Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Football’

Terrelle Pryor’s plight to make the NFL is well known. However, now that he is on the way to the field, how he does from here on out is still up in the air.

 

Picture this: massive athletes with big personalities and unbelievable backgrounds, looking to make a big entrance before finally making it to a competition. One that by the time it actually happens has become a bit of an afterthought.

Was Vince McMahon made the commissioner of the NFL as part of the lockout settlement? Because the most recent issue surrounding the NFL and its supplemental draft has played out like something out of his world rather than Roger Goodell’s.

At the center of this whole circus has been Terrelle Pryor, formerly of Ohio State football and currently of NCAA infamy, and his standing for the NFL’s bonus draft. Already suspended for the tip of the iceberg of issues surrounding him receiving improper benefits beginning of what would have been his senior year at OSU, when the rest of the glacier came up, he lost his college eligibility. However, this all emerged after the NFL Draft was in the books, one that he never intended to be a part of. Since he didn’t declare, and was not draft eligible, free agency was not an option. However, today he was declared eligible for the NFL’s second round of entry.

Pryor is picking back up an old set of questions just as the new ones are answered.

So here enters the supplemental draft, and what exactly that is.

Read more at Suite101: Most Known Unknown: Terrelle Pryor and the NFL Supplemental Draft | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/most-known-unknown-terrelle-pryor-and-the-nfl-supplemental-draft-a385079#ixzz1VPVsQQbY

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The quarterback position is the most hyped, dissected and scrutinized position in all of sports. None more so than during the NFL Draft and its lead up stages. From the time that some QB’s are sophomores in college, how they can relate to the NFL game is heavily discussed. This is a necessary process of sorts, because having a solid QB is everything in the NFL game. Very few, if any, teams make any noise in January without a solid QB. Virtually none make it to Super Bowl Sunday without an exceptional one (the 2001 Ravens with Trent Dilfer at the helm are the last victors to have a questionable QB by my evaluation, but that team had one of the great defenses of all-time).

Newton has all the skills for both the National Championship Game and Heisman, but are they enough to make him an elite NFL QB too?

Also, no position is paid more before even taking a snap than the QB position, especially at the top spot. 2010 top pick Sam Bradford, despite having proved his worth now, was automatically one of the top five highest paid players in the league due to this phenomena. All of these factors make understanding both what a young signal caller is, and can become, crucial, for both on-field and payroll successes.

Here is a look at the newest crop of youngsters being looked at as the next answer for some QB, and win, hungry NFL franchises. The 2011 class has been heralded as one of the deepest classes in sometime. While that sometimes proves to be a disastrous proclamation (see the 1999 NFL Draft), it sometimes pays off greatly, with multiple Super Bowl winning and Pro Bowl attending QBs (see both the 1983 and 2004 Drafts).

It’s a crap shoot of the highest order in the sporting universe, but if you’re going to gamble, go big or go home.

ANDREW LUCK-Sophomore-Stanford Cardinal

Measures: 6’4/245 lbs

Stats: 3,051 pass yards, 28 TDs/7 Interceptions, 70% completions; 438 rush yards

Should be picked….: As the #1 pick, no lower than 2.

Compares to: Ben Roethlisberger

Breakdown: Big time playmaker who is a horse that can deliver the ball anywhere. He’s the clear-cut choice as top QB on the board, and also top player in the draft. While he’s not a runner in the Tebow style, he can make plays with his feet and is hard to bring down. Like Bradford, he’s the type of guy a struggling franchise can rebuild around. Carolina currently has the top pick, and it will stay that way unless they trade it, but their selection of Jimmy Clausen in 2010 should not be a deteriment to taking Luck, who has the ability, like Sam Bradford before him, to turn a franchise around in short order.

RYAN MALLETT-Junior-Arkansas Razorback

Measures: 6’6/240 lbs

Stats: 3,592 pass yards, 30 TD/11 interceptions, 66.5% completions

Should be picked….: In the top 20, potentially top 10

Compares to: Joe Flacco or Carson Palmer before the knee injury.

Breakdown: A big tosser with easily the strongest arm in college football, that would already be a top 5 arm in the NFL. He can make any throw down field and would create a virtual game for many teams such as the Cardinals and Niners who have none right now. He may benefit from sitting for a little while to gain some touch on his passes and increase his awareness, but he’s the type that will be able to pick up some big yardage numbers over the course of his career.

CAM NEWTON-Junior-Auburn Tigers

Measures: 6’6/250 lbs

Stats: 2,589 pass yards, 28 TDs/6 interceptions; 1,409 rush yards, 20 TD

Should be picked….: Hard to say. Could be anywhere in round 1, but no later.

