Archive for September, 2010

Thank Me Later….Chiefs/49er Recap

Posted: September 29, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
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Part 3 in guest columnist Matt Oates breakdown on the week in Kansas City Chief football….albeit much to the chagrin of one part-time editor who is a full-time 49er fan, but I digress (while shaking my fist to the sky and scoreboard still.)

Through the first 2 games of the 2010 season, the Chiefs were undefeated. Despite this simple fact, there have been disgruntled voices by the Arrowhead Faithful (including from yours truly) about how the Chiefs have won ugly.

A fan base that has only tasted victory 10 times in the last 3 years & had matched their previous year’s win total in as many weeks this season was complaining about “winning ugly.” Seems kinda ridiculous right?

Head Coach Todd Haley spoke to the media & the fans and told them “Hey, this is how the 2010 Chiefs are going to have to win games.” He offered his confidence in the struggling QB Matt Cassel and promised there’d be better times ahead. This young team was only beginning to find their potential.

Fast forward a week later, under a beautiful Missouri autumn day at Arrowhead and the league got a sneak peek into that future.

It was a wonderful day at Arrowhead. Although there seemed to be about 10,000 empty seats in the Upper level & Club level, the crowd was pumped and ready to cheer on the boys. During the week leading up to the game, 49er TE Vernon Davis identified this as not only a must-win game for the 49ers but also a guaranteed win for the 49ers. Todd Haley & the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t quite agree.

On the verge of creating a controversy at running back, Jones had his breakout game as a Chief.

In what would be the finest and most complete game for the Chiefs under Haley, the Chiefs dominated the 49ers in every facet of the football game. Coach Haley, to steal a line from Jason Whitlock, stitched a clown suit on Mike Singletary & offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Raye’s absolute refusal to call a play that would matchup All-Pro TE Davis vs. rookie S Eric Berry reminded Chiefs fans about why we got rid of him almost 10 years ago. Berry had shown some vulnerability in the first couple of games but the 49ers never went downfield, allowing Berry to do what he does best: stop the run.

And boy did he and the Chiefs defense do that.

They held Pro Bowl RB Frank Gore to a measly 43 yards on 15 carries. The defense was absolutely vicious out there. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has taken this unit that was at the bottom of every statistical category last year and turned them loose. This is the same squad minus the 2 starting safeties!!! Rising star CB Brandon Flowers had an amazing interception along with many passes defended. He is proving to become that lockdown corner the Chiefs have been seeking since Dale Carter & James Hasty. LB Tamba Hali absolutely harassed QB Alex Smith all game racking up 3 sacks, multiple QB pressures & a forced fumble. The Chiefs defense was able to get off the field on 3rd downs, holding the 49ers to 4 of 17 on 3rd Down conversions, and kept them out of the endzone, save a last possession garbage-time TD. This unit is becoming really special and we’ll get to see how good they really are after the bye when they play Indy and Houston in back-to-back weeks.

An all out failure to contain the Chief attack left Singletary with a winless club...and minus a coordinator.

The special teams unit was solid once again. This unit will be crucial to the success of the team this year as field position will play a big role. Chiefs’ punter Dustin Colquitt once again had a solid performance, pinning the 49ers inside their own 20 on 3 out of 4 punts. The dynamic duo of Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster both had electric punt returns that set the offense up with good field position. The only sour note was K Ryan Succop, who pushed a 38 yard FG attempt wide of the goal posts, but would regain his composure and knock down a 32 yarder to end the 1st half.

The offense started out pretty shaky. A couple of good runs by Jamaal Charles, a gutsy 4th down conversion and an excellent catch & run TD by McCluster would be the Chiefs only bright spots heading into the half. There were a couple of boo birds that came out as Matt Cassel continued to struggle in the passing game. Coming out of the 2nd Half, the fans resigned themselves to having yet another ugly game on their hands.

Haley, Weis and the Chiefs offense had a different game plan. The Chiefs’ offense turned into straight schoolyard football.  A wildcat formation, hand-off, flea flicker to Cassel resulted in a 45 yard bomb to WR Dwayne Bowe for the TD. That play woke up the Chiefs offense. From there it was screen plays to Charles, McCluster or Thomas Jones or an absolutely amazing 18 yard acrobatic TD catch by Rookie Tony Moeaki (Tony Gonza-who?), the Chiefs Offense was a well-oiled machine. The Chiefs ran their offense through their strengths of running the football & screen plays. Charles ended the day with 12 carries for 97 yards & 3 receptions for 57 yards, while Jones had 19 carries for 95 yards (Writer’s note: Normally, I would rant about Charles’ lack of touches here but eh, we won masterfully). After a disappointing 1st half, Cassel would rally to end the day 16 of 27 for 250 yards, 3 touchdowns, an interception off a poorly thrown pass in the 1st half and a 111.7 QB Rating (which is almost as much as his previous 2 QB Ratings combined).

Two important things to come out of this game:

1) The Chiefs offense found something that works and it’s quite simple: Put the ball in the hands of your talented players, in a position they can exploit & watch them do work. At this point, we’ve all realized that Cassel is not a deep ball threat but whether it was McCluster, Charles, Moeaki, Bowe or Jones; Cassel delivered the ball to them in places where their playmaking skills could be showcased.

2) Go back over this article and notice the names of the Chiefs players I highlighted. A vast majority of them come out of Herm Edwards’ last draft as Head Coach & the draft from this spring. This team is young and they are buying into this system. They have playmakers on both side of the ball. Haley has been second guessed, methods questioned but through it all he has been selling his vision to his players. With the Chiefs sitting at 3-0 and up 2 games on every team in the AFC West at the bye week, we have Haley to thank…later, of course.

-Matt Oates


Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide displayed a few very crucial and decisive traits on Saturday. They showed they can win on the road, from behind and could do so against a premier talent in Ryan Mallett and force their style of game to be played. After being picked apart by Arkansas’ NCAA leading passer for 3 quarters, the Bama defense tightened its belt and allowed only 44 fourth quarter yards and forced 2 interceptions in the last 12 minutes. After a shaky start, Bama QB Greg McElroy steadied and hit on six of nine passes in the final quarter and set up the stage for a field goal, followed by a knockout punch touchdown from Mark Ingram with three minutes left to pull off an impressive comeback win, which showed that playing the defending champs truly is a 60 minute challenge.

