Time for 8 Team Expansion

Posted on December 18, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Sports Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

How to Expand the College Football Playoff

December 11, 2016

PrezRo
compiled by Prez Ro
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As the subject states… it’s time to expand the College Football Playoff (CFP) from 4-teams to 8 like immediately!

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It’s the third College Football Playoff season rankings and Bill Hancock, the CFP’s executive director, reiterated that the system is working. “We are confident,” Hancock said Sunday, “that four is the right number.”

Is it? The Big Ten Champion is out of the playoffs… Big 12 leader is out… Undefeated Western Michigan is out…. but it’s working?

He went on to say “I don’t anticipate any discussion about expansion.” In a word, INTERESTING!!!!

So, wouldn’t you say eight teams would be much more solid as well as fun for the students! And it seems that the majority of fans want the playoff to expand! And every playoff in every major American sport has eventually grown bigger!

NOTE: FCS, Division-I, has been doing this for years

Speaking December 7th at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, Emmert said he prefers an eight-team format that includes automatic bids for champions of each Power Five conference.

And in case you didn’t know, NCAA Commissioner, Mark Emmert, doesn’t have control over the College Football Playoff format — the NCAA doesn’t run the Football Bowl Subdivision postseason and they always remind you of that — but “if” he did, he’d expand it to eight teams in a heartbeat.

However, as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany noted on Wednesday, the field selection this year did not provide any movement toward an eight-team playoff. In so many words he shared ‘the tires have been kicked on an eight-team playoff, casually or otherwise, even before major college football had a four-team playoff. With the three-year-old postseason format paying out hefty sums of money, one can venture to guess expansion is coming at some point in the future.’

Why eight teams? Many believe, including the staff at Amateur Sports, eight is the sweet spot for the college football playoff: more national representation but not too much, and only one more round of competition. Even further…. win your conference (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, MAC, Big 12, PAC12, *AAC or *Sun Belt) and you are in – PERIOD!!! With one spot for a solid wildcard (highest ranked teams remaining including independent teams like Navy and Notre Dame, etc).

* best overall record between these two conference determines who’s in…

The case for expansion…

For the first two years of the playoff, one thing looked abundantly clear: winning your conference championship was important and all eight playoff teams in those two years were conference champs. But this year, Penn State messed things up by winning the Big Ten championship. Suddenly, the qualifying statements perpetuated by the “CYA” mission of selecting the “four best teams” began pouring in. Then came along the dialogue about the resumes between Penn State and Ohio State, which were not close but they won when they had to based on their schedule.

To be clear, this isn’t to say those statements are wrong. In many ways they’re right. But can anyone remember this much dismissing of conference titles last year? How about the year before? Funny how it emerges when it’s the team no one expects winning the conference.

And let’s not forget the efforts of Western Michigan who went undefeated including winning the MAC championship, and they are out too.

Additionally, two things fans love about March Madness take effect. There’s the Cinderella story, which would have been Western Michigan this year, and the team with the hot hand. No one denies that early-season losses by Oklahoma and USC matter, but it’s also true they aren’t the same teams now as they were in September. Expanding to eight at least allows for greater consideration of this.

The macro point here is that the first three seasons of the playoff have been filled with inconsistencies. Fans see this on a week-to-week basis with the mock rankings selection show. “Body clocks” is a pass one week and “game control” is a criterion the next. Flexibility is the beauty of having a human committee. It’s also what makes it extraordinarily frustrating. Having the Power Five conference champions as automatic bids absolutely takes away the drama, but it also takes away a lot of the frustration.

What would an eight-team playoff look like this season? This exercise is part reality and part subjectivity.

To acknowledge the selection committee members, we will use their top four: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Washington.

Now, the fun part: we pick the next four!

They are as follows: No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Western Michigan, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Oklahoma. Despite a 39-point loss at Michigan Stadium, Penn State is ahead of the Wolverines because of its overall profile (wins over Ohio State, Wisconsin, Temple and Iowa) and conference championship.

