Downfall of the Gators

Urban Meyer FloridaA great article by Jeremy Fowler at ESPN (@jfowler). While we having nothing but respect for Urban Meyer and the job he has done, it’s clear by this article that things became so broken that they couldn’t be put back together. It also shows that it doesn’t matter how many high school kids you recruit with four or five stars by their name if they don’t come together as a team.

Great job Fowler.

Inside the Rise and Fall of Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. 

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The Sunday: Bad Tackling and Big Mouths

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Bad Tackling

The story of Saturday was LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He literally ran through the Auburn defense. While he clearly has next level talent, his talent was greatly helped by some very good blocking by the LSU offensive line and supremely bad tackling by Auburn. As we said, Fournette literally ran through the Auburn defense but trying to jump up on his shoulder pads? What was that? Auburn has some work to do.

Another example of bad tackling was when Tennessee defensive back Evan Berry was wrapped up by a Western Carolina defender….sort of. He spun out of it on his way to an  88 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

 

Bad Idea = Great Result

While the talk down South is how Ole Miss beat Alabama in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, the real talk should be about the horrifically bad idea Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly made that turned out great. Kelly took a bad snap and with a defender bearing down on him, heaved the ball up for grabs. Luckily Ole Miss wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo was there to come down with the ball and score a touchdown.

Pretty sure head coach Hugh Freeze said later, ‘great job, don’t ever do it again.’

 

Big Mouths 

Brett Bielema has done a great job of firing up the fanbase at Arkansas and pissing off other coaches along the way. Arkansas looked like world beaters in the last three games of 2014 and the first game of 2015. Now, they have lost two in a row and Bielema’s big mouth is coming back to haunt him. Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury made sure everyone knew how he felt about Bielema’s rants this offseason after Texas Tech beat Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.

Having a big mouth ended up in fisticuffs after the Monday Night game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. A Vikings fan was pummeled in the parking lot after trash talking with 49ers fans. Our question is, when did 49er fans become Oakland Raiders fans? This is sad and unacceptable.

 

Sad

Notre Dame defensive back Drue Tranquill blew out his knee after doing a celebration jump with a teammate.

This reminds us of a few years ago when Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell blew out his knee celebrating a touchdown with then Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Coaches may want to outlaw jumping celebrations.

But on a happier not, is there anything better than shots of sad Alabama fans? SBNationn put together a best of for us. We highly recommend checking it out here.

What To Watch Thurs. 9/17 – Sun. 9/20

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 17th

Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.

ManningDenver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:25pm CBS: Denver is not the same offense it was a year ago but man was that defense impressive in week one. KC looks to finally get a touchdown pass into the hands of a wide receiver.

 

 

Friday September 18th

Florida State at Boston College -5pm ESPN: BC always seems to give people trouble when they play at home and at night. Well this game is at home and at night.

LA Angles at Minnesota Twins – 5pm MLB.TV: Both teams are chasing that final wild card slot in the American League. This is the second game of a four game set.

Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.TV: Playoff preview and a decent pitching match up to boot.

 

Saturday September 19th

Chelsea vs Arsenal – 4:40am NBCSN: Two of the better teams year in and year out in the Premier League. Chelsea desperately needs to right the ship.

Air Force at Michigan State – 9am ABC: Michigan State is coming off of a high profile win against Oregon. Now they have to settle down and play assignment football against a disciplined Air Force squad. Michigan State wins but it’s close for a half.

Nebraska at Miami – 12:30 ABC: Remember when these two teams use to play for the National Title every year?

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame – 12:30 NBC: Notre Dame has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at and Georgia Tech is a pretty good bet to win the ACC this year. Notre Dame has to be like Michigan State, very disciplined on defense if they want to win against a triple option attack.

Auburn at LSU -12:30pm CBS: Auburn has been the most overrated team to start 2015. Can they put it together in Death Valley and knock off the LSU?

Western Kentucky at Indiana – 1pm ESPNEWS: Western Kentucky can put up points and so can IU. This could be WKU’s second win against a Power 5 conference school.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders  4pm MLS LIVE: Cascadia Cup matchup with big time playoff implications.

Colorado vs Colorado State – 4pm CBSSN: The Rocky Mountain Shootout may not garner national attention but it’s usually a heck of a game.

