Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’


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.


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m ready for college football to begin.  So I decided to preview the best division in the best conference in CFB, the SEC West.  And there is no more debating the fact that the SEC is the best confrence.  The SEC is head and shoulders above every other conference, considering they’ve won the last five National Championships.

 

Trent Richardson

Alabama Junior RB Trent Richardson

Alabama

 

 

2010 Record: 10-3

2010 Bowl Game: Capitol One Bowl vs. Michigan St. W 49-7

2011 Projected Record: 12-0 (SEC West Champions)

Alabama has a very favorable schedule this year.  They play both Arkansas and LSU at home.  This definitely helps considering they will be breaking in a brand new quarterback to replace Greg McElroy.  The QB battle between A.J. McCarron and Phil Simms will continue throughout August and possibly into the first game against San Jose State.  Luckily, Heisman candidate Trent Richardson will be able to take the load off of the new quarterback’s shoulders by running the ball.

Arkansas

2010 Record: 10-3

2010 Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio St. L 31-26

2011 Projected Record: 10-2

Like Alabama, Arkansas is losing a great starting quarterback in Ryan Mallet.  However, I expect Head Coach Bobby Petrino will have Junior Tyler Wilson ready to go against tough SEC secondaries.  Also, look for half back Knile Davis to run the ball well as an upperclassman this season.  As a sophomore, he had 13 rushing touchdowns and averaged over 100 rushing yards per game.

Auburn

2010 Record: 14-0

2010 Bowl Game: BCS National Championship vs. Oregon W 22-19 (OT)

2012 Projected Record: 5-7

Unlike Florida, LSU, and Alabama, I don’t think Auburn will make it to a bowl game after winning the BCS National Title.  To start, the loss of Cam Newton is very hard to deal with, especially with a third year coach in Gene Chizik.  However, like Alabama and Arkansas, they do have a fantastic tail back in Michael Dyer.  But he will be carrying the entire load for the Tigers, something that a sophomore will, in all likelihood, not be able to do.

LSU

2010 Record: 11-2

2010 Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M W 41-24

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

The Tigers are definitely poised to make a National Title run in 2011.  With Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson returning, the Tigers are one of the few teams in the West with returning starting QB(s).  And Les Miles always has his team ready to take on the best in the nation.  One thing that could hinder LSU is their lack of experience at running back with no juniors or seniors on roster.

Ole Miss

2010 Record: 4-8

2010 Bowl Game: NONE

2011 Projected Record: 5-7

Although I believe the Rebels will improve in 2011, I still don’t think they will make a bowl game.  Ole Miss is coming off a season in which they only won one SEC game (vs. Kentucky) and lost to FCS opponent Jacksonville State.  Luckily for Rebel fans, Coach Houston Nutt signed a top-25 recruiting class this past season.  Despite this, I doubt the Rebs will be able to replace QB Jeremiah Masoli, who was a major player in three of Ole Miss’s four wins.

Mississippi State

2010 Record: 9-4

 

Chirs Relf

Mississippi State Senior QB Chris Relf

 

2010 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Michigan W 52-14
2011 Projected Record: 8-4

The Bulldogs are coming off one of their best seasons in the past decade, finishing in the top 20 for the first time since 1999.  They are returning senior QB Chris Relf, who has the best passer efficiency in school history.  The Bulldogs have 17 other seniors on roster, including running backs Vick Ballard and Robert Elliot.  Look for Mississippi State to be playing in January again.  And don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs get to an SEC Championship game within the next five seasons.