2015 College Football Preview: B1G

big10-11-nav-logoOne season it is considered arguably the weakest conference in college football.  The next season it has a team that bagged a national championship – the first in the College Football Playoff era – and the perception changes a little bit.

What a difference a year makes!

With the addition of Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, along with Urban Meyer bringing back a loaded Buckeye team, this will make for an interesting season.

Without further ado…

East (not “Legends”) Division

  1. Ohio State
  2. Michigan State
  3. Penn State
  4. Michigan
  5. Rutgers
  6. Maryland
  7. Indiana

Analysis:  No need for major analysis here.  Ohio State is not only the best team in the country headed into this season, it is by far the best team in the Big Ten.

Sure Michigan State and its nasty defense could give the Buckeyes fits.  James Franklin has Penn State in the right direction.  And last but not least, Jim Harbaugh will turn Michigan around sooner rather than later.  But let’s be real about one thing: the East Division – and B1G – is Ohio State’s world and everyone else is living in it.

West (not “Leaders”) Division

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Nebraska
  3. Minnesota
  4. Iowa
  5. Northwestern
  6. Purdue
  7. Illinois

Analysis:  This division may be the red-headed stepchild of the conference, but at least it’s not as top-heavy as the East.  This division should be a three-team race between Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota.  Nebraska should do well under coach Mike Riley, but I think Wisconsin is just too talented to relinquish the West.

The biggest question for the Badgers is will they actually show up in the B1G Championship game against the Buckeyes this time around?

2015 B1G Champion: Ohio State (what, were you expecting anyone else?)

2015 College Football Preview: Big 12

Big 12This conference has gone from one that is steeped in tradition and prestige to one big-ass punch line.

Who’s looking to stay in this conference?  Who wants to join?  Why would they want to join?  Would Texas allow them to join?

Why doesn’t Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby just move the Big 12 headquarters to Austin, especially since the Longhorns are running things anyway?

Oh and about that “one true champion” thing, looks like Bowlsby got some egg on his face while trying to stump for TWO teams (TCU and Baylor) for the College Football Playoff.  Memo to Bowlsby: try mixing in a conference championship game and a bit of expansion (Cincinnati and BYU, c’mon down!).

What a joke this conference has become.  It’s going to be fascinating to see what will happen to this conference 5-10 years from now.

Alas, this conference still has two powerhouses in TCU and Baylor.  The problem is those squads are not named Oklahoma and Texas.

Uh, at any rate…

  1. TCU
  2. Baylor
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Texas
  6. Kansas State
  7. West Virginia
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

Analysis:  TCU and Baylor are still running things in the Big 12.  And while both of those squads are fabulous, they do not carry a prestige of Texas and Oklahoma.

Let’s be real about something, if either TCU or Baylor were named Texas and Oklahoma, do you REALLY think Ohio State would have jumped them in the final College Football Playoff poll?  I didn’t think so.

Speaking of Oklahoma and Texas, the Big 12 would look even better if those two schools mattered again.  Oklahoma had a decent season, but got their asses kicked by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.  Meanwhile Texas was mediocre at best, culminating in getting curb-stomped by Arkansas in their bowl game.

Back to TCU and Baylor.  Baylor has to go to Fort Worth to play TCU, and I like the Horned Frogs chances at exacting revenge.  Thankfully Bowlsby and Co. got smart and moved the game to near the end of the season when EVERYONE would tune in.

In the meantime, memo to Baylor coach Art Briles: try scheduling REAL teams outside of your conference.  SMU, Rice and the immortal Lamar will not impress the Selection Committee, bro…

Premature congrats go to the TCU Horned Frogs in winning the Big 12!

2015 College Football Preview: ACC

Boz7c-KIIAA0D7nThe 2015 college football season is almost here.  Only 26 days away from the Thursday night games on September 3rd.

WHOO-HOO!

I haven’t been blogging much lately, largely due to the fact that baseball has dominated the sports landscaped (that sport is too damn long by the way).  Now that the good Lord is going to bless us with football a few weeks from now (along with basketball later in the year), this dude will be back blogging like one bad, crazy mo-fo.

I will give an in-depth preview all of the “Power 5” conferences.  Not so much for the “Group of 5” conferences because, quite frankly, no one gives a damn about them – and neither will I.  Those conferences will be included in my “overall” college football preview.

So without further ado, the conference of my youth: the Atlantic Coast Conference (can this conference get ANY respect?)…

Atlantic Division

  1. Florida State
  2. Louisville
  3. Clemson
  4. North Carolina State
  5. Boston College
  6. Wake Forest
  7. Syracuse

Analysis:  A lot of pundits are picking Clemson to win the division and the conference.  A lot.  However, the Tigers have the only a handful of players coming back.  And there is that constant question about QB Deshaun Watson’s health.  If he stays healthy, Clemson will light it up on offense.  Otherwise, say hello to 8-4.

