Thursday, January 31, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

#1 Ohio State 38 - #9 Florida 13
Even with all the criticism that they have gone through, the Ohio State Buckeyes 
lived up to their number one overall seed in the tournament and are headed to their 
second consecutive BCS Championship game; they are awaiting the result’s of tonight’s 
Orange Bowl game between #2 LSU and #6 USC, which should be a close contest. The 
Bucks scored the first twenty-four points of the game unanswered and took a 24-3 lead 
into halftime. The Gators tried to stage a miraculous comeback, but it was not meant 
for. Todd Boeckman, Ohio State quarterback, playing an amazing game finishing with a 
248.3 QB rating, throwing 11/14 attempts for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns earning him 
the Most Valuable Player award of the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Chris “Beanie” 
Wells also had a great game for the Bucks on the ground with 168 yards on 23 carries 
and 2 touchdowns. These Bucks won this handily because they played mistake free on 
the offensive side of the ball and took control of their opportunities the entire 

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
UF 0 3 10 0 13
OSU 7 17 7 7 38

First Downs 6 15
Total Offense 216 334
Rushes-Yards 12-21 27-(169)
Comp-Att-TD 10-17-1 11-14-3
Passing Yards 195 165
Sacked 2 2
3rd Down Conv 2 – 6 (33%) 6 – 8 (75%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 1 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 0 – 2 (100%) 5 – 4 – 1 (100%)
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles – Lost 2 - 2 0 - 0
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 6 2
KR Yards 104 52
Total Yards 326 388
Punts – Average 2 – 26.5 1 – 32.0
Penalties – Yards 2 – 25 1 - 10
T.O.P. 6:57 13:03

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Northeastern Riches: Diamond in a Haystack... of All-Stars

While the Northeastern part of the United States claims both NFL teams in Super Bowl XLII, the New York Giants and the undefeated New England Patriots, last year's World Series' Champion Boston Red Sox, and NBA leading 35-8 Boston Celtics, soon the New York Mets may join this elite group of dominant teams.

Tonight it was announced that Johan Santana, previously a member of the Minnesota Twins, was traded to the New York Mets for four minor prospects.  More than just the immediate impact of helping the New York Mets in real life, which can be assumed is pretty big because one New Yorker reportedly exclaimed, "I just proposed to my wife again" (whatever that means), Johan Santana should shoot up the fantasy baseball drafting boards to a definite top 5 pick.  This is because of the sheer run support that he will receive from the New York Mets who ranked 10th in the MLB and 4th in the National league in runs with 804 in the 2007 season.  His previous team, the Minnesota Twins, were ranked 25th with only 718 runs last season and also ranked dead last post all-star break. Assuming that Santana's numbers stay roughly the same, and they will, he should turn many of those previously recorded losses with the Twins into wins with the Mets.

Enjoy all of your all-star teams Northeast, while the rest of America just sits on the sidelines watching teams we don't care about.  Hey, at least we still have the NHL!

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Gator Bowl and Semifinals

#6 USC 37 - #4 Georgia 7
Despite the score, for at least the first half of this game we had a very close game 
on our hands. USC held a slim 10-7 lead at halftime, but in the second half they 
pulled away for a 37-7 victory in the Gator Bowl over Georgia. Unfortunately for the 
Georgia Bulldogs the entire course of this game turned on a 37-yard punt return by 
USC wide receiver Ronald Johnson, which was this game’s nomination for the national 
Pontiac game-changing performance and the play that Johnson the MVP of the game.  
After that the story of the game was turnovers and for Georgia there were a lot of 
them. In the 4th quarter the USC defense forced two turnovers including a 53-yard 
interception for a touchdown by Carry Harris, a junior USC cornerback. Senior USC 
quarterback, John David Booty, did a great job of managing the game and extending his 
career at least one more game. The Trojan defense ended up with 7 sacks, 2 
interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries and will be sure to prove a difficult test for 
the USC Trojan offense, who they face next week.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
USC 3 7 17 10 37
UGA 7 0 0 0 7

