Saturday, September 18, 2010

Big Ten Power Rankings, Week Three

This is just going to be a quick ranking, since the games start soon. Every Big Ten team is in action this Saturday. The top six teams are all undefeated.

1. No. 2 Ohio State (vs. Ohio) - The Buckeyes are fresh off a big win against Miami at home and get their in-state patsies at the Horseshoe. They'll be 3-0 by the second quarter, unlike two years ago, when they let the Bobcats (I think that's Ohio's mascot) hang in until almost the end of the game. Ohio already got their massive upset of the year when they beat Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.

2. No. 11 Wisconsin (vs. Arizona State) - Ah, home cookin'. If Bucky Badger had to go to Tempe, this might be a more frightening matchup, but I expect Ball and Clay to run the ball about 66% of the time in this one, put us all to sleep, and leave Wisco undefeated at the end of the day.

3. No. 9 Iowa (at No. 24 Arizona) - The lone Big Ten team with a road game against a decent opponent this week, Iowa looks to prove itself and get a quality win that they can point to down the road.

4. Michigan State (vs. Notre Dame) - I know what the Noffkes will be watching. Prime time, ABC, 8 PM. After Sparty wins this one, I expect to get some offers on Oh wait, I haven't bought it yet? Crap...

5. Northwestern (at Rice) - Dan Persa has looked like the real deal so far, as has the 'Cats defense and the new crew of wide receivers. The lack of a star running back will be NU's only Achilles heel this year. I expect a comfortable win against the Owls, even on the road.

6. No. 20 Michigan (vs. Massachussets) - Shoelace for Heisman? How ironic would it be if Denard Robinson beat out Terrelle Pryor for the trophy this year? Obviously UMass is a patsy, so you can expect the overhyping of Michigan to continue for another week, despite the fact that their defense is terrible and their offense is one-dimensional.

7. No. 22 Penn State (vs. Kent State) - Going from No. 1 Alabama on the road to Kent State at home is about the biggest dropoff in opponent quality I can imagine. This Nittany Lions team is one of the weakest I can remember, but they will look better today.

8. Indiana (at Western Kentucky) - Fred Glass has been so busy rebuilding the IU football culture (and doing a great job, by the way), that he forgot to schedule a Week Two game, and settled for a road date down in bluegrass country today. The Hoosiers had better win this game and stay undefeated.

9. Purdue (vs. Ball State) - They stink less than Illinois.

10. Illinois (vs. Northern Illinois) - Ron Zook gets a look at the type of team he'll probably be coaching next. A directional university, that is.

11. Minnesota (vs. No. 18 USC) - Who remembers Minny-Cal last year? Yeah, I'm expecting about the same. If the Gophers win this one, it would be one hell of a turnaround after losing to South Dakota State last week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Games to watch this sunday

First and foremost I must apologize for my lack of writing.

Noon: Of course I will be watching the Bears in what should be a good game against the Cowboys. I think this game has the potential to be a shootout because I feel that Chicago has more weapons than Washington (Moss, Cooley and McNabb) and I feel we also have a better defense. However, I think that with Jerry Jones owning Dallas there will be an expectation to bounce back in a huge way. I look for the Bears to win this one and not just on a "catch everywhere but in the NFL" play.

3:15 : Although it would be easy to get caught up in the ESPN east coast fetish and watch New York and New England, I will be looking to Denver for the Broncos and Seahwaks to duke it out. Seattle looked flat out dominant in their first game against the 49ers and Denver looked flat out of the gate against Jacksonville. Permitting there are no delays for lightning I think Denver will bounce back big at home.

Sunday Night: I really couldn't care less about the manning bowl story line. Eli wont throw it at will like he did last week, and Peyton will not throw the ball any less than he did against Houston so I see the Colts taking this one in a not so close game.

Monday Night: What can I say? New Orleans came out looking sharp against a tough Minnesota team and San Fransisco looked like it needed 2 more weeks of training camp. I most likely will not watch this game because Drew Brees is going to pick apart San Fran's defense.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reggie Bush's Heisman

It is being announced that Reggie Bush is giving back his Heisman. I think they should give the trophy to the rightful owner. No not Vince Young, who won't accept it anyway. The trophy belongs to me. Here is photographic proof!

