Predicting Every Single FBS College Football Game: Week 10

Record in week nine: 38-11 (77.55% of games predicted correctly) To see my week nine picks, click here.

Overall record for the season: 404-136

Thursday Oct. 30
Florida State @ Louisville – Pick: Louisville (Upset)
Troy @ Georgia Southern – Pick: Georgia Southern

Friday Oct. 31
Tulsa @ Memphis – Pick: Memphis
Cincinnati @ Tulane – Pick: Cincinnati

Saturday Nov. 1
Air Force @ Army – Pick: Air Force
Duke @ Pittsburgh – Pick: Duke
Wisconsin @ Rutgers – Pick: Wisconsin
East Carolina @ Temple – Pick: East Carolina
Oklahoma @ Iowa State – Pick: Oklahoma
Maryland @ Penn State – Pick: Penn State
LA Monroe @ Texas A&M – Pick: Texas A&M
UCF @ Connecticut – Pick: UCF
Rice @ Florida International – Pick: Florida International
North Carolina @ Miami (FL) – Pick: Miami (FL)
Boston College @ Virginia Tech – Pick: Boston College
Washington @ Colorado – Pick: Colorado (Upset)
Oklahoma State @ Kansas State – Pick: Kansas State
Northwestern @ Iowa – Pick: Iowa
Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan – Pick: Central Michigan
Auburn @ Ole Miss – Pick: Ole Miss
Arkansas @ Mississippi State – Pick: Mississippi State
Texas @ Texas Tech – Pick: Texas Tech
Western Michigan @ Miami (OH) – Pick: Western Michigan
NC State @ Syracuse – Pick: Syracuse
Western Kentucky @ Louisiana Tech – Pick: Louisiana Tech
Virginia @ Georgia Tech – Pick: Georgia Tech
TCU @ West Virginia – Pick: TCU
Purdue @ Nebraska – Pick: Nebraska
Indiana @ Michigan – Pick: Michigan
Florida vs. Georgia – Pick: Georgia
BYU @ Middle Tennessee State – Pick: BYU
Georgia State @ Appalachian State – Pick: Appalachian State
Kentucky @ Missouri – Pick: Missouri
Texas State @ New Mexico State – Pick: Texas State
Kansas @ Baylor – Pick: Baylor
Houston @ South Florida – Pick: Houston
USC @ Washington State – Pick: USC
South Alabama @ Louisiana-Lafayette – Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette
Arkansas State @ Idaho – Pick: Arkansas State
New Mexico @ UNLV – Pick: UNLV
Colorado State @ San Jose State – Pick: Colorado State
Old Dominion @ Vanderbilt – Pick: Old Dominion
UAB @ Florida Atlantic – Pick: Florida Atlantic
Stanford @ Oregon – Pick: Stanford (Upset)
Tennessee @ South Carolina – Pick: South Carolina
Illinois @ Ohio State – Pick: Ohio State
Southern Miss @ UTEP – Pick: UTEP
Notre Dame @ Navy – Pick: Notre Dame
San Diego State @ Nevada – Pick: Nevada
California @ Oregon State – Pick: California
Arizona @ UCLA – Pick: UCLA (Upset)
Wyoming @ Fresno State – Pick: Fresno State
Utah @ Arizona State – Pick: Arizona State
Utah State @ Hawaii – Pick: Utah State

I’ll let you know how I did with my predictions on next week’s post. Let me know in the comments what you think of my picks and feel free to ask me why I picked the way I did. Also you can follow me on Twitter @SchottJosh.

The NCAA Loves Controversy (Op-Ed)

In 1997 I remember watching the Rose Bowl that Ohio State won and thinking to myself this is the greatest game I have ever watched. That bowl game just happened to be the last time I remember enjoying how National Champions were determined.

In 1998 the BCS was created and over the next 16 years College Football fans had to deal with things like computer rankings, margin of victories, biased voters, and something called a Harris Interactive Poll. In those 16 years the system overall never really didn’t work. In nearly every year the teams played their seasons and everything worked out well. In 2003 there was a split title with USC and LSU but that is the lone controversial year. Everyone hated the BCS system across the board. The call to end the system started the day it was created and didn’t end until it was destroyed.

The drama that the BCS created fed the NCAA with non-stop water cooler moments that began in August and didn’t end until after the NCG was completed. Even the mighty SEC leaders and fans hated the BCS system and they were dominating the system for the entire time. Why did they want change? Well they wanted more of their teams to get a shot at playing for the title.

So after 16 years change was a coming insert the CFB Playoff system. Whats the biggest difference between the BCS and Playoff? Instead of 2 teams you get 4 teams. Everything else stayed pretty much the same. The committee still uses biased voters rankings, computer rankings, strength of schedule, and what ever else they can use to be controversial.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this why did the committee use Oregon having OL injuries as justification for ranking them higher than Arizona who beat them head to head? Why did they not give OSU the same courtesy for losing Braxton Miller and starting a back up against VT?

