12/20/14 12:00 PM: The Lion is back. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, bowl season and NFL playoffs. I am picking EVERY bowl game. No analysis today but here are the picks. Nevada -1, Utah St. -10, Utah -2.5, Air Force +2.5, Bowling Green +2.5. Lets see how the Lion does in his bowl challenge. Stay tuned for more way too early Draft preview, OL and TE are next, I promise by NY Day I will complete every position.
10/24/14 9:45 PM: After a heartbreaking screw job by the ACC refs, the Lion needs a bye week along with his favorite college team. I went 7-6 last week, but lost VT last night, making my record 42-35. No analysis just picks this week. Hint: I like a lot of favorites this week.
10/18/14 11:50 AM: The Dazzle is cleaning up at Salt Barn so the Lion has to post his column as a Den post today. I like lots of games, and I am adding Kentucky +10 to the picks below…
Did the Lion step into a time machine set for 1993? It feels like it. The obvious reason is a top 5 Notre Dame team is playing a top 5 FSU team. One of my favorite youth fandom moments was when the Irish took down Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward (remember that dude?) in a 1 vs. 2 battle for the ages. This week Notre Dame faces another FSU team with another Heisman Trophy QB. We will get to that game later. The other reason the Lion feels like he woke up in 93 is because his parents are coming to “help out” because the Lioness is currently under the weather. This really means they are coming to clean and cook and bring me stuff from Sam’s Club like paper towels. It’s not a bad thing. 93 was a great year. The Phillies had an amazing run to the World Series. Monday Night Raw debuted. The Bills played in the Super Bowl. It was a simpler time. With this sobriety and clear head I am going give you extra picks and analysis this week. After two consecutive weeks under .500 (3-5 last week) the Lion is going use this mantra to help him pick his games this week and build upon a 34-28 season record. He already took Pitt on Thursday Night to take him to 35-28. (A1 has proof)Remember the pro gamblers try to stay above 53% for the season. The Lion is at 55.5%.
Favorite Favorite of the Week: OSU -19 at home against Rutgers: The Lion has been struggling with the favorites and cleaning up on the dogs, but this is a favorite I really like. The public is still fading OSU since its loss to Virginia Tech in Week 2 combined with the Hokies subsequent collapse. If you have been watching, (the Lion has) the young Ohio State offense has improved dramatically, averaging 56 PPG and 624 YPG. J.T. Barrett might actually be a better passer than Braxton Miller. He has become the first Buckeye ever to have four touchdown passes in three straight games. Here is a great state for you. The Buckeyes have won their past seven times coming off a bye in the regular season by an average of 18 PPG. Rutgers is also off a bye, and could be the biggest surprise of the Big Ten to date at 5-1. They haven’t beaten or played anybody good. Rutgers lost to a PSU team that isn’t really good. People are confused by the records here. OSU is going to beat them by more than three TDs. PICK OSU-19
Bonus Favorite Favorite: Clemson -5 at BC: BC has been a surprise team that I have enjoyed taking as a dog this year several times, especially against USC. Kudos to their QB Tyler Murphy who has been an exceptional option QB. Here is the thing though. BC has yet to face a front as good as Clemson’s. After their opening-week struggles against Todd Gurley and Georgia, the Tigers have allowed just one running play of 20 yards or more (a garbage time 40-yard run by South Carolina State) and have surrendered just 275 yards total on the ground, the fewest in the nation. Look for the Clemson defense, which is allowing just 55 rushing YPG in its past five games, to slow down the Boston College ground attack. Murphy, who has a 3-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio this year will not be able to beat them through the air. PICK CLEM
DOGS OF THE WEEK: All year long the Dogs have come through for the Lion. There are two types, ones where the line is too high and ones where they can win outright. I like some of both types this week.
An example of type one is Washington +21 at Oregon: This spread is just too high. Marcus Mariotta is the new Heisman front runner again with Gurley’s suspension, and for good reason. He is carrying the whole team. The duck defense ranks among the nation’s bottom 20 in allowing total yards, first downs, passing yards and third-down conversions. The UW offense hasn’t been very good mostly because it’s been INEFFICIENT. NTMVW’s worst nightmare. It’s true on the Husky offense, penalties have piled up, execution has been inconsistent and ball security remains an issue. The Huskies have fumbled the ball 11 times this season. I think that is going to be fixed because fumbles are mostly random luck and EVERYBODY scores on Oregon. The reason I think NTMVW’s team covers is the ball-hawking defense lead by all universe linebacker Shaq Thompson. Somehow, despite all the fumbles, the Huskies lead the nation in turnover margin. Thompson has single handedly forced two and returned both for TDs. That defense is enough for me to say they keep it under 3 scores. PICK UW +21.
Another example of type one is Tennessee+17.5 at Ole Miss. Ok there is no doubt that Ole Miss and the landshark defense is for real. I took them last week and they kept me respectable. Tennessee killed me two weeks ago by blowing a game against FL that they really should have won, and lead for all but 1 second of that game. After huge wins against Bama and A&M, this smells like let down game to the Lion. Tennessee is coming off a bye, and their defense is close enough to keep this game close and boring. Bo Wallace is due for a stinker for the Rebels. They won’t win this by more than 14. PICK TENN +17.5
Another example of type one is NC State +17 at Louisville. NC State isn’t good, but they can keep it under 17 against Louisville. They gave a Jameis Winston led FSU team the toughest game it’s had all year by far. Pick NC ST +17.
Here are some examples of type two dogs that can win their games OUTRIGHT:
UVA +2.5 at Duke: First of all this is a UVA line. Second of all UVA doesn’t have a great record but it is battle tested. It took UCLA to the limit and should have beat BYU at BYU, which nobody does easily. UVA has a good defense and can run and stop the run. Duke is a solid and well coached team but they haven’t played a team has been through what the Cavs have. They can easily win this game outright. Gotta take those extra points. PICK UVA +2.5
Arkansas +3.5 at home against Georgia and Mizzou +5.5 at Florida. Gerogia and Mizzou screw me every week. Last week I took Mizzou with Gurley out for UGA and Tigers came out and could not have played worse, as they gave UGA the ball five extra times on turnovers. Matty Mauk isn’t that bad, he will play better. It won’t take much to beat Florida. I stupidly took FL at home last week against has home dogs against a bad for this year LSU team and FL couldn’t cover. They have no business being favorites here other than overreaction to what Georgia did to Mizzou. Georgia is another team that screws the Lion weekly. He is not going to get sucked into the hype and overreact. Arkansas is good and can beat the Dawgs at their own game, running and stopping the run. I expect UGA to think they are big time now that they rolled Mizzou. Ark could easily win this game outright. PICK ARK +3.5 and Mizzou +5.5
GAMES OF THE WEEK: As usual there are a lot of amazing matchups between top 25 teams this week. As usual the Lion will pick every one of them for you, whether he likes them or not.
No. 23 Stanford Cardinal (-3) at No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils: AZ State has a prolific offense but not a very good defense. They are coming off a bye following their miracle Hail Mary victory over USC. Stanford is on its 3rd road game in 4 weeks. I still like the Cardinal. Why? Stanford matches up favorably against them. Want proof? Last year the Cardinal beat the Sun Devils TWICE. In game one, Stanford led 39-7 after three quarters and would “only” win by 14. In the Pac-12 title game — where they were shockingly an underdog — the Cardinal would keep their foot on the gas the entire game, winning 38-14 on the road. I can’t go against Stanford’s physical dominance in this game. PICK STAN -3.
No. 12 TCU Horned Frogs (-8.5) vs. No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys: TCU covered for me last week but lost in crushing fashion, as they blew a 21-point lead at Baylor. Had they escaped with a win, I actually would look at this as a let down game. However I no longer do. First, contrary to some earlier reports, it does look like QB Trevone Boykin will play in this game, and that’s good news since he is one of the most improved QBs in the country. Check him out Dazzle, he is a fun college QB. On the other side, Oklahoma State survived a scare from the garbage fire that is Kansas last week. They won by only 7, and that is lucky because they were outgained 379-275. A 99-yard kickoff return touchdown by Tyreek Hill proved to be the difference. OK State is very young, and has had a lot of trouble protecting the QB this year, allowing 19 sacks, and has committed multiple turnovers each of the past three games. If the Pokes make mistakes against this team, TCU will roll. Seems probable. PICK TCU -8.5
No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners (-8.5) vs. No. 14 Kansas State Wildcats: Early in the season I said that maybe Oklahoma is the best team in the country. I still think they could be. I just have concerns this week. Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight has struggled in three Big 12 games with two TD passes, three interceptions and just 42-of-84 passing. Last week, the Sooners were fortunate to not blow an 18-point second half lead in their 31-26 win over rival Texas in the Red River Shootout. Texas back door cover screwed me, but they earned it. The Sonners were actually outgained 482-232, and had just 29 total yards at halftime. They were lucky because their D scored for them. I know Texas isn’t particularly good this year, but the game is still big and it takes its toll. Kansas State comes in off a bye after destroying each of its previous two opponents after the near upset of Auburn. Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder owns a 12-1 ATS mark as road underdog, Since 2011, the Cats have won nine games outright as an underdog, including a win in Norman two years ago as a 15.5-point ‘dog. One of those was two years ago when Kansas State pulled off the upset 24-19 against Oklahoma. Last year the Sooners were playing with revenge and got a 74-yard interception return touchdown with 11:47 left to key a 41-31 win despite Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett setting a school record with 440 all-purpose yards. I think they win by 7 this week, and the spread is already dropping to 7.5 so Vegas agrees. PICK KSU +8.5
No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide (-11.5) vs. No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies. Another week, another amazing SEC matchup involving these two teams. They both have been through an Oct gauntlet, which makes up for the fact they each played one real team in Aug before beating up on cupcakes in Sept. The Crimson Tide offense last week failed to produce either a first down or touchdown on nine of its 13 drives against Arkansas, the most such drives in a game in the Saban era and the most by any SEC team in the past three seasons. After losing to Ole Miss and barely beating Ark everybody is jumping off the band wagon causing Nick Saban’s inner dickhead to show. A&M also has struggled has been blown out in each of the past two weeks by the schools from the Mississippi, and each of those were even a bit misleading, as the Aggies scored garbage time touchdowns in each game to avoid further embarrassment. Sure Bama’s QB Blake Sims has been a turnover machine, and Lane Kiffin is extremely overrated, but there is one constant in Tuscaloosa is a defense that ranks No. 3 in the country in allowing just 69 rushing YPG and 277 total YPG. The truth is, like I said early in the season, Bama covered too many times in a row and the market needed to correct itself. I feel like it may have over corrected itself here. I am not ready to jump off the Bama bandwagon yet. This is one of my more confident bets of the week. PICK BAMA -11.5
GAME OF WEEK: NOTRE DAME at FLORIDA STATE -11.5: I have been giving you the right read on ND all year. I told you to fade them last week and against Purdue. I told you to take them against Stanford, Michigan and Syracuse. I honestly have no read on the game this week, but I am going to roll with the Irish. One reason is because I am a homer. There are others though. FSU has failed to cover 5 of its 6 games this year. Last year FSU had so many NFL teams and they won by 40 points a game. This year they are only outscoring their foes by 18. There have been tons of distracting off field stuff this week for Winston and the Seminoles. While people are naturally going to point to ND’s struggle in the obvious trap game last week against UNC, NOBODY is talking about how FSU had a tougher time with Cuse than the Irish did. Don’t believe me? The Noles allowed 412 yards last week to a Syracuse team that was playing a third-string quarterback most of the game. ND shut down Cuse with its first team QB, and the only reason it wasn’t a blow out was the 4 TO’s and garbage time TD by Cuse.
Why am I worried? FSU still has NFL talent all over the field, especially on offense. ND has not played a team with offensive talent even close to this all year. More worrisome is this will be Notre Dame’s first true away game this year. Everett Golson suddenly has turnover issues, with nine in the past three games after having zero in the first three. Still, the guy is a winner. He still sports a 16-1 record as a starting quarterback, which is only bested by Winston’s 19-0 mark among QBs with at least 10 starts. Here is the thing, EVERYBODY hates ND, and the Fighting Irish have haters, but this team is starting to feel like the one from that 2012 season. In 2012, they beat Stanford in the last seconds and escaped an trap game against BYU, then traveled to Oklahoma where they found themselves a 12-point underdog to the Sooners. Notre Dame would win that one 30-13 en route to its first undefeated regular season since 1988. Now two years later, it is fresh off a win over Stanford in the waning seconds, survived trap game and now finds itself a 12-point underdog (opening line before it was taken off) on the road. Plus back in 93, all the hype was on Charlie Ward but ND had a QB named Kevin McDougal who was underrated and all he did was win. Hmmm. I’m clearly exhausted. For ND to cover this spread and maybe win this game, it will need to play the game it did against Oklahoma in 2012. Mistake free, with good play calling and explode for two or three big plays. Can they do it here? I don’t know. Go Irish. PICK ND +12.
9/28/14 11:45 AM: The Lion went 6-4 yesterday to bring his season record to 27-18. If it wasn’t for a Gamecock defensive meltdown in the late 4th quarter I would be 10 games over .500. Still I would put my record against the spread against most. Let’s move on to the NFL. I went 4-1 last week to get my season record to 7-8 (My 0-5 week 1 killed me). Again here are my 5 NFL plays presented without comment. Look to the Lurk to get an analysis. Baltimore -3, Miami -4, Jax +14, San Fran -4.5 and Saints -3. Good Lurk.
9/25/14 10:30 AM: THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Ok we talked a lot of NFL in a feature piece on the main board that I suggest you guys check out. I think its the best thing Dazzle and I have done yet in that format. Tonights NFL game is a stay away for me, becuase everybody knows the home team is 3-0 ATS on Thursdays and I can’t go against my own statement to take the home team on Thursdays until further notice. Here is the thing though, after such an emotional loss on Sunday, I could really see the Skins coming out flat. STAY AWAY.
A much more important game is being played in College tonight at 10:00 PM. #11 UCLA at #15 AZSU +3.5. This game is important for control of the Pac-12 South Division. Both teams are undefeated. USC, even with the embarrasing loss to BC, still has the win over Pac-12 North foe Stanford on its resume. Neither of these teams wants a conferense loss. Arizona State is one of the more underrated teams in the country. Last year they were a top 25 team led by an explosive offense with some of the most underrated skill players in the country. The Lion previewed RB DJ Foster as one of the most exciting players in the country and he has delievered. He has 540 yards rushing and 5 TDs in 3 games and he has another 100+ receving. Jalen Strong the WR is also very underrated. The most underrated player on AZ State however is QB Taylor Kelly. He is a great college QB. I watched him several times last year and was very impressed. Unfortunately, he is injured and will miss tonights game. Also uncertain for tonights game is UCLA All American QB Brett Hundley. Hundley and UCLA have struggled on offense early in the season becuase their offensive line has been very shakey. Think Aaron Rodgers and GB. Here is the thing though. The Sun Devil’s Defense is Terrible. ASU allowed 545 yards and 28 first downs to Colorado. The 545 yards marked the most yards gained by CU in three years. CU is AWFUL. I think Hundley plays tonight and the bottled up Bruin offense finally explodes. While I am not extremely confident in taking a college team on a road thursday night game until I am sure Hundley is starting, I think he will and I don’t have time to preview this game later. PICK UCLA -3.5
See you tomorrow with College Football Friday.
9/23/14 9:42 PM: MASSIVE trade winds blowing in the JFFL as one of the top players in the league, the best at his position, is being discussed in trade talks with three different teams. He could have a new home by tomorrow morning. Stay tuned…
9/21/14 10:00 AM: So after the Lion wrote his picks out Friday Night, it was announced that Jameis wasn’t playing the whole game, so I bet Clemson +10, the line dropped that fast. It was not the Lion’s best week. 4-4. Brings my total record to 20-14. Some random observations from my Saturday perusal. Bama WR Amari Cooper is a stud. UMich coach Brady Hoke will be fired. East Carolina has won me over. They are legit. FSU’s defense bailed them out. Oklahoma v. Auburn is my national championship prediction. The Big Ten pretty much sucks but Nebraska and PSU are still undefeated. Abdullah the Husker RB is a Heisman darkhorse right now. Put Cooper in that discussion as well. Here come my 5 NFL picks without explanation. Go to the Lurk for that, he is the hotter hand anyway. I am taking Buff -2, Det -1.5, Pitt+3, NYG+2.5, and NOLA -10.
9/19/14 8:40 PM: COLLEGE! Ok so last night’s Auburn game was a little sloppy. Thursday Night games tend to be. Still, Auburn went to the little apple and won, and it was actually a game unlike whatever went down in ATL. Amazing how quick Dazzle has jumped off his conclusion that the Falcons were awful, he actually bet them last night. Smart move. For the record, I think you should take a home team on Thursday Night until further notice. Let’s move on to this weeks picks. We can build on 16-10.
FAVORITE BET OF THE WEEK: Alabama -14.5 at home over Florida. Believe it or not, Bama has yet to cover this season. This is because people blindly take them, driving the spread to high, and also because their offense has struggled to get into a rhythm without one true staring QB. That is no longer a problem. Blake Simms took more than 75% of the snaps last week and unless he comes in and struggles terribly, he seems to be the guy. Florida is a pretty awful 3-0. They took 3 OT’s to beat Kentucky last week. Their offense isn’t good and Bama’s defense might hold them to one score. I see this being Alabama’s first cover of the year. The market has corrected itself.
Bonus Favorite Bet: VATECH -7 at home over GATECH. The Lion called VT’s let down last week to ECU. I took the Pirates thinking Va Tech would come out flat but maybe struggle from behind to win and not cover. That happened, except when Va Tech came back, ECU scored a game winner. Don’t just overreact and dismiss the Hokies this week. Bud Foster their DC is an expert at stopping the Triple Option the Yellow Jackets run. He does it every year. One thing I learned this year is that VT can actually score for the first time in about 10 years. They scored enough to win last week. I don’t think the D lets them down two weeks in a row. PICK VT
FAVORITE DOGS OF THE WEEK: The Lion continues to cash in on Dogs this year in college FB. I have two for you this week that I think can win outright. Following the logic of the letdown game, ECU is due for a let down after playing South Carolina tough and beating ECU. The public is overreacting and they are giving points to a more talented North Carolina team that is not really traveling far to play at ECU. It will be a home game for the Tar Heels. PICK UNC +3. I also watched MD lose a very tough game to a sneaky tough WVU team last week. They are getting no respect from the public going to Syracuse this weekend. MD can win this game outright and they getting two extra points. PICK MD +2. Finally I like UVA at Provo Utah. BYU is favored by 16 points at home against a UVA team that played UCLA tough, and beat Louisville. BYU is getting a lot of credit for rolling a Texas team that was missing 3 starting OL and its QB. The same Texas team that couldn’t even beat UCLA without Brett Hundley. UVA is actually decent this year and they can keep this game close and I wouldn’t be shocked if they won. PICK UVA +16
GAMES OF WEEK
Oklahoma at WVU +11. This is a fascinating game. There may not be a more complete team than the Sooners. The Lion predicted they would roll over Tennessee last week because of Stoops hard on for beating the SEC. This week they are going to Morgantown, at night. WVU isn’t as awful as last years version. Their QB Clint Trickett (I may create the game, NASCAR driver or SEC QB) is completing 75 percent of his passes for 1,224 yards and a 7-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. However, the defense has allowed 35 PPG and 493 YPG to Alabama and Maryland. Then again, they played Bama tough and covered, and beat MD outright. The Sooners are missing their starting RB Keith Ford. Something fascinating about this game opened at OK -12, but has dropped steadily all week. Since I started writing the rough draft of this piece this morning, the spread has dropped to -7. I took WVU +11, but I would stay away from this game at 7. If one was inclined to get wild, they may try to bust the spread and hope its a 8 to 10 point OK win. PICK WVU+11
Miss St at LSU -9.5. This game is actually a more important game than Bama v. FL because Miss St. and LSU both are actually decent teams. LSU has won 20 of the past 21 and 13 straight in this series. They are playing in Death Valley at night. Miss St. is supposed to have a vaunted defense, but it’s allowing 392 yards per game despite playing a softer schedule than LSU, who has beaten Wisconsin and cruised since. I can’t go against the Tigers at home. PICK LSU-9.5
Clemson at FSU -17. You may have heard about Winston this week. He is sitting out the first half. The line dropped only 2 points. This season, FSU has failed to cover its first two games by a combined 46 points. Similar to Bama, most of it has been due to inflated lines after a dominating 2013 season. Coming off a bye week, I was thinking the Seminoles were due to make a statement after they have seen teams such as Oregon and Oklahoma steal some of their thunder, until Winston went out. However, now that the line has dropped, I like FSU again. Many times teams rally when the star player is out of the lineup, as every player picks up his game to make up for the difference. The Seminoles still have the most talented roster in college football, and if its even a close game in the first half, I expect Winston to come out firing on all cylinders in the second half as the Noles cruise over the Tigers for the second straight year. Also Clemson hasn’t been impressive since the first half against UGA. Tahj Boyd isn’t walking out of that tunnel. Sammy Watkins isn’t walking out of that tunnel. I don’t buy a first year starting QB going down to FSU and keeping this game close. PICK FSU -17.
9/18/14 8:30 AM: We have an awful, awful Thursday Night NFL game this week. I propose you watch the Lion’s National Championship Pick, Auburn against Kansas St tonight in the alternative. There is not a more exciting offense at any level of football then the one the Tigers run. We are getting enough information to actually make judgments in the NFL, I will write more about that league next week. As usual, I will be back tomorrow for College Football Friday picks.
9/15/14 2:09 PM: The Lion has returned from his home habitat in the wilderness of Central PA and boy did he have a nice college football weekend. If you read what I said and rode with me, you did well. My favorite bets went 5 and 0 and overall I went 6-2. If you are keeping score, WEEK ATS 6-2. SEASON 16-10.
9/12/14 10:15 AM: FOOTBALL FRIDAY. I know this Ray Rice/Goodell stuff is dominating the news but here is a NEWSFLASH: everybody watched the game thursday didn’t they. I thought so. Lets pick some college games. This week is awful by the way.
Favorite Bet of the Week: Illinois at Washington -14.5. I am riding with NTMVW’s squad here. The Big Ten has shown that it is awful, and the Illini are probably the worst team in the conference. While UW has struggled out of the gate, they are due for a big home win here. PICK HUSKIES
Favorite Dogs of the Week: The Lion has benefited by taking Dogs this year. He went 11 for 15 last week in his pool by taking mostly dogs. There are many I like this week as well. BC +20 vs. USC is favored by 19.5 but has to travel all the way to BC a week after a huge win against Stanford, in a game they were kind of lucky to win. I can see the Eagles keeping this close. Along the same token, I kind of like ECU+11 at VT. I think the Pirates cover because VT is due for a let down at home after their big win at OSU. The Pirates hung with South Carolina last week and played the Hokies close last year 15-10. I think VT will win the game, and this years team is vastly improved from last years, especially on offense, but it will be close. Following this theme, I like Purdue +28 v. ND. The Irish are coming off the biggest win since 2012 at the earliest, and even though Purdue is terrible, they always play ND tough. I have watched the Irish play closely and they are slow starting. I see this being a one score game at half before ND pulls away and wins by 24 or something.
There is also a Dog who I think can win. For example, Arkansas +2.5 at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders struggled to beat Central Ark and UTEP. While Ark got blown out at Auburn, that is nothing to be ashamed of becuase Auburn is my pick to win it all. The Razorbacks should run all over the TT D that allowed 478 rushing yards combined to the aforementioned cupcakes. Ark. OUTRIGHT.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
UCLA v. Texas +7. Ok this game was a lot more interesting before the Longhorns got rolled by BYU last week. UCLA was supposed to be a juggernaught but has struggled early. Their Offensive line has been extremely shakey. Hundley has been very good depsite the lack of protection, completing 68 percent of his passes. Texas has more problems that UCLA does, with overconcussed QB David Asche and missing 3 OL starters. Niether of these teams are very trustworthy but I gotta take the UCLA BRUINS to win by more than 7.
Tennessee at Oklahoma -20. I am on record saying that I like what Butch Jones is doing with the Vols, but I am just really impressed with the Sooners right now. Tennessee will be better in the next few years, but they are young now especially at the OL and DL. Many of these Volunteers will be making the first road start of their college careers in Norman. The Sooners are an incredible 88-5 there since 2000. Stoops hates the SEC, and this is a chance for him and his team to make another statement like he did against Bama in January. Look for the Sooners to pile on. PICK SOONERS
GEORGIA at South Carolina +5.5. This is really the only good game this week. Spurriers team recovered somewhat from its beatdown from A&M and beat a sneaky tough ECU team last week. However, they were outgained 453-441 and the defense continues to struggle, especially against the run and short passes. This is what Georgia offense does best. I have a hard time going against the Cocks at home. This is the first time South Carolina finds itself a home underdog since the memorable 35-21 upset of No. 1 Alabama in 2010. However, Spurrier has admitted this Gamecocks team is not as talented as the past editions. That sounds like waiving the white flag to me. Georgia is coming off a rare early season bye after their win against Clemson. Keeping with my theme of the week, I just have to go with the DAWGS here. Sorry JPoww. PICK UGA
9/11/14 8:45 AM: Lets take a break from the Ray Rice stuff to talk about actual football this morning. Here are some thoughts from week 1:
Leveon Bell lost a significant amount of weight and looks quicker. Sorry Trombone.
Nick Foles is still an enigma.
The NFC East is the worst division in the NFL.
Denver misses Welker and Decker.
I apparently should only bet first halves of games.
For tonight’s pick I agree with the Dazzle, on a short week you have to go with the home favorite, especially when that home team is Baltimore, who has the best record at home ATS of any team this decade. All this distraction will only unify the locker room. Be careful though, the Steelers and Ravens are the closest thing the NFL has to a college type rivalry and these teams do not like each other. It’s almost always a one score game. I am going to save my money and waste it over the weekend. Tune in tomorrow for College Football Friday.
9/7/14 9:15 AM: NFL GAME DAY. I will get to that in a minute. What a glorious day of football yesterday was, well unless you are a Big Ten fan. The Lion gave you, Pitt, Auburn, Kentucky, the Hokies, the Irish, and USC. He was dead wrong about Oklahoma taking care of business at Tulsa and Toledo. The Lion also got royally screwed by MD, who got a first down due to a penalty and chose to take knees to run out the clock instead of kicking the covering FG. Something similar happened at Oregon. Oregon had 4th and 2 and they chose to go for a first down to be able to take knees similar to the scenario I explained with MD. Oregon not only got the 1st, they scored a TD to ruin my MSU pick. Ah point spreads. Still, 6 and 4 is in the money. WEEK ATS 6-4. SEASON 10-8.
On to NFL. I am not going to step on the toes of the Lurk, but let me just say this. I was all set to bet the Saints this week and now I am pulling away. I am sure I will regret it. In the meantime, here are the Lion’s NFL picks for week 1. Pitt -7, NE -4.5, Jax +11, TB -1, and Denver -7.5. Happy Football.