California at Texas – 4:30pm FOX: Cal has one of the better QB’s in the country in Jared Goff. Odds are he will light up the Longhorns secondary.

Ole Miss at Alabama – 6:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss got the better of Bama last year. Bama has trouble with the Rebels style of offense too.

BYU at UCLA – 7:30pm FS1: Awesome matchup with two highly touted freshman QB’s. BYU’s Tanner Magnum and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BYU pulls this out like they have their first two games and they could be looking at a big 6 bowl berth.

 

Sunday September 20th

Southampton vs Manchester United – 8am NBCSN: Southampton are only four points behind the Red Devils in the Premier League table.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Bengals ran over the Chargers AFC West cohorts (Oakland Raiders) last week. Chargers are a whole different proposition though.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: Well it’s Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick again except this time Ryan heads up the Bills.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm FOX: Cowboys pulled one out of the fire last weekend while the Eagles fell short trying to do the exact same thing. Chip Kelly will hear the boos if his team starts off 0-2 after the offseason they had.

Portland Timbers vs NY Red Bulls -2pm ESPN: Timbers and NYRB are both in the thick of the playoff hunt.

NY Yankees at NY Mets – 5pm ESPN: See why TV and MLB execs are wetting themselves over the possibility of another Subway World Series.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 5:25pm NBC: Rematch of the wildly entertaining NFC Championship game from a year ago.

Tebow’s Bright TV Future

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Tebow FloridaTim Tebow is arguably the greatest collegiate quarterback to ever play the game. He is at the very minimum in the top 5. Like many great collegiate quarterbacks, his pro career hasn’t panned out. There is hope for Mr. Tebow though, he does a hell of a job on TV.

tebow on espn homepage

 

Tebow was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles during the final round of cuts at the end of training camp. Less than a week later ESPN sent out a tweet stating that Tebow was back on SEC Nation. It is a role he thrived in last season. He has the credibility, the look and is articulate in his analysis.

Analysts are a dime a dozen. You can throw a rock and find someone with decent credentials. What’s different about Tebow is that his creds are better than everyone else’s when it comes to college football. He is still involved in the game of football by continuing to chase an NFL career. Let’s also not forget the fact that fans love’em.

tebow on cameraThe best part about him is that he doesn’t do anything at 50%. ESPN executives know that Tebow is going to work is tail off and in another season or two, he could be one of the better college football studio analysts out there.

Becoming a gameday color commentator is the next logical step for the former Heisman Trophy winner. It’s a big step for him too. It’s very, very different from being a studio guy. The college game has gotten even faster since he played and you have to be quick, concise, and tell people things they don’t already know. This will take him time but if it’s a place that he wants to go then you have to believe he’ll get there.

Tebow probably still wants to pursue his dream of being an NFL quarterback. We wish him well in his endeavor but when he realizes that that dream over and devotes all his efforts to being a great broadcaster, we all win then.

The Sunday: Full Swing

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Perfect

There were a lot of questions about Marcus Mariota’s professional football prospects. Well things are looking good after week 1. First the Tennessee Titans beat up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14 and second, Mariota was a big part of that as he went 13-16 for 209 yards and four touchdown passes. He was, in a word, perfect.

 

Showing Class

Oklahoma defeated Tennessee in a fantastic comeback in Knoxville, TN. However now it becomes about actions by OU players after the game. OU defensive end Eric Striker and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones got into it. Jones took issue with Striker’s celebrations after the game. He told him as tweeted by Jason Kersey,

 

Later, safety Hatari Byrd was caught on video flipping off the Tennessee fans. Safe to say that if these teams meet again in the future, there would be no love lost.

Cardiac Cougars

BYU may be the 2015 football version of the ‘Cardiac Pack’.  They won their second straight game via Hail-Mary

There is some questioning of the Cougars though. In the last three games they have had some questionable conduct. BYU offensive lineman Ului Lapuaho punched a Boise State player squarely in the nuts during a scramble for the football on Saturday night. This comes on the heels of the brawl BYU had with Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl last season and some questionable hits on Nebraska players two weeks ago.