Compares to: Vince Young or Josh Freeman

Breakdown: His numbers are amazing and he seems to always find a way to make it work, with either his arm or feet, evenly. In the NFL he won’t be able to run the ball in the same order, because he’s not flat-out fast like a Michael Vick. However, he will be able to make plays on the move, and if he develops a solid intermediate passing game and puts a bit more zip on his outside ball (which he currently lacks), he will be a problem of the highest order, because on short yardage gains he will still be able to run the ball well and will force defenses to stay honest, which opens up deep options. However, he will definitely benefit from sitting for a while to gain some polish, which is why he may not be the answer for a team that is on the verge of competing right now, such as Minnesota or San Francisco.

BLAINE GABBERT-Junior-Missouri Tigers

Measures: 6’5/240 lbs

Stats: 3,186 pass yards, 16 TD/9 interceptions, 63% completions; 5 rushing TDs

Should be picked….: Late first round, perhaps to a team trading up.

Compares to: Aaron Rodgers or Tony Romo

Breakdown: He has a world of talent, and has played in a wide open system to showcase everything he can do. He isn’t a running QB, but has the mobility to make plays on the run and pick up extra yardage in the open field. With better coaching on his footwork in the pocket, he could become a very good pocket playmaker. His biggest issue is his lapses in judgement with the ball, which could become detrimental in the NFL, where he won’t be able to just lean of his natural talent. He has all the tools, but needs to be reeled in some to maximize them. Good player for a team that doesn’t need a starter right now or next year.

JAKE LOCKER-Senior-Washington Huskies

Measures: 6’3/230 lbs

Stats: 2,209 pass yards, 17 TD/9 interceptions, 56% completions; 302 rush yards, 5 TD

Should be picked….: Second round for now.

Compares to: Mark Sanchez or Matt Cassell

Breakdown: Despite being a senior, Locker is the oldest prospect here, Locker is by and far the rawest. He has all the skills to be a multi-threat trouble behind center, but he has far too many lapses in judgement still and seems to be struggling to make the transition from run first (and second) QB, to a pro style, versatile threat, which his skill set suggests he could be. He has played in a sub par program and has been leaned on quite heavily, and many scouts feel the best is yet to come when he plays with a higher standard of talent. While this could be true, and his skill set is undeniable, it’s too late in the game to commit either the future of your franchise or a huge sum of money to his continued development on potential only. He could pan out to be a true late bloomer, but it would be better served on a team where he can back up indefinitely.

Others to watch: Christian Ponder-Florida State, Pat Devlin-Delaware, Terrelle Pryor-Ohio State, Nick Foles-Arizona

 

The NFL season has reached its halftime, and while the picture is constantly unfolding and many teams will be moving up and down, getting better, getting worse and fall. While every college star isn’t the best pro, many of the top talents this year should translate well into the pro game.

The order is determined by record and strength of schedule to break ties, no playoff seeding is figured in.

1. Buffalo Bills: Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford // The Bills are in a similar spot that the Rams were in a year ago with this same pick, a direction-less franchise that needs a new leader to help turn its fortunes. Look at how well it turned out in St. Louis so far. Buffalo would be smart to follow suit with the tremendous Stanford talent.

Luck has grown tremendously this season and his next challenge should be savior of Buffalo.

2. Carolina Panthers: AJ Green-WR-Georgia // For years the Panthers have been searching for a compliment to Steve Smith to open up their pass game. Green is easily that and more. They need to take their future #1 option here.

3. Dallas Cowboys: DaQuan Bowers-DE-Clemson // Bowers is reaching his potential easily and leads the nation in tackles for a loss. The Cowboys are still tremendously talented and can afford to take the best available player, but need help on the line. Bowers serves both causes.

4. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU // While the Niners QB position catches much of the focus with the Alex Smith era quickly ending itself, they will be better served taking Peterson, who injects an aging cornerback position with an instant boost and closes a major hole in a talented unit.

Despite a clear QB need, the Niners shouldn't pass on an impact corner like Peterson.

5. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama // The Broncos need help stopping the run and can use a pass rushing presence. Dareus is versatile and can serve both roles from either the tackle or end spot.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina // Quinn is bringing some baggage from Carolina’s academic dishonesty sanctions and suspensions, but is still an amazing talent and the good could outweigh the questionable. Sounds like a guy born to be a Bengal.

7. Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara-CB-Nebraska // The Lions have the worse cornerback tandem in the league, and landing Amukamara here is a match made in heaven. Would be a starter as soon as his name is called.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas // With the Favre era ending, landing a top flight arm should be a priority and Mallett can reach the Viking receivers and stretch the field with one of the best pure arm available.

