Archive for the College Football Category

College Football Stadiums: Part 1 of 2

Posted in College Football on April 24, 2012 by sammywestside

An article this week came out ranking all 124 College Football Stadiums, with my alma mater ranking #1. This was cause for excitement amongst many other Clemson fans, but I was skeptical, as I usually am. I wanted to read the article, and after I did I decided this ranking was completely bogus. If the list looked great from top to bottom then we’d have something to talk about, but instead it was ugly. Many of the nations best stadiums were sprinkled down the list, and many of the nations worst were way too high on the rankings. In reality to be completely objective you’d have to visit all of them. Find me that guy.

My point is I’m not proud to say that Clemson was ranked number one because the guy who wrote the article clearly wasn’t qualified or remotely intelligent in my opinion. I love College Football, and what I love the most about College Football is visiting campuses and stadiums. The entire journey of visiting a College Football stadium is an amazing experience, unlike any other sport. Instead of a few hours in a day, its a whole day event, really a whole weekend event. My love for the sport is still young in comparison to some of my other loves of sports, so I haven’t visited as many stadiums as I’d have liked to yet. Still I’ve been to some, so I think I can start by objectively giving my opinion of those.

Sunlife Stadium and its enormous sidelines

Sunlife Stadium (Miami, FL-Orange Bowl)- I’ll start off by mentioning a few neutral site stadiums I’ve visited. The first is the home of the Miami Hurricanes and Dolphins. Also the former home of the Florida Marlins, the stadium was used for both baseball and football until this season when the Marlins opened their new ballpark on the site of the former Orange Bowl. I was here for this past season’s Orange Bowl and I came away with a pretty indifferent feeling about the facility. The stadium located nowhere near downtown Miami and is nowhere near anything else. Situated amongst the spiraling South Florida suburbs, the only attraction near the stadium is WalMart. We tailgated significantly but the lots didn’t even open until the afternoon for an 8:00pm start. The lots are nice and scenic with Palm trees but then again its just a lot of concrete everywhere. The stadium itself is in good condition but doesn’t really have anything special about it. My biggest problem with the design is how large the sidelines are. If you sit anywhere in the lower level on the sides of the field, you are much much further away than almost any other stadium in football. This helps make it a less intimidating venue, and is definitely more of a pro venue than suited for College Football. The University of Miami is going to be at a disadvantage as long as they play here in my opinion because it’s so far from campus and crowds they draw are just never very good.

Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL-Capital One Bowl)- I visited this stadium for the Capital One Bowl a few years ago, a game between Michigan and Florida. This stadium is located in the ghetto, no joke. If it weren’t for the game I would have been terrified of the neighborhood. The parking is terrible because its located in a strange urban neighborhood about 5-10 minutes from downtown Orlando. The stadium itself is pretty old and structurally unimpressive. It’s not a bad place to watch a game though and it can be fairly loud. For a bowl game it wasn’t bad, and despite the stadium not being very nice it was still a viable facility for watching a good game of football.

Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA, Chick Fil A Kickoff)- I attended the Clemson-Alabama neutral site game to start the season a few years ago at the Georgia Dome. The stadium itself is similar in condition and quality to Sun Life Stadium, a solid pro stadium in decent condition. Inside I think it’s a lot better to watch a game though. The Stadium is much louder being a dome, and doesn’t have outrageous sidelines keeping fans from the field. We sat very high in the end zone and still had a great view of the field. Outside the stadium isn’t great. Located in downtown Atlanta the stadium has decent parking but the neighborhood isn’t great. Getting there can be hard too, because Atlanta has horrendous traffic.

Boston College (Alumni Stadium)- I’ve now been to this facility twice in the last 4 years for Clemson road games. I found this to be the worst facility I’ve attended in college football. The Stadium is very small, and seems even smaller because its not very tall. The Boston College fans aren’t very inspiring either. Both times we visited a large Clemson contingent was there, and was remarkably loaded than the home crowd. The campus of Boston College is very nice and scenic but tailgating is very disappointing. There is hardly any room to park and not many people engage in tailgating. Both times we were there we ended up walking to a bar to pre game which was a mile away across the reservoir. That was the closest bar or place where you could purchase alcohol. Needless to say that was disappointing. As a whole the atmosphere and tradition is lacking, and unless you enjoy looking at nice college campuses and not attending college football games, then you’ll be disappointed with this visit. Despite this I plan on returning once again to Boston this coming season, but that has more to do with my strong desire to see my Tigers play, and visit friends in Boston.

BB&T Field

Wake Forest (BB&T Field)- I’ve also been to Wake twice now and I’ve actually gotten to see this stadium at its best as well. The second visit though wasn’t as inspiring. I definitely liked this better than Boston College because the stadium atmosphere and tailgating were much better. The biggest thing holding Wake Forest back is the size of the school. One of the smallest D-1A football universities they only draw about 35,000 people to games, but the stadium can get fairly loud when the Deacs are playing well and the fans are out in support. The tailgating scene is solid too despite the area not being great. Wake’s stadium is off-campus, but not too far and all their sport facilities are located together in a less exciting neighborhood. The facilities are nice and the parking isn’t terrible but aestically the area is not great.

North Carolina (Kenan Stadium)- This Chapel Hill facility is best described as not living up to its potential. Located on Campus in a very nice secluded area, the stadium itself is nice and should be even nice after the renovations are complete. The surrounding campus is great too, but the fans that fill it aren’t always the exciting. Even in basketball UNC fans are known for sitting on their hands and watching their teams compete rather than cheering too loudly. Part of this is the large contingent of older UNC fans who donate a lot of money and thus fill the seats. The problem is older people don’t have the same energy and passion as the young fans. Also the UNC students just don’t get excited about the mediocre football program like they do the basketball program. If one day UNC does get the football program going at a great level than this facility can become pretty good. Its a good facility located on a beautiful campus but the atmosphere here just isn’t good enough yet.

