Archives for December 2014

Playoffs! Ohio State vs Bama Big Game Preview- Numbers, Predictions and Bama Fans

 

The handsome fellows of Ohio State will be going old school with their gray stripes against the big fat meanies of Alabama on Thursday night. I hope most of you have the day off Friday because it could be a late one…

For some reason the other playoff game (Oregon vs Florida State) will kick off a little after 5 o’clock in Pasadena.  With most NCAA games lasting 3.5 to 4 hours the chances of the night game kicking off at the scheduled 8:30PM timeslot is a pipedream.

Why the Rose Bowl isn’t scheduled to start at 4 or 4:30 is beyond me but whatever.

So how will this game that will end Friday morning play out? Here is your big game preview:

 

When Ohio State has the ball:

The biggest unknown matchup of Thursday will be when the Buckeyes have the ball.

10 Biggest question marks:

  1. Who is Cardale Jones?
  2. Can Ezekiel Elliot get his against an outstanding run defense?
  3. Are Alabama’s corners as beatable as they have looked the last two games?
  4. Is Dontre Wilson healthy?
  5. Will Jailin Marshall get some actual passes at quarterback?
  6. Can the Ohio State offensive line contain the best front seven they will see all year?
  7. Will Cardale Jones be able to run the football?
  8. Can Curtis Samuel make an impact?
  9. Who wins the big play battle?
  10. How many turnovers will Bama create?

 

10 Meaningless/Interesting Numbers:

  1. Alabama is the 10th ranked team in the country total defense
  2. Ohio State the 8th ranked total offense.
  3. The Bucks have 5 players with over 20 receptions.
  4. Ohio State has 10 players with over 10 receptions.
  5. Ezekiel Elliot averages 6.5 yards per carry.
  6. Kicker Sean Nuernberger is 11 of 18 on field goals on the season.
  7. Ohio State has 6 players averaging over 5 yards per carry (minimum 15 attempts).
  8. Alabama is tied for 84th in the country in turnovers created.
  9. The Tide have 28 sacks on the season which is good for 63rd in the country.
  10. Yardage wise, Bama has played 3 of the nations top 25 offenses.

 

10 Baseless-Gut  Predictions:

  1. Cardale Jones throws for 270+ with 2 tds.
  2. Cardale Jones turns the ball over at least twice.
  3. Ezekiel Elliott scores two times.
  4. Devin Smith will have a play go 40 yards+
  5. The Ohio State tight ends will be a non factor.
  6. Alabama will sack Jones more than 3 times.
  7. Dontre Wilson will have less than 4 carries.
  8. Ohio State will miss a field goal.
  9. The Southern crowd will not hinder the Ohio State offense as it will be a 50/50 split.
  10. Corey Smith will have a huge play that impacts the game… Good or bad.

 

Bama Fan Message Board Analysis:

 User BadgerTidefan-From Tidefans.com on Tim Tebow speaking  to the Bucks“This strategy could backfire on Urban when the guys on the team see Tebow on TV predict an Alabama win after he’s been trying to motivate them, imagine how they may feel. There may be a little conflict of interest involved in this since he and every other guy on sports tv has to provide commentary leading up to actual game.”

 

Yup, once those Bucks are in the locker room getting dressed before the game and see Timmy Teebs pick Alabama, it’s all downhill.

 

 

 

 

When Alabama has the ball-

 

Both teams know who they are and what they can do when Bama takes the football:

 10 Biggest question marks:

  1. Joey Bosa against a freshmen? Uh oh.
  2. Which Ohio State run defense will show up? The Indiana and Michigan or Wisconsin?
  3. Will Blake Simms make the mistakes that hurt him early in the season?
  4. Will Amari Cooper get 100 or 200+ receiving yards?
  5. How healthy is T.J. Yeldon?
  6. Who will play the majority of snaps at MLB for Ohio State?
  7. Can the Ohio State defense keep the turnover machine going?
  8. Will Bama’s other WR’s make the plays if Cooper is covered.
  9. Who will matchup with the Tide’s gigantic tight ends?
  10. Will Rashad Frazier and Steve Miller step up as Joey Bosa’s opposite like they did against Wisconsin?

