Smart Football and LSU’s Big Hire

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


If you were tired of watching every bowl game being a blow out (and who could blame ya) then you might have missed the LSU news last night when they hired Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda.

Aranda replaces Kevin Steele who jumped to SEC West rival Auburn who replaced John Chavis who also went to an SEC West Rival (Texas A&M).

Aranda is the hot name right now. While most writers are briefly pointing out what a great hire it is for Les Miles and LSU only Smart Football’s Chris Brown goes deeper. He explains why Aranda is a hot name. From how Aranda defends the ‘Zeer’ to his philosophy on the inside linebackers.

Chris always has interesting, well timed stuff. Highly recommend following him on twitter and checking out smartfootball.com.

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What To Watch Thurs. 11/26 – Sun. 11/29

All times are Pacific.


Thursday November 26th

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 9:30am FOX: Well, we’d like a better matchup but hey, it’s what we got.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm CBS: The Cowboys have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back so this could actually be a good game.

Texas Tech at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: Texas has to win out to be bowl eligible and that’s a big deal for a young team. Texas Tech is good but beatable.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 5:30pm NBC: Awaken from the food coma in time to see if they Packers can win back-to-back games or if the Bears will finally put it together.

 

Friday November 27th

NY Rangers at Boston Bruins – 10am NBC: Ice, skates, rivals. Not a bad way to start Black Friday.

Keenan ReynoldsNavy at Houston – 9am ABC: Winner gets to represent the West in the American Atheletic Conference championship. Also get a chance to see the NCAA all time leader in touchdowns in Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Marshall at Western Kentucky – 9am FS1: Last year the final score was 67-66. Just sayin.

Washington State at Washington -12:30pm FOX: The Apple Cup is the most underrated rivalry in college football. Always a solid game.

Armstrong JRIowa at Nebraska – 12:30pm ABC: Nebraska is a lot better than there 5-6 record indicates. Iowa is undefeated and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff. This rivalry will get a lot more heated after this game.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 2pm NBCSN: Both teams are better than their record indicates and still a whole bunch of talent on the ice.

Baylor at TCU – 4:30pm ESPN: It doesn’t really matter what quarterback plays for Baylor but it does for TCU. Points a plenty in this one.

Miami Heat at NY Knicks – 4:30pm NBA.TV: The Kicks aren’t bad this season but the Heat may be a little bit better.

 

Saturday November 28th

Ohio State at Michigan – 9am ABC: Our first taste of Meyer vs Harbaugh. Add in Ohio State having to put a tough loss behind them and this should be one heck of a ball game.

Louisville at Kentucky – 9am SECN: Kentucky is one win away from bowl eligibility and their cross state rivals would love nothing more than to keep that from happening.

UCLA at USC – 12:30pm ABC/ESPN2: Battle of LA and for the Pac-12 South.

Penn State at Michigan State -12:30pm ESPN: Michigan State controls it’s own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 10 Eastern division.

Wisconsin at Minnesota – 12:30pm BTN: Dude, it’s the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe! It also gives us a chance to show this video from 2003.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 4:15pm ESPN2: The Egg Bowl and if Alabama loses, a chance for Ole Miss to grab the SEC West crown.

Notre Dame at Stanford -4:30pm FOX: Huge game for the Irish against a very, very good Stanford team.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State – 5pm ABC: Bedlam is here. Winner probably has a legit shot at the College Football Playoff.

 

Sunday November 29th

NY Giants at Washington Redskins – 10am FOX: The winner controls first place in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: Steelers have been able to keep it together and succeed despite a rash of injuries. The Seahawks looked like the Seahawks for once this season last week. Good luck hearing the play call Pittsburgh.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers – 2pm ESPN: 2nd leg and Dallas got an all important road goal in leg one. They did lose 3-1 however which should put the Timbers in the drivers seat.

103rd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Live from Winnipeg with Fall Out Boy as the halftime entertainment. Oh its the Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa RedBlacks.

NY Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew – 4:30pm FS1: The Crew won first the first leg 2-0. NYRB has it’s work cut out for them if they want to advance to MLS Cup.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – 5:30pm NBC: The best offense in football goes against the best defense. More or less. Broncos start Brock Osweiler for a second straight week.

What to Watch Fri. 4/3 – Sun. 4/5

All times are Pacific.

Friday April 3rd

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies – 5pm ESPN: Two teams gearing up for the playoffs. Should make things interesting.

Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals – 4pm NHL Gamecenter: The Habs are locked into the playoffs while the Caps need to keep on winning if they want that Wildcard slot.

REMOTE

 

Saturday April 4th

Liverpool vs Arsenal – 4:45am NBCSN: A solid match first thing Saturday morning.

Vancouver Canucks at Winnipeg Jets – Noon NHL Network: Winnipeg is on the edge of the playoff chase and the Canucks are looking to secure a spot.

