Tag Archives: USC Trojans

Food for Thought 9-18-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Stepfan Taylor (pictured above) has officially entered the Heisman conversation.

By Josh Kramer

America, meet Stepfan Taylor.  He has officially taken over the role of the Stanford “Trojan” killer.  Anyone who did not know the Stanford running back should be more than aware of the Cardinal star after the show he put on Saturday night at the expense of the USC Trojans.  The senior running back out of Mansfield, Texas is a perfect 4 and 0 against the mighty USC Trojans during his collegiate career.

After spending three years in the shadow of stars such as Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin, and David DeCastro, Taylor is shining bright in his senior year.  Taylor is really a jack of all trades.  He does everything well, but nothing great.  This leads to great results, but not too many highlight reel moments.  The Cardinal running back really reminds me of former University of Cincinnati and current St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead.  A very good running back who entered his senior year as a likely second-day draft pick.  That is not the case anymore. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 9-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Brad Keselowski (pictured above) stole the show at Chicagoland Speedway yesterday and clinched his fourth win of the season.

By Josh Kramer

Saturday embodied exactly what college football is all about.  Hotly contested games with unpredictable finishes.  The NFL Week 2 was just as fun as Week 1 with an upset filled Sunday.  And the NHL lockout is on.  Talk about a shame.  Last week was fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Brad Keselowski stole the show as the Chase officially began at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  It was Keselowski’s fourth win of the season, his seventh in the past two years, and a great start to the Chase for the man who drives the #2 car.  There are still nine more races to go and plenty left to be decided.  Next Sunday, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be the place to be in NASCAR. Continue reading

College Football Week 3: Is for me

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The status of Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (pictured above) is uncertain for Saturday’s game against Alabama. Even with a healthy Wilson, Arkansas will not be able to defeat Alabama.

By Josh Kramer

Louisiana-Monroe stole the show in Week 2 with their shocking upset of the heavily favored Razorbacks.  In addition, the Pac-12 flexed their muscles against the Big Ten and staked their claim as the second best conference in college football.  Luckily for all of us, Week 3 is when the schedule begins to take things up a notch.  The powder puff games are few and far between, with ranked matchups galore.

Here are the marquee matchups:

Alabama at Arkansas:  Crimson Tide by 24

Headline:  No comeback needed this time around.  The Crimson Tide smack around the overmatched Razorbacks from start to finish.

Louisiana-Monroe?  Do they even have a college football team?  This stunning upset was reminiscent of the infamous Appalachian State victory in the Big House back on September 1, 2007.  That was last week though.  Believe me, Alabama is not going to come to town with milk and cookies because they feel bad for the Razorbacks.  Not to mention that the status of Arkansas star quarterback Tyler Wilson is uncertain.

Back when the schedules were released, this was a game that I and many thought would be a classic.  That just won’t be the case.  The Razorbacks have defeated seven of their past ten ranked foes, but Alabama is better than the Razorbacks in every facet of the game.  Add in the fact that Tyler Wilson’s status is uncertain, and you have a blowout in Fayetteville. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 9-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Much will be expected from Mark Trumbo (left) and Albert Pujols (right) if the Angels want to make a playoff run.

By Josh Kramer

Football, football, and more football.  How nice was it to have a Saturday and Sunday jam-packed with football action?  Your weekends may be less productive, but more entertaining for the forseeable future.  Not to mention we are nearing the end of the MLB regular season and the Chase for the Cup is on.  Last week was fun, but you better believe that this week will be a good one in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  The Chase is finally on.  After 31 races spanning over nearly seven months, the field has been whittled down to 12.  There are ten races left starting at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  Who will take it home?  We know that Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch won’t.

4.  Strasburg is doneTeixeira could be done.  The injury-bug has struck as the season nears the final twenty games.  It is September and teams are doing all they can to land a spot in the postseason.  The races of note are taking place in the AL East, the AL Central, and of course for the four wild card spots this year.  My matchup of the week takes place in the friendly confines at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles AngelsWho else envisioned the Angels participating in the Fall Classic this year?  I know I am not alone.  Well the clock is continuing to tick and currently, the Angels will miss the postseason entirely.  Fortunately for them, they open up a four-game set tonight against the team they are chasing.  Got to love how MLB scheduling works out at times.