So we have the first ever ranking releasing and the SEC has 3 teams in the top 4 and 4 in the top 6. OSU is 16th do they deserve to be higher? Does it matter? The NCAA decided to create a new system that is even more controversial than the BCS system.

Why would they do that? In my honest opinion the NCAA is utilizing a brilliant advertising strategy. There is nothing better to build buzz and viewers and marketing money than to have people talking about drama. You see if the NCAA did the playoffs the correct way All conference champions are in and a few at large bids who would care about the rankings in October? Who would turn their TVs on to watch a bunch of guys and gal picking their favorite 4 teams and teasing another 21 fan bases that they have a sliver of a chance to make the playoff?

So there you have it this is about creating buzz and viewers and people standing around water coolers discussing the controversy and how they can’t wait to see how this goes each week for the next 7 weeks. This is about building a brand and making money and yes making you angry enough to keep watching hoping for your team to be in the top 4 this week or next or never more than likely.

How do you fix this system?

I am glad you asked. A playoff is the correct way to determine a champion. But why come up with a stupid way of determining who should be in the playoff? You have the perfect model already in basketball. Every Conference Champion is in. There are 11 conferences if you include independents (which should be forced to join a conference under this plan. So you have 10 locked in and add 6 at large bids and you have a 16 team playoff where winning in the regular season matters and the SEC can still use their clout to get 3 or 4 teams in the playoffs so they are ecstatic. The B1G and Big 12 and PAC 12 all have teams in the playoff and no one is screwed. Who cares how the teams are seeded win and you move on lose and you didn’t belong anyhow.

The fix to this issue is simple yet the NCAA chose to make it controversial for their selfish reasons and the schools fell in line lemming after lemming.

The only way to change the system right now?

You need to hope and wish for the SEC to get 3 or 4 teams in the playoff this year. If they get 2 teams the fans and media can justify that enough to placate the angry people. But if the SEC fills out the bracket you will see an uproar and it will happen in the media which can influence the NCAA like no fan ever could. So if you want change this is the quickest way to facilitate it in my honest opinion.

What says you?

MotSaG Live Podcast #11 – Breaking Down the Win Over Penn State & Previewing The Illinois Game

Time for episode #11! If you missed last week’s episode of MotSaG Live, you can watch it by clicking here. It airs live every Tuesday at 6 pm ET.

As always I will be hosting the podcast this week and be joined by fellow MotSaG writers Shannon Sommers and Chip Minnich. On this show we’ll breakdown Ohio State’s ugly win over Penn State, the Big Ten’s performance from this past weekend and make our usual weekly national and Big Ten picks. We might also discuss the first ever poll released by the College Football Playoff Committee later tonight. We’ll also of course preview and predict the outcome of Ohio State’s prime time matchup with Illinois this weekend. Our special guest this week is Robert from Illiniboard.com.

Now I’m going to list the following ways to view this podcast. Below is the video player to listen to the podcast. You will be able to listen to it here on the site every week. Don’t fret if you can’t listen live. Once the podcast is over with you will be able to view it as many times as you want, just like any YouTube video. If you’re unable to view it here on the site for some reason we also have you covered if this happens. I’ll link to our YouTube channel right above the player every week and you will be guaranteed to be able to view it there. You can also listen through our Google+ page or follow the main @MotSaG account on Twitter. I will also have the link posted on my Twitter page (@SchottJosh).

You can also subscribe to MotSaG Live on iTunes. You can find our page by typing “MotSaG Live” in the iTunes search box or click here. This episode should be on iTunes later tonight. We also have a special announcement on the show regarding the podcast on Android devices!

Whether you’re watching live or later, you’re sure to be entertained and informed!

To view it on YouTube, click here.

To view the Google+ event page, click here.

Negative Buckeye: 10 Things We Learned from the Penn State Game

by: Ryan Black

 

 

 

Sheesh…

Last Saturday was rough, rougher than teaching an Alabama fan to read. This Ohio State team has a lot of growing up to do to even think about beating Michigan State in two weeks.

Losing to Penn State would have been a disaster of epic proportions. The Ninny (whatever they’re called) Lions under new coach James Franklin have been recruiting extremely well since he arrived on campus and look to be a long term threat to coach Urban Meyer and the good guys. They weren’t supposed to be close to competing on the field with Ohio State for a few years due to crippling scholarship reductions. Didn’t matter, they gave the boys all they could handle and now it is time to reflect.