North Carolina State (Carter-Finley Stadium)- This stadium reminds me a lot of North Carolina as well. With a similar design and size both facilities are solid, but lack the team and fans inside it to really take it to another level. The fans at NC State are a step above UNC and this stadium can get significantly louder but the area around the stadium isn’t as great as UNC. Not on campus, this facility is the in the athletic complex in Raleigh. Surrounded by parking lots there is nothing to do around the stadium but tailgate. That’s not a problem, but having a campus and town nearby would be nice too. The tailgating here is better than the previously mentioned facilities for sure. Like the Tar Heels, if the Wolfpack can ascend to a better program in College Football and get the fans rocking, than this can also be a very intimidating facility, but for now the inconsistent seasons in Raleigh aren’t going to get it done quite yet.

Georgia Tech (Bobby Dodd Stadium)- I was blessed to see this facility at its best as well, for a white out game in Atlanta. This facility has a few outside factors that are cool. First of all it is on campus which is nice, but the Georgia Tech campus isn’t that great in my opinion. The area around the stadium is good, but the parking and tailgating scene is tough to come by. It’s scattered and for a visiting fan its hard to find a good place anywhere near the stadium. The views of downtown Atlanta are cool, but the downtown area of Atlanta isn’t worth visiting. The stadium itself is old but in good condition. There is a lot of tradition and plenty of cool aspects to the facility, but this place doesn’t get overly loud. The stadium isn’t very tall so its tough to keep the noise in and the Georgia Tech fans don’t pack this place out too often.

Florida State (Doak Campbell Stadium)- This is where we really take a big step up in the quality of stadiums. Florida State has a great tradition of football and they take that too the field for their on-field pre game tradition of Chief Osceola. The stadium itself is impressive looking from the outside, but I was surprised at how tinker-toy like it was inside. The entire inside of the stadium is made of metal that is surprisingly thin. I sat up fairly high here and it was kind of intimidating thinking of the fact the only thing keeping me from falling 100 feet to my death beneath my feet was a metal that I could feel bending every time someone walked by. This is irrelevant though, as the stadium is a great facility regardless. One thing that holds it back from being one of the loudest stadiums in the country is the fact that it’s a bowl and the noise escapes easier than others. The Florida State fan base has been fading a bit over the last few years but if they can finally get over the top in the next few years than this facility can return to being one of the toughest places to play in the country. I got to see a great game here too, so I’ve been blessed to see many of these facilities at their best. Outside of the stadium the tailgating is great in Tallahassee, I attended one of the greatest tailgates I’ve ever seen here. The campus itself isn’t special, but it has some nice parts as well. The town of Tallahassee is a bit sketchy too, but not as bad as one I’ll discuss coming up.

Nebraska's Memorial Stadium

Nebraska (Memorial Stadium)- The Cornhuskers gave me my only taste of midwestern football and it was fun. Located in the capital city of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska has a nice campus located adjacent to downtown. The Stadium is on-campus and as a visitor I found it very hard to find parking. I walked over a mile to get to the stadium from a garage downtown. The downtown area is pretty nice and within walking distance of stadium. Fans can choose to tailgate or adventure downtown prior to the game. The stadium is very big, but also historic and old. The interior of the stadium was cool to see as they’ve kept a lot of the older aspects of the facility while upgrading and expanding the facility. The fans are passionate and they have some great game day traditions. I appreciate the Nebraska fans because in the state, this is the team. Everybody loves Nebraska from birth and thats why they’ve sold out every game for a very long time now. The stadium is definitely loud and the design gives most fans a good view of the field. The Tailgating wasn’t on the level of some of the southern schools, but the atmosphere was great.

South Carolina (Williams-Brice Stadium)- I’ll try to be objective here, and in doing so have them ranked accordingly to what I truly think. Despite this, I found no part of my experience in Columbia enjoyable. The Stadium is located in a very bad area, basically surrounded by abandoned factory buildings, and not within walking distance of anything. They’ve started to attempt to clean up the area by adding a few businesses and newer apartment buildings, but they still have plenty to go. The town itself is also disappointing as it is generally quite poor and rundown. The downtown area is mostly empty minus a few hotspot areas to go out. The facility itself is pretty standard, nothing unique but in good condition. Overall the Gamecocks don’t have a ton of traditions but I will give them credit for their newer stadium entrance. It is the second best I’ve seen, and that’s hard to admit. The stadium was pretty loud and I got to see it for a big game as well. Overall atmosphere wise the place is pretty good, but the surrounding area and game day experience could be better. Additionally I’ve never seen more hostile fans, everywhere you go you get ribbing from fans but most end up engaging and being helpful. In Columbia, people legitimately would try to pick fights and their were multiple stabbing and robberies before, during and after the game of fellow fans. Maybe one day I’ll go back, but I’ll be a bit more mindful of what I’ll be facing next time.

Virginia Tech (Lane Stadium)- This was one of my most anticipated trips and I came away a little disappointed. The Enter Sandman entrance looks really cool on TV and in person but the noise level and length of it was surprising. I got to go to a night game and it should have been a great representation of the environment. The town of Blacksburg isn’t bad, I like college towns like it but they don’t have a great downtown. I’ve been to Blacksburg many times and it always seems dreary and depressing there. The tailgating is pretty good at Lane Stadium but doesn’t have the sheer volume of some other great southern stadiums. The facility itself is cool, and a lot bigger than you’d think despite not having a second deck. Unlike other one-level stadium, Lane Stadium is steep and taller so if you’re sitting near the top its quite a hike. Overall, I really liked the stadium, this facility is probably just outside the top 10 in the country.

