December 4, 2012

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Bowl Season Observations

By: Joe Williams

College football’s regular season games have been played, the bowl selections have been made and now all there is to do is wait…for 2014. In two years we will finally get the college football playoff we’ve been waiting for. Until then, we are stuck with the BCS system that, every year, is filled with controversy.

Should Oklahoma have made a BCS bowl?

This year, the BCS has delivered the most disappointing and uninteresting lineup of games since the BCS system began. The Rose Bowl has a team that has already lost five times this year in Wisconsin. The Orange Bowl has a team that was never in the BCS discussion until there was one day left in the season and has the experts complaining that they don’t deserve to be in the game in Northern Illinios. In the Sugar Bowl we have a team that benefited by not having to play in its conference championship game in Florida taking on a team that has lost two of three and has not faced a ranked opponent all season in Louisville. And of course the BCS Championship Game will feature possibly the two most hated teams in college football (Notre Dame and Alabama) so many fans won’t even know who to root for. The only bright spot is the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon against Kansas State should be a good one.

Why is everyone getting so bent out of shape about Northern Illinois reaching the BCS anyway? So Oklahoma doesn’t get in this year. So what? The Sooners have played in the BCS eight times. I’d rather see some new blood get a chance. It’s not like the Sooners are left out of a national championship shot. Has everyone forgotten what happened when Boise State (2007 and 2010) and Utah (2005 and 2009) were in the BCS and people thought they shouldn’t be? I’m not saying Northern Illinois will beat Florida State. But they qualified for the game. If Oklahoma was so worried about playing in a BCS game it should have performed better against Notre Dame or Kansas State.

What happens if Alabama beats Notre Dame, leaving Ohio State as the only undefeated team? I don’t think it will happen and I don’t think it should happen (because the Buckeyes are not bowl eligible), but what are the chances that Ohio State could end up No. 1 in the AP and we have a split national championship? Talk about college football controversy.

If we have learned anything about college football and the people who run it over the years, it is that the most important thing is money. That is why I am surprised that we are still able to find out who will be playing in what bowl game before the actual BCS selection show is on TV. Why haven’t they come up with a selection show similar to the NFL draft where we have representatives from each bowl game coming up to the podium and announcing the team they have selected to play in each game. We would have teams all around the country gathered around the phone waiting for a call. I would have loved to see a split screen of the reactions from Oklahoma and Northern Illinois when the match-ups were made official. That would get higher ratings then having somebody from ESPN telling us what we have already known for days.

There are 35 games still to play. I’ve got no interest in most of them (East Carolina vs Louisana-Lafayette and Duke vs Cincinnati for example), and only one game means anything. Fortunately, we will go through this just one more time.

November 21, 2012

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Giving Doug Martin the Respect He Deserves

By: Matt Bowen

Heading into the 2012 NFL season all the talk surrounding the rookie class revolved around quarterbacks Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. While the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks have lived up to the massive hype, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is not to be forgotten.

Luck may have been the #1 pick, but will Martin be the Rookie of the Year?

Yes, Luck and RG3 have put up impressive numbers thus far, but Martin is third in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch with an even 1,000 rushing yards so far. More importantly, the Bucs are winning and Martin appears to get better with every touch of the ball.

The Buccaneers organization deserves credit for revamping their franchise in just a single offseason. After a disastrous 2011 full of big expectations and hot air, the team brought in new head coach Greg Schiano, acquired highly touted free agent Vincent Jackson and made a statement when they moved up in the NFL draft to steal Martin late in the first round.

Martin, a 23-year-old out of Boise State flew under the radar in college because much of the credit the Broncos received went to quarterback Kellen Moore. Let’s not get things mixed up; Moore was a great college quarterback, the greatest in terms of wins with 50, but Martin did his part to bring Boise State to national prominence. He tallied 43 touchdowns in his time as a Bronco and hasn’t slowed down one bit in the NFL.

Truth be told, he doesn’t look like a rookie and is a blast to watch. His nickname is the “Muscle Hamster” because his physique fits the bill. He’s 5’9”, 215 lbs. of pure beef. It takes more than one defender to take down Martin on most carries.

He’s averaging 5.1 yards/carry and has had 100-plus yards in three of the last four. His 251 yards and four touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders earlier this season put him in fantasy football folklore forever.