 

 

10 Meaningless/Interesting Numbers:

  1. Alabama is the 15th ranked total offense.
  2. Ohio State is the  15th ranked total defense.
  3. The Tide are 96th in the country in fumbles lost with 12.
  4. The Buckeyes are tied for 77th with 8 fumbles recovered.
  5. T.J. Yeldon has 932 yards rushing while Derrick Henry has 895 yards.
  6. Both backs have 10 touchdowns.
  7. Amari Cooper has 1600 receiving yards. The next closest Tide member has 439.
  8. Kicker Adam Griffith is 12 of 19 in field goals this season.
  9. Alabama has 7 players with 10 or more receptions.
  10. The Ohio State D. is 4th in the nation with 21 interceptions on the year.

 

10 Baseless-Gut Predictions:

  1. T.J. Yeldon will be held to less than 60 yards.
  2. Amari Cooper will find the endzone at least once.
  3. An Alabama tight end will also score a touchdown.
  4. Joey Bosa will put up 1.5 sacks.
  5. Blake Simms will throw a costly interception.
  6. Blake Simms will throw for 300 yards.
  7. Darron Lee will have two tackles for loss.
  8. A reverse or a sweep will go the distance for an Alabama back/wide receiver.
  9. Alabama will be called for holding two or more times.
  10. The weak Ohio State zone defense will give away many easy points, even to teams that can’t shoot.- Whoops wrong sport.

 

Bama Fan Message Board Analysis:

 

User A One from Bama’s 247 site on Ohio State safety Von Bell“I know for a fact that not only did we pass on Bell, but that our recruiting board had several defensive backs listed ahead of him.”

 

Of course, Bama certainly passed on a 5 star position of need from their number 1 pipeline state…

 

Closing Thoughts:

 

This maybe one of the most exciting games in Ohio State history, there is no pressure and nobody expects the good guys to pull it out. You just don’t beat the mighty Alabama with a 3rd string quarterback…

 

Right?

 

Wrong.

 

Ohio State shocks the nation-

 

34-27

By The Numbers: Alabama

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Alabama
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 260.7 (11) 88.7 (1) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 246.8 (51) 223.7 (58) Passing Defense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency 172.4 (2) 115.8 (27) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State
Total Offense (ypg) 507.6 (8) 312.4 (11) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 45.2 (5) 16.6 (4) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 139.8 (35) 209.5 (34) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 188.2 (15) 281.0 (22) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 103.6 (5) 159.0 (7) Pass Efficiency Offense Push
Total Defense (ypg) 328.0 (15) 490.5 (15) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 21.2 (21) 37.1 (16) Scoring Offense (ppg) Push
Turnover margin +0.69 (19) -0.08 (66) Turnover margin Ohio State
Penalty Yards/game 505 (55) 40.5 (22) Penalty Yards/game Alabama
Sacks (/game) 3.08 (10) 1.00 (9) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 1.85 (49) 2.15 (61) Sacks (/game) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 51.5 (5) 36.0 (31) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 36.2 (34) 53.8 (3) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Alabama
4th Down Conv. (%) 52.6 (54) 38.9 (24) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Alabama
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 53.3 (69) 72.3 (7) 4th Down Conv. (%) Alabama+
Redzone Offense (%) 83.1 (64) 82.5 (61) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 83.8 (76) 85.0 (49) Redzone Offense (%) Alabama
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Michigan Gets Their Michigan Man

Congratulations to the fans of the University of Michigan for landing a Michigan Man that will actually be able to lead them back to glory.

I, as a Cleveland Browns fan, will be happy to see John gone from the Ravens’ sideline.