First Downs 14 7
Total Offense 227 176
Rushes-Yards 9-14 14-(-33)
Comp-Att-TD 19-31-2 11-28-1
Passing Yards 213 209
Sacked 1 7
3rd Down Conv 3 – 8 (37%) 3 – 10 (30%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 1 – 2 (50%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 4 – 1 – 3 (100%) 1 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles – Lost 0 - 0 2 - 1
Intercepted 0 2
PR Yards 50 2
KR Yards 37 121
Total Yards 314 299
Punts – Average 2 – 26.5 3 – 28.3
Penalties – Yards 5 – 50 2 - 20
T.O.P. 10:28 9:32

8 games down and only 3 games left leave us in the semifinals of the EA Sports Virtual Simulation Playoff.  Here are the Final Four match-ups:

#1 Ohio State vs. #9 Florida - Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Saturday December 29, 2007 
#2 LSU vs. #6 USC - FedEx Orange Bowl - Saturday December 29, 2007

Monday, January 28, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Sugar Bowl

#9 Florida 41 - #3 Oklahoma 14
2008 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators are at it again after 
routing the Oklahoma Sooners in the All-State Sugar Bowl, 41-14. The sophmore Gator 
quarterback carried his team with 250 yards and 4 touchdowns in the air and was named 
MVP of the game. The Gator defense also played a pivotal role in the game causing 
three interceptions, including two on Oklahoma’s first two possessions. Florida took 
a 17-0 into the half and was out to 31-0 lead before the Sooners finally got onto the 
scoreboard in the 4th quarter. The stifling Florida defense also held the Sooners to 
only 128 yards of total offense, most of which were in the 4th quarter when the game 
was already out of consideration.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
UF 10 7 7 17 41
OU 0 0 0 14 14

First Downs 14 4
Total Offense 332 128
Rushes-Yards 16-52 23-62
Comp-Att-TD 19-28-5 2-11-1
Passing Yards 280 66
Sacked 1 2
3rd Down Conv 3 – 9 (33%) 1 – 9 (11%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 1 – 1 (100%) 0 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 2 4
Fumbles – Lost 1 - 1 3 - 1
Intercepted 1 3
PR Yards 13 3
KR Yards 12 106
Total Yards 357 236
Punts – Average 3 – 30.7 4 – 31.5
Penalties – Yards 2 – 15 4 - 26
T.O.P. 10:45 9:15

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Boston Celtics: Looking Into The Crystal Ball

The Boston Celtics went 24-58 last season and 33-49 two years ago, this coming after four straight playoff appearances.  There is no doubt that the Boston Celtic's luck turned around on May 22, 2007 and July 31, 2007 - the days that Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were acquired, respectively.  No one should be surprised that these guys are good, but maybe just how good and how well this team has meshed together so quickly.

The Boston Celtics have glided out to a 34-8 start and virtually insured themselves the Atlantic Division championship with a 10.5 game lead over the Toronto Raptors.  This team has the best trio in the NBA in previously fore-mentioned Allen and Garnett, along with long time Celtic, Paul Pierce.  I applaud general manager, Danny Ainge, for the job he has done getting a solid core of veterans on this team, but with only 13 active players on the Celtic roster it definitely wouldn't hurt to get another solid veteran before the trade deadline for playoff time.

Outlook & Predictions: If this team can stay healthy, especially the Big Three, I think they will go 64-18 and make The NBA Finals.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grading Texas Tech's Men Basketball vs. Missouri

Texas Tech 92 - Missouri 84

January 23, 2008 
7:00 PM
United Spirit Arena - Lubbock, Texas

"901! 901! 901!" - this is what the Tech student crowd screamed as the game clock expired; okay, not really, but with his Red Raider victory over the Missouri Tigers Bobby Knight won his 901st career game and his team improved to 11-7(2-2), tied for 5th in Big 12 play.
With that here is your review and breakdown of the Red Raider's each aspect of the game.

