Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v TCU
Wisconsin has one of the most underrated running games around. Freshman James White filled in nicely at the end of the year for Junior John Clay, who combined for 1965 yards and 27 touchdowns, not to mention a decent defense, although TCU comes in with the highly ranked defense, yet virtually untested against the in comparison to Wisconsin's opponents in Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa. This game will likely come down to whoever can outsmart the other's defense. Wisconsin will run the ball with their duo of Clay and White, control the clock and the line of scrimmage, and ultimately the TCU scoring by limiting their offensive plays. TCU will be able to keep it close because they are more of a passing team, but Wisconsin should win this one. Wisconsin 31 TCU 27
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma v Connecticut
I've already expressed my displeasure with the Huskies getting a BCS bowl bid by winning a very non-competitive (on the national scale) Big East conference, which is why TCU will be licking their chops come their inaugural Big East season. Oklahoma, although losing two games to slightly inferior football teams (Missouri and Texas A&M), their domination of both Oklahoma State and Nebraska, two very excellent offenses show their defense can show up. Their offense, as shown in their two losses, is hit or miss, although when they hit, they hit hard. Landry Jones is showing Sooner fans that he is their new Sam Bradford, but their loss of NFL talent is costing him. I can say I know nothing about UConn football, and if you lose to Temple, you won't win a BCS bowl game. Oklahoma 42 UConn 14
Sugar Bowl: Ohio State v Arkansas
Four years ago, Arkansas won 10 games in a row after getting blasted by USC the first game of the year. Mitch Mustain was the quarterback, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis lined the star-studded backfield, and their defense was led by Jamaal Anderson and Chris Houston. They then finished the year losing to LSU, Florida in the SEC Championship, and Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. Their head coach? Houston Nutt. This year's team has won 6 straight after losing to Auburn, including a blasting of South Carolina and roughing up of LSU. As the SEC's second-highest-ranked team in the BCS, they are honored with their first BCS bowl game ever. Ohio State doesn't fare well against SEC teams, especially ones with great defenses. Arkansas isn't a defensive power, but they have stood their ground, and Ryan Mallet, Knile Davis, Jarius Wright, and DJ Williams lead the nation's 3rd ranked passing offense into a home crowd in New Orleans and a monumental win for the Razorbacks. Arkansas 34 Ohio State 20
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech v Stanford
Aside from the two teams playing in the NCG and TCU, Virginia Tech is the hottest team right now, winning 11 straight and another ACC title. Their first two losses can be thrown out at this point, because they are a different team than the one that played Boise and James Madison. However, they are no longer playing a familiar ACC team - Stanford is the next hottest team, along with Wisconsin (who should be playing each other in the Rose Bowl...) and their quarterback Andrew Luck is the best in the country according to some, and will most likely be a top draft choice in April 2011. Stanford is a Virginia Tech killer, simply because their offense is consistent, and have seen much better offenses in the Pac-10 than the Hokies offer, and I predict another not-fun-to-watch game. Stanford 28 Virginia Tech 16
National Championsip: Auburn v Oregon
This will get its own write-up in the coming weeks!
Friday, December 10, 2010
After last season's disappointing ending, the Spurs were viewed as a ship sailed, with Duncan aging, the Jefferson deal not cashing in, and the fact that the Lakers have dominated the West three straight years, it is no wonder everyone overlooks the Spurs. But, the veteran team has compiled an 18-3 record and are the NBA's top team through the first quater. The Lakers, off to a less-than-stellar start after a second-straigh NBA title, look to be on a collision course with the Spurs, once again, to decide who wins the West. Although there is still a lot of basketball to be played, the Spurs rarely slump during the season and play at championship level when it matters most.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The top 5 teams are decided by the top two teams in the BCS, and the remaining conference champions, regardless of BCS ranking, but they must rank in the top 10 in order to qualify. Thus, Virginia Tech and UConn would not be in the BCS Playoffs and with good cause. Losing 4 games in the regular season doesn't warrant for a playoff berth. Although Virginia Tech only had 2 losses, this is a year a very good 1 and 2-loss teams such as Stanford, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Ohio State. Had Virginia Tech not lost to a FCS team, they'd be at least 5th because they are ACC champions.
So, if two conference champions are left out, the seeding would start from 3rd in the BCS and work down.
This year is more interesting because there were 3 Big 10 co-champions (which will be eliminated after a championship game) and one team (Stanford) ranked higher than three conference champions. Only BCS-conference champions will count for the top 6. Boise State and TCU, for instance would have to work to get into a high ranking to get a higher seed.
Here is the top 6 teams:
- Auburn (BCS number 1)
- Oregon (BCS number 2)
- Wisconsin (theoretical Big 10 champ)
- Oklahoma (Big 12 champ)
- TCU (highest ranked non-BCS conference champion)
- Stanford (highest ranked team remaining)
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Boise State
Seed 8 v 9
Seed 7 v 10
These game locations will be based on the 8th and 9th ranked bowl games as it stands now (Cotton Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl).
The 7 v 10 would face 2nd seeded Oregon and 8 v 9 would face 1st seeded Auburn.
The second round matchups would be:
Seed 1 v 8/9
Seed 2 v 7/10
Seed 3 v 6
Seed 4 v 5
These matchups are based on the 4th-7th ranked bowl games, with the top two bowls (which are now BCS bowls) will rotate in and out over the years and will always host the one of the top 2 teams and based on location of the schools. Those bowls will be Outback Bowl (7), Capitol One (6), Rose Bowl/Fiesta Bowl (5), Orange Bowl/Sugar Bowl (4).
The semi-final round will be between the four remaining teams and be played at the two BCS bowls not played in the second round.
And finally the championship game, which rotates as well in the playoffs, will also be hosted at one of the four BCS bowl locations.