9/5/14 9:20 AM: IT”S A FOOTBALL FRIDAY! Labor Day is done, we have a full slate of college and NFL games to get into this weekend. Here are the Lion’s College Picks.
Friday Night Special: Pitt at BC +4. This isn’t a terrible Friday Night game. Neither team was tested last week, as Pitt rolled University of Delaware, a very good D-1AA team, (63-0) while BC beat UMASS 30-7. BC’s offense isn’t particularly good, they do have a running QB in Florida transfer Tyler Murphy. I question how good he is if he couldn’t beat out Jeff Driskel to run that awful Gator offense last year. The Eagles only return nine starters, fewest in the ACC. Meanwhile the Panthers have 13 starters back this season, including last year’s top two rushers, leading receiver, four along the offensive line and three of last year’s top four tacklers. I worry about Pitt on the road, but I gotta go with PA over NE in all things football. Sorry Softness, the line opened up on this BC -1 and it moved this far for a reason. PICK PITT -4
FAVORITE FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: Ohio at Kentucky -11. Real simple, Ohio is awful this year, and Kentucky is the one SEC team that doesn’t overlook MAC squads becuase they need style points and wins before they start SEC conference play. Since 2007, they have played six MAC teams, going 6-0. I think they win by two TDs. PICK KENTUCKY
Bonus Favorite Favorite: Auburn -31 over San Jose St. I said earlier this week that Auburn is my favorite team to watch in all of football right now. The moment Nick Marshall came back into that game last week they went into overdrive. The Tigers have won 23 straight nonconference home games and12 straight against the spread dating back to last year. San Jose State has dropped 11 straight road openers by 34 points per game. This is a high number but I am feeling that Auburn will put up 50+. PICK AUBURN
FAVORITE DOG OF THE WEEK: Mizzou at Toledo +4.5. This is one of those where the Line is telling me something. Vegas is daring you to bet Mizzou with a spread that low. That is because Mizzou lost their starting QB, two best WRs, RB, and 2 of their best 3 DL. Last year Toledo gave Mizzou a fight and actually out gained them in yards. I feel like this is an upset waiting to happen. PICK TOLEDO
NON COWARDLY NON CON GAMES:
VA TECH at OHIO STATE -11.5. Believe it or not, these schools have never played each other in football. I love match ups like this. Another reason the Lion loves College Football is the last regional game in America and Lion’s are tribal by nature in their prides. Yes the Lion is not all inclusive. As for the game itself, I expect a low scoring game. OSU’s offense sputtered early against a not very good Navy defense. The Buckeyes actually trailed at half before waking up and giving me a late covering due to a 61 yard fumble return and some big plays. Va Tech’s Defense is exponentially better. Kendall Fuller (Kyle’s brother) leads what might be the best secondary in the country, definitely the best outside of the state of Florida. There will be no big plays in the passing game this week. The real question is if new Hokie QB Michael Brewer can put up some points on what is still a very good OSU defense. I think the defenses keep this game close. I wouldn’t bet the house on this game but I like the Hokies to cover. PICK HOKIES +11.5
USC at Stanford -3.5. The Trojans upset Stanford last year in what has become an increasingly heated rivalry. Sarkisian’s UWash team kept it close against the Cardinal also by running and temp offense. He has continued this pace at USC, running a PAC12 record 105 plays last week against Fresno. Shaw and Sark do not like each other and have given each other crap to the media. Each of the past four meetings between these two has gone down to the wire, I would not touch this game in any way shape or form. If you have to pick it for a pool, take the points.
Michigan at Notre Dame -4.5. This is the final scheduled game between these two schools that hate each other. I cannot bet this game because of where my loyalties lie. I will say this. The key to the game will be if ND’s secondary who is decimated by suspension and injury can hold up the Wolverine passing attack. Golson and the Irish offense will put up points on there end. I expect this to come down to the 4th quarter, as it has the past 4 years. I can’t wait for this. Fine, I am going to say it. Go Irish.
Michigan State at Oregon -13.5 This is a huge non conference game becuase it shows the strengths of the two conferences which claim to be the 2nd best in College Football (after the SEC of course). It’s one of those record setting offenses v. elite defenses. These games are often decided by the other side of the ball, where MSU is sneaky good on offense. Connor Cook has developed into a nice little QB, in the Kirk Cousins mold. When it comes down to it, Oregon always struggles with physical teams like Stanford. MSU is just like Stanford, and actually beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl last year. I think MSU at least keeps this close enough that they cover. PICK MSU +13.5
Bonus Games: The Lion likes Maryland -9.5 over South Florida, and Tulsa to cover a 25 point spread against an Oklahoma team that could be looking ahead to Tennessee next week. Good Luck.
9/4/14 10:00 PM: I know all of you are watching the game. Here are some of my first half observations:
– Green Bay’s game plan makes sense, but I don’t know if they have the personnel to carry out. What they are trying to do is keep the Seahawks from rotating their DL by running an up tempo offense and also trying to wear them down with the run. The problem is GB isn’t particularly built for this strategy. The way to attack Sea is to run at them because their defense pursues so quickly, running directly at them negates that. The passes that seem to work on them are in the middle of the field tonight.
– Percy Harvin is a perfect fit for our JFFL scoring system. He gets a ton of touches and return yards.
– Green Bay’s DL is getting their asses handed to them by Seattle’s OL. Julius Peppers you look very washed up, especially against the run. Seattle’s going to keep running and mix in the occasional play action pass to break their spirits. Green Bay is not going to win this game if that happens.
– Ha Ha Clinton Dix is having a nice little first NFL game. He had a great pursuit of Wilson on a scramble, recovered Earl Thomas III’s fumble, and generally is in the right spot.
– ETIII should not be returning punts.
9/3/14 8:53 AM: Football is upon us. Don’t forget to set your fantasy teams, pick your suicide picks and place your wagers. It’s time. I have some NCAA week 1 reactions briefly for you. If you bet with the Lion you went 4 and 4. I .500 record isn’t terrible for week 1, but I aim to do better. Quick hits:
1. Auburn is my favorite team to watch in football right now.
2. I may have to switch Gurley and Gordon in my Heisman prediction. Speaking of darkhorse predictions, Hackenberg and Golson lived up to the hype I gave them.
3. Miami isn’t good.
4. Week 2 is cupcake week in the NCAA. Seriously the schedule is awful. There are some exceptions. I applaud these teams for scheduling the following 3 games. ND v. Michigan, OSU v. Va Tech and Michigan St. v. Oregon. Also we have Stanford v. USC this week, so there is that. Look for some NCAA predictions on Friday.
During the regular season I leave most of the NFL stuff to Dazzle, but I will give you my Super Bowl Pick right now, the New Orleans Saints. You heard it here first.
8/30/14 8:45 AM: Well, 1 and 1 isn’t so bad to start. Kenny Hill and the A&M offense showed me something last night. The OL dominated the line of scrimmage and kept the pressure off Hill, and when pressure did get through he scrambled with his eyes down field and found wide open WRs. Seals Jones and Speedy Noil are amazing. Ole Miss came through for me though after a tough start. Lets move on to the weekend.
Favorite Bet of the Week: UCF -2 over PSU in Dublin. First of all, PSU fans can tell themselves whatever they want, but this is just the latest evidence of 80 years of Notre Dame envy. Ever talk to a PSU fan about Notre Dame? They flip out. Love and Hate are more closely related than apathy. Notre Dame fans outside of PA don’t think much about PSU at all. Let’s get to why I think UCF will cover. 1. The spread opened even, and went to UCF. 2. While PSU has Hackenberg back, they lost Allen Robinson and only have a combined 21 starts on its OL. 3. UCF returns 9 starters on what was a pretty good defense last year. PICK UCF.
Bonus Favorite: Navy v. OSU -16.5 in Baltimore. This line told me everything. After Braxton Miller went down, this dropped from 17.5 to 13.5, until everybody in Vegas realized that 1. OSU has the best DL in college football, 2. They have hade a month to prepare for the triple option. The line moving back up says it all for me. PICK OSU
BONUS BONUS Favorite: FSU -19 over OK State in Dallas. OK State is one of the least experienced teams in one of the weaker power conferences. FSU lost a lot, but they still have a lot.
Favorite Dog: Wisconsin v. LSU -6 in Houston. This game will be one of the best of the weekend. LSU has lost Mettenberger, its two top WRs, and its top RB from last year. A dirty little secret last year was LSU’s D wasn’t very good. They actually out scored teams. Wisconsin has the best OL in the NCAA and the best RB. I think they keep it closer than 6. PICK WISC
Bonus Favorite Dogs: Ark +21.5 at Auburn, (spread is too high for a Auburn team whose starting QB is benched for first half) UVA +21.5 at home vs. UCLA, (noon is too early of a start for this high of a spread for the hyped up Bruins) and WVU +26.5 v. Bama. (This is too much for a Bama team who hasn’t figured out who its starting QB is yet.)
GAME OF WEEK: Clemson at Georgia -9.5, Last year this was one of the best games of the season, and UGA really should have won it at Clemson. They had a 545-467 yard edge, and its bobbled snap on a field goal attempt late in the game ended up being the difference in the Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss. Clemson lost Watkins, Boyd and Bryant on offense, along with a 1,000 yard RB, but does have a decent D returning. UGA returns Gurley and has the revenge factor. I think UGA wings the game but this spread is too high. (Since I put in my picks the spread has dropped to a more reasonable -7.5). If I really wanted to get cute I would take UGA to win and Clemon against this spread. This along with Wisconsin v. LSU are going to be the games of the week. WELCOME FOOTBALL. WELCOME.
8/29/14 1:30 PM: As promised here is my preview and pick for the Aggies at the Cocks:
Texas A&M at South Carolina -10.5: Believe it or not these teams have never played before. The storyline by the media for this game isn’t so much as who is playing but who isn’t. Clowney and Shaw have left Spurrier for the NFL. So have Evans, Jake Matthews and Johnny Football left Coach Sumlin. Clearly both schools have lost a lot to graduation, but it seems like the Cocks have more in the cupboard. For example, at QB, the Aggies have sophomore Kenny Hill starting over uberfosh Kyle Allen in his first start on the road. SC is very tough to beat on a Thursday night at home. They have experienced 5th year senior Dylan Thompson under center. He has played often over the past few years and has over 2,000 yards passing for his career.
The key to the game for me is that South Carolina returns stud RB Mike Davis, a darkhorse Heisman candidate, running behind an OL with 113 combined starts under their belts. They are up against an Aggie D that allowed 222 rushing yards per game (5.4 yards per carry) last year and lost three of its projected starters over in the summer. Yikes.
While 10.5 points is a lot, these stats seal the deal for the Lion. South Carolina has won a school-record 18 straight games at home and seven straight home openers by an average of 22 PPG. I can’t go against the Head Ball Coach tonight.
PICK SC -10.5
Tune in tomorrow for my weekend picks.
8/28/14 9:30 AM: We made it to kickoff. Finally. Lets talk about tonight’s games.
Boise St. v. Ole Miss -9.5: Let me start by saying week 1 is really hard to predict becuase you have no evidence of what the team is like. Boise has a new coach, and Ole Miss lost one of their best WRs to the NFL. They still have a senior QB, Bo Wallace, and the two best players in this game, WR Treadwell and DE Robert Nkemdiche. This game is at the Georgia Dome, which will be a home game for Ole Miss becuase its in the heart of SEC country. The line is moving up to 10.5 as we speak. PICK: OLE MISS
Later on this afternoon; Texas A&M at South Carolina
8/27/14 9:50 AM: One day away from College Kickoff. The Lion has been silent becuase he has been figuring out his week 1 picks. Tune in tomorrow for the Lion’s picks for A&M at South Carolina and Boise St. v. Ole Miss. Friday I will give you the rest of the weekend. It’s about to get real.
8/21/14 8:36 AM: We are exactly one week away from Big Time College football. Texas A&M plays South Carolina next Thursday. Can’t wait. Look for my College picks of the week every Thursday right here on the den. In previewing this season, we talked about QBs, we talked about RBs, we talked about the Heisman. Lets talk about Defense today. Who is the best? Ohio State had the best DL. FSU has the best secondary. Florida probably has the best overall. MSU had the best D in college football last year, but they lost a lot to the NFL, I still expect their D to be excellent though. They play sneaky good defense at South Carolina and Georgia. USC has a defense on the uptick. Oklahoma has a D that can create turnovers, although they give up points and yards. Look for all of these teams to be in the top 15 all year long. Defense wins championships.
8/18/14 11:50 AM: The Lion has a rant for this monday. After being in the sun all day on Saturday at various events and bbqs, drinking 3 different types of beer, some bourbon, and smoking a cigar, he was very dehydrated and hungover on Sunday. The best cure for this is laying on the couch and watching football. I watched preseason football for a long time yesterday. I really have a problem with the way the refs are interpreting the new pass interference rule. It’s incredibly favorable to offenses, and it actually slows the game down so there is no flow to it. I have concerns the NFL is too driven by fantasy football.
8/15/14 9:00 AM: In today’s intallment of the Den, I will give you a snippet of X and O football talk between me and Dazzle. First, some background to the conversation. Here on thejerkfest.com we attempt to toe the line between unbiased anaylsis and enthusiastic fandom. If you read closely, you know that I am a Bills fan and Dazzle prefers the Eagles. Yesterday I sent him an article from one of my favorite football writers, Chris Brown. http://grantland.com/features/chip-kelly-philadelphia-eagles-nfl-influence/ Chris is very high on Chip Kelly, and makes a compelling argument for his point of view. Upon reading the article, Dazzle decided to discuss the sweep play against the Packers that Brown broke down in his piece. The following exchange occured.
FROM: Dazzle To: Me
So on that sweep I’d imagine if the secondary support sniffs out the run and lines up over the tackles, Foles is supposed to audible into a TE screen off to the left where the interior TE feeds off of a block by the exterior TE. How do you stop that? Crazy idea, but do you see defensive tackles dropping back into a MLB position and spying the RB under those circumstances in the next year? Do you brink the weak side linebacker across and leave your secondary guys in single coverage?
FROM: Me To: Dazzle
Well, there are a lot of ways to answer your question, haha. Short answer, yes if the secondary cheats over they throw to one of those two TE. It’s really hard to stop. Long answer, is I think the Packers secondary was lined up correctly, its front 7 that are in the wrong position.
So the Packers run a 3-4, but I don’t see 3 DL in that picture. (I confess I know more about 4-3). I assume maybe the 3rd DL is the guy lined up over Ertz, or maybe its the guy lined up over Eagles player #76, or maybe its some sort of secondary heavy package. Hard to say without seeing all 11 guys.
So anyway keeping that in mind, my explanation to why I think the front 7 screwed up is this: the LB over Eagles OL 76 for some reason shoots inside of him instead of setting the edge and keeping contain. Perhaps it was a called blitz which is why he did it, but from a straight up fundamental standpoint, there was nobody playing the 9 gap (you know from the wide 9 what that means), the Eagles ran straight to that side. If this guy sets the edge, McCoy doesn’t get the corner as easily, and maybe the play doesn’t go for big yards. To address the the alignment (which I think is the author’s point) the chaos and speed of Kelly’s offense causes teams to line up wrong. A rule of thumb on D is to never have two players in the same gap. Looking at the left side of the line, you see exactly that, they guy over Ertz and the #59 are stacked and both seem to think they have the same responsiblity. Conversley, you have 3 guys covering 4 gaps, which is what happens when you have 2 guys in one gap on the opposite side. You could have the NT and the guy over Ertz line up to their lefts by one gap each, or, have #59 do the same. Sometimes you want to stack guys to disguise which gap a player has, but on the snap at least they fire to their gap off the ball. That doesn’t happen here, nobody has the 9 gap, Foles realizes the alignment, and they run to the right where the guy normally responsible for the edge happens to not be setting it becuase he is shooting the gap on the inside of the Eagles #76.
The Lion is happy to discuss X and O questions or any other football related questions. Jerks can contact him directly but feel free to tweet at us or post in the comments.
8/13/14 9:20 AM: I am writing about college football like a fiend. Last year the Lion attempted to predict who would win the Heisman. I told you it would not be Johnny Manziel or Jadeavon Clowney or any of the favorites. I told you it would be a Dark Horse QB from somewhere in the Southeast, south of the Carolinas but North of Tampa and East of Alabama. I was so close, yet so far. I told you Aaron Murray from UGA in Athens GA would win it, and instead Jameis Winston from FSU in Tallahassee did. Nobody saw that coming. If they did they were lying. So who will win it this year? The Lion will attempt to narrow out the field again.
Been There Done That: These guys had their moment in the sun.
Braxton Miller OSU: Doesn’t it feel like this guy has been playing in Columbus for like 10 years? I am so sick of him. He is a great college QB, don’t get me wrong, but the only way he will win the Heisman is if the Buckeyes are undefeated AND he puts up numbers. The OSU Defense is good enough to get through the B1G undefeated, but I see Urban calling a conservative run first game plan, similar to last year, limiting Miller’s stats. Plus once it gets cold in November the stats look even worse. Sorry dude. ELIMINATED
Jameis Winston FSU: If Johnny isn’t winning it again, neither is Winston. Voter fatigue combined with the loss of a ton of guys to the NFL and the fact that he is a borderline criminal will all go against him. ELIMINATED
DARK HORSES: Good value on the odds if you want to put in a bet.
Christian Hackenberg PSU: He is an NFL type QB who is really carrying the program on his back right now. If he has a good year, the stories about the rebirth of PSU after the scandal will be all over ESPN and the media will eat it up. I just don’t think PSU will have a good enough season for him to win it. ELIMINIATED.
Everett Golson ND: The media would love the story of a QB who lead his team to the BCS title game as a freshman, got suspended for cheating on a test as a sophomore, only to work with George Whitfield during his suspension and come back to the team as a junior and lead his team to even greater heights. People are buzzing about what they see from him. The problem is that ND’s schedule is just too daunting for him to take his team through it undefeated again. ELMINATED. (ok, fine, you know I am going to place a wager on him)
Finalists in NYC
Todd Gurley UGA: I talked about him ad nausem on this blog. He is a stud, he is the focal point of the Georgia football team. As long as UGA doesn’t poop the bed, he will be in NYC in December. He won’t win though because he is a RB and you have to put up insane numbers at this spot to keep up with the video game numbers QBs are putting up. Especially the QB’s below. ELMINATED
Bryce Petty Baylor: I don’t think last year was a fluke for him. Baylor should put up great numbers again in a pretty down Big 12. They won’t win their conference though because the revenge game in Norman is going to be Petty’s anti-heisman moment. Sooner Nation remembers what happened last year on Thursday night. I can’t wait to bet that game. ELIMINATED
Brett Hundley UCLA: Stud QB. I think UCLA is going to win the PAC-12 south and maybe the whole conference this year. If he cuts down on turnovers they will. If they do he will be on the dais in the Downtown Athletic Club. He won’t win though because of east coast bias. The West Coast vote will be split between him and this next guy. ELIMINATED
Marcus Mariotta Oregon: I think Mariotta will put up better numbers than Hundley and probably win the PAC-12 North and the conference. He is probably my real favorite to win the Heisman, but you know I have to pick somebody under the radar. Seriously though, this guy will probably win. ELMINATED (maybe).
WINNER: Melvin Gordon Wisc: I know what I said for Gurley. I still believe it, but I think Gordon will put up video game numbers, and the way the B1G is set up under their new conference alignment, the Badgers have a very good chance of going undefeated in the regular season. Take a look at the schedule. They don’t play MSU, OSU, PSU or Mich. I think an undefeated Wisconsin team lead by Gordon will be enough to get all the Midwestern and Northeastern votes. (let’s face it, the Northeast doesn’t care about college football, but the writers who do care, and get to vote are B1G fans because they cover PSU, and now MD and Rutgers, yes the B1G knows what it is doing, at least off the field). It hasn’t been so long since an RB won, Mark Ingram won in a year he was a RB on a winning Bama team where the vote was split nationwide. I could see that happening again with the southern vote being split by Winston and Gurley. (I love that college football is the last bastion of regionalism in America). So that is the Lion’s pick. Book it.
8/12/14 9:25 AM: Now that my rant is over, I want to give you what I promised, some breakout college stars on offense this year. Here goes:
DJ Foster, AZ State RB/WR: Sneaky good offense, good senior QB, home run hitter. Look out.
Speedy Noil, A&M WR: Awesome name. He lives up to it. Should star as a Frosh.
Tyreek Hill, OK ST RB/WR: Juco transfer is a stud and will come in and get a lot of touches for the Cowboys.
Shock Linwood Baylor RB: The next star of the Bears offense.
Greg Bryant, ND RB: 5 star recruit was injured last year, gets to finally show his stuff.
Devon Allen Oregon WR: Track star will replace Josh Huff in Eugene.
Barry Sanders, Stanford RB: Yes he is the son of you know who.
Arkansas RBs. Johnathon Williams, Alex Collins and Korliss Marshall are a three headed monster that you will be hearing from.
Nelson Alghor WR USC: Overshadowed by Marquese Lee, his time is this year.
8/12/14 9:00 AM: I should have known this was coming when my wife’s prissy uncle was complaining about how Peyton Manning got his butt kicked in the Super Bowl. “It wasn’t enjoyable to watch.” What a soft soft man. However he is loaded, and owns his own business and this is who Godell and the NFL is trying to appeal too. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11335930/nfl-passing-offenses-likely-benefit-penalties-defensive-holding-illegal-contact-increase. The same thing happened in 2004 after the Pats manhandled Peyton Manning’s receivers in the AFC Championship and he whined about it.
8/11/14 9:00 AM: We are under 20 days till the first college football Saturday, and under 30 until the NFL regular season kicks off. Lets talk about RB’s today. Without discussing who is the best NFL prospect, these are the guys that will rack up the yards and TDs for their schools this fall. In to particular order, these are the guys to watch.
Todd Gurley UGA: Healthy again, this guy is a man playing amonst boys. I don’t know about his top end speed for the NFL but in college he doesn’t need it becuase he has good acceleration and is just incredibly strong. With no Aaron Murray, Gurley is the focal point between the hedges in Athens.
Melvin Gordon, WISC: This was my number 1 ranked back last year in my college RB rankings but it turns out he stayed in school for another year. (bad move for an RB IMO). The good news is we get to see if he can improve on his 10 ypc average this year. Sick.
Mike Davis USC: The most underrated back in the country plays for Steve Spurrier’s Cocks. Had over 1,500 yards from scrimmage against SEC Defenses pretty much selling out to stop him.
TJ Yeldon Bama: The next Crimson Tide back. We know them, they run hard behind awesome OL’s every year.
Duke Johnson Miami: Electrifying when healthy. He should be this year for the Canes.
Tomorrow I will discuss some guys I think are due to have breakout years this college season.
8/06/14 9:40 AM: Now that the draft is completed, (look on the main page for draft grades and power rankings) the Lion is looking for other signs of football season. One of the signs of football season is the return of the show Hard Knocks. It’s fantastic. Keep an eye out on the main page for episode recaps.
7/31/14 1:25 PM: We are getting close to crunch time before Draft Weekend. You can tell becuase nobody wants to talk about the draft anymore for fear of tipping off some unknown secret or plan. We all take ourselves WAY to seriously. It has been a notoriously quiet trade season leaving me with out any rumors to post here. Instead how about we talk about the top QB prospects in the NCAA for 2015’s NFL draft. #NEVER TOO EARLY. The Lion will keep it short and to the point.
Jameis Winston FSU: Pros: Tall, 235 lbs. Big Arm, Accurate, not a run first guy but mobile enough. Cons: Slow Delivery, Character Issues. NFL Equivilant: worst case EJ Manuel, best case, Big Ben.
Marcus Mariota Oregon: Pros: Very mobile. Accurate, Athletic. Cons: Can he pass from the pocket? Is he a product of system? NFL Equivilant: worst case Vince Young, best case Colin Kapernick
Brett Hundley UCLA: Pros: See Jameis Winston. Cons: Inconsistent. Both in decision making and accuracy. NFL Equivilant: See Jameis Winston again.
Bryce Petty Baylor: Pros: Great name. Accurate. Great stats. Cons: One year wonder? Product of system?
We are 30 days away from Big time College Football.
7/24/14 10:45 AM: In the Lion’s never ending quest to educate, I often encourage you to took beyond the national media coverage of the most overplayed stories and look at the finer points of the game. Sometimes however, you have to give the people what they want. When it comes to College Football that means 2 things. SEC and Quarterbacks. Last year we had an unprecedented number graduate/leave for the pros. No more Manziel, Mettenberger, McCarron, Murray or Shaw. So who is left? Who is taking over the SEC QB1 spots? The Lion has answers:
Returnees: Nick Marshall is back for Auburn, Jeff Driskel is back for the Gators. Those are the only “names returning. Matty Mauk played a lot last year at Mizzou so I guess we can count him too.
Bama: Looks like former FSU backup Jacob Coker is going to win the job for Saban to replace AJ McCarron. Coker transferred after he lost out to Famous Jameis, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but I need to see more of this guy before I say anything else.
LSU: This looks like a two way battle to replace Mettenberger between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. Judging by Les Miles comments, my money is on Harris, the dual threat freshman QB to win the job.
A&M: This will probably be the most publized QB battle because of the attention Johnny FB brought to the position and the program. You have the upperclassmen Kenny Hill vs. the super hyped freshman Kyle Allen. Talk about Texas sounding names. Where is Jason Street? My bet is Allen is the starter by the end of the year.
UGA: If you watched UGA in its bowl game, you saw Hutson Mason do a pretty decent Aaron Murray impression. He is basically a poor man’s Murray. He will do well, the Dawgs will continue to be a contender for the SEC but not the champ.
SC: Due to Connor Shaw’s injury history and Spurrier’s eternal pissiness with his QB’s, you have seen Dylan Thompson play a lot over the past few years. You would think with Shaw gone, this is finally his team. You would be wrong. Its Spurrier’s team. Thomspon isn’t great. He has career college backup written all over him. Don’t be suprised if Brendan Nosovitch from the Lion’s favorite state of PA pushes for the job byt the end of the year. The young man comes from Allentown Central Catholic, which is not in the QB cradle of Western PA, but that’s ok. The Lion has seen him play in person and the guy is a winner. I just have questions about his size.
Other QBs: These guys play for the teams in the SEC that you don’t care about. Patrick Towles looks to be the guy at Kentucky, Justin Worley looks to be the starter at Tennessee. I have no idea about the QB situation in Vandy and I have a feeling none of you care. 6 weeks from today the NFL kicks off the regular season. 37 days till the first college football Saturday. 8 days till Jekfest the Football Draft 2014. Get your keepers in.
7/21/14 9:05 AM: You can tell we are getting near football season as the content on this board has ramped up. I have spent so much time with our Commish in the past few weeks discussing football and other things that our synergy has gotten to the point where he is guessing where Silverfoxes bachelor party is with only one clue from me. Amazing. The Bills and Giants are in camp already, and the rest of the NFL starts their camps this week. I have more NFL content coming in Part II of my OL project, so lets talk about college today. The Lion is here to give you teams that while they may not win their conference, are sleeper teams in that they probably will give you good value early in the season from Vegas. Here we go.