In their second highest scoring effort of the season the Red Raiders had to deal with Missouri's pesky press all but one possession with about three minutes left in the game.  Though the press did cause a few Tech turnovers, for the most part after Texas Tech got to the front-court they scored quickly and made most of their open shots shooting 26-46 (56.5%).  The Red Raiders also did a good job of playing aggressively and driving towards the basket in route to drawing thirty-one Mizzou fouls and an even fifty trips to the charity stripe.  Tech has finally learned how to play offense-the only problem is they can only do it in Lubbock; the Red Raiders need to get it going offensively on the road too.  Another thing that concerned me was that Texas Tech's bench was held scoreless and all five starters stayed in almost the entire game.  The bench play only consisted of five D'Walyn Robert minutes, two Trevor Cook minutes, and six Mike Singletary minutes; if this continues to happen than I believe stamina will start to become an issue.

It may sound simple, but the Texas Tech men's basketball team needs to learn how to rebound the basketball.  The Red Raiders were out-rebounded twenty-three to thirty-six and allowed a ridiculous fifteen offensive rebounds to the Missouri Tigers.  Against the best teams in the nation the Red Raiders would not even have a fighting chance of being in the game if they rebounded like they have in their last three games.  The last game that the Red Raiders have led their opponent in rebounding was January 12 against Oklahoma State.  Since then, in the last three games the Red Raiders have been out-rebounded 100-69 by their opponents and surrendered 39 offensive rebounds.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders head to Austin this weekend to face #12 Texas on Saturday night.  The Red Raiders need to get some Big 12 wins on the road and this would be a very big win if they can beat the University of Texas; the team needs to stay confident and aggressive whether or not their crowd is there or not.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Rose Bowl

#2 LSU 45 - #10 Hawaii 15
The 2008 Rose Bowl’s result really could not have surprised anyone except for a few 
fans from the Aloha State. LSU dominated early and often scoring the first 17 points 
of the game in route to a 30-point victory over the Hawaii Warriors. Matt Flynn threw 
for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Tigers in the process of being voted the Most 
Valuable Player of the game. Colt Brennan, senior Hawaii quarterback, did throw for 
2 touchdowns of his own in his last college football game, but this was clearly a 
mismatch from the start.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
LSU 10 28 7 0 45
HAW 0 13 0 2 15

First Downs 16 11
Total Offense 439 266
Rushes-Yards 18-119 5-(-3)
Comp-Att-TD 16-25-4 22-42-2
Passing Yards 320 269
Sacked 1 1
3rd Down Conv 4 – 8 (50%) 3 – 10 (30%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 2 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 1 – 1 (100%) 1 – 0 – 0 (0%)
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles – Lost 1 - 1 3 - 2
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 13 6
KR Yards 58 133
Total Yards 510 405
Punts – Average 2 – 28.0 5 – 25.4
Penalties – Yards 0 – 0 2 - 13
T.O.P. 11:22 9:38

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just Briefly...

Here are my two predictions for today's games:
AFC Championship - San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots
2:00 central, CBS
New England 27, San Diego 17
I hope that the Chargers prove me wrong.

NFC Championship - New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
5:30 central, FOX
Green Bay 31, New York 17

Don't worry folks I will be back later tonight with some more analysis.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Capital One Bowl

#1 Ohio State 20 - #12 Arizona State 10
This game was much closer than the score made it appear to be.  Arizona State scored 
a touchdown on their opening drive and controlled the game for the entire first half.  
The Bucks added three field goals in the first half taking the score to a 
ASU 10 – OSU 9 halftime score. In what would have been a monumental upset, ASU led 
the game until with three minutes and thirty-six seconds left in the 4th quarter 
Todd Boeckman, Ohio State junior quarterback, hooked up with Brian Hartline for a 
41 yard touchdown pass, a Pontiac Game-Changing Performance play. On Arizona 
State’s last possession of the game they drove the ball down into OSU territory, but 
were forced into a fourth down play and could not convert. Upon getting the ball 
back, Chris “Beanie” Wells added a dagger in the hearts of Sun Devils fans everywhere 

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
ASU 7 3 0 0 10
OSU 0 6 0 14 20

First Downs 11 10
Total Offense 236 275
Rushes-Yards 13-(-1) 27-154
Comp-Att-TD 18-34-1 5-9-1
Passing Yards 237 121
Sacked 4 0
3rd Down Conv 6 – 12 (50%) 2 – 7 (28%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 1 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 3 – 1 – 1 (66%) 2 – 0 – 2 (100%)
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles – Lost 1 - 1 2 - 0
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 13 9
KR Yards 60 41
Total Yards 309 325
Punts – Average 4 – 31.2 4 – 31.0
Penalties – Yards 0 – 0 0 - 0
T.O.P. 9:48 10:12

Friday, January 18, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - 2nd Round

With the end of the first round of the playoffs, we are down to 8 teams.