Jordan-Hare Stadium

Auburn (Jordan Hare Stadium)- Unlike Lane Stadium, this facility and campus exceeded my expectations. Auburn is very similar to Clemson in many ways, but I like the comparisons are a bit overdone sometimes. The town of Auburn is significantly bigger than Clemson, and the campus has much more concrete than Clemson. Despite this, the town was a fun place to go out, but a bit overcrowded on football weekends. The campus is nice and tailgating takes place all over the campus like at Clemson. The distance to walk around was a bit further than I hoped for as a visiting fan, but it was fun getting to see lots of different areas in town. The Stadium is on campus and is a similar facility to Clemson with two upper decks, the only difference is there are a few more seats in the end zones and no hill. I got to sit in the student section at Auburn and was very impressed. The students arrive early because its first come first serve seating, which is a fantastic idea. The only thing is the student section is separate from the rest of the facility, so no freedom as a student. I loved the student ticket policy but the freedom is a bit limited. The fans were into the game from the start and were very loud. Much like Sunlife Stadium though, Auburn has absurdly and unnecessarily large sidelines. This takes away from the views for fans and the noise level for the field. Still the fans and atmosphere deliver one of the best environments in the country.

Florida (The Swamp)- I’ve had the pleasure of attending two games at the Swamp as well. This facility was built to be loud. Surrounded by towering decks which are always filled with Orange and Blue, this is really cool stadium to watch a game in. The seating views are great and no big sidelines. The tailgating is good, but there aren’t as many enormous lots as some other stadiums I’ve visited. There are good bars within walking distance of the stadium and plenty of excitement on the streets nearby. The atmosphere inside is great too, the band is loud and boisterous and the students can be loud too. I was expecting the best atmosphere because of the rave reviews, but it wasn’t quite top notch. Auburn was louder than the Swamp, but I wasn’t at quite as big of a game either time. Overall I still appreciate why its one of the top stadiums in the country and I’d love to go back again.

Clemson's Death Valley

Clemson (Memorial Stadium)- Look, I swear I’m not being biased as saying Clemson is the loudest stadium I’ve ever been too. I love the school, the tailgating, and the tradition, but I am always trying to compare Clemson to other schools in every way possible outside of football. I know the university isn’t the best academic institution in the US, nor does it have the nicest campus I’ve been too (although a great one), but I’ve never been to a stadium louder. I’ll give you this, Clemson fans can be quiet too when expectations are higher and the results are poor. I’ve never seen a quieter 82,000 people before than after a field goal fell short at the end of the BC game in 2007. The great times are great though, and this place gets loud for many reasons. The fans are on top of the field, the stands are steep, the upper decks are high, and the whole stadium is literally in a valley. The tailgating is great, and I love the town. Gamedays in Clemson are my favorite, but I also realize that there are many other schools out there that are great too. I’ve obviously only been to these aforementioned college stadiums, so I realize there are plenty of stadiums that might be louder, but I truly believe Clemson deserves to be way up there.

In my next article as a follow up I will attempt to use my extensive research on College Stadiums to rank the top facilities. I will try to be as reasonable as possible and try to not be biased at all. Thanks for reading and hope you get to visit some of the best stadiums sometime.

Early Look at 2012 in College Football

Posted in College Football on January 10, 2012 by sammywestside

With last night’s domination of LSU, Alabama took home the National Championship trophy for the 2011 season. It’s sad that College Football is over now, so the only thing to do is look ahead to next season. I’ll go through my projected Top 30 teams, and give you an idea of what kind of season they could have.

1. LSU- This is obvious, the Tigers return a ton of talent from this year’s squad and they get Alabama in Baton Rouge next year. They  have a favorable schedule to be playing for the title again next year.

2. Oklahoma- This is probably surprising, but the Sooners underachieved this year and return 8 starters on both sides of the ball. Their schedule isn’t bad, and I project them to face LSU at the end of the year.

3. Alabama- Nick Saban is a genius, that’s all you need to know. Bama could only have one blemish next year from LSU.

4. Oregon- The Ducks will lose LaMichael James, but his value comes from the explosive offense, and an improving defense.

5. Georgia- Another SEC team? Yeah the Dogs are probably heading towards another double digit win season, problem is they have to beat LSU in the title game.

6. Florida State- The Seminoles are always overrated, and for reason I think will be next year, but a favorable schedule will finally give them the opportunity to achieve a healthy amount of wins and an ACC title.

7. Southern Cal- Not quite on board with the Trojans yet. Lane Kiffin is still Lane Kiffin and the Trojans defense is still kinda bad. A late season surge in 2011 will not convince me they are ready to compete for a National Title.

8. South Carolina- The Gamecocks will be running the ball every play next season, seriously. They return Marcus Lattimore from injury, and Connor Shaw who is mobile, but can’t throw well. Their defense should still be very good and have them right there with Georgia in the East.

9. Arkansas- Yeah this is 5 out of the top 9 from the SEC, and Arkansas should be just as good as last year. Tyler Wilson will be slinging it around again to a talented group.

10. Stanford- Post Andrew Luck will be interesting, but the Cardinal have built a strong run game and defense which should help them plow through many of the lesser Pac 12 teams.

11. Virginia Tech- The Hokies lose a lot of offense, but return QB Logan Thomas. On defense they return almost everyone and should be salty. Frank Beemer wins game and should be back in the ACC title game once again.

12. Michigan- Brady Hoke’s bunch weren’t flashy in 2011, and might not have been as good as their record but they are well coached and return a good nucleus next season. They should be one of many front runners in the Big Ten.

13. West Virginia- The high powered offense should be better next season with Geno Smith running the show again. The Mountaineers could face a tough time in the Big 12 though.

14. Nebraska- The Huskers were bizarre this season showing struggles with the passing game and on defense, but they return a lot and could make a step towards a Big 10 title.