Here is a possibility of how this year's playoffs could align:
Arkansas (8) v Michigan State (9) @ Chick-fil-A Bowl - Arkansas wins
Ohio State (7) v Boise State (10) @ Cotton Bowl - Ohio State wins
Auburn (1) v Arkansas (8) @ Sugar Bowl - Auburn wins
Oregon (2) v Ohio State (7) @ Rose Bowl - Oregon wins
Wisconsin (3) v Stanford (6) @ Capitol One Bowl - Wisconsin wins
TCU (4) v Oklahoma (5) @ Outback Bowl - TCU wins
Auburn (1) v TCU (4) @ Orange Bowl - Auburn
Oregon (2) v Wisconsin (3) @ Fiesta Bowl - Oregon
Auburn (1) v Oregon (2) @ BCS NCG
Monday, December 6, 2010
I'll start with the Big East Champions, Connecticut. I understand the Big East is still considered a BCS conference, although the closest they came to a BCS championship berth with West Virginia in 2004-05 after a 11-0 start, losing to Pitt to end the season. Although they went on to win against Georgia, their lack of power since losing Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) to the ACC has hurt the prowess of the conference as a whole. Which is exactly why TCU is headed to the conference, because the defense they play can dominate the Big East and give them a BCS NCG berth with a season like the last two they've put together. UConn playing in a BCS game against Oklahoma is a slap in the face to three parties: 1) Oklahoma - they always seem to get stuck playing the statistically worse team eligible for a BCS game 2) The Fiesta Bowl - again they get a game that no one will watch, and could be highly one-sided 3) UConn - they will get the exposure and the payout, but the game will be over quickly and be very forgettable, although it is a BCS game.
The Rose Bowl, although many people will say it is a good matchup, is another big slap in the face against a team who could be a national champion: Stanford. Instead of playing in the Rose Bowl, they will travel across country to the Orange Bowl, probably the most insignificant of all the bowls, and face Virginia Tech, who hasn't played in a BCS bowl against a team with any depth since the 2004 Sugar Bowl against Auburn. They've benefited from the Orange Bowl tie-in with the ACC 3 of the last 4 years, and have gone 1-1. VT is a great ACC team, but their 9-14 record historically in bowl games doesn't fare well against the Cardinal from Stanford. It will be watched by a lot of Cardinal fans, but another forgettable game.
This is what should have happened, and although there was a stipulation that the Rose Bowl had to take TCU (which is odd, since they aren't from a BCS conference ...), here is what I wanted from the BCS matchups:
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v Stanford - a classic Rose Bowl-style game, two I-formation teams that play it tough at the line of scrimmage, and would have attracted more fans from the state than TCU will, although the Rose Bowl is always a hot ticket, regardless of the teams.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech v Michigan State - I don't agree with giving a team an automatic bid and barely sneaking in the Top 25 of the BCS standings, which means there are 24 teams that are better than UConn, and 14 won't be playing in a BCS bowl. I also know the rule of only two teams per conference, but when a third teams beats the Rose Bowl-bound team, I have to include them. Fairness is putting the best teams together, and not weighing them based on their conference. UConn doesn't deserve a New Year's Day (or later) bowl game (Rutgers, Louisville, and Temple beat them).
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma v TCU - Stanford belongs in the Rose Bowl - they've earned it. TCU doesn't belong in the Rose Bowl, but they've probably earned an at-large bid. Going against Oklahoma might not be the best of matchups, but thanks to the BCS, not every game is.
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas v Ohio State - nothing wrong with this matchup
I apologise in advance to UConn fans - I'd be excited to have a BCS bowl berth if I were you, regardless of whether you deserved it or not, so no hate against your school - there are just 14 teams that are ranked higher than you are and played tougher competition and didn't lose to Temple.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The biggest hurdle for the playoff system that everyone is envisioning is uniformity. The SEC plays 12 regular season games which includes 4 non-conference games, 5 division games, and 3 inter-division games. The Pac 10 also plays 12 regular season games, but 9 of them are conference games, 3 are non-conference. The Big 10, who has just 1 team than the Pac 10, has 12 regular season games, but 4 non-conference games, and 8 conference games, leaving out 2 conference opponents any given year a Big 10 team doesn't play. Now, with the additions in these two conferences, that will likely change, but We still have 6 conferences that aren't perfectly aligned. The Big East has 9 confirmed teams, Big 12 is down to 10, Pac 10 up to 12, Big 10 up to 12, and the SEC and ACC remain at 12. If the BCS wanted to implement their own playoff system, they would likely try to bribe the conferences to these guidlines:
- Each conference must play the same number of conference opponents and non-conference opponents.
- Each conference must play a conference championship held on the same weekend.
- Each conference must have the same number of teams in each conference and divided into 2 divisions.
- Each division team must play each other once during the year.
- Each team in the conference must maintain a level of schedule integrity.
Now, the BCS would probably not add that last stipulation, however, I feel that is the last thing the BCS would need in order to have playoffs. Now the 6 BCS conferences are aligning into 6, 10-12 team conferences, the possibility is higher. The probability, however, is not improving.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
On South Carolina's bowl outlook if they lose to Auburn:
J1two I'd cry foul if I was Spurrier and this really happened. RT @kenosando: SEC Bowl predictions: AUB BCS NCG, ARK Sugar, SCAR Chik-fil-a
kenosando @J1two They can get anything from the Chick-fil-a, Outback, or Cotton - they would finish 5th in SEC if they lose in SEC Champ
J1two @kenosando I hear ya but they still won their division of the conference... Got to account for something?!
J1two @kenosando Yeah but that's punishing S. Carolina for being in the East division. They can only play the teams who are on their schedule
kenosando @J1two S. Carolina was two of those 15 losses though - Aub, Ark, LSU, MSU, and Ala had combined 1 loss to the East
Briefly on the BCS:
J1two This is why I hate the bowl system. I hated since I was 9 #NoLie
kenosando @J1two I hate it too - Oklahoma went to the nat'l champ by not winning their conf. champ. game in '04 - pounded by USC
J1two Spoken like a true Auburn fan but they did get hosed RT @kenosando: I hate it too Oklahoma went to the nat'l champ ...