ACC: UNC and Va Tech: UNC has 8 starters returning on offense for a team that recovered from a 1-5 start to a winnign record last year. The ACC Coastal was won by Duke last year, so its safe to say its a wide open division. Va Tech is the same story every year. They lose in a early season tilt against a power (this year its Ohio State) so everybody rights them off, but they cover spreads the rest of the year. Kyle Fuller’s brother still roams the secondary in Blacksburg.
BIG 12: TCU: The Horned Frogs used to be one of those teams that was perpetually underated to the point where they became overrated for being underrated. They sucked last year, lost two starting linebackers in the offseason and 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields after their first game. The finished just 4-8 last year, but they had a chance to win in the fourth quarter or overtime in seven of the eight games they lost. They have 16 starters returning, and a transfer QB from A&M who couldn’t beat out Johnny Football, so he could be alright.
BIG 10: Iowa and to a lesser extent MD: The Hawkeyes return 8 starters on offense and based on the new conference alignment have a vary favorable schedule. Look at them to win 9 maybe even 10 games, and cover some spreads before people catch on. Last year for the first half of the year MD rolled before falling apart in the conference schedule. I expect the same this year. Bet on them early and against them late when they get “welcomed” to cold weather BIG 10 football.
PAC 12: AZ and UW: Often underrated because they don’t win a conference dominated by Oregon and Stanford, these teams have good coaches and return a lot of players on their OL and DL. My only question is both are starting new QBs, but I expect them to run up scores against lesser opponents early in the season and cover spreads.
SEC: Florida: WHAT? How can FL be a sleeper team? Well, last season was their worst in more than 30 years, as they finished 4-8 and failed to make a bowl for the first time since 1990. They were decimated by injuries, especially on offense. Even with a bad team last year their defense was legit and I expect it to be a top 5 unit again this year, with improved offense. They have 14 returning starters. Get some value from them before Vegas realizes they aren’t as bad as their finish last year.
7/15/14 11:55 AM: Sneak preview of the massive Offensive Line Post coming soon. I awarded a score of 6 to only 5 OL in the league. Here they are:
Joe Thomas, Cleveland
Andrew Whitworth, Cincy
Evan Mathis, Philly
Mike Iupati, San Fran
Jason Peters, Philly
Even though there is no Center who received a 6 from me, you might as well call this the Lion’s All Pro OL. How do the teams stack up? Check the main page daily.
7/11/14 2:25 PM: The Lion does not want to work today. He wants to talk about football. So I came up with an idea. I decided to look at each teams projected starting OL, and grade each player. I will add up the scores and rank each teams OL from worst to best. While I am doing that, you should all know that the Jerk Draft Lottery was conducted by NTMVW, Dazzle and myself at a local eatery. Look for that to be posted along with my OL article in the very near future. One final note, get ready for highlights of Lebron to be played with that song that goes “I’m Coming Home, I’m Coming Home, Tell the World I’m Coming Home.” From now till eternity.
7/7/14 11:35 AM: I got some trade rumors for you. Silverfox is looking to deal AD or Shady. Trombone is looking to deal Lacy. JPoww looking to deal Stacy. Looks like the market is flooded with RBs fellas.
7/02/14 4:10 PM: Its’ July, meaning one month till training camp and also one month till JFFL Draft. Trade winds are swirling. The Lion will keep you informed of all the rumors his big Polish ears pick up. First rumor of the season, The Lion and Skills have reached an agreement in principal involving keepers and picks.
6/19/14 10:58 AM: The Lion has a fever, and the only cure is more college football talk. Let’s do some more Underrated/Overrated/Properly Rated. Again the definitions should be self explanatory, but this what I think v. public perception.
Underrated: Georgia, UNC, Iowa, Wisconsin, TJ Yeldon, Nick Marshall, Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Mike Davis, Ronald Darby, MAC
Overrated: Jameis Winston, Stanford, Nebraska, Michigan, Mizzo, Oregon’s Defense, Evertt Golson, Lane Kiffin, American Conference,
Properly Rated: South Carolina, Braxton Miller, Ole Miss, Texas, VT, MSU, Michael Bennett, Vic Beasley, Bryce Petty, SEC.
6/17/14 9:20 AM: I don’t know about you, but I am in the mood to talk about college football. Few random thoughts on the upcoming season:
– Don’t forget, we have a playoff this year. I have no idea how this is going to work out but it will be very exciting.
– Here is an interesting stat, The only two times Alabama didn’t win the BCS title in the past five years were the two times it entered the season No. 1 in the AP poll. Guess who is going to be No. 1 this year? FSU. Saban and the devil (I am not sure they are different beings) both are most dangerous when you underrate them.
– With that being said, despite the NFL taking a bunch of their players, FSU is loaded again. Winston is back, but more importantly they have most of their OL back, and 3 potential All-Americans in their secondary, PJ Williams, Ronald Darby and Jalen Ramsey. They have an easier schedule than Bama. Plus FSU gets all of its good opponents (Clemson, ND, and Florida) at home with the exception of Oklahoma State, which FSU opens with. This favors FSU because while OSU has talent, they are going to be super young this year. Honestly, the Noles will be double digit favorites in possibly all their games.
– I am almost certain that Ohio State is going to win the Big Ten and make the playoffs. Braxton Miller returns for like his 10th year of college, along with 12 starters. Their DL should be one of the best in the country, and Urban Meyer hasn’t forgotten how to coach. It isn’t often he has a two game losing streak. It all comes down to if their young OL can gel and somebody will step up to replace Carlos Hyde. The Buckeyes will then lose to a team from the South or the West and everybody will talk about how the North and the Midwest just don’t produce football players anymore, and will look at the demographics and politics of it all, and it will piss me off.
– Underrated: UCLA, Overrated: Clemson, Properly Rated: Oklahoma.
6/12/14 3:45 PM: Ok, lets talk about QBs. I have bad news for you. There is not a single rookie QB who I would draft this year. (I also happen to have Drew Brees as my A keeper jerks). The NFL is very deep at the poistion right now and most of the QBs who are coming in aren’t going to get the starting job right away. Blake Bortles is probably the most gifted physically but he most likely will start the season behind the ultimate replacement level QB, Chad Henne. Johnny Football looks like he will start the season on the bench also. I expect Derek Carr to start the season on the bench on Oakland, Jimmy Garrapolo to hold a clipboard for Brady for a while. There are some sleepers out there who could end up starting but are still not draftable at this point. Aaron Murray in KC, AJ McCarron in Cincy and Tom Savage in Houston all are coming in behind QBs who are on hot seasts to say the least. Still not pickable. The only QB who is going to get thrown out day one is Teddy Bridgewater. The good news is that he has weapons. The bad news is that he probably doesn’t have a great arm. This guy should be a late round selection in fantasy drafts, if at all. I lean toward the waiver heap myself…
6/12/14 9:30 AM: As promised, lets talk about rookie fantasy TE’s. There is really only one I would look at to draft as a fantasy starter right now…Eric Ebron. This is hardly controversial. He is the only TE taken in the first round for a reason. He also has a QB who can get it to him in Detroit. Austin Sefarias-Jenkins joins the frontcourt, er, pass catchers in Tampa. I like him a lot and think he has a high upside, but I don’t like Tampa’s QB situation, and since everybody who catches passes in Tampa is built like a Power Forward, he won’t be a clear red zone target. He is more of a project than a 2014 fantasy pick. I expect him to be a better fantasy player in two years. Troy Niklaus is also a project in AZ. He came out of ND too early and will probably learn from John Carlson for at least half of this season before he becomes a fantasy TE worth drafting. There are two sleepers here. One is Jace Amaro becuase the Jets need people to catch the ball (Jeff Cumberland stinks) and really don’t have a good TE. I just am not a huge fan of the guy for some reason. The other is C.J. Fiedorowicz, who has a wide open path to being the starter in Houston with Owen Daniels gone. Other than that, the only other TE who I see possibly making any sort of statistical contribution is Arthur Lynch in Miami, but I probably wouldn’t pick any of these dudes except Ebron right now.
6/11/14 3:42 PM: So much for work today. Lets talk about RBs shall we? Dazzle and I have gone on many a rant about the value of RBs going down in the NFL. I won’t repeat that here. Because the value of RBs has gone down to much to NFL GMs, for JFFL GMS a productive RB is a rare commodity and therefore has gone up in value. Sorry I don’t see any Shady McCoys or Adrian Petersons here, but I see some guys that could become productive backs for their teams, similar to Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard last year. Here we go.
Bishop Sankey: The UW baller doesn’t have too many miles on his odometer like some of these other backs and is going to a Tennesse team with a rapidly improving OL and Shonn Grenne as their best RB. Sankey will get every opportunity to get the “Lion’s share” of carries by the end of the season. See what I did there?
Right skill set, wrong team: (these guys are in crowded backfields)
Carlos Hyde: This dude is a rich man’s Eddie Lacy. The problem is he is in a crowded San Fran backfield with so many other legit RBs.
Lache Seastrunk: This dude was one of my favorite backs during the college season and I think he is a steal of a RB pick becuase he can catch passes as well as run. Unfortunately, he is in a crowded Washington backfield.
Best case they split carries: (these guys could end up being Freddie Jackson or Mike Tolbert, meh)
Tre Mason: I think the world of this guy and I am not sold on Zac Stacy, but Mason will have to work to get carries. I think he will end up being the most productive back in St. Louis by the end of the year.
Jeremy Hill: The Law Firm’s days are numbered in Cincy. He was really quite horrible last year and Gio Berbard while exciting, is very slight and can’t be a workhorse. Hence Hill. Hill is a big back who has some speed and IMO he is everybit as good as Lacy. Hill will always split carries with Gio though because he doesn’t have Gio’s elusivenes.
Dri Archer: Fastest guy in the combine. Speed kills. Mr. Rooney wants the Steelers to get back to running the ball like they have every year until about 2010. They like LeVeon Bell and he came on at the end of the year, but they need a change of pace guy. Archer is it. He won’t get goal line carries but best case he can put up Gio or Freddie Jackson type numbers.
Tomorrow, TE’s and (gulp) QBs
6/11/14 9:05 AM: Our fearless leaditor (leader/editor) has returned and therefore, so will the Lion. SOO much football stuff to talk about. The NFL Draft, offseason signings, OTA’s, and you know College Football is around the corner. I will try to come to you once a week with something from here till the season. Today, lets talk about which rookies will be worth taking a look at from a fantasy standpoint. Let me start off by saying, there is no stud offensive skill player coming in. All the first round studs are OL and D players, so from a fantasy standpoint nobody drafted this year will be worth taking in the first two rounds of a fantasy draft. With that said, there will be guys that immdiately contribute and could put your team over the top if drafted in the right spot. Its no surprise that most are WR as this is a very deep WR draft. I will do TE and RB in a different short post. Today lets look at the WRs that you may end up drafting or more likely picking up on the waiver wire during the season when guys get hurt or are on a bye. Remember you heard it here first.
Class 1: Obviously talented and will get throws but from unproven QBs:
Sammy Watkins. He will be the Bills #1, but he still has EJ throwing to him.
Mike Evans: Similar situation. He will get a lot of balls thrown at him, but there are huge questions at QB for Tampa.
Marquese Lee: A lot of people have questions surrounding his talent, I don’t, although I hate him going here, Bortles is unproven and Henne is exactly what you want as your backup QB although he may start. Yikes.
Class 2: More question marks talent wise but good match with team:
Kelvin Benjamin: Cam needs a Red Zone Target. He will immediately be the #1.
Jordan Matthews: Look out Riley Cooper, he is going to take your catches.
Odell Beckham Jr.: I am not a huge fan of him, but Eli has a bounce back year in him so he will get touches as the #2.
Class 3 As talented as Class 1 but are lost in crowded WR corps:
Davante Adams: Packers WR group is crowded and A Rodgers likes to spread it around, but this guy is super talented and if he gets in you know he will get the ball.
Brandin Cooks: See above with Adams only change Rodgers to Brees. I like cooks better because NOLA has a less crowded WR group and I think Cooks is more talented.
SLEEPERS (Guys who will have every opportunity to contribute, keep an eye on them)
Paul Richardson: With Golden Tate gone, somebody has to fill in with Seattle.
Donte Montecreif: Huge body, will get a shot to contribute in KC to what right now is D Bowe and a bunch of stiffs.
Shaq Evans: Good route runner and after the catch, he will get a shot to play due to an awful Jet WR corps that has Eric Decker as its #1. (He was a 4th option in Denver)
Devin Street: Cowboys WRs have really fallen off over the years, he will get every opportunity to beat out Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. Plus the name Street just goes with Texas Football (although usually with QBs, both real and fictional)
Martavius Bryant: Sammy Watkins second fiddle in Clemson, will have every chance to be Antiono Bryants second fiddle in Pittsburgh.
Coming soon, TEs and RBs…(hint, there are not many)
2/25/14 4:32 PM: The Lion is back with a huge rumor. I have it from a trusted source that during the upcoming baseball draft there may be some awards handed out. You already may have guessed based on the poll that there is one for JOTY. (Jerk of the Year). Who will it be? The case for each is below.
Dazzle: Best Finish: 3rd in Football Other Finishes: 7th Baseball, 11th Hoops, Intangibles: Bonus points for running this website and the JFFL.
Skillz: Best Finish: 4th in Baseball Other Finishes: 7th in Football, 8th in Hoops, Intangibles: Bonus points for the invention of owling.
JPOWW: Best Finish: JFFL Champ: Other Finishes: I11th in Baseball, 4th in Hoops, Intangibles: Jerk WAGs love him. Started JFHL. (both of these could be positive or negative depending on viewpoint)
Trombone: Best Finish: JFBBL Runner Up. Other Finishes: 3rd in Baseball, 10th in Football, Intangibles: Negative points for annoying Murda out of JFFL. Bonus for running basketball.
NTMVW: Best Finish: JFBL Champ: Other Finishes: 11th in Football, 3rd in Hoops. Intagibles: Had his NFL team win a title.
Softness: Best Finish: 6th in Baseball and Hoops, Other Finishes: 9th in Football, Intangibles: Injury-Free for one year and counting…
Captian: Best Finish: JFFL Runner Up. Other Finishes: 5th in Hoops and Baseball, Intangibles: Taking down chicks in Radnor and Harrisburg.
A1: Best Finish: JFBL Runner Up: Other Finishes: 7th in Hoops, 8th in Football, Intangibles: Best Jerk Golfer, by far.
Frenchy: Best Finish: 4th in Football, Other Finishes: 10th in Hoops, Last in Baseball, Intangibles: Participates in every draft electronically despite distance.
Silverfox: Best Finish: 6th in Football, Other Finishes: 9th in Hoops, 10th in Baseball, Intangibles: Got his dream job toweling off his own hero and man crush.
C-Lion: Best Finish: JFBBL Champ: Other Finishes: 5th in Football, 8th in Baseball, Intangibles: Cultivates Lion’s Den, Jerk Historian/Poet Laureate
Murda: Only Finish: Last in Football. Intangibles: Quit Football.
JEFFY: Only Finish:9th in Baseball. Intangibles: Might come back to Football.
Snowman: Only Finish: Last in Basketball Intangibles: League’s only West Coast participant.
2/7/14 2:15 PM: Draft Lottery was conducted. A picture will be posted shortly. Of the results.
2/7/14 11:20 AM: FIRST TRADE RUMOR FOR BASEBALL: DAZZLE AND JPOWW IN TALKS FOR A MULTIPLAYER DEAL.
2/6/14 8:45 AM:National Signing Day has come and gone. Look for a Lion column to explain what it all means. Now that football is gone I don’t have much to talk about. Maybe I will lose some weight or somethign. Anyway, it’s been surprisingly fun doing this. I will do something for the NFL combine and maybe a few things on the NFL draft. Otherwise expect hibernation from the Lion until August.
2/2/14 11:15 PM: SUPER BOWL FINAL THOUGHTS: This grumpy old Lion is very happy that Seattle beat Denver. Anybody that told you this game was going to be such a beat down was lying to your face. Seattle beat Denver in ALL 3 phases of the game. It’s nice to know that blocking and tackling still matter in the NFL. Talk Radio and other people will call in and blame this loss on Peyton Manning. It was not completely his fault they lost. The Lion disagrees. Peyton never had a chance. He is not a mobile QB, and he could never set his feet in the pocket. His WRs could get no yards after the catch. His backs couldn’t get past the LOS. His special teams got their ass beat. His D couldn’t get off the field. With the rule changes and the way this league has pushed offense, it is very refreshing to see a team beat the living shit out of the guys on the other side of the field. This game is still about blocking and tackling. I think all of us, including me, tend to overrate the importance of a QB. There are ten other guys out there on the field. The evidence is right in front of our face. The Giants Super Bowl wins over Brady are exhibit A. Nobody would say Eli is better than Tom. Since 1990, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Russell Wilson, and Joe Flacco won titles. Eli Manning and Big Ben have won two each. None are HOF QBs right now. Historically, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, and Dan Fouts statistically where the greatest QBs of their day. Zero SBs. In the college ranks, AJ McCarron, and Tim Tebow have two titles each. Matt Leinart , Josh Huepel, Craig Krenzel, Matt Fly, and Vince Young each have more titles than Johnny Football, Mike Vick, Rivers, Jay Cutler, Andrew Luck and many other first QBs in the draft have none. My point is a great team with a good QB will beat a good team with a great QB. Tonight reminded me of that. While we may find out that all of Seattle’s D was on Roids, you gotta tip your cap to the domination that just happened. I have said this for months but EVERYTHING is RELATED in Football. It is the ultimate team game. It can be endlessly complicated yet at the same time is as simple as beating the man across from you. Tonight Seattle won both battles. They imposed there will on a team that was not strong enough to resist. Don’t shit on Manning. Celebrate Football the way it is meant to be played. See you jokers on national signing day.
2/2/14 10:10 AM: Happy Groundhog Day everybody. More importantly, Happy Super Bowl. Check out the main page for two great game previews. The Lion took Seattle, but just to show you that I am partisan, let me give you a play Denver SHOULD run to beat the vaunted Cover 3. The best way to beat a Zone is to overload it. I expect Denver to run a lot of trips-bunch formations, with the outside WR going deep to take the CB away, and an inside receiver running outs to the sideline. Something like this. The formation allows WRs to release off the line without getting jammed by the roided up DBs. I expect Manning to use this formation and flood plays out of it on a regular basis tonight. The Dazzle should hope he sees this formation at least 10 times.
1/20/14 9:38 AM: Happy MLK day, especially to those jerks who have to work. The Lion does not. Holy cow boys, yesterday was awesome. I have 8 reactionary thoughts. 1. The NFL players are so big strong and fast that it seems as thought one breaks on every third play. We are not far away from the point where the winner of games is the team who doesn’t have more stars carried off the field. 2. I wonder if this is because of Roids. Exhibit A, Richard Sherman. 3. Bill Belichek complained this morning to the media that the Broncos and Wes Welker were running illegal pick plays that should be offensive pass interference. Specifically the play that happened to injure Aqib Talib. REALLY BILL. The Patriots and Wes Welker did this for YEARS. Stop crying. 4. I have tons of respect for Brady, but he did not bring his A game Sunday. He overthrew open WRs on LOTS of plays. Somehow Brady and Belichek kept the game reasonable despite being out matched, but Brady left some throws out there. 5. While the early game was entertaining, the NFC game was as epic as we all expected. The Hollywood Screen Play writers could not have come up with a better script. Ups and downs of that game were crazy. Harbaugh listened to the Lion and called passes to RBs and TEs in the middle of the field and designed runs for Colin Kaepernick. However he refused to run counter or misdirection plays. I propose that if he did, Gore would have had more than 14 yards rushing. 6. I would like the Dazzle’s input here, but Kaepernick needs to work on his decision making. He is so clearly physically gifted, the TD strike to Bolden was a rocket. I don’t know if any other QB in the game can make that play. He just makes boneheaded decisions. Not sure if it is fixable or not. You can take care of a lot by preparation, but like a fighter pilot, you have to be able to think on the fly in nanoseconds. None of us can appreciate how fast the NFL game is, so I am not saying he sucks, he is clearly in the top .001% of QBs on the planet, but I wonder if he can take the next step. 7. Wilson is flirting with Matt Schaub/Cougar from Top Gun territory. He has lost his edge. He looks a little uncomfortable in the pocket and is getting happy feet. I am worried about him. 8. The opening line is Denver-1. Look for something different from our writers for the Super Bowl.
1/13/14 8:49 AM: The Lion was one b.s. onside kick recovery and backdoor score away from being undefeated this weekend. Such is life. Three meaningful football games left until August. Tell your WAGs to wait to think about divorcing you till February. Since you have given me positive feedback, I am gonna give it another go this weekend and see if I can out do myself again.
1/9/14 1:28 PM: Lots of news today. Tons of underclass men declaring for the draft. Most are not a surprise but a few are. I will get to them in future draft evals once we get past the NFL Playoffs. Look for another column this Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, my NFL Insider told me that last night at 10 pm Jay Gruden informed his agent he wanted the Redskins job and negotiation began. He is expected to officially be announced as the coach at any time now, with vet DC Jim Hazlett to stay on at DC and the Redskins’ relative unknown 27 year old TE coach, Sean McVay will be promoted to OC. Coach Franklin from Vanderbilt is aslo expected to be announced as PSU’s coach.
1/5/14 3:10 PM: How did the Lion do this weekend? Well looking at just the predictions I went 2-1-1. Looking at what happened I think I did a lot better than that. Robert Mathis did have a momentum changing strip/sack which forced a fumble against the Cheifs. The OL he beat on that play? RT Donald Stephenson. Dwayne Bowe had a much better game this time around but almost all of his success was when he was covered by somebody other than Vonate Davis. With Jamal Charles down early, the Cheifs were still running the ball effecitively with Kniles Davis until Reid gave up on it in the second half. Sooo Reid like. In Philly, Patrick Chung got beat a few times for big gains. Nick Foles blew a scoring opportunity by holding onto the ball too long when pressured by Cameron Jordan beating Lane Johnson, and Brees ran for first down after first down behind Jahiri Evans. Not bad prognostication by me if I do say so myself. On Sunday we got a case of BAD showing up. Dalton might have maxed out his welcome and tenure in Cincy. Hats off to Michael Crabtree. Dude showed up and made catches for days. Tonight is the NCAA BCS Title game. I am 7-6 in my bowl predictions going into tonight. To stay above .500 I am sticking with the Noles. Enjoy the last college game of the year. We are already in the single digits of remaining football games Jerks. After tonight, we are down to 7 football games left till August. Winter is truly coming.
1/4/14 4:50 PM: Interesting start to NFL WC Saturday. Charles goes down, and the Chiefs put Bowe in the slot to take advantage of a safety. IMPORTANT NEWS: PIERRE THOMAS IS OUT FOR THE SAINTS TONIGHT. Skillz can tell you how much Mark Ingram sucks. I no longer have faith in New Orleans tonight. Stay away from them if you are not locked in like I am.
1/3/14 8:40 PM: By the way, I just found out that Noah Spence and Bradley Roby, OSU’s best two defensive players are not playing for whatever reason. OSU is IN TROUBLE.
1/3/14 7:00 PM: Few quick notes for you today. Final thought on the Sugar Bowl. Saban’s Defense is based off of the Players making the call on coverage and assignment based on what the offense shows them. Oklahoma’s fast tempo prevented them from doing that. Note to future Bama opponents out there. Fast Tempo works against Bama. There is also a part of me that thinks he didn’t really prepare this team for the bowl game because he deemed them losers and unworthy of his love after they lost to Auburn. He is a dick like that. Two good Bowl Games tonight for you to watch in this awful weather. NFL Playoff preview coming tomorrow. Stay tuned.
1/2/14 10:05 PM: Are you watching the Sugar Bowl? The Lion is. Initial thoughts. Oklahoma really is playing with its hair on fire offensively. They have not looked this fast all year. Their timing is impeccable. Bama’s Defense looks a little surprised but they seem to be catching up. AJ McCarron just threw the most beautiful pass I have ever seen him throw. Great first quarter and change. Bama is shooting itself in the foot with TO’s. Can’t help but wonder if they are a little let down because they aren’t in the Title Game? (Like I predicted?). Saban must be flipping the F out.
1/2/14 8:58 AM: The first “business” day of 2014. Holidays are over, time to see how much weight you gained. I put on about 12 lbs myself since Thanksgiving. Blake Borttles made an idiot out of my Baylor prediction last night. The thing is, he really didn’t have a good first half at all. He made a lot of bad reads and forced a few balls leading to picks. Baylor didn’t even try to tackle people though, so when that happens you aren’t going to cover a 17 point spread. I am 5-5 with the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and BCS title games left.
1/1/14 9:00PM: Happy New Year Jerks. To steal from the Dazzle, here is a little NY Day Lurk for your hung-over asses.
Going into today I feel like I am a genius, 4-1 in my picks from Let’s Go Bowling. The only won I got wrong was because VT lost its starting QB in the first quarter. I sit down in the morning to watch Nebraska v. Georgia and immediately feel like an idiot. Nebraska is so much more motivated in this game and UGA looked completely lethargic and hung-over. Think Trombone every Friday in Law School. Their talent advantage allowed them to get in side the red zone on a regular basis but they failed to convert and allowed Nebraska to make some big plays on blown coverages to blow the game and save Bo Pelini’s job for now. So I drop to 4-2. As I predicted, LSU struggled offensively with a freshman making his first start against Iowa, but they were never in danger of losing the game. PJ Hill ran for 200+ yards and LSU wins by 7, failing to cover the 8 point spread. 4-3. Not a good start to the day. South Carolina saves me in what was the most entertaining early game of the day. They contained Wisconsin’s running game just enough, and Wisconsin had no answer for The Gamecock offense. I get the win and cover which takes me to 5-3. Here at halftime of the Rose Bowl my thoughts are that the game is pretty much what I expected. Really physical. Neither team is able to establish the run against the opposing teams’ awesome defenses. One of these QB’s needs to step up and make a play down field. Instead of that happening, MSU’s QB Connor Cook makes a boneheaded throw leading to a pick six just before the half. Instead of folding though, he dinks and dunks MSU down the field and throws a TD pass with 30 seconds left in the half to make it 17-14. Of course the spread is Stanford -3. Luckily there is a second half. This game is highly enjoyable and I will return with second half thoughts later on.
Connor Cook was the QB who stepped up in this game. I am very impressed by his poise in the second half. Game ball goes to him and the MSU linebackers. They out bullied a Stanford team that bullies everybody, and with out their leader. Enjoyable Rose Bowl. I drop to 5-4 on my predictions. Storm Johnson just ran all over Baylor in the opening drive so I am not looking good to start there either.
12/31/13 9:23 AM: For those keeping track, I am now 3-0 in my bowl predictions. I predicted two games today and sometime in the next 24 hours will publish an article predicting every other major bowl game. Bet with me or against me accordingly. Happy New Year.