15. Ohio State- Yeah, 6-6 to top 15? Urban Meyer is that good…I think. They have talent, and a very good D so why not?

16. Clemson- The Tigers return all their offensive skill players but lose three lineman on both sides. A defensive overhaul might be needed after an embarrassing use of talent in 2011. A favorable schedule might help them overcome some shortcomings.

17. Notre Dame- The Irish weren’t bad this year, they just were terrible in the red zone. They return plenty and could take a nice step next year.

18. Michigan State- They should have a great defense, but how much offense they can produce will determine how good they can be.

19. TCU- The Horned Frogs will jump to the Big 12 and should have good success in year one because of the well coached D and young talent offense.

20. Oklahoma State- An opportunistic defense in 2011 must be good next year to overcome the loss of Justin Blackmon and company.

21. Wisconsin

22. Texas

23. Georgia Tech

24. Baylor

25. Florida

26. BYU

27. Rutgers

28. Kansas State

29. Texas A&M

30. North Carolina

Bowl Predictions Part 2

Posted in College Football on December 26, 2011 by sammywestside

In Jacksonville on January 2nd the Urban Meyer bowl will take place, how do Gator fans feel about him coming back to coaching?

Military Bowl- Air Force 38, Toledo 35

Two teams with conflicting styles, but both can move the ball and have trouble stopping it. Air Force should control the clock if they want to win this, but Toledo can score and score fast. This should be a shootout that goes either way, and it will come down to Toledo’s defense and whether or not it can stop Air Force’s option attack. I say probably not.

Holiday Bowl- Texas 17, California 14

Both teams are known to produce some impressive talent and are going through a tough year, but Texas’ defense has been pretty impressive throughout the year. California can score at times, but against this tough defense I figure Texas to have the upper hand.

Champs Sports Bowl- Florida State 24, Notre Dame 21

This is an intriguing game not because it features two powerhouse programs, but because it should be a close game. Florida State has been stronger all year on the defensive side, while Notre Dame has showed more life on offense. Florida State has a very poor running game, but if they can get it going at all, then they will be able to control this one. I expect the Noles to give enough problems to the Irish and pull this out in Orlando.

Alamo Bowl- Baylor 38, Washington 28

Led by Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Bears have had one of their best seasons in a long time. They are very scary on offense but have had trouble on defense. The Huskies also provide a strong offense but their defense is quite troublesome as well. This should be a higher scoring affair and I’ll take the better of the two offenses in Baylor to win this one.

Armed Forces Bowl- BYU 35, Tulsa 28

Tulsa and BYU both come into this game hot having won most of their games since early season falters. Tulsa might have a bit more offensive firepower, but the Cougars defense dwarfs the Golden Hurricanes. I expect a good game with some scoring, but look for the Cougars to win out on this one.

Pinstripe Bowl- Iowa State 24, Rutgers 21

On paper you’d think Rugters should win this one. They are playing in their backyard and have had a better season. Iowa State though has come on late in the season, showing some signs of a potent offense, and an improving defense. Rutgers could very well win this one, but I think the Cyclones come to New York and pull the upset.

Music City Bowl- Mississippi State 31, Wake Forest 17

The Bulldogs have had a disappointing season, but they still have some talent that should show in this one. Wake Forest has overachieved this season but started struggling down the stretch. The Deacons defense will have problems stopping Mississippi State and will fall in Nashville.

Insight Bowl- Oklahoma 31, Iowa 14

Oklahoma has fallen hard from their preseason #1 ranking and that can be solely blamed on their inconsistency, especially on defense. On week the Sooners look like world beaters, the next they lose to someone they have no business losing to. Iowa has been up and down, but those highs have been much lower. Iowa struggles to score at times and their offense doesn’t matchup well with Oklahoma.

Meineke Care Care Bowl of Texas- Texas A&M 34, Northwestern 28

Texas A&M has come just short of big wins many times this year with a prolific offense. The defensive struggles have been the downfall and should rear their head in this game too. Northwestern has been much better the second half of the season after a 2-5 start, but look for the Aggies to finally pull out a close one.

Sun Bowl- Utah 24, Georgia Tech 21

Georgia Tech is clearly the better team but they have one big problem, the triple option is a lot easier to stop when you have a month to prepare. The Yellow Jackets’ struggles in bowl games is no secret and I look for that to continue against an improving Utah team who came on late in the year.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl- UCLA 28, Illinois 21

Well these two teams are struggling and both fired their coaches after the season. UCLA’s project under ole Rick failed as he couldn’t figure out a way to win games, while Zooker lost six in a row to end the year after a surprising 6-0 start. UCLA isn’t playing well, but at least they aren’t in the full nose dive the Illini are in.

Liberty Bowl- Vanderbilt 27, Cincinnati 20

Call this an upset special. Vanderbilt has been impressive under first year coach Franklin and they are peaking at the right time. The program is on the rise and they are facing an overrated Cincinnati team from the Big East. Smells of upset to me.

Chick Fil A Bowl- Virginia 21, Auburn 20

Auburn comes in without their two coordinators and a struggling offense. Virginia has been a surprise in 2011 and bases their offense on pounding the ball on the ground. If the Cavs can get the running game going and stifle Auburn on the ground they will escape with a bit of a surprise in Atlanta.

Ticketcity Bowl- Penn State 31, Houston 28

With all the problems going on at Penn State it hasn’t been easy for them to focus on the field. Houston came up just shy of playing in a BCS game and will be out to prove they belonged. I think Penn State wins this one in a close matchup with Houston’s defense failing them again.

Gator Bowl- Florida 17, Ohio State 14

The Urban Meyer Bowl should be exciting this year, but he won’t be on the sidelines coaching the Buckeyes just yet. The Gators have been struggling all year on offense like Ohio State but look for the location advantage to put the Gators over the top in close low scoring affair.