9. Arizona Cardinals: Akeem Ayers-LB-UCLA // Zona need help at every level of its defense and Ayers give them an aggressive outside rush that they need long-term from the linebacker spot.

10. Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones-WR-Alabama // This is a perfect pairing for the receiver desperate Browns, who have nothing in the downfield gamebreaker category. Jones will soar after the Combine as well.

Jones is a huge talent, who should actually become even better in the Pros.

11. San Diego Chargers: Adrian Clayborne-DE-Iowa // They have been searching for a legit pass rush since Shawne Merriman fell of the Earth a few years ago. Clayborne is a more than suitable replacement.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jake Locker-QB-Washington // Locker is riding the potential train all the way to the top half of the Draft, and the Jaguars are ready to replace David Garrard much sooner than later. This seems destined to happen if he lasts until here.

13. St. Louis Rams: Stephen Paea-DT-Oregon State // They could definitely stand to land Bradford a legit threat at receiver, but Paea is a plus talent in the middle and helps them address an issue they did not by passing on Ndamukong Suh a year ago.

14. Seattle Seahawks: Nick Fairley-DT-Auburn // They are in the midst of reshaping the whole of their team, and finding an anchor in the middle of the defense is needed much sooner than later. Fairley is great talent and can help every area of the defense.

15. Washington Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan-DE-Purdue // The Redskins have a talented secondary, but it gets tested way too often and easily due to an absence of any consistent pass rush. Kerrigan will help solve both issues.

16. Houston Texans: Janoris Jenkins-CB-Florida // Once again, the offense is clicking, but the defense isn’t up to speed. They simply cannot stop the pass. Landing Jenkins and pairing him with ’10 first rounder Kareem Jackson should fix that issue much sooner than later.

17. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama // With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams aging, injury prone and free agents-to-be, taking Ingram keeps the Miami running game from missing a beat.

Ingram would be used heavily in Miami and would be a both a quick fix and youth infuser for an aging backfield.

18. New England (from OAK): Von Miller-LB-Texas A&M // The Pats are thin at the pass rush and Miller is one of the best pure rushers in the college game and fits the hybrid end/linebacker that the New England scheme is best for.

19. Chicago Bears: Anthony Castonzo-OT-Boston College // The constant problem for Chicago has been protecting Jay Cutler and opening up any rushing chances. Castonzo is the best tackle available in a thin year, and an easy choice here.

20. Kansas City Chiefs: Donta Hightower-ILB-Alabama // The best athlete on a tremendously talented Bama defense, he shores up the middle for an emergent KC defense, although he is a bit of a project.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Allen Bailey-DE-Miami // Tampa’s offense is arriving now, but the defense still is a bit inconsistent, especially in reaching the backfield. Pairing Bailey with Gerald McCoy should end the problem.

22. Tennessee Titans: Aaron Williams-CB-Texas // There’s not much to be worried about outside of Cortland Finnegan in the Titan secondary. Williams will at least make opposing QB’s think about throwing away from his side.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Solder-OT-Colorado // Philly’s line has been slowly falling apart due to age and injury. Protecting whoever ends up taking the snaps better should be a high priority, and the massive Solder is a big step towards that goal.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Gabe Carimi-OT-Wisconsin // Now is the time for Indy to start rebuilding their line, both to create some kind of rushing game and to, most importantly, protect an aging Peyton Manning. Carimi is an athletic, tough Big 10 lineman perfect for both jobs.

25. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Burton-CB-Utah // The Packers cannot afford to ignore their thinning secondary any longer, especially with Al Harris departed and Charles Woodson potentially moving to safety. Burton is a rising talent that will be a value pick within a few years.

26. New Orleans Saints: Cameron Hayward-DE-Ohio State // The Saints have depth issues in their front seven and need to put a young talent in the mix to keep it from becoming a big problem soon. Hayward is a great grab here that only falls due to the amazing depth at the DE position this year.

The son of Ironhead Hayward would be a need frontline defensive presence for the Saints.

27. New York Giants: Rodney Hudson-G/C-Florida State // The Giants have look great on both sides of the ball this year, but far too often Eli Manning is hammered while creating the pass. The versatile Hudson immediately lessens this threat on the interior line.

28. New England Patriots: Jeremy Beal-LB-Oklahoma // Despite landing another linebacker earlier, taking Beal here removes any needs in any part of the linebacking corps for years here. Also versatile enough to put a hand in the ground and rush from end as well.

29. New York Jets: Rahim Moore-S-UCLA // The free safety position is shaky in New York, and landing Moore gives a presence that adds more depth to an already premier secondary. He can cover great depth, and lets their corners gamble even more.