12/26/13 11:05 AM: I hope everyone out there had a great Christmas. Football has been quiet this week while the NBA takes over the X-mass Holiday. Not for long. The Bowl Games are picking up. The Lion is 2-0 in his picks so far so take a look at his preview and bet with me of against me accordingly. I will preview the remaining bowl games in a article that I expect to come out Monday. The JFFL season is over and JPoww is the champion. Most of the NFL playoff teams are set, its really just the matchups that need to be sorted out. Trombone is still dragging his feet with the Under the Dome NBA articles. The real reason I am checking in with you all is because I finally broke down and got a smartphone. The world is coming to an end…
12/23/13 9:17 PM: I have a few thoughts from yesterday’s games to share with you all. 1) I said it before and I will say it again, when its all said and done, LeSean McCoy will go down as the best Eagles Offensive Player of All Time. 2) The Pittsburgh Steelers are such a classy franchise. In a “down” year, they are going to probably end up 8-8 with an outside shot at the wild card. They are the model of consistency. I would not be surprised if they had another good draft and returned to 11-12 wins next year. 3)No matter how bad the Bills are, every time they play Miami in Ralph Wilson Stadium (formerly Rich Stadium) in the month of December, its a Buffalo win. $$$$. JPoww has finally fulfilled his destiny.
12/22/13 8:41 AM: The Lion has been silent the past few days. Not much football to discuss until yesterday. The Lion is 1-0 in his Bowl picks, with USC covering handily against Fresno St. Game ball goes to USC CB Josh Shaw. He really impressed me against Fresno St.’s elite WR Davante Adams. USC bet that Shaw could cover him without safety help, leaving the safeties to blanket the other WRs. The gamble paid off. While Adams did win some battles, Shaw won the war. He had what was really the game sealing interception in the end zone. You will see it in the highlights. There is no doubt in the Lion’s mind that Shaw will be in the NFL. Good job. Check out the Lurk today for more NFL discussion. Coming this week will be my preview of the “real” Bowl Games. Merry X-mas to all of you.
12/18/13 8:45 AM: Here is something for you to disregard. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater said he has made no decision with regards to leaving school for the NFL. This is surprising because not only is he the consensus number 1 QB in the upcoming draft, but also because he has already gotten his degree. With Mariotta also staying in school, Johnny Football, AJ McCarron, Taj Boyd and Blake Borttles all must be thrilled. Stay tuned.
12/16/13 12:45 PM: The quest for answers has continued. I have two more…Why is the on field product in the NFL so bad? Why are the refs in the NFL so bad? The answer is the same reason. The league is becoming one where you are forced to have a good qb and be able to throw to have any chance of competiting. Here is a fact: More points were scored on Sunday than any other in the history of the NFL. Jamal Charles, a RUNNING BACK, had one of the best receiving days in the history of the NFL. Football is at its best when its about blocking and tackling, its what makes it difference than Lacrosse or Soccer. Remember when first down used to actually mean something? Now you get one because of defensive holding on a LB who was 10 yards away from where the ball was thrown. Makes for some terrible product. What else are you going to really do on Sunday though?
Changing gears. I don’t want to plug for ESPN, but their nfl playoff machine is really a fun thing to tinker with. Check it out.
2/16/13 8:45 AM: We are getting inside ten days till Christmas and while I have just about finished my shopping, (the Lion is generous), I continue to have questions like I did last Monday. Is the Steeler’s Antonio Brown the most underrated WR in the NFL? Was Jamal Charles really a third round NFL draft pick? Is the NFC East the worst division in football after their two “best” teams both lose to the two “worst” NFC North teams? Which Jerk will get the drunkest at a Very Jerk Christmas this Saturday Night? These are the questions I need answered. Some of last weeks question’s I have answered. Has there ever been a team who plays so much better at home than on the road as the Saints? NO. Thanks for knocking me out of a fantasy league playoff Drew. Who ended up making a worse QB move in last April’s draft, the Bills or Jets? Jets…for now. The rest…I am still looking for answers.
12/15/13 5:39 PM: I am flipping between Carolina v. Jets and Packers v. Cowboys. The home favorites are in control of these games. I want to revisit the Eagles v. Vikings upset for a minute. I have always been skeptical of Nick Foles and the irrationally absurd level of hype he has received from America’s Dumbest fan base. I couldn’t get over the egg he laid at home against an awful Dallas Defense earlier in the season. Before you get upset or think I am being antagonistic, this is a complement. Foles showed me more today in a loss than I have seen from him yet. He didn’t give up and kept attacking and leading his offense. In my other fantasy league, he is going to knock me out of the playoffs due to the 40+ points he put up. Foles has made me a little bit of a believer. He deserves to be a starting QB in this league. I think he could be every bit as good as Pip Rivers at the peak of his powers. The reason the Eagles lost was because of their Defense. Chip Kelly’s teams at Oregon continually lost to Stanford. Why? Because Chip’s whole scheme revolves around scoring fast to build a quick lead, forcing teams to be one dimensional. His teams historically have never responded to being punched in the mouth. Today the Vikings punched the Eagles in the mouth and the Defense completely folded. Look for teams to try to continue the blueprint used today by Minnesota, which involved running right at the Eagles with power type runs, to set up play action. The Eagles D has been SOFT for 5+ years now. They will not return to contention until this is fixed.
12/15/13 3:22 PM: Regression to the mean happens. An awful Vikings team is blowing a 27-9 lead as we speak. It’s not because the Eagles are playing well…Taking a look around the early games and that seems to be the theme of this week. Recent hot bad teams like the Bucs and Jags are falling back to their terrible ways. Recent struggling good teams like the Colts and SF have their mojo back. Its a good thing to remember in life, no matter how good of a day you are having, or how bad, most likely the regression to the mean is right around the quarter. Somewhere in the middle reality lies.
12/15/13 2:24 PM: I don’t want to steal Dazzle’s Lurk Thunder, but I saw something today that impressed me enough I have to point it out. Chip Kelly has used Desean Jackson as a receiver out of the backfield several times today to great success. I think this is brilliant. The biggest weakness Jackson has is that he is small and can be jammed on the line by big physical corners. Having him in what is essentially a Darren Sproles role makes it almost impossible to get this jam. Plus it puts him on a LB or S. They are too slow to keep up with Jackson. I think they may be on to something here. Great change of pace for DJax, Chipper and Philadelphia’s great white hope, Nick Foles.
12/14/13 6:31 PM: I happened to watch some of Army v. Navy today. The two teams are not particularly good D-1 college football teams, (Navy is a top 60 team, Army not so much) but the intensity level and physicality of this game makes it very entertaining. The guys playing in this game are better human beings than me, or you, or probably anybody you know. They are certainly better people than anyone in the JFFL. Yes even better than JPoww. Especially better than Trombone. If you are some one who doesn’t get a little bit excited watching the cadets and midshipmen in uniforms march through the field to the stands and the secretary of state come in on a helicopter all in the snow, then I sort of feel bad for you…
12/10/13 9:19 PM: Breaking News…University of Texas Football Coach Mack Brown is rumored to be stepping down at the end of the week. Combine this with the rumors about Saban’s wife looking at houses in Austin and UT’s plane being where Saban was recruiting in Kentucky and Nick Saban being paged at Austin airport, (Probably both false) and we have a full fledged shit storm. Stay tuned.
2/10/13 9:26 AM: I don’t have much today, except for a shot out to Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears. Besides saving me in the playoffs of my non JFFL fantasy league, he simply is the most underrated back in the league. 102 yards rushing on 20 carries plus 7 receptions for 73 yards and a TD. Well done.
9/13 9:02 AM: I woke up this morning with NFL questions on my mind. Has there ever been a team who plays so much better at home than on the road as the Saints? Who ended up making a worse QB move in last April’s draft, the Bills or Jets? Why is the on field product in the NFL so bad? Why are the refs in the NFL so bad? Why can’t Gronk stay healthy? Where are you? Where am I? When are jerkfest? These are the questions that I need answered. One question I don’t need answered is what is the Bowl Schedule. That was released last night. Look for a feature column on the Bowls sometime in the next week.
12/8/13 4:49 PM: I am reeling from what is essentially my nightmare fantasy playoff scenario. Calvin Johnson in a blizzard and Gronk going down with a knee injury. Still, can’t help but enjoy the NFL in this weather. This is how football is meant to be played. No cute stuff, line up and go at each other. The star of the Eagles v. Lions game was LeSean McCoy. I am going to say something that may be a little controversial, but he is the best Eagles Offensive Player of All Time. Who has had sustained success on offense for the Eagles on the level Shady has? No one. That is probably why the Eagles are the most unlikeable franchise in the history of the NFL. No, it’s actually because of their trashy and idiot fan base. I am getting off track, I am trying to give McCoy a compliment here. He is fantastic. He is not only talented but he has heart and is tough. It should come as NO SUPRISE that he grew up in God’s (and Lion’s) Country of Central Pennsylvania. The early games also showed some last second wins by Baltimore and NE which made for very exciting finishes. I hope you are all indoors enjoying the weather in front of a flat screen with NFL on.
12/8/13 11:20 AM: Well, I hope you all enjoyed yet another weekend of epic college football games. The SEC and BIG TEN Championship games were very highly entertaining. In case you are wondering, I went 3 for 6 on the day, but the games I liked the most I hit on. MSU, Stan, FSU. The Lion can finally give his full attention to the NFL now that College is done. Look for a great Sunday Lurk Column as always from Dazzle and look for my own thoughts on the NFL games right here on the Den.
12/4/13 3:38 PM: One game left to preview. Here goes:
BIG TEN: what’s at stake? National Title Game for OSU, Rose Bowl for MSU
MSU v. OSU -6.5: I think this will end up being the best game of the day. There is no secret if you have been reading me that I love Sparty’s defense. I don’t like that this game is indoors in the RCA Dome, because this is a game that should be played in the elements. After the emotionally exhausting victory against Michigan last week, I expect Ohio State to put up its lowest point total of the season. The two keys to the game are if the Spartans can make some plays on offense with an improving Connor Cook at QB and can Braxton Miller make some broken plays into big chunk gains for OSU with his scrambling and open field running ability.
Michigan State really has nothing to lose here, since the Spartans are likely headed to the Rose Bowl win or lose. Ohio State has all the pressure. I think Sparty can win this game outright so I am taking my cover team. PICK SPARTY
In summary, I like MSU, FSU, OK ST, Texas, Stanford, and Mizz. Enjoy an awesome weekend of football and good luck in the JFFL Playoffs.
12/6/13 2:13 PM: Lazy rainy December Friday = Blog Posts. Before I break down the next game, let me propose a question discussed at a lunch between the main author’s of this website. The members of the JFFL trust each other in many aspects of life. They trust each other enough to invite them to their weddings, to get them home when blackout drunk, and to pay owed money. (sometimes in an amount over a grand!) Yet, the moment anybody proposes a trade to each other in this league, the initial reaction is as if they are dealing in a Bazaar in Morocco. Yes, the immediate reaction is “I know this guy is trying to screw me, so what does he know that I don’t.” I am guilty of this myself. Two proposed trades that were immediately rejected were, Roddy White and Trent Richardson for Sproles, and David Wilson, Nick Foles and Antonio Gates for Jimmy Graham. Immediately rejected, no counter, no discussion. Is it becuase Jerks don’t trust each other? While you guys think about that for a minute, I will get to the next of tomorrow’s games.
ACC: what’s at stake? Title game for FSU, Orange Bowl for Duke
Duke v. FSU -28.5: Now that FSU has Winston cleared, look out. Florida State is way too talented and too deep to have much of a problem with the Blue Devils. Duke has been such a terrific story to watch unfold during the course of the season, and they do have some rising stars in Jamison Crowder, Kelby Brown, DeVon Edwards and Jeremy Cash. I give them a lot of respect for turning around a joke program. I think the clock strikes midnight on Cinderella here. Duke has never beaten Florida State and has lost by an average margin of 34.5 points per game. You want to know the real secret to FSU’s dominance? It’s Defense. It’s fast, it’s big, it’s physical. I rank them right up there with Michigan State and Florida as the best in the land. (Poor Florida’s got hung out to try by an awful offense too many times this year). Teams this year have lost to FSU twice, because they are so beat up the next week they stumble to get their feet under them. The Lion predicts that the offensive star of this game will not be Famous Jameis, but instead FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin. Check him out. He is rising up my draft boards as we speak. As big as this spread is, it’s warranted. I can’t go against the Noles here. PICK NOLES
12/6/13 10:51 AM: Breaking News: As reported by Silverfox, Boise State Head Football Coach Chris Peterson is going to University of Washington…
12/6/13 9:43 AM: Another preview for your consumption. Look for these periodically throughout the next 24 hours.
SEC: What’s at stake? SEC Title, Sugar Bowl, potentially National Championship Game.
MISSOURI vs. AUBURN -1.5: I love that this is the SEC title game. Should FSU or Ohio State fall, the winner of this game is probably in the National Championship. In August, everybody was talking about Bama, LSU, A&M, UGA and South Carolina. Auburn and Missouri were after-thoughts, having only won two SEC games combined in 2012. Mizzouri, along with MSU, has been my best go-to cover team all season long. Auburn seems to be the team of destiny with the miracle wins against UGA and Bama. I keep picking against them and paying the price. I love Auburn’s offense. They can run power, triple option, read-option and they love to fool teams with formation deception. When was the last time you saw a team run the ball on Bama like that? Mizzouri has a more balanced offense. They can throw and run the ball. Lets face it, both teams are capable of lighting it up offensively, but Missouri has proven to be a little bit better on defense. They lead the SEC in Sacks and Tackles for Loss. They are lead by their DL, particularly Lion’s Den Draft Prospect Michael Sam and DT Harold Brantley from God’s Country in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I am torn between picking a team who plays the way I love vs. a team that has made me a lot of money this year. I am betting the TIGERS. (Haha, bad joke). The Lion is not going to bet this game. If I had to pick one, I would go with my moneymaker. PICK MIZZ.
12/6/13 8:54 AM: Happy Friday out there. As promised, here is my next preview for Championship Saturday.
PAC-12:what’s at stake? Rose Bowl and Conference Championship
Stanford at AZ State -3.5: Make no mistake, the Rose Bowl matters still. It is the Bowl Game that everybody on the East Coast and Midwest watches on New Years Day as they gather to sit down to whatever dinner they have. These teams will bring it. Earlier in the season, these teams played at Stanford. Stanford rolled 48-28. Why then does this spread have the Sun Devils as a favorite? Over the past seven games — all wins — the Sun Devils have gelled into a very good team. They are 7-0 at home this year with an average margin of victory of 28 points. Also, that loss to Stanford was a very sloppy game by the Devils. Arizona State gave the Cardinal two interceptions and two blocked punts. That won’t happen again. Stanford is coming in off a 7 point win against an ND team that beat ASU. (What does that mean? nothing, ND is madenly inconsistent this year). The spread and the hype seems to favor the Sun Devils, but I am going to ride with the Cardinal. Here is why, The Sun Devils are missing perhaps their most potent offensive playmaker, Marion Grice. The blue print for betting ASU was actually shown by ND. Stanford will feed Tyler Gaffney the ball, control the clock against a very bad ASU run defense, and most importantly keep ASU’s QB Taylor Kelly off the field. Even if ASU wins, I could see it being by a FG, so that half a point is huge for me. PICK STANFORD.
2/5/13 6:18 PM: Until next year, Championship Weekend is the closest thing to a playoff College Football has. It can be argued (I have certainly tried to) that EVERY weekend of College Football is in essence a playoff, and there is something to be said for that. However, this weekend you have a bunch of legit games that are playoff like in that if you win, you are in. What you are in varies. Let’s take a look at them shall we?
What’s at stake? BCS Bowl Game
Texas at Baylor -13.5: The winner of this game actually needs OK State to lose this next game for this to matter, but the instate rivals will give it their best anyway. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that Texas has no shot in this game. I disagree. These are two teams headed in opposite directions right now. Since getting stomped in Stillwater, Baylor barely got by a bad TCU team last week. It needed defense to bail it out. Baylor has not been the same on offense since losing left tackle Spencer Drango, and WR Tevin Reese. Texas is good at getting to QBs, so the key to this game will be if they can get to Bryce Petty, and control the ball on offense with a ground and pound with Malcolm Brown. If Baylor gets a lead early it can keep it with a finally healthy Lache Seastrunk. I think a regression to the mean is in order (BAYLOR, like Oregon has for the last two years been way too good ATS) and I think Texas can keep this close in what will be the last game at Baylor’s current stadium. PICK TEXAS
Oklahoma at Ok State -10.5: Its real simple. Cowboys win, BCS Bowl, and Conference Title. This game has my favorite name of all the rivalry games. It is simply called Bedlam. Simple, but effective. Oklahoma has dominated the series as of late, winning nine of the last ten. They had their most complete victory of the season against KSU the other week as well. Still, this Cowboy team looks better each week and I can’t go against them here knowing they dominated Texas and Baylor, the two teams that clobbered the Sooners. PICK OKST
12/5/13 2:05 PM: If only all my bets were this easy…http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10082441/jameis-winston-not-charged-sexual-assault-investigation
2/5/13 9:28 AM: In case you were wondering, the Lion predicts that there will not be enough evidence to arrest or chrage Winston. Anybody that wants to bet me a beer on it, you know where to e-mail me….
12/5/13 8:41 AM: Breaking News: There is a press conference pertaining to Jameis Winston, FSU All World QB scheduled for 2 PM today. This could change the Heisman Trophy and National Title picture. Check it out. The Lion is planning to.
12/4/13 9:12 AM: Yesterday Oregon QB Marcus Mariota announced that he was returning to school and not entering this springs NFL Draft. This comes as a shock to many, especially Kiper and McShay, who had them at top 5 on their Big Boards. It does not come as a huge surprise to the Lion. Why? Two reasons. The first is that after not throwing an interception through the first 10 weeks of the season, the last two he has been atrocious. He cost Oregon the game against Arizona almost single handedly (his Defense could not stop Lion’s Den RB prospect Ka’Deem Carey). Two, and perhaps more importantly, it no longer appears that his mentor and former coach Chip Kelly will be drafting in the high first round. Nor does it appear that the Chipper will need a QB next year, thanks to Philadelphia’s Great White Hope, Nick Foles. Personally, I do think he will benefit from another year in college to work on his ability to throw the ball downfield with more accuracy. I have yet to see him throw a pass more than 20 yards in the air. He also could work on not locking onto one receiver. He does have an outstanding WR in Josh Huff, who is an honorable mention NFL prospect. Anyway, adjust your draft boards accordingly.
12/3/13 2:58 PM: Last night was one of the wildest finishes to a regular season in JFFL history. Never has a single point determined the fate of so many league members. A1 lost out on the playoffs by a single point. Frenchy won the division crown, (and $$$) by that same single point. JPOWW lost the division crown by that same single point. I made the playoffs because of that same single point. The matchups are set and I am in big trouble this week. Just becuase the College Football regular season is done doesn’t mean the games end. This week we have the conference championship games. OSU v. MSU, Auburn v. Mizz (really), Duke v. FSU, Stanford v. ASU, and the defacto Big 12 Championship Game, OK State v. OK. (OK St. wins they win, if they lose, the winner of Baylor v. Texas wins). All are 6 are worth watching. While I won’t do a full post this week, I will give you my predictions later this week. While I expect our Commish to breakdown the playoff matchups, I will throw my two cents in there as well. I leave you with one final thought. If the NFL didn’t have a playoff system and instead had a BCS system, the Super Bowl right now would be Denver v. Seattle. That is the game everybody would want to see no? So as we send of the BCS into the night with the 4 team playoff coming next year, remember, it wasn’t always so bad. Of course, nobody would care about the lower tier bowls that would take the place of playoff games. So yeah there is that.
12/1/13 3:28 PM: Yesterday might go down as one of the most entertaining in college football history. I hope you all got a chance to at least watch one of the games I previewed on my full post. If not you missed out. I received a lot of questions during the games yesterday and I will attempt to answer them. NTMVW asked me Nick Saban made the right move going for the field goal to win the game. IMO I am ok with trying to win the game with a FG there, but what I find a terrible move was not to have a scheme to cover the possible return. Saban holds himself as a guy who is uber prepared. He does so in a way that he pretends like he doesn’t have fun ever. Personally he comes off like an asshole to me. Anyway, for a guy who is so prepared, how does his team not know to cover that FG like you would a punt? You have your guys fan out and each take a lane with two guys as safeties on each side and the kicker as the last line of defense. Bama was completely unprepared to cover that return. Why not just play for overtime if you didn’t trust your kicker to make a FG earlier? Well IMO he could have trusted his kicker earlier. The loss is on Saban, but not for going for the kick. The man outsmarted himself. Also Bama had a great deal of dropped passes that probably affected the game more than anything else. Another reader who I will refer to as LB, asked me if Michigan made the right call going for two. Well, IMO it was the right call as well. OSU was clearly the better team then Michigan and controlled the line of scrimmage. Michigan couldn’t really stop OSU and it was kind of crazy that they came back in the first place. In that situation, the longer the game goes on, the more likely OSU’s superior team would come out on top. I am ok with trying to win the game there. Especially with all that momentum. I don’t love the play call.
11/29/13 9:00 AM: I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving. What a feast it was. Detroit’s Defensive Line showed its potential yesterday. Poor Matty Flynn couldn’t even get his feet set in the pocket after his dropback. The Lions are a maddening because when they play like they are capable of they are a very talented team. They rarely play to this level though. The Lion returned to his natural habitat in Central Pennsylvania for the holiday. If I hear another person tell me that Matt McGloin is a really good QB I am going to lose it. He is exactly the same type of QB he was at PSU. He is a little dog that thinks he is a big dog. He throws into windows too small for a guy with his arm. Sometimes it works, but it results in a lot of interceptions. McGloin is a perfect backup for this league and I foresee him hanging around for a decade like the McCown brothers. He is not anything more IMO. Finally, watching the Steelers game last night, my rant on the NFL not knowing what it wants to do with the rules to enforce player safety was further vindicated. For those who were not awake or were hammered by this point, Le’Veon Bell carried the ball around the goal line in the 4th quarter in an attempt to make the game 22-20. He was hit helmet to helmet by two Ravens. The collision was awesome. It knocked Bell out and caused his helmet to fly off. The Raven who hit him also was clearly concussed. Bell fell unconscious into the End Zone and scored what appeared to be a TD. What does the NFL do? They call him down the moment his helmet came off. This is another misguided attempt to protect players. I understand the spirit of the rule is to end a play when a player no longer has a helmet for protection. The result of the rule was to reward the Ravens for knocking Bell out and knocking his helmet off. Bell should have been awarded a TD for that effort. Why would an RB even put forth Bell’s effort in a situation like that going forward? Since there is some justice in the world the Steelers did score the TD but failed to convert the two point conversion to tie. This resulted in a perfect situation for those who took the Steelers ATS. (I did). The game did not go into overtime and the Steelers covered the 3 point spread. $$$$
11/25/13 11:28 AM: Thanksgiving is coming. It is the Lion’s favorite holiday. Why? You guessed it, Football. 3 NFL games. The Lion will keep you well fed for your football fix. Keep checking the Den for Thursday NFL picks and thoughts as the day progresses. Also either on Friday or Saturday you will get one last Deluxe College Football column for me for the final weekend of November (remember National Football Month) and the final week of the College Regular Season.
11/24/13 7:34 PM: Poor Dazzle, his picks today were truly atrocious. Far be it from me to make excuses for a guy who is as self-assured as our editor and commissioner, but he should not apologize (he never would anyway). Seriously though, nobody is doing well this year. The LVH sportsbook runs something called the SuperContest, the biggest NFL handicapping contest in the world. This year, more than 1,000 handicappers paid $1,500 to compete for over $1 million. ESPN’s Dave Tuley reports on the contest, and by his count, the top five consensus picks each week have covered only 28 percent of the time on the season. Fifteen winners, 38 losers, and two ties. So yeah, even the professionals are not winning this year. One of the reasons? The NFL doesn’t know what it is doing with Pass Interference and Roughing the Passer Penalties. Lets take the Dazzle’s topic of the call on Gronk at the end of the Pats v. Panthers game. While I am in the “let them play” camp, and think that the pass was uncatchable and therefore pass interference at that point in the game is not a good call, I can at least admit that a defensive holding call would have been warranted. I have a bigger problem with the fact that if you watched an NFL game today, there were PI calls on plays that were not even close to the no call on Gronk. There is zero consistency. Teams move up and down the field on these calls and its not entertaining and is certainly not football. Here is the thing, the parity among the NFL teams is so well done that almost every game comes down to maybe 3-4 plays. You can’t have refs make those 3-4 plays decide the game, but that is exactly what is happening. While some of these rule changes or rule enforcement changes are under the guise of player safety, its really to appeal to the casual fan who plays fantasy football and watches the Red Zone. Inflated TDs and receptions is exactly what the casual fans wants. The Lion is on the record as saying he HATES the Red Zone. I have almost gotten into bar fights over this and know that I am not in the majority, and its not even close, but what I am is a football purist. Last time I checked, the minority could have an opinion in America. Oh wait, that’s right, according to our Congress we don’t anymore. I digress. The NFL product is getting so bad that I find myself allowing the Lioness to watch whatever awful shit she wants to watch on TV while I sit in front of the stat tracker because that is all that matters and dare I say is the only interesting part of the NFL right now. I will take my 12 hour College Football Saturdays over an NFL Sunday any day of the week until the league figures out what it wants to be. At least until the playoffs start…
11/24/13 8:30 AM: I normally leave Sundays to the Dazzle, but I have to make some comments on the games from yesterday, which made the title picture much clearer than the playoff picture in the JFFL.
BIG TEN: OSU winning and MSU winning and covering ($!) sets up a showdown in the championship in two weeks, regardless of what they do next week. OSU will probably two touchdown favorites next week. Unless FSU losses to a FL team that could barely beat 1-aa Ga Southern, or Duke in the ACC title game, the winner of OSU and MSU is headed to the Rose Bowl.
ACC: See above, FSU vs. Duke in the ACC title game is pretty much set thanks to the Duke win and cover ($$!). If the Blue Devils beat UNC, they are in. GT, Miami and VT all have outside shots. They need Duke to lose, they need to win their game, and hope the others lose. VT has the second best odds, they only need Duke to lose. Miami and GT are all but done.
Big 12: OK State needs to beat OK next week and they win. If they lose to OK, Bedlam insues. (get the pun?)
PAC 12: ASU is in the Championship game with a win and cover against UCLA ($!). Stanford is in with an Oregon loss against Arizona that was the Lion’s biggest loss of the day. Winner will go to the Rose Bowl.
SEC: Mizzou winning and covering against Ole Miss ($) puts them one win away from the SEC title game. All they have to do is beat A&M next week. Not easy. Should they lose, South Carolina is in as they are done with their conference play and have Clemson this week. (awesome game). The winner of Bama and Auburn (awesome game) will play Mizzou or South Carolina.
Enjoy your NFL today, but these next two weeks of College FB are as good as it gets.
