Posts Tagged ‘Dame’

NFL Preseason: Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens Preview and Pick

August 11th, 2010

The NFL preseason continues on Thursday night when the Carolina Panthers travel to Maryland to take on the Baltimore Ravens.

The Top 10 Sportsbooks, like Bet Mania, have set the opening line in this game, and the Baltimore Ravens started out as a 3.5 point favorite with an over-under of 33.5.

The NFL bettors came in with early action on the underdog Carolina Panthers, and the line dropped to Baltimore as three-point favorites.

To get the latest odds on the game check out Bet Mania. Sign up and use the NFL preseason code REGAW and get a $50 free bet on this game!

The Ravens go into this game with a slew of players suffering from injuries. Offensive tackle Jared Gaither and cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Chris Carr could be held out of Thursday night’s preseason game.  Free safety Ed Reed will be unable to play as he is on the team’s PUP list. The Ravens will also be without rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle, who fractured his skull a few weeks ago. Even without those players the Ravens should be fine on Thursday night.


Baltimore Ravens

They are very deep on both sides of the ball, especially on offense. The Ravens' probable preseason quarterback rotation will be: Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger, Troy Smith, and John Beck.

The Ravens have tremendous depth at other skill positions like wide receiver and running back.

At wide receiver the starters are Mark Clayton and Anquan Boldin, and they are backed up by veterans Donte Stallworth and Derrick Mason.

At running back they have Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to start things off and big bruising fullback Le’Ron McClain to play as fullback. Third-year man Jalen Parmele will get playing time as well.


Carolina Panthers

The Panthers enter this season in a semi-rebuilding mode, as they sent veterans packing in the offseason. Quarterback Jake Delhomme now plays for the Browns, and defensive end Julius Peppers now sacks opposing quarterbacks in Chicago.

The Panthers' probable preseason quarterback rotation is Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen (rookie—Notre Dame), Hunter Cantwell and Tony Pike (rookie—Cincinnati). This is an impressive lineup, although it does not have much experience. Expect Moore and Clausen to handle the quarterback duties in the first half.

At running back the Panthers have talent in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but they won’t see much playing time, and Stewart may not play at all. Expect a lot of Tyrell Sutton, Dantrell Savage, and Josh Vaughan out of the backfield.

At wide receiver Steve Smith is still out nursing an injury, and the Panthers are razor-thin in this spot.


Game-Time Winning Pick

John Fox focuses more on execution than winning in the preseason, evidenced by a 3-10 record against the spread. The Ravens are very deep and experienced on offense, and that will be the difference in this game. Bulger is fighting for the No. 2 spot and will have veteran wide receivers playing alongside him. The deep offense will be too much for a young Panthers team.

Play Ravens -3


The NFL is back! Although it’s just preseason, it’s great to watch football again!

BetMania has win totals for all the NFL teams listed here. They have specials for the football bettor to include a 60 percent Early Bird Bonus, -107 Reduced Juice, and the Best Teaser odds in the sports betting industry.


Other Preseason Previews and Picks

New Orleans @ New England Preview

Notre Dame Football: How Many Conferences Would Irish Win in 2010?

August 11th, 2010

Brett Favre is still waffling. Lindsey Lohan is still toxic. The deficit is still growing. And the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still independent.

Stop me if you've heard any of this before.

Despite the behind-the-scenes best efforts of untold forces and countless outsider pleas, athletic director Jack Swarbrick staved off conference alignment yet again, and most likely for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the Big Ten or Big East could offer the Irish more money, or better BCS access, or perhaps just some PR shelter. Hopefully, we'll never know.

But while we're on the topic of never knowing, why not devote some energy to developing that theme a bit further?

If Notre Dame had joined a conference in the 2010 Summer Shuffle, what would their championship chances have looked like this fall?

Could the Irish have challenged a Pitt or a Cincinnati in the Big East (with the Bearcats former head coach, nonetheless)?

Would Notre Dame have provided any threat to Ohio State, Iowa or Wisconsin in the Big Ten?

In the following slides, we'll examine every I-A college football league in the country and try to determine where the Irish would have fallen within it in 2010.

