Sunday, November 29, 2009

Season end drawing near...

Hard to believe there are just a few more good college football days left. Next Saturday is setting up to be an all-timer in the GA Dome in a defunct national semi-final. Texas should win easily against Nebraska to set up the big game. After that, it appears the SECCG loser will get TCU in the Sugar, Civil War winner vs OSU in the Rose, and ACCCG winner vs Cincy/Pitt in the Orange. I guess then Boise would end up in the Fiesta against Penn St? That appears to be a likely scenario...

How about Pete Carroll? Throwing a bomb up 21-7 against UCLA and almost starting a melee. Even after Rick Neuheisel called a timeout last year to cancel out the penalty USC got for wearing the wrong colored uniform. So much for that rivalry being a gentleman's game...

The ND game was typical of their season and seemed to just be another body blow to Charlie Weis. If I was a ND fan, I would want to hand Urban Meyer a blank check and make him say no. While I think Brian Kelly would do well there, he may be a tough sell to the fan base...

Hopefully UGA stayed out of the or Independence Bowl last night. I think the Chick-Fil-A may even want them now that they have some momentum. Here is how I see the SEC bowls panning out...

BCS Title Game - Florida/Bama
Sugar Bowl - Florida/Bama
Capital One - LSU
Cotton - Ole Miss
Outback - Tennessee
Chick-Fil-A - UGA
Music City - Kentucky
Liberty - Auburn - USC
Independence - Arkansas

As for predictions, I think Bama will win the SEC next week. Florida has struggled on offense against good defenses (LSU, USC, UT) and Bama is better than all of those D's. It will be the best D Bama has faced as well, but I like their offense with Richardson/Ingram to find a way to get more points. Just a feeling I have...

RSM Top 25

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Cincinnati
6. Boise State
7. Oregon
8. Ohio State
9. LSU
10. Iowa
11. Penn State
12. Georgia Tech
13. Virginia Tech
14. Nebraska
15. USC
16. Oregon State
17. Miami
18. Pittsburgh
19. Cal
20. Oklahoma State
21. West Virginia
22. Stanford
23. Northwestern
24. BYU
25. Mississippi/Clemson

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday morning musings...

It sure was good to see UGA last night pick up a solid conference win. They now have a chance to beat Kentucky next week and end up 5-3 in the conference and go into Atlanta with a little momentum. I am just glad Stanford is not on the schedule for next week. They sure are playing well right now...

My vote for Coach of the Year for this year goes to June Jones. He took over SMU after the program went 1-11 in 2007. After a 1-11 transition year last season, Jones has SMU a 6-4 (5-1) and in line for a spot in the C-USA Championship Game. Two of their losses came in OT, and they are playing pretty well right now.

As for the RSM poll this week, we are getting closer to the SECCG and setting up the big game. Texas rolled again and it is becoming more clear that they will play the FLA/BAMA winner. TCU sure looks good though - I would like to see them play the SECCG loser in the Sugar Bowl. Also on Championship Saturday, Pitt-Cincy is setting up as a huge game between top-10 teams. Good for the Big East, they have the best balance I can remember them ever having...

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Cincinnati
6. Boise State
7. Georgia Tech
8. LSU
9. Oregon
10. Pittsburgh
11. Ohio State
12. Oklahoma State
13. Stanford
14. Clemson
15. Iowa
16. Penn State
17. Rutgers
18. Wisconsin
19. Mississippi
20. Virginia Tech
21. BYU
22. USC
23. Oregon State
24. California
25. Nebraska

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Switching gears for a minute...

A quick break from football to focus on the Hawks and Braves. First, I was really pleased to see the Hawks go out to Portland and get a good road win early in the season. Good teams win on the road, and that has been an issue for the Hawks for quite some time. However, the Joe Johnson statements last night are a bit troubling. The main concern when Jamal Crawford was acquired had to do with shots. Where would Crawford's come from and who would lose shots? Would the team become selfish with a "I'm a get mine" attitude? Well, I am afraid those concerns are all too apparent very early in the year. Hopefully, they can get this worked out soon...

The Braves giving Tim Hudson an extension all but locks up the top 4 in the rotation for 2010, and it should be one of the games best (Jurrjens, Hanson, Vazquez, Hudson). With 4 top-tier starters, what will Frank Wren do with Lowe and Kawakami? Lowe's contract incentives are based off starts made, so I doubt he would want to go back to closing (that would be scary). Kawakami played the role of long relief pretty well in September, but with his contract and success as a starter, he seems like a solid #5 starter.