11/23/13 9:29 AM: Those of you looking for my college picks this week, there was no Thursday or Friday games worth writing about so I put together a feature length article for today. Look for it on the main page soon.
11/21/13 9:37 AM: Boy, the JFFL playoff scenarios are kind of wild. I am less then thrilled with my chances but you never know. So being the college guy on this blog, I feel as though I must report that FSU is in big trouble…http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10009077/dna-analysis-matches-jameis-winston-accuser. While FSU may not lose to Florida and Duke with out him, their chances of beating say Bama or OSU go down significantly. There are no particularly interesting Thursday games this week, so my deluxe college column won’t come out untill tomorrow. If you are so inclined, check out Blake Bortles, the UCF QB who has been discussed (along with his girlfriend) in detail on this website tonight. Otherwise, watch the NFL game and look for the college picks this weekend.
11/19/13 11:31 AM: It is clear that the JFFL has 8 teams for 6 playoff spots. Look for the Dazzle to elaborate on each teams chances in the near future. Here are some random musings for a Tuesday. If the playoffs started this weekend, you would have Carolina at Philly and San Fran at Detroit in the NFC and Jets at NE and KC at Cincy in the AFC. You would see 3 road favorites. Wow. Lots to be sorted out in the next few weeks though.
Also, there is an increasingly likely chance that College Football will have 4 undefeated teams at the end of the season, one year before the 4 team playoff goes into effect. Prediction, the next 5 years will have exactly two undefeated teams. Just to mess with you.
Finally, Congrats to Murda, the absentee owner of what would otherwise be a decent team notched his first win of the season this week. I am very tempted to contact him and plead with him to check is team so he can catch Trombone for last place in the league.
11/18/13 10:22 AM: Dazzle has recently done an excellent job of sorting out the contenders from the pretenders in the JFFL. I am going to briefly do that this morning for the NFL.
DEAD: Jax, Hou, Oak, St. Louis, San Diego, Atlanta, Tampa, Minn, Wash. Thanks for playing, see you next year.
Life support: Tennessee, Cleveland, Baltimore, Buffalo, Green Bay, Pitt, Miami, Giants. Recent losses by these teams in must win games have put them in the hole where they have almost zero room for error going forward. They are all mediocre teams that have serious flaws. Tennesse has Fitz as a QB, Cleveland has Weeden, Baltimore is mediocre offensively and defensively, Buffalo has a rookie QB, GB has no Rodgers, Pitt can’t protect Big Ben or run the ball. Miami is a shitshow. The Giants are the very definition of average in that they beat bad teams and get blown out by good teams. None of these teams deserves to be in the playoffs, except for a GB with Rodgers, which doesn’t exist. Since they aren’t technically done yet, they are here.
Fatally Flawed: Jets, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Arizona, Philadelphia. There is a very good chance that two or three of teams will make the playoffs. I have no confidence in any of them winning a playoff game. They all still suck. Jets have a very good Defense but their offense is not going to win a game on the road against a decent team. Dallas is the inverse of the Jets, they have no defense. Chicago’s Defense may be worse than Dallas, and Cutler’s injury leaves major question marks. Detroit is maddenly inconsistent. Arizona is actually 6-4. They are great ATS too. They are going nowhere important with Caron Palmer at QB. The Eagles think they are good because they beat Oakland, a Scott Tolzien led Packers team, and a very bad Redskins team. Even though they are in first place in the division, they still suck. I can’t wait for them to lose 4 of their next 5. Look at the schedule, it will probably happen. Plus Eagles fans are the most unlikeable fan base of any sports team in the world and are the epitomy of everything that is wrong with America.
Something is missing: Cincy, San Fran, KC. I don’t know what the problem is with these teams but they aren’t making me believe they can win in the playoffs. No, actually I know exactly what the problem is. Their QBs are not good. Dalton is slightly above average, Kapernick is a fraud, and Alex Smith is Trent Dilfer. These teams have Defenses which allow them to be game managers, which is why I think all 3 will make the playoffs but I don’t see them winning a game they get behind in, as KC and Cincy have demonstrated throughout in recent weeks.
Darkhorses: Carolina, Indy, New England. Nobody is really talking about these teams, but they have good wins and are all fairly complete teams. One possibly two of these teams will upset a team with a higher seed come January in the playoffs.
Contenders: NOLA, Seattle, Denver. They keep chugging along and winning the games they are supposed to. Brees and Manning are as good as it gets QB wise. What Seattle doesn’t have in Wilson at QB it makes up for in Defense and homefield advantage. I wonder what the odds are in Vegas that one of these 3 teams wins the Super Bowl. It probably doesn’t pay well.
11/17/13 7:48 PM: Also, answering this question gave me an idea. I did my first draft evaluations just before the halfway point of the college season. There have been a lot of guys who have exploded onto the scene and helped there draft stock in that time period. Sometime during Bowl Season, (next month) I will give you my take on these guys, like Bortles, Jimmy Garroppolo and Bryce Petty at QB, Andrew Williams out of BC at RB, you get the idea.
11/17/13 7:37 PM: I would like to draw your attention to this week’s Sunday Lurk. Do not be afraid of the strange picture on the front, just click and read. Besides his usual entertaining musings, our Commish asked me to weigh in on UCF QB Blake Bortles. I am glad you asked. Let me start off by saying I have seen Temple play in person as well this year. They have an absolute terrible secondary. They made Tommy Rees look like an elite QB. With that said, Blake is most certainly an intriguing prospect. His stock is rising as the season goes on. UCF is a legit team with legit talent. They beat PSU pretty bad, at PSU, and they were one of the Lion’s biggest underdog covers of the season against South Carolina. I personally have seen him play on TV a few times, including during portions of yesterdays game. Blake has a lot of things that will have NFL teams taking a nice long look at him. Most of which have been covered by Dazzle in his Lurk. He is outstanding at throwing slants, and also scrambling with eyes down field and throwing across his body, ala Big Ben. He also has a very HOT wag. (LINDSAY DUKE, GOOGLE HER). His weaknesses are that with the exceptions of those two aforementioned games, and playing Louisville, UCF hasn’t played anybody. He doesn’t throw the ball down the field often in his offense. They throw a lot of short routes and bubble screens. He only averages 9 yards an attempt, compared to Johnny Football, Famous Jameis Winston, Bridgewater and Mariotta, etc. However he does complete 68% of his passes and his QBR rating is in the top 25. His passer efficiency rating is top ten. His biggest weakness is that he has a tendency to forces throws into coverage because he is playing awful teams in the All-American Conference (Big East). I think he is one of those guys, like David Carr, who could move up in the combine if he demonstrates downfield accuracy. I like him.
11/15/13 2:45 PM: Thanks to the Silverfox for pointing out that SB Nation is doing a column on what Dazzle and I discussed in my RB/WR rankings. That RBs are worthless as first round picks. http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/11/15/5107472/running-backs-the-walking-dead
While they did a good job, remember who brought you that info first.
11/15/13 11:16 AM: Always good to start off the week with a win on Thursday night. For those of you who watched, you got the offensive explosion promised by the Lion. Sammy Watkins had two TDs of over 40 yards. Fun stuff. Mr. Boyd broke Pippy Rivers record. Congrats to him. A little something to think about this Friday before I leave you, something to think about. How frustrating is Trent Richardson? Not only does he suck from a reality perspective, he sucks from a fantasy one as well. Donald Brown had 2 TDs last night, and Trent was out rushed by Andrew Luck. This guy was an A Keeper last year. While I would like to say I predicted this, as I turned down a trade offer for him in the offseason, I had no idea he was going to decline this far. Cleveland’s front office looks brilliant right now. When was the last time you could say that??? Happy Friday, and enjoy one of the last weekends of football before Holiday obligations get in the way. We are halfway through National Football Month and it has gone by too fast.
11/13/13 3:43 PM: This is the stupidest thing I have ever read in my life…http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/82260/a-modest-proposal-nfl-teams-should-stop-running-the-football
Then again, if the media keeps talking about bullying in the locker room and head injuries this is where the game is headed anyway. A future of flag football played 7 on 7.
All ranting aside, it is a perfect example of people using statistics to bolster their opinon. The author simply used a calculation of average (mean) yard per play in his article. This is obviously flawed becuase you only get 3 chances to get a first down. You can have an average of 6.17 yards per play passing and only 4.12 for rushing, but how did you get at those numbers? You can get an average of around 6.17 by having the follwing plays, 0 yards, 0 yards, 0 yards, 0 yards, 20 yards, 21 yards, 0 yards, 0 yards, 0 yards, 20 yards. See the problem? You have to punt twice there or you turn the ball over on downs. Not to mention you give yourself a bad down and distance which makes it easier for defenses to stop. Before jumping to this conclusion, that stats guy should look at how many run plays result in 0 or negative yards compared to how many pass plays do. He should also look at what percentage of plays result in turnovers from the pass v. the run. Simply using the mean to draw a conclusion is lazy. This author also doesn’t give enough credit into the idea that the threat of running the ball is what opens up the passing game for a lot of teams. Nor does he even mention the fact that running the ball on teams wears down defenses and makes it easier to run the ball as the game goes on. Passing the ball wears out your oline, making it harder to pass as the game goes on becuase it becomes more difficult to protect the QB. Call me a gumpy old man if you want, but I like to think of myself as thorough.
1/11/13 6:26 PM: Happy Veteran’s Day. We have a terrible MNF game to look forward to tonight with almost zero fantasy implications. The Lion is going to skip the game and catch up on TV, including what has been a amazing last season of Eastbound and Down. Kenny Powers is essentially a cartoonish version of the jerks that play in the JFFL, and as all of us who are married and live in some form of domesticated existence can tell you, this season of the show really does a great job making fun of the urge us Jerks have to burn it all to the ground. Check it out if you haven’t. It’s the best season since the first. In other news, the Lion was 7-4 on the college games he gave you this week, but really 7-3 because he told you not to bet LSU. The Lurk had its triumphant return to full force this week. Great column, check it out. Some things to look forward to this week. Trombone’s JFBBL draft grades, a roundtable discussion about this Incognito thing, and as always your college football preview.
11/6/13 8:49 AM: Couple of thoughts from last night where I went 1-1. Baylor’s Defense is either better than I thought, or Oklahoma should fire their OC. Stanford plays football the way I would want my team to play. David Shaw jumped up a few notches in my book. Until the national media and soccer moms out there turn football into flag football, the game will still be about blocking and tackling. Stanford does both well.
11/7/13 8:45 PM: Here is the remainder of my preview…
Oregon at Stanford +10.5
After a great undercard we have this as the main event tonight.
The Ducks come in 8-0 and ranked #3 in the nation. They are also 7-1 against the spread this season. They have covered and won their last 10 games as road favorites. Everybody knows Marcus Mariota, the QB and Heisman frontrunner. (He hasn’t thrown a pick yet this season, amazing) The Ducks are second to Baylor in just about all the offensive categories. They have a bad taste in their mouth from last year, when the Cardinal came into the house that Nike built and cost them an undefeated season and title shot. There is no love lost between these teams, and RB De’Anthony Thomas has been talking trash this week saying Oregon is going to put up 40 on Stanford. It really isn’t that bold of a prediction. The Ducks seem to mow down everybody they play. The one team that they seem to struggle with is the team across the field from them tonight.
The Cardinal come in ranked #5 in the nation with their one loss a stunning upset to Utah. Much like the first game, Stanford is the anti-Oregon in that they are a Defensive team. Since the loss at Utah, the Cardinal have shut down the other high octane offenses in the Pac-12, beating down Brett Hundley and UCLA (10 points) and Sean Mannion and Oregon State (12 points). This game truly features the immovable object versus the irresistible force scenario. Stanford has forced a turnover in 33 games, and Oregon never turns the ball over. The Cardinal offense is very pro-style, with excellent sophomore QB Kevin Hogan leading the way. You will see Hogan in the 2014 version of the Lion’s QB evaluations as he is not eligible for the draft this year. The Cardinal like to control the clock and pound the ball. The contrast in style between these two teams makes for memorable games. They have combined for the last 4 PAC-12 titles.
There are a lot of things that point to an Oregon win. Mariota’s only loss of his CAREER was last year against Stanford. Is this the year they get the monkey off their back and get back to the title game and give the nation the matchup it has wanted for years against Bama? I don’t know. I always go with good defense over good offense, so I have to lean towards Stanford. On the flip side, Oregon’s defense isn’t nearly as good as Stanford’s offense. Plus this game is at Stanford on a Thursday night. I am taking the points here; especially considering Stanford seems to always cover as a dog. PICK STANFORD
Now here are your regularly scheduled picks for Saturday.
KSU at Texas Tech -2.5. The Wildcats are an awful team this year. Texas Tech had a tough loss the past two weeks to the teams from Oklahoma, but is perfectly capable of winning this game in blow out fashion, especially at home. The Air Raid offense is 2nd in the nation in passing yards behind Baylor. It will continue to poor on the points. The line almost seems like a sucker bet, it give me pause as to why it is so low. Either Vegas knows something I don’t or people are jumping off the Red Raiders after the back to back loses. I think people are jumping off. They will be back on next week. Remember to keep an eye on TE Jace Amaro, one of the Lion’s top TEs in college football. PICK TTECH.
Auburn -7.5 at Tenn. Auburn is sneaky good this year. They have the 6th ranked rushing offense in the country. They have an old school Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside thing going at running back, with Tre Mason being the Mr. Outside and Cameron Artis-Payne (from Lion Country in Central PA) as Mr. Inside. They also have a running type QB in Nick Marshall. He is like a homeless man’s Cam Newton. The Vols have the worst run defense in the SEC. They also have that backup freshman QB Josh Dobbs starting again this week for only his second time. I like this matchup for the Tigers. Auburn is one of those teams getting better every week. They may even give Bama a game in the Iron Bowl this year. This spread is very attainable. PICK AUBURN
Favorite Dogs: I don’t have anybody I really love, but I gave you two in OK and Stan above. I am also looking at Virginia Tech to cover the 7.5 points they are getting against a Miami team without Duke Johnson, but VT is so bad on offense due to turnover machine and vastly overrated QB Logan Thomas, I am kind of scared to pull the trigger. I love the under in this game.
BYU at Wisconsin -7.5. The Badgers have been one of my go to cover teams this year and I am going to continue to ride them this week. They are back at home in Madison for the first time in a month. Kudos to both programs for scheduling a very tough non-conference game so late in the season. The key to the game for me is that BYU and Wisconsin are both prolific running offenses, (only two programs that have two guys each on their team average more than 100 yards a game running) but Wisconsin also has a great run defense, as Iowa found out last week. BYU does not have the defense to stop the Badgers. PICK WISCONSIN
Using the same riding the cover team logic described above, you may also want to consider taking Mizzou -14.5 at Kentucky.
NC State at Duke -9.5, Nebraska at Michigan -6.5: I like Duke and Michigan because the teams they are playing are putrid and don’t even try to play defense. Duke is surprisingly good this season and the line tells me that Vegas thinks the Wolfpack have no chance. The Michigan line is already up to 7 as we speak.
Let’s throw in one more game for fun. PSU at Minnesota -1.5, PSU just hasn’t been good on the road. Minnesota has something special going and I’m done doubting the Gophers. One of the Lion’s favorite DTs Ra’Shede Hageman causes havoc on defense as Penn State will turn the ball over a few times, and Minnesota’s ground game will wear down the Nittany Lions defense. The Line is already up to 2.5. PICK Minn.
LSU at Bama -11.5
Finally, we have a true SEC Barnburner of the week for the first time in a while. For some inexplicable reason, Les Miles gives Nick Saban fits. I think it’s because Miles is so off the cuff and loosey goosey, and the very idea of that irks control freak and uber planner Nick Saban. The only times I have ever seen Saban outcoached are by Les Miles. LSU is also built to play with Bama. LSU has two losses this year already but if it wins out can get to the SEC championship game and a BCS bowl. Bama obviously knows that with so many other undefeated teams it cannot afford a loss here. Normally, this game is about Bama’s Offense vs. LSU Defense. This year I think it’s actually the opposite. LSU’s offense is the best one Bama will have faced yet, and yes that includes Texas A&M. The reason I say so is that LSU is extremely balanced, with both the 29th ranked rush and pass offense. They have NFL talent at WR and they have a great college RB in PJ Hill. Bama’s Defense though is the best unit in this game and it’s hard not to see them win. Also I don’t see LSU’s defense stopping Bama enough to beat them. Here is the thing though, in the regular season, since Saban took over at Bama, the margin of victory has never been more than 9 points in 2009. Every other time it has been less than a TD. I think it’s because both of these teams care more about lining up and trying to kill each other than running around each other. The difference between this game and say Baylor v. Oklahoma is like the difference between a middleweight and heavyweight fight. In true rivalry fashion, Bama and LSU will trade knockout blows and I am going to guess that that trend of close games continues. If I had to pick this game I would take the points for that reason. I wouldn’t bet it otherwise, especially since the line when up to 12.5 since I started writing this column. PICK LSU.
11/7/13 7:45 PM: Sorry folks our editor has a job that keeps him indisposed. Here is part one of my Thursday Night preview at least for game 1, we will try to get the whole thing up when the opportunity arises.
Thursday has always been one of my favorite days of the week. In college and grad school, it was the best night to go out. As I have become older, it remains a great day. Friday is around the corner, and recently there is always a football game to look forward to kicking off the weekend with. This week’s edition of NFL’s sloppy Thursday Night game is Washington v. Minnesota. I am not going to waste any more of your time on that. Fortunately we have not one but two HUGE college football games tonight. These games are like season defining huge. So in everyone’s best interest, let’s skip the NFL game and just jump right into another Deluxe College Football Friday Column…one night early, with extra analysis.
Oklahoma at Baylor -14.5
The Baylor Bears have been a team the Lion has not talked a lot about this year despite the fact they are an undefeated and ranked 6th in the nation. There is a reason I have not had much to say. I am not a fan of offenses that throw as much the Bears do, and Baylor has not beaten anybody yet. Their wins against Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Wofford don’t excite me, even if Baylor often put up 70 points while winning. Their best win is against WVU. We will find out how for real this team is the next three weeks. After the Sooners, they play Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Bears are at home and lead by new out of nowhere Heisman candidate Bryce Petty, and NFL RB Prospect (see my RB evaluations) Lache Seastrunk. They have the number 1 offense in the land. They have been monsters against the spread, covering every game.
The Sooners are not exactly a slouch. They are ranked 10th in the country and have one loss, in the Red River Shootout to Rival Texas. The Sooners come into this game as underdogs. I can’t remember the last time this has happened. The Oklahoma offense seems to be good at long sustained drives with Blake Bell, the Belldozer at QB. I have not seen a lot of big play ability from the Sooners. The strength of the team is the defense. At some point during the 2000’s the Big 12 became the spread conference. The Sooners’ Defense had to adjust, and Coach Stoops switched to an alignment with three defensive linemen and five defensive backs. (3-3-5). As you may guess, this has helped them against the pass. They have a top ten ranked defense overall, but are especially good against the pass. They have a good secondary and very good pass rushers, lead by Eric Striker (great name). They create a lot of turnovers as a result of this. As you may guess, this 3-3-5 is not great against the run. Oklahoma’s defense has been susceptible to the rushing attack all year long.
I see several keys to this game. Will Oklahoma be affected by the hostile environment in what is the biggest game in Baylor history on a Thursday night? Will Baylor get ahead early forcing the Sooners to play from behind? Will the Bears attack the weakness of the Sooners with Seastrunk instead of attacking their strength by slinging it around the field? The way the Sooners win this game is to keep the ball away from the Bears by its slow, methodical drives which lead to Touchdowns and not Field Goals. This will force Baylor to throw, playing right into the Sooners strength. The Sooners cannot afford to get into a shootout or get behind early. Ultimately I think the Sooners will not be intimated by the hostile crowd, and their experience playing against a similar offense in Texas Tech last week will have them prepared to come out and keep from getting blown out. This Sooners team is built to stop teams like Baylor. I am taking the experience of Stoops and the Sooners and the Points. PICK SOONERS
11/5/13 7:57 PM: Heads up folks. In you didn’t know already Thursday happens to have some HUGE college football games. Therefore, look for College Football Friday to come a day early in another deluxe edition. Keep a an eye out for the final part of my series evaluating future NFL draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. One final request: those of you who read this who know my actual identity, please send me an e-mail with a question you would like the Lion to answer. I would like to do a mail time type article. Thanks in advance. Remember look for the College Football Friday on Thursday, and look for the mailbag article next week sometime. Oh and vote.
11/5/13 9:00 AM: I have a few quick hits for you this morning. 1) This week had to be one of the best weeks ever for survival pools action, you had the Saints losing to the Jets, Seattle ALMOST losing to Tampa and then Aaron Rodgers going down along with the Packers on Monday. 2) A1 can attest that on Friday the Lion came across a little stat that said the prior weekend, all the divison leaders won and covered the spread, which almsot never happens. Seeing what happened to Cincy on Thursday, I got the idea that the Divison Leaders were all going to struggle this weekend and I cleaned up. As you can see, my college picks went pretty well for the most part too. Good weekend for me. Except for Fantasy. Dang it all. 3). I want to weigh in on this bullying thing. Why does the media, I am looking at you Chris Carter and Tom Jackson, have to make this about race? From what I can tell, and I don’t have all the information, you have a guy who is univerally known across the league as a sadistic, dirty football player, taking hazing too far. Sometimes, white people are just assholes to everybody, it doens’t mean they are racist, they are just awful people.
11/1/13 8:00 PM: DELUXE COLLEGE EDITION:
Well I was correct about one thing; Andy Dalton couldn’t keep up the level of play he exhibited during the Bengals 4 game winning streak. Seriously though, it’s hard to win when you best player Geno Atkins, who happens to be the best player on the field, goes down in the first quarter. It allowed Miami to run the ball a little and stay in the game while Dalton threw awful two of the worst picks I have seen all year on the other side.
No use dwelling on the past, we have reason to move forward. It’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL FRIDAY. As promised, here is a deluxe edition in honor of National Football Month.
FAVORITE GAME OF THE WEEK:
Last week I was 1-1 again in my favorite games of the week. Instead of giving you a Bonus favorite I am going to give you two favorites right off the bat for this deluxe edition.
Wisconsin at Iowa +9.5. Wisconsin has been a cover machine for me this year. They are coming off a bye to travel down to Iowa City to face a traditional rival for something called the Heartland Trophy. The Lion loves random trophies like this and the Lion also loves America’s Heartland. Get this stat, the series began in 1906 and is even at 42-42-2. They haven’t played since 2010. The reason I like this game is that Iowa is basically a poor man’s Wisconsin. Iowa is a team that is physical and tries to run the ball and stop the run, and beat you with big plays passing from play action. Wisconsin is the same team only with better players. If you read the Lion’s evaluation of WR and RBs you will see Melvin Gordon and Jared Abbrederis. What scares me the most is that Wisconsin’s pass defense is pretty bad, and could let up a covering TD, but I do believe that the talent wins out, especially after a bye, and Wisconsin wins by 10 or more. PICK Wisconsin
Illinois at Penn St. -10.5. Let’s stay in the Big Ten here, since it seems to be the only conference I have a handle on this season. Both teams are coming off ass whoopings. MSU demolished the Illini in their own building and the Buckeyes (as I predicted) got their signature beat down at the Lion’s expense. The problem with both teams is their defenses are really struggling right now, but I think it’s safe to say that the Fighting Illini have even more issues than Penn State. The Nittany Lions are much better at home than on the road. They also have a little extra to get up for as the Illini openly reached out and tried to steal away PSU players when the NCAA came down with the whole Sandusky thing. Keep an eye on Allen Robinson to have a bounce back week to continue to stay on NFL scouts radar. PICK PSU
Clemson at UVA +16.5. Ok I can’t help myself. Let’s pick some games. I like this one because Clemson recovered from the shook of getting punched in the face by FSU last week and pulled away in the second half. UVA can’t stop anybody, and Clemson is an offensive juggernaut. The Cavaliers have allowed an average of 36.3 points in the last four defeats. Ugh. Their offense is not much better, scoring only once off five Jackets turnovers in a ten point loss to highly mediocre Georgia Tech last week. This has the recipe for a blow out. PICK CLEMSON
FAVORITE DOGS OF THE WEEK:
Since it’s a deluxe edition, I have two for you.
USC at Oregon St. -4.5. USC has been a different team since they got rid of Lane Kiffin. OSU does one thing well, pass. USC’s secondary is very suspect, but they are really good at getting to the passer. Stanford showed last week that the Beavers are wide open to a strong push up the middle. If USC can get to Riley, I see an outright win for the Trojans over the Beavers. PICK USC
WVU at TCU -13.5. Neither of these teams are very good. TCU has a good defense and an anemic offense. WVU is mediocre all the way around. The reason I see WVU staying in this game is because I just can’t see the Horned Frogs scoring more than 21 points, so it’s hard to win by 14 without pitching a shutout. I just see too many chances for a fluke TD by the mountaineers. PICK WVU
GAMES OF THE WEEK:
Michigan at Michigan State -4.5. Both of these teams only have once loss. The Wolverines blew a game at Penn State, and Sparty had refs call a bunch of PI on them to bail out Notre Dame. They are both ranked in the top 20 nationally, and are 1 and 2 in the Legends conference, (awful name), so this game is pretty big. The schools also hate each other. I have said this before and I will say it again, MSU’s defense is legit. Right now, it is 3rd in the country in pass yards allowed and 1st in rushing yards allowed. LEGIT. Michigan has a better offense than MSU. Sparty actually was embarrassingly bad on offense at the beginning of the season with a new starter at QB, but he has grown into the position a little bit. I watched both of these teams play a common opponent, ND. Even though the Wolverines beat the Irish and the Spartans did not, it was clear to me that MSU was a better team. Defense almost always wins. Plus this line tells me all I need to know. That Vegas really likes Sparty. So do I. PICK SPARTY
#18 OK ST at #15 Texas Tech -2.5. This game is very interesting; you have two completely opposite teams. The Red Raiders love to air it out, the Air Raid Attack is 3rd in the nation is passing yards. Their problem is they turn the ball over a lot (3 times a game on average). They are playing a team that is their polar opposite. The Pokes have only turned the ball over 10 times all year and have a plus-9 turnover margin with 12 takeaways in the last three weeks. Their 13 interceptions are tied for eighth in the country. They love the ground and pound. So does the Lion. This is a tough game to pick, but if I had to, I would go with the dogs, especially because the line had dropped to .5 this morning.
Eh, lackluster week really, but I will nominate a GOW a double bonus favorite bet of the week.
Florida v. Georgia -2.5. Both teams have been ravaged by injury and have been very disappointing. This game is still a big game because it’s the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. Also, when people think of Florida they generally think of Miami and the old people that live in Southern Florida. Northern Florida, where Gainesville is, is as different from Southern Florida as Central PA is from Philly, or as Northern Jersey is from South Jersey, or No Cal from So Cal, you get the idea. Let me hammer the point home with this fact: The most successful cross over country song in 2013 is by a band that is called Florida Georgia Line. This game is basically a battle across that line. It’s a big deal. I have no idea who will win, but I guess I like the Dawgs because they are a little bit healthier than the Gators.