The 2004 Auburn Team and Jason Campbell:
kenosando @J1two lol - I think the '04 team was better than this team - stout defense, 4 players went in the first two rounds of draft
J1two @kenosando Yeah that would have been a great match up. I think it could of propelled Campbell higher in the draft also
kenosando @J1two Yeah, too bad the NFL hasn't been nice to him so far. Washington screwed him up with their disarray of an NFL franchise
Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears:
kenosando @J1two let's hope Cutler doesn't fall victim to that - I want to see Chicago get to a SB with a good QB not just a DEF
J1two @kenosando Yeah. But being a Bears fan over the years if we have a decent offense its a plus. We just want stifling D's and a run game.
kenosando @J1two I agree, if the Colts had a Chicago Defense, they'd be better off, but in the age of QBs, you have to have a good 1, Cutler is
J1two @kenosando The ghosts of Rex Grossman lingers in our minds... #uhoh That's why we're optimistic but cautious.
kenosando @J1two For sure - at least he is more knowledgeable about Washington's 2-min offense ... allegedly
J1two @kenosando I know some Bears fans would want to go if they heard this but I think Rex would still be QB'ing if he had a good O coordinator.
J1two @kenosando He was/is polarizing in Chicago because everyone thought he was the QB of the future those first six games of '06 had us dreaming
Cam Newton's Eligibility and Future in Auburn:
J1two What's up w/ the NCAA disciplining the school if Cam Newton doesn't talk to the media after the SECOND championship game?
kenosando @J1two and ESPN broke the story as if they tattled on Auburn - now Cam is eligible, maybe Auburn had a plan all along, and he will speak now
J1two @kenosando Do you think Cam is 1 and done? Or is he coming back?
J1two @kenosando If they win the BCS title then he's gone. Done everything in 1 yr. 2 many headaches and slander to come back to w/out motivation.
I think CNN's "The Situation Room" is booking us soon for panel discussions. JRIB could hear about us, maybe a couple of Clone forum members upcoming.
Monday, November 29, 2010
- #1 Bowl Championship Series. The winner of the SEC Championship Game gains an automatic berth to a BCS bowl game, preferentially the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
- #2 The Capital One Bowl must select the team with the best overall record among non-BCS playing SEC teams, or a team within one game of the best record.
- #3-4 The Cotton Bowl Classic has first pick of remaining teams from the Western Division, and the Outback Bowl typically picks a remaining team from the Eastern Division.
- #5 The Chick-fil-A Bowl selects after those two bowls.
- #6 The Gator Bowl receives the sixth pick.
- #7-8 The Music City Bowl and the Liberty Bowl work with the SEC office to determine the seventh and eighth picks.
- #9 The BBVA Compass Bowl receives the ninth choice of SEC teams. In years where the SEC does not have nine bowl eligible teams, the BBVA Compass Bowl will select from the Sun Belt Conference instead.
#1 Auburn - National Championship
#2 Arkansas - Sugar Bowl (they will select the top remaining SEC team in the BCS standings since Auburn is not available)
#3 LSU - Tied with Arkansas but lost head-to-head, and has to be picked by Capitol One Bowl according to the stipulation above.
#4 Alabama - Will be ranked above S. Carolina because of W-L - Cotton Bowl will jump all over Bama
#5 South Carolina - Outback bowl is a large possibility, since they have the next pick, and chooses typically out of the East
#6 Mississippi State - Chick-fil-A has the next pick, and MSU beat Florida head-to-head, and highest ranked available team
#7 Florida - Gator bowl will jump on them, but only because they don't have much of a choice left
#8 Georgia - Bulldogs beat the Wildcats and Vols head-to-head, and Music City and Liberty Bowls are both in Tennessee, but Liberty may get first pick and go for the Dogs.
#9 Tennesse - head-to-head winner over Kentucky puts the Vols in 9th place in the SEC, and the Music City Bowl will get a big fan turnout from the Vols.
#10 Kentucky - Compass Bowl
But, if Auburn loses:
#1 South Carolina - Sugar Bowl
#2 Auburn - Depending on the final BCS standings, they could rob the Big 10 or Pac 10 of an at-large bid in the Fiesta Bowl
#3 Arkansas - Arkansas would get hosed big time if Auburn loses, and would slip to the Capitol One Bowl
#4 LSU - Cotton Bowl
#5 Alabama - Chick-fil-a
#6 Mississippi State - Gator Bowl
#7 Florida - Outback Bowl
#8 Georgia - Liberty Bowl
#9 Tennessee - Music City Bowl
#10 Kentucky - Compass Bowl
A lot of people will be sad if Auburn loses, including Alabama, who would benefit most from playing in Dallas, likely against A&M. Arkansas would loses a lot of money playing in the Capitol One instead of the Sugar - LSU would probably travel better to the Cotton Bowl rather than the Capitol One, but to play in South Florida is huge for recruiting.
I failed to mention Tennessee being bowl eligible, and into a bowl. The Compass bowl would get the 9th pick under normal circumstances two SEC teams do not get into BCS bowls, but since that is the case, the Compass would pick 8th (and select the 10th ranked SEC team, if eligible). I'd have to say Tennessee would be picked over Georgia and Kentucky for the Music City Bowl, putting Kentucky in the Compass Bowl.
1:00 PM - Wade Phillips sits down with family for Thanksgiving
3:20 PM - Wade watches the Cowboys on TV for the first time
4:00 PM - Wade turns off the TV and tries to call Jerry for his job back
4:20 PM - Wade leave 15 voice mails, 27 text messages, and sends 3 faxes in the first half to Jerry
5:55 PM - Wade gives up after the Cowboys rally from a 17-0 deficit to pull within 3 after 3 quarters
6:35 PM - Roy Williams gets stripped of the ball in the red zone, Wade turns the TV back off.
6:40 PM - Saints score with less than 2 minutes to play to regain the lead, Wade still hasn't reached Jerry.
