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Archive for August, 2011

FBS vs FCS Forecasts for Every Game Week One!!!

August 31st, 2011 3 comments

MURRAY ST AT LOUISVILLE

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
MURRAY ST 95
233
21
1.1
-
LOUISVILLE 251
273
1
2.6
-
Louisville is 11-6 vs Murray St winning the last 3 meetings including their last in 2007, 73-10. Louisville is 7-0 vs FCS teams but LY only got by Eastern Kentucky 23-13, Murray St is 0-15 vs FBS teams since 1998 losing by a avg 50-10 but have never been held scoreless in that time. The Cardinals are in the 2nd year under HC Charlie Strong and return just 10 starters and must replace their top 2 QB’s, their top RB and their top 2 receivers. Murray St is led by 2nd year HC Chris Hatcher who led the Racers to their first winning season since 2004. They return 17 starters including QB Casey Brockman (2442 pass yds) and their top 3 rushers. Louisville just made a bowl last year at 6-6 and should give their full attention to in-state MSU. However, the Racers have the talent to make this game interesting.

PHIL’S FORECAST: LOUISVILLE 44 MURRAY ST 20

SOUTH CAROLINA ST AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
SOUTH CAROLINA ST 90
123
19
2.5
-
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 136
288
30
3.0
-
CMU is 10-1 vs FCS foes since 1998 with a shutout in each of the last 2 years including beating MEAC member Hampton 33-0 last year. SCSU has played a total of 6 FBS opponents the last 4 years being shutout twice and losing by an avg 37-5. Last year they lost 41-10 to Geogia Tech but were only outgained 384-272. The Chippewas are off their first losing season since 2004. They return 14 starters and are in the 2nd year under HC Dan Enos. With a game at Kentucky on deck look for CMU to not look past SCSU especially since a 44-14 loss to North Dakota St in 2007 is still in recent memory. SCSU returns just 11 starters and has a big MEAC game on deck vs Bethune-Cookman and may be looking to get out of this game as healthy as possible.

PHIL’S FORECAST: CENTRAL MICHIGAN 38 SOUTH CAROLINA ST 14

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Week One Top 25 Forecasts!

August 30th, 2011 1 comment

Every week I will post my forecasts of all the games involving Top 25 teams. As usual, it includes my computer’s projected box score for each game.

Last year the Top 25 forecasts went 205-60 (77.3%)! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which went 8-5 the L/6 weeks of last year.

# 1 OKLAHOMA VS TULSA

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
TULSA 122
225
21
2.9
-
OKLAHOMA 198
425
48
2.2
OU is the clear favorite to win the national title and open their season against a familiar foe. The Sooners are 5-0 vs Tulsa outscoring them 233-36. In their last meeting (‘09) OU got the shutout 45-0 w/a 529-269 yd edge. Tulsa actually finished #24 AP LY and has 18 st’rs back making them one of the most exp’d tms in the country and they have Texas transfer GJ Kinne in his 3rd year as starter (12-26 106 in ‘09 vs OU). They do have a new HC in Blakenship who hasn’t even been a college coor. LY the Golden Hurricane defense allowed 482 ypg on the road. OU is a dominating home team going avg 523 ypg LY at home and won by a 40-13 avg. They have a bye on deck before FSU. OU has my #1 rated offense and #3 D while Tulsa is #10 on offense but just #66 on D. Tulsa did not face a single ranked tm LY and with their star all-purpose player D. Johnson suspended the Sooners should be able to start the 2011 season in style as my computer calls for a 623-347 yd edge.

PHIL’S FORECAST: OKLAHOMA 48 TULSA 20

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Week One Poll: Pick Who Wins Each Game and Qualify For Some Great Prizes!!

August 29th, 2011 No comments

The Week One Poll is available right now!

You can vote on who will win this week’s games by clicking the above link. This poll is separate from the conference and non-conference poll contest that you have been voting on all summer long. The tie breaker will be whoever correctly picks the biggest upset to occur. For example if two players are tied at the top, the person who correctly predicted a 17 pt underdog to win will get the nod over someone who did not pick any upsets.

Every week I will announce the winners of the weekly poll along with the prizes. This first week the prizes are as follows:

1st Place. Complete Set of Phil Steele magazines and Polo Shirt

2nd Place. Your choice of a college, pro or FCS magazine and Polo or T shirt

3rd Place. Phil Steele.com T Shirt

Congratulations again to last year’s overall winner Max Winter who came in 1st place with 594 games predicted right. While my goal is to finish a top the standings each and every year I did finish in 12th place out of thousands of nationwide voters. Make sure you are voting each and every week since there are at least 50 games every weekend. If you miss just one week, it will almost assuredly eliminate you from finishing at the top.

