Archive for the NCAA Football Category

Matt Leinart: It wasn’t in the Cards

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by nathanelwell

Matt Leinart, supreme stud of the USC campus, and eternal back-up of the Arizona Cardinals, was released by Arizona on Saturday.  Not a shocker, as far as I’m concerned.  Leinart never seemed to sit well with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.  “I think that in the end we both agreed this was probably the best thing for him, to have a fresh start” said Whisenhunt.  Leinart’s history with the Cardinals has been a rocky one, to say the least.  His social life was often scrutinized more than his contributions to the NFL.  Beer bongs, playmates, parties, and a pregnancy were headlines instead of wins, touchdowns, and playoffs.  But to be fair to Leinart, several other NFL athletes have had over-publicized social lives only to excel on the football field.  So why don’t we look at Leinart’s career statistics in Arizona to see if the Cardinals were justified in releasing him.

Matt Leinart was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft.  At the time, this was considered a steal.  After a contract holdout, Leinart became the starter for the Cardinals over veteran Kurt Warner.  He ended the 2006 season with 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns., but had a 4-7 record as the starter.  In 2007, Leinart’s season was cut short due to a broken collarbone.  He only started in 5 games, throwing for 647 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.  His career numbers are nothing to write home about – 3893 yards, 14 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 29 sacks.  For being in the league 4 years, these numbers are mediocre, for a QB drafted at the front end of the 1st round.  Steve Clarkson, who is considered a “private quarterback guru and friend” to Matt Leinart, said “when you enter the league with a certain perception, people will continue to believe that perception no matter what you do…its unfortunate.”  Or more simply put, “perception is reality”.

So where does Matt Leinart go to next?  The most media-tantalizing location would be Seattle, where Leinart would team up with rookie head coach Pete Carroll.  But before you USC fans quiver with anticipation, the Seahawks say they see no need for Leinart.  Another rumor was that the NY Giants may consider Leinart to be a back-up behind Eli Manning.  This rumor was quickly extinguished when the Giants picked up Sage Rosenfels from the Vikings.  What option is he left with?  I vote on a reality tv show.  Wasn’t it the fourth season that Leinart was the Bachelor?  Oh wait, nevermind.  That was Bob Guiney.

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Lane Kiffin the loose cannon

Posted in NCAA Football with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by nathanelwell

Tennessee Spring FootballThe college football season is here!  The bright red F-150’s are rumbling around Atlanta with a gazillion Georgia ‘Dawg flags fluttering in the wind.  Brent Musburger stands in front of his mirror practicing the word “Buckeyes” as he anxiously awaits the first kickoff.  The nerdy college marching bands trudge around the field playing themes from Lord of the Rings.  And Lane Kiffin, first year head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers is blowing hot smoke on a regular basis, specifically towards the mighty Urban Meyer, head coach of the Gators.

It all started at Kiffin’s first press conference in Knoxville when he hinted at beating Florida.  “I’m looking forward to singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night long after we beat em’.  It will be a blast.”  In February, Kiffin got all up in Meyer’s grill when he said the following about Meyer’s attempt to recruit Nu’Keese Richardson, who signed with Tennessee: “I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and he still didn’t get him”.  Kiffin was reprimanded by the SEC because what Meyer did was not a violation.  The best part came a week later, when Kiffin made his OWN violation by speaking of a recruit’s talents on the radio.

The drama goes on and on….  After Florida defeated Tennessee last week (No Rocky Top for Kiffin), Meyer commented on his bewilderment of Kiffin’s conservative offensive approach. “When I saw them handing the ball off, I didn’t feel that they were going after the win…They wanted to shorten the game.  I remember looking out there and there’s 10 minutes left in the game and there’s no no-huddle, they are down, I think it was 23-6 and [there’s no] urgency”. Kiffin defended his offense by saying “The way we lose a game there is throw an interception. Why put yourself in that position? Lets find a way to win the game. We’re not trying to impress the pollsters. We’re trying to win the game. Alot of it had to do with the way they were playing. It made our life feel a little easier”.  Kiffin then took another jab at Meyer when he was asked if the Volunteers were worried about the flu that had hit the Gators. “I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and after we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick”.

What Kiffin doesn’t realize is that his big mouth doesn’t win games.  And this is evident of his Vols’ 1-2 record thus far.  Part of what has allowed Meyer to win 2 national championships is his candor and classy-ness, two things that Kiffin will have to work at.  Lets face it, we all love a coach or player that speaks passionately about his team.  And this is something that Kiffin has.  And every once in a while, a fiesty comment won’t do any harm to anyone.     But for now, Kiffin better keep his rocky mouth shut if he wants to start singing Rocky Top all night long.

