Pending Questions Entering Mandatory Minicamps

With mandatory minicamps underway around the NFL and the start of training camp less than two months away, there are numerous questions looming around the league. Let’s take a look at some of the top questions.

Around the league, the biggest obsession is the quarterback play. Surely the rookies will get extended looks, but the status of those coming back from injuries, as well as battles for the starting position will be under major observation.

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Bills fire Rex Ryan

Is anyone surprised? Rex Ryan is a quote machine, and he knows football, but somehow he just can’t seem to live up to his own hype. The Buffalo Bills had a top defense when he arrived, and then promptly regressed under Ryan. Bringing in his brother Rob didn’t help matters this season, and Rob was kicked to the curb as well today.

Meanwhile, the Bills can run the ball, but their passing game sucks. It looks like the team might be moving on from Tyrod Taylor as well as he won’t be starting this week. EJ Manuel will get the nod instead.

Orange Bowl Preview: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech

2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl

Date: Monday, January 3 2011
Time: 8:30PM ET

Why Watch: The Hokies became the first program in FBS history to win 11 straight games after starting their season 0-2. Frank Beamer’s squad could have folded after losing to FCS school James Madison but instead it rallied, winning 11 in a row in impressive fashion. VA Tech largely flew under the radar while knocking off ACC opponents with relative ease and then crushing Florida State in the conference championship game. Now the Hokies look to put a bow on their season with a win against arguably the best one-loss team in the nation. Stanford had one of the best seasons in school history, losing only to an undefeated Oregon team in early October. They have a Hesiman finalist at quarterback in Andrew Luck, who would probably go No. 1 in the NFL draft if he decides to go pro next season. The Cardinal also employs one of the hottest head coaches in the nation in Jim Harbaugh.

Game Facts Stanford is 9-11-1 all-time in bowl play and will be playing in the postseason for the second consecutive year following an eight-year absence. Oklahoma beat the Cardinal 31-27 in last year’s Sun Bowl. The Hokies will be playing in their fourth BCS bowl in the last seven seasons. They’re 9-14 all-time in bowl games and they’ll be making their 17th straight bowl appearance. Under Beamer, they’re 8-9 in bowl games, which includes 37-14 win over Tennessee in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Key Player: Steven Friday, Virginia Tech.
They say the key to any good pass defense is a good pass rush and for Virginia Tech, that starts with Friday. The senior defensive end had 8.5 sacks to lead the Hokies this season. He’s incredibly quick off the edge and if he can harass quarterback Andrew Luck, the Hokies could slow down the possible No. 1 pick and the Cardinal offense.

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2010 College Football Bowl Schedule & Matchups

CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04: Darron Thomas  of the Oregon Ducks looks to pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Looking for a college football bowl game schedule? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let The Scores Report be your one-stop shopping experience for all things bowl game schedule.

BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Oregon, January 10, 8:30PM ET
In the end, there really wasn’t any debate to which teams should play for the national title. The Tigers beat six teams this year that finished in the top 25 of the BCS standings and went 13-0 on the year. Their 56-17 pounding of South Carolina in the SEC championship game left no doubt about their spot atop the BCS rankings. On the other side, Oregon blew out Tennessee earlier in the year, but the Ducks’ made their best statement in a 52-31 thrashing of Stanford. They outscored opponents by nearly 31 points a game this year, with only one team (Cal) coming within single digits of Darron Thomas and Co.

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Arkansas, Tuesday, January 4, 8:30PM ET
The Buckeyes have another shot to end their woes against the SEC when they take on the Hogs on January 4. If Terrelle Pryor plays as well against Arkansas as he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl last year, then OSU will be fine. But the Buckeyes will certainly have their hands full with Ryan Mallett and the Hogs’ explosive offense. Arkansas has a chance to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 1977.

Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, January 3, 8:30PM ET
This is a great matchup but it’ll be overshadowed by the persisting rumors that Jim Harbaugh will be coaching elsewhere next season. Stanford’s defense will have its hands full with VA Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who took the ACC title game over against Florida State. But the Hokies will need more than Taylor to defeat a Stanford team that is arguably the best one-loss teams in the country. Andrew Luck can further cement his status as the No. 1 pick in April’s draft with a great performance.