Here are ten things we learned about our loves from the 31-24 nailbiter Saturday evening:

10. It wasn’t as bad as you think:

With Bama looking pedestrian 2 times in 3 weeks against similar teams to PSU  (Arkansas and Tennessee) , Miss State continuing to be horrible on defense against a weak Kentucky team, an undefeated Ole Miss losing to one of the most average LSU teams in a decade, or Auburn struggling against a terrible USC team it’s easy to see it is tough to bring it every week. Also, Ohio State played in the toughest environment of all the teams listed, though LSU is close. Those who say they want the Bucks to compare themselves to the best in the SEC have to do it both ways.

This doesn’t even mention the fact that Oregon has looked pedestrian against bad teams such as Washington State or Michigan State against Purdue or FSU against NC State and so on…

The local radio guys like Common Man and T-bone (whom I really enjoy) will never admit that these other elite teams struggle against lesser opponents, it’s only us… Ohio State has blown out every team they should have until this weekend and that is still a very good percentage.

9. Ohio State got some lucky breaks:

Hate to admit it but the Buckeyes got two gifts in the first half with the non-pick and the delay of game. Two egregious errors by the striped dummies but…

Those who say the refs gave OSU ten points are taking away from what the players did. Penn State couldn’t stop Ohio State on the first drive and there is no way of saying it wouldn’t have ended up in a touchdown, even if it was started 20-30 yards back. Same as you can’t say the German wouldn’t have made the next kick, he has a huge leg.

8. Penn State got some lucky breaks:

Our friends to the East are screaming bloody murder but they won’t mention the refs willed them into the game in the fourth quarter. Two questionable personal fouls and a horrible pass interference cake walked the Nitts to the tying scores. They weren’t as blatantly obvious as Ohio State’s gifts but they had just as much impact.

7. The o-line still needs some work:

3rd and 1 now seems like 3rd and 10 for the team this year. These young pups are still getting their feet wet and I don’t think we will see a complete package until the bowl game this year. Next year should be an extreme step up or it will be a major disappointment.

6. The defense is for real:

Other than a few misplays on jump balls (which somehow still happen) the Ohio State defense is looking like they got some sense. Penn State has a horrendous offensive line which helped but you cannot doubt their playmakers at tight end and receiver, not to mention Hackenberg at quarterback.

5. Tom Herman/Urban Meyer get tight during close games:

I texted my friend that I was o.k. with the play calling in the first half because Penn State couldn’t even sniff midfield. Get out of there with a 24 or 31 to 0 win and just head home. But after the momentum switched on the pick 6 I think the coaches got too scared and it nearly cost us the game. Get the ball in the playmakers hands, don’t let the defense dictate what the offense should run. Where were the jet sweeps?

This is becoming a real worry for Buckeye fans.

4. J.T. Barrett is a freshmen:

He got rattled by the ridiculous crowd and their shady piped in music. He got owned by the defensive lineman dropping into coverage and really looked green for 4 quarters. The game Saturday would have been a blowout in my opinion with Braxton.

With that said…

3. J.T. Barrett has balls of platinum:

I think platinum is tougher than steel but I don’t really understand the elements. Playing with a MCL sprain and trailing in a living hell of an atmosphere-in overtime-in a score or die situation-J.T. Barrett said, “I got this.” The freshmen scored the tying and winning touchdowns. This gutsy performance will help out so much in two weeks at a much tamer atmosphere (albeit a much tougher team).

2. Ohio State has an all Big Ten player at every level of defense:

This probably won’t end up happening but I think Von Bell, Tyvis Powell, Doran Grant (DB) Darron Lee, Joshua Perry (LB)  Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett (DL) are all worthy of first team all big ten- as of now.

Slim chance Ohio State get’s more than three total but let’s start the campaigning now.

1. You know it’s coming:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

This team has a very bright future and we may not get to see that peak this season. This extremely young team needs more seasoning but I tell you what, I wouldn’t want to play the Buckeyes this bowl season. Last year’s team peaked and didn’t improve at all over the long layoff. I think the 2014 team is a different animal.

 

Bonus:

The world lost a great man this year with the death of Richard Collins who portrayed “Philadelphia Collins” on Trailer Park Boys. Here is a NSFW Language tribute

 

Double Bonus:

For you Halloweiners here is a short 3 minute scary flick.

I watched 20 seconds of it. Please tell me how it ends:

 

B1G Weekly Recap: Michigan State Rolls, Ohio State Survives To Remain Undefeated

While Michigan State dominated their in-state rival Wolverines to improve to 4-0 in Big Ten play, Ohio State needed double overtime to put away pesky Penn State in Happy Valley to move to 3-0 in conference play. Minnesota suffered their first conference defeat at the hands of the Illini as the Big Ten West turned even more chaotic as Wisconsin and Nebraska both won to remain at one conference loss.