For consistency and simplicity, we'll use the following scale to weigh their chances: Front-runner, Contender, or Long Shot.

Begin Slideshow

Will the 2010 Notre Dame Schedule Be as Easy as 2005’s?

August 11th, 2010

Five years ago Notre Dame was breaking in another new coach and looking to reassert itself as an elite program after nearly a decade of tumultuous ups and downs on the football field.

Today it’s a similar story as Brian Kelly enters his first season in South Bend looking to do the same thing his last three predecessors failed to do.

Before the 2005 season started there was a guarded optimism amongst the Irish faithful, who were very curious and excited to see what Charlie Weis could do to the struggling Notre Dame offense and also what the future held for the program.

In truth, it never really got better than Weis’ first season at Notre Dame, and as we shall see, it was never that good to begin with.

Still, the fact that Weis could come in and win nine games was seen as a tiny miracle given the team’s ineptitude throughout the previous two seasons.

Brian Kelly faces a similar path this fall, overtaking a talented Irish team that has faltered for not just two, but three years in a row while failing to meet expectations in each season along the way.

So can the new Irish head coach have a successful season like Weis did in 2005 or even like did Willingham in 2002?

In order to see how Kelly’s first year may stack up, I wanted to compare the upcoming Notre Dame schedule with the slate of games played by the Irish in 2005.

First we’ll look at the common opponents from each season and see how the programs differ today, while also matching up the remaining non-common opponents.

Now, let’s take a trip back to that fateful night at Heinz Field when Charlie Weis led Notre Dame for the first time in a prime time matchup against Pittsburgh to open the 2005 season.


Pittsburgh Panthers

A year after going 8-4 and being co-champions of the Big East conference, Pittsburgh had fairly high expectations heading into the 2005 season.

However, the Panthers would not live up to those expectations.

It will be a common theme throughout this piece that many teams from the 2005 Notre Dame schedule disappointed and failed to meet expectations.

Pittsburgh entered its contest against Notre Dame ranked 23rd in the nation, but its season fell apart soon after losing to the Irish.

The Panthers would go on to lose to Ohio University and to most of the quality Big East teams on route to a 5-6 season.

2010 Strength: Modest Improvement

As of right now, Pittsburgh is the highest-ranked team on the 2010 Irish schedule, and I expect the Panthers to be much better than their 2005 squad.

Even though the depth and talent have increased only slightly over the past five years, Pittsburgh has some really top-notch stars who will carry their team this fall and who will definitely separate themselves from the 2005 underachieving unit.


Michigan Wolverines

They were talking National Championship in Ann Arbor leading up to the 2005 season, and it seemed like all the pieces were in place for a title run.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

When Notre Dame went into the Big House and toppled No. 3 Michigan in only Charlie Weis’ second game as head coach, it had the feel of an all-time classic win. Then Michigan never recovered from the loss and faltered against the Big Ten’s top teams, ultimately altering a possible career-defining game for Weis and lessening its importance.

After talk of such high expectations, the Wolverines finished 7-5, driving one of the nails into the coffin of the Lloyd Carr era.

2010 Strength: Solid Reduction

There’s no two ways around it, Michigan is coming off its two worst years in school history. The talent level has dropped off slightly, and the team is still not all the way through a transition to the Rich Rodriguez offense.

The potential on the offensive side of the ball is high, but no less experienced or more productive as the 2005 unit, and the defense has taken a major step backwards in comparison to five years ago as well.

Overall, the 2010 team is not as good as the 2005 squad. As disappointing as the 2005 season was for Michigan, it did lose only one “bad” game to Minnesota, but it was defeated by strong Wisconsin, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Notre Dame teams.


Michigan State Spartans

The 2005 Michigan State team entered the season stuck in a rut of mediocrity and had fallen behind the top teams in the Big Ten for most of the new century.

But that didn’t stop the Spartans from winning a thriller in Notre Dame Stadium to hand Charlie Weis his first loss as Irish head coach.

Like so many times in the past, Michigan State jumped out to a 4-0 record but then completely fell apart, losing six out of its last seven games to finish 5-6 on the season.