Here are your 2nd round match-ups:
#1 Ohio State vs. #12 Arizona State - Capital One Bowl - Saturday, December 22, 2007
#2 LSU vs. #10 Hawaii - Rose Bowl - Saturday, December 22, 2007
#3 Oklahoma vs. #9 Florida - Sugar Bowl - Saturday, December 22, 2007
#4 Georgia vs. #6 USC - Gator Bowl -Saturday, December 22, 2007
Most Intriguing Matchup - Gator Bowl - #4 Georgia vs. #6 USC
My Final Four Prediction - #1 Ohio State, #2 LSU, #3 Oklahoma, #6 USC

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grading Texas Tech Men's Basketball vs. #10 Texas A&M

Texas Tech 68 - #10 Texas A&M 53

January 16, 2008 
8:30 PM
United Spirit Arena - Lubbock, Texas

For anyone that is not a Texas Tech fan they may dismiss a Tech/A&M game 
as "no big deal", but anytime these two schools meet it is a big deal, in any sport.  In the midst of a frigid night both teams came out cold and mistake prone.  Unfortunately for A&M they stayed that way most of the night.  The Aggies had a season-high 20 turnovers and shoot a miserable 18-52 (34.6%) from the field.  Texas Tech played good defense except for a few defensive possessions, but the Tech crowd also played a role in the game.  In the first game in the USA with a good sized crowd,  the deafening noise kept A&M out of rhythm for the entire game, except for a few minutes in the beginning of the second half when they went on a 14-4 run to cut Tech's lead to 8.  Texas Tech took a 17-14 lead with six minutes and seven seconds left in the first half and never looked back.  Martin Zeno led the Red Raiders with 19 points and Trevor Cook added 14 along with 3 three-pointers.

Offense: B 
Texas Tech shoot 22-50 (44%) from the field and for the most part took good shots.  John Roberson took a few crazy shots and he will need to continue to grow into a mature point
 guard in order for this team to have a chance to sneak into the NCAA tournament.  Suddenly Tech also learned how to shoot free throws making 20-25 (80%), much better than they have shoot from the stripe prior this season.  I really liked what I saw tonight on the offensive end; Tech was aggressive, drove to the basket, and patient in finding open shots, despite a slow start.  This consistency will need to continue in the following weeks for the Red Raiders.
Defense: B+
The Red Raider did a good job playing well disciplined defense against Texas A&M tonight, making every point hard to get, and holding their opponent to 17 first-half points.  At the same time, a lot of A&M mistakes were mental ones - mostly travels possibly caused by crowd noise and intensity.
Overall: B+
I am really looking forward to this weekend's game at Oklahoma to see if Texas Tech has finally come together as a team.  There is no doubt tonight's game was the best game of this season thus far, but once again the Red Raiders will need to play more consistently in upcoming games, and if they do they can hang with most teams.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Chick Fil-A Bowl

#9 Florida 28 - #8 Kansas 10
Kansas came out strong scoring a touchdown on their first drive with a hookup from 
sophomore quarterback Tood Reesing to Gary Green from ten yards out. Soon this game 
became all Florida Gators and a showcase of why Tim Tebow was the 2007-2008 Heisman 
Trophy winner. Tebow threw for 258 yards and 4 touchdowns and lead the Gators to 
four straight touchdowns in the second and third quarters in route to being voted 
the MVP of the game. The Jayhawks were held to -3 rushing yards in the game and 
shutout on the scoreboard in the second half by the stifling Gator defense.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
FLA 0 14 14 0 28
KU 7 3 0 0 10