Unfortunately, the first four out would be USC, Wisconsin, Florida State, and Colorado. USC is very close to Oklahoma to us even though they didn’t win their conference or division but has two better wins — Washington and Colorado — than anything on Oklahoma’s résumé. Plus, outside of Alabama, USC is the team no one wants to play.

Here’s how our hypothetical eight-team playoff would look this year.

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NOTE: With the team with the higher ranking “host” to game on their home field.

No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (10-2)

No. 2 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2)

No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 6 Western Michigan (13-0)

No. 4 Washington (12-1) vs. No. 5 Penn State (11-2)

college-bracket-2016

NOTE: Losers are then slotted to the “already” predetermined bowl games ~click here for details on that. Notice in the column of team selection how it states conference and place in the standings.

CONCLUSION
Now to be fair, there is a case against expansion expanding…

What do you want to reward? The best team in tournament play at the time of the tournament, or the best team in the land?

In the modern era of college football, championships have been won by teams with superior talent and excellent coaching. Each year, you could make an argument that only about 13-16 teams in the country will fit that description at the beginning of the year, and many of those teams will fall from title contention because of injuries or ill-timed poor play. If the playoff is expanded, you gain the element of postseason drama but risk losing a worthy champion because of a bad break. Often you hear let’s leave the “Cinderella story” to college basketball and let college football crown its king with the four best teams in the country.

I also think expanding the playoffs would require increasing the scholarship limit or cutting back on the number of regular-season games. Expanding the playoff would decrease the urgency for conference championship weekend for teams that were “locks,” like Ohio State was heading into Selection Sunday this season.

I’m not great at math, but scholarships cost money, cutting regular season or conference title games means less money, and there isn’t enough impetus for this current crop of conference commissioners to go through the headache or reworking the letter of the law without knowing more regarding the future of finances (media rights) in college football.

Regardless of the “so-called” obstacles, isn’t it about the “student-athlete” and their efforts on the field? And these athletes can only play who’s on the schedule and in front of them. We also believe the NCAA should “own” one floating week on ALL D1 schedules each year, which they can force teams to play a real, out of conference competitor, but that’s in an upcoming article – Stay tune. We digress…

In the end, we’re going to watch and debate, but respectively speaking, it’s time to reward overall achievement not what we think will happen.

For fun, here is a 16-team playoff by our friends at SEC country  – whew!… click here!

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Big Ten Big Revenue

Posted on May 31, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Sports Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG Ten revenue jumps…

May 20, 2016

PrezRo
compiled by Prez Ro
follow back at @PrezRo365

BIGTEN-LARGE

Business is booming for the Big Ten or should we say CHA-CHING$$$

statefarm1According to tax records obtained by USA Today, the Big Ten had a significant revenue increase – nearly $110 million – during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015 – WHEW! Overall, the conference brought in $448.8 million in total revenue, which divvies up to “roughly $32.4 million to each of its longest-standing 11 members.”

Not too shabby. By comparison, during the same time frame, the SEC brought in $527.4 million to distribute to its 14 members.

The introduction of the College Football Playoff also undoubtedly played a role in the increased revenue.

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From USA Today:

The Big Ten annually provides a figure for what it terms “Sports Revenue.” Based on the way the conference categorizes other revenue streams, “Sports Revenue” includes — but is not exclusively comprised of — TV revenue and revenue from football bowl games.

The conference reported about $317 million in “Sports Revenue” in fiscal 2014 and almost $397 million in 2015 — an $80 million difference. Based on reports from other conferences that approximate their bowl revenue increases from the CFP, it is likely that $50 million to $60 million of the Big Ten’s “Sports Revenue” increase is attributable to the TV rights fee increases that resulted from adding Maryland and Rutgers.

In addition,  the Big Ten is working toward a new TV deal. SportsBusiness Journal reported last month that the conference is nearing a $250 million per year agreement with Fox (which owns 51% of Big Ten Network) that would span six years.

