Saturday, November 29, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 12

For the most part it was an enjoyable Saturday (Nov. 15) of watching football for me ..... right up until there were about 5 minutes remaining in the Auburn-Georgia game, when Todd Gurley didn't get up after his 29th carry of the night. In his first game back in action after serving a 4-game suspension, Gurley - the star junior RB and arguably the best RB to ever wear a Georgia uniform - turned in his usual outstanding performance. But when he stayed down and grabbed his knee after gaining 6 yards to the Auburn 11-yard line on 2nd and 5, you knew something had gone wrong. And then when they showed the replay - Gurley wincing as he planted his left leg while making a cut then falling to the ground, unable to take his next stride on the leg - it looked exactly the way it does all too often in sports when a player tears the ACL in his knee. A day later the worst fears of a lot of people (including me) were realized with the official announcement that Gurley indeed had torn his ACL and was done for the season. And with the injury occurring so late in the season, you wonder and worry that he won't recover in time to have a rookie season in the NFL in 2015.
The injury put a bit of a damper on Georgia's 34-7 victory, as the Bulldogs finished SEC play at 6-2 and needing Missouri to lose at least one of their remaining 2 games in order to finish first in the SEC East and play in the conference championship game.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 9

There were less than 2 minutes to play in the game, and with Marshall's victory already in the bag, I kept waiting for QB Rakeem Cato to take the snap and kneel down to kill the remaining time. But instead he kept handing the ball off. Then I remembered ..... right, this is college football - not only is running up the score not frowned on, it's necessary. Marshall simply was thinking, "Why beat FAU 28-16 when you can beat them 35-16?" The BCS era may be over, but the truth is that college football remains a beauty contest. Winning isn't the only thing, winning as impressively as possible is. So it's no surprise that the Thundering Herd added a TD with 51 seconds to go, when just taking a knee would have been the sportsmanlike thing to do.
With the teams in the Little 5 conferences (CUSA, MAC, SBC, MWC, and AAC) being allotted just one of the 12 spots in the big 6 bowl games to be played on New Year's Eve and Day, Marshall, now 8-0 and seemingly breezing toward the Conference USA championship, needs their wins to come with as many style points as they can get, because their schedule hasn't been all that difficult.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 7

Hey, is the TCU-Baylor game over yet?

Forget the Iron Bowl, it's looking more and more like the big end-of-the-season showdown to decide the SEC West might be the Egg Bowl - in the state immediately to the west of Alabama. Halfway through the 2014 season Mississippi and Mississippi State are both 6-0. That's not a misprint - 6 wins, zero defeats. Who woulda thunk it? But before you decide to get rich by scalping your tickets to the Egg Bowl, Rebel and Bulldog fans, remember it's still early, And with teams as talented as Arkansas and LSU bringing up the rear, the West Division of the SEC is an absolute minefield this season. Every game is a difficult game. But really, wouldn't it be something if CBS was televising Hail State vs. Ole Miss on the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead of Auburn-Alabama?
You kind of of expected Mississippi to get good because they had been signing some very highly-ranked recruits the last couple of years. But who saw Mississippi State coming?

Monday, October 6, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 5

The voting for the 2014 Heisman Trophy will take place, as usual, at the end of the regular season in December, with all players eligible for consideration. But let's pretend that the voting were done now, after only the first month of the season, and it wasn't vote as you please - you had to vote for either Georgia RB Todd Gurley or Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, a couple of juniors who hope to be playing in the NFL at this time next year and a couple of players I'm a very huge fan of. Remarkably, through the first 5 weeks (4 games for both) the two are separated by only 2 yards rushing - with Gordon having rushed for 612 yards and 8 TD to 610 yards and 6 TD for Gurley. But I believe the separation would be much greater at the voting booth ..... with Gurley winning in a landslide. It's not that Gordon hasn't been outstanding, only that Gurley has been more outstanding.



















His Heisman campaign already smeared by an ugly 38 yards on 17 carries game against FCS team Western Illinois, Gordon saw his hopes diminishing even further on Saturday, Sept. 27, during the 1st half of the Badgers' home game against South Florida, as he gained only 50 yards on 17 carries.