The Sweetness

Love soccer or hate soccer but you have to admit, this was a thing of beauty.

 

What To Watch – Thurs. 9/10 – Sun. 9/13

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 10th

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees – 4pm MLB.TV: It’s the first of a four game set for the lead in the AL East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots – 5:30pm NBC: Well Tom Brady is playing and we can only hope that NBC Sports doesn’t pull some nonsense with Ryan Seacrest again.

 

Friday September 11th

Utah State at Utah – 6pm ESPN2: The battle for the Beehive Boot. A tough, hard nosed football game.

Houston Astros at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Angels look to keep their playoff hopes alive as the division leading Astros come to SoCal.

 

Saturday September 12th

Everton vs Chelsea – 4:40am NBCSN: The Premier League season has yet to settle down which means there is a chance of an upset in this match.

Liverpool vs Manchester United – 9:30am NBC: Yes it’s a College Football Saturday but this is a classic match-up.

Oklahoma at Tennessee – 3pm ESPN: A power 5 matchup, two Top 25 schools with a lot of history and an orange and white checkerboard stadium. Oh yeah.

Oregon at Michigan State – 5pm ABC: Sparty shut down the Ducks for three quarters last year in Eugene. Then Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota took over and led the Ducks to victory. Mariota is now in the NFL and Sparty wants revenge.

LSU at Mississippi State – 6:15pm ESPN: LSU’s game was cancelled last week and Miss State got in a preseason game against Southern Miss. How big of a factor will that play?

Boise State at BYU – 7:15pm ESPN2: BYU pulled one out of the fire last week with a backup QB fresh off his two year mission and Boise almost blew it against Washington. Should make things interesting.

LA Galaxy vs Montreal Impact – 7:30pm MLS LIVE: Didier Drogba hits LA to take on Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane. Drogba had a hat trick in his first start for the Impact. What will he do for an encore?

 

 

Sunday September 13th

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears – 10am FOX: One of the games best QB’s in Aaron Rodgers against one of the games most overrated in Jay Cutler. Can Rodgers still air out the ball without Jordy Nelson and a one shouldered Reggie Cobb?

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals – 1pm FOX: Can Drew Brees find someone in the redzone now that Jimmy Graham is in Seattle?

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos – 1:25pm CBS: Could be Peyton Manning’s last go round. And with a new offense no less.

NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys – 5:30pm NBC: It should be a fantastic game but man, Cris Collinsworth twice in one week?

The Sunday: The Ups & Downs of Our Labor

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Cheap Shots

Football is full of cheap shots. We saw them this weekend during the first full week of college football. We also saw them in a High School game in San Antonio and during a halftime show.

Two players from John Jay High School blind sided a referee during a game on Friday. Both has been suspended from school, football and could have criminal charges on the docket.

No matter how bad a referee messed up they don’t deserve this. They are working out of a passion for the game and for very little money. There job is dangerous enough without having to get a cheap shot from a safety.

On a less criminal note, the Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky levels a kid during a halftime show and then stands over him like Ali standing over Liston back in the day. Criminal charges are not pending here.

 

Fastest Weiner

They use to say that you should never work with kids or animals. Well if you are a minor league baseball team in El Paso, TX you just kind of do your own thing. Minor league baseball teams are known for their promotions to get people out to the ballpark but sometimes those promotions can be hard to wrangle.

 

Fruits of Your Labor

Wilfork's Inner CowbouWhen you have won multiple Super Bowls and you are a five time All Pro, you get to have some fun every now and then. Vince Wilfork had some during training camp with the Houston Texans. He channeled his inner Texan when he showed up for a walkthrough.

 

Respected

There are very few coaches in College Football considered to be a nicer guy than Washington’s Chris Pederson. Pederson showed why he is so well respected on Friday night after his Washington Huskies lost to his former team Boise State.

After missing a field goal that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime, Pederson shook hands and hugged just about every single one of his former players. He was then given a standing ovation as he left the field. Being the nicest guy doesn’t always equal wins but it sure does command respect.

College Football Recap Week 1

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The first full weekend of College Football is in the books (almost) and there are some big takeaways and moments we should visit again and again.