30. Baltimore Ravens: Derek Sherrod-OT-Mississippi State // The Ravens can use more protection up front and Sherrod is an a strong athlete who can form one of the most athletic tackle pairings in the league with Michael Oher.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph-TE-Notre Dame // Rudolph is far and away the best tight end prospect in this year’s draft and with Tony Gonzalez still productive, but picking up years, taking Rudolph ensures no drop off at the spot and provides another wrinkle in an already impressive offense.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ras-I Dowling-CB-Virginia // While the Steeler defense is the best unit in the game, they still are susceptible to the pass due to an aging cornerback group. Dowling is a big, physical coverage back that fits perfectly with Pittsburgh’s attack.

 

On the verge: Jon Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh, Cameron Jordan-DE-Cal, DeMarcus Love-OT-Arkansas, Drake Nevis-DT-LSU, David Thomas-RB-Kansas State, Mike Pouncey-G-Florida, Michael Floyd-WR-Notre Dame, Marvin Austin-DT, Brandon Harris-CB-Miami, Quan Sturdivant-LB

 

Arguments? Agreements? Don’t think your team is represented well or a guy is over/underrated? COMMENT! Let me know, lets prove why I’m right.

This weekend the opening of controversy season got under way for college football, with the initial Bowl Championship Series polls were displayed to the public. While these are always open for debate, along with various interpretations of the BCS abbreviation (in many cases I ignore the “C” and switch words on the B and S, but I digress).

While the formula for this poll is up for debate between purists and statisticians, it is indisputable that it gives teams something to play towards. It also gives me something to answer on opinion on my texts, Twitter and even dinner with family time. To bring all of that to the middle, I sat down with the two main pure polls (AP and USA Today), along with the BCS poll, each teams schedules and the most reliable of all these methods, my opinion. Here is my interpretation of how it should look now and what’s going to weigh into where it ends up.

1. Oregon Ducks (6-0, #2 BCS, #1 USA Today, #1 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 54.3 PPG, 16 PAG

Key wins: @ Tennessee (48-13), Stanford (57-31)

Lowdown: They are blowing teams out right now and are in a conference where they only have to play one more ranked team in Arizona, and that’s at home. They are a track meet of a running team, and have yet to be able to be held under 40 points yet.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, #1 BCS, #3 USA Today, #3 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 19 PAG

Key wins: Florida State (47-17), Texas (28-20)

Lowdown: Oklahoma is moving ahead by staying undefeated in a power conference, despite having many close calls. They destroyed Florida State early and survived a down year Texas team in the River River Shootout. Somehow these slight wins were enough to boost them to #1 in BCS minds, despite being the consensus #3 otherwise. They feature an immediate test to this throne, going into Columbia, Missouri against a tough Mizzou defense.

3. Boise State (6-0, #3 BCS, #2 USA Today, #2 AP)

Profile: WAC; 47.5 PPG, 12.3 PAG

Key Wins: Virginia Tech (33-30), Oregon State (37-24)

Lowdown: They beat a top 15 team in Virginia Tech to open the season to prove they can play under the bright lights. Many critics say they don’t play on an even level with other Top 10 teams. I say don’t put them automatically in the Top 2, which could walk them into the BCS Championship and let them continue to play, and if they win out, be the first team to move into the Top 2 if one of the team loses. They deserve a shot.

4. Auburn Tigers (7-0, #4 BCS, #5 USA Today, #5 AP)

Profile: SEC; 40 PPG, 24.4 PAG

Key Wins: South Carolina (35-27), Arkansas (65-43)

Lowdown: Auburn has steadily rose up the standings all year and have beaten several quality teams convincingly, including three currently ranked foes. However, they’re fate is destined with Alabama, who they face in the season closing rivalry game. However, both of their signature wins have come against teams that have pushed Alabama, including the Gamecocks, who knocked them from number one.

5. LSU (7-0, #6 BCS, #6 USA Today, #6 AP)

Profile: SEC; 26.7 PPG, 14.4 PAG

Key Wins: North Carolina (30-24), West Virginia (20-14), @ Florida (33-29)

Lowdown: LSU has had a bit of a rabbit’s foot and have had a lot of things work out perfectly so far, as they have won several very close games to maintain their undefeated record. With back-to-back match ups with Auburn and Alabama, it will be shown very soon if they are legit or not.

6. Michigan State (7-0, #7 BCS, #8 USA Today, #8 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 16 PAG

Key Wins: Wisconsin (34-24), @ Michigan (34-17)

Lowdown: They have played several close games and have simply out-toughed all of their opponents and beating Wisconsin and Michigan consecutively have proven them as the  class of the Big 10 early on.