The reported deal with Fox, which is said to have outbid ESPN by a significant margin, would cover just half of the league’s overall package. Whether ESPN gets back in the mix for the Big Ten’s remaining media rights (as John Skipper says it wants to) remains to be seen.

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2015 NCAA Championship Weekend

Posted on December 6, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Championship Weekend is here…

December 5, 2015

It was a Saturday filled with conference championships, and Buckeye fans were hoping that a few minor miracles would help Urban Meyer make his way into the College Football Playoff yet again.

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Michigan State 16, Iowa 13

The Spartans and Hawkeyes engaged in a typical Big Ten battle Saturday night in Indy. With only nine points scored in the first half, both teams were able to find paydirt in the fourth quarter, but it was a familiar Ohioan who gave Michigan State the conference crown.

The true freshman rushed for 73 yards and the game-winner that capped of a 22-play, 82-yard drive that consumed nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Scott carried the ball fourteen times on Sparty’s final drive. Connor Cook completed 16 of 32 passes for 191 yards and one interception. The senior missed a few open wide receivers and still didn’t look anywhere near 100%.

The Hawkeye ground game struggled throughout the night, managing just 55 yards with no scores. Quarterback C.J. Beathard connected on 18 of 26 passes for 216 yards with a touchdown and an interception. On the first play of the third quarter—on a 2nd down and 20—the junior tossed one of the prettier passes of the season, connecting with Tevaun Smith for an 85-yard touchdown that put the Hawkeyes on top 13-9.

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Alabama 29, Florida 15

Florida only having lost one conference game in the regular season probably tells you everything you need to know about the SEC this year. I guess the positive for the Gators may be that high school quarterbacks have to see that early playing time is a real possibility in 2016.

The Gator offense was tough to watch on Saturday. The running game ended with 15 yards on 21 carries. They actually had negative yards rushing until quarterback Treon Harris scrambled for 23 yards late in the fourth quarter. Speaking of Harris, it wasn’t pretty for the 5-foot-11 sophomore. He ended the day 9 of 24 for 165 yards with one score and an interception. Jordan Kronkrite and Kelvin Taylor led the way on the ground as both finished with a whopping eight yards.

Derrick Henry all but secured the Heisman Trophy, rushing for 189 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries. He now holds the SEC record for rushing yards in a season (1,986) and his touchdown tied the SEC single-season record (23). Jake Coker threw for 204 yards and a pair of scores. True freshman wideout Calvin Ridley made a few ridiculous plays while hauling in 8 passes for 102 yards.

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Clemson 45, North Carolina 37

Lately, poor officiating has been a hot topic at both the college and professional levels. That trend continued Saturday in Charlotte, and for Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels, it may have cost them a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. With a little over a minute left in the game, UNC recovered an onside kick near the 50-yard line, but the officials flagged the Heels for supposedly being offsides.

Deshaun Watson had himself a day for the Tigers. The sophomore signal-caller accounted for over 400 yards and scored five total touchdowns. Tailback Wayne Gallman rushed for 187 yards and a score as the Clemson ground game tallied 319 yards on the day. Artavis Scott led all receivers with seven receptions for 96 yards and a score. Gallman added 68 yards receiving and a touchdown reception.

Quarterback Marquise Williams once again led the way for the Heels. The senior threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 81 and a score on the ground. Elijah Hood rushed for 65 yards and a score. North Carolina put up 382 yards of total offense while Clemson managed just over 600.

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Stanford 41, Southern California 22

If Derrick Henry all but solidified his Heisman status on Saturday, then I’m not sure what Christian McCaffrey did. The Reggie Bush comparisons have been out there throughout the season, but Stanford’s do-it-all sophomore truly did just about everything for the Cardinal.