Friday, September 26, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 3

It wasn't that long ago (was it?) that a star HS wide receiver who wanted to play in college for a team in Florida instead ended up wearing the green and white of the Marshall Thundering Herd. Two years and 55 TD later (including at least 1 TD in every game he played), Randy Moss left Marshall following his sophomore season and began a career in the NFL that certainly will result in him being elected to the Hall of Fame. Some of the Marshall fans in attendance as the Herd whipped Ohio U 44-14 on Sept. 13 this year might have been thinking about Moss and thinking that history was about to repeat itself after enjoying the breakout performance by another WR who wasn't originally slated to suit up for the Herd.
Let's get one thing straight: I'm not saying that freshman WR Angelo Jean-Louis is or will ever be anywhere near as good as Moss, who arguably was the most talented WR to ever play. But after the first three games of this season, it's not that much of a reach to say he has a chance to enjoy the same team success during his stay at Marshall as Moss did.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 2

As you may remember, the 2013 season ended with a TD catch by WR Kelvin Benjamin to give Florida State a BCS title game victory over Auburn. The same Kelvin Benjamin scored his 1st NFL TD last Sunday, helping the Carolina Panthers pick up a road victory over the offensively challenged Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the same field 24 hours earlier Tampa Bay's offensively challenged college team - the South Florida Bulls - put on their typical display of futility, costing them their chance to get off to a 2-0 start. While pretty much ignoring the marquee matchups involving Big 10 teams Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan, the game I spent the most time watching last Saturday had Big 10 newbie Maryland doing almost everything possible to give away the game to South Florida - and the Bulls absolutely refusing to accept the gift. Despite turning the ball over 6 times, the Terrapins escaped with a 24-17 victory that no doubt had fans of both teams cringing throughout the afternoon.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You really wanna go there?

..... That was the question I put to my crystal ball (CB) a couple of days ago immediately after finding out who it was predicting to win Super Bowl 49 at the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season. I continued: "You do know that the last 9 teams that won the Super Bowl failed to win it again the following year, don't you?" To which CB replied: "L.O.B." Well, I guess that settles it then. The Seattle Seahawks, who took 38 years to win their first championship in franchise history, will need only 12 months to win their second. If CB is correct , it'll be Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch (photo) and friends raising the Lombardi Trophy - and doing it on the home field of their NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals - when the season ends in February.

As for who the Seahawks will defeat in the Super Bowl, again - more emphatically this time - I asked CB, "You really want to go THERE!?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DG155

Until now my only coverage of the 2013 NFL season was of the final week of the regular season and the playoffs - and that brief post I did when Cardinals rookie Andre Ellington lost some of his dreads while he was tackled. So in dread gallery #155, let's take a look at some of what happened in the first 16 weeks of the season. Obviously one DG doesn't do justice to the NFL. I mean, I checked maybe 5% of all of the NFL photos available on the internet yet still saved enough to do several dread galleries. Picking the best of the best of that 5% for DG155, there were more than 150 photos I wanted to post; but I have cut that down to about 100.

This review of the 2013 season won't be as complete as last year's review of the 2012 season (in DG149) because I still haven't gone over the defensive stats in all the games (and I'm not going to either); so I don't have the whole list of the dread stars and head dreads from each week. Also, I'm going to try to wrap this up in record time, so I'm not going to check the game situations for most of the photos. Also, I have to apologize to all the O-linemen in the league with sick dreads, because there won't be any photos of you. Sorry about that. Anyway, let's begin DG155 with some of last season's interceptions.