7. Alabama (6-1, #8 BCS, #7 USA Today, #7 AP)

Profile: SEC; 33 PPG, 12.9 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Arkansas (24-20)

Key Loss: South Carolina (35-31)

Lowdown: Everybody’s #1 coming into the season has hit some tough speed bumps, with Arkansas and South Carolina pushing them as far as they can go, with South Carolina finally knocking them off. Even with the L, they still are the best of any one loss team and if they keep winning deserve to move up first, even before other undefeated clubs, because they still are plain better.

8. TCU (7-0, #5 BCS, #4 USA Today, #4 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 40 PPG, 9.3 PAG

Key Win: Oregon State (30-21)

Lowdown: This is the team that has just moved along all season and are over ranked for what they have done. They did beat a quality Oregon State team, but otherwise there is nothing here that says they deserve to be high ranked than a BCS conference undefeated or even some one lose clubs. While they are top 5 in all major polls, I can’t give them that credit unless they beat Utah in two weeks.

9. Ohio State (6-1, #10 BCS, #10 USA Today, #11 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 39.6 PPG, 13 PAG

Key Wins: Miami (36-24)

Key Loss: Wisconsin (31-28)

Lowdown: The Buckeyes easily moved along beating every team convincingly in route to ascending to #1 for a week, just to never take the fight to Wisconsin in their first tough road game of the season. They are still a quality team, and can easily move back up towards the top 5 with a strong finish.

10. Utah Utes (6-0, #9 BCS, #9 USA Today, #9 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 45.8 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Win: Pittsburgh (27-24)

Lowdown: Similar to conference mate TCU, they’re road to the a high BCS vote has been dictated against impressive wins versus underwhelming opponents. They’re match up for the MWC crown versus TCU is what they’re entire season is built around. For now, this is about where they should be placed.

11. Stanford Cardinal (5-1, #12 BCS, #14 USA Today, #12 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 43 PPG, 23 PAG

Key Wins: @ Notre Dame (37-14), USC (37-35)

Key Loss: @ Oregon (52-31)

Lowdown: Stanford has played an impressive early schedule and has been solid every week, but a blowout versus Oregon pushes them down the poll. They have played well every week otherwise and could have a seat in the Rose Bowl if Oregon shoots above it in to the BCS Championship game.

12. Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, #13 BCS, #11 USA Today, #10 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 36 PPG, 18 PAG

Key Wins: Ohio State (31-28)

Key Loss: @ Michigan State (34-24)

Lowdown: Wisconsin is one of the teams that can play the biggest part in the Big 10, and by default BCS, picture. They fell to Michigan State, yet came back and knocked Ohio State from the top spot. They have been competitive all year, and because of this, they will be able to move up freely if they beat Iowa and win out.

13. Missouri Tigers (6-0; #11 BCS, #16 USA Today, #18 AP)

Profile: Big 12, 34.5 PPG, 10.8 PAG

Key Wins: Illinois (23-13), Texas A&M (30-9)

Lowdown: The Tigers take this position as the top representative of the Big 12 North, but they have yet to face a big name opponent on the season for a truly signature win. They have only traveled once outside Missouri, yet won convincingly. They have ascended to this spot by doing what they are supposed to do, but the show-and-prove part of their season is coming up and most of it is on the road. Mizzou will either shoot up the standings or settle out rather quickly.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1; #15 BCS, #12 USA Today, #13 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 13.2 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Michigan (38-28)

Key Loss: @ Arizona (34-27)

Lowdown: They have played tough matchups all season, and save for a bad second half versus Arizona, they would be undefeated to this point. A gritty win in Ann Arbor versus Michigan and a convincing defeat of Penn State cement them as a solid contender for the Big 10 title. With back-to-back matchups with Michigan State and Wisconsin it remains to be seen how big of a player Iowa is in the season’s events.

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1 #16 BCS, #13 USA Today, #14 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Wins: @ Kansas State (48-13), @ Washington (56-21)

Key Loss: Texas (20-13)

Lowdown: The Huskers were one of the most dynamic teams in the season, reaching half way up the Top 10 until falling to Texas last weekend. For them to fall out of the Top 15 BCS teams is odd to me, because while Texas has been inconsistent they are a solid team that was the #6 team in the nation at a point, so they shouldn’t be severely punished for falling to them. The bottom line is that they have looked better winning five games than they were in losing one by seven points, and they have plenty of chances of to climb again.

With the first week of revealed BCS standings about to start up, it remains to be seen how long these stand revelevant. However, it is clear there are some teams being slighted, while others are being given a bit too much credit. But as always, all they can do is take it to the field and let the B(C)S take care of the rest, for better or worse.

FIRST DOWN: TEAM OF THE WEEK

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.

SECOND DOWN: PLAYER OF THE WEEK

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.

THIRD DOWN: HEISMAN CHASE

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.