McCaffrey tossed a touchdown pass, rushed for a score, and was on the receiving end of a touchdown from quarterback Kevin Hogan. He ended the day with 207 yards rushing, 105 yard receiving, 149 return yards, and the 11-yard touchdown pass. McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders’ single-season all-purpose yards record as the Trojans simply had no answer.

For the Trojans, Cody Kessler threw for 187 yards and a score. JuJu Smith-Schuster hauled in 11 passes for 87 yards while junior tailback Justin Davis added 99 yards on the ground. The Trojans fought back from a 13-0 second-quarter deficit and actually had the lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. The turning point came late in the third when Cardinal defensive lineman—and former Ohio State target—Solomon Thomas scooped up a Kessler fumble and returned it 34 yards for a score.

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Houston 24, Temple 13

Tom Herman is good at coaching football, and for the second straight season, he is a conference champion. The Cougars got off to a 17-0 first-half lead and their ground game and defense were able to hold off the Owls after the half.

Houston’s running game accounted for 233 of its 339 total yards. Junior quarterback Greg Ward led the way with 148 rushing yards and two scores. Ward chipped in another 88 yards through the air. Brandon Wilson added 70 yards rushing while sophomore Javin Webb was also able to find the endzone.

Temple quarterback P.J. Walker threw for 287 yards and a score. Senior wideout Robby Anderson was his favorite target on the day, hauling in 12 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.

On Friday, Herman signed a 5-year extension with the Cougs; spurning a number of larger programs, including Georgia and South Carolina.

So things definitely did not go as we had hoped. Florida provided Buckeye fans about a quarter’s worth of hope as their defense kept them in the game early on. Stanford is simply a better team than the Trojans. And North Carolina had no answer for Deshaun Watson.

Obviously we don’t know if UNC would have scored and converted the two-point conversion to tie the game, but I have no idea what the officials were looking at to make that offsides call. Targeting calls are constantly being reviewed, so it seems a little strange that something so important is not a reviewable call. Perhaps there will be another rule change? Who knows.

It will be interesting to see where the Buckeyes end up. Personally, I will be content—or at least as content a possible without going to the CFP—with playing Stanford in the Rose Bowl or Notre Dame in the Fiesta. But will the committee have Iowa ranked higher than Ohio State? The Rose Bowl management committee suggested that the “strong presumption” is that they take the next highest-rated team.

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We shall learn our fate Sunday afternoon as the College Football Playoff show will reveal the final rankings between 12PM and 4PM EST on ESPN.

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2013 Big Ten Championship

Posted on December 8, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Spartans knockoff Buckeyes from possible BCS Championship
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December 7, 2013

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INDIANAPOLIS – UPSET? hhhmmm….

michiganstate-helmet34 ohiostate-helmet 24

Behind the play of sophomore quarterback, Connor Cook, Michigan State rallied from a seven-point third-quarter deficit by scoring the final 17 points Saturday night to upset Ohio State 34-24 and deny the Buckeyes a chance to play in the VIZIO BCS National Championship game.

“I think we heard people talk bad about us all year. This wasn’t the first week where we heard people say negative things about us as an offense or as a football team, Cook said after throwing a 9-yard TD pass with 11:41 left to give the Spartans a 27-24 lead. “I think we were underdogs in the majority of the games we played this year. It really didn’t affect us.”

Cook responded to the challenge by driving the Spartans for a field goal, hooking up with the wide open Josiah Price in the flat of the end zone and then burned 3½ critical minutes on the clinching drive, capped by Jeremy Langford’s sealing 26-yard TD run.

Cook finished 24-of-40 for a career-high 304 yards and three scores. Langford ran 24 times for 128 yards, becoming the first player this season to top 100 yards against the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes did that late in the first half when they closed to 17-10 at halftime. Braxton Miller opened the second half with an 8-yard TD run to tie and then gave Ohio State the 24-17 lead with a 6-yard run with 5:36 left in the third.

