Fantasy Gunslinger

Football with an Emphasis on Fantasy & Gambling

NFL POWER 32 – 2017 PRESEASON

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Impossible to bet against the Belichick/Brady combination at this point. I think we are at the point where it’s more surprising when New England doesn’t win than when they do. Tom Brady is coming off arguably his best season as a starting QB, but the fall comes FAST when you reach 40 years of age. That is the million dollar question. At what point does Brady’s skills start deteriorating? I think the Pats can withstand the season ending injury to Julian Edelman, but Brady needs to be at a high level.
#2 Computer Hope The Falcons should have won the Super Bowl last year and been ranked a preseason #1, but the most epic meltdown in Super Bowl history prevented that outcome. It has been historically difficult for Super Bowl losers to come back and get the job done the following year, but if there is a team equipped to follow through, it’s Atlanta. The Falcons used the draft to get significantly better on defense and Desmond Trufant returns to the secondary. I think the Falcons are the only team that is close to New England.
#3 Computer Hope The Steelers might be the only real competition for New England assuming Tom Brady is effective. With Le’Veon Bell now back in the fold, the Steelers offense can score with anyone. I love the addition of TJ Watt to the edge rushing attack and the Steelers secondary should get a lot better with Artie Burns & Sean Davis entering their second year. The big question could very well be Ben Roethlisberger’s motivation. He flirted with the idea of retirement after the 2016 season & Pittsburgh needs him motivated to win.
#4 Computer Hope Melvin Gordon found his way last year with 1200+ total yards and 12 total touchdowns. That obviously helps Philip Rivers and his aerial assault & Gordon should continue to get better as Rivers has a lot of big play receivers along with the emergence of Hunter Henry at TE. The O-Line has also improved. I love the edge rushing combination of Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram and the Bolts should have one of the better secondaries in the NFL. This is a surprise Super Bowl team if the Chargers can stay healthy.
#5 Computer Hope The defense is still absolutely incredible and Seattle did a great job fortifying the unit with draft picks like Nazair Jones, Delano Hill and Shaq Griffin. Russell Wilson has a lot of weapons to use in Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett, CJ Prosise and Thomas Rawls. It’ll be interesting to see if Eddie Lacy can be effective here as well. Seattle’s biggest question coming into 2017 is the play of their offensive line. It might not necessarily matter in getting to 10-11 wins, but it’ll matter during playoff games.
#6 Computer Hope The Packers went all in for running back help in the 2017 draft and it’ll be worth watching to see if those players like Ty Montgomery & Jamaal Williams can step up & try to alleviate some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers to do everything in his power to get Green Bay back the playoffs. The O-Line is great so the running game should have enough support to get it done. The Packers defense should be in the middle of the pack, but that is more than enough when the offense should be scoring close to 30PPG!
#7 Computer Hope I think 3-4 years ago everyone was expecting Andrew Luck to be the generational star of the younger QB generation, but with his injury issues and the dumpster fire known as the Indianapolis Colts, I think we might start thinking of Carson Wentz being that guy. The Eagles are fantastic everywhere & the secondary doesn’t look as bad after the addition of Ronald Darby. What will determine Philly’s ultimate end is similar to what Green Bay is dealing with. How effective can the running game support Wentz?
#8 Computer Hope This is a GOOD LOOKING football team. The Vikings get a little lost in the shuffle because I think most people believe a lot of other QBs are better than Sam Bradford, but Bradford was incredible last season completing 71.6% of his passes which led the NFL while also throwing for almost 4,000 yards with 20TD to just 5INT. I think Laquon Treadwill takes a jump this year & rookie RB Dalvin Cook might be a top-5 RB by mid-season. The defense is outstanding & if the offense gets better, this is a Super Bowl team.
#9 Computer Hope The Raiders were 12-4 a year ago but weren’t really a threat after Derek Carr went down with an injury. Carr is 100% healthy now and the Oakland offense should be scary once again. Potentially just as important, DE Mario Edwards is healthy & the combination of a healthy Mario Edwards with Khalil Mack has produced devastating results on defense for the Raiders. Oakland is a little bit suspect at corner & their ability to cover so the Raiders are going to hope to put enough pressure up front to ease the CB load.
#10 Computer Hope I think Paul Perkins flashed a bit late last year & he could be in for a significant increase in production for 2017. I think the signing of Brandon Marshall to along with Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard was a brilliant move & the drafting of TE Evan Engram sets up the Giants with practically the perfect storm of offensive weapons for Eli Manning. The O-Line is extremely suspect but as long as Eli has time to get the ball to his play makers, the Giants could have an amazing offense that gets them to the playoffs.
#11 Computer Hope I might be overrating the Titans compared to most power rankings, but I really like the make up of this football team. The Titans were 9-7 last season and I think they’ve gotten 1-2 wins better making them potentially a 10-11 win team. Tennessee has a lot going for them. The defense is good and the O-Line is outstanding. The running game is there & the Titans did a solid job improving Marcus Mariota’s weapons by drafting Corey Davis and signing Eric Decker. Can Mariota be a healthy, winning quarterback?
#12 Computer Hope Cincinnati might have legitimate issues along the offensive line, but I think the key to their season will be whether or not the Bengals let RB Joe Mixon off the leash and allow him to display the athletic prowess that probably would have made the Oklahoma product a 1st Rd. draft pick if not for character issues. Adding John Ross to the mix helps Andy Dalton too who should see quite a bounce back statistically. The defense is still OK and I think young guys like Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson will help the pass rush quite a bit.
#13 Computer Hope From 2009-2013 the Saints won 56 games in a 5-year span or basically 11 wins per season. From 2014-0215 the Saints have gone 7-9 in each of those 3 seasons. Is Drew Brees getting older? Yes, but he also threw for over 5,000 yards last season while completing 70.0% of his passes! I think New Orleans is too good to keep going 7-9. Granted, the Bucs & Falcons are going to be extremely good, but I think the Saints defense is going to get better. The defense doesn’t have be the best in the league but they need improvement.
#14 Computer Hope This feels too low for me. The Bucs went 9-7 last season and got better on both sides of the football meaning a 10-11 season might be on tap in Tampa which almost certainly would mean a playoff spot. Adding in OJ Howard & DeSean Jackson to the offense should produce spectacular results and I like the Bucs drafting Justin Evans & Kendall Beckwith. Evans has a chance to be dominant in time but both of those guys add some amazing depth. Jameis Winston needs to cut down on turnovers. That will be the big question.
#15 Computer Hope Two years ago this team was in the Super Bowl so it’s a little premature to completely count them out. Carolina has to do a better job at keeping Cam Newton upright and healthy. They also need to be creative enough on offense to utilize the skill sets of Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel. The road is a brutal one in the NFC South, but Carolina has enough firepower on offense to keep up and their defense can still be very good when LB Luke Kuechly is healthy which he is at this point. I think the Panthers bounce back.
#16 Computer Hope Washington could be one of those sneaky teams in the NFC East that could emerge because the division is going to beat on each other. They lose Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson at WR but replace them ostensibly with Josh Doctson & Terrelle Pryor. That means the Redskins are A LOT bigger on the edge & that could work. Defensively I think the loss of Trent Murphy is a big one. He & Ryan Kerrigan combined to give Washington a pretty stout pair of rushers off the edge. Kerrigan is a BEAST, but this is a big loss.
#17 Computer Hope Detroit always seems like one of those teams where you think they can be pretty good and then you take a deeper look and wonder who. Matt Stafford stepped up to being an ELITE QB last season, but he still has issues with the surrounding cast. Detroit really doesn’t have a solid #1 RB. The O-Line doesn’t look to be that amazing. The defensive front-7 doesn’t look so hot meaning Detroit is going to lose a lot of games in the trenches. That isn’t a formula for winning football no matter who good Matt Stafford becomes at QB.
#18 Computer Hope I like the makeup of this defense especially with Arizona drafting reinforcements in Hasson Reddick and Budda Baker, but Arizona might be battling Father Time with Carson Palmer who started looking his age last season in a lackluster season. Arizona also doesn’t have much skill. Larry Fitzgerald is getting pretty darn old meaning it’s David Johnson and not much else. If Palmer plays like he did in 2014-2015 then Arizona will be tough. If he plays like he did in 2013 & 2016, then Arizona is in for a pretty bumpy ride.
#19 Computer Hope Putting Miami at #19 might end up being way to low but I’m taking a wait and see approach here. Offensively you can’t help but be impressed. Jay Cutler is a significant upgrade over a healthy Ryan Tannehill and Miami went 10-6 last season so they could improve. I love the receivers and Jay Ajayi is a load at RB. There are obvious question marks on the defensive side of the football but Ndamukong Suh is still an All-Pro DT in the middle & good pass rushing ability to cover up some warts in the secondary.
#20 Computer Hope Nobody is going to have Kansas City this low especially after the Chiefs are coming off a 12-4 season that saw them win the AFC West, but with Spencer Ware going down to injury, where is the offense going to come from? The defense will be solid and Andy Reid is a great head coach, but it’s Tyreek Hill & Travis Kelce and not much else. The Raiders have another year of experience under their belt & I think the Chargers are going to surprise a lot of people. KC has to have a top-3 or top-5 defense in order to win.
#21 Computer Hope As a massive Dallas Cowboys fan, this one hurts, but I think there has to be some regression on the part of both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. If those two don’t play as well then Dallas has quite a few other question marks that could push them down a brutal NFC East. The defense still doesn’t have a proven pass rush. The O-line is breaking in a couple of new starters. The Eagles & Giants look like they’ve gotten a lot better. That is a perfect storm for Dallas to go from first to fourth which happens a lot in the NFC East.
#22 Computer Hope Like Kansas City, Denver is going to be fine on the defensive side of the football, but offensively you are talking about a team that is going into the season with Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch at QB. That isn’t going to cut it in the AFC West. This could potentially be a different team if Jamaal Charles is healthy, but Charles has started 5 games the last two years and the last time he played in 16 games was 2012! The Broncos are going to have a stout defense but to win they’ll need to score 20PPG. I’m not sure they can.
#23 Computer Hope I’m not going to say Brandon Allen was the answer at QB for the Jaguars, but I think it’s telling that Jacksonville cut Allen and then the Rams signed him rather quickly off waivers which prevented Allen from joining the Jaguars practice squad. This left Jacksonville with 2 QBs on the roster, but why not given Allen a spot and allow for him to compete against Blake Bortles & Chad Henne? Just a bizarre roster move that I think makes the team worse. On the field, it comes down to Blake Bortles. Can he avoid mistakes?
#24 Computer Hope Buffalo went from a team that you could argue should have been the #2 team in the AFC East with the possibility of getting a Wild Card to a team that sold off a lot of talent for draft picks leaving them with a squad that is now easily behind New England & Miami battling for a top draft pick in 2018 so they can get their QB of the future. Tyrod Taylor must feel great about this season! LeSean McCoy will make this team worth watching but when defenses take away Buffalo’s running attack, what in the world do they have left?
#25 Computer Hope If JJ Watt is 100% healthy & can play like he did before last season, then it’s a scary thought to think the Texans can line up both Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the same side of the D-line where they’ll unleash hell on opposing blockers, but like Kansas City & Denver before them, where in the world is the offense going to come from? Tom Savage hasn’t been a healthy guy and Deshaun Watson showed us in the pre-season he’s pretty far from being an NFL starting QB. There are quite a few teams like this to be honest.
#26 Computer Hope The defense is a lot better than you think, but because the defenders aren’t household names yet, I think the Ravens suffer a bit from lack of perception. I have them this far down because Joe Flacco is at best a mid tier QB when he’s healthy, but now that back issues have come into the picture more forcefully, I think it is something that will always be around. If Flacco isn’t optimal or even worse, misses time forcing Ryan Mallett to take the helm, Baltimore is in trouble because I’m not sure they can do many things offensively.
#27 Computer Hope I have a good feeling about this Rams team……that INCLUDES AARON DONALD! The Rams did a great job this offseason surrounding Jared Goff with playmakers that should make his job a lot easier & ease the pressure off the young signal caller, but Los Angeles becomes a different team without Donald’s presence in the middle of that defense. With Donald around, the Rams have one of the best D-Lines in the NFL. With Donald not being close to joining the team, the defense takes a massive hit. What a bizarre situation.
#28 Computer Hope Amazingly enough this could be too high for the Colts. Andrew Luck has been ruled out for Week 1 meaning the Colts are starting Scott Tolzien against the Rams in a game that before the Luck ruling out would have been a game in which Indianapolis was probably favored in. Now that game almost looks like a certain loss. Nobody really knows what is going on with Luck, but if this season has any resemblance to the season when Peyton Manning missed in 2011, the Colts might be in for a 2-14 season which results in the #1 pick!
#29 Computer Hope The Browns are going to struggle with DeShone Kizer leading the way, but all teams struggle with rookie QBs for the most part. I would have liked to have seen what Cody Kessler could have done which would have given Kizer even more time to learn the NFL, but Cleveland has decided to throw Kizer into the deep end and see what happens. The good news is that the Browns aren’t NEARLY as bad as you think & they’ll upset a few teams along the way. Myles Garrett is a game changer on defense. Can they escape the cellar?
#30 Computer Hope The Bears are a team that everyone pencils in as a the last place team in the NFC North, but is there a glimmer of hope in the Windy City? Chicago has a solid O-Line & a RB in Jordan Howard who can run the ball. Defensively Chicago seems suspect but getting full years from Danny Trevathan & Jerrell Freeman will improve the unit. Willie Young & Lenoard Floyd aren’t bad edge rushers & Floyd could take another step up. How good can Mike Glennon be? If Glennon is decent, then the Bears will be a competitive squad.
#31 Computer Hope Can this be too high? The Jets aren’t completely awful in the trenches but their skill players are downright dreadful. Matt Forte is well past his prime as a running back & the Jets have no receivers to speak of. I like the additions of Jordan Leggett and ArDarius Stewart but those guys are rookies. The defense isn’t completely awful but the corners are a bit thin. The obvious elephant in the room is the QB situation. New York doesn’t have one. Obviously the Jets are hoping for Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen in the 2018 draft.
#32 Computer Hope Either San Francisco or the New York Jets are going to be the worst offensive team in football (maybe Indy if Luck doesn’t play), but the 49ers all of a sudden look VERY salty on defense. It’s a young unit but you have to be impressed by the collection of player on D including Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, Eli Harold, Aaron Lynch, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. The secondary still has questions, but SF’s Front-7 could emerge as a dominant bunch. Whether that gets them a few wins or not remains to be seen.
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September 5, 2017 Posted by | AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West, NFL Draft, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 32, Preseason, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