It is make or break time for the Angels.  There is no better way to track down the team you are chasing than to handle business against them head to head.  The Angels appear to finally be clicking at the right time led by the terrific trio of Trout, Trumbo, and Pujols.  Look for the Angels to close the gap by nabbing three of four in front of a very supportive home crowd.  Also, expect the Angels to catch and pass Oakland when all is said and done.  The remainder of the A’s schedule includes the likes of the Orioles, the Tigers, the Yankees, and lots of Texas. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 9-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Adam Jones (pictured above) has been a main reason why the Baltimore Orioles are in contention for their first AL East title since 1997.

By Josh Kramer

Labor Day typically means two things other than a day off of work.  First of all, the dog days of August are over.  Secondly, America’s favorite sport is back.  College football took over this weekend and guess what?  The NFL is right around the corner.  Last week was a whole lot of fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Richmond International Speedway will be the place to be next Saturday in terms of NASCAR.  This is the final race before the Chase for the Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on the 16th.  In other words, Richmond is for all of the marbles.  Find a way into the top ten, or pray that you nab one of the two wild card spots.  I am looking at you Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

4.  The dog days are finally over.  Players are smiling from ear to ear due to the dog days finally ending, the expanded rosters, and of course the home stretch to the regular season.  We have learned a few things along the way.  The Baltimore Orioles are the real deal.  Crazy, I know.  Much of this is thanks to their star center fielder Adam Jones. Continue reading

Food for Thought 8-28-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Russell Wilson (pictured above) has shocked the world and been named the starting quarterback in Seattle.

By Josh Kramer

When Pete Carroll left USC, I lost almost all respect for the guy.  The situation he left behind was inexcusable and a definite admission of some sort of guilt.  That’s all in the past though.  Slowly but surely, my respect has returned for the coach that picked up a pair of national titles at USC and is currently running the show in Seattle.

At USC, it seemed as if everything was about the money.  Just ask Reggie Bush.  Since arriving in Seattle, it appears Carroll has had a change of heart.  On Sunday, he named a rookie third-round draft pick the starter at quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season.  As much as I try to ignore it, sports are a business.  Even collegiate ones unfortunately.  Money is what makes the world go round.  Not in Seattle’s quarterback case though.

Matt Flynn recently signed a three-year, $26 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed.  Everyone and their mother expected Flynn to be the starter.  Wilson, a supposedly undersized rookie quarterback is guaranteed just $619,400.  In simple terms, Flynn is guaranteed to make over 16 times the money that Wilson is guaranteed with their current contracts.  Yet, Wilson is the starting quarterback.

Simply based on merit, Wilson has outplayed his higher-paid counterpart, and is therefore deserving of the starting job.  Kudos to Pete Carroll on not being blinded by or influenced by dollar bills this time around.  The perception was that Flynn would be the Seahawks starter up until recently.  Carroll did not let the perception become a reality.  He evaluated the two players competing for the spot strictly on merit and performance.  Russell Wilson appears to have a very bright future ahead.  I do not envision Carroll regretting this decision to start the “undersized” rookie quarterback.  Talk about value in a third-round pick.  I guess height, money, and the perception of the public aren’t everything when it comes to quarterback play. Continue reading

College Football Preview: SEC too good for its own good

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Barkley (pictured above) will have a special year in 2012 as he leads USC back to the pinnacle of college football and takes home the Heisman Trophy.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night for the 2012 edition of College Football is just a week away.  It seems like it was just yesterday that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were celebrating on Bourbon Street.  In actuality, it was 227 days ago when Alabama clinched the SEC’s sixth consecutive national championship.  Don’t expect that streak to reach seven though.

Here are my predictions for the season ahead.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

I along with most people around the country jumped the gun and proclaimed Florida State’s greatness last season.  Will this finally be the year that the Seminoles and their outstanding recruiting classes live up to the hype?  Jimbo Fisher along with the entire city of Tallahassee certainly hope so.  A loaded defense led by Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner, and Xavier Rhodes are ready to roll.  As is their experienced senior quarterback EJ Manuel.  A September 22nd showdown with the reigning ACC Champs Clemson and a visit to Blacksburg for a Thursday night tussle (November 8th) with the always dangerous Virginia Tech Hokies are the two dates to keep in mind at this time.