I still think this is FSU’s division to lose.  Sure the Seminoles lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but they have more going for them.  They still have a boatload of talent.  They are still coached by Jimbo Fisher.  QB Everette Golson will be more than serviceable this season.  And FSU’s out of conference schedule is light.  Until Clemson is man enough to take FSU out, this division (and conference) is still owned by the Seminoles.

As for the rest of the division, keep an eye on Louisville.  If the Cardinals can upset Auburn in Week 1, look the hell out.  Only a road game at FSU may prevent the Cards from possibly running the table.  Besides, any team coached by Bobby Petrino is a team to watch.

Coastal Division

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. Georgia Tech
  3. North Carolina
  4. Miami
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Duke
  7. Virginia

Analysis:  This division is such a fucking crapshoot, it’s not even funny.  You could put all of these teams’ names in a hat (outside Virginia), and any team picked would have a compelling case to win the Coastal.

That said, I think both Techs will run the division this season.  What gives Virginia Tech the edge are two things: 1) the Hokies have almost everyone on defense coming back, and any defensive unit coached by Bob Foster should be feared; 2) Georgia Tech not only lost some offensive weapons, it has a harder schedule.

Not only do the Yellow Jackets have to play both Clemson and FSU in conference this season, they have to play Notre Dame and of course Georgia out of conference.  If Georgia Tech finish with only one loss with that schedule, they would be playoff worthy.

However, Virginia Tech has only Ohio State to worry about in terms of out of conference schedule.  The Hokies get them at home Week 1 on a Monday night, which will be HUGE.  And while East Carolina is no slouch, it is not Notre Dame nor Georgia.

Advantage, Virginia Tech.

2015 ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

Geno Responsible for His Own Ass Whupping

11364003_1660183757558868_1059998848_nI feel bad for New York Jets fans, I really do.

The Jets entered training camp feeling pretty damn good about themselves.  They reacquired stud defensive backs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to anchor the secondary.  They also acquired stud wide receiver Brandon Marshall to help the passing game.

In short, the Jets have done all they could to improve immensely from last season.

Then the punch heard ’round the world happened.

Linebacker IK Enemkpali knocked the hell out of scrub QB Geno Smith in the locker room after yesterday’s practice, and in the process of doing so broke Smith’s jaw.  Smith had surgery to repair his jaw, and will be out 6 to 10 weeks.

Just to give the quick back story, Smith accepted a $600 plane ticket from Enemkpali to appear at linebacker’s football camp in Pflugerville, Texas.  Smith did not show up for the camp, which supposedly happened after a friend died in a motorcycle crash.  After Smith did not attend, Enemkpali demanded that the Jets quarterback refund him the $600 he allegedly used to purchase the plane ticket.  Smith told Enemkpali he would reimburse him the money, but he also reportedly put his finger in Enemkpali’s face.  Enemkpali then punched dude in the face and broken his jaw.

I realize that by the title of this rant, it appears that I am solely blaming him for getting his own ass kicked.  That is not the case.

Enemkpali was wrong for punching another dude over any money, let alone $600.  And it was also stupid of the young brother to lose his job, and perhaps his career, over something so trivial.  And should also get some much-needed counseling for his reported anger-management issues.

But Smith, himself, should have known better.

He should have given Enemkpali an explanation as to why he missed that football camp.  Smith should have also paid the man his money back.  Even though $600 may be a drop in a hat for most pro athletes, Enemkpali was a 6th round draft pick and while he made a good living, he ain’t rich.

And last but not least, Smith had no damn business putting a finger in a dude’s face – let alone a dude to whom he owes $600.

Just as Enemkpali could have done something to prevent a confrontation, Smith could have as well.  After all, Smith only owed the dude lots of money and an apology for missing his camp.

Again, I am not condoning Enemkpali for his actions.  And I wouldn’t blame Smith if he pressed charges against him.

I’m just saying one should never, EVER put a finger in another dude’s face.  If this happened in the streets, Smith would have sustained much worse than a broken jaw.

For once again, “JETS” = “Just End The Season”…

Rousey Is an All-Time Great

Ronda-Rousey-Says-Cyborg-Is-not-a-Woman-MMA-SpotlightThis just in: Ronda Rousey is a friggin’ stud.

She took out Brazilian challenger Bethe Correia in her own backyard in 34 SECONDS.  The crowd at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro must have done Samba moves in their tears when they witnessed their fellow countrywoman Correia get knocked the (pluck) out.

Now it’s time to ask the question: is Rousey an all-time great in MMA?  I’d answer with a resounding “hell yes”.

As I have said about her in the past, she is the future of UFC.  Her fight with Correia was the headliner for Christ’s Sake!

And yeah, I know a lot of folks out there are pissed that the fight only lasted 34 seconds.  I know that she is a woman amongst girls – at least in her weight class – at this point.