Wisconsin 52, Maryland 7

Wisconsin took Maryland behind the woodshed in this one as the Badgers raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead on their way to an easy victory. Melvin Gordon continued his great play again this week, rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns. The Wisconsin defense was excellent all day, holding Maryland to 175 total yards, including just 46 on the ground.

It was 52-0 late in the 4th quarter before C.J. Brown finally found Stefon Diggs for the Terrapins’ only score of the game. Both teams hit the road next weekend, Maryland goes to Penn State and Wisconsin takes on Rutgers.

Illinois 28, Minnesota 24

In the upset of the weekend, Minnesota fell to Illinois in Champaign after V’Angelo Bentley scooped up a fumble and took it to the house in the 4th quarter for the game-winning score. The Illini jumped out to an early 14-0 lead only to see their advantage slip away in the 3rd quarter thanks to a pair of David Cobb touchdown runs.

Reilly O’Toole threw for a touchdown and ran in another as Illinois won their first conference game of the season while simultaneously handing the Gophers their first Big Ten loss. Minnesota is idle on Saturday while Illinois makes the trip to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes in primetime.

Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24

Once again, it was the Ameer Abdullah show for Nebraska as they handled Rutgers easily to move into a tie for first in the Big Ten West at 3-1. Abdullah had 225 yards rushing with three scores, plus 90 return yards and 26 receiving yards.

Gary Nova was just 8-19 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown before he had to leave the game with a right knee injury. It is still unknown whether he will be able to play this weekend when the Scarlet Knights host Wisconsin. Nebraska will host Purdue after the Boilermakers had a bye week to prepare.

Michigan State 35, Michigan 11

The Wolverines were dominated by their in-state rivals for the second year in a row, losing by 24 points a year after losing 29-6. Michigan State outgained the Wolverines on the day 446-186 and allowed just 61 yards on the ground. Jeremy Langford ran for 177 yards and three scores as the Spartans won for the sixth time in seven tries in this series.

Devin Gardner finished 15-30 passing for just 125 yards and was picked off twice by the Spartan defense. The Wolverines now have one passing touchdown and 11 interceptions against Power 5 conference teams this season. Michigan State is idle this weekend to prepare for Ohio State and the Wolverines will host Indiana.

Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2OT)

J.T. Barrett had his worst game since the Virginia Tech debacle, but rebounded well in the overtime periods to lead Ohio State to the victory in one of the most hostile environments in all of college football. Barrett had just 74 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score early in the second half. The redshirt freshman finished with 75 yards rushing and two overtime touchdowns.

Christian Hackenberg was 31-49 passing for 224 yards and a touchdown but was sacked by Joey Bosa on 4th down in the second overtime on the most important play of the game. DaeSean Hamilton had 14 catches, a Penn State record, for 126 yards. Ohio State hosts Illinois on Saturday while Penn State will play Maryland in Happy Valley.

What was your biggest take away from this weekend? Will the Buckeyes have an easier time of things this weekend with the Illini? Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the upcoming slate of games!

MotSaG BiG Power Poll Week 9

Heading into the fourth week of conference play and there has been some movement this last week. We are getting ready to get into the heart of the schedule with five weeks left of regular season conference play better enjoy these, it’s going to go by quick.

1. Michigan State (7-1,4-0) After driving a stake into the Wolverines Saturday, Sparty and company get an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes before their Nov. 8th battle.
Last Week: #1
Next Game: Bye

2. Ohio State (6-1,3-0) Controversial or not the Buckeyes escape Happy Valley with a win in double OT. Yeah that wasn’t an interception but was the 4 a.m. air horns called for? #karma
Last Week: #2
Next Game: Illinois

3. Nebraska (7-1,3-1) Cornhusker’s RB Abdullah has a record day against Rutgers with 341 all purpose yards, someone is entering the Heisman talk.
Last Week: #3
Next Game: Purdue

4. Wisconsin (5-2,2-1) Don’t count out the Badgers just yet they seem like they may have figured it out after their bye week by dismantling Maryland.
Last Week: #6
Next Game: @Rutgers

5. Minnesota (6-2,3-1) Oh the Gophers really let one slip through their paws by losing to Illinois they will take the week off to recoup and figure out what to fix.
Last Week: #4
Next Game: Bye

6. Maryland (5-3,2-2) The Terps let one man thump them now they get to play a very strong Penn State defense lets see if they can rebound.
Last Week: #5
Next Game: @Penn State

7. Iowa (5-2,2-1) The Dr Jeckel Mr Hyde bunch which shows up this week after having a bye to fix their issues?
Last Week: #7
Next Game: Northwestern

8. Rutgers (5-3,1-3) Can the Scarlet Knights stop the two game losing skid and upset the Badgers and become bowl eligible?
Last Week: #8
Next Game: Wisconsin