Oh, and just a reminder: this man is related to this man:

tom_crean_30fps

2015 NFL Mock Draft Part 1

With the regular season of college football over it is time to dig into the next step for these players, the NFL Draft. This mock draft will not include trades because each team values their pick individually. This will be a 3 part series, this post will include the top 10 picks. I have not decided how many picks will be in the next two posts. This will be an updated series all the way up to the Draft starts. While all the picks will be based off my own thoughts, opinions, and what I have seen on tape. I will also be taking some information from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper because they are able to gather more information and have more resources than I. When reading you will see that I will include my pick, as well as Kiper and McShay’s pick. All picks are based off of the standings going into week 15. Also, Jameis Winston will not be included in this draft because said he would not declare until at least the 2016 draft. If he changes his mind picks will be updated.

 

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Mariota is a tremendous athlete. I really like the style of Oregon’s offense translating to the NFL. The NFL is so much faster than college football as we all know. The speed at which Oregon runs their offense will help Mariota translate well, also with Oregon’s offense being so fast Mariota has to process information quicker than most QB prospects. With a future stud in Mike Evans and a veteran WR in Vincent Jackson this could help him go along way in development.

McShay: Mariota

2. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DE/DT, USC

To me the Titans need to upgrade talent in general. I feel Williams is the most NFL ready on the defensive side of the ball. I feel Tennessee will upgrade on defense because teams seemed to run all over the Titans this season. If your defense is not able to get stops then your offense is not able to get into a rhythm. I feel Leonard has the physical tools and the motor to be a good NFL player.

McShay: Jameis Winston

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Randy Gregory, OLB/DE, Nebraska

I really like Gregory’s physical tools. He had a good season for Nebraska. I feel that Jacksonville is trying to mimic what Seattle has done, and that is build the defense and let the offense come along. Jacksonville’s defense was a lot better than their record shows and I look for them to keep adding to the defensive side of the ball.

McShay: Leonard Williams

4. Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper. WR, Alabama

Cooper is a pure play maker and if he were a few inches taller I would not be surprised him going first overall and the Bucs try and move Jackson. The Raiders need someone for Carr to throw the ball too. The best way to evaluate a QB is to surround him with talented guys. If there was an elite LT prospect I think that is where the Raiders would go, but you cannot afford to let Cooper go.

McShay: Randy Gregory

5. Washington Redskins: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

Before the season I did not even know who Shane Ray was. As I did research and read what McShay and Kiper had to say about Ray. I immediately went to the tapes and realized how good this guy was in the SEC. He was the most impressive player last season, after watching the film, that included Ealy and Michael Sam. The only concern I have is that Ray is only 6’2″ 240 pounds. That is not to say undersized guys cannot be successful in the NFL. It just gets me worried with the Redskins because they have had a lack of successful DE’s staying healthy.

McShay: Shane Ray

6. New York Jets: Devin Funchess, WR/TE, Michigan

I think this pick varies on so many things. Whether Ryan stays as the HC, does the GM stay? If the GM stays then I believe the Jets could be in place to move up to grab Cooper. If the Jets fail to do that then Funchess to me seems like the best choice. if the Jets would not have drafted Pryor in the first round then they would take Collins. The Jets need to add as much talent on offense as they can. With Funchess having so much versatility this is the best chance foe the Jets to upgrade and help Smith or Vick at QB.

McShay: Amari Cooper

7.  Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

This pick varies on so many things it is hard to decide what to do with this pick. I feel the best thing for the Falcons is to reach on Scherff and help keep Matt Ryan up right. The beauty about this pick is it is low risk high reward. While Scherff needs to work on his pass blocking, McShay and Kiper both feel like if he is moved to OG he could be a dominate player. I feel like if I am the Falcons I am willing to take this high of a pick in hopes Scherff becomes a good RT or move him to LG and let Matthews and Scherff dominate on the left side.

McShay: Dante Fowler Jr.

8. New York Giants: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson

The Giants are put into a tough spot here. If they are able to sign JPP before the draft, then they consider taking Cedric Ogbuehi. Based off what I feel JPP will want and what the Giants will be willing to pay will not even be close and the Giants draft Beasley who would probably play SLB, as McShay feels, and then be a pass rusher when need be. I agree with that statement.