2017 PRESEASON WEEK 3 – ROOKIE REPORT

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope Not much on the stat sheet for 1st Rd. LB Hassan Reddick or 2nd Rd. S Budda Baker. Reddick did look pretty good dropping back into coverage which is a good sign. Undrafted RB James Summers made a statement to make the team rushing for 40yds/TD on 10 carries. Summers is intriguing at 6’2/220lbs & had a good game when veteran RB Chris Johnson didn’t. I would have liked to have seen more out of 3rd Rd. WR Chad Williams and undrafted TE Ricky Seals-Jones, but either did much here.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Tak McKinley was excellent once again. He made 2 tackles and didn’t have a sack but got excellent pressure on the QB & helped against the run. Atlanta has to be thrilled at this point. 3rd Rd. LB Duke Reilly had a TFL & looks better each week. Undrafted WR Josh Magee had the play of the game with a 57-yard TD catch that showcased his deep ball speed. 5th Rd. RB Brian Hill got 10 carries but didn’t do anything with them. Undrafted DE Chris Odom had a huge game with 4 tackles & 2 TFL!
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Marlon Humphrey didn’t play in Week 3 after seeing limited time in Week 2. 2nd Rd. LB Tyus Bowser and 3rd Rd. LB Tim Williams were fantastic. Bowser had a couple tackles for loss while Williams had one. Both generated good pressure off the edge & looked really good. 6th Rd. S Chuck Clark was excellent too leading the team with 6 tackles. Undrafted RB Taquan Mizzell showed some versatility by leading the Ravens in receiving with 6 balls on 6 targets for 54yds/TD! Keep an eye out.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Tre’Davious White looked good which is important now that Ronald Darby is in Philly. His play this year will be important for the Bills. 5th Rd. QB Nathan Peterman struggled going 11/23 for 93yds. This was his chance to shine in extended play but struggled throwing downfield. 2nd Rd. OT Dion Dawkins looked tremendous not allowing a pressure against a solid Ravens front and was solid in his run blocking as well. 2nd Rd. WR Zay Jones had only 3 catches on 8 targets. That isn’t good.
Computer Hope Tough game for 1st Rd. RB Christian McCaffery who couldn’t get loose in the run game & caught his only target on the day. 2nd Rd. WR Curtis Samuel got some run time and caught 4 passes, but like McCaffery couldn’t get much going. 3rd Rd. DE Daeshon Hall didn’t play after tweaking his knee earlier in the week. It is interesting that undrafted LB Ben Boulware is on this squad but hasn’t seen much time on D. Kid is a helluva football player & allowing him to sit behind Luke Kuechly & Thomas Davis is crazy!
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Mitch Trubisky looked pretty good at times going 10/15 for 128yds & a TD. Trubisky made some mental errors during the game & it looks like Mike Glennon will be the starter, but Trubisky acquitted himself well in the preseason. 2nd Rd. TE Adam Shaheen only had 1 target but caught the ball. 4th Rd. S Eddie Jackson got a bit of run time and made a tackle. 4th Rd. RB Tarik Cohen wasn’t featured this week after flashing a bit last week. I think he’s an interesting change of pace back for the Bears.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR John Ross finally got on the field but only had a couple of targets and didn’t make a catch. 2nd Rd. RB Joe Mixon ran for 31yds on 8 carries & caught a ball. With Jeremy Hill going down Mixon looks to get even more looks. 3rd Rd. DE Jordan Willis continues to impress with another sack. Cincy stole him in the 3rd. 4th Rd. DE Carl Lawson flashed too with a sack, TFL and QBH. The Bengals pass rush might be a lot better than we expect. 4th Rd. DT Ryan Glasgow had another really solid game inside.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Myles Garrett was a monster in Cleveland’s 13-9 win over Tampa Bay. Garrett picked up 4 QB pressures & could have racked up even more. He’s scary good at this point. 1st Rd. S Jabril Peppers picked off a Jameis Winston pass & returned it 23 yards. He was excellent against the run & pass. 2nd Rd. QB DeShone Kizer’s stat line was awful but he apparently is the starting QB for week 1 which should be interesting. 1st Rd. TE David Njoku was only targeted twice & I’d like to see that increase.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Taco Charlton had a sack & got pressure off the edge against Oakland. That’s a good sign given Dallas’ significant need there. 3rd Rd. CB Jourdan Lewis, 5th Rd. S Xavier Woods, 2nd Rd. CB Chidobe Awuzie and 4th Rd. WR Ryan Switzer all missed the game. With that many injuries it is no wonder that a lot of attention has been given to undrafted QB Cooper Rush who went 12/13 for 115yds/2TD and is making a case to be Dak Prescott’s backup QB. Not good news for Kellen Moore.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LT Garett Bolles plays well at times and at others plays like a rookie. He’s Denver’s starting LT so he’s being thrown into the fire. I think he’ll be OK. 2nd Rd. LB Demarcus Walker had no run time while 3rd Rd. CB Brendan Langley had his best game as a pro locking down his side of the field at corner. 5th Rd. WR Isaiah McKenzie was relegated to punt return duty but didn’t do much. I’d like to see him catch some passes. 6th Rd. RB De’Angelo Henderson got 9 carries but had 34 yards & didn’t flash.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB Jarrad Davis was outstanding again racking up 8 tackles & laying wood whenever he can. He’s a huge hitter with speed! 3rd Rd. WR Kenny Golladay had just 1 catch on 3 targets. I’m excited about his size & upside. 4th Rd. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin had 3 tackles and a TFL. 5th Rd. CB Jamal Agnew was good in his support role inside racking up 4 tackles. 6th Rd. QB Brad Kaaya barely played and given Jake Rudock’s play of late, Kaaya is at best the 3rd string QB for this Lions squad. That was expected.
Computer Hope 4th Rd. RB Jamaal Williams showed some versatility catching 3 balls for 46 yards & leading the Packers in receiving although he didn’t do much on the ground. 2nd Rd. S Josh Jones led GB in tackles with 6 and looks good dropping down against the run. 5th Rd. RB Aaron Jones ran for 43yds on 6 carries but showed a lot toughness & the ability to keep running after being hit. 2nd Rd. CB Kevin King & 3rd Rd. DT Montravius Adams were non-factors. I’m excited about those two players.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Deshaun Watson is essentially a terribly mistake-prone QB who can make plays with his legs which makes him look a bit better than what he is right now. Undrafted DT Eli Ankou had a 2nd straight game where he played very well. Outstanding against the run & getting inside pressure, the 6’3/330lbs NT looks legit. 2nd Rd. LB Zach Cunningham stuffed the stat sheet again. Hard to not see him getting significant time this year. 3rd Rd. RB Dont’a Foreman didn’t play! Man I really like watching that guy!
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Malik Hooker didn’t play and there is growing concern about his health & that’s not great for the Colts. 5th Rd. LB Anthony Walker keeps producing & I think it’s safe to think he’ll be a starter this year. I really wanted to see 4th Rd. RB Marlon Mack explode but he ran for 18yds on 7 carries with one of those carries at 12yds so essentially 6 carries for 6yds! 3rd Rd. LB Tarell Basham was just OK but 2nd Rd. CB Quincy Wilson & 5th Rd. CB Nate Hairston didn’t play. Things aren’t rosy in Indianapolis.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. RB Leonard Fournette was inactive so we didn’t get a chance to see the LSU product run against a solid Carolina front. I think 2nd Rd. LT Cam Robinson played well. He got beat on a couple of plays but outside of those he passed blocked well & was solid in the run game. 4th Rd. WR DeDe Westbrook didn’t get run time which was disappointing. 3rd Rd. DE Dawuane Smoot didn’t get any run time either. 7th Rd. CB Jalen Myrick played well. 5th Rd. LB Blair Brown had another solid game. I like him.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Pat Mahomes was decent this week going 8/15 for 70 yards but Alex Smith was really good & it’s obvious Mahomes needs a couple of years to learn the NFL. 3rd Rd. RB Kareem Hunt had 9 carries for 39 yards & with Spencer Ware out of the season, Hunt becomes vital to KC’s offensive attack. 4th Rd. WR Jehu Chesson had a catch for 19 years which is nice but also 4 targets. None of Kansas City’s rookie defenders had much by way of the stat sheet which is OK because the Chiefs need offense quite a bit.
Computer Hope 5th Rd. CB Desmond King continues to impress but he’s now listed on the depth chart as a safety for the Bolts which I think could be an incredible move given King’s willingness to hit. 4th Rd. S Rayshawn Jenkins & 7th Rd. DE Isaac Rochell got a little bit of run time on defense but didn’t do much. 3rd Rd. OG Dan Feeney played well. With 1st Rd. WR Mike Williams and 2nd Rd. OG Forrest Lamp on the shelf, the Chargers have once again encountered injuries to what is seemingly a very injury cursed franchise!
Computer Hope 4th Rd. WR Josh Reynolds continues to impress leading the Rams this week with 3 catches for 71yds & 1TD! 2nd Rd. TE Gerald Everett had a couple of catches too. 3rd Rd. WR Cooper Kupp didn’t play. LA has went from a team with no weapons to drafting 3 solid guys in Reynolds, Kupp & Everett, signing Robert Woods and trading for Sammie Watkins. They already have Todd Gurley, WR Tavon Austin & TE Tyler Higbee. Wow! 6th Rd. DT Tanzel Smart continues to play exceedingly well. I love this group of guys.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Charles Harris, 5th Rd. DT Davon Godchaux and 6th Rd. DT Vincent Taylor all got some run time and played alright. At this point I would have liked to have seen more out of Harris because his edge rushing is a need for Miami. Undrafted DE Praise Martin-Oguike had a great game & has played great all preseason. He’s undersized at 6’1/254lbs but he’ll be hard to cut. 3rd Rd. CB Cordrea Tankersley was OK. The Dolphins are hoping he can occupy the nickle corner position for them this season.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. RB Dalvin Cook only ran the ball 5 times but the Vikings barely ran at all so you can’t read too much in. 5th Rd. WR Rodney Adams flashed a bit with 3 catches for 35yds/TD. 4th Rd. DT Jaleel Johnson continued to play well. He got good inside pressure on SF’s QBs. That’s all other teams need to hear is that Minnesota has another solid defensive player to add to an already formidable unit. The Vikings beat the 49ers 32-31 this week so obviously without Cook playing, there wasn’t much happening here.
Computer Hope Undrafted LB Harvey Langi is making a case for making the Patriots 53-man roster. He had another productive game with 4 tackles. At worst he could be a helluva player on special teams with his high effort approach. Undrafted DT Adam Butler had a couple of QBH in limited time. The Vandy product has good size at 6’4/310lbs. Undrafted DBs David Jones & Kenny Moore had productive games. Undrafted S Damarius Travis looked pretty good and has some decent upside in the back end of a secondary.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Marshon Lattimore got in the field finally & made a statement getting a couple of tackles & a couple of passes defended which has to make Saints Nation pretty happy! 2nd Rd. S Marcus Williams and 3rd Rd. LB Alex Anazalone both played very well on defense. 6th Rd. DE Trey Hendrickson got his hand on a ball. 3rd Rd. RB Alvin Kamara didn’t play. The Saints should be better defensively. They aren’t deep but their starting unit should be tough to handle if they can manage to stay healthy.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE Evan Engram had 2 catches for 32yds and could have had a 3rd if not for Jamal Adams getting in the way! I wish the G-men would cut this guy loose! 2nd Rd. DT Dalvin Tomlinson had a couple of tackles & continues to impress inside. 3rd Rd. QB Davis Webb got mop up duty only which I thought interesting. 5th Rd. DE Avery Moss had a QBH in very limited time. It’s cool to see the Youngstown St. product get some action. 4th Rd. RB Wayne Gallman had 43yds on 12 rushes & caught a pass for 11.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Jamal Adams perfected his Mr. Gadget shtick again playing all over the field as every type of DB you can think of and also at LB. He’s an outstanding football player. 2nd Rd. S Marcus Maye just keeps making plays & racked up 5 tackles this week. 3rd Rd. WR ArDarius Stewart caught 5 balls for 82yds & 2TDs! Stewart’s game is pretty tight. 4th Rd. WR Chad Hansen had 2 catches for 45yds. 5th Rd. LB Dylan Donahue had a solid game getting pressure on the QB. He’s INTENSE and I’m rooting for him.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Gareon Conley didn’t play and is now on the PUP list. Oakland didn’t run the ball that much but 7th Rd. RB Elijah Hood got 3 carries & turned them into 20 yards. 5th Rd. LB Marquel Lee had a couple of tackles & is penciled is the Raiders starting MLB. 2nd Rd. S Obi Melifonwu had a solid game & should be decent backing up Karl Joseph & Reggie Nelson. Oakland’s corners aren’t great especially with Conley missing time but their safeties should be pretty stout. 7th Rd. DT Treyvon Hester had a sack.
Computer Hope 4th Rd. RB Donnel Pumphrey & undrafted FA RB Corey Clement had solid games. Pumphrey had 37yds on 12 carries which isn’t great but also had 5 catches for 37yds on 5 targets. Clement led the Eagles in rushing with 42yds & a TD on 9 carries. 4th Rd. WR Mack Hollins had 44yds on 5 catches with 8 targets. He’s definitely Philly’s #4 WR. 6th Rd. DT Elijah Qualls flashed a bit & adds solid depth on the D-Line. 3rd Rd. CB Rasul Douglas played well which is a good sign for the Eagles secondary going forward.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB TJ Watt had a solid effort which was good but obviously not as prolific as he looked in the first 2 weeks. 4th Rd. QB Josh Dobbs was 4/7 for 24yds in mop-up duty. 3rd Rd. RB James Conner picked up just 4 carries but had 26yds. 2nd Rd. WR JuJu Smith caught 3 balls for 31yds on 5 targets after missing week 2. 3rd Rd. CB Cameron Sutton also returned after missing week 2 and looked great. No return duties for Sutton this week, but I’d like to see him get a chance at few kicks and punts to bring back.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Solomon Thomas played well against the Vikings O-Line although he didn’t put much on the stat sheet. 1st Rd. LB Reuben Foster was a MONSTER. I think the 49ers got a huge steal on Foster in the last 1st. SF all of a sudden looks to have a salty defense. 3rd Rd. QB CJ Beathard was OK going 7/13 with a TD pass but did throw a pick. 5th Rd. WR Trent Taylor had 36yds on 3 catches. He’s an ideal slot guy at 5’8/175lbs. 5th Rd. DT DJ Jones had a solid game on the interior creating pressure inside.
Computer Hope 7th Rd. RB Chris Carson had another good game running for 46yds on 8 carries & also hauling in 2 balls for 44 yards on 2 targets. Carson is a load at 6’2/210lbs & injuries may have dampened his draft stock. 2nd Rd. DT Nazair Jones continues to impress & could be a force backing up Seattle’s DTs this season. 3rd Rd. CB Shaq Griffin had another impressive outing & 3rd Rd. S Delano Hill made a couple of plays. The Legion of Boom has an infusion of youth this year from the 2017 draft and it’ll be fun to watch.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE OJ Howard had a couple of targets that he caught but I’d like to see him become more prominent in the offense. 3rd Rd. WR Chris Godwin had another solid game leading Tampa in receiving with 4 balls for 56yds. He might end up being a steal in the 3rd round. 3rd Rd. LB Kendell Beckwith made 3 tackles while 2nd Rd. S Justin Evans had one. Both defenders looked pretty good and I still then Evans can be special. 5th Rd. RB Jeremy McNichols didn’t do much. He’s intriguing at 5’9/220lbs.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR Corey Davis missed his 3rd preseason game with injury issues & that has to be frustrating. 1st Rd. CB Adoree Jackson was TORCHED by Mike Glennon & Co. That isn’t a good sign and Jackson might be relegated to return duty if he doesn’t improve quickly. 3rd Rd. WR Taywan Taylor had a 48yd reception. He’s having a pretty good preseason. 3rd Rd. TE Jonnu Smith had just one target & no catches. 5th Rd. LB Jayon Brown played well in extended minutes. Not a great day to be a Tennessee draft pick.
Computer Hope 4th Rd. RB Samaje Perine & 5th Rd. TE Jeremy Sprinkle didn’t do much of anything for the Redskins against the Bengals. Of course 1st Rd. DE Jonathan Allen played well recording 3 tackles and getting solid pressure off the edge. 2nd Rd. LB Ryan Anderson didn’t play as he’s still dealing with a shoulder injury he sustained in the 1st preseason game. 7th Rd. CB Josh Holsey had a sack which looked pretty good. 3rd Rd. CB Fabian Moreau and 4th Rd. S Montae Nicholson had pretty good production here.