First Downs 16 8
Total Offense 346 152
Rushes-Yards 19 - 70 8 – (-3)
Comp-Att-TD 19-27-4 11-24-1
Passing Yards 276 155
Sacked 3 4
3rd Down Conv 7 – 10 (70%) 3 – 8 (37%)
4th Down Conv 1 – 1 (100%) 0 – 1 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 5 – 4 – 0 (80%) 3 – 1 – 1 (66%)
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles – Lost 0 - 0 0 - 0
Intercepted 0 0
PR Yards 11 0
KR Yards 50 77
Total Yards 407 229
Punts – Average 1 – 27.0 3 – 34.3
Penalties – Yards 2 – 25 1 - 15
T.O.P. 13:06 6:54

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Outback Bowl

#10 Hawaii 28 - #7 Missouri 24
In the first close game of the playoffs, the Outback Bowl was a game for the ages.  
Hawaii opened up the scoring with an 87-yard bomb from Heisman candidate Colt 
Brennan to C.J. Hawthorne. After ten straight Mizzou –RAH! points and the two 
teams exchanging another touchdown before halftime, Missouri carried a 17-14 lead 
into halftime. Missouri came out strong in the second half with a dominant drive 
capped by a 6-yard run from tailback Tony Temple. Little did the Tigers know that 
they would surrender the final fourteen points of the game. With only one minute 
thirty eight seconds remaining in the game Lorgan Paul took matters into his own 
hands returning the game winning touchdown 65 yards on a punt return and earning 
himself the most valuable player of the game award.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
MIZZ 3 14 7 0 24
HAW 7 7 7 7 28

First Downs 17 9
Total Offense 271 281
Rushes-Yards 23 - 64 6 - 27
Comp-Att-TD 19-28-2 19-26-3
Passing Yards 207 254
Sacked 3 1
3rd Down Conv 4 – 8 (50%) 3 – 7 (42%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 4 – 3 – 1 (100%) 1 – 1 – 0 (100%)
Turnovers 3 1
Fumbles – Lost 1 - 1 0 - 0
Intercepted 2 1
PR Yards 2 65
KR Yards 59 91
Total Yards 332 437
Punts – Average 1 – 28.0 3 – 28.0
Penalties – Yards 3 – 23 3 - 45
T.O.P. 12:40 7:20

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL Divisional Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend I went 3-1 on predictions - bringing my playoff record to 5-3 so far.
Here are some general thoughts on this weekend's games:
  • Ryan Grant fumbled the ball two times in the first four minutes and one second of the game yesterday, after that he had 27 carries for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • The Pack scored 42 of the last 48 points of their game.
  • After their first two possessions, the Seahawks were forced to 4 punts, 1 fumble, 1 turnover on downs, and 6 points on two field goals.
  • For a series of plays, when Green Bay had the ball, in the 4th quarter the snow was coming down so hard that FOX was forced to use cameras from the sideline view.
  • The New England - Jacksonville game was an overhyped game, yes it was close, but no the game was never out of New England's grasp.
  • Tom Brady threw 26 of 28 (92.9 %) and set a record for highest completion rate in a NFL game.
  • Jacksonville lost their key battles being held to 80 rushing yards and TOP - 27:40.
  • Marvin Harrison was not ready to play in this game; the first time he was hit, he fumbled.
  • Both of the Charger's interceptions were tipped balls and in or near their defensive red zone.
  • Indianapolis approached this game the wrong way by trying to avoid the run: they were held to 44 rushing yards.
  • The New York Giants are now 9-1 on the road this season.
  • Dallas lost this game more than anything and had multiple chances to carve through the Giant's secondary before the 4th quarter, but they could not execute because of a major miss thrown ball by Tony Romo towards wipe open T.O. in the red zone, dropped passes by receivers, and penalties as a result of Andre Gurode screwed up snaps in the Shotgun formation.
  • The Dallas Cowboys trying to control the time of possession did exactly the opposite of what the Cowboys wanted.  The Cowboys O-line was dead tired by the 4th quarter and that is why the Giants were finally able to pressure Tony Romo.
With that I leave the question whether or not this Cowboy's loss is equal in magnitude to the Dallas Maverick's first round loss to the Golden State Warriors in last years NBA playoffs.
Personally, I think the two are very comparable...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