2010 Strength: Solid Improvement

There is better talent in East Lansing now, the coaching situation has improved, and it will be a tough night road game for Notre Dame in 2010. All signs point to this being a much better Michigan State team.

Plus, the 2005 team only had one quality win—sadly its overtime victory over what turned out to be a nine-win Notre Dame team. Other than that, MSU defeated Kent State, Hawaii, Illinois, and Indiana.

I expect the Spartans to pick up a couple more quality victories and make some noise in the Big Ten this year.


Purdue Boilermakers

Heading into the 2005 season, Purdue was saying goodbye to the Kyle Orton era and had a combined 16 wins over its last two seasons, including a complete shellacking of Notre Dame in 2004.

However, despite a strong running game the Boilermakers could not find quality quarterback play, and the 2005 team ended up 5-6 without even playing Ohio State or Michigan in conference.

Despite winning seven games the previous year and starting out the year 2-1 with a loss to Minnesota, Purdue came into the 2005 matchup against Notre Dame ranked No. 22 in the country but would lose to the Irish 49-28.

I’m still trying to figure out how Purdue came into that game ranked.

2010 Strength: Push

It is too hard to tell if this fall’s version of Purdue football will be better or worse than the 2005 team's, but I expect something of the same outcome as five years ago.

The Boilermakers are better in some areas but weaker in others, and the fact remains that they are still in the middle to bottom of the pack in the Big Ten.


Southern California Trojans

The Team of the Century. The Bush Push. Heisman Trophy.

And now, vacated wins.

A lot could be written about the 2005 USC team, but despite all that has happened since its soul-crushing defeat of Notre Dame that season, this was one of the most talented teams to ever step on a college football field.

This Trojan team had talent and depth at every position and cruised to an undefeated regular season before dropping the national title game to Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns.

2010 Strength: Solid Reduction

While the USC roster still remains very potent and filled with skill and power, it is simply not the same as the 2005 squad's.

I expect the Trojans to be a very good football team in 2010, but an undefeated regular season seems unlikely given the new coaching staff and problems that have affected the team since Pete Carroll left for the NFL.


Navy Midshipmen

Going into the 2005 season, Navy was coming off its most successful season in nearly 40 years with a 10-2 record. The Midshipmen would lose to the Irish and fall back down to an eight-win season in 2005, but they had proven to be a quality opponent worthy of much respect by that point.

In a matter of seven or eight years this program has taken tremendous strides and has had the benefit of being run by two terrific coaches in succession.

2010 Strength: Modest Improvement

Navy more or less has been getting the same players for a long time, but there’s the sense that they are better coached and more in tune with the system than ever before.

With senior Rick Dobbs running the option attack, Navy has a really good shot to win 10 games in 2010 or even do the unthinkable and go undefeated.

The Midshipmen are officially a crew to be reckoned with.


Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal were smack dab in the middle of the bottom-dwellers in the Pac-10 heading into the 2005 season, although they did manage to win five games, their most since 2001.

Stanford was the type of team that had a handful of really quality players but could never take the next step and become legitimate contenders in its conference.

Even though it gave Notre Dame a run for its money to end the season and defeated four Pac-10 teams, the Cardinal's lack of consistency showed itself in an embarrassing loss to California-Davis earlier in the year.

2010 Strength: Solid Improvement

Clearly the reign of Jim Harbaugh has helped matters in Palo Alto. Now, Stanford still lacks depth at many positions but has developed a handful of star players and is a true competitor in the Pac-10.

Maybe the Cardinal aren’t an elite team or a program that’s going to be a feature in the top 25 this season, but they are a step or two above where they were five years ago.


Now let’s match up the non-common opponents from 2005 and 2010.


Syracuse (2005) vs. Army (2010)

Advantage: Army

Typically Syracuse would have a little more talent than the Black Knights do these days, but the Orange were a miserable 1-10 in 2005, and Army is peaking a little bit with a couple of strong players leading the way this year.