Michigan State answered with Michael Geiger’s 44-yard field goal, which barely dropped over the crossbar, to make it 24-20 and Cook hooked up with a wide-open Price in the flat to make it 27-24 before Langford sealed it with his TD run with 2:16 left, which prompted coach Mark Dantonio to lobby for the Spartans to be playing in the title game Jan. 6.

“I can tell you this, we beat the No. 2 team,” Dantonio said. “We’re 12-1 so why not us? Why not us? I’ll vote us No. 2.”
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STATS

PASSING
Ohio State    C/ATT    YDS    AVG    TD    INT
Miller            8/21        101      4.8       1       0

Michigan State    C/ATT    YDS    AVG    TD    INT
Cook                      24/40      304    7.6       3        1

Rushing
Ohio State    CAR    YDS    AVG    TD    LG
Miller            21        142      6.8       2      48
Hyde             18        118       6.6       0      18

Michigan State    CAR    YDS    AVG    TD    LG
Langford               24    128    5.3    1    34
Shelton                 2       8        4.0    0    7

Receiving
Ohio State    REC    YDS    AVG    TD    LG
Brown            5         53        10.6    1        20
Heuerman    1         36         36.0    0       36

Michigan State    REC    YDS    AVG    TD    LG
Mumphery           2          84      42.0      1       72
Kings Jr.               5          67       13.4      0      48

NOTES
Ohio State came into the game with the nation’s longest winning streak (24), had not lost under Meyer in two seasons and had one of the nation’s most productive offenses and underrated defenses.

With Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller each over 100 rush yards…. Ohio State has multiple 100-yd rushers in 4 straight games (5 total this season); Buckeyes had 5 such games in the previous 15 seasons combined

Ohio State held scoreless in 1st qtr for 1st time since Oct. 27, 2012 at Penn State (won 35-23) Buckeyes entered the day with an FBS-high 220 points scored in the 1st qtr this season

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BIG TEN / ACC Challenge

Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 BIG TEN / ACC Challenge

BIGTEN-ACC-Challenge-2013

DECEMBER 2, 2013

This years’ Big Ten/ACC Challenge promises to be two of the most exciting days of the college basketball season, as 24 teams from two powerhouse conferences collide on the hardwood.

The Commissioner’s Cup remains with the Big Ten after a tie in this event last year, although the ACC boasts a 10-3-1 record over its rival conference. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if the ACC can pick up its first win since 2008, especially with so many talented squads in the field.

Here is this years’ schedule and our predictions (in BOLD)…

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NOTE: Three ACC teams were excluded this year: Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Tuesday, Dec. 3 (all times ET)
7:15 – Indiana at Syracuse (ESPN)
7:15 – Illinois at Georgia Tech (ESPN2)
7:30 – Penn State at Pittsburgh (ESPNU)
9:15 – Michigan at Duke (ESPN)
9:15 – Notre Dame at Iowa (ESPN2)
9:30 – Florida State at Minnesota (ESPNU)

Wednesday, Dec. 4 (all times ET)
7:00 – Maryland at Ohio State (ESPN or ESPN2)
7:00 – Wisconsin at Virginia (ESPN or ESPN2)
7:30 – Northwestern at NC State (ESPNU)
9:00 – North Carolina at Michigan State (ESPN)
9:00 – Boston College at Purdue (ESPN2)
9:30 – Miami at Nebraska (ESPNU)

This is going to be a great tournament and a single game could be the difference between a win or loss—and possibly another tie—in the challenge.

I have it all tied again, but putting pride into the equation could change everything. So, don’t be surprised if the outcome of this challenge comes down to the final minutes of the final game being played on Wednesday night. These two conferences are that evenly matched and it could truly go either way.

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Here are a few fun notes about the Challenge…

•Seven of the 12 games will mark first-time Challenge matchups: Michigan-Duke, Maryland-Ohio State, Miami-Nebraska and Boston College-Purdue, plus the debut of the three new ACC members Syracuse (vs. Indiana), Notre Dame (at Iowa) and Pitt (vs. Penn State).