Make sure you get in on the week one vote I will keep a running talley of the leaders during the year and I will update this weekly as well. Best of all the contest is FREE!!!

3 Days Until the First College Football Game!!!

Final Conference Poll Update!

August 26th, 2011 No comments

This is my third update on how the conference poll voting is shaping up. The last couple of years, I have I put up a poll for everyone to pick who would win each conference game during the year. I found these results fascinating prior to the year. When you vote in the poll, it tabulates the current % of votes for each team in each individual game. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the year for the people who predicted the conference’s most accurately. However, you need to vote on every single game to qualify. You cannot just vote on the six BCS conferences and skip the others. You have only until the end of the weekend to get your votes in!

Here are the current conference standings for all the conferences with the percentages of each game factored in according to your votes.

Read more…

Close Loss Factor: Teams Who Suffered 3 or More Losses ALL By 7 Pts or Less!

August 26th, 2011 No comments

In 2008, Alabama was only ranked #24 at the start of the year. They were just 7-6 in 2007, had just 12 returning starters and faced a schedule that had four brutal road games. They had to take on the preseason ACC Title favorite Clemson in Atlanta, take on the defending national champ LSU in Death Valley where they would be sky high for Saban’s return, face the defending SEC East Champ Tennessee in Knoxville AND take on the 2008 preseason #1 team Georgia on the road. That does not sound like the recipe to vault into the Top 10 let alone become the #1 team in the country.

Alabama amazingly went 12-0 and was ranked #1 in the country at the end of the regular season. They had two MAIN factors in their favor that year. Both their offensive and defensive lines made my Top Units List in the front of the magazine and if you are strong along the line of scrimmage you can control many games. Another factor was that they were much better than a 7-6 team in 2007 as all 6 of their losses in ‘07 were by 7 or less points so they were just a handful of plays away from being 13-0. I did a Best Case/Worst Case scenario for each team in the regional magazines, which takes all of the close wins or losses from the previous year and reverses them to see how close a team was to a much stronger or much weaker season. Read more…

Coaching Changes: How Will the New HC’s Fare in 2011?

August 25th, 2011 No comments

From 2005-’08 I published an article titled Coaching Changes in my College Football Preview magazine. Each year I try to make the magazine a little bit bigger and a little bit better but we’re capped out at 328 pages so Coaching Changes does not appear in my 2011 magazine. We have had a lot of requests for this article and since the website has an unlimited amount of room, PhilSteele.com is a great vehicle to continue publishing this article and I will do so each year.

There is something to be said for coaching stability as it usually takes a couple of years for a new head coach to get a program going. They usually have their best success when they have a team full of their own recruits and their offensive and defensive systems have been in place for a couple of years. The first few years can be rough on a new head coach as they inherit players who now have to learn new schemes on both offense and defense and he has to learn the players strengths and weaknesses. Pete Carroll won two straight National Titles but in his first year the Trojans opened up at 2-5 and finished at just 6-6 after the bowl. Tommy Tuberville’s first team at Auburn was just 5-6 but in his 6th season they were a perfect 13-0. Nick Saban’s first LSU team started off 3-3 and finished 8-4 but in his 4th year they won a share of the National Title. In Bob Stoops’ first year at Oklahoma, the Sooners were just 7-5, including a bowl loss to Mississippi. Since then, they have won a National Title and played in seven Big 12 Championship games. Les Miles went 4-7 in his first year at Oklahoma St followed by 3 winning years. Jim Tressel was just 7-5 his first year but won a National Title in his second. Kirk Ferentz was a combined 4-19 his first two seasons but the Hawkeyes have now been to six Jan bowls. Pat Hill’s first two Fresno St teams went a combined 11-12 but since then have had 11 winning years. Finally Woody Hayes won just 4 games in his first season at Ohio St. Read more…

Brand New FCS Team Pages!!!

August 24th, 2011 No comments

For the last couple of years I have had team pages for all 120 FBS teams complete with notes, schedules, results, statistical leaders, game-by-game stats and start charts. With this being the first year of having a stand-alone FCS magazine I have also decided to do team pages on all 126 FCS schools complete with the same amount of info!

I can guarantee you that you will not find any other site on the internet today with as much dedicated to every single FCS school in one place and remember there are 38 matchups opening weekend involving FBS vs FCS teams.

Below is an example of what our William & Mary Page looks like. Read more…

Early Forecasts for the Marquee Non-Conference Games!!!

August 23rd, 2011 2 comments

The college football season is fast approaching and in today’s blog I will give you a sneak peak at some of the early marquee college football non-conference games and how I think they will shake out as of right now. Also included is your current voting tallies for each of these games.

