Tag Archives: Boise State

“College Football Week 4: We Want Some More”

Boise State star receiver, Austin Pettis (pictured above), looks to help lead Boise to another big time victory on Saturday and keep the Broncos National Championship aspirations alive and well.

The 4th week of this College Football season is already upon us.  Yes, we will be a 3rd of the way through the regular season after this weekend.  Hard to believe, but the intrigue continues to mount.  And we all love the excitement.  After last weekends, “Dud Saturday,” the excitement is back with many big time matchups.  So as usual, I am going to give you my thoughts on a few of the primetime showdowns.

Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh:  These are two teams that are still really looking to prove themselves.  Many experts saw both of these teams as definite BCS Contenders, and even possibly as National Title Game Sleepers.  Though neither of these teams really have a chance at playing in Arizona come January 10th, they both have a lot to look forward to.  For Miami, they have had an extra week to clear their heads out for yet another big time road test.  After Jacory Harris demonstrated his old ways, tossing 4 Interceptions against a very good Ohio State team in Columbus, the U looks to make amends.  Pitt is still recovering from an opening night road loss to Utah.  And I think their reeling period is going to continue, as the overall speed and athleticism of the U bombards the Panthers at Heinz Field.  Though it is hard to pick against a good team at home,  I got the U by a touchdown in this one.

Alabama at Arkansas:  Welcome to the SEC folks.  And both of these teams are already in for big time showdown even with it only being the 4th week of the season. For Alabama, this game will be the first of three consecutive against top 12 ranked foes. Can Ryan Mallett, and the explosive offense of the Razorbacks handle the defending National Champs?  Sadly, I do not think so.  Though Arkansas has made tremendous strides and has looked very tough, Bama is at full strength now with Mark Ingram and just look to be “rolling.”   Also take note that Arkansas has lost 4 of 5 to top 25 ranked opponents.  I feel like not only will Mark Ingram at full strength be a difference maker, but the Alabama defense as a whole will play an intricate part in this one.  The game will come down to which defense can get stops.  And though Nick Saban is sporting a young defensive unit, I give them the edge over the Razorbacks D.  Look for Bama to nab a big road win in a shootout type of game by 7.

South Carolina at Auburn:  This may be the best matchup of the whole weekend in my eyes, though there are many great ones.  A good old-fashioned SEC brawl.  We are fortunate enough to have 2 of these top-tier SEC matchups already in a fun-filled Week 4.  But the difference in this one will come down to Auburn’s home field advantage.  I will state that South Carolina sports probably the most exciting freshman talent in the country in Marcus Lattimore.  But after watching the Gamecocks exhibit some flaws in their game last week against a less than flattering opponent in Furman, I have jumped off the bandwagon a little.  Auburn, though it has not been pretty, has learned to win close games.  Winning by 3 each of the last 2 weeks against quality opponents.  I expect them to utilize that resiliency and the home field advantage to edge a Gamecocks team that has lost 5 straight conference road games by a large margin.  Look for Auburn to win by 3.

Oregon State at Boise State:  Oregon State has practiced on a blue field all week in preparation for a monumental matchup against a very talented Boise team.  Boise has been a main topic of conversation throughout College Football all year and will continue to be until they lose a game (which may not happen).  Chris Petersen’s squad has shown that they can really play football despite their somewhat lackluster schedule.  This is probably the toughest game the Broncos have left, and luckily for them, it is at home.  Oregon State has already dropped a game against a tough TCU team this year.  They got blown out on the blue field 42 to 14 in 2006.  And though the Rodger’s brothers are a lethal tandem, it will not be enough.  Boise is too good all around.  Look for Kellen Moore, Titus Young, and Austin Pettis to have another field day on National Television.  I got Boise in this one by 14.  Do not expect it to be close.

So these are 4 of the marquee games of the weekend.  I realize there are other major matchups such as West Virginia at LSU, Oklahoma at Cincinnati, Kentucky at Florida.  So sit back, enjoy, and watch as many of the games as you can.

Week 4 will be one to remember in the College Football Stratosphere.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Monday Night Football?”