DOUBLE BONUS FAVORITE
Tenn at #10 Mizzou -11.5 Real simple, Mizzou is pissed off after losing last week, are back at home and are going against a back up QB.
This is the universal game of the week.
Miami at FSU -21.5. This is a very famous rivalry game, however, nobody is giving Miami a chance to win this game. Vegas is treating the Canes as if they are a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, installing them as 22-point underdogs. So does Miami have a shot? Only if the Canes can control the clock, play a power-run game and limit the big plays defensively. Miami has the back to do it, Duke Johnson is a stud RB. Stephen Morris is a serviceable QB for the Canes and honestly, he isn’t really much worse than Taj Boyd. Still, FSU had decimated everybody lately. They have the number 1 pass defense in the nation. At the beginning of the week I would have said FSU all the way, but I think Miami can keep it close at least. I honestly have no idea. Stay away from this game.
Good luck and enjoy.
10/31/13 11:25 AM: Coming soon to the home page: my evaluation of colleges top OL/TE’s and then D players. Coming sooner, my Thursday Night Game preview. Tomorrow, College Football Friday. Happy Halloween.
10/30/13 9:32 AM: I don’t know why but I enjoyed having the NBA back more than I expected last night. The Lion has been doing some thinking and he would like to declare November National Football Month. When you think about it, November really belongs to Football. After Halloween, Baseball playoffs are over and the NHL, NBA and college hoops aren’t really in full swing yet. Fall weddings are usually done and the marathon of Holiday Parties doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Furthermore, in football, both college and pro, November is where the contenders rise and the pretenders stumble. Therefore, in honor of Football month, I will put in a little more effort for you all. On Thurdays, I will attempt to break down the Thursday Night NFL game and predict it. I will also expand my College Football Friday Post to include more games and more analysis. Happy Football month.
0/29/13 11:16 AM: A few quick hits for you guys this morning: 1)NBA season starts tonight, so set your lineups in the JFBBL; 2)Robert Quinn is a beast of a DL. Find out who the next Robert Quinn might be later in my series evaluating the college ranks on the main page; 3)There is a chance we could have a report card on the JFBBL, if we can hone in the Jerk who would naturally hand out the grades; 4) the JFHL has proved that I know even less than I thought about hockey. You would think it would make me watch and or care more, but I don’t. If the Lion had to rank sports to watch, based on your run of the mill regular season contest, he would rank as follows: College Football, NFL, College Hoops, NBA, MLB, High School Football, High School Basketball, Golf, then NHL somewhere below a random premium channel boxing match and above NASCAR and WNBA. Last place for me is Lacrosse becuase its not a sport and if you are a person that plays or likes Lacrosse, you should consider yourself too much of a wuss to play football and not pretty enough to play soccer. Basically you are a failure. I have a ton of respect for hockey players, but I just can’t do it guys. Wow this turned out to be a much longer rant then I thought. Happy Tuesday.
10/25/13 9:29 AM: Its another College Football Friday. I lost one favorite and won on favorite last week. The rest of my picks were pretty shoddy. Lets try to improve this week.
Favorite Bet of the Week: Fresno State at SD State +9.5: Ok you may be wondering why I am betting such a strange game. If you read my QB breakdown you will see that one of my favorite QBs in the country is Derek Carr. Believe it or not the Bulldogs are ranked 15th in the country. The Aztecs have one of the worst pass defenses in the country. The spread is this low because nobody bets on MWC games. I see Carr winning by a TD and a FG.
Favorite Dog of the Week. NC State at FSU -29.5: Normally I pick teams that I think could win here. Not this week. 30 points is such a high spread and FSU is coming off the biggest win of the season. I think they coast a bit here and win merely by 28 or less.
Big Games of the Week:
Texas Tech at Oklahoma -6.5: These teams are ranked 10th and 17th in the country. This is a huge game in the Big 12 title picture. It matches the Red Raiders air assault vs. the Sooners very good pass defense. I think the difference in this game is that the Sooners can’t afford to lose this at home. The spread has already gone up to 7.5 since I looked at this earlier in the week. The Sooners did win this game by 20 last year as well. The key is if OK’s offense can get going and not turn the ball over like it did against Texas. I actually think this could be my BONUS FAVORITE of the week.
PSU at OSU -14.5: This is a big game only because PSU upset Michigan the other week. PSU is the hot upset pick this week. I don’t see it. OSU has been underwhelming in Big Ten Play. Urban knows that they are going to have to come out better than this. OSU will be up for this game. I have know doubt that PSU will also be up for it as well, but if I had to bet it I would take the Buckeyes. As a side note, the key matchup to watch for Draft purposes is Allen Robinson WR against the CB from OSU Roby.
PAC 12 game of the week:
UCLA at Oregon -22.5: First of, let me say that you have UCLA ranked 12 v. Oregon ranked 2. I think this spread is way to high for a UCLA team with an offense that has Brett Hundley at QB and Shaq Evans at WR. These guys have NFL potential. Oregon’s defense has not been very good and I can see them looking forward to Stanford a little bit. They will keep up with the Ducks offense to cover this spread. This could be my BONUS DOG of the week.
SEC Barnburner of the week:
No. 20 South Carolinat at No. 5 Mizzou -2.5. Mizzou keeps winning and the gamecocks got upset at Tennessee last week in a bizarre loss. I would not bet on this game but I can’t see Mizzou keep winning. Sorry for the lack of analysis this week but I am churning out more evaluations. Look for the WR and RBs to come out later today. I am currently working on the TE/OL. Then I will do a D to finish the series.
10/25/13 8:40 AM: Hope you enjoyed evaluations of the QBs in college this year who may be a factor in the NFL Draft this spring. I have the RBs and WRs coming up soon. I also hope you all bet Carolina last night, and started Greg Olsen or Mike Tolbert if you have them on your teams. (Oh wait, I have Tolbert and yeah he is on my bench). Finally, I hope you aren’t in a rush for my college football picks because I won’t have them until later today.
10/22/13 9:39 AM: Quick three point post this morning for you guys. 1)Reminder the JFBBL draft auction is tomorrow night. 2)Check out the piece by Dazzle on the main page, it is very well done and thought provoking. 3)Last week I received a request from Skillz to do a Kiper/McShay type piece on college football skill position players (that my apply directly to fantasy) before they get involved and skew the thought process on it. Ask and you shall receive, I just have to figure out if what I come up with is too long for a Den post or if it needs to go into its own post page. Either way, I will have something for you in the near future.
10/21/13 12:20 PM: JERK BREAKING NEWS. NFL insider Silverfox is reporting that Colts WR Reggie Wayne may be done for the year. This makes the Gates for Steve Smith trade between your blog operators all the more important. Adjust your lineups and hit the waiver wire accordingly Fantasy Football fans.
10/20/13 4:42 PM: Lots of trades (2) need to be approved. I think they are fair and help both teams. Jerks please get on the page and approve. My college football predictions yesterday were less than stellar. Of the games I talked about below, only 2 outta 7. My fantasy team is fairing much better. Gronk is back and doing Gronk things like having 10 catches for 100 yards. Calvin Johnson is back to his old self as well. In other news, the Eagles and Cowboys game was a disgrace to the game of football. The Lion loves hard hitting defensive battles, but this was not that. Some other random thoughts for you, maybe the Bills aren’t terrible? The Bears defense clearly is. I hope Steve Jackson decides to retire right now because Jacquizz Rodgers is really better. (Ok I may be biased). Enjoy the games, read the Lurk, and approve the trades. Lion…out.
10/18/13 9:39 AM: Its College Football Friday again. As has been the trend, I was two for two on my favorite and bonus favorite picks last week, and my other game predictions were not so great. Without further ado, here we go:
Favorite bet of the week: Iowa at Ohio State -16.5. I have said before and I will say it again, I hate betting the Big Ten, but this year it seems to be the one conference I have figured out. Ohio State is coming off a bye and outclasses Iowa at just about every position. OSU is 12 out of their last 13 coming off byes. As long as Bama, Oregon and the winner of Clemson FSU remain undefeated, OSU will need to win convincingly to stay on voters minds. Iowa has a servicable defense but their offense is very anemic, and OSU’s defense is actually underated. The Buckeyes held much better rushing attacks in NW and Wisc to 99 yards rushing per game. Iowa might not score more than once. Besides keeping OSU on voters minds, Meyer will run this up to get Braxton Miller back in the Heisman conversation and the Buckeyes will win by 20 or more. I see this being like a 35-10 game. PICK OSU
Bonus favorite bet of the week: Wisconsin at Illinois +10.5. Again with the Big Ten. Wisconsin has been my go to cover team this year because they relentlessly run the ball. When you have an offense that runs the ball so well, you can’t stop running when you are up like you can stop passing. The Illini are the worst team in the Big Ten I think. Wisconsin wins by two TDs. PICK WISC
Favorite Dog of the Week: UCLA at Stanford -4.5. I have not been as good in picking the dogs as I have my favorite games of the week, but lets try to reverse that trend here. This is a huge game for the PAC 12. On one hand, Stanford really can’t afford to lose it after the upset loss to Utah last week and with Oregon on the way. On the other, UCLA isn’t in the same division and the Oregon game is much more important to winning the conference than this game. Arguably, the Cardinal could lose this game, beat Oregon, and play UCLA in a rematch in the PAC12 Title game. I have a feeling they know this subconsciously. UCLA is off to its best start since 2005 and is doing so in impressive fashion, outscoring its foes by an average of 28 PPG while outgaining them by more than 200 YPG. They have NFL talent on both sides of the ball in their WR Shaq Evans and LB Anthony Barr. They have a good QB in Brett Hundley. While I do expect Stanford to pull this game out, I think its very possible that UCLA keeps it to a Field Goal, and they do have the possibility to win this game outright. PICK UCLA.
SEC Barnburner of the Week (sorta)
Florida at Mizzou +3. This game is a battle for the SEC East. Mizzou is the surprise team and is undefeated. You may ask yourself, are they really any good? Their only quality win is against a catastrophically injured UGA team isn’t it? Well, yes Mizzou is pretty good. Here is why they are good. They have a very good set of big WRs, in L’Damian Washington and former number 1 nationally ranked H.S. recruit Dorial Green Beckham. Their Defensive Line is extremely active, bolstered by Harold Brantley at DT. Brantley is from Hershey Pennsylvania, so you know that guy brings his lunch pale and gets after it every lay. Mizzou leads the nation in interceptions as well with 13. They do have a problem though, their QB James Franklin went down last week. Once Matty Mauk came in off the bench, they really didn’t do anything except via trick play. Florida’s defense is legit, and while its hard to go on the road right after a trip to death valley, I think a defense travels better than an offense. I wouldn’t bet this game because I expect it to be low scoring and one big play to swing it, but I am going with the Gators.
Other kinda sorta SEC burner
Auburn at A&M -13.5. I really like the Aggies here, almost put them in my bonus game of the week. Assuming Johnny is healthy, they can score on anybody and Auburn cannot keep up offensively. I think they roll.
Other Big Games
USC at ND -2.5: This is a big game despite the records of the teams because of the history and because of the rivalry. The Irish do come in off a bye after their most complete performance of the season in a 37-34 win over Arizona State, a team that beat the Trojans the week prior, resulting in Lane Kiffin’s firing. Last week, the Trojans looked like a completely different team under interim coach Ed Orgeron in the win over Arizona. They also get All World WR Marquis Lee back. Brian Kelly is 11-3 coming off a bye week, and I think USC played an emotionally draining victory last week against AZ. I think the emotion of rallying behind an interim coach can’t last more than a week or so, and not on a night game at ND. While this spread makes me nervous, basically daring you to bet ND because money came in on the Trojans, I think ND wins by 3 or more.
FSU at Clemson +2.5: This is the game of the week. The home team has won this game — and gone on to win the ACC Atlantic division — in each of the past four years. The home team has taken 11 of the past 12 meetings overall. Tigers have dominated the Seminoles in Death Valley, winning the past five matchups by an average of 10 points per game. Yet vegas has FSU as favorites. Again this seems strange, almost like they are daring you to take the points and the home team here. The Lion did his research and found that after the midseason open date in each of Fisher’s first three years, he’s 0-3 ATS with two outright losses as a favorite. Fisher, while a great recruiter, is not a great coach. FSU’s best win is at home against an overmatched MD team. Clemson beat Georgia when it was healthy. FSU has not been tested yet, and while supremely talented, I can’t pick a team with a freshman QB and lost 4 NFL draft picks from its DL. I wouldn’t bet this game because that spread makes me nervous but I think if I had to pick it, or maybe throw it in a parlay, I would take Clemson. Enjoy what should be a good week of College FB.
10/17/13 1:12 PM: Today I actually have JFFL news to post. 5 members of this league will be getting together to watch the Thursday Night Game. This is the largest gathering of Jerks since August.
10/16/13 10:23 PM: To finish what we started yesterday here are the contenders:
Softness: The key to his success is the resurrection of Pip Rivers along with his solid starting WR, Brandon Marshall and Victor Cruz. Matt Forte has been every bit of the first round pick he was drafted at. Perhaps his best pick was Julius Thomas, who is benefiting from the Peyton Manning affect. His weakness is depth at RB (like almost every team). His team will go as the Bears go and as Pip Rivers goes, unless Colin Kaepernick returns to form. (Don’t bet on it).
Frenchy: This team is solid from top to bottom. Luck and Cutler at QB, Sproles and Lynch at RB, Welker and AJ Green at WR. What has put him over the top is Josh Gordon. His TEs are a little shakey, otherwise if he remains healthy he is going to be there at the end of the season.
Dazzle: The Commish is riding the Broncos to a division lead right now. He has Peyton, Decker (what a doosh that guy is by the way, he has a show on E now that my wife watches and I lost all respect for him), and Knowshon. His other players have been a disappointment, Trent Richardson, David Wilson, Roddy White and the Austins both Miles and Tavon. Two things need to happen for him to win it all. The Broncos have to not clinch the 1 seed and sit their people at the end of the season to rest. His other disappointing players we just mentioned need to start playing up to their expectations. If these two things happen, look out.
A1: When you look at his team, much like Frenchy’s you realize he made no mistakes drafting. Ryan at QB, Foster and Spiller at RB, Dez Bryant at WR. His only weakness is that after Dez he needs a WR. If something should happen to Dez, he will be in trouble.
Captain: This is the one team that has depth. He has so much depth that it has to be hard to set his lineup every week because everybody is pretty good. As long as he continues to make the right choices, he will be there at the end of the year. Julio Jones going down does hurt him a little.
So putting me on the spot, who do I think are the final 4? In no particular order…A1, Captain, Frenchy and JPoww. Lets see if this holds up.
10/15/13 10:57 PM: As promised here is a halfway season analysis and some predictions for the second half. It is clear that there are some elite teams, some teams with flaws, and some teams that are up against the wall. Lets go from the bottom to the top.
Up against the wall:
These teams aren’t necessarily bad, they have been mismanaged in some way, or have had some bad luck. They are off to bad starts and may be to far in the hole to climb out at this point.
Murda: His team’s problems are that he as the owner doesn’t check his team. As documented in the annals of Jerk history Trombone annoyingly decided he had had enough and pestered him out of the league. I am not going to discuss this any further other then to say there is talent on this team and if it was managed it would be in the race for the playoffs. As for his keeper situation next year, the future owner will have his hands full.
Trombone: His teams problems are that he went running back crazy in the draft. While at first it appears to be a sound strategy due to the lack of RB depth in the league, Trombone has too many backs who have not produced up to expectations. Doug Martin, Lamar Miller and Le’Veon Bell each have been disappointing. The WRs are streaky, Fitz and Jennings don’t have a QB to throw to them and Mike Wallace has always been either a 20 pointer or a 4 pointer waiting to happen. There are bright points to his team as Eddie Lacy appears to be coming on, and his TE Jordan Cameron has been a pleasant surprise. Stafford is solid every week. While he could fight back to .above 500 at a very best case scenario, that would require him room to lose only one more game the rest of the way. Yahoo predicts that he will finish somewhere around 5-8. His 0-5 start just might be to hard to climb out off. NTMVW has a chance to put him out of his misery in the next two weeks in their home and home series.
These teams any given week can win, but have some serious flaws or have not been consistent.
Skillz: A solid team overall, Skillz has nice backs in Chris Johnson and a now emerging Andre Ellington to go along with a 1-2 WR punch of Andre Johnson and Randall Cobb. This team will go as far as his QB Tom Brady takes them. Best case scenario: Brady hit a turning point with this comeback win, gets Gronk back to throw too, and Randall Cobb gets healthy. Worst case: Brady continues to struggle from his lack of talent surrounding him on offense, Cobb is seriously hurt. (It looks like he might be).
JPow: This team’s problem is that whoever he plays puts up the best week of their season. JPow’s team has scored the most points yet sits at 2-4. His luck has to even out. Yahoo predicts him to finish 8-5, which means they don’t think he will lose more than one game going forward. He has good top end Wrs in Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas to go along with Jamal Charles and Reggie Bush at RB. If this was a ten team league you would be hard pressed to find a better set of starting WRs and RBs than that. His only other flaw is Russell Wilson has been inconsistent at QB. I predict he will sneak into the playoffs as the team nobody wants to play, and will lose in the championship game.
Silverfox: This team has super elite RBs in Shady McCoy and Peterson, but is only .500 because he has no depth and RGIII has struggled. His team has tons of potential though, as evidenced by Yahoo predicting him to win the division. Jordy Nelson finally seemed to find his grove last week, and Peterson really hasn’t gone off like he is capable of yet. Best case, RGIII gets his legs back, and his team stays healthy. Worst case, Shady McCoy gets less touches or goes down.
NTMVW: Much like his real life persona, this team is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. The pros? Jimmy Graham has been out of this world. Aaron Rodgers is getting his act together, and Alshon Jeffery is making that second year leap. The cons? The injury bug has really hit him hard. Amendola is always injured but Graham and Demarco Murray going down really really hurt. Alfred Morris like his team, has been a huge disappointment. If his team can get healthy, it is capable of being a contender, but that is a big if right now.
Me: The Lion’s team goes as Drew Brees goes. When he has a good week, he rivals Peyton as the best QB in the NFL. When he doesn’t, look out. While the first two WRs are as good as any, Wayne and Calvin Johnson, his other options have major QB issues (Stevie Johnson and Deandre Hopkins). The Lion has been juggling backs with some success with handcuffed back ups Freddie Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers getting starting RB touches. Best case scenario, Brees continues to play well, Gronk comes back healthy, and his RBs continue to split carries. Worst case? Look at last week. Sheesh.
Tommorrow the contenders.
10/15/13 1:11 PM: The Lion is back from a long weekend. (Thank you Chris Columbus) Its halfway through college football’s regular season already, and that is depressing. I scrolled down at my picks, and my “favorite” picks and favorite dog picks combined are 8-5. I will see if I can improve on this in the second half. Since we are taking stock lets look at some of my pre-season predictions and see how they have held up so far. Back on 8/22, I told you the three non-top teams that I like are South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia Tech.
What I said: I said South Carolina would be under the radar because of all the hype going to the SEC West and Clemson, but they would win games with their defense and running game, and to ride them early until they inevitably lose a late season game that they should win.
What has happened: They are still under the radar, winning games with their D and their running game, they now control their own destiny in the SEC East with an injury depleted UGA sending out 4th and 5th string players at skill positions. If they beat FL and Mizz (I think they will) the thanksgiving game with Clemson will be HUGE.
What I said: I said they have experience (19 returning starters) and play in a Big 12 Conference that is weak and that due to this weak conference, they are a nice long shot to make the title game.
What has happened: I was way wrong about the title game, Texas has been embarrassed twice this year, but get this, they are undefeated in the conference and control their own destiny to a BCS bowl. So…half right?
What I said: People will assume they suck after Bama beats them, but they have a sneaky good defense, and improving senior qb and running game.
What has happened: VTech has covered spreads consistently since, with the exception of the Marshall game in a downpour. They have not lost a game and should they win out, they will play in the ACC championship game against FSU or Clemson with a BCS bowl on the line.
Verdict: I only kinda know what I am talking about.
Heisman Prediction: I said the final 3 would be the QBs Bridgewater, McCarron and Murray. I said Clowney would disappear, I said Manziel will piss people off, and that Braxton Miller is damaged by the shitty Big Ten. Ultimately I said Boyd would lose a big game late, (South Carolina), Bridgewater’s schedule will hurt him, and McCarron’s dominating team will hurt him, leaving Aaron Murray as the winner. I was looking really good when Murray’s team got injured and he put them on his back to beat LSU and Tenn, but Mizzou finally beat him last week. I also completely forgot to mention Marcus Mariotta, which is my east coast bias.
Verdict: Oops, it looks like again I only kinda know what I am talking about.
This week is the halfway point in the JFFL season as well, coming later today, a little rundown of what has transpired so far…
10/11/13 9:03 AM: The Lion is still reeling from his terrible predictions last week. Its college football Friday again so once more into the breach. (Before I get too down on myself, my “favorite” picks on this page have been 7-3, its just the other games that have been my downfall.) Here we go,
Favorite Game of Week
Georiga Tech at BYU -6.5: I normally am a huge fan of the Triple Option, but if there is a team that is built to defend it is BYU. They are excellent against the run and Provo is a sneaky tough place to play. GT’s QB Lee has been inconsistent at times and I just see this as game where the Cougars win by 7 to 10 points. Kudos to both teams for scheduling a non-con game this late in the year.
Favorite Dog of the Week: NONE. The Lion doesn’t see any real upset alert game he loves. They are all meh. Not moving my needle. Lets talk about the Big Games.
Red River Rivlary OK -14.5 v. Texas: Is this even a big game right now? I say yes because of the history, which actually matters in college FB, unlike the NFL, and the real time implications of Mack Brown’s job in Austin. OK’s defense has been superb, although they lost their best LB last week against TCU. Once he went out the Horned Frogs actually scored. While I expect UT to give their best effort of the season, (you know while they have been embarrassed by BYU and Ole Miss, they are 2-0 in conference), its hard for me to expect them to cover with the back up QB. Especially when you consider these stats: Oklahoma has won the past three games in the series by 30 points per game and last year it tallied an incredible 407-65 yard edge at halftime in the 63-21 MUNGING. The best hope for the Longhorns is to run the crap out of Jonathan Gray, their RB, who has ran for 400+ yards in the past 4 games. As ND showed, you can run against the Sooners if you commit to it. I wouldn’t be this game but if I had to pick it, I think you have to go with OK. PICK OK.
Oregon at Washington +14.5: Another big spread for a supposed rivalry game. Much like the game above, Oregon has owned UW as of late, winning nine straight games in this series by an average score of 43-18, with their closest win coming by 17 points. The Lion is a well known non-fan of Oregon, and UW has been my best go to cover team of the season, including a huge late cover against Stanford last week. However check out this stat. Oregon has covered 12 of its last 13 against the spread. I have this feeling Chip Kelly is a Ewing Theory candidate waiting to happen. As much as I want UW to win here with gameday up there and because I love NTMVW, the smart money has to be with the Ducks. Pick DUCKS
Meh, Big Ten games of the week:
Northwestern at Wisconsin -10.5: Northwestern just lost its biggest game in 40 years in heartbreaking fashion at OSU. It was clear in that game they played above themselves and gave their best effort. I expect a let down this week on the road against a team that is very close to as good as OSU. Madison Wisc is a very tough place to play. The Badgers are coming off a bye as well. This actually could be considered my BONUS FAVORITE GAME of the week. PICK WISC.
Michigan at PSU +2.5: Is this even important? Not really. It is a night game up in State College, which I am sure will be a white out, and all that jazz. PSU has a good offense but the D isn’t very good. Michigan if it takes care of the ball will win by more than a field goal. PICK UM.
SEC BARNBURNER OF THE WEEK:
Florida at LSU -7.5: I was really a big fan of Arkansas last week as an upset to a Gator team that I have not been impressed with. They came out and took an early lead on the Gators but something I didn’t account for happened. The backup QB who is starting for an injured Jeff Driskel is actually really good. Tyler Murphy played better than Jeff ever has and they pulled away for a 30-10 win. LSU I expected to have a let down after their heartbreaking loss to UGA. They started slow but woke up in the second half and put up 28 points in the 4th quarter to run away with the game. The real question here is can Florida’s elite defense, (the best 3 D’s I have seen this year are Mich St., Oklahoma, and FL) slow down LSU’s offense. Its funny because normally LSU has the elite defense and the suspect O, and its the opposite for them this year. I would not bet this game it could go either way ATS, but I do think the Tigers win the game at home, but not by a lot.
Other SEC Barnburner, sorta:
Mizzou at UGA -9.5: Missouri is undefeated against a bunch of nobodies and UGA is sending out a MASH Unit at this point with so many injuries. The only person who is left on their offense with any sort of experience whatsoever is my preseason darkhorse Heisman candidate Aaron Murray. His out of nowhere 40 yard scramble against Tennessee last week is one of those Heisman moments. If he keeps winning games with 4 string RBs and 3rd string WRs and gets back to the SEC championship game, we will be seeing him in NYC in December. While I think this spread is too high to bet on UGA, I will pick them in there interest of continuity of my Heisman pick. Go Dawgs. Good luck this week and I hope we do better than last week.
P.S. In Jerk Fantasy News, trades are flying all over the board. Owners rumored to be talking trade are Silverfox, Dazzle, JPoww and yours truly. I will do my best to keep you updated on things as I hear them.
10/8/13 9:41 AM: If you take the time period from Sat night to last night and could quantify it as something, like a weekend (even though its technically not a weekend), it would go down as one of the unluckiest I can remember. Since my last post early evening Saturday, I have 1) almost lost to Murda in fantasy who had no starting RB or K, 2) gone 5 for 15 in my college pool, 3) knocked out of my suicide pool, thanks ATL, 4) have been asked by a co-worker who I am only mildly friends with to be in his wedding. Not to mention I had to watch most of Sunday’s action at a housewarming party. I have nothing else to say regarding this weekends games, lets just pretend they didn’t happen and move on.
10/5/13 5:23 PM: The Lioness has left the Lion all by himself today and since Philly jerks are all busy with their WAGS, I have two Primo Hoagies, a bunch of beer and liquor and the remote and a day of college football. It has been glorious. MSU covered for me as I expected. Iowa didn’t get a first down until the second quarter. FSU absolutely dropped a bow on UMD’s face, the Lion is glad he stayed away from that. As I was flipping between games and the President’s Cup, I somehow missed PSU going from being up by a FG to down by 28 points. I am currently flipping between Miami v. GT, UM on upset watch at home against Minn, and UGA at Tenn. Minn came out and really gave it there all, but I have a feeling UM woke up and is going to ake care of business in the second half here. I don’t know if they will cover 20.5 though. UGA lost another TB, but Aaron Murray is leading them without one. (Heisman Darkhorse). Though not on TV, the Lion is also monitoring NC State v. Wake as he has the Wolfpack. I also have to add that Clemson is throttling Cuse. Taji Boyd is good but his WRs make him look a lot better than he is. I will continue to post as I get bored/need human contact.
