Most people will tell you that the BCS is unfair.  And at times, they are right.  But more often than not, the BCS has proved effective.  Some people will say that a rematch is unfair.  They are wrong.  The BCS has had its problems, but it’s the best system for college football.
Let’s start with the “unfair” argument.  I would be incredibly wrong to say that the BCS has always been fair.  But it has always produced a champion that is the best team in the nation.  Let’s take the 2006-2007 season for example.  In that season, there were two BCS controversies.  The first was that Michigan deserved a rematch against Ohio State in the National Championship.  Instead, Florida got the spot and ended up putting a beating on the Buckeyes.  Michigan lost by double digits to USC in the Rose Bowl.  In this situation, a rematch was obviously not the right choice.  Then there was Boise State.  The Broncos ran the table in the regular season then went on to beat the Oklahoma Sooners in epic fashion in the Fiesta Bowl.  As the only undefeated team in the country, many Bronco fans made the argument that they should have a share of the National Championship.  But Boise didn’t beat anybody of any significant caliber that season.  Even Oklahoma was overrated.  The Sooners did not blow anybody away (with the exception of Middle Tennessee State) and didn’t beat anyone ranked higher than 18th that entire season.  Clearly, Florida was the best team in the country.  The BCS got it right in one of the craziest years in the history of college football.

Fast forward to 2011.  LSU is clearly the best team in the country.  They’ve beaten three top ten teams and play fantastic football in all aspects of the game.  But the big question is: who should they play on January 9th in New Orleans?  The consensus feeling around the nation is that Alabama is the second best team in the country (or the best if you ask Lou Holtz).  They are ranked first in EVERY major defensive category (Total, PPG, Passing, Rushing).  They have the Heisman frontrunner in Trent Richardson at tail back.  All signs would point to them going to New Orleans.  But some people aren’t fond of this idea.  Alabama lost 9-6 in OT against LSU in early November.  Some people think that the Tide shouldn’t get another opportunity at the Tigers.  But why?  In any other sport, we’re fine with a rematch.  Lets take Super Bowl XLII for example.  That was the year the Patriots went undefeated… until February when they lost to the New York Giants in one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time.  However, just over a month before that, the Patriots beat the Giants by three (see the similarity?).  Should Roger Goodell have just said, “The Patriots have already beaten the Giants this season, so the NFC will be represented by Green Bay instead of the Giants”?  Of course not.  There also is no real alternative to go to the Championship this year.  LSU would be a 14-point favorite versus any other team.  Even Oklahoma State.  And the Cowboys still have to beat Oklahoma.

Trent Richardson

2011 Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson

I’m not saying the BCS is a perfect system.  But it is right more often than not.  It will also make more money than a playoff.  There’s a reason that college football is more profitable than college basketball.  At the end of the day, college football is much better with the BCS than without it.

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It’s been over a decade since the lowly Bills have played a meaningful game in January.  But it won’t be too long before we start seeing Buffalo in the playoffs again.  They may have lost yesterday to the Giants, but they are still the best up and coming team in the AFC.

To start, you always have to look at the quarterback.  And they don’t get too much better than the Amish Rifle, Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitzy has the 5th best QBR (ESPN’s wonderful new statistic), the 5th

fitzy

Ryan Fitzpatrick

most touchdown passes, and the 6th most passing yards.  Oh and he got a 48 on the Wonderlic Test.  That’s 15 points higher than Tom Brady and 20 points higher than Peyton Manning.  Last but not least, Fitzpatrick is the first Bills quarterback since Drew Bledsoe to give fans real hope.  J.P. Losman was never truly embraced by people in Western New York and neither was Trent Edwards.  But the Amish Rifle gives out the Ivy League, blue-collar football vibe that every fan wants out of their leader.

Next comes the man that he hands the ball off too: Fred Jackson.  Jackson has been under the radar for his entire career.  He played college ball at Division III Coe College, a school in Iowa with 1,300 undergraduates.  After spending four spectacular seasons there, he went undrafted and spent a season in the National Indoor Football League, one in the United Indoor Football League, and one in NFL Europe.  It wasn’t until 2006 that Marv Levy invited Jackson to Pittsford, NY for the Bills’ Training Camp.  This season, he’s leading the NFL in yards per attempt and he’s second in rushing touchdowns.  He might be 30 years old, but the Bills still have a few years to groom former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller into an every down back.