Final Four: Michigan State Spartans vs Duke Blue Devils – 3pm TBS: Great matchup between two of the best coaches in college basketball.

Final Four: Wisconsin Badgers vs Kentucky Wildcats – 5:45pm TBS: This is the matchup we’ve been waiting for this college basketball season. Holla!

Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas – 7:30pm MLS Live: While FC Dallas leads the West (and MLS) with 10pts in four games but Portland is the tough place to play and they really need a win.

 

Sunday April 5th

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder – 10am ABC: Two teams looking at the playoffs and wondering, ‘Are we gonna play these guys in a month?’

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs – 4pm NBA TV: The defending champs are starting to get into playoff form. While it’s a regular season game, it will be fun to see how these two teams matchup if they were to meet in a seven game series.

St Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks – 4:30pm NBCSN: Two teams jockeying for playoff position.

St Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs – 5pm ESPN2: Baseball is back and it’s a St Louis vs Chicago kind of day.

 

College Football Free Agency

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Vernon Adams. It’s ok if you have never heard of him but he is the one causing a major ruckus on the college football landscape. Not because of what he has done the past three seasons at Eastern Washington but because he’s leaving there to play his final season at Oregon.

Vernon Adams

Adams is a 22 year old from Pasadena, CA. He started at quarterback for three years at Eastern Washington but since he is graduating in May he is taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows him to transfer without having to sit out a year. While Eastern Washington is letting him go they are making it very clear that they do not like the rule. They don’t like it so much that they are barring Adams from using the football facility or working out with his former teammates while he finishes up his degree.

Other coaches at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level are not happy with what this could mean for the future.  Montana State coach Rob Ash is among those speaking out against the rule because it makes the FCS seem like a developmental league. The fear is that this could start a trend where fifth year FCS players leave for the big schools like Oregon or a Michigan who get to reap the rewards of a veteran collegiate player.

Adams on the move

It’s not just the FCS that has to worry. Ohio State head coach expressed his unhappiness with certain members of the media trying to entice Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to transfer. Nor is transferring a guaranteeing you a starting spot. Just ask Jake Coker who transferred from Florida State to Alabama this past summer.

Transfers are nothing new to collegiate athletics. Players have been doing it for years and it mostly goes unnoticed. When it comes to quarterbacks though, it tends to get a lot attention. Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson left North Carolina State for Wisconsin and promptly led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl. While Wilson’s case was unique (he was essentially told by the NC State coaching staff that future pro Mike Glennon was going to play over him) it now seems that everyone is looking for an experienced QB to step in and lead the team to the promised land. With all of the pressure put on coaches nowadays can you blame them for looking for an experienced QB to step in?

Players always have their reasons for transferring. It’s not fair to Eastern Washington that Adams is transferring but neither would be holding him back because you don’t want him to leave. In the business world there are ‘non competes’ and there is a similar thing in college football too where a coach will put restrictions on where a player can transfer. Eastern Washington could have done this since they play Oregon the first week of the season but it would have been a bad PR move.

Is Adams setting a trend for FCS players? Probably not because too many things have to fall into place for something like this to happen. Are you going to see more situations like this? Sure but it’s no sure fire way to win championships. Remember, Russell Wilson may have led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl but they ended up losing to Oregon.

What to Watch Thurs. 11/27- Fri. 11/30

All times are PST

Thursday November 27th

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions – 9:30am CBS: Cutler vs Stafford. Let’s see who implodes first.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys – 1:30pm FOX: This may be one of the better match-ups on Thanksgiving in a long, long time.

TCU at Texas – 4:30pm FS1: TCU needs this win in and an impressive one at that if they want any chance of making the Playoff.

Seattle Seahawks at SF 49ers – 5:30pm NBC: This is a pivotal game for both teams playoff chances.

Friday November 28th

NY Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers – 10am NBC: Two teams that hate each other. Goes along with some of the feelings come Black Friday.

Arkansas at Missouri – 11:30am CBS: This game just got a whole lot better with the Razorbacks latest form.

Arizona State at Arizona – 12:30pm FOX: This could be the best game of the weekend.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 1pm NHLN: Two teams loaded with talent and probably Stanley Cup contenders.

Virginia at Virginia Tech – 5pm ESPN: Winning team goes bowling.

LA Clippers at Houston Rockets – 5pm NBA-TV: This game is just loaded with stars.

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland TrailBlazers – 7pm NBA League Pass: The top team in the Southwest vs the top team in the West. What?

Saturday November 29th

Georgia Tech at Georgia – 9am SEC Network: Georgia Tech runs the football and Georgia has had trouble with that this season.

NE Revs vs NY Red Bulls – Noon NBCSN: If it’s anything like game 1 we are in for a treat.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss – 12:30pm CBS: A ton on the line for both teams. Ole Miss will probably be without QB Bo Wallace which could make or break this game.