NFL Divisional Weekend Predictions

We are down to the elite 8 of the National Football League and this weekend is truly crunch-time.  What teams can rise to the occasion and win under enormous amounts of pressure with the entire nation watching them.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Saturday 4:30 Eastern, FOX
The Seahawks come into Lambeau off a 35-14 win over the Washington Redskins last week.  Even with the large point differential I remain unconvinced that Matt Hasselback can stay cool under pressure.  He missed numerous open receivers throughout the game and also threw two nasty interceptions.  On the other side of the ball, the Seattle defense is quick, strong, and very aggressive.  They will come after Brett Favre all game long, but if he can get rid of the ball quickly than the Packer's offense will be fine.  Favre will need to be looking for three and five step drop slant throws as he has been all season.  The running game will also play an important factor in this game.
Key Battle: Running game
MY PREDICTION: Green Bay 27, Seattle 17
Did You Know: Of Brett Favre's 4155 passing yards this season, almost half - 2,061 - have been Yards After Catch (YAC), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots
Saturday 8:00 Eastern, CBS
The Jaguars have to come to this game with a more than confident swagger if they even want to have a chance at this game.  In order to defeat the undefeated Patriots the Jags will need to pound the ball with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and keep Tom Brady and the rest of the Pat's potent offense off the field.  If this game starts to become a high scoring battle it may get out of hand early.  Unfortunately for Jacksonville they blew a big lead last week and I think that will carry over to Saturday night.
Key Battle: Jag's Time of Possession 
MY PREDICTION: New England 31, Jacksonville 24
Did You Know: That the Patriots are undefeated - if not than go read a newspaper!

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 4:30 Eastern, FOX
Personally I think is the most intriguing matchup of the four games this weekend.  Eli Manning is coming off his first career playoff win and may have finally found his groove, but don't be so sure.  The Giants got it handed to them twice earlier this season versus division rival Dallas. While the Giants look to be peaking, the Cowboys have lost two of the last three while averaging 10.3 points a game and a miserable 67 yards during this span, including a single rushing yard in Week 17.
Key Battle: 3rd Down Conversions - In Dallas's three losses this season they are a combined 5-35 (14.3 %) on converting third downs, while in their thirteen wins they are a combined 79-164 (48.2 %).
MY PREDICTION: NY Giants 31, Dallas 20
Did You Know: The Giants are 8-1 on the road this season, their one away loss in Week 1 to the Cowboys.

San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Saturday 1:00 Eastern, CBS
The Colts have been flying under the radar in the AFC this season simply because of the Patriots.  For this group it may be a good thing.  San Diego was held scoreless last week in the first half against the Tennessee Titans and possibly could be without dominant tight end Antonio Gates.  I saw that the Colts win this game pretty handily.
Key Battle: Philip Rivers vs. himself
MY PREDICTION: Indianapolis 27, San Diego 14
Did You Know: Philip Rivers has thrown 15 INTs this season - 8 in 5 losses, 7 in 11 wins

Friday, January 11, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Cotton Bowl

#6 USC 35 - #11 West Virginia 7
West Virginia started off the game driving down the field and scoring on it’s first
possession capped by a 16-yard pass from Pat White to junior wide receiver Tito
Gonzales. WVU had no idea that a few minutes later the domination by USC would
begin. The Trojans scored 35 straight points in route to a 35-7 blowout of the
West Virginia Mountaineers. John David Booty, USC quarterback and, most valuable
player of the game threw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win. The USC defense
did a stellar job following the first and only Mountaineer points forcing Pat 
White’s offense to an 0 – 10 on third down conversions.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
USC 7 14 7 7 35
WVU 7 0 0 0 7

First Downs 11 10
Total Offense 325 163
Rushes-Yards 9-5 25-74
Comp-Att-TD 17-25-4 10-16-1
Passing Yards 320 89
Sacked 2 3
3rd Down Conv 2 – 6 (33%) 0 – 10 (0%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 1 (0%) 0 – 0 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 1 – 1 – 0 (100%) 1 – 1 – 0 (100%)
Turnovers 3 0
Fumbles – Lost 2 - 1 0 - 0
Intercepted 2 0
PR Yards 102 0
KR Yards 34 105
Total Yards 481 268
Punts – Average 3 – 29.0 9 – 28.1
Penalties – Yards 0 – 0 1 - 10
T.O.P. 9:21 10:39

