- Florida States’ national title hopes are dead. It’s safe to say that the Seminoles’ chances of reaching the BCS title game are finished after losing back to back games to ranked squads. FSU, imo, was overrated prior to the start of the season based on how many players they had returning and because of their name. They are no doubt talented, but it’s going to take more work for Jimbo Fisher and his crew to be regarded as championship contenders.
- Clemson is really really good. QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins are continuing to put on a show as they torched the FSU defense for a huge upset. Forgot to mention, Watkins is only a freshman and he is leading the nation in receiving touchdowns. Wow. The Tigers will be facing another huge test as they visit the Virginia Tech Hokies, who have pretty much owned the ACC for the past decade.
- The Arizona Wildcats still can’t get the monkey off their backs. After another thumping, this time to the hands of the Ducks, the Wildcats have extended their losing streak to BCS opponents to 8 games in a row. The last time the Wildcats defeated a BCS opponent was UCLA back in Oct. 2010. OUCH. With the way things are going this season I would not be surprised if Mike Stoops gets axed.
- Illinois is overrated. I’m still not quite sure why the Fighting Illini has any business being in the top 25. They haven’t played anybody yet. Yeah, they beat the Sun Devils but that isn’t saying much. There other two wins have been against Arkansas State, South Dakota State, and Western Michigan. What a joke! With their pancake schedule, Illinois has a chance to be 6-0 going into week 7 against the Buckeyes.
- Stephen Garcia leads the nation in picks. What’s new? I have said this many of times, the Gamecocks will go nowhere as long as Garcia is their starting quarterback. Last year proved it, and this year will be the same.
- Keith Price is blooming into a superstar right before our eyes. I wasn’t really too sure about this kid, but after watching him put up big numbers at Nebraska two weeks ago, he caught my attention. This week the Huskies QB threw for another 3 TDs and 292 yards willing his team to a conference win against Cal. Let’s hope it’s not another Jake Locker ordeal; good QB but no team to surround him.
- Run Denard run! The experiment into turning Michigan QB Denard Robinson into more of a prototypical passer is over. It is clear that Denard plays better freely, making huge plays with his feet. That is his game and he is the best in the business at it. Ever since Week 1, Denard has broken the century mark rushing for 108, 198, and 200 yards for 5 TDs. If he’s not the most exciting player in college football then I don’t know who is.
- The replay system still doesn’t work. I’m not sure if y’all of heard, but the Big East officiating crew totally screwed the Toledo Rockets out of a victory. With a little over 2 mins left in the game, Syracuse got a touchdown taking a 29-27, but things got iffy on the extra point. The extra point was called “good” on the field, but the replay clearly showed that it was in fact wide. The play was challenged, but it still wasn’t overturned. Why this mattered? Toledo ended up putting together a final drive that tied the game in fact should have been the game winning field goal; Toledo ending up losing the game in overtime. The fact the replay officials cannot get the correct call really worries me. What’s the point of technology? Those refs should never see the field in this lifetime.
- Aggies aren’t ready for primetime. It was déjà vu for Texas A&M as they blew another huge lead to Oklahoma State losing a huge conference game. The Aggies simply could not get the job done, and the fact that they abandoned the running game in the second half still baffles me. It seems as if every time it’s suppose to be the Aggies “year” they always seem to blow it away early.
- The Okies are better than we thought. I had my doubts on this Oklahoma State side regarding their defensive and QB Brandon Weeden’s decision making but instead the Cowboys made a huge statement. OSU ended up erasing a 17-pt deficit in the third to storm back winning 30-29 on the road at College Station against a team that was supposed to be the “dark horse” to contend for the Big 12 title and possibly a National Championship.
- LSU is the top dog. CB Tyrann Mathieu made one of the best defensive plays of the season, deflecting a pass from Geno Smith into the air and intercepting it. The Tigers defensive has been absolutely dominating this season and there are no doubt 4-5 players on that side of the ball that will play on Sundays. After beating three ranked teams already, this LSU is no doubt for real. As long as QB Jarrett Lee doesn’t turn the ball over the Tigers should reach the BCS Championship.
• Marcus Lattimore is the best back in college football.I’m not sure if you missed the South Carolina v. Navy game but Lattimore when absolutely berserk, rushing for 246 yards and 3 TDs from 37 carries. It hasn’t only been this game, but Lattimore has been carrying the Gamecocks all season. He has broken the century mark in all 3 games and already has 7 rushing touchdowns. Beast.