Virginia Tech boasts arguably the best rushing attack in the country led by the two headed monster that is Darren Evans (left #32) and Ryan Williams (right #34).

One of the most well-known events in American sports is “NFL Monday Night Football.”  It is always the most viewed game of the week and something that whether you care about the teams or not, you watch.  And with the NFL starting later this week, College Football has taken note, and will have their marquee game of the opening weekend played on “Monday Night.”  Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about this in the long run.  But obviously, I am ecstatic to get to see a big time matchup tonight, in that there is no NFL game anyways.  Do I think it is fair to make the College kids to play on a Monday and have to be ready to go by the next Saturday?  Not a chance.  But as a fan, now I have something to watch tonight.

Now for Boise State, who we will refer to as the “Weekday Warriors” for the rest of this year, have next weekend off and do not play again until September 18th at Wyoming (12 day break).  This is their Super Bowl though.  In all honesty, if they win this game, they have a very solid shot at running the table for the 2nd consecutive year.  On September 25th, they play a tough Oregon State team at home.  Realize that TCU beat Oregon State on Saturday though.  Then their only other tough game appears to be against Fresno State on November 19th.  Fresno State knocked off a very good team out of the Big East in Cincinnati late Saturday night.  Fresno’s defensive front looked very strong and gave UC their first regular season loss since an October game in 2008.  But as I said, people are going to have to start referring to Boise State as the “Weekday Warriors.”  On the year, they play 7 games on the tradition College Football Saturday.  They have a Monday game tonight.  A Tuesday game later this year.  And 3 Friday games all in a row in November.  So they have 5 of their 12 games being played on days other than Saturday!  The interesting fact is that all 5 of their games played on weekdays are being aired on an ESPN of some sort.  So I guess the exposure is worth it for the team that plays on the blue field.

Now Virginia Tech.  Sadly, they do not get next weekend off.  They will be back on the gridiron come Saturday against James Madison.  Though James Madison appears to be a powder puff opponent for the Hokies, it is never easy to play on a Monday night and come ready to play again on Saturday.  Virginia Tech has a much more traditional schedule than Boise.  They play 10 times on Saturdays this season.  Then of course they have the Monday game tonight, and then a Thursday night date against the defending ACC Champs Georgia Tech, on November 4th.  Ironically, Virginia Tech only has 4 games this year on the ESPN networks.  With the rich tradition of Frank Beamer’s Hokies, did you ever think you would see the day where Boise State had more games on ESPN than Virginia Tech?

But anyways, back to the business at hand.  Boise and VTech are both outstanding football teams.  Many are picking both of them to appear in BCS Bowl Games come January.  And I will state that this would not surprise me.  Many are saying that this is the year where Boise ends the streak and puts a team from a non BCS conference into the BCS Title Game.  And though I think Boise is an outstanding team that returns all but one starter from their undefeated team of a year ago, this is not the year.  The dream ends tonight in the nation’s capital.  Frank Beamer’s boys are going to run all over the Broncos, and win a very close contest.

Between Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the amazing Ryan Williams at running back, and the return of junior Darren Evans in the backfield, this team is the real deal.  Boise will have no answer for a bigger and stronger team out of a power conference that has won 10 or more games, 6 straight years.  Not to mention, Frank Beamer is arguably one of the best coaches College Football has to offer, and has been a mar of consistency in his 22 year stint with the Hokies.  The team has made 17 consecutive bowl games and has their most talented team in recent memory.  Lastly, this game is a makeshift home game for VTech, who routinely boasts one of the best defenses in the country and now has a great offense to complement it.

Kellen Moore and his main weapons, receivers Austin Pettis, Titus Young, and running back Jeremy Avery are deadly and will put up big numbers all year. But tonight, they will lose the battle in the trenches.  Look for Virginia Tech to win by 7 in front of a pro Virginia Tech crowd.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
-TheSportsKraze

“Welcome To College Football”

One of the major stories in College Football this year deals with how Brian Kelly, the former University of Cincinnati Head Coach, handles the pressure of leading the charge in South Bend.

