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Archive for January, 2012

2012 Preseason AP Top 10 Projection!

January 30th, 2012 1 comment

Well here it is, my projected AP Top 10 for next year as of January 30, 2012! I will mention it now and I will mention it numerous times throughout today’s blog but this is not MY preseason Top 10 for next year, it is where I project the AP Top 10 to come out at the start of the season.

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 WR’s 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…

Review of My 2011 Top Non-AQ Teams!

January 23rd, 2012 1 comment

Every year in my magazine, I list my Top Non-AQ teams for that particular year and over the course of the last six seasons I have had great success!

In 2006, my top non-AQ team was Boise St and I PROJECTED THEM INTO A BCS BOWL and they went undefeated and got to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat Oklahoma. In 2007, I called for Hawaii to go 12-0 and grab a SUGAR BOWL BERTH and that is exactly what they did!

In 2008 my top non-AQ team was Utah and while they were NOT RANKED in the preseason and no one picked them to even win the MWC at the start of the year except me, they finished unbeaten and #2 in the country! In 2009 my Top non-AQ team was Boise St and when they beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl they finished #4 and the top non-AQ team in the country. In 2010 it was FIVE in a row. EVERYONE had Boise St as their top non AQ team but I went against the grain and picked TCU and coach Patterson and company did not disappoint as they knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished #2 in the country, naturally the top rated non AQ team out there (Boise #9!) Read more…

AFC/NFC Championship Game Forecasts!

January 22nd, 2012 No comments
NFL PLAYOFFS: 5-3
136-74 65% REGULAR SEASON

 

1 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22nd
3:00 PM ET CBS
7

BALTIMORE (13-4) AT NEW ENGLAND (14-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
BALTIMORE 130
215
19
1.8
#25
97.6
NEW ENGLAND
106
335
35
1.2
#6
98.6
Even though they avenged their loss in 2010, the 33-14 home loss in the 2009 Wildcard round still stings the Patriots. BAL was simply the more physical team that day as they dominated all phases. This led to NE altering their offensive package to be 2 TE heavy and more physical. Both teams took advantage of inexperienced QB’s LW’s to advance. NE exerted their will vs DEN (509-252 yd edge) while BAL capitalized on HOU’s mistakes. Seventeen of BAL’s 20 pts were off TO’s with only 2 drives over 40 yds on the day. NE is now 8-1 at home TY outgaining foes by 70 ypg (+7 TO’s) for a 32-18 avg score. BAL went 4-4 on the road w/a +14 ypg mark (-5 TO’s) for a 20-18 avg score. SD, NYJ, PIT, and IND are the common foes with BAL going 4-1 w/a 331-287 yd edge (+6 TO’s) for a 26-18 avg score. NE went 4-1 being outgained 393-384 but was +9 TO’s for a 30-21 avg score. The Patriots as a whole are on a mission and the playoff sked sets up perfectly being under the radar vs Tebowmania LW and they now get a rematch in front of the fans that booed them 2 years ago. “I’d have been booing us, too, the way we played,” Brady said. “Playing the way we played today, we weren’t going to beat anybody.” I know Brady can beat any def and while BAL’s stop unit looked solid it was vs a rookie QB playing on the road with a 17-3 1Q deficit. The Ravens off LW totaled just 227 yards and 11 FD’s getting TD’s on 2/3pl and 34/5pl “drives”. Don’t discount NE’s D as they’ve played bend but don’t break with their def ypp #2 in the NFL and they’ve had 16 sacks the last 4 games.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NEW ENGLAND 31 BALTIMORE 21

 

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East-West Shrine Game

January 21st, 2012 No comments

Todays blog will give you each roster for the East-West Shrine complete with my post season awards, and PS#’s.

The East-West Shrine game is the oldest annual post season all star game and has been played every year since 1925. Although the East won last years game 25-8 the West is still winning the series 45-35-5. The game features many future pros as 90% of last years participants were either drafted or signed on as a free agent in the NFL.

Even though the game is an American football competition, players playing Canadian university football have been invited every year since 1985. The Shrine game is the only game on either the Canadian or American college football schedules in which players from both sides of the border compete with or against each other.

Most importantly the game is played to raise funds for the 22 Shriners Hospitals around the country.