Saban's halftime adjustment neutralized the Razorback offense, and solidified their #1 rank.


Mark Ingram-Alabama: Watching Ingram is becoming truly like watching a man playing with boys every week. Even though he sat for two weeks with a knee injury, he’s come back looking even more beastly than he did when he took the Heisman home last year. He, quite often literally, ran over Arkansas and was able to do what he wanted to, whenever he wanted to seemingly. It’s not often that 157 yards and 2 touchdowns don’t say enough about how good somebody played, but after watching Ingram yesterday, it’s very clear that’s what’s happening here. He looked like a man playing a day too early.

In the process over running over, past and around Arkansas, Ingram also ran right back into the heart of the Heisman race.


1. Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State: 224 pass yards, 4 TD; 104 rush yards, 1 TD; 1 receiving TD in 73-20 win vs. Eastern Michigan

Huge games from the #2 Buckeyes ringleader are becoming the norm.  He launched four scores through the air and once on the ground with a 50 yard, field crossing scramble.he even caught a 20 yard TD too show can finish on the other end of what he makes look routine to Buckeye receivers. He’s making it hard for anybody to gain ground on him by making these performances his norm. Season: 939 pass yards, 10 TD/2 Int, 66% comps; 269 rush yards, 2 TD

2. Denard Robinson-QB-Michigan: 60 pass yards; 129 rush yards, 2 TD in 65-21 win vs. Bowling Green

Robinson wasted no time making his impact, getting in the zone twice within the first nine minutes. However, that’s as long as his day would last, as he hurt his knee on his final run of the day in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the day. The Wolverines wouldn’t need him as they cruised to the win and he’ll be ready to go for their next game at Indiana next weekend. Season: 731 pass yards, 4 TD/1 Int, 71% comps; 688 rush yards, 6 TD

3. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama: 157 rush yards, 2 TD in 24-20 win at Arkansas

Ingram ran like a man possessed and was almost single-handedly too much for Arkansas to contain, in route to another two touchdown performance in guiding the Tide to the road win. He was a problem all day, with a 54 yard first quarter score, and showed his grit with his game clinching goal line score in the fourth quarter. For the year he’s averaging just over nine yards per carry. Season: 33 carries, 308 yards, 4 TD

4. Kellen Moore-QB-Boise State: 288 pass yards, 3 TD in 37-24 win vs. Oregon State

Once again, Moore was steady and consistent for the Broncos in another solid win on their home turf over Oregon State. With this being their last real non-conference test, the days and numbers could get much bigger for Moore with WAC play getting underway. However, will these stats be big enough, and will the wins be meaningful enough, to push Moore up to top of this list? Season: 873 pass yards, 8 TD/1 Int, 71% comps.

5. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas: 357 pass yards, 1 TD in 24-20 loss vs. Alabama

For the better part of three quarters, Mallett looked to be in control of the Hogs and ready to guide them to a big home victory over the top team in the country. However, he was shaky in the all important four quarter and could not make the adjustments to finish the upset. Still, he looked good the majority of the game and this could be a learning experience for the rest of the way in the annually tough road through the SEC. Season: 1,438 pass yards, 10 TD/5 Int, 68% comps.


Texas Longhorns: It’s been over 8 months since the Longhorns fell to Alabama after an injury to Colt McCoy in the BCS Championship game; they seem to have still not awakened from their nightmare in Pasadena yet. Despite starting the year off in the top 10 of both polls, Texas has never quite looked to be up to speed yet this year and have struggled to find consistency in every game. Yesterday, UCLA exploited this in the most extreme way, by plan out-toughing them….at home. They ran at the former #6 team in the land for 267 yards and forced four first half turnovers to essentially dominate them on both sides of the ball. In the end, despite having over 50 yards more of total offense, they dug too deep of a hole and took at 34-12 loss, in a big upset against a 1-2 Bruins team, who destroyed the Longhorns 66-3 in their last trip to Austin in 1997, and handed these Longhorns their first home loss since 2007 in a dominant fashion.

Sophomore QB Garrett Gilbert has not been able to bring consistency back to the Longhorns in 2010.

The worst part about it all is that it’s not going to get any easier coming up soon. And by soon I mean next week, as they head to the Cotton Bowl to face Oklahoma, who has shown they have no problems moving the ball down the field. Perhaps a following up this shocking loss with a rivalry game will wake up Longhorns, if the polls haven’t already. They took a 15 slot slide out of the top 20 for their toothless effort this week. If they don’t wake and find their way soon, they could be in store for a long ride through the Big             12 this year, where there is no shortage of teams that will be ready to take a shot at the league’s perennial top dogs while their licking their wounds.

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. (All stats are current of September 20, 2010)


In the final entry in the GOAT series analyzing each position’s greatest players in over a century plus of Major League Baseball, we shift symbolically to where it often ends in real games, the relief pitchers. This is a role that is quite different from the role of a starter and is also in it’s relative infancy to other roles in the game. For years, the starting pitcher would often pitch the entire game, everyday, for his team (Old Hoss Radbourn once started over 40 games in a row in the 1800’s). However, in the mid-to-late 70’s, the overall development of a layered pitching staff developed and now it has become chiefly centered around the “closer”.

Hoffman has more saves than any player, but does this seal him as the greater closer ever?

The closer is called upon often to get the last few outs of the game, and has drastically altered and shifted the importance of winning early in baseball. This fresh pitcher throws to very few players and is often one of the hardest throwing to most effective pitchers on the team. Having a good closer, will make the difference often between a team that can win a few games, and one that can go all the way in the modern game. With no further delay, here are the game’s greatest stoppers in the roles brief, but significant, history.