Tonight, another College Football season kicks off with 18 different games around the country.  Let the BCS Madness begin baby.  Here are the main storylines for the year in my eyes.

– Can Alabama “roll” to a 2nd consecutive National Title?

Though Alabama is returning nearly their entire offense, which features future NFL players like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Julio Jones, the SEC is a conference that teams live and die on their defensive units.  Bama is returning just 2 starters from their vaunted defensive squad of a year ago.  In the end, I feel like this team will have a great year, but come up just short due to a lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball.  Also realize that no team has ever repeated as National Champion in the 12 year BCS era.  It is no easy task.

– Can Terrelle Pryor live up to the hype and bring home the first Heisman to Columbus since Troy Smith, in 2006?

This storyline will also be very key in determining if the Buckeyes can bring home their first National Title since 2002.  They have the defense to do it.  It is all a matter of if Terrelle Pryor can lead the offense to playing at a National Championship level.  There is no rhyme or reason why I or anyone else in America believes in this guy. His stats in his two-year stint in Columbus have been nowhere near a Heisman level.  In actuality, they have been quite less than flattering.  But the “swagger” of Terrelle Pryor has led me to believe that he can vault to a Heisman Trophy level of play and lead the Buckeyes to the BCS National Title Game.

– Can Boise State be the first non BCS Conference team to bring home a BCS National Title?

First of all, this team went undefeated a year ago.  They are returning every starter on both sides of the ball except graduated cornerback, Kyle Wilson.  Kellen Moore, who threw for over 3500 yards and had a TD to Interception ratio of 39 to 3 is back.  This team is the real deal.  And with the non conference schedule they have put together, “if” they go undefeated, they deserve a shot to play for the National Championship as much as anyone.  But also realize that they are opening up with the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Led by legendary coach Frank Beamer, the Hokies feature perhaps the best rushing attack in the country.  Sadly for Boise, I see them losing in Week 1, but this team is definitely the real deal and has a definite chance to play in Arizona for the National Championship if they go undefeated.

– Coaching in South Bend is like coaching the Yankees in Major League Baseball.  The pressure is at an all time high every day.  The media and fan base are unforgiving and cold. Can Brian Kelly handle the heat better than some of his predecessors?

Brian Kelly is perhaps the most charismatic coach in America.  He is a phenomenal salesman and says all the right things.  If you have ever heard the expression, “You talk like a man with a paper asshole,” though I am not 100 percent sure what this means, I think it would be the perfect away to describe BK.  Brian Kelly not only is smooth off the field though, he produces on the field.  This guy won two National Titles at Grand Valley State.  He completely turned around an abysmal Central Michigan program and captured a MAC Championship.  Then he went to Cincinnati and made the city believers in Bearcat football.  During his three-year reign, he won 10 or more games all three years (had not won 10 games in a season in Cincinnati since 1951), two Big East Championships, and sent them to two BCS Bowl games.  Coach Kelly has always been known as a mastermind of the spread offense.  He will provide fireworks in South Bend with a high-flying, aerial spread attack.  But also realize that his partner in crime and his right hand man for nearly 20 years, Jeff Quinn, is now the head coach at Buffalo University.  Can BK still put together an offense that puts up 40 plus points a game without his old running mate?  Well I will tell you this, Notre Dame has probably their easiest schedule in the past 10 years.  These guys could rise back to prominence real fast.  Do not be surprised to see a 9 or 10 win season.

– Will an SEC team bring home a 5th consecutive BCS National Championship?

In my eyes, it is a no brainer that this is the best and most elite conference in College Football yet again.  No conference really can touch the coaches, the talent, and the overall speed that this conference demonstrates top to bottom.  There is a reason why the SEC generally plucks players from the Southeast region, with the vast majority of 4 and 5 star recruits coming from this talent rich region.  Why wonder away from home?  But I will state this.  I believe this is the year that a non SEC school wins the National Title.  I feel it is time for the Buckeyes to break through in a National Championship game.  It is a gut feeling, but still expect this conference to be the best in the land again.

– Herbies vs the Forde Dash?