9. Northwestern (3-4,2-2) Wildcats started conference play strong but have lost their last two and looking to rebound this week against Iowa.
Last Week: #9
Next Game: @Iowa

10. Penn State (4-3,1-3) Nittany Lions defense is better than I gave them credit we will see what they have in store for Maryland Saturday
Last Week: #11
Next Game: Maryland

11. Purdue (3-5,1-3) Are the Boilermakers the Cinderella that is going to start to ruin everyone’s season? Hazell and company are getting this thing turned around and they are competitive.
Last Week: #10
Next Game: @Nebraska

12. Illinois (4-4,1-3) Upsetting Minnesota probably won’t save Beckman’s job but an upset over the Buckeyes might go a long way.
Last Week: #14
Next Game: @Ohio State

13. Michigan (3-5,1-3) Wow just wow Hoke is probably officially a lame duck coach and he has to know this.
Last Week: #12
Next Game: Indiana

14. Indiana (3-4,0-3) With how bad Indiana’s QB situation is would an upset of Michigan call for a rushing of the field by Hoosier fans?
Last Week: #13
Next Game: @Michigan

Always love hearing your feedback, don’t forget you can email me at AskMotSaG@gmail.com with any questions.

Let Me Fix Your Team: Florida

I look around college football and I see a lot of disgruntled fan bases. They aren’t happy with their team whether it’s the coaching, the play on the field, all of the losing or a combination of these three. When I see these problems I start to think of a solution for these teams, but I never put them on paper. But in you’re luck now downtrodden schools! Now I’ve decided to use my expertise to help you through your issues. With my help you’ll be a winner in no time. Just call me Doctor Josh.
After I successfully advised Illinois last week, I’ve decided to take on a bigger challenge this week. They just got embarrassed at home…

Patient: Florida Gators
Status: 3-3 (2-3 in the SEC)
Current Fan Base Mood: Cranky, on the verge of eating bath salts and tearing Will Muschamp’s face off. Also still blaming Urban Meyer for all of their problems.
Most Embarrassing Moment of the Season: Losing to Missouri at home during homecoming 42-13. Also the entire offense has been a dumpster fire.

Dr. Josh’s Advice: Well up until the Missouri game I thought head coach Will Muschamp was doing a fantastic job. They had big wins over Eastern Michigan and Kentucky. The Gators also only lost by three touchdowns to Alabama. That’s pretty impressive. Muschamp also led them to a Sugar Bowl a few years ago. In the SEC! I think they won that game, but I’m not quite sure.

But after that game against Missouri it became obvious it was time for the Muschamp era to sadly come to an end for Florida. So many great moments! I look forward to the day they build his statue outside the Swamp. What was sauce for the goose is now for the gander though. Or in this case the Illini. Now you don’t have to lure him away from Gainesville, Illinois!

After Florida fires Muschamp, I have some advice for you Gator fans. You need to make sure you go through each of the 12 steps in the grieving process. I know you’ll feel traumatized after this transpires and I just want you to know it’s not your fault. You tried to work out your differences with Muschamp, but you both wanted different things in life. He has a gypsy soul and likes to travel, while you’re more of homebody (which explains why Florida never leaves the state for non-conference games). Muschamp listens to Lady Gaga and you’re more of a Taylor Swift fan. This is completely normal. The main thing is you tried. Remember that there’s plenty of fish in the sea. Speaking of that…

Prescription: You need an offensive mastermind. A guy who can really light a fire under the program and get people talking. You need someone that’s brash, cocky and isn’t afraid of commitment. A real man’s man! That is why I highly recommend you hire Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. First and foremost by hiring Kiffin you immediately bring swag to your program and you stick it to Nick Saban by hiring him away. Remember Kiffin also has head coaching experiencing in the SEC. His 7 wins that season are the most wins Tennessee has had in a season the last five years. He led them to their last bowl game too. Are you not impressed?

Kiffin

To top it all off, by hiring Kiffin that guarantees comedian Daniel Tosh will make jokes about your program. Remember we’re not laughing at you, but with you. I think Florida could use some humor right now. Kiffin is the total package and I don’t see another coach out there that fits the Florida mold as well as Kiffin. Congratulations Florida! You’re not only going to be a successful program again, but also the coolest in college football.

Another satisfied patient! You’re welcome Florida. What lucky team will I help next week? Stay tuned…

Q&A with an Opponents Blogger: Penn State

This week I had the freat pleasure of sitting down with Kevin Mcguire to discuss the Penn Sate/Ohio State match-up tomorrow. Kevin who was nice enough to join our podcast this week is a contributor to NBC College Football Talk and has a site no2minutewarning.com. You can also follow Kevin on twitter @KevinOnCFB and he is a worthwhile and good follow for college football fans. Without further ado onto the PSU/OSU discussion.