Will some team that misses out on the free agent pitchers like Lackey, Wolf, Marquis, and Garland be interested in trading for Lowe? We don't even need much in return, just pay the contract and give us a few prospects. Wren would then need to address 1B and OF via free agency with a few more dollars to work with.

The other option would be to trade one of the Big 4 for the needed bat. Maybe Vazquez for a 1B/OF? I am sure Wren will focus on these decisions and figure out which is the better option. For now, lets say we trade Lowe for prospects - here is how the team would shape up...

SP - Hudson - 9
SP - Vazquez - 11.5
SP - Jurrjens - .75 (extend him soon!)
SP - Hanson - .5
SP - Kawakami - 6.66
RP - Logan - .5
RP - Moylan - .75
RP - Medlen - .4
RP - O'Flaherty - .4
RP - Acosta - .5

C - McCann - 5.5
C - Ross - 1.6
2B - Prado - .5
SS - Escobar - .75 (look for 4+ yr contract in spring)
3B - Jones - 13
OF - Diaz - 4.5 (arb. guess)
OF - McLouth - 4.5
UI - Infante - 2.25
UI - Johnson - 3 (arb. guess)
UO - Church - 3 (arb. guess)
UO - Blanco - .5

That takes up about 70 million for the payroll that started last season at 96 million. Lets assume we fill these four spots with free agents and have 25 million to spend.

Brandon Lyon - 2 yrs 8.5 million (4 million in 2010)
Mike Gonzalez - 2 yrs 12 million (5.5 million in 2010)
Adam LaRoche - 3 yrs 26 million (8.5 million in 2010)
Marlon Byrd - 3 yrs 21 million (7 million in 2010)

That would give the Braves an opening day lineup of:

McLouth - CF
Prado - 2B
Jones - 3B
McCann - C
Escobar - SS
LaRoche - 1B
Byrd - LF
Diaz - RF

Infante would give some solid Chipper insurance, and Church could play against right-handers if Diaz struggles. Lyon is a more consistent version of Soriano and Gonzalez can close or be an 8th inning guy again. Another option I like is trading Kelly Johnson/Schafer for a reliever. That would allow us to get rid of some of the garbage at the back end of the bullpen.

Hot stove season will be here soon! Should be fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heisman Watch...

The second edition of the Heisman Watch is here. There was a little movement after last week, and a former winner has now entered the top 5...

Top 5

1) Mark Ingram (Alabama, RB) - Can make himself the potential national front-runner with 150+ and a few scores against LSU Saturday. Oh yea, a win would help too.

2) Case Keenum (Houston, QB)- Getting more love around the country, Keenum toppped 550 in passing yards Saturday and is in line for a NY invite.

3) Kellen Moore (Boise St, QB) - Moore is now the national leader is passing efficiency, throwing for 24 TD's and only 2 picks.

4) CJ Spiller - (Clemson, All-Purpose Back) - Didn't play a lot against Coastal Carolina, but scored on 1 of his 5 touches. Needs an ACC Title and a big game in Tampa to win the award.

5) Tim Tebow (Florida, QB) - Pretty much has to do it all himself for the #1 Gators. He would need a big game/win in the SECCG to win it for the 2nd time.

Still no Jimmy Clausen on the list. I need more than solid numbers for a marquee program without a signature win. Even if ND wins out, he would have to go bonkers to get in my top 5. If he goes to NY, I may puke...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

End of October...

October is over and the National Championship Game is all but set. The elite teams from the pre-season look to be getting their second wind and try and finish strong. Texas destroyed Oklahoma State showing a dominant defense. Florida should coast against South Carolina next week and set up a game with the Bama/LSU winner for a shot to go up against Texas for the title. Everyone else at this point seems to just be simply jockeying for better bowls.

Look for a Heisman Watch at some point this week. Safe to say Case Keenum will get some more national hype after a 559 yard, 5 TD game against USM yesterday...

RSM Top 25

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. TCU
5. Iowa
6. Cincinnati
7. Boise State
8. Oregon
9. LSU
10. Penn State
11. Georgia Tech
12. Hosuton
13. USC
14. Utah
15. Ohio St
16. Miami
17. Pittsburgh
18. Wisconsin
19. Arizona
20. Cal
21. USF
22. Notre Dame
23. BYU
24. Oklahoma
25. Oklahoma St