1:20 PM - Cam Newton gets showered in Monopoly money from Alabama fans
1:40-2:30 PM - Auburn gets showered by Alabama on both sides of the ball
2:45 PM - Auburn gets to the locker room while they still can
3:00 PM - Auburn begins to return the favors
5:00 PM - Auburn comes back from 24-0 to win 28-27
6:00 PM - The desk of Nick Saban receives a phone call from the desk of Jerry Jones ...
9:30 PM - Auburn players arrive back in Auburn, Nick Saban lands in Dallas ...
2:00 PM - LSU fans drink the last of their bourbon before finding their seats
2:30 PM - LSU fans finally find their seats
2:40 PM - LSU fans finally realize the game started
2:50 PM - Arkansas goes up 7-0, LSU fans search for their pocket flask
3:20 PM - Arkansas scores on the last play of the half, half the LSU fans leave for the liquor store
6:00 PM - LSU fumbles at their own goal line with under a minute left, Arkansas runs the clock out
6:45 PM - LSU fans wake up from their bourbon nap, scoreboard still lit.
7:25 PM - Arkansas jumps into the top 10 in BCS standings at 7, Auburn jumps to number 1, Alabama and LSU proud their loss meant so much
7:26 PM - Arkansas fans start balancing their checkbooks to clear some cash for Sugar Bowl tickets
7:27 PM - LSU fans from yesterday's game are finally released from county for public intoxication.
7:30 PM - Rumors start swirling that Houston Nutt is leaving Ole Miss for Colorado
7:31 PM - Gus Malzahn speculated to replace Nutt Oxford.
8:00 PM - SEC comes back to reality, Nutt will stay at Ole Miss, Colorado is relieved.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I've normally broken down a couple upcoming week's games to look out for, but since we are in the "make or break" point in the season, I found it necessary to point out 5 games in the last month of the season we should keep our eyes on, because it will affect the BCS one way or another.
5) TCU at Utah - November 6
With the loser of this game absolutely out of the national championship picture and the winner is all but guaranteed a spot, I would say this week's game against Mountain West powers will be an intriguing matchup, regardless of the lack of TV coverage. Utah is currently ranked 5th, above one-loss Alabama, and TCU is at number 3. TCU is also 3rd in the computer rankings, while Utah is at 8th. Based on the history of two top-ten teams playing, the computers heavily weigh the winner (see Missouri over Oklahoma, who went from 6th to 2nd, and now at 4th after loss to Nebraska). Utah's win will be weighed much more heavily because TCU is not only more revered in the computers, but TCU is ranked 4th (or higher) in every human poll, including the two that count for the BCS - the Harris and USA Today polls. The winner is sure to be a lock in the top 3 of the BCS polls next week. TCU will win, and they will be very close to a 2nd rank overall in the BCS, since both Auburn and Oregon are playing very weak opponents this week. TCU 30 Utah 13
4) Oregon vs. Arizona - November 26
Arizona very well could make the trip to Eugene, OR with a 8-1 record (although they play at Stanford and host USC the next two weeks), but regardless of the record, Arizona could make for an interesting game against Oregon. If the Wildcats do come in with one loss, they will be playing for the Pac-10 championship, with Stanford losing to Oregon (and theoretically Arizona as well). The Wildcats have won over a very good Iowa team, and although the rest of their schedule is not as impressive, the next three weeks could help Arizona's chances in the BCS polls (currently 15th) or propel them to a Rose Bowl at the very least. Oregon's quest for a BCS title game berth will be propelled even further, likely ensuring their computer ranking doesn't fall back down to where it debuted at 8. The rest of their season should keep their ranking idle, as long as they keep winning. Arizona isn't a proven team in the Pac10 at this point, but coming in ranked in the BCS top 15 will keep Oregon's foundation solid. Oregon 44 Arizona 35
3) Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State - November 27
If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State enter their annual rivalry with equal records, like they do now, they will be playing for a Big 12 South title and a trip to the Big 12 Championship. That matchup in the Big 12 championship will likely be against a tough Nebraska team, ranked in the top 10 of the BCS at 7th currently. Oklahoma is ranked 8th with Oklahoma State 17th. If the Cowboys were able to out-dual the Sooners, a rematch with their only loss so far would bolster their standings in the BCS dramatically (see again Missouri over Oklahoma). If they win out, the could be sitting pretty at the end of the season, although there is likely no way for them to get in the BCS title game. Oklahoma, however, still has an outside chance, likely matching up against a highly ranked Nebraska team in December for the Big 12 title will surely put them in the top 5 as it stands today. Nebraska would benefit more from Oklahoma, who were beat my Mizzou and whom Nebraska handily beat. Their BCS title hunt seems more achievable than Oklahoma's.
Oklahoma 34 Oklahoma State 31
2) Oregon at Oregon State - December 4
Granted Oregon comes in still unbeaten (see number 4 above) and top-ranked, their Civil War game against the Beavers will be monumental in Corvalis, OR. Although Oregon State, granted they come in with just their one Pac10 loss (who also have USC and Stanford before Oregon) could be playing for a Rose Bowl berth. Regardless of their standings, Oregon State always plays a tough game against Oregon and the Ducks will have this one last hurdle before a BCS appearance. Oregon's improving computer standings will not likely dip anytime, although they may end the season ranked 2nd in the BCS, it is the closest thing to a stone-cold lock for a title game appearance for winning out as there is. Oregon 49 Oregon State 27
1) Auburn at Alabama - November 26
No game ranks any higher that this one. Just like 2006's Michigan-Ohio State game, who were ranked 2nd and 1st respectively, the winner is in the BCS title game, save for winning the SEC Championship game (and who knows who will play in that game from the East). Alabama, although has no love from the computers, should get plenty of it winning against the currently computer-top-ranked Tigers, plus the voters' love affair with the Tide would no doubt put them in the title game. If Auburn wins, and wins the SEC Championship game undefeated, there is little to no chance of keeping Auburn out of the title game twice in 6 years after an undefeated season (Auburn was also the only team in 2004 to finish the regular season undefeated and win the SEC title). Despite the lashing by the likes of Jesse Palmer and Will Ferrell, Auburn is just as capable of winning out as Alabama, if not more. Alabama has to travel to LSU, host an improving Mississippi State team, as well as Auburn. Auburn's only road game remaining is against Alabama.