Also, the Army game this fall will come between matchups with Utah and USC, and the neutral field location at Yankee Stadium could offer a bit of a distraction for Notre Dame.


Washington (2005) vs. Western Michigan (2010)

Advantage: Washington

The Huskies weren’t quite ruined by Tyrone Willingham at this point, but the talent level had fallen to a pretty low level beforehand, as the Huskies only won one game in 2004 and hadn’t won more than seven since 2001.

Although this would be an interesting theoretical matchup, I give the edge to Washington because of its status as a BCS conference member.


BYU (2005) vs. Tulsa (2010)

Advantage: Tulsa

BYU has had some quality teams in recent years, but its 2005 squad was not very good and did not net any impressive wins en route to a 6-6 season.

Tulsa, with its spread offense and ability to score a lot of points, appears to be the tougher matchup.


Tennessee (2005) vs. Boston College (2010)

Advantage: Boston College

Tennessee may have had more talent than the current Boston College team does, and the Volunteers' upset victory in Baton Rouge against LSU was big, but that hides the fact that they were pretty awful otherwise in 2005.

The Vols beat Ole Miss and Kentucky, but lost the rest of their SEC games (including Vanderbilt) and were beaten by 20 points by the Fighting Irish.

Boston College will be very strong defensively and should have a very potent running game as well. Since this upcoming game is in Chestnut Hill and is a rivalry game, Boston College looks to be the tougher game.


Wildcard: Utah (2010)

That’s right, Notre Dame only played 11 regular season games in 2005, leaving one extra opponent on this fall’s schedule that cannot be matched up.

That team is the Utah Utes, a team that is ranked in the preseason coaches' poll and looks to be a very formidable opponent when November rolls around.



On the whole, the 2010 schedule looks to be much tougher than the one played in Charlie Weis’ first season in South Bend.

The overall opponent record of 61-65 from 2005 is emphatically underwhelming, and it featured eight teams that were .500 or worse on the season, seven teams that lost six or more games, and only two teams that won at least eight games (8-4 Navy & 12-1 USC).

You could certainly make the case that 2005 was the worst schedule in school history for Notre Dame in terms of playing weak opponents.

In my opinion, four out of the six common opponents will be tougher in 2010, while three out of the four non-common matchups appear stingier this fall as well.

When you add in Utah and that extra 12th game, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Brian Kelly will have his hands full this fall.

Luckily, Notre Dame appears to be ready to take on such a tough schedule with a team that is talented and poised for a breakout season under one of college football’s most successful coaches in recent years.


From the FanTake blog: One Foot Down

Follow on Twitter: @OneFootDown

NCAA Football Rankings: No. 13: USC Trojans

August 11th, 2010

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Wednesday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 13 is USC.


One Great Season

In a hectic college football offseason packed with coaching changes, recruiting investigations, and suspensions, USC's was perhaps the most dramatic.

A two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions, among other penalties, have left the Trojans vowing to achieve one simple goal in 2010: to win all 13 of their games.

And while a perfect regular season is unlikely, USC remains one of the few programs that can intimidate with just its name, colors, and presence.

EXTRA: 2009 Images: USC at Ohio State | USC at Cal | USC at Oregon

New coach Lane Kiffin takes over and surely he's hoping to convert some of that Pete Carroll currency into new-era victories.

One Great Season College Football Preseason Top 25

Quarterback Matt Barkley returns to lead an offense that, despite losing several players to the NFL and others who transferred after the NCAA dropped its hammer, still boasts an impressive talent pool. Running back Allen Bradford could bang his way to 1,000 yards and wideout Ronald Johnson will lead a group that includes several big-time recruits looking to contribute immediately.

Defensively, the Trojans return much of their front seven, and adding Kiffin's dad, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, will help a unit that allowed 20 points per game in 2009. But losing star safety Taylor Mays and cornerback Kevin Thomas could leave the secondary struggling a bit, at least early.

Who's back? QB Matt Barkley, RB Allen Bradford, C Kris O'Dowd, DE Nick Perry, LB Chris Galippo

Who's gone? RB Joe McKnight, WR Damian Williams, S Taylor Mays, DE Everson Griffen, TE Anthony McCoy

Why they'll win: Even with limited scholarships and no postseason to play for, a Trojans team with a chip on its shoulder seems a pretty dangerous one.

