What To Watch Thurs. 10/24-Sun. 10/27

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday October 24th

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 5:25pm NFL NETWORK: If you really, really have to watch a football game on Thursday then this is your best option. Carolina is pretty good. Tampa Bay isn’t. Judge for yourself.

St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox-5:10pm FOX: It’s the World Series and that NFL game is probably going to get out of control in a hurry.

San Jose Sharks @ Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: San Jose is 8-0-1 and Boston has been in the Stanley Cup Final two of the last three years. It’s worth tuning in.

Friday October 25th

Boise St. @ BYU – 5pm ESPN:  Both these teams are good and it’s a Friday night in Provo. It should be rocking.

Saturday October 26th

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma – 12:30pm FOX:  Lot of hype around the turn around job that Kliff Kingsbury has done at Texas Tech. Oklahoma needs to regain some of the swagger. Knocking off the latest ‘next big thing’ might do the trick.

UCLA @ OREGON – 4pm ESPN: Two future NFL signal callers (UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota) are on display. Not to mention that this is probably a preview of the PAC-12 title game.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm CBCBattle of the leaders in the east. Sidney Crosby and a Saturday night in the TO!

Stanford @ Oregon State- 7:30pm ESPN: Oregon State is number one in the country in passing and ninth in the country in points scored. Players to watch in this one are Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks (nation’s top receiver) and Stanford’s Ty Montgomery (returned two kickoff’s back for touchdowns). Big trap game for Stanford as they play Oregon next weekend at home. If they’re not careful then they may get into a shootout with an Oregon State team that can put up some big time points.

Sunday October 27th

Manchester City @ Chelsea – 9am NBCSN: Two top flight clubs on a Sunday morning.

Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions-10am FOX: This could come down to who has the ball last. Not to mention a chance to see two top WR’s in Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant.

Washington Redskins @ Denver Broncos- 1:25pm FOX: RGIII vs Peyton. Both these teams can get hot and score a lot of points in a very short amount of time.

Signing Day Part 2: Top Ranked Players Don’t Always Mean Top Players

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

# 22 and # 34. That is what QB’s Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota were ranked by Scout.com in 2011 when they signed with Texas A&M and Oregon respectively  Manziel went on to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy as the Nation’s best player and Mariota led Oregon to a 12-1 record and a BCS Bowl berth. They are considered by many to be two of the best QB’s in college football and two top contenders for the Heisman Trophy next year.

Top QB's

The Top 5 QB’s in the 2011 class were pretty good in their own right.

#1 Jeff Driskel  – Florida                                                                                                                     #2 Braxton Miller – Ohio St                                                                                                                     #3 Brett Hundley – UCLA                                                                                                                     #4 Kiehl Frazier – Auburn                                                                                                                      #5 JW Walsh – Oklahoma State

Everyone in the Top 5 has started games for their respective schools and all but one has played very well (Frazier being the lone exception). Jeff Driskel began to show his hype as led Florida to a BCS Bowl berth (12-0 Ohio St was ineligible for a bowl) and beat Manziel’s Texas A&M Aggies early in the season yet he wasn’t nearly as electrifying or dominate as Manziel or Mariota.

The truth is the rankings really don’t mean a whole lot. Maziel and Mariota are really good because  A) they’re really good players B) in an offenses suited to their abilities and C) coached really well. Driskel is working with his 2nd offensive coordinator in as many seasons and wasn’t the clear cut #1 QB on the team at the start of the year unlike Manziel and Mariota. What does that mean? It means Manziel and Mariota got more practice time with the 1st team offense then Driskel did during the fall camp. More coaching + more reps = better performance.

Malcom Gladwell wrote an amazing book called ‘The Outliers’ where he talked about things like the’10,000 hour rule’. Simplified, the more practice & coaching you get from an early age leads to better performance. Out of the 7 QB’s were talking about look who has done really well early in their career (Manziel, Mariota, and Miller) those who have done ok (Driskel, Hundley, Walsh) and the one who has done poorly (Frazier). The first group was the #1 QB on their team going into fall camp this past season. The other two groups had to battle it out in fall camp and during the season before they were named starters.

In the end it’s not the ranking but the situation. If a player gets the coaching and the reps in practice early then they have a tendency to turn out better than someone who hasn’t. The ranking out of high school means, in all reality, little to nothing. The situation, coaching and the practice means everything.