Kirk Herbstreit and Pat Forde are both fantastic at what they do.  They are well-known analysts for ESPN who do an absolutely outstanding job.  They both recently released some of their big thoughts on this upcoming College Football season.  Kirk Herbstreit put out the Herbies while Pat Forde put out the Forde Dash.  The edge in my eyes goes to the Herbies.  Though the Forde Dash is a cool name, the Herbies was easier to follow and I agreed with more of the predictions.  But it was a very tough call.

Welcome to College Football folks.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“The Magical Mystery Man”

Troy Smith, pictured above, was the last Buckeye to bring home the Heisman Trophy. Could Terrelle Pryor bring the prestigious trophy and a National Championship to Columbus this year?

Who is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year?  Who is the man garnering all the accolades in publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, and USA Today?  Who is the leader of a team expected to have a great shot at capturing the National Championship and bringing back national respect to the once proud Big Ten?

Who is, Terrelle Pryor, Mr. Trebek.

Well the journey for the 21-year-old phenom began in a little place called Jeannette, Pennsylvania.  The kid took the whole state by storm with his amazing football and basketball prowess.  It was the beginning of an astonishing roller coaster that could only occur in this day and age of amazing social media and unlimited sports coverage.  Ironically, Pryor originally committed to play basketball at Pittsburgh under Jamie Dixon.  Yes, the kid had his choice of pretty much any school in the country for basketball as well.  But eventually, it was known that Pryor would be playing football at the next level.  And he still hoped to be able to do basketball as well.  The lucky schools that made his Final Four list were Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, and Ohio State.  By the February 6th signing day of his senior year, he was still not ready to sign, and made the country wait for the “Decision” before “The Decision (Lebron).”  On March 19th, of 2008, he signed to take his talents to the Horseshoe, the house of Jim Tressel.

Since March of 2008, I cannot remember a College Football player in my lifetime have higher expectations placed on his shoulders.  People were already clamoring for the Buckeyes to bring home multiple National Titles during Terrelle’s “stay” in Columbus.  I mean nobody expected Pryor to stay a Buckeye the full 4 years, and figured he would be the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft following his junior year.  And frankly, that expectation remains the same as he gets ready to take place under center for his junior season.

The amazing thing to me is.  This kid has been criticized more than any player in the country over the past couple of years.  He has been called a underachiever.  A guy who was blinded by the hype.  A man who could not play quarterback at a big time program.  Fans clamored for a position change for the kid.  Fans said that either him or Tressel had to go.  Things came to a fevered climax following the Buckeyes embarrassing loss to lowly Purdue in the 7th game of the season last year.  Pryor had appeared to have gotten worse over the course of his time in Buckeye Nation.  He needed a pep talk from Brutus the Buckeye.  And I will admit, after watching the kid play multiple times, I did not know if he could ever be a pro style quarterback or lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship.

Tressel kept Pryor under center.  And little by little fans began to regain confidence in the kid.  He really did not put on any big time performances.  Sure he played a solid game at Penn State, but no games where he lit up the stat sheet.  The Buckeyes still managed to win a 5th straight Big Ten title and were on the prowl for their first BCS Bowl victory in some time.  Pryor finally answered the cynics, putting on arguably the best performance of his College career and helped lead the Bucks to a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon.

Want to know what Terrelle’s stats were last year?  He had a 56.5% completion percentage, while tossing for 2,087 yards.  Also he had 18 TDs versus 11 INTs.  Want to know what Greg McElroy’s (Alabama’s returning senior QB) stats were?  He threw for 2,508 yards, with 17 TDs and 4 INTs.  He had a completion percentage of 60.9%.  How about Kellen Moore (Boise State’s returning QB)?  Moore tossed for 3,536 yards with 39 TDs and 3 INTs.  Also he had a 64.3% completion percentage.  Lastly, how about Case Keenum, the returning starting quarterback at Houston?  The kid threw for an outrageous 5,671 yards, with 44 TDs and 15 INTs.  His completion percentage was 70.3%. And these are all just QBs returning on teams that were ranked highly last year.

