NCAA Football


The 2001-2003 Miami Hurricanes Were the Most Impressive Team I’ve Seen

August 30, 2014 2:25 pm

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The first college football game I ever watched was Miami vs Nebraska in the 2002 Rose Bowl national championship game. Miami won that game 37-14. That Miami team was so great, then it crashed. They would go back to the title game the next year when a questionable pass interference call seemingly ended the Hurricanes.

When the Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in 2002, some people thought that Miami could beat them. Now, I don’t know about that, but the roster the Hurricanes had would make any NFL team envious. Loaded at every position, Miami got players to the league at a rate I have never seen. Even more than ten years later, many of those players are still in the NFL.

Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee and Ken Dorsey are the guys I remember the most. Besides the brutal Marcus Lattimore injury, I have never seen a play that was as big of a career changer as that McGahee injury. McGahee was such a good college player that he was still drafted 23rd overall even though he would have to miss his rookie season.

Before McGahee was Clinton Portis and after McGahee was Frank Gore. It wasn’t just running backs where they were stacked. On defense they had Jonathan Vilma, Ed Reed, Phillip Buchanon, the late Sean Taylor, D.J. Williams, Antrel Rolle and Vince Wilfork. I wonder if there will ever be a defense that good again.

The offensive line was incredible. Bryant McKinnie, Jerome McDougle, Vernon Carey, Chris Myers and Eric Winston. This team also featured not one, but two future first round draft picks in Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II. Before them was Bubba Franks, and after them was Greg Olsen. Pair all of them up with the speed that Roscoe Parrish and Devin Hester had and it’s hard to believe that they even lost once.

They were the best college football team I have seen and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see a better one.


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Imagine John Elway Playing Baseball

August 2, 2014 4:48 pm

A few years ago two friends and I went to a baseball practice. To most people, myself included, that would sound really boring.

We knew Jameis Winston, who just won the Heisman trophy and National Championship, would be there and we knew we would have a chance to meet him.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

This was the summer of 2011 and Winston was about to enter his senior year of high school and he was playing in the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic. It’s the equivalent of the McDonald’s All-American game.

I have been waiting to see a legendary two sport athlete since the day I saw Bo Jackson highlights.

We watched the practice, and not only did we get to see Winston, but we also got to see about 10-15 future MLB players.

After the practice, we waited with about five other fans for the players. The players loved the attention. We all had a baseball for him to sign, which is cool, but it also gave us some time to talk to him. He loved it, he had already committed to Florida St. and he told us how he couldn’t wait to get there. We also asked him which sport he would play and he said both. At the time, I was skeptical, but after watching him as a baseball player at Florida St. I now know what he’s talking about.

He turned down the Texas Rangers out of high school. I think so far his college career has gone well and he is on pace to be one of the best ever.

John Elway played with the New York Yankees for a summer while waiting to be traded from the Baltimore Colts.


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Appealing Sports in Cold Places

April 30, 2014 5:59 pm

H.G. Bissinger once left his job at the Philadelphia Inquirer to move to Texas to follow high school football. The risk he took led to one of the greatest rewards in sports writing history: Friday Night Lights.

Bissinger made high school football appealing and it is the pilgrimage I want to take the most. To drop everything and live in Texas for a few months would be awesome and the experience of a lifetime. While Texas would be the best place to see high school football, it isn’t the only place and I would want to go somewhere with more sports. Here are the top places I want to experience that have extraordinary college athletics.