August 29, 2017 Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Preseason, Rookies, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

NCAA POWER 25 – 2017 PRESEASON

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Last Season: 14-1, National Runner Up. It’s almost impossible to bet against Alabama. They return just 11 starters but QB Jalen Hurts returns and the depth is so absurd that it almost doesn’t matter who they throw out there. There is talk that DT Da’Ron Payne is better than any DT HC Nick Saban has had in Tuscaloosa. Minkah Fitzpatrick is moving to safety to join Ronnie Harrison for a secondary that is straight FILTHY! They can ground & pound opponents to death.
#2 Computer Hope Last Season: 11-2, Lost Playoff Semifinal. The Buckeyes bring back 15 starters from a team that went to the playoffs but got exposed by a tremendous Clemson team 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio St. is the closest team we have to Alabama as far as overall talent is concerned. What separates Ohio St. for me this year is their ability to get pressure off the edge. The team has a couple of questions but Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Nick Bosa & Jalyn Holmes are a nightmare for QBs.
#3 Computer Hope Last Season: 14-1, National Champions. I think Clemson isn’t being favored to repeat because Deshaun Watson is now playing on Sundays but Clemson’s defense is otherworldly and I think Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence & Christian Wilkins give the Tigers the best DL in college football. Throw in Kendall Joseph, Van Smith & Trayvon Mullen, and I’m not sure how you score on defense. The O-Line is incredible & I think QB Kelly Bryant will make enough plays to win.
#4 Computer Hope Last Season: 10-3, Won Orange Bowl. The Seminoles should be considered national title contenders. They return 9 starters on defense that should be nasty. I love Clemson’s defense but FSU probably has better edge rushers with Brian Burns & Josh Sweat and it’s not like DTs Derrick Nnadi & Demarcus Christmas aren’t beasts! Even scarier is FSU gets a full season of S Derwin James who in my opinion is the best player in college football. They could celebrate like it’s 2013!
#5 Computer Hope Last Season: 10-3, Won Rose Bowl. No team in college football is on a bigger winning streak than the Trojans who after starting 1-3 in 2016, reeled off 9 straight wins including a dramatic 52-49 win over Penn St. in the Rose Bowl. Anytime you have the best QB in college football you should be considered a threat. Sam Darnold  completed 67% of his passes last season for over 3,000 yards & 31TD to just 9INT! The Trojans also return 7 on defense & have a shot at 12-0!
#6 Computer Hope Last Season: 11-3, Lost Rose Bowl. Penn St. returns 15 starters including 9 on offense including QB Trace McSorey, RB Saquon Barkley & TE Mike Gesicki. The Nittany Lions scored 37.6PPG last season & they’ll top that mark this year. I think defense is going to be key for PSU and specifically their ability to get pressure on the opposing QB. DEs Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan have graduated meaning they’ll need some guys to fill those voids. There is nothing not to like!
#7 Computer Hope Last Season: 10-3, Won Sun Bowl. After a 3-2 start that saw Stanford drop 2 divisional games to Washington & Wazzou, Stanford 7-1 to end the season & rank 12th in the nation. I think the #12 was too low and the Cardinal return 16 starters (8 on both sides) including QB Keller Chryst who started the last 6 games, all Stanford wins. Losing guys like Solomon Thomas & Christian McCaffery is tough but I think the 2017 Stanford team is better than the Stanford of 2016.
#8 Computer Hope Last Season: 12-2, Lost Playoff Semifinal. Seems ludicrous to list Washington at #8 in the nation, but they have to play at Stanford which pushes them below the Cardinal. If the Huskies finish 12-0 I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. QB Jake Browning is a Heisman candidate & UW has incredible talent returning in Myles Gaskin, Dante Pettis & Trey Adams. Defensively replacing Kevin King & Budda Baker will be tough but Azeem Victor and Co. should be stone filthy!
#9 Computer Hope Last Season: 10-3, Won Alamo Bowl. If not this year when? Oklahoma St. flirted with the possibility of a national championship back in 2011 but a loss to Iowa State crushed that dream. This season, Oklahoma State has a schedule that could give them a 12-0 season that could lead to a playoff berth. They get Oklahoma at home & the Sooners are now entering the post-Bob Stoops era & there is opportunity there. They’ll score a ton of points but they’ll need to play D!
#10 Computer Hope Last Season: 11-2, Won Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma should be a massive playoff contender but I think a couple of things work against them. The first is that they play road games against both Ohio St. & Oklahoma State. That could be 2 losses which would be difficult to make up. I think the 2nd thing is that losing Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine & DeDe Westbrook are going to be hard to overcome. I also think there will be transition now that Bob Stoops has resigned. It’ll be tough for OU.
#11 Computer Hope Last Season: 8-4, Won Citrus Bowl. After starting the year 2-2 with losses to Wisconsin & Auburn, LSU fired Les Miles and Ed Orgeron took over on an interim basis leading LSU to a 6-2 record including a 29-9 win over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl. Of course, LSU lost to Florida & Alabama, but LSU rewarded Orgeron with the head coaching position. LSU will always field an incredible defense & Derius Guice is the best RB in the nation. Let’s see how strategic Orgeron is.
#12 Computer Hope Last Season: 10-3, Lost Orange Bowl. Michigan has to be the youngest team in college football this season given that the Wolverines return a total of 5 starters from last year’s squad including just one defensive starter in Mike McCray. On the other hand I’m loathe to place Michigan any lower because the talent Jim Harbaugh has assembled in Ann Arbor is downright scary. The key for Michigan is to get the young players comfortable & working together. If so they’ll win big!
#13 Computer Hope Last Season: 9-4, Won Russell Athletic Bowl. The U isn’t quite back to its recent glory years of 2000-2003 including their 2001 National Championship, but give Mark Richt a couple more years and the Hurricanes are going to be a force on the national scene. They are still a bit young and will break in a new QB this year with Brad Kaaya playing in the NFL, but they draw Virginia Tech & home & only have a couple of other tricky games. Getting to 10-11 wins is in play.
#14 Computer Hope Last Season 8-5, Lost Sugar Bowl. The key for Auburn this year will be the play of QB Jarrett Stidham. Stidham might be the best QB Auburn has had since Cam Newton was screaming War Eagle and the Tigers have plenty on hand to run HC Gus Malzahn’s offense to perfection. Stidham is a better QB than Nick Marshall who got Auburn to the national title game in 2013. Kamryn Pettway is a better runner than Tre Mason. The D will be salty & they get Alabama at home!
#15 Computer Hope Last Season 10-4, Won Belk Bowl. If QB Jerod Evans was returning to Blacksburg, not only would the Hokies be the favorites to win the Coastal but I think they’d have a good shot at giving Clemson or Florida St. all they could handle in the ACC championship game. I’m excited to see this defense in action. Virginia Tech returns 6 of their back-7 and DC Bud Foster is going to get the most out of those players. If the QB situation gets solved, I think the Hokies could flirt with 11-1.
#16 Computer Hope Last Season 6-7, Lost Liberty Bowl. After finishing with a two year record of 23-3 from 2014-2015, TCU had a transition year last season finishing 6-7. There won’t be a repeat performance as the Frogs return 17 starters including 10 on offense & have a schedule that should allow them to potentially win 10 games assuming they lose road dates against Oklahoma St. & Oklahoma. The last time TCU had close to this many returning starters was 2010. TCU finished 13-0!
#17 Computer Hope Last Season 8-5, Won Liberty Bowl. Potentially one of the most interesting teams in the nation that could throw a real wrench into the narrative should they get excellent QB play from either Jacob Eason or Jake Fromm. If RB Nick Chubb is back to 100% health then Georgia is going to be nasty on offense because they’ll be able to spread their receivers out. Defensively, UGA returns 10 starters from a squad that allowed 24PPG. They can legitimately finish with 12 wins.
#18 Computer Hope Last Season 7-6, Won Independence Bowl. Another potential surprise team, the Wolfpack are a dangerous team because their D-Line is going to be incredibly dominant & winning in the trenches typically means winning a lot of football games. QB Ryan Finley had a solid season as a first time starter & I think he’ll get better. It’s wild to think that HC Dave Doeren might be on a hot seat because I think NC State is on the verge of becoming a major factor in the ACC.
#19 Computer Hope Last Season 5-7. Texas got their man when they lured Houston HC Tom Herman away from the Cougars and brought him to Austin. Charlie Strong couldn’t quite get things working with the Longhorns but he hardly leaves the cupboards bare for Herman who inherits one of the most talented teams in the nation. Texas returns 17 starters including 10 on defense & should be A LOT better especially considering QB Shane Buechele was a true frosh last season. They’ll win big.
#20 Computer Hope Last Season 9-4, Lost Citrus Bowl. It sounds wild to think Louisville is barely hanging on for a spot in the top-20 considering they started the 2016 season off 9-1 and have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in QB Lamar Jackson, but the Cardinals dropped their last 3 games in embarrassing fashion & it seems as if the 2017 version might not be as goo as the 2016 team. I’ll never count out Bobby Petrino in the college game & Louisville has a lot of talented pieces.
#21 Computer Hope Last Season 9-4, Won Outback Bowl. I think Jim McElwain is one of the best coaches in college football, but something seems off about the Gators this year. Their QB situation is still somewhat muddled and they’ve already suspended WR Antonio Callaway for the season opener against  Michigan. There is no question the Gators are talented enough to win the SEC East for a 3rd straight season but so far things are getting off to a great start down in Gainesville.
#22 Computer Hope Last Season 4-8. Brian Kelly might be coaching for his life this year in South Bend, but I think the Irish season might hinge on the play of QB Brandon Wimbush. If the rSO can live up to his recruiting hype, then Notre Dame has so much talent & firepower on offense, they’ll find it difficult not to score 40PPG! That will put pressure on the D which returns 7 starters for new DC Mike Elko. If Elko can get the most out of his defense, Notre Dame will have a shot at the playoffs.
#23 Computer Hope Last Season 6-7, Lost Birmingham Bowl. You won’t find the Gamecocks on anyone’s preseason Top-25, but South Carolina is going to make significant noise this year on the back of QB Jake Bentley. As a true freshman last year, Bentley completed 66% of his passes with 9TD to 4INT. He’s big at 6’4/230lbs & is going to get better. SC returns 10 starters on offense & should see a huge jump in production. Getting LB Skai Moore back this year will even make the defense better.
#24 Computer Hope Last Season 6-7, Won St. Petersburg Bowl. Like South Carolina, Mississippi St. has a QB in Nick Fitzgerald who I think the Bulldogs will ride hard to a lot of wins in 2017. The schedule is absolutely nasty but HC Dan Mullen always gets his teams to overachieve. It will be difficult to navigate a 3-game stretch that sees MSU host LSU followed by 2 road games against Georgia & Auburn. Win those three & will be seeing shades of 2014 when the Bulldogs were ranked #1!!
#25 Computer Hope Last Season 11-2, Won Birmingham Bowl. South Florida is the team you are going to hear a lot about when it comes to non-Power 5 conferences either crashing the playoff party or getting into the New Year’s 6 bowls. The Bulls have to deal with losing their HC Willie Taggart to Oregon but Charlie Strong knows a little thing about winning & he takes over. The schedule is made for USF to finish 13-0 & QB Quinton Flowers deserves to have some spotlight on him.

August 27, 2017 Posted by | AAC, ACC, Alabama, Auburn, Big 10, Big XII, Clemson, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami-FL, Michigan, Mississippi St., NC State, NCAA, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Pac 12, Penn St., Power 25, Preseason, SEC, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, TCU, Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington | Leave a comment

2017 NOTRE DAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

As an unapologetic Notre Dame homer, what would my college previews be without giving the IRISH their due? Notre Dame is coming off their worst season since Charlie Weis led the Irish to a 3-9 finish in 2007. Weis would only last a couple of years before Brian Kelly came to town, and to me this is the biggest story line Notre Dame faces. Can Brian Kelly keep his job? Notre Dame is about as high profile as high profile can get so Kelly turning in 4-8 seasons won’t keep him in South Bend. Unless Kelly and Notre Dame can show massive improvement, I’m not sure AD Jack Swarbrick won’t be looking for a new head coach come January.

To that end, Kelly has made significant shake ups to his staff. Chip Long is the new OC and Mike Elko is the new DC. Kelly is banking on fresh blood in South Bend pumping new life blood into the program that could secure his job but also make the Irish relevant again. It’s easy to think that Kelly has peaked at Notre Dame. The Irish turned in a couple of 8-5 seasons in Kelly’s first two years before going a perfect 12-0 during the regular season in 2012 to get the national championship game against Alabama where the Irish were exposed. Since that 12-1 season that saw Notre Dame finish #4 in the nation, the Irish have posted a 31-20 record over the past 4 years which include the 4-8 debacle last season. That’s an average of just under 8 wins per season. That won’t play at Notre Dame.

So this is where we are. There can be no moral victories for Notre Dame this year. All that matters is whether or not they win games. I think it’s worth mentioning schedule. The Irish don’t have the easiest schedule:

Temple
Georgia
at Boston College
at Michigan State
Miami-OH
at North Carolina
off
USC
North Carolina State
Wake Forest
at Miami-FL
Navy
at Stanford

That is horribly rough sledding, but keep in mind that the Irish in 2012 when they made their run to the national championship finished 7-0 at home. In 2015 when Notre Dame finished 10-3 and ranked #11 in the nation, they were 6-0 at home. You can say this about every team in college football, but given Notre Dame’s schedule, how well they play at home because they get 7 true home games is of massive importance. The Irish really only play 2 difficult road games (Miami-FL & Stanford), but if they protect Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish could be 9-0 when they fly to Coral Gables and potentially 11-0 when they end their season on the road against Stanford. Beating USC won’t be easy but even if the Irish drop that game, they can still finish 6-1 at home. That would put them in position to win 10 games if they win their bowl unless they were able to upset Miami-FL or Stanford on the road. Notre Dame has to take advantage of their home schedule.