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

EA Sports Virtual Playoff Simulation - Holiday Bowl

#12 Arizona State 38 - #5 Virginia Tech 12
ASU started with a boom and on the opening drive of the game Ryan Torain scored on a
59-yard run. They continued to build their lead in the 2nd quarter with help from
their offense, defense, and special teams – scoring on an 8-yard pass from Rudy
Carpenter to Michael Jones, 23 yard fumble return by linebacker Mike Nixon, and a
98 kickoff return by Michael Jones. At halftime the ASU held the edge 28-6 over
Virginia Tech. The Hookies tried to get things going on the ground but to no avail
averaging only about 2 yards per carry. Though Tech scored again in the 3rd
quarter the game was closed out when Justin Tryon intercepted a pass and took it
back to the house for 103 yards.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
ASU 7 21 0 10 38
VT 3 3 6 0 12

First Downs 8 7
Total Offense 184 125
Rushes-Yards 17-68 25-52
Comp-Att-TD 13-17-1 6-14-0
Passing Yards 116 73
Sacked 2 3
3rd Down Conv 3 – 7 (42%) 3 – 10 (30%)
4th Down Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 2 (0%)
2-Point Conv 0 – 0 (0%) 0 – 1 (0%)
Redzone – TD – FG 2 – 1 – 1 (100%) 2 – 0 – 1 (50%)
Turnovers 2 3
Fumbles – Lost 1 - 1 2 - 2
Intercepted 1 1
PR Yards 3 5
KR Yards 182 104
Total Yards 369 234
Punts – Average 2 – 37.5 2 – 42.0
Penalties – Yards 4 – 40 0 - 0
T.O.P. 10:45 9:15

Saturday, January 5, 2008

NFL Wild Card Weekend

With the NFL Playoffs about 40 minutes from kickoff, I will leave everyone with my wild card weekend predictions.

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks
Saturday 4:30 Eastern, NBC
The Redskins enter the playoffs on a roll.  Winners of four straight, following four straight losses, this season has been a roller-coaster for this team.  Todd Collins is the most important player in this game.  In his 4 games at quarterback this season he has thrown 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  He needs to stay smart back there, as Seattle will want to bring some pressure to him early.  I don't think that Seattle will be able to establish a healthy run game and this very well may be the difference.  Either way, this one will come down to the wire and will be close most of the game.  If the Washington can get to 24 they win the game.
My Prediction: Washington 24, Seattle 17

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers
Saturday 8:00 Eastern, NBC
The rough and tough Jaguars will come into Heinz Field roaring and ready to go.  The one concern I have is that if you consider who much Jacksonville dominated these teams' first meeting, it was still only a seven point game.  Jacksonville needs to get ahead early and if they can do so, they should be able to hold on for the victory.  Maurice Jones-Drew, as well as Fred Taylor, will need to be effective on the ground.
My Prediction: Jacksonville 30, Pittsburgh 20

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday 1:00 Eastern, FOX
As much as I want to see Eli Manning be successful in the National Football League the New York G-men have been too inconsistent the second half of the season against very mediocre teams.  I think the Bucs will wear out the Giants and win this game comfortably.
My Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, NYG 13 

Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers
Sunday 4:30 Eastern, CBS
If the Tennessee Titans are going to have a chance in this game they will need some help from Philip Rivers, which is possible.  He has been inconsistent, at times, this season, but in the end I believe that the Chargers will be able to grind through the Titans with their most important offensive weapon, L.T.
My Prediction: San Diego 31, Tennessee 16

Heroes of the Wild Card
Players who will have great games:
Earnest Graham 
Clinton Portis
David Garrard

Thursday, January 3, 2008

BCS or Bust!

 For a lot of NCAA Division - 1A football programs getting into a bowl and having a winning season is a successful season.  While this is the case for lower-tier and inconsistent BCS conference teams and leading mid-major conference teams, still others have to step up their goals.  Texas Tech is a perfect example of this, as Red Raider football has had twelve straight winning seasons and even better yet has won five of the last six bowl games it has appeared in. 
It is time to step up the expectation of what these Red Raiders can do.  Here's an early outlook on next season.