• The Dogs aren’t ready yet. The Mississippi State Bulldogs were expecting big things this season after last year’s top 25 finish (15th) which was second best in their school history, but after watching the Dogs get manhandled by LSU and losing a nail biter to Auburn, it’s hard for me envision this team having similar success to last season. With already being 1-2 and having Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas left on the schedule, it might be a very long year for head coach Dan Mullen.
• Don’t sleep on Clemson. After taking a 21-7 lead, Auburn decided to and that allowed Clemson to roar back in dramatic fashion 38-24. The addition of offensive coordinator Chad Morris is already paying off (624 total yards v. Auburn) and this signature win should definitely send a message to the ACC.
• The Buckeyes won’t see the top 25 again this year. What an ugly outing the Buckeyes had against Miami? Proof? Their quarterbacks combined for 4 of 18 for 35 yards. This marked the first time since Nov. 2004 the Buckeyes didn’t break the AP top 25. With the way their quarterbacks performed on Saturday, it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.
• Seth Doege is the real deal. Call me a homer but if a quarterback throws for an NCAA record for completion percentage of 90.9% (40 of 44) for 401 yards and 5 touchdowns then you should definitely get some love. There are a lot of quarterbacks that can’t even do that in passing drills without DBs. The best part about it is that Doege is yet to turn the ball over once this season.
• The Kansas Jayhawks are still very very bad. When I mean bad, I mean giving up a total of 768 yards of offense to that Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Just when you thought it couldn’t be any worse, out of those 768 yards of offense 604 of them were rushing yards. They even made t-shirts to brag about it.
• The Texas Longhorns will be bowl eligible. I was on the fence about this Longhorn team, but they showed a little improvement at UCLA to improve their record to 3-0. They easily have a top 25 defense, but their passing attack is still iffy. As long as they can continue to run the ball effectively they might win 8-9 ball games this year.
• Oklahoma has what it takes. The win at Florida State proved to me that they can indeed win it all this year. Oklahoma, especially Landry Jones, has struggled on the road in big games and Jones made all the right plays when he needed to. Not many quarterbacks can go into an environment like that and win the game for his team.
Tug Of War: Steelers
I dare you to find a bigger, nastier, meaner group of players in the NFL. The Steelers redefine what it means to be big up front with guys like Casey Hampton (6’1” 330lbs) and Chris Kemoeatu (6’3” 350lbs). Some teams may have the size, but nobody can touch the Steelers grit and determination. They are incredibly strong and work great as a unit. I have a hard time believing anyone could beat the Steelers in tug of war, especially with Hampton as the anchor.
Relay Race: Raiders
Al Davis has a serious need for speed. Every year, he drafts the fastest players regardless of actual talent. Several players on their team ran track in college and blazed a fast 40 time at the combine. Stanford Routt, Jacoby Ford, Demarcus Van Dyke, and Darrius Heyward-Bey all ran a 40 time under 4.3 seconds with Ford and Routt running track in college. They may not know how to win football games, but they could put up a fight at the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers.
Balloon Toss: Packers
The balloon toss isn’t so much about power and arm strength as it is accuracy and a soft touch. If it was, Philip Rivers would dominate. Unfortunately, his three-quarters release and incredibly fast delivery don’t lend itself well to throwing balloons. While plenty of teams have a QB that fill that criteria, the Packers have 3 QBs who fit that mold. Aaron Rodgers can make any throw in the world while Matt Flynn is a very capable QB himself. Harrell also could fill in as an alternate.
3-Legged Race: Colts
This event is about being on the same page with your teammate and the Colts epitomize this. Peyton may not be the greatest athlete, but he is a fiery competitor who hates losing. His teammate would be Reggie Wayne who’s been his go-to receiver for the past several years. These two are so in sync I’m pretty sure they could be blindfolded and still know what the other was doing on the field.
Scooter Races: Patriots
Unlike the rest of the these topics, I really have nothing to base this on. What NFL-related skill can be translated into putting a tiny little scooter on you belly and awkwardly using your feet to maneuver around a coned course? I can’t think of any. The only thing I know is the Patriots are winners. I can’t see them going an entire field day and not winning something; no chance Bellichick and Brady would let that happen.