•In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Nebraska holds a 3-1 record against Miami; Purdue won both previous meetings against BC; Ohio State and Maryland last played in 1985 with OSU three out of the five all-time games; and Notre Dame will play Iowa for the first time since 1990 and holds a 8-5 series record.

•Old Pennsylvania rivals Pitt and Penn State will meet for the first time since 2005. The Panthers have won the past five contests.

•Illinois/Georgia Tech and Wisconsin/Virginia will follow their first-time Challenge meetings in 2012 with a rematch in the 2013 event. The Illini and Cavaliers won last year’s matchups.

•Best Three Out of Five: North Carolina/Michigan State and Minnesota/Florida State will meet in the Challenge for the fifth time. Both series are 2-2.

•Rubber Match: Northwestern and NC State will square off in the Challenge for the third time. Northwestern won in 2009 and NC State in 2002.

•Syracuse and Indiana have met five previous times in non-Challenge games, with the Orange winning the past four, including last season’s Sweet 16 matchup.

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College Basketball Watch List

Posted on November 18, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

We are watching….

As basketball tipped last week, we have compiled our “WATCH-LIST,” which consist of players from our coverage area here in Illinois, as well as national players we have gotten to know over the years on the circuit. During the season, we will be updating this blog every week as the season goes on until championship Monday in April 2014.

So be sure to bookmark this article, and come back each and every Monday morning for our weekly recap.

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Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas Jayhawks 

Jabari Parker, F, Duke Blue Devils 

Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona Wildcats 

Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana Hoosiers 

Kendrick Nunn, G, Illinois Illini

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Julius Randle, F, Kentucky Wildcats 

James Young, G, Kentucky Wildcats 

Andrew Harrison, G, Kentucky Wildcats 

Aaron Harrison, G, Kentucky Wildcats 

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Top College Basketball Teams 2013-14

Posted on November 18, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Our Top Teams…

November 2013

Another exciting college basketball season is underway! This should be an incredible season because there are a number of legitimate contenders. You will see some great matchups early in the year, including Michigan State-Kentucky and Kansas-Duke in Chicago early – November 12. That’s four of my top five teams squaring off in one night!

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1. Kentucky
John Calipari has reloaded big time. He has the top recruiting class in America by far, and this group should be special. Think about it — the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew), Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, James Young, Marcus Lee —  WOW! Then add in veterans like Jarrod Polson, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein to help the youngsters learn the ropes, and Big Blue Nation will be smiling.

2. MichiganState
Having Adreian Payne up front, plus a healthy Gary Harris, Keith Appling and Branden Dawson, is enough to believe the Spartans are legit contenders to cut down the nets in April. The Big Ten favorites will be cohesive and deep. Tom Izzo is a master motivator at tournament time and his team should make a deep run in 2014.

3. Louisville
Russ Smith’s decision to return to school gives Rick Pitino an even better chance of going back-to-back. Chane Behanan will be even tougher on the glass. Luke Hancock is more confident after being named Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. I can’t wait to watch Louisville and Kentucky go at it in late December, and don’t forget about Chicago’s very-own Wayne Blackshear.

4. Duke
Mike Krzyzewski will have a more athletic team that will run, baby, run! Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood are newcomers to watch. Expect more from Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon. The return of Andre Dawkins will provide long-range shooting help.

5. Kansas
The Jayhawks moved up because of one name — Andrew Wiggins. There will be excitement for Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk with the diaper dandy leading the way at the Phog. I expect Perry Ellis to develop into a valuable performer.

For the rest of our list, click here.

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Our 2013 BCS Picks

Posted on September 18, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who will play for the final BCS championship?

Since everyone has played at least one game, and we do NOT believe in pre-season polls too much, here is our Bowl Matchup predictions.