1. Mariano Rivera: New York Yankees (1995-Present): 79.5 points

–          2.22 ERA, 558 Saves, 1050 K’s, 827 Games Finished, 89% Saves Converted

–          5 World Series, 6 40 SV years, 5 Rolaids Awards , 3 Saves Champs, 10 All-Star Games

He is nearly universally regarded as the greatest reliever and closer in the history of the game. Has the second most saves in history and almost certainly will finish will the most ever. He is third most efficient closer of all time. His ERA is the lowest career mark of any pitch since 1920. His postseason dominance has sealed his legacy in the game. His 39 postseason saves (including 23 consecutive), 0.79 ERA and 34.1 consecutive scoreless innings are all-time postseason records.

Rivera's late inning & postseason reputation is unparalleled, placing him amongst the most effective players ever.

2. Trevor Hoffman: San Diego Padres (1993-Present): 68 points

–          2.87 ERA, 600 Saves, 1132 K’s, 853 Games Finished, 89% Saves Converted

–          0 World Series , 9 40 Save Yrs, 2 Rolaids Awards, 2 Saves Champs, 7 All-Star Games

The all-time saves leader and the first player to ever reach 600 in the category. No player has more 40 save seasons than him. His 8 consecutive 30 save seasons, 14 consecutive 30 save and 15 consecutive 20 save campaigns are both Major League records. He also has the most games finished ever. His change-up is among the greatest pitches ever.

3. Rollie Fingers: Oakland A’s (1968-1985): 60.5 points

–          2.90 ERA, 341 Saves, 1299 K’s, 709 Games Finished, 76% Saves Converted

–          3 World Series , 0 40 SV years, 6 Rolaids/MVP/Cy Young Award, 3 Saves Champs, 7 All-Star Games

He revolutionized and brought the role of the late inning specialist to the game. He became the all-time saves leader in 1980 with his 228th save and was the career leader for another 12 years. He become the first reliever to win the Cy Young and MVP awards and was the second relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame.

While his trademark mustache is unmistakable, Fingers pioneered closer role in the mid 70's 3 consecutive World Series titles.

4. Lee Smith: Chicago Cubs (1980-1997): 60 points

–          3.03 ERA, 478 Saves, 1251 K’s , 802 Games Finished, 82% Saves Converted

–          0 World Series, 2 40 SV years, 3 Rolaids Awards, 4 Saves Champs, 7 All-Star Games

Held the Major League record for saves from 1993-2006. Set the National League record for saves with 47 in 1991. At one point in time he held the record for career saves for both the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Finished 2nd in the 1991 Cy Young vote.

5. Dennis Eckersley: Oakland A’s/Boston Red Sox (1975-1998): 54.5 points

–          3.50 ERA, 390 Saves, 2401 K’s, 577 Games Finished, 85% Saves Converted

–          1 World Series, 2 40 Save years, 4 Rolaids Award/Cy Young/MVP, 2 Saves Champs, 6 All-Star Games

–          Achieved nearly 200 wins in a career that began as a starter, but became greater later as a converted closer. One of two players to have both a 20 win and 50 save season. He gave up 5 runs the entire 1990 season and finished with a 0.61 ERA and became the only reliever in history to have more saves (48) than base runners (45) over the course of a season. In 1992, he became one of three players to ever win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season.

Aided by his unique sidearm delivery, Eckersley had one of the greatest stretches in pitching history during the early 90's.

6. Billy Wagner: Houston Astros (1995-Present): 53 points

–          2.37 ERA, 420 Saves, 1182 K’s, 698 Games Finished, 86% Saves Converted

–          0 World Series, 2 40 SV years, 1 Rolaids Award, 0 Saves Champs, 6 All-Star Games

One of the most intimidating pitchers in history, In 2005, he threw 159 pitches that exceeded 100 miles per hour. He has averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings for his career. Despite pitching usually less than two innings per game, he has passed 100 strikeouts three times in his career. He has six seasons over 35 saves in career.

7. John Franco: New York Mets (1984-2005): 51 points

–          2.89 ERA, 424 Saves, 975 K’s, 774 Games Finished, 81% Saves Converted

–          0 World Series, 0 40 SV years, 2 Rolaids Awards, 3 Saves Champ, 4 All-Star Games

His 424 saves are the most ever by left handed reliever, and his 1,119 games pitched are a National League record. At the time of his retirement, his career saves total was the second highest ever, the fourth most currently. Despite never reaching 40 saves, he had eight seasons over 30, including five consecutive from 1987-91.

8. Bruce Sutter: St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs (1976-1988): 49.5 points

–          2.83 ERA, 300 Saves, 861 K’s, 512 Games Finished, 75% Saves Converted

–          1 World Series, 1 40 SV year, 5 Rolaids Awards/MVP, 5 Saves Champs, 6 All-Star Games

–          He pioneered the split-finger fastball in route to becoming the only pitcher to lead the National League in saves five times. He tied the NL record for consecutive strikeouts in a game for a reliever in 1977 with six, including a nine pitch, three strikeout inning. He became the first pitcher to never start a game to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

9. Goose Gossage: New York Yankees (1972-1974): 46.5 points

–          3.01 ERA, 310 Saves, 1502 K’s, 681 Games Finished, 73% Saves Converted

–          1 World Series , 0 40 SV years, 1 Rolaids Award, 3 Saves Champs, 9 All-Star Games

He was the first true example of the intimidating, hard throwing finisher now common in the game. His career strikeout total is second amongst players who served primarily as relievers. He ranks third in relief innings pitched and relief wins as well. Over a seven year stretch from 1977-83, he never had an ERA over 2.62, with a low mark of 0.77 in 1981. 112 blown saves are a Major League record. He threw the final out in division, league or World Series clincher 7 times.

"The Goose" was the original intimidating late reliever when first deployed for Yankees in the late 70's.