FOURTH DOWN: BUST OF THE WEEK

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.

With July being at its halfway point, College Football practice has already started around the country. Within a month it will be everywhere again and is a welcome sign that the fall is approaching again (well not for students so much, but definitely for us post-grads who just watch our alma mater’s over participating in them still).

There are tons of things to look for coming into the this season and some interesting side plots as well. There is a returning Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram. The Alabama Crimson Tide is firmly positioned as the #1 team in the country, will they be able to go wire-to-wire and defend their 2009 BCS Championship? How will USC fare, knowing there is no postseason awaiting them? Urban Meyer will take the Florida Gators to the field without Tim Tebow for the first time in 4 years, will there be growing pains? How will the last season of the Big 12 play out?

Ingram is brought his Heisman-winning talents back to school, but will have a fight to add to his mantle again.

There is a lot to pay attention to, but it always starts on the field with the players and that’s what were looking at today. There are so many diverse talents remaining in college football, even after the depletion of one of the deepest NFL Drafts in recent memory. Coming into the season here are the top guys in the college game now, including a deep quarterback year that features potentially 3 top 10 NFL prospects, 2 of which will keep TV sets tuned into the late West Coast games every Saturday.

15.  Ryan Williams-RB-Virginia Tech (Sophomore): A quick, burner of a runner that can make something out of nothing quickly. Teamed up with QB Tyrod Taylor, Williams will make Virginia Tech a must see ACC team on offense this season. (NFL Comparison-Steve Slaton)

14. Jonathan Baldwin-WR-Pittsburgh (Junior): At 6’5, Baldwin is a physical specimen for the Panthers. Has the vertical skills to be a matchup nightmare for any corner in the country. There are some questions about his speed, but none about his ability to stretch the field and move the chains. (NFL Comparison-Marques Colston)

13. Marvin Austin-DT-North Carolina (Senior): The Tar Heels defense may be the most talented in the country this year and Austin in the linchpin on the front line of that attack. His main problem is that he turns too much of his guaranteed talent into potential by not going hard all the time. With more intensity he moves up this list easy. (NFL Comparison-Justin Smith)

12. Cameron Heyward-DE-Ohio State (Senior): With an NFL pedigree supporting him (son of Craig “Ironhead”  Heyward) and solid system in Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes, Heyward is sure bet. When this know-how is combined with him versatile abilities in any defensive set, look for him to be all over the field every Saturday. (NFL Comparison-Darnell Dockett)

11. Julio Jones-WR-Alabama (Junior): A big physical presence that has been one of the biggest names in the college ranks since before he even set foot on campus, Jones is a game breaking receiver. Runs good routes and has strong hands to make plays in the red zone. Speed is a question, but he gets in position to finish plays like a go-to receiver should. (NFL Comparison-Terrell Owens)

10. Gabe Carini-T-Wisconsin (Senior): With almost 40 starts under his belt, Carini is an experienced anchor for the Wisconsin attack. He’s a grinding run blocker in the mold of exactly what is typical of Big 10 blockers. While not the prospect Joe Thomas was for the Badgers, he should join him as a first rounder in April (NFL Comparison-Jared Gaither)

9. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas (Junior): After transferring from Michigan, this big 6’7 slinger blossomed in Bobby Petrino’s system last year. Makes plays in flashes that very few QB’s can make in the college game and has unquestionably the strongest arm in the country. With a bit more consistency, Mallett has the talent to be the best of the many great QBs this year. (NFL Comparison-Joe Flacco)

8. Robert Quinn-DE-North Carolina (Junior): Coming of an 11 sack sophomore year, Quinn is one of the premier pass rushers in all of the NCAA. Has the athleticism to make just as many plays against the rush, as his 19 tackles for a loss indicate. Sky is the limit for Quinn’s talent and he could crack the top 5 of April’s Draft if he continues to mature at his current rate. (NFL Comparison-Julius Peppers)

7. Jacquizz Rodgers-RB-Oregon State (Junior): He has been one of the most productive runners in all of the NCAA, with 2,693 yards and 32 TDs in his first two seasons. He will be called on to do even more this season and the 5’7 dynamo shows no indications of not being able to continue to blind Pac-10 defenses. (NFL Comparison-Maurice Jones-Drew)

6. Adrian Clayborn-DE-Iowa (Senior): The perfect storm of overall athleticism and technique. Clayborn is consistent on top of it all and will be the biggest disruptor of any defender in the game this year. Guaranteed to make an impact somewhere in every game. (NFL Comparison-Osi Umenyiora)

St. Louisan Clayborn will make for a lot of bad Saturday afternoons this year.