Make sure you check back on Sunday to get my forecasts for the NFL Conference Championship games. Read more…

2012 Returning Starters!

January 20th, 2012 8 comments

We have already been working hard on the 2012 season and today’s blog is the current list for returning starters for each team in 2012 broken down by offense, defense and special teams (kicker/punter). The * on the offense number denotes that the starting QB is returning. Below the list I broke down teams with the most/least returning starters.

I will be back later this week with my forecasts for the AFC and NFC Championship games while on Monday I will expand on the Las Vegas odds to win the 2012 BCS National Championship and give you a breakdown of each of the teams including key starters back/lost. Read more…

NFL Draft Early Entries: Teams Hit Hardest

January 17th, 2012 No comments

Last Saturday was the final date that underclassmen could declare for the 2012 NFL Draft. In total a record 61 players declared early and while some teams were hit hard by the early entries others were more lucky with several players deciding to return for another year. Today I will break which teams were hit hardest and which teams have the best returnees that turned down the NFL.

Later this week, I will give my analysis of whether or not it was a good move/bad move for each player.

Teams Hit Hardest:

Miami lost six players to the draft which was two more than any other school and clearly HC Al Golden has some rebuilding to do in Coral Gables on and off the field. The Canes lost leading rusher Lamar Miller who ran for 1,272 yds (5.6) and 9 TD’s, their leading receiver in Tommy Streeter who had 46 rec (17.6) and 8 TD’s and their best OL in Brandon Washington while also losing some talented defensive players who were suspended parts of this past year. Golden looks like he is bringing in a solid recruiting class to help but it will be tough to replicate the type of production the offensive players had this year.

LSU not only lost the national title rematch to Alabama but they also lost four underclassmen to the draft led by potential Top 10 pick CB Morris Claiborne. WR Reuben Randle had a breakout season while leading the Tigers with 53 rec (17.3) and 8 TD’s while WR Russell Shepard had a disappointing year after being suspended at the start of the season. The Tigers do have plenty of depth as WR Odell Beckham, Jr had a great frosh campaign and naturally the Tigers have arguably the top defensive playmaker in the country in CB Tyrann Mathieu returning. Read more…

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Bowl News and Notes Plus Playoff Recaps

January 17th, 2012 No comments

COTTON BOWL Arkansas 29 Kansas St 16 Dome. KSU had a 19-13 FD edge but Ark a 345-260 yd edge. Joe Adams got his 4th PR TD on the yr and this one was 51 yds. AU had their first 11 win season since Lou Holtz’s 1977 team and Frank Broyles only undefeated season at Ark (1964). This was played in Jerry Jones’ (Ark alum) Dallas Cowboys Stadium. AU came in #6 in the BCS and KSU #8. AU’s first FD didn’t come until early 2Q but thanks to the PR TD they led 19-2 with KSU’s 2 pts coming on a blk’d xp ret’d for 2. It was 19-16 late 3Q when AU on 3&9 got a 9 yd td pass, 26-16 (3:57). KSU missed a 43 yd FG with 6:36 left. AU got a 30 yd FG with 3:30 left and KSU got to the AU37 but on 4&16 was int’d at the 25 and ret’d 61 yds.

SUN BOWL Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27 OT GT led Utah 24-10 into the 4Q but UT got td’s with 6:50 and 1:32 left to tie. GT missed a 48 yd FG with :02 left sending it to OT. The first time in the 77 year history of the Sun Bowl it had gone to OT. GT had earlier missed two 40 yd FG’s and GT finished with a 448-337 yd edge and 19-14 FD edge losing their 7th straight bowl appearance while Utah moved to 7-1 in bowls under Whittingham. GT’s Preston Lyons who had just 39 carries on the year, rushed for 138 yds as David Sims was out with an injury and Orwin Smith was banged up. GT got a 74 yd IR TD in the 3Q to go up 24-10. UT converted on 4&3 for their first 4Q TD and opted to punt on 4&3 from their own 25 with 2:48 left but a 31 yd PR set them up at the GT24 and the TD came on a 4&14, 28 yd pass. After GT got a FG in OT, UT on 3&gl from the 8 got an 8 yd td run by White for the win. Read more…

NFL Divisional Playoff Forecasts!