TEAM NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Computer Hope This should easily be the best offense Brian Kelly has ever had in South Bend. Josh Adams & Dexter Williams are outstanding runners. The O-Line is arguably the best in the nation & has 2 potential All-American & 2 NFL 1st Rd. Picks. The skill positions are stacked with WRs Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Miles Boykin, WR Chase Claypool, WR CJ Sanders, TE Durham Smythe & TE Alize Mack. If QB Brandon Wimbush plays to his talent level, ND should average 40PPG. Defensively ND returns 7 starters and don’t have any significant holes to fill. To me this one falls on DC Mike Elko. Can he get the most out of this defense. They’ll make or break the season. LB Nyles Morgan & DT Jerry Tillery need to lead and ND needs to generate a significant pass rush.

August 27, 2017 Posted by | NCAA, Notre Dame, Predictions, Preseason, Previews | Leave a comment

2017 ACC PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

The ACC has made some headlines this off season in declaring they are the best conference in college football, taking over the title from the SEC. That seems odd given how dominant the SEC has been over the last 10-15 years, but do the ACC acolytes have a point? Consider last year’s records against the other Power-5 conferences along with Notre Dame and also their bowl record:

SEC: 10-4
BIG 10: 6-2
Notre Dame: 3-2
BIG XII: 1-1
PAC 12: 0-2
TOTAL: 20-11

BOWL GAMES: 9-3

The Big XII & Pac 12 didn’t have much by way of sample size. Miami-FL beat a then #14 ranked West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl 31-14 leaving no doubt that the Canes were by far superior to the Mountaineers. The other Big XII game came early in the 2016 season as Oklahoma St. beat Pittsburgh 45-38. Hardly inspiring considering it was a “close” loss for Pitt who finished 8-5 while Oklahoma St. finished 10-3 and had a chance to win the Big XII had they beating Oklahoma in Bedlam! last season.

The Pac 12 games were also decided in the ACC’s favor despite going 0-2 against them. North Carolina lost 25-23 to a Stanford team that finished in the top-12 with a 10-3 record. Beating UNC by 2 points is hardly dominant especially when Carolina wasn’t one of the 5 best teams in the ACC while Stanford was AT LEAST the 3rd best team in the Pac 12 by season’s end. The other Pac 12 game came early as Oregon beat Virginia 44-26 in Eugene. You can hardly extrapolate from that one as UVA was the ACC’s worst squad.

No conference had a better bowl record than the ACC who finished 9-3 and had a bowl record against the SEC of 4-1! Possibly even more important is that Clemson took down Alabama to win the National Championship. At least for 2016, the ACC’s best was better than the SEC’s best. And is it really THAT much of a jump to think Florida St. was better than Florida last season? No, because FSU actually beat the Gators 31-13! Is it hard to imagine Virginia Tech being better than LSU? Not in the least. Is it difficult to think Miami-FL was better than Auburn? Was Louisville better than Georgia? At the top at least you can certainly make an argument that the ACC truly did take over the moniker of “BEST CONFERENCE” in college football. The ACC has won 2 of the last 4 national championships and they can make an argument they should have won 3 of them.

Heading into this season, the ACC has 2 teams in the preseason top-25 rankings. The SEC has only Alabama. The SEC does get 6 teams in the preseason top-25 but the ACC gets 5 of their own. And what about talent? Here is how many players were drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft by rounds between the SEC and ACC:

1st Round
SEC: 12
ACC: 4

Rounds 1-2
SEC: 21
ACC: 7

Rounds 1-3
SEC: 30
ACC: 11

Rounds 1-4
SEC: 38
ACC: 17

8As you can see, from an NFL talent perspective, it’s not really that close, but doesn’t that make the case for the ACC having better “teams” that much more potent considering how well the ACC did against vastly superior talented SEC squads? What about moving forward with recruited talent? According to Phil Steele, The SEC has 4 teams have top-10 recruiting classes as compared to the ACC’s 2. The SEC had 9 programs rank in the top-25 while the ACC has 4. The SEC has 11 programs finish in the top-30 in 2017 recruiting classes. The ACC has just 5.

As far as NFL talent and recruiting talent is concerned, the ACC falls behind the SEC, but that is why we play the games. As much as it sounds odd to believe the ACC is now the class of college football, the on-field results support this conclusion. The question becomes whether or not the ACC has any staying power over the SEC and whether or not the Big 10 can start getting very consistent play from Michigan St., Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana & Iowa which could combine with Ohio State, Penn State & Michigan to potentially throw the Big 10 into the discussion in the near future? The question of whether or not the ACC is better than the SEC is very intriguing and one that is worth watching as the season unfolds.

# TEAM ATLANTIC
1 Computer Hope If Deshaun Watson were returning to Clemson for the 2017 season I think the Tigers would be the easy pick to repeat as national champions. The big question mark regarding Clemson is how new QB Kelly Bryant will handle the team. That’s a good question but to me what separates Clemson is their defense. DTs Dexter Lawrence & Christian Wilkins are 1st Rd. NFL picks. DE Clelin Ferrell is going to take over Carlos Watkins’ role from last season. Kendall Joseph is the best LB on the team & he returns. The secondary is FILTHY! Clemson gets Florida St. at home which decides the Atlantic. I think the defense gives Clemson the edge.
2 Computer Hope If there is an argument to be made for two teams out of the same conference getting to the playoffs, then the ACC can certainly make that case. FSU is the favorite in any other conference outside the SEC. I think what puts FSU a hair behind Clemson is that Dalvin Cook is a HUGE loss. Cook might be a top-5 NFL RB this season if that gives you any indication of how good he was last season. I also think losing DE DeMarcus Walker is tough although Brian Burns & Josh Sweat should be INCREDIBLE edge rushers. S Derwin James is arguably the best player in college football! The road game at Clemson is the big hurdle for the Noles.
3 Computer Hope Defense in the ACC Atlantic continues to be the key as NC State separates themselves with a NASTY D-Line led by All-American Bradley Chubb! At 6’4/280lbs, Chubb is a physical beast off the edge but DT BJ Hill, DT Justin Jones & DE Kentavius Street are also returning starters that are going to be exceptionally difficult to handle. Offensively QB Ryan Finley returns along with his top-4 receivers & 4 O-Linemen. Finley was a bit underrated last year having completed 60% of his passes for 3059yds with 18TD to just 8INT. The junior enters his 2nd year as QB1 & will get better. NC State can make noise getting Clemson & L’Ville at home.
4 Computer Hope How good is the ACC Atlantic? The defending Heisman Trophy winning QB is playing for a team I think will finish 4th in his own division! The Cardinals only return 4 starters on offense but have some very good weapons in RBs Jeremy Smith & Colin Wilson along with WR Jaylen Smith. QB Lamar Jackson is the show of course but he’s got plenty of weapons to help. Defensive Louisville returns 7 starters on a unit that allowed 23.8PPG. The unit loses some big time players though in Keith Kelsey, Devonte Fields, De’Angelo Brown & Josh Harvey-Clemons. Those are 4 big time players. NC State & FSU on the road pushes Louisville to 4th.
5 Computer Hope HC Dino Babers did a solid job in his first year at Syracuse. The Orange’s record didn’t regress from the previous year & Syracuse got wins over Virginia Tech & Boston College which were great for morale. The talent base here isn’t outstanding which is what you’d expect, but Syracuse returns 19 starters from last year’s squad and they all now have a year of playing under Babers systems which is going to help with experience. QB Eric Dungey can play as evidenced by his 65% completion rate last year & 2679yds. The defense returns 10 starters and if it can generate any kind of pass rush they’ll be a tough out. Getting BC & WF at home helps.
6 Computer Hope HC Steve Addazio is on the hot seat and he enters an interesting situation. I think BC is going to have a solid defense headlined by potential All-American DE Harold Landry, but Landry has quite a bit of help. DE Zach Allen is a load while LBs Connor Strachan & Ty Schwab can fill it up. BC also features a secondary made up of entirely upperclassmen with 3 returning starters. The defense has a shot to be good. Offensively BC hasn’t fared too well under Addazio. They are struggling but moving on from QB Patrick Towles might not be awful and BC returns 4 starters on the O-Line. With just 6 obvious losses, BC could get back to a bowl in ’17.
7 Computer Hope HC Dave Clawson did a FANTASTIC job last season in getting Wake Forest to their first bowl game since 2011 and getting their first bowl win since 2008! He also did this with a team that averaged just 20.4PPG & a QB that completed 56% of his passes with 9TD to 10INT! Clawson will need to do another fantastic coaching job should the Demon Deacons get back to a bowl. The offense returns 9 starters but the unit was dreadful last season. They’ll improve but by how much? Defense has been Wake’s calling card & DE Duke Ejiofor returns along with CB Amari Henderson, but Wake loses quite a bit too. The schedule didn’t do them favors!

 

# TEAM COASTAL
1 Computer Hope Miami-FL’s 9-4 record last season in HC Mark Richt’s first foray in Coral Cables was THIS CLOSE to being 12-1 as Miami-FL lost 3 games by a combined 11 points & never won a close game. Richt has done a fantastic job amassing talent in his short time at Miami and it’s already paying dividends. THE U has to break in a new QB with Brad Kaaya leaving for the NFL but the skill positions are STACKED & the O-line returns 4 starters. Defensively, Miami-FL is starting to look like the Miami of old. Shaq Quarterman is a beast. The entire Front-7 returns and the secondary has some salty big hitters. Miami-FL looks really really good!
2 Computer Hope I absolutely LOVE what Justin Fuente is doing in Blacksburg and the Hokies saw absolutely no dropoff after Frank Beamer’s retirement as Fuente took Beamer’s last squad that finished 7-6 and turned them into a 10-4 team that won the ACC Coastal! Replacing Jerod Evans at QB is a big fill although I think VT can handle it a bit due to Fuente’s offensive schemes. Still, a frosh QB in Josh Jackson will have a learning curve. The Hokies defense should be ELECTRIC as DC Bud Foster’s unit returns 8 of their top-10 tacklers including guys like Tremaine Edumunds, Mook Reynolds, & Andrew Motuapuaka. Nov. 4th is going to be nuts!
3 Computer Hope Losing Dedrick Mills earlier this year is a huge blow as GT’s leading rusher last season was dismissed from the team, but the Yellow Jackets are more scheme based than talent based so I don’t think it’ll matter too much. HC Paul Johnson gets the most out of his talent & Georgia Tech returns 16 starters from a team that went 9-4 a year ago. QB Matthew Jordan replaces QB Justin Thomas, but Jordan has been around awhile so I don’t think it’ll be a drop off. Georgia Tech’s defense should be just as good as it was last season. Getting Pittsburgh & North Carolina at home pushes the Ramblin’ Wreck up to 3rd and they should get 7-8 wins.
4 Computer Hope Duke is a tricky team because like Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils under HC David Cutcliffe are almost always going to exceed expectations and get the most out of their talent. Duke returns 7 starters on offense including QB Daniel Jones who as a freshman last season completed 63% of his passes for 2836yds & 16TD to 9INT. This for a Duke squad that finished 4-8. Under Cutcliffe’s guidance, Jones is going to get even better & the Blue Devils have enough help to push the offense forward. Defensively Duke returns 5 starters but the players returning such as LBs Joe Giles-Harris & Ben Humphreys are rock solid. Don’t sleep on Duke.
5 Computer Hope USC transfer QB Max Browne has been named the starter, but I think a lot of people don’t realize how good Nathan Peterman was last season. Peterman threw for almost 3,000 yards along with 27TD to 7INT. Browne is big at 6’5/230lbs and he has talent, but Peterman is going to be difficult to replace as will heart & soul RB James Conner. I really like Quadree Henderson & Qadree Ollison but how does this offense not regress? PITT returns 4 starters from a defense that yielded 35.2PPG! That’s a blessing & a curse. The D returns just 2 starters from their Front-7. Unless Rori Blair goes crazy there isn’t a pass rush. I’m not a believer here.
6 Computer Hope This seems WAY TOO LOW for Carolina under HC Larry Fedora, but wow did the Tar Heels lose a lot to the NFL. On offense they lost the #2 overall pick in QB Mitch Trubisky who passed for almost 4,000yds and 30TD! Brandon Harris is supposedly the new QB, but he couldn’t keep the LSU gig from a Purdue transfer! UNC also loses Elijah Hood, TJ Logan, Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard & Mack Hollins! Good grief! Also remember they lose C Lucas Crowley & RT Jon Heck, both 2-time All ACC performers! On D the Heels bring back 7 starters but lose Nazair Jones & Des Lawrence! Like Pitt, where is the pass rush? Looks like a transition year.
7 Computer Hope Virginia is trying to become respectable and this could be a coming out season for the Cavaliers. I’m very interested to see how the defense does after they gave up 33.8PPG a season ago. This unit should improve immensely given the talent on board. DE Andrew Brown is a monster on the edge if he can stay healthy & is a potential NFL 1st Rd. pick. LB Micah Kiser is an All-American & LB Jordan Mack was outstanding last year as a true frosh & he’ll get even better. S Quin Blanding is fantastic on the hunt & UVA’s corners are all 6’2 or better! The offense is just OK & I think RB Taquan Mizzell is a big loss but QB Kurt Benkert should improve.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

ATLANTIC ACC CHAMPIONSHIP COASTAL
Computer Hope This might seem like another win for Clemson on their road to repeating as National Champions, but I like this game because Miami-FL’s real strength resides in their O-Line. I think Clemson is going to win the Atlantic because I don’t think anyone really has an answer for their Front-7 on defense, but Miami-FL has an offensive line that should be good enough to give the Hurricanes some time to utilize their skill position players. I don’t think it’ll be enough this year as Clemson wins their 3rd straight ACC title. Computer Hope

August 27, 2017 Posted by | ACC, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida St., Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami-FL, NC State, NCAA, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest | Leave a comment

2017 BIG XII PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

I think without a doubt, the Big XII from top to bottom is going to be the most competitive conference in college football in 2017. It would be easy to saw the conference is top heavy because Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. look to be outstanding this year leading one to assume those two are going to finish 1-2 in the conference and give us a chance at Bedlam! round 2 in Dallas at the conclusion of the regular season but consider:

TCU returns 17 starters from last season’s squad that went 6-7 but lose 4 close games meaning the Frogs could have been 10-3. From 2014-2015, TCU went 23-3 so this program isn’t far removed from being an ELITE top-10 program. Kenny Hill doesn’t get as much publicity as Baker Mayfield or Mason Rudolph, but Hill ran for 609yds & 10TD last season while throwing for over 3200 yards & completing 61% of his passes. If Hill becomes a bit more judicious with his throws & avoids turnovers, TCU is going to be hard to stop on offense. Note too that TCU returns their top-9 receivers, and I’d expect them to get A LOT better defensively given HC Gary Patterson’s reputation for fielding solid defenses.

Texas returns 17 starters from last season’s 5-7 squad that lost 5 close games meaning the Longhorns were fairly close to being a 10-2 squad in a best case scenario and that is with a true freshman QB playing for a lame duck head coach. QB Shane Buechele is the most talented QB in the conference in my opinion and threw for almost 3000 yards & 21TD last season while completing 60.4% of his passes. If he improves upon those numbers, Texas is going to be DIFFICULT to handle. RB Chris Warren is a beast & UT brings back their top- 3 receivers along with their entire O-Line. Defensively Texas struggled last season but they return 10 starters & have immense talent. Texas plays Oklahoma in Dallas and gets Oklahoma St. in Austin. They play at USC, but this team has the ability to get to 11-1!