10. Hoyt Wilhelm: Chicago White Sox/Baltimore Orioles (1952-1972): 46.5 points

–          2.52 ERA, 227 Saves, 1,610 K’s, 651 Games Finished, 79% Saves Converted

–          1 World Series, 0 40 SV years, 0 Rolaids Awards, 0 Saves Champs, 8 All-Star Games, 1 No-Hitter He was the first pitcher who primarily pitched in relief to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He is the first player to reach 200 saves and appear in 1,000 games. His 124 relief wins are a Major League record. He is different from modern closers, as he used a knuckleball primarily, which allowed him to pitch until he was nearly 50 years old. He threw 8.2 innings of no-hit relief in 1959, after entering in the 9th inning and not surrendering at hit until the 17th.

Left on deck: Randy Myers, Jeff Reardon, Francisco Rodriguez

Achievement Measurements: World Series = .5 pts, 40 Save Season = 1 pt, Rolaids Relief Award, Cy Young Awards & MVPs = 2 pts, Saves Champion = 1 pt, All-Star Game = 1 pt, No-Hitter (if from starting appearance) = 2 pts

If curious on other scoring measures, please contact me as the point rubric was adjusted from starting pitcher measures from Volume 9.

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)


The pitcher controls what happens in the game. There is a wide variety of pitchers, with different approaches and arsenals used to guide his team to victory. Over the years the impact, role and ability of the position has changed from one of a workhorse that pitched entire games, multiple times a week, into a more specialized role that works with an entire staff of specialized pitchers as well. However, regardless of era, one thing remains true: the cream always rises to the top. The greats always standout, and of all positions in the game, they do the most at pitcher. Many of the legends of the early part of the game still stand tall, but many have approached since. Lets see how they mix in.

1. Walter Johnson: Washington Senators (1907-1927): 95.5 points

–          417 Wins, 2.17 ERA, 5914 K’s, 3508 Innings, 110 Shutouts, .599 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVPs, 6 Wins Titles, 12 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 13 awarded)

Arguably the most dominant power pitcher of all time. His 110 shutouts are the most ever, by over 20. For over 50 years he was the only pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts and lead the league 12 times, including 8 consecutive times, both are still records. He was the all-time strikeout leader for 55 years. One of two pitchers to surpass 400 wins, having over 30 wins in a season twice and 20 twelves times, including 10 seasons in a row. He also lost 65 games due to his team being shutout. His 55.2 consecutive scoreless innings are still an American League record.

"The Big Train" Johnson's blazing fastball secured him as the most dominant pitcher in history.

2. Roger Clemens: Boston Red Sox (1984-2007): 89 points

–          354 Wins, 3.12 ERA, 4672 Innings, 4916 K’s, 46 Shutouts, .658 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 8 Cy Young/MVP, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 7 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 11 All-Star Games

Dominant pitcher of the last 20 years. One of four players to ever reach 4,000 strikeouts. One of four pitchers to ever win the Cy Young Award in both leagues and the oldest to ever win it at 42 years old. Became the first player to ever record 20 strikeouts in one game in 1986. His 7 seven Cy Young awards are a record.

3. Cy Young: Cleveland Spiders/Boston Red Sox (1890-1911): 82.5 points

–          511 Wins, 2.63 ERA, 2803 K’s, 7355 Innings, 76 Shutouts, .618 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 5 Wins Titles, 2 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 2 No Hitters, 1 Perfect Game, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 14 awarded)

The winningest pitcher of all time, he is the only player to ever pass 500 wins and is 94 victories above the second best total. He won 30 games five times and 20 or more in ten other seasons. His 7,355 innings pitched, 815 starts and 749 complete games are all-time records. Upon his retirement, he had the most strikeouts of all-time. In opposite effect, he also had 316 losses, which are the most ever. The Cy Young Award for pitching excellence was created for him a year after his death.

As the far and away standard for winning, Young's 511 wins are a record the will likely stand forever.

4. Nolan Ryan: Houston Astros/California Angels (1966-1993): 82.5 points

–          324 Wins, 3.19 ERA, 5714 K’s, 5386 Innings, 61 Shutouts, .526 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 0 Wins Titles, 11 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 7 No Hitters, 11 All-Star Games

The most dominant power pitcher ever and one of the hardest throwers in history. His 7 No-Hit games are the most in history and he threw 12 one-hit games as well, tied for the most ever. His 5,714 strikeouts are the most in history by over 800 k’s. His 383 strikeouts in 1973 are still a single season record. He allowed the least hits per nine innings in history, with only 6.56. He struckout 15 or more batters 26 times in one game, the second most ever. He is characterized by his lack of control totals as well, including 2,795 walks issued and 277 wild pitches, the highest totals in history.

5. Randy Johnson: Arizona Diamondbacks/Seattle Mariners (1988-2009): 81.5 points

–          329 Wins, 3.29 ERA, 4875 K’s, 4135 Innings, 37 Shutouts, .646 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 5 Cy Young, 1 Wins Title, 9 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 1 Perfect Game, 10 All-Star Games

The “Big Unit” was one of the most intimidating pitchers in history, standing 6’10 and approaching 100 mph often. His five Cy Young Awards are the second most all-time, and he is one of two players to ever get the honor in four consecutive seasons. He had the second most strikeouts of all-time and finished with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, the most ever. He is the oldest player to ever throw a Perfect Game, at age 40.

Johnson's size and arsenal made him among the most intimidating players ever.

6. Warren Spahn: Milwaukee Braves (1942-1965): 80.5 points

–          363 Wins, 3.09 ERA, 2583 K’s, 5243 Innings, 63 Shutouts, .537 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 Cy Young, 8 Wins Titles, 4 K’s Titles, 3 ERA Titles, 2 No Hitters, 14 All-Star Games

Won the most games of any left-handed pitcher in history. He won 20 games in 13 seasons, and reached his record setting total despite losing three full seasons to military service. He led or shared the lead National League lead in wins for five straight seasons, from ages 36 to 40. Once threw 201 pitches in 14 inning complete game loss in 1963 at age 42.