January 14th, 2012 No comments

NFL PLAYOFFS: 3-1 LW!
136-74 65% REGULAR SEASON

 

4 NFC SEMI-FINALS
SATURDAY, JANUARY 14TH
4:30 PM ET FOX

NEW ORLEANS (14-3) AT SAN FRANCISCO (13-3)

Rushing
Passing
Points
TO’s
ST
A.O.R
NEW ORLEANS 108
335
30
1.7
#5
97.7
SAN FRANCISCO
110
253
23
0.8
#1
97.6
Jim Harbaugh followed up leading Stanford to a 12-1 season and its 1st BCS bowl win by taking SF to their 1st NFC West title since 2002. SF is 7-1 at home and while they’ve only outgained foes by an avg of 21 ypg owning an NFL best +19 TO’s has set up a 28-11 avg score. NO beat a very different SF team 25-22 on MNF in Wk 2 LY. SF had a 417-287 yd edge but 4 TO’s killed their momentum as NO hit a 37 yd FG on the final play to win. NO is on the road being +84 ypg (2nd best) but were -7 TO’s. NO has broken the 500 yd mark in 6 gms TY while SF has only tallied 3 games of 400 yds offense. While I would usually pick the team with a strong D at home this NO squad has the potential of making a very impressive SB run. While extra motivation is not needed NO certainly remembers losing to an NFC West tm LY while also knowing that they are only the 2nd ever team to win 13 reg ssn gms and not have a bye.

PHIL’S FORECAST: NEW ORLEANS 30 SAN FRANCISCO 20

Read more…

Bowl News and Notes Part 3

January 11th, 2012 No comments

SUGAR BOWL Michigan 23 Virginia Tech 20 OT – VT had 377-184 yd and 22-12 FD edges and settled for 4 FG’s in regulation by 3rd string K Justin Myer as VT was without their top 2 K’s. UM was extremely fortunate to escape with the win as VT dominated the first 24:00 but were SOD on 4&1 from the UM4 with 6:51 left in the half which was one of the key plays for UM. VT went on 3 long drives in the 1H going 44/12pl, 46/12pl and 70/9pl. Meanwhile in that span UM was int’d and punted. Unfortunately for VT they settled for 37 and 43 yd FG’s. VT’s D forced another punt but roughing the P gave UM a FD and later on 3&17 UM threw it up. VT’s DB went for the ball, wiped out another VT DB while doing so and Hemingway caught it and went 45 yds for a TD and a 7-6 lead (:49 2Q). VT then fmbl’d the KO and UM settled for a FG and appeared to be stopped when their holder mishandled the snap and threw it up for grabs in a cluster of 3 VT defenders. The ball bounced off the 3 VT defenders, was caught by an OL for a FD and UM was awarded 3 more pts 2pl later and led 10-6 at the half. UM went 35/3pl after a TO for a TD to lead 17-6 (9:43). VT went on a 40/9pl drive settling for a 36 yd FG and then went on a 16pl drive for a TD to tie (10:22). VT, whose D had held UM all day, unfortunately went for a fake punt at midfield and was SOD leaving UM at the VT45 (7:21) and in scoring range and UM took advantage with a 39 yd FG. VT tied it with :02 left at the end of an 83/11pl drive. In OT VT got a TD but surprisingly it was overturned as it was not clearly an incompletion and many speculated it was a TD. VT then missed a 37 yd FG and UM got a 37 yd FG 4pl later for a fortuitous win. Read more…

Bowl Confidence Contest Winners!

January 10th, 2012 No comments

Every year people ask me who my favorite team is. It is the team I pick #1. Last year I rooted AGAINST Alabama almost every week as my magazine was about the only one out there not to pick them to win (or even play in) the title game. This year I picked them #1 and it was not easy but I will admit I rooted for the Tide each week and they held LSU to under 100 yards (4 to 1 yardage edge) last night in a dominating 21-0 national title win!!!

The Daily blog will be undergoing some changes in the next couple of days now that the college football season is complete. Tomorrow’s blog will give you some bowl notes on 15 bowl games with also some top bowl performances from a stats perspective in Friday’s blog. Later on this week you will get my forecasts for the NFL Divisional games played that day including my computer’s projected box score of the games.

Starting next week I will be going to a Monday, Wednesday and weekend blog format until magazine season is over in late spring/early summer. In early February, my projection of what the Preseason AP top 10 will be for 2012 and that will be coming after January 15th when juniors have to declare or not declare for the NFL Draft. I also will be updating you with 2012 NFL Draft and 2012 Frosh Recruiting updates. Read more…