset alert flash across my ESPN ticker.
2. I hate USC...I hate everything that the University of Spoiled Children stands for. Kind of tying in with my love for the underdog, I hate the idea that a team in college can reload it's talent because of ridiculous amounts of money, and some very loyal boosters.
3. The BCS works...I used to be a huge advocate for a playoff in the FBS, but after further review, the BCS has really only failed once (the 13-0 Auburn Tigers), but aside from that, it has been a successful system for getting the best possible matchup year in and year out.
4. Fans like this guy...
Make Saturdays in a college town some of the most entertaining times you can possibly have.
5. Tim Tebow is the greatest college football player I have ever seen...PERIOD. You can try to argue all you'd like, but Reggie Bush is a very distant second place in my lifetime.
6. The teams I pay closest attention to for my own personal and selfish reasons: Scarlet Knights, Gators, Golden Gophers, Nittany Lions. I'm sure I'll get into more of why later in the season, but we're just getting started.
7. The Swamp will always be the toughest place to play. Until you've been able to stand on the field while nobody else is in the stadium and feel the chill of knowing you are in one of the greatest sporting arenas EVER...You will not be able to understand why. Michigan Stadium is the most unintimidating group of 100,000 boosters and old people sitting on their hands, so Blue fans, GET OFF MY BACK.
8. I am one of the few people that neither loves nor hates Notre Dame...As long as they show up to play and entertain me, I am not a Golden Dome hater.
9. Whenever I find a video like this one:
I'm gonna post it for your enjoyment
10. Did I mention Tim Tebow is the greatest football player in the world?
Either way, that's just a brief list of things to keep in mind when reading UnProfessional Football. There will also be various other writers contributing to this blog that have very different thoughts and feelings on the greatest sport in the world, but for the most part, I consider them very knowledgeable and entertaining in their thoughts on the sport.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I grew up a Notre Dame fan and still follow the Fighting Irish as if they are my sibling. If you're an Irish fan check out Domersportsreport.blogspot.com as I am also a writer there but to tell more about myself, I watch more than just Notre Dame on Saturday's. I'm not going to tell you how great Knute Rockne and Bear Bryant were in their days, instead I am going to talk about the game today. During the season I'll preview/review games as well as tell you what I agree with when it comes to game decisions that were made the past week or I'll tell you how I would try to attack certain teams in upcoming games.
I currently live in Chicago which is far from the Mecca of the sport, I understand that. I work in sports-media here in the city currently and have a background in radio. In the future I would love to be able to at least make a podcast to be able to share things quicker with everyone but for now blogging will do.
In order for you to get to know me a bit I filled out a poll I found in an old ESPN Football Encyclopedia and gave my answers. Agree or disagree, here's my favorite all-time in each category:
All Time Favorite Players to Watch:
QB - Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
RB - Ricky Williams, Texas
WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt
TE - Kellen Winslow, Jr., Miami (FL)
OL - Chris Samuels, Alabama
DL - Warren Sapp, Miami (FL)
LB - Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
DB - Champ Bailey, Georgia
All Time Favorite Bowl Game:
2006 Rose Bowl/National Title - Texas 41 USC 38
-On the biggest stage you saw a field full of stars shine. This game had everything, two heavyweights, star power, and double-digit defiect of a comeback, and an upset to boot in the title game. Games get no better.
All Time Regular Season Game:
October 15, 2005 - USC 34 Notre Dame 31
Perhaps it was because I was there but I have honestly never witnessed a more exciting regular season game. USC, #1 at the time and the defending champs was on the ropes after Brady Quinn gave the Irish a late lead. A 4th and 9 conversion later and a heads-up save by Reggie Bush gave the Trojans a win and allowed them to play for the title later that year.
Favorite All Time Head Coach:
Joe Paterno, Penn State University
Say what you want about ole' JoePa. I understand he doesn't have as active as roll as he once did for the Nittany Lions but its tough to find a coach who has done as much for an entire university, not only their football team. The all-time D1 wins leader and a class act to boot. They don't make them like Joe Paterno very often.
Greatest Team I Have Seen Play:
Its tough to beat the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers but I can't honestly say I understood how great they were at the time. To me, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes did steam rolled nearly everyone with such ease and had the swagger to boot. Ken Dorsey, Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, Bryant McKinnie...do I have to continue? Okay, Jerome McDougle, Jonathan Vilma, and Frank Gore. I'll stop there. I'll take my chances with this set of players against any, ever.
So welcome to "Unprofessional Football" and enjoy in the coming weeks. There are a few diehard college football fans that will be writing here that feel pretty close to the same way about how passionate they are about the sport of college football. Welcome and enjoy.