7. Christy Mathewson: New York Giants (1900-1916): 80 points

–          373 Wins, 2.13 ERA, 2502 K’s, 4780 Innings, 79 Shutouts, .665 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 10 awarded)

Third most wins of all-time, noted for his tremendous screwball. Most wins in National League history with 373. Won 30 games four times and 2o games13 different times respectively. Third most shutouts of all-time. Had five season with a sub-2.00 ERA. One of the great postseason pitchers ever, with a 0.97 ERA and 5 wins in 11 games.

8. Pete Alexander: Philadelphia Phillies/Chicago Cubs (1911-1930): 76.5 points

–          373 Wins, 2.56 ERA, 2198 K’s, 5190 Innings, 90 Shutouts, .642 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 6 Wins Titles, 6 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 12 awarded)

His hold the National League record for shutouts and is tied for third most wins of all-time. Had six consecutive seasons with an ERA under 2.00 from 1915-20. His 28 wins as a rookie are still a record 99 years later. His 16 shutouts in 1916 are a Major League record. In 1926, he pitched two complete game wins in the World Series and pitched the last three inning of game 7 to win the series.

9. Greg Maddux: Atlanta Braves/Chicago Cubs (1986-2008): 73.5 points

–          355 Wins, 3.16 ERA, 3371 K’s, 5008 Innings, 35 Shutouts, .610 Win%

–          18 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 4 Cy Young, 3 Wins Titles, 0 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 8 All-Star Games

One of the great control pitchers in history. Walked less than 2 batters per game for his career. One of two players to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards (1992-1995), with a 1.98 ERA during that stretch. The only pitcher in history to win 15 games for 17 consecutive years. One of 10 players with 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.  His 18 Gold Gloves are the most ever of any player.

Maddux's amazing control and intellect made him the most consistent pitcher in history.

10. Lefty Grove: Philadelphia A’s/Boston Red Sox (1925-1941): 73 points

–          300 Wins, 3.06 ERA, 2266 K’s, 3940 Innings, 35 Shutouts, .680 Win%, 55 Saves

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 3 Wins Titles, 7 K’s Titles, 9 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 6 All-Star Games (Presumptive 5 awarded also)

One of the most dominant and successful pitchers of all-time. He won over 25 games every season from 1930-32, and had two seasons with winning percentages over .884. He twice struck out the side on nine pitches, and is the only player to do it twice in one season. Led the American League in strikeouts in each of his first seven years.

11. Tom Seaver: New York Mets (1967-1986): 72.5 points

–          311 Wins, 2.86 ERA, 3640 K’s, 4782 Innings, 61 Shutouts, .603 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 Cy Young, 3 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 3 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 12 All-Star Games

Five-time 20 game winner. His 19 strikeout game in 1970 tied the all-time record at the time, and he set another record in the process by striking out 10 batters in a row to end the game. Had 10 consecutive 200 strikeout seasons from 1968-76 and won 20 games four times. His 98.8% vote to the Hall of Fame is the highest ever.

12. Steve Carlton: Philadelphia Phillies (1965-1988): 70.5 points

–          329 Wins, 3.22 ERA, 4136 K’s, 5217 Innings, 55 Shutouts, .574 Win%

–          1 Gold Glove, 2 World Series, 4 Cy Young, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 1 ERA Title, 0 No Hitter, 10 All-Star Games

Has the fourth most strikeouts of all-time and held the all-time record between 1982-84. His 144 pickoffs are the most in history. He won over 23 games four times and had four seasons of over 275 strikeouts. His 1972 season is one of the greatest of any pitcher, winning 27 games, with 30 complete games, a 1.97 ERA, 310 strikeouts in 346 innings. Remarkably he won 46% of the Phillies’ total games himself.

13. Sandy Koufax: Los Angeles Dodgers (1955-1966): 68.5 points

–          165 Wins, 2.76 ERA, 2396 K’s, 2324 Innings, 40 Shutouts, .527 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 4 Cy Young/MVP, 3 Wins Titles, 4 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 3 No-Hitters, 1 Perfect Game, 6 All-Star Games

After a mediocre start, he had one of the greatest stretches in the history of pitching from 1961-66. He had three seasons over 300 strikeouts, including 382 in 1965, second best season total ever. He was the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters and is one of two post-World War II hurlers to have 3 season of 25 wins. He had four seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA. After arthritis forced him to retire in his prime at 30 years old, he became the youngest player ever elected to the Hall of Fame at 36.

No pitcher ever had a stretch has dominant as Koufax from 1961 t0 66, including 3 No-Hitters and a Perfect Game.

14. Bob Feller: Cleveland Indians (1936-1956): 65.5 points

–          266 Wins, 3.25 ERA, 2581 K’s, 2581 Innings, 44 Shutouts, .621 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 6 Wins Titles, 7 K’s Titles, 1 ERA Title, 3 No-Hitters, 8 All-Star Games

He consistently surpassed 100 mph with his fastball, being reported at high marks of 107 mph. “Rapid Robert” threw the only opening day No-Hitter in history. He was the first pitcher to win 20 games before turning 21 years old. Had 12 one-hit games, tied for the most all-time. He is one of two pitchers to record as many strikeouts as his age in one game, when struck out 17 in 1936. Lost four and half years to World War II service.

15. Jim Palmer: Baltimore Orioles (1965-1984): 60.5 points

–          268 Wins, 2.86 ERA, 2212 K’s, 3948 Innings, 53 Shutouts, .638 Win%

–          4 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 3 Cy Youngs, 3 Wins Titles, 0 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 1 No-Hitter, 6 All-Star Games

The only pitcher to win a World Series game in three different decades. A eight-time 20 game winner, in his 20 year career he never surrendered a grand slam or back-t0-back home runs. Threw 20 complete games in four different seasons and was a member of the 1971 Orioles rotation that featured four 20-game winners.

