College Football Week 7, NFL Week 6 Free Picks
No. 25 Missouri vs. No. 7 Georgia, 12:00PM ET
The Tigers are back in the AP top 25 for the first time in two years and are coming off a 51-28 drubbing of Vanderbilt on the road last Saturday. Quarterback James Franklin has looked sharp in the early going and has weapons at his disposal in Henry Josey and dynamic playmaker Dorial Green-Beckham. On the other side, No. 7 Georgia barely escaped Knoxville with a victory last weekend and is severely banged up offensively. The Bulldogs will be without running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurely, as well as recievers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley. And while quarterback Aaron Murray has put on a show in back-to-back weeks, the defense still has plenty of holes after losing a handful of starters to the NFL draft back in April. Georgia is tough to beat in between the hedges, but look for Mizzou to keep things tight.
FREE PICK: MISSOURI +7.5
No. 9 Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss, 8:30PM ET
Two weeks ago there was plenty of chatter surrounding the 3-0 Rebels as they headed into Tuscaloosa. But following a 25-0 blanking at the hands of Alabama and a 30-22 upset last week versus Auburn, Ole Miss has once again fallen off the map. On the other side, A&M has completely regrouped following its loss to Alabama. The Aggies thumped a hapless SMU squad 42-13 before out-pacing Arkansas 45-33 two weeks ago in Fayetteville. Kevin Sumlin’s team is well rested coming off the bye and more importantly his defense has started to show signs of life. The spread is too low for this game, as “Johnny Football” and Co. should roll.
FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M -6
Steelers at Jets, 1:00PM ET
It was impressive to watch Geno Smith lead the Jets to a huge road victory over the Falcons on Monday Night Football, but suddenly the national media has made him into Randall Cunningham. Thanks to a rash of injuries the Falcons were without their starting running back, left tackle, middle linebacker, one of their outside linebackers, one of their starting defensive ends and were forced to play a hobbled Roddy White and Julio Jones because their reciveving corps is so thin. In other words, what the Jets did was impressive but they didn’t exactly beat the same Atlanta team that came within 10 yards of going to the Super Bowl last year. The Steelers are coming off their bye and thus, should have had plenty of time to regroup and iron out their issues on both sides of the ball. While it’s shocking to see the Giants at 0-6 on the year, it would be even more surprising to watch the Steelers fall to 0-5.
FREE PICK: STEELERS +1
Rams at Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Texans are in the middle of a freefall because quarterback Matt Schaub can’t protect the football. He’s had an interception returned for a touchdown in four straight games and has seemingly lost his confidence. That said, Houston’s running game has remained effective and its defense still boasts the likes of Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt, who is the best interior defensive lineman in the league. The Rams are coming off a win over the winless Jaguars but they still struggle with penalties, third down conversions on both sides of the ball, and run defense. Sam Bradford has also reverted back into a check-down machine and should be under constant duress in Houston. Look for the Texans to get back on track on Sunday.
FREE PICK: TEXANS -7.5
Posted in: College Football, NFL
Tags: college football free picks, free picks, Geno Smith, Georgia Bulldogs, Houston Texans, Johnny Manziel, Matt Schaub, Missouri Tigers, New York Jets, nfl free picks, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams, Texas A&M Aggies
Mark Richt is officially on the hot seat
It’s official, folks, Mark Richt is on the hot seat. An 0-2 start in Georgia (for the first time since 1996) isn’t what the fanbase wants, especially after a losing season a year ago. And no, it doesn’t matter that the Bulldogs opened with two teams that could realistically end the season in the top 10.
Richt is in 11th season as the Bulldogs head coach, and the team is certainly headed in the wrong direction record wise. Since the 11-2 season in 2007, the Bulldogs have gone 10-3, 8-5 and 6-7. That’s not the kind of progression you want to see in a major program this late into a coach’s tenure. And unfortunately for Richt, he doesn’t have a national title or legendary status to fall back on like a Joe Paterno.
The schedule gets easier for the Bulldogs, even in the SEC. They’re fortunate to be in the East, and they just played the divisional favorite down to the wire. It’s not out of the question for Georgia to still find a way to get to nine or 10 wins. I’m serious. They’re young and talented at some key positions, and should only get better as the season goes on.
If they do that, Richt should stay to see what he can do with a junior version of Aaron Murray and a sophomore Isaiah Crowell.
But if they don’t, and end up with a seven-, or six-win season, That young talent won’t be Richt’s to deal with anymore.
Fade Material: College Football Week 1 Predictions
I woke up today with an extra spring in my step because I knew it was the first Saturday of the 2011 college football season. But what really got me going was knowing I would once again be providing quality fade material for bettors around the world.