I’m from San Diego so I’ve been called crazy for wanting to leave. The weather is the only reason that people can name. While people may hate cold weather, I believe that the excitement from gamedays would make it worth it. One of my dreams is to go to a real college football game where the stadium is full of rocking fans. Sports rule me and I have to see more than what San Diego and California have to offer.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State

If you have ever watched Oklahoma State football on television, you will know why I want to go there. The atmosphere looks insane. That Cowboy Orange looks like one of the best tickets in the country. Then you also have their basketball team. That atmosphere is breathtaking to watch. If I ever got to attend a game there I would probably have a heart attack. I can’t think of a stadium I would rather see. Both their football and basketball teams are pretty good too. I’d like to stay in Oklahoma from October to February. That way I get the end of conference football and almost the entire basketball season. Besides Oklahoma St., I would also go to see the Oklahoma Sooners, high school football, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Iowa

Iowa is one of the most underrated sports states in America. The University of Iowa and Iowa State both have amazing fans that support each of these high level programs. Living here would give me the chance to see all the Big Ten teams at Iowa and all of the Big 12 teams at Iowa State. Iowa football is one of those places where you have to go. Even when I have watched them on television as an unranked team they have impressed me. Imagine the fans intensity when teams like Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan come to town. On top of football, you have their basketball team which is quite an environment. If they beat some of the top basketball teams in the Big Ten at home, it would probably be one of those moments that you never forget.

Now onto Iowa State. Seeing them host Big 12 football would be fun, but I’m not sure how well they could do. I’d want to be there for basketball. That place gets crazy. I have never seen a stadium more fun. It would be a dream to go there when they play a great team like Kansas and to see them pull the upset. I can’t think of anything I would rather witness.

Kansas

Allen Fieldhouse

Allen Fieldhouse

Going to Allen Fieldhouse has been something I’ve wanted to do forever. I was even accepted to go to school there but I couldn’t afford the out of state tuition. Going here would be like a historian seeing the Declaration of Independence being written. That team is always loaded with NBA talent produced by head coach Bill Self. Sidenote – I can’t wait for Kansas to come to Viejas Arena during the 2015-2016 season. Self is one of my idols.

The Kansas State basketball crowd in Manhattan always blows my mind. What an incredible environment and place to watch a basketball game. Good or bad, I’ve always seen that place rocking. I’m literally salivating writing this. Football in this state wouldn’t be as great as other places, but it would still be great to see Big 12 football. Basketball makes this state worth it for me.

Minnesota

This is one of the best states of all. The University of Minnesota plays in the Big Ten and they play very close to Minneapolis. Even though Minnesota isn’t the best at college sports, the fact they play so close to the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild makes it completely worth it. Those teams have cheap tickets too. Since I can’t afford to live in a dream city like New York or Boston, Minneapolis would be fine. It would be extremely fun. Exciting sports year round would be hard to beat and it would be ideal for me. This would be my number one realistic choice.

Close but didn’t make the cut: Phoenix, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Besides these cities, there are many more that I want to see. I don’t think I could ever complain about going on a trip to a game. Every trip I go on, I always plan sports around it.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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#2 Oregon at #6 Stanford Preview

November 8, 2013 1:07 am

Oregon v Stanford pic

Last year, Oregon suffered their only loss when Stanford went into Autzen Stadium and beat them. Tonight, Oregon plans to roll into Palo Alto and return the favor. Oregon is currently ranked second and Stanford is ranked sixth. Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota has 2,281 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and an incredible zero interceptions. On top of that, he has rushed for 511 yards and nine touchdowns.

“I feel like this team, we should at least put up 40,” running back De’Anthony Thomas told GoDucks.com. That is perfect bulletin board material for Stanford. Thomas has missed four games but still has 369 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Another Oregon running back star is sophomore Byron Marshall who has 879 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Josh Huff and Bralon Addison each have 38 catches with 703 and 609 receiving yards respectively.

MARCUS.000

The Ducks average 301 passing yards, 332 rushing yards and 55.6 points per game. Their defense is stellar as well. Terrance Mitchell has four interceptions and Tony Washington has 7.5 sacks. The Ducks only allow 17 points per game which is the eighth best in the country.

Stanford on the other hand grinds out wins without flashy stats. Last year’s Rose Bowl MVP Kevin Hogan has 1,493 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. The power running of Tyler Gaffney is key. Gaffney has 886 rushing yards with 12 rushing touchdowns.

On defense Stanford is led by Trent Murphy who is third in the country with 9.5 sacks. They allow 19 points per game which is 19th best in the country.