Left On Deck: Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, Early Wynn


Wins: 400 & above: 10 pts, 399-350: 9 pts, 349-330: 8 pts, 329-300: 7 pts, 299-280: 6 pts, 279-250: 5 pts, 249-230: 4 pts, 229-200: 3 pts, 199 & below: 2 pts

ERA: 2.10 & below: 10 pts, 2.11-2.40: 9 pts, 2.41-2.70: 8 pts, 2.71-2.90: 7 pts, 2.91-3.10 pts: 6 pts, 3.11-3.30: 5 pts, 3.31-3.50: 4 pts, 3.51-3.70: 3 pts, 3.71 & above: 2 pts

Strikeouts: 5000 & above: 10 pts, 4999-4000: 9 pts, 3999-3500: 8 pts, 3499-3000: 7 pts, 2999-2500: 6 pts, 2499-2000: 5 pts, 1999-1750: 4 pts, 1749-1700: 3 pts, 1699 & below: 2 pts

Innings Pitched: 6,000 & above: 10 pts, 5999-5550: 9 pts, 5499-5000: 8 pts, 4999-4500: 7 pts, 4499-4000: 6 pts, 3999-3500: 5 pts, 3499-3000: 4 pts, 2999-2500: 3 pts, 2499 & below: 2 pts

Shutouts: 80 & above: 10 pts, 79-70: 9 pts, 69-60: 8 pts, 59-50: 7 pts, 49-40: 6 pts, 39-30: 5 pts, 29-20: 4 pts, 19-10: 3 pts, 9 & below: 2 pts

Win Percentage: .680 & above: 10 pts, .679-.650: 9 pts, .649-.630: 8 pts, .629-.610: 7 pts, .609-.590: 6 pts, .589-.570: 5 pts, .569-.550: 4 pts, .549-.530: 3 pts, .529 & below: 2 pts


Gold Glove-.5 point

World Title-.5 point

Cy Young/MVP-2 points

Wins Leader-1 point

Strikeout Leader-1 point

ERA Leader-1 point

No Hitter-3 points

Perfect Game-4 points

All-Star Game-1 point

THE FORWARD LATERAL – Me vs. Myself, Week 2

Posted: September 22, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , ,

My Week 2 NFL picks in review, where I went right, wrong, got dizzy, turned around and everything in between. Let’s look at both my genius and my ignorance all at once here once again.

Chiefs 16, Browns 14: My Pick-Browns

A Brandon Flowers interception return for a score and 3 field Ryan Succop field goals made the difference in an underwhelming contest, where underwhelming offenses made a bigger impact than the defenses truly did.

Packers 34, Bills 7: My Pick-Packers

The Packers did what they were supposed to do in this matchup by overwhelm the lowly Bills. Brandon Jackson scored in his debut as starting RB and Aaron Rodgers added two touchdown passes and another on the ground in an easy win for Green Bay.

Bengals 15, Ravens 10: My Pick-Bengals

A showcase game for two strong defensive units turned out exactly as it should have. Cincy forced four interceptions from Joe Flacco and kicker Mike Nugent accounted for their entire offense on five field goals in the Bengal win.

Steelers 19, Titans 11: My Pick-Titans

The Steeler defense continues to show it’s back to being a top unit in all of football. They forced seven Titan turnovers, including 3 from Vince Young. Starting QB Dennis Dixon left with a knee injury and they the offense didn’t surpass 200 yards total, yet four Jeff Reed field goals still outscored Tennessee for the win.

Troy Polamalu and the Steeler defense broke the Titans spirit early and often for the win.

Eagles 35, Lions 32: My Pick-Eagles

The Michael Vick resurgence continued and he pushed the Eagles, who had to hold off a late assault from the dangerous Lions offense, to the win in what could be his only start of the year. With Vick behind center the Eagle offense has been explosive, and a huge quarterback controversy is about to take shape in Philly, with Kevin Kolb most likely regaining his starting role next Sunday.

Bears 27, Cowboys 20: My Pick-Cowboys

The early struggles of the Cowboys continued at the hands of the surprisingly efficient Jay Cutler and Bears offense. Dallas looked out of sync for a second week and fell to 0-2 in a big home upset, and there is some slight panic and frustration already setting in Cowboy Country.

Frusteration and a bit of panic is setting in for Wade Phillips and his Cowboys already.

Buccaneers 20, Panthers 7: My Pick-Panthers

A surprisingly efficient Bucs offense got the win over a dry Panthers team that still can’t get started on the ground and still is unsettled at QB between Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. The Bucs have capitalized in starting 2-0 against the easiest matchups in the League.

Falcons 41, Cardinals 7: My Pick-Falcons

The week’s big beating took place here, with the Falcons, despite being without Michael Turner much of the game. The Cardinals showed that the rumors of their demise may have been on point, losing by 35 behind over 200 yards on both the ground and through the air from the Atlanta.

Dolphins 14, Vikings 10: My Pick-Vikings

Brett Favre was made to look very much the 40 year old actually is over the gunslinger hero he’s become over the last 18 years. The Dolphin defense is showing itself to be one of the best in the league early on, and stopped Adrian Peterson the goal line four straight times and forced Favre in four turnovers.

Raiders 16, Rams 14: My Pick-Raiders

A halftime quarterback change to Bruce Gradkowski paced the Raiders to a home opening win. The Raider defense contained the Rams and the Rams defense wasted multiple turnover opportunities and committed enough penalties for two weeks in the process of falling to 0-2.

Broncos 31, Seahawks 14: My Pick-Broncos

Kyle Orton attacked the Seattle secondary often and showed it still has plenty of work to do, as 4 receivers went over 50 yards receiving. The debut of rookie WR Demaryius Thomas, and his 8 catch, 98 yard performance, put the Broncos over the top in an easy win.

Orton was in control from the beginning and easily guided the Broncos to their first win.

Texans 30, Redskins 27: My Pick-Redskins

Neither team’s spotty secondary did much to help their squad win it, with both Matt Schaub & Donovan McNabb putting on an air show, going for 497 and 426 yards respectively. In the end an overtime battle of the kickers made the difference, where after a Redskin miss, Neil Rackers won it for the Texans from 35 yards out.

Chargers 38, Jaguars 13: My Pick-Jaguars

The Chargers got back to how they should and avoided what could have been an upset by completely stopping Maurice Jones-Drew and forcing a career high four interception game out of David Garrard. An injury to Ryan Mathews could be the most decisive impact from this game.