5. Anthony Castonzo-T-Boston College (Senior): An athletic anchor for BC’s line, he is aggressive and can move with each match up. Combining his 6’7 frame with the ability to move with the attacker from the point of contact, Castonzo makes it easy for his quarterback to focus on delivering down field. (NFL Comparison-Jordan Gross)

4. A.J. Green-WR-Georgia (Junior): This sensationally athletic receiver is a match up nightmare due to his separation speed and size (6’4, 205 lbs). One of the few players in the country that can go the whole way every time he touches the ball. The guaranteed top receiver off the board in the 2011 NFL Draft. (NFL Comparison-Randy Moss)

Georgia's Green is the cream of the crop in a loaded receiver crop.

3. Andrew Luck-QB-Stanford (Sophomore): As a redshirt freshman last season, Luck played off of Stanford’s Toby Gerhart-heavy run attack, yet made a name for himself as a threat. At 6’4 and 235 pounds, he can move in the pocket still and create for his receivers still. Is very polished and has outstanding accuracy to be only a sophomore. (NFL Comparison-Eli Manning)

2. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama (Junior): He surprised the world by coming on, and never relenting, in 2009 and leaving with both a Heisman Trophy and a BCS Championship. In 2010, look for more of the same as Ingram will still be the featured option in a system that has so much talent around him you cannot focus solely on stopping him or you’ll be burned everywhere else. Equaling his 1,600-plus yards and 17 TDs may not be a stretch for him. (NFL Comparison-Michael Turner)

1. Jake Locker-QB-Washington (Senior): In 2009, Locker was considered as being every bit as eligible for the #1 overall spot in the NFL Draft as Sam Bradford before deciding to come back to the Huskies. Much of this way based on potential that could bloom in the NFL, but look for that potential to be unleashed on unfortunate Pac 10 foes instead. He made the most of supporting cast that actually improved to a 5 win season last year and should continue to head up the standings this season. Locker’s mixture of pocket presence and athleticism (7 rushing TDs), make him a dynamic threat to all parts of a defensive plan and should land him at the top of most draft boards after his senior season. (NFL Comparison-Aaron Rodgers)

Locker turned down a certain fortune to return to the Huskies, will it pan out?

Others to watch: Marcell Dareus-DT-Alabama, Devier Posey-WR-Ohio State, Quan Sturdivant-LB-North Carolina, Bruce Carter-LB-North Carolina, Patrick Peterson-CB-LSU, Matt Barkley-QB-USC, Chris Galippo-LB-USC, Janorvis Jenkins-CB-Florida, Blaine Gabbert-QB-Missouri, Aaron Williams-CB-Texas, Greg Jones-LB-Michigan State, Travis Lewis-LB-Oklahoma, Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State

Here’s my view from the CHEAP SEATS (from the middle of a celebrating fan base in Missouri) 

For the past few weeks the structure of the Big 12 has dominated the sports news scene like none other. Even the 

The Red River foes allegiance to the Big 12 ultimately saved the Big 12.

 World Cup and NBA Finals were struggling for headlines with the fate of population of the Big 12. Yesterday the suspense was brought to an end as the league was saved when the Texas Longhorns committed to continuing their affiliation with the conference. At the last-minute Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe step up and pulled an amazing rescue job for his conference that had been on life support since last week. This set a string of events and commitments that will come to a head later today when the Big 12 conference announces its continuing of operations as a BCS program. Here is a summary of each program’s position throughout this whole standoff and what some scenarios on expansion, the Pac 10 and Big 10. 

**The Big “12”** 

Dodds played Texas Hold Em perfectly and made Texas the most lucrative program in the NCAA

Texas: As I predicted last week, Texas was the key. Once University President Bill Powers informed the Big 12 that the school would stay in affiliation with the Pac 10, the entire league rejoiced. In the end this was an easy decision for Texas, as they were clearly given Superpower status as head program in the conference. It has been acknowledged for years now, but Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds now has UT being given the king’s ransom that proves it. A $25 million per year payout, along with an independent Texas Network that will feature the university’s programs. Most importantly, their pledge to the conference kept the other south schools in as well and allowed for appropriate payouts to be alloted to those schools as well. Everything is bigger in Texas, and it’s not cliché when it’s true. A hail the Kings of the Big 12. 

  

Oklahoma: The Sooners are a program that  controlled their destiny if the conference had broken apart. They have the national notoriety and programs to have seamlessly moved to either the SEC, as it seems was their favorite over the Pac 10. In the end they benefitted the most from staying in alliance with Texas in a familiar conference and taking the increased payout as well. They will net $20 million annually from the newly structured payout. 