I predict that Oregon dominates this game in every category and wins 55-10 to payback Stanford. If Oregon wins, they will most likely play in the national title game. It would be Stanford’s second loss, but they would still probably qualify for a BCS bowl game. If Stanford beats Oregon, most likely neither of them would play in the title game. Instead, one would play in the Rose Bowl and the other would play in either the Fiesta Bowl or the Orange Bowl. Regardless of who wins, the atmosphere should be crazy and if Oregon wins they will drive all of the Stanford fans crazy.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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#12 Oklahoma at #5 Baylor Preview

November 8, 2013 12:56 am

Okalahoma v Baylor picTonight, #12 Oklahoma rolls into Waco, Texas to face #5 Baylor. Baylor is an absolutely outstanding team, they are first in passing, first in points scored, sixth in defense and seventh in rushing yards. Led by quarterback Bryce Petty who has 2,453 passing yards, I think that Baylor should win this game easily.

If Oklahoma wants to win they are going to need a big game from quarterback Blake Bell. Known as the Bell-Dozer, Bell has 1,348 passing yards and 245 rushing yards this year. Running back Brennan Clay, from San Diego, leads Oklahoma’s 17th ranked run game with 538 yards and three touchdowns.  Jalen Saunders is Bell’s top receiving target with 35 catches for 431 yards and five touchdowns. Saunders, a Fresno State transfer, has shined since he got to Norman. Petty only has thrown one interception this season. Gabe Lynn leads Oklahoma with three interceptions, the Sooners need to force some turnovers if they want to win on the road.

SAUNDERS.1

Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese are Bryce Petty’s top targets. Goodley has 38 catches, 894 yards and eight touchdowns. Reese is right behind him, he has 33 catches, 824 yards and eight touchdowns. These receivers are very good. Petty should be throwing to them all game and then the run game will work perfectly. Lache Seastrunk is one of a few very efficient Baylor running backs.This season he has 869 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

This game will be long, it could be high scoring, but ultimately, Baylor should take this one pretty easily. When there passing game is on, they will be able to take a big lead and then run it more, where, who knows, but they could be even more lethal. This is Baylor’s third starting quarterback in as many seasons. Following in the tracks of Robert Griffin III, and Nick Florence, who led the country in passing last year, Petty is a great player who is looking to win the Big 12.


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The Return of College Football: What to Watch for Week 1

August 29, 2013 6:27 pm

There are some big games the first Saturday of college football season. I picked five to keep an eye out for.

#5 Georgia at #8 Clemson, 8ET, Clemson Memorial Stadium

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This is by far the most anticipated game of the week. Both teams know how crucial it is to win this game. Aaron Murray of Georgia and Tajh Boyd of Clemson are the veteran quarterbacks and they have both played in big games before. Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins will look to rebound from his sophomore year after having a great freshman season. I think that Clemson will win this because it is at their place. A top ten matchup at a stadium that will be full to the max and very loud will be a quite a scene.

Wyoming at #18 Nebraska, 7ET, Memorial Stadium

I think that Nebraska better be prepared. I’ve watched Wyoming before and they are very underrated. Quarterback Brett Smith will look to lead his team to the biggest win of their lives. I think that Wyoming pulls the upset in Lincoln.

Virginia Tech vs #1 Alabama, 5:30ET, Georgia Dome

This is a neutral game in Atlanta. Everyone fully expects the two time defending champions to win this game in a landslide. Virginia Tech did not have a good season last year. Logan Thomas, quarterback, had high expectations going into 2012 and he did not live up to that. Now a senior, Thomas has one final season to prove himself. I don’t think he will in this game. Alabama lost nine players to the NFL including picks nine through eleven. I expect Alabama’s new starters to be great because of head coach Nick Saban. I have Alabama winning 35-10.