Obstacle Course: Eagles
If anyone has ever seen a game show with obstacles (Double-Dare, GUTS, Ninja Warrior, Wipeout), please tell me you can’t see DeSean Jackson flying through the course. The Eagles have some skill position guys who are phenomenal athletes with great agility which is what obstacle courses are all about. Throw In guys like Vick and Maclin and the Eagles would destroy the obstacle course.
Musical Chairs: Redskins
This was a no brainer to me as the Washington Redskins are the kings of roster turnover. Every single year it seems like they have at least 10 new starters on their football team. I’m pretty sure Washington has the most roster transactions in the NFL every single year. With how many coaches, players, and schemes they run through, they would dominate musical chairs simply because they’re so used to it.
Spoon & Egg Race: Texans
Balance, vision, patience, change of direction skills; basically everything required to be successful in the spoon & egg race. Everything listed directly sums up the Houston Texans running backs. The zone blocking scheme is predicated on vision and being patient so it makes sense the Texans would win. Arian Foster is one of the best in the NFL when it comes to vision and balance and it doesn’t hurt that Ben Tate and Derrick Ward also fit the same mold.
• David Garrard’s release before the start of the season will lead to Jack Del Rio’s release at the end of the season. Owner Wayne Weaver clearly stressed that Del Rio’s job will be on the line unless the Jags make a playoff appearance, so they might as well get a head start and fire him now. With Luke McCown or Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, I don’t see any way this team sneaks into the playoffs in the AFC.
• Terrelle Pryor will start more than one game this season. What do the Raiders have to lose? Jason Campbell isn’t going to take this team anywhere. Oakland will fall off and finish under .500 this season.
• Jamaal Charles will come close to the 2,000 yard mark. Charles exploded last season finishing 2nd in the league in rushing and 1st in yards per carry while spitting carries with Thomas Jones. With Matt Cassel still in limbo since Charlie Weis’ departure, Jamaal will have to carry the load.
• The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the NFC East. There are too many new pieces on that unit so I would expect them to start slow. They also bring in a new D-Coordinator in Juan Castillo, who was previously their O-Line coach. The offensive line has also been really shaky during the preseason. With this being said, it’s going to be interesting see if Vick can have the same kind of success from last season.
• The Andy Dalton experiment will only last one season. I fully expect the Bengals to draft Andrew Luck 1st overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
• Jake Locker will have the best season out of all rookie quarterbacks. He looked solid during the preseason and was surprisingly accurate compared to his college days. Look for him to slide in front of Matt Hasselbeck by the season’s end.
• The Detroit Lions will clinch a Wild Card spot. They have slowly improved year after year, and Matt Stafford looks to be the real deal. They have playmakers around him in Megatron and Jahvid Best. The defensive line looks flat out scary. If Stafford can stay healthy, expect big things from this team.
• Tom Brady will win back-to-back MVPs. Everyone knows what Brady is capable of.
• Jimmy Clausen will throw more touchdown passes than Cam Newton. I expect both quarterbacks to see time as the Panthers will struggle in their rebuilding year. Cam is extremely inaccurate and hasn’t been too impressive thus far.
• Chad Henne will breakout. He’s always had the arm and frame, but his inconsistency has been a huge problem. Believe it or not, I think the addition of Reggie Bush is going to help a lot. Chad knows if he doesn’t start winning ballgames, his time in Miami is over.
• The Washington Redskins will finish top 5 in rushing. It doesn’t matter who the running back is, Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking always seems to make it work.
• The Greatest Show on Turf will return. Sam Bradford will pass for over 4,000 yards with Josh McDaniels at OC. Not to mention, Stephen Jackson’s inability to play an entire season.
• The Indianapolis Colts will miss the playoffs. It’s going to be ugly if Peyton Manning misses more than one game. Oh yeah, that one game he’s going to miss is against divisional rival Houston Texans.
• Eli Manning will play nowhere near Tom Brady’s caliber. Manning claimed to be in the same class as Brady, but throwing for multiple interceptions in the preseason isn’t going to help his case. I’ll expect another 20+ turnover season from Eli.
• The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are poised for a playoff run with Peyton’s injury and with potentially two rookie quarterbacks starting in their division. If they can’t do it this season, they never will.
• The San Diego Chargers will make the Super Bowl. Philip Rivers and Norv Turner know the window is closing. Statistically they had the best defense in the league and their offense is always high powered with Rivers, but it was the special teams that brought setbacks. I think this is the year they go on the radar and make that run.