Remember if you visit the homepage right now, you can get a head start on voting in the Non-Conference Poll with all the non-conference games. To see where you rank against other voters, as soon as your vote is entered in, you will see the % stacked with or against you. In the next day or two the four remaining non-BCS conferences will be added on the front page. The Non-Conference Poll will run until Sunday, Aug 28th. On Monday the 29th, look for the Weekly Polls to start. There are games every day Thursday September 1st thru Monday September 5th as the first week of the season looks to kick off with a bang! Weekly prizes will be awarded throughout the season.

Marquee Early Non-Conference Match-ups
With Your Current Voting % on Top

16 vs

Boise St vs Georgia Atlanta, GA September 3rd. I have Boise #4 in my Power Poll and Georgia #11 but this is in the Dawgs back yard. Georgia won last meeting 48-13 over a ranked Boise team in ’05. Last year Boise beat VTech in the Hokies back yard to open the year. With the home edge factored in I rate this as a pure tossup but keep in mind the Bulldogs have a huge SEC game on deck so I will call for Boise to win it 31-30. Read more…

AP Poll: Overrated/Underrated Teams!

August 22nd, 2011 4 comments

The AP Poll was released over the weekend and today I can officially come up with Overrated and Underrated teams for the upcoming year.

First, here is the Preseason AP Top 25.

1
Oklahoma (36)
2
Alabama (17)
3
Oregon (4)
4
LSU (1)
5
Boise St (2)
6
Florida St
7
Stanford
8
Texas A&M
9
Oklahoma St
10
Nebraska
11
Wisconsin
12
South Carolina
13
Virginia Tech
14
TCU
15
Arkansas
16
Notre Dame
17
Michigan St
18
Ohio St
19
Georgia
20
Mississippi St
21
Missouri
22
Florida
23
Auburn
24
West Virginia
25
USC

Overrated Teams

#23 Auburn-There are several signs pointing downward for last year’s defending champ. This year they lose the best offensive player in the NCAA in Heisman winner QB Cam Newton as well as arguably the best defensive player in DT Nick Fairley. Auburn also benefited from an amazing 7 net close wins and naturally the schedule gets tougher with road games vs Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia. They lose an incredible 31 lettermen and return just 6 starters (fewest in the country). Last year I had Texas as my #1 overrated team (preseason AP #5) and they went from the National Title game to 5-7 and Auburn will have to have some talented youngsters grow up quickly to avoid a similar fate

#22 Florida-After an 8-5 season (NR) former head coach Meyer stepped down due to health concerns and they bring a new HC in Muschamp who has no previous HC experience and just 10 returning starters. The Gators have just 3 SEC HG’s and play South Carolina and UGA away from home and pull the top two teams (Bama and LSU) out of the West. I think UF may have a tough time topping last year’s 8 wins and will not finish in the AP Top 25 at the end of the year.

#9 Oklahoma St-Last year I took a lot of flack for picking the Cowboys last in the Big 12 South but nearly every magazine picked them 5th or 6th as they were one of the more inexperienced teams in the country. Naturally they went on to a great season with their first 11-win season in school history. This year they return 2 of their 3 “triplets” in Weeden and Blackmon but OSU loses OC Holgorsen and RB Hunter from an off avg 44.2 ppg, which was their best since 1988. OSU was also +12 in TO’s, has five Big 12 away games (incl at Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri, and Texas Tech) and only had 2 starts lost to injury last year. They do get Oklahoma at home again this year but were outgained by 209 yds to the Sooners last year. There is no question that the Cowboys are very talented but because of having such a tough B12 schedule I do not have them in my Top 15. Read more…

AP Top 10 Projection Results

August 20th, 2011 6 comments

Today the preseason AP Top 25 was released with Oklahoma clearly ranked #1. Every year I am particularly intrigued by who is placed in the preseason AP Top 10 as I try to predict what those teams will be shortly after the previous season is completed.

Most AP voters usually look at a couple of criteria when they evaluate a team for the upcoming season. First they look at the number of returning starters that the team has coming back particularly at the offensive skill positions. A team that returns its starting QB and a combination of its RB and WRs is often times more highly thought of than a team that loses its starting QB but returns its entire offensive line. Similarly a team that returns most of its starters on offense but loses a lot of its defensive playmakers usually is more highly thought of than a team that returns a majority of its defensive starters but loses its skill position players on offense.

Another factor that is heavily weighted is the performance of the team in the bowl game, which undoubtedly is the lasting image of that team in the offseason. A team coming off a huge bowl win usually is more highly thought of than a team that is coming off a bowl loss regardless of what their schedule looks like for the upcoming season. Read more…