Top 5 Coaches in College Football Today

January 11, 2013

As Alabama head coach Nick Saban just took home his third BCS National Championship in four years, and fourth overall, it is a good time to look at who might be the top five coaches who are in college football today.

With Saban climbing up the ranks of the best coaches of all time, where does he rank among current college coaches.

#5 – Chip Kelly, Oregon

Kelly runs his offense and he runs it well.  His up-tempo, stretch the field offense just physically and mentally wears out the Ducks’ opponents.  Kelly continues to turn out phenomenal athletes in the college ranks; they don’t always work out in the NFL.

Kelly has been the most rumored to make the jump to the NFL, he recently announced he would remain at Oregon, at least for this year.  It would have to be an ideal situation, with the right athletes already in place, for Kelly’s system to work at the next level.

#4 – Les Miles, LSU

There is probably not a coach with more guts in college football right now than Miles.  He thrives on making calls that other coaches would never make.  His sustained success in the SEC at LSU is only overshadowed by one coach.

#3 – Chris Petersen, Boise State

Every year, college football fans wait for the year Boise State seriously stumbles.  Yet every year, Boise State is competing on the national stage, and often in the running to make a BCS game as an at-large bid (a.k.a. the same exact way Northern Illinois got in).

Boise State obviously is not going to draw in the big name recruits, but Petersen continues to coach the teams to top finishes every year.

#2 – Urban Meyer, Ohio State

It shows what type of coach Meyer is when he can lead and motivate the Buckeyes, a team banned from postseason play in 2012, to the only FBS team with an undefeated record.  His offenses at Florida, especially with Tim Tebow at quarterback, were magical, and Ohio State fans hope that success is duplicated with Braxton Miller.

While Meyer has had to deal with a number of off-the-field issues, there is no denying that he is one of the brilliant coaches in college football today.

This space indicates how far ahead the #1 coach on this list is ahead of the previous four and all of the other coaches in college football.

#1 – Nick Saban, Alabama

What Saban has been able to do at Alabama is just unbelievable.  The Crimson Tide were just better in all aspects of the game against Notre Dame.

There is not another coach in college football right now, that if there was one game to win, that I would want roaming the sidelines and preparing my team.


Outback Bowl Pick: Gamecocks Just a Little Better

December 31, 2012

The 2013 Outback Bowl should be a great match-up between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Michigan Wolverines.  Both teams have a lot of similarities, but one is just a little better.

Michigan had a tough season at times.  The Wolverines did have to face both teams who are playing in the National Championship, plus an undefeated Ohio State team.

For the Wolverines, it was supposed to be a dual threat attack with the running ability of QB Denard Robinson and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Toussaint suffered a gruesome ankle injury late in the year, while Robinson developed a nerve injury in his throwing arm, that has relegated him to an all-purpose player, lining up at both quarterback and running back at times.  Devin Gardner is the quarterback for Michigan.

Michigan also has a top-20 defense in terms of points against, ranking 16th in the country.

Meanwhile, for the Gamecocks, this was supposed to be the season that everything was put together, making a run for an SEC Championship.

After being on top of the world with a statement win against then 5th-ranked Georgia, South Carolina lost a tough one on the road against LSU, before having their fate sealed with an embarrassing loss against Florida.

However, for a team that does not have a long history of winning football, a 10-win season still is not too shabby.

The Gamecocks’ offense has had moments of greatness, followed by moments of inconsistent play.  A late season injury to RB Marcus Lattimore also hurt the offense.

This was supposed to be the year that the quarterback position would be stable for South Carolina.  Injuries to starter Connor Shaw opened the door for Dylan Thompson to see some action.  Thompson helped to lead the Gamecocks to two wins, including rival Clemson the last week of the season.

Shaw is the runner with passing ability.  Thompson is the passer, with running ability.

The key to the Gamecocks’ offense is going to be the running game.  South Carolina has to be able to run the ball against Michigan, to take the pressure off the quarterbacks, to give them an opportunity to win.  Senior RB Kenny Miles has a knack for coming up big in significant games.

Defensively, the Gamecocks must force the Wolverines to pass.  Michigan offers a lot of options running the ball, with the versatility of Robinson.  It will be important for the Gamecocks’ front-7, which includes All-American DE Jadeveon Clowney, not to over-pursue the run, and get pressure on the quarterback with the pass.

Despite some good plays, the Gamecocks’ defensive backs are not good enough one-on-one in coverage, without getting pressure on the quarterback to force bad throws.  South Carolina’s defense thrives on that pressure.

At the end of the day, while these two teams match-up well, the Gamecocks are just a little more battle tested, especially this year.

In 2012, the Big Ten Conference’s competition just did not seem up-to-par, as seen when a 7-5 Wisconsin team, only in the championship game because of penalties to Ohio State and Penn State, demolished the conference’s best team, Nebraska.

The SEC was as strong as ever in 2012, with two teams ranked in the top-3 to end the season.  While the strength of this conference is still in the Western Division, there are about 10-12 teams in this conference that could compete with anyone in the country.

Like last year’s Capital One Bowl, it is close for three quarters, but the power of the SEC pulls away late.