It’s about people helping people, folks.
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU, 8:00PM ET
The last time Jarrett Lee opened a season as a starting quarterback was in 2006…for Brenham High School. LSU was going to have uncertainty at the quarterback position regardless of whether or not Lee or Jordan Jefferson was named the starter. But where the problem comes in is that Jefferson was assumed to be the starter for months. Now, just weeks before the season, they switch to Lee because of Jefferson’s off-field issues. It’s usually unwise to go against the SEC in a non-conference game but I’m not that bright so I’ll assume the risk. I think LSU’s outstanding defense will tire late in the second half after trying to keep up with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James for most of the game. The Tigers’ D figures to be on the field an awful lot tonight.
THE PICK: OREGON -3
No. 7 Boise State vs. No. 22 Georgia
All the talk in this one has revolved around Aaron Murray but I expect Kellen Moore to once again play mistake free. He has all new weapons this year but the Broncos’ offense rarely misses a beat from season to season. Never go against Boise State in their opener or in their bowl game. These types of games might as well be their freaking Super Bowl…
THE PICK: BOISE STATE -3
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Posted in: College Football, Free Picks
Tags: Aaron Murray, Boise State Broncos, college football free picks, Darron Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs, jerry kill, Jordan Jefferson, Kellen Moore, LaMichael James, LSU Tigers, marqueis gray, minnesota vs usc, Oregon Ducks, oregon vs. lsu
Boise State holds back three players for Georgia game
Everyone seems to be hyper-cautious these days, so Boise State is holding back three players from tomorrow night’s showdown with Georgia at the Georgia Dome.
The Broncos announced in a brief statement Friday that senior safety Cedric Febis, sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe and sophomore wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn had not accompanied the team to Atlanta.
“The three are being held out of the game due to a review of their NCAA eligibility,” the statement read. “The review is not academic or violation of team rules.”
The three players all have a few noteworthy things in common. The first is that all three are originally from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where they each played for local football club teams before coming to the U.S. All three played for prep high schools in Boise before joining the Broncos.
The second is that all three are expected to be major contributors for the Broncos this season. A fifth-year senior, Febis was in line to earn a starting safety position following the graduation of Jeron Johnson. He is likely to be replaced by redshirt freshman Jeremy Ioane.
The spread has moved from Boise State by 3.5 to Boise by 3.
ESPN Insider also has a great article about how Aaron Murray is as good as Kellen Moore. One thing to keep in mind is that Murray will be behind a veteran offensive line and Moore will be playing behind three new starters. I remember Mel Kiper making the point that the experience of the offensive line was one of the best predictors of success for a college football team. This should be a great game but I think Georgia might pull this one out.
Posted in: College Football
Tags: Aaron Murray, betting odds, Boise State Broncos, Boise State vs Georgia spread, Cedric Febis, College football odds, college football spreads, Georgia Bulldogs, Geraldo Boldewijn, Kellen Moore, NCAA football spreads, Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe
2011 College Football Program Power Rankings
Almost a year ago we decided to try to quantify the stature of college football programs so that we could rank them against one another. (Click here for the 2010 Rankings.) Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.
Here’s how the total points are determined — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million, so for 2011 that would be Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Insight, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.
We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.
Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program saw an upgrade or downgrade at the head coach position in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)
So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.
1. Ohio State (58)
Previous Rank: #2 (+1)
Some college football fans will take issue with the Buckeyes being No. 1 because of their “soft schedule.” But this is a team that has dominated its conference five of the past six years and has finished no worse than second in each of the past six seasons. They’ve also appeared in two title games (though they lost both) and nine straight BCS bowl games, winning the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl in the past two years. They’ve got an interesting season coming up though. Five of their players including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron and receiver DeVier Posey will miss the first five games next year after being suspended. Can the Buckeyes stay unscathed until those players return?
2. Florida (51)
Previous Rank: #1 (-1)
If it weren’t for Urban Meyer leaving the program (and their lousy 2010 season), the Gators would probably still be ranked No. 1. They have three conference championships and two national championships in two years, but the lose of Meyer hurts big-time in these rankings. But don’t fret Florida fans, if Will Muschamp gets the program back on the right track then the Gators won’t be at No. 2 for long.
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Posted in: College Football
Tags: 2010 College Football Season, 2011 college football season, Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Boise State Broncos, Cincinnati Bearcats, college football power rankings, college football program power rankings, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Iowa Hawkeyes, LSU Tigers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon Ducks, Penn State Nittany Lions, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Longhorns, USC Trojans, Virginia Tech Hokies, West Virginia Mountaineers