Last but not least, the defense.  Over the past decade of sub-par football, the Bills have had an untalented, undersized group.  But this year, the Bills weigh an average of over 310 lbs on the defensive line.  Last year they only weighed about 285 lbs.  They’re also moving up on the skill

Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus en route to a touchdown in the BCS National Championship Game

side.  Nearly one-third of their defensive players come from SEC schools, including their 2011 first round pick Marcell Dareus.  At the end of the day, the Bills may not be on the defensive level of the Ravens, but they’re moving up the NFL ranks.

Despite this, the Bills still aren’t getting the love that the Lions are getting.  One reason is that they have the Patriots and the Fighting Rex Ryans in their division.  But the Patriots aren’t what they were in 2004.  Tom Brady is 34 now.  That’s old enough for him to join the NFL version of the AARP whenever he chooses.  But he’s also getting more distracted.  He’s starting to focus on his super-model wife and his Uggs as opposed to football.  Also, his favorite target, Wes Welker, will be 31 after this season.  With that age combination, the Patriots’ years of dominance are numbered.  As for the Jets, they really aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.  They may have reached the AFC Championship the past two seasons, but this season they are a mediocre 2-3 (pending tonight’s game against the Dolphins).  And the Sanchize has never completed more than 60% of his passes in a season.  He may be a great game manager, but unless he can rise above the Mendoza Line of quarterbacks, he won’t be considered an elite passer.

All of these factors come together to form a new era of Bills dominance.  Ralph Wilson is getting more and more hungry for a Super Bowl and he’s finally putting the pieces together to make it happen.  Hopefully the Bills take a page from Al Davis’ book and JUST WIN BABY.


Night after night, the number one story on SportsCenter is college football realignment.  This is great and all, but there is that beautiful thing known as college basketball.  The sport as we know it could be completely different by the time all of the realignment dust settles.  Teams like Kansas and UConn could be left out of a power conference because they aren’t traditional football powers.  Despite this, there is some good that will come out of this mess.

The Good:

With less major conference automatic bids, the regular season will mean even more.  It appears that the ACC is partially absorbing the Big East, which means teams like Syracuse and Pitt will be in direct competition with Duke and North Carolina.  This also adds pressure to potential bubble teams like

Will Clyburn
Will Clyburn, Senior Guard for the Utes

Boston College and Virginia Tech who will now have to face all of these power houses twice in a season.

Next, it will improve the talent level at schools like Utah.  Utah has been a solid team in the past decade, making five NCAA tournaments since 2001.  But in that time, they’ve only made it past the second round once (2005).  The addition of Utah to the Pac 12 (or Pac 16 depending on when you’re reading this) will help them with recruiting.  A high school senior would much rather hear, “we play two games per year in Los Angeles” than “we play the New Mexico Lobos twice per year.”  This should make for a very interesting and more parodic March.

The Bad:

All of the conference realignment is centered on football.  This means that teams like Kansas, Kansas State, and even Iowa State will be left out of the super conferences.  Kansas is one of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball.  As it should be, considering Dr. James Naismith was their first coach.  Of course, Memphis has dealt with this for years, considering they play in the C-USA.  But still, Kansas and Memphis aren’t in the same class.  Memphis wouldn’t have even gotten to the championship game in 2008 if Derrick Rose didn’t have some help taking his SATs.  At the end of the day, it’s just hard to imagine Kansas playing in the Sun Belt Conference or C-USA.

Secondly, many conference rivalries will be destroyed.  Every year, fans pack the Carrier Dome to see

Jim Boeheim
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim has big expectations going into the ACC

Cuse take on Georgetown.  That game is always in January or February.  But now that Syracuse is in the ACC, Georgetown will only be able to visit every other year.  And that game would be in December.  At that point in the season, most college sports fans are focused on how flawed the BCS system is, not on who Joe Lunardi has in his latest Bracketology (no offense Mr. Lunardi).  I’m not saying that a Duke-Syracuse game at Cameron Indoor wouldn’t be exciting, but it wouldn’t be the same as Georgetown for Cuse fans.

No matter what complaints people may have, realignment is going to happen.  People just need to be aware of how it will affect other sports that aren’t football.


Earlier this morning, one of the best teams in the world, Real Madrid, signed Argentinian soccer prodigy Leonel Angel Coira.  There’s only one hitch: he’s seven.  Madrid reportedly signed him because rival Atletico Madrid was also pursuing the child star.

Although Coira should be more at home watching Spongebob than playing soccer over 6,000 miles from

Lionel Messi
Barcelona star Lionel Messi

home, he is not the first person to make the leap from child to professional soccer player.  The two examples that pop into most people’s heads are Lionel Messi (Coira’s idol) and Freddy Adu.