Texas A&M: This program was at a crossroads, as it was not blindly committed to Texas as it appeared. They were the top team that was thought to be moving to the SEC, but they played the proceedings well. They also fangled a larger cut of the Big 12’s new payday at around $20 million annually in order to keep them aligned with the conference. This keeps the SEC or Pac 10 from entering the state of Texas and leaves a key cog in the Big 12 picture. 

Texas Tech: Tech is a program that was aligned with what the University of Texas did and they committed to the new Big 12 as soon as the Longhorns did. They did not take one of the larger cuts in the conference, but will continue to benefit from association with the existing schools in the conference and the increased exposure of Texas’s pending network. 

Truman & Mizzou's free fall was caught right before rock bottom

Missouri: 

A university that was backed into a corner and was potentially was to be left homeless, Mizzou was saved by the renewed commitment to the Big 12 by the southern schools. Missouri was one of the first schools to be rumored to be jumping ship to the Big 10, but when that offer proved to be false, they were left without a clear future. The Mountain West Conference was interested in acquiring Missouri, but by being able to stay in their familiar position they will increase revenue to around $14 million per year, keep their familiar rivalries and recruiting tabs. A huge save for an up and coming program. 

Baylor: The Bears were the quintessential nowhere man in the mix. They were the least attractive Big 12 South program and the Pac 10 were not interested in taking them on with the other Texas/Oklahoma programs. They were courted by the MWC as well, but TCU was protesting against them joining that conference as well. Baylor was saved from a potential big time mess of a transition. 

Oklahoma State: OSU was considered to be next program closest to following Colorado to the Pac 10, in order to secure a spot that was considered to be eligible to several other schools. They could have freely made the jump with less friction than other smaller programs, due to Oklahoma not contributing as much to them as Texas does to its surrounding schools. In the end Oklahoma State made to decision to stay close to newly empowered southern Big 12 schools and take a larger cut of the smaller Big 12. 

Iowa State: Without a doubt Iowa State was in position to be the biggest victim in the breakup of the conference. They are close to the bottom of the conference in both competition and revenue, so they had no attraction to either BCS conference looking to expand. By the Big 12 staying intact, they will by default increase their income and save themselves from a further drop into anonymity by moving to the Mountain West potentially. 

Kansas/Kansas State: Due to a shared Board of Regents, both Kansas institutions were placed in a coupling throughout this entire process. Despite the attraction of KU’s basketball program, the weight of K-State was coupled with them and made them an unattractive prospective mate. K-State is annually at the bottom of revenue brought into the Big 12 and despite having some competitive programs, were never a highly desired program to move. Also potentially hindered by the developing internal ticket scalping scandal at Kansas, it works out best for both universities to stand pat in the Big 12. 

**The Other Players** 

The Pac 10: Conference commissioner Larry Scott has to be dejected at the decisions of the remaining Big 12 schools 

Texas's decision assured Scott as winner of "The Biggest Loser"

 to stay together. He had huge plan to expand his conference, which is often seen as the lesser of the BCS programs, into a perhaps unparalleled national super-conference, but ends up with a lower tier University of Colorado team as his only acquisition from the Big 12. The Pac 10 could still acquire the University of Utah to round off at 12 teams and have a lucrative conference championship game, but his grand vision of immense media support of his conference are most likely dead without Texas or Oklahoma joining their ranks. 

Big 10: The Big 10 did exactly what they wanted the whole time and added a name-brand, power program in Nebraska to their conference, which will grow their powerful Big 10 Network’s reach and make them eligible for a conference championship game, which will grow revenue as well. They also keep open the potential to grow to the east coast and leave space for Notre Dame, if they ever successful court them. A big winner in the entire scenario. 

Mountain West: The MWC was on the verge of gaining the BCS entry they so desperately have wanted for years and could have potentially broke through as a major player if they could have acquired the leftover Big 12 programs of Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor, in addition to Boise State. This task could still come to be, as Boise State’s huge success could push them through, but it is going to be much more difficult and if they lose Utah, it could be a lost cause as a whole. 

Big 12 Expansion: Although they have saved the core of the conference, there is still a matter of gaining through loss that needs to be addressed. With the departures of Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 drops below the NCAA-required 12 teams needed to have a conference championship game. This is a financial and competition concern, as the performance in the regular season is everything now and the television and attendance revenue from the Big 12 Championship Game is removed. 

Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe deserves a cape for saving his fledging job.

These reasons could push (or force) the Big 12 to consider expansion to re-establish their championship game eligibility. No schools have been officially discussed in this scenario, but regional schools that could be considered for membership would have to be Houston, TCU (if Baylor doesn’t return the “favor”), Colorado State, BYU, Air Force or Nevada. This schools are all from smaller conferences that could stand to benefit huge from alignment with the Big 12. Time will tell, but Commissioner Beebe’s conference shows it’s grit and power by standing firm and seeing its future.