Kansas St. returns 14 starters from a 9-4 team that lost 2 close games so you could argue they could have been 11-2 in a best case scenario. The only player of consequence lost was DE Jordan Willis. QB Jesse Ertz is a dual threat option that ran for over 1,000 yards last season & also passed for 1755. The senior should be a lot better this season as his receiving corps should be a lot better & his O-Line returns 4 starters. I think DE Reggie Walker can take over the void left by Jordan Willis and the defense will keep moving forward. Kansas St. also has a very favorable schedule as they get Oklahoma, TCU & Baylor at home. It is entirely possible for the Wildcats to be 10-0 when they travel to Stillwater to play Oklahoma St. on November 18th!

I think Baylor could be an under the radar team. The situation is difficult, but new HC Matt Rhule did a tremendous job at Temple especially on the defensive side of the ball and the Bears have quite a bit of talent coming back on defense that showed the ability to put pressure on opposing QBs. You can win a lot of turnover battles when this happens on defense & if you win the turnover battle then you put yourself in position to win a lot of football games. QB Zach Smith wasn’t terrible splitting time with Seth Russell last season & RB Terrance Williams has a lot of upside. Keep an eye on RB JaMycal Hasty as well. Williams & Hasty could make for a special 1-2 punch out of the backfield which would give Baylor a COMPLETELY NEW identity of running the ball and playing great defense which would be almost the opposite of what we saw in the Art Briles era of big time passing offense!

West Virginia on paper doesn’t appear to be as good as the top-6 teams, but the Mountaineers finished 10-3 last season and ranked 18th in the nation! They take on significant losses from a season ago so it’ll be interesting to see what WVU can accomplish this season. I’m a big believer in HC Dana Holgorsen so while it doesn’t seem like West Virginia will be in the running to win the Big XII title, they do add to the overall competitiveness of the league because they do have enough coaching moxie and talent to pull of upsets at home against teams like Oklahoma State & Texas.

Texas Tech, Iowa St. and Kansas won’t be factors but I think Matt Campbell and David Beatty are going solid jobs so far at Iowa St. & Kansas respectively. Will the Cyclones & Jayhawks win a lot of games? Probably not, but I also think those teams have some upside to be competitive and not just a 30pt win for whoever they are playing like they have been in recent times. In Lubbock, Kliff Kingsbury might be coaching for his job and the Red Raiders will score some points making the games at the very least exciting.

All in all, there doesn’t seem to be an off week in the Big XII which makes it one of the most exciting, and in my opinion, the most competitive conference in college football.






# TEAM BIG XII
1 Computer Hope He doesn’t get as much media attention as some other guys but Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph is a legitimate Heisman and All-American candidate. He passed for 4091yds last year with a 28:4 TD to INT ratio! OK State brings back 4 starters on the O-Line along with RB Justice Hill, All-American WR James Washington & WR Jalen McCleskey. Oklahoma St. is going to score A TON of points! Defensively, OSU lost quite a bit & bring back just 5 starters but I think edge rushers Cole Walterscheid & Jarrell Owens can get after it. LB Cody Whitener is an All-Conference talent & the safeties are nice. Getting OU in Stillwater is HUGE!
2 Computer Hope If Bob Stoops hadn’t abruptly retired, I think I go with the Sooners to win the Big XII, but there will have to be some transition and given that Bedlam is in Stillwater this season, I think it tips the scales just enough in Oklahoma St.’s favor. That being said, this is an INCREDIBLE Oklahoma squad headlined by QB Baker Mayfield & TE Mark Andrews. The O-Line returns all 5 starters including all world LT Orlando Brown. However, OU loses Joe Mixon, DeDe Westbrook & Samaje Perine. That’s a lot to lose! OU does return 7 starters on defense & that unit should be much improved over last year’s unit. OU returns 6 of their back-7 on D.
3 Computer Hope TCU had a down year last year going 6-7 after going 23-3 from in 2014 & 2015. It certainly was a transition year for Gary Patterson & his staff, but the Frogs should be back to winning this season. Offensively TCU brings back QB Kenny Hill & RB Kyle Hicks along with their top-9 receivers! The O-Line returns 4 giving TCU 10 starters returning from an offense that scored 31PPG! Defensively TCU brings back 7 starters including 5 of their top-6 tacklers. TCU’s defense in the Big XII hasn’t been as good statistically as it was in the MW, but they’ll have big improvement this year. The schedule is a BEAST with their road slate.
4 Computer Hope If HC Tom Herman is as good as everyone thinks he is and he can keep improving over what he did at Houston, then this year has a feel like you had better beat Texas now because you aren’t beating them later. The Longhorns offense should be exceptional especially if QB Shane Buechele improves. He’s my favorite QB in college football & was outstanding as a true freshman. I think RB Chris Warren could be outstanding & the O-line returns 4 starters. Defensively Texas returns 10 starters including LB Malik Jefferson & NT Poona Ford. The unit did allow 31.5PPG last season, but the talent is fantastic and I’d expect big improvement.
5 Computer Hope Kansas St. is coming off a 9-4 years & they are a dangerous team in the Big XII. Bill Snyder always gets the most out of his teams & this team could be special especially given that the Wildcats play only Texas & Oklahoma St. on the road. It’s certainly possibly for KSU to finish 10-2 this year. Offensively it starts with do everything QB Jesse Ertz, but he’s got some help. I think RB Alex Barnes has big upside & Ertz also gets his top-2 receivers back along with 4 starters on the O-Line. KSU returns 6 starters on D & will have to replace Jordan Willis, but Reggie Walker looks salty and both CBs return along with both DTs. This is a good team.
6 Computer Hope I’m excited to see what HC Matt Rhule can do in Waco. Rhule first season at Temple saw the Owls go 2-10 and by years 3 & 4, Rhule had Temple with back-to-back 10 win seasons! Rhule’s a defense first guy & Temple was marked by their extremely stingy defense once Rhule had his systems in place. That’s a sea change from the Art Briles Baylor era where the Bears were incredible offensively & just decent on the defensive side. Rhule steps into a tough situation but recruited well & probably has more talent to work with than he’s ever had. Keep an eye on Baylor edge rushers. They could make or break the season & they’re pretty good.
7 Computer Hope From the outside you definitely can see how this might be a transition year for West Virginia. Offensively the Mountaineers return just 5 starters & lose their QB Skyler Howard along with their top-2 receivers & 3 starters on the O-Line. On the other hand, RB Justin Crawford is a special player & WVU has Florida transfer QB Will Grier coming in. HC Dana Holgorsen can coach up an offense so Grier’s play will be important. Defensively WVU returns just 3 starters, but they returned only 3 in 2016 & had the best defense to date in the Holgorsen era. A lot has to go right for WVU, but if Grier plays to his talent, they’ll be tough.
8 Computer Hope I hate putting Texas Tech 8th because I’m not sure that can allow HC Kliff Kingsbury to keep his job. The Red Raiders have some HUGE shoes to fill on offense needing to replace QB Pat Mahomes & WR Jonathan Giles. When you consider that the O-Line is young & they’re breaking in a new QB, things could get tough. On the other hand, TT brings back their top-2 rushers and the WR unit is still explosive. If QB Nic Shimonek can step in and play well, the Red Raiders will score. The problem is the disaster of a defense. TT has allowed 40+PPG in each of the last 3 seasons! Whatever happens, the defense has got to get better or it’s over.
9 Computer Hope HC Matt Campbell is doing a good job in Ames thus far and if not for a road date against Texas Tech, I’d have the Cyclones in 8th place this season. I think there is some upside to this squad. Offensively ISU brings back quite a bit at the skill positions. WRs Allen Lazard, Trever Ryen and Deshaunte Jones make a solid trio & TE Chase Allen has quite a bit of upside. QB Jacob Park has enough talent to exploit his weapons. The problem is that the O-line is young & inexperienced. Defensively I like JaQuan Bailey coming off the edge & ISU returns 5 of their back-7 which is interesting because those guys played well. They could get to a bowl.
10 Computer Hope Kansas hasn’t been relevant since the Todd Reesing years going back to the last 2000s! The Jayhawks haven’t had a winning season since 2008 so HC David Beatty has a lot of room to make up. Oddly enough KU is worth the price of admission because they have a couple of potential All-American candidates on defense in DE Dorance Armstrong & DT Daniel Wise. They have one of the better D-lines in the country which isn’t want you’d expect from a program like Kansas. No depth but solid players. Kansas is relying on a lot of JUCO talent while trying to slowly build the roster. Last year KU was 2-10. If they win 3-4 this year, solid!

BIG XII CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

1-SEED BIG XII CHAMPIONSHIP 2-SEED
Computer Hope I think this is a dangerous game for Oklahoma St. because it’s one thing to beat a rival the caliber of Oklahoma once in a season, but to be asked to do it a second time seems almost like an impossibility. I’ll say this for the Big XII this season, going to a championship could hurt them. If Oklahoma St. runs the table to 12-0 & Oklahoma is 10-2 with losses to both OK State & Ohio State, then it seems like a near impossibility for Oklahoma to get to the playoffs if they beat Oklahoma St. in the championship game. That’s bad for the conference, but I think OU wins here. Computer Hope

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Baylor, Big XII, Iowa St., Kansas, Kansas St., NCAA, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Predictions, Preseason, Previews, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia | Leave a comment

2017 PAC 12 PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

When I think of the Pac 12 this season the word that I can’t escape is “TRANSITION”. When you take a look at the Pac 12 South, you find that 3 of the coaches find themselves on the hot seat. UCLA HC Jim Mora has done an excellent job of recruiting talent for the Bruins, but last year UCLA finished 4-8 in a year that saw star QB Josh Rosen miss time due to injury. The year prior, UCLA finished 8-5 meaning the Bruins are 12-13 over the last two seasons which is far below their expectation given the amount of talent walking on campus. Arizona HC Rich Rodriguez looked to have Arizona headed in the right direction after starting with back to back 8-5 seasons before improving to 10-4 with a Pac 12 South division title in 2014. The last two seasons have seen the Wildcats regress to 10-15 including last year’s 3-9 disaster. It’s also trending down for Arizona St. HC Todd Graham who was saddled with injuries all season long as Arizona St. just missed out on a bowl and finished 5-7 but was humiliated by a terrible Arizona squad in the season finale.

On the flip side, Colorado’s HC Mike MacIntyre massive overachieved with the Buffaloes last season netting Colorado a Pac 12 South title and a double digit win season at 10-4. USC also transitioned heavily during the season. After starting 1-3, the Trojans put Sam Darnold in as the starting QB and ripped off 9 straight wins including an incredible 52-49 win over Penn St. in the Rose Bowl. USC finished 10-3 and ranked #3 in the nation! USC hitting stride this early can only mean dire consequences for the rest of the Pac 12 because as we’ve seen recently in the Pete Carroll days, when USC is going well, they are practically an unbeatable college football program.

The Pac 12 North is a little more stable, but there is also quite a bit of transitioning happening in that division as well. Both California and Oregon have new coaches & both squads have track records of success when things are going well, especially in Oregon’s case as the Ducks feature a football program that have proven good enough to win national championships. Oregon St. is still transitioning under HC Gary Andersen who enters his 2nd year with the Beavers. Andersen has a proven track record of success so it only seems like a matter of time before Oregon St. become a factor in the North. In certain ways both Washington & Washington State have been transitioning. It’s easy to forget but Chris Petersen is entering just his 4th year with the Huskies and let’s not forget that UW was a combined 15-12 in Petersen’s first two years before last year’s 12-2 breakout that resulted in Washington getting to the playoffs yet losing to Alabama 24-7 in the Peach Bowl. Mike Leach enters his 6th year in Pullman, but Leach is starting to hit his stride as the Cougars are 17-9 over the last 2 seasons as compared to their 12-25 record over Leach’s first 3. Some of that is due to Luke Falk I’m sure, but more is probably due to Leach finally having implemented his brand & culture of football.

Stanford of course is the mainstay. David Shaw consistently turns out winners and this year will be no different for Shaw and the Cardinal, but if you are looking for great story lines in the Pac 12, look for the transitions of the teams and how each program is progressing on their paths. These stories are a bit more subtle in nature, but very interesting. The Pac 12 is an interesting conference that probably should get more media scrutiny but is hurt because of their time zones. It could look much different in 2018 than it does right now in 2017 and that is the exciting part heading into the season.

# TEAM PAC 12 SOUTH
1 Computer Hope USC isn’t back to their Pete Carroll/Matt Leinart/Reggie Bush days but they are a lot closer than they’ve been coming off a Rose Bowl win over Penn St. & finishing 2016 ranked #3! QB Sam Darnold returns & is arguably the best QB in college football. So does RB Ronald Jones. USC needs to break in a lot of starters on the O-Line & at receiver, but the talent is there. On the defensive side of the football, USC returns 7 starters led by DE Porter Gustin, LB Cameron Smith & CB Iman Marshall, all guys who could be All-Americans. The Trojans are legitimate championship contenders & they get Stanford at the Coliseum!
2 Computer Hope The schedule makers didn’t do UCLA any favors this season giving them road games against Stanford, Washington, Utah & USC while also getting a home game against Oregon! HC Jim Mora has done an incredible job recruiting for the Bruins so talent shouldn’t be an issue. QB Josh Rosen is healthy & is playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder which could be a scary proposition. Defensively UCLA has some big shoes to fill as Tak McKinley & Eddie Vanderdoes are now playing on Sunday, but the secondary should be a strength & talent is plentiful. The catch for UCLA is turning all that talent into productive victories.
3 Computer Hope There might not be a better looking team coming off the bus than Arizona St,. but HC Todd Graham & the Sun Devils haven’t been able to do much the last couple of seasons as ASU has gone 11-14 in that span. This year ASU should be explosive on offense with QB Manny Wilkins returning along with skill players Demario Richard, Kalen Ballage & N’Keal Harry. The O-Line returns 3 starters so points will be scored. Defensively I love Arizona St. because they are so aggressive & blitz heavy. It can get you beat, but it’s NASTY when working. I think Jojo Wicker has a huge year. The schedule isn’t easy, but ASU gets back to winning.
4 Computer Hope On the one hand, Colorado had a MASSIVE year last season finishing 10-4 with a Pac 12 South title. On the other, Colorado got exposed against Michigan, Washington, USC & Oklahoma State, the best 3 teams they faced all season. A 10-5 win at Stanford really cemented Colorado’s year & they came close to winning at USC but against ELITE talent, Colorado was outscored 145-63! The Buffaloes return 9 starters on an offense that averaged 31.1PPG last year so I think they get better. The problem is that UC returns just 3 starters on defense losing 8 of their top 11 tacklers. The defense will be key for Colorado to keep trending up.
5 Computer Hope It’s so difficult to call for Utah to have a down year because it seems like no matter what happens from year to year, HC Kyle Whittingham gets the Utes to 9-10 wins. I think this year resembles more of 2012-2013 as Utah returns just 9 total starters & loses RB Joe Williams. They do return QB Troy Williams, but I think he’s a limited QB having completed just 53% of his passes last year with a 15:8 TD:INT ratio. Utah also has 4 new starters on the O-Line. Defensively Lowell Lotulelei returns, but the losses are HEAVY including Hunter Dimick, Marcus Williams & Pasoni Tasini. It feels like Utah is going into transition mode.
6 Computer Hope Arizona returns 14 starters from a 3-9 squad including QB Brandon Dawkins. On some level I think the Wildcats should be in for an improved season, but that 3-9 is very troubling. Arizona wasn’t even competitive outside of their first 4 games. Yes they beat Arizona State, but the Sun Devils were so injury depleted at the time that Arizona was essentially beating the 2nd team & they still allowed ASU to score 35pts. Take that game out & you have an Arizona squad with wins over Grambling & Hawaii! That’s it. HC Rich Rodriguez isn’t recruiting that well & you have to wonder if he can survive another season with 3-4 wins?