Like Coira, Messi is from Argentina and goes by the name Leo.  Messi was also signed to Barcelona when he was just 15 years old.  He had also been playing professionally for his home town team of Newell’s Old

Leonel Angel Coira
Leonel Angel Coira’s picture from his Facebook page

Boys in Argentina since he was just eight years old.  However, one difference between the two prodigies is that Messi left Argentina for Spain in part because he needed treatment for a growth hormone deficiency.

Freddy Adu is a different story.  Adu was signed to the D.C. United when he was 14.  He was originally from Ghana, but his mother won the Green Card Lottery when he was eight, so he moved to Maryland.  His high school moved him up two grades so he would qualify for varsity sports.  Adu then joined the IMG Soccer Academy and was signed professionally just two years later.

So which path is Coira more likely to take?

It depends on the path that Real Madrid takes.  Barcelona let Messi play sparingly until he was 18 when he played regularly.  However, Adu played on a regular basis from the first time he put on a United uniform.  Of course Messi went on to win World Player of the Year twice while Adu faded into relative anonymity.  Though Adu has made a comeback in recent years, he will likely never become the player that he was made out to be as a teenager.

The biggest difference between the two players is the fact that Adu was signed for publicity.  Neither Barcelona nor Madrid need help attracting fans.  My take: we won’t know for another decade or so.  I think he’ll be a great player, but I wouldn’t use him in a FIFA video game for at least five years or so.


The Big 10’s new divisions make for some interesting match-ups. And, despite the SEC’s dominance, look for some Big 10 teams to possibly make a run.

Wisconsin Badgers
2010 Record: 11-2 (7-1 Big 10)
2010 Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. TCU Horned Frogs, L 19-21
2011 Projection: 11-1 (7-1)

Despite playing Ohio State, Michigan St., and Illinois on the road, I’m predicting that the Badgers will come out on top of the Big 10 Leaders division this year. Last year they showed that could beat the best, and they’ll be in the Top 5 of all teams this year. Their QB situation is a mess, but with RBs Montee Ball and James White, they may be able to overcome that issue. Other than the QB issue, both the offense and the defense are set to make a run back to one of the best Bowl games. Only Michigan State will be able to overcome the Badgers this season.

Penn State Nittany Lions
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Florida Gators, L 24-37
2011 Projection: 9-3 (6-2)

Rob Bolden

Penn State Quarterback Rob Bolden will be Fighting for his Job this Season.

With the new divisions in the Big 10, and Ohio State having troubles, look for the Nittany Lions to capitalize and be one of the top teams. They have some holes to fills, but it doesn’t look like the holes will hinder their season. In the QB situation, Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will again be battling for the starting job. Both are good enough to lead Penn State to a solid record. And whoever wins the starting job will have senior WR Derek Moye, who is one of the best receivers in the Big 10, to catch the ball. I’m predicting their only losses will be against Alabama, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Illinois Fighting Illini
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Baylor, W 38-14
2011 Projection: 8-4 (5-3)

The Illini are definitely the giant killers in the Big 10 this year. They have a lot of potential, and it’s possible for them to go 10-2, but also to go 2-10. So to be realistic, I have them as the third best team in the Leaders division. Sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase is most probably the starter, and he also has the potential to be the best QB in the Big 10. Unfortunately for the Illini, they lost star RB Mikel Leshoure to the NFL, which means they need to either find a good RB, or work more on their passing game.  If Illinois wants to prove itself on a national scale, it must beat Arizona State in Week 3. Head coach Ron Zook will definitely have a challenge on his hands, but if he can overcome it, Illinois can definitely have a solid season this year.

Ohio State Buckeyes
2010 Record: 12-1 (7-1) (Wins Vacated)
2010 Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Arkansas, W 31-26 (Vacated)
2011 Projection: 6-6 (3-5)

The Buckeyes 2011 season will be torturous… for Ohio State standards anyways. Despite an offseason filled with controversy and the two most important pieces (coach and QB) gone from the program, the Buckeyes still have talent, and I’m predicting that they will still end up at .500, or possibly with a winning season. The possibly comes with the game at Miami. I didn’t give it to them, but if they can come out with a win, they could still manage a winning season. Their talent everywhere else is still great, which will allow them to beat the lesser Big 10/out of conference teams. Coaching will be a problem this year for the Buckeyes, because they will have to learn head coach Luke Fickell’s new system. And unfortunately for fans, this will also be the year the Michigan steps up and beats Ohio State. The controversy and sudden change will have been too much for the team to handle, and Ohio State will probably end up being a .500 team.