Outback Bowl- Georgia 28, Michigan State 21

A couple of interesting teams this year, as the Bulldogs rattled off 10 in a row, and Michigan State looked like they could flirt with something better. The actuality of it is, they both might have had struggled with being overrated. Georgia won 10 games in a row but they did it against a surprisingly easy SEC schedule, then got trashed in the SEC Championship. Michigan State looked good against Wisconsin, but got blown out by Notre Dame and Nebraska, two teams overrated themselves this year. In the end Georgia wins this one, but Michigan State shows up better than last year’s debacle with Alabama

Capital One Bowl- South Carolina 20, Nebraska 13

South Carolina has struggled offensively much of the year, while Nebraska has been up and down on both sides of the ball. The Gamecocks will come out and pound the ball against a below average Nebraska D, but look out for Steve Spurrier’s terrible bowl record, this game could go south on the Cocks if they make some mistakes early and get down. Their passing game has problems, and if Nebraska can somehow get the ball downfield against the Gamecocks secondary they have a chance. I don’t see this happening though, and the Gamecocks will take this one in a low scoring battle.


College Bowl Predictions 2011-12 Part 1

Posted in College Football on December 16, 2011 by sammywestside

The Bowl Season starts off with a classic, the Potato Bowl in our favorite vacation destination Boise.

New Mexico Bowl: Temple 24, Wyoming 14

Both teams finished 8-4, but Temple’s defense will be the difference in this one as they will keep it a lower scoring game to their advantage.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State 35, Ohio 31

Both teams have had impressive season’s, only losing some close games to good teams. The advantage in location I think will give the Aggies the slight edge in this one.

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, San Diego State 28

Both teams have been inconsistent all year showing flashes of being dangerous teams. Lafayette’s offense has been clicking lately and they can pull the upset with a clear advantage in Location.

St. Petersburg Bowl: FIU 27, Marshall 20

The Golden Panthers have had a breakout year and support a stronger defense than the Thundering Hurd. Along with a location advantage I see FIU winning this one.

Pointsettia Bowl: TCU 28, Louisiana Tech 21

The Horned Frogs are big favorites in this one, but Louisiana Tech has had a very impressive season. I think they keep it closer than people think, but in the end TCU takes this one.

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State 42, Arizona State 24

The SunDevils have been awful over the second half of the season, but that is mostly attributed to their defense. The Broncos should be able to move the ball easily and win this one, but expect Arizona State to put up some points too.

Hawaii Bowl: Southern Miss 31, Nevada 20

Southern Miss made national headlines late in the year with their upset of Houston, but it was already a strong year for Larry Fedora’s squad. Unfortunately Fedora has left for UNC, and they must try to overcome an odd bowl location and team turnover to beat an under the radar Nevada squad. This game will be closer than it should, but Southern Miss comes out on top.

Independence Bowl: Missouri 24, UNC 14

Missouri was unable to get a big win this year, but they boast a strong group on both sides of the ball. UNC has struggled to stay consistent all season with the team also showing flashes but being unable to put it together. NFL talent is a plenty, but Missouri should be able to move the ball more effectively in this game and take this battle of 7 win squads.

Little Caesar’s Bowl: Purdue 31, Western Michigan 28

This matchup sounds like it should favor Purdue, but if you look closely this game is very tough to pick. Purdue got to 6 wins in a very unimpressive way, while Western Michigan has shown some firepower in the MAC this season. In the end I’ll take Purdue by a slim margin.

Belk Bowl: NC State 20, Louisville 17

These two teams have played very inconsistent football all year, so it is hard to say which team will show up in Charlotte. Both teams struggle to run the ball, while NC State has a better passing game, Louisville’s defense is probably a bit better. I’m not confident in it, but I’ll take the Wolfpack in a close low scoring battle.

College Football Week 12: National Title Picture becoming clearer

Posted in College Football on November 17, 2011 by sammywestside

Oklahoma State could do the BCS a favor and beat Oklahoma, or else all hell might break loose

This week I’m going to go over how each team still alive in the National Title picture can get a shot at the crystal ball in January.

LSU- The path is clear for the Tigers, they win out and they are in. One wrinkle that could come about is if they lose to Arkansas. That would most likely eliminate them from the SEC Championship and that wouldn’t fare well for the Tigers hopes of backing into the NC Game. They would hope to see Oklahoma beat OK State, and Oregon lose to USC this Saturday. (My thoughts: Pretty Damn Likely)

Oklahoma State- For them I think it is even clearer, win you are in, lose to Oklahoma you are out. I just don’t see how they could overcome a loss to Oklahoma at home. (My Thoughts: I’m pretty torn over the Oklahoma game, so 50/50 at worst)

Oregon- The Ducks obviously have to win out, and hope Oklahoma beat Ok State, but also they might need Alabama to lose. They currently trail them by a significant margin for the #3 spot in the BCS, and would need both the human polls to rank them ahead of Bama to move ahead as the computers might not do it. (My thoughts: They certainly have an argument, and might just get in with OK State losing)

Alabama- If Alabama wins the last two that might be enough coupled with an OK State loss. The question is do the human pollsters really want to see a rematch? It’s possible that Alabama and Oregon get passed up just to avoid such a situation. What is even crazier is, what happens if LSU loses the National Championship to that team? Alabama and Oregon would both have legitimate arguments for having the title as well as they were passed up to avoid a rematch. (My thoughts: OK State loses and Bama is right there, they just need Oregon to struggle a bit, and convince people they are better than the 4 missed FG’s)

Oklahoma- The Sooners can beat OK State in three weeks but it may take more. The loss to Texas Tech looks worse with every week and the Sooners going to need people to jump on board with the idea of no rematch. Otherwise they will want Oregon to lose to USC, and Alabama lose to Auburn. (My thoughts: They are alive, but Texas Tech is killing them, in the end its hard to give them enough credit even with an impressive victory over Ok State)

