Thursday, June 30, 2011

Conference Blast: The PAC-12 South

This is a tough division to figure; USC can't play in the title game, Arizona State loves to under achieve, Arizona always feels like a wild card, Utah and Colorado are new, and UCLA, well, they have Rick Neuheisel.Outside of Colorado, I think this will be a pretty tight-packed division, the first place team being 7-2 at best (more likely 6-3) and the fifth place team finishing 4-5.

Larry Scott: Commissioner of the Future

1. USC - The Trojans have the most talent in this division by far, with over sixty 4- and 5-star players. The coaching situation is a little more tenuous, as Lane Kiffin has done little to actually prove himself. The schedule sets up favorably in 2011 and the Trojans could start out 5-0 headed into the bye week.  I do see them losing to both Oregon and Stanford in the back half of the slate.  I'll also stick my neck out a bit and say that SoCal needs to be careful when they host the cross-town rival Bruins or they could easily be sitting at 6-3. Even with 3 losses in conference, they'd technically have the head-to-head tiebreaker with AZ St...but none of that matters since they can't play in the title game anyway.

2.Arizona State - I feel very scared picking the Sun Devils here. It's looking like they'll have a 6-3 league record and that includes five straight wins to close out the year. I'm scared because I don't trust Dennis Erickson to win five straight. Despite the returning starters and the preseason expectations, I still feel something's going to go wrong - I just don't know where to pick it. I have them losing at Utah in October, so any mistakes beyond that could cost the Devils the P12CG and Erickson his job.

3.Utah - The Utes will receive a very ugly welcome to their new conference in week 2. After that tilt with USC, though, things should even out a bit for the Utes. The only road game I have them winning is at Washington State, but I see them pulling an upset on visiting Arizona State in Oct. Utah gets lucky by avoiding Oregon and Stanford and could be one game away from the CG.

4. Arizona - The Wildcats have a tough schedule and could easily opening with three conference losses (Stanf., Org., USC). Things should pick up after that, but I'll pick losses at Washington and Arizona State to drop 'Zona to 4-5 in conference. I do like Nick Foles, but there's not enough returning overall and a QB can't do it alone.

5. UCLA - UCLA will be improved this season, but don't look for them to challenge for the division title. I did, at first, want to pick them higher, but I see losses at Houston and hosting Texas and b2b road conference games. That's a 1-4 start and it doesn't look much better after that. I think the Bruins will beat Wazzou, Cal, and Colorado, and pull at least one upset somewhere...maybe even in the Coliseum to end the season.

6. Colorado - It's transition time in Boulder under Jon Embree. While the Buffs return 15 starters, they'll be learning new systems on both sides of the ball. They should beat Washington State and maybe sneak past someone else somewhere, but even two wins will keep them in the cellar.

Picking and Choosing

Remember, next year the officials get the power to take points off the board if they deem a celebration unsportsmanlike. I hope we do agree that this kind of leeway is ridiculous...if  not, you're either not a truly passionate fan, or you only save it for when homerism helps you out. Just in case, here's a reminder of what true unsportsmanlike conduct looks like:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Conference Blast: Big Ten (but really twelve) Legends Division

Very professional.

Nebraska - I like the Huskers to roll this division in 2011. I do think they'll drop their first B10 game against cross-division for Wisconsin, but beyond that, they'll be favored across the board. Ohio State is not the threat they were before Tressell-gate, but I do think NU could drop either the late season game at PSU or the Friday after Thanksgiving match-up with Iowa. Call it the Pelini factor. Still, if they do end up with two conference losses, it'll still be enough to get to Indy and the B10CG.

Michigan State - Man am I hesitant to call this. On one hand, I feel like Sparty can build on last year's success and should be able to compete for the division; Cousins is a great game manager and returns alongside 2010's leading rusher. However, I cannot help but recall the trick plays and lucky breaks of 2010 or the heinous Alabama beat-down in the Cap.1 Bowl. As I was going through the schedules making picks, I realized that the Spartans are fairly even with Iowa and a strong Northwestern team next season. That leaves me with a 3-way traffic jam at the two-spot in this division and I see all three teams having 3 conference losses. It will be a dip for MSU, but with the schedule, I think that's fair.

Had to include this:

Iowa - Like I said, I see a 3-way tie for the second spot in this division. I think Iowa will lose to Michigan State, but beat Northwestern. I also think they'll lose away games at Penn State and, most likely, Nebraska (but something tells me they could catch the Huskers slipping). If the Hawkeyes were returning a little more talent, I'd be more likely to pick them outright in the 2-spot. But, with only nine starters back - 4 on D - this is more of a stability choice than any real vote of confidence in the team itself.

Northwestern - If recruiting to Evanston were easier, this would be the Wildcats year. As it stands, Northwestern will be competitive, maybe even better than the last two seasons, and with a surprise win or two, could claim the 2-spot outright. I do see b2b losses at Iowa and hosting Penn State, as well as at Nebraska later. I have gone out on a limb and called for an upset win over Michigan State in the season finale, but that would still leave them with three losses.

Michigan - Brady Hoke's first season will be a challenging one. He does have a realtively full cupboard, but the Wolverines will once again be implementing new systems. I do stand behind Denard Robinson as the truth, but 'Shoelace' will not be enough to win every game. In fact, I see5 likely conference losses, including a season-ending rivalry loss to Ohio State.

Minnesota - Jerry Kill is another first year coach, but he's got a lot more work ahead of him than Hoke does. The defense could be much improved with 8 returning starters, but the offense will be new. I think the Gophers could surprise a team or two, but the schedule's not very forgiving overall. I think they'll struggle to get past one or two conference wins.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bret Bielema lands his Bo Whitley*

Well, Russell Wilson made his pick today; he's going to be a Badger. And now we can speculate on what that means. To me, his impact is going to push Wisconsin to a higher level of competition - especially since Ohio State is going to be down. They always have a strong line, return a great RB in Montee Ball, and Wilson shifts the Wisky QB paradigm from that of game manager and ball protector to playmaker and game breaker. Imagine if they'd had an athlete like Wilson under center last year. Well, it probably wouldn't have changed much since they won the B10 and played in the Rose Bowl, but still, you know what I mean. Anyway, I've got more on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Leaders Division Blast below.

* That's a Coach reference. Better get used to it for Dynasty 2012.

CFB-themed Beers - Yes, Please.

I've seen links to Sweetwater's new Dank Tank at GTP and EDSBS the past couple days and figured, 'what the hell,' and decided to share it here as well. Overall, I'm not a big fan of Sweetwater and I think Terrapin s THE Georgia brewery, but this is still funny. And I'm glad to see them breaking out beyond middle-school sex jokes for their beer names.