PICKS

1. Falcons rookie CB Desmond Trufant intercepts a pass intended for WR Pierre Garcon at the Washington 39-yard line with 5:38 remaining in the game in Week 15, setting up a FG. It was the 2nd and last INT of the season for Trufant. A lot went wrong for the Falcons during their 4-12 season, but Trufant wasn't one of them. Drafted in the 1st round, he started all 16 games, finishing with 70 tackles, 2 INT, 15 PBU, 1 FF, and 1 FR.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Boom Mode

Bidding for its 3rd correct prediction of the Super Bowl winner in 6 tries, my crystal ball (CB, for short) advised you last September to put your money on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl following the 2013 NFL season. And for the longest time last season it looked like CB was going to be right. But as we all know, it didn't happen, thanks to that team from the Northwest. After Super Bowl 48 was over, all the confetti was falling on the Seattle Seahawks, celebrating their no-doubt-about-it 43-8 drubbing of the Broncos.

Marshawn Lynch, as usual, was in Beast Mode for the Seahawks' offense in 2013; and the Seattle defense was definitely in Boom Mode - as in the Legion of Boom, the nickname given to group of players in the team's all-star secondary. Richard Sherman repeated as a 1st team all-Pro. Earl Thomas three-peated as a 1st team all-Pro. Kam Chancellor, a 232-pound safety no receiver wants to get hit by (just ask the Broncos) earned a 2nd team nod on the all-Pro team. And when the 4th member of the legion, Brandon Browner, was suspended (controversially) late in the season, Byron Maxwell took his place and played just as effectively (if not as physically). It was a secondary that allowed the fewest yards passing and had the most interceptions in the league. 

CB actually got it right that the Seahawks would finish the regular season with the best record in the NFC, but it got little else right in yet another year mostly clueless predicting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

DG45 - Revisited

Back in the early days of the house of dread - back when it took me 2 hours to do a dread gallery instead of 2 weeks, and back when Yardbarker was a popular way for pro athletes to interact with fans (before Twitter came along and became a far more popular way) - I ventured into the world of college football recruiting (which is practically a sport all by itself) when I posted DG45 a month or so after National Signing Day (Feb. 4) in 2009. I quickly checked the websites of a few newspapers along with internet coverage of the Under Armour All-America game trying to find as many photos as I could of high school players with dreads that had just chosen the college teams they were going to be playing for. I had no idea how much (if any) interest there would be. It was the first DG I did that didn't feature action photos. As it turned out - and much to my amazement - DG45 became the most popular DG I did.

Five years have passed since then, and the 51 players I featured have now finished their college careers. So I thought it would be a good time to see how they - and their dreads - are doing after all this time. While I knew back then that several of the players were expected to be stars, most of them I had never heard of before and had no clue how they would perform. As it turned out, 11 of them have already made it to the NFL (one of those has already been cut), and another 5 are rookies currently in NFL training camps. Several had very good college careers, while several others didn't finish at the same schools they started. Some are ex-dreads (of course). One was shot after finishing his career.

So, with all the details and updates - and without any further delay - here once again is dread gallery #45 - five years later.

1. Wearing a hat like that, there's only one school that Trent Richardson could be signing with - and it ain't Auburn!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DG154

Concluding our look at action from College Basketball '14, dread gallery #154 focuses mostly on the teams with more than one player with dreads - specifically, Nebraska, Lamar, VCU, and Louisiana Tech - and on a player who had no choice but to excel in basketball from the day his parents named him ...... Jordair.

1. Jordair Jett, 6-1, 215-pound senior G for Saint Louis U, has his eyes on the rim while driving between F Ryan Rhoomes (#30) and G Mandell Thomas of Fordham during 1st half on Jan. 18. Jett had a better game than his season averages, finishing with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists as Saint Louis improved to 17-2 with a 70-48 home victory.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DG153

Dreads on teams in the Pac-12, SEC, and MAC, as well as four of the starters on my dread all-America team are the feature attractions in dread gallery #153, the second of three DGs covering the 2013-14 season in college basketball.
We'll begin with the MAC. There were 4 players with dreads on teams in the MAC this season, and two of them earned all-conference honors .....

1. One of the two, 6-9 Ohio junior F Maurice N'dour puts up a shot against G Jaryd Eustace of Miami (Ohio) during a game on Feb. 8. N'dour, a native of Senegal, had 14 points and 8 rebounds as Ohio picked up an 82-75 home victory.