MotSaG: Penn State’s run defense is only giving up an average of 60.8 yards a game but have given up over 100 to Northwestern and Rutgers. Do you feel they can contain Ohio State’s rushing attack?

KM: It should go without saying that the strength of this Penn State team to this point in the season has been the defense as a whole, and it starts up front with what has been a decent defensive line. Can they contain Ohio State’s running game? Probably, at least for a while. I wouldn’t expect Ohio State to break many big plays on the ground, although I think the Buckeyes could be able to wear down Penn State’s defense over four quarters

MotSaG: Do the Nittany Lions have the talent and depth to contain or keep up with the Buckeyes explosive offense?

KM: Penn State probably has the talent to keep up at the skill positions, but the offensive line is quite another story. Penn State’s o-line has been a complete mess this season for a number of reasons, most notably the two years of recruiting sanctions against the program. Because the line has been an extreme work-in-progress, Christian Hackenberg has been forced to try and make some things happen when they just are not there, and the running game has lacked a chance to get on track. So because of that, Penn State’s offense will have a tough time going point-for-point with Ohio State, and it may be up to the defense to come up with some big plays, and perhaps even some points.

MotSaG: Who are the key players on Penn States defense Buckeye fans should be aware of?

KM: Pay attention to a couple of players up front on the defensive line. Deion Barnes at defensive end is a form Big Ten Freshman of the Year and right by his side is Anthony Zettel. Both have been playing well this season and Zettel has come up with a number of key plays in the backfield. It will be up to these two to bring pressure on Barrett and maybe disrupt the running game before it can get going, but they will be up against their stiffest test of the season against this Ohio State line.

MotSaG: With Penn State coming off a bye do you think an extra week of preparation would help PSU fix some of the major problems on their offensive line?

KM: Well, it certainly can’t hurt. Penn State has now had two bye weeks out of the last three, so you would hope the stability of the offensive line would be a major focus. I am sure it has been, but ultimately I just do not think enough work can be done with what is available to them. Fixing Penn State’s offensive line is going to have to come through recruiting with a full set of scholarships to offer. This is not a line that can be repaired with some duct tape. It needs a complete overhaul.

MotSaG: Word is offensive guard Miles Dieffenbach has been practicing any status on him playing Saturday and being able to help that line out?

KM: It does sound as though Dieffenbach is close to returning, and the way things have ben sounding I would not be shocked if he makes a return this weekend. He is supposed to be the veteran anchor of this young line, but he is still week-to-week as he recovers from an ACL injury in the spring. The bye weeks were supposed to be big for him, and perhaps that will be the case. If Penn State can get him on the field, expect them to do so, but not if it comes at a risk in losing him before he is physically and mentally ready for jumping right in against Ohio State

MotSaG: I know the sanctions really hurt Penn State’s depth, how big of a factor will that play in the game Saturday and possibly for rest of season and possibly getting bowl eligible?

KM: This season was supposed to be the toughest in terms of depth on this roster, and that is exactly how things are playing out. I don’t think that will change the rest of the way, and it will show in some games more than others. This game in particular is one that could turn ugly in the flash of an eye given the talent differential overall. The Michigan State game could as well, but the depth concerns may actually be put more to the test in games like Temple and Indiana. These are games Penn State will never lose when fully equipped, but could easily see slip away if not careful right now. I still think Penn State has enough to get two more wins the rest of the way, and those extra practices in the postseason could help in the long-term, but Penn State should probably feel fortunate to get to six or seven wins at this point

MotSaG: How nice is it to finally get the sanctions lifted and being allowed to be able to compete for a B1G Championship and Bowl games and get a full roster together?

KM: From a purely football perspective, it is fantastic. How can it not? Penn State went into the season with two years of a postseason ban and some scholarship restrictions still to play through, but early in the season the NCAA lifted those terms. This, in effect, gave the players and coaches something else to play for and that is great for them. In theory, the team can now compete for a Big Ten championship and make plans for a bowl trip. There is still work to do, of course, but being able to focus on something positive is a bit of fresh air for the program, its fans and alums. Moving forward, the program appears to be heading in a good direction and things will certainly get better on the field as long as James Franklin and his staff prove they can develop talent as well as they can generate excitement in recruiting.

I would have loved to see what Bill O’Brien would have done with a full recruiting class, but now that falls on Franklin and his crew.

MotSaG: What are Penn State’s fans biggest concerns for the game Saturday?

KM: I think most fans are probably realistic in expecting Penn State to lose this weekend, so I think the biggest fear would be getting tanks in front of the home crowd. Last year’s 63-14 loss showed how far away Penn State is from the top of the Big Ten, so there is a bit of pride on the line here as well. If Penn State is going to lose, keeping it at least somewhat respectable would at least be something moving forward. I know moral victories are for losers, but nobody wants to get blown out at home. The biggest fear may be seeing Hackenberg laying face first in the ground like the famous (infamous) image of Anthony Morelli against Michigan (Google it, you’ll find it).