While we're on the topic, let's not forget Battlin' Bulldog Beer.

This is from an eBay listing.
Let's see, what other cfb-themed beverage should be made?

Nick Saban's Napleon's Imperial Stout

JoePa's Miracle Cure, Cocoa Extract, and Olde-Timey Tincture

Les Miles Clock Management Turf Ale

Dana Holgo's Five-Alarm Watermelon and Bourbon Energy Drink, now with more Bourbon!

Mark Richt's Unsweet Iced Tea (with Splenda, but not too much, thank you. Be Blessed)

Chip Kelly's Pale Ale. The 47 different bottle/label combos really make it special. The problem is it's 2 years old and costs $25,000.

Conference Blast: Big Ten (but really twelve) Leaders Division

UPDATE: It's official: Russell Wilson is headed to Madison. I am now even more confident in my Wisconsin pick.
Why isn't Michigan in the Leaders division? I mean, it's right there in their damn fight song. Oh, well. Moving on...

I don't even know anymore - what's the point of keeping the one? Like, 'we're number one'?
Why not sneak a twelve in there. Or make an official name swap with the Big 12.
Or maybe everyone should go geographic, like the SEC.Or...fuck it.

1. Wisconsin - The Badgers' biggest problem this season will be playing road games b2b weeks against Michigan State and Ohio State. I've already called for Wisky to beat Nebraska in their conference opener, so this 2-game stretch could be the tone-setter for all of 2011. Two wins is a possibility, but I think a split is more likely. Still, a one-loss conference record will be enough for the Badgers to win their division and punch their ticket for a likely rematch with Nebraska.

2. Penn State - Man, this Ohio State scandal has done some strange things; I'm actually picking the Nittany Lions second in their division because of how unsure I am of the mess in Columbus. I don't like to out trust in the Lions, I'd rather be surprised when they win ten games. But now, I've got to pick them here. Headed into last season, PSU averaged ten-wins a season for five years. Last year's 7-win total was a let down, but I'm hoping a rebuilder as well. There are questions at QB, but I feel they'll be settled by the time the schedule gets tough (Iowa 10/8). They'll need to be firing on cylinders by season's end, as they slate wraps up with b2b away games at Ohio State and Wisconsin. Even if they lose both - which is highly likely - I feel they'll finish ahead of the Buckeyes in the standings...barely.

3. Ohio State - Oh, man - how the mighty are fallen. This should have been a team picked to win their division, conference, and an outside BCS Title shot. Instead, they've lost their coach, QB, and must sit 5 starters for 5 games. Luke Fickell and the Joe Bauserman will have their hands full early on - but at least they don't start conference play until week 5. I see them losing that game to Michigan State and following that with a road loss to Nebraska.  Even going to Illinois will be a challenge for the Bucks as they try to figure everything out in the first half of the season. They do a get a much needed bye after the Illini, but it won't help much heading into a game with Wisconsin. OSU could finish out the season with four straight wins after that, but the Penn State will be a close one.

4. Purdue - What's it gonna take to get the Boilermakers relevant again? A returning QB? Check. An improved defense? Check. Time to settle into Coach Hope's systems? Check. But I'm not sure all that will be enough to push Purdue past the heavy hitters in the Leaders division and Iowa's a tough draw from the Legends. By season's end, four conference losses seems realistic and should have the Boilermakers tied with Illinois, but should have the head-to-head advantage with a homecoming win.

5. Illinois - This team should honestly be competing for a division title. But I think we all know they won't, and I think we - especially Florida fans - know why. Zook will be on a pretty warm seat in 2011 and I don't know how many wins is enough to cool things down. Nathan Scheelchase will be a good leader and if the Illini outperform expectations, it'll have more to do with him than the head coach. The schedule's manageable, but they won't beat the top-tier teams and I see classic slip-ups, possibly even at Indiana or Minnesota. 

6.Indiana - OK, Kevin Wilson, let's see what you got. A new head coach and the loss of the top tackler, passer, and rusher makes for a tough year in Bloomington. Not that there's really any foundation here, but 2011 will be a rebuilding season for sure.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mark Richt Ready for "Battle."

Mark Richt is a very nice man. He's soft-spoken, polite, and lives his life by a set of ideals he holds very important. Not only that, but he doesn't display the hypocrisy that so many of his "christian" contemporaries often show. He and his wife have adopted two children from the Ukraine, one with a debilitating disease; they sold their lake house when they realized that they already had a lot of material wealth and the profit from the sale could go to help the less fortunate through global aid organizations - trusted ones at that, not the moronic ones who give out bibles instead of clean water; they give their time to Habitat for Humanity and other charities; etc. But, even Richt won't help the enemy.

And I say good on him:
"While the Richts were in Honduras, three of their four children were at a camp in Missouri. One of the counselors there, a close family friend, had asked the Richts for a ticket to the season opener against Boise State. Katharyn initially said no problem. But when her husband learned that the ticket actually was for a friend of their friend — a Boise State fan — he turned down the request flat.

“He’s a good kid, but I’m not going to help Boise State. We’re going to do battle, and the last thing I want to do is help some of them,” the coach said."
I like it, coach. I understand the WWJD mantra is important to Richt, but even he realizes that Jesus never coached in the SEC.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Craig James: Conservative Douche*

Craig James obviously wants a political career, judging by the video below. Now, my values are no where near in line with those touted as "true Texas values." /begin rant: As a matter of fact, the whole video uses all the conservative cover words that have been around for generations to hold corporations less accountable, push banks and interests over the people, war monger, dismiss basic civil liberties to minorities and women, deny science, push religion on everyone, and generally run the country down. Fuck all that noise. it's 2011, let's act like it. And since I disagree, of course I'll be more likely to resent this. I also don't care for Texas/Texans in the general sense. I mean, individuals shouldn't be judged by their origins, but the pervasive mind set out of the lone star state is a little ridiculous. I mean, their sitting governor is a secessionist who now wants to President of the country he wanted to secede from. That's fucking dumb. /end rant.

BTW, I thought James was a douche long before his political stripes were made so clear. Side-note: I wonder how many votes he'll get out of Lubbock?

A Vision Unveiled from Texans for a Better America on Vimeo.


* And, yes, I understand that I am a liberal douche for this post.