Gamecocks 34, Wolverines 24

Bowl Predictions FINAL Edition (After 12/1)

December 1, 2012

Here they are, the final edition of the Bowl Predictions.  Tomorrow the final BCS standings will be released, and the bowl picks will be revealed.

Information is certainly going to be pouring in throughout tomorrow on leaked bowl picks, and I will try to keep the table and subsequent changes updated leading up to the selection show.

The complete list, and times of games, is listed here.

UPDATE #1 1:10 p.m.:  Pittsburgh is in to a bowl game.  Appears they are going to be allowed to play in a game, even with one of their 6 wins coming against different division.

UPDATE #2 1:50 p.m.:  Looks like ACC, Big Ten, and SEC bowls are close to being set, at least the bigger games, based on reports.  Remember, it is still VERY UNOFFICIAL.  On the NIU in the BCS front, I just don’t think it will happen

UPDATE #3 2:20 p.m.:  Rutgers has accepted bid to Russell Athletic Bowl (source) and Nebraska returns to the Capital One Bowl (source).

UPDATE #4 3:10 p.m.:  Cincinnati officially going to Belk Bowl and Michigan to the Outback Bowl.

UPDATE #5 3:40 p.m.:  The rest of the Big Ten bowl games appears to be set.

UPDATE #6 4:50 p.m.:  The BCS has busted, as reports are that Florida State and Northern Illinois will play in the Orange Bowl.  That changes everything.

UPDATE #7 5:40 p.m.:  It appears that SEC teams will be next to start announcing where they are going.  Georgia to Capital One, Mississippi State to Gator, and South Carolina to Outback.

UPDATE #8 6:10 p.m.:  No more specific updates, the bowl announcements should be coming quick now, as with the BCS figured out, it’s just about slotting teams at this point.  Will continue to update as information is released.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl Nevada Arizona
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Utah State Toledo
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl BYU San Diego State
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl Central Florida Ball State
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette East Carolina
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Boise State Washington
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Southern Methodist Fresno State
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Central Michigan Western Kentucky
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman Bowling Green San Jose State
Belk Bowl Duke Cincinnati
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl UCLA Baylor
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Ohio Louisiana-Monroe
Russell Athletic Bowl Virginia Tech Rutgers
Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Texas Tech Minnesota
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Air Force Rice
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Syracuse West Virginia
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Navy Arizona State
Valero Alamo Bowl Oregon State Texas
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl TCU Michigan State
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Vanderbilt North Carolina State
Hyundai Sun Bowl Georgia Tech Southern California
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Tulsa Iowa State
Chick-fil-A Bowl Clemson LSU Gator Bowl Northwestern Mississippi State
Heart of Dallas Bowl Oklahoma State Purdue
Outback Bowl Michigan South Carolina
Capital One Bowl Georgia Nebraska
Rose Bowl Game presented by Visio Wisconsin Stanford
Discover Orange Bowl Florida State Northern Illinois
Allstate Sugar Bowl Florida Louisville
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Kansas State Oregon
AT&T Cotton Bowl Texas A&M Oklahoma
BBVA Compass Bowl Mississippi Pittsburgh Bowl Kent State Arkansas State
Discover BCS National Championship Notre Dame Alabama
Italics indicate team has already accepted bid.

Week 10 College Football Picks

November 1, 2012

This is another huge week in college football, with a couple of games that could shake up the National Championship picture.

For a look at the entire bowl picture, CLICK HERE.

Here are the picks in this critical week 10.

Last Week:  16-9 (.640)

Overall:  205-47 (.813)

#1 Alabama vs. #5 LSU (Tiger Stadium at night just isn’t enough for LSU)

#24 Oklahoma State vs. #2 Kansas State

Pittsburgh vs. #3 Notre Dame

#4 Oregon vs. #17 USC (However, Oregon will get the last laugh in the Pac-12)

Ole Miss vs. #6 Georgia (Closer than people think)

Missouri vs. #7 Florida

Temple vs. #10 Louisville

Arizona State vs. #11 Oregon State

#12 Oklahoma vs. Iowa State

#13 Clemson vs. Duke

#14 Stanford vs. Colorado

#16 Texas A&M vs. #15 Mississippi State

#23 Texas vs. #18 Texas Tech

San Diego State vs. #19 Boise State

#20 Nebraska vs. Michigan State

TCU vs. #21 West Virginia

#22 Arizona vs. UCLA

UTSA vs. #25 Louisiana Tech

Virginia Tech vs. Miami (FL)

Georgia Tech vs. Maryland (Painful game to pick, but when you are out of quarterbacks, it makes it easier)

Virginia vs. North Carolina State

Boston College vs. Wake Forest

Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky

Troy vs. Tennessee

Tulsa vs. Arkansas (I want to believe that SEC supremacy rises up)

New Mexico State vs. Auburn (I want to believe that SEC supremacy rises up)

Week 9 College Football Picks

October 24, 2012

Keeping up the good work in college football, another great week.  Hopefully the wins keep coming.

After checking out the picks, be sure to stop by the 2012-13 College Football Bowl Projections.

