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.

April 25, 2012

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NFL Draft Predictions: Teams Bound for Big Time Success

By: Matt Bowen

The 2012 NFL draft is now just hours away, and a handful of teams are set to hit the jackpot this season. 

Some of the teams that will have success in this year’s draft had a lackluster 2011 campaign but hit a home run in free agency to set themselves up nicely for the April 26 draft. Others had a phenomenal 2011 season and are afforded the luxury of a draft full of options and calculated risks. 

Fans following these teams will have big smiles on their faces along with high expectations for the upcoming season. 

The St. Louis Rams Have Already Had Success by Trading Down in the 2012 Draft

The St. Louis Rams have done nothing but cultivate a winning franchise this offseason.

After a trade with Washington, The St. Louis Rams will have plenty of early round picks for the next few years.

Despite a 2-14 2011 season, the Rams made an intelligent decision by hiring new head coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher brings a proven track record, winning attitude and an automatic jump start to the stumbling franchise. 

He also helped lure free-agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the team, who gives the Rams defense an identity. 

Now the Rams turn to the draft, where they’ve already swapped the No. 2 pick with the Washington Redskins for the No. 6 pick. In doing so, the Rams also picked up another second-round pick this season.

That means the Rams will have three picks within the top 40—not bad for a franchise looking to turn things around.  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fans Should Be Ecstatic

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans should be more than happy right now thanks to the franchise making a splash in the offseason. 

With the signings of offensive lineman Carl Nicks, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright, the Bucs drastically improved in free agency. This allows the team to draft players without depending on them to make an instant impact in 2012.

With the No. 5 overall selection and six picks in total, the Bucs have the opportunity to return to their winning ways of 2010, when they finished 10-6. 

Certainly fans will expect the Bucs’ first-round pick to make a good first impression, but the pressure on that player is radically reduced by the teams’ free-agent signings. 

Although 2011 was a season to forget, 2012 should be one to remember for the Buccaneers. 

With a Strong Draft the Kansas City Chiefs Will Be a Playoff Team in 2012

The Kansas City Chiefs were decimated by injuries in 2011 but will be playoff contenders in 2012. 

With the signings of Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston in free agency, the Chiefs set themselves up for a prominent draft. The team has eight picks in total and can afford to draft the best available player with its first three picks.

The Chiefs will look like a completely new squad in 2012, so fans should be pumped.

The Philadelphia Eagles Have Plenty to Look Forward to in the 2012 Draft

With nine picks in the 2012 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles are bound to get better. 

After a 2011 season where nothing short of a Super Bowl appearance was expected, success in 2012 is a must for the franchise and it all begins with the draft.

The Eagles have five picks in the first four rounds, including two second-round selections. With these picks the Eagles will likely look to improve with a big wide receiver and an offensive lineman. 

Eagles’ fans should be excited for 2012 as they look to erase the disappointment of 2011.

The Cincinnati Bengals Will Continue to Make a Statement with the 2012 Draft

The Cincinnati Bengals are setting themselves up for success for years to come. 

Not only did they make the playoffs in 2011, but they now have nine draft picks in 2012. These picks include No. 17 and No. 21 of the first round. And with these picks coming so close together, the Bengals can draft a combination of needs, like an offensive lineman and a running back. 

The Bengals franchise will solidify itself as a contender with a dynamite draft in 2012.

The Green Bay Packers Will Do Nothing but Improve with 12 Draft Picks in 2012

Although the Green Bay Packers didn’t finish with the championship belt in 2011, they won 15 games in the regular season. 

Just when NFC North opponents didn’t need the Packers to continuously improve, the Packers have 12 draft picks in 2012.  Even better for the Packers, six of those picks are within the first four rounds of the draft. 

This gives the Packers plenty of chances to make another run at the Super Bowl next season—watch out!