Why they'll lose: Heavy personnel losses, no California-cool Pete Carroll manning the sidelines and fewer scholarship players could leave USC struggling.

Get your tickets: at Stanford (Oct. 9), vs. Oregon (Oct. 30), vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 27), at UCLA (Dec. 4)

Prediction: 11-2 (7-2, second-place PAC 10)

Time-Traveling Commissioner Takes ‘04 BCS Title From USC; Auburn Wins!

August 11th, 2010

Birmingham, Alabama—In a not-so-stunning development in the Reggie Bush/USC case, the NCAA, BCS, and the SEC have decided to vacate the Trojans 2004 BCS National Championship. 

Sources close to the situation say that the ’04 Auburn Tigers could be on the verge of winning their first consensus national championship since 1957. 

The move is rumored to be just the beginning of a new method for punishing college football’s evildoers by awarding their ill-gotten championships to SEC schools. 

Big Ten conspiracy theorists have long held the belief that the $15 Billion ESPN/SEC network deal that began in ’09 was just an elaborate cover-up to help fund a super-secret time travel initiative that was developed by SEC commissioner Mike Slive. 

According to sources within the underground Big Ten conspiracy group, JoePa is God; SEC Commissioner Mike Slive plans to begin the process of awarding every vacated national title in the NCAA’s history to an SEC school. 

The plan is rumored to be for Slive to strap-in to a specially designed 1989 Ford Tempo, the vehicle of choice in many southern cities, which would enable him to cross through the space/time continuum via a BCS-designed computer that serves as the Tempo-Time-Machine’s central processing unit. 

The first stop is December ’04, where Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, still resides pleading the case for his team to play in the BCS title game, to anyone who will listen. Slive plans to stop by the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where Auburn has just defeated Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game, just to let Tuberville know that he has everything under control.

Slive doesn’t like for his coaches to complain.

The commissioner then plans to travel to Los Angeles, on the evening of July 6, 2020, two months prior to the start of the college football season, where a sports agent has just given Reggie Bush the keys to a 1996 Chevy Lumina. 

Sensing pictures of that transaction alone are not enough to convince the NCAA that something fishy is going on at USC; Slive will then travel to Malibu, on the morning of February 10, 2020 where Bush’s parents are moving into a sweet condo, directly on the beach. Realizing that an ‘89 Ford Tempo would be out of place in the area, Slive will park at a nearby Wal-Mart and walk the two miles to the lavish neighborhood. 

The alleged plan then calls for Slive to arrive at NCAA headquarters on the evening before USC is set to begin fall practice, with the various pictures and receipts in hand. 

Reggie Bush will be ruled ineligible for the season, paving the way for Auburn to win the national title and Auburn QB Jason Campbell to win the Heisman trophy. 

While it is strictly rumor at this point, some believe that Slive will actually try to pin the entire thing on USC assistant, Lane Kiffin rather than the rogue agent. 

A high-ranking SEC official speaking on condition of anonymity said, “Awarding Auburn the ’04 national title and getting rid of that little prick, Kiffin, before he has a chance to disgrace Tennessee, would be an amazing turn of events for our conference.”

The official continued, “But there’s just no logic behind developing a super-secret-time-travel-machine to crown every SEC member in our history with multiple national titles.” 

When pressed further the official admitted, “It would be nice to hear the Sewanee fans chanting ‘SEC, SEC, SEC’ as time winds down in their 12-0 win over Notre Dame in the 1935 Orange Bowl. But time-travel is just something that we’d rather leave alone, for now.” 

When asked what the ruling could mean for the vacated ’92 National Championship that Alabama won, the official quickly chuckled, “Alabama has always been an upstanding member of the SEC football community. In the days and weeks ahead, you could very well see that nearly 20 year old ruling rescinded.” 

The official was then whisked away by armed guards.   

Commissioner Slive could not be reached for comment

eXTReMe Tracker