McShay: Vic Beasley

9. Chicago Bears: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

As a Bears fan I wish they would of taken Clinton-Dix last season because the defense is just in so much trouble. Collins is the answer to prayer for the Bears defense and will help out tremendously. Collins has a good build and can cover well, also is a good tackler. When you play in a division that has explosive offenses, like Detroit and Green Bay, the Bears need to upgrade the secondary.

McShay: Landon Collins

10. Carolina Panthers: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

The Panthers are really hoping that the Giants and Falcons take an OT. The Panthers really need to upgrade the OL. Ogbuehi is a really good athlete for his size. I think that the lack of success that Texas A&M had at the QB position effected his performance this year and he could be the first OT off the board.  Ogbuehi would be a good answer at RT for the Panthers and really give them an answer at that position.

McShay: Brandon Scherff

 

 

Anyone Surprised That Rose Bowl Tickets Are Not Selling?

Good morning. Happy Boxing Day to those of you who may be reading this from around the globe that celebrate this holiday. For those of you Beatles fans such as myself, today also marks the 47th anniversary of the release of the film Magical Mystery Tour. Regardless, I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Merry Christmas, wherever you may be.

Here is the gist of what I actually wanted to discuss today…

If you haven’t read Mr. Mandel’s article, I strongly suggest you do so. The main point raised by Mr. Mandel is right here ~ “Many have wondered how the addition of an extra round to the postseason would affect attendance at the bowls hosting the semifinal games. Would fans of the teams still travel en masse to a New Year’s game or hold off for a possible trip to the new national championship game in Arlington, Texas 11 days later?”.

If this sounds like a familiar concern to you, it may be because I raised it over the past few weeks. In articles like here and here.

I am as passionate about The Rose Bowl being the centerpiece of a college football viewing experience on January 1st as much as anyone. I have already determined that attending The Rose Bowl at least once in my lifetime is something my beautiful wife and I will do, when our children are older and we will make a visit to Pasadena part of a week’s long vacation. My intention is to attend The Rose Bowl when Ohio State is one of the teams participating in the game.

Will we be able to then fly across the country, perhaps to New Orleans or Miami, if The Rose Bowl will be part of a semi-final playoff round? Probably not. Which is why these issues presently facing The Rose Bowl should come, and do not come, as any surprise to me whatsoever.

Happy Boxing Day. Belated Merry Christmas wishes. But you’ll forgive me if I point back at Festivus and that holiday’s tradition of The Airing Of Grievances when I read about sluggish Rose Bowl ticket sales.

Class OF 2015: The Offensive Lineman

Now that the 2015 recruiting class (#Elite15) is about to come to a close, it is time to take a look back at which offensive linemen the Buckeyes landed this year. As we all know, O-Line Coach Ed Warriner has done an outstanding job developing his young linemen into stars. Ohio State had to replace four offensive linemen after last season (3 of which are now starting in the NFL) which is no easy task for the best coaches or teams. But yet they still earned a playoff berth which is in large part due to how Warriner was able to get the buffet busters up front ready. As of right now, he is still a coach for the Buckeyes despite rumors that he was accepting the Head Coaching position at Kansas. Now let’s take a look at the five linemen that will be attending school at The Ohio State University.

Grant Schmidt

The 3 star Tackle from Sioux Falls, South Dakota was one of the first members of the Elite15 as he committed in June of this year. According to 247 Sports, he is the 54th best Offensive Tackle in the nation. Schmidt will also be the first player from South Dakota to be a Buckeye. Measuring in at 6’6” and 275 pounds he has the height to protect our Quarterback’s blindside. Once he arrives in Columbus I expect him to put on at least 30 pounds of muscle (thanks, Coach Mick). Schmidt also considered Minnesota and Washington State before selecting the Buckeyes.