2014-BCS Bama-helmet vs. oregeon-helmet

rosebowlohiostate-helmet vs. stanford-helmet

sugarbowl   SoCarolina-helmet vs. floridaSt

fiestabowl boisestate vs. oklahomastate

orangebowl clemson-helmet vs. louisville-helmet

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Ranking NCAA Football Conferences 2013

Posted on September 16, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who’s the TOP College football conference?

August 28, 2013

10sunbelt

Who? Okay…. we needed a 10th conference…

9 confUSA

Louisiana Tech is fun to watch… next

8Mid-American

Northern Illinois dominates this conference every year and this year will NOT be any different but the rest of the teams struggle.

7MountainWest

There’s Boise State and a bunch of other teams… Next!

6AmericanConf

Louisville, Cincy and Rutgers are all gonna battle and that makes this conference tough.

5  acc

It’s all about Clemson and Florida State, but still nothing to sneeze at here.

4BigTen-Logo

Right night, it’s hard to imagine any team long-term outperforming The Ohio State this year, even though Wisconsin will try their best to keep things close since they are in the same conference (Leaders). On the other side of the division, Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern will fight and scratch to the end in order to play the Buckeyes in the championship game December 7 in Indianapolis.

3Big12

This 10-team league is wide-open with contenders like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Baylor and Kansas State at the top. Who will prevail? See ya in December…

2  Pac12

Right away, when you think Pac-12 you think Stanford and Oregon, which is absolutely correct but don’t sleep on Arizona State and UCLA this season.

1SEC

As much as we would love to put another conference on top, the reality of it all is we can’t. Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, etc… would dominate any conference listed below – hands down. Thus, SEC again is the top football conference – PERIOD!

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Illinois lose to Washington 34-24 for the Chicago Homecoming

Posted on September 14, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Huskiesillini helmet

Two undefeated teams come into Soldier Field – one will stay undefeated – who?

September 14, 2013

CHICAGO – Both teams come into the season undefeated, but only one can leave Soldier Field n the same manner… who will it be?

Well tonight it is Washington, who held off Illinois 34-24.

Huskies senior quarterback Keith Price led the charge going 28-35 for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns. Followed by running back Bishop Sankey, who added 35 carries for 208 and two scores. The first score in the game came in the second quarter on a 25 yard pass from Price.

Illinois needed a fast start, big plays on offense and a bend-but-don’t-break defense to upset “ranked” Washington. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it in the first half where Washington led 10-3. And to start the second half, the Huskies picked up where they left off at, with a 4 play touchdown drive featuring Sankey, who scored on a short run, giving the visitors a commanding lead of 17-3.

Washington dominating first half stats in just about all of the important ones: first downs (14-8), rushing (67-32), total yards (278-93), and the most important one, score 10-3.

After the Huskies (2-0) marched down the field with the third-quarter kickoff for a 17-3 lead, the Illinois offense answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a two-yard naked bootleg by Nathan Scheelhaase with four tight ends on the field.

Nathan Scheelhaase finished the game 9 for 25 for 156 yards, 1 interception, one touchdown in the air and one on the ground.

‘‘Anytime you walk off the field without the win, there’s something missing,’’ Scheelhaase said. ‘‘We kept throwing punches, kept giving it all we had. It’s fun to be a part of that. I didn’t see that a lot last year. It was good to see that.’’

In retrospect, I want to say that all was not lost in this first loss of the season. The Illini (2-1), who trailed basically the entire game, found a way to hang around in that first half with their defense, which is looking better than anticipated — because not much was anticipated. That defense, which gave up a scary 615 yards, will need to get better. But the Illini have faith. Here the bottom line is the young Illinois defense needs to tackle better — and it will learn to do that in time.

‘‘If we were in this situation last year, it might have turned sour,’’ senior linebacker Jonathan Brown said. ‘‘But these guys fought to the end. They showed heart. With a performance like that, you can find the things you need to improve on.’’