Clemson- The Tigers are a very long shot at this point, but its actually not that complicated. A loss for Oregon to USC, and Oklahoma to Baylor this weekend would be step 1. Then an Alabama loss to Auburn, and Oklahoma beating OK State would actually get it done. Unfortunately the chance of that happening is like 1 in a million, so we won’t talk about this unless somehow Oregon and Oklahoma lose this weekend. The Tigers are certainly kicking themselves over those turnovers against Georgia Tech a few weeks ago, or they would be right there at #3 today. (Tigers fans should be thrilled about the future, just next year’s team, which should be ranked very high preseason with a favorable schedule)

Arkansas- The Hogs need to win out, and have Alabama lose to Auburn. That would put them in the SEC Championship, and a loss for OK State to OU would add some help as well. No guarantee still but it might be enough as the SEC Champ. Problem is the Hogs have to go to LSU and win. Tough task, but I’ve seen more impossible things. (The Hogs have won a lot of games, but I’m not sure they are good enough to beat LSU, let alone have the domino’s fall in place)

Virginia Tech- The Hokies need to go and beat Clemson in a rematch in the ACC Championship, and then hope for just about everyone to lose as well, like I outlined in the Clemson section. The Hokies have had an impressive season, but they haven’t played a National Championship schedule by any means. They are the lowest ranked one-loss team for a reason. (The Hokies should have played someone out of conference, and beat Clemson at home, cause that’s enough to almost mathematically eliminate them)

Stanford- I guess the Cardinal still have a fighting hope, but they need almost everyone to lose. The loss to Oregon was ugly, and many are surprised they are still as high as they are. (My thoughts: Andrew Luck has another year of eligibility, but he ain’t taking it, so Stanford might be slipping back into reality next year)

My Rankings:

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma State

4. Oklahoma

5. Oregon

6. Clemson

7. Arkansas

8. Virginia Tech

9. Stanford

10. Nebraska

11. Wisconsin

12. Florida State

13. Boise State

14. Houston

15. South Carolina

16. Kansas State

17. Michigan State

18. Georgia 

19. Georgia Tech

20. USC

21. Notre Dame

22. Texas

23. Penn State

24. Arizona State

25. TCU


Virginia Tech 27, UNC 17

Oklahoma State 42, Iowa State 21

Rutgers 24, Cincinnati 21

Wisconsin 35, Illinois 21

Nebraska 24, Michigan 21

Miami FL 24, USF 17

Ohio State 17, Penn State 14

Clemson 31, NC State 24

Notre Dame 28, Boston College 14

Florida State 28, Virginia 13

Boise State 34, San Diego State 17

Kansas State 31, Texas 28

Oklahoma 49, Baylor 24

Oregon 48, USC 31 

Jo Pa’s Side of the Story

Posted in College Football on November 10, 2011 by kfaris89

Over the last 48 hours we’ve all gone through a lot of emotions over the developing story in “Happy Valley”. Anger, disappointment, rage, disgust among many others. But the one that keeps coming back to me is simply sad. Sad for university, the students, the players, the coaching staff, the administration. Sad for those who are innocent in this whole mess because no matter what if you were around during this time, you’re now guilty by association. But obviously, and most importantly. Sad for the victims. This is who we can not forget as this story develops. This isn’t about people’s job security at a top learning institute, but this is about the innocence that these victims lost 10 years ago, this is about these kids becoming victims again, as this story now becomes public and they are in the news every day, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Jerry Sandusky is now on the same level of evil as Casey Anthony, Timothy McVeigh, or any other recent serial murder or rapist in the past. That is the main story here and I hope we don’t lose site of that. This man deserves to burn for what he’s done, and I know he’ll get whats coming to him.

But for now I want to hit on Joe Paterno. As my friend East Side Ryno just wrote, he, like many of you out there, believe that this was the correct move in firing Joe Pa. I know I am probably in the minority outside of Pennsylvania but I have to strongly disagree. With the facts that we have now, I FIRMLY believe that Joe Pa was the victim of a witch hunt by the Board of Trustees at Penn State. After 60+ years, he deserved better and let me tell you why.

Let’s start out with what exactly we do know. The facts we have right now (let it be known that more facts might come out and completely change my opinion) show that in 2002 Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time, came to Joe Paterno and told him that something had happened between Sandusky and a young boy. No one knows yet was exactly was said but rumor has it that it was a fairly vague one or two sentence complaint. Yes he said it was inappropriate in nature and “fondling” may have been used, but let me ask you all this question. Say you had worked with someone for 35 years, someone you considered to be a good friend. Suddenly someone you had been working with for maybe more than a year comes up to you and says he saw your friend with a young boy. What would you do? I think most of you would approach that friend. Call him/her out on it and see the response. Based on the response alone, someone might take your friends word for it. Others might take the next step. Joe Pa did that. Joe Pa went to Gary Schultz, whose job by the way, put him in charge of University Police! He was told that an investigation would be done, and less then a month later, he was told that the investigation lead to nothing. So again I ask, what would you do? Would all of you be so fast to call the cops on someone who you thought to be a friend for 35 years because a new guy you work with tells you he saw something? I’ll tell you what, I don’t think many of you would despite how  hard you try to convince yourself you would.