Conference Blast: ACC Coastal

1. Virginia Tech - This should be a great season in Blacksburg. First, the schedule is ridiculously easy manageable.Their four conference road games are Duke, Wake, UVA, and GA Tech - all easily winnable. They do draw Clemson from the other division, but it's at home. Defensively, the Hokies should be as solid as ever under Foster, but the offense could be the most interesting unit. They lose Tyrod Taylor, but by all accounts, Logan Thomas is as good if not better and he inherits a combined 98 starts across the O-line. He should be ready to shoot up opposing defenses.* He also gets five leading receivers back so look for good things on that side of the ball. Now, I know the Hokies usually flub somewhere, but I just don't know where it would be on this schedule, so I like them to win their division, win the title game, and maybe even make a 13-0 run at the BCS.

under- or over-rated?

2. Georgia Tech - It's not that I'm truly this high on Tech, it's just that I see this division with a glut of 4-4 teams right in the middle. I know a lot of people are down on the Jackets this season, but think about the rest of the conference for a sec. Yes, they might only win 6-7 games this year, but they'll still win at least 4 in the league. Miami and UNC might win more total games, but they'll be right with Johnson's boys in the standings. Moreover, I like Tech to be able to rebound easier since they are so system-based. I know they have a lot to replace, but they'll have enough to compete with the middle of the ACC pack and I could see them being a nice trap opponent for a much more talented, but maybe not as focused, Clemson.

3. Miami - Deep ball, deep ball, interception - this is Jacory Harris. Can a new head coach change this? 'Canes fans better hope so. This year should be setting up nicely for the U to be competing with VA Tech for the division, but there will be some uncertainty in the Gables. I do think the defense will be solid, but I'm not sure they can do enough to take the pressure off of Harris and a still-clicking offense. I've seen some picks for Miami to hit double digit wins - I don't see it; not with 4 losses in conference.

4. North Carolina - If it didn't seem there was no control and everything was about to break loose in Chapel Hill, I'd have picked the Heels higher. But, as it stands, we have no idea if the projected starters will play or not or how much hot water the staff could be in. That said, this is a good team and Davis is a good coach. The defense will be as good as FSU or VT, but there's a new signal caller, running back, and some questions in the receiving corp. Add that to the fact that there's so much parity in this conference - and this division particularly - and I'll call a slightly disappointing 4-4 season.

5. Virginia - Don't be surprised if the Cavs sneak up on some folks in 2011. They return 18 starters and the team should be clicking under Mike London in his second season. While they're definitely not ready to hang with the big boys, they could be ready to break into the middle of the pack. I see the Cavs bowling at year's end, but still dropping at least five ACC games.

6. Duke - Um, when does basketball season start?
* too soon?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Conference Blast: ACC Atlantic

First off, no, I cannot always list off what teams belong to which division with 100% accuracy. But, to my credit, who can (obviously ACC fans don't count, because, if they really like football, why would they be ACC fans?)? So, I use this handy post from EDSBS when I get stuck. Ah, mnemonic devices. Anyway, you really don't need to know anything past FSU/Clemson on one side and VA Tech on the other.


1. Florida State - I'm starting to get very high on Florida State. They have almost everything a team needs for an ACC championship season: over 100 starts returning on the O-line, 8 starters on offense, and 8 more on D. They have what I believe is a good coach in Jimbo Fischer, but I am worried about their QB. Look for Manuel to make mistakes in big games and cost the 'Noles a road trip somewhere (Clemson or BC). But even with one loss, I'll take Florida State to rep the Atlantic in Charlotte.

P.S. - Plus, Jimbo's a better pitchman in this jewelry ad than Richt in those Carpets of Dalton commercials.

2. Clemson - If only Clemson wasn't Clemson, I'd have picked them at number one. I do like them in all their division games except FSU, which I've got dead even right now. However, they draw a trip to Blacksburg which I have as a loss, and then they'll get all Clemson-y and lose either at Georgia Tech or NC State. That extra loss will have them watching the CG from home.

3. Boston College - Some people don't like BC's schedule, but I think it sets up nicely for them. I do think they'll lose at Clemson and at VA Tech, but they could give FSU a run for their money in November. Even if they do lose to the Noles, they'll have 5 conference wins which will be enough for this third place pick in the ATL-ic division. And, they'll do it all with BC-style: strong line, responsible QB, and a solid defense. They won't be fun or flashy, but they'll be solid, making them a team everyone needs to take seriously.

4. NC State - With Russel Wilson, I might be picking the Pack for Charlotte; without him, they'll be decent, but still a few games away. I think they need to be careful breaking in Glennon on the road at Wake, and I'll call losses against GA Tech, FSU, Clemson. To me, the make-or-break stretch is b2b games against UNC and BC. If they split those two games and don't get upset somewhere, they have a pretty good season. If they drop both, they might still go bowling, but 2011 will be a slight disappointment.

5. Maryland - The Terps were quite a surprise last year, they won't be as successful this go-round. The 4-game stretch through GA Tech-Clemson-FSU-BC is brutal and no one likes closing the season with b2b away games. With Edsall still settling in, I think it'll be tough for the Terps to top 2-3 league wins...this season. But next year could be different.

6. Wake Forest - Things have adjusted back to normal in Winston-Salem. They have a lot of starters returning, but no real talent if the past few recruiting years are any indicator. It'll be a while before we see Grobe get his guys to over-achieve at '06 levels again. This year, they'll lucky to top last year's one conference win.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Couple of Things...

One: This video is not that funny, but it is awesome and falls in that almost necessary viewing department:

Two: I do get off on new/throwback/pro combat uni stuff sometimes. I didn't really swoon over the Michigan-Notre Dame night game retros, but I do think these Nebraska game gloves by Adidas are badass:

h/t: cornnation

Conference Blast: The Big 12 (but, really ten)

1. Texas - Let's get right into it here, this 'Horns ranking is the biggest surprise in this post. There's not much enumeration basis for this pick; I'm going on my gut. I took the Horns in the RRR and that should be enough to win the league, even though I do see them losing to A&M late. Yes, I know all the reasons I shouldn't pick them, but I just have more faith in them this season than the Sooners.

2. Oklahoma - The Sooners are going to inflict a lot of damage on this conference in 2012. But, as talented as the Sooners are, it's hard to look past the slips they usually make and pick them as outright league champs. I think they lose the RRR to Texas, bu then rip off some impressive, destructive, 2008-style wins to close out the year. However, they'll need the Longhorns to drop 2 conference games and I don't think they will.

3. Texas A&M - OK, Mike Sherman, we're looking at you; this is your time to shine. A&M has QB Tannehill and 9 other starters back on offense and 8 returners on D. They were vastly improved last year and will be looking to keep building on that success. But, I think they'll lose to Oklahoma and drop an odd-ball game somewhere like Texas Tech or Kansas State. Those two losses will be enough to keep the Aggies at third in the standings, despite a season-ending rivalry win over UT on Thanksgiving.