#19 Boise State at Washington, 7ET, Husky Stadium

This is the second straight time that these schools have played against each other. Last December they met in the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl with Boise winning 28-26. Bishop Sankey rushed for 205 yards in that game for Washington. This is a very hard game to project. I think that Washington will win, not only because they are at home, but because their quarterback Keith Price had another offseason to learn and improve. Even without Austin Seferian-Jenkins (who needs surgery for his pinky), I think that Washington can pull off the win in their newly renovated stadium.

#12 LSU vs #20 TCU, 8ET, AT&T Stadium in Dallas

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Both teams have question marks. LSU lost nine players to the NFL draft including two who went in the first round. TCU only had two players drafted. LSU head coach Les Miles is a very good recruiter which makes me sure that LSU is prepared. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall needs to have a really good game in order for LSU to be knocked off. I think that LSU should be ranked higher than 12th and that they will win this game.


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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Heisman Radar: Season Sleepers On the Gridiron

August 9, 2013 6:02 pm

Everyone knows who Johnny Manziel, Braxton Miller and Jadeveon Clowney are, but there are many more players who are flying under the radar. These are my favorite players who are on very few peoples’ Heisman lists.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

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I have no idea why he isn’t getting very much attention. Before the Holiday Bowl last season Seastrunk said, “I know I am the best back in the country.” He backed that up by rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown against a UCLA defense that had Datone Jones and Anthony Barr. Jones was a first round draft pick and Barr is projected to be drafted very high next season.

If Seastrunk can dominate this season like he thinks he can, nothing will stop him from bringing Baylor its second Heisman trophy winner. Seastrunk originally played for Oregon and was a blue chip recruit. With Lamichael James, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner also at Oregon, Seastrunk left to find playing time of his own.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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At 6-6 and 266 pounds, not many college players can stop Seferian-Jenkins. Entering his junior season, he already has 110 career catches for 1390 yards and 13 touchdowns. The only thing holding him back is his DUI in March. He got sentenced to a 363 day suspended jail sentence. It was just one mistake and in a recent statement he said, “I want everyone to know how sorry I am for the disappointment and embarrassment I have caused. I especially want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and particularly my family.” He has since started walking almost everywhere. The responsibility he has shown is amazing.

Last season Seferian-Jenkins finished third for the Mackey award which is given annually to college football’s top tight end. If he doesn’t get suspended he should win it this year in a landslide. Suspension or no suspension, Austin is good enough to hear his name called early in the draft next year and I, along with everyone else, would love to see what he can do this year if he plays every game.

Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State

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Muema is a beast. He is on his way to becoming the second best running back in school history behind only Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. As a freshman Muema averaged 6 yards per carry and as a sophomore that number rose to 6.2 yards per carry. Against Wyoming in the final game of the regular season, Muema rushed for 255 yards on 26 carries and four touchdowns. I don’t know what is more impressive, the incredible 9.8 yards per carry or the four touchdowns.

He came out of nowhere too. I went to SDSU and I didn’t know who he was until midway through his freshman season when Ronnie Hillman had an injury. Against number ten Boise State, Muema had 119 yards, two touchdowns and only 13 carries. Hillman only carried the ball three times that game because of an injury. It won’t surprise me one bit when Muema finishes top five in the Heisman. The only running backs who could have better seasons are Lache Seastrunk and De’Anthony Thomas. Overall, I think Muema will finish behind Seastrunk but ahead of Thomas.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

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Jeffcoat missed the last seven games of last season due to a right pectoral injury. Otherwise he would probably be in NFL training camp right now. He is on every major defensive award watch list around the country, but he doesn’t get enough respect. Jackson was ranked as the 12th best player in the nation his senior year of high school. He chose Texas and by his sophomore season, he made a major impact with eight sacks. In the first six games of 2012, Jeffcoat recorded four sacks and eleven tackles for a loss before his season ending injury.

Jeffcoat’s father, Jim, was a former NFL great. Jim was a first round pick, had over 100 career sacks, and won two super bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys. Jeffcoat looks to start his career like his father by being a first round pick. CBS sports writer Rob Rang projects Jeffcoat to be drafted tenth overall. Matt De Lima of fftoolbox.com says that Jeffcoat is “A physical player, plays with a chip on his shoulder. Aggressive first contact. Not a liability against the run.”