Kevin Feder

The Ramsey, New Jersey prospect is one of the under the radar guys I am most excited about for the incoming class. He stands with a huge frame at 6’9” and weighs in at 305 pounds which is just huge for any football player in general. Feder is a 3 star Offensive Tackle and rated as the 55th best OT in the country while being the 12th best player in the Garden State. Offered by such heavyweights like Tennessee, Miami, and even Michigan State (recruited by Narduzzi) it was a great get by Warriner & Co.

Matthew Burrell

The gem of the 2015 O-Line class has to be 4 star (darn close to 5 in my opinion) Offensive Tackle Matthew Burrell from Woodbridge, Virginia. He was recruited very hard by both Larry Johnson and Ed Warriner for the past year and finally committed about a month ago. Burrell is a top 100 player according to 247 Sports while being the 5th best OG in the nation. Penn State, Florida and Florida State were also in the running for his talents. He was also invited to The Opening which is a four day Nike event for top high school players held in Oregon. Burrell will participate in the Army All-American Bowl on January 3rd with other Buckeye commits Jerome Baker, Torrance Gibson, Justin Hilliard, Dre’Mont Jones, Liam McCullough, and Mike Weber.

Branden Bowen

Another underrated prospect Warriner gobbled up in late November was Branden Bowen from Draper, Utah. The 6’7” 330 pound Tackle is ranked as the 87th best in the country and the 8th best player in the state. Once committed to Utah, Urban Meyer and Ed Warriner were able to pull out their spatula for the flip. Bowen visited for the Illinois game on November 1st and was on commitment watch from that moment on- eventually committing 3 weeks later. Make no mistake, Bowen has the size to be an NFL prospect and I expect Warriner to develop him into that.

Mirko Jurkovic

The 3 star player from South Bend, Indiana (Notre Dame’s backyard) was the fifth and most likely final offensive linemen taken by the Buckeyes for the 2015 class. Ranked as the 51st best OG in the country, the potential is certainly there for good production. It was an Ohio State-Nebraska battle but his visit to Columbus for the Michigan game all but sealed it and he committed a week later.

As long as Ed Warriner is coaching football at The Ohio State University, I have full faith that the linemen we get will all be given the skills to succeed.

The Annual Airing Of Grievances (Part 2)

Part one of The Annual Airing Of Grievances dealt with specific areas of the new college football playoff that I disagree with, or believe could be improved. Specifically, the biggest issues I have with the new system revolves around the number of teams in the playoff system, as well as the costly travel expenses that fans, and the families of players, will incur with traveling to multiple playoff sites.

My Dad used to tell me that anyone can sit back and complain, but if you want things to change, you have to be willing to step up and offer up reasonable alternatives. For years, I have made these suggestions about college football playoffs, but this year has some subtle changes. Let us begin.

Expand The Playoffs From 4 To 16: Here we go. How can it be a true playoff system that does not involve every conference champion? Yes, I am including conferences such as The AAC (Memphis) Conference USA (Marshall), The MAC (Northern Illinois), The Mountain West (Boise State), and The Sun Belt (Georgia Southern). Yes, even a team that won the Big 12 (Baylor) would get in. If you are the conference champion, you should get a shot at the title. Five at-large berths for teams, based entirely upon strength of schedule. The entire playoff field would be seeded, based entirely upon strength of schedule.

Home Playoff Games: And here is where we could help with those traveling expenses. Guess where the playoff games would be held? At the home stadiums of the higher ranked teams. Yes, instead of flying from New Orleans to Dallas, Ohio State fans could look forward to weekends in Ohio Stadium (possibly).

Stop and think about it – what is the one thing you hear about this time of year with teams fighting for a spot in the NFL playoffs? Home field advantage. Can you imagine fans of the New England Patriots flying to multiple playoff spots, then heading to the Super Bowl? So why should college football fans do that?

I can already anticipate some of the questions, so why not take care of them right here…

Would I eliminate games? As these are college athletes, yes, I would. Simply put, every team would begin Labor Day weekend, and would conclude by the final weekend of November (conference championships could be held this weekend). First playoff round of sixteen would be the first weekend of December. Second playoff round of eight would be the third weekend of December; as most schools have final exams the second week of December, this would allow for athletes to study this week.