Joe Paterno is now the face of a massive cover up at Penn State. The Board of Trustees, so quick to throw him under the bus, has now basically said to the public that Joe Pa is guilty of something. Was part of the cover up or was at least more involved then the current facts actually show. It almost is like the Board needed someone to go down with the sinking ship so that the public didn’t think they were doing nothing. So they took someone who did nothing wrong, who had been loyal to the university and to the community for 60 years, and made him the face of the witch hunt to prove their point. Well guess what Board of Trustees. You got the wrong guy. Your focus is in the wrong place. Mike McQueary, who is the one who DID see something did NOTHING. And my friends, guess who still has a job and reportedly WILL be on the sidelines this Saturday against Nebraska. You guessed it, Mike McQueary. Joe Paterno should’ve been able to finish the season and resign then. But now the Board has tarnished his entire career, to try to save face and show they are doing something to try to “fix” the problem. Guess what… This can’t be fixed. The victims will never get their innocence back. But for what has taken place so far, based on the evidence that is out in the public right now, this situation couldn’t be being handled worse. The whole situation to sum up in one word… Sad.

Thoughts on Joe Paterno

Posted in College Football on November 10, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

As we all know, Brooklyn-born Joe Paterno was fired tonight as the head football coach of Penn State University. All of the news that has come out in the past week has been horrific and tragic. This is by far the worst thing that has ever happened in college sports. This makes SMU’s booster allegations look like a walk in the park. As much as I have respected Joe Paterno my entire life, it would’ve been wrong for him to coach another game at Penn State. According to law, Joe Paterno did what he was supposed to do after hearing the info about Jerry Sandusky and a minor from Mike Mcqueery. But morally, Joe Pa was completely at fault. Flat out, Paterno’s decision not to go to the police resulted in more children being victimized by Sandusky. Even though it sounds terrible, Joe Paterno acted as if the reputation of Penn State football was more important than the lives of these children.

It’s tragic that Joe Paterno will be most remembered for this scandal, as he should be. Usually I would say something like, “this is tragic, but let’s not forget all he has done for this school…he is still the greatest college football coach of all-time…etc.” But in this case, all of the greatness this man has brought to Penn State has been completely wiped out by this horrific scandal. There is nothing positive coming from this news.

What’s also sad is the fact that it’s Senior Day for Penn State on Saturday. These seniors, who will be playing in their last game as a Nittany Lion, have had nothing to do with this scandal, but will pay dearly for it for the rest of the season. How can a team prepare for a football game when a scandal like this is occurring around campus?

Where does Penn State go from here? First, every man on this coaching staff, athletic department, and who has been affiliated with Paterno, Sandusky, or former Athletic Director Tim Curley must go. I also think it was a dumb decision to appoint Tom Bradley as interim head coach since he was a defensive backs coach while Sandusky was running the defense. Like I said, everyone must go. Just an overall tragic story for college athletics.

College Football Week 11: Conference Races Heat Up

Posted in College Football on November 8, 2011 by sammywestside

This week we officially move into the final stretch of the college football season. Everyone has played about 3/4 of their regular season games, and with four weeks remaining before the official National Championship is set, we are into some very important match ups. The conference races are getting exciting and key match ups over the next few weeks will determine the conference championship match ups or the automatic bowl bids for teams.

In the Pac-12 this weekends matchup between Oregon and Stanford should decide the Pac 12 champion, but also which of the two teams has a shot remaining at the National Title. Oregon would need more help than Stanford to get there, but the loser is clearly eliminated from both races. While this will on determine the North division of the Pac-12, it is hard to imagine either team falling to a foe like Arizona State from the South.

The Big Ten also is the heat of its first race towards a conference championship. Right now the race is still wide open. In the Legends division Michigan State has the lead with a 4-1 record, but Iowa, Nebraska, and Michigan all remain in contention with 3-2 records. In the Leaders division Penn State currently stands at 5-0 with a two-game lead over Wisconsin and Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions face a tough stretch to end the season and could lose grasp of that lead quickly. Overall the Big Ten has disappointed again this year with no top-ten teams or National Title Contenders. It did look for a while like Wisconsin could contend but back to back painful loses to Michigan State and struggling Ohio State now have the Badgers far the National spotlight.

The Big 12 race is looking to come down to the last day of the season when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State face off in Stillwater. While Kansas State, Texas and Texas A&M all have had decent seasons, they have fallen from the ranks of contenders and that final game will likely determine the Big 12 champ and whether or not Oklahoma State gets a shot at a National Title. Oklahoma is not out of the running, but they need some things to happen in order to get a chance.

The Big East is gross this year. I thought West Virginia would emerge from the pack but they have been upset by two bad teams now. Cincinnati has the clear lead to take the conference, but you can’t help but be unimpressed with them. The Bearcats best win of the year is at home over NC State, a struggling ACC team, and their loss to Tennessee doesn’t look good at all. Cincinnati has found a way to win a lot of close games against mediocre competition and may end up in a BCS bowl again. The good news is the days of the Big East ruining a BCS game are coming to an end, as their status as an automatic qualifier should be revoked once West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse leave. Even with the additions of teams like Boise State, UCF, Houston or Navy won’t be enough to help this conference which currently ranks behind the Mountain West and Conference USA this season. Pitiful.

The ACC Atlantic Division race will most likely be decided on Saturday in Death Valley when Wake Forest comes to town to face Clemson. The Tigers clinch the division with a victory, while Wake Forest would need to win this and their game next week. In the Coastal Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech also face off for what should decide that division. Neither team can clinch Saturday, but the victor has a very clear path to the championship game. The ACC might actually be better on top this year than it has been in the past. Clemson and Virginia Tech are top-10 teams, while Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina and maybe even Virginia look to be pretty solid squads despite not earning enough victories to garner National respect. The ACC still has problems on the bottom though as Maryland, Duke and BC are all horrible this year.

The SEC is LSU’s to lose, but Arkansas can still make things interesting if they somehow upset the Tigers in a couple weeks. That would create a mess of a three way tie in the West, likely resulting in Alabama going to the title game over the other two. The East is even worse this year than last, and Georgia looks to be the favorite to take the division now. If the Bulldogs can beat Auburn and Kentucky the next two weeks they will claim the title with South Carolina’s loss to Arkansas. If not the Gamecocks would take it with a victory over Florida Saturday. Either way it looks like the West should be a heavy favorite in that title game as well.