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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Heisman Predictions: Will Johnny Manziel Win Back-to-Back Trophies?

July 25, 2013 8:01 pm

It has been almost 38 years since a player has won a second Heisman Trophy. QB Johnny Manziel is the latest player to be in a position to win a second. Many have been in this position since 1975 but nobody has been able to achieve the feat. Manziel definitely has the talent to do it, but his situation off the field has overshadowed his performance on the field and anything short of a undefeated season will make it nearly impossible for him to win two in a row. Here are four players who are looking to have magnificent seasons and claim the Heisman Trophy for themselves.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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QB Braxton Miller – Ohio State

Miller had a very good season and it was very quiet compared to the season and hype that Johnny Manziel received. As a sophomore Miller passed for 2,039 yards, 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions with a 58.3 completion percentage. He won Big 10 Player of the Year and finished fifth in the Heisman. Ohio State was ineligible for a bowl game last season because of a past situation involving Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor and a few other former Buckeyes. If Miller can live up to the high expectations and lead Ohio State to Pasadena for the National Title, then the trophy will be his.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC

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WR Marqise Lee – USC

Marqise Lee is in a very tough position. As a sophomore last season he had 1,721 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Matt Barkley was his quarterback almost the whole season. In the last two games, Max Wittek was the starter because Barkley got injured against UCLA. Wittek, who was a redshirt freshman, did okay against Notre Dame in the last game of the year throwing for 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech, Wittek got destroyed, he was only 14 for 37 with 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Lee only caught 11 passes for 116 yards in those two games.

Lee brought home some prestigious hardware. He picked up Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award since Troy Edwards in 1999. He also won the Biletnikoff given to the nation’s best receiver. To top those awards off, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. If USC can find a solution to their quarterback issues, then expect Lee to have a decent chance at this year’s Heisman as well as a chance to be a high draft pick. If USC doesn’t find success at quarterback then their season will suffer, Lee won’t have any chance at the Heisman, and Lee, as well as everyone else on USC, will see their draft stock fall.

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

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QB Tajh Boyd – Clemson

Last season Tajh Boyd picked up 3,896 passing yards and 36 touchdowns, which is a single season ACC record, while completing 67.2 percent of his passes. Boyd has set himself and Clemson up nicely. He has all the personal awards he could want besides the Heisman, and he has a good team this year. Clemson is a team that I think should be pre-season #7. Boyd’s situation is similar to Braxton Miller’s. If he makes the championship game he should win the Heisman. So many times has the Heisman winner played in the national title game. This is a year where that will probably happen.

Boyd has more weapons than just his arm. He rushed for 514 yards with ten touchdowns last season. Dual quarterbacks have won the last three Heisman Trophies. There is a good chance that a dual quarterback will in it because Manziel, Boyd and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) are all exceptional athletes and have good teams backing them up.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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QB Teddy Bridgewater- Louisville

Last season Bridgewater led Louisville to a Sugar Bowl win where he was named MVP. On the season he was a 68 percent passer and had 3,718 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The Louisville Cardinals will probably enter the season ranked somewhere between 10 and 15. If Bridgewater can get them to finish in the top five and get back to a BCS game he will probably win the Heisman.

The Rest

There are a bunch of players who are currently flying under the radar. Marcus Mariota of Oregon won Fiesta Bowl MVP and had a 32-6 TD to INT ratio. AJ McCarron has three national title rings, including MVP of the 2012 game, and is going for a 4th championship. Jadeveon Clowney is the best defender I have ever seen. If South Carolina does really well he will for sure win the Heisman. I just don’t see that happening. His personal stats will probably be enough to give him a top five Heisman finish though.

Predictions

1. Braxton Miller

2. Johnny Manziel

3. Marcus Mariota

4. Jadeveon Clowney

5. Tajh Boyd


You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP

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