There is still time to make adjustments and put together the right Illini plan moving forward. And their bye week comes at a good time too.

‘‘Our players came out knowing they had a chance to win this game and fought to the end,’’ coach Tim Beckman said.

Up next for the 2-1 Fighting Illini is Miami (OH), September 28 in Champaign.

statefarm1

University of Illinois rolled out the red carpet and added some of the best Chicagoland and Illinois icons beginning with Jim Cornelison, fulltime national anthem singer for the 2013 Stanley Cup champions Blackhawks, who put goose bumps on everyone in attendance. In addition, Chicago Bear Hall of Famer and Illini alum, Dick Butkus tossed the ceremonial coin to begin the game.

ABOUT WASHINGTON (1-0): Senior quarterback Keith Price passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State and is 115 yards away from overtaking Brock Huard (6,391 yards from 1996-98) for third place on the school’s all-time list. Junior tailback Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards (his fifth 100-yard performance in his last six games) in a strong opening-game salvo to follow up last year’s 1,439-yard season. Junior middle linebacker – and defensive leader – John Timu racked up 13 tackles in the opener while senior safety Sean Parker made an interception.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-0): Cubit’s effect on quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been stunning as the senior has six touchdown passes in two games to surpass last season’s output (four in 246 attempts). Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards in the opener against Southern Illinois and followed up with 312 in last Saturday’s 45-17 rout of favored Cincinnati. The defense, which has experienced issues while allowing an average of 431 yards, is led by senior outside linebacker Jonathan Brown (14 tackles against Cincinnati, 23 overall), sophomore middle linebacker Mason Monheim (2.5 tackles for loss among 18 stops) and junior strong safety Earnest Thomas III (16 tackles in two games).

FUN NOTES for Fighting Illini

• The Fighting Illini (2-0) look to continue their hot start on Saturday when they head to the Windy City to host No. 19/23 Washington at Soldier Field for Chicago Homecoming (5 p.m. CT, BTN). A win would make Illinois 3-0 for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. The other was in 2011, when the Illini started the season 6-0.

• Following Saturday’s shellacking of Cincinnati, the Illini are receiving votes in both polls for the first time since Oct. 24, 2011. Illinois sits 34th in the AP poll (nine votes) and 39th in the coaches poll (three votes).

• Illinois faces its first top-25 opponent of the season on Saturday as Washington is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

• Scheelhaase has more passing touchdowns (six) in two games than 102 of the 123 FBS teams. He also has thrown for 728 yards, more than 116 of 123 FBS teams through week 2.

• Scheelhaase’s 728 yards are the most in Illinois’ first two games of a season since Jason Verduzco passed for 783 yards in the first two games of 1991. Scheelhaase also has six passing touchdowns, equaling the school record for most TD passes in the first two games of a season shared by Juice Williams (2008) and Kurt Kittner (2000).

• Senior LB and Butkus Award candiate Jonathan Brown leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in tackles (11.5 tpg). Brown had 14 stops against Cincinnati, a B1G single-game high this season.

• Washington leads the all-time series with the Illini by a 5-4 margin, but the teams haven’t met since 1972. The two programs are 2-2 in games played in Champaign, while Washington holds a 3-1 margin in Seattle. The Illini notched a 17-7 win in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Illinois will travel to Seattle in the third week of 2014 for a Sept. 13 tilt at Husky Stadium.

• This year is the 50th anniversary of Illinois’ 1964 Rose Bowl victory over the Huskies, an Illini squad that was led by Chicago-born Illini legends Dick Butkus and Jim Grabowski. Washington took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, but Illinois’ defense took over and the Illini managed touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for the 17-7 final score. Grabowski earned MVP honors, finishing with 125 yards and a touchdown.

#Illini defeated Washington in ’64 @rosebowlgame, 17-7. In the 50th anniversary @illinifootball hoping for repeat Sat, Sep 14 at @SoldierField. http://pic.twitter.com/otoTCpKtgA

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