Jets 28, Patriots 14: My Pick-Jets

The Jets defense came together to shutdown the Patriot offense in the second half, surprisingly after Darrelle Revis left the game. Mark Sanchez found himself and took apart the young New England secondary to win by two touchdowns and show some of what their true potential is.

Colts 38, Giants 14: My Pick-Colts

Simply put, Peyton Manning punched the Giants defense in the mouth and never let them get up, like the knockout king of the NFL he is. On the other side of Manning table, Eli was constantly smashed by the Colts defensive line and never got a chance to pull the Giants back into it.

Saints/49ers: My Pick-Saints

In the best game of the young season, these two teams went to war and every inch became a mile. In the end, Drew Brees showed why he is who he is and found the right opening to Marques Colston and setup a last minute field goal to secure the Saints win.

An incredible 4th quarter grab by Colston sealed the 2-0 start for the Saints.

This Week: 9-7, Season Total: 18-14

Where I got it MOST right:

Raiders over Rams: The Raiders defense just much quicker overall this year, and they proved it against the rebuilding St. Louis offense.

Jets over Patriots: The Jets secondary proved to be able to make plays on Brady just like I thought they would and they made the Moss/Welker disappear completely in the second half.

Where I went the MOST wrong:

Chargers over Jaguars: I thought the Jaguars would have the fire power on the ground to take on the rebuilding Chargers defensive front. I was terribly wrong as Jones-Drew only amassed 31 yards rushing and lost a fumble.

SECOND and LOOOOONG: Rams/Raiders Recap

Posted: September 21, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , , ,

You win some, you lose some. That’s how the old saying goes, but in recent times that saying has been shattered by the tendencies of the St. Louis Rams. That’s actually underselling it, extremely. Dropping 44 of their last 50 contests over the past 3 years, and now two games, proves that that saying doesn’t have any jurisdiction in St. Louis. However, it is not as cut and dry as it seems. Sometimes they will get beat outright and handily, but many times it is created by just a few small errors, which they create for themselves. The rap sheet  looks quite familiar:

Bad coverage reads, abandoning parts of the offense, missed field goals, penalties, personal fouls, etc, etc, etc…

Even one of these elements done at the wrong time can cause a team to fail, but when all of them occur at once, even the most beatable teams become invincible. Yesterday, the Rams empowered the Raiders to invinciblity by just maintaining mediocrity. Each Raider drive for the first 2 1/2 quarters was aided just as much by a Rams penalty or lack of focus as it was by solid play by the Raider offense. For the total of the game, St. Louis committed 8 penalties for 92 yards. Against a team with as many offensive issues as the Raiders have, that’s far too much help to give them to make an impact, it’s almost handing them the game.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo is left with very few answers for his team absent minded play.

A look at the Oakland offense will show how Rams errors did the majority of the work for them. Starter Jason Campbell was pulled for pure ineffectiveness at half time for Gradkowski. After entering, Gradkowski completed 11 of 22 passes for only 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception. This isn’t a world class effort, but when combined with the multiple penalties and personal fouls, was made to look heroic. Gradkowski’s impact in selling the penalties made just as big an impact as his passing did. OJ Atogwe’s 15 yard roughing the passer call which lead to a Louis Murphy TD and Fred Robbins late hit call tacked another 15 yards on and sealed the Rams fate.

After sinking themselves with penalties, Atogwe and the Rams defense have to realize less is more.

Some credit must go to Oakland’s second halftime adjustment, of stacking the defensive front to slow Steven Jackson, who had 67 yards on the ground in the first half, but was limited to 8 yards in the second half on only five carries. This forced the game into the hands of Sam Bradford, who despite connecting with Mark Clayton for two scores; never found the rhythm he had in week 1. By forcing the pass, and defending it well, the Raiders controlled the clock and kept possession for all but 7 minutes of the second half. They frequently ate up the clock with runs from Darren McFadden (145 yards) and made several big passes when they needed them and eventually beat the Rams in both strategy and timely playmaking. Remember also, this is still the Raiders were talking about here….exactly.

McFadden is the 2nd RB in two weeks to take advantage of a lackluster Ram run defense.

This is a team that simply beat itself in many instances, and also never adjusted to new wrinkles thrown at them. Oakland’s coach Tom Caple forced the Rams into playing his game and the Rams in turn handed him the whole thing. While some of the Ram struggles this year can be counted on growth, some are inexcusable in both frequency and intent. They simply did not make plays that professionals have to make, such as a failure of discipline and dropping easy interceptions that could have swung the tide of the game. On Sunday, they specialized in the handoff, but it was of the game, not the ball.


–          Bradford continued his success going to Clayton, this week finding him for two redzone scores of 7 and 17 yards, but those were the only two catches of the game for Clayton. He has to be able to find him more often to duplicate the consistency he had during week one.

–          Once again, the Rams run defense was consistently subpar against a constant attack. McFadden accumulated his 145 yards at a rate of 4.8 yards per carry, including a 30 yard run in third quarter that led to Gradkowski’s only TD pass.

–          Sunday’s co-leading tackler was safety Craig Dahl with nine. However, he sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter and his status is unknown for next week vs. Washington.

–          Kicker Josh Brown missed his second FG in two games, when he missed a 36 yard chance in the first half, which would have been the standing difference in the win or loss later on.

4th DOWN REPORT: College Football Weekend Recap

Posted: September 20, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NCAA

FIRST DOWN: Team of the Week

Nebraska Cornhuskers: There were a lot of games where teams had to play closer and tougher opponents this week. Arizona, Michigan State, Arkansas, Florida and Texas could all make claims to having been the best team on the field this weekend. However, in Seattle there seemed to be a heavy case of déjà vu and a college football renaissance taking place, as the Huskers broke out in a way they haven’t in what seems like a decade. All eyes were on Washington’s alledged heir apparent NFL top pick Jake Locker, but soon those watching him were forced to hide those same eyes from the carnage that soon took place. Bo Pelini’s Huskers SMASHED the Huskies 56-21 and had THREE different players rush for over 100 yards. Freshman QB Taylor Martinez was chief amongst them all, with 137 rushing yards and 3 TD himself, including an 80 yard sprint past the whole Huskie “defense” (I use that lightly). While it’s a bit early to crown him the heir apparent to Husker QB kings Gill, Frazier, Frost or Crouch, he’s doing a damn good job of trying to get a seat at the table eventually.