In all seriousness, that is the same Heisman Trophy that was awarded to Reggie Bush and is now being returned to the Downtown Athletic Club

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bears vs. Lions Recap

Okay, so, the Bears start out 1-0. Great. They beat the Detroit Lions 19-14. We all have probably heard plenty of times about the controversial call at the end of the game. Megatron made what appeared to be a catch, then as he fell he used his hand to stop his momentum and the ball squirted loose for an incompletion and what ultimately cost the Lions the game. I don't think it should be considered a controversial call, but rather the right call. The rule is just fine the way it is also. If it weren't for that rule there would be many discrepancies as to what was an actual catch. You'd have refs calling some plays right and others getting it wrong b/c there was no clear guideline. Thus, it eliminates far more controversy than it creates. The rule maybe should be improved but watching that catch in full speed shows that he clearly uses the ball to protect himself when he's going down and thus loses control of the ball. It was an incomplete pass.

As far as the rest of the game goes: it was sloppy. The Bears offense showed that it could move the ball whenever it wanted to against the Lions amassing 450+ yards of offense. The defense completely shut down the Lions allowing only 160 yards of offense. This score should have been something like 37-10. However, the defense couldn't stop the Lions once they got into the redzone. And the Bears offense seemed to fumble the ball away every time they drove down for a TD. Issues with the O-line seem to be there. A great example is the Bears starting at the Lions 1 and being unable to score a single point. How does that happen? Why wasn't a QB sneak ever called? Things like that need to be worked out.

But, it doesn't seem like its anything too serious. A lot of it seemed like it had to do with rust, and thank god we got the Lions week one at home to get rid of the rust. Matt Forte looked like he had completely regained his speed and burst again amassing over 200 yards of total offense and 2 tds. Jay Cutler looked elite completing 65% of his passes for 372 yards and 2 scores. Julius Peppers showed why we paid him so much money getting a sack and forcing a fumble. And the Linebackers were just outright dominating. This Bears team looks like they are going to be a force to be reckoned with assuming they can iron out the little miscues they had.

Next week will be a great test. The Bears versus the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas' new stadium. The Redskins beat the Cowboys last night on a holding call by Alex Barron. The Cowboys are also missing two of their best offensive lineman and Ware may also be sidelined for the game. If that is the case, I expect the Bears to win by two or more scores. If both teams are at full strength then I see a 27-21 Bears victory. This is going to be a good year for the Bears. I'm really excited for the potential of this offense.

Fodor's NFL Dark Horse

First off, I want to apologize to my mom and the Noffke family and Ryan (and anyone else reading this post. Aw hell, who am I kidding?) for my lack of productivity lately.

I'm sorry.

Secondly, I wanted to get this out there TODAY so that nobody can accuse me of being a bandwagon jumper once their season starts, because what I'm about to say is something I've been thinking about for at least a week.

My sleeper pick to improve hugely this year and go to the playoffs is the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm going to put them at 10-6.

I think they beat San Diego tomorrow at home and win the AFC West outright. Bear in mind, Denver and Oakland are already 0-1, so the winner of tomorrow's Monday Night late game will be all alone atop the division to start the year.

Why pick this team to succeed? Partially, I just love their running backs setup. Jamaal Charles is an incredible talent with fresh legs and speed to burn. He was Top 3 overall in the second half of last season as a fantasy running back.

You all know how I feel about Thomas Jones, AKA the NFL's second best running back over the last four years. Nobody has more yards over that time than TJ, at least nobody not named LaDanian.

But additionally, I think the KC defense could be good, with the number of high draft picks they've invested over the last three years.

I think Dexter McCluster from (from? Hint: SEC)... well, I think he could have a Devin Hester-esque impact on the return game.

Matt Cassel and Charlie Weis are back together. Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell can destroy an Old Country Buffet like no tandem since the days of Traylor and Washington in Chicago, so you know the two former Belichek assistants are happy to see each other.

Oh, and clubhouse cancer Larry Johnson is gone.

Anyway, call me crazy, but there it is. Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Want some numerical projections?

Jamaal Charles 1,800 total yards
Thomas Jones 1,100 rush yards
Dexter McCluster 3 or more return TDs.
No other team in the AFC West better than 8-8.