MotSaG: Do you feel that the Paterno statue should be returned or should everyone just finally close the chapter and move on?

KM: I may be foolish in thinking there will be a time in the future when the statue is returned to sitting somewhere outside Beaver Stadium. While I think people should move on and no longer worry about something as trivial as a statue, I do believe there will come a time when we can reflect on everything Joe Paterno did for the university and football program and community and properly place his good deeds side-by-side with his shortcomings. I think a statue can help paint a full scope and offer a chance to reflect on both positive and negative, but the time is just not right at this moment and it may not be for quite a while.

MotSaG: Final prediction for the game?

KM: Prediction? Pain. As I said on your podcast, I have Ohio State winning this weekend’s match-up in Beaver Stadium, 35-17 (which if you bet the over at 51.5 is just fine with you). I think Penn State’s defense keeps this game from getting out of hand as it did last season, but I can’t see Penn State ever making much of a game of this with their concerns on offense. I see Ohio State maybe jumping out to an early lead and cruising into the second half before Penn State gets a junk touchdown to make this closer than the score would actually indicate.

What I am curious to see, for better or worse, is how Barrett handles this environment. As was suggested on your podcast, this should be different compared to playing at Navy or Maryland, but I think at this point he is as prepared as can be to handle it.

I agree with what Kevin is saying it will be interesting on seeing how Barrett and company will handle the environment seeing how this is going to be the loudest and craziest they have played in front of this season. I do however believe that Urban and company will have this team prepared for this and the Nittany Lions. They are on a historic run and J.T. has really grasped the offense well and has to many weapons for Penn State to handle in my opinion. Penn State’s depth is still a major concern and that’s a huge advantage for the Buckeyes hence the reason i said on the podcast I called for OSU to win 56-3.

Once again I would like to thank Kevin McGuire for his help this week and you should honestly check his stuff out, very knowledgeable on college football and informative. Have any questions? Feel free to drop me a line at AskMotSaG@gmail.com.

Predicting Every Single FBS College Football Game: Week Nine

I had a big bounce back with my picks this past weekend. And I finally got one of my big upset picks right. Thank you couch burning West Virginia Mountaineers! My record for week eight: 38-15 (71.69% of games predicted correctly). To see my picks for week eight, click here. My overall record for the season: 366-125. The MAC and Conference USA (not the ghost of the Big East, which is the American Conference) burned me the most in week eight. Really when it comes to picking the bottom conferences they all sort of blend together to me. Conference USA, the American Conference and the Sunbelt just need to form one mega conference so when I’m flipping through my Phil Steele magazine it’s easier to find the teams. Other than Marshall and East Carolina there isn’t any other teams that stand out this season. Northern Illinois is losing to MAC teams again, half of BYU is injured and Boise State has lost its blue magic. Thanks to conference realignment we’ve lost lovable underdogs in the non-power five to root for to disrupt the status quo. I’m blaming the SEC. Anyway let’s look at what we have in store in week nine…

(Note on Tuesday games: This post obviously comes out every Wednesday, therefore coming out after the Tuesday games. I will be posting the winner of the Tuesday games on my Twitter profile before those games so you can check my honesty. But I know you guys trust me.)

Tuesday Oct. 21
Arkansas State @ Louisiana-Lafayette – Pick: Arkansas State

Thursday Oct. 23
Connecticut @ #18 East Carolina – Pick: East Carolina
Miami (FL) @ Virginia Tech – Pick: Miami (FL)

Friday Oct. 24
South Florida @ Cincinnati – Pick: Cincinnati
Troy @ South Alabama – Pick: South Alabama
BYU @ Boise State – Pick: Boise State
#6 Oregon @ California – Pick: Oregon