As an Auburn fan, I don't have any doubt in my mind the Tigers are not capable of beating Alabama - I'm not expecting Alabama to win, like every TV, radio, and newspaper personality is. Alabama won on a last minute drive last year, and won the national championship. Alabama, and everyone in their right mind would agree, is not as good as they were last year. Auburn, and everyone in their right mind would agree even more, is better than they were last year. They may be more even now than they were at the middle of the season, but Auburn is improving every game. My prediction? Not so fast. I will have an Iron Bowl post when the time is right.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Here is how I picture the 4th quarter going down, where Auburn has won most this year. Auburn will get/have the ball at the start of the 4th. They will milk the clock down with a 1-point lead (I am guessing 28-27). Auburn eats up 4-5 minutes, kicks a FG and puts it up to a 4-point lead, 31-27, with just under 10:00 left. Arkansas drives down the field, but can't get into FG range, punts, and Auburn gets the ball with 6-7 minutes left in the game. Arkansas needs a big stop. Auburn drives the length of the field, eats up all but a minute of the clock, scores a TD, put them up by 11. Arkansas claws their way down the field, but eventually runs out of time, heaves a hail mary from about 40 yards out with time winding down, incomplete, ball game.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Either way, we still have top 15 matchups in the SEC into week 7 of the college football season. Arkansas at Auburn highlights this weeks SEC matchup, and the only other top 25 matchup of two teams is the Big 10 clash of #18 Wisconsin and #1 Ohio State. I'll do my best to break down both, starting with the Badgers hosting the nation's top team, the Buckeyes.
Wisconsin has flew under the radar this year, and quite frankly the past few years, simply because they don't have the marquee player or coach to propel them into the spotlight. That is probably a great thing for Wisconsin. Although they come in with a loss against still-unbeaten and highly inspired Michigan State (#13 this week), they still have hopes to win Big 10 title and possibly a BCS Championship, although we can't say for sure they are inline with the crazy BCS system. It does hinge on how they fare with the Buckeyes, and a win would surely help their cause, just as South Carolina's redemption game against then #1 Alabama after a tough loss against Auburn two weeks prior. Wisconsin has some bruisers for running backs, both approaching 10 TDs, averaging 6.0+ yards per carry, and could very well control the tempo of the game. I expect some Ohio State players on the defensive side needed a substitute midway through some drives.
Wisconsin has a pretty good defense, ranking 3rd in the Big 10 behind Ohio State and Iowa in yards allowed per game. That comes against UNLV, San Jose State, Arizona State, Austin Peay, Michigan State, and Minnesota, and we can say the level of competition for Ohio State has been similiar, although their win over Miami (FL) was a good resume booster. Ohio State has done well against Indiana and Illinois, we will see how well each defense competes this weekend. I'd like to say Ohio State goes down, simply because we've seen a #1 team go down so often during the regular season in the past, but Ohio State finds ways to win, with Terrell Pryor, a great quarterback who has done nothing but get better, a great defense, a great coach, and simply because they are Ohio State - but not this week! Ohio State 23 Wisconsin 24 (not the lock of the year, sorry!)
Now, on to Arkansas-Auburn. Auburn comes in with a Heisman candidate, an undefeated record, and a #7 ranking. They've had close games in every game, save the cupcakes Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe, and we've only seen the defense dominate a few of their games overall, mainly the Mississippi State game. Cam Newton, Auburn's offensive lineman who plays quarterback, has been impressive. He has remained the second-highest rated passer in the country, simply because he doesn't throw that often, and when he does, the receivers go for touchdowns quite a bit. Nick Fairley, the Tigers' defensive tackle who actually plays defensive tackle, has been lighting up running backs, including Marcus Lattimore, who happened to stomp over the Tide last week. Although the defensive unit is suspect, there are plenty of play makers. The offense is where this team shines, especially running the ball. They have continually progressed on the offensive side of the ball so far this year, and as long as the defense can keep the big plays and long drives to a minimum, Arkansas can be beat.
Arkansas, nearly an opposite team, has been playing improved defense all year, yet their offense has sputtered, even with the conference's best quarterback, Ryan Mallet. However, his three INTs against Alabama doomed their chances, and he has yet to put together a perfect game, which is what a lot of analysts expected of him this year. Over the entire year, his numbers look great, but he can't allow for bad passes or turnovers against Auburn, because they can take the ball down the field at will, read the South Carolina game where two late USC turnovers led to an Auburn win. Auburn will have to play their best defense this year, regardless of how well the Arkansas offense plays, in order to keep their defense off the field and put it in the hands of Cam Newton and their squadron of running backs. This could get ugly late, depending on who's defense steps up. I am leaning towards the Tigers. Arkansas 27 Auburn 38
I've failed miserable of posting a rankings of these college teams, since I thought Texas was a #3 team, and they lost back-to-back. I'll just say Nebraska is a top 5 team, better than Oklahoma, TCU, Boise State, and possibly Oregon. TCU and Boise State will just have to run their tables and hope for the best when it comes to the rest of the top 10 teams.
What if Michigan State and Ohio State both finish undefeated? Co-Big 10 champions playing in a BCS title game?
For the first time in three years, the SEC championship will not be between two undefeated teams, and may not even feature one undefeated team, nor a #1 or #2 team.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Upon opening the box (I will get some pictures up in a full review - not a very exciting unboxing) I found a beautifully colored slate blue phone atop the box, and the underneath compartments housed the battery, Nokia's world-famous pin-connector charger, and a set of headphones, which are also for hands-free calling. I powered up the phone without a SIM card, and it asked if I wanted to continue since a SIM was not detected - very nice feature. I then had to manually set the date, time, timezone and daylight savings. Then, on to the home screen, which is setup rather nicely for a feature phone are three slots for "widgets" that can be customized however you'd like. Anything from application shortcuts, Facebook and Twitter status updater, Music and Radio player, Favorite contacts, and more built-in, as well as downloadable from the Ovi Store (which is built-in).