Minnesota at Wisconsin – 12:30pm Big Ten Network: Minnesota is a tough football team and Wisconsin is too. Oh yeah, they play for an axe.

Auburn at Alabama – 4:45pm ESPN: It’s the Iron Bowl. Did you see what happened last year?

Oregon at Oregon State – 5pm ABC: The Civil War tends to be one sided in Oregon’s favor but every now and then State jumps up to bite’em.

Washington at Washington State – 7:30pm FS1: The Apple Cup is always one the best in state rivalry games in the country.

Sunday November 30th

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: When was the last time that this was a must watch game? Well it is now.

102nd Grey Cup – 3pm ESPN2: Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs the Calgary Stampeders. Calgary has been one of the best teams in the league year in year out. They don’t get to the Grey Cup often and when they do they don’t always walk away with the Cup. In other news, Hamilton got faded in last years Cup so you know they want this one.

NE Patriots at Green Bay Packers – 1:30pm CBS: This game should rock.

Denver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:30pm NBC: KC is going to be ultra motivated since they lost a Pro Bowl player in Eric Berry for the season and are coming off a loss in Oakland.

Seattle Sounders at LA Galaxy – 6pm ESPN: This is just going to be an amazing match. Does Landon Donovan continue to another MLS Cup or will Clint Dempsey get the Sounders to their first ever Cup.

 

 

B1G Body Blow

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It was bad weekend for the Big Ten Conference (B1G). The conference went 8-5 but they lost convincingly in 3 of the biggest games they played and two others came down to the final drive of the game against opponents that should have been beat by a far bigger margin. All in all, things could have go worse for the conference but not by much.

B1G

The 3 high profile games the conference was a part of were Michigan St at Oregon, Michigan at Notre Dame and Virginia Tech at Ohio State. Credit to the conference for scheduling these games in the first place as opposed to the SEC who had 3 teams on their schedule on Saturday from the Southland Conference.

The issue here isn’t that the B1G lost the high profile games but that they ended up losing going away. Michigan State was up on Oregon 27-18 but then Oregon ran off 28 unanswered points. Ohio State was exposed badly by Va Tech and Michigan didn’t score a point against Notre Dame in a 31-0 debacle.

Meanwhile other teams in the B1G like Nebraska and Iowa needed game winning drives with time running out to stay unbeaten. Wisconsin was only up 9-3 at the half against Western Illinois before pulling away in the second half and Purdue was manhandled by Central Michigan.

It hurt the conference because, although it is early, the odds of a B1G team making it to the 4 team playoff at the end of the year now seems highly unlikely. That could hurt recruiting, perception and financial standing in college football.

The B1G has a lot of work to do if it wants to compete with the ACC, PAC 12 and SEC. It may start with beating the teams they are suppose to beat like Northern Illinois and Central Michigan. Until they do, they will be on the outside looking in of the college football playoff.

Holiday Viewing Guide

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The Holiday season isn’t done just yet which means that there are still sports to view on a random weekday.

Tuesday Dec. 31st

(In Progress) AdvoCare v100 Bowl: Boston College vs Arizona – 9:30am ESPN: The country’s best RB Andre Williams vs a tough and under appreciated Arizona team.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs Duke – 5pm ESPN: It’s probably your last chance to see Johnny Manziel as a collegiate. There is also the possibility of a shootout on New Year’s Eve.

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks – 5pm REGIONAL COVERAGE: The Sharks ended the Ducks 10 game winning streak on Sunday night. Ducks are probably out for revenge.

Portland Trailblazers @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5pm NBA TV: Two of the top teams in the Western Conference get down to business. Portland is looking to end a two game losing streak, a first for them this season, and OKC continues to try and get by without starting guard Russell Westbrook.

-Coolest event today is not the games themselves but the adventures of Fox Sports announcers Gus Johnson and Bill Rafferty. Check it out on AwfulAnnouncing.com

Wednesday Jan. 1st

Tottenham @ Manchester United – 9:30am NBCSN: It’s a full slate of games for the Premier League. This is the best match up of the day.

Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs Wisconsin – 10am ABC: Two teams that could be in the BCS if it wasn’t for a tough loss here and there. Should be the game of the morning.

Winter Classic: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings – 10am NBC (may change due to weather): It’s become and annual tradition on New Years day and made even cooler by HBO’s 24/7 show. This year a Canadian team finally gets to show it’s stuff on New Years Day. This time it’s outside in the Big House at the University of Michigan.

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs Stanford – 2pm ESPN: This is going to be a good ole fashion, hard hitting football game. Should be tough, close and fun to watch.

Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs Central Florida – 5:30pm ESPN: Baylor scores a ton of points and Central Florida has been this seasons “cardiac kids”. Also, UCF QB Blake Bortels is a possible first round draft pick and has a smoking hot girlfriend.