10/4/13 9:28 AM: I hope you all enjoyed the blog of the game last night. It is more difficult to watch and type at the same time then I thought. I will try it again sometime and maybe it will improve. The key is to get more analysis in there before the next play. I will work on it. So today is College Football Friday. If you read last week, (go ahead scroll down) the Lion gave you very good predictions. Lets see if I can keep the train rolling:
Favorite bet of the week: Michigan State -1 at Iowa. I actually jumped on this game when I saw it was Iowa -1, it has since moved that much. Iowa is a very mediocre football team. Although I hate betting Big Ten games, this one I just have to jump on. Sparty plays very good defense. Iowa’s offense consists of handing the ball of to Marc Weisman, a honky TB, and occasional deep passes out of play action set up by the running game. There are no game breakers on Iowa’s offense. MSU’s defense is legit. They honestly might be the best in the Big Ten, and that is saying a lot. I see this game being a 14-6 type game. PICK MSU
Bonus favorite bet of the week: Wake at NC State -9.5. This is a game that I just looked at the line and said to myself, Vegas thinks NC State is going to roll. Wake is terrible. They got stomped by BC a few weeks ago. That’s right, BC. NC State will get up for this game because its a fellow NC school and I just see them rolling all over Wake. PICK NC STATE
Favorite dog of the week: Arkansas +11.5 at Florida. Here is the thing with the Gators, they aren’t that good this year offensively. Their starting QB is out for the year and so is their best defensive player. They can’t put up a lot of points as evidenced by the fact they only put up 24 last week on Kentucky. Its hard to win by 12 when you can’t score more than 3 tds a game. It means your defense can’t give up anything. Arkansas is a fiesty team that suffered two losses in a row from Rutgers and A&M. I think they bounce back this week and at least cover the spread in a low scoring game. Something like 17-10 or 21-14. PICK ARK
Washington at Stanford -6.5. Match up of undefeated ranked teams. UW has been a go to cover for me all season long, and I really think they are a good team. This is where the rubber hits the road though. They upset Stanford last year in Washington with a late long TD to win 17-14. David Saw and Company do not forget this. Stanford can just bully UW up front. Also, Chris Hogan did not play last year in UW’s upset. He is the difference in this game. I think Stanford wins by a TD. PICK STAN
OSU at Northwestern +6.5. Another matchup of undefeated ranked teams. OSU is coming off a huge win against traditional opponent Wisconsin. They are facing a NW team coming off a bye and playing at night in Chicago. Gameday is actually there. I would not bet this game because there is too much at stake for NW, but this just feels like the type of game that OSU lets down a little for. If not, then OSU will win big. If I had to bet the game I would pick NW.
Maryland at FSU -15.5. Both of these teams are also unbeaten and ranked. Randy Edsal, who is really a defensive coach, (former DC at Georgia Tech, secondary coach for Tom Coughlin in Jax) had really improved the defense. They are coming off a bye to prepare for what I think is an overrated FSU team. They are not good and have struggled against opponents after ripping apart Pitt. Still I think the stage might be a little to big for MD. I would stay away from this game. If I had to pick it I would take the points I guess.
AZ State -5 v. ND in Dallas. This is a make or break game for ND’s season. Win, and they probably will get to the Stanford game at the end of the season without anymore losses. Lose, and they could go into a tail spin and finish .500. AZ State is coming off a destruction of USC so complete that they fired Lane Kiffin after the game. ND is coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma where they fell behind early due to INTs and could never claw completely back into the game. One thing ND realized last week is that it could run the ball. AZ State has a worse run defense than Oklahoma, allowing 239 YPG and 6.0 yards a carry the past three games. If the Irish don’t get to pass happy with Brian Kelly and Tommy Rees, and stick to the ground game to keep AZ States quick strike up temp offense off the field, I could see ND winning this game outright.
One final note. There is no SEC barn burner this week. Alabama plays Georgia State, basically a bye week. While UGA plays Tennesse and LSU plays Miss St, both are favored by double digits. One of the myths of the SEC dominance is that they play the hardest schedule every week. They have the hardest top end of a schedule having to play 4 top 20 teams every season, but that is basically what they have, a 4 game season. Now one of these two dogs, Tenn or Miss St. (I am betting on MSU) will put up a fight and it will be a close game and we will hear about how there is no off week in the SEC. Okaaay ESPN.
10/3/13 3:03 PM: Well, now that we have recovered from the hangover of the past weekend caused by Trombone v. Murda, we can move on to the reason this site exists, FOOTBALL. The Lion is going to try something a little different tonight. He is going to LIVE BLOG the game. So if you want my immediate reactions to what is going on as it is going on, as if you were almost watching with the Lion in his actual Den, check this virtual version of the Den. As for my pick on this game, I REFUSE to bet Buffalo Bills football games for reasons that league members know. However, the trend on these Thursday night games is to go with the home team and the under. There is also a college game tonight, the Longhorns travel to Iowa State in the weekly attempt for Mack Brown to salvage his job. This has all the makings of a Longhorn loss, Iowa State is tough place to play on a weeknight, and the Sooners await Texas next week. Their QB is also out tonight. However I think betters know these reasons and have bet down the line accordingly. I think the Longhorns know what dire straights they are in and are going to show up tonight. Look for Texas to run the living crap out of the ball and expect Jonathon Gray to have a huge game. See you all tonight for the live blog of the Battle of Lake Erie. (More like a slap fight, whatever).
10/1/13 2:30 PM: After having contact with the Commissioner’s office, the Lion can report that an official statement will be made at 3:30 pm EST. Additionally, it has been confirmed that Trombone is responsible for the chain of events that got us to this moment due to his hounding of Murda. The league is reportedly looking into solutions as league control of the team until a new member is found, or further CONTRACTION to take the teams number down to 10. Stay tuned for the official statement.
There has often been discussion about the future demise of the JFFL, people have thought it was going the way of the dinosaur after the Borgata draft fiasco. Pundits will have no choice but to renew speculation of the end of the JFFL. The Lion has heard multiple predictions that the league will not make it 5 more years, and there will never be a full live draft again. While I will refrain from my own prediction I will say this. Remember folks, if demise of the JFFL happens, today is one of those milestone dates of the change in the tide.
10/1/13 12:36 PM: BREAKING NEWS: As Jerk media has speculated, Murda has given his official notice to terminate his membership in the JFFL at the end of the season. More on this to come from our Commissioner, as well as my own thoughts on the future of the league, later today...
9/30/13 3:57 PM: In lieu of typical Monday reaction type stuff, the Lion is going to bring your attention to a pending breaking news story. This story has the potential to change the very core of the JFFL. One of the league members, Murda, recently had a on record conversation with Trombone where he hinted at his desire to withdraw from the league at the conclusion of the present season. While the Lion has seen the transcript of this conversation, and Murda hasn’t officially declared his intent, the implication is obvious. This should come as no surprise to the members of the JFFL because Murda has really never checked his team these past 5 years. Murda’s inactivity is what prompted #1 JFFL fan Trombone to reach out to him in the first place. (Little does Trombone know that this behavior probably pushed Murda over the edge). What will become of Murda at the end of the season? Will he stay or should he go? What does this mean for the JFFL? Here is a rundown of some potential replacements.
Jeffy: This jerk was an original member of the JFFL, preceding even the Lion in the league. Pro: He participates in the JFBL, where he frequently is competitive but rarely wins it all. (essentially exactly what people want, although I am fine to have Murda donate his money every year) Con: He quit football already. Seems like nobody really misses him, plus Jerks don’t beg people to come back. VERDICT: Get lost.
Ed Disaster or Big Bald Dave: These goons have never been members of any JFLs, however they have participated in various public events, sports related, drinking related, and otherwise with our members. There is a natural progression then. Pro: They are knowledgeable sports fans, and would probably check their teams. Con: Neither leave in a proximity where they would attend live drafts, they really are only friends with the goon members of our league. VERDICT: We have enough goons.
Ghetto Dave: This dude also has never been a member of any JFLs, however like the aforementioned goons, he has participated in several events, just not as many as the goons. Pro: He loves sports, would definitely check is team, and is local. Con: Would be offended by a great deal of the political commentary and sociological and anthropological “humor” that this league enjoys throwing around. Maybe we can tone it down. VERDICT: Yeah that isn’t happening. We are getting worse as we get older.
Snowman: This jerk is well liked, isn’t a quitter (on multiple levels) and currently resides on the west coast. Pro: He participates in the JFBBL, where he manages a competitive team. Con: His current west coast location will make it virtually impossible to attend live draft events that occur. VERDICT: Best so far.
P.S. I vote for having Murda draft his team, paying his money, and not making the playoffs every year.
9/27/13 9:08 AM: Well the Lion was right about the 49ers, wrong about the Yellow Jackets. Bud Foster and the Hokie D shut down the option. Well played. There are some awesome college games this week. I have not been great picking games in college but I have given you some winners. Lets take a look at the big games and my favorite bet of the week. (last week MD came up HUGE).
Favorite bet of week. Texas A&M -3.5 over Arkansas. Johnny Football needs to come out strong and put up a big number as there is no room for error in the SEC. This Arkansas team blew a game to Rutgers last week on the road. While it seems too fishy that the spread is this low, I think the Aggies roll. PICK A&M
Favorite Dog of the week. Gamecocks at UCF +7.5. UCF is underrated. Their D isn’t bad and they have those good florida speed athletes. I don’t think they win this game, but at home they cover. I see USC looking past them a big and winning by 6. PICK UCF.
Bonus favorite game of the week. Zona at UW -7. The Huskies are one of my go to cover teams this year. Vegas still hasn’t totally caught on yet. They win this game by two scores.
Wisconsin at OSU -7.5. I hate betting big ten games. They just are almost always not what you expect. OSU hasn’t really played anybody yet and Wisconsin has. Their lone loss being a controversial (b.s.) one to AZ State on the road. They rolled Purdue last week at home. Braxton Miller is coming back from injury and may be rusty, but there are two things that trump that for me. Urban Meyer, in the horseshoe, at night. Also, if you want the Lion to give you some extra analysis, try this on for size: The Lion loves matchups, and the big one in this game is Wisconsin’s OL v. OSU’s DL. The Baders average 350 yards per game and 8.0 yards per carry, with their best runner, this dude Melvin Gordon, averaging 11.8 yard per touch. Wisconsin always runs the ball well and its almost always because of their great OL, if you look at NFL rosters you will see a lot of former Badgers up front. HOWEVER, the Buckeyes also have a sneaky good history of sending DL to the NFL as well. This year they have a young group up front, and while they haven’t played anybody yet, they rank No. 9 in the country in rush yards allowed. Now, even though the Badgers have played better opponents, they have yet to face a rush defense that ranks in the top 75. This should be fun to watch if you like collisions up front. Here is a stat courtesy of one of my favorite college football writers, Phil Steele: The Buckeyes have also held Wisconsin to 73 yards per game under their season rush average during their past three trips to Columbus, Ohio. Plus, since 2002, Ohio State is 68-5 at home. Well then. My break out star of the game is the young DL Noah Spence from Lion’s Country of Central PA. The former Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg standout is made for games like this because he is PA tough. You gotta think the buckeyes win. PICK Buckeyes.
Oklahoma at ND +3.5
Last year, ND went to Norman and did something that almost never happens there, (like 2 times a decade at best), they beat the Sooners. (They actually beat them pretty bad). This was by far the biggest win ND had all year. They are not the same team this year. Their Defense, while it woke up last week, has been lethargic. All joking aside, this team misses Manti Teo, who while due to his drama became overrated, was by far a better ILB then the guys they have currently. Let me put it this way, Dan Fox and Jarret Grace probably could not start for any SEC team or even an ACC team or PAC12 team with a solid D, (see VT or Stanford). Teo could. To put it another way, Fox and Grace will not make an NFL roster. The other problem with ND is that they have Tommy Rees at QB. He is smart, coaches son and all that shit, but he is limited physically. On the other side of the ball, you have the Sooners coming off a bye week. Their Defense this year is vastly improved, allowing 9 points a game so far (albeit against bad teams). Stoops has traditionally been a defensive coach and was at his most successful with teams that play the way this team is playing. The offense is averaging 272 yards per game, their highest number since before even Adrian Peterson, the Barry Switzer era. Blake Bell, their QB is not really a passer. We will see if ND’s front seven is up to the task. I am more confident that OK’s offense will succeed then ND’s. Still, every game ND has played since Temple has been a one score game, and I think this one will be close as well, so I wouldn’t be it, but if I had to, I would take the Sooners. PICK OK
WEEKLY SEC BARNBURNER
Ole Miss at Bama -17.5. Well now look what we have here, a up and coming Ole Miss team against the current cock of the walk. Last year, Ole Miss played Bama kind of tight for a while, and even had an early lead, before Bama pulled away 33-14. Now they come back to Bama, and while Ole Miss is 3-0 and coming off a bye, so is Bama essentially, they rested their starters most of the game last week in a 31-6 beat down of Colorado State. The fact that Ole Miss played them tough last year to me only means that Bama will not take them lightly this year and look to beat them down. The only way Ole Miss stays in this game is by doing what A&M did, attack their young secondary with big receivers. They have a WR in the young freshman Treadwell who will give the Tide fits, but they don’t have Manziel back their at QB. I don’t see an upset happening this year Rebels fans. PICK Bama.
Other Weekly SEC BARNBURNER
LSU at Georiga -3
This is a heavyweight fight. Appointment viewing. LSU is outgaining opponents by 170 yards per game, and Georgia is outgaining foes by 185 yards per game. LSU finally has an offense to go with their usual scary D. Hill their RB is a monster and Mettenberger is much improved. HOWEVER, I would still take Turley at RB over Hill and Aaron Murray over Zach at QB. Also, the game is in Athens. Finally, the Bulldogs have played two top-15 teams while the Tigers have yet to play a legit top-20 team. Close game for sure but I am taking the DAWGS. PICK UGA.
Good luck boys.
9/26/13 6:26 PM: COLLEGE! A vastly more important game is taking place in Atlanta tonight than is taking place in St. Louis. The Lion loves the triple option spread attack of Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets. More so even than VT’s defense. Especially considering that VT could barely beat Marshall at home. Come on. If you want to get wild, go with the Jackets, 49ers and the under in the NFL game in a parlay if you can. Do it.
9/25/13 8:21 PM: As promised, here is a MEGA POST. It occurred to the Lion that we are at the first milestone of the NFL season, the beginning of the bye week. Lets take a look at 3-0 teams and 0-3 teams. I will put them into one of three categories, 1) They are who we thought they were; 2) Im genuinely surprised; 3) People may be surprised but I am not.
Chicago 3-0: People may be surprised but I am not. This is a team that got better in the offseason, 1, by getting a better offensive coach, 2, by having a sneaky good draft, and 3 by becoming a better blocking team by improving at TE with Martellus Bennett and having huge good blocking WRs. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: Their defense makes turnovers that can’t be sustained and they have had an easy early schedule. Minnesota and Pitt are two of the worst teams in the league. Are they a super bowl contender? Yes, if they can in the division and get a home playoff game or two, they have a shot to get to a cold weather super bowl.
New Orleans 3-0: They are who we thought they were. Everybody expected the Saints to bounce back with Payton back from his suspension. They have. They are playing better, actually trying to run and play defense. Drew Brees looks like he is comfortable again and not having to win every game all by himself. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: Notice I said TRYING to run. They have to get better balance. Their secondary also needs to play better. Are they a super bowl contender? Absolutely.
Seattle 3-0: They are who we thought they were. The Seahawks were the sexy pick to win the NFC, and they have not disappointed. Their defense has been better than advertised and they have run the ball better than I thought. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: I have no answer here lick away. Are they a super bowl contender? Do Jerks offend people anytime they congregate in public? They have outscored their opponents by 59, the most in the league. They are virtually unbeatable at home and if they get home field advantage in the playoffs, look out.
Patriots 3-0: They are who we thought they were. While experts expected them to take a step back this season with no WR and no TE, we knew they would start 3-0 against the Bills, Jets and Bucs. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: They struggled to beat the Bills and Jets and their lack of skill players on offense is alarming. Are they a super bowl contender? Meh. The AFC is down this year, and Brady and Belichek cheat to win, so you can’t count them out.
Miami 3-0: I am genuinely surprised. Out of all these teams, this one I would have guessed would have gone 0-3. They have Tannehill at QB, Lamar Miller at RB and Brian Hartline at WR. How is this team 3-0? How did they beat Indy and Atlanta in back to back weeks? The Lion is impressed and shocked. Kudos to their defense. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: Read who their big three on offense are again. Also, the schedule is not kind to them. Their next four games, NOLA, Baltimore, New Engalnd and Cincy. Ouch. Are they a super bowl contender? Come on. They can’t be right? They have proven me wrong thus far.
Kansas City 3-0: I am genuinely surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I expected the Chiefs to be better this year, but not off and running like this. They are no. 1 in the AFC in scoring defense, and no 2. in scoring differential. They are healthy on defense finally and have a QB who is semi-competent. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: They beat Jax and Philly. Also, The Chiefs are leading the league in turnover differential at plus-9. They are one of two NFL teams yet to commit a turnover. To quote Bill Barnwell…Regression to the mean is inevitable. Are they a super bowl contender? No. While their defense is legit when you look at the talent there, their offense is an overrated Jamal Charles, an overrated Dwayne Bowe, and not much else. Plus Andy Reid has a proclivity for losing playoff games.
Denver 3-0: They are who we thought they were. The odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl in Vegas going in. They have only exceeded expectations. The offense is unstoppable right now. They are blowing everybody out. Why we shouldn’t start licking their popsicles just yet: Lick away. Get this, they are only going to get better when Von Miller and Champ Bailey get back. Are they super bowl contenders? As long as somebody doesn’t hit Manning in the neck with a baseball bat.
Now the 0-3 teams.
Giants 0-3: I am genuinely surprised. What happened to this team? They look like they don’t even care. I don’t know what to say.
Washington 0-3: People may be surprised but I am not. I expected them to start slow with RGIII not all the way healthy and a tough opening schedule. What I didn’t expect is the Defense to be so terrible. Its the worst in the league right now.
Minnesota 0-3: People may be surprised but I am not. Last year they were lucky to be as good as they were. Christian Ponder is their QB. Their Defense isn’t particularly good. Teams have figured out that Peterson is the only person who will beat them. He will win a few games for them, but not many.
Tampa 0-3: They are who we thought they were. They just benched Josh Freeman. Enough said.
Pittsburgh 0-3: People may be surprised, but I am not. If you scroll down the archives, I noticed early on watching preseason games that they can’t block anybody, or run the ball, and that Ben and the Defense will wear down. This is exactly what has happened.
Jax 0-3: They are who we thought they were. The worst team in the NFL.
Coming tomorrow, another shittly (is that a word?) played NFL game between teams of late 20 and early 30 year old men who played 4 days ago and a college game between two Tech schools who need to win to have a chance in their conference.
9/25/13 9:25 AM: The Lion has returned from his trip to an unidentified eastern seaboard beach refreshed and ready to roar about football. He did not let his beach time interfere with his football consumption. Coming later today, a mega post about the NFL and College. Also, last night was the first ever Jerk Fantasy Hockey League Draft. Most of us know very little about hockey, so we will see how this goes. The Jerk Grand Slam has been created.
9/20/13 5:48 PM: If you rode with the Lion last night you did well. Lets look at tomorrow’s games and see if I can keep the winning streak going. There are a lot of terrible games out there, hence why Gameday is in Fargo, ND, but lets talk about the few good ones.
WVU at MD -5. This is not a good game at all, but doesn’t that line jump out you? I know what you are saying, why is Maryland, a team that was oh so terrible last year, favored at home against WVU? This line tells me that somebody knows something. The line opened at -4.5. While some people look at that and say WVU no brainer, that line speaks to me and is telling me to bet with the smart money. Vegas is daring you to take WVU. No thanks. Also, Randy Edsal is a good coach who had so many QBs hurt last year they had to move running backs to play QB. That is not the case this year. PICK MD.
MSU at ND -5. This is one of the few decent games this week. Notre Dame is a very flawed team this year. Their linebackers are very slow and terrible in coverage in the middle of the field. Purdue and Michigan took advantage of that and threw to backs and wr’s covered by these slow big LBs. Because of this, ND has not covered a spread. Their opponent this week however matches up well because they are also big and slow and want to run the ball straight ahead. This plays into ND’s strength on D. MSU also has quarterbacking issues and can’t decide on who to put back there, but they are all slow. Because of this, I think ND actually wins and covers this week. PICK ND
Arizona State at Stanford -6. This is the only game with two ranked teams. I am not betting this game, because I have no idea, but I think I like the Sun Devils. I would give you more, but I am on vacation.
9/19/13 3:48 PM: There is also a college football game tonight. I like Clemson and the over. Boyd showcase game, before they lose a game later on in the season that they should win, then lose to South Carolina.
9/19/13 8:12 AM: Great job by Silverfox and Dazzle for jumping on this Trent Richardson trade. Lets talk about fantasy implications. Whatever poor sap has Ahmad Bradshaw as a starting RB (yours truly) has just gone through a roller coaster week, Vic Ballard goes down for the season and Bradshaw produces on Sunday, only for this to happen. SHIT. Those that have Trent, (Dazzle, of course) suddenly have a back who is on an offense with other weapons. While this may limit his touches, Defenses won’t be gunning for him and solely him like they would this week. (Hoyer at QB, ha). So once again lady luck favors Dazzle over me, as has been the case for most of our lives (except for when our height was determined by our DNA). The Lion is going on a little vacation, so he may not be posting, but lets look at tonight’s game real quick.
Chiefs at Eagles: This is a stay away game if I have ever seen one. Too many side plots, too much emotion in the strange relationship that Philadelphia has with its football team, and with Andy Reid. They also are retiring McNabb’s number tonight. If I had to bet this game, I would take the Chiefs because this is the type of thing that happens to Eagles fans. Really though, I just hate the Eagles, so don’t go by me. From an X and O standpoint, The Chiefs have a lot of talent on Defense and Jamal Charles on offense, if Reid is smart enough to control the clock and keep Chip’s offense off the field, they should win this game. Whether this happens remains to be seen.
9/18/13 10:48 AM: Yeah so I never made it back yesterday. I do have some news today though. 1. Cleveland is benching Weeden. Ha. 2. Rumor has it that Jerks are having a fight about the gentlemen’s agreement for pitcher streaming in the playoffs. My team sucked so I didn’t make it and thankfully am not part of the fight. I can only guess that there are probably somewhere around 40 e-mails this morning, 35 of which are likely from Dazzle and Trombone, who are probably even on the same side of the issue. For those who are not in the league that visit the Den, this group of guys consists of mostly over competitive nerds who take this shit real seriously. This debate will result in name calling and threats of blood shed.
9/17/13 9:14 AM: If you are not reading the Sunday Lurk posts, you are missing out. They may be the best things Dazzle has ever contributed to the world. They seriously are highly entertaining and thoughtful. If only his bets were better. I can’t talk as I have failed to crack .500 on my weekends for two weeks now. I will return later today.
9/15/13 8:21 AM: The Lion had an engagement party on Saturday. Quite frankly, if you get married during the fall, you need to re-evaluate your priorities and be respectful to college football fans. The Lion will attend your function, but he will not like it. When I left for my party yesterday, I was sitting pretty with my picks. It was all down hill from there. Lets review:
UCLA at Nebraska, as I predicted, the Bruins were not awake at the early kickoff, and Nebraska jumped to the early lead. I left for the party they were up 21-3 and I was feeling great about this game. The Huskers forgot to play the second half however, and lost 42-21. Shit.
Wash at Illinois I covered by half a point. WHEW.
VT at ECU. I was correct that VT would hold ECU to 10 or less. I forgot to take into account that VT would only put up 15. Who puts up 15 points. They also had at least 2 turnovers in the first half before I left for the party. Shit.
Bama at A&M. I actually got this turned on at the party much to the chagrin of the hosts and all women there. I became very popular with several men at the party for this brave endeavor. When I turned on the game, the Aggies were up 14-0. I watched Bama come back to take a 35-14 lead. Then it was time to make a toast and cut cake. I was summoned outside. By the time I got back in front of a TV, AM had it back to one score. I watched BAMA do a back breaking drive to go up 14, only to watch Johnny Football score a garbage TD for the b.s. cover. Somehow, this is the fault of people having an engagement party on a September afternoon. SHIT.
1 for 4 is not a great Saturday. The lesson as always, don’t get married in the fall.
Some NFL chasing today. I like Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago. Put me down.
9/13/13 9:18 AM: Let me start by saying what an awful NFL game last night. I can’t think of two teams I despise more than the Jets and Pats, I was hoping they both lost. I noticed the line went from double to single digits over the course of the week, if I had my act together I would have taken the Jets last night. I didn’t get my act together though. I did take TTech though. The Red Raiders came through for me again on a weeknight. Lets talk about tomorrows games shall we? Week 3 has some great B1G v. Pac-12 match ups, and some games that the Lion likes. See if you notice the trend I just did. HUh.
UCLA at Nebraska -4. This game is at noon eastern time. It is at Nebraska. UCLA sort of had its program changing moment last year when they beat Nebraska in LA. However they have lost their best offensive player last year in Jonathan Franklin, and they have not impressed me much this year. Nebraska doesn’t play defense, but Taylor Martinez seems to have been there for 10 years. I love UCLA’s LB Barr, but Taylor runs around him early and holds on late to win by 6. PICK HUSKERS
Washington at Illinois +9.5. Illinois killed me last week by beating up on Cincy. I watched significant portions of this game, Illinois did not play well, Cincy played terrible and their starting QB got Theismaned. This game’s kickoff is more west coast friendly. UW is an underrated team and Vegas clearly likes them here. We know NTWMF loves them too. So do I. PICK HUSKIES
Other game I like:
Virginia Tech at ECU +7.5 I talked about this before, but VT is not underrated because they got their asses handed to them by Bama. Their defense is really good though, and ECU is down compared to their normal team. I see this being like a 21-3 game. PICK HOKIES
Ole Miss at Texas -3. Mack Brown really made me look stupid last week by not playing defense against BYU. They are now playing for their season and also for Mack Browns job. (The DC got fired last week). Ole Miss is an up and coming team, but Texas needs to win at home and will get it done. If they screw me again, I am done with them. PICK UT.
ESPN hype game of the Century:
Bama at A&M +8.5. You may have heard that these teams are playing this week. Nick Saban has had two whole weeks to find that hate deep down in his heart that drives him to joylessly destroy football teams. This man is evil. He wants to break Johnny Football. For once, half of America kind of is on his side. Bama has played against VT once, while A&M has played patsies. I know I wouldn’t bet against Bama or Saban here. PICK BAMA
One final note for the day. My Fantasy Team has serious RB problems. Also, biggest bust of week one? Calvin Johnson. The Heatdogs are running hills this week until somebody pukes, yells “Mike Eruzione, USA”, or “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.”