Thursday, October 7, 2010
All ranting aside, let's run through the entire league, from top to bottom, as I see it:
1) Pittsburgh Steelers - I cannot deny the Steelers are back. Back to Super Bowl form. And that included the first four games without their Super Bowl quarterback. The defense has done quite well, and the offense has showed signs of life when needed. The Baltimore game aside, this team is near perfect on defense.
2) Baltimore Ravens - Had they not played so badly against Cincinatti, or if the referees not have officiated so badly, the Ravens would be 4-0. They, like the Steelers, are dominating on defense. The difference is, they have their quarterback, and a new wide receiver in Anquan Boldin, yet their offense has yet to take off, aside from the Pittsburgh game, where the offense drove down the field for the win. Pittsburg is still one up now with Big Ben coming back for their next game in Week 6.
3) Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons lost to the Steelers in overtime on an amazing scamper by Rashad Mendenhall. They have since dominated the Cardinals (not a hard task), squeezed by the 49ers, and edged out the Super Bowl Champs Saints. Not bad for a team in the shadow of the aforementioned New Orleans championship team.
4) New York Jets - Despite a lack-luster offensive showing in week 1, Rex Ryan has ignited the same fire he usually tends to in the defense straight into the spine of Mark Sanchez, Dustin Keller, and Ladanian Tomlinson, because, together, they have won 3 straight, all of which were division games, including a Sunday Night showdown in Miami, and a very respectable defeating of the Patriots. If they continue this pace all year, they will be very tough to beat, even out of the division.
5) New Orleans Saints - You can't deny the Saints are still a great team, although their offense hasn't put up the points and Drew Brees isn't tossing the ball over the heads of defenders as much. Their defense still shows some stiffness, but they have been involved in close games all year, including a last-second field goal to win against the lowly 49ers. They could very well break out and score 40+ for a few games in a row, so this team is dangerous still.
6) Indianapolis Colts - their defense is in shambles, good thing Manning is shooting for a fifth MVP award.
7) New England Patriots - looking good now, but the youth might take its toll.
T8) Houston Texans - their offense has been very productive, save for the Dallas game. With a consistent rushing attack, they're on the move up.
T8) Kansas City Chiefs - The impressive San Diego win coupled with a close win against the improving Cleveland and blowout of declining San Francisco, and we're 3-0 in KC.
10) Green Bay Packers - They gave up too much against Detroit, imploded against Chicago, and let up too early on the Eagles and Vick, but they have Aaron Rodgers.
11) Chicago Bears - they are going down fast, simply because we are not sure about their quarterback situation, even with Cutler playing.
12) Tampa Bay - Although they took a thumping against Charlie Batch and the Steelers, Josh Freeman is showing signs of life and they are off to a good start.
13) San Diego Chargers - Too up and down on both sides of the ball. The Kansas City loss on the opening MNF was the litmus test for this team thus far.
14) Denver Broncos - The leagues top passing team also gives up too much passing on the other side of the ball. Great win against the Titans however.
15) New York Giants - Despite a lackluster performance on offense against the Bears, their defensive domination was a turning point - they hope.
16) Miami Dolphins - Two straight divisional losses in prime time sends the Dolphins spiraling, but they still have the players to make a playoff push.
17) Washington Redskins - Great defense, yet no offensive tempo to be truly dangerous yet.
18) Philadelphia Eagles - With Vick and McCoy out, Kolb will have to make this offense run with the talent of wide receivers to make up for the lackluster defense.
19) Tennessee Titans - Still a tough defense to play against, but Kyle Orton picked them apart just enough for a win. Offense needs more Chris Johnson production.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars - Two blowout losses and two close wins, we can't really get a good feel of what this Jaguars team has to offer.
21) St. Louis Rams - I can't put them too much higher than this, simply because I am skeptical of the defense. Sure they did a number on Washington and Seattle, but both those teams have also been up and down ...
22) Seattle Seahawks - Speaking of up and down, opening with a division blowout against the 49ers and a great win against San Diego, the eggs they laid on offense against Denver and St. Louis can't go unnoticed.
23) Cincinnati Bengals - I completely forgot about the Bengals already. Sure, they beat the Ravens, but when you lose to the Browns, you become an afterthought, even with TO showing up.
24) Dallas Cowboys - Sure, you can say they are better than the Kansas City Chiefs, who are 3-0, but eventually you have to show up on Sunday's to get to the Super Bowl - the week off might hurt their rhythm.
25) Arizona Cardinals - A disaster waiting to happen on every level with this team
26) Minnesota Vikings - Peterson is all they have working for them at the .... wait a minute, is that Randy Moss in Minnesota? We'll see how this fares.
27) Cleveland Browns - The emergence of a rushing attack with Peyton Hillis is the only bright side on offense, although Seneca Wallace isn't losing games for them.
28) Oakland Raiders - A great showing for the Raiders against the Texans, although for some reason, Arian Foster had his way with their defense.
29) Detroit Lions - A would-have-been win against the Bears, an offensive explosion against the Eagles and Packers sandwiched by a typical game against the Vikes = 0-4.
30) San Francisco - They are so close, but so far. 0-4 is not the record of a division champ.
31) Carolina Panthers - Even with Clausen starting, the offense doesn't have anything to scare even East Carolina University.
... and then we have Buffalo.
Until next time!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It's hard to believe football season is already back, but thankfully it is. Now, we're a quarter of the way through the NCAA football regular season. Unless you are a fan of the Crimson Tide (consensus #1), you will agree that the ESPN+Alabama football love affair is old already. They've gone all-access with them, done plenty of GameDay commercials, and hail them as the team that can never be defeated.