Now we are down to the final four. We can have these games January 1st, at a college location of the highest seeded team. The national championship could be held at one of the designated bowl sites. In other words, fans could make a week out of it, versus moving from town to town, under the present system.

Aren’t you overemphasizing the playoff season vs the regular season? If a team knows that the only sure way to get a shot at the title is to win their conference, it kind of makes that every game counts mantra truly stand out, doesn’t it? Next question.

What about the other bowl games? What about them? They can continue, albeit outside of the playoff system. Next question.

How would this help players’ families, or fans, with travel expenses? Maybe it would not, but the possibility of home site games, versus multiple cities that require airfare, would seem plausible to me that this system would be a step in the right direction.

If you could change only one thing, what would it be? That’s easy. Considering how much money the college football playoff is raking in, why can’t the NCAA adjust its rules and allow for schools to assist families to be able to get to the playoff sites? I am not suggesting that the schools pay for a family’s hotel, but considering teams charter flights for coaches, administrators, and other university officials to get to a bowl site, why can’t they do the same with a flight for players’ families? And Coach Urban Meyer seems to be of a like mind on this issue with me…

Is my solution ideal? Perhaps, perhaps not. I do know that any system that does not recognize or involve every conference cannot truly call itself a true playoff. And above all other sports, college football has truly grown through the years because of the passion of its fan base – why not reward those fans, instead of trying to squeeze every possible cent from them?

My system is so practical, it makes complete sense why the NCAA will not implement it. Instead, I will console myself with a 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale, and prepare myself for next season’s Airing Of Grievances. Best wishes to each and every one of you for a safe and happy holiday season.

Catching up With Donald Stewart

Donald Stewart is a 6’4 Wide Receiver coming out of the 2016 class. He is from New Jersey and plays for a very highly recognized Paramus Catholic football program. Stewart currently holds three offers coming from Boston College, Temple and Syracuse. The recruiting process is starting to pick up for Donald. In the past week he received his offer from Syracuse. Only being a Junior, Stewart looks to rack in many more offers after a very successful season.

When asked about the recruiting process Stewart had many positive thoughts. “The recruiting process has been a blessing and humbling experience because not everyone gets this experience.” Said Stewart. Many schools are showing interest in him. Donald listed Stanford, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, West Virginia, Miami and Virginia. He also explained that Stanford, Georgia Tech, Rutgers and Northwestern are showing the most interest.

Stewart has been able to visit Temple, Rutgers, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. He has not planned any upcoming visits but he definitely plans on attending The NFTC.

Stewart helped lead his team to the sectional championship this season. In that game, he was able to score the first TD coming from a deep ball. Stewart was very happy with his season performance. “I think that my performance this season has been successful considering this has been my first time playing in a nationally recognized and competitive schedule. The only let down has been not winning the state title.” Donald explained. “My strengths are stretching the far as big plays and making good blocks. I also bring a lot of energy to the field.”. To improve, Stewart plans on working on getting faster and stronger. He also wants to work on his yards after catch.

Donald describes himself as a play maker. This past season, he certainly was the offensive spark for his team. Playing for such a highly recognized program, Stewart will certainty receive more offers. You can view some film on Donald here.

 

Follow him on twitter: @donald_stewart8

 

Predicting Every Single Single 2014-’15 College Football Bowl Game

Record in Week 15 & 16: 9-7

Overall Record for the Season: 597-249 (I picked 70.56% of games correctly over the course of the 2014 college football season)

Bowl season has arrived! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for college football fans. Not only that, but this year’s slate of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day games are absolutely fantastic. And on top of that is the first ever college football playoffs. There is certainly plenty to look forward to this bowl season. I’m going to forewarn you on my bowl picks track record: I’m not usually that great with my bowl picks every year. I’m pretty hit and miss most of the time. If I’m able to pick above .500 correctly, then I’m pretty happy. These are almost as tough to pick as the NCAA Basketball Tournament because you have no idea if a team is going to show up or not. I guarantee there will be some surprising blowouts because some teams just do not give a crap about playing a game somewhere in Alabama. Other teams are absolutely thrilled to play that game in Alabama. So without further ado here are my bowl picks!