Fiesta Bowl: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma, January 1, 8:30PM ET
The Huskies stumbled to a 3-4 record while losing their first two Big East conference games, but they rebounded to go 5-0 down the stretch and their reward is that they get to take on Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners will be heavy favorites against Connecticut but remember that Oklahoma is on a five-game BCS bowl losing streak that include three national title losses and a pair of Fiesta Bowls. Statue of Liberty, anyone?

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU, January 1, 5:00PM ET
This may be the most underrated matchup of the five BCS bowl games. Wisconsin won its final seven regular-season games and did so by averaging 48.3 points per contest over that span. They also combined for 201 points in their final three games and now take on a TCU team that owns the top-ranked defense in the country. That’s impressive considering they lost Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington (their top defenders from a season ago) to the NFL last April.

2010 College Football Bowl Schedule:

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College Football Championship Weekend Predictions

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 30: Coach Bo Pelini leads his Nebraska Cornhusker football team on the field against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Missouri 31-17. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

I love doing predictions at this time of year because college football fans are usually extra testy. (Uh, even more testy than they normally are.)

God forbid you pick against their teams at this time of year, because you’re an undeniable idiot if you do. (Uh, more an idiot than you normally are.)

Just remember College Football Superfan, these predictions are just for fun. If I really knew what the hell I was talking about, I would be in Vegas right now sitting poolside with a bucket of beer laying next to me. Instead, I’m sitting at my desk…which is miles and miles away from anything resembling Vegas.

On to the picks!

SEC Championship: No. 1 Auburn (12-0) vs. No. 19 South Carolina, 4:00PM ET
Only a fool would pick against Auburn right now and I sir, am no fool. Actually, I’ve been picking against them all year and I’m sick of being burned. I picked South Carolina in late September to cover against the Tigers. Boom, roasted. I picked Arkansas in mid-October to cover against the Tigers. Boom, roasted. The following week I picked LSU to win outright. Boom, roasted. I picked Georgia to cover. Boom, roasted. I picked Alabama to win outright and cover. BOOM, ROASTED. The only time I took one of Auburn’s opponents to cover and actually got it right was a month ago when they played Ole Miss. But whatever. I picked against them damn near every week, so I was bound to be right one of those times. But not this week – I’m going with Auburn. I don’t care what the matchup looks like and I’m not going to dive into the X’s and O’s. I’m just going to sit back, watch them fall behind by two scores in the first half and then enjoy as Cam Newton rattles off four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win by 10.
THE PICK: AUBURN –5.5. Boom, roasted.

ACC Championship: No. 21 Florida State (9-3) vs. No. 15 Virginia Tech (10-2), 7:45PM ET
After losing to Boise State and James Madison to open up the season, the Hokies have rattled off 10-straight wins and will now meet a Seminoles team that has won three in a row following their own two-game skid. Tyrod Taylor and Christian Ponder will get most of the attention (and rightfully so), but defense wins this one in the end. VA Tech has only given up six touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season and has been outstanding in crunch time. This is about as even a matchup as one could make, but I think the Hokie defense prevails in the end and VA Tech holds on.

Big 12 Championship: No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 13 Nebraska, 8:00PM ET
After the way they lit up the scoreboard against Oklahoma State last Saturday, I get the feeling that people expect the Sooners to roll this weekend. Everyone gravitates to offensive teams and that doesn’t fit Nebraska despite their 45-17 dismantling of a crap Colorado team last weekend. That said, OU running back DeMarco Murray injured his knee in the win over the Cowboys and while Bob Stoops is optimistic about the senior’s chances of playing this Saturday, it’s not a given. Either way, Murray may be limited, which isn’t a good sign seeing as how Nebraska ranks fifth in the nation in total defense. This game kind of reminds me of last year’s Big 12 title game, when many people outside of Lincoln thought that Texas would roll. But Bo Pelini’s squad held firm and nearly won the game in the end. I think we see a repeat of last year and Nebraska gives Oklahoma hell for four quarters.

Other picks, minus the foreplay:

Northern Illinois –17. (Friday)
Washington –5.5
Pittsburgh +2
Oregon State +17
Boise State –37.5
Troy -5

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