4. Oklahoma State - Man, will there be some serious fireworks in Stillwater this year, with Weeden, Blackmon, and 76 returning starts along the O-line. However, fireworks don't always win games and the Cowboys' defense should be fairly weak. I'll confidently pick losses in their trips to both Austin and College Station, but I could see them hanging around with the Sooners in the season finale.

5. Kansas State - Bill Snyder, a weaker league, and a bunch of JUCO transfers? I think the Cats'll be bowling again this post-season. I mean, they won't be strong enough to displace anyone in the top-tier above, but they should own the middle of the pack, with Texas Tech being the only lower placed team I'm worried about.

6. Texas Tech - The Raiders are kind of a wild card to me. A double digit win season wouldn't necessarily be a shock, but neither would a .500 year. I'm going to pick classic Tuberville and classic Texas Tech and shoot the gap. These 5-6-7 spot teams will be packed in pretty evenly, so any mistake could cause a slip in the standings, so the Raiders better be careful hosting Iowa State between the big boys OU and UT and a late trip to Missouri.

7. Missouri - I feel like Missouri will be a very good November. Early on, however, I think they'll struggle to find themselves behind a new QB. The defense will be the key to whether the Tigers finish here or in the 4- or 5-spot. Obviously, I'm not jumping out on the limb that calls for a big season on that side of the ball. They get a bye week before K-State and host T-Tech, so they could split those, but I do not like that trap road game to Baylor in early November...

8. Baylor - Robert Griffin leading nine starters back on offense is good news. The bad news is, well, everything else. The Bears should be good enough to hang with the middle of the pack, but they have no chance with the big boys and need to be careful on their road trip to Kansas.

9. Iowa State - There's not much in the cupboard in Ames, but they at least get to host Kansas. I'll give them that win and maybe a surprise upset somewhere down the line.

10. Kansas - Ouch. Let's hope they at least beat McNeese State...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Conference Blast: The Big East

Well, it's time for some preseason conference round-ups and predictions. I'm starting with the Big East because, honestly, it's my least fave to pick. They're barely an AQ, there's no championship game, there's only eight teams, and they're just kinda boring overall.I'll give you win hint, though: don't look for UConn to re-appear in a BCS game this January. This conference will benefit greatly from TCU's arrival next year. But, while I have just thoroughly trashed them, there's a lot of parity among these teams and we could see five or six in bowl games.

1. South Florida - I don't know if I think that highly of Skip Holtz, or if I just don't think that highly of the conference. Hell, it's a little of both, I guess. But, I see the Bulls winning this conference and maybe even getting to double digit wins. I think they'll lose on the road to Pitt, but will lock up the league by beating West Virginia in the regular season finale. The offense will be better in Holtz's second year and BJ Daniels is a solid returning QB. Defensively. they're not returning a lot, but it'll be decent, because the cupboard's stocked with three-star Florida talent and that's enough to win in this league.

2. West Virginia - I'm very skeptical of this pick, but so wary of the rest of the league that even the coaching drama in Morgantown isn't enough to chase me off. It would have been better for Holgorsen to have a year at OC before taking over, but the athletes he has are more than capable of running his system and the O-line return's the league's most combined starts. Despite the chaos of this past month, there's enough in the program to keep the Mountaineers above most of the Big East pack. 

3. Pitt - The Panthers really should be Big East champions next year. They were second in both defense and offense last season and have the right starters back to move up to the top in both. However, they have a new head coach and apretty well documented history of under-achieving. We'll see them live up to their potential in flashes, like my pick for them to beat USF. But we'll also see the lingering effects of the 'stache in a loss to either Rutgers or Louisville and it'll all end with another conference loss to WVU.

4. Louisville - A lot of people are down on Louisville this season. A lot. And I see why. 3 overall offensive starters, a freshman QB, and only 25 starts along the line. I must be crazy, right? Nope. I just like Charlie Strong. He's got seven back on defense and in his second year, there should be enough discipline in place to hold everything else together. They will drop 3 of their last 4 league games, but that's only because their schedule is back-loaded with the three teams listed above.

5. Rutgers - Oh, Rutgers. I have been burned by you before...but not this year. The Knights should be good this year, like I mean 2006 potential. But they won't. Why? Fuck if I know, but picking them above mediocre is suicide ever since Shciano turned down those jobs to stay in Jersey.  I like 9 returning on offense, I like only 3 league road games, and I like some of their young talent...but something will happen. It always does. 3-4

6. Cincinnati - Honestly, spots 5-7 are fairly interchangeable; they all have certain strengths and glaring weaknesses. And, I didn't really think about how many first- and second-year HC's this league had until I started writing this. One of those new guys, 2nd year Butch Jones at Cincy will have a solid career with the Bearcats, but I think he's still a year out on that. The defense returns ten, but weren't that impressive last year, so I don't know how much that will help. Offensively, I really like Collaros at QB, and while he should be fun to watch, it won't be enough to get past a 3-4 league mark.

7. Syracuse - I would love to see this team do well. Last year's 8-win mark was impressive, especially coming off the stretch they'd been having this decade. I like Doug Marrone and think he could be a great coach, but this won't quite be his year. The Orange got a lot of luck in 2010 and it won't be back in '11. Their season finale at Pitt ought be the closer on a 2-5 conference mark.

8. UConn - I'll just say that Edsall picked the perfect time to leave

NCAA Dynasty 2012 Teaser

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Conference Clashes 2011

This is not an all-inclusive list by any stretch; I just as easily could have included Texas A&M-Texas, OU-OKSt, the Iron Bowl, the Game, or fifteen others. But, I feel these are some of the biggest conference match-ups heading into this season, whether they be trap games, division deciders, or big time welcomes for new league members. I left a few out simply because I wasn't ready to pick them, like SoCar-Georgia, and a few from leagues that already had a few on the list.