Purdue Boilermakers
2010 Record: 4-8 (2-6)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 5-7 (2-6)

How the season goes for the Boilermakers will all be based on how well QB Robert Marve plays. There were high hopes for him, but he blew out his ACL last season, and Purdue suffered without him. All in

Robert Marve
Purdue Quarterback Robert Marve

all, the Boilermakers’ offense isn’t that bad, and last year they didn’t have a true QB. This year, all they can hope for is that their offense outplays the other team’s offense, because their defense will not be able to win them games. This year they will be better, but not enough to surpass Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, and Ohio State.

Indiana Hoosiers
2010 Record: 5-7 (1-7)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 4-8 (1-7)

The Hoosiers are again going to have a tough season. Not only are they not very good, they have a terribly difficult Big 10 schedule. They face Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State on the road. One thing that could help is the fact that they have 18 returning players, which makes them one of the most experienced teams in the NCAA.  But, despite the experience, the other Big 10 teams’ talent will be too much, and they will only have four victories this year.

By Gaurav Shastri


After all the talk of realignment, the Big 10 (excuse me, the B1G) was definitely a winner.  Even though they only added Nebraska, they were able to split into two divisions: the Leaders and the Legends.  The Legends division consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern.  Out of the gate, it looks like the Legends Division could be deeper than the Leaders.  Regardless, here is the preview.

Iowa

2010 Record: 8-5

2010 Bowl Game: Insight Bowl vs. Missouri W 27-24

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

This Hawkeye team will not resemble the team from two years ago that went to the Orange Bowl.  Iowa lost six players to the NFL Draft, including quarterback Ricky Stanzi.  They also had three defensive linemen taken.  At quarterback this year, they will start Junior James Vandenberg.  Vandenberg has three career TDs at Iowa and has already been recognized as a leader by his teammates.  He also made the Academic All-Big 10 team in 2009.  If the Hawkeyes want to have significant success this season, Vandenberg will have to lead them.

Michigan

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi St L 52-14

2011 Projected Record: 10-2

The Wolverines benefit from having one of the easiest schedules in the country.  Their first five games are all in Ann Arbor.  And this is a huge benefit for new head coach Brady Hoke.  Equally as important,

Denard Robinson
Michigan Quarterback Denard Robinson

Michigan only lost two players to the NFL Draft.  Ironically, both were picked by San Diego, the same city where Hoke coached last season.  The most important factor this season though is junior quarterback Denard Robinson.  Robinson was the clear Heisman front-runner last season when Michigan was 5-0.  Robinson will be a preseason Heisman favorite this season, especially considering two of the past four Heisman winners were dual threat quarterbacks.  Lastly, I have Michigan beating Ohio State.  This is Michigan’s time to show that they aren’t an opponent to be taken lightly and they will show it come late November.

Michigan State

2010 Record: 11-2

2010 Bowl Game: Capitol One Bowl vs. Alabama L 49-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

Like Michigan, Michigan State also benefits from an easy schedule.  But unlike the Wolverines, they’re coming of a highly successful season (minus the bowl game) and they have their head coach coming back.  Mark Dantonio will have his Spartans ready to repeat their 11 win season.  A big part of this will be quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins is coming off his best statistical season and will have a huge impact in the Spartan locker room this season. Also, junior running back Edwin Baker is coming off a 1,000 yard season and he looks to be a big part of their offense.

Minnesota

2010 Record: 3-9

2010 Bowl Game: NONE

2011 Projected Record: 3-9

Minnesota is probably the worst team in this division.  New head coach Jerry Kill is hoping to improve upon last year’s dismal 3-9 record, but I doubt he’ll be able to do anything more than Tim Brewster.  The fact that quarterback Adam Weber is now playing for the Denver Broncos does not help either.  Weber is the all-time leader in touchdown passes at Minnesota.  Junior Marqueis Gray will try to fill his shoes, but he played mostly wide reciever last season and he might have trouble adjusting to being the full time quarterback for the Golden Gophers.

Nebraska

2010 Record: 10-4 (Big 12)

2010 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington L 19-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

The newest member of the Big 10 looks like they will have a lot of success in their first season.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez started to live up to expectations last year and he looks to improve on that in his sophomore year as a Cornhusker.  Last year, he threw for 10 TDs and ran for 12 in only 13 games.  This put him on the All-Freshman team.  Another plus for Nebraska is their coach, Bo Pelini.  Pelini was

Taylor Martinez
Nebraska Quarterback Taylor Martinez

a former defensive coordinator at LSU and is very SEC minded when it comes to coaching.  Now, he’s coaching in a conference that is absolutely dreadful against SEC opponents as Michigan and Michigan State showed in last years bowl games, losing by a combined score of 101-21.  All of these things put the Huskers in a position to win this division.