Thanks to Martin’s emergence the Bucs have won four straight games and take on one of the NFL’s best in the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. The Bucs are currently in the playoff hunt and will get national exposure with the Falcons coming to town. This is Martin’s time to shine on the big stage. Something tells me he won’t disappoint. The Falcons may be 9-1, but they allow 130.5 yards/game against the rush and Martin is ready to make his name known.

A strong performance in Week 12 and Martin’s hat will be thrown into the Rookie of the Year race. Sure, Luck and Griffin III are the future of the NFL, but so is Martin. The two young quarterbacks may get more attention, but it’s the young running back in Martin who is quietly becoming the best.

July 25, 2012

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NFL Training Camps Get Underway this Week

By: Matt Bowen

NFL fans, the best time of the year is finally here—the 2012 NFL season kicks off with training camps this week. While it may not seem too exciting just yet, it means that the season is a quick five weeks away. Fans get to see their favorite franchise launch their newest campaign this week when training camps get underway after a most interesting NFL offseason.

The 2012 NFL season will begin the Andrew Luck era for the Indianapolis Colts.

The league received two future star quarterbacks with the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2012 NFL draft. Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts with the first pick and Robert Griffin III went to the Washington Redskins at No. 2. Fans should watch every snap these guys take this year as they’ll do nothing but amaze people throughout their careers.

This year also brings new hope to many franchises, as seven teams have new head coaches this year.  Of those teams, the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers look vastly improved on paper from their woeful 2011 seasons. The Rams brought in Jeff Fisher to coach and he traded the No. 2 overall pick to the Redskins and turned that one pick into six. Fisher deserves credit for strengthening his team through the draft and developing from within.

As for the Buccaneers, the team did a fine job in both free agency and the draft. The team signed wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive lineman Carl Nicks this offseason. That duo will help quarterback Josh Freeman tremendously this year. The team also hired Greg Schiano, former coach at Rutgers University, who has quickly created a positive culture that seems destined for winning.   The team made a splash at the tail-end of Round 1 of the 2012 NFL draft when they drafted Doug Martin out of Boise State University. This kid will be an instant overnight success in the NFL.

The New York Giants look to defend their Super Bowl XLVI championship this year, but will have their hands full. In reality, the NFL is so equal in talent across the league that most teams have a legit shot to win it all in 2012. It may be hard to believe, but at least one team in the NFL has gone from worst to first in their division since 2003 and 13 teams in total. This gives all fans hope as every division seems up for grabs this season.

Regardless of who wins it all, it will be fun to watch. With training camps taking flight this week, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

February 25, 2011

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Fathead’s Top Trends in Sports this Week

By: Lionel

Here’s some proof that school spirit is stronger than the success of a school’s basketball team.  Below are the 50 best selling colleges on Fathead.com over the last month.  By our estimates, only about half of them will make the NCAA Tournament.

The top selling colleges of the last 30 days:

1. Ohio State

2. Michigan

3. Texas

4. Florida

5. Notre Dame

6. Penn State

7. North Carolina

8. Alabama

9. Nebraska

10. LSU

11. Michigan State

12. Auburn

13. Iowa

14. Tennessee

15. Miami (FL)

16. Wisconsin

17. Kentucky

18. Georgia

19. West Virginia

20. Duke

21. Oklahoma

22. Missouri

23. Oregon

24. USC

25. Clemson

26. Kansas

27. Purdue

28. Arkansas

29. Florida State

30. Oklahoma State

31. Louisville

32. Virginia Tech

33. Pittsburgh

34. Boise State

35. Syracuse

36. Connecticut

37. BYU

38. Arizona State

39. Illinois

40. TCU

41. Washington

42. South Carolina

43. California

44. Georgia Tech

45. Kansas State

46. Butler

47. Iowa State

48. North Carolina State

49. U.S. Naval Academy

50. Oregon State

And, of course, here is the weekly list of top Fathead sellers.  The Super Bowl hype is beginning to fade, and with it, the NFL’s stronghold on list.  While many NFL Fatheads remain, the league has given up some ground to the NBA on the heels of a great NBA All-Star Weekend.

The top selling Fatheads of the last 7 days (Feb. 18 – Feb. 24):

1.  Kobe Bryant

2.  Troy Polamalu

3.  Aaron Rodgers

4.  Dwyane Wade Drives

5.  Dallas Cowboys Logo

6.  Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl XLV MVP

7.  Blake Griffin

8.  Rajon Rondo

9.  Drew Brees Quarterback

10.  Derrick Rose