Coach Bo Pelini's #8 Huskers have a strong throwback look & feel this year

SECOND DOWN: Player of the Week

Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas: Big time players make big time plays at big time times. While a week 3 win over a Georgia team that fell from the Top 25 and is missing their dynamo wide receiver doesn’t qualify as a great moment in NCAA history, it did provide a chance for the Arkansas gunslinger to make an early season big play moment. The 6’7” Mallett finished with 380 yards and 3 touchdowns, but none of the yards were bigger than the last few. With the Razorbacks and Bulldogs knotted up at 24 with 15 seconds left, the Heisman candidate hit WR Greg Childs with strike between the Georgia secondary for a 40 yard score than got the Razorbacks the win. This keeps them undefeated headed into this weekend’s showdown with #1 Alabama, where he will need a few more of these moments to have a real shot at the champs.

Arkansas fortunes look up behind Mallett's cannon right arm.

THIRD DOWN: Trophy Contenders

Here’s how my Heisman ballot looks after week 3

1. Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State: 235 pass yards, 2 TD; 35 rush yards, 1 TD in 43-7 win vs. Ohio

The Buckeyes leader stays steady in his spot after easily leading the #2 Buckeyes to a victory over in-state foe Ohio. Despite throwing 2 interceptions and only gaining 35 yards on the ground, he turned in on big time in the 2nd half, completing a school record 16 consecutive passes & putting the game away. Season: 715 pass yards, 6 TD/2 Int, 63% comp.; 165 rush yards, 2 TD

2. Denard Robinson-QB-Michigan: 241 pass yards, 2 TD; 104 rush yards, 1 TD in 42-37 win vs. UMass

The country’s most exciting player was once again pegged with having to do everything to pull out a Michigan win, which he once again did. He surpassed 200 passing & 100 rushing yards for the 2nd consecutive week and saved the Wolverines from potential huge home upset. Season: 671 pass yards, 4 TD/1 Int, 69% comp; 559 rush yards, 4 TD

3. Kellen Moore-QB-Boise State: 370 pass yards, 2 TD, 69% comps. in 51-6 win vs. Wyoming

It was an easy day at the office for Boise State’s leader and he had the Broncos up 34-0 by halftime. He finished up connecting on 20 of his 30 attempts and had an easy warm up for what may be BSU’s last real test of the season vs. Oregon State on Saturday. Season: 585 pass yards, 5 TD/ 1 Int, 63% comp.

Moore's steady arm and Boise's steady schedule should keep him in Heisman discussion all year.

4. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas: 380 pass yards, 3 TD, 63% comps. in 31-24 win at Georgia

Mallett continued his air assault on the Heisman with a thrilling last-minute win in Athens versus Georgia. Winning tough games versus conference opponents, on the road in the SEC no less, is what counts the most in the end. The good news is this week he doesn’t have to go on the road for his conference matchup. The bad news is its Alabama coming to see him. If there’s a better way to make a case for the #1 spot on this list, I can’t think of it over winning this week. Season: 1081 pass yards, 9 TD/2 Int, 70% comp.

5. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama: 9 carries, 151 rush yards, 2 TD in 63-13 win at Duke

The defending winner of sport’s most prestigious award returned this week, and he wasted no time making his presence felt. Ingram only carried the ball 9 times, but made the most of it, taking his first run of the year for 48 yards and coming back with a 50 yard touchdown run later on. With him back and clearly healthy, the Tide may make rolling back to the BCS Championship look even easier. Season: 9 carries, 151 rush yards, 2 TD

Worth Watching: Landry Jones-Oklahoma, Christian Ponder-Florida State, Patrick Peterson-LSU, Andrew Luck-Stanford, Greg McElroy-Alabama


Jake Locker-QB-Washington: Last April, all I heard were rumors and discussion of a QB in Washington that had all

Locker's stock is falling quickly this fall.

the tools and ability to be the number one pick in the NFL draft whenever he choose to enter. They said this player would be the perfect hybrid between athlete and passer, especially working with “offensive guru” Steve Sarkisian. The warning flags were that he was both learning the system and playing with an extreme lack of talent around him. Well, I finally saw this great and heralded package of NFL potential on Saturday, and all I can say is that if this is what the NFL considers “can’t miss, top pick” caliber talent, then the lockout can’t come quick enough to save us from this coming to be. Locker hit on 20% of his passes versus an average Nebraska defense, on the way to a 4 for 20, 71 yard, 2 interception performance, which made Troy Smith’s BCS Championship game from ’07 (remember the horrors?) look like a masterpiece.

I know there are bad games and this probably was an aberration of what type of player he is. However, I just didn’t see anything that says this is the type of player I would hand the keys of my franchise over too in the hopes of turning it around. A good athlete, but he can only make the scramble or throw deep over the top. This reminds me of another current QB in college (who is mentioned in the top spot on the list above), who at least is a force on the level he’s on right now, yet nobody realistically (and me either) expects him to be beast on the next level. He’s not a bad player, but he’s not top 10, or even top 20, pick material either (none of which will stop him from still becoming one, especially with the NFL’s hard on for QB prospects).

Things to look for in Week 4: #1 Alabama vs. #10 Arkansas: A battle of multiple Heisman candidates and SEC West foes in the first big conference matchup of the year….#16 Stanford heads to Notre Dame in national showcase game for QB Andrew Luck….#9 Florida faces undefeated Kentucky in a show and prove game for the Wildcats….#3 Boise State faces a quick #24 Oregon State team in potentially their last big obstacle in route to an undefeated season, already.