Elsewhere Boise State should take the Mountain West title with a victory over a struggling TCU team Saturday, while Arkansas State, Nevada and Northern Illinois look to be the favorites in their respective conferences.

Predictions for Week 11:

Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 24

Clemson 38, Wake Forest 24

Nebraska 20, Penn State 17

West Virginia 35, Cincinnati 28

South Carolina 6, Florida 3

Florida State 24, Miami FL 17

Texas A&M 34, Kansas State 31

Georgia 31, Auburn 21

Boise State 41, TCU 21

USC 42, Washington 24

Alabama 24, Mississippi State 14

Stanford 42, Oregon 35

Top 25:

1. LSU

2. Alabama

3. Stanford

4. Oklahoma

5. Oklahoma State

6. Oregon

7. Clemson

8. Boise State

9. Arkansas

10. Virginia Tech

11. Nebraska

12. Wisconsin

13. Michigan State

14. Georgia Tech

15. Penn State

16. Florida State

17. Texas

18. Houston

19. Kansas State

20. Auburn

21. South Carolina

22. Georgia

23. Arizona State

24. USC

25. Notre Dame

Week 10 in College Football: Game of the Century

Posted in College Football on November 3, 2011 by sammywestside

There will be plenty of big piles like this on the field in Tuscaloosa Saturday night

Well here we are, finally the long awaited matchup of LSU v. Alabama is upon us. This is a true battle of titans, two teams that have done nothing but steamroll through College Football in 2011. Both are hard-nosed teams that rely on running the football, and play completely shutdown defense. Although that much is similar, the way they get there is a quite different. LSU runs more unconventional schemes on both offense and defense.

The Tiger defense is led by longtime legendary defensive coordinator John Chavis, who led the Tennessee defense until two seasons ago. He runs a scheme that is designed to create lots of confusion for the offense. Pre-snap the defense rarely comes to set and has lots of movement to create uncertainty about blitzes and coverages. Either way the Tigers have an amazing amount of talent and speed, making it hard to score on these guys. They pride themselves on creating turnovers and that could be the difference in the game. On offense LSU is also very multiple, showing many different looks, but still relying on trying to establish the ground game, before making play-action attacks deep.

On the other side of the field you will see a much more conventional style of football from Alabama. Although relying on much less deception on both sides of the ball, the Tide have just as much, if not more talent and speed as LSU. On defense they run a very typical 4-3 defense that appears to have its holes, but once the ball is shaped the scheme and speed to the point of attack is simply amazing. On offense Alabama loves to line up and just stuff the ball down your throat in the I-formation. They will often bring in so many blockers that they have 10 players in the box. This creates a similar look from the defense, with also as many as 10 in the box, but somehow Alabama still manages to squeeze Trent Richardson through for solid yardage again and again.

This game has all the hype in the world, and we can only hope that it lives up to the billing. In the end I think the game is so evenly matched that it will simply come down to one thing, turnovers. Without LSU creating crucial turnovers, I think Alabama will win the game, but with them LSU wins. It’s impossible to really predict how that will happen, but I have to give some sort of prediction.

Although there are other exciting games in College Football this weekend, this is really all that we want. I might be able to attend this epic matchup, but it all depends on a friend of mine, and he is flaking out right now. Very upsetting, but if I do go, I promise to report back extensively.

Now it’s time to look at this week’s top 25 and as always the predictions:

1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Stanford

4. Oklahoma

5. Oklahoma State

6. Oregon

7. Clemson

8. Boise State

9. Arkansas

10. Virginia Tech

11. South Carolina

12. Nebraska

13. Wisconsin

14. Michigan

15. Michigan State

16. Georgia Tech

17. West Virginia

18. Florida State

19. Penn State

20. Texas

21. Houston

22. Kansas State

23. Auburn

24. Georgia

25. Arizona State

and now the predictions…

Florida State 31, Boston College 10

Oklahoma 42, Texas A&M 24

Arkansas 27, South Carolina 20

Oklahoma State 45, Kansas State 21

Notre Dame 34, Wake Forest 20

Alabama 20, LSU 17

Week 8 Review, Week 9 Picks for College Football

Posted in College Football on October 25, 2011 by sammywestside

Don't let USC's victory over Notre Dame fool you, Lane Kiffin is still a bad coach

Last weekend featured two huge upsets in the top ten as Wisconsin and Oklahoma went down. The Badgers lost on an epic hail mary play to end the game, while Oklahoma got out gunned by the potent passing attack of Texas Tech. These losses open up opportunities for many other teams in the top ten to compete for a National Championship. For this week’s top ten we will look to see where some teams fell to after losses, and which teams are right there for a shot at playing in the big game.

1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Stanford

4. Clemson

5. Oklahoma State

6. Oregon

7. Oklahoma

8. Boise State

9. Michigan State

10. Wisconsin

11.  Arkansas

12. Virginia Tech

13. Nebraska

14. South Carolina

15. Texas A&M

16. Michigan

17. Kansas State

18. Penn State

19. Arizona State

20. West Virginia

21. Houston

22. Miami FL

23. Florida State

24. USC

25. Texas Tech

Ok, now we need to take a peek at this week’s games and make some predictions:

Pittsburgh 24, UConn 17

Miami FL 24, Virginia 14

TCU 31, BYU 24

Florida State 35, NC State 21

Nebraska 24, Michigan State 21

Texas A&M 31, Missouri 24

Penn State 24, Illinois 21

UNC 28, Wake Forest 17

West Virginia 35, Rutgers 21

Oklahoma 35, Kansas State 21

Oklahoma State 49, Baylor 35

Georgia 21, Florida 17

South Carolina 28, Tennessee 21

Stanford 38, USC 28

Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 20

Clemson 31, Georgia Tech 27