USC and the Big-10 Curse

Posted in NCAA Football with tags , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by nathanelwell

USC Ohio St Football

Yawn.  It happened yet again.  In USC’s defeat of Ohio State on Saturday, it became the 9th consecutive matchup that a Big 10 team hasn’t been able to pull off the victory over So Cal.  Thats right, you heard me!  If you don’t believe me, look below:

1998: USC 27 – Purdue 17

2000: USC 29 – Penn State 5

2002: USC 38 – Iowa 17

2003: USC 28 – Michigan 14

2006: USC 32 – Michigan 18

2007: USC 49 – Illinois 17

2008: USC 35 – Ohio State 3

2008: USC 38 – Penn State 24

2009: USC 18 – Ohio State 15

The game was relatively close up until the last drive of the 4th quarter, when USC came to life.  Quarterback Matt Barkley put together an impressive 86 yard drive that also guzzled 6:10 off the clock.  He started on their own 4 yard line and was able to work his way across the field for a touchdown and the 2 point conversion.  This game said something about USC QB freshman Barkley.  To go into the Horseshoe and steal a game from the hungry Buckeyes is hard for any team to do, let alone a freshman who has no experience against the top 25.

The Buckeyes will have to mope their way through the regular season, and some how prove to others that they aren’t just a Big-10 bully.  After seeing today’s performance from the Wolverines, the momentum has swung in their favor.  Tonight’s matchup was exciting, but not shocking to see the results.  The next matchup for the Trojans will be at Washington, while the Buckeyes will most likely cruise to victory against Toledo.  College football season is here folks, get excited!!

Decision Day for Top Dawgs

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by nathanjzacharias

Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno will be announcing their plans for the 2009 football season, and all sources seem to indicate right now that they will be turning pro.  I can’t say I blame them, but as a loyal Dawg fan, it still hurts.  It’s not a huge surprise by any means, as both are the top ranked players at their position, with Stafford possibly being the number one pick overall.  But with some key players returning from injury next year, it would have been nice to have those two in uniform to make one more run at a championship.

I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes and figure out what I would do in the same situation.  And I have to say,  I can see why it’s a tough decision.  There are good reasons to choose either side.

As far as Stafford is concerned, if he’s a possible number one pick now, it’s kind of tough to improve his draft status in 2010.  Some say that he doesn’t have the “big” game in his resume.  While I kind of see their point, he has still led Georgia to some key victories (remember the ‘Bama game in ’07).  And in his defense, their losses and narrow wins this year were more a result of shaky defense than poor offense.  Sure they had some struggles, but for the most part they were putting up more than enough points to win each week.  He also showed a lot in the Capital One Bowl last week.  No, Michigan State isn’t Florida, but he showed a lot of resolve when he came back from a terrible first half to put up huge numbers.

In Moreno’s case, he’s proved all he has to at the college level. The guy is just a machine.  He ran well over 1,000 yards in both of his seasons, and he’s a weekly highlight reel.  He seemed to constantly turn what was a sure 5-yard loss play into a gain of some sort.  His play energizes the team and annoys the heck out of the opposition.

On the one hand, I like to think I would stay if I were them.  Does it get much better than playing for a huge program in a great college town with an awesome fan base?  In a way, no.  And the money would have been there next year too, as the NFL rookie payscale won’t be changing until 2011.

But they’re playing for their future, and all the circumstances seem to indicate that now is the best time for them to take that step.  Their arguably the top picks at their positions and their healthy.  Why not go now?

It’s disappointing to know we won’t be seeing them in the Georgia red anymore, but when Stafford hit Moreno for the final touchdown in last week’s bowl game, it almost seemed too picture perfect to mean anything other than that it was the last time we’d see that happen.

They represented the program well, and I wish them all the best.  Go Dawgs!

South Carolina Smackdown

Posted in NCAA Football with tags , , , , on October 21, 2008 by twonateshow

I think we can all agree that football referees can make bad calls.  In fact, it is not out of the question for a referee to make at least one bad call a game.  We have even witnessed a NBA referee getting jail time for betting on NBA games.  But what happens when an NCAA football referee attempts to tackle the South Carolina quarterback DURING a game, an actual live GAME?  IF you dont believe me, watch the video below.

See what I mean?  Let me say that I am a Big Ten fan.  Since moving to the dirty south, I have had trouble getting interested in the SEC (I know I know, SORRY!)  But this particular story peaked my interest – maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for me.  I would love to see this particular referee come up with an excuse.  It is impossible for a referee to come up with an excuse, considering that a referee is never going to hit a player during a game.  Perhaps the QB stole his whistle?  The ref must have had money on LSU.  Either that, or the other refs bet him $1000 to hit one of the players.  Or maybe he found out the QB watches Gossip Girl.  In any case, something clearly needs to be addressed by the NCAA officials.

I am scratching my head on this one.  Anyone know something I don’t know?