With 10 returning on the offensive side of the ball, including Graham Harrell (leading passer in the nation) and Michael Crabtree, redshirt freshman phenomenon (leading receiver in the nation and winner of the Bietnokiff Award), this group needs to mainly focus on not making mental mistakes.  Before the Gator Bowl, Graham Harrell has shown his vulnerability against ranked opponents throwing 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in a miserable 1-6 record the last two seasons.  Next season he will need to be more patient and mistake-free when throwing the football in these types of games.  Texas Tech wide receivers had numerous drops in the 2008 Gator Bowl, but what was most important is that Harrell did not make many mistakes with his throws, excluding one pass that could have been picked off in the second half.  The entire offensive line returns next season, but Left Tackle Rylan Reed will need to recover fully from his recent broken ankle in the Gator Bowl.

On defense 8 starters return and numerous others such as Brian Duncan, linebacker, will need to step up and fill in voids.  The most important aspect of a successful season next year will be the ability to stop, or at least contain, the run because not many other Big 12 teams will be able to pass like the Tech offense.  Texas Tech will need to find a replacement kicker for senior Alex Trlica, who went his entire career without missing an extra point.  This likely may be found in junior kicker Cory Fowler.

As any Texas Tech fan will tell you, it's not too easy to recruit good football players to come to Lubbock when they can go down to College Station or Austin.  Even so, the number two recruit in the nation, wide receiver Julio Jones (1,181 yards and 16 TD as senior), is still considering Tech as well as other top receivers.  Overall so far Texas Tech has 11 committed players from the class of 2008, including 7 defensive players - 3 of which are junior college transfers that figure to make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball.  Harrison Jeffers, a running back from Oklahoma ranked 11th nationally, also figures to get a chance to make a name for himself in the coming years as a Red Raider.

2008 is definitely the year that Texas Tech football needs to make a statement in the Big 12 conference, or else it might be time for a change.  It will be a long offseason for the Red Raiders, but come this fall it is BCS or bust!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What Could Have Been

As I sit here watching this pitiful excuse for "The Grandaddy of Them All", The Rose Bowl, this game just gives us fans one more reason why the BCS is becoming completely inadequate for NCAA Division - IA Football.  Today we are presented with a thirty-two point USC blowout of Illinois, 49-17, the biggest blowout of the Rose Bowl since 1984, which ironically was the last time Illinois was in the Rose Bowl, suffering another embarrassing defeat from UCLA, 45-9.  Only hours earlier today, the number six BCS ranked Missouri, whooped Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl 38-7.  The amazing number of upsets of ranked opponents this season just proves that a playoff system is coming closer and closer to reality.

So here it is: 12 team playoff consisting of the 6 BCS Conference Champions and the next 6 highest AP Poll ranked teams; the top 4 teams will receive a bye week.  Make the the top 11 bowls part of this tournament and the rest of the bowls can exist for lower ranked teams.  Re-seeding will occur after each week's results like in the NFL Playoffs.  I will simulate these games in NCAA Football 2008 and post the results in the coming weeks.

#1 Ohio State (Big-10 Bid) -BYE
#2 LSU (SEC Bid) - BYE
#3 Oklahoma (Big-12 Bid) -BYE
#4 Georgia (At-Large 1) -BYE
#5 Virginia Tech (ACC Bid)
#6 USC (Pac-10 Bid)
#7 Missouri (At-Large 2)
#8 Kansas (At-Large 3)
#9 Florida (At-Large 4)
#10 Hawaii (At-Large 5)
#11 West Virginia (Big East Bid)
#12 Arizona State (At-Large 6)

Round 1:
#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Arizona State - Holiday Bowl -  Saturday, December 15, 2007
#6 USC vs. #11 West Virginia - Cotton Bowl - Saturday, December 15, 2007
#7 Missouri vs. #10 Hawaii - Outback Bowl - Saturday, December 15, 2007
#8 Kansas vs. #9 Florida - Chick-Fil-A Bowl -Saturday, December 15, 2007

And by the way a prediction for tonight's Sugar Bowl: another "prestigious" bowl blowout Georgia 35 - Hawaii 14