Oregon at Stanford - This late season match-up will most likely decide the Pac-12 North. Stanford will be a good football team in '11, but I don't see them being quite as successful as last year without Harbaugh. Luck will keep them in this one late, but I see bigger things for Oregon this season. Oregon 34, Staford 24

LSU at Alabama - This is another division decider, but it might mean a lot more than that for the Tide. I see LSU carrying a loss or two into this one, setting them up perfectly to play spoiler to an unbeaten Alabama. Both teams have bye weeks before hand, so look for Saban to use that time to clean up and tighten down while Miles uses it to work up some trick play. It'll be close, but I'll take discipline over cud chewing. Alabama 27, LSU 19

Nebraska at Wisconsin - Welcome to the Big Ten, Corn Huskers. While the teams are from different divisions, this one's big because it's Nebraska's first conference away game in their new league. Both teams will be playing for national prominence and will both likely be unbeaten coming into the match-up. This will be a great dress rehearsal for the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, as both teams should win their sides of the conference. I like the home team in this one, but it'll be close. Wisky 23, Nebraska 20

Texas-Oklahoma (Dallas) - I've said that I think Texas will be much improved and that I don't see OU running the table, so I guess I better put up, huh? Gilbert will be comfortable by the RRR, having beaten BYU and UCLA by then, OU will already have a loss and be working a few things out. Also, b2b wins are tough in this series and the 'Horns will be bouncing back big time. Texas 30, Oklahoma 20

TCU at Boise St - The Broncos just got here and now the Frogs are leaving. To punish TCU, the league moved the game to Boise and that might be just enough edge. If the game was in Ft. Worth, I'd pick the Frogs, but on the smurf turf, I'll take Boise. Boise State 20, TCU 17

Arkansas-Alabama - This is the conference opener for both teams, it's a big division game, and it carries expectations and pressures on both sides. Alabama will be playing for perfection and a return to the BCS title game, Arkansas will be playing to prove that they've honestly arrived and 2010 wasn't just Ryan Mallet. I think the Hawgs' offense will be very difficult to contain, but if there's a D that can do it, it's probably the Tide, who return 10 starters on that side of the ball. Alabama has the advantage of hosting the game, which makes it harder for Arkansas to play spoiler and hang around. Alabama 31, Arkansas 23

Clemson at Virginia Tech - The Hokies could be a very serious contender next year. They bring in a young QB that many are high on and have an easy schedule. Their biggest tests will be Miami and this match-up with the Tigers, both at home. While this is not a division game, it could have huge implications on VT's national chances. We always say the Hokies blow a game somewhere...but I don't think this is it. VA Tech 31, Clemson 20

Arizona State at UCLA - UCLA needs a turn around season, but this schedule is tough. They return a lot of starters, but will suffer some early losses before clicking. This game will decide who represents the PAC-12 North in the inaugural league championship game, since likely champ USC cannot actually play in the game. Arizona State should have a strong season, but I see them slipping on the road in Pasadena. UCLA 23, Arizona State 21

Michigan State at Nebraska - I have a feeling some cracks will show on the Spartans this year. I'm not saying they'll have a losing year, but it'll be tough to win 11 games again. On the other hand, Wisconsin will be accustomed to Big Ten play by this game and get the added benefit of hosting. Though the teams are evenly matched, this looks like it could set up for things to get out of hand unless State really holds it together on the road. Wisconsin 37, Michigan State 20

West Virginia at USF - Um, because I felt I needed to include a Big East game. I like Holtz in year two over Hologorsen in year one, and this game should settle the entire conference, as the 'Neers will be coming off a Backyard Brawl win over  Pitt the week before. I'll take the home team. USF 30, WVU 26

Florida State at Clemson - This game should decide the Atlantic division, but we all know Clemson's gonna drop a couple late. FSU on the other hand should roll through their late season conference play until the rivalry with Miami. However, this game is in September and the Noles will be coming off a BIG win over Oklahoma...big enough to inflate their heads. And nothing pops an overinflated head like a tiger claw. Clemson 16, FSU 14

Utah at USC - This is another expansion inclusion. This is the Utes' first league game and it comes on the road in the inhospitable confines of the Coliseum against an angry team with nothing to lose. Though I see Utah evening out and competing later in the season, things could get ugly early. USC 40, Utah 20

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Non-Conference Predicitons for 2011

It's that time of year again; time to make ridiculously early and completely unfounded predictions for the upcoming season. Today we'll hit some of the big non-conf. games, tomorrow we'll see some of the biggest conference match-ups, and then you'll get your annual conference blasts capped with the world famous official FTS preseason poll. 

1. Oklahoma at Florida State - Throw last year out the window.  I know the Sooners are going to be a lot of folks' favorites for the BCS title in '11, but I'm not seeing it. I'm thinking there'll be some early struggles before the ship rights itself and the Seminoles in week 2 will be a tough opponent to play while OU's still finding themselves. Maybe I'm drinking the Jimbo-Aid, but I think FSU will be ready. FSU 30, Oklahoma 24

2. Oregon-LSU (Arlington, TX) - It's odd to write this about an SEC team, but LSU will have trouble keeping up with Oregon's team speed (insert Cliff Harris rental car joke here). And, if a track meet doesn't break out, we saw in last year's BCS title game that the Ducks can play defense if they need to. I know LSU is on a lot of peoples' short lists, but Oregon's near the top of mine. And, while the trip to Texas and it being opening week might clip Oregon's wings a little bit, the Tigers have too many question marks, especially for such a big game on opening weekend. Oregon 29, LSU 27

3. Boise State-Georgia (Atlanta) - Same song, different verse: if Boise wins, blah, blah, blah, BCS title game. I'm not trying to take anything away from the individuals that make up the BSU program, but this has been their narrative for so long, they don't know anything else. Meanwhile, Georgia has NO expectations and Richt's seat is getting quite warm. If the Dawgs play with nothing to lose, and they should, there could be some re-writes on deck for the Broncos' storyline. Georgia 34, Boise State 24

4. Alabama at Penn State - It'll be defense and Trent Richardson early and often and Penn State will slowly be suffocated...much like last season. Bama 27, Penn State 6

5. Arkansas - Texas A&M (Arlington, TX) - This game should be least I hope it will be. While it certainly has the potential for a shoot-out, it also looks like one of those that could turn in the 2nd quarter or so, only keeping Aggies and Hawgs interested. Either way, I'll take the Razorbacks, but not by much...A&M will be a good team this year. Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 30

6. Auburn at Clemson - The '07 CFA Bowl, this 2010-'11 home and home, and the 2012 CFA kick-off classic; this cat fight's becoming quite the rivalry. Last year was a hard-fought, OT come back for Cam and crew that left Kyle Parker picking up pieces of lung. This year, Auburn has lost most of that BCS title team and Clemson brings back a lot of talent. While I don't think AU will struggle as much as Phil Steele does, I do think Death Valley gets the better of them. Clemson 29, Auburn 24