So as you can tell, comparing Pryor’s stats to returning QBs does not make the kid stand out by any means.  Sure he is more of a dual threat than any of these guys, and rushed for way more yards than all of them combined.  But there is something about this kid.  There is something about this Terrelle guy that has made him stand out to people for years now.

It is not arrogance or a sense of entitlement.  Just an air of confidence about him that is unquestioned.  Maybe the best way to describe it would be “swagger.”  Whatever it is, he has made believers out of the country.

So I am honestly not sure why many are billing him as the favorite to bring home the Heisman.  But I will admit, I am sold as a believer on this guy.

And it is still an enigma to me why.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Football Power Rankings”

Many have doubted the Buckeyes in recent years due to ther inability to keep up with the speed of the mighty SEC. Well this is their most talented team in a good few years and I have hunch that they will be bringing home a National Championship come January 10th, in Arizona.

 With everyone else putting out College Football power rankings, and with the season less than a month away.  I figured why not put out my own version. 

5 Teams Most Likely to Win a National Title

1.  Ohio State 

–  I know many are scratching their heads on putting this team ahead of the defending National Champs, Alabama.  But this team is very talented and returns a plethora of players off of last year’s Rose Bowl Champion.  Terrelle Pryor, in an outstanding Rose Bowl performance, finally looked ready to meet the heavy expectations that Buckeye Nation bestowed on him upon his arrival in Columbus. Without a weakness to be found, I have these guys as my number 1 at this point.  Also remember that though the Big Ten will be tough, it is not as rugged as the SEC. 

2.  Alabama 

– With the return of their quarterback, Heisman Trophy winning running back, outstanding backup running back, and top 2 receivers, you better believe that Nick Saban’s boys will be ready to play.  But the SEC is brutal and with question marks on defense, I have them sliding to number 2 on my power rankings. 

3. Virginia Tech 

– They have arguably the most dangerous backfield in America.  They play in the ACC.  And if they can manage to find a way to get by a very strong Boise State team in Week 1.  The Hokies should cruise until a late November date with the U.  This is the game that should make or break their National Championship or ACC Championship hopes for that matter. 

4. Florida 

– Urban Meyer is the best coach in the country.  And though he lost a ton of talent off of last year’s underachieving squad, the Gators will be chomping at the bit all year. Do not be surprised to see this team knock off the Tide on October 2nd at Alabama.  As the University of Cincinnati and so many other opponents of the Gators have learned over the past few years, speed truly does kill. 

5. Oklahoma 

– Bob Stoops claims he has a formidable squad ready to go and take care of business in the Big 12 this year.  And when Stoops speaks, people tend to listen.  They will have to overcome a big time early season challenge in Cincinnati on September 25th.  But do not be surprised to see the Sooners back in a BCS Bowl game or dare I say the National Championship.  

Very Probable BCS Bowl Game Participants (Best of the Rest)

Boise State 

– I would have these guys ranked in the top 5.  But I am not sure if they can beat Virginia Tech in Week 1.  I see this as probably their only loss on the year though.  With great power comes great responsibility. With great talent comes great expectations.  And with this being said, the expectations are at an all time high.  It is never easy to deal with big time expectations.  

Texas 

– The Longhorns will be tough again.  Minus the Oklahoma game, I only see them struggling at Nebraska.  Do not be surprised if this team under the great coaching of Mack Brown somehow sneaks past the Sooners for the Big 12 Title though. 

Iowa 

– This team is back and hungry after a BCS Bowl victory down in Miami.  Outside of Ohio State, this is the toughest team in the Big Ten.  The Hawkeyes will be one of America’s best in 2010.  And though many do not give this team much respect, they will make some noise this year with their accomplishments on the field. 

Miami 

– The U invented swagger.  This should be the best team Miami has had in some time.  September 11th will be an extremely tough game at Ohio State.  But if they can find a way to knock of the Hokies on November 20th, this team will be heading to a BCS Bowl for the first time in years. 