Northwestern

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: TicketCity Bowl vs. Texas Tech L 45-38

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

Unlike some other teams in this division, the Wildcats have a tough schedule this year.  Despite this, I think Northwestern (better known for its academics than its football) can still get to six wins.  The Wildcats have gotten to the six win mark each of the past four seasons.  If they hope to keep this going, they will need to get another solid year out of quarterback Dan Persa.  Persa was a captain as a junior last season and he proved he was worthy, passing for 15 touchdowns in just 10 games.  Northwestern has also launched a “Persa for Heisman” campaign.  Another big factor for the Wildcats will be sophomore running back Mike Trumpy, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season.

By Taylor Frank


SEC East Football Preview 2011 by Gaurav Shastri

Contrary to the SEC West, the SEC East doesn’t have as many national title contenders, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some strong teams. Some of these teams may be very tough this season.

Georgia Bulldogs
2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5 SEC)
2010 Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. UCF Knights, L 6-10
2011 Projection: 11-1 (8-0)

The Bulldogs have one of the easiest schedules in the league this season, and they’re a good team, which

aaron murray
Aaron Murray Senior QB for Georgia

means Georgia will probably have a great season. The QB, Aaron Murray, is considered one of the best in the SEC, and, despite losing AJ Green to the NFL, Isiah Crowell will carry the team in what is the most RB centered conference in the NCAA. Defense is where the problems could lie. The first two games could make or break their season, and the only team that can stop them is themselves. I’m predicting their only loss will be Week 1 at Boise State.

South Carolina Gamecocks
2010 Record: 9-5 (5-3)
2010 Bowl Game: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Florida St. Seminoles, L 17-26
2011 Projection: 10-2 (6-2)

The defending SEC East champions will not repeat this year. With Georgia’s easy schedule, and the troubling QB situation, the Gamecocks will only end up in second place. Senior Stephen Garcia, despite being the starter last year, will have to battle against Connor Shaw, the QB who replaced him in South Carolina’s spring game. Their defense has minimal problems, with DE Devin Taylor probably going to have his best season yet. Only Georgia and Arkansas will get the better of the Gamecocks this year.

Florida Gators
2010 Record: 8-5 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Penn State Nittany Lions, W 37-24
2011 Projection: 8-4 (4-4)

New head coach Will Muschamp will definitely have his work cut out for him at the Swamp this season. With Urban Meyer gone, the entire team must try to learn Muschamp’s new system. And even though last year’s “Tebow hangover” may now be over, that doesn’t mean they’ve figured out their QB situation. Senior John Brantley is not the definite starter, despite having more experience than freshman Jeff Driskel. Their defense is what will win them games, especially with Muschamp at the helm, but I don’t think their offense will be enough to have them improve from last year. I’m predicting that their only losses will be at Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Tennessee Volunteers
2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5)
2010 Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. UNC Tarheels, L 27-30
2011 Projection: 6-6 (2-6)

The Volunteers are going to have some trouble within the SEC this year. Along with having to face the three best teams in the SEC west, they to face a strong Georgia team and Florida in the Swamp. And while they try to rebuild their program, the rest of the SEC isn’t waiting, which is why for the next few years, the Volunteers will consistently be mediocre. There is one bright spot on the team in sophomore Tyler Bray, who is one of the better QBs in the SEC. At best, the Volunteers are a .500 team this year.

Kentucky Wildcats
2010 Record: 6-7 (2-6)
2010 Bowl Game: BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Pittsburgh Panthers, L 10-27
2011 Projection: 6-6 (2-6)

Kentucky is another team that will be, at best, a .500 team. Morgan Newton, despite being a good

morgan newton
Morgan Newton Junior QB for Kentucky

QB, isn’t one that can make some progress for this team. They would be good team in any other division, but the SEC is too strong for them, which is why they’ll have trouble once the SEC schedule starts. Both offense and defense will need to step it up a lot if they want to be better than a .500 team.

Vanderbilt Commodores
2010 Record: 2-10 (1-7)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 2-10 (0-8)

Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, the 2011 season will not treat them well. They face South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia in a row, and it doesn’t help that they didn’t have that great of a recruiting class and have a new coach’s system to get used to. Fortunately for them they have 18 starters returning, so there is a lot of experience on the team. And they have some bright spots in the LB Chris Marve and RB Warren Norman. In a couple of years, this team could be making some noise in the SEC.