9/12/13 8:38 PM: The Lion has actually had to attend to real world activities this week and is behind on his updates for you. I wanted to throw in that I love Texas Tech over TCU, especially considering TCU lost their QB last week. I want no part of tonight’s NFL game. Never fear, I will give you a deluxe college picks tomorrow and will give you some NFL picks as well. In the meantime, if you care about the Lion’s wallet, root for the Red Raiders tonight.
9/10/13 12:06 PM: While the internet and media are busy blowing Chip Kelly, I will make a few non Chip observations about the MNF game. (The Lion went into hibernation mode during the second game).
1.) I forgot how dynamic and explosive of a runner Shady McCoy is. I always think of him as a shifty runner, which he is, but he showed he has top end speed and acceleration last night. The one long TD run where he embarrased that DB before outrunning everybody else was honestly electric. You could hear the DC crowd “OOOHHH” like they saw a magic trick or something. If LeSean gets his number called this often he could have a special year. Contrast this with Alfred Morris, who is not nearly the dynamic runner that Shady is, but is perfect for the Skins zone stretch play. He excels at making one cut and running downhill with his feet moving. He will also have a good year.
2.) Eagles offensive line opened up humongous running lanes for everybody. I know this sounds strange, but they look fast for an OL. They are clearly in great shape to run at Kelly’s pace, and it shows the way they run block. They might be the best conditioned OL in the league. Take it from a former OL, this matters, even when not running a hurry up. I would be interested in seeing how they can pass block if the Eagles are ever down and have to throw a lot. Its much easier to pass block when the defensive line isn’t sure you are passing or not. When they know you are, its very hard.
3.) RGIII was not even close to 100%. (Apologizes to Dazzle I am about to comment on QB play). He was not stepping into his throws at all, which resulted in no zip on his passes, which resulted in picks. Also, he was not getting the corner on his roll outs and scrambles. It was obvious he was unable to run at full speed. He did get his legs under him a little in the second half, but its clear he is not all the way back. I don’t know if I would have started him if I was the coach.
4.) Lets not start licking Chip Kelly’s popsicle yet, I need to see if they can maintain this pace for a whole season without breaking down (See Vick, Mike) before I can proclaim this the future yet. I also want to see how defenses react as the season goes on. Still, you can’t blame Eagles fans for getting excited.
5.) A certain Jerk who needs no introduction had an unique opportunity to experience the MNF game last night in a way that 99.999% of the public cannot. (Those of you who know who I mean know why I didn’t say more). He described the RG3 entrance at FedEx was one of the most electric atmospheres he ever witnessed in person, only to have it fade quickly away by the blitzkrieg of Philly’s first half.
Final thought…we have our next NFL game, in TWO DAYS.
9/9/13 1:36 PM: Week 1 reactions Jerks! First off, Kudos to the Commish for a good Sunday Lurk Column, although his parlays were atrocious. I agreed with most of his picks, but for Dallas last night. They always split with the Giants every year. Tonight, I agree with Dazzle and NTVMW, I like the over in the early game, and Houston in the late one. A couple of observations I had while watching the NFL yesterday:
1) Unlike many of the Jerk members of this league and most people who live in the 95-corridor, I prefer college to the NFL. I do for many reasons that most of you know, but the main reason is this: outside of stretches during the New Orleans v. Atlanta game and most of the Green Bay v. San Fran game where the two teams obviously hate each other, it didn’t look like anybody really cared at all. Most of the games were really sloppy. Why? Because none of these games really matter that much, this year a 9-7 or maybe even an 8-8 team will make the playoffs. Contrast that with Georgia playing for its season on Saturday, and the intensity and excitement level just wasn’t there for the Lion. Hopefully this improves as the season goes on or the Lion will be spending a lot more Sundays at the grocery store and Lowe’s than Saturdays. (NFL playoffs are another matter completely. Divisional Weekend might be my favorite sport weekend of the year, but we will save that for later)
2) Another thing that the Lion does that makes him unlike most Jerk members and football watchers in general is that QB’s don’t really do anything for me. I appreciate their value and love a good QB. (Hence me taking Drew Brees). However, while most kids envision themselves being a QB as a kid, I always wanted to play WR, TE, RB, defense, really anything but QB. So I tend to not watch the QB in games and instead watch away from the ball. I also do this so I can look down at people that only watch the ball. (so does my mom). Here are a few things I noticed:
The Steelers cannot block for shit. I don’t know how much is related to Pouncey the Center tearing his knee apart when accidentally cut by his own guard, but they are terrible. They cannot run the ball, and I don’t think Big Ben will last the year. If this continues, they will be lucky to win 6 games. Keep this in mind for betting purposes.
Eddie Lacy needs a head of steam to be effective. He is not quick, or elusive, and has below average acceleration but he is fast and runs downhill. Once he gets going he is fast enough to be a factor, and was when Green Bay ran plays that utilized his skill. If he were a car, he would be one that has a nice top end speed for its size but has terrible pick up. Green Bay needs to get him screens, and run sprint draw and counter type runs to get him going at full speed.
Defensively, I was impressed with Eric Reid’s tackling ability. The Saints actually are going to attempt to play defense this year, which is nice. (It also seems like they are going to try to run the ball sometimes too. Wow.) Troy Polomalu is finally healthy for the first time in two years and doing Polomalu things like jumping over the LOS to sack Locker as he takes the snap from the center. As already alluded to by Dazzle, Honey Badger is just a play maker. Great pick up for AZ.
Ok, its unavoidable. I have to talk about QBs. Kaepernick really showed me his ability to pass yesterday. He isn’t just a read option QB. I was predicting him to be a flash in the pan. Perhaps not. Green Bay isn’t exactly Defense though. Stay tuned.
9/8/13 10:32 AM: Lion took a little beating yesterday, although he did give you UGA. Lets chase today. I like Dallas tonight. I am also debating taking Cleveland at home in a pick’em. I probably should just lick my wounds. Happy Opening Sunday everybody. Jerks are discussing destinations for the next round of drafts. I predict that this process will NOT go smoothly. I base this on having seen every discussion we have ever had about anything. What will happen is Dazzle and Trombone, (the two biggest Jerk lovers) will propose something grandiose, and belittle anybody who takes an opposing stance. NTMFW will support these two, although in vague non-committal responses such as, “well if we HAVE to, we HAVE to.” Softness will agree in principal right off the bat but then the reality of his life will set in and he will have to back off his stance with limitations, either on distance or weekends or something. A1 will want nothing to do with a destination. Frenchy also. JPow and Jewm will express interest as long as it fits into their schedules. The opposing stance will come from Captain and Silverfox. As always, I will be watching it all, documenting the insanity, and laughing. Final side story before a day of NFL action, my wife said to me last night: “When will I see JPow again?” You charming WASPY devil. Good luck Jerks.
9/6/13 10:46 AM: Does anybody know if that was the highest QB fantasy output ever? It has to be close. Sorry in advance to whoever is playing Dazzle this week. However, the Dazzle really could use a high score to make up for his bet on Baltimore last night, so it all evens out in the Jerk Universe. The Lion fell asleep around halftime and did not see the offensive onslaught. He will make up for it this weekend.
9/5/13 11:33 AM: Game day jerks. Lots of fantasy implications in Denver tonight. Manning and his WRs, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, both the Denver and Baltimore D’s are all probably starting for teams. What role will Bernard Pierce play? Same with Monte Ball? Does anybody care? The Lion does. As promised, here are some picks for the weekend, I will give you the Friday game, my favorite Sat game and a pick on the big Sat games.
Friday Night: Wake at BC -2.5. Quite frankly, BC kinda sucks. They struggled with a fired up Villanova team on Saturday at home. Wake is slightly better than Nova, but, well, honestly, they suck too. I would not bet this game. I am picking it because its on TV on a Friday. I am taking the points because why not. PICK WAKE.
Saturday: Best bets. Cincy -7.5 at Illinois. Cincy has an explosive offense and a QB named Muncy LeGreauxxx (spelling exaggerated). Illinois could be the worst team in the Big Ten by far. This line should be double digits. PICK CINCY.
Bonus Best Bet. Texas -7.5 at BYU. I have written about how Texas is underrated. BYU is coming off a loss to a pretty bad UVA team. BYU’s offense is pretty terrible. Texas could pitch a shutout. Texas should win by more than a TD on the road here. PICK UT.
Game of the Week: South Carolina at Georgia -2.5. Georgia has been battle tested against Clemson, and actually played well enough to win that game, edging Clemson 545-467 in yards. South Carolina coasted through UNC. Georgia needs this game to have any hope. South Carolina does not. PICK. UGA.
Good luck tonight guys.
9/4/13 1:05 PM: Its the calm before the storm. There is literally nothing to talk about. Even Hard Knocks was boring last night. (The Lion is sad they cut the Terminator). The biggest news of the day NFL wise is that Geno Smith and EJ Manuel will be starting for their respective awful AFC East teams this week. Never fear, one day to go. Remember, (Murda) the games start tomorrow, SET YOUR LINEUP. I will give you some college football picks tomorrow and see if I can keep that momentum going from last week.
9/3/13 9:11 AM: Its September and only two days away from kickoff. In case you couldn’t tell by my prognostications below, the Lion had a great weekend. He is still coming down from his adventures in Saratoga NY. Great town. The NFL cuts, while interesting (Jonathon Dwyer), really have no fantasy impact. The Lion is happy Ryan Williams is still on the Cardinals and that it looks like Redman is going to split carries with Jones at the start of the season for Pittsburgh. Good luck to everybody setting their lineups and remember that there is a Thursday Night game this week.
8/30/13 11:52 AM: The Lion has a pick for tonight’s game along with his favorite game of tomorrow along with a pick for the biggest game tomorrow.
Tonight, Texas Tech -5.5 at SMU: This game is at SMU, but Kliff Kingsbury has the Red Raiders throwing the ball all over the place like back when he was the QB. This game will be a shoot out when you consider that June Jones is on the other side line with his run and shoot offense. If I were to think about doing a little parlay or teasing action, I would think about taking the over, and taking Texas Tech to win by more than a TD. Pick Texas Tech.
Saturday, OK State -12.5 v. Miss St: This is a neutral site game played in Houston, but will feel like more of a home game for the Cowboys. Miss St. is perennially the worst team in the SEC, the dirty little secret that Bama, LSU, Georgia, etc don’t tell you is they pump up their stats against Bulldogs. Even though they were 8-5, the Cowboys were statistically one of the more impressive teams in the country a year ago, as they outscored their opponents by 17.5 PPG and outgained them by 125 yards per game. (Thank you Phil Steele). They have 15 returning starters and an explosive offense. Coach Gundy is not afraid of running it up because he is a man and shit. OK State and Texas are the two best teams in an otherwise down Big 12 and I think they make a statement this week. Pick OK State.
UGA -1.5 at Clemson: This is the game everybody is talking about. UGA is a great team, and I think they win next week against the Gamecocks in a huge huge game. It will be very hard for them to win both. I would not bet on this game but if I had to pick, I am taking the points at home in one of the toughest places to play in college football. I can see Georgia winning by one point honestly, but also a Clemson win outright. So I gotta go with Clemson here. Georgia beats the Cocks next week though. If I had to bet anything in this game I would take the over. Good luck to anybody who decides to wet their beak in a little college football action. Have a great Labor Day weekend and look for the Lion to post some NFL cut reactions on Sunday or Monday.
8/30/13 9:00 AM: The Lion is pleased with his Thursday picks. Tune in later today for some Saturday game picks.
8/29/13 1:25 PM: Final NFL Roster Cuts are on Saturday. Teams for from 75 to 53. Look out for your fringe players fellas. The Lions Den will be sure to let you know on Sunday if your boys got dropped and you need to do some waiver wire work. In JFFL rumors, Trombone and Skillz trade of Greg Olson for Mike Wallace is going to be rejected by league owners. Right now the vote is 2-1 in favor of VETO.
8/29/13 9:22 AM: Happy College Kickoff to all of you. If College doesn’t do it for you, consider that the NFL kicks off in 1 week. There now we are all excited. Yesterday I told you I liked the Gamecocks tonight. There is another game worth watching tonight, Ole Miss at Vandy. Ole Miss is -2.5. Everybody is very high on Ole Miss because they had a signing day coup. However, did you know that their coach Hugh Freeze, is Mike Oher’s H.S. coach in the movie the Blind Side? Same guy. I realize that an actor portrayed him and he probably isn’t that dumb, but it leaves an impression you know? It also sounds like a made up person. Anyway, Vandy has quietly been getting better every year under Coach Franklin, and they are home, on a Thursday, at night. I can see them winning this outright, but if one were to tease SC down and Vandy up, I could see how that might be a bet I would wanna make. (Shout out to OMD lurking over there with his “uncle frank”).
8/28/13 2:04 PM: We are about 24 hours away from football games that matter. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. The biggest game tomorrow night is North Carolina at South Carolina. If I were to wager on that game, (you know if gambling were legal), I would take the Cocks -11.5 for a few reasons: 1) Home Thursday Night games are super intimidating for away teams, motivating for home teams; 2) Cocks have experience at QB and at most positions on their team; 3) Clowney; 4) See my statement last week; 5) UNC lost a lot of their offense to graduation last year in Gio Bernard; and finally 6) Since I looked at the line yesterday to the time I wrote this it is up to -12. BONUS REASON: Few people remember that the Old Ball Coach started his HC career out at Duke. He loves to beat up on UNC. Tomorrow I will pick the other marquee game tomorrow night, Ole Miss -2.5 at Vandy.
8/28/13 9:08 AM: Notable (kinda) cuts: TE Visanthe Shiancoe (remember when he was good?), WR Josh Cribbs (same), TE Zach Miller, (ditto), WR Donte’ Stallworth, (ok he was never that good) QB Graham Harrell (only because that means he lost to Vince Young). Notable survivors, Tim Tebow, Ryan Williams (for me only). The other thing that jumps to mind when looking at the cuts is how hard it is to play in the NFL. There are some outstanding college players who are not good enough to make a team, or are out of the league after only a few years. The Lion would make a list for you but he is too sleepy this morning due to his feast last night. If ever in Boston, Philly, or Atlanta, the Lion recommends Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse. The Lion had a great meal there last night.
8/27/13 1:12 PM: Waiting on the NFL deadline to cut rosters down to 75. So far nobody notable today from a fantasy perspective, although Braylon Edwards and Joe McKnight yesterday were fairly interesting. There are some college games on Thursday that the Lion is taking a look at. Stay tuned.
8/26/13 9:53 AM: We are getting very close to kickoff and the Lion can’t sit still. After watching his share of preseason games this weekend, a Monday six pack of overreactions: 1) Christine Michael the rookie RB out of A&M, looked very good for Seattle this weekend. I liked him as a draft pick, he has an NFL running style. Shifty. 2) The Steelers continue to look awful on offense, but Troy Polumalu looks healthy for the first time in ages. 3) The Eagles continue to look awful on defense. 4) Kevin Kolb and Mark Sanchez, terrible QBs getting hurt, remember when the AFC East was a good division? 5) Cardinals are shopping Ryan Williams, which tells the Lion that he sucks and was a terrible draft pick by me. 6) The 49ers have a great OL.
8/23/13 11:44 AM: For today’s overreaction to preseason football, wow Reggie Bush. I think he had 100 yards receiving in the first half. Nothing makes the Lion happier than to see Tom Brady get roughed up and throw a temper tantrum about it. Take your beatings like a Roethlisberger, not out on your teammates but on the patrons of the bar you go to later. The Lion kids. In other news, I can’t wait for Ryan Williams to get cut and make me look like a complete idiot for drafting him in middle rounds. The Lion is leaving town for the weekend so there may be silence from the Den for a few days. Never fear, you can be sure he will be watching meaningless football games and over analyzing them to make incorrect judgments.
8/22/13 2:33 PM: It’s time to discuss the Lion’s Heisman Prediction. Let’s eliminate the contenders one by one.
Don’t bet on it.
Braxton Miller. He is OSU’s QB, and the only QB who didn’t lose a game last year. He is pretty much his team’s whole offense. However he plays for OSU (everybody hates them), in the Big Ten, (ESPN hates them) and there will be games against say Michigan State where its 40 degrees with freezing rain where he will have 100 yards passing and 25 yards rushing, and people will write him off. Plus the leading candidate going in never wins. ELMINATED
Johnny Manziel. Mr. Football is the defending trophy winner. Considering the hype, and his offseason antics, and the fact that Nick Saban has all kinds of torture planned for him, he will not repeat. The media has basically accepted this as well. ELMINATED
Jadeveon Clowney. He already had his Heisman moment. Look, I am all for a defensive Heisman winner, and if it wasn’t for an imaginary girlfriend maybe we would have had one this year. Why won’t we have one? The media, and fans are too dumb to evaluate good defensive line play. They only know statistics and highlights (sacks, turnovers). Clowney will absolutely continue to destroy offenses this year, but coach’s schemes will not permit him to get the stats and highlights he needs to beat my contenders. ELIMINATED
Tajh Boyd. Clemson QB will put up video game numbers on a very elite offense. He is Braxton Miller only bigger and with a better arm. He will not have a cold weather game where his stats suck, however, Clemson inevitably loses a game they should win. This will happen again. It will happen when the most voter eyes are on him late in the year. (Probably the South Carolina game). ELIMINATED
Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville QB was the Cinderella story of last year in the Big East. The problem this year is that there is no Big East football conference and his opponents are even worse. They could go undefeated, which would all but guarantee him a seat on stage in NYC, but, Yawn. See Braxton Miller last year. ELIMINATED
AJ McCarron. Sometimes the voters give out a lifetime achievement award to a Heisman trophy winner. If anybody deserves that, it’s this guy. If anything he has been hurt by how good his team actually is. I think this year is the year where he puts up offensive numbers (look at his Wrs) to match the leadership and wins on his resume. I also think he will be a better NFL QB than all of these guys, with the exception of MAYBE Teddy B. He will almost certainly be a finalist but I don’t think he wins because I think he loses the SEC championship to this next guy.
WINNER: Aaron Murray. All he has done is put up great numbers at UGA, and taken Bama to the limit in the SEC championship game, and still he is underrated. This year, I think he wins the toe to toe match up in the SEC championship game and ipso facto takes his team to the BCS championship against Texas or OSU. He will up great numbers even if he doesn’t. The Heisman winner is almost always a darkhorse at the beginning of the season, but a guy on the radar. That is him in a nutshell.
8/22/13 12:56 PM: For those of you who don’t know, the Lion prefers college to pro football. The Lion LOVES (the idea of) wagering (if it were legal) on college football. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to look at teams that are underrated but good so I can ride them early before Vegas and the public catch on. Lets talk about some of those teams:
Texas Longhorns, they have experience (19 returning starters) and play in a Big 12 Conference that is weak. If you are so inclined, they are nice value long shot to make the title game. It’s all about VALUE, right Silverfox?
South Carolina, with the exception of Marcus Lattimore, they have just about everybody back from a team that was very good last year. Its very rare that the Old Ball Coach is happy with his QB, but he has said so this year. The defense should be elite. They just aren’t getting hype because the in-state hype is going to Clemson. The conference hype is going to Bama and Georgia. Ride them early.
Virginia Tech, wait until after they lose to Bama, when everybody will overreact and write them off. They will cover spreads for a while thereafter because they have a senior QB, a good D, and they may finally have a good RB for the first time in a while.
Coming soon, Lion’s Heisman Prediction.
8/22/13 12:15 PM: Sorry Trombone, the Bell does not toll for your boy Le’Veon. Out six to eight weeks. Ever wonder what happened to “Always Open” Chris Hogan? Well 7-11 is probably going to make the Bills. Of course he is. Gronk will most likely not play in week 1. The PUP list remains the question. (Please no). Clearly the Lion is having a slow day at the office. I will return later today with some college football thoughts.
8/22/13 9:24 AM: Arian Foster actually practiced yesterday. Ben Tate holders shouldn’t get too upset though, I expect Tate to share the load all season long. Lets revisit something real quick, why can’t rookie RB’s pass block? On Hard Knocks they show Gio Bernard getting killed, on the interwebs you hear that Monte Ball can’t pass protect so they are giving Moreno another shot. Hey college backs out there, LEARN HOW TO BLOCK.
8/21/13 9:31 AM: For those of you who drafted Mike Vick, you no longer have to sweat about him being the starting QB. You do have to sweat about him getting injured. He will. Its just a matter of when.
8/20/13 12:03 PM: The Lion flipped back and forth between the MNF game last night and a replay of the Bills v. Vikings Preseason game from the weekend. Here is a six pack of my thoughts: 1) Jarvis Jones is a havoc reaking beast. 2) The Steelers offense is pretty weak. 3) L. Hankerson could have a break out year at WR for the Skins. 4) Christian Ponder is very very bad. 5) Kyle Rudolph would be an elite fantasy TE if not for #4, 6) Robert Woods is a good rookie WR.
8/19/13 11:05 AM: After the huge “schwin-dig” this weekend thrown on behalf of Trombone, we are all assessing our injuries and the injuries of our WAGS. Lets keep this in mind as we look at some preseason injuries. Arian Foster is having back problems and has yet to practice. EJ Manuel is having knee problems, and Monte Ball is having problems blocking (somehow these all involve A1’s team). Its only a matter of time before Drew Brees or Megatron goes down, as does my A keeper ever year.
8/16/13 4:44 PM: What a lazy August Friday. Not much new on the football front. Lets talk about rookie WR’s for a minute. Everybody is high on Tavon Austin, and for good reason but don’t sleep on DeAndre Hopkins for Houston. He will be the #2 along side Andre Johnson on an already solid team. Robert Woods seems to be landing the slot receiver for Buffalo, but his QB is EJ Manuel so eh…
8/15/13 10:19 AM: Breathe easy JPoww, Tom Brady is going to be ok. I finally watched the Bills v. Colts preseason game. CJ Spiller is going to get a massive amount of touches. Congrats A1.
8/14/13 12:14 PM: Sorry for the delay, the Draft Diary is in the editing stages and will be available soon. After checking out some NFL preseason game tape, and otherwise, Jamal Charles had a little scare yesterday but appears to be mostly ok. Chris Johnson looked pretty fast over the weekend, which will cause everybody to overreact and take him earlier. Luckily for us our draft is over. Steven Ridley looked slow as ever during a 60 year rumble off tackle against the Eagles, causing everybody to correctly react and assume that the Eagles D is a joke. Le’Veon Bell missed a preseason game due to a knee injury, but it doesn’t appear serious. Hugh Douglas is looking for a job, but clearly not in housekeeping or cooking…
8/12/13 8:37 AM: The draft weekend is now complete. Look for a Draft Diary in the next 24 hours or so. The Lion’s love for the ground and pound is well documented, apparently league members have been reading the Den because they snatched up young RB’s early, leaving the Lion to rely on questionable backs. Should make for an interesting season. I am glad you are reading, but I hate you all.
8/09/13 8:33 AM: We are less than 24 hours away from the draft and it appears as though it will be the most sparsely attended draft in history. Thanks to technology however, we will be able to have guys actually draft their teams. As revealed in the E-Mail of the Week, and by me earlier, I love blocking. Yes, even more than I love RBs. For my final post pre-draft, lets take a look at the Lion’s favorite Offensive Lines right now. 1. San Fran. 2. Pats. 3. Denver 4. Baltimore 5. NY Giants. Be on the look out for the Vikings and the Titans OL’s as they keep improving via free agency and the draft.
8/08/13 9:56 AM: Chip Kelly still has not named Vick or Foles the starter in Philly. It doesn’t look like we will find out which guy it will be until after the Jerk Draft. Lets talk about Defense for a second, some of the old stand by D’s have fallen back to the pack, namely Pitt and Baltimore. Who does the Lion like? San Fran, Seattle, and Houston.
8/07/13 10:12 PM: Watch Hard Knocks if you get the chance, the Oklahoma Drill got the Lion to get a little excited. Maybe its HBO, maybe its because I am a ND homer, but boy did rookie TE Tyler Eifert look like a stud. In other news, Trombone is going to have a full fledged temper tantrum if basketball does not occur as part of the Jerk festivities. I am hesitant to report this for the fear of Jerks using it as a reason NOT to play. Finally, Brady seems to like Aaron Dobson as a WR. If Gronk is hurt he has to throw to SOMEBODY.
8/06/13 3:12 PM: With the Jerk Draft less than a week away, there are still some major issues undecided. The main question is what is going on Saturday Night? Rumors are all over the board here. Possibilities are endless. The only thing that is certain is that Trombone will be BURIED.
8/06/13 11:04 AM: Its no secret that the Lion loves the ground and pound, and therefore loves RBs. Lets talk about some. Isiah Pead appears to be leading the 3-way battle in St. Louis, but will miss the first game of the season due to suspension. Keep an eye on Pead, Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy to see who wins the carries.
8/04/13 10:11 AM: Word from Steelers camp is that rookie RB Le’Veon Bell is proving to be a more talented runner and pass catcher then veterans I. Redman and J. Dwyer. He is more comfortable with the Steelers new Zone Blocking rushing attack. The only thing holding Bell back from getting the starting nod is pass protection. This should come as no surprise, pass protection seems to be the biggest learning curve for young RBs.
8/03/13 10:19 AM: A little keeper observation for you this Saturday Morning; Jerk selections reflect the current depth of QB play in the NFL. Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees all available, along with Matt Ryan, Kaepernick, Luck, Eli, and Big Ben. Not since the late 80’s early 90’s with Elway, Marino, Montana, Kelly, Aikman etc, has there been so many good QBs in the NFL.
8/02/13 4:21 PM: Sources confirm that ALL Jerk Keepers have been submitted. Expect some surprises from NTMVW, Captain, and a head scratcher from Skillz. Keepers will be posted on the home page beginning around 5:30 by our fearless commissioner.
8/01/13 9:17 PM: Slow news day unless you like nonsense. Trombone still pushing Jordy Nelson to no avail, (shocker). Word is during drunk texting NTMVW and Trombone challenged each other to one on one basketball. JPoww throws Randall Cobb (the real Packer WR with keeper value) back into the draft. Adjust your draft boards accordingly.
8/01/13 8:49 AM: Lets keep the threesome going. 1) New month, Keepers must be announced in less than 48 hours. 2) With Eddie Lacy fat, It appears as though Montee Ball might be the only rookie RB to be named a teams #1 RB, although look out for Gio Bernard and Jonathan Franklin in the weeks to come. 3) It appears that Riley Cooper blew up Philadelphia Sports Talk Radio…
7/30/13 6:51 PM: In honor of C-Lion having the 3rd Pick in the upcoming draft, I have 3 rumors for you. 1) Sir Softness may not be able to attend all Jerk Draft Weekend events due to a family engagement. 2) Silverfox’s status for the draft has gone from “IN” back to “VERY TBD.” 3)Rumor has it that the return of Drew Brees to the draft pool has affected draft boards significantly, he is likely to be taken in the first 3 picks of the draft.
7/29/13 10:12 AM: A1 has told sources that barring childbirth issues (you like how I worded that) he should be at the draft.
7/24/13 11:22 AM: The latest rumor according to an unidentified source is that multiple teams are attempting to trade up to Silverfox’s #1 spot.