As that nut case Lee Corso says: "Not so fast, my [insert some off-the-wall string of adjectives] friend." Alabama has to travel to Arkansas (#10 AP, #11 Coaches) this week. Granted, the last trip the Tide made to Fayetteville in 2008, it was a blow-out with first-year head coach Bobby Petrino at the helm of a 49-14 loss in front of 72,000+. However, this year Arkansas has a real deal quarterback, who could be the top quarterback in the draft in 2011. Ryan Mallet led Arkansas to the best offense in the SEC last year, and has proven to be unshakable under pressure with late drive at Athens, GA for the win last week. If Arkansas doesn't commit ill-advised penalties, and keeps the pressure on McElroy, Arkansas could pull out a win against the nation's top team.
On the other hand, Alabama will have to face their first real test of the season. Alabama has played San Jose State at home, Penn State at home, and at Duke (granted the fans thought there was a basketball game that day). Alabama will have to find out real quick how good the Arkansas offense can be, and make the proper adjustments before Arkansas jumps out to an early lead. Alabama will have a tough time this week, and it will play out one of two ways: Alabama wins it late, or they totally blow out Arkansas because of penalties and blown plays from the Razorbacks. I think Arkansas can keep it close, so my prediction is 23-20 Alabama.
Also on the slate is Oregon State (#24 AP) at Boise State (consensus #3). The Broncos have already been silenced by the embarrassing Virginia Tech loss to James Madison. Even is Boise handily beats the Beavers, it won't do much for their good, since this is at home. Boise will win, probably a little too easily. But, don't go writing them in the title game, please.
Florida (#9 AP, #8 Coaches), LSU(#15,#12), South Carolina (#12,#15), and Auburn (#17,#14) are the other four of the six total SEC teams in the Top 20. South Carolina travels to Auburn this weekend while LSU hosts West Virginia and Florida hosts Kentucky. Ohio State (#2) TCU (#4), Oregon (#5), Nebraska (#6), Texas (#7) and Oklahoma (#8) round out the top ten poll in the AP (Wisconsin is #10 in Coaches), all of which have relatively easy games this coming weekend, so the shuffle of the top 10 is probably not scheduled to happen this week, unless we see Boise and/or Alabama go down, which are the only real likely toss-ups.
So, who are the real top teams in the country in my opinion?
You have to start with Alabama at the top. Clearly the undefeated national champions of last year have earned that thus far, but they will have to win big in Fayetteville to keep the voters in their favor. A few voters may jump ship to number two, Ohio State, who haven't had the need to flex much of a muscle thus far. But with conference games at Illinois October 2, at Wisconsin October 16, and Minnesota October 30, they will have to prove their number 2 ranking in the next month. Their game against Iowa is also a road game, leading up to the Michigan game in Columbus.
Three through five is tough, because I am not really sure how good the polls' 3-5 ranked teams are. Oregon proved they can explode in a foreign arena (against Tennessee), but their offense hasn't had much friction with an opposing defense, and the Pac-10 might not give much more of a test then Tennessee did. I still have them in my top 5, right at 5 to be exact. TCU and Boise have done well for the past few years, but I can't see putting both of these teams in as two of the top 5, so Boise gets my nod at number 4, while I still feel Texas is a strong team, especially on the defensive side. Even though they have a young quarterback, I feel they have enough weapons to win the Big 12 again. That is, unless Nebraska, who I feel could easily crack the top 5 with a few more wins entering their matchup with Texas on October 16 in Lincoln.
And for the rest of the top 10:
Remember to stop by again in a couple weeks for NFL Four Square (week of October 4) and the second edition of NCAA Football Four Square (week of October 11).
Friday, September 17, 2010
The new tools and layout of Forge are a tad difficult for someone who jumps right into it without much prior experience in Forge. I started by building a "Narrows II" map, with a bridge connecting two cliffside bases. I wanted some CTF, but I had troubles making it comply to the CTF gametype.
So, here is what I know thus far on making custom maps for objective-based games:
1) Labels. Label everything objective-based. In the Forge menu, select the game type you want to build with, so you will have the game-type labels at your disposal. Some of the labels, even still to me, are confusing, as there is no explanation with the labels in the Forge game, but some of them I figured out myself. Labels are in the Tool menu ('B' button) when you are hovering on an object, and then under 'Advanced'. For instance, a flag staff would be flag_return (that is the only way I could get the flag to show up). Capture plates I haven't been able to separate from flag staffs, where the flag starts and resets to. Anybody who was able to figure this out, please comment to share with others. Racing, another map type I have played with, has a 'race flag' label to use as checkpoints.
2) Spawn Sequence. Important with racing (not sure about rally, not a big fan of them). Those order your checkpoints, so you have an order in the race. Without a spawn sequence, all checkpoints spawn at once, and any checkpoint reached ends the race. This is also under the 'Advanced' menu with the Labels.
3) Spawn Points. Be sure you modify where your initial spawn points are. The Forge World starts with three of them in the top indoor room of the map, and be sure you delete all those. You can specify spawn points for any team, as well as initial spawn points. You will have to specify a "race_spawn" to start a race with a label on an initial spawn object. If you want a multi-purpose map, so you can use the same map for racing, CTF, Slayer, etc. you can use the next tip.
4) Gametype Item. You can specify, again in the 'Advanced' menu, if the selected item should be specific to the gametype you are editing it or not. You may not want an initial spawn in CTF to be the same as one in Slayer or Racing, so this allows one map to house multiple game types. I haven't messed with this option much, but I imagine this comes in handy.
5) Kill areas. Sometimes, you only want to use part of Forge World (as in CTF, where you don't want the flag carrier to disappear with the flag all the way across the map. Kill areas are "boundaries" you can specify with your map, giving the player 10 seconds to return to the battle field. A great aesthetic alternative to huge coliseum walls or windows, as to not block the gorgeous scenery. This can be adjusted to any length, width, and height you like, and can be a cylinder or box shape. Place these around the perimeter of your battlefield to make sure you don't lose one of your kids.