 

# TEAM PAC 12 NORTH
1 Computer Hope A lot of people have Washington winning the North but I’m going with Stanford. The Cardinal return a truckload on offense. I think QB Keller Chryst has a great year given his returning weapons: WR Trenton Irwin, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside & TE Dalton Schultz. I think RB Bryce Love picks up where Christian McCaffery left off & the OL returns 4 starters. Defensively the Cardinal returns DT Harrison Phillips who could be a 1st Team All-American & a 1st Rd. NFL draft pick. They also return 8 of their top-10 tacklers including the entire LB corps led by OLB Peter Kalambayi. Stanford gets UW at home which gives them the North.
2 Computer Hope Almost impossible to pick against Washington & HC Chris Petersen but the road date against Stanford is the game that hurts UW’s playoff hopes. Offensively the Huskies should be just as good as last season despite losing WR John Ross. QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, WR Dante Pettis & LT Trey Adams all return & all are outstanding with Browning be a legit Heisman contender Defensively UW returns 6 starters but will also get a full year from LB Azeem Victor who is one of the best LB in the nation. The corners are raw & Washington needs to figure out their pass rush, but this is a helluva football team.
3 Computer Hope QB Luke Falk surprised some people when he decided to return to Pullman for his senior season after having a 2016 year that saw him pass for almost 4500 yards, complete 70% of his pass & throw 38TD to just 11INT. Wazzou can score. They can score a lot & they’ll continue to do so as they have a solid rushing attack behind James Williams & Jamal Morrow long with a solid O-line. What puts the Cougars over the top for me is they return 9 starters on a defense that allowed 26PPG last year. They’ll need to replace Shalom Luani but the defense gets better. Beat Stanford & Wazzou could be playing for a playoff spot against UW!
4 Computer Hope Oregon gets Washington St. at home so it might be folly for me to have Oregon in 4th instead of 3rd, but I think the new transition to HC Willie Taggart costs them a game & pushes them behind the Cougars. The cupboards are certainly not bare in Eugene. The Ducks return 17 starters from a HORRIBLY underachieving 4-8 team from 2016. The Ducks return QB Justin Herbert who is going to be outstanding along with 5 starters on the O-Line, their top-2 receivers & RB Royce Freeman! Defensively Oregon returns 9 starters from a terrible unit but new DC Jim Leavitt is outstanding so the D should improve.
5 Computer Hope HC Gary Andersen is one of the best HCs in college football so it’s easy to see how he could take a middling Oregon St. program & have them on the rise. Andersen went 2-10 in his first year Corvallis and improved that to 4-8 last year in his 2nd season. It’s not inconceivable to think the Beavers could get to 7 wins this year although the schedule isn’t easy & they’ll have to win a couple of tough road dates. Offensively Oregon St. improved by 7.2PPG from 2015 to 2016 and the defense improved by 6.5PPG. If that happens again in 2017, Oregon St. would average 33.4PPG on offense & allows just 24.0PPG on defense. Nice!
6 Computer Hope New HC Justin Wilcox takes over a Bears program that hasn’t been that relevant since 2008. Phil Steele ranks California’s schedule as the 2nd most difficult in the nation this year which means Wilcox & his staff need to brace for a tough go. Cal does have an ELITE WR in Demetris Robertson but the Bears will need to put something around him to keep defenses from honing in on him on every down. Wilcox came up as a defensive coach & he’ll be sorely needed as Cal allowed 42.6PPG a year ago! There is some talent in different spots but Wilcox simply needs to find ways his players can succeed & keep building the roster.



PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

NORTH PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP SOUTH
Computer Hope This one is going to be amazing! Interestingly enough, Stanford travels to USC on September 9th so by the time this game comes around the two teams should be significantly different in execution and rhythm considering it’ll almost be 3 months since they played. The key here will be how USC transitions through the year. Right now I’d give the edge to Stanford because on paper I think the Cardinal are better, but USC has Sam Darnold & if the offense & defense gel, then the Trojans are SO TALENTED. I still say Stanford finds a way to win. Computer Hope

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Arizona, Arizona St., California, Colorado, NCAA, Oregon, Oregon St., Pac 12, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington St. | Leave a comment

2017 PRESEASON WEEK 2 – ROOKIE REPORT

TEAM COMMENTS
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB Hassan Reddick got a little bit of run time but managed a QB hit which was nice and he’s showing flash. 2nd Rd. S Budda Baker had a couple of tackles which was a little bit of drop from Week 1. 3rd Rd. WR Chad Williams had 4 targets but made just 1 catch for 14 yards. He’s pretty raw with character issues. A couple of undrafted guys did well in TE Ricky Seals-Jones & WR Krishawn Hogan. Seals-Jones is a massive WR from Texas A&M moving to TE & Hogan is 6’3. The Cards need weapons.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. edge rusher Tak McKinley had a great game going up against Steelers starting LT Alejandro Villanueva. McKinley only rushed 8 times but got a QBH and 2 hurries. 3rd Rd. LB Duke Reilly also filled it up nicely giving him now 2 solid preseason games. He can be special. 5th Rd. CB Damontae Kazee had 3 tackles which was nice to see. Frankly at this point it doesn’t matter how any other rookies play. If McKinley & Reilly fulfill their promise then Atlanta is going to be quite a bit better on defense.
Computer Hope Ravens 1st Rd. Pick CB Marlon Humphrey made his preseason debut but didn’t collect any stats and otherwise played OK. Getting on the field was a big deal. 2nd Rd. LB Tyus Bowser dropped off a little in Week 2 recording just one tackle. 3rd Rd. LB Tim Williams was solid getting a lot of pressure on the QB resulting in a sack and tackle for loss. 6th Rd. S Chuck Clark continued to get run time and cashed in with a couple of tackles. 3rd Rd. DE Chris Wormley didn’t do much in his 2nd go around.
Computer Hope 5th Rd. QB Nathan Peterman looked great inside the pocket but not so great when asked to make things happen. Peterman was 10/20 for 167yds. Tyrod Taylor looked awful so is there a competition brewing? 1st Rd. CB Tre’Davious White flashed with 4 tackles a TFL. 2nd Rd. WR Zay Jones showed up with 3 catches for 42yds. 6th Rd. LB Tanner Vallejo had a couple of tackles and is a lot like 5th Rd. LB Matt Milano as somewhat of a WIL/S hybrid type of player. Both are sort of tweeners that are tough.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. RB Christian McCaffery played just 9 snaps but in those 9 snaps he rushed 3 times for 33yds & a TD and caught 2 balls for 39 yards & 3 targets. The Titans had big problems with him. 2nd Rd. WR Curtis Samuel still has hamstring issues & you wonder what impact he’ll have. 3rd Rd. DE Daeshon Hall picked up a tackle I still think he’s going to make an impact with his motor this year. We still haven’t seen McCaffery on the field with Cam Newton as Newton has missed the first two preseason games.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Mitch Trubisky was fairly solid again going 6/8 for 60yds & a TD playing mostly the 2nd half. He got a little lucky when a would be pick was dropped & also took a sack. He’s playing well though. 2nd Rd. TE Adam Shaheen caught his only target for 9 yards. 3rd Rd. S Eddie Jackson got some run time & didn’t play bad. 4th Rd. RB Tarik Cohen started & rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries. Cohen is interesting in that he’s 5’6/170lbs! He doesn’t have the size to play in the NFL but he can carve out a role.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR John Ross missed the 2nd game & it’s looking like he’s going to be situational in 2017. 2nd Rd. pick Joe Mixon had a tough time rushing for 16 yards on 6 carries but catching his only target. His upside is exceptional. 3rd Rd. DE Jordan Willis had another great game getting a sack, TFL & QBH. 4th Rd. LB Carl Lawson missed time with his shoulder. 4th Rd. WR Josh Malone looked good again with 3 balls on 4 targets. 4th Rd. DT Ryan Glasgow was productive. This is a good looking draft class.
Computer Hope The #1 overall pick, DE Myles Garrett flashed again this week picking up a sack and a QB hit on just 15 pass rushing attempts. Nothing disappointing about Garrett thus far. 1st Rd. S Jabril Peppers saw action and looked good recording 4 tackles. 1st Rd. TE David Njoku had 3 targets but just 1 catch for 1 yard. 2nd Rd. QB DeShone Kizer was iffy going 8/13 or 76 yards & taking 2 sacks. 7th Rd. RB Matt Dayes ran for 15 yards on 5 carries which isn’t great but did have a 10yd run. He also caught 5 passes for 29.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Taco Charlton got after the QB a bit in Dallas’s win over the Colts in Week 2. Charlton is extremely important for the Cowboys pass rush in 2017. 2nd Rd. CB Chidobe Owuzie and 3rd Rd. CB Jourdan Lewis are still nursing injuries. Dallas needs those guys to be big parts of the defense. 4th Rd. WR Ryan Switzer also didn’t get any run time. 6th Rd. S Xavier Woods didn’t have any tackles after leading the team in Week 1. 6th Rd. CB Marquez White played pretty well. Dallas needs to see more.
Computer Hope Oddly enough the only Broncos drafted rookie to really do anything was 6th Rd. RB DeAngelo Henderson who had 6 carries 30 yards & also caught 2 balls for 20 yards. Henderson is an interesting prospect considering that the Broncos have had pretty good success historically with late round running backs. Henderson isn’t huge at 5’7 but is 200+lbs and ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash. The last two 6th round RBs the Broncos have were Mike Anderson and a guy named Terrell Davis who now sports a yellow jacket!
Computer Hope Detroit’s 1st Rd. Jarrad Davis provided some thump in the middle with a couple of tackles. His upside is fantastic. Davis’ Florida teammate & 2nd Rd. CB Teez Tabor also played fairly well. 3rd Rd. WR Kenny Golladay didn’t have as huge a game as he did in Week 1 but caught a pass. 4th Rd. TE Michael Roberts had 2 more catches bring his preseason total to 6. 4th Rd. LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin flashed with a TFL. 5th Rd. CB Jamal Agnew wasn’t very good & 6th Rd. QB Brad Kaaya was just OK.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. CB Kevin King had a couple of tackles and a pass defended. He’s catching on and could make the Packers secondary much better. 5th Rd. WR DeAngelo Yancey had a big game in Week 1 but didn’t catch either of his 2 targets against the Redskins. Green Bay had quite a few rookies not get much run time. 2nd Rd. S Josh Jones, 3rd Rd. DT Montravius Adams, 4th Rd. LB Vince Biegel, and 7th Rd. WR Malachi Dupre got little if any run time. Biegel could be getting on the field very soon.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Deshaun Watson didn’t look so hot going 3/10 for 102yds but he did rush for a TD and looked slippery as usual. My favorite Texans draft pick 3rd Rd. RB D’Onta Foreman ran for 17 yards & a TD on 7 carries which isn’t great but also caught both of his targets for 66yds. 2nd Rd. LB Zach Cunningham looked solid with 7 tackles & is ready I think. 5th Rd. CB Treston Decoud had a solid team in the secondary. I think the story here is that Tom Savage looked great so Watson might be behind him now.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Malik Hooker saw no action because of injury & this has to be concerning for the Colts after the Ryan Kelly news. 2nd Rd. CB Quincy Wilson played pretty well which at least makes up a bit for Hooker. 3rd Rd. edge rusher Tarell Basham was OK with a tackle. 4th Rd. RB Marlon Mack made his debut & had a significant impact! Mack made A LOT of people miss gaining 45 yards on just 5 carries & catching both his targets. 5th Rd. LB Anthony Walker was second on the team in tackles with 5.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. RB Leonard Fournette was out with a foot injury but 4th Rd. WR DeDe Westbrook had a MONSTER game pulling in 6 of his 7 targets for 131 yards! 2nd Rd. OT Cam Robinson did a good job. 3rd Rd. DE Dewaune Smoot had 3 tackles and a QBH. He’s playing well. 5th Rd. LB Blair Brown had a solid game. He’s an intriguing prospect at 5’11 and almost 240lbs. I’d like to see him make the 53-man roster. 7th Rd. CB Jalen Myrick got some more run time and a made a tackle. Westbrook was the story.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. QB Pat Mahomes showed the 1st round ability that KC traded up in the draft for. Mahomes was 10/14 for 88yds/2TD & he also ran the ball 3 times for 29 yards. Arm strength was fantastic & he had no turnovers. Great night! 2nd Rd. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon looked good again with 4 QBH and I’m excited for him. 3rd Rd. RB Kareem Hunt had 8 rushes & 3 catches for 63 total yards. 4th Rd. WR Jehu Chesson caught 2 of his 4 targets for just 15 yards. 5th Rd. LB Ukeme Eligwe was utterly fantastic.
Computer Hope 3rd Rd. G Dan Feeney was very solid against the Saints playing all 3 interior line positions. Had a couple of bad plays but did a good job. 4th Rd. S Rayshawn Jenkins played well and picked up 4 tackles. 5th Rd. CB Desmond King was fantastic for the 2nd week in a row. The only catch he allowed was for 1-yard and he was even able to get pressure on the QB! King looks like a steal at the moment. 7th Rd. DE Isaac Rochelle had another solid game & I think he’ll be interesting if he can provide depth here.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. TE Gerald Everett looked good with 4 catches on 4 targets for 30 yards. 3rd Rd. WR Cooper Kupp was a MONSTER and already looks like  Jared Goff favorite. Kupp had 6 catches for 70yds & a TD. 4th Rd. WR Josh Reynolds had a 20-yard TD reception from Sean Mannion. 6th Rd. DT Tanzel Smart was alright but not as impactful as he was in Week 1. 3rd Rd. S John Johnson had 5 tackles and did a good job in containment. LA has to be thrilled with Everett’s & Kupp’s play early on especially with Goff.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Charles Harris again didn’t record much on the stat sheet but got decent pressure and was pretty good. 3rd Rd. CB Cordrea Tankersley was outstanding in Miami’s 31-7 loss. He had one interception and dropped another. He was outstanding on underneath routes. 5th Rd. DT Davon Godchaux racked up a couple of tackles for the 2nd straight week. 6th Rd. DT Vincent Taylor flashed a bit with 4 tackles and a tackle for loss. The Phins have to be happy about Godchaux & Taylor playing well.
Computer Hope 2nd Rd. RB Dalvin Cook flashed big time rushing for 40 yards on 7 carries against Seattle’s firs team defense. Cook also caught a ball for 10 yards. 4th Rd. DT Jaleel Johnson was a monster against the run for the Vikings. Johnson had 5 tackles & 2 TFL & had 5 defensive stops on 15 running plays. As if the Vikings needed more playmakers, Johnson looks like a steal. 4th Rd. LB Ben Gedeon played well too. 6th Rd. TE Bucky Hodges caught 2 balls for 53yds & a TD. Hodges has a lot of upside as he’ll get even better.
Computer Hope New England once again was primarily looking at non-drafted free agent signings. WR Austin Carr caught 3 balls for 31 yards on 5 targets but his closest comp is Wayne Chrebet so he’s about as New England as you can get! 3rd Rd. DE Derek Rivers tore his ACL this past week and will miss the season. 4th Rd. DE Dietrich Wise didn’t do much either. Maybe the Patriots are better off without drafting anyone! DT Adam Butler played OK. LB Harvey Langi had a really good game. The BYU product had 4 tackles.
Computer Hope No run time against for 1st Rd. CB Marshon Lattimore. At this point I think the Saints would just like to see him on the field for the regular season. 2nd Rd. S Marcus Williams got a couple of tackles in limited time. 3rd Rd. RB Alvin Kamara was outstanding gaining 61 rushing yards & a score on only 5 carries while catching a pass for 22 yards. He scored on a 50-yard TD run! 3rd Rd. LB Alex Anzalone looked pretty good & the Saints will need this athleticism at LB. 6th Rd. DE Al-Quadin Muhammad was solid.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE Evan Engram flashed a bit in this game with 3 catches for 32 yards on 4 targets including a 21-yard catch. 2nd Rd. DT Dalvin Tomlinson did a great job again inside stuffing the run and getting pressure. He ended with 3 tackles. No 3rd Rd. QB Davis Webb action this week. 4th Rd. RB Wayne Gallman was decent racking up 42 total yards along with 2 catches on 3 targets. I really liked Gallman at Clemson but I can’t wait to see what Paul Perkins does this year. Gallman & Perkins can make a duo.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. S Jamal Adams and 2nd Rd. S Marcus Maye were doing work against Detroit with 3 and 5 tackles respectively. The Jets might not win a ton of games, but that duo will be worth watching. 3rd Rd. WR ArDarius Stewart caught both his targets for 23 yards. 5th Rd. TE Jordan Leggett looked really good with 2 catches for 40 yards & had solid chemistry with QB Bryce Petty. 6th Rd. CB Derrick Jones flashed a bit. New York isn’t going to be that great, but at this point the rookies are doing fairly well.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. CB Gareon Conley missed another game with his shins injuries. 2nd Rd. S Obi Melifonwu also didn’t get any run time. 3rd Rd. DT Eddie Vanerdoes didn’t get any counting stats either. 5th Rd. LB Marquel Lee did manage 3 tackles in a light day for Oakland rookies. 7th Rd. RB Elijah Hood got on the field but wasn’t that effective. 7th Rd. DT Treyvon Hester and 7th Rd. S Shalom Luani got in some run time and Luani flashed a bit at times. Oakland needs to see their top picks a bit more.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Derek Barnett continues his assault on the NFL with racking up 2 tackles, a sack a TFL and 2 QB hits. It’s starting to get scary thinking about how DC Jim Schwartz is going to use this guy. 3rd Rd. CB Rasul Douglas has another solid outing hoping to lessen the impact of losing 2nd Rd. CB Sidney Jones. 4th Rd. WR Mack Hollins had 5 targets but just one catch. 4th Rd. RB Donnel Pumphrey struggled again causing you wonder if his size is going to keep him from being successful in the NFL.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. LB TJ Watt wowed us last week with his pass rushing abilities. This week he turned heads with his ability to seal off the edge & defend the run. He’s outstanding! 3rd Rd. RB James Conner was a focal point of the Steelers offense rushing the ball 20 times for 98 yards! Conner was also targeted 4 times out of the backfield. 4th Rd. QB Josh Dobbs looked awful. He isn’t the heir apparent, but still needs to play better. 2nd Rd. WR JuJu Smith and 3rd Rd. CB Cameron Sutton didn’t get run time against Atlanta.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DE Solomon Thomas didn’t get any run time but 1st Rd. LB Reuben Foster played pretty well and was dropped back into coverage a lot like he was in Week 1. 3rd Rd. QB CJ Beathard’s stat line looks pretty good going 7/12 for 110yds/1TD, but he missed some easy throws. 5th Rd. TE George Kittle looked good with 3 balls for 33yds/TD. Kittle showed some flash on a 29-yard TD catch. 6th Rd. DE Pita Taumoepena had a solid effort and could become a good situational rusher. Good showing for SF.
Computer Hope 3rd Rd. CB Shaq Griffin got off a bit against the Vikings recording 4 tackles & 2 passes defended. Griffin has big time physical talent but needs to learn the nuances of playing corner.  He couldn’t be on a better team. 3rd Rd. S Delano Hill also chipped in 6 tackles. Griffin & Hill look pretty good & will only add to the Legion of Boom. 3rd Rd. DT Nazair Jones had another great game with 0.5 sacks and a QBH. 4th Rd. S Tedric Thompson led the team with 7 tackles. 7th Rd. RB Chris Carson had a good game.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. TE OJ Howard continues to impress. He did a solid job of blocking Calais Campbell and was able to nab 2 balls for 28 yards on 3 targets. He’s a weapon. 2nd Rd. S Justin Evans had another nice game with a pass defended. Raw but unlimited upside. 3rd Rd. WR Chris Godwin was targeted 5 times & got 2 balls for 30yds. He’s a NICE toy if he can keep improving. 3rd Rd. LB Kendell Beckwith with another solid game. 5th Rd. RB Jeremy McNichols got 11 carries but turned that into just 32 yards.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. WR Corey Davis is still out with hamstring issues but 3rd Rd. TE Jonnu Smith was great leading the Titans in receptions with 5 on 7 targets for 47yds. 3rd Rd. WR Taywan Taylor looked good again with 3 balls for 41yds. 1st Rd. CB Adoree Jackson played pretty well in the secondary & featured more in kick/punt returns which was exciting to see although he didn’t do much returning. 5th Rd. LB Jayon Brown got a bit of run time. I can’t wait to see what Corey Davis can do when healthy.
Computer Hope 1st Rd. DT Jonathan Allen got limited time but did have a tackle for loss. I can’t believe that guy lasted until the 17th pick. 4th Rd. RB Samarje Perine looked a lot better this week rushing for 45 yards on 8 carries & also snagging a catch for 29yds. Perine looked like a stud & was elusive as well. 2nd Rd. edge rusher Ryan Anderson had no counting stats. 3rd Rd. CB Fabian Moreau had 3 tackles and a pass defended. 7th Rd. S Josh Harvey-Clemons got loose again & he’s looking to be a steal from Round 7.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Preseason, Rookies, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins | Leave a comment