Last Week:  22-4 (.846)

Overall:  189-38 (.833)

#18 Clemson vs. Wake Forest

Cincinnati vs. #16 Louisville

#11 Mississippi State vs. #1 Alabama (A win by the Bulldogs would really shake things up in the SEC West)

#2 Florida vs. #10 Georgia

#14 Texas Tech vs. #3 Kansas State

Colorado vs. #4 Oregon

#5 Notre Dame vs. #8 Oklahoma (When in doubt, got to go with the home crowd.  A win by Notre Dame and they really have only one hurdle to an undefeated season [Southern Cal])

#7 Oregon State vs. Washington (Closer game than people think)

#9 USC vs. Arizona (Closer game than people think)

Duke vs. #12 Florida State

Tennessee vs. #13 South Carolina

Kent State vs. #15 Rutgers

Washington State vs. #17 Stanford

#20 Texas A&M vs. Auburn

#21 Boise State vs. Wyoming

#22 Michigan vs. Nebraska

#23 Texas vs. Kansas

#24 Ohio vs. Miami (OH)

Michigan State vs. #25 Wisconsin

North Carolina State vs. North Carolina

Maryland vs. Boston College

BYU vs. Georgia Tech

Kentucky vs. Missouri

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas (Winner might be on the path to sneaking into a bowl game)

Massachusetts vs. Vanderbilt

Week 6 College Football Picks

October 4, 2012

Only a couple of hiccups and under-estimating a couple teams cost me a couple of games, but overall, a good week 5.

This could be a rough week for picking college football games, because this weekend has the best match-ups of this season.

Last Week:  18-6 (.750)

Overall:  131-22 (.856)

Week 6 Picks:

#13 USC vs. Utah

#23 Washington vs. #2 Oregon

#3 Florida State vs. North Carolina State

#4 LSU vs. #10 Florida (LSU hasn’t really proven that they are a good team, and Florida could state that they are back in the SEC)

#5 Georgia vs. #6 South Carolina (So evenly matched, and when in doubt, go with the home team)

Kansas vs. #7 Kansas State

#8 West Virginia vs. #11 Texas (First to 100, wins?  Probably not.  Texas will keep up for a while, but just too much offense from West Virginia)

Miami (FL) vs. #9 Notre Dame

#21 Nebraska vs. #12 Ohio State

Washington State vs. #14 Oregon State

Iowa State vs. #15 TCU

Georgia Tech vs. #15 Clemson

#17 Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech

Arizona vs. #18 Stanford

#20 Mississippi State vs. Kentucky

Connecticut vs. #22 Rutgers

#24 Northwestern vs. Penn State

#25 UCLA vs. California

Boston College vs. Army

Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina

Virginia vs. Duke (As painful as it is to say, Duke is good, so far)

Wake Forest vs. Maryland

Arkansas vs. Auburn (Both these teams thought this would be the top-10, top-5 matchup, instead it is about getting win #2)

Vanderbilt vs. Missouri

Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss

Connor Shaw vs. Dylan Thompson: An Unexpected QB Controversy [UPDATED]

September 17, 2012

9/18/2012 UPDATE:  Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier said in his weekly press conference on Tuesday that Connor Shaw will start against Missouri.

For the first time in several years, it looked like the South Carolina Gamecocks would not have to deal with a quarterback controversy.

But after QB Connor Shaw had to leave Saturday’s game versus UAB with a re-injury to his right shoulder, it appears that’s where Gamecocks’ head coach Steve Spurrier has found himself.

Dylan Thompson has provided the Gamecocks with an aerial assault that has not been seen since early 2011, in the last two weeks.  However, one could argue that was against two significant lesser teams.

Shaw, who admitted Saturday that he has a small fracture in his injured shoulder, is back in a day-to-day mode, and no one will know his availability until later this week.  This will probably be something that goes on the rest of this season.

That puts the spotlight on Dylan Thompson, who had only played mop-up duty until replacing Shaw against Vanderbilt, and earning the start against East Carolina.

Thompson has proven he can put up great numbers against lesser teams, even making it look like at times the old “Fun n’ Gun” Spurrier days from Florida.  But the big question will become whether or not that translates into SEC play.

This is where the history of Steve Spurrier factors in to where the Gamecocks go from here.  That is a long history of rotating quarterbacks in a game.

South Carolina fans remember the back and forth game between Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia against Arkansas a few years ago.  But Spurrier also did it at Florida with Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman, or even going back to the rotation of Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise.

This will probably be the answer to this controversy, depending on Shaw’s health.  Spurrier’s best option is to go with whoever has the hot hand, whichever player is moving the offense more efficiently and effectively.  The opponent will also make a difference.

But this is still Shaw’s job to lose.  He is the guy who has proven that he can win the big game in the SEC.  Thompson has merely put up great numbers against significantly weaker teams.

Both quarterbacks have different skills, but you have to go with the guy who got you mentioned in the national championship picture, unless Shaw’s health or performance, gives you reason to play somebody else.

Also, when in doubt, you’ve got a decent (sarcasm) running back in the back-field.