December 20
New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette – Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP – Pick: Utah State
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs. Colorado State – Pick: Utah
Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Air Force – Pick: Air Force
Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green – Pick: South Alabama

December 22
Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis – Pick: Memphis

December 23
Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois – Pick: Northern Illinois
Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State – Pick: Navy

December 24
Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky – Pick: Western Kentucky
Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice – Pick: Rice

December 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech – Pick: Illinois
Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina – Pick: Rutgers
St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State vs. UCF – Pick: UCF

December 27
Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech – Pick: Cincinnati
Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs. Duke – Pick: Arizona Statet
Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina – Pick: South Carolina
Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College vs. Penn State – Pick: Penn State
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC – Pick: USC

December 29
Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia – Pick: Texas A&M
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson – Pick: Oklahoma
Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas – Pick: Arkansas

December 30
Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU – Pick: LSU
Belk Bowl: Georgia vs. Louisville – Pick: Georgia
Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford – Pick: Stanford

December 31
Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. TCU – Pick: TCU
Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Arizona – Pick: Arizona
Orange Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech – Pick: Mississippi State

New Year’s Day
Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Wisconsin – Pick: Auburn
Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs. Baylor – Pick: Michigan State
Citrus Bowl: Missouri vs. Minnesota – Pick: Minnesota

January 2
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pittsburgh – Pick: Pittsburgh
Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee – Pick: Tennessee
Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA – Pick: Kansas State
Cactus Bowl: Washington vs. Oklahoma State – Pick: Washington

January 3
Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida – Pick: East Carolina

January 4
GoDaddy Bowl: Toledo vs. Arkansas State – Pick: Toledo

National Semi-Final Playoff Games (New Year’s Day)
Rose Bowl Semi-Final: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State – Pick: Oregon
Sugar Bowl Semi-Final: #4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama – Pick: Ohio State

National Championship Game Prediction (Jan. 12)
#2 Oregon – 31
#4 Ohio State – 45

That’s all of my bowl picks! This is the last picks post of the year, so obviously I won’t have an article showing how I did with my bowl picks. If you’re interested in how I’m doing on my bowl picks though, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @SchottJosh. I’ll have updates on how I’m doing throughout the bowl season, although if I’m doing terrible you might have to talk it out of me. Thanks for reading these posts all season and Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Report: Tom Herman Set To Become New Head Coach at Houston (Updated)

tom herman

As reported by Fox Sports, Ohio State’s quarterback guru and offensive coordinator Tom Herman is set to become the new head coach of the Houston Cougars. From Bruce Feldman’s report:

The 39-year-old Herman has solid Texas ties. He served as a graduate assistant on Mack Brown’s UT staff in the late 90s and worked across town from Houston as Rice’s OC from 2007-08, where the Owls set more than 40 school records. He has been instrumental in landing some plum Texas recruits for the Buckeyes in his three seasons on staff, including Barrett.

Herman’s rep is such that when Houston president Renu Khator tweeted out on Friday, “If you have an opinion about next UH Football Coach, now is the time to tell us,” the overwhelming reaction she got back were calls for the Buckeyes OC.

It’s not a surprising move considering Herman has been one of the hottest names on the coaching market in recent weeks. This season has really raised his stock after transforming Braxton Miller’s replacement J.T. Barrett into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Not only that, but he also well prepared Cardale Jones and the Buckeye offense for the Big Ten Championship game on short notice after Barrett went down with an injury too. The Buckeyes of course destroyed Wisconsin 59-0 and was the huge win they needed to make the very first college football playoffs at the FBS level.

There is no word yet on whether Herman will stay with the Buckeyes during their playoff run. Regardless I think I speak for everyone in Buckeye Nation in wishing Tom Herman and his family the best of luck in Houston.

UPDATE: According to Pat Forde of Yahoo, Tom Herman will stay with the Buckeyes through the college football playoffs.