Big 12 Champion:  Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners are a definite contender to not only win the conference crown, but to take home the whole thing after a very disappointing and injury-riddled 2011. This will be a team that has a chip on its shoulder from start to finish in 2012.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, their schedule does not get serious until their final three games, which features road contests against Big 12 newcomers West Virginia and TCU, and a showdown with in-state rival Oklahoma State.  Also, keep an eye on the Red River Rivalry Game against a dangerous Texas team on October 13th.  Senior quarterback Landry Jones may face more media pressure than any other player in the country not named Matt Barkley.  I have a feeling that the very experienced senior will welcome it as he finishes his Sooner career with a bang. Continue reading

Could lightning strike twice?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The professional career of Matt Leinart (pictured above) has not exactly gone as planned. Now Leinart finds himself back in California and with a familiar teammate. Could Leinart finally begin to live up to some of the promise he demonstrated at USC?

By Josh Kramer

USC was the cream of the crop in college football during the early part of the 2000s.  They were the “U,” after the “U.”  This resulted in their naming as the team of the decade for the period between 1996 and 2006.  It was a renaissance of sorts in Los Angeles in regards to collegiate football.  All was good in southern California under the direction of Pete Carroll and an outstanding crop of quarterbacks.  Carson Palmer got the party started in Trojanville taking home a Heisman Trophy and an Orange Bowl victory.  Then came Matt Leinart.  Leinart proceeded to have one of the all-time great college careers capturing two National Championships and a Heisman Trophy.

After his decorated college career, Palmer went on to spend eight years in the Midwest.  There were many ups and downs for the former Trojan star, but due to injuries and many other factors, Palmer never lived up to the promise he once demonstrated as a Trojan.  Matt Leinart’s professional career has still failed to really take flight yet. It has been all downs and very few ups for the former Heisman winner.

Well yesterday, Matt Leinart signed on with the Oakland Raiders and put himself into a familiar spot.  Not only is he back in California, but he is back to studying under Carson Palmer.We all know what results that yielded back when he was sporting the cardinal and gold.  Could lightning strike twice for Leinart? Continue reading

Food for Thought 4-24-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. If I were running the show in Minnesota, I would take Justin Blackmon (pictured above) at number three on Thursday.

By Josh Kramer

Number three is for me.  The NFL Draft is just about here (finally).  After all of the analysis, sports science, and insane amounts of minutia, Thursday night, it all goes down.  253 players will learn much more about their future over the course of the three day extravaganza when their name is called.  We have a semblance of idea how the first fifteen minutes will play out.

“With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select… Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford Cardinal.”

Followed by a huge smile and a very mild-mannered interview with Andrew Luck.

“With the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select…Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor Bears.”

RGIII will be all smiles and of course we will get to see his goofy socks during the interview.

Then what happens?

The ball is in Minnesota’s court.  They have been on the clock for months in essence.  Everyone has known for well over two months now that Luck and Griffin would be the top two picks.  But who will go at number three?  Many have proclaimed Matt Kalil, from USC, as the guy.  Others are saying Morris Claiborne from LSU.  Some are even saying Justin Blackmon, the young clone of TO, out of Oklahoma State.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Justin Blackmon is the Vikings man. Continue reading

South Bend Jinx?

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. If recent history in South Bend is any indication, Brian Kelly (pictured above) may get red in the face early and often this year.

By Josh Kramer

When people think of College Football, Notre Dame instantly comes to mind.  Despite not winning a national title since 1988, Notre Dame is still one of the blue bloods of College Football.  Every one of their games are nationally televised by NBC putting them in the public spotlight each and every Saturday.

The Fighting Irish are set to enter the third year of the Brian Kelly era.  Kelly was supposed to be the man to bring Notre Dame football back to the glory days.  He was the guy that was supposed to bring number 12 to South Bend (National Championship).  Luckily for the Irish faithful, Kelly has a history of getting the job done in year number three.  At Grand Valley State he went a very respectable 6-2-2.  Then at Central Michigan, he took home a MAC Championship.  And finally at Cincinnati, he led the Bearcats to their first Big East Football Championship and an appearance in the Orange Bowl.  With a past like that, it is safe to say that Brian Kelly knows a little something about winning.  Many have proclaimed the guy a miracle worker.   I like to think of him as one of the best offensive minds in football. But it appears recent history will be against the Fighting Irish Head Coach as he prepares his troops for the annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday.  Could their be a year three jinx in South Bend?  The three Fighting Irish coaches that preceded Brian Kelly may have something to say in regards to the potential South Bend curse in year number three. Continue reading