7. LSU-WVU - Hell, I'd rather just watch the two coaches in this one, chuggin' Red Bull, eatin' grass, greasy hair, and big hats - these guys are all kind of crazy. Too bad we can't say the same for the game itself. It could honestly be quite boring, with LSU steadying its season on win in Morgantown. The Tigers' D will do most of the work, containing a 'Neer squad learning a new system. LSU 20, West Virginia 13

8. Arizona at Oklahoma State - I really want to pull for this Wildcat squad; I like Nick Foles, I like Mike Stoops, I don't care much for ASU...but I know it's just not gonna happen for them. * wins might be the best they can hope for. That said, I'm not nearly as high on this Oklahoma State team as some people are, either, though. The offense hasn't lost much, but they'll be adjusting without Holgorsen. Still, I think the Pokes take this one, but it'll be closer than last year's Alamo Bowl. OK State 37, Arizona 24

9. San Diego State at Michigan - Ooh, the drama. Hoke's old team visits the Big House...and wins? I won't go that far. I think Hoke will be able to create some improvement at Michigan right away, with an almost in tact offense returning, a wild card like Denard Robinson, and a (hopefully) improved defense. But the Aztecs will be tricky to put away and the emotion will keep it even closer. Michigan 34, SDSU 27

10. Texas at UCLA - I've seen some people predicting a blowout favor of UCLA. That surprises on two levels. One, I think it'll be close (read: boring for non 'Horn or Bruin fans) and I think Texas will be back on track in 2011. The Bruins won't be too improved over last year's squad, but I see Texas roaring back to double digit wins...and the trip to LA should be one of them. Texas 21, UCLA 13


Honorable Mention: OKST at Tusla - This could be a record setter. Both offenses return almost everyone and it'll be in Tulsa, erasing some of the big boy's edge. Look for over a thousand yards and a hundred points here. I've got no formal prediction, just wanted to give this one a shout out. If you like offense, this is one for you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Class of 2012

The Mark Richt Football Camp this weekend was a success. At least as far as Georgia fans are concerned. I have no idea how many kids were involved, how much work got done, or if any real improvements were made. But I do know that Richt's camp gives him the opportunity to meet high school fb players face-to-face and it helped net four commits for next year. And, while it's always nice to sign four players, it's especially nice to land "the state’s No. 1 package deal." The package is DE James DeLoach and DT Jonathon Taylor (4-stars), from Jenkins County HS. Kipp Adams (UGA/rivals) describes Taylor as "the most talented defensive tackle to come out of Georgia the last five years..." While he might be a little too raw for a five star rating right now, I'll bet his senior season might get him there. The two D-linemen will make a nice signing class compliment to Leonard Floyd (Dodge Co.), a 4-star DE who committed back in April. The Dawgs also landed Pierce County High School FB Quayvon Hicks (3-stars) and Cartersville High School P Collin Barber this weekend.

Improper Benefits

Remember last year's Sugar Bowl? What was that eligibility question...?
Improper benefits have pretty much been the major story line in cfb for a few seasons now. From USC and Reggie Bush to Cam Newton and now Tressel, Pryor, and OSU. We've seen reclaimed Heismans, vacated BCS titles, complicit coaches shooed out of town, and all sorts of handouts, payoffs, cars, tattoos, and god knows what else. But I don't feel we've seen a fair response or an honest attempt to fix the problem. Like I said a couple weeks ago, we've gone beyond financial need and character flaws, here; entitlement's the problem. Your superstar QB will always think he deserves more than your second string tight end and will find a way to get it. And there will always be someone there waving the cash. That's where the problem lies: the man waving the cash.
We actually have a name and face for the problem at OSU, Dennis Talbot. And I say he's the one to go after. I mean, let's grow up here and realize that blaming a 19-year old kid in such an exploitative/entitled system is getting us nowhere. Of course they'll take the handout; every one's not Tim Tebow - and Tebow wouldn't be Tebow without the advantages of his family and upbringing (but the SES stuff can wait for another post) - they're kids, and most of them are from poor backgrounds. And we blame them? I say go after the sleazy-ass lawyers/businessmen/agents/reps/etc. that prey on these talented kids. Make it a federal crime, a felony, to pass improper benefits on to players. Weed them out, hoe them up, and spray the remnants.

Until we do that, nothing's going to change.

Now, I'm not saying to let the kids off scot-free. If they take the handouts, they sit-out the time. Beyond that, we might need to revisit some ideas, like what a 'gift' is, or someone selling their own 'property.' We also need to rethink institutional penalties. I have no problem with OSU trying to stem off further penalties by forcing out Jim Tressel. I think it should actually lessen whatever the NCAA levels at them. Take USC for instance, the punishment does not fit the crime for those who actually broke the rules/allowed the violations to take place. Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll are in the NFL, banking millions. Meanwhile, kids who were in middle school when Bush broke the rules can't play in a bowl game and a coaching staff who had nothing to do with Carroll's dynasty have a short hand to play. The people who should pay the price are the illegal agents and the coaches.

Being punished all the way to the bank.
 I know it's not a perfect system punishing coaches for something they in theory might not know about - but, once again, let's grow up. They know it happens, whether they've apparently built their success on it and covered for it (Tressel) or they simply haven't been quite vigilant enough, because they know they're benefiting and no one can link them directly to any wrong doing (Um, everybody else?). These kids make millions for their universities, and it's reflected in the coaches' paychecks. I say put some of that money on the line. We have payouts for coaches, why not have personal penalties. Maybe then they'd be a little more involved and take compliance more seriously.

While we're at it, we should think about longer reaching repercussions for certain players, too.There's no reason that any individual player who profits from football as a career after incurring a certain level of penalties shouldn't pay some more of the price later. Let Reggie Bush have his salary trimmed with fines and fees, scholarship programs at USC, donations to charity or the NCAA fund, etc. For this to work, the NFL will have to get involved, and all the laws in the world won't mean anything until they do. Reforming this is almost impossible without their influence.

Uh, a little help here guys?
In the end, though, save the big punishment for the parasites individuals who take advantage of the system most. We need to stick it to the Dennis Talbots of the world. Is Terrelle Pryor a douche? Absolutely. But I'm not the same person I was when I was 19 or 20. There's still a chance for these kids to mature and make better decisions. For a 40-year old Dennis Talbot, who flashes cash and entices kids to sign memorabilia or make appearances at a kid's party, that ship sailed a long time ago. He is who he is. And who he is is the problem. Now it's time to solve it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Dynasty is a Multiverse.

It is almost time reboot the Ace Journeyman saga for the 2012 edition of EA Sports' NCAA Football video game. The digital dynasty has been scrapped, rebooted, retcon'd, and redone more than the X-Men universe, with a new edition for every game, but one things has remained the same: Journeyman has built his career from the ground up. He's began his career at Western Kentucky, Idaho, and Eastern Michigan (truly painful), and now we have a good indicator where the next one will begin. Behold: The complete 120 team rankings from NCAA '12. Coming at 120 and likely new home for the Ace? Akron. That's right, Zips, get ready for a turn around!

Alabama and Oklahoma are the only overall A+ teams. Michigan and Miami are rated A's overall, but come in ranked 33 and 34, respectively. Auburn is the highest rated B+ at #12. Interestingly enough, Ohio State is an 'A' overall and ranked 6th...maybe we can get a network patch for that a week after game release. Or maybe EA thinks very highly of Bauserman. Georgia comes in as a B+ and ranked 27th; their week one opponent, Boise State, is an overall A ranked 8th. How many UGA fans are going to take out their 6-7 frustration and fight for some non-existent electronic redemption by pounding the Broncos in the few weeks between the game's release and the actual game in the dome? I know of at least one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wild and Wonderful

What the fuck is going on at West Virginia? Back in December, Oliver Luck (yes, of those Lucks) lured Dana Holgorsen away from OK State to become OC and head coach-in-waiting for the Mountaineers. Many saw it as the AD slowly shooing Bill Stewart towards the door and trying to trade up and build a better program. Under Stewart's tenure, the 'Neers have slipped, going from an outside title shot under RichRod in '07, to never breaking the top-20 the last three seasons. Stewart already had some baggage when he the interim tag was snipped off of him after the '08 bowl win over OU, and there are hints of impropriety lingering from the RichRod era as well. Combined, this was a pink slip waiting to happen, and with Holgorsen, Luck could avoid a costly coaching search and the players could already have a season with the new system under their belts.

While it was obvious what was going on, things were fairly quiet in Morgantown...until the new OC hit town and decided to let loose. In May, reports hit that Holgorsen's style of partying was a little too much for the Mardi Gras Casino to handle, and the new OC was tossed out. Most people looked at this as an unfortunate - and hilarious - incident, and Holgorsen was appropriately contrite, satisfying most critics. Except one.

Apparently, Bill Stewart saw this as a way to hang on to his job. If Holgorsen is made too look like a drunken jack-ass who can't handle the job properly, then maybe WVU would have to keep Ol' Whittlin' Bill around. Enter the news reports from last week. A report came out linking Holgorsen to at least six  more incidents; alcohol related shenanigans resulting in ejection from all sorts of hot spots: bars, casinos, tracks, gold courses. After this, a lot of folks around the program and across the fan base became uneasy about DH as new OC and Oliver Luck even came under fire as AD. And who looked like a saint? Why, the quiet choir boy himself, Bill Stewart.

See, Holgorsen has a bit of a rep. Here's what Chuck Landon had to say, "Maybe now we know why the University of Pittsburgh passed on Dana Holgorsen. West Virginia University's new football offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting came to the state with a reputation of being a partier." And Doc Sat sums him up as a coach "with more than a little bit of the Captain in him: Holgorsen is a bachelor as he nears age 40, spent his entire year in Stillwater living out of a hotel and openly pounds Red Bull on the sideline."

But after a few days of fun, many began questioning where the stories came from. Who was the source? Who would leak that info, so damning to the program? Well, according to Landon, it was Bill Stewart. And he didn't start in May, he started in December. So, almost as soon as Holgorsen was brought in, Stewart began trying to undermine him. With this newest piece of the puzzle in place, scrutiny was moved off of Luck and DH and placed squarely on Stewart. His contract has been frozen and Luck is doing an internal investigation into the entire hot mess before anything goes any further. Which means we might see Stewart out in a few days' time and Holgorsen as head man next season.

Which leads me to some thoughts/concerns/questions. One, if Stewart has been undermining DH since December, then I wouldn't want him around anymore. But, is DH really the man for the HC job? Can he handle the more high profile job? It's one thing more a maverick Mumme/Leach schooled OC to have a wild streak, but it's another thing all together for him to be the big chief. I do think Luck has done an admirable job as AD, and hopefully the heat on him will cool off. But the heat under DH's seat will already be turned up before he even coaches a down. In the end, at least Mountaineer Field will be selling beer  starting this fall, so, no matter what happens, folks can get their buzz on. Not so fast, Dana, you have a job to do...we're just not sure which job that will be exactly.

On a side note, all this talk about West Virgina has reminded me. Watch this documentary: The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (it's available on instant streaming at Netflix). It is a must see.

Monday, June 6, 2011

BCS Strips USC of '04 Title

Cue the chorus of Auburn fans, demanding the title that they think is rightfully theirs. The Tigers went 14-0 in 2004, but were left out of the BCS title game in favor of Oklahoma and USC. The Trojans drilled the Sooners, and were crowned both AP and BCS champs, but many were left wondering 'what if' about a Auburn-USC match-up. Now we have to wonder who rightfully deserves the '04 crown, as today, the BCS decided to strip SoCal of the title. And wonder is all we can do, because they won't be awarding it to another program.

What's not in doubt: Oklahoma's ineptitude in that game.
UPDATE: It's not that big of a surprise, apparently. USC AD Pat Haden said, "This was not an  unexpected outcome."
This all stems from Reggie Bush being ineligible for receiving illegal/improper benefits during his playing career. USC will not have to return anything, however, as any payments received form the game would have been conference payouts and as such, un-returnable. The BCS can't repo the crystal football, since it's an award from the Coaches Poll association. So what's the point? Not sure. Obviously it's a symbolic gesture to chastise the program, but maybe it's also a warning to other schools. Oddly enough, in this age of heightened sensitivity to improper benefits, we might see Auburn at the center of another one of these storms in a few years. If more probing into Cam Newton reveals anything down the line, the Tigers could be facing a similar stripping. Then I guess TCU would be clamoring for re-consideration...

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Step in the Right Direction.

Mike Slive announced the SEC's plan for over-signing and roster management today. Needless to say. Nick Saban will not be happy. But he won't be the only un-happy coach. While not every head honcho in the SEC has practiced outright over-signing, they've all pretty much enjoyed the wiggle room of a 28 scholarship cap. Well, in what was a surprise to me, the SEC thumbed their noses at the coaches and went with the university presidents, restricting the scholarship cap to 25. Honestly, I'm glad they did it. I mean, I understand why coaches want every advantage they can get, but I can also admit it's a little fucked-up and probably not best for the kids involved. The coaches can talk expanding opportunities, but in reality they just want back-up plans in case a kid doesn't qualify. And if they all qualify? Do the math. There's a 125 roster cap, which means you might have signed but now you're cut. Translation: go fuck yourself, kid.

Besides the 25 scholarship limit, there were 3 other rules changes. Students who enroll in the summer count towards the fall's numbers, the conference will expand oversight of medical exemptions (medical red-shirts), and there will be a ban on the grad-school exemption for players that still have eligibility (Masoli rule). Overall, I feel like this is a step in the right direction and I hope we keep moving this way.

Slive further announced that he will present these rules to the NCAA in hopes they'll be universally adopted. Also, last season was a financial boom for the SEC, as the conference paid out over $18 million to its member schools.I guess winning 5 BCS titles in a row is a profitable business.

 For some reason, I kinda got off on an illegal benefits tangent here. So, keep reading below:

Pay for Play?
None of these new SEC rules addresses what has become the sexier, more scandalous story in cfb: improper benefits. And, honestly, I don't know how you would address this without an outside, law enforcement agency crackdown. By rule, NCAA athletes cannot work during the school year. Football players cannot work over the summer. Athletic scholarships cannot provide outside of tuition and board, unlike more discretionary academic scholarships. So, it's not that morally reprehensible for a kid to take a handout. But it does violate the rules. But the rules are violated everywhere. Boosters want to win. Coaches want to win. Kids get big heads. Entitlement creeps in. When you consider the socio-economic background of many cfb players - especially in the SEC - it's no wonder this is so prevalent.

Pay for play has been a suggestion on the table for years. now. Steve Spurrier has gone as far as to say he'd pay the 70 players that dress $300/game. But what will this fix? I say it'll fix nothing. We've gone beyond financial need and character flaws, here. Like I said before, entitlement's the problem. Your superstar QB (cough, Terrelle Pryor, cough, cough) will still think he deserves more than your second string tight end and will find a way to get it. And there will always be someone there waving the cash. The next step is a player - or their parent - selling themselves to the highest bidder (cough, cough, Cecil Newton).

Can these problems be solved?
 So, what do we do? Fuck if I know. But I guarantee it won't b people like Mark may and Trevor Matich who solve the problem.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The DOJ and the BCS

BCS headman, Bill Hancock, has agreed to a meeting request from the Dept. of Justice. He will most likely be tasked with presenting on, then defending, the current BCS system...probably while everyone in attendance silently compares everything he says to a playoff. Because, it's technically about a playoff, but actually about examining whether or not the BCS violates anti-trust laws. Hancock is more than happy to fulfill the request, saying: "I still believe the government has more important things to do but I'm happy to talk about the benefits of the BCS every chance I get." Easy Bill. Enough with all this "doesn't the gubment have better thangs to do" BS. I doubt your TV-buddy cronies were complaining in 1984 when the Supreme Court decided in their favor and took control of football from the NCAA, allowing the billion dollar deals we have today. The government's doing its job here: investigating trust/monopoly accusations. That's why the bureaucracy exists; if you can't get that, try repeating high school government.

In reality, I doubt there's much for Hancock and the BCS to fear. The DoJ already questioned the NCAA last month about cfb's post season, but they were able to (happily, I'm sure) pass the buck. So what we have is a pro-playoff element vs. the BCS. And while the BCS' biggest motivator is undoubtedly profit, they at least have a legal defense:
"The BCS was carefully created with antitrust laws in mind, and I am confident that it is fully compliant with those laws. It has improved competition by delivering a national championship game between the two top-ranked teams, which only rarely existed before the BCS. It has also dramatically increased access to top-tier bowl games for schools from non-AQ conferences. I look forward to a conversation with the attorneys at the Justice Department.”

This is all true. We might not like computer-based input, but we do get 1 vs. 2. And, the refined non-AQ clause and the fact they revisit who qualifies to, well, qualify, could be enough to protect them. BYU got their title back in the day - and they were the only undefeated, untied team and no national power had just one loss. In the last seven years, if Boise State would have ever done under those circumstances, they probably would have been national champs - thanks, oddly enough, to the BCS system allowing a small school from the WAC to play in a major bowl despite the fact they cannot sell out their own home stadium. There's your access and opportunity.

Despite what the constituents of the people who pushed this investigation hope, this will probably not become the long dreamed of referendum on a playoff system. The fact of the matter is no different now than it has been since 1998: when the money's right, they'll be a playoff. Until then, the BCS reps and AQ conferences and university presidents will still hide behind things like academic concerns, extra games, operating costs, etc.

Personally, I go back and forth between the bowl system and a playoff. I honestly spend more time day dreaming about super conferences and realignment. What I do know is that what i think means ZERO on what's going to change or remain the same about our post-season system. Kind like this DoJ inquiry...

Early SEC TV schedule

Here's a link to the a schedule of selected SEC games. I still want to know who the fuck over at the Worldwide Leader scheduled Boise St.-UGA for the same time as Oregon-LSU. I know for a fact the Georgia and LSU fan bases overlap, and I dare say there's a similar overlapping interest between Boise and Oregon. They could have locked in both audiences all day. But, I guess Disney/ABC/ESPN didn't want to run a national game on week one, so the affiliates can instead play a classic like Texas A&M/SMU or an ACC gem like Duke vs. Some Cheesedick FBS team. Hooray. Fuck your affiliates, give me national games all day when there's double header like this.

On Strange Ground

This was announced way back on April 1st, but I had honestly forgotten about it. But now, it's actually being done, like, in real life. Hey man, do what you gotta do, go Bears.

The concept:

What's been seen so far:

A lot of folks have been bashing this - WL even called it a "300-foot awful looking polo shirt." But it's the same way they bashed Eastern Washington and have been bitchin' about Boise State for years. I say go for it. I mean, I don't want Georgia to try it - or anyone in the SEC for that matter (OK, maybe Vandy could get a pass) - but if it creates some attention for small schools, more power to them.

UPDATE: Here's one the gets the black endzone:

And, for the sticklers, here's some info on the NCAA's rules about turf.* Apparently, there's been some flack/myths/lies/complaints brewing since Boise did it back in the day.
"The most prevalent myth is that the NCAA subsequently banned playing surface colors other than green, but allowed Bronco Stadium's field to remain blue under a grandfather clause. In reality, the NCAA has never adopted such a rule. Any school may color its playing surface (or any part, mainly the end zones) any color it wishes. Indeed, other schools have non-green football fields including the University of New Haven (blue) and Eastern Washington (red)."
Here's New Haven:

* and if you don't like/don't trust/think you're too good for Wikipedia, than this is certainly not the site for you.