2017 BIG 10 PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

When you think of overall story lines with the Big 10, there aren’t many you can actually come up with that can make it more of a national interest story the way the SEC easily does. The Big 10 is simply going to come down to 3 games for the most part:

Michigan @ Penn St. on October 21st
Penn St. @ Ohio St. on October 28th
Ohio St. @ Michigan on November 25th

For those story lines to break right, Michigan will need to beat Penn St. in State College and then Penn St. will need to lose to Ohio St. in Columbus which potentially sets up Ohio St. @ Michigan with both teams being 11-0 for a shot at the Big 10 East division title and a chance at the college football playoff. Of course if Penn St. beats both Michigan & Ohio State, the story lines becomes all about James Franklin, Trace McSorely and Saquan Barkley. That itself is a redemption story for the program after the horrific Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the program and threatened to decimate Penn State football for good. Penn St. would not only have climbed out of the mire of that situation, but would practically be sitting on top of the college football world again.

But the real story of the Big 10 might not be the incredible talent of Ohio State or the 2 Heisman Trophy candidates at Penn State. It might not be the incredibly talented youth arriving in Ann Arbor. The real story of the Big 10 could unfold on the first Thursday night of the season when Ohio St. begins their road to the playoffs with a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana! The Hoosiers could determine the Big 10 if only marginally. All of this goes for nothing if Indiana loses (which is definitely likely) but what if the Hoosiers catch Ohio St. early and pull off an upset. IU ostensibly loses on the road to Penn State but they get a young Michigan team at home and what if Indiana manages to beat the Wolverines? Their only other road conference games are against Michigan State, Maryland, Illinois & Purdue. All 4 games easily winnable. If Ohio St. beats Penn St. and Penn St. loses another conference game, then Indiana could wind up being the Big 10 East champions! If that sounds insane it is because IT IS!

But if you are looking for story lines outside of the 3 obvious games between Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State then Indiana gives you your best potential story by blowing up the Big 10 East when nobody is expecting it. The Big 10 West could be interesting with Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska all battling it out for the division title. Even Iowa potentially could make some noise and I think Purdue is going to surprise a lot of people this year with David Blough playing for new HC Jeff Brohm, but at the end of the day, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska aren’t elite teams and mostly like are nothing but fodder for whoever comes out of the East in the Big 10 championship game. Would anyone pick the Badgers, Wildcats or Cornhuskers any higher than 4th if they were playing in the Big 10 East?

Don’t get me wrong. A Wolverines, Buckeyes & Nittany Lions blood bath is MORE THAN ENOUGH of a story line to get everyone excited, but an under the radar Hoosiers squad provides just a hint of scandal that could push the Big 10 ahead of the SEC for national intrigue. It’s an exciting thought that would give the Big 10 more than 3 games to get excited about.

# TEAM BIG 10 EAST
1 Computer Hope Ohio State has averaged 12 wins per season since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus and this year looks to be no different. JT Barrett returns as QB and is probably the best signal caller in the Big 10. The Buckeyes return an O-Line that features 4 starters from last season & RB Mike Weber also returns. They’ll need some receivers to step up, but this is a tough offense to stop. What separates Ohio St. for me is their defense & particularly their pass rushing duo of Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis. Those two are potential All-Americans & are going to be cut loose as Ohio St. will typically have the lead. Too much talent.
2 Computer Hope If you liked Penn St. last year you should love them this year! The Nittany Lions averaged 38PPG and almost everyone returns on offense. Their O-Line should be stellar and they are blocking for arguably the best RB (Saquon Barkley) in the nation. Trace McSorley isn’t crazy accurate but he limited his mistakes. PSU will need to find a replacement for Chris Godwin on the edge. I think Ohio St. is ahead of Penn St. because of the edge rushers. Penn St. returns just 6 starters on defense & lost both their edge rushers from last season. They also draw Ohio St. in Columbus. They definitely have the ability to finish the season 12-0!
3 Computer Hope Indiana throws a wrench into things in the East by finishing ahead of Michigan and for good reason. Last year HC Tom Allen coached the defense and Indiana improved their D by 10.4PPG and almost 130 yards! The Hoosiers return 9 starters on that unit with some legitimate playmakers in Nate Hoff, Greg Gooch, Tegray Scales & Rashard Fant. It was arguably the best defense the Hoosiers have had since 1993 when Bill Mallory led IU to an 8-4 mark. Offensively IU gets WR Simmie Cobbs back & QB Richard Lagow could make big improvements. They draw Michigan at home after a bye week. They could win 10 games.
4 Computer Hope Jim Harbaugh closed the talent gap between Michigan and the rest of the country in no time. Michigan is arguably as talented as any team in the nation but their inexperience is startling. The Wolverines return only 4 starters on offense losing their top-3 receivers, their leading rusher & 3 starters on the O-Line. QB Wilton Speight returns & has some incredible talent to work with but how will they put it together? Michigan also returns just a single starter on defense & lose 7 of their top-8 tacklers. I love Maurice Hurst, Rashan Gary & Mike McCray but this team is young. They play at Indiana after hosting Michigan State. So 4th.
5 Computer Hope I thought HC DJ Durkin did a solid job taking a 3-9 team he inherited and getting the Terps back to a bowl game. I like what Maryland could do on offense especially if they feature RB Ty Johnson a lot more who averaged a ridiculous 9.1ypc en route to gaining over 1,000 yards rushing. DJ Moore is a solid piece on the outside and Maryland has quite a bit of talent on the O-Line. They’ll have to figure out the QB situation as Perry Hills graduated. Defensively, Maryland returns 7 starters and have some really interesting pieces like Jesse Aniebonam, Shane Cockerille, Jermaine Carters & JC Jackson. They’ll get back to a bowl.
6 Computer Hope Like their rivals Michigan, the Spartans are in for somewhat of a transition year as they return just 4 starters on both offense & defense. Unlike the Wolverines, Michigan St. is falling behind Ohio St., Michigan & Penn St. in the talent race. It’s instructive to note that Michigan St. & Mark Dantonio were wildly successful during the time that Michigan & Penn St. were faltering. That allowed Sparty to get a lot of kids who otherwise might have headed to those other two schools. Now that Jim Harbaugh & James Franklin have righted their respective ships, Michigan St. is sinking. Dantonio needs to figure out how to keep up.
7 Computer Hope Chris Ash has a tough road to hoe in New Brunswick as the Scarlet Knights finished up 2-10 last season and if they aren’t careful they could wind up 2-10 again this season. Rutgers has a talent problem and they aren’t going to be very successful recruiting if they keep losing double digit games a year. What is a coach to do? Hopefully hit the jackpot with transfers. Ash has done this with QB Kyle Bolin (originally at Louisville), WR Damon Mitchell (Arkansas), TE Jerome Washington (Miami-FL), WR Ahmir Mitchell (Michigan) and DB Ross Douglas (Michigan). It’s not a bad strategy but I don’t think it works in 2017.

 

# TEAM BIG 10 WEST
1 Computer Hope Tommy Armstrong was a good QB for Nebraska, but I think a QB like Armstrong hurts you just a bit because he limits your ceiling. He does enough to keep the job but not enough to push you towards championships. I’m buying the hype on Tulane transfer Tanner Lee. At 6’4/230lbs, he’s more of a conventional drop back QB and I think he fits with what HC Mike Riley wants to do on offense. The Huskers have a lot of talent on the O-Line so Lee should stay upright. The defense loses a lot but Freedom Akinmoladun returns & more importantly, Nebraska gets Northwestern & Wisconsin in Lincoln. The win the West.
2 Computer Hope I really like Wisconsin’s O-Line and think it is one of the best in the nation, but I think losing RB Corey Clement is going to be a tough loss and I’m not sure QB Alex Hornibrook is a game changing QB. At least not yet. I like the Hornibrook to TE Troy Fumagalli connection & WR Jazz Peavy has done a good job, but the Badgers are built on running and this questionable. On defense I think losing TJ Watt, Vince Biegel and now Jack Cichy is brutal! TJ Edwards is a beast for sure, but the Badgers have no proven edge rushers. They play at Nebraska the week after they host Northwestern. I think that game costs them the West.
3 Computer Hope I could easily see the Wildcats winning the West. QB Clayton Thorson isn’t the most accurate QB but the junior limits his mistakes on turnovers. RB Justin Jackson is a workhorse back that can grind a defense down and the O-Line has 4 returning starters along with all 5 projected starters being upperclassmen. Defensively the Wildcats bring back 8 starters from a unit that allowed only 22.2PPG a season ago & should be better. Replacing LB Anthony Walker is going to be very tough but NW should be fine. The problem I have with NW is them taking on Wisconsin & Nebraska on the road. However, they won those in 2015!
4 Computer Hope Iowa might be in somewhat of a transition season given that they are replacing their starting QB and breaking in a lot of receivers, but they return a veteran offensive line & RB Akrum Wadley who rushed for almost 1100 yards last year and averaged 6.4ypc! The projected starting QB is Nathan Stanley & if he can limit his mistakes, the Hawkeyes can play some smash mouth football. Defensively Iowa has to replace Desmond King &  Jaleel Johnson which is going to be very tough but they return 8 starters from a defense that allowed 19PPG. They have road games against Nebraska, Wisconsin & Northwestern.
5 Computer Hope I think Purdue surprises a lot of people and not only jumps out of the basement of the Big West, but jumps it by two places. If not for back to back road games against Northwestern & Iowa, I could potentially put the Boilermakers up to 4th. I’m a HUGE believer in QB David Blough & I think he’ll only get better under new HC Jeff Brohm. Purdue is pretty young offensively but RB Markell Jones can run a bit & Blough has a solid TE in Cole Herdman. The defense returns 8 starters on a terrible unit but LB Markus Bailey shows promise and frankly the D can’t get any worse. Getting Minnesota at home off a bye pushes them up.
6 Computer Hope I can’t wait to see how the Gophers “ROW THE BOAT” under new HC PJ Fleck, but this season might get away from the new HC as Minnesota has road games against Purdue, Michigan, Iowa & Northwestern while taking on Wisconsin and Nebraska at home. That could be 6 conference losses before the rowing ever gets started. The good news is that the offense wasn’t awful last season and RB Rodney Smith returns behind a decent O-Line. Minny breaks in a new QB in Demry Croft, but outgoing QB Mitch Leidner wasn’t great. The Gophers bring back just 5 on defense but DT Steven Richardson is a solid player in the middle.
7 Computer Hope Oh Lovie! Illinois is in for some heartache as the Illini bring back 5 starters from an offense that scored 19.7PPG and just 6 starters on a defense that allowed 31.9PPG. Smith had a tough road to hoe when he took over in Urbana-Champaign as Illinois hadn’t been good in almost a decade. The roster was depleted so it needs to be rebuilt. While Smith will hopefully depend on Virginia Tech transfer Dwayne Lawson to take over at QB, Smith is going about things a little bit different than Chris Ash at Rutgers in that he’s relying on recruits to build the roster up. The problem is that he’s not hammering the recruiting trail well.



BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

EAST BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP WEST
Computer Hope Frankly I think this game is going to get ugly. The Cornhuskers actually host the Buckeyes on October 14th so in some ways we should be able to see a preview of this game before it happens. Nebraska hopefully takes copious notes because on paper this looks like a massive pounding just waiting to happen. From an historical perspective I think it’s interesting because you get two historically great programs, but the on field product might be disastrous for Nebraska. Nebraska doesn’t have any chance to stop the Buckeyes in this one. Computer Hope

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Big 10, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, NCAA, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St., Predictions, Preseason, Previews, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

2017 SEC PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

My college previews kick off with the Southeastern Conference! I think there are some very interesting storylines going on within each division this season. In the West I think it’s going to be very difficult to knock off Alabama given all the weapons they return on offense along with what should be another top-10 defense, but after Alabama it gets really interesting. Auburn draws the Tide at home this year and if Jarrett Stidham takes the reigns for War Eagle and starts rolling, Auburn could make a legit run for the SEC West. I don’t think you can say the same about LSU because their QB situation isn’t ideal and they have to travel to Tuscaloosa, but if they beat Auburn on October 14th in Baton Rouge, then LSU could very well be 8-0 and coming off a bye against a potentially 8-0 Alabama team coming off a bye as well. Those 3 teams will make it interesting but the Auburn/LSU game could determine quite a bit.

After the Big 3 in the West it gets interesting. I think Mississippi St. has some of that 2014 feel to them when they started 9-0 and were ranked #1 in the nation before traveling to Tuscaloosa and dropping a game to Alabama 25-20. Nick Fitzgerald could be on the cusp of being a star and it’ll be interesting to see how he plays. Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat in College Station and I could see the bottom dropping out on on the Aggies as they try to replace so many players on defense and at receiver. Arkansas should be better or even Bret Bielema could start feeling heat and of course the Ole Miss situation is unfortunate as the Rebels looked to have a talented team with a very talented QB in Shea Patterson. The #4-#7 spots could get interesting in the West and I even think Mississippi St. has a chance to climb into that top-3.

The East is even more interesting as I think teams like Kentucky and South Carolina have a real chance to upset the apple cart and move ahead of division stalwarts Florida and Tennessee. Mark Stoops has built up the Kentucky roster to where I think it can compete if it is a veteran led squad with a favorable schedule. The Wildcats have 17 returning starters and get both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington! South Carolina can be a squad that can compete with Florida and Tennessee on the recruiting trail, and I think Will Muschamp is on his way to doing so with the Gamecocks. Carolina returns 10 starters on offense, but QB Jake Bentley is special. SC gets both Kentucky & Florida at home which I think pushes them to 2nd place behind Georgia in the East. I also think it’ll be interesting to see how much heat Jim McElwain’s seat gets in Gainesville if the Gators have a disappointing season and if Butch Jones can survive another year in Knoxville without an SEC title or even a 10-win season. Would 5-years be enough?

Finally, keep an eye on Missouri & Vanderbilt. Missouri under Barry Odom is quietly getting better and while I think they should be better than last year’s 4-8, it’ll be interesting to see what strides they can take in 2017 because 2018 should be their coming out party. Vanderbilt is also interesting to watch. The program is making strides under HC Derek Mason and it’ll be interesting to see if Mason can take the Commodores to the heights that his predecessor James Franklin reached.

The SEC is the best conference in college football for a reason so it’s no surprise the storylines are endless as we head into the 2017 season!

# TEAM SEC WEST
1 Computer Hope Impossible to go against the Tide at this point. QB Jalen Hurts returns behind a dynamic O-Line. Bo Scarbrough & Damien Harris return at tailback and WR Calvin Ridley is poised to become a 1st Team All-American. Lose LT Cam Robinson? Replace him with Jonah Williams! Defensively the Tide lost a truckload of star talent to the NFL, but it’s Alabama where there are 3-4 five star players on the depth chart. Minkah Fitzpatrick could move to safety alongside Ronnie Harrison. Da’Ron Payne & Da’Shawn Hand are going to dominate up front. I think the 2016 version is better, but they’re still good enough to win it all.
2 Computer Hope If the Tigers didn’t travel to Tuscaloosa on November 4th, I probably would have taken the Bayou Bengals to win the West. Derrius Guice is a MAN playing against boys in college. What makes him scarier is that he’s playing in front of a couple of interior O-Linemen in Will Clapp & Maea Teuhema who could be All-Americans. I think QB Danny Etling will make fewer mistakes & keep LSU away from turnovers. The Tigers lost a TON on defense but return Arden Key who is the best pass rusher in American and DC Dave Aranda is outstanding. With the talent LSU has, they’ll post another top-10 defense in 2017.
3 Computer Hope I’m buying QB Jarrett Stidham and he could be the best QB Auburn has had since Cam Newton was screaming War Eagle and we saw how that worked out in 2010! Gus Malzahn is an offensive genius so if Stidham works out Auburn is going to score in spades with weapons like RB Kamryn Pettway, WR Darius SLaton, WR Nate Craig-Myers & WR Kyle Davis. Defensive the Tigers bring back 6 of their top-7 tacklers but losing Montravius Adams & Carl Lawson will be felt. I think DE Marlon Davidson will need to be huge. This Auburn team has crazy upside & gets Alabama at home. They are playoff contenders.
4 Computer Hope In case you didn’t know, his name is Nick Fitzgerald and the QB is a MONSTER! Last year Fitzgerald passed for 2423yds & 21TD while also rushing for 1375yds & 16TD! The Bulldogs have a little but of that 2014 feel to them and if they can beat LSU at home and upset Georgia & Auburn in back-to-back road games, they have a clear path to 9-0 before they welcome in Alabama on November 11th, a week after the Tide host LSU. That’s a lot to ask but back in 2014, Mississippi St. beat 3 top-10 ranked teams in a row (at LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn) en route to 9-0 and the #1 ranking before being upended by Alabama 25-20.
5 Computer Hope Things haven’t gone exactly to plan for Bret Bielema since leaving Wisconsin, but this season should provide him with a chance to play his style of football. The Hogs lose RB Rawleigh Williams, but Devwah Whaley has immense talent and should be able to replicate Williams production because the O-Line he’ll be running behind is tremendous led by All-American C Frank Ragnow. QB Austin Allen is a senior and should be solid. Defensively Arkansas returns 6 starters and 5 of their back-7. They’ll struggle to get pressure on opposing QBs which I think limits their upside but if they ball control they could win close ones.
6 Computer Hope I don’t know if there is a better RB/WR duo in college football than Trayveon Williams & Christian Kirk, but the Aggies are going to try and break in a rFR at QB in Nick Starkel behind a fairly inexperienced O-Line. Even with Kirk returning, the Aggies lost a ton of outside talent. Defensively I don’t even know how A&M replaces Myles Garrett, Daeshon Hall, Justin Evans & Shaan Washington! HUGE LOSSES. I think there is a good chance A&M loses their opener at UCLA and if that happens then HC Kevin Sumlin’s seat is going to be blisteringly hot! A&M also has some brutal home games. This could get bad in a hurry!
7 Computer Hope Ole Miss is somewhat of a wild card with Hugh Freeze leaving the program and Matt Luke taking over as interim HC. It’s too bad really because the Rebels have some upside to this team. The offense has a potentially outstanding O-Line with 4 starters returning and Greg Little manning LT. QB Shea Patterson has some tremendous upside and the Rebels have solid skill position players. Defensively, Ole MIss returns 6 starters & 5 of their top-7 tacklers. DE Marquis Haynes returned for his senior year & he’ll be one of the best edge rushers in the nation. NT Benito Jones should also be a force up front. Very tough to predict.

 

# TEAM SEC EAST
1 Computer Hope There might be some questions surrounding the offense with the O-Line being young and QB Jake Fromm potentially pushing QB Jacob Eason for starting time but worst comes to worst how hard is it to hand the ball off to Nick Chubb or Sony Michel? These hairy dogs have enough talent on the outside to keep defenses honest. What stands out about UGA is their defense. Trenton Thompson might be the best DT in college football while Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter might be the best pair of edge rushers. Georgia returns their ILBs and secondary as well. HC Kirby Smart knows a thing or two about top defenses!
2 Computer Hope This could be the most surprising team in college football this season. QB Jake Bentley completed 66% of his passes last year as a true frosh and the Gamecocks have 10 returning starters back on offense including all their skill players. TE Hayden Hurst has a chance to make a HUGE impact. Defensively South Carolina is going to need Dante Sawyer to provide a legitimate threat off the edge but LB Skai Moore returns & will combine with Bryson Allen-Williams to give SC a solid pair of LBs. Both corners return & I think Will Muschamp is going to do some great things in Columbia just like another former Florida head coach.
3 Computer Hope I think the SEC is a little topsy-turvy this season and Kentucky benefits by getting both Tennessee and Florida in Lexington. If they can get those wins I think the Wildcats could have a banner season. HC Mark Stoops has a talented roster and UK returns 8 starters on offense & 9 on defense. If there is going to be a time for Kentucky to make a move, it’s this season. CJ Conrad, Benny Snell & Stephen Johnson should keep the offense humming with 4 returning starters on the O-Line. Denzil Ware, Jordan Jones & Mike Edwards should be solid up front on defense. Kentucky could potentially get to 8-9 wins this season.
4 Computer Hope I think Florida is in a precarious situation. They are probably already behind Florida St. when it comes to recruiting the top tier talent within the state, but Mark Richt going to Miami-FL makes things extremely difficult as well. I love Jim McElwain as a HC, but right now I’d say he’s behind Richt & Jimbo Fisher in recruiting. Florida also already has turmoil coming out of the program with the suspensions including WR Antonio Callaway for the opener against Michigan. Florida isn’t sold on Luke Del Rio being the starting QB either & the defense returns just 5 starters. After 2 SEC East titles, this year feels like transition.
5 Computer Hope Like Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, I’m going to be surprised to see Butch Jones make it out alive in Knoxville this season. The Vols have talent to be sure, but I think losing guys like QB Josh Dobbs, DE Derek Barnett, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and CB Cameron Sutton are going to be hard to overcome. UT also has road games against Florida, Alabama, & Kentucky. They get LSU, Georgia & South Carolina at home which are going to be exceedingly difficult games to win. I think losing Alvin Kamara is going to be bigger than people think. Josh Malone is a loss too. I like the talent here but a lot of key pieces are gone from 2016.
6 Computer Hope It is going to be very difficult for Derek Mason to recreate what James Franklin did here at Vanderbilt but Mason is trying his best. In his first year, Vandy went 3-9. Last year in his 3rd,  the Commodores were 6-7 and got to a bowl game. This year Vandy returns 9 starters on offense including QB Kyle Shumur who has generated some buzz this offseason. Ralph Webb is a work horse out of the backfield & Vandy returns their top-9 receivers from a season ago. Defensively, Vanderbilt has made huge strides since Mason’s first season & while they do lose Zach Cunningham, they return 7 starters from a unit that was solid.
7 Computer Hope I would have had Missouri in 6th but they play at Vanderbilt so I put the Commodores one spot ahead. HC Gary Pinkel is a legend in Columbia, but I hope Barry Odom sticks around because he’s on the cusp of doing something great at Mizzou. This season the Tigers have a TON coming back on offense, but I want to see QB Drew Lock improve his accuracy. Missouri has a chance to be REALLY SPECIAL in 2018 assuming Lock comes back. RB Damarea Crockett is a MONSTER. Defensively I think Missouri misses Charles Harris & Aarion Penton quite a bit. They return 5 starters but again look towards 2018 for this unit.



SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

EAST SEC CHAMPIONSHIP WEST
Computer Hope I think this could be a lot closer game than people would expect and here is why. Alabama is going to try and run the football which they should, but Georgia is STOUT in the middle with Trenton Thompson & John Atkins on the line and LBs Roquan Smith & Natrez Patrick filling it up. If Alabama goes pass then UGA has some ELITE pass rushers in Davin Bellamy & Lorenzo Carter. This of course is assuming that Alabama’s offense can actually be stopped and Georgia can get anything going against what will surely be a tough Tide defense. Alabama wins. Computer Hope

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Missouri, NCAA, Predictions, Preseason, Previews, SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas AM, Vanderbilt | Leave a comment