But it’s not Rousey’s fault that she is so dominant right now.  The rest of the ladies in her weight class has to step up and challenge Rousey’s reign.

The closest thing Rousey has to a rival is Miesha Tate.

As talented (and gorgeous) as Tate is, she is not on Rousey’s level.  In two previous fights against Rousey, Tate lost to via submission (Tate suffered a broken arm in the second match).

Until Rousey runs into an opponent who is a Joe Frazier to her Muhammad Ali, let’s all revel in her dominance of the sport.  Witnessing greatness is such a beautiful thing.

Brady’s Suspension Creates Consistency Questions…

new-england-patriots-logoNFL Commissioner/Warden/Playa Hater Roger Goodevil upheld New England Patriots QB Tom Brady’s suspension earlier today.  Now Brady is looking to take the NFL to court, and the Twitter-verse has exploded with reactions from both sides of the coin.

And while this Pittsburgh Steelers fan is happy that Brady’s suspension (we will open the 2015 season against the Patriots), I do wonder what criteria Goodevil uses in reducing and upholding suspensions.

I mean, let’s take Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell for example.  Bell was originally suspended three games for his DUI and marijuana possession charges.  Goodevil reduced it to two games earlier today.

To me, DUI and weed possession is more egregious than deflating footballs.  Yet Bell’s suspension was reduced and Brady’s wasn’t.

Example #2: Greg Hardy.

Now this dude was originally suspended for his role in a domestic violence incident.  The details were so horrifying that I didn’t think it would be possible for Hardy to continue his NFL career.  Goodevil later reduced Hardy’s suspension to four games.

Now think about that for a moment.  Brady was suspended for the same length of time as a convicted woman batterer.  As with the case with Bell, I think deflating footballs is FAR less of a hot-button issue than domestic violence.

Go figure.

I understand that Goodevil and Co. have sent a message to Brady that being uncooperative is not an option.  But four games for deflating footballs, especially when said footballs were not used in the second half of the AFC Championship game when New England blew the doors off of Indianapolis?  Really??

Then again, this is Roger Goodevil we are talking about.  The idea of crawling into Goodevil’s head and trying to understand his logic in reducing and upholding suspensions makes my head hurt.

The Reds Are a Trainwreck

cincinnati_redsI’m a little confused about something here.

How does a team with one of the best starting pitchers and arguably the best closer in baseball suck?  Said team should be in contention for a wild card at the very least.

Say hello to the 2015 Cincinnati Reds.

The same Reds once employed one of the best starting pitchers in the league in Johnny Cueto (who has been since traded to the Kansas City Royals), as well as in my mind the best relief pitchers in Aroldis Chapman is sitting in 4th place in the National League Central Division with a 43-53 record.

How did the Reds become so bad the last couple of seasons?  It’s easy: bad management.

The organization, namely general manager Walt Jocketty, invested in the wrong players.  He gave starting pitcher Homer Bailey – who is injured and only played in two games this season – a 6 year, $105,000,000 contract.  This is also the same pitcher who is sporting a 58-51 record and a 4.19 ERA for his career.

I’m sorry, but no GM with half a brain would give a dude with pedestrian career numbers a $100 million contract.  If that weren’t bad enough, Bailey’s contract expires in 2021.

Unfortunately for Reds fans, that’s not the only sin that Jocketty had committed.  He also signed first baseman Joey Votto to an absurd 10-year, $225 million contract extension that expires in 2024!

And before you Reds fans out there lecture me on how big of a stud Votto is (and that is true, by the way), no one in his right mind should give a player in his 30s a big contract extension that will expire when he turns 40!  Period.

I understand that the Reds wanted to invest in their franchise player and not risk losing Votto to the New York Yankees or other big market, big spending teams.  And he has decent stats to boot.  But it’s just not smart for a team to invest SO MUCH MONEY into ONE PLAYER when it have other studs on your squad, especially if that team is not a big market club with a suspect minor league system.

There is no way in hell that a team would trade for Votto’s contract, not with nine more years left on it.

Thanks to bad contracts like those, the Reds were not able to give Cueto the contract extension he deserves.  They may not be able to pay Chapman after this season as well.

And if the Bailey and Votto contracts weren’t bad enough, Jocketty hired Bryan Price to replace the fired Dusty Baker after the 2013 season.  It’s pretty safe to say that Price has proven to be not only a lousy manager (98-113 record during his Reds tenure), he is also a bonafide clown.

Nice hire there, Jocketty.

And I wish that I could tell Reds fans that things will get better soon, but they won’t.  In fact, it will take at least two or three more seasons before things will get better.  The Votto and Bailey contracts will handcuff the Reds for at least the next six seasons.  And even if Price were to be canned after this season, who in the hell could manage this bunch?

Seems like Jocketty had lost his magic from his days with the rival St. Louis Cardinals.  Maybe he wants to get himself fired with those dumbass moves so he could go back?

 

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