Upset City

Several schools from the Power 5 conferences lost their opener. Washington State, Kansas lost to FCS schools along with non Power 5 school Wyoming (Portland State, South Dakota State and North Dakota respectively). Colorado, Vanderbilt and Penn State lost to non Power 5 schools.

Penn State’s loss to Temple falls into the historic column. It’s the first time Temple has beaten Penn State since 1941 (39 games) and Penn State gave up 10 sacks. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when Penn State goes into Columbus in October? Yikes.

Other upsets included BYU beating Nebraska on a last second hail-mary in Lincoln. Northwestern manhandled #21 Stanford in what may be the biggest surprise win of the weekend.

 

Just The Hits

The fact of the matter is that football is a violent sport. It’s part of the reason why we enjoy it. One of those big hits happened on Friday night at Montana State linebacker Mac Bignell leveled Fort Lewis running back PJ Hall.

https://twitter.com/jackmurrey/status/639678894887469056

South Dakota State quarterback Zack Lujan got drilled on a pass play. In fact he got hit so hard his helmet went rolling down the field.

The best may have been the phantom one. Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns lost his shoe and when he realized that he couldn’t get to the sideline before Tennessee would snap the ball, he just fell down and played dead. Classic.

 

The Takeaways

Some people had Arizona State as their dark-horse College Football Playoff team. The odds of that happening now are a little darker as they were beaten by Texas A&M. The man of the hour was A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He was unblockable and finished with three sacks and eight tackles.

Injuries were big in week one. Arizona loses All Pac 12 linebacker Scooby Wright III to a knee injury but it sounds like he could be back in a month. BYU lost QB Taysom Hill for the season….again. Oregon was looking real good offensively until new QB Vernon Adams took what looked like a cheap shot to the head. He might have a concussion but was on the sidelines at the end of the game. Oregon will need him healthy with a trip to Michigan State looming next week.

Transfer Dreams

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

We posted a blog earlier this called ‘College Football Free Agency’. It reflects the trend in college football in which graduate players transfer schools for one last season on the gridiron and one last chance to impress pro scouts. While a player like former Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams has a lot of experience and success behind him, many transfers -graduate and undergraduate- don’t and end up leaving fan bases crying in their college football alumni mugs.

Wilson-NCSTATEEveryone wants to think of transfers, in particularly quarterbacks (QB), as the next great QB savior. Just like Troy Aikman did at UCLA or Scott Frost at Nebraska or ever Ryan Mallett at Arkansas. Really everyone wants it to be just like when Russell Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to a Big 10 title and berth in the Rose Bowl. Reality is Aikman, Frost, Mallet and Wilson are more of the exception than the rule. For everyone one of these guys there is a Danny O’BrienSam KellerRobert Marve or some other highly hyped kid who made a fan base believe they had a chance at a conference title.

O’Brien was barely ok at Maryland and then transferred to Wisconsin where the Badger faithful had dreams of another Russell Wilson dancing in their heads. Bottom line, he wasn’t very good. He could never win the QB job and ended up transferring to Catawba. Keller is more known for leading the lawsuit against EA Sports than for his QB play at Nebraska where he transferred to from Arizona State. Marve was highly touted, played at Miami and then moved on to Purdue where he couldn’t stay healthy on some pretty awful Boilermaker teams.

Mustain-ArkThe two most cautionary tales for fans should be those of former #1 recruits Mitch Mustain and Jake Heaps. Mustain started his career at Arkansas but transferred to USC after his freshman year. He played more games in one year at Arkansas than he ever appeared in at three years at USC. Heaps went from BYU to Kansas and then to Miami (he is originally from the Seattle area). He could never lock in a starting job at three different schools despite showing promise his freshman year at BYU.

Players transfer for all kinds of reasons but just because they transferred doesn’t mean they are going to fit in at their new school and lead it to victory. There are more cautionary tales than successful stories. While we’re probably only seeing the beginning of the transfer binge, especially when it comes to graduate transfers, it should go without saying that transfers are not always a saving grace. So for those fans in Eugene, Tallahassee, and Athens, just remember that the odds of this new transfer QB being the next Aikman, Frost or Wilson are pretty far off.

Extended Reading:

Jake Heaps

Mitch Mustain

Grantland

College Football Free Agency