Pittsburgh

– The Dion Lewis led Panthers are hungry to atone for their heartbreaking loss to end the regular season against their rival Cincinnati last season.  They will not get rid of that bad taste until they clinch a Big East Championship, earning an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl game.  Behind a strong rushing attack and a great defense, this team is dangerous, and a force to be reckoned with.  Do not be too surprised though if the Bearcats shock the Panthers again in Cincinnati come December 4th to go to a BCS Bowl Game for a 3rd straight year.

Other Teams that Could Sneak Into BCS Bowls

 Cincinnati, TCU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arkansas 

College Football is always very unpredictable and fun.  I know many will question my pick of a non SEC team winning the National Title.  Realize that though the Big Ten will be tough this year, OSU will have an easier time going undefeated than if they played a brutal SEC Conference schedule.  The beautiful thing about College Football is its mysterious nature.  This year appears to be no different as teams enter their 3rd day of official practices. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze

“BCS Numbers Game”

With very high expectations, can Ohio State junior quarterback, Terrell Pryor, lead the Buckeyes to their first National Championship since 2002?

 Today the USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll came out for the 2010 version of NCAA Football.  There was really nothing too alarming or surprising.  The top 25 was dominated by the BCS Power conferences.  There were only 2 teams from non BCS conferences in Boise State and TCU who made the cut.  Both of these teams have become perennial powers and will be tough again in 2010. 

The two teams at the top are Alabama, the defending National Champions, and perennial power, Ohio State.  Both of these teams are thought of as heavy favorites.  Alabama is supposed to be even better than last year if that is possible and the Buckeyes went through a “rebuilding year” last season in which they still won a Rose Bowl.  This Buckeye’s team will be very dangerous and the Big Ten will be stronger than it has been over the past few years.  But lets look at the history of the BCS and gauge these teams chances of bringing home a BCS title. 

Since the system that we have all grown to love (jk) took over College Football in 1998, only two teams have won the title twice.  These two teams are LSU and Florida.  Also, no team has ever repeated as BCS National Champion.  In addition, 6 of the total 12 championships have been brought home by teams from none other than the SEC.  Are you really surprised?  Lastly, 4 straight championships have been taken home by the vaunted SEC.  This is why people have considered this to be the best conference in the NCAA football ranks for some time now.  They are deserving and should continue their dominance this year.  

Since 2002, only one preseason #1 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll has taken home the BCS National Championship.  And that was in 2004 when the USC “professional” Trojans knocked off preseason #2 Oklahoma.  Who cares if this USC team might have cheated.  They were a dominant force led by Heisman winner, Matt Leinart.  Also since 2002, only two preseason #2 teams in this poll have won the BCS Championship.  This occurred in 2007, when #2 LSU took home the title over an “overrated” OSU team.  It also happened in 2005, in arguably the greatest College Football Game ever.  Vince Young, put the Longhorns on his back and led them over the seemingly “invincible” USC Trojans.  The image of Frostee Rucker, USC’s star defensive end, diving at Vince Young on Vince’s last burst marked the end of an era (USC Dominance).  Unfortunately for Frostee, Young made it into the end zone on this play.  Pete Carroll and USC were unable to stop the man who should have brought home the Heisman that year (he still may get it due to Bush’s issues now).  Lastly, only twice in the BCS since 2002 have the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the USA Today Preseason Coaches’ Poll met in the BCS National Championship game.  This happened in 2004 and 2005 in the years of the USC Trojan.  Though Vince Young made sure this tarnished era in Trojanville ended on a sour note.  

So there you have it.  Only once has a team in Bama’s #1 ranked position taken home the title (since 2002).  Also no team has ever repeated in the BCS era.  So their chances of repeating are not too likely.  In addition, only two teams in Jim Tressel and the Buckeye’s position have taken home the BCS National Championship since 2002.  I will state that both of these teams have more than enough firepower to run away with a National Title.  But the odds appear to be against them. 

So will the Tide Roll into Glendale, Arizona come January, or will the Buckeyes be able to crash the party? 

This is all a part of what we like to call the “BCS Madness.”  Get excited for the College Football season as it inches closer. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze