Thursday, November 29, 2007

College Football Rankings Week 7



The BCS uses all sorts of formulas with computers and people rankings as well. Many people think the BCS is wrong and also believe that the voters do not get it right. With this in mind I have got together knowledgeable football fans from across the country with representation of each conference in the polls. The fans come from members of the Fantasy Football Cafe College Sports Forum. These fans watch more football than most of the voters and are extremely knowledgeable. They are allowed to vote however they want, just like if they were a Harris or AP voter. Some vote based on based performance, some on future, some on a combination of those, while others vote based on which team would win on a neutral field. They send me their top 35 and I calculate it to come up with the top 25 and we compare it to the BCS. I have included the averages for the top teams to show just how close they are packed together. Here is the BCS week 7 and our Week 7:

BCS

1. Missouri
2. West Virginia
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia
5. Kansas
6. Virginia Tech
7. LSU
8. USC
9. Oklahoma
10. Florida
11. Boston College
12. Hawaii
13. Arizona State
14. Tennessee
15. Illinois
16. Clemson
17. Oregon
18. Wisconsin
19. Brigham Young
20. Texas
21. South Florida
22. Virginia
23. Cincinnati
24. Auburn
25. Boise State

Rankings
1. Missouri (4) 2.75
2. WVU (2) 2.88
3. Georgia 4.13
4. LSU (2) 4.37
5. Ohio State 5.25
6. USC
7. Oklahoma
8. Florida
9. Kansas
10. Virginia Tech
11. Arizona State
12. Boston College
13. Tennessee
14. Illinois
15. Clemson
16. Auburn
17. Hawaii
18. Texas
19. Cincinnati
20. Oregon
21. Virginia
22. Wisconsin
23. Texas Tech
24. USF
25. Arkansas

As you can see the top two teams are the same, which makes sense in my mind. Those two should be the top two in this case, but I don't believe they are the best two teams in the country right now. A big difference in the rankings that would effect teams trying to get into that BCS title game is the case for the 3-5 teams. The BCS has OSU at 3 and all the OSU fans are just waiting for one of the top two to fall so they can jump in. In our rankings UGA and LSU are ahead and OSU most likely would not jump them because their season is already over. Strength of schedule seems to have come into play here and the teams that played the tougher schedule are getting the benefit of the doubt over a one loss OSU team that did not play a very tough schedule. Also, Hawaii is not in the top 16 and thus would not be headed to a BCS bowl game like they would in the BCS standings. I think this is how it should be because Hawaii is dead last in SOS in all of the NCAA. Hawaii has played no one all year and at times struggled against terrible opponents.

A Look at the Young for Garza Trade

If the old adage is true that pitching wins championships, the Rays moved in the right direction on Wednesday. The Rays added a very talented pitcher in Matt Garza, who has the potential to be a good number 2 starter in this league, a good stop gap shortstop in Jason Bartlett, and maybe their future closer in Eduardo Morlan. It is always difficult to have to part with a player that has the potential that Delmon Young has, but the opportunity to upgrade the team in three different areas was too much to pass up.

Read the Rest at The Stat Pack!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gator Transfer Looking at USF?

Lost in the transfer of Jarred Fayson was that former Jefferson stand out Tight End, Trent Pupello, was also granted a release from his scholarship. Pupello was a two way star at Jefferson and a four star recruit coming out of high school. Pupello was not used much in his two seasons at Florida and with the emergence of Cornelius Ingram and Aaron Hernandez at TE he knew he was the odd man out.

Unlike Fayson, Pupello was not restricted in the schools he could transfer to and he has said he is looking at USF. Pupello grew up in the Tampa Bay area and his family still lives here and when you combine that with the fact that USF is an up and coming program in need of someone to catch the ball it makes perfect sense for him to come to USF.

Pupello would be a great fit in the USF offense and would give Matt Groethe a dependable target that he could go to not only in the red zone, but all over the field. Pupello has played on special teams at Florida and also some on defense, but he wants to get back to tight end and making plays. The Gators do not need him on offense and USF would be a great place for him to land to showcase his abilities.

Don't Tug On Superman's Cape


Even Superman knows Tebow should be the Heisman

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Start McCown if Garcia Can't Go

The Bucs will most likely be without starting quarterback Jeff Garcia this weekend when they go to New Orleans. Garcia injured his back on the first drive of Sundays win over the Washington Redskins. Today on 620 WDAE's Ron and Ian Show, Garcia said that at the moment he isn't even thinking about picking up a football and throwing it. He was on his way to One Buc Place to have treatment done and you could tell by his tone that he is in a lot of pain. Since the Bucs season would be over if they were to be without Garcia for an extended period of time, they would be smart to let him get healthy.

If Garcia can't play on Sunday than Jon Gruden will have to decide on who the Bucs starting QB will be against the Saints. On a normal team the choice should be the back up, but it is not that easy for the Bucs. Bruce Gradkowski has been the backup to Garcia all year and came in for Garcia last week when he was knocked out of the game, but he is more backup by default rather than skill level. Gruden admitted to the media that due to the fact that Jeff Garcia gets over 90% of the snaps during practice they made Gradkowski the backup due to the fact that he has more game experience than McCown. They now have time to give McCown the snaps in practice and should due so.

The game against the Redskins was deja vu of last season. The Bucs could not move the ball when Garcia went out of the game and it got progressively worse as the game went on. The Bucs gained 16 yards of offense in the second half with Gradkowski leading the way. We had to sit through the bad offense for most of last season until Gruden finally put veteran Tim Rattay into the lineup and the offense finally got going. Gradkowski is not an NFL quarterback and no matter what Jon Gruden wants to believe, he never will be. He simply does not have the arm strength to make the throws that are needed down the field and cannot read a defense to save his life.

Although Gradkowski has more game experience, it is not like McCown is a rookie quarterback. This is McCowns 4th season in the NFL and he did get some starts when he was with the Cleveland Browns. McCown has been around Gruden's offense longer than Gradkowski has and he is physically more talented. McCown can make the throws down the field that is needed for the Bucs to move the ball and has the mobility that Gruden likes in a quarterback. He was the number 2 QB all through training camp and the pre season because he showed that he was the better quarterback between he and Bruce.

We all know what we have with Bruce Gradkowski, an offense that cannot run the ball because the defense stacks 8 men in the box and no passing game because the QB cannot get the ball to the receivers. McCown offers better mobility, a stronger arm, and more knowledge of the play book. I for one cannot stand to watch an offense like we saw last year and last Sunday again, and if Bruce is in the game that is exactly what will happen.

If the Bucs lose to the Saints on Sunday they will only be one game up on New Orleans and will no longer own the tie breaker. The game is pretty important to their playoff hopes and they are going to need an offense to win the game. The Saints are vulnerable to the passing game, especially the deep ball. In order to exploit that vulnerability the Bucs need to have a quarterback that can make those throws and Gradkowski just can't. We all know what we have with Bruce, lets see what Luke can do.

Fayson Set to Transfer

Sophomore wide receiver Jarred Fayson has asked the University to let him out of his scholarship so that he can transfer to another school and the University of Florida has agreed. Fayson, who has been active in every game for the last two years, was not happy in his role in the Gator offense. n his 11 games this season Fayson rushed for 96 yards and caught 12 balls for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns.

As part of the agreement to let him out of his scholarship, Fayson is not allowed to transfer to any University in the state of Florida. While the stipulation about non-Florida schools could be because the Gators play Miami, FSU, and USF in 2009 when Fayson would be eligible to play, it was directed more to USF in my opinion. Fayson played his high school football in Tampa, originally committed to USF before coming to UF, and the Bulls have a great need for a dependable wide receiver. Wherever Fayson decides to go he won't be there for long because he will only have a year of eligibility left.

I understand where Fayson is coming from, but this is a mistake. He does not like his role in the offense right now, but next year Bubba Caldwell will be gone and he could have worked hard and showcased himself as the number 2 wide out in one of the best offenses in the country. Instead, Fayson will sit out a year and have only one year to play in another offense that likely will not be as good. The loss of Fayson to the Gator offense is not a big one. The Gators still have their number one target in Percy Harvin and with Louis Murphy and Riley Cooper showing they can be a good set of wide outs the Gators are in good shape.

Tim Tebow for Heisman

I cam across this video on Youtube. A great clip of Tebow highlights set to the tune of 3 Doors Down. Watching the video you cannot come away unimpressed by what he has been able to do. Keep the hype going.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Heisman Top 5 -- Week 14

My disclaimer as always: The Heisman trophy is given to the best player in the country and that is how I look at the award. The best player may not be on the best team in the country. There are many things that go into being the best player including stats, leadership, and what you mean to your team. Here is my Top 5 this week:

Tim Tebow - Quarterback - Florida

Stats - 12 Games 177.9 Rating 68.5 % 3,132 Yards 29 TD 6 INT 838 Rush Yards 22 TD
Last Week: 19-28 262 Yards 3 TD 89 Yards Rushing 2 TD
Tebow had another dominating effort last week against the Seminoles. Tebow has the award won in my mind no matter what any other player does in the coming week. Tebow has shown that not only does he have the talent and statistics to win the award, but also the fact that he never had a bad game all season. Tebow was in the spotlight and teams knew that he was going to be the Gator offense all season, yet he was able to compile unheard of statistics in the toughest conference in the season. It does not matter that he is a Sophomore or that the Gators have 3 losses, he is the best player in college football this season.

Dennis Dixon - Quarterback - Oregon
Stats: 10 Games 161.2 Rating 67.7% Passing 2,136 Yards 20 TD 4 INT 583 Rush Yards 9 TD
Last Week: DNP Injured for Season
Dixon?? Isn't he done for the year? Dixon is done for the year and I said last week that I took him out for a healthy player, but the fact remains that this is where he belongs. The Oregon v. UCLA game illustrated exactly how important Dixon was to the Ducks. As I was told, "The Ducks went from a National Champion Contender, to being shut out by UCLA," all due to the fact that they lost Dixon. Dixon was not only the Duck offense, but also the heart and soul of the entire team. Dixon's stats were great before he was injured and he may be the most important player to his team in the country. The only person who belongs in the talk with Tebow is Dixon.

Pat White - Quarterback - West Virginia
Stats: 11 Games 153.2 Rating 69% 1,498 12 TD 4 INT 1,144 Rush Yards 14 TD
Last Week: 9-13 107 Yards 1 TD 1 INT 186 Rush Yards 2 TD
White and the Mountaineers are set up to play for the National Championship after demolishing UConn last week. White is more of a runner than Tebow and Dixon and less of a passer, but his importance to the team is about the same. WVU has only lost one time this season and that was when White was out for most of the game against USF. WVU loves to run the ball and Steve Slaton is a great weapon, but if they were to lose him they could still win, but if White misses a game the Mountaineers are done. White is a great athlete and has his team in line for a National Championship, but as great as he is, he is still behind Dixon and Tebow.

Chase Daniel - Quarterback - Missouri
Stats: 12 Games 155.9 Rating 70.5 % 3,951 Yards 33 TD 9 INT 258 Rush Yards 3 TD
Last Week: 40-49 361 Yards 3 TD
Daniel had a great game against Kansas last week and has Missouri in line for a shot at the National Championship if he can get them past Oklahoma this week. He struggled last time they played Oklahoma, which is there only loss on the season, and this game will be tough for them once again. Daniel is a great quarterback and has good numbers, but he has not played the same tough schedule as some of the above players. Daniel is a great story and what he is doing for Missouri is great, but he is not the best player in college football.

Darren McFadden - Running Back - Arkansas
Stats: 12 G 1,725 Rush Yards 15 TD 6-11 Passing 4 TD 164 Receiving Yards 1 TD
Last Week: 32 Rush 206 Yards 3 TD 3-6 Passing 34 Yards 1 TD
Face it, the guy is the most talented player in college football. He has scored a touchdown by running, passing, and receiving. The Wild Cat formation that the Razorbacks run contribute to some of his success and the fact that he has Felix Jones on the field with him at times definitely help him at times, but this guy still does it all. Everyone on defense knows that McFadden is the guy to stop if you want to beat Arkansas, but he still manages to get his stats. The problem with McFadden is that he went missing for a couple games this season and Heisman winners do not do that. His numbers against similar opponents to Tebow's are not even close with Tebow having much better numbers. McFadden should be the number 1 pick overall in the draft, but that is not what the Heisman is supposed to measure.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Vacation


Happy Thanksgiving to all of the TBSF readers out there!!! I am on vacation with my wife until Monday, so posting will be limited until I get back home and have some time to post my new articles. Everyone have a great Turkey Day and check out DRaysBay or the StatPak to get your blogging fix!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

College Football Rankings Week 6


The BCS uses all sorts of formulas with computers and people rankings as well. Many people think the BCS is wrong and also believe that the voters do not get it right. With this in mind I have got together knowledgeable football fans from across the country with representation of each conference in the polls. The fans come from members of the Fantasy Football Cafe College Sports Forum. These fans watch more football than most of the voters and are extremely knowledgeable. They are allowed to vote however they want, just like if they were a Harris or AP voter. Some vote based on based performance, some on future, some on a combination of those, while others vote based on which team would win on a neutral field. They send me their top 35 and I calculate it to come up with the top 25 and we compare it to the BCS. I have included the averages for the top teams to show just how close they are packed together. To me it looks like you can interchange the 2-4 spots. Here is the BCS week 6 and our Week 6:
BCS

1. LSU 10-1
2. Kansas 11-0
3. West Virginia 9-1
4. Missouri 10-1
5. Ohio State 11-1
6. Arizona State 9-1
7. Georgia 9-2
8. Virginia Tech 9-2
9. Oregon 8-2
10. Oklahoma 9-2
11. USC 8-2
12. Florida 8-3
13. Texas 9-2
14. Boston College 9-2
15. Hawaii 10-0
16. Virginia 9-2
17. Illinois 9-3
18. Tennessee 8-3
19. Boise State 10-1
20. Connecticut 9-2
21. Wisconsin 9-3
22. Clemson 8-3
23. South Florida 8-3
24. Cincinnati 8-3
25. BYU 8-2

Rankings

1. LSU (9) 1.1
2. Kansas (1) 4.2
3. WVU 4.6
4. Missouri 4.7
5. Georgia 5.1
6. Ohio State 5.4
7. Arizona State
8. Oklahoma
9. USC
10. Virginia Tech
11. Florida
12. Oregon
13. Texas
14. Boston College
15. Virginia
16. Illinois
17. Tennessee
18. Wisconsin
19. Clemson
20. Uconn
21. Auburn
22. Hawaii
23. Boise State
24. Cincinnati
25. USF

Again the top four are the same as the BCS, but the difference is how close they are in this cote than in the BCS. The difference between Missouri and Kansas is a lot further in the BCS than in our rankings. The Kansas and Missouri game will put an end to that and I think if Missouri wins they will jump WVU. Georgia is higher in our rankings than in the BCS and I think that is due to the fact that the voters in our poll take SOS into account while they are determining the selection. Once again Hawaii is much lower than the BCS. I can tell you that many left them very far down on there list or off of it all together. In my opinion it will all be a moot point after this weekend because I believe Boise State will beat Hawaii.

Gators Get Harvin Back, but Defense Up in the Air

The Gators biggest play maker not named Tim Tebow returned to practice this week. Percy Harvin has missed the last two weeks with migraine headaches that have been so bad he had to be sent to the hospital for treatment. Harvin is back at practice this week and says he will play this week against rival FSU. Although the gators offense has scored without him, they have still missed his home run presence in the game. Percy is a guy that is a threat to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball and defenses have to account for where he is on the field every down. With Harvin back it will open up the field even more for Andre Caldwell, Cornelius Ingram, Jarred Fayson, and others. This is great news for the Gators.

The Gators are going to need Harvin in the game against FSU because with the injuries in the secondary they may need to score every time they have the ball to win the game. The Gators starting corner Joe Haden is doubtful with an ankle injury and his backup Markihe Anderson still has a sore knee and even if he does play he will not be as effective as he should be. If Haden were not to play that means that freshman Jacque Rickerson will have to start and play extended minutes, something he has not done this year. The Gators secondary has been it's Achilles heel all year long and these injuries combined with going against the duo of DeCody Fagg and Greg Carr does not look good for the Gators. They will need some of the younger secondary players to step up and play a great game with Haden out of the game.

With the secondary still hurting the Gators will need the front four to step up and try to get pressure on the Seminoles. The Gators got good news on both sides of their lines when they learned that both of the Pouncey twins will be able to play. Mike Pouncey has been big up the middle plugging up holes and making it difficult to run. Pouncey also gets double team sometimes because of his size, which leads to the ends coming free for sacks. Maurkice Pouncey's return to the offensive line will help in protection of Tebow and running the ball with Harvin, Fayson, and Moore.

Boras


I am now a contributing writer on The Stat Pack. My first article is a piece on Scott Boras and if he has lost his effect with teams. The Stat Pack focuses more on baseball, but still has articles from all walks of sports. The writers over there are quality writers and have some great insight and connections to great interviews. My Articles at The Stat Pack will be different from the ones here and have different content. I will have an interview from the Pittsburgh Pirates 1B/OF Steven Pearce over there very soon. Be sure to go check it out!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Heisman Top 5 -- Week 13

My disclaimer as always: The Heisman trophy is given to the best player in the country and that is how I look at the award. The best player may not be on the best team in the country. There are many things that go into being the best player including stats, leadership, and what you mean to your team. Dennis Dixon went down last week and although he is still on my list because of how great his year was and how much he meant, I left him off of this list and have 5 healthy players. Here is my Top 5 starting this week:

Tim Tebow - Quarterback - Florida
Stats - 11 Games 177.5 Rating 68.5 % 2,870 Yards 26 TD 6 INT 749 Rush Yards 20 TD
Last Week: 25-34 338 Yards 3 TD 1 INT 31 Yards Rushing 1 TD
The Gators were expected to blow out FAU and maybe give Tebow some time off, but the defense did not step up until later in the game and Tebow had to stay in and lead the offense. He set a career mark in passing with 338 yards and became the first player in FBS history to have 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns in the same season. We all saw what happened to Oregon when Dixon went down, and I believe the same would happen to the Gators if Tebow were to go down. Much like Dixon, Tebow is the emotional leader of the team and pumps up both the offense and defense. If there was ever a sophomore deserving to win the award it is Tebow.

Chase Daniel - Quarterback - Missouri
Stats: 11 Games 155.1 Rating 69.3 % 3,590 Yards 30 TD 9 INT 252 Rush Yards 3 TD
Last Week: 28-41 284 Yards 4 TD
Daniel moved up because of another great performance last week, but also due to Dixon's injury and Mike Hart's terrible day against OSU. Daniel has had a great season and has Missouri with a chance to go to the National Championship game. He has carried this team when they need it and seems to help them respond offensively when other teams score on them. This week will be a big test for them as they play Kansas and could do wonders for his Heisman chances.

Pat White - Quarterback - West Virginia
Stats: 10 Games 153.5 Rating 69% 1,391 11 TD 3 INT 958 Rush Yards 12 TD
Last Week: 13-19 120 Yards 1 INT155 Rush Yards 2 TD
The Mountaineers played a game with huge Big East implications on Saturday against Cincinnati. Cincy was a team that many thought would upset the Mountaineers because of how good Cincy's defense is and style that they run. I watched the entire game and what I came away with was that White may be just as important to his team as Dennis Dixon was to Oregon. Cincy was playing great defense and was able to stop Slaton and the wide outs. The game was close until WVU just let Pat White do his thing. White was able to make the reads and run all over Cincy, but also had the vision to make the pitches to get more yards. WVU has one loss this season and that was the game that White only played a quarter of.

Darren McFadden - Running Back - Arkansas
Stats: 11 G 1,519 Rush Yards 12 TD 3-5 Passing 3 TD 164 Receiving Yards 1 TD
Last Week: 28 Rush 88 Yards 1-1 Passing 1 TD 4 Receptions 50 Yards 1 TD
Face it, the guy is the most talented player in college football. He has scored a touchdown by running, passing, and receiving. The Wild Cat formation that the Razorbacks run contribute to some of his success and the fact that he has Felix Jones on the field with him at times definitely help him at times, but this guy still does it all. Everyone on defense knows that McFadden is the guy to stop if you want to beat Arkansas, but he still manages to get his stats.

Glenn Dorsey - Defensive Tackle - LSU
Stats: 11 Games 55 Total Tackles 11.5 Tackles for Loss 6 Sacks 4 Passes Defensed
Last Week: 1 Tackle
Defensive players do not win the Heisman, but Dorsey makes an argument. He is the heart and soul of the LSU defense and when he is in the game teams cannot run the ball up the middle. His stats are pretty good for a defensive tackle, but more than his stats is just him being on the field. His presence totally changes the game for the LSU defense and they can focus more on the passing game knowing that Dorsey is a big man clogging up the middle. He won't win the award because he is on the defense, but he deserves some talk.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gators Set records, but Get Eliminated From SEC Race

Tim Tebow and Andre Caldwell both set records in a dominating victory over FAU at home on Saturday. Caldwell broke former Gator wide receiver, Carlos Alvarez's, Florida career reception mark. Caldwell had a big game and compiled 13 receptions, which had him 3 short of breaking another one of Alvarez's records, most receptions in a game. Tebow set a career high in passing yards on the day, but he set a bigger record when he rushed for a touchdown in the first half. Tebow's rushing touchdown game him 20 on the the year, which made him the only player in NCAA FBS history to throw and run for 20 touchdowns in a single season. The 20 touchdowns also set an SEC record for a quarterback. The Gators dominated FAU on both sides of the ball and seemed to score at will because of Caldwell and Tebow.

The individual accomplishments were great, but they were overshadowed later when the Gators learned they had been eliminated from the SEC East race. The Gators needed Kentucky to beat Georgia and Tennessee to lose to either Vandy or Kentucky next week. It looked good for a while, but the Kentucky ended up choking the game away and Georgia ended any chance the Gators had to make it to Atlanta and represent the SEC East. The Gators now have only the rivalry game against FSU and a bowl game left on their schedule. At the moment it looks like the Gators will be headed down here to Tampa to take on Ron Zook and Illinois in the Outback Bowl. Next week is tje big game against the Seminoles, who have looked better as of late. The Gators have a 3 game winning streak against the Seminoles and Urban will look to extend that.

The Gators did have some injuries in the game that may effect them next week. Both starting corners, Joe Haden and Wandy Pierre-Louis, were both injured during the game and their status has not been updated yet. Also, Percy Harvin missed another game with migraine headaches. Hopefully all three of them will be healthy this Saturday for the rivalry game, but we will have to wait.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Closer Found?

Towards the end of last season the Rays finally cut their ties with Jorge Cantu and shipped him to Cincinnati and in return the Rays received Calvin Medlock and Brian Shackelford. The Rays were just trying to get something for Cantu, but they may have got their future closer in the deal.

Medlock has had good numbers since being drafted by the Reds. He has a career 3.24 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. What is most impressive has been his ability to adapt and get better as he goes through the minors. Medlock seems to struggle when he is first moved up in the minors, but later adjusts and puts up good numbers. He was having a tough season last year when the Rays traded for him, he had a 5.63 ERA for AAA Louisville in 16 innings. After the trade though, Medlock pitched 15.2 innings and had an ERA of 3.45. Maybe he adjusted or maybe pitching coach Xavier Hernandez helped him work through whatever his struggles are. Whatever it was that was fixed has only made him better.

The Rays sent Medlock to the Arizona Fall League to gain experience this off season. If what he did there is any indication of what he can for the Rays, than they robbed the Reds in the that trade. Medlock gave up 3 earned runs in his first 4 innings in Arizona, but fixed that and did not give up an earned run in the last 12.2 innings he was there. With the Fall League rapping up Medlock will most likely finish with a 1.62 ERA and 9.5 K/BB ratio. While in Arizona batters had an average of .127 against him and he had a .56 WHIP.

Medlock has all the makings of closer. He does not walk many, gives up few hits, and has the pitches to get the strikeouts when necessary. The Rays are in need of help in the bullpen, but they may not have to go out and get too much help. He is not ready to close just yet, but he will only get better as he gains major league experience. The Rays need to give him a real shot in Spring Training to see what he can do.

Will Rays Pursue Izturis?

Rotoworld is reporting that the Pirates have declined their 5.45 million option on Cesar Izturis today. With have Jack Wilson and his big salary on the team, plus Freddy Sanchez in the mix there was no need to spend that much money on a utility infielder. With the Rays need for a defensive shortstop will they pursue Izturis?

The members over at DRaysBay came up with a wish list of players they wanted to see on the Rays and Izturis was a name that popped up. Izturis was a gold glove shortstop in 2004 for the Dodgers, which was the last time he played a full season, and made the all-star team the next season. He was traded to the Cubs in 2006 for Greg Maddux and recently traded to the Pirates. Since he left the Dodgers he has not really been a full-time shortstop, but he is still young and has the potential to be a gold glove shortstop again.

Izturis is not much of a threat with the bat. He has a lifetime average of .259 and an on base percentage of .295, but the Rays do not need him for his bat. Izturis is very good defensively and has a lifetime fielding percentage of .979. Izturis has great range and does not make very many errors. The Rays need a veteran defensive shortstop to come in and be the stop gap at the position until Reid Brignac is ready to take over. The Rays defense was horrible last season and adding Izturis would help that immensely. Izturis is not worth what he was getting paid and many teams will want him to be a utility player for them and not the full time shortstop. The Rays may be the only team that can offer him a starting and full time spot, which may allow them to sign him for a lesser price.

Harvin Out, Pouncey to Play

Its official, the Gators will be without star wide out/running back Percy Harvin for the second straight game. Harvin, who missed last week with a severe sinus infection and migraine headaches, has not gotten any better this week and actually had to be hospitalized. Other Gators had to step up last week to make up for the loss of Harvin and will have to do so again this week. Hopefully Harvin will get better and be able to play next week at FSU. The Gators may not need him to beat FAU this week, but he would be a huge loss for the FSU game.

The Gators did get some good news on the injury front though. Freshman offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey was cleared to play this week after being carted from last weeks game with a sprained ankle. Urban Meyer said he had a good couple days of practice and he is a fats healer. It will be good to have Pouncey back in the game, but like Tebow he needs to be pulled later in the game if the Gators are up big.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cam to Play Extended Time ??

The Gators are expected to win big this week as FAU comes into the swamp. The odds makers have Florida as a 35 point favorite at the moment, and many people think it may not be that close. The Gators seem to have gotten on track defensively, especially at home and the offense seems to be scoring at will. If the Gators are to get up big early the question will be whether or not they should leave Tim Tebow in the game. Urban Meyer addressed this earlier this week and said that Cameron Newton has had two good weeks of practice and could see time in the game.

On one hand you do not want to chance Tebow going down on a fluke play and have him miss the FSU game, but on the other Tebow is a Heisman candidate and may need the stats to win the award. My feeling is that if the Gators have a comfortable lead they need to turn it over to Cam and let him run the offense.

If the Gators are up enough to let Cam into the game that means that Tebow has done already gotten his stats and their is no reason to risk him getting hurt. Further, the team needs him healthy to win against FSU and the bowl game so there is no need risk him getting injured just for stats. Also, I would like to see Cam get some game time and see what he can do. He has gotten some minor work and looked good in that action, but it would be good to see what he can do in extended action. Cam is a true Freshman and will be the Gators quarterback after Tebow leaves. He is actually bigger and faster than Tebow is and should be fun to watch in a few years.

Harvin Doubtful

The Gators are most likely going to be without their biggest running and receiving threat again this weekend. Percy Harvin, who missed the South Carolina game with a sinus infection and migraine headaches, came back to practice this week, but after a working for a bit got sick again. The Gators had to take Percy to the hospital and Urban Meyer visited him when he had an IV going and said that Percy was not looking good. It seems that Percy is sicker than they once thought and the Gators will most likely be without him this weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rays Moves

The Rays made a couple of roster moves today. They have exercised their option on closer Al Reyes and declined the option on 1B/DH Greg Norton. The Rays also reinstated outfielder Rocco Baldelli, shortstop Ben Zobrist, and catcher Sean Riggans. The Rays had until Thursday to pick up or decline the options on Reyes and Norton, but wasted no time.

Reyes was a fantastic gamble by the Rays during the off season last year and keeping him was an obvious choice. Reyes will still be the Rays closer at the moment, but they may make some moves in the off season, which would move him to the set up role he excelled in when he was with St. Louis. Reyes did struggle at the end of the season after being lights out in the first half, which could be a concern for the Rays, but those struggles could be due to not getting consistent pitching time, his injury, or because he had missed the previous year with an injury. Whatever the struggles were from, picking up his option was a no brainer.

Releasing Norton cam as no surprise either. The team is full of young talent that can play the DH position and Norton was not playing well when he did get a chance. The best thing he did as a Ray was get hurt in last Spring training, which allowed Carlos Pena to have the first base job. Thank You Norty.

The other moves were just to put guys back on the roster. Zobrist could be cut and let go in my opinion. he was terrible with the bat and is not a great defensive shortstop. Baldelli says he is healthy and the Rays will hope that is true once again. With the Rays releasing Josh Paul earlier, Sean Riggans becomes the back up catcher for the Rays.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Crawford to the Cubs?

ESPN 1000 in Chicago is reporting that the Rays and Cubs are are talking and maybe close to a deal that would send Carl Crawford to the Cubs for Rich Hill/Carlos Marmol/Ronny Cedeno. It was floated out earlier today and the guys over at DRaysBay picked it up and speculated that this could be the deal and ESPN 1000 has just confirmed the names.

The bad press has already started over this on local radio. Many fans are going to be upset if the Rays let go of Crawford, but they are not getting "no names" in return that many think they are. Rich Hill is a young starter who has tremendous upside, would be a great addition to the rotation, and the Rays would have control of him for a while at a the minimum. Carlos Marmol is a great you closer who could come in and immediately be the guy the Rays can go to and shut the door at the end of the games. Adding Marmol would allow the Rays to move Reyes to the 8th and be the set up guy like he was in St. Louis for a while. Cedeno is the least talented player, but he is still a very good defensive short stop that can come in and improve the Rays infield defense and hold down the fort until Reid Brignac can get up.

No one wants to see Crawford leave the Rays, but this trade would bring the Rays viable players in return that can help them win. All 3 players address needs that the Rays have, including the 2 major ones in another good starter and bullpen help. You would like to see maybe one more player added into the deal since Crawford is so talented, but they would be getting value.

EDIT - From what I have heard the Rays are not going to do this deal, but it was offered to the Rays. While I think the Rays could get more for Crawford, it was not a bad offer and could have helped the Rays in the long run.

College Football Rankings Week 5


The BCS uses all sorts of formulas with computers and people rankings as well. Many people think the BCS is wrong and also believe that the voters do not get it right. With this in mind I have got together knowledgeable football fans from across the country with representation of each conference in the polls. The fans come from members of the Fantasy Football Cafe College Sports Forum. These fans watch more football than most of the voters and are extremely knowledgeable. They are allowed to vote however they want, just like if they were a Harris or AP voter. Some vote based on based performance, some on future, some on a combination of those, while others vote based on which team would win on a neutral field. They send me their top 35 and I calculate it to come up with the top 25 and we compare it to the BCS. Here is the BCS week 5 and our Week 5:

BCS

1. LSU
2. Oregon
3. Kansas
4. Oklahoma
5. Missouri
6. West Virginia
7. Ohio State
8. Arizona State
9. Georgia
10. Virginia Tech
11. USC
12. Florida
13. Texas
14. Virginia
15. Clemson
16. Hawaii
17. Boston College
18. Boise State
19. Illinois
20. Tennessee
21. Michigan
22. Cincinnati
23. Kentucky
24. UConn
25. Wisconsin

Rankings

1. LSU
2. Oregon
3. Oklahoma
4. Kansas
5. Missouri
6. West Virginia
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Arizona State
10. USC
11. Florida
12. Virginia Tech
13. Texas
14. Clemson
15. Virginia
16. Tennessee
17. Boston College
18. Illinois
19. Cincinnati
20. Kentucky
21. Michigan
22. Hawaii
23. Auburn
24. Boise State
25. Wisconsin

This is by far the closest the rankings have been to the BCS this season. With the more games being played the rankings have become a little more a like because the basics seem to be obvious, but there are some minor differences that would be important to the Bowls and National Championship. The difference between Kansas and Oregon in the BCS is not very much and many believe if Kansas wins out they will definitely jump Oregon in the BCS, while that may not happen in these rankings. Kansas does have it's biggest tests coming up and if they can go undefeated I think they will be number 2 in the country.

The other major thing with Bowl implications is Hawaii and Boise States rank. To get into a BCS bowl the Hawaii or BSU would need to get into the top 12 or in the top 16 and is ahead of one of the BCS conference champions. The BCS rankings would most likely have Hawaii in a BCS game if they win out, but by these rankings Hawaii would not see a BCS bowl game. I personally would love to see Hawaii in a bowl game because they would get run off the field by these other teams and it would put in end to their complaining about getting no respect.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Offseason Very Important for Rays

The Rays have finally unveiled all of their new changes with the uniforms and name change. The Rays front office is hoping to not only change the design of the uniforms, but also the design of the team and the Rays fan base. With all the hype surrounding the new team and the Rays front office wanting a new stadium, this is the most important off season for the Rays franchise.

The Rays showed great offensive promise all of the 2007 campaign and the pitching seemed to get better as the year went on. The Rays had fans excited at the end of the year and it showed at the unveiling of the new uniforms and team name. They had 7,000 people show up in the middle of football season at a park in St. Petersburg to watch a fashion show of Rays players. A couple years ago they may have gotten 700 for something like that.

With all of the changes it has come out in the newspapers that the Rays front office wants to build a new stadium where Al Lang field is now located. The Rays confirmed the report a couple nights ago that they are looking at a $450 million dollar ball park, but will only need about $60 million from the city to have it built. In order for the Rays to get the 60 million needed they will need the voters to turn out and vote for a tax raise to get the stadium built. The Rays stated in the paper today that they want the referendum voted on in November 2008. If the Rays want people to come out and vote, they need to give the fans a reason to be excited and want to vote for the stadium to be built.

For the Rays to get the fans to come out and vote they will need to get people excited and have a reason to want to get a new ball park built. This is the reason that this off season is so important for the Rays. Right now they have the momentum and excitement of the fan base, but if they do not address certain areas of the team and go into next season with the same basic team and do not spend money there will be problems. While fans really need to act like this is only the third year of the franchise they have lumped this organization in with the last and are tired of seeing losing baseball. Fans in the bay are long for a team that is .500 and at least a little competitive. If the Rays organization can make some moves and get this team to .500 by the end of next season I can guarantee that fans will come out and vote yeas for a new stadium. If they do nothing and the team continues the way it has the fans will just believe that it is the same old thing and leave the vote alone.

The Rays know what spots on this team they need to address for the team to be competitive; the bullpen and the starting rotation. There are some key free agents that are available to the Rays that can help both if these areas. The Rays can also address the areas in trade and have some offers out there. Whatever the Rays do they need to make sure they show the fans they are committed and if they do the fans will return the favor come November 2008.

Bucs Sign Keiwan Ratliff, Release Chas Gessner

With Michael Clayton healthy and able to play this weekend against the Falcons, the Bucs cut wide out Chas Gessner from the roster. They Bucs then signed corner back Keiwan Ratliff to the roster to take Gessner's spot. The move makes sense for the Bucs because they lost Torrie Cox for the season last week and had only 4 corners on the roster. Gessner was a special teams contributer and nothing more, so it made sense to add another corner with Clayton returning to the lineup.

Gator fans will remember Ratliff from his time at the University of Florida. Ratliff was the SEC player of the year two times in his career and was an All-American his senior season. He owns the records for most punt return yards (860), and interceptions in a game (3). Ratliff was a second round draft pick for the Bengals in 2004, but was released earlier this year.

Ratliff has played 51 games in his 4 year career and has 102 career tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. He had a nice first year returning punts averaging 12.2 yards per return, but struggled in his next two seasons as he was in and out of the position.

Ratliff offers the Bucs some insurance in the secondary position with Brian Kelly and Phillip Buchanon's history of getting injuries. He has played in the league for 4 years so he has game experience. He also gives them a guy who can return punts, which will allow them not to chance Hilliard, Galloway, or Buchanon getting hurt on a punt return. This reminds me of the move the Bucs made last year when they acquired Buchanon off of waivers after he was released for being soft. Buchanon has been a great find for the Bucs and maybe Ratliff needed to be in a cover 2 type of system to succeed like Buchanon.

Heisman Top 5 -- Week 12

My disclaimer as always: The Heisman trophy is given to the best player in the country and that is how I look at the award. The best player may not be on the best team in the country. There are many things that go into being the best player including stats, leadership, and what you mean to your team. Here is my Top 5 starting this week:

Tim Tebow - Quarterback - Florida
Stats - 10 Games 177.1 Rating 67.8 % 2,532 Yards 23 TD 5 INT 718 Rush Yards 19 TD
Last Week: 22-32 304 Yards 2 TD 1 INT 120 Yards Rushing 5 TD
The Gators were without their star wide receiver Percy Harvin for the game which meant they had to lean on Tebow, and he responded. Tebow was the offense against South Carolina and dispelled any rumors that he is not the most important person on that team. Harvin can take a lot of pressure off of Tebow, but he showed in the South Carolina game that he can take the team on his back when he needs to. He has some of the best talent on the field and should be the Heisman front runner right now.

Dennis Dixon - Quarterback - Oregon
Stats: 9 Games 163.1 Rating 67.9% Passing 2,074 Yards 20 TD 3 INT 549 Rush Yards 8 TD
Last Week: IDLE
Dixon got a break this week and got a chance to rest up his ankle so that he can be healthy for a run at the National Championship game. Oregon has a Thursday night game against Arizona coming up and if he goes off like he is capable of on Thursday it will help his Heisman hopes. I think that Dixon will win it because he is a senior and they will be in the National Championship game in my opinion, but I still believe Tebow is the better talent and should get the award.

Mike Hart - Running Back - Michigan
Stats: 8 Games 215 carries 1,188 yards 12 TD
Last Week: DNP Injured
Why is he still here? The game against Wisconsin showed exactly why Hart should still be in the Heisman talk. Had Hart played in the game against Wisconsin than Michigan wins that game in my opinion and are undefeated in the Big 10. No one on the Wolverine team could get anything going on the ground and without a ground game the Wolverines were forced to rely on freshman Quarterback Ryan Mallet to try and win the game through the air. Hart is a great talent and when healthy is one of the best players in the country. His numbers are not what they would be if he was healthy, but without him the Wolverines have no shot against OSU.

Chase Daniel - Quarterback - Missouri
Stats: 10 Games 154.7 Rating 69.4 % 3,306 Yards 26 TD 9 INT 279 Rush Yards 4 TD
Last Week: 27-35 352 Yards 3 TD
Daniel carried Missouri against TAMU over the weekend. He has the Tigers set up for a hug game against Kansas for the Big 12 North Title and a rematch against Oklahoma, who gave them their only loss. Daniel has great athleticism and has a knack to be able to keep his team in any game and dominate the competition that he needs to. If they can beat Kansas and Oklahoma he may vault up this board even more.

Pat White - Quarterback - West Virginia
Stats: 9 Games 157.7 Rating 69% 1,251 11 TD 2 INT 803 Rush Yards 10 TD
Last Week: 16-25 181 Yards 2 TDS 147 Rush Yards 1 TD
White dominated the Louisville Cardinals on Thursday night and won the game for the Mountaineers to make sure that the Big East championship has to go through Morgantown. The Mountaineers should be undefeated and lost to USF without Pat White. While White does have Slaton and Devine on that team, it has been shown that they can win without Slaton, but can't win without White. White is one of the most talented athletes in the country and while he won't be a quarterback in the NFL, he is a great QB in college and has come into his own this year as a passer.

Tebow Show Dominates Gamecocks

The Gators went into Columbia needing a win to have a chance at the SEC East title. The Gators had to play the game without star wide out Percy Harvin because he was in Gainesville with a sinus infection and Migraine headaches. The Gators would need to lean on Tebow to win the game, and he accepted the challenge and dominated South Carolina. Tebow accounted for all 7 of the Gator touchdowns, running for 5 and throwing for 2. His numbers could have been even better as Murphy dropped an easy touchdown pass and James fumbled inside the 10 yard line going in. If there was any doubt that Tebow is the most important part of the team, the South Carolina game put an end to that.

After their run defense being exploited last week against Arkansas the formula to beat the Gamecocks was simple, run the ball. The problem the gators have is that Harvin had been their run game because Kestahn Moore has been inconsistent at best and Brandon James just does not have the experience. Not having Harvin in the game altered the game plan from the start, but the Gators adjusted and Tebow led the way on offense. The Gators managed a running game that was not exclusively Tewbow by using James and Jarred Fayson in running situations. James showed some of the same explosion running the ball that he does on kick returns, but he did put the ball on the turf a couple times, which is the reason that Moore was benched.

The Gator defense came out fired up in the beginning of the game and got a fumble and blocked a punt that both led to touchdowns, which gave the Gators a 14 point lead after only 4 minutes in the first quarter. Brandon Spikes had a great game not only tackling, but in coverage. He tipped 3 passes, one was intercepted, one Cory Boyd made a great catch on, and the final one was knocked down in the end zone. This defense has taken a lot of heat all season, especially with their play on the road, but they came up big in this game at the right times. They did give up some big plays in the passing game with busted coverages, but for the most part they were able to stop the Gamecock offense from staying on the field for sustaining drives.

The Gators needed to win this game to keep their SEC title hopes alive and they came out swinging. They now will have to sit back and hope that Kentucky can beat Georgia and either Kentucky or Vanderbilt can beat Tennessee so that they can go to Atlanta. The Gators finished the SEC season with a 5-3 record. They will finish the season against FAU and FSU at home and then will await a bowl game.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Florida Live Gameday Thread


Today is a big day not only for the Gators, but for the SEC race. Tennessee takes on Arkansas and Georgia is at home to Auburn. If those two team were to lose today and the Gators beat South Carolina they will be in a great opportunity to win the SEC East. I will be updating the thread throughout the day. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the games.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ole Ball Coach v. New Ball Coach

The Gators take on the South Carolina Gamecocks tomorrow night at 7:45. What once was a one-sided SEC game for the Gators has become a big time rivalry game ever since former Gator and Gator coach Steve Spurrier took over the reigns at South Carolina. It was started by Spurrier immediately when he cut the number of visitor tickets that would be available for the Gator/Gamecock game in 2006. It was made even worse when the Gators lost the game in Columbia that year. Last year Spurrier was on the visiting sideline for the first time in his life when he brought a tough team into the Swamp. The game was back and forth and the Gators needed to block a last minute field goal to win the game and go to the SEC championship and eventually the National Championship.

This year the game means a lot for both teams once again and none of it has to do with who the coach for either team is. South Carolina has two tough games left on their schedule and if they want to go to a decent bowl they need to win at least one, if no both of them. The Gamecocks have been up and down all season mainly due to a very inconsistent offense. Meanwhile the gators still have a shot at the SEC East crown if they can win this game and get some help from Tennessee and Georgia. While the Gamecocks have been inconsistent on offense the Gators have had the opposite problem, struggling on defense. This is the final SEC game for the Gators, who will finish up with FAU and rival FSU in the final two weeks of the season. They need to finish strong and win this game; sticking it to the ball coach.

South Carolina had a rough game last week not only losing to Arkansas, but also having several key members of the team getting injured. Leading rusher Cory Boyd sprained his shoulder, Strong Safety Emmanuel Cook injured his ankle, and Corner Captain Munerlyn also injured his ankle. Boyd is expected to play, but the other two are questionable and even if they do play they will be limited by their ankle injuries. The injuries would be big blows to the Carolina defense because Munerlyn is their captain and best cover corner, while Cook is the leading tackler on the team. If these two defenders are out the Gator offense will have an even easier time moving the ball down the field.

Those injuries to the secondary hurt even more because it has been the secondary that has been the staple of the defense. South Carolina has the second overall defense in the SEC giving up only 20.8 points per game, but that is the by product of having such a great pass defense. The run defense of the Gamecocks has been absolutely terrible and they are 11th in the SEC in run defense. Last week Arkansas ran all over South Carolina gaining over 400 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the pass defense is 4th in the SEC and has more interceptions than touchdowns allowed. The loss of Cook will hurt them not only in that secondary, but also stopping the run, thus depleting them in an area that they already are bad in.

While the Gators do not have a running back like Darren McFadden to run against this defense, they do have Percy Harvin. Last week the Gators ran Harvin like he was their running back and he ran for over 100 yards against a good Vanderbilt defense, while still getting over 100 yards in receiving. Harvin and Fayson will be called upon once again to get the ball out of the backfield and expose that South Carolina run defense in the game. While Harvin is a wide receiver, he runs better than most running backs and he will tear this South Carolina defense a part on Saturday. The Gators will use a rotation at running back to keep the guys fresh and allow Harvin to get into the passing game, but expect Harvin to get the majority of the carries.

The Gamecock offense will be lead by senior Blake Mitchell, who had been replaced by Freshman Chris Smelley earlier this season due to ineffectiveness. Mitchell's stats on the year are: 59.3% passing, 6 TD and 6 INT. The Gamecocks have thrown for the most yards of any team in the SEC and this will be a problem for the Gators. The weakest part of the Gators defense has been the young secondary. While they have been getting better as each week goes on, they are still young and Spurrier has a way of confusing young players with his schemes.

The pressure up front will need to come like it did last week to help out the secondary. The Gators front four has not been great this season, but last week they finally got some pressure up front and caused havoc in the backfield. Mike Pouncey switched from the offensive line to the defensive line and he not only clogged the middle to stop the run, but also was able to get up the field and help get pressure. The young Gators are stepped up last week and will need to again this week. Freshman Safety Major Wright will play with a smaller cast on his hand, but Kyle Jackson may get the start again over Wright. This would be a set back for the Gators because Jackson has been terrible all year long, while Wright has been great in run support and decent in coverage. If the front four can get pressure and the secondary can bend, but not break the gators will win this game.

PREDICTION: Gators 34 SC 24

Thursday, November 8, 2007

No Untouchables

Rays General Manager Andrew Friedman told the media earlier this week that none of the players on the Rays roster were untouchable. He went on to say that they will listen to offers for any of their players, including Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford, BJ Upton, Delmon Young, and Evan Longoria. Friedman did not say that they were on the block, but said that they would listen to offers for any of their players.

Many Rays fans heard this news and figured what else is new and complained again about the management and the way the team is run. They have heard the rumors of Crawford to the Chicago Cubs, Rocco Baldelli to Minnesota, and Scott Kazmir to many different places and assume they are going to happen after Friedman's statement. Rays fans need to take a step back and read what was actually said by the Rays and look at where some of the rumors are coming from before they get all up in arms about the management.

The Rays have never said that they are looking to trade any of their players, all they said was that they would listen to offers. If the Padres were to offer Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Heath Bell for say Delmon Young and some one else should the Rays just say no because Young is untouchable? The Rays know what they need to make this team better and have shown that they are going to build with their young players, but will need others. To make players off limits just because they are good would hamstring the team from making deals. Even if they have a high price they can listen and it opens up dialog with other teams throughout the off season. The Rays said that no one is untouchable, but they never said that they are willing to trade their best players for nothing in return or for prospects. Rays fans are a bit skeptical and have a right to be with how this team has been run in the past, but they must remember this is a new group and they are trying to move on.

With all of that being said, I do disagree with the way this all came about. It is one thing for a GM to tell other GM's in the meetings or privately that they are willing to listen to offers for anyone, but another to address the media about it. Players need their egos stroked from time to time and the last thing you would think they want to hear is that they are replaceable. Now that is not what was said, but just like fans they will read it anyway they want. We have already heard Kazmir voice his concern that he won't sign a long term deal until they get veteran help in here, and Crawford has also had similar complaints. If these guys do not feel like they are being listened to they may feel shunned by the organization and make it harder to deal with them or want out. Sometimes you have to let information known, but I think this was a case that could have been handled a little better.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

College Football Rankings Week 4

The BCS uses all sorts of formulas with computers and people rankings as well. Many people think the BCS is wrong and also believe that the voters do not get it right. With this in mind I have got together knowledgeable football fans from across the country with representation of each conference in the polls. The fans come from members of the Fantasy Football Cafe College Sports Forum. These fans watch more football than most of the voters and are extremely knowledgeable. They are allowed to vote however they want, just like if they were a Harris or AP voter. Some vote based on based performance, some on future, some on a combination of those, while others vote based on which team would win on a neutral field. They send me their top 35 and I calculate it to come up with the top 25 and we compare it to the BCS. Here is the BCS week 4 and our Week 4:

BCS

1 Ohio State
2 LSU
3 Oregon
4 Kansas
5 Oklahoma
6 Missouri
7 West Virginia
8 Boston College
9 Arizona State
10 Georgia
11 Virginia Tech
12 Michigan
13 Connecticut
14 Texas
15 Florida
16 Hawaii
17 USC
18 Auburn
19 Virginia
20 Boise State
21 Clemson
22 Alabama
23 Penn State
24 Tennessee
25 Kentucky

Rankings

1. LSU (6)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Oregon
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Kansas
7. Missouri
8. Georgia
9. Arizona State
10. Virginia Tech
11. Michigan
11. USC
11. Auburn
14. Boston College
15. Florida
16. Texas
17. UConn
18. Clemson
19. Alabama
20. Virginia
21. Hawaii
22. Boise State
23. Tennessee
23. California
25. Kentucky

This is the new rankings that have come out this week. They look a little more like the BCS rankings than last week and the week before. It does look like maybe in the end the polls will be close together, unless one of the top teams falls and others falter. The big differences are obviously who the number one team in the country is. Again the thing you will notice is that just because OSU has no losses does not mean that people are voting them number 1 overall. The other main differences are USC, UConn, Hawaii, and Auburn. The USC difference does surprise me because the media normally has them higher than most fans I know, but in this case it seems that people think the Pac 10 is not what it really is. UConn and Hawaii being lower do not surprise me at all. Hawaii has not played anyone and if you look at their schedule and Troy's schedule the only reason Hawaii is undefeated and Troy is not is because Troy took it upon itself to play 3 SEC schools while Hawaii plays no one. UConn has its toughest games ahead of it and could move itself up the ranks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Your 2007 -2008 Gator Basketball Team

The Gators officially open up their season on Friday night against North Dakota State. This years team is unranked and has a totally different look than the years past. The most senior player on the team is junior guard Walter Hodge. Of the 12 players, the Gators have 2 juniors, 3 sophomores and the rest are freshman. Gator fans have seen their team win back to back championships and look good doing it. Fans will have to remember that these players have talent, but will be learning on the fly this season.

Even though the Gators lost the core of their team, they are not without talent on the roster. Billy Donovan has done a great job of recruiting in the past couple of years and the cupboard is not bare. The Gators have talented players on the team and if they buy into Billy's system early the team could very well exceed expectations. Expect the Gators to run a faster more up tempo game then they have in the past and they may go back to pressing more often they have in the past couple of seasons. Donovan has the athletes and numbers he needs to run his press for most of the game and with a young team this may be the best system to run and put the pressure on the other teams. Here are the players that will be running that system:

Starters

Jai Lucas - Freshman - PG
Lucas was the 7th ranked point guard last year by rivals.com. In his senior season he averaged 26.3 PPG and 7.5 assists per game. He was a 2007 McDonald's All-American and a Parade All-American as well. Lucas is very quick and has great vision. He looks to get other people involved and is a true point guard. Lucas is also a great defender, which Donovan strives for in his players.

Walter Hodge - Junior - SG
The most senior player on the team and the only member left on the team from the back to back national championship squad. Hodge was a great player off of the bench last year, but with all the starters gone he now has the chance to step up and step into the lineup. He is a great offensive guard and also had the second most assists on the team last season. His defense is not as good as one would hope, but it is not bad.

Marreese Speights - Sophomore - C
Speights actually got some time in last year for Al Horford and Joakim Noah when they needed a breather or were in foul trouble. He looked very good in his short time last year and was a big force down low. His is a very good rebounder and makes great passes out of the post. He has a great wingspan, which will help him to block shots. Speights has great natural talent, his defense is great, and he showed his offensive prowess last year as well.

Nick Calathes - Freshman - SF
Calathes was actually ranked higher as a point guard than Lucas by rivals.com and other recruiting websites. His abilities and body type allow him to play point guard, shooting guard, or small forward. He has great vision, great perimeter shooting, and can talk the ball to the hole when he needs to. He is one of three people in Florida High School basketball history to be Mr. Basketball for the State of Florida for two consecutive years. In his senior season he averaged 27.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4,6 assists a game.

Dan Werner - Sophomore - PF
Werner also go to play a little last season to give the starters a breather. Werner is able to play both the power and small forward positions. He has great range and is a great three point shooter, while also being able to play the physical game down low and get the rebounds that the Gators need. He reminds many of former Gator Matt Bonner in some regards of the way he plays.

Bench

Jonathan Mitchell - Sophomore - F
Adam Allen - Freshman - F
Hudson Fricke - Freshman - G
Chandler Parsons - Freshman - F
Shayne Payne - Freshman - G/F
Michael Weisenberg - Junior
Alex Tyus - Freshman - F

Heisman Top 5 -- Week 11


My disclaimer as always: The Heisman trophy is given to the best player in the country and that is how I look at the award. The best player may not be on the best team in the country. There are many things that go into being the best player including stats, leadership, and what you mean to your team. Here is my Top 5 starting this week:

Tim Tebow - Quarterback - Florida
Stats - 9 Games 179.5 Rating 67.7 % 2,228 Yards 21 TD 4 INT 598 Rush Yards 14 TD
Last Week: 22-27 281 Yards 3 TD 1 INT 35 Yards Rushing 2 TD
Tebow had another great game last week against a good defense in Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt was leading the SEC in sacks and interceptions and had a top 15 defense in the country going into the game and they were carved apart by Tebow. Tebow showed that he does not have to run to be an effective quarterback and that he is a great passing quarterback as well. He led the Gator offense down the field for scores in almost every drive, and may have had another touchdown if not for a bad snap. He is a sophomore and the Gators have three loses, but he has yet to have a bad game this season.

Dennis Dixon - Quarterback - Oregon
Stats: 9 Games 163.1 Rating 67.9% Passing 2,074 Yards 20 TD 3 INT 549 Rush Yards 8 TD
Last Week: 13-22 189 Yards 4 TD 57 Yards Rushing
Dixon started the game against ASU on fire and was pretty much unstoppable. Dixon moved the ball easily down the field and had his team up 21-3 real quick. Dixon has great vision as a runner and a thrower and is a great athlete. His numbers last week against ASU could have been better, but he left the game with an injury. Dixon has had only one poor game this season and that was in the loss to CAL. The Ducks have a great shot to make the BCS title game and that is because of how well Dixon has been playing.

Mike Hart - Running Back - Michigan
Stats: 8 Games 215 carries 1,188 yards 12 TD
Last Week: 15 Carries 110 Yards
Hart finally played this week against MSU and had a great game. You could see that Hart had to fight through his injury all game, much like he has this entire season. The guy has more hart and determination than anyone on the field playing against him. The guy just wants the yards more than anyone else on that field and his leadership is unmatched. If he was healthy I think he would be a top of this list. If he continues to go out and play and Michigan wins the Big 10, he will win this trophy.

Chase Daniel - Quarterback - Missouri
Stats: 9 Games 151.4 Rating 68.6 % 2,954 Yards 23 TD 4 INT 233 Rush Yards 3 TD
Last Week: 26-44 421 Yards 5 TD 1 INT 24 Rush Yards
Daniel continued his great play last week against Colorado. He has gone unnoticed by many people across the country because he plays at Missouri and not a more well known team. Daniel has taken this team on his back and led them to an 8-1 record and has them in position to win not only the Big 12 North, but the whole Big 12. He has only had one bad game this season and that was against Oklahoma. The competition that he has played has not been the greatest, but he has not faltered in those games that he needed to put up those numbers. He is a great athlete, leader, and without him Missouri would not even be close to this record.

Darren McFadden - Running Back - Arkansas
Stats: 222 carries 1,314 Yards 12 TD Passing: 2-3 65 Yards 2 TD
Last Week: 35 carries 323 yards 1 TD Passing 1-1 23 yards 1 TD
McFadden is one of the most talented players in college football, and he showed that in an explosion last week against South Carolina. Arkansas asks him to be Mr. Everything for them on their team. McFadden is a great runner and has the power and speed that you look for in a great back. He has great vision and sees the field very well. His vision also helps him when the Razorbacks run the Wildcat formation in which he is the "quarterback". Felix Jones takes away from some of his stats and has an effect on how you look at his importance to the team.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Score Does Not Reflect Game in Bucs Win

The Bucs beat the Cardinals 17-10 on Sunday, but the score was not indicative of how the game went. The Bucs dominated the game on both sides of the ball for most of the game. The offense moved the ball all game, but came away empty handed on two long drives, which kept the game close. The Buc defense played great and outside of one long drive in the fourth quarter, held the Cardinals offense in check all game.


The Bucs offensive line had probably its best game of the year against the Cardinals. The Cards used multiple defensive fronts to try and confuse Jeff Garcia and the Buc offense. It succeeded in stopping the pass a couple times, but was ineffective against the Buc rushing attack. Earnest Graham became the first Bucs running back in 14 games to go over 100 yards. The offensive line opened holes for Graham and he ran well through those holes and over people. His touchdown run was only 3 yards, but it was a tough three yards that shows just what this guy can do when he is given the ball. Graham has waited for this moment and he has shown in his time that he can be the guy for this team. He has gotten better every week that he has been the starter and seems to get stronger as the game goes on.




The Buc defense gave up a long pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the beginning of the game, but after that they kept the Cardinals from moving down the field regularly. The secondary had an outstanding game deflecting passes, hitting the wide receivers just as they catch the ball, and grabbing interceptions. The front four did not get a sack, but did get enough pressure up front to stop the run and to make Kurt Warner throw awkwardly. The tackling by the front four allowed both Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips to play deep and not have to worry about run support. With being able to play back in coverage the safeties were able to disrupt passes with devastating hits and getting into the wide outs minds. Jackson had one interception and 5 pass break ups on his own. Jackson and Phillips were laying the wide outs out all game and made them think that they would get hit every time they caught the ball. The linebackers were not asked to do much because the front four were able to stop the run and get pressure on the quarterback by themselves. The defense stepped up and had another great day.



While the Bucs had a great game, you could not tell by the score and that is something that they will need to fix in the future to beat the better teams out there. The Bucs had two very long drives that got zero points out of. Alex Smith's dropped touchdown pass in the end zone turned the momentum in the game and had the defense not stepped up it could have been very bad. When you have long drives like that you need to get points. Hopefully the Bucs will be able to get those points in the future, but it was just enough for now.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gators Dominate Vanderbilt

Its great to be home. After not playing a home game since the end of September the gators returned to the swamp for homecoming weekend. energized by the crowd, the Gators dominated Vanderbilt in every facet of the game and enjoyed a well deserved victory.

Urban Meyer stated at the beginning of the year that every time he won the coin toss he would elect to receive the ball, but this week his defense asked for the ball. The defense was tired of listening to how bad they are in the media and wanted to come out and set a tone for the rest of the game. The Gator defense let Vandy move the ball a little, but stopped them and made them punt the ball. It was only one stop and it wasn't a 3 and out, but that one stop on the opening drive fired up the crowd and the team for the rest of the game. The defense had let this team down many times this season, but against Vanderbilt they were going to make sure they were not the cause of the loss.

The Gators came into the game hurting on defense and converted freshman offensive lineman Mike Pouncey to defensive tackle due to injuries. Pouncey got the start and played great. The big man clogged up the middle and played with a fire that had been missing from this defense throughout the year up front. The linebackers were flying to the ball all game and Brandon Spikes had one of his best games of the season. Major Wright played the game with a boxing glove on his hand to protect his broken thumb, but even one handed he made plays and looked better than Kyle Jackson. Jackson missed tackles and had to get bailed out by corner Joe Haden on a touchdown pass. This defense is growing up and you can see the talent that guys like Joe Haden and Major Wright have. The defense took a major step in this game and the Gators would love to see it continue the rest of the season.

The Gators offense was pretty much unstoppable in the game. Vanderbilt came into the game with one of the top overall defenses in the NCAA. They were first in the SEC in sacks, tied for first in interceptions, and third in overall defense, but the Gators dominated them up and down the field all day. In the first half the Gators scored touchdowns on 5 of 6 drives and shot themselves in the foot on the sixth drive inside the 10 yard line. Percy Harvin had maybe his best game as a Gator with over 100 yards rushing and receiving in the game. Harvin made hit the holes the offensive line made and with one cut he was gone into the end zone or down the field for a huge gain. Vanderbilt had no answer for Harvin all game. Tebow did not run much and had no real need to. Harvin, Jarred Fayson, and Kestahn Moore were getting great yards on the ground and Tebow found Andre Caldwell and Percy Harvin through the air at will. The wide outs made Tebow look even better than he was with great runs after the catch as well. The Gators missed having the extra threat of Caldwell in the lineup and with him back they have another option in the passing game to help Tebow move the ball.

With the win over Vanderbilt the Gators kept their SEC East Title hopes alive and made next weeks game against South Carolina even bigger. The Gators need to win next week and have Tennessee and Georgia lose one game a piece to go to Atlanta. With some tough SEC games left it is a big possibility that the Gators could get to Atlanta. The team from the west that makes it will not want to meet Florida in that game. The Gators are only getting better and with the additional weeks to help the defense get better and the offense to heal up, this will be a formidable team for anyone.

USF/Cincy Gameday Thread


Big Game in the Big East today for USF. Their slim Big East title hopes can only stay alive with a win in this game. They cannot turn the ball over against this great Cincy defense, or they will lose this game.
Comments posted throughout the game here.

Florida/Vandy Gameday Thread


Homecoming game for the Gators today against Vandy. Tough defense for the Gators to go up against, especially with Tebow not fully healthy. Vandy already has a huge road upset win under their belt in the SEC and they always play the Gators tough. The Gator defense will need to step up because they have been the reason the Gators have lost the 3 games this season. The front four is hurting as they have lost their top 2 defensive tackles and had to convert an offensive lineman to defensive lineman to get depth. The Gators are still in the East title hunt and they need to perform today at home. To win the Gators will need to play good defense and get a running game going that is not Tim Tebow.

Post your comments throughout the game here!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Gators v. Vandy During Home Coming Weekend

The Gators take on SEC East foe Vanderbilt for this year's homecoming game on Saturday. The Commodores have not beat the Gators in the swamp since 1945 and have won a game against the Gators since 1985. Although they have not beat the Gators, the Commodores have come close and given some great Florida teams a scare. In 3 of the last 5 games between these two teams the game has been decided by 6 points or less, including the last two.

Games in the SEC team are always tough and Vanderbilt has already had one upset road win on the season against South Carolina. While their offense is not very good, Vanderbilt's defense has been very good. Vanderbilt has the third best overall defense in the SEC, leads the league in sacks, and have 14 interceptions on the year. They went into Columbia earlier this year and dominated a good South Carolina team, beating Steve Spurrier for the first time in a long time. The Gator players better not be thinking about last weeks loss going into this game, because Vanderbilt will give them a good game.

Vanderbilt's bad offense will go up against a gator defense that has not been good at all this season. The Gator defense started out well on the season stopping the run, but allowing big plays. Since the gators went to SEC play they have not stopped the run at all at times and the secondary is still giving up those big plays. The Gators got more bad news about the defense this week when they found out that defensive tackles Estopinian and Antwine are both done for the season with injuries. With only three healthy defensive tackles on the roster the Gators have talked about playing a 3-4 defense and now have converted offensive lineman Mike Pouncey to the defensive line. Pouncey has actually looked pretty good on the defensive line this week and will get some playing time. The Gators did get some good news on defense when freshman Safety Major Wright practiced this week and has said he will play. With Wright out of the lineup last week the Georgia offense picked on Kyle Jackson all game in the secondary and running the ball at him. Wright will help in run support and is a much better cover man than Jackson.

Offensively the Gators need to make sure they hold onto the ball and make the plays that are there. Tim Tebow's shoulder is still sore and the Gator staff will want him to stay in the pocket more like he did last week. With Tebow hamstrung in the pocket the Gators will lean on Brandon James, Jarred Fayson, and Percy Harvin to get a ground game going. James is going to get the start this week for Kestahn Moore after Moore had two more costly fumbles last week. Moore has been given the opportunity to succeed and he has failed, so it is time to let James and the others get a shot at making plays for this team.

The Gators should get wide out Riley Cooper back this week. Cooper is another deep threat the Gators can use to open up the field and spread the defense out. The offense will still rely on Tebow and Harvin, but others like Caldwell and Ingram will need to step up and make plays at the wide out spot as well. Ingram provides a bad match up for most people, but was not used well last week, so hopefully the Gators can get him involved in the game. The Gator offense does take a hit when Tebow cannot run, but he does have the arm to make the throws and line will need to protect him from that Vandy pass rush. If they can keep Tebow up and get a running game going they will win this game.

Prediction: 31 - 27