6) Banks. No, not banks that house money, but triangle-shaped embankments that offer a slight incline and have nice looks. Put these in bases where there are large ledges you'd rather not have to jump over, and these can be great for placing in a corner where you can slowly creep up the bank and peek over a wall that may be too tall for you to normally look over, to get a quick shot or two off on oncoming enemies. These banks are probably the single most important item in a great map, but it depends on how you use them and your map layout.
7) Imagination. It is very common for some people wanting to recreate classic Halo maps. But you could house the next great Halo map in your brain. Be as creative as possible - use the objects in many different ways - flip objects over and see more uses of them at different angles (the circular ramps are awesome flipped over). The new physics properties in Forge allow much. much more flexibility. So have fun!
Note: if you have found any more useful tips for creating maps for special or objective gametypes, let me know via Twitter or comment below!
Friday, July 23, 2010
I have been following Nokia handsets for a long time. I love their handsets, I love Symbian (call me an idiot, or crazy) but it is a very intuitive mobile operating system. The "aesthetics" aren't pretty like iOS 4 and some Android phones, but it runs like I feel it should.
The Nokia N8, due to release in October, is the most excited I have been over a phone since the last Nokia N-Series device, the N900. The N8's spec sheet is massive. Just to list a few, the N8 includes:
- 12 MP Carl-Zeiss camera with 720p video recording and Xenon flash
- 3.5" Capacitive OLED touch-screen
- HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus audio
- Pentaband UMTS radio (in other words, practically worldwide 3G data)
- ARM 11 680MHz along with dedicated 3D graphics accelerator
- Bluetooth 3.0
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
- Symbian^3 operating system
Now, all this hype, I do have concerns, as a loyal S60 user for the past few years. The GUI is not a work of art, but I love it's functionality. Although my Nokia E71 is now over two years old, it performs very well, even with newer apps geared toward higher-specification mobiles. RAM management works fairly well with the E71, and since the platform is essentially the same for the N8, along with improved RAM and hopefully more efficient management, it should be a great device to multi-task with, even with a small battery by standards set forth by Apple, HTC, and Motorola.
I would love to see a US carrier pick up the N8, however. I feel the pre-order price of $549 is great, but with taxes, it would climb to over $600, and a carrier could lower that for more people to attain. I still think at $600 for a completely unlocked world phone, it is a great deal.
App availability is another cause for concern, although my tastes do not lie a lot with the apps Android and Apple have out. A few games already run on the Qt framework that are popular (Angry Birds, Doodle Jump) and there are utilities like JoikuSpot, PuTTY, and Shazaam are nice to have, and should be available for the N8 out of the box, along with Opera's Mobile 10 browser, which is much nicer than the current browser Nokia has for S^3 (MeeGo's browser will be the winner for mobiles).
I may get a lot more attention with the new N8, if I do indeed purchase it, since it is not an iPhone 4, or any of the 5.000 Android devices out right now, but I bet that there won't be much hype for the non-technically enhanced population, since you won't be seeing N8 commercials during Jersey Shore or Glee, but I don't let that affect my feelings towards a phone I know I want to buy with out adverts harassing me.
The N8 is poised to win - and hopefully in about a month, I will be able to review it in great detail, and hopefully win some followers in the process.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Can I blame the guy? Hardly, since we, as a society, have gone down the road of 24 hour coverage of everything from the Gulf Oil Spill to Lindsey Lohan's prison trip. I can say that mass media is not about newspapers and magazines anymore - they go out of date too fast in today's world. The world wide web has taken media to new heights, which is a shame for some mainstays in the printing press world - local Sunday papers hardly get late sports scores in, much less the latest word from Paris Hilton, Paris France, or the French Open.
That being said, I have to express my shame in ESPN these past several years. It's getting to the point, just like with the news outlets like CNN, Fox News, and CNBC, no one ever reports the news, there is always needless speculation, argument, and commentary from people who are deemed "qualified journalists". I feel like for every two stories ESPN "breaks", they bring in two "insiders", as if they really know anymore than the writer at the Associated Press who actually wrote the story that is regurgitated by ESPN. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear opinion and take part in commentary as much as any avid sports fan in the world, but when I turn on my television to the "Worldwide Leader in Sports", give me my sporting news, unabridged, the highlights to all the games, and move on. Often they spend an entire segment on one of the following topics:
1) Brett Favre
2) LeBron James
3) Boston/New York/Los Angeles sports
4) The NFL
The fact they begin their NFL Mock Draft special DURING the NCAA Tournament is ridiculous - the fact they don't air the tournament is no reason not to cover it 90% of the time. I love the NFL, but I want my basketball front and centre when its March/April.
Then comes LeBron James. When I found out that he asked ESPN for a full hour to make his decision was absurd, and I am not the only one. The commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, even said "this decision was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed." He has become the black sheep of the NBA for the antics he has displayed - Kobe looks like a saint now, and he is the one building a legacy for himself with five championships now, and it looks as if LeBron is just building a posse for himself.
But, my real beef is still with ESPN. The fact that their own "in-house referee on journalistic matters" called the programme a "failure". I have no doubt it drew ratings ESPN benefited from, but their image as a legitimate news outlet has been tossed out of the window. The whole idea from the LeBron regime was to gain more publicity, get his name out there even more than before, but I fear their decision backfired, because of the newly found hate for James. ESPN could have said, "we are not putting together the staff and production for a television programme, but we will allow you to hold a press conference that we have exclusivity to" or something along those lines. The fact ESPN took this as an opportunity for themselves without foreseeing the effects it would have against both parties involved was selfish, short-sighted, and ill-advised. LeBron may claim himself to be a king, but to allow him to dictate a multi-billion dollar network is rubbish.
I still tune to ESPN nearly every morning, because I want to see scores, highlights, and breaking news before I leave for my job - but writers are always trying to be front and centre with their content, regardless of their bias, which is my main beef with the four-letter.