Saturday Oct. 25
Texas @ #11 Kansas State – Pick: Kansas State
Rutgers @ #16 Nebraska – Pick: Nebraska
Minnesota @ Illinois – Pick: Minnesota
Maryland @ Wisconsin – Pick: Wisconsin
#4 Alabama @ Tennessee – Pick: Alabama
UAB @ Arkansas – Pick: Arkansas
North Texas @ Rice – Pick: Rice
Memphis @ SMU – Pick: Memphis
North Carolina @ Virginia – Pick: North Carolina
Northern Illinois @ Eastern Michigan – Pick: Northern Illinois
South Carolina @ #5 Auburn – Pick: Auburn
#3 Ole Miss @ #24 LSU – Pick: LSU (Upset)
San Jose State @ Navy – Pick: San Jose State
#25 UCLA @ Colorado – Pick: UCLA
Akron @ Ball State – Pick: Akron
UMass @ Toledo – Pick: Toledo
Ohio @ Western Michigan – Pick: Ohio
Georgia Southern @ Georgia State – Pick: Georgia Southern
Kent State @ Miami (OH) – Pick: Miami (OH)
Boston College @ Wake Forest – Pick: Boston College
Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh – Pick: Pittsburgh
#22 West Virginia @ Oklahoma State – Pick: Oklahoma State (Upset)
Michigan @ #8 Michigan State – Pick: Michigan State
Oregon State @ Stanford – Pick: Stanford
#1 Mississippi State @ Kentucky – Pick: Mississippi State
Texas Tech @ #10 TCU – Pick: TCU
Louisiana Tech @ Southern Miss – Pick: Louisiana Tech
Florida Atlantic @ #23 Marshall – Pick: Marshall
Central Michigan @ Buffalo – Pick: Central Michigan
Vanderbilt @ Missouri – Pick: Missouri
UNLV @ Utah State – Pick: Utah State
Old Dominion @ Western Kentucky – Pick: Old Dominion
Temple @ UCF – Pick: UCF
#15 Arizona @ Washington State – Pick: Arizona
Syracuse @ #21 Clemson – Pick: Clemson
Wyoming @ Colorado State – Pick: Colorado State
Texas State @ LA Monroe – Pick: LA Monroe
UTEP @ UTSA – Pick: UTSA
#13 Ohio State @ Penn State – Pick: Ohio State
#20 USC @ #19 Utah – Pick: USC
#14 Arizona State @ Washington – Pick: Arizona State
Nevada @ Hawaii – Pick: Nevada

I’ll let you know how I did with my predictions on next week’s post. Let me know in the comments what you think of my picks and feel free to ask me why I picked the way I did. Also you can follow me on Twitter @SchottJosh.

Coaching Class: Stan Drayton

I realize it’s been a while since the most recent coaching class update. That’s for a few reasons. First, between classes, group work, homework, and looking for a job (anyone hiring a soon-to-be-graduate in marketing?!), I’ve been busier than a bee. Second, the lectures had lacked much to write about that would really be interesting. That was, until Running Backs Coach Stan Drayton gave his lecture.

Coach Drayton’s lecture was by far the most informative I’ve had all semester. He broke down a handful of techniques he teaches, such as how to carry the ball. You may have noticed that OSU running backs carry the ball almost vertically, rather than at an angle. This is the technique taught here. It begins by “clawing” the nose of the ball between the index and middle finger. Then, hold the ball against the arm and chest, keeping the wrist directly above the elbow. Finally, lock the elbow against the body. This makes it difficult to punch the ball out from behind, as well as making it near impossible for the ball carrier to fumble when hit head on: the force of the other player hitting the ball carrier presses the ball back into the body of the ball carrier, making it difficult to drop the ball.

The play that Coach Drayton broke down for us was the inside zone play. If you’re not familiar with the zone read play, here’s a quick breakdown.

  1. At the snap, the quarterback looks to the unlocked defensive end
  2. If the defensive end comes more upfield, as to cut off the outside run, the quarterback gives the ball to the running back
  3. If the defensive end comes more inside, the quarterback keeps the ball and runs outside

So, let’s go through a play together, shall we?

Here, we have a zone read from this year’s game versus Cincy. Watch #5, Tight End Jeff Heuerman on the far side of the offensive line. He fakes a block on the end, and gets downfield to block, and lets the end run free. The end runs upfield, and JT hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot’s target point is the back hip of the center. Which hip depends on the side on which Elliot lines up. The backs always go opposite where they line up. In this instance, Elliot’s target is the back right hip, because he lines up on the left. The line gets a great push and opens a hole so wide a truck could have gone for 7 yards, too.

Now, what if that hole isn’t open? That’s where the cutback comes in. If the play side A Gap is closed, then the running back cuts back to the backside A Gap. If that is closed, he cuts back to the backside B Gap, and so on, until a running lane is found. Watch this run by Carlos Hyde in the Orange Bowl last season.

The play side A Gap closes, so he cutsback horizontally to find the backside A Gap, wide open, for a nice gain.

 

Coach Drayton answered one of the questions I had always had about the zone read play, as well. The running back does not look at the unblocked player, rather, he focuses on his target. I had always wondered how the RB knew he was getting the ball. Turns out, the quarterback simply applies a small amount of pressure to the gut of the running back to indicate that the running back should take the ball. When the running back does not feel that pressure, he knows he isn’t getting the ball.

Now you’re equipped to watch the game this weekend and impress your friends by telling them where the play will go before the snap even occurs! Go Bucks.

Oh, and Penn State likes to call this week #OhioStateHateWeek. It’s so cute.